The Crooked Lake Review

Spring 2000

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Homeward Voyage

of the Schooner Nancy

March to June, 1822


Robert V. Anderson

Outward Voyage

GRAND TURKS ISLAND seems to have been noted for producing salt by evaporation of sea water. We have to wonder if some agent acted there for the Nancy to get a cargo, or if enough salt was stockpiled to warrant a ship simply calling with the expectation that salt would be available. The salt for the Nancy is listed in entries at this point in the log at 2,000 and 1,700 bushels.Taking on salt as a cargo occupied several days.

At 6 p.m. on the 20th of March, 1822, they got under way bound for Edenton, North Carolina, where we have to presume Crocket had some information there was a market for salt.

Note: The barrier islands stretch from lower Virginia offshore of North Carolina to South Carolina, as a general description, with a bend off to the west by the southern islands about two-thirds of the way down. Hatteras Island is just north of this bend. Offshore of the southern third is Raleigh Bay and part way along this third is Portsmouth Island with the town of Portsmouth just south of Ocracoke Inlet. On the western side of the island chain is Pamlico Sound which stretches northward until Albermarle Sound takes over and runs north toward the Virginia line, and west. Off the northward side is the Chowan River on which is Edenton. Off the southern side is the Roanoke River on which is the Port of Plymouth. In Virginia was the port of Norfolk just over the line and next to it the Virginia Portsmouth.

April 5th they got a sounding off Cape Hatteras shoals in 12 fathoms of water where the Cape "Bore West" a distance of 10 miles. The next day they must have coasted Hatteras Island under reduced sail during a thunder storm, however, they saw the Cape Hatteras light to the northwest at a distance they estimated to be 12 miles. That day ended with heavy gales from the north. The next day, the 7th, still with difficult heavy weather they took on a pilot at 10 A.M. and at 12 he got them over the bar of Ocracoke Inlet and they anchored in Wallaces Channel.

For several days they maneuvered. They must have grounded on a bar called "The Swash," for on the 8th a lighter came alongside and took 1000 bushels of salt off and they got over it on the 10th. The lighter then returned the salt to them. The next day they went up to Albemarle Sound that night. They anchored at the Little River 40 miles below Edenton, left there at 4 A.M. and at 2 P.M. anchored up in cold rain on the Chowan River and appear to have landed some 400 bushels of salt. Afterwards they sailed up the river 20 miles to a place called "Pretty Shaw" and on the 16th of April took out 460 bushels of salt. On the 17th they landed 340 bushels of salt. On the 18th sailed down the river and anchored at night. Whenever they were in open sea or near shoals they tended to anchor at night. On the 19th they anchored at Lazy Hill. The weather being adverse they stayed there. It may have been where 600 bushels were discharged.

They remained there in foul weather until the 22nd when they discharged 300 bushels of salt and on the 23rd another 300 bushels and "at t[w]o in the morning got under way and proceeded down river. At sunset came to Anchor in Edenton Bay." On the 24th they sailed down to Skinners Point and discharged 360 bushels and the next day discharged another 440 bushels and "at 2 P.M. got under way and sailed up to Edenton."

On 27 April they finished unloading salt and, "at 10 A.M. hawld off from the wharf." Crockett figured that they took on 3,676 bushels of salt at Turks Island and measured out 3,340—a short fall of 336 bushels. The entry does not attempt to explain this short fall and we are free to imagine the possibilities. Some salt wastage must have been expected from water damage.

The whole category of economic activity is missing. How did someone in Maine, without benefit of good communication, know that salt would be available at Turks Island? We can answer that by assuming that the islanders stocked salt and simply awaited for a ship to came for a cargo. Nothing was written about prices.

They hung about for several days then on Sunday May 5th they went down from Edenton, and "up the Roanoke River to Plymouth," North Carolina. There on the 6th they "painted spars, Blocks etc and at Evening hauled in to the wharf." On the 7th they "took in 7,000 and 3,000 stoves [staves]." On successive days they took in 4,500 staves, 16 bales of cotton, 44 bales of cotton, 5,000 staves, some prime plank, 5,100 staves, 4,200 staves, 43 barrels of turpentine, and more plank. On the 15th "got ready for Sea, at Sunset Started Down the river," and on the 16th they went down the river to just below Edenton. On the 17th, "Started for New York and anchored down the Sound."

On the 18th they anchored in the "Stakes" in the afternoon and "Scraped and Sloshed down the masts." On the 19th they, "Beat down the Sound [Albemarle] at 10 P.M. Came to anchor four miles above The Swash. The next morning moved to the Swash where a lighter took off 8,000 staves. On the 21st of May they stuck fast on the Swash where they stayed with all sail set until sunset of the 23rd when they "got off and came to anchor in teachers hole." On the 24th they, "ran into Wallaces Channel, got the liter (lighter) alongside and took on Board the Stoves again," Then they waited for good weather, picked up provisions, "stowed the Deck load," (only mention of a deckload) and on the 28th "at 4 o'clock Nock'd off work and all hands went oystering." (Hours worked tended to be flexible, the crew could not have been large, and weather—day or night—was a strong factor of when work needed to be done. Was the oystering a holiday, or a means of filling up provisions? This raises another question, "Did they fish for food? It may have been so usual as not to be mentioned.)

They awaited favorable winds and weather and on Thursday 30 May, 1822, "all hands Employed making Sinate and picking aum," [Probably refers to plaiting stranded fibers into braided cordage, sennit, for shipboard use, and picking oakum, unravelling old ropes to use for making sennit or to use as caulking.] Finally on June 1, 1822, they had good weather prospects and "at 4 o'clock in the morning got underway and left Wallaces Channel for New York, unbent the cabeles, stowd the Anchors… At M.R. we was past Hatteras Shales. So Ends this day."

Sunday, 2 June, 1822, at 3 P.M. [Sea Account] they saw "Cap Hatteras light at Distance of 10 miles, from which I take my departure it being in lat. 35. (11) and long. 15.11." On 4 June "at 2 P.M. we made land on Jersey Shore, at 8 P.M. made the land of neversink at 4 P.M., got by Sandy Hook, Run up under Staten Island and took a Squall from the NNE Deused all Sail and Came to Anchor." On Wednesday the 5th "at 4 P.M. got under way and Beat up through the narrows at 10 A.M. Came to Anchor off the town." [NYC]

On Thursday they got to a wharf and got ready for unloading. The next day they began discharging staves. From the 8th June to the 11th they continued to unload cargo. Then on the 12th they went over to Brooklyn and discharged the last of the cargo, 120 bales of cotton. The next day they "haw'd" from the wharf and got ready for sea. Friday, 14th day of June, they ran through haulgate [Hell Gate?] and at sunset were up to the light at Eaton's Hook bound for Thomaston, Maine. On Saturday the 15th at 6 P.M. they passed Gay Head. Sunday they were at Cape Cod light but needed to reef sail and the flying jib. The next day, the 17th at 4 P.M. "saw the Agamenticus Hills and at 10 P.M. Anchored at the mussle rige Islands."

Finally on Sunday, the 18th day of June 1822, they got under way at 2 P.M. and at 4 P.M. anchored in Thomaston Harbor—"all hands well." The health of the sailors was important because ships sometimes brought disease to ports.

"SO ENDS THIS VOYAGE" wrote Master Edward Crockett—in a sense of accomplishment, or of relief?

© 2000, Robert V. Anderson
Outward Voyage


A Page from the Nancy's log [image will be added shortly]

This log book had been used to paste scrapbook items into before the author bought it in an odd-lot collection at an auction years ago in Oneida County. He carefully removed the added clippings and on the remaining and undamaged pages found partial records of voyages along the Atlantic Coast and to Bermuda and Grand Turks Island beyond.

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