Chapter XVII


BOWEN, who had not been to sea for fifteen years except for his wooding trips Down East in 1777, was obliged by necessity to leave Marblehead during 1778 or else pay the piper for his refusal to fight on the American side in the war.

During the time he was away, the vessels in which he served appear to have traded under both American and English flags, whichever was most expedient at the time. By the time he returned to Marblehead, however, most people must have supposed he had been privateering or had been doing his patriotic duty after all, because he does not seem to have been drafted more than once again, and for the first time in many years he had some rigging work to do, albeit in nearby Beverly rather than at Marblehead.

More and more the comings and goings of privateers fill his journals, peaking in mid-summer of 1779 as a fleet gathered for the attempt to dislodge the British from their position at Majabigwaduce (Castine, Maine) and the disastrous Penobscot Expedition which ensued.


1778. This is a year of trouble to me. I was drafted twice as a soldier and taken by Nathan Brown and carried before old [Josiah] Ward the 25 of March and worried along the summer, sometimes a-wooding. That fall then they trained with me so much that they would have me to get bondsmen for me not to speak nor look nor deny them of my money when draft [ed]. So I could not get bondsmen. It was determined to send me on board the Guard Ship at Boston, but meeting with Captain Thomas Boyles he took me his Mate out of their way. Note: a French fleet lay at Nantasket of 13 line [...] ships.257

[October 1778]

17 This 24 hours fair and [ ]. At 2 p.m. weighed and came to [sail] in the schooner Sally from Marblehead for Guadaloupe, Thomas Boyles, master. At 8 ditto saw Cape Cod bearing west 3 leagues. Clear starlight. Middle, ditto. Clear. Latter, somewhat cloudy.

23 I suppose the island Bermudas bears west 10 leagues at 12 this night.

[November 1778]

3 This 24 hours first part fair. At 10 p.m. saw the land, which I judge to be Barbados. Tack ship [and] stood to the northward. At 2 a.m. tacked and stood to the southward. At 8 ditto saw the land. Stood in for it and saw a sail to leeward of us.

4 This 24 hours first part moderate. At 2 p.m. spoke a schooner which took our Captain and two of our people out and manned us out again and stood to the southward. This day we arrived at St. John’s Harbor in the island of Antigua, taken by a small schooner privateer, Richard Pitt, commander, and our schooner was condemned &c.

5 This day I shipped with Captain Nathaniel Hayward in a sloop [Eagle] for Bermudas, and this afternoon we sailed &c.

6 This 24 hours first part fair. At 4 p.m. weighed and came to sail in the sloop [Eagle] from St. John’s Harbor in the island of Antigua for the island of Bermuda. At 6 p.m. the body of the island SE, distance 4 leagues. At 9 o’clock a.m. saw a sail which gave us chase, but we made our escape from her.

7 This 24 hours first part fair. Fresh breezes. All sail set. At dark lost sight of the sloop.

8 This 24 hours first part fair. Small winds S-east. Smooth sea. Middle, moderate. Carried square sail and steering sail and top and topgallant sail all night. Latter, cloudy.

Monday, 9 This 24 hours first part much rain. At 5 o’clock p.m. saw a sail to the west of us at a great distance. At 6 in main-topsails and flying jib. Middle, much rain. Small wind variable. All sails handed. Latter, fair. A short sea.

10 This 24 hours first part fair and pleasant. Middle, fresh breezes and cloudy. Latter, light winds.

11 This 24 hours first part moderate. Middle, squally. Some rain. Latter, clear weather.

17 I saw the island of Bermuda, and we come to anchor at the SW end of the island.

18 We came in. [...] hogh[ead?] fish out and lay at Mr. Preatt’s [Pratt’s?] Wharf, and we lay at Bermudas till Sunday the 13 December. Then we sailed for America.

[December 1778]

23 We arrived off Cape Charles and stood for Baltimore, and we were beating backwards and forwards till the 8 of January 1779.


[February 1779]

Monday, 15 Left Baltimore and Friday the 19 lay at Annapolis.

[March 1779]

A journal of a passage intended on board the sloop Eagle, Nath[aniel] Hayward, master, from Cape Henry to the West Indies.

Monday, 1 At 6 o’clock p.m. Cape Henry bore WSW, 3 leagues, from which I take my departure. Fair, moonlight night. Latter, some rain. Four sail in sight. Sailed from Cape Henry for St. Eustatius in sloop Dolphin [sic],258 N. Hayward.

2 This 24 hours cloudy weather. At 4 p.m. got the bonnet off our jib and reefed our mainsail-head square. Middle, bright moon light. Latter, cloudy.

5 This 24 hours first part cloudy. At 4 p.m. came across a wreck of a small schooner supposed to have been a Virginia-built boat.

Monday, 8 This 24 hours first part small winds, close weather. Middle, double-reef mainsail and got the bonnets off jib and foresail. Some rain. Latter, some more moderate.

9 This 24 hours first part a large sea going. Middle, some more moderate. Latter, fair. All sails out again.

10 This 24 hours fair and pleasant. No sight of the land. I am ahead of our vessel I find [in deduced latitude and longitude].

11 This 24 hours first part calm. Middle, squally. Rain. Latter, squally. Unbent our topsail and mended him.

Monday, 15 This day first part smart breeze. Middle, ditto, smart breeze. Latter, cloudy. At 6 a.m. saw a sail. Tacked to the northward; found she did not give us chase. Tack again [and] stood to the southward.

16 This 24 hours first part hazy. At 5 p.m. saw a sail on our larboard quarter. Hove to; drove WSW. Middle, moderate. Lay to all night. Latter, hazy. At 8 a.m. saw a sail on our starboard bow.

circa 18 This 24 hours first part fair. At 2 o’clock p.m. saw the island of St. Bartholemew bearing WSW, distance eight leagues, and at 6 evening we hauled for St. Eustatius, and at 12 night we anchored at Eustatius. I find I did not allow her easting enough in the first of our passage. FINIS.

[April 1779]

Remark on board sloop Dolphin from St. Eustatius towards Philadelphia. At 12 o’clock at night of the 17 of April instant we weighed and come to sail under the convoy of Captain Collins in the armed brig Hibernia,259 and at 8 a.m. St. Eustatius bore SSE, 16 league. At noon the island of Saba bore SSE, distance 33 miles.

[The journal continues through 2 May 1779, giving only positions and courses, not here transcribed.]

[May 1779]

Monday, 3 This day stood in and made the land, and I found it to be Cape May, and I took charge of her as pilot and carried her in within the Cape, and then we followed Captain Gandel up the Bay.

4 This day we sailed up the river from Cohansey to the City of Philadelphia.

5 This morning we dropped our sloop to Hogg’s Wharf and discharged our cargo and unbent our sails and sent them to Mr. Abram Collins’s sail loft.

6 This day a Continental Fast. Thomas Mullett and Will Thomas set off for Marblehead.

7 Stripped our sloop and all hands discharged and paid off.

8 I got me a lodging at Mr. Bennett at 12 £ a week.

9 At Philadelphia adrift.

Monday, 10 Ditto.

11 Ditto.

12 Ditto.

13 Ditto.

14 Ditto.

15 Ditto.

16 I went to the Continental Hospital and saw Amos Hitchings and Hale belonging to the Deane frigate.

Monday, 17 I sent two hundred Conty [Continental dollars] home by Squire Dalton of Newbury.

18 I have a prospect of getting home by water. Captain Hawkins set off by land for Providence.

19 I have an answer from Captain Fling that he cannot engage a mate till he hath an answer from Boston.

20 I am promised a passage to New London in a schooner, Captain David Latham, and I put a barrel of flour on board and got myself in readiness &c.

21 This morning I bought another barrel of flour and gave 30 £ a hundred, and at 8 o’clock we set off from Philadelphia and came through the cheveux-de-frises and passed the Deane frigate and a States frigate and came to at Chester astern of the Confederacy frigate.260 Lay here [in the schooner Gates] all night. Some rain. Wind NE, small.

22 This morning came to sail, the wind southeast, and sailed as low as Reedy Point and came to; at night got down below Reedy Island.

23 This morning weighed and come to sail and turned as low as Bombay Hook.

Monday, 24 Turning down the Bay.

25 This morning we came to at Cape May and lay wind bound in company with Captain Robinson.

26 Lay at Cape May wind bound.

27 This day laying as per last. Passed the ship said to be the Hunter of Salem up the Bay.261

28 This morning we came to sail and came without the Capes and came to again. At 2 o’clock weighed and come to sail and stood to the eastward, and when we were three leagues from Cape May our Captain opened his orders and found he was ordered to Boston. So I am like to get home.

29 This day at sea. A fine, fresh gale. Steering EbN.

30 This day steer to the eastward till noon; then hauled to the northward, and at five o’clock we saw the island of Nantucket, but could not engage with it. Stood off to the southward all night. Some fog.

Monday, 31 This day drifting about Nantucket Shoals. Much fog.

[June 1779]

1 This day fog fog fog, all fog.

2 Somewhat clearer. Saw the land. Proved to be Nantucket and stood in for it. At 3 o’clock anchored and came on board a pilot. Wind northerly. Lay all night.

3 Lay at Nantucket till nine o’clock night. Then came to sail and stood to the NE-ward all night.

4 This day a fair wind, and we run along shore all round Cape Cod, and at nine o’clock night we stopped aground abreast the Castle [at Boston].

5 This morning we come to Hancock’s Wharf, and I diverted my goods to Captain Wormstead, and I came home.

6 This day at home. I find here the brig Freemason and sloop Bowdoin,262 Thomas Stephens.

8 The [ ], Conway, sent a schooner in prize.

11 This day arrived here the pilot boat, Captain Nicholas Bartlett, a Scotch prize &c.

15 Wind NE. Wormstead went to Boston. Arrived the Spring [Bird].263

16 Wormstead came from Boston and brought my flour and chest. Sailed Thomas Stephens.

17 Passed the ship Hunter with her prizes. This afternoon sailed six ships from Boston.

18 This day ten sail of shipping appeared off our harbor from sea.

19 This day no ships off.

20 Two brigs off bound for Boston, said to be the Tyrannicide and Hazard from a cruise.264 Sailed a brig from Salem and the brig Freemason from Marblehead. Anchored here a French sloop from Martinique.

Monday, 21 This day fair. Anchored here a prize schooner taken by the Porcupine and a prize brig taken by the ship G[eneral] Putnam of New London.265 Sailed the French sloop for Boston.

22 This day fair, pleasant weather. Tis said the British troops are landed at Penobscot.

23 This day fair weather. Thomas Flack employed a-white washing our chamber. I received a ticket for 45 pound.

24 This day is St. John Baptist. The Masons of Salem and Marblehead had a meeting at the New Meeting House. Doctor Story gave the oration. Arrived a shallop from Newfoundland, a prize to the Spring Bird.

25 This day fair and pleasant. Colonel Gallison went to Salem.

26 This day great talk of an embargo. The Spring Bird and Flying Fish got under weigh and went down to the Misery [Island].

27 Fine and pleasant. Passed a prize ship for Beverly taken by the ship Harlequin, [Francis Bowden] Dennis,266 and Spring Bird.

Monday, 28 This day much rain.

29 This day [ ].

30 This day somewhat squally.

[July 1779]

1 This day much rain. Wind at NE. Passed a ship and brig for Salem. Anchored here a prize schooner taken by Thomas Stephens in the sloop Bowdoin.

2 This day much rain. Passed a ship for Salem.

3 This day sailed the Spring Bird and the pilot boat, Atkins. Passed for Salem a brig, prize to the ship Pilgrim, and prize ship. We hear Sam Tucker is killed.267 Departed this life Captain Bttin [Patten?].

4 This morning anchored here Captain Conway and gave 13 guns and passed a schooner for Salem, cruiser. A ship gone in to Cape Ann.

Monday, 5 This day fair and pleasant. Our gentry fired the cannon at the Fort for the Independency. Anchored here a ship, Burke, and prize schooner of Conway’s.

6 This day small winds easterly. Passed a brig for Salem. Lay here ship Sky Rocket, [William] Burke, from Newbury.268

7 This morning I find the brig Terrible prize snow safe arrived in here. Some fog. Passed a prize schooner taken by Captain Thomas Stephens, Granday, prize master. Sailed ship Sky Rocket, Burke, for Boston.

8 This morning two ships and two brigs off. This afternoon anchor here a snow, Will Vickery, prize master, and ship [ ], Dennis, prize master, and this afternoon three ships came from Salem which two of them anchored here and the Hunter returned to Salem again.

9 This day some rain. Some shipping off at sea.

10 This day a small fleet off Cape Ann that came from Boston last night. Sailed ship Hector.269 Passed ship Pilgrim, H[ugh] Hill, commander.

11 This day moderate. Wind southeasterly. Some rain. The ship Hector passed for Salem.

Monday, 12 This day passed a ship and sloop for Salem. Some rain. This afternoon passed a brig for Salem. Ship Black Prince at anchor in our harbor.270

13 This morning a ship off, said the Pilgrim’s prize, N[ ].

14 This day fair and cold. Sailed a ship from Boston for the Eastward.

15 This day smoky.

16 This morning anchored here ship Hector cruiser from Salem. At noon anchored here brig [ ], Captain Edmunds, from Beverly, a cruiser.271 Passed a ship for Boston and ship for Salem.

17 This day much rain. Smart wind at NNE.

18 This day much rain. The ship Hector sailed for Boston. Tis said Robert Wood is drownded.

Monday, 19 This day sailed from Boston the Grand Fleet for Penobscot.272 Ditto sail the Black Prince and brig [ ], both to join the fleet. Anchored here a brig sent in by the Spring Bird loaden with rum, sugar, and molasses. We hear that General Glover brig hath got a prize in to Plymouth.273 Peter Martin broke his thigh.

20 This day much rain. Arrived at Salem Captain Thomas Stephens in sloop Bowdoin from a cruise. Passed a brig for Salem, said to be Hill’s prize. Employed on Captain Foster’s rigging.

21 This day fair weather. This evening anchored here the brig General Glover from a cruise and give 13 guns. Employed on Captain Foster rigging.

22 This day fair and pleasant. Employed on Captain Foster’s rigging.

23 This day fair weather. Nothing new.

24 This day fair. Passed a brig for Salem and two topsail sloops for Boston.

25 This morning I saw two ships and three brigs come in to Boston and a ship and brig gone in to Salem. This afternoon passed a ship for Salem. Anchored here a brig, prize to the General Glover.

Monday, 26 This day moderate. Wind easterly. Employed on Captain Foster’s rigging. Plenty of news, such as it is. Manley hath done great things.274 Passed a brig for Salem.

27 This day fair. Passed a brig for Salem, Captain White, from Guadaloupe.

28 This day fair &c.

29 Some rain. Wind easterly.

30 This day fair and pleasant. Delivered 6 pair of shrouds and jibstay, two straps for mastheads and 6 block straps to Captain Foster. Anchored here a snow, prize to the Freemason, and a sloop taken by the Spring Bird formerly belonging to Thomas Martin. Passed to Salem a brig said to be the Franklin275

31 This day much rain. Some thunder. At 1 o’clock passed a ship for Boston. At 2 she fired [ ].

[August 1779]

1 This day much rain. Wind NE. This forenoon passed many sails for Boston and some for Salem. Anchored here the schooner Spring Bird from a cruise and gave 7 guns. This afternoon anchored here a brig said to be the Spring Bird’s prize but from Bermudas for Quebec &c. Tis said that a ship of the line and frigate are a-cruising in our Bay. I suppose to be King George ships. Captain Foster account is£ 2: 13 £.

Monday, 2 This day moderate. Fair. A grand meeting at the Old Town House about the Price Act.276

3 This day much rain. Wind easterly. Passed many sloops for Boston and some for Salem. Grand news from Penobscot.

4 This day fair. Some ships off, said to be King George’s ships. The [...] here is at [...].

5 This day fair weather. Received a quintal of fish from Mr. Thomas Lewis, S. Roath.

6 This day fair weather. Sailed Thomas Boyles[?] for West Indies. The Terrible’s prize ship gone to Salem.277 Anchored here the famous Porcupine schooner from a cruise, George Andrew.

7 This day close weather. Much rain this afternoon and a rainy night.

8 This day close weather.


Marblehead House Flags of the post-Revolutionary period. Equivalent color legend below.

Marblehead Historical Society


Marblehead House Flags of the post-Revolutionary period. Equivalent color legend below.

Marblehead Historical Society

Plate XXXV

Marblehead House Flags of the post-Revolutionary period. Equivalent color legend below.

Marblehead Histori cal Society


Marblehead House Flags of the post-Revolutionary period.

Marblehead Historical Society


Illustration of Ashley Bowen’s dream of 9 July 1776 (see text).

American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.


Vignette: The drowning of John Pedrick and Samuel Hiter in Marblehead Harbor, 17 September 1808. Main sketch: A view of the Town House, built in 1727, looking up modern Mugford Street towards the New Meeting House, the spire of which can be seen at the right. The funeral procession for Samuel Hiter wound around the Town Hou se on the left; John Pedri ck’s formed at the right and met Hiter’s opposite “Bowen’s Corner”, so named because of the house there formerly occupied by Ashley Bowen’s father, Nathan Bowen. For Bowen’s text of this episode, see Chapter XX.

Marblehead Historical Society


Another, unfinished sketch of the Pedrick-Hiter funeral processions, September 1808.

Alexander O. Vietor

Plate XL

An unfinished sketch by Ashley Bowen of the English and Dutch coasts, entitled “A Discriptshor of The Isle of Wight with Portsmouth Harbour in England and the Grand Fleet whic Sailed Portsmouth for Holand.”

Peabody Museum of Salem

Monday, 9 This day much fog. Returned Captain Thomas Boyles. This evening passed a ship for Salem, said to be the Pickering,278 and a sloop, her prize. Captain Thomas Stephens came from Salem with his sloop.

10 This day much rain. Some fog. Came in a small boat pirateer &c

11 This morning passed a schooner for Salem. Fired 3 guns off Point of our Neck. This afternoon passed a ship for Boston with a Dutch ensign. Died Captain Stiles.

12 This day much rain. Some fog. Tis said that 25 sail of shipping were seen off Cape Ann this morning.

13 This day fair and very warm. Sailed two brigs for Boston from Salem and this morning sailed Captain Thomas Boyles for the West Indies.

14 This day moderate. Small wind. The brig Terrible bent her sails but could not get her men together &c. This evening anchored here a large ship said to be the Providence prize, a 3-decker. Tis said that there is 10 sail of cruisers off in our Bay.

15 This day smoky. Hot. Sailed three cruisers from Salem on a cruise against the cruiser that are in our Bay. Tis said that Penobscot is re-enforced. The ship is gone to Boston.

Monday, 16 This day small wind easterly. This evening a ship gone in to Cape Ann.

17 This day wind easterly. Passed a ship for Salem said to be a Frenchman from the West Indies. This afternoon sailed the brig Terrible, Conway, for Penobscot.

18 This day pleasant. The fleet sailed from Boston for Penobscot.

19 This day pleasant. I dined at the farm with Brothers Bowen and Prince &c. Bad bad, worse and worse from Penobscot. The Devil to pay! The Devil to pay!

20 This day fair but hazy. Died the wife of Mr. Joseph Hibbert. Some shipping arrived at Boston as there hath been some firing of cannon there.

21 This morning passed a schooner for Salem. Some small rain. Arrived a small schooner from George Island with 30 of our men that escaped from our fleet at Penobscot. This afternoon passed a ship and brig for Salem. Many guns fired at Boston. Broughton and Bowden are both burnt.

22 This morning smoky. At noon many sloops came out of Boston.

Monday, 23 This day much rain. Its said that the embargo is off as Penobscot Expedition is over.

24 This day employed on board Captain John Collyer till noon. Then I was taken out by Sam Bowden and carried on shore, and then we went to Danvers. Much rain. I returned at nine this evening.

25 This day about home.

26 This day much rain.

27 This day fair weather.

28 This day I called the Great Men of this town together and they took my fine fine 45 Pound &c.279

29 I waited on Colonel Hutchinson. All well that ends well. William Haskell taken and his boat sunk.

Monday, 30 Sailed Thomas Stephens in sloop Bowdoin. Employed on board Captain Collyer a day.

31 This morning much rain. Employed on board Collyer ¾ a day.

[September 1779]

1 This day fair, pleasant weather. Sailed the famous Spring Bird, John Patten, commander. Ditto the schooner [ ] Humphreys,280 a letter-of-marque bound for the West Indies. Employed on board Captain Collyer a day. Passed a brig for Salem.

2 This day employed on board John Collyer ¾ a day. Anchored here Captain John Stephens in brig Rambler from Salem.281

3 This day I went to Beverly to see Captain Josiah Batchelder and tarried all day. Sailed from Marblehead John Knight and returned again.

4 This day I at Marblehead. Sailed the brig General Glover for Cape Ann in a smart squall of wind and rain at six o’clock in evening.

5 This day smart wind at NW. Sailed ship Pickering from Salem, but put back as 4 ships came in sight &c.

Monday, 6 This day I about home. Passed a ship Boston and Deane frigate for Boston.282

7 This day a schooner came from Newbury, Philip Thrash. Sailed John Knight for West Indies.

8 I went to Beverly to work.

9 At Beverly a day.

10 This day I at Beverly. Finished graving the ship. Sailed ship Pilgrim, H[ugh] Hill, on a cruise.

11 This day at Beverly. Came home at night. Sailed Philip Thrash for Spain.

12 This day close weather. Wind NE.

Monday, 13 I went to Beverly. Employed of ship.

14 At Beverly.

15 At Beverly.

16 At Beverly.

17 At Beverly.

18 At Beverly. Came home at night.

19 At Marblehead.

Monday, 20 I went to Beverly with W. Harris.

21 At Beverly.

22 At Beverly.

23 At Beverly.

24 At Beverly.

25 At Beverly. Came home at night.

26 At Marblehead.

Monday, 27 This morning I went to Beverly.

28 At Beverly.

29 At Beverly. Arrived the Pilgrim. Sailed Captain Adams.

30 At Beverly. The Freemason burnt.283

[October 1779]

1 This day at Beverly.

2 Came home from Beverly.

3 This day the wreck of the Freemason was weighed[?] and got some [...].

Monday, 4 This day I went to Beverly.

5 This day at Beverly. A smart storm. George Sinecross lost the last night.

6 This day at Beverly.

7 This day at Beverly.

8 This day at Beverly. Saturday Sarah Harris was deliv [ered].

9 I came home from Beverly this morning in John Knight’s schooner.

10 This morning I took a puke [?]. At noon passed Thomas Martin in a prize for Salem. Sailed John Collyer and John Barker for West Indies.

Monday, 11 This day I went to Beverly.

12 This day at Beverly.

13 Received our foremast alongside.

14 This day took in the foremast and got the rigging overhead &c.

15 This day got our shivs [sheers] aft in order to get our mainmast in.

16 I returned to Marblehead &c. Captain George Newmarch was buried.

17 Passed a small sloop for Beverly.

Monday, 18 I went to Beverly [and] got the mainmast into the ship.

19 Got the mizzenmast into the ship.

20 At Beverly.

21 At Beverly. Sup at Mr. Ace Leech but lodged at Captain Adams’s.

22 At Beverly.

23 Came from Beverly.

24 At Marblehead. Sailed a new brig for Bilbao, Bartlett, commander. Died William Andrews, a barber. Arrived a brig, Bowman, master, from West Indies.

Monday, 25 This day I went to Beverly.

26 At Beverly.

27 At Beverly.

28 At Beverly.

29 At Beverly.

30 I came from Beverly this day. Sailed ship Rambler, Captain Lovett, for Bilbao. I received my second letter from son Ashley.

31 This day I at Marblehead. Sailed a schooner from Beverly. A schooner, Jacobs, master. Sailed Benjamin Boden.

[November 1779]

Monday, 1 This day I went to Beverly.

2 At Beverly.

3 At Beverly. Came home.

4 At home. A smart frost. A day of prayer for our all eyes [allwise?]. Sailed Joseph Bubier for the West Indies.

5 I went to Beverly. Sailed the schooner Swett from Salem.284

6 At Beverly. Came home at night.

7 At home.

Monday, 8 I went to Beverly.

9 At Beverly.

10 At Beverly.

11 At Beverly.

12 At Beverly.

13 At Beverly. Came home.

14 At home. I find His Majesty’s Sloop of War Thorn laying here, now a Yankee cruiser, but an English Union in her ensign, copper-bottomed, commanded by Captain [Daniel] Waters.285 Mr. Harris done working at Beverly.

Monday, 15 This day at home. Sailed Captain John Bartlett and Captain Alexander Ross. We hear Captain Thomas Stephens is dead. Came up a number of woodmen.

16 I went to Beverly. I worked on board the ship.

17 At Beverly. Worked all day on board the ship. Came from Beverly after the sun set. Note: W L gone to oration. W. Liscomb a-putting on a [figure] head to ship Triton. The head is the king that is in France with the Globe under his feet [...] &c.

18 At Marblehead.

19 I went to Beverly and settled with William Leech for the ship Triton and brought my duds home, a-saving fall fare out of the Frenchman.

20 At home. Fair weather.

21 At Marblehead. Some rain.

Monday, 22 About home. All well.

23 This day sailed the noted Spring Bird for the West Indies, Joseph Northey, commander, a letter-a-marque &c.286

24 Tis said Count d’Estaing is gone along. The Will of the Lord be done!

25 This day the remains of Captain [William] Courtis was buried, a noted sailmaker. This evening some snow, the first this fall here.

26 This morning came in from sea a prize brig taken by Conway. We hear Captain John Harris is killed. This evening much rain and then snow.

27 Smart cold.

28 Smart cold.

Monday, 29 Received one cord and a half of wood. This day moderate.

30 This day ditto, moderate. A number of wood vessels came in last night.

[December 1779]

1 This day sailed ship Copper Thorn cruiser,287 and sailed from Cape Ann the ship Starks.288

2 Much wind easterly. I saw the ship Copper Thorn go in to Nantasket Road and the Starks into Cape Ann Harbor. Much rain. Came up from the Eastward W. Dennis in a sloop. This night much wind and rain, a dark night &c. &c.

3 This day much wind at NWbW or about. No business in hand. Mr. Prince hath received 21,000 feet of boards for the payment of some lands at Foxwell &c. &c.

4 This day at 10 o’clock I saw a ship I suppose to be the Copper Thorn sail out of Nantasket Road, and this afternoon I saw a ship go out of Cape Ann said to be the Starks, and I saw a brig go into Cape Ann &c. &c.

5 Wind easterly. Some snow &c.

Monday, 6 This day smart cold. Wind at NW.

7 This day moderate. Came to town Benjamin Humphreys from Portsmouth. His vessel is at Portsmouth.

8 This day grand doing. Turkeys sold at four paper dollar a pound, geese at three paper dollars a pound, butter at ten paper dollar a pound, beef at one paper dollar and a half a pound, mutton at ten shillings a pound, pumpkins at one dollar apiece paper, milk one paper dollar a quart.

9 This day is a Congress Day. God be thank the French hath no foothold in North America at this day &c. &c. Passed brig Lincoln and two ship, one the Pickering and the Franklin for Salem.

10 This day much rain. Wind SE. Tis said the Britons have gained a great advantage over the French in the West Indies &c. &c.

11 This day came from Boston Anthony Furnes but got on Tom Moore’s Rocks [and] lost an anchor, and came from Portsmouth Ben Vurgines.

12 This day smart cold. Some snow.

Monday, 13 This day much rain. Mr. Bootman who done my scutted [sic].

14 This day smart cold.

15 Smart cold.

16 The last evening sailed Thomas Johnson in the Verjencee [sic] pilot boat with provisions on board.

17 This day smart cold. I went to Mill.

18 A smart storm of snow. Anthony Furnes schooner ashore at Skinner’s Cove.

19 Smart cold.

Monday, 20 Smart cold. I went to Mill.

21 This day some snow fell.

22 This day came up old Ratt in Mr. Hooper’s schooner from the Eastward [with] wood. Sailed William Dennis in a modern sloop for Cadiz. Passed a brig for Boston. Smart cold. Much snow.

23 This day cold cold.

24 This day plenty of poultry in town. Turkeys at 24 shillings, beef at 12 shilling, geese at 20 shilling, all by the pound. Butter at 54 shilling.

25 Cold as Christmas. Arrived Captain Ambrose James from the West Indies. Wind eastward.

26 This morning I find the ship Terrible at anchor in our harbor &c.

Monday, 27 This day smart cold.

28 This day close weather. Some rain. Much wind at ESE.

29 This day some snow or rain. Most of our vessels are ashore.

30 A thaw. Wind S-easterly.

31 A thaw. Wind variable. Thus ends the year 1779. Talk of peace, but tis in jest.


[January 1780]

1 This day smart cold.

2 This day close weather. Wind northerly.

Monday, 3 This day much snow. Wind easterly. At noon about one hour, wind at SW.

4 This day much snow. The night much wind and snow.

5 This day some more moderate. Wormstead came from Boston. At night much snow. Richard Martin came from Boston. Tis said that there is to be 30 snows this winter, but at the rate the winter comes on there must be 60.

6 This day much snow fell.

7 Close weather. Snow blew in drifts. Very hard terrible times &c.

8 This day smart cold. Close weather, inclining for more snow.

9 This day some more moderate. A vessel seen off in the offing to an anchor. Tis said that a large store is burnt at Hancock’s Wharf at Boston last night.

Monday, 10 Somewhat pleasant.

11 This day much snow.

12 Fair weather. Moderate. I swept my old loft out in order for [ ]

13 This day smart cold.

14 This day smart cold.

15 This day smart cold.

16 This day pleasant but cold. This morning sailed John Martin for Newbury with Captain Thomas Collyer’s crew. Ditto, sailed Richard Hinkley in a brig for Black Point and Brooks, a coaster. Tis said the British troops have gained some advantage to the southward.

Monday, 17 This day close. Some snow.

18 This day smart cold. Some snow.

19 This day cold. I am 52 year[s old].

20 Smart cold. This afternoon I saw a schooner go into Cape Ann Harbor.

21 This day smart cold.

22 This day smart cold. WSW wind.

23 This day smart cold. Came up William Nichols from the Eastward.

Monday, 24 This day smart cold. Our harbor froze over as low as Homan’s Cove. Sailed a ship from Salem. Wood at Salem is 400 dollars per cord.

25 This day smart cold.

26 Smart cold.

27 Smart cold. Whitman hath killed some fat beef and from 12 to 18 shilling a pound.

28 This day smart cold.

29 Smart cold. I saw our harbor measured from Lee [...] Wharf across to the Neck and measured 224°.

30 This day smart cold.

Monday, 31 This day smart cold.

[February 1780]

1 A meeting at St. Michael’s Church and voted that it shall be opened and Mr. Woodward Abraham appointed to read prayers and sermons, nothing to be done contrary to the laws of the land. Thomas Porter chose Church Clerk. This day smart cold. All the Proprietors of St. Michael’s Church met and concluded to open it on Sunday next.

2 This day smart cold. My son Ashley is 19 years old.

3 This day smart cold. There was a wreck driven out of Boston by the ice this day.

4 This day smart cold.

5 This day smart cold. General John Glover came home from [ ].289

6 This day smart cold. We have St. Michael’s Church opened again. Mr. Woodward Abraham read prayers and a sermon. Mr. Porter, Clerk. This day St. Michael’s Church was opened, and I was very happy to have prayer again in the best manner that we could, agreeable to the times &c.

Monday, 7 Our people cut the ice as far as New Wharf.

8 This day wind NE. Some snow and rain. Our harbor broke up of ice as far as Nick’s Cove.

9 This morning came up John Dixey’s jigger from Kettle Cove with wood.

10 This day most of the ice is gone out of our harbor. Sailed Sam Green for West Indies in small schooner.

11 This day smart cold.

12 This day smart cold. Came up two wood schooners &c.

* * *

[Two further entries for the year 1780 accompany two sketches in Ashley Bowen’s autobiographical volume—see Plates. Both are for August 1780.]

5 This morning we sailed from Winter Harbor in a schooner belong[ing] to Will[iam] R[aymond] Lee and company [o]n a wood voyage, Captain E. Lewis, [b]ound for Sheepscott. At noon [s]aw a schooner standing in from the [o]fling to cut us off from the [la]nd, and then she tacked and [c]ame to us and took us and [carr]ied us to Maj Bagaduce [Majabigwaduce].

12 Off Cape Porpoise in schooner Moate [sic], John Wright, commander. At 8 a.m. full of fog. Saw the Cape. Stood off and fog clearing off saw a small fishing boat. Sent the schooner boat and took her. Then seeing a schooner in Celch Harbor, sent fish boat in and cut her cable [and] brought her out. At night Captain Wright gave us the fishing boat and we came to Squam.290