Main Sections
Twitter
Blog Categories

Wilby Rackham - His Life and Letters
Addenda

 

The letter of September 1929 from Kate and Ada Rackham to Mrs Mary Jordan Caine was the last of those transcribed by Nance Caine. There were, however, a further three letters from Kessingland and these are appended.

MODERN CONNECTIONS WITH KESSINGLAND    1929 - 1946

Several of our Caine family visited members of the Rackham family at Kessingland. As far as James Caine's wife Mary Jordan was concerned, her visit was to her first cousins, the children of her father Wilby’s brother Edward and his wife Miranda. The visits of which we know, from existing letters in the possession of Martin Faragher, were -

JAMES CAINE and his wife MARY JORDAN CAINE, nee Rackham and daughter of Capt Wilby Rackham, visited their relatives at Kessingland in 1929.

Letters from Kessingland in 1939 and 1940 were in response to notifications of the deaths of Mary Jordan Caine in 1939 and of James Caine in 1940.

A letter in 1946 implies that two of the Misses Caine of Douglas, almost certainly to have been Annie Isabel and Alice Margaret, had visited Kessingland during that year.

It is also known that Philip Wilby Caine, a brother of the Misses Caine, had visited Kessingland and had made a note, which still exists, of the inscription on the headstone at Kessingland of Edward and Miranda Rackham.

The collection of letters involved members of the family of EDWARD RACKHAM who was a brother of Capt. Wilby Rackham. Edward Rackham and Miranda Dann, of Shottesham, married at Shottesham in May 1865. Edward Rackham ran the Kessingland Post Office from about 1868. Their family consisted of  -

WILBY EDWARD, the first born, in August 1866, died in infancy.

WILLIAM ALFRED, born May 1868, and mentioned in the 1946 letter was a grocer and was living in Essex in 1946, and said to be aged 79. (Evelyn Mary referred to him as "my only brother" although there appears to have been an Everard Arthur).

EVERARD ARTHUR was born at Kessingland in August 1870.

EVELYN MARY (or Evelyn May)  Born Kessingland in January 1872. She had been a nurse in the period before the outbreak of war in 1939. She is known to have been living in 1946 when she wrote to the Misses Caine at Douglas.

KATE   Born Kessingland in February 1873.

ADA   (alias ADELAIDE)  Born Kessingland in October 1876 is stated in the 1940 letter to be six years younger than her sister Evelyn Mary Rackham. Ada appears to have been living in 1946 when "she got the Post Office ship shape".

Kate and Ada managed the Kessingland Post Office and general store.

AGNES MIRANDA   Born Kessingland in August 1878, the youngest of the four daughters of Edward and Miranda Rackham, appears to have been the only one to have married. She is noted in these letters to have had two sons, one a Curate, and the other who served with the "Glyders" or airborne infantry.

 

1929 - A LETTER FROM KATE AND ADA (ADELAIDE) RACKHAM

A letter, signed "Cousins Kate & Ada", undated but postmarked 24 September 1929, was sent to Mrs James Caine, 8, Eastfield, Douglas, Isle of Man. Mrs James Caine was Mary Jordan Caine, nee Rackham, daughter of Wilby Rackham. Her cousins Kate and Ada (or Adelaide) were daughters of Wilby's brother Edward Rackham.

The letter was addressed from the "POST OFFICE, KESSINGLAND, LOWESTOFT, SUFFOLK" and read -

 

Dear Cousin,

I expect by now you have both arrived home safely. Phyllis and Joan had a very nice interesting letter from your daughter at Liverpool. She spoke of meeting you there and hearing all about us. I have had a letter from my sister and she has sent the little Photograph, also the last letter your Father wrote to my Father which I am sure you will like to see. We wish you to keep the Photo, the letter also if you care to do so. Am sure you will treasure them. Uncle Wilby must have been a splendid man, one to be admired in more ways than one. We often talk of your short visit and hope we may meet again some day. Kind regards from all to Mr Caine. Our love to you.

Yours Sincerely,  Cousins Kate & Ada

 

1939 - A LETTER FROM EVELYN MARY RACKHAM

 

A letter, signed "Your affectionate Cousin Evelyn Mary Rackham", dated June 18th but with no year stated. There is no accompanying envelope but the letter expresses sympathy on the death, in 1939, of Mary Jordan Caine, nee Rackham, daughter of Wilby Rackham.

The letter was sent from "Courtney House, Kessingland, Lowestoft" and read  -

 

My dear Cousins,

I am answering the kind letter you sent to my nieces Phyllis & Joan Kittle. They are both married since your mother & father visited here, & I am a retired nurse living in a small cottage close to my people. My sisters saw your dear mother when she was over here & they with myself send you their love & sympathy in your great loss. Your father will miss her very much & by what you say he isn't in a very good way. We are so glad your dear mother didn't suffer a lot, prolonged suffering is so trying to them as well as their friends.

We had a surprise the other day which will interest your father & all of you. A young man came into our shop with a message from the family of Rackhams in Melbourne, Australia. He is a native here & had been in a merchant vessel out there, He said the ones he met was doing very well in the fish line. We were very pleased to hear about them. It is quite out of the question to think that we shall meet each other here as we are all getting on in life. I am nearly 68. We should all be pleased to see you if one day you make up your mind to come. With kindest love from us all to all of your people.  Your affectionate Cousin,    Evelyn Mary Rackham

 

 

(Mr Stan Rackham of Rosanna, a suburb of Melbourne, commented on the Rackham family who were “..doing very well in the fish line  “ that “This family of “Fish Rackhams” as we have always called them are not (as far as I have studied) related to us”.  He stated that in 1912 William Sydney Rackham and family emigrated to Melbourne from Lowestoft where he had been involved in the fish business. By 1923 he had established a business, W.S. Rackham P/L, at the Melbourne Wholesale Fish Market).

 

1940 - A LETTER FROM EVELYN MARY RACKHAM

 

A letter, signed "Your Affec. Cousin Evelyn", dated 15th August and postmarked 16th August 1940, was sent to Miss A.I. Caine, 54, Westbourne Grove, Douglas, Isle of Man. Annie Isabel Caine (Nance) was a daughter of Mr James Caine and Mary Jordan Caine, nee Rackham, daughter of Wilby Rackham. The letter was addressed from "Courtney House, Kessingland, Lowestoft" and read  -

 

My dear Cousins,

Thank you for your kind letter and am glad to be able to say that we are all safe up to now in these troubled times. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy in your great loss. We do not like parting with our loved ones but we do not like to see them ill especially when they have been active and well and will no doubt he missed his life long companion & now they are reunited. May God bless and comfort you all in your great loss.

My sister at the PO is kept very busy & they have so many disturbed nights but she is very strong & about 6 years younger than I. She has her married daughter with her now for the duration of the war, her husband has been called up. If only I had been younger there would have been plenty of work for me. They want trained nurses badly but it would be useless to try and start again. So my time gets filled helping with sewing & various duties. It's too busy at this P.O. for older people & I've got a comfortable little cottage. We hear about the Rackhams in Australia through people who have been out there and they are prosperous and got plenty of money. My father was a dear good man but he was never well off. I wonder when we shall have peace. We have had nothing to get very scared about here yet but we never know. One has to just live a day at a time & trust in our Heavenly Father to take care of us. Accept love from my sisters & myself.     Your Affec. Cousin,  Evelyn

 

1946 - A LETTER FROM EVELYN MARY RACKHAM

 

A letter, signed "Cousin Evelyn Mary", dated November 6th and postmarked 6th November 1946, was sent to The Misses Caine, 54 Westbourne Drive, Douglas, Isle of Man. The Misses Caine were A.I. (Nance) Caine, E.M. (Nellie) Caine and Alice M. Caine, daughters of Mary Jordan Caine, nee Rackham, daughter of Wilby Rackham. The sender, Evelyn Mary (or May) was a daughter of Wilby's brother Edward Rackham.

The letter was addressed from  "Courtney House, High St., Kessingland, Lowestoft" and read -

 

My dear Cousins,

 

It is high time I answered your very interesting letter. It was nice to hear all about our relatives of long ago. My only brother William Rackham would liked to have met you. He like myself enjoyed reading your letter. He lives in Essex altho he is 79 he spent 3 weeks with us this Summer. His wife died a year ago. I can well remember Aunt Jemima. Her husband was a queer fellow. It was a sad life for her. If you call this way again, if all is well, you will find me in this little house then I can take you to see Wrentham, it's about 2 miles from here on the bus. Yes, as you say, time passes and we are all concerned with the younger generations.  One of my two (?) nieces had 2 daughters, Sheila & Margaret & my youngest sister Agnes Miranda has two sons. One is a Curate. He is a nice fellow and of course his mother is very proud of him. Her other boy was in the Gliders. He is demobbed and working. I am pleased to tell you my sister has got the Post Office ship shape with the automatic telephone fixed. She won't have such a trying time as she had with the exchange. I don't seem to have much to say. We had a poor summer & now the dark days are here. I manage to get to Church Sunday evenings so it makes a change some days. I feel stronger however considering my age. Well, there isn't much to complain about. My sister sends her love to you & we were more than pleased to see you both & hope we shall see you again D.V. My love to you both, Affectly,

 

Cousin Evelyn Mary.

 

A LETTER TO MARY BILLINGTON RACKHAM, WILBY’S WIDOW, FROM HER SON CHARLES WILBY RACKHAM

 

This letter is addressed to Mrs Rackham at 49, Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man.  Via Liverpool (Eng)  and is post marked Boston Mass. May 31 1920.

 

S.S. Scythian

Boston

May 22 (?)        [1920]

 

Dear Mother,

 

I suppose this letter will be a surprise to you but many a time I’ve made up my mind to write to you but I never got that far until now. What with Annie calling and Alice as well they have always told us how you were so I suppose I said you were all right. Well I hope you are keeping good health as we are at home here. I had to go back to sea again because I was going down hill very rapidly the shore life did not suit me so I had to start over again. At present I am cook and Baker on board ship of course its hard work but its agreeing with me and my health is a lot better. How is Mary and James keeping – they will be surprised to hear from me. Anyway I’ll write a bit oftener now. I wish I could get across to see you but I don’t know where the ship is going to. Last time we went to Germany with Coal and then to London. However we hope to be back in a month or so and I’ll write then so good bye for the present and God bless you

 

From Charlie

 

 

(Annie and Alice were Annie Isabel Caine, (Nance), who transcribed the letters, and her sister Alice Margaret Caine. They were daughters of Mary Jordan Rackham, wife of James Caine and were nieces of Charles Wilby Rackham. Charles’ enquiry after “ Mary and James “ refers to Mary Jordan Caine, who was his sister, and to her husband James Caine.)

 

WILBY RACKHAM  -  LIST OF TESTIMONIALS AND STATEMENT OF SERVICE

This is a record, entered on an official form and verified at the Register Office of Seamen. It covers the period 3rd February 1847 to 1st January 1859. The columns provide for, and are headed, "Number of Testimonial", "Ship's Name", "Official Number", "Port belonging to", "Rank", "DATE OF SERVICE", "From", "To", "TIME SERVED", "Years", "Months", "Days", and a final column headed "REMARKS".

ELLIOTTS,  No Shields,  Apprentice,  3rd Feby /47, 3rd Feby / 51,  4 years 0 Months 0 Days

ELLIOTTS,  No Shields,  AB,  8th Mar /51, 14th Mar / 51,  6 days,  Discharged on Loss of Ship.

DEFENDER,  Newcastle,  AB,  15 Ap /51, 23rd Aug /51,  4 Months 8 Days.

PROMPT,  Shields,  AB,  18(?) Sept /51, 11 Ap /52,  6 Months 24 Days.

JASON,  London,  AB,  10 May /52, 10 Sept /52,  4 Months 0 Days.

ARETHUSA,  No Shields,  AB,  8 Sept /52, 26 Oct /52,  1 Month 18 Days.

LEIPZIG,  Grimsby,  AB,  3 June /53, 30 June /53,  27 Days.

NO ENTRY NUMBERED 7.

ROSE,  Sunderland,  AB,  15 Sept /53, 5 May /54,  7 Months 20 Days.

ROYALIST,  Newcastle,  AB,  24 June /54, 28 Feb /55,  8 Months 4 Days.

10  CRESSWELL,  2094,  Shields,  Cook & Steward  6 Aug /55, 26 Dec /55,  4 Months 20 Days.

11  AMBASSADOR,  22886,  Shields,  AB,  12 Feby /56, 22 Aug /56,  6 Months 10 Days.

12  ELIZA & CAROLINE,  16963,  Do.,  Mate,  14 Nov /56, 9 Oct /57, 10 Months 25 Days.

13  QUEEN VICTORIA,  London,  Mate,  2 Apr /58, 19 July /58,  3 Months 17 Days.

 -    HARRIET JULIA,  Stornoway,  Mate & Master,  14 Aug /58, 1 Jany /59,  4 Months 16 Days,  (REMARKS -)  Master Died at Sea.  14/8/58 to 23/12/58 became Master 17/12/58.

 

 

Time Served at Sea for which I now produce Certificates    5 Years 3 Months 15 Days.

Time Served for which I have no Certificates    4 Years.

TOTAL SERVICE AT SEA    9 Years 3 Months 15 Days.

 

 

NOTES -

 

"No Shields" is an abbreviated form of North Shields.

The 4 years served without certificates is his 4 year apprenticeship.

The Brig ELLIOTTS, in the column headed "Ship's Name" was owned by, and named after, William Elliott of North Shields, Northumberland. The name Elliott also occurs in a firm at Newcastle by the name of Elliott, Lowrey and Dunford operating in 1860 and in a firm trading in 1899 under the name of Dunford and Elliott.

No vessel was assigned the number 7 in this list of testimonials.

The final vessel listed in the testimonials, "Harriet Julia", had no number assigned to it.

Presumably a further STATEMENT OF SERVICE will have existed although the writer has not seen one.

Mr. Stan Rackham’s research, in 1999, into the Mercantile Navy Lists has produced the following information on Wilby Rackhams service on Elliots, and on the Defender.

Wilby sailed on the 280 ton Elliots as an apprentice for a total of four years. A voyage from 18th January 1849 until 17th July 1850 was to Quebec. He was listed on the crew list as William, aged 18, and his ticket number was 350, 122.

 

On Defender he was entered on the crew list as Wilby Rackham aged 20 from Wrentham, Suffolk. His Ticket number was 350, 122 and his previous vessel had been Elliots of Shields. Wilby had signed on at Shields on 15 April 1851. The voyage was scheduled to be from Shields to Brest and thence to Quebec and to return to a port or ports in the U.K. The Defender arrived at Falmouth on 22nd August 1851 and he was paid off at Truro on the following day. His report for Seamanship was G (for good) and for conduct I (for indifferent). 

 

From the previous collection of letters written by Capt. Rackham to his wife and in 1998 in the possession of Martin Faragher, it has been possible to extract some additional material regarding the vessels on which Capt. Rackham served. The dates of the letters, the vessel and its location are as follows -

 

 

HARRIET JULIA.  Brig.  Master.  5 September 1859.  Ardrossan.

SAINT MAGNUS.  Ship.  Mate.  15 February 1861.  Lamlash.  Bound for Buenos Ayres.

SAINT MAGNUS  at Buenos Ayres.  Four letters 8th May to 28th June 1861.

LEESBURG  Barque.  Chief Mate.  26 November 1861.  Glasgow.  Bound for Matanzas, Cuba.

LEESBURG  12 December 1861 at Rothesay Bay.

LEESBURG  at Matanzas.  Two letters 23 and 30 January 1862.  (Ship is for sale).

ANDOVER.  Brig.  Mate.  21 May 1862.  New York.

LORD ELGIN.  Ship.  20 July 1863.  At anchor St. Lawrence river.

CYGNET.  Ship.  Chief Mate.  2 September 1863.  Newport, Monmouthshire bound for St. John, New Brunswick.

CYGNET  at St John.  Three letters 20 October to 16 December 1863.

DINSMORE.  Ship.  St John.

NORTHUMBERLAND.  Steam ship.  8 April 1864.

NORTHUMBERLAND.  at Santander, Spain, on 29 May and Dunkirk, France, 6 June 1864.

EMERALD ISLE.  Barque.  Master.  24 September 1864 at Dungeness.

EMERALD ISLE.  Two letters 8 December 1864 and 6 January 1865 at River Essiquibo.

EMERALD ISLE.  16 July 1865 at Havana, Cuba.

EMERALD ISLE.  5 March 1866 at Liverpool.

STAR OF THE SEA.  15 August 1866 at Glasgow.

ALCAIG.  Barque.  2 January 1867 at Lagos.

ALCAIG.  11 July 1867 at Liverpool Bay.

ALCAIG.  6 September 1867 at Cape Coast Castle and Accra.

ALCAIG.  Three letters 17 September to 19 October 1867 at Lagos.

ALCAIG.  25 December 1867 at sea.

Another item which has survived is Capt. Rackham's diary, for which purpose he made use of a copy of The Mercantile Memorandum Book for 1861. In this he entered some financial information.

 

Acc. of Wages since Oct 1856

 

Brig ELIZA AND CAROLINE at £6 pr Mo.  11 Mo. 26 days

77. 2. 8

QUEEN VICTORIA  Brig. at £4. 10  for 3 1/2 month

£14. 5. 0

Brig HARRIET JULIA,  Mate from Aug to Nov  4£ per Mo

£12. 0. 0

Master  6 1/2 Mo at 9£

£58.10. 0

Ship SPES, Mate at 6£ pr Mo  for 11 mo  2 days

£66. 8. 0

Ship ST. MAGNUS  at 6£ pr Mo  7 mo & 1 day

£42. 4. 0

 

Total in 5 years                                                            

£270. 9. 8

 

Mr Stan Rackham of Victoria, Australia has researched details of vessels on which Capt. Rackham served between 1856 and 1868. This information was uncovered at the Public Records Office, Kew. He lists the main details for 1866 to 1868 as follows -

 

1866   Official Number   51026   STAR OF THE SEA

1866   Official Number   29970   ALCAIG    Liverpool to Lagos

1867   Official Number   29970   ALCAIG    Liverpool - Lagos - Africa - Liverpool

1868   Official Number   29970   ALCAIG    Liverpool - Lagos. Supposed drowned. Ship not heard of since 10th March which was date on which she sailed from Liverpool.

Alcaig is a locality near Conon Bridge, in the vicinity of the city of Inverness in Scotland. It is possible that the vessel's previous owners may have had associations with the place. However, the Mercantile Navy Lists record the Alcaig, of 190 tons, as being owned in 1866 by Mr. J.M. Stephens, 22, Fenwick Street, Liverpool. In the years 1867 and 1868 she was owned by Mr. Richard Duckett of Preston. Captain Rackham refers to Mr. Duckett on three occasions in his letters, namely, in Letters 2, 6 and 8 of Part 7, all dated 1867.

 

 

 

WILBY RACKHAM’S FIRST VOYAGE AS CAPTAIN

 

Stan Rackham has provided, in February 1999, a photocopy of a printout from the Latter Day Saints’ microfilm records of the ship’s log, No. 1 of 1859, of the “Harriet Julia”. Although Wilby, as Mate, took command of the “Harriet Julia” on 17th December 1858 when her Master died at sea, he did not at that time have a Master’s qualification. Within a period of seven weeks, on 3rd February 1859, he had passed the examinations for his Master’s Certificate of Competency. The “Harriet Julia” had sailed from Glasgow on 11th March 1859 and, and because of the time between Wilby qualifying as Master and the date of sailing, she has to be the first vessel of which Wilby Rackham had command after qualifying as Master.

 

 

OFFICIAL LOG BOOK,   No. 1

FOR

EITHER FOREIGN GOING OR HOME TRADE SHIP

 

Name of Ship    Harriet Julia     Official Number    20727       Port of Registry   Stornoway

Registered Tonnage 151

Name of Master     Wilby Rackham      No. of his Certificate (if any)      81

 

Date of Commencement of the Voyage            March  11th 1859

Nature of the Voyage or Employment               Mediterranean Sea

Delivered to the Shipping Master of the Port of   Lancaster Creek, Glasson Dock the 13th day of   August  18 59.

                                                             Signed    (Signature Illegible)

                                                                                       Shipping Master

 

Note - The above Entries are to be filled up by the Master, and the Log Book is to be delivered to the Shipping Master within forty eight hours after the Ship’s arrival, or upon discharge of the Crew, whichever first happens, in the case of a “Foreign-going Ship”, and within twenty one days after the 30th June and the 31st December respectively in every year in the case of a “Home Trade Ship”   See 286.

 

LONDON

PRINTED BY GEORGE EDWARD EYRE AND WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE

PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY

1858

 

The number 81, quoted in the log as “No. of his Certificate (if any)      81” appears also on some other of Wilby Rackham’s official documents.

 

The Log Book contains several pages of “DIRECTIONS” as to the records to be entered under the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854. Section 2 of the Directions states –

 

“The importance of keeping this book properly, and duly making all the entries at the proper time, and with the strictest regard to form, cannot be too strongly impressed on Ship’s Master. By neglecting to do so, they subject themselves to heavy penalties, and their Owners to serious loss and inconvenience, and they prevent discipline from being maintained, as no fine or forfeiture can be deducted, and no punishment inflicted for any offence, unless the entries are properly made and attested.”

 

The “Directions” appear to cover every eventuality from Births, Marriages and Deaths on board to “Combining to Disobey”.

 

The date of Registry of the “Harriet Julia” is shown in the Log as 1855 and she was thus a comparatively new vessel. The List of Crew shows that in addition to her Master, the “Harriet Julia” carried a crew of eight. William Wicks was listed as Mate and she carried five Able Seamen and two Ordinary Seamen. One of the Ordinary Seamen listed was Charles Crosbie, aged 17, born in Dumfries and sailing on his first ship. Charles was a brother of Mary Billington Crosbie, wife of Wilby Rackham. Nance Caine noted that “Charles evidently let Wilby Rackham down very badly on one occasion. (See letter five, part six)

Wilby Rackham was listed in the Log as aged 28, born in Suffolk and “Ship in which he last served” is given as “Sail Vessel”. The mate, William Wicks, aged 26, was born in Dover and his previous ship had been the “Jane” of Ayr. William Davis aged 26, born in Bristol, is listed as Cook and Able Seaman. Also listed as Able Seamen were William McGray, aged 25, born in Perth; Robert McFarlane, aged 19, born in Glasgow; John Walker, aged 28, born in Liverpool; John McFarlane, aged 24, born in Tobermory and Alexander Chapelton, aged 23, born Dundee. Listed as Ordinary Seaman was Charles Crosbie, aged 17, born Dumfries, who was making his first voyage.

The form of Agreement for Foreign Going Ship which was signed by the crew on 11th March 1859 gave details of the individual rates of pay per calendar month. Mr Wicks, the Mate, was to receive four pounds ten shillings (£4.50), William Davis, the Cook, had a rate of two pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence (£2.87), and the pay of the remaining crew was two pounds ten shillings (£2.50) each except for Charles Crosbie  who was to receive fifteen shillngs (£0.75) per month. A column headed Amount of Wages Advanced on Entry shows that each crew member, except Charles Crosbie, received his first month’s wages in advance.

A table entitled Scale of Provisions to be allowed and served out to the crew during the Voyage detailed, under nine categories of provisions, the rations to be served on each day of the week, Sunday to Saturday. Five categories were supplied every day and the remaining four were served on an alternating basis, presumably to give some variety to the diet. Each man received on a daily basis one pound of bread, a quarter of an ounce of tea, half an ounce of coffee, two ounces of sugar and three gallons of water. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday each man was to have one and a half pounds of pork and half a pint of peas. On Sunday and Thursday the ration was one and a half pounds of beef and half a pound of flour. On Tuesday and Saturday the allowance was less generous with one and a half pounds of beef only. The Scale of Provisions allowed additionally Barley or Rice twice weekly: half a pint each man and Lime Juice, Sugar and Vinegar as per Act of Parliament. The following substitutions were permissible -  One ounce of Coffee, Cocoa or Chocolate, may be substituted for quarter of an ounce of tea. Molasses for Sugar, the quantity to be one half more. One pound of Potatoes or Yams, half a pound of Flour or Rice, half a pint of Peas, or half a pint of Barley, may be substituted for each other. When fresh meat is issued the proportion is to be two pounds per man per day; in lieu of Salt Meat. Flour, Rice, and Peas, Beef and Pork may be substituted each for the other.

Mr. Stanley Rackham noted that the following is a transcript of a rather indistinct film copy. He commented that – Undoubtedly all masters had to cope with “rebellious crew behaviour” but maybe in this case the crew were “trying out” this new Master.

The Log includes what appears to be a receipt for some unspecified article, which may be the Log itself. The note reads  -  British Vice Consulate.  Motril 17th April 1859.  Duly deposit at this Vice Consulate this day of entrance and return its Master this day of clearance, the 19 (?) May 1859. It bears the stamp of the Vice Consulate. It is evident from the Log entries that the “Harriet Julia” was at Motril from at least 20th April until 9th May. The Consulate note seems to indicate that she was at that port from 17th April until 19th May. Presumably she was hoping to pick up a cargo. Possibly the crew may have had too much time on their hands and this may have been a contributory factor to the ill discipline.

It appears from the crew list that neither the Mate nor any of the crew had previously sailed with the “Harriet Julia”.

 

The transcript reads –

 

Index Page.   John McFarlane AB Discharged at the Shipping Office Greenock March 21 1859 from sickness and inability to proceed on this voyage.

 

List of Crew

Both Charles Crosbie OS and Alexander Chapelton AB Good for conduct and seamanship.

 

Log page 8.  Monday March 21st. ?am 1859. Greenock Shipping Office. This entry showeth that John McFarlane AB hath at his own request been discharged from the ship previous to the voyage.  Dated as above.       Signed   Wilby Rackham Master     William Wicks Mate.

 

Wednesday April 20th 1859  8am  Anchorage at Motril.

This entry is to certify that John Walker AB who was previously guilty of disobedience to Lawful command and general misconduct has this day refused to work and induced three others Viz: Robert MacFarlane AB William Mackay AB and Alexander Chapelton AB to follow his example. They all came out of the boat contrary to orders and went below where they were allowed to take there breakfast and at 9am when the Mate went to turn them to work they all refused saying they would not work ---------------------

On page 9 (same day and place)---they have in addition to the full quantity of rations of a superior quality (served out daily as per Agreement ) treacle, currants, suet, Lime juice, vinegar &c allowed them.

Thursday April 21st  4pm  Motril Anchorage.

After reading the above over to the crew and reminding them of there agreement and of the consequences of a continued refusal of Duty they all agreed to go to there duty again. 1 days meat and  --- stopped.

                             Signed      Wilby Rackham

                                              William Wicks

 

Monday May 9th   At Motril Anchorage.

John Walker and Alexander Chapelton AB,s who were on liberty yesterday with orders to be on board at 7am. Both off duty, the former absent without leave and the latter who came on board in a state of intoxication remained below and said he could not work. Two men employed in their stead 1 Dollar per day each.

                              Signed     Wilby Rackham

                                              William Wicks

 

Page 10.

Monday June 26th      Gibraltar Bay

This entry showeth that John Walker who is at present suffering from Rheumatism Pains and swelling in the Joints went on shore for Medical assistance, and at his own request, was placed in Lodgings at 2/6 per day with Medicine in preference to going to hospital.

Thursday  June 30th       John Walker went to the Hospital.

Wednesday  July 6th.   John Walker returned on board.              Wilby Rackham.

The voyage ended at Lancaster Creek, Glasson Dock. The crew, including the Mate, were discharged there on 15th August 1859 except for John McFarlane who had been discharged through illness at Greenock on 21st March 1859. It is worthy of note that, in spite of a few problems during the voyage, Wilby, in his Report of Character, awarded “V.G.” (Very Good) to Mr Wicks the Mate for both ability and conduct and “G” (Good) in both categories to the remainder of the crew.

The particulars of discharge contain the words “Master Remaining” and the first letter of Part One of Wilby’s letters, written at Ardrossan on 5th September 1859 is said by Nance Caine to be from the Brig “Harriet Julia" of which Wilby was Captain. This letter to his wife Mary, following the completion of his first voyage as Master, contained the following -

I arrived safe on board of my Vessel this morning….the mate is left and is coming to Glasgow by the morning train, so perhaps he will give you a call, and if so, you must hear what sort of a character he will give his master, it may be fully as bad as some of the sailors give me but I do not think it, however you may believe him sooner than they, let him say whatever he will for I think him an honest and decent man.