Pacific Whaling Ship "Sharon" at the Galapagos Islands. Whaling, Mutiny.
Pacific Whaling Ship "Sharon" at the Galapagos Islands.

Pacific Whaling Ship "Sharon" at the Galapagos Islands.

1851. A manuscript page from the logbook of the whaling ship "Sharon" June 23 to July 5, 1851, with daily accounts of weather and location as the vessel passes the Galapagos Islands. Notations include passing Hood's Island (Espanola), Chatham Island (San Cristobal) and Charles Island (Florenda) with sketched profile of each. On June 29 the "Sharon" passes Albemarle Island (Isabela) the largest of the group, with sketch. Also a sketch of a ship with the sighting of the bark "Ohio" of New Bedford on July 4.

The "Sharon" of 354 tons from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set sail on July 25, 1848 under the command of Nathaniel Bonney. Captain Bonney became ill and returned home in 1850 and the ship was under the command of George C. Rule for the rest of the voyage. It returned to Fairhaven with 1431 barrels of sperm oil on July 31, 1852.

The "Sharon" had made three previous voyages to the Pacific including its first voyage 1837-1840 under the command of Captain Benjamin Church. On the second voyage 1841-1845 Captain Howes Norris was killed in a mutiny and the ship put in at Sydney harbor on December 22, 1842. Benjamin Church returned as Captain in the third voyage from 1845-1848. The ship returned to the Indian Ocean and Pacific 1853-1856 and 1856-1861. The final voyage of the "Sharon" sailed from Boston in 1861 but the ship was unseaworthy and condemned at Sydney on January 18, 1863. (Starbuck)

The mutiny on the second voyage of the "Sharon" took place near Ascension Island in November 1842. The story quickly made the rounds of the fleet. The mutineers on the Sharon were three islanders, "Kanakas," who had shipped onboard at Rotuma (Grenville) Island in April of that year to replace several crew members who deserted. While most of the crew had lowered in boats after a whale, these men rose up in anger against the captain, Howes Norris, and decapitated him with a cutting spade. Norris, by all reports, had treated the crew very badly for most of the voyage, and may have been drunk at the time of the mutiny. The mutineers seized the vessel but a quick-thinking young fellow, Manuel dos Reis, the acting steward at the time, scurried aloft and began cutting up the rigging so that the ship became unmanageable. After nightfall, the third mate, Benjamin Clough, swam to the stern of the ship and boarded it to confront the mutineers. Finding a cutlass and pistols, Clough confronted two of the mutineers. The rest of the crew then boarded to assist Clough who was badly wounded in the fight. Two of the mutineers were killed and the third taken to Sydney, Australia for trial. Clough was later honored by the owners with a presentation sextant and command of the Sharon on her next voyage. He went on to command another four whaling voyages.

(Reference: "Anatomy of a Mutiny: Ship Sharon," by Philip F. Purrington, Old Dartmouth Historical Sketch #75, 1968; "In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous voyage of the Whaleship Sharon," by Joan Druett.)

8.25 x 13.25" Item #26382

Price: $475.00

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