Drama at Sea
Maria Whall Waterhouse (1846 – 1924) sailed with her husband, Captain Charles Waterhouse aboard the ship S. F. Hersey. Captain Waterhouse died aboard ship in Melbourne, Australia, and was buried there.
Soon after the Hersey began the return voyage, the crew mutinied. Mrs. Waterhouse armed herself with two six-shooters, and, with the aid of the African-American cook armed with meat cleavers, held the men at bay. One by one, the mutineers gave up. When the ship arrived in New York, there were four or five men in irons.
Millicent Dow Pendleton Nichols (1851-1937) married Captain Charles M. Nichols on September 10, 1874. They began their married life on a sea passage honeymoon from Hull, England to Valparaiso, Chile, aboard the bark Patmos, carrying coal. Millicent’s journal recounted daily life on her honeymoon voyage.
“October 22, 1875- First day at sea. Weather fine and pleasant but wind dead ahead. Last night was very rough until midnight and after that more moderate. Nothing of much interest transpired today so I will not write more at the present.”
Journal entries continued until the end of January 1876, when she wrote:
“This morning it was nearly calm but a fine breeze sprang up about noon and now we are going at a good rate. Three vessels in sight today. A great deal of steam comes from the cargo, filling the cabin. Charles is up on deck. So ends today.”
The “steam” Millicent saw proved to be smoke from coal burning in the ship’s hold. Millicent was by then pregnant. She was being lowered in a chair into a lifeboat when they spotted a vessel, the English bark Pasithea. “January 31, 102 days out- since last I have written in my journal we have had a sad and sudden change. At twelve o’clock last night we discovered the cargo of coals to be on fire. At daybreak we saw a bark steering for us- we took to the boats and succeeded in getting on board her safely. “
This rescue proved fateful in more ways than one. As recounted in the Stories of the Sea: The Searsport Captains chapter, Captain Nichols saved Pasithea from going aground on Desolation IslandDesolation Island
One of the minor islands in the South Shetlands archipelago, Antarctica, situated at the entrance to Hero Bay, Livingston Island. The island was discovered in 1819 by Captain William Smith in the English merchant brig Williams during his second visit to the islands. It was frequented by early 19th century English and American sealers. when her own captain lost courage and turned the bark and both crews over to Captain Nichols.
Arriving at Valparaiso, Captain and Millicent Nichols took passage to New York on April 11, 1876, three months before their child was born.