Monday, July 30, 2018

Life of Hannah Parker (wife of Richard Harrison Carter) part 1

The Life of Hannah Parker
(Wife of Richard Harrison Carter)
By Robert Givens (September, 2017)


Willis Keith Carter and the author
                    Since February 2016, when I first met Willis Keith Carter and heard the story of his grandfather, Franklin Fitzfield Carter, I have felt the story of the life of Franklin’s mother, Hannah Parker and her family needed to be told.  Family tradition, oral or written, especially that dating back over 150 years needed to be verified.  The family of Richard Harrison Carter and Hannah Parker has always included some interesting twists and presented us with many loose ends.  Then in 2016 I became aware of a new development in the story – Keith Carter’s DNA test results.
                Keith has an interesting place in the family as he is the last male “Carter” surnamed descendant of Franklin Fitzfield Carter (the last known child of Hannah Parker.)  The striking thing about the results of Keith’s autosomal DNA test was that instead of linking him to the Carter family he was linked by DNA to the York family.  At the insistence of others, he took a Y-DNA test (which explores a man’s direct male ancestry) in 2016.  The results of this test confirmed and strengthened the prior test’s results as he had a perfect 100% match with Brad York, a descendant of Franklin’s sister Mary Trueworthy Carter who had married Aaron M. York.

                Franklin Fitzfield Carter’s story is interesting in its own right, and as it a part of Hannah Parker’s story, it needs to be told.  Ironically Franklin appears, as a young man at least, to have not known who his father was or his actual birth date.  As an orphan in 1852 he was taken across the plains from Kanesville to Utah by a Martindale family.  Mrs. Martindale was abusive and treated Franklin more like a hired hand than a child, causing Franklin to run away seeking his Carter family.  He did this as a result of a chance meeting with Brigham Young where he asked the Prophet what he should call himself (Martindale or Carter).  Brigham asked him what he had always gone by and Franklin said Carter so Brigham said to keep Carter as his name.

                So with this back story and a further tradition from early family members that his father was a Mr. Enslow, now questioned thanks to Keith Carter’s DNA tests, it has come a time to attempt to tell the story of Hannah Parker’s life.  With what is known today there is no way to give absolute definitive answers to all the questions of Hannah’s life but, this writer, will attempt to provide all the known evidence and try to provide alternative scenarios regarding Hannah’s life and relationships.  Hopefully, if further sources can be found the story will become clearer but for now we look through the glass somewhat darkly.

                One last thought is that this is a very sensitive story.  As Keith knows the thoughts that will be expressed here will upset some people.  This writer will attempt to be careful in what is said but it has been over 150 years since the events occurred and, if the real truth is ever going to be known, we do need to address the issues and not turn our backs. 

                With this as a background, we will turn to her life and especially her connections with Richard Harrison Carter, Mr. York, Elzie Enslow and Cornelius Brown.

Hannah Parker’s Early Life and First Marriage

                Hannah Parker was born in York County, Maine on 24 June 1822 to Samuel Parker and his second wife, Molly (Mary) Bracey Trueworthy.  Samuel Parker was an early convert to the LDS Church in Maine.  Hannah’s mother died in Quincy, Illinois in 1839.  Her father would live to die in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1846.  Unfortunately, nothing else is known about her life prior to 1840.

                On 29 Nov 1840 in Lima, Adams, Illinois, Hannah Parker married Richard Harrison Carter, the youngest surviving son of John Carter and Hannah Knight Libby.  The Carters had left Maine in two groups.  The main group was the older children who had joined the Church in 1834 and left Maine for Kirtland and later to Far West, Missiouri.  John Carter, who never joined the Church, Hannah and their two children who remained at home, Richard and Mary Jane, moved to central Missouri in 1839 and in 1840 to Morleyville, Illinois. 

At this point, little is known about this young couple.  Since there are no property transactions in Hancock County or Adams County for a Richard Carter, it must be assumed that they probably lived with family.  They might have lived with Hannah’s father or possibly John Carter.  John and Hannah Carter were at about the age of 60 at this time and Richard was the last of their children to live at home.  It would be logical that Richard would live with them to help run the farm.

If the place of birth for their children is accurate they were possibly in Hancock County when their first child, Mary Trueworthy Carter was born 23 Sep 1841.   There is some discrepancy with the births of Mary Trueworthy Carter and the next sibling, Samuel Parker Carter, as family tradition and his death certificate give his birth as 10 Feb 1842 which is too soon after Mary’s birth to be accurate.  Family tradition gives Samuel’s birth place as Lima, Adams, Illinois which is the home of Alvira Carter Tripp, Richard’s sister.  It is possible that they had moved down there to live with her family.  Richard’s last know child was supposed to be born in Lima – Angelia Carter who was born about 1845.  The only evidence for this child is in the writing of Franklin Fitzfield Carter’s family record book.  She supposedly died between 1846 and 1848 in Mount Pisgah, Union, Iowa.  More will be mentioned about her later.

The Richard Harrison Carter and his wife Hannah Parker Carter were the last of the Carter clan to take out their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.  The attended the temple to receive their endowments on 7 Feb 1846.  The evacuation of Nauvoo was in process having actually begun 3 days before Richard and Hannah attended the temple. Since there is no record of their being sealed together in the Nauvoo Temple after 7 Feb 1846 it must be assumed that they left Nauvoo shortly after that date.

There are no definitive records of Richard and Hannah’s crossing of Iowa in 1846.  Regardless of when they left – early February or later – the journey was arduous at best.  Early companies had to deal with the winter snow and later groups fought the mud as the snow melted.  This journey for poorly provisioned people made the trip much harder than it had to be but the option of staying in Nauvoo to face the mobs wasn’t really an option.

Mormons Crossing the Frozen Mississippi
The following is a description of the vanguard company’s crossing of Iowa.  The first to cross the Mississippi River was Charles Shumway who ferried across on February 4.  For three weeks the temperatures dropped causing the Saints to dodge ice chunks as they crossed the river.  On February 25 Charles C. Rich actually crossed the river on foot and so for a time the wagons were driven directly over the frozen river.  The travelers camped along Sugar Creek some 7 miles west of the Mississippi. Here Brigham organized the people into groups and developed camp rules.  Following a path blazed by a vanguard company, the main body of the “Camp of Israel” left Sugar Creek on March 1, 1846.  For this first group the trip had to be difficult.  It was winter, and they had to travel over snow covered ground.  They took a southerly route at first – skirting the border with Missouri where there were more settlers that they could obtain need for themselves and their animals.  They stopped near Richarson’s Point for 11 days so the men could work for money and provisions.  They initially wanted to cross the Missouri River above St. Joseph, Missouri and join the Oregon Trail to the west of there.  This was a time of great suffering by all.  March snow, cold, rain, and awful mud made the trek miserable and exhausting.  When they left Chariton Camp on April 1st, they exited Iowa’s last organized county and moved into what could be called wilderness but still followed rudimentary roads. They made slow progress, being hampered by rain and mud.  It was during this time that William Clayton penned the song “All is Well” following the birth of his son.  Shortly after April 15, the leaders changed the route to the northwest and headed across this wilderness part of Iowa for Kanesville (known today as Council Bluffs.)  Along the way groups were left to form small communities with farms that would feed those that followed.  Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah are good examples of these way points along the trail. On June 14, the camp reached the Council Bluffs area on the Missouri River, and the first portion of the march was nearly over. The vanguard party had taken 130 days, over 4 months, to cross some 265 miles of southern Iowa, averaging only about 2 miles per day. Here on both sides of the Missouri River, especially in present Nebraska at Winter Quarters, the Mormons spent the winter of 1846-47.  (The Pioneer Trek from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters by William G. Hartley (Ensign Magazine,  June, 1997) See:

We know for a fact that Richard and Hannah had reached Council Bluffs by July 1 and were living in the Grand Encampment, where all the newly arrived Saints were first settled as they arrived at the Missouri River.  As the Saints had been crossing Iowa other events were beginning to envelop the United States in a war.  Following the 1845 annexation of Texas by the United States, tensions with Mexico grew until on April 26, 1846 fighting broke out between the U.S. and Mexico.  On May 13th war was officially declared. At this time the Mormon refugees were in the midst of crossing Iowa.  While crossing Iowa Brigham Young and the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve had petitioned President Polk seeking assistance from the Federal Government.  On June 2nd President Polk authorized Col. Stephen W. Kearney to recruit a few hundred Mormons to help in the war but to also “to conciliate them, attach them to our country, and prevent them from taking part against us.” (Polk, James K. (1929), Nevins, Allan, ed., Polk: The Diary of a President, 1845–1849, London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co., p. 109) This was a symbiotic relationship as Church benefitted greatly from the financial benefits they received from this arrangement.  Young and the other leaders saw nothing but good coming from this arrangement.  Their enlistment would be a public relations victory for the church, demonstrating additional evidence of its loyalty to the United States. (McLynn, Frank. Wagons West: The Epic Story of America's Overland Trails. Grove Press. pp. 386–7.) As the men were given a uniform allowance at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., of US $42 each, paid in advance, for their one-year enlistment and as they were allowed to wear their civilian clothing for the march, the bulk of those funds were immediately donated to a general Church fund. These funds were used to purchase wagons, teams, and other necessities for the American exodus (Actual wages paid over the next year to the Mormon Battalion totaled nearly $30,000). ("The Pioneer Story: Pioneer Trail Map",, archived from the original on March 5, 2012.)

The Mormon Battalion Ball (by C. C. Christensen)
  The stage is now set for the defining moment in the story of the family of Richard and Hannah Carter.  They were in the area when Captain James Allen met with Brigham and the other Church leaders and put forth his proposal for 5 companies of 100 men.  Though Brigham was thrilled with this prospect as noted above, the general populace of the Grand Encampment was not.  Richard Carter was one of the early volunteers as he was enrolled in Company B (the second 100).  Brigham was assured by Captain Allen that the Battalion would see no battle action but would instead fill a supporting role.  Thus, Richard would not face many more dangers than the Saints as a whole endured in their travels.  As the day of mustering (July 16th) approached they held a farewell dance in the Bowery at the west end of the Grand Encampment.  The Carter family probably attended with heavy hearts.  On the 16th Richard said his good-byes and marched off to his destiny.
Twenty members of the Mormon Battalion died during the march.  All died from diseases or accidents -  as the Battalion never had to engage in any military actions.  The 2000-mile trek from Council Bluffs to San Diego was arduous and three different sick detachments were sent back to Pueblo, Colorado and then back to Council Bluffs.  Richard was a member of Lieutenant Willis's Pueblo detachment. He died 25 Nov 1846 as the detachment was traveling north along the Rio Grande.  No grave marker memorializes his last resting space though it is reported he was buried at Puerbelo, four miles south of Socorro, New Mexico along the Rio Grande River.  (A fuller account of this time period can be found at:

Hannah was now in a precarious position.  She was living on the very edge of civilization with no husband to care for her and her children. In fact, life for the Mormons on the banks of the Missouri River in 1846 was difficult at best.  The whole community was in survival mode.  Most had come with next to nothing in the way of supplies.  They had to build a society that had to function self-sufficiently from scratch.  Few today can really appreciate the difficulties they had to live with on a daily basis.  Under these circumstances it would be one thing to be cared for by the community while your husband was gone with the Mormon Battalion, but being a widow with no one ever coming home to care for you made Hannah’s situation more daunting.  When her father, Samuel Parker, died only a month later on 29 Dec 1846 in Council Bluffs, relief for her would not be coming from her family.  This left the Carter family to tend to her needs. 

The time period from Richard’s death until Hannah’s in 1852 is largely a blank to those of us in the 21st century.  The total of our knowledge about her life from this point on using the traditions that have been passed on could be written in one paragraph.  The tradition was that after Richard died Hannah married a Mr. Enslow and had a child, Franklin Fitzfield Carter.  She then died in either 1848 or 1852 in Council Bluffs.  That was all that has been passed down to the present day.  With more information available to us today it is now time to try to fill in the blanks of Hannah’s life.

(To be continued)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Who was John M Horner?

Ever heard of John M Horner? Well the history of William Furlsbury Carter is wrapped around this man. 

From the Journal History of The Church - 22 January 1853, Family History Library Microfilm 1,259,739: Missionaries were sent out from Salt Lake to labor in British Guiana, The Sandwich Islands, Australia, Hindustan (William F Carter, etc.), Siam, and China. Arriving in San Francisco they had no funds with which to purchase passage to their various destinations. They met with John M. Horner and told them to call upon the inhabitants of the area and ask for funds. They were not able to raise enough cash for even one passage, so called again on Brother Horner. Brother Horner realizing that the money was not available gave the missionaries $6,000.00 to pay their passage.

So who exactly was John M Horner? Here is his life story - he was one of the wealthier people in California in 1853 when William needed him the most:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

John Carter Tombstone Project Complete

This is a red letter day - Today we reached our goal of raising $2619.69 to pay for a tombstone for our ancestor, John Carter.  It will be ordered soon and placed in the Fletcher Cemetery in Rocky Run Township in Hancock County, Illinois just down the road from where he had lived. We will dedicate it next summer when we hold our family reunion there.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who helped us in donating to this cause.

Friday, May 11, 2018

William Furlsbury Carter Mission to India Part 12 (the conclusion)

Source: Life of William F. Carter Sr. by Leora Carter Scharrer (a great granddaughter of William) Family History Library Q921.73 A1 #10 FHL Film 1036767 item 2 p. 17 - 18 The missionary journal ends in Lima Hancock County, Illinois on December 20, 1853. He visited his Brother Phillip and sister Mary Jane Dewley. It was here he learned of his father’s death over a year before. He also learned that Roxena had given birth to a son and named him Edward M. after her father. This was a surprise to him as he did not know this baby was on the way when he left home. He rejoiced at this first and good news he had received from his family in over fourteen months. William F. was a very sick man in poor health. It was winter, thus being low in health, and winter upon him it was impossible for him to continue his missionary work. The brother and sister and friends in Lima, realizing the condition William F. was in, put him to bed and cared for him during the winter months. By spring of 1854, he had gained most of his strength back and was ready to resume his missionary work. On 1 April he was called by Church Official in St. Louis, to act as an agent of the Church. He was assigned the responsibility of arranging transportation, equipment and provisions for the large handcart companies of immigrants waiting to start the overland trek to Utah. All was handled with dispatch, wisdom, and skill. By 10 April he had the first company of English and Welsh Saints ready which he took to Kansas. The 16th of June, Elder Empey writes from Kansas to S. W. Richards at Salt Lake City as follows: “The Danish Company comprising of seventy wagons under the presidency of Elder H. P. Olsen have received their outfits, and they rolled out on the plains yesterday. “I have organized three other companies of English, Welsh, and Scotch. Two of these are P. E. Fund Companies and one is independent. The Independent company consists of about 30 wagons each. I have appointed William F. Carter president of one, and Dr. Darwin Richardson president of the other. The health of the saints is good. On account of the immense emigration to California-Salt Lake this season, oxen range from $75 to $110 per yoke, and cows $25 to $40 per head. The price of wagons in St. Louis is $67. The variation of freight prices is the result of the different stages of the river.” In making these arrangements for his trip back home, William F. was not anxiously accepted by the Captain. The captain of the wagon train had objected at first to his joining them, thinking no doubt that his recent illness (causing much loss of weight and a poor physical appearance) and his age, 43, would cause him to be a burden. Possibly it was the intercession of a 27-year-old English convert, Elizabeth Howard, that gained him a place in the company. She is reported to have asked, “Why can’t we take that old man along with us?” Elizabeth was from a well-to-do family. When asked why she always wore silk dresses on the trail, she replied that they were the only kind she had. A friendship developed between these two saints. William F. was able to repair wagons and shoe horses on the journey to the satisfaction of all involved. At Echo Canyon, Captain Kearns divided the company taking part and leaving William to bring the rest by another route, which proved to be a shorter road. Captain Kearnes, on arriving at Salt Lake asked Miss Howard for an extra $200 for her transportation to Utah. William F. knowing that this was wrong interceded. He went to his old friend President Brigham Young on this matter. The solution was soon seen. William F. and Elizabeth were married and sealed on October 9, 1854 at 4:30 p.m. by George A. Smith. Then they proceeded to Provo. The church records show that William F. after this long and tedious plains trip of three months reached Salt Lake City 30 Sep 1854. The records show that his was the day he was released from his mission. He was away from home 23 months and 10 days. He was the second Elder who had circumnavigated the globe as an L.D.S. missionary and the first missionary to carry the Book of Mormon the full distance around. On returning home he testified as follows: “I have suffered ill health, change in climate, and rough weather in crossing the ocean. I have bore my testimony to every person that I possibly could meet, both by sea and land, and I verily believe that I sowed seed in good ground that will grow, and I shall see the fruits thereof. I baptized a man and his wife in Kansas, who will be shortly in the valley. I have only one regret that my health was such that it prevented my staying to finish my mission, but my conscience fully acquits me of having done my best duty as far as I was able and knew how, and that the Lord has blessed me for I am convinced of his special care over me in permitting me to return to my home and family. That simple faith endeavors me to be abundantly blessed in drawing out the honest in heart to join the Gospel that I have bore testimony to around the world, is my prayer, in the name of Christ – Amen.” Though she doesn’t cite it – one would think that the author of the above Leora Scharrer must have consulted the following source. It should be noted that in the early days of the Church there weren’t all that many missionaries that went out on missions and it was customary for those who resided in the Utah area upon their return to report directly to President Brigham Young about their mission. The following is where that report was recorded. In The Journal History of the Church – Entry for 30 Sep 1854 is the report of William F Carter’s mission to India. The report begins with: “Elder Wm. F. Carter the second Latter-day Elder who had circumnavigated the Globe as a missionary arrived in Salt Lake City. The following report of his mission was published in the Deseret News:” What follows is an extensive report of his mission – the beginning and end from copies of the original paper and the rest from a transcription. The bulk of this report is taken directly from his journal. His summary is interesting: “I arrived in Great Salt Lake City, Sept. 30, 1854. On the 2nd of Oct. I arrived in Provo City, having been absent 23 months, 10 days. It took 86 days to sail from San Francisco to Calcutta, and 126 from Calcutta to Boston; the distance I traveled round the world being 38,000 miles.” (Deseret News Nov. 9, 1854 p. 2)

William Furlsbury Carter probably following his mission to India

This ends this abbreviated account of William’s mission to India. The photo attached to this post is, I believe, a photo of William not long after his mission based on the fact that, compared with the other two pictures we have of him, he doesn't look well.

Monday, May 7, 2018

William Furlsbury Carter Mission to India Part 11

Friday, 11 Nov 1853 was a red-letter day for William: “at 10 A. M. I Steped my feet of the Shores of America again. I Spent the day in Serching for some information from the west, but in vain. I could not find a Later-day Saint in Boston. I went to the Reading room and to a number of Printing Offices, but could not find a paper from G. S. Lake Citty. I hired my board at a tavern for 4 Dollars per Week.”  It is not surprising that news would be his first concern.  During the prior year he hadn’t heard anything from home. 

The following day (12 Nov 1853) while still looking for news William had a couple of interesting transactions – selling two copies of the Book of Mormon for $2.00 each to first mate, Mr. Birt, and second mate, Mr. Anderson.  He then made an interesting comment: “…as for our Capt Sheen he
was one the Meanist men that I ever saw. He was Disliked by all on board.”  I doubt he offered the captain a copy of his book.

Boston and Maine train engine from William's day
On Sunday, 13 October 1853, William, still unable to find any LDS people in Boston, attended a Methodist Meeting.  The next morning at 7 am the “took the cars for Scarboroiugh” and arrived five hours later at noon at the depot in Oak Hill.  This reference to “cars” has to mean he traveled by railroad to his ancestral home in Scarborough.  The five-hour trip compares favorably with the 3 and half hour trip today by rail over the same basic route.  He most likely traveled on the Boston and Maine Railroad as it had been in operation for about 10 years at this time.

Richard Carter home - Scarborough
His first stop was at his Uncle Richard Carter’s home.  Richard was actually Richard Jr. – the brother of his father John Carter.  Richard and his wife Sally Holmes lived in the family home where John was born John’s father Richard Carter Sr. was buried.  It was here that he began to learn some family news – of the deaths of Jacob Dooley (his sister Mary Jane’s husband), Aunt Eliza (Eliza Carter, sister of John Carter and wife of George Libby of Scarborough, and Uncle Cyrus King (husband of Hannah Carter, a sister of John Carter and had died 6 years previously in Saco, Maine.)

Over the next several weeks William, while nursing a bad cold and trying to recover from his illness contracted in India, he visited with several of his relatives.  On Thanksgiving Day, he had breakfast with Daniel Carter (probably the Daniel who was the son of Richard Jr) and dinner with his Uncle Richard.  The following Wednesday (November 23) he was with Betsy and Mary Jane Meserve (children of Uncle Richard Carter who married Meserves.)  On Sunday, November 27 he was visiting with his mother’s brothers Timothy and David Libby.

Uncle Richard Carter Jr.
Sally Holmes Carter - Richard's wife
Finally, on Monday, Dec 5, 1853 he left his home land in Maine and began his trek west to Utah.  He took the train back to Boston that day and immediately bought a ticket through to Cincinnati, Ohio.  The next morning, he left Boston and arrived in Albany, New York at 6 pm the next day (Dec. 6.)  The next day he left for Buffalo and arrived there on Dec. 8.  There he had a problem as railroad bridges between Buffalo and Erie had been burned down by mobs.  William, due to a lack of funds, had to sell some of his things to get money to help him continue his trip by steamboat to Cleveland and to cover his expenses during the delay.

On Saturday December 10 he went on board the steamship and arrived in Cleveland the next day.  On Monday December 12 he left Cleveland by the railroad and traveled through Columbus to Cincinnati that day.  On Tuesday, December 13 he took a steamship to Louisville, Kentucky, where he boarded another steamship and headed for Saint Louis, arriving there on December 15, 1853. On the next day he boarded another steamer for Quincy, Illinois and arrived there on Monday, December 19th.  He spent the night with Nathan Pinkham.  Nathan Pinkham wasn’t just anyone but a friend from at least William’s Missouri period.  Nathan Pinkham Sr. was born in Maine and became a convert of Joseph Smith and was in Far West, Missouri by 1836.  His son Nathan Jr. became a member of the infamous “Danites” and settled in Quincy in 1839 where he went into the livery business.  When his wife and only child died in 1845 he chose not to leave Illinois with the Saints when they were drive from the state.  Later he would remarry and become a wealthy businessman in Quincy.

The next day, Tuesday, December 20, 1853, he finally arrived back with his family as reported in his journal: “I took the stage at Day light and landed at A. Tripps in Lima [Hancock County, Illinois] at 12 Oclock. I took some Diner and then went to see Mary Jane Dewley. She had just ben confined. she Has a son. I went to Phillips and stayed all Night. I found the folks all well. I saw Letters that Dominicus [his brother] and Arlitta [his daughter] wrote here which gave to understand that my Folks were all well, which greatly Cheered my heart, it Being the firs sound that I had heard from them since I left them.”

William's brother, Philip Libby Carter
Mary Jane Carter Dooley

Thus, ended the missionary journal of William Furlsbury Carter.  For the rest of his trip home and essentially the rest of his mission we will have to use other sources. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

William Furlsbury Carter Mission to India Part 10

Passenger list for the John Gilpin showing William as one of two passengers

William began his long trip home on Saturday,  9 July 1853.  He had been staying on the John Gilpin since the previous Monday.  Being a sailing ship, the John Gilpin had to have the assistance of a steam ship to pull it out of port and down the river until they could get to open water where it would be able to sail under its own power.  Since Calcutta was inland on the Hooghly River they must have required help for quite a way until the river estuary was wide enough for them to go on alone.  By that night they made Diamond Harbor about 50 miles down the river.

The following day they sailed on to “ComColley” which we haven’t been able to identify.  His health was very poor as he reported “…I felt quite sick, had now appetite. my tongue was coted all over on a count of the fevour that I had on me. there was nothing that tasted natural to me.”

On Monday, July 11 they continued to be pulled by the steamer until 3 PM and then sailed on under their own power but were stopped at the “sand heads,” which were probably sand bars of silt deposited by the river where it meets the ocean.  The problem here was that the pilot that was guiding them was unable to leave the ship due to rough seas.  On the following day after still not being able to get the pilot and his assistant to their Brig, the John Gilpin took to the sea.

Within a couple of days they were in heavy seas and the ship began leaking.  On Tuesday the 19th of July they had 30 inches of water leaking into the hold per hour and were in need to making a port so the ship could be “corked.”  On the 20th William recorded “The Capt caled a council and they desided that the only Chance for them was to gow to Penang and they shaped their course acordingly. Put her before the wind and she did not make but little water. The saylors have ben wet for 10 days, my health has improved a little but I am very week and feble.”

Two days later they arrived in Penang, Malaysia for repairs.  William reported that it had a fine harbor and was beautiful with fruits of all kinds.  He reported that nutmeg was grown in an abundance as were other spices and cinnamon.  By August 4th they were ready to set sail again and headed westerly.  On the 8th they reached Samatra and sailed along its shores until the 12th when they headed out into the Indian Ocean.  Poor William continued to battle health issues and reported that he had cholic at this point.  On the 16th they crossed the equator heading south for the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa.

Saturday, September 2nd was a very difficult day and night for the ship:  “Hard wind. Some squally. A tremendous thunder shower commenced at 2 in the evening. Continued till 8 in the
morning. the wind blew sow hard that we had to take in all her sail. There was a perfect sheet of Lightning all night. and the Rain descended in torents. Jack lanterns stood on evry mast head. The Second mate saw 4 Water Spouts in the morning. a tremendous sea on all Night. the waves dashed over all night. it was sow dark that you could not see your hand before you only when it Litened [lightning].”

Finally on September 15th they passed Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa and then the 17th rounded the Cape of Good Hope.  William reported needing his overcoat and mittens as the temperature was 55 degrees. From there they said northwesterly for Brazil.  They successfully crossed the Atlantic and reached Cape Sao Roque in the northeast corner of Brazil on October 6th, 1853.  From here they continued sailing northwesterly towards their goal of Boston, Massachusetts crossing the equator two days later and returning to the northern hemisphere.

Saturday, October 22, 1853 was a day of reflection for William: “One year this morning since I left home. I have not heard from home cince I left. I have seen many Dark and Lonesome hours, and Days since I left My home. That now one can Realize unless they pass threw like Circumstances, which will be Rare if Ever. While Crosing the Diferant Seas, I witnessed heavy gales of Wind, Thunder storms and Squalls all most without number which are very Dangerous to Encounter, besides haveing the ship spring a Leek twice in Heavy Gales. I have Traveled threw the land where the Cholery Swept of its thousands, from morning till Evening and from Evening till morning the Dead Bodies were floting on the surface of the waters wich be spoke the great mortality of the Inhabitance of the Land. I feel in my heart Prays my Heavenly Father for the Preserving Care he has had over me the Past year, and for the blessings He has bestowed on me. Light fair wind. Saw a plenty of sea weed. we are in Lat. 22-00. Long 55-24. 1360 Miles from Nantucket Light House.”  This would be a year William would never forget.

On November 4, 1853 they sailed into the Gulf Stream.  The Gulf Stream is literally a river of warm water that originates in the Caribbean Sea, flows northerly along the east coast of the United States and then crosses the Atlantic towards northern Europe.  William found it interesting that they were now sailing in water that was 74 degrees, yet the air temperature varied from the 50’s down into the high 30’s.

We will close our account of this trip with William’s own words:

Thursday the 10 [November, 1853]
Made Sail in the morning and Sailed up Near the Light house, and at 10 A. M. We took a Pilot. Strong head wind.We took steem at 4 P. M. and at 6 we were at the Warf made fast in Boston. it has ben 126 Days since I came on board the ship John Gilpin. this has ben a happy Evening to me, one long to be remembered. Threw the Mercy and Blessings of my Heavenly father I am a gain in the Land of America. Thanks giving, Praise and glory to my Heavenly Father For my Protection while crossing the mighty Deep. Thermomiter 37.

His trip, and mission, were not complete but he had finally reached the mainland of the United States again.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

William Furlsbury Carter Mission to India Part 9

In the last installment we left William sad to leave India but extremely ill.  From William’s Journal we read:

Monday the 4 [July, 1853]
…I was acompined on board of the ship by Br Miek and he Bid me farewell. I looked around the ship and a dark gloom Came over me and the ship looked more like a tomb than a ship.

I could not a Count for my felings. I had my doubts about ever seing America a gain. The Ship John Gilpin is 11 hundred tons. we had 16 hundred & 50 ton of Freight in her. we had to lay at anchor all the next day, wating for Steem & for the sailers.

The ship would sit at dock for 5 days until it finally left Calcutta.  What can we learn about the ship John Gilpin?

The clipper ship John Gilpin under sail

 The John Gilpin was a medium clipper launched in 1852 at the shipyard of Samuel Hall, Boston, MA. Dimensions: 195'×37'×22' and tonnage 1089 tons old measurement.  (
Clippers were long and narrow ships built for speed.  They carried the maximum sail possible and had a somewhat limited space for cargo.  During the middle third of the 1800’s they were the darlings of the sea.  The John Gilpin was famous for a race it had with the Flying Fish.  It sailed from New York to San Francisco in 93 days and 20 hours from port to pilot under command of Captain Justine Doane. The best day's run during the voyage was 315 miles. The Flying Fish which had left New York on November 1 arrived at San Francisco in 92 days and 4 hours. 

After the John Gilpin arrived in San Francisco on January 31, 1853, she must have sailed to the Orient as she was in port in Calcutta on July 4, 1853.  So when William stepped foot on it on July 4 he was boarding a very new and extremely fast ship.  For the next 4 months and 7 days, until 11 November 1853, the John Gilpin would be his home.

As a side light, the John Gilpin had a short life and had a sad end just 5 years later.  On 29 Jan 1858 it struck an iceberg while sailing from Honolulu to New Bedford, MA with 15 passengers and a cargo of 7500 barrels of whale oil. This incident occurred 150 nautical miles off the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic.  The ship was abandoned the following day with 15 feet of water in the hold. The entire crew was picked up by the British ship Hertfordshire on voyage from Callao to Cork and were landed at Bahia. Part of the crew arrived in New York on April 14 in the clipper ship Sunny South.

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