Voyage to California (27) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

Day clear and pleasant.  In sight of the coast part of the day.  A gambler on board opened a monte bank in the steerage cabin last evening and was reported to have made $75 by his operation.  Distance 205 miles.

Journal

Nothing remarkable to note of this days occurrences, in sight of the coast part of the day, pleasant weather, and 205 miles accomplished, being the chief events.  The monte banker plied his trade again in the evening, and, as one who played with him and lost by him informed me, made about $100.  A number of the passengers are quite dissatisfied at such proceedings being permitted on board.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s marriages. 

Next week, I will continue this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

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Voyage to California (26) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

Cape St. Lucas in sight this morning, weather clear and cool so that a cloth coat could be borne very comfortably all day.  Nearest land at noon, Cape St. Lucas, distant 28 miles.  Distance sales 218 miles.

Journal

Weather clear again this morning, but cool enough to make a coat quite comfortable all day.  The wind is fresh, bracing and invigorating, and makes me feel more like myself again.  Cape St. Lucas has been in sight most of the day, distance at noon 28 miles.  Distance accomplished 218 miles.  Something new introduced into the steerage this evening: this was nothing less than a monte bank.  Some of the passengers and crew bet small sums, but, as is usual I suppose in such cases, the banker was the chief gainer, his process I suppose amounting to some $20 or $30 for the evening’s work.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s marriages. 

Next week, I will continue this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (24) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

To- day there was such a general washing and cleaning up that I lay in my berth most of the day to be out of the way.  A portion of the crew were busy lowering yards and making other preparations for crossing the mouth of the Gulf of California, where rough water is occasionally experienced.  The wind blows quite fresh this evening.  Some kinds of provisions are becoming scarce on board and we have less variety on the steerage table than formerly.  There is consequently some complaint among the passengers.  Distance 205 miles.

Journal

Our crew to day appear to be inspired anew with a spirit of cleaning.  Washing paints, scouring deck, and cleaning generally on the upper deck has occupied almost the entire day, and in consequence, I have passed no inconsiderable portion of it in the very interesting occupation of lying in my birth.  As I can now read a portion of each day, this is more tolerable than formerly.  The wind blows quite fresh this morning, and as we shall be crossing the Gulf of California on the morrow, a still harder blow is anticipated.  The vessel was prepared to- day to meet it, by the lowering of yard-arms, and the tightening of the various parts liable to injury from heavy winds.  Distance to-day 205 miles.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their family in New Orleans.

On Monday and Tuesday, the last two Christmas Cards from Grandpa to his friends and family. I’ll post Special Pictures the rest of the week.

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (23) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

The steamer left Acapulco shortly after 12 o’clock last night, and this morning we were again upon the ocean. The noise of weighing anchors and stowing away the chain cable in the immediate vicinity of my eirth awakened me occasionally but did not seriously impede my slumbers. I am becoming accustomed to sleep amid noises. This morning I heard, with surprise, that there was a death in the steerage last night about 10 or 11 o’clock. The man was a foreigner, unknown to nearly everyone on board. At 8 o’clock the preparations for a funeral were completed, the boat was stopped, the funeral service read by the captain, and the body, sewed up in canvas, slid into the deep. Though this is the Sabbath the butchering and other occupations proceed as usual. Distance 95 miles.

Journal

Left Acapulco between 12 and 1 o’clock last night, and between the discharges of cannon, (one an hour before starting to notify passengers on shore, another at the time of starting), the letting down of the chain-cable into the hold, close past my berth, and other disturbances, we passed a tolerably noisy night. I learned this morning that one of the steerage passengers died during the night. It appears that he had been unwell for some days, and had been taking considerable quantities of camphor. The day before yesterday he took two pills of blue mass, yesterday some vegetable pills. On the night he was taken with fainting fits, the doctor was called, and gave him a pill of some kind, shortly after which he was seized with convulsions, and died in a few minutes. He was a German, with no relatives on board, and no particular friends or acquaintances that I know of. By the time I got on deck, he was sewed up in canvas and laid out on the upper deck, ready for burial, with the Union Jack spread over him. At 8 o’clock all hands were summoned aft to bury the dead. The corpse was placed on a board, on the guard or structure that encloses the wheel, in a position convenient for sliding into the ocean, and the engine was stopped. Quite a lengthy funeral service was read by the captain, and at the point where the passage, “we commit the body to deep” occurs, the end of the board was raised and the body slid into. The waves closed over him, the reading was soon finished, and in a few minutes we were moving on again. The unfortunate individual was an elderly man, of a very quiet turn, holding very little communication with anyone, and his death appeared to cast no deeper gloom upon our little community here than a similar event on shore would have done. In consequence of taking coal on board yesterday, dirt is unusually abundant, and with this inconvenience, and the washing of decks continued through a considerable portion of the day, things generally were rather an uncomfortable aspect. Butchering continues as usual this evening, and the Sabbath, as heretofore, almost entirely unnoticed. Distance from Acapulco at noon, 95 miles.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the story of the Rev. Elijah Guion and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.

Next week, I’ll continue with unique Christmas Cards designed by Grandpa over the years.

Judy Guion

 

Voyage to California (22) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

Washington’s birthday. Two guns were fired at sunrise. At 8 o’clock the vessel was decorated with flags. The U. S. Union Jack was hoisted at the bow, the U.S. Mail, English Union Jack, French Tri-color, and Chilean at the foremast; the Mexican and New Grenadian at the missen mast; and the stars and stripes at the stern. A single pennon was exhibited on the mainmast for an hour or two; then the Union Jack and a flag bearing the name of the vessel were hoisted. We arrived at Acapulco about 11 o’clock. A number of boats came alongside, and in company with three acquaintances, I landed, walked up the hill toward the castle and sat on a log in the shade until near the middle of the afternoon. We then took a stroll around and through the town, visited the fort and the salt works, stopped in an eating house and obtained a very good dinner of eggs, bread and chocolate, then went through the market and bought some provisions to ameliorate our steerage fare. We returned on board a little before sunset, found noise, confusion, and dirt to be the prevailing climate there in consequence of the operation of coaling, and getting water and livestock on board. The Bay of Acapulco is a handsome, landlocked, and secure harbor, and at this time has a calm and tranquil appearance very expressive of repose. The town bears the marks of age, and in its general features is much like Panama. The country around is quite mountainous.

Journal

At peep of sun this morning, the two cannon thundered forth their welcome in honor of the day. At 8 o’clock several flags were hoisted in the following order: the U.S. Union Jack was hoisted on a flagstaff at the bow of the boat. At the head of the foremast was a plain flag bearing the inscription “U.S. Mail”, below it waved the English Union Jack, and under this again were placed the French and Chilean National flags. On the mainmast, a single pennon or streamer fluttered in the breeze. On the mizzen mast, the national flags of Mexico and New Grenada were exhibited, and on the stern of the vessel waved our own stars and stripes. In about an hour, a flag bearing the name of the vessel, the U.S. Union Jack, and a number of private signals, ensigns etc. were added to those on the foremast, and a number of signals to those on the mizzen, and in this manner they remained throughout the day. This was all that I saw of celebration of the day.

Fish of various kinds are very numerous this morning, several shoals being frequently in view at once. Among others, several whales made their appearance. They were of the small species called humpbacked. Here, as in many other things, I was doomed to disappointment. Instead of a considerable portion of the animal being exposed to view at once, as I had been led to believe would be the case from pictures I have frequently seen, it was only occasionally that any, and then but a small portion, could be seen at all. The fin on the back and a small part of the back itself, were the parts generally exposed; once I saw the tail of one raised above the surface; and there “blow” is about similar to a puff of steam from a steam engine.

For fear of running past the bay in the night, our officers had the boat so slowly that it was 11 o’clock before we arrived at Acapulco. H. Gushee, R. Holbrook and I went ashore very soon after our arrival, in one of the boats that came off from the shore, and at a cost of 25 cts. each. We walked up the hill nearly to the fort, and lying down under the shade of a tree, stayed there till near 3 o’clock. We had been there but a short time before a little girl (one of a number following the same occupation), came to us with the jar of water upon her head, and a plate of limes and the glass tumbler in her hand, and seating herself, inquired in broken English whether we wanted lemonade at a dime a glass. The glass, by the way, was fully twice as large as our common glass tumblers. Her manner of manufacture was this: filling the glass nearly full of water, and taking the limes in her fingers, pulled them in two and squeezed the juice into the water, and this was the lemonade. A little boy soon followed with a bowl of oranges. I purchased three oranges for five cents, my companions purchased a glass of lemonade, and with these we regaled ourselves. Tho’ the day was quite warm, there was a fine breeze blowing, and with the cool breeze, the bay spread out before us, and the still, solid earth to rest upon, we contented ourselves very well until the declining sun made walking rather more agreeable, when we arose to take a stroll through the town and its environs. Before returning to town, however, we took a view of the fort. This is situated so as completely to command the approach to the town from the ocean, is supplied with heavy cannon, and manned with soldiers. It has had the appearance of considerable strength once in its day, but it is now going to ruin, and the fractures in its walls reveal the fact that they have not been so strong as their outside appearance would warrant one in supposing. I suppose, however, it was as strong as the times in which it was built required, and if manned by Yankee soldiers with Yankee guns, would still be difficult to take.

The town presents a motley assemblage of adobe, frame, bamboo and brush houses, covered with tiles, thatched with palm leaves, or even covered with brush, barely sufficient to keep off the sunshine. There are some houses of quite respectable dimensions, but the place has never equaled Panama in grandeur. The population I suppose to be almost exclusively native, that is, such as constitutes the native of the present day. I saw none of the kind of Spanish that are tolerably numerous at Panama. The market is pretty well supplied with bananas, pineapples, cocoa-nuts, oranges, limes, onions, bread, cheese, nichas, that is, eggs, a few tomatoes and some other articles. Liquors of course are abundant. Hotels and restaurants are by no means scarce. We went into one of the latter, kept by natives, and ordered two eggs, bread and a cup of chocolate for each of us. The bread and eggs proved excellent, the chocolate none of us succeeded in drinking, tho’ my companions said it was a good article. I don’t profess to be a judge of it. They charged us 50 cts. each. After finishing our meal we started out to procure provisions to take on board, to help out our steerage fare, of which, more anon, – bought 50 cts. worth of bread each, one dollar’s worth of oranges between, and one of my companions bought a few eggs and tomatoes. I did not invest in anything except oranges and bread, and the kind of basket or satchel to carry the man, the price of which was 25 cts. We went on board again about sunset, and found them very busy taking coal, livestock, water and vegetables, – noise, confusion and dirt being conspicuous features of the scene. Turned in early, and did what sleeping the noises permitted.

Tomorrow, more of the life of the Rev. Elijah Guion and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.

Next week I’ll be posting more of Grandpa’s unique and creative Christmas Cards.

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (21) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

Sailing, to-day, within a few miles of the coast, which appears, generally, very mountainous and rugged. In places the shore slopes off in plains of considerable extent, but is, generally, very abrupt. The vegetation upon it appears, chiefly, to be of a very diversified character. Saw several black-fish to-day. Distance sailed 223 miles, distance from Acapulco 163 miles.

Journal

To day we are coasting along within a few miles of the coast. In some places there is a plain of considerable width next to the coast. A few miles back the ground rises in a collection of small hills; these are succeeded by still higher, and “hills peep o’er hills, and Alps o’er Alps arise,” until clouds seem to rest upon the summits of the mountains far in the interior. The hills are generally dry and barren, in some places covered with a stunted vegetation, and even on the plain, near the coast, the growth does not appear to consist of anything more than mere shrubbery. In other places the hills rise more abruptly from the water’s edge, but are more uniform in their height over the country. Taken altogether, it is a very unpromising-looking land to live upon. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Washington’s birthday, and the men are busy to day cleaning and painting the carriages of their two cannon, cleaning up buckets etc., and the mates are looking over the flags on board, so I suppose we may look for a demonstration on the morrow. Distance last 24 hours 233 miles; distance from Acapulco 163 miles.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the story of the Rev. Elijah Guion and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion as they move south to Louisiana.

On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll post Special Pictures and then, through Christmas Eve, I’ll be posting unique, personalized Christmas Cards designed by Grandpa. The cards were sent to family and friends around the world. Grandpa carried on a tremendous correspondence throughout his life.

.Judy Guion

Voyage to California (19) and (20) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlop (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Diary

The sea smooth to day and the weather very pleasant. The only curiosity to day, worthy of notice, was the fin of a shark, projecting above the water. A more extended view, his honor would not vouchsafe us. At the noon observation we were said to be very nearly in the latitude of old Guatemala. Distance 239 miles.

The weather pleasant, and sea smooth to day. Some high peaks visible among the mountains on the coast this morning. Distance 202 miles.

 

Journal

During these two days the weather has been very pleasant and the ocean smooth. We have generally been in the sight of the high peaks on the coast, but at such a distance that to an inexperienced eye they look more like clouds then land. On one of these days I suppose I saw the fin of a shark above the water – like some of the other sites, however, which one sees in traveling, there was very little sight about it. Something very like a flat stick, sticking out of the water for a brief space of time, was about the amount of it. The distance accomplished on these two days respectively was 239 and 202 miles.

Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing the story of the Rev. Elijah Guion and his wife Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.

On Monday, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1944. Lad and Marian have been married for about six months and have just spent some time in Trumbull and Orinda, California, vising families during their furlough. Dan is in London but will be going to Normandy very soon. Ced remains in Alaska, Dick is not quite sure where he will be going next but expects to be traveling soon. Dave was able to come home for a visit which coincided with his High School Class Graduation and received a Diploma, making Grandpa very happy.

Judy Guion