Voyage to Venezuela (4) – Trip on Grace Line Ship, S.S. Santa Rosa – December, 1938 – January, 1939

This is the  beginning of a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later. Lad and Dan had been hired by their Uncle Ted Human (husband of Helen (Peabody) Human, Aunt Helen), sister of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who had passed away in 1933 after a long illness.

The following are documents my Dad had to obtain and/or deliver before he even set foot on the ship that would carry him to Venezuela. Dan had gone through this same process in September and October of 1938.

Here are some documents regarding Lad’s trip on a Grace Line ship, the S. S. Santa Rosa, from New York to Curacao, Venezuela, in 1939.




S.S. Santa Rosa Passenger List – cover


SS Santa Rose Passenger Booklet – inside first page


GRACE LINE Passenger Statement


Various forms and receipts from the S. S. Santa Rosa


Curacao coast with message to Grandpa on back


MESSAGE: “Dear Gang:- Making our well. Fine weather all the way. On to Curacao tonight. More from there. Laddie”


Curacao Harbor


Native District of Curacao

Next week I’ll be posting forms that were filled out or filed after Lad reached Curacao, along with a picture of Lad in Curacao in his light weight tropical suit, as suggested.

Tomorrow more information on Marian’s Ancestors.

Next week, a week of letters written in 1944. All five sons are helping the war effort, four are in the Army and our one, Conscientious Objector, is working on a Military base in Alaska. as an airplane mechanic and retriever of downed planes in the Bush.

Judy Guion







The Beginning (42) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (7)

Following are the last pages of the Helen Log Book. They recount, briefly, a trip to Fishers Island, off the Connecticut shore near the mouth of the Thames River near Groton and Stonington.

DICK: “We spent a couple of summers on Fishers Island in Long Island Sound with the Burnham’s”.

The Burnham’s were neighbors of Grandpa and Grandma  when they lived on Larchmont Drive. in Mount Vernon.  They had a cottage on Fishers Island.  I suspect that the entire family went to the Burnham’s cottage on Fishers Island, especially since Dick has memories of spending time there.  Grandma would drive with the three younger children and Grandpa and the boys would use the Helen as their mode of transportation.




Trip to Conn.  Camp during 1931 occurs here.

Trip to L.  I.  In 1932 comes next.  Neither were written up.

Fishers Island Trip – Aug. 1933

Sat. – Aug. 5

Commodore not well.  Crew had packed the night before.  Got off to late start at 11:00.  Weather fair – sea not rough.  Had bad motor knock develop before reaching New Haven due to oil loss.  Bilge needed care every couple of hours.  Cut way out to center of Sound. Passed Faulkner’s Island going strong.  Hit bad squall off about Cornfield Point.  Trip not very eventful – night navigation as we approached the Island.  Guns heard from Island.  Turned into West Harbor in high spirits.  Found a light missing but found dock at Burnham’s about 10:20.

Sun. Aug. 6 –

Helen tried to sink, water up to carburetor in morning.

Mon. to Sat. night – spent time trying to repair Helen’s leaks.  Prepared for return trip Sunday.

Sunday – Aug. 13 –

Fog – steady wind from S.W. Helen doesn’t leak badly.  Got off quite late at 12:05.  Cut across close to Connecticut shore, followed it from Pt. to Pt. Sea rather rough.  Fog lifting, wind increasing.  Motor running perfectly.  Waves getting big at Sachem’s Head.  So large that we chugged up one side, slid down other.  If we took them head on we would have been swamped.  Tide now against us.  Finally reaching New Haven but took interminable time in passing it.  Getting dark as we neared Stratford Pt.  Waves going down a bit.  Just inside the Milford breakwater the motor, getting wet, fired only on 2 cylinders, and with tide against us we “trickled” along to arrive at French’s Dock at 10:30, too late to intercept Mr. Burnham who stopped to see if we had yet arrived.

Commodore, well this time, had acquired a most beautiful beer nose, with a two-cheek accompaniment.

This empty envelope (found in the inside cover of the Log Book), addressed to “The GuionClan”, c/o R B Burnham, Box 413, Fishers Island, NY, dated August 8, 1933, leads me to believe that Grandpa might have gone to Fishers Island with the older boys in the Helen, the first weekend, went back to work in Bridgeport (he had his own printing and advertising company) and then returned to join the family for the following weekend and the trip home with the older boys in The Helen.

This is the Return Address from the envelope.


The story of the Helen in the Log Book comes to an end.  It sounds to me as though the Helen provided, on at least four occasions, great memories and wonderful bonding time between Grandpa and his three oldest sons.

Ced provides the last chapter of the Helen and the Guion family.

“Arnold Gibson’s father, stepfather actually, was an old seagoing man.  I guess he had been in the Navy.  He had a Sea Scout troop and Dad said, “You know this boat is getting beyond us.  Why don’t we give it to the Sea Scouts and maybe they can get some fun out of it.”  He gave it to them and I don’t know what they did with it.”

My hope is that you have enjoyed reading about the adventures and mis-adventures of Grandpa, Lad, Dan and Ced during the years they owned The Helen.  I believe that memories fade and we may, without realizing it, fill in blank spaces from a different memory.  We continue to retain the new memory and that is the only thing that continues to exist.  Lad, Ced, Dick and Dave all have a few memories of The Helen.  Although each memory does not exactly match the Log Book, which was recorded at the actual time of the event by an adult, the essence of their memories ring true.

Tomorrow, the government of Venezuela joins in the paper chase prior to Lad entering their country as an alien.

On Sunday, more about Marian (Irwin) Guion’s ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (41) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (6)

Following is the transcription of the last two days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River.  Enjoy.



Saturday –

Up at 7.  Whether still cloudy.  Breakfast at 8.  Broke camp at 9.  Anchor up and away at 10.  Stopped Middletown for supplies at 11.  Away again for a non-stop run at 11:45.  Motor running perfectly, lunch on board.  Slight shower.  Alfred steering in oil skins… Looks like ad for Scott’s Emulsion.  Shower clears and sun comes out.  Stop at Essex late in the afternoon for gas and water.  Motor averaging about 6 m.p.h.  Saybrook Bridge seems to be _____ as we draw inside of it the motor goes dead.  We find a spark plug points are fouled.  Alfred cleans these with knife and we are off again.  Round the point at Saybrook again at 5:10.  Motor is missing a bit, but we keep on until we round Hammonaset Point and camp for the night on shore.  In spite of temperamental motor we completed our longest single run at dusk, dropping anchor at 7:40, total of 46 miles, in approximately 9 hours with stops.

Sunday –

We were all awake and ready to get up a little after 6, but the blankets were wet with dew and the sun did not get over our sandbank until about 6:30.  Alfred went out to the Helen to clean spark points while I shaved.  Weather a bit overcast, water calm.  Up anchor and away at 9:10.  Breakfast on board.  Motor working ok.  After leaving Sachem’s Head we decided to do some real navigation and strike out into the Sound heading for Stratford Point, proceeding by dead reckoning, using the small compass we have along.

Tomorrow, a quick mention of two trips that never made it into the Log Book and then the record of a trip to Fisher’s Island.

On Saturday, more of Lad’s trip to Venezuela and the Red Tape he had to go through before he ever set foot on the Grace Line Ship.

On Sunday, more information about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (40) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (5)

Following is the transcription of the sixth and seventh days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River. I will continue to post entries from the Helen Log Book for the rest of the week, just to keep the story together. Enjoy.




Thursday –

After arising a little before 9 we had a flapjack breakfast, highly flavored with gasoline, bought some apples and corn from a passing farmer and cleaned.

Alfred and Ced started for Middletown for the machine shop.

We learned that the property on which we were camping was owned by L. C. Tryon, R.&.D. 1, so Glastonbury, Conn.  (See his son, Raymond).  The boys came back early in the afternoon.  The little part for the engine cost $10.50.  Weather cloudy with occasional showers, so we decided to get engine all fixed up today and start early tomorrow.  Had a marshmallow roast and retired – I in the tent and the boys in a sand bed they had hollowed out near an old stump.  About 11 PM a bad shower came up and the boys stumbled in the tent with their beds.

Friday –

Weather is still very threatening – cloudy with frequent showers.  The boys voted to stay all day if weather did not clear up.  The morning was spent doing stunts, Alfred giving a very realistic imitation of Nelly diving. (Nelson Sperling, a friend from Trumbull) a game of follow the leader (Dan) and later acquaintance with three boys from Georgia in a camp further up the river.  We played cards and during the game Mr.  Tryon called and told us his price for land was $125 for 100 feet of shore front.  Boys very anxious for me to buy, but gave no definite answer pending Mother’s desire.  Retired at 9 with intention of starting tomorrow early, rain or shine.  Showers during night – Dan slept out with waterproof canvas over him.  Rest of us in tent.

Tomorrow, the final entries for this trip.

On Friday, the story of a trip to Fisher’s Island, one that Dave included in his memories.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (39) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (4)

Following is the transcription of the third and fourth days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River. I will continue to post entries from the Helen Log Book for the rest of the week, just to keep the story together. Enjoy.

This picture shows Grandpa and Lad in the back and Ced in front of Grandpa. Dan may have been taking the picture.This is probably close to their age during their trips in The Helen.



Wednesday –

Appalling discovery – our rowboat is gone!  At first we thought it had been stolen, but later we decided the tide had come up further than we had thought it would, the beach being quite flat, and while we had pulled the boat quite a distance up on the beach, we had not tied it.  The wind and tide combined had evidently done the trick.  The gloom was deep but we all took it philosophically.  Alfred and Daddy started off for Middletown with broken parts, leaving Dan and Ced to hold down camp.

We finally located a machine shop that could make the needed part and after spending the day waiting for it to be completed, we learned it would not be finished until Thursday, so we returned to camp for the night.

No boys!  There was a crazy note from Dan pinned up on the tent.  We finally discovered them in hiding and then greatly to our surprise and joy, learned that Ced had located the rowboat among some rocks downstream about half a mile and Ced and Dan had reached it by swimming the river – paddled it back.  After a hot dog supper we all crawled in our beds, tired but happy.

For the rest of the week I will continue the exploits of Grandpa, Lad, Dan and Ced on The Helen.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (38) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (3)

Following is the transcription of the third and fourth days of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River. I will continue to post entries from the Helen Log Book for the rest of the week, just to keep the story together. Enjoy.





Monday –

When we woke up at about 8 o’clock this morning through a combination of an ______ alarm clock from Daddy, a sneeze from Ced and a couple of woodpeckers tapping, it was 8 o’clock on a beautiful, clear, sunshiny day.

Dan and Alfred went in for a swim, Dad shaved.  Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Ced and Alfred got Helen from her nights harboring while Dan and Dad broke camp.  After landing we got away to discover Dan had left his handkerchief to dry on the rocks. Ced resolved this and we left 18 Mile River at 10:30.  The only casualty today was a skin cut  caused from a kickback of engine while Alfred was starting it.  At 10:40 we entered the Conn. River again.  At  11:45 we stopped at East Haddam for bread and water.  Off again at 12:07 saw a house on west side of river that would make a good family camp.  Lunch of sandwiches at 1:30, reaching Middletown at 2:12 or about 20 miles in 3 hrs.

Left at 2:30.  Gas line clogged.  Cleaned out in about ½ hour and away again at 3:10.  Later the sky clouded over and a shower came up. Ced donned the “oilers” and Dan and he piloted the boat while Alfred and Dad sat under the canvas cover and tried to keep the rain from leaking in with only partial success.  In half to three quarters of an hour the rain stopped, the sun came out again and we all resumed our proper stations.

At 6:10 we reached Hartford but continued on about a mile or so above Hartford for the night on a flat, sandy island, after running Helen up into a narrow, muddy channel.  After supper consisting of beef stew, canned chicken, sundry sandwiches and oranges we retired. Ced and Daddy slept in the tent, Dan and Alfred outside.

Tuesday –

Most of the day was spent on our island, waterproofing the canvas cover and cleaning out oil caps and gas line and cleaning up generally.  In the meantime we had made inquiries and found it would not be wise to attempt to go up the river, which because of lack of rain, was low, but would head for the Sound instead and if we time, go down to Norwalk to see the Kirchers.

We left Hartford at 3:30 after stopping for gas, overtook the Standard Oil tanker we had passed the previous day on way up and left ahead of her until we got just above Gildersleeve Island when the engine went dead, the make-and-break mechanism having broken.  Luckily we were directly opposite an ideal camping place on a sandy, wooded Knoll overlooking the river, approached by a sandy, wide beach.  Here we anchored Helen and pitched tent.

While we were anchoring a canoe approached propelled by an inboard motor and the owner warned us to anchor Helen far enough off shore so that the wash from the Hartford boat would not damage her.  He also informed us how to get to Middletown where repairs could be obtained.  Dan not feeling so well, so after eating a light supper he retired early, sleeping in the tent with Daddy while Ced and Alfred hollowed out a bed in the sand.  During the night a fog came up but this was blown away toward morning by a breeze.

For the rest of the week I will continue the exploits of Grandpa, Lad, Dan and Ced on The Helen.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (37) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen Log Book (2)

Following is the transcription of the second day of this momentous trip Grandpa and the three older boys took up the Connecticut River. I will continue to post entries from the Helen Log Book next week also, just to keep the story together. Enjoy.





Sunday – “the day of adventures”

8 sleepy eyes opened about the same time on a foggy blank.  While anchored fairly close to shore it was invisible.  By the time we were dressed and had breakfast of pancakes and condensed milk, made by Chef Daniel, who later gave up in disgust and turned the job over to Chief Engineer Alfred, the fog lifted and we got away from West Rock, Hammonasset Point at 9 am.  Our course took us well out in the Sound.  It soon began to cloud up, the wind increased in volume, blew all the fog away but kicked up a choppy sea, the water took on an oily look, it got dark and we prepared for the oncoming storm, hoping to reach the Breakwater off of Conn.  River before the waves got too high.  Meantime the sky had become a little brighter.  The engine ran perfectly and we finally rounded the lighthouse off Conn.  River Breakwater and turned up the channel.  Being low on gas we headed for gas station. _____ _____up with a quart of oil and 10 gal.  of gas, the storm hit us — and what a downpour, it came through our canvas _____ in half a minute soaked Ced through to the chin and Alfred also who was steering.  After getting the engine started, Alfred pulling away from the dock, the engine stalled and Alfred worked for over an hour on it.  We found the carburetor filled with oil, which we had _____ ____ ____ first before adding gas.  We finally got this fixed and landed on a point of land before the R.R. bridge.  Here we had lunch of soup, spaghetti, sandwiches and fruit.  We unpacked everything and spread them out on ground to dry because the shower had ceased and the sun was now shining brilliantly.  After packing up again we finally got away at 3:30.  Soon though, we ran aground.  Dan, Alfred and Ced took off shoes and stockings and pushed her off into channel.  A few minutes after that, the engine gave evidence of trouble, got going slower and slower and finally stopped entirely.  We anchored in the channel inside of R.R. bridge and Alfred spent 3/4 hours tinkering, finally discovering that the intake valve had come apart inside.  We got going again at 5:45 and a short while later landed at Essex on other side of bridge where we filled up with water, bought bread ____ ____ ____ ___ .  After leaving Sound we ran up the river until we came to Hamburg Channel, marked by steak.  The combination of Hamburg and steak was too strong a suggestion for the boys so we entered the narrow channel, found a good camping site, found anchorage for “Helen” for the night through the aid of a Hartford Boy Scout.  We all helped in cooking supper, of bacon sandwich.  I slept in tent and the boys under the trees.  So ended our most adventurous day.  We even broke the rule of camping on land which forbid us to do so by ___ ____ ___.

This is a picture of how




(No picture in Log Book)

Dan looked when we made the mouth of the Conn.  River and also how he looked in the rain, lots of waves hitting, were as big as “Helen” herself.  The spray soaked us. (Dan)

Alfred turned the engine over and it started to go very slowly and only on one cylinder and we went about 15 feet upstream.  Then “Puff” and she stopped.  Lad turned it over again.  Same procedure.  Then he took the carburetor apart.  That was O.K., took off cap on valve and nuts springs and other things all out – started to take off manifold but found we didn’t have to put spring and parts on valve stem.  Put back bolts, and she went O.K. hasn’t stopped since.

Only when we shut off. (Lad)

When we stopped for gas at the mouth of the Conn.  River the water was all gone (drinking water), and I was appointed to get it so I went over to the water faucet and turned it on.  The water was warm, I let it run but it still didn’t get cold so we got it warm, there was another big boat at the dock and when we got going again, the painter from the rowboat went under the big boat bow and we had to stop the boat and then it started to rain and I stood out in the driving rain in my plain clothes and guided the rowboat around but I did get wet and had to change my clothes. (Ced)

Tomorrow, more “Red Tape” before Lad can begin his Voyage to Venezuela.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors.

Next week I will continue to post pags from the Helen Log Book.

Judy Guion