Tuesday, September 19, 2017




1717 - 1718

Stede Bonnet, born 1688, to a wealthy English family of Bridgetown, Barbados, a plantation owner, a former British Army major, married in 1709 to Mary Allamby. Because of “some discomfortsof married life “ he left the safe life ashore to become a pirate, privateering being a popular ocupation for those so inclined. The summer of 1717 he bought a sailing vessel, named it “Revenge”
hired a crew of cutthroats, raised the black flag and sailed the eastern coast of America, althought he had no expreience as a ships captain. From the pirate haven of Bahamas he sailed to the mouth of the
Chesapeake Bay, capturing several ships off the Delmarva coast. Sometime, while in the Cape Hatteras waters he fell in with Edward Teach, known as “Blackbeard”. At the mouth of the
Delaware Bay in 1718 Bonnet took the sloop Francis in command of Captain Peter Manwearing
without a fight. Unloading the cargo of molasses and rum, barrels of beef, butter, all the while
having Captain Manwearing as a guest treating him politely. Manwearing later gave damaging
testimoney against Bonnet during his last trial for piracy. Bonnet , in a Charles Town, South Carolina
court was found giuilty of “Piracy” and later hung by the neck until dead, 10 December 1718.

Delaware Diary, Michael Morgan, Delaware Coast Press. March 19 2009

Monday, September 18, 2017




During the 18th century , European ship captains, with ther vessels loaded with European
merchandise, visited the African coast and traded for for slaves which were stuffed aboard the
ships that then set sail for America, a long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Once there the slaves were traded for lumber, tobacco, grains, moleasses and other produce which were returned to theEuropean countries. This practice became known as the “Triangular Trade” . The middle leg of
this triangle brought the slaves to America and became known as the infamous “Middel Passage”. A
term that was known to be a journey of unbearable human suffering. Any voyage across the Atlantic
faced enormous hazzards, sailing ships were at the mercy of the winds and delays were deadly for
the crowded slaves.

Few records were kept of the “Middle Passage” and artifacts of the wreckage of the “Henrietta
Marie”, off the coast of Key West on it's final leg of the trip, have provided significant information of conditions aboard a slave ship. Recovered were shackles used to prevent a slaves escape. The slave
was sent to mid decks, placed like cargo on shelves very close together. Weather permitting the slaves were moved to the open decks but chained togther to prevent any attempt to take over the ship.

Disease and ailments often spread . Yellow fever, malaria, small pox, dysentery, and as many a half the cargo died.

Source: Michael Morgan Delaware Diary, Delaware Coast Press,

1915 Wild Cat, Last Milton Built Vessel.

The 1915 Wild Cat
A Working Vessel

The 1915 launching of the Milton built “Wild Cat” was in far too many ways, different.
The ship did not have the graceful finely shaped hull of other Milton built scooners, sloops, which
slid into the Broadkill in past years. The gasoline engine powered ship was launched with no band to play music nor were there a cheering throng of citizens, no community celebration.

However, when the modest fishing vessel slipped into the Broadkill, there began a unique
career. The 60 foot Wild Cat could not compare with the five mast schooners that were 150 feet in
length, with sail. She had the noisey gasoline engine to power her. Her owner used her for fishing
for the first two years and in 1917 the Wild Cat was purchased by the navy and used as a a patrol
boat for WWI service.

Following the war the Wild Cat was transferred to the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey , and
was loaded aboard a freighter for the trip to Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal, then was sent
to the northwest to map the Alaska coast. A. M. Simemsted who served on the Wild Cat in Alaska gave this account; “ The crew quarters were very small, four bunks, two high, with mess table between, there were four portholes in the crew quarters, which needed to be closed much of the time.
Simemsted told that the food was of the finest. In addition to the staple things, there were salmon,
halibut, crab, clams, teal, mallard and trout. “

The survey crew was made to go ashore and climb the coastal mountains to place their survey
tragets and bench marks which in the deep snow was much difficult.

Wild Cat was in service until 1941 when she was hauled out of the Alaskan waters at King
Cove and stripped of everything of value, the hull remained on shore until 1949 when it was bought
for $1 to become a finging boat again, that proved to be too costly and she was abandoned , the last
Milton Broadkill vessel, not worth the single dollar her owner had paid for her.

Ssource: Michael Morgan's Delaware Diary, Coast Press, 2 August 2007.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


JANUARY 8 1777

Captain: William Peery ; 1st Lt. Hugh King ; 2nd Lt. John Sheldon ; Ensign ; John Hazzard.

Sergeants; Robert Hood, Emmanual Russell, James Vent, Robert Prettyman.

Corporals; John Vent, John Dutton, Joseph Darby.

Drummer: Richard Hilford.

Privates : Thomas Bosteidge, John Clampitt, Abreham Conwell, James Coulter, Thomas Coulter

William Coulter, Elephaz Dazey, Sam Dodd, Zael Hall, Thomas Harris, William Hazzard,

Archibale Hopkins, John Hopkins, William Hopkins, John King, Spencer Lacey, Mosses

Marriner, Constant Marriner, James McNeill, Alexander Mellivain, Shepard Mellivane, Clark

Nottingham, Jacob Knottingham, Oliver Pride, Aaron Snowden, David Stephenson, Robert

Stephenson, John Tam, Thomas West, Sam Wiltbank and John Young.

Source: rootsweb.com March 31, 2001 Ellingsworth@annapolis.net




The census taker just got home and is talking to his wife;

“ I sure am glad to be home, that I am, what a day. Another day like today and I am jst going to sit here at the kitchen table and fill out these forms from last years memories and be done with it.

Put these socks next to the stove to dry out, please.

Went yonder this morrning and everyone from house 451 to 486 was gone. A big shindig
down that away, I guess. The folks in house 441 were helpful and told me who they all is.

Do you reckon you could go over the writin on this here page. It got a litt;e smeared in the raim. The folks down in the holler was suspicious of a census, and they had a point. What is the
difference who we is and where we is, are the Washington people going to come visit us? They
finally gave me their last name and first initial and I think they was playing with me about the
other people of the household. Saw a lot of winkin going on.

Next I went up the river and tried to get done afore it came on a downpour, but the ole man Jenkins cur dog run me off. Luckly a man down the road knew Jenkins was nigh on sixty and was livin there with his woman with five youngens of his first wife and a passel from the second. We gave them all good Christian names.

I tell you, I ruther fight the British than mess with that feller on the ridge, he got his shot gun as sone as he seen me acomin, so I went t'other direction. Had Jones tell me about him but he don't know his first name, they call him “Squirrel” , and nobody around here claims him as any relationship.

Then I got to Smiths. Hoss was in a fit, his wife was havin a baby right there in the kitchen and he could not tell me how many kids he had, but, Miz Hart helped me straightten that household out.

He had had a young un every year for the past ten, so we are close.

Next census time I an nowhere to be found, farmin is easier, and there are others here that can
cipher this mess.

Pass me another tater, will you? “

SOURCE: Sunday Afternoon Rocking; Jean Dalrymple, rootsweb.com : abstract : iinniblogspot.com

Friday, September 15, 2017


The Molasses Disaster of January 15, 1919

by John Mason
Reprinted from Yankee Magazine (Dublin, New Hampshire: January 1965), pages 52-53 and 109-111.
As long as people work and live and play in the vicinity of North End Park in Boston, no winter will pass without someone recalling the catastrophe that took place there on January 15, 1919, just forty-six years ago.
The scene of this tragic accident was that low-lying section of Commercial Street between Copps Hill and the playground of North End Park.
Looking down from Copps Hill on that mild, winter afternoon, you saw first the tracks of the Boston elevated—and the old, old houses nearby. Across the street were the freight sheds of the Boston and Worcester and Eastern Massachusetts Railways, the paving division of the Public Works Department, the headquarters of Fire Boat 31, and the wharves with patrol boats and minesweepers moored alongside. In the background to the left, the Charlestown Navy Yard. Towering above the freight sheds was the big tank of the United States Alcohol Company—bulging with more than two million gallons of crude molasses.
In the Public Works Department, a dozen or more horses munched their oats and hay, as flocks of pigeons fluttered around to catch the stray kernels of grain that fell from the feed bags. Stretched out on the runningboard of a heavily laden express truck, "Peter," a pet tiger cat, slept in the unseasonably warm sunshine.
This was the fourth day that the mercury of the freight shed had been climbing. On the 12th of January it was only two degrees above zero. But, on the 13th, the temperature rose rapidly from sixteen degrees to forty; now, at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the 15th, it was forty-three above zero, and so warm in the sun that office workers stood around in their shirtsleeves (talking about the weather). Even the freight handlers had doffed their overcoats, and sailors from the training ship Nantucket carried their heavy peajackets on their arms.
Mrs. Clougherty put her blankets out to air and smiled at little Maria Di Stasio gathering firewood under the freight cars. She waved to her neighbor, Mrs. O'Brien, planting her geraniums on a dingy window sill.
In the pumping station attached to the big molasses tank, Bill White turned the key in the lock and started uptown to meet his wife for lunch. He bumped into Eric Blair, driver for Wheeler's Express, and said, "Hello, Scotty. What are you doing around here at noontime? Thought you and the old nag always went to Charlestown for grub?"
The young Scotsman grinned, "It's a funny thing, Bill. This is the first time in three years I ever brought my lunch over here;" and he climbed up on the bulkhead and leaned back against the warm side of the big molasses tank—for the first and last time.
Inside the Boston and Worcester freight terminal, Percy Smerage, the foreman, was checking a pile of express to be shipped to Framingham and Worcester. Four freight cars were already loaded. The fifth stood half empty on the spur track that ran past the molasses tank.
Smerage had just told his assistant to finish loading the last car when a low, deep rumble shook the freight yard. Then the earth heaved under their feet and they heard a sound of ripping and tearing—snipping of steel bolts (like a machine gun)—followed by a booming roar as the bottom of the giant molasses tank split wide open and a geyser of yellowish-brown fluid spouted into the sky, followed by a tidal wave of molasses.
With a horrible, hissing, sucking sound, it splashed in a curving arc straight across the street, crushing everything and everybody in its path.
Less time than it takes to tell it, molasses had filled the five-foot loading pit, and was creeping over the threshold of the warehouse door. The four loaded freight cars were washed like chips down the track. The half-loaded car was caught on the foaming crest of the eight-foot wave and, with unbelievable force, hurled through the corrugated iron walls of the terminal.
The freight house shook and shivered as the molasses outside, now five feet deep, pushed against the building. Then the doors and windows caved in, and a rushing-roaring river of molasses rolled like molten lava into the freight shed, knocking over the booths where freight clerks were checking their lists.
Like madmen they fought the on-rushing tide, trying to swim in the sticky stuff that sucked them down. Tons of freight—shoes, potatoes—barrels and boxes—tumbled and splashed on the frothy-foaming mass, now so heavy the floors gave way, letting tons of the stuff into the cellar. Down there the workers died like rats in a trap. Some tried to dash up the stairs but they slipped and fell—and disappeared.
As the fifty-eight-foot-high tank split wide open, more molasses poured out under a pressure of two tons per square foot. Men, women, children and animals were caught, hurled into the air, or dashed against freight cars only to fall back and sink from sight in the slowly moving mass.
High above the scene of disaster, an elevated train crowded with passengers whizzed by the crumbling tank just as the molasses broke loose, tearing off the whole front of the Clougherty house and snapping off the steel supports of the "L" structure. That train had barely gone by when the trestle snapped and the tracks sagged almost to street level.
The roaring wall of death moved on. It struck the fire station, knocked it over on its side and pushed it toward the ocean until it fetched up on some pilings. One of the firemen was hurled through a partition. George Leahy, engineer of Fire Boat 31, was crushed to death under a billiard table.
In the Public Works Department, five men eating their noonday meal were smothered by the bubbling, boiling sludge that poured in upon them.
Up at fire headquarters, the first alarm came in at 12:40 p.m. As soon as Chief Peter McDonough learned the extent of the tragedy, he sounded a third alarm to get workers and rescue squads.
Ladders were placed over the wreckage and the firemen crawled out on them to pull the dead and dying from the molasses-drenched debris.
Amidst a mass of bedding and broken furniture, they found the body of Mrs. Clougherty—killed when her house collapsed. Nearby lay the body of "Peter."
Capt. Krake of Engine 7 was leading his men cautiously along the slippery wreckage under the elevated when he saw a mass of yellow hair floating on a dark brown pool of molasses. He took off his coat and plunged his arms to the elbows in the sweet sticky stream. It was Maria Di Stasio, the little girl who had been gathering firewood.
Over by the Public Works Building, more than a dozen horses lay floundering in the molasses. Under an overturned express wagon was the body of the driver.
Fifteen dead were found before the sun went down that night and six other bodies were recovered later. As for the injured, they were taken by cars and wagons and ambulances to the Haymarket Relief and other hospitals.
The next day the firemen tackled the mess with a lot of fire hoses, washing the molasses off the buildings and wreckage and down the gutters. When hit by the salt water, the molasses frothed up—all yellow and sudsy. It was weeks before the devastated area was cleaned up.
Of course, there was great controversy as to the cause of the tank's collapse. And there were about 125 lawsuits filed against the United States Industrial Alcohol Company.
The trial (or rather the hearings) was the longest in the history of Massachusetts Courts. Judge Hitchcock appointed Col. Hugh W. Ogden to act as Auditor and hear the evidence. It was six years before he made his special report.
There were so many lawyers involved, that there wasn't room enough in the courthouse to hold them all, so they consolidated and chose two to represent the claimants.
Never in New England did so many engineers, metallurgists and scientists parade onto the witness stand. Albert L. Colby, an authority on the amount of structural strain a steel tank could sustain before breaking, was on the witness stand three weeks—often giving testimony as late as ten o'clock in the evening.
Altogether, more than 3,000 witnesses were examined and nearly 45,000 pages of testimony and arguments were recorded. The defendants spent over $50,000 on expert witness fees, claiming the collapse was not due to a structural weakness but rather to a dynamite bomb.
When Auditor Ogden made his report, he found the defendants responsible for the disaster because the molasses tank, which was fifty-eight feet high and ninety feet across, was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of the 2,500,000 gallons it was designed to hold. In other words, the "factor of safety" was not high enough.
And so the owners of the tank paid in all nearly a million dollars in damages—and the great Molasses Case passed into history.
Thanks to Yankee Publishing for permission to reprint this article. You can return to the main molasses page, read the Smithsonian article, or visit some of my other pages through the yellow bar below. A book was published about the Boston molasses disaster in 2003, Dark Tide by Stephen Puleo. There are other articles about the Boston molasses disaster at Wikipedia and Ooze. Another unsual accident happened at Lake Peigneur, where an entire lake swirled down the drain into a salt mine, described in Wikipedia and

How to Cite This Page

Cite this page as:
John Mason, “Eric Postpischil’s Molasses Disaster Pages, Yankee Magazine Article,” Eric Postpischil's Domain, 27 August 2015, <http://edp.org/molyank.htm> accessed 15 September 2017.
Path: Eric's Site / Informative / Molasses / Yankee Magazine


Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789

Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go: Washington