asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
I took my car to the mechanic's yesterday, all dressed in my running gear, because I planned to run a back route back to my house. The mechanic's dad drove up just as I was about to set off and offered me a ride home--he's such a gent; he's given me a ride home in the past. I told him no, this time I was going to get my exercise, but we chatted for a few minutes anyway. The mechanic is about my age (maybe slightly younger... everyone who is about my age is actually slightly younger), and his dad is about my dad's age--with many fewer teeth but more high spirits.

I love the dad--I love talking to him about his past in this town, when it was really a tiny rural farming community. I told him I'd seen a community TV interview with him about going to the one-room schoolhouse they used to have in town. "Oh yeah," he said. "No heat, no running water. Just a wood stove. If you were bad, you had to split the wood for it, so guess who had to split a lot of wood?"

He told me one time he put another kid's boot into the fire! ... Pranks are different when you have a wood stove in the mix!

I was thinking about how different his school experience was from my dad's. My dad went to school in Lexington, Massachusetts. Running water, heat in winter, no splitting wood, no outhouses. Same state, different worlds.
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
Yesterday a friend invited me to see a wonderful exhibition: prints made from newly discovered glass negatives made by the photographer William Bullard. The photos are of people who lived in the Beaver Brook area of Worcester, Massachusetts, from around 1900 to 1912. They're predominately African Americans, but also Native Americans and immigrants--it was a vibrant, diverse community.

Along with explaining who the people in the pictures are, the accompanying plaques included comments from their descendants. For some, these photos are the first images they've seen of their progenitors. In one case, a photo of a house and its residents confirmed longstanding family oral history that the house had been in the family--it's very moving to see/read about history rediscovered and affirmed.

The liveliness and force of personality of the people being photographed carries through so clearly, just looking at them gives you an impression of having met them.

If you live within traveling distance of Worcester, I highly recommend making a trip to see it before it closes (February 25).

two photos )

My very favorite, though, is little Luvenia Ward, on the right in this photo, which I snapped myself (hence the unfortunate reflection effect). Lillian and Cora Ward look less certain about this whole photo-taking business:




asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Rampisham Down is where, from 1939 until 2011, the transmitters for the BBC World Service in Europe were located--"twenty-six iron giants stand ... with a grey cat's cradle in their hands," in the words of Talis Kimberley in her song "Rampisham Down." They were so well known that when my mother came to visit us when we were living in Dorset--where Rampisham Down is located--she was excited to drive by them.

A friend gave me Talis Kimberley's wonderful song about them, which starts with a message on a picture postcard of them and then goes on to describe them and their stalwart duty:

Eight miles northwest of Dorchester
ST5401**
On the high chalk land where the Romans were
Upon Rampisham Down
Oh twenty-six iron giants stand
ST5401
With a grey cat's cradle in their hands
Upon Rampisham Down
Upon Rampisham Down

Here the news comes in and the news goes out
ST5401
And the world will hear what it's all about
Upon Rampisham Down
...
And when the world looks dark, as it sometimes will
ST5401
Then look to the giants on the high chalk hill
Upon Rampisham Down...

*This is the grid reference in Great Britain's Ordinance Survey maps that Rampisham Down is located on
Rampisham Down
(source)


The song--and the concept of those twenty-six faithful iron giants--really touched me, so I was sorry to learn from Wakanomori that they'd come down, victims of changes in how broadcast technology works. Here's a short (2.07 minutes) video about it:



That video is from August 2017. Let's have a moment of silence and respect for these hard workers.



... I'll post my picture for inktober next.
asakiyume: (far horizon)
If it wasn't for today's Google doodle, I wouldn't have learned about the Silent Protest of 1917 or the massacre of East St. Louis. It's a deeply evil streak in humanity that gets people to delight in the slaughter of the defenseless. I'm full of deep gratitude and admiration for the people, like Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson, who have the courage to fight against that evil. (After seeing the Google doodle, I read this article on the Silent Protest.)
asakiyume: (Hades)
The reason I feel anxious when I dump off my papers in the paper recycling dumpster is because people like me will see interesting items and pull them out--as I did, yesterday. I was attracted by the fancy handwriting. The book in which it had been inscribed was falling apart, but I grabbed the first few pages to situate the dedication.

Erle Stanley Garnder to Frances G. Lee

It might have been hard to decipher the name of the person who was making the inscription if it didn't happen to be ... the author of the novel!

copyright page

Although he was writing under one of his many pseudonyms:

title page

I thought the name "Erle Stanley Gardner" sounded somehow familiar--and a Google search told me that yes, indeed: he was the creator of Perry Mason and many other mysteries. Regarding his writing, the Thrilling Detective website says, "Although critics sneered and many felt that Erle Stanley Gardner was not a very good writer ... Gardner was one of the best selling writers of all times, and certainly one of the best-selling mystery authors ever."

Erle Stanley Gardner


source

Armed with this knowledge, and with some effort (and invaluable aid from Wakanomori), I take the dedication to read,

To my friend and
instructor
Capt. Frances G. Lee -- Trooper Gardner reporting.
With all my love
Erle
Stanley Gardner
June 1958

So who was Captain Frances--female spelling--G. Lee?

Well! She turns out to be Frances Glessner Lee, whom Wikipedia tells us is the "mother of forensic science"!

She had to wait until she was 52 to embark on the career for which she became famous, but at that point she inherited a fabulous fortune that enabled her to pursue her studies and endow departments of legal medicine, police science, and a library.

Further, Wikipedia tells us that "for her work, Lee was made an honorary captain in the New Hampshire State Police in 1943, making her to first woman to join International Association of Chief of Police."

a picture of her

source

And, Erle Stanley Gardner dedicated several novels to her.

... and somehow one that he'd sent to her himself, with an inscription, ends its life in a recycling dumpster in my town. I wonder who owned the book?

an extra, on prisons )

In any case: not your everyday find!


Juracán

Jun. 1st, 2017 12:06 am
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






Here's something I just learned:
According to some of the chroniclers, particularly Pané and Las Casas, the Amerindians from Hispaniola recognized the existence of an eminently benevolent being. His name has been spelled in different ways, but in Puerto Rico it is commonly written as Yuquiyú. There was also a furious and malevolent being known as Juracán, from whose name the word hurricane is derived, which denotes the Caribbean's extraordinarily destructive storms.
--Fernando Picó, History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of Its People (Princeton: Marcus Wiener Publishers, 2006), 17.

Coincidentally, we had some fantastical clouds prior to a thunderstorm today. The clouds looked Jovian:

wild clouds

clouds
asakiyume: (holy carp)
When I was telling my father about the fish elevator and all those shad, he told me that he'd learned from a friend that mountain laurel, which blooms around now, is known as "the shad tree"--because when it blooms, that's when the shad run.

He just called to tell me I'd misunderstood: It's not that mountain laurel are called shad tree, but that there's another tree, that blooms at the same time as mountain laurel, called shad tree. Actually, several trees in the genus Amelanchier go by that name, including this, Amelanchier bartramaiana, the mountain shadbush (also known as oblong serviceberry--ahh, names):



(Source)



(Here's a photo from Flickr of mountain laurel--not a shad tree or shadbush--by Flickr user Robert Ferraro--you can click through to see it larger.)
Kalmia latifolia - Mountain Laurel

He also told me that there was a law in Boston in the 18th century that you couldn't feed apprentices shad more than twice a week... which gives you a sense of its plentifulness at that time (and its low regard). (I searched law+apprentices+shad and found confirmation in a Google books excerpt from The Literary Era: A Repository of Literary and Miscellaneous Information (published 1901), which says,
From a recently published report of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission, it would appear that similar troubles were not unknown in eighteenth-century Philadelphia. The low prices of fish tempted many master mechanics to keep their apprentices on a lenten diet. Shad were particularly common and particularly cheap--so common and so cheap, in fact, that they were considered fit only for Indians, helots, and apprentices. The apprentices revolted ... The youngsters ... triumphed so far that the law relating to indentures was changed so that the boys "were not to be fed on fish more than twice a week." (p. 298)
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I was at an informational event on sanctuary cities and the Massachusetts Safe Communities Act this afternoon, and before it started, I was chatting with Cliff McCarthy, a wonderful local historian (I've shared one of his other stories in the past--a tale of poverty, murder, and arson). This time he told me the extremely dramatic story of Angeline Palmer, a free child of color "hired out" by the town of Amherst (Angeline was an orphan and ward of the town) to work for the Shaw family in Belchertown in the late 1830s. "Right in that house over there," Cliff said, pointing out the window to the house next door to where our event was happening.

You can read the full story at Freedom Stories of the Pioneer Valley, Cliff's history website, but here is the outline--and some highlights. Mason Shaw, known as "Squire Shaw," had gotten swept up in western Massachusetts' "mulberry craze"--he was investing in mulberry trees, with the hopes of making a fortune in the silk industry. He was also trying to *sell* mulberry trees--in 1840, he traveled to Georgia to try to interest farmers there in buying them. While there, he sent a letter to his wife, telling her to bring twelve-year-old Angeline south, where Shaw reckoned he could sell her for $600.

will Angeline be sold into slavery?? )

The story was so dramatic, so empowering, and--at least briefly--had a happy ending. There are no pictures of Angeline! I wish there were--as it is, we'll just have to imagine her. Visit Cliff's page on Angeline to see a sketch of Henry Jackson and a photo of the house from which Angeline was rescued.





asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)






Yesterday afternoon this dramatic sky was up above the Aquavitae portion of what's known as the Great Meadow of Hadley, Massachusetts.



I had always wanted to go down Aqua Vitae road--I remember when last the Connecticut River rose and flooded it. Some of the houses down there are on stilts (wise move).

While I was there, I noticed the narrow fields. You can see them clearly in this satellite shot, courtesy of Google maps:



The whole Great Meadow is laid out that way--a style of farming known as open meadow farming. It was common in eastern England in the 1600s, and the earliest settlers in New England brought it with them, but by and large it disappeared as a land-use pattern in the 1700s. But it survived in Hadley--in 2007, 136 parcels of land in the Great Meadow were farmed or maintained by 87 owners.1


(Image from Patricia Laurice Ellsworth, Hadley West Street Common and Great Meadow: A Cultural Landscape Study, 2007.)

Just think: 350-plus years, these fields have been tilled. Can you see the different colors of the ground? Those are the different fields.



Back in the earliest days, the Aquavitae area was planted in hay, and other parts of the Great Meadow were planted in wheat, oats, rye, and corn, as well as peas and barley. As you can see from the cut stalks, corn is still grown there. Tobacco, a crop that caught on in the area in the 1800s, is still grown there, too.

These horses haven't been here anywhere near as long. See the Connecticut River behind them? The horses were frisking with each other until I came up.



1Patricia Laurice Ellsworth, Hadley West Street Common and Great Meadow: A Cultural Landscape Study, 2007, p. 10.


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
On Christmas, [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori took me to see a decrepit old bridge over a rail trail, and I had the fun of walking across it on the sturdy steel beam (and clutching the steel sides). He posted photos, but his account is locked, so with his permission, I'm sharing some here (i.e., these are all his photos).

From underneath:


Walking across (see the hole behind me?):


But the bridge wasn't the only thing that was falling down. We also saw disconnected utility poles, with their beautiful insulator caps still in place, and a HUGE barn (this, interestingly, being restored: it was in the process of being set in place on a new foundation), but saddest, a homestead from the 1700s, complete with a historic marker, and still owned by the original family, but falling apart:



The marker says,
COUGHTRY HOMESTEAD
FAMILY OWNED SINCE 1774
THIS DWELLING BUILT BY
JOHN MCCOUGHTRY, JR, c 1785
ORIGINAL INTEGRITY INTACT
New Scotland
Historical Association


Probably the family itself doesn't have the funds to restore the building, and maybe public monies aren't available. Probably there's some grant out there somewhere that could be applied for, but it would take someone willing to make that effort, and the family being willing to accept it.

Searching for more information, I found text from a tour of historic buildings in the area, which says that the land was deeded to John McCoughtry by Stephen van Rensselaer. As you may know (Bob), New York State was originally a colony of the Dutch. The van Rensselaer family were important landowners from those days.
asakiyume: (bluebird)







Marilyn Monroe, the Tattooed Lady
Just over the border at the south end of town is a tattoo parlor with some great associated art, including a series of circus-poster-style portraits of various random famous people that the artist must admire. Here is Marilyn Monroe as a tattooed lady--she has JFK on her left shoulder and the legend "Enter if you dare" on the ribbon underneath her.



The artist also painted this much-tattooed guy menacing the van beside the shop:

Milltown Ink, side wall

A Bell and Its Stories

Very close to the tattoo parlor is a small park with this bell at its center. It's all that is left of a grammar school that once stood there. [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori did some Internet research and discovered that the school was built in 1891 (to replace a school built in 1828), was in use until 1991, and burned down in 1994. (Great photos of the school at this site.)

The bell apparently went missing in the 1960s, only to be found in 1974 ... in the bell tower. Surely more to that story there than meets the eye . . .


Even its origin story is interesting: it was made in 1877 by one of two competing bell foundries, both called Meneely Bell Foundry, located in what's now Watervliet, New York. You can make out part of the word "Meneely" in this close-up:



Mailboxes
Meanwhile, closer to home: these mailboxes. Are they waiting in line for something? Or are they part of a parade that's temporarily stopped while a band performs for the judges? Or are they just loitering? They had better watch out, if so. I'm told the police take notice.

procession of mailboxes


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
The guys who oversee the town transfer station (aka the town dump, but some stuff does get transferred for recycling) keep warm in a tiny room attached to the big pit where the nonrecyclable trash gets tossed. You go in there to buy town trash bags or to renew the sticker for your car that lets you go there. Inside, a TV is often on, and, at this time of year, there's a three-bar heater running.

There are two guys there: one is in his sixties and the other is in his thirties. I was renewing my car sticker, which meant showing my registration. "Oh, you live in Drowned Woods.1 I always get lost driving there," the young guy says. "You know," says the older guy, "I used to go hunting up there, before it was developed. I knew every twist and turn, every stone and tree. But not now."

And then we got to talking, and he told some awesome stories about the town, 50 years ago. When he was little, a grand house that's now down the hill from the town common was right on the common. (It was bought for a dollar and moved to its present location in two halves, for $30,000. Now it's apartments.)

the two-headed calf )

He went on to speculate that they must have belonged to the women's now-deceased husbands or sons. Sure, that's what it must have been ;-)

I asked him about a building that's falling down by the railroad tracks where I used to tap maple trees.

a blacksmith )

Getting to hear town history from an old-timer is so wonderful.

1Not its real name. The development is named after one of the drowned Quabbin towns.


asakiyume: (autumn source)






Little Springtime took some embroidery with her to our family's Thanksgiving get-together, prompting my father to bring out a sampler his mother had made when she was in seventh grade, in 1920:

Here's the overall sampler:



sew a fine seam )

A sixteen-year-old's engineering notebook, from 1913-1914 )

And last is a photo not from generations past--it's from this most recent generation of oak leaves: an oak leaf gently afloat on a rolling cobweb sea, between the inner and outer windows:



I liked it--so restful, so liminal.

PS--big thank you to everyone who's contributed suggestions in the previous entry. I'm slowly listening to everything. It's going to be an excellent playlist.


asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
The night before I left for Sirens, [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori had the pleasant job of introducing a Japanese storyteller who was performing at the local university. She does traditional rakugo storytelling, plus original stories, in English. I asked Wakanomori what they were like, and he told me one of the traditional ones she'd told. It was so entertaining I thought I'd share it here. I listened to a couple of Japanese versions of the story, so what you're getting is Motoko-Wakanomori transmission, influenced by those two linked storytellers.

The Cat's Bowl


wherein a farmer has the best of a canny merchant )

Image from this website
asakiyume: (miroku)
This is something that started off as an LJ entry, made a detour as a(n unsuccessful) submission to a magazine, and now returns to its earlier purpose: LJ entry.






While her father examined the various antique doors, complete with their door frames, leaning against one of the long walls of the curio shop, Sharon lingered at the front of the shop, attracted by the fanciest pair of binoculars she'd ever seen. They were standing on a tripod--itself quite fancy, decorated with paintings of men in slashed sleeves and striped doublets, holding falcons and mandolins and ornate cups--and facing out the display window. Through the eyepieces, Sharon could see Cold Spring’s town common, and on the far side of the common, an old-fashioned pickup loaded with hay.

“Hey Dad,” she said, knowing his love of old things extended to cars and trucks, “take a look at this truck!” Sharon glanced behind her when her father didn’t respond and saw that he was deep in conversation with the shop proprietor. A quick look out the window showed that the pickup had already moved on, in any case. But something was odd. Sharon bent to look through the binoculars again, then lifted her head and gazed directly out the window, then repeated this.

On the common, near the low spot that the fire department flooded each winter for ice skating, was the broad stump of a sugar maple that had only this summer been cut down. Through the binoculars, however, Sharon saw a tall, slim tree still decades away from the girth of the stump.

“Whoa,” she breathed. Carefully she turned the binoculars on the tripod, so they pointed diagonally across the common at the liquor store and pizza joint inhabiting the old building at the corner. When she peered through the eyepieces, the FedEx drop box beside the building was gone, as were the air conditioning units in the upper windows. Something about the roof of the building’s porch seemed blurred, but by twisting a butterfly-shaped knob in front of the eyepieces, she was able to make a long sign appear there, with peeling paint and faded letters. Another twist of the knob, and the letters appeared clear and crisp: “Bardwell Dry Goods & General Store,” the y of “Dry” and the e of “Store” ending in flourishes. Sharon gasped as a horse-drawn carriage appeared from behind the store. She tipped the binoculars to pull the scene beyond the store into view and saw apple orchards where a Laundromat, gas station, and nail salon ought to be. She turned the knob several times and the apple orchards dissolved into forest.

“Ah-ah-ah, careful with those,” said the proprietor. With a firm hand on Sharon’s shoulder, she moved the girl away from the binoculars. “They’re from the early eighteenth century, made by Pietro Patroni, the Italian pioneer in chrono-optics. They’re temporal binoculars.”

Read more... )

An actual pair of binoculars by Pietro Patroni



asakiyume: (snow bunting)






So here is the bright red mill building--Aldrich Mill--which we passed on our way to the dino tracks place last weekend.

Aldrich Mill

Look at its lovely foundations. . .

DSCN5899

And the Batchelor Brook, streaming away beside it

Aldrich Mill and river

The earliest mill on this site was used as a distillery, but this mill was built in 1836 to manufacture woolen goods. The Aldrich family acquired an interest in it in the 1840s, and from 1860 on, it was solely theirs. During the Civil War, it manufactured wool blankets. In 1870, it became a grist mill, and in 1913 a blacksmith shop. (Sources for these facts are here. and here. Mr. Nash told us some of them, but I refreshed my memory by searching online.)

Why did the mill have a bell? Maybe for calling people to work?

Aldrich Mill

Bell on Aldrich Mill

In the 1940s, a water wheel was added, but never used. The water wheel isn't on anymore--at least, we couldn't see evidence of it--but here's a picture of what it looked like.

It's still owned by the Aldrich family, according to Mr. Nash.


asakiyume: (miroku)
My neck of the woods turns out to be one of the best places in the United States to see dinosaur footprints. Not bones, but footprints. Who knew?! But it's true. I've known for years that there was a rather idiosyncratic, privately run place nearby ("Nash Dinosaur Tracks") where one can see dinosaur tracks, but I'd never been. But this weekend, [livejournal.com profile] wakanomori and I went there, and it was fabulous.

The back entrance to Nash Dinosaur Tracks, which was the way we ended up entering
back entrance

plaque


Kornell Nash, the current curator, is the son of Carlton Nash, who bought the site in 1939 and ran it until his death in 1997. He told us that a farm boy with the magnificent name of Pliny Moody found the first dinosaur tracks in 1802. He brought them home for a doorstep to his family home,1 and then when he went off to school, he sold them to a doctor, Elihu Dwight, who told the neighborhood children that they were the tracks left by Noah's raven when he was sent out to look for land after the flood (Noah's raven must have been much larger than the ravens we have nowadays... an antediluvian raven).

Mr. Nash, telling us the story of Pliny Moody, Elihu Dwight, and Noah's raven
Mr. Kornell Nash

The footprints of Noah's raven (source)


Dinosaur tracks on display
dinosaur tracks

Mr. Nash's father grew up near the Moody homestead and was fascinated with dinosaurs. In 1933, a year out of high school, he discovered some tracks while prospecting. In 1939, he bought the land he'd found them on. After we talked for a while longer, Mr. Nash let us wander out in the quarry area where to this day he cuts out tracks--and not only tracks: also fossilized fish and wood.

In the quarry
exploring the quarry

A track in situ
track still in the quary

This painting, at the front of the establishment, was painted by an enterprising Hampshire College student who came calling, asking if she could do some painting for him. The website has a page devoted to past signs and paintings here--they're quite fun.

dilophosaurus

(There are more photos from our visit here.)

Mr. Nash also knew lots about local history, including about a beautiful mill building we had passed on our way over--but I'll save pictures of that for a separate entry.

1Paving your walk with dinosaur tracks was apparently all the rage for a while. Wistariahurst, a stately home in Holyoke that was built by the Skinner family, who were silk and satin manufacturers, paved their driveway with them:

Photo by Bill DeGiulio (source)
asakiyume: (miroku)
The novel that I'm inching forward on (more like millimetering forward on) is set in the future, and that's got me thinking about what does and doesn't change in the future, or, to put it another way, how far in the future you'd have to go before something had disappeared or was forgotten entirely. Tech is easy to lose--it can be lost in 20 years, if it's replaced by other things. (This may not seem like a loss, but it is: the skill to use anything is still a skill, even if it's an obsolete skill.)

But other things really stick around--like religions. Go back a thousand years, and the big players that we've got on the religious field today were still there. A THOUSAND YEARS.** And not nation-states, but senses of peoples--they're tenacious, too. Tribalism I guess is the negative-connotation word for this.

I think of this, because some of the things authors want to get rid of by setting novels in the future are things like particular religions or national/tribal identity. And the truth is, I can pretty much accept that, if the story catches me up. It's only when I look at history that I get to thinking about plausibility and implausibility.

**It's true that how religions or the sense of being a people manifest themselves change--flavors of Buddhism or Christianity in 1015 was a lot different from those flavors in 2015, and that leaves lots of room for fun imagination. But the actual thing itself doesn't just disappear. Even religions that are no longer actively practiced remain alive culturally.


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] wakanomori and I are at my father's house tonight, just to make sure he's doing all right, and to bring over a spare computer that I can use if I need to be here again for any length of time.

My father is telling us stories of his youth, of traveling to Italy after World War II, when he was a young man. He was visiting his grandmother in Palermo, and he recalls that they had to put two iron bars across the doors at night because there was a bandit, Giuliano, who was robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. (My great grandfather had started out poor but had made his fortune in Boston, so his widow counted among the rich.)

I searched Giuliano out on Wikipedia. He's quite a looker!

Salvatore Giuliano (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)


Here, yanked shamelessly from his Wikipedia page, is an exploit worthy of the silver screen (and indeed, Giuliano got a film--and an opera):

The bandit's most famous exploit occurred early in his career in 1944—the robbery of the Duchess of Pratameno. He and his men sneaked into her estate unnoticed, and Giuliano was in her salon before she knew what was occurring. He kissed her hand and showed respect for her noble status, but then demanded all of her jewelry. When she refused, Giuliano threatened to kidnap her children. After she handed the loot over, he took a diamond ring from her hand, which he wore for the rest of his life, and borrowed John Steinbeck's “In Dubious Battle” from her library before leaving (which was returned with a respectful note a week later).

My dad also mentioned meeting up with a woman who'd been tortured by the Nazis, escaping from a bordello a well-meaning relative had tried to take him to--oh, all kinds of stories. But the bandit Giuliano stood out.


asakiyume: (birds to watch over you)






Today a dramatic and tragic message-in-a-bottle story came my way. Janis Blower, writing in the Shields Gazette, tells the story of a bottle that washed up in 1861 in South Shields, downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne in Great Britain. The whole story is here, but below are some excerpts:

The letter, which was dated February of the previous year, began: “Dear Friends, when you find this, the crew of the ill-fated ship Horatio, Captain Jackson, of Norwich, is no more.” It went on to say how the vessel had left Archangel, in north-west Russia, on January 8, 1860.

All was well at first, but then the ship found herself scudding before a gale for 10 days non-stop.

After a failed rescue attempt, the crew was reduced to eight, plus the master and mate, second mate, and two boys:

“We are not able to keep her up,” Capt Jackson wrote, describing 8ft of water in the hold and the vessel’s hatches all stove in. “We are worn out.”

He went on: “I write these few lines and commit them to the foaming deep in hopes that they will reach some kind-hearted friend who will be so good as to find out the friends of these poor suffering mortals.

“Death is welcome.”

He concluded the letter by listing the names of all those aboard.

Blower hasn't been able to find a ship called Horatio that was lost at that time. “Did she go down, was she saved? We'll probably never know,” she writes.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] oiktirmos has a link to the complete text of the message in the first comment, below.

ETA 2: But quite likely this is just a dramatic hoax; see this comment, below.

Blower says that this image, which accompanies the story, is from the area where the bottle was found, but probably dates to the interwar years in the twentieth century.



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