Transcription of The Diary of William Whitteker by Dolores Christophel D'Errico

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The Diary of William Whitteker
Transcription from the Original Manuscript Housed in the Special Collection of the Archives of the State of West Virginia
by Dolores Christophel D'Errico, 2007


I have used punctuation which was not present in the original manuscript in order to make it more easily readable. I have also used many modern day spellings which were not used in the original so these words would not be distracting. Some words which were inferred were inserted always using { }. Whenever regular parenthesis were used they had been used in the original. I hope these devices have helped to render more flow to the thoughts of the original writer, my Great Great Great Grandfather, William Whitteker.

According to a penciled note in the files of the West Virginia State Archives,which was apparently written at the time, the book was found in a vacant lot, in the wet grass, by Mr. C. Hedrick, a member of The West Virginia Antiquarian and Historical Society of Charleston, West Virginia, in 1892. It stayed with this society until the establishment of the Archives of the State of West Virginia; and then it was turned over to them. It is still in their Special Collection; and may be seen there at any time.

The book, which I believe was really an autobiography, has been transcribed twice before. However, it has never been published with a full transcription including the section of "Dreams" which appears in the beginning of the manuscript. I believe this section adds much flavor to the rest of the work; and, therefore, I include it.

The Diary of William Whitteker

It will be necessary to write a sort of preamble or preface to explain some incidents of my previous life. I was born in 1775 on the 14th day of January, Princeton, County of Worcester, State Massachusetts; and, myself the eldest of twelve children....and, my parents,although not professors of religion publicly, still they were more strict in the cultivation of good morals in the minds of their children than most professors are in these days. We were never allowed to break the Sabbath by play or going out after nuts or berries of any kind for they used to tell us it was wicked. If we did the bears might catch us and tear us to pieces as they did the 42 in Elisha's time. They would always take us to church or meeting when we could go, or read the Bible or some good book. My father never prayed in his family in my hearing but always asked a blessing before meals; and returned thanks after. On every Sabath we children used to sit around Father or Mother while they taught the shorter catechism until we got them all by heart. Thus they took all the care they were capable of to sew the good seed in the minds of their young children; and that instruction I have never forgotten, although 60 or 70 years ago.

At 14 years old I read all the Bible through from the beginning to end and a great part of it many times since. Thus I was brought up (as the Yankees call it---Virginias say raised up) until I was 20 years old with very little schooling. I barely had from work to learn to read and write and cypher as far as the rule of three. I read many books of a library in the town by firelight I had at night for I had no other time to read, which improved my reading. We lived on a small farm. My father was a carpenter by trade. With him I learned to be half a carpenter and a farmer.

At 20 years old, with a good deal of persuasion, I obtained my father's consent to let me go to Boston to work, which I did in April 1795. I hired myself to a man to work at the carpenter's trade who employed a number of young men like myself.

They had among them a small book called Tom Paine's "Age of Reason" which said that the Virgin Mary was a W----E and that Jesus Christ was a bastard and that the Christian religion was all priest craft. And, I so foolish and ignorant, was very willing to believe it and keeping such company confirmed me in my infidelity for 2 years while I worked in Boston, five years on the ocean, five years on the lakes and river, and so on until in 1816, making in all over 21 years I lived an infidel.

The following dream was the cure of my infidelity. Some time in the fall of the year 1816, I started from Charleston, Virginia for Zanesville, Ohio to attend to the sales of some salt which I had sent there.

And, riding through the woods from the 13 Mile Creek to distant falls 15 miles without a house in this lonesome road, my mind became serously effected about my past life and what were my prospects for the future in this world and in that which was to come beyond the grave.

Well, as I rode along I imagined I saw a cornfield of 3 or 4 acres. I could only see here and there a few small stunted yellow stalks of corn with a few little sharp pointed ears about as long as my finger which were hardly visible owing to the quantity of briers, thorns, and in- numerable other weeds that had sprung up and had choked the growth of the corn. This field I compared to myself. The corn was the good seed which was sewn in my young days by my parents. But, these ill weeds of infidelity had been growing for 21 years and had nearly ruined all the good seed. My serious thoughts increasing as I rode along. At night put up in the Belle Price at the usual place for staying at night.

{Here the page was torn diagonally as though there had been a large dog-ear to it which had disintegrated and the words were as follows.}

When I and said...(Lord this Demon) for he heard me and moment for this above hardly out of my the devil dropped his arms by slank away backward to from he came...might not the Lord sent the same guardian Angel to deliver me although I saw him not that saved my life from the powers of darkness years before when away at sea in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean 1000 miles from any land...there is something to think about...what in all this world is poor mortal man to be delifered from but Devils...there would have been no Christ to destroy the works of the Devil in that case there would have been no Christians if there had never been any devils to destroy us. But all these things are the wonderful works of God that poor mortal man knows nothing about in this world. 34th Psalm, 7 verse, "The Angel of the Lord encapeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them." Hebrews 1, 14th verse, "Are they not all ministering ...drits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." When I awoke from the dream I was laying on my bed, tears of joy streaming from my eyes. The long neglected Saviour had sent his Angel and delivered me the second time from the powers of Darkness. From that time my faith in Christ has been fully confirmed and established and I can never doubt again.

In 1817 myself and my wife were baptized and joined the Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Henry Ruffner who was the first Presbyterian Minister in this town and organized the first church in Charleston, who also baptized all our children.

Oh the wonderful goodness and mercy of God towards myself, my wife, and all our children that we should be drawn by his spirit to accept that grace, so freely offered to us in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and take upon us his everlasting covenenant of Salvation....which is the Blood of Christ made known to us in his gospel; and, may we all have grace even unto us to life as becomes it...and to dwell together in unity and Godly love....and, may a spirit of meekness, quietness, and peace be the friut of our daily worship, walk, and conversation, so that when we are called to appear before the judgement seat of Christ we shall not be confounded.

Another Dream in 1834

I dreamed that the day of Judgement was come. I was standing close before the Academy in Charleston...and the Last Trumpet beginning to sound, and every sound waxed louder and louder than a thousand thunders which shook the earth as though it was going to drop to pieces. The ground under my feet was in such motion that I could not stand without holding myself up by something. I thought I was not prepared for Judgement. I tried to pray but all I could think of to say was the first verse in the 103rd Psalm "Bless the Lord all my Soul and all that is within me Bless His Holy Name." This I continued to repeat and the Tumpet still sounding. I saw the Judge descending, sitting on a cloud or pillow of fire which appeared about as large as a four acre lot; and, all around this pillow of fire was something like latticework to prevent the full force of the blaze of it from striking the eyes of mortals for no man could have beheld the full force of the brightness and lived. As it drew nearer the intense brightness faded away and when it came close to me, the Judge came down out of the car of fire and walked up to me and shook hands with me as a friend and showed me the print of the Nails in each hand by which he was crucified. I felt of the scars which were healed over. By the scars the nails must have been 3/8 of an inch wide and half as thick and the callous raised about 1/8 of an inch above the surface of the hand on the inside. He was about six feet in stature, stout made.

I awaked as usual after dreams and saw no one....

Wm. Whittker {signature}

A Dream at Burlington, Iowa 1846, month of March

I dreamed that I had some hay laying in windrows over a small branch of water which I was to haul on the shores. I called on my sons, Norris and William F., to get pitchforks and help me. They were there with their forks immediately. My son, Henry, came also, who had been dead for 17 months, and stood between the other two sons with something like a new spade. I said, Henry, you must get a fork; you can't pitch hay with a spade. He went away and returned with something resembling a fork; but, still there was the resemblance of a spade halfway up the tines of the fork. I thought then that Henry had come to dig his mother's grave ....or mine. We returned home to Charleston and on the 21st of June 1846, my wife, his mother, died.

The foregoing are all the Dreams that I could never forget.

(Here is a fragment of the Diary, probably belonging to this section of Dreams and appears to be a dream which Wm. had when he was sick with the Small Pox on the second China voyage.)

hold of each arm stretched out tight and fast and two others of them one hold of each leg thus I was fixed immovable while the old Devil, who had said that these creatures could not hurt me, raised up a great broad axe to cut off my head. Just as the axe was about to descend. that critical moment, a light as white as snow shined into the room the Devils were gone, in a moment I saw them no more. I turned my eyes toward the door from which the light came. I saw the shape of a man just passing the door. I saw all his body except his face which was just past the door. He was enveloped in a robe of light as white as snow and so transparent that his body was plainly seen through it. It was all around him and trailed 10 feet behind him. I expect that this was about the turn of the Small Pox for I began to get better every day after this.

A song often sung by sailors is.....

" There's a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft that keeps watch for the life of poor Jack."

Although this happened 48 years ago, it is more fresh in my mind now than it was at that time. In my subsequent life, it has been more strongly impressed on my mind that this was a Guardian Angel...and that the Lord was leading me in the way I knew not....for had those Devils, the powers of Darkness, been permitted to take my life at that time....Hell must have been my portion forever ....for I was an infidel at that time and a blaspheming swearing wretch. Nothing was too bad for me to speak as was then the common habit of sailors.

the next dream I have to record was 17 years after the foregoing one, which was a complete cure for my infidelity or unbelief in Christ, to be the Savior of the World, which was from 1795 to 1816, 21 years.

{Here ends the fragment and the section on Dreams.}

Here follows a memorandum of the wanderings and ramblings of William Whitteker of Princeton, County of Worcester, State of Massachusetts, for 11 years of his life from 1795 to 1806 by sea and land, rivers and lakes, and number of miles traveled on each voyage and journey.

In April 1795 I went to Boston to work at the carpenters trade. Here I continued to work summers, spring, and fall for near two years; but, spent the winters in Princeton with my parents and the family. Distance travelling up and down 6 times - 300 miles.

1797, on February 15th, I took a notion, as most all the Yankees do when they start off anywhere. Well, I took the stage to Providence Rhode on my route to Philadelphia (45 miles). Here, I took a packet to Newport (30 mi), here I was detained for 10 days waiting for a passage to Philadelphia. At last worked my passage on board of the ship called "The Arab" of Philadelphia. (385 mi) Here I stayed 10 days on board before she sailed, March 2nd, with a fair wind and weather all day. At night the wind beginning to blow a gale from the south. Called all hands, reefed top sails, wind right ahead and a rough sea agoing. I never having been at sea before, I was dreadful seasick, you may be sure. I wished myself at home and I thought to myself that I would rather live on shore on bread and water than be at sea an hour again. March 3rd - called all hands to take in sail, it blowing gale from Northwest. The Captain sent me down in steerage to strike a light. I had almost as soon the ship had gone to the bottom as to move. Let fly from my mouth a stream a fathom long. Some of the sailors laughed and some cursed me said "Damn your eyes, you boogar, go on deck and spew." I weathered away upon it for four or five days before I got well of my seasickness.

385 from Newport to Phila. distance 600

Total: 985

I lived in a cabin with the Captain, and having no cook on board, I cooked for the Captain and ate and slept in his stateroom. Not called to keep watch at night. A greenhorne like me would have been of no use on deck at night. This passage has been an exceeding cold with continued gales from the Northwest. March 9th got a pilot and the 10th arrived at Philadelphia. I went insearch of my relatives, found Norris Standley. His wife a sort of cousin of mine with whom I boarded when in Philadelphia. While here I went to Navigation School four weeks. Not withstanding all the dreadful seasickness, cold weather, and gales of wind which I experienced in coming to Philadelphia, I now came to the determination to make a voyage to China. The new and beautiful ship "New Jersey" was just about shipping her hands for the voyage. I crowded in among the rest and put my name down, too, as carpenter's mate for Canton in China, on the ship "New Jersey" of Philadelphia, George Clay, master, with three super cargoes and two mates with one doctor, boatswain, carpenter, and one sailmaker, 12 hands before the mast or old sailors, with steward, cook, and boys making in all 34 for the whole ship's company.

{Note: I researched Norris Stanley and found he and his brother were both sea captains. He probably filled William's head with stories of sea adventures while he was there.}

25th to 28th, all hands employed in bending sails and cables and getting ships stores on board and filling water casks and taking on board 18 tons of gin and $200,000 in specie for the voyage. 29th, the pilot came on board got ship under weigh and dropped her down to Glocester Point three miles lay all night. 30th, got under weigh and ran down to New Castle came to anchor, lay here three days, took in livestock for the voyage.

May 3rd, sailed again for the capes with a fair wind. May 6th, left the capes of the Delaware, set the pilot ashore at 6 pm Cape Henlopen, bore WNW 7 or 8 leagues.

May 20th, second mate and the carpenter, a six foot red headed Scotsman fell out which brought the Captain and the super cargoes on deck at 11 O'clock sprung the fore and main top gallant masts, called all hands to clear the wreck.

May 26th, we crossed the Equatorial Line. A pleasant voyage so far. The Captain, Officers, and Super Cargoes, never having crossed the line before, would not permit the usual ceremony of shoving and ducking, as they always begin with them first; but, they sent plenty of grog to the old sea dogs which satisfied them.

June 18th, 47 days since we left Cape Henlopen...the Captain put all hands on an allowance of water, two quarts per day, and not half passage yet. Friday is the day we have to wash and mend our clothes. Saturday is always the day to scrub and clean ship and sprinkle with vinegar the cabin midships and the forecastle below deck.

Ship fare and stores for every day in the week: Monday; beef and bread, Tuesday; beef and potatoes, Wednesday; pork and beans, Thursday; pork or beef and sauerkraut, Friday; pork and bread, Saturday; bread beef and potatoes if we have any, Sunday; on Sunday we always have sea pie (ashore called pot-pie) if we have any fresh meat to make one, if not the cook makes a large flour pudding mixed with clam slush on top of the pot saved from boiling beef and pork. With this he mixes his crust for the sea pie. We also have corn meal mush twice a week for breakfast, about a gallon and a half of molasses for six in a mess. This is put in the kid (some thing in the shape of keeler) and a pint of molasses poured in the center, each one sitting with his iron spoon helps himself as suits him best.

June 29th, up with the Cape of Good Hope, middle winter here and very cold weather and heavy gales.

July 13th, 70 days from Cape Henlopen, saw the island of St. Paul's, a small barren island of rock. We ran within one mile of it. We could only see a few shrubs growing on it.

July 16th, this day a distressing and melancholy accident happened to us. This day Mr. Gordon, the chief mate, fell overboard and lost after every exertion was made that could be made to save him. The jollyboat was sent for him; but could not find him. Suppose some shark may have caught him and took under. The ship was running 8 miles per hour at the time round her, too, with all sails set, carrying away many small spars.

July 18th, carried away our main top mast and mizen top mast at 7 pm called all hands to clear the wreck. In the morning got new masts up and sails set.

July 29th, this day got around Java Head into the straits of Sunda. Here we had to keep the lead always going. In all this strait sounding five to twenty fathoms.

July 30th, running near a small Dutch station on Java Island there came off to us as we lay at anchor, 7 Malay prows with a Dutchman in each, otherwise they would not have been allowed to come nigh us. We carry our guns to defend ourselves from these savages. We saw at least 100 other boats in sight. The boats made fast to us had turtle of which the Captain bought 11 for $15 weighing from 50 to 100 pounds each. We had turtle soup all the way to Canton. Besides, these Indians had fowls, monkeys, fish, bananas, oranges, eggs, and sugar. These savages are about the size and color of American Indians.

Aug 4th, left the straits of Banca and now in the China Seas.

Aug 14th, we got into the Mecca Roads, the pilot came on board and took us up to Boga Minor. Here two Mandarins came on board with a pass for the ship and another pilot for Wampoo. Arrived safe and moored ship. Distance of passage 20,000 miles.

20,985 mi

Here we lay for three months or nearly. Here our ship was stripped and overhauled and rigging and sail repaired for starting home while the carpenter and myself, his mate, overhauled and caulked all the upper works, sides, and decks of the ship.

Now began to take in cargo of teas of all kinds and China ware with Nankeen Silk and a few boxes of pulverized loaf sugar and some of rhubarb. This was our homeward cargo. While here all hands were allowed three days to Canton to make their little trades. Lack of money made them very small. I went up a number of times with the Captain and Super Cargoes to help pull the pinnace, the Captain's boat of six oars, with our stars and stripes flying. All shipping lay at Wampoo, sixteen miles from Canton, not allowed to go any higher.

Nov 10th, this morning the Chow Chow Chop or the last of the 14 Chop loads which completed our cargo. Caulked down the hatches. The super cargoes came on board with the pilots, got our ship under weigh for home.

Nov 12th, set the pilot ashore at Macao and left with a fresh breeze to cross the China Seas. The winds called the Monsoons having changed to the Northwest in October. The winds in the China Seas and Straits of Banca and Sunda and the Indian Ocean always blow from October to April from N.E. and from April to October from S.W. However, it has been observed that about one month before the change of these winds these seas are subject to storms and hurricanes.

Nov 20th, made the straits of Caspa. The Captain preferred these straits to Banca to keep out of the way of cruisers. The island of Sumatra makes one side of all these straits.

Nov 24th, got into the straits of Sunda. Passed these straits and got into the Indian Ocean.

Dec 26th, saw the isle of Borbon whose form is like great hay stack. We saw it 120 miles by the run of our ship. When abreast of it we could see the clouds strike one third or one half way up divide and go around on either side. There appeared to be low table land around the bottom of this mountain where the coffee is raised.

Jan 3rd, saw the Cape of Good Hope, distance 10 leagues. Coming on to blow a gale, took all the sail except the main and main staysail. Laid the ship to four days. When it cleared up saw the Cape of Good Hope again and left with a fair wind; 61 days from China.

Feb 15th, 96 days from China; expected to be home in a few days. At daylight, this morning, we saw a sail ahead. Standing toward us she hauled her wind and ran to winward of us. She hoisted French Colors and fired three guns with round shot and grape, which by good luck hit the water and did not reach us. She hailed us in broken English and ordered us to send our boat aboard of his brig. The Captain sent the first mate and four hands, which to our surprise, returned with six Frenchmen and a Prizemaster. They continued exchanging until they got 23 of us on board the Privateer then said we were their prize; then bore away for Puerto Rico, a Spanish Island. She was a brig of 16 guns with 100 men, Spaniards and French and Creole. The same night the French called us all aft and said if we behaved well he would treat us as well as his own Pape; but, if we made any disturbance; "By God, we cut you to pieces." So, we told him we would behave ourselves. They turned all down in the hold at night with strong guard at the hatchway, to sleep on the ballast stone and other rubbish. Thus we fared three days and nights.

Feb 16th, close in with the land saw the harbor of St. Johns Puerto Rico. At 10 came to anchor in the harbor here. They kept us til March 7th aboard the Privateer. Our fare for eating was poor in the extreme. It was tripe and chittlins and any kind of offal meat that was to be had in the market. Sometimes black eyed peas and bread of which we had a small allowance and in addition to this they stole all our clothing except what we happened to have on our backs. All the clothes I had left me to wear at this time was one flannel shirt, one pea jacket, one tarpolin hat covered with tarred canvas, and one pair of old trousers with canvas patch on behind and down the fore part of the legs nearly all the way and barefoot. This was all my wardrobe.

Mar 8th, went ashore for the first time in this place. No one belonging to the ship was allowed to go off the vessel or ashore. The ship's hatches were all sealed down by the French Consul the next day after we came into port so we could get none of our clothes that might be left out of the ship. Well, could not help but think this was hard times for poor Jack's first voyage. Two of the super cargoes of our ship were ashore. They spoke to four of us that were ashore together; if we were willing to take a trip to Santo Domingo to see how the trial of the ship was coming on, to which we were all agreed. They hired a six man open boat with two small masts and sails. We made ready.

Mar 9th, at nine at night, after the city gates were shut, having everything except water, we all went privately into the boat having in our care muffled in the rowlocks that we could row without making the least noise for we had to go close by the Privateer that took us for they would not allow anyone belonging to our ship to go to Santo Domingo to attend the trial of our ship; the reason we had to steal away. Well, so we started with a boat with two Spaniards ahead to pilot us out of the harbor. Seven of us in number; one a Frenchman who had been taken, as we were in like situation. We rode silently on until we cleared the harbor and then discharged our pilots. Got about 3 miles at 11 O'clock made sail. We found ourselves clear of the harbor and forts. We continued to run along down the land all night with a light land wind, for the wind always blows off the land at night. The NE sea breeze set in at 9 or 10 in the morning and blew all day.

Mar 10th, In the morning at daylight we found we had run about 20 miles from the city. We heard several guns at the city. Being calm we were obliged to row 4 hours. when the sea breeze set in we had as much wind as we could carry sail to and at 6 pm were down to the West end of the island. We hoisted French Colors and put French Cockades in our hats. We run in here to a place called Aquadilla, belonging to Spain; but, at this time the French had control of all these seaport towns of this island. We run in here to get water for the rest of our voyage which is 310 miles. Our Frenchman, that they might not suspect our business, told them he was a prizemaster of an American Brig and was going to Santo Domingo for the trial. He could speak good English, French, and Spanish. We filled two bags of water and laid in such other stores as we could get which were small and sailed again at 8 O'clock p.m. with a clear sky and fair wind. To cross the Mona Passage, 200 miles wide between the islands of Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo in our little open boat, we had only a compass to steer by. No light, we had to light a cigar to look at the compass then take a star to steer by to keep the right course.

Mar 11th, saw the Island of Mona halfway across. There being a heavy sea going and calm we were obliged to row half this day to keep sea from setting us on the island; the shore lined with high rocks. At 7 O'clock at night it began to look very black and dark to North of us. At 10 began to rain and blow like a hurricane. Myself being at the helm, kept the boat away right before the wind and the others took in all sail and we scudded under bare poles until 11 O'clock . The sea running very high and began to come with whitecaps. We expected every moment when they would break into our little open boat and send us all to Old Davy Jones' Locker, which lays at the bottom of the ocean. We took reef in the foresail and set as much sail as we could to keep the boat ahead out of the way of the sea that was breaking behind us. In about an hour the wind died away calm and we were safe. It rained very very hard most all night with the rain and breaking of the sea into us kept two hands constantly bailing during the storm and rain.

Mar 12th, saw the East end of Santo Domingo. Being calm rowed quarter part of this day and night and run outside of the island of Siona which lies on the SE point of Santo Domingo; when had we known we might have run inside sound 10 miles. Continued to run along shore but we lay three hours this night for fear we should run past the harbor, when we were not within 60 miles of it.

Mar 13th, this day we continued to run down shore with a fine breeze. Our provisions getting short, we only had one biscuit per man this 24 hours. We had a little water left and some gin and a small piece of cheese.

Mar 14th, this morning we divided our stock of provisions; three biscuits for four of us for this 24 hours. A little water left yet and no sign of Santo Domingo yet. At 6 am spoke with a Spanish fisherman at anchor near shore who gave us part of a baked fish and three cakes of kisada bread which was thankfully received. Who told us it was 10 leagues to Santo Domingo. And being calm most of this day and night we had to row and raining very hard most of the day. At 6 pm saw the city of Santo Domingo distant 4 leagues. Here we were suddenly surprised by a grampus that jumped out of the water not half our boat's length from us. Had he fallen on us would have dashed our boat to pieces and us all have gone down with it. The grampus I think are a small whale. We have so far been preserved by a kind providence on this perilous journey. At 11 at night saw the lights in the city. Pulled into the harbor unperceived by the guard it being very dark and at 12 O'clock we got alongside of a schooner of Boston. Here we met a kind reception and they happened to have left from their last meal kid of pork and beans with bread on which we supped and nothing ever tasted so good before or since, for I never was so hungry and tired before. After supper, myself and one hand went and slept on the stern sheets in our boat, making an awning with one sail spread over a boom. There was left in the stern locker by the officers a bottle of good old Madeira wine; we divided that between us. We laid down and slept soundly until morning. When we waked up a Spanish officer of the guard house was standing over us cursing very hard in Spanish, being a strange boat and not knowing how it came there. However, the French Captain settled the business with him.

Mar 15th, we lived on board this vessel one week when she sailed for another port on this island.

Mar 22nd, the super cargoes put us on board the schooner Friendship of Boston. Here we lived 14 days in idleness and discontent waiting to hear the fate of our ship but could get nothing but put off and delays.

Apr 3rd, by this time the Friendship sailed for Boston and then they put us on board of the schooner Orange of Boston. Here we remained until the 13th when the schooner Swift arrived from Philadelphia, dispatched by the owners of our ship to carry on the trial of the ship, likewise brought an American Consul for the city of Santo Domingo. Here we continued two months and no news about the ship's trial. A ship taken and brought in here from Charleston, South Carolina laden with rice bound to England and condemned. As I had no employment I worked on board of her one month at $20 per month to get me some clothes as I was hard run for that article; and cigars for I smoked 25 per day when to be had.

June 24th, I heard some news that our ship was condemned. I applied immediately to the super cargoes to let me go back to Puerto Rico to which they unwillingly consented. What made us more anxious, we expect the ship hatches would be opened and the French rascals would steal what few things we had left. We got a pass from the French Consul to Puerto Rico. They gave a protection and $10 a piece for two only of us to bear our expenses. One Captain Work went along with us. We made him our guardian; he being better acquainted with men and things than we. So, we took passage in Spanish launch or small schooner. Three of us with nine Spaniards and sailed about dark and run up the island breeze all night.

June 26th, this day a fresh breeze right ahead. We were obliged to beat all day, at night come to anchor close in shore and lay all night. In the morning got under way and come to again in the passage between the little Siona Island and the mainland of Santo Domingo. Here we lay for two days. Sailed again and got clear of this passage, light wind and fair weather.

June 30th, fair weather at 12 O'clock. Come to anchor under the lea of Mona Island. Myself and six others went on shore to see if we could find any game but could........{missing}.

Traveled all the way near the sea shore past a little town called Miaguine. Here lay several vessels, three of them American prizes brought in here by French Privateers. Put up this night at good natured Spaniard's who gave us good supper and lodging for our horses.

July 5th, prepared to start before daylight but the good Spaniard was up before us and would let us go until we had taken a cup of coffee, some fricased chicken and rice, and then refused to receive any pay for all his trouble. Had a beautiful little son playing round us. I gave him a dollar and said adieu, Seignor and we set out for Aquadilla. This is the town we stopped at when going down in the boat. Past this town proceeded on our way over hills and mountains and rivers. A rough road and only a foot path all the way. Saw coffee growing spontaneous along the road and the hill and mountainsides yellow with the sour orange. This night the house of a priest brought us up. We entered the house and asked for supper and lodging; they said yes. We called for some milk which was soon brought; but we concluded they had made it half water. Here we lay all night on a dirty floor with plenty of fleas. At daybreak we ordered our guides to get our horses. We all started without saying Adieu Senora to our landlady.

July 6th, this day fair weather, a rough road over hills and mountains for 15 miles without a house. One high mountain, the path run up in a serpentine form, say two miles. Here we met 100 Spanish soldiers who were very polite, saying as we passed Adieu Senor. Ferryed some rivers by canoe this day. Stopped at night at mean old house. We were obliged to lay in a sort of poor old hammock wove in cane marshes like fish net. I slept as uneasy as if we had been in from all night. We set out this morning before daybreak for St. Johns where our ship lay. We arrived at a river six miles from the city. Here hired a canoe to take us over for we had to cross the harbor to get to the city. At 2 pm arrived at the city; our ship still lying safe moored. Here I found about half my old ship mates. The others, some had gone home, one or two bad wild boys had gone on board French Privateers, and one had got his head shot off. We all went on shore and bought a bottle of wine together. In my long absence all the ship's company that remained were put by the French on board of an old hulk of a ship laying in the harbor about a mile from shore with the liberty to go ashore every morning to draw our rations, which were some meat and bread and a bottle of rum to each mess in lieu of coffee.

This old ship we used to call our prison ship but we could go ashore when we pleased in the day time. But we had no money to spend and hardly clothes to wear. Sometimes we could get work for a day or two to raise a little for cigars and tobacco to chew. At this time I smoked my two dozen per day when they could be had. I drank no spirits at all. By this I believe is one cause of my having good health; while the rum drunken were dying of yellow fever like rotten sheep all around me. But how soon my time may come to go, too, God only knows. My times are always in his hands and there I always leave them and they will be safe always there.

July 9th, the prize master of our ship opened the hatches to give the people their clothes; but I believe their chief object was to plunder us of the best of our clothes which they did overhauling every man's chest and took everything of any value. We some of us got work at $1 per day for near a month on board the ship Ocean, which was a great help to buy me clothes and cigars in my destitute situation.

Aug 13th, Mr. Gibson, the super cargo arrived from Santo Domingo who said the ship and cargo was condemned as a lawful prize and they had bought her in again. Then we took possession of our ship; but our captors threatened to burn the ship as she had been condemned for the benefit of the French Republic alone and no share for them. For our safety the Governor sent a guard of ten soldiers on board to guard the ship.

Aug 19th, all hands went on board, went to work, and got her nearly ready for sea when the French Consul come on board and ordered us all out of the ship again; and took all the sails on shore, pretending they were afraid we would run away with the ship some night. We had to watch night and day and sing out every half hour all is well, the ten soldiers still on board, for the French rascals still threatened to burn or cut her adrift. The Captain hired a house ashore for us to live in until the business was further settled.

Aug 27th, early this morning, Mr. Gibson, the super cargo, sent for me by the second mate that I must come to his lodgings, which I did. He asked me if I willing to go to Santo Domingo again. I said yes I was willing to do all I could for the ship. He said he wanted me to go with a dispatch to the ship agent there this afternoon. Said he, there's a schooner going will get you to go and bespeak passage. I did so. Returned told Mr. Gibson and made ready and let no one know where I was going. I then repaired to the place appointed, received his letters, wrapped them in my handkerchief and tied round me under my old flannel shirt; sailed at sunset. The third day after, arrived at Santo Domingo. Went directly on shore and delivered my package to the ship's agent as directed. Went on board the Swift, my old place of residence. Very sickly at this place with yellow fever and vomit.

Sep 9th, Dr. Stevens, the agent, sent for me again who told me he wanted me to return to Puerto Rico with some letters to Mr. Gibson, the super cargo.

Sep 10th, at night sailed in a Spanish schooner with two hands for our ship and 20 Spaniards and Frenchmen on board.

Sep 12th, this morning saw three English ships of war at anchor under the west end of Siona Island. And our poor Spaniard, afraid, put back behind a neck of land out of sight of the enemy and lay all day. At night got under way and stood to the 3rd day come to Aquadilla harbor. Lay one day, sailed again and after beating to windward two days they come to anchor close in shore at a little town called Auricus, thirty-six miles short of our journey's end. Here we could get no horses; were obliged to walk the rest of the way without a guide. After traveling 20 miles, there being many cross paths, we missed our way and come out on the sea shore and night coming on and three miles from any house, we concluded to make our bed in the dry sea sand. We burrowed in it as well as we could to protect us some from the swarms of mosquitoes and other insects. One of us keeping watch by turns while the other sleeps. In the morning a Spaniard come along and put us in the right path with directions. We marched on the first house we come to. Was one I stopped at on the other trip by land. Here we got our breakfasts. Set out again arrived at St. Johns and our ship at 12 O'clock September 30th. Delivered my letters to Captain Clay of our ship all safe.

Distance run passage to Canton, etc. 20,985 mi Canton to Puerto Rico 20,000 2 trip St. Johns to Santo Domingo 1,800

Total 42,785 miles

Nov 19th and having got possession of our ship again, we made ready for sea and home again. The schooner Swift arrived from Santo Domingo with arms and ammunition. We now mounted twelve six pounders and two twelve pounders and other arms in proportion and 69 men of all grades with a determination to defend ourselves in case of attack.

Nov 20th weighed our anchor at 6 pm and set sail once more for the United States with the schooner Swift, with fine weather for 3 or 4 days and then head winds blowing a gale from the NW.

Dec 5th, we made the land to the south of Cape Hateras with hard storms. Next day saw many small vessels in shore of us but no pilot. At night we saw Cape Henlopen light house. At night fired guns and hoisted a lantern at the main top gallant masthead but no pilot. Cold rain and hail from the southeast all night. Laying off and on for a pilot.

Dec 7th, as we were running about six miles from shore south of the Delaware Capes, at 6 pm our ship struck on Chincotiege shoals. And, heavy sea running, she struck so hard that it broke and carried away our rudder hinges and chains. All gone but 8 or 9 feet at the upper end. After thumping 15 minutes we wore ship by the sails and cleared the shoal without any other damage. We were obliged to steer the ship by the sails all night and the carpenter and myself, his mate, made a new rudder by splicing a spar to the head of the old one and bolting spars together. This This artificial rudder was hung by 8 O'clock in the morning by working all night. I thought I never felt such cold weather before, having been so long in the West Indies and no winter clothes. After this, we were beating off the capes against the hardest gales from the North West and cold. Can't tell how cold it was. Still at night firing a gun every half hour with a lantern and no pilot yet.

Dec 11th, beating into the mouth of the bay at 6 am, by the bad look out of the mate, close under Cape Henlopen lighthouse, we struck on the shoal called The Old Hen and Chickens, a very dangerous place. Here we expected to see our ship lost, but it happened to be low tide and the wind off shore; and heaving many things overboard we hove off by anchor and cable. After thumping four hours here a pilot came on board. Once more made sail for home; the wind coming cold and hard ahead from NW. In heading up the bay, the pilot plumped the ship in the mud on Bombahook Bar. Here we lay five days and the sea running thick and hard, made a bank as the ship on the upper side creaned her half over. We discharged half the cargo into lighters. At last, in the night, in a cold NE snow storm, hove her off. In the morning run up to Reedy Island Piers through fields of ice. Could get no farther. Made fast behind the piers, secure from ice; and lay there five weeks, a long time for us.

1798 42,785 mi

Jan 15th (1799), the river got pretty clear of ice. Unmoored from the piers and sailed up the river on the 16th, there coming down fields of ice. Coming down so strong and heavy, cut our cables in two. 17th, run into the pier at Marcus Hook and moored the ship again. Laid here 10 days; then sailed again for Philadelphia where we at last arrived safe after a voyage of 21 months and eight days. Where the generous merchants paid all hands that stayed with the ship their wages for the whole voyage, according to their word. Thus ends my first voyage to sea.

Distance from Puerto Rico home 2,500

April 26th, 1799, I now determined to take another voyage to China; and, as the ship wanted a great many repairs, I went to work on board of her with the ship carpenter. I worked 38 days at $2 per day for which I received $ 76 wages last voyage 340 Received by cash 416

Paid out on voyage for clothing & sundries 48 on hand for this voyage $368

Distance 45,285 mi


Philadelphia May 9th, I shipped on board of the ship New Jersey for a second voyage to Canton in China and direct back again at twenty-four dollars per month as carpenter's mate. On the 13th, sailed with four hundred dollars as a venture, as sailors call it, from my saving from last voyage. With money earned while repairing ship and advance pay when I shipped for this voyage, besides paying for my board while ashore and some clothing for the voyage. Our ship sails this voyage as a Lettremark, mounting 14 guns, 12-6s and 2-12 pounders, 6 swivels, 10 blunderbuses, 50 muskets, 2 dozen of boarding pikes; and ammunition with 50 men, Captain John Rosseter with two Irish mates.

May 18th, sailed from New Castle down the river and bay beating down with wind ahead. 20th, put the pilot ashore and left Capes once more for China.

May 22, I was taken with a violent pain in my back and bones and sore all over. The doctor gave me a dose of salts.

May 23rd, still a pain in my back and bones. The doctor sent me some boiled chicken and soup and gave me a dose of cream of tartar.

May 24th, the doctor came down to me, as I lay in my hammock, I felt rather worse. He bled me; took about 12 ounces of blood. Very painful night of it last night.

May 25th, I had a breaking out all over my body. I showed it to the doctor. He said it was the Small Pox and gave me another dose of salts; and, said that it was well for me that he bled me. I went on deck; stayed for most of the day.

May 26th, the doctor looked at me, said he thought the pox was coming out very well; and, if I took care of myself, I would have it favorable.

May 27th, the Captain ordered me not to come on deck again as there were some of the hands that had never had the Small Pox. I now thought that I should have a long, tedious time of it below in my hammock. It called into exercise all my patience. The good doctor paid every attention to me that was necessary. By his advice, washed my eyes every half hour with water to prevent the pox from affecting them. My feet were very sore. Having gone barefoot so much the other voyage, the skin on the bottom of my feet was thick as leather. The pox could not break through it. It was obliged to come all off whole. They felt like a hot iron was held to them for three days. The doctor had to lance them to let the matter out. My medicine at this time was a spoonful of salts and molasses every two hours. And my diet mush and molasses and boiled rice; sometimes chicken broth by the doctor's orders, crackers and preserves when I could get them. Thus I worried along for four or five weeks, so weak that I could hardly move in my hammock. Is a blessed thing that I had a hammock. Had I been in a berth, the roll of the ship would have torn all the skin off me. Some account of this in my first dream written this book. Once writing it in the same book is enough.

June 24th, came on deck for the first time for 4 weeks. Feel very hearty, but so weak I can hardly stand, little more than skin and bones. My feet dreadful sore; not able to bear any weight on them, the skin entirely off. The doctor put plasters many days. Almost obliged to creep on my hands and knees.

June 29th, crossed the equinoctial line.

July 1st, began to work today. All well this passage of our ship to Canton. The route same as the other voyage. We arrived October 2nd at Wampoo in China and moored our ship.

45,285 20,000

Total miles 65,285

Oct 3rd, Captain and super cargoes went up to Canton to live while the ship stays to lay in the cargo for home, which was teas, nankeens, and chinaware; and silks and rhubarb. This was done while all hands were overhauling and repairing ship for passage home. And having laid out my money for things to sell when I get home again. And a set {of} China with my name on it for own use and other things. And the ship having all her cargo on board, we sailed November 24th from Wampoo, following the same route home as the last voyage (except to the West Indies). We arrived at Philadelphia April 2nd, 1800, all well.

Distance run this passage 21,000

And with my wages this voyage and with the sales of all the things bought at Canton, made up the sum of $1,000 in specie to look at when I get home to my father after an absence of three years and a half. In all this time I never spent any money like fool in bad company.

April 10th, took a trip to Baltimore by water in a schooner.

Distance miles 500 To Washington City by stage 44 Returned to Baltimore 44 Baltimore to Philadelphia by sea 500

Total miles 87,373


In May I sailed from Philadelphia for Boston in a schooner and arrived safe and by land to Princeton, my old native home, safe with a $1000, china, and some other curiosities which made some of the natives stare who had never been further from home than mill or to meeting. Now spent some time with my friends in Princeton and Boston.

Distance 900

Total miles 88,273

Sometime in June sailed again in the ship Favorite of Boston for Malaga Spain up the straits of Gibralter with a cargo of Cod Fish for the Catholics to eat in Lent. And, in return, a cargo of wine, raisins, and figs and so forth for the Yankees to keep Thanksgiving with, as is customary with them. On our passage out, near the Banks of Newfoundland, when almost calm, we saw following our ship, close under our stern, a monster called by seamen the Sea Devil. With his back sometimes out of the water, he appeared to {be} 15 or 18 feet wide, 25 or 30 feet long, shaped much like our water turtles with a rough brown shell in shape and formed like a turtle on the back with fins and flipper in proportion to the size of his body. With two heads six feet apart of the form of the turtles, which would run out like the turtles or be drawn in under the shell. I saw this done, it would run out 3 or 4 feet. The diameter of the neck and head I should think was 12 or 15 inches and there were a great number of pilot fish just ahead of him and swimming each side of the heads. The pilot fish are the size of a blue catfish or three pounds and color and mouth like a sucker. They also go with the whale and many other large fish and by suction fasten themselves somehow to the sides of those big fish and suck when hungry then let go and play before them. This devil followed us one hour when a breeze sprang up and we left him; went on our voyage. When coming near the Straits of Gibralter saw many Spanish gunboats cruising in the straits and taking many Yankee vessels they can. As we drew near we saw one of those gunboats firing at a Yankee schooner from Maine. We bore down towards the gunboat gave her a gun and she run for the shore, supposing we were a ship of war for we showed 16 guns; but 10 were Quakers, wooden guns. Thus we saved the Yankees that time. We passed the straits, run up to Malaga, 60 miles, our place of destination. Here we lay six weeks discharging and taking in a cargo of wines, raisins, and figs, etc. Had to wait two weeks to sail with an English fleet and in protection of a frigate and a sloop of war; for two or three French Privateers were waiting to take us when we sailed. They said our ship would make an bon privateer. We sailed with the fleet and arrived safe in Boston in November.

The whole distance out from home 7,000 mi

Total miles 95,273

Brought home with me some wine, raisins, and figs and raisin grapes packed in sawdust in a

{At this point there are several pages missing and the mile total picks up at a balance of 101,084 and the year 1803}

1803 101,084

and inch plank, enough for the bottom. Nailed them across the bottom in two days. My boat was made 20 feet long, 5 1/2 feet wide, and rigged with oars loaded. And, we started on Le Boef Lake which is one mile diameter; and got into the outlet about three rods wide. Shallow with sand bars, the water being very low, we had to wade and drag the little boat miles over these bars. At this time a big old Genowa Sailor was with us to help me along. Both of these men were happy to work their passage to get along for they had no money. They were first rate, especially the old sailor. We got into French Creek and running a rocky ugly shoal above Meadville bumped her on a stone and stove. Pulled the boat ashore unloaded. I went down to Meadville two miles. Bought me a large pine perogue, 50 feet long, 2 1/2 feet wide. Brought her up, loaded in my goods. Went safely next past the town of Franklin at the mouth of French Creek and proceeded down the Allegheny; this in October. Snowed for three days. A rough river to run. Arrived at Pittsburgh.

Distance 206

Total miles 101,290

We have been 12 days from Le Boef here. Always camped by our boat overnight; the weather fair or foul, with a good fire. For we now left Pittsburgh for Gallipolis and made no stops to get some provisions. Arrived at Gallipolis from Pittsburgh 300. From here I wagoned my goods to Chillicothe and opened my little store in November. From Gallipolis to this is 62 miles. Here commenced the bearskin trade with me. In the course of the winter I must have rode to the hunters camps and cabins, they had no other houses in these times, rode in all 1,000.

1804, in the spring I rode into Kentucky on Licking River and high up on the Kentucky River. In five weeks I must have rode 700 {miles}.

1804 103,252

May 1st, bought a small flatboat in company with a John Dix of Boston. We concluded to return to Boston by way of New Orleans. Loaded in all our bear and deerskins and furs and began descend the Ohio at Gallipolis. Landed at Maysville and took in some bear and deer skins I had deposited there. Went on again and stopped a few hours at Cincinnati. Went to the falls here, got a pilot, run safe over the falls. Here I found my old Genowe Sailor again who went with me to Orleans. So, we proceeded on our journey without accident until we came near the mouth of the Arkansas River. We saw a storm coming up very fast. We were lashed to a flour boat that we might drift better. Especially with a head wind we unlashed as quick as possible and began to pull for the mouth of the Arkansas; but the storm before we got within half a mile of the shore caught us. The water run higher than our boats and they rolled so that no man could stand to row or steer on top of the boat. The flour boat filled and drifted down two miles; lodged under a snag. Our little boat, being an old family boat, the oars were all below. We made out to pull our boat to shore although we expected we would be lost for it blew a hurricane half an hour. We made out to land one mile below the mouth of the Arkansas. Here we lay two days assisting the flour boat to save her load. The third day we all started together again, saved nearly all her flour and boat. So, we drifted on again until we got to Natchez where we left her and went on our journey alone. Arrived in Orleans the 11th of June from Gallipolis here 1,700.

June 22nd, shipped on board of a schooner for Boston where we arrived safe after a passage of 48 days. Distance run on this passage can't be less than 2,500.

Sept 1st, Luther Willard and myself started from Boston for Chillicothe in Ohio on horseback, by the way of Albany, Buffalo, Prisque Isle, Pittsburgh, Zanesville and Lancaster to Chillicothe. Arrived first October.

105,752 mi Distance above 1,000 From here to Gallipolis 62 then up the river and crossed over to Point Pleasant, rode up the Big Kanawha to Charleston in search of bearskins for this was our business this trip..... Distance miles 66

Returned again to the point Gallipolis and to Chillicothe. Heretraveled through all this country. We spent the fall, winter, and spring in search of bear and deer skins at every hunter's camp and cabin that we could find. We have traveled in this time 2,000

May 15th, having collected all our skins to Gallipolis, we started for Boston in a keelboat to Pittsburgh arrived safe. 300

1805 (yr) Total Miles 108,938

Shipped our skins in a wagon again for Philadelphia. Walked with the wagons. John Noyes also walked with us. Sometimes we would get some miles ahead and stop at the wagon tavern and pitch a game of coits, smoke a few cigars, take something good to drink which was quite fashionable in those days. Thus we amused ourselves along the road to Philadelphia.

Miles 300

Here again shipped our furs in a brig for Boston arrived safe.

Miles 800

And here at my boarding house saw, for the first time (although myself 31 years old) the only woman in all this world God had given me for a wife and a poor widow with two children. The contract was made and consummated one year after.

Luther Willard and myself started with a stack of goods for Gallipolis. Shipped on board of a brig to Baltimore. Brother, Levi Whitteker, was along for the first time. Arrived safe as I always have in all my journeys.

Distance Miles 900

Then in wagons to Wheeling and walked ourselves with the wagons until within a few days when we went ahead to prepare............{past this point, pages missing}

1805 110,838 {Total}

{New Page}

1806 112,928 { Balance }

In the morning started again. Got this day up to Arbuckle's. Wife and I went up to the house and Arbuckle said, after the usual introduction, welcome to Mason, Madame. Here we were comfortable with good supper, lodging, and breakfast. In the morning they put us across Kanawha above the Sixteen Mile Creek. Wife and I walked up opposite Morris Reynolds at the mouth of the Eighteen Mile Creek. Here we stayed until the next day when Reynolds took horses and conveyed us to Benjamin Johnson, 4 miles. Here we stayed four days. Kept our Christmas with all the Maines. Here brother Levi met us with horses. 27th of December started and put up at Morris Hudsons. Old Mrs. Hudson was so good and so kind to my wife that she thought she had got where somebody lived again. 28th December 1806 started again the morning and arrived at Charleston at noon. Distance all this journey by sea and land - 11,600 Whole distance in 11 years travels on seas and rivers and lakes and by land - 114,528

Wm. Whitteker {signature}

1806, Dec 28th, myself and my wife at Daniel Ruffners. Here we stayed for two weeks in which time I bought the old log house and lot and went to house keeping. There we lived near 40 years until my wife died June 21st, 1846.

{Note: The above journey was made while Philena, his wife, was in the last stages of pregnancy, their first son, Norris Stanley Whitteker, born in February 1807.

Hereafter what is left of the manuscript deals with William's experiences in the salt making business; starting with the first experiments which were made drilling for salt water. Both sides of the Kanawha River had underground salt springs running along side and parallel to the river. William was the first to sink a well on the south side of the Kanawha. Here they made salt by boiling the water down and collecting the salt crystals which were left.}


In the first place chiseled hole in the rock. Then made a tube by hollowing two pieces of wood then close them together and wrapped with bedcord; and then drove one end of it into the rock; and then filled the gum with the stiffest kind of clay mortar, say two feet and a half near to the top of the tube and pounded as mortar could be. But this would not do. And, then drove this mortar full of piles, 2 or 3 inches diameter, 2 1/2 feet long, sharpened at one end; so that the gum looked as though it was headed with piles. All this would not keep out the fresh water. I believe we bored the well in this situation 30 or 40 feet and got pretty good salt water.

About this time, old Robert Johnston of Kentucky made some contract of rent with David and Joseph Ruffner, who brought with him a well auger with screw joints and poles with which he rimmed and bored this well down to 50 feet.

At this time, Tobias Ruffner was preparing to sink another gum 50 yards below on the same bank of the river. He prepared his his gum by a fellow in his gum eight inches from the bottom; pinning it to the gum with such pins for the head of the gum to rest on which head was made of two pieces 4 or 5 inches thick made to fit the gum with nine inch round hole in each half head, one for the tubes and the other for the pump to keep the water down while putting down the tubes; and wedging round them to keep out all fresh water. Also, all round between the head and the gum. This is the only way ever been used for heading gums and this was the invention of and by Tobias Ruffner.

In April I saw Joseph Ruffner take out his clay and pile head out of his gum and put in a head on Tobias Ruffner's plan.

At this time I was persuaded by Charles Brown and some of his friends to undertake to sink a gum and bore for salt water on his land opposite to Ruffner's wells. And, to induce me to undertake, they told me many stories. Some said that they had seen the salt water boiling up through the crevices in the rock all the way across the river. And, that they had dived down and caught the salt water in their hands and tasted it. Finally, I concluded with myself that if the water was got by boring in the rock, it was likely to be on both sides of the river.

I then made a contract with him, Charles Brown, for ten years at equal shares in the profits and loss. I then began to prepare to sink for salt water in place of sink in a gum. I thought I could sink a square frame down to the rock. Everything was so new to us at this time, we hardly tell what was best. My first experiment was to make a frame 4 1/2 feet square at the bottom and 4 feet at the top and 20 feet long, boarded up and down with strong seasoned plank. This done, we dug a hole for it as deep as we could for water. Raised it up and put in the hole over which 6 or 8 feet laid a pole resting on two forks. In the middle of this pole was fastened a block with a shieve for a rope to pass to hoist the water from the curb with a whiskey barrel with the upper head out and a square hole in the lower head. And, with a valve like a pump over the hole to fit tight it would fill as quick {as} could be. Sunk by a hole in the inside of the barrel and with a cord nailed to the upper side of the clipper so that when the barrel was upraise{d}, the valve with this cord, the barrel empty{ed} as quick as it filled. To raise this barrel I had a perpendicular shaft with a reel framed round itsix foot in diameter to which a rope was fixed that wound round this reel; that went through the block and shieve over the curb and down to the barrel. And, made fast and below the reel's lever went through shaft worked by two hands. A little more than once round would raise a barrel of water. Thus we could raise a barrel of water every two minutes. After all this experiment, we found that we could not sink the curb. Had to abandon it and get a gum at last. Cut our curb off as low down as we could. Raised the gum inside of it. Bored and made me a pump that I could do myself, having learned much about pumps on board a ship. Got my pump in the gum, the frame on the top to make weight to force the gum down as we cleared the sand and gravel from the bottom on the inside. We had 14 hands at the pump for 10 days. We used to choose sides every morning for who should work together. One side was called the Lighthouse, the other the Militia. Neither side could stand it to pump over 15 minutes before they called for relief. So we passed 10 days; myself made one hand in the gum all this time. We set the gum well down on the rock, put in the head and tubes on Tobias Ruffner's plan. Made the gum completely tight and commenced boring. Tobias had got his gum down before me and had borrowed the auger before me. I could not wait until he had done. I got two or three bars of small iron. Got Tobias to make an auger bit and weld it on the bar of iron and make a swivel for the upper end for the rope which was attached to the spring pole. With two hands to swing the pole for every stroke of the auger and myself sitting down in the gum on the head to turn the auger which was very dry; no water coming in to interfere. This was my first gum bored. We began to bore with two inch hole. For want of experience in boring we made sharp thin bits to bore with; and always sharpened our bit to the size we left off at. Had to take the whole auger across the river to Tobias' blacksmith shop. Then cut the bit from the iron {or} the iron pole or have {to} sharpen the bit then weld it on again. All this Tobias Ruffner used to do for me. Then take the auger across the river again in a canoe. This is the way I bored for four days; and as my auger got too short, made it longer by adding another bar of iron. We had to sharen our auger three times a day this way . In this way we bored forty feet in four days. One day we bored 14 feet through stone coal slate and soap stone. by this time Tobias had got salt water at 44 feet and stopped boring. I then borrowed Johnston's auger with screw joints to bore the balance of my well. On the 7th day, still sitting on the bottom of the gum myself to turn the auger, at 57 feet struck a soft place like clay or rotten slate. Here I thought for a few minutes that it was all over with us; that we had got through the rock and no water yet. For we had struck no water of any kind in boring all this distance. But to our surprise and great joy, the salt water began to boil up six inches above the head of the tube; good strong salt water. I soon had to quit my humble station at the bottom of the gum for the top; when and where all hands gave three cheers for the first salt water on the South West bank of the Kanawha River, opposite to Tinkersville. This place took it's name from Tobias Ruffner's Smith Shop for he was ingenious and used to tinker and make a good many for pumps and tubes etc.

In the course of an hour the neighbors were generally collected at the well and cheered us again. Sent off and got something to drink. Silas Reynolds got pretty high; tore my coat in small pieces and strewed them in the trees round the gum.

The reason I have been so particular in giving this account is because it was all experiment from the beginning to the end. The first trial with me and put requisition {on} all the ingenuity I had to get along in this business. In boring, to clear the hole of the borings we used to put a boat socket down with a cord and then wait until the boring settled into it. Then could only haul up a gill, or half a pint, at a time.

Thus ended my first experiment in sinking the first gum and boring and obtaining the first salt water on the Southwest Bank of the Kanawha River in June 1809 by me.

Wm. Whitteker {signed}

I now proceeded to prepare for making salt. To get salt kettles sent a man all the way to Brownville, Pennsylvania and while he was gone, I prepared my furnace for them. Made my own pump and boxes myself; and hired to do all other necessary work, which was all completed the first of September and began to make salt with a furnace of 50 kettles and found we could make 50 or 60 bushels in 24 hours. Salt {was} then two dollars a bushel.

About this time I made a contract with Isaac Noyes, for eight years, to sink a gum and to bore for salt water on his farm; and to erect a furnace at my own expense. And, then to be at equal shares in the proceeds or profits.

I hired the gum sunk in the spring of 1810. In May began to bore the well; but was a good deal troubled to get the boring out of the hole and this sinking down a boat socket tedious. Levi Whitteker, Isaac Noyes, and myself were boring the well. I told them this slow way of getting out the boring and sand would never do; that I thought that I could contrive some better way. I went down home to Charleston. I took five sheets of tin and with common hand shears cut them in two in the middle; and with a two inch auger I bored a hole in one of the logs in my old log house. Into which {hole} I put a round piece of wood to form and hammer my tin in for a tube like nose. These tins had to be soldered and nobody here had a soldering iron. Well, I went to the blacksmith's shop. I made & formed a piece of iron about the size of a hen's egg with an iron shank in handle at one end. The other end I split so as to receive the double of a copper cent. I hammered the cent nearly square then cut the cent in the middle; drove it into this iron. Filed it smooth, hit and tined it over. With this soldered my tube for the hand pump, as I called it. For the lower end, I put in a small box with a valve like a pump. Near the upper end I cut a square hole one inch wide and one half inch long. To empty out the borings in this upper end, I put a piece of wood of the size of the tube two feet long and nailed in tight. The upper end of this wood made small enough to fit and screw into the auger that we were boring with. And, this completed, I took it down to the river and tried it in the sand under water; and could pump it full. Directly I said to myself, this will do; we can now keep our hole clear of boring without much trouble. This sand pump was ten feet long and two inches diameter. I took this sand pump up to the well we were then boring. Tried it and it would bring up a gallon of borings at a time; would clear the hole at once. Two or three times a day was as often enough to use it. And, there was another advantage in this sand pump. We could always tell the strength of the water at the bottom of the hole and what rock we were boring.

Now, as simple a thing as the invention of this sand pump was; it was mine and I might have gotten a patent right for it; but was all willing to contribute my little mite for the benefit of of the salt works. Without this sand pump, where is there a single well that could have been bored? Not one. Where then would have been the salt works this day but for this sand pump of poor old Uncle Billy's? Perhaps nowhere on Kanawha. Well, I wonder if there is a salt maker of this day that would feel himself under the least obligation to give the poor old man a lick of salt for all this benefit.

I also made the first tin tube ever put into a salt well on Kanawha. And, made it the same way and with the same tools that I made my sand pump. 60 feet in two days, in three pieces; soldered them together when perpendicular, as we put it down into the hole. And, unsoldered them with two brands of fire held round the joints. Screw joints for tubes were not known for a long time after this.

Isaac Noyes is the only living witness of my making the first sand pump; who with Levi Whitteker, was boring with myself {on} Noyes' upper well at that time, 1810. We were boring together the well; and when we had bored the depth of 150 feet, we were somewhat discouraged. So deep that we should never get water that would rise. Norris {he probably means Noyes because Norris was only 3 yrs old in 1810} thought we had better quit and sink another gum. So, we put it to vote. I voted to bore on further but Noyes and Levi voted against me so we stopped boring. So I got another gum; and to find the right place, there was an old man, called the Water Witch, who could tell exactly with his peach tree and hazel fork, exactly where the salt water was. By holding one of them in both hands and walking along the bank. The end of the rod would draw down towards where the salt water was hard enough to screw the bark off the branch he held in his hand. And, Isaac had superstition enough to believe it; and I was a little inclined that way myself. So, we sunk the gum and bored and got salt water. Erected a furnace and made salt. After 18 months we, Noyes and myself, thought we ought to have a settlement of our accounts {which} had been kept so loose that neither of us could tell how {the} accounts stood. He offered to take so much and I offered to give so much; the difference was 600 bushels of salt. We agreed to spit on a chip and throw up, wet or dry, which should have it. He won. This settled the business which law could not have done.

Images: 7
Clipper Ship at Sunset
Clipper Ship at Sunset

Note on now the Whitteker diary was found
Note on now the Whitteker diary was found

Penciled Note on How the Diary of William Whitteker was Found, page 2
Penciled Note on How the Diary of William Whitteker was Found, page 2

More Clipper Ships at Sunrise
More Clipper Ships at Sunrise

The Still Standing Joseph Ruffner Cabin Now in Daniel Boone Park in Charleston, WV
The Still Standing Joseph Ruffner Cabin Now in Daniel Boone Park in Charleston, WV

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