William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

Source: William S. W. Ruschenberger Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #629

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

William S. W. Ruschenberger served in the U.S. Medical Corps from 1826 until 1869. His first ship was the U.S. frigate BRANDYWINE (1826-1829), which sailed to many ports in South America. He was aboard the USS PEACOCK from 1831 until 1832 and again in 1835-1837, this time traveling around the world. He was fleet surgeon on the USS PLYMOUTH for the East India Squadron (1847-1849). After shore duty from 1850 to 1854, he was appointed to the Pacific Squadron (1854-1857) and served on the U.S.S. INDEPENDENCE, which traveled to Chile, Hawaii, and Panama. Ruschenberger was in the Mediterranean Squadron from 1860 to 1861. He was chief surgeon for the Boston Navy Yard throughout the Civil War. He retired with the rank of commodore in 1869.

Ruschenberger wrote several books, including A Voyage Round the World (1838) and Elements of Natural History (1850).

These excerpts from his 1848 journal mention a flogging (April 12), a court-martial (May 12), and a recipe for mosquito repellent (May 22). You can view the journal in its entirety through Joyner Library Digital Collections.

William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

Joseph Hewes, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Source: Brownrigg Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #597

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

Document signed by Joseph Hewes

Document signed by Joseph Hewes

The image is of a legal document sworn to by Joseph Hewes in May 1761. He witnessed a dispute between Captain Edward Bryan and Captain Adam McKean concerning wages McKean claimed to have earned during a voyage to Philadelphia. This statement was given to Joseph Blount, a justice of the peace in Edenton, Chowan County, North Carolina. Joseph Hewes was born in New Jersey on January 23, 1730. He moved to Edenton in 1755, where he entered into business with George Blair and Charles Worth Blount. Five years later he was elected to serve in the Assembly of North Carolina, representing the borough of Edenton. Hewes later served in the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. He died in Philadelphia on November 10, 1779, while serving in the Continental Congress.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Bermuda Map

Source: Mappa Aestivarum Insularum alias Barmudas dictarum [Bermuda map], Special Collections Map Collection MC0035

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

Mappa Aestivarum Insularum alias Barmudas dictarum [Bermuda map.] Amstelodami [Amsterdam,] Apud Henricum Hondium [Henry Hondius,] ca.1633?{some sources give date as 1621} 33 x 51 cm. Scale: 1:70,000. Special Collections Map Collection MC0035, Purchase, State Appropriated Funds, 2008.

Bermuda was discovered by the Europeans probably around 1503 and was included in Spanish charts as early as 1511. The island was named in honor of its supposed discoverer Juan de Bermudez. For around the next 100 years the island was visited by passing Portuguese and Spanish vessels looking for water. In 1609 the flagship of a Virginia Company fleet, the Sea Venture on a rescue mission to Jamestown, was wrecked on the island, leaving the English in control. This shipwreck is reported to have formed the basis for William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Bermuda at first passed to control of the Virginia Company and later in 1615 to the Somers Isles Company. Due to limited resources on the island, acts were passed in 1616 and 1620 banning the hunting of birds and turtles. These acts became the first conservation laws in the New World.

This map was drawn shortly after the Somers Isles Company took control of the island and was published, it is thought, in Amsterdam during the period 1621-1633. Distances on the map to Bermuda are given in “Stadiorum Milliarum” to Florida, Plymouth [Massachusetts], New England, Cape Henry, Cape Charles and Roanoak–the latter location marking the place of the famous “Lost Colony” of 1587. This map forms an interesting companion piece to other items in Special Collections, notably several travel accounts of the period and the “Croatan Archaeological site ring”.

To view an enlarged version of this image, click on the image itself.

Mappa Aestivarum Isularum alias Barmudas dictarum

Mappa Aestivarum Isularum alias Barmudas dictarum

Denis B. Cashman Diary

Source: Denis B. Cashman Papers, 1865-1887, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #458

Denis B. Cashman Diary

Denis B. Cashman Diary

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

Diary of Denis B. Cashman, noted Irish patriot, from the Denis B. Cashman Papers, 1865-1887, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #458.

The diary (15 October 1867-January 1868), compiled by Denis Cashman, details his imprisonment at Milbank Prison (London) and his voyage to exile in Australia. The diary also contains entries from the Wild Goose, a prison newspaper; poems by Cashman; and observations about his fellow prisoners, most of whom ended up incarcerated in the Fremantle Prison in Australia. Leather-bound manuscript diary, 34pp.

A group of Irish Fenian convicts from the Fremantle Prison escaped to America on the United States whaler Catalpa in 1876. The prisoners were members of the Fenian Brotherhood, which was established in the late 1850s to overthrow the British government in Ireland. The Government responded by sentencing the men to life in prison at the Convict Establishment in Australia. It was hoped that this would bring an end to the uprising in Ireland. Instead supporters raised funds to bring the men back to Ireland, and early on the morning of 17 April 1876 six men left a prison work party in horse drawn buggies and boarded a waiting whaler. Escaping capture by Australian authorities, the men arrived in New York on the Catalpa in August 1876.The escape is an important event in nineteenth-century Australian and Irish history. The Fenians are known as patriots to the Irish and considered terrorists by the British. Even today the British government refuses to free Irish nationalists held in prison. The collection, consisting of the prison diary of Cashman and other items, was donated by Dr. Alfred Sheehy to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection in 1983. Items from the Cashman collection are currently touring Australia in an exhibit entitled: “ESCAPE! Fremantle to Freedom.” More information about the prison escape and the exhibit can be found on the web at: http://www.fremantleprison.com.au/whatson/previousexhibitions/escapefremantletofreedom/Pages/default.aspx

To view an enlarged version of the image, click on the image itself.

World War I Battlefield Scenes

Source: Guide to the John Graham Johns Papers, 1921-1955, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #410

Clemenceau visiting French aviation camp near front.

Clemenceau visiting French aviation camp near front.

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:

The two images shown are from the John Graham Johns Papers, which is a collection of material that comes from John Graham Johns’ attendance in the Navy Academy and his service in the Navy from 1921-1955. The two images are battlefield scenes from World War I. The image on the top shows Georges Benjamin Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France (1917-1920), visiting an aviation camp at the front line and the image on the bottom shows French tanks on a country road. It is this collection’s photos of World War I that make this collection interesting.

French tanks going into line

French tanks going into line

Since Mr. Johns served his naval career on submarines, the collection has a good deal of material on various submarines particularly on the construction and the services of the USS NAUTILUS, USS CUTTLEFISH, and the USS SEADRAGON. There are also genealogical notes on the Lober and Reynolds families as well as a mimeographed book of a diary on big-game hunting. If additional information is needed, the finding aid can be accessed at Manuscript Collection 410

Click on the combined images to see an enlarged version.

HMS Bucton Castle

Source: A.M. Handley Journal, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1064

Pen and ink sketch of the H.M.S. Bucton Castle.

Pen and ink sketch of the H.M.S. Bucton Castle.

Staff Person: Jon Dembo

Description:
Attached is a pen and ink sketch of the HMS BUCTON CASTLE, a three-masted sailing ship. It was drawn on the inside front cover of his journal by one of her passengers, Capt. A. M. Handley. An officer in the British 19th Infantry Regiment, Handley was traveling to India to join his unit and help reestablish order after the recently suppressed Indian Mutiny (1857). He kept his journal to occupy his time sailing from Gravesend, England to Calcutta. He certainly had plenty of time to occupy for the voyage took a total of 160 days from January to June 1859. That may explain the extreme pains Handley took to number and name all the sails, masts and decks on this small pen and ink sketch. The original closely written 136-page journal measures only 9 mm by 15 mm.

In his journal Handley recorded his day to day observations of life aboard the BUCTON CASTLE, including descriptions of the personalities on board, shipboard routine, the ship’s time-keeping system, and a meeting with the whaling ship Isabella. There was much to surprise him. The following excerpt is from his first day aboard ship:

    “3 o’clock. Ship just towed into harbour; went on board immediately & to our immense surprise were told by the captain that if he had not had to wait for us, he would not have anchored at all at Gravesend. All passengers on board except ourselves. Finally embarked at ½ past 10 o’clock, same night. Too late to put up berths & so slept on the ground. Had not been in bed long before a baby in the next cabin began to cry & simultaneously a loud “mew” in the cabin made us aware that we had a cat shut up in it, with us. When the baby stopped the cat began, & between the two sleep was impossible. Thus [I] passed the first night on board.”

After a while he became more used to the routine and was able to remark:

    “Tea at 6. Grog at 8 and bed at 10.”

Anyone who has been irritated by modern travel — the discomfort, expense, delay, unpleasant fellow travelers and surly employees — may sympathize with Handley who endured this and more for more than six months. And without email or web access.

On April 1st 1859 Handley commented:

    “All Fools Day, especially dedicated I should think to those who are fools enough to go to Calcutta round the Cape when they had the chance of going overland.”

If anyone has any questions, or would like to see the actual journal, it is available to the public in the Special Collections Department search room.

Source: A. M. Handley Journal, pp. 1-2, 4, 44-45. (East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1064.1.a).

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Towboat Oliver C. Shearer

Source: Marietta Manufacturing Company Records, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #742

M.V. Towboat "Oliver C. Shearer" being built

M.V. Towboat "Oliver C. Shearer" being built

Staff Person: Emily Blankenship

Description:
The Marietta Manufacturing Company records were officially donated to the Special Collections Department in the spring of 1997. A team of four library staff and students traveled to West Virginia to obtain the records. After spending two days retrieving over 200 cubic feet of records and packing them in a van, the team completed the nearly 900 mile roundtrip back to Greenville. The administrative (paper) records of the company are now processed. The finding aid is available online at: Manuscript Collection 742.

The photo below is of the towboat Oliver C. Shearer on the day it was launched, Dec. 8, 1960. The boat was built by Marietta for the O. F. Shearer River Transportation Company. If you look closely, there are 6 men standing under the boat readying the carriage and cradles (which hold the hull) for release and greasing the ways (rails) for the launching.

According to the January 9, 1961 edition of the Inland Waterways Journal, “Mrs. Oliver C. Shearer christened the boat at 3 p.m. and within seconds a hand ratchet was tripped. The boat slowly gained momentum until she careened down into the waters of the Ohio River, going in a 45 degree angle to port, and then lazily falling back to starboard before she settled and righted herself, head toward the shore. Numerous Marietta workmen in rowboats pulled out to retrieve the carriage and cradles on which the Oliver C. Shearer had made her trip down the ways.”

O.F. Shearer and Sons began operations in the early 1920s moving materials on the Kentucky River. By the 1950′s O.F. Shearer & Sons offices were located in the Union Central Tower in Cincinnati and the company concentrated on Ohio and Kanawha river business. In 1973, the firm was sold to the American Electric Power Co. Today AEP and its sister company, Memco Barge Lines, are major players in the inland river industry. The O.F. Shearer and Sons company records are in the care of the Pt. Pleasant, WV River Museum.

The Oliver C. Shearer still carries its original name, but is now owned by Campbell Transportation out of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Please contact the Special Collections Department with any questions or comments.

Marietta Manufacturing Company, “Made Mechanically Correct”

Source: Marietta Manufacturing Company Records, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #742

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description:
This week’s pick comes from The Marietta Manufacturing Company Records, 1906-1995, n.d. (bulk 1930-1965). M.M.C., the initials for the Marietta Manufacturing Company, also stood for its slogan, “Made Mechanically Correct.” This slogan resounded for generations, particularly with those associated with trade on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Marietta was a ship manufacturing company that began near Marietta, OH in 1852. Following a major flood on the Ohio River in 1913, the company moved to Point Pleasant, West Virginia where they remained until their closing in 1984.

The records were officially donated to the Special Collections Department in the spring of 1997. A team of four library staff and students traveled to West Virginia to obtain the records. After spending two days retrieving over 200 cubic feet of records and packing them in a van, the team completed the nearly 900 mile roundtrip back to Greenville.

In previous years all of the photographic images and a good number of the ship plan drawings have been conserved and processed by Lynette Lundin and her student assistants. The administrative (paper) records of the company have been processed. You can find a general finding aid to the records at the following.

Manuscript Collection 742

The current finding aid is in the proofing stage, but we plan to upload it very soon. There is also an historical compilation available which uses old newspaper clippings and other sources. This is “The History of Marietta Manufacturing Co.,” compiled by Captain Charles H. Stone. The call number is HD9727.W4 S76 2000 and is available in the stacks (circulating) and in the Special Collections Reference Collection (non-circulating).

The photo below (circa 1923) is of the towboat Standard, built by Marietta for Standard Oil of Ohio in 1923.

The towboat Standard.

The towboat Standard.

Now called Barbara H, it is also the oldest unaltered sternwheel towboat still in operation. A website for Barbara H can be found at the following.

Please contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

Source: John L. Porter Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #850

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

Staff Person: Jon Dembo

Description:

Attached is an original pen & ink sketch of the MERRIMAC (sic), the famous Confederate ironclad ram. The sketch was made in 1862 by Naval Constructor John Luke Porter (1831-1893) who had helped convert her into the first ironclad warship. The sketch is part of a notebook / diary which he began writing in 1860 and continued until after the Civil War. A slightly edited version of the text was published as John L. Porter: Naval Constructor of Destiny, by Alan B. Flanders in 2000. However, this may be the first time that this image has ever been published.

Originally a frigate in the US Navy known as the USS MERRIMACK, the retreating federal forces had burned her to the waterline in 1861 in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent her use by the Confederacy. Porter, one of the few professional naval constructors in service to the Confederacy led the team that raised and converted her into an ironclad warship.

Upon commissioning, the Confederate Navy renamed her CSS VIRGINIA. Almost immediately, on 8 March 1862, the MERRIMAC engaged in a series of historic naval battles sinking or damaging several wooden Union warships in an attempt to break their blockade of Southern commerce. In doing so, she decisively proved the superiority of iron over wooden-hulled warships. She made history again, on 9 March, when she fought the even more radical Union ironclad, the USS MONITOR, off Hampton Roads, Virginia. That battle, which ended in a tactical draw, was the first ever between iron hulled warships. It ushered in the age of iron and steel warships which endures to the present day. The battle between the MONITOR and the MERRIMAC proved a strategic victory for the Union by preserving the blockade and thus, may have spelled the doom of the Confederacy.

Later during the Civil War Porter went on to build more than a dozen ironclads for the Confederacy and become the head of Confederate Navy ironclad building program. Among a variety of other writings, the Porter notebook / diary contains two versions of the story of raising and re-fitting the MERRIMAC and concludes with a description of Porter’s experiences during the final days of the Civil War in Eastern North Carolina.

In later years, Southern sympathizers tended to avoid using the name MERRIMAC to describe the vessel; Porter, a loyal southerner, however, consistently used his slightly corrupted version of the ship’s original name instead of VIRGINIA. In the wake of the famous battle between the MONITOR and MERRIMAC, Porter engaged in a long-running controversy with Lt. John M. Brook, CSN, who also claimed to have been chiefly responsible for raising the MERRIMAC. Both sides continued the battle until long after the principals were deceased but without settling the matter decisively.

The Porter notebook / diary may be found in the John L. Porter Collection (#850) along with a variety of other materials relating to Porter. Please contact the Special Collections department if you have any questions.

Blackbeard

Source: General History of the Pyrates, Joyner Rare F2161.D4/1724b

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:
This image of the pirate Blackbeard is the first likeness of him to appear in print. The image is from the Rare Book Collection’s copy of the two-volume General History of the Pyrates (1724), by “Captain Charles Johnson.” Some scholars believe that the book was written by Daniel Defoe.

The book is available in the Rare Book Collection (Joyner Rare F2161.D4 1724b) and in the Eastern North Carolina Digital Library.

Blackbeard the pirate

Blackbeard the pirate