Everingham Family History Record Reprint... (c)November 2000

A Letter written by:
Andrew Jackson Evernham

sent to the family web site by Tom Phillips of PA
original copy from Ed Evernham of Brooklyn Park, MN

Letter written:
February 1st 1852

Island of S.P. Mitchels
February 1st 1852

Dear Mother,

I now take this opportunity to write to you to inform you that I am at present well, but in rather sad condition, but must do the best we can. We are ship wrecked. We left New York on 13th December. We had heavy winds from the west and north west and heavy snow squals until the 23rd 24 & 25th.
We were scudding before the wind under bare poles and on the morning of the 25th, being Christmas Day, blowing a perfect hurricane about three o'clock shipped a sea. Filled the cabin part full of water, carrying away the stove lashings and furniture of the cabin: also tearing the state room partitions, making a compleat ruin at four o'clock.
All hands employed in savings the things and bailing the water out of the cabin.
Captain and one man at the wheel shipped another dreadful heavy sea, filling the cabin full of water, breaking the mainBoom, and washing our dear and much loved captain over-board and at the same time shifting our deck load to lea ward, leaving our vessel on the bean end first.
We tried to get the storm try sail on her to bring her head to but as there was no time to lose she kept going slowly down then we cut away her masts. Her house, the top of it was all underwater but oh, the most heart rending when we cut the mast away.
They cut them and she came up the foremast fell in three pieces and as it gave away the mate started to run aft to clear the falling mast. It fell on him and killed him, poor soul.
It mangled him so that he survived but ten or fifteen minutes. He was hurt so badly that he never spoke, only gave a few groans and died in the arms of me and Rueben.
This happened about six o'clock in the morning. We kept him until about 5 o'clock P.M. We could keep him no longer owing to the bad wheather. We served the body up in blankets and one of the passengers read prayers and also the funeral ceremony used on such occasions, and the body of Mr. George L. Williams was committed to the great deep; to us a last and long farewell.
Oh Mother, you do not know what it is to part with our friends and shipmates at sea. We cannot tell you our feelings on these occasions, but it was considerable better for us as one of the crew understood navigation a little so as fortune proved we made the Island of St. Mitchels after being rolled and driven to and fro by the sea and gales as we could not rig sail to go only when the wind was fair and when it was ahead.
We had to lay to five, six, seven and eight days at a time. Our shipwreck took place on the 25th of December and we got no assistance until the 25th of January.
We only saw four vessels and they were to far off to see us.
I think there is better land ahead for us. We have been moored here at anchor and I have been ashore today as it is Sunday and rode out in the country about four miles. I shall try to get the American council to send me, Rueben home, if I can, for we want to come, but if he won't let us, we shall have to stay until we get word from the owners and we shall know what to do.
If I am spared to get there you need not have trouble concerning my going to sea, for I shall seek some other employment. But of all places for fruit this exceeds all the known world- oranges, bananas, sweet lemons, grapes and small fruits of all kinds.
We have two Sundays in this country, one for the king, the other for church Sunday!
We are unloading the vessel and then tow her in the basin if there is room. If not we will have to take her to a harbor called the Isle of France, fifteen miles from this seafront. We lay moored off the port. But it is like laying anchored outside of the beach. The cargo is took on shore in boats and when it is safe to stay on board, we leave the vessel and go on shore, and when weather permits, come on board again.
The American council has written to the owners to have them consent to what is best to do with her, for if they sell her here she will not bring over two or three hundred dollars and she is worth eight or nine thousand dollars.
I went on shore today and talked with the council about a passage home. He said that he would send us if he could and if we do start we won't get to New York until about the middle of March. But don't fail in sending me a letter here and when you write direct your letter to Island of St. Michael, Port Degarda, care of Mr. Maning, British Hotel.
It is Tuesday morning. We are all well at present and hope these few lines may find you in same state of health.
We have nothing to do with the cargo. It is easy time now.
Give my love to all my friends. Rueben send his love to all of you and wants to see you all again.
No more at present but still remain your true son. Goodbye father, mother, sister and brother. This to all.
Don't grieve for me. I am doing well.

A.J. Evernham

Map of the St. Michaels area sent by Tom Phillips