ancestryink fisherman

Friday, June 7, 2013

Here Comes Tropical Storm Andrea - Just Another Day in the Life of an 1850's Mariner

As tropical storm Andrea rushes up the East Coast today, pushing powerful storm surges towards the shore and generally wreaking havoc, I am reminded again of how many men, and sometimes women, in the 1850's routinely experienced powerful storms, on ships, at sea - not watching them on TV from a dry, safe abode in their pretty, coastal home towns.

Waquoit is a part of Falmouth, Mass. that in 1850, 'gave berth' to so many mariners that I thought I would share just one census page for this community.  While researching Andrew F. Bourne, I came upon this page illustrating how many families might be affected by a storm such as Andrea - either waiting anxiously at home for news of a husband or father, or out at sea, battening down the hatches, on board a heaving ship.

Click on the image to read:

1850 Census Record for Waquoit

On this page, there are exactly eight dwellings listed.  Within those eight homes, there is a total of thirteen separate families, enumerated.  Each dwelling contains under its roof at least one mariner, master mariner, or sailor. These men include the head of household, relatives, and also at times, their sons of eligible seagoing age.

Only one man, Henry Crocker, has an occupation other than mariner.  He is a farmer. However, within his home lives the Weston Swift family - another master mariner.

Charles H. Bourne, at age 16, is the youngest "sailor" listed on the census here (though we know that boys went to sea as young as 13 and 14.)  Charles H. Bourne lives with his widowed mother, Susan, in one Bourne household, and his brother Andrew F. Bourne, age 13, lives in another Bourne household. Their father was Capt. Isaac B. Bourne. He married their mother Susan in 1830, and died at sea in 1839, at the young age of 33.

Capt. Isaac B. Bourne of Waquoit, died 1839

Barnabas Bourne,  "Mariner," at age 59, is the eldest seagoing man on this page.

This one census page, and Capt. Isaac B. Bourne's gravestone, are a stunning reminder that at times, in an area such as this in Waquoit, the only inhabitants of a small seaside community in 1850 during both fair weather and storms, might consist almost entirely of only women and young children.

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