Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts

Friday, 31 December 2021

Thomas Jones' in the Pacific Northwest 1844-1846

[A] view of Maitavie Bay, [in the island of] Otaheite [Tahiti], William Hodges 1776

There's a note under entry for the marriage of Thomas Jones and Mary Harty, on 7 Jan 1844, which looks like it relates to this marriage. It's not clear, but seems to say something about a ship sailing. Thomas was, at that time, assigned to HMS Caledonia (1808), as Captain's Guard, however, on 1 Mar 1844, he joined HMS America (1810), again as [part of the] Captain's Guard.

HMS America, a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line, since 22 Feb 1844, had been under the command of Captain John Gordon and, it appears, personal influence - with brothers in the cabinet and the Admiralty - got Gordon this command on the Pacific Station, and "could expect his appointment to prove lucrative". 

Initially, I found scant details of this voyage, other than that "during the rising tensions with the United States over the Oregon boundary dispute, HMS America was dispatched to the Pacific Northwest in 1845"; that circa to Jun 1845, she was reported to be on the California coast and in 1846: was at the Pacific and Otaheite [TahitiStation, until I found Gordon's biography

Also on that voyage was Lieutenant William Peel (later Captain Sir William Peel VC KCB), son of then British prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet. Peel had "ship-hopped" to the Pacific, eventually to the frigate America, in which he voyaged to Puget Sound. [Source: Lieutenant William Peel, British Naval Intelligence, and the Oregon Crisis by Barry Gough PDF]

The ship was to give naval support to the Hudson's Bay Company and Peel became involved in a secret mission: to investigate the state of affairs of the besieged British interests at the Columbia River. Record tells us that HMS America arrived off Cape Flattery on 28 Aug 1845. They left Port Discovery on 26 Sep 1845, bound for Honolulu and reached England on 19 Aug 1846.

"As for Captain Gordon and the further voyages of America, it may be observed briefly that after reaching Honolulu and sailing for Mexican harbours he dallied taking on board a lucrative shipment of silver for the Bank of England, from which he stood to gain personally. His superior, Admiral Seymour (Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Francis Seymour GCB, GCH, PC), charged him with dereliction of duty and he was court-martialled on his return to Portsmouth."

These events were, I feel, not without consequences for Thomas Jones' career. 

Thomas stayed on HMS America, but on 1 Oct 1846, obtained a "sideways promotion" to Boatswain’s mate and, quite soon thereafter, on 30 Nov 1846, was made Ship’s Corporal. These promotions coincide with the appointment, on 10 Nov 1846, of Captain Thomas Maitland (Admiral of the Fleet Thomas Maitland, 11th Earl of Lauderdale, GCB) and it probably stands to reason that there would be a clean sweep and changing of the Captain's Guard. It's reported that Maitland commanded HMS America off the coast of Portugal in November 1846, but I've not found any further reference to explain in what capacity. 

On 5 Mar 1847, at sea on board HMS America, Thomas Jones, Ship's Corporal, born on 9 April 1817 in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales and who went to sea as a boy (of 10) in 1827, was issued with a Merchant Seaman's register ticket. It notes that when unemployed, he resides at Cove of Cork; he was 5ft 9 1/2in tall, had dark brown hair, dark skin, a ship on his right arm and other tattoos.

Thomas Jones remained Ship's Corporal on HMS America until 20 Oct 1847, after which, he was appointed Coast Guard Boatman on 28 Dec 1847.

Next: Coastguard posting to Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Thomas Jones' Voyage to South America 1834-1837

HMS Sparrowhawk by William Smyth, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Built by Matthew Warren, Brightlingsea, Essex, launched 20 August 1807 (Sold 1841)

Thomas Jones' naval pension record begins on 11 Feb 1835, when he will have been 18, where he's listed as being on HMS Sparrowhawk (1807) - an 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop - as a Boy 2nd Class. Still on this ship, he is made an Ordinary Seaman on 1 Mar 1835 and an Able Seaman on 1 Aug 1835

After spending the second half of 1833 being fitted out as a brig, on 1 Feb 1834, Sparrowhawk was reported at Portsmouth, expected to sail for the South America Station shortly and departed Spithead for the South American station on 13 Feb 1834. As I don't imagine Thomas was flown out later, I think it safe to assume that the then 17 year old will have left with the ship on this voyage.

Commanding the Sparrowhawk, between 9 Nov 1833 and 4 Feb 1837, was Commander Charles Pearson, veteran of the Peninsular War (father of Lieutenant General Sir Charles Knight Pearson KCMG CB), who was employed, 1830 to 1833, in the Coast Guard at North Yarmouth.

Around 24 Mar 1834, Sparrowhawk touched at Madeira en route for South America. Then on 17 Aug 1834, she rescued the crew of the Mars (en route from Launceston to London, foundered on the Falkland Islands 3 July).

10 May 1835 was at Valparaíso (Chile).

30 Oct 1835 reported to be off the coast between Callao (Peru) and Mexico.

17 Apr 1836 is reported to be calling at Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Coquimbo (Chile), prior to returning to Valparaiso to meet HMS Blonde (1819).

20 Aug 1836 is reported to be due at Valparaiso shortly to relieve HMS Rover (1832), and to sail for Rio de Janeiro and England in Oct.

Thomas remained with this ship until the end of this voyage, on 4 Feb 1837, when he was paid off. Quite a journey for a young man, in those times, when most ag labs never left their village. This may not have been his first trip either - by the standards of the day, he could have been at sea for five+ years already - but I don't [yet] have any confirmed records of his earlier service as a boy.

These pages are notes on work in progress, so please expect additions and changes as further research is done. You may like to use Follow That Page to monitor changes.