Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gold-Ship Sabina

The Sabina was a whaling ship brought from New York to the Port of Sag Harbor in 1844. Sag Harbor is at the eastern end of Long Island and at that time was a flourishing Whaling Port rivaling New Bedford and Salem. She made a successful voyage for whales to the North West Coast with Capt. David P. Vail as Capt. June 24, 1844. She returned May 27, 1847, with 60 BBL sperm oil, 1940 BBL whale oil, and 18,00 lbs. whalebone worth $25,000.

She was then purchased by a company of men known as “The Southampton and California Trading Co.” for a voyage to the gold fields of California. The company was made up of sixty men, and it was capitalized at $30,000. Sixty shares of stock were sold at $500.00 each. These were issued in Sag Harbor and were dated “This 20th day of January 1849.” Of the sixty-seven men who had stock in the company and sailed on her, nineteen were whaling captains, including Wm. L. Huntting, Geo. W. Post, and Phyrrhus Concer (colored) on the crew. There were also seventeen who went as passengers. The entire list is from men of eastern Long Island, twenty-eight of which are easily recognized as from Southampton.

The Sabina sailed from Greenport, Long Island, “late on Wednesday the 14th of February 1849.” The story of the voyage and subsequent experiences of the voyagers we are fortunate in having preserved to us through the letters of Albert Jagger of Southampton 1849-51. These were found some years ago in the attic of the Jagger home, carefully wrapped in the original canvas bag in which he had sent home his gold dust. They have been preserved to us historically by James Trusloe Adams in his Memorials of Old Bridgehampton, and are indeed a record of experience as thrilling as that of our present day adventurers by sea and air.

The brilliant hopes for fortune which had led them to the “golden land” were, in most cases soon dispelled. The company which started out together soon broke up. A very few found moderate fortune. Some of course never returned. Most of them came back poorer than they went, except for the experience, and a number, as in the three sons of Capt. George Post—Wm.  H., Nathan, and Charles Post—remained to make their home in a new land and form the foundations of a substantial citizenship so much needed in a country made up so largely of adventurers.

The Sabina with many other ships which had found port in the Harbor of San Francisco during those adventurous years, lies at the bottom of the Bay and the piers of that newer city have been built out far beyond her resting place. The adventurers who went out in her and returned found their way back by various routes. Some by ship around Cape Horn, others by Panama and Nicaragua, others across the continent. Some wandered for years and never returned, as must have been the case of J.B.H. [Job Hedges?] who made Bandolier, S.A., a port of call and in all probability never returned or his buffalo horn would not have found its way to England. Of course J.B.H. may not have been one of those who sailed in the Sabina but the fact that this is carved upon the horn would indicate at least an intimate acquaintance with her.

Lizbeth H. White
Southampton, Long Island, N.Y.

February 1, 1929

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