May 29

Nimrod Headington Journal, 1852, part 16

Today’s blog post is the sixteenth in a series, the transcription of Nimrod Headington’s 1852 journal, Trip to California.

In his journal Nimrod Headington details his 1852 voyage from New York to San Francisco and his search for gold in California. [1] [2]

Nimrod, with several others from Knox County, Ohio, set sail from New York on 16 February 1852, traveling on the clipper ship Racehound. After 5 months at sea, rounding Cape Horn during the night of 4 May, and docking at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Valparaiso, Chile, they finally reached their destination, San Francisco, on 18 July 1852.

Nimrod Headington (1827-1913)

In today’s blog post, Nimrod begins his search for gold in California. I am repeating a little from the last post to set the scene.    

July 18th. This morning when we got up, we were right close to the land. Just as the sun came up, a pilot came on board to pilot us into port. We passed through the Golden Gate at 11 o’clock and dropped anchor. We had to pay one dollar to be taken on shore, as they would not allow our ship’s boats to land our passengers. One of them attempted to go but had to come back. The rules of the port had to be complied with. We landed at the Pacific Wharf and took dinner at the Howard House, for which we paid fifty cents.

At 4 o’clock we went on board the river steamer Brighton for Sacramento and landed the next morning at 8 o’clock. Here we stopped at the Globe Hotel and remained there until the next day. Here we took the stage for Marysville and landed there at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and stopped at the Eagle Hotel. Our bills were 50 cents per meal and nothing for the lodging.

The next morning we took the stage again for Dobbins Ranch, which was 25 miles from Marysville, for which we paid four dollars each. We landed there just as the sun was setting. We had to pay one dollar for a meal.

The next morning we started out on foot, bound for Frenchman’s Bar on the Uba River. The road was very rough and hilly, and we had our blankets and luggage to carry. We came very near giving out. We had been to sea so long and having no exercise that were not in very good trim for traveling on foot. I was more fleshy heavy than I ever was in my life—and consequently short to breath.

When we got to the ranch, we put up at the house of John Higgins. We inquired of him the prospect for mining, and he made us believe that it was excellent. We asked him the price of boarding, and he told us ten dollars a week in advance. So we paid him ten dollars each for a week’s board, and then bought a pick and shovel, for which we paid five dollars each. Feeling very tired, we did not start out that day.

The next we shouldered our picks and shovels and pans and started out, but after digging several holes and washing the dirt, we could find nothing that looked like gold. The next two days we attended with the same kind of success. After a search of three days in vain, we concluded that this kind of work would not do. We should soon be minus what little money we had left. So we determined to hire by the month, as wages was good. So myself and one of my company went to a steam mill owned by an old Chilean named Lameis, where we had no trouble in getting employment of a hundred dollars a month.

He set my partner to driving oxen teams made up of the wildest kinds of Mexican cattle that did not know gee, haw, nor anything else and had to be lassoed every morning to get the yoke on them. He kept 3 or 4 Mexican men for that purpose. We went to work, but we did not stay long, as they did not give us enough to eat. And what was there the dogs would not eat without the dog was starving. When we went to the table, the boy that waited on the table would come around and lay a dirty looking cake at each plate and say, “One hombre, one bret.” And this was all we could get. At the end of seven days, we could stand it no longer, and we called on the old man for a settlement. He paid us off very promptly, and we left him alone to enjoy his dirty hash.

We then went back to Frenchman’s Bar, where we bought a share in a fluming company that was [searching] the bed of the river, for which we paid two hundred dollars down and agreed to pay four hundred more when they got it out the claim. So we worked on this way for two months. But before we got the water all dammed off, there was not work for us all. So I left them and went to Dry Creek, distance of 15 miles, for the purpose of taking up some claims then but could find none worth taking. But I stayed there some three weeks and worked by the day at four dollars a day.

While I was there, the news came to me that our river investment was a total failure. We had lost our money and hard work. I set down and studied the matter all over, and finally I came to the conclusion to go to Sierras old diggings about 50 miles up the mountains and at the base of Table Mountain—or more properly Sierra Nevada Mountain on the east side of Slate Creek. On leaving Dry Creek, I left the 2 men, Braddock and Durbin, with whom I had doubled the cape and with whom I had been partners since we landed in California. And I never met them again while in the state.

The country up here in the Sierra Nevada mountains is very rough—so much so that wagons cannot get up here. Everything is brought up here by pack trains. Trains of mules with pack saddles on will come up, 50 or 60 in a train, all loaded with provisions or something that the miners have to use. Each mule will carry from 2 to 3 hundred pounds. A man goes before on a horse with a bell on, and the mules will follow, one right behind the other. Sometimes the train is half a mile long. A Mexican follows behind to see that no mule drops out of the train or loses his load.

These pack trains are all owned and operated by Mexicans. You can hear them when they get within ten miles of us, coming down the mountain on the west side of Slate Creek swearing at the mules in Spanish. Their mule talk is hepo mulo sacare camacho.

There was a cabin close to our cabin that had a parrot, and that parrot would always hear the mule train coming before anybody would know of it, and it would begin to holler hepo mulo. Then in about 6 or 7 hours the train would arrive in camp with its cargo. [3]

To be continued…

I would love to have heard that parrot! Hilarious! Nimrod’s account gives us a vivid description of the conditions he encountered and so far his search for gold seems rather difficult.

I will post Nimrod’s journal in increments, but not necessarily every week.

[1] Nimrod Headington at the age of 24, set sail from New York in February 1852, bound for San Francisco, California, to join the gold rush and to hopefully make his fortune. The Panama Canal had not been built at that time and he sailed around the tip of South America to reach the California coast.     Nimrod Headington kept a diary of his 1852 journey and in 1905 he made a hand-written copy for his daughter Thetis O. Tate. This hand-written copy was eventually passed down to Nimrod’s great-great-granddaughter, Karen (Liffring) Hill (1955-2010). Karen was a book editor and during the last two years of her life she transcribed Nimrod’s journal. Nimrod’s journal, Trip to California, documents his travels between February of 1852 and spring of 1853.

[2] Nimrod Headington (1827-1913) was the son of Nicholas (1790-1856) and Ruth (Phillips) (1794-1865) Headington. He was born in Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, on 5 August 1827 and married Mary Ann McDonald (1829-1855) in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1849. Nimrod moved to Portland, Jay County, Indiana, by 1860 and during the Civil War served in the 34th Indiana Infantry as a Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and Major. Nimrod died 7 January 1913 and is buried in Green Park Cemetery, Portland. Nimrod Headington is my fourth great-granduncle, the brother of my fourth great-grandfather, William Headington (1815-1879).

[3] Nimrod Headington’s journal, transcription, and photos courtesy of Ross Hill, 2019, used with permission.

May 26

Tombstone Tuesday- Memorial Day 2020

Yesterday, on Memorial Day, we visited two local cemeteries, Zion Lutheran, Chattanooga, and Zion Lutheran, Schumm. The graves of those who served in the military had new flags in their flagstaffs, placed there by the local Legion or VFW, in remembrance of Memorial Day. Even though most Memorial Day services were limited or canceled, we went to pay our respects to some locals who served our country.

WWII

During our visit I decided it would be a good time to note those who served in the U.S. armed forces and are laid to rest in these two cemeteries.

Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio:

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio, 25 May 2020.

Edward J. Kuehm (1892-1922), WWI
Robert E. Humbert (1923-2007), WWII
Donald L. Caffee (1932-2015), U.S. Veteran
Herbert M. Miller, (1925-2012), WWII
Glenn N. Miller (1923-1994), WWII
Charles Philip White (1924-2017), WWII
Kenneth L. Lautzenheiser (1934-2006), Korea
Thomas E. Brandt (1926-2008), WWII
Albert C. Heffner (1888-1945), WWI [Sgt, 51 Balloon Co. Air Service]
G. Wesley Kallenberger (1906-1992), WWII [Navy]
Kent D. Whitacre (1947-2012), Viet Nam
Paul Eichler (1928-2017), WWII

Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio:

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, 26 May 2020

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio, 26 May 2020

Donald T. Salway (1927-1993), WWII
Charles Schlemmer (1935-2011) [flag, no flagstaff]
Rodes, GAR
PVT Edgar F. Schumm (1914-1944), WWII, “Died in Battle at Montigny, France”
Edgar J. Dietrich (1915-1996), WWII
Vance D. Krick (1941-1998), Viet Nam
Harold F. Salway (1925-1996), WWII
Johann Buechner (1828-1896), GAR
Alfred W. Schott (1927-2011), WWII
Eugene F. Merkle (1936-1999) U.S. Veteran
Paul A. Roehm Jr (1929-1968), Korea
Nicholas Geisler (1832-1912), Civil War
Emanuel H. Schumm (1892-1973), WWI
Edward T. Gunsett (1891-1973), WWI
Paul L. Hofmann (1913-1977), WWII
Palmer C. Schwartz (1928-2010), WWII
Roman C. Schumm (1924-1988), WWII
Harold P. Schumm (1921-1988), WWII
James R. “Pete” Baxter (1927-1984), WWII
Richard E. Schumm (1922-1990), WWII
Henry W. Dietrich (1922-2005), WWII
Oswald H. Schumm (1902-1987), WWII
Ned J. Alspaugh (1920-2003), WWII
Eloise J. Alspaugh (1923-2003), WWII
Harold W. Schweyer (1928-2014), Korea

Viet Nam

Interesting that Ned Alspaugh and his wife were both veterans.

Ned & Eloise Alspaugh, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio. (2020 photo by Karen)

Ned & Eloise Alspaugh, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm. (2020 photo by Karen)

In memory of those who served over the years in the various wars and conflicts, as well as during peacetime.  

GAR [Grand Army of the Republic/Civil War]

I apologize if I missed anyone. I just tried to follow the flags.

I do have a couple observations about the flag markers in Zion Schumm’s cemetery. A GAR flagstaff is by the Rodes tombstone, row 3. I wrote about this tombstone a few weeks ago and it bears the names and dates of John, John Jr, and Jacob Rodes, but all three of these men died by 1851, before the Civil War. A GAR flagstaff is located by the tombstone of immigrant George M. Schumm (1812-1871), but as far as I know he did not serve in the Civil War. Perhaps these flagstaffs have been moved from their original position.   

May 22

Memorial Day 2020

This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. This federal holiday was originally called Decoration Day and began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.

Memorial Day 2020 will be quite different from those in past years. No parades. Limited Memorial ceremonies. No military display at Willshire Home Furnishings.

Vast array of uniforms, photos, and other items on display at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

These events, as well as many other events and just about everything in our everyday lives during the past couple months, are causalities of the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It has affected everyone, from school children, to business owners, to church-goers, to nursing home residents, to friends and neighbors. Everyone. Some call it a new normal. Personally, I long for the days of the old normal, not knowing if our old way of life will ever fully return. Many are fearful and fear is a terrible thing. And the fear is fueled by how easily the virus spreads, how serious it can be for some, and not having a good treatment or vaccine for it. I never imagined something like this happening here in America and around the world. It crept in so quickly. It is the “invisible enemy.”

We have done our part to isolate ourselves here and we still do. After all, we are in that high-risk age group. We wear masks when we go out. I have no problem wearing a mask. In fact, after wearing a mask at work for the better part of 44 years, I feel quite comfortable wearing one. We go out shopping to small local stores occasionally now and try to support our local small businesses. We are grateful that we are able to do that now. But basically, because of our age, we are staying around home most of the time. Hopefully, as things open back, up this will transition to something more like the old normal.

I look forward to the time when we can once again gather in groups and have the ability to do and go to any event we want, without worrying about keeping a social distance so we don’t spread a disease.  

Faith and hope are better than fear. I pray and hope that some of the treatments for the virus will make it less deadly and provide a faster recovery. That, until a successful and safe vaccine is developed.  

For us, I call this the lost year. We were able to take one short cruise in late January, to San Francisco of all places, right in the thick of things, just before all hell broke loose. We were there about a week before flights from China were banned. In fact, a couple weeks later, the cruise ship we were on was quarantined with the virus off the coast of San Francisco. Since then, our lives, along with everyone else’s, have been a series of cancellations and shut-downs.

It has affected everyone in many ways. For us, the results are mainly inconvenience and disappointment. Today we were supposed to be cruising the British Isles, visiting England, London, Ireland, Scotland, and France. We had tickets to tour Highclere Castle, where they film the series Downton Abbey. Instead, a couple weeks ago I constructed a 3D puzzle of the castle, a Christmas gift from Joe in anticipation of our visit.

Highclere Castle 3D puzzle.

Highclere Castle 3D puzzle.

This is probably now as close as we will get to seeing the castle. Our upcoming Alaska cruise in September was cancelled. Our 50th class reunion was cancelled, rescheduled for next year. Schumm reunion—postponed until 2021. Most local festivals cancelled, except Celina Lake Festival, which they are still debating.

On the positive side, we still have our health and we have a nice place here to stay at home. Joe has had plenty of time to work in the yard and I have been putting puzzles together and trying to improve my photography skills.

Here are some of my recent photos:

Baltimore Oriole

Iris

Red Winged Blackbird

Petunia

House Wren

Flowering Crab

Iris

Wild Phlox  

Have a nice Memorial Day and take time to remember those who served our country and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

The next installment of Nimrod Headington’s Journal will resume next week, as he begins his quest for gold in San Francisco in 1852.

Be safe everyone!   

May 19

Tombstone Tuesday-Mary (Buchner) Schumm

Mary (Buchner) Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio.

This is the tombstone of Mary (Buchner) Schumm, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

MARY Wife of
Frederick Schumm
1861-1930
SCHUMM

Maria “Mary” Catharina Buchner was born in Willshire Township on 7 March 1861, the daughter of John and Anna Margaret (Scior) Buchner. Mary was baptized at home by Zion Schumm’s minister, with Mrs. Catharine Dietrich and Mrs. Maria Dietrich serving as her sponsors. Her parents were both German immigrants who married in Van Wert County in 1853.

The John Buchner family in 1870: John, 42; Margaret, 40; William, 11; Mary, 9; John, 5; Henry, 2; and Catharine Lillich, 80. The parents were born in Hesse Darmstadt and the children in Ohio. John was a farmer. [1]

The John Buchner family in 1880: John, 51; Margaret, 51; William A, 21; Mary C, 19; John P, 14; and Henry C, 12. [2]

Mary Buchner married widower Friedrich Schumm Jr on 6 September 1888, at Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm. Friedrich was the son of Johann Friedrich and Magdalena (Meyer) Schumm. Friedrich’s first wife Margaret (Ehrenmann) died in 1885. Friedrich and Margaret had 9 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.

Mary’s father John Buchner died 7 January 1896.   

Friedrich Jr and Mary (Buchner) Schumm lived on a farm in Black Creek Township, Mercer County, Ohio. Their family in 1900: Friedrich, 56; Mary, 39; Hugo A, 24; Leona B, 22; Henrietta A, 20; Lawrence W, 15; Amos C, 8; Erna F, 5; Naomi M, 3. This enumeration indicates the couple had been married 12 years and that Mary had given birth to 4 children, 3 of whom were living. Friedrich was a farmer. [3]

Mary lost two close family members in 1907. Mary’s mother Margaret (Scior) Buchner died 20 April 1907 and Mary’s husband Friedrich Schumm Jr died 24 December 1907. Her husband Friedrich is buried in row 9 of Zion’s cemetery.

In 1910 widow Mary (Buchner) Schumm lived with her children. The family in 1910: Mary, 49; William, 25; Amos, 18; Erna, 15; and Naomi, 12. [4]

In 1920 widow Mary (Buchner) Schumm lived with her son Amos Schumm, his wife Esther, their daughter Ruth, and Mary’s daughter Naomi. The family in 1920: Amos, 28; Esther, 26; Ruth, 1 month; Naomi, 22; and Mary, 58. [5]

Mary (Buchner) Schumm died in Mercer County, Ohio, on 16 February 1930. [6]

Friedrich Jr and Mary (Buchner) Schumm had the following children:
Justina Louise (1889-1889)
Amos Clemens (1891-1974), married Esther Emilie Schumm
Erna Theresa (1894-1971), married Walter Emanuel Schumm
Naomi Margaretha (1897-1982), married Arnold Ludwig Schumm

[1] 1870 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.445B, dwelling 218, family 219, John Buechner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/ : viewed 11 May 2020).

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 154, p.444C, family 24, John Buechner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/ : viewed 11 May 2020).

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 74, p.2, dwelling & family 29, Frederick Schumm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/ : viewed 17 May 2020).

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 107, p.2A, dwelling & family 26, Marry Schwinn; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/ : viewed 17 May 2020).

[5] 1920 U.S. Census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 124, p.1B, dwelling & family 16, Amos Schumm; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/ : viewed 17 May 2020).

[6] “Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, 1958-2007,” Marie K Schumm, 1930; database, FamilySearch.org.

May 15

Nimrod Headington Journal, 1852, part 15

Today’s blog post is the fifteenth in a series, the transcription of Nimrod Headington’s 1852 journal, Trip to California.

In his journal Nimrod Headington details his voyage from New York to San Francisco, where he would stake his claim and pan for gold. [1] [2]

Nimrod, with several others from Knox County, Ohio, set sail from New York on 16 February 1852, traveling on the clipper ship Racehound. After 5 months at sea, rounding Cape Horn during the night of 4 May, and docking at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Valparaiso, Chile, along the way, they finally reached their destination, San Francisco, on 18 July 1852.

Sketch, not the Racehound

July 18th. This morning when we got up, we were right close to the land. Just as the sun came up, a pilot came on board to pilot us into port. We passed through the Golden Gate at 11 o’clock and dropped anchor. We had to pay one dollar to be taken on shore, as they would not allow our ship’s boats to land our passengers. One of them attempted to go but had to come back. The rules of the port had to be complied with. We landed at the Pacific Warf and took dinner at the Howard House, for which we paid fifty cents.

At 4 o’clock we went on board the river steamer Brighton for Sacramento and landed the next morning at 8 o’clock. Here we stopped at the Globe Hotel and remained there until the next day. Here we took the stage for Marysville and landed there at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and stopped at the Eagle Hotel. Our bills were 50 cents per meal and nothing for the lodging. [3]

To be continued…

I know, I know, today’s installment is very short. The next installment will resume in California, as Nimrod begins his quest for gold.

This portion of Nimrod’s journey, the sailing portion, has ended and I have some information about the ship he sailed on, the Racehound.

Just this past week I heard from a reader who found several newspaper articles that mention the clipper ship Racehound. These articles give a little history of the ship as well as some insight into the conditions on the ship, which confirm some things Nimrod wrote about.

The Racehound, as mentioned in these news articles:

The first article describes the passengers and crew on the ship, and not in a good way. This corresponds with one of Nimrod’s comments, “The steward killed a hog, which was the last hog with 4 legs we had on board.”

The Charleston Daily Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, 19 May 1852, Newspapers.com: A Rio [Brazil] letter in the Boston Journal dated April 12th says: “The weather is very hot and dry, and the yellow fever is making fearful havoc, particularly on board the shipping. No vessel can remain in this bay while the present state of things exists, more than five days without getting the fever on board—consequently there are not, and in fact, there have not been for weeks any of our naval ships in this port. They are mostly at Montevideo. Some of the American ships have suffered most severely, and I have known of several that could not muster hands sufficient to get out of the harbor. The American ship Victor sailed for New Orleans about a fortnight since, with only two men able to do duty. Many others have been here, as it were, entirely deserted. The Swedish brig Dolphin has lost three consecutive captains within the past two months, and the berth is now vacant. I notice, in-bound, a fine ship, the “Catalpa,” 120 days from the Sandwich Islands, for New Bedford with a cargo of oil. She sails today for home. We have also in from New York, in a passage of 39 days, the ship Racehound, bound for San Francisco, with 272 of the most filthy rowdies that it ever was my fortune to behold. I hope that they will get away before they contract this fever, for it would make terrible work among them. For the past day or two, we have had very fine showers, which we hope will occur with sufficient frequency to break up this pestilence entirely.”

The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia, 8 Oct 1852, Newspapers.com: Additional California Items by the United States “…The report of the discovery of new and valuable gold mines on the east range of the Sierra Nevada mountains, is confirmed. The mining news is generally very encouraging. The captain of the ship Racehound, from New York, had been discharged on an indictment of carrying an excess of passengers…”

The North-Carolinian, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 23 Dec 1854, Newspapers.com: “…The pirates in the Chinese waters are increasing in numbers and daring. Thirty trading junks and boats, many with valuable cargoes, had been taken by them in August and September. The captain of an English schooner, on the 4th of September, had been killed in the defense of his vessel. Several of his men were wounded. The British ships Rattler and Racehound had gone in pursuit of the pirates, but accomplished nothing…”

The Times, London, England, 19 Apr 1854, Newspapers.com: [John Smith faced possible scam charges. Smith represented his brother Adam Smith, of A. Smith & Co, New York, who owned seven ships and offered laborers free passage to Australia on the Waterwitch in March 1854.] Clerkenwell, England. …We [John Smith] sent the Racehound from New York to California. The complaint paid the deposit, and then he would not go. Inspector Brennan said, he could deny the prisoner’s statement with reference to the Racehound. He begged a remand for three weeks, in order to communicate with Mr. Smith of New York, and to get up necessary evidence…”

The name of the ship was changed from Racehound to Lady Pierce some time before May 1854. This probably occurred when wealthy San Franciscan Silas E. Burrows purchased the ship and converted it into a pleasure yacht.

The Guardian, London, England, 24 June 1854, Newspapers.com: United States (From a Correspondent)…The news from California is to the 16th of May. The mines were yielding abundantly. All the markets were quiet, but prices were well sustained…Silas E. Burrows, a wealthy citizen of San Francisco, and formerly a wealthy merchant of New York, sailed on the 11th May, in the Clipper Lady Pierce, for Japan, on a peaceable and private mission to the emperor. The Lady Pierce, formerly the Race Hound, is a fine clipper of 500 tons. Mr. Burrows took with him a number of fine goods for presents, and declared his intention to present his vessel to the emperor, if he was well received and permitted to remain. The vessel took no goods except stores and presents, and no passengers except Mr. Burrows and his son…”

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 25 Aug 1854, Newspapers.com: Sandwich Islands…The clippership Lady Pierce (formerly the Racehound), Captain Burr, arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, in 16 days from San Francisco. This ship is owned by Silas E. Burrows, as is a sort of pleasure yacht, in which the owner is going down to have a look at Japan. She touched in unexpectedly, to have the barnacles scraped off her bottom, having discovered after leaving San Francisco that her sailing was impeded by them…”

Thanks to Frederick Scott, MSgt, USAF (Ret.) for his research, finding and sending these interesting articles about the Racehound.

The ship, renamed Lady Pierce, did sail to Japan in 1854. This, from one of several articles about the trip to Japan. Perrysburg Journal, Perrysburg, Ohio, 11 Nov 1854, p.3, Newspapers.com: “The American, Peace Expedition to Japan—We stated a few months ago that Mr. Silas E. Burrows had fitted out the ship Lady Pierce at San Francisco, at his own expense, and sailed for Japan, with a number of beautiful presents for the Emperor…The Lady Pierce arrived in Jeddo Bay 15 days after Commodore Perry had left, as a token of amity and peace, and without any preparations for war and the high Japanese officers said the visit was much more pleasing to them than that of commodore Perry, who had with him too many big guns and fighting men…The Japanese, it is said, were surprised on visiting the Lady Pierce, to find her so elegantly furnished. Her dimensions were taken by artists, who said the Emperor intended to build two vessels on the same model. With a party of officials from Uraga, the Lady P. made a trip to within ten miles of Jeddo, but the said officials objected to her going any nearer, saying that Commodore Perry did not go any closer…”  

And, from Japan and the Japanese, Richard Hildreth (Dayton: Bradley, 1860), p.535; Google Books.com: “You have, Mr. Burrows, come here, relying on our friendship and hospitality…It has given the Emperor and all the Japanese great pleasure that you have returned to Japan our countryman, Dee-yee-no-skee, who was shipwrecked, and who has been residing for some time in your country, where he states he has been treated with the greatest kindness, and particularly so on board your ship, the Lady Pierce. That you should have made a voyage to Japan to restore him to his friends and home, without any other inducement, as you say, except to see Japan…We understand what ships of war are; also what whaling ships and merchant ships are; but we never before heard, till you came here, of such a ship as yours,–a private gentleman’s pleasure ship…”

It would be interesting to see a sketch of the ship, if there is one.

I will post Nimrod’s journal in increments, but not necessarily every week.

[1] Nimrod Headington at the age of 24, set sail from New York in February 1852, bound for San Francisco, California, to join the gold rush and to hopefully make his fortune. The Panama Canal had not been built at that time and he sailed around the tip of South America to reach the California coast.     Nimrod Headington kept a diary of his 1852 journey and in 1905 he made a hand-written copy for his daughter Thetis O. Tate. This hand-written copy was eventually passed down to Nimrod’s great-great-granddaughter, Karen (Liffring) Hill (1955-2010). Karen was a book editor and during the last two years of her life she transcribed Nimrod’s journal. Nimrod’s journal, Trip to California, documents his travels between February of 1852 and spring of 1853.

[2] Nimrod Headington (1827-1913) was the son of Nicholas (1790-1856) and Ruth (Phillips) (1794-1865) Headington. He was born in Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, on 5 August 1827 and married Mary Ann McDonald (1829-1855) in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1849. Nimrod moved to Portland, Jay County, Indiana, by 1860 and during the Civil War served in the 34th Indiana Infantry as a Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and Major. Nimrod died 7 January 1913 and is buried in Green Park Cemetery, Portland. Nimrod Headington is my fourth great-granduncle, the brother of my fourth great-grandfather, William Headington (1815-1879).

[3] Nimrod Headington’s journal, transcription, and photos courtesy of Ross Hill, 2019, used with permission.

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