2.2 Holtville to Dawson

March 4, 2012

Once Hayes got his health back working in the American west, the old wanderlust grabbed him again.  Though he knows the Alaska gold rush is played out, in the spring of 1908 he decided to go up and see the country for himself.  By June he’s at Dawson halfway down the Yukon river in the heart of Alaska.

Once again, the length of the map of his travels in eight months is remarkable.  Click on the title of the post to go to the site.

October 16,1907 – June 14,1908

Today, flat rectangular fields checker the Imperial Valley where the Colorado River feeds some of the most productive agriculture land in the world.  Every drop of the river finds its way to one of the squares on the board; none reaches the sea.


Imperial Valley, California

In 1907, the Imperial Valley rose and fell in hummocks cut willy-nilly by flash floods seeking the Pacific Ocean.  Hayes and his mule team driven four abreast had a small hand in leveling this vast desert filled by “sands gouged out of the Grand Canyon.”

Print of section of photograph, Imperial Valley, 1901 - NARA - 296427
Imperial Valley, California 1901

But not much – he drove the team for a month and 10 days.  Drinking water from the newly formed Salton Sea caused a kind of dysentery and the pay was low.  The company offered $50 for seven days a week but reduced Hayes to $45 when he refused to work Sundays.  The dysentery combined with lingering malaria pushed him back to Los Angeles:  “I am more desirous of health than a job just now.

Back outside Los Angeles, Hayes now sees “plenty to do here if a man is not particular what he does.”  He quickly found work – driving four mules again, “this time two span instead of four abreast” – hauling clay in a brickyard with a Mexican crew.  This job lasted two weeks.  Simons, the boss, cut the pay without notice.  All the men held on until payday then promptly quit. Hayes caught a smile from the pay clerk when cashing out but only understood the clerk’s dark scowls directed to the other men after learning that two of Simons’ barns had burned the previous night.

Over in San Pedro, he found a couple weeks’ work at the Salt Lake Railway docks in San Pedro under a brute of a boss and the sting of fair weather friends mocking his penury.  “It is a temporary job at best, and where oh where will I go?”

To Eureka of course ­– to ask George Glenn for his old job back at the mill.  When Glen asked, “Will you promise to stay on?” (Hayes’ quote)  Hayes couldn’t lie to him, so he went on north to Little River where 300 giant Canadians were cutting trees, laying rails, and building a new sawmill in the constant rain.  At least the food is good.

But his heart isn’t in the work and a thirtieth birthday sinks his spirits even lower.  “A man is supposed to have done something toward finding his place in life at that age, yet I am still a drifter, and likely always will be.”  Still, when he spies Mike Mulcahy, a friend from his brief stint at business college, now far out-ranking him at this Canadian company, he writes, “I wouldn’t care to be Mulcahy just the same.  None of the men like him, he is a “company” man.  That is, the company is always right, no matter what happens.”  Hayes is a man who knows what he wants, respects himself as a principled working-man, and accepts the consequences of sticking to his own standards – even if he gets a little blue on his birthday.

In March of 1908 Hayes writes eloquently of what he admires perhaps most in life:  hard work, done well.  “The snatch teams that haul timber from the small mill to us flounder deep in the mire, but such skilled men are handling them they are never stuck.  This timber business is a marvelous thing.  Each man must know his work, he is a skilled man, yet is counted a laborer.”  Of course, he goes on about how the company fails to recognize these skills and his skills in particular, but Hayes can see the beauty of work well done even if the bosses cannot.

Nevertheless, Hayes lasted only from December 1907 to April 1908 at the lumber camp.  The lumberjacks had a good medical facility, but the mill owners set up a company hospital intending to force their workers to subscribe to substandard care at $1.50 a month.  All the men vowed to strike, but when the edict arrived only Hayes and Mike Mulcahy’s brother refused.  Two striking men are the same as two men quitting.  Hayes thinks maybe he’ll go north.

The Klondike gold rush began in 1897 and was essentially over in 1899.  In those two years, thousands of soft-handed city men poured into the Yukon feverish to sluice out an easy fortune.

Miners climb Chilkoot
Chilkoot Pass September 1898

Ten years later, when Hayes went north, a few large companies had already bought up any promising strike.  At Seattle in 1908, Hayes reads,  “many adds telling of the wonderful opportunities of employment at Fairbanks, and there are others posted by the miners union saying the place is already crowded out with men and no jobs for them.”   Still, Seattle is dull, mill work is “everlasting,” and “the call is on me and I am persuaded to go.”   Characteristically, boredom with the familiar and curiosity about the edge of the wild drew Hayes open-eyed to one of the most amazing feats of his life – his exit from Alaska to be described in the segment 2.4 of this synopsis of his diary.

At Skagway, miners returning to softer climes after years “inside” the Yukon basin tell Hayes stories of hardship, poverty, even death.  For about a minute, he thinks about selling the remainder of his ticket and returning south – In another week, he’s working the dock for the White Pass and Yukon Railway, saving for supplies to get “inside,” and telling tales of Soapy Smith’s death and burial outside the town limits.

May 22, Hayes writes that he has a “girl friend” in Skagway who “urges me to work for her dad, who has a place of business in town.”  (That’s ‘girl friend’ not ‘girlfriend.’)  Her proposition gets about a minute’s consideration too; his ticket shows he’s shipped his baggage on the train to White Horse – in fact, Hayes, travelling light as always, shipped baggage for an overloaded greenhorn under his name, a detail omitted from the girl friend – sadly he must follow at least that far north to claim his possessions.


Steel Cantilever Bridge on the White Pass and Yukon Route

The magnificent railway from Skagway to White Horse (still operating as a tourist attraction today) draws only passing mention from Hayes.  He’s more interested in the “men of a low type” playing exquisite baseball at White Horse while waiting to go “inside” to positions at the Yukon Gold Company “which belongs to the Guggenheim interests.”  The company pays fare for the men from Vancouver plus $2.25 a day while at work, and, if they last four months, passage back to Vancouver.  Quit early and pay your own way back – if you can.

When the ice finally breaks, the run to Fort Selkirk is uneventful:  stuck a few hours at a shallow in Lake Lebarge, some fast water slapping the steamer around, tales of “toughs who will not work” robbing prospectors then slipping their corpses into blow holes in the frozen Yukon – the usual for Hayes.

At Dawson, the picks and shovels of the earliest days of the gold rushhave given way to the enormous dredges of the Yukon Gold Company.

Klondike mining, c.1899
Klondike Mining 1899
Dredge and thawing system
Dredge and Thawing System 1908

Hayes immediately spots the Guggenheim’s swindle:  men with four-month contracts are fired at three and a half months so the thrifty company saves return fare on men not fulfilling their contracts.  The Canadian Mounted Police seem to be trying to do something about the company racket but their hands are full with more important matters:  Ned Elfors, one of murderous“toughs” Hayes mentioned, only creased the cheek of Anderson, a companion and would-be victim.  Apparently Elfors had been more accurate with a second companion named Bergman.  Anderson’s story, together with a doctor’s testimony that all the bullets removed from Bergman’s body came from Elfors’ gun, condemned Elfors to hang.

Six weeks in the washed-out Alaskan gold rush already has Hayes writing:  “I find nothing in Dawson to keep me here.”

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28. Seattle to the Seymour Narrows

August 14, 2011

Entries in Hayes’ diary become sparse when he is “settled.”  In this chapter Hayes spent a year in two places: breaking rocks at a quarry in Tacoma Washington, and running logs at a mill pond in Eureka California.  Hayes writes in his diary only about once a month as he finds the settled life “dull, dull DULL.”  To this reader who grew up in Oregon and has seen those great rafts of logs bobbing in the sloughs, skipping logs in the dark would seem anything but dull.

Jean, Hayes mentions a cousin Edith Carlson in Marshfield Oregon.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  The current chapter appears as the pink path, preceded by the yellow from California, and followed by the blue north back to Alaska.

Click here to download chapters 1-28 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:

28.1 Breaking Rocks on the Duamish

May 17, 1904

For want of a razor, Hayes missed re-connecting with Martin for the 1904 summer survey of Alaska. He checked around Seattle and was told Martin would be through almost at once. Back at the quarry on the Duamish, “some bewhiskered gentleman who needed [my razor] more than I do took it… When Payday came and I was able to buy one, Martin had gone.”

At least Hayes’ young back is welcome at the quarry. The boss cleaned house by calling out the names of those he wanted on the job. Hayes did not hear his name called and because he had laid off the previous day when, “my leg was half broken by a flying scale of rock,” he gathered his possessions together and lined up to be paid off with those dismissed. To which the boss said “Wotta yuh doin’ here? You’re workin’. Git back to your bunk, I’ll tell yuh when I want yuh to go!” (Hayes’ quote)

May 26, 1904

In fact, Hayes’ writes that his name had not been called because he was hiding out hoping to be overlooked – it’s a job, and he needs the money – but swinging a 14-pound hammer all day qualifies as poor second to exploring Alaska and just barely above tramping down the road to see what else might turn up. But he’s “getting hardened now and can take it with the rest.” Among the steady workers kept on after the house cleaning are Tiddley, an Englishman 42 years old, who cracks rocks “to earn enough to satisfy his longing for booze,” and “Pete, an ancient Swede, 52 years old, [who] keeps up the lick and breaks immense stones better than the younger men.” Pete doesn’t drink, prefers an 18-pound hammer, “and is rumored to have saved his money for the evening of life.”

According to their chatter, some of these men “have been seated among the mighty but have fallen.” Old Jack who runs the crusher claims to have owned most of Mercer Island but lost it speculating. Irish Donnelly says he held title on the site of the Dexter-Horton Bank before coming to the Duamish to break rocks. Not all the men were once wealthy, but all are interesting: Chris, a seaman; Scotty, a British soldier who served in South Africa; Nels, a Swede with the Boer army sent to St. Helena as a prisoner of war. “Not an uninteresting lot of men if one can take it with them.”

July 4, 1904

Price, the genial superintendent of the quarry who visits frequently from his home in the city, worries that the men “will be disorganized and weak from dissipation for a week or so after today [the national holiday], and it is an even bet many of them will be in the can tonight at Seattle.”

Only Hayes, Old Jack “who has had his day,” and Pete the big Swede, “too cautious and too penurious to spend,” remain at the quarry looking out across the valley to the countryside, “charming in its summer beauty.” It’s good to have a rest day from the heavy work. Hayes figures he’ll stay on another month then head back to Eureka.

Riverton Bridge, Duwamish River.
built in 1903

July 23, 1904

As Price predicted, “Some of the men never returned from their celebration of the nation’s birthday.” But Tiddley came back – and suddenly he’s stopped complaining about the cook, “a sturdy Finnish widow, who always boils the eggs hard and makes the coffee strong.” Romance is in the air – so accordingly the men are sending Tiddley “quotations on baby carriages, bedroom sets and such.” But Tiddley has a rival, a twenty year old lad from Mississippi, “who learned to admire the widow.” The younger man comes in for chafing about being adopted by the widow “who is not an hour less than forty.” Hayes reports it all rather distractedly, laughing at the cook’s two nightly auxiliary dishwashers. We never find out who prevailed.

28.2 To San Francisco: Sea Sick as always

August 4, 1904

After July payday, Hayes left the quarry bound for San Francisco on the Umatilla, “an ancient wooden vessel long since antiquated, but will run until she sinks if her owners can make profit from her.” The little money he’s earned won’t go even for second class; he travels “steerage” the cheapest ticket and worst accommodations possible. “The smells emanating from the steerage quarters turned my stomach before we left the dock,” then the old boat started rolling brining on four days of his old friend “mal-de-mer.”

He toured the park at San Fransicso “and to Cliff House to see the sights of the city.”

Cliff House circa 1900

The sightseeing tour may have been to settle his stomach in preparation for another 216 nautical miles north to Eureka. At the time, a ship was the only way to get from San Francisco to Eureka, “and I will be seasick again, for the northwest winds are constant now, lashing the sea into a fury.”

28.3 Winter in Eureka

August 16, 1904

Back in Eureka, Hayes’ old boss George Glynn “is now the big shot of the company.” Glynn hires Hayes on to a clannish Italian gang working “on a roadway spur where the road runs through a tunnel.” This is heavy work, loading scrapers, and Hayes weighs just enough to “bring down the beam.” Glynn gives Hayes this punishing work and an admonition: “He tells me he wants me to deep the lick, and to stay on the job this time instead of running off across the world, then coming back broke.” The new position has changed Glynn who used to be congenial overseer into an authoritative company man: “Sorry, but George is a good boss gone wrong.”

September 24, 1904

After a month under the sharp tongue of the “straw boss on the railway job,” Glynn transferred Hayes back onto the pond working logs but not before giving him another hectoring, “I want you to stay on the job, not be leaving when everything is going smooth.”

Returning right back to the job he held two years ago, without a penny to show for his wondering, prompts a brief self-examination: “I am now 26 years of age, and should be getting something together if ever.” The standard plan for a man his age would be to raise a little money, marry, rear a family and live happily. But that path his not for Hayes – not that he couldn’t if he wanted to – “As always, I have a lot of pretty girl-friends, but none of them serious” – it’s just that “I have a deal of trouble caring for myself.”

Self-assessment over – back to work. Running logs on the pond requires a great deal of skill and Hayes is good at it.

Logs on a Mill Pond

Saltwater surges back and forth into the bay daily, floating the logs higher than in fresh water. Hayes picks up where he left off two years ago: pushing logs back into the sloughs for sawing in the winter when the logging camp cannot run. The men on the pond use the high tides at full moon to push the logs upstream. This means they must go skipping out onto the floating logs in the dark. “Logs seem all the same level in the moonlight, and we have some sharp falls by making a wrong estimate of their heights in the dim light of the moon.” But all the men are skilled at the work and seldom fall in. “Unless [a] man’s head goes under, it is not counted against him. He must be wholly under to count.”

October 7, 1904

A shingle mill under construction nearby causes extra work storing light logs, so Glynn sends down “green” men from the mill who don’t know how to run the logs. They constantly fall into the bay and when hauled out by the experienced men find the “head clear” scoring system not particularly funny. When the green men quit, “George Glynn, cusses us for our ill-timed humor.”

Steady work but it’s “dull, dull, DULL!” To church on Sundays and some evenings where the food is excellent, “but there is a larger crowd now and it takes the edge off it all.”

The local duck hunters are in a squabble because a number of wealthy “sportsmen” (Hayes’ quote) have incorporated the common ground into a private reserve, excluding “all the men who have hunted these grounds ever since they were able to carry a gun.” But Hayes has no gun, no desire to shoot ducks, and is tired after a day running logs anyway, so he stays out of the quarrel.

November 23, 1904

When Hayes is working steadily the diary entries become sparse. “Time slips by but there is little of interest to chronicle here.” He’d leave but, “There is little of interest in the world now other than the Russo-Japanese war.”

Depiction of Japanese Warships besieging Port Arthur

Hayes believes that most citizens in the United States sympathize with the Japanese because the Russians “bullying of their own subjects has alienated the other white against them.” But he won’t travel to Port Arthur; “War doesn’t interest me. I want Africa, though I know not what it means. One of these days I am going to see it if I live.”

December 20, 1904

Another month slips by with nothing to write about but the work. The redwood trees sent by the cutting outfit are magnificent. “We had one tree 27 (twenty-seven) feet in diameter formerly. It was hollow and had been burned out until a waterboy mounted on a pony rode his mount in eighty feet, then turned and came back out again.” By the time it was blasted to pieces, 35 logs were sawn from that single tree.

The cutters up in the woods ship logs to the millpond by rail. Before a load is tipped into the water, Hayes and the other men on the pond amuse themselves predicting which on the load will be “sinkers,” butts of the tree so impregnated with water they won’t float. Then to work: “We match every log with another of like diameter and hang them off with topes. We bore holes on either side, drive the ropes in and set pegs on top of the ropes, forming batteries and placing them in rafts.” All this –all day – in the rain.

Incredibly, some of the men doing work on the logs with Hayes cannot swim. One such, a “genial Pole” named Jack Zientara. fell into the rushing flood and would have perished but for the “nimble feet” and pike of Ed Johnson.

January 17, 1905

For the first time in six months Hayes himself fell into the pond. A good deal of razzing ensued but “the boys sympathized saying my head never went under, and that saved the day, even if it was cold.” With all the cold January rain, a man on the logs is about as wet whether he falls in or not. All the good-natured levity cannot disguise the real peril of the logs: “The great danger is, to get a piece of bark speared on one’s calks and not know it. Then a man will slip and fall heavily, perhaps strike his head on a log. Once under the milling logs in a swift current, there is little chance of life.”

Calk Boots

At the holiday, Hayes took in a Christmas tree “because there was no alibi to keep it out.” He’s still attending the mission church where John Walker, an old man Hayes quite admires, preaches nightly at the street meetings then later at the hall. “He is wealthy, but a sincere Christian.” Hayes, on the other hand, is still broke because he’s still sending out all his earnings to pay past debts. “This is what takes everything I make, for I am slowly settling all, even the railway fare I beat the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and other roads out of when a boy.”

February 10,1905

A little more self-reflection at his 27th birthday: “My relatives all say I am a failure, and this hurts, for they get every extra cent I make.” His mother says he should have gone to Stanford when offered the chance, but what’s done is done. Hayes will try again for Alaska with Martin this summer – though George Glynn will be mad.

The preacher John Walker died. Hayes went to hear him preach in the street then the two talked on about earthly versus heavenly riches until about 10:00. Walker was stricken with an aneurism around midnight and died peacefully the next evening with Hayes standing over him. It is hard to lose “the one sincere friend I had in Eureka.

March 5, 1905

Only constant hard work keeps Hayes warm on the millpond in the sleet driving hard off the hills. Out on the cold bay, he dreams of Africa: “To me getting ahead is to get established in some way in Africa.” By now he reckons he’s made full restitution to anyone he ever cheated “and will be able to save a few dollars for Africa.”

And a letter has come from Martin: “He is to head a considerable party that will fully map the region round Controller Bay, and that he expects to take a trip to the Matanuska region near the head of Cook’s Inlet to investigate the coal beds there.” Martin wants Hayes along and will pay several hundred dollars!

April 2, 1905

With Alaska waiting, time drags on the millpond for Hayes. The local duck hunters refused to allow their traditional hunting ground to be restricted: “Despite the warden resident on the reserve, hunters invaded it from every side. When the warden chased men out on one side, others came over the farther boundary, shooting at every duck, far or near.” Hayes thinks: Bully for them; Alaska has plenty of ducks.

28.4 Finally, north to Seatle

May 6, 1905

With no remark about what George Glynn said about Hayes leaving the mill in Eureka, Hayes strikes out north for Seattle by way of Marshfield where he saw an old shipmate apparently hiding out and dropped a note to his cousin Edith Carlson, then to Portland where the World’s Fair will open shortly. Seattle still booms on trade to miners heading to the Klondike. A few friends amuse Hayes in Seattle and Martin will be here in two weeks.

25.5 Seymour Narrows

May 16, 1905

Six members of Martin’s 1905 survey crew, “Martin, Hamilton, a topographer, three university students and me,” sail north crowded together with miners headed to the Yukon. “We will be joined later by Maddren, who is to collect fossils, and a chap named Small, who will be as I am. I don’t like the setup much, but one must take it and like it as it is.”

The photo below is from the 1904 expedition, the trip Hayes missed for want of a razor. GC Martin wears the tall boots on the left.

G.C. Martin, Stanton, L. Martin, Brown, and Keyes

“Martin is slightly swelled up over his bigger party,” and will no longer listen to Hayes about provisioning. Hayes says he saved the party $1500 on the 1903 trip, but now that Martin considers himself fully qualified to lead, “he is slinging away money on useless equipment, and will go short unless he considers matters more carefully.”

Running the narrows a bit late on the slack tide was exciting. “But all is well, and we are out in the gulf beyond.”

(to get to the Martin photo: go to the USGS photographic library and search Alaska Martin, it is photo number 87 on p. 4.)


23. Resurrection Bay AK to Hico TX

July 1, 2011

Down from Alaska for the winter, Hayes declines an offer to study at Stanford returning coincidentally to Hico to see his mother and sisters just as word of his father’s death arrives from Colorado.

On the map, chapter 22 is the yellow path.  The current chapter is pink with popups.  Chapter 24 is the blue circular path.

(If the map doesn’t appear in the email, click the title to go to the blog.)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:
23.1 A “four flusher” and Hundreds of Sea Lions

September 14, 1903

Before Hayes and Martin changed ships from the Newport to the Santa Ana at Resurrection Bay, they got an illustration the danger of the extreme tides in these long narrow Alaskan Bays. The Newport dragged anchor and came to rest against a rock at high tide; as the tide ebbed, the fore part of the ship pointed high in the air threatening to snap the hull. Fortunately, it held, and when the tides reversed, the ship floated serenely off. “Now all is well again, and the priests, the whores, the prospectors and various scientists who make up the list are celebrating with wine and song.”

On the Santa Ana Hayes bunks with an interesting mate, Jack Carroll, who with another sourdough and three college students looking for adventure, accompanied Doctor Frederick Cook on an expedition to climb Mt. McKinley.

Dr. Frederick Cook

Ignorant of even the rudiments of Alaskan life, Cook scoffed at Carroll’s insistence on a mosquito-proof tent. The first night Carroll and Jones, the other sourdough, slept comfortably inside the tent while the other five roughed it outside. “Next night, and each ensuing night thereafter, seven men were crowded into this 7×10 tent.”

Carroll took ill with pleurisy and had to leave Cook’s party at the foot of Mt. McKinley, but not before forming a poor opinion of the expedition’s leader: “Carroll says Cook is a fourflusher.” (The word comes from bluffing with a weak hand when playing poker. It now roughly means one not true to his word.) Carroll’s principle evidence for the charge is Cook’s inability to listen to men more experienced in the wilds of Alaska. (Wikipedia cites other evidence supporting Carroll’s assessment of Cook’s character, including a famous faked photograph of a first ascent of Mt. McKinley from a 1906 attempt.)

On a great rock off shore from the mouth of Resurrection Bay, hundreds of sea lions line one wall, some several hundred feet above the sea. “The Santa Ana ran near the rock, then gave a loud blast on her whistle. The lions tumbled down any way they might, rolling, somersaulting, leaping to the water, then surrounded the ship and barking their indignation.”

23.2 The Beauty of Southern Alaska

September 16, 1903

Snow creeping toward the edge of town brings “the lonely men who have spent the short summer on distant creeks in search of the elusive gold,” down into Valdez where the fortunate “are given smiles, and if necessary further favors by the ladies of the evening,” who haunt the dance halls, saloons and other sporting houses. The nights are lengthening and, “In a few weeks all will be covered with snow for the winter.”

“Words fail to tell of the marvelous scenery of Southern Alaska. The highest mountains on the North American continent front on the sea here, and snow is always present on these above 3,000 feet, even in mid summer. There is forest below the snow, and rivers tumble down the steeps into the sea, and glaciers may be seen at every turn. Islands separated by winding blue channels give passage to the heart of these mountains… It is an empty land, these fine harbors wasted on a wilderness where they are of no use to man.”

23.3 Yakutat

September 20, 1959 (sic)

(The misdating of this entry probably reflects when the diaries were typed.)

At Yakutat native women “sit in front of the trading post and sell beaded moccasins, ladies hand bags and all sorts of trinkets they have made during the long winters,” for whatever price they can get. The young people native to the area “are becoming Americanized,” at a school in Sitka where they are taken when quite young. The US government offers men who live with Indian women two choices: “marry her and keep her as wife, or else jail.”

At Valdez most of the passengers left the ship to be replaced by a new list. Now Hayes bunks with “one Cloudesley Rutter,” a biologist at Stanford University, who offers Hayes a job for the next summer assisting Rutter’s study of the Alaska salmon industry. In the meantime, Rutter asks why doesn’t Hayes come down and enroll at Stanford? “It sounds good, but I wonder.” Maybe the quick bond between Hayes and Rutter forms because, “We have one thing in common, both dislike Martin’s pretensions.”

Perhaps the long nights with the coming of winter send Hayes back to his darkest assessments of humanity. A prostitute on board has lost the malamute pup she loved, tangled in some rigging and killed; maybe that set him off – or the end of the Alaska adventure with no plan for tomorrow? At any rate, he writes: “Men are the most degraded animals this world holds. They prostitute their own kind, exploit each other and slay each other without mercy if it profits to do so. The most fortuned die in infancy, or are never born at all.” And so on at some length.

23.4 Summing up Alaska 1903

Septermber 23, 1903

After some geological speculation about how glaciers carved the bay leading to Juneau and all the waterways south to Puget Sound, Hayes comments on the viability of the future state capital: “Mining keeps Juneau from dying, there being no industry or farming hereabout to make a town.” Juneau will be a business center of the region until the rich mines at Treadwell across the bay are worked dry – but then what will support a town?

A comment Hayes makes on passing again through Sitka encapsulates his impression of Alaska and its cultural history formed while traipsing about the region in the summer of 1903: “Sitka remains the same sleepy village is has always been. The Indian schools, the territorial staff who govern the country and the old Russian mission makes a living for 1,500 people”

He goes on to say that 50 years of Russian occupation stripped Alaska of its furs and broke the spirit of the native population: “The 36 years of American rule has been insufficient to uplift them from their lowly estate, but it can be done.” He sees the Indian schools as the great hope for future civilization of the area because the native children will be taught practical skills and, “kept free from the gamblers, the licentious miners, and others who corrupt them utterly.” In Hayes’ view, these young natives will surely inherit Alaska. When the minerals are stripped and the fisheries regulated, there are too many mosquitoes in summer and too much cold in winter “to make it a white man’s country.” He’s hopeful that the educated children of Alaska “will rebuild what has been lost within a hundred years.”

As for Hayes? He’ll be in Seattle within the week.

23.5 Where to next?

September 30, 1903

Slow boats like the Santa Ana poke down the coast “for they creep into all sorts of outlandish places and load and unload cargo for small mines, fisheries, trading stations and such.” But the pleasant sightseeing trip will end tomorrow in Seattle.

Hayes’ will be glad to part ways with Martin whose “head has been turned by the publicity he has received.” Early in the summer he was reasonably companionable but now, “he seeks the society of scientists, politicians, or rich mining people who can help him up on his way to the top, wherever that is.” While softening the critique about Martin’s turned head with,“I suppose we are all like that,” Hayes makes clear by his own choice of working class companions that he understands “the top” differently than Martin.

So, that’s Alaska – what next? Uncle Epam in Washington who wrangled the trip for Hayes wants him to visit another uncle, Epam’s brother, out in Oregon. To Hayes this seems an odious though necessary part of the job. Nevertheless, “I think I’ll funk it this time, go back to Eureka and stay the winter.”

23.6 Same Old Eureka

October 10, 1903

After a brief stop in Victoria BC – “a dull town with an English atmosphere” – and the usual violent seasickness coming down the coast in a small boat, Hayes arrives in Eureka where George Glynn, his old boss at the mill, has a job waiting for him. But “I don’t like it. I want to wander.”

In this frame of mind, of course Eureka receives a tawdry description: “There is little to recommend Eureka to a vagrant.” With five large sawmills, a shingle mill, and some dairies and farms, “It is one of those towns that is built, has no further need for expansion.” No need for any new houses, and “the business section has a run-down appearance.”

Uncle Epam still presses Hayes to visit the family up in Oregon, George Glynn wants him to stay on –“but I wonder.”

23.7 Galveston? Stanford?

October 22, 1903

To wander the world one must have either cash or sailor’s work. Lacking the former, Hayes tries in San Francisco for a ship to China or to the South Seas. “Nothing doing, no chance ever.” So, it’ll have to be Galveston and wherever ships are going from there.

On a visit to Stanford University, Cloudesley Rutter, the biologist Hayes met on the Santa Ana out of Valdez, offers another alternative: an expedition to the Galapagos Islands departing some months hence. In the meantime, Rutter wants Hayes to enroll in a special geology course. Never mind the tuition money, Rutter can set him up with a job as a club secretary.

October 24, 1903

“Was out at the Twin Peaks yesterday, thinking it over.” It’ll have to be Galveston: “I won’t handle booze, and to be a club secretary means I must do just that.” The decision made, he’s on a train for Texas that very night.

23.8 William Morrison Perkins 1841-1903

October 30, 1903

At 25, Hayes has been traveling the world for 10 years since leaving Hico at the end of a horsewhip. Returning to a place he says he never cares to see again, he gives the following terse account of his sisters: “May is married, lives in Oklahoma. Jennie is in Houston. I will see her on my way south. Annie is teaching at Iredell, a small village next station to Hico. Memrie is in the post office here, and Pearl and Vance still attend school.” He reports being happy to see them.

November 3, 1903

Remarkable that Hayes should be in Hico with the family when “Word has come that father was killed by an unruly horse at Walsenburg Colorado.” He lived three days after the horse crushed his head against a fence rail.

“Our reactions were different when the tidings came.” He reports that his mother went pale, “But there was little sorrow for his passing. He had been too cruel for that.” Hayes is glad to have written to his faterh before he died, but “To be truthful, it means no more than any other person whom I have met casually. Whatever affection there may have been, it has been wholly eradicated by his brutality when I was in his power. Somehow I am glad it has been no worse, for I might have slain him had I stayed home.”

Hayes and his mother will leave for Houston tomorrow to visit sister Jennie on his way to find a ship at Galveston.


19. San Francisco to Liverpool

June 5, 2011

The rain in Eureka prevents Hayes from recovering fully from the ravages of his last trip around the horn,  so he rides cross country to see the family in Galveston and from there – signs on to sail to Liverpool again!

(If you aren’t seeing a map in the email, please click the title above)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

19.1 Loggings at the Slough in Eureka

July 10, 1902

After a week at the San Francisco ironworks, Hayes can no longer stand the noise. The bosses are decent about his quick departure and now Hayes has earned enough money to pay fare on the Pamona, a small passenger steamer sailing north to Eureka. Of course the dreadful seasickness strikes him down but upon arrival at Eureka, all there welcome him back, even George Glynn his old boss who has both a position and a promise of a better one to come.  Hayes writes, “I hope to stay on for a long time.”

August 2, 1902

“Time slips by pleasantly and quickly when one is in a congenial place.” Hayes moved out of town to where the logs are floated into a deep slough and made into rafts. He works with Wallace and Billy and “being adept as seafaring it gives me an advantage in handling ropes, wires and rigging in general.” When not on the log rafts, a three-mile walk into town takes him to the library where long quiet hours transport him to other worlds. “To get an education has always been my desire, but thus far it has been one of hard knocks instead.”

August 21, 1902

A small railway runs about ten miles back into the deep woods where the trees are cut. Two or three times a day, a railcar dumps a load of freshly cut redwood into the waters of the slough. The butts of most trees hold so much water the first log cut from a tree almost always sinks. “We bore holes in the sinkers, as these heavy logs are called, then hang them onto a lighter one of corresponding size.” The very lightest logs are pushed far up into the slough to save for winter cutting; the rest are ganged into rafts and towed to Eureka for milling.

October 2, 1902

With so many logs coming the slough is entirely full. “Many of the logs are so large we must blast them into smaller pieces.” The saw mill can handle logs no larger than nine feet in diameter; the largest Hayes has seen is sixteen feet, “and it had to be halved in the woods before it could be loaded on the train.”

Even in the midst of the cutting, all the destruction troubles Hayes. “ Sometimes it seems a crime to destroy all these fine forests. What will posterity think about it?” The cut stumps would rapidly re-grow but the company burns them to seed for pasture seeking short-term profit.

The wild world of Hayes’ childhood is rapidly vanishing: “There is not a tenth duck or goose. The elk are all gone; the fur bearing animals and most of the Indians are gone. Only at the Klamath reservation are there any number now.”

December 3, 1902

In this region of Northern California rain falls nearly every day. As Hayes is not yet recovered from the starvation of the Crown of India, “My teeth are still sore, loose, gums fallen away from the teeth and I fear of losing them all,” the severe weather may force him to leave this very comfortable position. Remarkably, he writes that he still sends all his money out repaying people he outsmarted years ago. “Business, of course, but it was unfair and must be returned.

December 26, 1902

“Christmas, and for the first time in my life I have been to a Christmas tree.” Of course he immediately downplays the evident excitement of this sentence writing that his gifts were trinkets that would have been appreciated when he was a boy, “but give little thrill at my present age.”

The rains swell the slough into a rushing river threatening to sweep all the stored logs out to sea. Dancing on the bobbing log rafts in hobnail boots on a rushing river requires great skill. “Strangely we cannot discern the various elevations of the logs at nights. Thus we sometimes step down two feet, falling overboard or jarring ourselves badly in the darkness.” When new men are sent to help hold the logs against the current, Hayes and the others must constantly rescue them from spills into the muddy waters.

Now comes a tree 28 feet across the stump. “We made 35 logs out of it by blasting it. Surely this tree must have been 3,000 years old, perhaps more than that.” Reading Hayes diaries more than one hundred years after this account, perhaps we know what posterity thinks of cutting and blasting to bits such a magnificent tree.

January 11, 1903

The Northern California rains won’t let his lungs, damaged on the Crown of India, heal – but where to go. Australia? Perhaps in that dry climate he will avoid the tuberculosis that killed several of his relatives.

19.2 Hico with the Family

February 10, 1903

Finally the pleurisy drove him from California – to Hico Texas for his 25th birthday.  Instead of Australia, he now thinks maybe he’ll go to South Africa where “the climate is dry and warm,” and mining work available.

His report on the family comes in the same laconic tones as before:  “Mother is getting old. …  I wish I might do something to aid her more than I do.”  Just this for his sisters:   “My sisters have grown up until I scarcely know them.”  And he has only disdain for his father, now moved to Oklahoma:  “Why a man should be inherently cruel to his children is beyond me, but he was.  It is over forever now, and he has lost the affection of us all.”  His sisters know that Hayes will again leave them shortly; they “chide me because I am given to roaming.”

19.3 Galveston and Back to Sea

February 24, 1903

His sister did survive the flood of 1900 at Galveston but much wreckage to the city still remains. In this Southern town, enmity concerning the Civil war also persists; “there is a certain coolness toward the Yankee who invaded their country and defeated them.”

Despite its tiny size, Galveston is a great port of the world frequented by many British ships but also those of Germany, France and Norway, hauling into stream, loading, and departing as fast as they can, one after another.

Hayes catches a job on the biggest ship in port, the Irak, preparing to leave immediately. His rationale for returning to work as a seaman while still sick from the previous trip is rings hollow: “I am not well, but the clean air of the sea should soon drive away the weakness I have acquired and make me well.” Hair of the dog? Or more likely his desperation to get free of the family: “’meeting my mother is like going to a funeral, she takes it so hard when I leave.” In any case, he sails with the Irak tomorrow.

19.4 Florida Straits.

March 1, 1903

As the Irak was leaving Galveston harbor a tidal surge tossed her against another ship, crumpling the railings on both sides. Neither ship sustained any real damage, but “There were many sweet compliments exchanged between the respective skippers…”

Surprisingly cold air hangs the Florida Strait with thick weather and poor visibility, but a strong current pushed the Irak smartly forward. The small sandy spits of the Bahamas and a quick glimpse of the Florida coast fleeting by indicate the swift passage of the ship.

19.5 Coaling at Hampton Roads

March 6, 1903

Fine weather past Cape Hatteras gives way to “a cold blast right out of the north.” The Irak drops anchor in the wide mouth of the James River with Hampton Roads to the south and Newport News to the north. Many ships stop here for Virginia coal and the Irak will also “take on a deck load of Cattle for Liverpool.” Building pens to hold the bulls on deck delays the Irak’s departure for several icy days. “We do have good food, poorly cooked always, but ample and would be excellent if a man who knew the rudiments of cookery was in the galley.”

19.6 Bull Pushers

March 8, 1903

The 458 bulls on deck headed for the British army boarded the ship as wild animals, “but the sea has tamed them.” Their tenders must keep them standing for the entire voyage for once down they will not rise again. “If there be a more picturesque crew than these bull pushers, as they are called by the sailors, I have never seen them.” These men have fallen to lowest position on the shipboard social scale and their pay reflects that status: $65 for a forty day trip with a second class return ticket for the headman and $25 with a third class return for his underlings. The seamen despise the bull pushers but for Hayes they provide an opportunity to admire a new “fluency in cusswords.”

Fortunately Hayes draws the port watch under a genial Irish mate. The scurvy still weakens Hayes and when the mate sees him struggling with heavy work in seas breaking over the forecastle-head, rather than curse him as Fleck would have, the mate sensibly re-assigns Hayes to lighter work.

19.7 Mid-Ocean with Bulls on Deck

May 12, 1903

All the bulls have great horns, so when their pens break down in heavy weather, even those bull tenders not down with seasickness are afraid to try corralling them. “I was too at first, but one seemed so cowed I petted him a little, then took hold of his ear and led him into a stall farther aft.” Soon Hayes working with another Swedish sailor have the bulls all safe in new pens.

After describing the line dividing the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current as deep blue on one side and light green on the other, Hayes relates some kind of prank that involved painting some of the bulls. He and the Swede had been detailed to paint the insides of all the deck ventilators. He’s not clear about how the paint got on the bulls, but the head bull pusher speaks to the mate in no uncertain terms: “These bloody souji-mouji artists of yours … have ruined my cattle. Wotta hell you keep such punks for is more than I can say! Now they’ve gotta git it off before I am back here. See to that!” The mate sharply assents to the demand, but he’s “grinning at me out of the corner of his eye,” and nothing more is said.

19.8 Paid off at Liverpool

March 19, 1903

Sailing through wild stormy weather, Hayes took quite a shock on the the Irish sea: “I was on the lookout last night, the sleet driving in my face right out of the north. Suddenly a light appeared dead ahead. Too bright for a ship, it seemed like a search light from a warship. I leaped for the bell lanyard and had just reached it when the light jumped twenty feet up the forestay. I hesitated. The light began to move slowly up and down the stay, remaining there for some minutes. It was St. Elmo’s fire, the first time I have ever seen this phenomenon.”

All the bulls but one were happy to disembark the ship at Liverpool. “For three hours he held the fort, the side captain cursing in every tongue he knew until he could speak only in a whisper.” When the mate tried to help out, he collapsed laughing upon receiving whispered curses from the side captain. Finally, they roped the renegade and winched him off the ship.

At payday in England by custom wives collect half a seaman’s salary, “to prevent their spouses from spending their substance in riotous living with the women of the streets and in the pubs.” As he is unmarried, Hayes collects his full pay and takes up residence at the sailor’s home run by missionaries.

March 22, 1903

Now that Hayes is finally ready for Africa, he can’t find a ship. Well, one, the Burutu would have taken him in return for a bribe, but it carried liquor to West Africa. Hayes won’t pay the “pour boire” and, “I don’t care to carry liquor to anyone.” According to Jack O’brien at the Sailor’s home, 50,000 other men are looking for ships out of Liverpool. “I have walked these docks form Hornsby to Herculaneum, seven miles of waterfront, seeking a place on a ship.” Nothing.

March 25, 1903

With a dwindling purse and no ship in sight, Hayes decides he might have better luck in London. Jack O’brien warns of fewer jobs there but Hayes has to move – here all the ship’s mates sign only sailors they know or those willing to pay the bribe.


15. South to the Horn

May 6, 2011

At the iron works in San Francisco, a general strike makes the city too dangerous, so Hayes signs on with a hungry four masted sailing ship for another tour around Cape Horn.

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.


Here and There Synopsis:

15.1 A city on Strike

May 12, 1901

The mill superintendent’s browbeating at Eureka finally became too much. Hayes paid passage down to San Francisco on the steam schooner Santa Barbara, “and was seasick as a dog.” Upon arrival he found employment as a sheet iron worker’s helper at the Union Iron Works. “Pay is poor. $1.75 for ten hours.” On this slim salary, anything beyond bare living expenses still gets sent off in reparation for the misdeeds of his youth.

Still trying to live decently, Hayes finds rooms with Mrs. Emslie who runs a mission to women working the infamous Barbary Coast where business booms with soldiers coming and going to war in the Philipines, seamen from merchant and whaling ships carousing, and “especially Alaska fishermen.” Mrs. Emslie’s mission seems a fool’s errand to Hayes. As far as he can see, the women don’t want to rise. “They jeer those who would help them.” Nevertheless, Hayes stands with Mrs. Emslie in the streets enduring “catcalls and jeers” as she entreats all to a better life.

June 20, 1901

The iron works employs more than 5,000 men building “three torpedo boats, a cruiser, and several merchant ships … there is even a submarine, said to be the first of its kind,” and plenty of repair work. Hayes’ ears ring continuously from the constant hammering.

USS Grampus, one of two submarines
under construction at Union Iron Works in 1901

Labor unrest wracks almost every industry in San Francisco except the iron works. “The machinist, the boiler makers, and many others are on strike.” Replacement workers shipped in from Pittsburg run such a gauntlet of abuse from the strikers that the companies must quarter these “scabs” inside their workplaces. As an ironworker, not yet part of the strike, Hayes may pass the lines but not without surly bluster from the strikers.

July 6, 1901

Now the strike has spread to the teamsters and the seamen, paralyzing the entire town. “All workmen in the city are out now, and hoodlums are ruling the roost.” Perhaps if local police appointments reflected “their integrity as citizens” rather than fealty to the Catholic Church, some order could be instated. Corruption from top to bottom cripples the city.

15.2 One Soul Saved

July 27, 1901

Should the unions decide to run a labor candidate for mayor of San Francisco he would surely win. “Even the street sweepers have their union, the newsboys and up from there.” Workers and scabs clash by day and nightfall cues generalized violence and lawlessness.

Astonishingly, the ironworkers remain on the job. Nevertheless, Hayes’ work partner Risberg meets a mob of strikers on his way to work who beat him up – “for practice.” As an aside Hayes adds that Risberg spent eight months in jail in Honolulu caught smuggling 62 pounds of opium from China.

August 24,1901

With the strike escalating, leading citizens call for the governor to request National Guard intervention to restore order. “He refuses.” Strikers battle police daily in the streets. Hayes witnessed a dozen police round the Chronicle building just as twenty strikers marched toward them around the corner. “They opened fire without hesitation. One striker was killed, four bystanders hit.”

On the bright side: with all the strikers strapped for cash, “Times are a bit dull on the Barbary.” Even with the bawdy houses calm, Hayes complains that, “One of the worst features of San Francisco is the dope racket.” A shot sells for 10¢ at any drugstore. Mrs. Emslie, soldiering on, reports of its devastations especially in Chinatown. Hayes joyously accounts one man he’s seen saved from this life by the grace of God.

September 16, 1901

With the strike so dangerous, Hayes will no longer venture out after eleven at night. He dreams that maybe South Africa would be a better place, “where strikers are unknown, at least at present.” Of course he’s broke, but for the first time he writes of sending money home to help his mothers and sisters. That and repaying “for making sharp deals in days gone by,” leave him constantly down to the last dollar.

October 4, 1901

Desperate to get out of San Francisco, Hayes looks up “ old Herman, whaling shipping master,” who warns him off a sailor’s job here; better to try up in Portland.

15.3 Looking for a Ship in the Rain

October 10, 1901

On the steamer Columbia up to Portland from San Francisco Hayes tried a home remedy for the seasickness: “Someone told me if I would drink salt water it would make me very ill, but I would never suffer again.” The first part was correct at least.

Cold rain falls at Portland – of course. Hayes returns to Sullivan’s boarding house and inquires for jobs with the same Grant and McCarren who sent him out two years previously. Sullivan is “a man wholly without honor,” and Grant and McCarren “are not making money so easily as when they could rob a man of most of his wages before he earned them.” The dour mood of the city hastens Hayes toward any ship he can find. “Food is poor here, everything is bad. The San Francisco strike is hurting the entire coast.” Even another tour around Cape Horn seems better than this.

15.4 Four Masted Bark at Astoria

October 20, 1901

Hayes, now an “ordinary seaman” on the four-mast bark, Crown of India, sits at a shallow spot in the Columbia waiting a second day for the tidal surge to lift the ship off the sand grounding her. Ships rations, “poor food, almost none,” weaken all the men before the ship even reaches Astoria. Once there, the fourteen ships lined up waiting to be towed over the bar, signal another a long wait.

“The skeleton-like rigging,” of tall ships stripped bare in a gale blowing through the port of Astoria from the southeast against tall fir trees sodden from the constant rain make a gloomy start to the long voyage ahead. As does the cast of characters among the officers: A brutal bawling ship’s mate, his assistant “a swell headed third, just out of his apprenticeship,” and the American second mate, “a fair sailor.” “The usual drunken crew is aboard.” Some don’t even know under what name they’ve shipped.

Most ominous of all: “this ship is hungry.” Like the Austrasia, on his first trip around the Horn, the Crown of India carries wheat, but this flinty captain brooks no broaching of cargo. When the men complain about breaking fast every morning on burgoo, a “pitiful mass of glue,” the captain reduces morning rations to “a clouded, muddy liquid called coffee by the old Dutch cook.” Hayes wonders how men already weak from working full speed all day on poor food can be expected to pull hard around the stern seas off Cape Horn?

November 17, 1901

At noon the old cook boils salt horsemeat, with any bit left over served as dinner. Crown of India sails with the captain’s wife on board which surely explains the poor food: “it is rumored that he sold a good part of the ship’s stores to give her a good time on shore.” The swinging tides at Astoria regularly tangle the two heavy anchor chains holding the ship in port for nearly a month now. Hungry sailors haul them to the surface, fight them apart, then replace them in anticipation of the next tidal surge.

At least getting out to sea will escape this dreary place; after watching the fourteen ships ahead towed one by one over the bar, “We expect to be towed to sea tomorrow.”

15.5 300 Miles Due West

November 23, 1901

A fierce three-day gale out of Astoria forces sailors to scramble canvas down from the poles. All are seasick in the rough weather but the bellowing mate, never satisfied with the ship’s rigging, orders seaman aloft. “Hanging onto a jackstay with one hand, a bit of sail in the other and deathly sick at the same time is about enough for one in a gale.” The cook has found a few potatoes, but Hayes doubts this slight culinary improvement will last long.

15.6 Frigging South

December 11, 1901

“Frigging” means useless work. As when Fleck, the first mate, “Every night has kept us going sweating the braces, lifts, halyards and every rope on the ship.” Captain Sauter put a stop to it but Hayes doubts his kindness of heart. More likely Sauter sees the weakness of the crew and fears rounding “Cape Stiff” with sailors needlessly overworked to exhaustion.

Hayes’ constant seasickness, made worse by the bad food, brings Fleck’s bawling wrath. Toward those even less strong, Fleck does more than yell. Doudou, “a little German boy” suffers dizzy spells and cannot climb above the “sheerpoles.” For this Fleck “kicks the boy about with abandon, much to the dislike of the crew.” The Captain restrains Fleck – but then the Captain beat up an assistant himself.

15.7 “Drear Christmas Eve”

December 24, 1901

On a sailing ship like the Crown of India, officers quarter aft, sailors fore. In the forward mess, all the potatoes are gone which Hayes calls, “a calamity.” But aft, “there is plenty.” The men grumble – fearful of even less during the long dangerous journey ahead. The ever-resourceful Hayes offers to shave the “genial second mate” in return for a bit of extra food now and then. “In all his years at sea [the mate] has never learned to use a razor.”

The cheerless ship crosses the equator foregoing Neptune’s initiation rites. Rains “like I have never seen before,” soak the already despondent crew right through their useless oilskins for two days across the line. With all hands engaged catching much-needed fresh water, most of the fair weather sails blow off in a gale accompanying the rain. Morale is so bad, the ordinary sailors wish for a speedy trip home – contrary to their usual desire to sail slowly to earn as much as possible for the debauch at home port.

On Christmas Eve light directionless winds puff at the ship – just right for more of Fleck’s frigging: “It gives him a reason for chasing catspaws round the compass, every man hauling his heart out, no one alive enough to lead a chantey.” No sailor’s song for the holiday – just the tempo of Fleck’s constant cursing.

15.8 Jonah of the ship

January 1, 1902

Sailors on this starving, fearful ship look for a “Jonah” – the source of all their bad luck. A little rhesus monkey one of the crew picked up off Sumatra suffered this identity until the first day of the new year. After the monkey died of its mistreatment, the ship made “12 knots under to-gan-sals” for two whole days with the crew celebrating losing their totem of ill fortune. When the wind blew out, consensus settled on a good-natured Mulatto sailor as the new Jonah. But he takes it so cheerily, “Everybody swears, and wishes the monkey was back.”

As Captain Sauter continues restraining Fleck from excesses of physical abuse, Fleck bides the time sailing south content with curses and threats: “The old man can’t stay on deck all the time and watch you. Let any bloody man shirk, he’ll roost on the royal yard right round Old Stiff!” (Hayes’ quote) The unlucky Crown of India has already lost one man blown from the rigging before Hayes came aboard; ordering a sailor up to the high royals in the wild storms off Cape Horn threatens his life.

Hayes makes no mention of any celebration marking the New Year.

15.9 Fire in the Cargo!

January 5, 1902

Damp, rotting wheat will sometimes generate enough heat to catch fire. Perhaps if the hungry crew had been allowed to broach cargo, someone would have noticed heat building up before “smoke was pouring up from the after hatch.” A thousand miles from land, “a reckless Swede, Schillerstrom,” waded into the smoke saving the ship. “Must have been spontaneous combustion.”

In an unrelated development: “Fleck has sore eyes,” now swollen completely shut. Blind and enraged, Fleck calls the mulatto Jonah aft bellowing, “every curse and abominable abusive word he has in his large vocabulary.” No “man forward of the mainmast” can restrain his glee, hoping Fleck’s blindness holds until they arrive safely round the Horn. Even Hayes, who has read in his Bible that one should love our enemies and pray for those who do us evil, finds “it difficult to mean it when I pray for Fleck.”

15.10. Nearing the Cape

January 12, 1902

Even with fair weather, the Crown of India makes poor speed; “the ship has a foul bottom.” Waiting in Astoria those long weeks, the sailors dragged a “great scrubbing brush” from sided to side across her bottom – not very effectively. In calm water Hayes can see two feet of sea grass dragging along growing out from the hull.

“Flecks eyes are in frightful condition, and this arouses the greatest joy from the entire crew.” Whatever responsibility Captain Stuart has for starving the crew, at least he is not brutal. With Fleck lying below deck in severe pain, the Captain simply and competently sails the ship southward. When Crown of India “sprung a yard at its parrel,” the men would have tried to replace it for the Captain but he can see that they are weak “and is willing to give us a break.”

With humane treatment from the Captain, some of the gloom lifts from Crown of India. Still, this is a lonely dangerous place for any ship. The dangers of the Horn approach ahead and from behind, “ tremendous seas that follow us sometimes give apprehension of pooping a sea” – that is, a wave breaking over the stern of the ship.