BACKGROUND OF POEM
On February 8, 1849, Abiah Marchant boarded the
Magnolia to begin her ocean passage to California. She described
her experiences on board ship in poem form. Her poem diary mentions illness
and death at sea, food conditions, storm damage to the vessel, nature observances,
meeting other ships, the California gold rush and stops in Rio de Janiero
and Talcahuano Bay (Chile).
Poetry By Miss Abiah Marchant
On board Ship Magnolia for Calafornia
February the eighth, eighteen forty
On board the Magnolia myself, I resign
To Calafornia for to go
To seek my fortune weal or woe.
One hundred and twenty persons or more
Embarked on board from the same shore
To the gold regions they are bound
In hopes with plenty to be crowned
As we sailed on through the Gulf
A scene of danger was our theme
While on our voyage we did progress
The winds and waves rose to excess.
rest of the poem and view
actual page images
in Mary's handwriting...