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Diary Poem by Abiah Marchant, 1849

National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860 National Expansion and Reform
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).
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Highlights
Poetry By Miss Abiah Marchant
On board Ship Magnolia for Calafornia

February the eighth, eighteen forty nine
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 Stream
A scene of danger was our theme
While on our voyage we did progress
The winds and waves rose to excess.

Read the rest of the poem and view actual page images
in Mary's handwriting...