Arrival of the Caroline at Newburyport, Massachusettes with the Thomas Bale Family 12 October 1817

By Travis Hardin, 2012, revised June 2020


19th century sailing shipJohn Bale, a 22-year-old Englishman, came to the United States in 1817 with his parents Thomas and Mary Bale and three brothers. It was Bale's daughter Josephine who on her marriage to Burwell Harbour thirty years later took our ancestor Mary Adams White as a servant. That was about 1852 when both were about 16 or 17. Hearing the sea story Mary heard and passed down in my family we descendants inferred that the adventure happened to her family. Rather, it happened two decades before she was born to the family she served.

John Bale wrote in his naturalization papers that he left London on our about 24 July 1817 and arriving at Boston on or about 15 Oct 1817. Calculating from his depature to 12 October, the actual date of arrival recorded below, yields 81 days -- the same as stated in the newspaper articles. For more background, please see  ancestors.htm and mary-adams.htm on this White Web.

Newspaper Clippings

caroline arrival newburyport herald 1817 Oct 14 cropped

The first clipping above is from the 1817-10-14 issue of the Newburyport Herald. Newburyport is about 35 miles north of Boston. It reads, "Sunday, October 12, 1817. Arrived, at the bar, ship Caroline, Titcomb, 81 days from Liverpool, under a jury foremast."

The second is from the 1817-10-15 issue of the Boston Daily Advertiser. The third above is from the 1817-10-15 issue of the Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot and mistakenly identifies the ship as the "Catherine."

Diagram of a sailing ship

The first just above is from a longer article dated 1817-10-15 in the Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot under the subheading "Sunday Oct 12 Arrived" and says, (Spoke:) "9th lat. 42 47 ship Caroline. Titcomb, 77 da fr Liverpool for Newburyport, with the loss of fore and main topmast." That is, the ship was logged by another ship on October 9 at 42 degrees 47 minutes north latitude. The longitude is implied by 77 days from Liverpool, that is, 3 to 4 days out of port, and Capt. Titcomb reported, or the other ship observed, a temporary foremast and a missing or temporary main topmast.

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