By Joan Lowenthal
This post follows up on a previous blog post, What Happened to Scudder Abbott?
In the fall of 2018, a visitor to the Museum read an excerpt from the Logbook of the whaleship the Sheffield. He read that on Thursday, May 21st, 1846 while taking in sail at sunset, Scudder Abbott, a crew member on the Sheffield, lost hold and fell about 70 feet from the topsail yard to the deck. He became delirious and blood ran from his mouth and nose. He was immediately taken to the cabin and medically bled and made as comfortable as possible. The next day he was at times sensible and then again quite deranged. The visitor wanted to know if Scudder survived the fall. Did he?
Over the next several months Scudder Abbott is mentioned in the ship’s log. Some days he was able to sip some soup and drink some tea and even managed to go up on deck. The last entry about Abbott that our Museum had was on Friday, October 8th, 1846. It simply stated that Abbott was rather better. Our next logbook for the Sheffield begins with November 1847 and there was no mention of Abbott.
Recently someone commented on the blog that in fact Abbott had a tragic ending. Our Museum is not in procession of the logbook of this entire voyage of the Sheffield. But the New Bedford Whaling Museum has a transcription of the Sheffield’s entire 1845-1849 voyage. Sadly, it states that on October 11, 1847 “At 10 minutes past 11 am, poor Scudder breathed his last - when he has left up a fond father and mother to morn his melancholy and being their only child - his memories will be committed to the dead tomorrow morning.”
4/25/2020 04:33:23 pm
I always wondered if anyone ever fell on these huge sailing ships, the men were so agile and physically fit but I guess accidents do happen. It is amazing that Scudder Abbot survived the fall even if for just a few days. Keeping log books and recording events of the day was carried out daily and is to be admired. I enjoyed reading this piece.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Follow the Whaling Museum's ambition to stay current, and meaningful, and connected to contemporary interests.
Written by staff, volunteers, and trustees of the Museum!