Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Henry Kelsey (Barque) Log Books, 1847-1849

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Henry Kelsey (Barque) log books
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1847-1849
Extent: 2 volumes
The Henry Kelsey (Barque) log books document the merchant ship's travels to New Orleans, Boston, and Barcelona between 1847 and 1849. Along with weather and daily events, the books reveal an abusive, difficult crew that showed open animosity toward the captain.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2005. M-4462.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Henry Kelsey (Barque) Log Books, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The 200-ton barque Henry Kelsey , named after the Canadian explorer, was built by Seabury and Dunham in Yarmouth, Maine, in the mid-1840s. Engaged in the trade of many types of goods, most of which were foodstuffs, the ship traveled to New Orleans, Boston, and Barcelona between 1847 and 1849.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Henry Kelsey (Barque) log books document the merchant ship's travels to New Orleans, Boston, and Barcelona between 1847 and 1849. The first entries in Volume 1 were made at New Orleans, where the ship loaded hay and corn and headed to Mexico. After traveling along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the ship, under the command of Joshua A. Gray, returned to New Orleans and subsequently left for Boston. After a lengthy stay at Commercial Wharf, it went to Havana, Cuba, where the crew became restless, verbally abusing the captain and refusing to work. On March 17, 1848, one crew member threw a ladle of hot water in the log keeper's face. The ship remained in Cuba until March 22, when it returned to Boston carrying sugar and other goods, and sailed down to Mobile in early June. After a brief trip along the Tennessee River, the Henry Kelsey left for a voyage to Europe, reached Barcelona in late December 1848, and made a brief trip to Marseilles before returning to Boston in February 1849. The second volume ends on May 28, 1849, with the ship still on its way to the United States. Throughout their travels, the crew of the Henry Kelsey participated in mutinous behavior, swearing at the captain and officers, and often appeared to be intoxicated. The journals record several incidents of insubordination, along with the more traditional entries on weather, wind, sailing techniques, and activities in port.

Subject Terms

    • Barcelona (Spain)--Commerce.
    • Barks (Sailing ships)
    • Boston (Mass.)--Commerce.
    • Henry Kelsey (Bark)
    • Merchant mariners.
    • Merchant ships--United States--History--19th century.
    • New Orleans (La.)--Commerce.
    • Seafaring life.
    • Shipping--Caribbean Area.
    • Shipping--United States.
    • Spain--Commerce--United States.
    • Transatlantic voyages.
    • United States--Commerce--Spain.
    Genre Terms:
    • Ships' logs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Henry Kelsey (Barque) log books
    Volume   1  
     March 9, 1847-May 18, 1848
    Volume   2  
     June 28, 1848-May 28, 1849
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Library of Congress holds a collection of Joshua Gray papers, which document his maritime career.


    Underhill, Lora Altine Woodbury. Descendants of Edward Small of New England and the Allied Families with Tracings of English Ancestry. Cambridge, Riverside Press: 1910.