John Arnold log book (1855-1862)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Philip Heslip
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: John Arnold log book
Creator: Arnold, John, 1818-1886
Inclusive dates: 1855-1862
Extent: 102 pages (1 volume)
This collection is a log book of Ship's Master John Arnold, which documents his time on three New York-based merchant ships: Elizabeth C. Felter from October 28, 1855-July 7, 1860; Daniel S. Williams , from September 15, 1860-November 30, 1860; and Le Roy from March 5, 1862-October 21, 1862. The first two ships traded rice, cotton, and coffee for northern goods such as timber and manufactured merchandise, while the Le Roy supplied the US Navy with provisions during the Civil War.
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

2003. M-4291.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation

John Arnold Log Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


John Arnold (1818-November 23, 1886) was born in Deal, New Jersey, to John and Ann Arnold. Between 1834 and 1840, Arnold made his living selling an effervescent root beer, after which, he spent the next 22 years in maritime enterprises. After some success in the Virginia timber trade, he built the Elizabeth C. Felter , a three-masted schooner and one of the fastest ships of its time. As Master of this ship, Arnold composed the logs that make up the bulk of this collection. Upon retiring from the shipping trade in the 1870s, Arnold moved to a rural farm in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, where he built the Arnold House. He was active in local business and residential development and was instrumental in bringing in a railroad that ran between Point Pleasant and New York City. He also constructed the first local roadway to the ocean and built a bridge over the Manasquan River.

He and his wife, Mary Conover (Forman) Arnold, had nine children: Amamda, Amelia, Horace, Thomas, Sarah, Elwood, Emily, Virginia, and Fannie.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Arnold log book collection is a volume of entries from Ship's Master John Arnold, documenting his time on three New York-based merchant ships: Elizabeth C. Felter (October 28, 1855-July 7, 1860); Daniel S. Williams (September 15, 1860-November 30, 1860); and Le Roy (March 5, 1862-October 21, 1862). Ship destinations include: Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; New York New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Savannah, Georgia; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The first two ships traded northern merchandise, coal, timber, and deals (yellow pine) for southern rice, cotton, molasses, and Brazilian coffee. The Le Roy continued these routes and supplied the US Navy with provisions during the Civil War.

The logs record weather conditions, ship maneuvers and maintenance, ship movements, discharging and loading of cargo, and various on-board situations including: the punishment of sailors, grumblings of mutiny, and sightings of lighthouses. Also of interest is a page listing the accounts for paying the crew of the Daniel S. Williams , found at the beginning of the ship's log.

Subject Terms

  • Atlantic Coast (U.S.)--Description and travel.
  • Atlantic Coast (U.S.)--Social conditions.
  • Cargo ships--Registers.
  • Cargo ships--Handling.
  • Merchant ships--United States--History--19th century.
  • Schooners.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations.
  • Weather.
Genre Terms:
  • Ships' logs.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   1  
John Arnold log book,  1855-1862 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data


John Arnold biographical information may be found in:

Heston, Alfred Miller. South Jersey, a history, 1664-1924. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1924.