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Ship William Wirt Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 252 1853-1857 R364
Volume 1

Adra C. (Braley) Ashley was the wife of Captain Edward R. Ashley. They were married in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Early in their marriage she accompanied him on a whaling trip in the Pacific. They resided in Hilo, Hawaii, for three years, from 1857 to 1860, during which time they had their first child.

During the voyage to Hawaii, Adra kept a diary describing life onboard ship. The entries in this volume are very short and mainly give a list of her activities. Her diary entries also include weather conditions and sightings of whales. The last entry in the volume discusses her apprehension about reaching her new home in Hilo, Hawaii, as it meant that she would soon be separated from her husband while he continued whaling:

Saturday, March 7th [1857]

This day begins and continues with a brisk breeze. Ship going 10 knot which makes me realize the time on shipboard is growing short & tomorrow morning we expect the land will be all in sight.

I want to go there but I dread to for I know that there must be another parting scene (but may it only be for a brief time). Such is the life of sailors and their wives. They are made up of meetings and partings.

More typical entries were written in an abbreviated logbook style:

Wednesday, Feb. 25th 1857

This day begins and with winds warm and pleasant. We have got our oil boiled out which amounts to about two barrels.

Edd is about sick.

Later part, Edd is better. I have finished one shirt and commenced another. Practiced about an hour and ... &c. &c."

Adra Ashley's diary of her voyage home from Hawaii is in the Ship Reindeer Collection.

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