Life at Sea -- Without Children

Emily Fowler Perry Pendleton (1831-1909) was the second wife of Captain Phineas Pendleton III. She began her married life by accompanying him on a two year voyage aboard the ship Elizabeth, which was named for his first wife. While at sea Emily kept lengthy journals and sent them back for printing in the Republican Journal, a Belfast newspaper. It is from these printed accounts that we catch a glimpse of how wives without children occupied their time at sea and ashore.

Ship Elizabeth

“February 19th, 1883 on passage from Philadelphia to Japan, - The hens are beginning to lay for the first time since we left Philadelphia. Yesterday and this morning I had a fresh laid egg for my breakfast. It was a great treat. You have no idea what a homelike pleasant sound it is to hear the “cock that crows the morn” so many thousand miles from home.”

“March 8th- My work today has been a case for Phineas’ watch, made from some of the blue silk from a table scarf. I am embroidering it with colored silks and have got quite interested in it.”

“April 6th- The days are very monotonous on account of the heat. It takes away all one’s energy and to sit and lounge about with a book at hand is about all I can do until the sun goes down.”

“April 15th-Sunday- I wish I could ship you a few coconuts that you might see how delicious the milk is. I have just drunk a whole one! Phin doesn’t care for it but I think they are delightful. We had our sermon and hymn tunes this afternoon and a moonlight evening on deck has finished the day.”

“May 2nd-Wednesday- Got in early this morning and the ship is overrun with Japanese every minute since. We are going ashore as soon as possible. Passage 147 days. My journal book has proved just big enough for the voyage. I must get another one when I go ashore, and so ends Volume I.”

After retiring from the sea in 1897 Captain and Mrs. Pendleton bought a fruit ranch in California where Emily died.