Not from Searsport

Searsport captains often married daughters or sisters of other captains from their home town, but not always. Florence Ferguson Pendleton (1856-unknown) married Captain James Nelson Pendleton on June 22, 1879. She was not from a seafaring Searsport family, but still followed her husband to sea for many years. She began to keep a journal immediately after their wedding.

Florence Ferguson Pendleton Captain James Nelson Pendleton

“Captain J. N. Pendleton and I, his wife, Florence Ferguson Pendleton, went from Hampden, Maine my girlhood home, to St. John, New Brunswick to join the ship for the Captain‘s first voyage as Master and my first voyage on the ocean.”

During this voyage Florence wrote long letters home and describes in detail having a tooth extracted in England at a cost of “$1.25 American.” Shopping engaged most of her time in ports they visited. She had an eye for the fashions of the day and often commented about the attire of the men, women and children they met along the way.

Cultural pursuits often filled her days ashore, and she wrote of gardens, castle tours and the architecture of the surrounding villages and port cities visited.

On arriving in Singapore Florence wrote: “We came to the Emerson’s Hotel to board while the vessel is discharging coal. It is a very pleasant place and has a nice garden, plenty of Chinese servants to wait on one and everything is very nice.”

As was the custom many port visits included social events with other seafaring families, including a visit aboard the ship HenriettaHenriettaShip Henrietta

The largest sailing vessel built at Bucksville, South Carolina, was the ship Henrietta, launched in May 1875. She was named for the wife of Captain Jonathan C. Nichols of Searsport, who commanded the vessel.
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with Mrs. E. D. Blanchard “from home.”

“I went in quest of a hat, paid $2.00 for what at home would be $.50. The European stores are very nice but their prices are simply enormous. I purchased a ready made print embroidered with worstedWorsted

Woolen yarn, or cloth woven from woolen yarn.
for $3.50—also some cambricCambric

A thin, plain cotton or linen fabric of fine close weave, usually white.
for a suit at $.30 a yard.”

While she never mentions pregnancy, the apparent reason for needing new clothes, Florence does make several references to “feeling unwell” and “declining invitations and dining alone in my room.” Her closing comment about her visit to Singapore is: “I have had a very pleasant three weeks here althou’ I’ve not been well any of the time.”

Captain and Florence Pendleton arrived back in Boston on April 13, 1881. With them was their infant son, Henry Ferguson, born at sea on April 9th.

Florence continued to follow her husband to sea after this first voyage and seven years later while aboard the Nancy Pendleton wrote: “April 19, 1888 arrived at AntwerpAntwerp

A city in Belgium.
110 days passage from Portland, Oregon. Good passing though sometimes rather rough. At Antwerp our boy Harry aged 7 years old died. While in Antwerp I visited Brussels, Field of WaterlooField of Waterloo Waterloo

A poem written by Sir Walter Scott about the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, at which the French army, under Napoleon Bonaparte, was defeated by the British and Prussian armies.
and saw what I could of both places.”

Ship Nancy Pendleton

The Pendletons came home from the sea in 1890 and settled in Searsport in the Captain Green Pendleton House in the Harbor district. Florence survived him by many years, living on Steamboat Avenue in Searsport. She became known affectionately as “Aunt Flo.”