May 23, 1852

Azubah Handy Cash accompanied her husband Capt. William Cash aboard the Nantucket whale ship Columbia on a four-year whaling voyage, from October 1850 to May 1854. Traveling with the captain and their ten-year-old son Alexander, thirty-year-old Azubah gave birth to a son on the trip in August of 1851. She kept a journal and while hunting off the coasts of Siberia and Japan on this day in 1852, wrote:

“. . . Capt. Pierce of the Ship Kutusoff came on board while Capt. F.’s wife were here and he met with a great misfortune the night before. His boats were fast to two right whales, cow and calf, and had 3 boats stove very bad, and one boatsteerer killed (they did not get him) and his carpenter hurt very bad, and one other man. He looked very sad and it made us all feel so. He left his wife and little girl at Hilo (a place dear to my heart being the birth-place of my little Murray). He was glad she was not with him up here, for it was bad enough to be here himself. It must be very discouraging to shipmates. The boatsteerer was a coloured man and his first whale he ever struck.”

The Columbia returned to Nantucket in May of 1854 with 1,634 barrels of whale and 19,400 pounds of whalebone.


Excerpted from On This Day In Nantucket History
By Amy Jenness
The History Press
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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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