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Title: Bark Kathleen Sunk By A Whale
Author: Jenkins, Thomas H.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bark Kathleen Sunk By A Whale" ***

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To which is added an account of two like occurrences,
the loss of

Published by
New Bedford,

Copyrighted 1902
New Bedford, Mass.


Rammed and Sunk by an Infuriated Bull Whale.

(New York Journal.)

    The most thrilling episode ever known in the history of the
    American Whale Fisheries has just occurred.

    It is full of the mystery and thrill and terror of the deep sea. It
    is even more wonderful than any of the stories told by Mr. Frank T.
    Bullen, author of the famous "Cruise of the Cachalot."


Of Bark Kathleen when she sailed from New Bedford, Mass., October 22,
1901, for a whaling voyage in the South Atlantic:

    Thomas H Jenkins, South Dartmouth, master; J. W. Nichols, first
    mate; Paul Gomes, second mate; Manuel Viera and Morris Murray,
    boat-headers; Phillipe J. Viera, George Williams, Herbert R.
    Reynolds, Cecelia Manuel Delgardo, boatsteerers; J. A. Jensen,
    cooper, carpenter, and blacksmith; Alfred W. Ellis, steward;
    Benjamin J. Taber, cook; Julio Alves, Jocking Barrows, Manuel
    Fernandez, Manuel Fonseca, Charles H. Lutz, ordinary seamen; Manuel
    Teceira, preventer boatsteerer; Pedro Manuel Silva, seaman; Aurilla
    Lopez, seaman and preventer boatsteerer; Frank A. Bragg, green hand
    and carpenter; Antone Monterio, Arthur P. McPherson, Louis Sharp,
    J. A. H. Nickerson, Clarence W. Thwing, Rodney Morrison, William
    Glass, William H. Carr, green hands. Mrs. Jenkins accompanied her
    husband on the cruise.

[Illustration: READY TO SAIL]


The Kathleen was about 195 tons and with outfits was valued at $20,000,
being partially insured by her several owners. She also had on board at
the time of the accident a small quantity of oil taken since leaving

The Kathleen had always been called a "lucky ship" and had made many
good voyages.

She was built for the merchant service at Philadelphia in 1844, and
after a year in the trade, was purchased by Captain James Slocum and
fitted as a whaler. Her first master in the whaling industry was
Captain William Allen, and she had in her day made many a good voyage.
Among her masters have been Captain Charles Childs, Captain Daniel W.
Gifford and Captain Samuel R. Howland. She had been almost entirely
built over only a few years ago, and just before being fitted for a
cruise to St. Helena in 1899, where she loaded oil, was thoroughly

Last year, it will be remembered, the Kathleen arrived in port in a
disabled condition. This was on Sept. 28th, 1901, when she was
commanded by Captain Fred H. Smith. For three days that month on the
6th, 7th and 8th, while southeast of Barbados, she was on her beam ends
and at the mercy of the sea. The crew lived on the quarter deck at the
time, not daring to go below. In fitting her up for the last cruise she
was newly sparred.



Told by the Captain,


Having been requested to give an account of the sinking of the Bark
Kathleen by a whale I will do the best I can, though I think that those
who have read the papers know as much or more about it than I do.

We sailed from New Bedford the 22d October, 1901, and with the
exception of three weeks of the worst weather I have ever had on
leaving home, everything went fairly well till we arrived out on the
12-40 ground.[1]

      [1] What is known by the whalers as the "12-40 Ground" is located
      in the Atlantic Ocean about 12° Latitude N., 40° Longitude W.,
      approximately 1,000 miles off the coast of

The day we arrived there we raised a large whale and chased him most
all day but could not seem to get any aim of him. We lost the run of
him at last in a rain squall.

A few days after, the 17th of March, 1902, was one of the finest
whaling days I have ever seen, smooth water and a clear sky. When they
were going up to mast head I told them to look sharp for some one was
going to raise a whale before night.

We steered different courses during the fore-noon and at 1 p.m. the man
aloft raised a white water which proved to be sperm whales, and there
was a lot of them, some heading one way, some another.

When we got within a mile of them we lowered four boats, and soon after
Mr. Nichols, the first mate, struck a whale, the other whales went to
leeward and I followed them with the ship till I was sure the boats saw

Mr. Nichols then had his whale dead about one mile to windward, so I
came to wind on the port tack, but it took us some time to get up to
the mate, as we could not carry any foretopsail or flying jibs as the
topmast had given out.


I stood on the port tack a while and then tacked. When we got braced up
the dead whale was one point off the lee bow. I saw we were going to
fetch him all right. Mr. Nichols had wafted his whale and was chasing
some more. By that time, about 3 p.m., the lookout called out that the
three boats to leeward were all fast. Of course we were all glad to
hear that. I ran the ship alongside of the dead whale and after darting
at him two or three times managed to get fast and get him alongside.
Just then it was reported that the boats to leeward were out of sight.
That worried me some so I told the cooper to get the fluke chain on the
whale and I would go aloft and see if I could see the boats.

At this time Mr. Nichols had given up chasing and was coming on board.
I got up to the topmast crosstrees and sat down. I then heard a whale
spout off the weather beam and glancing that way, saw sure enough a
large whale not more than five hundred feet from us, coming directly
for the ship.

Mr. Nichols was then alongside, just going to hoist his boat. I told
him there was a whale, a big fellow, trying to get alongside and to go
and help him along and he did help him along. He took him head and head
and did not get fast. I don't know why. He certainly was near enough,
the boatsteerer said too near, and did not have a chance to swing his

Instead of that whale going down or going to windward as they most
always do, he kept coming directly for the ship, only much faster than
he was coming before he was darted at. When he got within thirty feet
of the ship he saw or heard something and tried to go under the ship
but he was so near and was coming so fast he did not have room enough
to get clear of her.

He struck the ship forward of the mizzen rigging and about five or six
feet under water. It shook the ship considerably when he struck her,
then he tried to come up and he raised the stern up some two or three
feet so when she came down her counters made a big splash. The whale
came up on the other side of the ship and laid there and rolled, did
not seem to know what to do. I asked the cooper if he thought the whale
had hurt the ship any and he said he did not think so for he had not
heard anything crack.


Mr. Nichols was still trying to get to the whale when I thought we had
no business fooling with that whale any more that day as the other
three boats were out of sight and fast to whales and night coming on,
so I told him to come alongside. "What for?" asked Mr. Nichols, "the
whale is laying there." I said, "Never mind the whale but come
alongside and hoist the boat up as soon as you can." He did so and I
told him to get his glasses and come up to masthead and see if he could
see the boats. His eyes were younger than mine and he soon raised them.
Just at this time one of the men went to the forecastle to get some dry
clothes and he found the floor covered with water. He cried out and
then I knew the ship must have quite a hole in her. I immediately
ordered flags set at all three mastheads, a signal for all boats to
come on board under any and all circumstances.

Mr. Viera was then not more than a mile and a half from the ship and I
knew he could not but help seeing the flags, but it was no use, he
would not let go that whale he was fast to. If he had only come to the
ship they could have got some more water and bread. I set two gangs at
work right away, one getting water and the other getting bread. The
cask of bread was between decks and three men staid with that cask till
the water came in and floated the cask away from them.

I then went to the cabin and found Mrs. Jenkins reading. She did not
know that there was anything the matter with the ship. I told her the
ship was sinking and to get some warm clothing as soon as she could but
not to try to save anything else. Well, the first thing she did was to
go for the parrot and take him on deck. Then she got a jacket and an
old shawl.

By that time it was time to take to the boat, which we did without any
confusion whatever.

There were twenty-one of us in the boat and with the water and bread
and some old clothes she was pretty near the water, so deep that the
water came over the centre board, so that some of us had to keep
bailing all the time, while the rest were paddling down to the boat
that was still laying by the whale.


The ship rolled over to windward five minutes after we got clear of
her. Well, we got to Mr. Viera at last and divided the men and give him
his share of bread and water. Then it was dark and very necessary that
we should find the other boats, for I knew they did not see the ship
capsize and they would be looking for her for a day or so with no water
to drink. Well, we set our sails and steered as near as we could where
we thought the boats ought to be and about nine o'clock we raised them.

They were very much surprised to hear that the Kathleen was gone. I
gave them some bread and water and divided the men up again, so three
boats had ten men each and one boat nine men. I told them all to keep
in sight of me and that I would keep a lantern burning all night. We
then started for the island of Barbados, distant 1,060 miles. It was a
beautiful moonlight night with a smooth sea. When morning came there
was not a boat to be seen so I came to the wind and laid with the sheet
slacked off over an hour and raised a boat to windward steering for us.
It was the third mate and he wanted some water. The water we gave him
the night before was all salt. Well, we divided with him again and
again started on our journey with five gallons of water. I told the
third mate to keep up with me if he could but I should not stop for him
or any one else again. About nine o'clock a.m. some one said he saw
something off the port bow. We all looked and made it out to be smoke
from a steamer and soon saw she was coming right for us, so we knew we
were saved.

When she got near we saw she had a whale boat on her davits. They had
picked up our second mate an hour before and he had told the captain
that there were three other boats adrift and one of them had the
captain and wife on board, so he was steaming around with two men at
the masthead with glasses looking for us. We got alongside and she was
way out of water. I asked Mrs. Jenkins if she could get up on a rope
ladder they had put over the side and she said yes, she could get up if
it was twice as high and she was not long in getting on deck.


Captain Dalton met us and welcomed us on board of the Borderer of
Glasgow. He was very kind to us and did everything possible for us for
the nine days we were on board his steamer, gave up his room to Mrs.
Jenkins and myself even.

In nine days we were landed at Pernambuco and from there we came to
Philadelphia on steamer Pydna, Captain Crossley.

We found friends everywhere we went; even in Philadelphia I had
telegrams asking me to telegraph them if I needed any assistance. We
arrived at New Bedford in due time and even Mr. Wing, (the agent of the
Bark Kathleen), met me smilingly and seemed glad to see me. Everything
seemed to work our way after the accident. When we were leaving the
Borderer Capt. Dalton gave me thirty dollars in American bills, all he
had with him.

He told me to take it and if I felt able when I got home to send the
amount to his wife in England. It seems that Capt. Dalton had been
running down this way for some years and having met head currents
decided _this_ trip to make a passage three or four degrees to the
eastward to see if he couldn't get out of it.

Owing to this fact we were picked up as we were.

As we had not seen a sail of any description for some time we might
have been days in our boat before seeing any vessel.

The other boat containing one of the mates and 9 seamen landed safely
at the Barbados after being in the boat 9 days with but 5 gallons of
water and a little ship bread.



Cases of whales rushing head on are very rare. One instance which will
be remembered by some of the older residents of the city was in 1851,
when the ship Ann Alexander was sunk in the Pacific ocean by a maddened

In the Whaleman's Shipping List of Nov. 4, 1851, is a very full account
of that occurrence. The story, which is substantially as follows, first
appeared in the Panama Herald, as told by Captain John S. Deblois,

The ship Ann Alexander sailed from New Bedford, June 1st, 1850, for a
cruise in the South Pacific. Having taken 500 barrels of sperm oil in
the Atlantic, Captain Deblois proceeded on the voyage to the Pacific.

On the 20th of August, 1851, while cruising on the "Off Shore grounds,"
at 9 o'clock in the morning, whales were discovered, and at noon of the
same day succeeded in making fast to one.

The mate's boat made fast to the whale, which ran with the boat for
some time, and then suddenly turning about rushed at the boat with open
jaws, crushing the little craft into splinters. Captain Deblois rescued
the boat's crew.

Later the waist boat was lowered from the ship and another attack made
upon the leviathan. The mate again in charge of the attacking boat
experienced another smashup, for in the battle the whale again turned
on the boat's crew and crushed the second boat. The crew was saved and
all hands returned to the ship, which proceeded after the whale.

The ship passed on by him, and immediately after it was discovered that
the whale was making for the ship. As he came up near her they hauled
on the wind and suffered the monster to pass her.

After he had fairly passed they kept off to overtake and attack him
again. When the ship had reached within about 50 rods of him the crew
discovered that the whale had settled down deep below the surface of
the water, and as it was near sundown, it was decided to give up the

The ship was moving about five knots, and while Captain Deblois stood
at the rail he suddenly saw the whale rushing at the ship at the rate
of 15 knots. In an instant the monster struck the ship with tremendous
violence, shaking her from stem to stern. She quivered under the
violence of the shock as if she had struck upon a rock.

The whale struck the ship about two feet from the keel, abreast the
foremast, knocking a great hole entirely through her bottom, through
which the water roared and rushed in impetuously. The anchors and
cables were thrown overboard, as she had a large quantity of pig iron
aboard. The ship sank rapidly, all effort to keep her afloat proving

Captain Deblois ordered all hands to take to the boats and was the last
to leave the ship, doing so by jumping from the vessel into the sea and
swimming to the nearest boat. The ship was on her beam end, her
topgallant yards under water.

They hung around in the vicinity of the Ann Alexander all that night,
and the next day the captain boarded his vessel and cutting away the
masts she righted, when they succeeded in getting stores from her hold,
with which to supply their boats, should it become necessary to make a
boat voyage to land.

On August 22 ship Nantucket, Captain Gibbs, cruising in that vicinity,
discovered the imperiled sailors and taking them in charge landed them
at Paita, September 15th. The Ann Alexander was hopelessly wrecked and
left to her fate on August 23.

Five months after this disaster this pugnacious whale was captured by
the Rebecca Simms of this port. Two of the Ann Alexander's harpoons
were found in him and his head had sustained serious injuries, pieces
of the ship's timbers being imbedded in it. The whale yielded 70 to 80
barrels of oil.


The only other known case of a like nature occurred to the ship Essex
of Nantucket, commanded by Captain George Pollard, Jr.

She sailed from Nantucket, August 12, 1819, for a cruise in the Pacific
ocean. On the morning of November 20, 1819, latitude 0.40 south and
longitude 119 west, whales were discovered and all three boats lowered
in pursuit.

The mate's boat soon struck a whale, but a blow of the animal's tail
opening a bad hole in the boat, the crew was obliged to cut from him.

In the meantime, the captain's and second mate's boats had fastened to
another whale, and the mate, heading the ship for the other boats, set
about overhauling his boat preparatory to lowering again.

While doing this he saw a large sperm whale break water about 20 rods
from the ship. The whale disappeared, but immediately came up again
about a ship's length off, and made directly for the vessel, going at a
velocity of about three miles an hour, and the Essex was advancing at
about the same rate of speed.

Scarcely had the mate ordered the boy at the helm to put it hard up,
when the whale, with greatly accelerated speed, struck the ship with
his head just forward of the forechains.

The ship brought up suddenly and violently and trembled like a leaf.
The whale passed under the vessel, scraping her keel as he went, came
up on the leeward side, and lay apparently stunned for a moment.

The vessel began to settle at the head with the whale 100 yards off
thrashing the water violently with his tail and opening and closing his
jaws with great fury.

While the mate was thinking of getting the two extra boats clear, as
the vessel had begun to settle rapidly, the cry was started by a
sailor: "Here he is; he is making for us again!"

The whale came down for the ship with twice his ordinary speed and a
line of foam about a rod in width, made with his tail, which he
continually thrashed from side to side, marked his coming.

The whale crashed into the bows of the Essex, staving them completely
in directly under the cathead. The whale after the second assault
passed under the ship and out of sight to the leeward.

The crew were in a fix, in mid-ocean, a thousand miles from the nearest
land and nothing but the frail whaleboat to save them.

The lashings of the spare boat were cut and she was launched with the
ship falling on her beam ends. The ship hung together for three days.
Provisions were taken from her and the whaleboats strengthened.

The boats started for the coast of Chile or Peru and after a hard time
they landed at Ducies island. Unable to find subsistence there they
again started, Dec. 27th, after leaving three of their number, of their
own desire, and commenced to make the perilous voyage to the island of
Juan Fernandez.

Many of the boats' crew died and the recital states that the flesh of a
dead comrade was eaten by members of the mate's boat.

On Feb. 17th the surviving crew of the mate's boat were picked up by
brig Indian. Captain Pollard and Charles Ramsdale, the sole survivors
of the captain's boat, were picked up Feb. 23d by a Nantucket whaler,
and the third boat was never heard from.

    (_New Bedford Evening Standard_).


Through the efforts of the New Bedford Board of Trade Captain Dalton
has been presented by the U.S. Government a gold watch suitably
inscribed in addition to the set of resolutions and pair of marine
glasses presented him by that Board in recognition of his services in
rescuing the Captain and crew of the Kathleen.



Driftwood consists of the sheathing and planking torn from old whaling
ships, forming the only satisfactory and reliable form for Driftwood,
as each piece of it being completely impregnated with copper through
the action of the salt water will, while burning, delight the eye with
brilliant changing colors.

It should be used in the fireplace, not to kindle the fire, nor when
the wood or coal is blazing freely, but after a glowing bed of coals is
formed, as the crowning touch of beauty, lay on one, two, or three
pieces of this magic wood.

Then with more than sunset splendor, it will flame and glow and die
away and glow again, giving up itself in a glory of color that breathes
out beauty, witchery, mystery, all in one.

Packed in barrels and shipped to any address by

New Bedford, Mass.


Pictures of Whaling Scenes.

Sperm Whaling and Its Varieties.

Right Whaling in Behring Sea.
              From Paintings by Benj. Russell.

Right Whaling, Cutting In.

Sperm Whaling, The Chase.

Sperm Whaling, The Capture.



Figure Heads,
      Whale's Teeth,
            Old Log Books,
                        Photographs, Etc.

New Bedford, Mass.

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