I’ve come to the end of the transcription process with very mixed emotions, but now I have another long road ahead of me in transcribing Chatfield’s letters to his wife Florentine during the Civil War years.
Anyway, the entire reminiscences are now done and I’ll post a word document for anyone who wants to read it in one take rather than skip from one web page to the next.
I can’t wait to start the primary research project. I’ll seek out his original ship’s logs from the Massachusetts at the Kendall Whaling Museum and thus be better able to cross-correlate the place names during the Pacific whaling fishery sections. A lot of the place names are misspelled or lost to time, so there is a lot of work to go before this can be put into accurate historical context.
The huge shame is that these reminiscences only cover his life to the age of 34. After that, little is known. At least there is nothing like this written record.
“You are all familiar with the life I have led during the last forty years, so I will not allude to it. The writing of the story has been a labor of love, and I have had much pleasure in doing it. Old memories have crowded upon me, and I have found it difficult to avoid making tedious by recording minor incidents common to all seafaring men.
“With all my love, I am your father ….