Day of Sailing Monday March 12th 1849

Seven O Clock this morning being appointed as the time for Sailing, nearley all of Our Company were on board at that hour, and the wharf at the foot of Rosevelt Street was crowded with ancious Spectators and friends of those who were about to de­part for California.  the Scene was indeed an exciting one, The crowd was composed of men women and Children, Husbends, Wives, Farthers, Mothers, Sons and Daughters. Uncles, Aunts, Cousins from first to fourty second, besides numerous friends and acquaintances. for about an hour previous to Shoveing off from the Dock, Small Squares of the relatives, friends and acquaintances could be Seene, engaged in earnest conversation by themselves if not to others.   in fact these “confabs” were a Sort of compound of Love, Courtship, Matramony, difference of opinion on various Subjects Such as would arise from unsettled accounts, board Bills, Washing Bills, broken promises, and a too free use of Brandy Gin and Wine, as well as whiskey.

Our worthy President was not free from all these troubles, he being compelled to make a Jack of himself on the Start and mount the Shrouds, and hide himself in the Main Top to evade an Officer who made his appearance on the Wharf with a large unsettled Bill. the Oficial did not look up “as Men Should do in this world” and therfore lost his man, and of course his Money. I too had my Small circle of friends to See me off. Uncle Robert Douglass, “first mate” Uncle Philetus H. Halsey, Brother George W. Halsey and myself composed our party of Relatives bound to the Golden regions, Uncle L. W. Halsey Cousins C. H. Hand, and A. Halsey and others accompanied us to the Boat.

When we reached the Wharf the Ship was Swinging off by her Stearnline, and we were obliged to Scrable our way over the four Chains and Anchor to the Deck, and many followed. Gold diggers and their friends, determined not to part till the last moment.

Ship Salem Sketched by I. S. Halsey
Ship Salem
Sketched by I. S. Halsey

At 8 A M the Staemer Samson took us in tow, and away we Started down the Bay mid cheer, “deafning” from Ship and Shore.  Slowly we moved off from the great, “and to many of us” beloved, City of New York.   but a few hours only was left us to enjoy the Society of our dear friends who had accompanied us down the Bay, to Horse Shoe Bay on the Jersey Shore where, Our Anchor was let go and the Samson rang her Bell to give notice that She was about to return.   and now comes the parting Scene, and oh what an affecting Scene. Husbands parting with their wives. Parents with their Children, and friends with friends.  A Scene Sufficient to melt the Stoutest heart and moisten the Eye, that never Shed a tear.

They parted hardly dareing to hope of ever Meeting again on the earth. The Steamer now Shoved off and loud cheering commen­ced and continued so long as they could be heard to and from the Ship. the cheering was aparently enjoyed very Much by Some while it deepened the Sorrow of others, and caused a Still greater flow of Tears. of Our own feelings on this occasion we choose to remain Silent. to deny that we extended our hand, for a last Shake, and gave utterance to that last Good bye, with a palpatating Heart and a quivering Lip, would be to deny our very Nature.

The Samson and our friends were Soon out of Sight and as our Captain was obliged to return to the City on imortant business, we could not proceed to Sea till the following day.

We now began to turn our attention to Dinner, for many of us had left withoµt partakeing of much Breakfast, having lost all relish for food, in the excitement of the Ocasion about to Sep­arate us from our friends.

According to arrangments, we were to have but two meals per day therfore the Call we were now waiting for, was to our Din­ner and Supper . the Call Soon came by one of the Stewarts, ringing a large Bell a general rush was made for between decks, where we Seated ourselves to the Table and at our first meal on Ship board, consisting in part of Salt Beef, Salt Pork, Po­tatoes and Turnips &.

The Table was arranged in the centre of the Room between Decks running the whole length of the Ship and Supported by the round column that run to the uper Deck. Slats being nailed on the Top to prevent the dishes from Sliding off, douring rough weat­her or rolling of the Ship.  one hundred and fifty men took their Meals by this Table twice Set, quite a large family Shurely.

We have on board Seven Ladies “thank fortune” to throw around our dreary position a few rays of Sunshine.

Their names I am not able to give but I have found out that one of them is a young unmarried Lady her Father and Mother being with her.

With the Ladies a few of us enjoyed ourselves very much douring the evening Singing Sacred Music. thus the first day of our Voyage to California.