TABLE OF CONTENTS Background Reasons why women went to sea Who are the women Piracy Side note Online museums Images Bibliography
BACKGROUND The earliest of time can account that the sea has always been male dominated.But where were their families you ask?The wives and family of these seaman were left on shore to tend to their homes andchildren.The crews of these ships consisted of all male beings, or so they thought. There were times where wives and mistresses were brought aboard the ships. Oftentimes, these women were snuck aboard by officers or seamen. In recent findings, women boarded the ships as men and went months and yearswithout being caught.
W H Y W OU L D A W OMAN WAN T TO GO TO SEA DRESSED AS A MAN? Join their sailor lovers • William Prothero- followed her lover to sea. • Margaret Thompson- left her uncle’s home and joined the navy under alias name; George Thompson. When Margaret (George) was busted she explained that she went through such measures to see her “sweetheart”. Economy • Anne McLean- born to poor parents and after they passed away she found it hard to obtain a livelihood. Anne, had a masculine demeanor, described as “ being stout and hardy, thought she might pass for a boy”. After signing on as a sailor, her disguise was shortly ended when an onlooker realized that she was a woman.
W H Y W OU L D A W OMAN WAN T TO GO TO SEA DRESSED AS A MAN? CONT’D Escape problems at home • Lucy Brewer- left home to save her parents from shame when she realized she was pregnant. • There are several accounts of young woman following in those same footsteps. • British collier, Edmund and Mary, were sailing from Blyth when it was discovered that one of the boys on the ship was a female. The woman had become pregnant and after she had given birth she left home to never return.
THE WOMENHannah Snell• Born in Worcester on April 23, 1973• Spent four and a half years dressed as a man.• Joined the marines• Sailed to India• Was severely wounded after the siege of Pondicherry• On her return, she revealed her identity and was discharged from the navy.
THE WOMEN CONT’DMary Anne Talbot• Born in London on February 2, 1778• Used the alias name: John Taylor• Taken under the wing of Captain Essex Bowen. He took her alongside of him as his footboy.• After Captain Bowen was killed, Mary embarked on a French privateer.• Discharged at age nineteen and spent the rest of her life in London.
PIRACY CONT’D Of all the women who went to sea dressed as men, the mostfascinating must surely be the two pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny. (Cordingly 1427).
PIRACY CONT’DMary Read• Born in England• Passed off as a boy after older brother passed away• Mary was dressed everyday as a boy• As a teenager, Mary worked as a footboy.• Fell in love with a soilder and after he passed, Mary began wearing mens clothing again.
PIRACY CONT’DAnne Bonny• Born near cork an illegitimate daughter of a lawyer and his maidservant• Ashamed of his illegitimate child, Anne’s dad dressed her as a boy to prevent his wife and the townsfolk from suspecting anything.• Anne grew up as a strong women, and got married. Her father later threw her out of the house.• Persuaded by a pirate to leave her husband and go to sea.• After having her child, the pirate sent for her and she rejoined the crew, dressed in mens clothes.
SIDE NOTEDuring this time period women were unknowingly accomplishingtough tasks that were only sought out for men. A man was to go outto sea in hopes of making money. Also, “ some captains were luckyand tracked down enough whales within a few months to fill theirholds with whale oil and set off for home” (Cordingly 2162). Awoman’s duties consisted of staying ashore with their children andfamilies, holding down the fort until their husbands returned home.
SIDE NOTE CONT’D“ What is striking about the genuine cases of female sailors is howthey were able to fool the men on board for weeks, months, and insome cases, several years” (Cordingly 1116). How were women able to retain the samestrength that men are naturally born with?
SIDE NOTE CONT’D “ Most working-class women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were accustomed to a hard life that involved long hoursand a great deal of physical labor so that, provided the female sailorwas reasonably strong and fit, she would not have found most of the demands of the sailors’ work beyond her. She obviously had todevelop a head for heights, and this proved the undoing of at least one woman” (Cordingly 1143).
NANTUCKET HISTORICAL SOCIETYSusan Austin Veeder 1816-1897• Veeder kept a journal of her whaling voyage• Left her family to join her husband (the captain) out at sea. During this time Veeder gave birth to a child who later passed at 14 months.http://www.nha.org/digitalexhibits/Sometim esThinkofMe/Voices.html (copy and paste link to hear full story of Susan Veeder)
MYSTIC SEAPORT THE MUSEUM OF AMERICA AND THE SEA The Journal of Sallie G. Smith (wife of captain F.H. Smith) Sallie was on board of Barque Ohio of New Bedford. She kept in her diary day by day events, Observation and feelings. Link to her online journal 1875-1878<http://library.mysticseaport.org/initiative/PageImage.cfm?PageNum=2&BibID=33 889>
MYSTIC SEAPORTTHE MUSEUM OF AMERICA AND THE SEA Sallie drew pictures of her surroundings.
CLOSER LOOK CONT’D Wife going to sea with her husband and children.
SEAFARING WOMEN SET THE BAR Seafaring women set the bar for women today. It took a strong women (mentally and physically) to board these ships full of men dressed as one of them. These woman endured the same struggles the men did, they never let the fact that they were women be a factor to why theycouldnt’t perform like men. As I mentioned, these women stayed on these ships disguised at men for months andyears without being recognized. Many may wonder why it was so important for these women to prove that they were capable of equally doing the same work as a manand what they planned to achieve from these adventures.
S E A FA R I N G W O M E N S E T T H E BAR CONT’DThere were several women (prostitutes, cross-dressers, wives and mistresses) whoboarded these ships for different reasons. Some of these reasons may be agreed ordisagreed with but it takes a strong, loyal and dedicated women to board these shipsand bare witness and endure the things that occur.Hannah Snell, and Mary Anne Talbot were two amongst many women who crosseddressed to board these ships, they have my respect because I couldn’t imaginedoing what they did to get and stay on these ships.Mary Read and Anne Bonny, played roles that it seem like you only read in fictionstories. These two women were tough and carried out their roles to the bitter end.
BIBLIOGRAPHY1. Cordingly, David. Women Sailors and Sailors Women: An Untold Maritime History. New York: Random House, 2001. Print.2. "Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Seaâ„ ¢ : Home." Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Seaâ„ ¢ : Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2012. <http://www.mysticseaport.org/>.3. Boardman, Susan. "Notable Nantuckett Women Through The Centuries." Nantucket Historical Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2012. <http://www.nha.org/>.
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