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  • Excerpt from the Diary of Melissa (Arey) Emery of Owl’s Head, Maine, 1876-1883

    Muriel Dyer Martin

    Published Date : February-March 1988

    Melissa (Arey) Emery was the wife of master mariner John J. Emery and the sister of Captain Seth C. Arey, featured in “Boston Sea Captains from Maine,” by Philip S. Thayer, NEXUS 4(April-May 1987); 65-66. Capt. Seth C. Arey, the son of Lewis A. and Mary (Calderwood) Arey of Owl’s Head, married Lucy Pillsbury and had four sons, Ernest L. (who married Vestie Jackson), Eugene, George E., and Lowell P. Arey. They were the first to leave Vinalhaven, Maine, since their ancestor Isaac Arey had settled there. Capt. Seth died in 1895 on the west coast of Africa of a fever. The life of the Areys is typical of a seagoing family in a coastal town in New England in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Feb. 3, 1877

    Received letter from Seth Arey from days from Cape of Good Hope. N.Y. - 47 days from Cape of Good Hope

    Apr. 27, 1877

    Julia [McLaughIin. wife of Capt. Seth Arey's brother, Capt. Lewis Arey] received news of her brother’s death; washed overboard Dec. 1876.


    Aug. 1877

    Picnic day fine and pleasant. Went over to the grounds about 9 o’clock A.M. Had tables set in the orchard at Daniel Emery’s - about 150 present, should judge.

    Mar. 30, 1879

    News came today of the death of Capt. Josiah W. Paul - died Feb. 13th on the passage from Shanghai to Nanking.

    Apr. 3, 1879

    Several Rockland vessels seriously damaged in the gale of Mar. 31st, being caught on and near Nantucket Shoals. Sch. Artic [sic] is a total loss; Nautilus and Ned Sumpter on fire, and schooners Mansfield, Calista, and Corvo missing.

    Apr. 17 & 21, 1879

    Two of the missing vessels, the Corvo and Mansfield, have been heard from. Schooner Mansfield lost, crew saved. Calista not heard from yet.

    Nov. 2,1879

    Eugene leaves on the boat for Boston to enter upon his duties in the store of Demand, Hix & Nickerson.

    Nov. 3, 1879

    Lucy received dispatch from Boston saying Eugene was sick with diptheria. She goes on the boat tonight.

    Nov. 22, 1879

    News came today that Eugene was worse and Lucy had telegraphed to Dr. Boynton again and he went to Boston yesterday.

    Nov. 24, 1879

    Daniel brought the news of Eugene’s death this P.M. - died at 10 o’clock Sat. night after an illness of 3 weeks. Lucy leaves Boston tonight with his remains.

    Dec. 2, 1879

    Wrote to Seth at Pernambuco, South America.

    Sept. 16, 1880

    Lucy starts for N. Y. to join Seth who has chartered to go to Pernarnbuco, S. A. She takes Lowell with her.

    June 13, 1881

    Rec’d. letters from Seth Arey at Zanzibar - all well, 81 days’ passage from Boston - will go to Bombay from there.

    Mar. 2, 1883

    Seth Arey reported as arriving at Montevideo on his way to Rosario 15th Jan., 52 days from Portland, Me.

    May 7, 1883

    Hear that Seth arrived in Boston Sunday the 6th a little ahead of time as usual with him.

    May 12, 1883

    Seth Arey & family & Ernest [oldest son] and family arrived home this morning to stop over Sunday. Ernest’s vessel is in Portland loading shooks [pieces used in assembling barrels, casks, etc.] for St. John’s, Puerto Rico, and his father will go to Brunswick, Ga., to load lumber for Rosario, S.A. After supper John and I called at Seth’s; found Vestie and Georgie sick with bad colds and feverish.

    May 14, 1883

    Seth and wife and Ernest & wife & child George and Lowell all called on their way to Rockland to take boat to Boston. Georgie quite sick.

    May 17, 1883

    Rec’d. letter from Seth A. saying the Chapin was ready for sea yesterday.

    June 5, 1883

    When he got home found a letter from Seth Arey bringing the sad news that his boy, Lowell, was lost overboard and drowned when three days out from Boston. Hard news to hear, how much harder for them to bear. Wrote to him and to Seth Emery [her son]. Mary wrote to Vestie at Pernambuco and to Georgie at Rosario.

    Oct. 1,1883

    Rodney Areys youngest boy, Elmer, died.

    Oct. 3, 1883

    Schooner Mariton, Capt. Smith of Vinalhaven, wrecked on Cape Cod. Rodney Arey, who was in her, arrived home today.

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