Here you will find a transcription of the sea journal of David N. Poor of Portland, Maine, begun in 1842. He lived from 1818 to 1909 and spent most of his life in the coasting trade along the Eastern seaboard. The transcription is a faithful one, retaining Poor's spelling style, observations, and occassional bluster. Any additions made by me, aside from punctuation and capitalization, will be in italics.

He begins the journal with an autobiographical sketch. The daily entries that follow are often peppered with poems and songs, usually of a nautical nature. Whether he composed these or was merely copying down some favorite pieces remains to be discovered.

The journal entries begin on Feb. 17, 1842 aboard the clipper barque, Nautilus, under Captain Dyer of Portland, Maine. The crew is in Havana Harbor, Cuba waiting to load a cargo of sugar. Crew members mentioned by name in the journal are: Billey Leuly (first mate), John Griffin, Castor ?, David Doyll, Levi Weymouth, David N. Poor (author of the journal) Captain Dyer, Charles Middleton, Suard P. Morse (left the ship in Cuba), Moses Pease (joined the ship in Cuba), and Asa Littlejohn.

I will be adding the daily entries as time permits, so this website will gain content gradually, much as David Poor's journal did. Enjoy the voyage!

Not respectifuly yours,

Sue Bicknell

(Poor's great-great-great granddaughter)

Click on this link to see a picture of the Star and Compass ditty box made by David Poor in 1862, now owned by the Maine Historical Society:


Come All You Sailor Boys (found on page 16)


Come all you sailor boys

That delights in Sailors noys

Their nothin to compare to but laughter

When a sailor comes on shore

With his gold and silver store

There’s no wone can get rid of it faster.


For the first that Jack craves

Is a light and chamber bed

And good liquors of every sort

And a pretty girl like wise

With to black and roling eyes

Then Jack Tar is his pleased to the heart.

The Land Ladyes Daughter she comes in

O, she looks so neat and trim

Ready to wait on Jack when he calls

Readdy to wait on him

When she finds him in good trim

Marks him down to for wone at the bar.


This rig it does run on

Till Jacks monney is all gon

Then the old bird begins for to frown

With her dambd old squinted eye

And her nose turnd all a rye

Saing Sailor, tis hi time to be gon.


Now Jack he under stands

Theirs a Ship for to be mand

And to the east or west indias Shes bound

With a sweete and pleasant gale

O She spreads a lofty sail

Bids a dew to the girls of this town O.

Not respectifuly yours,

David N. Poor

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