The Journal of Captain George C. McAllister

January 1, 1831 - July 27, 1833

I had intended to write in my diary every day but somehow a whole week had slipped by and nothing had been recorded. Tonight I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to remember what had happened during the past few days when Cliff reminded me that it had snowed on Monday with high winds followed by freezing rain. With that remark the events of the week came flashing back to me.

In the early 1830's Captain George C. McAllister kept a journal of his time at sea and on land and often made note of the weather. He was born in 1804 in Milltown, the 7th son of John McAllister and Keziah Hill. In 1834 he married Louisa Upton, the daughter of Aaron Upton and Hezediah Christie and they had two children, Sarah and Steven.

The journal commences on the first day of January of 1831 with the brig Keziah loading at Upton’s Wharf. The weather is very mild for the season and the wind South Eastwardly. The last entry was made on 27 July 1833

The trips to the West Indies to exchange shingles and lumber for molasses, sugar and rum are described in detail.

Some of the names mentioned are: Horatio N. Hill, Abner McAllister, Reuben Whitney, George Stillman Hill, H. Chaffey, Phebe Whitney, William Todd, Stephen Hitchings, Mrs. Christie, Joel Hills, Mary F. McAllister, Lavinia Hill, Art Pineo, Mary Harmon, Parkes Bark, Stephen Lovejoy, Hannah Hutchinson, William Miller, George Gibson, Boultonhouse, William Naff, Judge Botsford and several others.

He relates, “The hearse in Saint Stephen was used for the first time on Feb. 10, 1832 at the funeral of Hannah Hutchinson.”

His comments on the taverns where meals and a bed were secured are most interesting.

The Captain and some of his crew travelled 220 miles overland in winter from the Dorchester area to St. Stephen. He wrote, “Gave Creamer and Thomas Mitchell some money and they started to walk to St. Andrews.” 

Several entries in October of 1831 concerned his trip to Saint John.

    * Oct. 13, 1831 - “Left home to go to Saint Johns, went to Saltwater with Geo. Porter. Vessel not ready. Went to Saint Andrews with Wm. Buchanan in a waggon. Stopped at Mr. Ruggles where was Misses Hannah and Betsy Lindsay.”

    * Oct. 14, 1831 - “No opportunity of going before to-morrow though a fine wind. Made some inquiry from sundry persons for vessels to sell, but got no further information. Capt. Johnson is going to Quaco to buy one for himself and Mr. Wilson.”

    * Oct. 15, 1831 - “Sailed in the schooner Emily, Joshua Paul at 7 A.M. for St. Johns. Passengers, Mr. R. Crookshank, Capt. Johnson & myself. Wind North. Light breeze. At noon off Beaver Harbour, wind very light. At 6 P.M. off Dipper Harbour, calm.”

    * Oct. 16, 1831 - “Sunday. At 9 A.M. a breeze from South, and in company with many other vessels we went into the Harbour at 10 ½ A.M. Went to the Catholic Chapel with Capt. Johnson and afterwards stopped with him at Hopleys Tavern.”

    * Oct. 17, 1831 - “Capt. Johnson went to Quaco on Horseback. Saw Mr. Kinnear . . . Saw and conversed with many people at Saint Johns of former acquaintance. Saw Mr. Harvey who was anxious to contract to build a vessel.”

While returning from the West Indies on 16 February1842 on the vessel, ‘Eliza Ann’, Captain McAllister was washed overboard in a storm and gale off the coast of Nova Scotia.

In 1931 Mary Hill copied the notes from the original book kept by Captain McAllister. The introduction and six pages of explanatory notes were compiled by Evans Hill. It might be said, he read between the lines and in so doing put faces to several people who were mentioned in the journal, thus providing details for the family researcher.
Information on the trials of life on land and sea during the early 1830's are revealed in the 121-page “Journal of Captain George C. McAllister, January 1, 1831- July 27, 1833" first published in 1931. This book is available for viewing at several research institutions in New Brunswick.
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