Remarks on board the ship Rambler

Biographical and Historical Notes

Daniel A. Chappell was a cooper living in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the mid-nineteenth century. He served on the ship Benjamin Tucker during a whaling voyage from July 18, 1849, to June 1, 1851. He kept a log book during this time. In 1852 he embarked on another whaling voyage on the Rambler.

The bark Rambler was purchased in Boston in 1852 and her master was James M. Willis. The agents of the vessel were F. and G. R. Taber. The vessel sailed for the Pacific Ocean on a whaling voyage on October 4, 1852, and returned June 10, 1856. Her catch was 95 barrels sperm oil, 2,934 barrels whale oil and 16,300 pounds of whalebone. She sent home 91 barrels sperm oil, 908 barrels whale oil, and 12,120 pounds whalebone.


Logbook of the ship Benjamin Tucker, 1849 July 18-1851 June 1. New Bedford Whaling Museum, Research Library, New Bedford, Massachusetts. (accessed February 2, 2009).

Additional historical information derived from the logbook.

Scope and Content Note

This bound volume is a typed transcript of a log for the bark Rambler kept by Daniel A. Chappell, the ship's cooper. It documents a Pacific-bound whaling voyage out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the period 1852-1855.

The ship sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on October 4, 1852, embarking on a whaling voyage to the arctic seas and the "olof." The log consists of abbreviated daily entries describing the weather conditions and events of the day. Chappell noted encounters with vessels, events on board the ship such as injuries among the crew, and the pursuit, killing, and processing of whales. The last entry in the log occurs on April 23, 1855. During the two and a half documented years of its journey, the Rambler hunted whales in several different seas. Chappell documents voyages to and hunts in the Sea of Japan, the Russian Sea of Okhotsk, and the waters near the Sandwich Islands.

The volume also contains a bound-in letter from William H. Tripp, curator of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society and Whaling Museum in Bedford, Massachusetts, to Samuel R. Morrill. The letter, dated 1954, relates information about the Rambler and comments on the unknown status of the ship's original logbook.