The Plough Boy Journals

The Journals and Associated Documents

The Plough Boy Anthology

19th Century American Whaling

Bonin Islands

Pitcairn's Island

The Collected Works of William Hussey Macy

The Seizure of the Whaleship George Howland of New Bedford, by Convicts at Charles Island, Galapagos, March 1852

The Documents

1827-1830 Journal

First page (Image)

Illustration (Image)


1830-1834 Journal

First page (Image)

Maloney fragment



Lewis Monto's Seaman's Certificate

Boat Signals

Plough Boy's Boat Signals

Coastal Views

   Ascension Island

   Bonin Islands

   Boning Islands

   Diego Ramirez

   Ferdinand Noronha

   Martin Vass

   Pitcairns Island

   Sandwich Islands



   Society Islands



   Sulpher Islands


Honolulu Note 1828

Honolulu Note 1829

Related Material

Sailing Vessel Identification

Types of Sailing Vessels

The Ship

Spars and Rigging

A Ship's Sails

Frame of a Ship

A Whaling Vessel

Deck Plan


A Whale Boat

Whale Boat


      Whale-Ship Stores

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Ashley's Glossary of
Whaling Terms

Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms

The Plough Boy's Boat Signals

(transcription follows)

Ship P[lough] Boys Boat Signals.

[Click on image to view in larger format in a new window.]

Ship P[lough] Boys Boat Signals

When Whale is up set the flag to Fore Top Gallant head and keep it up as long as the Whale is up When the Whale or Whales goes down haul it down

When convineant head the Ship for the Whales and haul down the jib untill the boats get sight of them -- keep the flag flying as long as the Whales is up

When Whales comes up to windward run the flag Up and down until the boats head for them and then set the flag up untill the Whale goes down

When Whales comes up to leeward set the flag half mast untill the boats head for them then set it up &c.

In case of a stoven boat wanting assistance of one of the boats set the Ships signal at the Main Top Gallant head -- and when wanting all the boats to come to the ship set 2 flags at the Main Top Gallant head one above the other

When the boats is out in the knight set the lanthorns so the boats will see them and make a torch of oil & tar &c on the try works in a ladle make Short Tacks and keep close to the boats at all times


      Lewis Monto's manuscript page of the Plough Boy's boat signals was originally found in his manuscript journal of the 1828-1830 whaling cruise of the Nantucket whale ship, Plough Boy, Nathan Chase, commander. Monto was an officer on this voyage.

      Comparison of Monto's handwriting with that on the boat signals document would suggest that it was written by another hand.

      The document is now in the collections of the Nantucket Historical Association on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts.