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

Whaling Scene from Lewis Monto's Plough Boy Journal 1827-1830.

Whaling Scene

Whaling Scene from Lewis Monto's Plough Boy Journal 1827-1830.

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


      When Lewis Monto drew this sketch in his journal the Plough Boy was cruising on the "Off Shore Ground" -- that part of the Pacific too the west of the coast of South America. Just a month earlier the ship had been in port at the town of Paita in northern Peru, the ship's first port of call after having been at sea for more than six months.

      After leaving Paita the hunt for sperm whales began in earnest. The whale that figured in Monto's drawing was one of the first killed during the 1827-30 voyage. While the entry in the journal shows the date of Thursday, January 10, 1828, the phrase "Latter saw Whales lowered and got one" means the whale was killed in the morning of Friday, January 11, the 'Latter' part of the January 10-11 nautical day.

      The sperm whale is portrayed correctly with a hump on its back and its spout pitching forward. The whale boat shows either the 'boatsteerer' poised with his harpoon to make 'fast' to the animal or the boat's officer with a lance used for killing the whale. The Plough Boy ('out of proportion') is shown in the distance.

      Two months later Lewis Monto wrote "at day light saw Owhyhee & Mowhee 2 of the Sandwich Islands top of Owhyhee was covered with snow". From the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) the Plough Boy would cruise twice on the 'Japan Grounds' and once again on the 'Off Shore' grounds before starting their return voyage to Nantucket.

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

Last updated by Tom Tyler, Denver, CO, USA, September 10, 2018.