This Page


Lewis Monto

The Plough Boy


The Plough Boy Anthology

19th Century American Whaling

Image Gallery from the Plough Boy Anthology of 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 Whaleboat.

Top and side views of a whaleboat.


      Whale-Ship Stores

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Ashley's Glossary of
Whaling Terms

Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms

The Plough Boy Journals
of Lewis Monto


Two Voyages of a Nantucket Whaler
to the North and South Pacific in

1827-1830 and 1830-1834

Compiled by: Tom Tyler, Denver, CO


      "The Plough Boy Journals" will attempt to document aspects of early 19th century American whaling by linking original and third-party documents on topics noted in the two journals kept by Lewis Monto between 1827 and 1834.

      As work on this collection of pages continues, Lewis' references to seamanship, shipboard duties, whaling, ships "spoken", marine life observed, places visited, contacts with "natives", etc. will be expanded with appropriate links that will permit a better understanding of a unique American industry and its place within a wider context of nineteenth century history.

Lewis Monto

      Lewis Monto, son of Joseph Monto (1776 - ?) and Mary Barrett (1769 - ?) was born in Boston on August 13, 1806 and died in Allston, Massachusetts on March 26, 1881.

      When he was almost seventeen years old, Lewis registered as an "American Seaman" in Nantucket. It is likely that soon after he shipped on board a Nantucket whaling ship bound to the Pacific Ocean. Quite possibly, it was the Plough Boy making its second voyage under the command of Captain William Chadwick. On this voyage, the Plough Boy sailed from Nantucket on September 1, 1824. It returned on March 12, 1827, having visited among other places, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) and St. Francisco in New Albion (San Francisco).

      Lewis' daily journals of the Plough Boy's next two voyages – 1827-1830 & 1830-1834 under the command of Captain Nathan Chase – are transcribed here. The Plough Boy sailed again on July 22, 1834 with Moses Brown as captain–returning on April 9, 1839. Whether or not Lewis Monto was on this voyage is not known.

      In the fall of 1839, at the age of thirty-three, Lewis married eighteen year old Mary N. Cook of West Sandwich, Massachusetts. By 1850 they were living in Boston. Until his death in 1881, Lewis is listed on various birth and marriage documents as an "oil manufacterer". Of their ten children born between 1842 and 1862, eight survived childhood.

The Plough Boy

      The Plough Boy was built at Haddam, Connecticut in 1821. It was a ship-rigged vessel with a registered displacement of 391 3/95 tons. The ship was 109 ft. in length, 28 feet, 5 inches in width, and 14 feet in depth. It had two decks, a square stern, no galleries, and a "man bust" figurehead. The Plough Boy probably sailed with a crew of about thirty officers and men.

      Between 1821 and 1843 the Plough Boy was registered at Nantucket from where it made voyages in 1821, 1824, 1827, 1830, 1834 and 1839. In the early 1840s she was sold to New Bedford owners and sailed from that port in 1843 and 1848.

      On the Plough Boy's final voyage in 1849, she grounded and broke up on a shoal in the Bay of Guayaquil while en route to Tumbes, Peru. Part of this voyage is documented in: In A Sperm Whale's Jaws: An Episode in the Life of Captain Albert Wood of Nantucket, Mass, Edited by George C. Wood (Hanover, New Hampshire: Friends of Dartmouth Library, Dartmouth College) which was first published in 1954.

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      The original journals are owned by two great-granddaughters of Lewis Monto - Marjorie Monto Tyler and Susan J. Monto. I would like to thank them for the privilege and opportunity to transcribe these two unique documents recording a piece of American life and culture.

Last updated by Tom Tyler, Denver, CO, USA, September 26, 2018.

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