James Richmond's
California Story

First Time at Sea.

March 5, 1860 I shall not follow them save as I find extracts from Jimís journal that may be of interest or as I relate what I have heard him tell of his adventures to his boys. For Jim is now a gray-haired man and the boys can have no greater treat than to get him started on a California story. They listen in open mouthed wonder and fully intent to go to California when they become men.

March 5, 1860 Our first day at sea! Out of New York Harbor and plowing our way through the deep blue waters. I got tired of watching the waves and thought I would make a tour of inspection. Abe is very seasick, I feel as if I would like to be but could not. I fear steerage is not just the thing for weak stomachs.

I thought I would just take a walk up second cabin way and see how things looked. I persuaded Abe to accompany me as I thought it would do him good to get out of his bunk and stir around a little. As we started out, one of the boatís guards, wishing to show his authority, accosted us with the question "Are you second cabin, sir?" I assumed an air of equal importance and replied "yankee fashion", by asking "Are you attending to your own business, sir? It might be well for you to or I will have you reported." With that I walked on as important as if I owned the ship, crew and all. I pursued my way unmolested while Abe, poor soul slunk back to the steerage. I went and called on Kate who was sick in her room. She was not able to go to the table and proposed I take her ticket and go to second cabin table. I had no inclination for a great food but potatoes boiled not only in their skins but dirt as well are a worse looking mess than I have often served up for the pigs. It doesnít tend to settle ones stomach on ship board. I had half a mind to accept Kateís proposition and walk up to the table. They could only order me back. They had assured us of good clean food . And I though it would be well enough for them to make their assurance good. If only I had the cheek to carry me through. I rather thought I had, and if I didnít I had better cultivate it. I felt that one should have a good supply if one wishes to go smoothly along and not have oneís neighbors tread on oneís toes too roughly.