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The 'George Henderson'

New Zealand Bound

Departed  Nova Scotia 4 Dec. 1859
Arrived Cape Town 6 Feb. 1860
Arrived Sydney, AUS 4 April 1860
Arrived Auckland, NZ  27 April 1860
Wrecked off New Plymouth Aug. 1860

The brig "George Henderson", 171 tons, was built in Pugwash by Levi Woodworth Eaton who was a shipbuilder  and merchant in the town.  It was the last ship he built in Nova Scotia as he felt the best days of shipbuilding there were ended and he decided to go to New Zealand with his family.
    The ship set sail from Pugwash on 4 December 1859.  For the next nine days they suffered storms as they headed south and then the weather became warmer and more settled.  The ship crossed the Equator on 30 December and the customary ceremony of Neptune "coming on board" and blackening the faces of some of the passengers and crew was observed.  As they approached Cape Town the winds became very light and only 200 miles were achieved in over a week.  Land, (South Africa) was sighted on the 6 February and the vessel came to anchor in Simmonds Bay, Cape Town, late that same evening.  The following day most of those on board went ashore and some washed their clothes in a stream that entered the Bay close to the town. Apparently some of the younger men enjoyed a "happy" time with some of the local washer women. The town, (Cape Town) was described as a mile long with with many buildings of stone and covered with a type of plaster and there was a lot of activity.   In the harbour, at that time, were ten large merchant ships and five Men 'o War.  The ships main cargo was coal to be unloaded in the harbour.  Food was considered expensive with beef at 8d (240d = 1 pound) and potatoes 10/-s (120d) a bushel.  Wine was cheap and so was fruit.
    An additional 28 passengers boarded and 3 from Pugwash stayed. They were reported to have stayed for 15 days but  the "Henderson" set sail for Sydney on 26 February (20 days). They arrived in Sydney on 4 April 1860.  It is reported that virtually the whole complement of passengers stayed in Australia, many going to the goldfields and some took to farming, but the Eaton family went on to New Zealand and in 1888 Levi Eaton was reported to have 20 grandchildren.
    The "Henderson" was wrecked at Henui Beach, New Plymouth during a gale on August 16 1860. No lives were lost  and the crew returned to Sydney, with the exception of the Eatons. It is unfortunate that there does not appear to be a record of those leaving Pugwash only those that arrived in Sydney. Dan McLennan later went to New Zealand.

The following list include everyone on board the ship when she arrived in Sydney:


Name Rank
George Eaton Mate
Hugh Kennedy 2ndMate
William McKenn O/Seaman
Richard Ledbetter O/Seaman
George Page O/Seaman
Archibald Dawson O/Seaman
William Orchard O/Seaman
Thomas Dawson O/Seaman
Albert Eaton O/Seaman
Thomas Severn O/Seaman
Isabella McLennan Stewardess


Anna Biglo J. Fulton  Margaret McLean
Annie Biglo  J. Gerguson  N. McLean  
I. Biglo (Jr.)  J. Grahame Mrs McLean
I. Biglo T. Harley C. McLeod  
Sarah Biglo G. Hines  J. Malone
Christopher   J. Hoare Marion
R. Bryaens  Rev. D. Hobbs J. Marrowbey 
F. Chipman     Mrs Hobbs R. Morrison
G. Chipman     John Hughes W. Morrison
H. Chipman     John Hume A. Murray
Margaret Chipman -   Mrs James J. Myers
Mrs Chipman Kennedy D. Nicholson
P. Coi C. A. Kennedy  J. Nicholson
P. Dogval A. MacLeod O. Nicholson 
Mr J. Eaton McDonald  R. Noble   
Mrs Eaton A. McEachron Page
L.W. Eaton Mrs McKinnon D. Rhoubin
Miss Eaton G. McLean S. South
S.W. Eaton J. McLean Mrs Stratford
Mrs Ferguson M. McLean Watson

Signed John James

I have a photocopy of the original list and the writing gets smaller as it goes down the page as the clerk realised he would not get them all on one page.  Some of the names are very difficult to read. My Grandfather was the John Hume listed.

1. Account of  the voyage was taken from letters written by the two of passengers who sailed on it with my grandfather (yes grandfather), John Calvin HUME. He also was born in 1835 at Baddeck and lived in Pugwash and helped build the ship.
2. The passenger list was obtained by a relative of Mr Hume from New South Wales Archives a few years ago. A list for this ship was given in "The History of Pugwash"  by James F. Smith but it was not complete.

� 1998-2001 Keith Hume, Kent, England
This page may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without Keith Hume's consent. Email
Researching:- HULME, DAWSON (In Lancs.)
              HUME, McKAY (New Brunswick & Nova Scotia)
              SHERMAN, SIMMONS AND CHASE (USA & Canada)
              SHERRING & BLUNDEN (Hampshire, England)
              FALL (Ireland & Australia)

Credit goes to Mr Hume for the research and supplying the information. Thank you.
Pugwash - an native word for deep water - a tiny fishing village located in north-eastern Nova Scotia. Only 75 km from the ferry to P.E.I. or 185 km from Halifax, the provincial capital.


The Southern Cross 1 May 1860 page 2 

Imports - Foreign
Per George Henderson, from Pugwash, Nova Scotia
-2 cases amptrotype, 40 barrels salt, and 2800 bricks.

Port of Auckland, entered inwards
April 27 1860 - George Henderson, brig, 171 tons, John James, from Pugwash, Nova Scotia, via Sydney. Passengers-

Chipman 	Mr and Mrs and 3 children
Christipher 	Mr
de Blaquier 	Mr
Eaton  		Mr L.W Mr and Mrs 
Eaton 		Miss 
Eaton 		Mr G 
Fulton		Mr J 
Johnes 		Mrs and son 
McKinnon 	Capt. and Mrs 
McEacheren 	Miss 
Morris 		Dr 
Stratfrord 	Mrs and 3 sons 

The Southern Cross Tuesday 26th June 1860 pg2
Arrived June 25 - The George Henderson, 171 tons, Captain James, arrived in harbour on Sunday morning, fifteen days from Newcastle. She brings a cargo of coal consigned to Messrs Thornton, Smith and Firth. The brig has encountered baffling winds on her voyage down. Henderson and Macfarlane, agents.

The Southern Cross Friday 20th July 1860 pg2
Sailed July 16 - George Henderson, brig, James, for Taranaki.


Levi Woodworth Eaton and Sarah Bigelow  Family History information can be found here on Keith Berry's page.  Levi was born August 23 1811 and died September 20 1897 at 86 years of age.

Death record--Nova Scotia--District 2 Cumberland. Register Number 2477
First Name George. Last Name Eaton. Birthplace (New Zealand).
Age 14 years DOD 1876-9-26
Parents: George
Mary Ann Crane
Spouse: Eaton

Frederick William Wallace Wooden Ships & Iron Men / publisher George Sully & Company NY 1937.  Does not mention the 'George Henderson' but well worth reading if you are interested in the old-time shipping of the Maritime Provinces of Canada. A 'Bluenose' is a Nova Scotian: so called from the cold climate. "The Bluenose mate was a fearless and splendid seaman. He never spoke. He roared, and his voice would boom around the decks in a gorgeous mixture of commands and picturesque oaths.  The Bluenose second mate was usually a mere youth but he was an extremely capable youth or he would not be second mate on a Bluenose ship.
    In a British North American ship, the steward may be a man or a woman.  It was quite common thing for a man and his wife to look after the cooking and the upkeep of the cabin quarters - either one going in the galley and doing the cooking.  A stewardess was much better than a man in many ways.  She usually kept the cabin neater, could make more out of the food provided in the way of tasty dishes, and would superintend things pretty much in the manner of a boarding house mistress or housekeeper ashore.
    The only British North American  vessels carrying a native crew were the fishing and coasting schooners, and possibly some of the smaller brigs and brigantines.  The crews of the deep-water ships and barques were composed of all nationalities and seamen were picked up in whatever ports they happened to require them"


When a vessel is named after a person it is alphabetised by the first name. Thus the George Henderson is alphabetised under "G" rather than "H." Often the George Henderson is seen referred to as "the Henderson." Also for vessels with multiple word names, the vessels are alphabetised by the initial word in the name.