John Adamson's Diary          

John Adamson was a 19 year old student living at Shiloh when the Coronet and Kingdom  put to sea on Mr. Sandford's final missionary journey to foreign lands.  A hard working, conscientious student, John had earned the privilege of going aboard the Coronet; Only the best of the best were deemed ready for the mission field and Coronet's crew.

Our voyage begins with John Adamson and the Coronet as they are leaving Chesapeake Bay, December 27, 1910. They have been at sea since the previous June.  Scarcely out to sea they encounter a storm in the North Atlantic. There had been an error in seamanship, and the yacht for a time was in jeopardy, such that a junior seaman who had temporarily replaced the Captain, petitioned Mr. Sandford to reverse his decision which had demoted the Captain. It seems that Sandford and the Captain had a disagreement of sorts and the Captain was "on the outs".

The blue text is the diary itself, the black from Arnold White, from whose book, The Almighty and Us, these diary entries are reproduced. Red items are worthy of note.  The purple text has been inserted by this editor. [Ed.]

Diary of John Adamson, Jan. 1, 1911 to Sep. 10, 1911
Crew member on board CORONET on the “Northern Trip”.

Jan. 1, Sunday. “Sailed under trysails all night and day. Cleaned up some of the jib boom wreckage. Mended the staysail. Day of waiting on God. Storm is getting over, sun shining again. Set forestaysail at 4 P.M. Rigged up the outstay on the end of the bowsprit, coiled up wire stays, pumped ship.”

Jan. 2, Monday. “Calm all day. Sewed all day on the jib. Had meeting from 3 o’clock until midnight. Things not very pleasant. Somewhat discouraged.”

Jan. 3, Tuesday. “Up at 6 A.M. “Worked on the jib”

Jan. 4, Wednesday, “Up at 6 A.M. Sewed on the forestaysail.”

Jan. 5, Thursday. “Meeting all day. Sewed on the mainsail.”

Jan. 6, Friday. “Calm all day. Sighted a brigantine in the morning. We had our sails down because of slatting. She sent over a boat to see if we were in trouble. They had a neat little dory. Asked where from and where bound.---Cleared for the sabbath. Pumped ship.” (Sabbath began at sundown Friday evening.)

Jan. 7, Saturday. “About 1000 miles out at sea. Heavy breeze struck up about 1:30 A.M. Pumped ship. Had midday watch.”

Jan. 8, Sunday. “Had midnight watch. Rained some. Rigged staysail for catching water. Good meeting all day.”

Jan. 9, Monday. “Took up the slack in the forestay. Mended the forestaysail, calmed down. Took in all sail. Steamer sighted us and started for us expecting something was wrong. We hoisted our foresail and she returned on her course.”

Jan. 10, Tuesday. “Seas getting rough. Going fast under all sail, 7 or 8 knots. Plenty of water coming over the bows. Sighted steamer at 7:30 P.M.”

Jan. 11, Wednesday. “Mr. Sandford with us again. Mended staysail; pumped ship. Steamer passed 3:30 P.M. Half way across the ocean, just 16 days.” (Indicating Dec. 27 as starting date.)

Jan. 12, Thursday. “Did some sewing today.”

Jan. 13, Friday. “Had the day off for waiting on God.”

Jan. 14, Saturday. “All hands called on deck to take in the mainsail. She is driving hard into the sea. Got it in safely; took in the jib.--- Diving some so waited for a lull. Went out and tied it up. The aft stay in the fore rigged parted. Pumped ship. At 12:30 jibed ship and the foresail broke from aft right forward to the mast.”

Jan. 15, Sunday. “Heavy seas, wind not so heavy, rolling bad, plenty of pumping. Four men went aloft to fix the back stays. Going ahead about six knots under storm trysails.”

Jan. 16, Monday. “Mending sail. Pumped ship.”

Jan. 17, Tuesday. (No entry)

Jan. 18, Wednesday. “Pumped ship”

Jan. 19, Thursday. “A good day, warm, sailing along at a good rate. Had meeting all day. Prayed for Shiloh, the Kingdom and the yacht, etc. Main topmast is cracked from strain when she dives into head seas”

Jan. 20, Friday. “Fine day sailing along fast; 530 miles from Canaries at noon. I worked with Mr. Anderson (ship’s Engineer) making oars all day. Cleaned up for sabbath.”

Jan. 21, Saturday. “Had a good rest. The first Saturday out of four that has not been stormy. Had two or three watches on deck while others were at meeting.”

Jan. 22, Sunday. “Got up at 6:00 A.M. Washed decks, shined brass. Had meeting all day until midnight. Mr. S. talked to us about “The Truth”; read all about it in the first five books of the Bible. Did not eat supper.”

Jan. 23, Monday. “ Washed decks and shined brass. Had a good breeze all day. The 3 o’clock meeting lasted until 10:30 P.M. Fine meeting; getting God’s truth into our souls.”

Jan. 24, Tuesday. “The 9 o’clock meeting lasted until midnight.”

Jan. 25, Wednesday. (No entry)

Jan. 26, Thursday. “Up most all night. At daylight we sighted LaPalma, 7000 feet high, snow on top. Santa Cruz is the capital. Calm in the afternoon. Mended sails for the next wind. Had a good meeting all day. Mr. S. gave us a fine talk.

Jan. 27, Friday. (No entry)
Jan. 28, Saturday. “Esther’s (Sandford) birthday. She received a gold watch from her father.”

Jan. 29, Sunday. (No entry)

Jan. 30, Monday. “Water is scarce.”

Jan. 31, Tuesday. “New moon. Sailed over to Gomera, the Canary Islands. Gomera is the place of our meeting with the Kingdom.” (The other ship)

Feb. 1, Wednesday. “The first thing at daylight we saw the Kingdom just ahead of us. Their boats came over, exchanged some of the crew. Sailed by Tenerife all night.”

The two ships spent eight weeks together cruising among the Canary Islands, then south to the Cape Verde Islands and along the African Coast. The diary tells of efforts to keep the two ships together, the lumbering Kingdom taking dangerous chances to follow the schooner-rigged Coronet into bays and rivers and hugging rocky shores; of parties ashore for washing salty clothes in the fresh water of some brook or creek, and to load containers with hundreds of gallons for the yacht’s water tanks; of the larger yacht finally ending its career on the sandy marshes twenty-five miles north of Bathhurst. [A.L.W., The Almighty and Us]

Feb. 2, Thursday. “The Kingdom sailed near by all day. Came within 30 yards and we had meeting together. It passed by Gran Canaria, population 128,000, a beautiful place; prayers for the people. The wind died out. Took in the foresail and mainsail. Carried 300 gallons of water to the Coronet after dark.”

Feb. 3, Friday. “The Kingdom five or six miles ahead. Put up the awning for a square sail and caught up to her again. Got wood and some water from her and gave her some of our provisions. The children went over for a little while.”
[Ref. to “wood” indicates use of wood in the galley stoves in place of coal. A.L.W.]

Feb. 4 & 5 Saturday, Sunday. “Sun very hot. Had to keep out of it as much as possible. Had meeting all day.....I Went over to the Kingdom at night, staying on her for a few days.”

Feb. 6, Monday. “Took the yawl on board to caulk and putty her seams. Took the lifeboat and Mr. Sandford’s family and the women and had an outing on the shore. Ralph and myself walked up a mountain and found two little kids (young goats). We chased and caught them but let them go. This island, Puertaventura, is about 12,000 inhabitants. Carried 300 gallons of water to the Coronet after dark.”

On son John Sandford's birthday, February 7, all hands that could be spared from manning the ships went ashore. They had a fire in a cave, sang hymns and listened to stories by Mr. Sandford, gathered some wood to take back with them. "Had a hard row back to the vessels. Got back at 11:00 P.M." John, the Sandford's first child, was now fourteen years of age. They had celebrated his sister Esther's birthday on January 28. She was just two years younger than John. There were three younger children.

On the ninth day they set sail for Africa, sighting the continent early next day. The diary for the next few days tells of being hove to, trying to catch fish, of Mr. Sandford and the children visiting on the Kingdom at which time John had as "encouraging little talk" with the leader. Both ships anchored in the mouth of the "Onis River" where a kindly fishermen taught them the art of catching the fish peculiar to that area. John wrote. "The fish are the best I ever ate. very fine flavor. There are many kinds, some taste like chicken."

Feb. 7, Tuesday, “Had a hard row back to the vessels. Got back at 11:00 P.M.”

Feb. 8, Wednesday. “Had a good night’s sleep.”

On the ninth day they set sail for Africa, sighting the continent early next day. The diary for the next few days tells of being hove to, trying to catch fish, of Mr. Sandfor and the children visiting on the Kingdom at which time John had an “encouraging little talk” with the leader. Both ships anchored in the mouth of the “Onis River” where kindly fishermen taught them the art of catching the fish peculiar to that area. [A.L.W., “The Almighty and Us”.]

Feb. 9, Thursday, “The fish are the best I ever ate, very fine flavor. There are many kinds, some taste like chicken. Pumped ship.”

Feb. 10, Friday. (No entry)

Feb. 11, Saturday. “Off west coast of Africa. Had meeting until 12 P.M. Pumped ship.”

Feb. 12, Sunday. “Coronet away in shore trying to get some fish.”

Feb. 13, Monday. “Mr. S. and I had an encouraging little talk together.”

Feb. 14, Tuesday. “I had the day off to wait on the Lord, had a good time.”

Feb. 15 & 16, Wed., & Thurs. (No entry)

Feb. 17, Friday. “As we were having a meeting a Spanish offficial came over from the fort and required us to enter seeing we had our anchor down......There are about 500 Moors camped in tents about the fort, some very wild looking; some children were naked. Got bill of health from the official.”

Feb. 18, Saturday. “Read a little book on Africa. Pumped ship after sundown. Had meeting from 8:00 to 12:00 P.M.”

Feb. 19, Sunday. “Had a fine meeting on the missionary line for Africa. Miss Dart spoke on the Sahara Desert. God kindled a fire in my heart for to be a missionary, through the talk. I was all changed over, prayed for the heathen most all day. Pumped ship.”
Feb. 20, Monday. “I was up at 4 A.M. and went fishing. We fished all day.”

(No entries for Feb. 21, 22, & 23.)

Feb. 24, Friday. “Got under way at 4 P.M. and are sailing down the coast.”

Feb. 25, Saturday. “Sailed with the Coronet all night.....Had meeting part of the night. We followed the Coronet and got into a cove and could not get out. Heavy wind blowing. Dropped anchor, dragged, so let down the other anchor. Furled all sail---very near shore, about 2 or 3 hundred yards.” (John is on board the Kingdom (FEH)

Feb. 26, Sunday. “Calmed down in the morning. Lost the small anchor. Got ready to beat out. Coronet hove in sight. Sent a boat over. Commodore (Perry) and four or five men came back with us to get underway. Light winds and very changeable ones very near cost the lives of us all. She would go off a little bit and the wind would change and back us up so we were only about 12 feet from the rocks when a wind came and God delivered us---beat out.

(No entries after Feb. 26, until March 3)

March 3, Friday. “The children cried for water.”

March 4, Saturday. (No entry)

March 5, Sunday. “The yacht is jumping around some. Had meeting on board and at 3 o’clock. Went ashore. Got there after sundown. Stayed there all night. Bailed the boat during the night.”

March 6, Monday. “Got up at 5 o'clock and loaded the boat and went to the yacht ---had breakfast then a meeting.

After two days of sailing south the ships turned back to explore the wreck of a "French man-of-war which had run ashore" (not long before). For the next fifteen days they lay at anchor offshore while the men stripped the wreck of everything which might be used on either of the two yachts, and much of junk value. They rowed heavy loads through dangerous breakers using a "lifeboat" which was "leaking badly." It had to be constantly "bailed out." The "royal family" and some of the men and women stayed aboard the "Castle,"as they called the wreck, enjoying the more commodious quarters. They caught many fish in the shallow waters surrounding the wreck, no small reward for their unusual adventure.

March 7, Tuesday. “Had breakfast at 4:30.”

March 8, 9, & 10 (No entries)

March 11, Saturday. “Enjoyed being with Mr. S. Stayed all night.”

March 12, (No entry)

March 13, Monday. “Got up early in the morning. Had a meeting. Felt God wanted us to leave. Got our last load, which was very heavy, and went to the yacht. Got underway. Lost one of our anchors. Sailed down the coast. Mr. S. and the boat’s crew went in close to the shore and enjoyed the scenery as we sailed by. Some of the coast has high bluffs which are indented with waves at their base and the sea coming in, when striking the rocks, sends spray twenty-five feet or more in the air which makes beautiful scenery. Hove to all night.”

March 14, Tuesday. “Passed Cape Blanc at sundown and then turned west for the Cape Verde Islands. Water very short.”

March 15, Wednesday. “Lifeboat leaking badly. Had to keep two men in her to bail. Took the life boat on board which was a big relief to us all.....”

March 16, Thursday. “Sighted the islands at 9 A.M. Made for the channel between San Antao and St. Vincent. Hove to all night, hadn’t a chart.”

March 17, Friday. “Enjoyed another sabbath sunset meeting, had a good rest during the night.”

March 18, Saturday. “We are 80 miles from Cape Verde Islands. Pumped ship.”

John is again on the Coronet after six weeks as a sailor on the Kingdom [The Almighty and Us” A.L.W.]

March 19, Sunday. “Sailed by and saw the Kingdom anchored in harbor of Porte Grande. Hove to and dinghy came out bringing oranges. Great treat. Water is low”

March 20, Monday. (No entry)

March 21, Tuesday. “Tried to beat up the channel to drop off dinghy. She would not tack. wind very strong. Blows in gusts. Lowered mainsail and hove to off lighthouse. The dinghy left at 5 A.M. Spent the day in prayer for them and Mr. Perry, as he had a lot of business and a short time to do it in.

March 22, Wednesday. “Off the light house in the morning. Sighted the Kingdom coming out of the harbor about 7 A.M. They brought us some fruit and water. Had two oranges for supper. “

March 23, Thursday. “Had meeting all day. Headed for Boa Vista on which a wrecked steamer is aground.”

March 24, Friday. “Had a fair rest during the night.”

March 25, Saturday. “Floyd’s* birthday. Sailed under forestaysail and foresail. I got dinner in the galley. Mr. S. gave Floyd his room for the evening. He invited Guy (Campbell) and myself. Had a fine time looking at books, mainly the Spanish American War and Russo Japanese War. We had an orange also.” *Floyd Clark FEH

March 26, Sunday. “I worked in the galley again. We are not far from Boa Vista. Water is low. I am tired, going to bed.”

March 27, Monday. (No entry)

March 28, Tuesday. “We started along the northern coast looking for the wrecked steamer.Took lookout aloft at sundown; came around the southern point and saw the steamer. Hove to all night. Mr. S. and three men went in the dinghy along the shore and to the wreck. The wreckers were not done with her.”

March 29, Wednesday. “Up at 4 A.M.”

March 30, Thursday. (No entry)

March 31, Friday. “Beginning the Jewish New year. Mr. S. got the message for the year, ‘The golden opportunity’. We set sail at 10:30 for Gambia River. New moon day. Had meeting which lasted ‘till 2:30. Had a fine---or the best meeting during the 3 o’clock hour I believe I have ever had. The Kingdom came out and brought us some fruit, eggs and three turkeys.”

April 1, Saturday. (No entry)

April 2, Sunday. “Had meeting all day.”

April 3, Monday. “Good wind. Plenty of work as usual.”

April 4, Tuesday. “Wind light. Had some difficulty in finding the mouth of the Gambia River. Found the buoys and sailed down the channel most of the day. Anchored at Bathurst at 5 P.M. The captain went ashore in the dinghy. Got a little information about the city. Had meeting until midnight.”

April 5, Wednesday. “Got everything ready to receive the doctor. Cleaned brass, washed down decks. He came off at 8 A.M.---a colored man, cheery fellow. Lots of fruit ashore. [ Last is a wistful entry---they could take on neither food nor water as there was smallpox ashore. A.L.W.] Captain went ashore after some water and other things. While they were gone the Kingdom launch, lifeboat and dinghy came to Bathurst. INFORMED US THAT THE KINGDOM RAN ASHORE----TOTAL LOSS. They left five men on board to clear up most needed articles. Got our bill of health and got under way. Wind light. Had to anchor. All the people (from the Kingdom ) came aboard.”

April 6, Thursday. “Got under way in the morning. Beat down the channel all day. Made by the outside channel buoy at midnight. Very hot, water scarce, feel very thirsty. Wind light all night. Had a good meeting. Mr. S. spoke about ‘white oak’ and it being planted in our lives to stand the strain. Had the Lord’s supper.”

April 7, Friday. “Beat up the coast all day, arrived near the Kingdom at Sunset. Anchored and sent the two boats over to her. Had supper and had a good rest during the night.”

April 8, Saturday. “Lifeboat came with the five men. They were all well. They brought some water. I went over to the Kingdom. She is in bad condition, many things spoiled.”

April 9, Sunday. “Worked all day carrying goods, etc. to the Coronet. Some French officials came on the Kingdom to see her. We cut away her masts to prevent her going over as she had started.”

April 10, Monday. “A good day. Carried all kinds of things to the Coronet. Blowing hard in the afternoon. With the last load could not make it to the vessel and had to anchor three miles below her. Danger of filling any moment. She saw us and came down to us.”

April 11, Tuesday. “Kingdom is sinking lower and lower in the sand. Carried her big anchor in the lifeboat to the Coronet. Took down our main topmast. Started for the Kingdom again, got in the breakers and had to anchor behind them and wait for the tide to change. Wind blew hard. During the morning a large steamer came around the Coronet and we found she had lost her way. We got some water from her and gave them some points to their whereabouts.”

April 12, Wednesday. “Got up at 2 A.M. and got some wire stays off the mizzenmast. I undressed and went below in the men’s cabin (In the water) and got the grindstone and a few other articles. Loaded the boats with the remaining things and got the spanker boom and gaff, and started. The lifeboat’s crew set her (the Kingdom) on fire. Got to the vessel (the Coronet) and got under way making down the coast for Sierra Leone. (pulling the )Lifeboat filled with two men in her. Got the men, took the life boat on deck and broke her up for fire wood.”
Of the Kingdom Mr. Sandford said "A burnt offering for Africa." (ALW)

Apr. 13 Thurs. Fine day.  Had meeting all day. Had the Lord’s Supper at midnight. Was in the launch for a few hours.

They towed the Kingdom's launch all the way across the Atlantic to the Virginia coast with two men aboard, night and day.(ALW)

April 14, Friday. “Very hot. Sighted an English ocean liner. We made for her and signaled for some water----very short for a long time. She stopped and we lowered our boats----got 300 gallons of water from her. They were very obliging, would give us any thing we wanted. We told them we had shipwrecked crew on board. Her name is the Dover Castle.”

More given to verbal whiplash than to praise or even exoneration when failure occurred, Mr. Sandford made a rare exception when later he made a public statement defending Captain Perry (Commodore) for his part in sailing the Kingdom onto sandy shallows instead of into the mouth of the Gambia River. The error in navigation, he said, was due to not having proper charts. Seaman John Davis has told me they had given their charts to the Coronet's captain, relying themselves upon hastily penciled duplicates. The Coronet now had sixty-seven people aboard in accommodations designed for thirty. George MacKay, one of the older sailors, requested that the Kingdom's crew be turned over to the nearest American Consulate, but he was overruled and it was not until May 20, six weeks later, that the Coronet was headed toward America.

April 15, Saturday. (No entry)

April 16, Sunday. “Sun is very hot. Had meeting all day.”

April 17, Monday. “Another hot day. Had meetings part of the day.”

April 18, Tuesday. “Very hot. Had meetings some of the day. Had meeting until 11 P.M.”

April 19, Wednesday. “Had meeting until 1 A.M. the next day.”

April 20, Thursday. “Very thirsty. Had a good meeting.”

April 21, Friday. (No entry)

On April 22 all hands had made an effort to properly celebrate Helen Sandford's birthday. "all hands togged up in white clothes as much as possible. Had good meeting and ate dinner under the awning about 8:00 P.M. Had small glass of wine after supper" [unfermented grape juice]. Mr. Sandford could make a big thing of his wife's birthday for proper effect and some diversion from routine, yet behind the scenes he could treat her with a cunning capacity for unbelievable sadism. For a considerable period of this voyage she was denied the management of her five children, superseded by a young woman much in her husband's favor and an unfeeling disciplinarian. Any problems which arose beyond her authority to handle were referred in private conversation with him, never with their mother who was under mandate to keep herself aloof from family affairs as much as humanly possible on the crowded little ship.

This willingness to make others suffer, so overwhelmingly evident in this man's relations with his associates, was never revealed as such to the blinded eyes of the faithful. They were under the solid conviction that suffering was good for the soul and that the leader's arbitrary rulings and his passionate outbursts were God-inspired.   Sandford's wife, Helen, and his next in command, Charles E. Holland, were throughout the years his favorite targets for excoriation in the congregation when the mood was upon him, as well as occasional praise when it could serve the inflated image of this semi-sincere actor deluxe. Helen took her deep hurt like the veteran soldier that she was, chastising herself for her supposed spiritual lacks which brought about such a cruel impasse.

The days passed under a withering sun as they were close to the equator. The diary tells of trips ashore at "Los Island" for washing clothes, procurement of hundreds of gallons of water from a spring they discovered, meetings all day and way into the night, a Bible school formed for the younger members, mending sails, and always, pumping the ship.

April 23, Sunday. “Had a fine meeting. The nights are very hot.”

April 24, Monday. “Mr. Perry and the Captain went ashore for water, etc. Anchored off the isles Do Los”

April 25, Tuesday. (No entry)

April 26, Wednesday. “Up early. All hands went ashore after water. Some French officials came over to the yacht, inquired if anything was needed. They were very pleasant.”

On May 2 there was a three-hour meeting of prayer for Mr. Alden Day, an elderly man whose profession had been galley special cook before coming to Shiloh. "Old Man Day." we called him affectionately. Slow of movement, beetle browed, pleasantly spoken though of few words, the salt of Casco Bay was in his veins. When fishing on Brown's Banks he mystified us landlubbers by pulling up his lines, two at a time, each hooking a good-sized cod. We watched how he baited his hooks, how he handled his line, meanwhile staring at our own bare hooks as we tried again and again. He was a simple soul, childlike in faith. His speech crusted with island lore. Watching a boat sailing briskly before the wind he could be all excitement. Exclaiming in terms which my young mind came to associate with tides and ocean spray and rocky shores. "She's agoing of it, she's agoing of it." he would say, his brows raised and his blue eyes snapping.

May 3, Wednesday. “We had meeting all day, praying for Mr.Day. He is very sick and weak. His lower limbs are swollen badly. We did not get supper. Had a fast day.”

May 4 to May 6 (No entries)

May 7, Sunday. “Had meeting all day. I had a solemn talk with Mr. S.”

May 8 Monday. Had the day of waiting on God. Mr. Day very weak. He died at 1:00 o'clock. Had his funeral at sundown."

It was perhaps fitting that this Downeaster from Barter's Island, [ in the Sheepscot River near Boothbay, Ed.] this man whose life had been devoted to the sea, should find his last resting place deep under its ever restless billows.

May 9, Tuesday. “The 3 o’clock service was given in talking the facts and traits of Mr. Day’s life, and we asked God to give his spirit to each of us.”

May 10, Wednesday. “Had meeting part of the day.”

May 11, Thursday. “Had meeting all day, very hot, calm. Mr. S. has had a sore on his leg caused by knocking it when on shore. He called all hands down to his room at 3:00. He brought up the matter about the officers. He put in a new captain, first and second mates. Mr. Whittom is captain, Mr. Knight first mate, and myself second mate.”

May 12, Friday. “Everybody was called at 2:00 o’clock; had meeting all day until sunset praying for Mr. Sandford’s leg; has bone sore; fasted also.”

May 13, Saturday. “Had meeting after sundown, prayed for wind and rain, got both. Praise the Lord, lot of water caught during the night.” 
[for drinking  Ed.]

May 14, Sunday. “Had meeting all day. Mother’s birthday. Prayed for Mr. Sandford’s leg.
"Getting after things."

Those last three words indicate to those in the know that the fur was flying. Somebody must be the goat. Though imbued with the love of God for his people and the world, attributes which he constantly proclaimed, he could seem to be entirely devoid of sympathy for another in pain or even dying, if something about that person offended his sensitivities especially in attitude about himself. The slightest disloyalty, disobedience or lack of proper respect or attention to him could arouse a volcano of vituperation all out of proportion.

In my own diary of 1906, at which time I was Mr. Sandford's valet on the Coronet, I find mention of Mr. F. M. Wakeman's finger which showed no improvement despite the prayers of the group. He had, in agony with a felon, gone to his spiritual leader, usual admirer and friend, for prayer and laying on of hands for healing. He was likely to loose a part of his finger essential to playing the clarinet, his favorite instrument. Mr. Wakeman was received coldly and told that God was punishing him for an insulting remark he had made to this man of God's choice.

Now, nearly five years later, with physical troubles of his own, Mr. Sandford found no fault in himself which could account for failure of the prayer of faith. It was the shortcomings of the people aboard the Coronet, especially those of the wrecked yacht Kingdom whom he had always compared unfavorably with his own chosen group on the holy ship. They were kept in shape by his close ministrations, "in the White Light of Eternity" ... And anyway, how could God answer prayer for his leg or for the souls of the heathen if His watchful eye detected "inexactness" aboard ship? "Getting after things," the diary said.  How well I remember, (ALW)

May 15, Monday. “Had meeting most all day, his leg getting better. Fair breeze. Had a navigation lesson.”

May 16, Tuesday. “Good day. Lots of work to do. Prayed for the sick. Mr. S. came on deck. He had dressed up in silk. Mr. Merrill took his picture by the wheel and binnacle.
[How many others back at Shiloh , I wonder, had silk clothing?  Ed.] Vessel leaks very much. Making a sailmaker’s bag.”

May 17, Wednesday. “Wind light, working all day. Wind gave out. Sails slatted and ripped and tore. Took them in.”

May 18, Thursday. “Had meeting part of the day. Had to mend the sails and set them. Wind got light, took them in again. Hot; felt sick with the heat.” [Setting those heavy sails were done by man power only; there were no power winches to help. A.L.W.]

May 19, Friday. “Set sail about midnight. Good breeze. Sailed along fine all day. Mr. Brougham’s birthday.” [Louis Brougham, a court stenographer who could take dictation without shorthand, typing as fast as people talked. One of his brother’s, a New York lawyer, handled many of the suits arising from the sinking of the Titanic. A.L.W.]

May 20, Saturday. “The “30” had meeting at 8:00.
[“30” meant the original Coronet personnel. A.L.W.] GOING ACROSS AGAIN. Headed NW by W. good wind.”

May 21, Sunday. “Meeting all day Testimony service of the people healed from the fever and other sicknesses. Had supper and another half hour meeting for God’s will about our trip and His blessing on it.”

May 22, Monday. “Making fair speed, vessel leaking badly. Sighted a full rigged ship and a four-masted bark.”

May 23, Tuesday. “Good wind all day. Sighted a steamer. Signaled her for water and provisions. She stopped and we bought from 7 to 8 hundred gallons of water and some provisions. They were very kind to us. Waited three hours with us then saluted each other as we parted. Set the squaresail, had to mend it about dark.”

May 24, Wednesday. “Had meeting part of the day praying for Mr. Sandford’s leg. Starting to get worse. Squaresail tore, took it in. Got up in the night and bent the Kingdom’s spanker on for a squaresail. It worked fine. Did not get much rest.”

May 25, Thursday. “Had meeting all day until 1:30 the next A.M.”

May 26, Friday. “Hot part of the day. Suffered from heat in my head and had a toothache. Had a good sunset meeting.”

May 27, Saturday. (No entry)

May 28, Sunday. “Took in the squaresail and mended it, set it up again. Had meeting in the afternoon, good time. Mr. S. came on deck. Had prevailing prayer for the healing of his leg---was remarkably changed from that time.

May 29, Monday. “Good wind. Mr. S. read about South America. Having many prayers for that continent. Also read some of a book on the life of Christ. Having this month for the seeking of the Holy Spirit and praying for South America. Having one meal a day.” [for 30 days A.L..W.]

May 30, Tuesday. “Having meetings as the former days.”

May 31 to June 2, (no entries)

June 3, Saturday. “Up all night, worked on the square sail all day. Had meeting all day ‘till midnight.”

June 4, Sunday, (No entry)

June 5, Monday, “Having good times in our meetings praying for South America and reading books about it. Plenty of work. Very hot.”

June 6, Tuesday (No entry)

June 7, Wednesday. “Mended the mainsail. Meeting lasted until 2:00 A.M. A good time. Very tired. We don’t get much sleep.”

June 8, Thursday. “Had a good meeting Up until 2 A.M. the next morning.”

June 9, Friday. “Got up at 5 a.m. Had a busy day mending sails, cleaning up the decks, washing the wasters---enough to make one’s head swim.”

June 10, Saturday. (No entry)

June 11, Sunday. “Had good meetings during the day. Sighted land at 5 P.M. The island called Tabbago, north east of Trinidad. Sighted a light on Trinidad at midnight.”

June 12, Monday. (No entry)

June 13, Tuesday. “Sighted Trinidad island in the morning.....Had a good look at the land---did not stop. Sailed along the coast of Venezuela. Beautiful scenery, high mountains.”

June 14, Wednesday. “Had calm all day. Sighted a little sloop. Hailed her, she was a pilot boat. Got some fruit from her. Lowered the yawl boat---let the children tow behind the launch---it is their vacation time.”

June 15, Thursday. “A good breeze during the day. Sighted Marguerite, an island on the coast---very beautiful scenery. Saw a few towns, many trees. Had a fine meeting, read about Christ’s crucifixion.”

June 16, Friday. “Came to another island to the westward. Low, with a lot of vegetation on it. Yawl and launch took the school children for a sail, landed, did not see any inhabitants. Sailed away to the westward bound for Panama.”

June 17, Saturday. (No entry)

June 18, Sunday. “Had a good meeting. God anointed us all. Had a fine time.”

June 19, Monday. “On our way to the West Indies.”

June 20, Tuesday. “Hove to off an island called Aruba, a Dutch island, after midnight. Ran in at daylight and sent two boats ashore for provisions. Aruba is north of Cape Roman.......Picked up the boats in the afternoon. Had a bad toothache. Sailed for Cape Deleanus,
[Pt. Gallinas?] most northern point of South America.”

June 21, Wednesday. “Got exactly north of the Cape then changed our course northward to the West Indies. Gave up going to Panama. Quite rough---the men in the launch were thoroughly soaked.”
[the one still in tow.  Ed.]

June 22, Thursday. “About half an hour before daylight the launch went adrift. Found it out and hove to. Looked for them but could not find them anywhere. Jibed ship and went back on the course we came....picked them up in a half hour.....were very thankful we had not lost them. Had meeting all day. Lots of pumping to do. Set mainsail in the afternoon. Took it in again at 10 P.M. Jib carried away.”

June 23, Friday. “Took in the jib and bent the jib topsail in its place. Rove a buntline for the squaresail. Esther Sandford (12 years old) got the fever, very high, recovered through prayer. Had meeting from 3:00 to sundown. Had a talk on some of the Central American states and prayed prevailing prayer for them.”

June 24, Saturday. “Getting near land [meaning Haiti]. Sounded during my watch, but did more pumping than anything. The vessel is leaking very badly. Sighted land a little after noon. Had meeting at 3 o’clock, talked about the direction that we should go.”

June 25, Sunday. “Sailed to the westward going around the western end of Haiti....”

June 26, Monday. “Getting ready for an outing. Mr. S. and family with his crew went in his boat. Mr. Perry and Mr. Whitaker took the launch and nine or the women, went ashore and were captured and arrested by the natives for landing and not entering. They were kept in the guardhouse all day. Mr. Perry had the papers with him so they let him go if he would bring the yacht in. We went hunting for the boats. Used the flare up looking for them”

June 27, Tuesday. “Found out about the trouble and made preparations for entering. Mended our sails and got underway at 2.00 P.M. AT 10 A.M. we sent the yawl ashore on business. Anchored at sundown. Very beautiful harbor. The boats came off with fruit. Very cheap in this place. Mr. S. and family came aboard also.”

June 28, Wednesday. “Three of the boats went ashore in the morning for fruit and water. Spent all day getting the yacht in shape for visitors. Got lots of bananas, pineapples, coconuts, mangoes, breadfruit, yams, etc. A Frenchman by the name of Doubow was very kind to Mr. S. and helped him to get out of his difficulties and also invited Mr. S. and family and boats crew to dinner. He also helped get fruit for us. He came out to see us. Got underway at sundown.”

June 29 & 30. (No entries)

July 1, Saturday. “Had a fair rest day. Had the middle watch. Have been feeling very tired for a long time. Calm all day long. Had a fair supper, three or four kinds of fruit, etc. Prayed for wind and God gave us a wind almost before we got through asking.”

July 2 & 3. (No entries)
The following is by A.L. White in his book:

Between July 4 and 26 it is anybody’s guess what they could have been doing for progress north. John did not keep a daily account but summed up the whole three weeks in a paragraph. They sailed north by the eastern end of Cuba, dropped anchor at Akline Island, had an outing ashore and got water. They also
“hailed two different steamers for food and water. Caught about 800 gallons of rainwater.”

(John’s paragraph) “Mr. McKay and Mr. Sellick have been taken very sick, one with the fever, the other with sunstroke.....sailed to Fortune Island and got some provisons there. From there we sailed toward San Salvador but officials would not let us land, as we had sickness aboard. Had lots of pumping to do, mending sails and catching rainwater.”

July 26, Wednesday. “Fixed up the launch with a cover. Got very wet while catching the water and did not get my clothes changed. Took sick.....Very bad bowel trouble and some fever. Had a mean night.”

July 27, Thursday. “Felt some better. Able to work some. Had meeting all day. Planning trip up north and praying about it. Felt quite mean all night. Worked on the sails some.” [Already scurvy was taking its toll of the men’s strength. A.L.W.]

July 28, Friday. “Set all the sails and had to take them all in again. Mainsail tore badly.....”

July 29, Saturday. “Had a fine sabbath. Sea very calm and not much pumping to do. Had a good rest. Had dinner on deck. Quite hot. Had meeting after supper until 3:00 A.M. the next morning. Talked of sending boats to Chesapeake Bay for provisions.”

July 30, Sunday. “The boats left at 2:00 A.M. Light wind all day. Saw a steamer in the distance. Had meeting part of the day. Had a chance to have a talk with Mr. S. Felt much better when through. Fish were caught before dinner.”

July 31, Monday. “Got up at 4 A.M. and worked on sails all day.”

It appears that the launch, minus gasoline for its engine must make its way over nearly 100 miles of ocean via sail and oars. The men told Mr. S. the chances of the launch being successful in finding the Coronet were rather slim, but he assured them that what men could not do God could manage very well. Two of the five men sent on the launch would take the train at Norfolk, Rev. A.K. Perry and Rev. A.A. Whittaker, whose wife was pressing her suit. The other three would try to return to the yacht which was to meet them between cape Charle Cape Henry at latitude 37 degrees. Why would the Coronet not put in to Norfolk?   No suggestion of such a move was entered in Adamson’s diary.  (A.L.W.)

August 1, ‘”Pumping ship is almost continual work.”

Aug. 2, Wednesday. “Fair day. Going in slowly along the latitude 37 on which we expect to meet the boat. Kept lookout aloft this afternoon and night also----showed our light every half hour for the launch’s sake. Current set us down ten miles south of the line. Had meeting most of the day and continued until midnight.”

Aug. 3, Thursday. “At the last of the first watch, just a little before midnight, a steamer came straight for us----showed our light before she turned off. At 7:30 while eating breakfast under the awning, a passenger ship, Alamo, turned from her course and steered around our stern and offered to report us. At noon we find we are 14 miles north of latitude 37---steer south. Had meeting all day. Provisions low.”

The courtesy of the sea offered by the Alamo was the last thing Mr. Sandford wanted. There had been careful instructions to the men on the launch that if the port authorities showed any interest in the whereabouts of the Coronet the rendezvous must be abandoned. One report has it that two Coast Guard boats put out to find the Coronet. Suspecting this, the launch headed north with three men and the provisions. After all, how far would that comparatively small amount of supplies go among all those people?

Meanwhile the anxious yacht was hunting, sailing back and forth, or hove to outside the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Seaman John Davis has told of his precarious perch one night at the top of the mainmast on two adjoining metal cross pieces (spreaders for stays) fighting the coma of exhaustion as he watched for light signals from the launch. His relief found him asleep with no safety ropes about him ! (A.L.W.)

Aug. 4, Friday “During the night we hove to some of the time off the lights of Chesapeake Bay. Showed our lights. Sailed up north along the coast. Tacked about 5:P.M. and sailed by the wind down to the lightship called Cape Charles-----did not see anything of them. Felt the pressure very much. Had feelings of wanting to be at home. Provisions low. Rather calm.”

Aug. 5, Saturday. “Did not see them anywhere. We hove to ‘most all night, first on one tack and then on the other. After breakfast we sailed north along the coast and continued so all day and night. Had meeting all night finding out God’s will and voting on what we should do.

Aug. 6, Sunday. “Spent the whole day in fasting and prayer and waiting on God. Had a good time. Beat all day wind ahead, many steamers, sailing vessels and tugs towing barges passed during the day. Some pumping to do. Had a good rest all night.”

Aug. 7, Monday. “Had morning watch---tacked once and headed north. Pumped 2700 during my watch. Breakfast at 11:00 o’clock. Sailed by the lightship and sent the longboat over for provisions. They returned at 10:00 P.M. with quite a few provisions.”

Aug. 8, Tuesday. “Mr. Cook took very sick. At 2 A.M. gradually sinking away. He died at 2 P.M. and was buried about 10 P.M.”

On the 8th of August the diary reported the death of Mr. Benjamin Cook, elderly English taxidermist. Beginning with the trip around the world he had been a part of the ship’s complement for the purpose of mounting specimens which fell to the leader’s firearms.-----It is difficult to imagine how any elderly person could survive the regime aboard the Coronet with its irregular meals, lack of vegetables and fruit and shortage of drinking water, plus the rigid religious taboo against use of any elimination aids, either mild laxatives or low enema. Bowel irregularity, whatever its cause, came under the divine healing category and was supposed to respond to “the prayer of faith which shall save the sick.” With the release of death his sufferings for Christ’s sake were over and they slid his neglected and abused old frame over the side, northeast by east of Nantucket Lightship.----From this date on, two weeks, as they were proceeding up the coast the routine was much the same with the additional news they were once again catching fish.”  (From The Almighty and Us, by A.L..W.)

Aug. 9, Wednesday. (No entry)

Aug. 10, Thursday. “Had a squall from the northwest. Had meeting all day until midnight. Mrs. Perry took sick with a high fever.”

Aug. 11, Friday. “Sick folks are better. Plenty of pumping to do. Food rather short, feel quite hungry some of the time.”

Aug. 12, Saturday. “Got up at 1:30. Took in a mainsail. Had a good dinner at 2:30. Quite a little sea and had considerable pumping to do. Had meeting after sundown.”

Aug. 13, Sunday. “Got up at 5 A.M. and began mending sails. Worked off and on between the meetings. Had a good meeting. Feeling very weak. Had to go aloft to work on the squaresail. Didn’t have much strength. Had the Lord’s Supper at 10 P.M.”

Aug. 14, Monday. “Got up at 6 A.M. Pumped ship. Had a good breakfast and dinner through the Lord’s provision.”

Aug. 15, Tuesday. (No entry)

Aug. 16, Wednesday. “Rained heavy in the A.M. All hands got wet and cold. Binnacle was loosed from the deck by the down haul catching under it. By observation we have run by the lightship so turned south, drifting to the east as well as sailing south.”

Aug. 17, Thursday. (No entry)

Aug. 18, Fridday. “Sailing up north. Mainsail ripped, taken in, sewed up and set again.”

Aug. 19, Saturday. “A strong wind. Lots of pumping night and day. Steering gear came apart at 4 A.M. Fixed it.”

Aug. 20, Sunday. (No entry)

Aug. 21, Monday. “Fo’castle cleaned out and all hands eating together on the quarter (deck) except Mr. Sellick.”

Mr. Sellick, First Mate from the yacht Kingdom, this man may have been too assertive with his opinions about how the Coronet should be managed, and was being sharply disciplined, or he may have openly opposed sailing further north under the crowded conditons and with the children and women aboard. They had just passed the Portland area where they could have easily put in to safety. John did not mention the death of the Sellick baby, two years of age. I am told both parents were then under a cloud of disfavor. They were informed God was “talking” to them through the baby’s death about their attitude toward divine authority, especially of their spiritual leader. Sellick was not eating with the group, experience suggests, because he was considered temporarily out of fellowship. (From The Almighty and Us, by A.L..W.)

Aug. 22, Tuesday. “Made a thorough cleansing of the fo’castle. Had it all ready for us by night. Had a meeting in it before retiring. Seemed so good to have a good resting place again.”

Aug. 23, Wednesday. “Have been feeling sick for three days----constipated.”

Aug. 24, Thursday. (No entry)
Aug. 25, Friday. “Mr. S. had meeting and talked on being “perfect”. A dark, gloomy day.”

Aug. 26, Saturday. “Off Sable Island. Quite cold. Hot drinks are frequent.”

Aug. 27, Sunday. “Had fine meeting all day. Hot drinks and pop corn served during the day. Quite cold, stood watch. Big pump has been out of commission, using small one.”

Aug. 28, Monday. “Sighted a fisherman at 7, put over the long boat and went to her---got provisions and fish. Very kind. Repairing the mainsail and mainboom.”

Aug. 29, Tuesday. “Hove too all night and part of the day. Set trawl. Fog set in, lost it. At 6 P.M. set sail on our journey again, very rough.”

Aug. 30, Wednesday. “French fisherman steamer came around, went aboard, purchased 3 barrels of hard biscuit. Appreciated bread very much. Food short. Working on mainsail and main boom.”

Aug. 31, Thursday. “Cold.”

Sept. 1, Friday. “Cold. Had a good run all night toward Newfoundland. Plenty of pumping.”

Sept. 2, Saturday. “Cool, bracing weather, sun out a little. Dried some of our clothes. Sighted Newfoundland. Sailing along the coast all day. Making 6 to 7 knots every hour. Plenty of pumping.”

Sept. 3, Sunday. “Thick fog during the night. Sailed up the coast. Rained some. Hove to. Tried for fish, did not catch any. Few steamers passed by us.”

Sept. 4, Monday. “Emma’s birthday. (John’s sister back on land.) She is fifteen. Sailed NE away from land. Sea quite calm. Took down squaresail, topsail, yard and topmast. Very cold working aloft, got chilled through. Pumping keeps us fairly warm.”

John had mentioned birthdays of both his father and mother as the dates arrived. There were two other sisters, Ellen and Florence and a much younger brother, Arthur. John was a home boy who cared about his family. He mentioned praying all day for his father as he went about his work. His mother, as before mentioned, had left the fold, taking the children with her. (From The Almighty and Us, by A.L..W.)

Sept. 5, Tuesday. “Still sailing north, probably for Greenland. Cold days and nights now. Pumping more or less all of the time”

Sept. 6, Wednesday. “Cold and disagreeable, still we must be glad and unafraid. Calm part of the day, blowing fresh at night. Took in little boat. Repaired mainsail, bent it to the boom. A year ago today we left the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the South.”

Sept. 7, Thursday. (No entry)

Sept. 8, Friday. (No entry)

Sept. 9, Saturday. “Had a day off. Have been very weak and played out. Got a good rest, had a chance to read my Bible. All the crew are nothing extra. Sailing most of the time under storm trysail.”

Sept. 10, Sunday. “A fine day, sunny and bright. Quite cool. Had fine meeting today. Set the mainsail. Getting near the Grand Banks.”

A.L.W. writes:

This was John Adamson’s last entry in his revealing dairy. There was no other such record kept so far as I know. If a log was preserved I would not be privileged to see it, not being in the good graces of present believers. They would rather such facts should not be aired since the “world will not understand.” The original of the diary was loaned to me by a survivor of that voyage, a close friend of the days when we shared a common faith. There had been brief additions, apparently by John’s father, after his death:

Oct. 21, Saturday. “Coronet reached Portland in a serious condition.”

Oct. 28, Saturday. “He was taken from the Coronet by Mrs. Burnham* and removed to the Marine Hospital against his will. John died at the hospital at 6:00 A.M., November 1, 1911. God gave me St. John 12:24, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.......”

marinehosp.jpg (46932 bytes) The Marine Hospital, where John Adamson and John Bolster were placed by officers acting in their behalf for the State of Maine.   The image is from an antique postcard postmaked August 9, 1911, three months before their deaths.  The hospital exists today as a part of the Martin's Point Health Care Center on Route One, in Portland, Maine

* Mrs. Mary Burnham was acting as an officer for the State of Maine with the Children's Protective Society.

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