African travel journal, 1846-1847.

Creator: Heermance, William Augustus, fl. 1846-1847.
Collection number: 5016-z
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Abstract: William Augustus Heermance (fl. 1846-1847) of New York was supercargo on the Montgomery, an American cargo ship that traded along the coast of West Africa. The Montgomery, commanded by a Captain Hooper, carried goods assigned to George R. Sheldon. African travel journal (original, 44 p.; transcription 34 p.), 21 August 1846-11 April 1847, kept by William Augustus Heermance while supercargo on the Montgomery. The journal best documents the Montgomery’s sea voyage from New York to Liberia and its trading activities along the coasts of Liberia, Ghana, and Gabon, and on the islands of Principe and Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea. Only one entry pertains to the return sea voyage. Journal entries vary from daily to weekly.They are brief, but detailed, and offer considerable information on locations visited, including descriptions of local buildings and internal improvements; means of transport by land and sea; local merchants, trade officials, tribal leaders, missionaries, and colonists; and inhabitants’ social customs, religious practices, and modes of dress and adornment. There is limited information on the ship’s crew (African American sailors and temporary workers hired along the coast); Captain Hooper and occasional passengers; the diet aboard ship; and the sale and purchase of cargo.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection