Archive for Pirates

Thinking Back: Mitchell O’Sionnach, Able Seaman

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?
I am Mitchell O’Sionnach, a lad of sixteen years, who has gone ta sea to seek me fortune, so as ta support me Mum and sister home in Ireland..

What are your dealings with the Archangel?

I am an Able Bodied Sailor on board de’ Archangel. an like the other sailors, I serve on a watch, tend ta t’e sails and rigging, and when needed can use both blade an’ shot in battle..

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?

My most memorable event concerning my relationship ta de ‘Angel would have to be when I went to enlist, I saw one of the ship’s officers, Dorian Lasseter, the gunner, praying under his breath with a small chaplet, I quietly remarked upon the ta beauty of such a ting, it having reminded me of my home, where, when I was small I remember my father having a similar rosary, when he went to pray.

The day after the ship left port I noticed a small parcel in my sea-chest, one that was not there before…. in it was a chaplet, very similar to the Gunner’s.
It is a possession I treasure right much.. a token, though neither of us remarked upon it, that I suspect is from one countryman to another.

In 1691, King James II signed the Treaty of Limerick. This assured that the Irish Catholics were secure to own their own land, could speak their own language and above all, practice their religion. History tells us that as soon as he left Ireland, the treaty was broken and all the guarantees above were denied by the English.

Death became the common penalty for attending or celebrating the Mass. Many many Priest and Laity lost their lives in the underground churches. These times became known as the ‘Penal Times’ and the Irish Penal Rosary became popular.

Information from :
rosary workshop – museum – irish penal rosary . (n.d.). Retrieved from…Rosary-20c.html

Copyright M.Fink December 2, 2013


A History and How-To of Dorset Buttons

Posted in How to with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

June 19

During our most recent stop in London, while we were staying at the Hyde, I noticed a particular style of button on many of the waistcoats the men were wearing. I ask’d a friendly patron about the style and he inform’d me that they were known as Dorset Buttons, named for the area in which they were created. He offer’d to teach me how to make one style, and I took him up on that offer. I have since ask’d around and discover’d that the Dorset Buttons have quite a storied history:

Dorset buttons originated in Shaftsbury in Dorset, and were the design of one Abraham Case who, along with his wife, began the Dorset button industry around 1622. The High Top was the first design, follow’d by the Dorset Knobs; by 1658 about 31 different designs are believed to have exist’d. (1) The buttons gain’d popularity in Europe and also the new world, and eventually Abraham Case’s grandson, Peter Case, was sent to Liverpool “where he started a clearing house for the export side.” It was Peter who design’d an alloy to prevent the rusting of the metal rings used for the base of the buttons. (2) The buttons to be export’d were label’d according to their quality. The very best quality was reserv’d for export and was mount’d on pink paper. The buttons that were of good quality but were not to be exported were mounted on black paper. The remaining buttons, consider’d “third class” buttons, were mount’d on yellow paper and were of the poorest quality (although not necessarily of poor quality, they were not as perfect as those list’d previously). (3)

By the end of the 1700s, the Dorset Button industry employ’d around 4,000 women and children. However, this industry would soon fall into ruin with the advances made during the industrial revolution. In 1851, at the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, a man by the name of John Ashton displayed a “button making machine” which was to bring about the end of the handmade Dorset button industry. (4) Many who were employ’d as button makers became seamstresses or lace-makers, or they left England all together to follow family to Canada or Austrailia. (5)

Having learned the crosswheel style Dorset button while in London, I now can make buttons for crewe members or others when necessary, as buttons lost during work aboard ship is a common occurrence. The necessary steps for making a Dorset button are not difficult, although they can be time consuming if many must be made at a time. The materials used include: a horn or metal ring of the desired diameter for the button size, embroidery thread of the desired color, a sturdy needle, and a pair of sewing scissors.

Once these materials have been gathered, the following steps will guide the reader through the process:

1)First, it is necessary to cut as much thread as will be requir’d to make the entire button. If the button is to have a half-inch diameter or smaller, 3 lengths of your arm should be enough to complete the button. If the diameter is to be larger than a half-inch, it may be necessary to take four lengths of your arm worth of thread. It is important to remember that the larger the button, the more thread you will need.

2)Thread the needle with the embroidery thread, only pulling about 3-4 inches through the needle. Do not tie off the thread, as it will be needed at the completion of the button.

3)Place the end of the thread, opposite the needle end, on the ring and hold it with your thumb. Using the needle, wrap the thread over the ring, through the ring, and then back under itself before pulling it tight. This is similar to a button-hole stitch, and will hold the thread in place after several rotations. Repeat this movement until the entire ring (including the loose end of the thread) is tightly covered by the thread. There will be a ridge along the outer surface of the ring. Do NOT tie off once this is complete.

4)Working around the ring, push the ridge on the outer edge into the inner edge. This may require going around the ring several times to move the ridge in steps.

5)Starting with the thread at the top of the button (now on the inside of the ring). Wrap the around the bottom of the ring and then loop it up the back to the top. Turn the ring slightly and repeat. Do this until there is the desir’d number of spokes in the ring (Typically, this is about 5 spokes but can be more or less). One side of the button will have the even spokes, the other will be uneven.

6) Keeping the thread pull’d tight, insert the needle and thread through the smallest opening on the side of the button where things are uneven. Bring the thread back through the opposite opening on the wheel and pull tight. This will create the “spoke” look on both sides of the button.

7) Maintain the tightness of the thread, either by pulling it tight or with a small stitch in the center to hold the spokes tight. Begin the weaving of the button by pulling the thread up through the hole to the left of the nearest spoke, and then taking it down through the right side of the same spoke in a counterclockwise motion. (6) Repeat this motion until the entire button has been filled in.

8) Once the entire button is complete, tie the thread off on the back of the button and trim it short. The button is now ready to be sewn onto a garment, simply by attaching the back of the button with thread to the desired garment.

(1) Anna McDowell, “History of the Dorset Button Industry”, Henry’s Buttons, 5 October 2012,, accessed June 19, 2013.

(2) Mandacrafts, “The History of the Dorset Button,”‎. accessed June 19, 2013.

(3) Mandacrafts, “The History of the Dorset Button,”‎. accessed June 19, 2013.

(4) Anna McDowell, “History of the Dorset Button Industry”, Henry’s Buttons, 5 October 2012,, accessed June 19, 2013.

(5) Mandacrafts, “The History of the Dorset Button,”‎. accessed June 19, 2013.

(6) Diane Gilleland, “How to Make Dorset Buttons,” The DIY Wedding. March 4th, 2011 ,…uttons/page/all, accessed June 19, 2013

Copyright: November 11, 2013 J.Otte

Thinking Back: Josephine Legard, Indentured Servant and Herbalist

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?

Josephine Legard, an indentured servant from Cancale, in the Brittany region of France.

What are your dealings with the Archangel?

I am indentured to the Master Gunner of the Archangel, Dorian Lasseter.

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?

My most memorable event would be my rescue from my indenture from St. Malo by Monsieur Lasseter. I was indentured to a rather unkind tavern owner in the city, and the Archangel crewe took rest at our tavern following a great storm that damaged their ship. They were disguised as Frenchmen so as to receive kind treatment. Toward the end of their stay, Dorian Lasseter was involved in a game of cards with the tavern owner. The owner bet my papers in a last ditch effort to recoup his losses, but was defeated and my papers passed to Monsieur Lasseter.

I still carry a letter in my pocket, written by my brother when he was forced upon a ship bound to New France. It was the last word I had from him, and my last connection to St. Malo. I carry it in the hopes that I will someday find him again.

NOTE: In the late 17th/early 18th century many women often kept Herbals, books or scrap books containing herbal remedies known to work, to care for their families.

“The housewife is assured that she will not be asked to deal with the ‘depth and secrets of this most excellent art of physic,’ receiving instruction only in ‘some ordinary rules and medicines which may avail for the benefit of her family…for the curing of those ordinary sicknesses which daily perturb the health of men and women’.” Gervase Markham

For more information on the subject, please see the following:

Anna’s Herbal, An Education in the Healing Power of Herbs
Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders
Sharon Hiltz, 2011…AS%20HERBAL.pdf

The English Housewife, Gervase Markham
Edited by Michael R. Best…epage&q&f=false

For more on Josephine Legard, click here…-joseph-legard/
Copyright September 2013/J.Otte

Thinking Back: Alice Mason, Lace-maker

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?

Alice Sterling née Mason, Lacemaker. Formerly known as the Turkish Princess, Jülide, a guise I temporarily adopted out of necessity.

What are your dealings with the Archangel?

My Role on the Ship is strictly that of a Passenger. As the Captain’s Wife I occasionally travel with him and assist with the Ship’s Books. Most of my Time is spent on Land where I still make Lace for Family and Friends and tend to the Plantation and the Children in the Captain’s Absence.

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?

The Night I learned that the Captain was still alive, after I had been deceived for more than two Years into thinking that he had died when he was shot outside the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane in February of 1717. One of my most prized Possessions is a Letter. When first we met and the Captain began to court me, the first Time he had to sail, I found it awaiting me when I woke.

NOTE: When sailing kept husbands away from home for extended periods of time, it was quite commonplace for wives to transact much of the family’s business. “ As the excursions are often very long, wives in their [husbands’] absence are necessarily obliged to transact business, to settle accounts, wives in short, to rule and provide for their families.

For more on Alice Mason Sterling, please click here:
Link to:…07/alice-mason/
Copyright September 2013/S.W.Permenter

Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania 20-21 September

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

September 20

September is a pleasant month in the Carolina colony. The weather, which all throughout the summer is nearly unbearable, becomes much more temperate. The crops, which had grown green and tall all summer, are now golden and ready for harvest; the farmers can be seen working in the fields daily. However, for pirate hunters, any time of year can become tumultuous if pirates decide to invade the coast of the colonies. Thus was the case for the Crewe of the Archangel this September.

It was at the start of this month that Dorian and I received word from Captain John Sterling that our assistance was needed in the Pennsylvania colony. Rumor was spreading of a pirate gathering, and all available hands were to meet at Marcus Hook to repel the pirate force. After packing the carriage and making sure that all was in order, Dorian and I left this afternoon. We travelled by way of the coast of Virginia in order to join with Captain Sterling’s son, Sean Merriweather, who was in the area for schooling, and together the three of us travelled to Pennsylvania. The trip was, thankfully, uneventful for us, and we crossed the Chesapeake Bay at sunset; what a beautiful site!

We arrived here at Marcus Hook on the heels of Captain Sterling, Monsieur Murtaugh, and Monsieur Merriweather the Younger. We quickly greeted one another before setting about to work on the encampment. The Vigilant Crew had set up its encampment throughout the day, and was there to meet us and aid us in the set-up of our encampment. After several hours of unloading and set-up, the carriages are unpacked, the tents are standing, the beds are arranged, and the crewe members have bid one another a restful night of sleep. Tomorrow, we have dealings with the pirates.

September 21

We awoke today in the early morning hours,
delcohistorysept2013 198with the intention of preparing ourselves for the day’s activities. I was to remain in the camp, along with Doctor Geiger,Dr. Geiger and prepare my herbal remedies in the chance that injuries should occur. Madam Kate Stephens was also with us in camp, helping to curb our appetites and to inform any curious local residents as to the situation at hand. I situated myself alongside the Doctor toward the back of the encampment, where we would have room to work if the situation called for such action. We had lit the brazier, in order to heat several of my herbal concoctions, but it also provided the opportunity to heat the food that had been obtained for lunch: a meat pie called a pasty which was filled with chicken, peas, and other vegetables and was surrounded by something similar to a small pie crust folded in half. Never had I tried such a creation, but it was delicious and filling!

Captain Sterling, Monsieur Lasseter, and the remaining sailors all moved back and forth between the battlefield and the encampment throughout the day, attempting to nourish themselves when not forced to partake in the battle. Nearly every hour, cannon fire could be heard from the waterfront, and my anticipation grew with each resounding rumble. It was impossible to know from the encampment if we were in fact maintaining an upper hand over the scoundrels or if they were inflicting damage upon our crewe. However, as the afternoon grew into evening, it became apparent that the crewe had gained the upper hand with very little damage done to our sailors. Once again, the Crewe of the Archangel had driven back the pirate force and maintained the safety of the coastal town of Marcus Hook.

As the men returned from the field of battle, a look of exhaustion and hunger stretched across their faces, the wind picked up and the sky behind them began to turn a dark gray. Fionn quickly started dinner for the crewe, a soup of chicken and vegetables, as we began to prepare our encampment for foul weather. Large rain drops began to fall just as dinner was served; we all made our way under canvas to partake in a hot meal and conversation. I had grown tired rather early in the evening and went into our tent to lie down. To the sound of conversation and laughter among friends, I have found myself drifting off to sleep even as I write this.

September 22

This morning, rising early, I began to organize our belongings back into the sea chest. Our journey home is expected to take near 7 hours, longer should we need to stop along the way, so an early start was the plan. By noon, the encampment looked barren, as though we had never set foot on the site. The carriages being loaded and there being no other work for Dorian or I to do, we bid farewell to our crewe family and to the remaining members of the Vigilant Crewe, and we made our way back home to the Carolina colony. Arriving home after dark, we unloaded the carriage and crawled into bed, exhausted from a successful weekend and wondering where our next adventure will take us.

Copyright October 2013/J. Otte

Special thanks to K.Strayer & Delco History for the photographs.

A Beating of Another Type…Laundry

Posted in How to with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2013 by creweofthearchangel


A brief discourse on the methods of laundry aboard ship. Penned by Mae Harrington, a servant, indentured to John Sterling; he being captain of the Archangel, a private ship of war.

As ship’s laundress to the captain and his officers, all matters of washing, ironing, and mending fall to my care. Though I am achingly weary after a day at the tubs, there is something soothing in the repetition which makes my task less daunting.

The tools are my trade are few, and simple in their construction. Two large wooden tubs, slatted and heavy. One for washing, the other for rinsing. A basket of straw, loosely woven. A wooden paddle, or “beetle”, long of handle, broad and flattened at one end.

Though chamber lye or a mixture of ashes and animal fat will produce the desired cleanliness, I prefer to use lye made from the ashes of a hard wood such as oak, apple, or cherry. As fires aboard ship are hazardous and limited in their use, I procure a fair amount of ash before we leave our port. I fill the basket with layers of straw, gravel, and ash, then filter the ash through the weave of the basket by pouring hot water over top and letting it drain into the tub.
Piling dirty laundry into the tub, I allow it to soak for a period of time- pushing it to and fro with the end of my beetle. It is then heaped up or spread out on whatever is at hand…I prefer to use the deck of the ship, if a quiet corner may be found. Beating each piece of laundry with the paddle loosens the weave and helps to free the dirt trapped in the threads. It is then returned to the tub for a final scrub in the lye water, then rinsed in the barrel of clean water, wrung out, and hung or spread out to dry.


Copyright October 2013/J. Ashing

Thinking Back: John Christian Sterling, Captain of the Archangel

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?

John Christian Sterling

What are your dealings with the Archangel?
I am part Owner and Captain of the Archangel.

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?
After I left the Royal Navy, I became Captain of the merchant Vessel, The Hart. She were shipwrecked off the rocky Coast of Algiers in 1697. The surviving Members of my Crewe and myself were captured and sold into Slavery. Blinded in my left Eye as a Punishment for refusing to convert to Islam, I was ransomed three Years later. My Crewe Members, them that were not murdered, never saw Home again. My most memorable Event concerning the Archangel is every time I step upon her Quarterdeck and set sail, for she and my Family, provide me my most prized earthly Possession, my Freedom.

NOTE: Whilst Europeans were shipping Africans as slaves, White Europeans were being captured and sold into slavery in areas of the world such as Northern Africa.

For more information check out the following books on the subject:

Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 by Robert C. Davis
Palgrave Macmillan, 2003

White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves, by Giles Milton, Picador (June 13, 2006)

The Barbary Slaves by Stephen Clissold (Totowa NJ, 1977)

Copyright September 2013/C.A.Salone