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Clean bill of health for the crew of the JIREH SWIFT, San Francisco

Date: 1864
Dimensions:
Overall: 253 x 196 mm, 0.003 kg
Display Dimensions: 257 x 196 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Bill of health
Object No: 00028283
Place Manufactured:San Francisco

User Terms

    Description
    This clean bill of health for the crew of the barque JIREH SWIFT was signed at the Port of San Francisco in 1864. It states that all thirty-two crew of the vessel JIREH SWIFT are in good health. The JIREH SWIFT was a Union whaler that sailed during the American Civil War.
    SignificanceThe JIREH SWIFT was one of the last American vessels captured and burned by the CSS SHENANDOAH. Research suggests that the last shots fired by SHENANDOAH were directed at the SWIFT.
    HistoryAfrican American shipwright and former slave John Mashow built the whaler Jireh Swift in 1853 at Dartmouth, Mass. near New Bedford. The vessel measured 122 feet in length and 454 tons. Its first voyage was to the northern Pacific and lasted nearly four years. The ship collected 45 barrels of sperm oil, 2,719 barrels of whale oil and 14,900 lbs of whalebone. Swift’s second voyage, to the same grounds, lasted more than four years and netted much more oil and bone for her owners. Nearly three years into her third voyage, on 22 June 1865 she was captured in the Arctic by the Confederate raider Shenandoah and burned, for a loss of more than $40,000.

    John Mashow was born enslaved in South Carolina. By unknown means he found his way to Dartmouth, Massachusetts, apprenticed to a local shipbuilder, and then set up his own shipyard. Mashow's yard at Padanarum designed more than 100 ships and built about 60, including 14 whaleships. When his yard closed, he received a public testimonial as "a thorough, practical master shipbuilder and a most worthy and respected citizen."

    The Jireh Swift sailed to the northern Pacific on its first voyage, which lasted nearly four years. The crew collected 2,719 barrels of whale oil and 14,900 pounds of bone. During the vessel's third voyage, on June 22, 1865, it was captured by the Confederate raider Shenandoah and burned, for a loss of more than $40,000.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Clean bill of health for the crew of the barque JIREH SWIFT, at the port of San Francisco

    TLF title: Clean bill of health for the crew of the JIREH SWIFT, San Francisco

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