1985, December 22 – Letter from George Hesse to brother Lewis Hesse

Goerge gives a detailed description & drawing of the ship he sailed to Cuba for work, as well as an account of how he and 5 other men shoveled 1950 tons of coal in 15 days.  Read a transcript of the letter below (original misspellings & all) or click on the image links to view the actual letter. As you read the transcript of the letter click on the links to view information & images about what they are discussing.


Click on a link to view the image: (some images can be further enlarged by clicking on them once they open)

Envelope Front     Envelope Back      Letter Page 1      Letter Page 2-3      Letter Page 4-5     Letter Page 6


Transcript of Letter:

Ybor City, Fla, Dec 22/95

Dear Bro:—

I guess you must think by this time that it is nearly time for me to write, don’t you?  Well I think so too, but as I have been where I couldn’t I guess you won’t blame me.  Now I will tell you what I have been doing for the last four months.  When I got to Baltimore I went to Liverpool with cattle and when we got back to the states I stayed 2 days in Balto. and then shipped on a four masted skysail yarder barkentine bound for San Fuegoes Cuba West Indies.  well we were 26 days going from Balti. down there and we had soem pretty rough times.  A skysail yarder barkentine meant a sailing vessel with 6 square sails on her foremast they are called 1st the foresail tha tis the sail nearest the deck, then 2nd is the lower top sail 3rd upper topsail 4 for top gallont sail 5th royal 6th skysail now it would not be so hard if a fellow would not have to go up to the take (??) in the royal & skysail at every little puff of wind but this captain at every little squall he would sing out “Aloft and furl the royal & sky sail” just as though it was the easiest thing on the vessell to do.  No it is no fun to climb up in the air for 180 feet and then stay up there after you get up and work at the same time furling a sail with nothing to stand on but a 1 inch footrope.  Here is a little diagram showing where you have to stand when you are taking in a sail (see image link for letter & drawing).  Now the sail hangs down from the yard and corners are made fast to the ends of the yard below.  the loops marked a are footropes and those are teh things ou have to stand on when taking in a sail.  Well when we got to Cuba we had to lay out side of the harber for 19 days before we were permitted to go in and then we had some fun when we got in.  the next day it was “down in the hole and dig coal” and we shoveled her out in just 15 days 1950 tons of coal, & there were only 6 of us to do it.  3 ays after we set sail for Tampa Florida, and we arived there the 13th of Dec and the 17th we got a birth to dock and the 18th 5 of us quit the vessel for she was a holy terror and the vessel ws going to Portland Maine and as it is quite cool up there at present I believe I wills tay in Fla the rest of this winter and migrate north in the spring.  I left Tamp and came to Ybor City Friday and got to hustling around and as luch would have it got a job in a saw mill firing a 40 horse power boiler and taking care of the engine I am getting only $7.50 a week and pay only $3.00 for board and I am sure that will take me through the rest of the winter any how.  Well how are all of the folks?  All well I hope?  And are you still at the horse shoeing business?  How is Mamie & Julie both well and fussing about – who should wash the dishes I guess ain’t they? I expect Mamie is married by this time ain’t she?  if not tell her she ought to be.  Tell her to get spliced (??)  by Will Cooke and then send me a piece of her wedding cake.  Well the only thing I can send you for a Christmas present is a letter so send me a ?? letter in return adn send it quick for it ha been so long since I heard from you that I will be impatient until I hear from you.  and when you write address

Your loving Bro

George Hesse

Ybor City P.O.

Hillsboro Co. Florida


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