George E. Tirrell Papers

Manuscript Collection #418
Tirrell, George E.
Physical description
0.055 Cubic Feet, 15 items , consisting of photographs of sketches and photocopy of correspondence.
Preferred Citation
George E. Tirrell Papers (#418), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1851) including photographs, sketches, photocopies, correspondence.

Biographical/historical information

George E. Tirrell was one of a crew of approximately fifty who left Boston in March, 1849, en route to San Francisco aboard the bark FLETCHER. An artist by nature, Tirrell had been hired by William Wright of Boston to work in the gold mines in the interest of Wright's company. During the voyage, Tirrell captured his experiences in several sketches, which he sent to his sister on July 14, 1851, along the route to California and the island of Juan Fernandez, Chile, where he went ashore.

Scope and arrangement

Tirrell's letter is divided into twelve sections that correspond to his sketches. Most of the sketches are of vessels encountered during the voyage, but others represent Pierce's Hut at Juan Fernandez, the bay at Juan Fernandez, the entrance to San Francisco Bay, and an adobe house at Nicholas on the Feather River in California. References are made to such extreme sea and weather conditions as gales and calms, and snow and sleet in the summer months off Cape Horn. Tirrell utilizes a narrative form in his descriptions of the mechanics of sailing the FLETCHER during various weather conditions. Also of interest are Tirrell's descriptions of experiences at Juan Fernandez, including a mountain climb, a meal of fried goat, and a sleepless night in Pierce's Hut.

Administrative information
Custodial History

August 27, 1980, 15 items; A letter (1851) and photographs of sketches reflecting an ocean voyage to California. Copies of originals in possession of Capt. David E. Perkins, Sunbury, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Capt. David E. Perkins

Processing information

Processed by E. Scott, October 1983

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Tirrell, George E.
Ships in art
Feather River (Calif.)--Description and travel
Horn, Cape (Chile)--Description and travel
Juan Fernández Islands--Description and travel
San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)--Description and travel