In my 17 years of researching Francis Asbury crossing the Atlantic, as far as I can tell, no one has been able to determine the name of the ship that brought him to Philadelphia on Sunday, October 27, 1771. Perhaps it is listed somewhere, but I have not run into it. Despite the absence of a ship’s name, Francis departed the port of Pill, Bristol England, on Wednesday, September 4, 1771 and arrived Philadelphia on Sunday, October 27, 1771. Asbury’s journal clearly mentions the dates.
The four Philadelphia papers in existence at the time of Francis’s arrival were, The Pennsylvania Journal, The Pennsylvania Packet, The Pennsylvania Chronicle and the Pennsylvania Gazette. Each of these publications point to two possible candidates for the ship that carried Francis to the American colonies.
Despite the fascination of the quest I was engaged in, (finding out the name of the ship that delivered Asbury across the Atlantic), it was easy to became distracted by the articles of current events surrounding the growing dissent and oppression of the colonists. However, I digress.
Back to the Atlantic Crossing. According to the November 4, 1771, Pennsylvania Packet and the October 31, 1771 Pennsylvania Journal, two ships arrived to the Philadelphia port from Bristol during the previous week of their printing. The Customs House Inwards Entries list contain the records. In addition, there is a September 1, 1771 cross reference to one of the ships in the Pennsylvania Journal printed the following week on November 4. The personal account by a Captain Montgomery of the ship, Chalkley, states that the Captain left Bristol on the first of September and that there were two ship Captains who were planning “to sail in a few days after him.” He gives the names of the two captains, Captain Seymour Hood and Captain Davidson.
The Pennsylvania Chronicle also gives an account of Captain Davidson from Bristol, that “on the 25th of September, in Latitude 40, 3, Longitude 42, spoke Captain McCuddy, in a Brig from Baltimore for Bristol, out 26 days.’ I have yet to find any significant seafaring meaning for the term ‘spoke.” I would assume it has to do with verification of some kind, letting others know the location and time of visual contact.
What are the names of the two ships that brought Francis Asbury to the new world? You will have to read the follow up to this post. (If you can’t wait, you can follow to the full article, Francis Asbury Crossing the Atlantic.)