Privateers, Pirates and Beyond

Privateers, Pirates and Beyond:

Memoirs of Lucy Lord Howes Hooper

          The Dennis Historical Society has published a fascinating true story entitled PRIVATEERS, PIRATES AND BEYOND: Memoirs of Lucy Lord Howes Hooper, compiled by her great granddaughter, Gerry Watters. This book is an exact word-by-word transcription of a diary kept from 1862 through 1909.  It begins when Lucy, a young woman from Dennis, Massachusetts, accompanies her merchant sea captain husband, Benjamin Perkins Howes, aboard the clipper ship Southern Cross on a voyage to Hong Kong from Boston, Massachusetts.  Journal entries include dramatic descriptions of the ship’s capture by privateers off the coast of Brazil during the Civil War.

          Lucy continues recording the daily events of two subsequent voyages, one of which involves an encounter with Chinese pirates en route from Hong Kong to Japan, culminating in frightful tragedy. After a three-month stay in Hong Kong she begins her homeward voyage, writing of the fascinating life at sea she and her two-year-
old daughter experience as the only passengers aboard the ship Portland.  During this 90-day passage, she ontinues writing in great detail of her interactions with the captain and crew.  Lucy’s pensive entries following her return home to Cape Cod reveal her personal dilemmas as she adjusts to numerous changes and renews relationships with family and friends. In time she finds contentment, settling into a lifestyle far different from that to which she had become accustomed during her nearly six years at sea. As her story unfolds, Lucy again faces adversity from time to time. Profound religious faith helps her accept her destiny and gives her courage to face new challenges.

          With the passing of time her life becomes more demanding and there are occasional gaps between entries, but she updates these lapses and continues recording her daily experiences for nearly forty years.  This life chronicle provides a significant insight into everyday living in 19th Century New England and is interwoven with a woman’s personal opinions and philosophies on religion and a variety of other subjects.. Lucy’s story demonstrates the great courage and determination of a remarkable woman.



Clipper Ship 'Southern Cross' Leaving Boston Harbor by Fitz Hugh Lane


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