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The Diary of Michael Shiner

Entries from 1813-1829

Table of Contents

Date Page Subject
1813 1 Fire and Horse Companies Organizaed
1813 1 War of 1812
1814 3 About the War of 1812
1816 15 Hard Winters in Washington DC
1819 17 Very Hard Winters in Washington DC
1819 17 United States Ship Columbus Launches
1825 17 United States Frigate Launched (Brandy Wine)
1826 18 Big Fire in Alexandria Va
1826 18 Merchant Ship Virginia Launched in Alexandria
1827 21 United States Sloop of War St. Louis Keel was Laid
1827 23 President John Quincy Adams boards a Sloop of War in Georgetown DC
1828 34 The Lighters Launched at the Washington Navy Yard
1829 36 The United States Marine Barracks (Burnt down)
1829 38 Died Commodore Thomas Tingey, Commander of the Washington Navy Yard
1829 38 Commodore Isaac Hull took Command of the Wash.


Shiner Diary Cover
Cover of the Michael Shiner Diary

1       B       1813

ther was a Horse Company organised in this City of Washington by Captin lower Caul well Docter Edward Clark Belong to it and James Freind Formly a Baker on the Hill thomas renols formly a tarvin keper at the eastern Branch Bridge on pensylvan avenu James kely formly kept a redervus on the navy yard hill 6 a Baker use to to Belonge to this company by name of Burns formly use to Have a Bake house South of the long row and a Brother in law of lawer george Water stone all those a bove named gentelman use to Belong that Company organise in 1809 by Captin thomas Carley a young man by the name of Spanagle his father John Canon Was a Black smith formly kept a Black Smith shop south of the Congress Burial ground 7 rigments of infertry by Captain thomas carbrly ther was a Company of feild artilery organnised at the same time by Captin Samuel Burch and thomas Howard and thomas Warfield and louyd pumphrey 8 and Joseph Bro[wn] formerly a police of the 5Ward Isaac phillips use to Belonge to it his Mother formerly kept a little shop Below the captol all those above named gentleman use to Belong to it

A mmelitia [militia] Company organnised by captin thomas Huse formly kept a store on pennsylvania avenu ner the Centre Market elisha phumphery uto belong to it John Moody use to Belonge to it9



6. Navy Yard Hill was for most of the 19th century the residential area immediately around the Washington Navy Yard. Capitol Hill was the name for the area as far east as 6th Street Southeast, after which it was called Navy Yard Hill.

7. The Congressional Cemetery was established in 1802. Among the cemetery founders was Commodore Thomas Tingey. Many of the early employees of Washington Navy Yard are buried within its grounds, including Thomas Howard, Michael Shiner's master. The cemeteries of Washington DC, like nearly everything else in the District were strictly segregated with African Americans excluded until well into the 20th century. Michael Shiner was buried in Beckelts Cemetery on January 17, 1880, Archives of the District of Columbia, District of Columbia, Death Certificate, number 22895.

8. Lloyd Pumphrey, 1795 -1838 the son and heir of William Pumphrey was a District of Columbia building contractor.

9. The United States Army in June 1812, totaled just 6,744 officers and men. While the Congress had authorized a greater force for later that year, the country still relied on the militia system of uniformed state citizen-soldiers who were all volunteers with their own elected officers. Uniforms and weapons were supplied either by the men themselves or by their officers. The Washington Navy Yard had its own Navy Yard Rifle Company (later named Stull's Rifle Company), but like most militia companies, the Yard's unit had more enthusiasm than military skill. Benjamin Latrobe who knew the Yard well wrote (1807) that "Upon the whole I find that Navy Yard cannot produce a single good rifleman" See 1834, page 57 of the diary for Michael Shiner's comments on another group of District militia.

Shiner Diary Page 1
Page 1 of the Michael Shiner Diary

2       1813

a company Wher organise at the same time by captin Joseph lassen on the navy yard hill wm lasky Belong to it Henry adams Belong to it

A Rifle Company Wher organised the Same time by Captin Wiliam Doughty Henry Aukward belong to it James Roads belong to it the Dress of this Rifle company war green ankeen [nankeen] yelin fringin and the caps Was made of Wild bear skin When i was a smal Boy those captins use to attend to ther drill all day and drill the men the best part of the night as for Colnal Daughrty he was like a bildear

captin stalls [Stull's]company of george town was orgernised in 1813 [they wore] Blu ankeen and red fringin and Was a sruead an and Well organises company and Well drilled in them days they wher active as cats

A Nother company Wher orgernise at the same time by captin Wiliam Moore ason in law of old captin nailer the father of lutenant colnal Henry nailer

lutenant elaxdraiar Mc comik sr Belong to Burchis artilry company and Mr James young Brother in law of Mr eledrania Mc comik lutenant shedrick Davis belong to Rushes artilry company in 1813 and 1814


Shiner Diary Page 2
Page 2 of the Michael Shiner Diary

3       1814

[First three lines of this page crossed out and illegible.]

the early part of augst 1814 the British armmy landing at Benedick under the command of genral ross Was assailed by the american armmy under the command of genral Winder ther they had several light ingagement and the same time the British Where hererass [harassed] by comerder Barnny and under comerder Barnnys command Wher the united Staets Merrines and sailers and colnal samul Miler then the american army fell back on a [illegible-garrison?] cauld charls branch in prince george is county in the State of Maryland betwen uper Marl Borough and the Wood yard on Monday the 22 day of august [1814] they had a -Nother Batle at Charlsis branch and in the 23 day of august 1814 on tusday the american armmy under the command of genral Winder fell back on the long old fields prince george county and genral Winder had all the fence pull down and form a line to figt the Bitish and instead of [the] Bitish Armmy advancin up to the american armmy at the long olde fields on the 23 of august 1814 tusday some of our owne people pilot them form betwee senter Will and the Wood yard round towards Blades Barge [Bladensburg, MD] then on the 23 of August 1814 on tusday the american Armmy under the command of genral Winder Wher orderd in to the city of Washington by the honable Mr James Madoson president of the united strets and the honable secatary of War Mr John arm strong


Shiner Diary Page 3
Page 3 of the Michael Shiner Diary

4       1814

and the 23 day of august on tusday night the american armmy laid on ther arms and Biv o uactin [bivouact in] for that night then next Morning on the 24 day of august 1814 on Wensday Between 3 and 4 oclock in the Morning they Burnt the eastern branch Bridge That Where done to prevent the British from crossing for feare they should reverse ther March and then they Went forth and burnt the sloop of War on the stocks and one or 2 other vessels and all those orders that Was carid out Wher giv in by the president of the united Staets the honable James Madason and the honable Secatary of the Navy Mr [William] Jones at sun rise the same morning two men came in on horse back from the direction of Blades Barge bringing news the British armmy wher advancin over the Baldes Barge Bridge and this news reaching the american camp aroused the spirit of the americans to force ther march in douB Ble quick time to asail the British at Bladens Barge Bridge gest as the amierin cun armmy got two Blades Barge the British army Wher Jest advancin doWn rossis hill and a Bout 2 hours after the american army left the City of Washington under the comMand of genral Winder comerder Barnny [Commander Joshua Barney] commandr Jo though his skill forced his March all night on the 29 of august 1814 on tusday though Mary land and arired at Washington and landid his men in 2 hours [illegible] the american armmy had left Washington


Shiner Diary Page 4
Page 4 of the Michael Shiner Diary

5       1814

he lanid his Men betwein Noth east and South east of Washington Navy yard Which at that day Where caled the ferry Which those days goes by the Name of the olde ferry Wharf 10 and after he landid his men he takeing up his line of March for Bladens Burge in Marching across those comern to the last ward of the capitol and they Weher 2 Blood red flags Wher discoverd By the people in the 5 Ward ishal never forget the remarks that Where Mode that day the lord have Mercy on us then the British comes now and it Where hard to convince some of them but What they Were the British Arm my but olde Mr Wiliam phumphry told them that it wher comerder Barny still11 Still Mrs Betsy Brown the Wife of Mr Joseph Brown Miss keithy Brown a sister of Mr Joseph Brown wher ringing and twisting and screaming holing the lord What is to becom of us all at that time Commander Barnny had cross East Capital Street he hoisted the American Flag then some of them didn't believe but some of them wher the British Armmy and about an hour and half after Comerder Barney left the City of Washington for Blades Barge We heard a roar cannonading and Militry and that time commder Barnny had placed his selve in a posintiose Which Wher at pring [spring] Which to this day is cauled Barnis spring then the orders wher givin for the american armmy to retreat and at that this time they Wher hove in con fusion and fled in every direction still Commerder Barney held his posion Wher the British colums wher orderd to advance a cross Blades Barge Bridge wher they met with grape and canister for Commder Barney orderd a show er of balls from the Marines as fast as the colums Would advance the bridge drove back in disorder then at last the columns Wher



10. Wheelers Ferry was located across the Anacostia River.

11. Commodore Joshua Barney 1759-1818 was born in Baltimore, MD. He fought in numerous engagements in the American Revolution. Barney also fought in the War of 1812 and took part in the defense of Washington. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Bladensburg and taken prisoner by the British. Barney died in 1818 while traveling to his new property in Pittsburgh, PA.

Shiner Diary Page 5
Page 5 of the Michael Shiner Diary

6       1814

orderd to advance a cross the Water and in that time it Wher understod that genral Ross said the lord What has this Mon broght us to and at that time comerder Barnny Wher Working fearful havoc annorent [among] them and at that time comerder Barny hors Wher shot from under him and he Where Woundid and also colnal Samul Miler Wounid and at this time aBritish oficer stept up with rord at comeder Barnny we hav caught you at last drawing hi sord a cross the Back of his neck But you too good a man to kill and at that time the americans had fled in confusion and they had [illegible-ceased?] firing at Blades Barge and At that time the Americans wher flying trough the City comerder Barnney were taken prisoner and colnal samul Miler then the British Armmy taken up ther line of march for Washington wher a numbesr of the British soldiers felled in their ranks on the way to Washington from Blades Barge12 by the loss of blood Between the eastern toll gate and Blades Barge the British solders fell in holes to the right and left and still the British armmy continued the march on Washington Jest as We saw the armmy coming above the toll gate in Washington We heard the tread of British army feet Master left a colard man and wher ourselve with a olde lady By the name of Mrs reid on capitol hill then as son as we got a sight of British armmy raising that hill they looked like flames of fier all red coats and the stoks of ther guns painted with red ver Milon [vermillion] and the iron work shind like a spanish dollar the colard man near Mrs reid saw this and My selve and the colard Man started and ran and i started to ran two and ole



12. The Battle of Bladensburg, MD, was fought on 24 August 1814. During the engagement the American militia and regular army units were defeated by British troops, and British forces were able to enter Washington, DC and burn the Capitol and White House. Commodore Thomas Tingey and other Navy Yard employees burned the Washington Navy Yard less it fall into British hands. The battle was derisively referred to as the "Bladensburg Races" due to the overwhelming British victory and hasty American retreat.

Shiner Diary Page 6
Page 6 of the Michael Shiner Diary

7       1814

Mrs reid caught hold of Me Wher are you runig to you niger you What do you recon the Brtish Wants With such a niger as you and at this time John had run and hid his selve in a bake oven that Wher owne by a Man named Burns the British armmy Still continued ther March on towards the capitol ontill they got against a large Brick house on Capitol Hill fronting Mary land avenu and frontting 2 Street formly oned By Judge Suel of Mary land and Wher ocepied formly the Judge and his famly every Session of Congress This house now sets to the North east of the united Steates Senate and as the British army aproach that house under the commamd of genral Ross and his aids his horse Wher shot from under him in a twinkale of the eye house Wher sorouned By British armmy and search all through up stairs and down stairs in search of the Man that shot the horse from under genral but no Man was found after they found that they coud couldent find the Man they put a slow Match to the house and then stood off a sertin ditance and forong [firing?] those congreve Rocket13 those Rocket burnt until the came to the explosion part they Made the rafters fly east and West and then they 4 March on farther to a hotel Below this house to the east Ward of the united states senate there they found amunition and guns and this house was Wer formerly ocupied By a gentleman by the name of Mr tumbelson he kept a large bording house for Members of congress and for other gentleman and forth and burnt that down they Wher a scothman kept a store on east capitol and alaxandria Mc cormack sr kept a store in the same square Which at that time Wher a lutenant in Captin Buches artilry Company the goods Wher taken out By the British and distributed among any one Would receive them



13. The Congreve rocket was named for the inventor William Congreve. The rocket consisted of an iron case of black power for propulsion and either an explosive or incendiary charge. The warheads were attached to wooden guide poles and were launched in pairs. They could be fired up to two miles although at any range they were fairly inaccurate and had a tendency to prematurely explode. They were as much a psychological weapon as a physical one for they were rarely if ever used except alongside other types of artillery. They were used at Battle of Fort McHenry, hence the "rockets' red glare" in our National Anthem.

Shiner Diary Page 7
Page 7 of the Michael Shiner Diary

8       1814

Mr Mc comack had a verry larg store of grocerys of all kinds of dry goods and lickurs of all kinds and great Manny of his goods had disapeard out of Washington i dont believe he get manny of them but this Scotch man store wasnt interfered With it was suposed at that time he was very officious and Was sopose that he escorted genral Ross and his oficers into the united states senate and house of representative this was done Before it was set on fire then after they had been in the senate and the house of representatives this was done befor it wher set on feir then they Went forth that night and burnt the capital and the presidents house and all the other public Buildings and perused all the city of Washington over the 25 of Augst 1814 on thursday who shal for get that day of the awful storms Which raidge for a long time without interruption it thunared lightent haild and rained it taking some olde houses up from there foundations and brining them down and the British Armmy stood as if they were unmovable never went in shelter what ever no redy shelter for them selves but on the 20 day augst 1814 on friday the British armmy wher taking ther last round in the city of Washington and puting on a great Many airs as they formly do in anny other contry When they get a foot holde smoking of others segars and throing them about then threw some down a Well where there wher some powder throed down ther by the american people and they wher many of them landid into by some of ther carbins wher bloed overpin out and some over in Tur key bay creek some in front of the arsenal and genral Ross came to the conclusion that it wher time to vacate the city What they didnt lose by explosion a great Manny of them run a Way the British Armmy left the city of Washington under command of genral ross the 26 day of august 1814 on friday night


Shiner Diary Page 8
Page 8 of the Michael Shiner Diary

9       1814

that Night iBelieve the Whels - Wher Mufeld [wheels were muffled] and the horeis feet [horses' feet] for they Went a way so easy that you scaresly could hear them the amer american armmy that Wher commanded by genral Winder Who had takeing up ther quarters after the siege at Bladens Barge on 24 day of august 1814 on Wens day at Montgumry cortrt house in the staete of Mary land they came to the City of Washington the 27 day of august 1814 on Satuday night laid on ther arms all that night and Biv o acted [bivoacted] for the night and a sunday Moring on the 28 day of august 1814 the armmy operation as soone pracical and Wher sent down to indian head [Indian Head, MD] comerderr rogers and comerder porter filled chanal up With old logs and stretch a chain a cross the river the american armmy had form a line on Mary land shore and virginia shore and as the Brit ish ships of War Draft douwn the american pored into them on Both sids the British throld ther shot and shell starbard [starboard-right] and larbard [larboard, old name for port or left] the siege for a While rage With great fury on the 29 day of august 1814 Monday the siege endit and the flag ship cauled the sea horse Which was admiral Cog Burns [Admiral Sir George Cockburn] flag ship led the Way Which she have her [g]ums starbbard and larbard When the smoke cleared away every vessel Wher gone but they Wher Bidild like a sieve befor they did leave the commander of the British squadron in 1814 that came up to the potomac river didnt act no Ways like a gentelman Wher ever he landid for the Worst of hetheans wouldent of acted anny More heatheanly then he did he Behave verry villany tretcherous at hamton virginia by letting his saillors and Merrines lose at hamton to do as they please


Shiner Diary Page 9
Page 9 of the Michael Shiner Diary

10       1814

then on the same day the 29 of august 1814 after the A siege at indian head the British forces sailed for Baltimor With the intension of an invasion But got sadly disapointed thank god then on the 30 august 1814 on tusday then united staets armmy that Wher Reinforced By the troops from virginia taken up ther line of March from Washington in Double quick time under the comand of Major genral Winder and the March Wher forced speedly With out delay ontil they arived in Baltimore and the Bayones[?] of the Baltimorens wher fille with joy at the arival of the troops from ther sister staetes and gest arived in time to antisipate in assailin the British foe the British coumanced operation throing ther rumes and rackets and all other combustical stuff thank god this whre all in vain for Major genral Smith of Mary land and Major genral Winder and the comander at fort Mc henry was Dertermernt not to be Rafled to the British commanders no[w] they were not at Washington and the siege continued with vigor this sieg at Baltimor Betwen the american forces and the British forces it were Drizlin and rainin on 29 day of August 1814 on Monday and it Wher Drislin and rainin on the the 31 day of august 1814 on wensday and the wind continued to the eastward and Drislin and rainin on the 1 day of septemBer 1814 on thursday so it continued beter then a hold Weak and for several days and nights you could here the guns distently from fort Mc Henry and the British Ships of War We herd them from Baltimor to Washington so the siege continued untel the 12 of september on Monday and on the 12 of september on Monday the seige endid and the British Ships of War and the armmy Wher Drove Back in Disorder and they Wher glad to get away


Shiner Diary Page 10
Page 10 of the Michael Shiner Diary

11       1814

then we never herd from the British no More in Washing ton untel genral Jackson at New orleans in the state of louisianer the British commence With ther Daring Move Ments in cariaing oft various things and very ner doing as they pleased Which at sopoesed a great Many of our people trafic with them and it was distinly [distinctly] understood that the Honable Major genal andrew jackson wher not there When this proceedce wher going on and all this wher done about the last part of December 1814 and When the honable Major genrl andrew Jackson arived at the City of New orleanse in the last part of December 1814 he found City in an awful condition the people Wher moveing out and Making no effort What ever to Defend the city the genral found that such effort was exhaustin he ameditely Made a Recouisition on the governer of the staete of louisianer for to be enterd into servis ameatly to prvent the invasion of the British armmy into the City of new orleans as the genrals request of the govner Wher not gratified speedly he takein responibility of the legislators power in his owne hands and com mence heaveing up intrenchments and Directing Batriys in posion that Would flank the emermy right or left or front and he place the City under Marshal law for none go out he evry Man to a Man com to his Work all that Wher able to carry a Misket or sword or a pistol or that could help to carry drag a canon or shove the Wheel or use a pick axe or shovel he paid no Respect to persons for eMad evry Man com that could com at that time it Wher verry luckly and sucesful after all particales the short time that [he] had been ther


Shiner Diary Page 11
Page 11 of the Michael Shiner Diary

12       1815

and in the Mean time he Wher fortafiing the City the ladys of all Classes came to him in great Distress ringing and twisting ther hands What should they do for protecion the genral reply Was to them go to your home My prety fair Maids for if they get to you they Will have to Walk over my dead Boddy in the erl ly part of January 1815 the sieg Com menced By the arm my of the united states under the Command of the honable Major genral andrew jackson against the British arm my under the command of sir lord pacinham [Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham] and the sieg contined ontil the 8 day of January 1815 on sunday the British armmy Wher Drove back time after time with great Slaughter the british armmy left field in posession of the Honable Major genral andrew Jackson and the united states armmy on the 8 day of January 1815 on Sunday But they [the British] Wher permitid on the 9 day of January on Mon day to search for ther oficers that wher killed on the field of Battle they Wher permited by a flag of truce and the British armmy that wher sent to take new or leans they wher pickt men they had faced Walls of fier al through urope Never Wher noune to flinch from the Mouth of the canon or point of the Baynet or the sword they Wher under the command of Sire lord Welington and it wher no use time after time the colmns of the Brit ish arm my advance to the american fier But it was all in vain for sire lord pack in ham on coverd himselve and led one thoussand men in person and he Wher killed instantly and the British columns Melted befor the american Bateries


Shiner Diary Page 12
Page 12 of the Michael Shiner Diary

13       [1815]

the treaty of peace Wher made at the city of gent [Ghent] after the Battle of New or leans [on the] 8 day January 1815 peace reach the City of Washington betwen the goverments on the 22 of February 1815 on Wens day

ice commence erlly in november 1814 and a continued freesing until the Middle of March 1815 and 1815 January 14 they haul Wood a cross the eastern branch by Wagon loads with six horses and they Wher a deseas went through County cauld the swell toung that kill the horse it apeared that they Wher no cure for it they couldent get anny thing down the throat they dropt down dead most every wher and at last the people caught this disease and they wher very few of them that caught it got over it but they Wher a old Docter lady that liv in prince georges county the state of Mary land by the name of Mrs Darry and al she attendid to she wher successful in cureing for she wher verry attentive and tracterble for She highly rectermendid by the phersisiansners [parishioners?] of prince georges county the state of Mary land and particerly by olde Docter hodges of prince georges county the state of Mary land and all Mrs Darrys Medirins [medicines] Wher made princilble out of erBs [herbs] and 1816 wher a hard Winter for they Wher three black spots in the sun afte the Winter closed the sun become to as red as blood ther Wher a frost evry night the hold sumer the Wher no corn Made scarrly aBout in different section of the country it Where all Whitherd up 15




14. The freezing cold and disease Michael Shiner refers to is confirmed in local and national records. In 1815 Mount Tambura on the island of Sumbawa (modern Indonesia) erupted killing perhaps 100,000 people and throwing immense amounts of ash and volcanic particles into the earth's atmosphere which led to drastic changes in weather patterns around the world. The year 1816 became know as "the poverty year," "eighteen hundred and froze to death," and "the year with no summer." Temperatures in Washington DC in June and July of 1816 were only in the low 60's. The damage to local crops and livestock caused by killing freezes in July and August drove farm prices up (e.g. oats went from 12 cents to 92 cents a bushel) and caused wide spread hunger and malnutrition among the poor of the District, leading to outbreaks of disease. The situation did not begin to improve until 1817.

15. Descriptions and records of weather occupy a large portion of Shiner's manuscript and were a major interest, and an important factor in his work life, and that of his colleagues. Changes in weather were crucial since most Washington Navy Yard employees worked out of doors, especially laborers and slaves. The workforce was primarily composed of per diem workers, and the practice at Washington Navy Yard and other federal shipyards was to retain only the absolute number of these men necessary for a given shop to operate or complete a ship repair. Accurate weather observations were therefore useful in projecting the number and types of workers required. Cold weather meant that large numbers of laborers (unlike carpenters painters and blacksmiths who could work indoors in a shop or shed) would be laid off until warmer weather made outdoor projects feasible. Early records reflect this trend as work was often reduced by 20% or more during the winter months (American State Papers, Volume 1: 848). Commandant Isaac Hull recognized this as a problem and did his best to keep as many laborers on the station rolls through the winter as possible observing that: "They have large families and can not make a cent to support them except what they receive from their labor at this yard. If I discharge them now I see no way for them to live through the winter." Maloney, Linda M. The Captain from Connecticut: The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986 p. 422.

Shiner Diary Page 13
Page 13 of the Michael Shiner Diary

14       [1815]

the honable James Monroe take in his seat the 4 of March 1817 on Tuesday the Honable John quincy adams takin his seat the 4 of March 1825 The Honable John quincy adams taking his seat the 4 of March 1823 monday The Honable genral andrew Jackson take his seat the 4 of March 1829 on Wensday the Honable Major genral andrew Jackson taking his seat the 2nd time the forth of March 1833 on monday and snow on the ground the honable Martin van Buren Then taken his Seat the forth of March 1837 on Satuday sluich and snow on the ground the Major genral the Honable Wm henry harrison takeing his Seat the 4 of March 1841 on Thursday the Honable colnal James K polk take his Seat the 4 of March 1845 on tueday rainny and dr lin the Honable Major genral Zackerries [Zachary] Taylor taken his Seat the 5th of March 1849 on

Monday the Honable Brigader genral Franklin pierce Taken his Seat the 4th of March 1853 on friday and Snowd a little and rain a little the Honable James Buckhanan taken his Seat the forth of March 1857 on Wens day a Beautiful

The Honable James Monroe president of the united States left his Seat on the 4th of March 1823 friday the Honable John quincey adams president of the united States left his Seat on the 4 of March 1829 on Wens day the Honable Major genral andrew Jackson left his Seat the 4 of March 1837 on Sataday the Honable Martin van Burren president of the united States left his Seat on Thursday the honbale John Tyler presidnet of the united States left his Seat on the 4th of March 1845 on tueday the Honable James k polk left his Seat the 4of March 1849 on Monday the Honable Milard fillmore president of the united States left

his seat the 4th of March 1853 on friday the Hon Brigadier genral Franklin pierce left his Seat the 4 of March 1857 on Wensday and a Beatiful day


Shiner Diary Page 14
Page 14 of the Michael Shiner Diary


1816 a Hard Winter

1817 a Hard Winter and

1818 a Hard Winter and

1819 a pretty Hard

Winter twoand in

1820 a Hard Winter and

1821 a Hard Winter and

1822 a Hard Winter and

1823 a Hard Winter and

1824 a Hard Winter and

1825 a Hard Winter and

1826 a Hard Winter and

1827 a Hard Winter and

1828 a Hard Winter and

1829 a Hard Winter and

1830 a Hard Winter and

1831 a Hard Winter and

1832 a Hard Winter and

1833 a Hard Winter and

1834 a Hard Winter and

1835 a Hard Winter and

1836 a Hard Winter and

1837 was a beatiful fall for they never gatherd in ther garden stuff in the District of Columbia until nearly cristmas and the 1 part of 38 it commence With a snow and sleek so the Winter of 38 Was a cold Dreary Winter for never shal for get it for i Was coming a long by the engine house in the fifth Ward and They Wher aan olde lady coming up the Hill wards the church

1821 the Reverance Mr payton16 a Methodis preacher Wer sent in charge of the Ebenezer church by the Methadis Confrence in the Six Ward and i Believe he was the greates Methodis preachers that ever ask a nickel for his Walk and Conversation proved he caried the love of god in his heart and all his cry to his fellow man Was to repent and turn to god it made no difference What kind of a man he War he made no distinc sion for he died tryunphpant by the [grace?] of god for the Worst sinners in the City of Washington at that time like him when Mr payton aproach them With the Word of the lord they would Be as calm as a lamb and so should be the Walks of every minister of the gospel no Matter what Denomanation he is



16. The Reverend Payton's full name was Yelverton T. Peyton (1797 - 1831). He was the pastor of the Ebenezer Methodist Church in 1822 and 1823 when Michael Shiner attended the watch service he records. Lloyd Pumphrey and various members of his family were members of Ebenezer Methodist Church. Phillis Shiner and her children were slaves of the Pumphrey family. The Ebenezer Methodist Church was locate between 4th and G Streets. A "watch meeting" also known as a watch night service, is the New Year service where the many Methodist and other District churches congregations met to pray in the New Year. This information was kindly supplied by Ms. Gale Munro; see also Ferguson, W. M. (Rev.), Methodism in Washington.

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Page 15 of the Michael Shiner Diary


for no foller of the lord and Saver Jesus Christ orght not to be ingage in annything that are sinful or dangeros in the sight of god for god is a Jest god for he noes the screts of all men hearts and he is the searcher and regulator of all men for the last sermen i herd Mr payton preac Was in the eben neiser [Ebenezer] Church the 31 day of December 1821 at a Wattch Meetin for i came nine or ten miles to hear him preach for I never forget it for that verry Night it snowed and me goin back Home Next morning the snow had fell to the depth of six inches and better the bottoms of my shoes came off nearly and i had to go home Bare footed nearly and this Was the 1 day of Janauary 1822

and she ask me to take hold of her hand and at that time they was a tremendou sleik on the ground and i Made evry efert to get her up the hill so We our lady and My selv both slip and Way We Went over and over like a Barrel and people Wer all looking at us so That i Jest Merly Then Time to help the old up and i then i sneak oft and Was glad to get

of 1839 a Hard Winter 1840 a Hard Winter 1841 a Hard Winter 1842 a Hard Winter 1843 a Moderate Winter and Janurery the splenderes January That i ever seen the hold Month like a indian sumer a White forst evry night and were in the Middle of the day for you to Work With your coat off and the Winter dident commence unitl the 1th of feuary and March paid up for the hold of it for they Was snow fell the 16 of March 1843 Moore then a knee deap in some places on thursday a hard Winter 44




1844 a Hard Winter

1845 a Hard Winter

1846 a Hard Winter

1847 a Hard Winter

1848 a Hard Winter

1849 a Hard Winter

1850 a Hard Winter

1851 a Hard Winter

1852 a Hard Winter

1853 a Hard Winter

1854 a Hard Winter

1855 a Hard Winter

1856 a Hard Winter

1857 a Hard Winter

1858 verry little snow But Wet and cold Winter But not much snow


the united States Ship Columbus 74 Constructed and built by Colnal Wiliam Doughty and launch on the 4 of march 1819 on monday at Washington navy yard the united States Ship Columbus 74 forty 8 years old united States frigate potomac [Potomac] first Class built by Colonal Wiliam Doughty and launch 1821 frigate potomack 46 years old




the united States frigate Branday Wine [Brandy Wine] Wher launch the 16 day of june 1825 on thursday at Washington navy yard and constructed and Built by Colnal Wiliam Dougthy17 and Wher fited out expresly to carry genral layet [LaFayette] home to france comader Charls Morris had command of her first lieutenant of the Branday Wine Was lieutenant gregry sail master elisha peck the united States frigate Bran day Wine 42 years old they commence heaving out at Washington navy yard the united State frigate congress [Congress] 36 gun ship 3rd class on the 27 of March 1826 on Monday to examine res [rust] and to put new keil on her copering [coppering] of her they Wher fitting her out for some station but the Macedonia [Macedonian] takeing her place




17. Colonel William Doughty 1773 -1859 worked for many years as a naval constructor (similar to naval architect) at the Washington Navy Yard. He was popular among many Washington Navy Yard mechanics and laborers, and was supportive of the 1835 strike. That same year, Washington Navy Yard Commandant Isaac Hull appealed to the Board of Naval Commissioners unsuccessfully to have Doughty removed. William Doughty's career as a shipbuilder was long and very successful. In 1850 his real property was stated to be worth $35,000 (Source: 1850 US census of Washington, DC.).

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Page 17 of the Michael Shiner Diary

18When they commence heaving out commodor thomas tinsay [Thomas Tingey] Wher present captain Walter Booth Wher present first lieutenant thomas crale Wher present sailing master Mama duke Dove colnal Wiliam Doughty wher present Master builder James owner Wher present Boatswain Daived eaton Wher present Benjamen king sr18 quaterman quaterman Joseph herbert quarterman george grant quaterman Wiliam aik oun


fier Broke out in the alxdrania in the state of virginia on the 17 of January 1827 on Wensday and the Disspatch came from alxdrania on the 18 day of January 1827 on thursday to the people of Washington early in the moring cauling on them to com down speedily [to] assist in putting the fier out


launching of a new Merchant Ship at alxdrania her name was virginia the 24th day of December 1826 on saturday

and orders came from the navy Department the same moring from Honable secatary of the navy samul southard to the commanding officer of the Washinton navy yard comerder thomas tingey to send every Mercanic and labors and engines out of the yard and every man that were Wher able to travel and orders Wher obeied promptly by comander tin say and the men Wher dispatched in Double quick time and the people of Washington and george town Went hand to hand to assist them in putting fiers out the mecanics Wanted



18. Benjamin King (1764-1840) was for many years the Washington Navy Yard's Master Blacksmith. King was born on the Isle of Man and immigrated to the United States as a young man. King was first appointed Master Blacksmith in 1804 by Commodore Thomas Tingey and by 1817 his annual salary was $1,500.00 per year. King did much of the early iron work for the nation's capitol and held numerous District public offices. As Master Blacksmith, he supervised the anchor shop, which employed as many as 19 slaves (including 5 owned and leased to Washington Navy Yard by King). In 1830, Washington Navy Yard Commandant Isaac Hull unsuccessfully appealed to the Board of Naval Commissioners to remove Benjamin King for alleged incompetence. Benjamin King was later demoted to a non-supervisory position. King died in 1840 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Page 18 of the Michael Shiner Diary

19       1827

to put the engines over By the shears and take them down on the ice but Captin Walter Booth stop them and taken a round over the long Bridge19 by horse and hand they [had] one engine in the yard now that broke down 2 Befor We got ther and they wher no time DeladeWhat ever for the oficers caried us in a half canter and a dog trot Comerder thomas Tinray [Thomas Tingey] Commandeid Washington Navy yard Went Down to alexdrania that day Captin Walter Booth sectiond in command went Down to alxdrania that day colal archable henderson Went down that day Which wher a commander of the united Staets Merines Core Lieutenant Henry R Tyler caried down that day a Detachment of the united States Merines down to alex drania (He) carid them Down in Double quick time Purser Mr timothy Wind Went down to alexanria that day Colnal Wiliam Doughty the naval contractor went Down that day the master Builder James owner sr went Down and sailing master edward Barry went down that day Boats swain David eaton Went down that day to alexdranina and Mr William Speedon went down that day which at that time was clerk to Mr Wind the purser all the Master Workmen and Mechanics and Laborers of all classes went down that day a circumstance accrued between sailing master edward Barry and a colled man by the name thomas pen ton [penton] didnt conduct himseve so Well When we wher a coming home and Mr Barry gave him a repramand and it apears that tom pen gave him some insolents and Mr Barry when got home he reported him to captin Booth friday the 19 day of January 182720



19. The Long Bridge was built in 1808 and was a toll bridge. The bridge was nearly a mile in length and by the late 1820's, the time of Michael Shiner journey, the bridges wood supports had begun to rot, making walking precarious.

20. The Washington Navy Yard Daily Log for 1827 provides the official Yard account of the fire at Alexandria, Virginia, Thursday, 18 January 1827 - These 24 hours fresh gales from the N.W. very severe cold frost morning. Laborers Riggers Ordinary Men Carts & Oxen working as above until half past 11 o'clock A.M. when Bell rung a letter from the Secretary of the Navy read aloud to the Workmen requesting Commandant Tingey to send all the force within his power to Alexandria to extinguish a large fire that took place there; the men took two fire engines and proceeded to Alexandria where they arrived about two o'clock; at about 3 o'clock they had orders from Capt. Booth to proceed home with the fire engines as all fire was extinguished by the exertions of the people of Alexandria City of Washington & Georgetown; they got the engines back to the Navy Yard about 5 o'clock PM. One of the Engineers got broke in some respect in going down but was temporary mended.

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Page 19 of the Michael Shiner Diary

20       1827

We all hands of the ordernary men Wher cauledup in to the rigin loft to giv an acount of our selves captin Booth Wher present in the loft first lieutenant thomas crab and Sailing master edwar Barry who had prefered the charge against thomas pen captin Booth sais now thomas pen you are brought befor me for usin abusive and insultin language to an officer of this yard what have you got to say for your selve captin thee had kein a ben drinkin and if the said anything to Mr Barry out of the Way they are sorry for it and if thou pleases and if Mr Barry pleases to excuse the will never do so no more sire dont you no the danger of givin insolence to an officer Well tell the captin if thou please excuse me this time never do so no more sire Mr Barry reply i will excuse him this time captin now Thomas pen i will let you oft as Mr Barry has excuse you Now captin and Mr Barry the[y] is ten thousand times oblige to thou for letin [him] off captin Booth and first lieutenant crab sail Master edward Barry Boatswain David eaton turned their backs and laught and told Tom to go on now and behave your selves and never struck him a crack When pen got up to the ordernary house among the men are sais Tom pen by the powers of Mol kely didnt the(y) tell thou if ever thou let the[e] get into quaker sistom that thou would never Wip the[e] so Tom pen got clear of the cats [cat of nine tails] that day by talkin quaker to captin Booth and the rest of the oficers Whil captin Booth was as fine a oficer as ever steps his foot on a ship deck for i never heard captin Booth use profane word the most word he ever use to use


Shiner Diary Page 20
Page 20 of the Michael Shiner Diary

21       1827

was by george for captin booth was a perfect gentelman for he wher the one that adopted those rigin screw in heavin frigate Congress out in 1826 he often use to speak of a quicker plan in runin up the rigin wit the screw the time they were done by scraping the frigate Congress on one side they would have righ ther up and set the rigin on the other side and in them days the shoe wer turned into dead eye then lanerds [lanyards] were received through each eye and then each shard had a louft block with tails imitatin a stoper and those tails wer made fast a round a shard a round above then lowerd that wher raised into the dead eye that cornectid in the chains the hook of the Double block that way rigin in them days wher set up captin Booth said at that time they could be a quicker way to addopted to set up the rigin So captin Booth wher the first inventor of those rigin screws which a gang of rigin be set up in half the time that it use to be set up shrods or stays The united states sloop of war St Louis was the first to carry those rigin screws and she carried them on her miesent [mizzen] shrouds 21 both starbord [starboard, i.e., the righthand side of a ship] and loarboard [larboard] that was in place of the dead eye Which to this day goes by the name of Booth riggin screws22 Which i believe is intirer sacerfactry to the navy Department The united staets ship sloop of war St. Loius her keil wher laid in the uper ship house the 12 day of febuary 1827 on monday one cedar tree planted in washington navt yard one apple tree planted by Micial Shiner



21. The mizzen mast was the after most mast in a three masted ship. The shrouds were standing rigging which stretched from the side of the ship to the mast, which, together with the staysails, held the mizzen mast vertical.

22. Rigging Screws were used to hold rigging. This was the general name used to hold masts, spars.

Shiner Diary Page 21
Page 21 of the Michael Shiner Diary

22       1827

in front of the boatswain house the 17 day of March 1827 on satuday and the Boatswain said to me those trees Will not live and my reply was to the Boatswain ser those trees will be here when you and me ar dead and gone the 4 of July 1828 on friday Comerder Tinssys [Tingey] gig Wher orderd to be ready to carry up above georgetown for to take the Honable John quincy adams president of the united States a shore the Coxswain of the comerder gig was John M green thomas payne Henry over John Williams John Thompson Basil Brown and Michial Shiner crew was compose of colerd man except the coaxman the boat crew wher Dress in full uneform and that moring colnal henderson Barge was got ready and Wher mandit with ten Merrines and 1 Sargeant Who wher caxsmen of the boat and those boats wher got ready by run sire i never shall forget it as long as i live in the morning at sun rise while us wher all down at the boat the salute was fierd they Wher a dog that use to follow the century a bout he hadent bein long in the yard he come from the contry and the Marine uste to feed him and every time the centry would relieve he would relieve too the century was down ther wher we wher geting the boat ready and the dog wher there two and interfering the salute the first gun that wher feird way went the dog and for every leap he made he hollord and he never stop till got out side the yard and we never seen more and first leiuenant kelly and sailing master edward Barry


Shiner Diary Page 22
Page 22 of the Michael Shiner Diary

23       1828

they ask Mr green What was the Matter With that dog Mr green anserd and said the dog was frighting at the salute that wher fired at that time the 2 boats all ready to go up above georgetown and the comerders gig Wher fited out expresly for we take the Honable Mr John qunicy adams a shore up above georgetown and at that down came captin Thomas holdup stevens in company with lieutenant colonel charles broom of the united States Marine corps first lieutenant kely said the gig was all ready sire captin stevens said Broom come get in with me colnal Broom answered and said i beg to be excuse i want to exercise my Boys this moring Colnal Broom got in his Barge and told them up oars and stand by to let fall let fall shov oft give way good morning captin never mind said Captin Stephens to colnal Broom i will be long side of you to sectly that right sais colnal Broom i want to give your colerd Boys a sweat this morning colnal Broom started about fifteen minits Before captin stephens started The reason that colnal Broom started before Captin stephens was the captin was waiting for a message from commodore Tingey after the captain received the message he asks Mr green if all wher right Mr green sais yes sire then Mr green sais up oars my lads shove off let fall giv way captain steiphens sais give way my lads let us go in search of colonel Broom then we over took colnal Broom at the arsenal and we wher about to pass him along the captin sais fair you well Broom and colnal Broom sais hold on stephens and run along side and take in passenger captin stephens sais ease your larboard oars pull your starb


Shiner Diary Page 23
Page 23 of the Michael Shiner Diary

24       1828

ard oars until the gig got along side of the colnals barge then we taking the colnal on the board of the gig after then colnal got on board captin stephens sais give way my lads mind you my brave fellers they are a parcel of boats in the potomac to day and i want to see what you can do for them at that time there wher five hundred boats in the river and none of them could hold a light when we got to the arsenal the potomac river wher darkend with boats before us and behind us we look down the river and seen some boats coming and they look they scarily touch the water but they wher coming and at that time we had pass some the fastes rowing in alexandria they wher no boat in the river that day that day out the five hundred that could beat the comerders gig when we got up to george town Jest as we got ther the president came down in his carrige in company with the Honable secretary of war Major genral Miller and the Honable secretary of the Navy Samuel l southard23 and the rest of his cabinet and a great many other distinguished gentelman then they went on bord of the surprise steam boat and at last we hadent the pleasure of taken the president ashore in the gig the steam boat started in full paced up the river Mr green his orders to follow the steam boat up the river then we followed the steam boat and kept along sid of her until we got to the very landing place and the steam boat run so close that they shoved the gang way out and



23. Samuel Southard was Secretary of the Navy from 16 September 1823 to 3 March 1929.

Shiner Diary Page 24
Page 24 of the Michael Shiner Diary

25       1828

the preident walk ashore and all his cabnet all the other Distinich gentelmen and ladys and went up to the verry spot and they wher great masses of people wher there that day and several volunteer companies and plenty of everything [to] eat and drink and the Honable Mr John Qunicy adams presiident of the united states pulled oft his coat and takein hold of the spade as if he was going to set in for a days work and went right in to it and that the beginning of the chesapeake and ohio cannal24 and then the hold of the posesion [procession] Retired and after the posesion retired then we then we had the pleisure of tring the strenth of the surprise steam Boat the ohter row boats that went up with us and we run pass all the boats we got down to george town ten minits befor the steam boat then we had wait until that steam boat with captin thomas hold up stephens then when that steam boat arived then we takin the captin in the gig and the lieutenant Colnal charles Broom of the united states Marine corps and we started from george town and landed the Captins orders wher to Mr green gave My complements to Mr John kely which at that time wher first lieutenant of Washington navy yard to giv all those boys liberty that wher in the gig to day



24. "[Page 20] Friday ­- Independence Day Chesapeake and Ohio Canal commenced. . .Between seven and eight this morning I went with my son John to the Union Hotel of Georgetown where were assembling the President and Director of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, the Mayor and Committees of the Corporations of Washington, Georgetown and Alexandria. The Heads of the Departments, foreign ministers and a few other invited persons. About eight o'clock a procession was formed and proceeded by a Band of music to the wharf where we embarked in the Steam boat Surprise; followed by two others we proceeded to the entrance of the Potomack Canal and up there on canal boats . . . to a spot selected for breaking the ground. The President of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal with a very short address delivered to me the Spade with which I broke the ground addressing the surrounding auditory consisting perhaps of two thousand persons. It happened that at first stroke of the spade it met immediately under the surface with a large stump of tree, after repeating the stroke three or four times without making any impression, I threw off my coat and resuming the Spade, raised a shovel full of the Earth, at which a general shout broke forth from the surrounding multitude, and I completed my address which occupied about fifteen minutes. . . [Page 21] . . . The incident that chiefly relieved me was the obstacle of the stump, which met and rejected the spade and my casting off my coat to overcome the resistance ­- It struck the eye and fancy of the spectators, more then all the rhetoric in my speech and diverted their attention from the stammering haste taken of a deficient memory."

John Quincy Adams diary 36, 1 January 1825 - 30 September 1830, pages 20 and 21 [electronic edition]. The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004. [Available online at]

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Page 25 of the Michael Shiner Diary

26       1828

for they have cunducted them selvs verry well to day when we embark from the stone house to the yard and after we got to the yard and put the gig away then Mr kely pass us all out and then we went to on capitol Hill and had a good frolic to our selves and ther we remained until run down at the same time we wer at a restaurant on capitol Hill kept by a colerd man by the name of george lee formly by a slave to old mr water stone and set free by mr water stone the father of lawyer mr George water stone this coller man that i have referenc to kept all kinds of liqurs he had one kind of liquer wer caled spark fier one called the rear and tair and Tom Cat and one caled the panter on of the Drinks caled the run from the gun then ther wher one kind called warmherin liqure and he had one called Didnt now wher you wer so we drank of those diferent kinds of liquer until we got squrananerd [separated?] from each other as for my part When i found my selve on the next moring on the 5 day July 1828 on satuday near the congress burin ground [Congressional Cemetery] i wher layin by yoke of oxin and well guarded by killdes and wip poor wills and wher some fifteen minits befor i knowd wher i wher and when i came to my selve i found my selvf without anny hat and wanerd away to the navy yard then and got very near the navy yard came a cross a collard yong man and he said are you drunkin


Shiner Diary Page 26
Page 26 of the Michael Shiner Diary

[27]       1828

soiler and i kept a sidelin up to the fellow until i got hold of him and they wher mud hole close by i seised hold of the felol and we had small tussel for a while and i throd the felow into the mud hole then i stagerd oft about my business and went into the yard then as i got under the arkcade i met comerders tingey's coachman a collerd man by the name of sam reid he said are you got sober yet and i sais to him you blak vilian and i hauld oft and knock him down and the sentry run in betwein us and parted us and reported us and reported me to the first lieutenant of the yard and the same time they wher a lad comerder tinsay foot man25 had been cuting some of his shines at the house on the 4 and they taking him down to the rigin loft that it give him a starting and they wher going to give me starting two but captin steiphens excused me and first leutant kelly sailing master Edward Barry so that ended the fourth of July 1828 on friday26 launching of the united states sloop of war st louis at Washington navy yard built and constructed by colnal William Doughty on the 16 day of august 1828 on saturday i shall never forget that day the Honable John quincy adams came down that day and his cabnet and the naval commissioner and comerder John rogers27 at that time wher preident of the

The Saint Louis is 39 years old



25. Commodore Thomas Tingey (like many prosperous naval officers) owned a number of slaves. In the 1820 District of Columbia U.S. census, he is described as owning five slaves. His slave footman was not the first to feel his wrath. Tingey was a rough and even brutal master; something of his attitude toward his slaves can be glimpsed in his 1821 reward notice for his runaway slave, Sukey Dean:

Whereas my servant Surrey calling herself Sukey Dean is strolling about the city, or in the vicinity sometimes attempting to hire herself out as a free women asserting she has my assent to do so; neither are true. She is short thick women of a yellow complexion now advancing to forty years of age, is a very good family cook, washes and irons well and understands the management of same - in short if her tongue were safely extracted she would be a most excellent servant. She has been a short time at the residence of Samuel H. Smith Esq. but finding that I assented to her remaining there immediately left. But whosoever will secure her in jail or otherwise of the three days advertisement in the city newspapers sells her at public venue for cash shall have on fourth of what she sells for in full cash less any charges.

Thomas Tingey
Navy Yard Washington
(Daily-National Intelligencer
16 August 1821)

26. At sea the boatswain would use a "starter," which was the end of thickly mounted rope to hit, whip or strike sailors to induce them to do something. In this instance it clearly appears to have been used to discipline Washington Navy Yard slaves.

27. Commodore John Rodgers (1772-1837) had a long and distinguished naval career. He served in both the Quasi War with France and in the War of 1812, and was later President of The Board of Naval Commissioners. The Board was a United States Navy administrative body in existence from 1815 to 1842, with responsibility for the Navy's material support. Commodore Rodgers was President of the Board from 1815 to 1824 and again from 1827 to1837.

Shiner Diary Page 27
Page 27 of the Michael Shiner Diary

28       1828

of naval Board of commisners they had got all ready for the launching and Colnal Doughty inform comerder tinssay and captin steiphens and first lieutenant kelly that they wher all ready now sire for seting up Colnal Doughty gave orders to Mr owner to set up the and at that time they all Classes of people ther to witness the launching of the sloop of war and the thrid time they set up shores wher all turn a drift sawed away in two then takein the batter rams and gave her one or two Raps with that and it didnt mover her and they batter ram her a Dozen times and still it coulent move her comerder Rodgers ask Mr owner what was the Matter with her Mr owner said i done no what the Matter with her sire but we will try and find out at that time the comerder had got aBoard the ship himselve by two man rops [ropes] on the loarboard gang way he look all up and down the ship he put on one of the old time man of war looks and vinegar counternance and then went to the waist [middle] of the vessel on the larboard side and look over the gunnels [gunwhales or side of the boat] and requested of the first lieutenant Kelly who wher first lieutenant of the Washington Navy yard to send all the men a board the ship that can be spaird and as they came a Board and as they Wher coming aBoard the comerder sais Come abord My brave fellow and after all the men got a Board the Comerder sias take your selves aft on


Shiner Diary Page 28
Page 28 of the Michael Shiner Diary

29       1828

the qaurter Deck and lay aft my brave fellows lay aft colnal Doughty is the way all clear ther colnal Doughty to comerder Rogers sais all cleare sier comerder Rogers sais to the men stand by my Brave fellows to shake yourselves shake your selves My brave fellows and dance her down for she must go down an one or two shouts of [off] went the vessel as she wher going oft comerder rogers look over the side of her and told the Secatary of the navy and some More gentelman that wher standing ther that i believe she wher hung sire and so she wher hung they wher a ro bin [ribbing?] nail some how or nother acadetntially wher drove through the launchin ways and got in the slip that wher baecause of retaining the vessel on the stocks she would have bein launch sooner if it hadnt been for that Dinner wher givin on board the united states sloop of war st louis by captin John D Sloat and his oficers at washington navy yard the 18 day of December 1828 on thursday at that time the st louis wher hauld around by the North gable end of the lower ship house her stern wher hauld right a though of the united states frigat congress a thirty six gun ship then the Congress laid down stern of the lower ship house her stern between south and south east and she wher made a receiving ship while they wher fitting out the St louis crew


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Page 29 of the Michael Shiner Diary

30       1828

the united states sloop of war st louis embark from the Washington Navy yard in command of captin John D Sloat and his oficers on the 20 day of December 1828 on satuday a steam boat towed her out by the name of long Branch and she dropt down below alexdrania She laid of and on from sosher blaif from the 20 December 1828 on satuday until 22 day of December 1828 on Monday on the 21 day of December 1828 on Sunday we had takein Mr David eaton the Boat swain of the Washington Navy yard and sargent andrew Marks and Mrs Marks and Mrs Jones the sister of Mrs Marks on board of the united states sloop of War St louis we eat a fine Diner on board the ship the united states sloop of War st louis embark from the bluff Alexdrania on the 22 day of December 1828 on Monday her Destination was for the pacific ocean and i have never seen her since the 21 of December on wensday Mr Eaton taking the launch from the Washington navy yard and taking the light sails of the st louis up in the launch to the long bridge and put them on the steam boat potomac to send them to Norfolk for the united states sloop of war st louis after we came back from the long bridge we got us a pass from captin thommas holdup steivens i got a pass to pass and repass from the 24 day of December 1828 until the 31 day of December


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31       1828

1828 on the 24 day of December 1828 after getting this pass from captin steiphens i came out of the yard with the intention of going over to my masters which wher thommas horard sr [Thomas Howard Sr] which at that time he wher clerk of washington navy yard as i wher going over home i came across a parsel of boys and i had a couple pounds of pouder in my pocket and i wher going to carry it down the country to have som sport amonst the youngsters the boys sorounded me with fier crackers and i Had cristmas in me two they made a great noise for a while and i wher right in senter of them and you May Depend on it the lit me up torch light fashion for a while with the fier crackers they wasnot a fighting but they wher nineteen or twenty boys aroun me and in the mean time while we wherin our sport they came along a Justice of the peace by the name of Mr Clemont huit he said you scamp what are you doing here to me he hauld of and struck me and i hauld off and struck him again but if i had of know at that time he wher a Justice of the peace i never would have offer to raise my hand to him i have often regreted it although they wher nothing turned out serious between us. fo it wher Mr huit duty as an officer to stop all quarals and all gatherrings in the streets and at that time they run me up in an alley cauled smack alley on niger hill28 and i kept them all out of the alley until my Master came when Master tom my came up he sais Mike you scamp what is the matter with you Do you know who i am Yes sire Master Tom my i said He sais com along and go with me yes sais i Master Tom my i will with you any Wher and then he takein hold of me and takein me to the Navy yard gate



28. The 1870 report on District of Columbia Schools (see page 274) gives the location as near "Eight Street between N and O Street in the Northern section of the City a location known as 'Nigger Hill' at that time center of a large colored population."

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Page 31 of the Michael Shiner Diary

32       1828

and at this time they wher a Bout 2 hundred men and Boys together and after they got me Down to the gate it wher some time befor they could get in side i cutting up my Monky shines and at that time adguant [Adjutant] Henry R tyler that is now wher first Lieutenant at the gate at that time of the Merrines after they got in to the gourd house they put me into the cells and put me in Double irons hand and foot and then they kept me until the 25 day of December 1828 on thursday between 4 and 5 oclock in the morning when Master Tom my came and takein me out and carried Me Douwn home as we Wher going along Master tom my ask Me did i know i had done i er answered him and told him i didn't know exactly what i had done well sais he you have struck Mr huit the Justice of peace well sire if i did i am verry sorry for it and after he takein me home he gave me my breakfast and gave me some mony and told me for the lords sake to go Dowwn in the country and see your friends and behave your selvs and don't drink any more Wiskey i started from home on Cristmas Day on the 25 of December 1828 on thursday and i never stop until i arived in piscataway and i got in company with a colerd man By the name of patrick Butler and Both of us hapend at a tavern in Piscataway which at that time was kept by a colard man name George Butler We got to drinking freely of egg nog and we got pretty high then we retired from there to Mr louis Rowman farm and ther they wher great plesieure sein on that farm on Cristmas day at night as of December 1828 i never injoyed my selve better in all my life we Dance all night then on the 26 on friday between 12 and 1 o clock


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Page 32 of the Michael Shiner Diary

33       1828

Mr Rowman actid verry kind with me and he let his men put me across the piscataway creek29 in His boat and when i started leaving his farm Mr Rowman himselves did not want me to come away after they landed me at fort Washington no soniner then i landed on the Warf they wher a passel of soilgers on the warf and i dress sailer fashion blu frock shirt and Blu Trousers and blue round a Bout and red vest tarpolon hat hell loe Jack wher did you com from i told them i came from Washington Navy yard som of them i dont believ that this fellow is a run away from the st louis i had terible affray with them on the warf anny how i got them oft me som How or Nother and in the Mean time the affray wher i heard a corple say step up and tel the Major that they are a Black felow Down here cuting up shines and i believe he is run from the united States sloop of War st louis and this time i had i had got away from them and i had got up to an old lady house that set a little North west from the fort [She] verry fine white old lady by the name of Mrs Norffolk the house that Mrs Norfolk lived in were built by a man named of [illegible] brother-in-law to the one that built fort Washington and fort Monroe i were in Mrs Norfolk's and then came soldgers at the Door ask Mrs Norfolk didnt they a collard man caul ther Mrs Norfolk said no and i had bein a teling Mrs Norfolk about the fray and it apeard that these Men want to kick up a row with me anny how and i didn't stay but a verry little after that and i bid Mrs Norl folk fare well as sais she they are a wild set of men her now Mike for the Major haves a heaps of Trouble with them at that time fort Washington was commanded by Major Mason united States armmy major mason and his companys were order[d] ther from the east port



29. The Piscataway Creek is a tributary of the Potomac River located in Prince Georges County, Maryland.

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Page 33 of the Michael Shiner Diary

34       1828

1824 and the companys at fort Washington wher orderd to east port in 1824 under the command of Captin thomas Childs of the united states armmy after leaving fort Washington the 26 day of December 1828 on friday i had to go all long the shore of swan creek for to get out of those fellows for they were after me like hawks and i never stop until i reach Washington but i Didnt go in the yard that night i stop at mans house by the name of Mr Jesse Morison near the navy yard and Ship carpternter by trade and a finer family of White people that ever live on the hill and on the 27 of December 1828 on saturday and i reported my selve in the yard to the officers

the 31 day of December 1828 on Wensday we bering the lighters from the Washington Navy yard and landed at General Vernesis warf on 18street to Move first luitenant Wm Ramsey [to] that Washington Navy yard Which Wher at that time wher the first lieutenant he live on pennsilvanerner [avenue] a little above the War Department house siting back some distance from the avenu and this ended the proceeding of 1828


The 1 day of January 1829 on thurs day the last levve [levée] that Wher givin by the Honable ex preident Mr John qunicy adams and on that day lieutenant Ramsey gave us a pass to go to a young colerd Mans fueral that died near the navy yard gate by the name of John Brion after the burial wher over i Wher standing near the Navy yard gate and captin Steiveins had bein up to the preidents levve and Basil Brown was a Driving of his carrige he look out of his carrige sais Bassil aint that Mike Bassil sais yes sire the Captin caulled me30



30. From the Washington Navy Yard's surviving Daily Station Logs for the year 1828 there are two entries recording Michael Shiner activities. For Saturday 27 December1828, the officer of the watch, recorded: "Michael Shiner who has liberty out from Wednesday till Friday Morning has not come to the yard" Again on Sunday 28 December 1828, we read: " This day pleasant airs from the SW and fair weather. Michael Shiner got home this evening."

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Page 34 of the Michael Shiner Diary

[35]       1829

he sais com to me sire walk your selve in the yard sire i gave you permission the other day to go down in the country to see your friends and you went over on the other Hill and kicked up a row with the Magistrate and you shal not go out of the yard for 6 Month then my libity was stopt from the first day of January 1829 on Thursday until the 25 of January 1829 on Sunday 29 January 1829 on Thursday Mr James Smith a riger by trade at that time Wher part of the Washington Navy yard were sent down to alexandria on that with the Jolly boat31 for to get varous articlues for the oficers and 3 or 4 of the ordonary men went down with him and the ice Wher Jest a breaking up in the river and among those articles that wher got for the oficers they was a Half of pilot bread that belong to commerder [Commodore Tingey] tinsay Mr Smith sais Mike take that barrel and Carried it forard so as to give your Selves Room to row so i Takein hold of the barrel and went backward to passies it forward bein That the the gunels [gunwhales] of the Jolly boat Wher very shallo the Hops [hoops] slips off the Barrel and over Board i went the barrel of bread still Remained in the boat [there] was ice floating on the river and i went down the third time and the kind providence of god i came up evry time right by the boat and the last time i came up John thomson grab me by the top of the head and i scird hold of the boat i was so over Joyed when i got in the boat thank god Mike shiner aint ground yet thom pen was seting aft an although in the boat told mr smith by the power of Moll kelly Mike shiner over Board after we got all the things fick in the boat said Mr Smith sais now Boys ar you all ready well mike come in here and get something to Drink and mr smith Takein Me into the team [steam] Boat tavern that was kept by a man named Steaurt



31. Traditionally the term Jolly Boat refers a boat carried on a ship, powered by 4 or six oars and occasionally yawl rigged sails.

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[36-unnumbered page]

[later] in the boat now and warmin our selves after we got in the boat we rowed up from alexandria in foety nine Minites and i had Jest Belong to mr Horord Sr [ Thomas Howard Sr] one year that day

the Senter [sentry?] house of the united States Merine Barracks at Washington Burned down on the 20 day of febauary 1829 on friday snow on the ground all the officers except commerder tinsay [Commodore Thomas Tingey] and he were laiding very ill at the time and all the Master Work men and Mercanic and labours of the Washington Navy yard at the fier captin thomas holdup stevens was at the fier first lieutenant wm Ramsey sr that wher the first lieutenant of the washington navy yard at that time Mr timothy Wind purser of the washington navy yard was ther sailing master edward Barry was ther boatswain David eaton was ther Mr george Marshal gunner was ther and Mr Selvylder Caolineer [Salvadore Catalano] 32 which at that time belonged to ordnance was ther

we went out to the fier at that time a little before the bell rang for twelve and stayed at the garrison until between 1 and 2 oclock in the night and the coldest night i ever felt in my life the hose were led from the garrison to reservoir at the market house it were so cold that the hose freeze up they formed lines in different sections passed the water with a bucket to the fier they worked like men ther were a little Disturbance ocurd betwein a fier[men] from te city and Samuel Brigs a fiermen of the an a casta [Anacostia River] But that was soon setled by captin Wm easby interfering Which at that time were Master Boat Builder of the Washington Navy yard that Wher a Hard Winter they wasnt 2 cord of Wood on the commmercial Warf they wasnt no Wood in the navy yard [ illegible] and they were not ten ton of coal in the yard they wher condem frome War



32. Salvadore Catalano was a native of Palermo, Sicily. He served as pilot to Captain Stephen Decatur during the Navy's burning of Tripoli during Barbary Pirate Wars. On Captain Decatur's return to the Washington Navy Yard, Catalano chose to stay with the US Navy and was promoted to sailing-master. He worked for many years at the Yard and Michael Shiner would have known him well. He died 4 March 1846.

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Page 36 of the Michael Shiner Diary


Which laid near the iron foundry that is now and they had to chip oft that to fier the engines With about 1 oclock that Night we came in the yard and it wher so cold that our feet Wher Wet and stif that we didnt know hardly Wither we Wher Walking on the ground or no and after we came in we went down to the cook house they was not as Much fier in the kook house as you could hold in your two hands We look in our chest and tinder box and the flint and [s]truck a light and we look a round out doors to sie if we could find any thing to make a fier we couldnt find any thing out doors and the snow was banked up all around the house We Came in and they Wher a long bench seting befor the fier place they was man laing on it by the name of James Sims we found that we could not get any wood and we roled him off and he fell off on the floor likin a log Drunk and half frozen together we takes a axe and split the bench up and we made a fier out of this bench and warmed and dried our feet After we warm and dried our feet the man who was laing on the bench he got up and then he want to fight us he put me in the mind of a snake but we cooled him oft the Senter House at the time when it caught on fier Wher ocupied by lutenant Colnal Charles Broome of the united States Merrine Cor and his family on the 21 of febuary 1829 on saturday we Wher outside gatherin up the Hose and getting the things in the yard

it snowed on the 22 of of Febuary 1829 on Sunday


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38       1829

Died in Command of the Washington navy yard Comerder thomas tinsy on the 23 day of febuary 1829 on Monday and snow on the ground and a fine officer he was and a gentelman

Comerderr isaac Hull takeing comMand of the Washington Navy yard the 11 day of april 1829 on Saturday33 When comerderr hull taking command of the Washington navy yard he found it in an awful condition in holes and gullys and piles of timber laing about the yard all that square in front of the first lutenants quaters and 2 lieutenants and the Docter it Was nothing but yellow clay and that square in front of the comerders quarters was in the same condition and all the guns piled up on the left hand side of the road as you go into the gate from the flag staff clear down to the comerders ofice that were at that time the comerder laid all those places aft in the squares and had them fence it in the square Wher the paint shop is now where all cultivated and all this square where the ordnance shop is and the brass gun foundry and the shell house and laboratory and the rocket house and the water ran all along there When comerder Hull came to the yard he had to timber sheds built the mould loft built and all is laid as comerder Hull laid it off The water run jest back of the comerders ofice that is now and all the dock at the uper ship house were caving in and wharfs caving in all those wharfs were extended out were done by comerder hull except that piece done by captin William S Sango Sivil engeneer of the Washington navy yard When all this Work Wher going on and he Wher filling up and Building some of those days sais he this yard will be full of buildings34



33. Commodore Isaac Hull commanded the Washington Navy Yard from 31 March 1829 to 1 October 1835.

34. The new Yard Commandant, Isaac Hull, made many changes upon assuming command in 1829. Isaac Hull was a former Captain of the USS Constitution and hero of the War of 1812. He was known for running a "tight ship", in contrast to Commandant Tingey (who was popular with the men) and was of a more taciturn disposition. In 1835, he was nearly 60 years old and suffering from acute hearing loss due to his many exposures to cannon and shell noise. After his appointment as Commandant, Hull rapidly found that mechanics at the Yard enjoyed many freedoms he was unfamiliar with in setting work priorities. Hull's subsequent actions to restrict the mechanics' customary practices, combined with the Washington Navy Yard mechanics' demand for a ten hour work day, led to the strike of 1835.

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39       1829

the day that comerder Hull taken command of the Washington Navy yard they Wher a seamen by the name of Wells one of the Crew of the St louis that had bein missin ever since the 19 of December 1828 on friday and it Was surposed that he run a way and they never could here anny thing from him until the 4 day of april 1829 and he came up at the north west Corner of the lower Ship house he came up right under the frigate congress laorboard Bow it was sersposed that he went to go a shore that night before the St louis went a way and got hung under the Chain cable Wells wher a Welchmen by birth and they wher a inqust [inquest] held over him and he was bured in the potters field

lieutenant Wiliam Ramsey sr left Washington navy yard the 20 of March 1830 on Wensday sailing Master edward Barry Died in Washington navy yard on the 2 day of May 1830 on Sunday Boatswain David eaton was struck with a toung of a carry log in Washington navy yard on the 11 day of May 1830 on tuesday struck him right across the small of the back they wher an old man had hold of the toung by the name of thosn pen they had the log touning and he Couldnt hold the toung



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Published: Mon Nov 16 15:46:25 EST 2020