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The Diary of Michael Shiner

Entries from 1831-1839

Table of Contents

Date Page Subject
1831 40 The darkest eclipse in Wash. DC
1832 48 The United States Schooner Experiment Launched at the Wash. Navy Yard, Built by Winslow
1832 48 President Andrew Jackson and his cabinet at the Navy Yard
1832 49 Colery (colera) in Washington City
1832 50 General Scott, returns from the Indian War in the South
1832 50 The Launching of the United States Revenue Cutter Jackson
1833 51 Andrew Jackson on his way to Richmond to lay a cornerstone met with a accident
1833 55 Metor fell from the elements and frighten the people very much
1835 57 A turn out of the militia in Wash. DC
1835 59 The first strike in Washington DC and Andrew Jackson called out every soldier in Washington
1835 64 Cars started for between Baltimore and Washington
1835 65 Stealing Copper from the Washington Navy Yard
1835 70 Commodore Isaac Hull Leaves the Washington Navy Yard
1836 71 The Launching of the United States Frigate Columbia
1836 72 Commodore Daniel Patterson and Captain Joseph Smoot takes command of Navy Yard
1836 72 Major General Santa Anna Mexican General was taken pisoner
1836 73 Trouble with Indians In the south
1836 74 The Battle of North Pont was celebrated in Washington DC
1836 74 The United States post office was Burnt down
1836 75 The 4th of March Martin Van Buren is President the second time
1838 76 The United States Marine from their Fight in Florida
1839 77 The Death of Commodore Daniel Paterson in the Wash Navy Yard
1839 77 Ten Hours in the Federal Buildings

40       1831

the Darkes eclips that ever i saw was in 1831 the 12 of febuary on saturday35 it lasted from half past 11 oclock until Half past 3 oclock it was so dark at diner our [hour] in Washington navy yard that we Had to light the candles to see how to eat in each ordnance room at that time Mr houard [Mr. Thomas Howard Sr] could hardly see how to coal the [illegible] i never shall forget a remark that a painter made he said to Mr houard that you ought to have a candle now to caul the coal the painters name was Wiliam prince was a gerneymen [journeymen] painter painting the water casks for the united states frigate potommac which was fitting out at the Washington navy yard that time they wher painting them out in the upper ship house Phillip inch Master Painter John giptson [Gibson] gerneymen painter Wiliam keith gerneymen painter edward Bevan gerneymen painter and Wiliam prince gerneymen painter and at that time the United States frigate potomac was fitted out expressly for to go on to peru and Chile to Chastise the Desprodadoes [Desperadoes] the deparado wher committed on the American Merchant Ships by the Malays genral Jackson determined to chastise them and bring them to an honrable term That duty was assined [assigned] to commerder John F. Downes and takein command of the united States frigate potomac that were fitted out at washington navy yard in 1831 The united States frigate potomac embarked from the under the command of Comerder John Downes and his first lieutenant edsum Shubrick and the remainer of the oficers and crew on the 30 day of may 1831 on Monday and she came in front of the united States assnal [United States Arsenal] at washington



35. This solar eclipse was widely seen in the United States and for many people was a sign of dread and foreboding. An unsuccessful motion was even made in the U.S. House of Representatives to adjourn for the occasion. The black enslaved preacher Nat Turner saw this same eclipse as a vision from God of a "black angel" overtaking a "white angel." Turner's slave rebellion gained impetus among other slaves and, on 13 August Turner saw yet another spectacle - a sunspot visible to the naked eye. His rebellion began on 21 August but was quickly crushed and he and some of followers were executed. See: Lewis P Masur 1831: The Year of the Eclipse.

Shiner Diary Page 40
Page 40 of the Michael Shiner Diary

41       1831

and She remaind ther from the 30 of may oft and on until the 15 day of June 1831 on Wensday [when] the united States frigate potomac left her Moorines [moorings] in front of the united States arsenal under the command of comerder John Downes i have never heard of the Malays robbing or Murdering any of the American vessels or crew after that

3 united states schooners imbark from washington navy yard one wher commanded by lieutenant Wiliam P pearssy one wher commanded by lieutenant carry Seldon Jr the son of the late Major Seldon sr formrly Wher naval Store keeper at the washington navy yard and the third schooner was commanded by lieutenant kennedy i don't know wether Mr pearssy was senior officer or Mr kenady they imbark on the 17 of June 1831 on friday i shal never forget that day Mr inch sent me out that day in a battor with some canvass hose to them vessels Jest as the vessels were getting ready to go away and i put the hose on Board the vessel and i got so drunk when started to come a shore instead of coming to the yard the Boat drifted down towards the popplars point poor lieutenant Seldon made the men lower one of his boats down to bring me back to the yard they brought me back to the yard and i was completely i went a round the ordeinary house and there was a lader laing ther [ladder laying] by ordernary Basil Brown 36 Wher the Cook of the ordernary at that time he sugested to me and i Bet you cant take this loder on your



36. Basil Brown was born in Maryland in 1803. He manumitted prior to 1850 and worked as a laborer. He is listed in the 1870 Washington, DC census, which states that he then owned property worth $3,000.00.

Shiner Diary Page 41
Page 41 of the Michael Shiner Diary

42       1831

neck and go round the yard and Bellow like a Bull i sais to Bassil stop i want to carry some light wood over to the Navy Store first i taken a piece of the beam of a frigate and i taken it out of that bottom where the camBuse [camboose]36a shop is no at that time it wher caul rotten row i takein the piece of Beam and carry it over to the navy store and throw it down in the store at that time Mr James adams Wher naval store Clerk at washington navy yard and he said then What the matter With old Mike he has Bein Wher the Sun Shines hot after i came out of the store i went over to ordanary and got my ladder ten feet long and then i went a long by the Captins house and every Step i made i went like a wild varment and when i made i went towards the gate i change my voice to a Whip poor will and at that the painters Wher painting the Docters House i went to the Docters gate and tried to get in to the Docters gate and tried with the ladder around my neck i found that i couldn t get in that away i taking the ladder off of my neck and left outside and i met Mr inch at the door sais he what is the mater Mike and i made one yel caught hold of the door and but a hanel out the door and Mr inch sias i believe me mike going crazy and they were a collerd man in the house of the [name] of Jim Sims he told Jim to catch hold of me and i Clinch him and i flung him Clear down in the basement and at that time the porches belong to those quarters wher separate



36a. Camboose is an older nautical term for a metal ship's kitchen constructed to prevent a fire aboard wooden war ships. These kitchens were constructed at Washington Navy Yard.

Shiner Diary Page 42
Page 42 of the Michael Shiner Diary

[43]       1831

by this time the bell rang for twelve and i had got out side of the Docters and had my lad der a round my neck and i started from the Docters house down the yard and as i came to a long by the flag staf and i met first lieutenant Joseph Crooss Second lieutenant Cook and the Master work man and Merchanics they all were going out to diner and the next men i met wher my master Mr hourard [Howard] and at that time wher Clerk of the yard he caught holde of the ladder and sais this fellow got the devil in him he has had the devil im him for 3 weeks he hung on to the lad der and i carried him from the flag staf clear a round to the orderna ry house and when i was going along with the lad der i hardly felt that he had hold of the lad der and we got around to the ordanary house Mr houard got tried at me and they wher a kick rug broom setting up by the ordernary house37 Mr hourard taking hold of this broom he stuck me over the face and eyes with it and sais you out dacious [audacious] scamp what do you mean i jump at him38 and made a yell he struck me with the broom over the face and eyes and in them days it was cauled a snout and grouter and by this time captin Aulick came along and he Cauled to me to come him ask me what was the matter with me. i told him that i was drunk sire captin Aulick told me to step to the gate with the Merrines until i got sober i told captin Aulick he was a officer and he had eagle buttons on and i jump down in the dust on my hands and feet rap my head into the dust Made one yell and captin



37. The "Ordinary house" is where the ordinary seamen were lodged when stationed at a naval yard or in transit to another station.

38. In hitting his master back, Michael Shiner risked at the very least, a severe beating, but by playing "crazy" he managed to convince Captain Aulick (and apparently Thomas Howard) not to discipline him. See page 37 of the Diary where Michael Shiner adopted a similar strategy when he struck Clement Hewitt, a District magistrate.

Shiner Diary Page 43
Page 43 of the Michael Shiner Diary

44       1831

Aulick sais I believe the fellow is crazy any how and at that time the relieve was coming up and captin aulick cauld the merines and itold him that i didnt want to go with the merines and i woutent go with them and the corpral of the guard By the name of lee a irish man by birth he takeing hold of me Corpral lee and me and his gun Both fell to the ground and we Broke our holds and got up the merines of the guards had me by the hands and feet and lee got so mad that he stuck his Baynet in my left shoulder and commerder Hull was standing at the corner of the ofices and told them not to hurt him and take me along carefully and at last Mr [Marmaduke] Dove the Sailin master had to take me up to the guard house they ironed me Hand and Foot and put me in the cels some of the Mehcanic lost ther diner that day it was a complete JuBerlee and nex moring on the 18 they Brought me out before captin aulic they wher 2 sargeant and 2 private Brought me out and Captin aulick ask me what was the matter with me yester day i told him that i was drunk Sire Well what do you think ought to be done with you anny thing that captin the officers choses to do with me you went a holering aBout the yard yesterday like a crazy fillow dont let me heare anny more of it Shiner he said Mr Dove dont let Shiner have anny moor grog to day and Captin told me go and report your selve to Mr inch Master painter for duty the oficers where kind too they never stop my libity when i youster get tight i Merly done it to have fun i never done


Shiner Diary Page 44
Page 44 of the Michael Shiner Diary

45       1831

it to hav anny ill feeling against anny man white or black and on the 18 of January 1831 on saturday comerder Hull and captin aulick39 and first lieutenant Joseph Cross and second lieutenant Cook a son in law of Mr James owner sr formely Master Ship Builder of the Washington Navy yardand Sailing Master Marma Duke Dove that time of teh Washington Navy yard the comerder and these oficers granted me my liberty again and as i wher going home that eveing Before i got to my Masters house i saw one of the children and it came up to me then he letf me and Ran back to the hous sais he grand Mother Mikes is a Coming and all way i was going towards the hous i said com home com home come home and Jest as i got Righ a gainst the door My olde Mistess Wher Standing in the doore with a Stick in her hand and She had 3 good Raps at Me sais She owe you nigger villian come home is it now i wonder wher he got that at that some others new thing that nigger Brougt a Bout here ow red eyed nigger look at his eyes is red as a cock tairapin you niger you i am not a fraid of yous sais she for Thommas and Nancy spiles every nigger they have this lady was the Mother of Master Tommy howard Sr Master Thommas houward and Mrs nancy houward they wher as finer a Misteress and Master that ever wher born may the lord Bless them and i hope they are at Rest and may the lord grant that i may see them [illegable] in peac40



39. Captain John H. Aulick was the Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard from 7 March 1843 to 21 February 1841.

40. Thomas Howard, Sr. was the Washington Navy Yard's Chief Clerk. Howard was Michael Shiner's owner from 1828 to 1832. The Thomas Howard family had at least four other slaves in addition to Michael Shiner, they were: Louisa Barton, John Davis, Maria Cartwright and Maria's two children Ann Sophia and Joseph Cartwright. Source: Will of Thomas Howard, of Washington Co., DC, dated 18 Nov. 1832, probated 21 Dec., in Book 4, pages 172-173(173-174), located in Record Group 2, Records of the Superior Court, District of Columbia Archives; also see District of Columbia Government, the Congressional Cemetery, 1621, Box 11. Thomas Howard's mother was in her 70's in 1831. The Howard residence was located on the northeast corner of 3rd and E Street.

Shiner Diary Page 45
Page 45 of the Michael Shiner Diary

46       1831

the 16th day of December 1831on friday night the wind Blow from the north west with out intermission it Bloed So that night that the winder blinds got lose from ther buckkles and they Shatered six or seven large lights larg light of glass twelv by 18 ½ on the seventeen of December 1831 on Saturday the wind continu to Blow and it came with a huricane and in puffs the Bell rang as usual at Sun rise on the 17 after all the fiers wher made comerder Hull had them all put out and they were no work in the yard that day Comerder Hull had the yard closed that day for feer of fiers takein place commerder hull had 3 or 4 larg holes cut in the River and the engines putout in case fier Should take place Right Below comerders ofice that is how those preparations Wher made there by comerder Hull so they wher no person worked in the washington navy yard But Mr Phillip P inch and my Selve held the ladder while mr inch put those larg light of glass in. It was cold er nuf that day to freese anny thing that fell particlar anny things like water


Shiner Diary Page 46
Page 46 of the Michael Shiner Diary

47       1832

The Death of James pumphrey Sr the 3 day of march 1832 on Saturday in washington died in washington Sargent Major alexandria forrest the 11 day of March 1832 on Sunday Sargent Major forrest a on commissiond oficer beloning to the Staff and the Sargent Major wher burid on the 12 day of march 1832 on Monday and Jest as the burin Started they Came up an awful hail Storm and it hail nearly 20 minues wout [without] intermis sion i never shal for get it as as i live for mr thomas nokes and my Selve were in the paint Shop in washington navy yard on that day and the rest of the painters Wher Working up at the larbertary and when the hail can it appeard like it Struck the Ship house first and i said Mr nokes lord What is that and a few minutes after that Between the paint shop and the Riggin loft you could go and Spade the hail up by the Spade full some of it was as larg as a small hen egg on wher it had a fair play at the houses it made the glass fly particular those houses that hadent anny blinds or Shades to them


Shiner Diary Page 47
Page 47 of the Michael Shiner Diary

48       1832

in 1832 was a great Tuberlle [Trouble] with the painterr after the Hail Storm

the united States Schooner experiment wher launched in washington navy yard in the uper ship house the 14 of March 1832 on wensday and built by a old gentelman by the name of Winslow from new york She wher built without knees and her Seames wher caulkd with poplar Wedges and White lead and cotton then she wher fitted out at the yard. The officers that wher attached to her wher captin Wiliam Mervine and first Lieutenant Franklin Buckhannan and other surboarderate oficers the guner of the schooner experiment wher mr John martin Received his appointment from the Honable Major genral Andrew Jackson preident of the united States the 31 day of march 1832 on the day befor she sailed from the yard She wher visited by the Hon Major genral Andrew Jackson preident of the united States and his cabnet and difrent Senorters and Reprantative from difrent States the honable levi wood Berry [Levi Woodbury] Wher Sectertary of the Navy at that time and he wher a Honable and accomplished gentelman for he issued a proclamation in 1831 [illegible] to the navy


Shiner Diary Page 48
Page 48 of the Michael Shiner Diary

49       1832

that all the seamen that wher on ships of war and the Merrines and all that wher in ordanary chose to stop ther grog that the goverment would alow them six 6 cents per day for it in aBout the Middle of april 1832 the united States schooner experiment Sail from washington navy yard and hadent retired [?] Many days Befor she had to return again and get fitted out with knees and beams

the time the colery broke out in about June and July august and September 1832 it Raged in the City of washington and evry day they wher twelve or 13 carried out to they graves a day and that wher small number to what died in diferent parts of the cuntry a day the sun rised and set Red prineerpally all that year out and two Black Spots could Be discovered disstint in the Sun about the size of a dollar i Believe that where a token of the deseas i never shal forget Docter Boyd the last part of august 1832 in the washington navy yard had a firm Sollid peace of fresh beef he had it run up to the flag sSaff at night and next morning when it were hauld down it wher Black and green and that convince the people that deseas wher in the air41



41. In 1832 cholera was a relatively new disease, having just arrived in the United States from Asia by way of Europe. While there is no exact mortality figures for Washington, DC, in 1832 the disease killed over 3,000 people in New York and over 4,000 in New Orleans.

Shiner Diary Page 49
Page 49 of the Michael Shiner Diary

50       1832

i never shal forget in october 1832 genral Scott arived home from the idian War to new york he hadnt bein long in new york befor he was orderard By the Honable Major genral Andrew Jackson president of the united States then after he arrived in Washington to received his orders from the president to go down to South Carolinene without delay the instruction that he received from the president honorab Carried out to the saisfactory to the government and the people without the lost of life and may the lord grant that south Caroliner and all the other states Cling to one another with the assistance of the Almighty god42 launching of the united States Revernu Cutter Jackson the 29 day of november 1832 on Thursday and Built at the washington navy yard by the Constructor Colnal Wiliam doughty and built in the upper Ship house The death of Mr Thomas howard Sr Died the 5 of December 1832 on Wensday in Washington formly clerk of the washington navy yard



42. Michael Shiner is referring to the "Nullification Crisis" which was initiated by South Carolina's threat to succeed from the Union. President Jackson's strong response (which Shiner supported) ended the crisis.

Shiner Diary Page 50
Page 50 of the Michael Shiner Diary


the united states Revennu cuter Jackson Sailed from washington Navy yard the 5 day of January 1833 on monday under the command captin Sands the united States Treasury ofice Burnt down the 31 day of march 1833 between twelve and one oclock on Saturday an awful fier it gave such a light that you could see the paper flying in the air from the Building

The united States Revinner Marion Sailed from Washington Navy Yard under the command of captin Jones the 1 day of april 1833 on monday

A disturbance occured Between the Hon Major genral Andrew Jackson president of the united States and mr Randolph on Board of a Steam Boat at alaxandria virginia the 6 day of may 1833 on monday general Jackson didnt mind that he wher his way to Richmond to lay a conner Stone he wher accompanied by some of his cabinet and lieutenant colnal Charles Broom of the Merrines


Shiner Diary Page 51
Page 51 of the Michael Shiner Diary

52       1833

and captin Wiliam Ramsey of the united states navy the genral Said the scondrel let me cane him and they wher after mr Randolph but they couldnt catch him a great excitement prevailin alexandria and Washington that morning but nevertheless the genral pursuit his way down to Richmand like a man as he wher and states man and gentelman and Soldger and as as greatest one that ever step ther foot in the field and thank god allmighty above all he wouldnt let one article of the federal constitution be trampled under foot if he knew it he wher as honest upright man as ever lived he paid no respect to persons while ever they done Right

the 5 day of June 1833 on wensday my Wife and Childdren philis Shiner [Phillis Shiner] wher sold to couple of gentelman Mr Franklin and mr John armfield and wher caried down to alexandria on the Six day of June 1833 on Thursday the 7 day of June 1833 on friday i went to alexandria 3 times in one day over the long Bridge and i wher in great distress But never the less with the assistance of god i got My Wife and Childdren Clear


Shiner Diary Page 52
Page 52 of the Michael Shiner Diary

they wher a Sad acident occured in Washington navy yard to germmen man by the name of Slake in Deck of the upper Ship House wher they whor Driving piles slake wher orderd to shove the pile out the poor fellow wher a green hand and in stead of him shovin it oft with something else he takein his head to push it oft and his head wher caught in between the plains and pile and his head wher takein right oft of his shoulders on the 18 day of June 1839 on tuesday in all those days that passed and gone the pile driving wher superindend by the Master Joiner when this accident ocured comodore Isaac Hull wher present and Captain John h. Aulick and first lieutenant Joseph Hull and Sailin Master Maramaduke Dove Boat swain David eaton


Shiner Diary Page 52.1
Page 52.1 of the Michael Shiner Diary

and mr thomas lindle that wher Master Joiner of washington navy yard wher present at that time and Mr John Smoot Sr quaterman to mr lindle wher presnt at that time


Shiner Diary Page 52.2
Page 52.2 of the Michael Shiner Diary

53       1833

i am under ten thousand oblagation to the Hon major genral Ham lin for his kindness to me and my Wife and Children43 on the 7 day of June 1833 on friday the General laid a Detachment44 on my Wife and 3 childdren at mr armfield Jail and takein them from ther and put them in the county Jail of alexandria to wait action of the court and my wife and childdren Reemained in the county Jail in alexandria from the 7 of June 1833 until the eleven of June 1833 on Tusday and the Same day Mr levy pumphrey exacuted papers and Manermited them free the papers wher exacuted at the City Hall in washington she [Phillis Shiner ] came up from alexandria on the 12 day of June 1833 on wensday and i am allso under oblagations to Mr Steil and Mrs Steil for ther kindness to my Wife and Childdren while they wher in the Jail and may the allmighty Bless them they gave me such a Race at that time that all the people that wher acquainted with the affair in alexandria wher sorry for me and appeard to be wiling to Relieve me of my disstress45



43. John Armfield and Isaac Franklin were the nation's most notorious slave dealers. The firm's slave pen was located at 1315 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia, and managed by John Armfield. Isaac Franklin established and ran the firm's markets at Natchez and New Orleans. By the 1830s they were sending more than 1,000 slaves annually from Alexandria to their Natchez and New Orleans markets to help meet the demand for slaves in Mississippi and surrounding states. Franklin and Armfield's procedure was to send an annual overland coffle, or slave caravan, from Virginia to their Forks of the Road market near Natchez, Mississippi. If Phillis Shiner and her children had not gained their freedom they would almost certainly have been forced into a slave coffles leaving Alexandria,VA, in mid to late summer and forcibly taken through to Natchez, Mississippi, and the Forks of the Road slave market where they would have been sold to the highest bidder. During such overland marches male slaves were usually manacled and chained together in double files and were under the close supervision of mounted drivers. Women such as Phillis Shiner would have walked while their children and injured slaves rode in the wagons that accompanied the coffle. The white males guarding the coffles were normally armed with both guns and whips. In the period between 1825 and 1830 the average price for young adult male slaves in Virginia was $400. In contrast, Isaac Franklin sold four slaves (sex unspecified) at the Forks of the Road in 1826-27 for $700, $600, $500 and $450.

44. The proper reference is to a writ of attachment, which is a court order allowing a party to seize to take into custody another person's property (in the case of slavery, another person's slave).

45. The manumission reads as follows,

Know all me by these presents that I Levi Phumphrey of the city of Washington in the District of Columbia for divers good and sufficient causes me thereun to moving have manumitted emancipated set free and relieved from Slavery a negro women named Phillis and her three children named Ann Harriet and Mary Ann purchased by me at the sale of my father’s property the said Phillis being at the time age about twenty five years and her three children aged as follows Ann about four years - Harriet about three years and Mary Ann about four months the said Negro women Phillis is in good health and entirely competent to obtain livelihood for herself and children by her own labor. And that I do by these presents manumit emancipate set free and discharge from Labor & Slavery the said Phillis and her three children. In witness whereof I have hereto subscribe my name and affix my seal the 11th day of June in the year of our Lord one Thousand - Eight Hundred and thirty-three. (District of Columbia Free Negro Registers 1821 1861, Volume 2, pp.255 -256, NARA RG 21.)

Levi Pumphrey’s former slave “Hanson”, remembered “I was owned by Levi Pumphrey an old man with one eye, a perfect savage; he allowed no privileges of any kind, Sunday or Monday.” (Stills, William, The Underground Railroad (Revised Edition), Volume 2, Philadelphia: William Stills, 1886, p.115.) 

Shiner Diary Page 53
Page 53 of the Michael Shiner Diary

54       1833

i am under Great oblagation to Comodore isaac Hull for the time my Wife wher Sold to george he had command of the washington navy yard foer his kindness to me and allso to Captain John H Aulic46 for his kindness to when my wife were Sold to george and allso to captain Joseph Hull for his kindness to me at that time he wher first lieutenant of the washington navy yard and also under the same obligation to Major Cary Seldon who wher Naval Store Keepper and allso to Mr. John etheridge which at that time was Comodores clerk and allso to David eaton Boat swain

all those above name gentelman all of them wher wiling to help me out my my disstresses in a honest up right way when my Wife and Childdren wher snacht away from me and sold on the 5 day of June 1833 on wensday from near West alley between 7 and eighth st east May the lord Bless them all i shal never forget them



46. See footnote 39.


55       1833

Mr John Judge a irish man by Birth Received his orders from the navy Department on the 18 day of october 1833 at washington navy yard on Thursday that his serrices wher no more Required Mr Judge wher Master of the Machinery and patend makein

Mr Wiliam ellis engineer Takein charge of the Machinery and engine of the washington navy yard the 17 of October 1833 on friday and wher master of his Business when he came to the Navy yard they wasnt But one engine and before Mr ellis left he constructed some engine in Washington Navy yard that are hard to Beat Ther are two engines in the washington Navy yard that are in the Copper Rolling Mill that wher Built by Mr. William ellis and the engine over to the ordnance Shop47

The Metors fell from the elements the 12 of November 1833 on Thursday in washington it frightened the people half to Death48



47. William Ellis, Washington Navy Yard engineer, was born in Pennsylvania in 1807. He moved to Washington, DC, and later ran a successful business with brother Jonas Ellis at which manufacturing steam engines.

48. Michael Shiner was observing the "Leonid Meteor Shower." Another observer noted, "On the night of November 12-13 1833 a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth... The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm. Their numbers... were quite beyond counting; but as it waned a reckoning was attempted from which it was computed on the basis of that much-diminished rate that 240,000 must have been visible during the nine hours they continued to fall." From: Agnes Clerke Victorian Astronomy Writer. [This information was supplied by Peter Jennisken, Ph.D., of NASA in an email to John Sharp, dated June 20, 2007.]

Shiner Diary Page 55
Page 55 of the Michael Shiner Diary

56       1834

Starting of a large no 1 engin and all the machinery the 28 day of october 1834 on thursday She caried all the machinery that wher atached to her eight saws wher a going and two trip hammers one after another and all the Machinery throughout the Building. she carried it with the greates of ease i believe she would of carried as much again if it had wher started and all of the machinery by mr Bush and Co comodore Isaac Hull wher present and captain John galico and first lieutenant William J Belt and Sailin Master Mamaduke dove and boat swain David eaton and mr Bash and Co and mr William ellis wher present the engin and the Machinery proved entirely sacisfactory to the Department and to commodore Hull and his oficers After that mr wiliam ellis Started from that time improved the yard in Machinery at Washington navy yard

The Death of thomas lindle in washington the ninth day of November 1834 on Sunday at that time wher Master Joinner of the washington navy yard


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Page 56 of the Michael Shiner Diary

57       1835

Joseph C pagget a Ship Carpenter by trade fell From the larbard side of united States frigate Columbia in washington navy yard he [fell] off the stage that led into one spare Deck ports and he never stop untel he Reached the Slip poor fellow he hollered manfully on the 11 day of may 1835 on Monday moring at sun Rise mr pagget never came out no untel august and he is a smart tractable man as anny you can scare up in washington or out of washington49

they wher a great turn out of the Merlicia [Militia] in washington on the 27 day of June 1835 on saturday they wher the Ragedis white people that ever i saw in my life and they uniforms was of old rags and them that wher officer they aplelts wher of cowes hoofs and they had Drums and fifes and they had clare inets ther Drums wher composed of olde tin pans and olde pots and all kinds of olde sheet iron and they fluts clare inets and fifes and bugles wher composed of Rams horn and oyster horns



49. Joseph M. Padgett (1808 - 1865), Master Laborer, survived his fall to later become overseer of the yard laborers. Padgett was also one of the founders of Washington Navy Yard Beneficial Society, an organization which helped Yard workers with funeral expenses and provided for their widows and orphans. He is buried at Congressional Cemetery. His son (also named Joseph M. Padgett) worked at the Washington Navy Yard for over 50 years, retiring in 1920.

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Page 57 of the Michael Shiner Diary

58       1835

and they Marched all trough the City that day Befor the day wher spent they started to pay a visit to the presidents Mansion But the Hon Major genral Andrew Jackson not bein in favor of tramplin The law down under ther feet the gates wher closed on them and the genral wouldnt receive them then they Taken up they line of March on the presidents Mansion to the Navy yard to pay comodore Hull a visit and the Comodore had the gates Closed on Them They Marched a round on the Hill until a hour or two befor Sun then of the perrade they gatherd up near the navy yard gate at a Tav ern on 8 st kept by the name of Mr John Free and ther it ended with a fight it was so gooder man and gooder Boy Richard allen belong to it and Noble Clemons Thomas Parker and Mr John Rainbow and great manny Moore of them and i forget ther names and at that time they had commenced Rebuilding the Columbia friggte and at that time great many strange carpenters here from difrent parts of the country


Shiner Diary Page 58
Page 58 of the Michael Shiner Diary

59      1835

the 28 day of July 1835 Tuesday they wher a great excitement prevailed in the washington navy yard a Bout some Compersision [compression] pins that wher forged in the Black Smith Shop they were a great many of them missin and they couldent give no account what became of them and they were orders given for them to keep a look out and to Deteced the person that were caught takein them and they caught the man at Dinner hour and he got outside of the gate before the sargent could catch him. i never shall forget the Sargent of the guard that day were sargent Denison But they were a united States warrent issued for the man and that night they caught the man and Brought him over and put him in Jail at that time they Wher rebuilding the Columbia frigate and the next day after this affair comodore Hull issued a [order] that no Mechanics or labores should not eat there Dinners in anny of those shops in Dinener hour and that time they were ship carpinters here from diferent parts of the country at work on the collumbia [Columbia] frigate and they got insilted at the ordes that50



50. The orders to which Michael Shiner refers to are as follows: " The Mechanics and laborers employed in the Yard with the exception of the Anchor Smiths & Engineers are prohibited entering the Workshops Ship houses and other places where the public property tools are deposited during the hours allotted for meals. The Mechanics & laborers are forbidden to bring their meals into the Yard either in baskets bags or otherwise and none will be permitted to eat their meals within the Yard unless specifically permitted by the Commandant. The Anchor Smith Foundry men & attendants of the Steam Engines are so permitted wherever their fires are kept during meal hour " General Orders for the Regulation of the Navy Yard, Washington, DC (circa 1833 - 1850 Washington Navy Yard, orders no. 13 and 14].

Shiner Diary Page 59
Page 59 of the Michael Shiner Diary

60       1835

Commodore Hull ishsared and evry one of them struck and said they wouldnt work anny moore and at the same time they wher collered man from Baltirmoore by the name of isral Jones a caulker by Trade he was the foman Caulker51 of those Colerded Caulkers and they wher fifteen or twenty of them here at that time Caulkin on the Col lumbia and the Carpinters made all of them knock oft two them and i the height of this excitement they were a Rumor flying around about a colered man by the name of Snow about a expression he had made about the Mechanics wifes god kowes wether he said those things or not and at that time snow kept a Restaurant on the Corner of six street and pennsilvanian west in the cellar and at the time all the Mechanics of classes gathered into snows Restaurant and broke him up Root and Branch and they were after snow but he flew for his life and that night after they had broke snow up they threatened to come to the navy yard after commodore Hull

But they didnt come that night and the nex day commodore Hull Received orders from the navy department from the Hon secretary of the navy Mr levy wood bury to fortify the yard52



51. Israel Jones lived in Baltimore, Maryland; his residence was on Forest Street, North of Douglass. Jones was a free black and foremen of the Baltimore-based caulking crew that Commandant Isaac Hull had brought to the Washington Navy Yard.

52. Michael Shiner refers here to the strike for a ten hour workday that took place that year at most federal shipyards. This movement began in the Philadelphia shipyard and rapidly spread down the eastern seaboard. While the Washington Navy Yard strikers failed to win a ten hour day that year, their names were later restored to the yard rolls and President Martin Van Buren in 1840 issued an executive order placing all federal shipyards on a ten hour workday.

The Yard strikers (as Michael Shiner wrote) blamed Commodore Isaac Hull for bringing in black caulkers from Baltimore, Maryland. These strikers believed that black workers were to be used to break their strike. This and other incidents exacerbated always simmering racial tension in Washington, and Washington Navy Yard white mechanics and laborers went on a three day rampage in which they threatened blacks and broke up their businesses and property. After days of disorder and riot, President Andrew Jackson ordered a company of US Marines to restore order.

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Page 60 of the Michael Shiner Diary

61       1835

in such a provision to protect all the government property Therin and him selve at Risk of all hazards and the yard were as well fortified as anny place i ever saw less then not time it were in a fighting condition by commodore Hull i dont believe they were going to be trouble to the yard they done it to tantalize commodore Hull in all this excitement the 7 of August 1835 on friday it was reported that Mrs Doctor Thornton young Mulat to man said that he was going to knock his Mistress in the head with axe and he were arrested and put in the Jail still the mob raged with great vigor and as fast as they were arrested they were lodged in Jail on the 8 day of August 1835 on saturday the mob surrounded the Jail and swear they would pull the Jail down and the Constable makin threats they said their objects was to get Mrs Thortons Mullateto man52a out and to hang him with out Judge or juror and evry effort was made by the Marshal of the District and the united States District Artoneny lawer Frances key Sr and the Hon53




52a. The "young mulatto" man was Arthur Bowen, 18 years old, and a slave to Mrs. Anna Thorton. Based on Mrs Thorton's accusation that Bowen tried to murder her, Arthur Bowen was tried and convicted of attempted murder. The prosecutor in the Bowen case for the District of Columbia was Francis Scott Key, the author of the "Star Spangled Banner." Mrs. Thornton eventually had second thoughts regarding her accusations and wrote to President Andrew Jackson a long letter, urging Jackson to pardon Bowen, which President Jackson did on 4 July 1836.

53. American historians have pointed out that the year 1835 saw more urban riots (53) than in any year prior to the Civil War. As in the case of the Washington DC riot described by Shiner, most of these riots were the result of white mobs attacking blacks or as in the Baltimore City riot of that same year, mobs attacking "foreigners" (i.e. Irish Catholics). See Daniel Howe, page 431.

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62       1835

Wiliam A Bradly that wher Mayo[r] of washington at that time evry efert wher made by the oficers to preserve peace and harmony among these men but all of it appeard in vain and they wher not surfichient Milertary force to guard the Jail and orders came down from the navy department to lieut Colnal Henderson that were at that time lieutenant colnal of the Merrine Core by the Hon Seceritary of the Navy levy Wood Berry to send a Detachment of united States Merrines without Delay to the guard the united States Jail in washington and lieutenant Colnal henderson complied speedly the Merines went up to the Jail on 8 august 1835 on Saturday and they done ther duty without faction or fav or. When this great excitement Commence the Hon Major genral Andrew Jackson that wher president of the united States that time Wher absent from the City and When it got in it height the general arrived home and after he arrived home he sent a Messenge to those gentelmen Merchanics to know what was the Matter with them\


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Page 62 of the Michael Shiner Diary

63       1835

and if they wher anny thing he could do for them in an Hon [honorable] way to promote ther happiness he would do so some of repliyed to the genral that the negros had made diferent threats what they could do the general reply was to them by ertern nal god in this City there wher a Jail and a court and if those negros had violated anny law what ever they shal be tried by the court and punish serverly and gentelmen if you have in anny disposion to Rebelment to let me know it and i will lend you a hand in it and the general prevailed on all the oficers of the armmy and the navy to stand watch and watch and all the good citizens to preserve the law By the eternnal god the law must be preserved and shal be preserve at the [illegible] of Hazerds captain Wiliam Ramsay Sr united States navy wher on the Padrole and various other oficers of the armmy and navy the good Citizens of washington in a couple of weeks they had the City of washington as quite as a Church and the laws wher all respected and evry thing went on quietely


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Page 63 of the Michael Shiner Diary

64    1835

on the 12 day of august 1835 on wensday night those gangs had nearly expired but they gather in the 6 ward made a great cheering and the century [sentry?] that wher on the wall at the navy yard gave the Report to commodore Hull that those men wher coming and evry man were at his post in the yard from the Roll of the drum but those fellows Jest done it for to tanti lise comanodore hull they hadent no notion of comint to the yard and at that time in washington navy yard there wher 2 92 pound Canonade wher placed at the flag staff and ther Muzels right out the gate and charged heavily with grape and canister and if they had of Run compeled to discharge loads out of these they would of tore garison trects all to pieces and all houses out But thank god god every thing wher settled peaceBlelly without that and after this flurry they still continued working on the Columbia frigate

on the 25 day of august 1835 on tuesday the Cars started for the first time from washington to Baltimore and hold passel [of] people went and the councilman and the alldermen went free pasage to Baltimoore and back


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Page 64 of the Michael Shiner Diary

65       1835

among those posingers whe sailing master Mamaduke Dove of the united States navy

after all this mob wher over the Wife of the men that wher coght with the Copper in the washington navy yard she went to the Hon Major geeral andrew Jackson that were president of the united States at that time Crying with Tears in her eyes to the genral asking him Couldnt he Release her Husband from the Jail and he wher in the Jail and hadent had his trial yet and the generals Reply was to the woman to go home my good Womman and make your selve easy your hus band hadnt had his trial yet i have no demands over him yet for he is to be tried by 12 men and if he convicted and found guilty and then he falls in my hands and i will carry in the one door and bring him out the other an the man was wher convicted and found guilty and convicted sentence by the Judge and that tru hearted Honoble Major general andrew Jackson complied with his promise that he made to that poor Womman for the man were turned loose and went to his famly


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Page 65 of the Michael Shiner Diary

66       1835

on the 6 of September 1835 on Sunday they wher one half of us ran out of the yard we belonge to the ordinary at that time by 1 lieutenant William J Bell who wher 1 lieutenant of the washington navy yard at that time and then we hadn't had rain out of the yard before for 3 Weeks and better and as i where going i cauled at the guard house and i Borrowed a Dollar from a Merrine and his name wher Wheeler and he wher a watch maker by Trade now sais he dont get drunk Mike as you have repented in the yard so long you may get tight and i said know sir i want to let you know you may depend i got as tight as i could get pretty near and i got so Wild on Capitol Hill they jumped on me and i had to fight my way down until i got to the Catholic Church and when i got there all the people where going in the Church and i Made noise and holle like a hound and me and Mr van Horsix came out after me sais com Shiner go a way from here you are a bad fellow i got down on my hands and knees and poored up the gravel and told mr van horse six that i


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67       1835

wasent going to hurt him then i made a noise like a Cat before i left and i told mr van horse no if could lay dead spirits he couldent lay live one then he told me go off you Scamp you drunk and i went off verry quitely after he told me But after i came to my [illegible] senses i were sorry i came by the Church But nevertheless after i left the Church i fell in contact with some fellows and they want to take me anny how and i fought my way trough them Clear down on the navy yard. Hill and when i got down on the hill they doubled teamd on me down at forerest conner they pelted me with stones and brick bats and some them bounce off of me as some as i lined with the injin Rubber and i fought my way up as far as Mr nokes ally in front of the center house they had to caul out the Merrines to help Take me they Takin Tho and this Shot at me from [illegible] house and the ball Crazed some wher by the Censer [Sentry] house but they takein me that night and put me in


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Page 67 of the Michael Shiner Diary

68       1835

The lock up house and they had put some drunking wom man in ther and i Broke out of the lockup house then let the olde wom man out then they Sur roundered me with their forces that night and put me back again and Mr Bury wher police oficer of the 6 ward and i wher Brought out next morning on the 7 of September 1835 on monday and brought before mr James Marshal54 Madistrate and mr. Marshal came out of his doore with to try the case in the street and i ask mr Marshal where was his ofice and mr Marshal then [said] it was the United States case and he wouldnt try it that it must be Retried by Docter Clark then the case where brought up for Witness they had to the lockup house again and kept me in the lockup until sun down then they tried the case and Doctor Clark sais gentelman you all have appeared against this colord man and i dont see a scratch of pin on anny of you



54. James Marshall was a Washington, DC, Ward 6 blacksmith who also acted as a Justice of the Peace.

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Page 68 of the Michael Shiner Diary

69       1835

now gentelmen Who are going to pay this man master for beating him up with Brick Bats55 and Stones Docter Clark said iam not going to be Humbug [?] in this way anny longer for i will give this man up to commodore Hull Mr Bury take mike in the yard and give him up to the commodore and this was after sun down and Bury police oficer takein in me in the yard and giv me up to first lieutenant William J. Belt and Bury said Mr Belt here Shiner sire the squire has sent him to the yard sire and lieutenant Belt said oh Shiner you have bein wher the sun shines a lot again go along Shiner down to the orenary house On the 8 day of September i went to my Work in the paint Shop on Tuesday and Captain galico Came by the Riggin loft and Cauled to mr inch Master painter and told him to send that Shiner out ther and when i came out Befor the captain which sais the Captain i let you out on libity sunday and you went fighting all over the City then the captain ask me was i fighting told yes sire i fought all i know how for they wher fighting me



55. The Judge is here issuing a threat to the attackers. As a slave Shiner had virtually no legal rights as an individual and was considered an item of personal property. Although Shiner had no rights of redress personally against his attackers, his owner, Thomas Howard, had the right to bring civil legal action for compensatory damages against Shiner's attackers for any injury received by Shiner.

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70       1835

I will sais he go long to your work sire if you hadent of told me the truth i was going to lick you sire and dont let here anny more of it sire When i youster g drink liker i never Trouble anny person what ever without they would get after me and tantalise me and ploug me and when i found that anny Boddy want to impose on me i all ways reiddy then for Battle and i wher allways submission to a oficer cival or Milatary

Com modore Isaac Hull and his family left washington navy yard the 2 day of october 1835 on friday he gave his command up to captin John galigo [Gallagher]56 commodore Hull com manded washington navy yard 6 years and 6 Months and when he first came to the yard it was in a awful condition commodore Hull wher a industres [illegible] oficer and a scoialable gentelmen for his work at washington navy yard proved his skill and industoana for and may the lord Bless Com modore Hull and i hope he is at rest from his labour



56. Captain John Gallagher relieved Commodore Isaac Hull as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard. Gallagher served as Commandant from 1 October 1835 to 1 March 1836.

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71       1836

Died in washington City on the 18 day of January 1836 tuesday Mr timothy Wind formly a purser of the united States navy at that time wher purser of Washington navy yard

launching of the united States frigate Columbia at washington navy yard on the ninth day of March 1836 on Wensday and wher Built and Constructed By Colnal Wiliam Doughty Sr and mr James owner Sr Master Builder

The Hon Major genral andrew Jackson president of the united states at that time wher present and the Hon Martin van Buran vice president of the united States Wher present and a great manny of the Senators and Repesentatives that hadnt gone home wher present and Captain John galigo wher present and 1[st] liet Wiliam J Belt lieut Wm P pearsey wher present and Sailing Master Marmaduke Dove wher present and Boat swain David Eaton wher present and when she was launch she got Stuck in Mud and they had to Roll her and it was some time befor they could get the ship long side of the Wharf


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72       1836

and She Wher got in Betwein 10 and 11 o clock that night and by half past Twelve o clock she was at her Moorenes handsomely

Commodore Daniel paterson and captain Joseph smoot takein com mond of the washington navy yard on the 26 day of march 1836 on Saturday

Major general Santa aner the Mexican general in Texas wher takein prisner by the Hon Major general Sam Houston the 21 of april 1836 on thursday then he wher conveyed sceretly from Texas to Washington by the Hon Major general Sam houston and conducted by him to the precident House and intriduced to the Hon Major General Andrew Jackson president of the united States at that time and the Declarin Texes indipendance from Mexico While he wher here in Washington and he may thank his almighty for his life Bein preserved and all so he never ought to forget general Houston for his kindness to him and he ought to never forget the Hon Major general andrew Jackson


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Page 72 of the Michael Shiner Diary

73       1836

Brigader general archaBal Henderson and his oficers and the united States Merines under his command takin ther line of March from the Merines BarRacks at washington on the 1 day of June 1836 on Wensday and Caulded By the diferent garrisons of the Marines to take all that wher fit for duty the united State Merines was to cooperate with the United States Armmy in the idian [Indian] war all throuh the Southern States wher the idians wher troublesome and down about george [Georgia] and east Florida Tempo Bay and Major general Winfield Scott idian war 1836 and Brevet Major general Edmund penelton goine and Brevet Manot general Jessup Wher in it and a great many other officers of the armmy and they had a terible siege with them that year And may the almighty with his kind Wisdom enable the American people to keep ther armmy and navy together for they are no getting along With out it in the cuntry or out of the cuntry and May the united States Flag Continue to Wave with the assistance of the allmighty god


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74       1836

the 12 of September 1836 on Monday the Battle of North point wher celebrate in Washington By the Baltimorins and by diferent companys and Rigiments and the volinteers companys of washington and the troops wher Commanded on that day by Major general Alexandria Mc Con[nell] of the united States arm my and adugent general Rodger Jones of the united States armmy and lieut Coln Robert Wainright of the united States Merine Core and it wher a Betiful day and it wher a great parrade that day

The 10 of october 1836 on Monday a Detachment of united States Merines left the Merine garison at washington under the Command of captain Mc Cauly of the Merines Core for the united States liner or Battle Ship North Caroliner at gosport navy yard Wher com manded by Commodore Henry E. Ballard57

on the 4 day of December 1836 on Sunday i never have had a drop of licqer in my Mouth Since that time of no kind

The united States general post ofice Burnt down in washington the 15 of December 1836 on Thursday



57. Captain Henry E. Ballard was Commandant of Washington Navy Yard from 1 October 1849 to 15 October 1852.

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[75]       1837

the 4 of March 1837 on Saturday When the Hon Martin van Buren Came in the Capitol square at the North gate to Be sworn in and the Hon Magor general andrew Jackson was with him and the Hon Colnal Richard M. Johnson vice precident amoung them wher the Hon Levi Wood Berry and as those gentelmen came in at the North gate the Croud Rush in after them and i wher with them and Jest as those gentelmen got out Car ridge and wher entering the steps of the portico a nother crowd come in at the South gate and i wher right in between the two Crouds and couldent get on any further and after the Hon Mr van Buren wher sworn in the Hon Major General Andrew Jackson Addressed the people as follows felow citizens of the united States Senators and house of Representatives fore you well all though some of you difers in political opinions But with the assistance of the Devine providence that has held us To gather for so long a period up to the present age still will hold us to gather if we Will do right.

general Henderson returned home from the idian [Indian war] in 1837


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76       1838

The united States Merines Returned home from the florida war in 1838 to washington under the Com mand of Major Wiliam Dulaney when they came home you could not tell wether they wher indians or white men they were Sun Burnt and Completely exausted

The united Steamer Fulton arived at washington navy yard under the Command of Commodore Skiner


they Wher a great drought in the City of Washing[ton] we had a smart of rain in May and in June they wher but little Rain and in July it wher Hot and dry and evry thing on the earth sufering for vegertation and no Rain in august the ground wher so Hot that the heat would exstend trough the Souls of your Shoes particerlar thin Souls and we hadent anny [rain] untel the Middele of September of 1838 The drought didnt onely [stop?] washington it existened in diferent Section of the counttry i have So Much in my head that i dident gave the dates of this


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77       1838

The Death of commodore Daniel patterson58 in washington navy yard the 25 of august 1839 on Sunday and wher Buired the 28 day of august 1839 on Wensday

Commodore thomas holdup Steiphens takein Com mand of washington Navy yard in 1839

The Working class of people of the united States Machanic and laboures ought to never forget the Hon ex president Van Buran for the Ten hour sistom for when they youster have to work in the Hot Broiling sun from sun to sun when they wher Building the Treasure ofice before he gave the time from six to 6 the laborer youster have to go ther and get the bricks and Mortar up on the scaf fold befor the Masons come untel the president ishurd a proclamation that all the Mechanics and laborous that wher employed By the day By the federal government should Work the ten hour Sistom from six to six i think and May the lord Bless Mr. Van Buran it seims like they have forgot Mr van Buran name it ought to be Recorded in evry Working Man heart59



58. Captain Daniel Patterson was the Washington Navy Yard Commandant from 1 March 1836 to 25 August 1839.

59. In 1840 President Martin Van Buren, by Executive Order changed work hours in federal naval ship yards from 12 to 10 per day. The order as implemented on the Washington Navy Yard stated "By Direction of the President of the United States all public establishments will hereafter be regulated as to working hours by the "ten hour System". The hours for labor in this Yard will therefore be as follows viz: From the 1st day of April to the 30th day of September inclusive from 6 o'clock a.m. to 6 o'clock p.m. -- during this period the workmen will breakfast before going to work for which purpose the bell will be rung and the first muster held at 7 o'clock -- at 12 o'clock noon the bell will be rung and then home from 12 to 1 o'clock p.m. allowed for dinner from which to 6 o'clock p.m. will constitute the last half of the day.

From the 1st day of October to the 31st day of March the working hours will be from the rising to the setting of the Sun -- the Bell will then be rung at one hour after Sunrise that hour being allowed for breakfast -- at 12 o'clock noon the bell will again be rung and one hour allowed for dinner from which time say 1 o'clock till sundown will constitute the last half of the day. No quarters of days will be allowed."
General Orders for the Regulation of the Navy Yard Washington DC. (Circa 1833 - 1850, order numbers 29).

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Page 77 of the Michael Shiner Diary
Published: Sat Nov 14 22:57:43 EST 2020