SEAMEN AND THEIR SLEEPING PLACES. - Carter and others v. Shackford. This was an action brought the other day in the Liverpool County Court, by four seamen, named George Carter, Richard Davis, John Dingle, and William Dawson, who had been employed on board the Pioneer (s.s.), to recover L2 each from Captain J. W. Shackford, the master of that vessel, for breach of contract - Mr Norden appeared for the plaintiffs, and Mr. Grocott for the defence. Mr. Norden stated that the men signed articles for a voyage on board the Pioneer from Liverpool to Charleston, thence to any other port in the United States, and back to Liverpool. The actions were brought to recover only damages of a nominal amount, and for the purpose of establishing an important principle. The men said that there had been a breach of contract. By the articles and by the Act of Parliament a certain place was to be allowed to seamen to live and sleep in on board ship. The defendant, in violation of the Act of Parliament and the articles refused to allow the men the place they were entitled to; that they had been turned out of their proper place, and the captain had stowed it full of cotton. The men were then placed in a miserable, confined portion of the ship, along with the firemen-a place altogether illegal and unfit. The article provided that seventy-two cubic feet should be allowed for each man in the forecastle. The plaintiffs on the homeward voyage, were put into the place appropriated to the firemen, which was only sufficient for the six firemen who had to use it. On the voyage out the captain stowed away a large quantity of stores, which he had no right to do, in the forecastle where the men slept. The Act of Parliament provided that such a place should be kept free from stores of any kind. - After the examination of several witnesses, his Honor said the contract had been broken. He did not think L2 each-the amount claimed - would be too much, and he gave a verdict for that amount. - Mitchell's Maritime Register, July 11. ("SEAMEN AND THEIR SLEEPING PLACES.," The Newcastle Chronicle (Newcastle, Australia), 17 September 1868; digital images, Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ : accessed 19 October 2013).)
Note: If you think about how small 72 cubic feet is (A 6 ft man gets 3 ft in height and 3 ft in width), seamen must have been incredibly crowded.
Capt Shackford's obituary states that he took the first load of cotton to a foreign port in a steamship in 1866 (at age 27). By 1872 (at age 33) he had left the Pioneer for a position as the second officer of the Oceanic. He then became the captain of the American Steamship Illinois, the captain of Jay Gould's yacht, Atalanta, was a participant at the International Marine Conference and then to the position of marine superintendent. John William met frequently with his brothers: Captain Edward Wallace Shackford of Maine, also a seaman, and Eben Lincoln Shackford of St Paul, Minnesota, a merchant. His third brother Charles Joseph Shackford was lost at sea at age 16 in 1870.
"A PERILOUS VOYAGE FROM LIVERPOOL," The Mercury, 13 June 1872; Trove Digitised newspapers and more (trove.nla.gov.au : accessed 21 April 2013)
"SEAMEN AND THEIR SLEEPING PLACES.," The Newcastle Chronicle (Newcastle, Australia), 17 September 1868; digital images, Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ : accessed 19 October 2013).
Sons of the Revolution Pennsylvania Society, Annual Proceedings (The Society, 1906), 38-9; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 9 April 2013
Copyright 2014 Joanne Shackford Parkes