Saturday, December 29, 2018

Historical puzzles

Inconsistencies can be tolerated, many times. Actually, the need for that might be a motivation for using fuzzy techniques such as those worked by Lotfi Zadeh. That is, what some might call ambiguity might just be a normal situation when strict numeric comparison can be a problem. So, we say our height in feet and inches (in some places on the planet) rather than some precise measurement using another scale. It is nice that medical milieus post weight in kilograms rather than pounds. People might think that they are lighter than they actually are. So, a fuzzy height can be as good as needed, unless one is trying to squeeze a semi with trailer under a bridge with a strict constraint.

Ralph might have used 'foolish consistency' at one time, however we have seen enough damage from drivers ignoring warnings, in western, isolated situations. Too, in the modern world with interchangeable parts, who cares about which nameless parts was involved. But, we do, in serious accidents where history of fabrication might come into play. That just might be more of concern in the future when the reality of contracting out through levels becomes even more prevalent.

Or, trying to track farm goods that might be causing problems. Generally, referencing some class involved with an object is sufficient, for starters. We, somewhat, default to that. Look at the success of the abstracted view of news that USA Today pioneered (well remember getting a copy of the initial printing). In historical accounts, there may, and ought to be, various views. Which is taken to the top? There is a saying related to the winners writing the history.

So, Gardner Research has seen several puzzles. One will be written about next month in detail, that is, as much as we can surmise at the moment. However, another one is intriguing since it involves western settlement bridges the whole of the country of the U.S. The post, The Gardiner that was (October 2018), relates to trying to resolve several puzzles. An interim report gave some of the details about a ship that wrecked and the owner, however several facts were overlooked since they seemed to be out of scope.

However, do this work opened the door to naval commerce, and that is directly related to areas of concern for Gardner Research. Too, it affords the opportunity to learn more about this aspect of our collective past. For one, it is astounding to read of the numbers of sailors lost whither for one town or for an area. We are talking a huge number, especially for whalers, which we mean to get back to.

Now, reducing this post to only one puzzle, we'll leave the others on the stack. Who was the pilot of the ship when it wrecked? There are, at least, three names that have been reported.
  • Thomas Coffin - This was told by some who were on the ship that first came upon the wreck. Too, the individual stayed in the area and helped settle the city of Gardiner. Now this is the official view, evidently, due to the various web sites that quote the name. 
  • ___ Boyling - This came from the captain (not a passenger) of the ship that came upon the wreck. The Captain reported what he knew when he returned to San Francisco a little later. The publication, Naval Journal, reports __ Boyling, too, following the Kate Heath? 
  • George Snelling - a supposed relation to the owner of the ship. We know a little more about him. He was on the Kate Heath when it went back to San Francisco. Too, he was post master in Gardiner for a while. There is some correspondence with him and a local leader. But, where was Snelling when these letters were interchanged? Back east. He got married. In fact, the local leader mentioned this, yet the writings seem to describe Snelling as a long-time resident of Oregon.  
Are these trivial issues? Not really. It is of interest in that we had our first real social media in the naval environment. Ships signaled each other. Or, the crews chatted if they were in the same area. Then, ships reported what they saw when they got to a port that could take reports. If we looked across these reports, we could map out things just like we can in virtual space.
See post, The Gardiner that was

So, we know that the barque Bostonian that wrecked had been in New Zealand a little before it wrecked. It reported who it saw, and these sightings were confirmed by Gardner Research. However, on the reports at various places, the usual method of naming the Captain of the ship was not always followed. The New Zealand mention of the Bostonian does not mention the pilot. But, there is more that we can look at, given time.

Also, it turned out that the wives of the owner of the ship were Thomas Gardner descendants. Too, we found out that there are some errors in the Barney database for Nantucket. Along with fuzzy determinations, one must consider how much effort ought to be devoted to correcting errors. Say, the newspapers put their misprint notices in small print on some interior page. But, we're dealing with more than just ink on the page.

The family of the owner of the ship contacted us. They had their own questions. So, the NEHGS is right on; one cannot do genealogy without looking at history. And, fleshing out the characters at events of history can sure tell us a lot.

Remarks: Modified: 12/30/2018

Reported by Captain of
the Kate Heath in December
of 1850 when it returned San Francisco
12/30/2018 -- The discussion will have to consider viewpoints. As perspective is not the monolith as thought and brought forward by groups and their group think. However, with the communication delays, one can hope that a timeline would help get things straight. That is, this 1851 report mentions Bowling as conveyed by the Captain of the Kate Heath which was the first to come to the site of the wreck.

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