Williams Howland Jr. (Willie) was born October 24th 1850 in Portsmouth, NH

His parents were staying there temporarily while his father Williams oversaw construction of some sailing ships.

Just 4 weeks later they left for New York to board the Sea Serpent to begin Willie’s first journey.

At the time of the Journal they are on their 3rd Voyage Around the World!

At just 2 years of age, Willie has spent more time at sea than on shore!

What was Willie like?

Like any mother would, Sarah writes about Willie almost every day

so we know quite a bit about the little guy!

His Good Qualities…His Maladies…His Misbehaviors…His Playfulness…and Her Hopes for His Future!

It seems that in the mid-1800’s parents were encouraged to develop the “character” of their children – obedience, piety, generosity and a love of nature – beginning at a young age, but they were not encouraged to officially “teach” them anything until the age of six.

On most days Willie did exhibit those qualities of good character, but he also had a thirst for knowledge and a highly retentive memory that were remarkable for a child of such a young age and therefore could not be ignored.

Sarah seems to express pride, but also a little fear, when describing these encounters!

Sarah describes Willie’s love of the Moon and Stars

Willie not only remembers nursery rhymes and songs,

as Sarah describes here…
…but also books meant for adults

…it seems to almost frighten them!

Willie Has Very Strong Feelings of


Willie Loves To Play!

He dearly loves to frolic, and he is as good as he can be all day.


He is a perfect treasure!

Willie amuses himself aboard ship with several toys they brought along –

like a Noah’s Ark, some pull toys and a menagerie of animals.

He enjoys playing active games with whomever will join in –

  Hide and Seek (his favorite), playing “store” and even rolling an orange on deck.

The live animals onboard provide amusement as well!

Noah’s Ark
Playing “Store”
Playing on Deck
A Full Day of Play
Spending Time with Mother and Father

Animals are a Favorite Topic

In Books
As Toys
A 2 1/2 year old Birthday Surprise!

And also on the occasions when he came across a live animal..

A Dog on the Ship
A Dog on Shore
And a Pony in Macao!

Like Most Little Boys

Willie Can’t Wait to “Grow Up”

Willie Often Imitates his Father on Deck Unfortunately, he also wants to imitate the Steward’s son, Charlie

Willie did have his moments of Misbehavior

Almost always, his parents preferred kinder methods of punishment.

A Naughty Day

His little bright, intelligent mind develops itself so beautifully.

May we be able to guide it aright, also his disposition and the feelings of his heart –

check and prune where necessary and aid to develop all that is lovely and beautiful.

Testing Boundaries

Willie has a strong will of his own, and strong passions and needs a tender, firm government.

He is very reasonable and becomes more and more so –

when wrong a look of regret or sorrow from me is generally all that is necessary.

His little arms are round my neck in a moment and his kiss on my cheek and lips.

As a World Traveler,

Willie has had some Unique Experiences

Dreaming of Travels to Other Places
What was a Playdate like in Hongkong?
What was Willie’s Birthday Party Like in Macao?

Sarah’s Wish for Willie

Much, almost everything, as regards Willie’s disposition and future character

– and in many respects happiness – depend on us, his parents.

May we have strength and grace given us to check his faults and cultivate his many, many fine qualities.

He is easily guided, most affectionate and his love for his father and me is very strong.

Dear, dear little one, how thou has twined thyself round our hearts.

If Willie lives, he bids fair to make a fine man.

He has indeed a noble intellect for such a boy.

May God bless him and make him a truly good man.

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