Wednesday, June 1

Who Should I Write To This Year?

Wondering who to write to for this year's Mail Packet Project? Here's a listing to the guys who will be in attendance at the Jane Austen festival. Some haven't submitted their short character biographies yet, I'll update this as they do. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the project and enjoy!

Remember, this year it'll be 1805 with the Acasta having just returned to Portsmouth.

Robert Freyman Captain- Born on June 15, 1754 in Portsmouth, England during the reign of George II to Reinhardt Freymann (Capt. of Marines on board HMS Centurion) and Jacqueline Louise von Stroebel of Braunschweig, in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbeuetel.  At the age of 9 he was sent to Greenwich to attend the Royal Hospital School, where he demonstrated a natural aptitude for Mathematics and Astronomy and in 1766 was appointed as Midshipman to HMS Dolphin on the vessel’s surveying voyage to the South Pacific.  Upon the return of Dolphin to England in 1768, he continued in the service of the ship being posted as Master’s Mate in 1770 and passed for Lieutenant on May 1, 1775.  Posted to HMS Preston under the command of Captain William Hotham, under whose tutelage and patronage Freymann honed his navigational skills, he experienced his first battle against a French 74 gun ship of the line.  During the American Rebellion, the Preston served on the North American Station which allowed Freymann to become familiar with coastlines of New York and Virginia.  In the intervening years of 1783 and 1789 he purchased a small cottage, named Hulldon Cottage, near Poole, England which he has continued to increase through purchase of neighboring tracts.

Capt. Freymann is fluent in German and maintains an avid interest in various areas of Natural Philosophy, particularly geology and astronomy.  When in the solitude of the Great Cabin, he enjoys reading literary works, including poetry and Goethe’s various writings, and playing the violin.

James Hamilton 1st Lieutenant- Born January 27, 1764 Northamptonshire England. 2nd son. Father: James Hamilton MP – Member of Parliament (Tory) Borough of Kettering. Mother: Frances Wellesley Uncle: Horatio Hamilton, Admiral of the Blue –retired. Formerly of the HMS Lively.

Christened in St. Andrews Church March 17, 1795. Attend school at Bishop Stopfords Acadamy in Kettering from the age of 9 to 14. Where he studied Mathematics, Latin, Greek, and theology, as well as other topics. On July 21, 1779 he received a post as Midshipman on the HMS Sphinx. 20 gun frigate. In 1783 James passed his Lt. and was immediately commissioned with the assistance of his uncle. Major actions include Battle of Camperdown, 3rd LT on HMS Triumph and the Battle of The Nile as 2nd LT aboard HMS Zealous. Currently serving as 1st LT HMS Acasta.

Thomas Tumbusch 3rd Lieutenant- the son of a Royal Navy officer who hails from Portsmouth, a seaport and naval base in Hampshire, England on the island of Portsea in the English Channel (also the modern-day home of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar). Through a connection with one of his father’s former shipmates, he began his naval career at the age of 10. He previously served under Captain Freymann as a midshipman, and has since returned to his service after being re-posted to the Acasta as Third Lieutenant. While serving on the North American station out of Halifax, he had the good fortune to secure the affection of Antonia Norton, a tailor’s daughter, which enables him to sport much finer uniforms than he would otherwise be able to afford.

James Apple Carpenter- Born in Hackney, England 1766 in April. Grew up in a family of Carriage makers and blacksmiths with a moderate shop in the east end. His father, james Appel was born in Hesse and went back to take care of family affairs some time ago. His mother, Barbara Bedwell still manages the shop and has a tendency to be to lenient on collecting payment for finished work. He has a son, Hunter that turned 18 in October of 1814 and since has gone to sea under the name of Nathaniel Bekket. He also has a daughter, Golden Jewel that turned 16 in August of 1814 that has moved with her mother to Chataguey, just outside of Montreal, Quebec. He has a new wife, Lynne, who now keeps his house in Hackney and looks in on his mother in addition to teaching many if the lesser-sorts to read and write at the new Church of St. John.

Nicholas Armitage Purser- Volunteered to serve aboard 'HMS Acasta' in 1792, with prior experience in London merchant grocer businesses and counting houses, that gave him some skills requisite for a ship's purser. His half-brother William St George, currently serving as a lieutenant on 'HMS Conqueror' (74), and Armitage does have a wife in London ('Georgiana Carr Armitage')'.

Jean Baptiste Girard Surgeon's Mate- A well traveled old Creole who has usually worked in some medical capacity on merchant ships. He has been impressed onto the HMS Acasta, but is not unhappy there. In his time Baptiste has traveled through both the East and West Indies and spent six years among the Igorots of the Spanish Philippines when a Spanish privateer (on which he was a prisoner) was shipwrecked there. During the French revolution a Captain who he admired and respected was guillotined, cementing his philosophy as a Monarchist.  His wife Marie is Igrot; she is currently living in Louisiana on the plantation of Messr. Francois Rochambeau. They have young twin boys.

Early in his career Baptiste learned that he could make extra money by collecting curiosities from his travels to sell to educated gentlemen. His non-formal education in natural history and things medical still allows him to believe many superstitions in both fields.

Samuel Hollybrass Boatswain- The bulk of Hollybrass's teen and adult life has been spent at sea. Hollybrass has followed Captain Freymann for years from ship to ship, sometimes to Freymann's dismay. A competent leader of men without the learning or refinement to be an officer. A well meaning, if gruff old seaman with no family back home that he knows of. Hollybrass is enthusiastic and lusty, but tends to do poorly with the ladies given his general appearance and lack of hygiene. 

John Griswold Ship's Chaplain- The Rev. Mr. John Phinehas Griswold was born August 2, 1755 in the town of Kenilworth, in the [then] Colony of Connecticut.  Descended from Edward Griswold of Warwickshire and loyal to the King, John received his formal education in the Colonies during those turbulent years of the rebellion before traveling to England to complete his ordination.  Upon taking residence near Warwick, John met and married the radiantly beautiful Miss Agatha W., the younger sister to Lady Caroline Linnington.
After his ordination, it was the prolific writings of the Rev. John Newton, a former sailor, who greatly influenced Griswold’s faith and practice. Newton’s books and letters along with the sermons of Rev. James Ramsay, a former Naval Surgeon, first alerted Griswold to the possibilities of serving in His Majesties Navy as a Chaplin.  News of the successes of the Evangelicals in serving in ships under “Blue Light” Captains drove Griswold to actively seek a place to serve.  But it was not until Agatha’s tragic death three years ago that Griswold was able to consider fulfilling that call.   Preaching at sea seemed a suitable balm for his weary soul, and a salary of 11.8.0 per annum was of no consequence as eternal prospects far outweighed temporal rewards. Rev. Griswold has served onboard HMS Acasta for the past two years.

Jonathan Alexander Midshipman
Jonathan Alexander is the second son of a wig maker from Inverness. Mr. Alexander's great Uncle is the 1st lieutenant aboard HMS Atlas and was able to get him a Midshipman's position aboard HMS Acasta.

William Calhoun Midshipman

Samuel Loomis Midshipman- The second son of Mr. Adam Loomis of Bury, Mr. Samuel Loomis is a diligent young midshipman hoping to rise in the ranks of His Majesty's Navy. During leave on his father's estate in Bury, Samuel enjoys hunting, riding, and courting his young betrothed like any young man. Mr. Loomis is an avid scholar of mathematics, and, although he is devoted to his career, he still has a long way to go to understand the art of sailing.
Nathaniel Beckett Able Seaman- Hailing from St. Katharine Docks in East End of London, came from a poor family and found himself on the streets fending for himself. He found himself one night climbing up the side of Tower Hamlet at the command of a navy man betting him he couldn't reach the top only to take the bet and walk out the side door of the tower sometime later. Young master Beckett completing his task found himself in his cups with the navy man later. After many ill deserved drinks Beckett awoke and found himself sailing away to his new life a crew member of HMS Superb. Some years later Beckett found himself at port and found himself in company of the French Man and Carpenter of HMS Acasta. He has lent his hand ever since.

William Miller Ordinary- Will was born in May of 1775 and hails from the west country.  He had previously served in His Majesty's Army as an artillery soldier.  Will later found work in a tavern but had a tendency to drink away much of his pay.  While at the tavern, he saw a broadside posted by some Tars recruiting for HMS Acasta and signed on in hopes for travel, adventure, and a chance to man the guns again.

Michael Arazia Able Seaman-

Michael Schwendau CookHaving been a jaeger with the Tyrolean Landwehr (milita) and after the forced peace, left the Bavarian occupation as to avoid conscription by the French puppet government. Having left Austria during the occupation by the French and wandering the world. He took the King's shilling and enlisted his skills as a chef and tavern keeper to humor the crew with his talents and is often found to prepare meals for the captain’s table. Despite leaving the beloved Austrian Alps behind, he keeps a smile and enjoys a good joke. He hopes that England will prevail and will take his discharge and make his way home to take up the Tavern his family is known for in the valley of Zell am Ziller.

Charles Winchester Landmanborn in 1760 in Dorchester, England.  His mother, Anne Marie Bousard was of French Hugenot descent. His father, James Winchester was a farmer and horse trader from Weymouth. Anne died during childbirth giving birth to the couple’s fourth child.  Shortly afterwards James was accused and arrested for a horse deal gone wrong. He spent a year in gaol.  During this time Charles and his three sisters were sent to Weymouth to live with his aunt Beatrice.  In 1770 upon his release from gaol James sold his farm and business giving the money to his sister-in-law and moved to Portsmouth. After a failed business venture there he joined the Royal Navy aboard HMS Antelope in 1772.  He never returned.

     Charles was sent to Bournemouth to apprentice as a blacksmith.  His master, Silas Hartford, was a hard man, being overly fond of gin. Charles was a little too free with his tongue for Silas and the master struck Charles across the face with a bar of pig iron. After less than a year Charles broke his indenture and ran away to Portsmouth and took a job on a fishing vessel. At age seventeen Charles signed on to a coastal trading ship making runs between Portsmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth. At age twenty-two he joined the crew of a mail packet making the run from Portsmouth to Cardiff and Bristol.

     In 1787 he married a nineteen year old Bristol girl, Sarah Powels and settled in Bath.  Like his father he took up horse trading, also dabbling in farming and sheep. He and Sarah had six children; four daughters and two sons: Elizabeth (b.1789), Rachel (b.1793), Johnathon (b.1795), Sarah (b. 1797), James (b.1799) and Anne (b.1807). In 1800 with the farm failing the family moved to Portsmouth for a year and then to Plymouth.

     In April 1802 Charles signed aboard the 18 gun brigantine HMS Imogene on a coastal cruise looking for smugglers. Over the next three years he sailed on several cruises to the Cape of Good Hope and off the coast of Guinea.  The ship ran aground and was lost in March 1805, but the entire crew was saved.  After this close scrape Charles left the service, returned to Plymouth and took a job aboard a number of coastal trading vessels over the next two years.  In 1812 Charles signed aboard a merchant vessel, the Nancy, bound for Barbados.  This vessel was captured by the American brig Federal off the coast of the Azores two weeks later.  The entire crew was taken captive and were to be taken to France.  Charles, along with 32 others, signed aboard to supplement the crew after part of the crew of the Federal went aboard the captured Nancy. En route to Boston one month later the Federal was taken by the HMS Acasta.  All British crew members (and a number of Americans) joined the crew of the HMS Acasta. At present Charles is still aboard HMS Acasta and solemnly vows if he ever sets foot on the shores of old England he will never go to sea again!

James Vassermann Surgeon's Servant- The dapper young personal servant to the ship's surgeon, Vassermann is also mute. He reads and writes well, generally making himself understood through a combination of gestures, looks and a little book and pencil he carries in his waistcoat pocket. Regardless of being of lower birth, he's very slender and handsome, making him very popular with the ladies ashore.

Sam Linden Boy- 


Thomas Hurlbut Commodore- Commodore (2nd class) of a small squadron of ships operating out of Halifax, pennant vessel HMS Satyr (32), endeavoring to intercept illegal trade between France and the United States. Originally born in America.

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