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    Genealogical research about Ephraim Knowlton Hanks, his family, and his ancestors.
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Ships plans for the USS Columbus
Posted on 12 September 2004 16:08 | Permalink

One more note about the USS Columbus. A while back I found this site which offers copies of plans from the National Archives for the USS Columbus. If you look at item CO-003 on that page, they have available several pages detailing various parts of the Columbus, for a fairly reasonable price. Also, there is information about the Columbus in item C0-006A.

With my interest in tall ships, I've also become interested in building model-ships. Someday I'd like to build a museum-quality scale model of the Columbus. Whether that will happen in the next decade or not is anybody's guess :-). For some reason, I don't seem to have several thousand hours of time to put into it off-hand.

Ah well, I guess I can settle for rigging up one of the Raingutter Regatta kits from the cub scouts to look like the Columbus for now :-).

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Mormon Handcart Pageant
Posted on 30 July 2004 02:00 | Permalink

This evening I attended, with my family, the Mormon Handcart Pageant, and what a wonderful experience it was. Very spiritually uplifting. I'd certainly recommend it for anyone to see. Eph Hanks makes an appearance in the pageant, and tells of his experience in helping the handcart pioneers in the Martin handcart company in 1856. There's one night left in this year's production (the 31st), next year's dates are already set, so plan now, if you can, to attend.

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Man of War Life
Posted on 11 July 2004 02:00 | Permalink

I received a copy this week of the book Man of War Life that I mentioned earlier (found it for a great price on Amazon). The author's experience must have been very much like Eph's experience. Nordhoff ran away from home at around the age of 16, with desires to become a sailor. His motivations were a bit different than Eph's, but the conditions and their treatment were likely similar. Nordhoff mentions that upon joining he was rated as 'first class boy', which sheds light on Eph's 'rate', '1.c.b', as mentioned earlier in the Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill. Eph must have also been 'first class boy'. Nordhoff also clarifies what is meant by the 'Ship number'. Basically each sailor on board was assigned an id number called the 'ship number' by which the purser's and other records were indexed. It wasn't until reading Man of War Life and comparing it to Eph's experience that I realized that Eph came on with the Navy when only 16 years old.

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Ships of the Line
Posted on 01 July 2004 02:00 | Permalink

I found this interesting page that describes the American "ships of the line" with a few mentions of the Columbus.

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More on the USS Columbus
Posted on 29 June 2004 02:00 | Permalink

Found this image of the USS Columbus here. Look near the bottom of the page. The image is from after Eph's time on-board. It appears reproductions of the images can be purchased from NARA. Update: Also found the same image available at a better resolution here. If you click on the image on that page, you can see it in much greater detail. Update 2: Also found a page at the Navy History website that gives some more info about this image.

Another small, but interesting bit of minutia: At the bottom of this page is a link to an image of an exhibition put on by the Navy in 1876. The exhibition included a monument made of "wood from ships lost in the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area during the Civil War", including a piece from the USS Columbus (The Columbus Eph sailed on was sunk at Norfolk Shipyard by retreating Union forces in the Civil War to prevent her capture by Confederate forces).

Also found the book, Man of War Life: A Boy's Experience in the United States Navy which is a personal account written by Charles Nordhoff about his time onboard the USS Columbus from 1845 to 1848, which would have been the next voyage of the ship after Eph got off.

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Eph Hanks' grave
Posted on 01 June 2004 02:00 | Permalink

Found some photos online of the Caineville, UT cemetery, where Ephraim Hanks is buried next to Thisbe Read. The rest of the site has a lot of good Hanks information as well.

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Eph Hanks on the USS Columbus
Posted on 04 May 2004 02:00 | Permalink

After some more scouring, I came across the Watch, quarter & station bill of the U.S. ship of the line Columbus, bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Chars. W. Morgan in the Navy Department Library, which book is the source of the illustrations in the link of the previous post (search for "watch quarter station bill" in the library catalog). I contacted a librarian there and asked her about the book. She said she would scan the pages for Ephraim Hanks. Here's what she writes back:

I looked . . . and found his name on the "Fore Top" page which is page 9 of the book. His name had been spelled "Epharim Hanks".

In this list, there are three columns before each name: Ship no., Ham. no., and Watch no. For Hanks, his ship no. was 142, his hammock no. was 209, and his watch number was 41. After each name there is a column indicating each sailor's rate. His rate is listed as "1.c.b." We thought maybe the rating was 1st class boatswain, but we're not sure they actually had classes for rates back then, so we can't say for certain what his job was.

I asked the librarian what was meant by a 'rate', and she replies:

A "rating" is basically a job description. Read our FAQ http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq78-1.htm for more information about ratings and their evolution in the Navy. Occasionally, you'll hear a person refer to someone's "rate" when they are asking what rank an enlisted person is, either 1st class, 2nd class and so forth. But generally you'll just hear the word "rating" and it always refers to a sailor's job in the Navy.

So this places Ephraim on the boat at the right time. From what I understand, the "fore top" was the platform near the top of the forward mast, so it makes logical sense that he would be up the mast during a storm when two of his crewmates perished from falls, as the story goes (see King of Western Scouts).

I really would like to copy the whole book and put it up on the site for anyone to enjoy. If you live near the D.C. area and have a decent digital camera, and are willing to spend a fair amount of time at the library taking pictures of the book, please contact me.

I would also still like to look into the possibility of deck logs for the boat, in which I'm sure mention would be made of his two crewmates who perished in that storm. It would be fun to trace the route of the boat on a map.

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USS Columbus
Posted on 11 April 2004 02:00 | Permalink

For some reason I've recently become intererested in tall ships and sailing. I think it started when we watched a recent movie that was a remake of the Swiss Family Robinson adventure. Can't remember offhand what is was called, but it got me interested, so I pulled out my copy of Treasure Island, and read through that. Last night I read an old Jack London story, "The seed of McKoy" or something like that. Also good. I think I'd like to try the Patrick O'Brian novels as well. How is this related to genealogy? Well, Eph Hanks, along with a friend, as the story goes, "traveled to Boston [in 1842] where they signed up for what they thought was a freighting job on the ocean, but turned out to be a three year hitch in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Columbus." (Richard Hanks Master's Thesis, page 14). So today I found a page on the U.S. Navy's history website about the U.S.S. Columbus (see the image at right). The deployment dates of the ship, from 1842 - 1844, match up with the time Eph was enlisted. I'd like to see if I can find ships logs for the boat.

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HTML version of The Tempered Wind
Posted on 26 January 2004 02:00 | Permalink

Put up a rough HTML version of The Tempered Wind (printer-friendly). It's big, and will take a while to download over a modem, but should make it possible to read it online. I basically just opened up the .doc in OpenOffice, and exported it to HTML. So the markup isn't so clean, and the font changes here and there, but at least it's a little bit more accessible. This also allows Google to pick up on it (although I guess google can index .docs too...), so hopefully that will pull a few more folks this way. I hope to get a cleaner paginated version up sometime.

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The Tempered Wind, and other site news
Posted on 04 January 2004 02:00 | Permalink

I put up a link in the library to an electronic version of a book called The Tempered Wind, written by Sidney Alvarus Hanks, a son of Ephraim Hanks, through Thisbe Read. The book is essentially a biography of Thisbe, but also adds a lot of insight into Eph's life and character.

I might as well mention also, that I have in the works a complete overhaul of the site. So far, it has involved a fair amount of programming, but when functional I should have a very powerful Open-Source web-based genealogy system to power the site. All of the current documents and content will still be available, but I'll be able to tie any document, history, or image with any individual, marriage, event, and so forth. Think Rootsweb WorldConnect-style navigation, with the ability to link any sort of document to any individual, marriage, or event. I'll be able to link all the images and such I have here right into my pedigrees.

That will be phase one. Phase two will (hopefully) allow threaded comments to be added by visitors to the site to any individual, marriage, event, or source document, so visitors will be able to discuss any of the site content.

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