Monday, February 6, 2012

Frederick LeBoeuf (b. 1832-?)

The LeBoeuf family were seafarers from Jersey, Channel Islands. There are some great stories that I have discovered concerning their voyages. Frederick is my wife's 3rd great-grand uncle.

Frederick leBoeuf was born in 1832 to Philippe and Jeanne Ann LeGeyt LeBoeuf in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. He was christened on 8 April 1832. Based on the records we have discovered so far, Frederick appears to be the youngest of fifteen children.

In the 1841 England census Frederick (age 9) is living with his siblings Elias (20), Susanna (14), Mary (12), and William (10) in the home of George DeGruchy and his wife Elizabeth. Frederick's father had died in 1835 and his mother died in 1840. I am not quite sure why they are living with the DeGruchy family but there is a connection that I need to clarify. Frederick married Clara Vickery. Clara's older sister Louisa, married Captain Charles DeGruchy. Many of the Vickery children married LeBoeufs and Frederick's brother Elias was an apprentice plasterer under George DeGruchy. This indicates to me that the Vickery, LeBoeuf and DeGruchy families were pretty close.

In 1875, Frederick is listed as Master on the ship Juan F Pearson of London. The Juan F Pearson was a 508 ton vessel that traveled between London and Sydney, Australia with stops in Valparaiso, Chile. We know that he was captain of the Juan F Pearson in 19 May 1874 because his son Frederick was born on the ship in the Indian Ocean. On the 10th of June 1877, the Juan F Pearson ran aground off Big Mud Island while on a voyage from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada to Amsterdam, Holland. After the Juan F Pearson ran aground, Frederick became the captain of the Saracen. His daughter Kathleen was born 4 December 1877 on the ship while in Manila Bay, Philippines.

A story in The Inquirer, from Perth, Australia on 14 July 1880, had an interesting story concerning Frederick LeBoeuf. "The following particulars of which have been handed by the captain of the rescuing ship, the Queen of the Seas, to the Straits Times, and appear in the issue of that journal of May 24. The captain (LeBoeuf) says : 'We left Cape Town the 27th March, and on 22nd April made the island of St. Paul, about eight miles off; saw on the summit a flag flying, and, thinking that might be a signal of distress, hauled quite close under its lee. Observed at the entrance of the basin a French flag flying half-mast, and at the same time saw a boat making for the ship. Hove to for the boat, and, on its coming alongside, a voice called out, in French, 'We are ship wrecked, and have nothing to eat; will you take us on board,' adding, 'our captain is behind in another boat.' A few minutes after the captain, a Frenchman, came alongside; his statement was that they were fishermen from the island of Bourbon; that their vessel, a schooner of 80 tons, was a complete wreck, and that they had nothing to eat, except the fish of the island; he implored of me to take them — they were 30 in number, and there were 8 more on the island of Amsterdam, 40 miles off. The captain also begged of me to pass by Amsterdam Island and take the others off. Their pleading was such that I resolved to take them on board, although we had still a long distance to go, and my great fear was shortness of bread and water. However, by good management we thought it could be done. By 5 p.m. we had them on board, and proceeded to the other island, arriving there the following morning at 10 o'clock; we soon hoisted in the eight others — thus bringing up the total to 38 — and proceeded on our voyage. Arrived at Anjer on the 10th instant, where we procured yams, and on the 16th May we reached Singapore, being 49 days from Cape Town and 23 days from Amsterdam Island. The Frenchman's schooner's name was Decide, and hailed from Bourbon. By what we learnt from the captain they left Bourbon on the 22nd of November, and arrived at St. Paul's in December, for the purpose of fishing, expecting to leave again for Bourbon in March. On entering the crater, or basin, she touched on part of the wreck of H.M.S. Megaera, causing the schooner to leak badly. They had just time to haul to the water's edge and heave her down, when they found several planks badly gone. However, they repaired her, and she seemed quite tight. They could not return to Bourbon as early as they wished, as the swell would not allow them to leave the basin; so it was not until the middle of April they succeeded in bringing the schooner to an anchorage outside, where they hoped to load the fish they had caught and proceed to Amsterdam Island for the others and proceed home. The night following the schooner parted her cables, with the mate and two men on board. She fetched Amsterdam Island, but sprang a leak in the interval. At the latter island but two out of the ten men would venture on board to return to St. Paul's, the vessel making so much water ; preferring to remain on the island to risking their lives in the vessel. She also lost an anchor there. However, they returned to St. Paul's, having but 30 fathoms of chain and no anchors. They then hauled the schooner into the basin and anchored her with an anchor that was on shore. This was the last vessel of the season, and none were expected over until next year. The captain said they had no means of repairing the schooner, and expected her to fill shortly. On telling them to bring all the food they had, they said they had only about 100 lbs. of bread, being what remained of the bread given to them by Her Majesty's steamer Comus, when she called there on the 29th of March. She also gave them tobacco and sugar. This is probably the only instance of relief given to shipwreck persons for many years from St. Paul's and Amsterdam Islands. They lie, in mid-ocean, directly in the track of vessels from Home, the Cape, and Mauritius, to Fremantle, and the praiseworthy example shewn by Captain LeBoeuf, and in fairness we should add the name of Captain Stephens, in keeping a look-out, might well be followed by ship masters generally if the opportunities of approaching the hind are favorable. "

In February 1881, Frederick and his family, Clara (wife), Frederick (6) and Kathleen (3) arrive on the Queen of the Seas in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This is the same ship that he captained in the above story. While they were in port Frederick posted an add in the local newspaper, The Argus. This post stated "Captain Le Boeuf will not be responible for any debts contracted by his crew while in this port."

In August 1886, Frederick arrives back in Victoria, Australia aboard the Glance. He is listed as the captain of that ship.

Frederick LeBoeuf recorded his Will and Testament on 24 January 1888 and it is housed at the Jesrsey Heritage Trust (Item refs: D/Y/A/55/65).

During the 1891 England census, Frederick is listed as a retired master mariner, living with his wife Clara in St. Helier, Jersey. His son and daughter are at home and additionally a step daughter, Janet Hall, age 23, is living with them. Janet is listed as a school teacher. I have not yet found how Janet Hall is related to the family.