William Mann, a native of Kirby-le-Soken, m Essex, has just returned to England sifter undergoing many remarkable adventures m upwards of half a century. Mann, who was born m 1810, was of a very restless disposition when a lad, and was consequently placed on board the Falcon, Avhich was engaged m the sperm whale fishery m the Pacific. Leaving Kirby m 1834 he spent two years whaling m the seas round the Mariana Islands ; but upon getting short of wood and water the Falcon ran into a narrow inlet m the Ascension Island. When the vessel was leaving the outlet she was driven on to a sharp rock and became a wreck. The men all got ashore safely, and by an agreement with the captain and the King of the Island the most important of the goods were got ashore. A hut; was erected for the mate, and five men were left m charge of the stores, and the captain and the rest of the men were located on a small island where the king lived. The iron hoops on the oil casks, however, soon excited the cupidity of the Natives, who had no weapons but clubs and spears, and who wished for the iron to make knives and daggers. The hoops were continually being stolen, until at last a large quantity of oil was lost, and the captain thereupon remonstrated with the king. A quarfel ensued, and the captain slapped the king's face. On the following day the captain and mate were clubbed to death, and two sailors who went to their rescue were overcome and despatched. The cooper shot several of the Natives, but he was speared through and through, and was killed. Mann was struck across the neck and face, and two fingers of his left hand were cut off. He fell, and the Natives thought he was dead, but he crawled into the bush j where he was found by a Native girl, who bound up his wounds and tended and kept him for several days. The news of the outrage afterwards reached Sydney, and a man-of-war was sent to the island to avenge the murders. Twenty-three sailors were rescued from the island by the war vessel, but Mann and three other sailors had unfortunately left the island for an adjacent one when the warship arrived. Fov two years these men wandered about with no clothes but cocoanut leaves, and with breadfruit and fish for food. One day Mann was passing a Native, when a sailor named Rodney told him to look out. At that moment the Native struck him
across tlio f;ico. jaw, and neck with ;> •»-■■ iff, and when he put up his hand & Mooud Native struck him another blow,- completely .severing the fingers, and leaving the remainder hanging by a shred of flesh. He saw Rodney's head split completely m two, and then fell, insensible. After, regaining qonacioii.snosß Mann crawled to the hut, whore his'remaining companions were, and they did their best, m bindim; up Mann's wounds. .Shortly aftvr this an American ship was hailed, and the men were taken to Guam, one of the Mnvian.is, a Spanish settlement, where Miami's wounds were treated by an English doctor. The gash across his face had partially healed, but one tooth protruded and kept a round hole open m his cheek. The doctor found it was impossible to remove this tooth and the cheek had to be cut open again m order to get at the tooth. The scai''across his face and neck together with his maimed hands, testify how near death he was more than fifty years ago. For nearly 40 years Mann lived on the Marianas with the Spaniards, 2 years being spent m digging for hidden treasures which were stolen from the Roman Catholic churches m Brazil by a Spanish pirate He afterwards became captain of a schooner which had been stolen from the English, and his work was to carry produce between the various islands of the group. One day when landing upon an island for wood, his vessel was boarded by nine Spanish prisoners who had escaped from confinement, and as Mann had only three or four hands with him the Spaniards compelled him to carry them to an island where there was no Government. He made for the Pelews, hoping to meet with some ship which would help him out of his difficulty, for he knew he would be imprisoned if it became known that he had assisted the prisoners to escape. Eight days afterwards he met with the ship of Captain Halcombe, an old acquaintance, and the next day a German man-of-war came to his assistance. Acting upon the advice of the' lieutenant who came aboard, Mann ran his schooner into Hongkong, where it was proved m the Supreme Court that the vessel had been stolen. The schooner wits ordered to be sold by auction, and Mann was given 50dol. He was thus left maimed and disabled m a strange land, but for eleven years he picked up a precarious living as a ship's watchman. He then came under the notice of the Rev. A. Gubney Goldsmith, chaplain to seamen at Hong Kong, who collected enough money to send him home. Some £30 was collected and forwarded to the Eev. S. W. Stagg, vicar of Kirby-le Stolcen, and the Rev. D. Greatorex, of St. Paul's Vicarage, London Docks. Mann is now living with his brother at Kirby, and is for the present 1 receiving 7s per week from the collected fund, but it is hoped that enough money will-be collected to keep him from the workhouse during the remaining years of his life. Strange to say, Mr E. Doring, of Walton-on-the-Naze, the adjoining •parish to Kirby, possesses the log book of the Falcon, m which Mann's name appears, Mr Boring's first wife having been the widow of the murdered captain of the Falcon.—" Western Mail."
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Strange Story., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2527, 25 September 1890
Strange Story. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2527, 25 September 1890
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