Captain Ned Wakeman:
331.10 Capt. Ned Blakely] In actuality Captain Edgar (Ned) Wakeman (1818–75), a well-known skipper for many years in the Pacific Ocean trade. Among Wakeman’s commands was the steamer America, which carried Clemens from San Francisco to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, in December 1866, on the first leg of his journey to New York. “I had rather travel with that old portly, hearty, jolly, boisterous, good-natured old sailor, Capt Ned Wakeman than with any other man I ever came across,” Clemens confided in his notebook at the time, also noting nearby, “Hanging the negro in the Chinchas,” which indicates that the yarn as recounted in this chapter may in fact reverse the roles of the negro and the white bully, Bill Noakes (N&J1, 238–43,253,336). Clemens encountered Wakeman again in Panama while returning from San Francisco to New York in July 1868. The two men spent a convivial evening together, and Clemens reported that “the old gentleman,” who was “as tempestuous of exterior, as hearty of manner and as stormy of voice as ever,” regaled him with yarns, including the one “about hanging the negro in the Chincha Islands” (SLC 1868h). Wakeman’s hold on Clemens’s imagination is apparent in notebook entries and literary works spanning the author’s career. He is Captain Waxman in three San Francisco Alta California letters, Captain Hurricane Jones in “Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion,” Admiral Stormfield in “The Refuge of the Derelicts,” and the title character in “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” (SLC 1867b–d, 1878, 1905–6, 1909). After Wakeman’s death his reminiscences were edited by his daughter and published as The Log of an Ancient Mariner, Being the Life and Adventures of Captain Edgar Wakeman (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Co., 1878).
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