Sailing Ships

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Thar She Blows!
Steam Whaler Mary and Helen
Whaling ship.  [Online Image]  Available, June 17, 2001.

The greatest period of American whaling was between 1830-60.  The crew could usually expect to stay at sea for two years.  The voyage was filled with thrills and danger.  

Blow the Man Down

The Black Ball Line were ships that carried mail and freight between England and America beginning in 1818.

Blow Ye Winds

Whaling was popular in America from 1830-60.  The sailors who worked on these ships could be gone for as long as two years and would encounter lots of adventures and danger.  

Cape Cod Shantey

Shanties were work songs sung aboard sailing ships.  A shanteyman led the songs and was hired for his strong voice, sense of humor, and his ability to make up verses for any tune.

Down the River

Take a trip down the Ohio River with this fun song.  

Eerie Canal

The Eerie Canal was completed in 1825 and connected towns on the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.  Mules pulled boats through the canal.


During the California Gold Rush of 1849 the words of many popular songs were changed to fit the times.  This melody was originally Camptown Races by Stephen Foster.  

Gordon Lightfoot (1938-    ) wrote a ballad called The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  A ballad tells a story.  This true story sings of a ship and crew that are lost in a violent November storm on Lake Superior.  To learn more about this doomed ship, click here.   

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