Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois  62522
Phone:  217-972-4645

All rights reserved.


Signed and Dated Sailor's Ditty Box

The 19th C. sailor’s ditty box of Charles Wiley, St. George, ME. Maple and thick pine top and bottom. Cut nails in the beveled lap. Carved into the lid is a Mariner’s star enclosing another star, enclosing a pentagram, associated with good luck. The beveled faces of the star appear to have been colored with a dye or nautical bottom paint. In 1860 James Wiley, 39, master mariner, was living in St. George, ME. Also listed at the same address was his son, Charles H. Wiley, 11. According to Sailing ships of New England, the “Ocean Queen,” 824 tons, was built in Newburyport, MA and launched in 1847. In 1870 the Ocean Queen spent part of a year in Gloucester, MA, a fact noted on the bottom of this ditty box by Charles Wiley, who was 21 at the time. The intricate star-within-a-star on the lid was probably the work of Charles Wiley himself. Ancient, long-ago-repaired girdling crack in the lower section. 10" x  5".