We ran across this little item while looking for something else altogether, and couldn't resist passing along such an amazing and (almost) ready-for-Hollywood story.
It was the era of the tall-masted clipper ship, an era of speed, adventure and danger, with every trip around the Horn a race against time, other ships, and the odds. In late June of 1856, three clippers cleared New York Harbour and set off for the race to San Francisco Bay.
One of these -- Neptune's Car -- was captained by Joshua Patten. This was to be Captain Patten's second voyage on this vessel, the first having been a memorable one.
It had been his maiden command, and he'd made the 15,000-mile trip from New York Harbour round the Horn to the Golden Gate in a mere 100 days, 23 1/2 hours -- a time as good or better than the fastest clippers on the water. Even more interesting, the promising young sailor had refused to accept the command until the shipping company allowed him to sail with his new wife, Mary.
Though no one yet knew it, this was to be Mary's story.