A steward was a servant to a high-ranking officer. Their duties would include, for example, washing and mending clothes or preparing and serving meals. The captain usually had a steward, the wardroom might share a steward. Aboard larger ships, high-ranking officers might each have their own stewards. A ship’s steward might serve the wardroom and, if present, the passengers. Stewards usually followed “their officer” from ship to ship and when an officer spent time on land, it was common to take the steward on as a house servant. Stewards were not sailors and therefore took no part in running of the ship and would usually be seen “out and about” mostly in the company of “their” officer.
Aboard the Obra Dinn
The Obra Dinn carried six stewards during her last voyage as each mate had a steward assigned to him. The stewards were:
- Zungi Sathi, Ship’s steward
- Fillip Dahl, Captain’s steward
- Paul Moss, 1st mate’s stewards
- Samuel Galligan, 2nd mate’s steward
- Roderick Andersen, 3rd mate’s steward
- Davey James, 4th mate’s steward
Of the six stewards, Davey James was the sole survivor.