At the age of 19, coming from a family that had gone from wealth to poverty, Herman Melville signed on as a cabin boy aboard a New York-Liverpool trader ship. That adventure led Melville to write Redburn, an autobiographical sketch. In 1841, he signed on with the whaler Acushnet, going to the South Seas from Fairhaven, MA. After 18 months, he jumped ship and hid in the jungles of Nuku Hiva on one of the Marquesas Islands. Cannibal natives on the island treated him kindly, which he recounted in his first book, Typee. Following other books, in 1850 he wrote Moby-Dick. The book was written at Pittsfield, MA, where Melville was encouraged by his neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne.