Meeting on Rum-Row 1922 From Bill Hubbard

Meeting on Rum-Row 1922

Former Gloucester fishing schooners H. L. Marshall on left and Arethusa on the right meet on Rum-Row, 3 miles off the New York/New Jersey coast with the 75 ft. Coast Guard Patrol boat CG-100 based out of Gloucester, Ma. in 1932.  The Marshall was 100ft. and the Arethusa was 110 ft.  Both schooners had been hi- line Gloucester fishing schooners before being acquired by the notorious rum-runner, Bill (The Real) McCoy from Florida. 

In August 1920 McCoy took the money he and brother Ben had invested from selling their fleet of motor and tour boats in Florida, went to Gloucester and purchased Marshall.  She was a 90 ft. semi-knockabout twin-screw schooner built at the James Yard in Essex, Ma. with a speed of 7 knots and a liquor capacity of 1500 wood cases or 3,000 in burlap pakages.  He paid $16,000 for the vessel and $4,000 more to refit her and sailed her to Nassau.  As she entered the harbor and before she could be warped into the dock, she was boarded by an old friend, Billy Hain who offered to pay $10 per case for McCoy to take 1500 cases of whiskey to Savannah.  When he said he needed clearance papers to ship frfeight from the Bahamas, Hain showed him just what he needed; papers clearing 1500 cases of Rye to Halifax.  Five days later, the Marshall was and McCoy had $15,000 in the bank.

In 3 months, after clearing over $35,000 in just three months, he boarded a train and headed for Gloucester to buy another schooner and he knew just the one he had to have.  The Arethusa was for sale and laid-up at a pier in Rockland, Me.  She had been appraised at $42,000 but the strapped owners agreed to take $21,000 and it would cost him $11,000 more to fit her for sea.  New sails, replaced the old auxiliary, added a 10’ bowsprit to handle a big flying jib and a gleaming coast of white – she looked like a yacht as she put to sea from Gloucester.  On arrival in Nassau, Bahamas she was renamed Tomoka for the river in Florida where the McCoy boatyard was located.  Then she was registered under the british flag and sailed shortly for her maiden trip as a Rum-Runner.  The Tomoka/ Arethusa was also built in Essex at the  Story Yard in Essex.

The CG-153 was a high speed 75 ft. cutter of a class built specifically to battle the rum-runners off Americas’ coasts.  She was one of the 20 boats in her class to be stationed on the Atlantic Coast in Gloucester, Mass.  They were berthed at CG Base #7 off East Main Street at the old Parsons’ wharf.

Meeting on Rum-Row

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