Are fishcakes obsolete? __ No. 12 from Al Bezanson

It was 90 years ago this week that COLUMBIA landed a trip of 350,000 pounds of salt cod for Gorton Pew.  According to Gordon Thomas in Fast and Able (1952), it proved to be the last fare of salt fish landed by a Gloucester vessel and taken out at a Gloucester wharf.  We can guess that much of the fare was processed into fish cakes, which at that time had been made famous by Gorton’s, who was running half-page ads in the New York Times for their canned Ready-to-Fry.  “Feed a family for 25¢.  Prepared in a few minutes.” The alternative – start soaking your salt cod the day before yesterday to have fish cakes today.

Columbia sailing for the banks, Leslie Jones

The fish had been caught by dory hand lining and COLUMBIA set off July 3rd 1927 on her second dory hand lining trip.  She never returned.  The crew:

Lewis Wharton, master, 57, married, Liverpool, N.S.

Rupert Bragg, cook, 46, married, 92 Dakota street, Dorchester

Arthur Firth, married 60, Shelburne, N.S.

James MacAloney, single, 24, Parrsboro, N.S.

Isaac Gould, married, 60, 31 1/2 Rogers Street, Gloucester

Colin Hawley, married, 30, Blackburn place, Gloucester

William Colp, Bucksport, Maine

Leo White, Bucksport, Maine

James McLeod, 63, Liverpool, N.S.

Foster McKay, single, 20, West Green Harbor, N.S.

Clayton Johnson, 26, West Green Harbor, N.S.

Joseph Mayo, 54, Halifax, N.S.

Thomas Hayden, 39, Shelburne, N.S.

Carroll Williams, married, West Green Harbor, N.S.

Enos Belong, 54, married, West Green Harbor, N.S.

George Williams, 56, Liverpool, N.S.

Frank Dedrick, 52, Shelburne, N.S.

Allison Firth, cachee, 17, Shelburne, N.S.

Samuel Belong, single, Green Harbor, N.S.

Robert Steward, married, Liverpool, N.S.

George H. Mayo, 28, Halifax N.S.

Charles L. Huskin, single, 39, Green Harbor, N.S.

Photo credit:  Leslie Jones. “ COLUMBIA heading for the banks”

Boston Public Library:  Accession# 08_06_007032

Al Bezanson

3 thoughts on “Are fishcakes obsolete? __ No. 12 from Al Bezanson

  1. The crew listing for: “Allison Firth, cachee, 17, Shelburne, N.S.” is interesting. The name “Allison” is generally for a female, and “cachee” would be a French word, feminine gender, for someone who catches (fish, presumably.) Seventeen years would be pretty young for a girl to be on a fishing vessel, not to mention that just having a woman on board would be considered bad luck back in those days. Is there any back-story to this?


    1. His proper name was more likely Addison, for that is shown in Fast and Able. I copied the crew list from “Down to the Sea” which shows 22 names vs 20 names in Fast and Able. It is often stated there were 21 men lost. Maybe someone from the Cape Ann Museum will weigh in on this. The GD Times is available on microfilm at the library.


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