Mary Palmstrom From Ohio Has Some Great History To Share About Shute and Merchant After Finding A GMG Post About Beth Welin’s Gloucester History Sharing Program from 2015

That’s what’s incredible about Good Morning Gloucester, we have a 12 year archive of over 60,000 posts with just an incredible amount of information all searchable for generations to come!

Read what Mary Palmstrom has to say about her great, great grandfather and his brother-in-law, James L. Shute and William T. Merchant, who started Shute & Merchant back in 1862.


I’ve come across your site off and on for a few years as I did searches related to Gloucester, and some how managed to miss this 2015 item that was related to Shute & Merchant until today– maybe because it lists both names as plurals, but more likely because I just wasn’t doing a search at the right time.  As I live in Ohio, wouldn’t have been able to attend an event being held in Gloucester, but might have been able to share some material.

Gloucester History Sharing program Presented By Beth Welin

Do you remember Shutes & Merchants, Reed & Gamage or the Slade Gorton fish companies? They’re gone now but their legacy continues.
Sponsored by the Phyllis A Marine Association
Supported by the Awesome Gloucester Foundation
My great, great grandfather and his brother-in-law, James L. Shute and William T. Merchant, started Shute & Merchant back in 1862. Epes Merchant and several of his sons (Epes W., Addison and Samuel) had run  similar fishing businesses, including one operated by Samuel with his son William T., and eventually his son-in-law J. L. Shute. The two younger men opted to recreate the firm after Samuel’s death. Their fish packing firm survived some ups and downs over the years and remained in business until it merged with the Gorton-Pew Fisheries in 1907. Thanks to a find on eBay back about 1999 or 2000, I have been gathering artifacts from that firm and the Merchant Box Company, as well as other pieces of Gloucester history since then.

Won’t give you the full story, but you can learn more on a website I created a number of years ago.  — The first version was created around 2007, then decided to update the look and add more material in 2016 and due to finding some additional images, just updated some sections. Developed a section with slide shows of Cape Ann stereoviews and some sections about other fishing businesses. One item you might find interesting is on this page … the second item down … a link to a 1913 Edison film of Gloucester harbor and the fishing industry. — My real intention was a hope that others that knew something about Shute & Merchant or the Merchant Box Company might contact me with more information than I had. Hasn’t worked that way

Don’t know whether its of interest to you and others or not, but thought I’d at least share the link, and say thanks for your informative site … full of  great photos, by the way. I especially liked coming across the finalist images for the 400th Anniversary medals. As a retired art teacher who loves graphic design, was fun to see those three designs. (I’d have to vote for Beth Swan’s.) Hope the winner will be posted at some point. — After finding your site back in 2016, I added it to the links section on my site. Not sure it gets you many hits, but hope others keep finding Good Morning Gloucester.

with regards,

Mary Palmstrom

4 thoughts on “Mary Palmstrom From Ohio Has Some Great History To Share About Shute and Merchant After Finding A GMG Post About Beth Welin’s Gloucester History Sharing Program from 2015

  1. Thanks for sharing this!!

    Would love to learn more from anyone who had family that worked for Shute & Merchant, the Merchant Box Company or some sort of connection to the family and/or businesses. Always hoping to find more photos and artifacts related to the businesses, as well as historical information.


  2. Every time I see an old picture of acres of fish drying on flakes around Gloucester Harbor I think immediately about what would happen if you tried that now. When did the seagulls arrive? Did we attract them year around when the landfill started at what is now Gloucester High or the one in Magnolia? Did the 19th century fish processors have some magic potion to keep gulls away? If so I need the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is my first thought too when I see an acre of cod drying in the sun. Where are the seagulls? Since those shots are long exposure maybe the seagulls are blurred out and anyone who ate dried cod ate a bit of seagull poop too?

    The only possible explanation I could come up with is a kid is paid to sit with a 20 gauge shotgun and the smart seagulls learn quickly to go elsewhere.


  4. This is an amazing Gloucester-centered site that Mary Palmsrtrom has created and I urge friends of GMG to look it over, especially anyone interested in Gloucester, its history, the genealogy of so many of its families and the various aspects of its world-famous fishing industry.

    I was raised in Gloucester and love studying my families’ ties there. William T. Merchant and James L. Shute connect to my father and my mother as 2nd cousins + 5th cousins, 5th cousins + and 5th cousins respectively. I had no idea they connected to these two families and to the fishing industry this way before I read Mary’s work.

    I am sure many others of you would find you connect to their families, too. That’s the way it is with Gloucester/Essex County family trees! I did a study of the GHS Class of ’63, the class I would have graduated with had we not moved away in 1961, and found that, of the 300 classmates in it, over 75% may connect as cousins to or married a cousin of my father and nearly that many connect to my mother’s family, too. It’s a very small world.

    I hope you will take advantage and enjoy of all of Mary’s site.


Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s