“THESE MANY CARDS” revisited

On May 6, 2012 I posted a photo and poem describing a gift of several old picture postcards I had received from a friend of GMG living in Maine. Now, nine years later, I received an email from Rita Teele, currently residing in New Zealand, but still pursuing the history of Annisquam. Rita’s correspondence provides interesting details that help us better understand and appreciate the postcards.

Here is the original post followed by Rita’s email.


First posted on May 6, 2012 by Marty Luster

These Many Cards

Early in the morning on Wednesday, the 22nd of August 1906,

Donald affixed a 1 cent stamp on a card that

contained a fine German print of the Annisquam Light.

By 1 o’ clock the same day, the card, having passed

through the Gloucester Post Office, was received

in West Medford and was soon delivered to Miss Mary McLeod.

A year after that, Annie sent Sydney Davison, then

residing at 10 Duke Street in Liverpool, England

two cards, each with color scenes of Annisquam;

one of the Yacht Club and the other of the bridge

across Lobster Cove. In one she laments her failure

to write more often and, in the other, she promises to “be over” soon.

Margaret, too, writes to Sidney assuring him that she

hasn’t “quite forgotten” him. She thinks the fellow

sitting alone on the rock in the picture of a yacht

race in the Squam River looks lonesome.

On August 31, 1909, Rosie, of Gloucester, drops a card

featuring the surf at Long Beach to Mary Davison of

Annisquam letting her know that Marj came down on

Sunday and was sorry she couldn’t get over to see her.

These many cards, these timeless scenes, these stories

partly told; these flashes from life of decades ago, this collage

of people now gone and places still here;

these many cards posted in Annisquam more than 100 years ago

and delivered this day to you in Gloucester;

these many cards, this gift to me – and now,

my gift to you.

Marty Luster

Hello Marty—from New Zealand!
Paul Horovitz may have mentioned that I am involved in uncovering Annisquam’s history—although that has been a challenge.We stayed in New Zealand as the pandemic evolved; thank goodness for the internet that is Covid free if not virus free.
I thought you might like the followup to your post from May 2012, These Many Cards.I was searching for Sidney Davison and Google captured your story.
Sidney Davison is of interest to the Annisquam Historical Society because he was one of the founding members.He was very involved in the community affairs in his lifetime. Best I can tell, he was involved in the frozen food industry; he also held a patent for an apparatus for freezing materials.

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I believe that he was in England at the time those postcards were sent—from his mother Annie, and his sister, Margaret.I found no evidence that he had children. The cards were likely part of his estate.

A Gloucester Ghost Story

By Jude Seminara

The Charles Haskell

Anyone who spends enough time at sea is bound to see some strange things from time to time.  Sailors are a superstitious lot, and no maritime community is without a take of a ghost ship.  Gloucester has the Charles Haskell. 

The Haskell was built in 1868 and made her maiden voyage to George’s Bank handlining in February 1869, captained by Clifford Curtis. Her first trip was a success; she returned to Gloucester with 75,000 lbs of fish in her hold. Three days later, the Haskell again made for George’s. 

On March 6, a gale pummeled the fishing fleet at anchor on the banks.  Crews stood ready with axes to cut anchor cables should the lookout see the lights of a drifting vessel bearing down on them. Cutting the cable may save the ship from a collision, but the peril of drifting onto the shoals or into another anchored vessel was an ever present risk. 

Contemporary newspapers related the tale of the Haskell after she limped into port missing her bowsprit and head.  Within a month, the ghosts showed up. 

When the Haskell cut her cable during the gale, she scudded at the mercy of the wind. With the captain at the helm and sails set, she bore down on an unidentified Salem schooner and collided. The Haskell rose up upon a wave and before she could get clear of the Salem schooner, her bow crashed down again and cleaved the Salem schooner nearly in half, sending her to the bottom almost immediately with all hands.  The Haskell was the rare vessel that survived a collision on George’s and managed to return to port. 

The damage to the Charles Haskell was repaired and she soon put to sea for another voyage.  As she returned to Gloucester, off Eastern Point, so the story goes, a phantom schooner, that of the Salem vessel sunk on George’s Bank, came alongside.  Her crew of ghostly fishermen came aboard and demanded that the Haskell alter her course to Salem.  When the captain refused, the specter sailors jumped overboard.  Another version of the tale, recounted in a late-nineteenth-century ballad called The Ghostly Crew (1874) has the ghosts of the dead Salem crew coming aboard as the Haskell’s crew were handlining on the Bank.  The ghosts assumed their position at the rails as if they were fishing, then climbed back overboard into the sea. On one occasion on George’s, the crew was so shaken by the otherworldly visitors, the captain was compelled to return to Gloucester with no fare. The Cape Ann Advertiser called the haunting of the Charles Haskell “such a silly ghost story” and reported that despite it, the Haskell was on a trip to George’s in April of 1870.

The story of the haunted schooner made the rounds of Gloucester’s waterfront; sailors, being a superstitious lot, refused to board her.  According to John Winters, the last surviving member of the Charles Haskell’s crew, who retold the story to his dying day in 1920, four crews refused to sail aboard her, and she ended her days as a sand freighter. The fate of the Charles Haskell is disputed: she was either lost in a shipwreck or rotted at the wharf. The ghostly visitors were not reported to have been seen again. 

The Devil’s Soldiers in Gloucester

By Jude Seminara

Photo by Marty Luster

During the summer of 1692, while all of Essex County was gripped by the Witchcraft Hysteria, a Gloucester husbandman was plagued by nightly visitations by a spectral raiding party. England and her colonies were involved in King William’s War, the first of the colonial French and Indian Wars.  Brutal attacks on the settlements at the Eastward (Maine) flooded Essex County with traumatized refugees. The Province of Massachusetts Bay had been operating without a charter in a sort of legal ambiguity since the overthrow of the Dominion of New England under the hated Sir Edmund Andros. The new Charter arrived in February of 1692, and the new governor, Sir William Phips arrived in Boston in May.  One of his first acts was to establish a Court of Oyer and Terminer to deal with the increasing number of witchcraft accusations being dealt with by the Essex County courts. 

The Province of Massachusetts Bay contributed men and material to the efforts of England during King William’s War, and the prospect of French and Indian raids were an ever present fear. So when Ebenezer Babson returned to his home at The Farms behind Good Harbor Beach late one evening in early July 1692 and saw two men rushing from his door yard, he rightfully grabbed his gun and gave chase. The intruders fled into Babson’s corn field but not before he heard one remark to the other that, had he not returned, they would have “taken the house.” 

Twenty-five year old Babson hurriedly assembled his household, which included his widowed mother Elinor, and repaired to the local garrison house, two miles distant. The garrison was a fortified house of the type commonly found in 17th century Massachusetts towns as protection against Indian raids. Gloucester had at least one garrison house, located for a time on the site of the rectory of St. Ann’s church on Prospect Street.

Local Connection to Famous “Anthony!” Prince Macaroni Commercial

By Jude Seminara

Recently, Anthony Martignetti — “Anthony!” from the Prince Macaroni commercials — passed away. Martignetti was a local celebrity, court officer, and Italian immigrant. 
The following is the story of another Italian immigrant, my great grandfather Giuseppe Seminara, one of the founders of the Prince Macaroni Mfg. Co.  Prince Macaroni got its start less than half a mile from the North End tenement on Powers Ct. where Anthony burst panting through the door for supper in the advertisement. Antonino Seminara, Giuseppe’s father, ran a bakery at 92 Prince St.

The Seminara family arrived in the United States aboard the SS Trave in 1901 and settled in the North End, Boston’s Italian neighborhood. Following Antonino’s death in 1911, Giuseppe Seminara (who earned his citizenship in 1905), his brother-in-law Gaetano LaMarca, and LaMarca’s cousin Michele Cantella began Prince Macaroni with some baking equipment, a horse and cart, and $150. Their macaroni was sold from the storefront at 92 Prince St. to the Italians in the neighborhood. By 1917, these three “off-the-boat” immigrants had so much success that they purchased a lot on Commercial St. to erect an eight story plant in order to keep up with the growing demand for semolina pasta. 
During this time, anti-Italian sentiment ran high in the United States. Known as “guineas,” “wops,” and “dagos,” Italians were regularly discriminated against. In fact, the largest mass lynching in American history occurred when eleven Italians were murdered in New Orleans in 1891. Louisiana would see two more mass lynchings of Italians in the 1890s. Anti-Italian prejudice was not limited to the South either. The KKK held a mass protest in Vineland, NJ in the 1930s, and even closer to home, in Boston, Italian immigrants were suspected of causing the Molasses Disaster of 1919; and Sacco and Vanzetti were subject to an unfair trial which resulted in their execution in 1927 for a crime they did not commit. Prejudice certainly touched Giuseppe as well  In 1919, he, LaMarca, Cantella, four other Italians, and one German and one Jewish applicant were all denied gun permits. Almost forty permits were issued, all to applicants with Irish and English surnames. 
Despite the obstacles presented by bigotry, the Seminara, Cantella, and LaMarca held their course towards the American Dream. Twice, tragedy struck the Seminara family (Giuseppe and his wife Elvira lost their second son Salvatore to jaundice one day after he was born; and Elvira herself died after a long illness in 1923 when she was only 28 years old), yet Giuseppe persevered. 
Prince Macaroni continued to grow through the Roaring Twenties and survived the Great Depression. In 1939, the business moved to Lowell. In 1941, despite having done $600,000 in business, LaMarca, Cantella, and Seminara were seeking new management, which came in the form of Italian immigrant New Yorker Joseph Pellegrino, who purchased a controlling share in the corporation. By 1955, Prince was turning out a million pounds of pasta per week and doing ten million dollars in business. Prince Macaroni was a household name. 
Giuseppe Seminara died in 1961 at age 76, nine years before Anthony Martignetti burst through the door for supper at Powers Court, He was survived by his wife Rosalia, his oldest son by Elvira (my paternal grandfather) Antonino, and a son Joseph and daughter Elvira, as well as several grandchildren of which my dad was one. 
Part of Giuseppe’s legacy is that anyone, despite their circumstances or the obstacles they face, can achieve the American dream with perseverance and hard work.