Rain delays don’t stop sewer projects! Last time Bertoni, York and Foley Roads done, Rt. 128 was coming in. See the original plans ca.1950 #PublicWorks #GloucesterMA DPW

With thanks to Mike Hale, Dir. Public Works; Matt Coutu, Civil Engineer with New England Civil Engineering thru DPW; and Police Sergeant Conners.

At this time in July, Gloucester Public Works is generally midway into a construction season. Not this year. The rain has caused a “knotted web of deficiencies,” impacting routine work such as patching and pothole repair, outside painting, line & crosswalk painting, and summer paving which is “weeks and weeks behind”. Mowing wet grass or while it’s raining isn’t a good idea. And when the sun comes out the grass takes off. So that’s a visible delay. Still, DPW is plugging away at smaller projects around town, at the waste water plant, and pumping station projects. Most Utility work is on schedule.

Even before all this rain, the 2021 schedule demanded flexibility. DPW projects are unseen in the best of times, and can go unrecognized. Gloucester DPW worked through the pandemic. People forget that they were essential services. Prioritizing projects has been key (think critical events as in hazards or special events downtown). Also pacing and flexibility:

“The past 18 months have been taxing on these guys. Mistaken belief still out there that everyone had quarantine off. They need vacation this year. Didn’t get it last year. I’m mindful of burnout. So at times we’ll be short. Could be a specialty, supervisory, labor or machine operator job. They’re all important. The edges may be where you start assembling puzzle pieces, but you’re still going to need the outside and center pieces to be complete.”

Mike Hale, Dir. Public Works, July 2021 addressing holes if any in DPW operation

Essential workers, dangerous jobs – lest we forget | TRENCH BOXES — akin to mine shaft collapse prevention — for utilities and road work

Bertoni neighborhood water & sewer project 2021

Gas, sewer, and water lines have all been removed, redirected and replaced. Clay tile pipe (sewer) is notorious for ground water intrusion, and cast iron (water) for tuberculation*– New PVC will increase run time and water quality.

  • I had to ask. *TUBERCULATION: “Accumulation of minerals inside pipe decreases volume and impacts water quality.”

DPW is pumped about the new pump!

The former configuration ran beneath Rt. 128. Now that it’s been re-directed and running to a newer location off Poplar/DPW campus, there will be a significant savings both for the life of the pump and electricity.

“The Gloucester Ave. sewer pump station, during wet weather and high ground water, would run in excess of 12 hours per day, some days even longer. Running time for the newer one has been cut down to 6 hours a day.”

Mike Hale

Looking Back – February 1947

The Gloucester 2.5 mile highway construction was delayed “indefinitely”, because the bids for the approach (to a new bridge across Annisquam River) came in too high. The lowest bid was $1,285,776 and the cost was fixed at $300-$500,000.

August 1950

“…Much to the joy of thousands of beleaguered year-round and Summer residents, it was announced that the gap in the new high level bridge over Annisquam River was closed at 9a.m. by Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

The great significance was that it meant that it will not be too long before auto traffic will be flowing over this this improved entrance and exit to Gloucester, eliminating the two mile long traffic jams that have brought despair to motorists caught in the frequent openings of the low level Richard Blynman Bridge over the same river.

A sense of joy and relief was also experienced by the two Bethlehem officials in charge of the superstructure contract–Construction Engineers John P. McGonigle and Charles L. “Lonnie” Stroble. For as the 52-foot long, 44 ton piece of steel known as the central arch rib, south side, was lowered into place, their worry was whether or not it would fit. It did. 100 percent… The entire bridge is 860 feet long…

The superstructure contract, let by the State Department of Public Works to Bethlehem Steel is for $1,232,479.90.”

Boston Globe, Aug. 1950

1958 – RT. 128 Construction

Boston Globe focus on Rt. 128 by K. S. Bartlett features Gloucester, Ma.

“Approximately $1 million a mile for 65 miles of the great three-quarter circle from Gloucester on the North Shore to the high speed interchange in Braintree where it will meet the Southeast Expressway coming south from Boston. Cost of the 65 miles, all competed or now under construction, is a bit less than $65 million. That covers land damages, engineering, planning and construction costs since Route 128’s start back in 1936.”

“Rt. 128 has earned name, “Avenue of Modern Industry”: Million Dollar a Mile Gold Road” by K.S. Bartlett, Boston Globe

photo descriptions:

“Contractors building the 1.7 miles of the Gloucester extension found huge rocks dropped by visiting glaciers tens of thousands of years ago. More than half a million tons of rock (many kinds and varieties of hardness and weight) plus earth and plain dirt have been taken out to make your driving easier. Her you’re looking at one of the tough spots during the last weeks of construction.”

“Want a bit of New England’s famed chowder? You’re at the right place. The Gloucester extension of Route 128 ends at Eastern Avenue in Gloucester and just around the corner is Fish-Pier at the head of the Inner Harbor.”

The approach to the bridge they dubbed “Rail Cut Hill”.

Original plans pre 1953, 1953, & 1954

Some of the homes date from this time. Department of Public Works, Gloucester, MA. Higher resolution PDF here – or lower resolution images below

ca. 1950 (scan from original)

1953

1954

2021 Bertoni neighborhood

Approximately 3 months project nearing completion (thanks to digging into standard clay rather than granite ledge). This week, the crews have reached the storm water drain reconfiguration stage.

View from Bertoni Rd. to RT. 128. Old clay sewer line deliberately closed 2021. Bertoni Rd. is a dead end street that originally connected to Gloucester Avenue (on the other side of the highway)

Salt Island Road | Brier (Briar) Neck neighborhood

In contrast, Salt Island Road, Brier/Briar Neck neighborhood took six months for similar work because of granite ledge and compact density.

Boston Globe 1981: GFC and Mattos Field host only summer program for special needs kids on the North Shore #GloucesterMA

“The next time things are going badly — and I am convinced that too many of our young people are headed straight to hell — then I am going to recall Joe Favazza.

Then I will relive that scene on Portagee Hill (that’s what it’s called) the other morning when the brave van pulled up at the GFC building. Lawrence (not his real name) was sitting in the van, and Favazza was standing there waiting in the early morning summer sunshine, and then I will get the feeling again that everything is going to turn out all right after all.

“…The GFC was sponsoring a part for 20 handicapped children, including Lawrence. Favazza is an aide at the not so great salary of $85 a week in the summer recreation and educational program…”

“…Now let me tell you about Joe Favazza. He is 28 and 6 feet 2, wears shorts and tee shirt and a baseball hat. He is low-key and gentle. He served in the Army, works as a part-time Gloucester Times sportswriter and next month will be a Boston State junior and hopes to teach special needs children. He comes from a large Italian family, and that means closeness and the traditional Sunday noon dinners at his parents’ home on Middle street. His father is a Fuller school janitor who always was particularly helpful and gentle with the special-needs children there. Perhaps that virtue runs in the family…”

“Later there was a big luncheon for the kids and then they went to the adjacent Mattos playground…”

“Joanne kelly directs the summer program…led a group of parents and teachers to the school committee and outlined the case.”

“…Gloucester, rowdy and unfashionable and wonderful old Gloucester, became the only North Shore city with a summer program for special needs kids…”

excerpts | “Very Special and Inspiring” by Jeremiah Murphy, Boston Globe, Metro North, Aug 11, 1981

Gloucester Fraternity Club (GFC) website

From Gloucester Archives:

THIS PLAYGROUND IS NAMED IN MEMORY OF JOSEPH S. MATTOS, JR.

BORN OCT. 4TH, 1899

KILLED IN ACTION OCT. 5TH 1918

DEDICATED 1935 IN HONOR OF: Joseph S. Mattos, Jr.,

Born in Gloucester on October 4, 1899, son of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph S. Mattos. Entered military service at the age of 16, with his mother’s blessing. Sent to France on August 13, 1917 as a member of Battery A, 5th United States Field Artillery, regular army. Private Mattos was killed in action on October 5, 1918, the day after his 19th birthday.

Boston Globe Memorial Day 1927: Coast Guard seaplanes circled and scattered flowers to honor WWI fallen airmen Maxwell Parsons and Eric Adrian Lingard #GloucesterMA Harbor

The Boston Globe included Gloucester among its beautiful Memorial Day roundup in 1927. Inspired by Gloucester’s annual Fishermen’s Memorial service, a new addition was incorporated into Gloucester’s Memorial Day observances that year. Perhaps this gesture could return for future programs.

“Airplanes Strew Flowers Over Gloucester Harbor”

“This maritime place which some time ago adopted the custom of strewing the waves at an annual (Gloucester Fishermen’s) memorial service inaugurated another feature today.     

“During the exercises at the Cut Bridge, in honor of the Naval dead, two seaplanes from Coast Guard Base 7 commanded by Commander Carl C. Von Paulson and Ensign Leonard A. Melka, circled over the outer harbor strewing flowers.     

“Gloucester lost two airman during the WWI, Ensign Eric Adrian Lingard and 2d Liet. Maxwell Parsons.      “Members of the G.A.R. Spanish War Veterans, Legion, and auxiliaries proceeded to Oak Grove Cemetery this morning where exercises were held after which the veterans moved to the Cut Bridge. Details from the servicemen’s posts had previously decorated the graves with flowers and foliage. The main exercises were held this afternoon in City hall auditorium, which was filled to its capacity…”

Boston Globe, May 31, 1927

In 1937, the Gloucester Playground Commission dedicated the Maxwell Parsons Playground in East Gloucester, the neighborhood of his youth:

Named in Honor of

Lieut. Arthur Maxwell Parsons

U.S. Flying Corp

Born Dec. 11, 1895

Died July 3, 1918

Inscription on the tribute plaque

Eric Adrian Lingard

Have you watched Atlantic Crossing on PBS Masterpiece?

Local airman, Eric Adrian Lingard, was part of a daring and brave crew that drove a German U-Boat from the shores of his home state during the July 21, 1918 attack on Orleans, off Nauset Beach.

In 2012, Fred Bodin shared this dynamite photo with Good Morning Gloucester

Lingard Seaplane 1919 Gloucester Harbor – one he had flown

“On October 18th, 1918, Lingard’s plane went down in heavy seas due to engine failure, and he died of pneumonia 11 days later. The Lingard home is diagonally across Washington Street from the Annisquam Church, and was later the home of the renowned Crouse family (Sound of Music lyrics and actress Lindsey Crouse).”

Fredrik D. Bodin, Good Morning Gloucester, 2012

After suffering more than a day in rough seas off Cape Cod, all the while assisting another brother in arms, Lingard and others were rescued from the frigid deep. Later, he succumbed from pneumonia exposure [and/or 1918 flu epidemic, still present that late. For example, the “two brothers who co-founded the Dodge Bros. automobile manufacturing company contracted the flu in New York in 1919: John died at the Ritz hotel in January 1920, and Horace in December 1920 after a wicked year battling its complications.” Search “Notables- Flu Cases and the Arts” Influenza Epidemic 1918 of Gloucester]

Open space in Annisquam, Soldiers’ Memorial Woods, was given by Lingard’s sister, Olga, his sole family member.

NAME: Annisquam Soldiers Memorial Wood
LOCATION: Washington Street, along Lobster Cove
CAMPAIGN: World War I
TYPE: Bronze tablet in granite stone
DATE DEDICATED: July 7, 1929
INSCRIPTION:
Annisquam
Soldiers Memorial Wood
In grateful remembrance of
John Ernest Gossom
Eric C. Lingard
Bertram Williams
who gave their lives for their country
in the World War

-from Gloucester, Ma. Archives Committee

Lingard’s name can be found WWI | Harvard Memorial Church

Where is the hull of Seaplane HS 1695, decommissioned by then Sect. State FDR to Gloucester’s park commission? GMG reader Bill Hubbard commented on Bodin’s photo, surmising:

“Nice old photo, Fred. For years before and during WW-II, the hull of a similar plane was in the lower level of the Twin Light Garage on East Main Street. The garage was owned by the late Ray Bradly who lived on Rocky Neck. As kids, we often played around it and I remember Ray telling us that it had been a WW-I airplane – I believe it was an old Coast Guard bi-winged seaplane. There were no wings or rudder, just the hull which was shaped very much like the one in the picture. Not long after the end of the war, they dragged it out to the flats on Smith Cove and burned it.”

Bill Hubbard, GMG reader comment reply to Fred Bodin, 2012

Fred Buck selected Joan of Arc photographs from the Cape Ann Museum for the HarborWalk Joan of Arc marker. We liked this one. The parade retinue includes a truck carrying wreckage from Lingard’s plane.

Joan of Arc in Legion Square. photog. unknown. date unknown. Lingard’s plane.

1890 Boston Globe historic houses article features White Ellery #GloucesterMA

Then and Now

woodcut illustration for 1890 Boston Globe article | photos: c. ryan, mostly 2021

The first Massachusetts home featured in this Boston Globe historic house article was Gloucester’s “Ellery house”, as a classic First Period saltbox:

OLD HOMES, OLD FAMILIES. Houses in New England, Each of Which Has for Three or More Generations Sheltered the Same Race. Romances Drawn from Wood and Brick

The Sunday Globe begins today to publish stories and pictures of old New England homesteads which have sheltered at least three generations of the families now living in them.

This is not so endless a task as some may suppose it to be. New England, no doubt, contains a greater number of old houses than any other division of the country, but it is rare indeed to find one among those that has been long in the possession of the same family. Such a shifting of ownerships may reflect the growing prosperity of the original occupants who perchance have built greater homes than those of their fathers, but often the disappearance of the inheritors of these ancestral houses signifies either the utter extinction or the scattering and breaking up of the family.

The sketches in this series opening today appeal, therefore, in a peculiar way to the public curiosity, and the Sunday Globe would thank any of its readers if they would call attention to any houses within their own knowledge which may be occupied by a family who have possessed the property through three or more generations continuously or otherwise.

There are various periods in the history of Gloucester house building, each marked quite as distinctly to the architectural student as the different strata of the earth’s crust indicate to the geologist the various periods of formation. In the case of the old houses of note it may be said that they all belonged to the upper crust.

The houses of the first settlers of Gloucester, with rare exceptions, have long since been replaced by others of more elaborate design, and the few remaining in the suburbs are small one-story edifices of no particular architectural pretensions.

In common with Boston, Salem, Newburyport and other colonial seaports, Gloucester once owned a large fleet of ships, brigs and barks, that sailed to foreign ports, exchanging the products of the town and of the county for Spanish gold and Surinam molasses, which was converted into New England rum.

These merchants built commodious residences and dispensed a hospitality commensurate with their position as leaders of the social and intellectual life of the town.

The most historic edifice in town is the Ellery house, which stands just below the old meeting house green on Washington street in Riverdale, a suburb of the town.

It was built by Rev. John White shortly after he came here in 1702 to minister to the spiritual wants of the First Parish, receiving a grant of land from the town on which to build his home. At that time the main settlement was in that portion of the community, but the necessities of commerce and fishing made it convenient for the inhabitants to remove nearer the seashore, deserting their first habitations on what is now known as “Dogtown Common,” where the remains of their cellars can still be traced today.

The type of architecture is well portrayed by the accompanying cut. On the projection which overhangs the lower story in front there were four balls pendant, a style of decoration of the times, which have long been removed.

Inside, the old-fashioned low studded style of room is at once apparent, and the antique furnishings and general air of the place make one realize more vividly the age of the house and fixtures, which are of a nature to bring joy to the heart of an antiquarian.

Some of the furniture in the parlor is about 200 years old. The house was bought in 1710 by Capt. William Ellery, and it still remains in the hands of his direct descendants, the occupants being John Ellery and his wife. Thus it will be seen that it has been in this family 150 years.

The purchaser of the house was a son of the original settler, William Ellery. The Ellery family were prominent in the social and intellectual life of the place from the first, being leading merchants. Hon. Benjamin Ellery, called in the family “Admiral,” was the eldest brother of William. He went from Gloucester and settled in Rhode Island and was the father of Deputy Gov. William Ellery and grandfather of William Ellery who signed the Declaration of Independence, the signer being a grandnephew of the first owner of the house.”

Boston Globe 1890*

Read the full article (PDF) to see the other Massachusetts homes selected for the article.

The Declaration of Independence connection was artfully slipped in. Fast facts on the signers from the National archives here.

*For current information visit Cape Ann Museum

The White Ellery House is part of the Cape Ann Museum collection. There are inaccuracies in the 1890 nutshell above. James Stevens and the tavern he operated is absent. The rum trade is acknowledged; any NE slave trade economic connections are not. [Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery. Vermont was the first to abolish (VT 1777 vs. MA 1783).] The article predates the build out of Rt. 128 which rallied a preservation relocation.

Maybe CAM might commission a set of woodcuts of the historic properties as they are now by various local artists.

Beautiful improvements on the grounds of Cape Ann Museum

note: pinch and zoom or double click to enlarge photos.

Boston Globe good news – art critic weighs in on Cape Ann Museum walking tours and #GloucesterMA planning

Boston Globe “Walking Through History With Some of History’s Greatest Artists” by Murray Whyte published 2/9/2021

“Gloucester’s rich history feels carved into the very stone that lines its harbors, and the Cape Ann Museum has done well to seize on all of those elements this winter to craft a series of walking tours that fix the town firmly with its cultural heritage.”

Murray Whyte for Boston Globe on Cape Ann Museum winter walking tours, 2/9/2021

“…an around-town stroll to the many houses and scenes painted by Edward Hopper on his five extended painting journeys here. They’re captivating, and in one case, crushing: The spectacular mansard-roofed captain’s house perched high on a Rocky Neck cliff that Hopper painted in 1924 now shares its view of Gloucester Harbor with a sprawling McMansion next door whose aesthetic might best be described as haute Florida strip mall.”

Register for Cape Ann Museum upcoming walks like Feb. 20 (Spiritual history) and Feb. 27 (Edward Hopper) HERE

Happy to see the Cape Ann Museum guided walking tours featured!

Not to worry! The historic house on Clarendon is gorgeous. Edward Hopper customized his take on Gloucester vistas, as did artists before him.

Here is the Gardner Wonson home (built circa 1873) in horse and buggy days, a scene cropped for commercial keepsake photographs published by the Procter Brothers who were flying high in the 1870s [collection New York Public Library].

This home was an architectural attraction Hopper may have seen before he stepped foot off the train for his first visit to Gloucester.

In 1846 entrepreneurial publishing dynamos and developers, brothers Francis with George H. Procter, set up a book and printing shop. By 1850 they moved to Main Street. As the business grew, their news dispatch morphed from “Procter’s Able Sheet” to “Gloucester Advertiser” to “Cape Ann Advertiser”, and then in 1888 to “Gloucester Daily Times”. By 1892 the printing press for the newspaper branch alone could churn out 4000 papers, eight pages long, every hour (see Pringle). Any small business operating for decades and successive generations will suffer its share of adversity. Procter Brothers was leveled not once but twice by fire, and rebuilt. They published or were the go to printers for all manner of media: books, periodicals, photographs, lithographs, even a circulating library from their headquarters in 1874; building back and then some after that 2nd conflagration. The Wonson home was featured in a tourist photograph series, “Cape Ann Scenery”.

Boston Globe good news | Gloucester House Grace Center story #GloucesterMA

How this Gloucester Restaurant Transformed into a haven for homeless people by John Laidler Boston Globe published January 29, 2021 – Gloucester House during Covid-19, the city and Grace Center

“A popular Gloucester seafood restaurant known for its fresh seafood and harbor views has taken on a new role this winter as a temporary haven for people in need of daytime shelter, meals and other support.”

“This was the most selfless thing that anyone can do,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said of Gloucester House owner Lenny Linquata’s willingness to welcome homeless people to “this beautiful waterfront function hall, [a place] that makes you feel like a princess when you get married there.”

– Mayor Romeo Theken, John Laidler Boston Globe article 1/29/2021


New Year’s Eve 1915- Gloucester’s spectacular annual Midsummer’s Night ball at City Hall was in the news

Boston GLOBE

In 1915, the annual New Year’s Eve ball at City hall in Gloucester was hopping. Ball dancing! Magical spectacle and theatre design! Interpretive Dance! Quartet! Vocalists!

Dec. 31, 1915

Commonwealth Club Dance: Gloucester organization presents its “Midsummer’s Night Party” in City Hall

The annual New Year’s eve concert and assembly of the Commonwealth Club of this city, the “Mid-Summer’s Night Party,” was celebrated in City Hall tonight.

These occasions are noted for their unique decorative schemes and that of this evening made a spectacular ball room setting. Pres Lantz designed and superintended the scenic effect.

The entertainment comprised a program by an orchestra, the Campus Quartet of Dartmouth College, __gure and allegorical dances by Miss Melba Procter, cornet solos by Arian Latham and a violin obbligato by A.A. Lucier. Mrs. Charles C. Nelson of this city gave the vocal solo, “Less than Dust” to Miss Procter’s interpretive Persian dance. Richard W. Freeman was the chairman of the entertainment committee.

“Commonwealth Club Dance: Gloucester organization presents its “Midsummer’s Night Party” in City Hall”, Boston Globe, January 1, 1916

AUDIO LISTEN

Failing audio or photographs from the actual event, here are some examples of the program. The music for Less than Dust was composed by Amy Woodforde-Finden (1860-1919) sometime during 1894-1902. Lyrics by Laurence Hope were added later, copyrighted 1906.

Here is a 1924 audio clip of Less than Dust (Far East love lyrics) solo, with baritone Royal Dadmun, in the Library of Congress collection:

Hope, Laurence, Royal Dadmun, Amy Woodforde-Finden, and Rosario Bourdon. Less Than the Dust
. 1924. Audio.

LYRICS

“Less than the Dust”

Less than the dust, beneath thy Chariot wheel,
Less than the rust, that never stained thy Sword,
Less than the trust thou hast in me, O Lord,
⁠Even less than these!

Less than the weed, that grows beside thy door,
Less than the speed of hours spent far from thee,
Less than the need thou hast in life of me.
⁠Even less am I.

Since I, O Lord, am nothing unto thee,
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,
Love’s last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,
⁠Farewell, Zahir-u-din.

Laurence Hope Lyrics Less than Dust 1906 (set to earlier music composed by Amy Woodforde-Finden)

Since I couldn’t find a Less than Dust soprano example, ‘here to help us hear’ a female’s voice as was on the program in Gloucester’s City Hall that New Year’s Eve– apparently a wonderful local singer, Mrs. Charles Nelson- : enjoy audio of a another song from this same Woodforde-Finden cycle, Kashmiri, sung by Maggie Teyte (1888-1976) and recorded in that era.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Loesser’s hit Margaret Whiting 1947; Orioles 1949; Ella 1960; Nancy Wilson 1967; Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt 2011; Idina Menzel 2017

1885 “Timely rescue by hardy men of Gloucester” Boston Globe interviews Captains from schooners Clytie and Alaska about the terrible hurricane at Christmas time

On this day, a rescue at sea, December 29, 1885. Boston Globe story presented accounts from both crews and was published January 2, 1886, (author possibly Tom Herbert)

DRIVEN TO THE SEA: In the terrible gale at Christmas Time. Facing Starvation and Cold on the Schooner Alaska. Timely Rescue by Hardy Men of Gloucester.

Still another is added to the long list of stories of terrible sufferings at sea and gallant rescues that will long make memorable the month of December, 1885. The schooner Clytie of Gloucester arrived in port Thursday night, with the schooner Alaska in tow, the latter vessel showing evidence of the trying ordeal through which she had passed. The story of the recue as told by Captain Courant of the Clytie, is one of thrilling interest.

“Tuesday morning,” said he, in his bluff, hearty manner, “just at daybreak, we sighted a vessel way off on the horizon. We could not make out shwa she was, or what she was doing. We couldn’t really make out whether there was anything the matter with her or not, she was so far away. I went up on the house with the glass. It looked then as if she was an anchor, but we knew that could not be so, as there was no bank there. By and by, as it grew lighter, and we worked up nearer, we saw the signals of distress flying. We were then under two reefed foresail, with bonnet off the jib. When we saw she was in distress we put two reefs in the mainsail and stood up for her. Remember all this time it was a howling hurricane. It was a different thing out there 150 miles at sea, with the great waves threatening to send us to Davy Jones’ locker every minute than what it is to tell of it here in comfortable quarters. When we got near the vessel we saw at once that it would be impossible to board her. So we laid by the rest of the day and all night, and the next morning, though it was still dangerous work,

We Got Out One of the Dories

and got aboard. I tell you it was a hard sight, and the story of terrible suffering from hunger and exposure was a pitiful one. The schooner was the Alaska from , N.B. She sailed Friday, with a crew of six besides the captain, but was met by a fearful gale when outside, and forced to drop anchor. The gale, however increased to such an extent that both cables parted, and the schooner drifted helplessly out to sea. From that time until Tuesday morning, when we discovered her in latitude 42 50 north, longitude 67 21’ west, she was driven about at the mercy of the wind and waves. Their provisions gave out, and death by starvation stared them in the face. They grew weaker and weaker, but still were obliged to do what they could to keep the vessel afloat. Their sails were gone, their decks swept with the waves, and they were drenched to the skin. The cold increased, and with it, their sufferings. Death must soon have ended all if we had not sighted them just as we did. But even under those circumstances the captain didn’t want to desert his schooner; he said she was all he owned in the world, and he had almost rather go down with her than lose her. There was, however, no water, no kerosene and nothing to eat on board, and the vessel was in a dangerous position. She had been loaded with hay and wood, but her deep load of wood had long ago been washed overboard. As I stepped on board the craft, which seemed just

Ready to Take Its Final Plunge,

the Captain stepped forward and said:

“Can you give me some men to help me work my vessel?”

“No, sir,” said I, as I glanced about the wreck; “in the first place, there isn’t a man aboard my vessel would take the risk of going with you.”

“And you won’t let me have even one man” said he in despair, as he began to see his last chance of saving his vessel disappearing.

“No,” said I, “I wouldn’t leave one of my men aboard this craft to take his chances with you if she was loaded with gold.”

He then offered me $100 for a man, but of course, I refused.

“I will,” said I, “do one of two things: I will take your crew aboard my boat, or I will put a crew aboard your vessel and try to work her in.” This last offer I made on condition that I should receive $1000 if I got the vessel in port safely. I was off on a fishing trip, and of course I couldn’t lose my voyage for nothing. It might pay me $1000, and it might not, but that was about fair for the loss of my voyage. He offered me $500 and then $700, but I told him I wouldn’t take $999; that $1000 was only the fair thing. He finally consented and signed the following agreement:

December 29, 1885

I hereby agree to pay the schooner Clytie the sum of one thousand dollars ($1000) to help save my vessel and crew. JOSEPH BISHOP.

Of course in doing even this I had to take my chances of losing my voyage, for we were in a dangerous position, and the chances of saving the vessel were poor. I told him I would take him into the first port I could. The wind was fair for the Nova Scotia coast, but it is a bad place there, and I told him I would try to get him into either Boston or Gloucester. I put six men aboard. The wind favored us, and here we are safe and sound.

“The names of my crew who ran down in the Alaska? Oh, they were Pat Foley, Dick Welch, King Silva, Frank Tijer, John Shea and John McNulty—a good set of boys they are, too.”

“How are the crew of the Alaska getting along?”

“Well, they suffered terribly, but will be all right in a few days. The mate is the worst off, his feet and fingers being frozen. It was a close call for them all, but you know we seafaring men have to take our chances.”

Captain Courant, sch. Clytie

A “Sully Miracle on the” Sea story! Now from the sch. Alaska point of view:

LASHED TO THE WHEEL: Experience of the Crew of the Alaska Given by Captain Bishop—Their Miraculous Escape

Captain Bishop of the schooner Alaska was found aboard his vessel, which is lying on the north side of Union wharf. When asked about his trip, he said it was the roughest weather he had seen for over thirty years.

“We started,” said he, “from Harvey, N.S., Christmas afternoon, with a deckload of cordwood and hay in the hold for James Stevenson of this port. It was blowing pretty hard at the time, but we supposed it would soon moderate. After running about two miles, and when off Grindstone Island, we decided to anchor, as the wind appeared to be increasing. We placed two anchors ahead and let out 210 fathoms of chain. At 2 o’clock the next afternoon the chains parted, and the vessel drifted into the Bay of Fundy. It was then snowing hard, the sea was tremendously high, and it was blowing a terrific gale from the northeast by east. It was impossible to carry any canvas, so we rode along under bare poles. At midnight the storm was fearful. The high seas washed continually over the decks, and the two men at the wheel had to be lashed, otherwise it would have been impossible for them to remain on deck. At 3 o’clock Monday morning we hove the vessel too by a peak in the mainsail. At 7 o’clock we were to north-northwest, with part of the three-reefed foresail and peak of the mainsail, the rest of the mainsail and two jibs having been blown away. At 3 o’clock that afternoon we found ourselves near the breakers, on the southern point of Grand Manan. In the meantime it changed from snow to hail and were then able to see ahead for the first time since Saturday. The first thing we saw was that we were going ashore inside of Gannet rock.

Our stern was close into the breakers when the keeper of the light motioned to us to steer to the south, which we did, and the vessel passed out safely. All this time the sea was mountains high and washing clear over the lighthouse.

Cpt. Bishop, sch. Alaska
Gannet Rock lighthouse – photograph Canadian Coast Guard collection shared on Lighhousefriends.com

The mate and two seamen had their hands and feet badly frostbitten, while my limbs were partially paralyzed Monday evening the wind veered around to north-northwest. At 10 o’clock Tuesday morning, when 130 miles east by south of Cape Ann, we met the fishing schooner Clytie, which towed us to this port. The Alaska had her boat and deckload carried away.

Boston Globe report published Jan 2, 1886

The vessels:

Itemized on List of vessels district of Gloucester August 1878, Gloucester archives 

 Gloucester Harbor. Alaska. 63.87 tonnage.
 Master’s name M.M. Murray Number 455 
 Built in Gloucester in 1867 by George Norwood & Sons
  
 Gloucester Harbor. Clytie. 72.17 tonnage.
 Master’s name A.C. Browell #125,125
 Built in Gloucester 1873 Rowe & Jordan 

2019 article about the history of the (now deteriorating) Gannet lighthouse (yes, for the birds that were there) with interview of former lighthouse keeper: “The Gannet Rock lighthouse soars above a rocky islet off Grand Manan, an old beacon of light for fisherman. But the tower, built in 1831, is battered from years of neglect. It was abandoned in the early 2000s and stopped being maintained by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2010. “


Winslow Homer, Ship building Gloucester Harbor, 1873

Same year as Clytie was built


Scenes of vessels/fishing industry in Gloucester harbor and accounts of winter storms

1876

Ten years earlier, “The December Gales of 1876” chapter from The Fishermen’s Own Book comprising The List of Men and Vessels Lost from Gloucester, Mass., from 1874 – April 1, 1882 AND a Table of Losses From 1830, together with Valuable Statistics of the Fisheries, ALSO Notable Fares, Narrow Escapes, Startling Adventures, Fishermen’s Off-Hand Sketches, Ballads, Descriptions of Fishing Trips, AND Other Interesting Facts and Incidents Connected with This Branch of Maritime Industry, Entered according to Act of Congress, 1882, Procter Bros., Lib of Congress

1902

Clarence Manning Falt

1920s & 1930s

Leslie Jones, others

131 years ago today, speedy fishing schooner Sarah H. Prior was in the news Dec. 26, 1889

Portrait of a Boston schooner with Gloucester owners, legal travails, competition, and excerpts from an eventful timeline replete with adrift dories, rescues and collisions.

“Yes,” said Capt. Tom McLaughlin of the fishing schooner Sara H. Prior. “We are home for Christmas, but it was a case of swimming at first and crawling at the tail end of the passage.”

“Your vessel seems to be pretty well torn up, captain?”

“Oh, nothing unusual for her: why, she has a record second to none: in fact, if other craft passed through one-quarter of her trials their names would be ribs by this time. You see it is just like this. The Prior, or the Horse, as the crew call her, was launched on a breezy day about seven years ago, and I am sure she has escaped all the calms that have come since then and experienced all the bad weather.”

On our first trip we came very near shortening her spars, for it blew a stiff breeze from the northwest. When we sailed on our first fishing trip we went to Brown’s Bank, near Nova Scotia. There we got caught in a gale and had to run for Shelburne. It turned out a bad night. Snow and sleet prevented us from seeing the land, and after getting in on shore soundings we were forced to haul off and face the gale. That night our headsails, which were brand new blew out of the ropes, so we set a double reefed main and foresail with strong hopes that she would work off a lee shore.

“Talk about a vessel going windward; why,

She Almost Talked,

and it was then and there that she got the name that she still bears, and it means much to a great vessel under any canvas.

“Well, we got out of that scrape all right, went into Shelburn, repaired sails and came home with a good trip. Georges time came about as usual, and about Feb. 20 fish struck solid. ‘Twas then we showed the Cape Anners what the Prior was built for, and we thought nothing of beating them 20 hours on the homeward passage. During the first six months the repairs on the vessel cost $2500, yet we paid 33 per cent on first cost, clear of bills. Oh, those were good times.”

“Is your vessel a good sailor?”

“Well, she has never been beaten yet when there was any wind. Of course, I don’t expect to sail as fast as moderate weather as some of the new flyers, but give me wind and new duck and old Sarah will hold her own.

“Well, we have outsailed so many that I almost forget the names and times. Yet there are one or two instances which I will relate. You see the Gloucester owners and skippers used to blow about beating the Boston schooners, and for years we had no peace when we happened to meet ashore. Well, I concluded to go salt fishing one spring, and after a quick and good catch on the Western Banks we took the first of a northeaster for the homeward run. The next morning two sails were reported dead ahead, and at that time we had all lower sails set, forcing the old girl along at her best.

“Two hours later we were close enough to make them out as fresh halibut catchers from the Grand banks; their names I believed were M.A. Boston and G. Whitten. When we got close to them they were shortening sail, and one of them let go an anchor, preferring to ride the gale out than scud before it. Shortly afterwards the other vessel hove to under a single reefed foresail.

We went Along at a Lively Clip

under our lower sails, well knowing that the chances were good to slat them to pieces should we stop to reef, for they were played out at the time. However, we ran the gale out and made the quickest passage ever sailed from the Western banks to Boston light.

“That sent the Prior stock away up in Gloucester, for when they arrived, three days later, both crews seemed satisfied that our vessel was a pocket edition of the notorious Flying Dutchman.”

“What speed has your vessel attained?”

“Fourteen knots an hour for six hours; after that the rough sea brought us down to 12.”

“Ever been dismasted?”

“Yes,” said the skipper with a laugh, “too often to suit the owners. There was one time we were coming up around Cape Cod with a smoky southwester and by the breaking of a small shackle iron under the nose of the flying jibboom the whole business came down quicker than you could fire a gun. First went the jibboom, followed by enough of the fore and maintopmasts, followed by enough of the foremast to build a respectable sized raft; in fact she was as much of a wreck as though Wiggins had given special orders for a cyclone to hit us.”

“And how about this trip?”

“It was a nasty one, friend; winter weather outside while ashore you have had it very good.”

Plenty of Snow, Sleet and Rain

with us all the time. We tried Georges banks this time and found fish pretty scarce, not over 20,000 for two days’ fishing.”

“We left there Sunday with a strong southerly wind, which carried us 60 miles. Then it came northwest, and blew very hard. Our barometer indicated bad weather, and the sudden changes it made in a short space of time showed me that we were in the vicinity of heavy gales. I suppose those steamers that arrived in port lately must have caught it pretty rough for they were further eastward.

“Canvas could not stand the heavy northwester that struck us, and after wagging duck for a couple of hours the old Sarah looked like a second-class junk shop, so we took in the rags and weathered the gale the best we could.

“Next morning we repaired sails and stood to the westward and with the assistance of favorable winds we got here, but I don’t know where the other vessels went.

“They couldn’t suffer any canvas, and of course went adrift somewhere; probably we will meet them coming home when we are outward bound.

“But I forgot to tell you how this old girl showed her heels to a Canadian cruiser. We were seining a year ago last summer, and as mackerel were scarce on this course I thought we ought to try the Nova Scotia shore. One day the lookout sighted a school of fish between our vessel and the shore, and we squared away in hot haste, lest the prize escape. When we were close by I knew they were large fish, and the way the boys hopped into our boat and set that seine, did me good: they were around the fish in a jiffy and began to purse up. I kept a sharp look out for cutters and lucky I did for away in the close to the land what should I see but one of them sailing out toward us. I called to the boys to whoop her up, and they did, I sailed the vessel up to them and we took from the seine 40 barrels of beauties.

“There was a good breeze blowing at the time and the cutter was only a mile away coming along

With a Bone in Her teeth,

crowded with sail. As he might say we were inside the three-mile limit, I concluded to give him a run before a capture, so we let go the seine and squared away, setting our kites at the same time.

‘Twas then the Prior showed the speed that she was designed to have, and the stern chase was witnessed by many a captain and crew who knew us. For the first hour there was no gain by either vessel. After that we altered our trim with barrels of water, then we gradually drew away, not very fast, but just fast enough to keep out of gunshot. By nightfall he was well astern, yet in the chase. After dark we tacked and stood in shore with the hopes of finding our seine. But it was not our luck, for a coaster had run afoul of it and taken it to Halifax. The case is in court now, and we hope to recover damages.”

The Horse’s Heels. She Delights to Show Them to Other Vessels—Stormy Record of Fishing Schooner Sarah H. Prior, Boston Globe, Dec. 26, 1889. (author could be Tom Herbert)

1886

The sch. Sarah H. Prior had placed 3rd in the 1886 Fishermen’s Race in Gloucester.

1886 December

Affidavit of the captain and crew of the schooner Sarah H. Prior.

On this 28th day of December, A. D. 1886, personally appeared before me Captain Thomas McLaughlin, master, and George F. Little and Charles Finnegan, two of the crow of the schooner Sarah H. Prior, of Boston, and being duly sworn, signed and made oath to the following statement of facts:

On September 10, 1886, the schooner Sarah H. Prior, while running for Malpeque, Prince Edward Island, and about seven miles from that port, lost her large seine. [Page 502]Four days afterwardsthe schooner John Ingalls, of Halifax, N. S., Captain Wolfe, came into Malpeque and had the seine on board, which she had picked np at sea, Captain Wolfe offered to deliver the seine to Captain McLaughlin in consideration of twenty-five dollars, which offer the latter accepted and paid him the money. The Canadian revenue cutter Critic, Captain McLearn, was lying at Malpeque at the time, and Captain McLaughlin went to see him, to ascertain if there would be any trouble in delivering the seine. Captain McLearn would not allow the captain of the John Ingalls to give up the seine, so the latter returned the twenty-five dollars to Captain McLaughlin.

The schooner Sarah H. Prior had two seines, one large and one small size. It was the large one which she lost and the schooner John Ingalls picked up. She had to leave Malpeque without it, and consequently came home with a broken voyage and in debt.

Thos. McLaughlin.

George F. Little.

Charles Finnegan.

Suffolkss: Boston

December 28, 1886.

1886

Mr. Prior to Mr. Bayard.

BostonDecember 28, 1886.

Dear Sir: I wrote to Senator W. P. Frye, setting forth in my letter the facts contained in the affidavit inclosed. He wrote me to have it sworn to and to send it to you, which I have done. Will you please let me know what course is best to pursue in regard to it, whether to enter a claim or not? I think it is a clear, strong case, and the claim would be a just one, and will be pleased to receive your advice in the matter.

Yours, very truly,

P. H. Prior.

1888 June

The 1889 account in the Globe records a continued legal state of limbo. Tangle over seine was brought forward as a federal case vs. Great Britain (Canada) three years prior. The lawsuit is featured here digitized through the US Gov. Office of the historian

Department of State

PAPERS RELATING TO THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE YEAR 1887, TRANSMITTED TO CONGRESS, WITH A MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT, JUNE 26, 1888

No. 330.
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

Department of State,
WashingtonJanuary 27, 1887.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of an affidavit of the captain and two members of the crew of the schooner Sarah H. Prior, of Boston, stating the refusal of the captain of the Canadian revenue cutter Critic to permit the restoration to the former vessel, in the port of Malpeque, Prince Edward Island, of her large seine, which she had lost at sea, and-which had been found by the captain of a Canadian vessel, who offered to return the seine to the Prior, but was prevented from doing so by the captain of the Critic.

This act of prevention, the reason for which is not disclosed, practically disabled the Prior, and she was compelled to return home without having completed her voyage, and in debt.

I have the honor to ask that Her Majesty’s Government cause investigation of this case to be made.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.

1888 July

The Fisheries Treaty: Speech of George F. Hoar of Massachusetts, in the United States Senate, Tuesday, July 10, 1888 (sch. Prior seeking reimbursement of seine boat)

1890

Sarah H. Prior, reported lost, returned yesterday to port.

Local Lines. Boston Daily Globe (1872-1922); Boston, Mass. [Boston, Mass]14 Jan 1890: 2.

Winslow Homer dating 1885 and 1886 collections Art Inst. Chicago, MFA and private collection (Gates)

1895 two fishermen LOST

The fishing schooner Sarah H. Prior of Boston, Capt. Frank Raymond, arrived at T Wharf yesterday afternoon from Western banks with a fare of 30,000 pounds of mixed fish. Her colors were flying at half mast for the straying away from the vessel of a dory containing Manueal Zumeira and Manuel Palheiro. They were lost last Monday on the fishing grounds during a dense fog. The eight other dories which had started out managed to reach the vessel. The lost fishermen have probably been picked up by another vessel, and Capt. Raymond thinks they will be heard from shortly.

Lost Two of her Crew: Schooner Sarah H. Prior in Port with colors at half-mast, Boston Globe May 20, 1895

1895 found

They make it! Follow up story published ten days later:

Provincetown, May 28—The missing men of the schooner Sarah H. Prior’s crew are safe, having arrived here last night on a fishing craft from Boston. These men, Manuel Souza Palha and Manuel Souza Shuma, went adrift in the fog Monday, May 13, while fishing on the Western banks during a heavy fog. Neither of the men can converse freely in the English tongue.

Their sufferings were great and they met with at least on inhuman skipper, while lost in the dory. Shuma, the spokesman, related the following:

“On Monday we went from the Prior to draw our trawls, and rowed a course that should have taken us to our outer buoy or end farthest from the vessel. A thick fog shut down soon after we left the craft’s side, and this caused us to miss the buoy.

“After awhile, finding that we had missed our way, we turned and rowed back on what we thought to be our track, and after a long pull came across one of our dories, the men in which were pulling trawl. This dory, by the way, was the other dory lost from the Prior that day, which was picked up one or two days later.

“We hailed the men, asking the direction of the Prior, and they pointed to leeward. As they had left the craft after us, we supposed they were right and pulled that way. They had given us a course directly opposite to the right one. After a long pull we found that we were lost.

“We were without anchor, sail, compass, food or water, the fog was very thick, the sea was rough, and we did not know in what direction to row, but trusting to luck, pulled here and there, hoping to strike some vessel. After a pull of four hours, we desisted and tried to devise some plan that would help to bring us out safely.

“Night shut down and we drifted about in a heavy sea without sighting anything, and so on through the days and nights that followed. We became hungry and thirsty, but there was nothing with which we could allay our pangs.

“Finally, we managed to gather a quantity of floating seaweed and devoured it, but it increased the thirst that now drove us wild.

“The fog still held thick, but we had rowed on steadily while we could, hoping to make land ere we perished, but as we could not determine accurately the course to steer we made sad mistakes.

Finally, having been two days and nights adrift, we espied a fishing craft coming our way, but a little distance off. As she swept past we shouted for help. I hailed the man whom I took to be the captain and asked him to save my partner who was in a bad way. The man replied, “Go to h—l,” and away went the craft into the fog and out of sight.

“A little later the fog lifted a trifle, giving us a glimpse of a craft getting under way not far off. Toward this craft, we pulled as hard as we could, but, although we knew her men saw us, the vessel kept off, ran away and left us.

“Then we felt as if God and man had deserted us, but, weakened as we were, we pulled on, hoping to have better luck. Then followed a third night of suffering, with fog as dense as ever and heavy winds and sea. ON the following day we fell in with the British coaster Sophia, bound from cape Niger to St. John, NB, and got on board. Her crew treated us kindly and the craft landed us at St. John nine days later, on May 23.

“We had been adrift three days and nights, and had pulled and drifted from the Western banks to the western edge of the Lahave bank. At St. John the American consul cared for us and sent us on to Boston by train.

“We could not read, so could not tell the name of the vessel that refused to save us. I have seen the man who replied to my request several times in Boston and Provincetown. When in the latter place he was on a vessel in after bait. The vessel, however, did not look like an American craft. We judged her to be a Nova Scotian fisherman, but we don’t know.”

These men had been given up as lost by people here, and their arrival was a surprise to all.

Bitter Experiences of Two Men Lost in Fog. Drifted About for Three Days Without Food or Water. Long Ago Given Up for Lost by Their Friends in Provincetown. Boston Globe, May 29, 1895

1899

Provincetown, June 14- Schooner Nellie G. Adams and Sarah H. Prior were in collision off Long Point early this morning during a dense fog and heavy southerly wind. As a result the Prior is minus all headgear, and the Adams will require a new cathead and anchor stock. The Adams’ loss will not exceed $50, but the sum required to repair the Prior’s damages will amount to considerable.

These vessels were from Boston, bound into Provincetown harbor.

The violence of the collision is demonstrated by the anchor stock broken on the bow of the Adams which was of iron, and which received the full force of the blow. Had the blow fallen a foot or two farther aft the Prior would likely have crashed into the Adams’ forecastle killing the sleeping men and sinking the schooner offhand.

COLLISION OFF LONG POINT: Schooners Nellie G. Adams and Sarah H. Prior Came Together, Boston Globe June 15 1899

1900

Another day – Another crash

A collision occurred in the harbor early yesterday morning between the fishing schooners Joseph Warren and the Sarah H. Prior, resulting in considerable damage to the latter vessel.

Both were returning from the fishing grounds, and their skippers were anxious to reach T Wharf quickly. The Warren attempted to cross the Prior’s bow, but the distance was misjudged, and the vessels came together.

The Prior’s bowspirit and most of her forerigging were carried away, and she sustained other slight damage, while the Warren escaped injury. The Warren left the pier in the afternoon after disposing of her fare. The damaged vessel will have to undergo repairs before she can make another trip.

WATER FRONT ITEMS: Schooners Warren and Prior Come in Collision –Latter Considerably Damaged by the Accident in the Harbor, Boston Globe, April 27, 1900

1901

New York, Feb. 16 – The Allan line steamer Sardinian, which arrived today from Glasgow, reports that Feb 14 at 2pm in lat 40, long 68, a fishing schooner, the Sarah H. Prior of Boston, was sighted flying distress signals.

The Prior had been blown off shore in a northwest hurricane and had been since beating against the constant northwest gales. Some fish had been caught, but they rotted in the hold. The crew had suffered considerable privation from hunger and cold, having run short of provisions and coal. The Sardinian supplied their wants and proceeded. The schooner’s captain reported all well on board and that he would bear up for his home port.

SHORT OF PROVISIONS: Boston Fishing Schooner Sarah H. Prior Spoken at Sea by the Allan Liner Sardinian Boston Globe February 17, 1901

Christmas day Boston Globe 1890- A True Story of Gloucester Fisher Folk

This story was the first time I was acquainted with anything written by one, “Tom Herbert”, a reporter the Boston Globe featured regularly pre 1900.

This heartwarming read published on Christmas day in 1890 has enough convincing details to engage readers of all ages with a Christmas wish come true story. Is it fairytale or truth enchanted? The mention of a charming cottage in East Gloucester piqued my interest enough to research surnames, just in case, and the off chance I might locate a house story to boot while re-discovering work by this writer. One article was another in this vein I categorized ‘fairytale reporting’ which I shared yesterday ; and a third from a tuna fishing trip he covered for the Boston Globe (embellished with a fantastic headline).

Local details mentioned: Norman’s Woe, Proctor’s Store, ferryboat Little Giant, James (Jim) Lawson, Jeannette Olsen (children Andrew and Alfred), Eastern point, fisherman, Swedish immigrants, East Gloucester, Swedish consul, Court Square Boston, Grand banks, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, shipwreck, Cunningham & Thompson’s wharf, Boston’s salt fish dealers

Her Christmas Present, A True Story of Gloucester Fisher Folk

By Tom Herbert

“Shaw! Jeannette, don’t talk of Christmas presents: you should have dropped those childish notions when we were married. Here am I, a poor fisherman, with a few hundred dollars, and you know I want to build or buy a house in East Gloucester, so that we can have a home of our own next year, and now, the middle of October, I am almost forced to make a fresh halibut trip, or stay home and eat up my hard earned money; and we must be saving, for the owners have promised me a vessel next spring.”

The next day he was to sail, and with tears in her eyes, Jeannette hurriedly got together socks, mittens and the rest of his sea clothes, all of which were neatly patched and darned ready to be placed in the calico pillowslip and taken on board the vessel.

“You’ll buy me a present this year, won’t you, Jim?” said she the next morning.

“Well, I don’t know. It’s according to whether we make a good trip or not, and even so, you must not expect anything that will cost much.

So they parted with a kiss, at the door of the little house on a side street in Gloucester, and were it not for the cry, “Pa-pa-pa” of little Andrew in the crib up stairs, she might have lingered at the door and watched the passage of the vessel as her prow was turned towards Norman’s Woe.

“Jim will be home before Christmas,” mused she, “and if ‘twas only a cheap pocket-book he’d buy for me, I would cherish it so much.”

That night, after “baby” was sound asleep, she visited a friend, and as she passed Proctor’s Store and the post office on her way home she heard a fisherman say: “The ‘glass’ is down 2-10 below 29.”

This was news for her, as almost every Gloucester woman understands the working of a barometer, and surely a heavy westerly was coming that night.

It was 12 o’clock that night when the expected nor’wester burst, and she was awakened by the noise of a swinging blind.

‘Tis a fair wind for Jim, thought she, as she secured the shutter, and if it lasts a day or two he will make a quick run to the Grand banks. Little she knew at that time what misery the same gale brought to her husband.

The next day everything went wrong about the house, the fire went out, although there was a splendid draft to the chimney, things seemed to be strewn around the kitchen in all directions, the baby yelled like mad, and tried to get out of his crib alone for the first time, and in the afternoon she scalded her foot with hot water while making a pot of tea.

Jeannette was not superstitious, yet she could not help paying some attention to what seemed to be presentments of trouble, and were it not for a letter from a lawyer that she received asking her to come to Boston to transact important business she might have and had a good cry.

“I wonder what it can be,” said she, as she put on her best wraps,” surely it cannot be any news from home so soon, and now, come to think of it, I’m sorry I didn’t tell Jim that the property in Sweden was being settled up.”

The train seemed to move slower than usual that day, yet it arrived in Boston on scheduled time and soon she was seated in a law office in Court Square.

“I called,” said she, addressing a smooth faced man, “in response to your letter.”

“Oh, yes! You are Mrs. Lawson, are you not?” said he, showing the way to his private office, “And your maiden name was?”

“Jeannette Olsen, sir. I was born in Stockholm 23 years ago.”

“Yes, the very same,” said the lawyer; “and now, Mrs. Lawson, I have some good news for you. The Swedish consul has a check for you at his office, payable in gold, to the amount of $3800; small, but not so bad. I believe your husband is –“

“A fisherman, sir,” said she, helping him answer his query.

“Now all that remains,” continued the man of law, “is for you to be identified and the check is yours; are you acquainted in Boston?”

Yes; she had relatives there, and half an hour later the office boy brought in two persons that knew her when at home and also her family.

Without much delay the check was received by her from the consul and cashed at a neighboring bank, and with that—never had so much money before feeling—she wended her way towards the depot.

Once on the cars her thoughts went out to sea and she wondered how Jim’s vessel had weathered the gale, and what he would think if he only knew their good fortune, and how sorry she felt for having kept secret her letters from home, but the next moment her thoughts were in another channel. She had resolved to buy Jim a Christmas present that would cost “something.”

The day following was one of excitement to her. She visited the bank, crossed the ferry a number of times in company with real estate men, all of which set the neighbors a wondering, and for two weeks she was busy every day.

When she had time to read, she studied the Boston papers, and from the reports of incoming vessels she knew that it had been rough weather at sea.

Soon the name of the vessel that her husband sailed on was becoming talked of in the town, no news had been heard of her, and she became sad-eye, and the bloom of youth left her cheeks.

The neighbors called and sympathized, and one old lady, who had a son on the same vessel, said, “that if the schooner was not in by tomorrow the owners were going to give her up as lost with all on board.”

Tomorrow!

Why, tomorrow was Christmas day!

Vessel and all hands lost at sea!

What a cup of bitterness there was in store for her when she had planned for a day of happiness!

“But it must not be,” she cried; “surely God will not send us such terrible news on the birthday of His son!”

That night she knelt by the baby’s crib and prayed that the father of the little one might be returned to him and her.

Morning dawned and she arose after having passed a sleepless night; baby’s breakfast must be gotten ready, and as she rolled the crackers, the crumbs were moistened with her tears.

Noon came and the dreaded news had not arrived, and seating the chubby little chap in the high chair near the window, they ate their Christmas dinner.

An hour later she was ready to swoon, so weak was she from loss of rest and nourishment, and with arms on the table and head bowed down she cried herself to sleep.

How long she remained in that doze she could never tell, but she awoke with a start; little Alfred was tapping on the window pane with his spoon, and calling “pap-pa! pap-pa,” at the top of his voice.

“Be quiet, child,” said she, hysterically; “you have no pa—“ She never finished that sentence, for there, outside the window, was Jim, with a full beard, and looking very pale.

Was she dreaming?

No! for he has moved towards the door, and is now rapping; she notices as he passes his arm into a sling; he has been hurt.

The bolt shot back, the door swung on its hinges and she would have fallen to the floor, but he caught her with his uninjured arm and in a cheery voice said:

“Jeannette, cheer up; is this the way to welcome your Jim? Why, I’ve brought you a Christmas present: ‘tis myself.”

The joy of the wife at the deliverance of her husband no pen can describe, and when she could speak she told him of the long and weary hours she had waited, and listened intently to his tale of suffering while she put new bandages over the splints of his shattered arm.

He told her that after they sailed out by the light on Eastern point everything went wrong on board the vessel, as though a warning to them, and that night, as they scudded before the gale, one of the crew was knocked overboard by the main boom while returning the mainsail, and was rescued with much difficulty.

The next day the gale increased and the weather was intensely cold.

That afternoon they carried away the foremast head while jibing the foresail, and before it could be prevented the mainmast went by the board and injured five men.

They were then 200 miles at sea and almost a total wreck.

Under short sail they headed for Nova Scotia, and then within 20 miles of the shore a heavy snowstorm set in and they were driven off the coast.

The ice that formed on the vessel in large quantities made her unmanageable, and for four weeks they drifted about the ocean without seeing any craft.

Another heavily westerly gale sprung up, which drove them farther out to sea, the schooner had sprung a leak, the pumps were frozen solid, and the decks were washed continually by the heavy seas.

That night the wind shifted, and the captain, judging himself in the vicinity of Newfoundland, heaved the vessel towards the shore, and under a close-reefed foresail they made fair progress, and got ready the only two dories that had not been smashed.

Towards morning they made the land dead ahead, and all the men that were able stood ready, and the injured and frozen men were placed in the dories which were ready to launch.

The suspense was fearful, but for a moment only, for she struck a reef of rocks with a crash, and when the next sea carried her over the ledge she sank in 15 fathoms of water.

That was all he remembered for one week and when he came to his senses his head was bandaged and his arm was in a splint.

Kindly the wife of a fisherman cared for him, and eased his mind when he asked for “Jeannette,” saying, “She’ll soon be here.”

When able to be about he was sent to Fortune bay and took passage on a herring vessel bound for Gloucester.

The rest of the crew had been badly frostbitten, and when all well would follow by steamer.

He was set ashore at Cunningham & Thompson’s wharf, and arriving at the house saw his baby Alfred at the window, and was answered by the little one.

After Jim Lawson had told his story, Jeannette threw her arms around his neck and said, “James, you know you promised me a Christmas present, but I don’t expect one now, and Jim, dear, don’t feel sad. I know you doted on a little home, so I bought a nice little cottage over on Eastern point.”

Should his dory have capsized in a calm, Jim could not have been more surprised than when his wife spoke of buying a house, and an hour later the ferryboat Little Giant brought the happy couple to their new home.

Jim Lawson quit going fishing, by request of his wife, and today is a salesman for one of Boston’s salt fish dealers.

This year it is said that a new piano will be moved in to the snug little cottage, just for a Christmas present.

“Her Christmas Present A True Story of Gloucester Fisher Folk”, Boston Globe, Dec. 25, 1890 by “Tom Herbert”

Who cares that the baby is alternately named Alfred and Andrew (perhaps there is more than one child?)! Husband and wife are both heroes! And there are helpful lawyer and realtors, unrelated to the shipwreck! (Wait. Was $4000 a small amount in 1890?)

Art, poetry, novels and news- fishing tales were popular no matter the media. Timeline comps: Longfellow’s Wreck of Hesperus was published in 1842; Winslow Homer first documented extended stay in Gloucester, 1873; Elizabeth Phelps residing here by 1890; Joshua Slocum’s Voyage of the Liberdade 1890; and Kipling’s Captain Courageous in 1897. For Christmas eve decades prior, The Night Before Christmas, attributed to Clement Moore, was penned in 1822.

“Lawson” in the 1882 Gloucester directory

Perhaps some families have heard versions of this same yarn. For fun, some cursory digging: there is no James “Jim” Lawson-Jeannette Olsen (olson)-Alfred trio; though the surnames are common. Some Lawsons resided downtown and East Gloucester: Charles Lawson, fisherman, house 10 Traverse St; Charles J. captain 21 Addison; William J Lawson 23 School Street, then 13 Summit St. In 1870 John Lawson arrived from Canada fisherman, bds Middle, corner Wash. (same as Edward Hopper). Child named Alfred or Andrew with a mother born in Stockholm, Sweden? Sure. What Eastern point cottage would fit the bill in your mind’s eye?

Harpooning Swords. Work that is all excitement and no fun–

Globe reporter on a Fishing Expedition to Cape Porpoise, by Tom Herbert, Boston Globe, August 25, 1890

“…and “Turned In.” In 15 minutes not a word could be heard, and the only noise–which was not music to my ears–was the creaking of blocks and booms and the rush of water along the sides of the schooner as she ploughed her way. I had a faint remembrance of the “watch” being changed and the hearing of the order to “haul down the staysail!” After that I fell asleep and dreamt that the managing editor had elongated my vacation from two to four weeks.”

From 1931 Boston Globe report “Tableau of the Nativity is set up in home of an Italian” at 15 Middle St. #GloucesterMA

Did your family share stories about visiting this elaborate (all?) indoors Christmas display? I’d love to see a photograph(s).

Gloucester, December 23, 1931- The religious fervor combined with the artistry of the Italian race is exemplified in the tableau of the nativity set up in the home of Capt. Joseph Curcurru, 15 Middle St, a leading figure in the Italian group of this city.

It is exciting much admiration not only among the Italian residents but among others of the city hundreds of whom have already viewed it.

Two walls of the reception room have been converted into the tableau background which represents a cyclorama of the country about Bethlehem. In a corner are the central figures, statues representing Mary, Joseph, the manger and the Infant Jesus.

Coming from the East are the three wise men and each day they are moved a day’s journey forward toward their objective until eventually on Jan. 6, which the Italians term the “Little Christmas,” they will arrive in the stable of the inn.

All around the panorama may be seen shepherds tending their sheep, peasants tilling the fields, trees and a running brook produced by an electric engine from a tank of water, in addition to other accessories which go to complete the composition.

The Italian quarter at the Fort is already taking on the signs of festivity incident to the season. They stress the religious note. The majority of their fishing craft are named after saints, whereas the native American fisherman named his clipper schooner for wife or daughter in the majority of instances.

Whittier somewhere in his verses noted this nomenclature custom of Saxon and Latin fisherman.

“TABLEAU OF THE NATIVITY IS SET UP IN HOME OF AN ITALIAN AT GLOUCESTER: Religious Fervor, Combined With Fine Artistry, Is Exemplified in This Unusual Cyclorama of Country Around Bethlehem” Boston Globe, p.2, Dec. 24, 1931

Wonder which Whittier poem?

Christmas Eve. Boston Globe 1893 – HE KEPT HIS PROMISE. Loss of Ring Nearly Cost McAchen his Life. Adrift of the Banks, He Found It in the Belly of a Codfish. Arrived in Gloucester to Marry his Mollie

With a headline sounding like a poem or song, this memorable Gloucester Christmas eve tale by Tom Herbert was published in the Boston Globe in 1893. Local mentions: Main Street, Duncan Street, Western Banks, sch. Star of the East, Eastern Point lighthouse, Thacher’s Island, Ten Pound Island, and codfish.

A fun read aloud for Christmas eve.

“Such a dread as I have of your going away so late in the fall,” said pretty Mollie MacDonald to her lover. “And remember we are to be married Christmas eve.”

“Why it’s only a three weeks’ trip, Mollie, to the Western banks,” said mcAchen, “and you would not like to have me loafing around Gloucester and have my ‘chummies’ laughing at me. Then you know, too, I am shipped in the famous Star of the East and we will sail at daybreak.”

“But what about the engagement ring, Angus? All our friends know we are to marry and when you are 300 miles from Gloucester a little token, which I would war on my finger, would often remind me of you and remind me to pray for your safe return, for you know December is a treacherous month for fishermen.”

“I forgot that, Mollie, and now every store on Main Street is closed, but here is a silver band my mother wore,” said he, as he placed the ring on her finger.

“And here’s my mother’s engagement ring,” said Mollie: “a hoop of gold with two hearts. Don’t lose it, for I hold it as sacred as I do your love.”

“I’ll bring it back to you if I live to make the trip. But I must hurry, as most of the crew are on board and a dory will be sent ashore at 1 o’clock for the lads that stop to kiss the girls they love goodby, and I will do the same.”

So they parted, he going down Duncan Street, and on arriving

At the Steamboat Wharf

met a half dozen of his shipmates. Then all went on board and turned in.

That night it breezed up from the northwest. It grew colder, and as the barometer gave evidences of a coming storm, Capt. “Bill.” who skipped the craft, roused the “boys” out before daybreak to sight the anchor. Half an hour later the schooner passed Eastern point lighthouse.

Away scudded the schooner before the fast freshening gale under a single reefed foresail, the swash of the seas as they spurted in through the lee scuppers fast forming ice on the deck.

Once clear of Thacher’s island, all hands turned to fit new fishing gear, and the conversation started, turned to the prospects of the trip.

“Some of the ‘killers’ found fish plenty on the eastern edge,” said one, but Capt. Billy had planned his trip to fish in 90 fathoms of water, near the spot where he had “rafted” in a big trip the year before.

Angus was one of the “afterguards,” as the fishermen term those who bunk in the cabin, and while “fitting” his trawls he was very quiet and especially thoughtful when he revolved the gold band on his finger.

His usual buoyant manner had departed. He was ill at ease and very slow at tying on the hooks.

Once he dropped the lines to the floor and lifting his mattress took out a book as if to read, but he was gazing

On the Photograph

of pretty Mollie Macdonald.

The run to the banks was a quick one, and when the proper surroundings were found the anchor was let go and plenty of “scope” payed out.

That night all hands baited up their trawls which were set at daybreak, and the first haul resulted in a catch of 8000 pounds of cod, every dory coming alongside the schooner loaded to the gunwale.

Angus brightened up at the prospect of a quick trip and a big check.

During the second night on the fishing grounds something happened which later came near costing Angus his life.

All hands were in the gurry kids dressing the fish, and as it was a breezy time all hands worked with a will to get the fish below and batten down the hatches.

After supper extra strads were wound around the cable, the anchor light set on the forepeak halyards, the decks cleared and extra lashings placed on the dories.

When everything was made snug the watch took the deck to keep a bright lookout for vessels that might strike adrift and foul the schooner.

In the cabin sat Angus, who remarked that “it was going to be a nasty night,” and stepping to the after part of the cabin raised his hand to adjust the guide hand of the barometer when he noticed that the ring was gone.

Lantern in hand he rushed to the deck and searched, but no sign of the ring, and when he came down below great tears of sorrow coursed down his bronzed cheeks.

His shipmates looked but did not ask the cause of his sorrow, for Angus was a strong man and might take offense.

Kneeling beside the transom near his berth he

Reached for the Book,

and after gazing on the picture of Mollie for a moment turned and said:

“Boys, I’ve lost her ring, it was gold with two hearts; it was our engagement ring; she gave it to me the night we sailed from Gloucester and I promised her that if I lived I would bring back the ring, but now it is gone.”

That night the wind blew a gale; Angus turned in, but not to sleep.

Towards midnight he was seen going about the deck with the lantern looking for the ring, but he did not find it and had to be coaxed to go below by his shipmates. When he was called to his watch on deck he only raved about the lost ring.

At daybreak all hands were on deck awaiting the word of the skipper to go and haul their trawls, which were set a short distance from the vessel.

Two dories had been launched, and then the captain said, “Hoist those dories in, it is not a fit day to put a dog in a dory, let alone a man.”

While the starboard gang were busy getting their dory aboard, Angus asked his dorymate if he would go and haul trawls, and receiving a positive no, cast off the painter, jumped into his dory, and rowed for his flag buoy half a mile distant.

The seas ran high, and like a cockleshell the dory drifted to leeward on the crest of every wave.

The crew saw that he did not reach the windward end of the trawls, but later could discern him hauling from the lee ends.

Was he mad was the question with the crew, and would he live to haul the trawls and return to the schooner?

Being anchored, there was no possibility of the vessel rendering assistance unless to

Cut the Cable

and try and pick the frantic man up, but that would not do, especially when he took his life in his own hands without the consent of the skipper.

For an hour they watched him from the deck. Then came a snow squall which shut out their view and when it cleared the dory was not in sight.

Ten days later the Star of the East sailed into Gloucester with her flag at half-mast, and on the end of the Fort wharf stood Mollie. She looked paler and thinner than when Angus and she parted not quite three weeks before, and with lips parted she gazed at the incoming craft.

The ever anxious crowd had congregated, and as the schooner tacked in towards Ten Pound Island, an old wharf hand said: “Why, that’s the Star of the East! I wonder who she’s lost.”

That was sufficient for the poor girl to hear. She knew by the slow beating of her heart that Angus was not on board, so she sorrowfully wended her way homeward to find consolation in prayer.

When the sad news reached her she quietly said: “Angus must have lost my ring or he would be here and well.”

‘Twas the old story that the skipper told, “lost while attending the trawls.”

When the snow shut out the vessel from Angus’ view he began to realize his danger and hauled away like mad; then came a fastening on the bottom which would not give way to his strong arms and the trawl parted.

Oars were of no use except to keep the head of the dory up to the sea, and when the snow cleared off he was miles from the vessel.

He was hungry and thirsty, but he thought not of death; his one thought was of Mollie and the lost ring.

All that day he drifted before the gale that moderated at sundown, but no vessel could he see, look where he would.

That night he rowed to keep his blood in circulation, and at sunrise saw a sail five miles away.

Towards evening he was almost insane from thirst, but thinking a moment, he remembered having heard of men who found fresh water in the belly of a cod.

To rip open a codfish was but the work of a minute, then holding it so that not a drop of the precious fluid would escape, he drank.

It tasted brackish, but was better than none. Then he cut out the “poke” that he thought would be more palatable than the flesh.

What possessed him to cut it he never could tell, but when it was laid open with the knife there was

The Hoop of Gold

with two hearts, the ring he lost while dressing fish in the gurry kid on the vessel.

Clutching the ring he forgot his hunger and thirst, his only thoughts were of her who was his promised bride.

After kissing the cherished treasure again and again, he unbuttoned his oil jacket and in the top vest pocket over his heart he placed the ring.

“Now I will live, and, with the help of God, keep my promise,” he said.

The sea had gone down, and as no vessel was in sight, he lashed the flag of his buoy to an oar, and having lashed it in an upright position, he coiled himself up in the bow and was soon fast asleep.

How long he slept he knows not, but it must have been six hours, for he was suddenly awakened by the dory tossing about in a peculiar way.

Raising himself he saw a large steamer close by. The crew seemed to be making ready to lower boats, then he waved his sou’wester and got an answer in return.

Directly he was alongside of the ship and soon on board, where he was well cared for by the captain of the English freighter that had experienced heavy gales, was short of coal and was bound to Halifax to get a new supply.

In two days from that time, Angus was bound to Boston by rail, and after arriving took the evening train for Gloucester and sent a messenger to Mollie to say that he would fulfill his promise, marry her that same night, Christmas eve.

(The end.)

“Loss of a Ring Nearly Cost McAchen His Life. Adrift Off the Banks, He Found It In the Belly of a Codfish. Arrived in Gloucester in Season to Marry His Mollie Christmas Eve” by Tom Herbert, Boston Globe; Dec 25, 1893. On page 6, with obits and other news. Herbert published a similar read in 1890 which I’ll post Christmas day.

Sacred cod indeed!

The schooner Star of the East that fished out of Gloucester for years was built in 1867 in Boothbay Maine by Joseph Bearse. In 1882 the average number of vessels and tonnage enrolled: 483 vessels (423 to Gloucester- 353 schooners, 4 sloops, 1 yacht, 6 teamers and 59 boats) 17, 809.75 tonnage.

A few years later, a true Christmas eve event in Gloucester was reported in the Boston Globe 1898 Dec. 24

Fishermen’s Christmas: Good Cheer Provided in Gloucester for men Away From Home

Christmas was celebrated this evening at the Fishermen’s Institute on Duncan Street in a unique manner. Chaplain E. C. Charlton of the Institute invited the fishermen of the city away from home to become his guests, and to the number of several hundred they responded.

Men of all the northern nationalities were comprised in the audience, some wearing boiled shirts, others with their sea clothes on, but all were welcomed alike. There were two Christmas trees. A Short entertainment was given while Mrs. Charlton, wife of the chaplain, was busy at a table cutting cake which had been donated. This with hot coffee was passed around.

Comfort bags were donated by the King’s Daughters from all over the union were given every fishermen present and went into hands where they will be appreciated. They contain articles which will prove very useful to a sailor. Bags of confectionery, apples, etc were passed around, and altogether the fishermen’s Christmas was highly appreciated.

Boston Globe: Learn more about Edward Hopper in #GloucesterMA Cape Ann Museum guided walking tours

“An Off Season Stroll Through Edward Hopper’s Vision of Gloucester” Boston Globe article by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright. Reporters enjoyed a wonderful Cape Ann Museum Walking Tour followed up by a visit to Cape Ann Brewery. Read the piece here

Upcoming walking tours by Cape Ann Museum:

131 years ago Thanksgiving eve, 4 couples married “in the Great Fish City” #GloucesterMA Boston Globe wedding announcements

From the Boston Globe evening edition 1889, news of four weddings held on Thanksgiving Eve in Gloucester, Mass. John R. Pringle was a best man for one (and perhaps the reporter). One minister married two of the couples. Schooners were festooned with bunting. And five couples married, not four.

The marriage of George F. McDonald of the Western Union Telegraph staff and Miss Helen M. Procter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Procter of Pond Street, occured Thanksgiving eve at the residence of Rev. W. R. Rider. The bride was becomingly dressed in a princess gown, blue nun’s veiling ecru, with silk trimmings. Miss Lottie Perry was the bridesmaid and J.R. Pringle, best man. After the ceremony the couple held a reception at the residence on Pond street, which was attended by many friends and relatives, a delegation coming from Avon. The wedding gifts were numerous.

Capt. Joseph Swan, one of Gloucester’s most popular and successful master mariners was united in marriage to Miss Edith Scott by Rev. G. W. Mansfield at the residence of the bride’s parents on Procter Street Thanskgiving eve. The schooners of the firm of Wilham H. Jordan in whose employ Capt. Swan has sailed, were gayly decorated with bunting in honor of the event. The couple departed for a trip to New York and other ports.

James Crawley of the custom house force and Miss Margaret Ryan, daughter of Capt. Joseph Ryan, were married by Rev. C.W. Regan at St. Anne’s parochial residence Thanksgiving eve. The schooners of Benjamin Low, from whose firm the bride’s father sails were decked in bunting in observance of the occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Crawley left for a trip to Albany, N.Y., and other large cities.

Edward E. Tobin and Miss Nellie A. Fanning were united in matrimony Thanksgiving eve by Rev. C. W. Regan. They left on the 5pm train for an extended tour.

Levi Norwood and Miss Ella Skillon were united in marriage by Rev. Rufus H. Hibbard at the residence of the bride’s mother, 26 Cleveland Street, Thanksgiving eve.

-(possibly Pringle)

“GLOUCESTER WEDDINGS.: FOUR COUPLES UNITED IN THE GREAT FISH CITY.” Boston Daily Globe (1872-1922), Nov 29 1889, p. 10. ProQuest. Web. 25 Nov. 2020 .

Boston Globe: Gloucester in today’s Sunday paper

RAVENSWOOD

Inside today’s Boston Globe Sunday Travel section, Ravenswood’s 600 beautiful acres are featured on Christopher Muther’s list of go to ‘great escapes into nature’ for restorative solitude and an easy day trip. Ravenswood is a Trustees property.

WINSLOW HOMER

Also, a classic Winslow Homer painting, Weatherbeaten, 1894, from the Portland Museum of Art, Maine, is featured on the cover of the Arts section as part of this review by Murray Whyte. “Mythmakers: The Art of Winslow Homer and Frederick Remington” is up through the end of November.

The MFA published a consideration of Homer’s Fog Warning by Ethan Lasser this past week.

Ghosts in Gloucester – The Mysterious Noises in Gould’s Court 1884 Boston Globe

Just in time for some Halloween eve spirit, curl up with a selection of Boston Globe news columns featuring 19th and 20th century Gloucester ghost reports.

First up a 19th century Gloucester ghost story from 1884 with a title as long as the day, “GHOSTS IN GLOUCESTER: The Mysterious noises in Gould’s Court. An Acadian French Theory of Their Cause–Men Less Brave Than Women. Frequent Gratuitous Rappings Unexplained.”

1884

“I hope we shall not hear that noise tonight,” said the wife of Stephen McKinney as she sat in an upper room of 12 Gould court a week ago. A female companion expressed the same hope, and Mrs. McKlancy continued: “We may not hear it for a fortnight; we have not heard it for the last three weeks, and–”

She did not finish the sentence. At that moment, in the hall below, was heard a rap! rap! rap! as knuckles at the door.

Boston Globe 1884

(The writer adds flourish to the dialogue as if the resident was a native French speaker. Decades later Cher Ami was around the corner. Was this area a French quarter?)

1903 Sanborn map detail from plate 17 with Gould Court Gloucester, Massachusetts

Part Two was published the following day: “THE GLOUCESTER GHOSTS. Is Mr. Henry Hatch’s House Really Haunted? A Diagram Illustrating the Scene of the Strange Manifestations. Similar Stories of ‘Old Jeffrey’ and Esther Cox*.”

“Another remarkable case was that of Esther Cox, at Amherst, N.S., a few years ago…”

With a diagram. Not much of a story but it made the front page. Could have titled this tall tale Ghosts of Ghoul court.

1896

In 1896 ghosts were reported at Stage Fort Park: “Gloucester’s Fortress is Alive With Ghosts. Warriors Tremble at Sight of Gliding Specters. Hundreds Turned Out Last Night to See “It.” And “It” Appeared at the Armory Window.”

1921

Writer Henry W. Harris, Jr. quick piece and good read from 1921 considers Rev. Cotton Mather’s account of the Gloucester Ghost Battles of 1692 when the militia was called out to defend Gloucester from ghosts, “war and witch fever”.

“The latter soon located three alleged spirits and fired at them, whereupon they lay down. “I’ve killed three! he shouted to the oncoming soldiery. At this the spirits rose from the place where they had laid down and fired back–under the circumstances there was nothing else for a self respecting spook to do.”

from 1921 Boston Globe article by Henry Harris considers Cotton Mather’s account of Gloucester Ghost Battles of 1692 “war and witch fever”

For more about witches in Gloucester see my 2018 post

1960

Every decade or so there’s a piece about that ghostly place, Dogtown. This one from 1960 describes preservation efforts at the time: “Paradise for Naturalists and Bird Watchers: Cape Ann Moves to Save Romantic Ghost Town”.

“Leading the drive to save the area from dumping and real estate development are several naturalists, including John Kiernan…President of Dogtown Foundation, Inc., is Dr. Melvin T. Copeland, former professor at the Harvard School of Business Administration and author of a history of the school. Working closely with him is another of the trustees, Elliott C. Rogers. A book by the last two men “The Saga of Cape Ann” has just been published…the handiest compendium on the history and byways of Cape Ann…”

Herbert A. Kenny, Boston Globe, March 20, 1960

And from October that same year, “Want Ghost Town Dead”

Boston Globe rave review for Yella on the Water restaurant #GloucesterMA

Love the title and wonderful review!

“On the menu Yella on the Water seems to have become instantly popular, and we could see why.”

Read “Lebanese cuisine with a splash of Gloucester” by Coco McCabe and Doug Stewart Boston Globe 11/20/19 here

 

Yella on the Water Gloucester Massachusetts_ November 2019 © c ryan (2)

Discovery Channel ‘Expedition Unknown’ host Josh Gates is from Manchester by the Sea | don’t miss Billy Baker’s gem of a ‘secret’ story Boston Globe

Discovery Channel Expedition Unknown The Secret Solved season 7 ep 14.jpg

John Tlumacki Boston Globe photo The Krupat family found buried treasure in Boston's North End article by Billy Baker.jpg

excerpt –

“…Then early last year, “Expedition Unknown,” a television show on the Discovery Channel, did a special on “The Secret” that set off a new frenzy of treasure hunters.

“I’ve been making travel adventure shows for 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything like the reaction to that show,” said Josh Gates, the show’s host, who is a Tufts grad and a native of Manchester-by-the-Sea. “So many people contacted me, and a lot of them were from the Boston area because it’s long been believed that one of them was hidden there.”

The Krupat children, 12-year-old Molly and 10-year-old Jack, saw the episode and called their parents into the room, knowing this would be right up their father’s alley. Jason Krupat makes his living as a puzzle and game designer. Soon, the family began making weekend trips into the city to work on what had come to be known as “the Boston verse.”

Great read. Hidden treasure, a family’s quest, and ‘The Secret’ by Billy Baker Boston Globe, here.

photos above – John Tlumacki Boston Globe “The Krupat family found buried treasure in Boston’s North End” and West Construction Corp., Halifax.

 

Boston Globe recommends upcoming Walt Whitman celebration in Gloucester

Save the date: Special Walt Whitman collaborative celebration presented by Gloucester Writers Center and Cape Ann Chamber Music scheduled for November 17, 2pm, St Paul Lutheran Church, Gloucester, MA.

special Walt Whitman themed music and poetry event_20191103_©c ryan.jpg

calling Marty Luster 🙂

Boston Globe seashore jaunt all #GloucesterMA | Beauport Museum, Halibut Point restaurant, Virgilio’s, Bananas

Gloucester in the news again this weekend about  a great road trip. See today’s Sunday paper- Boston Globe By Linda Greenstein

Read full article  here

to see more mentions from their itinerary.

IMG_20190721_064719.jpg