Front Page article – Congratulations! Pauline’s Gifts 512 Essex Avenue, Gloucester, MA.
Front page above the fold Boston Globe article published June 27, 2022 covers school bathroom closures statewide.
The Gillnetter, Gloucester’s High School newspaper featured an on trend opinion piece by Jenna Smith published back in February 2022 — which elicited change. The local newspaper, Gloucester Daily Times, published it also. Both covered the TikTok challenge in September and fall of 2021.
“Our school has eleven student bathrooms, five designated for females, five for males, and one single stall gender neutral bathroom.
During the day, only the first floor bathroom is unlocked during passing times between classes. The science wing bathrooms are always locked, and the second and third floor bathrooms are only open if a teacher is there to unlock and supervise them. Teachers have been directed not to allow students to use the bathroom during the first and last five minutes of classes, as well as the first five, and the last five minutes of lunch. This means that students can only access the restroom during class time. Typically, the first floor restroom is the one available, however sometimes it changes, which results in students having to go on a scavenger hunt to find an open restroom. Once we manage to find the bathroom that is open, we must wait in a line as only three students are allowed in the restroom at a time.”excerpt from Gloucester High School newspaper, GHS Gillnetter, Feb 2022 article by Jenna Smith – read the full piece here: Open the Bathrooms, Please
Boston Globe article by Jenna Russell for Great Divide series published 6/27/2022 read the full article here School Bathroom Closures anger students statewide
Game 2 was the stuff of legends. Celts beat the Bucks 116:108. The teams are tied 2:2 heading into game 5 at the Garden tomorrow May 11, 7pm. Let’s Go Celtics!
Just Sayin’- Dan Shaughnessy had this article down before midnight. Impressive feat and fun read aloud with your family. It’s one to save!
Shaughnessy, Dan. “It Felt As If They Were Playing for Playoff Lives”. Boston Globe. May 10, 2022. Front page of the sports section in the print edition. Front page on line with updated headline: “A fourth quarter for the ages, a legendary dunk from Al Horford, and the Celtics-Bucks series is all even“.
Surf and Celtics- Boston Globe coverage
Photographer Jim Davis didn’t miss a beat. The on line edition has more photos including The Essentials: The Elbow and The Surf
Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum gravity defying, Cirque du Soleil athleticism is something else! Star Jaylen Brown’s steady cool. The TEAM is so impressive!
Fittingly, the surf’s been roaring all week. Celtics heart wave!
Heard You can call me Al this morning–wonder if they’ll play the instrumental in the Garden 😉
Gloucester, Ma. January, 2022.– Reading about the potential ‘Big Snow’ forecast for the upcoming weekend prompted me to re-read one of my favorite winter articles. Back in January 1890, Boston Globe regional journalists interviewed some 100 New Englanders who had each faced down 80 or 90 winters, and shared heartwarming vignettes from these extraordinary people. Whether a farmer, teacher, historian, geologist, notable townie, banker, ice man, fisherman pilot, driver,– all remained active and impressive. A few were still working.
This week I put the same questions to my mother-in-law, who braced Montana and Minnesota storms, and my husband. I was as delighted and impressed by their stories as I was by those profiled in this classic piece. Try it! Hopefully you’ll share what you hear or recall as well.
But first, settle in for an
1890 Boston Globe. Great Read.
May their (uncredited) journalism inspire many winter days. I wonder if Tom Herbert was one of the writers. (The Plymouth report includes a Gloucester mention.)
“Bare-footed winters” was a popular description then, and a new term for me. One account provided context of their unique present life circumstance (battling the storm while the Russian flu* (1889-1892) raged). None mentioned the recent “Great Blizzard” back in March of 1888.
photo description: Apt pair of illustrations accompany the Boston Globe 1890 article, author(s) and artist(s) unidentified
Did you ever see the like?
Where has the New England winter gone?
What is the matter?
These are the familiar questions of the day.
Everybody talks about the weather and particularly the fickle weather of the present. The Sunday Globe has asked these questions of the oldest inhabitants in more than 30 New England communities, and the reminiscences called up thereby are graphic pictures of the old-time winter, when “Everything went on runners at Thanksgiving and didn’t come off till Fast day.”
Here in Boston the hard winters found their climax in February 1844 when the British steamer RMS Britannia needed to cut out of the Harbor, which was entirely frozen over. (author. note- scroll down beneath illustration to see illustration)
All the old and middle-aged people of this neighborhood invariably begin with that unusual condition of affairs when they discuss the weather of the past. But the harbor has since been frozen over again. In January 1857, the merchants organized a crew, who chopped a channel out of the harbor ice seven miles in length. In that month the thermometer went 16 degrees below zero, and it did not rise above zero for two weeks. Only once before in the record of the town has the thermometer gone lower: it fell to 20 in December 1790.
FROZEN WAY OUT TO SEA. How one winter struck Billy Patterson- Chatham big storms.
Chatham, Jan. 18 – “Uncle Bill Patterson.” Over 80 years old, who has battled with the wild ocean nearly 70 winters in various parts of the world, says:
“The toughest winter I can remember was in the early forties when one February everything was frozen solid not only from out her away up to Gay Head, but outside of Nantucket it froze way southward into the Atlantic that we could not see beyond the range of ice from the royal trucks of a ship aboard which I was pilot. The ice had caught her some distance southward, and heavy gales forced her towards the land. We had both anchors down to keep from going ashore where the ice cakes had piled up shelvingly to over 60 feet high and meant death to us if we didn’t keep cutting the ice away from our chains so the ship could ride to them and prevent going ashore. All this was outside, remember, not in the sound, and we could see ocean steamers bound ‘across’ from New York and they often had to make a long detour southward to clear the ice. We lay there a week before we got out of it, and when we finally reached Holmes Hole we found vessels which had been frozen in there four weeks.
“Another tough winter was I think, in 1832, when the brig Sultana came in the south channel in a terrific easterly snowstorm and fetched up on the beach here. It froze so hard we carted her whole cargo right across the harbor. That brig’s captain had sworn that ‘By G-d, I’ll weather Cape Cod tonight, blow high or low,’ but he didn’t do it. The mildest winter I ever saw was last winter (1889), and as regards this winter—well, I don’t see as we’re goin’ to have any.”
The toughest winter that “Sam” Nickerson, the veteran stage driver, can remember was about 1855 when the snow was so deep there were many places along the railroad track where one could walk along with the telegraph wires not over knee high, and the railroad tracks had to be dug out by hand shoveling all the way out from Boston. Stage drivers and sailors suffered in those days.
MARRIED AND SNOWED IN. A Centenarian Tells of A Mishap to Her Great Grandfather
Hyde Park, Jan. 18—Mrs. Matilda Whiting Vose, 102 years old, and probably the oldest person living within a radius of a good many miles of Boston, was seen the other day by your correspondent, who asked her several questions regarding the winters of today as compared with those of a century ago.
Mrs. Vose, while in extremely good health for one so old, was unable to trace the weather back through the labyrinth of years past, her memory not being as acute as it was a year or two ago, but she gave it as her opinion that the present winter is the mildest of any she ever remembered. Two hundred years ago New England weather was far different from nowadays. Her great-grandfather Jeremiah Whiting, who then lived at Greenledge, Dedham, started for West Roxbury, only a short distance away to get married. The snow when he started was so deep that he had to travel the entire distance on showshoes. He succeeded in getting there and being married, but was literally snowed in as the fast-falling snow piled up so high that he and his fair bride were prisoners in the homestead for six weeks.
A century ago it was no uncommon sight to see children coasting from second story windows over the frozen surface and some 40 or 50 years ago the snow was so deep in this region that the roads had to be dug out before the stages could go into Boston; and when this was accomplished it was like riding through a tunnel, the snow being piled on either side higher than the top of the stage. In the early days of the Boston, Hartford & Erie road the snow as so deep on several occasions that business men who had gone into Boston in the morning were unable to return at night, but instead fell to with a wall and helped the railroad men cut a passage through the snow which was piled up almost as high as the roofs of the coaches in the cuts, a job which lasted them all night.
BANGOR’S ORACLE. A Genuine Oldest Inhabitant on Two Remarkable Years.
Bangor, ME., Jan. 18—When any statement is made in Bangor concerning the “oldest inhabitant,” it means something, for the individual who answers to that description here is Ira Chamberlain, who, at the age of 97 years, has a mind phenomenal for its brightness, and is never deterred from taking his daily walk by the severest kind of weather. His memory is very clear, and he can tell about the weather way back to past generations.
The mildest winter in his recollection was that of 1830-31, when through December the average height of the mercury was 60. On New Year’s day farmers around Bangor were ploughing in their fields while there was navigation in the river until Jan. 9 and schooners plied between Bangor and the down-river points, as in the summer. There was no snow to make sleighing until March, and then it came in great quantities and melted so quickly that a damaging freshet was produced.
He remembers two equally cold winters. The first was in 1812, when the temperature was intensely frigid for four months, and the month of February was the coldest known in the history of New England. It was that winter that he saw the bay at Damariscotta frozen over, even the salt water yielding to the remarkably low temperatures. The next winter was in 1852-53 when the Penobscot river closed in November, five weeks earlier than usual, and imprisoned a dozen or more vessels in the harbor of Bangor. This was the time that crews of men armed with saws, were placed at work, the vessels freed, and then a channel was sawed for them from the harbor down the river to open water. This incident, it is asserted, is recalled by many of the present citizens of Bangor. Mr. Chamberlain says that, with the exception of 1831-32, which he mentioned, this (1889-1890) is by far the mildest winter that he has known.
PLAYED BALL TILL MARCH. Capt. Benjamin F. Swett of Portland on One Queer Winter.
Portland, Jan. 18.—Although Capt. Benjamin F. Sweet isn’t the “oldest inhabitant,” he is getting well up with that individual in point of years, and when a man can remember back 75 years distinctly and can recall with vividness the events of that period, he is certainly old enough for present purposes. It is a matter of doubt who is now the actual “oldest inhabitant” of Portland, but the captain is one of the oldest men here, and his memory of past events is exceeded only by his interest in the present. Said he:
“The mildest winter in my recollection was that of 1819-20. The boys played ball all winter up to March. Then the snow came down in good earnest, and it was all folks wanted to do to break out the roads. That kept everybody busy through March. The winter of 1830-31 was also extremely mild, but the mildest winter in my recollection, and the mildest for the past 75 years, was, as I have said that of 1819-20.
“The coldest winter in my recollection was that of 1831-32. It was very cold all winter. I remember that I helped the father of Gov. Selden Connor build a mill at Oldtown that winter.”
A number of other old people recall the winter of 1819-20 as having been remarkably mild, and some say the same of the winter of 1818.
WHAT AN ICE MAN REMEMBERS. F.C. Bryant of Biddeford says the climate is changing
Biddeford, Jan. 18- Foxwell C. Bryant, the veteran who will be 93 years old in April, has been talking about the weather. In spite of his advanced age Mr. Bryant’s faculties are practically unmarred and his memory is remarkable. His half-century’s experience in the ice business renders him authority upon the weather, and if the old gentleman has a pronounced weakness it is the indulgence in reminiscence upon that topic.
He says this winter is the mildest, with the exception of the last, of any of the 92 through which he has lived. He thinks last winter even milder, and says that upon the 18th of last January, he ploughed in his field without finding a sign of frost in the ground. In his younger days he always reckoned upon the river freezing over by Dec. 1 and he remembered that one year, he thought it was 1827, it closed up Nov. 5, and did not open until late March. That winter was one of steady and extreme cold, and one Friday in January became historic as “Cold Friday.” The following winter of 1828, he remembered as the mildest of his life with the exception of the two last. There had been very little snow or cold until the latter part of January, when there came a snap which froze the ice to a thickness of 16 inches. The “snap” was of brief duration, however, and February brought such warm weather that on the 22nd the river drivers drove their logs down to the mills. In the winter of 1864 the mercury kept down below zero for nearly three months without any let up. There was no snow to speak of, and sleighing and skating parties on the river were all the rage.
But the winter of 1816 was the most dismal and severe of his recollection. Summer frosts and cold weather in early fall destroyed all crops and provision of all kinds were fearfully high. Corn cost 15 shillings a bushel, and was so scarce at that that no one could buy more than half a bushel at a time. Flour, a luxury in those days, cost $28 a barrel. The weather was terribly severe, and snowstorm followed snowstorm.
Mr. Bryant is satisfied that there has been a radical change in the climate of Maine within his life. He says we get no such long stretches of cold weather and that our snowstorms are but squalls in comparison with blocking storms of his earlier days.
OLD PEOPLE IN A GROUP. They tell what kind of weather Vermont has had.
Rutland, Jan. 18.—The oldest inhabitants of Rutland and vicinity have been interviewed in reference to the varying conditions of the weather in past years. While they could remember many mild and hard winters, and would narrate incidents that occurred, but few could fix precise dates. All substantially agree that they have never seen so mild and warm a winter as the present.
The most intelligent answers were given by a family group, known as the Pooler family, an ancient family living in the village of Rutland under one roof, namely: Amasa Pooler, age 92; Seth Pooler, 86; Mrs. Seth Pooler, 83, and Mrs. Charles R. Ladd, a sister, 81.
Amasa pooler, aged 92, who is very deaf was told the object of the visit and handed the letter of instruction to read that he might more readily understand. He took it and immediately read it aloud in a strong voice, without the aid of glasses, remarking that his second sight had come within the past two months.
He said he had seen several open, or “barefooted” winters, but could not tell the years. The winters of 1834 and 1835 were mild, with little sleighing. In 183_ he though the winter mild, but the summer was cold and frosty.
Mr. Pooler said the winter of 1815-16, after the war with Great Britain, was in many respects the most eventful. He with two brothers slept in one bed in an openly built house, and it was no infrequent thing to have their bed covered with snow that winter. A snow storm prevailed during the day of the 19th of May, when the farmers were ploughing their fields.
In 1816 there was a snow storm, April 12, and snow lay upon the ground and made good sleighing for nearly a week. June 11 another snowstorm came, and corn was cut down twice by frost, and severe frosts occurred. In 1829 snow came the next day after Thanksgiving and remained all winter.
Seth Pooler, a teacher from 1836 to 1882, said he was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1858 and the winter was very cold. Snow fell Nov.5 to a depth to make good sleighing and remained all winter.
BATHING IN JANUARY. Plymouth Looms Up with a Startling Weather Story.
Plymouth (and Gloucester mention), Jan. 18.—According to the “oldest inhabitant” the severest “cold snap” ever known in these parts was in January 1857. In the neighboring town of Kingston the thermometer registered 28 degrees below zero on the morning of the 24t.h. For an entire week the trains were blockaded by snow, and the cold was intense.
Perhaps the longest stretch of cold weather remembered by those now on the stage came in February, 1871, when the harbor was frozen over for about three weeks, which circumstance was regarded as a good test of the winter’s severity. A fleet of 30 or 40 fishing vessels hailing from Gloucester and thereabouts, was imprisoned in the ice during this time, and provisions were hauled in sleds over the frozen crust to the ice bound mariners.
An exceptionally mild winter which is recalled by those who keep weather records, was that of 1875-76. On Jan. 1, 1876, a party of boys went in bathing from the end of Long wharf.
Regarding the present winter, there is but one opinion among the old-timers and that is it is an extraordinary one, and defies the powers of the most astute local weather prophet.
NO CUT FODDER YET. Some Rhode Island Farmers Lucky in the Phenomenal Weather.
Providence, Jan.18.- Judge Eli Aylsworth, who was born in 1802, and who is an active business as president of the Westminster Bank, said today that the present winter exceeds in mildness any winter that he knows of, and that he can remember back for 80 years. The wet weather of the summer had a good deal to do with the present soft atmosphere he thinks, otherwise he can’t account for it. The hardest winter in his recollection was that of 1812, and the most open was that of 1815. In 1840 there was a hard winter and the weather was continually bitter for a long period.
“But,” says Judge Aylsworth, “we have not had the hard weather in 50 years that we had each winter along from 1812 up to ’40. Along back in the 1820s and 30s we had to break out roads and it was customary to have a three-days’ blockade at times and the weather was intensely cold. The bad weather was lasting then and not so changeable as during the past few years. The 365 days in the last year had only 52 days of clear sky, only one day a week. Some of our customers from out of town report that they are herding cattle in the open fields and that the grass is as green as a spring growth. Some farmers have used no cut fodder at all as yet. The winter of 1812 began Sept. 6th.”
CLASSIC PORTSMOUTH Sends Up Stories That Sound True and Look Reasonable
Portsmouth, Jan. 18—From conversations with several of our elder citizens, whose memories range back all the way from 60-75 year, it appears that the winters of 1868 and 1869 very closely resembled those of 1878-79, and the present winter as far as it has got except that none of the old residents remember anything about la grippe having prevailed at the former dates, or that much consternation was caused among ice dealers or ice users then.
For a cold winter, that of 1857 seems to be given the palm by general consent. The workmen at the navy yard that winter, when bound to the yard, had to land their boat on Pumpkin Island (now, by some hocus-pocus put down on the charts of the harbor as “Squash” island), and leaving them there walk across the ice to the yard; and their only landing place on this side of the river, the docks being frozen over sold for several weeks, was at the navy landing at the foot of Daniel street. The ice on the eastern side of the river extended out from 50 to 500 feet; the blockade on the inside channel, West side of the river, extended from Pier wharf to Four Tree island, and from the bridge across the Sagamore to the Wentworth House at Newcastle. In January of that year, for the first and last time in the history of the Piscataqua river, men crossed it from side to side on the ice: it did not freeze over, but the drift ice from the sea blocked up against Portsmouth bridge, and the intense cold cemented it into a mass solid enough to be travelled over; and hundreds on hundreds made the trip, “just to say they had done it.” The blockade held for two tides, and then went down river again in pieces. This was the year the harbors of Boston and New York were frozen over solid for many weeks, and the day of the big “freeze over” was one of the coldest ever known here, 27 degrees below zero.
On the ponds in this vicinity, which were continuously ice bound during this winter, there were several “carnivals” on a small scale: and citizens who had not had skates on for years, some of them for half a century, were regular visitors to the ponds. Among them were the late Samuel Grav, Hon. Peter Jenners, Rev. Dr. Burroughs, and others than whom none in the city stood higher.
One of the worst snowstorms in the memory of Gen. Josiah G. Haley, the oldest representative in the state of the old-line stage drivers, and the oldest living ex-member of the Portsmouth fire department, was in January, 1866. The railroads were blockaded for from three to five days. The streets of the city were also impassable for a week, and the night of the storm scores of people were bewildered in trying to reach their homes, and were only saved by the night watch, who patrolled all night, in pairs with lanterns and shovels to render aid. It was regarded at the time as almost miraculous that no lives were lost.
SCIENCE STEPS IN. Charles Breck of Milton Keeps a Record of 40 years
Milton, Jan. — Charles Breck of Milton, hale and vigorous in his 92nd year, was seen by a Globe reporter, to whom the old gentlemen showed a notebook in which he has kept a daily record of the temperature and meteorological conditions during the past 40 years. His observations have been taken at sunrise and at 1 pm.
During the 10 years from 1849-1859 the average temperature was 48.21; for the following 10 years, 48.40; for the succeeding 10 years 49.18; and for the 10 years from 1879-1889, 49.71. The warmest year of the 40 was 1877, when the average was 51.21; the coldest was 1868 when the average was 4-.39.
These observations have been taken at his home in Milton Centre. Mr. Breck thinks that the last Christmas day was the warmest since 1829.
SLEIGHING ALL WINTER. Also a Winter When There was none at All in Keene.
Keene, Jan. 18. – Although the present winter is a most remarkable one, it is not unprecedented. Exceptionally severe or open winters appear to have occurred from time immemorial. One of our oldest inhabitants, and the one who has the best data for reference of any one we know, is Joshua D. Colony, the present senior proprietor of the Cheshire Republican. He is 95 years of age and says:
“I can remember some very cold and some very open winters. The winter of 1836 was the longest coldest and most severe of any in my recollections. Seven inches of snow fell Nov. 23, 1835 which made good sleighing and lasted without intermission until the middle of April. A large quantity of snow fell during the winter and drifted badly. The average depth of snow the first of April was two and a half feet.
“The winters of 1827 and 1849 were warm and open. Very little snow fell in either winter. The month of January 18_8 was the warmest of any within my recollection. There was but a sprinkling of snow during the month and no sleighing. There were 12 fair, warm, very warm and moderately warm days and eight cloudy and rainy days. The night of the 16th was fair, and so warm that water that stood out did not freeze.”
NEVER SAW THE LIKE. Old Green Mountaineers Talk of the Big Snows of the Past
St. Johnsbury, Jan. 18 – “We have never been cheated out of a winter in Vermont yet,” remarked Col. Frederick Fletcher, a sturdy veteran of 85 snowy winters amid the Green Mountains. “But this year is a remarkable one. The year 1807 was remarkable in Vermont for its cold weather and great snow-fall. Then, also, 1816 is famous for its hard winter. On June 8 of that year five inches of snow fell, and it was so cold that vegetation was completely ruined. The last two winters have been remarkably open and mild.”
David Trull, who has kept a daily record of the wandering course of the mercury for nearly half a century, gives some interesting figures from his experience. Mr. Trull said: “1862 and 1863 were hard winters. A man in this section had a tunnel between his house and barn. On Jan. 1 in 1862, 14 inches of snow fell. In 1878, we had a remarkably forward spring which shortened up the winter considerably.”
Dr. H. An. Cutting of Lunenburg, who was formerly State geologist, and makes a specialty of the weather, says, “The winter of 1844 was a severe one. We had a big snowstorm on the 1st day of April, and the snow would average four feet deep on a level. In 1871 we had the thermometer 40 below zero, and a lively thunderstorm, both in the month of February. The coldest weather on record here was Dec. 25, 1872, when the thermometer actually registered 50 below zero.
E. F. Brown, an old resident, said that in 1863 there was a lively snow storm on Oct 20: “I remember I was in Montpelier at the General Assembly and when I started home in a team—there was no railroad then—it began to snow. We stopped at Cabot over night, and when we headed for home in the morning the snow as as high as the hubs. It stayed on the ground until spring, too! Winter before last as a snug one, and its length taxed the coal bins to their utmost.”
GROUND CRACKED LIKE PISTOL SHOTS.
Woburn, Jan. 18. Elijah Wyman, over 83 years old, says that the hardest winter he remembers was in 1835, the winter of the big fire in New York. The ground froze very hard and cracked, causing a noise like pistol shots, and the same season four feet of snow remained until nearly March 1. In December of that year he remembers riding into Boston when the glasses showed 35 degrees below zero. Large cracks were found in the ground after the snow thawed.Boston Globe, 1890. “WINTERS OF YORE: Strange Freaks of the Weather. Freezing the old Ocean. Talks with a Hundred Oldest Inhabitants. Many Never Saw it Milder than Now. Coasting from Second Story Windows—January Bathing.”
- Photo credit for Britannia: lithograph from sketch by J. C. King, A. de Vaudricourt, Bouve & Sharp – https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/148835.html This Print representing the B & N.A. Royal Mail Steamship Britannia John Hewitt, Commander, leaving her dock at East Boston on the 3rd of February 1844 on her voyage to Liverpool (through) a canal cut in the ice 7 miles long [collection Royal Museums Greenwich] Paddle Steamer Britannia, Cunard’s 1st liner
[*see Russian Flu comp: 1918 PANDEMIC: RECONSTRUCTING HOW THE FLU RAGED THEN FLATTENED IN GLOUCESTER MASSACHUSETTS WHEN 183 DIED IN 6 WEEKS, March 2020, republished GMG, May 2020.]
There’s a bright autumn haze in Stacy Boulevard gardens. Thousands of fall dahlias are waiting. Go find your bloom and color!
The varieties are labeled. I wondered how many were chosen, and if any were grown from area heirloom seeds? The Glory of New England, a prizewinning “fancy dahlia” dazzler was cultivated from seeds by the Lufkin dahlia gardens of Gloucester and introduced in 1925 (see below). I love reading about Gloucester gardeners.
Dahlia flowers were eventually named after Swedish botanist, Anders Dahl. The giant ones are nicknamed dinner plate dahlias. In the 1800s avid gardeners and commercial seed and plant firms bloomed in Massachusetts. Established in the early 1800s, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is recognized as the oldest in the country. A gardener from Bridgewater is credited with the first American collarette dahlia variety in 1912.
Thousands of gorgeous dahlias, exhibited by 50 growers attracted throngs to Horticultural Hall on the opening day of the free dahlia show, held under the joint auspices of the New England Dahlia Society and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
For the site of his exhibit and the magnificence of its setting, L.L. Branthover of Wakefield held first place. His pompom dahlias decorate the stage of the lecture hall, and rays from a warm moon falling obliquely over the stately blooms, against their evergreen background, lend added glory to the scene.
Wonderful tints of orange, cream, scarlet, vermillion and gold are to be seen in the dahlias exhibited by George L. Fish of Billerica, president of the society. (“Francis Cooper Hav-A-Look” illust.)
Giant blossoms, some of yellow with white tips, are introduced for the first time from seedlings of the Lufkin dahlia gardens of Gloucester. The new blossom is called “The Glory of New England.”
Another prize winning variety is the dark-red “Alexander Pope,” one of the most beautiful of the collection in the A.I. Strobel exhibit, grown in the Montrose dahlia gardens of Wakefield.Boston Globe 1925 – 2 Wakefield gardens, 1 Billerica, and the “Lufkin dahlia gardens of Gloucester” are featured
Topsfield Fair and flower show competitions
Have any Gloucester gardeners entered the Topsfield Fair this year? There are usually dahlias in the running.
Whenever any one flower is cultivated and shown, I always think of Mrs. Miniver and the rose. Maybe someone can propagate a “Glory of Gloucester Gardens” variety for the city of Gloucester’s horticultural history then & now, generous gardeners and public works!
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
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.
“…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
“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)
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.
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.
“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 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.
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.
“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, 1918Inscription 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
“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-from Gloucester, Ma. Archives Committee
LOCATION: Washington Street, along Lobster Cove
CAMPAIGN: World War I
TYPE: Bronze tablet in granite stone
DATE DEDICATED: July 7, 1929
Soldiers Memorial Wood
In grateful remembrance of
John Ernest Gossom
Eric C. Lingard
who gave their lives for their country
in the World War
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.
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 “Walking Through History With Some of History’s Greatest Artists” by Murray Whyte published 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”.
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
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
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:
“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,Laurence Hope Lyrics Less than Dust 1906 (set to earlier music composed by Amy Woodforde-Finden)
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,
Love’s last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,
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?
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.
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
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
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
Clarence Manning Falt
1920s & 1930s
Leslie Jones, others
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)
The sch. Sarah H. Prior had placed 3rd in the 1886 Fishermen’s Race in Gloucester.
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.
George F. Little.
Suffolk, ss: Boston,
December 28, 1886.
Mr. Prior to Mr. Bayard.
Boston, December 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.
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
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.
Department of State,
Washington, January 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.
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)
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
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.
“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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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?
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.
“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:
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 .
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.
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.