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1864

 

Weekly Advertiser
Friday, April 15, 1864

The Disasters to our Fishing Fleet!

One of the most gloomy tasks connected with journalism in this town, is to chronicle the losses of our fishing vessels with the precious lives of those on board. Nearly every season this sad duty is incumbent upon us, and the late severe gales which have swept over George's, have given rise to sad forebodings concerning the safety of several of the fleet. In our last issue we published the names of those vessels which were missing, and now that another week has passed and they have not come, nor any tidings been heard from them, it is to be feared that they must be added to the number of those which have been lost beneath the waves of George's.

The night of March 22nd, will be remembered as the commencement of a severe northeaster, which raged for two days. At that time there were about one hundred sail of fishermen on George's, anchored in close proximity to each other. The howling of the tempest had a fearful significance to our citizens, and the friends of the absent fishermen listened to the roar of the storm, with a fearful dread as to the fate of those of their loved ones who were on the Banks exposed to the fury of the winds and waves. A few days passed and the fleet began to return to port, most of them in a disabled condition, and speaking of the storm as one of great violence, expressing their fears that may a vessel would not return. The fears have been realized, as ample time has elapsed for those now absent to have returned, and yet they have not come. There is little if any hope of their safety, and with saddened hearts we publish the list of missing vessels and the names of those men who comprised their crews.

J. G. Dennis, Light of Home, Oliver Burnham, Nawadaha, Emma Frances, R. E. Spofford

There are also two other vessels absent, the Charles Carrol and Banyard. They have been out upwards of three weeks, and having been exposed to the severe gales, there is considerable anxiety relative as to their safety.

To many families these losses come with a double severity, as four of the vessels had brothers on board, viz.: the Barletts of Westport, Me., the Maces of Newburyport, and the brothers Powers and Moody, of this town. Amos Stinson, lost in the J. G. Dennis, was a brother to Ira, who was washed overboard from the sch. Ellen Frances in the same gale. Capt. Powers of the Nawadaha, was formerly master of the sch. Ada, which was burned by the pirate Tacony, last season.

In addition to the above vessels, we re-publish the names of two vessels, and their crews, lost in the February gale,

Raven and Gorham Babson

Such is the record of the disasters which have attended our fishing fleet the present season. The total loss of property, at its real valuation, amounts not far from $46,000. This sinks into comparative insignificance with the fearful loss of life which is presented. Seventy-eight men, leaving behind thirty-one widows and fifty-eight fatherless children, have gone down beneath the waves. At what a fearful sacrifice this branch of the fishing business is prosecuted, and yet there is no probability that it will be discontinued. There are bold men who will be willing to pursue this hazardous occupation, as the chances for success are such as will lead them to run the risks; and then again, these men cannot afford to be idle, and the hoped of good weather and big trips are such, that they cannot resist the temptation, in spite of the many dangers which encompass the business.

It is argued by many that there are too many vessels engaged in it, that if about fifty sail should follow winter fishing there would be but few losses, from the fact that the great danger of running foul of each other during a storm, while dragging, which is one great cause of so many losses, would be greatly lessened, by having a smaller fleet. Whether this be true or not, we leave it to those whose experience gives them opportunity of knowing; but certain it is, there is imperative necessity that some action should be taken to remedy such fearful sacrifices of life and property as the early fishing season of 1862 and 1864 have witnessed. The matter is entirely in the hands of the owners of the vessels, and if they can arrange some plan whereby the risks of the business may be lessened, they should do so, as it is clearly evident that they are unwilling to abandon it altogether.


February

15th - Schooner Kossuth was lost in the Newfoundland fishery, at Owl’s Harbor, Halifax, Crew saved. Owned by H. C. Knapp & Co. Vessel and cargo va1ued at $12,000; mostly insured.

Schooner Fearless, in the Newfoundland fishery, lost on Miquelon Island. Crew saved. Owned by Robert Fears. Valued at $5,500; insured for $3,500.

John Devine, lost overboard and drowned on Georges, in February, while furling the jib. Body recovered and brought home.


March

17th - Schooner Triumph, Capt. Campbell, was run down and sunk on her passage to New York, by steamer Western Metropolis. The captain and three of her crew were saved by a boat from the steamer, but two of the crew, John Miller, of Kittery, Me., and Lighthill Pearce, of Bristol, Me., were drowned. Owned by John Low, Jr. Valued at $9,000; insured for $2,000; cargo valued at $12,00O, and insured for $2,000.

233rd - Ira Stinson, of Deer Isle, Me., was washed overboard and drowned on Georges, from schooner Ellen Frances.

29th - Warren Richardson was lost overboard and drowned on Georges.


April

23rd - Joseph O’Brien, of schooner Joseph Story, was washed overboard and drowned off Cape Sable, while returning from Western Bank.

26th - William Fisher, son of Jacob F. Fisher, lost overboard from schooner Boston Light, on passage to Boston.


June

Herman Lane, of schooner Sea Foam, son of Theodore Lane, was knocked overboard and drowned off Block Island, in June.

Francis Augustus, a Frenchman, was lost overboard from schooner Emma Parsons, off Norman’s Land, in June.

William Grant was lost overboard and drowned in the Bay of St. Lawrence, in June.


August

Schooner Fleetwing was lost in the Bay of St. Lawrence, on the 20th of August. Crew saved. Owned by Capt. Peter Sinclair and Capt. James Ayer. Valued at $6,500; insured for $4,500.


October

Schooner Orozimbo, went ashore at Chetticamp, on the 18th of October, and became a total loss. Crew, saved. Owned by Benjamin Haskell. Valued at $8,000; insured for $4,000.

 

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