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.
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,
In addition to the above vessels, we
re-publish the names of two vessels, and their crews, lost in the February gale,
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.
15th - Schooner Kossuth
was lost in the Newfoundland fishery, at Owls 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.
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
233rd - Ira Stinson,
of Deer Isle, Me., was washed overboard and drowned on Georges, from schooner Ellen
29th - Warren Richardson was
lost overboard and drowned on Georges.
23rd - Joseph
OBrien, 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.
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
Normans Land, in June.
William Grant was lost overboard and drowned in the
Bay of St. Lawrence, in June.
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.
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.