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The Grace L. Fears


January 27, 1898

Anxiety for Sch. Grace L. Fears

Much anxiety is being manifested for the safety of the sch. Grace L. Fears which sailed from here about eight weeks ago on a frozen herring voyage to Newfoundland.  The Fears was spoken on Dec. 17 by Capt. John Campbell of sch. Columbia, off Gallantey Head, St. Pierre, a short distance from the Newfoundland coast.  The next day occurred the terrible gale, when the fresh halibut fleet suffered so severely, and which was the worst storm of the winter and one of the worst for years.

Since then the Fears has not been reported or heard from, and it is very certain that she is not in Placentia Bay.  Her owners, Gardner & Parsons, think that she went to Fortune Bay, N. F., and as no vessels have yet come home from there, she has not been reported.

The Fears is commanded by Capt. John Aiken and she carries a crew of six men.

March 1, 1998

Hope for the safe return of the sch. Grace L. Fears of this port, after weeks of weary waiting and hoping against hope, has now been abandoned, and the craft has reluctantly been given up by her owners, Messrs. Gardner & Parsons.  For weeks anxious families and friends have waited and watched in vain for her to come sailing around the Point, or to hear some news of her arrival at some other port.  But no tidings have cheered them, no gladsome arrival has dispelled the anxiety, and now the weeks have lengthened into months, and the saddened watchers have received no word from the vessel which will never more come sailing back.

The Sch. Grace L. Fears sailed form this port bound to Newfoundland for a cargo of frozen herring, on Dec. 9, 1987, in command of Capt. John P. Aiken, and carrying a crew of six men.

On the passage down she put into Halifax, N. S., sailing from there Dec. 15 or 16.  At almost 11 o'clock on the morning of Dec. 17, she was sighted by sch. Columbia, Capt. John Campbell, of this port, 35 miles from St. Pierre, Miquelon.  That day a storm came up and developed on the next day into one of the heaviest gales of the season, raging with almost unabated fury for three days, during which a staunch craft like the Columbia was at its mercy for 60 hours.  It was in this same gale that the sch. Senator was so roughly used and hove down.

Since this terrible storm, the Fears has never been seen or reported, and it is supposed that by its fury, she and her good crew went to their end.

It is thought by many that Capt. Aiken may have tried to make St. Pierre and went ashore, while others think that she was struck by one of those unlucky seas which  laid her a wreck and sent her crew to bottom.

The crew list is as follows:

John P. Aiken, master, 56, native of Barrington, N. S., leaves widow and five children residing at Fresh Water Cove.   Capt. Aiken was a well-known and careful master mariner, and as brave a skipper as ever sailed from this port.  While in command of sch. J. H. G. Perkins in December, 1873, he fell in with the wreck of the Br. barque Helen Patterson of Pictou, N. S., and rescued the crew, for which he received a gold watch as a testimonial from the Canadian government.
George K. Allen, mate, 43, native of Isle of Wight, England, single, leaves a brother in Haverhill.
John Doyle, cook, 50, single, native of Nova Scotia
Elijah Smeltzer or Sneitzer, 47, leaves widow and one child in Lowell
James Moore, 47, single, native of Ferryland, N. F.
Alfred Saulnier, 25, single, native of Nova Scotia
Daniel J. McDonald, 20, single, native of Nova Scotia

The Fears was 88.94 tons, built at this port in 1874 and owned by Gardner & Parsons.  She was insured by the China Mutual Insurance Company for $1500 on the vessel and $1500 on outfits through Follansbee's agency.


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