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The Clara G. Silva

 

October 25, 1907

Swept To Death in Terrible Squall
Ten of Crew of Sch. Clara G. Silva Have Not Been Heard From
Five Overturned Dories Sighted Tell Sad Tale How Brave Men Died

Vessel Arrived in Boston Yesterday, and Eight of Ten Missing Ones Have Wives and Families

The sch. Clara G. Silva arrived in Boston yesterday with her flag at half mast, her captain reporting ten of his crew missing, and undoubtedly drowned in the terrible squall on Monday.  Out of a crew of 17 men, but seven came to Boston with the vessel.  The others are missing.  Five overturned dories were passed and it is freely admitted by Capt. Silva and the remnant of his crew, as well as by Capt. Mesquita of the sch. Frances P. Mesquita and his men, that there is little or no chance of any of the missing ones ever being heard from.

The names of the missing ones are as follows:

Joseph Bogs, 35, of Gloucester, left a wife and four children
Joseph M. Alves, 25, of Gloucester, left a wife and one child
Marian Simmons, 40, of Gloucester, left a wife and four children
Frank G. Machado, 35, of Gloucester, single
Augustus Silva, 35, of Gloucester, left a wife and three children
Jason Branco, 40, of Gloucester, left a wife and family in Lisbon, Portugal
Manuel N. Pinguello, 30, single, native of Lisbon, Portugal
Manuel D. Magana, 35, resided in Gloucester, left a wife and family in Lisbon, Portugal
John Barretto, left a wife and family in Lisbon, Portugal
Manuel Sarieva, 30, had a wife in Lisbon, Portugal

From Capt. Joseph P. Mesquita of sch. Frances P. Mesquita, who rescued two of the Silva's men, and was the only craft in the vicinity when the disaster happened, an accurate and detailed account of the calamity was secured.

Both vessels were fishing on the northern edge of Georges.  The Silva had 17 men, carrying 14 single dories, two green hands going in one of them.  On Monday morning about 3 o'clock, Capt. Silva began to set, the dories dropping off one after the other.  There was apparently every chance for a fish day, but before the last two dories had left the vessel, Capt. Silva noted a rapid change in the conditions, and once had the horn blown for the men to haul back their gear and come on board at once.

Unfortunately they did not hear the horn, and seeing this, Capt. Silva swung his vessel off to try and pick them up.  As he did, the squall burst with tropical fury from north-northwest, and so frightful was its strength that the staunch vessel was actually nearly capsized.  Capt. Silva had to let her come up and haul by the wind, and she went off then on the other tack.  He lowered his mainsail, and while doing this the vessel jogged quite a distance to the windward of the dories, which could not be seen through the dense cloud of driving rain and snow.

When the Silva set, Capt. Mesquita had his men on deck, but he did not like the looks of things and hung off for about 15 minutes.  It was well that he did.   Soon the squall began to show itself, and the Mesquita's mainsail came down quickly and was furled, and the jumbo also, and the craft began to scud under the foresail.   Soon there was a slat and away went the gaff.  Then the riffing sail and jumbo were set and the foresail lowered.

Then, to make matters more binding, the jib got loose and Capt. Mesquita ran his craft off before it while the men went out on the bowsprit to make it fast.   This took three-quarters of an hour and then the vessel was hauled to and jogged under riding sail and jumbo.

Capt. Mesquita feared that something might happen to any man caught out in a dory in that awful squall, and had two of his men go aloft to look for stray men or overturned dories.  So fierce was the squall that the men on the mast head had to lash themselves there in order to hold their stations.  Soon, one of them shouted, "Dory bottom up on the lee bow, skipper!"  There was no occupant, the poor fellow probably not long surviving after the squall struck his frail craft.  Soon after, the lookouts made a dory to leeward, and in it a man waving frantically and every now and then stopping to bail his nearly-filled craft.

Instantly, Capt. Mesquita, who was at the wheel swung his craft off to go the rescue, and as he did no another dory was made out to the windward, its lone occupant doing his best to keep his craft afloat.  Mesquita soon had him, a man named Frank _______, one of the Silva's men, safe on deck.  Then they went after the one to leeward and got him just after one big sea had struck the dory and nearly filled it.   His name was Manuel Couria.  How far the dories had drifted with the wind can be imagined when Capt. Mesquita says that when he picked up these two men, the Silva was 21 miles from them.

He set his flag to tell Capt. Silva that he had picked up some of his men and that craft came running down to them.  Then the two men were put back on board and Capt. Mesquita told Capt. Silva of passing one overturned dory.  To this Capt. Silva added the mournful fact that he had passed four more of his dories, all bottom up, and no signs of any of his missing men.

 

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