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The Republic


February 17, 1925

Skipper and One of Crew Lost When Republic Sank
Run Down by an Unknown Three-Masted Schooner

The Republic, having sailed out of Gloucester on December 3, bound for home with a cargo of fresh halibut, taken within the last six days, and about 20,000 of salt fish,  was about midway between Cape Sable and Seal Islands and about three miles from shore, .  A heavy rain, with thunder and lightning, prevailed at the time and it was only possible to see a short distance away.

Capt. Peter Dunsky, master of the sch. Republic and one of the best known halibut skippers out of this port, ordered the man at the wheel to keep off, which he did, but the unknown vessel did likewise and kept on a course for the Republic.  The skipper gave orders to still keep the schooner off, thinking that the helmsman of the larger vessel would see them and change his course, but the vessels came together quickly before Capt. Dunsky could do anything to prevent a collision.

All that the crew of the Republic saw of the stranger was that the vessel was painted a lead color, with red hawsepipes and stockless anchors.  The mudhook on the port side caught the Republic under the port bow and practically ripped off the planking the full length of the vessel.

The schooner was hove down to starboard so far that the starboard dories floated from the decks and were lost in the sea.  As the Republic righted, the water rushed into the badly shattered hull.  Seeing their schooner was doomed, the crew immediately launched the port dories and left the vessel.

In the meantime, the schooner which ran the Republic down had disappeared into the darkness and nothing more was seen of the craft.  When the vessels crashed, several of the crew went overboard, including Capt. Dunsky and Samuel Cole.  All but these two succeeded in grasping the mainsheets and by them pulled themselves aboard again.  But Capt. Dunsky and Cole were never seen again.

Twelve members of the crew, in two dories, came ashore at the life saving station at Cape Sable Island early yesterday after a night on the seas in their open boats and gave first news of the disaster.  These men were:

George Johnson
James White
Samuel Tibbetts
George Morgan
John Howell
Archie Hill
Jeffrey Frazier
Barney Fewers
John Busby
Andrew Straus
Andrew Greenwood
Joseph Dalton

Five other men landed later in the day.  Their names have not yet been learned.

The present trip had been a long one.  Capt. Dunsky sailed on December 3, the only vessel engaged in halibuting through the winter months.   Bad weather, scarcity of fish and other adversities beset the schooner, but still Capt. Dunsky held on.  Then luck turned.  In the last six days, a splendid fare of 50.000 pounds was taken.  It would have been the first halibut fare of the year and would have commanded fancy prices and meant a big stock for the vessel and crew, but Fate interceded once more.  There came the stroke in the dark.   The hopes of 19, about to be realized after more than 10 weeks of battling on the banks, were blasted and the lives of two of them were swallowed up in the sea.

Capt. Dunsky was 53 years of age.  He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Margaret (Riley) Dunsky, and four children.  He was born in Russia, where boys became in those days expert seamen in early life.

Samuel Cole was one of the best known halibut fishermen sailing out of Gloucester.  He was 52 years of age, had been here since a young man, and was a veteran of the Spanish War.  In 1897 he completed the rescue of the entire crew of the Volunteer.  In 1922, he was involved in the rescue of two men of the sch. American.  He was born at Colliers in 1873.  He leaves a brother and sister in Newfoundland, a brother in Sydney, C. B., and a sister in Montreal.


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