Out of Gloucester


 

August 24, 1925

Throngs Packed New Parkway During Exercises
Master Mariner Unveils Memorial to 300th Anniversary
Which Is Followed by Services for Lost Fishermen

Gloucester yesterday paid honor to its fishermen and tribute to those who have gone out never to return.  The joint exercises, the unveiling of the bronze statue, "The Fisherman", permanent memorial of the 300th anniversary, and the annual memorial exercises for lost fishermen, were carried out with the simplest but most impressive of ceremonies before a throng of 5000 people on the Western avenue esplanade and in the open space at Blynman bridge.

It was a most inspiring spectacle as Capt. John A. MacKinnon, veteran master mariner, pulled the rope which unveiled the sturdy figure of the helmsman, representing the permanent tribute to Gloucester fishermen of all time, and then a little later the throng, at a signal from Rev. George E. Russell, chaplain of the Fishermen's institute, scattered flowers into the waters of the canal, "in memory of al the seamen, who, through all the years, have found a last resting place in the waters that wash every shore."

And long after the ebbing tide had scattered the flowers far out forward the open sea, people passed and many of them re-passed around the sturdy figure at the bastion of the esplanade, expressing universal approval of the monument dedicated to the fishermen by the Commonwealth, municipality and people.

Officers and members of the Gloucester Tercentenary Permanent Memorial Association, officers of the Fishermen's institute, Mayor Parsons and members of the Municipal Council and others gathered at the Community House and at 4 o'clock started on the march to Western avenue, headed by a platoon of police and the Waino band.

The southerly road was closed to travel during the exercises and long before the time set for the unveiling, people had crowded into the road and to each side for a distance of a couple of hundred yards.  On the water side, numerous boats had gathered as close as possible, making the scene by land and water one long to be remembered.

Carleton H. Parsons, president of the association, presided at the unveiling exercises.  When he opened he spoke with pride of Gloucester.  He called attention to Stage Fort Park rising behind him at the side of the harbor, where the first permanent settlement was founded in 1633.   He reminded that ever since that distant year men have gone out from Cape Ann to fish.  And he reminded too that those men had gone despite the fearful regularity with which the sea had sapped their numbers.  He paid tribute to the men who had brought about the beautiful boulevard and the monument, the sturdy figure of a helmsman about to be unveiled.

After Mr. Parsons had finished, the band played "My Own America" a patriotic song written by Reuben Brooks, secretary of the Tercentenary Association.

Rev. E. Milton Grant, pastor of the Magnolia Congregational church, then offered prayer.  He thanked God for the example of simple hardihood that the Gloucester fisherman ever had given; and he prayed that the memorial being dedicated might always be an inspiration to others to  copy their virtue.

As he finished, John A. Jacobson played a beautiful cornet solo, "One Fleeting Hour," accompanied by the band.

Capt. John A. MacKinnon then stepped from the platform to the grass mound, grasped the rope, and at a signal from Mr. Parsons gave it a pull that undraped the bronze figure.  The band played "America" as the veil slid off.

Ex-Mayor William J. MacInnis addressed an invocation to the memorial as follows, opening with Longfellow's poem, "The Secret Sea."

Ah! What pleasant visions haunt me
as I gaze upon the sea
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sendel
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors
And the answer from the shore!
How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear.
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear.

Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong---
"Helmsman! for the love of Heaven
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Woulds't thou also,"  the helmsman answered,
"Learn the secrets of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery."

"Welcome!  Fishermen-Friend -- thrice welcome home to your city whose name you have made so glorious.  Stay with us on this stern and rock-bound coast, and guard our harbor always.

"Oft in the stilly night, you will bid good-bye to Gloucester men leaving home and harbor for the fishing banks and after a season you will welcome them returning - yes, even on the wings of a storm.

"Through it all you will be calm, courageous and confident, because you have behind you a heritage reaching back to the days of the fishermen of Galilee.

"Disciplined by three centuries of toil in wringing a livelihood from the depths of the ocean, in you faith has found an abiding place, for you have 'seen the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.'

"You have lived worthily, and with purpose, exemplifying patriotism, diligence in business, and the nobility of labor.   You are and will be the inspirations of generations of people to whom your wholesome courage and vigorous manhood will be guide and stay o'er life's tempestuous sea.

"Gloucester is fair, yes, wondrous fair,
For artists' brush and poets' pen
But still her worth beyond compare
is in her race of sturdy men."

The band played Handel's Largo, and the dedication was over.  Six delegations with wreaths which were placed on the mound as the ceremonies were concluded.  They were the Gloucester Master Mariners' Association by Capt. MacKinnon; Gloucester Tercentenary Permanent Memorial Association by Reuben Brooks; Col. Allen Post 45, G. A. R. by Commander E. Gilbert Winchester; Gloucester Fishermen's Institute by Rev. George E. Russell; American Legion by Postmaster Gilbert W. O'Neil and Chamber of Commerce by Lawrence J. Hart.

The great horde of people then passed around the figure and the procession reformed, and marched to the place at Blynman bridge, where memorial exercises were held.

The Memorial Exercises

The band played "Neared My God to Thee," and Rev. G. Bennett Van Buskirk, pastor of the Prospect Street Methodist Episcopal church, offered prayer. John A Jacobson played a coronet solo, "The Lost Chord."  Then came the singing of the hymn, "Scatter Flowers on the Waves," written by Miss Mary Brooks.

The names of fishermen lost since the last memorial service were read by Chaplain Russell as follows:

Elbridge Corkum, George Stubert, Antonio Santos, Duarte Magellers, Manuel Natari, Capt. Joseph F. Silviera, James Holland, Joaquim V. Dores, Manuel Marks, Capt. Albert Larsen, Edward M. Proctor, Fritz Mann, Peter Nelson, Joseph Targett, Charles Larsen, Alvin Selig, Hilary Conrad, John F. Ryan, Eli Goodick, Jarvis Muese, Henry Colt, Enslem Hubbard, Reuben Moulaison, Howard Carew, Harry Baker, Thomas Fraser, Linwood B. Wolfe, Seymour Cochrane, Capt. Peter Dunsky, Samuel Cole, Capt. Thomas O. Downie, George Johnson, Joseph Dalton, Angus D. McDonald, Angus Smith, Claude Larkin, Samuel Tibbets, Charles Goodick, William Roach, William Turner, Archie Hill, Oscar Williams, Charles Wieball, Austin Firth, Charles Austin Firth.

As the chaplain read a name, a Girl   Scout stepped up on the platform and tossed a bouquet into the water to be carried by the tide out toward the open sea.  Forty-five names were called and each time flowers were scattered into the canal.

Then Mrs. Russell concluded with "In memory of all the seamen, who through all the years, have found a last resting place in the waters that wash every shore, we lovingly strew these flowers."   A deluge of bouquets from the assembled multitude fell upon the water.  Taps was sounded as the flowers drifted toward the outer harbor and the sea.  The band concluded with "Dead March in Saul."  The parade re-formed a second time and marched back to Legion square where it dispersed.


 

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