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The Arthur D. Story


April 9, 1935

Hope Abandoned For the Story
Owners of Overdue Craft Have Given Her Up
Seven Lives Lost When Craft Went Down

  The owners of the Sch. Arthur D. Story, Capt. William L. Nickerson, out of Belleoram, Newfoundland, herring-laden, 37 days, officially gave up all hope today of the craft's return.   Loath to consider her lost, hoping for days that she may have been caught in the ice, until news yesterday that the Coast Guard's international ice patrol had completed its labors in the North Atlantic waters and had failed to sight any such schooner in their two weeks search of the extensive ice fields, the owners were convinced that the schooner had sailed her final voyage taking all seven men with her.

It is believed that the Story was caught in the terrific hurricane of Monday and Tuesday, March 4 and 5, and was in the shoals of St. Peter's bank when the hurricane hit.  It is reasoned that the Story would be carrying all sail and that when the hurricane struck suddenly there was no chance for the men to save themselves and that they probably didn't even have time to get on deck when the vessel plunged to her watery grave.  Gloucester mourns the loss of the seven brave men for they were all well known and highly respected both as fishermen and as citizens of their community.  The vessel and cargo were partially insured with Warren A. Elwell of this city.

The crew includes:

Capt. William L. Nickerson, master, 50 years, married, two children, Gloucester
Thomas J. Cove, mate, 55 years, married, two children, Gloucester
Ralph S. Fiander, engineer, 21, single, Gloucester
William Enos Wolfe, cook, 66 years, married, Gloucester
Morris Fitzgerald, 53 years, single, Gloucester
James Gould, 26 years, single, Gloucester
Philip "Flip" McCue, 57 years, single, Gloucester

Sch. Arthur D. Story left the Atlantic Supply wharf in this city, Wednesday, January 30, arriving in Belleoram and loading 1120 barrels of salt bulk and frozen herring consigned to Gorton-Pew Fisheries and Davis Brothers of this city.  She collected her herring from various ports along the southern Newfoundland coast.  Capt. Ben Pine of the Atlantic Supply company superintended the handling of the herring. 
The vessel sailed out of Belleoram on Friday, March 1, bound home but was driven back because of heavy weather.  Capt. Nickerson started again Sunday, March 3, two days later, but since that date nothing has been heard of either the craft or the crew.  The following day one of the worst hurricanes, accompanied by fierce electrical storm, raged along the fishing banks and directly across the path of the Arthur D. Story
Reports of the ferocity of that storm reached here upon the arrival of the local halibut sch. American., Capt. Simon P. Theriault.  The latter, a veteran mariner, said that it was one of the worst he had ever survived, and that but for the fortunate parting of his cable, his craft would certainly have gone to the bottom.  As it was, the craft was at the mercy of the hurricane for 44 hours, the wind carrying them along as if the craft was a piece of kindling.  Capt. Theriault said at the time that the small amount of sail he was carrying had a lot to do with surviving the hurricane.  He felt that if Capt. Nickerson had all sail set, he would not have had a chance.  After computing the time the Story left, her average speed, local mariners had placed her in the shoal waters of St. Peter's bank at the time the blow struck, and if such was the case, she was in the thick of it they say.

Once mariner friends of Capt. "Billy Nick", vice president of the Gloucester Master Mariners, were told of the vessel's departure the day before the hurricane, they shook their heads and gave it as their opinion that there was no chance of ever seeing the men or the ship again.   They had seen what a jolt the storm did to the American, and judging from that damage, they had no hope for the Story emerging from the storm in safety.

Sch. Arthur D. Story was originally the schooner Mary, and was launched at Essex in 1912, for Maurice Whalen of Boston.  Later she was sold to Newfoundland parties and became a freighter.  She was in the rum traffic during Prohibition, and then was sold to another party in Boston.  An explosion aboard her on Memorial Day, 1928, while she was docked at the Atlantic Supply wharf, resulted in the death of Capt. John Farrell, who went aboard only a minute or so before the blast.  After the explosion, the insurance company sold her to her present owners.  The latter renamed her the Arthur D. Story, in honor of the late Essex ship-builder.

She participated in one fishermen's race, that of 1929, when Capt. Ben Pine was at the wheel for the Labor Day classic between four craft, finishing in the following order: the Progress, Capt. Manuel P. Domingoes; Arthur D. Story; Elsie, Capt. Norman A. Ross; and Thomas S. Gorton,Capt. Wallace Parsons.  In late years she was engaged in dory trawling under several different skippers and went on a halibut trip a year ago under command of Capt. Archie MacLeod.

She is the third herring vessel to be lost his past winter in the big storm off Newfoundland.  Sch. Jean Smith, Capt. Aaron Kearley, herring laden, but of Bay of Islands, had not emerged from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, when her rudder post broke, and caused her to fill and sink.   All hands rowed to Corduroy, Newfoundland, only eight miles distant, but the rough seas prevented them from making the voyage until 24 hours had elapsed.

The Elsie, Capt. Levi Kearley, in ballast, was lost 48miles off St. Pierre, in a return trip, and all hands rowed to the Miquelon port, their hands and feet frozen.  If they had not sighted land when they did, an hour more and all would have surrendered to the sea, according to Capt. Kearley, for they had been at the mercy of the waves for 48 hours.  Other herring freighters, including the Thomas S. Gorton, with the late Capt. Wallace Parsons in command had narrow escapes.

The Arthur D. Story is valued by the owners at $15,000, while her cargo of herring is valued at $8,000, making a total financial loss of $23,000.


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