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The Ellen T. Marshall

 

December 17, 1933

Three Lost Lives - 23 Saved in Disaster to the Marshall
Skipper's Son Among Victims When Dory Crashed on Rocks
Survivors Due Home Wednesday

Twenty-three survivors, including Capt. Albert Hines, the skipper of the Boston hadocker Ellen T. Marshall, which was consumed by flames 25 miles south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, Friday night, either succeeded in reaching land since Saturday or were rescued by steamers.  All told stories of having battled their way against great odds in fighting the elements, when a blinding snowstorm coupled with raging seas and biting cold weather, threatened time and again to end their careers, and forced them to lose each other after the men in seven dories abandoned their flaming vessel.

Three of the crew, including Ivan John Hines, the skipper's younger son, were drowned being unable to make Seal island as their dory was swamped.  The dead are:

Ivan Hines, assistant engineer, East Boston
Joseph White, fisherman, Malden
Vincent Muise, fisherman, East Boston

The Ellen T. Marshall was double dory handlining, having as a complement, the skipper,a cook, two engineers, and 22 men, since she carried 11 dories.  She left Boston last Thursday noon, scheduled to try her luck on either Brown's or LeHave banks, and had not begun fishing when the tragedy occurred, making the spark which coupled with the rising wind velocity, conquered the 104-foot knockabout schooner before the crew could get an opportunity to master the blaze.   The survivors were landed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and will be given transportation to Boston through the courtesy of the American consul.  The Nova Scotian coast is no excursion ground during the winter and winter haddocking in that region is always perilous.  Friday night was no exception, when the wind blew a hurricane, whipping the sea into a fury.

Although the crew could not figure out just what started the blaze, they do know that it took hardly any time at all for the gale to send the flames scurrying on their errand of destruction through the ship.  Capt. Hines was quick to note the seriousness of the situation and ordered his men to take to the dories.   Eight dories were hastily launched, but the 26 men used but seven of them.   The skipper ordered the men to row for the shore as best they might, making an effort to stick together.  Each boat kept hailing the other through the long, weary hours of the night, while the men, poorly clothed because of having to leave without proper apparel, bent over their oars, striving to conquer the fatigue which gripped them as they fought against the blinding sleet and snow.  It was another one of those valiant struggles of Gloucester fishermen against the elements, which have made these men, trained to endure untold hardships, heroes.  The weather kept thickening, and before long, the boats were lost to one another, leaving each to wage its own separate struggle against death.

Two of the dories with four men each sighted the lights of Salt island, outside of Yarmouth, early Saturday morning, before dawn.  In the first boat were Joseph White, Vincent Muise, Ivan Hines, and William Beatty, of West Roxbury.  To those who know the stark danger that lies in trying to best the pounding surf of the Nova Scotia coast during a storm, it would have seemed folly to venture through it, and the wiser course would have probably been to remain outside until daylight might possibly see a break in the gale, and a subsiding of the sea.  But under such conditions when they had been rowing with the grim specter of death all night, and then suddenly  heard the roar of breakers that signified land ahead, little wonder that they plied their oars with renewed frenzy in a mad rush for safe harbor.

Seal Island was heaven to them, and throwing all caution to the wind, they placed their lives at stake to run the lashing gamut to the shore.  Three of them lost.  Muise was the first to be hurled from the dory as he frantically gripped his oar, lending every effort to help his comrades through their plucky fight.  His dory mates were so wearied that they hardly knew he had been snatched from the boat, but it was impossible to try to save him, and on they continued to meet the breakers that rolled seemingly mountain-high above their craft.  Their frail craft was no match for the mighty surf, and before they knew it, the dory was literally reduced to kindling wood, and the splinters tossed high into the air, while two more of their numbers, young Hines and White, failed to survive the thrashing and were drowned, while the sole survivor, Beatty, was fortunately cast ashore where he was picked up by many willing hands, for the inhabitants of Seal island were there to carry him to shelter, where for hours they worked over him to give him the warmth and nourishment he needed.

At the time they did not realize the tragedy that lay behind this grim struggle, until another dory with four more of the Marshall's crew were more successful in their efforts to beach their boat on Seal island and from these men, the story was unfolded, and the survivor and doomed were identified.  All three bodies were reported as having been recovered along the shore.  Capt. Hines who, with others, reached another portion of the coast in safety was stricken with sorrow as he learned the new of the loss of three men, and was forced to undergo medical treatment at Yarmouth, on hearing that his own boy who had hardly begun what promised to be a brilliant career upon the water, had been taken away from him forever.  He had taken great pride in the fact that the boy had desired to become a master mariner like his father..

Those in the second dory included John Donavan, Howard Nickerson, and Ellard Spinney, all of Greater Boston.  They too had endured the hardships of the perilous row though the thick weather and treacherous seas, but good fortune was with them and they a better landing spot.  Though each felt that his time had come as he attempted to beach the craft, they were overjoyed once they struck terra firma, and were able to stagger out of the cold into a warm retreat where Nova Scotian hospitality awaited them in the form of steaming hot coffee and other nourishment.   The men had been aroused from their slumbers to abandon ship and were hardly clothed to meet the elements that they encountered on their long row, but after a few hours thawing out were once more in condition to continue on their way with Beatty to Yarmouth, to join the other survivors at the Acadia house.  Acadia to Longfellow meant a haven of rest and peace and everyone of the Boston fishermen agreed that Longfellow as right.

Meanwhile, Capt. Hines and six men in two separate dories had survived the fearful night and breathed a prayer of thanks when their boats reached Pease's island.  This spot lies between Cape Sable and Pubnico, N. S., off the southwesterly tip of the province.  The fishermen were Capt. Albert Ameriault, Cecil and Truman Crowell, Theodora Doucette, Albert Budreau and Howard Sturm.  All were likewise in need of medical attention.   Capt. Hines and the 22 other survivors of sch. Ellen T. Marshall will leave from Yarmouth tomorrow for Boston, and are expected at the Hub on Wednesday.  The victims of the drowning tragedy may possibly be buried in Nova Scotia.

Throughout Saturday anxiety grew as the families of the four missing men failed to hear any news of their rescue.  It was with great relief that they had heard the news flashed yesterday forenoon that the remaining quartet had been rescued by the steamer Ellsworth, and brought into Yarmouth.  These men are Harry Reynolds, John Clements, Basil Mullock and John Buroine.  The had succeeded in reaching land also, though their forced port of call was a forlorn outpost known as  Mud island near Cape Sable.  The name of that island was far from "Mud" to these men, however for in the future they will have the greatest respect for the charmed spot.  The steamer Ellsworth noted their signals of distress and took them to Yarmouth.

The complete list of the survivors is as follows:

Capt. Albert  R. Hines, skipper, East Boston
Chesley Murphy, engineer, Malden
George Vickers, cook, Somerville
Capt. Albert Amerault, Boston
William Beatty, West Roxbury
Elard Spinnery, Everett
Patrick Smallcomb, Dorchester
John Clements, Boston
Charles White, Malden
John Donovan, Boston
Truman Crowell, Barrington, Nova Scotia
George A. Nesbitt, East Boston
Harry Reynolds, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Everett George, Canso, Nova Scotia
Howard Strum, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Albert Budreau, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Basil Mullock, Boston
Theodore Doucette, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Howard Nickerson, Everett
Cecil Crowell, Barrington, Nova Scotia
Harry Fletcher, Lynn
John Goodick, Boston
John Burbine, Boston

The Ellen T. Marshall was built at John F. James & Son shipyards at Essex in 1919 for J. Manuel Marshall and the United Fisheries Company of this city, being one of their fleet of haddockers, and at the time cost $48,000 to build.   She is owned by the United Fisheries, Mr. Marshall and Capt. Albert Hines of East Boston, her skipper.  She was 104.9 feet long, 23.1 feet beam, and 11.2 feet draft, having a 120 h.p. engine, and being of 124 gross tonnage.

 

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