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The Eleanor Nickerson

 

February 6, 1932

Boston Trawler Run Down Near LeHave Bank
Little Or No Hope Held Out For 21 Men
Missing After Crash With Steamer

Somewhere put on the broad Atlantic today, probably on the southern edge of LeHave bank, dories are drifting around empty.  Trawl tubs and pen boards, perhaps broken spars, are tossing on the waters off of Cape Sable.  Around the wreckage, for many hours, a Belgian steamer cruised slowly yesterday, looking for men.  They sought for 21 men, who comprised a portion of the crew of the crack knockabout Boston haddocker Eleanor Nickerson, sunk early yesterday morning in a north-east blizzard by the Belgian steamer Jane Jabot, en route from Antwerp to New York.

The Nickerson was  single dory fishing and carried 24 dories, 12 on each side.  She left Boston late Monday, according to her owners, and must have just reached the grounds when the storm which swept the Atlantic seaboard enveloped her.

Lying to with her engines just turning over, the Nickerson waited to coming of day and the abatement of the storm.  Below in the forecastle and cabin, 21 of her crew were either sleeping or swapping stories with each other, for it was early in the day and soon the men would be called by the cook for breakfast.

Clad in oil skins, the watch peered through the driving storm, eyes alert for passing ships.  But out there on Emerald bank one does not find many ships, yet the strain of knowing that it was almost impossible to see the length of the schooner's deck was terrific.  The compass told the helmsman where the Nickerson was and his sounding lead showed deep water.  Then all of a sudden  befell the tragedy.

Ploughing her way through the heavy breakers, the Belgian steamer came on her course.  She was bound to New York and she too maintained her watch.  But a watch is practically worthless in a snow storm and gale as far as sound is concerned, and the chances are that the feeble blasts from the schooner's fog horn never penetrated more than a few feet the ether on either side of the fisherman, and according to fishermen among the waterfront this morning, it is very doubtful if the men on the Nickerson heard the blasts from the steamer's siren.

Then it happened.  Quickly and before anyone was aware of the danger, a dim blur appeared in front of the steamer's watch.  Before even a shout could be uttered, the crash came.  The sharp prow of the Belgian freighter cut clean through from one side to the other of the Nickerson and water rushed in in torrents, flooding cabin and forecastle almost instantly.  And after it was all over, only six men managed to free themselves form the horrible trap of death and find refuge on the steamer's deck.

The six men who made it into a dory to the steamer were Edmund Burbine, Paul V. LeBlanc, Alvin Hemeon, Frank B. LeBlanc, Arthur S. Burke and Pat Feltmate.  Those who never made it above deck, and went down with the ship are:

Capt. Irving Morrissey, 36, of Randolph, Mass.
Edmund Corkum, cook, of Dorchester, Mass.
Mark LeBlanc, engineer, of Dorchester, Mass.
Charles Knickle, of Lunenburg, N. S.
Harold Knickle, his son, residing in Cambridge, Mass.
Joseph A. Muise, of Eelbrook, N. S.
Eli Burque, of Melrose, Mass.
Peter Quirk, 39, of Roxbury, Mass.
Alexander Dort, 59, of Dorchester, Mass.
Willis Fraser, 26, of Back Bay, Boston
James Hemeon, of Dorchester, Mass.
John Smith, 56, of Wakefield, Mass.
William Murphy, 50, of Argyle, N. S.
Clarence Horn, 30, of Canso, N. S.
Edmund Burbine, 50, of Melrose, Mass.
Moses Muise, 70, of Tusket, N. S.
Nelson May, 45, of Gloucester, Mass.
Anthony Aikens, 36, of Surrette Isle, N. S.
Theodore Burke, 36, of Tusket, N. S.
Ernest Burbine, address unknown
Louis Moulaison, address unknown

 

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