January 21, 1941
18 Fishermen Meet Tragic Death
Five Survive Sinking of Dory Haddocker Mary
E. O'Hara Which Rammed Barge in Boston Harbor
Dropping one by one from the icy rigging of
their sinking vessel or drowned as they attempted to fight their way from their bunks
below decks, eighteen fishermen lost their lives today in a sea tragedy within 45 minutes
of Boston Fish Pier. Five of the mates were saved
Within the outer harbor and inward-bound with
a cargo of 50,000 mixed fish, the Boston dory trawler Mary E. O'Hara
attempted to avoid a crash with a coal-laden barge from Philadelphia in tow of the
sea-going tug Montrose. The helmsman of the fisherman succeeded,
but the next minute he rammed the starboard quarter aft of the barge, Winifred
Sheridan, also coal-laden from Philadelphia, which the Montrose
had just anchored and which survivors said was riding without lights.
Captain Fred Wilson of the Mary
E. O'Hara, with his vessel sinking fast, attempted to run his ice-encased
vessel for nearby Finn's ledge and those on deck and those who succeeded in getting out of
the cabins climbed the two masts. A majority had neither coats or hats or
mittens. As their hands and arms began to freeze they wrapped the frozen members
around the rigging. They chorused prayers, said farewells to their mates dropping
from the icy rigging and yelled for aid.
Eight hours after the tragedy bodies of the
victims had not been recovered and two divers aboard one of many rescue craft went
below. Those who fled to the masts saw ships pass but were unable to attract their
attention until after dawn when the beam trawler North Star
discovered their plight.
The fishermen tried to launch dories.
The small craft were frozen to the decks. The fishermen tried to break through the
ice with axes but it was impossible. With the decks under water they fled to the
Scene of the shipwreck is three miles off
Winthrop. Scores of craft raced to the scene but found only four feet of the main
mast of the Mary E. O'Hara above the water. Meanwhile the North
Star was bringing the five survivors. All in critical condition with
frozen hands and legs, into Fish pier for quick transfer to City hospital. The
rescued were Gabriel Welsh, of East Boston, Frank Silva,
of South Boston, Stanley Conrad, of Cambridge, formerly of
Lunenburg County, Cecil Crowell, of Port Latour, Shelburne County,
N. S., and Cecil Larkin of East Pubnico, N. S. From the five
survivors the death list was obtained as follows:
Capt. Fred Wilson, of
Somerville, formerly of Lower Pubnico, N. S.
Thomas I. Moulton, cook, 48, formerly of Newfoundland, left widow and
Morris (or Joseph) Miller, engineer, of Boston, formerly
of Shelburne County
Edgar Veno, 54, of Gloucester, formerly of Yarmouth, left widow and eight
John Sheen, 42, of Gloucester, a native of Bay of Bulls, N. F., left
widow and one two year old son
James Wheeler, of East Boston
Edward (or Cornelius) Murphy, Cambridge, formerly of
Pubnico, N. S.
Clayton Hines, of Melrose, formerly of Argyle, N. S.
Cyril Oxner, purser, of Boston
Antonio Valentine, of Provincetown
Joseph Santos, of East Boston
Fred Conrad, of South Boston, formerly of Lunenburg County
Arnold (or Joseph) Holmes, Roxbury, formerly of Sandy
Point, N. S.
Gilford Smith, of Roxbury
George Edward, of Somerville
Andrew Fay, 50, of Gloucester, widower, left two grown children in Sandy
Point, Nova Scotia
Monte LeBlanc, age 60, of East Boston, formerly of Abrams River, N. S.
Henry Joseph, of Boston