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The Ralph Brown

 

February 10, 1926

Three Perished When Local Fisherman Piled on Rocks
Sch. Ralph Brown Loses Course in Blinding Storm
Craft Strikes Reef at Brier Neck -
Eighteen of Crew Reach Land in Half Frozen and Exhausted Condition
Three Survivors Walk to Eastern Avenue and Seek Aid for Shipmates
Crack Craft Reduced to Kindling

The local fishing schooner Ralph Brown, carrying a crew of 21 men went ashore at the extreme easterly end of Brier Neck in from of the former Edgecliff hotel shortly before daylight this morning, and the latest reports indicate that she will be a total loss. Three of her crew are known to have perished.

The Brown, commanded by Capt. Alvaro Quadros, arrived at Boston yesterday with a small fare of fish and left yesterday noon for the fishing grounds. Running down as far as Highland light, , the skipper, seeing that the weather was thickening, set his course for home, but evidently misjudged his position, and in the teeth of a blinding north-east snow storm, the craft piled upon the shore at Brier Neck. Just before the schooner struck the ledge, the foresail had been lowered, but before this could be made up and lashed, the craft hit the rocks.

As she did so, the fore gaff swung over the shore and there was a scramble among the crew to reach land. Several of them succeeded, but the craft gave a lurch and slid back into the seas, leaving others of the crew of board. Another wave sent her back to the shore again, and again there was a scramble, and others made their way to safety by the aid of the gaff.

Four of the men who came ashore made their way up through heavy snow drifts and against a biting cold wind, to the store of C. A. Thomas at 194 Eastern Avenue. Wet to the skin and half frozen they were practically exhausted. A telephone call was immediately sent into the police station, and Sergeant Cronin on duty ordered the ambulance rushed to the store and the three men were taken to their homes.

Meanwhile, Clarence Parsons and Carl Rassmussen, both local men, upon hearing of the disaster, started down Witham street to render assistance. Inch by inch driven back at times and again staggering blindly ahead in the teeth of the storm, they fought their way to the scene of the wreck.

They found a man named Nunes bewildered and lost in the snow, talking incoherently and trying to get shelter. The pair immediately took him to the cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Spates where he was taken in. Then the pair started back for a second man they saw floundering around. They got him to the Cardy cottage where others of the wrecked vessel had taken safety.

The life boats from Dolliver’s Neck and from Rockport were rushed to the scene, but the heavy seas made it impossible for them to get very close to the boat. The craft struck on a coming tide of about three hours, and each wave sent the schooner staggering against the rocky shore.

Joseph Lopes, one of the crew who was drowned, managed to get a hold on the main boom of the vessel, and while his shipmates were safe in the cottage of Mr. Cardy, made a desperate struggle for his life. Through all those three hours he maintained his hold on the swinging, swaying boom, as it submerged and tossed around like a piece of drift wood, helpless in the surf, while just off shore, but just beyond his reach lay the tossing life boat from Dolliver’s Neck station, unable to render aid. Before aid could be rendered, Lopes, exhausted by his long and futile attempts to save himself, let go his hold and sank beneath the angry water.

Mitchell, one of the lost men, was nearly over the fore boom to land, waiting for a chance to jump, when a wave washed him form his foot hold and he perished before the eyes of the crew.

John Fragata, the third drowned, was almost ashore and his brother, also named John, had him by the hand trying to drag him on to the rocks. A heavy wave broke on the ledge, the brothers grip was broken, and the man slid into the churning surf.

Lost were:

Joseph Lopes, 35, native of Lisbon, Portugal, wife and four children in Portugal
Manuel Mitchell, (also known as Manuel Janeiros), 49, native of Pico, Azores, wife and four children in Portugal
John Fragata, 33, a native of Figuira, Portugal, wife and two children in Portugal

The survivors were Capt. Alvaro Quadros, single; John Braga, engineer, of Rockport; Manuel Patta, cook, married; Manuel Nunes, single; John Qualiaho; Antonio Contrino; Frank Santos, single, William Hubbard, of Lynn; Frank Brown, married; Frank Braga,; John M. Fragata, married, brother to one of the lost men, also named John; Raymond Perry, married; Joseph Ova; Frank Angelo; Domingoes Raymond; Joseph Oliver; Frank Baptiste, marred; and Joseph Cruz.

 

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