Out of Gloucester


 

February 2, 1956

Capt. Jack Hackett Missing
Apparently Lost On Trip Home

The wild winter North Atlantic claimed another Gloucester fisherman this week.  On Tuesday, Capt. Jack Hackett, life-long Gloucester fisherman and skipper, disappeared from the dragger Mother Ann 325 miles from here, and is presumed lost. Hackett disappeared between the foc'sle and the pilot house as he was on his way up to take a watch at 12.30 in the morning.

The Mother Ann was on her way home with 200,000 pounds of ocean perch, and was in deep water off LaHave Bank.  The watch changed at 12.30 a.m., and Hackett headed up to take his turn at the wheel.  He never arrived. Sam Zeeman, on the wheel for the previous watch, waited for 15 minutes or so, since crewmen are often detained on the way up for a midnight watch.   When 20 minutes had gone by, Capt. Arthur Isaacson of the Mother Ann told Zeeman to check aft and forward for the missing crewman.

No sign was found of Hackett, and the vessel was stopped.   They backtracked over the route taken in the previous 20 minutes, searching the water with lights.  When the search proved fruitless, the Coast Guard was called.   They advised Capt. Isaacson to search the area for a while, and then to proceed to Gloucester.

Sam Zeeman, the man due to be relieved by Hackett at the wheel, was also a long-time friend of the missing man.  This morning he spoke quietly of the man who had left no trace.  "My wife and I were supposed to go up to his place this evening.  He said he'd handle the juke box for us to dance.  He was full of life, real happy, you know."

Hackett's loss came as a blow to everyone around him.   Capt. Isaacson called him a "real fishermen"   "To be honest, he was one of the best." was the way his skipper put it.

The weather was bad that night.  The wind had gone from the west into the southwest, and there was a bad sea running against the Mother Ann's quarter, Capt. Isaacson said.  "We probably took quite a roll."

Zeeman told of putting all the deck lights on as the watch changed.  "It was raining and sleeting out.  I wanted to make it easy for them."  Zeeman had cause to be cautious.  He was a crewman on the Corinthian, another Gloucester vessel, when it was run down by a steamer.

Hackett has been one of the 11 man crew on the Mother Ann only since this past fall.  Before this site, Hackett had been on many other draggers.  He had been skipper of the Louise, the Brookline, and the Wild Duck, among others.  We has one of the crew on the schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud for her 1938 Fishermen's Race against the Bluenose.

Patrick John Hackett was born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, 54 years ago.  He was the son of the late Capt. and Mrs. Michael Hackett.  He came to Gloucester about 40 years ago.  During World War II, he was a member of the Navy Seebees in Pacific waters, attaining the grade of Boatswain's Mate. 

Hackett was single.  He resided when ashore in an apartment at 92 Prospect street.  He was a member of the Gloucester Master Mariners Association, Gloucester Lodge of Elks, the Order of Moose and the American Legion. 

February 20, 1956

Tribute To A Fisherman

The recent tragic death at sea of Capt. Jack Hackett has cast a gloom over the waterfront.  Jack with his jolly, likeable ways will be sadly missed.

I liked him from the first time we met, he reminded me so much of the fishermen I had known in the past, all hard workers at sea and happy-go-lucky, carefree, ashore.  Jack's life was a hard one but I believe he enjoyed every minute of it.   His radiant personality seemed to draw ________ and be a friend.

He came from a family of fine mariners.  His father, Capt. "Mike" Hackett originally came from Fortune Bay on the south coast of Newfoundland, later moving to the Bay of Islands on the western coast.  Young Jack was born in Woods Harbor, a little village located in the Bay.  His uncle Capt. Jack, after whom he was named, lost his life with several other members of the Hackett family in the wreck of the sch. Donald L. Silver in the Bay of St. George in January 1924.

The Silver, bound to Gloucester with a cargo of herring was driven ashore at Bank Head during the fierce storm that swept over the Gulf of St. Lawrence  All hands were lost, the bodies later were recovered in the wreck.

Jack first came to Gloucester in the sch. Kineo, Capt. Charles Stewart.  He made many passages between Gloucester and Newfoundland with his father and other skippers in the herring and coastal trades.   During World War II he was a Chief Boatswain's Mate in the U. S. Navy, serving in the Pacific.  After the war he returned to Gloucester where he became skipper of several vessels including the Ruth and Margaret, Skiligolee, Paolina, Wild Duck and Charles Fauci.  He was a foretopman on the sch. Gertrude L. Thebaud during her last races off Nova Scotia in 1938.

Yes, Jack will be missed.  This old port can ill afford to lose square shooters of his type.  It is ironic that a man after serving in a war at sea and many hard wintry passages in sailing vessels should be swept to his death from a modern dragger, but the North Atlantic plays no favorites.  Now he sleeps in the waters he lived so well.  May he rest in peace.

 

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