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Capt. Archie MacLeod


July 12, 1967

Halibut Leader - Highliner MacLeod, 84, Dies

Capt. Archie MacLeod, 84, one of Gloucester's greatest fishing masters for years, died today.

He had been highline in haddocking and halibuting, particularly the latter.  He was probably the leading catcher of halibut when Gloucester was considered the greatest halibut port in the world.

For 18 years the combination of Archie MacLeod and his schooner Catherine was practically unbeatable in fishing competition.

Archibald A. MacLeod was born in St. Peter's, Cape Breton, Canada, May 11, 1883, son of Capt. Norman and Catherine (MacCuish) MacLeod.  He arrived in Gloucester as a youth of 16 and went fishing.

He became a skipper about 10 years later and commanded the Electric Flash, Agnes, John Hays Hammond, Hortense, Louise R. Silva, Georgianna, Bay State, and later in file, the Gertrude L. Thebaud, Dawn, Arthur D. Story and Marjorie Parker.

MacLeod had the schooner Catherine built by Arthur D. Story at Essex, with launching Oct. 8, 1915.

Gordon W. Thomas, historian of Gloucester schooners, wrote in his book, "Fast and Able" that "everything about the Sch. Catherine was big.  She was the biggest know about fishing schooner out of Gloucester (120.6 feel long).  She carried a big crew, spread a big sail area, was a big producer of big fish and was commanded by a man big in heart, courage, character and ability, Capt. Archie A. MacLeod.

"She carried 12 and 13 double dories...   She seemed to loom up over the other vessels, with her tail spars (mainmast 78 feet, deck to cap, main top mast 47 feet) and black mastheads ...  She probably brought in more big halibut trips than any other vessel out of this port.

"The Catherine was a great sailer especially in heavy weather...  At one time she met the great knockabout Arethusa in command of Capt. Josh Stanley and gave her a trimming."

MacLeod and the Catherine took part in three rescues at sea.  In December 1916 off Nova Scotia a dory was used to take the crew off the Nova Scotia two-master Lena F. Loxner, bound to Halifax form New York with a cargo of coal.

On Dec. 22, 1918, the Catherine towed into Liverpool, N. S., the battered French yawl Quo Vadis, bound to St. Pierre from Martinique with salt and a crew of Caribbeans.

In August 1929 two boats from the Catherine picked up the 21 crewmen of the British tanker Mina Brea, on fire 20 miles off Canso, N. S.

The Catherine was wrecked on Bald Rock Shoal at the entrance of Canso harbor Dec. 31, 1933 when bound for port, heavily iced with frozen spray.  The crew of 29 escaped in nine dories, rowing to Canso in three hours through drift ice.  The Catherine topped after the crew left, caught fire from the gallery stove, and burned to the water's edge, with explosions form oil tanks speeding the destruction.

After he retired as captain, MacLeod went as hand, and was watchman on vessels in port.  For the last two years, in failing health, he has been a patient at the Huntress Public Medical Center in Gloucester.   His residence for years was at 28 Riverside Ave., Gloucester.

He was a member of the Gloucester Master Mariners Association, a long time member of Acacia Lodge of Masons, and a 50-year member of Gloucester Lodge of Elks.

Surviving are his wife, Catherine J. (McShara); two sons, Archibald A. Jr. of Kansas City, Mo., and J. Norman of Boston; four grandchildren; a nephew, William D. Hamilton of Sydney, N. S. and an aunt, Mrs. Angus MacCuish of St. Peter's, Cape Breton.

The funeral will be held at the J. C. Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St., Gloucester, Friday at 2 p.m.,  with burial in the family lot in Beechbrook Cemetery.  Visiting hours will be observed Thursday from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 at the funeral home.

The following photos were very generously provided by Capt. MacLeod's grandson, Archie MacLeod.

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Capt. Archie MacLeod

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Capt. MacLeod and son

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The Catherine

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The crew of the Catherine


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