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.
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
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.
Capt. Archie MacLeod
Capt. MacLeod and
The crew of the Catherine