Last of Old-Time Skippers
Capt. Solomon Rowe Began Fishing at Age of Eight
Master and Owner of Energy and Courage
Had Reached 91st Year
Capt. Solomon Rowe, whose
death at the advanced age of 90 years and three months, was announced yesterday, having
occurred early in the morning from ills incident to old age, was the last survivor of the
old-time fishermen who helped bring Gloucester to its present position as the largest
fishing port on this side of the Atlantic.
Capt. Rowe was a native of
this city, being born October 14, 1826, his parents being Benjamin and Dolly
(Perkins) Rowe. His father was drowned when he was but a boy four years of
age, and he was himself the bearer of the tragic news to his mother. The latter knew
of the arrival of the craft of which her husband was one of the crew, and as the father
did not return home in supper at the close of the afternoon, she sent the little boy to
the wharf, which was but a short distance from the house, to come home with his father.
The boy inquired concerning his father from a shipmate, saying that his mother
wanted him to come to supper, but the man could only reply "My boy, your father will
never come back any more, he was drowned while we were on the banks," and the little
boy was left to take home the sorrowful tale to his mother.
He was a man of indomitable energy and great
courage, and as usual with the boys of that period, began fishing at an early age,
probably when about eight years of age, as on his first trip he was obliged to stand on a
firkin to reach over the rail. His industry and ability soon found recognition from
the owners of fishing craft, and when a young man, he was placed in command, and later was
the owner of several fishing vessels at different times. Even in his later years he
displayed the same characteristics which marked his early manhood and would frequently
dare the weather and go out in his boat when younger and more prudent skippers would keep
their crafts moored to the wharf, his reply to remonstrances against his going out being
that "no fish could be caught lying at the wharf." He was one of the
pioneer fishermen of the seining fleet.
He has been in impaired health for a number of
years, but after giving up the sea on account of his advancing years, he busied himself in
the construction of boats and other similar work.
He was a veteran of the Civil war, enlisting
for three years in Co. K, 30th Massachusetts Volunteers, Capt. Jeremiah R. Cook,
being mustered in January 10, 1862, and serving through the war, he being discharged on
January 20, 1865. With the regiment he participated in the Red River and Louisiana
campaigns with their attendant disastrous experiences, and among the engagements in which
he participated were Baton Rouge, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Fisher's Hill, Butler's and
Sherman's expeditions, and a gunboat fight at Yazoo river. He was promoted to
corporal November 23, 1862.
He married Sarah E. Merchant,
January 4, 1848, who passed away several years ago, and he is survived by one son and
three daughters, William A. Rowe, and Mrs. Mary C., wife
of Lemuel Friend of this city, Mrs. Lucy M. Colby of
Somerville and Mrs. Caroline A. Smothers of Manchester, also a
step-sister, Mrs. Betsy Sigsworth.
His funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon
at 1 o'clock from the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Friend, 35 Gee Avenue, with whom he
made his home. Interment will be in Manchester.