Saga of Gloucester's Howard Blackburn

Ordeal at Sea

By: - Sep 27, 2017

Saga of  Gloucester's Howard Blackburn

Out of Gloucester
Aboard sleek schooner
Grace L. Fears
From the mother ship
Two men in a dory
Howard Blackburn (1859-1932)
To fish all day
Cod and halibut
Lost in snow squall
Off Newfoundland
Thomas Welch (1857-1883)
Died the second day
Kept bailing
Lost his mittens
Fingers frozen
Cupped around oars
Kept rowing
Flesh falling off
Four days on
Reached land
Night in a shack
Back in the dory
Farmer’s wife
Mrs. Lishman
Snipped off fingers
With her scissors
Half of each thumb
Five toes amputated
Two from left three right
Heel of one foot
Hobbled home
Cheating Davy Jones
Hero’s welcome
Opened tobacco store
Locals raised $500
Paid back more
Than three times over
Donated $50,000 to charities
A fortune for the time
Met and married tiny
Theresa Lally (1863-1931)
They lost their son
Negligent nurse
Dose of cough medicine
Six weeks old
Built a saloon
Made a fortune
Folks swarmed in
Watched him pick up tips
A sight to see
What with no fingers
Went back to sea
Over and over
25-foot sloop
Great Republic
Solo to Portugal
Other voyages
Sold it in Florida
Bought a rowboat
Boca Raton to Jacksonville
Quit half way
Took steamer home
Then dory America
Gloucester to France
Such was the plan
Month of storms
Turned back
That was it
Spinning tales
Off the Grand Banks
When God was cod