|For nearly four
centuries the history of Gloucester has been the story of America's
greatest fishing port. With this memorial, we commemorate the lives
and the legacy of those who died at sea while fishing.
The first settlers came from England in
1623 to harvest the ocean's bounty. They concentrated on the rich
fishing banks between Gloucester and Newfoundland, and later ventured
throughout the Atlantic.
During the 1800's, immigrants from many lands joined in the perilous
work. Sustained by the hope of prosperity, they came from the
Canadian Maritimes, Scandinavia and Ireland. Later, they came from
Italy and Portugal. These intrepid men established an industry that
has yielded countless millions of pounds of fish.
Their legacy came at a tremendous cost: the
loss of over 5300 men. Some were overtaken by the howling winds and
mountainous seas of a catastrophic northeaster. Some met their fate
in the solitude of a small dory gone astray from the schooner that brought
them to the banks. Some ships collided in storms and tragically
sank. Others were run down by steamers in shipping lanes.
These courageous men have been known by
names other than fishermen.; they were father, husband, brother,
son. They were known as the finest kind. Their lives and their
loss have touched our community in profound ways. We remain
strengthened by their character, inspired by their courage and proud to
call them Gloucestermen.
Numbers alone can never chronicle the loss
of human life, yet the statistics reflect the magnitude of Gloucester's
sacrifice. On these plaques are the names of men known to have been
lost. This memorial also stands to honor those men and ships lost
MEN KNOWN TO BE LOST AT SEA AND HONORED HERE: 5368
OF THE NEARLY 1,000 SHIPS LOST, THOSE LOST WITH ALL HANDS: 265
THOUSANDS OF WIDOWS STRUGGLED TO SURVIVE AND RAISE THEIR CHILDREN.
MANY OF THOSE FATHERLESS CHILDREN ENTERED THE TRADE OF THEIR LOST
BETWEEN 1860 - 1906, A STAGGERING 660 SHIPS SANK. WHILE MANY OF
THE FISHERMEN WERE SAVED, 3880 MEN WERE LOST
A SINGLE STORM IN 1862 CLAIMED 15 SCHOONERS AND 120 MEN. WHILE
ANOTHER DEVASTATING STORM IN 1879 TOOK THE LIVES OF 159 MEN.
Let us remember, honor and celebrate these
fishermen who made their final voyage from this great port.