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Cape Cod Flour And The Sea

Marion Crowell Ryder writing in the Yarmouth Register, tells of an incident in her grandfather’s life as a Cape Cod seafarer in the days when sailors went to sea without benefit of radio, radar, loran, gps, or fathometer. The story is in part as follows in her grandfather’s own written words:

In the fall of 1853, I loaded my schooner Tioga in New York with a general cargo for Boston, consisting mostly of flour. Having strong winds through the Sound, I anchored at Bass River for a harbor. After a few days, the wind came fair for Boston, and in the company of a large number of vessels, I sailed from Bass River. Before they had reached the Highlands of Cape Cod, the wind shifted to the northeast and a violent, thick snow storm set in.

The wind soon increased to a heavy gale. I reefed our sails and ran for Boston as long as I could carry sail, and then I hove her to, The gale produced a very heavy sea, and the vessel labored hard and sprang a leak and was driven ashore at Truro, where she soon partly filled with water from the heavy pounding. She came ashore, about 3 a.m. Soon after daylight, boats came from the shore and all hands were taken ashore. It was very cold and I had my hands frost-bitten. That was a terrible gale, and a great many of the vessels that had sailed from Bass River that morning were wrecked and many men from South and West Dennis lost their lives. A part of my cargo of flour was damaged by sea water. I sold the damaged flour at auction and re-shipped the rest…

Marion Crowell Ryder also wrote Scuttle Watch which was one of the books we had to read in the 6th grade at Wixon Middle School in Dennis. A classmate of mine actually showed up to school one morning with the author, his neighbor, Marion Crowell Ryder. The english teacher was quite surprised as her visit was totally unanounced.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/16/06
Categories: History
Keywords: maritime, history


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