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Cape Cod The Lost & Found Dory Fishermen of The Schooner Joseph E. Johnson

The Grand Bankers left home in the early Spring and disappeared into oblivion for from 3 to 5 months. Fog and icebergs were constant perils off the Grand Banks. During these days the fishing vessels often carried small boats (called dories) as the whaling ships did, in which men went out from the mother vessel to fish. Many grim stories are told of them being swept away in a storm of fog never to be seen again. One had a happy ending.

Provincetown mourned for three days in May, 1898. The Schooner Joseph E. Johnson had returned to port on May 24th with the sad news that 16 of her crew, caught out in a fog in their dories on the Grand Banks, had never been found. Then on May 27th 1898, an incredible thing happened. Around Long Point came the fleet of dories, with every one of the lost 16 safe and sound!

This was their story: Lost in the fog they hung together and started a 200-mile row to LeHavre, N.S. The hardtack they had was gone and they resorted to a raw fish diet. Then by a stroke of great good luck along came the Norwegian bark China sailing from Hamburg for New York which took the men and dories aboard. The men were later transferred to the schooner Merritt which was homeward bound to Boston. The Merritt dropped the fishermen and their dories nine miles off Race Point, and they triumphantly rowed into Provincetown. The lost were found.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 01/23/06
Categories: FishingHistoryProvincetown
Keywords: provincetown, history, fishing


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