Gloucester Fishermen's MemorialFor 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 1800s, 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 the 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 without record.
· 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 and many of those fatherless children entered the trade of their lost fathers.
· 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.
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. Psalm 107, 23-24