Charles Erbafina Photos From March 8, 2013
Bil Hubbard Submits-
Here’s a short story about two of the first Gloucester gillnetters that I hope you can use on GMG.
My grandfather, Capt. John A. Dahlmer bought the 39ft. “Rough Rider” shortly after she was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1904. She was one of the first gas-powered fishing boats on the Great Lakes. The first picture was taken the day of her launch. Grandfather brought her to Gloucester in 1910 and alternating in the command of Capt. Edw. Weiderman and Capt. Pete Tysver and Capt. Lawrence B. Dahlmer. The second picture shows her at the Tysver wharf off E. Main St.
In 1909 Capt. John Dahlmer had the 63ft. “Margaret D.” built at the J.G. Laird & Son Shipyard in Ashtabula, Ohio. She was named for and christened by my mother, Margaret V. Dahlmer who was 5 years old in 1909. Later that year, or early in 1910 he brought her to Gloucester where she worked as a gillnetter and mackerel seiner. The first picture shows her launch in 1909 and the second is of her, rigged for seining in Smith Cove. She was wrecked on Milk Island off Rockport in 1915.
The captains Dahlmer, Weiderman and Tysver were among a group of 10 skippers who brought their families and boats from Charlevoix, Michigan to Gloucester in 1909-1910 and established the first successful gillnet fishery in America’s oldest fishing port. All four families settled on Rocky Neck and eventually moved to other Gloucester locations. Other families from Michigan who brought their boats and settled in E. Gloucester included the Arnold, Shoares, Lasley,Lafond and Place families.
The Michigan men earned handle, “Michigan Bears” by working together to do whatever chore needed to be done for their boats, no mater how hard or how heavy the work. The Michigan men and their son’s went on to captain many other boats out of Gloucester over the years.