Mark O’Connell Has Questions About The Gale of 1862

Hello Joe,

I am planning on restoring a family cenotaph for a fisherman that went down to the sea during the Gale of February 24, 1862.

I care for 5 burial plots at St. Mary’s Cemetary in Newburyport. One of the stones… is an obelisk cut out of marble in 1862. On it reads Robert Hamilton, Drown at Sea, February 24, 186 . I decided to investigate professional cleaning and the re-cutting of the stone this summer, but since I couldn’t positively see the date of death, I began to investigate my great great grandfather’s death date.
Thank God I had a childhood memory… I used to play with a bookend of The Gloucester Fisherman. I remember my grandmother seeing me at play and then telling me that she was an invited guest at the unveiling of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Monument back when she was a young woman during the 1920’s.  She told me that apparently the paymaster had recorded my relatives’  name incorrectly in 1862.  Although the name is misspelled "Robert Hambleton" on the Fishermen’s Cenotaph she arranged for the paper transcript corrected  to the correct Robert Hamilton spelling.
I contacted the Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial Committee and they said someone had changed the record.

From there I was able to find out the crews. I had family members on The Schooner Ocean Traveler which went down heading towards Newfoundland on January 1, 1862….and, a relative that mastered The Schooner North Star, and my great great grandfather, Robert Hamilton went down along with his cousin of his and 7 others on The Schooner "Contest" on February 24, 1862 on George’s Bank.

During my research, I was given your name.  I am writing to you in hopes that you may be able to tell me of whether you are aware of any kind of organization of relatives of the fishermen that went down that day.

I thank you for any information that you may be able to provide to me.  I’d like to contact any known relative and perhaps organize some kind of sesquicentennial remembrance.

Regards, Mark O’Connell

All I could find is this Mark-

It is a website Called The Historical Marker Database and it has a whole page dedicated to the Fisherman’s Memorial –

Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial

Click the picture below to check out all the pictures and interesting stories about the Gloucester Fishermen’s memorial


One comment

  • Check out my sister’s website –
    The Sch. Contest left port Feb. 11th 1862, and has been absent nearly seven weeks. She was nearly 97 tons burthen; owned by Geo. Friend & Co.; valued at $4200, and insured in the Gloucester Fishing Ins. Co., for $3675.
    Her crew list comprised nine men, as follows;

    John Crawley, master, leaves a widow and four children;
    Peter Lunderkin, leaves a widow and five children;
    John Sterling, leaves a widow and one child;
    Robt. Corcoran, leaves a widow and two children;
    Robt. Hambleton, leaves a widow and four children;
    Michael Wallis, leaves a widow and one child;
    Jas. Foley, leaves a widow and four children;
    Jas. Corwin, single


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