1716Five vessels and 20 men were lost on a voyage to Cape Sable, Nova Scotia.Events & Anniversaries, Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry, Events

Gloucester Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1634-1727, 1727, p. 63.
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Gloucester Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1634-1727, 1727, p. 63.

Five vessels and 20 men were lost off Cape Sable Island, about 110 miles off the Nova Scotia coast. It is Gloucester’s only major loss of life among the fishing fleet recorded during the first half of the 18th century, and the first recorded maritime casualty. The loss of 15-year-old Nehemiah Elwell would be followed by thousands more over the next 300 years.

“The year 1716 is a year memorable in the annuals of the town for the first sad and sweeping calamity of the kind, which has so often since shrouded it in mourning. On this mournful occasion, five vessels, comprising, upon a reasonable supposition, not less than one-tenth part of all the tonnage of the town, were wholly lost in that year on a voyage to Cape Sable; and about twenty men, a fifteenth part, probably, of all the male citizens of the place, perished by the catastrophe.” (The Fisheries, 22)

The Fisheries of Gloucester from the First Catch by the English in 1623, to the Centennial Year, 1876. Gloucester, Procter Brothers, 1876, http://archive.org/details/fisheriesofglouc00glourich Gloucester Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1634-1727. 1727, http://archive.org/details/GLOBirthsDeathsMarriages16341727Images
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