Gloucester in Essex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Captain Alfred (Centennial) Johnson
The first man to sail single
handed from west to east
across the Atlantic Ocean.
A typical Banks dory decked
over, christened Centennial to
commemorate the first centennial
of the founding of the
United States, 1776 – 1876
His first landfall was
Abercastle, Wales where he
recovered from being capsized
then continued on to Liverpool,
on Aug 21, 1876 – 66 days passage
departing Gloucester on June 15, 1876
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 42° 36.682′ N, 70° 39.786′ W. Marker is in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in Essex County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Rogers Street (Massachusetts Route 127) and Hancock Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is a metal plaque, mounted at eye-level on the outside east wall of the Gloucester House Restaurant. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 63 Rogers Street, Gloucester MA 01930, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Captain Howard Blackburn (here, next to this marker); Cape Ann Granite (within shouting distance of this marker); Rocky Neck (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Salting Fish (about 400 feet away); Charles Heberle (about 500 feet away); Samuel Sawyer (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dogtown & Babson Builders (approx. 0.2 miles away); Solomon Jacobs Landing & Park (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gloucester.
Also see . . .
1. Alfred Johnson's Centennial.
In the fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts a twenty nine year old schoonerman and halibut fisherman, Alfred Johnson, committed to a daredevil stunt in a fit of bravado, a crossing of the Atlantic from west to east in a twenty foot dory. He began the crossing, June 15, 1876. Stopping briefly in Nova Scotia to make adjustments to his ballast, Centennial set sail into the open ocean around June 25. Johnson maintained a log of approximately 70 miles (110 km) a day - respectable for a small boat in the open sea and survived a major gale which capsized his boat. An exhausted man, Alfred made landfall at Abercastle, Wales on Saturday, August 12. After a few days' rest, he completed the voyage, sailing into Liverpool on August 21, 1876, to an enthusiastic reception. (Submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Alfred "Centennial" Johnson.
Alfred Johnson (sometimes spelled Johnsen) was born in Denmark on December 4, 1846. He had run away to sea as a teenager, and after working on sailing ships eventually ended up as a fisherman in Gloucester, Massachusetts. One day in 1874, he and some friends were playing cards and discussing the possibility of a single-handed Atlantic crossing, when Johnson declared that not only would such a crossing be possible, but that it could be carried out in an open dory — and that he could do it. When his friends scoffed, Johnson set out to prove them wrong. (Submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Alfred “Centennial” Johnson (1846–1927).
Johnson received some attention for his feat, and his boat was exhibited in Liverpool for several months; he was thereafter known as Alfred “Centennial” Johnson. When asked late in life why he had done it, he said “I made that trip because I was a damned fool, just as they said I was.” (Submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 108 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.