Gloucester in Essex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Captain Howard Blackburn
Citizen of Gloucester,
crossed the Atlantic twice,
alone, without any fingers
or toes and part of one foot
missing, all frozen in an
accident at sea.
On June 18, 1899, sailed from
Gloucester, Mass. To
Gloucester, England, on the
thirty foot sloop, “Great
Western.” Arrived August 18,
1899, a trip of 62 days.
On June 9, 1901, sailed from
Gloucester, Mass. To Lisbon,
Portugal, on the twenty
five foot sloop, “Great
Republic.” Arrived July 18, 1901
a trip of only 39 days.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is June 18, 1899.
Location. 42° 36.682′ N, 70° 39.785′ 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 Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Captain Alfred (Centennial) Johnson (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. Captain Howard Blackburn, the Lone Voyager.
Howard Blackburn was fishing out of Gloucester for halibut from the schooner Grace L. Fears. A winter storm came up suddenly, stranding Blackburn and another fisherman in their dory. Blackburn lost his heavy fisherman's mittens overboard and knew that his hands would freeze, so he held them in curved position that would allow him to slip his frozen hands back over the oars. Five days later-days virtually without food, water or sleep-Blackburn had rowed back to shore. His dorymate died en route. (Submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Howard Blackburn.
This link presents all the details of Blackburn's fateful January 1883 voyage on the Grace L. Fears. That story ends this way: Dry gangrene ate at Blackburn's fingers and toes, and every now and then, one dropped off. In fifty-one days he lost all the fingers of both hands, and half of the thumbs, two toes from the left foot and three toes and the heal from the right foot.
But this "man of iron" would not be stopped! 16 years later, in 1899, he set sail alone for England, completing the trip in 62 days. He again sailed solo across the Atlantic in 1901, completing the trip to Lisbon in 39 days. (Submitted on March 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. The Epic Voyage of Howard Blackburn.
Sixty one days after leaving the New England fishing port where a certain Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food, Blackburn arrived in Kingroad. And after spending the Friday night at anchor he took on board a pilot Frank Price before the short journey to Sharpness, arriving with the afternoon tide. Being part of the Port of Gloucester, under the Queen Elizabeth I charter, the Sharpness Dock Master, hoisted signal flags at the pier, head that read ‘Welcome to Gloucester’. But what made Blackburn’s crossing so different was that he was disabled. (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 143 times since then and 11 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.