By Holly Clay

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


It’s Labor Day in Gloucester Harbor. Eve Robinson sits composed and dignified in Principles’ cockpit.  Though Eve is legally blind, she appears to gaze out over the glistening water, to engage me with her eyes. At peace on Principles, the 48-foot schooner owned by her partner Derek Durling, she nonetheless senses the splendor of the decorated schooners, the high energy the visiting vessels bestow.

Eve hails from Tunstall, near Kirkby Lonsdale in Lancashire, the North of England.

“It’s the kind of place you do not criticize anyone because you know they belong to someone else,” she says.

Her remark could equally apply to Gloucester. It reflects a principled approach to life. No wonder she feels at home on a mooring in the “Inner Harbor.”

Though it was only recently, in 2016, Eve and Derek first encountered Gloucester, they are solidly hooked. “We were racing last year; that’s when we discovered Gloucester. It’s a special place; the people are special. They have time to talk and be nice,” says Eve.

Derek says they returned this year, ostensibly, for the Gloucester Schooner Festival on Labor Day weekend. Principles was already at its mooring in June, so it’s clear other attractions worked their magic on Eve and Derek. Friendships have a lot to do with it, like those with Inner Harbor folks, sailors mostly, like Fred Shrigley, Beth Leahy, Rob Bent, Mark Sheldon, and Bradley Royds.

Bradley Royds trimming sails

Royds piloted Principles north from the Bahamas at the start of Summer, with then skipper Justin. The meaning in the associations doesn’t escape Derek.

Quite simply, “we made friends here. We like Gloucester. There’s a nice mix and it’s not touristy.”  He says he and Eve are more than comfortable just being on the boat. They feel part of the community.

Derek first saw the schooner Principles in 1995/96 at a Newport, RI rally.

“I thought she was the most beautiful vessel I’d ever seen,” he remembers. Her name comes from the first owner. A corporate leader, he left his company when the board made an unconscionable decision.

“He said he resigned, because ‘It was the principle of the thing,’” Derek continues, adding that he narrowly missed a chance to buy Principles in 2006. Nevertheless, in due course, his turn came. He’s owned Principles for three years now.

She “definitely has” kept him and Eve young, Derek says.

When young, Derek married an American woman. Ironically, he didn’t reside over here until after her death several years ago. He lived mostly in the U.K., minus a brief Royal Air Force posting here or there. Derek’s first opportunity to own a sailboat and learn the sailing arts came while he was stationed in Scotland. The North Sea was his teacher.

Meanwhile, Eve, also married with one son, Malcolm, made a pleasant life for herself in England. In fact, she made a career out of her passion for kitchen arts, beginning as a cooking demonstrator in Manchester, England auditoriums. It wasn’t long before the headmistress of a nearby independent school approached her to teach home economics.

The Clergy Daughters’ School in Casterton, Cumbria, where she taught, “was a special place, because the Bronte sisters attended services and classes there,” explains Eve. “I had no experience with teaching,” she continues, but she always heeds the principle, “answer when opportunity knocks.”

“I stayed there for many years…I loved it.  I had an affinity for it. And better yet, it supported my cars.” Eve loves classic cars.

The same principle, combined with more than a little spunk, propelled Eve into a sailing life in 2013, even though, by then, she’d lost her eyesight.

“What would I have done sitting in a big house all by myself? Life needs to be more than that. You lose heart if you don’t get out and do something, anything. It would have been just existing. I’m not decrying it,” she adds.  But she knew, she was made for something more exciting.

Deric and Eve set out from Glasson Dock, Lancashire on a cold day in December 2013. Companions in the years after their spouses’ deaths, they share a love of music and each has an indomitable spirit, just what they needed to face a ferocious Atlantic in winter. As became their custom, they had a skipper named Euwin, on board.

“The idea was to go round the coast ‘til butter melts,’ then have a go at the Atlantic.  When we got to Hollyhead, Wales, trouble with the engine generator stalled us. Don’t ever go to Hollyhead! We finally did get over to Cork.”

In Cork, more challenges, topped with dollops of good fortune, awaited. As Eve tells the story, “Euwin approached us, declaring ‘by the way, I’ve engaged a nurse.’ Hannah the nurse arrived with a suitcase, a big one, an electric blanket, and a teddy bear,” not the usual comportment for a sailing lass. Clearly, she had been invited aboard for a variety of reasons, not least of which was Euwin “fancied her.” Eve smiles. But wouldn’t you know, before the ship had left Cork, Eve broke her wrist, another disappointment causing another delay. Nevertheless, Hannah brought joy to the situation. “She was well-organized. The medicine kit was complete. And she gave me the Teddy Bear,“ Eve says. “And so, we dawdled…” until Eve was fit for travel. They headed first to Belize, which didn’t suit them, and ultimately to Treasure Key in the Bahamas where they bought a house.

Eve doesn’t shy away from talking about her lost eyesight.

“Back in 2007, I was driving along when I almost drove right into the back of a tractor-trailer,” she explains. “It was my sight, you see. Something was affecting it.  We drove to Liverpool. It turns out I’d had a hemorrhage. The surgeon said, ‘we can operate to clear the damage,’ but not without grave risk.”

He then suggested a less risky surgery that would restore a vague sense of dark and light. Eve opted for the latter operation. It was successful. Light and shadow provide guidance. She’s holding out hope for stem cell replacement, once it’s invented for vision. She giggles: “At my age, I don’t have a lot of time to wait.”

“All my life I’ve been age-conscious,” Eve continues, speaking of another heartfelt principle. Put another way, she doesn’t talk or think about age, “consciously.” “When asked my age, I always say, ‘What’s it got to do with anything.’ I’ll be 90 in September. One time I was driving in England. Someone passed me recklessly, took off the side of the car. The driver apologized and took the blame; we exchanged information. I left the scene, thinking ‘well enough.’ But my husband Eddie, retired by this point, was adamant I must report the damage to the police.”

Off Eve went to the police station where she sidled up to the Sergeant. They were well-known to one another, yet he had to pose the usual questions.

“He asked, ‘what’s the damage?’ And, ‘what’s your name?’ He knew my name perfectly well. Then, he asked my age. ‘Guess,’ I shot back. ‘30,’ he said. ‘That’ll do,’ I said.” It was the principle of the thing.

Eve comes by her principled nature honestly. Her mother, half Lebanese and half French, arrived in England a child bride. A marriage to a man 20 years her senior had been arranged. She spoke no English.

“I think my grandparents thought, ‘we’re giving her a new life.’ It was bad in Syria and Beirut.”

The union was unhappy. Her mother made the best of it, eventually accomplishing much in her own right. WWII trapped Eve’s father in West Africa, primarily in Lagos, Nigeria, running the southern hemisphere portion of his shipping business. There was no one to run the U.K. business, so Eve’s Mother took over.

“She had to do it all. Unusual for a woman of that generation and one who’d been as privileged as she.”

His return after the war was difficult.

“My mother had gained much independence and sovereignty,” reflects Eve, who learned by example to cultivate the same for herself.

The joys of experiencing a new way of life – being in America, or spending time in Gloucester – endure.  Eve and Derek tested their feelings on the matter this last June, returning to England for her granddaughter’s wedding. It was their first visit since they embarked in 2013.

“It was funny going back. I was dreading it, but the visit turned out to be just lovely,” Eve says. “But, I wouldn’t consider going back for good. We really don’t like the weather. This,” she says sweeping her arm before her, as if to embrace the whole of the Inner Harbor, “is living.”

And then the wisp of a lady, with more than her share of pluck asks, “Do you know, I got to go up in a glider, in Franconia, this summer?”

About the 2017 Race

Principles placed first in her class of mid-size schooners and second overall, behind the world-class contender Columbia, who dwarfs Principles, in size only. Eve’s and Derek’s Gloucester friends comprised the bulk of the enthusiastic crew, who brought her victoriously through the race.

Parting After the Race


Holly Clay is settled in Gloucester after many years of living overseas and in Washington, D.C. Holly is a member of the Gloucester Historical Commission and the Annisquam Historical Society.  With a background in education and writing, her professional energies are currently devoted to studying and teaching yoga and meditation.

The Skiff

model by author








by Eric Schoonover

Maybe we’ll go down to the beach
letting the water come up to our knees.

There’s a skiff there, in the weeds,
empty and waiting, its oars akimbo:

inviting.  We’ll troll, maybe, my fingers
over the side, to feel the water

mutter and slide, catching so many
motes as my hand can hold. But then

the plash and now the squeak of the oarlocks
do take us away, furtive. Maybe I’ll look

at your legs, brown, and beyond, facing me
and maybe I’ll think of our love that’s

always been held by the water.
Maybe we’ll float off the boat

and our bodies will then drift
to the isles where it all began.

Where maybe we’ll hold so
tight, against the harbor’s

famed serpent, now wilting, sliding
our firm lustrous bodies into a lasting kiss.


SPollack Photo

Eric Schoonover is a writer living in Gloucester. His most recent book, Telling Tales: A Gathering of Stories was published in 2016. Harboring, a novel about a Gloucester artist, will be published in 2018.


Gloucester Harbor.                                                                 Aldro Thompson Hibbard (1886-1972)


The City’s initiative to develop a boating facility is under study.  The consultant will be making a public presentation at the October 3rd Waterways Board meeting.  This is part of the planning process where people can provide input to the consultant before plans move forward.
It is necessary to support the Harbormaster with an upgraded and modernized office.  
There is a need to provide adequate shore side accommodations for visiting boaters.  
This is the opportunity for resident boating needs to be supported.
There are dories to row year round at St. Peter Square.  More than 100 Gig rowers participate at Maritime Gloucester.  SailGHS high school sailing team and summer sailing programs serve many children each year.  There is a fair amount of boating access but there are gaps of access for young children, families and older folks.  These established boating programs demonstrate that there is room to serve more residents in accessing the water.
Community boating clubs offer opportunities for family-friendly rowing and sailing.  These centers are great community assets. They provide lessons, boats, equipment, restrooms/showers and other shoreside amenities in support of waterfront activities.  Boating season begins as early as April and can comfortably continue well into October.
For examples of these centers in neighboring ports, look at New Bedford’s site  The Portland Maine area offers several clubs.  See is Salem’s Community Boating club.  Community Boating on the Charles River in Boston is the oldest center in the country. 
Promoting economic development with community development rooted in community values serves to shape the character of a downtown center which residents can be connected to, not disenfranchised from. 
To participate in this process you can attend the public meeting on Tuesday, Oct 3rd at 6:00 pm in City Hall.

About the Indians: Why Didn’t We Know?

       “The Pequots” Oil Painting by Nancy Griswold, 10” x 20”, © All Rights Reserved

by Mary Ellen Lepionka

So, while the English were at Gloster Plantation and Duncan’s Point, the Pawtucket were in Riverview, where they coexisted more or less until the 1690s. Having found out about this, I wondered why we hadn’t known about it. Why were we told there weren’t any Indians here after 1620? Why are schoolchildren being taught about the Native people of Cape Cod instead? Wampanoags were not even a tribe historically—the name means “Band of Brothers” and was adopted by warriors from several South Shore Massachuset bands in the 1676 war against the English (King Philip’s War) and the resistance movement that followed their defeat. Today’s tribe using that name represents a reconsolidation of survivors. More importantly, the people who lived on Cape Ann were not Massachuset. They were Abenaki-speaking Pennacook-Pawtucket.

Gloucester is less forthcoming on this topic than others, but all the colonists of coastal towns In Essex County omitted the Indian villages from their maps. Town histories and centennial addresses dismiss the subject except in reference to deeds, accusations of mischief, fears of uprisings, and laws regulating commerce. Most town records begin with the quitclaim deed giving them clear legal title to their land, complete with the duly witnessed signatory marks of local sagamores. The word Indian does not appear in Obadiah Bruen’s retrospective account of Gloucester’s founding, written in 1650, nor in John Babson’s history of 1860. In 1895 the publicist Robert Pringle devotes two paragraphs, one claiming that Indians deserted the area before the English came and the other referring to their artifacts and graves dug up here.

“Whether pestilence or other causes led to their final desertion is a matter of speculation. The only evidences of their occupancy were found on the northerly side of the Cape, where great heaps of clam shells attested their former presence. The town was thus spared from the terrors of Indian warfare…” (Pringle 1895: 17).

 The few later retrospective accounts about Indians in letters and diaries—such as Ebenezer Pool’s 1823 recording of his grandfather’s memories—are dismissed as tall tales, unreliably second-hand.

Today we know that “pestilence” was not the whole answer, nor did the Indians annihilate each other through internecine warfare. But we somehow got the idea of extinction, and it stuck. Perhaps it began with the colonists’ need for foundation myths. There had to be heroic founding fathers, superior accomplishments, and “firsts” to be proud of. Anglo-European chauvinism and prejudice against Indians naturally followed.

First Massachusetts state seal: “Come over and help us”

The colonists saw Native Americans as “other” and looked down on them as inferior. European superiority was expressed by every group making contact—with the possible exception of some French—beginning with Verrazano in 1524, based mainly on differences in technology, material culture, religion, and the concept of modernity. The Indians were primitive wanderers, heathens who practiced sorcery and other strange behaviors, and they were naked. Like Adam and Eve before the Fall they did not understand the concept. Attempting to clarify, one sachem asked Edward Winslow, “Are deer also naked?” So it was only natural—perhaps even divinely ordained—that “modern” Europeans should replace the primitive man.

Consider, too, the skeletons in the Massachusetts Bay Colony closet—the scalp bounties, the slave ships, the internment camps—embarrassing facts that, if known, might make us not so proud. The truth is the colonists everywhere made the Native inhabitants unwelcome, discouraged them in every way, and dispossessed them of their livelihoods and lives. How much more convenient to have them simply disappear.

History is written by groups in power—the winners. Michel-Rolph Trouillot, a Haitian anthropologist, wrote, “Historical narratives are premised on previous understandings, which are themselves premised on the distribution of archival power.”

“The archival power of local texts transformed what happened–a long and continuing process of colonialism and Indian survival–into that which is said to have happened: Indian extinction. Local texts have been a principal location in which this false claim has been lodged, perpetuated, and disseminated. The extinction narrative lodged in this archive has falsely educated New Englanders and others for generations about Indians, and it has been—and is still—used as an archival source itself, sometimes to be taken as factual evidence of Indian eclipse” (Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, 1997).

Pequot Village (Now New London, CT)

So, the extinction narrative became immortalized in a story passed down generation after generation, assumed through sheer repetition to be true. New Englanders were complicit in this process, which began with the replacement of Indian place names with English ones and the disbarment of Native groups from legal status. The village of Pequot became New London, CT, for example, and the Pequot River became the Thames. The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony made it a felony to speak the name Pequot. The Pequot were massacred at Mystic—Our John Mason and John Endicott were there with conscripts from Cape Ann. Surviving Pequot were shipped to Bermuda as slaves, and the Court declared them legally extinct (they number around 2,000 today).

Assumptions and claims legitimizing erasure included the idea that the Indians had no civilization or history of their own, no religion, no towns, no record of their past. In his 1895 history of Manchester-by-the-Sea, for example, D. F. Lamson, expressing the prevailing view, dismisses the Indians in this single opening paragraph.

“The history of America begins with the advent of Europeans in the New World. The Red Men in small and scattered bands roamed the stately forests and interminable prairies, hunted the bison and the deer, fished the lakes and streams, gathered around the council-fire and danced the war-dance; but they planted no states, founded no cities, established no manufactures, engaged in no commerce, cultivated no arts, built up no civilizations. They left their names upon mountains and rivers…but they made no other impress upon the continent which from time immemorial had been their dwelling place. The record of their past vanishes like one of their own forays into the wilderness. Their shell heaps and their graves are the only remains left to show that they once called these lands their own. They made no history (Lamson 1895: 1).

The dehumanizing wilderness narrative, in which it is right that Indians should disappear as forests are cleared, was expressed as late as 1909 in a scientific article on trees:

“The indigenous fauna increases in a land of aboriginal hunting folk of low culture, but decreases swiftly and surely in contact with civilized men. Aboriginal man is part of the fauna of a region. As a species he has struck a balance with other indigenous species of animals and as such is a ‘natural race’. Like the lower animals, the native man also vanishes from the region of settlement” (Spencer Trotter, The Atlantic Forest Region of North America, Popular Science, October 1909: 387).

Pequot War    

This was the other side of the divine providence argument, expressed in the 1630s by John Winthrop, governor of the colony, and his son, John Winthrop Jr., governor of Ipswich and founder of Connecticut Colony—that the demise of Indians was a result of divine intervention favoring their replacement by the godly English.

As time went on, erasure narratives were extended through beliefs about degeneracy. Indians stereotypically were devil worshippers and hostile to whites. Their status as slaves, indentured servants, debtors, or wards of the state subject to poverty and alcoholism was proof of their degeneracy. People claiming to be Indians could be denied their identity on the basis that they were not pure-blooded or did not speak an Indian language or no longer practiced Indian ways. This was opposite to the one-drop rule applied to blacks, in which one drop of African blood made you black whatever other blood you had in you. For Indians, one drop of white blood did not make you white, but you also were no longer a real Indian. This concept of degeneracy, along with latent racism, may lie behind notions some people have that Native groups in New England today lack authenticity.

In 2010, 2,718 residents of Essex County identified themselves as Native American, most living in Salem, Peabody, Beverly, Middleton, Gloucester, and Danvers, in that order. They include descendants of the people who were living here in 1623 when the Dorchester Company landed at Half Moon Beach. Now that we do know about the Indians here, my question is, will our archive embrace a truer history? Will my grandchildren’s children be able to learn about the Pawtucket who lived here and did not disappear?

I’m Walkin’

Willie Walkin’                                      © 2017 Bing McGilvray

Hey Enduring Gloucester you can call this “I’m Walkin’ “ like the Fats Domino song,  there are lots of walking songs like there are lots of talking songs. I walk because I like to walk & for exercise & because I don’t drive. I see more things this way, sometimes I see things that aren’t there or I see them with my mind. (like the voice in my head writing this and talking to you. I’m walking for you (“I’ll walk the greasy pole just for you….I’ll do anything that you want me to“).

So I’m walking in Fred Buck’s Footsteps, I’m a walker in the city like Peter Anastas. I walk with the ghosts of Tommy Moses & Vincent Ferrini. I walk up Middle Street with Mabel Garland and drink Constant Comment Tea with the Robinson sisters, who lived in that old yellow house on the corner of Dale Avenue that just got repainted.

I see myself skipping over to Sterling Drug Store from the Old First Baptist Church to hang out a couple minutes between Sunday school and church service on Sunday morning.

On weekdays, after school at Central Grammar, I have a frosty root beer in an ice cold mug at Kresge’s on the corner of Hancock & Main. I’m sitting at that long lunch counter – if I’m not saving my dimes for a savings bond at the post office where you buy these special stamps & fill up a book (like an S&H green stamps book). Can you see this?

I did fill up that book and got my 25 dollar savings bond & it was a beautiful thing. My dad borrowed that bond to buy a birthday present for my mother…that became a bond between us…….and here I go I’m cutting thru the Universalist Church yard & thru the fence and over the stone wall to Gould Court… going home to 18 Washington square, but first, I might stop at Cher Ami for some penny candy or buy a loaf of Bond bread at Charlie the Greek’s Cape Ann Market & get a free Hopalong Cassidy trading card.

Ya, I’m walking home past Buddy Orlando’s house. I live next door to Billy Ruggiero, who is my best friend & Joan of Arc is still riding her horse & the Fisherman Statue is still looking out to sea & I’m looking for the North Shore, looking for the Strand, looking for the church where my daddy used to stand & “I’m a fishtown horrible, I’m so incorrigible, a fish town horrible …”………..  Willie Alexander.

Photo credit  Anne Rearick

Willie Alexander. The Alexander family arrived in Gloucester in 1950; we left in 1955. I returned here in June 1997 to live with my wife, photographer Anne Rearick.  I’ve been making music & art my whole life. I made my first recordings for Capitol Records in 1965 with The Lost. I am currently recording with Tony Goddess at Bang a Song Studios in Gloucester.


The Wanaskwiwam Villagers: Where Did They Go?

Mary Ellen Lepionka July 20, 2017

Descendants with Hassanamesit Nipmuc Chief Cheryl Toney Holley in Mass.

Discovering a Native presence on Cape Ann during the Contact Period, I naturally wondered what had happened to them. On both their presence and their disappearance local Archives are mum, except to quote William Bradford of Plymouth and John Winthrop of Boston on the disease that decimated Native populations prior to 1620 and again in the first smallpox epidemic of 1633. Winthrop wrote in 1629: “God hathe consumed the natives with a miraculous plague, whereby a great part of the country is left voyde of inhabitants.” So it has been easy ever since just to say that the Indians had all died off before the English settled here.

But medical sources estimate a survival rate of 75 percent for the first disease (leptospirosis) on the North Shore and points north, mainly because people moved inland to avoid contact–above the fall line on rivers contaminated with the bacteria and away from its animal carriers. Also, in the north, about half the people survived the first smallpox epidemic and subsequently experienced population recovery because of acquired immunity. Survivors of the epidemic of 1633 had a higher chance of surviving subsequent exposures and passing on resistance to their offspring. Although there was a great “dying off,” there had to be more to the story.

When I got to the State Archives, the more I learned the more questions I had. If the Indians had disappeared, why are the records of the General Court and Governors and Indian Overseers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony so full of accounts, treaties, histories, policies, laws, decrees, deeds, and court cases pertaining to Native Americans? How could the 2010 U.S. Census report so many people living in Essex County identifying themselves as “American Indian/Alaska Native”? Could they have included living descendants of the Wanaskwiwam villagers and others of Masquenomenit’s people?

As it turns out, yes. Masquenomenit (Masconomet), Nanepashemet, Pappiseconewa (Passaconaway), Chickatawbut, Massasoit (Ousamequin) and the others all have living descendants. Some, with surnames Tyler, English, Wiser, Safford, Bent, Mitchell, to name a few, are living with Natick, Mashpee, Wampanoag, and Narraganset around Lakeville and Wareham, Cape Cod and the Islands. Others, Emertons for example, are from Gloucester. Jacqueline Emerton, known as Fire Woman, widow of Quiet Bear, was a matriarch of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki and the founder of the Inter-Tribal Council of Tolba Menahan. She organized the pow wows that took place here every August for years in Fisherman’s Field.

Fire Woman and Walking Fox

The pow wows were continued in Fire Woman’s honor after her death in 2004. The last was in 2012. The Council disbanded then and some of her family went to live with kin at the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation in Wisconsin, where Indians from Massachusetts had been forced to relocate in compliance with President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Removal Act called for forced migration of all Indians to lands west of the Mississippi. Pawtucket interned with Nipmuc, Pocumtuc, and Mahican families at the Stockbridge, Brotherton, and Schaghticoke reservations were moved to Wisconsin. At the same time, Pennacook-Pawtucket interned with Mohawk were absorbed into the Iroquois reservations in upstate New York and Canada, where they have living descendants today.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I learned that the survival and resilience of the Native people who lived here took many paths. Some assimilated early. They fenced their farms and kept cattle and converted to Christianity. They spoke English and became literate. They apprenticed themselves to colonial trades and went to sea on English vessels. They indentured themselves to English families and adopted English names and intermarried. In 1650, for example, Great Tom of Quascacunquen (Kwaskwaikikwen) sold his 30-acre farm on the Parker River and indentured himself and his wife and children and their heirs and assigns for all time to William Gerish, Abraham Toppan, and Anthony Somerby of Newbury.

Those assimilating successfully did not live as Indians. They concealed their identities and became invisible, largely avoiding the terrible conflicts to come. Their descendants—except perhaps those with mail-order DNA kits—do not know who they are.

The later 17th century saw two major diasporas. The first was in 1676 during King Philip’s War (Metacomet’s Wampanoag War), when many Pawtucket in Essex County, unable to maintain neutrality, escaped en masse by canoe. They crossed the Merrimack River at Newburyport into New Hampshire and Maine. Some joined the Wabanaki resistance movement. Others sought refuge with former allies or with former traditional enemies. Some descendants of those Pawtucket are living today in Abenaki, Sokoki, Pequaket, Mississiquoi, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Malecite and Micmac communities in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Nova Scotia.

Descendants in New Hampshire

During and after King Philip’s War, captured survivors of many different cultural groups speaking different languages were thrown together in internment camps. Some were interned with Africans and shipped to Bermuda and Barbados as slaves. In 1676 Pennacook Indians and Africans were shipwrecked on St. David’s Island, for example, en route to a slave plantation in the Caribbean. They have living descendants on that island today.

Descendants on St. David’s Island

A second diaspora occurred in 1695 from the village of Wamesit (Lowell), a “Praying Indian” winter village where survivors of colonial military expeditions against the Indians had gathered for protection. Wamesit came under attack by local settlers, however, among them my own ancestors, who had founded Chelmsford in 1636. I try to imagine them as hardscrabble men incensed over gruesome Indian massacres in other towns they reached too late to defend. But I cannot. They scapegoated their ones at home. They set the wigwams ablaze and shot the people as they ran. Pawtucket who lived fled into the White Mountains and those who survived exposure reached sanctuary in St. Francis, Quebec. Their descendants are living there today with the Abenaki at Odanak and Becancour on the St. Lawrence River.

Descendants at Odanak

The 1690s is also the last recorded evidence of Indians in Gloucester until after the Civil War, except for the 1701 appearance of Masquenomenit’s grandchildren in General Court to receive Gloucester’s last payment for their land. Daniel Gookin, Indian Supervisor for the Mass. Bay Colony and a great protector of the Native people under his purview, died in 1687 and was greatly mourned by them. On a 1700 map, Essex County is triumphantly marked, “Cleared of Indians”.

Between 1689 and 1763, the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony offered bounties on Indian scalps—men, women, and children—in an off-and-on campaign of state-sponsored genocide spanning three generations, a fact little known. Some Gloucester men, Andrew Robinson for example, enriched themselves in this way, especially during the French and Indian Wars when an enemy warrior’s scalp could fetch as much as 100 English pounds. Indian scalps were hung from the rafters of the Court House in Salem. They were taken down on the eve of Revolution only after barristers complained of unsightliness and falling dust.

As in any holocaust, survival depended either on escape and self-exile or invisibility. In this way, many Pawtucket and other Native people in New England gave up their homes and possessions, religion, language, culture, knowledge and skills, communities, gene pools, and identities as Native Americans. Today some descendants of Native Americans of the Northeast are working to reclaim or reinvent their remixed Native heritage. Theirs is a story of adaptation, resilience, and cultural creativity in the face of 400 years of persecution and catastrophic change. Times have changed, but prejudice and discrimination—and indifference—both casual and official are commonplace still.

There are pow wows in Beverly, Danvers, and Lowell. I asked the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness about having pow wows on Cape Ann again—you can now hire groups to lecture and perform—which is how I learned about Fire Woman. I’m told that Fire Woman’s people felt discouraged from trying to continue their pow wow tradition in Fisherman’s Field. The Council members had grown older, fewer, poorer—but in 2012 the City of Gloucester could not make an exception for them to be able to afford to park their campers and sell their crafts at Stage Fort Park.

You may remember that year’s howling and drumming as the loudest ever, lasting all night under Tablet Rock. But you did not hear it as appeals to the spirits of the ancestors of that place. And we did not know it would be the last public expression of Native culture on Cape Ann. Or is it?


Mary Ellen Lepionka lives in East Gloucester and is studying the history of Cape Ann from the Ice Age to around 1700 A.D. for a book on the subject. She is a retired publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with degrees in anthropology. She studied at Boston University and the University of British Columbia and has performed archaeology in Ipswich, MA, Botswana, Africa, and at Pole Hill in Gloucester, MA.  Mary Ellen is a trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and serves on the Gloucester Historical Commission.


Waterfront Facility Development

The City is planning to develop a waterfront facility.  The Seaport Economic Council awarded the City a grant to perform a study.  (see below)

On June 1st, the city contracted with Harriman Consulting to conduct the study which will be completed early this fall.

According to the plan of services submitted by Harriman Consulting, they will develop a Communication Plan which will describe methods that will be used to provide public information and the process that will be used to engage the public throughout the process.

This is an important opportunity to express to the consultant the needs of the community in the development of an important waterfront resource before recommendations are set forth in their draft report.

Anyone concerned and interested in participating in a public process and communicating the needs of the community should contact the Mayor, Harbormaster and Waterways Board with your concerns.

Comments can be sent to:



Gloucester – $80,000

Gloucester is the oldest fishing port in America, and it is critical to the economic health of the city that visitors – especially visiting boaters – feel welcome and have access to the resources they need. In order to advance Gloucester’s maritime and tourism economies, the City will use Seaport Economic Council funds for a site selection study that will examine co-locating a visiting boater support facility with the Harbormaster’s office, to offer resources and amenities including changing rooms, showers, laundry facilities, public restrooms, and common space with Wi-Fi access.



Patti Page, EG consultant, of Gloucester, is retired from a career in federal fisheries regulatory compliance work and a past member of the City’s Waterways Board.  She is a founder and director of Sail GHS, the sailing program for students across Cape Ann, and is dedicated to a broad range of working waterfront advocacy issues.


Olga Lingard & Cape Ann: A Great War Enigma

World War I Poster    by Sidney H. Riesenberg (1885-1971)

By Holly Clay

Olga Lingard was known as a recluse. There’s more to her story, though. She lived on the hillside above Annisquam’s Lobster Cove, on the Dogtown side of Washington Street. Her brother Eric took on heroic missions as a WWI aviator, dying in Action. In his memory, Olga gave a parcel of land for “Soldiers’ Memorial Woods,” where Annisquam’s WWI war memorial stands in a peaceful grove alongside the Cove.  A plaque honors soldiers who lost their lives in that “Great War.” Three men’s names are etched there:  Eric Lingard, John Gossom, and Bertram Williams. All had strong Cape Ann ties.

“Soldiers’ Memorial Woods.”
A plaque in Annisquam honors soldiers who lost their lives in the “Great War.”
The three men’s names are Eric Lingard, John Gossom, and Bertram Williams.

Olga wanted to pay tribute to her brother and establish a memorial. He died in October 1918 in the aftermath of a successful aerial retaliation against a German U-boat threatening a South American freighter. Ensign Eric Lingard died of pneumonia at the Naval Air Base at Chatham, shortly after a plane on which he was “gunner,” crashed. He and his co-aviators were spotted and saved after 27 hours in the freezing, October waters off Cape Cod. Eric had stayed partially submerged, tending to his comrade and holding up the left wing of the plane. The encounter was one of the rare home-coast incidents in which a U.S. Navy plane successfully diverted a German U-boat.

Eric Adrian Alfred Lingard, Navy Pilot

In 1923, Olga, along with an Annisquam memorial committee commenced discussion. She hoped the Grove would bear Eric’s name. She had cause. Hollis French, a committee member, explained Olga’s point of view in a letter to Professor Charles Frederick Bradley. (Bradley would ultimately deliver an address at the unveiling.) Hollis said that Olga noted the custom of naming Legion posts after their most prominent member, and believed the same protocol was afforded war memorials. He continued, “he [Eric] was, she thinks, the only one who was lost in actual defense of his home land and particularly of his home section…She feels, therefore, that if the land in question is to be used as a memorial, it should be named after him, although it could be used as a memorial for all the boys who went from Annisquam.“

By 1929 the committee and Olga had resolved to dedicate the Wood to all those who fought, highlighting the three Annisquam men who died. Preparing for the July 7 dedication, Olga eagerly shared memories and highlights of Eric’s life and career in a letter to Professor Bradley. “Those Naval Patrol Fliers were pioneers of the air in the tradition of 1776. A meager handful – with shaky planes, scant equipment, worthless compasses and no ammunition – they set out against the odds of storm and deadly fog, to see their enemy. They too met death barehanded for the sake of the land they loved.”

Her words reflect an aching heart, as she goes on to describe Eric’s roots in Annisquam, “This Wood, these trees, and rocks, this cove, were part of Eric’s childhood.  Here he played Indian and learned to swim. And beyond all official data, there is one fact of particular significance to the people of Annisquam: The fact that Eric’s special service – the thing he individually could give – was his exact knowledge of this coast, gained from a boyhood spent cruising these waters. After he won his wings, his orders to France were issued but were delayed….as the Germans sent submarines over here.  Our coastwise shipping, even the coast itself was attacked. Pilots familiar with these shores were needed. And so it happened that Eric was chosen to guard this very spot.”

“Those of us who were in Annisquam during the summer and fall of 1918 could hear, almost daily, the throb of his plane as he flew over us on patrol. And death came to him as the result of his volunteered response to an SOS from a submarine attack.”

“Truly, and directly, he gave his life in defense of this Wood which you now dedicate,” she wrote with the passion of one who has lost the person most dear to her. She never fully recovered. In later years, she could be found sitting in Eric’s tomb in Annisquam’s Mt. Adnah Cemetery. Perhaps, she tried to reforge the bond that his tragic death severed.

Olga also had a role in securing the hull of the downed plane, H.S. 1L.1695, for Gloucester.  It was to be placed in Stage Fort Park as a tribute to the Gloucester men who fought in the Great War.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then Acting Secretary of the Navy, wrote to Olga, “Your letter concerning the hull of Seaplane 1695 has been received, and I am very glad to be able to tell you that the request you make in your letter has already been complied with.

“….I have given orders that the hull of Seaplane 1695 be turned over to the Park Commissioners of Gloucester…

“Knowing what a splendid young man your brother was, I can realize what a great loss you have suffered. Your brother lived up to the best traditions of the Navy and I cannot speak too highly of his gallant work.”

Lingard seaplane, Gloucester Harbor, 1919.     

Olga, like her brother, had backbone. Their childhoods could not have been easy, but certainly fueled loyalty to one another. Though newspaper accounts say Olga was born in Switzerland, ships’ manifests list Hungary.  It is not clear when they emigrated, but in 1900 Olga, Eric, and their mother Adele, this time claiming birth in Germany, were boarding with a family by the name of Boehme in Los Angeles.  Their father Henry R. Lingard’s birthplace is listed as Russia. The census form lists him as deceased, around 1898. In 1900 Olga was 13 and Eric was 10.

By 1905 the family had moved to Boston.  Eric attended Middlesex and Harvard, entering Harvard Law School in 1913. Then in January 1915, Adele died. Eric left law school to care for Olga. He was only half way through his second year. Coming home to Annisquam, to “Highland Cottage,” he established an ice business. Eric’s official Navy Registration card (May 1917) listed Olga as his sole relative. He wrote, “Yes. Am sole relative and guardian of invalid sister, …”

Olga Lingard.     Courtesy of the Annisquam Historical Society

Olga Lingard lived until August 1970. Her GDT obituary says she was educated in Europe and spoke several languages. The obituary speaks of her contributions, most notably of the WWI Memorial here in Annisquam. Though solitary up on the hill with her dogs, she maintained links to the community.  Below, she appears in a photograph of the cast of the Annisquam Village Players (first row, second from left).

Later in life, Olga sold the family house to the Crouse family (Sound of Music lyricist Russel Crouse) and moved into a smaller house on Bennett Street.  In December of 1964, a fire ravaged her home. Olga lost everything, including the manuscript for a book she had written about her brother. Not long after, she moved to an apartment in Rockport and ultimately to a nursing home. An eccentric, or not, Olga Lingard made her mark, dignifying the family name and drawing attention to the ultimate sacrifice paid by her remarkable and loyal brother Eric.



The hull of HS 1695 has disappeared, its fate a mystery. One clue surfaced. In 2012, Gloucester resident Bill Hubbard responded to a Good Morning Gloucester photograph of the seaplane Eric regularly piloted.

The photo jogged his memory. In regard to the other plane, the one that crashed, Hubbard said, “For years before and during WW-II, the hull of a similar plane was in the lower level of the Twin Light Garage on East Main Street. The garage was owned by the late Ray Bradley who lived on Rocky Neck. As kids, we often played around it and I remember Ray telling us that it had been a WW-I airplane – I believe it was an old Coast Guard bi-winged seaplane. There were no wings or rudder, just the hull which was shaped very much like the one in the picture. Not long after the end of the war, they dragged it out to the flats on Smith Cove and burned it.”

In response, Bodin confirmed Hubbard’s memory. “Thanks, Bill. I had heard that Eric Lingard’s aircraft was stored in the DPW barn on Poplar Street for years, and then went to someone’s basement or garage.”

Hubbard replied, “Fred, maybe that was Lingard’s plane in the basement of Twin Light Garage.”

What else could it have been?

Gloucester’s VFW Post 1620 ultimately took Eric Lingard’s name, now known as the Doucette-Lingard Post.


To learn more visit:

The Annisquam Historical Society Exhibition at the Annisquam Firehouse

Annisquam in World War I

4 July 2017 – 30 September 2017



Holly Clay is settled in Gloucester after many years of living overseas and in Washington, D.C. Holly is a member of the Gloucester Historical Commission and the Annisquam Historical Society.  With a background in education and writing, her professional energies are currently devoted to studying and teaching yoga and meditation.




Pole Hill: A Ceremonial Landscape

Mary Ellen Lepionka,  July 10, 2017

Underground Landscape. 1989.                                                     Albert Alcalay (1917-2008)

Pole Hill in Riverview, some say Poles Hill, was the place where shamans went to read the sky for the people living at Wanaskwiwam in Riverview, Gloucester. Algonquians sited their villages near landscapes that could serve as astronomical observatories—hilltops shaped like shallow bowls with false horizons where watchers at the center could see the slow dance between earth and sky—hilltops with boulders to align, marking sightlines to celestial objects and events on those horizons—the rise and fall of the Pleiades; the cycles of the sun and moon; the warriors hunting and wounding the great bear; the bear’s hibernation and recovery; and special times—first planting of seeds, initiation of the youth, green corn harvest, ascension of the spirits of the dead on the trail of bright stars to the sky world under Draco’s fearsome protection.

According to geologists, Native skywatchers used fire and percussion to shape glacial erratics on Pole Hill and reduced their bases to a layer of gravel on which the positions of the heavy stones could be adjusted to match observations. Alignments show that the sky was different then, because of Earth’s wobbly progress, charted by astronomers. The North Star was not Polaris but a bright star in Draco called Thuban. That was between 2,500 and 4,000 years ago. As a consequence, today’s summer and winter solstice sunrises and sunsets are slightly askew (about 10 degrees west) of their ancient sightlines.

Pole Hill was a glacial heath then, treeless. It was a ceremonial landscape as well as an astronomical observatory. Some modified boulders can still be seen as effigy stones if you know what to look for: representations of the snake, a powerful underworld spirit; spirit animals—turtle, mountain lion, whale; abstract symbols—triangle of healing, numerical tally, standing stones, stone circles, wedged-open portals to the spirit world. And Manitou perhaps—a large leaning spall of granite shaped with the stylized head and shoulders of the Great Spirit. According to archaeologists, other Native sites in New England feature stones like these.

Awesome discoveries, but we cannot pretend to share the Algonquians’ spiritual experience. Their world and daily life were suffused with dangerous spirits and the need to predict, propitiate, mitigate, attract, distract, appease, repel, or exclude them. The Native culture of respect for all things was based on fear—fear that a particular person or tree or animal was not that person or tree or animal at all, but really a demon, or a witch, an enemy in disguise, a wandering ancestor, a shape changer, spirit guide, omen, warning, messenger from the spirit world, avatar of the culture hero Glooscap, or a random manifestation escaped from somebody’s dream. So romanticists are quite mistaken. I muster mostly scorn for new age spiritualists and cultists who misappropriate Native American religious symbols and practices.

But we can share the awesomeness. Wanaskwiwam villagers came to their sacred place at the north entrance on Riverview Road and from the harbor at the south entrance on Sunset Hill Road, the trail bisecting the hill. According to ethnographers, just inside the entrances in small rock-ringed depressions, the people stopped for ritual purification with water and smoke. The signs are still there. In 2011, I walked into the trail from the north on a hunch. I had identified Riverview as the possible site of an Algonquian village, since proven, and knew that such a village would have needed a hill for the skywatchers to do their work. From the trail I climbed an escarpment that seemed to offer access—perilously, an old lady with camera and cane, losing a sneaker—and came out on a ribbon of bedrock. It led directly to a large standalone granite boulder that clearly had been shaped by human hand. I dubbed it “the gnomon” on sight. I knew I was at the center of a solar array.

Sunset Hill Gnomon C

Sunset Hill Gnomon C

Over the next five years, I and several experts studied the site. I recruited Mark Carlotto to locate the other stones in the solstice and equinox arrays, and he calculated the angles, azimuths, astronomical ages, and probabilities involved. We have given talks and published papers in the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and the journal of the New England Antiquities Research Association but have not yet been able to get the state to recognize Pole Hill as an archaeological site. State policy is to deny Native agency in all above-ground stone features, ignoring empirical evidence to the contrary, including even pre-Contact radiocarbon dates in many cases.

Winter Solstice Sunset 2015

Winter Solstice Sunset  2015

Experts in archaeology, archaeoastronomy, and igneous geology from universities near and far have surveyed the site. Allen Stanish and Martin DelVecchio photographed the hill using fixed wing and helicopter drones. Nick Holland, Matt Natti, Sandy Barry, and others of the Cape Ann Trail Stewards cleared the sightlines of trees and brush, marked the trails, and erected signs. They continue to try to maintain the site, which is under constant attack by the ignorant and miscreant—those with beer bottles and graffiti paint, those who destroy signs and commit arson.

My body won’t get me to the gnomon now, but people who know go, along with the neighbors who saved Pole Hill from development in the first place and the huckleberry pickers. Some meet there for the solstices. Members of the Nipmuc Nation from Hassanamesit in Grafton and classes from Glen Urquhart School in Beverly have visited. I hope the work of documenting, authenticating, and interpreting Pole Hill will continue. The history of Native settlements and ceremonial landscapes on Cape Ann is a part of our history as well—something to take pride in now, 400 years after John Endicott divided Riverview into house and thatch lots for the founding families of Gloster Plantation. I believe enough time has passed for all of us to own all our people’s histories in this special place, our enduring Gloucester.



Mary Ellen Lepionka lives in East Gloucester and is studying the history of Cape Ann from the Ice Age to around 1700 A.D. for a book on the subject. She is a retired publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with degrees in anthropology. She studied at Boston University and the University of British Columbia and has performed archaeology in Ipswich, MA, Botswana, Africa, and at Pole Hill in Gloucester, MA.  Mary Ellen is a trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society and serves on the Gloucester Historical Commission.










Tribute to Kent Bowker (1928-2017)

Peter Anastas


I grew up in San Francisco, knew the old California of cities with limits, bare brown hills dotted with live oaks, glorious orchards, and deep dark redwood forests.  San Francisco’s fog, shifting beauty filling voids, never either hot or cold, chilly often, no more. The smell of ocean sweeps through the gate, tumbles over the hills. North end bars filled, fifty years ago with poets, before money came.

My old California no longer, I depart, return
to my New England home, to the marshes,
granite ledges of the older sea.                     (Kent Bowker, “The Hand Off”)


John Donne wrote that every death diminishes us.  I thought of Donne’s words after a mutual friend emailed me on June 24 to report that Kent had died at 7 a.m. that morning at Kaplan House, following complications from a pacemaker procedure.

I had known Kent for nearly thirty years.  We’d sailed together, dined with our families, and worked together on the board of the Charles Olson Society.   In recent years we met regularly for lunch and conversations that ranged from the day’s pressing political issues to Kent’s years in Berkeley during the 1950s, where he studied physics and became friendly with some of the Bay Area’s finest writers, including poets Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and Jack Spicer, during the era known as the San Francisco Renaissance.

Kent really was the “Renaissance Man” that his Gloucester Times obituary and the family’s Facebook tribute describe him as being.  He’d studied theoretical physics at the University of California in Berkeley and worked at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, where the Manhattan Project had originated.   Concurrently, he painted and wrote poetry at a time when writers like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Rexroth, John Wieners, and Charles Olson were either living in San Francisco or passing though.

After Kent moved to the Boston area to work at the Lincoln Laboratories and Itek, he continued to write, adding sailing to his repertoire.   He designed the house in Essex he and his art historian wife Joan lived in.  Filled with books and paintings and situated on a hill surrounded by fields, forests and wetlands, it was an ideal place for meditation and creativity.  After he retired he devoted his entire time to painting and writing—when he and Joan were not sailing or traveling.  Kent was also a superb cook.

When I first walked into Kent and Joan’s house for a Christmas party, I was attracted to Kent’s impressive library.  Personal libraries tell us much about the person who has created them.  As soon as I discovered the collected poems of Charles Olson on the bookshelves, along with those of the San Francisco poets Kent was close to, I knew that I had met someone I could talk with about the things that meant the most to both of us, not only poetry but the larger cultural and social issues the poets we both admired addressed.

Kent was always modest about his learning.  Berkley at the time Kent was a student there, along with Gloucester novelist and playwright Jonathan Bayliss, and woodworker/sculptor Jay McLauchlan, was arguably the most exciting place to be in America, especially if you were a writer.  New York, yes—and always.  But there was an atmosphere in San Francisco the likes of which we had never seen and, sadly, would never see again.  The Pacific light, the blue ocean itself, the astounding Bay and its iconic bridge were part of that atmosphere, along with North Beach bookstores like City Lights, cafes and housing that was affordable to writers and artists.

But Kent did not engage in nostalgia.  He did not romanticize Berkeley.  He lived in the present, depicting the marshes and woods around his house, the beaches of Ipswich and Plum Island he sailed past; himself and family members.

When we started Enduring Gloucester five years ago I asked Kent for a poem.  It would be the first of many he contributed—wryly humorous or passionate.  Poems about the passing of time, the changes in nature; about Gloucester lobstermen and the sea itself.

Kent was a Progressive long before those who use the term today.  A conversation with Kent was like his poetry—articulate, knowledgeable, and deeply humane.  We will miss Kent while cherishing the gift of his poetry.


Peter Anastas, editorial director of Enduring Gloucesteris a Gloucester native and writer. His most recent book, A Walker in the City: Elegy for Gloucester, is a selection from columns that were published in the Gloucester Daily Times.