Ernest, Tuddy Urquhart, ?, Millard Crowley, Osmond Kelley, Alvin Crowley, and Sim Dobbin
In 1899 the present firm, whose members are the Underwood brothers, H. 0., W. L. and Loring of Belmont, Massachusetts, began the erection of the present sardine plant, which may be termed the most modern structure of this kind in the world. This factory was completed in 1900, under the supervision of of its superintendent, Mr. Charles Hinkley. That same fall this concern began the packing of clams. It is useless to try to describe in detail this modern structure in the space allowed. The Underwood corporation surely spared no expense to give the town of Jonesport a manufacturing plant of which she may justly be proud.
The foundation alone of this brick structure required 4,100 tons of split stone, and 1,000 barrels of cement and lime. The building is constructed of brick, and is two stories in height. The inside of the same is plastered with the best German cement, which is coated with magnite, making a very smooth and white surface. This factory is equipped
with all of the latest, modern, improved machinery for its operation. The basement contains a resevoir with a capacity of 40,000 gallons of water for steaming purposes.
This is the only factory in the world that is equipped with a fish cutting machine, the invention of one of the town's citizens, Arthur R. Rogers. The firm's buildings are lighted by electricity from their own electric plant. This factory is devoted especially to the canning of clams and sardines. The capacity of the plant is about 1,000 cases per day, and approximately 250 hands are employed. The local management is under the supervision of Mr. Charles Hinkley, assisted by his brothers, Edgar E and Lewis W. Hinkley. This Underwood corporation has a large, modern sardine plant under construction at Bass Harbor.
Seining at Sinfords Creek, Roque Bluffs, approximately 1971
L to R: Paul Stevens, Shirley Kelley, Bobby Davis, Jr, and George Chandler
Seining was often done in coves as well. Seining a weir was very similar. I went with my father and the other menfolk to sein the weirs. A drop net was set at the mouth of the weir to keep the fish from swimming out. A sounding was done with a lead weight and string to get a feel for how many fish were in the pound. The men would then unload the sein from the dory to encircle the fish, pulling the dory around the wall of the pound and I believe tying it off so far to secure it. This would bring the fish into a tight circle beside the dory for loading. Once the fish were together the net was pulled into the boat with the fish until the dory was adequately filled. Dip nets could also be used to load fish aboard. If a sardine carrier was to be loaded, it would be located nearby perhaps with a herring scaler between to remove the scales from the fish to be sold to make fancy buttons and other items. From the weir the fish would be pumped to the scaler and then to the carrier. If no scaler was present, they would be pumped directed from the weir to the carrier. It seems Robert Gray was one of the last scalers in the area.
A True Story of the Sea
On August 23, 1883, the schooner Mary E. Hagan set sail from bEals, Me., with a crew of eight men. The schooner Mary O. Andrews, bound for LaHave Bank on a fishing trip, left at the same time.
On the 26th we arrived and cast anchor on the banks and soon began hauling in the fish, which were very plentiful. All went well until the morning of the 29th, when a strong breeze sprang up from the east, with a heavy ground swell from the southeast, with indications of a heavy gale. So we began preparing for it by stowing away and battening down tarpaulins on hatches. At noon it had increased to a gale with a heavy cross sea. At 2 o’clock PM our schooner broke adriff, so we hove up the anchor, put her under a double reef foresail – a “fisherman’s harbor”. At 4 o’clock PM a heavy squall ripped our foresail from the bolt-rope and blew it away. We then cast our fishing anchor, rigged a drag of fenders, tied it to the hawser 30 fathoms from the anchor and paid out 100 fathoms of hawser, and set our riding sail to keep her bow up to the sea which was running high at that time but she climbed them like a gull.
It was a rough night. The gale had increased to hurricane force and the sea and clouds seemed to meet. Big combers were sweeping our docks from stem to stern. It was not safe to be on deck unless lashed, the ocean being whipped into combing billows 25 feet high, while our little schooner struggled to climb them, one after the other in quick succession. Everything being secured, all the crew went into the after cabin, occasionally looking out on deck to see if she was all right. At about 10 o’clock the writer looked out. Everything was intact. The gale was at its height. It was a sight I shall never forget. The clouds were nearly down to our mastheads, the whole ocean was a combing breaker, the rain was falling in torrents and the wind and sea were roaring like thunder. I was telling the crew if everything held I thought she would weather the gale, when all at once sh was caught by what old sailors term “an unlucky sea,” which threw her on her beam ends, mastheads in the water, submerging her and sweeping everything from the decks, taking the riding sail from the ropes. The hawser that was on deck was carried over the spring stay and the chain on deck was washed over the lee rail overboard. Everything in the hold above the ballast floor was shifted into the lee bilge. Fish, bait, ice, wood, provisions, salt and all were wedged to the deck. Dampers from the stove were in the top berth. We were all thrown to the top of the cabin. Water was pouring in on us and we thought our time had come and she was going to the bottom. But to our happy surprise she righted to an angle of about 45 degrees. Captain James. F. Beal and myself rushed to the deck, keeping the crew below. We cut the rigging and let spars and all go by the board, which saved the vessel and her crew. One more big sea would have settled it with us.
We were later picked up by the schooner Josie May and towed to port with all on board. The schooner Mary O. Andrews never returned. She, with others, went to the bottom that night with all on board.