Effie M. Morrissey in 1894
|Name:||Effie M. Morrissey|
|Builder:||John F. James & Washington Tarr, Essex, Massachusetts|
|Launched:||1 February 1894|
|Type:||Two-masted Gaff rigged schooner|
|Displacement:||120 gross tons|
|Beam:||24 ft 5 in (7.4 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft (4.0 m)|
|Propulsion:||Sails and diesel engine|
|Sail plan:||8,000 sq ft (740 m2)|
|Location||Steamship Wharf, New Bedford, Massachusetts|
|Architect||George Melville McClain; James & Tarr Shipyards|
|NRHP reference #||85000022|
|Added to NRHP||January 03, 1985|
|Designated NHL||December 14, 1990|
Effie M. Morrissey (now Ernestina-Morrissey) was a schooner skippered by Robert Bartlett that made many scientific expeditions to the Arctic, sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society. She also helped survey the Arctic for the United States Government during World War II. She is currently designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark as part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. She is the State Ship of Massachusetts.
Designed by George McClain of Gloucester, Massachusetts to withstand North Atlantic gales, Effie M. Morrissey was the last fishing schooner built for the Wonson Fish Company. Built with white oak and yellow pine at the John F. James & Washington Tarr shipyard, she took four months to build and was launched 1 February 1894. Her hull was painted black and her first skipper was William Edward Morrissey, who named her after his daughter Effie Maude Morrissey. In 2014, the ship was given the green light by the Massachusetts Department of Recreation and Conservation to undergo a $6 million restoration project at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. After months of waiting for the weather to cooperate, the ship was finally able to reach Boothbay Harbor in April, 2015 and was hauled-out later that month.
Effie M. Morrissey fished out of Gloucester for eleven years. Considered a high liner, on her first voyage she brought in over 200,000 pounds (91,000 kg) of fish, enough to pay for her construction. One of Effie M. Morrissey's more notable skippers was Clayton Morrissey who went on to skipper the racing schooner Henry Ford. A statue to Clayton Morrissey by sculptor Leonard Craske entitled the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial can be seen on Gloucester's Western Avenue.
In 1905 under a new owner, Captain Ansel Snow, Effie M. Morrissey began fishing out of Digby, Nova Scotia. In 1912, the Montreal journalist and photographer Frederick William Wallace sailed on the vessel as a member of Snow's crew. His epic poem about his time aboard Effie M. Morrissey, "The Log of the Record Run," was widely read and adopted by east coast fishermen with such authentic results that the folklorist Helen Creighton mistakenly believed it to be a very old traditional song.
In 1925 Harold Bartlett sold her to his cousin, noted Arctic explorer Capt. Bob Bartlett, who installed an auxiliary engine and reinforced the hull so the vessel could be used in Arctic ice. In 1926 with the financial support of the well known publisher George Palmer Putnam, Bartlett embarked on two decades of Arctic exploration using this vessel.
The following is a listing of the many voyages captained by Robert Bartlett aboard Effie M. Morrissey:
When Captain Robert Bartlett died on April 28, 1946, Effie M. Morrissey was sold to the Jackson brothers to carry mail and passengers in an inter-island trade in the South Pacific. On their voyage to the Pacific she developed problems at sea, forcing the crew to return to New York City. On December 2, 1947, the boat caught fire of undetermined origin while docked at the Boat Basin in Flushing, New York.
The schooner was repaired and sold to Louisa Mendes of Egypt, Massachusetts. She entered the packet trade in a trans-Atlantic crossing to Cape Verde with a cargo of food and clothing. Upon reaching the islands, Captain Henrique Mendes reregistered the schooner under the name Ernestina, after his own daughter, and used her in inter-island trade. Ernestina made many transatlantic voyages and fell into disrepair at Cape Verde, where she remained until the late nineteen sixties when interest arose in the United States to save the historic vessel. Harry Dugan and the Bartlett Exploration Association of Philadelphia made several offers to buy the ship for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York. In 1977 the people of Cape Verde agreed to give Ernestina to the people of the United States. The Foreign Minister, speaking on behalf of President Aristides Pereira said:
In August 1982 her hull was completely rebuilt in Cape Verde and she sailed to the United States with a Cape Verdean and American crew.
In August 1988 the schooner made a return trip to Brigus, Newfoundland, home of Capt. Bob Bartlett on the 113th anniversary of his birth. Ernestina was designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark in 1990, with restoration being completed in 1994, and in 1996 became a part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. She is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Built in 1894, the schooner ERNESTINA is the oldest surviving Grand Banks fishing schooner; the only surviving 19th century Gloucester-built fishing schooner; one of two remaining examples of the Fredonia-style schooners (the other being LETTIE G. HOWARD, also a National Historic Landmark), the most famous American fishing vessel type; the only offshore example of that type; and one of two sailing Arctic exploration vessels left afloat in the United States (the other being BOWDOIN, also a National Historic Landmark). Today, ERNESTINA regularly sails the New England coast on educational cruises.— NHL designation
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