posted Feb 2007
Parker Jones Hall was born 16 Jun 1862 in Marshfield or Duxbury,
Massachusetts. He married Katherine Sheridan Boyle, born 1874 in
Randolph, Massachusetts, on 17 Mar 1905 in Randolph.
Boston Daily Globe; Feb 16, 1908; pg. 37
HE IS OWNER, CAPTAIN AND CREW
Of all the sailormen who navigate the
waters of Vineyard sound
and Nantucket shoals, no one, perhaps, is better known than Capt Parker
J. Hall, the lone navigator, sole owner, captain and crew of the 92-ton
two-masted schooner Angler.
Capt Parker J. Hall Sails His 92-Ton Schooner Angler Without
Help—He Has No Difficulty in Navigating the Waters of Vineyard Sound
and Nantucket Shoals—He is Now Frozen in at Woods Hole Waiting Until
Spring to Land a Load of Railroad Ties on Nantucket.
The little vessel that has been his home
summer and winter for the
past eight years now lies embedded in the mud at the head of the harbor
at Woods Hole with the ice pack surrounding her. The Angler has been
ashore for over a month, having been driven from the anchorage grounds
off the U S fish commission dock away up to the head of the harbor
during a blizzard.
That she has been over two months on her
way from one of the ports
along Long Island sound to Nantucket loaded with ties for the narrow
gage railroad from Nantucket village to Siasconset and it seems likely
that she won't reach her destination until spring, does not in the
least disturb Capt Hall.
"I would just as soon be frozen in here
as at Nantucket." said the
lone navigator, "and the ties won't spoil, and I shall be at Nantucket
before they are ready to use them."
Capt Hall has followed the sea ever since
he was a boy and there is
not a port from Nova Scotia to New York that he has not entered. He has
sailed his little vessel into places where others could not enter if
they wished, because, as he says, the Angler doesn't draw much water
and he can take her most any place where there is any tide.
The Angler looks like a pretty big
schooner for one man to handle,
but Capt Hall says that he has got the schooner so used to being
piloted by him that she sails herself and that all he has to do is to
keep her on her course, the sails requiring no attention whatever.
"When I got the schooner," said Capt
Hall, "she had her side all
stove in and she was a sight. I worked on her for nearly a year before
I got her fixed just as I wanted her and then I started, and for eight
years I have been running her winter and summer.
Sailors More Bother Than Help.
"Sailors would be more of a bother than a
help to me on the
schooner. They would only be in the way laying around on the deck
getting fat and just when I wanted them they wouldn't be on hand.
"I had one experience with a sailor on
the Angler and I don't want
any more of them. Once when I was running over the shoals I had a
sailor who was recommended to me as being a first-class man before the
mast and I let him take the wheel and I went below to get a little
sleep. I warned him that when he saw a vessel approaching or a light to
let me know at once. We were then between East Chop light on Marthas
Vineyard and the Cross Rip lightship.
"I was pretty well tired out and went to
sleep, only to be awakened
by the man at the wheel, who said that he thought that we were getting
pretty close onto the lightship.
"I jumped on deck and grabbed the wheel
and put it hard aport, but
it was too late; we struck the lightship a fearful blow and the next
moment we were all entangled with the floating beacon.
"Why, the man couldn't have hit her
better if he had been told. We
ripped our mainsail and tore our headsails, but we managed to clear
away the wreckage and get away from the lightship, and with close
reefed mainsail and one jib we got up over the shoals and the next
morning I herringboned the mainsail and we got it set with but one
reef, and in this way went into Provincetown.
"I let the fellow go there, as I had all
the experience that I
wanted with skilled sailors, and since that day I have never slept a
wink when the schooner is underway."
Capt Hall says that there is always
plenty of time to sleep after you get into port.
While Capt Hall has made the schooner his
home for eight years, he
has frequently had his wife accompany him during the summer months
since they were married three years ago.
"It's all right for women folks to be
aboard a vessel in the summer time but it ain't no place for them in
Mrs Hall can steer the little craft, and
when she accompanies her husband she often helps him in this way.
"My wife can steer, but I don't trust
anybody at the wheel except I
am on deck to see how the vessel is headed. When we are at sea and
there are no vessels to be seen anywhere I let Mrs. Hall take the
wheel, but when we get anywhere near other vessels I always take
wheel, as women folks get excited easily and they are just as liable to
run right into a vessel as they are to clear them."
He Doesn't Need a Pilot.
Capt Hall enjoys a peculiar advantage
over many other vessel
owners, as his vessel can go into all the ports along the coast, where
other crafts have to pick the ports where they can enter.
"I can go anywhere with the Angler," said
Capt Hall. "Why, I just
come from Groton, Conn, and I tell you that is a pretty dry place. You
need rollers on your vessel to get into that place.
"When I got off the place a pilot came
aboard and I asked him if he
could take me in without fetching up. We started in the narrow and
crooked and shallow channel when the tide was full and in less than
five minutes we were hard and fast, and when the tide went out the
Angler was sitting right up like a church on the piling of an old pier.
"I nave never taken any more pilots from
that place; I just go
right in and somehow the Angler finds her way over the shoal spots."
Once he had a cargo of coal for Nantucket
and as near as Capt Hall
can remember he was about six months delivering it. a distance of 30
The coal arrived here in open cars, and
before it could be put
aboard the Angler a rain, sleet and snow storm came on. Capt Hall was
unable to find any one here who wanted to work helping to load the coal
into the vessel's hold, so he undertook and completed the task himself.
He built a run from the cars to the hold and shoveled every pound of it
into the run and then trimmed it in the hold of the little craft.
"It was an awful job," said Capt Hall.
"You see, the rain, snow and
sleet had frozen the coal, and it was one solid mass, and I had to use
a pickax on every pound of it."
"When the vessel was loaded, the weather
delayed her leaving port,
but she finally reached Nantucket and tied up at the clock there. Capt
Hall went ashore, and to his surprise he couldn't find out who the coal
was consigned to.
"I asked about everybody on Nantucket,
but no one could be found
who knew anything about the coal. Finally, one day, I found out that a
man who used to have coal shipped to the island was off the island, and
the others I asked about the ownership of the coal decided that it must
belong to the man who was away from home. The only reason that they
said so was because he wasn't present to deny that it belonged to him.
"Well, it was winter and I thought that I
would just as soon be
tied up there as at any other place, so I got out extra hawsers and
made things snug aboard the vessel and was taking things easy when a
man whom I knew for years came aboard and said that the coal was
consigned to him, that as it was extremely cold weather, and the coal
was not to be used until the summer at his ice plant, that he wouldn't
take it out of the vessel until it was required, if I didn't
Capt Hall didn't object and the coal
remained in the hold until spring.
When the Angler was swept ashore early
this winter several big
ocean going tugs that came into port after the blizzard wanted to pull
Comfortable In Her Bed of Mud.
"No, sir," said Capt Hall. "I am all
right where I am: the schooner
will be better after she is floated than before she went on, as the mud
that is 18 feet deep where she lies will fill up all the worm holes and
stop all the leaks.
"Besides if some of them big tugs were to
pull on the vessel they would rip her deck off."
The Angler is over a half hundred years
of age and has had a varied
career. She was formerly owned in Wareham and changed ownership many
times before she was purchased by Capt Hall and is quite as well known
along the shores as her commander.
"It is the only way to go to sea
nowadays," said Capt Hall. "If I
didn't own my vessel I wouldn't never go to sea. Now I get all that
there is in it and I am afraid that if I had to share it there wouldn't
be enough for two."
Mrs Hall, who has accompanied her husband
on numerous voyages
during the summer months, says that at first she found it rather hard
to get used to living in such small quarters with so little opportunity
for exercise, but that she has now become quite accustomed to life
aboard the vessel and that she enjoys it.
Capt Hall, who was born in Duxbury, is
not yet 50 years of age. He
is of robust health and intends to spend all his days on the Angler. As
far as he knows, he is the only navigator along the entire Atlantic
coast who enjoys the distinction of being sole owner, captain and crew
of a schooner
"She's made of oak with hackmatack
knees." said Capt Hall, "and
good for 50 more years, and I guess that the Angler will hang together
as long as I have any use for her."