• Jeremiah O'Brien

    1744-1818. Leader of the Machias men who captured the British naval schooner Margaretta in the first naval battle of the American Revolution, June 1775.

  • A caulking material made of tarred rope fibers.
  • Redfish
    Ocean perch or acadian redfish are a bottom dwelling slow growing fish found generally in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Maine on rocky bottoms. The largest might be 15- 20 inches long and 50 years old.The fish has the long dorsal fin and body shape of fresh water perches. Commercially it is caught in otter trawls and is overfished. Today it is used mostly as lobster bait.
  • In fisheries, fishing conducted further than 3 miles from land. Offshore fishing generally requires larger vessels for overnight passages and work.
  • When foreign ships arrived in Whampoa, during the days of the "Old China Trade," they carried a Chinese pilot, who boarded at Macao. The ship was then required to report to the local authorities: the Hoppo, or chief Chinese customs inspector. The Hoppo measured the vessel and imposed a direct tax on it and its cargo, to be paid to the Emperor before the cargo could be unloaded. Often the Hoppo had to be bribed with gifts before determining this tax. Before the cargo was placed on riverboats, called "chop" boats, and taken upstream 12 miles to Canton, the foreign captain and his supercargo would travel ahead to make arrangements with a hong merchant to unload the ship and receive the cargo. A permit to reach this location was called a "chop." The cargo was then stored in warehouses known as "hongs," or factories. Inside the hongs were storage areas called go-downs, where merchants could inspect chests of tea and bales of silk. Upstairs were living quarters that could be rented to visiting foreigners. In the hongs, prices were set by the Chinese, influenced by the success of the tea crop or new taxes levied by the Emperor. The hong merchants had assistants, including the agent, or "Fiador," cashiers and accountants, or "Compradors," and silver masters, or "Schroffs," who weighed and tested the gold and silver currency used by the traders. Life in the hong district was filled with activity. Sailors of all nationalities could visit shops selling wide varieties of merchandise, including fireworks, bird cages, medicines, ivories, silks, pets, and a fiery local wine called "samshu," meaning "thrice-fired." The area open to foreigners was very small, however, and there were many restrictions placed on Westerners by the Chinese government, including a ban on women in the hong area. The Manchu government threatened death to anyone who taught the Chinese language to a foreigner. Interpreters were used to communicate for business purposes, or sometimes pidgin. There was a complicated system of Chinese middlemen, with a set of duties, gifts, and taxes to be paid to each. Some Chinese middlemen became very wealthy under this system. The Pearl River and Whampoa Harbor were filled with a variety of Chinese, as well as western, vessels. Some of the largest Chinese junks were bigger than western vessels. There were also flower boats, tiny sampans carrying cargo, thousands of houseboats, and official mandarin patrol boats. Once in Canton, western merchants dealt with a special group of 13 Chinese merchants known as the Cohong. Each member was called a hong merchant. Although these merchants were not well-regarded socially, some acquired great wealth. Houqua was one of these; he handled much of the American trade in later years. His real name was Wu Ping-chien. The suffix "qua" was derived from the Chinese symbol "kuan," indicating an honorary title.
  • The name given to the captain of a vessel no matter what his age.
  • The most successful wood-canvas canoe building company, one that transitioned to modern designs and production methods. The company dates to 1901 in Old Town, Maine. It was one of a group of Maine wood-canvas canoe builders.
  • First true global electronic navigation system which became operational in 1971. It used eight Omega transmitters operating on a very low frequency band. A receiver could compare these signals, each unique, and determine a location within 4 nautical miles. It was in service for 26 years, superseded by GPS.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acid plentiful in oily fish like herring, mackerel and sardines that appear to have some human health benefits.
  • Racing sailboats that are identical in design. They can be small, 10 feet or less, as well as 30 and 40 footers.
  • In fisheries, fishing conducted less than 3 miles or so from land. The onshore fisheries were characterized by day trips to sea, rather than the longer voyages necessary for the offshore fisheries.
  • hoop pot
    Early form of lobster trap, consisting of an iron hoop with a net which could be lowered and raised quickly. Bait was suspended from half hoops above the hoop. Superceded in the 1830s by various traps that caught the lobster without the fisherman having to haul up the trap.
  • Opium is a narcotic, addictive substance made from the dried latex from the seed pod of the opium poppy. By the 18th century, smoking opium had become a common addiction in China. Approximately 10 million people, out of a population of 400 million, were addicted. Although initially a fad of the rich upper class in China, opium use spread to government officials, merchants, soldiers, students, servants, and even priests, monks, and nuns. In 1729 the Chinese government made it illegal to sell or use opium. Soon after, the emperor banned the cultivation of the poppy inside China, and in 1800 forbade importation of the drug. The British East India Company pretended to give up their connections to the opium trade, but in reality English vessels called "country ships" began to bring opium from India to China. Americans also smuggled opium, usually from the Turkish port of Smyrna, into China until the war of 1812 interrupted American shipping. During this period, Americans stranded in Canton by the war became middlemen for the English opium traders. After the War of 1812, the American share of the drug trade increased, climbing to 20% of the total drug importation into China. The illegal opium trade was very profitable for American firms, with the exception of several companies who refused to participate. Opium smuggling was a corrupting influence on Chinese customs officials as well.
  • In 1838 the Chinese Emperor ordered a complete halt to opium traffic in Canton. He appointed a special commissioner to make sure the trade was stopped; this commissioner confiscated huge stores of the drug and dumped them into the sea. He then suspended trade with the British. England reacted with anger. The British took control of the island of Hong Kong and demanded reparations for the lost opium. The following year, British warships engaged in open conflict with the Chinese navy, rapidly overwhelming the Emperor's ships. This conflict is called the Anglo-Chinese War, or sometimes the First Opium War. It concluded with the Treaty of Nanking. In addition to British control of Hong Kong, the treaty resulted in four new Chinese ports being opened to trade with the west: Shanghai, Ningpo, Foochow, and Amoy.
  • A member of the crew who is subordinate to an able seaman but has learned part of the trade. He performs general maintenance and repair tasks. After a certain length of time and passing an examination, he may become an "able-bodied seaman."
  • A large towed funnel shaped net whose mouth is kept open by otter boards which are angled to pull the net out.
  • Oysters are a bivalve mollusk of great commericial value. Disease and overfishing have decimated once thriving beds in the Chesapeake Bay, New York Harbor and Long Island Sound. Maine's waters have never had a commercial oyster fishery due to slow growth compared to areas south of Cape Cod. There are some oyster farms that are now seeking to provide oyster brood stock.