Shute & Merchant
once located at the Head of the Harbor in Gloucester Massachusetts

Shute & Merchant

the Shutes and Merchants of Cape Ann

George Merchant, Jr.
(1828 - 1906)

George Jr. was a master mariner, seine repairer and manufacturer, an expert on fishing matters, and councilman of Gloucester 1857 - 87.

Capt. Merchant was the oldest son and second child of George and Lucy (Norwood) Merchant. He and Mary Douglass, daughter of Robert and Mary (Parsons) Douglass, were married on March 5, 1851.

He and Mary had nine children:

Mary Jane 1851 - 1944
George Edward 1853 - 1929
Orlando 1856 - 1930
Flora Estelle 1858 - 1860
Eugene Howard 1861 - 1863
Robert Clifford 1864 - 1936
Joseph Carleton 1867 - 1961
unnamed son 1870 - 1870
Percy Washburn 1873 - 1937

George Merchant, Jr.

George first went to sea at age 12 and continued to be involved in the trades related to fishing for the remainder of his life. A good part of his work life was spent as a seine repairer, and this business was located in one of the buildings at the end of the Shute & Merchant wharf.

(more about his life and family)

his donations to International Fisheries Exhibitions

seine repair ad

It was in 1849 that he first choose to leave the life of a mariner behind and began working as a seine repaireer, but he returned to the sea a short time later. George finally left the sea for good in 1873, and worked as a seine repairer until two years before his death.

Ten years after he entered the life on land, he is credited with having created a "valuable invention". The invention was a new purse block for seines, which was going to make gathering the seine much easier for fishermen who employed that method of fishing. A quote from a news article of that time states the following: "Those who have them on trial in practical use the past season pronounce them to be a great improvement over the old method, being much quicker, and easier to handle, thus making the chances for catching the fish much greater."

(click on the image to see the patent)


a close-up view showing the sign atop the seine repair loft

(click on the image for a larger view)

© Shute & Merchant 2016