Every year the vessels operating out of Gloucester, and every other American port, were recorded. One such volume was published every year by John S. E. Rogers. In addition to the official records, books such as the Fishermen's Memorial and Record Book and the Fishermen's Own Book both published by the Proctor Brothers of Gloucester, also provided a listing of the vessels owned by the various fishing establishments connected to this harbor.
In 1874, Shute & Merchant owned fifteen vessels, but by 1882 that number had dropped to eight.
1874 list (15 vessels): Bounding Billow, Dacotah, Eliza Abby (named for their wives), Garibaldi, Greyhound, Hattie B. West, Hattie N. Gove (a 3 m'st), Joe Hooker, Legal Tender, Lightfoot, M. L. Wetherell, Star of the East and William T. Merchant
1882 list (8 vessels): Bounding Billow, Dacotah, Finance, Hattie B. West, Hattie N. Gove, Joe Hooker, Legal Tender and Mary E.
During the years that Shute & Merchant maintained its own fleet of vessels, three were lost at sea. The sch. John G. Dennis: lost March 1864 with a crew of 10 men. The sch. James L. Shute: lost April or May 1876 on the Grand Bank with a crew of 14 men. The sch. William T. Merchant: lost December 1876/January 1877 with a crew of 12 men while on a trip to the Grand Banks.
To the far left in this photo by W. A. Elwell is the Shute & Merchant fitting out building, and Five Pound Island out in the near distance.
Many types of vessels related to the fishing industry could be found anchored in Glouster harbor throughout the 1800s. Typical vessel types included: barks, brigs, chebacco boats, pinkies (schooner with a pink-stern ... a sharp stern having a narrow, overhanging, raking transom). shallops, banks, fishing schooners, sloops. Many of these sorts of vessels were beautifully captured in paintings by the renknowned Gloucester artist, Fitz Henry Lane. Other great examples of these vessels have been created by well-known ship model maker Erik A. R. Ronnberg, Jr., a Gloucester native. Erik's ship models have been commissioned by a number of museums, including the Cape Ann Museum and the Smithsonian.
Throughout the year, vessels filled the Gloucester Harbor, even in winter, and were often a favorite subject of photographers. A number of Gloucester stereoviews depicted scenes of the harbor and vessels. During the winter, the harbor did freeze over, trapping the vessels in place. Tugs were needed to break up the ice and free vessels from time to time. (more stereoviews of the Gloucester and Cape Ann areas can be seen on other pages of this website)