SCHOONER ERNESTINA, Ex. Effie M.Morrissey, was built in 1894 at the James and Tarr Shipyard for the Gloucester fishing fleet. Under Captain Bob Bartlett she sailed to within 600 miles of the North Pole, and later brought immigrants to the U.S. under the power of sail. Returned to the US in 1982 as a gift from the newly independent Cape Verdean people, she sailed as an educator until 2005.

A New Charlie Noble for Ernestina

Ernestina has a new Charlie Noble thanks to a donation from SEMA and the expertise and labor of Dennis Tetrault’s Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies students at Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School.  They took the old rusted-out part and fabricated a new one.  Here’s how:

As you can see the old part's rough rusty edges were too dangerous to leave on the ship.

The first thing the students had to do was create a pattern from the old part.

The stack has some complicated joints.

Cutting the stock to size.

The saw blade is lubricated to insure no distortion.

The top of the main stack

Grinding the joints smooth

The smoother the joint, the better the weld.

The hole in the cross piece.

the stack and cross piece



Then the baffles have to be fitted to the cross piece. These prevent water from entering the smoke stack.

another perfect joint!

Next ... welding

jigs hold the work in position to insure proper alignment

More grinding to smooth the edges

Benjamin Gilchrest and Justin Bamber did a great job!

Here's the new Charlie Noble in place on Ernestina.

A huge THANK YOU to the students and staff of Greater New Bedford Regional-Vocational Technical High School for making a new Charlie Noble.  We are looking forward to the time you can come for a sail when the ship regains Coast Guard certification.  Your work will show the many visitors during the Charles W. Morgan Homecoming Celebration that New Bedford is proud to be the home port of  Schooner Ernestina, Massachusetts Official Vessel.

Meghan Kish Named Superintendent of NBWNHP

Philadelphia, PA – Meghan Kish has been selected as the next superintendent to lead New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and Roger Williams National Memorial. Kish replaces Jennifer Nersesian, who is now superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. Kish most recently served as chief of interpretation, education, and outreach at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (NRA) in California, and brings nine years of experience in the National Park Service (NPS).

“Meghan’s ability to establish and maintain effective teamwork, and inspire, motivate, guide, and challenge others towards goal accomplishment makes her an excellent choice for this important position,” said Regional Director Mike Caldwell.

While at Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Kish provided leadership and management for a complex interpretation, education, and outreach operation. She led the park through the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) platinum visitor center, and established a new branch for community outreach and volunteerism to better engage underserved park audiences.

On accepting the new assignment, Kish said, “I am incredibly excited to work with the communities, partners and staff at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and Roger Williams National Memorial. I am honored to be given the opportunity to further the already successful community partnerships that share the parks’ rich histories and provide benefit to local communities.”

Kish has a wide range of experience in both private and public organizations. She has worked for the National Park Foundation, the Department of Interior’s National Invasive Species Council, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama.

Kish began her career with the NPS in 2005 as a business plan consultant at Fire Island National Seashore, and then worked in Washington DC for NPS’s Budget Office and as Chief of Resource Management and Visitor Services at Rock Creek Park. She has held seasonal positions at the Washington Monument, Shenandoah National Park and Glacier National Park. Kish holds a master of environmental management from Duke University, and a bachelor of science from Stanford University.

Kish begins her new assignment on June 29th, 2014. She will be joined by her husband and young son. For more information on New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park or Roger Williams National Memorial, please visit their websites at:, and

It’s Spring! The Cover is OFF!

Saturday April 26 was DCR’s Park Serve Day.

Despite the rain over 20 volunteers mustered to help take off the winter cover.  With the assistance of several DCR staff and an early start, the job was done before noon.  Some of the crew started at 8 am to try to get ahead of the forecasted rain and despite of reports of downpours in other areas the heaviest rain held off until the job was done.  Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey is Massachusetts’ Official Vessel and the volunteers were proof of that with some traveling from Boston and the western part of the Commonwealth to help out.

Step 1, Remove the plastic, here Ernestina's new DCR Supervisor, Paul Alexio, uses an improvised cutter.

Volunteer Joe Pacheco freeing the starboard side while his son Joey bags the trash.

The crew made short work of the plastic.

The cover was off the bow before 9

Screw guns made quick work of the fastenings

Soon the ribs were passed up to the pier so the battens and plastic could be removed.

There were a lot of screws!

By 10 the midsection was off

The aft beam will stay until next week but the forward rails were removed.

and the last few ribs are cleaned up.

Justin Keith, Nicky Cosio, Gigi McCoy and Mike Galvin

The Galvin family working for the third year in memory of their father Vasco Galvao who was a crew member on Ernestina in the early 1950′s and settled in the US in 1956.

Mary Meehan is ready to go sailing!

The aft beam of the cover has to be removed with a crane. Some ribs were left until that work can be done.

Thanks to all the DCR staff and the volunteers who made short work of this project.  Now Ernestina is beginning to look like summer is coming!

Ernestina’s Dories are Getting Ready for Summer

DCR’s winter maintenance staff, David Pires has brought one of Ernestina’s dories to the workshop to get it ready for summer.

Commissioner Fred Sterner and DCR's David Pires discuss the work needed.

The Commission plans to have a dory to display alongside the ship during The New Bedford Homecoming of the Charles W. Morgan this summer.

A few days later and the dory is ready for the water.

Motion Meets the Ocean

Schooner Ernestina has been recognized by The Zeiterion as a “Water Steward of the SouthCoast”   The “Z” invited SEMA and other area water stewards to share our activities with their audience at the performance of “Scattered” by Motionhouse.

SEMA Secretary Mary Anne McQuillan and volunteer Joseph Pacheco

Support this great community institution and thank them for their support of Ernestina.  Come to the performance on Saturday, tickets at the box office or online.

All Sewn Up at 120!

Despite less than welcoming weather, friends of Ernestina stopped by to celebrate her 120th birthday.

Volunteer Marty Casey and SEMA Director Capt. Willi Bank demonstrated rope and sewing skills to visitors

Annie McDowell helped everyone make rope bracelets and served up the birthday cake

6:30 pm There will be a demonstration of how you can get “All Sewn Up” on Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.

Steve Kirk, Marty Casey (center) and SEMA director Willi Bank Reeving the starboard foremast lanyards last May when the mast were raised.

Sewing skills and ropework are essential to ship-board life.  Come check it out demonstrations of these skills at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitors’ Center. 33 William St. in “The Link” , make a rope bracelet and then share some cake with us as we celebrate Ernestina’s 120th birthday!

YES! There will be cake!

Bringing the Ernestina-Morrissey Story to the Pioneer Valley

Ernestina Commissioner Fred Sterner, SEMA director Mary Anne McQuillan and Norcross WS's Jennifer Ohop by a display of Norcross memorabilia, some showing his voyages with Bartlett.

Thank You Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary for the great reception and audience for the Ernestina-Morrissey story.  Norcross sailed with Bartlett in 1931-1932-1933.  The audience really enjoyed seeing him in some of the Pathe Newsreels. Some footage of the 1932 voyage is also available from the National Archives.  We are looking forward to the day when everyone in Massachusetts knows about THEIR ship, the Ernestina ex. EffieM. Morrissey!


In 2014 we celebrate Ernestina ex Effie M. Morrissey’s 120th year.  The first event of that celebration was a lecture organized by Judy Farrar of the the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth held in the Grand Reading Room.

Archivist Judy Farrar, left, and Traudi Coli, right

Traudi  spoke of Ernestina’s Cape Verdean Packet years from 1948 until 1982.

Tim Walker spoke of Effie M. Morrissey’s fishing and Arctic exploration years from 1894 until 1947.

Traudi brought some of the archives she has collected as she studied Ernestina and the other packet ships and captains.

Schooner Ernestina Commissioner Eugene Monteiro and Traudi

The event was co-sponsored by the Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) and the Schooner Ernestina- Morrissey Association (SEMA).

Thank you to Judy and the University for this grand kick-off to Ernestina-Morrissey’s anniversary year!


The Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, now home to the Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey Archives, is pleased to announce a joint lecture by Timothy Walker and Waltraud Coli to mark the 120th anniversary of the launching of the Effie M. Morrissey. The Archives of the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey, that were collected over a period of 40 years by her supporters and champions, will be featured along with the lecture, which will take place on March 3 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in the Library’s Grand Reading Room.

Walker will give an illustrated talk focusing on the historical importance of the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey and on its early days as a Grand Banks fishing vessel and arctic exploration vessel.  He will also address the vessel’s use as a sail training platform for educational programs at sea.  Coli’s illustrated presentation will focus on the ship’s captains during the decades the Schooner Ernestina was a Cape Verdean packet vessel and on the important role that Cape Verdeans played in U.S. immigration.

According to “An Expedition of Discovery,” The Schooner Ernestina’s pre-2005 historical timeline, written for the web site by Gregg Swanzey, “On February 5, 1894, a single line in the Gloucester Daily Times recorded an addition to the Massachusetts fishing fleet. ‘The new schooner for J.F. Wonson and Co. has been named Effie M. Morrissey.’ This marked the commonplace birth of a schooner that would become famous not only as Grand Banks fisher, but also as an arctic expeditionary vessel under the command of Capt. Robert Abram Bartlett and World War II survey vessel under Commander Alexander Forbes. After a galley fire in 1947 the Morrissey was raised and renamed Ernestina to serve in the trans-Atlantic Cape Verdean packet trade operated by Capt. Henrique Mendes.  After being dismasted on her way to OpSail in 1976 and an international campaign to restore her led by the National Friends of the Ernestina/Morrissey, the newly-independent Republic of Cape Verde made a decision in 1978 to make the extraordinary gift of Ernestina to the “people of the United States,” symbolizing the centuries-old ties between the two countries.  She was finally able to make the return voyage in 1982, first to Newport and then to New Bedford, where she was repatriated.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Schooner Ernestina Commission was set up in 1978 to officially receive her.  New Bedford is her home port.

Dr. Timothy Walker (B.A., Hiram College, 1986; M.A., Ph.D., Boston University, 2001) is

Tim Walker

an associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  At UMD, he serves as Fulbright Program Advisor (faculty and students); Associate Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture (2007-2009) and Director of Tagus Press; as well as a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Portuguese Studies and an affiliated faculty member of the Center of Indian Studies and Program in Women’s Studies.  Walker is also an Affiliated Researcher of the Centro de História de Além-Mar (CHAM) and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.  From 1994 to 2003, he was a visiting professor at the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon.

Walker has been associated with the schooner Ernestina/Morrissey for over fifteen years, as a crewmember, educational advisor and on-board maritime history instructor.  During the 2003-2004 academic year, Walker taught for the University of Pittsburgh Semester at Sea program.  A passionate advocate of seaborne education, Walker has designed university-level programs at sea for Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts.  He has taught maritime history courses aboard numerous historic sailing vessels, including the schooners ErnestinaLettie G. Howard and Alabama, the brig Niagara and the frigate “HMS” Rose.  He was for many years the only American crewman aboard the Portuguese caravel Boa Esperança.  He presently serves as a consultant for educational programming for SEMA (the Schooner Ernestina/Morrissey Association) and the Tall Ships Rhode Island Foundation (the ship Oliver Hazard Perry).  In 2000 his maritime education course aboard the “HMS” Rose won the American Sail Training Association award for “Program of the Year.”

Waltraud Berger Coli, better known as “Traudi” earned a M.A. in Anthropology at Rhode Island College, where she specialized in Cape Verdean research, and a M.B.A. at Bryant

Traudi Coli at the 2010 Ernestina Forum

University. She has researched and co-authored several articles on Cape Verdean issues. The widely-circulated short history of Cape Verdeans in Rhode Island was the first publication on Cape Verdeans in the diaspora. Two additional, extensive manuscripts on Cape Verdean ethnicity and history are awaiting publication.

During 1988-1995 she was involved in the creation of the Arquivo Histórico Nacional, Praia, República de Cabo Verde (The National Historic Archive in Cape Verde). For two years she received partial support for her research from the Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship of the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History of the Frank C. Munson Institute of Maritime Studies at the Mystic Seaport Museum.  Her research includes a large database on Cape Verdean captains and ship-owners (1860-1970). She has been assisting the Schooner Ernestina/Effie M. Morrissey since the 1970s and was on-board anthropologist/maritime historian and crew from 1993-2005.

This event is co-sponsored by the Schooner Ernestina Commission (SEC) and the Schooner Ernestina- Morrissey Association (SEMA) and will take place in the Grand Reading Room on the first floor of the Claire T. Carney Library on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s North Dartmouth campus.  It is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.  Parking is available in Lots 13 and 14.  For further information, contact Judy Farrar at 508-999-8686 or

More information on the archives can be found at <>.  The SEC web site is part of the DCR site at  <>  and the SEMA web site can be found at <>.

120 Years of Maritime History

This year we will be celebrating Ernestina-Morrissey’s 12oth anniversary.  The Schooner Ernestina Commission is planning several events to commemorate this significant year.

Schooner Arethusa, 1907

120 years ago, on Feb. 1, 1894, a scene similar to this one would have occurred as Effie M. Morrissey was launched from the John F. James & Washington Tarr shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. It is interesting that this photo shows the launch of another of Captain Clayton Morrissey’s vessels.


Schooner Columbia




After launch, ships (Columbia shown here) built in Essex were often towed to Gloucester to be fitted out… rigged, ballasted and equipped according to their use. “The contract price was $6,700 for hull and spars, ready for rigging. The Effie M. Morrissey was the last fishing schooner built for the Wonson Fish Company. She took four months to build and was launched February 1, then towed by the tug Startle to Gloucester, the Morrissey was fitted out for the season to go salt cod fishing”  Schooner Ernestina Commission Archives

For the kick-off event on March 3 Traudi Coli and Tim Walker will deliver a lecture “SCHOONER ERNESTINA/EFFIE M. MORRISSEY AT 120:  A LOOK BACK AT HER HISTORY AND THE HISTORY OF CAPE VERDEAN IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES”  followed by a birthday celebration during AHA! on Thursday, March 13.   Check the links in “Upcoming Events” in the right-hand column for details about the celebration at the March AHA and the Ernestina-Morrissey Archives lecture!

January Covergirl.

Ernestina-Morrissey is Miss January in the Spinner Publications New England Fisherman calendar.   Order yours from Spinner Publications.

1940 was the year  the Morrissey set a record for furthest north at 80 degrees 22 minutes North Latitude. That’s only 578 nautical miles from the North Pole.  Follow the link in the timeline to John Pitcairn’s log.

You can see the horizontal antenna supports at the top of the topmasts for the radio.  Among other assignments, the vessel served as a radio-relay vessel to northern outposts in Canada, Greenland and the Soviet Union during World War II.

You can also see a horizontal line about 2 feet above the water line.  That is the top of the greenheart sheathing that Bartlett had added to protect the hull from ice damage, both as reinforcement and as a sacrificial extra layer.  You can see the scouring of the greenheart sheath in this photo taken at Ikateq, Greenland.

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