Dolora M.

The story of the Dolora M. (originally the Leona & Gabriel) is, of course, a family story — in this case, the Corea and Mendes family — written in part by the two names under which this dragger was known. The vessel was owned from 1918 to 1953 by Capt. Francisco “Frank” Corea, who died in 1967. (“Frank Corea,” The Advocate, July 20, 1967.) He was born in the 16th-century fishing village of Fuseta on the southern coast of Portugal, about five miles east of Olhão, and arrived in Provincetown around 1905, spending his younger years on the Grand Banks. He married Maria Conceicao Chagas. They lived at 11 Arch Street with their children, John C. Corea and Leona L. Corea, who was a namesake of the Leona & Gabriel. John joined his father on the crew in 1932 and then went on to distinguished service in the Coast Guard. Leona married John Deus Mendes, who succeeded his father-in-law as captain of the dragger, which he renamed Dolora M. after their daughter Dolora Marie. Their other children were Paul C. Mendes and John Mendes. The Mendes family lived first at 11 Arch Street, then, after 1946, at 6 Johnson Street.

The Dolora M. nearly sank in 1941, about 10 miles northwest of Race Point, in roughly the same spot where the Boston dragger Frances had gone down a year earlier with all hands. (“Dragger Limps In, Aided By Pumper,” The Advocate, July 10, 1941.) The problem wasn’t weather, but the loss of the housing for the propeller shaft, through which sea water poured in while the boat, temporarily under the command of Capt. William “Big Bill” Segura, tried desperately — and successfully — to reach the harbor. A crew member was asked by an Advocate reporter what they would have done if the boat had sunk in 100 feet of water. “Drowned, I guess,” he replied.

Almost exactly two years later, while hauling in the net after its third drag of the day, the Dolora M. pulled up the body of a 22-year-old Brooklyn man who had drowned a few days earlier while swimming in choppy waters off New Beach, as Herring Cove was known at the time. (“Dragger Recovers Young Man’s Body,” The Advocate, July 1, 1943.) Captain Mendes brought his boat back to port that day with the American flag at half mast.

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