For more than a century, since 1910, the Valentines have accommodated transient guests at the family home on Commercial Street — qualifying for some kind of record in hospitality. The Valentines’ story is also woven through that of the fishery, and — like so many families tied to the sea — they have known their share of great sorrow. In January 1941, Antone Francis Valentine (also known as Anthony), then around 60 years old, lost his life when the 90-foot trawler Mary E. O’Hara sank in Boston Harbor after hitting an anchored barge.
She was returning from Georges Bank laden with 50,000 pounds of fish and most of the 23 crew members were asleep. “Suddenly, came the grinding noise of a collision,” The Advocate reported (“Fisherman Lost in Boston Tragedy,” 23 January 1941). “Men rushed to the deck, yelling to their companions to awake and follow. Under weight of the fish and the heavy coating of ice, the O’Hara settled swiftly. In vain the men struggled with the frozen dories.” The five who survived did so at the top of the two masts, to which they were frozen by the time rescuers arrived. Only four feet of the masts were above water.
Antone’s father, Manuel Valentine, and his brother Manuel Jr. had perished together 41 years earlier on the Grand Banks aboard the schooner Cora McKay. His son, Antone George Valentine (1928-2006), usually known as George, followed him into the fishery — at first. George was working for Atlantic Coast Fisheries in 1949, when he married Helen Gertrude Silva (b 1930), a daughter of Frank Silva. In the 50s, Valentine fished aboard the Liberty Belle and then, in 1955, purchased the New England, a 55-foot dragger, from Joseph Martin. He also owned the lobster boat Valente. (“George Valentine, 77,” The Banner, 18 May 2006.)