About Ronald Gilson Home

About the Author                 

Ronald Gilson was born into a Gloucester working class family in the depths of the “Great Depression”.  He was raised in Ward II’s Dog Hill neighborhood and introduced to the waterfront at an early age. Gilson operated the harbor’s only fresh water boat, learning the ways of the waterfront, as one would say, “early on, from the bottom up”. He has fished the vessels, worked the wharves, and insured the fleet. He graduated from Boston University and served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps, returning to his native Gloucester in 1961.

Considered an authority on the great fleet buildup of the ‘40s and ‘50s, he relates in this memoir his first-hand experiences on the Gloucester waterfront. He writes graphically of a bygone era, spiced with personal anecdotes, taking the reader into the heart of Gloucester’s historic anchor industry.  Gilson offers a “gull’s eye” view as only he lived the experience. This is a must-read for the ambitious historian thirsting for insight into the Gloucester that was once both myth and reality.

GLOUCESTER in the 1940s was a self-contained "city", an island, literally, the ocean separated us from the outside world. We were a complete entity, supported mainly by our anchor industry — fishing. United and focused on a common goal, harvesting the sea, our workforce was akin to an army marching to a deafening cadence. As a young boy, I thought this fantasy would go on forever; it was a magical time!

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©2007, Ronald H. Gilson