An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
Alfred Presson owned land in West Parish which is believed to be the farm depicted in the Lane drawing.
Alfred, who married Mary A. Moore in 1837, was both Treasurer of the Cape Ann Savings Bank and Secretary of the Marine Insurance Company for many years. He lived on India Square with his wife and children, and rented the land in West Gloucester for the support of his mother.
In the continued absence of his older brother William, away at sea, Alfred took on the responsibilities of caring for their widowed mother and managing the Presson Point estate and land that his mother had inherited from her Eveleth ancestors.
The Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives has a large collection of letters from Alfred and his mother to his brother William. Alfred’s are full of local news; his mother is constantly worried about her oldest son’s health in the fever-ridden Caribbean and her daughter’s love life in Gloucester.
Alfred was born February 10, 1807, and died October 17, 1873. He was married November 19, 1837 to Mary A. Moore (1816–66).
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.
This letter was written by Alfred Presson to his brother William, who made long voyages out of New York as a hired captain on traders to the West Indies and the North West Coast of Africa. William rarely returned to Gloucester and was always eager for news of his old hometown. Alfred was Treasurer of the Cape Ann Savings Bank and Secretary of the Marine Insurance Company.
"The present winter has been one of great severity to the shipping on our coast. I send you a paper containing an account of the destruction caused by the gale of the 15 Dec. in our harbor. There are some little inaccuracies in the acc. but is not at all exaggerated - the vessels came ashore at the Old Stage, Freemans Beach and at the Steep Bank - I was down there until dark and saw nearly all of them ashore - the vessels that rode out the gale cut away their masts after it came on dark.
The gale of the 26 Dec was perhaps equally severe for a short time, but fortunately few shipping in the harbor, 2 brigs & 2 sch’s drove ashore, the 2 Brigs were entirely lost, cargo of one partly saved, the Sch’rs were got off much injured - the Captains wife of one of the brigs drowned.
You will undoubtedly have heard of the death of Mr. Alphonso Mason and Capt. John G. Low of this town, by the burning of the Lexington, Mason was a valuable man in the community and is very much missed."