MASSACHUSETTS: Last Voyage

On days when the fog lies still and heavy over the harbors, when the damp beads the dock lines and the only sound is the creak of fenders against pilings, New England's fishermen can still strike up an argument over the loss of the steamer Portland. Her sinking, with the loss of all hands, is New England's most famous shipwreck, and the 1898 gale in which she went down is still known, from Nantucket to Bangor, as "the Portland gale."

Last week a handful of surviving relatives gathered, as they have regularly since 1908, to commemorate the anniversary. Sitting...

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