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Woody Bowers


“I came down here in the fall of 1947 and the only times I’ve been away from here was for short vacations in Nova Scotia – been fishing here all these years.”

“The first thing they asked when I went to the American Consul, ‘Who was gonna sponsor me in the United States when I came here?’ I said, ‘I don’t need nobody to sponsor me!’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said ‘I got ten thousand dollars in the bank.’ He says, ‘Can you prove it?’ I showed him the bank book. He says, ‘You can go to the United States tomorrow.’ That’s the words the man told me, and he stamped my paper like that.  He says, ‘You can any time you want.’ That was my start coming to this country. You can’t spend your money [in the Merchant Marines], you can’t get ashore to spend it. So you save money.”

“I went up to the railroad station [in Boston]. I said to the clerk, ‘Are there any more fishing ports down south of here?’ Yeah, he said, ‘I heard of a place called New Bedford.’ And I said, ‘How do you get there?’ ‘Well there’s a train that goes there at eight o’clock this evening.’ I said, ‘Give me a ticket for New Bedford.’ When I get here I got off the train. Asked the cab driver to take me down to a hotel. The old Harvey Hotel. I paid ten dollars for the room. I came out to get something to eat down in the restaurant. The door opens, and there was a bunch of guys playing poker there. ‘You wanna sit in?’ ‘Yeah, what the hell!’ I played an hour or two. I made forty or fifty bucks.”

Captain Arnold Woodrow Bowers c. 1970.
“My grandmother and grandfather liked Woodrow Wilson, that’s why he got the middle name.”
– Bob Bowers

Fishing in Nova Scotia:

“I’ve fished the whole coastline from Liverpool to Cape North, the farthest point on Cape Breton Island. We used to leave home in the spring, go down and fish off Cape North, Ingonish, Sidney, and all up along the coast until September. Then we’d come back home, paint up the boats, take in the harvest and put all that stuff away. Then we’d get the boat ready to go haddock fishing in the winter out of Liverpool.”



Woody’s son, Bob, runs a fuel barge on the New Bedford Waterfront.

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