I was born near a lighthouse far out at sea on January 20, 1913. I must have heard the ocean roar and heard it pounding on the shore.
Eight summer’s came and with it a big three-mast schooner. Prohibition was the name of the game. I was at the tiller, far at sea and my father was out from sampling the tea; I was the youngest rum runner of them all.
I needed all that I could earn to support a pretty nineteen year old wife and home; 10-27-1931 we married and bought property in Milbridge, Maine. Vera Alley Kelley and I were married for 65 memorable years.
I was a rigger at the Boston Navy Yard during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 12-7-1941; I also worked on “OLD IRONSIDES”.
South Portland’s West yard in Maine, where I worked as a “pusher rigger”, I helped build and steered Liberty Ships for Captain Litchfield at all of the harbor trial test runs.
I moved to North Carolina to enjoy my boat and the weather, I developed a small marine railway yard in Harkers Island near the Outer Banks. There in 1969 I got a call; The “BIG BAD JOHN” had run aground. I was recommended to Jimmy Dean as the right licensed captain to pilot her to Florida.
Later I was hired to Captain the “M.V. MOUNT HOPE” for cruises from Rhode Island to Canada.
The forty five foot ketch the “FROLIC”, I bought for my own. The “FROLIC” was berthed at Morehead City close to my home.
The last 25 years I have written of experiences of my wonderful lifetime. I am now 98 years old and still going strong; I now reside on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina with my family of five generations.
Capt. Gardner Martin Kelley