Capt. John B
children and later for each of his grandchildren, too.
recalls John B often carried a hammer as he walked to and fro, so he could bang down the nail heads. John B soon was deeply involved in the seafood and canning business. His operation f lour ished, with 25 men working for him; at one time he operated fifteen pound ne t s, pr i m a r i ly a r ou nd Popl a r Island. He also canned some farm produce, especially tomatoes, devising a practical method for making tomato purée. As his businesses grew, so did his family. He and Lottie had four children of their own: Benjamin, Pauline, Thomas, and Irma. He was a devoted family man and enjoyed taking his children out for a sail. He built sailing scows for each of his
This photo from 1912 shows Capt. John B, a smiling Pauline beside her dad, with son Ben in the stern on the left beside his friend Basil Harrison. (No, he was a different Harrison.) Despite the scowl we see in many of his photos, those who actually knew John B always mention how kind he was to children. Kids were e ven welc ome out at h i s b oatyard. “He didn’t mind you hanging around,” one senior resident recalled, then added, apparently from direct experience, “Just as long as you didn’t try to use his tools!” When John B deepened the water around Devil’s Island to accommodate deeper draf t boats, t he children quickly discovered that it also made a swell swimming hole. John B seemed pleased to have them enjoying his new “recreation” area. He worked hard in his boatyard, however, and expected the same from his assistants. “There was no knocking off at four o’clock if the job wasn’t done.” One man recalls
November 2014 Tidewater Times