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Molly Kool

Molly Kool

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Myrtle 'Molly' Kool was North America's first registered female sea captain or ship master.

She was born in Alma, New Brunswick
Alma, New Brunswick
Alma is a village in the parish of Alma, Albert County, New Brunswick, Canada. The village is centered on the small delta of the Upper Salmon River and Cleveland Brook, where they empty into Salisbury Bay....

, the daughter of Myrtle Anderson and Paul Kool, a Dutch sailor. She grew up sailing, eventually becoming captain of the Jean K, a 21-metre scow
A scow, in the original sense, is a flat-bottomed boat with a blunt bow, often used to haul bulk freight; cf. barge. The etymology of the word is from the Dutch schouwe, meaning such a boat.-Sailing scows:...

 owned by her father. At 21, she joined the Merchant Marine School in Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

 She was the only woman to do so. On April 19, 1939, she graduated and received her Master Mariner's
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

 papers from the Merchant Marine Institution in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Yarmouth is a town and fishing port located on the Gulf of Maine in rural southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the shire town of Yarmouth County. The town is located in the heart of the world's largest lobster fishing grounds and has Canada's highest lobster catch.- History :The townsite may...

. As a result, a line in the Canadian Shipping Act had to be amended to read "he or she." Her father turned the title to the scow over to her and she captained it for five years, working mainly the pulp and paper trade in the Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine...

. In 1944, after her ship caught fire, she left life at sea to marry Ray Blaisdell (late) of Bucksport, Maine. Blaisdell died and she remarried, to John Carney of Orrington, Maine
Orrington, Maine
Orrington is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,526 at the 2000 census.-History:Orrington was originally part of Condustiegg Plantation, which also included the present-day cities of Bangor and Brewer. Orrington was incorporated as a town in 1788 with its major...

. She eventually retired fully after losing both her legs to a vascular disease.

In 2003, a sailing ship was named in her honour. A monument to her accomplishment was erected near wharf in Alma. Scheduled in 2011, the home she grew up in, is being rebuilt with the original remains and exhibit coming to the entrance of Fundy National Park Fundy National Park
Fundy National Park
Fundy National Park is located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma, New Brunswick. The Park showcases both seashore habitats and highland Acadian forests...


She spent her remaining years in a seniors care home in Bangor, Maine
Bangor, Maine
Bangor is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot County, Maine, United States, and the major commercial and cultural center for eastern and northern Maine...

. She died from pneumonia in a hospital in Bangor. Her ashes were scattered on the Bay of Fundy at Herring Cove, near her birthplace.

External links

  • Obituary in the Morning Sentinel
    Morning Sentinel
    The Morning Sentinel is a seven-day morning daily newspaper published in Waterville, Maine, USA. From 1998 to 2009, it was owned by Blethen Maine Newspapers, a subsidiary of The Seattle Times Company. It was then sold to MaineToday Media. The newspaper covers cities and towns in parts of Kennebec...