124 Alden Street

Avellar family plot. [2009, Dunlap]

Antone Jason “Tony” Avellar (1885-1961) was in the vital business of boat refueling. He operated a gasoline and oil tank boat that serviced the fleet, first with Texaco products, then with Standard Oil. After retiring, he operated cottages near his home at 210 Bradford Street. He married Louise Strub of Alsace-Lorraine in 1911 with whom he had four daughters and two sons. He later married Nellie Cabral. His bright, broad face was preserved for posterity by the artist Gerrit A. Beneker in a 1918 Victory Liberty Loan poster. Avellar is shown digging confidently into his pockets, under the caption: “Sure! We’ll finish the job.” The Advocate said he had been credited with inspiring the sale of $5 million worth of war bonds, without quite explaining how that calculation could have been made. Tony is actually not reaching for money, however, as The Boston Daily Post explained:

“Tony was in the midst of a problem of gasoline engine repairing in his repair shop at Provincetown when the artist Beneker paid him a visit. Tony, with his sleeves rolled up, his red undershirt showing, a battered hat joining a splotch of black grease that covered the side of his face, stood up and smiled upon his friend. Realizing that the call was in the nature of a visit, he began reaching into the recesses of his overalls for the makings of a cigarette, smiling a generous welcoming smile.

“‘Sure, we’ll finish the job,’ said Tony.

“It was in this action together with the smile and the genuineness of the spontaneous pose in Tony’s hospitable reception of him that Beneker received an inspiration which resulted in the most famous of all the posters of the Victory Loan.

“‘I couldn’t refuse Beneker,’ Tony explained.”

Tony Avellar was the inspiration for Gerrit A. Beneker’s World War I Liberty Loan poster, “Sure! We’ll Finish the Job.” [Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID cph.3g09651]

In memoriam

Provincetown’s Historic Cemeteries and Memorials, by Amy Whorf McGuiggan, Memorial No. 74.

• Find a Grave Memorial No. 128671592.

¶ Last updated on 9 December 2021.

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