Detail of the Mantas’ memorial. [2011, Dunlap]
Philomena (Amaral) Manta (1857-1936) and Joseph Manta (1846-1928). If there is one historic fishing vessel whose name is known even to the newest washashore, it must surely be Rose Dorothea. And, thanks to the great Charles W. Hawthorne painting that hangs in Town Hall, the No. 2 spot is almost certainly claimed by Philomena Manta. Its namesake was born in Portugal in 1857, as Philomena Amaral. (Her memorial spells her name “Phelomina,” but few contemporary sources agree with that.) She married Joseph Manta, who had been at sea until 1876, when he went into the grocery business. In 1882, he purchased the wharf at 179 Commercial Street that became known as Manta’s Wharf. There, he served as an agent for fresh-fishing schooners. The schooner Philomena Manta was active as early as 1903, under Capt. Manuel Caton, who was also a part owner. Its set of sails was made by “Jimmie” McGuire, who also outfitted Rose Dorothea.
Philomena Manta was lost on the fishing banks in February 1905, but Captain Caton and the crew were rescued by Joseph W. Lufkin out of Gloucester. Hawthorne painted The Crew of the Philomena Manta in 1915. Philomena herself lived until 1936, still at 179 Commercial Street.
The Crew of the Philomena Manta, by Charles W. Hawthorne. [Town Art Collection / Provincetown History Preservation Project 1537]
Contemporary government and newspaper accounts spell Mrs. Manta’s name “Philomena,” as did Hawthorne. [2011, Dunlap]
• Find a Grave Memorial No. 91284368. (Philomena)
• Find a Grave Memorial No. 91284344. (Joseph)
• Provincetown’s Historic Cemeteries and Memorials, by Amy Whorf McGuiggan, Memorial No. 33.
¶ Last updated on 13 December 2021.