1914 – 2004
Everyone at Sakonnet Point knew Nina Blades. She and her husband were part of the fishing community that lived near the harbor. Originally from Nova Scotia, Nina Evelyn Adams arrived in Little Compton in 1931. From Tiverton to Sakonnet Point, they traveled over a dirt road.
In an interview for Johnnycakes and Cream (compiled and edited by Lucy O’Connor), Nina said that all along the way from Boston where she had arrived by boat, nobody had heard of Little Compton. Even when they got to Fall River and asked the way to Sakonnet Point, nobody had heard of the place. The first night she arrived, she says “I thought it was the last place on this earth. I was so disappointed. I cried.” But after living at the Point most of her adult life, she said she would not want to have lived anywhere else.
Nina married Roy Blades who was from the same Nova Scotia community. They settled in a small house at Sakonnet Point where Roy worked on the trap boats. Trap fishing then was done by hand, from setting the nets to unloading nets full of fish hand over hand. A horse team was used to drag the nets down the road to dry. (from Stanley Sorrentino’s annual Who’s Who of Upper and Lower Montana Road and Environs, summer of 1989).
Nina survived the 1938 hurricane by going to higher ground. All but a handful of people who were caught at the Point that day found safety at the home of Doctor Lloyd whose house overlooked the lighthouse. The hurricane with its tidal wave swept away everything at the Point including Nina’s house. She and Roy loved living at the Point and managed to build another small cottage where they lived out most of the rest of their lives, except for Nina whose failing health led her at the end of her life to move Florida to live with her granddaughter Lisa. Roy died in 1990.
Nina worked at various jobs in town but is probably most remembered for her years working at the Fo’c’s’le restaurant overlooking Sakonnet Harbor. She was a waitress at the restaurant during its heyday. Customers looked forward to seeing her, many asking when they came in the door, “Where’s Nina”?
Nina lived a busy life within the community of Little Compton. She was known for her kindness to others, ready to help those in need and for her devotion to the fishing fleet. In her later years, Nina kept track of the activities of the local fishing boats on her short wave radio. Nina joined the United Congregational Church where she was a member of the Ladies Aid Society. A memorial service for Nina was held on October 14, 2004 at the church. Nina Blades will be remembered as someone who represented the essence of the Nova Scotia fishing community at Sakonnet Point.