Few siblings have had such a collective impact on Provincetown as the second generation of the Cabral family — (William) Earl, Halcyone, Reginald, Robert, Patricia, and Ronald — the children of Mary T. “Mamie” (Taves) Cabral (1899-1969) and William “Captain Bill” Cabral (1898-1972), whose own father was born on São Miguel in the Azores. Can you imagine them all in this house together? Neither can I, but that’s what the census taker found in 1940. The Cabrals bought this house in 1929 from the Williams family.¹ Captain Bill was a fisherman who moved into the charter boat business on Rosamond.
The most celebrated of Mamie and Captain Bill’s offspring was Reginald Warren “Reggie” Cabral (1923-1996), an art collector and art patron, and the proprietor of the celebrated Atlantic House. It is run today by his daughter April Cabral-Pitzner. He made his home at 160 Commercial Street, which is still owned and occupied by his daughter Jennifer Cabral.
The census enumerator found a house full of Cabrals in 1940. The image comes from Ancestry.
The most influential businessman in the lot was Robert E. “Bobby” Cabral (1926-2016), of 25 Pilgrim Heights Road. He owned Fisherman’s Wharf — also known as Cabral’s Wharf — for many years. He also briefly owned the Reef, next door at 120 Commercial Street.
Their brother William Earl “Boyzine” Cabral (1920-2000) was the family’s free spirit, a dedicated equestrian who was known for riding horses into taverns — all the way in, mind you — and hitching the mounts to the bar while he ordered a drink. His unusual nickname has been translated as the Portuguese expression for “pretty little boy” or “sunny boy.”⁵
Halcyone Catherine “Caffie” (Cabral) Hurst (1922-1999) and her husband, Frank Hurst, were originally partners of Reggie’s in the A House.
Patricia Helen “Trisha” (Cabral) Papetsas (1930-2014), organized boat charters for her father, and later worked with her brother and nephew.
The baby of the brood was Ronald Taves Cabral (1935-2001).
Melissa Sorem took this photo, along Whorf’s Court, in 1969 for Provincetown’s West End, a survey compiled for the Massachusetts Historical Commission and now at the Provincetown Public Library.
Four siblings came of age during World War II and served accordingly — all in the Navy, of course, as their father had before them (as a gunner’s mate second class in World War I). Reggie was a yeoman, Bobby a boatswain’s mate, Boyzine a boatswain’s mate first class, and Cathy a chief yeoman. In the Long Pointer of 1940-1941, the last before the United States entry into the war, young Reggie had published a poem, “Why This War?”
‘Tis wrong, dear friends, as we all know,
’tis wrong to fight thy brother.
Why must we sin, why must we wrong,
why must we hate each other?
The post-war period saw the growth of Captain Bill’s charter boat business, which operated out of 122 Commercial Street. Rosamond was replaced in 1945 with Caroline, a 57-foot cabin cruiser that had been built 20 years earlier by the Electric Launch Company in Bayonne, N.J. “The Caroline is constructed throughout of mahogany and is so rugged that she was used for two years by the Coast Guard in patrol work in the Iceland area,” The Advocate reported.² “She has complete galley with refrigerator and toilet facilities and can sleep four. A canopy over the stern affords protection from sun and rain.” Caroline typically made two trips every summer day out to the fishery. The cost per passenger was $2; bait and lines included.
In 1948, Katherine II began service, under Boyzine’s command. But she was short-lived. The 60-foot cabin cruiser, made of teak and mahogany, broke loose from her moorings during a 1950 nor’easter and was driven onto the West End Breakwater where, as The Advocate reported, “she was pounded to splinters on the granite boulders.”³
The Cabrals have operated the Cee Jay chartered cruiser since 1952. The photo was taken in 2018 by David W. Dunlap.
Cee Jay, a 60-foot cruiser, was added to the line-up in 1952, when Bobby piloted her from Marblehead. Legend had it that she’d been built in the 1930s as a rum runner, and Bobby wanted to rechristen her Wild Knight, her original name. “But it would have meant having the boat idle for a period while various papers were passed,” The Advocate explained, so Cee Jay it remained.⁴ A cruiser of that name, now operated by Bobby’s son Vaughn, is still counted in Provincetown’s fleet of chartered pleasure craft.
The portico and trellis at 122 Commercial Street are relatively modern additions. (They are not shown in a 1969 photo taken for the Massachusetts Historical Commission.)
Captain Bill died in 1972. Three years later, his heirs transferred 122 Commercial to the surviving sisters, Cathy and Trisha, who held on to it for another eight years before selling it in 1983 for $73,000.
Lovely foliate trim decorates the eaves of the house. The 2011 photo is by David W. Dunlap.
In 2018, Dr. Boyd F. Richards and Joshua Ronnebaum paid $1.5 million for the property.⁶ Richards is chief of the neurosurgery section of Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, about 16 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. Ronnebaum is an environmental lawyer. They extensively renovated a 1923 red-brick Tudor-style house in the Palmer Woods subdivision, about eight miles north of downtown.
Stacy Kanaga of the Coastal Engineering Company brought the couple’s plans for 122 Commercial Street to the Conservation Commission on 2 October 2018. She said the project includes elevating the building “on a new, floodplain-compliant, poured-concrete foundation; the installation of flood vents to allow flood waters to move beneath the building during storm events, renovating the interior of the building, including constructing two additions and new access stairs to the raised structure.” The commission approved the plans, 4 to 0.
¶ Last updated on 20 November 2018.
122 Commercial Street on the Town Map.
Thumbnail image: Photo, 2008, by David W. Dunlap.
• 122 Commercial Street household
1940 United States Census, from Ancestry.
• Halcyone Catherine “Caffie” Cabral Hurst
Find a Grave Memorial No. 106334284.
• Mary T. “Mamie” (Taves) Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 106334714.
• Patricia Helen “Trisha” (Cabral) Papetsas
Find a Grave Memorial No. 139693858.
“Patricia ‘Trisha’ Papetsas,” Current Obituary, 2 December 2014, Obit No. 148618.
• Reginald Warren “Reggie” Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 51635551.
“Reginald Cabral, 72, Who Tended Provincetown’s Past, Dies,” by Robert G. McThomas Jr., The New York Times, 22 August 1996.
• Robert E. “Bobby” Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 172315427.
“Robert E. Cabral,” Current Obituary, 3 November 2016, Obit No. 200099.
“Robert Cabral Interview, Part 1,” by Kiana Brophy and Isabel Rogers, You Tube, 25 February 2011.
“Robert Cabral Interview, Part 2,” by Kiana Brophy and Isabel Rogers, You Tube, 25 February 2011.
“Robert Cabral Interview, Part 3,” by Kiana Brophy and Isabel Rogers, You Tube, 25 February 2011.
“Robert Cabral Interview, Part 4,” by Kiana Brophy and Isabel Rogers, You Tube, 25 February 2011.
• Ronald Taves Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 162747691.
• William “Captain Bill” Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 106334465.
• (William) Earl “Boyzine” Cabral
Find a Grave Memorial No. 102391953.
• Cee-Jay chartered fishing boat.
• Dr. Boyd F. Richards and Joshua Ronnebaum
“Honoring An Original,” by Judith Harris Solomon, Hour Detroit, 31 March 2017.
Provincetown Conservation Commission, Minutes, 2 October 2018, Archive Center Item No. 20808.
¹ Daniel Henry Williams et alia to William Cabral et alia, 21 November 1929, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 470, Page 242.
² “Capt. Bill Ready for Party Fish,” The Provincetown Advocate, 12 July 1945, Page 5.
³ “Cabral Cruiser, Katherine II, Lost as Gale Winds Drive Against Cape,” The Provincetown Advocate, 14 September 1950, Page 1.
⁴ “To Fellows and Friends Afar and Abroad,” The Provincetown Advocate, 3 July 1952, Page 1.
⁵ “Provincetown’s Tradition of Doling Out Nicknames Is Slipping Away With Each Passing Year,” by Emily C. Dooley, The Cape Cod Times, 15 December 2002; “Kelly’s Corner: Boyzine, Provincetown Transportation,” by Jan Kelly, Provincetown Magazine, on the Provincetown History Preservation Project (Kelly Collection), Page 6402.
⁶ Jennifer McMullen et alia to Boyd Frank Richards et alia, 23 February 2018, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, Book 31100, Page 289.