John Short (‘Yankee Jack’) came into prominence as ‘father’ of sea shanties. Born locally in 1839, he first went to sea from Watchet as a lad before going ‘deep sea’ and in the 1860’s joined a Yankee ship in the American Civil War. It is said he sang as he sailed with a most melodious voice and when he retired at the age of 61 he brought his songs home with him. These were collected and collated by Cecil Sharp and Sir Richard Terry for our English musical heritage. A statue of ‘Yankee Jack’ was funded by the Museum Society and public subscription and sculpted by Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland.
Yankee Jack is not averse to a selfie and has had many a visitor sitting on his knee for a quick photo! Make sure you tag #lovewatchet in your pictures!