From the collection of T.W Stewart We regret to inform you that Tom passed away in Ottawa, Ont. Monday, October 16, 2006 at the age of 84.
The Third of October, 1851, brought perhaps the greatest marine disaster in P.E.I. history. The afternoon was warm and still..... the sky heavily clouded. The north and north west had a lurid, glassy appearance about sunset. It was a Friday, perhaps the best remembered Friday in P.E.I. history. A violent gale and wind arose from the East-North-East, which continued for two terrifying days. Before it was over, the New England fleet, fishing off our shores was devastated - nearly 100 vessels were wrecked or stranded, and hundreds killed.
Tom Stewart has spent many years collecting anything he could about the gale. Rather than a modern history, you are about to be treated to a view of the gale and its aftermath, through the accounts of the day. It was not just history to the readers of these accounts in 1851; it was the reality of a natural disaster that was far too fresh in their memories.
It is a story of Island compassion, and of Islander's rallying to help others. Islanders flocked to the shores to aid in any way they could, homes were opened to the survivors, and Island graveyards became the final resting place for many an unknown mariner. For many years, the wreckage dotted our shores, some surviving well into the 20th century. Many a New Englander lost family members to the gale, and this is their story, through the newspapers of the day.
THE YANKEE GALE
From Hazard’s Gazette of Tuesday last.
(Note by T.W.S.: October 7, 1851).
On the night of Friday last, and throughout the whole of Saturday and the following night, we were visited with a gale of unusual violence, from the E.N.E., and violent storm of rain, almost unparalled in the history of this Island; from the loss of ships accompanying it, and altogether so far as loss of life which has taken place. Owing to the difficulty of procuring accurate information from all the Districts on the North side, we are unable to give anything like a correct account of the extent of havoc occasioned by this terrific visitation, but as far as we have been able to do so, will give the results of our enquiries.
THE ISLANDER, Friday, October, 10, 1851.
On Friday night, the 3rd inst., a most violent gale of wind and rain arose from the E.N.E., which continued varying at intervals, the following two days. The loss of life and property among the shipping is almost incredible. The whole of the coast on the north side of the Island is strewed with wrecks and dead bodies! Our present number contains a list of some of the wrecked vessels. We are unable as yet to give a correct account of the whole; indeed there are many that will never be heard of, having ran into each other and foundered at sea. The wrecks are chiefly American vessels fishing on the North side of the Island.
Dreadful loss of Lives, Vessels, etc., etc.
From 100 to 150 vessels supposed to be stranded on the Coast of this Island, besides a large number foundered at sea. Nearly 100 dead bodies already found!!!
Georgetown, October 9, 1851.
Sir - The following vessels which have arrived here since the late gale, wished to be reported in the Island papers. Some of the Captains say, that they have been thirty years at sea, and never experienced such a gale before.
Schooner Vulture, Watts, of Newbury Port, U.S., in the gale of the 3rd inst., lost a man overboard, named Jas. Everett of Nova Scotia; also lost her boat, flying jib and jib-boom.
Schooner Empire, Dixon, of U.S., lost her jib boom and had her sails split.
Schooner John, R. Perkins, of Gloucester, U.S. lost her boat, had her sails split and deck swept of everything.
Schooner Mantamora had her sails torn, reports that she passed an American vessel on her beam ends, with two men in the mast heads, but was unable to render them any assistance owing to the loss of her sails and the heavy sea which was running.
Schooner Ocean, Reed, master, from Booth Bay, U.S., had her bowsprit broken off by a sea while her jib was stowed, lost four bbls. mackerel and everything else which she had on deck at the time, also lost an anchor.
Schooner Guess, McKellie, master, from Westpoint, U.S., lost her boat.
Schooner Hero, of Lubec, Fergusson, master, lost both anchors at the Magdalen islands, was in company with five other vessels who also lost their anchors.
Schooner Sarah, Brooks, lost flying jib.
Several other vessels which called here, had lost some of their sails and went off again to the Gut of Canso to get new ones.
Schooner Cadmus, Elliot, master, arrived in 7 days from Boston, reports that the gale did not extend beyond Cape Sable. Saw a number of American vessels passing through the Gut, all more or less damaged, one the Telegraph, had lost two men overboard by the main boom striking them while jibing the sail, and Captain Attwood severely hurt, heard in the Gut that there were 75 sail of vessels ashore on the Island.
Extract of a letter from Darnley,
October 6, 1851.
You will please give immediate notice that a number of American fishing vessels have been driven ashore, in the Harbour of Richmond Bay and the coast on the 4th inst., to the number of from 40 to 50 sail, and a great many lives lost. A number of the vessels are to be sold on Friday next, and perhaps before that time. There are two at Park Corner, near New London, to be sold on Wednesday next.
Extract from a letter from Rustico,
October 7, 1851.
There is a schooner ashore on Robinson’s Island called the Shipjack, from Liverpool, N. S. She is loaded with mackerel and salt - water logged. I have taken out 30 barrels of mackerel, besides salt and empty barrels; but the worst comes last - we took four dead bodies out of her on Monday last and Tuesday six more, which I think is her full crew.
Vessels on Shore at Tignish, etc.
American schooner Commerce, of Harwich, Mass., U.S., John Allen, master, ashore at Tignish near the North Cape. Crew saved. To be sold on Tuesday next, 14 of October.
The Jenny Lind, from Nova Scotia. Crew saved.
The Rival, of Truro, U.S. Crew saved.
The W. R. Burnham, U.S. Crew saved.
The Golden Rule, of Gloucester, U.S. Crew saved.
The Mary Scotchburn, of Newburyport, U.S. Crew saved.
American schooner Pow Hatten, of Gloucester, U.S., John Ross, master, ashore at Tignish, near the North Cape. Crew saved. To be sold on Monday next, the 13th inst.
American schooner Bloomfield, of Boston, Joseph McDonald, master, ashore at Tignish. Crew saved.
Capt. McDonald of the schooner Bloomfield, informs us a Brigantine was lost on the North Cape of this Island - that all hands perished - and that she has gone to pieces. He states that she was a British-built vessel, 70 feet long on deck, 22 feet beam, cedar timbers, softwood plank and beams - supposed to be Canada built, apparently four years old. A number of empty Puerto Rico sugar hogsheads with spruce heads came on shore from her. The number on the head of one of them was 28 E. 1206 (red chalk) and on the other end 1 / (black paint). The name of the vessel could not be discovered, but the stern of a boat supposed to belong to her came on shore with the name Veloce, Mouraska on it. Her bow sails, chains, anchors and windlass were found to the west of the N.W. reef.
Capt. McDonald and others also inform us that there are 20 to 30 vessels on shore between Malpec and North Cape - and that in Richmond Bay and on Hog Island, there are some 40 or 50 more. It is currently reported that some sixty or seventy bodies have been interred on Hog Island during the past week.
A vessel came on shore at Brackley Point on Monday last - 10 dead bodies were found on board - they were interred on Wednesday.
A large Bark, in ballast, from Europe, bound to Richibucto, is on shore at Cable Head.
We hear that a number of vessels are to be seen in the Gulf riding at their anchors, swept of everything, and all hands supposed to be dead.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 9, 1851.
TREMENDOUS GALE AND LOSS OF LIFE
Boston, Wednesday October 8.
A dispatch received Fast evening by the collector of this port, from B. Hammett, U.S. Consul at Pictou, states that the north-west coast has been swept by a terrible and destructive gale and that 100 fishing vessels were ashore on the north side of Prince Edward’s Island. It is estimated that 300 persons have perished in the wrecks, and many bodies have already drifted ashore. Mr. Norton will proceed at once to relieve the distree and render such aid as he can.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 9, 1851.
Further as to the Storm at Prince Edward’s Island.
No news has yet been received from the west part of Prince Edward’s Island, where further loss is feared. Thirty vessels are piled on the beach at Melpome harbor. The dispatch gives account of the safety of the schooners Florence of Gloucester; John, of do; Hannah Grant of Newburyport; Lady, of Cohasset; O’Conner of Hingham; Sarah Brooks, of Scituate, and Vulture, of Newburyport. The vessels lost had many of them full freights of mackerel. Further particulars are promised tomorrow.
THE ISLANDER, Friday, October 10, 1851.
The schooner James, a fishing vessel of Newburyport, Currier, master, is cast away near McNally’s Mills, Egmont Bay - advertised to be sold on 11th inst.
The schooner Mount Hope, a fishing vessel of Hingham, near Boston, is stranded at Cavendish - advertised to be sold on Friday next.
The schooner Caledonia, (fishing vessel), Joseph York, master, of Portland, U.S., lies near John Shaw’s, Brackley Point, advertised to be sold on Friday next. She was cast away on Sunday morning at 11 o’clock, having lost her masts and rigging, she was left to the mercy of the waves. All the crew safely landed by a rope and by the assistance of the people on shore.
The schooner Union, of St. Andrews, N.B., Luther Matthews, master, is stranded near Mr. John Shaw’s, Brackley Point - advertised to be sold on Friday next. She went on shore on Sunday morning at one o’clock. At 12 o’clock at night she was struck by a sea, which carried away the main sail, the only sail left, she then became unmanageable and drifted for the shore. On the receding of the tide at day - light all the crew got safe to land.
The wreck of a vessel grounded to the westward of Cove Head Harbour, and immediately went to pieces, and it is conjectured all on board must have perished. About 60 barrels of flour came on shore, and some other articles of dry goods.
American schooner Triumph, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Frederick Hanniford, master, drove on shore about two miles west of St. Peter’s Harbour, on Sunday morning.
American schooner Alms, of Newburyport, John Aylwood, master, came into Charlottetown this morning in distress.
American schooner Banner, of Hingham, Mass., Isaac Marshall, master, split her foresail, arrived in Charlottetown this morning.
American schooner Constitution, of Gloucester, Mass., towed into Charlottetown Harbour
American schooner C. E. Haskell, L. Haskell, master, which vessel was found dismasted between the North and West Capes of this Island.
American schooner Naiad Queen, of Cohasset, Mass., Sampson Hunt, master, drove on shore at Tracadie Harbour.
American schooner Nettle, of Truro, Mass., Hopkins, master, wrecked on the North side of this Island.
American schooner Duroc, of Amesbury, Mass., William Johnson, master, drove from her anchors in Tracadie Harbour.
American schooner Henry Knox, of Cohasset, Mass., Perio Turner, master, ashore about four miles to the Eastward of Tracadie Harbour.
American schooner Charles Augustus, of Cohasset, Mass., Joseph Edwards, master, went on shore at St. Peter’s Harbour.
American schooner Harriet Newell, Thomas Burgess, master, of Harwick, Mass., cast away at Tracadie - two hands lost.
American schooner Lyon, of Castine, Maine. Master, mate and six hands lost, five of the crew landed at Cavendish.
American schooner Forrest, Page, master, of Newburyport, cast away at St. Peter's.
American schooner Mary Moultan, belonging to Castine, all hands lost - nothing found but a box containing the Register, case, etc.
With respect to the loss of life, correct results cannot possibly be obtained until returns shall have been made from the several harbours. The Coroner of Queen’s County started early yesterday morning for Cavendish to enquire into the death of 12 persons whose bodies had been washed ashore at that settlement. Several have also come ashore at Rustico Island, etc. In proportion of those lost between New London and Rustico, the total loss would exceed one hundred lives. We have heard that some hundreds of vessels succeeded in safely entering the various harbours from Richmond Bay to St. Peter’s.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 10, 1851.
The Late Gale at Prince Edward’s Island, etc.
Halifax, Wednesday, October 8.
A letter from Charlottetown, P. E. I., dated the 7th, gives an account of the recent fearful gale, which commenced on Friday night, the 3rd inst., and continued till Sunday night. The intelligence received is only from New London and Rustico, where it is estimated that at least 100 sail are ashore, and from 300 to 400 lives were lost, and it is feared that accounts further westward will be equally distressing. A great many bodies have been taken from the holds and cabins of the stranded vessels.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 11, 1851.
The Late Gale at Prince Edward’s Island
Boston, Friday Oct. 10.
No particulars have yet been received as to the late destructive gale at the East. The most intense excitement prevails at all the Fishing towns, as all are uncertain whether their friends are dead or living. From Newburyport and vicinity 70 vessels are out. The wife of the captain of the schooner Martha, upon hearing a rumor that her husband’s vessel was lost with all on board, committed suicide, leaving a large family of young children.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 13, 1815.
Further Particulars of the Storm and Marine disasters on the Coast of Nova Scotia
The latest telegraphic despatches from Pictou, and letters from the scene of the late fearful storm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and along the coast of Prince Edward’s Island, state that the whole shore is strewed with wrecks of vessels and the dead bodies of their crews.
At the village of Cavendish, (P.E.I.) the bodies of twelve persons had floated ashore. The body of a man with a boy lashed to his back came ashore at Rustico. There is reason to believe that over 100 bodies have already floated to the beach.
Between three and four hundred sail of American vessels succeeded in getting safely into harbor just before or during the gale.
The schrs. Florence of Gloucester, Oceana of Hingham, Lake of Cohasset and Hannah Branch of Newburyport, arrived at Pictou subsequent to the storm to repair damages. One and all give the most dismal accounts of the storm.
(Here our correspondent gives the names of a large number of "vessels ashore - crews saved," which vary from previous accounts only in a slight degree) he, however, adds to the list, the following: "Golden Gate, of Kennebec; Forest, of Newburyport; Triumph, of Cape Elizabeth."
In the list of Vessels ashore, with loss of life," our correspondent says: "A vessel grounded to the westward of Cohead [Covehead], and immediately after, went to pieces. All on board perished. Sixty barrels of flour and some dry-goods floated ashore from the wreck."
Two vessels were sunk, near Stanhope - names unknown; crews, doubtless, all perished. Five of the crew of the schooner Harriet, of Castine, were saved - six lost.
The schooner Franklin Dexter, of Dennis, lost her crew often men. Subsequently, five persons, perfectly naked were picked off her sides.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 15, 1851.
LATER FROM THE FISHING GROUNDS
MORE FAVORABLE NEWS
By an arrival at Gloucester from the Bay of St. Lawrence, we have additional intelligence from the scene of the late disastrous shipwrecks. The schooner Telegraph of Boston, before reported as having lost 18 men in the gale, lost in fact only two.
The Flirt of Gloucester, said to have lost 14 hands, was seen standing off the land, during the height of the gale, and it is thought all her crew are safe.
There are reports, not yet authenticated, however, that the crews of both the Forest and Statesman, of Newburyport, before reported lost, are also safe.
These if they all turn out to be true would give a total of nearly 60 men alive, who had been reported dead.
Gloucester, Oct. 14, 1851
Captain Cannay of schooner Atlantic, which arrived here this morning from Prince Edward Island, reports the safety of the following vessels at the Gut of Canso:
Schooners Mary S. Niles and Yorktown of Gloucester; "Thirkeen", and Science, of New London, and about 30 others.
A ship and 2 brigs are reported ashore near Rustico.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 16, 1851.
The Gale at Prince Edwards Island
From the Boston Advertiser.
Information continues to be received from various sources, giving particulars of a large fleet of American fishermen, who were in the vicinity of Prince Edwards Island during the late destructive gale. The information is gratifying inasmuch as it shows that many individual vessels are safe, some of which had been reported lost; and that the violence of the gale was confined to that part of Prince Edwards Island from which the most disasterous news was first received. So great was the havoc in a space so limited, that it was not to be wondered at that those who knew how large a fleet were in the immediate vicinity, should have had little hopes of their safety, and should regularly set down as lost any vessel which might have been reported so upon authority however slight.
A telegraphic dispatch from Mr. Eben S. Smith, of Provincetown, dated Eastport, Oct. 14, says: "I learn from an Ipswich man, just arrived from P.E. Island, that schrs. Dacid, Lombard, R. B. Rhodes, J. A. Paine, Arrow, Julia, and Mary J. Elliot are all safe. Schr. Millona, of Provincetown, is supposed to be lost. Schr. Eisineur, of the same place, is lost. The fate of their crews is unknown. Schrs. Richard and E. M. Shaw, of Truro, is lost; crew taken off. I am in hopes that the fate of the Provincetown fleet will be favorable."
The Gloucester correspondent of the Merchants’ Exchange reports the arrival at that place, on Monday, of schr. C. and N. Rogers, from the Bay of St. Lawrence. She reports leaving the Gut of Canso, 8th inst. and experienced the late gale severely, having lost foresail and jib. The also reports leaving at the Gut the schr. Telegraph, of Boston, with loss of two men. Capt. Atwood, of the T. had his leg broken. Also at the Gut, schrs. Mary Niles, Davis, and Diligent, Bailey, of Gloucester. Capt. Davis had his jaw broken. The C. and N. Rogers reports other vessels at the Gut, but gives no names.
An Extra from the Gloucester Telegraph informs us that a public meeting was held at Gloucester on Saturday evening; which filled the Town Hall to overflowing. Benj. Kellough, Jr. was appointed chairman. A committee was appointed to prepare a plan of action, to be submitted to a subsequent meeting to be called by the committee. Money was raised to procure information by telegraph; and a finance committee chosen to provide funds to be placed in the hands of the business committee if required.
The Telegraph also states, in relation to Gloucester vessels lost, that schooner Golden Rule was insured at the Gloucester Mutual Insurance office for $3300, and the Constitution for $2700. Schooner Garland was insured for $3500 at the Marine office and $300 on outfits at the Mutual. Schooner Lucy Pulcifer was insured at the Mutual for $3466. Schooner Powhatan was partly owned at Annisquam, partly in Portland. The Maine office had $1200 on her.
THE ISLANDER, Friday, October 17, 1851.
THE LATE GALES
American schooner Cohannett of Dennis, Mass., Josiah Chase, master, cast away inside of Tracadie Harbour, near the Naiad Queen, dragged her anchors. She is expected to be got off.
British schooner Shipjack, belonging to Liverpool, N.S., came on shore at Island on Sunday, and embedded in the sand. Ten bodies were taken from her. She had mackerel on board. It is supposed she had upset.
An American schooner came on shore near Darnley on Sunday morning. Crew saved. Part of the deck of another schooner, windlass, etc., came on shore at the same place.
American schooner Fair Play, Zekiel Cushing, belonging to Portland, Maine, 11 hands on board, was wrecked on the night of the gale, all hands perished. Part of the wreck came on shore a mile East of Tracadie Harbour. The vessel’s papers were found and a letter addressed to a person on the Island. Capt. Cushing was a son-in-law to Mr. Morrow, East Point.
The schooners Greyhound and Charles Roberts, of Gloucester, U.S., report the loss of the schooner Flirt, of Gloucester. about four miles from the Rustico Capes - demasted and water logged - all hands supposed to be lost - 16 crew. Another supposed to be the Brothers, of St. Andrews, NB., is now on the Cove Head Bar - three dead bodies were taken out of her on Saturday, the 11th. and another on the 12th.
The Cambrien from Rustico, belonging to W. Hodges. Esq., was lost near Cascumpec - all hands saved.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 17, 1851.
The Late Gale At Prince Edward's Island
Telegraphic advices received in Boston yesterday from the United States Consul at Pictou, dated October 14, states that Mr. Wade, the agent of the Insurance Companies, has arrived, in sixty hours from Boston, and sends the names of the following vessels ashore, with all hands safe:
Schooners Martha Ann, of Castine; Enterprise of Hingham; Gentile, Index, Blossom, Good Intent, Spray, Franklin, and Forest, of Newburyport, Wanderer of Beverly; Ruby, Sophronia, Commerce, New Haven, and Leo, of Frankfort; George, of Deer Island; Henry Clay of Tremont; John Murray, Fair Play, and William of___
The following are ashore, with all hands lost:
Schooners Portland, and Regulator, of Portland, Reward, Lucinda, Martha Ann, "not known" (so reads the dispatch); Montano, of Hingham; Grafton, of Dennis; America, of Newbeck; Bloomfield of Boston.
The following vessels are ashore, but will be got off:
Schooners Belle, of Beverly; Seth Hill, of Dennis; Garland, of Gloucester; Bell, of Dennis; Tammer, Lena, and Belverian, of Portsmouth.
Schooner E. E. Haskell has been towed into Charlottetown dismasted. Schooners Banner and Oasis of Hingham, repairing. A number of vessels are supposed to have sunk outside, and all hands lost. The coast is strewed with wrecks.
Schooner Telegraph, (of Boston) Capt. Atwood, arrived at this port yesterday, from the Gut of Canso, 8th inst., via Wellfleet. She reports the schooner Sarah E. Lewis safe at Port Hood. Saw in the Gut, bound home, schooner Edwin, of Newburyport. At Souris, schooners _uniata, and R. E. Cook, of Provincetown. Some fifty sail went into Tracaty [Tracadie] the night previous to the gale. A number of vessels also got into Malpacque.[Malpec, Malpeque]
The following vessels all belonging to Gloucester, are reported safe; Schooners Denmark, Montezuma, Ohio, Leader, Centurion, Orazimbo, Virgin, W.P. Doliver, St. Lawrence, Ocean Lodge, Pacific.
A slip from the Newburyport Herald, dated 15th, 10 A.M., says: A letter from Capt. William C. Page, dated Charlottetown, Oct.7, states the Forest to be lost - all hands SAVED. Reports being in company with schooners Mary A. Ames, Fulton and Paragon, the evening the gale commenced, and thinks, as they are superior vessels, they are SAFE. Capt. Page thinks there are about fifty vessels lost - three hundred in the different harbors, and the remainder of the fleet at sea.
The disastrous 3rd of October, 1851, will long be remembered in the annals of Prince Edward Island. The afternoon was warm and still, the sky was heavily clouded, but yet no indications of the approaching tempest was apparent, excepting a lurid brassy appearance to the north and nor-west about sunset: in the West Indies, the sure harbringer of a hurricane.
Note by TWS The above paragraph is from one of the Island papers. The date and name of the paper has been lost.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 21, 1851.
THE GALE AT PRINCE EDWARD’S ISLAND
The Gloucester Telegraph states that the schr. Win. P. Dolliver was at Charlottetown, having split her sails in weathering North Cape. Schooners Ocean Queen and Orinoco were safe at Tracadie. Schooner Baltic was also reported safe. Schr. Progress of Baltimore, was safe at Souris during the gale. Schr. Constitution, of Gloucester, before reported at Charlottetown, has sails somewhat injured. She towed into Charlottetown schr. C. E. Haskell. Forty-seven Gloucester vessels remained to be heard from, and a few which have been reported heard from remain in some doubt. Schr. Northern Light, Hall, arrived at Belfast 14 inst., with 300 bbls. Mackerel. Left the Gut of Canso during the gale, had decks swept, and lost bowsprit. Was in company with several Belfast fisherman, whom she left when the gale sprung up.
A slip from the Register office, Yarmouth, dated 18th inst., states that a letter has been received from Capt. Josiah Chase, of schooner Cohasset, of South Dennis, dated Charlottetown, Oct 9, states that his vessel got into the harbour of Tracadie before the gale commenced, but dragged ashore; all his crew safe. The J. P. Merriam, of Harwich was safe in the harbor. Capt. C. reports the following Dennis and Harwich captains as safe, (names of vessels not given): Remark Wixon, Daniel Doane, Ebenezer Marshall, (vessel of Hingham,) Simeon Wixon, Sears Kelley, Caleb Kelley, Elijah Smith, Elisha Rogers. Schooner Captain Sampson Hunt, ashore near close by the Cohanet. Schooner Harriet Newell, ashore, as before reported with loss of two men, Mr. Judah Gage of Harwich, and a Portuguese vessel a total wreck and condemned. Schooner Grafton, Capt. Grafton Sears, before reported ashore with all hands lost, is ashore, but her crew are all saved! Schooner ___, Capt. Isiah Kelley, of Harwich, and ___, Capt. Job Wixon, ashore - crews saved, but vessels a total loss. Capt. Bush, Capt. Lorenzo Baker, Capt. Josiah C. Eldridge, were in Malpeck harbor, but came off safe. The loss of the Franklin Dexter, of Dennis, with all her crew is confirmed. A great number of other vessels are ashore at the east end of the island with great loss of life.
N.Y. DAILY TIMES, October 25, 1851.
THE GALE AT PRINCE EDWARD’S ISLAND
We continue to receive further particulars of the disastrous gale. The Newburyport Committee who went to Prince Edward’s Island on behalf of the Owners of fishing vessels, belonging to that port, returned on Wednesday night, and brought accounts from all the Newburyport vessels, except two, from which nothing has been heard, when they left the Island on Saturday last. Capts. Bayley and Knight furnish the following statement. Of vessels belonging to Newburyport, 44 are safe, 19 lost, and the Actor, and Augustus, not heard from.
NEWBURYPORT VESSELS SAFE
Native American, (lost one man overboard belonging to Nova Scotia, and 57 bbls. fish off deck,) Cypress, Sarah Jane, Charles Appleton, Herzon, Harbinger, Atlas, Vulture, (lost one man,) Palm, Rizpah, Pioneer, Tyro, Gen. Cushing, Paragon, Mary Frances, Go Ahead, Freedom, Mary, Victory, Hannah Grant, Reindeer, Edwin, Elizabeth, Independence, Thistle, Lion, Mary Clark, Equator, Empire, Angelina, Mary C. Ames, Martha, Gem, Pearl, William, Mary Felker, Ada, Mory, Albion, Ellen,Warren, Herald, Elvira, Alms. Total 44.
NEWBURYPORT VESSELS LOST
James, Traveller, Gentile, Mary Scotchburn, Statesman, (crew often men lost,) Duroc, Blossom, Forest, Franklin, Index, Hingram, Spray, Good Intent, Lucinda, Fulton, Ocean, Ruby, Atlantic, Enterprise, Total 19.
NOT HEARD FROM
Actor, Augustus - 2.
The masters of schrs. Fulton, Ruby, Montano and Grafton, had chartered an English brig for $1650 to bring up their fish.
The Committee estimate that although some vessels have undoubtedly lost at sea with all their crews, the whole number of vessels ashore and lost, will not exceed 75, and the number of lives lost will not exceed 150. The following is a list of the lives thus far known to be lost, and the names of the vessels to which they belonged:
Vessels Men Lost Statesman, Fowler, of Newburyport 10 Traveller, F. Currier, of do. 8 Balema, of Portsmouth 10 Lion, of Castine 6 Franklin Dexter, of Dennis 10 Nettle, of Truro 4 Harriet Newell, of Harwich 2 Fair Play, of Portland 11 Flirt, of Gloucester 13 Mary Moulton, of Castine 12 Vulture, of Newburyport 1 Native American, of do. 1 America, of Lubec 9 Total 97
Several unknown vessels it is supposed foundered at sea, the crews of were of course lost. The committee visited the wreck of one about 80 or 90 tons, a mile outside Malpec harbor, but could not ascertain her name. She had an eight-square bowsprit, and from this they judged she was either a Gloucester or Provincetown vessel. She appeared to have foundered at her anchors.
The following is a list of vessels lost on the Island, and crews saved, belonging to other ports:
Schrs. Reward, of Deer Isle; William, of Portland; Regulator, do; Montano, Hingham; Leo, Castine; Martha Ann, Vinalhaven; Triumph, Cape Elizabeth; Mount Hope, Hingham; Oscar Coles, Portsmouth; Golden Grove, Kennebunk; Garland, Gloucester; Eleanor, do; Belle, Beverly; Seth Hall, Dennis; Grafton, of do; Naiad Queen Of ___; Chomet of___; Henry Knox, Cohasset; Caledonia, Portland; Melrose, Provincetown; Charles Augustus, Cohasset; Commerce, Harwich; Hickory, Portland; Governor, Boston; Wanderer, Beverly; Belle, Dennis; George, Castine; Bloomfield, Boston; C. E. Haskell, Gloucester, (dismasted); Norma, Deer Isle; Eliza, Lubec; Tickler, New London. Total 32.
THE MASSACHUSETTS GLOUCESTER NEWS, October 23, 1851.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - We mentioned in our last, that the Lieut. Governor of Prince Edward Island, had issued a proclomation directing all officers of the Revenue, Magistrates, and other subjects of Her Majesty, to render all aid in their power to the unfortunate fishermen of the United States who were wrecked on the Northern coasts of that Island, and especially to exert themselves for the preservation of property, and its restoration to the rightful owners; but it appears from what we learn of our fishermen who have returned from the scene of the late disaster, that the proclamation, though evincing the generous humanity of the Lieut. Governor, was unnecessary; for they all speak in the warmest terms of gratitude, for the universal hospitality and kindness they and all the ship-wrecked men received at the hands of these generous and humane Islanders. In the midst of the storm they were on the beach to render every aid in their power to save life. After it had abated they cheerfully offered their services to assist in the preservation of property. They bore from the wrecks the bodies of those who had perished, at their own expense prepared them for the grave, and administered to them the last sad rites of humanity. Nor was this all; they opened their doors to those who had no shelter, fed and clothed the destitute, and bestowed upon the sufferers generally every possible assistance which could alleviate their misfortune, and every possible attention that humanity could devise. At the instance of many of our returned townsmen, our exchanges in Halifax, and the P.E. Island papers are requested to make known to their readers the feelings of grateful remembrance in which the wrecked fishermen of Gloucester will always hold the generous hospitality extended to them in their misfortunes.
THE ISLANDER, October 31, 1851.
REVIEW OF THE GREAT GALE
Now that men’s minds have recovered from the shock communicated by the unparalled destruction of life and property on our North Shore, they begin to investigate the cause of the catrastrophe. It has been mainly owing to bad vessels badly managed. The storm continued an unusual length of time, but it was not severe, and the mischief was consummated within a few hours from its commencement. On our Northern Capes, not a rickety out-house has been injured that we have heard of, not hardly a breach made in the still more rickety snakle-fences, although exposed to the closest sweep of the blast. In short, we have heavier gales and higher tides almost every year without loss. Nevertheless, it seems probable that several American schooners capsized and foundered, besides what were driven ashore.
We have been informed that some are very cranky, and that others are broad, short, and low, and very unlikely to live in a heavy sea. It was, perhaps, a knowledge of the untrusty character of their vessels that induced so many Americans to court destruction by rushing towards unlighted harbours before a gale of wind mingled with a blinding rain. The following case presumes the probability that with ordinary good management, not a single life, nor a single vessel need have been sacrificed.
Donald Morrison, Esq., an enterprising merchant of New London, had a well equipped and ably commanded schooner fishing amongst the Americans, the night of the disaster and happened to be aboard himself. But Capt. Bell, instead of groping his way blindfolded to shore when the wind rose, judiciously stood out to sea. When day-light broke he made for New London Harbour, but when near the bar, he considered the land marks were even then so obscured by haze as to render the attempt to run too hazardous. He, therefore shaped his course for North Cape, which he doubled, without having tacked from leaving New London. He then ran down the coast and anchored under West Point, until the wind abated, in water as calm as a mill-pond.
As the American fishing fleet is always in land-locked positions, not one vessel should be considered insurable without a marine barometer on board. Another nocturnal storm preceded by a flattering afternoon, and a repetition of the late disaster may be anticipated on this or some other shore.
Schooner Mary of St. Andrews, N.B., has been lost on Hog Island in the late gale, and all hands lost; three dead bodies having been taken out of the forecastle.
N.Y. HERALD, November 11, 1851.
Mr. E. Smith, of Provincetown, who has returned from Prince Edward Island reports: - That Schrs. Grafton and Cohannet, of Harwich; Naiad Queen, and Charles Augustus of Hingham, have all been got offshore, and the last named sailed for home 20th ult.; Schr. Rival of Truro, had also been got off Schr. Melrose of Princetown remained ashore at St. Peter’s, and a contract was made with Gifford’s Screw and Lever Company of Provincetown, to get her off and deliver her at home for $775. The knight heads and forward part of a schr. with chain attached, came ashore on Hog Island, after the gale, name, etc., unknown. Appeared to be a small vessel. The chain was of three different pieces, from half an inch to seven-eights of an inch. Had a five inch stay; the jib was 16 feet on the luff, had no bonnet, and had one reef in it. Schr. Eleanor M. Shaw, of Truro, which was seen at Malpeque during the gale, has not since been heard from. Mr. Smith reports that a part of the stern of a vessel, much broken, came ashore on Hog Island, having Eleanor on it. Mr. S. visited schr. Eleanor, of Gloucester, ashore about 5 miles from the place where the plank was picked up, and ascertained that it did not come from the Gloucester vessel, which remained unbroken. A schr. is sunk near Tignish; had two topmasts, and the heads of the masts were above water. Seven or eight schrs. are sunk off the coast, between Cavendish and St. Peter’s, whose names are unknown.
Schr. Princetown. - No tidings have yet been received from the missing schr. Princetown, of Gloucester, and it is feared is feared she must be reckoned in the list of vessels lost off the coast of P.E.Island in the late gale.
ROYAL GAZETTE, December 8, 1851.
The body of a man, supposed to be an American fisherman, was found near Tracadie Harbour, about three weeks since, with a mark on his right shin bone, about six inches above the ancle, supposed to have been caused by the blow of an axe. Two other bodies came on shore at Savage Harbour, on or about the 28th ult., on the arm of one of them was marked, in black ink, William Wallace and Mary Wallace. They were both decently interred in the Presbyterian Churchyard at St. Peter’s, by order of James Coffin, Esq., J.P.
On the 14th inst.(sic), the body of a man was discovered on the beach on the North side of Malpeque Harbour, by Messers. Andrew and Benjamin Bell, who brought it across in their boat to Malpecque side, where they requested Benj. Bearisto, Esq., to take charge, and he having done so, caused it to be conveyed to a house near the Burial - ground, where he made arrangements to have it decently interred as soon as possible. - There were no marks by which deceased could be identified; the flesh was altogether gone off his hands and face; the supposition by all who saw him, was that he was an American seaman, as was his clothing, shoes, etc., were all of that kind.
ROYAL GAZETTE, December 15, 1851.
Picked up at Dead Man’s Cove, Harding’s Capes, New London, on Sunday the 30th ult., by Mr. Hugh Macleod, a Body supposed to be that of an American Fisherman, drowned in the gale of October last. The body was destitute of clothes, excepting a pair of boots and socks. On the inside of the boots was marked 8-27. The socks worsted, clouded, blue and white. The body was carefully examined by J. Pidgeon, Esq., J.P. and the only marks visible were a cross on the back of the left arm near the wrist, and on the inside thereof the letter T, and further towards the wrist was what appeared to be an anchor, but the flesh being off above the wrists, together with the hands and head, no other marks could be distinguished. He appeared to be about 20 years of age, and 5 feet 8 inches in height. A coffin was made by Mr. McLeod and George M’Kenzie, and the body wrapped in a sheet, was placed therein, and on Tuesday following interred by the inhabitants in the Church-yard at New London Harbour.
On Thursday the 4th instant, another Body was picked up by Mr. John Macleod, about a Quarter of a mile westward of Cape Tryon. There was on the body when found, a pair of American homespun trowsers, white flannel drawers, twilled striped cotton shirt, and red flannel do., new with about four inches joined to the bottom on both sides, a pair of coarse boots, with sparrowbills around the toes, and a pair of blue and white socks, cotton and worsted. The body was much mutilated, all the flesh being off the head, together with the lower jaw, hands also off by the wrists, and the flesh off the arms halfway to the elbows, no marks visible. He also appeared to be an American, about 35 years of age, and 5 feet 7 inches high. A coffin was made by Messrs. Mcleod and the body placed therein on the shore, having been previously wrapped in a sheet provided by Mrs. J. Mcleod, and then hoisted up the cliff by means of ropes. The body was interred the same evening, in the before mentioned church - yard by the side of his fellow fisherman. In both instances, the burial service was read by Mr. Pidgeon.
ROYAL GAZETTE, December 15, 1851.
A letter dated GASPE, Oct. 29,185 1, and addressed to the Postmaster, Charlottetown, has been handed us, wherein it is stated, that the Schr. Barbeanne, (Barbara Anne), Francois Candee, master, sailed from the above place, for Malpeque or Cascumpeque, P.E.Island, on the 28th of September last, having on board, beside the crew, the following passengers: Mr. M’Donnell, Mr. M’Carthy and family, and Miss McInnes, and that since her departure no tidings have been heard of her; and it is feared that she may have foundered at sea in the disastrous gale of the 3rd October last. Should any person have heard of either vessel or crew, they are requested to communicate the same to the Post Office at Charlottetown.
THE ISLANDER, March 30, 1852.
Schr., Seth Hall, of Dennis, got ashore on Prince Edward Island, in the gale of Oct. 3rd, was got off and laden with potatoes for Dennis via Provincetown. Sailed from the Island about Nov.23, and left Canso harbor 28th, since which nothing has been heard from her. She was a good vessel of 85 tons, two years old, valued at $4500 of which $4210 was insured at the Union office, in Provincetown: her crew consisted of Seth Hall master, aged 30 years, who was married; John Burgess, 21; Hiram Rogers, 30; and Freeman Berry, 26 all of Brewster, and two Prince Edward Island men. She had also on board the bodies of three sons of Captain James Wixon of Harwich, viz, those of Captain James Wixon, Jr., aged 24, Nymphas, 22, and Joshua, 20, and of Marcus Taylor, 15, all of Harwhich, the part of the crew of the late schooner Franklin Dexter, of Harwich, wrecked in the October gale. It will be recollected that Captain James Wixon, the father of the above, went to the Island after hearing of the loss of his four sons, and had the bodies disinterred, and identified the three above, and also that of Marcus Taylor. The body of the fourth son, Henry C., aged 15 could not be found. He made all necessary arrangements to have the bodies taken home for burial in the above vessel.
ROYAL GAZETTE MAY 3, 1852.
Eliot, York County, State of Main,
January 28, 1852.
TO THE EDITOR OR PUBLISHER OF THE P.E. ISLAND GAZETTE:
Please pardon the liberty that I am taking in addressing you - being an entire stranger to you, and also belonging to another Country - but I trust, when you hear my object in addressing you, that you will freely pardon the liberty that I am taking. I had a son lost off your Island in the ill-fated gale of October 3d and 4th; he was on board the Schooner Statesman, of Newburyport, which went to pieces off your Island - a part of which (the stem) came on shore near Malpec Harbor. All hands on board perished.
Myself and family have been extremely anxious to obtain his poor body, that we might have it brought home and interred in our family burial-ground. We have seen published in the BOSTON TIMES, within a few weeks, an account taken from the "Prince Edward Island Gazette," that bodies had continued to come on shore off your Island, and that you gave a description of some of them, and that they were decently interred in the Church-yard of New London. One of them which you gave a description of, seems well to answer the description of my poor son, except his age; you judged him to be about twenty years of age; my son’s age was about thirty, but had a young look. Your account says he was five feet eight inches in height, with a cross on the outside of his left arm, with the letter T on the inside. My son’s name was Terence (?) F. Goodwin. The five foot eight was his height; and he had a cross -I- or similar to this, with a star on his hand on his hand between his thumb and forefinger, and some other marks on the inside of the left arm, and some of our family are pretty confident of that fact that he had a letter T on the inside of the left arm; but I am not confident of that fact myself, but know very that he had others beside the cross and star. - He was of light complexion, with very dark hair, some enclosed will correspond near to it, with sandy beard and whiskers; his whiskers when he left home, were some long around the chin and throat. The clothing that he took from home I will describe:- He had an overcoat of blue; lining, checked, dark blue and light blue, long outside jacket, cut sack fashion, with blue baize lining, and large black horn buttons. Three pairs of satinet trowsers, or pantaloons; 2 pairs of thin grayish black; the other pair lightish gray - a sample of both enclosed, A rob roy vest - sample enclosed with black back, lined with white cotton, with bright buttons. One other vest, made of vesting, black and red, with a black silesia back, black vesting buttons. 2 pairs of drawers, one of them white cotton and wool, plain cloth; other pair all wool, blue with white spots - a sample of both enclosed. Shirts, dark blue flannel. Stockings, blue gray mixed; others blue clouded - yarn of both kinds enclosed. Mittems, blue and white, checked: knit double. Also an oil-cloth suit.
Now, my dear Sir, you will perceive that I have been particular to describe his clothing, as near as I can, of what he carried from home; he obtained some additional clothing in Newburyport, previous to sailing, but of what description I am unable to state. Now if you will have the goodness to ascertain if the clothing of this person will correspond with any of the above, and his hair and beard will correspond, and will give me information by letter, I should feel under the greatest obligation to you; and if it should prove to be his poor body, it is my intention to come down the last of May, or first of June after it, and I will see you satisfied for your trouble. Or if you can hear of any body having come on shore, and been buried answering this description, do my good sir, write me, and you will get the prayers of an afflicted family for your health and prosperity in this life and a blest immortality beyond the grave. And if you should get any information about this body, and should write me, would you point out the most easy, safe route to your place. Not knowing any man’s name on your Island, my only resource was to you, as Editor or Publisher of the GAZETTE.
I am, Sir, Respectfully,
Your humble Servant.
(The above letter was received by us a few weeks ago, which we now publish, with the view of obtaining from some of intelligent readers the information which the writer of the letter is anxious to receive, and which, hitherto, we have been unable to arrive at by private enquiry. The samples of clothing and hair of the unfortunate deceased, referred to in the letter, can be seen by any person making application at the Office of the ROYAL GAZETTE. We shall be obliged to any of our friends, who will enable us to communicate satisfactorily with the bereaved father, who thus appeals to our common humanity.) -- EDITOR, ROYAL GAZETTE.
ROYAL GAZETTE, May 24, 1852.
To JAMES GOODWIN, Eliot York County, State of Maine. - We are requested to state for the information of this Correspondent, whose letter we published in the ROYAL GAZETTE on the 3d May instant, wherein he sought to obtain certain particulars respecting the body of his son, which was stated to have been washed onto the shore of this Island, after the disastrous gale of October last, -- that James Pidgeon, Esqr., J.P., residing at New London, is the Magistrate who caused the body to be interred, (which was decently done) in the New London Burial-Ground, and that previous to the interrment he noticed on the body of the deceased the marks referred to in Mr. Goodwin’s letter. A pair of Socks and a pair of Boots taken from the person of the unfortunate man, are now in the possession of Mr. Pidgeon, and are in a sufficient state of preservation to be identified. Copies of the Gazette containing this notice, and the letter above referred to, are forwarded per Post to Mr. Goodwin’s address.
ROYAL GAZETTE, June 21, 1852
Near Rustico Harbour, shortly after the great Storm of Oct. 3, 1851, a SEAMAN’S CHEST, made of softwood, and covered with some kind of skin, greatly torn. The Chest, when found, contained a Silver Watch, and sundry wearing apparel, besides the Ship Papers belonging to the MARY MOULTAN. Any person or persons having claim to the above property will apply to the subscriber.
Rustico, May 31, 1852.
Excerpt from an article "The Great American Gale", in The Prince Edward Island Magazine, September, 1902, written by James D. Lawson:
."In an adjoining cove another vessel was aground, in which were fourteen men, none of whom had tasted food since the gale arose, and it was then Sabbath morning. Starving and with no prospect of relief at hand, the men were desperate. As a last resort they made two empty casks fast to ropes and threw them into the water. Presently these came ashore and were secured by the landsmen. The ropes by the latter were quickly fastened to a tree growing upon the bank and by that means four were safely rescued. Soon after that a tremendous wave lifted up the hull and landed it hard by the cliff. Fortunately all remaining on board sprang to the land and ran up the slippery bank.
At Rustico, another farming settlement adjoining Cavendish at its eastern side, three schooners were wrecked within five miles of each other - the Franklin Dexter, of Dennis, Mass., U.S., manned by a crew often; the Shipjack, N.S., by a crew of twelve, and the Mary Moulton, castine, by a crew of fourteen. The Mary Moutton was smashed to pieces. The unfortunate crew lie buried in Cavendish Cemetery. The Shipjack was beached dismasted with a hole in her side and a balance reef in her mainsail, the supposition being that she was "laying to," and was run down by another schooner. The remains of those on board were buried in the graveyard of the Episcopal Church, Rustico. The Franklin Dexter was owned by Capt. Wixon but was sailed by Capt. Hall. Capt. Wickson’s four sons and his nephew were on board. Three of the sailors forming the crew were found lashed to the rigging. Their bodies were horribly lacerated, their clothing being torn to shreds. The other members of the crew had disappeared. As soon as the aged parents of the Wicksson boys heard of their sad fate, the mother prevailed upon their father - an old gentleman of seventy - to hasten from Dennis to the scene of the disaster and bring home, if possible, there bodies for interment in the Family plot. When he arrived in Rustico, Capt. Wickson recognized some of his sons’ clothing drying on a fence. As most of the bodies of the crew had been found and buried it was necessary to have them exhumed. On the lid of the first coffin being removed, Capt. Wickson fainted, and on being restored to consciousness he fainted again and again, and little wonder, for the lifeless form of his son was exposed to view before him. He soon identified two more of his sons and his nephew. As he searched the shore day after day for the body of his remaining son he became despondent, having been unsuccessful. His case elicited such universal sympathy that the inhabitants generally joined him in the search. At length the body was recovered. The five coffins were placed in a large packing case and placed on board the schooner Seth Hall which lay near, bound for Boston. Captain Wickson proceeded to Charlottetown and took the steamer for that city. Reaching home at Dennis, at the time expected, he met his relatives and friends, who mingled their tears with his as they listened to his touching story. But waiting and longing and hoping and praying for the arrival of the schooner with her precious freight brought her not, for the Seth Hall was lost at sea and never heard of more. The inhabitants of the port from which she sailed did not at all wonder at that, for before weighing anchor, the Captain cursed the storm, and the devastation it made, and impiosly defied the God of the wind and the weather to prevent him from reaching his destination.
At the rear of Stanhope, another farming district, the writer’s native place, fourteen miles from the capital, the schooner Nettle, of Truro, Mass., was stranded with four seamen washed overboard. Even yet some persons in this locality have distinct but melancholy recollections of the survivors weeping over their fallen comrades. And people there, now up in years, well remember the nervousness of women and children, especially after night on account of the dead bodies on the shore."
THE ISLANDER, September 24, 1852.
THE MACKEREL FISHERIES
Probably but few are aware of the great extent of the mackerel and other fisheries -- It has been estimated that during the summer months, or rather between June and November, more than twenty-thousand vessels are constantly engaged in the different kinds of fisheries, employing no less than 250,000 men. By a treaty with Great Britain, American vessels are allowed the privilege of fishing within certain limits of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the quantity of fish taken from this place alone, is truly astonishing. The coast of Newfoundland yields its codfish to the hardy sailor from May to December, while the better class of mackerel are taken from August to October. Many mackerel, however, of a proper class, are taken along the Southern Shore of the United States, prior to this, but as a general thing, they are deemed worthy of little notice. The bay of Chaleur, along the coast of Prince Edward Island, the Magdalene Islands and Northumberland Straits, are considered the choicest mackerel grounds. Here the fleet of vessels congregated at one time will often amount to two thousand sail, although as a general thing not more than two to four hundred vessels sail in company. At night when the fleet is safely anchored, the lanterns lighted on each vessel and hanging from the shrouds, one may fancy himself looking upon some huge city lying in repose, with its lamps all trimmed and burning.
The bait alone, which is ground up and thrown to the fish to keep them around the vessel, is a very large item in expense (of) carrying on the trade. This is either herring, porgies, or clams, well salted and cleansed, put up expressly for the purpose. The average cost of it is about three and a half dollars per barrel, at least two barrels are thrown away per day in good fishing. You then have $16,000 per day, thrown away to the fishes, or say $100 per vessel for each trip, which is below the actual amount, and we thus have the enormous sum of $200,000.
The method of taking the mackerel is very simple. The vessel is "hove to," and the men arranged on the "wind-ward" side as many as can conveniently stand from bow to stern. Each man is provided with four lines, only two can be used in fast fishing. On each line is attached the hook which is sunk into an oblong bit of lead called a jig.
A barrel is placed behind each man, into which the fish are "snapped" as caught, the jaw tearing out as easily as though made of paper. Owing to this tenderness of the jaw, the fish must be hauled very carefully, though with great rapidity. One man stands amidships, throwing the bait which has been carefully ground, to keep the fish about the vessel, while the hooks are baited with any tough substance, either pork rind, a bit of liver or a piece of the mackerel itself When the fish bite rapidly, no sport is more exciting - a dozen men will often catch from thirty to fifty barrels in an hour. When caught they are split, gibbed, washed in three waters and then salted - the whole being done with astonishing celerity. -- ST.JOHN PAPER.
ROYAL GAZETTE, June 13 1853.
PAINTING OF THE OCTOBER GALE.
Last week we saw a very well executed painting of the disastrous gale which occurred in 1851, by which so many fishing vessels were wrecked, and so many lives lost. It has been painted by Mr. Thresher of this town for the New York Exhibition, and we doubt not will be an object of interest to many who may visit the Crystal Palace. The framing has been very neatly and appropriately done by M. Warren. (Haszard's Gazette)
GUARDIAN, "Old Charlottetown Column", 04th October 1948
THE YANKEE GALE
Transcribed by Garth Bulman September, 2002
This date, October 4, is a black letter one in Island history. It marks the ninety-seventh anniversary of the "Yankee Gale," which commenced on the evening of October 3, 1851, and continued next day and night with great fury, wrecking more than seventy vessels engaged in the Gulf fisheries, on the rocks and sands of the North Shore. The lives lost were estimated at one hundred and sixty. Nineteen of the wrecked vessels hailed from Gloucester.
Commencing at the east of the Island and continuing westward to Savage Harbour, fifteen vessels were driven ashore, besides a large barque from Europe in ballast. From Savage Harbour to Richmond Bay the stranded vessels numbered seventeen; in Richmond Bay, there were twenty-four, and from the latter place to North Cape, seventeen came to grief.
Twenty-two vessels lost the whole or part of their crews. The "Traveller", Newburyport, Mass. Lost eight; the "Statesman", Newburyport, ten; the "American", Lubec, Maine, nine the "Balens", Portsmouth, N.H., ten; "Skip Jack" came in with twelve bodies. The "Flirt", Gloucester, Mass., lost thirteen; the "Mary Moulton", Castine, Maine, fourteen; the "brothers" , St. Andrews, N.B., all on board; The "Mary" St.Andrew, N.B., all on board; a British vessel, wrecked off Rustico, four bodies in cabin and six in forecastle; a British vessel laden with merchandise, all hands lost; two vessels floundered off Stanhope, crews of both lost; a brigantine wrecked on North Cape, all on board lost.
At Tracadie the Schooner "Fair Play", Portland, Maine, was driven ashore, minus seven men, among them the Captain, his three sons and a brother-in-law. The "Franklin Dexter", of Dennis, Maine, came in with ten bodies. The vessel belonged to Capt. Wickson, his four sons and a nephew forming part of the crew. On learning of the disaster, Wickson at once came to the Island, found his way to Cavendish where the bodies had been interred, had them exhumed and placed in a large box which was put on board the "Seth Hal", about sailing for Boston. Capt. Wickson himself went by steamer, arrived home and anxiously awaited the schooner's arrival; but he waited in vain. The "Seth Hal" ran into another storm and was never afterwards seen.
At Rustico a dismasted vessel grounded at some distance; the crew fastened lines to empty casks, which being thrown over, floated to land where the lines were fastened and four men got ashore. Shortly afterwards a tremendous wave lifted the hull bodily, driving it so near the bank the others were saved. Near the same place three vessels came ashore with bodies attached to the rigging, their clothing in shreds.
The care given to the destitute survivors was noted gratefully in the New England press, and from Capt. Chas. L. Williams, master of the schooner "Bell", appeared the following tribute in the P.E.I. Royal Gazette: "Sir,-Allow the undersigned on behalf of his fellow-sufferers to express their hearty thanks for the sympathy and assistance received from the inhabitants of Princetown Royalty, whose kindness no pecuniary reward could repay, and to whom we shall ever feel under the greatest obligations, as their hospitality was extended in such a way as to cause us to feel we were really among friends who exercised Christian virtues that would put to shame many of our countrymen, or at least many sailing under the American flag.
We sincerely hope that any American who sees this will remember that in October, 1851, three-hundred men from American vessels were cast ashore in Richmond Bay, all of whom received every attention that could possibly be rendered them had they been wrecked within sight of their own dwellings.
The following items were transcribed from items in the Boston Daily Atlas by Fran MacPhail - email@example.com
Boston Daily Atlas - October 13, 1851
The Gale at Prince Edward Island and It Effects:
In Wednesday 's paper we announced that a terrible gale had swept along the coast of Prince Edward Island and its vicinity, and had destroyed a large number of fishing vessels, many of whose crews had also been lost; we have since learned that the gale commenced on the afternoon of the 3d, and continued until the night of the 5th inst. A few?vessels that were in Bay Chaleur when the gale commenced, put to sea, and have mostly arrived at various ports; but many which remained, suffered severely. As much anxiety was felt here to know the worst, the conductors of the Merchant's Exchange News Room, with commendable promptitude, and at not a little expense, had all the i?telligence that could be obtained transmitted to this city by magnetic telegraph. Prince Edward Island, the scene of most of the disasters, is about 100 miles long and 30 broad. A line intersecting North and East capes, its extremities, would run about W. N. W. and E. S.E. It is separated from the mainland by a channel some thirty or thirty-five miles wide. The Northeastern coast curves inward, with a bend of eighteen or twenty miles. Along this coast are several harbours, of which the principal are Cardigan Bay, or Three Rivers; Murray Harbor; Richmond Bay, or Malpec; Holland Harbor, or Cascumpec. These harbors generally afford a good anchorage, but are difficult to access, on account of the bars which obstruct their entrance. The shore is mostly of sand, which in many places is piled up in large hills, and the Northeastern shore above described was the scene of the disasters.
From the accounts received at the Merchant 's Exchange and other sources, we have compiled the following.
The schooner Traveller, of Newburyport, had been towed into Richibucto, N. B., nearly opposite P. E. Island, and no one being on board, it was inferred that her crew had perished; but a subsequent dispatch stated that all hands were saved. The Traveller is insured for $1200 on vessel and outfits, at the Lafayette, (Indiana) Office. The following vessels are ashore, but their crews are safe; Schooners Commerce, of Harwich; Powhattan, Golden Rule, and Constitution, of Gloucester; Bloomfield, and Oscar Coles, of Boston; Rival and Nettle, of Truro; Mary Scotchborn, James, and Alms, of Newburyport; Mt. Hope, of Hingham; Caledonia, of Portland; Triumphant, of Cape Elizabeth; Bangor, of Hingham; Naiad Queen, of Cohasset; Golden Grove, of Kennebec; Duroc, of Amesbury; Henry Knox, of Cohasset; Independence, of Newburyport; Good Intent, of Newburyport.
The schooner Telegraph, of Boston, is reported to have lost all hands. She had on board when lost nearly 60 barrels of mackerel, and the total value is about $20,000 on which there is no insurance. The following is a list of her crew, as nearly as can be obtained: Eleazer Atwood, of Welfleet, captain, about 35 years of age, leaves a wife; Wm. A. Holbrook, leaves a family in Charlestown; John E. Knowles, of Welfleet, 22, unmarried; Edwin Holbrook, of do., 23, has a wife and two children; Noah Higgins, of do., 21, unmarried; Joshua Freeman, of do., 23, leaves a wife; Theophilus Hopkins, of do., 20, unmarried; Alfred Freeman, of do., 19, unmarried; Nathaniel A. Atwood, of do., 25, leaves a wife and one child; David King, of do., 30, leaves a wife and children; Ebenezer Freeman, of do., unmarried; Thomas Newcomb, of do., 24, unmarried; James Taylor, of Orleans, about 17, cook; a Portuguese, name unknown.
The following are ashore, with all or a portion of their crews lost; Schooner Harriet Newell, of Harwich, two drowned; sch. Lyon, of Castine, master, mate, and six hands lost; schs. Forest, of Newburyport, and Mary Moulton, of Castine, all hands lost. We learn by telegraph from Newburyport, that the sch. Forest was owned by Capt. Charles Lunt & Brothers, and was insured at the Neptune Office for $1200 on vessel, and $600 on outfits. List of persons lost in her: William Page, captain, of Newburyport; A. S. Mansfield, Thos. Boden, Charles Knox, Wm. Cann, Thomas Brown, Thomas Crush, Mitchell Taylor, Martin Hicks. Schs. Flirt, of Gloucester, fourteen of her crew lost: Franklin Dexter, of Hardwich, ten lives lost; Statesman, of Newburyport, all lost; Hiram, of Boothbay, six hands lost.
A dispatch also states that the crew of the Wanderer, of Beverly, are bound home in a boat. The crew of the Belle, of Beverly, also left in a boat; and that the schs. Belle, of Dennis, George, of Castine, Garland, of Gloucester, Lucy Pulsifer, of do., Hickory, of Portland, Seth Hall, of Dennis, and William, of do., are all ashore, and the crews are supposed to be saved, as nothing is said respecting them.
Fifty bodies have already been taken out of the holds of vessels. In Gloucester, Newburyport, and other seaports, the greatest excitement prevails, and the families of those who are on board the various vessels are in a state of suspense, which is trly agonizing, fearful as they are, that the next hour will bring them sad tidings, of fathers, husbands and brothers, who have found a watery grave. In the town of Gloucester, every one id more or less interested in the fishery, and it is estimated that there was property in the bay, belonging to that town alone, to the value of $600,000 there being 140 sail fishing vessels out, manned by 800 men. The Mutual Office in that place, has risks amounting to over $400,000 on the vessels alone; and forth first-class schooners, averaging $400 each, were added to the fleet this year. The office being conducted on the mutual principle, the loss will fall heavily on those who ecaped with their lives, or who escaped the gale, and will seriously check the prosperity of this seaport. Most of the vessels were also full of fish, and were about returning home.
From Newburyport there were 65 vessels, manned by about 725 men, and Marblehead and other places have also several.
The owners of the fishing vessels at Newburyport have sent Captains Wm. Varana, Samuel Walton, and Mr. Benjamin Pettingill, to the scene, of the disaster; and from Gloucester, Messrs. Parker, Burnham, and Moses Tarr, as agents for the underwriters, set out yesterday for Halifax.
Schooner Palm, Tobey, from Bay Chaleur, arrived at Portsmouth 10th inst. Left Gut of Canso 3d, at which time the wind was West, and light. The night of the 3d, the weather was somewhat rough. Afterwards, the weather was fair for the season, and the Palm had made a very good passage up.
Fishing schooners Wellington, Lowry, of Portsmouth; Industry, Wilmington, of Manchester; and Wm. Gray, of Provincetown, were driven upon a small island in Richmond Bay, on the east coast of St. John 's, N.F., 21st ult, and it is supposed will be totally lost. The Wellington had on board 440 bbls mackeral, 200 of which were thrown over when she struck on the bar at the mouth of the bay. The Wm. Gray had 90 bbls, the Industry 40.
The crew of the Wellington arrived at Gloucester on Thursday, on the schooner Wave. There was insurance on the outfits of the Wellington for $1000, and on those of the Industry for $600 both at the Gloucester Marine Insurance Office.
PEI Gale - Boston Daily Atlas, October 14, 1851
The Disaster at Prince Edward Island - we learn from Capt. William Cook , that the Shoe and Leather Company of Provincetown have chartered the schooner Sunbeam, Capt. Smith, to proceed with their apparatus for getting off wrecked vessels to Prince Edward Island, for the purpose of rendering all the assistance in their power. The Equitable and Union Insurance Companies of the same place have also dispatched two vessels. Mr. E. S. Smith, Agent for the above Insurance Offices, left this city yesterday for the scene of the disaster, in the steamer Admiral, via St. John, N. B. Capt. James Wixton, of Harwich, also wen t in the Admiral, to recover and bring home the bodies of his four sons who perished in the Schooner Franklin Dexter, belonging to Dennis or Harwich.
PEI Gale of 1851 Boston Daily Atlas Oct. 15, 1851 Schooners Listed
The Gale at Prince Edward Island In a slip received from the office of the Gloucester Telegraph, we learn that the schooner Telegraph, of Boston, before reported with all hands perished, was at the Gut of Canso 8th inst., and had lost only two men. Capt. Atwood, who belongs to her, had one of his legs broken. The Telegraph has since been reported as spoken of? Halifax, and it is supposed that she may have put into Wellfleet to land her captain.
(Since the above was in type, we learned that the Telegraph arrived at Wellfleet on Monday. During the gale, she threw some of her fish overboard. Nathan A. Atwood, and Edwin Holbrook, were the two men lost. She reports the schooner Freeman, F. M. Dyer, to be safe.)
The Gloucester Telegraph Extra reports the following vessels as having arrived at that port since the 10th isnt.
Schooners Rockaway, Pearson; Halcyon, Reed; Arab, Stanwood, Ida, Marstons; Napoleon, Parsons. Several of them left the Gut as late as Sunday, and do not report the gale as being severe in that vicinity. From their reports, we should infer that the gale was not severe at the eastward of P. E. Island.
Schooner Ida, Marston, arrived here on Sunday night from Canso. She left sch. Romp, of this port, at that place on Thursday, 2d; therefore it is not probable that any vessel leaving here at the time or since the Romp sailed, could have been in the gale at the island on Friday night, as the wind was easterly at that time.
Sch. Pallas, Haskell, arrived at Rockport on Sunday afternoon, and reports having left East Point of P. E. Island on Friday noon, 3d. A large fleet was off the Pont, and about 80 sail were bearing down towards the Point. About 50 sail started from the Point shortly after he did, for the Gut of Canso - probably for home. This statement is confirmed by the master of a Westport vessel, (her name we could not learn) who arrived here on Sunday, who likewise states that a large fleet arrived at the Gut on Saturday, among them a topsail schooner.
Sch. C. E. Haskell, Haskell, of Gloucester, is at Charlottetown, P.E.I., dismasted.
The following vessels are supposed to be ashore, and many of them may be got off again.
Sch. Flirt, of Gloucester, Aaron Stubbs, master, allhands, fourteen in number, lost. The F. is two years old, eighty-five tons burthen, and is insured at the Gloucester Mutual Fishing Insurance Office for $3500. She was owned by Mr. Samuel Wonson and the master. Sch. Golden Rule, Bartlett, of Gloucester. The G. R. is 5 months old, 70 tons, and belonging to Messrs. John Woodbury & son, the master, and others. Insured at the Mutual Office for $3300.
Sch. Constitution, Tarr, of Gloucester. The C. is 5 years old, 67 tons, and owned by Messrs. Geo. Friend & Go. , Geo. Friend, Jr. and the master. Insured at the Mutual Office for $2700.
Sch. Garland, McIntire, of Gloucester. The G. is eighteen months old, one hundred and thirteen tons, and owned one half by the master, and one half in Baltimore. Insured at the Gloucester Marine Insurance Office for $3500 on the vessel; $300 on the outfits, at the Mutual Office.
Sch Lucy Pulcifer, of Gloucester, 18 months old, 80 tons burthen, and owned by Messrs. Robert Fears, David Parkhurst, and the master. Insured at the Mutual Office for $3466.
Sch. Powhatten, partly owned at Annisquam, and the remainder at Portland. There is insurance to the amount of $1200 at the Gloucester Marine Office.
The Gloucester correspondent of the Merchants ' Exchange, reports the arrival at that place of the schooner C. & N. Rogers, from the Bay of St. Lawrence. She left the Gut of Canso on Wednesday last, 8th inst., and experienced the late gale, having lost foresail and jib. Also at the Gut, schooners Mary Niels, Davis, and Diligent, Bailey, of Gloucester; Captain Davis had his?jaw broken. The C. & N. Rogers reports other vessels at the Gut, but gives no names.
The schooner Atalanta has also arrived at Gloucester, from Bay of St. Lawrence. She experienced the gale, and stood off, in company with schooner Flirt, of Gloucester, which has been reported lost, with fourteen of her crew. There is good reason to hope for the Flirt 's safety, as she is a substantial vessel, and manned by an experienced crew.
The Atalanta also reports, that during the height of the gale, she saw the schooner Alexandria, of Gloucester, and two other schooners of G., names not given. One of them was commnaded by Andrew Parker, and the other by John Parker. They were all standing for St. Peters.
A slip from the office of the Gloucester News, gives some additional particulars relating to some of the vessels reported above, and to others:
Among the fleet at P. E. Island during the gale, were schooners Flirt, Alexander, Mary S. Niles, and John, of Gloucester; Progress, of Portland, and the Tiskler, of New London; the Flirt, (whose loss, with all of her crew, had been reported by telegraph), being the most windward vessel. The C. & N. Rogers, Rogers, rounded East Cape Saturday night, and made a harbor in theGut of Canso, Monday, having lost everything from deck also her foresail and flying jibboom.
There were also safe at the Gut, schooners Mary S. Niles, and Yorktown, of Gloucester; Mary, of Newburyport, Juvenile, of Essex; George Osborne, of Provincetown; Franconia, of Wellfleet; Sea Flower, of Phippsburg, and thirty other vessels, a part of which were inward bound. Nearly all of the outward bound vessels were more or less damaged, and had lost boats. The Geo. Osborne had on board the captain and three of the crew of schooner Commerce, of Truro, to which vessel the Osborne ran down on Saturday, and found her in a sinking condition. The Osborne passed to leeward, and the Commerce ran into her on the weather quarter, then fell off, just giving time for the captain and three men to jump on board the Osborne. It was impossible to save the rest of the crew seven in number who were left on board the sinking vessel.
The Atalanta was also one of the fleet which stood off from St. Peters on Friday night. She carried sail during the night, hove to Saturday morning, and lay till Sunday morning, when it moderated and she made sail, rounded East Cape, and reached the harbor of Souris, between the Cape and Three Rivers. Capt. Cannery reports safe at this place schooners Clarion, Trenton, Three Sisters, Traverse, Mary Osborne, and Benj. H. Haskell, of Gloucester; Tirkeen and Science, of New London, and thirty other fishing schooners. Saw at the Gut of Canso, Tuesday night, 9th inst., Captains Hurd and Burnham, of the S. C Gilbert and Yorktown, of Gloucester, who came on board; spoke the Alabama, of Truro, on Wednesday.
Awful Gale at Prince Edward Island, Twelve Vessels Sunk With All On Board Numerous Vessels Driven Ashore, Etc.
(Halifax, October 20, 1852)Numerous vessels were driven into Sandy cove, and several went ashore.
We have accounts from Prince Edward Island, of a tremendous gale there on the 15th inst. A great number of vessels were wrecked, and twelve sunk at anchor, with all hands on board. The gale was also very severe at Sidney, N. S., and a number of vessels were driven ashore.
Boston Daily Atlas (Boston, Oct 21, 1852)
A despatch from Pictou to the Traveller, states that the following vessels were wrecked in the gale of the 15th inst.a Prince Edward Island: Schrs Atalanta, Ocean Star, Hannibal, Augusta Parker, Rio del Norte, Sunbeam, Devondale, Leader, John, and Girard, all of Gloucester; Mary Halker, and Eliza Ann of Newburyport; Edward, Portland; Candace, Brookville, Speed, Scotland; and Challenge, of Portland; and Mariner, of Boston. All but four of the above vessels were totally lost. Only one life was lost.
PEI Gale of 1851, Boston Daily Atlas, Oct. 23, 1851
The Late Gale at Prince Edward Island. We are again indebted to our attentive correspondents, Messrs, Chubb & Co., for important intelligence from the scene of the late gale. We are also indebted to Messrs. Favor & Co. 's Express for St. John. N. B., papers. The following is from Prince Edward Islander of the 17th instant: The schooner Cohannett, (of Dennis) Capt. Josiah Chase, which went ashore at Tracadie Harbor, is expected to be got off. An American schooner, name unknown, went ashore near Darnley, on Sunday crew saved. Part of the dec? of another schooner, with the windlass, &c., drifted ashore near the same place.
Schooner Fairplay, (of Portland) Capt Zekiel Cushing, with eleven hands on board, was wrecked during the night of the gale, and all hands perished. Part of the wreck drifted ashore about a miel teo the Eastward of Tracadie Harbor. The vessel 's papers were found, and a letter addressed to a person on the Island.
The schooners Greyhound, and Chas. Roberts, (of Gloucester) report the loss of schooner Flirt, (of G.) about 4 miles from Rustico Capes, and all hands, 16 in number, supposed to be lost. The vessel was dismasted and water logged.
The schooner Skipjack, (of Liverpool, N. S.) ashore at Rustico, had ten dead bodies taken out of her. A schooner supposed the Brothers, (of St. Andrews, N. B.) ashore on the Cove Head Bar, had four dead bodies taken from her. From another schooner ashore at Brackley Point, ten bodies were taken.
A large barque, in ballast, from Europe, bound to Richibucto, is on shore at Cable Head.
We hear that a number of vessels are to be seen in the Gulf, riding at their anchors, swept of everything, and all hands supposed to be dead.
The brig Ceres, of Charlottetown, P. E. Island, is reported stranded and water-logged in Placentia, coast of Newfoundland.
There is a report that a large ship has been driven on shore at the North Cape, bottom up, and that one hundred and eleven dead bodies had been taken out of her and buried at Nail Pond. We do not believe the report.
Georgetown, Oct. 9 The schooner Vulture, Watts, (of Newburyport) in the gale fo the 3d inst., lost a man overboard, named James Everett, of Nova Scotia; also lost her boat, flying jib and jibboom.
Schr. Empire, Dixon, (of U.S.) lost her jibboom and had her sails split.
Schr. John R. Perkins, (of Gloucester) lost her boat, had her sails split, and deck swept of everything.
Schr. Matamorea had her sails torn; reports that she passed an American vessel on her beam ends, with two men in the mast heads, but was unable to render them any assistance, owing to the loss of hers ails, and the heavy sea which was running.
Schr. Ocean, Reed, from Booth Bay, had her bowsprit broken off by a sea while her jib was stowed; lost foru bbls. Mackerel and every thing else which she had on deck at the time, including an anchor.
Schr. Guess, of Lubec, Ferguson, lost both anchors at the Magdalene Islands. Was in company with five other vessels, which had also lost their anchors. Schr. Sarah Brooks lost flying jib.
Several other vessels which called here had lost some of their sails, and went off again to the Gut of Canso, to get new ones.
Schr. Cadmus, Elliott, arrived in 7 days from Boston, saw a number of American vessels passing through the Gulf, all more or less damaged.
Among the disasters reported in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is the loss of the schooner America, of Lubec, Capt. Joseph Cahtarine, who is supposed to have perished with all his crew. The America was owned by Capt. Elisha Small, of Lubec.
The schooner Swift, Potter, master, was stranded at the South side of the entrance to Antigonish harbor, during the late gale, and is advertised to be sold 14th.
For an interesting Story about a survivor of the Yankee Gale, John Jay Watson who survived of the wreck of the Rival, see the "Whale's Jaw Publishing" page - http://www.whalesjaw.com/Gloucester.htm - Watson went on to become a noted musician.