1925 Eliza

Unfortunately there is only a small amount of information about the Eliza available, but what is known is that on October 18, 1925, the schooner Eliza left St. John’s Newfoundland for Riverhead St. Mary’s and was last seen later that evening off the coast of Cape Race. She had a crew of three men: Captain James Ahearn (age 25), his brother Jack Ahearn (age 18) and Peter Bonia (age 24). It is assumed that the Eliza encountered heavy storms and was lost with all her crew.

When the ship was initially reported as missing, telegrams and wireless cables were dispatched along the coast. Postal Telegraph operators were also notified. The family and friends of Bonia and the Ahearn’s lived in hope that a foreign vessel had saved the survivors. By December 26, 1925, it was accepted that the Eliza and all those on board had been lost.

A memorial letter was published in The Daily Globe, which provides details about the incident and the men involved. Capt. James Ahearn had been “coasting” for several years (the use of coasting here likely means that he had been travelling along the coast for several years, probably carrying cargo), and had previously fished for many years out of Boston. He had only been at home for about a year when the Eliza was lost. His brother Jack had been away from home for less than a year when the incident occurred. Little is known of Peter Bonia, except he left a father and sister behind. His mother had passed away previous to the incident and according to the letter is “waiting to meet him on that heavenly shore where God has called his own.” A high mass was held at St. Patrick’s church for the three men.


Unknown. 1925. “In Memoriam” [Letter to the Editor of The Daily Globe]. The Daily Globe (St. John’s), December 29. [Or December 26, 1925]


Ship and Crew Gone Missing

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