August Gale (Wilson)



On the twenty-fifth of August the gale began to rise,
Which left so many orphans and took so many lives;
Left there to stay for their last day, their friends to see no more,
For the Ocean wave it rolled that day like it never rolled before.

John Follett in his little boat about ten tons or more,
Was anchored on the fishing ground about twelve miles from the shore;
And when the gale begun to rise, they run to the nearest port,
But a heavy sea rolled over them and capsized their little boat.

John Follett and one of his sons clung to the wreck that day,
For eight long hours they drifted, exposed to wind and sea;
God spared the lives of those poor boys, all for to tell the tale,
But his eldest son got drownded in that great August gale.

Danny Cheeseman from Rushoon also went down that day,
The boat was passed with her two spars gone about half-ways in the bay;
To think on what they suffered, a stone would heave a sigh;
There were three men clinging to the wreck when Harris passed her by.

He tried his best to save them but the boat she did misstay,
And with aching hearts they were forced to part and run before wind and sea;
He done his whole endeavour, ’twas all that he could do;
May the Lord have mercy on the souls of Dan Cheeseman and his crew.

Another schooner branded new, built up in Mortier Bay,
Commanded by John Locklin from Red Harbour sailed away;
As she was anchored on Cape ground to the west’ard of the light ,
She had a dory gone astray that dark and stormy night.

The Annie from Fox Harbour also went down that day,
With seven hearty fishermen, no more to plough the sea;
And all of them being married men, which made the loss run high,
Excepting one, the skipper’s son, he was a single boy.

There’s six young widows left to mourn, I know them all quite well ,
With children small, no help at all to bear their troubles well;
If God Himself will lend a hand and look down on them, I hope,
Leaving widows and orphans for to mourn – it was a dreadful stroke.


Source: Lehr, Genevieve, and Anita Best. 1985. Come and I will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, p9-11.

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