Tobias Murphy from the Rams

Also known under the names “Tobias Murphy and Tom Hann,” “Tom Hadden from Petit Forte,” and “Tom Hann and Pius Murphey.”



Attention all ye fishermen, I hope you will attend,
Come listen unto these few lines that I have lately penned
Concerning of a disaster as you may understand
It happened many years ago on the shores of Newfoundland.

Two aptains in particular, their names I will bring forth
There was Tobias Murphy from the Rams, Tom Hann from Petite Forte.

Those men being on St. Mary`s bank whent he gale began to rise
They quickly got under way to save their precious lives.
IN under close-reefed canvas, they runned before the sea
And the very first land Tom Hann did make was the point of Golden Bay.

It was heaving very handy for hte fog was rather thick
With wind and tide upon both sides, it made a heavy kick
He hoisted his two-reef mainsail to clear him around the Cape
That was his only chance that day from danger to escape.
But he did not have it on her long when he was forced to haul it down
But he kept it on her long enough for to clear her in around.

And when he got her around the cape most dismal was the shock
When a heavy sea broke on him there, they say it was Briley Rock.

For a quarter of an hour the sea like mountains foamed
Those poor boys gave up their lives likewise their friends at home
The people watching from the shore they cast their eyes around
That they would not behold the sight of their dear friends sinking down.

Oh when the sea it cleared away, the boat lay there at sea
Men and women fell on their knees and humbly did pray
The priest he read a rosary out in the open air
Our Holy Mother riz her hand and brought those children clear.

Tobias Murphy he led too low, likewise was rather late
The wind it took him on the veer before he cleared the cape
In under a two-reefed foresail he was forced to bear away
And run her for North Harbour up in St. Mary’s Bay.

Peter Murphy he took charge they thought him best to steer
For the course it was not took off or the morning was not clear
But this poor man was not long in charge when dismal was his doom
When a heavy sea broke on them there and swept him to his tomb.

And Bruce who ran to help him and did not think she’d go
But the sea swept both of them away and fed them down below.

It was sad on board of us that day to see those two men drown
And to see that we could not save them, but watched them sinking down
Our boat was overpowered and seldom would she breathe
So we left our friends behind us in a wild an dwatery grave.

We left their parents to lament as you may understand
May the Lord have mercy on the souls of those two fishermen.

MUNFLA 68-2H p11-2. Lyrics in a typewritten transcript from Evelyn (Clarke) McTaggart, 1970. The song is preceded with this note:

“The first song on the list is known to Mr. Lake, only as “Tobias Murphy from the Rams.” He believes the disaster took place in 1890 or thereabouts. People from St. Joseph’s would be familiar with it b/c Petite Forte is not far from home, and they would know most of the people from there. Peter Murphy was Tobias’ brother. Mr. Lake says he heard this song from his father about 40 years ago. He says the reason the men were lost was that nobody was lashed aboard the boats as they were usually during a heavy storm.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *