Presented by the
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site
to assist you in researching your Family History

Click on the graphic below to return to the NGB Home Page
Newfoundland's Grand Banks

To contribute to this site, see above menu item "About".

How to report a possible transcription error

These transcriptions may contain human errors.
As always, confirm these, as you would any other source material.

12 - A Sea Rescue



from The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories published, by Maple Leaf Mills Limited, in 1961

Every settlement in Newfoundland can boast of its past heroes I guess. So can the now-deserted settlement of Indian Islands.

Let us go back to June 28, 1912. The boats are out fishing. The sea is calm for most of the morning. Around noon the winds rises and the sky darkens. The fishermen need no further warning. Each boat hauls its nets in and the crews trim the billowing sails for a race to the nearest harbor, port of Tilting in the Indian Islands.

In one of these open fishing boats, Nicholas and Thomas Keefe, 60 and 62 respectively, are making good headway when they hit a "growler," a treacherous cake of submerged ice. In seconds the boat is sinking. And the nearest craft is half a mile to the windward.

Nathaniel Sheppard, his son Mark, and Mark's son Henry, a boy of only seven, are in this boat. Seeing that the Keefes are in trouble they change course.

Only 30 feet away from the Keefe boat, which is almost completely awash, Mark Sheppard let the jib fly in the wind, put an arm around the foremast, and with the boathook in the other hand, he caught the submerged stern as the Keefes struggled in the water up to their chests. Then a giant wave drove the stern of the Keefe boat through the hull of Sheppard's, leaving a gaping hole, so that now both vessels are in the same predicament.

Huddling in the cuddy of the Sheppard boat, young Henry plugged the hole with his coat, unknown to any of the others, and jumped to the deck.

Just then Nicholas Keefe scrambled onto the Sheppard boat but Thomas fell in the waves between the two craft, and was in danger of being crushed in the boiling seas. Grabbing a boat-hook, Mark fished him out. Then Henry Sheppard showed them where the rescuing ship had been stoved in. Undaunted they jammed another coat into the breach and reached port and a warm welcome with the remainder of the fleet.

For their rescue the Sheppards received the Carnegie bronze medal and $500.



Back to: The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories Menu

This page transcribed by James Butler, 2000
REVISED: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

Recent Updates Contact Us

Search through the whole site
Hosted by
Chebucto Community Net

Your Community, Online!
JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic
Newfoundland's Grand Banks is a non-profit endeavor.
No part of this project may be reproduced in any form for any purpose other than personal use.

© Newfoundland's Grand Banks (1999-2018)