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"Lady of the Lake"
Departed Belfast, Ireland for Quebec
Sank May 11, 1833
The Lady of the Lake was a ship that sunk about 250 miles east of Cape Race on the morning of May 11, 1833. Total loss of life approximately 265 . The brig was built in Aberdeen, Scotland and on this fateful voyage it left Belfast, Ireland a month earlier on April 8, 1833 destined for Quebec.
According to July 4, 1833 issue of Middlesex, London Courier , Captain John Grant gave the following account :
“ On the 11th of May, in lat. 46.50. N., and long 47.10. W., at five a.m. at steering compass W.S.W., we fell in with several pieces of ice; at eight a.m., the ice getting closer, I judged it prudent to haul the ship out of the eastward, under easy sail, to avoid it. While endeavoring to pass between two large pieces, a tongue under water in the ice struck our starboard bow, and stove it entirely in. We immediately wore the ship round, expecting to get the leak out of the water, but did not succeed. The ship now filling fast, the mate , with seven or eight of the crew , got into the stern boat; after getting bread, beef, compass, is etc., we pulled away to the north-west; the scene that then took place is beyond description; after getting the long bout out the passengers crowded into her with such mad desperation that she was twice upset alongside , drowning about 80 of them. I now attempted to save my own life, and succeeding in getting the boat clear of the ship, half full of water, with 33 souls in her, without oars, sails , or a mouthful of provisions. The last time I saw the brig (the ice coming between her and us), she was sunk up to the tops, and about 30 of the passengers in the maintopmast rigging. We then tried to pull after the other boat, with the bottom boards and thaufts, but got beset with the ice. We now expected a worse fate than those who were in the vessel- viz., to perish with cold and hunger. Next morning the wind changed to the westward, and we got clear of the ice. We then pulled to the eastward, in the faint hope of some vessel picking us up, and at noon saw a brig lyio ubder her two topsails; at four got on board of her, and found her crew just leaving her, the brig in the same state as our own, sinking. We, however, got some provisions out of her, and there being a boat lying on her decks, I got part of the passengers out of our own boat into it. In the course of the night it came on to blow from the south-west, and the other boat founded. All that now remained alive ( to the best of my belief or knowledge), out of a crew and passengers of 280, is myself, one seamen, 2 boys, 9 male passengers, and 2 females, 15 in all. At noon on the 14th, we fell in with the master and mate of the brig Harvest Home, of Newcastle, the vessel we had previously been on board of; and on the evening of the same day both got on board of a loaded brig bound to St. John’s Newfoundland, after we had been 75 hours in an open boat, half-dressed, wet, and frost-bitten; next morning, I, with the remainder of the crew and passengers, left the brig, and was kindly received on board the brig Amazon, of Hull, bound to uebec, where we arrived of the evening of Saturday last.”
List of passengers and crew saved from the wreck:
* James Fitzsimons of county Down
* John Grant, master
Reported in the June 25, 1833 edition of The Republican Complier, Gettysburg, PA (Page 4)
“Melancholy Disaster- The ship Amazon, from Hull, arrived below Quebec on the 1st inst. With sixty passengers on board, from the Lady of the Lake, at Belfast, which sunk at sea-Upwards of two hundred passengers are said to have gone down with her. The Amazon was at Quarantine, and the only communication with her had been by Telegraph. Further particulars of this sad event were anxiously looked for.”
Information Contributed by: Thomas Clark (April 2011)
Page Revised by Craig Peterman ( Wednesday, 11-May-2011 20:03:58 ADT )
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