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The Sinking of The Trixie H.



When the schooner Trixie H. left St. John's Harbour early Saturday morning, May 21, 1887, little did the sixteen crew and passengers think that a grave misfortune would befall them before they reached their home port of Heart's Content, Trinity Bay. The details of the events which occurred in Trinity Bay between Old Perlican and Trinity were presented in The Evening Telegram of May 23, 1887. A collision between the government mail steamer S.S. Plover and the Trixie H., a schooner under the command of Robert Percey of Heart's Content, happened around 10:00 pm. Although the seas were calm, a northeast wind had just sprung up, indicating an approaching storm. A few days after the accident, on May 26, 1887, residents of Scilly Cove (now Winterton) reported picking up wreckage from the tragedy which had cost five people their lives and sparked a controversy concerning the discipline aboard the Plover.

The Weekly Record, published at Trinity, recorded a detailed description of the accident in it's May 28th issue.

Captain Manuel, skipper of the government mail streamer, had called for a Marine Court of Enquiry, shortly after the accident in hopes of dispelling from him any blame for the collision. The findings of the Enquiry, consisting of Judge Conroy, Captain G. Robinson and Captain Green, were made public on June 8, 1887. The report, however, failed to satisfy some of the public, as is recorded in a letter to the editor of The Evening Telegram on June 9, accusing the government ship of lacking discipline and that the captain of the Plover should be tried for manslaughter. A second letter on June 10, reinterated that someone had to accept blame for the accident and that justice was not served by the Enquiry. Another letter, also on June 10, contested the statements of the letter of June 9, and felt that the Enquiry had done an excellent job in investigating the accident. The Weekly Record republished the Marine Court of Inquiry findings on June 18, 1887, adding some detail to the previous report.

On December 17, 1887, The Weekly Record, concluded it's reporting on the accident with a summary of the Supreme Court decision on the liability of the accident and the awarding of the costs.

The linked files are copies of the newspaper clippings, from The Evening Telegram and The Weekly Record, concerning the accident. Review them for yourself; or you can read a short commentary on the tragedy in the book Shipwrecks of Newfoundland and Labrador Volume III by Frank Galgay and Michael J. McCarthy, published by Creative Publishers, St. John's, NF, 1995, ISBN 1-895387-52-3.



Page transcribed by: James Butler 2000, with corrections and additions 2001
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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