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(Author - James Joseph O'Brien called "Jim Joe" who was one of the local Historians at Cape Broyle.
He was born in 1888 and died in 1985. He was unmarried.



The Loss of the John and Marie* also, the Loss of John Aylward’s boat

(Author unknown - probably Jim Joe O’Brien)

*(This boat is well documented as the John & Maria but I have left the account as written)

The John and Marie was a fore topsail schooner Beaver Hat rigged that meant she had 2 yards on her foremast.  She sailed from St. John’s for Cape Broyle with almost her whole sealing crew on board.  She was going to clear from Cape Broyle for the seal Fishery.  It was on a Saturday, March 2, 1857 when she left St. John’s for Cape Broyle, a storm of easterly wind and snow came on and late the same evening the John and Marie ran ashore in Brigus.  She struck Herring Cove Point on the west shore of Brigus . When the John and Marie struck the rocks she had on board 20 men of a crew and Captain Thomas Carew of Shores Cove, Cape Broyle, when she struck the land the storm was at it’s height with blinding snow.  The 19 men of the crew managed to un-launch the punts and while Captain Thomas Carew and a young fellow, James Greene, 17 years old (of Witless Bay) went up in the rigging on the fore-mast.  Early Sunday morning on March 3, 1857 when the snow storm cleared away Mr. Thomas Battcock saw the wreck with men on the foremast and quickly raised the alarm.  Soon all the people of Brigus were out to try to rescue the men from the wreck.  It was no easy job, as the sea was rough and as Brigus gut or channel was covered with slob ice making it hard work for to row a boat.  The men of Brigus by their courage and hard work soon took the two men from the fore-mast of the John and Marie and learned from them of the tragedy of the night before.

As soon as it was possible a search was made to recover the bodies of 19 men of her crew, all the bodies were recovered near the entrance to Brigus gut.  They were all made ready for burial in Brigus, most of the men that were lost belonged to Witless Bay so the people came with horses and brought them home to be buried in their places or harbour and only a few are buried in Brigus. 

Captain Thomas Carew who was 50 years old did not go to the ice field after that time.  If the voyage had to be successful the John and Marie would be the first vessel to clear from Cape Broyle for the seal fishery.  Mr Thomas Carew lived for many years after his spending many hours in a snow storm on the mast of his vessel the John and Marie.  He helped the economy of Cape Broyle in many ways, he was a Justice of the Peace for Cape Broyle and, also, was a special Constable for many years.  He died in 1883 at the age 76 years.

The young fellow, James Greene, of Witless Bay, who also spent 18 hours on the mast of the John and Marie, spent many springs at the seal fishery.  He was master watch for many years with Captain Arthur Jackman.  He fished on the Grand Bankss - all the rugged ways of life.  He died in the early 1930s.  He was over 90 years old.

James Greene has many descendants living in Witless Bay in  the year 1972 the John and Marie must have been first named the “Hammer” or nicknamed the “Hammer”.  Mr Jim Greene as he was known when jokingly recalling his adventures would say he “spent 18 hours on the mast of the Hammer” although at that time her name was the John and Marie.

The spring of 1857 was known at the seal fishery as the frostiest spring.  Captain Thomas Carew has many descendants at Cape Broyle and other places, even St. John’s.  He was married to Ann Coryear, daughter of John and Mary Coryear.  John and Mary Coryear lived at Shore’s Cove.  They were the founders of Shore’s Cove, as Mr. Coryear was a merchant for a number years, he operated a room on land on the North side of the narrows, that land is known on the chart of Cape Broyle as Coryear’s Point.

This is a record of a tragedy of the sea at Cape Broyle when two sons and a boy lost their lives.  The men were John Aylward, son of Patrick Aylward and Joseph Grant, grandson of the first family of Grants, that came to Cape Broyle.  The boy was only 15 years old.  He was a St. John’s boy, who came to Cape Broyle for the summer fishery.  This sad event or tragedy happened in the first week of June in 1875.  The boat or “Jack” as she was named sailed out of the narrows of Cape Broyle for the first time and the boat and crew were lost.  The boat was a new one - built during the winter.  The day gave promise of being a poor one for jigging or hand line fishing.  The sky was covered with heavy clouds, the morning was windy-looking and the Arctic current was in the water making it cold like ice water.  It was a little late in the day when John Aylward and his crew came out to the fishing ground and most of the boats were going out the harbour again.  John Aylward and crew were speaking to two boat crews who were fishing on the inside  fishing ground.  Those men told John Aylward that it was a poor day as the water was cold and no fish.  John Aylward said he would go out to Bamtam fishing ground.  It is about 1 1/4 miles east by south from Cape Broyle Head.  Soon after the wind increased from the west and blew around 40 miles/hour, and all the other boats reached the harbour safely.  As the day advanced and no  sign of John Aylward the fishermen said they must have anchored aback of Brigus head or in some cove, but they never returned.  She, the boat, was lost on her first day out fishing.  She was never tried for wind.  She may have turned over in a squall of wind as there is no account of her afterwards.  This was the 6th day of June in 1875.

NOTE: Below are the comments by Enid O'Brien, a local Genealogist and Historian.

Document 1.


According to the 1800 Census the founding members of the Walsh family were “Richard” and  Ellen Walsh. 


According to Fred Walsh Walsh they had “6” sons and one dgt.


Document 2


I have no comment on this document  It is basically the same as the handwritten copy.


Document 3

I have no comments on this document.   It wasn’t included in the copy I  have with his original copy.


Document 4

I have no comments on this document.  It is as written in the original handwriting of Jim Joe O’Brien/


Document 5

Other than correct the name of the boat to John and “Maria” the only comment I have is the Courier reported at the time that there was a crew of  “26” and 24 were drown.


Document 6

This account is not given in the original documents that I have.


Document 7

According to another folklore account (Fred Walsh b. 1892)  Re Walsh family there was another Walsh son named Martin.


The Grant family. 

He gives the founder of this family as being George Grant whereas the 1800 census gives the father and mother aa  Richard and Margaret Grant.   They had a son George and a grandson George.  According to Angela  (Kuffe) Dempsey (born in late 1800s) whose grandmother was  Elizabeth Grant (Kueffe, later changed to O’Keefe)  George was an English soldier and his wife was  Mary Murphy, dgt of an Irish school teacher.  This account is confusing.  I believe he knows what  he is talking about but is not expressed well as  there are so many identical names care must be taken as to the generations.   It leaves you with the impression that the Grants had no descendants which is not true.  Thomas Grant married Mary Cashin.  They left Cape Broyle and went to live in St. John’s.  He had a large family some of which died young but he had two sons when he died.


The Coady family

This account differs from the account given by my mother (whose mother was Johannah Coady).  James Coady (born in 1840 was my mother’s grandfather).  She related that her family were descending from James Coady and a girl Ellis from Ferryland.  I could confirm this in the records.  Also, on the Voter’s list for Cape Broyle in 1840  there is only one James Coady.  As her grandfather was born in 1840 it couldn’t possibly be him.  Also, I have in my possession  a land grant when James Coady bought land next to Kearsey’s on the Southside of  Cape Broyle.  This couldn’t be James born in 1840 as he would be only 8 years old??  I believe there was  an Edward married to a Ryan because they were definitely related but Edward was the brother of  James (father of James married to Bridget Boland).



Page transcribed by Enid O'Brien (February, 2002)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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