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(Weekly Record, March 12, 1892)

Further Details Anent (About) Recent Disaster

Captain Fowlow's Report

Dear Sir: - The following is a short account of our doings while out searching Trinity Bay on Sunday and Monday, the 28th and 29th ult.

On Sunday morning two men from English Harbor came to me to know if I would go out in the Bay in my schooner to have a look for missing men. The schooner was all ready, having been fitted out a day or two before to proceed to the seal fishery as soon as a time offered. I immediately hoisted my flag and soon had a volunteer crew. By half-past ten we were under weigh. We sailed out to the Horse Chops, and from thence to the edge of the ice, - about two miles from the Chops. We ran along by the edge of the ice, which carried us nearly over to Old Perlican, without seeing anything worthy of note. A lookout was kept on the mainmast head by a spyglass all the time. We then left the ice, and ran up the shore in the direction I thought anything would drift the night before, keeping 3 and 4 men in the rigging all the time. When we got up abreast Hants Harbor, and about two miles from the land, we came across a punt's peggin, an oar and a spread belonging to some swamped punt. We saw nothing more until we ran as far as Scilly Cove. about a mile from there we saw a punt full of water, rounded the schooner to, and sailed up near the punt. In her we found two dead men, Solomon Penny and John Nurse. We took the bodies on board and laid them out in the hold. This was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We ran on again, with every eye on board on the look out, as far as Heart's Content. We thought to get in here, but could not for ice. Seeing we could not get in anywhere on the South Side of the Bay, we shaped our course for Upper Deer Harbor. I intended to search the ice further up the Bay next day, but on our way across we saw a smoke rising at Heart's Delight, which we knew was a smoke signal for us. Hove around and reached in for that place, but ice prevented us from getting in to land. Night coming on we reached across the Bay again for Deer Harbor, which we reached at 11 o'clock in the night. We were at work again next morning at dawn; but the ice had frozen fully an inch thick while we were anchored and we were obliged to break it with punts on each side of the schooner. After a time of hard work we got clear, and sailed across the Bay as far to windward as the wind would allow, spying in every direction all the time. On the way across the Bay I spied from the mainmast head two boats on the ice a long distance to windward. Being unable to reach them in the schooner, I sent a crew away in punt to get to them and bring whatever men they could find, dead or alive. by 2 o'clock, p.m. the wind became very light, and seeing I could not get to land in the schooner, I sent away another punt and 4 men to row to land, trying all the time to work the schooner nearer to land and in the direction I had sent the first punt. The first crew returned about half-past three and reported the boats on the ice deserted. We concluded from that that the men had reached the land, and that was the cause of the signals made to us on Sunday. After our crew got aboard we ran to leeward around a point of ice, and got as near the land as the ice would permit, when we spied our second punt and three others coming from the land. I knew at once they were some of the men we were in search for. When they came alongside I was delighted to find there were 16 men alive and well. They had been rescued by the Heart's Delight people the day before. Being then late in the afternoon, the drift ice running down the shore we made all speed to get clear, to avoid being "nipped" on the straight shore. By dark we were clear of the land. I intended to beat farther up the Bay, but finding it impossible to do so owing to ice, I shaped my course for Trinity, which we reached at 9 o'clock on Tuesday morning, after a hard night's work breaking ice to get the schooner through.

Thanking you for space, I am,
Yours truly,

Richard Fowlow
Master schr. Rosscleer

March 5th.

Statement of William Day

Saturday February 27th I left my house about seven o'clock with my cousin, Charles Day, to go out in the Bay in search of seals. We rowed off in the Bay until we was about 3 1/2 miles off the Horse Chops when observing dark clouds rising to the Northward we turned our boat and rowed for the Horse Chops that being the nearest land. There were several other boats near us, John Moore, John Bannister and John Wells and another two-handed boat, George Ivany of English Harbor, alongside us. All the punts rowed for the Horse Chops but the four-oared punts rowed away from us, wit the exception of George Ivany who kept near us. We rowed for about two hours and our punt becoming frozen up with the water continually coming over her, and being in the exhausted condition, we saw that there was no hope of getting in to the Horse Chops. George Ivany then put up his sail and headed her in the Bay. He was about one hundred yards to windward of us then, so we signalled to him and he took down his sail and came down to us. I said "we have no sail, so let us all go together in one punt". considering my punt to be better than his he took his sail and paddles and got in with us. There were four of us now in a little punt about ten feet keel and the nearest land we had any hopes of getting to was fully sixteen miles from us. We put up our sail and headed her in the Bay not knowing what moment would be the last. We almost filled her two or three times but managed to free her again. The water was all the time coming over us, which, with intense cold, was piercing. Our little boat got frozen up and she wouldn't make any way ahead, so I took a powder horn and pounded the ice off as well as I could. George Ivany steered her with a paddle crouched down in the stern of her, while Charles Day rowed one paddle when not heaving water, which occupied most of his time. The other man, Edward Pottle, had to lie down in the bottom of her amidships, and the water and slob would be up around his legs sometimes. I stood up and looked out for pans of ice as long as I could stand, and then had to kneel down in the water on the sheets and look out. We were all near exhausted with cold and wet and scarcely able to speak, when George Ivany said "I see the land", which cheered us up very much. This was Bonaventure Head, about two miles to the windward of us. Shortly after I missed Charles Day's paddle, he was rowing behind me, and looking around I saw his hand going as if he was rowing. I knew at once that the poor fellow was dying, and the next moment he fell backwards on poor Pottle, who was still lying in the bottom of her. I took him hold and begged him to try and live a few minutes longer as we would soon be to land, but he did not answer me and never spoke again. Poor Pottle lost his cap, so he put a jacket over his head and he would keep asking us if we were near land. We cheered him up as well as we could but he was frozen down in the bottom of her, with the other man dead across him, as we did not have room to move him in one small punt. He was continuously getting weaker, but we were very near the land when he died. We got to the entrance of Ireland's Eye Harbor, but had not the strength to row in so we kept away for the Thoroughfare. We saw another punt coming up to leeward of us and we both reached the land together. We asked him where he belonged. It was John Hiscock of Salmon Cove, although belonging to the same place we were frozen up so much and frostbitten, we did not know each other. We had two men dead in our punt, and he had two men given up in his. We were not able to row in the Thoroughfare, and had to land out on the point about a mile from the nearest house, John Ivany's, Old Tilt. When we landed we were almost all alkine, one scarcely able to help the other. Fortunately John Hiscock had some dry matches and got a fire, while I started for John Ivany's to try and get some help for the others. I had to go over hills and rocks and through woods, sometimes I would get exhausted altogether and wouldn't be able to see. Then I would stop for a few minutes and get revived again. God only knows how, at length I reached John Ivany's, just at dusk. I said to him "go to the Thoroughfare Point as quick as possible, you will find men there some dead and some alive." He went on at once and soon returned with the living men. By that time there was a boat got there from Ireland's Eye and brought in the dead bodies. Our warmest thanks are due to John Ivany and sons, as I believe them to be the means under God of saving our lives on dreadful day.

The people of Ireland's Eye acted nobly towards us doing all in their power to help us, even fitting out a punt to bring us home, but slob prevented them so they landed us in Trouty. We got home about sunset on the following Monday. I pray God never to let me pass through the like again.

William Day.

Transcribed by James Butler, 1997
Revised by Jim Butler, September, 2002



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