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Page 27 - The 1929 Earthquake: Two Memories

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1 (887 reads)

The 1929 Earthquake: Two Memories Capt. Raymond P. "Robbie" Robertson In the fall of 1929, Ralph W. Hendry, a Halifax resident formerly of Liverpool, N. S., and I, also residing in Halifax, jointly chartered the Lily M. Hodge, a fifty-foot-long wide-beamed freighter tug, powered by a 60-hp. 4-cycle Fairbanks Morse diesel engine, from The Thompson Bros. Machinery Company of Liverpool, N. S., to engage in the freighting of cargoes of fresh fish and general merchandise, be? tween Canso, N. S., and Louisbourg, Cape Breton. With a crew of three, I served as captain, purser, and overall manager. After having discharged a cargo of fresh fish, shipped by John A. MacDonald of Gab- arus, at Maritime Fishery in Canso, Novem? ber 18th found me on a return trip towards Louisbourg. It was a clear, calm day when we arrived in Gabarus at about 4 p.m., the uppermost thought in my mind being to de? liver to John A. MacDonald the $2500.00 cash entrusted to me as payment for his fish, as it was a sizeable amount in those days, and there was a danger of loss or theft. There was a Presbyterian Church lo? cated where the breakwater met the shore, and the road originally passed by the front of the church, on its western side. Later when the breakwater was rebuilt, a second road was constructed on the eastern side, or back of the church, for a more direct approach to the breakwater. CAPT. ROBERTSON CONTINUES NEXT PAGE Billy James MacNamara of Evanston I had sent for a gun--I've got her in there yet--a 36-inch barrel, 12-gauge. I'd sent for her over to (MacNamara's) Island (in the Strait of Canso). And I received her that evening by parcel post. And my father and I were trying her out to see how good she was. We had a big target down there on the hill. I fired a shot, and my father fired another one. So anyhow, I said to him, "Try another one again, and see what you can hit again." Put the gun to his eye to fire, down here, and all at once he started to stagger back. And Christ, I felt myself going around--I didn't know what had happened. I thought I'd taken a dizzy spell. And the next thing, this tremor came. It was just for about--well, you count 10. That was all. A lot of people said it lasted a half an hour. It only lasted while you counted out 10, that's all. That tremor. And the last sound I heard, it was just like glass bot? tles breaking up in the clouds. You'd think there were a million glass bottles breaking up into the clouds. Well, my father said, "Halifax is gone again!" That was after the Explosion. He said, "Another explosion in Halifax." That was after the time the two ships collided there in the First World War. He had heard it from here, that time. I said, "I don't know. That's a very dismal sound." BILLY JAMES CONTINUES ON PAGE 30
Cape Breton's Magazine
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