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Page 72 - Shipwrecks at White Point: From a Talk with Bob Fitzgerald

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1 (172 reads)

And it came a great gale of wind from the northeast, and a blinding snowstorm. And they all tried to make to shore. And they all did make to shore. My father was out that day into it, too. And Myrne's-- Brian's wife--her grandfather, William MacKinnon, was out there. Willie MacKin? non was with my Grand? father Paquette. And they all made to shore but Rob. Rob Dixon never made to shore. The men, ac? cording as they got to the shore, they got to the pier--they tied their boats on and then they ran for the Lower Point. They knew that there'd be some of the boats go ashore there on the shore, because it was blinding snow and nobody knew where they were going. They had noth? ing but the danged old compass, and they didn't know where they were going. Now, my Uncle Jim Fitzgerald was out that day, when the wind struck. And he made the land and ran ashore at Little Burnt Head. And that's on the other side of White Point. And he had his two boys with him-- John Michael and George. But there was none of them lost. Now Jim Dixon--Rob Dixon's brother--he was out that day, too, and Will Daisley was with him. And he ran his boat ashore be? yond the other point up at Big Burnt Head (Beach). That's where he made. But Rob never made the shore. And the darkness came on, and Rob was gone. And the next day was blowing and snowing, and Rob was gone. And no trace of him. And the night came on, and Rob was gone. And no trace of him. Now, that was the day he was lost, and then that night, and all the next day. And the night came on, and Rob was gone. And no trace of Rob. But the next day--the people (here) didn't know it, you know. The next day. a steamer bound for Newfoundland from Sydney saw the boat, and picked her up. And the two men were in her--Rob and his son, Tom. But now, that was two days and two nights in the cold and snow and wind. Tom was still in pretty good shape. He was a young fellow, you know--he was only about 13, 14, some- Bob and Kate Fitzgerald at Dingwall thing like that. Tom climbed up the side of the steamer himself. But the old man, Rob-- Rob never made no sign that he ever knew. They said he was setting with his head down. Still setting in the boat, with his head hanging down. But they took Rob aboard. And they saved the boat. They hoisted the boat aboard, too. And they turned around and took them back to (North) Sydney to the hospital. Now, Sadie--that's Rob's daughter--Johnny Theriault's wife--now she gave you the wrong name of the steamer. She said it was the Caribou. Well, you know, the Caribou wasn't born then. (Not even the first Cari? bou?) No, not even the first Caribou. Now, the steamer that picked them up--Rob had a daughter born about a month before he was blew away. And she wasn't still christened, in the church.... And the word came from North Sydney that Rob was saved, him and the boy, and they were in the hospital. And then, Rob came back home. They took the child, the little girl--she was a little girl and she was only a month old--and they took her to the church and got her christened. And they called that little girl after the captain, and the name of the steamer. And the name of the steamer was the Beatrice. And the name of the captain was Capt. Stewart. And Sadie's sister, that was her name: Bea? trice Stewart. They called her after the captain and the steamer. That was 19-and- 12. I was a year old. The drawing of the men with the sextant is taken from S. G. W. Benjamin's The Atlantic Islands As Resorts of Health and Pleasure. 1878. See "Cruising Cape Breton, 1878 & 1884" in Issue 51 of CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE.
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