Page 30 - North Sydney Harbour Tragedy
ISSUE : Issue 20
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/8/1
up, handing it to Campbell, as he felt that both Campbell and his brother would stand a better chance on separate lines. Bethel Keenan, Capt. William Cann, and Jer? emiah Downey had gone down before lines could be thrown. Capt. Thomas Hackett now swam for the ship and, seizing the martin? gale, held on with both hands imtil they were numb. Then he took a grip with his teeth as well. Finally he was pulled on board by the crew. Meanwhile, the two men on the lines had been pulled safely aboard. The bodies of Capt. Cann and Downey were washed ashore at South Bar, a short dis? tance from each other, a few days later. On Cann's hand was his wife's wedding ring. The body of Keenan was never found. Now the brigantine G. J. Troop was in as much danger as ever; but now there were three more aboard. Excitement and anxiety reigned in North Sydney and "Sydney Mines. No one was certain about the fate of the rescuers whose boat had been seen to cap? size. Most of the people of the two towns gathered at one time or another on the cliffs overlooking the scene while the winds blew and the waves dashed over the doomed ship. At night fires were made a- long the cliff to warm the watchers and to give a light of hope to those on the ship. The day after the disaster, a 24-pound gun was brought to the shore in a vain attempt to shoot a line to the ship. The ship continued to pound and she was gradually breaking up. On the third day, when her bottom was about gone and her cargo was spilling into the sea, as the crew cut her spars, she worked nearer and nearer the cliffs. On the fourth day, Capt. George Burchell of Sydney in charge of the Virgo, bound from Halifax to Sydney, on approaching the harbour, saw the plight of the wrecked ship. He ordered lifeboats lowered. As the Our thanks to Elva Jackson for her permisi wind was now abating and the waves were slackening, they were able to rescue the crew plus the three would-be-rescuers and take them all to North Sydney. The vessels broke up and the coal was scat? tered along the shore only a few miles from where it had been mined. The citizens of North Sydney in grateful memory subscribed the monument represent? ing the broken spar adorned with a wreath. This you may see in Lakeside Cemetery, North Sydney, with the inscription: "In Memory of William B. Cann, Bethel Keen? an and Jeremiah Downey, who lost their lives on the 1st day of Dec. 1874 in the attempt to rescue the crew of the Brigan? tine G. J. Troop which grounded on Cran? berry Head." sion to reprint this story, which first ap? peared in the Gape Breton Post, 1957t and m a slightly different form, in her book WINDOVTON" THE PAST; NORTH SYDNEY. She is also the author of the very interesti"ng CAPE BRETON AND THE JACKSON KITH AND KIN Blue Heron Gift ShopT BADDECK, N. S. 295-3424 V/ Gifts For All Occasions J>' MARG and LLOYD MacEACHERN • ' • ??>*?? You can do your laundry Buy some ice Get milk or meat or fruit, so nice For candy, jokes and some surprises Come to GEORGE'S ENTERPRISES. • Baddeck* At Cheticamp, N. S. On the Scenic Cabot Trail Laurie's Motel 21 Units Dining Room for Lunches or Full Meals Ph'fie: 224-2400 rENTRAl AND EASTERN ' TRUST COMPANY SENIOR VIP PUN lfyMi'k?60orover this canl entities you to some extra privikges. aNTRAl AND EASTERN TRUST OOMMNY 225 Ckarlottc StoMt. Sydnajr 539-9210 S,
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