Captain William Jackman, A Newfoundland Hero
DESCRIPTION: "The fierce winds blow among the cliffs Of rugged Labrador." Jackman is on the beach in a snowstorm and hears cries from a wreck on a reef "some hundred fathoms from shore." He swims to the wreck 27 times and rescues all on board.
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Murphy, Songs of Our Land, Old Home Week Souvenir)
KEYWORDS: rescue storm wreck
Oct 9, 1867 - The Loon/Sea Clipper wreck
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greenleaf/Mansfield 145, "Captain William Jackman, A Newfoundland Hero" (1 text)
Ryan/Small, pp. 29-31, "A Newfoundland Hero" (1 text)
Doyle4, pp. 85-86, "Captain William Jackman -- A Newfoundland Hero" (1 text)
ST GrMa145 (Partial)
NOTES [366 words]: The site for the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City states "On October 9, 1867, during the worst storm of the decade, two ships collided. The Loon quickly sank and The Sea Clipper was able to save the passengers and crew of the smaller ship. Soon the strong gales drove the injured ship into a reef near Spotted Island, Labrador. Twenty-seven people on-board were in peril of their lives.
Captain Jackman was visiting the island and as [he] and his host went for an evening walk, they noticed the troubled ship. Few people knew how to swim in that day; however, Jackman was an avid swimmer. He made 27 trips through the cold October waters and each time brought a survivor to shore. The storm had claimed 42 ships and 40 lives; however, all were saved from The Sea Clipper because of the exploits of Captain Jackman."
Greenleaf/Mansfield has the date as October 29, 1866 and notes that Jackman's "health was broken. Queen Victoria sent him a medal." [The Dictionary of Canadian Biography notes that Jackman, born in 1837, died at the age of 39. - RBW]
The October 9, 1867 date is confirmed by Northern Shipwrecks Database 2002. - BS
Chafe, p. 32, says, "He was one of the famous seal killers of his day, and a brother of Captain Arthur Jackman. He will always be remembered for his great explot at Labrador in the terrific gale of October 9, 1867, when so many vessels were lost. He rescued 27 men, women and children by his own exertions swimming ashore with him through the surf." Ryan, p. 495, notes that he was the brother of the famous sealing captain Arthur Jackman (for whom see "The Old Polina" and "Sealer's Song (I)"); that he was born in Renews, and that he first commanded the sealing steamer Hawk in 1867 and held his last command in the Eagle in 1867; for the Eagle, see "The Ice-Floes."
Eldon Droge wrote a book, "Jackman: The courage of Captain William Jackman, one of Newfoundland's greatest heroes." I have not seen it.
This is not the only song about Jackman. Otto P. Kelland wrote one called "Brave Captain William Jackman"; it can be found in Otto P. Kelland, Anchor Watch: Newfoundland Stories in Verse (privately printed, 1960), p. 45. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
- Chafe: Levi George Chafe, Chafe's Sealing Book: A History of the Newfoundland Sealfishery from the Earliest Available Records Down To and Including the Voyage of 1923, third edition, Trade Printers and Publishers, Ltd., 1923 (PDF scan available from Memorial University of Newfoundland)
- Ryan: Shannon Ryan, The Ice Hunters: A History of Newfoundland Sealing to 1914, Breakwater Books, 1994
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