Water Witch, The
DESCRIPTION: Water Witch is wrecked on a Horrid Gulch reef near Pouch Cove. Pouch Cove fishermen save some. The Humane Society of Liverpool sent "Gold medals to those fishermen who never knew no fear, The Governor's lady pinned them on"
EARLIEST DATE: 1912 (Murphy, Old Songs of Newfoundland)
KEYWORDS: rescue death sea ship storm wreck
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Lehr/Best 116, "The Water Witch" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle2, pp. 61-63, "The Water Witch, or Heroism of Pouch Cove Fishermen" (1 text)
Doyle4, pp. 78-79, "The Water Witch, or Heroism of Pouch Cove Fishermen" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: James Murphy, editor, _Old Songs of Newfoundland_, James Murphy Publishing, 1912 (PDF available on the Memorial University of Newfoundland web site), p. 10, "Bravery of Pouch Cove Fishermen" (1 text
ADDITIONAL: JJames Murphy, _Songs Their Fathers Sung: For Fishermen: Old Time Ditties_, James Murphy Publishing, 1923 (PDF available from the Memorial University of Newfoundland web site), p. 11, "Loss of the 'Water Witch'" (1 text)
Richard Moores, "The Water Witch" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
NOTES [250 words]: Harbour Main is at almost the southernmost point of Conception Bay. Pouch [pronounced "Pooch"] Cove is near Cape St Francis which is turned on the way from St John's to Conception Bay. - BS
The sources checked (Lehr/Best, Northern Shipwrecks Database, Doyle4) disagree on details of this tragedy, dating it November 25 or 29, 1873 or 1875. The casualty count also differs: nine of 20 or 11 of 24. - BS, (RBW)
Frank Galgay and Michael McCarthy, Shipwrecks of Newfoundland and Labrador, [Volume I], Harry Cuff Publishing, 1987, p. 93, offers that Waterwitch (one word) was a "Schooner, sailed out of Brigus. Lost at Horrid Gulch near Pouch Cover, 29 Nov. 1893. Eleven of 20 on board were saved through the heroic efforts of the fishermen of Pouch Cove." It mentions that Alfred Moore was given the Royal Humane Society medal for being lowered over a 500 foot cliff to help with the rescue.
There is a book by Eldon Drodge, Newfoundland Stories: The Loss of the Waterwitch, which I assume to be about this event. But having read one of Drodge's other books, I find that he invents things and calls them history, so I haven't attempted to see this. I can't recommend anything by an author who doesn't understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
This ship, incidentally, should not be confused with the American survey ship Water Witch, built in 1853, which served as a blockade ship during the American Civil War, but was captured by the Confederates in 1864 and later burned. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.