Maggie Hunter, The

DESCRIPTION: The Maggie Hunter leaves Oswego bound for Toronto, but runs into a gale. Various crew members do their best, but the ship is lost, with only bits recovered. Six months later, the cook's body is found. Listeners are told to remember whenever a storm blows
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1933 (collected from William Head by Walton)
KEYWORDS: corpse death drowning ship disaster storm wreck moniker cook sailor
FOUND IN: Canada(Ont)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Walton/Grimm/Murdock, pp. 194-196, "Loss of the Maggie Hunter" (1 text, heavily composite)
Roud #3841
C. H. J. Snider, "The 'Maggie Hunter'" (on GreatLakes1)
cf. "The Persian's Crew" (subject, tune)
NOTES [179 words]: Snider said he learned the song in July of 1947. Fowke reports that it was widespread in the Prince Edward County area (where the cook's body came ashore) in the 1880s, but has not been reported elsewhere. - PJS
This seems to be true. Walton's version is based on material from six different informants, all from Ontario (towns Picton, Port Credit, Bront, and Hillier)
The history of the ship itself is more uncertain. Fowke's notes apparently caused Paul Stamler to write this historicaly reference: "Oct. 13, 1876 -- telegram to ship's owner announces the coming ashore of the Maggie Hunter's cabin work (acc." Walton/Grimm/Murdock, though, report that it was in the "early 1880s" that the Maggie Hunter sailed from Oswego to Toronto with a load of coal and was lost.
I checked four references on Great Lakes shipping; none of them mention the Maggie Hunter. None of the four are comprehensive, but one tried to be, and all tend to emphasize "good stories." it seems the story of the Maggie Hunter is known primarily from this song, not from historical records. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.4
File: RcTMagHu

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