DESCRIPTION: Ocean Queen is lost in rough weather in winter on George's Banks. The crew are all drowned. The captain's wife is left alone; "there's fathers, sons, and brothers that drowned in the deep."
EARLIEST DATE: 1932 (Creighton-NovaScotia)
KEYWORDS: drowning death mourning sea ship storm wreck wife family sailor disaster
Nov 27, 1851 - The Ocean Queen, out of Gloucester, sinks at George's Bank (Northern Shipwrecks Database)
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 136, "Ocean Queen" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST CrNS136 (Partial)
Pat Critch, "Captain Spinney" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
NOTES [256 words]: Although the Northern Shipwrecks Database may have found the original wreck described in this song (see the Historical References), there are difficulties. Berman does not list the wreck; neither does Hudson/Nicholls, though the latter is not intended to be comprehensive.
What's more, Ratigan, pp. 196-198, prints a different song (reportedly by Kate Weaver) about the wreck of a ship named Ocean Queen (which, in this case, perishes by fire). But Ratigan says there was no known disaster involving an Ocean Queen. Ratigan, p. 195, thinks the ship involved was actually the G. P. Griffith, which burned (according to Berman, p. 245) with the loss of 286 lives on June 17, 1850 -- almost the same time as the George's Bank wreck, note. One has to think there is confusion in there somewhere -- though more likely involving Ratigan's song than this one.
Incidentally, the name Ocean Queen seems to have been singularly ill-fated (a mariner might perhaps explain this on the grounds that the name would be an offense to the sea goddess); in addition to the ships listed above, Guttridge, p.120fff., tells of a mailship, the Ocean Queen, which suffered an attempted mutiny in 1864 -- almost the only genuine mutiny in American nautical history. - RBW
To pin this down further, Northern Shipwrecks Database has George Spinney as captain of the Ocean Queen; the MUNFLA/Leach version says the Ocean Queen was "commanded by young Spinney he left a loving wife." Creighton has "commanded by a captain who leaves a tender wife." - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
- Berman: Bruce D. Berman, Encyclopedia of American Shipwrecks, Mariner's Press, 1972
- Guttridge: Leonard F. Guttridge, Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection, Naval Institute Press, 1992 (I use the 2002 Berkley edition)
- Hudson/Nicholls: Kenneth Hudson & Ann Nicholls, Tragedy on the High Seas: A History of ShipwrecksA & W Publishers, 1979
- Ratigan: William Ratigan, Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals, revised edition, Eerdmans, 1977
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