The Loss Of The Danny Goodwin (Kenneth Peacock)

Come all you people far and near,
come listen to my song,
In language I'll explain to you,
it won't delay you long;
Come hear about Captain La Fosse
so lately has took command
In a schooner named the Danny Goodwin
from New Harbour, Newfoundland.

They sailed away from New Harbour,
to the western shore did go,
To risk their lives in dories
through frost and wind and snow;
Saying good-bye to friends at home
and all whom they adored,
Never dreaming that they would meet
their doom upon the western shore.

It was on a Monday morning
they got her under way,
The sixth of December,
a creak-cold winter's day;
She carried a crew of six fishermen
and dories she had two,
The Danny being a noble boat,
built over spankins new.

On Rose Blanche Bank that morning,
'twas there he brought her to,
His dories they were lowered away
as he oftentimes used to do;
Before those trawls were taken back
a heavy storm did rise,
It was a hard and a trialing time
on those poor fishing b'ys.

The wind sprang from the east-southeast
and bitterly did blow,
The sea it was rolling mountains high
in a blinding drift of snow;
No one can tell if she came to land
or under close-reef sail,
Or if she got disabled
in the dreadful winter's gale.

A captain from another boat
those words we heard him say,
"He did not have his dories
when we got under way;
He might have got his dories,
yet we do not understand,
Perhaps he got them safe on board
and shaped her up for the land."

To come to land that evening
in a blinding drift of snow,
This captain was a stranger
and those harbours did not know;
No doubt he might have come to land
or else here on the shore,
Perhaps he drifted far out to sea
to never return no more.

This blow was hard for friends at home
and sad news for to hear,
The loss of sons and husbands,
the ones they loved so dear;
Likewise their aged mothers
oh bitterly will cry,
To see their sons all leaving their homes
and wishing them all good-bye.

There are five poor widows left behind
who bitterly will cry,
All thinking of their loved ones
who in the deep do lie;
But we must all remember
they fought hard for their lives,
To sea they had to go and leave
their children and their wives.

So now my song is to an end,
I have nothing more to say,
Trying to earn a living
those b'ys were called away;
Their wives and little children
they'll never see no more,
But now they gave up all hopes
to land on the western shore.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from Kenneth Pink [1938-?] of Rose Blanche, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.942-943, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that there are three 'New Harbours' in Newfoundland, but Ken Pink told him the one in this ballad is on the south coast east of Rose Blanche at the southwest corner of Newfoundland. The waters off the south coast are particularly treacherous, and a large percentage of south coast traditional material is concerned with shipwrecks.

A variant was collected in 1977 from Jeremiah (Jerry) Fudge [1927-?] of Burnt Islands and McCallum, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #26, The Wreck Of The Danny Goodwin, in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.44-45, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that New Harbour is presumably the New Harbour on the Southwest Coast, a particularly dangerous and treacherous area of the coastline where countless ships have been wrecked and lost without a trace.

See more Lehr and Best songs.

According to Clarence Vautier Jr and Marina Bateman of LaPoile, NL, the MV Danny Goodwin was built in 1907 in Dartmouth, NS, and had been used as a fishing vessel ever since. A Rose Blanche fisherman, Samuel Billard, brought her to Newfoundland in 1912, where he operated her for 14 years. In 1926, John William La Fosse of New Harbour took his first command of the 49-foot skiff, which was owned by the local merchants of Rencontre West and recently had smaller steamed frames (spankins) installed between the original large sawed frames.

The MV Danny Goodwin was lost on December 6, 1926, at Rose Blanche Bank. The crew onboard with Captain La Fosse at the time of the vessel's disappearance were Frank Cox and Benjamin Parsons of New Harbour, and Joseph Harris, George Marks and James Marks of Rencontre West.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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