The Loss Of The City Of Quebec (Kenneth Peacock)

On the first day of April
eighteen hundred and seventy-two,
The City of Quebec leaved London
with a choice of British crew;
'Twas seventeen men she had on board
when she leaved her native land,
But little did they ever think
they'd be drowned in Newfoundland.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####

Collected in 1961 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, p.941, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted: "Unfortunately, Mrs Galpin could remember just the first verse of what promises to be an interesting ballad of local composition. Mrs Galpin says the City of Quebec was wrecked on a reef off the south coast of Newfoundland near Isle aux Morts, where she lived in her youth. If 1872 is the correct date given in the song, she was two or three months old at the time."

From the US Department of the Navy - Naval Historical Center:
Thistle, a 636-ton iron side-wheel steamship, was built at Glasgow, Scotland in 1863. She was operated as a blockade runner during the American Civil War, making a successful round-trip voyage between Bermuda and Wilmington, NC, in March-May 1864. However, another attempt to run into Wilmington was cut short when she was captured by the USS Fort Jackson on 4 June.

The US Navy purchased her from the Boston Prize Court in July and, after conversion to a gunboat, placed her in commission as the USS Dumbarton in August, 1864. After participating in a fruitless search for the Confederate raider Tallahassee, she returned to the Wilmington area where she served until December as an enforcer of the blockade that she had previously challenged. The Dumbarton had flagship duty on Virginia's James River during February and March 1865 and was subsequently decommissioned at Washington, DC. Moved to New York in November 1865, she was sold to the Quebec & Gulf Ports Steamship Company in October 1867.

Briefly retaining the name Dumbarton, she changed to British registry and was given a new rig and engines in the months after she left Navy ownership. During 1868-1870 she operated under the name City of Quebec, but was sunk in a collision while in Canadian waters on 1 May 1870 (another source gives the date of her loss as 28 April 1870).

Both these dates are contradicted by the Northern Shipwrecks Database which reports the City of Quebec was lost at Isle Aux Morts about 12 miles east of Port Aux Basques at the southwest corner of Newfoundland on May 8, 1871.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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