Young Yetman (MacEdward Leach)

Upon the banks of Newfoundland
where the angry seas do roar,
There's none so brave can fish the waves
like our boys from Terra Nova's shore;
Among the rest who did his best
to maintain our country's fame,
Was a hero brave from St Mary's Bay,
John Yetman was his name.

For many a year he knew no fear,
in a dory was his delight,
Himself and his dory mate alone
spent many a dreary night,
Till providence protected them,
and brought 'em safe on shore,
But now his life is ended,
and he'll run his trawls no more.

On board of the Ellen F Whitten,
on the fourth day of July,
Our cowardly Yankee captain
his seven stripes did try;
His glorious independence
he meant to celebrate,
And with his cursed revolver
he settled young Yetman's fate.

Four bullets he fired at him,
then shouted, "Let her go!"
And then poor Yetman's countrymen
their courage did overthrow;
This brutal deed was acted
in the harbour of Cape Broyle,
Where Wollard now is taken
to wait his day of trial.

Now Wollard he is taken,
and he's lodged in custody,
With sixteen years hard labour
in the penitentiary;
Of he who toiled both night and day
where the angry seas do roar,
I hope you'll ask for mercy
on poor young Yetman's soul.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland ballad ....####
Collected in 1951 from Mrs Thomas (Anastasia Ryan) Ghaney [1883-1959] of Fermeuse, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The murder of John Yetman by Captain Francis Wollard took place on July 4, 1903, per the following excerpt transcribed from the Daily News and copyright © by Chris Shelley and George White in the Newfoundland Gen Web:

August 19, 1903 - Francis Wollard Trial (Part 1) - The trial proceedings in the King vs Francis WOLLARD, terminated yesterday morning, when the sentence of the Court was passed which condemns the prisoner to sixteen years imprisonment with hard labor. At noon the Court room was crowded with all classes of citizens, anxious to hear the penalty pronounced. A few minutes past 12, the Judges took their places, and the prisoner was placed in the dock. Chief Clerk BROWNING, addressing Capt WOLLARD, asked if he had anything to say why the sentence of the Court should not be pronounced. Through his Counsel, Mr M W FURLONG, he replied that he had nothing to say. His Lordship Chief Justice HORWOOD then delivered sentence as follows: "Francis WOLLARD, you have been convicted by the jury of unlawfully taking the life of John YETMAN. The indictment upon which you were tried, charged you with the crime of murder, but the jury has taken a lenient view of your case, and have found you guilty of the minor offense of manslaughter, and we have therefore been relieved from the painful duty which would have fallen upon us, had you been convicted of the capital felony.

August 19, 1903 - Francis Wollard Trial (Part 2) - "Every circumstance which can be urged in mitigation of your crime, must have been already taken into consideration by the jury before they reduced this homicide into its lower class. The sentence of the Court is that you be imprisoned, with hard labor, for the term of sixteen years, from the fourth day of July last past, in His Majesty's gaol in St John's." The prisoner was taken to the Sheriff's office, and during the short time he waited, before being taken to the Penitentiary, was permitted to speak a few words to members of his crew. Captain WOLLARD was evidently suffering severely, and although struggling hard to curb his feelings, broke down as the crew shook hands and wished him good-bye. It was pathetic to look upon these men who, during the past few days, had given such strong evidence against their Captain. Not withstanding all the happenings of the past six weeks, both prisoner and crew exchanged kindly greetings, and as the latter filed out of the room, their eyes were wet with tears of sorrow and sympathy for a man who they said had treated them well at all times. Captain WOLLARD was soon after removed to prison, there to serve out the sentence of the Court. The crew, who had been held as witnesses, were sent home by yesterday's express train.


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