The Thomas J Hodder (Lehr and Best)

Attention all both great and small,
to what I will pen down,
Concerning the Thomas J Hodder
and the day she went aground;
'Twas in the year of fifty-two,
the date being March the eighth,
The Hodder she was commanded
by Captain Abraham Lake.

The Hodder she is a splendid boat,
about one hundred ton,
A Wareham he is her owner
and she's always on the run;
From Spencer's Cove to Boston
and manys another port,
For use in exportation
and also for import.

She left the port of Sydney
with a full cargo on board,
'Twas coal provisions and groceries
combined made up her load;
The next day leaving Burin
her crew was gay and bright,
Not thinking any accident
would happen in broad daylight.

She steamed along and all went well
'til Paradise grew near,
Said Abe unto his boys:
"I think we'll go the course in here;
I've been here manys the time before,
it is a real short cut."
The Hodder was deeply loaded
and she grounded on Lake's Gut.

The news was soon flashed o'er the air
by means of ship-to-shore,
A Wareham was soon contacted, saying:
"The Hodder is doomed I'm sure;
She's high and dry here in Lake's Gut,
her bottom is gone, I know,
So come and bring assistance
if you want to save her load."

From Paradise and vicinity
the people then did come,
To help their well-known captain
and see what could be done;
But when they drew 'longside of her
on him they saw no frown,
"Load up your punts and dories, b'ys,
the Hodder is going down."

Provisions were quickly taken
from out of her afterhold,
There's punts and dories loaded,
and some of them took coal;
There's men from Toslow and Bona,
Paradise, and Petit Forte -
Doctor Wilson, he was also there
to help in his little boat.

A Wareham was soon expected
for to come around the bill,
The tide it was also rising,
which favoured the Hodder well;
At six o'clock she floated,
and under her own spark,
Steamed down to Little Paradise
and tied up to the wharf.

He stayed there for a short while
to see if she would leak,
But Abe was discontented [and]
for the Burin dock did leave;
He said: "My b'ys let go her lines,
before dark we will make."
But to his great misfortune
he runned her on the Pancake.

A Wareham was crossing the harbour
in the Evette when she struck,
I'm sure he must be thinking by now
that the Hodder is having tough luck;
But when he stepped in on her deck
he showed no sign of grief,
For manys the boat of Wareham's
was lost upon some reef.

The wind being from the nor'west
as smooth as oil could be,
And all the men around there,
their minds from work were free;
They all agreed to lend a hand
to take her off the 'Cake,
To assist Alberto Wareham
and also Captain Lake.

Well after a long while tugging
'twas off the rock did slide,
He then proceeded to Spencer's Cove
with the Evette close 'longside;
A Wareham contacted his firm
for to have a crew at hand,
To finish discharging her cargo
as soon as she did land.

The Hodder is now on Burin dock
for repairs we understand,
And soon she will resume her voyage
with Abe still in command;
We wish him luck with all our hearts
for he is liked by all,
Misfortunes they can happen
to the greatest and the small.

####.... Rose Pickett [1918-1992] and Lillian (Lil) Fitzgerald [1909-?] of Little Paradise, Placentia Bay, NL ....####
This song was collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1977 from John Tobias Pearson [b.1941] of Petite Forte and Southeast Bight, Placentia Bay West and others of Southeast Bight, NL, and published as #108 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.184-185, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this song was composed by Lil Fitzgerald and Rose Pickett, formerly the Brennan sisters of Paradise, Placentia Bay. Mr Power learned this song from the late Anthony Ward [1927-1999] of South East Bight, NL. The Hodder is the most requested song at any party in the area.

See more songs by Lehr and Best

Note from the Merasheen Reunion 1980:
This song could be heard anytime you got Phil or Joe Casey together.

From the Rootsweb Ancestry NS-Cape Breton Archivers:
Thursday, November 7, 2002: Coastal Freighter Sinks - The wooden, 90 foot, former Newfoundland coastal freighter Thomas J Hodder was built in 1939 and was purchased by John A Parlee of Montreal who planned to convert the ship into a yacht after sailing her to Savannah, Georgia. During the voyage she ran into a fierce gale which came up along the Nova Scotia coast causing her to break-up and sink in the storm-ridden waters off Scatari Island with the loss of five persons including the owner and the skipper, Captain E E MacGinness. The only survivor was Ian MacGinness, the young son of the skipper.

Scatari Island, is located in northeastern Nova Scotia, off East Cape Breton Island, 15 miles (24 km) south east of Glace Bay; It is 6 miles (10 km) long; 46°2'N 59°47'W.


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