The Loss Of The Ellen Munn (Jimmy Flynn)

See also: The Loss Of The Ellen Munn
(Edith Fowke)

It happened to be on Christmas Day,
From King's Cove harbor we sailed away,
With all sails set, bound to Goose Bay,
The Ellen to repair.
The morn we left, the wind was down,
We headed her up for Newman's Sound,
The Ellen, my boys, she did lose ground,
Fell off for Little Denier.

The wind veered down from the sou-sou-west,
And the truth to you I will confess,
Barrow Harbor we could not fetch,
'Twas near the close of day.
So to Dark Hole we ran her in,
And waited there for a half-free wind,
The twenty-seventh to begin,
Our anchors for to weigh.

Early next morn our hearts were light,
We ran her up and made the Bight,
Thinking, my boys, all things were right,
As you may understand.
Then from below arose the cry,
"She's leaking fast, let all stand by,"
And signals of distress ran high,
For help from off the land.

The men into the hold did make,
And women to the pumps did take,
In hopes that they might stop the leak,
The Ellen for to save.
But water still came tumbling in,
Against the rush we could not win,
The Skipper's voice rose over the din,
"All hands get on the ice."

Now to our great and sad mistake,
We found the ice was very weak,
The children then we had to take,
And bear to solid ground.
Poor Tommy Holland scratched his head,
"For God's sake, skipper, save me bed."
No sooner, he, these words had said,
When the Ellen Munn went down.

Early next morn we bid adieu,
You bring down Tommy Holland's crew,
We landed them in Plate Cove, too,
To travel down the shore.
Tommy Holland, he oft did say,
"I'll never again be caught in Goose Bay,
If I get out of it to-day,
I'll trouble it no more."

Tom Holloway lives on Goose Bay shore,
His father and two brothers more,
All hardy men to ply an oar,
Rowed out when they heard the news.
He soon jigged up three barrels of flour,
And leather too within an hour,
He gave it to Joe Hunnybun for,
To mend Rose Ryder's shoes.

The number in the Ellen Munn,
All told, my boys, was twenty-one,
And now my ink must cease to run,
When a few more words I score.
"Good people all take warning, pray,
And never sail on Christmas Day,
You have example in this lay,
So do so never more.

####.... "Young" Jimmy Flynn, the skipper's son ....####
From History Of King's Cove, Chapter X, transcribed by: Bill Crant, June, 2000, revised by: Terry Piercey, Sept, 2002:
The Loss Of The Ellen Munn - in 1866 the Ellen Munn, of 60 tons, belonging to John Munn & Co, of Harbour Grace, left King's Cove on Christmas Day to go to Goose Bay, Bonavista Bay, where she was to be repaired during the winter. Jimmy Flynn was skipper and had his family on board.
The loss of the Ellen Munn, in the depth of winter, with the loss of all the winter supplies for two or more families, coupled with the dangers and hardships incident to the rescue, was not an episode to be treated lightly in these early days when the spectre of starvation was always dodging the pioneers' steps. "Young" Jimmy Flynn - the skipper's son - thought that the memory of the incident ought to be perpetuated. If he could string together in rhyming couples the dramatic facts of their narrow escape from a watery grave at a time when the rest of the world was giving itself up to Christmas gaiety, and improvise a suitable air for it, it would be sung at all the winter dances, and he himself may become the outstanding hero of the incident. So he set to work, and this is his account of this 1ittle episode of the past.

A variant was published as The Loss Of The Ellen Munn in The Penguin Book Of Canadian Folk Songs (Edith Fowke, 1973).

Edith Fowke noted that this is quite a light-hearted treatment of a shipwreck - this time the ship was close enough to land so that no lives were lost. King's Cove and Plate Cove are on the east side of Bonavista Bay (Newfoundland); Little Denier is an island at the mouth of Newman Sound on the west side. The area is prone to wrecks: a village on the point is named Salvage.

Fowke's variant is markedly similar to a variant from an earlier collection of song lyrics and advertising jingles compiled by Johnny Burke [1851-1930] and published on p.6 of Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 2nd Ed, 1940, printed by the publishers of The Family Fireside For Gerald S Doyle, St John's.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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