Ruby M. Cusack
When Gramp carried the wood into the kitchen, Gram remarked,” The upturned leaves on the poplar tree and blackbirds huddled on the hydro wire plus dark rolling clouds are signals that a wind storm is brewing. I think you had better brace the big barn door.”
He replied, “Are you related to Lieutenant Saxby?”
I must have looked puzzled, as she explained to me, “In 1869 Lieutenant Saxby had written a letter to the London Times warning that on October 05, the position of the moon in relation to other heavenly bodies, would cause a gale of immense and devastating force.” The storm did come and was known as the Saxby Gale. The Atlantic Provinces certainly felt its wrath.
According to Eric Allaby, the author of “The August Gale”,
destructive storm hit the Atlantic Provinces on 24 August 1873 and
one thousand Nova Scotians lost their lives mid the wreckage of their
vessels, as it was especially severe in Cape Breton and the Gulf of St.
Lawrence. In his publication he gives information on more than
hundred vessels that were lost in this storm.
The schooner “Alice” sailed from Ten Mile Creek, August 23, for Saint John, was stranded near Digby, lost masts and sails and sustained $2000 damage.
The “Assam Valley” of Saint John was abandoned at sea. Two persons were lost. She was owned by S. Bond & Co. of Saint John and was built in 1854.
Schooner “Ferguson” of Miramichi was driven ashore at Pictou.
The schooner “Good Intent” of Arichat was probably fishing near the Magdalens. Five bodies were taken from her hold.
The brig “John Richard” broke from her moorings at Richibucto.
The schooner “Rambler” was cruising off Miramichi and never heard of again.
The schooner “Vernon” of Saint John was sailing from Boston for Sydney and all six crew were supposed to have been lost.
The “Rebecca Ann” of Sydney had brought a cargo of Coal for T. W. Binney, of Moncton, to Point du Chene and left there with boards and planks for Sydney. She was driven ashore at Cape Bald, New Brunswick and the crew were able to jump to the sand and make shore.
“The August Gale “ - A List of Atlantic Shipping Losses in the Gale of August 24, 1873 was authored in 1973 on the hundredth anniversary of the gale by Eric Allaby and is available for viewing in several Research Institutions in New Brunswick.<>Interesting facts on ships that were registered in Canadian ports or sailed in Canadian waters can be found at http://daryl.chin.gc.ca:8000/basisbwdocs/sid/title1e.html - The Ship Information Database on the Canadian Heritage website contains the records of , 71,088 vessels, 3569 masters, 5623 owners, 1505 builders, 18,446 voyages, and 32,834 ports from the late 1700 to the mid 1900. The database was developed in response to the requirement of cultural resource managers to manage archaeological shipwreck.