“Captain Abram Kean”


"We should not forget the Commodore, The old king of the sailing fleet." "With unerring aim and judgment rare He would strike each sealing patch." "For fifty years he butted the ice." "So we should not forget... The late Captain Abram Kean"


The notes in Ryan/Small tell us that Kean died in 1945, at the age of 90, and that he captained sealing expeditions for over fifty years, bringing in more than a million animals.

His fame can be told by the number of Newfoundland tales mentioning him -- among those indexed in this collection, "First Arrival -- 'Aurora' and 'Walrus' Full," "Arrival of 'Aurora,' 'Diana,' 'Virginia Lake,' and 'Vanguard,' Loaded," "The Sealer's Song (II)," "The Terra Nova," "The Swiler's Song," "Captains and Ships," and "A Noble Fleet of Sealers" -- though only the last two appear to be traditional, and "Captains and Ships" mentions Kean only briefly while "A Noble Fleet of Sealers" appears to get his first name wrong.

Kean was not always as successful as this piece might imply, though; "The Terra Nova" is the story of how three men under his command died. - RBW


  1. Ryan/Small, p. 146, "Captain Abram Kean" (1 text)
  2. BI, RySm146


Author: Otto Kelland ?
Earliest date: 1960 (Kelland, Anchor Watch)