“The Escuminac Disaster (I)”


June 19, 1959 "around Escuminac A sudden storm did appear. Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!" The men that went out with their nets in the afternoon were in the wrecked fishing fleet in Miramichi Bay. Though 35 were lost, heroics saved some.

Supplemental text

Escuminac Disaster (I), The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Louise Manny and James Reginald Wilson, Songs of Miramichi,
#17, pp. 92-93. From the singing of 13-year-old Bernadette Keating
of Chatham (the composer of the song) in 1959.

It was the nineteenth day of June that it happened,
  Nineteen and fifty-nine was the year,
In and around Escuminac
  A sudden storm did appear.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

They in boats which had not capsized
  Feared the dangers around,
Yet stayed to help their neighbours and friends,
  Knowing some already drowned.
Oh, wicked waves! Oh, wailing wind!

(Stanzas 1, 7 of 9)


Manny/Wilson: A source for information about the disaster is _The Ecuminac Disaster_ by Roy Saunders. - BS

The Escuminac tragedy was one of those defining moments for its community. Manny/Wilson report that performers sang no fewer than five songs about it at the 1959 Miramichi Folk Festival, and another in 1960 -- one, in fact, a tribute to the area by one of the drowned men. Of these six, they reported three, including this one, written by a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

It's interesting to note that Keating is probably still alive. One wonders what has become of her since. - RBW

Historical references

  • June 19, 1959 - 22 salmon boats and 35 crewmen from Escuminac lost in a storm (Manny/Wilson)


  1. Manny/Wilson 17, "The Escuminac Disaster" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST MaWi017o (Partial)
  3. Roud #9195
  4. BI, MaWi017o


Author: Bernadette Keating of Chatham (Manny/Wilson)
Earliest date: 1959 (Manny/Wilson)
Found in: Canada(Mar)