“The Union from St John's”


On December 18 a heavy storm drives the Union ashore. A rescue team boards the next morning and finds "three frozen seamen lashed to the pumps while six in her cabin lay cold."


Broadside LOCSinging as114210, as well as one cited by Lehr/Best as being printed in _Minstrelsy of Maine_ by Eckstorm and Smyth, have the site as Mt Desert Rock. There is a Mount Desert Rock in Maine which has been the site of a number of wrecks; there have also been a number of [ships named] _Union_ with St John's registry wrecked; I cannot find any _Union_ wrecked at Mount Desert Rock, or wrecked around February 9 (the date in the broadside), or November 18 or January 14 (the date in Lehr/Best versions A and B, respectively).

Eckstrom and Smythe _Minstrelsy of Maine_: "nobody knew it, but only knew someone else who used to know it. [One of the three] leaders in popularity among the shipwreck songs of the Maine coast ... About 1904, Mr Walter M Hady ... learned that the Union was a brig, wrecked off the Maine coast at least as early as 1837 .... [One broadside] may yet show that the wreck of the Union dates back into the eighteen-twenties." ( pp. 270, 276, 280). Unfortunately the broadside at America Singing is undated (printed by L Deming, No 62 Hanover Street, Boston). It would be nice to be able to date it early enough to rule out the Dec 21, 1884 wreck of the schooner Union, registered at St John, NB, at Mt Desert Island en route from New York to St John. (source: Northern Shipwrecks Database). - BS


  • LOCSinging, as114210, "Union of St. Johns," L. Deming (New York), 19C


  1. Peacock, pp. 978-980, "The Union from St John's" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  2. Lehr/Best 112, "The Wreck of the Union" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  3. Roud #4371
  4. BI, Pea978


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Peacock); 19C (broadside, LOCSinging as114210)
Keywords: death sea ship storm wreck
Found in: Canada(Newf) US(NE)