“The Wreck of the Julie Plante”


"On wan dark night on de (Lak St. Clair)... de crew of de wood scow Julie Plante got scar' an' run below." The captain ties Rosie the cook to the mast, then jumps overboard. Both are drowned. The moral: "You can't get drown... so long you stay on shore"

Supplemental text

Wreck of the Julie Plante, The
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

On Lac San Pierre

From Franz Rickaby, Ballads and Songs of the Shanty-Boy
(1926), pp. 93-94. From A. C. Hannah of Bemidji, Minnesota.
Fragmentary text, but it preserves the original dialect better
than some.

Von night on the Lac San Pierre
The vind she blow, blow, blow;
The vind she blow from the nor', sout', eas',
She blow our crib from the shore....
Our raf' she struck on a great beeg rock
In the big Lachine canawl.

Come all ye jolly raf'smen,
I tell you von good plan.
You marry von good French voman
An' leev on von good farm.
For the vind she may blow from the nor', sout', eas',
Bime by she be blow some more;
But you never git drown in the Lac San Pierre
So long's you stay on the shore.

Long description

French-Canadian dialect song. On Lak St. Pierre, the wood-scow "Julie Plante" encounters a fierce storm. They've lost their skiff, and the anchor won't hold; the captain ties the cook (Rosie) to the mast, takes the life-preserver, and jumps overboard, saying he'll drown for her sake. (?) Next morning the boat is wrecked and all are found dead. The singer warns listeners to marry and live on a farm; "You can't get drown on Lak St. Pierre/So long as you stay on shore."


Yes, that's "Lak." Why jumping overboard will save the cook, I don't know. - PJS

Drummond's original poem (written, like most of his work, in "habitant" or French-Canadian English) was subtitled "A Legend of Lac St. Pierre" (Lake St. Peter). In oral tradition, however, this was often changed to the more familiar Lake St. Clair. - RBW


  1. Rickaby 22, "On Lac San Pierre" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. Beck 76, "The Wreck of the Julie Plante" (1 text plus two fragments of another)
  3. Fowke/Johnston, pp. 174-175, "The Wreck of the Julie Plante" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Lomax-FSNA 62, "The Julie Plante" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. ST FJ174 (Full)
  6. Roud #4545
  7. BI, FJ174


Author: William Henry Drummond
Earliest date: 1926 (Rickaby; the poem was written before 1897)
Found in: Canada(Ont) US(MW)