Maritime History of the Great Lakes
"Wreck of the ASIA": Schooner Days MCCLXVIII-j (1268-j)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 5 May 1956
Full Text
"Wreck of the ASIA"
Schooner Days MCCLXVIII-j (1268-j)

by C. H. J. Snider

Hailing Returns

LOUD roared the dreadful tumult,

And stormy was the day

When the ASIA left her harbor

To cross the Georgian Bay.


One hundred souls she had on board,

Likewise a costly store;

And on that trip this gallant ship

She sank to rise no more.


With three and thirty shanty men,

All hearty stout and brave,

They were all bound for French River,

But found a watery grave.


Men tried to save the Captain

As the waters round him raged,

"Oh, no!" cried he, "ne'er think of me

Till all on board are saved!"


I'll ne'er forget MacDougall,

Which was his honored name,

Immortalized by gallant deed

And handed down to fame.


The cabin boy next passed away,

So young, so true, so brave.

His parents weep while his body sleeps

In the Georgian's watery grave.


And likewise Willie Christie,

With his lately-wedded bride,

Were bound for Manitoulin

Where the parents did reside.


"If We had only left this boat

Last eve at Owen Sound,

O Willie dear, why came we here

To in these waters drown?


"Mamma will say 'Why such delay?'

But she must be excused;

"Twill make her sad, likewise my dad,

hear the awful news."


Of all the souls she had on board

Two only are alive.

Miss Morrison and Tinkus,

Who only did survive.


Miss Morrison and Tinkus -

Those names I'll ne'er forget;

Protected by a lifeboat

Which five times did upset.


The boat was seen to hold eighteen,

Which into her did climb,

But it upset and down they went,

There were seven at one time.


Now in the deep their bodies sleep,

Their earthly trials are o'er.

And on the beach their bones do bleach

Along the Georgian shore.


Around each family circle

How sad the news to hear,

The foundering of the ASIA

Left sounding in each ear.

PROMPT as a starter's pistol readers of Schooner Days have rushed in with versions of The Wreck of the Asia, the Georgian Bay ballad of 74 years standing. To All Schooner Days is most grateful, especially to, on the Telegram staff, Dorothy McCarnell and Lillian Foster, who hail from the Bay (Port McNicoll and Owen Sound respectively) and who dammed the dyke with their little thumbs, until we could bail out the best of the flood.

There are many versions of the old ballad, as is natural, but here we have combined two which differ only slightly, a 12-stanza one supplied by Mrs. Beatrice Stevenson, 974 Ossington ave., of the Hetu (Etue) family, originally French and a 10-stanza one supplied by Miss Fern Nugent, 74 Nealon ave, from the recollection of her father, Mr. Hamilton Nugent, now 80, who heard the ballad as a boy in Midland and Orillia. Jack O'Brien, who went with a cane, used to peddle copies of the song on the streets of Orillia for nickels and dimes. Mrs. Stevenson's version was clipped from the Family Herald and Weekly Star in 1915 when it was credited to "Miss E. R. Pearson, Manitoulin Island," bless her and all such. Neither version is complete, combined they thus tell of what happened in Georgian Bay, Sept. 14, 1882

Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
5 May 1956
Language of Item
Richard Palmer
Creative Commons licence
by [more details]
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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"Wreck of the ASIA": Schooner Days MCCLXVIII-j (1268-j)