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Bonavista Bay Region ~ Historical Information

Bonavista Bay North District - Port Nelson

The information was transcribed by GEORGE WHITE, 2000. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be typographical errors.
THE LOSS OF ELLA M. RUDOLPH

Built at Allendale, Nova Scotia in 1912, she was bought by Felix G. Tibbo of Grand Bank in 1915, and sold to Charles R. Steer of St. John's in 1918. Then in 1920, Mr. Steer sold her to Walter B. Spencer of Fortune. She was sold again to John Vardy and his war veteran son, James, of Hickman's Harbor, after James returned home from the war. James Vardy did not have a lot of interest in the Labrador fishery, so the schooner was again sold, in the fall of 1925, this time to Skipper Eleazer Blackwood, and his three sons; Bertram, Harry, and Duke, all of Port Nelson, Bonavista Bay.

Eleazer Blackwood was no greenhorn, having spent his whole life at sea, and having been master of the H. F. WILSON, The KLONDIKE, The SARAH, and the VALIANT so in 1926, he and his crew took the ELLA M. RUDOLPH up the Labrador coast as far as Cape Harrison, where they were successful in stowing down around 600 quintals of fish, which they dried at home in Port Nelson. In October, with their dried fish stowed in the hold, they made a trip to St John's to sell their fish and purchase their winter supplies. At the last minute, Mrs. Blackwood also decided to go along on the trip to St. Johns.

After completing their business, the crew had quite a lengthy stay in St. John's waiting for favorable weather to head back home. Mrs. Blackwood got tired of waiting and took the train home from St. John's to Port Blandford, where she caught the Steamer S.S. Malokoff, back to Greenspond. It was this decision which probably saved her life!

Finally on December 6, 1926, at around 9 am., The Ella M. Rudolph got away from St. John's, and squared away for Catalina. However, a viscous storm came up, and after darkness overtook them, Skipper Blackwood knew they would never survive on the Catalina shore that night, so he decided to change course and try to make it around Cape Bonavista and on into Bonavista Bay.

At 7:50 PM., the schooner was lost on Northern Head, near Catalina. All hand were lost except Duke Blackwood, age 20, who was thrown up into the cliff by a breaker, and managed to climb the cliff and made his way, through the deep snow drifts to the home of Mr. and Mrs Levi Dalton of Little Catalina. Mr. Dalton soon aroused a search party, but unfortunately, all they could do was recover the bodies. The bodies of Samuel Carter of Shambler's Cove, age 52, (husband of Clara), and Noah Vivian, age 38, (married), of Shambler's Cove were not recovered.

The body of the cook of the vessel, Mary Jane Abbott, (single), of Hare Bay, was recovered and sent to Hare Bay for burial. The body of Skipper Eleazer Blackwood, was sent to Port Nelson for burial, while his sons, Bert, age 29, (widower), and Harry, age 26, (married 2 months), along with Walter Attwood, age 31, of Safe Harbor, B.B.,(married), and Joseph Vivian, age 33, (married), of Hare Bay, B. B., were buried at Little Catalina.

This is a paraphrase of a story from Roland Abbott's book "THE THREE SEAS"


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