Mariposa (Collected by MacEdward Leach) with lyrics
On the twenty-fourth of September in the year of ninety-five,
'Twill be a memorial day for us as long as we're alive.
Early on that morning, a steamer ran on shore;
There's a place called Grassy Point on gloomy Labrador.
She steamed along at half speed, the tide being running fast;
We'd turned her bow far from her course, the course that was her last.
She was heard to strike - once, twice, and thrice, and then they knew no more,
Until the rocks burst through her bow, the rocks of Labrador.
Her name was the Mariposa, she steamed from old Quebec,
With a large and general cargo and sheep all on her deck.
Her trip was uneventful like many a trip before,
Until she was plunging through the fogs on pitiless Labrador.
The people crowded to the wreck, her cargo tried to save,
And many in that brave attempt there met with a watery grave.
A portion of her cargo is gone up and down the shore,
Honestly and hardly earned by the people of Labrador.
####.... Author unknown. Traditional shipwreck song ....####
This variant was collected in 1960 by MacEdward Leach and published as #79, on p.206 of Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
From The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931:
S.S. Mariposa - steamer built as Ruthenia by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co, Walker-on-Tyne for the City of Liverpool Steam Navigation Company which was taken over by Elder, Dempster & Co.; operated by the Ocean Transport Limited and renamed Mariposa before being chartered to the Atlantic Transport Line; launched June 20, 1891; maiden voyage November 13, 1892; wrecked September 27, 1895; length 421 ft; beam 47.9 ft; 5,305 tons; 12 knots; twin screws; triple expansion engines by R. & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co, Newcastle on Tyne: 350 n.h.p., 180 p.s.i. In September 1895 she and her sister, the Montezuma, were sold to the Union Castle Line Mail Steamship Company for use on its service between North America and South Africa. But before she had been handed over she was wrecked in the St. Lawrence River en route to Liverpool for the Dominion Line. She was carrying 24 passengers, 2,164 sheep, and a load of grain. The following day all passengers and crew were brought to shore, one by one, using a narrow board. Although much of her cargo was salvaged, the ship herself was condemned in early October.
According to the Northern Shipwrecks Database, the steamer Mariposa was sailing from Montreal, Quebec, to Liverpool, England, when she sank on September 27, 1985, in the Strait of Belle Isle near L'Anse au Clair, Labrador.
See more songs about Newfoundland and Labrador shipwrecks.