Drowning at Hay Bay Church Recounted in Poem.

 

 ( Original found by John H. Thompson of Thorold, Ontario among the belongings of his mother who was Eliza (Chase) Thompson, who died in 1889 at Thorold.)

 

THE DROWNED TEN

 

Come, all ye good people of every degree,

Read over these lines, that are penned down by me;

And while you are reading these lines, that are true,

Remember, it's also a warning for you.

 

In the year of Our Lord eighteen hundred nineteen,

On the twenty-ninth of August, on Sunday I mean;

The place where it happened is also set down,

The loss can be told of in Adolphus Town.

 

These people were all in their health and their prime,

So modestly clothed in their apparel so fine;

To church they were going their God to adore;

To reach the said place they'd a bay to cross o'er.

 

Their boat being small and their number eighteen,

To cross over together they all ventured in;

They launched away singing, and sweat exercise-

The moments near by them were hid from their eyes.

 

The boat being leaky, the water came in -

To bale with their hats they too late 'did begin.

They looked at each other, and began for to weep;

The boat filled with water, and sank in the deep.

 

Their friends on the shore then with help flew with speed,

And eight of their number from the water were freed;

While friends and relations, and parents also,

Soon heard the sad tidings, which filled them with woe.

 

The seine was provided to draw them to land,

And friends with loud weeping around them did stand;

Such cries and lamentings were scarce heard before;

The loss was so fatal that none can restore.

 

There were John and James German, Peter Bogart also,

May and Jane Detler, in the waters below;

There was Matilda Roblin and Betsy McCoy,

Betsy Clark, Huldah Madden, and the said Mary Cole.

 

To the unchangeable regions their spirits are fled,

And left their poor bodies inactive and dead,

Their friends, gazing on them with tears flowing down,

While their bodies preparing to enter the ground.

 

On the Monday following their coffins were made,

And into the same their bodies were laid;

And then to convey them into the church yard,

Their graves in rotation were prepared.

 

A great congregation on that mournful day

Assembled together to visit their clay;

To join the afflicted in their mournful state,

And also to comfort in sorrow so great.

 

A sermon being delivered on that mournful day scene

By Sir Isaac Puffer from Job the nineteen;

Although these vile bodies the worms may destroy,

They may see God in glory in fullness of joy.

 

The sermon being ended, and brought to a close,

And some words of comfort applying to those

Whose hearts were most broken and filled with grief,

And in a few moments these bodies must leave.

 

Their coffins were opened to all public view,

That all might behold them and bid them adieu;

And then to convey them to their silent clay,

No more to be active till judgement day.

 

So now we must leave them beneath the cold ground,

Till Gabriel's trumpet shall grieve the last sound,

"Awake, you that sleep, and arise from your tomb,

And come forth to judgement and hear your last doom."

 

The author and the original paper this poem was published in are unknown. The poem was published recently in the Napanee Guide May 1st, 1999. The spelling of names have been corrected from the newspaper reprint and it is noted there are other slightly different versions of this poem and accounts available on the Internet. The links are below:

 

http://www.sfredheritage.on.ca/thegreatdrowning.html

                  

http://www.aandc.org/research/drownings_hay_bay.html