The Shipwreck of the Mollie and other Sad Tales of the Sea

The Mollie was a coasting schooner out of Carmanville, Notre Dame Bay, which was tragically lost near Grates Cove on the evening of December 20, 1944. All its crew were lost.

The Mollie's skipper was Ross Chaulk, who was 26 and unmarried. Lost with him were James Ellsworth, age 25, John Goodyear, age 61 and his two sons Reginald Goodyear, age 32 and Charles Goodyear, age 26, both of whom were also unmarried. The last crew member was Otto Hicks of Musgrave Harbour, who was a widower with one child.

Ironically, the cook, Charles Goodyaer had survived another near-miss shipwreck on the schooler L.C. Norman just two years earlier, when it ran into the tip of Cape Bonavista.

The 13 crews of men from Grates Cove made trips to recover the bodies of the crew of the Mollie. They were:

Jeremiah Broderick, Peter Broderick, Isaac Broderick, John T. Broderick
Daniel Duggan, George Martin, Leo Doyle, Daniel Doyle
William J. Martin, Ingvauld Avery, Ben Avery, Reuben Stansford
William H. Martin, Eli Martin, Vincent Duggan
Wesley Snelgrove, Absolem Cooper Sr., Levi Benson, Joseph Avery, John Vey
Henry Meadus, George Meadus, Wesley Cooper, Abraham Martin
James Snelgrove, Simon Snelgrove, John Meadus, Daniel Vey
Silas Lambert, William Lambert, Jacob Lambert
Eli King, Stanley King, Joseph Benson, Frederick Lewis, Andrew Lewis
Wilson Cooper, Arch Barrett, Absolem Cooper Jr.
Joseph Hodder, Absolem Hodder, Josiah Avery
Benjamin Benson, Roland Doyle, Frank Doyle
William B. Avery, Ernest Avery

Today, there is a cross in a spot near "The Motion", put there by the people of Grates Cove, to commemorate the tragic loss of The Mollie. It is in a beautiful place and makes for a lovely, scenic walk.

Other Shipwrecks

Like the Mollie, there are many other shipwrecks that have occurred near Grates Cove and Baccalieu Island over the centuries. Another such one was the wreck of the Schooner Lilian upon the Grates Rock in October 1902.

The skipper was Captain William Martin of Hickman's Harbour on Random Island, and he had been taking the Lilian through the Baccalieu Tickle on his way home from St. John's. It was night time, and the wind had picked up, and the Lilian was thrown upon the Grates Rock when the steering chain broke. Captain Martin and his son Ezekial and another man managed to cling to parts of the wreck, but 3 others, his son James Martin and George and Annie Champion, brother and sister, were missing.

Luckily for the stranded victims, another schooner was passing by, and they called out into the dark hoping to attract attention to their plight. Captain Jacob Miller of Kearley's Harbour was the man, and hearing the cries, he realized it must be the Lilian, which had left St. John's before them. Captain Miller found the desperate people in the dark and hauled them aboard. Unfortunately, the other 3 victims were never found.

The ship took the survivors to British Harbour, and the loss of the 3 young people was mourned greatly. An ironic twist to this story is that Annie Champion, who had been a cook for a schooner during the summer in Labrador, and her brother George who was a crewman, had been in a shipwreck earlier in the fall, but there had been no loss of life. Annie and George had been taken to St. John's, and had booked their passage to return home on none other than the Lilian, on which they perished!

The final end note to the story is that Captain William Martin, although from Hickman's Harbour, was almost certainly descended from the Martin family of Grates Cove. So this personal tragedy befell him and his sons so close to his ancestral home.