Newfoundland tourismTide's Point - Online Newfoundland and Labrador Marketplace
For Orders and Info call toll free at 1-877-738-3435
 View Cart Help Desk
"Shop for Newfoundland Products"
  Signup for newsletter
shopping categories
Newfoundland Books
Videos & DVDs
Newfoundland Mummers
Health & Beauty
Maps & Guides
Newfoundland Books
Greeting Cards
Home & Garden
Stamps & Coins
site features
Sign up For Newsletter
About Us
Online Magazine

Seal Oil
Omega-3 Seal Oil

Line - Newfoundland Products
Browse Subjects
Jack Fitzgerald's Notebook - Jack Fitzgerald Jack Fitzgerald's Notebook
Jack Fitzgerald

Price: CDN$8.95
Newfoundland History
2002 (6th printing)
ISBN 1-894294-40-8
144 pages
Excepts from Jack Fitzgerald's Notebook are available for online reading.

There have been five printings of this popular recounting of unusual and offbeat Newfoundland stories. The first in a series of four books, Jack Fitzgerald's Notebook grew out of a daily five minute radio program of the same name. It contains intriguing short stories of villians, treasures, ghosts, distinguished Newfoundlanders, heroes and adventures.

Excerpt #1: Mass Murderers Detected by a Newfoundlander

When a group of wealthy Dutch people decided to pick up their roots and move to the American west to settle down, they chartered the ship SS Commerskie, turned their fortunes over to the Captain for safe keeping and set out on what turned out to be one of the most bizarre stories in Newfoundland's history.

Just before leaving port a beautiful young girl was forced by her family to marry one of the wealthy men going on the expedition to the new world. She was most unhappy until she met and fell in love with the ship's captain, himself a married man.

Near Cape Race tragedy struck the Commerskie, and in the darkness of night the vessel sank to the bottom of the ocean. The captain, however, his wife and eight crewmembers turned up safely at Bigley's Cove the next morning. He informed authorities that the ship had struck a rock and sunk, taking with her to the bottom of the ocean, seventy-four men and women who were unable to escape. The survivors returned to England on the first ship out of Burin. Then the rumours started. People wondered why the survivors had so much money in their possession? Why didn't any of the bodies wash ashore? Was the lady with the captain really his wife?

At the time, Thomas David Dobbin of St. Mary's was making a name for himself as a pioneer of the recently invented diver's suit. By the time he arrived at Burin he had already gone to the ocean's bottom in the suit and recovered thousands of dollars in treasure. When he learned of the recent sinking at Silver's Cove he decided to take a look to see if there was anything worth salvaging.

What he found shocked people throughout the world and culminated in the captain and crew being hung and the lady spending the rest of her life in prison.

As Dobbin moved slowly through the murky waters on deck of the sunken ship he couldn't believe what he was seeing. There in front of him was a woman with long blond hair, a blue coat and a red dress knocking about in the water as though she was dancing. Nearby stood four men with their backs to the rail. Then he saw the rope that held her hands to the ratline of the main mast. The four men had their hands bound to the deck rails. Recalling the rumours he had heard in Burin, Dobbin surfaced, and advised the people above of his discovery and went below again. This time the scene was even more macabre. The other sixty-nine men and women had been locked in their cabins and the doors nailed shut. The victims were in every possible position, some kneeling in prayer, some huddling in corners and others showing agony filled eyes. Authorities sent a full report to England. At the sensational trial that followed it was learned theat the captain had plotted the mass murder and had the support of eight of his crewmembers and the unhappy girl who fell in love with him. They selected Cape Race because of its deep waters and history of ship wrecks. The captain had included his wife among those to be murdered and after the deed was done, passed the young girl off as his wife. The seventy-four murdered victims were buried near Cape Race at a place called the Plantation. The murderers were hanged with the exception of the girl who was given a long prison sentence.

Excerpt #2: Tidal Wave & Earthquake

A fault on the earth located 250 miles south of St. John's on the extreme Northern end of the Grand Banks, was once the epicentre of a great earthquake that was felt throughout the Maritimes and the New England States, causing a tidal wave along the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland. The earthquake registered 7.2 on the Richter Scale and caused harbours along the coast from St. Lawrence to Lamaline to drain dry and later to be refilled by a 50 foot tidal wave that brought death and destruction.

When the earthquake first struck, a loud blasting sound was heard in St. John's. Most people thought it was an explosion at the Bell Island mines. Transatlantic cables were damaged, and it wasn't until four days after the tidal wave that the outside world became aware of the devastation that followed it. The event took place on November 18, 1929 and it represented the first reported earthquake that far east from the main seismic belts. Scientists considered it to be major in terms of energy release with a Richter magnitude of 7.2.

One eyewitness account reported that the road near Lamaline appeared as if it were moving. Buckets of water looked as though they were boiling. In stores, goods fell off the shelves and houses shook. The trouble started on a fine day, around 4:30 p.m., lasted a few minutes, then stopped. Nobody knew what happened and it was the talk of the town at suppertime that night. "At eight o'clock a woman rushed into my store and shouted that all the water was gone out of the harbour. We went out to see. It seemed as though the end of the world was at hand. The harbour was dry and all the boats and schooners were on their sides. People ran from the town and by the time I cleared up, got my family and started to leave, there was nobody left here. The town was silent and then I heard the start of a roar, it got louder and louder. Fortunately everyone was heading for high ground. Then we saw this great tidal wave rushing in and rooting up homes and buildings."

Later when rescuers tried to recover property floating in the bay and to look for survivors and bodies, they found a house with a child upstairs in its cot still asleep while the rest of the family on the first floor had all drowned. Twenty-nine people lost their lives before the tidal wave subsided. The search for bodies went on until the following autumn. The tidal wave lasted about two hours and caused two million dollars worth of damage in the South West Coast area. All marine growth was swept away and the fish did not return to the area until the 1940s.

On November 25 a South Coast disaster committee was set up in St. John's with the Governor as Chairman. The group raised a quarter of a million dollars to help those affected by the disaster. Financial assistance also came from all over the world to aid the victims.

Credit Cards - VISA, Credit Cards - MasterCardCredit Cards - American ExpressCredit Cards - Discover Card
(also phone in orders, check and purchase orders)
Canadian WebsiteAll Prices are in Canadian Dollars
P.O. Box 26120, St. John's, NL, Canada, A1E 0A5
Phone (local): 709-738-3435 ; Toll Free: 1-877-738-3435
Newfoundland tourism
© - Newfoundland and Labrador - All Rights Reserved