Ann Harvey’s Weblog

dedicated to the lives of those lost and retrieved at sea

Archive for the ‘The Wreck of The Despatch, 1828’ Category


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Written by annharvey

May 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Ann Harvey Days

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The second annual “Ann Harvey Days” festival is slated to be held this summer, August 1-4, 2008. Residents and visitors are provided the opportunity to commemorate the life, spirit, and community of Canada’s maritime heroine. Scheduled events offer a chance to pay tribute to the historic events while participating in a variety of fun activities in present-day Isle aux Morts.

Ann Harvey Days 2008

Ann Harvey Days 2007


Written by annharvey

May 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Wikepedia re: The Despatch and Ann Harvey

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To supply additional background on the wreck of the brig Despatch in 1828, we thought it would be appropriate to provide Wikepedia’s information on Ann Harvey. It needs updating, as there are inaccuracies.

“Ann Harvey (18111860) was a fisher and rescuer born near the small fishing community of Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, Canada. Harvey, called “Grace Darling of Newfoundland”, is known for her bravery at the young age of seventeen for rescuing, along with her father, younger brother and a dog, 163 shipwrecked souls from the brig Despatch between the twelfth and fifteenth of July, 1828.

Harvey and her father George were fishing as usual on one early July morning when they made the discovery that would etch Ann forever in Newfoundland history. The Harveys lived, along with one or two other families, on a small, bare, rocky island near Isle aux Morts. George, born in Jersey, moved to Newfoundland with his wife where they had eight children, of whom Ann was the oldest.

That morning, when Ann sighted a keg and a straw bed floating in the turbulent seas, they immediately realized a ship had been wrecked nearby. George and Ann fetched twelve-year-old Tom, George’s oldest son, and their Newfoundland dog, Hairy Man, and launched their punt with little regard for their own safety. On a beach nearby they found six men who had survived the wreck and set out to find more survivors. They found a large group on a tiny island that would be thereafter be known as Wreck Rock. This rock, three miles from shore, was barely large enough to hold the remaining survivors of the thirty or more who had died from exhaustion or washed away and drowned. They got to this small rock by means of a mast they had cut away from the sinking vessel. George could get no closer than 100 feet of the survivors due to the heavy seas. He threw a billet of wood to which the survivors attached a rope and George got his dog to swim for it. Each of the passengers were taken off the rock in this fashion.

Five more of the survivors died on the rock and ten more expired on land after their dramatic rescue. The waves remained merciless the entire time; two babies were swept from their mother’s arms. But over an exhausting three-day period from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning, more than 180 people were saved in this manner by Ann and George.

Their work did not end there, for now the survivors had to be fed. This was a challenge given the high numbers and the limited supplies the tiny community had available. Besides, the nearest merchants were many miles away in Jersey Harbour and Harbour Breton. Although Ann and her family had saved their lives and tried their best to feed and care for the survivors in the intervening days, the would-be immigrants were in a pitiful condition. There were few homes on Dead Island, so the Harveys and some of the survivors built lean-tos for shelter.

When Captain Grant of HMS Tyne arrived about eight days later, after receiving word of the wreck, they found no bread, flour or tea left in the Harvey home, their winter provisions all gone. Grant replenished the food stocks of the Harveys and removed the survivors to St. John’s, where news of the heroism of Ann and her father travelled throughout the island. From Government House, Governor Thomas Cochrane applied to the Royal Humane Society for recognition of the family and a special medal was struck. Lloyd’s of London, the insurance agents, gave the Harveys the then princely sum of 100 pounds.

Ann’s days as a rescuer were not over; ten years later on September 4, 1838, the Rankin was sailing from Glasgow to Quebec and went aground near the same spot as the Despatch. This time she helped save the lives of twenty-five people.

For a time, Ann was know as the “Grace Darling of Newfoundland”, after the English girl who, with her father, saved lives of seamen wrecked on the Northumberland coast. On July 17, 1987, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Ann Harvey was commissioned in memory of Ann’s heroic deeds.”

Source From:

Isle aux Morts

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