Schooner Emeline Wrecked at Broad Cove, Cape Breton, January 9 to 12th , 1871

The winter continued mild into January of 1871 and a regatta was scheduled for the Town of Georgetown, PEI which according to the news report was “unparalleled in the Northern climate”. This enabled some boats to venture out to make an unusual mid winter journey on Northumberland Strait to other destinations.

The schooner, Emeline left Charlottetown for Bay of Islands, near Corner Brook, in Western  Newfoundland on December 10th, 1870 with Captain Edward Saville of Grand River, PEI  (born on Feb. 22, 1829 in Gloucester, MA, USA) in control. The Emeline appears to have been sailing back to Charlottetown when she wrecked during a storm off Broad Cove Marsh in Cape Breton on January 9th to 12th, 1871. Two brothers of  Rev. Dr. Edwin Clay of Charlottetown (he was a medical doctor and a Baptist Minister): Henry (Harry)  (1826-1871) and Darius D. (1824-1871)  Clay and Dr. Clay’s son, Frank Clay (? -1871) were on board during the disaster. Captain Saville was the brother-in-law of Dr. Clay and was married to Emeline Clay (born May 3, 1833 at Montague, PEI).  It was reported that another man by the name of Curry was also on board. Mr. Curry was the former master of the Cascumpec Packet.. Several local young men launched boats from Broad Cove on January 13th  and went out to the wreck and started towing her ashore until she grounded. They then had to wait for the first strong gale from the northwest to drive her further towards shore. They had found her foremast completely gone and mainmast with sails and other rigging detached and hanging by the side of the ship. The hull of the ship and other articles from the ship were sold according to a report from Edward Tremain. It appears the bodies of the crew weren’t recovered as family records indicate they died in a shipwreck and are listed as lost at sea.

On Tuesday, March 21, 1871 a benefit was held in Charlottetown to aid the families who suffered loss from the sinking of the ship, ”Emeline” and a total of 35 pounds sterling was raised. The men on the fatal journey had taken everything saleable with them including oats, potatoes and pork and they were to return with a full cargo of fish and other goods. This had left their families with very little to survive the winter.

A poem about the tragedy was written by A. Currie and is published in the Examiner edition of February 20, 1871.

As a sidenote, the wife of Edwin Clay was Mary Sophie Pineo born October 30, 1855 at Pugwash, NS and she was given Pineo lodge at Pugwash by her father Henry Pineo who had built it for her. This lodge later became “Thinker’s Lodge” when Cyrus Eaton took possession.

Sources: Examiner, January 23, 1871; Examiner, January 30, 1871; Examiner, February 20, 1871; Examiner April 3, 1871;; Melanie Clay-Smith,;

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