The Shipwreck of the Don Parsons


From Charles Liebow's Cranberry Islands Notes:

DON PARSONS - Schooner Wrecked on the south shore at Islesford in [Jan 12, 1923] with a cargo of coal.



Thanks to George Fuller, of Winnipeg, Canada, for the following five annotated photos from his scrapbook.  George mentions that "...one of my family members, Captain Thomas Andrew Card, was in command of that ship, when it was wrecked."

He also says, "I found an old famly document, which tells about a family member, who later went on a vacation to Bar Harbour, and while there, they took a ferry over to Cranberry Island, and paid a visit to the local museum.  The curator of the museum produced several clippings of the Don Parson wreck.  The info in the clippings was a little inaccurate, with regards to who the captain was, it stated that the captain was Capt Donald Card, but in fact, the captain was actually Capt Thomas A. Card.  The write up in the Nova Scotia Hants Journal of 1923, stated the captain was Thomas A Card."

The text quoted below is from the original annotations printed below the photos, which are, unfortunately, of very poor quality.  I cannot account for the apparent discrepancy of the article mentioning "Deer Island" as the site of the wreck.

"Forward End After Wreck
Tern schooner Don Parsons, wrecked Jan. 12th., 1923, at Deer Island, Maine.  Captain, T.[homas] A. Card, 90 fathoms of chain on each anchor on the rocks.  Built 1919, at Cheverie [Nova Scotia].  Tonnage 425.  Loaded with 700 tons coal, bound for St. John, N.B., from New York."

click to enlarge
courtesy of George Fuller

"After Part, Following Wreck"


courtesy of George Fuller

"Rocks where the Schooner Struck
Coal scattered through the rocks.  Men may be seen in the picture picking up the coal."


courtesy of George Fuller

"Coal Recovered
About six hundred tons may be seen in bags and piles.  About 30 men had been employed.  Insurance Company had these men paid $3.00 a ton.  Insurance Company probably get three times" ... [that much for the salvaged coal.]

courtesy of George Fuller

Further, from George Fuller:

"Thomas Andrew Card was born Sept. 13, 1853 in Summerville Nova Scotia.  At age 8, he was left without a mother or father, and went to work on a farm in Burlington Hants County, Nova Scotia.  After 5 years of farm life, he decided to try the sea, and at age 13, in 1866, he got on with the ship Continental of Windsor, Nova Scotia, under the command of Elias Bitts.  Thomas served on the Continental faithfully for seven months.  He served on many other ships and worked his way up to captain, and sailed all over the world.

In March 1922, Capt. Card went to Florida, and took charge of the ill-fated schooner Don Parsons.  The Don Parsons was built in Cheverie, Nova Scotia, in 1919, and had a tonnage of 425.  He stayed with her untill she was wrecked Jan. 12, 1923, on Little Cranberry Island, during a north-east snow storm, trying to make port.  She was loaded with 700 tons of coal bound for St. John, New Brunswick.

Capt. Thomas Card went on to sail many more ships till his death in 1941, at Summerville, Nova Scotia.

Capt. Thomas A. Card

courtesy of George Fuller

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