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  Adrift On The Ice 

A Special Thanks to Ross Pomeroy for writing and sharing this story about one of our distant relatives Emma Jane Coveyduck and her family...  William Coveduck

Adrift On The Ice 1917

27th October 1874
George William   Pomeroy married Emma Jane Coveyduck in Fogo on October 27, 1874.   The wedding was witnessed by his brother Joseph and J.A. Lucas.
Emma Jane was a daughter of William and Sarah Coveyduck of Change Islands.   Church documents of Change Islands show that Emma Jane was baptized October 8, 1853.   She was about 22 years of age when she married George William.   Other siblings of Emma Jane were; James John Coveyduck baptized July 21, 1850;   Rebecca, baptized on June 29, 1856 and   Julia who was baptized on September 01, 1860.
A son was born to George William and Emma Jane on February 28, 1879.   He was christened Francis George Pomeroy.   The marriage was not to last, for within a year or two of their son's birth, George William Pomeroy died.   The date of death and cause is unknown."

"On November 3, 1882 at the age of 29, Emma Pomeroy, now a widow, married Samuel Jacobs of Joe Batts Arm.   Emma and Francis George moved from Locke's Cove to Joe Batt's Arm to live with Samuel.   Francis was less than three years old at the time of the move and would live in the Jacob's family home without changing his surname.   Francis Pomeroy grew up in Joe Batt's Arm and like his father before him, made his living as a fisherman.

On April 7, 1917, Francis Pomeroy, Joseph, Stephen and Walter Jacobs, as well as, William and Herbert Freake went to hunt seals on the ice off   Joe Batt's Arm.   On the ice that day were others including Harry Curtis and John Decker.

When the wind started to change, Curtis and Decker, along with some others,   turned for home, but Francis and his companions could not navigate the crevice that was opening in the ice between them and shore.   They began to walk the ice in search of some way that might yet get them safely home....but none was found.

The next day the ice had driven far from shore and the men were seen no more. The sealing gaff belonging to Joseph Jacobs was   all that remained of this terrible tragedy.   This gaff is now protected by a glass case and mounted on the rear wall of St. John The Evangelist Anglican Church in Joe Batt's Arm.   The following note was placed on the glass.

                  In Memoriam

On the seventh of April, 1917, four young men from South Side, Joe Batt's Arm, left in company with each other, to go on the ice in quest of seal. Three of them were brothers, the only members of the family, sons of Mr and Mrs Thomas Jacobs.
Their names were Joseph, Stephen and Walter Jacobs. The fourth man, Francis Pomeroy, was a close companion of the others named.

The ice was on land and it was blowing a strong breeze from a northeasterly direction. Added to this, a dense fog was prevailing all day. So dense that the men could not tell the condition of the ice.   The general opinion was that they walked to the edge of the main water.   Later in the day, the wind changed to   a more easterly direction which drifted the ice from the land.   This, owing to the fog, was unknown to the men.   With the changed wind a heavy sea made, rain fell in torrents, and this condition of weather lasted a week or more.   The men were driven off.   Rescue work was impossible.  
Death from exposure and starvation was the result.   Weeks past and never a word was heard from the missing men.

In the month of June, a man   belonging to Twillingate, picked up a gaff at Western Head, Moreton's Harbour.   This gaff belonged to Joseph Jacobs and contained a message from the dead.   The message may be read by anybody who views the gaff.

After a lapse of a few months the gaff   was handed to Mr. Arthur Hodge, Twillingate, who knowing the relatives of the dead men, forward the gaff to them.   For twenty years the gaff was kept in the home of Mr and Mrs. Jacobs.

These four men were loyal, blue degree members of St. John's Lodge # 11 S.U.F and as a mark of respect the members of the Lodge unanimously voiced their sentiment to have the gaff brought to the lodge. It has therefore been presented to the Lodge as a part of Lodge property and has been placed in suitable care as a tribute of respect to the sacred memory of those brethren who lost their lives in following their vocation.   May this relic be a warning to all.   May it also be a reminder to us as brothers to be ever faithful to the order and ready our work.

Two other men, in pursuit of their vocation, were lost on   this date. Namely William Freake and Hubert Freake of this community.
Emma Jane lived just a eight months after her son, Francis, lost his life on the ice. She is buried in the Anglican cemetery in   Joe Batt's Arm. Her headstone is lying flat and almost covered by grass and soil.

The inscription reads:
Erected by Rosanna Decker in loving memory of her mother Emma Jane Jacobs Died Dec 21, 1917 Age 64 years

"She is gone but not forgotten
Never shall her memory fade
Fondest thoughts shall ever linger
Round the grave where she is laid"

And right at the very bottom of this marker Rosanna had inscribed:

"Also, her stepbrother Francis Pomeroy
who went adrift on the ice flow
April 8, 1917 age 37 years"

 No evidence has been found that Francis was ever married or had children and it is quite likely that this branch of the Pomeroy tree had withered with his passing.

Rosanna Decker was the daughter of   Samuel Jacobs and Emma Jane Coveyduck. She married John Decker of Joe Batt’s Arm on May 14, 1907 . He was twenty seven years old and a widower.

Their children were Mary Gladys born May 27, 1908, Emma Jane born October 11, 1909, Samuel Jacobs born July 13, 1914, Flora Hazel born August 11, 1917 and Francis George born September 14, 1921.

Ross Pomeroy

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