Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Power of the Sea

It has been a long time since I have written. My only excuse is that I have been overwhelmed with the end of the semester. As a post-graduate student I am only taking one class, but still it was a rough semester battered mostly by Hurricane Sandy which caused havoc in my homeland of Long Island, NY. 

My family, in general, fared well. We all lost power at some point. My Uncle Thomas was the hardest hit being that he lived on a canal. My sister was also displaced for sometime. She gave birth to my niece, her first child, just days before the storm and returned home to a house filled with 5 feet of water. My niece, Sofie, spent the first two weeks of her life living in my childhood bedroom with my sister, my brother-in-law, and their dog. Needless to say it all seemed normal to Sofie.

But all this talk of storms and the ravages of the sea has made me think of my great-great grandfather, Abraham Earle who died at sea. The Earles were a seafaring people who lived in Twillingate, Newfoundland until my great-grandfather Abram Thomas Earle emigrated to the United States at the turn of the century with his sisters; he was about 8 at the time and his mother had died. 

Abram never knew his father. He was born after his father's death. Often when I say that people seem confused. Yes, that can happen. His father died while his mother was pregnant. His father, Abraham took to sea on a ship called The Rise and Go in the fall of 1890. Abram was born in January 1891 and on March 21, 1891 this article appeared in the Twillingate Sun.

"When on the wide and boundless path Of desolation doom'd to flee, Say, sunk she mid the blended wrath Of stormy cloud or raging sea? Or where the laud but mocks the eye, Went drifting on a fatal shore? Vain guess all ---- her Destiny was dark ---- She ne'er was heard of more, Oh! were her tale of sorrow known, 'Twere something to the aching heart; The pangs of doubt would then be gone, And fancy's dreams would then depart. It may not be ---- there is no ray By which her face we can explore, We only know ---- she sailed away, And ne'er was seen or heard of more."
"The beautiful lines of the poetess bear a most faithful and painful resemblance to the fate of one of our fleet of schooner, the Rise and Go, of Twillingate, Thomas WARR, master, which left this harbor late last fall with a cargo of fish from W. Waterman & Co., and bound for St. John's, and has not been heard of. Doubtless, she succombed to the fury of the gale which sprung up a few days after leaving this harbor, but no positive or definite account of how, or where, or when she was lost or disappeared, has ever reached the anxious and sorrowing relatives of those on board, and all hope that any such news will ever reach them must now be abandoned.
"In the meantime we would offer to the afflicted mourners our deepest and heartfelt sympathy in this their day of sorrow and suffering, and we feel certain that a like wide spread sympathetic feeling exists in the hearts of the general community, where the lost ones were well known and esteemed. It might not be a difficult, but it would be a very melancholy and painful task for the imagination to picture the anxious waiting, the harrowing suspense, with the fitful gleams of hope that must at times have agitated the hearts of those despairing mourners, looking --- oh how vainly looking for the return of the missing and beloved ones to the homes now, so desolate and deserted; but we confess our inability to enter on such a painful task, or to dwell on the irreparable loss they have sustained. The missing ones are now we trust in "That land of pure delight, Where Saints immortal reign." And we know that all will reverently join us in commending the bereaved families to the guidance of One who has promised (and his promises are Yea and Amen) to be a husband to the widow, a father to the fatherless, a friend to the friendless, and a very sure refuge in every time of need.
"The six men composing the crew of the ill fated Rise and Go were the master, Thomas WARR, and two sons George and Daniel, Abraham EARLE, Elijah SHARPE, and Thomas SIMMS, who have left four widows and fifteen children."
Note: The dates on this headstone are wrong. Erected by his children long after his death, Abraham Earle died at sea in the fall of 1890. His body is not interned here.

The sea is a powerful and mighty force. It has affected lives then and now and will continue to do so for as long as humankind exists. Nature always wins.

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