Shipwrecks of New Brunswick


224 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 1-895900-82-4
DDC 971.5'1





Reviewed by Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur is the author of The Rise of French New Brunswick and
H.H. Stevens, 1878–1973 and co-author of Silver Harvest. His latest
book is Horse-Drawn Carriages and Sleighs: Elegant Vehicles from New
England and New Brunswick.


It has been said that the sea is the world’s largest cemetery.
Parsons’ summary of some of the major wrecks that occurred between
1812 and 1940 on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy grimly
underscores the point.

The shipwreck accounts are based on eyewitness descriptions and court
records. Except for one or two paddle-wheelers and a couple of modern
steam freighters, all of the wrecks involved sailing vessels, mostly
small schooners so loaded with lumber that the cargo overflowed to the
decks. In fact, one suspects that overloading contributed as much to the
shipwrecks as navigation errors or sudden gales.

Chapter 16, “Mutiny on the Veronica,” is not about a wreck. It is
the grim tale of the ill-fated barque Veronica, a Saint John–built
vessel that left the southern United States with a load of lumber for
delivery in Montevideo. A mutiny broke out. The captain, a native of
Prince Edward Island, was murdered along with his mate and four crewmen,
their bodies tossed overboard. After setting fire to the vessel, the
four remaining crew escaped in the lifeboat and were picked up by a
steamer bound for Liverpool. Once there, they were brought to trial and
found guilty. Two of the mutineers were hanged.

Parsons’ well-written and meticulously document text is accompanied
by excellent illustrations and two indexes (“Ships and Towns” and
“People and Businesses”). The jacket blurb describes Parsons as
“one of Atlantic Canada’s most popular and prolific writers.”
Shipwrecks of New Brunswick solidifies that reputation.


Parsons, Robert C., “Shipwrecks of New Brunswick,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,