May 1847

Ship Anglo Saxon, 900 tons, Gordon master, from Boston to Liverpool, G.B., was wrecked at Duck Island, near Shag Harbor, on the night of 8th May. All on board saved and a portion of the cargo. Vessel only eight months old and one of the finest packet ships ever launched at Boston. She had sixty passengers.” (Gilbert Nickerson said that among them were members of a theatrical company.)

She had been ordered by Enoch Train and Company for their White Star line for its trans-Atlantic passenger service between Boston and Liverpool. She was a pioneer in the service, possessed good, steerage accommodations (with well-ventilated quarters, containing 96 berths), and was highly decorated to attract passengers.

All the ship’s beauty and careful workmanship were to be destroyed, eight months later, on the desolate shores of a tiny islet (now only a reef) off our shores. Fishermen say that a few years ago a piece of heavy oak wreckage, part of the Anglo Saxon, could still be seen at low water in Duck Island Cove, and that Shag Harbor men raised a portion of plank from it and brought it home.

For years after the wreck an occasional gold coin could be retrieved at the spring low tides. Fishermen used to scoop up a bucket of sand and water at the tide and, if they were lucky, find a gold piece amongst it. About seventy years ago, two Cape Island boys visited Duck Island with their fisherman father. At low water they went to the tide line to skip rocks, and in one spot they found several scattered pebbles, small and round and flat, ideal “scalers”. When the father summoned them, one boy dropped a couple of stones into his pocket. And later learned that the flat stones he had skipped out to sea were tarnished and corroded coins from Anglo Saxon, uncovered by some freak of tide and storm.

The Wreckwood Chair by Evelyn Richardson

Available for purchase at the Cape Sable Historical Society

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