MacDonald, Joe - Rum-running tale | Bowing Down Home


File: macdonaldjoe-oh-nellybanks.mp3

JM – Joe MacDonald

KP – Curator Ken Perlman

JM: It was dry then, dry as could be. But there was a few years later then the rum started to come in. Capt. Dicks used to be up here with the Nellie J. Banks.

KP: I heard about that.

JM: He'd have a load of rum from St. Pierre and Miquelon, and the fishermen would bring it ashore, and they'd get so much a keg for taking it in. Course the revenuers would be after them but [Captain] Dicks was pretty smart. They couldn't always catch him. One time they arrested him off Point Prim. The officers said – They were disappointed, they weren't trained too well in those days. But the three mile limit - If you're outside the three mile limit then, it later became twelve, but they told him – They went aboard out of Point Prim, that's on the south side of the Island, and they told him he was inside the three mile limit. Of course, first thing he done was took a bearing here and a bearing there, and he marked it in the chart. Then he sampled the water and he marked that in the chart, and he said “OK boys, now steam her into Charlottetown.” So they sailed into Charlottetown, and they unloaded the kegs of rum and they put 'em in a building at the end of the wharf, and he put up his crew in the most expensive place in Charlottetown. You know, court proceedings were pretty slow then. When it came to trial the next spring, they didn't have a thing, he had his chart and he showed it to the judge. And he had also the best lawyer in Charlottetown, his name was Johnson, and the judge just threw it out. Of course the officers had nothing to prove that Dicks was where they said he was, so – And then they had to put the rum back on again. He got [there and] all the kegs in the bottom were all empty. The lads were all down borin’ out under the building catchin’ the rum. And there was rum all winter in Charlottetown. They had to send a ship to St. Pierre then and reload 'em. (laughs) It was quite an embarrassment.

KP: I bet it was.