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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SCHOONER TOW SONG

WE LEAVES DETROIT BEHIND US,
WE SETS OUR CANVAS TIGHT;
THE TUG SLOWS UP AND CASTS US OFF,
OLD ERIE HEAVES IN SIGHT}

SO WE WATCH OUR TILLER CLOSER,
WE KEEPS OUR SHEET ROPES CLEAR;
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS STIDDY WIND
ALONG LAKE ERIE HERE.

Submitter comment: CIRCA 1890

Where learned: GREAT LAKES SHIPWRECKS ; SURVIVALS ; PAGE 133

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Admiration Praise Adulation
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Work

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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MILITARY HAZING PRACTICES AND RITES OF PASSAGE

NEW CREWMEMBERS ABOARD SHIP ARE GIVEN NONSENSE DUTIES TO CARRY
OUT. SOME OF THESE ARE LOOKING FOR A CAN OF BULKHEAD REMOVER
WHICH HAS THE HAPLESS CREWMEMBER LOOKING FOR A NON-EXISTANT
"WALLREMOVER." ANOTHER IS FINDING A BUCKET OF CROSSHAIRS
WHICH THE GUNNERSMATE NEEDS FOR SIGHTING THE BIG GUNS.
THE FAVORITE IS THE "SUBMARINE" WATCH. IN THIS ONE THE CREW-
MEMBER IS GIVEN A PAIR OF BINOCULARS AND STATIONED SOMEWHERE
HE CAN EASILY BE SEEN. HE IS THEN INSTRUCTED TO REMAIN ON POST
UNTIL HE IS RELIEVED. AFTER A FEW HOURS OF GUFFAWS SOMEONE WILL
USUALLY GO "RELIEVE" HIM.

"SALTINESS" IS ACHIEVED AFTER A NAVYMAN HAS REPORTED TO
HIS FIRST SHIP HE IS ENTITLED TO ROLL THE BRIM OF HIS WHITEHAT,
HAVE HIS PANTS "BELLED" OR "PEGGED," AND TURN BACK THE CUFFS OF HIS
DRESSBLUE JUMPER. ANOTHER FAVORITE IS A TATTOO OR PIERCED EAR.

"CROSSING THE EQUATOR": ON THE EAST COAST INITIATES GO THROUGH
A "SHELLBACK" INITIATION. THERE ARE SEVERAL TESTS SUCH AS A
CRAWL THROUGH SLIME, THE SHELLBACK GAUNTLET, KISSING THE ROYAL
BABY, THE HORIZON SWEEP, AND DECK RUN. ALL SUCCESSFUL INITIATES
RECEIVE A SHELLBACK ID CARD, WALL PLAQUE TO SEND HOME TO MOTHER.
THE WEST COAST VERSION IS THE SAME EXCEPT THAT YOU BECOME A
MEMBER OF THE "ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DRAGONS." YOU RECEIVE THE
ID CARD, PLAQUE, AND TWO PATCHES WITH GOLD DRAGONS ON THEM TO WEAR
ON THE INSIDE OF THE CUFF OF YOUR DRESSBLUE JUMPER. THIS IS TO
IDENTIFY YOU AS A MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING. THERE ARE DISCOUNTS
AT CERTAIN BARS ON DRINKS AND OTHER "RELAXATIVES" FOR MEMBERS.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; GREAT LAKES

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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The Wreck of the Asia

Loud raged the dreadful tumult,
And stormy was the day,
When the Asia left the harbour,
To cross the Georgian Bay.

One hundred souls she had on board,
Likewise a costly store;
But on this trip, this gallant ship
Did sink to rise no more.

With three and thirty shanty men
So handsome, stout and brave,
Were bound for Collin's Inlet
But found a watery grave.

Of all the souls she had on board,
Two only are alive;
Miss Morrison and Tinkiss,
Who only did survive.

Miss Morrison and Tinkiss,
Their names I'll ne'er forget,
Protected by a lifeboat
Which five times did upset.

. . .

The cabin boy next passed away,
So young, so true, so brave;
His parents weep while his body sleeps
In Georgian's watery grave.

And likewise Billy Christie,
With his newly wedded bride,
Were bound for Manitoulin
Where the parents did reside.

"Oh, had we only left this boat,
Last eve at Owen Sound!
Oh Willie dear, why came you here
To in these waters drown?"

. . .

The men cried, "Save the captain,"
As the waters round him raged;
"Oh, no," cried he, "Ne'er think of me
Till all on board [are] saved."

. . .

Around each family circle,
How sad the news to hear,
The foundering of the Asia
Left sounding in each ear.

 

Submitter comment:

This ballad, inspired by the sinking of the Asia in 1882, was printed anonymously in a local newspaper, and sung for years thereafter by sailing crews (Ratigan). The dots indicate where the author apparently has omitted verses.

Data entry tech comment:

From William Ratigan's "Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals," p. 89.

Where learned: Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ballad Epic

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