A. W. Savary to Barn(?), 25/01/1907

Annapolis Royal Jany 25, 1907.

Dear Barn [?],


Jerome was probably and Italian or Portuguese sailor who having received a bad injury on board ship had his legs amputated by the Captain and the shock of the whole thing on his constitution disordered his mind, and deprived him of his ability and perhaps the will to talk, and as the ship was probably bound on long voyages during which he would be a burden to them the Capt and crew conceived the idea of abandoning him somewhere where he would be found & provided for by the authorities and where the latter would not be likely ever to find out the authors of this outrage. The romantic stories Yankee tourists write about him for known in sensational papers are much to be regretted and deprecated. In 1863, August 23, Robert Bishop of Sandy Cove was in company of a W. Eldridge, were working on a hill overlooking the Cove on the Bay of Fundy side late in the afternoon when they saw two small pink-sterned vessels or large boats came in towards shore. The one boat came up the latter of the two put something into a small boat and the small boat came ashore. They supposed this was a cask which they were shoving ashore for water from a well near the edge of the beach.

The beach was not visible from where they stood. Presently they saw the boat again after she had got out into the open again, return into the vessels and the latter slid off & disappeared. Next morning they were again working on the same hill when a man came running up and saying there was a man on the shore with no legs. They went down and found him propelling himself by his hands towards the tide which was rising; they found a pitcher of water and some ship’s biscuits where they had found him. I never knew till I talked with Bishop last summer that he was there all night. They took care of him & notified the Overseers of the Poor who called on the Members of the County, they concluded he should be supported out of the funds granted by the Provincial government for the relief of transient paupers; and taking for granted, I presume, that he was an Italian and therefore a Roman Catholic, they sent him over to Meteghan where a man took him for $2 a week. I understand he is with a son of the same man out some miles below Meteghan. When asked his name he would say Jerome. The only other word he would say was Colombo and W. Bishop says he would say that when asked where he came from, and W. Bishop who had been some among Portuguese and Spanish in South America, says he looked more likely like a Portuguese than an Spanish Italian, & so I have conjectured that he may be from Colombo, Ceylon, where I think a small colony descendants of Early Portuguese still exists. But it is said a Corsican who lived for some years near him induced him to say a word or two in Italian, & W. Meechi an Italian merchant living at Meteghan thinks he is an Italian from the Adriatic coast, for he has elicited from him the words; « Sior Si », for « Si Signor, » (« Yes, Sir ») and « fretto, fretto » for « very cold », and those are particular to the dialect of the Italian on the Adriatic coast. No one has ever got him to converse, or wholly utter an intelligent sentence. So little was thought of his exposure at the time that I don’t think it even got into the papers & although familiar with Mr. Wade our Digby M.P.P. never heard of him untill years after. I went to see him next time I visited Meteghan & will remember the pitiful reproachful look he cast on me as he propelled himself out of the room when I was looking at him and asking his hosts questions about him.

Please keep this letter & some day I will return it want it returned. I have so many inquiries about him I will get a triplicate type-written copy of it made. I also send Bishop’s letter and 3 newspaper clippings. He cannot be the same man that Senator King mentions.

Yours very sincerely,
A.W. Savary.

Transient paupers are paupers whose place of settlement cannot be found out or who have no settlement in any particular place in the Province.

Source: Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, A.W. Savary Correspondance, MG 100 Vol. 169 #23b, A. W. Savary, A. W. Savary to Barn(?), 25/01/1907, January 25, 1907.

Return to parent page