Descendants of shipwreck in Hant's Harbour for plaque unveiling

Melissa Jenkins
Published on August 25, 2014

Gertie Pelley (left), Keith Pittman (centre) and Gerald Dawe reveal a commemorative plaque for the victims of The Fanny.

©Photo by Melissa Jenkins/The Compass

For Keith Pittman of Clarenville and Gerald Dawe of Conception Bay South, the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in Hant’s Harbour, Trinity Bay was a special moment.

The two men are descendants of William Kelson Jr., the owner of The Fanny, a vessel that was caught in a winter storm in 1835. All seven aboard perished. Read the original story here.

For months, the Willow Tree Heritage Society has been looking for family members of any of those who lost their lives. Pittman and Dawe responded to the call. They are first cousins.

The unveiling of the plaque took place Aug. 16 at a cemetery in Hant’s Harbour, where the recovered bodies of the victims were buried.

For the first time, members of the committee were able to meet descendants of those who perished, although it was unsure how many there were.

Pittman and Dawe were among the 100-plus people to come out for the historic occasion. And they were happy they did.

“It was just beautiful,” Dawe said, with his wife Beverley by his side.

For more in depth coverage of this story, see the September 2 print edition of The Compass.