1929 Tidal Wave/Tsunami Lord’s Cove Burin Peninsula Newfoundland


It was about 4:00 in the evening and we had a trembling The ground and the windows and everything shook. and then, there was a neighbour across the street and he was our neighbour and he was the man that’s travelled a lot he knew, and of course he said “We’re gonna have a earthquake” and we laughed at him. Now we didn’t know what an earthquake was. He said “ye needn’t laugh” he said b’y before 8:00 he said we’ll have a Tidal Wave. And we just pushed it aside, you know. Well sure enough 8:00 right on the button we had the tidal wave. The whole cove dried right out right out right out as far as you could see, right out across the point and all that. And, it wasn’t very long, about 20-25 min I suppose and it started coming in and it didn’t come in like water it was just like foam like you put on the fire One big roll and it rolled in on over Everybody was terrified, nobody knew what to do. Everyone took off running, running up in the woods and around everywhere. It was me, Mom and my brother was about 2 yr old and I was 9 yr old. I grabbed him up, in under my arm and I ran up up to the.. Mrs. Stacey’s Mrs Genevieve Stacey, and we all stayed at her house that night. Whatever could get in the house was in there on the floor and on everywhere and next morning when we got up everything was covered in with glitter That was in November. And so everything was gone all the people’s fish and like they had dried.. in them times you used to dry the fish and pack it up in little piles we used to call it little faggets, on the beach and leave them until the next morning and then you’d spread it out if it was a fine day. So there was none of it left. Everything was gone with the rocks and the sand and everything. So then it went in and filled took all the beaches and all the ponds and there was right between the ocean and the beach and there was a little pond. right? And filled it all up with rocks and everything and between them 2 points there where it comes in one came right straight in up through went up in all the meadows and everything right up almost to the back road, and that family got, lost their house brought it down and placed it in the pond. the woman had 3 children, 4 children one was in bed and the others stayed down with their mother in the kitchen. They were all drowned but the little girl, she lives because she was upstairs in bed. After it was all over, the men went out and broke the window and took the little girl out. She was terrified, but she’s still living. She lives in Marystown. She’s Margaret Saint. She got married after when she grew up to a Saint. Yeah but see she was up further up in the meadow and it was right flat and level, and the sea, The sea on the beach was hand about level and it went right on in right on up through the meadow and took that house, as it happened it was two story, and brought it out and that so far as it was landed and left it right there in the pond and now there was [????] there along, you know, on the other side but never touched that. But did you see that? Did you see the house being taken? Yeah, Yeah. Them poor little children they were all waiting in the hall. So she, I guess she didn’t know anything was goin… No no she had sewing machine on the table, she was sewing and she didn’t have the kids put to bed, only one. Ok So the house was taken out into the pond, so… Yup, and then see it was sunk down in the pond because it was water in it. Yeah when they took out, not the people that were dead in the bottom, but when they took out Margaret, That’s the little 3, I think she was 3 years old. Around there Where you there when all that happened? No no no, The men all.. the men done that. We were expecting it. We were waiting for it, really, and then when it started to come, we seen the white wave come and I said to Mom I said “uncle Prosp” we used to call him, his name was Prosp Welsh[?], and I said “He was right!” So I grabbed, grabbed up me brother and we went on up to her place and she met everybody in the gate with her rosary beads in her hand. And that house, my dear, was packed that night. It was PACKED! Everybody who could that could get in there was in there. My husband was there, he was only, only a young fellow then. But there wasn’t too many houses damaged or anything the most was the men’s fishing gear and their boats, their stages, all that along the waterline. All that was gone. Their nets and their traps and whatever they had, because it was the time in the year where they’d have it all taken in, and dried and taken for winter. But theyÉ theyÉ The fish was the worst, they lost every bit of fish that they had. So how was that winter? Was it a tough Winter? WellÉ it was.. kinda tough, but then that ship came and she brought some stuff, you know, things that people (here) never ever saw before. Like apples and oranges, and hard bread, and stuff like that, and rolled oats and brown flour, all that kind of stuff. So That was about what, about 5:00pm Yeah about 5:00pm But, it was a while after though beforeÉ Yeah 8:00pm. The water went out, and dried right out, right, my God you’d have to see it to believe it. Yeah and you could see the birds, you know the gulls, cuz it wasn’t really dark, and they were picking on the seabed eh? on the bottom. And then it started to come. When it come then it was furious my dear. There was another house, another big white house a 2 storey building and it was over on the other side, on our side I’d say, and over where the church is to now. And it was, well then there used to be houses all up there, you see? And this big house was there and Jack Harnett and they owned and there was nobody home in the house but they had the lamp lit on the table ‘cuz there’s no electric lights and the sea come up what we called Joe’s Cove and went down over that flat of land and went and took that big house and took it down to theÉ to the land, washed down to the beach and carried it out in the cove. One big sea and the next one brought it back and landed it on the beach. It was hard to believe, and the lamp was on the table and never went out!

8 comments

  • Joe MacDougall

    fascinating account of this little known disaster. My condolences for the loss of your Grandmother. Thank you for posting this interview.

  • MrXstacey

    @liliadis Dang, (by d'lard jesus by) you called me on it, I tried to amplify the audio as best as I could, the original recording was very low. I guess if you toss on a newfie accent on top of that, there may be many who don't understand what they can't quite hear to begin with. Well, Youtube introduced captions since I uploaded this, so give me a few days "ta figger dat out, 'n tings will be best kind su'enuff" Although, I'll try to caption in english vs newf'nese. 🙂

  • MrXstacey

    @6MarieMarie I'll put a download link in the more info bar for you or anyone else who wishes to do the same.

  • Journeez t

    Awesome thank you for sharing xxx

  • N H

    my grandmother survived this.  she is 92 now and  lives in point may 🙂

  • Anne Marie Drysdale

    My mother was born Nov 7, 1929.  She was just an infant when this Tsunami hit.  The stories were incredible. Of course my mother's brother and sisters were older and over the years they told me about what they had remembered.  Mom lived in the Meadows.  She was a Collins, daughter of Lillian and Tom Collins.  

  • Carol Crocker

    A beautiful lady telling her story about the tsunami that hit Newfoundland in 1929. Thank you for sharing.

  • DiCE

    hardly make out what shes saying

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