February 6th 1918

February 6th 1918

Capt. Brannen's Great Work.

One of the outstanding characters who lost his life in the great Halifax disaster was Captain Horatio H. Brannen, commander of the S.S. Stella Maris, who was making an heroic effort to reach the burning Mont Blanc and tow her to a place of greater safety before the catastrophe came.

Captain Brannen was born at Woods Harbor, Shelburne county, forty-five years ago, and so was just coming into manhood's fullest prime when his life was so tragically cut off. When a mere lad, he came to Clark's Harbor, Cape Sable Island, and engaged in fishing, where his enterprise and integrity soon won for him a foremost place. He was not content to fish along the smaller lines and soon began to push out into the larger lines of lobster fishing and of deep sea fishing. His enterprise and good judgement soon attracted the attention of others and about the year 1900, he was given command of the S.S. Coastguard, then owned by the Barrington Wrecking Company and engaged in salvage operations in which a good degree of success was attained. The Coastguard, passing to the ownership of the Southern Salvage Company of Liverpool, Captain Brannen went with her into the service of that company. Later, Captain Brannen was given the command of a larger craft, the S.S. Deliverance, in which he continued his work of salvaging.

The most noted wreck upon which Captain Brannen worked was the old S.S. Hungarian wrecked off Cape Sable Island about sixty years ago. After this ship had lain on the bottom fifty-one years, captain Brannen and his crew attempted to salvage her cargo. They worked several seasons upon her and were richly rewarded. Very interesting relics of this famous wreck are to be seen today in the late home of Captain Brannen in Clark's Harbor.

When the Canadian naval ship, the Niobe, foundered off Cape Sable, it was Captain Brannen and his crew who went to her assistance, hauled her off the rocks, fixed her up so that she went to Halifax for repairs in the dry dock.

At the outbreak of the war, the S.S. Deliverance was taken into naval service and Captain Brannen went with her. The boat was engaged in mine-sweeping and so continued until run down and sunk by a Norwegian bark off Portugese Cove early last season. Captain Brannen stuck to his ship until she was going down when, after a severe struggle he escaped with his life.

After the loss of the S.S. Deliverance, Captain Brannen took command of the S.S. Stella Maris, for the Halifax Dock Graving Company. In this capacity, he went to Newfoundland to rescue the S.S. Chritianafjord and later to the Magdalen Islands and rescued two ships that had got into trouble there.

Captain Brannen had never been discharged from the naval service and, on the morning of the great disaster, he was taking the S.S. Stella Maris into Bedford Basin when he was sent to the aid of the burning ship. Aided by British blue-jackets he was trying to reach the Mont Blanc with a line in the hope of towing her to a place of greater safety when the explosion came. - Shelburne Gazette.

A Soldier's idea of Conscription.

The following extract from a recent letter of Pte. Geo. R. MacKinlay, formerly of the 219th, now of the 13th Highlanders, to his father, Wm. K. MacKinlay of So. Berwick, may be of interest to his many friends here, especially the opinion on Conscription and the great work the Y.M.C.A and the Church Army are doing for the boys at the front. After a year in the trenches he is having a short furlough in England.

France Dec. 3rd. 1917.


"Just to let you know I am still alive and well and thankful for that, but, of course a fellow can never know what is coming to him. I will be here a year without getting a scratch but have lost a number of my pals in the last big scrap. I am scribing this in one of the Church Army huts.  They and, more especially, the Y.M.C.A, are doing wonderful work out here and, believe me, they go to make life a lot brighter both in trench and billet.

You will often find a Y.M.C.A dugout very close to the front line trenches where you can get almost anything you need, biscuits, candy, etc. reasonably and very often tea, coffee or cocoa, free. What ever some of us used to think of the Y.M.C.A at home, it is a God send over here.

Of course you heard about the elections being held out her. I do not believe in conscription but still I have voted for the Government. In one sense we don't want it as it is taking away the greatest thing we have, in fact what we are fighting for, our Liberty.

"But again, taking it form our point of view, over here, we want reinforcements and the more we get the easier it will be on us; the more leave we will get and above all the more rest. And again, any man with any reasonable excuse can get exemption, so it will only serve to root out a lot of slackers who should have come anyway. Well, I must close please answer soon and tell all the news. Wishing you all the best of luck and happiness in the coming year I am as ever, your affectionate son."


No. 283,423, 13th Batt. C.E.F. France.


FEBRUARY 6, 1918


An Exciting Experience.

The Boston Post of January 26th tells the following story of the experience of a young lady whose mother was a native of Berwick, the eldest daughter of the late Mr. Isaac Morton.

"Eighteen stalwart mountaineers of Smith, a Kentucky village, saved the life of Miss Lillith Robbins, a 21-year-old Boston girl, a graduate of Boston University, by carrying her over snowc ad (sic) Stone Mountain, in a storm, from a settlement school to the railroad, so that she could be taken to a hospital in Louisville. The story reached Boston last night.


"Miss Robbins, who was formerly at the Frances E. Willard Settlement, and lived at 44 Chambers street, was graduated from Boston University last June. She went to Kentucky as a settlement worker, and was stationed at Pine Mountain settlement school, miles from a railroad.

"The nearest station was Smith, a mountain village, with only 18 male inhabitants.

"A few days ago Miss Robbins was taken ill. A physician ordered her to Louisville for immediate hospital care. There was only one way out to the railroad – over Stone Mountain, a dangerous trip in winter, even with good weather. The snow was deep, the weather zero.

"The whole male population of Smith volunteered to get the Boston girl to the railroad. They mounted a chair on poles, put Miss Robbins in it, almost smothered with warm clothing, and started.


"A heavy snowstorm broke out. The pathway was nearly obliterated. But the eighteen plowed on. Part of them opened the trail with axes, the others carried the girl, sometimes in their arms. In safety they transported her over one of the most dangerous mountain trails in Kentucky.

"Miss Robbins reached the hospital, underwent an operation, and is reported as resting comfortably – grateful, indeed, to her eighteen hardy mountain friends."