MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Young Yetman

Mrs. T. Ghaney NFLD 2 Tape 14A Track 1
Fermeuse Audio:

LEACH: All right.
MRS. Ghaney: (sings)

Upon the banks of Newfoundland where the angry seas do roar
There's none so brave can fish the waves like our boys from Terra Nova's shore
Among the rest who did his best to maintain our country's fame
Was a hero brave from St. Mary's Bay, John Yetman was his name.

For many a year he knew no fear, in a dory was his delight
Himself and his dory mate alone spent many a dreary night
Till providence protected them and brought 'em safe on shore
But now his life is ended and he'll run his trawls no more.

On board of the “Ellen F. Whitten” on the fourth day of July
Our cowardly Yankee captain his seven stripes (?) did try
His glorious independence he meant to celebrate
And with his cursed revolver he settled young Yetman's fate.

Four bullets he fired at him, then shouted, "Let her go,"
And then poor Yetman's countrymen their courage did overthrow
This brutal deed was acted in the harbour of Cape Broyle
Where Willard now is taken to wait his day of trial.

Now Willard he is taken and he's lodged in custody
With sixteen years hard labour in the Penitentiary
Of he who toiled both night and day where the angry seas do roar
I hope you'll ask for mercy on poor young Yetman's soul.


Text: Recounts the bravery and then murder of a young Newfoundland fisherman by an American on July the 4th at Cape Broyle. The culprit was sentenced to 16 years hard labour and the singer asks for mercy for the slain man ’s soul.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The meter is 12/8. The key is g minor with an octave range based on G.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.