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Shannon Ryan

The SS Lion, 292.42 net tons, 75 nhp, was one of the first wooden-wall steamers to be used in the Newfoundland seal fishery. As this painting illustrates, these early wooden-wall steamers often carried full sails. Supplied by Walter Grieve & Co., she made her first voyage to the ice-fields in 1867. With such masters as Francis Ash and Alexander Graham, the Lion went to the annual seal fishery for fifteen years and brought in a total of 170,125 pelts.

While returning from the seal fishery in 1870 under Captain Graham, the Lion flew a blue ensign with large white letters that read "No Confederation." In 1871 the Lion brought home the crew of the Wolf after that steamer had been cut in two by an iceberg in Green Bay. The Lion left St. John's on 6 January 1882, a bright and calm moonlit night, bound for Trinity under Captain Patrick Fowlow. She was never seen again, although a small amount of debris was found near Baccalieu Island. The prevailing explanation was that her boilers had not contained enough water and, as a result, the ship was blown to pieces.

History Department
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NF
A1C 5S7
Telephone: (709)737-8434/8420
Fax: (709)737-2164