Who was Ann Har­vey?

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Editorial -

The story of teenage hero­ine Ann Har­vey and her trusty New­found­land dog, Hairy Man, is well known through­out the South­west Coast of New­found­land and Labrador.

Af­ter the brig “Despatch” foundered on the rocks near Isle aux Morts, it was the Har­vey fam­ily, led by fa­ther Ge­orge, who res­cued 163 peo­ple.

Ann was 17 years old, and Hairy Man re­peat­edly swam a rope out to the pas­sen­gers cling­ing pre­car­i­ously to a rock while be­ing pounded by the surf. Ten years later in 1838, the fam­ily made another dar­ing res­cue of 25 peo­ple from a Glas­gow ship, the “Rankin.”

By then 27 year old Ann had be­come a mother, and would even­tu­ally have eight chil­dren with her hus­band, Charles Gil­lam.

Ann was sub­se­quently named the “Grace Dar­ling of New­found­land”, an hon­our be­stowed by the Bri­tish Em­pire upon a hero­ine in each of their colonies. She died in 1860 at age 49.

To­day her heroic leg­end lives on in her home­town’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion that bears her name – Ann Har­vey Days. A coast guard ship has been named for her, and the Isle aux Morts Theatre Fes­ti­val has fea­tured plays about her life and the tragedy of the Despatch.

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