Eliza Jane Pine was the daughter of a mariner of Exmouth. In 1837 she was nineteen years old and she had four brothers, John and James and Bob and Frank. One day, it was the 24th January, her two older brothers, John and James, were invited to take tea with the Captain of the brig Hinde which had just arrived home and was lying in the Bight. In the evening at about seven o clock, Eliza’s two younger brothers, Bob who was twelve and Frank who was only ten, rowed out in calm waters to fetch their big brothers home. Meanwhile, on board the Hinde, John and James Pine had met with a Mr Pring of Exmouth and his two daughters. Mr Pring was on board with his girls to welcome home his son who was one of the ship’s crew. When Bob and Frank reached the Hinde the Pines offered to ferry the Prings, father, son and two girls, home to Exmouth.
There were thus eight people in too small a boat and although the waters were smooth and there was no wind the boat was swamped and all eight were drowned.
Eliza Jane had lost four brothers at a stroke but soon after the event, like a well-conducted person, she sat down and wrote some verses about it which were printed in the Western Times.
Later in her life, in 1863, Eliza Jane was to suffer further bereavement through drowning when her husband William Hall, captain of the sail steamer Ruby, drowned at Bluff Harbour, New Zealand, but she probably did not suffer too much because by then William was a bigamist who had set up home in Australia with his new woman.
Next week, the Fates willing, I shall publish Eliza Jane’s 1837 verses.
My source for this melancholy tale is the Reverend William Webb.