The Man of Mystery

Sandy’s Cove Great Mystery

The author of “Scrapbook of Digby Town and Municipality”, in starting this story, with the notes concerning Jerome on his desk, feels like a killjoy who tells a six-year old there is no Santa Claus.

We have revelled in the mystery story of Jerome. We heard the story in our youth and retold it many times to those who had no knowledge of this man. Each time we told the story, we injected a little more mystery. Budding authors far from Digby County heard or read ill-informed recitals concerning Jerome. They wrote their versions of the man. One author even had him found on the Atlantic Coast off the shore on the shores of Shelburne County.

Another author had the village priest in Sandy Cove visit Jerome! The When Jerome was moved to St. Alphonse (then Cheticamp) the priest made regular trips to see him. And this in 1963 the 1860’s! At the time it took a full day to travel by carriage to Digby. and from two to three days by carriage to St. Alphonse; this by land. By water across the St. Mary’s Bay the only regular means of travel was by a sailing packet which made trips from Sandy Cove to Weymouth. But from Weymouth remained one or two days hard travel by stage.

Authors who have written these stories neglected to check the map of Digby County and consider the modes of travel in the 1960’s.

One story informs us that a pirate ship sailed up the Bay of Fundy and dumped Jerome ashore. In 1863 a pirate-ship -- if there had been such a ship at the time -- would have found the Bay of Fundy a busy spot and a source of spoil. Steamers were beginning to replace the sailing packets hundreds of vessels sailed the Bay of Fundy carrying commodities to and from the ports along the Bay.

Saint John, N.B., at the time, was a thriving seaport sending ships to all major ports of the world besides active inter-provincial trade.

History does not reveal any pirates along the coast of North America in the last part of the nineteenth century. The days of the privateers was over. So I am afraid we will have to discount the pirate stories.

Some declared that Jerome was had fallen into disfavour with Napolean, but at that time the Little Corporal’s roubles were over ambitions and troubles were over.

But we are left with some facts. Jerome was found on the Bay of Fundy Coast near Sandy Cove on August 273, 1863. The day before it was reported by Robert Bishop and William Eldridge, that while working in a field overlooking the Fundy, they saw two American pinkies stand off the coast. One of the pinkies lowered a small boat which was rowed towards the shore until hidden from the view by the high Bank.

The next day George Eldridge a young boy a boy, George came running to Bishop and Eldridge, who were working in the field overlooking the bay. Highly exi cited he declared that a man with no legs was on the beach. Not convinced the two men agreed to investigate what the boy had actually found.

To their amazement they discovered a man with his who had had his legs amputated above the knees.

Source: Admiral Digby Museum, Jerome File, , R. Baden Powell, "Jerome: Sandy Cove Great Mystery," n.d.. Notes: Manuscript for chapter in "Second Scrapbook" (1973)?

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