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JACKMAN, WILLIAM, sealing captain and sailing master; b. 20 May 1837 at Renews, Nfld., eldest child of Captain Thomas Jackman, a descendant of a native of the Isle of Wight who was shipwrecked on the southern shore of the Avalon Peninsula; m. Bridget Burbage by whom he had four children; d. 25 Feb. 1877 at St John’s, Nfld.
William Jackman, like his celebrated brother “Viking Arthur” [Arthur Jackman*], entered the cod and seal fisheries as a boy with his father. He commanded sailing vessels on the Labrador and at the ice; between 1867 and 1876 he was in charge of Bowring Brothers’ sealing steamers Hawk and Eagle. A man of immense energy and strength, Jackman was on 9 Oct. 1867 the hero of a striking sea rescue at Spotted Islands, Labrador. He had taken his vessel there for safety during fierce gales, and saw the fishing schooner Sea Clipper, with 27 persons aboard, run aground on a reef some 600 feet from the shore. With little more than two hours to effect a rescue, Captain Jackman swam through heavy seas to and from the vessel 11 times to carry 11 persons to safety on his back. Then, companions having fastened a rope around his waist, he made 16 more swims to bring the remaining men and women ashore. He was presented with the medal and diploma of the Royal Humane Society on 18 Dec. 1868.
His death at the age of 39 cut short a sealing career of great promise, and removed one who, as president of the Star of the Sea Society, had devoted exceptional energy to the improvement of the status of Roman Catholic fishermen and seamen.
Newfoundlander (St John’s), 29 Nov. 1867, 27 Feb. 1877. Public Ledger (St John’s), 27 Feb. 1877. L. G. Chafe, Chafe’s sealing book; a history of the Newfoundland seal fishery from the earliest available records down to and including the voyage of 1923 . . . (3rd ed., St John’s, 1923), 91–92. M. E. Condon, The fisheries and resources of Newfoundland . . . (St John’s, 1925), 106–9, 113. J. R. Smallwood, “Stories out of our history,” The book of Newfoundland, ed. J. R. Smallwood (4v., St John’s, 1937–67), III, 457–58.