“Jerome” – Mystery Man of Sandy Cove
It was early morning of September 8, 1863. A Sandy Cove fisherman gathering rock weed along the shore noticed a dark figure along side a big rock on Bay of Fundy beach. As the fisherman got closer he saw the huddled form of a man. Both legs had been amputated just above the knees and beside him was a jug of water and a tin of biscuits. His legs had, obviously, been amputated by a skilled surgeon and the stumps were only partially healed and bandaged. The man was also suffering from cold and exposure.
The fisherman recalled a ship the day before passing back and forth a half mile off shore in St. Mary’s Bay. It was surmised the man must have been brought in from the ship after dark and left on shore.
The castaway was carried to the home of Mr. Gidney in Mink Cove where he was wrapped in warm blankets and given hot drinks. Through the moaning and muttering only one word was understood, “Jerome”. So they called him by this name. Jerome’s hands weren’t calloused and his clothes were cut from fine cloth. Speculation up and down the bay soon led many to believe he had attempted a mutiny and was punished by the amputation. Others suggested he was tossed from a pirate ship. Most thought, however, that he was heir to a fortune and had been crippled and cast away to make way for someone else seeking his inheritance. None of the stories has ever been proven.
Jerome seemed fond of children. He spent most of his time with children and seemed to enjoy watching them play. Jerome conducted himself with dignity and when offered money he would appear humiliated. However, he would accept gifts of candy, tobacco and fruits. He was wary of strangers but in appearance and manner was a gentleman and easy to care for. He got so he could move nimbly on his stumps but sat most of the time. It was soon realized that Jerome was here to stay so the Provincial Government contributed to his keep, $2.00 per week. Sailors of many nationalities were brought to Jerome to see if he would speak their language. He still did not speak but some believed that through his expressions he was familiar with European languages. He also became very angry when any such visitor mentioned Trieste. Some believed him to be from noble stature and that he once must have been an officer. From his looks and complexion they felt he must be French or Italian.
Jerome was taken to the home of John Nicholas in Meteghan, who spoke several European languages. Mr. Nicholas tried to break Jerome’s silence but failed. Jerome spent 7 years with Mr. Nicholas and the remaining 42 years of his life with Deider Comeau and family at Alphonse de Clare. Many attempts were made to find an identity for this mystery man but none succeeded. Jerome died in April 19, 1912 and took with him the secret of his mutilation and of his mysterious arrival on the Bay of Fundy shore. Earlier this year a large stone marker bearing the name Jerome was unveiled in the Meteghan parish cemetery where he had been buried.
suggested by Wendy Jeddry and borrowed from The Olde Village Inn of Sandy Cove