The Angel of Long Point

Written by: Joe Grant and Steve Ritchie, Tanglefoot

This note is taken from the Liner Notes of Tanglefoot's CDs A Grain of Salt and Full Throated Abandon: Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and has claimed more than her share of ships over the years. Long Point is a spit of land extending 22 miles out into Lake Erie from its northern shore. Abigail Becker lived there with her husband, who trapped and was rarely home, and with their children. She was well over six feet tall and immensely strong. She is credited with having saved the lives of many sailors whose ships ran afoul of Long Point - among them was the crew of the Conductor, which ran aground about 1854.


The Angel of Long Point

It's a cruel night in November, and an old three-masted schooner
Seeks the lee-side of the sand spit, the calm of the inner bay.
But she's fast upon the bar, and lashed by all the fury,
Freezing sleet and snow, all the rage of old Lake Erie

With ice weighed down, her keel dug in
The old ship will never sail again

Now her decks are all awash, and there's a fierce list o'er to starboard
And no footing in the wild wind to take the men to safety:
And her Captain sees the peril, with the heaving hulk beneath them
So he cries in desperation, "We'll tie ourselves to the rigging"

Chorus
Eight men wait for a freezing death,
Lashed to the rigging of a broken wreck.
The Conductor she was a fine old ship,
But she never will sail again.
And the men all pray but their hope is gone,
Schooner's smashed, but in the dawn,
A welcome smile and a woman's face,
With a good strong hand she'll lead them all ashore,
Abigail Becker will see them safe once more.

In the shelter of the sand dunes there stands a lonely cabin
Where a woman called the Angel awakes from a troubled sleep.
For her dreams have been of shipwreck, of sailors' lives in peril.
So she scans the lake and marshes to find, as first light's breaking,
With ice weighed down, her keel dug in
Held fast never to sail again.

So she girds her skirts around her and wades into the water,
Through the breakers and the undertow, though she cannot swim a stroke.
And she hails the weary sailors and, with barehanded courage,
Brings them one-by-one, half-frozen, to the fire she's made on shore.

Chorus

She's a lake of fickle temper, heavy seas and hellish weather.
Old Erie's claimed so many on her hidden bars and shoals.
But the Long Point has an Angel who watches o'er the water,
And fortunate the sailor who feels her steady hand

Chorus

Old Erie has a temper, but Abigail defies her:
Abigail the Angel who guards the Long Point shore.

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Created: 27th May 2001
Last Updated: 20th March 2003