The Log of the Record Run — Frederick William Wallace’s Ballad of the Effie M. Morrissey (Mary L. McKay)

One last post (at least for the immediate future) on the historic schooner Ernestina-Morrisseywhich is now being restored in Boothbay, Maine.  Launched in February, 1894, she had a very successful almost thirty year fishing career, before becoming an Arctic exploration ship and then a Cape Verdian packet schooner.  

On December 10, 1912, the journalist, photographer, historian and novelist, Frederick William Wallace, boarded the Effie M. Morrissey for a record breaking voyage from Portland, ME and Yarmouth, NS, covering a distance of 200 miles in 20 hours.  Wallace would later pen a ballad “The Log of the Record Run.”  The song is now best known as “The Mary L. McKay.” Wallace explains why he changed the name of the schooner in the song:

“Some time afterwards I composed a string of verses recounting the incidents of this trip. Under the title of “The Log of a Record Run” it was printed in the Canadian Fisherman in 1914. It was just a “Come-all-ye” doggerel, but it must have appealed to some of the East Coast fishermen for one of them picked it up and put a tune to it and it got spread around. Years later it was included in a collection of Nova Scotia ballads compiled by Miss Helen Creighton who was under the impression that it was an old-time composition. In the verses, I altered the name of the schooner to Mary L. Mackay as I was afraid that to put Effie Morrissey in them might incur the displeasure of my shipmates. However, I need not have worried on that score for most, if not all of them, would have been delighted to have been identified with the escapade – so I was told”. 

Click the image below for Schooner Fare singing “The Mary L. McKay.”


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3 Responses to The Log of the Record Run — Frederick William Wallace’s Ballad of the Effie M. Morrissey (Mary L. McKay)

  1. Jan Christensen says:

    Thanks for sharing, Rick — and we still miss Schooner Fare.

  2. Brian Quinn says:

    This was a favorite song of mine. I remember going to see Schooner Fare with my Dad when I was a kid. No idea how he found them except for being folkie sort but I can directly attribute my initial interest in ships, sailing and the sea to their music.

    And as you say, Jan, they are missed!

  3. Mike Lee says:

    Once sailed my 35′ home built cruising cat from Portland to Yarmouth in four hours. A nice easy mornings sail. Not worth a balad though, as it was only 45 miles. Portland, Dorset, to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, on the south coast of England. It’s a strange feeling to read all the place names that are so familiar to us here but so far away. There is hardly a port or small coastal town here that doesn’t have its twin on the US.East Coast. What strong old ties there are between us.