21)    THE BITTER END 4:42

 

On 16 Sept 1924 keeper of the Turn Point Light, noticed a small craft drifting northward up Haro Strait. The BERYL G, a fish packer turned rum-runner was discovered near Sidney Island floating with no one aboard and the cabin smeared with blood. Missing was the captain, his teenage son and their cargo of liquor.


The case might never have been solved, if not for an undeveloped picture in young William's camera, which when developed, showed a picture of the murderers!


Three men; Harry Sowash, Owen Baker and Charlie Morris were tried in Canada and convicted of capital murder. Morris appealed and had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, but the others paid a debt to society with their lives.  It is said that Baker's last words, directed to the hangman, were "Step on it, Buddy. Let's get on with it."


 

In the days of Prohibition, through the tides of the Haro Straight
Rum boats ran illicit cargoes under cover of the night
The small time operator facing danger at each turn
From the pirate & hijacker, the Coast Guard and the Revenuer


It was the keeper of the Turn Point Light
Who first found the Beryl G
Drifting upon the morning tide, a grisly sight to see
From her deck down to her cabin the signs of blood in every place
What had become of her cargo and her crew, he could not find trace 


But if you sail on “Rum Runner’s Row”
It’s danger you will find
For the sharks that lurk these waters, they’re of the human kind
And let there be no illusions, you will never know a friend
From a pistol to the gallows and all the way to the bitter end 


Harry Sowash, Owen Baker & Charlie Morris made a plan
That they would rob the whiskey runners
Disguised as US Customs men
So they combed the San Juan Islands in search of opportunity
Until just off Sidney Island where they spied the Beryl G


They shot Wm Gillis where he stood
When they knew that he was dead
That’s when they cut young Willy Jr. down with a blow to his head


Oh, if you sail on “Rum Runner’s Row”
It’s danger you will find
For the sharks that lurk these waters, they’re of the human kind
There is murder and deception and on this you can depend
It’s a short step from the gallows all the way to the bitter end 


It was the keeper of the Turn Point Light
Who first found the Beryl G
Drifting on the morning tide, what a grisly sight to see 


Now they say that Charlie Morris got life in prison for his crime
Harry Sowash & Owen Baker were to pay with their lives
To sail that sea of sorrow with the hangman for a friend
Just a short step up the gallows and on their way to the bitter end

So if you sail on “Rum Runner’s Row”
It’s danger you will find
For the sharks that lurk these waters, they’re of the human kind
And let there be no illusions, you will never know a friend
It’s a short step from the gallows all the way to the bitter end 

 



Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)
Previously un-released 


Bruce Coughlan
: lead vocals, acoustic guitar

Laurence Knight: electric bass
Nolan Murray: fiddle, mandolin
Joby Baker: drums
Doug Cox: dobro
Colleen Eccleston: vocals


Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Joby Baker at Baker Studios, Victoria, BC