Jimmo, Eugene John Donald

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                                                    EUGENE JOHN DONALD JIMMO 
                                                   1997 Fisherman of the Year
                                                     By Harold W. J. Adams

Eugene John Donald Jimmo, 56, the son of Edmund and Lillian Jimmo, has been chosen the 1997 Fisherman of the Year for this year's Fruit de Mer Festival in Baie Ste. Anne. Jimmo is a fourth generation fisherman and has been fishing since he was fifteen.

"My father died when I was 15 years old, so without any pensions to survive on I had no other choice but to go to work. I worked as a third hand on a boat with my brothers, Bryon and Ira." said Jimmo. "All I made was enough to pay for the clothes I had on my back".

When Edmund Jimmo died he was survived by 12 children and his wife. He was predeceased by two children. Jimmo was the 10th child out of 14 in his family. “My earliest memory of going fishing was when I was eight years old. Dad took me 12 miles out drifting salmon. He taught me two basic things about the fishing trade, work hard and don't fall out of the boat," said Jimmo.

Just two days after the great Escuminac disaster in June of 1959, Jimmo was offered his first real job in the fishing industry. He worked as the second hand to Phillip Lloyd replacing a worker who was so taken by the deaths of the disaster that he did not want to go back out to sea again. "Phillip made you pull your own weight and there was no taking it easy," said Jimmo.

It was at age 21 that Jimmo bought his first boat and gear. He has had a series of second hands including Antonio Turbide, Eldon Lloyd, Gerry Robichaud and Elmo Savoy. He laughed when telling the story that the shortest fishing career he ever saw was his friend Leonard Lloyd who worked for him for one week after retiring from the Ford plant.

Jimmo has fished herring, lobster, salmon and mackerel in his long career but now he says he is down to fishing lobster. "Lobster fishing is the only viable fishery left that you can actually make some money at today. The fishery is dwindling down slowly. When other fisheries fail, everyone gets into the surviving fishery and everyone suffers," said Jimmo.

"There are good times in being a fisherman but I won't say the good times outweigh the bad times. To succeed at fishing today it is more luck than skill. You can have all the knowledge about fishing in the world but unless you can think like a fish you will come up empty. I guess you have to join the fish in their schools to learn how to catch them," said Jimmo.

"Hard times for fishermen include bad weather since it is hard on your gear and especially breakdowns of diesel engines. Some major breakdowns can cost a fisherman up to $15,000," said Jimmo. "I still remember when we had wooden gear, all my wooden gear was destroyed twice in one season being washed ashore twice,” said Jimmo.

The fisherman’s trade is something you must grow into according to Jimmo. He feels that fisherman learn to cope with bad weather and their fears on the high seas. There are days when fisherman fear for their lives. You may be out and a storm comes along and because you spent too much time gathering your gear the storm catches you. You get a "huge sea" with waves so large you fear being swamped. “It is during days like that, that make you wonder what in God's name you are doing out on the sea,” said Jimmo.

Jimmo has always been lucky to have second hands who are not nervous sorts allowing fear to overcome them. "The captain cannot show his fear because the other men take their lead from the captain of a boat. The men look to the captain for common sense and his expertise. They trust you to know what you are doing", said Jimmo.

The down river fisherman have a camaraderie amongst themselves. Just tune in to their conversations with each other on the VHF Radio on any given day. Jimmo points out that he has no nickname so his call name is simply the name of his boat Dean L. The Dean L. is a 38 foot fibre glass fishing boat owned by Jimmo. It is his third boat since he started his fishing career.

Jimmo is married and he has three children. It is a personal honour for him to be chosen as Fisherman of the Year. "It is kind of nice to be asked by the Chamber of Commerce to be Fisherman of the Year. It doesn't mean I will fish any better tomorrow. It might give me an upgrade in the school of fish but not by much," laughs Jimmo. Asked if he had any special message for all his fellow fishermen on the river Jimmo responded, "I would like to wish my fellow fishermen a good fishing season and pray God will keep them safe on the sea".

                                                   Name Escuminac Originates from Micmac

The name Escuminac according to the historian Dr. William F. Ganong (1864-1941) is taken from the Micmac word Eskumunaak meaning Watching Place or Look Out Place and he attributes this translation to the Reverend Silas Tertius Rand (1810-1889) a Baptist Minister philologist, ethnologist and author of such works as the Dictionary of Language of the Micmac Indians. Escuminac Point extends into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Escuminac received a bunker crop of different names in 1755 A.D., three to be precise, J .B.B. D' Anville (1697-1782) a French cartographer labelled our small hamlet as Pte. de Scominac. Dr. Ganong indicates that D'Anville was considered to be one of the greatest French mapmakers in his time. There is some hint that D' Anville's map may have been founded on the detailed notes of Boishebert (Beaubear's Island) the Acadian leader on the Miramichi between 1755-1757 A.D.

Alan Rayburn in his work (see Geographical Names of New Brunswick, Ottawa 1975) mentions two other cartographers who developed maps of our subject area in 1755 A.D., Mildrell and Jefferys. According to Rayburn, Mildrell's map labels our hamlet Pt. Ecoumenac and Jefferys’ map Pt. Ekumenak. Jefferys may refer to "Jefferys Plan" connected with the cartographer John Green (a.k.a. Bradock Mead).

Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres (1721-1824) on his map of 1778 A.D. offers the name Escu’nenac Pt. DesBarre was commissioned by the British Admiralty to develop accurate surveys and charts of New Brunswick's coast and harbours. He died at the age of 102.

Dr. William F. Ganong comments on the early origins of Escuminac in these words, “Escuminac an’ ...Early Acadian and English farming, fishing and pilotage settlement, formed apparently by expansion from the Acadian village of Lower Bay du Vin and from the native settlements of Cumberland". Local residents at the time Dr. Ganong was doing his research referred to their own community as Skimnack.

Alan Rayburn believes that Escuminac was settled in 1785. He also provides a brief history of post offices in Escuminac as follows, "Post Office Escuminac 1859-1968, Post Office Bransfield 1885-1968, possibly named for Michael Bransfield a nearby grantee, Post Office Lower Escuminac 1909-1968".

By way of a conclusion of this mini-history on Escuminac, New Brunswick, I would like to dedicate this work to all those fishermen who died in the great Escuminac Disaster Le Desastre D 'Escuminac thirty eight years ago, on June 19 and 20,1959.

                                                       Le Desastre D' Escuminac

On this the 38th anniversary of the great Escuminac Disaster/Le Desastre d' Escuminac, it seems only fitting to list here the names of the 35 fishermen who perished in that disaster: "John Chapman, Adrien Chiasson, Albert Chiasson, Alphonse Chiasson, Robert Chiasson, William Chiasson, Fraser Cook, Edgar Daigle, Charles Gauvin, Arthur Kelly, Hector Kelly, Hugh Kelly, Clifford Kingston, Windsor Kingston, Alfred McLennaghan, George McLeod, Amon Manuel, Wm. G. Manuel, Alonzo Martin, Andrew Martin, Remi Martin, Allan Mills, Andrew Mills, Geofrey Richard, Jean Louis Richard, Lionel Richard, Raphael Robichaud, Victor Robichaud, Leo Roy, Harold Taylor, Cunard Williston, Eric Williston, Haley Williston, Haynes Williston, Oswald Williston”, (L’Historique de Baie Ste. Anne). R.I.P.

                                              Baie Ste. Anne Festival – A Celebration of Life

The Baie Ste. Anne Chamber of Commerce established the Festival des Fruit de Mer or Seafood Festival 22 years ago. Alphonse Turbide, President of the Festival and the Chamber of Commerce, offered comments on the origins of the festival. "The festival started in 1976 and was a way to get the Baie Ste. Anne people together. Many have left and it was a reason to get people home. The first festivals were all open air events such as street dances. People enjoyed it. The atmosphere is different when we go indoors but it is an opportunity for old friends to get together," said Turbide.

The festival is a community celebration. "The Seafood Festival puts our community into a festive mood. Festival is like a family reunion. Most in our community are employed in the fishing industry and the festival creates an opportunity for all residents to express their gratitude for benefits that come from the sea," said Turbide.

The festival is also a community fundraiser. "Approximately three quarters of the funds raised go towards donations to the school, air cadets, sports teams and others," said Turbide. "Last year we gave out over $6,000. Most of the money goes towards activities involving our children in this community", said Turbide.

Gerald Daigle sets up and tears down the picnic booth area at the festival as part of his volunteer work. "My favourite part of the festival is watching my two kids getting excited over watching the festival parade," said Daigle. "We use festival to celebrate the work of the fishermen. It is the last week of the lobster season. Some do well, others not as well, as others in fishing. We celebrate the benefits of the catch as a community," said Daigle.

                                                              The Parade

Ligouri Turbide coordinates the festival parade and has been a volunteer for the past six festivals. "The festival is a celebration of friendship. It allows a place and time for old friends to come together," said Turbide. "My part of the festival is organizing the parade. This year we will have lots of horses in our parade and the Miramichi Celtic Pipes and drums,” said Turbide. “People here in Baie Ste. Anne love a parade and they line up along the road from the Co-op to the church,” said Turbide.

                                                            Ladies night out

Bertha Manuel has attended all of the 22 festivals in Baie Ste. Anne and this year she handles coordinating the Ladies Night. “Ladies night is a very dressy night for women only. There are cocktails, a supper, lots of prizes and the men come in for the dance at the end," said Manuel. "This year there are two $500 cash prizes. The tickets for the dinner are $25 each. The ladies are served by the men. It is one of the most looked forward to events in the festival for our ladies," said Manuel. "There will be a fashion show during the dinner. All of the girls in our 1997 high school graduating class from the Baie Ste. Anne Regional High School will model their prom dresses," said Manuel. "Radio-Mir-Acadie will not be part of the festival this year. Unfortunately many of those involved last year lacked time to do it again this year," said Manuel.

Seraphie Martin has volunteered at the festival for the past four years and serves as the festivals treasurer. "Much of my time is involved in selling tickets, fundraising and this year I am helping to arrange the lobster supper at the community hall,” said Martin. "Our lobster supper also includes poutines rapee which is a local favourite," said Martin. "We usually get about 150+ out for the supper," said Martin. "To me the festival is s about celebrating the coming of the summer season and our hope for a good fishing season as well,” said Martin. "Festival also gives all members of the community an opportunity to meet tourists as well," said Martin.

Dorice Durelle, a local nurse, has been attending the festival for over 15 years. "Festival is a way to meet the people, although I am a nurse and see them often, but I love this sort of volunteer work," said Durelle. "The thing I like most about festival is the family picnic seeing the pleasure many children get out of it. That pleases me," said Durelle.

Adeline Sippley is a 10 year veteran at the festival and is the treasurer for the Chamber of Commerce. "We are a fishing village. We celebrate the work our fishermen do. It is a time for families to get together. Many former residents of Baie Ste. Anne time their vacations to be here for festival," said Sippley.

                                                            Time de Poutine

"My favourite part of the festival is the Time de Poutine. We often get out lots of seniors for this event. They come and play cards, 45s, and they can win poutines rapee. We have about 300-400 Poutines available for winning,” said Sippley. Seeing 75-100 seniors and others enjoying themselves playing cards and winning poutines is one of my most favourite.

Lisa Daigle has volunteered at the festival for the past five years and she is coordinating the children’s fashion show and dance for children 11 years and under. "Our festival shows off what we have to offer to our visitors in our community. The festival is very much family oriented, at least for me," said Daigle. "My favourite part of the festival is the parade. I am always watching the faces of our people as they watch the parade. I enjoy seeing their smiles and laughter," said Daigle. "I am coordinating the fashion show. We have 20 children at different ages and they will be showing off their various outfits. Our special guests will be Barney and Baby-Bop. Everyone is invited to come to this event. The children's dance follows the fashion show," said Daigle.

Norma Gray a five year veteran at volunteering for the festival sees the Saturday night event as her favourite part of the festival. "Our festival celebrates the unity of our community. Many look forward to the festival. My favourite time is the party time at the arena on Saturday night. Getting together with friends. It kind of brings many families together. My grandfather Jack Doucet was the first Fisherman of the Year and my father Alphonse Doucet was also Fisherman of the Year. The whole festival is a family thing for me,” said Gray.

Paula Turbide is coordinating the teen dance for the festival. “At festival we are celebrating the summer, the gathering of new people and the meeting of old friends. For me that’s the main reason for the festival," said Turbide.

                                                         Family Day

"My favourite part of the festival is family day because it offers activities for everyone in a family. We will have a horseshoe tournament, a dog show, face painting, BBQ, lip sync entertainment and some games," said Turbide. "I am coordinating the teen dance event. We usually get between 100-150 teenagers for the dance," said Turbide.

The Seafood Festival or Festival des Fruit de Mer held in Baie Ste., Anne is open to everyone and the festival committee welcomes tourists and everyone on the Miramichi to this fun filled week of festival.

Source: Miramichi Leader – June 27, 1997

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