Mahone Bay is a small, bustling town of approximately 950 residents occupying the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Settled in 1754, the town is rich in culture, heritage, and art. But, few know of the tale of the Teazer, a privateer ship, infamous in Lunenburg County.
After the settlement of many towns and communities along the coast of Nova Scotia, many British ships would travel along the coast down towards the States carrying various goods. Thus, an abundance of activity happening across the Atlantic Ocean between England and North America. A great time for settlers of new colonies but a nightmare for British ships. Privateers and their ships would chase ships from other countries and steal their supplies during times of war – a risky and quick business. The Teazer is one particular ship that did just that.
The Teazer was a very fast privateer schooner, one that you could say rivaled the Bluenose. She was built in New York and was one of many privateer ships that would chase down British ships along the southeastern coast of Nova Scotia. Lieutenant Frederick Johnson directed the Teazer and he was a very erratic man. He stole from many British ships during the War of 1812. The first time he was captured, he was taken to England where he was awarded a second chance as long as he promised to never thieve from British ships again. Johnson promised but he had other plans. In June of 1813, the Teazer was hunted down by British ships who were fed up with the ships actions. HMS Hogue chased the vessel into Halifax Harbour but she managed to escape. A few days later, the frigate HMS Orpheus chased the Teazer into Lunenburg Harbour, but lost the Teazer near Mahone Bay due to light winds and Mahone Bay’s many islands. HMS Hogue was back on the Teazer’s trail, trapping her in Mahone Bay after 18 hours of chase. The Teazer was soon set aflame – believed that Johnson set fire to her Magazine because he did not want to be caught and hanged – and HMS Orpheus joined in on the torture. Only seven members managed to survive while 29 lives were lost. Fragments recovered from the wreck were believed to be oak and were made into souvenirs.Re-enactment of the burning of the Teazer
On foggy nights, close to the anniversary of the sinking of the Teazer, you can see the ghost ship aflame in the bay, and hear the cries and screams of her crew.
Mahone Bay celebrates the legacy of the Teazer and their pirate roots with the Pirate Festival and Regatta held every year in August. The three day event offers lots of musical entertainment, activities for children, and a re-enactment of the burning of the Teazer.Walking the plank during the Pirate Festival and Regetta
Fun Fact: The Teazer is the name of a shop in Mahone Bay along Edgewater Street, overlooking the bay.