Abraham Kean

Abraham Kean (Abram), "Killer Kean," master mariner, legislative councillor (b at Flowers Island, Newfoundland 8 July 1855; d at St John's Nfld 18 May 1945).

Kean, Abraham

Abraham Kean (Abram), "Killer Kean," master mariner, legislative councillor (b at Flowers Island, Nfld 8 July 1855; d at St John's 18 May 1945). The archetypal sealing captain, Kean is accused, in legend and popular mythology, of responsibility for the loss of 77 lives in the Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914. William Coaker accused Kean of irresponsibly leaving 132 men from his son's ship on the ice where many froze to death during a violent storm. Exonerated by a court of inquiry, Kean kept his formidable reputation as "the greatest seal killer of all time." In 1934, when he surpassed his personal goal of more than 1 million seals killed (with 1 008 100), he was fêted by the Board of Trade, awarded the Blue Ensign and created OBE. He wrote his autobiography, Old and Young Ahead (1935).


Further Reading

  • C. Brown, Death on the Ice (1972); G.A. England, The Greatest Hunt in the World (1969).