Victoria, BC Alaska Schooner JANE GRAY Wreck, May 1898


The Jane Grey Founders Ninety Miles West of Cape Flattery.


Vessel Was Bound from Seattle to Kotzebue Sound with Sixty-one Persons on Board---The Survivors Taken to Victoria, B. C.

SEATTLE, Washington, June 1.---The schooner Jane Grey, which sailed from Seattle for Kotzebue Sound on the 19th of May with sixty-one persons on board, foundered Sunday, May 22, about ninety miles west of Cape Flattery, at 2 o'clock in the morning while lying to, in a moderate gale, under foresail. Ten minutes after the alarm was given she lay at the bottom of the ocean with thirty-four of her passengers. The remainder succeeded in embarking in a launch, and reached this city this afternoon.

Following is a list of the survivors:

John Johnson, Springfield, R. I.; C. W. Wilkinson, San Francisco; C. Weston, Skowhegan, Me.; A. C. Kinsbury, Boston; Erminio Sella, S. Beachetto, A. Ceria, and H. Wachter of Pilla, Italy; P. J. Davenport, Harrisburg, Penn.; Gen. Hiller, Harrisburg, Penn.; J. H. Coutre, Hartford, Conn.; C. J. Reilly, Hartford, Conn.; W. S. Weaver, Murray, Penn.; George R. Boak, Hughesville, Penn.; G. H. Pennington, Snohomish, Washington; C. H. Packard, Sohomish, Washington; E. O. Ingraham, L. M. Lessey, J. E. Blackwell, Silas Lovingood, Charles E. Chord, and M. F. Roberts, all of Seattle. Crew: Capt. E. E. Crockett, Mate John Hansen, Charles Olsen, cook; Albert Johnson, assistant cook, and Seaman Charles Carlson.

Those lost are Signor Gaia and Signor Besseta, Italy; "Jack" Lindsay, Everett; W. H. Gleason, W. A. Johnson, W. J. Smith, C. G. Smith, P. C. Little, C. W. Young, and W. D. Millan, Seattle; Horace Palmer, Lebanon, Ohio; F. G. Saulsbury, Minnesota; A. B. Dunlap, Dwight, Ill.; B. D. Ranney, Mexico City; B. E. Snipe, Jr., Seattle; John M. Stutzman, Westfield, N. J.; E. M. Taylor, F. S. Taylor, and B. S. Spencer, California; W. B. Doxey, Edward Ricter, F. W. Ginther, B. S. Frost, W. F. Levering, William Otter, O. F. McKelvey, C. Brown, C. C. Aikens, N. Hedelund, Charles Williams, and V. C. Gambel, wife and child, missionary on St. Lawrence Island, in Bering Sea. One other, name unknown.

E. M. and F. S. Taylor of California are sons of S. P. Taylor, a wealthy paper manufacturer of San Francisco.

It is possible that there may be four of five more survivors whose names cannot be ascertained.

A Family Dies Together.

The Jane Grey's passengers were prospectors, with the exception of the Rev. V. C. Gambel, a missionary who, with his wife and child, was on his way to St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. He refused to place his wife and child on board the launch, saying: "The vessel is doomed, and we will die together."

Among the propectors was a party of sixteen, headed by Major Ingraham, who were outfitted by Prince Luigi of Italy for a two years' prospecting trip in Alaska. Of this party the only survivors are Major Ingraham, L. M. Lessey, C. H. Packard, and G. H. Pennington.

The survivors of the passengers suffered a great deal of privation, and for thirty hours their only food was a sack of prunes and a sack of turnips from the ship's stores. Sufficient water was caught by spreading a tarpaulin during a rainstorm.

The news of the disaster and the expected arrival of the survivors from Victoria caused a large crowd to gather at the dock in this city. Carriages were waiting, and when the City of Kingston landed the survivors they were all carried to their rooms, or to the residences of friends. The few that could be seen had not recovered from the shock, and consequently could not give a good account of the disaster. They were unable to account for the vessel's springing a leak and sinking so suddenly. They were warm in their praise of the work done by Capt. Crockett at the time of the foundering of the vessel.

Capt. Crockett's Story.

Capt. Crockett gives the following account of the wreck:

"We were lying to, to mend our foresail. A moderate gale was blowing and the seas were running high. I had gone to bed and was sound asleep when the watchman awakened me with the announcement that something was wrong. I arose at once and found the vessel leaking. A hurried investigation showed that she would soon sink, and I at once notified the passengers of the situation. Most of them were asleep underneath the deck. A scene of confusion then took place, and it is impossible to give any detailed account of the events that followed. The darkness added to the confusion. The Jane Grey carried two lifeboats and two launches. I at once ordered the boats lowered. The first lifeboat was swamped. The launch Kennoma, belonging to the Ingraham party, was successfully lowered.

"At this time the Jane Grey was almost under water. A heavy sea struck her, throwing her on her beams. There was no time to launch other boats. The water was over her hatches and every one below was certainly drowned. Those on deck, however, got in the launch. A sack of prunes and one of turnips was hurriedly taken from the ship's stores, and this was the only food we had till we reached Vancouver Island.

Eight or Ten Disappeared.

"As the launch drifted away from the almost submerged schooner we saw eight or ten men standing on the lee rail clinging to the rigging. Soon they disappeared from sight. Two of them, John Johnson and C. Reilly kept afloat by clinging to bundles of boat lumber. Two hours after they were picked up by our launch, making twenty-seven in all, we had with us. It is just barely possible that there will be four more survivors.

"Before the Jane Grey disappeared under the waves we thought we saw the second launch that was on board, with four forms near it. They were so indistinct that we were not sure. They seemed to be getting into the launch. We improvised a sail and paddles after drifting thirty hours in the launch, finally landed inside of Rugged Point, Kynquot Sound, on Vancouver Island, eighty miles from the scene of the wreck. A fire was built on the beach, and we made a meal on roasted muscles. We had eaten nothing since the night before and the disaster, excepting the sack of prunes and turnips which we threw into the launch. We got our drinking water by spreading out a tarpaulin in the driving rain.

"An Indian who chanced to come along informed us that the village of Kynquot was but six miles away. We went there and found the sealing schooner Favorite becalmed, and arrangements were made to carry our party to Victoria. We reached there just in time to catch the steamer for Seattle."

The Jane Grey was a schooner of 1.000 tons burden. She was built in Bath, Me., in 1887. She was owned and operated by McDougall & Southwick of this city. Outside of the miners' outfits she carried no cargo.

The New York Times, New York, NY 2 Jun 1898


Admiralty Case File

An admiratly case file related to the sinking of the Jane Grey is at the National Archive branch in Seattle. The Seattle U.S. District Court case number is 1398.