Cape Medocino, CA Steamship Northerner Wreck, Jan 1860

January 5, 1860

Dreadful Shipwreck. -Loss of the Steamship Northerner. -Thirty-Eight Lives lost.-This day, was lost on the Pacific coast, near San Francisco, at Cape Medocino, the steamship Northerner, whilst on her way from San Francisco to Victoria, and Olympia, with the mails. Four miles from Cape Medocino, a solitary little group of rocks, known as Blunt's Reef, rises in the ocean. The steamers were in the habit of passing between this reef and the cape, though it was known that midway between them, and about ten feet below the surface, lay a rock, which was scarcely discernible in calm weather, though the sea breaks over it furiously in storms. The remark had been made by the first mate of the Northerner, that they would strike that rock someday; and his very reasonable prediction proved true at last. The vessel was going along finely at five o’clock in the afternoon, with a smooth sea and a brisk south wind, when a slight scraping at her bottom was heard and felt. She had struck that rock, and scraped off several of the planks from her bottom. The captain, finding that she was filling rapidly and it would be impossible to save her, turned her head to land, where she arrived in an hour, and just in time to prevent her sinking. Between the time when she scraped the rock and struck the shore, the wind had increased to a storm, and a terrible surf was raging on the beach, - a surf so fierce it was almost impossible for a boat to live in it. There were 108 persons on board: of these 38 were drowned, of whom 17 were passengers and 21 crew; while 38 passengers and 32 crew were saved. There were six ladies and four children on board, all of whom were saved save on lady, who refused to leave the vessel unless her brother could come with her.

As soon as the steamer reached the shore a boat was launched, and all the ladies except two got into it. Mr. Birch, the second officer, then got in a boat and succeeded in getting one of the ladies off, the other, Miss GREGG, positively refusing to leave the wreck unless her brother, in whose charge she was, could go with her. Captain DALL, then tried to swing her into the boat with a line, which he could not do. Mr. FRENCH, seeing the young lady still on the wreck, got his boat off from shore, and, in going under the stern of the vessel, the boat capsized, and he, it was supposed, was crushed between his boat and the stern of the ship. Miss GREGG and her brother were drowned. It is Captain DALL'S opinion that both could have been saved if she had gone into Mr. FRENCH'S first boat.

Captain DALL had a favorite cabin-boy, to whom he handed five hundred dollars in coin after the steamer struck, but when he lowered him to the line he told him to drop the money. The boy, however, hung on to the money, was washed from the line to the stern of the wreck, and was supposed to be lost. Very much to the captain's surprise, however, when he reached the shore his boy was there, all right with is five hundred dollars.

Captain DALL, Mr. BARRY, and the purser, were the last to leave the ship. Mr. BARRY was positive he could not reach the shore, and was carried away by the first sea that struck him, and was seen no more. The purser reached the shore by the line. He lowered himself, and, being washed over by several seas, was thrown from the line, when he swam ashore. There were six passengers who refused to take the line, and as it happened, the piece on which they stood broke loose, and they came to shore in safety.

The following are the names of the lost:-
Mr. BLOOMFIELD, England.
Mr. HASS, Portland.
Mr. PERKINS, Stellacoom.
Mr. BARRY, W.F. & Co.'s messenger.
SAMUEL GREGG and sister.
Mr. SWEITZER, Oregon City.
Mr. MEEKER, Stellacoom.
Mr. KELLY, Portland, missing.
Mr. FARREL, Portland, missing.

A. FRENCH, 1st officer.
H. MAYWOOD, 3rd officer.
R.A. NATION, 1st assist. Eng.
H. DOYLE, fireman.
L. HOWES, coal passer.
JNO. DESNOYER, carpenter.
MIKE DORNEY, seaman.
W.G. CLARK, seaman
FRED M[illegible]s, seaman.
JOS. WEBSTER, porter.
J.D. TURNER, waiter.
JOHN HEDDEN, waiter.
LOUIS [illegible], 1st cook.
HERMAN RENKIN, 2nd cook.
H. WELLINGTON, 3rd cook.
The barter, colored man.
Mr. BARRY, Wells Fargo & Co.'s messenger.
JOHN GRANT, mess room boy.
Total 17 passengers and 21 crew.

The following is a list of officers and crew saved:-
Wm. L. Dall, Captain, aged 36, native of England.
Wm. E. Birch, 2nd officer, aged 29, Washington.
John M. Breck, purser, aged 40, New York.

Engineer's Crew.
John O'neill, chief engineer, aged 34, native of New York.
James Bryan, 2nd asst. eng., aged 24, Massachusetts.
Edward McAnney, water-tender, aged 28, New York.
D.T. Coughlin, water-tender, aged 28, New York.
Richard Lunes, fireman, aged 27, Chile.
Jeremiah Barrett, fireman, aged 36, New York.
Wm. Whitley, fireman, aged 28, New York.
Harrison Norton, coal-passer, aged 22, Massachusetts.
Robert Boyd, coal-passer, aged 20, New York.
Lewis Howes, coal-passer, aged 39, Austria.
Frank Callaghan, coal-passer, aged 22, New York.
Jas, Lannaghan, engineer's storekeeper, aged 20, N. Y.

Henry Otto, seaman, aged 23, Philadelphia.
Henry, Gardner, seaman, aged 24, New York.
James Silva, seaman, aged 30, Baltimore.
James Wrightman, seaman, aged 28, New York.
Wm. King, seaman, aged 28, New York.

Steward's Crew.
John Denning, steward, aged 30, native of Connecticut.
John Ponlson, head waiter, aged 29, Denmark.
Samuel Lewis, steerage steward, aged 20, Philadelphia.
Jose' Alameda, pantry man, aged 26, Chile.
Wm. M. Lennan, baker, aged 31, New York.
M. Moran, cabin waiter, aged 36, Chile.
Josh Powers, cabin waiter, aged 21, New York.
S. Stege, waiter, aged 20, New York.
M. McLellen, steerage waiter, aged 28, New York.

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