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Larchmont Disaster Victims of the Disaster in New Shoreham Life Saving Station, Block Island. click to enlarge
 

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Block Island, Rhode Island Larchmont Disaster

February 1907

McVey Blames Schooner.
Capt McVey asserted with emphasis that he [sic] crew of the schooner was responsible for the wreck. He said that had the sailing vessel held true to the course which she was sailing when she was sighted, there would have been no possible change of an accident.

"We left Providence at 7 o'clock. A brisk northwest wind was blowing, and we were off Watch Hill at about 11 o'clock. I had gone below to look over the passengers and freight, leaving a good pilot and quartermaster in the pilot house. I returned to the pilot house, passing through there on my way to my room. Everything was O. K. in the pilot house as I stepped into my room and prepared to retire for the night. Suddenly I heard the pilot blowing danger, and I hurried into the pilot house. There was a schooner on the ort and her crew seemed to have lost control of her. Without warning she luffed up and before we had an opportunity to do a thing headed for us. The quartermaster and pilot put the wheel hard aport, but the schooner was sailing along under a heavy breeze, and in a moment she had crashed into our port side, directly opposite the smokestack. I tried to signal to the engineer and mate, but the collision had broken the main steam pipe, filling that part of the boat with steam and cutting off communication with the pilot house.

Ship Filling Rapidly.
"After cutting into our vessel the schooner fell away and disappeared to the leeward. I sent the quartermaster below, and in a few minutes he reported that the ship was filling rapidly. The officers and crew were summoned to their stations, and when I saw the the Larchmont was settling, I ordered all hands to prepare to leave the ship. When I saw that every one was making ready to escape as fast as possible, I went to my boat, which was hanging on the davits, and took into it six of the crew and four passengers. When the steamer had settled almost to the water's edge, we cleared away, after we had make sure that there were no passengers on board who had not been taken care of. After our boat dropped into the water we remained in the immediate vicinity until the steamer sank, and then we pulled away. The boat was a heavy one, and we found it impossible to row to the windward, so we turned to the leeward and started for Block Island. The cold was terrible. We struggled for hours and hours, and the pain from our our frostbitten hands and feet was almost unbearable. One of our men, a seaman, became crazed and committed suicide in the boat by cutting his throat. No one in the boat had strength enough to prevent him from doing it. We arrived here at 6:30 o'clock in the morning, very much exhausted and frozen.

Schooner Blames Steamer
Capt. Frank P. Haley, of the schooner Harry Knowlton, which was in collision with the Larchmont, stated that the accident was entirely due to the steamer. He said that his lights were burning, and he held to his course, with the expectation that the steamer, having sighted him, would pass him with plenty of sea room. When he found that the steamer would not turn out, Capt. Haley said it was too late to avert a collision. Capt. Haley's explanation of the collision follows:

"I never shall quite understand how this accident occurred. The night was dark, but starry, and it was not thick. We left New York yesterday with a cargo of coal, bound for Boston, and were making fair progress through the Sound. A long time before the accident happened we had sighted the Larchmont as steamed steadily to the westward. All her lights were seen. Some of the crew were on deck a while, and we spoke of the picture that the Larchmont made, all lighted up. Then we saw that the steamer seemed to be heading directly for us. I remember that I looked up at our lights, which were burning all right, and, of course, I expected that the steamer would look out for us. But she kept right on.

Warning Was Shouted.
"Some of us shouted a warning and one member of the crew blew a horn constantly. I scarcely knew what to do. I did not dare attempt to tack to clear the part of the steamer, because I thought she would turn out for us. When she was right ahead of us, there was nothing for us to do but hit her. The blow was a very bad one. I thought we were going down at once, as the schooner quivered and then reeled backward, with the bowsprit, the jibboom, and the rigging forward carried away. The water rushed in at once. The steamer lurched badly to starboard when we struck her, and then she continued on her way. She did not seem to be badly damaged."

Capt. Haley then proceeded to narrate the experiences of himself and crew in working his vessel shoreward. With five feet of water in the hold, and gaining, the work of manning the pumps was exceedingly difficult, as the water surged about the men all the time. Finally it was decided to abandon the vessel, and after seizing a few of their personal effects, all hands took to the boat, which was launched. Eventually all reached the shore safely about seven miles below Watch Hill.
The exact moment of the collision is fixed by Capt. Haley as being 10:45 p. m.

Assistance for Sufferers.
As soon as news of the disaster reached the Joy Line officials, immediate steps were taken not only to care for those who had reached shore, but to search the sound for victims of the wreck who might have found it impossible to reach land.

The Scott Wrecking Company of New London, Conn., was requested to send a tug up the sound to search for bodies, lifeboats and rafts, and the Lighthouse Board was requested to dispatch any boats at its disposal on a similar errand. Shortly before noon the Joy Line steamer Kentucky left Fall River for Block Island, and she reached here early in the evening.

The news of the disaster spread across the island with incredible swiftness and two or three hours after daylight nearly every inhabitant was down at the waterside braving the piercing cold and awaiting an opportunity to assist the victims of the shipwreck. Nearly every survivor was in a condition so thoroughly helpless that the rescurers [sic] were unable to keep back the sympathetic tears which filled their eyes. Every victim's face bore signs of terrible and long continued suffering. Scarcely one of them realized when the boat was hauled upon the beach that they had at last reached a harbor of refuge. Many who did realize it seemed not to care, for they still suffered indescribable pain from the arms and legs which hung helplessly as their bodies were borne to near-by cottages.

Haul Bodies from Water.
Even while these helpless sufferers were receiving the tender care of the natives, bodies began to wash ashore from the direction of the sunken steamer. At first there was only one then there were two, and three and four, and soon the natives were as busy hauling the bodies out of the surf as they were succoring those who had stood upon the threshold of death, but has not entered. When darkness settled down over the desolate beach to-night [sic], more than twoscore [sic] bodies had been recovered either from the surf or from the boats which had drifted ashore. Inland lights gleamed in the little cottages far beyond the usual hour, and the suffering passengers and crew who, earlier in the day, had been crowded into the life-saving station were to-night [sic] made as comfortable as possible in the beach-dwellers homes.

The little fishing schooner Elsie put in here to-night [sic], having on board two survivors and one victim of the wreck. The survivors were Samuel Tacunne, residence unknown, and David Fox, of Bridgeton, N. J.

Both men were picked up from a piece of wreckage off shore. The victim was a woman, who was attired in a black skirt, white shirt-waist, with short sleeves. She wore a gold bracelet around each arm, and on her left hand wore two gold rings. At a late hour to-night [sic] the body has not been identified.

The Washington Post, Washington, DC 13 Feb 1907

       

Names of Living, Dead and Missing

SAVED.
HARRY FELDMAN, Providence.
Mrs. HARRY FELDMAN.
RICHARD HALL,
Providence.
DAVIS FOX,
Bridgeton, N. J.
SAMUEL L. COMBE,
New York.
ANTONIO ROSAN.
OLIVER JANVIER.
FRED HIERGSELL.
MANNERT TOOK.

OFFICERS AND CREW.
Capt. GEORGE W. McVEY, Providence, R. I.
Purser OSCAR A. YOUNG, Providence
Quartermaster JAMES STABLES, Providence.
Fireman JAMES VARN, Providence.
Fireman JOHN LOGAN, Providence
Waiter LOUIS MacFARLAND, Wellington, N. C.

THE IDENTIFIED DEAD.
Steward JAMES B. HARRISON, Brooklyn.
First Assistant Engineer JASPER HEST, Albany, N. Y.
Assistant Engineer EDWARD LOGAN, Providence
First Watchman JACOB ZANDRUS, Paterson, N. J.
Waiter GEORGE SMITH, Providence.
HARRY ECKLES,
Block Island.

MISSING.
R. F. PERKINS,
Boston
H. HULGREN,
Boston
ANTONIO AINETTI,
Providence.
-------- RICCARDI. -------
JOSEPH MULLIGAN,
Woonsocket.
Rev. PHILIP MURFIO,
pastor Italian M. E. Church, Providence.
FRANK L. WILSON,
drug clerk, Providence.
HARRY FELDMAN,
Providence.
Mrs. HARRY FELDMAN,
Providence.
SAMUEL PAUL,
Pawtucket, R. I.
Mrs. SAMUEL PAUL,
Pawtucket.
PAULINE PAUL,
nineteen years.
MATILDA PAUL,
fifteen years.
CLAUDE W. LYND,
Providence.
FRED H. MOONEY,
East Providence.
JOHN LEWIS,
Providence.
JOHN CAMPBELL,
North Smithfield, R. I.
JACOB BONCE,
Providence.
HARRY BONE,
Providence.
Miss EMMA BECKLAND,
Quinsigamond Corp, Salvation Army, Worcester.
Miss ALMA JOHNSON,
Quinsigamond Corp, Salvation Army, Worcester.
Miss ANNA ODEN,
Quinsigamond Corp, Salvation Army, Worcester.
EVAN CRITCHELOW,
Providence.
STEPHEN E. HEDGES,
Providence.
KOREN KORAJUAN,
Olneyville, R. I.
MRS KORAJIAN.
ROBERT BIGGARD,
Worcester.
CLAUDE E. REED,
Providence.
WILLIARD FRANKLIN,
North Attleboro.
PROTTO DERECO,
Providence.
EMANUEL LYON,
New York.
DR. FRANK WILSON,
Providence.
BENJAMIN COHEN,
Providence
MRS MACKTAZ,
a maid, Woonsocket.
EPHRIAM KAPTAN,
New York.
MRS. JENNIE SHUGARMAN,
Boston
MISS BERTHA SHAIN,
Boston.
MORRIS BAIMHOLZ,
Boston.
JACOB MICHAILSON,
Belmare, N. J.
SAIDE MICHAILSON,
Belmare, N. J.

OFFICERS AND CREW
First Mate E. J. HAZARD, Providence.
Chief Engineer ROBERT GAY, Bridgeport.
Pilot GEORGE WYMAN, Taunton
First Assistant Engineer CASTER HESS, Albany
Second Assistant Engineer --- HERRICK, Providence.
Steward J. B. HARRIS, Providence
Porter WOLCHIMIN TCHUKUR, New York.
Waiter GEORGE SMITH, Providence.
Crew, JOHN SCOTT, Providence
Crew, --- OSBORNE, Providence
Stewardness MRS. SCORGAN, Providence

The Washington Post, Washington DC 13 Feb 1907

continued >> Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4

Articles transcribed by Ann.  Thanks Ann!

       

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