Buzzards Bay, MA Yacht Mystery Wreck, Aug 1883 - Missing



There seems to be no longer room for doubt that the missing sloop yacht Mystery, of New-Haven, Conn., went down in the storm of Sunday, Aug. 12, and that all on board were drowned. This theory is borne out by the fact that a body picked up in the vicinity of West Falmouth, Mass., on the east shore of Buzzard's Bay. on Tuesday, is thus described in a dispatch from Medical Examiner George N. Munsell, of Harwich, Mass., to THE TIMES:

"Body found that of a man 25 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches in height, 180 pounds weight. Sound teeth, light brown hair. No marks on body. White flannel shirt, checked with fine red check. No other clothing. Life supporter on marked C. H. Northam."

The description corresponds in part with that of Rupert Sargent, of this City, who was on board the missing yacht. Young Sergent was, however, only 20 years of age, about 5 feet 11 inches in height, and weighed only about 145 pounds. He had hair of a reddish hue, and his teeth were all sound and very even. The differences in the description telegraphed by Dr. Munsell and that given by his friends might be reconciled by the fact that the body had been in the water for some days. Whether it is Mr. Sargent's body cannot be definitely known until to-day, as Mr. William Skinner, of New-Haven, who went on to see if he could identify the body, cannot reach West Falmouth and have the body, cannot reach West Falmouth and have the body disinterred until to-day. That it is the body of one of the party who were on board the yacht is made almost a certainty by the fact that the life-preserver was marked "C. H. Northam." Before leaving New-Haven on Aug. 10 the young gentlemen borrowed four life-preservers from Capt. Fred Peck, of the steamer C. H. Northam, which runs between this City and New-Haven. No other party has any of the Northam's life-preservers, unless it be one stolen from the vessel, and the body of no passenger who might have been lost overboard from the steamer could have drifted so far to the east-ward, 200 miles from the course of the New-Haven steam-boats.

An Associated Press report from Boston announces that another body was found on the shore of Hog Island, near West Falmouth Harbor, yesterday, which is described as that of a young man wearing a blue flannel yachting suit, quite stout, 5 feet 8 inches in height, with sandy hair, and apparently 30 years of age. This body is also stated to have had on it a life-preserver marked "C. H. Northam," and it is fair to presume that it is the one more accurately described by Dr. Munsell. From the same source comes a report that a body supposed to be that of one of the party was found yesterday at the entrance to New-Bedford Harbor. THE TIMES'S special from that city does not mention the discovery of any such body, however, and the statement is borne out only by the dispatch from Boston. A Boston dispatch also states that on Tuesday afternoon a party of young people from Pocasset, who were out sailing, passed a body floating in the water just outside Scraggy Neck, off Sandwich. They were so frightened that they immediately put back to shore and notified Capt. Handy, who, with others, started out in search of the body. Darkness however, came on and compelled them to abandon the search. The dispatch adds that this and the one which came ashore on Tuesday were temporarily buried together. From these conflicting accounts it would appear that two or three bodies have been found on the east shore of Buzzard's Bay. A dispatch from THE TIMES'S correspondent at New-Bedford announces that two bodies, one in full yachting costume and one with only a checked shirt, had been found at West Falmouth, which answer the description of two of the parties on the yacht Mystery.

The Mystery left New-Haven harbor on Friday, Aug. 10. Her party, all good yachtsmen, consisted of Leicester Sergent, of New-Haven; Rupert Sergent, of this City, both sons of George H. Sergent, of Sergeant & Co., of this City; Robert H. Hawkins, of New-Haven, and Joseph Bartlett, a friend of Rupert Sergent, whose home is in Chillicothe, Ohio. The yacht was well equipped with charts, compasses, &c., and carried provisions for a six days' cruise. She and just been completely overhauled and newly ballasted, and friends of the yachtsmen who are familiar with the details of the cruise think she was over-ballasted for so small a boat. The purpose of the voyagers was to run directly to Nantucket, where Mrs. Leicester Sergent, formerly a Miss Glenn, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was spending the Summer with her mother. It was not expected that it would take the Mystery more than three of four days to make the run. No news having been received from the party on Wednesday last, men were sent along the coast in search of the yacht from both New-Haven and Nantucket. The searchers met without finding any trace of the vessel. It was known that the young men intended to pass the night on the Sound without making a harbor, as they had expressed a desire for a night experience on the water. It is supposed that during the storm of Saturday night of Sunday the yachtsmen tried to make New-Bedford Harbor, having been driven out of their course. There is a strong current setting into Buzzard's Bay, between the Elizabeth Islands and the Massachusetts shore, and it is believed that the Mystery must have come down somewhere in the bay as this would be the only point from which the bodies would have been washed to the west shore of the bay.

Mr. Hawkins, who was the proprietor of the New-Haven Ruffle Company, was 27 years of age, and had been living in New-Haven for the past six years. His mother and two sisters have been spending the Summer at Yaphank, Long Island, where they have a Summer residence. They were summoned to this City yesterday by Mr. E. W. Bullinger, of No. 75 Fulton-street, who married one of Mr. Hawkins's sisters. The ladies were first made acquainted with the probable fate of Mr. Hawkins yesterday. Mr. Bullinger offered a reward of $500 for the first information sent him before Sept. 1 as to the whereabouts of the Mystery. Mrs. Leicester Sergent and her mother Mrs. Glenn, are in New-Haven, where Mr. George H. Sergent is also waiting definite information of the whereabouts of his sons.

About 20 members of the New-Haven Yacht Club went to Port Jefferson, Long Island, soon after 11 o'clock last night in search of the crew of the Mystery. The shore will be patrolled from that port to Montauk Point. The prevailing opinion in New-Haven is that the bodies must seek that shore, as there was a strong north-east wind blowing for some days after the Mystery sailed.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Aug 1883