Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, NY Barge REPUBLIC Disaster in Storm, Aug 1891
A Fearful Catastrophe.
COLD SPRING HARBOR, L. I., Aug. 12. --- A terrible disaster occurred here this afternoon by which fourteen persons, eight women, four children and two men lost their lives. The steamer Crystal Stream, with the barge Republic, in tow, and having on board about 500 adults and children on the excursion of the empolyes [sic] of Theodore Kayser, dry goods dealer, of Graham avenue, Brooklyn, arrived at the Cold Spring grove dock about 2 o'clock, leaving South Sixth street Brooklyn at 10 o'clock this morning.
About 3:30 o'clock the last whistle for all to get aboard was blown by the steamer and at 3:45 everybody was ready to start. The larger portion of the excursionists were on the barge, where the younger people were dancing. Just then some heavy clouds covered the sky, then came a squall, the wind driving everything before it.
The boat hands anticipating a shower, had let down the canvass curtains, which are attached to the hurricane deck of the barge, and fastened them down to the port side. This prevented the wind from blowing through and as one strong gust struck the barge, it lifted the starboard side of the hurricane deck clear from its fastenings and supports and forced it and the posts and partitions in the center over to the port side.
As it pushed over, the end of the deck nearest the dock to which the barge was fastened, dropped down upon the hundreds of women and children who had crowded over to that side of the barge in an effort to escape. In a moment the air was rent with shrieks and agonizing cries of the poor victims, whose lives were being crushed out and limbs broken.
It was in the midst of a terrible thunder storm and the waves ran high. Some persons think that the mast of the barge on which the people were killed was struck by lightning, but this is not known. Women and children became panic stricken and were running about the boat, screaming wildly. The sky was dark and threatening. The sea was fearfully wild.
The scene was heartrending and the extreme excitement caused by the relatives and friends of those on the barge who were on the steamer, only added to the pandemonium which prevailed. The officers, deck hands and other men of the steamer lost no time in reaching the barge and doing all in their power to rescue all whom they could from the wreck.
Willing hands from the grove and neighboring places were also soon at the wreck and in fifteen minutes the fallen deck was raised sufficiently to allow all those who were alive and uninjured to crawl out and the injured to be removed from the barge. It had been hoped that no one had been killed, but the lifeless bodies of fourteen were seen to be lying near the gunwhale.
All had had their lives crushed out by being caught between the end of the the deck and the guard rails. Women and children and even strong men wept piteously as the looked upon the dead and dying.
KATIE KUTZ, 192 Graham avenue.
WILLLIAM HOFFMAN, Captain of the Crystal Stream.
ROBERT SCULLER, pilot of the barge.
AMELIA LANDGRAFF, 101 Stagg street.
MARY SCHAFF, 109 Graham avenue.
MINNIE SCHULLER, 129 Graham avenue.
ANNIE VOLTZ, Graham and Boerum avenues.
EMILIA WAGNER, Greenpoint.
EMMA WEIL, 455 Manhatten avenue.
MRS. PAULINE PRINCE, Briggs street.
MRS. L. ANTHONY LEPNDKLEPENFINGER, 196 Graham avenue.
MINNIE GOETZ, Stagg and Ewen streets.
LIZZIE SCHAMANT, 9 years, 214 Briggs street.
LOUIS KURTZE, 174 Montrose avenue.
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