Cleveland, OH Launch BUTTERFLY Sinking, Sept 1904

About midnight a bottle, corked, containing 200 or 300 matches was found.

At this time Park Foreman F.E. Murphy formed a life guard along the shore and all night long he and a score of men patrolled the beach, waiting and watching for bodies to wash ashore.

James McDermott of No. 16 Alger street at 1 a.m., dressed in a bathing suit and entering a rowboat, ventured out into the water in an effort to find the bodies.

The two Hurtig brothers, with their three friends, left the slip of the Cleveland Yacht Club at the foot of Erie street yesterday afternoon shortly before 6 o’clock. They set toward Rocky river where they intended to tie up at the Lakewood Yacht club until this morning. According to their program, they intended to leave Rocky river early this morning for Vermillion, where the Lakewood Yacht club holds a regatta today. Julius B. Hurtig took the boat out.

The Butterfly was provisioned for a cruise, with enough fuel and edibles to carry the party of five over several days. The launch was a twenty-two-footer and was just recently purchased by the Hurtig brothers and Clarence D. Lovejoy, who resides at No. 1127 Cedar avenue. Lovejoy had intended going on the cruise with the party, but was detained in the city at the last minute.

The boat was one of the Cleveland Yacht club boats, registered with the club, and carrying the club pennant. The owners were members of the club and took an active interest in the club affairs. It was the intention of at least some of the party to spend two weeks cruising among the islands off Sandusky.

Shortly after the boat left the dock at the club yesterday afternoon the engine “buckled” and refused to work. The men in the party worked with it for some time, and finally put back to the club. The machinery was repaired in a short time and they again put out. This time Fred La Vond the club steward, advised them to remain at the club for the night, and to go to Vermillion in this morning after a machinist had had an opportunity to go over the engine.

“I told them their boat was not seaworthy,” said LaVond last night, “and I advised them to stay in port. Their engine was working badly and I feared it would break down on them. The first time they put away they had not got around the bend before they were becalmed. They managed to put back and make a few repairs. They were positive their boat would stand the trip and they started out immediately.

“Neither of the Hurtig brothers were good navigator. They were both comparatively inexperienced and I was worried over them from the time they left port. The boat was a staunch little craft and was capable of making at least six miles an hour. At that speed, granting her engines held out, she should have reached a point off Edgewater by 7:30 o’clock at the outside.”

The lake was rough last night, a stiff nor’wester tossing the waves about more than ordinarily. According to yachtsmen, there was little reason for the launch capsizing, notwithstanding the heavy sea, if experienced navigators had been at the helm. By the distance away from the beach at which the boat was discovered, it is estimated that it had been capsized probably two hours. With the engine top down, the experienced watermen say it would have required considerable time for the boat to have drifted to the shore.

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 4 Sept 1904

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