Cleveland, OH Launch BUTTERFLY Sinking, Sept 1904

The fact that this point has been the landing place of everything thus far given up by the wreck is taken as conclusive evidence that the catastrophe occurred about opposite the end of the jetty, and, it is thought, not very far out.

The wreck of the Butterfly, which had lain on the beach since it came ashore at 9:30 last evening, was carried into a dray about noon yesterday by members of the Cleveland yacht club and taken to the clubhouse. Examination proved it to be damaged almost beyond reparation. The hull is badly damaged and everything movable has been swept away. The batteries are gone, having broken through the lockers which confined them, but the engine is intact. The painter, twisted many times around the propeller in such a fashion as to have absolutely stopped the revolutions is thought by many to tell the story of the disaster. Capt. Motley of the life saving crew and other experienced boatmen yesterday expressed the opinion that it was the negligence of the unfortunate sailors in allowing the loose end of their painter to slip over the stern and become entangled with the screw, that rendered the launch helpless, and permitted her to toss in the trough of the sea until swamped.

H.S. Walkemeyer, manager of the Edgewater park bathing beach, and one of the last to see the Butterfly before she was wrecked, said yesterday afternoon:

“The launch passed the bathing house about 7 o’clock, westward bound and very near shore. In fact, she was only a few feet beyond the line of ropes which are stretched along shore for the benefit of bathers. She was just at the point where the breakers, approaching the beach, make navigation most difficult.

“The sea was, in my estimation, the heaviest of the season, and the launch was even then in imminent danger of capsizing.

“But the men appeared utterly heedless to their danger. They were chatting and smoking with apparently no thought of impending peril. When a man in the near by the boathouse bade them come in to shore, one of the men laughed back rather derisively and lit a fresh cigar to show that he felt quite at ease. They pursued the same course until they reached a point opposite the promontory which projects into the lake about a mile and half west of Edgewater, hugging the shore all the way and in momentary danger of being pounded against the rocks by the heavy breakers.

“Just when they seemed about to round the point and disappear from view, they headed back, evidently apprised of their danger and with the purpose of putting back to port.

“it was at this time that I lost sight of them, being no longer able to discern the little craft through the darkness. As they past the bathhouse, two voices, evidently giving signs of distress, were audible above the roar of surf. A few moments later, there was only one voice, and it came from a point some distance to the east and just opposite the point where the launch later came to land.

“I surmised that one of the man had been washed off the wreck between the first call and the second. In a few moments, the latter also ceased, and I learned nothing more until the wreckage began to come ashore.”

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 5 Sept 1904

Continued