Cleveland, OH Schooner Yacht IDLER Wrecked in Storm, Jul 1900


Six Members of the Family of James Corrigan, a Wealthy Cleveland Man, Go Down During a Sudden Squall, Only One of the Family Escaping.

Cleveland, O., July 7.----The schooner yacht Idler was lost in a terrific storm sixteen miles off this port this afternoon with six person, all members of the family of James Corrigan, a wealthy man of this city. The dead are:

MRS. JAMES CORRIGAN, wife of the owner of the yacht. MRS. CHARLES REILLY, aged 22 years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan. MISS JANE CORRIGAN, aged 20 years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan. MISS IDA MAY CORRIGAN, aged 15 years. MISS ETTA CORRIGAN, aged 10 years. BABY REILLY, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Corrigan.

Mrs. John Corrigan was the only passenger aboard who was saved. C. H. Holmes, the captain, Samuel Biggam, the mate; four sailors, two cooks and the ship's carpenter were also saved. The yacht left Port Huron yesterday with the family of Mr. Corrigan aboard and started to Cleveland. Mr. Corrigan was ill and left by the train. At 2 o'clock the storm came up and inside of five minutes the yacht sank. All the women except Mrs. John Corrigan and Miss Etta Corrigan were in the cabin when the gale came up. They became panic-stricken and refused to leave the place. The men implored them to come to the deck but they refused. Mrs. John Corrigan clung to a cork sofa when the gale came and was saved. When rescued Mate Biggam said:

"It was about 2:05 o'clock when the squall struck us. The yacht laid down on her beam ends and the water rushed through the dead lights and companion ways and in three minutes she sank. Mi Mrs. James Corrigan, Miss Ida Corrigan, Miss Jane Corrigan, Mrs. Charles Reilly and the infant daughter of Mrs. Reilly were all in the saloon below when the storm came upon us. Capt. Holmes gave me orders to take in sail and I transmitted the order to the men. They obeyed quickly. The captain, myself and the crew made efforts to save the women but without success. We told them the yacht was sinking, but they could not or would not come on deck. I waded into the saloon when the water was up to my neck but Mrs. James Corrigan would not come out. She may have been rendered incapable of action by fear and knowledge of impending doom. An effort was made to take the infant daughter of Mrs. Reilly out but Mrs. Reilly would not let the child go."

The mate said it was realized that nothing could be done to save those in the cabin and that attention was turned to saving those on deck. The latter, outside of the captain, mate and crew, were Mrs. John Corrigan and her daughter, Miss Etta Corrigan. The captain and the crew tried to get Mrs. Corrigan and her daughter upon the cross-trees in the rigging, but the heavy sea washed them all overboard.

"For God's sake, Mrs. Corrigan, you and your daughter keep a tight hold on the rigging," we called to them. Even as we yelled the sea swept them and us overboard. Eventually Mrs. Corrigan had succeeded in taking hold of a cork lounge. She clung to it and was saved.

According to the testimony of several sailors the top sail mainsail and gib were all set when the storm came up. This is denied by Biggam, the mate, who declares that they were in good condition to face the storm.

Capt. James Corrigan declared to-night that good seamanship could have averted the tragedy. He is almost frenzied with grief.

The Idler was a staunch schooner yacht which Capt. Corrigan recently purchased from John Cudahy of Chicago.

The survivors of the wreck were picked up by tugs a few minutes after the accident and brought into this port.

Butte Weekly Miner, Butte, MT 12 Jul 1900

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