Milwaukee, WI Schooner M. J. CUMMINGS Wreck, May 1894



Milwaukee, Wis., May 19. -- Six lives, two vessels wrecked and a number of others damaged is the record of the disaster occassioned at this port by the northeast gale which set in Thursday night and continued with increasing velocity until the wind was blowing forty miles an hour. The schooner M. J. Cummings foundered in the bay at 9 o'clock in the morning, carrying down five men and one woman. One man, ROBERT PATTERSON of Kingston, was saved.
The dead are:
TIMOTHY BENSAUR, mate, Buffalo, N.Y.
JOHN McCULLOUGH, captain, Marine City, Mich.
THOMAS TUSCOTT, sailor, Marine City, Mich.
Unknown Sailors, two, known as "JIM" and "ED,"
Marine City, Mich.
Unknown Woman, cook, of Racine, Wis.
As soon as the vessel struck the bar the crew took to the rigging and remained there until they dropped off one by one, exhausted from the cold.
They were in plain view of the crowd on shore, which increased every moment as the news of the ship in distress spread through the city, and when the rescue was finally made numbered several thousand.
As soon as the sinking of the Cummings was observed at the life-saving station the crew manned the boat to be towed out by the tug J J. Hagerman. The line was lost and the life-savers pulled out and succeeded in getting to the wreck.
FRANK GURDIS of the crew boarded the vessel with a line from the life boat and had scarcely made it fast when it parted. Before the life savers could again get their oars into the water the life boat had fallen off into the trough of the sea and was swept against the rigging of the Cummings and smashed. The life-saving crew was rescued by those on shore. Then for nearly three hours of inactivity clewed up in topsails, many feet above the submerged deck, with the waves roaring beneath them, with the chill north winds cutting through the thin canvas, wet through, half starved and nearly frozen, the people in the rigging awaited release from their position. Four men, unable to longer hold out, dropped from the rigging and were drowned. Finally a line was got from the life-saving yawl to the schooner and the remainder of the crew rescued. The men who were saved were FRANK GURDIS, the life saver, who was left in the rigging in the morning, and ROBERT PATTERSON, a member of the Cummings crew. They were taken to the life-saving station and cared for.

Daily Gazette Janesville Wisconsin 1894-05-19