Fire Island, NY Schooner MARIE BROWN Sinking, Jul 1921

Schooner Rammed and Sunk, Four Lost, In Collision With Tramp Off Fire Island.

The three-masted wooden schooner E. Marie Brown of Thomaston, Me., outbound with coal for Charleston, S. C., was sunk early yesterday thirty miles off Fire Island by the British freighter Harmodius. Four members of the crew, including B. W. Belyea, the Captain, were drowned.

Two Norwegian seamen and the Captain's son, Howard Belyea, were rescued by the lifeboat lowered from the steamer and brought to New York. When the Harmodius arrived at Pier 3, Erie Basin, one of the sailors was still unconscious from shock and immersion and was sent to the Long Island Hospital.

The younger Belyea, deck engineer on the schooner, said that the weather was clear and the vessel about thirty miles southeast of Fire Island when the steamer was sighted coming head on.

"It was a peculiar accident," he said, "and difficult to explain, because everything occurred so quickly.

"I was standing by the galley at the time and heard my father give the order to the man at the wheel to starboard the helm and he obeyed. The steamer was supposed to got to starboard at the same time to avoid our colliding with each other. There was not much wind at the time and the schooner might not have shifted her course as quickly as she was expected to do. The next think I remember was seeing the steel bow of the Harmodious crash right into the port side of our vessel just before the beam and make a big hole through which the water poured in tons. We had a big cargo of coal which put the Marie Brown down deep and she went under by the head in less than three minutes. Before the boat from the steamer could reach us my father, the cook and two Norwegian sailors were drowned."

The young man added that his father was 54 years old and left a widow and two sons, one 18 and the other 16 years old, at their home in Boston. The Captain was a part owner of the schooner, which was of 456 gross tons. The name or one of the seamen saved with Howard Belvea was Robert Ortega. That of the one sent to the hospital could not be learned.

The Harmodius is owned by the Houston Line, trading between this port and South America, and was inbound from Montreal. The Chief officer said he was not on deck at the time of the accident, but that the weather was hazy.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Jul 1921