Monday, April 23, 2012

Schooner Jennie Beasley ~ 26 January 1886

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 1886:

At 8 o’clock on the night of the 26th, during the prevalence of a northeasterly storm with thick weather, the schooner Jennie Beasley, of Bucksport, ME, was wrecked on the coast of North Carolina, about one mile north of the Currituck Inlet Station (6th District). She had 7 persons on board, including the captain’s wife, and was bound from Clark’s Cove, MA to Wilmington, NC, with a cargo of guano. She struck about 300 yards from the shore, and was discovered at half-past 8 by the patrol, who gave the alarm as quickly as possible. An hour later the crew were on the ground with the beach apparatus, the sea being too rough for boat service. The vessel by this time had worked in to within 200 yards of the beach, and, although the weather was so thick that she could scarcely be seen, they were successful in establishing communication with the first shot. The whip was at once hauled off and the hawser followed, and then matters came to a stand through the fouling of the gear, owing to the strong current alongshore and the innumerable stumps and roots of trees which studded the beach far out beyond low water mark, the lines becoming so twisted and entangled that it was impossible to clear them until daybreak. It should be stated that before the hawser was sent off the Currituck crew had been reinforced by portions of the crews of the Wash Woods and Whale’s Head Stations, the next adjacent stations north and south, whom keeper Etheridge had summoned by telephone to his aid before setting out. It was a weary watch during the remainder of the night, the weather being rainy and cold; but day broke at last upon the scene, and as soon as it was light enough the men lost no time in clearing the entangled lines, although it was a difficult task, as they had to wade out into the surf almost neck deep to accomplish it. When everything was in readiness the breeches buoy was sent off, and by 8 o’clock (27th) the unfortunate people were ashore and safely housed at the station, where their dripping garments were quickly replaced with dry ones from the supply donated by the Women’s National Relief Association. On January 31st the station crew aided in stripping the wreck of sails and rigging and getting them ashore. As the bay was frozen over and no communication could be had with the mainland, the sailors were compelled to remain at the station Until February 2d, a period of eight days, or until an opportunity offered for sending them by steamer to Norfolk. The captain remained still longer to sell the wreck at auction and close up his affairs. He left on February 11th.

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