Thursday, March 15, 2012

Schooner Joseph Rudd ~ 22 March 1890

At 3:20 a.m. on March 22, 1890 the three-masted schooner Joseph Rudd stranded on Cape Lookout Shoal, 7 miles SSE of the station during a heavy fog and fresh south wind. She was loaded with lumber from Charleston, SC and bound for New York City.

Because of the fog it was three hours later when the day watch finally discovered her. The station surfboat was immediately sent to the vessel arriving at 10:30 a.m. The lifesavers had experienced a very difficult passage because, according to the wreck report, “a very heavy and dangerous sea was encountered rising from every direction making it very difficult to handle the boat as quickly as the sea would dash upon all sides and threaten to swamp her.” The U.S. Life-Saving Annual Report for 1890 stated: “To add to the difficulty a strong current had to be contended against… There was a small lee just astern of her and, after some maneuvering, this was gained by the surfmen and a line was thrown to them by the sailors.”

At this time the sea was washing completely over the forward half of the vessel, making it extremely difficult to approach her from any direction. Five of the crewmen were on the stern and the remaining two were in the ship’s yawl which was loaded with their personal belongings, ship’s papers and nautical instruments. The five survivors on the stern climbed down to the surfboat, one at a time, while the lifesavers desperately tried to keep the two boats apart and to avoid becoming entangled in the wreckage. The men in the yawl were furnished cork jackets and then towed clear of the vessel and transferred to the lifeboat. The ship’s crew, along with the yawl and all its contents, was safely landed at 12:30 p.m., “all thoroughly wet and fatigued from the hard pull.” The Annual Life-Saving Report concluded:

“The following morning (23rd) the patrol, when some four miles northeast by north of the station, saw a vessel close inshore and flashed his signal of warning. The craft soon took bottom and, as day was just breaking, the surfman delayed a few minutes and ascertained that she was the same schooner that they had boarded with so much difficulty the previous day. She had pounded over the shoals during the night. The keeper and the captain walked up the beach and viewed the wreck. Her port side was stove, the sails (excepting foresail and jib) were blown away, deck load and after house washed off, and the foremast had settled. Later in the day wreckers took charge and saved such of the rigging and cargo as they could. Some lumber that washed ashore was secured by the surfmen. On the morning of the 24th the keeper took the shipwrecked men and their baggage to Core Sound (about two miles distant) in a wagon and there procured a boat to convey them to Beaufort. On the 26th the captain returned to the station and remained until the next day, when the wreck was sold.”

Wilmington Morning Star
March 26, 1890

A telegram from Beaufort, N.C. says: Schooner JOSEPH RUDD, went ashore on Lookout at 8 o’clock Saturday morning. The station crew took off the crew and their personal effects. The sails were left set and the vessel worked off and went ashore three miles north of Cape Lookout. She sunk fifty yards from the beach. The top hamper is out of the water. The hull looks all right. Vessel and cargo fully insured. The RUDD cleared for New York from this port Thursday last with cargo of pine lumber shipped by C.B. Mallett, Esq.

Atlantic Seaside, Beaufort, NC
March 26, 1890

Editor SEASIDE: We wish to express, through the columns of your paper, our sincere thanks and appreciation to Captain Gaskill and his brave crew of the life-saving station at Cape Lookout for the heroic bravery displayed by them in rescuing the crew from the ill-fated schooner JOSEPH RUDD. The hardships and perils which they encountered in saving our lives will long be cherished and remembered. Thomas Hanson, Master; F.W. Robertson, Mate; in behalf of the crew

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