Captain James Montague of Manteo, of the 15-ton schooner Mary J. Hanie, was en route to Hatteras from Elizabeth City with a cargo of musical instruments.He made a mistake in the channel and stranded on Inlet Shoals at 6 p.. on April 28. A distress signal was made and was spotted immediately by lookout surfman G.B. Gaskins at the Hatteras Inlet Station and by surfman J.B. Stowe across the inlet at the Durants Station.
Keeper Garrish, being closer to the vessel, arrived first. He was joined by Stowe a few minutes later, "... the master of the schooner requested that both boats remain by him as the schooner was leaking very badly and in a dangerous condition. ... after working continuously for eight hours succeeded in floating the schooner at 3:30 a.m., April 29, and towed her to Hatteras.
Less than a month later the Mary J. Hanie, with her sails blown away in a heavy nor'easter, was in trouble once again. Keeper James H. Garrish's report follows:
At 7:15 a.m., May 24, 1921, watchman (Surfman H.H. Howard) reported a schooner flying distress signals, about five miles NNW from this station; I at once manded power surf-boat and started scene ... found the schooner Mary J. Hanie fast aground on Howards Reef in Pamlico Sound, took crew ... landed them safely at this station and furnished them with food and clothing. At 10:30 a.m. left ... the second time to assist in saving cargo, as the schooner was breaking up. Succeeded in saving about $2,000 worth of musical instruments, with great dificulty, the sea and the force of wind and the breaking up on the schooner compelled us to leave the schooner, as there was great danger of the mast falling and of some person getting killed. Returned to station at 2:30 p.m. At 5 a.m. ... manded power surf-boat and put out to assist in saving balance of cargo, succeeded in saving five pianos which was all of cargo that could possibly be saved ... These pianos were damaged badly and worth approximately $1,000. Sails blown away, went aground, took off crew carried them to station for three days. Succeeded in saving about $3,000 worth of cargo.
The incident was closed with Captain Montague turned the schooner over to private individuals. The clothing furnished the three crewmen had been donated by the Blue Jacket Society.