At midnight on the 4th of October the vessel was about 8 miles off Bodie’s Island light, coast of North Carolina. The wind was light from the northwest, and the sea smooth. The mate took charge of the watch at midnight, and was steering south by west, according to the testimony of the man at the wheel, when the vessel grounded. Between 3 and 4 in the morning a heavy squall stuck the vessel from the north-northeast, and while the crew were engaged in taking in sail she stranded, with her head to the westward, pointing inshore. The point of disaster was about three and a half miles north of Life Saving Station No. 18 (6th District), North Carolina, and just north of the Loggerhead Inlet, which is closed up.
As the sea was making rapidly and breaking over the rail, and the vessel commenced to pound heavily, the large boat was launched over the side of the vessel to leeward, with the intention of taking to it at daylight and trying to land. It was not then known whether the schooner had stranded on the main beach or on some outlying shoal. The second mate and three men got into the boat to keep it from being smashed against the side of the vessel. The rest of the crew were engaged in collecting clothes and supplies to put in the boat. Soon after the boat was launched a red light was seen inshore, which afterward proved to be the Coston light of the patrolman from Station No. 18, who first discovered the wreck. The boat, which was hanging by a new three or three and a half inch line from the vessel, was shipping water constantly, and one man was at work bailing it out with a bucket to keep it free.
About half an hour after the boat was launched a sea swept it away, parting the painter and drowning two of the men, while the second mate and other man succeeded in holding on to a rope fast to the vessel which led to the stern of the boat. The second mate’s leg was broken, it is supposed by getting a turn of the rope around it, and he was supported in the water alongside the vessel until two of the crew, who heard them calling for help, let a bow line down over the side and handed them on board, the second mate first, then the man. The second mate was put in the galley for safety.
About this time the seas dashed in at the cabin windows and the vessel commenced to break up aft. The captain’s wife and three children were then taken to the forecastle, but the water coming in there, they were moved father forward to the windlass room. After this the vessel’s decks commenced to break up and the ice to come out. All hands then took refuge on the top gallant forecastle. The second mate was lashed in the fore rigging. The mate took one child out on the bowsprit, and Mrs. Hunter was lashed to the bitts with the youngest child, 18 months old, in her arms. The other child was put in charge of the steward.
Pretty soon a sea washed over the forecastle and swept the child from the steward down to leeward under the jib sheets. The captain went after it and succeeded in getting hold of it, but another sea came and washed it away from him overboard. The same sea took the baby from its mother’s arms and washed it overboard, and both children were lost. In trying to save his child the captain was badly hurt, being dashed against the capstan and cat head by the seas. Soon after another sea was shipped, which washed the captain off the starboard bow overboard. As the current swept him around the bow, he caught hold of the bobstays and climbed up on them. After resting there awhile, he crawled over the port bow and seated himself alongside his wife, who was then lashed in the port fore-rigging with the steward and second mate. The captain and the rest of the survivors took refuge on the bowsprit and jib boom.
The survivors, 6 in all, were Mrs. Hunter, her child, the second mate, two seamen, and the steward. The child died that night at the station from exposure in spite of all efforts made to save it. Harry Brien, one of the seamen, testified that after the captain had fallen overboard he came in off the jib boom that evening about half past 9 and found that the child had slipped from its lashings and was hanging head down by its toes alongside the bowsprit, He picked it up and covering it with canvas laid it on top of the bowsprit. After they had landed, the keeper of No. 16, with three of his men and three from No. 17, arrived at the wreck, also the keeper and crew of No. 19. The keeper of No. 17 was sick and had sent for the keeper of No. 16 to take his place. The survivors were taken to No. 18 and made as comfortable as possible, the keeper and men placing their clothes and possessions generally at their disposal. Keeper Midgett’s wife or some other woman from the neighborhood was with Mrs. Hunter constantly while she remained at the station, attending to her wants. The box of clothing shipped to Station No. 17 by the Women’s National Relief Association was subsequently sent for and the contents placed at the disposal of the survivors. The supply of women’s underwear, and men’s clothes and shoes, and tea, sugar, and beef extract were needed especially, ad proved to be of great benefit to the survivors, who were completely destitute. The broken leg of the second mate received all the attention possible until the arrival of the Marine Hospital surgeon from New Berne, NC, who attended to it. Mrs. Hunter, under the care of her friend, Mr. Vanderherchen, of Philadelphia, who had been sent for, and the two seamen and steward, were taken to Elizabeth City in the revenue sloop Saville on their way North, and free passes were procured for the two seamen t Boston and for the steward to New York.
New York Times, October 11, 1881
New York Times, October 16, 1881