Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Schooner Ada F. Whitney ~ 22 September 1885

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 20 1886:

At about noon, during the prevalence of a fresh easterly gale, with rain, the three-masted schooner Ada F. Whitney of Thomaston, ME, was driven ashore on the coast of North Carolina, about two and a half miles south of the Poyners Hill Station (6th District). She had a crew of 7 men, and was on her way from Boston, MA, to Brunswick, GA, in ballast.
     The crew of the station had watched her movements for some minutes before she struck, she appearing to be unmanageable from the loss of canvas. When, therefore, it became manifest that she would soon be ashore, they set out with the beach apparatus, and in half an hour were on the scene, although great difficulty was encountered in getting there, the high tide of the morning having covered the beach and left it in a very soft and bad condition. By the time of their arrival she had driven in to within 120 yards of the shore and swung broadside to, with the seas breaking over her deck and the spray flying half mast high. She was also rolling very deeply.
     The first shot from the Lyle gun lodged the line in the mizzen-topmast shrouds, and, as soon as the gear could be rigged the 7 men were brought safely to shore one by one in the breeches buoy. Their transit from the vessel was attended with considerable risk, as the schooner was gradually working nearer, and it was only by keeping the setting up tackle manned that sufficient strain could be kept on the hawser to prevent the men from being washed out of the buoy.
     While the rescue was in progress the district superintendent, Mr. T.J. Poyner, and Messrs. John C. Gallop and Josephus Baum, residents of the vicinity, joined the party and lent valuable aid. The keeper of the Caffeys Inlet Station, to the south, also came up and rendered good service. The latter had been watching the vessel from his station, and started with the apparatus as soon as she struck, but finding travel so bad with the heavily loaded cart he had pushed forward alone on horseback leaving his men to follow, and arrived in time to get the people ashore. The captain and mate were taken in charge by Superintendent Poyner and conducted to his home, while the rest were given quarters at the station, where they remained 5 days.
     During the succeeding night the schooner worked closer in and bilged, and on the following day, when the station crew boarded her to recover the people’s effects, she was full of water and in such condition as to preclude the possibility of saving her. The station crew a few days later assisted in saving the water casks and part of the rigging, the anchors and chains and other heavy articles being recovered by the Baker Salvage Company, of Norfolk. The wreck was condemned and sold at auction.

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