Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Schooner A.F. Crockett ~ 17 February 1885

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885:

At about 7 o'clock in the morning the patrol of the Ocracoke Station (6th District), North Carolina, discovered a schooner which appeared to be ashore, about 10 miles southwest from the station and two miles north of Ocracoke lighthouse. He soon reported at the station, and the keeper ordered out the crew with the beach apparatus. At this time the wind was blowing fresh from the west and a high sea tumbling in on the beach, which made the transportation of the apparatus a very tedious and laborious task. At times the water rushed up so far on the shore that they were obliged to retreat back of the sandhills. Progress under these trying and exhausting conditions was necessarily slow, and the keeper, fearing that the vessel's crew might become disheartened at not receiving assistance and attempt to land and lose their lives, proceeded on ahead as rapidly as possible to signal to the vessel that assistance would soon arrive. Before proceeding far he met a man on horseback, who, thinking the vessel had not been seen by the patrol, was hastening to give the alarm. The man kindly loaned his horse to the keeper, in order that he might reach the wreck more speedily, and returned himself on foot. Arriving abreast of the schooner, the keeper found a number of citizens congregated on the beach impatiently waiting for the life saving crew. The vessel lay nearly half a mile from the shore, with the sea breaking completely over her. The keeper, seeing that the people on board were in a very precarious situation, decided that something must be done instantly to save them without awaiting the arrival of his crew, who could not come up for some time. He therefore called for volunteers. To this appeal 6 brave men responded, and, with the schooner's yawl, which had previously drifted ashore, they went off with the keeper and rescued the crew of 8 men, making two trips. The volunteers were Christopher O'Neal, P.C. Howard, Robert Gorkins, Zorobabel Gorkius, John Gorkins, and William Williams. The expedition they undertook with so frail a craft, was a hazardous one, and the men are entitled to great commendation. The schooner proved to be the A.F. Crockett, of Rockland, ME, from Savannah, GA, bound to New York, with a cargo of lumber. The sailors lost all their personal effects. They were sheltered and fed at the station for several days, until transportation could be obtained on passing vessels. The vessel with cargo were a total loss. The following letter of thanks was received by the station crew for the part they took in the affair:

The Daily Journal, New Bern, NC, 26 February 1885

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