Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Schooner Allie R. Chester ~ 29 January 1889

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1889:

Three of the crew of the wrecked schooner Allie R. Chester, of New York were succored at the Ocracoke Station (6th District), North Carolina, for a week at this time. As they had been taken from their vessel in a destitute condition, the keeper supplied them with a partial outfit of clothing from that sent to the station by the Women’s National Relief Association. The loss of the Chester on the Outer Diamond Shoal about 8 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras was attended by very painful circumstances which were quite beyond the powers of the Service to control. The casualty occurred on the night of the 20th during a strong southeast gale with fog, the schooner having been driven onto the shoal while on her way from Charleston, SC, to New York with a cargo of phosphate rock. Five of her crew, including the captain and mate, were almost immediately washed overboard and lost. The vessel was seen from the Cape Hatteras Station the following morning and closely scanned with the telescope. She was taken to be a schooner which had been wrecked some days before on the same shoal. No signs of life on board could be discovered, but in any case a boat could not have gone to her, so violent was the sea off the cape. The next morning, the storm having moderated somewhat, the crew launched their surf boat, started for the shoal, and pulled out within half a mile of the vessel. At the same time a wrecking steamer employed in the vicinity passed within the same distance and also scrutinized the wreck. A little later a schooner sailed through the slue. As nothing could be seen to indicate that there were men on the wreck, the two vessels kept on their way and the life saving crew returned to the shore. The same steamer again went by a short time afterwards discovering no evidence that a part of the crew were still on board. This confirmed the surfmen in their belief that all hands had been lost. Later in the day the schooner James E. Kelsey, of Chincoteague, VA, passed near the wreck, discovered and saved three men who, having been wrapped in the gaff topsail for shelter, had not been previously seen. They remained on board the rescuing vessel over night and on the 23d were taken to the Ocracoke Station and cared for as stated above.

Newspaper Article:
New York Times, January 29, 1889

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