Sunday, April 22, 2012

Schooner Charles C. Dame ~ 14 October 1893

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1894:

Lost her reckoning through encountering hurricane of October 13, and struck on Frying Pan Shoals early in the morning of this date, where she became a total wreck; the heavy waves making a clean breach over her decks and slowly dashing her to pieces, drove her crew to the jib boom for refuge. At daylight life saving crew discovered vessel 8 miles offshore and started for her with surfboat. After a toilsome and dangerous struggle of 7 hours against adverse and violent seas, succeeded in reaching wreck and rescuing the crew of 8 men, worn out and almost overcome by 12 hours’ exposure, in a cramped position, to the fury of the storm. Landed them at station, provided clothing, of which they were destitute, and cared for them two days, transporting them to Southport on the 16th. Crew of Oak Island Station, attempting to cross Cape Fear River Bar, and failing on account of severity of sea, requested tug to tow them out to wreck, but were refused on the ground that the weather was too tempestuous. (See letter of acknowledgement.)

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, October 19, 1893

DEAR SIR: Allow me to extend the thanks of myself and crew of the schooner Charles C. Dame to you and the heroic men who manned the lifeboat from your station to my vessel on October 14, when she was breaking to pieces on Frying Pan Shoals. Without your assistance it is more than probable that myself and crew would have been lost in the terrible seas that swept our decks. Your heroic fight of twelve hours to reach the vessel was a super-human effort that deserves a record in the annals of the Life-Saving Service, which I, as a mariner, always regard as a sailor’s hope when shipwreck stares him in the face in storm-ridden seas along our coast. Your rescue of every man, and the safe landing of your own and my crews, was a piece of work that it delights me to pay tribute to, and the kind treatment of us while under your care requires me to double my thanks, and extend the same from my officers and crew. This but feebly expresses the feeling of gratitude that animates my writing this; but believe, dear Captain, that in my heart there is a warm affection and admiration for the keeper and crew of the Southport (Cape Fear) Life-Saving Station. I hope we may meet again when you will be in my care, but under different circumstances. I remain, sincerely, SAMUEL S. GROVE, Late Master of Schooner Charles C. Dame

     In addition to the foregoing letter to keeper Watts, of the Cape Fear Station, Captain grove furnished the following statement for publication, which appeared in the columns of the Southport Leader, October 19, 1893, under the caption:

I desire for myself and crew to express my heartfelt gratitude for the services rendered us and the great bravery exhibited by Captain John L. Watts and his crew in taking us off the wreck of the schooner Charles C. Dame on last Saturday. The rescue was made at the risk of their lives. SAMUEL S. GROVE, Captain of Schooner C.C. Dame

THANKS TO BRIAN MANNERS for sharing the following images of the Schooner Charles C. Dame that were found in a pile of old watercolors found by his father. Drawn by Charles Cook in 1884, they may have been quick sketches or studies done on site ... perhaps for a future painting.

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