Steamer Boston Cut Sch. Fame Like
Three Men on Deck At Time
Men Asleep in Cabin Unable to Get Out and Drowned in Their Bunks
The steamer Boston was
moving along at a low rate of speed about 9 o'clock, owing to the dense fog which
prevailed during the evening, and the little schooner was not discovered until the steamer
towered about her, and then crashed into her, and the crunching of timbers and shriek of
the doomed men told its own terrible story. The Boston had
been sounding her fog whistle at regular intervals.
The big steamer struck the fishing craft abaft
the main rigging, cutting through her like a knife, and those on board reckoned that it
was about three minutes from the time of the crash of the collision, to the time that the
vessel disappeared beneath the waves.
The steamer was immediately stopped, and two
boats lowered, which rowed around the spot, but they only discovered two men in the water,
Edward Pitts, or Pettipas, the cook, and John
Clark, the former clinging to a life boat while Clark was swimming in the
water. Both men were pretty well exhausted when they were finally taken aboard the
The Boston lay by
and the boats worked around for a long period in the expectation of picking up some more
of the crew, and it was not until all hope of rescuing any others was gone that the
captain of the Boston reluctantly sent her on her course.
According to the two survivors, the vessel
left Boston four weeks ago Monday with 23 men on board, and had been out but a short time
when it was necessary to put into Boothbay, Me., to land one of the men who was
sick. On Monday night, two men in one of the dories were lost and it was the
intention of the captain to start for home today, as the vessel had a fine fare of 100,000
pounds of fish in her hold.
At the time the schooner was ruff down there
were only three men on deck, the others being asleep in the forecastle and cabin.
All of the men in the forecastle were able to reach the deck before the vessel sunk, but
none of the men in the cabin were seen, and it is supposed that they were penned in their
bunks by the stanchions and timbers, and being unable to extricate themselves were carried
to the bottom with the vessel.
The three men on the deck did not make out the
steamer until she crashed into their vessel. Pitts became entangled
in the rigging as the vessel heeled over to the crash and was carried down, down, and
down, until he thought he would suffocate and never be able to get up, but he struggled
with the energy of despair and by some unexplainable reason felt the strain of the
entanglement give way, and with all the remaining strength he possessed and assisted by
the life bout arose to the surface, but on reaching the top of the water was unable to
move a muscle to help himself, and floated helplessly about until the timely arrival of
the steamers boat.
Clark was in the forecastle
at the time of the accident, but was able to get on deck, and being a strong swimmer and
realizing the situation at a glance, boldly jumped into the sea, as the only means of
saving his life.
Three of the lost men, Thomas Powers,
Thomas Nickerson, and Peter Doucette, hail from this city.
As far as known they are young men and single. A complete list of lost men has not
yet been secured, but 16 of the 18 unfortunates are known. The rest of the crew
boarded or lived in Boston and vicinity. The larger part of them were natives of
Thomas Oliver, of this city,
formerly of Canso, N. S., is the man who was landed at Boothbay, Me., last Friday night,
and to this fact he probably owes his life. Oliver got a hook
caught in his right hand, which caused blood poisoning and the vessel was put into
Boothbay, where he was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The cries of the men as they were buffeted
around by the disturbed waters where the schooner went down were heart rending. The
passengers, though willing, were unable to lend any assistance. The unfortunate
victims could be plainly seen struggling in the sea and some of them might have been
pulled on board, had a long boat hook been available. The survivors told the
passengers that the Fame was cruising in the vicinity at the
time of the collision in the hopes of finding two men who had gone astray in their dory in
the dense fog that prevailed. It is thought that six, and probably eight of the Fame's
crew, were instantly killed in the cabin as the Boston ploughed
her way through the sailing vessel.
The list of lost men, as near as can be
obtained is as follows:
Capt. Thomas Fahey, 30,
native of Newfoundland, leaves widow and three children in South Boston
Michael Carney, 20, native of Newfoundland, boarded in Boston (He planned
on leaving fishing after this trip.)
Bernard Cashin, native of Newfoundland, boarded in Boston
Benjamin or Bernard Daley, native of Salmonier, N. F.,
boarded in Boston
Thomas Stapleton, native of Newfoundland, boarded in Boston
Michael Melvin, native of Fermuese, N. F., resided in South Boston
James Powers, native of Newfoundland, boarded in Boston
Thomas Powers, of Gloucester, native of Bell island, Conception Bay, N.
F., cousin to James
William B. Fisher, native of Nova Scotia
Valentine Ray, native of Salmon River, Guysboro County, N. S., leaves
widow and one child in Dorchester
Henry Yetman, native of St. Mary's Bay, N. F.
A Frenchman, name unknown, belonging to Yarmouth county, N. S.
Thomas Nickerson, of Gloucester, native of Nova Scotia
Peter Doucette, of Gloucester, native of Tusket Wedge, N. S.
Two others, at present unknown
Thomas Powers, one of the
lost men, has had quite a varied career and in his journeying by land and sea had been
around the world, He belonged at Bell Island, Conception Bay, N. F., but on coming
here about four years ago, made this city his home. After going fishing a while he
finally went out south in a mackerel netter, left her at New York and shipped in a
four-masted ship and went to a port in the Argentine Republic from whence he went in the
four-master to Antwerp. Later he came back to New York in another craft and came on
this was again and once more took up fishing. Last winter he was in sch. Mary
A. Whalen of Boston.
Previous to coming here to go fishing, he had been a long time in western Canada and
United States, and owned a piece or ranch land on the San Junuin river, where he was
intending to go next fall. He also owned some valuable coal and iron lands on Bell
island, where a big syndicate is now in active operation mining and shipping.
He leaves an uncle in Boston and a brother and sister on Bell Island, at home. He is
the third brother to be lost in the New England fisheries inside of 15 years. His
brother Patrick was lost on the Grand Bank from sch. Senator Frye
of this port, June 19, 1893, by the overloading of his
dory, and his brother Matthew was one of the crew of sch. Iolanthe
of this port, which was lost at sea with all on board in November 1901.
The two men whose dory strayed in the fog from
the Fame, Joseph Walsh and Daniel McEachern, landed
at Race Point, Cape Cod, after being picked up the sch. Grace Davis after
more than 24 hours in their little boat in the thick fog. When the Grace
Davis, on her way to New York out of Bangor, was about 15 miles off, and the
captain wanted the men to stay with him until he made port, they were anxious to get home,
so they threw their dory out and jumped into it, and after a good row, landed at Race
Point, and walked up to the life saving station, where they stayed that night, getting a
needed rest. At the station they first heard of the awful accident and the sad fate
that had befallen 18 of their mates and the vessel