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The Grace N. Pendleton


December 12, 1923

Confirm Loss of Sch. Pendleton

Report of the loss of the four-masted schooner Grace N. Pendleton of Boston, Capt. Forman L. Pothier of this city, and most of the members of the crew was confirmed today by the receipt of a letter from Hamburg, Germany, from the captain's son, Odber Pothier, 19 which relates the loss of his father and members of the crew after the vessel went down on Friday, November 15, at the mouth of the Eit river.  Young Pothier who is only a boy in his teens, writes that he expects to return to Gloucester in about three   or four weeks.

The Pendleton left Altoona, Germany for Rotterdam, Holland, on Thursday November 16.  At 9 o'clock that night during a northwest gale and heavy driving rain, the schooner collided with a steamer yet unknown.   Capt. Pothier put back for  shelter but on account of strong head wind was forced to anchor the schooner.  Despite all efforts, the Pendleton drifted into the quicksand and giant breakers 30 to 40 feet high.  On Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock the vessel went down and all hands took to the rigging.   All except young Pothier and Johannes W. Wollvaber, second cook of Hamburg were washed overboard before dark.  They included Capt. Pothier, George B. Lambson, James Morrissy of Parsborough, N. S., and Earle Harding of St. John, N. B.  There were two other Canadians on board and the remainder of the men were Scandinavians and Germans whose names young Pothier did not know.  There were 16 all told in the crew.

Odber Pothier who was second engineer and Wollvaber were picked up on Saturday, November 17 at 10 a.,. by the towboat Hermes and taken into port, being landed at Cuxhaven Germany, and put in to the hospital, both having suffered fearfully from exposure in the gale and rain and sea.

January 23, 1924
Tells Thrilling Story of Loss of Sch. Grace Pendleton

Odber Pothier, who has just returned home as one of the two surviving members of the crew of the ill-fated motor sch. Grace N. Pendleton, in which his father, Capt. Forman L. Pothier, of this city, lost his life, tells of an experience that cannot soon be forgotten.  He says that they left Hamburg, bound for Rotterdam, Holland, in the schooner Pendleton, which had a 5000 ton capacity, but was then carrying ballast.  At 9 o'clock at night, on November 15, they collided with a steamer, probably a German freighter, although the fog was so thick that it was impossible to even see what became of it.  He believes the freighter must have sunk immediately after the collision.

The Pendleton determined that it was not badly damaged and cruised around for a while looking for the freighter, but after a fruitless search, put back for Cuxhaven, which is the shelter harbor at the mouth of the Elbe.   When they were 1 miles off shores the wind hauled around as they tried to make the narrow channel, and after much tacking it was found that the vessel was unmanageable as she had shipped too much water in the fore peak.  Unable to make further progress they dropped anchor and in the meantime burned distress signals, which they are certain were seen and reported, but no vessel came to their aid.

It was impossible to launch a life boat.  At about 3 o'clock in the morning the vessel commenced to strike and the crew were kept busy manning the pumps.   Pothier says that the vessel was striking so hard that all the dishes in the cabin were broken but she remained.

Afloat for over twelve hours, during which time the crew took life belts and lashings and were ordered into the rigging.  The Pendleton finally sank in about 19 feet of water after the ship's bottom had split and the craft laid over on its starboard side.  Although all the crew were in the rigging, the rough sea had by nightfall washed overboard all the crew except young Pothier and the cook, and Pothier said that the cook had to pull him back to the rigging three times.  During the night the wind abated.


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