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The Maggie and May


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The Maggie and May

Nine Lives are Lost in Crash at Sea
Capt. Alexander McEachern and Eight of Crew Went Down
With German Warship Freya Struck Sch. Maggie and May
Disaster Happened in Fog Saturday Night and All
Gloucester Mourns Today

August 8, 1908

The saddest news that has come to this city for a long time flashed over the wires late last evening telling of the loss of Capt. Alexander McEachern of this city, and eight of his crew, by the sinking of sch. Maggie and May of this port, on Le Have bank, Saturday night, by the German schoolship Freya.

According to Robert Years, one of the four survivors of the disaster, the vessel sailed from Gloucester the previous week, bound for Arichat to take on their hired men. Off Cape Sable they struck the fog and light wind and ruddered along until Saturday night just before the accident, they were about 30 miles to the southeast of Halifax. The accident happened at 10.30 o'clock by the schooner's clock and 11.30 by that on the Freya, a German schoolship. Yearn was in the watch, with Walter Fiander and Fred English, the latter being at the wheel. The schooner was practically becalmed and did not have steerage way. It was so dark and thick of fog that he could not see the length of the vessel ahead.

The men heard the whistle of the steamer and called the captain, who quickly called all hands as soon as he struck the deck. The vessel's horn was going properly and the captain of the Freya afterward said that he heard it all right, but could not locate the direction of the sound.

As the steamer drew nearer, Capt. McEachern waved the flare torch, but all to no purpose, for within a minute after they saw the Freya's light she was into them, striking on the starboard side, just at the nose of the nest of dories.
Capt. McEachern shouted to clear the dories and the gripes were quickly cut, but they could not seem to clear the boats. It was thought that the starboard dories were smashed by the impact.

After the attempts to float the dories was abandoned, it became desperate, as the vessel then was practically under water and sinking fast. All hands were aft, and Yearn was alongside the skipper, who still held the torch in his hand. He turned to him and said, "Leo, we will every one of us be drowned." As he said it, both he and Yearn slipped and went overboard together.
Yearn never saw the skipper after that, nor any of the crew, until he met the other three rescued ones on the deck of the the Freya. Yearn says that the schooner sank in two minutes after she was struck and that the other three survivors were rescued by boats from the Freya.

According to Captain Vincent Nelson, of the schooner Senator Gardner of Gloucester, Alex McEachern told him in Gloucester that he intended retiring from the sea at the conclusion of this trip.

In 1912 the German government turned over $36,000 to the American and British ambassadors, to be paid to the claimants.

Lost on the Maggie and May

Alexander McEachern, of Gloucester, leaves a widow and three children
Alister Wentzell, steward, 36, native of Lunenburg, N.S.
Walter Fiander, 24, single of Codroy, N.F.
Edward P. English, 35, single, of Conception Bay, N.F.
Reuben Porter, 45, of Eel Brook, N.S., leaves a widow and family
Dillon Porter, 20, son of Reuben Porter, of Eel Brook, N.S.
Alfred Muise, 36, of Eel Brook, N.S.
Augustus Loegold, 26, of Cape Breton
Thomas R. Muise, 36, single, of Cape Breton

The survivors were:

Robert Years, 28, of Belloram, N.F.
John Muise, 32, of Nova Scotia
Sylvian White, 32 years, of Yarmouth, N.S.
William Muise, 31, of Eel Brook, N.S.


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