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About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 26, 1900)
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PORTLAND, OREGON, SUNDAY MOBNING, AUGUST 26, 1900.
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ICCLE Sam saves an
nually more lives
than he destroys.
Merchant vessels un
der all flags are his
wards. "Whether Tare
are at peace or at
war -with other na
tions, the bravo men
of the United States
stand ready to risk
their own llvis to save those o shipwreck
ed sailors and passengers. Since 1S71 the
United States has been gratuitously per
forming this work of rescue and, for the
most part, for the benefit of foreigners.
British ships have received the larcrest
meed of assistance, chiefly because Great
Britain's maritime commerce Is larger
than that of any other country of the
world. Many a seaman from the ports
of the United Kingdom o-w es his preserva
tion from a watery grave to the brave
lads of our liresavlng service.
It is Impossible to even approximate the
actual number of human lives rescued,
or the value of property preserved
through the agency of their service. Rec
ords of rescues made are kept and re
ported annually, but the number of ma
rine disasters that may have been avert
ed" can never e determined. Vessels are
continually 1olng warned off, by signals
from the shore, when approaching the
coasts at nighttime, in thick or heavy
weather. The fact Is noted in the keep
ers log and reported to Washington. The
vessel, after changing her course, pursues
her way, and the department makes no
attempt at learning her name, or finding
out how near she came to being wrecked.
In 1S99, J9S vessels were -warned of "dan
ger ahead" at the various coast stations.
During last year 4fS marine disasters oc
curred within the Held of operation of the
United Staes Life-saving Service. The
Imperiled vessels had aboard 3903 persons,
of whom 6 were lost. Property, valued
at 5S,iw,6 was In jeopardy, and of this
amount JC,100 worth was saved, that
lost belnjr valued at $1.82.740. The total
number oC vessels lost was 72. This report
is made from the list of documented
craft and does not include the hundreds
of mishaps of a lesser nature than total
shipwreck that received the attention of
tho life-saving crews.
Last year there were 2G3 lifesavingta
tlons in the United States, embraced In
12 districts, on the Atlantic and Pacific
coasts. California has six, Oregon five,
and Washington four stations. Those on
the Oregon Coast are located at Coos Bay
UmpQua River. Coqullle River. Taqulna
Bay and Point Adams. Those In Wash
ington ar the Capo Disappointment, un
der charge of Captain Stuart; Ilwaco
Beach, Captain Jorgensen: North Cove,
Captain Brown, and Westport.
Life-saving stations are established along
the coast line wherever needed, under the
direction of Congress. The department
is goernea oy a general superintendent,
assistant general superintendent, district
Inspectors and board of appliances and
keeper. Tho general superintendent is
appointed by the Secretary of the Treas
ury, -with the oonsent of the Senate, and
tho assistant general superintendent 1
appointed by the Secretary of the Treas
ury, on the recommendation of the general
superintendent, as are tho inspectors and
keepers, etc ,
The duties of these officers are very er
nctlng. Inspectors of districts make
their rounds every three months. These
officials are. by special provision, ap
pointed from the revenue cutter service
of the United States, and have the rank
of Captain AH offlcersas well astmem
bers of service crews, hold their berths
during good behavior, or their period of
Selection of Crevr. .
Members of crews are chosen solely be
cause of their special fitness. They "have
to pass rigid civil service examinations.
ar J are rated upon "physical condition,"
"experience" and ""age." "five." "four"
and "ono" respectively, showing the rela
tive value of each qualification. Applica
tions for positions as "surfmen" are made
on blank forms, which are duly provided
for that purpose. The applicant must
furnish two vouchers that he has had
three years' experience as a boatman,
sailor or fisherman. besides giving five
references of persons who have knowl
edge of his fitness as a boatman. Physical
condition must be perfect, and the ex
amination rauet be conducted by a United
States Marine Hospital -Surgeon. If one is
available. If the applicant Is successful,
he must pass wotfeer examination a few
days bofore he Qualiaos as a surfman.
buoy apparatus -were taken out by tram.
The breeches buoy was connected and
sent out, but no one would get into It.
Tho surfboat was then manned and
started out. Pieces of lumber were com
ing out of the ship's hold and. were pitch
ing about in the breakers, making it ex
tremely dangerous for the life-savers;
the wreck was reached with, great diffi
culty. At Mercy of. the Sea.
The schooner lay with her bow to the
shore and offered, no lee to the rescuers.
Breakers were sweeping past on either
sldo of her and had already knocked oft
tho stern of the vessel, which had drift
ed ashore; the imperiled men were hud
dled together on the bow. Two sailors
managed to leap Into the surfboat, when"
the steering oar broke and the craft was
turned bottom side up. All hands climbed
into the boat when It righted, and
reached the shore.
Captain Stuart was severely Injured, and
tho other members of the crew were com
pletely, exhausted and benumbed. The
rest of the wrecked steam schooner's
men were taken off on her life raft, which
was worked by the whip line, which had
been previously attached from shore to
tho vessel. Captain, Conway, of Portland,
now superintendent of the water lines
of the O. R. & N. Co.. was In command
of the Point Loma, and was the last to
leave his post.
When the United States lightship broke
irom her moorings oft Columbia River
Bar and stranded on the beach at Mc
Kensle Head, her complement of men
were taken off in the darkness by the
Cape Disappointment life crew. The
lightship, after standing oft till morning,
had attempted, to go in over the bar with ,
on each -watch. One patrols the beactt
north three miles and returns; the othe
takes the south beat. The four-hoar
watches continue till sunrise. During tha
daytime but one man takes each watch,
and he does not patrol the beach, except
ha foggy or stormy weather. An obser
vation tower In the station yard: Is used
by the day men. Each member of tha
crw carries a clock; which 13 punched
at stated intervals while on duty. These
clocks are Inspected by the keepers to
see that the men have been doing their
duty. Reading la not allowed, while on
If a -vessel la seen, to be approachlnjr
too near to the coast at nighttime, a red,
pyrotechnic, light Is burned by the beach
patrolman, and which gives warning to
the imperiled craft, bidding It stand off
from shore. These lights burn about two
minutes. In the daytime, the Interna
tional code of flag signals Is used for the
purpose of warning vessels. "J. D gives
the warning then.
Recently a steamer was so-close Is at
night that lights could be seen la her
pilot-house. She was making straight for
shore, and was warned off In time to
avoid being wrecked. The thick fog had
obscured the North Head light.
At Cape Disappointment the watch dif
fers somewhat from that of the Ilwaco
station, because there is no beach to
patrol. The watchers commence at 13.
midnight, and are the same as on board
merchantmen. A house Is provided on
the hill, and In stormy weather the look
outs have comfortable shelter. In case
of a vessel in distress being sighted tha
signal gun Is fired; the lookout remains
at his post to signal, and the crew launch
the boat from the cave at Fort Canby
Light Ship. Stranded Mear IMKensie Head
Jilwmco Scacn LtFt Cfcw GoiNfc. Through Tue BREeR5
Prior" . 3 .
The age limit is from 18 to 45, and weight
shore to a vessel wrecked in -the breakers.
It runs on a traveler-block attached to
a hawser made fast to the mast. The
buoy is attached to an endless line and Is
hauled back and forth by the crew on
shore. This means Is used when the serv
ices of, a lifeboat are not available.
The thousands of visitors at the North
Beach Summer resorts have an opportuni
ty of becoming acquainted with the work
ings of the life-saving service. Both the
Capo Disappointment station, at Fort
Canby, and the Ilwaco Beach station, lo
cated on the beach front, about two miles
south of Ocean Park, have done excellent
service In the past, and have performed
many notable deeds of rescue. The Point
Adams station, at the entrance of the Co-
5. the lookout at the North Cone station,
Shoalwater Bay, discovered her. The crew
of nine men had taken to thetmizzen rig
ging and were in extreme peril! The
vessel was full of -Rater rfnd lay broadside
on the breakers, 300 yards from shore.
Captain Brown and his men, with beach
apparatus, were towed to Oystervllle by
tug and transported the gear across the
portage to the ocean beach with teams.
After several attempts the shot line was
fired over the vessel.. The crew were
so 'benumbed with cold It took them near
ly two hours to get the hawser and whip
line made fast to the mast. A strong
current carried the lines northward and
must not be less than 1SS. nor more than Z T " " ine enwance or tne u- current camca tne unes vnortnwara ana
205 pounds lumbia River, on the Oregon side, and hindered operations. Finally, all hands
The applicant must know how to swim.
and must be sufficiently educated to read
and write the English language. More
than one member of the same family is
not wanted on a crew, unless a vacancy
cannot be otherwise filled. There is also
an unwritten law among keepers not 16
employ married men. This rule is not
strictly adhered to, as many of the men
have wives. Applicants must reside with
in five miles of the coast.
A full life-saving crew consists of from
seven to eight surfmen, -besides the cap
tain. The men are numbered 1, 2, 3,
etc, according to relative experience and
worth. Promotions are made as vacan
cies occur, and depend on merit.
All appliances and equipment for the
saving of the lives of shipwrecked men
are selected by a board of seven mem
bers. These officials exercise extensive
power in this regard. No expense Is
spared to procure the best appliances in
use, and any new Invention that has mer
it Is given a ready trial, and If satisfac
Hory, Its adoption Is speedily recommend
ed. Thus far, the modern life and surf
boats and the breeches-buoy apparatus
operated by the crew are the two meth
ods most, successfully employed.
The lifeboats are designed to live In the
roughest water. They are provided with
air-tight compartments, fore and aft; the
keels are heavy, and they afe self-rlght-ing-iand
self-baling. Manned by able and
trained oarsmen, they are hard to cap
size, and If turned over they roll right
side up again almost Immediately. (
The breeches buoy operates from the
tho North Cove station, near Wlllapa
tiaruor Bar, have also saved many lives
of shipwrecked sailors and fishermen and
helped stranded vessels out of danger.
Scene of Many Slilpvrrecks.
The narrow peninsula that lies between
Columbia River and Willapa Harbor Bars
has been the scene of many "shipwrecks.
Generally -foreign essels are stranded on
North Beach. The coast line here runs
nearly north and south, and no leeway is
afforded a vessel that gets "in too far.
The beach gradually shelves and there Is
a constant breaking of surf inshore which,
during stormy weather, becomes a formid
able danger for all seafaring craft. In
1S9S three vessels, the British ship Glen
morag, Jn ballast, bound for Portland; the
German bark. Potrimpos, for Portland. In
were safely brought ashore, one by one, In
tne Dreecnes ouoy. xne (jape .uisappoini
ment crew came 20 miles by team- from
Ilwaco, in a little over two hours, and
arrived just as the last man, the cap
tain, was taken off. .
The Cape Disappointment crew did he
roic service In rescuing members of tho
crew of the British ship Strathblano,
wrecked near Long Beach, November 2,
1891. The Strathblane had lost her bear
ings; heavy weather had prevailed, and it
had been Impossible to take the sun for
several days. She was nearer to the
coast than had been calculated. "
At 5:25 o'clock A. M., November 5, she
struck; nearly head on, close to the break.
By shifting sails she was swung afloat
Into five fathoms of water, but again
drifted In and struck 35 minutes later.
ballast, and the coasting steam schooner, Thai sealed her fate. Thirty persons were
Point Loma, from Gray's Harbor to San
Francisco, with a cargo of lumber and
salmon, went ashore on North Beach and
were a total loss.
Other wrecks were those of the Grace
Roberts and Strathblane, In recent years,
and the broken hulks of the Harvest
Home, Sunshine and Whistler lie buried
in the sands. The story of those" wrecks,
and the part played by tho life-saving
crews -attending them, Is worth the re
telling. In the Winter of 1SSS. the barkentine
Grace Roberts, laden wl.h a miscellaneous
on board. Including two passengers. At
7:30 o'clock one of the boats was launched
and eight men got ashore, safely. The
surf, then became heavier, with the set
ting in of the flood tide, and 'It was Im
possible to launch another boat.
The Cape Disappointment crew was first
on the scene, its surfboat and beach ap
paratus having been transported from II--waco
to the beach by the Ilwaco Rallway
& Navigation Company's train. The wind
was blowing from the south at the rate
of nfearly 70 miles an hour. The ship lay
rolling fearfully, and It Is said her yard
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cargo and bound for Portland from San arms dipped in the water three to five
Francisco, was wrecked, nearly opposite times a mflkite. Tho crew had taken to
Oystervllle. Heavy gales had blown away the rigging. Broken spars were swinging
her 6alls and the helpless vessel was dnv- around the deck, and several men were
en ashore, although' all anchors, were hurt. The ship yras over 500 yards out.
thrown-out. At 9 o'clock A. M., December Six shots were fired by the life-saving
crew from their gun, but each time the
line either broke or the projectile fell
clear of the ship. The breeches buoy
method was then given up, and an at
tempt was made to put out the surf
boat Captain Al Harris and crew made
a gallant attempt, but the terrific gale
and heavy surf made it Impossible to
reach the vessel.
Seeing that the crew had abandoned the
life-line and boat, the ship's crew and
passengers commenced jumping over
board Jn an attempt to swim ashore.
Six were drowned, the Captain, cook,
carpenter, two seamen and one passen
ger. The others were dragged out of tho
surf more dead than alive. The Strath
blane, an Iron vessel, soon went to pieces.
Npvember 19, 1895, the British ship Glen
morag, during foggy and heavy weather,
ran onto the beach, a few miles north of
Ocean Park. At 4 o'clock P. M., most
of the men landed in the ship's boats;
two wero killed and four Injured. One
of the boats was launched from the wind--ward
side, and while rounding the stern,
a huge breaker flung the frail craft up
against the Iron sides. Those not killed
or injured managed to get the boat,
which had been badly stove, ashore. The
Ilwaco beach life-saving crew reached the
scene too late to render assistance to the
Wreelc of the Potrimpos.
December 19, 1896, the German bark
Potrimpos stranded at 7 o'clock A. M.,
about four miles north of Long Beach,
having lost her reckoning. The mate
and four men landed safely In one of
the boats. The Ilwaco Beach crew, with
the, assistance of the Ilwaco Railway &
Navigation Company arrived soon and
took the remainder of the crew, 14 In
number off In the surfboat, making two
trips for that purpose.
The Cape Disappointment life crew
rescued the Captain and crew of the
steam schooner. Point Loma, wrecked
near Long Beach, February 2S, 1S96. The
Point Loma was a coaster, bound from
Gray's Harbor to San Francisco, laden
wih- lumber and salmon, in cases. In
heavy southwesterly winds, with seas
running high, she sprung a leak while
off Columbia River bar during the night.
Water gained such headway that the
fires were extinguished and the boat be
came waterlogged and helpless. She drift
ed northward and narrowly escaped go
ing in at NorthHead, against the rocks.
The lookout at Fort Canby bill saw
her signals of distress and efforts weit at
once taken to locate the spot where the
ill-fated vessel would strike the beach.
She was located early next morning, and
the life-saving crew and a detachment
of soldiers from tho fort went to her
assistance. The surfboat and breeches
the tug Wallula. The hawser parted,
and after sailing up to No. 2 buoy, the
lighthouse tender Manzanlta attempted to
tow the drifting vessel in. Tho tow-line
parted again, and ebb tide having set in,
tho ship drifted out over the bar.
Soon afterward the tug Escort came out
and succeeded in getting a hawser aboard.
When nearly inside the hawser parted a
third time. Tha vessel then drifted out
The Disappointment lookout saw her
lights; the beach was" patrolled, and she
was located ashore, in a narrow cove,
near McKensIe Head, where the heavy
wind had forced her. The apparatus
was taken over. The second shotline
fell over the vessel, landing on the
sprlngstay, and the breeches-buoy gear
was soon connected.
The darkness and the fatigue of the
lightship crew nlndered operations. The
lines were badly fouled aboard ship and
. had to be cleared. About midnight, the
men were all safely landed by the
breeches buoy. The tide was, by that
time, well up among the drift logs and
greatly hindered the work. The captain
and several of the sailors had been In
jured by being thrown about the ship
by heavy seas.
The Harvest Home hulk, lying nearly
burled in the sand opposite Easterbrook's
place, has for years been a familiar sight
to pleasure-seekers at Long Beach: The
vessel sailed In on top of a full-moon
high tide, and at low tide her crew
walked ashore, receiving nothing mora
than a foot -wetting. The Harvest Home
was bound from San Francisco to Puget
Sound with a cargo of general mer
chandise. That many Columbia River bar flsher
men are alive today Is due to the work
of the Pohit Adams and Cape Disappolnt
mept crews. It Is estimated that the Dis
appointment crew alone has saved 120
lives within the past seven years. The
. Point Adams station also does a great deal
of this kind of service, and ha3 saved sev
eral lives already this season. During
rough weather, both crews go out and
lay by ready to render Imemdlate aid.
The Point Adams crew goes down to
Clatsop spit keeping near the Oregon
side, while Captain Stuart lies out by
the bell buoy and keeps watch over Pea
cock splt. This extra precaution is not
required by the Government, and only
goes to show the efficiency of the ser
vice. Four years ago, in July, Captain Stu
art made a noteworthy rescue by this
means. Two men in a fishing-boat were
caught in the breakers. The boat was
capsized, and when reached, the occu
pants were found clinging to Its bottom.
One of the men was so far gone that when
a line was thrown to him he was un
able to catch hold of It, and sank before
the eyes of his would-be rescuers. One
of the crew Jumped overboard and rescued
the man, In tho nick of time.
At Ilwaco Bench.
Night watch at the Ilwaco Beach sta
tion commences at 8 o'clock P. M.. and
lasts till 12, midnight. Two men go out
and pull to the rescue. Beach patrolmen
do not Are a signal gun, but hurry bacJs
to the Station to give the alarm.
Members of life-saving creW3 are fur
nished quarters, bed and bedding, but
they have to board themselves. They live
well from a common table, and hire their
own cook. The captains are furnished
separate rooms, but have to board them
selves. The Government does not pro
vide clothing. The men are all allowed
one day (12 hours) oft a week, although
they can be absent 24 hours or longer,
by providing a substitute. They are also
granted furloughs, but are not given
By a recent act of Congress, the pay
of surfmen has been Increased from JOtt
to $65 per month; Captains receive 575
per month. If disabled while In active
service, they receive full pay for two
yearswhen, If cured, they will be taken
on again. If a Captain Is married and
dies In service, his widow receives hl3
full pay for two years.
Every part of a life-saving station is
kept scrupulously clean. The boats and
apparatus are always In the best of con
dition, and the men are periodically
drilled. Following Is the weekly routine:
Monday Beach apparatus drill and
Tuesday Surf and life boats.
Wedneseday International and general
service code signals.
Thursday Beach apparatus.
Saturday Clean house.
Sirens Past and Present,
In tho (Says of old Ulysses there were sirens,
so they say.
And the sonss they sans were wonderful
TVhen they saw a sail approaching they would
a sit and sine away
Till the voyagers were taken oft their feet-
Till the boats were safely moored
And tho voyaeers were lured
To the doom, tho sirens wanted them to meet.
They had faces like the anzels that aro p!o
tured in the books.
They had all the little graces men adore.
But. instead of slim, white fingers they had
ugly, bony hooks
That they hid amon: the snowy folds they
And each kiss a siren cave
Sent some lctlm to his grave
Left some woman mournins: on some other
There are sirens that still gather on the salt
sea shore today, f
And the things they say are wonderful to
And they swoop down on tho fellow who
goes wandering that way.
And they whisper things that charm him ht
O they pet him and cajole. '
Till they have him, heart and soul
Till some other victim chances to appear.
Ah, the flirting of the siren who is sitting by
Is s fatal as it ever was of yore.
And her Idss is Just jas poison as that other's
used to be.
Thoflgh she doesn't kill her 'victim, anjr
All she does is pout and smile
For a happjrv little while.
And then leave his poor heart broken, oa
S. E. Klser, In Chicago Times-Harold.