Monday, November 22, 2010

Crew & Passengers Who Were Saved

After its collision with the Vesta, the Arctic left the scene, her captain thinking it would be safer to steam toward land. The bows of the Vesta were heavily damaged but her forward bulkhead was not breached, and after her crew had shored it up she was able to proceed cautiously. When the French vessel reached land, the captain was told that the Arctic did not make it back.

Casualties included 92 of her 153 officers and men, and all her women and children passengers, including the wife, the only daughter, and the youngest son of Collins Line manager Edward Knight Collins. The total lost was near 400. The tragedy hit the public quite hard in 1854 due to stories of cowardice by crew members, who took over some of the life boats. The fact that no women or children survived did not sit well with the American public.

In a search for heroes in the disaster the Americans noted the bravery of young Stewart Holland, who stood on the sinking ship's deck firing (at intervals) the distress cannon, until the ship went under water. Holland did not survive. The ship's Captain, James C. Luce, survived the disaster with another man clinging to one of the ship's paddlewheel boxes, but Luce's son died in the wreck. At one point nearly 30 people were floating on a raft from the ship's deck, but due to waves and exhaustion only two were alive the following morning to be rescued. Yet one gentleman, from Mississippi, managed to make his own small raft, and was rescued the next day.

In "The History of Smith & Wellstood Ltd. Ironfounders" it is recorded that James Smith, the company's founder, was on board the Arctic. James found a raft shortly after entering the water and managed to drag himself on it. The raft was tiny and with every wave James felt his chances of survival diminish. It was at this time he saw a basket that had been used for storing plate. He paddled over towards it and managed to hoist the basket onto the raft. He squeezed inside the basket for protection against the elements. Eventually he was resucued by the barque, Cambria, outward bound from Greenock. James had a cooking stoves and ranges tinware factory on State Street, Jackson, Mississippi and was on his way back to America to hand this business over to his brother.

At the time of the disaster the U.S. Merchant Marine, with its fleets of clipper ships and the Collins' Liners (then the fastest and most luxurious afloat) controlled the Atlantic trade. But Edward Collins depended on U.S. government subsidies based on carrying the mails to and from Europe. The Arctic was one of a fleet of ships, and had been one of the prides of the line, but its destruction was the first serious blow to Collins' reputation. It would be followed in two years by the disappearance of the SS Pacific in 1856. The ending of the Crimean War released the energies of Collins' English rival, Samuel Cunard, to fight for English predominance in the Atlantic Trade. Cunard won this by the end of the decade.

The last living survivor, Thomas Baker (born 5 Mar 1838) was 16 at the time of the sinking and survived by clinging to wreckage. He died on 7 Feb 1911 at the age of 73 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Names of Persons Known To Be in the Ship's Boats

  • Mr. Gurley, 1st Officer
  • Thomas Wilde, Boatswain
  • Mr. Baalam, 2nd Officer*
  • Mr. Graham, 4th Officer*
  • Mr. Moore, New York, Passenger
  • Mr. Brown, 1st Assistant
  • Mr. Walker, 2nd Assistant
  • Mr. Willett, 3rd Assistant
  • Daniel Connelly, Fireman
  • John Moran, Fireman
  • John Flanagan and Patrick McCauley, Firemen
  • Mr. Degnon*, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Timpson, Engineers
And a young man named Robinson, under instructions in the Engineer's department, besides sailors and quartermasters.

Among those whom George H. Burns last saw on the quarterdeck, while fastening life-preservers on the females:
  • Capt. Luce* and Son
  • Mrs. E. K. Collins, Master C. Collins and Miss Collins
  • Mr. Brown and Family (connection of the senior of the firm of Brown, Shipley & Co., Liverpool)
  • Mr. Thomas, Importer of Hosiery, New York
  • Mr. Adams, Brooklyn
  • Mr. Bowen and C. Springer, of Cincinnati
  • Mr. J. Muirhead, Jr., Petersburg, VA
  • Mr. Hewitt, Mrs. Hewitt and Daughter of Fredericksburg, VA
  • Mr. Wood, New York
  • Mr. Ysaki, Mr. Schmidt and Miss Murton of Falmouth, England
  • A Nephew of Mr. Bloodgood, Hotel Keeper, Philadelphia
  • The Duke de Grammont of the French Embassy
  • Thomas Wilkinson, 2d Steward, Wife and Child
  • Anna Downer and Maria Barber, Stewardesses
  • Miss Jones, Mr. Petrie and Lady and Steward Hollin of Washington, DC
  • J. Cook, Opelousas, LA
With many more whose name he did not know but whose features were indelibly imprinted in his memory. A Mr. Comstock, brother to the commander of the Baltic, was drowned by the capsizing of a boat while being lowered.

Those saved in the Sixth Boat and Taken to Quebec by the Huron.
  • James Adry, Ship's Cook
  • Firemen, Luke McCarthy, Joseph Connelly, Richard Makan, Thomas Conroy, James Connor, John Drury, Christian Moran, James Ward, Christopher Callaher 
  • Thomas Wilson, Assistant Engineer
  • Waiters, Robert Bryan, David Barry, Erastus Miller
Persons Brought to New York by the Lebanon
The following is a list of persons taken on board the bark Huron, Sept. 29, lat. 46, lon. 52, by the ship Lebanon, arrived at this port yesterday morning, belonging to the Arctic:

Wm. Nicholls of England
Henry Jenkins, California
James Thompson, N. Orl's
Capt. Paul F. Gram, NY
Geo. H. Burns, Phildel'a

Francis Dorian, 3d officer
Peter McCabe, New York
Mich'l McLaughin, do.
James Carnagan, do.
Thomas Stimson, do.
John Connelly, do.
Edward Bryant, do
Patrich McMahon, do
Thomas Garland, do
Patrick Casey, do
Patrick Tobin, do
Dobbin Carnagan, do
Thomas Brennan, do

Survivors who arrived in New York from the Europa
The fllowing comprises a list of those arrived in New York:

W. W. Gilbert, New York, first cabin
Henderson Moore, New York, first cabin
E. F. Mitchell, South Carolina, first cabin
W. Gihon, Bellymanna, Ireland, first cabin
W. A. Young, Bellymanna, Ireland, first cabin
Mr. deMaryen, Mexico, first cabin
Mr. C. DePaissiur, Havre, France, first cabin
John W. Fuss, Belgium, first cabin
James McMath, England, first cabin
George Dodds, England, first cabin
William J. Hennessy, Ireland, first cabin
Servant to Duc DeGrammont

William Ballham, 2nd Officer
Mark Graham, 4th Officer
Joh Dignon, 1st Ass't Engineer
David Reed, Boatswain's Mate

CREW ~ 19
William Hardwick, Head Waiter
James Mercer, Waiter
Henry Nicholas, Baker
George W. Bailey, Carpenter
Jeremiah Waddington, Pantry Man
Henry Jones, Wheelman
Henry McGee, Wheelman
John Davis, Wheelman
Peter Conner, Fireman
Patrick McMahon, Fireman
Patrick Aiken, Fireman
John Larkin, Fireman
George Flemming, Seaman
Eric Weeks, Seaman
John Humphrey, Seaman
James Paige, Seaman
John Mack, Seaman
Thomas Jacques, Seaman
James Allen, Seaman


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