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Lost At Sea

Lost!
Weary and tempest-tossed,
Lost at sea!
The ship went down in the foam,
And found a watery home,
While the waves resistless roam
Wild and free.

Lost!
Trials of fate were crossed,
Lost at sea!
With seaweed and coral dressed,
And hands crossed o'er his breast
In a wakeless, dreamless rest,
Sleepeth he.

Lost!
In ocean's foam and frost,
Lost at sea!
And no tears fall o'er their grave
But the restless ocean wave
Roams o'er monarch and o'er slave
In its glee.

Lost!
The ones we have loved most,
Lost at sea!
For they may not walk the shore,
When some long, long voyage is o'er,
And they, with us no more.
Bend the knee.

Lost!
And pallid hands are crossed,
Lost at sea!
And maidens' eyes are dim,
And mothers' eyes o'erbrim'
As they sadly think of him
In the sea.

Lost!
They are a mighty host,
Lost in the sea!
And the waves say with their moan
I am monarch - all I own -
'Tis to me they all have gone
Gone to me.

S. G. Duley

On July 7, 1814, Capt. David Gott and two sons, Charles and David, who went out from Gott's Island to the fishing grounds, were lost by the sudden capsizing of their boat. They had been fishing nearly all day with good success, and were returning when the boat was overturned by a squall, and as the boat was heavily loaded, it sank immediately. When this summer squall had rapidly passed away, no signs of men or boat were to be seen. The father, as well as the two sons, left large families, of whom but one survives at this time, Mrs. Hannah (Gott) Preble, a daughter of David Gott, who now resides in Sedgwick in her eighty-seventh year.

In 1829 Nathan Remick was lost from the schooner "Cornelia", of which his brother, Capt. Reuben Remick, was master. They were returning from Boston where they had been with a load of lumber from Ellsworth. When about fifteen miles out from Cape Ann he had occasion to get into the boat that hung at the davits, when one end of the tackle unhooked, precipitating him into the water. The boat was at once lowered, but in the excitement her painter slipped from their hands, and the boat went beyond their reach, leaving those on board utterly helpless to render assistance. Mr. Remick supported himself in the water and conversed with the crew for some time. Although hatches, boards and everything movable were cast into the sea, none of them reached him. He soon became exhausted and the waves closed over him. He was about twenty years of age, and was to have been married on his arrival home.

In 1831 Samuel Kent was lost while coming from Deer Isle in a sail boat. He had been there for Richard Warren, esq., to perform the marriage ceremony for his son Samuel and Mary Smith. He accidentally fell into the water, and as the wind was blowing and the sea was rough, it was impossible to rescue him.

Capt. John Gott, sr., was lost in 1840. A fishing vessel, under the command of John Gordon, came into Old Harbor on its way to Green's Bank; being rather inexperienced, Capt. Gordon sought the chaperonage of Capt. Gott on this voyage. After much persuasion, Capt. Gott, although near seventy years of age, agreed to accompany him on this voyage which proved to be their last. When a few days out a terrible gale arose, and the vessel was supposed to have foundered in it, as she was never heard from.

The schooner "Henry M. Johnson", built at this place by her commander, Silas Hardy, was on her first voyage, and had proceeded as far as Eggemoggin Reach where, on account of the storm, they anchored for the night. During the next day, Nov. 7, 1846, the vessel dragged her anchor and went ashore. Capt. Hardy, with his crew, consisting of Abel Staples, 2d, William Torrey and John Ross, took an anchor across the boat to carry it to windward so as to heave the vessel off. They had proceeded but a short way when the boat was capsized in the boisterous sea, and two of the crew, Staples and Ross, lost their lives. Both were young men and married. Mr. Ross's widow afterwards became the wife of William Annis, who was drowned while crossing Stinson Neck bar in February, 1872, at the age of seventy years.

Joshua S. Trask was lost in the Bay of Chaleur during the great gale of October 3, 185 1. He was in the schooner "'Henry Clay", commanded by Capt. John Walls. The vessel foundered in the gale, and all hands were lost. Mr. Trask was forty-four years of age; he left a widow and six children at this place.

During the same gale Capt. Benjamin Stinson lost his vessel, the "Fly", and Capt. David Smith, 3d, also lost the vessel he commanded, the "Liberator". They were caught in the Bend of Prince Edward's Island; the gale came up so suddenly and with such terrific violence that they were unable to get out of their dangerous location. They were driven with great force upon the sandy beach, but in such a location that no one was lost from either vessel, although the vessels were a total loss. They were both owned at this place. George Smith was drowned while trying to rescue his brother near Buckle Island in August, 1855.

Gilbert J. Gott was lost at sea February 10, i860, aged thirty-three years. He was in the schooner "Lawrence N. Dean'", and was on the homebound trip of coasting when the vessel was sunk during a snow squall, and was never seen again.

The schooner "Constitution", a vessel owned at this place, was commanded by Seth W. Staples. They had brought home three cargoes of mackerel from the Bay of Chaleur during the season. In the fall they took a load of salted mackerel and smoked herring from Whitmore's and started for Baltimore. Besides the captain there were on board John H. Staples, Daniel H. Babbidge and Allen Reed, all belonging here. On the evening of November 19, i860, while running down the Cape Cod shore, when about southeast of Nausett light, a squall struck the vessel and capsized her. The captain attempted to save his life by lashing himself to the rigging. The vessel began to settle rapidly. Babbidge and Reed each seized a plank and sprang overboard. Reed alone was saved. Babbidge was undoubtedly drawn down by the suction when the vessel sank. Reed kept himself afloat for over two hours, when he saw the lights of an approaching vessel. They caught the sound of his cries, and although it was very dark, they succeeded in locating him, and took him on board in a nearly exhausted condition. This vessel was the "Isaac Achorn", Capt. Avery.

Ezra Torrey was lost from a small boat June 9, 1865, near the Otto Ponds. He had taken a load of lobster traps and lashed them upon his dory when the boat suddenly rolled over; he was undoubtedly entangled in the gear so as to be unable to reach his boat; his body was not recovered; he left a widow and three children.

On Oct. 12, 1865, Benjamin S. Joyce was knocked overboard and drowned near Port Hood, C. B. He was with his father, Capt. Roderick Joyce, in the schooner "Highland Lass". He was seventeen years of age.

In January, 1867, this town sustained one of the greatest losses of life that ever happened at any one time, in the loss of the schooner ''S. J. Collins", owned here and commanded by Winthrop B. Lane. After the fishing season was over, several men with their wives and children made this coasting voyage a trip of pleasure. They took a load of freight at Bangor for New York, after which they took a load of corn at Hoboken, N. J., for Belfast and Bucksport parties. They started for home on Jan. 5. That night a storm and gale came on, and it is supposed the vessel foundered. The vessel's company were Capt. Winthrop B. Lane and wife Emily, who was formerly the wife of Daniel H. Babbidge, who was lost at sea in the schooner ''Constitution". Mrs. Lane had with her two daughters, Lillian Babbidge, aged eight, and Grace Lane, one year old. The others were Simeon S. Reed, his wife Emily and daughter Alice, Joseph F. Reed, aged twenty-five, his wife Isadora, aged twenty-two, and Amos Staples. The whole party were young people.

On November 6, 1869, Edward Warren Gott was lost from a boat near Buckle Isle. He was twenty-three years of age.

Eben Smith was lost from the schooner "Clara Smith", of which he was mate, near the year 1870. They were on the voyage from New York to Havana. They had a deck load of shooks, which was struck by a sea during a gale. Mr. Smith had just come on deck when the sea swept the deck load from the vessel, taking him with it.

Capt. John Freeman Gott was lost Nov. 29, 1875, aged thirty-seven years. He was commander of the schooner "John Somes" in which he had been fishing during the summer. He was bound from Portland "down east" for a load of herring. In trying to get into Boothbay harbor they were struck by a squall which capsized the vessel and threw Capt. Gott overboard. He was an enterprising man, and was the commander of the first mackerel seiner from the inland.

In December, 1876, the schooner "Modena B. Jerauld", of Gloucester, Capt. Charles P. Mitchell, together with his crew of ten men, was lost on La Have bank. Among the crew was Byron D. Joyce of this place.

Adoniram J. Kent was drowned October 6, 1880, aged thirty years.

Eugene S. Trask was drowned from a small boat June 15, 1881, aged twenty-two years. His body was subsequently recovered.

Reuben C. Bridges was lost in a dory on Middle Bank December 18, 1883. He was in the schooner ''J. W. Campbell", Capt. Colin Chisholm. He was twenty-four years of age, and was married just one month before he was lost.

Frank Sprague was drowned by falling overboard at the wharf at Hoboken, N. J., where they had just arrived from South America. He was mate of the schooner, and was superintending the spreading of an awning when the rope on which he was drawing broke and he fell into the water. Before assistance could reach him he was dead. This occurred July 10, 1891. He was thirty-eight years of age.

Hiram Colomy was lost October 10, 1895. He started to row out to Seal Cove to go around Irish point in a small boat. The gale had increased in violence, and the rain had made the boat slippery; it is supposed he fell overboard in his effort to change his position. His brother, coming from Deer Isle, picked up his empty boat and towed her into Old Harbor.

Augustine Holbrook was drowned outside Old Harbor in 1897.

 

Source: A History of Swan's Island, Maine, by H.W. Small, MD, Ellsworth Me, Hancock County Publishing Company, Printers, 1808

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