While continuing the research to find approximately how many ships met with trouble on our part of the coast — Oregon and Washington — between 1880 and 1910, I have been alarmed to find two deadly winters in a row which savaged the regional maritime fleet.

Herewith the evidence for the winter of 1900-1901:

March 13, 1900: “Astoria, March 12 — News has reached this city from Tillamook of the loss of the schooner Lila and Mattie, which has been wrecked at the mouth of Tillamook Bay. … The steamer Harrison was at Tillamook at the time, and Captain Dodge passed a line to the schooner as she was being driven toward the spit. The weather was very severe at the time, and the line parted, so that it was impossible for the steamer to render further assistance. … She is owned in San Francisco and had been engaged for some time in carrying lumber between the Bay city and Tillamook.” Weekly Oregon Statesman (Salem, Oregon)

April 10, 1900: “The rough bar for the past three days has prevented several ships sighted outside the bar from coming in.” The Morning Astorian

April 24, 1900: “The schooner … Laguna [which] went aground at Tillamook has been given up by …[her] owners as a total loss. [She has] been dismantled and what little machinery can be saved is being removed. … In endeavoring to pass up the narrow channel off Tillamook she stuck her nose into the sand and a heavy swell forced her stern onto the beach, rendering the schooner absolutely helpless.” The Morning Astorian

May 15, 1900: “The Ilwaco left here on Tuesday last with a new barge, worth $3,000, in tow. Off Grays Harbor the Ilwaco encountered a storm that compelled her to cut loose from the barge and run for a safe harbor, which she made after a hard struggle. The new barge is a derelict but will undoubtedly be picked up by some vessel unless it was driven ashore.” The Morning Astorian

May 29, 1900: “The British bark Pinmore crossed in at 1 p.m. yesterday, after having made several attempts previously. On Saturday the Pinmore made an attempt to cross in in tow of the tug Wallula, but the bar was found to be too rough and she slipped her cable and returned to sea.” The Morning Astorian

Aug. 9, 1900: “The big log raft whose progress down the coast from the Columbia river has been a constant menace to navigation the past few days was towed yesterday into the West Berkeley mud flats, where it will be broken up. The raft came down the coast in tow of the tugs Rescue and Tatoosh. All the way down it had a stormy voyage. Soon after getting out of the Columbia river a heavy gale came up which tossed the raft and towboats for thirty-six hours. … [A] thousand piles were lost. By getting under the lee of the big raft at the height of the storm the tugs were able to pass the time quite comfortably.” Berkeley Daily Gazette (Berkeley, California)

Oct. 20, 1900: “The southwest gale yesterday moderated toward evening … Although the wind was quite fresh here in the city it was not nearly as strong as at Seaside, where … it was almost impossible to make one’s way along the street … The bar was exceedingly rough all day and no craft ventured to cross either in or out.” The Morning Astorian

Oct. 20, 1900: “Honolulu, Oct. 12 — The bark Alden Besse, Captain C. Potter, arrived here today from San Francisco, with a general cargo and eight passengers. … [W]hile crossing the [San Francisco] bar her decks were swept by three tremendous seas that broke in coops [containing chickens and small livestock] and washed every movable article overboard.

“For the next forty-eight hours the vessel battled with a terrible storm … The foresail and fore gallant sail were carried away and the main topsail was split into ribbons. The cargo shifted and caused the vessel to list to port so badly that she was on her beam ends [beams are the cross-trees from which the sails hang; when they touch the water the deck is almost perpendicular to the sea] for nearly all the rest of the trip. …

“When within two days’ sail of Honolulu a strong southerly wind struck … and the sea became so rough that the cargo was shifted a second time, … the weight was relieved from the port side, and the boat righted herself [to come] in with only a six-degree list.” The San Francisco Call

Oct. 31, 1900: “Captain Richardson, of the Columbine, observes a curious phenomenon with regard to the action of the barometer during the recent storms. …[P]receding the storms and right up to the very breaking of it, the barometer registers every indication of fair weather and only drops with the progress of the storm, making it almost impossible to determine … what the weather is to be by other … than local observations.” The Morning Astorian

Nov. 14, 1900: “The two-masted schooner Sacramento was towed to sea yesterday morning after being sufficiently repaired from the damage incurred during the storm a couple of weeks ago. She goes to Florence on the Siuslaw.” The Morning Astorian

Nov. 27, 1900: “Portland, Or., Nov. 26 — …The British four-masted bark Poltalloch, Capt. Young, in ballast from Santa Rosalia [Mexico] to Portland, went ashore at 2 o’clock this morning about two miles north of the entrance to Willapa harbor.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Nov. 28, 1900: “The tug Wallula … went to the relief of the stranded bark Poltalloch, [ashore southwest of the North Cove light, near the entrance to Willapa Harbor]. Captains McVicar and Randall … report[ed] the Wallula could not get nearer than half a mile to her. … All her crew have been taken off. Part of them are at South Bend and the rest are at the nearby life-saving station. At the time the vessel stranded, a dense fog prevailed and there was no wind. She was right in the breakers when her position was discovered.” The Morning Astorian

Nov. 30, 1900: “A dispatch from South Bend says: ‘The stranded bark Poltalloch during the night drifted farther in shore and is now on the main beach, but resting easy in a basin formed between two sand bars. She will have to be pulled into the bay, a distance of half a mile as she now lies. She has taken in no water as yet and is in no danger of destruction unless a gale springs up. … The greatest difficulty will be to get a hawser to her.” The Morning Astorian

Dec. 19, 1900: “San Francisco, Dec. 18 — “The steamers Centennial and Willamette, which arrived yesterday from Seattle, gave evidence of having passed through very stormy weather. The Centennial had a decided list to starboard and the Willamette was barely able to end her trip. Hurricanes and frequent gales off the Washington and Oregon coasts almost wrecked the vessels.

“Sheridan, Oregon, Dec. 19 — The three-masted schooner Pioneer, Captain Michaelson, went ashore at 4 a.m. Monday on the Nestucca beach … She was lumber-laden from the Knappton mills on the Columbia river and bound for San Francisco. When 60 miles off shore in 45 degrees latitude she lost her rudder and a gale blowing 90 miles an hour forced her in shore, where she lies high upon the sands with 500,000 feet of lumber. The captain and crew are safe.” The Evening Mail (Stockton, California)

Dec. 21, 1900: “The storm which has been raging for several days on the coast is one of the most severe that has visited this section for several years. … The storm seems to be general all along the coast and vessels that arrive in report the roughest weather ever known along the coast. The steamer Centennial, from Seattle to San Francisco, arrived at the latter place Tuesday afternoon after the roughest trip in her history. She … was in the storm at Nome [Alaska] during the past season, but the officers state that that storm was as a gentle zephyr compared with the one through which they have just passed. …

“The French bark General Millinet dragged her anchor and fetched up broadside on the sands just inside the spar buoy about even with Smith’s Point. She seems to be hard and fast on the sand although uninjured. …

“The British ship Muskoka … dragged [her anchor] nearly half a mile and struck her stern on the sands in 18 feet of water. At this juncture her anchor held and she hauled in on the cable and when the tide came in, floated safely. …

“[A]t Fort Stevens the latest reports received stated that the velocity of the wind at that place was over 100 miles an hour.” The Morning Astorian

Dec. 23, 1900: “Port Townsend Dec. 21 — The steamship Rival … had a perilous voyage from San Francisco to South Bend [Wash.] After leaving San Francisco the Rival encountered severe gales, and when she succeeded in reaching Willapa Harbor the weather was so stormy that she was unable to pick up the buoys marking the channel. While lying to she had the port side of her cabin stove in full length, and in that condition, as the fury of the gale increased, she was compelled to put to sea, and while under a full head of steam drifted [north] broadside before the gale for 40 miles. She then headed for Cape Flattery, arriving in the morning, with only 10 tons of coal. Capt. Johnson said he momentarily expected his vessel to go to the bottom.” The Los Angeles Times

Dec. 24, 1900: “The lumber-laden barge Washougal, which was cast adrift off Stewart’s Point [Sonoma county, north of San Francisco] Dec. 12th by the tug Sampson, succeeded in reaching port this afternoon, to the great surprise of shipping men, who feared she had been lost. It was on Dec. 8th that the Washougal left Astoria in tow of the Sampson, but when the tug’s machinery broke down on Dec. 12th the Sampson was compelled to leave the schooner-like barge to the mercy of the storm. The tug, in fact, was more at the mercy of the elements. But, fortunately for her, she was picked up that afternoon by the steamer Point Arena and towed here. The last the Sampson saw of the Washougal, the barge had raised sail and was pointed out to sea.” San Francisco Examiner

Dec. 27, 1900: “Last night at dark the Cromartyshire [out from Astoria with wheat and barley] crawled into the harbor, sufferer from the worst storms that have raged along the northern coast for years.” San Francisco Chronicle

Dec. 29, 1900: “Astoria Dec. 28 — The British ship Wavertree, which arrived in last night, reports having been off the mouth of the river since Dec. 11. She was then driven away in a storm, and could not get up to the river again until yesterday. During that time she experienced very severe weather, and had several sails carried away.” The Morning Oregonian

Dec. 30, 1900: “San Francisco, Dec. 29 — The schooners C. T. Hill and Fearless bound down the coast from Grays Harbor, put in here today in distress. Both of them lost their deck loads of 60,000 feet of lumber and sustained considerable damage. The vessels encountered the stormy weather and were thrown on their beam ends. The cabins were flooded for days and everything moveable was washed overboard. The crews had a hard battle with the elements and were almost constantly at the pumps while the storm lasted. …

“The long overdue schooner Wing and Wing arrived off port this afternoon after a run of 44 days from Port Hadlock [on Port Townsend Bay, Washington]. There was much anxiety as to the safety of the schooner, as it was known that she was in the track of the severe storm which has damaged so many vessels during the past few weeks.” The Fresno Morning Republican (Fresno, California)

Dec. 30, 1900: “The British steamship Glenturret arrived at Port Townsend Friday from Japan. Her officers reported having experienced a series of gales, and declare the recent storms extended many miles out to sea. One of her lifeboats was lost and all movable stuff above deck was washed away.” The Morning Astorian

Dec. 30, 1900: “The bark Fresno from Port Gamble to San Francisco arrived at the latter port on Friday. She ran into a heavy southeaster and had four lower topgallant yards carried away. The schooner Charles E. Falk also arrived at the Golden Gate Friday and reported the loss of part of her deckload during the gale.” The Morning Astorian

Dec. 31, 1900: “Of the five schooners which left Grays Harbor together on Dec. 5th and passed through the terrible gales which raged off that coast for the following three weeks, the C. T. Hill and the Jennie Stella have reached this port and the Reporter has been towed leaking into Port Townsend. The A. J. West and the Eva are still to be heard from. The Jennie Stella … reported that on Dec. 16th, in latitude 45 deg. 8 min. north, longitude 126 … west, a heavy gale caused the schooner to spring a leak and it was necessary to throw overboard 100,000 feet of lumber.” San Francisco Chronicle

Jan. 1, 1901: “The British steamship Kaisow, Captain George Rodway, 19 days out from Moji [Japan], arrived in yesterday morning at 8 o’clock … Captain Rodway states that the Kaisow encountered heavy easterly gales throughout the whole voyage, which were especially severe at the time of crossing the meridian which happened on Friday, Dec. 21st … [where] the gale attained a terrific violence. … About 50 miles to the westward of the mouth of the [Columbia] river they sighted a large quantity of cut wood which was floating in masses as if it had slid off the deck of some vessel.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 2, 1901: “Astoria — Twenty-two days ago the fine British ship Andrada of 2,394 tons appeared off the Columbia [river] and Pilot Cordiner was taken aboard. A great storm arose at that time and the Andrada was driven to the north. She has not been seen since and it is feared she has met a fate similar to that of the British ship Cadzow Forest, which disappeared with Pilot Grassman five years ago …. The British ship Rathdown, now 91 days out from Yokohama for this port, is long overdue and it is feared she has been sunk by a typhoon off the Japanese coast.” Los Angeles Evening Express

Jan. 4, 1901: “The four-masted British bark Providence, 1,696 tons, Jones, master, 27 days out from Acapulco, arrived in port yesterday afternoon …. Captain Jones reports considerable rough weather during the run up the coast. Two days off the mouth of the river he sighted what appeared to be a four-masted vessel of some description, but as the wind was blowing a gale and the sea very rough he was unable to make her out.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 5, 1901: “Newport, Or., Jan. 4 — The schooner which was reported ashore, bottom up, six miles south of Alsea Bay, is the Joseph and Henry from San Francisco. There is nothing in the hold. Men who came from the scene this afternoon report another three-masted schooner ashore, waterlogged, a few yards below the Joseph and Henry. … The life-saving crew has gone to the scene.” San Francisco Call

Jan. 7, 1901: “The collier South Portland arrived yesterday in San Francisco after a stormy trip of five days and five hours from the Columbia River. Captain Hall says he never saw it blow harder on the coast. Day in and day out, the steamer had to ‘buck the gale,’ and it was all she could do at time to hold her own. Nearly all the time the decks were awash, and both Captain and crew were worn out when port was reached.” The Evening Bee (Sacramento, California)

Jan. 15, 1901: “San Francisco — … [O]verdue vessels posted at the merchants’ exchange …: Rathdown, 104 days out from Yokohama for Portland …; Andrada, 64 days out from Santa Rosalia [Mexico] for Portland …; Bertha, out 83 days from Wei-hai-wei [China] for Portland …; Otto Gildemeister, 61 days out from Yokohama for Portland …; Cape Wrath, out 75 days from Callao [Peru] for Portland.” Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, Washington)

Jan. 15, 1901: “The German steamship Milos, 26 days from Kobe [Japan] … arrived [with] a full cargo of general Oriental merchandise …. After discharging … she will load outward, mostly flour. She had a decidedly rough time of it on her way across and had about as tight a squeak toward running out of coal as any vessel that has made this port in a long time. By sheer good fortune the Milos was sighted by the pilot boat while the latter was 50 miles off the mouth of the river on Friday night. She was signaled and Pilot Wood went aboard. The pilot brought the vessel pretty well in and the next morning the captain informed him that he had about enough coal to last till noon. She was held to nearly all day Saturday with but one of her twin screws running, to save coal, during the fearful gale and thick weather that prevented any attempt toward crossing in impossible. Later in the afternoon the pilot brought her in by soundings and by a sudden lift in the clouds caught sight of the Cape and then ran her in over a frightfully rough bar. When the steamship dropped anchor in the lower harbor she had but two tons of coal left in her bunkers.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 17, 1901: “The German steamship Eva, from Yokohama, came into port yesterday with a cargo of tea, rice and matting. The vessel encountered hard winds and heavy seas, and her passage was an unusually severe one, but beyond a delay of two days no mishap was reported. On Sunday last a derelict two-masted schooner was sighted, with masts carried away and with decks almost level with the water. No signs of life were visible on board and her identity could not be established.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 17, 1901: “Hoquiam, Wash., Jan. 15 — The hull of the two-masted, flat-bottomed schooner Swan, of Santa Barbara, came onto the beach yesterday, about 16 miles north of the entrance to Gray’s Harbor. No rigging or signs of recent life are visible. She is loaded with cord wood, is high and dry, and will never leave her present resting place.” Morning Oregonian

Jan. 18, 1901: “There are … six sailing vessels now considerably overdue at this port. … The sailing vessels are the Peter Rickmers, Andrada, Bertha, Scottish Lochs, Rathdown, and Otto Gildemeister.—Astorian.” Morning Register (Eugene, Oregon)

Jan. 20, 1901: “Overdue… . The Rathdown — from Yokohama for Astoria… . The Bertha — from Wei Hei Wei [China] for Astoria… . The Otto Gildermeister — from Yokohama for Astoria… . The Andrada — From Santa Rosalie for Astoria… . The British ship Cape Wrath … having been sighted off the Columbia river … from Callao [Peru] to Astoria.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 22, 1901: “The Tacoma News says the derelict schooner reported by the tramp steamer Eva as dismantled and partly submerged, off Grays harbor, is believed by Sound shipping men to be the schooner Falcon, which sailed from Salinas Cruz, Mexico, Nov. 20, for Puget Sound. The Eva was en route from Hong Kong to Portland when she sighted the wrecked vessel. The masts were gone and she was so far sunk that her name could not be made out. … the general belief is that she has been wrecked in the storm.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 26, 1901: “A Victoria [B.C.] report says local shippers have arrived at the conclusion that the wreckage recently found near Astoria was from either the Ardnamurchan or the Macbrihanish, both of which were owned by Glasgow firms. Salmon with marks similar to those on cases found near Astoria were shipped on these vessels.” The Morning Astorian.

Jan. 29, 1901: “The crew of the schooner Fawn, recently wrecked on North Beach, are believed to have all drowned, as the vessel carried no lifeboats.” The Morning Astorian

Jan. 31, 1901: “Victoria, B.C., Jan. 30 — News was brought by the steamer Queen City tonight that much wreckage has been found on the West Coast. Four days ago a piece of teak, believed to be from the back of a ship’s boat, was picked up on Bonilla Point by Lighthouse-Keeper Daykin. It has the name Andrada cut into it, and it is believed to have come from the missing ship, which was blown from the Columbia River seven weeks ago. On an island near Kyuquot [north Vancouver Island] … much lumber of all kinds littering the beach for miles, and a number of tins of salmon without label were found.” Morning Oregonian

Feb. 15, 1901: “The Cape Wrath is now out 105 days from Callao for Portland, and the Andrada, 95 days from Santa Rosalia for Portland … and the Ardnamurchen, 73 days out from the Fraser River for Liverpool, has been practically given up for lost.” The San Francisco Call

March 9, 1901: “The British Vessel Cape Wrath and the Bertha of Germany, both in ballast and bound for Portland, given up as lost. … The Bertha was also bound for Portland. She sailed in ballast from Wei-Hai-Wei, and is out 135 days. Neither vessel has been seen since leaving her sailing port, and either, if all had been well with her, would have made the passage in a quarter of the time she is now out.” The San Francisco Examiner

March 21, 1901: “London (England), March 20 — The British bark Cape Wrath, Captain Hart, from Callao, Nov. 2d, for Astoria, Ore., last reported outside of Astoria, Jan. 15th, and then disappearing, has been posted at Lloyds as missing.” San Francisco Chronicle

April 18, 1901: “The captain of the Ardnamurchan [which finally reached its destination in England] has explained how the cases of salmon were washed ashore on the Clatsop beach from his ship, by saying that a violent storm made it necessary to jettison a part of the cargo.” The Morning Astorian

• • •

This exhausting litany has been numbing to transcribe and edit. Perhaps it’s helpful to consider that the American Merchant Marine addresses the memorial service for its members to God, in this way: “[You], who alone … rules the raging of the seas, receive into Your protection all those who go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business on the great waters.”

The telling of the storms of winter 1901-1902 will be along shortly.

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