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Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Cheryl (View posts)
Posted: 18 Sep 2002 1:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
I am seeking information about a shipwreck that occurred in February, 1884 off Gay Head. The steamer's name was the Columbus. Any information is appreciated

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

June Manning (View posts)
Posted: 18 Sep 2002 2:28AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: CITY OF COLUMBUS
Dear Cheryl, The Steamer was the City of Columbus which left Boston in the mid afternoon of 18 Jan 1884 bound for Savannah, GA. At approx 3 a.m. it struck rocks at Devil's Bridge off the north shore of Gay Head (now Aquinnah), MA. There were approx 132 passengers aboard, only 29 survived. There were no women nor children who survived. The men of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, predominantly members of the Wampanoag Tribe, rowed out to save any survivors. The bodies were brought ashore and placed in our Community Baptist Church and our School House for family members to identify. Many of our Tribal Members received Medals of Honor for their heroic efforts from the Massachusetts Humane Society. Anything further you would like to learn? Sincerely, June D. Manning - Aquinnah

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Cheryl (View posts)
Posted: 18 Sep 2002 6:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: City of Columbus
Dear June,
Thank you very much for the information you have provided. Do you know where I might be able to locate a passenger list? I am in possession of a document (an orginal affidavit) from someone who knew one of the passengers (and is two children) on board the ship. It appears this passenger along with the children did not survive and the bodies were never recovered. I have found it intriging and would like to learn more about this story. I can not entirely make out the name of the passenger...the writing is very hard to read. If I could find a passenger list, it may help. Thank you again for your assistance.

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Ron C (View posts)
Posted: 25 Jan 2003 3:40PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Belyea, Atkinson
Hello Cheryl,

It is likely that the names on your affidavit re "City of Columbus" wreck was Belyea. The family comprised my ancestor uncles and cousins. Robert Belyea and wife Elizabeth, daughter Alice Atkinson, and two grandchildren Richard and Wilmot were on board. The entire family was killed and neither Robert nor Wilmot (I believe it was Wilmot - may have been Richard) were found. I will have to check my records. Alice had lost her husband the previous Christmas season and was taking her son on vacation with grandparents. The other grandchild was the son of Alice's sister - another of Robert and Elizabeth's daughters who had died two years previously giving birth to a child who did not survive the birth. Sounds like a sad tale, doesn't it. Well, it truly is. The story of the wreck is a rtather strange one in and of itself. I don't think the picture (drawing) on this site is the City of Columbus but it might be an artist's honest rendition of what he/she thought the ship looked like. I have a picture of the ship as it docked in Boston the day before it left on this fatal trip - Jan. 17, 1884. It ran aground at Gay Head on the 18th.

Regards, Ron C.

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Ron C. (View posts)
Posted: 25 Jan 2003 3:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
June,

Do you happen to know where the bodies of the victims of the City of Columbus were buried? Were any recovered by family members? The Belyea and Atkinson families on board were from Maine - although they may have been living in Mass at the time. There were five in the family - all perished - two not found. Do you know if people from some distance came to recover and/or relocate the remains? I'd appreciate any knowledge you have of the disposition of the victim's remains. The Belyea and Atkinsons on board were my ancestors.

Regards, Ron C.

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

June Manning (View posts)
Posted: 28 Jan 2003 3:24AM GMT
Classification: Query
Dear Ron, As far as I know, none of the victims were buried on the Vineyard. Their bodies were taken to our Community Baptist Church where they remained until the next of kin could identify them. I am almost certain no one was buried at Gay Head which is now Aquinnah.
Sincerely, June

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Ron C. (View posts)
Posted: 28 Jan 2003 4:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello June, Thanks for your reply. I thought perhaps there were records of the victims and disposition of the bodies. I am not certain where my ancestors were buried. Two were never recovered. FYI, there is a book titled, "Twelve Men Down - Massachusetts Sea Rescues" by Robert H. Farson, Copyright 2000. On page 26 is the start of a 20 page story titled "Horror at Devil's Bridge" - the story chronicles the City of Columbus disaster with pictures of the ship before it left Boston on that journey, and a picture of the small portion of the ship sticking out of the water after the sinking - also pics of some passengers and Native American rescuers. The woman and children pictured on page 30 are my ancestors. The book would be a good reference for your local Historical Society to purchase and maintain. I purchased my copy at the Salem Maritime Museum when I was in Mass some time ago. Once again, thank you for your response to my recent query.

Regards, Ron Crooker

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

June Manning (View posts)
Posted: 28 Jan 2003 5:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
Dear Ron, I will try to research old Vineyard Gazette microfilm to see if there is any info. We have a book available on the Vineyard by the late Dorothy Scoville (a former neighbor of mine) "Shipwrecks on Martha's Vineyard). I will photocopy the few pages she has on the subject and mail them to you if you wish. My great great grandfather and other of my family members were rescuers of the disaster. Sincerely, June Manning - Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head).

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

Ron C. (View posts)
Posted: 28 Jan 2003 5:58PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi June, I would like anything I can get about that disaster. If you copy those pages and send them to me I will be glad to reimburse you the cost. My address is: Ron Crooker 547 Doral Drive, Williamstown, NJ 08094-3074.

George A. Hough Jr - editor/publisher of a Falmouth newspaper also wrote a very comprehensive article on this disaster called, "Disaster on Devils Bridge". I have not read nor seen that article but hear tell it is pretty comprehensive.

The three of my ancestors (victims) pictured in the article I told you about in my previous message were Alice (Belyea) Atkinson, her son Wilmot Atkinson, and her nephew Richard Merrill. In that article many of the rescuers were mentioned by name and some shown in pictures.

Regards, Ron C.

Re: Shipwreck of the "Steamer Columbus"

don king (View posts)
Posted: 11 Mar 2003 9:39PM GMT
Classification: Obituary
Ron,
i was looking through these queries when I saw your notes on the Steamer Columbus---I have been searching for a shipwreck about that time--My great grandfather was a survivor of such a wreck, yet his parents were lost--he was adopted by the king family-----is there a passenger list available?---anyhelp would be appreciated
Don
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