One possibility was a ship called the Ayrshire. It left from Newry Ireland in December 1849 and ran aground off of Squan beach in NJ Jan 12, 1850. I have been unable to find a passenger manifest for this particular voyage (an earlier one from APril that year exists) but of the 202 on board, only one passenger died. The rest were rescued in the first US use of the life car.
There were many wrecks off the NJ coast in those years. This is just one possibility.