A Passenger's Story
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from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 10 Jan 1904, pg.6

Purser Came in Smoking Room and Told Them to Get Life Preservers

R. Cane, of Kingsley, Mich., who was a survivor, with his partner, E.F. Ferris, was in the smoking room of the steamer when the purser came in and told them quietly that they had better get out and secure life preservers. They asked why, and he took them outside and they at once realized what he meant. The water began pouring into the steamer a few minutes after that, and the boats were lowered with orders from the captain that none but women and children go in them, until all of these had been taken care of.

The first boat foundered almost as soon as it struck the water, and none were saved. The second boat fared better. There are none absolutely sure that this boat went down, although it is generally supposed this is the case.

The third boat shared the fate of the first. The men of the 'Clallam's' crew manned these boats and were lost with the women and children. The last boat contained a number of men, as there were no more women left.

After that the attention of those remaining aboard was bent on keeping the steamer afloat. Three gangs of bailers were started, the passengers working as hard as the crew. He says they managed to keep the vessel even for a long time and all had hopes for the best.

There was no panic, everyone realized the seriousness of the situation, getting down and doing his level best to keep the vessel afloat. At 10 o'clock, of a little later, the tug 'Holyoke' came in sight. She lost no time getting to their assistance and got a line aboard and took the 'Clallam' in tow. She made fair headway, but the seas were running fearfully high and the water began to gain on them fast, the seas washing in through many openings.

Previous to this they had got rid of the cargo to lighten the vessel. Shortly after midnight the 'Sea Lion' arrived. A half hour later the 'Clallam' went on her beam ends and began sinking rapidly. There was no chance to save the vessel and the 'Holyoke' cut loose and started picking up men, as did the 'Sea Lion'.

The 'Holyoke' took seven men from the pilot's bridge. One man was picked out of the sea where he was clinging to a plank, by Mate Hickman and a deckhand who launched a boat. Capt. Roberts, of the 'Clallam', is among the saved, and so are the officers who stayed by the vessel till the last.