Sea Gives Up Victims
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from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 12 Jan 1904, pg.1

Eight Bodies Were Recovered By the Tug Fleet and Search Parties Which
Scanned Beach and the Coastal Waters Sunday and Yesterday

One of the Lifeboats Picked Up By Steamer Albion Had the Plug Hole
Open And Was Shown to Have Filled But Not Capsized

Capt. Sears notified, 5:58 p.m.
Iroquios left Sidney, 6:00 p.m.
Saw ship's lights (going north)
off San Juan lime kiln 7:15 p.m.
Reached Cattle Point about
8:00 p.m.
Stood off towards Smith
Island and put about on return
trip, 8:45 p.m.
Clallam picked up to north-west
of Smith's Island by the
Holyoke about 9:30 p.m.
Had Clallam displayed signals
of distress, the Iroquois would
have reached her two hours be-
fore the rescue did take place.
Investigation into the details regarding the disaster to the steamer 'Clallam' bring to light many things which reflect on the seaworthiness of that vessel and the carelessness in which her appliances were kept. When the fleet of small tugs, launches and search parties were engaged in the search which resulted in two lifeboats and eight bodies of victims of the wreck being recovered. No. 1 lifeboat of the starboard side was found drifting off Beacon hill by the tug 'Albion', which had been despatched by J.H. Greer, and an examination of this boat has since shown that it did not capsize, but filled as a result of the plughole being left open. The cap, lying in the little dust-marked place which shows that it must have lain there for some time, was ten inches or more from the open hole. In this boat was the body of Miss Harris of Spokane. Seated in the boat, with a lifebelt around her, the dead women's hands clutched the sides firmly and her clenched teeth are evident of the grim dispair that filled her. She had clenched her teeth so firmly that her lower lip had been pierced. The position of this body, together with the fact that two iron rowlocks, neither of which was attached to the boat by any tanyard, and a small gold watch, a lady's small bag and a lady's collar were lying to the bottom of the boat, showed plainly that it did not capsize. hen found by the 'Albion' it was filled with water. It was turned over to the provincial police, who have placed it in the care of Capt. Dan Macintosh, the well-known boatman.

Speaking of the condition of this boat, Capt. Macintosh said: "The boat could never have capsized. The cap had not been screwed over the ping hole. The cap was lying in the bottom of the boat some distance from the hole. It was lying in a circle of dust which goes to show that it must have been there for some considerable time. There was no line on it. There were two loose rowlocks lying in the bottom of the boat. There was no line on these and they would never have remained there if that boat had capsized. There was one rowlock in the chock."

Mr. John Douglas, the aldermanic candidate for South Ward, saw the 'Clallam' off the cemetery on Friday afternoon. Shortly after she hove in sight he saw a dense brown smoke from the smokestack, which from subsequent events, he feels sure, was when the fires were put out from the inrushing seas. Mr. Douglas says that, so far as he could see, no signals of distress were flying.

Since the disaster survivors have told of how the 'Clallam' started to make water when not more than four miles from the United States shore, after leaving Port Townsend perhaps the survivors say, as if the vessel had been unable to withstand the seas and practically strained herself to pieces. The water came in from everywhere. The straining broke the deadlights, or rather the fixed ports, for properly speaking, the deadlights are the coverings of these. A deadlight is a circular disc of iron with hinges on the upper part fixed to the ship's side, which fit over the fixed lights and render them secure if any danger threatens the glass. The gale and the consequent seas seems to have so strained the steamer that she not only poured water through her broken deadlights, or fixed lights, but the water came in through the strained planking in many places and soon came in so fast, as the working of the vessel started new places, that she had her fires put out and was left unmanageable and hopelessly wrecked, as a result of being pounded to pieces by the sea.



Capt. A.A. Sears, speaking of the 'Iroquois'' efforts to find the 'Clallam' said: "The 'Iroquois' did not leave Sidney at 5 p.m., as stated. It was two or three minutes to six when we heard the news, and in less than five minutes after receiving the message we were under way. Had we received word when we first arrived at Sidney, shortly after 4 o'clock, I could have been in sight of the disabled steamer before dark. We left Sidney at 6 p.m. and ran down the San Juan Island shore, as the information I received was that the 'Clallam' was drifting in that direction. We ran in that direction about two miles beyond Cattle Point, then hauled over towards Smith Island. As we worked off shore we found the wind increasing and seas running very heavy, breaking over the decks of the 'Iroquois' and the spray going over the top of the pilot house. After continuing this course some time and not seeing any lights or distress signals from the disabled steamer, I concluded she must have got under way, or been picked up by some of the tugs and towed to safety - but we must have passed her."
Sunday brought many of the bodies ashore. Early on Sunday morning Dr. A.T. Watt, the William Head quarantine superintendent found the first of the victims picked up in the city. He found the body of a woman, afterward identified as Mrs Sullins, floating near William Head, and the corpse was brought to the city by the tug 'Earle'. Later two other bodies were picked up by the 'Earle'. J.H. Greer had despatched the tug 'Albion' into the straits to search, cancelling the orders he had given the vessel to proceed to Vancouver. The provincial police department chartered the tug 'Edna Grace' for three days and she cruised all Sunday and yesterday. The Victoria pilot launch, with Captains Thompson and Newby on board, cruised all day Sunday; the tug 'Sadie' and other launches and tugs were out, and a large throng of searchers patrolled the rocks and scoured the driftwood of the beaches between the city and Cadboro Bay. The result was that by nightfall there were five ladies at the parlors of local undertakers, and two boats had been recovered, one being picked up by the tug 'Albion' with the body of Miss Harris in it, and the other was found at Ross bay by W.G. Henley and others, who launched their small boat in the heavy sea and rescued the boat at much risk.

One after another the little tugs came rolling into port through the heavy southwest sea of Sunday with their half-masted flags telling of the presence of the bodies of victims on board. The 'Albion' found the body of Miss Diprose floating about a hundred yards from where the lifeboat had been picked up. The 'Edna Grace' picked up the remains of Miss Galletly, which were circled with a life preserver, as were the other bodies found. Parties walking along the beach found other bodies, and by nightfall eight had been recovered, which had identified as Miss Galletly of this city, daughter of the manager of the Bank of Montreal, and Mr. J.C. Galletly, who was also a victim of the disaster; Miss Louise Harris, of Spokane, daughter of a wealthy mining man. Mrs. Thomas Sullins, of San Juan, Miss Diprose, a Tacoma nurse and a sister of Mrs. W.H. Challoner of this city; Mrs. Reynolds of Seattle, Mrs. Hattie Moore of San Juan, Miss Minnie Murdock of Seattle; Alex. Harvey a deckhand.

Yesterday the search for the bodies was continued, but without result. H.M.S. 'Grafton' left Esquimalt yesterday morning and it was said that an effort would be made to locate the scene of the wreck and if possible send divers to endeavor to locate the mail and any bodies that might remain by the wreck, but the 'Grafton' did not locate the wreck. She cruised about the straits and returned to Esquimalt at nightfall without having found any bodies. The tug 'Edna Grace', which has been chartered by the Provincial police also returned without success. As on the previous day oars, oil cake, tubs and packages, miscellaneous wreckage from the steamer was recovered, but no more bodies were picked up.
William King, Who Left Her Last, Tells Story of Clallam's Wreck.
William King, the man who helped the deck boy cut the life raft from the sinking 'Clallam', on which the majority of the survivors escaped, was the last man to leave the ill-fated vessel, and after battling fifty feet through the tumbling seas reached the frail craft and joined the men whose lives he had helped to save.
Mr. Herbert Taylor, the well-known vocalist, saw the ill-fated 'Clallam' beyond Clover Point on Friday afternoon. Looking through a good marine glass, Mr. Taylor says he saw absolutely no signals of distress made.

King was with his sister, Mrs Carrie La Plante, her daughter Verna and her husband William La Plant, Peter La Plant, brother of William La Plant; Thomas L. Sullins, Mrs. Thomas L. Sullins, their children, Leonard Sullins, Louis Sullins and Violet Sullins, John Sweeney and Eugene Hicks. All were bound for Mount Sicker, where Thomas Sullins has mining interests. Of this party King, William La Plant, Thomas Sullins and Sweeney are all that survive. Miller was not on board the 'Clallam', intending to leave later.

In telling the story of his escape King said:
"Never as long as I live shall I forget the indescribable horror of the moments which followed the launching of the lifeboats filled with women and children. The crying of the women and children, the shouting of the officers giving orders, the calling of farewell to loved ones left behind and the waters dashing around the fated vessel. Just as the second boat was about to part off I saw a man leap from the hurricane deck fifteen feet down among the women crouching in the bottom of the lifeboat. Others, craned with fear, were wringing their hands and crying for help. While a few of the passengers were calm during the time the lifeboats were being put off, by far, the greater majority were wild with fear.

"When the order was given for the women and children to go first, I saw one woman throw her arms around her husband and refuse to leave the boat without him. At first they would not let him go, but rather than have her stay aboard the vessel he was permitted to go, too. How the first boat ever cleared the ship without being crushed I do not know. I saw them pull away, but when the other boats were cast off, I went below to help in the bailing. The other passengers say that the first boat got about a mile from the ship when a mighty wave broke over it and it was never seen again.

"The second boat lowered was dashed to pieces almost immediately on being set off. It was a most horrifying sight, men and women struggling in the water. First, the giant waves would beat them off from the ship, and then the back wash would bring them with a sickening thud against the vessel's side or pieces of wreckage. I saw several people stunned in this manner.

"One of the most pitiful sights of all was a mother who held in her arms a young child. After the lifeboat broke, I saw her come up on the crest of a breaker, holding the child high in her arms. I shall never forget the cries of the child. I closed my eyes, and when I looked again they were gone.

"It was about 1 o'clock in the afternoon when the trouble first began. I was in the saloon when I noticed the crew throwing the life preservers out onto the tables. I noticed the boat had slowed down. At that time I should judge we were about four miles from the American shore. We could have made land easily, but the captain preferred to keep on for Victoria. We went to bailing, but the water gained on us until finally the fires had to be dragged out to prevent an explosion. We were then, according to one of the officers, within four miles of Victoria. We put up a sail, but the steering-gear was broken and we could not manage the vessel. A heavy sea was running up from the south.

"About 9 o'clock I should say we saw the lights of the 'Holyoke' coming up. As she passed us the captain told her to tow us to an American port, and we started for Port Townsend. I did not see how we could reach there, but I thought the captain must know his business. The captain of the 'Holyoke' didn't know what condition we were in until the 'Clallam' was sinking. I went to our captain twice and told him we could not last much longer; the last time about fifteen minutes before the 'Clallam' sank. He said I talked like a fool, and added that the ship was good for two hours yet. He seemed greatly excited, and called for the mate.

"That the 'Clallam' did not list to port long before she did was due to the fact that the hawser to the 'Holyoke', pulling as it did, prevented her listing. The 'Clallam' stayed on an even keel until about ten minutes before she sank.

"In all there were about twenty of us bailing all the time. From yesterday morning until this morning I had nothing to eat, and got so weak I could scarcely bail. I bailed for three hours steady and then had fifteen minutes relief. Most of us on board were so sick they could scarcely stand. How they managed to work in their condition I do not see. Those who were not bailing were busy throwing over the cargo, which was composed largely of oil cake. About two tons of coal were also thrown over.

"Where the water was coming from I could not see, but bailing as we were from the grates over the engines, it gained on us. About half-past 11 we saw the lights of a tug coming up behind us. The 'Sea Lion' reached us about 12. By that time the 'Clallam' was sinking. She rolled to port. The bow and stern were under water and the survivors kept crawling up as she listed until we were all hanging on the rail on the starboard side. The deck boy and I helped by one or two of the others, got the liferaft ready. He cut it loose and jumped overboard. There were about fifteen men on the liferaft and the deck boy put the oars in their places. A number of men were found clinging to the wreck. As I saw the raft shove off I ran out on the mast - the ship was lying on her side by this time and jumped off. A heavy sea was breaking. I had fifty feet to swim through the breakers to the raft. Fifty feet through such a sea was a long way to go, and it was all I could do to make it. Twice I was submerged in heavy rollers, but held my breath and didn't swallow any water. By the time I reached the raft the 'Sea Lion' had a boat out. They brought us a line by which we pulled ourselves on board the 'Sea Lion', and the boat went on to pick up those left clinging to the wreckage.

"When it was found that the ship was sinking, the wildest confusion reigned. Men tore their hair, shrieked and called to the tug for help. The oiler on the steamer 'Clallam' cut the little boat loose that was left on the ship, and it was almost an hour before he could be rescued in the darkness.

"There was a slight fog, only a few stars could be seen, but the phosphorescence of the water cast a ghostly light over the scene. When I got aboard the 'Sea Lion' I was given a drink of brandy and got into a bunk, but I could not sleep.

"We waited about the wreck until daylight. The morning showed only a piece of the railing, the pilot house, a bit of the after cabin and a piece of the galley stovepipe above the water. I believe the hull was gone. I know the cabin started to tear loose as the ship sank.

"There were, I think about twenty-five men on the ship when she went down. About fifteen were rescued on the liferaft. Between the time we left the ship on the raft and reached the 'Sea Lion' we rescued one man. He was an actor in the theatrical troupe on board. We saw him rise on the crest of a wave and call to us. We pulled over and helped him on the raft. Hicks was drowned from the wreckage, after having been rescued from the second boat that was lowered in the afternoon.

"While I was bailing, about an hour after the women left in the lifeboats, a man whose name I did not learn committed suicide by jumping overboard. Declaring that he cared to live no longer now that his loved ones were dead.
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