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
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.
|LAST TO LEAVE|
William King, Who Left Her Last, Tells Story of Clallam's Wreck.
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.