Cabin Boy Tells of the "Tragic
Archie King, a cabin boy, son of Archie King,
proofreader of the Times, on his arrival by the Rosalie, said: "The trip was a rough one, and
when off Trial Island at 2:30 or 3 o'clock, the 'Clallam' began to leak. Water poured in and put
out the fires. With two sails set we tried to stand off and make San Juan, but couldn't do it.
In the meantime the crew and many of the passengers were engaged in bailing and trying to
stop the water from coming in; but it continued to gain on us."
After telling of the swallowing of the boats, he said: "The scene was awful. I knew Miss Murray, who went in one of the boats, quite well. She was terribly anxious and before the launching repeatedly asked me if I thought we would come out of the trouble all right. As the lifeboats were being launched I told her I thought it would be better for her to stay on the steamer. We appeared to be four or five miles from shore at that time.
"After that we all got to work to keep the vessel afloat. The cargo was thrown overboard and everybody who could went below to bail. I don't know Captain Thompson or Mr. Shaw, but I think they were among the passengers who worked hard to keep the water out and encouraged the bailers. We bailed for hours and some of us got exhausted. The storm continued, apparently as fiercely as ever, and the steamer was getting in worse shape all the time. I don't know whether anybody was washed overboard, but I rather think there some were."
During the afternoon when we went into one of the cabins he was looking after he found a child asleep in it. The little one had been sleeping in one of the men's berths below and was taken to the cabin in which King found him. He asked one of the officers what he should do with the child, and the officer replied: "Do the best you can." King thereupon put a life preserver around the little one and took him to the deck.
After the tug took hold the vessel filled and settled King clambered out on the starboard side, which was the only part above water, and held on with fifteen or twenty others. He was washed off by a wave and swam for the raft which had been cut loose by the mate some time before, and was hauled aboard. Capt. Roberts, the mate and several others were on it. They got a line from the tug and climbed aboard. The tugs picked a number of others who were clinging to pieces of wreckage.