Clallam Inquest Is Nearly Over
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from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 17 Feb 1904, pg.8

Captain Roberts Has Decided Not to Come To Victoria

The Steersman of the Ill-Fated Clallam Was Examined Yesterday

At the continuation of the 'Clallam' inquest yesterday afternoon C. Harris, clerk to E.E. Blackwood, was called and said he was acquainted with Edward Lockwood, deceased, in his lifetime and had identified the body. Witness remembered the day of the disaster. Mr. Bullen telephoned the office of E.E. Blackwood, offering the services of the steamer 'Maude'. This was at 3:30. Mr. Blackwood told witness the 'Clallam' was in trouble. Witness was on the dock just previously and previous to this on the Driard hotel roof. Witness phoned Mr. Blackwood of Mr. Bullen's offer.

Witness also made a thorough search for a tug on the water front.

In reply to Mr. McPhillips witness said he could not get the 'Princess' because she was tending the 'Mudlark' and the 'Queen City' had no steam up. Witness made these enquires of his own account and not upon instructions from Mr. Blackwood.

Juryman C.H. Cullin was sworn and testified that he had identified the body of the late Harvey Sears and was well acquainted with him during his lifetime.

Capt. Collister was recalled. Mr. Lugrin called his attention to the matter of the hooks on the davits. The rule states that ordinary hooks shall not be allowed. Witness said he had allowed the in this case and that was all he could say. When he inspected the 'Clallam' he saw the boats hauled up empty and the davits were strong enough to hold them and in his opinion were strong enough under all circumstances.

The cleats were nailed on for the rowlocks in the usual way in the boats. He would not say that cleats fastened on by 1 1/2 inch wire nails were strong enough. The life lines were fastened upon staples.

Witness said he examined the ship's frame and could not examine to see how the stanchions were fastened to the frame because he could not see them. The house was bolted to the sills. There were no knees in the house as far as he could see. The rudder post was 12 inch oak. Some of the ports were cased through the one through which the seas came was not cased.

Louis Meyer was called and testified that he was a quartermaster on the steamer 'Clallam'. He was on watch when the steamer left Port Townsend on the day of the disaster. She left about 12:10 p.m. It was a rough afternoon. First noticed trouble about Dungeness, the vessel was pitching very badly. She was steering all right, course west three-quarters north. Capt. Roberts and the first officer were in the pilot house with witness.

The chief engineer whistling up the tube was the first intimation of trouble. Capt. Roberts answered him and sent the first officer down. Witness received orders then to hold the vessel up to the wind more. It was about 2:30 o'clock when this occurred. About twenty minutes the chief engineer came up himself and asked for the captain. He told the captain that he would have put the ship before the wind or she would go down. The captain told witness to put his helm hard-a-port, which was done and the ship answered her helm until the engines stopped, which was shortly afterwards. The captain had gone to the engine room himself. The engines stopped before the ship got properly around. The ship then fell into the trough of the sea. The engines were stopped he should judge by the time the engineer got back after talking to the captain.

Witness remained in the pilot house and the jib was set. Witness never had trouble with the steering gear that was on the steamer at the time she went down. There had been trouble with a previous rudder, which had been removed.

The company were thinking of taking out the rudder and putting in an iron rudder.

The old one was checked badly, the second one was checked, but not to hurt. The jib was found insufficient to bring the vessel around. Had the engines been working there would have been no trouble in turning around. The rudder was all right.

In reply to Mr. Lugrin witness said had the chief engineer notified them in the wheel house sooner there would have been no trouble to get round before the engines stopped. Witness subsequently came to the hurricane deck and helped to lower the boats. The rudder was left by witness hard-a-port and lashed by him.

In reply to Mr. McPhillips witness said the ship steered by hand wheel. The first officer assisted him the first time and Capt. Roberts the second time. Witness did not know what trouble the chief engineer reported. He did not find out until after he left the wheelhouse. He was informed there was water in her and that it came through the deadlight. The captain did not blame the engineer in the hearing of the witness.

Witness qualified the statement that it was twenty minutes after the chief engineer notified the captain that the engine stopped. On consulting the chart he said it might have been an hour afterwards.

The steamer was about five miles away from Trial Island, which was northwest from the ship when the boats were lowered. It was the custom to keep a log book. There was no entry made about the launching of the boats because there was nobody in the pilot house. Witness could not say whether as entry was made about the chief engineer's first message.

Witness assisted to launch the second boat. He did not see the plug and could not say how many of the crew went with her. He had no orders to go in boat No. 5 although he was assigned to either No. 5 or 6. If he had had a choice he should have stayed with the ship. The captain was not apparently excited and gave all the orders.

The inquest was then adjourned. The coroner told the jury that Capt. Roberts would not come to testify. He was afraid of being arrested.
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