Wilmington DE Tug ISRAEL W. DURHAM Lost, Sep 1904
LIVES OF EIGHT MEN LOST.
TUG SWAMPED BY STORM IN DELAWARE RIVER -- TWO MEN ABOARD SAVED.
Wilmington, Del., Sept. 14. -- Eight men were drowned early today by the sinking of the tug Israel W. Durham, in the Delaware River, opposite this city. The tug was swamped to the heavy storm. Her captain and crew of five men and four employes of the American Dredging Company were aboard when the tug sank. Of this number CLARENCE JACKSON, a fireman, of the Israel W. Durham, and JOHN WILLIAMS, an employe of the dredging company, were the only ones saved.
The dead men were:
Captain WILLIAM GRAPP, forty-five years old, of Philadelphia.
HARRY MATTHEWS, mate, forty years old, of Philadelphia.
WILLIAM ENNIS, engineer, forty-five years old, of Clayton, Del.
WILLIAM SHARP, thirty years old, carpenter, of Camden, N.J.
MILTON TOWNSEND, thirty-five years old, carpenter, of Camden, N.J.
LUDLOW TOWNSEND, carpenter, of Camden, N.J.
A firman and the cook, names unknown.
JACKSON and WILLIAMS clung to the pilot house of the tug, which became detached, and floated away. They were rescued by the crew of the schooner Sand Snipe, and brought to this city. The sunken tug lies in twenty feet of water at low tide, with her smokestack visible. An empty coal barge which she was towing, broke loose when the tug went down, and probably drifted on the New Jersey shore. No one was aboard the barge.
The Durham was used in carrying coal and other supplies from Philadelphia to the dredgers of the American Dredging Company, four of which are at work in the Delaware Bay, from the mouth of Duck Creek to Bombay Hook. The tug left Reedy Island at 11 o'clock last night bound for Philadelphia, after the storm had apparently subsided. At 2 o'clock this morning, when off Newcastle, the storm broke again with unabated fury. The wind blew seventy miles an hour, the rain came down in torrents and the waves in the river quickly reached a height of ten feet or more.
Suddenly, when a half mile from the mouth of the Christiana River, the high waves broke over the tug and crushed in her front cabin. She began to fill at once, and all hands made for the lifeboat.
All on board, with the exception of JACKSON and WILLIAMS, reached the lifeboat, which, after being loosened from the sinking tug, quickly filled, but the eight men who were drowned held on to the sides until the rowboat went down, and then they perished.
JACKSON and WILLIAMS were in the cabin when the heavy sea broke over the tugboat. They went down with the craft, but came to the surface and swam to the smokestack, where they held on until the pilot house was washed away. This portion of the boat swept by near them, and they grasped the side. While they were hanging to the pilot house the lifeboat, with the others holding fast, was swept over them, and both were severely bruised.
Before he left the boat WILLIAMS blew the whistle as long as he could for help, and this attracted the attention of the crew of the Sand Snipe, but as it was pitch dark, with the storm raging wildly, they could not locate the unfortunate vessel.
The disaster occurred between 2 and 3 o'clock, and the two men drifted about clinging to the pilot house until 6 o'clock, when the crew of the Sand Snipe, finally located them.
The ship carpenters who were lost were employed by the American Dredging Company for the purpose of making repairs on the dredges, and they had completed their tasks and were returning to Philadelphia.
New York Tribune 1904-09-16