Massachusetts Storm, Oct 1849
Many incidents, heart-rending and pathetic, occurred on the brig during the half hour that it lay and thumped upon the rocks. Some of them have been brought down to us. One was that of three children, who were by their mother's side when a great wave came over the vessel, and swept the children into eternity. Another is that of Patrick Swaney and his eleven children, who were all washed from the wreck at the same time. Being a good swimmer, he endeavored to save his youngest child, whom he was holding in his arms when he went over into the boiling surge, and struck out for the long-boat in which Captain Olivier and others were striving to reach the shore. But he failed to accomplish his purpose, and the strong man and weak children alike went down.
A smart, fine looking Irish lad, about fourteen years old, had secreted himself on board the vessel just before it sailed from Galway, and had not been discovered until they were four days out. When the jolly-boat was launched, he was on of those that jumped into it and when it swamped, he swam back to the wreck, getting safely on board. A few minutes later, when the long-boat was washed from the brig, and the captain and others had got on board of her he again leaped into the waves, swam to the boat, and was helped in, landing in safety. He had two sisters on board, who were both drowned.
The other passengers that were saved floated ashore on pieces of the deck; but some of those that were rescued from the water alive soon after died from the effects of the bruises that they then received.
The news of the wreck spread, and in the storm during that Sunday afternoon the shore was lined with people. The were active in assisting the saved, and recovering the dead bodies as they came near the shore. One man came very near losing his life in taking remains out of the surf, many of which were horribly mangled and disfigured. They were laid in a row as they were recovered, presenting a most melancholy sight. Those that attracted the most attention perhaps were the bodies of a woman and her lifeless child of about two years of age securely clasped in her arms. Others were thrown upon the rocks, but before they could be secured the sea would carry then back again. Later in the afternoon they began to come ashore in large numbers, two being taken from pieces of the wreck.
The whole number of people on board was about one hundred and sixty-four, of whom fourteen, mostly women and children, were cabin passengers. Forty-five of the passengers were women, and there were fifteen or eighteen children. Of all this great number, only twenty-one persons were saved, and of the one hundred and forty-three that were lost, the bodies of only twenty-seven were recovered, of which there were three of men, twenty-one of women, and three of children.
Historic Storms of New England, its Gales, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Showers with Thunder and Lightning, Great Snow Storms, Rains, Freshets, Floods, Droughts, Cold Winters, Hot Summers, Avalanches, Earthquakes, Dark Days, etc..., by Sidney Perley, 1891, pages 300-302