Galveston, TX Tarpon Pier Collapse, Jul 1909 - Dead, Missing & Survivor

Two More Bodies Given Up By Sea

Capt. Bettison And His Wife Succumb After Hard Fight For Life.

C.H. Dailey Still Missing.

Galveston Man’s Body Has Still Not Been Recovered-Others Found Thirty-Five Miles From Tarpon Pier.

Special To The News.
Galveston, Tex., July 22.-Tarpoon Pier survivors:
W. DAVIES, Groveton
C.D. HOPKINS, colored, Galveston.
JOHN FORREST, colored, Galveston.
CHARLES JOHNSON, colored, Galveston.

Bodies Recovered.
CAPT. R.L. BETTISON, Galveston.
MRS. R.L. BETTISON, Galveston.
Wife of Charles Johnson (negro), Galveston.

Still Missing.
C.H. DAILEY, Galveston.

Found Near Each Other.

The bodies of Capt. BETTISON and Mrs. BETTISON were found this morning on the beach between Houston Point and Fisher’s Reef, about thirty-five miles from the ill-fated pier from which they were cast into the sea during the gulf storm. The two bodies were found within 100 yards of each other on a beach which was strewn with the drifted wreckage of the jetty fishing piers.

Condition of Bodies.

Mrs. BETTISON, it was evident, had not been dead more than twelve hours when found, for decomposition had not set in. Mr. METTISON had been dead fully thirty-six hours, it appeared, for his body was badly decomposed and hardly recognizable. The bodies were found by a man on the land named Smith, and were brought to the city on Capt. BETTISON’S own boat, the Clifton, which has searched the waters of the bay incessantly for the last two days. The Clifton arrived at the place shortly after the finding of the bodies and brought them to Galveston, arriving at Pier 20 about 2 p.m.

Had Terrible Struggle.

It was evident that the two unfortunates had had an awful struggle. Almost every bone in Mrs. BETTISON’S body was broken, the undertaker at Levy’s establishment said, and the face and head of Capt. BETTISON were fractured and bruised so that it was with difficulty he was identified.

The body was badly decomposed, and it is the theory of those finding the bodies that Capt. BETTISON must have breathed his last not long after the collapse of the fishing pier.

The Ruth, also in search of the dead, arrived at the place of finding about the same time as the Clifton. On the Clifton were Capt. Murrell, Engineer Allen, Paul Tibbets and Oscar Hild, a brother of Mrs. BETTISON.

Advices from La Porte confirm the first rumors that W. Davies of Groveton, Tex., a guest at the Tarpon, who is a cripple and without legs from his knees was found in the upper bay near Morgan’s Point and was rescued. It is said he is delirious and suffering greatly from his terrible experience battling with the sea for twenty-five or twenty-six hours, but that he will recover.

According to the statement of Charles Johnson, a negro, Davies, who had abandoned his artificial limbs before the house on the pier collapsed, entered the water on the back of Johnson, but was soon swept from his position by the sea.

Since his rescue Davies has not been in a condition to make a statement of his experiences.

Parties returning from Morgan’s Point this morning report the rescue of another negro man, Ernest Booth, a waiter at the pier. This accounts for eleven persons at the pier when it went down in the storm. He claims to have been in the water thirty-six hours.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 24 Jul 1909