Delaware Breakwater, DE Schooner HATTIE A. MARSH Sinking, Sep 1903



Delaware Breakwater, Del., Sept. 16. -- The southern storm which had been coming up the Atlantic Coast for several days struck the Delaware capes early this morning with almost volcanic force, and as a result at least five lives were lost. The storm lasted from 3 a.m. until 7 a.m. The wind reached a maximum velocity of eighty miles an hour and the rain fell in torrents.
The most serious accident reported was that which befell the schooner Hattie A. Marsh, whose captain, J. B. MEHAFFEY, and four members of the crew were drowned. The Marsh hailed from New London, Conn., and was bound from Painters' Point, Me., for Philadelphia, with a cargo of paving stones. She was caught in the terrific windstorm outside the new stone breakwater. The captain tried to reach the harbor of refuge, but before he could do so the vessel had to anchor and try to ride out the storm. Her anchors, however, did not hold, and the schooner with her dead weight of stone, was dashed on the rocks of the harbor of refuge.
The steam pilot boat Philadelphia went to the rescue, but only succeeded in saving the mate, NORMAN CAMPBELL, and one seaman. Captain MEHAFFEY and the four other sailors were lost in the fury of the lashing waves. The rescued men were taken to the Lewes Lifesaving Station and cared for. They were in an exhausted condition when picked up.
In the old harbor southwest of the maritime reporting station three schooners dragged their anchors and come in collision. They were the Emily F. Northam, Adeline Townsend and Sea Bird. The Sea Bird, which was a two-masted vessel, sank, and her crew was rescued and landed on the point of Cape Henlopen. The men were cared for at the life saving station. The Northam had her jibboom carried away and her yawl stove. The Townsend lost her headgear and jibboom.
The barges Elmwood, Gilberton and Kalmia, laden with coal, from Philadelphia for Eastern points, were sunk in Delaware Bay westward of the Brown Shoal. Their crews were rescued by the tug Tamaqua, which was towing the barges. The tug Spartan, which was towing the coal barges Tiverton and Hammond and an unknown barge, is reported to have sunk. The barges are anchored at Bear Shoal. There are no tidings of the Spartan's crew.
It is reported that three coal barges were sunk on the ocean off the capes and that their crews are probably lost.
An unknown bark is anchored off Ocean City, Md., with distress signals in her rigging. The pilot boat Philadelphia has gone to her assistance. The barge Marcus Hook from Philadelphia for New York, was almost wrecked. She dragged her anchors and was just drifting into danger when tugs saved her and towed the vessel to safe anchorage.
Considerable minor damage was done to the breakwater.
The harbor of refuge, East End Light, and the day mark on the breakwater were carried away. Some of the piling at the reporting station was washed away and the telegraph line was down all day.
The fury of the storm was also felt at Lewes, near here. Many trees were blown down and chimneys damaged. The smokestack of the city power house fell and considerably damaged the buildings.

New York Tribune New York 1903-09-17