Boston, MA Schooner GRACIE H BENSON Sinking, Nov 1894 - Six Seamen Drown


A Schooner Run Down by a Steamer in Boston Harbor, and Sinks in Two Minutes.

Six sailors, members of the crew of the fishing schooner Gracie H. Benson, were drowned in Boston harbor early yesterday morning, as a consequence of the sinking of the schooner caused by a collision with the Philadelphia and Reading steamer Reading.

The names of the men who were drowned are:

Edward Harvender, 19, a nephew of the captain;
Fred Merritt, 34, a native of Digby, N. S., and single;
John Rink, 40, single;
William Newcombe, 25, single;
Fred Bonner, 26, single, a native of St. Peters, N. S. and
August (last name unknown), a Portuguese, single, aged 22,:
all of whom have resided in Provincetown for several years.

The names of those who were saved are:

Capt. John P. Harvender,
Elijah Rogers,
William Harvender, brother of the Captain;
George Forrest, Manuel Jacco, and Antone Alexander, Portuguese;
Joe Meads,
Lott H. Small,
Harry Denelly,
Manuel Rink, a brother of John Rink, who was drowned;
Joe Butler,
Charles Foss.

Foss jumped on the steamer's deck and rendered great assistance to the crew of the steamer in launching their boat and rescuing the schooner's men. Butler was rescued from the booby hatch, which was floating out to sea.

The Benson arrived in port Tuesday with a full fare of fish and after disposing of this, she left about midnight for Provincetown. She was proceeding out of the channel with a fair wind and when about midway between Boston light and Bug light the steamer Reading with the barge Suffolk in tow, from Philadelphia, loomed up before her. In endeavoring to tack across the steamer's bow to avoid collision, the schooner was struck on the port side just abaft the main rigging and she filled and sunk in about two minutes. The Reading immediately stopped and lowered a boat which went to the assistance of the crew of the sunken vessel. She succeeded in picking up seven of them who were clinging to wreckage from the schooner. The tugboat Wesley A. Gove, Capt. William Parker, which was following in the wake of the Reading, hurried to the assistance of the crew of the sunken vessel. Four men who were clinging to one of the mastheads were taken aboard, and they informed Capt Parker that one of the crew had drifted off on the booby hatch and another one on a trawl buoy. The Gove went in search of them, and quite a distance outside of Boston light rescued the man from the booby hatch. Soon after the trawl buoy was found, but the man had become exhausted and sunk.

Four of the crew were asleep in their bunks at the time of the collision and went down with the vessel. Another member of the crew was knocked overboard by the force of the collision and drowned. Capt John Harvender, of the Benson, states that the steamer showed no inclination to slow down before the collision occurred, and it was in an effort to get out of her way that his schooner was struck. Capt Beed of the Reading states that he was coming up at a moderate rate of speed and claims that the collision was unavoidable. He remained by the scene of the disaster all night and rendered all the assistance possible, saving the lives of the crew. Capt. Harvender was one of the men saved by the Reading. The Gracie H. Benson belonged in Provincetown, and her principal owner was Nathan Young of that place. She was valued at about $5000, and the insurance amounts to but $150.

Springfield Daily Republican, Springfield, MA 29 Nov 1894