The Wreck of the Comanche
An Account of the Disaster by One of the Sailors - The Wreck a Complete One This Time
Robert Cooney, one of the crew of the Comanche, now on the beach at Point Peninsula, arrived home this morning accompanied by two others of the crew. He says that they went through Stony Island Passage and after getting through, finding that the sea was getting up and the wind rising, the captain concluded to make for Sackets Harbor.
It was rather thick and snow was beginning to fall and they were deceived by a light upon the shore. The first hint they had of danger was when the tug Ferris struck. The schooner went on immediately after and struck the first reef and worked over it and struck the second and went up high and dry. The pumps were set going but the schooner was leaking badly and they could make little impression in it. In the morning it was up to the forecastle floor and it was of no use to try and keep her free. In the morning the farmers along the shore began to work with a will but there was no large boat near them and they had to send a wagon seven miles to get one. In the meantime Fred Tucker, the young farmer who was afterward drowned, came aboard in a skiff and stayed with them until a large boat came and did not leave until the captain did, who stuck to the schooner to the last. The first of the crew who got ashore wanted to take the boat and go out for the balance of their shipmates but the people would not permit it, and hurried them off to a house nearby to be taken care of. The last of the crew, with Captain Becker and Fred Tucker started for the shore and had made about half the distance when the boat capsized. They clung to it as well as they could but the sea kept the boat rolling and they lost their hold repeatedly.
Captain Becker and another man were trying to keep Tucker up but he was apparently helpless and in spite of their efforts they could not keep his head above water. Another boat was pushed out and the men struggling in the water were saved, with the exception of Tucker, who was drowned. Captain Becker was nearly unconscious and it was some time before he recovered after the usual means had been employed to restore him. He still remains in the house of a nephew who lives not far from the scene of the wreck. It is remarkable that the wreck occurred almost in sight of the place where Captain Becker has lived for many years. During Sunday morning the sea was very heavy and was making a clean breach over the schooner and she was breaking up and it was the general opinion that she could not be saved. Captain Becker who was very much exhausted, did not come back. Capt. Cronley, who went down to look the wreck over, returned with the rest. The tug Ferris is still at Sackets Harbor. But for the accident to her wheel, she might have been able to do something but as it was, she was helpless. The crew are under the deepest obligations to the residents along the shore who worked hard to save their lives.