The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Brian Boru (Dredge), U16271, sunk, 6 Apr 1898

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      The BRIAN BORU Sank Off Stoney Point Early This Morning.
Three men employed by Dunbar & Sullivan, sub-contractor on the breakwater extension work, were drowned a half mile off Stoney Point this morning shortly before 5 o'clock.
      They were Angus McPhee, 22 years old, of 189 Fargo avenue; Rhody Costello, 20 years old, who lived with his grand-father, Henry Campbell, near the foot of Alabama street, and Thomas Stack, 35 years old, who lived near West Avenue and Massachusetts Street.
      They were members of the crew of the dredge BRIAN BORU, owned by Dumbar & Sullivan, the other members of her crew being Capt. William G. Raines, George Babbington, George Steele and Maggie McCracken, the cook.
      At 4:30 o'clock the dredge was anchored to a scow a half mile outside the breakwater at Stoney Point. Near her was the dredge FINN McCOOL, the tug CHEENEY and the tug PADDY MILES, Capt. Charles Nash had charge of the tug CHEENEY and Capt Robert Main of the PADDY MILES. All the craft belonged to Dunbar & Sullivan.
      A heavy gale was blowing from the southwest and Stack, alarmed at its ferocity, conceived the idea that the BRIAN BORU was in danger of sinking. He signaled by whistling and the tug CHEENEY threw a line to the dredge with the intention of taking her inside the breakwater. Soon after the tug started towards the breakwater the BRIAN BORU sprang a leak and sank.
      Her cabin floated free and Raines, Babbington, Steele and Miss McCracken, the cook, saved themselves by climbing on to its roof.
      Stack, McPhee and Costello, for some unexplained reason, did not avail themselves of that refuge. MePhee and Costello were not seen after the dredge sank. It is thought they were drowned immediately afterwards. Stack was seen by Capt. Nash of the tug CHEENEY, a few minutes after the dredge went down. He was swimming towards the tug, but was overpowered before reaching it by the high sea running.
      When the dredge sank the line of the tug CHEENEY became entangled in her wheel and disabled her so that she could not go to the rescue of those who were floating shoreward on the roof of the dredge cabin. The cabin floated in toward the Lehigh Valley freight house at the Tifft Farm and lodged itself in shallow water about 90 feet from the shore.
      Jacob Oberthier of 205 Mills Street was in the neighborhood with a horse and wagon and when he became aware of the plight of Raines and his companions he drove into the water and brought them ashore.
      They were taken to a house at 70 South Street where they were provided with dry clothing. Raines recently came to Buffalo from Montreal, where he was employed by Dunbar & Sullivan. His family is in Montreal. Babbington, Steele and Maggie McCracken live on the dredge.
      Mr. H.P. Dunbar says there was no necessity for Stack's sounding the alarm when he did. He admits there was a high sea running at the time, but says the craft were in no danger and that nothing would have happened if the BRIAN BORU had remained where she was.
      Capt. Pritchard of the police yacht, and his crew were searching for the bodies this morning, but up to noon had found none of them.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, April 6, 1898

      . . . . .

      McPhee's Body Found.
      The body of Angus McPhee, one of the three men who was drowned off the dredge BRIAN BORU, neasr Stony Point, on April 6, was recovered by a fisherman and towed to the foot of Commercial street early this morning. Coroney Kennedy was notified and had it removed to the Morgue. He has communicated with the relatives of the dead man and they will give it a suitable burial.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, May 9, 1898

April 6 - When the dredge BRIAN BORU went down in a storm off Stoney Point, 3 men who worked for Hingston & Woods, dredging contractors, were drowned. The were Rhody Costello, Angus McPhee and William Stark. Costello's body was recovered a few days later. McPhee's body was found by two fishermen yesterday Stark's body is still missing. McPhee's body was towed to the foot of Commercial Street by the fishermen and Coroner Kennedy sent it to the Morgue and notified McPhee's relatives who live at No. 189 Fargo Ave. McPhee was 23 years old and unmarried. He was engineer of the BRIAN BORU.
      Buffalo Morning Express
      May 10, 1898 6-3


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Reason: sunk
Lives: 3
Remarks: Raised
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.83117 Longitude: -78.86615
William R. McNeil
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Brian Boru (Dredge), U16271, sunk, 6 Apr 1898