The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Michigan City News (Michigan City, IN), Wed., 16 Nov. 1898

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Lena Neilson's Thrilling Experience In The Storm
Nearly Wrecked at St. Joseph, the Vessel Goes Ashore Near Lakeside - Crew Rescued Amid Great Perils by Life Saving Crew.

The schooner Lena Neilson is on the beach ten miles north of New Buffalo and will probably prove a total loss. The crew of four men is safe having been taken off the wrecked schooner by the St. Joseph life saving crew.

The Neilson in charge of her owner, Captain E. Neilson, laden with lumber from Manistee, consigned to Peter Bros. of Benton Harbor, was driven upon the bar just south of the mouth of the St. Joseph harbor while trying to enter that port in the furious northwest gale at 8 o'clock Thursday morning.

The tug Andy tried to get a towline to the schooner but failed. Captain Ed Napier, who, with the tug McClellan, was bringing a scow to this port from Grand Haven to be used in raising the Tuttle's machinery, went to assist the Andy. They found the crew had succeeded in lowering the main anchor, which kept her from drifting upon the shore. The tugs made three attempts to pass her a towline but failed, as the sea was too shallow to allow the tugs to get within 200 feet of the disabled craft. The life saving crew, under command of Captain W. L. Stevens, made two attempts to pass the line. The crew would have succeeded in the third attempt had it not been for the breaking of two oars when within a few feet of the craft. Without sufficient oars, the crew was driven two miles south with the surfboat half filled with water. When within thirty feet of shore a high breaker broke over the craft and swept Captain Stevens into the sea from his upright position while steering the surfboat. He was rescued by the crew. The stranded craft succeeded in laying at anchor until about 11 o'clock, when the main anchor chain was seen to part. The craft soon drifted off the bar, and, with the aid of the land gale, which blew for about an hour, the boat was soon lost sight of by people who had lined the shore for two miles.

Mayor John Starr, of St. Joseph, sent a relief wagon with blankets, clothes, and medicine along the south shore for the crew, thinking the craft would go upon the shore a few miles south.

Just before dark the Neilson went ashore fifteen miles south of St. Joseph. The crew took to the rigging and remained there until rescued by the St. Joseph life savers, who reached the scene by train about 8 o'clock. The rescue was a heroic one and attended with many dangers. The Neilson will probably be abandoned.

Captain Kent, of the local life saving station, was on the lookout for the schooner until they learned last evening that the boat was on the beach and the St. Joseph life saving crew had rescued them.

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Date of Original:
Wed., 16 Nov. 1898
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Robert C. Myers
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Michigan City News (Michigan City, IN), Wed., 16 Nov. 1898