IS THERE MORE TO TELL?
VESSELMEN CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE FOSTER FOUNDERING STORY
IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE THAT SHE DOVE TO THE BOTTOM, AS RELATED
HOW THE DEMON OF DISASTER HAS FOLLOWED CORRIGAN THIS YEAR
The name of one of the seamen lost with the Charles Foster is probably Fred Lee, an Englishman. The schooner passed this port, bound up, November 21, in tow of the iron Duke, it being the first art of the trip which proved to be her last. Corrigan, her owner, telegraphed from Cleveland to Capt. J. W. Westcott to buy a new yawl and ship one man. Lee was engaged, and as the tow passed, he sculled the yawl out to the Foster and was taken aboard, together with the yawl. He was a young man, heavy and well-built, but of course nothing is known of his relatives or friends. It is thought certain here that he stayed on the boat after clearing for the down trip, as is the custom of many sailors going to Lake Superior, especially this time of the year, unless they intend to take to the lumber woods, which very few do.
The story of the foundering, as told by Capt. Ashley, of the steamer, sounds odd to local vessel men. The mysterious part of it is the allegation that without the slightest previous warning the schooner made one big dive and shot straight to the bottom, to be seen no more. How a vessel 225 feet long, fully loaded, with three heavy masts, could find space enough between two waves to dive to the bottom is the statement that makes people doubtful. Even on the ocean it would be hard to conceive such a formation of the waters, let alone a little pond like Lake Erie, where the seas are short and choppy compared to the big upper lakes.
The condition of the schooner is considered her to have been good, otherwise she would not have been able to obtain the insurance which expired December 1 at noon. After she was brought back from the coast, and passed into the hands of James Corrigan, he spent a lot of money in making the repairs necessary to give her a good rating. Nobody accuses him of overloading her, a charge commonly made against the older class of vessels this year, for, being unable to get an insurance extension, except at prohibitive rates, he would be very likely to load her in the best possible trim to make her ride the seas well. Vesselmen are agreed that while the Foster was seaworthy, yet craft of her class should never be out after November 25, at the furthest, and the careful owner lays them up even before that date.
James Corrigan will probably remember the year 1900 as long as he lives. He began the navigation season with the foundering of the schooner R. Hallaran, under similar circumstances, on Lake Superior, with the loss of several lives. She was a smaller boat than the FOSTER, and insured for part of her value. The capsizing and foundering of the schooner-yacht Idler off Cleveland with Mr. Corrigan's wife and several daughters, was one of the noted disasters of the year in this country. About the same time he got an adverse verdict in a lawsuit against John D. Rockefeller for $1,200,000 he claimed was due him on some mining property. Several of his vessels, other than the two mentioned have gone ashore and been otherwise injured this season. The demon of disaster has scarcely left him this season.