The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Rung Bros. (Steam yacht), U111065, sunk, 20 Aug 1895

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The "unknown" who was supposed to have been drowned when the yacht RUNG BROTHERS was swamped last night is safe.
      His name is Harry Stevens. He is a Canadian boy who took this method of getting to Buffalo. He was sent to D.W.C. Hoover, who is summering on Grand Island, to take a message to Inspector Clark.
      Young Stevens left the yacht at Ferry Street. He is happy to say his body will not be found in the hull of the sunken yacht.
      Thus half the charm off ill-fated numbers is broken. Instead of seven of 13 being lost there were only six. The 13, however, still stands unchallenged.
      At 11:30 o'clock the hull of the RUNG BROTHERS' yacht was found by the police patrol boat and the life-saving boat. It is sunk in about 20 feet of water. All the morning the police and life boats and a dozen small boats were busy dragging the bottom for bodies and for the boat.
      As soon as the hull of the yacht was found, it was buoyed and the wrecking tug FERN was engaged with a diver, to raise it. The crew got to work about noon.
      All the morning the Lackawanna coal trestle and the Government pier were lined with friends of the drowned men, anxiously waiting for news of the recovery of the bodies. Some of the survivors now claim that there is nothing definite as to the exact number that was drowned.
      The body of Al. Stafford, one of the unfortunate victims of last night's drowning catastrophe, was brought to the surface this afternoon at 2 o'clock by Bert McMullen, a diver.
      The body was placed on the police yacht and brought to the dock near the foot of River Street, where it was identified by Philip Haller of 131 Stanton Street, who was a fellow employe of Stafford's. Coroner Tucker was sent for and he ordered the remains removed to the morgue.
      All the morning the wrecker FERN rode at anchor over the spot where the RUNG BROTHERS capsized. A flock of row boats containing newspaper men and people attracted out of morbid curiosity hung around her like a flock of chickens around their mother. A little way off stood the police boat.
      Early this afternoon McMullen, the diver, was taken aboard the FERN and after donning his submarine garments he slowly sank out of sight.
      Reaching the bottom he groped about until he located the launch. The boat was over turned, but the diver managed to work his way into her cabin.
      There twisted up under a bench, he found Stafford's body. A rope was tied around the dead man's waist and another fastened under hid shoulders.
      McMullen ave the signal to those above to hoist him, and then the remains were slowly brought to the surface. The body was not mutilated in any way, but every muscle was stiff and rigid.
      A crowd gathered around the remains as they lay on the deck of the police boat, but no one was able to identify them. The face was that of a young man about 25 years of age.
      The features and hands were heavily pitted with small pox. The clothing worn was a dark grey suit with a small checked figure. The coat was a sack pattern and the right leg of the trousers was torn nearly off below the knee.
      Two watches were found in the dead man's vest. One of them was attached to a brass chain, and was of an open-faced pattern. The other was a brass hunting case watch plated with silver. No chain was attached to it. On the little finger of the right hand was a gold ring with an emerald setting; $2. 87 in change was found in one of the trousers pocket.
      McMullen, the diver, immediately went back down again after bringing Stafford's body to the surface. He remained below 15 or 20 minutes and then came up to tell those on the FERN he had been unable to find more bodies in the neighborhood of the sunken yacht. It was decided to bring the body recovered ashore.
      A crowd of 75 or 100 were waiting on the dock for the police boat to come in. Among them were anxious friends of those lost. A half dozen were permitted to board the boat and view the remains, and Haller and others identified the corpse as that of Stafford.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Wednesday, August 21, 1895

      . . . . .

      Bodies Of Frank Bugmann nd Henry Schindler Recovered.
      Foundering Of The Yacht To Be Thoroughly Looked Into By The Coroner, Who Has Empaneled a Jury For The Purpose. ---- The body of another victim of the yacht RUNG BROTHERS was picked up in the harbor this forenoon. It was that of Frank Bugmann. He was employed in the Stock Yards.
      Tony Anderson, an employee of the Buffalo Yacht Club, saw a peculiar object floating in the harbor off the Yacht Club this forenoon and pulled out to it. It proved to be that of a man. He towed the body to the shore and telephoned for Coroner Tucker.
      That official sent the body to the Morgue and it was identified as that of Frank Bugmann, one of the victims of the RUNG BROTHERS.
      In Bugmann's pockets were found 65 cents and a watch. The body was badly swollen and his face was black.
      The remains of Henry Schindler were recovered yesterday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock by Charles Hennessy, who found Bugmann's body earlier in the day.
      The remains were brought ashore by the police boat and taken to the Morgue.
      Schindler's mother is heart-broken over the unfortunate young man's fate. Since the news of his death reached her she has been unable to leave her bed and has not spoken above a whisper.
      The Schindler's live in a small cottage on Ideal Street in East Buffalo. Henry's death is a sad blow to them. His father, who is a tinsmith by trade, has had no work in some time and the young man's wages supported the family.
      The police boat went out this morning to resume the work of grappling for the bodies, but there was such a high sea on that the yacht tossed about like a cork and it was necessary to bring her in again. The police hope to resume the searching this afternoon.
      The foundering of the steam yacht RUNG BROTHERS is to be thoroughly investigated by Coroner Kenney. He empaneled a jury this forenoon to look into the facts in the case and the responsibility for the sinking of the boat will be placed where it belongs.
      There are no professionals on the jury. On the contrary only business men who are well known will serve on the panel. They are as follows: S. Levyn; C.L. Burry; J.A. Beierlein; F. Reiman; John Van Velsor; G.B. Eggerton; George Rix; H.B. McCulloch; J.S. Warner; G.J. Haffa and William I. Thurstone.
      After the jurors had been sworn in, Coroner Kenney took them to the Morgue, where they viewed the remains of the victims of the accident. The Coroner then adjourned the case. He will conduct the examination some day next week. By the time the jury is called together, it is believed that the bodies of the three other men will be found.
      Information reached Coroner Kenney this morning, from what he believes to be a reliable source, that at least two men were intoxicated when the RUNG BROTHERS was swamped. The Coroner has also been told that there was a keg of beer constantly on tap from the time the boat left the dock at the foot of Genesee Street in the morning until it returned. Some of the men drank at the bars at the river resorts every time the RUNG BROTHERS stopped, so the Coroner has been told.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, August 23, 1895

      . . . . .

      Coroner Kenney's Jury Investigating The Cause Of The Loss Of The Yacht.
The Coroner's inquest in the case of the RUNG BROTHERS yacht disaster, in which six men were drowned. was begun by Coroner Kenney and a jury this afternoon.
      Rufus E. Whitwell, the pilot of the yacht, was the first witness. The most important fact in his testimony was the information that the yacht did not have a small boat. Whitwell said he did not notice the fact until they got to Edgewater. Had he known this at the start he would not have taken the party out. It was customary, he said, for such craft to carry small boats and believed it was the duty of the owner to see that the boat was properly equipped. He was acting as captain and pilot that day. He was asked if any of the party were intoxicated and replied that so far as he knew they were not. He was perfectly sober.
      He considered it perfectly safe to go through the Emerald channel that day. No one had spoken to him about going up the canal.
      When the boat foundered he was running ahead of the sea straight for the Creek.
      The passengers were sitting on the port side and the boat was slightly listed. The sea struck her on the starboard quarter astern. She rolled to port and he tried to straighten her up by putting the wheel to starboard. She would not mind the wheel--in fact, he said the steering gear of the yacht had never worked well. Once before when he had run the boat he had had trouble with her. On the day of the accident the steering fouled on him when starting away from the dock in the Erie Basin and frequently during the day. He believed that when the boat foundered and he tried to put the wheel over and could not the steering gear fouled again. The boat plunged into the water and filled so quickly, that it was hard to tell just what did happen.
The inquest will probably last for a day or two.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, September 5, 1895

      . . . . .

      Some Question Whether The Matter Will Not Be Placed In Federal Hands.
Coroner Kenney has not taken any action as yet in regard to presenting the case of the foundering of the yacht RUNG BROTHERS to the grand jury.
      The District Attorney's office is at present actively engaged in considering the matter of the Academy of Music fire, in which arson is charged, and so today could not take up the Coroner's case.
      It will be recalled that the jury yesterday sent in a hot verdict; scoring Pilot Whitwell and owner George Burley and in consequence Coroner Kenney deemed it his duty to send the matter where it would be investigated further and the responsibility placed.
      On Tuesday next the federal investigation will be begun and then it will be determined whether the foundering took place in Government or State waters. If in the former the matter will not be presented to the Erie county grand jury but will be given in the hands of the federal officials.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Saturday, September 7, 1895

Steam screw RUNG BROS. U. S. No. 111065. Of 18.42 tons gross; 9.21 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1894. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 50,7 x 8.7 x 2.8
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895

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Reason: sunk
Lives: 6
Remarks: ?
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Rung Bros. (Steam yacht), U111065, sunk, 20 Aug 1895