The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Thursday, November 18, 1880

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What Two Hunters Saw on Sandy Creek Marsh ­ Their Story of the Sailing Condition of the Vessel, Her Movements and Action of the Life Crew.

SANDY CREEK, NOV. 17. ­ What you have been publishing for the last two or three days in reagard to the wreck of the Cortez and the life saving crew is not all true, for I was an eye witness to it, myself and two others. My name is H. J. North. The other two names are E. N. Sargents and Scotty Wheeler. We wer4e hunting duck on Big Sandy marsh that day and saw the schooner about 11:30 o'clock in the forenoon and I should judge she was abreast of Texas, in the bay. I said she must be disabled, or the captain was not acquainted with the shore, and we left our hunting and went to the life saving station. When we got there Capt. Van Alstine and his crew were all in the lookout and watching the schooner. Being some acquainted with him and the crew, I asked him what he thought about it. He said she acted queer and he must be a stranger to this shore. She was then about abreast of the station, in my judgment 1-1/2 or 2 miles out. I took the glass and looked at her. She was carrying two jibs, staysail, two reefed foresail and a reefed mainsail and was making good headway, standing towards Stony Point. We supposed she was trying to make the passage, and on she went at a rapid rate. I looked at her again through the glass, and I thought by her actions she was trying to come in stays, but it was blowing so hard she could not. Then she looked as if she was close to Stony Point. She then took in her mainsail and two jibs and stood towards the beach. The captain of the station says, "They are going to try and wear her," and so they did and stood back towards the station, and I should think she was five miles from there then. The captains said to his men, "I think she has got so close in that she will have to go ashore, and he told his men to go and get out the cart with the breeches buoy and that they would start for her. The men all started but the captain and us. We asked the captain if we could do anything to help him, and he said yes and he would be glad to have us. He said the cart was heavy and we could help very much about drawing it. I told him we would help, but we had nothing to eat since morning, and he told us to go and tell the cook to put some grub on the cart, and he did so. Then he came running to the station from the lookout and says, "She has let go her anchors and is going ashore," and he gave orders and we started down the beach as fast as we could go; but the road was heavy and it took some time. Between us and the schooner was an outlet from the pond into the lake, and we found the water was so deep we could not cross without a boat. So he sent three men for his small boat and told them to hurry. They soon came back with the boat and we crossed. There was a team there and we put the stuff in the wagon and started on. We got within a quarter of a mile of the schooner, I should think, and met some of the crew, the captain and the men that got them off. They said they were all safe. We then went on to the wreck. The captain took his stuff and took care of it and left two men with it, and we all returned to the station. And I say for one, the captain and crew done all they could to save the crew; and it is a shame what people say about them. If you will publish this, for my part I will be much obliged. Yours respectfully,

Sandy Creek

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Thursday, November 18, 1880
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Richard Palmer
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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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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), Thursday, November 18, 1880