Monday, October 31, 2011

Bertha L. Basker

Bertha L. Basker, April 1915.

The freighter Bertha L. Basker was lost (vanished?) on a journey from New York to St. Martin. (Berlitz, Without a Trace, p. 23.)

In 1916 the Lejuez family received the sad news that James Edwin Lejuez and his wife Adelaide Beatrice van Gurp lost their lives when their ship, the American schooner Bertha L. Basker, which left New York for St. Maarten on April 7, 1916, was lost at sea.

So much for Berlitz' date. And a schooner. Some freighter, huh? Technically, of course, a schooner can be a freighter, but I bet most people think of a big old steamer when they hear freighter, and I bet that's what Berlitz wanted, as his series of lost schooners was beginning to look boring and non-mysterious.

Anyway, what might have happened to the schooner Bertha L. Basker in April 1916?

WASHINGTON, April 8. — The yacht Mayflower, which left here last evening with the President and Mrs. Wilson on board, returned to the Washington Navy Yard at 4:30 o'clock this afternoon. … The abandonment of the trip was due to a heavy storm which came up the coast in the night and made it uncomfortable on the yacht.

("Wilson Abandons Cruise," The New York Times, April 9, 1916.)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fitz J. Babson

Fitz J. Babson, February 27, 1914.

The schooner Fitz J. Babson was lost (vanished?) east of Jacksonville, Florida, with a company of seven. (Berlitz, Without a Trace, p. 23.)

WASHINGTON, March 1. — The storm which swept New York and the surrounding country to-day originated off the Georgia Coast yesterday and traversed the Atlantic Coast from Savannah to Long Island. Prof. Edward H. Bowie, forecaster in charge of the United States Weather Bureau, said the storm was central over Long Island and New York City to-night, and that it would pass through the New England States and off into the St. Lawrence Valley.

Many wires were down, and for this reason the Weather Bureau was without complete reports from its observers to-night, but such dispatches as were received by the forecaster showed that the storm was central off Georgia yesterday, that it passed Cape Hatteras to-day, and was central over Long Island to-night.

"I have been unable to have telegraphic communication with New York City to-night," Prof. Bowie said. "Such advices as we had from that city came by long-distance telephone. The wind at New York City to-night was blowing at seventy-two miles an hour, and had shifted to the northwest. The message from New York said that the barometric reading there to-night was 28.38. I question this figure, because it is abnormally low, and we have been trying to verify it. About 30 would be more like a normal reading of the barometer. If the barometer is anything like 28.38 it is about the lowest ever recorded in New York.

"We also issued a warning to all vessels along the Atlantic Coast not to venture from port on account of the severity of the gale. The wind blew sixty miles an hour yesterday at Savannah. The storm passed rapidly up the coast, whirling violently as it proceeded. When these southern coast storms whirl like this they make rapid headway up the coast and increase in intensity. There is every indication that this whirling storm was not less than 1,000 miles in diameter. The storm covered a wide area as it moved northward. Our reports indicate heavy storms in New York and Pennsylvania.

("Started off Georgia Coast," The New York Times, March 2, 1914.)

WASHINGTON, March 2. — The severest storm of the winter raged to-day from Eastport, ME, to Savannah, GA, while a cold wave, rolling down from the Great Lakes country, overspread the Atlantic States as far south as Florida. Lowest temperatures ever recorded in March were registered in Charleston and Macon and other points in the Southeast.

("Storm Zone from Maine to Georgia," The New York Times, March 3, 1914.)

The Fitz J. Babson sailed (or was lost?) on or around February 27, 1914. The storm originated on February 28. Check.

The Fitz J. Babson was lost (vanished?) east of Jacksonville, Florida. The storm originated off the Georgia Coast. Check.


Update: According to Singer, February 27 was the day the Fitz J. Babson left Jacksonville. At 69 tons, she wasn't exactly an ocean liner, either. (Singer, p. 227.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Benjamin F. Poole

Benjamin F. Poole, January 29, 1914.

The schooner Benjamine F. Poole [sic] was lost (vanished?) east of Wilmington, North Carolina, with a company of eight. (Berlitz, Without a Trace, p. 23.)

The spurious e in the first name is probably Berlitz' typo on account of the last name ending in that letter.

The "1,555-ton Benjamin F. Poole… went missing after leaving North Carolina and heading south in January 1914." (Quasar, p. 57.)

The snowstorm which the Weather Bureau foretold on Thursday was headed this way from Texas and which arrived on schedule time on Friday night bade New York good-bye yesterday afternoon and is now headed, propelled by north-westerly gales, for the southern coast of Newfoundland, where it is expected to pass out to sea and into history.

At sea the blizzard was felt at its full force. Several wrecks were reported along the coast, and the transatlantic liners now on their way to New York all sent word by wireless that they would be from one to two days late.

"This storm," said Forecaster Scarr yesterday, "is the greatest experienced in the northeastern part of the United States in several years. The center of barometric depression primarily responsible for the storm was central near Atlantic City this morning, the center having switched from the Carolina coast to that place since 8 o'clock Friday night.

The storm, so far as New York City was concerned, started at 6:10 o'clock on Friday night. At that hour the long-heralded "Texas Blizzard," which, as a matter of fact, originated in Northern New Mexico, and not in Texas, arrived in the form of a gentle fall of snow.

("City Snow-Bound and Eight Perish in 75-Mile Gale," The New York Times, February 15, 1914.)

I wonder where the Benjamin F. Poole was bound and where the storm was when she was halfway there.