On this Day (March 7) – Loss of Life on the Tolo


The Britith Colonist of February 28th gives the particulars of the mournful casualty referred to in the Union yesterday


Byrne, late mate of the ill fated schooner, has furnished us with some interesting incidents connected with the accident. He says that all on board — twelve in number — save Eddy and Cox (who were probably drowned in their berths, as they were not seen), were thrown into the water when the vessel went over, at six o’clock on Monday morning last. There was a heavy chop sea on at the time. Nelson, who was at the wheel, clambered up the side of the vessel as she went over, and having reached the keel safely, assisted our informant to a place by his side. The two then turned their attention to the others, who were struggling in the water or clinging to the side of the schooner. Sullivan was saved by Byrne and Nelson tying their jackets together and giving him one sleeve to fasten around his body. By this menus he was hauled to the keel. The second mate, the two Anderssens, the Chinaman and Ehler sank in a few moments, after exerting themselves to the utmost to scale the sides. Carter succeeded in getting a fender and the skylight, which were floating in the water, under each arm, and remarking that he “would try and make the shore,” struck out for San Juan Island, which was about five miles distant.

In the meanwhile, Captain Maloney clung to the main chains. He was just about to turn in, and was consequently partially undressed, when the disaster occurred. The men on the bottom of the vessel made every exertion to reach the captain, and tied their clothes together to aid him. Once they succeeded in getting him nearly up, when a knot slipped, and he fell back into the water. Another attempt was made to save him by tying a neck comforter to an oilskin coat, and passing a sleeve to him, which he tied around his neck and placed the end between his teeth. But the coat was made of inferior material, and at the first pull the sleeve was torn out and poor Muloney exclaimed that he was afraid he could not be saved, as he was growing weak and benumbed. Several other ineffectual attempts were made to save their captain, and at last the survivors, finding further exertions useless, reluctantly abandoned him to his fate. Byrne says, that after giving up all hopes of rescue, Maloney remarked:

“Boys, don’t forget my wife and children — oh! my poor wife!”

This he repeated several times. Soon he relaxed his hold on the chains, and slowly floated astern with his arms spread out, and his head just above the surface. Occasionally he would raise his head and gaze wistfully and sadly towards the floating wreck above him, and at the men clinging to it, and then his head would slowly droop again. When he had floated about half a length astern he raised his head, as with a last effort, from the water, called out feebly, “Boys, don’t forget my poor wife and children,” tossed his arms above his head, and, with a gurgling cry, sunk beneath the waves.

After poor Maloney had gone down the survivors turned their attention to Carter, whom they discerned flouting with the fender and the skylight beneath his arms. He remained in sight for full ten minutes after the captain had disappeared, when he was lost sight of and doubtless perished. The three men continued on the wreck, exposed to the pitiless pelting of the snow storms which have prevailed for several days past, without a morsel of food, suffering greatly, the sea occasionally making a clean breach over them, until Wednesday at two o’clock p. m., when the sloop Random, Captain Frank, on her way to Victoria from Port Townsend, hove in sight. Captain Frank, on hearing their cries, ran down to their assistance, took them off, and brought them to this city the same evening. The legs and the feet of the survivors are more or less frost bitten, and the Random appeared just in time to save their lives. Another night of exposure and all must have perished. Yesterday, with funds raised by subscriptions from citizens ($2lO was raised) they were provided with complete outfits of new clothes and received proper medical treatment. No fears are entertained but that all three will soon fully recover from the effects of the exposure.

The disaster is attributable to the heavy spars of the unfortunate vessel, and the fact that she had no ballast aboard. She was nearly new, having only made three trips between this port and San Francisco, and was owned by Amos & Phinney, of Port Ludlow, whither she was bound. About twenty-live tons of freight was in the hold. The Tolo left this port for Ludlow on Sunday morning last. Captain Maloney was an American by birth, aged about thirty-six years, and leaves a wife and two young children in San Francisco. He was an excellent seaman and a worthy man, and the announcement of bis untimely end will cause a pang of regret to many a heart in this town and on the Sound, where he had many friends.

Byrne, in speaking of the passengers, says that Carter formerly resided at Port Ludlow, and had been to Maine on a visit. He was a large, stout man, with heavy beard and mustache, and was about thirty-eight years of age. Ehlers was just from Canada, he engaged passage at San Francisco for this city, where he expected to meet a friend who is said to be connected with the Lands and Works Department of British Columbia; but not finding his friend, and being short of money, Captain Maloney, with his customary kind heartedness, assisted him pecuniarily and offered him a free passage to Port Ludlow, where he could obtain a job at the mill. This offer Ehlers thankfully accepted, and was on his way thither when the disaster which cut abort his thread of life and hurried himself and eight others into eternity occurred. Eddy was bound to Port Townsend, where he expected to take passage on a vessel for Australia.

The mate of the Tolo, with several men, left yesterday for Lopez Island, near which the wreck of the schooner Tolo lies. The steam tug Resolute will be dispatched from Port Madison to tow the wreck to Ludlow.


* Noteworthy

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the “telephone”.

1900 – The German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse becomes the first ship to send wireless signals to shore.

1936 – Prelude to World War II: In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.

1985 – The song “We Are the World” receives its international release.

1986 – Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver locate the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.


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