Loss of a Schooner with all Hands of the South Pier
The south-east gale continued yesterday with great violence and there was not the slightest indication of its abating until late last night. During the meantime a number of the vessels put back in safety into the harbour, their progress through the storm being watched with much interest by the large groups collected on the pier. The Volunteer Life Brigade remained on duty through the whole day. From the time the Eagle went ashore until about half-past four, there was nothing to demand attention of these brave fellows, but at the time stated a small vessel was descried at a distance out at sea running from the north towards the harbour. It was at once seen that she was in a distressed condition, and she was watched with great anxiety. Immediate orders were given for the rocket apparatus to be got ready, and the brigadesmen proceeded down the pier to be in readiness to assist the vessel, which by this time was within 100 yards of the South Pier. She was seen to labour heavily, amongst the waves, which swept over her with terrible force. Scarcely had the rocket apparatus been put in order when a heavy sea was seen to strike her amidships and almost instantly—to the great horror of the spectators- she heeled over and sank. Her re-appearance was eagerly looked for but not a spar of her was seen, and after a few minutes of the greatest anxiety it was discovered that she had gone to the bottom with all hands. The occurrence was so sudden that the brigadesmen had no time to afford her the slightest assistance and the alarm guns only fired after the vessel had sunk. After its disappearance a body was seen floating on the surface of the water, but it disappeared the next moment. Orders were given to prepare the lines for the assistance of anyone who might swim from the wreck; but the whole of the crew must have been instantly engulphed in the waves. A look out was then kept for portions of the wreck and for the dead bodies the seamen. The scene on the pier at this time was of the most terrible nature. Southward nothing could be discerned but miles upon miles of foam, and looking to the north the prospect was one of the wildest kind. About twenty minutes after the foundering of the vessel, her hull came ashore, at the base of the pier a seaman who was searching at the edge of the sea with a lantern discovered the body of a youth, in a dreadfully mangled condition. The clothes of the deceased had been torn from his body by the waves; and it was evident that he had been washed with great with great force amongst the stones near the pier. The boy appeared to have been lashed to something on board the vessel for a long piece of rope was found hanging about him. Near the pier was also discovered a portion of the log book, from which it appeared that the name of the vessel was Samuel Bernard of Boston. One the entries showed that in July she was at Hull, bound on voyage to Rochester. It was stated that the name of the captain John Trash, it is feared that he had his wife and children on board.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 September 1870
The Late Gale
The Loss of the Samuel Bernard
This morning, Mr J. M. Favell, coroner, held an inquest at the Marine Hotel, South Shields, on the body which washed ashore near the South Pier shortly after the sinking of the schooner Samuel Barnard, on Friday night.
Benjamin Birch, who was on duty on the pier on the night of the storm, gave evidence as to seeing the schooner making for the port about four o'clock on the Friday night. The brigade men got everything ready to assist the crew if necessary, but soon afterwards a heavy sea struck her and she sank immediately.
Another witness proved finding the body„ which was evidently that of a boy about 14 years of age. It was very much injured about the head. He found it at the base of the pier.
The jury returned a verdict to the offset that the boy was drowned from the schooner.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 12 December 1870
The Wreck of the Schooner at the South Pier
Two of the Bodies Found
Yesterday morning, the bodies of two men washed ashore on the rocks at Tynemouth. One was the body of a man about fifty years of age, and the other of young man about nineteen. A fisherman's medal, dated 1870, was round the neck of the eldest body, and the number upon it is some clue to the name of the owner. It is supposed that the bodies are those of the captain and one of his sons, who went down with the Samuel Bernard, of Boston, at the mouth of the harbour, on Friday last. The bodies are lying in the Dead House at Tynemouth.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 14 December 1870
The Foundering of the Samuel Bernard
Inquest on the Bodies.
Last night, Mr Cockcroft, coroner, held an inquest at the Royal Hotel, Tynemouth, on the bodies of the two seamen found on the Oxfold Rocks, on Tuesday morning. After hearing the evidence of David Rollo and Christopher Cairns, relative to the finding of the bodies, Mrs Fresh was called. The witness was very much affected. She said she had only arrived from Hull that same evening, and had identified, in the Dead House, the body of her husband, John Fresh, late master of the schooner Samuel Bernard, of Boston. Deceased was 60 years of age, and was master and owner of the vessel. The younger man found with her husband had been mate. His name was William Hargrave, and he belonged to Lowestoft. The other two on board the vessel were her sons—John, 16 years of age, and Charles, 12 years of age. (The body of one lad, it will be remembered, was found shortly after the melancholy occurrence.) The jury returned a verdict that the deceased had been drowned by the foundering of the Samuel Bernard, on Friday last.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 December 1870
The Recent Loss the Schooner Samuel Bernard.—The Captain's Widow.—At North and South Shields a movement has been set on foot to raise subscriptions on behalf of the widow of the master of the schooner Samuel Bernard, the loss of which, within sight of Shields harbour, during the recent gale, is still so fresh in the minds of the public of the two towns. The plain facts of the case speak so eloquently, that the object requires no advocacy from us to commend it to the sympathy of the public. With the schooner all hands went down, amongst them being the captain, who was also owner of the vessel he commanded, and his two sons. His widow, who lives at Hull, and has six children, left totally unprovided for, the vessel having been uninsured. It is to be hoped that a willing response will be given to the appeal made on behalf of the bereaved widow and her children. At South Shields Mr Malcolm, secretary to the South Shields Life Brigade, will be glad to receive subscriptions.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 December 1870
The Loss of the Samuel Bernard of Boston
About £100 have been collected by Miss Blagburn, of the Royal Hotel, Tynemouth, and by other ladies and gentlemen in Tynemouth, Newcastle, and South Shields, on behalf of the widow of Captain Fresh, who, with his two sons, was lost in the schooner Samuel Barnard, off the South Pier, in the recent heavy gales.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 December 1870
The Foundering of the Samuel Bernard of Boston
The following letter relating to the foundering of the above vessel, on Friday last, at the mouth of the river, has been received by Mr Lishman, Harbour Master:—
Hull, Dec. 11th, 1870
To the Harbour Master.
Sir,—Would you oblige by letting me know if there is any truth in the enclosed paragraph, which was cut out of a Hull newspaper of yesterday. If it is as stated, please forward particulars. The captain was owner of the schooner Samuel Bernard, and his wife and family now live at Hull The vessel was loaded with salt from Hull to the Tyne. There were four hands on board—Captain Fresh and two sons, twelve and 15 years old, and the mate. By complying you will greatly oblige.
I remain, yours respectfully,
J. R. Collinson.
Mr Lishman, it may be stated, forwarded the required information in connection with the melancholy fate of the vessel.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 14 December 1870