South Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( U-V-W )

UNCLE JOHN (1926)     The 26 ton 46 foot wooden gas screw Uncle John stranded and was lost in Dry Bay at 10 p.m. Saturday April 3, 1926.  The vessel departed Petersburg April 29, 1926 bound for Cordova with four crewmen aboard.  She was carrying eight tons of cannery supplies valued at $1,100.  The following are statements from the casualty report filed by Ludvig Torgersen, master of the Uncle John:

                “Sand Bar at entrance of Dry Bay, Alaska”  “Stranding”  “Heavy weather on outside, making for shelter of Dry Bay”  “Pitch dark, sand storm due to off shore wind from Dry Bay”  “Reversed engine and made repeated attempts to get free from bar.  This proved impossible on account of heavy seas and high wind.  The vessel soon began to founder”  “Heavy weather at sea made it compulsory that we seek shelter.  We were approaching the entrance of Dry Bay and in attempt to reach the entrance drew too close in to shore and struck on the bar”

                The Uncle John had a value of $5,000 and was a total loss, as was her cargo.  The vessel was insured for $4,800 and her cargo $1,100.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 08 N 138 25 W  Chart 16760

                Additional Information : Tonnage 26 Gross 18 Net, Length 46.5, Breadth 13.6, Depth 6, Built 1914 at Anacortes WA, HP 40, Registered Seattle, Service freight, ON 211925, Master Ludvig Torgersen of Seattle, Owner Moore Packing Company of Portland OR

                Sources : 1. U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty April 20, 1926 at Cordova, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1925) Pgs 522-3

 

UNCLE SAM (1912)     The 24 ton 45 foot gas steam screw Uncle Sam stranded and was lost in Seward Harbor December 7, 1912.  There was no one aboard at the time of the stranding and no lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 06 30 N 149 26 30 W  Chart 16682

                Additional Information : Tonnage 24 Gross 16 Net, Length 45, Breadth 13, Depth 4.6, Built 1882 at Seattle, Home Port Kodiak, ON 201189

                Sources : 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1914) Vessels Reported Lost Pg 430, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1913) Pg 312

 

UNDAUNTED (1894)     The 68 ton 61 foot wooden schooner Undaunted stranded and was lost off Kayak Island at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday March 7, 1894.  The Undaunted departed Kodiak February 22, 1894 on a seal hunting trip with 15 persons aboard.  The vessel became entrapped in the ice off Kayak Island and crushed to bits.  The crew was forced to abandon the Undaunted and seek shelter on an ice floe where they survived for 28 days.  They managed to escape the ice on a small boat patched together from the wreckage of the Undaunted.  They made their way to Port Etches in Prince William Sound where they were taken aboard the steamer Kodiak on April 4, 1894 and transported to Kodiak Village.  No lives were lost.  The Undaunted had a value of $3,000 and had a burden of 40 tons including ballast.  Her cargo was a hunting outfit worth $1,500.  The vessel was a total loss as was most of the hunting outfit.  The vessel was insured for $2,000 and the cargo had no insurance.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 56 N 144 23 W  Chart 16723

                Comment : The wreck report gives the location as “60 08 12 N south end of Kayak Island Cove ESE” which makes the wreck likely off the village of Kayak between Wingham Island and Kayak Island.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 68.18 Gross 64.8 Net, Length 61, Breadth 22.4, Depth 7.0, Built 1873 at Davenport Landing CA, Registered Kodiak, ON 25201, Master H B Larsen of Kodiak, Owner H B Larsen and H C Cope of Kodiak

                Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report , 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1893) Pg251, 3. Victoria Daily Colonist May 19, 1894 On a Sea of Ice Pg 5

 

UNION (1914)     The 8 ton 38 foot gas screw Union departed Lituya Bay for Dixon Harbor December 28, 1913 and hasn’t been heard from since.  The trip should have taken 5 hours.  The vessel was on the mail run between Juneau and Yakutat.  Captain W B Germain and William Stratton were lost with the Union.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  58 20 15 N 136 52 W  Chart 16760

                Additional Information : Tonnage 8 Gross 5 Net, Length 38, Breadth 8, Depth 3.5, Built 1902 at Juneau, Registered Juneau, ON 25356

                Sources : 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1915) Vessels Reported Lost Pg 425, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1914) Pg 314, 3. BOEMRE Shipwreck List (2011)

 

UNIVERSE (1923)     The 39 ton 59 foot gas screw fishing vessel Universe stranded and was lost at Kanak Island at 7:20 a.m. Sunday December 9, 1923.  The vessel departed Cordova December 8th at 11:45 a.m. bound for Seattle, Washington with a crew of 7 men.  There was no cargo aboard.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by Pete Lubetich, owner of the Universe:

                “Sand bar west side Kanak Island”  “Stranding”  “Went ashore in snow storm and heavy sea”  “Master says strong wind”  “Master says attempted to anchor and back out of sand”  “The owner was not on boat, but received statement from master”  “Total loss from present advice”

                The Universe had a value of $10,000 and was reported a total loss.  The vessel had $10,000 in insurance.  No lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 08 N 144 21 W  Chart 16723

                Comment : This vessel was salvaged, put back into service and lost again in 1927.  Evidence of this wreck may still be on site and of interest.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 39 Gross 30 Net, Length 59.2, Breadth 14.6, Depth 7, IHP 65, Built 1920 at Port Orchard WA, Registered Seattle, ON 220225, Master Timothy Collins of Cordova, Owner Pete Lubetich of Seattle

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty January 5, 1924 at Seattle, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1923) Pg 292

 

UNIVERSE (1927)     The 39 ton 59 foot gas screw fishing vessel Universe stranded and was lost on Chirikof Island at 11 p.m. November 19, 1927.  The vessel departed Kodiak November 11th bound for Chirikof Island with 4 crewmen aboard.  She had 10 tons of general merchandise cargo on board valued at $2,000.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “East side Chirikof Island”  “Blown ashore”  “Stranding”  “Gale, iced down”  “Hove to under lee of island for three days before being blown ashore”  “S S Starr picked crew up”  “TOTAL LOSS”

                The Universe had a value of $10,000 at the time of the disaster and was a total loss along with her cargo.  The vessel was insured for $8,000 and the cargo was fully insured.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  55 50 N 155 37 W  Chart 16580

                Additional Information : Tonnage 39 Gross 30 Net, Length 59.2, Breadth 14.6, Depth 7, IHP 65, Built 1920 at Port Orchard WA, Registered Seward, ON 220225, Master Roy Lynch of Kodiak, Owner Irving W Bonbright of New York City

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty March 23, 1928 at Seward by Karl Armstrong, Managing Owner, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1927) Pgs 512-513

 

UNKNOWN RUSSIAN VESSEL (1803)     Wreckage from an unknown possibly Russian vessel washed up on the shores of Montague Island April 10, 1803.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 10 N 147 15 W  Chart 16700

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN RUSSIAN BAIDARA (1830)     A Russian baidara was wrecked in heavy weather near Kodiak Island, February 10, 1830.  The vessel was travelling from Kodiak to Alexandrovsk Redoubt.  20 persons were lost in the disaster. Wreckage washed ashore near Crane Bay (Duck Bay?).

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  Unknown

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN VESSEL (1888)     “…at the end of the season (1888) over 100 cases of salmon labeled Kodiak Packing Company washed ashore at the south end of Alitak Bay interspersed with pieces of a vessel.”

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  56 50 N 154 17 W  Chart 16580

                Source : Salmon From Kodiak (1986) Pg 143

 

UNKNOWN STEAM BARGE (1898)     An unknown steam barge was lost with all hands near Cape Sarichef.  Wreckage was found on a beach nearby.  The steamer Garonne found a life ring on a voyage from Saint Michael.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  54 35 50 N 164 55 30 W  Chart 16011

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN SCHOONER (1898)     An unknown capsized schooner was spotted by the schooner Victoria between Kodiak and the Shumagin Islands in 1898.  The vessel was drifting; all hands presumed lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  Unknown

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN SLOOP (1898)     An unknown sloop was lost near Sunrise City in September of 1898.  The vessel was travelling to points in Cook Inlet and was heavily loaded with passengers and freight.  The sloop was swamped in a tidal bore.  Seven Copper River Miners and two crewmen were lost in the disaster.  The only survivor was the captain’s dog.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 53 30 N 149 25 30 W  Chart 16660

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN NAME HOUSE SCOW (1908)    A house scow was crushed by ice at the mouth of the Alsek River in March of 1908.  Lost with the vessel were provisions and personal gear.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 08 N 138 25 W  Chart 16016

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN SCOW (1909)     An unknown scow went adrift from Hinchinbrook Lighthouse and wrecked on Montague Island in September of 1909.  The vessel was salvaged by Natives.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 10 N 147 15 W  Chart 16700

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN POWER LAUNCH (1915)     An unknown named power launch was lost on Glacier Island December 7, 1915.  The vessel had come from College Fjord and was on her way to Valdez when she grounded on the rocks.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 53 N 147 11 W  Chart 16700

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN MAIL BOAT (1928)     An unknown gas screw mail boat was lost in 1928 at the mouth of Shoup Bay.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  61 07 15 N 146 35 30 W  Chart 16700

                Comment : This may be the Marylee, lost at the mouth of Shoup Bay late in 1927.  WG

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UYAK (1909)     The 22 ton 55 foot wooden steam screw Uyak stranded and was lost on Kodiak Island the morning of September 13, 1909.  The vessel had departed Uyak Bay bound for Karluk with 2 persons aboard when the disaster occurred.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “Walcott Rock, Kodiak Island, Alaska”  “Stranding”  “Misjudgement in distance offshore.  Extreme low tide, and tide carried her too close to shore”  “Early morning, S S Shelikof and lighters tried to assist her in getting off, but they were unsuccessful”  “Complete wreck”

                The Uyak had a value of $10,000 and was a complete loss with no insurance.  She was not carrying cargo.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 40 15 N 154 11 45 W  Chart 16598

                Comment : Probably Wolcott Reef named for where the schooner Wolcott was lost January 31, 1900

                Additional Information : Tonnage 22 Gross 12 Net, Length 55, Breadth 13, Depth 5.8, Service Tow, HP 80, Built 1901 at Alameda CA, Registered Seattle WA, ON 25336, Master Markin Olsen of Seattle, Owner Northwestern Fisheries Company of Seattle

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report November 15, 1909 at Seattle by C H Bushman, General Supt., Northwestern Fisheries Co.

 

VALDEZ (1920)     The 12 ton 35 foot gas screw freight vessel Valdez stranded and was lost in Portage Bay near Kanatak February 22, 1920.  The four persons aboard survived, but the Valdez became a complete loss.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 34 05 N 156 02 15 W  Chart 16570

                Additional Information : Tonnage 12 Gross 8 Net, Length 35.7, Breadth 10.9, Depth 4.1, Built 1908 at Valdez, Registered Juneau, ON 205500

                Sources : 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1919) Pg 335, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1920) Vessels Reported Lost Pg 449, 3. H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 313

 

VALVADERE (1929)     Fire destroyed the 10 ton 40 foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Valvadere near the Cooper River at 9:10 a.m. June 3, 1929.  The vessel departed Cordova the day before bound for the Copper River Delta fishing grounds with 2 crewmen aboard.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by H Lamereaux, master of the Valvadere:

                “Light westerly wind”  “Grass Island, Copper River”  “Explosion of bilge gases”  “Possible backfire thru the carburetor.  Exact cause not determined”  “Bilge pumped at regular intervals of ½ hour”  “None (assistance) needed as vessel laid alongside scow” 

                The Valvadere was valued at $6,000 and was a total loss.  She had 7 tons of fresh salmon aboard worth $600 of which 20% was lost.  There was no insurance.  No lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 15 N 145 17 W  Chart 16013

                Additional Information : Tonnage 10 Gross 8 Net, Length 40.2, Breadth 10.7, Depth 2.8, Built 1920 at Philadelhpia PA, IHP 50, Registered Juneau, ON 225558, Master Mr. H Lameraux of Marietta WA, Owner New England Fish Co of Boston MA

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty July 7, 1929 at Cordova, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1929) Pgs 542-3

 

VANDERBILT (1888)     The 92.87 ton 85 foot wooden schooner Vanderbilt stranded and was lost at Pirate Cove August 27, 1888.  The vessel departed San Francisco March 8, 1888 with 27 crewmen aboard bound for “fishing and hunting”.  A severe storm, rainy weather and heavy sea led to the disaster.  The entire crew survived, but the Vanderbilt, valued at $4,000 was a complete loss.  Ballast was the only cargo.  There was no insurance.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  55 21 40 N 160 21 25 W  Chart 16553

                Additional Information : Tonnage 92.87, Length 85, Breadth 27, Depth 6.5, Built in 1867 at San Francisco CA, Registered San Francisco, ON 25704, Master R Turner of San Francisco, Owner William Brown MO of San Francisco

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report March 29, 1889 at San Francisco by William Brown, managing owner

 

VIKING (1902)     The 146 ton 108 foot schooner Viking was lost off of Unga at 10:00 a.m. Sunday April 20, 1902.  The vessel departed San Francisco March 10, 1902 bound for Unga with 7 crewmen aboard.  She had a 220 ton cargo of salt, lumber and provisions valued at $2,500.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “Popoff Island Point, Unga, Alaska”  “Stranding”  “Vessels anchors not holding in heavy swell, vessel drifted ashore”  “NE gale, snowing and rough sea, dark”  “Total loss to owners.”  “Master called survey, sold vessel and cargo for $650.  Have since learned that vessel has been floated by new owner and will be repaired and saved”

                The Viking and her cargo were reported as total losses.  The vessel was valued at $6,000 and insured for $4,200.  The cargo was valued at $2,500 and was fully insured.  No lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  55 11 N 160 30 10 W  Chart 16553

Comment : Evidence of this wreck may still be on site and of interest.  The Viking was repaired, put back into service and wrecked again in 1904 near Cape Prince of Wales.  WG

Additional Information : Tonnage 146 Gross 139 Net, Length 108, Breadth 30, Depth 8.2, Built 1882 at Marshfield OR, Registered San Francisco, ON 161510, SL JWVD, Master J T Mortenson of San Francisco, Managing Owner William Olsen of San Francisco

Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report July 25, 1902 at San Francisco by C D Bunter, part owner and agent, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1901) Pg 188

 

VIKING (1923)     The 27 ton 47 foot wooden gas screw Viking washed up on Sitkinak Island and was lost at 10:00 a.m. December 6, 1923.  The vessel departed Port Wrangell December 2, 1923 bound for Kodiak with a cargo of 10 tons of empty coal oil drums.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by Andrew Grosvold, owner of the Viking:

                “Vessel left Sand Point on Nov. 2nd with a hunting party on board.  On Dec. 2nd being in need of fuel and provisions, dropped into Kanatak, while crew and hunters were ashore getting same, gale suddenly sprung up, making it impossible to return to ship and at about 6:00 a.m. morning of the 3rd, anchor chain parted about 10 ft. from the hawse pipe, allowing the vessel to drift out of the harbor”  “Vessel anchored in 3 fathoms of water with 250 lb. anchor and 45 fathoms of ¾ inch chain”  “Blew out of Kanatak, Alaska, morning of Dec. 3rd, 1923 while master and crew were ashore, leaving only the cook on board.”  “N.W. gale suddenly sprung up, making it impossible for master and crew to get on board”  “Sitkinak Island off the South end of Kodiak Island”  “Total loss”

                The Viking had a value of $6,500 and her cargo $375 which were both lost.  Neither the vessel nor her cargo was insured.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  56 33 N 154 10 W  Chart 16580

Comment : The Viking was wrecked more than 70 miles southeast of where she parted her anchor chain.  It must have been a troubling voyage for the cook that was along for the ride.  WG

Additional Information : Tonnage 27 Gross 18 Net, Length 47, Breadth 16, Depth 4.6, Service freight, IHP 10, Built 1916 at Sand Point, Registered Unalaska, ON 214355, Master Johan Olsen of Sand Point, Owner Andrew Grosvold of Sand Point

Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty March 1, 1924 at Unalaska, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1923) Pg 295

 

VIKING (1935)     The 15 ton 46 foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Viking was lost off of Icy Bay at 6:00 a.m. Sunday August 25, 1935.  The vessel departed Wingham Island, Prince William Sound, under tow bound for Petersburg.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by Harold Hofstad, master of the Viking:

                “Heavy wind and big seas”  “Was being towed by New Rustler and heavy blow came up and had to cut Viking adrift about 35 miles off Icy Bay, Gulf of Alaska”  “Probably is a total loss”  “Could do nothing but cut Viking adrift from the gas screw New Rustler”  “Viking was being towed by New Rustler to save gas and also because there was not a sufficient crew to man the two boats”

                The Viking had a value of $1,500 and was not carrying cargo.  She was a total loss with no insurance.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 55 N 141 33 W  Chart 16016

                Additional Information : Tonnage 15 Gross 12 Net, Length 46.4, Breadth 8.9, Depth 4.4, Built 1908 at Seattle WA, HP 70, Registered Seattle, ON 232578, Master Harold Hofstad of Petersburg, Owner Jack Coble of Petersburg

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty September 6, 1935 at Juneau, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1935) Pgs 618-9

 

VIRGINIUS (1925)     The 35 ton 56 foot wooden gas screw fishing schooner Viriginius broke loose from her tow and foundered at 10 a.m. Monday June 15, 1925.  The vessel departed Port Moler June 14th in tow of the vessel Katherine D and was bound for Ketchikan.  There was no one aboard the Virginius and no cargo.  The vessel is reported to have broken loose and foundered at 54 55 00 N 165 50 W.  There was a strong SW wind with heavy seas and no shelter nearby.  The Virginius had a value of $3,000 and was a total loss.  No lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  54 55 N 165 50 W  Chart 16006

                Additional Information : Tonnage 35 Gross 23 Net, Length56.4, Breadth 15, Depth 6.3, Built 1912 at Tacoma WA, IHP 50, Registered Seattle WA, ON 209649, Master none, Owner Pacific American Fisheries, Vessel Insurance $3,000

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty June 25, 1925 at Bellingham WA by Archie W Shields for Pacific American Fisheries, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1924) Pg 293

 

W H DIMOND (1914)     The 390 ton 155 foot wooden cod fishing schooner W H Dimond stranded and was lost in the Shumagin Islands at 11:00 a.m. February 3, 1914.  The vessel departed San Francisco January 8, 1914 bound for Unga, Alaska with 10 crewmen and 12 fishermen aboard.  She was carrying a 500 ton cargo of general merchandise, coal and salt.  She also had a 26 foot gas screw boat on her deck.  The following are excerpts from wreck reports filed at Seward and San Francisco:

                “Stranded”  “Foggy weather”  “Light SE wind, medium sea running and dusk, dropped two anchors”  “Vessel anchored off Bird Island, 60 miles from Unga, Shumagin Island Group, Alaska”  “Wind increased to a hurricane, chains parted and vessel thrown against rocks.  Next morning nothing left but wood and pieces of timber and provisions that were washed ashore”

                The W H Dimond had a value of $12,000 and her cargo was worth between $9,000 and $12,000.  Both the vessel and her cargo were total losses.  The vessel was insured for $10,000 and her cargo $7,500.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  54 49 N 159 46 W  Chart 16011

                Comment : The masters wreck report has only 10 crewmen aboard at the time of the casualty and the owners wreck report says there were 22 persons aboard.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 390 Gross 376 Net, Length 155, Breadth 35.5, Depth 11.7, Built 1881 at San Francisco, SL JVDN, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 80803, Master Charles W Prellberg of Redwood City CA, Owner Alaska Codfish Company

                Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report March 21, 1914 at Seward by Charles Prellberg, 2. U S Customs Wreck Report April 6, 1924 at San Francisco by C D Bunker, Attorney-in-fact for Alaska Codfish Company, 3. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1913) Pg 95

 

W H WOOD (1879)     The schooner W H Wood was driven ashore near Unga and became a total loss October 30, 1879.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  55 11 N 160 30 10 W  Chart 16011

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

WAIF (1924)     The 25 ton 56 foot wooden gas screw Waif foundered in Cordova Bay at 6 a.m. November 3, 1924.  The vessel had departed out of Cordova to pick up coal from the Shinkoku Maru, and was on a return trip with two persons aboard.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “Salmo Point, Cordova Bay”  “Hit rocky point, foundered”  “Vessel proper a total loss, part of machinery and equipment salvaged.  Hull now in state of decay on beach, a total loss”

                The value of the Waif was estimated at $7,500 and her cargo of coal $150.  Both were total losses.  Insurance was not mentioned on the casualty report.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 37 N 145 46 W  Chart 16700

                Additional Information : Tonnage 25 Gross 17 Net, Length 56, Breadth 12.6, Depth 6.4, Built 1909 at Seattle WA, IHP 37, Registered Juneau, ON 206519, Master and owner Charles A Matthews

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty at Cordova

 

WALTER A EARLE (1895)     The 71 ton Canadian sealing schooner Walter A Earle was lost with all hands off of Cape Saint Elias during the Great Easter Gale of 1895 that occurred on April 14th.  The vessel was out of Victoria, British Columbia and hunting seals off of Icy Bay.  The Earle attempted to weather the storm along with the schooners Favorite and Libby, but lost her rudder and capsized.  32 men perished in the disaster, including captain Louis Magnuson, mate Henry Buhrm, seamen William J Douglas, W H Wyman, and Adolf E Shute, cook B Berner, and 26 Native Americans, twelve of whom were Songhees from Victoria, five from Sooke, six from Beecher Bay, two from Metchosin and one from Cowichan.  The rudderless overturned hull of the Walter A Earle drifted into Afognak Bay several weeks later.  Many of the deceased crewmen were found within the hull and buried at Kodiak.  The sealing schooner C G White was lost in the same storm along with 11 crewmen.  The survivors of that disaster, off of the south end of Kodiak, were brought to Woody Island near Kodiak and cared for.

                Mapping and Location :  Southcentral Alaska  58 02 30 N 152 45 W  Chart 16580

                Comment : I have charted this wreck at Afognak Bay, as that was the final resting place of the hull.  Evidence of the disaster may be found anywhere from Pamplona Spur outside of Icy Bay, where the vessel overturned, to Afognak Bay where her drift ended.  WG

                Sources : 1. Lewis and Dryden’s Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1895) Pg 451, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

WANDA (1939)     Fire destroyed the 14 ton wooden gas screw fishing vessel Wanda at 2:00 p.m. August 21, 1939.  The vessel was tied at the dock at Dayville, Alaska when the disaster occurred.  The only one aboard was a mechanic working on the engine.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by A S Day, master and owner of the Wanda:

                “Dock at Dayville, Alaska”  “Vessel caught fire from engine”  “Spark ignited gasoline in bilge”  “Attempts made by several persons to extinguish the blaze”  “Mechanic went aboard to test engine.  Spark from starting switch ignited gasoline, burning him somewhat about the face.  Vessel cast loose from other boats and then towed to beach across from cannery where it burned completely”  “Complete loss”

                The Wanda had a value of $5,000 and was a complete loss.  She was not carrying  cargo.  Insurance was in the amount of $3,000.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 05 N 146 21 W  Chart 16707

                Comment : Dayville now called Fort Liscum.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 14 Gross, Length 38, Breadth 11.9, Depth 4.1, Built 1938 at Dayville, Registered Cordova, ON 237728

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty April 23, 1940 at Cordova, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1939) Pg 305

 

WASHINGTON (1870-71)     The bark Washington was blown ashore and lost at Kasilof in Cook Inlet in 1870 or 1871.  The vessel was out of Sydney, Australia and had a value of $50,000 with cargo at the time of the loss.  She had come to the area to catch and salt fish.  Timbers were salvaged from the wreck and a large whaleboat was constructed to continue fishing.  A hired craft was used to take the catch to market.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 23 15 N 151 17 45 W  Chart 16662

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

WASHINGTON (1915)     The 708 ton 180 foot wooden sloop barge Washington stranded and was lost off Kayak Island at 3:30 p.m. October 10, 1915.  The vessel departed Port Townsend, Washington loaded with 100,000 feet of lumber bound for Cordova.  She was being towed by the tug Pioneer.  There were 6 crewmen and one stowaway aboard the barge.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by O Beaton, master of the tug Pioneer:

                “Fresh southeast, sea rough”  “144’10” Long.W. 59’48” Lat. N.”  “Waterlogged”  “Pumping by crew of barge”  “Was in tow of tug Pioneer.  Barge stranded on west side of Kayak Island, two miles north of Cape St Elias and is breaking up”  “Total loss”

                The Washington was valued at $5,000 and her cargo $10,350.  Both were reported total losses.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 48 N 144 10 W  Chart 16723

                Comment : Probably stranded on the south side of Sea Ranger Reef.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 708 Gross 674 Net, Length 180, Breadth 42, Depth 14, Built 1898 at Portland OR, Registered Tacoma WA, ON 203793, Owner Alaska Barge Company of Tacoma, Insurance unknown

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty October 21, 1915 at Juneau, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1915) Pg 80

 

WASHINGTON (1922)     The 36 ton 54 foot wooden gas screw fishing schooner Washington stranded and was lost near Cape Suckling at 3:50 a.m. November 11, 1922.  The vessel departed Ketchikan October 24th bound for sea fisheries with 7 crewmen aboard.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report filed by Oswald Olsen, master of the Washington:

                “18 miles east of Cape Suckling, Alaska”  “Gale of NW wind, dark night”  “Stranded”  “Total loss”

                The Washington was valued at $10,000 and was a complete loss.  She was loaded with 25,000 pounds of fresh halibut worth $4,000 which was also lost.  The vessel was insured for $3,000.  There was no insurance on the cargo.  No lives were lost in the disaster.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 59 30 N 143 53 W  Chart 16016

                Additional Information : Tonnage 36 Gross 24 Net, Length 54, Breadth 16.2, Depth 7.4, IHP 50, Built 1910 at Seattle, Registered Seattle WA, ON 208111, Master Oswald Olsen of Seattle, Owner Erling Olsen of Paulsbo WA

                Sources : 1. U S Coast Guard Report of  Casualty December 8, 1922, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1922) Pg 349

 

WESTERN SHORE (1886)     The sloop Western Shore was lost in Bristol Bay in 1886.  The vessel was valued at $100,000 with cargo.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 N 162W  Chart 16006

                Source : Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route (1916) Pg 32

 

WESTERN STAR (1898)     The 718 ton 176 foot wooden river steamer Western Star ran up on a reef in Katmai Bay and was lost at about 1:00 a.m. June 28, 1898.  The vessel departed Seattle June 1, 1898 headed for Saint Michael with 16 crewmen and no cargo aboard.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report submitted by Robert Moran, owner of the Western Star:

                “Katmai Bay, in Shelikof Strait near Kodiak Island, Alaska”  “Lost ground tackle in severe storm”  “Course of wind estimated at 60 miles per hour, rough sea, dark night”  “Blowed on rock reef”  “As soon as the vessel went adrift the tug Resolute went to her assistance, but she landed on a reef before the tug could reach her”  “Total loss”

                The Western Star was valued at $46,000 and was a total loss.  She was insured for $40,000.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 58 N 154 57 W  Chart 16580

                Additional Information : Tonnage 718.68 Gross 409.106 Net, Length 176.1, Breadth 35.4, Depth 5.9, Built 1898 at Seattle WA, Registered Port Townsend WA, ON 81603, Master N Hodgson of Seattle, Owner Robert Moran of Seattle

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report at Puget Sound Collection District September 29, 1898

 

WILD GAZELLE (1883)     The 114.48 ton wooden cod fishing schooner Wild Gazelle stranded and was lost near Korovin Island at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday September 4, 1883.  The vessel departed San Francisco August 15, 1883 bound for the Shumagin Islands with six crewmen and two passengers aboard.  She was carrying a 100 ton cargo of salt, provisions and a fishing outfit valued at $3,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed in San Francisco:

                “Darkness, thick fog, strong current”  “Suddenly calm, moderate swell, very dark”  “Entered Gorman Strait about 5 p.m. with good breeze and light fog.  At 6 p.m. wind died out and thick fog set in.  Strong tide and set of seas put vessel to leeward, and she went ashore as above”  “Stranded”  “Unknown reef on Koronsky (Korovin) Island”  “Good lookouts kept, all hands on deck.  Lead kept going”  “A fishing schooner and two hunting boats landed a portion of cargo”  “Total loss”

                The Wild Gazelle had a value of $8,000 which was a total loss.  Part of her cargo was salvaged in damaged condition and sold for $300.  The vessel was insured for $7,000.  Her cargo was insured for $2,000.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  55 26 N 160 15 W  Charts 16011, 16553

                Additional Information : Tonnage 114.48, Built 1866 at Kennebunk ME, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 26745, SL JBGV, Master Henry A Cobb of San Francisco, Owner Mrs. Christy A McCollum of San Francisco

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report October 2, 1883 at San Francisco by George Tashena, Agent

 

WILDWOOD (1889)     The 1,056.09 ton 199 foot wooden bark Wildwood stranded and was lost in the Nushagak River at 8 p.m. Friday August 9, 1889.  The vessel departed San Francisco April 17, 1889 bound for Nushagak, Bristol Bay, Alaska with 21 crewmen aboard.  She was departing the area with the summers catch from the cannery when the disaster occurred.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed at San Francisco:

                “2 miles south of Harkanock, Alaska”  “Stranding”  “Shoal water”  “Calm, clear, daylight”  “Anchors dropped”  “total loss”

                The Wildwood had a value of $20,000 and was a total loss.  The cargo of 990 tons of canned salmon had a value of $151,000 of which $76,000 was lost.  The vessel was insured for $12,500 and her cargo for $151,000.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 03 N 158 23 W  Charts 16006, 16322

                Additional Information : Tonnage 1,056.09, Length 198.8, Breadth 40, Depth 20.8, Built 1871 at Port Madison WA, SL JKVP, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 80214, Master E L Colson of San Francisco, Owner Bristol Bay Canning Company of San Francisco

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report July 7, 1890 by W B Bradford, Managing Owner

 

WILLIAM AND JOHN (1905)     The schooner William and John became a total loss at Cape Saint Elias in 1905.  The vessel was valued at $2,000 with cargo at the time of the loss.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 54 N 144 36 W  Charts 16016, 16723

                Sources : 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 115, 2. Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route (1916) Pg 32

 

WINIFRED (1895)     The 15 ton wooden schooner Winifred stranded and was lost toward Cape Fairweather from Lituya Bay in November of 1895.  Hans N Jenson of Sitka, master and owner of the Winifred, died in the mountains while trying to make his way to Sitka.  The Winifred had a value of $400.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  58 48 30 N 137 56 45 W  Chart 16016

                Comment : This vessel is missing from merchant vessel lists after 1875.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 15 Gross 14.45 Net, Built 1869, Registered Sitka, ON 80072

                Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report November 18, 1895 at Sitka by George Moore Acting Coll., 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1875) Pg 351

 

WOLCOTT (1900)     The 247 ton 131 foot wooden steam schooner Wolcott stranded and was lost near Rocky Point at 10:50 p.m. Wednesday January 31, 1900.  The vessel departed Unga January 29, 1900 bound for Sitka with 17 crewmen and 7 passengers aboard.  The Wolcott was carrying about 70 pounds of gold bullion valued at $13,357.26.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “Rocky Point, 7 miles WSW from Uyak Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska”  “Struck a sunken rock”  “Out of reckoning”  “Strong NE at times, clear, heavy swell at times, at night, star light”  “After vessel struck, was obliged to run on beach”

                The Wolcott had a value of $15,000 and was a total loss.  The gold bullion and all those aboard made it to safety.  The vessel had insurance in the amount of $12,500.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska 57 40 15 N 154 11 45 W  Chart 16598

                Comment : The Wolcott was formerly the USRC Oliver Wolcott.  The reef where the Wolcott struck now bears her name.  The 55 foot wooden steamer Uyak stranded and was lost on the same reef in September of 1909.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 247 Gross 148 Net, Length 131.5, Breadth 23.5, Depth 14.3, Built 1873 at San Francisco CA, Registered San Francisco, ON 81558, Master S F Snow of Alameda CA, Owner Pacific Steam Whaling Company of San Francisco

                Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report at San Francisco, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1899) Pg 307

 

WTB CO NO 35 (1926)     The barge WTB Co No 35 was wrecked at Cape Hinchinbrook April 25, 1926.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 14 N 146 39 W  Chart 16700

                Sources : 1. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992), 2. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 375

 

WTB CO NO 55 (1926)     The 458 ton 153 foot wooden scow WTB Co No 55 parted her tow line and was washed ashore near Cape Hinchinbrook at 2:30 p.m. April 25, 1926.  The vessel had a 300 ton cargo of machinery, boilers, etc. valued at $100,000.  She had departed Seattle April 8, 1926 bound for Port Hobron on Kodiak Island being towed by the tug Forest T Crosby.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “6 miles north Cape Hinchinbrook, Alaska”  “Heavy north east gale caused two line to part.  Barge went ashore and broke up”  “About 80 miles (wind), heavy seas”  “Fair weather in morning; gale came suddenly.  Glass showed no indication”  “Tow line parted in heavy gale”  “No boats near, Tug Forest T Crosby had difficulty making shelter after the accident”  “Tug Forest T Crosby was towing barge WTB Co No 55 from Seattle to Port Hobron, Kodiak Island.  Barge loaded with machinery, etc., belonging to the North Pacific Sea Products Company”  “WTB Co No 55 and cargo Total Loss”

                The WTB Co No 55 had a value of $5,000.  The vessel and her cargo were a total loss.  The barge was not insured, but her cargo was insured for $55,000.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 14 N 146 39 W  Chart 16700

                Additional Information : Tonnage 458, Length 153, Breadth 39, Depth 9.9, Built 1915 at Portland OR, Registered Seattle WA, ON 167054, Master J E Peterson of Seattle, Owner Washington Tug & Barge Company of Seattle

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty May 31, 1926 at Seattle by J C Brownfield, Manager, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1925) Pgs 748-9

 

WTB CO NO 58 (1926)    The barge WTB Co No 58 was wrecked at Cape Hinchinbrook April 25, 1926.

Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 14 N 146 39 W  Chart 16700

Sources : 1. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992), 2. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 375

 

2 Responses to South Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( U-V-W )

  1. Gail Mendoza says:

    The Undaunted was built by my great grandfather (Lorenz Lorenzen) at the Lorenzen Shipyard, Davenport CA. He built two schooners her sister was the R.B Handy, I had found info re. the R.B Handy in a book written by John Muir and found she was a whaler in Alaska, but had not been able to find what happened to the Undaunted. I have been working on my family genealogy and this info helps me add one more bit of info.
    Thank you for your diligence in researching the ships in Alaska.
    Sincerely . Gail Mendoza

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