West Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( F )

F S REDFIELD (1911)     The 469 ton 160 foot wooden gas screw F S Redfield stranded and was lost near Cape Prince of Wales at 10:00 p.m. Saturday August 19, 1911.  The vessel departed Unalaska July 19, 1911 bound for Cape Prince of Wales.  There were 23 crewmen and 350 tons of general merchandise aboard.  She had about a third of a deckload of freight.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by James McKenna, master of the F S Redfield:

“3 mi. east Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska”  “South gale, rainy, dark, cloudy”  “South gale and current setting in to shore, could not head to sea”  “Stranded”  “Anchors let go; dragged until she struck”  “One day after vessel went aground, the mate went ashore and telephoned for the Revenue Cutter Bear at Nome, who arrived 48 hours later and rendered all possible assistance by helping lighter cargo and carry crew to Nome”  “Total loss”

The F S Redfield, valued at $25,000 was a total loss.  The cargo, which was worth $10,000 was damaged $5,000 on the report.  The F S Redfield had insurance of $12,500 on the vessel and $3,500 on the cargo.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   65 36 N 168 05 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 469 Gross 371 Net, Length 159.6, Breadth 37.1, Depth 11.4, Built 1887 at Port Blakely WA, Service freight, SL KFBT, Registered San Francisco, ON 120704, Master James McKenna of Berkely CA, Owner James E McKenna of Plantation CA

Sources: 1. U S Customs Report of Casualty October 16, 1911 at Nome, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1911) Pg 181, 3. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1912) Pg 419

FISCHER BROTHERS (1900)     The 76 foot wooden two masted schooner Fischer Brothers was blown onto a rock and lost several miles NW of Cape Rodney at 3:00 a.m. October 24, 1900.  Weather at the time was reported to be “very heavy wind; sea extremely rough; dark night.”  The eight crew and one passenger aboard the Fischer Brothers were assisted to the beach with a life line by several men on shore 6 or 8 hours after the wreck.  A M Flagg, master of the vessel, died ashore several days later of hardship and exposure.  There was no cargo aboard the Fischer Brothers but the vessel was a total loss worth $5,000.  The last port of the Fischer Brothers is listed as Port Clarence with a destination of Seattle.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 39 N 165 24 W   Chart 16200

Additional Information: Length 76.6, Breadth 20, Depth 8.4, Built 1896 at Ballard Washington, Tonnage 63.67, Registered Seattle, ON 121036, Owners Samuel Archer of Nome, H C Ewing and H F Compton of Seattle, Insurance unknown

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report filed November 2, 1900 by Archer

FLEETWING (1902)     The 37 foot 14 ton wooden gas screw Fleetwing was driven ashore when her engine broke down at the mouth of the Snake River at 1:00 p.m. July 20, 1902.  The tug Kinghurst ran lines to a surf buoy and also set a kedge anchor in the heavy surf.  The wreck report filed by D E Johnson, master, states… “vessel filled with water and abandoned.”

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 30 N 165 25 W   Chart 16200

Additional Information: Length 36.8, Breadth 10.7, Depth 3.5, Built 1899 at Seattle, Tonnage 14 Gross 9 Net, Registered Port Townsend Washington, ON 121120, Owner Teller Trading and Transportation of Seattle, Last Port Teller July 19, Destination Nome City, Cargo none, Vessel Value $3,000, Vessel Damage $2,000, Insurance none

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report filed at Nome July 22, 1902 by Johnson

FLORENCE (1905)     The 40 foot 10 ton wooden schooner Florence stranded and was lost 7 miles north of Egavik at 9:00 a.m. Friday October 20, 1905. The following are statements from the wreck report filed by part owner and crew member Aben Chicicululuk July 14, 1906:

“Heavy gale, heavy weather with sleet…very rough.”  “Westerly gale throwing vessel on beam end.”  “Tried to make shelter inside Cape Dunbigh or Bisboro Island.”  “Dropped both anchors and with jib and reefed mainsail tried to ease vessel on shore, but she struck on a bar offshore and went to pieces.  Documents lost.”

Master of the Florence, Lincoln Archagra was lost, but the other two crewmen survived.  The Florence had departed Nome October 17, 1905 bound for Unalakleet.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 07 45 N 161 18 30 W Chart 16200

Comment: Besboro Island, Cape Denbigh. WG

Additional Information: Length 40, Breadth 13.6, depth 4.2, Built 1903 White Mountain Alaska, Tonnage 10 Gross 8 Net, Registered Nome, ON 201299, Owners Lincoln Archagra and others Chinck, Alaska

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report filed by Chicicululuk July 14, 1906

FLORENCE (1909)     The 90 ton 101 foot wooden stern wheel steamer Florence was lost at winter quarters on Saint Michael Island Sunday October 10, 1909 at 10 p.m. The following are statements taken from the wreck report filed at Saint Michael October 14, 1910 by A F Zipf, agent for owners Northern Navigation:

“Dark night, gale 40 miles per hour.”  “On little canal near mouth Stabbine Slough on St Michael Island.  Blown crosswise channel in heavy gale.  Medium high tide going out.  Steamer’s deck awash at high tide.”  “Anchors were immediately put out trying to pull off bow or stern, but tide fell too fast to do any good.”  “Owners using chartered gas launch Elan and stern wheel steamer Klondyke now trying to raise steamer.”  “Owners have twenty five men now working, but season being so late and weather cold, ice being already formed at the point where steamer sunk, nothing can be done.”

The 15 employees and 7 crewmembers of the Florence made it to safety, but the fate of the Florence, valued at $15,000 was not good.  At the time that the wreck report was filed they were unable to ascertain the total damage but figured the loss was probably total with no insurance.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 31 20 N 162 17 20 W   Chart 16240

Additional Information: Length 101, Breadth 22, Depth 5, Service Pass., HP 9, Built 1898 San Francisco, Tonnage 90 Gross 51 Net, Registered St Michael, ON 121068, Master Otto Patte of Saint Michael, Owner Northern Navigation of San Francisco

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report

FLYER (1919)     The 6 ton wooden scow Flyer was blown from her moorings, cast on shore, and broken up by the ice and water at 9:00 a.m. October 9, 1919 at the mouth of the Kiwalik River.  There was no one aboard at the time and no cargo.  The vessel was a total loss, valued at $500 and had no insurance.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   66 N 161 51 W   Chart 16005

Additional Information: Built 1905, Registered at Nome, ON 205771, Master L A Sundquist of Candle, Owner Candle Creek Mining

Source: U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed at Nome November 3, 1919

FORTUNE HUNTER (1898)     The steam schooner Fortune Hunter and an unknown barge were found at sea by the steamer Tillamook “waterlogged and in unmanageable condition 55 miles from St Michael” in October of 1898.  The Fortune Hunter and barge were towed to Golovin Bay and beached.  The barge was lost along with one man.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 24 N 163 W   Chart 16200

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

FRIDOLF GEK (1924)     The 27 ton wooden Russian schooner Fridolf Gek was wrecked September of 1924 when she drug anchor at the north bank of the Snake River near Nome.  The following is from the wreck report filed by Max Gottschalk of Nome, master of the Fridolf Gek:

“Stranded and pounded on beach, no power in vessel at time.”  “Dragged anchor and went on beach and vessel pounded heavily…seams opened up, hull filled water and sand.”

“Vessel stranded Sept. 1924 as above stated and lie on the beach a wreck until War Dept between 8/12/25 & 8/20/25 took charge of the vessel as a wreck and menace to navigation and a landing place, and in the way of construction of jetties being constructed. Engineers War Dept declared vessel a wreck and to get her out of way, took off her iron keel, partially caulked her to keep from sinking and moved said vessel to mud flat on north bank of Snake River where said hull still remains.  Tail shaft broken, propeller gone, engines gone, bulwarks back of stern smashed in, seams opened up, deck housing smashed in, and vessel a complete wreck with little remaining except the naked hull.”

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 30 N 165 25 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 26.98 Gross 12.11 Net, Built 1911, Registered Vladivostock Russia, Owner T Boiko of Vladivostock, Last Port Anadyr Russia, Destination Nome, Crew 2, Vessel Value $3,000 no insurance

Source: U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by Gottschalk October 26, 1928 at Nome

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