West Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( U-V-W )

UMIAKS (1900)     Captain Walter S Milner of the schooner Alice reported the loss of “three omiaks with more than 100 Indians aboard” during the great storm of September 12, 1900.  The following is taken from an account in the San Francisco Call:

“Just previous to the big storm at Nome, the Alice left the exposed coast and made a run for Port Clarence…At Port Clarence, Captain Milner found that five omiaks of Indians, each holding thirty-five or forty persons, had left Kings Island for the mainland.  One arrived at Teller City while the Alice was there and another landed farther up.  Both reported that the other three boats, containing more than one hundred Indians, had gone down.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 58 N 168 05 W   Chart 16006

Source: The San Francisco Call (October 24, 1900) “Picks Up Two Shipwrecked Crews On Bleak Shores Of The Arctic” Pg 2

 

VALENCIA (1905)     The 1,598 ton 253 foot iron steam ship Valencia stranded at Saint Michael Island at 9:31 p.m. Monday October 16, 1905.  The vessel departed Nome that day and was on her way into Saint Michael.  There were 62 officers and crewmen and 3 passengers on board.  She was carrying a 500 ton cargo of general merchandise valued at $70,000.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report submitted by O M Johnson, master of the Valencia:

“Broad Point on NE coast St Michael Island from ship Broad Point bore Se, ¼ E Magnetic about 1 mile off.  Stranding”  “Unknown current and heavy swells”  “Light NE wind, thick snow, choppy sea.  Heavy snow squalls”  “2 lookouts continuous, casting of lead, Captain and 2nd Officer on bridge”  “Immediately after ship struck soundings were taken all around ship to ascertain depth of water and nature of bottom.  Engines were worked for the purpose of release, but without effect, after which cargo was jettisoned to lighten her, and messengers were dispatched to St Michael for help”  “Northern Commercial Co.’s tug Meteor and employees of said company and by jettisoning part of cargo, estimated 75 tons.”

The Valencia had a value of $150,000.  The loss to her cargo was listed as $15,000 and the damage to the ship unknown.  The vessel was able to continue south missing some of her cargo. No lives were lost at that time.  Evidence of this wreck may still be on site and of interest.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 31 40 N 162 09 30 W   Chart 16240

Comment: The Valencia was lost two months later, January 22, 1906 at Cape Beale Light on Vancouver Island taking with her 126 of the 164 persons aboard.

Additional Information: Tonnage 1,598 Gross 1,177 Net, Length 252.7, Breadth 34, Depth 19.7, IHP 950, Built 1882 at Philadelphia PA, Master O M Johnson of San Francisco, Owner Pacific Coast Co. of New York NY

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report October 20, 1905, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1906) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 386

VIKING (1904)     The 146 ton 108 foot wooden schooner Viking stranded and was lost off of Cape Prince of Wales at 11 p.m. August 4, 1904.  The vessel departed San Francisco June 20, 1904 bound for Saint Lawrence, Wales, Teller, and Unalaska with six crewmembers.  She was carrying a 200 ton cargo of general merchandise and lumber valued at $9,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by Samuel N Estvoll, master and owner of the Viking:

“2 miles west of Kingegan (Wales), Prince of Wales, Alaska”  “Anchors dragging”  “Strong south gale, heavy sea”  “Hove up anchor, hoisted jib”  “On the 5th of August left ship and started to unload cargo with crew and natives.  Ship and cargo sold at auction on 15th of August 1904 for $1,260.”

The Viking had a value of $6,000 and was a total loss.  $7,800 worth of the cargo was also lost.  The vessel was insured for $1,500 and her cargo for $8,000.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   65 37 N 168 05 W   Chart 16005

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 and owner Samuel N Estvoll of San Francisco

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report August 20, 1904 at Nome

VINE (1907)     The 226 ton 108 foot wooden schooner Vine stranded and was lost on the beach near Deering at 4:40 a.m. Friday September 20, 1907.  The vessel departed San Francisco June 26, 1907 bound for the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean with 8 crewmen aboard.  She was carrying 65 tons of general merchandise valued at $12,000 when the disaster occurred.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report submitted by Phillip H Cook, master of the Vine:

“On beach at Deering, Alaska”  “Stranding”  “NE gale blowing on shore, dragging anchor”  “Heavy NE gale, thick weather, and very heavy sea”  “Lying on and one half miles off shore, having our 1,200# anchor out, and 45 fathoms of chain put out, kedge anchor 500#”  “Stranding during NE gale and very thick weather.  Could obtain no assistance outside of crew.  Lightered cargo ashore by crew and longshoremen.  As winter is approaching left vessel in charge of W H Goodin at Deering, Alaska”

The Vine was valued at $10,000 and became a total loss.  She had no insurance.  Half of the cargo was lost as well.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   66 04 N 162 42 W   Chart 16005

Additional Information: Tonnage 226 Gross 222 Net, Length 107.9, Breadth 31.1, Depth 11.3, Built 1890 at Gig Harbor WA, SL KHPW, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 161640, Master Philip H Cook of San Francisco, Owner Morris Marcus of San Francisco

Source:  U S Customs Wreck Report October 17, 1907 at Nome

VISITOR (1933)     The 13 ton 39 foot wooden gas screw Visitor burned at Hamilton October 8, 1933.  The three persons aboard made it to safety.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   62 53 45 N 163 53 10 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 13 Gross 8 Net, Length 39.1, Breadth 11.5, Depth 2.8, Built 1928 at Saint Michael, Service freight, Horsepower 32, Owner George T Butler of Saint Michael, Registered Nome, ON 228079

Sources: 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1936) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 1035, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1933) Pgs 590-1

 

VOLANT (1905)     The 172 ton 123 foot wooden schooner Volant drifted ashore and was lost in Kuskokwim Bay at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday June 21, 1905.  The vessel departed Unalaska June 11th bound for Kuskokwim Bay with 7 crewmembers aboard.  She was carrying 100 tons of general merchandise cargo worth $16,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report submitted by C C Lutjens,

master of the Volant:

“On sand banks of Kuskokwim Bay”  “Stranding by drifting ashore”  “Heavy gales, anchors dragged”  “Very strong gale, thick weather and a high sea”  “Put anchors out but would not hold.  Slipped the same to run vessel to safe place to save cargo”  “No assistance rendered”  “Total loss”

The Volant had a value of $6,000 and was a total loss.  There was no loss of cargo.  No lives were lost.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   59 N 163 W   Charts 16006, 16300

Additional Information: Tonnage 172 Gross 164 Net, Length 122.8, Breadth 29, Depth 8.9, Built 1883 at Fairhaven CA, SL KBHD, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 161515, Master E E Lutjens of Alameda CA, Owner H C Larsen of Alameda CA

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report July 26, 1905 at Unalaska by Lutjens

W F MARCH (1881)     The 95.92 ton schooner W F March was blown onto the beach and lost in Golovnin Bay at 1:30 a.m. Monday August 15, 1881.  The vessel departed San Francisco May 5, 1881 with 17 persons aboard including her crew and a party of 10 miners.  The vessel was carrying 35 tons of ballast, provisions, ore and mining tools.  The W F March was blown ashore and wrecked after dragging anchor in a heavy gale.  The vessel had a value of $7,000 and her cargo $400; both total losses.  The W F March was insured for $5,500.  The crewmen and miners all survived the disaster.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 24 N 163 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 95.92, Built 1875, Registered San Francisco CA, ON 80521, Master William Gallagher of San Francisco, Owner Joshua Hendy of San Francisco

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report October 24, 1881 at San Francisco by William Gallagher, 2. Reply of the Alaska Commercial Company to the charges of Governor Alfred P Swineford, of Alaska, against the company in his annual report for the year 1887 Pgs 88-90

W H MEYER (1895)     The 256.5 ton 122 foot wooden brig W H Meyer stranded and was lost at 1 a.m. Wednesday July 17, 1895 at Port Clarence.  The vessel departed Saint Lawrence Island for Port Clarence July 10, 1895 with 12 crewmen and 3 passengers aboard.  She was carrying 300 tons of coal and general merchandise.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by A P Hanson, master of the W H Meyer:

“Port Clarence Harbor, Alaska Territory”  “Stranded”  “Gale, caused vessel to drag anchors”  “Moderate gale, rainy weather, rough sea, dark”

The W H Meyer had a value of $10,000 and was a total loss.  She was insured for $8,000.  There was no loss of life.  Some of the crew was taken aboard the Revenue Cutter Bear.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   65 12 N 166 45 W   Chart 16005

Comment: The Revenue Cutter Service reported the wreck at the Reindeer Station near Port Clarence Harbor.  WG

Additional Information: Tonnage 256.5, Length 122.6, Breadth 31.5, Depth 10.4, Built 1869 at San Francisco CA, SL JGMP, Registered San Francisco, ON 80046, Master A P Hanson of San Francisco, Owner James McKenna of Alameda CA

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report September 17, 1895 at San Francisco, 2. Alaska File of the Revenue Cutter Service 1867-1914  “Microcopy 641-Roll 4”

W K MERWIN (1899)     The Yukon River stern wheel steamer W K Merwin was pounded to pieces on the beach near Nome in late 1899 and early 1900 after two seasons on the Yukon River.

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

Sources: 1. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992), 2. Alaska File of the Revenue Cutter Service 1867-1914

WARRIOR (1965)     The 7 ton 34 foot wooden oil screw Warrior was destroyed by a storm during July of 1965 at Saint Michael.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 29 N 162 02 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 7 Gross 5 Net, Length 34.2, Breadth 10.2, Depth 3.9, Built 1905 at Black Diamond CA, Service freight, Horsepower 100, SL WE8701, Owner Northland Commercial Company, Registered Juneau, ON 204935

Sources: 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1965) Pg 737, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1968) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 1177

 

WASP (1913)     The 17 ton 42 foot gas screw trading schooner Wasp stranded and was abandoned near Cape Avinof August 25, 1913.  The vessel departed Nunivak Island with 4 crewmen and 2 passengers.  The passengers and crew survived for five days in a dory without food or water before reaching Saint Michael.  The Wasp was badly damaged by ice in the fall, drug anchor in a storm and sank near the mouth of the Kuskokwim River.  No lives were lost in the disaster.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   59 50 N 164 05 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 17 Gross 11 Net, Length 42.2, Breadth 15.2, Depth 3.8, Service Freight, Built 1911 at Unalakleet, Registered Saint Michael, ON 209051

Sources: 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1913) Pg 322, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1914) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 430, 3. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 230

WHITE BEAR (1917)     The 10 ton 39 foot wooden oil screw passenger vessel White Bear became frozen in the ice and lost in Pastol Bay at 1 p.m. Thursday November 1, 1917.  There were three crewmen and one passenger aboard at the time of the disaster.  The vessel had departed Solomon October 28, 1917 and was headed for Nome.  The White Bear had a half ton of cargo valued at $19,000 including general merchandise, U S Mail and $18,000 worth of gold dust.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report submitted by J P Heikkila, master and owner of the White Bear:

“North wind and blizzard morning at 3:30 and dark”  “20 miles due west of Point Romanof, Pastol Bay”  “Slush ice became so thick that vessel could not be operated and in a few hours she was frozen in fast”  “Frozen in and fast in ice”  “The oil froze in engine and we could do nothing to assist vessel”  “The U S Coast Guard departed from Nome in search of the vessel and after being out two days returned, after running into solid ice”  “A search party was sent out from Saint Michael, Alaska.  Two men were sent to open up wireless station at Kotlik and three men were sent to South Fork of Yukon and they met and assisted us at Pitmatalic by furnishing food and clothing”

The White Bear had a value of $1,800 and was a total loss with no insurance.  All but $400 worth of the cargo was salvaged.  There was no insurance.  No lives were lost.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 12 N 162 50 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 10 Gross 7 Net, Length 39, Breadth 11.9, Depth 3.7, IHP 60, Built 1917 at Nome, Registered Nome, ON 215628, Master and Owner J P Keikkila of Nome

Sources: 1. U S C G Report of Casualty August 8, 1918 at Nome, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1918) Pg 334

WILL H ISOM (1902)     The 983 ton 184 foot steam stern wheel paddle wheeler Will H Isom was forced ashore with two barges in tow and lost at Point Romanof August 20, 1902.  The vessel, the barges and cargo were all a total loss.  The vessel was valued at $35,000 with cargo at the time of the loss.  The hulk of the Will H Isom ended up at Saint Michael where it rotted on the beach.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 12 N 162 50 W   Chart 16006

Comment: I have charted this wreck at Point Romanof as there still may be evidence of the wreck on site and of interest.  WG

Additional Information: Tonnage 983 Gross 619 Net, Length 183.8, Breadth 36.5, Depth 5.6, Service inland passenger, Crew 30, Built 1901 at Ballard WA, Registered Seattle, ON 81758

Sources: 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 84, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1902) Pg 318

WILLARD AINSWORTH (1899)     The 42 ton 64 foot wooden schooner Willard Ainsworth washed ashore in a gale and was lost on Chamisso Island at 2:00 a.m. Sunday July 2, 1899.  The vessel departed Port Clarence July 9, 1898 bound for Kotzebue Sound with 10 crewmen on board.  The only cargo was 4 tons of coal worth $40.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by Bern Olsen, master of the Willard Ainsworth:

“Kotzebue Sound, Chamisso Island”  “Stranded on Island”  “Had vessel ashore to avoid ice in winter.  When we launched her, she was driven ashore and disabled by SE gale which broke keel and stem”  “Strong SE gale, daylight, heavy swell.  She was driven ashore on hard beach”  “Had all anchors and cables out but gale drove vessel ashore”  “2 or 3 men living on the island rendered what help they could”  “Vessel is laying on beach and I believe a total loss”

The Willard Ainsworth had a value of $4,000 and was a total loss.  Her cargo of coal was salvaged.  Neither the vessel nor her cargo was insured.  No lives were lost.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska 66 13 N 161 50 W   Chart 16005

Additional Information: Tonnage 42 Gross 40 Net, Length 63.8, Breadth 18.3, Depth 6.7, Built 1892 at Seattle WA, Registered Portland OR, ON 81362, Master Bern’t Olsen of Portland OR, Owner Artic Trading and Mining Company of Portland OR

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report November 16, 1899 at Portland, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1899) Pg 191

WILLIAM H ALLEN (1878)     The 157 ton brig William H Allen was stove in by ice and sank at Cape Smyth August 2, 1878.  The vessel was out of Honolulu on an Arctic trading voyage.

Mapping and Location: Northern Alaska   71 17 35 N 156 47 15 W   Chart 16003

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

WILLIAM LEWIS (1891)     The 463 ton 134 foot steam bark William Lewis stranded and was lost at Point Barrow at 7 o’clock p.m. Saturday October 3, 1891.  The vessel departed San Francisco December 20, 1890 on an Arctic Ocean whaling voyage with 45 crewmen.  Her cargo at the time of the disaster was 26,000 pounds of whale oil and bone valued at $30,000.  The William Lewis had a value of $50,000.  The vessel ran ashore in a gale and snowstorm, piling up on a snow covered sand spit at Point Barrow.  The captain mistook the spit for slush ice.  The crew and most of the cargo were rescued by the steamers Belvedere and Navarch.  On March 20, 1892 the William Lewis was accidently burned by salvers.  The vessel was insured for $30,000.  The cargo had no insurance; all but $5,000 worth was salvaged.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: Northern Alaska   71 23 29 N 156 28 30 W   Chart 16003

Additional Information: Tonnage 463 Gross 332.24 Net, Length 134, Breadth 30, Depth 16.5, NHP 250, Built 1888 at Bath ME, SL KFHW, Registered New Bedford MA, ON 81194, Master Albert C Sherman of New Bedford, Owner William Lewis of New Bedford

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report December 16, 1891 at New Bedford MA by William Lewis per Agent, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

WILLIAM ROTCH (1871)     The 290 ton wooden bark William Rotch was lost in the ice around Point Barrow September 14, 1871.  She was forced ashore by ice and abandoned south of Wainwright Inlet.  The William Rotch was out of New Bedford, Massachusetts on a whaling voyage.  Her last port was Honolulu.  Her value at the time of the disaster was $43,000.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: Northern Alaska   70 36 N 160 W   Chart 16005

Sources: 1. Harper’s Weekly (December 2, 1871) “Destruction of the Arctic Whaling Fleet”, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.