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Wreck of the Lamington

Footnotes to Long Island History

Wreck of the Lamington

by

Thomas R. Bayles


       It was on February 4,1896, that the British tramp steamer Lamington ran aground opposite Patchogue about two miles east of the Blue Point life saving station.

        The steamer ran on the outer bar at full speed at 8 o'clock Tuesday night, and her lights were seen by Jedediah Payne from the Blue Point station, who was on patrol about three miles east of the station. He hurried back to his station and notified Capt. Rourke, who telephoned to Capt. Baker of the Lone Hill station and to Capt. Kreamer at the Bellport station.

       A line was shot across the stranded sreamer's decks at 10 O'clock but no one hauled it in, so the life savers made a fire and remained on the beach all night.

        The following account of the rescue of the men from the steamer appeared in The Patchogue advance for February 7,1896.

       "At 7a.m the sailors on board the stranded steamer hauled aboard the heavy breaches buoy line, and by 9 o'clock James Brady, the one passenger aboard, was hauled ashore and he got a chilly bath in the breakers as he came scooting through them. The line was tightened and most of the sailors came off with dry jackets. A cat and dog were also brought to shore. On board were four little Spanish ponies consigned to New York, but it was impossible to rescue them and their bodies floated ashore a few days later. The sailors evidently enjoyed their novel trip to land as they skimmed through the air high and dry above the breakers, but the life crews were working hard to get all the men off before dark, and it was hard work pulling on a wet line all day with hardly anything to eat since the night before. The wind went down and the officers remained on board.

       The next morning the agents of the Merrit Wrecking Co, the Luckenbach Towing Co: and the Chapman Towing Co, were on the beach and by afternoon the wrecking companies had tugs at the scene of the wreck. The Luckenbach got a line aboard first and sent a boat crew aboard the steamer to fasten the lines for the kedge anchors. While at work there Wednesday night the gale came on again so suddenly the men could not be taken off. The terrific easterly storm piled the waves high on the beach and made the position of the steamer and the men on board extremely perilous. Later, word from the beach stated that the men who had been huddled on the bridge had taken to the masts and rigging as the sea was washing the decks and water pouring from every port hole. The men were all safely brought to shore by breaches buoy on Thursday morning.

      "Thirty sail boats sailed over to the beach on Wednesday to see the wreck and some of the Patchogue parties did not get home until midnight, and some lost their bearings entirely and fetched up at Blue Point, Bayport, and on the mud flats off Sayville, and did not get home until morning."

 The cargo of the Lamington consisted of 1,900 tons of currents, 928 cases of oranges and 200 cases of onions (currents must have been plentiful along the shore for some time)

       The Lamington was a schooner rigged screw vessel 274 feet in length bound for Valencia to New York and was valued at $500,000.and her cargo at $100,000.

       Twenty years before this the Great Western a steamer loaded with oranges went ashore near the same spot and a fruit dealer purchased the cargo for $1,500.profit of $10,000.Oranges were cheap in Patchogue for a new weeks.

       The Advance carried the following item on February 28,1896.

        "The streamer Lamington was floated at 2 o'clock Wednesday morning by the Merritt wrecking Company and towed to New York. She leaked slightly and considerable sand has clogged her machinery. Her rudder frame are gone and most of her bulwarks. It is said that part of her cargo of currents are in good condition."

 

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