Three Young Men Drowned in Gray's Harbor, North West Coast
Mr. Editor, - If you think the following account of the supposed loss of three seamen belonging to the whaling ship Morrison of New London, Connecticut, will be of interest to your readers, you are at liberty to insert it in your valuable paper. It is given on the authority of several individuals, either now, or formerly connected with the vessels named, though in some of its particulars it may not be correct:
On the evening of the 23rd of September last, whilst the Morrison in company with the Louvre and Montezuma (two other whaling vessels belonging to the above named port) were lying at anchor in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, near Cape Flattery, three of the Morrison's crew, with three of the Louvre's, escaped in a boat belonging to the Louvre.
The names of the first three, were Church, Kirby and Royce. Their christian names are not known. In a book formerly in the possession of Church, there is written on a blank page, R. Church, Palmer, Mass. He is believed however, to have belonged to Monson, Mass., where it is supposed his parents are still living. He was probably between twenty and twenty-five years of age.
Royce was also from Mass., and is suppossed to have been a native of Springield. He is represented as having said, that in consequence of difficulty with his grand father, with whom he lived, he resolved to leave home and go to sea. In the execution of this purpose, he accordingly shipped on board the Morrison, in the Autumn of 1844. He was tall and slim in person and probably between eighteen and twenty years of age.
Kirby is supposed to have been a native of Birmingham, England. He was a currier by trade, and had resided in America but a short time previous to his shipping in the Morrison. He was probably about twenty-three or twenty-four years of age. He is said to have been a young man of very amiable disposition, faithful in the performance of his duties, and a general favorite with Captain, officers and men.
After leaving the Morrison they started for the mouth of Columbia River, about 100 or 500 miles down the coast. - Having repeatedly attempted to land for the purpose of procuring water, but without success, they at length entered Gray's Harbor, where upon approaching the shore, their boat was swamped among the breakers and the three belonging to the crew of the Morrison drowned. The three surviviors were taken by the Indians and conveyed to Chinook Point, opposite Fort George.
Here they were kindly received and entertained by Capt. Scarborough of the schooner Cadborough, a coasting Fur-trader. To him they stated the facts respecting the loss of their boat and the drowning of their three comrades in Gray's Harbor.
Soon after this Captain Scarborough sailed to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and there stated the same to various individuals, upon whose authority this account is given. The statement that the three men drowned belonging to the crew of the Morrison is said to have been derived from Mr. Douglass, on officer in the service of the Hon. Hudson Bay Company.
Other accounts however, represent it as uncertain whether the three belonged exclusively to one vessel or in part to both. In this particular, there is some discrepancy, though all concur in the fact that three out the six were lost.
Thus three young men in the vigor of health and strength, are believed to have perished, in consequence of yielding to the foolish mania for running away, now so prevalent among the crews of whalers.
The news of their death will doubtless be the source of pungent grief in the bosoms of their surviving parents, brothers and sisters and other relatives. This too in the present instance, will be enhanced and aggravated by the thought that they died in the act of escaping from duty, on a savage and inhospitable shore, where their bodies if driven to land instead of receiving a christian burial, probably soon became the prey of voracious wild beasts.
Would that this might serve as a warning to others when tempted to pursue a similar cource, that they may avoid a similar fate, and be induced to continue faithfully discharging the duites of their calling however replete it may be with difficulties and trials.
It is blelieved that a deserter seldom improves his condition by abondoning his post, and if he has any ambition, to rise in his vocation, such dereliction of duty often operates as a death-blow to his hopes. The confidence of employers once lost in this manner, it is usually a hard matter to regain.
A Friend to Whalemen.
A Friend to Whalemen. The Friends. Unknown.