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New York City, NY Ferry Boat LINSEED KING Sinking, Dec 1926




New York, Dec. 20. -- (UP) -- The heavily-laden ferry launch Linseed King was crushed by ice floes in the Hudson River today, bringing death by drowning to at least thirty-three workmen.
Twenty-four survivors, who escaped miraculously after being tumbled into the icy midstream waters in a strong tide, were known to be in hospitals. The number of known dead was expected to grow.

New York, Dec. 20. -- The Ferry Linseed King conveying two score workmen to a linseed oil mill in Edgewater, N.J., was struck by ice floes in the Hudson River today and sank immediately. Fourteen workmen are known to have been drowned. Twenty-two had been taken to hospitals in Manhattan or Edgewater, and several others were missing.
Spectacular rescues followed collapse of the 35-foot craft. A dozen vessels, ranging from tugs to steamers arrived in time to life from the icy water the semi-conscious workmen, who in some cases were able to cling to cakes of floating ice.
The number of missing could not be determined, since Spender, Kellogg and Son, owner of the Linseed King, announced they had no accurate list of the workmen.
Eight bodies were found off 245th street shortly before noon. They had been swept by the tide to a point almost seven and a half miles from the scene of the disaster, in midstream opposite 120th street.
According to HERMAN VALENZULA, one of the rescued workmen, overloading might have led to the collapse. The blame was laid on heavy ice floes, however, by the launch captain JOHN BOWHEITER.
Police boats throughout the morning sped about the broad reaches of floating ice in an effort to find other survivors or dead bodies.
Among the passengers on the Linseed King were many men who intended to apply for work. Their names were not taken by the launch captain and hence the number of missing could not be determined. One report said that twenty-five men unable to escape from the cabin, had gone to their deaths with the launch which sand virtually without warning.
The bulk of the rescue work went to the tug Buffalo from the Erie coal yards which ground into the ice as the Linseed King was sinking. In freezing temperatures the officers and crew of the Buffalo risked their lives in rescuing the workmen.
A life boat was put off from the Swedish motor freighter Tercere and three men were rescued.
A Standard Oil tanker and several tugs also were able to reach the scene in time for rescue operations.
Ambulances were sent from Manhattan hospitals to the foot of west 129th street where the river craft put in with the survivors. Some of them were suffering intensely from submersioin.

Oelwein Daily Register Iowa 1926-12-20




New York, Dec. 21. -- (UP) -- Captain JOHN ROHWEDER, 29, was under arrest here today on a technical charge of homicide and negligence in connection with the sinking yesterday of the launch Linseed King and the drowning of at least 33 laborers in the icy waters of the Hudson.
He will be arraigned in homicide court later in the day if he is able to leave the hospital, where he was suffering from submersion and the development of pneumonia was feared. A guard was placed over him at the hospital.
The young captain, who jumped from the launch before it plunged, then swam ashore, denied that the boat had more than 60, but several of the survivors placed the number as high as 160.
Only 10 of the known 33 dead have been identified.
The identified dead were:
FRANK EBERLE, 44, all of New York City.
DAVID HICKS, 65, Long Island.
URIAH A. PUSEY, 35, the last four are negroes, all of New York City.
The first version of the accident in which the blame was laid by the captain to the piercing of a hole into one side of the craft by a sharp ice floe, was discredited by police today after examination of the Linseed King disclosed no hole in the boat.
This led to the belief that the boat was overloaded and dipped water as soon as one side bumped up against a cake of ice. The 60 or more men in the long narrow cabin may have rushed to one side at the moment of the contact with the ice, thus careening the launch and toppling it over.

Evening Chronicle Xenia Ohio 1926-12-21


Linseed King research

Dear Stu, Muriel, and Janet,

My grandfather, Roland Dorothy, was a survivor of the Linseed King disaster. He had positioned himself by the back hatchway, aware that the boat was packed too full and afraid of what might happen. Roland was able to get out and to also pull others to safety, after which he swam and laid on ice floes until help arrived. My sincere condolences to you and your families for the loss of your ancestors in this accident.

I am in the process of performing comprehensive research on the Linseed King event. I have been to NYC to gather information, have ordered court records, and much more. In addition, I am methodically tracking down descendants of both the deceased and the survivors of the tragedy, in hopes of providing a bigger story, both for my own family and for yours, if interested.

Let me know if you would like to share in any information that I discover.

and if so, Stu, if you could help facilitate the contact for me?

Judy K.

The list of the 10

The list of the 10 identified out of the 33 reported dead on Dec. 21, 1926, as indicated in the the Chronicles from Ohio, are not correct. Warren McGoldrick was identified on the docks by his brother and my maternal uncle, Andrew McGoldrick. He was renedered to tears as he collasped onto to his brother's lifeless body and claimed his identity. Warren was buried on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1926, he was well indentified, on the day of the accident, and also in Heaven. May God Have Mercy Upon All Their Souls.

Linseed, Kellogg Spencer Ferry accident

I would like to read the testimony of the of the passengers in the cabin, including the poor soul who paniced and broke the neck of my Uncle Warren McGoldrick after my uncle succeeded in pulling apart the bars on the windows, in order to get out of the locked cabin.

According to family members a lawsuit was filed in the name of my Uncle and a large settlement was paid given the achievements he had attained, and the promise of fulfilling is Opera Career in Italy.

However I would like to know where I could retrieve the court testimony?

Calvary Cemetery-Linseed King

I have been taking weekend walks in Calvary for a very long time and have found myself fixing the little wooden board that mentions the Linseed King. I have wondered what the story was behind it and have of course since found out from on-line information. I am myself from Ireland and was deeply touched to read your story and how your grandfathers death and burial continues to affect his family. I hope your visit ti Calvary gave you some solace. You mention on another site that you live in Canada, it makes me wonder when you or your parents came from Ireland. I am full of questions about your story and will say a prayer for him as I walk around Calvary. If you ever feel like getting in touch please do.



Linseed King

I grew up listening to stories of my grandfather surviving an accident on the Hudson River and how he knew the ship was too full, how he had maneuvered to the front by the door, saving himself and 2 other men, floating on a chunk of ice until they were pulled from the river by a nearby boat after several hours. Thanks to Google and many hours of research, I was finally able to find the evidence online that it really had happened in newspaper articles across the country. In these articles, I was able to piece together information, and found his name listed as a survivor. Yours is the first site that I have found where this disaster has been acknowledged. I am thrilled to find this!

Thank You!

Muriel, I know the surviving

Muriel, I know the surviving family members and heirs of the Spencer Kellogg fortune personally. If you are interested in more information, let me know and we could make arrangments to exchange information. I am not willing to expose all I know for various reasons, but I will consider your request if it is reasonable.

linseed king disaster

Many thanks Stu for your'e reply I think I got the Message .
I am with my grandson arriving at laguardia airport on saturday dec 19 2009 to visit the grave at the new calvary cemetry and am meeting a priest from the Holy Ghost Fathers his name is Jerry at
To do a blessing .
Once again many thanks for your'e help

God Bless Muriel

Large Companies

unfortunately, in the past, large companies (railroads, shipping, etc.) were often very shoddy in their sympathy to the relatives of deceased .. This was not always true , but often , sad to say, it was very true.
God Bless

linseed king disaster

Since i last email you found out to my great distress and only thank god that my mother never lived to hear that her father is buried in an no name grave.
He was buried by the st.Vincent de paul society in mount calvery cemetry in NY.
iIt was bad enough that his family were left starving and his wife dying of a broken heart 2 years after his death which might have made a differnce had he been brought home to Ireland to be buried. as she would have had some disclouser .
I feel that Spencer Kelloggs and Sons have a lot to answer for as they never even notified them of his death it was a priest who notified a friend of his in Ireland who gave them the news hope this helps a bit .I could go on and on (but)from Muriel


I will try to find some additional information for you if I can ...

article | by Dr. Radut