Astoria, OK Steamer COLUMBIA Wreck, Jul 1907
ELDER ARRIVES AT ASTORIA, OREGON
Carrying 67 Survivors Of the Wreck---Partial List Given Out.
Astoria, Ore., July 24.---The following are among the sixty-seven survivors of the steamer Columbia which were taken on board the steamer Elder Sunday after the Columbia had been struck. The Elder arrived this morning:
E. W. H. Truesdale, Litchfield, Ill.
Dwight Casner, Lead, S. D.
J. W. Riggs and wife, Bloomington, Ills.
Julia Malek, Wisconsin.
Hetty Golden, Wisconsin.
Mabel Geiger, Peoria, Ills.
J. A. Wardy, St. Louis.
J. C. Orr, Schuyler, Neb.
Mary E. Cox, Elwood, Ind.
The Elder did not sight any missing rafts or boats and did not pick up any victims after leaving Eureka.
Horrors of Wreck Told By a Woman
San Francisco, July 24.---Harrowing scenes attendant upon the wreck of the steamer Columbia in Shelter Cove Saturday midnight are coming to light as the survivors reach here. On of these is Mrs. O. Liedelt of this city, a Columbia passenger, who reached here on the Pomona. She lost all her belongings. Describing her experiences, she said.
"When the crash occurred I got out of my stateroom. Everyone was excited---everyone except the captain. He stood on the bridge, his arms extended begging the passengers to be cool. The crew stood at the boats, cutting them away at the lines that held them. There was no cause to lower them. All who could piled into the boats. Lots of people jumped over the side, trying to climb onto bits of wood which were floating in the water. I did not have time to think. I ran to the side. There under the side was a raft. There was nobody on it. I jumped. How I got onto it I don't know. But I struck the raft and injured my hip. Other women got onto the raft also. I don't know how they got on, some crawled from the water, others jumped from the boat.
Sees Women and Children Die.
"Then the Columbia went down, bow first. The raft whirled around and the water washed over us. Two women and little child were washed off and I never saw them again. One woman was left. Her hold was weak. She begged me to help her. I leaned over and tried to hold her on but I was too weak. She died before my eyes. Oh, I can't forget that. I'll never forget that. She drowned, and I could not help her. Who she was I don't know. Now and then I got a glimpse of another raft or boat. We got some pieces of wood after a while and used them for oars, and finally, it must have been hours afterward, we climbed on the San Pedro. It was a terrible climb up her side.
"Men helped, but I felt so old and weak. I never thought I would get over. The waves kept breaking over us. We were dripping wet, and it was so cold. On the San Pedro we were sitting on two little narrow pieces of lumber. Suddenly a wave carried away the lumber we were sitting upon.
Swept Off San Pedro.
"We managed to stay on the ship, however, but there were some who got that far who got no farther, for, without any warning, the rear mast of the San Pedro gave way and swept several into the sea. One or two were brought back alive, but of the others we saw nothing. And the darkness hanging over everything made it terrible. We did not know if the San Pedro would hold together, although the officers and the crew did their best to cheer us up. The day broke. The fog still hung low, and the light only appeared gradually, but then we could see who was saved and who was not. That sight, I can't tell you about it. Everything about it was so desolate and dismal. And then the Elder came up. They got us aboard, cared for us, and at Eureka I secured the only remaining berth on the Pomona to come back here."
Chief Engineer J. Y. Jackson gave this account in the interview to the Evening Post:
"I was in my stateroom when the crash occurred, and I scrambled into a few clothes and came up on deck.
Roar Was Deafening.
"All was confusion and turmoil. The roar of the water as it poured in the hole of the Columbia's side was deafening. Then, desperately swimming away, I caught a rope thrown from the deck of the San Pedro. From there I looked back at the Columbia just in time to see her plunge beneath the waves. As she sank I could dimly see many men dash across the deck toward the San Pedro: the next moment the fog had hidden the dreadful scenes.,
"I am sure that many steerage passengers did not leave their staterooms, as the interval was so short between the time she was struck and the time she sank that the men had not time to get to the deck, and had not time to get to the deck, and those that did jumped overboard and were sucked down by the vortex created by the sinking vessel.
Didn't Know Ship Would Sink.
"When I rushed across the deck it seemed to be deserted, but I knew that many were about me, for the screams and cries were awful. I thank God that I am safe, but would willingly have given my life, as Captain Doran did, to save those that perished.
"I did not realize that the vessel was going to sink so soon as it did and I believe Captain Doran was of the same opinion."
MANY DEEDS OF HEROISM.
Eureka, Cal., July 24---As the list of the dead in the Columbia shipwreck diminishes hourly stories of heroism on the part of her crew and passengers multiply.
When the survivors arrived in port they brought with them the story of the heroic conduct of Captain P. A. Doran and First Officer Whitney of the vessel. After doing all they could to help passengers to adjust life preservers and in ordering the lowering of the boats the two officers went down with the vessel.
Standing on the bridge, as the boat foundered, Captain Doran sent to those for whom there was still hope of life a parting message. "Good-by. God bless you." were the words the survivors heard as they left the sides of the doomed ship.
R. Hawse, third officer on the Columbia, said he was in his room at the time of the wreck and he noted the shock and heard the alarm given.
He makes the official statement that the Columbia floated eleven minutes after the San Pedro struck her. Officer Hawse tells of the heroic rescue of a woman passenger by Maybelle Watson, 16 years old, who resides in Berkeley, Cal.
The Daily Review, Decatur, IL 24 Jul 1907
Transcribed by Linda Horton. Thank you, Linda!