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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, June 01, 1895, Image 1

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COLIMA, Ma., May 31 (via City of
Mexico aivi El Paso).— Over-loading caused
the loss of the Colima. That is the verdict
reached by the Mexican officials who went
to the scene of rescue. The steamship car
ried a very heavy cargo, and was unable to
ride out the storm, which was one of the
heaviest which has ever visited this por
tion of the coast.
The Colima was lost in 18 deg. 38 mm.
north latitude, 104 deg. 14 mm. west longi
tude during a heavy storm beginning in
the southwest and ariving the vessel shore
ward, t
Captain J. F. Taylor proved a brave
man, and did everything to save the ves
sel which man could do, but during the
height of the storm he was killed by a
falling spar.
Chief Officer D. E. Griffith and Chief
Engineer John P. Ebsen met death in the
same way.
No one was left to manage the Colima,
«nd she went down.
The steamship had on board at the time
of the wreci 123 passengers and a crew of
SO men.
There are known to have been saved:
Cabin passengers —
Steerage passengers—
A boat which was in charge of Purser
Walter is believed to have been saved, but
no definite information has been received
concerning it.
The steamer Romero Rubio, which went
to the scene of the wreck, has returned.
She brought back a sack of mail and several
email articles. Her crew report that many
bodies were found floating about, but that
no living person was to be seen.
A telegram has been received from the
beach at Cuyutla announcing that seven
persons have Janded there. Their names
are unknown here and cannot now be
The steamer Mazatlan, which went to
the scene of the wreck, recovered three
Bacts of mail. Her officers, like those of the
Romero Rubio, report that many bodies
were seen floating in the sea, and that much
wreckage was to be seen on the waters and
along the beach.
An order issued by the Mexican Govern
ment required that every effort to save life
and cargo should.be made and that those
rescued should receive every care.
The cargo of the steamship will be a total
Survivors who have landed speak in the
highest terms of praise of the behavior of
the officers and crew of the wrecked steamer
during the time of peril.
The first twenty-two saved by the steamer
San Juan received every care upon reach
ing Mazatlan.
The storm daring which the Colima sunk
was the heaviest known in this section for
years. But meager reports are obtainable
from Manzanillo, Acapnlco, Mazatlan or
other points directly on the coast.
When the Captain Tried to Put About
the Colitna Capsized. •
COLIMA, Mexico, May 31.— night
the train for Manzanillo brought John
Thornton and five other survivors of the
Colima disaster. Their names are :
Passengers: ... .
ID 08.
These men came ashore on a life-raft
which they encountered after the ship
capsized. Originally there were eight per
sons on the raft, but three, presumably
eeamen, were washed off. Their names
are unknown.
Chilberg states that another raft was
floating about in the vicinity of San Telmo
when they came i ashore. Thornton was
taking his sister-in-law to Guatemala. She
is among the lost. Thornton says that
among the first-class passengers lost are
the following:
Thornton, Chilberg and the seamen all
agree that there was a heavy sea from the
time they left Manzanillo. The ship made
no progress, but they were in no danger
until the captain attempted to put about.
During this maneuver the ship capsized.
They deny that the machinery or steering
gear was out of order.
Survivors say that all the women and
children were in the staterooms at the
time of the disaster and that all went
down with the steamer. Survivors say
also that Purser Wafer was seen in a well
manned boat pulling away from the sink
ing steamer toward the shore.
Whether this boat succeeded in reaching
Bhore at some unfrequented point of the
coast or was lost in the attempt is as yet
conjectural. It is hardly probable that it
is still afloat at sea.
A telegram received by American Con
eul Faden at Manzanillo from a Mr. Me-
The San Francisco Call.
Additional Details of the Horror on the Mexican Coast,
in Which Only Thirty=Four Out of Two
Hundred and Sixteen Escaped.
Clellan, a rachman near Coahuayata, says
that people are floating on timbers off San
Telmo and need help. The Pacific Mail
agents immediately started steamers for
Romero Rubio and Mazatlan to rescue
them. *
Wreckage is strewn all along the coast.
Ten cases of petroleum, a piano and other
wreckage came ashore at Cuyatlan. Two
bodies are reported to have been picked up
at Paloverde.
The storm was one of unprecedented
severity on this coast.
The Government of the State of Colima
[Sketched from nature by a " Call " artist on board the touth-bound steamship which preceded the fatal MfiM <*. tbr CoUtna
Received in this city yesterday.] -"•
has established a guard along the coastjin
the vicinity of the wreck, and is doing
everything possible to assist in rescuing
the survivors and recovering bodies.
The Cargo Shifted and the lioomed Vessel
Was Lost.
MANZANILLO, Mex., May 31.— {via
Galveston, Texas.) Five more survivors
of the foundered steamship Colma came
ashore to-day near Coahuayana, a town
some miles further down the coast than
Cuyuela near which the disaster oc
curred, and they report other survivors as
still afloat.
The latest reports received here to-day
of the sinking of the Pacific Mail liner last
Monday show that while her speed was
slowed down on account of a high sea, she
was struck by an unusually heavy wave,
which carried away all her forward houses
and threw her on her beam ends.
In that dangerous position her cargo,
[Sketched from nature by a "Call" artist who was a passenger on the south-bound steamship which preceded the Colima on the
way to Panama.]
which included a heavy deck load of lum
ber, live stock and petroleum, shifted so
badly that she failed to right herself.
Two Mexican scnooners, the Albina and
and Josephina, and the American schooner
Hayes passed the Colima on Sunday night
and weathered the same storm which over
whelmed her, and reached Manzanillo
on Monday afternoon with all sails reefed,
but not damaged in the least.
The crews of these vessels agree with
the rescued passengers in blaming the
stevedores in San Francisco, who stored
the cargo so badly as to make the catas
trophe possible.
It now appears that when she sank the
Colirua had 216 souls aboard. Twenty-one
of those were picked up by the !San Juan
the next morning. A lifcraft with five
more came ashore yesterday morning at
San Telmo and another dia the same at
Cuyuena with three others.
To-day's addition of five who reached
Coahuayana makes the total saved thirty
four, and they bring hopes of more.
No women or children appear among the
survivors so far, as only a strong man
could stand the buffeting of the waves and
the wreckage. Some of those who did sur
vive are so badly bruised and exhausted
that they may die yet, and all the others
are more or less hurt, one having his arm
broken and all showing bruises.
Strenuous efforts were made at once to
cut away some of her rail so as to let the
extra heavy deckload slip off into the sea,
and at the same time the captain tried to
put his ship about in order to return to
Manzanillo if possible, but three large seas
struck her in this awkward position in
rapid succession, and with the third she
went clear over and sank to the bottom
very quickly stern first.
When she first listed, the passengers all
thought she would right herself again, as
she had been laboring and rolling heavily
for some time before that, and so nearly all
of them remained in the state rooms and
saloons, and thus were engulfed with her.
No lifeboats were launched, according to
this latest version of the story, as there
was no time for it, but those who saved
themselves did so by clinging to portions
of lumber, to spars and especially to the
liferafts until the next morning, when the
steamer San Juan of the same line, bound
north, which had been hove to in the same
storm for seven hours, discovered and res
cued them.
There were originally eight men on the
raft which came ashore at San Telmo, but
three of these lost their hold and were
drowned, as the raft was overturned
seveml times by lofty waves.
No baggage or other valuables of the
passengers or crew were saved.
Three dead bodies came ashore to-day
near San Telmo. One is that of a woman
supposed to be the wife of a jeweler in
The Mexican steamer Romero Rubio,
which was sent out to search for survivors,
saw the body of another woman, but did
not pick it up.
The crew feels confident that more sur
vivors will be found still clinging to lumber
or rafts.
The shore from San Telmo to Cuyutlena
is strewn with lumber, petroleum, cases
and general wreckage, and the Pacific Mail
steamer Barracouta has been sent up from
Acapulco to cruise about for the same pur
pose as the Rubio.
The Ban Juan left here on Wednesday
for San Francisco with seventeen surviv
Many or the Colima's passengers were
bound to New York, wher, they were due
on June 21.
The San Juan will reach San Francisco
June 7.
The Colima left San Frc :;isco on May
18, passed Mazatlan on M.v 24, San Bias
on the morning of May 25, a.Ld left Manzan
illo in the afternoon of May 25.
She then drew 23 feet of water and met
heavy head winds at once.
The sea grew very rough, nd it was op
posite the month of the Apira River, in 18
deg. 13 mm. N. latitude and 27 deg.W. longi
tude, at 11 o'clock Monday morning, that
the catastrophe occurred.
Mrs. Brewer, wife of L. R. Brewer of San
Francisco, was lost with her three chil
On the raft which came ashore at San
Elma were J. E. Childerg of Seattle, Peters
and Vider, first-class passengers, and Rob
erto Ganzales and Fred Johnson, sailors.
Domingo Albano, also drifted ashore on
the wreckage. . . •
Overloading . and Bad Placing of the
.V-V-T.v. Cargo. Caused the Wreck. T
j CITY OP • MEXICO, Hex., May 31.—
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company is
severely censured for overloading and bad
placing, of the cargo on the Colima, to
which jis attributed the ! rapid sinking of
the steamer. ■
Told to Do All in Their Power to Believe
Survivors. ■
WASHINGTON, D. C, May 31.— The
State Department officials are doing all in
their power ', to relieve . the American sur
vivors of the unfortunate steamer Colima.
The first official news of the disaster came
to Assistant Secretary Rockhill Wednes
day night from United - States Consul "de
Cima at Mazatlan.
He reported 170 lives lost, and that the
ship " had on ; board "half a , million in
American interests," supposedly referring
to goods belonging to American shippers.
He asked whether he should proceed to
the scene of the wreck. Rockbill in
structed him to do so at once, and if he
could render any assistance to report to
the department at once. ,
A message was also sent to United States
Consul v Bartlett : at Acapulco to learn
whether he could be of any assistance, and
instructing him to co-operate with the
Consul at Mazatlan. , The coast near Man
zanillo, where the ', Colima : stranded, ■; is
wild, and the natives are likely to loot the
ship if ! prompt steps are not ', taken to
guard her. ■; ,",■ ...'■■ :' , " ; ..-,.'.■. .'-'\ .. ,
Residents of the i Coast. Who ' Perished in
' /■'' ■'■''' y^~' the Disaster. -■■■'• .••■ i l ----.i!,
V LOS ANGELES, Cal.. \ May ■ 31.— The
identity 'of the passenger C. A. E. Orme,
who went down on the ' Colima, has been a
mistaken one ;in the dispatches thus far.
He was a wealthy Englishman, a member
of the Junior Constitution Club of Lon
don and a great traveler. For six months
before the disaster he lived in this city
with a friend, F. S. Hutchings. He pur
chased his ticket for New York in this city
and went to San Francisqo to take the
Colima. He has a sister, Mrs. Wilson, in
London and friends named Blair, who are
bankers in San Francisco. He had been
around the world three times.
BERKELEY, Cal., May 31. — Mrs.
Helen (instead of Miss Ellen) Muller was a
nursemaid to the children of Mrs. Whit
ing. She had no mother here. Her
parents, if living, are in Germany. Pro
fessor Whiting's late residence is on
Dwight way, so that is how Mrs. Muller
happened to live on that street. She was
34 years of age and had lived with the
Whiting family since last August. She
separated from her husband, who is some
where in San Francisco, and has an only
child, who is also in the City.
SAN BERNARDINO, Cal., May 31.—
John Alder, a brother, and T. J. Kennard,
a brother-in-law of W. H. Alder, one of the
Colima's victims, leave Redlands to-mor
row morning for the scene of the disaster.
Alder hopes to obtain a history of his
brother's fate, and if possible to recover
the body should it be among the dead.
They go by rail to Guaymas and hope to
reach Manzanillo within four days. Mr.
Alder carried $21,000 insurance in favor of
his mother and his sister, Mrs. T. J. Ken
, SANTA CRUZ, Cal., May 31.— 1t is
thought here that C. L. Cooledge, who is
reported among the missing from | the
Colima, was a former resident of this city.
He is a printer and was for some years em
ployed in the Sentinel office. -•
SEATTLE, Wash., May Later in
formation • respecting the Spearin case
demonstrates 'i beyond the shadow of a
doubt that I the man who was drowned at
the sinking of I the Colima was Windom T.
Spearin jj of Jj this . city. j The woman , who
passed as | his cousin was Matilda Phelps,
known to some of his friends as his wife.
He Took Precautions Before Starting on
■ : the Fatal Trip. ' ' ': ■■'-, :' ~-\ ''
1 ~ OAKLAND, CAL.^May 31.— Fearing the
Jaegers of t lie sea and ' perhaps 'Laving ■& '
premonition of disaster, Professor Whiting
of t the r. University of California, the in
structor who was drowned: in : the wreck of
the Colima, left two i wills, which were
made just previous to his departure. The
first document provided that : in case any
thing should happen |to the family while
on the journey and all were lost the prop
erty, which consisted of lands and securi
ties in his native home of Cambridge,
Mass., should be given to his ' mother and
other relatives residing there. ' .
■ The other provided that in case of acci
dent and any of the family survived these
should receive the estate.
Professor Whiting appears to have been
a coldly practical man, yet with a certain
superstition which led him to take all pos
sible precautions before leaving the land
for the perilous voyage to Panama. He
was told by his physicians that he must
take a rest from his labors, and decided to
vi&it his childhood's home with his family.
Thinking that the sea voyage would do
him good Mrs. Whiting proposed that the
journey be made by water. The professor
demurred to this, calling her attention to
the dangers to be encountered, but she
laughed fondly at his fears, and after a
little consideration he agreed to sail on
the Colima.
Then he made the wills, and as a further
matter of precaution he sent them to his
mother's lawyer at Cambridge, where they
had doubtless arrived before the news of
the wreck had reached the East.
Professor Whiting, while not expressing
any definite fear of disaster, often spoke
of the dangers that must necessarily be
gone through on such a journey and
expressed some regret that his children,
to whom he wag fondly devoted, should be
exposed to them. He told a number of
people that he had made the two wills and
forwarded them to his home, so that in
case anything happened, his family or rela
tives in the East would have the benefit of
his belongings. The grief his many
friends at the university and in Berkeley
feel over his death makes them unwilling
to talk of the matter, but a number of the
wives and daughters of the other profes
sors knew of the wills and of his strange
feelings regarding the journey by sea, and
much comment has been excited by the
peculiar circumstances.
Miss Hilgard, daughter of Professor
Hilgard, and Mrs. Wilkinson, wife of the
superintendent of the Deaf and Dumb and
Blind Asylum, heard the wills spoken of,
and, while not imputing any motives other
than were practical ones to the professor's
action in preparing for the journey as he
did, have a feeling that something must
have warned the professor that he was in
great danger.
"He had a premonition of evil," said a
lady at a gathering at which the matter
was being discussed the day after the news
of the wreck arrived, "for he looked
worried and anxious from the time it was
decided to go by water, thougn he tried to
appear cheerful."
Sixteen of the Survivors of the
Colima on the Way to
This City.
Stories That Others Have Been Res
cued Circulated Among the
in this City yesterday a diminishing in
terest in the foundered Colima and her
human freight was shown. A few of the
immediate relatives of the missing called
on the accommodating general passenge
agent of the Pacific Mail Company to in
quire for further tidings, A little knot of
newspaper men pre-empted seats outside
the railing, but otherwise the company
offices at 425 Market street took on an ordi
nary everyday appearance and business
was transacted just as if over a hundred
lives and a noble ship had not disappeared
in the waves. There was none of the sub
dued crowd, the wan and tear-stained
faces of twenty-four hours before. Bitter
anguish had given place to dull heartache
and hard dry sobs to the tears of the be
On the streets before the newspaper of
fices little knots of men and women read
the meager bulletins and turned away
with a muttered curse for the "coffin
boat." An idea became prevalent during
the later hours that the officials of the
steamship company had learned the par
ticulars of the disaster and were withhold
ing them in the hope that more survivors
[" We just passed a large steamer, the Colima, about a quarter of a mile off and are now
tailing on the smooth water with nothing insight but a low line of blue hills in the distance." —
Extract from a letter by Percy Gray of the " Call " art department, who was a passenger on a
recent south-bound steamer for Panama, and whose sketches from nature off Manzanillo were
received in the " Call " office yesterday.]
might be found before the truth should be
ooiiie kn>. iv. Tli r >, the officials strenu
ously denied, but tieir words bore little
weight with the anxious few.
In some way it became known that the
steamer San Juan was at Mazatlan, but
scarcely an individual knew how it was
Across the bay Mrs. C. H. Cushing,
whose two sons were passengers on the
ill-fated steamer, received a dispatch from
one of them. Others, friends of the res
cued, received similar messages, but they
were not made public. Mrs. Cushine's
dispatch read :
MAZATLAN, May 30, 7:22 P. m.
Via Galveston.
Mrs. C. H. Cushing, San Francisco— Am here.
Returning on the San Juan.
C. H. Cothing Jr.
Not a word was said concerning his
brother's fate, and the mother is in doubt
whether the omission was made because
he knew nothing or because he knew too
From the dispatch the inference was
drawn that the San Juan, having spent
two days in the search, had abandoned it
and continued her voyage with those she
rescued still on board.
At 1 o'clock, in the steamer office, the
following bulletin was posted :
Louis is safe. Picked up by the Barracouta.
William Peters.
A flutter of hope passed over the little
Quartermaster Charles Hagerstrome.
group that read it. "If the Barracouta
saved him it might have picked up oth- j
ers," was the remark, and a desultory I
search for further information was the re- !
"We have received absolutely no infor
mation," was the only satisfaction vouch- !
safed by the steamer people. "We have i
given our agents carte blanche in the mat- !
ter of expense and have ordered tnem to i
wire every incident. We wiil spend dollar ':
for dollar witn the newspapers to get in
formation, but nothing has come as yet." '
Later in the afternoon the newsps^rcr 1
bulletins notified the anxifxis that the
Barracouta had found a raft bearing six ,
The names of the men saved were an
nounced as follows:
Cabin— John N. Thornton, J. E. Chil
berg, Louis H. Peters, — Vindor.
Seamen— Fred Johnson, Reyserto Gon
The man Vindor is said to have boarded
the steamer at Mazatlan.
It was also stated that the wreck was
caused by the overloading of the steamer
and by an injudicious stowage of the
cargo. This was taksn to mean that the
steamer, straining in a heavy swell, had
sprung a leak and foundered and had not
as reported, run upon a hidden reef.
A still later bulletin announced that the
women were in their staterooms and went
down with the ship. The agony it caused
those whose lady friends were in the
disaster can well he Imagined. Descrip
tion is impossible from the fact that those
reading it hastened to hide their grief in
their homes.
At 5 o'clock the first definite news of the
day was received. It came in cipher from
the Mazatlan agents of the steamship com*
pany, and being translated read as follows :
The San Juan sailed May 31 at 4 a. m. for San
Francisco carrying sixteen passencers of the
Colima. Fernandez Mexdez & Co.
The San Juan makes no stops between
Mazatlan and this port. She will pass off
San Diego on the morning of the 3d inst.,
and may stand in and show her signals—
as the coast steamers frequently do — in
order to be reported to the Merchants'
Exchange here. The San Juan, if she
makes schedule time between here and
Mazatlan, should arrive off the heads
about daylight of the 6th inst. Who are
the passengers she carries is unknown,
save only in the case of young Cushing.
Last evening the office of the Pacific
Mail Company was kept open, as has been
done ever since the loss of the Colima was
first announced. Passenger Agent Avery
and a telegraph operator were on duty till
midnight, but no dispatches were received
and there were but few callers.
If there is a happy mother in San Fran
cisco to-day that mother Is Mrs. William
"eters, who has apartments at the Rubs
Her mo Louis was one of the passengers
on the ill-fated Colima, and for two days
and nights she was a prey to anguish
which can only be understood by the
mothers of the community. Her beloved
son had started for Guatemala to take
charge of his father's business, so that the
latter might come home for a short vaca
tion and visit with his family.
"For two days and nights," she said, "I
hardly closed my eyes. The picture of that
awful scene burned into my brain, and
turn as I would the crested and tali,
crumbling waves in the darkness of that
terrible night rose before my mental vision
and their booming sounded in my ears. I
could not escape the horrible picture, and
if my suspense had lasted much longer I
fear my mind would have become un
"But, oh 1 the relief that came with that
cablegram. There were only four words,
'Louie saved by Barracouta,' but the most
eloquent chapter from the pen of a Dnmas
could not have filled my heart with such
comfort and joy. Louie is but 23 years of
age and that was his first voyage. Just to
think what the poor boy must have suf
fered the two days he was afloat !
"From late advices I learn that he has
been landed at Colima. The general im
pression so far as I can judge is that the
accident was due to the unseaworthiness
of the boat. It is not considered a danger
ous part of the coast where she foundered,
and I am told by those well versed in
nautical knowledge of that part of the
coast that the machinery of the boat must
have been badly out of order to render her
so fatally unmanageable. But I thank
God my boy is safe, and do not forget to
offer a silent prayer for those who were
lost and the ones they left behind."
Vessels Often Go Down at Sea
Without a Colll-
Various Theories as to the Manner
In Which the Collma
Was Sunk.
When a vessel is said to have foundered
it is understood that she has gone down in
the open sea, and that her loss has been
occasioned not by collision with a rock or
i reef or others of her kind, but to the fury
! of the wind and water or to some inherent
! defect or accident to herself.
Often the causes of the sinking of a yes
' sel is due to her own motive power, her
i engines and boilers, for the explosion of
! the one or the breaking of the other is apt
j to open a hole through the bottom plates
I and admit the sea. Such was the case of
| the City of Paris, one of the big trans-Atlan
tic liners, some years ago. She was speed
j ing through the water at nearly twenty
. -knots, when the main connecting-rod of
her engine, the rod which transforms the
direct movement of the piston-rod to the
I reciprocating motion of the crankpin,
i broke in the middle. The rest of the en-
I gine continued its motion, and the tremen
dous casting, still attached to its crankpin,
was whirled round and round until it had
torn a hole in the bottom of the vessel
j large enough almost for a carriage gate
! way. The Paris and the 600 people who
i were on board of here were only saved be
j cause of her watertight compartments.
As it was she sank to her rail, and after
, some days of fine weather reached port in
j safeiy.
There are those who adhere to the opinion
j that something of this sort hag happened

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