10 BODIES FOUND
LOST BOAT IS NOT JENKS
NORTHERN QUEEN ON ROCKS
WHILE MANY VESSELMEN NOW BELIEVE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT AS TO THE BOAT WHICH TURNED TURTLE OPPOSITE THE LIFE SAVING STATION BEING THE ILL-FATED STEAMER REGINA, THERE IS STILL A GREAT DEAL OF DOUBT ON THIS SCORE. THE REGINA WAS OWNED BY THE MERCHANTS TRANSPORTATION CO., AND YESTERDAY SUPT. DUGAN VISITED THE SCENE OF THE WRECK IN COMPANY WITH CAPT. TOM REID. HE STATED POSITIVELY THAT THE OVERTURNED BOAT IS NOT THE REGINA. THE OVERTURNED HULL IS BLACK AND IT IS CLAIMED THAT THE REGINA IS PAINTED GREEN ON THE BOTTOM. A THEORY BORN LAST NIGHT IS THAT THERE WAS A COLLISION BETWEEN THE REGINA AND THE UNKNOWN BOAT AND THAT THE LATTER TURNED TUORTLE (sic) IMMEDIATELY, WHILE THE REGINA'S CREW ABANDONED HER AND TOOK TO THE LIFEBOATS. THOSE WHO ADHERE TO THIS THEORY BELIEVE THE WRECK OF THE REGINA WILL BE FOUND IN ANOTHER PLACE.
By ALEX T. STEWART
When ten dead bodies were found strewn on the beach at the little Canadian village of Port Frank, Ont., 30 miles from Sarnia, Tuesday, another chapter of horror was added to the history of the great storm of Sunday, which left death and destruction in its path. But that is not all. Stranded on the beach of this Canadian hamlet is the wrecked and battered Northern Queen her entire crew of 22 men are safe at that place.
Cut off from the outside world by broken telephone and telegraph wires, Port Frank clung to its terrible secret of authentic facts until the story was brought to light late last night by a Times Sarnia Canadian.
The facts in brief are that the Canadian package freighter Regina is lost and ten of her dead were washed ashore at Port Frank. The Northern Queen is on the beach at this Canadian fishing village and her crew after remaining on the battered steamer as she was tossed about, finally reaching shore in safety on Tuesday and they are now quartered in the hotel at Port Frank. Seven of the dead bodies of the Regina are still at Port Frank and three of the bodies are at J. B. Woodhall's morgue at Thedford, six miles distant. Today the ten bodies will be grouped together.
This in brief is the harrowing story of shipwreck that comes from Thedford, Ont., and Port Frank, six miles distant, the scene of one of the worst of the catastrophies that has shocked the entire chain of lakes.
The first news of the disaster at Port Frank came to Port Huron shortly after noon when Mrs. (Dr.) C. Clerk, of Thedford, Ont., came to this city to visit Mrs. R. J Wilson, of 922 Eleventh street. Just before boarding the train Mrs. Clerk's husband was called to Port Frank to view the bodies of two sailors which had been washed upon the beach.
This was but an inkling of the awful story of disaster which was bottled up in Port Frank and when the Times-Herald reporter arrived at Thedford, ten bodies had been found within a radius of five miles. This is the story of the loss of the Regina together (Herald representative together with oJhnson McAdams, of the) (sic) (parentheses added for clarity) with her dead as gathered by the reporter. Upon the arrival at Port Frank of Dr. Clerk, the coroner, J. B. Woodhall, undertaker, William. Jennings, hotel keeper and R. MacKenzie, all of Thedford, a systematic searching party was organized and the beach was patroled (sic) for a distance of five miles to the northward. When the search ended ten bodies had been recovered and it was evident that the setamer (sic) Regina was on the bottom and her entire crew lost.
The bodies were scattered and some of them were high on the beach while others were still lying in the water. Life belts encircled the dead men and from their drawn faces and cramped bodies it was evident that they had made a gallant fight for life before giving up.
A short distance up the shore was found a lifeboat lying on its side and in it ewre (sic) two dead men. The name "Regina" stamped on the life boat which was about 25 feet long and capable of accommodating at least 20 men. One of the dead men was leaning over the gunwale of the boat while the other was lying in the bottom of the battered craft submerged by water.
There was no boat's name on the life preservers, but the rudded (sic) of the life boat which was picked up later bore the name of the Regina and about a dozen oars which were later picked up were also stamped with the name of the Regina. It was evident from the location of the bodies that the lifeboat had capsized some distance from the shore and the men had made a last gallant struggle to reach the shore.
Scattered along the shore was a varied mass of wreckage, including baled hay, Canadian canned goods and other package freight. There was now no doubt that the wreckage was from the setamer (sic) Regina.
The coroner and villagers assisted in carrying the bodies to an improvised morgue in the village of Port Frank, where the villagers viewed the mute and lifeless evidence of the tragedy that had been enacted on the lake some time Sunday night.
Three of the bodies were brought to Thedford, Tuesday night and today they rest on the floor of the Woodhall furniture store, while surrounding them as though in mockery are comfortable beds, commodes and other articles of furniture that go to make a a (sic) happy contented home.
The remaining seven bodies which were left at Port Frank last night, will be brought to Thedford today and it is probable that Coroner Clerk will conduct an inquest.
At Port Frank and Thedford efforts were made by the coroner and others to identify the remains and the pockets of the dead men were searched for some scrap of information that would lead to their identity. Various sums of money were found on the ten corpses but articles of identification were missing in the most of the cases.
Perhaps the saddest feature of the identifications if any distinction could be made, was in connection with Walter McInnes, the youthful fair haired wheelsman. McInnes was idetified (sic) by an letter from his mother, who resides at Johnson Postoffice, a short distance from Owen Sound. The letter contained kindly advice and was tender and touching in its appeal for him to be a good boy. McInnes was a good boy. That is indicated by the dairy (sic) which he kept. It is evident that the mother was the boy's idol for carefully written in the pages of the little book are his complete accounts, the money expended for tobacco and underwear, the little incidentals and other items denoting thrift on the part of the dead youth. But far better and sweeter and brighter is the record kept by this youthful sailor of the monies sent home to his mother.
The Times-Herald reporter together with Coroner Clerk separated a pile of money order receipts which were found in the dead youth's pocket. His memorandum book showed that he sent his mother during the season over $400. Walter McInnes' identification was complete. His record was one that any mother could be proud of. Last night he lay silent and still between the forms of two of his shipmates and there was a smile of contentment on his face.
Another identification which is not so correct as that of McInnis, is that of Dave Lawson. In this sailor's pocket was found a post card which he had addressed to Harry Lawson, New Brunswick, and wished the latter good luck. The card was signed Dave and he is thought to be a brother of Lawson's the man to whom the card was addressed. Evidently the dead sailor had intended to mail the card at the next port, but that port will never be reached, although the card will be forwarded by the coroner if a better address can be secured.
Last night there were eight men unidentified and whether the captain and officers of the Regina are among them will not be known until the ship's papers are recovered or the owners of the Regina complete the identification.
Another search of the beach is being made today in the hopes that the waters of the lake have give (sic) up more of their dead and the last detail of the tragedy surrounding the Regina is cleared away.
Last night the Times-Herald reported (sic) gave to the owner of the Regina the necessary information regarding the loss of the boat and the still greater loss of life. It was the first direct word that had been received from the Regina by the owners since Sunday morning. The representative had chartered a tug and was just about to start up the lake in search of the missing steamer when the reporter brought word to him in Captain Tom Reid's office that there was no necessity of making a search for the Regina's dead were at Prt Frank (sic) and no one knew but what the Regina had gone to the port of missing ships.
The Regina's owners immediately abandoned their plan of going out in the lake in the tug and this morning they are on their way to Thedford and Port Frank to complete the identification of the setamer's dead.
One of the representatives asked the reporter to describe some of the men and when the reportr gav him th (sic) description and identification of young McInnes he exclaimed, "My God, that's them! You have got them! No need of going any farther. We must get to Port Frank at once. The boat's gone."
Reprinted from the Port Huron Times-Herald,
November 12, 1913, Page 1