Sunday, February 28, 2010

Survivor


“Will you go down with me?”

“Yes, Captain.”


Even though James had a young wife, and two small children at home in Brooklyn, he agreed to stay at his captain’s side until the end. They both dressed in full uniform and stood together on the wheelhouse – waiting for their inevitable doom. All of the sudden the ship made three great lurches as it started to go under. A massive wave engulfed the ship and tore James from Captain Herndon’s side.


As he splashed into the sea, James instinctively threw off his boots and coat and swam away from the crowd of drowning men and the whirlpool effect created by the sinking vessel.


He then spent several hours in the open ocean, throughout a dark, stormy night, desperately holding onto a chair. Close to complete exhaustion, James came upon one of the ship’s passengers, Dr. Obed Harvey, who was using a door as a floating device. Even though it was a risk to his own life, Harvey agreed to share his door with James. Dr. Harvey is later quoted with saying:


“The man said his name was Frazer and that if he were lost at sea, he would leave a young family in New York destitute. ... I told him ... that we would sink or survive together."


In the very early morning, they were rescued together by another ship, the Norwegian bark Ellen. At his first opportunity, in the port at Norfolk, Virginia, James sent his wife the precious telegram we found in the box.


“Ship foundered at sea. Will be home as soon as I can. J.M. Frazer”


After learning more about our ancestor’s history and connection to the notorious event, our family heirlooms (the book and telegram) became even more of a treasure to us. We handle them carefully like the cherished objects they are; considering them more precious than gold…


Now….if only we could have gotten our hands on some of that sunken gold….Oh wait, we did!


To be continued…

8 comments:

David Slagowski said...

Very compelling story Hannah. You have found some great treasures.

Rebecca said...

Wow! I Love to read your blog

Whitney Jeanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whitney Jeanne said...

I actually wanted to comment on your podcast. I liked it a lot. I thought it was fun having it as an interview. It made it very enjoyable to listen to!

David Slagowski said...

Hannah,
Your podcast was great to listen to. I liked it very much as well.

Duncan said...

Loved the podcast!

Lyn Rasmussen said...

loved the interview format!

Catherine Winburn-Caselman said...

Your blog is wonderful! Your stories are fascinating! I enjoy every blog you do!