Stories of the Sea

1900 - STEAMER - CITY OF MONTICELLO - (Contiued)

Shortly afterwards I was told to get ready. The girls had been called before the boats were got ready and were in the saloon with me. They did not seem to be afraid. There was no excitement with any one. We had to take chances and jump into the boat from the rail. When we left the steamer the mate's boat was in the water and I saw persons in her, the boat being about full. The other boat was in the water, and some men in her. She was still hanging to the davit hooks. In about five minutes the steamer rolled over and went down and both the boats went with her. I heard some one in our boat say "She's broken in two." We heard a crash. I saw Capt. Harding standing on the rail of the steamer as she went down, and Beecher Hopkins, Levi Nickerson, Walton Cunningham, Austin Wickens, Fred VanEmburg and Wynne VanEmburg standing beside him. When the ship broke in two I heard a terrible scream, which I will never forget as long as I live. I am positive both boats went down with the steamer and that neither of them got away.

There were 8 passengers on board: Alfred E. S. Eldridge, 38 years of age, Yarmouth, leaving a widow and two children; Miss Elsie MacDonald, 16 years of age, daughter of Alexander MacDonald, tailor, Yarmouth; Rupert E. Olive, purser of steamer Prince Edward, 26 years of age, who left a widow in St. John, N. B., to whom he had been married but a short time; J. C. Fripp, traveler for D.. McGee Sons, St. John, N. B.; O. W. Coleman, of Moncton, N. B., traveler for Levy Bros Co., Hamilton, Ontario; John Richmond, traveler for Migner and Boucher, Quebec; Capt. A. Norman Smith, master of steamer Pharsalia, of Yarmouth, and Ida May Lawrence (colored), daughter of William Lawrence, Yarmouth.

The crew, including the captain, numbered 32. They were: Capt. Thomas M. Harding master, 42 years of age, Yarmouth, left a widow and one daughter; first officer Harvey D. Newell, 44 years of age, of Newelton, Cape Island, left a widow and four children; second officer Nehemiah Murphy, 46 years of age, Yarmouth, left a widow, one son and one daughter; third officer James E. Flemmings, 44 years of age, of Pennant, Halifax, lived at Clyde; quarter master Swen Johannsen, of Sweden, 30 years of age, left a widow and two children, living at Arcadia; quarter master Wilson Cook, of Lockeport, 29 years of age, took the place of Elisha Cook for this voyage; Stanley Ringer, 20 years of age, of Lockeport, seaman; John J. Whitmore, of Lockeport, 20 years of age, seaman; Harry Copeland, about 18 years of age, son of Thomas Copeland, of Lockeport; Robert Nickerson, 48 years of age, of Yarmouth, left a widow and four children; W. H. Dunn, 23 years of age, of Weymouth, seaman, unmarried; David Benham, 20 years of age, of Lockeport, seaman, who joined the steamer for this trip only; Everett B. M. Hilton, son of Capt. Benjamin Hilton, of Yarmouth, 39 years of age, purser, unmarried; Nathan C. Hopkins, 45 years of age, of Yarmouth, left a widow and three daughters. He joined the Monticello at Barrington on her upward trip, relieving his brother Ashton, the regular steward, for this trip only.

Beecher Hopkins, 23 years of age, of Barrington, waiter; Miss Katharine Smith, stewardess, 30 years of age, of Cape Island; Levi Nickerson, 21 years of age, of Shag Harbor, waiter; Austin Wickens, 15 years of age, of Cape Island, pantryman; Wynne L. VanEmburg, 19 years of age, of Pubnico, first cook; Fred VanEmburg, 17 years of age, second cook, of Pubnico, who took his father's place for this trip only; Walton Cunningham, 14 years of age, Cape Island, sailors' mess; Charles Greig, 50 years of age, Halifax, chief engineer, left a widow and eight children; Herbert K. Poole, 29 years of age, of Yarmouth, second engineer, left a widow and one child; Robert Doucette, 32 years of age, of Yarmouth, oiler, left a widow and six children; Win slow Ringer, 25 years of age, of Lockeport, oiler, brother of Stanley (above), left a widow and one child; James Cole, 31 years of age, of Yarmouth, fireman, left a widow and four children; Samuel Gloster, 40 years of age, of Liverpool, N. S., fireman, left a widow and five children; Samuel Surette, seaman, of Yarmouth, left a widow and four children; John Burke, 31 years of age, of St. John, N. B., fireman, unmarried; Thomas Johnson, 20 years of age, of McLennan's Brook, Pictou, seaman; Isaac Wilson, 30 years of age, of Barrington, baggage master (brother of Mr. Freeland C. Wilson, of the Grand Hotel), left a widow and one child; George Meuse, 24 years of age, of Yarmouth, left a widow and four children. These make a total of 36 persons who perished, leaving 15 widows and 49 fatherless children.

Early on Sunday morning word was received in town that a large number of bodies had come on shore with wreckage at Chebogue Point, and soon over 500 persons had congregated on these shores. The bodies found in this vicinity were those of: First officer Newell, chief steward Hopkins, second engineer Poole, Rupert E. Olive, A. E.S. Eldridge, J. C. Fripp, O. W. Coleman, David Benham, E. B. M. Hilton, Isaac Wilson, Austin Wickens, Robert Nickerson, Swen Johannsen, Levi Nickerson, John J. Whitmore, Thomas Johnson, John Richmond, Wynne L. VanEmburg, chief engineer Greig, Walton Cunningham, Harry Copeland and Stanley Ringer. The bodies of the three who were drowned by the wreck of the boat at Chegoggin were also recovered. The mail bag came ashore near Pinkney's Point. It contained about 150 letters, all water soaked, but which were carefully dried by postmaster Hood and delivered to the proper parties.

The City of Monticello belonged to the Yarmouth Steamship Co. She was an iron paddle steamer, with a wooden superstructure. She was built by Harlan and Hollingsworth, Delaware, and was first called the City of Norfolk. She was purchased by the Bay of Fundy Steamship Co., was rebuilt in 1889 and her name changed. She ran between St. John and Digby for several years and was a fast sailer. She was 232 feet long, 32 feet wide and 10.9 feet deep, registering 478 tons. She had four bulkheads and a vertical beam engine. She was insured for $25,000.

Click on one of the below thumbnails to see an expanded image of the 'City of Monticello'.

Highslide JS
Photograph of the City of Monticello, date unknown.
Highslide JS
Artist's conception of the sinking of the City of Monticello.

The above images are provided courtesy of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

From: City of Monticello

J. Murray Lawson (compiler) YARMOUTH REMINISCENCES (aka YARMOUTH PAST AND PRESENT). Yarmouth, 1902. Chapter, DISASTERS TO YARMOUTH SHIPPING. pp 191 to 198.

For the next story please click on the below link.

Next Story - Brig, Billow - From Yarmouth Record of Shipping

Return to:

Lost to the Sea Home Page