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Kenrick A.Claflin & Son

1430a,b. (lot 2 photos) Sinking of the Steamer S.S. Seaconnet With Loss of Seven Men in Vineyard Sound, April 29, 1923.

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1430a,b. (lot 2 photos) Sinking of the Steamer S.S. Seaconnet With Loss of Seven Men in Vineyard Sound, April 29, 1923.

1430a,b. (lot 2 photos) Sinking of the Steamer S.S. Seaconnet With Loss of Seven Men in Vineyard Sound, April 29, 1923. Clear, close, original 8” x 10” and 6” x 8” press photos show the Vineyard lightship passing survivors of the ill-fated steamer Seaconnet to the Lighthouse Tender Anemone for transport to New Bedford, and twenty-three survivors posing after arrival in New Bedford. After loading coal for Boston, Massachusetts, the steamer Seaconnet departed Norfolk, Virginia. Nearing New England waters a gale began to blow. For two days high winds heavy seas and torrential rain hammered the five-year-old steamer which soon began to leak. On April 29th, about a mile south of the Vineyard Sound Lightship, pounding seas opened the steamer’s seams and water was pouring in. As his ship began to list to starboard Captain Miller ordered the water ballast tanks and bilges pumped overboard. But the steamer continued to settle and list even greater. In an attempt to stay the rising flood Miller ordered all hands to man the pumps and stoke the boilers. By 6AM the men in the boiler room were working in water up to their waists but the pumps could not handle the inflow of water. Distress signals were sent but so quickly did the Seaconnet sink that vessels would arrived in time only to report nothing more than floating wreckage. At 6:15 Captain Miller had ordered a lifeboat lowered over the starboard side. Passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Hudgins were put aboard along with five crewmen to man the boat. Shortly after casting free, the boat was carried away by the storm but managed to row to the nearby Vineyard Lightship. Within 20 minutes seas were sweeping Seaconnets decks and the smokestack was nearly parallel with the water’s surface. Realizing his vessel was doomed Captain Miller ordered all hands on deck. There wasn’t a minute to spare, at any moment the ship could capsize trapping his men below decks. The order was given for all hands to don life jackets and abandon ship as the smokestack dipped below the waves and began taking on water. Tense moments followed the jamming of the second lifeboat in its launching apparatus. It was quickly cut free only to capsize in the water, but eventually right itself. Captain Miller and Quartermaster John “Santy” Santiago held the bridge until the very end. “As the lifeboat turned over I ordered him to jump,” Miller said. “Then I jumped myself. I grabbed a bit of wreckage and hung on looking for Santy. I saw him clinging to the ship’s bottom as she started to go down. I tried to cry out to him, but my voice was smothered by the waves…the Seaconnet went down and I saw him no more”. In all 7 men were lost. Photos are b/w and includes date and detailed descriptions on back. Dated May 1, 1923. Clear, close views, great detail. (VG+). $120.