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The sinking of the Dominion Line steamship "Scotsman" in 1899


The Saint John Globe 1899 - transcribed By BÝrge Solem 2004

Eleven of the Scotsman's Passengers lost - WHILE LEAVING THE WRECKED STEAMSHIP - ALL WERE WOMEN AND CHILDREN. Vessel is a Total Loss - Particulars of the Disaster - Great Suffering Endured. A transcript from the Saint John Globe, bringing the story about the sinking of the Scotsman and the drowning of 11 passengers


(Special to Globe.)

RIMOUSKI, Que., Sept. 29. - The Dominion liner Scotsman was wrecked eight days ago on the southeast of Change Island, eight miles from Belle Isle lighthouse, and eleven of her passengers were drowned while disembarking from the wrecked steamer.

The Scotsman is a total wreck. The names of those who were drowned were: Mrs. Robertson, wife of the manager of' the Sunlight Soap Co., of Toronto; Miss Robertson, her daughter; Mrs. Childs, Wife of the stage manager of the "Sign of the Cross" company; Miss Street, of Montreal, travelling companion of Miss Duncan, of Montreal; Mrs. Dickson, of Windsor, Ont., wife of a former editor of the Toronto Globe. These were first cabin passengers. Miss R. Weavers, Mrs. Talbot, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Skelton and an infant of Mrs. Roberts' were second cabin and steerage passengers. The names of the others who are missing cannot be obtained.

The steamer Montfort, with 249 of the Scotsman's passengers on board, reached here at eleven o'clock this morning. The Montfort brought to Rimouski all of the Scotsman's passengers except some 66 second cabin and steerage passengers who were left on the island, and nine passengers and forty-five of the crew were taken off by the steamship Monterey and carried to Liverpool.

The passengers who were left on the island will come to Rimouski on the Allan line steamship Germanica [?]. The story told by the passengers who arrived here this morning is one of untold hardship and suffering. Mr. Emerson; who was representing the firm of Messrs. C. H. Christy & Co., the well known hatters, of London, was a passenger on board the Scotsman. According to his story, the vessel struck at 2.30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. All the passengers were in bed. There was a dense fog at the time and the first warning the passengers had was when the vessel struck the rock. There was a crash and a heavy crushing sound as the ship piled head on the rocks. In a moment all was confusion. The passengers crowded on deck, partly dressed. There was a high sea running at the time and the ship's officers, fearing the vessel would slip back from the rock on which she had struck into deep water and founder, ordered the boats lowered. The women and children were lowered into the boats with great difficulty. One of the boats foundered after it had been filled with women and children. It is said by those who were in the boat that the plug was out and the boat filled with water, and it was through this accident that the loss of life occurred.

Four boats n all were lowered, and each was crowded with women and children. They put out to sea and remained as near the wreck as possible until daylight. The other passengers were lowered to the rocks by means of ropes. By Saturday noon all the passengers had reached shore, the women and children being carried over the wrecked vessel to the rocks.

The conduct of, the crew was, simply outrageous. No sooner had the ship foundered than the crew invaded all the cabins and attacked the baggage of the passengers. During the night these brutes, in a disgustingly drunken condition, swaggered about among the helpless passengers, swearing and singing ribald songs. The ships officers were utterly unable to control the crew, being busily engaged saving the lives of the passengers.

Too much cannot be said of the courage displayed by the women passengers. They behaved nobly. It is hard to say what was the cause of the accident, but it was evident the ship was entirely out of her course. The crew, it may be stated, was a picked-up one, owing to the seamen's strike at Liverpool.

OTTAWA, Sept. 29. - The Department of Marine has received no information from Commander Wakeham, and does not know whether he has been able to go to the relief of the Scotsman or not.

Prof. W. F. Stockley, of the University of New Brunswick, was a passenger on the wrecked steamer.

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