Amazing True Story of Shipwreck Survival

Last week I spotted the unusual story of a man saved from dying in a shipwreck in the middle of the night when he spotted a floating box—it turned out to be his wife’s coffin that he was bringing home for burial!

The newspaper article containing this incredible survival story was printed by the Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 4 December 1855, page 2.

What an amazing newspaper article—and yet it seemed to me something wasn’t quite right about this story:

  • When and where was the shipwreck of the steamer Anthony Wayne?
  • Why no first name for the husband?
  • Why no name for the wife?
  • Did steamers travel from Chicago to Philadelphia?
  • Was there more to this story?

Digging deeper into GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives I found this article, printed by the Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, Ohio), 1 May 1850, page 2, with this startling headline: “Awful Calamity. Explosion of the Steamboat Anthony Wayne. Forty Lives Lost!!”

 

So, the steamer ship exploded on Saturday, April 27, 1850, while en route from Sandusky, Ohio, to Buffalo, New York. The accident happened on Lake Erie, about six or seven miles offshore of Vermillion, Ohio.

I kept researching and found more details—but no names—in this newspaper article, printed by the Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 30 April 1850, page 2.

Here was a contemporary account of this horrific ship explosion tragedy, but still not all the details

A gentleman “going east to bury his wife and child”:

  • Traveling with “the balance of his family, two small children”
  • Following the explosion, he “launched the coffin” as a makeshift life raft
  • Labored with “a child grasped under each arm with a most desperate struggle”
  • Sadly, he “lost his boy” and was forced to abandon the remains of “his wife and child”

As news reporting improved and more details about the survivors and the deceased were gathered, the

Newport Mercury (Newport, Rhode Island), 11 May 1850, page 2, gave more of the story.

This newspaper article has provided us with more details about the survival story:

  • Archer Brackney was the father trying to rescue his family
  • He was from Lafayette, Iowa
  • The coffin contained both corpses of “his wife and child”
  • We learn of his desperate struggle to save his “two living children”
  • Sadly, “his little boy, two years old, was drowned in his arms”
  • He managed to save his little girl, “who was clinging around his neck, crying ‘Papa! We shall drown!’”

Researching further in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archives, I uncovered more of the real story.

The coroner held an inquest and the results were published in the Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio), 30 April 1850, page 2.

This verified the essentials of the survival story.

Now to dig deeper and see what more details can be found about this shipwreck tragedy and real life story of survival. It’s amazing how much information you can find in historical newspaper archives!

How Did You Get Started as a Genealogist? Share Your Story with Us!

A Louisiana newspaper in 1853 said of family historians that “their memory is a forest planted with genealogical trees.” How true that is!
Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 25 October 1853, page 5.

After years of family history research many genealogists have had all types of “Eureka!” moments and breakthroughs, when they found a particular newspaper article or government record in their genealogical research that filled in gaps on their family trees.

My breakthrough moment as a genealogist was finding an 1811 real estate ad for my great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s farm in Maine. Aging sea captain James Garcelon (1739-1813) was selling his farm and moving in with his son William. The newspaper ad gave a terrific description of my ancestor’s property: a two-story house “very pleasantly situated” on 150 acres “with a handsome young orchard” and featuring two barns, outhouses, and “an excellent well of water.” Portland Gazette and Maine Advertiser. (Portland, Maine), 25 February 1811, page 4.

When I read this real estate ad, I could really picture my ancestor’s farm. I grew up on old farm property in New Hampshire. There were cellar holes where the homes and barns had once stood, wild apple trees, and with a little priming the well still gave ice cold water—and all around us stretched the long-idle fields. Maybe it was like my ancestor’s Garcelon Farm in the 1700s?

Thinking back on your own family history research—what first got you interested in genealogy? What was your most surprising genealogical discovery? What have you learned about your family along the way? What are your most prized genealogical discoveries? GenealogyBank wants to hear from you! Tell us your story.

More Newspapers Go Online – 41 newspapers, 23 states

GenealogyBank adds and expands 41 newspapers from 23 states.

21 new titles.

That’s nearly 14 million articles contained in 8,052 issues!

Click and search them right now!!
Connecticut. Middletown. American Sentinel. 326 issues. 1823-01-01 to 1833-04-24
Connecticut. Middletown.
Constitution. 47 issues. 1854-12-13 to 1855-12-05
Connecticut. New London.
New London Gazette. 160 issues. 1838-01-03 to 1843-03-22
Connecticut. Nor wich.
True Republican. 49 issues. 1804-06-20 to 1806-10-01

Washington, DC. Daily National Intelligencer. 3,230 issues. 1842-07-01 to 1866-06-25

Florida. Gainesville. *Gainesville Sun. 1995-01-18 to Present

Illinois. Chicago. Chicago Metro News. 118 issues. 1974-07-06 to 1990-10-06
Illinois. Freeport. *
Journal Standard. 2002-12-14 to Present

Indiana. Crawfordsville. *Paper of Montgomery County. 2004-11-26 to Present
Indiana. Noblesville. *
Times. 2008-10-22 to Present

Kentucky. Paris. *Western Citizen. 45 issues. 1808-12-24 to 1814-12-31

Louisiana. New Orleans. Orleans Gazette. 1 issue. 1817-09-27
Louisiana. New Orleans.
Times-Picayune. 30 issues. 1872-09-26 to 1900-11-15

Maine. Kennebunk. *Annals of the Times. 68 issues. 1803-01-13 to 1805-01-03
Maine. Portland. *Independent Statesman. 167 issues. 1821-07-14 to 1825-05-06

Massachusetts. Boston. *American Traveller. 19 issues. 1825-07-26 to 1836-03-25
Massachusetts. Gloucester. *
Gloucester Democrat. 362 issues. 1834-08-19 to 1838-02-16
Massachusetts. Springfield.
Federal Spy. 133 issues. 1800-01-07 to 1805-12-31
Massachusetts. Springfield. *
Hampden Whig. 2 issues. 1831-05-11 to 1836-06-08

Maryland. Baltimore. *Baltimore Bulletin. 93 issues. 1872-04-20 to 1876-09-23

Michigan. Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Press. 330 issues. 1893-01-19 to 1920-10-25

Mississippi. Columbia. *Columbian Progress. 2008-11-03 to Present

Montana. Great Falls. Montana Herold. 1 issue. 1896-09-03

New Hampshire. Concord. New Hampshire Patriot. 2 issues. 1881-02-24 to 1884-01-10

New Jersey. Trenton. Trenton State Gazette. 293 issues. 1847-01-12 to 1847-12-31

New York. Albany. Albany Evening Journal. 83 issues. 1850-09-19 to 1874-06-10
New York. Catskill. *
Catskill Recorder. 143 issues. 1807-04-07 to 1833-04-18
New York. Goshen. *Goshen Repository. 37 issues. 1797-03-21 to 1798-12-25
New York. New York.
Hodge’s Banknote Reporter. 4 issues. 1861-06-01 to 1861-06-22
New York. New York.
New York Herald. 1,121 issues. 1864-01-28 to 1871-11-04; 1874-10-04 to 1888-01-05
New York. New York.
New York Herald-Tribune. 962 issues. 1856-10-30 to 1879-03-27
New York. Poughkeepsie. *
Country Journal. 136 issues. 1785-12-15 to 1789-07-07

North Carolina. Forest City. *Daily Courier. 2005-01-01 to Present

Ohio. Cincinnati. *Advertiser and Journal. 9 issues. 1819-01-26 to 1827-09-26
Ohio. Cincinnati. *
Cincinnati Daily Gazette. 722 issues. 1835-01-01 to 1845-06-25
Ohio. Warren. *Trump of Fame. 15 issues. 1812-11-05 to 1814-07-27

Rhode Island. Pawtucket. *Valley Breeze. 2009-08-19 to Present

South Carolina. Charleston. City Gazette. 206 issues. 1824-01-01 to 1824-08-31

Texas. Beaumont. Beaumont Enterprise & Journal. 14 issues. 1906-05-30 to 1911-09-01

Utah. Salt Lake City. Salt Lake Tribune. 1 issue. 1881-06-11

Vermont. Newport. *Newport Daily Express. 2008-07-24 to Present
.

Two more newspapers added to GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank adds more newspapers.

Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville Sun, The (Gainesville, FL)
Obituaries: 03/19/1995 – Current
Death Notices: 02/18/1995 – 08/31/2008

Newport, Vermont
Newport Daily Express, The (Newport, VT)
Obituaries: 07/24/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 07/25/2008 – Current

GenealogyBank adds more newspapers – 51 titles – 16 States

GenealogyBank announces that it has added newspaper backfiles for 51 newspapers from 16 States.

This major upgrade brings GenealogyBank to nearly 300 million articles, books and records from over 3,800 newspapers; 260,000 books/documents and other resources. An esitmated One Billion Names.

Click on the following links and start searching!

California
Colton.
Chicano. 1 Issue. 5/10/1973
Los Angeles.
Dos Republicas. 1 Issue. 1892-06-07
Los Angeles.
Heraldo de Mexico. 27 Issues. 8/8/1918 to 11/1/1928
Oakland.
Mundo. 36 Issues. 8/2/1973 to 4/2/1975

Colorado
Trinidad.
Anunciador. 1 Issue. 9/9/1922

DC
Washington, DC.
Daily National Intelligencer. 1,624 Issues. 1822-01-01 to 1884-12-31

Florida
Ybor City.
Diario de Tampa. 6 Issues. 1/6/1909 to 1/30/1909

Georgia
Sparta.
Farmer’s Gazette*. 51 Issues. 1803-06-17 to 1807-08-08

Indiana
Indiana Harbour.
Amigo del Hogar. 2 Issues. 5/29/1927 to 5/27/1928

Louisiana
Donaldsville.
Donaldsonville Chief . 6/11/2008 to Today
New Orleans.
Times Picayune. 528 Issues. 1861-05-01 to 1897-04-10

Maine
Eastport. Eastport Sentinel*. 555 Issues. 1818-08-31 to 1832-08-15

Maryland
Baltimore. Federal Gazette. 1,989 Issues. 1796-02-05 to 1823-11-08 Uniontown. Engine of Liberty & Uniontown Advertiser*. 73 Issues. 1813-10-21 to 1815-04-27

Massachusetts
Gloucester.
Gloucester Telegraph. 1,597 Issues. 1827-01-01 to 1851-12-31
Springfield.
Federal Spy*. 170 Issues. 1794-05-13 to 1804-05-29

Nebraska
Nebraska City.
Nebraska City News-Press. 4/6/2009 to Today

New Mexico
Albuquerque.
Opinion Publica. 1 Issue. 1893-01-21
Las Cruces.
Eco del Valle. 5 Issues. 1/6/1906 to 2/13/1912
Las Cruces.
Estrella. 12 Issues. 6/19/1915 to 2/21/1925
Las Cruces.
Labrador. 12 Issues. 1897-11-21 to 9/1/1911
Las Cruces.
Las Cruces Democrat. 1 Issue. 1892-03-09
Las Cruces.
Mesilla Valley Bulletin. 1 Issue. 4/30/1937
Mountainair.
Independent. 2 Issues. 4/20/1918 to 12/7/1918
Santa Fe.
Daily New Mexican. 30 Issues. 1871-06-21 to 1875-01-30
Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Weekly New Mexican and Livestock Journal. 1 Issue. 1895-12-26
Socorro.
Defensor del Pueblo. 16 Issues. 1925-0-16 to 9/24/1937
Springer.
Colfax County Stockman. 1 Issue. 12/10/1910
Springer.
Estandarte de Springer. 124 Issues. 1890-07-03 to 1893-05-25

New York
Albany.
Albany Evening Journal. 69 Issues. 1854-04-22 to 1874-06-30
Brooklyn.
Espana Libre. 2 Issues. 2/7/1941 to 5/9/1941
New York.
Doctrina de Marti. 30 Issues. 1896-07-25 to 1898-02-15
New York.
Eco de Cuba. 3 Issues. 1855-06-22 to 1855-07-20
New York.
Prensa. 1832 Issues. 7/19/1919 to 12/30/1929
Poughkeepsie.
Dutchess Observer*. 60 Issues. 1816-07-24 to 1821-12-26
Sag Harbor.
Frothingham’s Long Island Herald*. 8 Issues. 1791-07-26 to 1798-03-12

Ohio
Chilliocothe.
Fredonian*. 27 Issues. 1807-02-19 to 1819-06-10

Tennessee
Athens.
Daily Post-Athenian. 3/28/2009 to Today
Newport.
Newport Plain Talk. 7/1/1998 to Today

Texas
Brownsville.
Cronista del Valle. 13 Issues. 2/21/1925 to 8/9/1927
Brownsville.
Heraldo de Brownsville. 18 Issues. 7/21/1937 to 2/20/1940
Brownsville.
Progreso. 1 Issue. 1876-05-07
Brownsville.
Puerto. 1 Issue. 9/27/1958
Corpus Christi.
Nueces County News. 1 Issue. 11/17/1938
El Paso.
Atalaya Bautista: Semanario Evangelico Bautista. 8 Issues. 11/3/1910 to 1/21/1929
El Paso.
Continental. 3 Issues. 10/17/1937 to 8/19/1938
El Paso.
Monitor. 1 Issue. 1897-07-03
Kingsville.
Notas de Kingsville. 2 Issues. 8/2/1951 to 11/11/1954
Laredo.
Correo de Laredo. 2 Issues. 1892-02-11 to 1892-05-26
San Antonio.
Bejareno. 2 Issues. 1855-08-18 to 1856-04-19
San Antonio.
Prensa. 662 Issues. 2/13/1913 to 9/15/1916

* New titles are marked with the *

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers on the planet.

Period!

GenealogyBank adds newspapers from LA, NE and TN

GenealogyBank adds more newspapers from Louisiana, Nebraska & Tennessee.

Donaldsonville Chief (Donaldsonville, LA)
Obituaries: 07/02/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 06/11/2008 – Current

Nebraska City News-Press (Nebraska City, NE)
Obituaries: 04/11/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 04/06/2009 – Current

Daily Post-Athenian (Athens, TN)
Obituaries: 04/13/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 03/28/2009 – Current

Newport Plain Talk (Newport, TN)
Obituaries: 08/31/1998 – Current
Death Notices: 07/01/1998 – Current

.

Patty Barthell Myers, 1930-2008

Patty Barthell Myers died 9 October 2008, at the home of her daughter, Lucy Bonnington.

Her obituary (San Antonio Express-News (TX) – October 13, 2008; Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Oct 2008) simply stated her “life’s work was genealogy.” Well said.

She was the author of numerous compiled genealogies and reference works including:
Female index to Genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England by James Savage. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008).

Ancestors and descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with related families : based partially on the work of Freeman Worth Gardner and Willis Freeman. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1995).

Cargill/Cargile/Cargal of the south and southwest : descendants of Cornelius Cargill of Virginia, John Cargile of Virginia & North Carolina, John Cargile of Virginia & Georgia, Andrew J. & John Cargal of South Carolina & Georgia. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1997).

Descendants of Joseph Barthel and his wife, Christina Lutz : who came to America 1830 on the Romulus and who settled in Erie County, New York. (Author, 1991).

The Hughes family from Virginia to Oregon. (San Antonio, TX: Burke, 1999).

Her lengthy obituary concluded by saying: “Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus. “

Her late husband, A.J. Myers had been a POW at the “Hanoi Hilton” at the same time John McCain was there.

San Antonio Express-News (TX) – October 13, 2008
Reprinted with permission GenealogyBank
Patty [Florence] Barthell Myers died October 9th, at the home of her daughter in suburban Philadelphia, where she was living and receiving hospice care since August.


Born in Evanston, Illinois on June 6, 1930, Patty was the third of four children of Harriet Lyon and Edward East Barthell, Jr. She grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, spending summers on Lake Michigan. She graduated from New Trier High School with honors and attended Northwestern University in Evanston.

She met her first husband, Louis Harold Cargill, Jr. on Lake Michigan and they married on Patty’s birthday in 1951. They had 3 children, Lucy, James, and Lon Cargill. Lou died in 1985 and Patty returned to San Antonio. Lon died in January of 1985. Patty married Armand J. Myers in 1988. A.J. and Patty met in 1965 when he was flying fighter jet missions over North Vietnam. He was shot down June, 1966, and was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 6 years. When he was re-patriated, his Air Force sponsor was Patty’s husband, Lou. Patty and A.J. married in 1988. A.J. died in 2002.

Patty’s life’s work was genealogy. In 2007, she published her FEMALE INDEX TO GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND, by James Savage,1860.

She is survived by her brother, John Peter Barthell of Sequim, WA, sister Polly Barthell Clark of Orlond Beach, FL, brother Edward East Barthell, III, of Appleton WI, cousin Charles Arthur Carroll, of Manhattan, and cousin Elizabeth (Betsy) Barthell of Overland Park, KS. She also leaves her daughter, Lucy, and her husband Mark Bonnington, of Malvern, PA, son James Eric Cargill of San Antonio, her grandchildren Colin Mark and Cara Ellen Bonington of Malvern, PA and John Shaw Lynch, of Williamsburg, VA and his sister Ashley Lynch Rodi, and God daughters Kemper and Edyn Rodi, of Newport Beach, CA, and sister-in-law, Sally Dulin Shaw of Mexico City.

Patty requested no memorial service. Her ashes will be scattered on Lake Michigan, the pink beaches of Bermuda, and the coast of Oregon.

Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus.

Friends may call at her home in Oakwell Farms, 15 Campden Circle, San Antonio, TX on Thursday, October 16th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Donations may be made in her name to the nearest public library.
Copyright (c), 2008, San Antonio Express-News. All Rights Reserved.