Hampton Fisherman Finds Anchor-Chain Of A Lost Schooner

By William D. Cram

The Hampton Union & Rockingham Co. Gazette

Thursday, March 10, 1938

HAMPTON BEACH, March 10 -- Capt. Albert J. Dunbrack, one of the veteran fishermen of this beach while tending to his lobster traps some hundred of yards off Boar's Head came across the anchor and a great quantity of chain which he believes was lost there when the crew of the schooner Glendon made their vain effort to withstand the furious gale and storm of Sunday, February 9, 1896, only to barely escape death while their vessel became a total loss. The fact of their shipwreck is known to many, but the real story of that affair is known to few.

On that stormy day, there were many boats off the New England coast but only three, all three-masted schooners and laden with about 460 tons of coal each and bound to different points were caught in the path of that northeaster as it raged in upon Hampton, Salisbury and Plum Island beaches.

The few people who live at Hampton Beach that year about mid-afternoon of that day saw, emerging from the smother of the storm, two schooners, one of which dropped her anchors while the other with the crew in the rigging drifted off toward Salisbury Beach. Word was sent to the crew of the life saving station at Straw's Point and about 5:30 they arrived here after a hard trip with their life boat and other apparatus. By that time, the vessel had been swept in until she lay only four or five hundred yards off shore. The surf was so high and the shore so covered with rocks that the life boat could not be launched, but the gun by which the line of the breeches buoy was loaded and three unsuccessful attempts made to send the first light line out against the gale to the vessel. All the time the schooner was sustaining a terrible buffeting as the waves raked her and went over her, while the strain of her as the wind and sea threw her and yanked on the heavy chains to the anchor was unbearable. Soon the stern of the boat was swept away and the coal began to sift out, then the heavy chains tore the restraining fastenings from the deck and the boat was at the mercy of the storm. Lifted high on the crest of a wave and dropped into the following valley, she rolled and tilted and the coal continued to pour out to the open end, making her continually lighter. The masts still held and in the growing darkness, the men were seen clinging to the rigging as the waves went crashing over the hull with tremendous fury. They they were lost to view as night blotted out sight.

Those ashore built a big bonfire on the rocks and suddenly at 7 o'clock, voices from the sea could be distinctly heard above the roar of the waves, calling for a line. The bonfire was made greater and brighter, the gun was made ready and as soon as the vessel could be clearly located, it was fired and a line landed across the topmast. This with some difficulty was reached by some of the sailors and it was soon made fast. Then after some delay as the boat wallowed and shifted and the line to the nearby shore dropped into the waves and again tightened the first man reached the shore followed by six more which made the entire crew. They were worn by their long trial and benumbed by cold of the gale and the immersion in the spray but were very thankful and extremely happy to get ashore safely.

The boat was driven higher on the beach about in front of Cutler's Sea View House where later the underwriters found the hull to be a complete loss, but about 200 tons of coal recoverable. For the next few weeks great numbers visited the wreck and made pictures of it. Later an enterprising resident fitted up a small store in the hull which was quite an attraction but storms, relic hunters and beachcombers finally removed every trace.

The coal in the hold was sold to be salvaged to Capt Frank Nudd who lost his life in the July tornado [1898] here, and buying it and retailing it among the local people.