02 June 2009

Tribune Tuesday: Starving

Items of interest from today's edition of the The Oakland Tribune, in 1891.

An Old Man Adrift in the Bay

Floating About Almost in the Very Track of Ferry Steamers
Rescued by Oakland Men Just as the Tide Was Carrying Him Out Between the Heads to Sea

Deputy City Engineer Wison [sic] is one of the crack yachtsmen of the coast and passes nearly every Sunday coasting somewhere near the Heads. He is captain of the sloop yacht Pilgrim and for his trip on Sunday last secured the company of City Engineer Morgan and Mr. Miller. They left Oakland creek early in the morning and moved out through the Golden Gate, where, after tacking about they sailed for home again. It was getting dark as they came in, but it was light enough for them to see something dark floating in the water between Goat and Angel islands, and heading for it they found it to be an old hulk. It appeared to be abandoned, but on coming alongside they found an old, gray-haired man stretched inside suffering from some great prostration.

They revived him with spirits and when the old man was able he told them the story of how he came to be thus adrift. It was as follows:

"On Thursday last," he said, "I bought this hulk for $5 from a man in Oakland. It was lying at the foot of Grove street, and it was my intention to take it to San Francisco and room in it there, for rent is too high- more than I can pay. Getting an oar, therefore, I left Oakland creek with the tide at 12 midnight on Thursday and tried to row across the bay. The current was too strong, though, and I was gradually carried away and drifted on toward the gate. Morning came and I was out of the line of the ferry steamers, but I tried to attract their attention, failing, however, they doubtless thinking that I was a fisherman. So the day passed on without my being noticed and then night came still without relief. To make a long story short, I have been drifting about for three days without food and water and was feeling pretty nearly done for when you sighted and rescued me."

This ended the old man's narrative, and as he said he still desired to go back to San Francisco, the Pilgrim towed him and his old bulk there and moored him in Mission Bay. Then the Pilgrim set back for home and reached her headquarters at Oakland creek at 5 o'clock yesterday morning.

"The old man and his bulk were drifting out to sea," said Captaim Wilson to a Tribune man this morning "when we picked him up. The tide was running out fast too, and it would not have been long before he would have been through the Golden Gate."

From: The Oakland Tribune, 02 June 1891, Page 1, Column 7

No comments: