Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Life-Saving Service Crew on Fire Island, 1908

click to enlarge
Fire Island Life-Saving Service Crew, 1908.

"Although Wreck Masters, appointed by the New York State
Governor from 1787 on, were required to help victims and protect property
belonging to wrecked ships, rescue service on Long Island relied on volunteers
until the founding of the Life-Saving Service, a federal agency, in 1871. When Margaret Fuller,
the famous Boston writer and feminist, returned to the United States from Rome
in 1850 with her husband and young son, her ship war wrecked in the surf off
Fire Island; all three perished and the manuscript of her long awaited first
hand history of the Roman Revolution was lost. All vessels were endangered; the coastwise schooners
and large sloops carrying cargoes of coal, bluestone and other heavy materials constantly ran
through the Fire Island inlet, risking shipwreck in the shifting

When these vessels were grounded, the lifesaving crew had to jettison
cargo, hoping to free boats by lightening them. Captain J. Sim Baker, who was
assigned to this Fire Island station around 1911, recalled having to wait on board stranded
vessels until the turn of the tide and crawling into the rigging for a nap in
the midst of a January storm. Twenty-eight lifesaving stations were
established on the South Shore, each with a captain, crew of six or
seven surfmen, breeches-buoy equipment and a lifeboat. (Queens Borough Public Library, Long Island Division)"

From: - Suffolk County, Long Island in Early Photographs, Lightfoot, Martin and Weidman, Dover Press, New York, 1984

No comments: