to the Archer Cousins Genealogy

to the Archer Association Genealogy

 to Corrigan Web Site

July 8th   July 9th   July 10th   July 11th   July 12th   July 13th   July 16th   July 17th   July 19th   July 20th  

July 21st to August 2nd 1900       September 29th to October 17th 1900


The Yacht Idler


Newspaper Articles On The Sinking Of The Yacht "Idler"

Taken from the next day's newspaper








The Corrigan's Are Determined to Place the Responsibility.



Crew to be Called Upon to Give Reason for Disaster.





Mate Admits No Preparations Were Made for Heavy Gale.




Holmes, Yacht's Master, is Very Ill.




Yesterday the Weather Was Altogether Too Rough
to Admit of an Investigation of the Sunken Craft--
Today Diver Walter Metcalf Will Search for the Bodies
of the Lost if the Weather Proves Satisfactory


    Capts. James and John Corrigan are determined to place the responsibility for the loss of the yacht Idler. At 8:30 o'clock this morning the crew of the Idler will be examined. The examination will take place in the office of Goulder, Holding & Masten, attorneys at law and proctors in admiralty. Nos. 816-818 Perry-Payne building. The examination will partake of the nature of an inquest and will be conducted by Mr. Harvey D. Goulder, representing the Corrigans. He said last evening that he had been instructed to take the formal statements of the men regarding the accident.

   Mr. Goulder was asked if Capt. James Corrigan or his brother intended prosecuting the men. He said he did not know. He was also asked if he had determined whether or not the crew or the captain, Holmes, could be prosecuted. He said he had given that phase of the question no consideration. It is said that had Capt. Holmes been in command of a steam vessel instead of a sailing vessel when the accident occurred the government would be called upon to make an investigation to decide whether or not he was entitled to longer hold a license. Until a year ago the government licensing of captains was confined to men sailing steam vessels. At the last session of congress an amendment was added to this law which requires all masters of sailing vessels of 700 tons burden or over to take out a  license. No applications for license of this kind have been made in Cleveland, for the reason that no sailing vessel of so great a burden sails from this port.

    With the exception of Capt. Holmes the entire crew of the Idler called at the office of Corrigan, Mckinney & Co. yesterday morning and asked for assistance. All of their belongings went down with the yacht. Their request was complied with.   

   The condition of Mrs. John Corrigan yesterday was said to be improved. She said that Mate Biggan of the Idler was the only one of the crew to do anything for the women. She stated that he did all he could. mrs. Corrigan asserted that Capt. Holmes did not enter the cabin after the squall struck. He yelled something, she said, but it could not be understood.






Search for the Victims of the Disaster Was Not Begun as Was Expected.


    The heavy sea which prevailed all yesterday morning and until late yesterday afternoon effectually prevented any attempt being made to recover the bodies of the women who went down to death in the yacht Idler last Saturday afternoon. Submarine Diver Walter Metcalf waited all morning and much of the afternoon for the lake to become calm, but as it did not, he would not go out. However, he will make the effort today.

    Between 2 and 3 o'clock this morning one of the Great Lakes Towing Co.'s tugs - probably the Lutz - will leave the dock at the foot of Main street with the diver and his assistant aboard. Capt. James corrigan and Mr. Charles Reiley will accompany the party. Capt. Motley and members of the life saving crew will also go along to lend assistance

   Capt. Motley is of the opinion that the bodies of Miss Ida May Corrigan and Miss Jane Corrigan will be washed ashore between Cleveland and Fairport. Members of the life saving crew and men in the employ of Capt. James Corrigan patrolled the beach between Rocky River and Fairport yesterday on the lookout for the bodies. Capt. Morley's men were stationed between this port and Fairport.

    The tug Joe Harris visited the wreck yesterday afternoon. The tug left the dock at 3 o'clock and returned at 6:10 o'clock. In addition to the regular crew of the tug there were three members of the life saving crew. The latter took with them a small surfboat. The experience of the men on the tug on the way out was far from pleasant. Huge waves rolled over the bow of the boat and drenched all on deck. So heave was the sea that considerable water found its way into the fire hold. The men were in danger several times of being pitched overboard. As it was, a member of the crew came near losing his life. He was on the front part of the boat, when an unusually big roller swept over the deck and knocked him down. He was  in danger of being carried into the water, when another member of the crew grabbed him, and just in the nick of time.

     The yacht, according to the lifesavers and the crew of the Harris, remains just where she went down. She lies with her head to the north and a little to the east. They say she has not moved at all. The waves and wind had blown away and torn off all the sails above water, with the exception of the gaff topsail which was still standing, but quite tattered. When the wreck was reached the tug came to a standstill and the life savers put off to the Idler in the surfboat and attached lamps to her rigging to warn vessels of her position.

     But few tugs ventured far outside the breakwater yesterday because of the choppy sea. Mr. Metcalf considered it foolhardy to make the attempt to recover the bodies under those conditions. He said that smooth, or comparatively smooth water, was necessary in diving for the bodies.





Mate Biggan Says the Idler's Crew Did Not Look for a Frightful Gale.



    Regarding the loss of the yacht Idler, the mate, Samuel Biggan, said yesterday:

    "About five minutes before the squall struck up Capt. Holmes asked me what I thought it was going to be, and I told him I thought it would blow about thirty or thirty-five miles an hour.He then remarked that he thought it wouldn't be any more than that. At that time we had the topsails and jib topsails off her. I started to take in the foresail and had it about three parts down. The jib and staysails were down when the squall struck her. The mainsail was up. The storm struck the yacht right abeam and after that she was powerless.

   "For the past week there had been squalls going around and threatening but nothing came from them and we concluded this was like those and would be nothing to speak of, perhaps a little rain. We never for a moment thought it would be sixty- five miles an hour. If we had thought so we would have had all the sails down.

    "Now, as for the people saying that capt. Holmes was neglectful, I want to say that they are very much mistaken. Capt. Holmes used good judgment and handled the boat just right according to the indications.

   "When the squall struck I went down into the cabin and tried to get Mrs. James Corrigan and Mrs. Reiley. I asked Mrs. Reiley to give me the baby so that I could tie it to the mainmast head, but she would not give it up. The crew did all they possibly could, and there was not one of them but what risked his own life in trying to save the women. It was about five minutes after the squall struck the yacht when she went down. Mrs. John Corrigan was about ten minutes in the water.

    "As for the time when the squall struck us, I have the time right here. I have not started my watch since she stopped when I struck the water. It shows 2:12 and I have a quarter of an hour ahead of Cleveland time.

    "As for the yacht, she was thoroughly seaworthy.  





Submarine Worker Tells How He Expects to Find dead Bodies Today.



    For the benefit of Plain Dealer readers Walter Metcalf yesterday consented to speak of the method he will employ in his endeavor to get the bodies of the unfortunate women. He will naturally carry his diving outfit with him on the tug.

    When the wreck is reached the tug will be brought to a standstill and anchored with exceedingly heavy anchors to hold her as nearly stationary as possible. Then a wire rope ladder sixty feet in length will be lowered from the side of the tug and securely fastened to the boat. Down this ladder Mr. Metcalf will descend to the deck of the yacht. On the tug will be two men who will remain constantly at the pump to supply him with air, which will be carried down to him through a hose int his helmet, or diving cap; In addition to the two men at the pump there will be F. W. Schwab, also a submarine diver, who will attend to the signals of Mr. Metcalf. By means of a rope Mr. Metcalf will signal to Mr. Schwab if he needs more air or less.

    Diver Metcalf upon landing on the deck of the yacht will at one make his way to the companionway of the yacht and enter the saloon in which the bodies are thought to be. In the event of finding a body he will fasten a rope to it, and upon a signal from him Mr. Schwab will draw up the corpse to the deck of the tug.  







Was What Caused Miss Ida May Corrigan
to be Wrenched from Rescuer's Grasp



   A young man living on the West Side who went out with the party on the tug Kennedy yesterday, carried with him three carrier pigeons. It was proposed to send word to the city if any bodies were discovered. None were found, but the birds were released and flew back to the city safely.

    Louis Reif, the engineer of the tug F. E. Smith, which was the first to reach the Idler, yesterday related how Miss Ida May Corrigan was lost. He said that a line had been thrown to the sailor who was holding Miss corrigan. The sailor, he said, wound the rope around the arm which held Miss Corrigan, and when the men on the Smith began to draw it in to pull him and Miss Corrigan on deck it jerked his arm from around Miss Corrigan and she disappeared. Engineer Reif said the sailor was, from all appearances, then too weak to again grasp Miss Corrigan.

    The engineer stated that there was little question that the Idler had been prepared by her crew to weather the storm. "The squall struck us first," he said, "we were astern. When it hit the Idler she went down on her beam ends and although the crew appeared to be trying to get her nose in the wind she never recovered, for the reason her sails were not all down. I have no doubt but that when the squall struck them," continued the engineer, "the crew made every effort to weather it."

    Mr. Reif said that the first question asked by Mrs. John Corrigan when she was hauled on board the tug was: "Is the captain saved?" She next asked if her daughter was alive, but none dared to tell her the truth. He said Mrs. Corrigan was at one taken into the engine room, where it was warm.

    It was said that the crew of the tug Helene, upon passing the Idler, called out to those on the yacht to take in their sails.





Captain of the Idler on the Verge of a Serious Illness


     A reporter who called at he Bethel hotel last evening to see Capt. Holmes was denied admittance to him by the clerk. The latter said that Dr. J. R. Smith of Jennings Avenue, who is attending him, had strictly forbidden anyone seeing the captain.

      Capt. Holmes is prostrated by the shock and his trying experience, and is thought to be on the verge of brain fever, earlier in the day, however, he is reported to have said: "No sailor would take down all his canvas every time he saw a black cloud. I saw the cloud, but thought there was nothing but rain in it."

     Capt. James Corrigan is bearing up nobly under his terrible bereavement. Mrs. X. C. Scott, wife of Dr. Scott, and sister of the late Mrs. James Corrigan, is prostrated at her home, No. 457 Prospect street.

     In the event any of the bodies are washed ashore within the limits of Cuyahoga County Coroner Simon will begin an inquest into the tragedy. There is some doubt whether he may hold and inquest to the event any of the bodies re recovered in the lake outside the four-mile limit.


Please use your back button to return to the site you were on.  Thank you for visiting the Corrigan site. If you want more information, email:

July 8th   July 9th   July 10th   July 11th   July 12th   July 13th   July 16th   July 17th   July 19th   July 20th  

July 21st to August 2nd 1900       September 29th to October 17th 1900

 to Corrigan Web Site


[ Co. Antrim Ireland ] [ Co. Offaly Ireland ] [ Warwickshire England ]

 If you need information or want to submit your family information.
Please Email: WEBMASTER

  to the Archer Cousins Genealogy  to the Archer Association Genealogy

         to Corrigan Web Site





Archerfiles Web Site designed by:

  1998,  2001 by The Archer Cousins Association. All rights reserved.
Revised: 2001

Hit Counter