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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


Court Case of Captain Holmes








Remains of Baby Rieley Taken From the Ill Fated Yacht



Boat on Which Six Met Death Put in Ship Owners' Dry-dock










Many Curious People visited the Boat While the
Work of Raising Her Was in Progress -
Memento Hunters Again In Evidence -
The Idler's Bowsprit Broken, but Otherwise
She is in excellent Condition.



    The body of Baby Rieley was found yesterday in the cabin of the Ill fated Idler. The body, which was found about 2;15 o'clock yesterday afternoon, was in a bad state of decomposition and was brought in on a naphtha launch and removed to Harris' undertaking rooms. The Idler was towed into port last evening and was put into the Ship owners' dry-dock.

    Work on raising the yacht was resumed again at 6 o'clock yesterday morning and was carried on under the personal supervision of Capt. James Corrigan. About 5:30 o'clock in the morning the tugs Chamberlain and Ben Campbell left their docks near the Main street bridge. The sandsucker Ohio was towed from her dock near the Superior street viaduct by the tugs. Capt. James Corrigan, John Corrigan and Charles Rieley, father-in-law of Mrs. Rieley, Submarine Divers Metcalf and Schwab, with their assistants, were on the Ohio. A tug with a crew of men had remained near the yacht all night. Upon arriving at the place the divers donned their diving apparatus and went into the water. They remained underwater much of the morning. The deadlights were closed  by them. Other entrances, which it was feared water might leak through, were canvassed. This work consumed nearly all morning. About 1 o'clock lines were strung from the yacht to the tugs Campbell and Chamberlain. The line of the former broke and she met with an accident to her steering gear which put her out of commission. The Dreadnaught was sent to take her place. Stout lines were attached to the spars of the Idler from the tugs Dreadnaught and Chanberlain. The yacht was listed at an angle of nearly forty-five degrees. The tugs pulled on the line carefully, and in about five minutes succeeded in righting the yacht. She sank in the soft mud on an even keel. Then commenced the work of pumping her out.

     The divers placed the pump from the sandsucker in position down the companionway. The pump throws a stream ten inches in diameter and it was not long before the yacht began to respond. The suction of the pump was so powerful, however, that it drew everything to itself. Articles of furniture, clothing, jewels and everything movable in the cabin was drawn about the end of the pump. Within a few minutes it was observed that the pump was not working properly and Diver Metcalf descended into the cabin. The first object he sighted was the body of Baby Rieley. It was circling about in the pool of water resulting from the suction of the pump. He carried it aboard one of the tugs, The naphtha launch Thompson, which happened to be near, was summoned. The body of the unfortunate child was placed aboard her. Mr. Rieley accompanied it to the city. The discovery of the body affected all.

     Diver Metcalf said later he was of the opinion that when the child floated from its mother's arms it lodged in a stateroom and was probably hidden from view by some of the furniture.

    About 4:30 o'clock with the exception of some minor details, the yacht was ready to be towed in. All places through which water might enter were carefully closed. Then a siphon hose operated by steam from the Chamberlain was put into the yacht.  

    About 5:45 o'clock the task of towing the idler in began. The siphon hose was set to pumping out whatever water still remained in the yacht. At exactly 6:45 o'clock the Chamberlain towing the boat entered the slip near the Lake Shore bridge. About a half hour later she was placed in the dry-dock.

    The news that the body of the child had been found spread like wildfire and when the yacht was observed entering the harbor a big crowd was on hand and hastened to the dock to greet her.

    After enough water had been pumped out of the Idler to permit others than the divers to enter the cabin James Corrigan, John Corrigan and Mr. Rieley entered. Previously the divers had taken out of the yacht all the different objects which were drawn about the mouth of the pump. There remained in the cabin a black cloth shopping bag. Mr. Rieley picked this up and opened it. The first thing he drew out was a pair of baby shoes. They had been worn one time by his little grandchild. He was greatly affected.

    The jewels together with the money found in the pocketbooks were quite valuable and were at once taken ashore in the naphtha launch which had returned.

    The terrible heat which prevailed all day yesterday was hard on the people accompanying the expedition. But despite this they worked like beavers. Capt. Corrigan and his brother John Corrigan remained on the yacht until she was placed in the dry-dock.

    Diver Metcalf upon his return from the expedition said that the Idler was not damaged at all with the exception of her bowsprit, which was broken Saturday while she was being towed into the breakwater. In entering shallow water the Idler came up under the lighter Jumbo. The collision broke the bowsprit and stove a hole in the Jumbo. Consequently when the latter was released from the yacht the water rushed in through the aperture and the lighter sank.

    All day long curious people visited the yacht while the men were at work. They persisted in getting in the way of the men and were censured in a manner distinctive of river men. The ubiquitous memento hunters were again in evidence and many were the pieces of sail and wood cut from the yacht. Many people viewed the work from shore with glasses. Young men and small boys who had the nerve crawled or walked out on the logs to watch the operations.

   Friends of the Corrigan's also went to the yacht in tugs, naphtha launches or rowboats.

   "The Idler is a rattling good boat yet" said Diver Metcalf, and beyond the damage to her bowsprit she is not much the worse for the accident. Her bottom is as smooth as your hand."

    The oft repeated story that not many if any preparation had been taken by the captain or his crew in the matter of taking in the sail appears to have some foundation judging from the appearance of the canvas.

    After the yacht had been floated and her deck was out of he water it was seen that nearly all of the canvas on the yacht was spread when the vessel capsized. The yacht presented a sorry spectacle and while perhaps not much damaged, as Driver Metcalf says, she exhibits traces of the rough usage of the gale.

    There yet remain two more bodies to be recovered. They are those of Miss Jane Corrigan and Miss Ida May Corrigan, daughter of Capt. James Corrigan. They are known not to be on the yacht, for every nook and cranny in the vessel has been searched.

    The consensus of opinion seems to be that the bodies re in the lake in the vicinity of the spot where the yacht sank. An effort to find them will be made today. Some time this morning a tug will be sent out. On board the tug will be a cannon and grappling irons. The cannon will be fired off in the hope of causing the bodies to rise. If this does not bear fruit the grappling iron will be placed in service. Bodies of drowned persons are supposed to rise to the surface in from two to nine days. Yesterday was the ninth day. Other tugs and men will watch the beaches for bodies.

    Up to late last night no arrangements had been made for the funeral of Baby Rieley. Only intimate friends of the family were permitted to view the body.


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Newspaper Articles On The Sinking Of The Yacht "Idler"

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


Court Case of Captain Holmes

 to Corrigan Web Site


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

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