My ancestor, Charles Logie, had finally heard illusionary stories by newspaper reporters about the sinking of the ship Julia Ann. It did sink, but that was about the only part of the story they got right. The rest of their seemingly never ending reports and third party sources were more fabrication and daydreams than fact.
Because he was one of the passengers and the principal reason that the shipwrecked passengers survived that tragedy, he knew the truth of the events surrounding the sinking.
In April 1898, forty-three years after the sinking, he finally put pen to paper to correct a few of the most grievous errors in the current newspaper article about that historic event.
His pen strokes on the letter to the editor were surprising constrained given his typical dry humor that could be wielded with rapier like accuracy when he in encountered pompous, aggrandizing politicians, business owners and reporters.
Corrections to an article about the Julia Ann
Deseret News Archives,
23 Apr 1898
“written at American Fork, April 9, 1898
In reading an account of the wreck of the Julia Ann, which occurred in the year 1855, I find some errors:
I was one of the crew. I joined the ship in Sydney, Australia and helped to load her with coal to be taken to San Francisco. The ship was not going to San Pedro. We sailed from Sydney on Friday, the 5th of September 1855. We had rough weather while off the coast of New Zealand, but after we got clear of that coast, we had fine weather and we were expecting to make a quick voyage. Everything went well until the night of Oct. 3rd, 1855. We were sailing at the rate of about 11 knots per hour. I was at the helm that evening from 6 to 8 o’clock. Captain Pond seemed anxious and told the watch on deck to keep a good lookout, for we were running close to land. I gave the man that relieved me at the wheel the course that I had been steering and then I was off duty until midnight. I did not go to bed for a short time, and the ship ran on the reef before I turned in. The time of the wreck must have been on or about nine o’clock, and not four in the morning. Our boats were not lowered; the men tore them from the davits, and we had great difficulty in saving one, which was greatly damaged. The ship did not sink. She was hard on the reef and we cut away the masts to ease the vessel and try to break the seas that were rolling over her.
I will not take up every item, for it would take too long. About that well; We simply sank a common flour barrel level with the surface and we had plenty of water. The turtles used to come upon the beach in the nigh to lay eggs in the sand and the boys would turn them on their backs and go and bring them in next morning. We built a pen for them and used to kill one each day. There was also a fine grove of cocoanut trees on another part of the reef and we used to grate these nuts and mix the turtle eggs and a little flour that we saved from the ship, and make pancakes. We had plenty of wood and shade where we camped, so we had no need to eat raw food or dig in the sand for shelter. The schooner that took us off the reef was the Emma Packer. She was waiting for a cargo of oranges. She never was a whaler.
Jno. Eldredge and Jos. Graham did not go in that boat started out to find help.
Yours respectfully, Chas. Logie”