The American schooner Frank W. Howe, home ported in Port Townsend, Washington, was on her way from Ballard, Washington, to San Pedro, California, with a heavy load of railroad ties, when she got caught in a gale and ran aground at Seaview, Washington, on Feb. 23, 1904, North Dakota’s Bismark Tribune reported the next day. The schooner is pictured courtesy of the Saltwater People Historical Society.
The Howe was spotted flying distress signals that morning, and about an hour later spun in the breakers and grounded stern first. Even though lifesaving crews got to the area as speedily as possible, the heavy seas had already started pounding the vessel to pieces. Life lines failed to reach the foundering schooner, so the rescuers were forced to launch a boat to rescue Captain Keegan and six crew members.
Fortunately, there were only two fatalities on the Howe’s last journey. A Norwegian sailor was swept from the rigging and drowned, and the cook, William Van Sant, was hit by a large wave, which threw him across the deck, “killing him instantly.” The ship was a total loss.