It was a beautiful sunny day Oct. 1, 1913. Residents, like Paul Bartels, flocked to the beach to enjoy the unusually calm fall day. As Bartels set up to photograph the beautiful calm Pacific, he noticed a ship sailing unusually close to the Nehalem shores.
During a 1978 oral history interview Paul recounted his impressions of the wreck of the Glenesslin, “The Glenesslin came in at Neahkahnie Mountain. The day was nice and the old sea captain, he had been hittin’ it pretty heavy, because they were coming ashore. You see, they wanted to get rid of the whiskey,” Bartels said. “They were all pretty well loaded up, and he said he was going to lay down a while. At 2 o’clock he was woken up and they had changed course. They were coming up on the rock and there was no wind so they just plowed right into the rock.”
Paul took several pictures of the event with his, “old-timey camera,” he goes on to say, “You know the kind that you have to throw the black rag over your head?”
The Court of Inquiry held to determine the cause of the wreck confirmed the suspicions of helpful beachgoers who helped tie lines to the rocks on shore and pull the 21 drunken crewmen to safety.
There was no mistaking the odor of liquor on many of the survivors, reports said. For his negligence, Captain Owen Williams, master of the ship, as well as his second mate John Colefield, were suspended for six months. The first mate F.W. Harwarth got off with a reprimand.