California Bound by

Stockton Daily Independent
27/28/29 November 1866
Transcribed by Dee Sardoch.

27 November 1866

The iron ship, 'Coya,' of Liverpool, Captain PRISEE, with coal from Sydney, went ashore 8 miles from Pescadero, half a mile from the scene of the wreck of the 'Sir John Franklin,' early on Saturday evening, 24th instant, during a fog. The vessel and cargo were a total loss. The crew and passengers, 29 in number, were all washed overboard and drowned, save G. BARNES, of Sydney; T. BANNISTER, 1st Mate, and W. COOPER, a boy. The passengers were:
Dr. ROWDEN and wife, London
Mr. JEFFRIES, wife and infant, 2 days old, of Portsmouth, England
George BARNES, Sydney
Mrs. LASSETT, Napa, California
Mrs. PEARSON, San Francisco
Mrs. Captain PRISEE and daughter
[see following issues]

28 November 1866

The following is the list of passengers of the bark 'Coya:'
Dr. ROWDEN and wife, London
Mr. JEFFRIES, wife and baby, Portsmouth
Geo. BYRNES, Sydney
Mrs. LASSETTA, Napa Valley, Cal.
Mrs. PEARSON, San Francisco
Mrs. PAIGE and daughter

Crew of 'Coya:'
Captain R. PAIGE
Thomas BARSTOW, 1st Mate
William CARR, 2nd Mate
James SKELTON, sailmaker
Frank BASHBAY, carpenter
John SMITH, steward
James COOK
And one, name unknown

Thomas SMITH
James MARTIN, stowaway
George OWEN
Oliver TOM
Peter SHIMMINS, boy

George BYRNES, passenger from Sydney
Thomas BARSTOW, 1st Mate
Walter COOPER, seaman

Macondray & Co., of this city [San Francisco], were the consignees of the 'Coya.' A party was sent down by that house to render assistance to any survivors of the wreck who may be found, and to look after the bodies and effects of drowned passengers and crew, which may reach land. The ship being of iron and laden with coal, a very small part of the wreck, beyond the spars, will be likely to reach shore.

29 November 1866

APPALLING CATASTROPHE -- Wreck of the British Bark 'Coya' at Pigeon Point, While Bound from Sydney to San Francisco -- Only 3 Persons out of 29 Saved -- The telegraph on Monday gave us a brief announcement of the wreck of the British iron bark 'Coya' near Santa Cruz, the night previous. From the 'Alta' of Tuesday we take the following particulars, given by 2 of the survivors.

Statement of George BYRNES -- The iron bark 'Coya,' of Liverpool, 513 tons register, laden with coal, sailed from Sydney for San Francisco on the 22d day of Sept., 1866, with 29 persons on board, including crew and passengers. When we were out 12 days, we lost a seaman named Peter JOHNSON off the jibboom, and used all endeavors, but could not pick him up. Called at Pitcairn Island, Oct. 13th, and left same day and proceeded on our voyage. All went well until Nov. 24th, all of which day and day previous we had very thick and squally weather, and no sights. On this evening, according to dead reckoning, we supposed we were near the Faralone light, and standing in under easy sail, close-reefed fore and main topsail and top-staysaid; about 7 1/2 o'clock p.m., we were all down at tea, when the 2nd mate reported land on the lee bow. Captain PAIGE came on deck and immediately ordered the ship to be wore round. Shortly afterwards breakers were reported right ahead, and the ship coming round very slowly, when all of a sudden she struck very heavily on the rocks and swung round broadside on. The sea kept lifting her from rock to rock, crushing her bottom in. She had at this time made considerably nearer shore, and we all gave ourselves up for lost. The sea commenced breaking over the bows, carrying everything before it. The boats were swept away by this time. The passengers were all on deck now except Mrs. JEFFREYS, who had been confined 2 days previous. The scene now was something fearful; the main deck, being torn up by the pressure from the water underneath, made one of the most frightful noises ever heard, the ladies screaming and being washed away one by one, and drowning under the lee rigging. One of the ladies, Mrs. ROWDEN, had a life-buoy on, which Dr. ROWDEN generously took off himself and gave to his wife, thereby throwing nearly all chance of his own life away to try and save his wife, but it was of no avail. A tremendous sea now swept aft and carried some more poor fellows to a watery grave, and cleaning everything off the poop. There was a move upon the skylight being washed off level with the deck, and Mr. BYRNES smashed down head first into the cabin. The ship at this time gave a very heavy lurch and settled over to the windward, with the mast on a level with the water. What few remained now were about 10 in number, all sitting upon the side of the taffrail, the sea now breaking over us very often, until we began to get numbed in the limbs with the cold, as at this time no one had on more than a shirt and trowsers, ready to do their best for shore. It was enough to pass the energies of any man when he looked to the leeward and saw what a frail man had to contend with. Nothing to be seen to leeward but a mass of hissing foam dashing with fearful violence over the rocks. The end of the last few that were now left on the doomed ship was fast approaching. There we sat, looking death in the face. Some were making prayers to the Almighty to assist them, while others sat in mute despair, but not a cry of anguish or a word was to be heard, even when the ship commenced crashing up from forward and coming aft to set us all adrift on the waves. We did not think that one would be left to tell the sorrowful tale. All of us are now tossing about on the wild billows. I can count 5 struggling in an eddy that is whirling us round and round, grasping at anything that comes in their way, 1 man catching hold of another to save himself, and both going down; it is all self now. But out of the whole company, only 3 are to be saved. The 1st that is thrown on shore is a young man, Walter COOPER, who clings to a piece of timber with death's grip; the waves dash him under for a few seconds; he comes up again and rides on shore on the top of a wave. The next one on shore was Mr. G. BYRNES, a passenger, who had a life-buoy on. He had a great struggle, the waves rising up over him 3 times, and burying him under for several seconds; he was nearly carried back with the recoil. The last of the unfortunate men that came on shore was Mr. BAIRSTOW, 1st Mate, who had a cork life-belt. He had been sitting to the last alongside the Captain and 2nd Mate, who wanted him to lash himself on to the taffrail, the same as they had done, and take the chance when the ship broke up of being washed ashore; but he refused. He had a hard time of it, the belt not being buoyant enough, and he had to get the assistance of a board to keep him up. He was very badly hurt among the rocks, but a friendly wave landed him on shore. Those that were saved had great difficulty to crawl out of the water, when they were landed, they were so benumbed with cold.

The 3 survivors met after they got on shore and passed a most miserable night, huddled up together on the sand, not being aware of any habitations being at hand until daylight broke, when they saw fences and cattle a mile off, which turned out to be on Messrs. FISH & CAMP's White House Rancho, by whom we were very well received and lodged. After they had refreshed themselves they went down to the beach to look for the bodies of their unfortunate shipmates, but only 1 was found, viz: Mrs. JEFFREYS, whom they buried as well as the state of things would permit. The place where the wreck occurred is about 60 miles to the south of San Francisco, and within half a mile of where the 'Sir John Franklin' was lost some 2 years ago.

Statement of COOPER -- The young man COOPER, who brought the foregoing account, has given us a few additional facts concerning the catastrophe. He says that the Captain and officers did all in their power to save the lives of the passengers and crew after the vessel struck and it became evident that she must go to pieces. The long-boat was cast loose, and an attempt was made to launch her, but she was swept away by the waves, which broke at every instant over the wreck, before anybody could get into her. The water off shore is filled with rocks, and the shore rises precipitously, with a rocky face. When the 3 survivors reached the shore, they were almost dead from exhaustion, and so stiffened and benumbed with cold that they found it almost impossible to climb up the rocks and out of the reach of the hungry waves which had already devoured their comrades. COOPER had on when he reached the shore a pair of drawers and an undershirt, and he saved a scarf, but no other clothing. The others were similarly destitute. After they got together on the mesa above, and satisfied themselves that they were the only survivors of the whole ship's company, they dug a hold in the sand, and covering it over with bushes, which they broke down with their hands, huddled together in it until morning, when they espied the wreck only about a mile distant. Up to the time that COOPER left the spot yesterday morning, only a single body -- that of Mrs. JEFFREYS had come ashore. The hull of the vessel was entirely broken up, and had disappeared, leaving only a few broken spars and other pieces of wood, a few pieces of rope, etc., tumbling in the surf, or hurled on the rocks by the waves. The chest of tools belonging to Mr. JEFFREYS had washed ashore; also the chest belonging to Dr. ROWDEN, and a broken chest, with tools in it, supposed to have belonged to BASHBY, the carpenter. COOPER found the light woolen shawl worn by Mrs. JEFFREYS on the shore, and brought it up to the city with him. Her little boy, but 2 days old, was doubtless wrapped in it when it was torn from her grasp by the waves. The 1st Mate, BAIRSTOW, and Mr. BYRNES being more injured than the young man COOPER, remained a the White House Ranch, but will probably be up to the city soon. COOPER was roughly handled by the waves, being jammed between timbers and the rocks once or twice, but escaped serious injury.

The 'Coya' had a cargo of coal, somewhat exceeding the tonnage measurement of the ship, consigned as COOPER understands, to the master, Captain PAIGE. She was built in the Thames and made a fine passage here from England on her 1st trip. She was last here about a year since, and was then commanded by Captain PAIGE, if our memory serves us. She first came here consigned to Macondray & Co. She was a fine vessel of her class and was lost from no defect in her construction. She was owned in London, and probably insured there.

The scene of the wreck is about 8 miles from Pescadero, near Pigeon Point, and about half a mile from the place where the 'Sir John Franklin' went ashore and was lost 2 years since. The night was intensely dark and as it appears from the statement of Mr. BYRNES, the captain supposed himself some 60 or 70 miles to the northward and half that distance out at sea, until within a minute or 2 at most of her going on the rocks.

30 November 1866

BY STATE TELEGRAPH, San Francisco, Nov. 30 --

The party sent by Macondray & Co. to the scene of the wreck of the British ship 'Coya,' have returned. They report that the ship was wrecked on the south side of Franklin Point, about 3/4 of a mile from where the 'Sir John Franklin' was lost. The lower topmasts of the 'Coya' barely visible above the water, and the vessel appears to be slowly moving toward the reef between it and the beach. Everything which washed ashore from the ill-fated vessel has been appropriated by the wreckers, who swarm about the serf, and are believed to have secured many articles of a private character. Up to 2 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, the bodies of Captain PAIGE, Dr. ROWDEN and wife, Mrs. LASSITER, Mrs. PEARSON, Mr.&Mrs. JEFFREYS and babe, Frank BUSHBY, James COOK, Philip SIMMONS, Jas. MARTIN (stowaway) and Thos. SMITH (seaman), had been found and buried near the spot where the bodies from the 'Sir John Franklin' were interred. Mr. BROWN, the only passenger saved, has been near the scene of the wreck constantly, and supervised the recovery of the bodies and their burial. The mate is considerably injured and exhausted, but expects to leave for San Francisco soon. The people of the vicinity have been kind and attentive to the sufferers.

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