Tuesday, March 09, 2004

At 6 am on this date in 1893 the 548 ton schooner, "Lillie F. Schmidt," of Philadelphia, laden with lumber, and bound from Savannah to Baltimore, stranded about 500 yards offshore about one mile northeast of the present-day campground.

The seas were rough, the tide was running high, and the weather thick. At 8 am Wheeler Howard and Mathias Ballance spied the schooner and walked ten miles to the Life Saving Station at the south side of Hatteras Inlet, where they reported the wreck to Keeper James Howard at 10:30 am.

Within 15 minutes the life saving crew, with mules and gear, set out along the beach, arriving at the "Lillie F. Schmidt" at 2:30 pm. Fighting a strong current and the great distance to the ship, the station crew succeeded in firing a line to the vessel and rescuing all seven crew members with the breeches buoy.

The sailors, having been exposed to the elements for many hours were thoroughly wet and fatigued. Local citizens carried them to their homes where they were fed and cared for during the next three days.

Keeper Howard and his men returned to the Hatteras Inlet station, arriving exhausted at 8:30 pm after walking more than twenty miles.

A portion of the cargo was later salvaged and sold at public auction on March 24.

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