October 11, 1854 – San Francisco – The Yankee Blade. The shipwreck of this fine steamer, her total loss and the consequent loss of the lives of a number of her passengers, are events deeply to be deplored, at the same time we have great cause of gratitude and thankfulness in the escape from death of most of her passengers.
Had a storm overtaken the ship before the Goliah hove in sight, or had the latter boat passed the wreck without discovering it, hundreds of the unfortunate passengers must have gone to the bottom. The day succeeding their rescue, a storm broke up the steamer, and in a few hours nothing remained of that splendid ship but the shell of her stern, and that turned bottom upwards.
A special Providence seems to have watched over the passengers which have been shipwrecked on the Pacific coast. Among them all, but few lives have been lost, comparatively speaking. We may say too, that considering the number of voyages made by the steamers of the two rival lines, but few shipwrecks have been experienced.
The P.M.S. Company has been very fortunate in this respect. They have lost but two steamers— the Tennessee and Winfield Scott—and no lives have ever been lost by shipwreck on that line, so far as we are advised. The Nicaragua line has lost the North America, S.S. Lewis, Independence and the Pioneer. Of the independent steamers the Union and Yankee Blade; are among the wrecked. No lives have been lost in all these wrecks except in the cases of the Independence and Yankee Blade. In several instances the lives of passengers seemed to have been saved as by a miracle.
The Tennessee struck on a sand bar, at the mouth of a small branch, and the only bar for miles on this rock bound coast which she could have found. A half mile either way would have sent every soul to the bottom. So with the S.S. Lewis. She ran on a ledge of rocks about a mile from shore, above San Francisco, and had the weather been rough, must have gone to pieces before morning.
The succeeding day proved clear and calm, the passengers were all safely landed, but the night after the wind increased, and the next day not a vestige of the boat remained. Persons living on the shore, with whom the passengers sought refuge, declared they had not seen as calm a sea or as little wind in twelve months as prevailed the day the passengers were landed. We mention these incidents to show how singularly favored passengers have generally been after being wrecked. The loss and disappointment of the passengers by the Yankee Blade will be almost irreparable. She had a large number at a low price, and many of them are doubtless left in a situation, which, under present, prices will prevent their returning to their friends for years.
Much blame will attach to the captain for running his ship ashore in the day time, and for being so much out of his course, in making a voyage from San Francisco to Panama. It looks as if gross carelessness or incapacity had prevailed somewhere, for which no explanation will prove satisfactory. Capt. Randall’s going ashore in the boat to find a good place to land his passengers, thus deserting his ship while eight hundred passengers and his crew were left on board exposed to the mercy of the winds and waves, will tell terribly against him. The commander who deserts his ship under such circumstances, will be held as criminal, regardless of all explanations and protestations. (Sacramento Daily Union)
Sloop Ashore, Wrecked on Santa Cruz Island
October 13, 1858 – Santa Barbara SBG “On the 13th of September, the sloop San Buenaventura, of Santa Barbara, sailed from that port for the island of Santa Rosa, having on board Peter Hammond and Miguel Cota, as passengers.
She was under the command of Vizenzo Panatieri, alias John Brown, alias Capt. Paisoco, an Italian. When near the Island of Santa Cruz, at about 4 o’clock a.m., she sprang a leak and soon filled and sank. All who were on board succeeded in reaching the shorn, which at that point is very high and precipitous.
Panatieri climbed up the steep bluff, and after wandering about the island for two days and nights, naked, hungry and thirsty, reached one of the houses on the island. The others, less fortunate, have not since been heard of. Diligent search has been made upon and around the island, bat no traces hare been discovered of them. It is supposed that they must have perished at the foot of the bluff, where they landed.
The escape of Panatieri is little less than miraculous. The bluff rises to the height of about two hundred feet, and is almost perpendicular for the first hundred feet. Hammond was an industrious and respected citizen of Santa Barbara, and leaves a wife and five children of tender age. Miguel Cota was a native Californian and a citizen of this place.”