On October 23, 1889, a rapidly growing storm caught the crew of the schooner, Frank M. McGear, off guard and due to her being empty of cargo, the schooner was quickly driven ashore by the increasing winds and rough tides. A patrolman from the Whale’s Head Station (formerly Jones Hill) discovered her about two miles north of the station. He burned his Coston flare alerting the shipwrecked crew they had been spotted and hurried back to the station to report the wreck. Keeper Andrew Scarborough fired a rocket to recall the south patrolman and contacted their sister station, Currituck Inlet, for assistance. About two hours later, both crews arrived on scene with the beach apparatus equipment. The first shot from the Lyle Gun reached the vessel but the darkness of the night prevented the sailors from finding the line. By now, tides had forced the vessel further up on shore so instead of firing another line, the heaving stick was thrown on her deck instead. Quickly, the whip and hawser were sent to the vessel and secured. The seven-man crew was then pulled to safety via the breeches buoy. Just over two hours after arriving on scene, both crews returned to their stations with the survivors being escorted to the Whale’s Head Station. Four of the sailors remained at the station only a couple of days while the captain, first mate, and steward remained for several weeks as attempts were made to salvage the schooner. Finally, she bilged where she was then condemned, stripped, and eventually sold. Upon his departure, Captain Albert Sharp, wrote a thank you letter expressing his gratitude for the promptness and efficiency of the rescue and for the kindness and attention shown to his crew during their stay at the station.

All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s just about providing for others needs: On April 7, 1889, a furious gale was pounding the area, and active patrols were on alert at all stations on account of the weather and intense fog. A patrolman from the Nags Head station spotted a schooner missing her sails about a mile and a half north of the station. He reported back to Keeper Van Buren Etheridge as quickly as possible and no time was lost as the crew headed out into the storm with two beach carts filled with both the beach apparatus and blankets along with the station’s medicine chest. It took nearly an hour for the station horses to pull the carts through the high surf and winds to the scene and by the time they arrived, they found five men on the beach. The vessel had worked herself so close to shore the sailors had decided to abandon ship and swim towards safety. One of the sailors was injured during his swim so he was treated on scene before being warmly wrapped in blankets and loaded onto one of the carts for the return trip to the station. The crew of the Hattie Lollis, stayed at the station for five days before Keeper Etheridge took them to Manteo to board a steamer for their return trip to Norfolk. The surfmen assisted in removing what could be salvaged from the vessel and two days after the sailors’ departures, the vessel broke up and became a total loss. Before leaving, Captain Sharp handed Keeper Etheridge a thank you card for assisting him and his crew after they were stranded.