THE PHANTOM SHIP OF LORDSHIP: It is related that Captain John Brooks always blew the whistle of his steamboat when passing Lordship and a horn from the manor responded to the salute. Another vessel associated with Lordship is one referred to as The Phantom Ship. A vessel set sail from Stratford with three men in charge. Their fate never was learned, thought the prow of a ship was washed up on shore and long remained on the Lordship Farm. Then folks used to say that on certain stormy nights, when winds lashed waves to fury, that a certain ghostly ship was seen to ride waves off shore, then to vanish. Imaginative folks are still supposed to be able to get this vision of a vanished ship.
May 19, 1831 - STEAMBOAT DISASTER OFF STRATFORD POINT: A strong and painful sensation was produced yesterday, by the intelligence of the loss of the steamboat Washington, Captain Tomlinson, which was sunk off Stratford Point on Saturday night at 12 midnight while on her trip from New York to Providence. The cause of this disaster is detailed in the letter from Captain Tomlinson which will be found below. The first reports stated that in addition to the loss of the second engineer, who was crushed to death by the collision, two passengers were lost; but it has been satisfactorily ascertained that the whole number were saved. The passengers of both boats were asleep in the berths, the pilots at the wheels and the requisite proportions of the crews on duty as usual. The lights were hoisted and distinctly seen by the pilots respectively as the boats approached each other, but owing to the state of the atmosphere or some other cause, the real distance between them seems to have been entirely miscalculated until they were found to be rushing directly upon each other at a united velocity equal at least to 25 miles an hour. The wheels of the Chancellor were immediately turned back and the Washington veered to the south but it was too late. The bow of the Chancellor struck the Washington just forward of the starboard wheel carried everything away and cut her down below the waterline. The second engineer below at his post was crushed no doubt. He was not seen afterwards. One of the crew was thrown overboard and found himself clinging to a rope. He was rescued but suffered a dislocated shoulder. It was soon discovered that the Washington must sink. She had on board about 50 passengers, $20,000 in cash belonging to the Suffolk Bank of Boston and a large freight of merchandise on account from various merchants. All hands were immediately employed in transferring the property to the Chancellor. At the end of half an hour, the ladies were removed on board the Chancellor and all the passengers were considered safe. Forty-five minutes after the collision, the bow of the Washington went down, the stern below the cabin window remaining out of water. In that situation she was left and it is supposed may easily be recovered. The water is twelve and a half fathoms deep with a soft bottom. There was very little if any insurance on the boat or goods. Note: The Washington was later towed to New Haven Harbor.
February 17, 1846: We are informed that a vessel, supposed to be the barque New Haven, bound to New Haven from a port in the West Indies, is ashore at Stratford Point.
February 16, 1852 - The sloop Rhode Island, which belongs to the same line, also from Providence, for New York, and with a similar cargo, is ashore on Stratford Point. She has bilged and is full of water. The cargo will be saved in a damaged state, It is insured for $1,000 in the Sun Mutual, New York, $3,300 at the American in Providence; $3,600 at the Merchants, and $500 at the Fire and Marine, Springfield. The Cargo of is worth from $50,000 to $75,000.
April 21, 1852 - There is a schooner of about 100 tons, ashore on Stratford Point, also one on Hart Island.
August 8, 1855 - Victory (sloop) for New Haven was run ashore on Stratford Point.
December 18, 1874 - A schooner of considerable size went ashore on Stratford Point near the lighthouse last Tuesday night and now lies there, a wreck. Her name, owner and destination, with other particulars are unknown.
November 9, 1881 - Two schooners were at work on Monday trying to raise the schooner John Brittin, which was capsized off Stratford Point on Friday night. The Brittin which is owned in Saybrook was bound from New York for New Haven with scrap iron. She was going steadily off Stratford Point with all sail set, when a heavy flaw struck her and keeled her over. All the crew got safely ashore, but the captain had a narrow escape from drowning.
February 11, 1882 - The stream tug G. L. Garlick, bound from New Haven to New York, lost four canal-boats of her tow of five off Stratford Light in a heavy gale this afternoon. Those lost were the Michael L. Flynn, William W. Scoll, P. J. O'Rourke and W. R. King. The last named was rendered a total wreck. The J. P. Connerville, the only one saved, was brought to this port, together with the crews of the lost boats. The three first mentioned drifted away and could not be recovered by the tug, owing to the fierce gale and heavy sea. The boats were light.
December 25, 1883 - A COAL BARGE LOST: As the steamer Nonowantuc was on her way to this city from Port Jefferson, Captain Charles Tooker sighted a coal barge off Stratford Light with a flag of distress floating at her mast-head. From Captain Tooker it was learned the following facts. The tug boat W.E. Gladwich of the Game Cock Line left Providence Saturday last with a tow among which were the two coal barges Mamie and Daisy both of New York. When off Stratford Light at 3 oclock this morning the latter vessel swung ashore and sunk and it is supposed carried down one of the crew named Charles Davis. The Mamie also broke loose but was secured to the shore where she remained until rescued by the Nonowantuc. Two men, Captain W. Chase of Providence and J. Coffee of Brooklyn were rescued from the Daisy before she went down. After the Nonowantuc was well under way the tug Gladwich was seen coming back for the remainder of the tow. Arriving in Bridgeport harbor this afternoon, the tug came alongside the rescued vessel and a line was thrown aboard which was taken. The Nonowantucs line was then let go and the two vessels proceeded to New York. The action taken by the officers on board the Gladwich is said to have been in direct violation of the United States statute and suit will be brought by the Port Jefferson boat.
March 22, 1888 - THE TERRIBLE WEATHER - INFORMATION FROM NEW HAVEN BY STEAMER: Many Lives Lost - A Steamer Beached in the Storm: New Haven has received a dispatch by the steamer Elm City, containing the following information: Not a train is moving on any railroad in Connecticut, and telegraphic communication between New Haven and the outside "world was cut off at an early stage of the storm and has not yet been restored. Reports have been coming in of terrible suffering in the towns and villages throughout the state, especially on the coast, The greatest loss of life was in all probability along the shore of Long Island Sound. In New Haven up to 10 o'clock Wednesday morning seven deaths from exposure had seen reported, the victims all being working people. Three school teachers are reported missing, and it is feared that they have lost their lives. There are at least twenty deaths from exposure reported from surrounding towns. At some places the school houses are still occupied by the teachers and children, who are suffering greatly for lack of food. Reports from Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Rockville and Waterbury are all to the same effect and giving accounts of terrible suffering, and the complete blockade are on all railroads and the highways. The passengers on board the steamer New Haven, which left for New York at 8 o'clock on Monday morning, had a most thrilling experience, as it was found necessary to run her ashore near the Stratford light, on the sound (Lordship). There were several passengers on board, two of whom were women. As the steamer proceeded down the harbor the storm grew furious, and those on board became terribly frightened. The gale constantly increased in violence and when ten miles out on the sound Captain Post let go his anchor. Huge waves swept over the steamer washing everything movable above deck and utterly demolishing the cabin furniture. The anchors were kept out until 4 o'clock Monday afternoon, when the strain on the steamer became so great that the captain decided that the only hope for safety was to beach her. She was headed for the shore, and struck at about 7 o'clock. The boats were manned, and all hands ordered to make for the shore, which was still about three hundred yards off. The terribly frightened passengers huddled into the boats, and a safe landing was made. The real sufferings of the party then began. The thermometer was down to zero, and nothing but deserted summer cottages a mile off could he seen. One of these was finally reached, the door broken in and the half-frozen men, carrying the women in their arms, found temporary shelter. The banisters and staircases were torn down and fires started. No food could be found, and twelve of the strongest of the men volunteered to brave the storm in search of assistance. This party trailed three miles in the face of the furious blizzard when they reached a farm house. All of them were completely prostrated; ten of them had their hands and feet so badly frozen that amputation may be necessary. The other two escaped with frozen faces and ears. No one could venture to the relief of those left in the cottage, for fear of losing their own lives. The condition of the party left behind must be deplorable. They have been in the deserted cottage for three days. The steamer will be badly injured as at last reports, she was pounding heavily on the beach.
November 16, 1892: A SEA MYSTERY: It was reported last night that a ship had gone ashore near the lighthouse at Stratford and that she was signaling for help for over an hour during the fiercest part of the storm. An investigation was made this morning, but no trace of her can be found and if she did run ashore she undoubtedly got off again and continued on her way. About 10 pm residents of the East End, near the shore say they heard the signals from the vessel and saw the flash of guns, but owing to the severity of the storm, could make no further investigation.
October 15, 1901 - SLOOP YACHT IS WRECKED: The large sloop yacht Cela, of Newbern, N. C., was wrecked off the mouth of the Housatonic River late yesterday afternoon and will be a total loss. A party of ladies and gentlemen on board were taken off safely and cared for at the homes of summer residents here. The Cela was owned by Nicholas Armstein, of New York. She came into the Housatonic River last Thursday and started out again Sunday afternoon with Charles Wheeler, of Stratford. At the mouth of the river she missed stays and went on the end of the breakwater off Milford Point. As soon as the yachting party had beer taken ashore, the crew found it necessary to abandon the sloop, as she was pounding badly and fast going to pieces.
August 12, 1907 - FOUR DROWNED WHEN VESSELS COLLIDE: Four men were drowned when, in a dense fog off the Stratford Shoals Light, the three masted schooner Myronus bound from Rockland, Me., for New York with a load of granite, was sunk In the middle of Long Island Sound in a collision with the Neptune Line steamer Tennessee, bound from Fall River to New York. Captain Belatty of the Myronus was rescued by the passengers on the Tennessee and Henry Lundgren, one of the crew, was also saved by swimming to the steamer. The passengers of the Tennessee were taken off by the New Bedford Line steamer Maine and brought to New York. The Tennessee anchored in the sound, and when the fog lifted proceeded to this city. She was not much damaged.
February 24, 1909: YOU MUST ADVERTISE GOODS FOUND ON SHORE: Detectives Cronan and Fox have been at work since the wrecking of the steamer John Starin gathering together the odds and ends of her cargo which drifted ashore and was carried off by residents of the city. Today the officers have gone to Stratford to locate goods which floated over to Lordship Park and are alleged to have been picked up there. The southeast wind which drove the steamer on the breakwater carried a portion of her cargo to the beach at Seaside Park and also near the Locomotive factory. The next morning the wind blew from the southwest and carried some of the cargo eastward. Some of it went ashore at Lordship Park and was taken in by men on the beach. So far guns, clocks, bird cages and various other articles of general merchandise have been recovered. The detectives are at work in Stratford this afternoon. A false idea exists concerning the rights of those who pick up wreckage on the shore. There is a vast difference between taking gods cast up by the sea in a harbor and gathering from the ocean wreckage which has floated perhaps for a thousand miles. The general opinion of lawyers on the matter is that parties picking up flotsam have no right to retain it until they have advertised that they have the goods in their possession. The owners may then recover the goods on payment of salvage.
John Starin wreck
November 14, 1913 - Two small schooners sank in Long Island Sound, during last Sundays storm, according to information given to mariners by the United States engineers in New Haven, Ct. Thursday. Schooner A. J. Miller, stone laden was capsized off Stratford Shoals and the Florence Russell went down at Shippan Point, near Stamford. The crews in each instance were reached shore. The wrecks have been located and buoyed.
December 18, 1919: A schooner of considerable size went ashore on Stratford Point near the lighthouse last Tuesday night and now lies there, a wreck. Her name, owner and destination, with other particulars are unknown.
July 10, 1920 - CREW IS RESCUED FROM BURNED BOAT: Oyster Boat W. A. Bishop of Radel Oyster Company Destroyed off Lordship Manor: The W. A. Bishop a gasoline propelled oyster sloop, owned by the Radel Oyster company of South Norwalk was practically totally destroyed by fire shortly after 10 o'clock Friday morning about a mile off Lordship Manor. Captain William Dayton of East Norwalk and a crew of five men were rescued from the burning sloop by the Standard and the Medea, companion sloops of the oyster fleet which were operating in the vicinity. The blaze was due to a backfire according to members of the crew and while there were fire extinguishers and a hose aboard, there was no pump available. The fire spread with such rapidity and the flames rose in such volume as to render the use of the extinguishers impossible. It was only a short time when a barrel of oil which the vessel carried became ignited and spread over the waters of the Sound in a mass of flame. The Standard had her pump working and played a stream on the burning sloop while the Medea had two streams playing upon the Bishop. After unsuccessful efforts to quell the blaze the Standard attempted to sink the ill fated Bishop and although she rammed two large holes in the side of the Bishop, the burning sloop remained afloat until continued effort on the part of the Standard, the Medea and several other small craft which had arrived at the scene, finally extinguished the blaze and the charred hulk was towed to the Radel wharf at the foot of Pembroke Street. The sloop was engaged in the oyster planting work conducted each summer in the sound. President Butler of the Radel Company refused to comment on the accident last night. It was shortly after 2 oclock in the afternoon when the fire was placed under control. The bathing colony at Lordship could clearly see the blaze and watched the efforts to suppress the fire.
1936 Boat crash
September 1, 1922 - STRATFORD GETS MESSAGES FROM DISABLED BOAT: Haze Hides Steamer Crippled on Shoals - Crank Pin Broken: Residents of Lordship Short Beach and other points along the shore near Stratford Point endeavored without success to get a sight of the steamer Calvin of the Eastern Steamship Company while the big steamer was laying to in a disabled condition four miles east of Stratford Shoals today. Although the steamer was laying of the shoals for a period of 12 hours, a heavy haze prevented the persons on shore from making her out. Wireless fans had little trouble picking up radio messages sent out from the disabled steamer giving her position and the nature of her trouble. The wireless operator on a U.S. Submarine at the Lake Submarine Companys plant got several of the commercial messages sent out by passengers on the boat to their friends on shore. A broken crank pin in the engine room was given as the cause of the disablement of the steamer. The boat was anchored for 12 hours while repairs were being made. There were approximately 400 passengers on board. Informed that the steamer was helpless off the shoals two tugs the Owen McWilliams and Freda Keller of the New Haven Towing Line put out to the steamer. On speaking the disabled boat captain informed the skippers of the tugs that repairs had been made and he would be able to proceed to port under his own steam. The Owen McWilliams stood by however accompanying the vessel to port and ready to lend any assistance that might be needed.
December 8, 1922 - BARGE LOAD OF COAL IS LOST IN SOUND: The report today that a barge containing 750 tons of coal had foundered off Stratford Point was confirmed tonight at the office of the McCusker & Schroeder Company of New Haven. Officials of the company said the crew of the barge had been saved and another barge, believed to have been in danger, had been landed in safety.
Aug 19, 1932: BOAT WRECKED ON ROCKS: Six men were rescued today from the breakwater near Lordship Point after their 24 foot boat was wrecked on the rocks. All in the party escaped injury. The boat owned by Edgar Walker of Derby drifted into the rocks when its motor failed. Shore residents went to the aid of Walker and his five guests.
September 3, 1935: FISHING PARTY RESCUED OFF LORDSHIP: All hands where safely brought ashore tonight when a 50 foot twin-masted auxiliary schooner went aground on a sunken reef about a mile off Point No Point midway between Lordship and Pleasure Beach. The vessel carrying Dr. William Hallcoon, former city health officer, was on a fishing trip on Long Island Sound. Returning about dusk, the boat slipped onto the reef according to observers. Greasing some old rags the shipwrecked party improvised a set of flares which they dropped over the stern. Frank Lally, Sr. a summer resident of Lordship saw the flares from his front porch, put out in a skiff for the boat and brought the party to shore.
September 3, 1935 - A party was taken off a grounded 50 foot schooner which struck a reef about half a mile off shore. Two summer residents of Lordship Beach carried out the rescue with a skiff.
October 19, 1943: TANKERS CREW RESCUE EIGHT OFF STRATFORD POINT: Captain Eben Scoville of the coastwise tanker New England which arrived at the Hygrade Oil Company dock in Rocky Hill Monday described the tankers rescue of five women, two men and a boy off Stratford Point Sunday from a water logged yacht. A 30 mile gale on Long Island Sound was swamping the pleasure craft when the tanker came alongside and carried out the rescue despite waves that washed over the tankers deck. One of the tankers crew suffered a broken bone in his foot when it was caught between the yacht and the tanker. All of the rescued group were from New York.
November 30, 1946: SCHOONER ON ROCKS AT STRATFORD POINT: The two masted schooner Talisman, grounded yesterday at Stratford Point Lighthouse to prevent her foundering in Long Island Sound will be caulked and ready for launching on the afternoon tide, the owners said today. The Coast Guard cutter Yeaton and a motor life boat from Northport, summoned by Captain Daniel McCoart, chief lighthouse keeper, stood by until 3 am. Then after conference with owners Stanley and Elsie Dunton of Boston, who refused to sign a waiver absolving the Coast Guard of responsibility in the event the Talisman did not survive the launching, the Coast Guard boats departed. After checking the results of caulking in the schooner whose seams were damaged when the ship was rammed Thursday at City Island dock, the Coast Guard representatives said their opinion is the craft will not stay afloat despite the emergency repairs. Mr. Duntons decision was to gamble on his efforts to make the ship seaworthy. The owners, brother and sister were en route from New York to Boston when unable to cope with a leak; they beached their craft near the lighthouse at 4 am Friday. Aided by Captain McCoart and his assistant William Shackley, the owners stripped the boat of gear and furnishings in fear that it would be damaged irreparably overnight. The Duntons have worked uninterrupted on their ship since disaster struck. Aid from the Family Society was refused as well as offers for shelter and warm dry clothing from neighbors in that area. They have accepted limited hospitality from the lighthouse whose coffee pot like its vigilance is on a 24 hour schedule.