Daily Event for January 25

January 25, 1870 The Inman Line's City of Boston sailed from New York bound for Liverpool. She was built in Glasgow in 1864 and had sailed for the Inman Line foe her entire career. The City of Boston was capable of carrying over 1,000 passengers but on this voyage she had only 107 plus a crew of 70.

After being sighted passing Halifax on Jan. 28 the 332' ship vanished. As with other ships of her time the City of Boston had sail rigging along with her engines. Breakdowns were frequent and it was not at all unusual for a steamer to have to take to sail to make port. This would obviously add to her crossing time and because communications between Europe and the USA came only by ship it could take a considerable amount of time before the realization that a ship was truly lost.

That was the case for the City of Boston. Reports of her "safe arrival" in Belfast were still being made in March but, the ship never made land again. What really happened will never be known but we have an idea. In May of 1871 two bottles washed up on shore, one on Shediac, New Brunswick and the other on Newport, Nova Scotia. Messages in the bottles, which had obviously been in the water for a considerable amount of time, had deteriorated but some words were still legible. One note had the words "A collision" on another were the words "We are lost" another said   "City of Boston-We are all sinking, goodbye." Another indicated that the ship had collided with an iceberg.

Another account states that a boat washed up the coast of Cornwall. On one of the boards was carved a message that stated that the City of Boston was sinking. One must wonder about the veracity of the later account. Cornwall of course is on the other side of the ocean and no date is given as to when the boat came ashore. The messages found on envelopes in the bottles in 1871 off New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were judged to be genuine at the time.

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock