Daily Event for January 3, 2013

Launched on Feb. 18 in the year 1875 at the Williamson Shipyard in Harrington, England, the iron barque Lupata was 215' long and registered at 1,069 gross tons. Classed 100 A1 by Lloyds she was owned by J. H. Clark of Liverpool, but was homeported in London.

On January 3, 1881 the ship and her twenty-three man crew approached Tillamook Rock off the coast of Oregon. A thick fog enveloped the coast, the wind was blowing hard and Lupata was off course. Around 8 p.m. that evening men from the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse heard loud voices, one man reported hearing "hard a-port" being shouted by the master of the unseen ship. Soon through the fog a ships light was seen east of the dangerous rock, only 200 yards off shore. Lanterns were immediately raised and a fire was lit to warn the vessel of the danger they were in. The light was observed for about five minutes and then it slowly disappeared. It was assumed by the men from the lighthouse that they had seen the fire and had backed off to go around the rock.

When the next day dawned and the fog abated the disaster which took place the night before was learned. There in the surf the topmast could be seen protruding about ten feet out of the water, sadly Lupata had run on to the reef and foundered. There were no signs of the crew and it was not until some debris washed up that the name of the ship was confirmed.

Some time later (the first report I could find was dated Jan. 19) a dozen bodies were found. It was reported that they were found in two groups, seven in one group and five in the other. The mostly nude bodies were found huddled together, apparently they all died of exposure. In February six more bodies washed up on Clatsop beach in Portland, because of the amount of time they had been in the water and the damage done to them by being crashed against rocks, the men were unrecognizable. I was not able to determine if any of the other men were ever recovered.

In Early April another story appeared that indicated that there was in fact one survivor from the wreck, a dog. An Australian sheppard was supposable found near where the first twelve bodies were located. He was in dreadful condition, but somehow survived. The April 4th report was the first reference to this dog I was able to uncover, so I am a little suspicious about the veracity of the report.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock