Our next shipwreck is the Francis H. Leggett. The Leggett met a perilous fate similar to the Oshkosh. The Leggett was a 1606-ton steam schooner, built in 1903.
The year was 1914, on a calm September morning the Leggett left Grays Harbor, Washington for San Francisco with a capacity load of railroad ties. Aboard the Leggett was 25 crew members and 37 passengers. As the steamer made its way south the weather worsened, and the Leggett found itself amongst a 60-mph gale. The ocean became a mass of great fury, raising its summits to unprecedented heights. The ship’s cargo or railroad ties began to shift, and the hatch cover was torn off by the storm allowing waves to flood into the ship.
Every pump was manned and working its hardest to pump out the water that was pouring in below. Soon, even the passengers pitched in to try to save the vessel, but it was hopeless, the pumps could not keep up on the amount of water pouring in and the steamer began to drop lower and lower.
As the steamer began to sink the captain ordered the ship’s radio operators to send a distress call. The captain blew his whistle and several short blasts sent all hands scurrying to their lifeboat stations. The seas were so violent that little chance existed for an open boat in the ocean.
After a few moments of horror, it was all over. The hammering sea had breached the entire ship and all the lifeboats capsized, killing more than half the people in them. As the Leggett sank, passengers fought to survive by clinging to the ties.
Three ships intercepted the distress call and made full speed toward the scene. When they arrived all that remained was a floating mass of wreckage and railroad ties. Two survivors were spotted clinging onto the railroad ties, dazed and suffering from the ordeal. All in all, the death toll was 60 people, making it the worst maritime disaster in Oregon’s history.
After the wreck, large amounts of railroad ties and wreckage washed ashore on the sands of Manzanita. Beach combers took advantage of it, and an entire home in Manzanita was constructed of ties from the wreck.