December 26 - 1872: Two great ships doomed in same day

Both ships came to their end on Cape Cod shores within a few miles of each other ~ Ten bodies wash ashore
Sketch depicting a life-saving crew, courtesy of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

1872: One ship's 25-man crew lost, the other ship's 14-man crew saved

On this day in 1872, as described in "Cape Cod Historical Almanac" by Donald G. Trayser:

Two great ships came to their end on Cape Cod shores within a few miles of each other this day in 1872. In one, the Peruvian, all 25 of her crew was lost; in the other, the North German bark Francis, all 14 of her crew were saved. A gale which began Christmas day, a violent nor'easter, caught the Peruvian, a Boston ship returning from Singapore with a valuable cargo of coffee, tin, rattan and sugar. She lost her sails on the 26th, could not beat into the gale, and struck at night. Only ten bodies came ashore.

Awaiting the arrival of the 28-year-old master of the Peruvian in Boston was his fiancee, who had come down from Maine to meet her intended after his long absence; the newspaper told her:'Ship Peruvian Lost on Cape Cod With All Hands.'

Three miles south of Peaked Hill bars, grave of the Peruvian, the Francis struck, and her iron hull held together as she pounded over the bars and drove ashore one mile north of Highland Light. Truro men got to her in a whaleboat  and brought every man safely ashore although Captain Kostling, ill in his cabin for many days, died two days later, at Highland House.

The Francis' cargo, sugar and tin, was salvaged, and Cape Cod homes in the vicinity were sweet places for years to come.

Read about "Everything Else Which Happened Today" including in 1865 the first US patent for a coffee percolator, which still is used today, a downflow method without rising steam and water. It was issued to James Nason of Franklin, Massachusetts, on this day in 1865.


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