“Grab his tail! Grab the horse’s tail!”

Nov 27, 2018 | 0 comments

The Strathblane

When I ran out of reading material the other day – temporarily, until my book arrives at the library – I decided I would take a look at some the old Sou’westers… but which one?  The first issue was published in 1966 and for years the Pacific County Historical Society published them quarterly.  They are a treasure trove of our County’s history!  I have most of them and, before I knew it, I had started at the beginning and am now working my way through the lot!

I think it will be a slow process – mostly because I feel compelled to share some of my favorites with Nyel or with Tucker and Carol or… maybe (like today) in my blog.  This is an excerpt from an article by Eleanor Barrows Bower, published in Volume 1, Number 4 – the Winter 1966 issue:

            A country doctor unhitched his horse from the buggy and became a hero as the Strathblane disintegrated on the sands near the Ilwaco Beach Lifesaving Service [Klipsan Beach] on November 3, 1891.
            Charles Nelson, Sr. keeping solitary watch in the tower found the lines of communication downed by the storm and dispatched riders to obtain aid for the stricken ship.  From Cape Disappointment, Captain A.T. Harris and his men arrived by the narrow gauge railway but were unable TO SHOOT A LIFELINE ABOARD.  All but one of their lifeboats having been destroyed, the stranded sailors were obliged to jump for their lives, and the surfmen joined hands with local citizens to form a human rescue chain.
            On the Peninsula making his usual hose calls, Dr. T.H. Parks responded to an appeal for help from Nelson.  Astride the horse he had trained to enter the surf, he directed the survivors to grab hold of the harness, or the horse’s tail to be towed to safety.  Of the thirty men aboard, twenty-four were saved, including Jack Payne and First Mate James D. Murray both of whom became prominent Pacific County citizens…

Klipsan Life Saving Station

Years ago, maybe in the early 1970s before I moved permanently to the Peninsula, I saw a poem about this rescue in the New Yorker magazine.  I wish I had saved it.  I’m very curious about who wrote it and how they knew about Dr, Parks and his rescue horses.


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