OBERKALBACH, HESSEN, GERMANY
Village of My Berthold and Ullrich Ancestors
WRECK OF THE SHIP "NEW ERA" 1854

Be sure to read about the Ochs brothers from Oberzell who were aboard this ship.

"The New York Times" November 14-17, 1854
Long Beach, New Jersey

1st Dispatch:  The ship New Era of Bath, Maine, from Bremen and bound to New York with about 300 passengers on board consigned to C.C. Duncan, went ashore last night in dense fog off Deal on the Jersey coast and will probably be a total wreck.

2nd Dispatch:  The ship New Era will be a total loss.  The Captain (Henry) and some twenty persons are saved.  The New Era sailed from Bremerhaven on the 28th September.  The sea is high an every exertion is being made to save more of the passengers.

3rd Dispatch:  7 p.m. The ship remains in the same position as before reported, broadside to the sea which runs mountains high and renders it impossible for tugboats to render any assistance.  The sea is breaking over the wreck and before dusk we could see every available space in the rigging filled with probably some 200 persons.

Not less probably than 75 have already been washed overboard and from present indications a great many more will be hurled into the sea before any effectual assistance can be rendered.  All of the balls at the station were shot over the ship without being able to send a line on board from the shore, except in one case when a lifeboat was immediately sent out to the wreck.  Captain Henry and four others clung to the boat and successfully reached the shore.

After Captain Henry and 8 or ten others got into the boat it capsized and turned completely over twice.  Unfortunately at the time the boat capsized the cable from the shore to the ship gave way and there was then no remedy but to send to another station and procure more balls and not a moment was lost in sending to the nearest lifeboat station for this purpose.  

The ship is a perfect wreck and there is not the least hope of saving anything.  Should the heavy seas continue during the night it is scarcely possible that more than a very few of the passengers still on board or holding to the rigging can be saved and it is not at all impossible that every soul on board will be washed overboard before daylight.

All the passengers are Dutch or German and as there is no one here who understands their language,  we are unable to obtain from those who have reached the shore any information in regard to the condition of things on board which undoubtedly is bad enough.

Captain Henry is active and energetic in efforts to extend relief to his suffering passengers and crew.  The ship went on shore this morning about 7 in a dense fog.

A late dispatch states that the ship is settling and about 8 p.m. was nearly level with the sea which was then making a clean breach over her and it was not possible that the passengers could hold on much longer.  A second line had been thrown from shore across the deck but the passengers and crew appear to have been too much exhausted to avail themselves of it and when the last messenger left the scene the general opinion was that the ship must go to pieces very speedily and in that case probably every soul on board will be lost.

November 16, 4 p.m.  There are about 200 persons on shore watching the New Era, including ladies in carriages, surfmen, wreckers, citizens and public officials, and Mr. Morris, the Coast superintendent.

A short distance above the vessel were three ship's boats in which officers and seamen reached shore.  Waves are washing over the poop deck. Midway of the starboard shrouds was a female in the embrace of death.  From the mainshrouds could be seen the head and shoulders of another corpse.

Captain Davis, commander of the Government schooner, went out in a surfboat to the wreck and a NYT reporter went along.  In the intervening space of about two feet between the starboard bulkwarks and the poop deck were bodies of over a dozen passengers, old and young, men, women and children who had fallen from the rigging, exhausted.

The New Era is an emigrant ship of 1328 tons built in Bath, Maine, in 1854.  This was her first voyage.  She sailed on September 28 and has been nearly two months on the way.  There were 425 on board, nearly all German.  Forty were lost on the trip from cholera.  There were 385 passengers and crew when the ship struck.  One hundred sixty three were saved.  The cargo consisted of 500 tons of chalk, dry goods and hardware.  The ship was insured for $60,000 in Philadelphia, $60,000 in Boston, $25,000 in Bath and $6,000 in New York.

There are heart rending scenes at the home of Abner Allen which is situated nearly opposite the beach.  The suffering emigrants who perched in the rigging of the New Era all night were rescued Tuesday morning by surfboats and taken to the Abner Allen home.  The house was not large enough so some survivors sat on the sunny side of an earth bank, others went into the barn and other outbuildings. Most survivors had had twenty hours of drenching by seawater.

It is conceded that the German passengers of the ship New Era were a more select class than generally arrives at our port by Bremen and Southampton vessels.  As far as we can find out everyone had sufficient funds to defray his expenses to the far west, whence most were bound.  Two thirds of the passengers had quantities of gold stitched in their underclothing. From the appearance of those saved it is evident they were in good position and standing in their native land.

Captain Henry says the ship gave two or three thumps, swung broadside and was fast.  The crew deserted, all but two or three, and took away the ship's boats.  Capt. Henry got into a swamping lifeboat to bail it  out.  Passengers jumped in so he had to push off.



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