Daily Event for May 9, 2011

The Auguste Andre was a 268'long, 10 knot cargo ship built in 1884 for the White Cross Line of Antwerp, Belgium. In 1879 the name was changed to Helvetia, but she continued to sail between Europe the U.S.A. and Canada until May of 1885 when the ship encountered ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while en route to Montreal.

She left Antwerp on Apr. 21, 1885 and arrived off Cape Ray, Newfoundland to find heavy ice in the Gulf, her bows were stove in and the ship was taking on water, captain Schoonhoven made all attempts to keep his ship afloat and make Sydney, but that port was also frozen over.

By May 9, 1885 Helvetia was in bad shape, she had 16' of water in her hull and there appeared to be no way of saving the ship, the Allen Line steamer Acadian came alongside and took the ship in tow with the goal of making Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. However the ship began to go down and captain Schoonhoven signaled to the master of the Acadian that it was time to remove the crew and cut the lines. About the same time the last men got off Helvetia to safety the ship went down, she went to the bottom off Scatarie Island with a cargo of $400,000, but she went alone as all hands got off the ship and were landed at Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia.

This had been captain Schoonhoven's first trans-Atlantic voyage since he sailed the Daniel Steinmann across in April of 1884, that ship also came to grief off Nova Scotia when on April 3, 1884 she hit the rocks and went down with the loss of 121 lives.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock

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