"The death of Capt. Elijah G. Baughman in 1935 was accompanied by a most remarkable (and well documented) happening. He was never master of any ship except the HUMBOLDT. He was her pilot at the time of her first voyage to Alaska in 1897 and was appointed master in 1900, remaining in charge throughout his entire career. By 1915 he and the HUMBOLDT had already completed 500 voyages to south-eastern Alaska. In 1919 the steamer was withdrawn from Alaska service and operated on California coastal routes. When she was laid up at San Diego Capt. Baughman retired. The HUMBOLDT lay quietly rotting away in the boneyard for more than two years... until the night of 8 August. That was the night Capt. Baughman died--slipped his cable, as the old sailors used to say--and it was the night the HUMBOLDT slipped her cable, too, and sailed again for the last time. Toward night a Coast Guard cutter hailed an unlighted ship moving silently through the harbor toward the open sea. The Coast Guardsmen boarded her and found her warped decks and dusty cabins deserted; no living hand on her wheel. She was towed back to her boneyard mooring and in 1936 was reported still there, her house and smokestack gone and her hull rotting away. Her eerie sailing on the night of her old master's death was no doubt a mere coincidence, but on the other hand, the bond between a man and ship can grow very strong in thirty years. The reader is left to draw his own conclusions".
Text from: The H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Gordon Newell, editor,
Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA, 1966.
- Saltwater People Historical Society
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