"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

About Us

My photo
San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

20 May 2018


Heroes of a North Pacific disaster
safely back on their ship the PRESIDENT MADISON.
This shows members of the lifeboat crew who rescued
James Thorsen, cadet officer from Portland, OR.,
Lucena Decancey, ordinary seaman, Manila, 
and Fritz Dewall, able seaman,
only survivors of the freighter NEVADA.
arrived in Seattle, 5 October 1932.
The third officer, E.J. Stull who commanded the lifeboat,
is seen standing in uniform.
Eddie Blomberg is in the center of the back row
without a life preserver.
Click image to enlarge. 
Photo by Acme News
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

The able seaman from the
American Mail Line's, PRESIDENT MADISON
who swam a line around his waist, through 
the whipping surf to the rocky shore 
of Amatignak, Alaska to rescue
three survivors of the wreck of 
the freighter SS NEVADA.
He is shown after arriving Seattle,
8 October 1932.
Photo by Acme News
from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©

The American Mail Liner PRESIDENT MADISON arrived in Seattle on 5 October 1932 with three survivors and the lifeboat crew who rescued James Thorsen, Lucena Decancey, and Fritz Dewall. They were the only survivors of the ill-fated freighter NEVADA, wrecked on the rocky shores of Amatignak Island in the Aleutians. Thirty-four were lost.
      The steel steam screw NEVADA, Master T. W. Johanson had stranded at Amatignak, AK. She departed Longview, WA., 15 Sept. 1932 bound Yokohama, Japan. Carrying a 6,648-ton cargo of lumber, flour, and general merchandise. 
      SS OREGON MARU responded to radio distress signal; proceeded to wreck but the seas prevented the rescue of men who had washed ashore. SS PRESIDENT MADISON arrived 29 Sept and rescued the 3 crew members from Amatignak Island. The USCG HAIDA arrived on scene 4 Oct. and continued the search of vicinity without results. The NEVADA and cargo were total losses. Value of cargo unknown. Vessel value was $255,000.

This medal was awarded to the officer
ELMER J. STULL (1887-1975), seen in the photo on the
deck of the rescue ship the PRESIDENT MADISON.
In World War II he commanded the Liberty Ship
SS SAMUEL PARKER, that was able to limp
home from the war to Seattle, WA in 1943,
full of holes, but victorious
and the first Liberty Ship to be
These last two photos are courtesy of his
great-grandson Patrick Danforth. He has
more bio on Capt. Stull worth a visit HERE

O.N. 219522
Lost, 27 September 1932
Location, 51 16 N 179 06 W
Chart, 16460
Tonnage, 5,645 G. 3517 N. 
Age, 12 yrs.
Owner, States Steamship Co., of Portland, Oregon.

Source, USCG Report 18 October 1932 at Portland, OR;
AlaskaShipwreck.com; and Saltwater People Historical Society.
Two photos from Patrick Danforth.
List of the lost mariners to be added.


  1. This is very cool! I am the Great Grandson of Elmer J Stull, I have his medal from this rescue and never knew the story until now.

    1. Wow. Thanks for reading the Log and for writing to share your affiliation. If you submit a photo of the medal, we can include it with this essay. The address to send it to is listed on this site. Thank you.


Archived Log Entries