The Roman's Demise

Mr. Earl, chief officer of the Emily Morgan, entered this journal on Sept. 1: "Light southerly winds with overcast weather. The ice is pressing in upon the land. All egress from our present position is cut off, both to north and south, as the ice is driven up into 9 feet of water. The bark Roman is carried off in the pack." - (from The Friend, Nov. 1871)

For days before September 7, the Roman had drifted towards the Sea Horse Islands, a chain of long and narrow sandy islands in western North Slope, Alaska, where they took a whale. While cutting it in alongside the ship, the vessel was caught between two ice floes. The pressure of the ice on both sides of the Roman began to crush the hull. As quickly as it happened, Jared ordered the three whaleboats lowered from the ship's port side before it heeled over and her starboard side crushed into the ice.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum