From the Sept. 25, 1913 edition of the Gazette:

The five-masted schooner Marcus L. Urann, with a cargo of coal from Sewalls Point, Va., for Boston, ran ashore on Skiffs Island Shoal, about three miles south from Washqua Hill, about 9 o’clock Monday morning. For several hours Capt. Benjamin Thomas and his crew of ten men, together with the wives of the captain and steward, remained aboard the vessel while she pounded under the impulses of a southerly gale, which sent great waves over the Urann’s decks. The vessel struck during very thick weather, and her plight was not discovered from shore until the mist lifted a little in the afternoon.

Word was brought to Edgartown about 2 o’clock from Chappaquiddick-by-the-Sea by Mr. A. B. Gehman, who was on the land company’s property at Washqua, and a large company of men gathered at once on Osborn’s wharf ready to attempt a rescue of the crew if necessary. Captain Levi Jackson, honored with a Carnegie Hero Fund medal as a result of his life saving exploits, put out to the vessel in his auxiliary fishing schooner Priscilla II., his crew consisting of Albert Porter, Edmond Richard, Nicholas E. Norton, Clarence Earle, Geo. Studley, Jr., and Mat. Richard.

The trip out around Cape Pogue and down the length of Chappaquiddick island occupied about two hours. A heavy southerly gale was blowing, with a murky pall still hanging over the channel. Some miles off the southeast end of the island, lay the schooner stranded on the shoal while great seas broke over her decks, and threatened the lives of those on board. Captain Jackson and his men were forced to approach the schooner cautiously, and with all the skipper’s seamanship he did not dare bring the fisherman up to the schooner’s side. Captain Jackson himself first took a dory to the Urann where he found that Captain Thomas had stowed some of the belongings of those on board in the schooner’s boat. But the captain thought it best to trust to Capt. Levi and his hardy crew and larger boat, and so in dories manned by Jackson, Porter and the two Richards, by twos and threes all were transferred to the fishing schooner, Capt. Thomas being the last to leave.

He said that the accident came after a voyage through continuous haze and fog. In the mist Captain Thomas said he made a fixed light about 11 o’clock which he thought was Shinnecock. “I shaped my course accordingly,” he continued. “About 2 o’clock Monday morning the fog thickened, and for hours we were lost. About 9 o’clock the schooner ran aground and we didn’t know where we were until the fog lifted in the afternoon. I think the light I made out must have been Block Island.”

The wreck of the Urann marks a strange coincidence of the sea. The schooner is the third vessel owned by the same company, the Coastwise Transportation company of Boston, to run aground on the same shoal and under the same conditions. The schooner Arthur G. Seitz was lost under similar conditions ten years ago and three years ago the big six master Mertie B. Crowley was wrecked with 15 persons on board, who were rescued from the rigging by Capt. Levi Jackson and his doughty crew in a heroic manner, which resulted in recognition of the crew by the Carnegie Hero Fund committee.

Skiffs island shoal seldom has given up a vessel, but the owners of the Urann are making all efforts to save her. The wrecking tug Tasco of the Scott Wrecking Co., of New London, left that port Monday night and was alongside the Urann the next day. She left again Tuesday afternoon for other gear, etc., and is now back again, the good weather being favorable for her operations. Today the report is that the schooner may be floated this afternoon and towed to the westward.

The Captain of the Urann is said to be an owner in the schooner to the amount of $8000. She is 1899 gross tonnage, 251 feet long, built at Phippsburg, Me., in 1904, and hails from Boston.

The master and steward with the women from the wrecked schooner, upon their arrival at Edgartown, were quartered at the Teller House, and the men were housed in the tenement on the second floor of the building on lower Main street owned by W. S. Osborn. Judging from the experience of the Crowley schooners on Skiffs Island Shoal in the past dozen years, it would seem that the company’s influence should be exerted strongly with the Washington government for the establishment of a proper safeguard to navigation near this dangerous reef, whether gasbuoy, bellbuoy, whitstling buoy or lightship, we will not pretend to say. Some think that a lighthouse on Nomans Land and a whistling buoy at Skiffs Island would prevent the recurrence of such disasters as have been so frequent in the past dozen years. Surely the time is ripe for the Lighthouse bureau to establish better aids to navigation along the south coast of Martha’s Vineyard, and to these should be added a government lifesaving station on the South Side, possibly somewhere between Cape Pogue and Washqua.

Compiled by Hilary Wall