Thursday, May 31, 2012

Steam transfer ferry SOLANO

From: "Joe Des"

I am doing a family research project. My great grandmother Margaret Brosnan filed a suit for damages against the Central Pacific Railroad Company in August 1884. The Steam Transfer SOLANO capsized a small boat on the Carquinez Straits that had set out from Port Costa on June 28th. They were doing repairs on the telegraph line. The suit was for $25,000.

I don't know if her husband Cornelius Brosnan was working for CPRC or the telegraph company. I have no other info if the case was settled or details of the incident.

Can you help me? ...

—Joe Desmond


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kyle K. Wyatt"

I Googled the California Digital Newspaper Collection, and did an advanced search in the years 1884-87, first under "Brosnan Solano" and then under "Solano Accident". News articles give the following information:

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 51, Number 111, 30 June 1884
citing San Francisco Call of June 29

Detailed article about the accident. Five in the boat, including the fisherman who owned the boat, and had induced the others to go out after the Superintendent had instructed them to wait for him. One Telephone Company employee jumped and survived; the other four (including the fisherman) were drowned.

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 51, Number 117, 7 July 1884

Notes the bodies of the four drowned men have been recovered.

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 51, Number 125, 16 July 1884

Notes an investigation underway into the drowning deaths of the Telephone Company employees. Identifies the company as the Pacific Bell Telephone Company.

Daily Alta California, Volume 37, Number 12510, 17 July 1884

Testimony of the Solano officers and crew about the accident. Describes attempts to avoid running the little boat down.

Daily Alta California, Volume 37, Number 12542, 15 August 1884

Margaret L Brosnan commenced the $25,000 suit over the death of her husband, Cornelius L. Brosnan, who drowned the night of June 28 when he and several others were rowing a small boat (at night) across Carquinez Strait and were run into and swamped by the ferry Solano.

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 51, Number 151, 15 August 1884

In addition to above info, this ads that Dennis Brosnan filed the suit with Margaret Brosnan. And that Cornelius Brosnan were repairing a telegraph cable when they were run down by the Solano. Plaintiffs allege carelessness on the part of the Solano employees.

Daily Alta California, Volume 37, Number 12669, 20 December 1884

Bridget fox, wife of James Fox (another of the Telephone company employees drowned) brought suit for $25,000 against the Central Pacific.

Daily Alta California, Volume 41, Number 13616, 10 December 1886

Judgement in favor of the defendant (the Solano Captain). Added info – the four men were employed by the Sunset Telephone Company, and were dredging for a submarine cable in Carquinez Straits. The telephone company Superintendent had instructed the men not to undertake the work while he was absent, but they tried to do the work anyway, taking a small boat out. The cable was badly coiled in the boat, which was also at anchor when the Solano came. The Solano Captain saw the danger, sounded an alarm, and signaled the engines to slow down, but the little boat was entangled in the cable and could not move. All four men were drowned. This was the second suit to be tried out of this incident, with the same results each time.


6/01/2012 12:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages