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The illfated Hillcrest carried six men. The cook, Frederick Russell was a resident of Port Union and the son of Thomas Russell a senior culler in the Trading Co.'s store. Fred was 19 years of age and worked at the plant since he started work. He was a fine type of boy, intelligent, obedient, honest and loved by all.
He landed from the Hillcrest with the other five of the crew, but was wet through before landing by a sea which swept the deck of the vessel. He had no oil clothing on and had no time to secure a cap. He was soon chilled by the wind and as no fire or shelter was available, ashore in the cliff or on the hills he soon felt the effects of the exposure. He lived through the night until about 6 o'clock Thursday morning, and walked in company with other men of the crew about half way to the settlement of Red Island. Capt. Rideout kept with him and did all possible to help him and to keep him moving. He, after seven or eight hours exposure, became blind and all being nearly worn out with the night's exertions having carried him for quite a distance in an unconscious condition, rested, and he soon passed away. He went to sleep and slept his last sleep on Earth. His body was carried by the good people of Red Island to the settlement, a distance of two or three miles from where he died,and it was properly cared for and coffined by the residents. Others of the crew had a severe struggle to reach the settlement as the crew had no food and no matches to make a fire. It took them all night a ascend a cliff which is about 250 feet high and almost perpendicular. A kind providence watched over the crew that night for had there been a severe frost or snow worst none would have lived to reach the settlement.
Fred Russell's body accompanied the crew to Port Union and was buried on Tuesday. The business at Port Union was closed. The Port Union band of which Fred was a member attended the funeral and played appropriate hymns as the funeral procession passed along in the Methodist Church and from thence to the cemetery.
The funeral was probably the largest ever seen at Catalina or Port Union. The L.O.A. members attended in a body as the deceased was a member of that Association, as well as a member of the F.P.U.
Catalina residents attended in full force and made the funeral procession probably the largest ever seen in this locality. The service at the church was conducted by Rev. Coppin and he preached a very fine sermon appropriate to the occasion.
The deepest sympathy is extended to the bereaved father and mother and family of the deceased young man and this intense sympathy was visible expressed in the large number of citizens who composed the funeral procession.
The young man was well liked and possessed a charming and genial disposition which endeared him to all in the town. Capt. Rideout was too moved to attend the funeral, but the other men who formed the crew followed their bereaved comrade to his last resting place. After the funeral service ended the band played a farewell hymn and the casket soon disappeared from view and all that was mortal of this splendid young man was lost beneath the soil and the snow.
Seldom has a young man's death as affected a community as has this event. He was taken, but the people shutter with the thought of what twelve other men forming the crews of the two ships had barely escaped and thankful hearts exclaimed that it might have been an awful tragedy, and rejoiced in the realization that it was no worse.
The Advocate extends its sincere sympathy to the bereaved family.
Return to "The Loss of the Hillcrest"
Page transcribed by: James Butler, 2000
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)
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