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St. John, N. B., Saturday Morning, January 19, 1907




Refugees Tell Terrible Stories of Disaster -- Only a few Buildings Standing and Not One Safe at Kingston ... Many of Victims Burned up in Conflagration


Kingston, Jamaica, Jan. 17 (Thursday) --

The streets of this city are now picketed with American guards, Admiral Evans, at the request of the British authorities, having landed a number of marines from the battleships Missouri and Indiana.

Six hundred bodies have been recovered and more are being found constantly.

Dynamite is being employed to clear away the debris of shattered buildings.

Awful Devastation

Kingston, Jan. 17 --(Delayed in transmission) - The following is a continuation of yesterday's despatch describing the earthquake at Kingston:

The awful devastation caused by the earthquake became more apparent as time passed.

Without a warning the earth began to shake and tremble at 3:30 Monday afternoon. The shock which came from the westward, lasted exactly thirty six seconds. The whole city like a ship in a choppy sea and buildings reeled and fell. Eastward a dense cloud of dust rose and enveloped Kingston in semi-darkness. The shocks were most destructive along the harbor front where entire streets were levelled and crowds of frightened, shrieking people streamed northwards towards the race course, hundred with heads and bodies cut and bruised, streaming with blood. Those who escaped with slight injuries reported that large numbers of persons were buried under the fallen stores and tenements.

As the dust lifted, pillars of smoke arose in Harbor street, near the parish church and soon afterwards flames shot into the sky. It was then perceived that fire would complete the work of the earthquake. In half an hour the flames were spreading from block to block in the business section. The fire department was unable to stay the conflagration, owing to the inadequate supply of water, the earthquake having broken the mains. Fortunately a north east wind confined the conflagration to the southern portion of the city. The fire raged all night and ultimately spent its force Tuesday forenoon.

The buildings in the upper portion of the city were uninhabitable and the residents sought refuge in the public parks or on lawns adjoining the wrecked houses. It was a pitiable sight. Thousands of persons were homeless and hundreds were enduring agony from broken heads and limbs under the open.

The city doctors were busy all night amputating limbs and dressing wounds. The worst cases were taken to the public hospital where the staff doctors attended to them, but many expired before morning.

Many Dead Incinerated

The work of rescuing the entombed people was continued Tuesday and Wednesday, and fully 400 corpses were recovered, but many more were burned to ashes in the fire.

Attempts at looting were made by the rabble, but the military guards stationed at the principal corners succeeded in restoring order.

Efforts, as this despatch is filed, are being made by the government to clear the debris from the streets, but the labourers are afraid of the ruins and of further shocks, and, consequently, progress is slow.

On Monday night fifteen distinct shocks were felt, but they did no damage. On Tuesday there were twenty shocks and on Wednesday there were ten.

Among the buildings utterly destroyed are the Supreme Court, Colonial Bank, Nova Scotia Bank, the Merchants' Exchange, the city council office, the Parish church, St. George church, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Savings Bank, all Myrtle Bank Hotel, the Constant Springs Hotel, the Jamaica Club, the Masonic Temple, Training College, Hope College, the railway terminus, customs buildings, Cable Company's office, all the newspaper offices, except that of the Daily Telegraph, which is severely damaged but escaped the fire; the Salvation Army Temple, and the offices of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational churches, and schools.

Not a Sound Building Left

In brief, not a sound building remains in the entire area of Kingston and less than a dozen homes can be occupied and the entire business section is wiped out. The loss cannot fall short of $5,000,000 and probably will total double that amount.

Among the killed are Sir James Fergusson, of Kilkerran, Scotland; Major Hardyman, of the West India Regiment; Lieut. Lamont of the same regiment; A. MacDowell Nathan, one of Jamaica's merchant princes; Solicitors Bradley Verley and Messrs. J. W. Middleton, Ainsley Mordecai, Twaites, D. I. Motta, Edgar DeCordova and Charles Sherlock, all merchants of Kingston; the Cuban Consul, General Perez and Doctors B. C. Gibbs and Motta.

The whole of Jamaica felt the shock but no serious damage was done beyond a radius of twelve miles from Kingston. Some houses were cracked in Spanish Town, the fortifications of Port Royal were abandoned by the artillerymen and engineers, the western part of the town is partly submerged, sixteen 9.2 inch guns are displaced and the barracks are in a dangerous and shaky condition.

Up-Park Camp, north of Kingston, is also destroyed and about forty sick soldiers were burned to death before they could be removed from the hospital.

The King's House, the residence of the governor, is badly injured, and all its former occupants are now living under tents in Trafalgar park. The residence of General Marshal is totally demolished. There were may narrow escapes and the death list is constantly growing.

Refugees Tell Terrible Tale

Santiago, Cuba, Jan. 18 - The steamer Thomas Brookes has arrived here from Kingston with seventeen refugees. they paint a horrible picture of the catastrophe at the Jamaican capital and confirm the reports of the destruction of the principal buildings. The pilots do not dare to enter the harbor owing to the changes in the channel.

The Machado cigar factory, in which many Cubans were at work, crumbled and 120 of them were killed.

Relief supplies are greatly needed at Kingston.

The refugees confirm previous reports of the Kingston disaster. According to them twenty-five square blocks of the city have been destroyed by fire. Every building within a radius of ten miles was injured. The water works were destroyed. The casualties at the Myrtle Bank Hotel were heavy. The Constant Spring and other hotels were damaged. The electric power house was destroyed and many people lost their lives by coming in contact with charged electric wires. The manager of the Cable Office lost a leg. The post office building was not thrown down.

Along the waterfront the cracks in the earth are six inches wide. Superintendent of Posts Gardner is among the killed. Captain Young, commander of the Royal Mail steamer Arno, lost his life at the Myrtle Bank Hotel. His body was cut in half. Dr. Biegle, physician of the Arno, is here. The Arno, as well as other steamers in the port, was used as a hospital. Sixty-four legs and fifteen arms were amputated on board. Three persons died on the Arno. The governor's residence also is being used as a hospital. Captain Constantine, superintendent in Jamaica for the Royal Mail Steamship Company, was buried at sea.

Captain Young was buried on shore. There is great shortage of bandage material, and women's clothing is being torn up and used to this end. The rails of the car lines are badly twisted. When the earthquake occurred there were only four doctors on the island.

Ontario Likely to Vote Relief

Toronto, Jan. 18 - (Special) -- Asked if the province would make a grant to the Jamaica sufferers today, Premier Whitney replied:

"In all probability the legislature at the coming session will be asked to vote something towards the relief of distress in Jamaica. Of course this will depend entirely on the information we receive as to the situation there."

Relief Pouring In

New York, Jan. 18 -- The situation in Kingston seems to be improving. Order has been re-established and the work of burying the dead and caring for the injured is progressing on an organized basis.

The work of sending in relief to the stricken city is proceeding with energy. Kingston is receiving supplies, as far as possible, from the island of Jamaica itself. The American warships in the harbor have put on shore all the foodstuffs and medical supplies they could spare, and the Jamaican authorities have taken charge of the distribution of all provisions in the city. In addition, relief is being hurried in from outside quarters.

The people of the British island of Trinidad have sent a first instalment of relief; H. M. S. Indefatigable has left Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, with provisions, clothing and other supplies for the stricken people; the French government has started a cruiser from the island of Martinique with supplies for Kingston; the Mansion House Fund in London is growing rapidly and the British authorities are perfecting the details of relief on a large scale, and in addition various steamers are either on their way or about to start for Kingston with food, clothing and medicines on board.

The report that a tidal wave had devastated the southern shore of Jamaica had not been confirmed up to a very late hour tonight.

Cable communications have been partly restored, but messages from Jamaica are coming through very slowly. The estimates of deaths remain at about 1,000. Great relief was afforded tonight to all those who have friends in Jamaica by a statement received from the office of the cable company at Kingston that up to 7 o'clock Thursday evening no Americans had been reported killed or severely wounded by the earthquake.

The list of known victims is growing and the names of no less that forty persons or more or less prominence in the Jamaican capital already have been given out as dead.

About twenty well known people are either injured or missing.

The reports received today make no mention of further earthquake and the fires have been put out.

Casualty List

(Following is a revised and corrected list of persons who have been reported as killed or injured, or who are missing in Kingston. Care has been taken to verify the names as far as possible. The list may contain duplications of names due to error in transmission or difference in spelling. The names have been compiled from despatches).

People Reported Dead:

- Bradley, R W.

- Brannell, Mr. (reported to have been killed in the Myrtle Bank Hotel)

- Burrows, H.

- Constantine, Captain T., superintendent in Jamaica for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company

- DeCordova, Edgar, an importer of grain, owner of a large plantation near Kingston

- Fergusson, Sir James, M. P., deputy-chairman of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company of London

- Gardner, superintendent of posts

- Gibb, Dr. R. C.

- Hardyman, Major W. H., of the West India Regiment, Royal Artillery (before reported seriously injured)

- Honiball, R. D., solicitor

- Lamont, Lieut. J, of the West India Regiment, Royal Army (reported before as Captain Lamont)

- Leader, Lieut. R. R., West India Regiment, Royal Army

- Livingston, G. McN., chief clerk in the audit office of the colonial government, which was located in the treasury building on Harbor street

- Livingstone, four children (reported to have been killed in the Myrtle Bank Hotel)

- Lockett, Miss, killed in the Jamaica Club, at 59 Hanover Street

- Menier, Dr. (or Maynier)

- Middletown, J. W., prominent merchant of the firm of J. W. Middletown & Co.

- Mordecai, Ainsley, dry goods merchant, of Harbor Street

- Morris, E (or Maurice)

- Motta, D. I., wholesale dry goods merchant, of 106 Harbor Street

- Motta, Dr.

- Mudon, J. R.

- Nathan, A. M. partner of Charles Sherlock in the firm of Nathan, Sherlock & Co., on Harbor Street.

- Perez, J., Cuban Consul general at Kingston

- Payne, J. A.

- Robertson, Dr., probably Dr. O. D. F. Robertson

- Robertson, Mrs., wife of Dr. Robertson

- Sherlock, Charles, well known merchant, of the firm of Nathan, Sherlock & Co.

- Sullivan, Miss

- Thomas, Miss, a cable operator of the West India & Panama Telegraph Company's office

- Thwaites, Mr., of the dry goods firm of Thwaites & Co.

- Verley, Bertie, solicitor of the family extensively interested in sugar cultivation. (Before reported Bradley Verley)

- Verley, two other members of the Verley family, names not mentioned.

- Young, Captain, commander of the steamer Arno, of the Royal Mail Steamship Company's fleet.

Seven deaths among the European non-commissioned officers of the West India Regiment of the Royal Army and their families.

Thirteen native non-commissioned officers and men of the West India Regiment of the Royal Army and their families.

Ninety school children, reported to have been killed by the collapse of a school building at the first shock.

One hundred and twenty Cubans employed in the Machado cigar factory.

Thirty-five employees of a local tourist bureau.

Ten American were buried in unmarked graves.

Three hundred and forty-three burials have been officially reported.


- Constantine, Mrs., both legs broken

- Dalrymple-Hay, Lieutenant-colonel, J. R. M., D. S. O., of the West India Regiment.

- Dixon, Lieut. G. C. H., of the West India Regiment, seriously

- Lawrenson, Captain (not Major) R. R., West India Regiment, Royal Army.

- Marshall, Mrs., wife of Brig-General J. W. A. Marshall, C. B., of the Jamaica command.

- Motley, Captain (probably Captain W. P. Marley), of the West India Regiment.

- Perez, Mrs. J., wife of the Cuban consul-general at Kingston

- Price, Quartermaster S. H., honorary lieutenant of the West India Regiment.

- Price, Mrs. M. H., seriously

- Wedderburn, Mrs. A. A., wife of deputy police inspector, both legs broken

Nine officers of the West India Regiment

Four injured among European non-commissioned officers of the West India Regiment and their families.


- Brandon, Isaac, merchant, head of the firm of Isaac S. Brandon & Co.

- DeCordova, Charles, importing provision merchant

- DeCordova, Edward, a brother of Charles

- Sherlock, --, brother of Charles Sherlock, the merchant who was killed

Three native non-commissioned officers and men of the West India Regiment.


St. John, N. B., Monday Morning, January 21, 1907



In Tart Letter He Informs Admiral Davis that he is Able to Cope with the Situation,

and Requests Him to Send his Marines Aboard Ship ...

American Commander Leaves in a Huff and Stops Relief Ship on the way to the Sufferers

(By Associated Press)

Kingston, Ja., Jan. 19 -- Admiral Davis' mission of mercy to stricken Kingston came to an abrupt and painful conclusion today in consequence of Governor Swettenham's objection to the presence of American sailors engaged in the work of clearing the streets, guarding property and succoring the wounded and sick, culminating in a letter to the admiral peremptorily requesting him to re-embark all parties which had been landed.

Admiral Davis was greatly shocked and pained, and paid a formal visit to Governor Swettenham today informing him that the United States battleships Missouri and Indiana and the gunboat Yankton would sail this afternoon.

To the Associated Press Admiral Davis said that immediate compliance with Governor Swettenham's request was the only course consistent with the dignity of the United States.

The friction between the governor and the admiral began with the arrival of the American war vessels when the governor objected to the firing of a salute in his honor on the ground that the citizens might mistake the firing for a new earthquake. He also declared there was no necessity for American aid -- that his government was fully able to preserve order, tend the wounded and succor the homeless.

Rear Admiral Davis, however, landed parties of bluejackets, who patrolled the streets, cleared the debris, razed ruins, attended many of the wounded and won the highest praise from citizens and military officers for excellent work.

Admiral Apologizes

On the afternoon of the salute incident, Rear Admiral Davis wrote Governor Swettenham as follows:

"My dear Governor: I beg you to accept my apology for the mistake of the salute this afternoon. My order was misunderstood and the disregard of your wishes was due to a mistake in the transmission of my order. I trust the apparent disregard of your wishes will be overlooked.

"I landed working parties from both ships today to aid in clearing the various streets and buildings and purpose landing parties tomorrow for the same purpose unless you expressly do not desire it. I think a great deal may be done in the way of assistance to private individuals without interfering with the forces of yourself and the government officials. As the only objective of my being here is to render such assistance as I can, I trust you will justify me in this matter for the cause of common humanity.

"I had a patrol of six men ashore today to guard an secure the archives of the U. S. consulate together with a party of ten clearing away this wreckage. This party, after finishing its work at the consulate, assisted a working party to catch thieves, recovering from them a safe, taken from a jewelry store, valued at $5,000. From this I judge that the police surveillance of the city is inadequate for the protection of private property.

"Actuated by the same motive, namely, common humanity, I shall direct the medical officers of my squadron to make all efforts to aid cases of distress which perhaps do not come under the observation of your medical officers.

"I shall have pleasure in meeting you at the hour appointed, 10 a.m., at headquarters' house.

"I trust you approve of my action in this matter.

"Your obedient servant,


Rear Admiral"

A Tart Reply

Governor Swettenham responded Friday as follows:

"Dear Admiral:

"Thanks very much for your letter, your kind call and all the assistance given or offered us. While I most heartily appreciate the very generous offer of assistance, I feel it my duty to ask you to re--embark the working party and all parties which your kindness prompted you to land.

"If in consideration of the American vice-consul's assiduous attentions to his family at his country house the American consulate needs guarding in your opinion, although he was present and it was not guarded an hour ago. I have no objection to your detailing a force for the sole purpose of guarding; but the party must have no firearms and nothing more offensive than clubs or staves for this function.

"I find your working party was this morning helping Mr. Crosswell clean his store. Crosswell was delighted that he work was done without cost. If your excellency would remain long enough, I am sure almost all the private owners would be glad of the services of the nay to save expense.

"It is no longer a question of humanity. All the dead died days ago, and the work of giving them burial is merely one of convenience.

"I would be glad to accept delivery of the safe which it is alleged thieves had possession of. The American vice-consul has no knowledge of it; the store is close to a sentry post, and the officer of the post professes ignorance of the incident.

"I believe the police surveillance of the city adequate for the protection of private property. I may remind your excellency that not long ago it was discovered that thieves had lodged in and pillaged the residence of some New York millionaire during his absence in the summer; but this would not have justified a British admiral landing an armed party and assisting the New York police.

"I have the honor to be, with profound gratitude, and the highest respect,,

Your obedient servant,



Held Up Supply Ship

When Rear-Admiral Davis called at headquarters this morning to bid farewell to Governor Swettenham, he waited fifteen minutes. He then informed the governor's aide that he would wait no longer, and requested him to tell the governor that in consequence of his attitude it not desiring American aid he had countermanded President Roosevelt's order dispatching the supply ship Celtic, laden with beef, for the relief of Kingston.

Governor Swettenham arrived at that moment, there was a brief private meeting and the governor escorted Rear-Admiral Davis to his carriage. Salutations were exchanged, and the governor, replying to Rear-Admiral Davis. regret that he was unable to do more for Kingston, said: "all the more to your honor", adding a deep bow, evidently in reply to Admiral Davis' reference to his departure, and meaning that he would do the same in the admiral's place.

Rear Admiral Davis told the Associated Press that he deeply regretted the governor's attitude. He was still convinced that the governor was unequal to the task of relieving distress; that this was evident from the fact that the American field hospital had tended many sick and wounded and others were constantly arriving, having been unable to gain admission to the government hospital.

The American hospital was established in Winchester Park, the property of the Jesuits, Thursday under the American flag and in charge of fleet Surgeon Ames and Surgeon Norton of the battleship Missouri, aided by Sisters of Charity. The hospital received more than fifty sufferers, including persons with fractured bones and skulls. cases of blood poison which had resulted from neglect of wounds, etc.

Governor Swettenham and the local medical men were greatly opposed to the American hospital, insisting that there was no necessity for it as all the wounded already had been attended to. Surgeon Ames said the local medical men were very ready to accept medical supplies , but wished no American interference with the wounded. Consequently there was much suffering which the American officers, in the name of humanity, were anxious to relieve. A party of American sailors worked at repairing the hospital building to the last moment, when they hauled down their flag, the Jesuits taking charge and returned to their ships, the Yankton sailing at 1 o'clock, followed by the battleships at 4.

Governor Criticized

Governor Swettenham's attitude toward a friendly American officer's assistance is greatly deplored by many of the residents of Kingston, some of them even suggesting that the governor be petitioned to resign. His action is construed by some as resentment of President Roosevelt's attitude toward Jamaican negroes on the Panama Canal. Others ridicule the governor's objection to the landing of American sailors, armed or not armed. The insecurity of the city is evidenced by the attempt last (Friday) night by six negroes to waylay a midshipman from the Missouri, who drew his revolver and put his assailants to flight.

Last night the streets of the burned district still reeked with the stench of decaying bodies.

Today many bodies were recovered through the aid of vultures which perched in flocks on the ruins beneath which their prey is buried. As fast as they were uncovered the bodies are thrown on the funeral pyres and slowly consumed.

The total number of known dead is about 450; and it is believed there are at least 150 persons who have not been accounted for.

Food is coming to the city from the country districts, but a famine is feared.

The filthy conditions of the camps and parade grounds and race course, where thousands of persons are huddled under improvised tents roofed over and sheathed with palm leaves, causes grave apprehension of an outbreak of typhoid fever.

At present there is a most urgent need for tents for several thousand persons, but the government is not supplied with these and is not making endeavours to obtain them. Rain is now threatening, and if it should come it will involve untold suffering on the homeless thousands.

Minor Official Asked for Marines

London, Jan. 21 -- According to the Daily Mail's Kingston correspondent the people of the town are wildly protesting against the withdrawal of the Americans, as there is still great need of food and greater need of medical assistance.

This correspondent relates that it was at the request of the governor's deputy and a subordinate that American marines were landed to quell the disorders in the penitentiary. Governor Swettenham, however, repudiated his deputy's action. The correspondent says Governor Swettenham based his action on that of the American government after the San Francisco disaster. He adds that in the heated final interview between Governor Swettenham and Rear-Admiral Davis the governor intimated that the admiral wanted to gain an unfair amount of credit.

The Daily Mail in an editorial frankly describes the incident as a deplorable blunder on the part of Governor Swettenham and says he dealt with the situation in altogether a wrong frame of mind and compromised the credit of his country in so doing.

Squadron Sailed Saturday

Kingston, Jan. 19 -- (Saturday evening) -- The government believing itself able to cope with the situation without outside assistance, the American warships sailed for Guantanamo today.

Depts have been established to provide food at reasonable prices.

The weather being dry, camping out is not unpleasant, but if it should rain, the situation will become bad.

Thousands are daily going into the country and thus relieving the congestion here.

The report that a volcano was in eruption in the island is incorrect.

Most of Kingston Victims Women

Santiago, Cuba, Jan. 19 -- The steamer Oteri, the second refugee ship from Jamaica, arrived here at daylight. She left Kingston at 11 o'clock Friday morning and brings 132 passengers. Among those on board are George H. Hazen, of the Century magazine and his party, and H. M. Fickinger, of the Cuba Eastern Railway. The refugees report that the list of dead from the earthquake and fire is over one thousand. Continued light earth shocks were felt up to Thursday. A large proportion of the persons killed were women. the first supply of food, clothing and medicine for relief was brought in by a vessel sent by the International Brotherhood League.

It is reported that there are hundreds of persons in hospitals who lack antiseptic dressings and medical supplies. The Oteri is to return to Kingston at once with a consignment of food and clothing furnished by the citizens of Santiago. A number of doctors from here also go on board the Oteri.

A. M. Nathan and Charles Sherlock who lost their lives in the disaster were both wealthy Englishmen. They had been but three days in Jamaica inspecting their business. Three employees of the firm of Nathan, Sherlock & Company also lost their lives.

Governor Swettenham feels that he now has the situation well in hand.

The steamer Prinze Waldemar of the Hamburg-American line which is ashore near the Prinzesin Luise will prove a total loss. The lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor is being temporarily repaired. No brick house in Kingston remains standing. The yacht Candia left here Friday morning for Kingston carrying medical supplies and provisions but she was forced to return here on account of the heavy weather.

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