A newspaper clipping reporting the wreck of the “G. B. Lockhart” came to light this week at McDade Heritage Centre. Dated 1906, it is presumably from the Hantsport Advance.
Capt Rupert Faulkner and Wife Drowned
Telegrams were received here last week conveying the sad news of the drowning of Capt Rupert Faulkner and wife at Bonaire, West Indies. At the time of the accident Capt. Faulkner was in command of the Brigt “G. B. Lockhart”. The vessel left New York May 10th for Curacao and went ashore on North Side of Bonaire, on the night of May 30th. Captain and his wife both drowned, their little son about four years old was saved, as was also all the crew. The deceased parents have another older son in New York, at school. Capt Faulkner was a native of this town, a brother of Mayor Faulkner, his wife was a United States woman, born near Cape Cod. Further particulars of the disaster are anxiously awaited by mail.
Rupert de George Faulkner age 21, Master Mariner, appears in the 1871 census of Canada for Falmouth division, Hants County, Nova Scotia (Hantsport) visiting his father, Daniel age 48, a carpenter; step-mother, Isabella; and siblings, Rebecca, Hannah, and Talbot.
Earlier that year (1871) Rupert was married to Leonora Marta/Martha Babington in Liverpool, England where on 7 April after passing his exams he was awarded a Certificate of Competency as a Master in the Merchant Service. According to Canada, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935 he left Liverpool on the 15th of June 1871, serving as 1st Mate on board the “Mary Lowerison”, and returned to England on 4 Dec 1871.
Captain Rupert Faulkner appears to have spent much of his career sailing between New York and the island of Curaçao in the Dutch West Indies. A daughter, Margareth, died as an infant at Curaçao in 1874 and a second daughter, Leonora Isobel, died as an infant at Brooklyn, New York in 1875.
The brigantine “G. B. Lockhart” was built in 1887 at the J. B. North shipyard and according to Lloyd’s Shipping Register was 305 tons gross weight with a length of 120 feet, breadth of 29 feet and depth of 10 feet 7 inches.
Rupert Faulkner was married a second time to Christina/Chrissie Sears of New York at Curaçao. Two sons were born there according to a Netherland Archives website WieWasWie; de George Talbot Faulkner on 14 Sep 1899 and Douglas Daniel Faulkner on 23 Jun 1902.
An account of the wreck of the “G. B. Lockhart” was published in the June 2nd 1906 edition of the Island’s newspaper Amigoe di Curaçao which is available from the Digital Library of the Caribbean.
Here is a rough translation from the original Dutch.
G. B. Lockhart
The sad news of the loss of this brig schooner will have reached our readers. The following details we have heard from one of the rescued sailors.
It was a high sea, and running a strong current, while each time gusts of wind blew waves over the ship. The brig was not heavily loaded, so it was difficult to steer when such weather hit. The night was very dark; heavy, black clouds prevented us from seeing the stars.
Three men were out on the deck to watch and watch closely. The 7 others were all below. So that the brig should not sail too fast, and be more likely to stay far from the coast, they reefed all the main sails and kept two small sails up.
Suddenly around 4 o’clock in the morning one of the sailors, a Curaçaoan, FEDERICO DE LANNOY sees something very close to the ship. Before he could decide whether it was land or a wave the brig had already hit the rock. At the same time, the captain flew up with his four year old child in his arms and threw it into the sea while Federico had already jumped overboard, which example immediately was followed by the other sailors.
Federico heard shouting from the little one he couldn’t see, he was so happy to grab the child’s hand and hold it under his arms and struggled with male courage forward against the waves over sharp, pointed rocks – almost impossible.
With bare feet all cut up. Even the small scratches from those pointed, iron-hard stones. God be thanked, Federico barely reached the beach with his precious cargo. Here he got rid of his clothes, threw them over the child and jumped into the water again, there he heard his name from all sides crying for help and rescue. The fear with which he rejoined those raging waves galore is indescribable because when he hardly was disembarked with the child there was a terrible crack and one broken mast after another collapsed on the deck and fell into the water.
The ship lay completely over her side and soon the stern was sheared off the ship and the whole brig was splinters.
Knocked out by shock some sailors don’t know where they were while the high waves around them and the sharp, stinging rocks made nearly every movement impossible.
Federico found one of the sailors stuck, impossible to continue and begged him for a moment of rest. But they could not last a long time or stand still, on such a sharp bottom, in the midst of such a strong storm. Finally the entire crew were rescued and the ship broke apart.
When it started to become light and they saw a house in the distance, it was discovered that they were stranded on Bonaire.
Soon Father B. KRIJGERS, Pastor of Rincon, came to the spot to see if his help might be needed. Also the district mayor, Mr. de CADIÈRES, had already taken the names and gave footwear and clothes. The rescued crew is full of praise for all help and compassion experienced on Bonaire.
The Bonaireans did not know what more to do, just to show their good heart and give food to the crew to eat. The sailors were still shivering from fear and were half dazed with the outstanding misery.
The person, with whom we spoke was still not able to remember everything completely, and still had the echoes with the other members.
Wednesday before noon the body of the wife of the captain, with a big hole in the back of the head and bruised on the side, where – it is inferred that she was with the captain and hit by the falling masts.
No trace of the captain has yet been discovered, the body of his wife was buried on Bonaire, a chain with medallion to be sent to New York.
At three o’clock the men left from Rincon to Oranjestad, where they received compassion from H. Srarius MULLER, and places on the Christiansted, which lay at anchor. All rescued sailors will steam tomorrow for our harbour where the Americans will find shelter and loving nurses at the clinic office.
The other Curaçaoan is called Lucien WELHOU, a cook for 10 years on the “Lockhart”. FEDERICO DE LANNOY has only been a few years on this ship. It is the third time he shipwrecked. Coincidentally, the Lockhart sank on his nineteenth journey like the Curaçao , a brig from the same company, lost ten year ago.
The cargo, including 3000 kilos of dynamite and carbide, intended for our mines, was insured. Not, however, the crew which of course nothing was saved. We hope that a small award for this disaster will be given to the crew while to FEDERICO DE LANNOY, an award with distinction may be granted.
The dangerous cargo, dynamite and carbide, of course, lies in the sea spread between the rest of the cargo of flour, salted meat, kerosene etc. People now have to be careful with stranded goods when fishing or diving and like the Attorney-General warns, be careful when here or there boxes or cans, possibly from the Lockhart, wash up. Everyone warn the police, to avoid multiple calamities.
When will a beacon finally be placed on this “killer point” at Bonaire?
According to Passenger and Crew Lists, four year old Douglas Faulkner arrived in New York 20 May 1907 on board the Prince Frederik Hendrik to join his grandmother Mrs. Sears of St. James Place, Brooklyn NY.
The two sons of Captain Rupert and his wife Chrissie (Sears) Faulkner were adopted by James and Grace (Atkin) McMurry. They appear in the 1910 US Census living at Port Townsend, Jefferson Co., Washington State.
In the 1920 US Census, Douglas Faulkner age 17 is living with his aunt Hannah (Faulkner) Rourke, sister of his father Rupert, in Berkeley, Alameda Co., California. The brothers are named in her 1931 obituary.
Both de George Talbot Faulkner who went by George F. McMurry and Douglas Daniel Faulkner who was saved from drowning in the wreck of the G. B. Lockhart worked as merchant seaman. George died in 1945 at San Francisco. While his obituary says he was predeceased by his brother that may not be correct as other records show Douglas Faulkner living in New York City.