Late Aug 1920 ~ The Deering sets sail from Norfolk, Virginia with a cargo of coal bound for Rio de Janeiro. Captain Merritt soon takes ill and leaves the ship with his son, and first mate, S. E. Merritt. They are replaced by Captain Charles B. Wormell and Charles B. McLellan.
6 Sep 1920 ~ The Deering is underway. Her voyage goes well and she docks at Rio de Janiero where her cargo is unloaded and her men go on liberty. Here it's said that Captain Wormell meets an old friend, Captain Goodwin. Wormell confides in him that while his first mate is a worthless trouble-maker his engineer, Herbert Bates, is very reliable. Goodwin agrees, as he knows of Bates. The two part company, Goodwin wishing his old friend well.
2 Dec 1920 ~ The Deering heads home to Portland, ME. Trouble apparently begins to rise: When they dock at Barbados for liberty and supplies, McLellan gets drunk and is locked up. Captain Wormell is able to get him out of jail in time to sail. Over reasons unknown, the two men have an argument and McLellan threatens Wormell's life.
9 Jan 1921 ~ The Deering sets sail.
|Possibly the last photo of the Deering, possibly|
taken as she passed another vessel, just a couple
of days before she turned up abandoned.
Note the anchor is missing.
Later, Jacobson's description of this crewman becomes crucial. He reports that the man shouting at him did not speak, act, nor look like an officer ... that he was tall, thin and had reddish hair. This crewman shounted to Jacobson that the schooner had lost her anchors while riding out the gale south at Cape Fear and to please tell the Deering company. This said, the Deering continues on her way and glides out of sight along the coast.
Because the Lightship's radio is out, Jacobson tries to contact a steamer that passed afterward. As it passed, he blew the whistle of the Lightship which requires a vessel to respond. The vessel ignored the horn and continued on its way ... either the vessel had no name or the name was covered with a tarp. In his log, Jacobson writes:
4:30 PM. 5 mast schooner Carrol A. Deering, in passing bound North, reported having lost both anchors and chains off Frying Pan Shoal, asking to be reported, but ship's wireless out of commission. Was unable to get in touch with passing vessels.
31 Jan 1921 ~ The Deering is hard aground on outer Diamond Shoals near Cape Hatteras and cannot be approached due to heavy breakers. All sails are set and the life boat cables are hanging at her sides. The Coast Guard is quickly sent a telegram by the Lighthouse Service:
SEND TO KEEPER COAST GUARD STATION #183
FIVE MAST SCHOONER SOUTHWEST POINT OUTER DIAMOND, LOOKS AS IF SHE GO ASHORE. HARRIS, MASTER
1 Feb 1921 ~ The Coast Guard Cutter Seminole arrives. Due to pounding surf the Deering cannot be boarded. More telegrams are exchanged:
SEND TO GOVERNMENT FEBRUARY 1, 1921 - 10:31
REQUEST NAME STRANDED SCHOONER AND WHEREABOUTS OF CREW IF KNOWN. SEMINOLE
SEND TO SEMINOLD
SCHOONER NAME UNKNOWN WHEREABOUTS OF CREW UNKNOWN. DIAMOND SHOALS LIGHTSHIP
4 Feb 1921 ~ Another Coast Guard cutter, the Manning, arrives with the tub Rescue. The Deering is boarded at 10:30 a.m. by the wrecking crew, which stays aboard until 4:30 p.m. On board they find the vessel shipshape, but strangely deserted and quiet.
All articles belonging to the officers and crew are missing along with the ship's papers, chronometer, log, all navigating instruments and the ship's clock. In the galley, food is soaking in preparation for the next day's meal. By three different sets of boots found in the captain's room, it appears three men had shared the cabin. The spare bed was also slept in.
The large map, recording the ship's movements, had been marked since January 23 in another hand than Wormell's distinctive handwriting. The anchors had, indeed, been lost. In their place is found make-shift anchors. Red lights had been run up the mast, an indication that she was derelict or out of control.
4 Mar 1921 ~ The wrecking crew determines the vessel cannot be salvaged and they leave it to be pounded into the sea. The Manning attempts to tow the Deering from her place, but due to rough waters has to cut the towline and destroy the ship by mines.