News from 1888 Death of Capt Gleadell

Not open for further replies.

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The New-York Times, 6 October 1888

Capt. Benjamin Gleadell, commander of the White Star Line steamship
Germanic, and one of the most experienced Captains in the Atlantic
service, died suddenly on Thursday night, Sept. 27.

The steamer left Queenstown at 1:40 P. M. of that day and Capt. Gleadell
remained on deck until 5:30 P M., when he left the bridge in charge of
Chief Officer Roberts, with the request that he be called if the weather
grow thick.

At about 5:30 on the following morning the weather began to show signs
of thickening and Third Officer Dow went below to call the Captain.
Receiving no answer to his repeated knocks at the chartroom door he
burst it open and discovered the body of the Captain lying face down
upon the deck. The ship's surgeon, Dr. Fourness Brice, and Dr.
Gilfillan, a passenger, pronounced all efforts futile in the Captain's
behalf. It was their opinion that the Captain had been dead some hours
and that apoplexy had been the fatal disease. The chief officer
immediately assumed command of the ship and brought her into port. The
agents were notified by telegraph of their loss when the vessel arrived
in the Lower Bay and word was immediately sent to his family in

Capt. Gleadell was born in Lincoln, England, 59 years ago, and went to
sea at the age of 14. He obtained his first command, the Cella, about 20
years ago, and in her laid the cable in the China Sea. Fifteen years ago
he entered the White Star Line's service, his first ship being the
Atlantic. He left her the voyage before she was lost. Afterward he took
charge of the Republic, the Baltic, and the Celtic, remaining on the
Celtic nine years and sailing 96 voyages in her. Two years ago he
succeeded Capt. Kennedy on the Germanic.

Capt. Gleadell's record is full of evidence that he was a thorough
seaman and a gallant man. His best work was done on the Celtic. In 1881
he navigated this ship from midocean to port, on her eastward trip, with
a broken.stern post. In Christmas week, 1883, he again took her into
port under adverse circumstances, this time her main shaft being broken.
Capt. Gleadell had many medals and testimonials of his service in saving
lives. One of his most celebrated rescues was that of the crew and
passengers of the schooner Island Bell, off Newfoundland, in January,
1877. For this he received a gold clasp from the Humane Society and a
gold watch from the President of the United States.

The body will be taken back to England, where the Captain leaves a widow
and five children. A memorial service was given on the Germanic Sunday,
under the direction of Bishop Seymour of Illinois. Resolutions of
condolence were passed by the saloon passengers on Monday. The flags of
the shipping were generally suspended at half mast in honor of the dead.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
Capt. Gleadell, from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1886.

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The New-York Times, 10 October 1888

Impressive services in memory of Capt. Benjamin Gleadell of the White
Star Line steamship Germanic, who died at sea on Sept. 28 during the
voyage of his ship from Liverpool to this port, were held in the main
saloon of the vessel yesterday afternoon as she lay at her dock at the
foot of West Tenth-street. The saloon was crowded with ladies and
gentlemen who had sailed on Capt Gleadell's ship during the past Summer
and in years gone by, and with stalwart, bronzed seamen, all of whom had
come to pay their last tribute of respect to the dead officer. The Rev.
Dr. Taylor of the Broadway Tabernacle conducted the services, assisted
by the Rev. Dr. Morgan of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, both of whom
had made one or more voyages with Capt. Gleadell. The burial service of
the Episcopal Church was read by Dr. Morgan, and Dr. Taylor delivered a
eulogy, in which he extolled the many virtues of the Captain---virtues
that had endeared him not only to his passengers, but to his officers
and men. Capt. Gleadell, Dr. Taylor said, was a plain, blunt man, brave
and just; a man of pure life. He was a man who never for a moment lost
sight of the responsibilities resting upon him, and with whom travelers
always felt that their safety was guarded in every possible manner. He
was loved, as he is mourned, by all who knew him.

The scene in the saloon was touching. The clergymen sat behind an
improvised altar on the starboard side of the ship. Directly in front of
them was a table upon which rested several floral pieces of appropriate
designs, including a wreath of laurel resting on an anchor of white
roses, sent by Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hoyt. At the foot of the anchor was the
silver plate bearing this inscription: "Capt. Benjamin Gleadell, died at
sea, Sept. 28, 1888, aged 59 years." In other parts of the saloon sat or
stood a number of officers and men of the Germanic, and several were
there from the vessels of other lines. Many of these storm-tanned
sailors were seen to brush tears from their eyes during the affecting
portions of the services. The Mendelssohn Quartet sang three or four
selections very effectively. The rattling of chains on deck mingled with
the solemn melody of their voices, and made a sort of harmony not
inappropriate to the occasion.

Among those present were Capt. McMickan of the Umbria, ex-Commodore
Perry of the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, agent of the line; Capt.
Kennedy, whom Capt. Gleadell succeeded as commander of the Germanic;
Capt. Thompson of the White Star Line, Capt. Lewis of the City of
Chicago, Capt. Kersabiec [?] of La Normandie and a detachment of
sailors, Mr. Henderson of Henderson Brothers, Reggar Francklyn of the
Cunard Line, Mr. Edwards Pierrepont, Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Basseler, G. R.
Howell, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Decker, J. C. Sylvester, E. H. Van Ingen,
Commodore John R. Dickinson, H. P Willis, H. Roberts, R. J. Cortis, J.
Scheifflin, George Pople, E. T. Bogart, Dr. Nevis, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard,
Mrs. McKesson, S. S. Curtis, and E.J. Adams.

Capt. Gleadell's body has been placed in a polished oaken casket, which
has been hermetically sealed and placed in the hold of the ship. It will
be taken to England for burial. The vessels in the harbor had their flags
at half mast yesterday in honor of Capt. Gleadell.

Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads