Was it “Wholesale Murder,” or just another shipwreck?

Funded by Prince Luigi of Italy, Major Ingraham set sail for the Alaska gold fields in the spring of 1898. In addition to the first superintendent of Seattle schools, the people on board included the first mayor of Bremerton, the owner of the Snohomish Eye, University of Washington football players, several friends of Prince Luigi, a missionary family, and a myriad of other well-known men.

Three days after the schooner Jane Gray departed Seattle, the ship went down in a moderate gale - hardly a storm that should sink a "staunch and seaworthy" whaler in a "hatful of wind."

Only twenty-seven of the sixty-four on board survived. In the aftermath of the wreck, the entire community was shocked and grief-stricken. Some of the survivors mounted a search for the missing, while others sought restitution from the powerful MacDougall and Southwick outfitting firm.

Ownership of the vessel came into question and a nasty, protracted legal battle ensued, revealing fraud, deceit and corruption at every turn. Rumors and speculation as to the cause of the disaster consumed conversations around the world. She'd been wrecked before. Was she a "hoo-doo," cursed with sailor's superstition? Or were MacDougall and Southwick at fault?

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