Rhode Island Picture Post Cards
Sinking of the Side Wheel Steamer SS Larchmont - February 11, 1907
(Scroll Down for history/background of the incident)
(Select/Click on the Mini-Graphics below to view the full-size Postcards)

The four real photo postcards in this set are actually part of a set of seven as indicated in the text of the first card. It appears that Mabel sent all seven of these cards to her friend Lydia in Gardenville, New York over a period of several months. The four I have were mailed in February, March, April and May, with the first card sent on February 26, 1907, just 15 days after the sinking of the Larchmont occurred. 

The cards were all produced by H. Ladd Walford in February 1907. Since these cards were made and mailed so soon after the incident occurred; I would have to assume that Walford was probably also the photographer who took the pictures.

All four cards that I have were mailed with a Pawtucket, Rhode Island flag cancel and the first card in the set is franked with the 1 cent (Blue/Green) Benjamin Franklin booklet stamp, (Scott #300b) of 1902-1903 (As shown Above). The other three cards all have the 1 Cent Benjamin Franklin Sheet Stamp, (Scott #300) affixed.

You will also note that all four corners have triangular stains. The cards were evidently kept in a photo type album at one time.


The SS Larchmont, (originally named Cumberland) was a 252 foot long, wooden Side Wheel Steamer built in 1885 at Bath, Maine. Larchmont was  one of the "Joy Line" steamers and regularly sailed the route between New York and Providence, Rhode Island.  On February 11, 1907, the Larchmont was steaming through a winter storm in heavy seas - 4 miles southwest of Watch Hill, Rhode Island when she was rammed by the coal carrying schooner Harry P. Knowles, which had drifted off course in the blizzard.

The Larchmont sank in 10 minutes and only 19 men, (according to the February 13, 1907 edition of the New York Times) including the captain, George McVey survived the ordeal. The Times also states that many of the men died while in the lifeboats. (This was in February during a winter storm and the temperature was near 0 degrees that day.)

It  is said, that the bodies continued to wash up on Block Island in the Sandy Point area for days after the collision.

NOTES: There are several versions of what happened to the Larchmont along with different figures for the casualty count. I have pieced together what I consider to be the most accurate information of the incident from several different sources. 

There is one account that says the survivors were rescued the following day by SS Kentucky, the sister ship of the Larchmont, but I was unable to verify that account.

Most accounts state that between 150 to 200 lives were lost, however there is an account from the vessel's quartermaster, James E. Staples claiming a loss of 332, which would make it the largest maritime disaster in New England waters.

 (The first three North Light Houses were built on Sandy Point)
: North Lighthouse Postcard.


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