252 15th St. East
L. Matthews, Jr.
(postmarked Feb. 4 1932)
Mr. Chas O. Matthews
#4 Ash Ave.
Feb 3, 1932
You will no doubt think us entirely out of the picture
(f the Washington papers print the same article that was in
the Miami Herald) but here we are.
We have had a most horrible experience. Started on a
deep sea fishing expedition for sail fish, etc. Going out
through the jettys we had engine trouble but the water was
to rough for the Capt. to do any work on it so we kept on
going out so that we could have the advantage of the calm
water inthe gulf stream about 5 miles out.
The Capt. opened the carburetor wider to allow more gas
to get through. This of course allowed the carburetor to
flood and fill the bilge. Just as we came to the Gulf stream
the motor choked. When the Capt. went below and put his hand
on the starter she either shorted or back fired and set the
boat on fire. (Four miles out and one mile down.) The first
explosion burned us all, the Capt. Horribly, Mary all down
her legs, wrist and face. Russell on one arm and face. Dids
down both legs. Her stockings were burned completely off and
her skirt half off.
The fire cut us off from the life preservers and when I
started through the forward hatch the Capt. stopped me said
it would spread the fire and that it was hopeless that I
could not make it. There was nothing else to do but jump or
stay on the boat which by that time was a mass of flames
everywhere but up by the bow sprit. We all crowded up there
and waited. We saw a boat almost three miles away, almost
out of sight. The Capt.ís son went on top of the boom and
tried to signal hopeless after about fifteen minutes we saw
the other boat change its course and open up wide to come to
us. You can imagine how this made us feel, which would get
there first the blazing fire or the boat.
After an eternity the rescuing boat, which could make
about 40 miles an hour, came to within fifty feet of us and
threw their life preservers and lines and hollered for us to
jump. The crew jumped first and tried to bring the
preservers, which the wind had carried away, nearer to us.
Mary jumped for the first and was taken right aboard.
Russell after being urged went next I made Dids stay until a
preserver was close enough that she could not possibly miss
it and then I went over. The wind kept blowing me under the
burning boat but finally they threw me a line which I took
hand over hand and boy when I had taken up all the slack
what a feeling. I just laid back and (sic) hollowed
whoopee. Dids and I had hold of the same line on opposite
ends. The line being tied in the middle. Finally we were
pulled aboard way up forward where Dids had to stay because
of the heavy seas and the tossing of the boat. When we
passed a Texas oil boat tied to the docks we hollowed to
have an ambulance waiting and all were brought to the
hospital. All burns are first degree and while painful are
We will continue our trip in a day or so as soon as we
try to be compensated for the loss of practically all and
best belongings which we carried on board with us.
There is no need for any one to worry because
everything is just as I have set forth here. In fact that is
why I have gone into such detail.
The papers here have it that Mary has slight chance of
recovery. That is all wrong as I am mailing a letter to her
mother that she has just written.
It is awfully hot here now went for a swim in the ocean
yesterday (more desirable than the one today.) Donít know
that I want another soon.
Look for me about Monday. Will right again.
Love to all,