A Fated Crash
With his debts mounting, Captain Thomas O’Neil of the Annie C. Maguire was in legal trouble in December 1886. Portland’s sheriff had asked the keeper of the Portland Head Light, Joshua Strout, to keep an eye out for the British frigate, which he intended to seize on behalf of American creditors. Bound from Buenos Aires to Quebec, the British captain lost his way and crashed the ship into the rocks at Portland Head, right in front of the keeper’s house.
There wasn’t much left for creditors to claim. The ship was destroyed and a satchel with ship documents and cash was discovered missing, presumably lost in the wreck. The captain later learned that his wife had hidden the money and papers in a hatbox that she carried ashore when she left the beleaguered boat.