She was built in Scotland for H Hackfeld Co of Honolulu in 1892; she was named “George N Wilcox,” for the Grove Farm Plantation owner.
“George N Wilcox” had already completed one successful voyage when it sailed from Middleborough, England on May 10, 1894, bound for Honolulu around Cape Horn. (Soboleski)
Let’s look back …
On September 26, 1849, sea captain Heinrich (Henry) Hackfeld arrived in Honolulu with his wife, Marie, her 16-year-old brother Johann Carl Pflueger and a nephew BF Ehlers.
Having purchased an assorted cargo at Hamburg, Germany, Hackfeld opened a general merchandise business (dry goods, crockery, hardware and stationery,) wholesale, as well as retail store on Queen Street.
As business grew its shipping interest, manufacturing and jobbing lines developed a web of commercial relationships with Europe, England and the eastern seaboard. Hackfeld outfitted several whalers and engaged in the trans-shipment trade.
George Norton Wilcox (known as GN,) the second son of eight boys, born in Hilo August 15, 1839 to missionary parents, Abner and Lucy Wilcox, took over the lease for Grove Farm sugar operation on Kaua‘i and quickly became its sole owner.
GN Wilcox was not only a plantation owner; he was also an engineer, statesman, businessman and a world traveler. More importantly, he was also a philanthropist and humanist, who left an extensive legacy of endowments and public donations.
Back to the boat …
The bark George N Wilcox “left Middleborough on the 10th of last May for Honolulu, laden with 1000 tons of coal and about 1200 tons of general merchandise. In the latter portion of the cargo were tons of Christmas goods”. (Morning Call, September 30, 1894)
“The NW point of Molokai, within forty miles of Honolulu, is proving to be a place to be avoided. A heavy sea lolls in there from the northeast, and a strong current draws around the point.”
“On the afternoon of the 18th (September, 1894,) Captain Wolters of the line new iron bark GN Wilcox, 130 days out from Middleborough hove to in that part of Oahu Channel to wait for morning before rounding Dimond Head.” (The Friend, October 1, 1894)
“The vessel was off the coast of Molokai and going along under close sails. Captain Wolters was on deck and ordered the sails reefed, as he did not care to reach port until the following morning.” (Morning Call, September 30, 1894)
“In going about, the current set him ashore, and the valuable ship and cargo were suddenly wrecked at five o’clock beneath the precipice of that coast. The crew were compelled to take to the boats in haste, before the breakers swept over them.” (The Friend, October 1, 1894)
“Ten miles south-southeast from Molokai light house, firmly imbedded on the sharp high jutting rocks of Lae o ka Ilio Point, one of the most dangerous portions of the Hawaiian coast …
“… behind the tall sheltering lava cliffs on the windward side of the Island of Molokai and directly at the entrance of Kaiwi channel lies the wreck of the fine, new, steel German bark George N Wilcox.”
“Heavily listed to port, and with her snowy sails lashed into hundreds of strips, flying and flashing in every direction, and heavy angry seas washing her decks from stem to stern …”
“… the wrecked vessel a pitiable sight indeed, at once a menacing, though expensive monument to gross carelessness on the part of some or else the victim of a luckless fate. (Hawaiian Star, September 20, 1894)
“Considerable quantities of wreckage from the GN Wilcox are reported to have stranded along the windward shores of Oahu. Many valuable cases have been saved which floated out of the wreck. Parties who bought the wreck and cargo for $1,200 are making a good profit out of it. The vessel is fast breaking up.” (The Friend, October 1894)
“Captain Wolters has been sailing to the islands since 1871 and this is the first ship he has ever lost. He is considered the commodore of Hackfeld & Co’s fleet and is a man in whom the company has every confidence.”
“The first ship he ever brought out was the Elsie Wylie. Since that time he has had command of the old CR Bishop and the H Hackfeld. A few years ago he gave up going to sea for some time and superintended the building of the company’s ships.”
“When the Wilcox was completed, a little over two years ago, he was given the command of her and took her to the islands on her maiden voyage.”
The crew “corroborated the details of the wreck as given, and say that Captain Wolters did all that man could do to save the fine vessel of which he was commander.” (Morning Call, September 30, 1894)
The machinery and railroad material were salvaged, but, according to Rex Hitchcock who was deputy-sheriff of the island at that time, the Hawaiians disposed of most of the Rhine wine. (Cooke)