A Divine Providence: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann

 

The Wreck of the Julia Ann painting in the home of Meg Rasmussen, a great granddaughter of Captain Pond.

The Wreck of the Julia Ann painting in the home of Meg Rasmussen, a great granddaughter of Captain Benjamin F. Pond.  _____________________________________

On October 3, 1855, after twenty-six days at sea in the Pacific, a ship carrying 56 passengers and crew ran into a submerged coral reef near Tahiti destroying the ship. Of the twenty-eight Saints on board, five lives were lost.  The survivors remained in the water for two days and nights before salvaging enough from the destroyed boat to make landfall ten miles away.  After another two months on this uninhabited island, they were rescued by daringly following a missionaries dream, and through the providence of God.  Their captivating story is now being dramatically told in the documentary, A DIVINE PROVIDENCE: The Wreck and Rescue of the Julia Ann.

Most LDS Church members and historians are well acquainted with the thousands of Church members traveling east to west from Europe to America.  Shipwrecks were a steady occurrence in the nineteenth century, yet no Atlantic ship went down carrying Latter-day Saint converts.  Between 1840-1890, 543 oceanic voyages brought some 90,000 Saints to America, but little is known of the ships bringing converts west to east across the Pacific.

Captain B.F. Pond

Captain Benjamin F. Pond at age sixty-seven in 1886, thirty-one years after the sinking of the Julia Ann.  ______________________________

The ship Julia Ann is one such story, the only vessel with Mormon passengers where lives were lost due to a shipwreck.  Under the command of Captain Benjamin F. Pond, the Julia Ann left Sydney, Australia on September 7, 1855 and after three weeks hit an unseen and incorrectly charted coral reef.  As the ship was breaking apart, members of the crew swam with a rope to the safety of a rock in the reef. Many of the passengers made the dangerous escape hanging on to the rope with five drowning in the process, two women and three children.  From there the surviors made their way to a series of uninhabited islands where they obtained brackish but drinkable water and fed themselves on crabs and sea turtles.

Shipwrecked In The South Pacific – 3 Oct 1855 Lineagekeeper Genealogy Collections and Tales

Map where the Julia Ann went down near Tahiti.  Courtesy of Shipwrecked In The South Pacific – 3 Oct 1855
Lineagekeeper
Genealogy Collections and Tales.  _____________________________________

With the aid of some salvaged nautical tools, a daring attempt for rescue was made in a small quarter-boat by Captain Pond and nine crew members.  After three days and nights of rowing rowing into what should have been a westerly wind,  they made it to Bora Bora, 217 miles away.

DVD Cover

DVD Cover _____________________________

The documentary is being co-produced by filmmaker Martin L. Andersen of Pullman, Washington and BYU Professor Fred E. Woods and is set for release May 13, 2014..  A book by the same name is also being written by Professor Woods (Cedar Fort publication) and will be released on the same date.  Your generous contributions to Mormon Historic Sites Foundation (MHSF) would help in the completion of this historic film.

Trailer

Photos

Articles & Resources

The Wreck of the Julia Ann

The Wreck of the Julia Ann
by John Devitry-Smith
BYU Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 1989
Click here to read article

Shipwrecked In The South Pacific – 3 Oct 1855

Shipwrecked In The South Pacific – 3 Oct 1855
Lineagekeeper
Genealogy Collections and Tales
Click here to read article

 

Museum finds underwater relics from 1855 shipwreck

Museum finds underwater relics from 1855 shipwreck
The Deseret News, May 31, 1997
Click here to read article

Researchers Float Exhibit of Shipwreck Artifacts

Researchers Float Exhibit of Shipwreck Artifacts
March 30, 1997|ROBERT GEHRKE | ASSOCIATED PRESS
Los Angeles Times
Click here to read article