Lewis J. Johnson helped to save 54 persons from drowning, Atlantic City, New Jersey, January 14, 1906. A 2,556-ton freighter, the S.S. Cherokee, had gone aground on the Brigantine shoals in the Atlantic Ocean and was taking on water. Johnson, 25, cook, was one of a seven-man, volunteer crew that took a 58-foot, 10-ton fishing schooner, the Alberta, through 25-foot seas to the scene. After the Alberta maneuvered to within 200 feet of the Cherokee, its two dories were launched in rescue attempts, but one was smashed on the deck by a large wave and the other, was broken apart when it hit the side of the Cherokee. The crew of that dory returned to the Alberta in one of the freighter’s lifeboats, taking with them one end of a secured line. By means of the line, the Alberta was pulled closer to the Cherokee. Another lifeboat from the freighter was secured bow and stern by lines affixed to the vessels, and, in 12 trips, it shuttled the 54 crew and passengers from the Cherokee to the Alberta. The Alberta’s return to shore was done under sail, as its engine was by then disabled.
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