by Robert D. Waxham

There weren’t any Waxham immigrants on the ill-fated Titanic, but we nevertheless have a shipwreck in our family history. On December 22, 1942, a wooden steamship named Port Orford ran aground during a night snowstorm off the coast of Alaska and broke apart. The ship’s chief engineer was George E. Waxham, a member of the Seattle branch of Clan William and father of a number of Waxhams now scattered up and down the Pacific coast.

Fortunately, the ship was able to broadcast a distress call and all hands, including George, first succeeded in boarding lifeboats and later were rescued from the icy sea by a nearby ship that received the alarm. The ship was carrying a cargo having an estimated value of half a million dollars, none of which could be saved.