The New Era disaster at Deal Beach.
The New Era was a ship that was build in Bath, Maine in 1854. It was a three mast ship that weighed 1328 tons. In late 1854 it was used as a transport vessel to bring German immigrants to the United States. On September 28, 1854 the New Era left Bremen Germany Bound for New York City. On board were 427 German immigrants, many of which were well off in their own country but had decided to start a new life in america. As the New Era transversed the ocean, a fatal diease called Cholera overtook the ship. Forty three people caught the diease and died on the way to america. On Novemeber 13,1854 the New Era's two month voyage was almost over. It was approaching NYC from the south, however it was foggy out and navigation was not easy. The ship ran aground about 40 miles south of NYC just a few hundred yards offshore of Deal Beach, New Jersey. The crew of the ship cowardly jumped into the only lifeboat and made their way to the beach, leaving the immigrants on the ship to fend for themselves. Waves overtook the New Era and it began to capcize. A lighthouse keeper, Abner Allen noticed the ship in distress from his house onshore and was the first one on the scene, he valently helped out with the resue operations. He witnessed the passangers being knocked into the water by the relentless waves. Many were holding onto the ship for dear life but eventually gave up and fell to their death. Some died from hypotherimia after being exposed to the cold sea water for hours. The swim to shore was too far and many onboard were unsure what resue attempt was being made due to the language barrer. Eventually a rescue boat was able to make it out to the ship, however the damage had already been done. Of the 427 that had left for the voyage to america only 143 were saved. This meant that 283 lives were lost in total to the New Era shipwreck.
Today the disaster of the New Era has been forgotten. However there are still some reminders of the New Era and a few people in the area still see the historical purpose of the ship. Many of the victims of the disaster were buried in a mass grave at the Methodist Church in West Long Branch. A memorial was dedicated in 1897 and still stands to this day. The exact location of the wreck of the New Era is a well kept secret among New Jersey divers. However it is assumed there is very little left of it after the years at the bottom of the ocean. The beach replenishment project may have further covered what's left of it in sand. However in 1999 a few New Jersey Historians/divers were able to retrieve the ancor of the New Era from the bottom of the ocean. It 2002 it was transferred from one of the divers homes in Long Branch to the Methodist Church in Allenhurst, near where the ship ran aground. A dedication ceremony followed at the church. Aber Allen, the lighthouse keeper who was first on the scene, was hailed as a hero for his rescue work in the New Era. The town of Allenhurst was later named after him.