Elisabeth Letterbox LbNA # 50059
|Placed Date||Aug 28 2009|
|County||Virginia Beach city|
|Location||Virginia Beach, VA|
In a January 1887 snowstorm, the German three-masted sailing ship “Elisabeth” ran aground south of Dam Neck near Sandbridge. Dam Neck and Little Island life-saving crew members spotted the ship eight hundred yards offshore. Only two surfmen, Frank Tedford and John Etheridge survived the rescue. On January 9, twenty-two crew members and five life-saving members perished. The Dam Neck Mills Station’s deceased Captain Abel Belanga, his brother James E. Belanga, and brother-in-law Joe Spratley, all were buried at Willow Wood Cemetery near Tabernacle Church. George W. Stone and John H. Land, Little Island crew members, were intered in a family burying ground.
Your search begins at the Willow Wood Cemetery:
To find the cemetery take General Booth Blvd. to Princess Anne Rd. to Sandbridge Rd.
Park in the lot on the left at Tabernacle Church or (to get even closer) at Margie and Ray's Seafood Restaurant.
Walk across the street to the cemetery. Be VERY CAREFUL as this is a busy road.
Locate the large magnolia in the center of the cemetery.
Under the magnolia is a plot inside wrought iron fence.
Stand outside the fence so you can read the stone of Abel Belanga to your right, Joseph Sprately to your left and James Belanga straight ahead.
Look over your left shoulder and spy a tree of stone.
Walk to this memorial to Flanagan (died July 6, 1889).
Stand facing this unusual tree and look again over your left shoulder. At the fence line you will see and double stumped tree.
What you seek is located under sticks and debris at the base of this tree.
Please rehide even better than you found it.
I hope you enjoy this bit of Sandbridge history.