At a time of severe gales, in January 1871, the Brigatine Sarah, carrying coal, was aground on Margate Sands. The crew of the lifeboat Quiver and a local lugger Ocean went to the rescue.
Frances’ brother Alfred and sister Rosamond had emigrated to the USA in 1882 and 1884. In 1887, aged 16, Frances followed but rather than join her siblings in New York she travelled west to California. In 1890 a San Francisco newspaper published an article describing a rather difficult position she had got herself into.
Rosamond was just 14 when she left England and sailed to join her brother, Alfred James in New York. She joined Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (pictured) as a stenographer.
Alfred was born into a long line of mariners but, perhaps realising not only that it was a difficult life but also a dangerous one, he and his four brothers turned their back on the sea and sought other means of making a living.
An assurance agent in Margate, Thanet, Alfred rose to the position of a Vice President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (pictured) in New York.
Six members of the Emptage family took part in the rescue attempt of the crew of the Northern Belle in January 1857. Two lost their lives and three received medals at an earlier event. Now it was Alfred Emptage’s turn to receive his medal at a ceremony where special mention was made of his bravery.
Alfred’s father and grandfather were mariners, as were his six brothers. Together with three of his brothers, he took part in saving the crew of the Northern Belle. They were considered heroes and received a medals. But Alfred was to die a difficult death, aged just 45, in a mental asylum.