Ann Phoebe Hopkins was brought up in Canterbury, inland from the Kent coast. So the life she experienced in Margate after she married Alfred Burnett Emptage, a mariner and lifeboat man, was quite different from anything she had experienced previously or could even have imagined.
The nine men crew of the Victory Lugger lost their lives when their boat was swamped by terrible seas during their attempt to rescue the crew of the American sailing ship Northern Belle which had foundered on rocks off the most south eastern point of England, off the coast of Kent, on 5th January 1857. Amongst them were William Emptage, aged 52 and his nephew, John Emptage, aged 29.
On 5th January 1857, an American sailing ship, the Northern Belle, was en route from New York to London when she was driven on to rocks off the coast of Kent, at the most south eastern point of England. The weather conditions were atrocious with a blizzard blowing and there were 28 men on board the ship.
Amongst those in the rescue boats were Alfred Emptage and his three brothers: George, Charles and Edward. They all survived but their uncle William and cousin John perished.