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1899, November 27: Charles Coghlan’s Coffin

The Legend:

On November 27, 1899, actor Charles Francis Coghlan died in Galveston, Texas, about two thousand miles away from his home on Prince Edward Island in Canada. He had come to Texas to perform in the play "The Royal Box," but he became ill before he ever took the stage for the play; after a month, the illness ended his acting career.

        Coghlan's body was placed in a metal casket and stored while family and friends debated where he should be interred, and if he should be cremated... and this debate lasted nearly a year before fate decided the matter for everyone. A storm surge generated by the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 tore into the graveyard Coghlan's casket was being held at and swept the actor's remains out to sea. Saddened, family and friends all assumed they had seen the last of the great actor.

        However, Coghlan's wandering coffin did eventually turn up again, and in a surprising place. Years after the hurricane, the metal coffin of Charles Coghlan -- apparently airtight enough to float -- was washed ashore on Prince Edward Island, not far from his home!

Under Investigation

        This particular story is currently being dug into, and I'll post a much expanded study when I get a chance.