Twists of fate
Two days before the voyage, a walking missionary staying in Diamond Bluff, known only as "Georgas", was widely reported to have predicted that the Sea Wing would be destroyed in a storm on Sunday. Several would-be passengers heeded the warning and obtained refunds for their tickets. By noon on Sunday, Georgas packed and left, saying that he couldn't bear to remain and share the sorrow of the townspeople.
Earning a Free Ticket
Ten-year-old Gustaf (Lenus) Lillyblad and a friend were asked to help load ice onto the boat at the Red Wing docks. In exchange, they were given free tickets for the day's excursion. They didn't have time to tell their parents where they were going. Young Lillyblad perished.
Reviewing the Troops
The Sea Wing visited Minnesota National Guard's First Regiment at Camp Lakeview. These same soldiers would be called upon hours later to rescue and recover the bodies of the visitors they had met that day.
Acting on a Premonition
Samuel Haskell Purdy felt a strong premonition that he should not board the Sea Wing in Lake City. He and his brother, William, borrowed money from their friend, Martin O'Shaughnessy, to take a train back to Red Wing. By the time they reached the train station, the train had left. With reluctance, they boarded the Sea Wing. The Purdy brothers survived the disaster but their friend O'Shaughnessy did not.
Loss of a Silver Cup
Mary Leach was an 18-year-old sewing student who roomed at the O.E. Kyllo home in Red Wing. Mrs. Kyllo packed a picnic lunch for Mary and included her own daughter's initialed silver cup so that Mary wouldn't need to worry about breaking china.
At Camp Lakeview in Lake City, it began to rain. Mary and a few friends took shelter to keep their new dresses from getting wet. They lost track of time and missed the departure of the Sea Wing. Mary cried, fearing her reputation would be lost.
Irrational or Fortuitous?
As the ship and barge moved northward from Camp Lakeview, Charlie Sewall disliked the darkening skies. Passing a familiar landmark, he turned to his comrades and said, "Goodbye, boys!" before jumping from the barge and swimming more than 300 feet to shore.
Randina Olson of Red Wing and A.O. Anderson of Belmont, N.D., planned to be married on Wednesday, July 16th. They both perished. Olson's body was recovered on what would have been her wedding day.