Lighthouse History – 17 (1902-01-17 to 1902-01-28)

Lighthouse History – 17 (1902-01-17 to 1902-01-28)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


Queen City returned to port yesterday, bringing further advices regarding the derelict Schooner which has been washed onto the coast after the seas have exhausted their wrath upon it, but the identity of the lost vessel still remains in doubt. It seems that the crew of the wrecked vessel have been lost, for, although a boat has been found by Indians at Village I, intact and unbroken, no trace has been found of any shipwrecked seamen. This boat, which was located by Indians and reported by them to Captain Townsend, is a common ship’s boat, but as far as could be learned, there was no name, number or mark upon it, by which it might be identified. Sails, running gear, blocks, etc, are also coming ashore amongst the miscellaneous wreckage which the seas are casting upon the rocks, and at Bonilla Point, about 35 miles from where the wreck of the upturned Schooner is beating herself to pieces on the rocks, in the vicinity of the Cape Beale lighthouse, another boat has come ashore in pieces. One piece of the boat which was seen by the lighthouse-keeper was of hardwood, painted white inside and outside. Nearer Carmanah the mast of a Schooner has been washed on the beach, but on none of the wreckage is there aught to determine the victim of the storm other than the board seen by W P Daykin and by him reported to the officers of Queen City on the up trip, which bear the letters “L Paint”. The hatch combings are marked “75T”. Some of the hatch combings have “L Paint 75T” cut in with letters about 4″ long. As no vessel of the name is known to shipping men of the Pacific coast, these letters cannot have been the full name of the vessel, and until further advices are received her identity must remain in doubt. 
For 3 days the wreck has been battering against the rocks of Cape Beale, and when he reported that she “blew up”, as he did in recent letters, thelighthouse-keeper at Carmanah must have been in error. In has letter Mr Daykin stated that she sank near Bonilla Point and left her remains near where Puritan was wrecked, but as the capsized craft- presumably the same one – was seen floating between Carmanah and Port Renfrew and thence drifted to Cape Beale, where she was seen battering against the rocks for 3 days, this must have been a mistake. The lighthouse-keeper at Cape Beale, Thomas Petersen, in a letter to Captain Gaudin, local Agent of Marine and …, says in his report: “A Schooner has drifted ashore here, bottom up, and is going to pieces. She was a centreboard Schooner, about 90′ keel, and painted red below the water line. Parts of the Schooner’s upper works were painted green and others blue, while her head was painted yellow. Her name boards were broken and her identity could not be made out, the only letter distinguishable being “O”. This, Mr Petersen believes, was either the first or last letter of the vessel’s name, as it was near the end of a board which was not broken. 
Mr Petersen says much of the light wreckage drifted out to sea, and other parts of the craft sank in deep water near where she struck. The bottom of the vessel has been thrown up on the shore, high and dry. When first sighted from the lighthouse at Cape Beale, the derelict was low in the water and only her stern post was showing. Her rudder was gone, and it seemed that her masts must have been carried away before she drifted in on the Vancouver Island coast. 
The scene of the wreck of this derelict is a veritable grave yard of ships, for it was there that the old Orpheus was lost after she had collided with and sand Steamer Pacific off Cape Flattery in 1875, sending so many souls to a grave in the ocean’s deep, and close by Puritan went ashore and was lost. Over a dozen wrecks are marked within a score of miles of the light. [Colonist, 1902-01-17]

There was no news of the missing warship Condor in advices received from Honolulu yesterday to Jan 21 – 50 days after she sailed out of the Straits in the teeth of the heavy Southwest gale of Dec 3. It seems that she must have been a victim of the heavy gale which sank Matteawan. News was brought by Queen City, which reached Alberni yesterday on her way to Victoria from Cape Scott and way ports along the Vancouver Island coast, of the finding of a boat at Ahousett, which is believed to be one of those of the missing Condor, and news is also given of the finding of a lifebuoy and some cases of salmon on Long Beach, near Clayoquot, bearing the name of the salmon ship Red Rock, an iron ship of 1,644T, which sailed from the Royal Roads for London with 80,164 cases of salmon, valued at $320,656, but 4 days before the disastrous gale in which the collier and warship are believed to have gone down. 
The wreckage reported by Queen City consisted of a buoy, which was plainly marked “Red Rock, Glasgow” some cases of salmon, stanchions and house doors. The finding of this debris will cause considerable anxiety for the salmon ship, especially when the fact that so much other wreckage has been found on the Island coast since the gales. On Jan 3 the lighthouse keeper at Carmanah Point reported having found “some large butter kegs, or barrels, with galvanized hoops; the bowsprit and jib-boom of a vessel; 2 hatches, painted a reddish brown; white painted cabin doors; a large number of broken oars; a raft, about 35′ long, broken in 2; the lower part of a rudder, not coppered; white painted ship’s taffrail, 18″ wide; 2 yards; 2 yards, 18” wide, painted black, with white yardarms, a mess table; pieces of a boat painted lead color. Later pieces of a deck house were found near Cape Scott, and afterwards more wreckage was found, including the remains of a white painted, clinker boat, made of hardwood, on Bonilla Point, and another boat on Barkley Sound. 
The broken raft, pieces of ship’s boats, floating oars all indicate a struggle for life in the storm swept sea, when the unfortunate sailors of a lost craft, have been tossed from wave to wave only to be finally swamped and entombed in a sailor’s grave while their boats are beaten to pieces against the rocks, until with the incoming tide the sad evidences of wreck are left on the beach. That Matteawan has been lost is undoubted, and it may be that the boars and some of the wreckage are from her, and – as the finding of the white painted boat at Ahousett indicates, some of her crew may have also endeavoured in vain to reach the shore, and it is possible, as the ship’s boats seem to indicate that a merchantman, perhaps that whose broken derelict has been cast against Cape Beale, has also come to grief. 
Whether Red Rock is also to be added to the lost time alone can tell. The finding of one of her buoys and cases of salmon, with the stanchions and cabin doors, is not sufficient to indicate that she has met with disaster, for it may be that the wreckage washed ashore was swept from her deck, or the salmon jettisoned as she laboured in the heavy sea, as in the case of Ardnamurchan the season before. She was a good staunch ship, and well found, and should have weathered the gale and most likely she has, but until news is received that she has been spoken or arrived safely, there will be much anxiety on account of her. 
The finding of the white painted clinker boat at Ahousett, which officers of Queen City – who have examined the boat – believe belonged to the missing Condor, will cause even greater alarm for Condor’s safety, especially in view of the fact that although 50 days had elapsed from the time she left Victoria, she had not reached Honolulu on Jan 21. The boat is in the possession of the Ahousett Indians, and probably it may be brought down by United States Steamship Grant, which is making a search along the West Coast for wreckage from Condor. 
Red Rock brought a cargo of general merchandise to Victoria in command of Captain Porter, a genial Irishman, with a fondness for poetry and fancy carpentry. On the voyage out he wrote a book of poetry, and made a number of fancy table tops of many pieces of wood, one of which he had put away in the cabin of Red Rock with the avowed purpose of presenting it to King Edward when Red Rock arrived at London with her cargo of British Columbia salmon. The ship was one of the Rock line of Glasgow… Queen City is due today, and on her way down to port she may bring further news of wreckage from Carmanah Point, which has been cut off from telegraphic communication since the heavy gales. [Colonist, 1902-01-28]

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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