Lighthouse History – 39 (1911-11-30 to 1912-04-10)

Lighthouse History – 39 (1911-11-30 to 1912-04-10)

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.


Up to the time of going to press this morning no further word had been received regarding the accident to Tees reported to have struck a rock in Kyuquot Sound.

There was much anxiety regarding Tees since early yesterday. Northwestern en route to Seattle from AK, caught a wireless message from Tees. It was brief, stating only: ‘Tees struck rock. Kyuquot Sound.’ The message was transmitted to Estevan and thence to Victoria. United States Steamship Tahoma was at Neah Bay and when Tatoosh heard the news at 4:30am this vessel was notified and proceeded at once to the scene, being due at 11pm at Kyuquot. Mr E J Haughton, Superintendent of the Dominion Wireless Stations, sent a message to tug William Jolliffe of the Fisheries Protection service, which was off Quatsino. C P Edwards of Ottawa, who is on board making a visit of inspection to the coast Stations, has fitted a set of apparatus on the tug and sent a message reporting Jolliffe would reach the scene about 5pm. British Columbia Salvage Co sent the salvage Steamer Salvor with a wrecking crew, and Captain W H Logan, special agent of London Salvage Assn, was a passenger. Salvor is due at Kyuquot this morning. Steamer Newington of lighthouse service, last reported from Clayoquot 2 days ago, has also gone to render assistance. 
Throughout the day every operator in the coast wireless service listened for further messages, but nothing was learned. It was anticipated that the accident had resulted in the engine room being flooded and the dynamos drowned out, rendering the wireless apparatus unavailable, or the vessel was shut in by high land and unable to communicate.

Tees was on her way from Holberg on Quatsino Sound, and had called at Easy Creek in Kyuquot Sound to load a shipment of pottery clay before the accident. Easy Creek, where the clay is loaded, is one of the 3 anchorages of Kyuquot Sound, being 10 miles from the entrance of the Sound. The Sound is a large broken sheet of water penetrating from the coast to a distance of 14 or 15 miles inland in 2 large arms and several smaller ones. Union I, 1,484′ high, lies at the entrance and forms on either side a channel into the sound, the East one being the best for steamers. There are several islands in the Sound, mostly small, and the shores are mostly rocky and very broken, rising to high mountains from 2,000 to 4,000′ above the sea. The whaling stn of CNP Fisheries Co is situated on Narrow Gut Creek in the Southeast part of the Sound. The main settlement is on Village I, on the East side of Halibut Channel, where there is a large Indian village, Post Office, church and store, the entrance being narrow and obstructed by a rock which dries 6′, but leaves a clear channel of 4 fathoms. Tees usually calls at the whaling stn after loading clay at Easy Creek, and then makes a call at the settlement on Village I and passes out by way of Ezperanza inlet en route to Hesquoit, Nootka and Clayoquot bound to Victoria. Off the mouth of Kyuquot Sound is a dangerous stretch of reefs known as the Barrier group.

Captain E Gillam, master of Tees, has been in command since the death of the late Captain J O Townsend, and formerly was chief officer of the Steamer. He has been on the route for several years, and is considered a most careful navigator.

The officers of the Steamer are: Chief Officer, Alexander Thompson; 2nd officer Mr Birss; Chief Engineer, Robert Moffatt; 2nd England A Dow; purser, Carl Booth; freight clerk, W J Reed, chief steward, A Aspdin. Tees carries 2 quartermasters, 2 lookout men, and 7 deckhands, 7 firemen and oilers, and 3 waiters.

Tees is a steel screw Steamer of 679T gross register, 441T net, built in 1893 at Stockton-on-Tees by Richardson, Duck & Co for the British coasting trade, and for some years past she has been in the Canadian Pacific Railway service, being brought to this coast by the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. After being used in the northern trade for some years she was placed in the West Coast Vancouver Island service on which route she has been engaged for some years. She is 165′ long, 26′ beam, and 10.8′ deep. Page 15 – photograph: Tees embarking Indians at the Canadian Pacific Railway wharf when preparing to start for West Coast Vancouver Island. [Colonist, 1911-11-30]


Died Feb, 1912 at S Wales, Gomer Johns, aged 70. He was well and favorably known in Victoria and throughout the Cariboo. Starting out in life as a ‘quarter deck apprentice’ in the mercantile marine he sailed several voyages to the Antipodes from London, England. He came to British Columbia in the early 1860s and entered the lighthouse service On Vancouver Island, which he served until induced to try his fortune in Cariboo. Always an enthusiastic prospector he worked in, and paid into a large number of claims, but did not meet with the success he deserved. Being a fine singer and actor he was a very popular member of the old Barkerville Amateur Dramatic society. He became mgr of late Joseph Mason, and after his death for late S A Rogers. His old-time sweetheart came out from Wales in 1891, they met and were married in Victoria in Sep of that year, leaving immediately for Barkerville where they resided for several years, returning to Victoria to settle down. They bought the ‘Willows’ and ran it for a short time, then leased and finally sold it, returning to Wales c 8 years ago. [Colonist, 1912-02-18*]


Leebro, under chart to Marine & Fisheries dept, left yesterday for lighthouses and wireless Stations on West Coast Vancouver Island, carrying stores and materials for new construction work. Leebro took 2 new wireless stn buildings for Estevan, built in sections at Victoria. The bulk of her cargo consisted of lumber and other building material for the Langara I lighthouse. [Colonist, 1912-04-10]

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

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