Lighthouse History – 50 (1925-04-12 to 1926-10-29)

Lighthouse History – 50 (1925-04-12 to 1926-10-29)

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.


photos: Donald Henry McNeill recalls 3 generations of BC Pioneers… Photos of McNeill, Beaver in Victoria Harbour in 1870s, Fiddle Reef lighthouse… Full page… [Colonist, 1925-04-12, p. 40]


Died Sep 7, 1925 at Victoria, BC, Levan Cullison, 74, of Esquimalt, native of US, resident here 36 years, 27 of which he was employed by Marine Department, in the capacity of foreman erector of lighthouse apparatus, from which he retired 3 years ago. Leaves widow, son, 2 daughters. ROBP [Colonist, 1925-09-09*]


Clayoquot Sound Canning Company has suspended salmon canning operations for the present year after a fairly successful season, during which they put up 16,000 cases, of which 3,000 were sockeye, and the balance were spring, coho and dog salmon. The company is at present engaged in canning pilchard, an industry which it intends to pursue as long as the fish are obtainable. 
William Spittal, an old West Coast prospector, has recently returned from the Elk River, Kennedy Lake district, with several samples of good gold and silver ore assaying from $37 to $50 a ton, the $50 specimens being taken from a vein 6′ wide, and the $37 samples from a 15′ vein, both mineral formations being traced for several thousand yards along the mountain side. An attempt was made to develop the mineral deposits of the Elk River district many years ago, but owing to inaccessibility and lack of transportation facilities, it was finally abandoned, and has remained unexploited ever since. But now, as the proposed extension of the Canadian Transcontinental Highway from Sproat Lake to Long Beach will traverse the very centre of this rich mineral zone, and afford it every facility for direct transportation, mining men are beginning to manifest a reawakened interest in the district. 
A farewell dance was given at the GWVA Memorial Hall in honour of Clarence Carver, of Victoria, who has been officiating for 2 years as wireless operator at the lifesaving station, but has been recalled to Victoria, as a cable is now being laid to the Lennard Island lighthouse, over which all communications will in future be maintained by ordinary telephone. His departure is a matter of great regret to many of the settlers.. [Colonist, 1925-11-12, p. 17]


Crew of Marine & Fisheries steamer Estevan, acting under supervision of G Gilbert, Government electrical engineer, assisted by C E Carver, wireless operator, and acting in conjunction with the crew of the Tofino Lifesaving Station, have successfully completed the laying of the submarine telephone cable from the Lennard Island lighthouse to the nearest point on the mainland, where it has been connected with the present system of land telephone wires. It will be continued as soon as possible over its own individual line direct to the station, so as to afford speedy and uninterrupted communication between the two places. 
Some years ago a similar cable was laid to Lennard Island, but it proved to be a failure, owing to the fact that it was without proper reinforcements at either end, and had also been cut so short that the operatives were compelled to draw it too tightly across rocky terminals on either shore, where the action of the waves and the chafing against the edges of the reefs eroded and destroyed it completely inside of two years. 
Profiting by their former experience, the present operatives have laid down a cable strongly reinforced for a length of 1500′ from either end, and of sufficient length to follow the contours of the ocean floor to easy landings on soft sandy beaches, where the friction will be reduced. 
This will prove to be a distinct advantage to the life-saving service, as any intimation of impending disaster or accident at sea can be speedily and accurately transmitted to the station, whereas the old system of fog signals was very ineffective and uncertain, owing to the adverse winds. 
The combination lamp and whistle buoy at the entrance of Sydney Inlet broke loose from its moorings during the recent storm, but was located stranded on the rocks several miles away. The whistle and lamp were salved by its discoverers, but the body of the buoy was left to its fate on the rugged shore. [Colonist, 1925-11-22, p. 40]


Mrs McPhee, wife of D B McPhee, lighthouse keeper on Lennard Island, fell suddenly ill. Dr Dixson, resident physician, was hurriedly summoned to the island and pronounced her case serious, recommending that she be sent to a hospital at once. She was taken across to the Clayoquot Hotel in the lifeboat and was transferred from there to Victoria on SS Estevan, which had been summoned by telegram and took her away at midnight. McPhee and their daughter Violet accompanied her to town. [Colonist, 1926-04-29, p. 20]


Died Sep 9, 1926 at Victoria, BC, Captain H Barnes, one of Victoria’s prominent master mariners. He had been with the Canadian Government lighthouse service 35 years and was master of CGS Estevan up until Oct, 1922, when he retired. Barnes 1st went to sea as a boy in the RN, and remained in the service 13 years. He then joined the Dominion Government merchant marine as a seaman on DGS Douglas, advancing rapidly and was promoted to the 2nd officer on Quadra, later becoming 1st officer of that vessel. He then went as master o CGS Newington, and then from 1912 until 1922 he was skipper of CGS Estevan. He leaves widow, 2 sons, 3 brothers, sister. He was born in Chichester, England in 1859. Pallbearers: Captains G H Brown, G Evans and W G Brown, R A Crowther, F M Eastwood, J R Buter. ROBP [Colonist, 1926-09-11*]


Died Oct 19, 1926 at Merry Island, BC, Jane, 89, widow of William Franklin, both pioneers of BC. She leaves her son W T, lighthouse keeper on Merry Island, and son A G in US. She came to BC with her husband, who was a Royal Engineer sent out by Lord Lytton to assist Governor Douglas in 1858. D O Sullivan, A Donaldson, J McL Muirhead, George Bushby, W H Cullin, J A McTavish. H 068 W 22 [Colonist, 1926-10-19*]


Died Oct 28, 1926 at Oak Bay, BC, Captain Charles E Ormiston, 76, born at NS, he followed the sea for many years, retiring as a master mariner. Leaves widow, daughter, 2 sons [one Captain Harry Ormiston, master of government lighthouse tender Newington], 2 sisters, 2 brothers. Pallbearers: C E Sonley, W Hardy, T E Morrison, A Couch, S Cann, Captain H Bilton. [Colonist, 1926-10-29*]



 And if you have read all to here, I am sorry to say this is the last of the Lighthouse History stories until more editions of the Victoria Colonist are scanned. I will keep in touch, and when more are scanned I will definitely being posting lighthouse history again. – retlkpr







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