Lighthouse History – 56 (1931-05-09 – 1931-05-31)

Lighthouse History – 56 (1931-05-09 – 1931-05-31)

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.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 Captain Cook’s Landing presented in Pageant on Clayoquot’s Shore… ; May 12, 20 – photo of Major George Nicholson as Captain Cook…; May 9, 20 – Tofino Legion’s day of celebration… ; B Nicholson, of the Department of Marine, was in Tofino attending to the installation of a new telephone cable connecting Lennard Island lighthouse with the mainland. Visitors were entertained at tea by Mrs Jackson and Miss Gertrude Jackson, who reside at Long Beach. [Colonist, 1931-05-09, p. 17]


June 9, 1931, 20 – Nootka. Taking the census on the outlying points of Vancouver Island is proving to be an exceedingly interesting and exciting expedition… To say ‘called on’ is stating it mildly, according to the experience of Major George Nicholson and Jack Mathison, who have been entrusted with finding the lonely settlers, prospectors, trappers and other isolated persons dotted along the coastline… 
Owing to the rough nature of the coast, none but the staunchest of vessels would be suitable for this work, so Ottawa has chartered the fishing vessel Yankee Boy, owned and manned by Bjarne and Trygve Arnet, of Tofino, and these two men, both well known and experienced fishermen and born on the west coast… 
As an instance of the isolation of some of the settlers visited is the case of a man who lives on a pre-emption at Escalante Point, to reach whom the census enumerator has the choice of walking 15 miles along the rugged shoreline north of Estevan lighthouse and wireless station, or else chancing a hazardous landing in the ocean surf in the vicinity of Escalante Rocks, one of the worst spots on the coast, many ships having been wrecked at that point. 
Mathison, not relishing the walk each way, the Yankee Boy undertook the landing behind the reef itself. Watching for a time when the tide was suitable and the prevailing westerly wind not too strong, and with the aid of the staunch lifeboat carried along, the landing was successfully made, but not without excitement in making the beach in the big combers. A mile and half walk along the rocky coastline found the settler in a snug bay, facing the warm, sunny south, and the enumerator, to his surprise, was treated to a feast of fresh strawberries. 
Two hours was the actual time expended in taking this man’s particulars, and then all the excitement of making back in the ship’s lifeboat had to be gone through again, but this was successfully accomplished with nothing worse than a good wetting and a little uneasiness on the enumerator’s part, which was mostly his concern that he should not lose his portfolio altogether or have it so badly wetted that his papers be spoiled by sea water. 
Two hours’ run and Friendly Cove was reached, when, after taking the particulars of the lightkeeper and his family, the rest of the day was spent in checking up the salmon trollers who are fishing out of that place. 
Half of the next day was spent in searching for a lonely settler who had for some reason decided on taking up a homestead on the outside of Nootka Island, in the direction of Bajo Point. Owing to the strong westerly sea running, which made it impossible to land, it was decided to walk the shoreline, which was eventually accomplished after a rough trip of about four miles over the rugged shoreline, wading many creeks and saltwater sloughs. Such was the experience in locating these and other settlers in the territory they have so far covered. 
The inhabitants of Nootka Village and employees of the Nootka Cannery, as well as the large fishing fleet quartering there just now, were covered in a more congenial manner than the experience of the days previous. Small logging camps, fox farmers on isolated islands, prospectors and trappers at the head of the various inlets comprising the sound, pilchard plants and odd settlers here and there, are all in the day’s work of this expedition, the greatest time being taken up in running between the different points where these settlers live, which in some cases amounts to several hours’ running.
Nicholson reports that complaints are received from practically every settler visited, of the coast being overrun by cougars. Many have been trapped during the past winter, and several in the past few weeks, but the absence of any good cougar dogs in the district prevents their being hunted successfully… 
While Yankee Boy was running along the shoreline up Muchalot Arm, on its way to the logging camp there, a cougar was seen on the rocks only a few hundred feet distant. The boat was immediately stopped, and Nicholson fired two shots at the big cat, but owing to the choppy sea his aim was ineffective. He and Captain Arnet went ashore and hunted the animal… 
Salmon trolling was found to be very fair, but the exceedingly low price for fish received by the fishermen is not proving a very remunerative calling this season. 
At the time of reporting the enumerators were in the vicinity of Esperanza Inlet, after which they will proceed to Kyuquot and on to Hecate, proceeding in the direction of Cape Cook, and by the time the census is taken, which will probably take two or three more weeks, the party will have in addition to taking the census, have made a very complete survey of conditions of the territory that they will have covered… 
June 19, 1; 6 – Nicholson and Mathison return to Tofino with many cougar stories… at Espinosa Inlet, David Wishart, caretaker of a closed pilchard reduction plant, is visited by cougar… 
June 21, 11 – photos and text – Census taker has thrilling time of upper west coast… [Colonist, 1931-05-31*]


Died November 22, 1931 at Vancouver, BC, Mrs Mary Jane Robinson, 80, daughter of late John Jeffery, pioneers of Victoria. Brought by her parents from England and in 1851, at age 6 months. She was 11 when the city was incorporated in 1862, and took part in the celebrations. Her father, who was a stone mason by trade, was instrumental in the construction of Race Rocks lighthouse, and also assisted in the construction of the pioneer HBC stores in Victoria. 
She married, at age 20, Charles H Robinson, and of the big family, 4 sons and 1 daughter survive. A sister, Mrs John H Scale, also lives in Vancouver. [Colonist, 1931-05-31*]


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