Drowning at Lawyer Island c. 1904

Lawyer Island Lighthouse; photo - CCG Prince Rupert

In the Lighthouses of British Columbia guestbook I came across an entry by an “M. W. Harding”. He stated that his grandfather had been the first lighthouse keeper on Lawyer Island, near Prince Rupert, BC, and had accidentally drowned. I contacted Mr. Harding and got more information from him about his grandfather’s death. – JAC

– Ned Harding (Grandson of Thomas Harvey who was Senior Keeper at Lawyer Island 1921 – c.1905)

I have some information regarding the Lawyer Island Lighthouse. This information was given to me by my mother who was the daughter of the original keeper. The keeper’s name was Thomas Harvey who took care of the light starting approximately 1901. He was married to my grandmother in 1898 and my mother was born in Vancouver in 1899.

My mother and grandmother were also at Lawyer Island from about 1902. The grandmother’s name was Hannah G. Harvey, and my mother’s original name was Frances T. Harvey. The light was tended by this duo until 1904 when my grandfather was lost in the sea while rowing to Prince Rupert as was his practice from time to time.

CCGS Quadra; photo - CCG

When he failed to return, the light was tended by my grandmother. She kept the light operating for about two weeks after he disappeared. She also lit a huge bonfire on the beach to attract attention to her plight. After the incident, she and my mother were returned to Vancouver on the Coast Guard Ship “Quadra”.

I have no knowledge as to who the new lightkeeper was after my grandfather was lost. We have little more than this account since it appears little other history remains of this light and the Coast Guard has been no help. When I grew up as a youngster I was apprised of this account by my grandmother and my mother, both of them sadly long since passed.