Lighthouse History – 03 (1867-02-28 to 1871-01-21)

Lighthouse History – 03 (1867-02-28 to 1871-01-21)


Lighthouse Lens
Lighthouse Lens

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.



Mrs Davis, Widow of late lighthouse keeper at Race Rocks, is in want with 4 small children crying for bread. We are assured that the poor woman has done all in her power to procure employment, and that her exertions in that direction have met with poor success. Cannot something be done in her behalf? We are aware that there have been many calls upon the public of late for assistance; but ‘the poor ye have always with ye,’ and those who have no work to give would little miss a small donation. [Colonist, 1867-02-28, p. 3]

tender call, erection of FOG BELL TOWER at Race Rocks Lighthouse, signed B. W. Pearse, Lands & Works office [Colonist, 1870-07-12, p. 1]

John Costello, better known by the sobriquet of ‘Billy the Bug’ died at Race Rocks lighthouse, Jan 19, 1871 under very distressing circumstances. The poor man left Victoria in an open boat with supplies for the lighthouse, 12 miles distant. A gale sprang up shortly afterwards and he was driven past the rocks to the American side. During the blow he lost the sail, next the oars and finally the rudder. He was exposed to the fury of the storm all Tues/Wed night and early on Thurs morning managed, with a piece of board which he tore from the bottom of the boat, to reach the rock. He was in a terribly reduced state from exposure and his wants were at once attended to by the lightkeepers; but he sank rapidly and died shortly after reaching the rock. A boat sailed last evening to bring the remains to town for interment. Costello was a kind-hearted man – his own worst enemy – and was ever foremost in relieving distress while he neglected his own wants. He was Native of Ireland and started in life as a blacksmith and was once a diver. Arriving here in 1858, he took up boating, and in 1860 was carrying pilot Brodrick to a vessel outside this harbor when the boat was upset and Brodrick drowned. Billy, after clinging some hours to the bottom of the boat, reached shore. He leaves a wife and several children quite destitute. Funeral from his residence, Bastion st. The Fire Department has been solicited and citizens generally are invited to attend. There is a very general expression of sorrow at the sudden taking off of poor Billy. He was one of the kindest creatures in the world, and was ever foremost in extending aid to poor and distressed persons, even when his own family were not overwell provided for. Many and many a man now in Victoria can bear willing testimony to the good deeds of the deceased. Flags of shipping and hotels were at half-mast. Funeral will be preceded by a band, members of which have volunteered to pay this last mark of respect. [Colonist, 1871-01-21*]

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

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