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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

19 October 2009

❖ SURVEYING SAN JUAN COUNTY ❖ BY OLD TOWN CANOE

Mr. Erret Graham in his Old Town Canoe (Guide Model),
2 July 1953, Indian Cove, Shaw Island.
Canoe Island, WA., in the background.
His son, Ernest, and one daughter, stand close by.

From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©




Mr. Erret M. Graham (1877-1974), a graduate of Butler University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had a full career as a civil engineer with the railroads in the east. He and his wife, Helena, moved to Squaw Bay on Shaw Island in 1941, where he ordered his Buff & Buff equipment and began his second career as a land surveyor and official engineer for San Juan County, together totaling 25-years. 
       His favorite means of transportation was his green canvas Old Town Guide Model canoe; the two became a familiar sight amongst the islands. 
      The highly respected gentleman, his pockets stuffed with homemade cookies, was always referred to as Mr. Graham. He prided himself on being on time for his appointments when meeting with landowners around the county. It was a long paddle to some of the outer islands; he often stayed overnight for a lengthy survey contract but rarely delayed his trip for rough weather. In 1965 he was seen paddling his canoe around his home island at the age of 90-years. On his 91st birthday he circumnavigated Lopez Island--solo.

It is with great goodwill from one of our supportive members, Louise Thomas, that the Saltwater People Historical Society has become the recipient of Mr. Graham’s wood/canvas craft used extensively throughout the islands from 1941 to the 1960s.


      If you have any memories about this remarkable mariner, still fondly remembered in SJ county, please consider documenting them by email to the admin or click on “comments.” We are also interested in adding photos and drawings to Mr. Graham's file. Thank you.

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