"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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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.

03 August 2011

❖ Captain E. G. Baughman ❖ of the Gold Ship HUMBOLDT

In 1897, Seattle mayor W. D. Wood and associates,
chartered the new wooden steamer HUMBOLDT,
laid down at Eureka, CA, as a lumber-carrying steam schooner,
but completed as a passenger and freight steamer.
The mayor deserted city hall to enter the Alaska steamship and
mining business, departing for St. Michael aboard the HUMBOLDT.
A large number of the city's fire and police personnel also joined
the gold rush, leaving the municipal government in a
somewhat more chaotic state than usual.
"The death of Capt. Elijah G. Baughman in 1935 was accompanied by a most remarkable (and well documented) happening. He was never master of any ship except the HUMBOLDT. He was her pilot at the time of her first voyage to Alaska in 1897 and was appointed the master in 1900, remaining in charge throughout his entire career. By 1915 he and the HUMBOLDT had already completed 500 voyages to south-eastern Alaska. In 1919 the steamer was withdrawn from Alaska service and operated on California coastal routes. When she was laid up at San Diego Capt. Baughman retired. The HUMBOLDT lay quietly rotting away in the boneyard for more than two years... until the night of 8 August. That was the night Capt. Baughman died--slipped his cable, as the old sailors used to say--and it was the night the HUMBOLDT slipped her cable, too, and sailed again for the last time. Toward night a Coast Guard cutter hailed an unlighted ship moving silently through the harbor toward the open sea. The Coast Guardsmen boarded her and found her warped decks and dusty cabins deserted; no living hand on her wheel. She was towed back to her boneyard mooring and in 1936 was reported still there, her house and smokestack gone and her hull rotting away. Her eerie sailing on the night of her old master's death was no doubt a mere coincidence, but on the other hand, the bond between a man and ship can grow very strong in thirty years. The reader is left to draw his own conclusions".
Text from: The H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Gordon Newell, editor,
Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA, 1966.

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