"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.

About Us

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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.

29 September 2018

❖ HOUSE MOVING THROUGH THE BALLARD LOCKS ❖

Ferry Boatmen's Strike––
This homeowner was packing up and moving on.

Frank Fletcher on the move for fear of another upset
of ferry service and increased fares.
Bainbridge Island was in his wake.

Original photo dated 11 July 1937
From the archives of the Saltwater People Log©




Frank Fletcher, an insurance man, decided to move. Not only his household belongings but his house as well. Placing the five-room cottage on a large barge, Fletcher had it carried from his former location on Bainbridge Island, across Puget Sound, and thru the Lake Washington Ship Canal Locks, to a new site on the shores of Lake Washington. 
      Ten years later–––

Ferry Tie-Up, March 1947.
This team was moving goods in the opposite direction
from Mr. Fletcher's experience, viewed in top photo.
Doc Freeman and Russ Gibson to the rescue for the
readers of the Seattle-Times with M.V. SPEEDER.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives
of the Saltwater People Log©
"Despite the ferry tie-up for several days, persons living in island communities isolated by the strike-bound ferries still received their editions of the Seattle 
Times. In a few instances the paper maybe has been delivered an hour or two later than usual, but––they got the paper. 
      This was due, in large part, to the cooperation and seamanship of O. H. 'Doc' Freeman and Russ Gibson, operators of a charter service and owners of the 80-ft SPEEDER, with which they literally "delivered the mail" for the Times
      Both are old hands at helping out when ferry schedules are disrupted or other water transportation is tied up.
      'This is the fourth time we have delivered the Times,' Freeman recalled today. 'The first time was during the first ferry strike in '35. The next time was '37 and then '39. Now this time. We're getting used to it.'
      After loading the bundles of newspapers onto their boat at the float at the foot of Washington Street, the men deliver their cargo at Bremerton, Bainbridge, and Vashon Islands, where trucks and cars pick up the bundles of newspapers and distribute them to subscribers from Gig Harbor north to Port Angeles.
      Freeman, Gibson, and Ray Strickler, skipper of the SPEEDER, make two trips on Saturday. The last beginning about midnight guarantees that island residents will have the latest possible edition when they open their copy on Sunday morning.
      Navy authorities were particularly helpful during the present emergency. At Fort Ward, the Navy installation on Bainbridge Island, the SPEEDER was allowed to unload its cargo at the Navy float for the convenience of island residents.
      'Everybody wants his paper,' reported Freeman. 'Whenever we approach a dock, there are always at least a dozen or more people waiting. The newspaper apparently is the thing they miss most."
Text for the bottom article is from The Seattle-Times 18 Mar 1947. Writer unknown.


23 September 2018

❖ The S.S. PACIFIC ❖ Remembered by Capt. Oscar Scarf

S.S. PACIFIC
with inset of survivor
Scots Quartermaster Neil O'Henly
Ship lost 4 Nov. 1875
Off Cape Flattery, WA.

Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Captain Oscar Scarf, a boy at Otter Point

"A native Victorian among the early Thermopylae Club members was Oscar Scarf, who was born in Esquimalt in 1864 and spent all his life on this coast and the adjacent waters.
      In this yarn, he tells of a marine tragedy that once stunned Victoria. It was on 4 November 1873, that the steamship PACIFIC, loaded with nearly 300 passengers, set out from Victoria bound for San Francisco. A few hours later she was seen by a boy from the beach at Otter Point, and yet another few hours and she, and all but two aboard her, were lost, victims of a glancing blow from a sailing ship which after the collision, sped into the darkness unaware that the damage she had inflicted was more than minor character. It was, in fact, to prove fatal.
      For the sail-powered ORPHEUS indeed the main need seemed to be to attend to her own repairs, wasted effort as it turned out, for a few hours later she too became a total loss near Cape Beale on the west coast. However, fate was kinder to her for not a life was lost.
      In Victoria the next day relatives and friends of the hundreds on the PACIFIC went peacefully about their business, unaware that those to whom they had yesterday waved goodbye were already corpses.
      A storm 6 Nov may have given them concern but then surely the PACIFIC must be well off the coast.
      To the boy at Otter Point, the storm meant the chance of finding some flotsam on the beach, and so it was that the news of the wreck that was to shock Victoria was started on its way by a beachcombing ten-year-old boy—a boy who was later known as Captain Oscar Scarf, sealer.
      Probably no other member had memories that stretched so far back into the history of this coast as did those of Oscar Scarf. Even by the time, the big square riggers that brought White and McDonald to Victoria in the 1890s had sailed up the strait, Juan de Fuca had been for him familiar waters. Here from the decks of sealing schooners he had gazed up at many ships, including probably even the THERMOPYLAE herself.
      But by 1905, after eleven harsh years in the North Pacific, he was ready for amiable waters and moved to boats coasting around lower Vancouver Island and down to CA. He was also, for a time, on the Dunsmuir yacht DOLAURA.
      Last of all “my boat” meant to Oscar Scarf the little launch in which he carried the mail across Brentwood Bay to Bamberton. By now it was the 1930s and he was also a member of the Thermopylae Club and spinning yarns. The story of the PACIFIC follows immediately."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"In the late summer of 1872 I left Esquimalt with two white men and some Indians in a large Indian canoe like the TILIKUM and, after some delay on account of headwinds, landed on the beach at Otter Point, 33 miles west of Victoria where the late Mr. Tugwell, with whom I lived, had a cabin and owned the land there.
      I was just eight years old and did what little I could to help the men to build a new house one mile further west. There I spent most of my time for the next ten years. It was while living there that with a friend, Indian Jonnie, we would look out to sea and wonder what could be at the other side of the great body of water, little dreaming of the strange things that were to happen to both of us on the other side and among the strange people we had never heard of at that time.
      It was also while living there that I saw something that I shall never forget.
      On 4 November 1875, the steamer PACIFIC, outward bound with mail and nearly 300 passengers and crew, and the steamer SALVADOR, inward bound, passed, as many steamers did, about a mile off in front of our house. Each ship blew three whistles as they passed out of sight towards Cape Flattery, not thinking of course that of her passengers and crew few would see the lights of another day.
      That night the PACIFIC sank following a collision with a sailing ship off Cape Flattery. Only survivors were a Mr. Jelly who was found floating in a trunk and a Mr. Henley on a small raft sometime later [see photo.]
      Though misty it was not bad weather but two nights later we had a very heavy storm and, as usual, after a storm, I went to the beach soon after daylight to pick up some pieces of timber that came up on the beach and might be useful on the farm. I was surprised to see a large ship’s deck-house and part of a ship’s deck breaking up in the heavy surf in front of our house.
      I at once notified Mr. Tugwell who, after seeing the wreckage, sent a man on horseback with a letter to Mr. Michael Muir, the postmaster at Sooke, who in turn sent word of the wreck to Victoria.
      The three-mile beach from Otter Point to Muir Creek was covered with doors, buckets, and life belts plainly marked S.S. PACIFIC. We also found the golden eagle, a large gilded wooden eagle that the PACIFIC carried on her pilot-house. We sent it to Victoria and it was given to the owners of the wrecked vessel.
      On the beach at Otter Point, strange to say, no bodies from the PACIFIC were ever found though some were found near Victoria and San Juan Island."

Jupp, Ursula. Home Port Victoria. Pg 62-65.
      Ursula Jupp was born on the Scilly Islands, where no one lives more than a mile from the sea. Memories of a sailing-ship grandfather and many other relatives closely connected with the sea and ship-building lie behind her deep interest in all that pertains to the world of ships and sailors. She was one of the first women to join the Thermopylae Club [Victoria, BC.] when, in 1954, it began to sign on female crew members.



13 September 2018

❖ GOLD DISCOVERED AND UNDISCOVERED (Updated)


As I write about gold diggers on the
Olympic Peninsula of Washington State ...
GOLD was discovered, perhaps worth millions in Euros,
by digging at the site of a historic theatre,
Cuomo, Itlay. (Above & below.)

Reported 16 September 2018
Just discovered but not on the Olympic Peninsula.
These two photos from the Italian Ministry of Culture
It seems every pioneer community has a story of gold, perhaps not quite as exciting as these Roman coins in Italy. Often the legend is as buried as the hidden treasure. Once in the hands of successful miners, thieving pirates, or train robbers––here is a story of three Seattle businessmen who were digging for gold, turning the earth near Port Townsend, WA., in one of man's loftiest dreams––the search for buried treasure.


L-R: Leo Wendland, Dan Thumbert,
Philip W. Bailey and George G. Albert
Low res scan of an original photo from the
archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      "Bright in the minds of the searchers was a vision of $60,000 in gold sovereigns supposedly buried over 100 years ago on property later occupied by Chevy Chase Inn on Discovery Bay, six miles west of Port Townsend.

      Shirts open at the throat and perspiring in the warm July day, the Seattle men labored with picks and shovels.
      Finding the treasure will entail more muscle work, for it would weigh about 265 pounds.
      Natives learned of the treasure hunt, although the optimistic searchers have made every effort to keep their toil a secret during the past week.
      They also tried––unsuccessfully to hide their identities, but too many curious persons found out that the three were:
      Leo Wendland, Dan Thumbert, and George G. Albert, all Seattle men, and all indefatigable nearby residents could not find out if Wendland, Albert, and Thumbert had occupations.
      "All we know," said the natives, "is that their business is finding gold––or at least looking for it."
But if mystery shrouded some of the activity, there was no secret about the story of the buried gold.
      Perhaps legendary, perhaps factual, the tale is included in several histories of Washington State.
      Chevy Chase Inn is owned by Phillip W. Bailey, president of a shingle company in Ballard, who gave the searchers sole rights for exploring the property.
      Mary Chase, who operated the Inn for a half century, heard the story from her stepfather, A. F. Tukey, who homesteaded the property in 1851.
      Thirteen years later, a paymaster for a railroad being built in British Columbia absconded with the monthly payroll, all in gold English sovereigns. He hired Indians from a village near Victoria to row him across the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Discovery Bay and put him ashore on the Tukey land.
      Presently the paymaster went to the Tukey farmhouse, asked for a horse to ride into Port Townsend and galloped away. At Pt. T. he boarded the night boat for Seattle.
      BC authorities meantime sent a fast cutter to Pt. Townsend and offered a reward for catching the paymaster. The Seattle-bound vessel's captain guessing he had the man aboard, headed for Victoria instead of Seattle and in no time the paymaster was in the custody of Canadian officials.
      The man died in a jail cell, never telling what became of the gold.
      A detachment of Canadian soldiers went to Discovery Bay, searched the property but found none of the treasure. 
      Throughout the years, there have been several hunts for the gold. The diligent Seattle men started excavations on the Chevy Chase golf course, worked with detecting devices and knowledge gained from history books. They are not only certain they'll find the gold, they're certain their rainbow is close at hand."
Text from The Seattle Times. 2 July 1944.



      

09 September 2018

❖ SPORT FISHING ON 27 August ❖

On the Log this year we have been trap fishing with early San Juan county pioneers Henry Cayou and the Troxell family, we've been reefnet fishing with Charlie Chevalier at Stuart Island, with the Yansen brothers at Squaw Bay, with the natives at Lummi, we've been to Bristol with the bark BERLIN, sternwheeling on the Columbia River, we've learned of the crew in four feet of water in the hold of the REUCE. Here are some fishers who are in a few feet of water all for the fun of it.
GONE FISHING.
The Kings are coming home, the Kings are coming home.
A favorite spot on the Samish River, Skagit County, WA.
Click image to enlarge.
Near Edison, WA.
click image to enlarge.
Standing by, same time, same fishing spot.
All photos courtesy of  Lance Douglas,
Blakely Island, WA.

Thanks for these beautiful shots, Lance.

The Samish River is approximately 25 miles (40 km) long, in northwestern Washington in the United States. The river drains an area of 139 square miles (360 km) between the Skagit River basin on the south and the Nooksack River basin on the north. The Samish River originates on a low divide in Whatcom County, and its tributary, Friday Creek, originates in the hills south of Bellingham. The river continues its southwesterly flow through Skagit County and outlets into Samish Bay in Puget Sound.
      The Samish River supports a large variety of fish and is home to one of Washington's larger fall King Salmon runs. The Samish River has runs of five Salmon and three trout species including Spring/Winter Steelhead, Summer Sockeye, Fall Chinook/Chum/Coho, and year-round runs of Cutthroat, and Dolly Varden. Also documented are Pink Salmon which, while rare, do arrive in small numbers to spawn in the Samish.
      There are two fish hatcheries supporting the Samish River. One located in the upper Samish directly below the mouth of Friday Creek, and another several miles up Friday Creek. Both hatcheries raise Fall Chinook and can process over 10,000,000 salmon smolt a year, 5-20,000 of those returning 1–5 years later to spawn as adults.

Text from Wikipedia accessed 9 Sept. 2018

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