"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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San Juan Archipelago, 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 700, 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.


ON 141266
on Shag Rock off Orcas Island, WA.
15 December 1898.
Original antique photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"On Thursday morning last, about 6:50, the United States mail steamer LYDIA THOMPSON, on her regular run from Whatcom to Seattle, met with an unfortunate mishap that will cost her owners, Thompson Bros., of Seattle, thousands of dollars and possibly the loss of their fine steamer, that has been their pride for the past five years.
      She left East Sound on her regular time and was running at full speed when she struck on the north end of Shag Rock reef and held there fast. The tide was full at the time and she ran onto the rock some twenty-five feet before she came to a stop, and all efforts to get her off with her own steam proved fruitless. Pilot Millard Hutchinson, who was on watch, seeing his danger gave her all the wheel he could and the backing bells, but too late to avoid the trouble. With the ebbing of the tide the stern of the steamer settled down on the rock, and on the next flood, refusing to lift, her hold and after cabins filled with water. When the writer saw her she was lying at an angle of about 45 degrees and was somewhat listed to port, her bow about 25-ft out of water and pointing toward the shore, and about 40-ft of her stern under water, her galley, dining room, smoking room and part of the ladies cabin being completely submerged. 
ashore at "Guthrie Cabin", Orcas Island, WA. Dec. 1898
Original antique photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©

Crew names by William P. Thornton (back row, far right) coming soon.

      Her master, Capt. Emmett V. Ruger, thinking she might fill, had all her freight taken ashore, also the bedding from the staterooms, and many other perishable articles about the boat. As soon as her owners got word of the accident, the tug RELIEVER was sent to her relief, but being unable to accomplish anything, only remained on the scene a short while. Next came the ANGELES, with two large scows belonging to the Hastings Steamboat Co of Port Townsend, and some other wrecking appliances, including about thirty empty oil barrels, secured from the Island Packing Co here, but she too was unable to accomplish any good. Fred H. Thompson, one of the owners, then went to Seattle to try to get Moran Bros to take hold of the work with their wrecking outfit, the finest on the Sound, and if they arrive here in time they will undoubtedly float her without any further trouble and take her to Seattle, where she will go on the dry dock and be repaired. The storm of Sunday and Sunday night washed away a part of the ladies cabin, but this can easily be replaced. Her hull seems to be perfectly sound and uninjured except that about 25-ft of her keel, forward, is torn away Her staterooms had just been newly refitted and painted and she had been put in first-class shape for the winter. An investigation will be made by the Board of Steamboat Inspectors and the blame placed where it likely belongs. The barrel that had for years marked the reef had been washed or blown away, only leaving the rod upon which it was placed, and at high tide but a very small point of the rock is visible. It is quite remarkable that no one was hurt in the accident and very fortunate that the tide was full, as had it been low tide the boat would have crashed into the side of the rock instead of climbing on top of it and would have been completely wrecked."
Above text from The San Juan Islander, 22 Dec. 1898. Typed verbatim.
The LYDIA was not severely damaged. She was pulled free on 27 December and taken to Seattle where she was placed in drydock. She went out of service in 1936 as tug MONITOR.

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