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BC Historical Books

The pioneer steamer Beaver, the first steamer on the Pacific Ocean. A brief but concise history of this… Lynn-Browne, A. H. 1905

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Full Text

 




The Pioneer
Steamer Beaver







A Brief  but  Concise Histor).
of  this
Most  Interesting Craft
The First Steamer   
on the   
Pacific Ocean   



COMPILED    BY 
A.    H.    LYNN-BOWNE

PUBLISHED  BY
BAILEY   BROS.



Landscape Photographers, Booksellers and Stationers     

158-163    I'ORDOTA   STREET
VANCOUVER,     15. C.

POPULAR STAMPS 
.NE of the sights not to be missed on any
consideration by tourists and others passing
through this city for the last four   years has
; been the veteran steamer " Beaver," the first to plough
her way through the placid waters of the Pacific Ocean
and penetrate the numerous bays, channels and inlets
of the coast of British Columbia, Washington and
Oregon, as she lay on the rocks at the entrance to
Burrard Inlet and the harbor of the City of Vancouver.
The record of this old vessel is unique, and it may
. be said  without a precedent.     She was built  in  the
' years 1834 and 1835, on the banks of the River Thames,
near the City of London, for the Hudson's Bay Com-
', pany, her cost, it is said, being £25,000 sterling, an
enormous sum of money for a boat of her size. The
material used in her construction was English live oak
and teak, fastened together with copper rivets. The
nobility of England watched the progress of construction, and King William and 160,000 of his subjects
witnessed the launch. Here again the interest manifest
in  the  vessel  was displayed,  a  Duchess—the belle of
■Prince William's gay court—performing the christening
. ceremony, and while breaking a bottle of the best
vintage of sunny Italy gave her the name she has
since so proudly worn, the "Bea\er," and one that will
live as  long as  the history  of   our fair  Province,  so
-closely is her name associated with it.
The " Beaver," after her launch, was fitted up with
■ two ;'5-horse power engines, and tested on the River
Thames. The name of the firm still to be seen on her
engines is Bolton & Watt, the latter said to be a son of
-the inventor of the steam engine. When all was
completed, the •'Beaver " was loaded with a general
cargo of stores for the Company's stations on the coast,
rigged as a brig—it not being considered safe at that
date to steam out--and sailed out  in  company with a
■ barque, the latter for protection, and in case the little
vessel   should   need   assistance.      The   voyage   to   the
T
K#3        5^3 • ■
Columbia River vvas made by the "Beaver" in 163
days, her convoy not reaching the bar till 22 days later.
Both vessels anchored at Astoria and discharged their
cargoes, and then Captain Hume, g.etting up steam,
gave her a trial trip to Nisqually, the headquarters of
the Company. Capt. McNeil was the next commander
of the boat. The next we hear of her she is carrying
men from Nisqually to the future Capital of the Province ; this was in 1843. But few records of her future
movements were kept. She ran backward and forward
along the coast, carrying supplies and collecting furs.
On September 1st, T874, the Pludson's Bay Company
sold her to Messrs. Stafford, Saunders, Morton, Rudlin,
Coltman & Williams, who converted her into a tow-
boat, and from this company she was purchased a few
years later by Henry Saunders, of Victoria, >who still
owns what remains of he?.  .
In the fall of 1888. while under charter to the Hastings Mill Company, she ran on the rocks at high tide,
and all efforts to get her off failed. Her owner then
offered the boat for sale, but the price put on her found
no purchaser, and there she lay till June of this year,
when a boom of logs, in tow of the tug Tepic, was
carried against her by the tide, and she was badly
damaged. On the 26th day of the same month the
swell of the steamer Yosemite, entering the harbor at
half tide, threw her on her side, and the engines fell
through. From then the decline was rapid, relic hunters cutting her to pieces and carrying her away, till now
she is nothing but a mere wreck and at high tide almost
covered.
A project was on foot early in the year 1892 to send
her to Chicago to the World's Fair, and a company with
a capital of $125,000 was formed for that purpose, but
owing to her damaged condition and the expense of
transportation the scheme was abandoned.
There are said to be a couple of people alive who
came out on her in 1835, one living in this Province and
ontyfn Manitoba, near YYhuiipeg.
#    #<    aA   *   *    ^    #   #  Last Hudson Bay Captain
H.G.Lewis,who commanded the Beaver
d|nd at Victoria
Victoria,B.C.March. 31at/.190 5 - Oapt.
Henry G.^ewis,shipping master,the
last of the old Hudson's Bay ship
captains,is dead.He came to Fort
Victoria in 1817, and served lfc>
years on Hudson's Bay vessels,including the Beaver,the first steamer
in the Pacific.He had charge of the
Hudson's Bay fur trade in Alaska
until the acquisition of the territory
by the United States.
0|d clipping - Poster.
■

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