In June of 2013 I posted a blog entitled, “Sailing Schooner Charles R. Wilson”. It contained a picture. No text. No story. Nowt.
Schooner Charles R Wilson
It would have stayed that way had I not received this e-mail from Ulrich Normann Pedersen: “I have [knew] a person on board the schooner ‘Charles R Wilson’. The person is Poul Edward Frandsen who wrote in a last letter on August 1925 to the family that they depart from Seattle and go up into the Bering Sea (cod fishing) they sailed along the coast towards a number of islands of the Aleutians. This is the last time you hear from him. Can you tell us more about the shipwreck?”
I started looking for more pics and found three
Schooner CHARLES R. WILSON at anchor, ca. 1900
CHARLES R. WILSON with JOHN A.
CHARLES R. WILSON
The e-mail said “shipwreck.” So, I started through my library of California/West Coast Ships searching for details of the Charles R. being shipwrecked. No cigar.
Next was a rather exhaustive internet search and lo and behold I struck gold in a magazine (dah!) called “Sea History.” Here’s what it said:
“Charles R. Wilson, named for one of the original brothers of “Wilson Brothers Lumber Company” of Aberdeen was employed in the coast-wise lumber trade for over twenty years.
She was sold in 1913, five years after the man for whom she was named had died, to the Pacific Coast Codfish Company of Seattle, a company which was partially owned by Mr. J.E. Shields and
other stockholders. Fifteen years later Mr. Shields bought the ship’ outright as a wholly-owned vessel for himself. She continued to operate steadily in the Bering Sea codfishing trade with a couple of voyages to San Francisco Bay with cargoes of cod for the Alaska Codfish Company. During World War I she made a couple of winter-time, offshore voyages with lumber and was laid up in the
mid-1920s for a couple of seasons.
When the schooners C.A. Thayer and Sophie Christenson, two of Capt. Shields’ schooners, were taken by the U S. Army for service as barges during World War II, Charles R. Wilson continued
to fish. at least up through 1943. But the freeze on wages and prices by the O.P. A. , a war-time regulatory agency, made it unprofitable to operate the ship, so she was laid up a year till some restrictions were lifted. She fished again in 1945. a difficult season considering the hostilities in the Aleutians and war-time shortages in gear and manpower.
The end of World War Il presaged a hoped-for return to some sort of normalcy in the fishing industry, and the reduced codfish fleet was sorted out and returned to its owners. But time, the ever flowing and often inimical current. ran against the few surviving and aging vessels.
Though reasonably sound. Charles R. Wilson was laid up and never used again. though she remained moored at the Shields plant at Poulsbo, Washington till 1952. After seven years of idleness she was sold for $2,500 and towed to Canada to bc sunk as a breakwater near Stillwater, BC. a log dump fifteen miles north of Powell River. Within a year her battered and worn hulk was obliterated.”
So the Charles R. so far as I can figure out, was not sunk but died of neglect and old age.
I hope this helps Mr. Pedersen.