Sailing Schooner Charles R. Wilson

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

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

Schooner CHARLES R. WILSON at anchor, ca. 1900

:

CHARLES R. WILSON with JOHN A.

CHARLES R. WILSON with JOHN A.

CHARLES R. WILSON

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.

Fort Bragg Shipping News December 13th 1916

The following snippets were gleaned from the Advocate:

The steamer Arctic sailed for San Francisco Saturday afternoon with a full cargo of lumber.”

The Arctic was a wooden steam schooner built in 1901 by H.R. Reed at Bay City, Oregon for J.S. Kimball of San Francisco. She was used for the coastal lumber trade, was 392 tons, 145 x 32 x 11 feet with a single deck. She had a 350 h.p. triple expansion (3 – Cylinder) engine and 325, 000 board foot capacity. Other owners of the Arctic were Hammond Lumber Company; sold in 1908 to National Steamship Company and sold again in 1919 to Union Lumber Company. The Arctic wrecked at Point Arena on July 5th, 1922.

S. S. Arctic

S. S. Arctic

The second snippet:

The steamer Noyo towed the three-masted schooner Allen A. several miles offshore and started her on her voyage to Honolulu. She had about 400,000 feet of lumber, ties and posts aboard.”

The Noyo in question was likely the second (of four) of that name.

The second Noyo

The second Noyo

Of the Allen A., sadly, I can find no trace.

 

Steam Ship Jeanie

In our website’s section on ships we have three pics of the S. S. Jeannie. What we knew before this blog was very little: “One of ships that plied her trade along the Mendocino Coast. She was wrecked at Point Arena in 1900.” One of the three photos we have turned up in Lynn Catlett’s amazing Facebook page, “You know you are from Mendocino if…….” Of itself that was not unusual. Many of the photos I have collected since I have been historian turn up all over the place.

One of the contributors to Lynn’s page is Chuck Ross. Chuck is incredibly knowledgeable about Elk/Greenwood which is where he grew up and where his family owned a lot of land. In addition he “works” with Lynn to add germane info to her posts. His initial comment on this pic:

S, S. Jeanie aground near Point Arena

S, S. Jeanie aground near Point Arena

Always been intrigued by this photo. Just north of Point Arena wharf. This ship was probably launched as a sailing vessel, I suspect it was square-rigged. The conversion to steam probably came later. Who she is I just cannot find out. There were too many shipwrecks at Point Arena (fifty or more) to sort this one out.” Lynn then identifies the ship as the S.S. Jeanie.Chuck responds, “Well, that would make it 1900. I cannot seem to locate another picture of her in better times.” Chuck then posts this drawing:

Drawing of the S. S. Jeanie

Drawing of the S. S. Jeanie

He also posts this newspaper cutting (you’ll need to click on it to be able to read it):

Newspaper cutting about the S.S Jeanie

Newspaper cutting about the S.S Jeanie

Lynn then notes: “I’m confused. The Jeanie was refloated at Point Arena. Then a couple of months later she was overdue but we don’t know the outcome of that trip.”

Chuck replies that the outcome of the trip was known, “We do. Just a long passage. She appears in the shipping news regularly up until this, in 1913” “This” is this cutting:

1913 cutting about the S. S. Jeanie

1913 cutting about the S. S. Jeanie

Make sure read the last para in the above cutting.

Thank you Lynn and Chuck.

 

 

 

Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s

Whether this pic is what it says, “Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s” may not be correct. The sailing schooner seems to be too close to the shore to be Westport and the view of the town through the rigging doesn’t seem quite right either. Be that as it may this pic is another tiny sliver of  local Mendocino Coast History:

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890's

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890’s

Steamship Sequoia

One likes to think that the list of ships we have in the website is complete. Well, apparently not. I have unearthed two pics of a Steamship named Sequoia that are not in our list. Alas, I know nothing of her save for the fact that these two photos attest to her operating along the Mendocino Coast.

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Please contact me if you have any more info on the Sequoia.

Unloading Lumber from the Mendocino Coast in Stockton

Stockton is located on the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Built during the California Gold Rush, Stockton’s seaport serves as a gateway to the Central Valley and beyond. It provided easy access for trade and transportation to the southern gold mines. A lot of the cut lumber from the mills along the Mendocino Coast went to San Francisco and the towns along the California Delta.

Whilst our blogs and website have many pics of steam and sailing schooners being loaded this is the first I have come across showing Mendocino Coast lumber  being unloaded. The pic appears in the Haggin Museum, Stockton.

Unloading Mendocino Coast cut lumber in Stockton CA

Unloading Mendocino Coast cut lumber in Stockton CA

I found the pic on Lynn Catlett’s “You know you are from Mendocino if ……. “

S.S. Orteric

The  S.S. Orteric was a British 6,696 ton tramp steamer built in 1919, 412 feet long and 55 feet wide at the beam. Launched in 1919 she was commanded by Captain Harper. She was grounded 4 miles north of Anchor Bay and lost on December 11, 1922 with a cargo of Black Persian Sheep, which escaped into the hills. The ship was partially salvaged with John Ross buying the anchors and chains for mooring at Rockport.

Our website has only pics of her as a wreck. This one shows her at sea.

S. S. Orteric at sea

S. S. Orteric at sea

Another wee drop of the old histoire.

Steamship Caspar – the last of three of the same name

The Caspar Lumber Company had three steam schooners named, “Caspar”.

The third Caspar was a steel steam schooner displacing 739 tons. She was 175.5 ‘x 34.0’ with a  700 hp engine. Initially named the “Nushagek” she was built in 1904 by United Engineering Works, Alameda, California. The Nushagek was purchased in 1925 from Alaska Packers Association and was renamed when the second Caspar” was sold. The Caspar was laid up in 1939.

The third Caspar had an eventful life. While proceeding very slowly in a dense fog on October 2, 1937, she struck Point Reyes Rock 33 miles north of San Francisco. The crew worked valiantly, and with the last remaining bit of steam finally beached the vessel in 15 feet of water in Drakes Bay. There were two large holes in her hull, one 10 feet wide and the other 3 feet wide, through which water poured into the hold. She was refloated and repaired. On December 16, 1937, she collided with the steamer  “Julia Luckenbach” in San Francisco Bay. The latter was apparently undamaged as it continued on its way to Portland, but ‘ the “Caspar,” with a damaged bow, was obliged to go to the shipyard for repairs. The Caspar was laid up in 1939. During World War II she was taken over by the Army and later wrecked in Alaska.

Why am I “featuring” the third Caspar? Well, according to the September 7th, 1921 Fort Bragg Advocate:

The steam schooner Caspar transported 4,260,000 feet of lumber to San Francisco from Caspar during the month of August. She made seven round trips.”

According to a movie we have the most likely destination was a crate and box making factory located in Pittsburg which is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay. Caspar Lumber Company had a controlling interest in the factory.

Pics of the third Caspar seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth. This one – of her as a wreck – was on the website.

The wreck of the third Caspar

The wreck of the third Caspar