Lumber and Ship Building in Washington

The manufactured products exported are: first, lumber, the chief article of commerce; lime, a valuable product on account of its almost entire absence over a great extent of Oregon and California; barrels, staves, wooden pipe, the proper trees for which manufactures abound in the small valleys about the Sound; canned fish, and coal-if that may be named with manufactures. The other products exported are wheat and other grains, flour, wool, hides, livestock, potatoes, and hops.

Puget Sound, from its position, extent, depth of water, and its contiguity to the materials required, should be one of the greatest shipbuilding stations in the world. In addition to the bodies of iron and coal lying adjacent to navigable water, the immense forests that skirt its shore line for more than 1,100 miles furnish abundance of excellent timber for constructing every part of seagoing vessels, from the tough knees of the tide-land spruce to the strong durable planks of red fir, abies douglasii, and the tall tapering masts of yellow fir, allies grandis. Oak, arbutus, myrtle, and maple furnish the fine-grained woods required for finishing the interior of vessels.

The great merit of the firs is their size and durability, with their habit of growing close together like canes in a brake, and to an immense height without knots or branches. It is not uncommon to find a tree having a diameter of four feet at a distance of ten feet from the ground, which has attained an altitude of 300 feet; nor is it unusual to find spar timbers 150 feet long with a diameter of eighteen inches, perfectly straight and sound. The mills on Puget Sound find no difficulty in furnishing squared timbers of these dimensions, and often cut plank from 00 to 90 feet in length. The fir has not the corrosive acid qualities of the oaks, and therefore iron bolts are not subject to corrosion, but are held so tenaciously by the strong and pitchy fibre of the wood that they will break sooner than be drawn out.

Numerous tests have been made by the French of the strength of fir spars, as compared with those of Riga, which showed that while the bending and breaking resistance of the two were about the same, the American wood possessed a notable advantage in density, having a flexible and tenacious fibre that might be bent and twisted several times in contrary directions without breaking. Nor has the fir been found lacking in durability. It has been the only wood in use for repairing sea-going vessels on the northwest coast, as well as for building numerous riverboats and sea-going vessels, which remain sound after many years of service. “White cedar, another valuable timber for ship-building, is found in certain localities about the Sound and on the Columbia River.

Want of familiarity with the materials to be found on the Pacific coast made ship-builders cautious, and it was only gradually that they gained confidence.

The first vessel built on Puget Sound was the schooner H. C. Page, at Whatcom, by Peabody & Roder, in 1853. Her first business was a charter offered by the H. B. Co. to carry sheep to San Juan Island in 1854. Roder’s Bellingham Bay, MS., 29-30.

The same year Bolton & Wilson built the clipper sloop Rob Roy five miles below Steilacoom. Olympia Columbian, Oct. 15, 1853. H. D. Morgan established a shipyard at Olympia in 1854, and launched the Emily Parker, a schooner of 40 tons, built to run between ports on the Sound. She was chartered by J. G. Parker. Parker’s Puget Sound, MS., 4.

The schooner Elsie, 20 tons burden, built at Shoalwater Bay in 1854 by Capt. Hillyer, Swan’s N. W. Coast, 282-3, completes the list of vessels that were put up in Washington waters for these two years.

Map of Puget Sound
Map of Puget Sound

About April 1855 the little steamer Water Lily, owned by William Webster, and built at some port on the Sound, commenced running between Olympia and Port Townsend with passengers and freight. Olympia Pioneer and Dem., April 7, 1855.

The first steamer of a good size built on the Sound was the Julia Barclay, known commonly as the Julia, at Port Gamble. She was a stern-wheel boat built for the Fraser River trade, and owned by George Barclay of S. F., but subsequently sold to the O. S. N. Co. Victoria Gazette, Sept. 18, 1858; Ebey’s Journal, MS., vi. 171.

The first ocean steamer constructed of native woods in the waters of the Sound was the George S. Wright, launched May 12, 1860, at Port Ludlow. She was originally planned by William Hammond, Jr, and partially built by him. It was the intention to have named her the A. V. Brown, after the postmaster-general. But her frame being sold to John T. Wright, Jr, who enlarged it, she was called first after him, and then George S. Wright, after another member of the family. It was as the George S. Wright that the vessel was known on the coast. Port Townsend Register, May 16, 1860; Portland Times, April 30, 1860. She ran from Portland to Victoria for some years, and then from Portland to Sitka. She was wrecked in Jan. 1873, returning from Sitka, it was supposed, in the vicinity of Cape Caution, at the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. Every soul on board perished, either by drowning or at the hands of the Indians, and no reliable account of the disaster was ever received. Among the lost were Maj. Walker and wife, and Lieut Dodge of the army. Port Townsend Argus, March 18, 1873.

There is no complete list of the vessels built previous to 1868. In the report of the surveyor-general for that year it is stated that 29 vessels had been completed and launched, some of them reaching 600 tons. Zabriskie’s Land Laws, 1076; and in Browne’s Resources (1869), 574, I find it stated that probably about 50 sea-going vessels bad been built, up to that time, on the Sound south of Port Townsend. The returns made in the Reports of Commerce and Navigation are imperfect.

Between 1858 and 1866 there are no returns, a deficiency only partly accounted for by the destruction of the customhouse papers at Port Angeles in 1863. The J. B. Libbey, a 70-ton steamer, was launched from the mill premises of Grennan & Cranney, Utsalady, in December 1862, built by Hammond, Calhoun & Alexander. Wash. Scraps, 98. In 1865 or 1866 a small steamer was built at Port Madison for the Coal Creek Mining Company, to be used in towing coal barges on Lake Washington. Seattle Dispatch, Dec. 2, 1876.

A steamer for the Sacramento River was built at Port Ludlow in 1866; and another three miles below Olympia, by Ethridge, the same year. Olympia Pac. Tribune, Feb. 10, 1866. In 1867 the Chehalis, for the Chehalis River, was built at Tumwater, mentioned elsewhere.

The following year a steam yacht, the Success, was built at Snohomish by Thomas Coupe, and launched in May, at which time another was in process of construction-probably the Favorite. S. E Call, May 10, 1868. In 1869 was built the popular passenger steamer Alida, at Seattle, 114 tons burden. Port Townsend Argus, Jan. 23, 1875.

Shipyards are numerous; shipbuilders William Hammond and E. S. Cheasty at Port Ludlow; Grennan & Cranney at Utsalady, and later at Snohomish; Meigs & Co. at Port Madison, under the superintendence of A. J. Westervelt, the lumbering and shipbuilding company incorporated in 1877, Port Madison and S. F., capital $1,000,000. Meigs had a shipyard in 1869 or before, as above. Olympia Wash. Standard, Dec. 1, 1867; Walla Walla Union, Aug. 14, 1869. H. Williamson at Steilacoom; Hammond, Calhoun & Alexander at Utsalady; Crowell at the same place; Thompson at Port Ludlow; Oliver Engleblom at Port Blakeley; Bryant at Port Madison; Hammond at Seattle; all before 1870, and who may be considered as pioneers in shipbuilding. After that the business declined. In 1869 18 vessels, including two steamers, were built, but the following two years witnessed great dulness in the lumber trade, affecting all other branches. Victor’s Oregon, 269; Meeker’s Wash. Ter., 34. In 1871 a thousand-ton ship was built at Port Madison the Wildwood, sold after 4 years in the lumber trade for a third more than her original cost. S. F. Alta, April 1875-and at Seattle a steamer in 1872, from which time there has been an increase in the number of yards and of vessels built. Middlemas had a shipyard at Port Ludlow in 1870; Westervelt at Port Madison in 1871; there was another at Freeport-later called Milton, in 1872; Boole had one at Utsalady at the same time; in 1873 Reed Brothers rented Yesler’s yard at Seattle and moved their business to that place from Port Madison, and in 1874 Hall Brothers from California established themselves at Port Ludlow; after which shipbuilding became a more prosperous industry. Tacoma Herald, May 28, 1875.

At Port Madison were built after 1862 the barkentine W. H. Ganley, 360 tons; the bark Legal Tender, 1863, 190 tons; bark Northwest, 1865, 315 tons; bark Tidal Wave, 1869, 600 tons; the whole four being for the use of the mill in carrying lumber. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., xxii. 46. Also in 1870 the schooners Margaret Crockard, 169 tons; W. S. Phelps, 90 tons; and in 1573 the Mary Rare, 64 tons, and Empire City, 732 tons. The Empire City was taken to S. F. and converted into a steamer. It was claimed that building the steamer in this manner saved $10,000 to her owners. Seattle Intelligencer, Nov. 22, 1873. In 1874 the barkentine S. H. Stetson of 707 tons was built at Port Madison, and in 1876 the sch. Robert and Minnie, 99 tons, and str Dispatch, 66 tons. Portland Board of Trade Report, 1877, 34. At Port Ludlow the seh. Light Wing was built in 1870, 101 tons; and bark Forest Queen, 511 tons; in 1873 sloop Z. B. Heywood, 107 tons; in 1874 barkentine Pio Benito, 278 tons; and schooners Annie Gee, 155 tons; Ellen J. McKinnon, 70 tons; Twilight, 185 tons; Jessie Nickerson, 185 tons; and sloop Mary Louisa, 153 tons. S. E Bulletin, Feb. 10, 1875.

The Ellen J. McKinnon in 1879 became waterlogged in a gale and foundered, only one out of 10 persons on board escaping. S. F Post, April 24, 1879.

In April 1875 the schooner Cassie Hayward, 200 tons, was launched at Port Ludlow, and in Nov. the schooners La Gironde, 205 tons; the American Girl, 220 tons; besides the Annie Lyle, Ida Schnauer, Emma. Utter, and Wm L. Beebe, built the same year. Seattle Pac. Tribune, Nov. 27, 1875.

In the following year there were launched at this port the schs Courser, 357 tons; Reporter, 337 tons; Premier, 307 tons; barkentine Quickstep, 423 tons; and sloop Katie Stevens, 5 tons. Portland Board of Trade Report, 1877, 34.

In 1881 there were built at Port Ludlow the barkentines Wrestler, 470 tons; the Kitsap, 694 tons; and the sloop Mystery of 6 tons register. Seattle Intelligencer, Sept. 3, 1882.

From the shipyard at Seattle in 1870 were launched the sell. Planter, 121 tons; the str James Mortie, 8 tons; and the barge Diana, 24 tons.

In 1871 the strs Comet, 56 tons; Clara, 26 tons; Zephyr, 162 tons; and the sch. Lolita, 120 tons. In 1874 the sch. C. C. Perkins, 27 tons; the scow Schwabacher, 19 tons; and the strs Ada, 81 tons, and Lena C. Gray, 155 tons.

In the following year there were launched at Seattle the strs Nellie, 100 tons; Minnie May, 5 tons; and the barkentine Kate Flickenger, 472 tons. In 1879 the str George E. Starr was launched at Seattle. She was built for L. 31. Starr of the Puget Sound S. N. Co., was 150 feet long, 28 feet beam, and 9 feet hold. Seattle Intelligencer, April 17 and Aug. 13, 1879.

In 1881 there were built at the same place the City of Seattle, a sloop of 7 tons; the sch. Two Jacks, 6 tons; and the strs Jessie, 12 tons; Sea. Witch, 38 tons; Alki, 45 tons; and Lillie, 80 tons. At Milton, opposite Seattle, were built the Etta White, str, 97 tons, in 1871; the str George Seabeck, 39 tons; the scow Al. S. Drew, 28 tons; and the sch. Big River in 1872; the scow Western Terminus, 56 tons, in 1873; and the barkentine Ella, 260 tons, in 1874. S. F Bulletin, February 10, 1875. At Port Blakeley was built in 1868 the double-topsail seh, Alice Haake, 104 feet keel, 115 feet deck, 30 feet beam, and 10 feet hold; owned by J. C. Haake & Co., S. F. S. F. Alta, Jan. 10, 1868. In 1870 the sob. Ontario, 14 tons; in 1872 the str Blakeley, 176 tons; and scows Uncle Davy, 33 tons, and George, 24 tons; in 1874 the sells Alice, 232 tons; Una, 200 tons; and barkentine R. K. Ham, 569 tons; in 1881 the schrs Lottie Carson, 226 tons, Maria Smith, 365 tons, Annie Larson, 377 tons, and str Harnet, 8 tons. Seattle Intelligencer, 1882, passim.

At Port Discovery, in 1872, the schrs Marietta, 141 tons, and Serena, 206 tons; in 1874, the barkentine Discovery, 416 tons.

At Stillaguamish two small sloops were built between 1870 and 1876, the Undine and Artful Dodger; at Whidbey Island the schooner Dolly Varden, 19 tons, and sloop Albion, 8 tons; at Port Gamble the schooner George Francis Train, 28 tons, in 1873, and steamer Yakima, 174 tons, in 1874.

On Orcas Island the sch. Orcas was built in 1873, 11 tons; at Steilaeoom the sloop Magnolia, 12 tons, and scow Red Cloud, 34 tons; at Tacoma the sloop Polly, 9 tons, in 1874; at Fidalgo Island the sch. Fidalgo Traveler, 9 tons, in 1876; at Port Townsend the sch. Jennie, 15 tons; at Arcada the str Biz, 80 tons, in 1881.

At Olympia, in 1876, were built the strs Capital, 24 tons, and Messenger, 121. In 1877 the Seabeck Mill Co. built the bark Cassandra Adams, 1,127 tons, and the tug Richard Holyoke; and in 1880 a ship with a keel 214 feet long, beam 44 feet, 17 feet hold, and single- decked, probably the largest single-decked vessel afloat. Seattle Intelligencer, July 1, 1879. John Kentfield & Co. of S. F. also built a sch. at Seabeck in 1880. Morse’s Wash. Ter., MS., xxii. S. In 1881 two barkentines were built there, the Retriever, 548 tons, and the M. Winkelman, 532 tons.

The only steamboat built in the eastern part of the Puget Sound collection district, which included Colville, was the Forty-nine, owned by Leonard White. She was launched at U. S. Fort Colville, Nov. 18, 1865. She was 114 feet long and 20 feet 4 inches wide. She was run as high up as Death Rapids, 270 miles. See a very interesting account of her trip in Leighton’s Life at Puget Sound, 63-74. This little book, by Caroline Leighton, published in 1884, is unique in description of Washington life from 1865 to 1881, and of the natural scenery of the country. The incidents are well chosen and style delightfully natural.

In 1869, a report was made on ship-building to the board of marine underwriters of S. F., by their secretary, C. T. Hopkins, and by Joseph Ringot, in favor of using the Puget Sound and Oregon timber for ships, and showing that the economy in wood more than counterbalanced the higher wages of shipwrights on this coast, and the expense of importing copper, cordage, and other articles. Cordage, linseed oil, pitch, tar, and turpentine could be manufactured here; and so in time could iron and copper. This report declared that ‘sailing vessels of any size and description can be built at Puget Sound, at Coos Bay, on the Columbia River, and at several other points north of S. F., of as good quality as the vessels built of Maine materials, and for less money in gold than at New York or Boston, provided the business be undertaken on a large scale by experienced and prudent mechanics, backed up by a large capital.’ Hopkins’ Shipbuilding, 26. The cost per ton of a first class New York sailing vessel, exclusive of coppering, was, for a 100-ton vessel, $115, 300 tons $109, 600 tons $96, 1,000 tons $87. The Northwest, 315 tons, built in the Sound, cost $S7 per ton coppered; the Tidal Wave, 600 tons, cost $S3 per ton without copper; the Forest Queen, 511 tons, cost $117 per ton with out copper; the Wildwood of 1,000 tons, $73 per ton coppered; the barkentine Modoc, built at Utsalady in 1873, $99 per ton without copper. These variations in cost depended upon the amount of capital at hand and local circumstances. To construct a 1,200-ton ship there were required 10,000 working days of all classes of mechanics and laborers, 3,500 days in the yard. Olympia Transcript, March 18, 1876; Tacoma Pac. Tribune, Sept. 24, 1874.

Propositions to form a company with five millions capital to enter upon ship-building on Puget Sound was made by the S. F. board of underwriters in 1874, which was not, however, acted upon, the chief difficulty appearing to be that mechanics could not be secured in sufficient numbers at reasonable wages, owing to the expense at that time of travelling from Maine to Washington. Undoubtedly the shipping interest has suffered through the indifference of congress to its importance. What with the whale and other fisheries of the Northwest Coast, and the coal and lumber trade, large fleets of vessels of moderate size should be furnished by Puget Sound ship-yards. Down to 1880 there had been between forty and fifty steamers built and employed in the Puget Sound trade. Olympia Pac. Tribune, Sept. 14, 1872; Stuart’s Wash. Ter., 14; New Tacoma N. P. Coast, Jan. 15, 1880.

Prior to 1872 there were between 90 and 100 sailing vessels built, most of them of small size, for the local freight service, the larger ones for the lumber trade. In the ten years following there were from ten to twenty vessels built annually, yet the vast inland sea still looked solitary, and hundreds of miles of wooded shores were as silent as when Vancouver explored them nearly a century before. During the year ending June 30, 1878, 69 sailing and 39 steam vessels were documented at Port Townsend, the port of entry of Puget Sound collection district, with a carrying capacity of 31,000 tons. This tonnage was exceeded by only 28 of the 125 collection districts of the U. S. American vessels in the foreign trade entered in the same year were 263, with a tonnage of 152,828; there were cleared 284, with a tonnage of 167,178. This surpassed that of vessels so entered and cleared during the same time at 120 of the 125 ports of entry in the U. S., being exceeded only by Boston, Charleston, New York, Detroit, and San Francisco. Rept of Chief of Bureau of Statistics, 187S, pt ii. 802-4. Foreign vessels entered at Port Townsend during the same time 46, with a tonnage of 19,915; cleared 61, with a tonnage of 30,962. This was exceeded by but 31 out of the 125 ports of entry of the U. S. American ocean steam-vessels in the foreign trade entered during the same time at Port Townsend were 178, with a tonnage of 130,471; cleared 183, with a tonnage of 131,432; exceeded by only 2 other ports of entry in the U. S. N. Y. and S. F. The tonnage of foreign ocean steam-vessels in the foreign trade, which entered and cleared at Port Townsend during the year ending June 30, 1878, was exceeded but by 10 other ports of the U. S. It was estimated that at least 75 deep-sea vessels in the general coasting trade, which were enrolled and licensed, and did not make entry or clearance, were employed in the Puget Sound trade, only about one third of which were documented in this district, the remainder in S. F. In 1880 there cleared from Port Townsend, for the four months from July to Oct., 66 American sailing vessels for foreign ports, with a tonnage of 46,244. For the same months in 1881 the tonnage of this class was 65,393. The number of American vessels entering from foreign ports in the same months of 1880 was 62; in 1881 it was 115. The number of American steam-vessels entering from foreign ports in the same months of 1580 was 30; in 1881 it was 72. The number clearing was 33 in 1880, and 73 in 18S1. The increase in ocean tonnage from and to foreign ports during the same months of 18S1 over 1880 was 100 per cent.

Pilotage was not established by act of the legislature until 1867-8. Wash. Stat., 1867-8, 33-9. The chairman of the first board was E. S. Fowler, and the secretary James G. Swan. During 1868 9 pilots were appointed, 4 of whom resigned, and one was dismissed. The service was not considered remunerative, and was alleged to be unnecessary by many, who contended it was simply taxing commerce for the benefit of individuals. Olympia Transcript, March 28 and Oct. 3, 1868; Port Townsend Message, Oct. 6, 1868; Wash. Jour. Council, 1869, app. 21-7; Olympia Wash. Standard, Dec. 10, 1880.

The organic act of Oregon territory appropriated fifteen thousand dollars for the construction of lighthouses at Cape Disappointment and New Dungeness, and for buoys at the mouth of the Columbia. U. S. Stat. 1848-9, 323.

Another act passed a fortnight later, making appropriations for lighthouses and for other purposes, appropriated money for the above-mentioned lights, and for another on Tatoosh Island, off Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Fuca. H. Misc. Doc., vol. i. 57, 31st cong. 1st sess. Congress,

in Aug. 1854, appropriated $25,000 for a light-house on Blunt or Smith Island, in the straits; the same amount for a lighthouse at Shoalwater Bay; and for the erection of the Tatoosh and New Dungeness lights, in addition to any balance that might remain in the treasury after the completion of the Cape Disappointment lighthouse, belonging to that appropriation, $39,000. Eight thousand dollars was also granted for placing buoys at the entrances of Shoalwater Bay and New Dungeness Harbor. Cong. Globe, 2249, 33d tong. 1st sess.

The lighthouse at Cape Disappointment was not completed as soon as expected, owing to the loss of the bark Oriole with the material on board in 1853. The contractors, Gibbons and Kelly, recovered $10,558 from the government for the loss of their material. H. Ex. Doc., 113, 2-3.

Lieut G. H. Derby was appointed to superintend the construction of lighthouses on the Oregon and Washington coast in 1854, Olympia Pioneer and Dem., July 22, 1854; when the work was finally begun at the mouth of the Columbia. It was completed about 1856, and orders issued to begin the work on the others; but the Indian war and other causes delayed operations for some time.

The first light displayed at New Dungeness was on the 12th of Dec. 1857. Ebey’s Journal, MS., v. 203; Lighthouse board rept, in II. Ex. Doc., 3, 287, 35th cong. 2d sess.

It was of the third order of Fresnel. Tatoosh Island light was displayed about the same time. These two lighthouses were erected under the superintendency of Isaac Smith. Those on Blunt Island and at Shoalwater Bay were completed in 1858.

In 1872 a first-class steam fog-whistle was added, the fog-bell in use being insufficient. Gov.’s mess., in Wash. Jour. House, 1858-9, 18. The Tatooshes were much disturbed by the light on the island; they said it kept away the whales, which did not come in their usual numbers that season. Ind. All: Rept, 1858, 232, 236-8; Davidson’s Coast Pilot, 179-80.

A lighthouse was completed and light exhibited at Admiralty Head, or Kellogg Point, on Whidbey Island, in Jan. 1861, an appropriation of twenty- five thousand dollars having been made in 1856 for this purpose. Finance Rept, 1861, 205; Olympia Wash. Standard, Jan. 26, 1861; U. S. Statutes, 1855-6. The lighthouse board in their report for 1872 represented that the rapidly increasing commerce of Puget Sound demanded an increase of lights, and asked for an appropriation of $25,000 each for light-houses at Point No- Point, between Port Townsend and Seattle, at West Point, entrance to Dwamish Bay, and at Point Defiance, nine miles north of Steilacoom.

To erect a steam fog whistle at New Dungeness, $8,000 was asked for. Congress in the following March appropriated the required sums for the fog-whistle, and for a lighthouse at Point No-Point. Cong. Globe, app. 271, 42d cong. 3d sess.; Gov.’s mess., in Wash. Jour. Council, 1871, app. 110; H. Ex. Doc., 2, 54050, 42d cong. 3d sess. A bell struck by machinery at interval of ten seconds was added in 1880. The legislature in 1858-0 petitioned for a lighthouse on Hood Canal, and another on Point Roberts, the most northern point of the straits leading into the gulf of Georgia.

The next legislature memorialized congress on the need of a light at Gray Harbor; and the assembly of 1860-1 asked for one at the north-west point of Vashon Island, another at the entrance to Bellingham Bay, and a third at Point Hudson. The sum of $20,000 was appropriated in June 1860 for a lighthouse at Gray Harbor, but nothing having been done toward erecting one in 1865, the legislative assembly of that winter memorialized congress on the subject. The number of light-houses had not, however, been added to, notwithstanding periodical memorials, and suggestions as to Alki Point, Foulweather Bluff, and Cypress Island, in addition to those before prayed for, when in 1876 negotiations were in progress to purchase land at Point No-Point for the purpose of establishing a light at that place. A light has since been established there. There were in 1884 ten lights on the whole coast of Washington, including the Strait of Fuca and Puget Sound; on Cape Disappointment or Hancock, one of the 1st order, Shoalwater Bay one of the 4th order; Cape Flattery one of the 1st order; Ediz Hook (Port Angeles) one of the 5th order; New Dungeness one of the 3d order; Smith or Blunt Island, Admiralty Head, and Point Wilson each one of the 4th order; Point No-Point one of the 5th, and at West or Sandy Point one of the 4th order. A light of the 1st class can be seen about 20 miles, of the 5th half that distance. List of Lighthouses, 1884, 06.

An act of congress approved June 20, 1874, authorized the establishment of three lifeboat stations ou the coast of Washington, with keepers at $200 a year. Life-Saving Service Rept, 1876, 55-7. The act, on account of many imperfections, was practically inoperative. To remedy this inefficiency, congress in 1878 passed another act organizing the service into a regular establishment under a general superintendent, whose powers and duties were defined by law, prolonging the period of active service from the first of Sept. to the first of May, increasing the pay of the keepers, and extending their functions so as to include those of inspectors of customs, and detailing officers of the revenue marine corps for the duty of inspecting these stations. The stations authorized in 1874 were at Neah Bay, on the Indian reservation; at Shoalwater Bay near the lighthouse landing; and at Baker’s Bay, Cape Disappointment. These three life-saving stations were not completed until 1878, and cannot be regarded as of very great value, since they are dependent upon the services of volunteers, who might not be at hand in the moment of need.

From a memorial passed by the legislature of 1850-60, it appears that a marine hospital being necessary, I. N. Ebey, then collector of customs at Port Townsend for the district of Puget Sound, entered into a contract with Samuel McCurdy, April 2, 1885, to receive into his hospital all sick and disabled seamen, and provide for them the proper medical attendance, with board and lodging, for the sum of four dollars per day for each patient. In Nov. McCurdy joined the volunteer service as surgeon of the northern battalion, and remained with it until it disbanded in 1856, when he renewed his contract with Ebey’s successor, M. H. Frost, at the price of three dollars per day for each patient, continuing to receive and provide for disabled seamen until July 1858, when the contract passed into other hands, McCurdy having received nothing for his services and outlay. Wash. Stat., 1850-60, 503. McCurdy had several successors. P. M. O’Brien, who died a resident of San Jose, California, was at one time medical director of the Marine Hospital at Port Townsend, but being in sympathy with rebellion, his resignation was desired and accepted. O’Brien was one of the organizers of the Hibernia Bank of S. F., and died wealthy. Quigley’s Irish Race, 475-6. One of the most worthy and successful of the directors was T. T. Minor, who was for several years in charge, and made many improvements. Minor was born in Conn., and educated at Yale College, where he was studying medicine when the war of the rebellion began. Although but 17 years of age he enlisted as a private, and was assigned to the medical department in Higginson’s 1st S. C. colored regiment. In 1864 he was promoted to be surgeon. At the close of the war he returned to his studies at New Haven. In 1868 he was appointed to visit Alaska and make a collection illustrative of the resources of that territory. On his return he settled at Port Townsend and took charge of the marine hospital, while also conducting a private hospital. Portland West Shore, Dec. 1876.



MLA Source Citation:

Bancroft, Hubert H. Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889. San Francisco: The History Company. 1890. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 17 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/lumber-and-ship-building-in-washington.htm - Last updated on Aug 16th, 2013


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