Monday, December 29, 2014

William D. John

Came across this entry in the Order-in-Council’s paperwork.
1914 October 21
The Provincial Secretary and Minister in charge of the Education Department hereby authorise the payment of $145.00 to Wm.D. John, a school teacher, for fare and expenses from Victoria to Plymouth, England.

--------Followed by: 
To his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor:
that authority be granted to the Auditor-General to pass for payment voucher for One hundred and forty-five Dollars ( $145.00 ) in favour of  William D. John for fare and expenses Victoria to Plymouth, England.
Mr. John had several positions in our schools which he was unable to hold owing to his temperament and it was considered advisable to pay his passage to the Old Country than perhaps have to place him in the Lunatic Asylum.

signed by Henry Esson Young  who was the Provincial secretary, and minister of Education during this time.
Could not find out much at all about the fellow, he is listed as William D. John, B.A. and just a few references in the Victoria Colonist, that he was involved in the;
Victoria Cymmrodorion Society  (1909-1918? ), and he appears to have had expertise in Welsh recitation, and was frequently involved in the St. David’s day activities; St. David is the Welsh patron saint  

Vancouver’s 1st Eisteddfod   was in 1912 , and was the first on the Pacific coast; and I would think that William D. John more than likely was a visitor / participant to this event.
The Victoria Cymmrodorion Society frequently met in the "Sir William Wallace Hall" / Pioneer Hall 28 1/2 Broad,[ 1128 Broad St. ] Victoria,which is the Central Building   

NOTE: That the Cymmrodorion Society is frequently miss-spelled in the British Columbia newspapers as Cymrodorion   

Prior to the Central Building being built the Society met at the Pioneer Hall, corner of Broad Street and Trounce Alley, Victoria.
A photo exists of this now long gone building,
            but it is not online, BC Archives F-07609   

1910 February 9 The Victoria Colonist

1911 insurance map, The Central Building is outlined in red, this is where the
Sir William Wallace hall, was located, and where the Cymmrodorion Society held its meetings.

       What an interesting  practical solution of saving the taxpayers money in the long run.
Instead of incarcerating the fellow in the asylum, and eventually deporting him back to England the government just pays his way back to his homeland, which was probably somewhere in Wales.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

1978 plane crash

          On Tuesday the 15th of August 1978, in the area of Amai Inlet   A light plane carrying four passengers crashed after reportedly losing a wing, around the 3000 metre elevation of one of the nearby mountains. A fire was spotted locally so the residents knew where to find the crash site.  The bodies were badly burnt, practically unrecognizable,  and probably died almost instantly according to the coroners report.

 Mention in the Prince George Citizen of the 17th of August 1978

 Dead are:

Clifford Peel   born on the 7th of November 1948 at Vancouver, B.C.
       Death certificate
Home was Surrey, B.C.   Clifford was single. Driller and blaster, Campbell River Construction.    His parents were Hans “Clifford” Friberg Peel ( 1922 – 1949 ), and Jean Marie Janes.   NOTE: I only became interested in this story because his father worked at Essondale hospital, as a Occupational therapist, and I noted that he died when his son was only one year old, also left behind another child to mourn him, and his wife.

William Robert Peter, was born on the 26th of September 1925 at Vancouver, B.C.
Death Certificate 
Home was in Vancouver, B.C. he was single, and worked as a chef.
  His parents were Robert Johnstone Peter and Marcia Jean Reid. [ Parents Marriage certificate ]

Albert Gurschler, was born on the 27th of July 1931 in Germany.
Death Certificate
Home was in Vancouver, he was single, and was working as a shovel operator, for the Campbell River Construction Company.    
His parents were: Edward  Gurschler and Philomena Kuen.  Albert had at least two brothers: Engelbert Gurschler and Joseph Wilhelm Gurschler ( 1932 - 1981)   who both appeared to have lived together  at 1454 Denise Place, Port Coquitlam.
NOTE: common to find Gurschler miss-spelled as Gerschler, Girschler..

The pilot was William"Bill" Curtis Merrill, born on the 25th of September 1951 at Tahsis, B.C.   
Death Certificate
Home was in North Vancouver, he was single, and worked for Tradewinds Aviation, Vancouver, B.C.  His parents were:  Curtis Leroy Merrill  and  Mary Louise Walcott.  

I have not seen many of the papers of the date to see if there is any detailed information about the crash, with the exact location, photographs,etc.  I would guess that they are very sparse, this was and still is a fairly remote location.

Amai Inlet is shown on the Kyuquot 92L/3  1 : 50 000 map sheet 
Adjoining map sheets to the south and east, below
Woss Lake  92L/2
Port Eliza 92E/14
Zeballos 92E/15 
92L/3       92L/2
92E/14     92E/15
also the Provincial government map  092L005  1:20,000  ( PDF download starts immediately )  covers the area well.

Hopefully one day someone will read this and tell us some more about this tragic accident. Did the wing fall off? or did he clip the trees first ?
I will update this page as the events unfold.

UPDATE:   In the comments is the answer from Trevor Merrill :  My uncle William Merrill is one of these persons. I remember hearing some stories about the cause as a child from his father.
The wing did indeed fall off. The plane was purchased from the U.S. as a rebuild and although it passed safety inspections, it was not safe.
   All paper work conserning the plane and all its records quickly disappeared.
The pilot mentioned to his family weeks before that the plane had an odd vibration.

Editor:  What a nightmare, not even a chance once the wing fell off. RIP

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Toothbrush Holder

         Many years ago I worked on a large home in the Shaughnessy area of Vancouver, that was the former home of one of our attorney-generals and in the process many things were removed, most were put back; but this Toothbrush holder found itself lost in one of the many boxes used to store the various hardware, and was not found again until much later.

The home was built in 1912 if I remember correctly

I was able to find a catalogue entry for this hardware
Catalog F: Good Manufacturing Company Incorporated brass and rubber plumbing goods (1914)
Which could be ordered with lettering on it, like my Toothbrush holder
An example of Good Manufacturing Company Incorporated,
advertising from the people who plumbed the home.

The story behing the "Good" name of the company

The Toothbrush holder was made by the
Good Manufacturing Company, who have been in business since 1896 and still operate under the
Crest / Good Manufacturing Company, name

J.G. Mortimore & Co., LtdJames George Mortimore (1853 - 1911) manager, 540 W. Pender   Married to: Emily M. Griffin (1849 - 1923), both buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver.

The 1891 census captured a son,  Sidney Charles Mortimore living in Vancouver, and working as a plumber.

Although James G. Mortimore is listed in the directories as being here one year prior to the 1891 census.
There were two other Mortimore’s who appear to be related  to James George Mortimore; and they appear in Vancouver in the 1888 directories, onwards.

1909 August 21 Phoenix Pioneer:

        Peculiar circumstances attended the death of two well known Vancouver citizens last Sunday morning, when the brothers Sidney Charles Mortimore and William Henry Mortimore, aged 60 and 65 respectively, died almost within an hour of each other, at their residence, 1063 Haro street.

Sidney Charles Mortimore d. 15 Aug. 1909.  60 years old, had asthma for several months, prior to his death.
William Henry Mortimore  d. 15 Aug 1909 at 1063 Haro St., Van, 65 years old, of shock, two hours after learning of the death of his brother. Both worked as tailors, for others in the early days here, and later operating as the Mortimore Brothers, tailors, Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C.

         At least two sons of James George Mortimore, also worked as plumbers, Sidney Charles Mortimore (1881 - 1931) and Alfred James Mortimore (1874 - 1941) and they continued the business after their fathers death for a number of years, later it appears the company stopped operating around 1926 but Sidney and Alfred continued to make a living as plumbers. During 1928-1929 the Mortimore's (Sidney C. Mortimore?) took on a partner, Henry S. Crombe, and the company became known as: Mortimore & Crombe, located at 2906 ranville Street, Van., B.C.; after this Sidney must have retired, and his brother Alfred continued to operate as a plumber for many years.

     James G. Mortimore and Emma M. Griffin also had a daughter.
Rose Emma Mortimore “Tennant” (1886 - 1973)

I wonder how many of these toothbrush holders still exist.
     The simple times just a three-digit phone number.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vancouver harbour 1973 oil spill

   By chance I came across this article, I do not remember the incident, and thought that some of the information about it needed to be put online.

 Effects of the Burrard Inlet Oil Spill on Various Geologic Intertidal Environments; Ricker, K E; in, Report of activities part B, November 1973 to March 1974; Blackadar, R G (ed.). Geological Survey of Canada, Paper no. 74-1B, 1974, ; p. 205-207.
Project 730023
K.E. Ricker Terrain Sciences Division, Vancouver

         On September 25, 1973 two freighters collided at 0300 hours (PDT) in the Vancouver outer harbour area of Burrard Inlet. About 240 metric tons of "Redwood No. 975" light bunker oil escaped into the harbour, though nearly one half of this release was effectively confined to the immediate vicinity of the vessels while the remainder quickly fanned into a large tear-shaped configuration 15 to 20 square km in area.

        A few hours later, despite light sea conditions, the slick parted into smaller masses. While clean-up equipment moved to the site, tidal currents had transported the slicks onto 30 kilometres of varied and rugged coastline comprising the north shore of the inlet (West Vancouver).            The writer began making shoreline observations on an “opportunity basis” on September 26, after the oil slick already had parted into about 12 smaller discrete masses (30 to 400 m in width by 100 to 1.200 m in length each fouling some of the north coastline.

         Clean-up operations were already in progress at some sites upon the writer's arrival. Observations were continued on the following day after overnight re-invasion of oil at some locales that had been treated already. Between three and four days after the spill, a few areas of Stanley Park and the south shore line of the Kitsilano district of Vancouver were invaded to a lesser degree and some iridescent films also were traced into the inner harbour located east of First Narrows (Lions Gate Bridge). At the conclusion of the winter storm cycle all localities that had been previously examined were revisited to assess the degree of disappearance of oil.


     Observations were limited to selected geologic environments on the shoreline of West Vancouver though several of the severely oil-coated islands were bypassed. The field methods involved visual observations supported by photography; digging was limited and because of prior bulldozer operations, the procedure of measuring beach profiles before and after clean-up could not be carried out to yield any meaningful results.

  Table 1 gives the geologic setting, clean up status, and observations of each site inspected. Movements of the individual oil slicks onto a given stretch of coastline were unpredictable because of their tendency to hover off headlands before the final drift on shore. Flood tides during darkness helped to create this uncertainty.

      At the shore the oil appeared in two forms initially:

1) as a light volatile product which  left iridescent films on all types of surfaces,
    and 2) as a heavy, glistening, and black target-like mass which preferentially adhered to cobbles, angular blocks, logs, and vertical outcrop. Heavy oil bands on the latter were pronounced at the high tide mark and oil dribbled below this level only where heated by the direct radiation of the sun. The light volatile product soaked into porous sands at a few locales but beyond a few centimetres depth there was no odoriferous or visual presence and on succeeding days after intervening surf action, not even their surficial presence could be detected.

        With the heavy fraction there was no observable penetration of the sands, but on some intertidal sandy areas the globules were covered by subsequent sand deposition which lasted through the winter storm cycle at one locale at least.

         The grain size of a rock surface does not correlate with the presence or absence of the heavy fraction though adjacent joints could be coated while other surfaces would be free of any residue. After meticulous clean up involving peat moss, water jets and wire brushing of rocky surfaces, and the passing of a winter storm cycle, much of the effects of the oil spill now only are slightly visible.

         In the spring of 1974, however, untreated sheltered vertical cliffs (shaded from the sun) and non-treated cobble pavements (exposed to the sun) revealed unaltered tarry surfaces. In addition, treated and wave-exposed rocks still exhibit, on close inspection, a mosaic of discontinuous, thin, hardened, dull-black residue which resists removal by scratching with a knife. Several seasonal storm cycles obviously will be required to remove the last vestiges of the spill. Thus, a series of long-term periodic checks should be carried out to determine the length of time of removal. 

Table 1, transcribed to make it more legible. Download a PDF of it, or View it, using the Google viewer.   


   1. Were it not for the continuous presence of beach driftwood the expense and magnitude of cleaning up the Burrard Inlet oil spill would have been far greater. With the exception of rounded cobble surfaces, logs are the preferred adsorptive substrate of this particular type of fuel oil. 

  2. Because of complexities of currents and weather, the prediction of the exact zone of invasion of an oil slick is difficult and the problem becomes infinitely more complex as the slick breaks up into smaller discrete bodies. Prevention of oil encroachment onto shore by the use of barriers or artificially produced wind or water currents is difficult and such measures probably will be impossible to use during storm conditions and at times of restricted visibility.

  3. The preferred geologic environment of oil adsorption is the rounded boulders and cobble pavements of the upper intertidal zones. However, vertical outcrops will retain a narrow band of continuous residue because of the repeated pressing action of oil-ridden waves at the high tide level. Sloping outcrop on the other hand, is not conducive to retention of oil products, possibly because of the non-uniform sweeping action of waves on rising surfaces.      A high-energy, sandy beach environment will collect heavy oil only if the quantity is sufficient and no other media are present to selectively adsorb it. Grain size of a particular rock surface does not appear to affect selective adherence, though joints, fractures and other depressions, affording preferential protection from erosive processes, are favoured centres of accumulation. Exoskeletal and epidermal tissue of many benthonic organisms attached to bedrock did not retain heavy oil globules because of the almost frictionless nature of their surfaces; oil preferentially could collect on adjacent barren rock. 

 4. Regardless of the substrate of deposition, peat moss liberally applied before and immediately after oil invasion is a very effective method of removal. Water jetting of rock surfaces in the presence of peat moss is more thorough, but this method causes biological damage. Because of its high ignition point, this type of oil cannot be volatilized satisfactorily using hand-held blow torches though enough heat apparently is generated in big fires of oil-soaked driftwood.

  5. A solely geologic agent of oil removal requires a repeated, vigorous, and abrasive process, and in protected areas where this action cannot be possible, years of exposure will be required before the tars or altered residues are removed totally. 

 6. In spite of the advance of technology, immediate clean-up of a large oil spill will be a formidable if not an impossible task on a rocky coastline. With surficial and movable materials, restoration can be accomplished by their removal but such methods cannot be employed in a practical manner with heavier boulders and rugged outcrop.

  Vancouver Sun article: At 3: 19 a.m. on Sept. 25, 1973 two freighters collided in English Bay. The bow of the 11,000-tonne Sun Diamond (from Japan) sliced into the starboard side of the 9,000-tonne Erawan (from Britain), ripping a 30-square-foot hole in the Erawan and rupturing one of its fuel tanks.

     When the tide came in at Ambleside Beach about noon, it was black with oil. A furious effort was launched to contain the spill, with civic workers and volunteers spreading peat moss on the beach and booms being placed around the Erawan, which had been taken to a spot off Passage Island after tugs separated the ships.
  Sixteen-year-old Pam Baxter was among the volunteers who rushed down to Ambleside. The Vancouver Sun carried a front-page photo of her shovelling peat on the oil, her legs splattered with black goop. Another photo showed a pair of cormorants being cleaned up at the SPCA after the birds were found on the beach, covered in oil.  The cleanup effort worked, some-what. The day after the spill, The Sun reported Ambleside was clean, after being covered with five inches of oil the day of the spill. But there was still "heavy oil" on the West Vancouver waterfront between 13th and 27th streets, and Cypress Park to West Caulfield was still "badly polluted with a heavy brown slick spreading off-shore in streaks for about a mile, and northward streaks half a mile towards Port Atkinson."

      Fortunately, it was a relatively small fuel spill, and not a spill from an oil tanker like the Exxon Valdez, which leaked up to 32 million US gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989   

Pam Baxter appeared on the front page of The Vancouver Sun on Sept. 26, 1973, one day after two freighters collided in English Bay, causing a fuel spill.

  ---  30  ---

 The incident led to some debating in the Legislature; some excerpts from the Hansard minutes of the debate.

"A collision occurred at 3 a.m., Tuesday, September 25, between two freighters off Point Atkinson. The Erawan, 9,000 tons, of London registry was struck amidships by the bow of the Sun Diamond, 10,000 tons, of Japanese registry A 30-ft. hole in the Erawan ruptured the fuel tanks containing 500 tons of bunker C oil. An estimated 250 tons of oil escaped from the tanks into the open sea and is not contained. No injury or deaths were reported.

  "The vessels, still locked together, are surrounded by a 4-ft. oil boom to contain any further spill. Oil remaining in the ruptured tanks is being pumped into barges. Booms are being used to prevent oil entering the small marinas."

  "The Vancouver-based contractor, Clean Seas (Canada), is retained by the Ministry of Transport for the clean-up. This company is experienced and fully equipped; there is no lack of materials at the site. At 12:40 p.m., Mr. H. Buchanan, Regional Director of the Ministry of Transport, had just surveyed the area, and gave us the following report:

 " Most of the oil is broken into slicks. A slick extends from Fisherman's Cove to Ambleside, from 5- to 30-ft. wide, and has hit the rocky beach at Dunderave and Ambleside. The City of West Vancouver is being supplied with straw, et cetera, to clean up beached oil and is supplying manpower for this job. Ministry of Transport and Clean Seas will supply manpower for shore clean-up as required. No chemicals are being used. Slicks still on the water are under observation and will be headed off and contained with booms wherever possible.”
  --- 30 ---

      Clean up squads are clearing hundreds of tons of oily sludge from Vancouver Harbour and its shores. 200 tons of oil and 50 tons of light fuel gushed from the English freighter Erawan, after it was involved in a collision on Tuesday (September 25th) with a Japanese container ship, the Sun Diamond.

      The two ships collided early on Tuesday morning near the entrance of the harbour. The Erawan was bound for Vancouver with ballast - the Sun Diamond was heading out loaded with general cargo in containers. The cause of the collision is not clear - the bow of the Japanese ship sliced into the hull of the Erawan, and nearly cut it in half. The vessels were jammed together for almost an hour, before tugboats came to the rescue. Then the battle to contain the greasy flow began. Loops of plastic material were drawn around the English ship to hold the oil in the hull, and chemicals sprayed onto the surrounding waters.

       By mid-afternoon the leakage had stopped, but oil streaks marked a large section of the harbour. The task facing the Ministry of Environment, which is coordinating the clean up, is to soak up the fuel with straw or peat moss, or to break it up chemically.

SYNOPSIS: The British freighter Erawan lies in Vancouver harbour after a collision with a Japanese container vessel, the Sun Diamond. The two ships met near the entrance to the Harbour early on Tuesday morning.

       The English freighter gushed hundreds of tons of oil into the waters of the Harbour. Two hundred tons of oil and fifty tons of light fuel spread out in long slicks over the water, and slid onto the beaches surrounding the Harbour. The clean up operation began immediately.

The flow was stopped at its source, and chemicals sprayed onto the water. In the last few days the clean up squads from the Department of the Environment have been faced with the task of breaking down the oil pollutant with straw or peat moss.

The cause of the collision is not clear - the bow of the Japanese ship sliced into the hull of the Erawan, nearly cutting it in half. The two ships were jammed together for almost an hour. Then the first concern was to stem the flow.

      The bow of the Sun Diamond lay twisted and torn from the impact, as the undamaged tanks of the English ship were sealed off, and the clean up began.
      The Canadian Ministry of Transport would not speculate on how the ships collided on what appeared to be a clear and starlit night. Both ships had Canadian pilots on board. The Sun Diamond was heading out of the Harbour loaded with general cargo, the Erawan was loaded with ballast. An investigation into the accident is under way.

Spill cost nearly 1 million

  The 461-foot Sunderlund-built British freighter Erawan and the new 485-foot Japanese container ship Sun Diamond collided in the early morning hours of September 25 at the mouth of Burrard Inlet. The Sun Diamond was outbound from Vancouver for Seattle, while the Erawan was inbound in ballast. The Japanese vessel struck the Erawan amidships, tearing out a large section of her hull on the starboard side between holds 3 and 4 and rupturing fuel tanks which spilled more than 100 tons of bunker oil into English Bay, some of it contaminating nearby beaches. The two vessels were locked together for an hour with the tug Gulf Jean holding them from drifting ashore. At a later hearing it was determined that radical change of course to port by the Erawan was the direct cause of the collision, but that both vessels were moving at excessive speed, the Sun Diamond was cutting too close to the Point Grey bell-buoy, leaving insufficient sea-room for an inbound vessel to pass to starboard, neither vessel sounded whistle signal .   

CVA 447-4469 - M.S. Erawan A39808
May 15, 1971 Photographer: Walter E. Frost

CVA 447-4469.2 - M.S. Erawan A39810
Sept. 28, 1973; Photographer: Walter E. Frost (1898-1988)
You can clearly see where the Sun Diamond hit the Erawan in the middle in this photo

CVA 447-8387.2 - M.S. Sun Diamond at dock A47685
  Sept. 27, 1973 Photographer: Walter E. Frost (1898-1988)

CVA 447-8387.1 - M.S. Sun Diamond A47684
May 14, 1973 Photographer: Walter E. Frost (1898-1988)

CVA 447-8387 - M.S. Sun Diamond at dock A47683
Mar. 20, 1973 Photographer: Walter E. Frost (1898-1988)

       Prior to the above accident on the evening of March 14, 1972 the 8500 ton Vanlene ran aground off the west coast of Vancouver Island in Barkley Sound and lost 37,000 gallons of bunker oil, which damaged the beaches nearby.
CVA 447-8777 - M.S. Vanlene  A48688
Apr. 21, 1968  Photographer: Walter E. Frost (1898-1988)
The Vanlene was wrecked and is still there to this day, and has become a popular diving place; more information OneTwo  — Three  and numerous DFO reports:  Preliminary report on the oil spill from the grounded freighter "Vanlene", March 1972 (PDF) ; The Vanlene accident, March 1972 (PDF) ; Vanlene oil spill (1974)  (PDF)

And a past post from another of my blogs:    Oil and the Second Narrows bridge.  Thankfully no oil was spilled at that accident

        These incidents, and more stirred up the populace on both sides of the border,
an article in the Western Front - 1973 October 2 which is a student newspaper. 

      As usual the powers that be were glacial in their response to look at long-term “solutions” to deal with possible future events.  To this day, if something huge occurred, the systems presently in place are not adequate to contain an event rapidly, and remove it quickly from the water. 

    The events described here are minuscule in comparison to the quantities of hydrocarbons that are carried today.

UPDATE:    Sadly my closing comments above, have become partially true; since the bulk carrier Marathassa "accidentally" pumped a few thousand litres of bunker fuel into the harbour; and although the response was reasonably quick, the communication to other levels of government was as usual glacial.

Effects of English Bay oil spill likely to linger as people warned to avoid Vancouver beaches.
This article also contains a chronology of some of the other major liquid accident spills into the harbour.

Burrard Inlet, Beaches, and Oil Spills: A Historical Perspective

FURTHER UPDATE: ( 21 Nov.,2016 )    Retired engineers warn tankers could pose risk to Ironworkers’ bridge

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Richmond Oil Company

First you need to sit right back and listen to the Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song, (Youtube)  which is, The ballad of Jed Clampett, (Wikipedia)
Download and/or listen to the ballad from the Internet Archive, for Free

Steveston No.1  C-044-G   Latitude:  49.12447   Longitude:  -123.170838   NAD 83
Today the well head is located in an area of residential homes; unknown if it is visible, or what kind of shape it is in.    This was the first attempt, in the Lower Fraser Valley to drill specifically for oil and gas. A few holes had been drilled prior, but they were looking for coal.

              Unknown how correct this is, but I am sure that the actual well would not be far away  from here.

The Richmond Oil Company, was incorporated January 12, 1904, with a capital stock of $12,000, in $10 shares, with the purpose of drilling for oil at Steveston, in Richmond, B.C.
Followed a few months later by the, Steveston Land & Oil Company Limited, incorporated April 15, 1904.  With their capital stock at $250,000, in $1 shares.

1904 April 1  Richmond Oil company will begin drilling next Tuesday. Mr. Thomas Davis, of Beaumont, Texas in charge.
1904 April 10 raised share price to 11$. William C. Cameron, secretary.
1904 May 8

Two illustrations, from B.C. Mining exchange, April issue. Two experts Thomas Davis and Ferguson, from Beaumont, Texas, are in charge of drilling.
1904 May 17;    600 feet, small quantity of oil noticed.
1904 June 1;   10-inch pipe inserted to 700 feet, to shut-off quicksands. Below 700 feet there is 15 feet of very hard shale, then 5 feet blue gumbo, alternating between shale and gumbo as the depth increases.

1904 June 12. Victoria Daily Colonist.  This AD first appears

1904 June 17  Steveston Land and Oil Company.  British American Trust Company, C.E. Milne, local manager in Victoria.

Alfred Cornelius Flumerfelt, (1856-1930) he was involved in numerous speculative offerings through the years, some made money, some did not.
Robert William Riddell, (1865-1947); Homer Myles Galer, (1864-1930)
The British American Trust Company,  was incorporated in 1901. And in 1919 the company changed their name to British American Bond Corporation Limited, to better reflect their bussiness activities at that time.

1906 May19 Victoria Daily Colonist
Harold Mayne Daly, (1880-1965)   Harold was one of the fortunate few survivors of the sinking of the Lusitania  

So the, Richmond Oil Company, and the Steveston Land & Oil Company, were controlled by the same people.

1904 July 1.  Reports from Steveston are favourable to the prospects of striking oil. In such an event the Lower Fraser valley would experience a boom of unexampled character. Oil as a product of the soil is one in comparison with which strawberry culture becomes a waste of time. We would not in the meantime, however, advise farmers to disregard the possibilities of strawberries.

1904 July 1

Steveston oil drilling

Pressure of gas at the Richmond well forty feet to the square inch

Thomas Davis, manager of the Steveston Land & Oil Company, received a wire last evening from Vancouver stating that the pressure of gas at the Richmond well yesterday was forty-five pounds to the square inch. This in the opinion of Mr. Davis and the oil drillers at Steveston, is the strongest kind of evidence that oil will be reached so soon as the sandstone capping is penetrated by the drill. The pressure of gas is taken at the surface and this after passing through 925 feet of water, which fills the iron pipe casing.

Transcribed below:
1904 July 31 TheVictoria  Daily Colonist


Most recent developments point to an early strike of the fluid.

A News-Advertiser representative received the intelligence yesterday of most welcome developments at the Steveston oil prospects. Mr. Ewen Wainwright MacLean, (1) of the Richmond Oil Company, and Mr. Thomas Davis, of the Steveston Land & Oil Company, informed him that early in the afternoon the pressure became so strong at the boring, which is now down 925 feet, that the capping and plug at the mouth of the piping were blown clear from the opening and water shot up over 40 feet into the air. The water is up to within 15 feet of the top of the piping, the pressure of the gas in the pipe being 88 pounds to the square inch, and it is obvious that the pressure from the gas below must have been immense to cause such a phenomenon. The value of the occurrence lies in the fact that such extreme pressure is invariably found when oil is within measurable distance of being struck, the indications being almost identical with those at the big oil strike in Beaumont, Texas.
The Richmond Oil Company, on the land of which the boring is being made, is expecting new pipe and boring accessories daily to continue working to greater depth. At present, as already stated, the piping, which is 8-inch, is down 925 feet; now 6-inch pipe is to be driven through the bedrock and operations continued downward till oil is struck. The surface works, 80-foot derrick and so forth, are completely installed, and everything is in readiness for the expected welcome appearance of the precious fluid.
Mr. Thomas Davis, who is connected with the Steveston Land & Oil Company, is a well-known Texas expert, and his observations lead him to believe that the prospects at Steveston are extremely bright.

(1)   Ewen Wainwright MacLean, (1863-1923)  Short biography here.   Also a biography in Volume IV, page 708  of,   British Columbia, Earliest times to the present. By: E.O,S, Scholefield
Ewen Wainwright MacLean

Transcribed below:
1904 August 14


Strong and steady pressure of natural gas at Steveston.

The pipe that the Richmond Oil Company has been awaiting a long time will arrive over the C.P.R. tomorrow, says the Vancouver Province, and the drilling operations that have been suspended for the last week or more pending its delivery, will be resumed on Monday.
Mr. H.C. Fritts, superintendent of operations for the company, is in the city today, and stated that he lighted the gas last night for a test, and that he had a flare nine feet in width by eighteen feet in height, which was plainly seen in Westminster. The company is now down nine-hundred and twenty-three feet and he says the pressure of gas is enormous. A half-inch taps the big ten-inch casing at the top of the derrick eighty-four feet from the surface of the ground, and runs fifteen feet higher up. The gas is lighted from the escape end of the small pipe.
Mr. Fritts, says he is absolutely assured of the existence of oil. The deposit of gas invariably precedes oil, the only thing to make an operator doubt where he stands being when the gas comes for a short time and then plays out. A steady flow of gas has continued ever since it was first struck some three weeks ago, at an average pressure of seventy pounds to the square inch, and the existence of great quantities has been proved.

1904 august14: Henry C. Fritts waiting for pipe. Henry lighted the gas creating an 18 feet high, by 8 feet wide flare.  Well is down 923feet,  with 70 lbs pressure.

1904 November 2:  drilling 50 feet per week on average, cutting through the capping at the present time, well nearly 1,100 feet in depth, and the gas pressure is very strong.

A small portion of  Fraser River Delta, British Columbia; Johnston, W A. Geological Survey of Canada, Multicoloured Geological Map no. 1965, 1923 .  Drilling site shown as a red + symbol

Geology of Fraser River Delta map area; Johnston, W A. Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 135, 1923    [ The map above is part of this Memoir ]

Excerpt from the above memoir that describes the drilling:

The Steveston well was drilled by Mr. Henry C. Fritts, to whom the writer is indebted for the following information regarding the well. A rotary drilling rig was used and a 13-inch hole was carried through sand to a depth of 700 feet, at which point a large boulder was encountered.
The boulder was drilled into for 6 feet and the 10-inch casing set. A 10-inch hole was carried to a depth of 860 feet, where the first shale bed was encountered and a flow of gas obtained. A gas pressure of 88 pounds to the square inch was obtained on bushing the 10-inch pipe to ¼ -inch and using a steam gauge. From 860 feet to 1,000 feet, where the first hard shale was encountered, the formation varied from fine sand to shale.
The 8-inch casing was set at a depth of 1,000 feet. Drilling was continued with a 6-inch stem to a depth of 1,200 feet when operations ceased because of lack of capital. A part of the casing still remains in the hole.
- 30 -
So they ran out of money, and the only people to make money would have been the stock brokers, and the real estate salesmen.  Not sure if the British American Trust Company was involved in this later speculative venture  which  covers the same patch of real estate in Richmond.

Nothing ever became of this highly speculative venture either.

The first seriously drilled oil well, the first of over fifty that have been drilled in the Fraser Valley throughout the years.  Download this Google Earth Kml file to see where the well are located, all failed to bring their investors what they wished of them.
I am  gathering up information on the other wells, and will eventually post it all here. It  interesting how many of these wells from times long ago are now inside residential communities, and it is unknown how they were sealed off, when the speculative ventures failed.  We may have over 50 potential accidents, just waiting to happen, all of the wells, had some gas in them, that is normal.

 ♬ ... And up through the ground came the bubblin crude...♬

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Coal train derailment in Burnaby

I gathered up a few bits of information about this mess; rolling the dice in these increasingly high density living areas.
Heavy rain may have caused CP train derailment in Burnaby.

From what I saw of the videos, photographs the rail bed was definitely eroded by the stream, and the inevitable happened.

Coal train derailment a real concern says Corrigan

The Canadian Pacific Railway train was using Canadian National Railways tracks to move metallurgical coal from the East Kootenay coalfields to the Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver.

The coal itself  will hopefully not do too much long-term damage to the environment, but it is an incident that should not have occurred in the first place if the CNR staff had sent someone along the tracks before hand to check on the integrity of their rail bed.

A concern that I have is I was wondering if the same chemical, ( 4-methyl cyclohexane methanol, CAS# 34885-03-5 )  had  been previously used on the coal, to remove the sulfur, that  is causing so much concern right now in the USA, where a large spill of it occurred, see the discussion HERE.

 Blue Circle is highlighting the area of the derailment, beside "Silver Creek" ( Which is a local name, not a gazetted name )

Learn where the safety placards are on trains

And what the Class designations mean on the placards

And while you are at it learn some of the cryptic numbers that are used to identify some of the commodities carried through our communities. Luckily some of the chemicals are listed in plain english, and painted onto the tanks, the smaller tank cars are usually the most dangerous, sometimes they also have a frame around them.

 Frequently you will also see something listed with the designation,  CAS and a number.
CAS, stands for Chemical Abstracts Service, sadly this is a pay to use service; no sense of safety with them, just money. More frequently seen in use on smaller amounts of chemicals, but the commodity chemicals also have their CAS numbers too.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Harrison Lake Murder

I was searching using the term "Silver Creek" which is the older naming of todays Widgeon Creek, at the foot of Pitt Lake, and came across this news item:

Transcribed here:
The Daily Colonist 24 September 1909

Harrison Lake Murder

The chase of the provincial police engaged in the solution of what has come to be known as the Harrison Lake murder mystery after the Indian "Cultus Charlie," accused of the killing of Howard Wade, continues without result as yet. Although on several occassions they have had the irritable satisfaction of "just missing" their man. The Indian is, like the majority of aborigines, an expert woodsman, and as he has taken to the hills and has the sympathy of his race, it is probable that it will be long before he grows careless and falls into the hands of the law.

The news item piqued my interest...

The Daily Colonist 26 September 1909

Provincial Constable Wilkie came into New Westminster Thursday for supplies and returned to Harrison, where he is proceeding with the search for the Indian accused of the murder of Howard Wade, the logger, at Silver Creek, during the latter part of August. the whole countryside and all the shores of Harrison Lake are being carefully searched in an effort to find the Indian, but so far all efforts in this direction have met with no success.

[ Today Silver Creek is known as, Big Silver Creek  ]
Constable Wilkie was on the chase

A small picture of  Private Otway John James Wilkie taken from a,
Collage of Boer War soldier portraits. - ca. 1899, he was about 38 years old in this photo.

Cropped photo of, Otway John James Wilkie,(1861-1945)     1884
    Van. Archives  A34436

        Wilkie was born in Howth, Ireland on October 4, 1861 and came to Canada in 1878, settling in Langley, British Columbia. In 1887 he joined the Provincial Police Force. He resigned from the police in 1896 in order to take the position of assistant manager of the provincial asylum. In 1899 he went to South Africa as part of the Canadian contingent in the Boer War and he received the Queen’s Medal with four bars. He returned to B.C. on New Years eve of 1900. He was appointed as the Chief of the Provincial Police for the District of New Westminster and the Fraser Valley. Wilkie resigned from the police in 1912 and started a real estate business. He was a member for two years of the Langley town council. Wilkie was a member of L.O.L. No. 1150 in New Westminster.

B.C. From the earliest times to the present, Volume 3 – 1914.

The Daily Colonist 9 April 1910


August Charlie arrested at Pemberton Meadows on suspicion of having caused the death of Howard Wade.

August Charlie, and Indian, for whom the Provincial police have been searching for three months past, has been arrested at Pemberton Meadows on suspicion of having caused the death of Howard Wade, a rancher of the Harrison Lake district. The body of Mr. Wade was found in Harrison Lake, with the skull battered in, presumably with an axe. Foul play was suspected and indications pointed to an Indian, under the influence of liquor, having been instrumental in the crime. the attention of the Provincial police was directed to the movements of August Charlie, an Indian of the vicinity, who was known to have been in the neighborhood at the time of the supposed murder. He got wind of the suspicions and fled. For the last three months, practically since the time of the crime, the chase has continued, the Indian finally being caught at Pemberton Meadows. He has been taken to Vancouver and will be charged with the murder, according to a report just received by Superintendent Hussey. The Provincial police are understood to have important evidence which will lead to his conviction.

Frederick Stephen Hussey, ca.1893.
photo: John Savannah,(1868-1925)    BC Archives  A-02238

The Daily Colonist 22 April 1910

The hearing is proceeding at New Westminster of the Indian August Charlie, who is charged with the murder of the rancher Howard Wade, at Harrison Lake.

The Daily Colonist 26 April 1910

August Charlie, the indian suspected of the murder of Howard Wade, of Harrison Lake, has been formally committed for trial.

Transcribed here:

The Daily Colonist 28 April 1910


Took Indian charged with murder and also staked mineral claim.
To capture a man wanted for murder and to stake out a mining claim at the same time is the unusual accomplishment of Joe Cole, of Upper Sumas. Cole was looking for August Charlie, wanted in connection with the murder of Howard Wade, on the shores of Silver Creek last August.
He located him camping on the Lillooet River, deep in the woods, and placed him under arrest.
But Cole had an eye to business and even though he was after a desparate man he did not like to pass a good thing. And so when he found indications of gold along the Lillooet River he promptly staked out a claim which he has since registered at New Westminster.
the claim is situated on the south bank of the Lillooet River and on the east bank of Twenty-Five Mile Creek and contains eighty acres, more or less. The area is an hydraulic low-grade placer mine.

[ Twenty-Five Mile Creek is today known as, 25 mile, or, Jim creek this is above Pemberton, possibly not correct. Nothing appears to have come out of this "find", I could find no records.

Joseph Cole died at Mission 24 March 1929, 65 years of age.
Joe was married to Annie Barton in 1896 New Westminster, she died the following year  in September 1897, at Surrey Centre, at the age of 23.   ]

The Daily Colonist 3 June 1910

A new trial has been ordered in the case of August Charlie, indicted in the assize court at New Westminster for the murder of Howard Wade, the trial jury being unable to agree.

The Daily Colonist 4 June 1910

The retrial of August Charlie for the murder of Howard Wade, takes place in New Westminster at the close of the present assize term.

The Daily Colonist 9 June 1910

...August Charlie charged with the Howard Wade murder at Harrison Lake, secured an acquittal.

Map of reserve and Silver Creek is on 92H  Hope, B.C., I used a cropped section of the map to create this.

Skulkayn; Skowkale; Chilliwack IR 10/11, Skowkale First Nation

So we have a dead man Howard Wade,  listed date of death as August 29, 1909 at Silver Creek. 35 years old. I could not find where he is buried, or any relations of him.

August Charlie, meanwhile lived a full life and died 22 January 1946 Skulkayn Reserve,Sardis. age 100 estimated. He was married to Josephine Aikalh, in 1918, she died 13 May 1936, Skulkayn IR. age 88.

So I guess that this is still an unsolved murder?
 And the only reason that this is here on the web is because I was looking for Silver Creek, and the outcome was interesting, many would have thought that August Charlie, would have been found guilty and hanged. But justice prevailed, probably due to the lack of solid evidence, not the first time that I have seen this in my researching of the Province; moral: everything is not like the movies.
This crime will never be solved because at the time we had  our own British Columbia Provincial Police, who were disbanded in 1950, when the RCMP took over, and all the previous records were destroyed in utter ignorance of their value.

First post

Here I will place some of the numerous bits of flotsam and jetsom that I collect as I do research on other things historical, with a primary focus on British Columbia; hang on it will be quirky.