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Tales of Hope and Courage


All ten of these shipwreck stories are about real events and the real people that were touched by these dramatic episodes. With the exception of the Uzbekistan, the quoted material comes directly from printed sources, such as newspapers, journals, correspondence, records, official statements and interviews. The specific sources are listed below.

John R. Jewitt, Narrative of the Adventures and Suffereings of John R. Jewitt; Only Survivor of the Crew of the Ship Boston, (New York; July 1815).
MMBC correspondence file, “Boston”.

Victoria Daily Colonist November 26, 1915
Victoria Daily Colonist November 27, 1915
Victoria Daily Colonist December 12, 1976

HMS Condor
Memorial Concert Programme April 9, 1902 MMBC Archives 985.081.0001
Victoria Daily Colonist January 30, 1902
Victoria Daily Colonist July 3, 1977

St. Louis Intelligencer January 7, 1853
Victoria Daily Colonist November 22, 1892
Account of Captain Bennett, quoted in Fred Rogers, Shipwrecks of British Columbia (1973), p. 113.
“Ericsson” from Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopaedia at:

Lord Western
Jacques Marc, Exploring the Lord Western, (Vancouver: UASBC, 1989).
MMBC assorted correspondence, requisition forms, reports for ‘Mystery Wreck’ in “Shipwrecks” file.
Victoria Daily Colonist (undated clipping), 1960.

USS Saranac
Diary of Charles Sadilek, Campbell River Museum ms 77 35, pp. 25-32
*This account was transcribed from Mr. Sadilek’s journal: the journal text is enclosed by “”. The piece has been edited for length. Brackets [] indicate the addition of words or spelling corrections to the original.

Other accounts of the Saranac wreck, including excerpts from the ship’s log, differ in some details from Sadilek’s. It is typical of ‘eye-witness’ versions of history that each participant will have a different perception of what happened, especially in the panicked situation of a shipwreck.

The Saranac was under Captain W.W. Green, headed for the Bearing Strait in Alaska on a scientific mission. They stopped to take on supplies in Nanaimo and travelled north during the night. They struck Ripple Rock going through Seymore Narrows at 8:40 in the morning, then drifted clear. The hold quickly filled with water, and the captain ran the Saranac to the Vancouver Island shore, where the ship was attached with a hawser. The crew and a few items were saved, and the vessel went to the bottom of the sea at 10:16 that same morning.

The officers and crew camped on Quadra Island while a party set out in the Saranac’s cutter to get help, first from Nanaimo, then on to Victoria. All aboard were rescued, but the salvage vessels that were sent to the site of the Saranac’s sinking did not even attempt a recovery in the deep, dangerous waters.

USS Suwanee
The British Colonist July 15, 1868
The British Colonist July 18, 1868

Gabriel Franchère, Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, (Chicago, 1954, originally printed 1854).
E.W. Giesecke, Search for the Tonquin: Parts I, II and III’, CUMTUX: Clatsop County Historical Society Quarterly, V. 10, Nos. 3 and 4, V. 11, No.1, (1990-1991).
Victoria Daily Colonist April 30, 1978

MMBC Archives 3207 L
*The quotes in this piece are speculations about what coastal residents may have expressed, based on the conditions in the region at the time of the wreck.

Seattle Times quoted in Adrienne Mason, West Coast Adventures, (2003), p. 95.
Michael C. Neitzel, The Valencia Tragedy, (1995).
T.W. Paterson, British Columbia Shipwrecks, (1976).

Victoria Daily Colonist March 16, 1972
Victoria Daily Colonist March 17, 1972
Victoria Daily Colonist June 4, 1978

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