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Iroquois Disaster

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Captain Blustered as Winds Wailed; "Victoria Times Colonist" story. Islander section, Sunday March 31, 1991; B3

Rocky (View posts)
Posted: 25 Sep 2005 5:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
Ian and Diane...

Thank the Creator for "Pack Rats". Where would history be without us! All know is my basement and library would be cleaner...LOL.

I have found the article of the SS Iroquois... for EASTER Monday, 1911. No wonder the ship's sinking hit hard... Easter was a very big celebration of picnic’s and family gatherings during that era. Some islands still have celebrations and some even celebrate the "May Pole" dance... old traditions still alive in old communities.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I will transcribe Peter Murray's article... I should have known I had it still as it was tucked between the pages of his book;

"Homesteads and Snug Harbours; The Gulf Islands", Copyright 1991, Horsdal & Shubart Publishers, Box 1, Ganges, BC, V0S 1E0, (ISBN: 0-920663-14-1)

It will take a day or so before I transcribe the story Peter wrote.

It is a good article, well written by Peter. I really miss the old "Islander" section of the paper... we lost so much when the "Times Colonist" modernized it. Every week (Sunday paper) we recieved an eclectic wealth of history, natural history and island life. Progress is not a good thing... when we loose valuable work.

Note: Salt Spring Island is one of BC's oldest communities (that was not a "HBCo Fort", so the Iroquois sinking hit the community hard as by 1911 Salt Spring and many of the other islands were established for some 50 years. As compared to many other communities in the Province who were established on or near HBCo. lands. Small ships like the Iroquois were vital life forces that connected small islands together to form a major tie that fed communities like Victoria, Nanaimo and the sort. Salt Spring lamb and mutton is as famous today as it was then... so the Iroquois and her likes were vital life lines for island farmers who formed the backbone of the islands in those days. Salt Spring butter was world famous even in those days. Apples, fruit and vegetables, beef cattle, sheep and chicken and eggs left the islands so often that a railway connected Sidney to the city of Victoria (not only for people to have access, but more important food for a thriving city).

By 1911 many new people had arrived to the islands and the population was growing at an alarming rate. many of the islands original farmers were dieing off and new blood was coming in to replace old farms with modern machinery and technology. People like your ancestor were coming to look and maybe buy up old and established farms.

I will also find notes from my library that tell the tale of the Iroquois, as the more I find paragraphs from my books I see that Captain Sears was not a very well liked man from day one. He was disliked by many in his day, yet he was in charge of peoples lives! He was part owner of the ship he was captain on... so we may see that his pushing into the wind and waves of that April day in 1911, may have had a monetary calling rather than a "safety first" call. Just like today, around the world, when Mother Nature warns us not to push our luck, we ignore her and "batten down the hatches" and head into the gale with blinders on.

I hope I have shed a little light on what your ancestor may have been up to. He may very well have had relations or friends who wrote to him... telling him to join them in the Gulf Islands... so many wrote to their family back in the "Old Country" telling tales of riches to be made "Yonder West". Canada being of "English Colony" origin many British Islanders came by the droves. Even today many islanders speak their own "British accent" several generations later.

I will be back with Peter Murray's story, soon; as for now... kind regards to you and yours.

Rocky Sampson
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Rocky 25 Sep 2005 11:03PM GMT 
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