V4 N3 Fall 1976 Ship 'Tonquin' Crossing the Bar

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VOL. 4


NO. 3


On September 8th, 1810, the ship Tonquin, commanded by Captain Jonathan Thorn, made her way out of New York harbor, bound for the Northwest Coast. From her masthead flew the white and orange house flag of John Jacob Astor . Her destination was the mouth of the Columbia River, where a fur trading station was to be established by Astor's newly-formed Pacific Fur Company. According to Astor's "grand scheme", the post would become the headquarters of a vast trading network covering most of western North America. The Tonquin arrived at the Columbia on March 22nd, 1811. Three days later, after several unsuccessful attempts to cross the bar, during which eight of her crew were lost, she anchored in Baker's Bay . A site for the

post was selected at Point George, on the south shore of the river. Supplies were unloaded , and construction of buildings was begun. The settlement was given, the name Astoria, to honor the principal partner and author of the enterprise. Captain Thorn, anxious to begin trading farther up the coast, sailed the Tonquin out of the river in early June . She was never heard from again. Months later, it was learned from a native interpreter who had accompanied the Tonquin that the ship had been overrun by Indians on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, with the loss of nearly all her crew. The few wounded survivors, trapped below decks, set fire to her powder store, destroying themselves and their vessel.





QUARTERDECK REVIEW Of all the challenges facing the Museum, perhaps none is greater than that of providing for sound and stable development in the future. Immediate needs, such as completion of the new building and performance of maintenance on the Lightship, often demand most of our energies, but the long range necessity remains . One of the ways to ensure the Museum's future is through endowment. Gifts such as Mrs. Hermann's (mentioned elsewhere in this issue), provide a permanent income for Museum operations, purchase of artifacts, etc. Furthermore, the endowment gift can be a lasting memorial to the donor or someone else, fulfilling the donor's wishes year after year. Naturally, such a gift is tax deductible. Contributions to the Museum for endowment or for any other purpose can be made through an outright gift, a bequest in one's will, establishment of a remainder trust providing a life income to the donor, etc. Supporters of the Museum's programs are urged to consider these or other ways to perpetuate their interest. Rolf Klep, Director

The Museum's endowment was recently augmented with a bequest of ten thousand dollars from the estate of Marie M. Hermann , who passed away last spring. Mrs . Hermann included the Museum in her will to recognize the life-long attachment to Astoria and the Columbia River that she shared with her late husband, Otto H. Hermann. Both of the Hermanns grew up on the lower river, Otto in Astoria and Marie, whose maiden name was Schuddings, in Pillar Rock and Svensen. Though they moved to Portland in 1929, Mr. Hermann's work as a civil engineer regularly brought him back to the waterfront he had known as a boy . Until his death in 1956, he continued to regard Astoria as his second home. Mrs. Hermann's bequest will be a lasting credit to them both, and to the Museum . Though the gift was unrestricted, the Board of Trustees has voted to use it to establish an Otto and Marie Hermann Fund, the income from which will go toward Museum operating expenses. GIFT MEMBERSHIPS

Past experience tells us that it's not too early to suggest Museum memberships as a holiday gift idea. A gift membership provides the recipient with a year (or a lifetime) of participation in the Museum, and it helps to keep the ship afloat. Send us your gift list. We'll mail the memberships at the right time, with an appropriate note naming you as the donor.



Karl Kortum, Director of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, will be the featured speaker at the Annual Dinner and Membership Meeting, to be held on Friday evening, November 5th, at the Astoria Golf & Country Club. A long-standing member of our Advisory Board, Mr. Kortum is widely known as an historian, writer, marine photographer, and recognized authority on preservation of historic vessels . Mr. Kortum's familiarity with ships and the sea is well found in experience. In 1941 he sailed before the mast in the bark Kaiul,ani with a cargo of lumber for South Africa from Gray's Harbor, then to Sydney with explosives. This was the last voyage of the Kaiul,ani under sail, and the last passage of an American-built square rigger around Cape Horn. After leaving the Kaiul,ani, Kortum sailed as second mate and chief mate in the motorship Lori,nrw, and the Army transports San Antonio and Octorara in the Western Pacific. After the War, he was instrumental in founding the San Francisco Maritime Museum, serving first as Coordinator, then as Curator, and later as Director. He also played an important role in establishing the San Francisco Maritime State Historic Park and in cultivating historically oriented waterfront development in the Aquatic Park area of San Francisco. With such a distinguished and colorful speaker, this year's Annual Dinner promises to be a memorable event. Members and friends are urged to attend, meet Mr. Kortum and enjoy a delightful evening. Tickets are available from the Museum.


A major addition to the Museum's ship model collection was made recently with the arrival of an exquisite ¼ inch scale model of the ship Tonquin, which brought the founders of Astoria to the Columbia River in 1811. Built by Eric W. Pardy, a Seattle professional, it is one of two models commissioned for the Museum to commemmorate the Nation's Bicentennial. The second model, now under construction by Mr. Pardy, is a replica of the brig Chatham, in which Lieutenant Broughton surveyed the Columbia River as far as Point Vancouver in 1792. The Tonquin is a gift to the Museum from Rolf Klep, while the Chatham is funded by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Oregon. The original Tonquin, built at New York in 1806 by Adam and Noah Brown, measured 269 tons. Her length

between perpendiculars was 94 feet; beam, 25 feet; and depth of hold, 13 feet. The model, though only 42 inches long from the tip of the jib boom to the tip of the spanker boom, is extremely detailed and realistic. The copper sheathing on her bottom is darkened and corroded, as would be the case if a ship had long been at sea. Her sides are streaked, as they would be from rusting iron fittings and runoff from the scuppers, and her hull shows the worn paint and scarred planks of a working vessel. Four lifelike carved figures are about the ship, adding to the sense of realism. The Tonquin model is a rare combination of superb craftsmanship and technical accuracy that will satisfy the sternest critic. There is little doubt that it will be among the Museum's most popular exhibits.


Shortly after the turn of the century, when fishermen on the Columbia River were turning in large numbers to gas engines to power their boats, there was a bewildering array of marine engines of every description to choose from. In addition to the popular West Coast makes such as Atlas, Standard, Hicks, and Corliss, there were big names from the East and Midwest as well. To make the choice even more difficult, it seemed that every small foundry and machine shop turned out an engine or two on its own. Then, as now, a man's decision to purchase a certain make of engine was likely to be based on his own or his friends' experience, or on the convincing assurances of a good salesman. One of this latter breed, before his retirement, was Truman B. Cook, who stopped by the Museum recently to relate an amusing tale. It seems that in 1912 Mr. Cook, already an accomplished engineer and salesman in spite of his youth, was cover-

ing the Columbia River between W arrendale and Ilwaco as a sales agent for the Vim 2-cycle marine engine. A bright red, 2-cylinder, 10 horsepower model was installed in the small launch that served him both as a demonstrator and as transportation to the dozens of landings along the river. The Vim was a particularly good engine, and it seemed to meet with approval among the Scandinavian fishermen for whom Cook demonstrated it. Nevertheless, after several weeks, he hadn't sold one, and he couldn't understand why. The answer came from a Norwegian at Blind Slough. After hearing about the glories of the Vim, and watching its wonders, he remarked sadly to Cook, "Ja, dot's a gut enchine. But iss not green!" Realizing that all the popular West Coast engines were painted green, Cook returned to Portland the following day and gave his bright red Vim two coats of "Astoria Green" enamel. The next week he sold three.




D Benefactor $10,000 or more $2,000 or more D Patron □ Life

D Sustaining My Check

$1,000 or more $100 per year Money Order D

□ □ □ □

Supporting Contributing Annual Student

$50 per year $25 per year $10 per year $2. 50 per year

for $ ................ is enclosed

Memberships Start from Month of Receipt NAME ADDRESS .................................................... .. ... .............. . CITY ............. ......... ............ ...... ZIP ......... .. ____ STATE STR. BAILEY GATZERT AT THE CASCADES, CIRCA 1900.


SUSTAINING Mr. & Mrs. P.J. Maveety, Palo Alto Albert J. Mittet* Capt. & Mrs. E.F. Nemecek Capt. & Mrs. J.W. Plumlee Mr. W.T.C. Stevens, Portland* Mr. Frank M. Warren, Portland* Mr. R.E. Wright, Newport

CONTRIBUTING Mr. Philip L. Bainer Mr. & Mrs. Carl Bondiette Capt. Joseph L. Bruneau Mr. Frank Hildebrand* Mr. W. Calder McCall, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. A.F. Peterson, San Jose, CA* Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Pressman, Eugene Mr. & Mrs. L.F. Van Dusen

Mr. C.L. Cummings, Lake Oswego Mr. David Duncan, Portland Mrs. R.S. Goodson, Opportunity, WA Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. D.R. Munroe, Jr. Dr. Timothy A. Patrick Mr. Walter D. Pelett, Portland Mr. & Mrs. G. Remme, Fargo, ND Mr. Donald V. Riswick

SUPPORTING ANNUAL STUDENT ~ Mr. & Mrs. O.S. Chambers, Highlands, NC Mr. V.J. Benbenniek, Seaside Mr. John Crane, Carmichael, CA Capt. & Mrs. R.H. Collins Mr. & Mrs. L.E. Kern, Portland* Mrs. Gertrude Howe Chase, Friday Harbor



Non-Profit Organization U.S. POST AGE

PAID Astoria, Oregon Permit No. 209

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