V5 N3 Fall 1977 Steam Schooner 'Rochelle' at Columbia Contract Co. Dock

Page 1

VOL. 5


NO. 3


Of the hundreds of steam schooners that plied between West Coast ports in the early part of the century, few had more eventful careers than the Rochelle. Originally named Minnie E. Kelton, she was built as a Great Lakes "lumber hooker" in 1894 at West Bay City, Michigan. In 1907, having been purchased by Puget Sound interests, she made the 17,000 mile voyage around South America to the Pacific Northwest, where she was re-rigged and put into the coastal lumber trade . In May of the following year, while en route fully loaded to San Francisco from Aberdeen, she ran into unusually heavy seas in a gale off Yaquina. Her deckload shifted, causing her seams to spring. Leaking badly, without power, she was soon completely awash. One gigantic wave washed the deckload overboard, along with the deckhouse and eleven of the crew. Those remaining on board huddled in the forecastle through the night, and

were finally rescued by the Yaquina lifeboat crew the following day. The wreck was eventually salvaged and towed to Astoria by Daniel Kern, who converted it to a barge, which he used for several years to transport rock for jetty contruction. In 1912 Kern rebuilt the vessel from the keel up for J.S. Gill of San Francisco. Renamed Rochelle, she was again a first-class steam schooner, carrying passengers and lumber between West Coast ports. Two years later she was altered once more, this time to enlarge her passenger accommodations. The Rochelle met her end on October 21, 1914. Loaded with coal for Portland from Boat Harbor, B.C., she struck on Clatsop Spit while entering the Columbia River. All of her crew were safely removed by the Point Adams lifesavers, but the steam schooner's cargo caught fire, and she became a total loss.





FROM THE QUARTERDECK It is not by coincidence that all of the vessels mentioned and pictured in this issue were associated with Daniel Kern. The subjects were selected while going through a collection of photographs given to the Museum by his daughter, Miss Grace Kern, of Portland. Had there been more space in these pages, there surely could have been more stories about Mr. Kern. Few individuals have played a larger role in the maritime industry of . the Northwest. Marine construction, harbor improvements, towing, salvage, fish packing - there is hardly an area of marine endeavor that had not been influenced in some way by him before he died in 1933 at 75. Some time ago Miss Kern made a major contribution to the Building Fund in memory of her father. Her gift provided for the new building's lecture room and special exhibit gallery, which will accordingly be named for Daniel Kern. It is a most appropriate and lasting memorial. Several other major rooms within the new building have been similarly dedicated as memorials by virtue of large gifts to the Building Fund. The Northwest Coast and Rivers gallery will be named for Capt. Fritz S. Elfving, in recognition of a gift from the Elfving family. Mr. and Mrs. Graham Barbey have named the Fishing Industry gallery for Mr. Barbey's father, Henry J. Barbey. The Age of Sail gallery has been named by Mr. and Mrs. Harold A. Miller, and the Navy and Coast Guard gallery will carry the name of Vice Admiral Daniel E. Barbey as a result of a gift from Mrs. Katharine Barbey, his widow. For those who would like to make a substantial contribution towar<:l completion of the Museum's much-needed new facility, while at the same time honoring an individual or a family name, there are numerous possibilities from major rooms to exhibit panels. Any contribution will, of course, receive appropriate recognition. I urge anyone who is interested in a memorial gift to contact me or a member of the Board of Trustees for further information. Rolf Klep, Director


The Museum has lost a good friend and tireless supporter with the recent death of Clayton Morse, founding member of the Board, Treasurer, and Building Committee Chairman. He brought to his duties as a Trustee the same qualities that earned for him success and respect as a businessman. We valued his sound judgment and reasoned approach to problems facing the Museum; we admired his quiet manner. He will be sorely missed.




On December 27th, 1901, the French barque Henriette, 735 tons, sank when she settled on her anchor in shallow water off upper Astoria. Refloated by Daniel Kern, she was sold to Mackenzie Brothers of Vancouver, B.C., who cut her down to a barge. In 1905 she was refitted as a twin-screw steamer for the Skagway run. In 1918 she was purchased by Capt. Woodside of San Francisco, who rigged her as a 4-mast schooner for the Fiji trade. She was wrecked in the South Pacific in 1922.


The Museum's 1977 Annual Meeting and Dinner will be held on Friday evening, November 4th, at the Astoria Golf and Country Club. Captain Homer T. Shaver, Chairman of the Board of Shaver Transportation Company and a veteran of more than 60 years in Northwest marine industries, will be the guest of honor. Heading the agenda of the meeting will be the election of eight Trustees to the Board, and consideration of a by-laws change. Invitations were mailed to all Museum members early in October. Reservations for the limited number of available places must be received by November 1st.


Thirty-one 19th century Lwyds Register books and a rare, 6-volume, 1801 edition of Captain George Vancouver's Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America were recently purchased for the Museum library, thanks to a generous grant from the Rotary Club of Astoria. These books represent a very significant acquisition. The Lwyds Registers are invaluable tools for ship research, and the Vancouver volumes contain the account of the first survey of the Columbia River. An unrestricted bequest of five thousand dollars by Miss Teresa Baccrich of Portland, who passed away last May, will be added to the Museum endowment fund. Development of a new Museum brochure is one of several promotional efforts being funded by a grant from Mr. and Mrs. Patrick J. Maveety of Palo Alto, California.


SUSTAINING Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr.


& Mrs. Harry Claterbos, Jr. * George D. Heisley, Jr., Lake Oswego & Mrs. Lowell E. Kern, Portland * & Mrs. Sion H. Wentworth * Richard E. Wright, Newport *

SUPPORTING Danish Maid Bakery * Fiddler's Green * Dr. & Mrs. James W. Grenfell, Pacific Palisades, CA Mr. & Mrs. Herman M. Haggren Mr. & Mrs. William E. Young, Lake Oswego

Mr. Fred Andrus Mrs. Edward S. Campbell, Seattle Mr. Allen R. Davis * Mr. & Mrs. Charles Farmer * Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth C. Hadley * The 19th Century, Portland * Dr. Timothy A. Patrick * Mr. & Mrs. Norman Stoll, Portland

ANNUAL Mr. William Gilkerson, Mendocino, CA Mr. Bill W. Green, Gresham Mrs. C. W. Grenfell, Tigard Mr. & Mrs. Robert C. Macdonald Mr. Scott R. McMullen * Mr. & Mrs. Charles Trullinger, Oceanside, CA Mr. & Mrs. Robert A. Wrench, Eugene STUDENT Steve Giles, Eugene Rick Minor, Eugene R.J. Nutting, Piedmont, CA Kathryn A. Toepel, Eugene



MRS. CHARLES F. ADAMS Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep BRUCE ARMSTRONG Mr. & Mrs. John P. Syvanen DANIEL BABBITT Mrs. Joseph M. Dyer C. ROBERT BARNUM Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep ROY J. DAHL Mr. & Mrs. Axel Englund Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Ferreira ARTHUR S. DEMPSIE Mr. & Mrs. Ernest E. Brown Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mrs. Joe Henningsen FRED DODD Capt. & Mrs. H.T. Bohlman Capt. & Mrs. James Purcell JEAN PAULSEN FRENCH Mr. & Mrs. G.J. Barbey Mr. & Mrs. Ernest E. Brown MRS. CHARLES GUSTAFSON Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton MAGNA HAUKE Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hauke Mr. Paul Hauke Mr. & Mrs. Frank E. Ross SUSSIE JACKSON Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton VEIKKO LEPPINEN Capt. & Mrs. H.T. Bohlman PATRICIA JANE LIVESLEY Mr. & Mrs. Ernest E. Brown Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep MARGARET ANN MacGREGOR Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep

CLAYTON C. MORSE Mr. & Mrs. R.C. Anderson Mr. & Mrs. G.J. Barbey Mr. & Mrs. Fred L. Barnum Mr. & Mrs. Deskin 0. Bergey Mr. & Mrs. Mel Bettis Employees of Boones Ferry Builders Supply Co. Mr. & Mrs. Ernest E. Brown Mr. & Mrs. A.S. Bubnick Canby Builders Supply Co. Employees of Canby Builders Supply Co. Mr. & Mrs. Eben H. Carruthers Mr. & Mrs. Allen V. Cellars Mr. & Mrs. Morgan Coe Mr. & Mrs. Harold W. Dahlgren Mrs. Joseph M. Dyer Capt. & Mrs. R.0. Elsensohn John F. Forbes & Co. Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Forrester, Jr. Mr. Forest Garrigus Mr. & Mrs. Harold Gribbin Mr. Orrell Gribbin Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Harper Dr. & Mrs. E.W. Harvey Mrs. Hargaret H. Hawkins Mrs. Franc E. Heegler Mr. C.M. Heltzel Dr. & Mrs. Blair Henningsgaard Mr. & Mrs. Arthur C. Hildebrand Mrs. Robert L. Jones Mr. & Mrs. Jack L. Keeler Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Kessler Dr. & Mrs. Richard Kettlekamp Mr. & Mrs. Delwyn C. Kleen Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep Mr. & Mrs. Ford Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Clyde L. Lee Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Lovell Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Lowe Mr. & Mrs. William F. McGregor Mr. & Mrs. Gordon McRae Mr. & Mrs. Clifford A. Magnuson Mrs. Richard H. Martin Mr. & Mrs. K.C. Mecklem Mr. & Mrs. Neil Morfitt Mr. & Mrs. Michael Naab Mr. & Mrs. Daryle D. Nelson Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Newenhof Northern Yards, Inc.

Mr. & Mrs. John E. Rippet Mr. & Mrs. Frank E. Ross Mr. Tom Sandoz Mr. & Mrs. Richard Schroeder Mr. & Mrs. C. Shafer Mr. & Mrs. Wesley S. Shaner Mr. & Mrs. Larry V. Snyder Mrs. Earl Stemper Mr. & Mrs. Richard Stemper Mr. & Mrs. W.I. Stevens Mr. & Mrs. Arnold C. Swanson Mr. & Mrs. Harry Swanson Mr. William N. West Miss Dorothy Wootton DELMAR REDDING Mr. & Mrs. Melvin Hjorten ANNA SCHALK Mr. E.M. Marriott, Sr. Mr. Marque Marriott Mr. & Mrs. Dan A. Thiel DONALD E. SCHULTZ Mr. & Mrs. J.M. Adams Mr. & Mrs. Carl W. Angberg Mr. & Mrs. Howard Burns Mrs. Sophie Carlson Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd Halsan Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Johanson Mr. & Mrs. Arthur F. Juntti Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep Dr. & Mrs. Donald Kumpula Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Leslie Mr. & Mrs. Fred Leslie Mrs. Madeline Leslie Mr. & Mrs. Ralph J. Leslie Mr. & Mrs. A.J. Matson Joanne & Dwight Matson Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Ostrom Ms. Jennie Scudero Mr. & Mrs. Allen L. Turja Mr. & Mrs. Elmer J. Turja Mrs. De Nora Turja Mr. & Mrs. Maurice Wolfgram DON VAN VELZER Mr. & Mrs. Carl H. Tolonen STEPHEN S. WILCOX Mrs. Joseph M. Dyer


During the mid 1890's, activity in the West Coast maritime industry was at a low ebb. Freight rates were down, ships were laid up in large numbers, and shipyards lacked work. In the summer of 1897, however, conditions changed almost overnight. Gold had been discovered in the Klondike, and waterfronts all along the coast came to life in response to the rush. Vessels of every description were pressed into service to carry prospectors and their outfits northward and to supply the growing number of boom towns. Freight and passenger rates soared on the Alaska run. Orders for new coastal and inland vessels poured in to western builders. Dozens of river steamers, launches, and barges were built in the Northwest for Alaska service in 1898. One Seattle yard, Moran's, turned out 12 identical sternwheelers simultaneously, all for the Yukon trade. Most of these craft were towed up the coast; some


made the voyage under their own power. A large percentage of them, lightly constructed and unsuited to the rigors of a long passage across open ocean, arrived at their destinations too battered to be of use. Others did not make it at all. Two such vessels were the 178-foot sternwheel steamers Staghound and Gamecock, built at Portland for the Yukon Transportation and Commercial Co. of San Francisco. They departed the Columbia River for Alaska on June 24, 1898, in tow of the steamer Elihu Thompson. Less than 30 miles up the coast, heavy seas were encountered, breaking the hog chains on the Gamecock and badly straining the hull of the Staghound. The two waterlogged vessels were brought to Astoria in a sinking condition, where they were sold as wrecks to Daniel Kern's Columbia Contract Company. Both were rebuilt under new registry, the Stag hound being renamed Hercules. Both ended their careers in the 1930's after long service as Columbia River towboats, neither having ever reached the Alaskan waters for which they had originally been built.




Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE

PAID Astoria, Oregon Permit No. 209

QUARTERDECK REVIEW Published four times yearly by the Columbia River Maritime Museum, a non-profit institution funded by admission fees, a membership program, and private contributions. T. H. Thompson, President Rolf Klep, Director Michael Naab, Curator & Editor Museum members receive a free subscription to Quarterdeck Review, free admission to Museum facilities, and other benefits. Student . . . . . . . $2.50 per year Annual . $10.00 per year Contributing. . . $25.00 per year Supporting . . . . . . $50.00 per year Sustaining. . $100.00 per year Life. . $1,000.00 or more

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