Maquinna: Calling on the Way Stops of Life

TitleOnlyThe intention here, was to present a particular picture of Princess Maquinna.  After all, she had been referenced in the prior three posts, on this part of the blog. This was her time; present her, then to move on, to the next page of Pop’s scrapbook.

Scrapbook? Well, she was scrapped and is now scrapbooked on many an internet site. She is gone, verifiably so. She is gone like the logging camp I have been telling you about.  Gone too, like the logging camp I will be telling you about. Gone like the big pharma firm that brought me to the US. Bought out, or gone. One and the same. Gone. Just like the second and the third, and maybe the fourth pharma house. We lose count, with so much gone-ness.  Maybe it is just called change. Yes, let’s call it change. Gone are the dear ones that we remember here. Memories; let’s call them, love.

But Princess Maquinna is gone again. Not in a mystical way. You see, we had the steamer, as art, decorating our living room wall, for as long as I can remember. She was gliding on calm Pacific water, on a light filled day. When my father passed, so went the dear Princess. Before she left, I took a picture of her picture.  Her file size was large, probably easily reduced, by anyone else. My fix was to dry dock her, to flash drive. Yup, she is gone. No, she is not in the file cabinet. No, not in a desk drawer. No, not with photo albums. Not in the safe. She is GONE. I needed the exact her, to memorialize her, here, forever. Gone too, are precious moments, looking for her.  

Oh well, one can view her black and white at the Cumberland Museum and Archives, photo C250-001. 1 Here, she seems grayed to a light Pacific fog. As to her naming; Nootka Sound indents the coast again, between Clayoquot and Quatsino, after Port Renfrew, when on her northerly route. Of course, you must already know, that resident, Chief Maquinna and explorer, Captain James Cook, met at Nootka Sound, long ago – a couple of decades before the turn of the 19th Century. Her name confirmed her rugged route, so often plied in life, by the great Chief.  There are many variant spellings of his name, probably better suited to how he actually pronounced himself, but Maquinna is penned to the ship.

Princess Maquinna was an essential component to our life at Port Renfrew.  Her unwitting partnership with our Hemmingsen side, began in the early 1930s, when Grandad, Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1967) commenced his logging operations, there.  Sure, he probably was aboard her earlier than that, and often, but emergent 1930s was official Hemmingsen-Maquinna.

Grandad, James Dickson (1882-1969) may have beaten Matt to the punch. “Jim” appeared on Vancouver Island, January 1912. 2 He was soon to turn 30.  His last census in Scotland had been taken just nine months earlier. It had him still a hewer, or picker of the rock, at the coal face. 3 The immigrant, somehow, came to Canada in a foreman position. 4 He was the Chief Inspector of Mines for the Province of British Columbia, by his early forties.  Most would have made that quick career rise, earlier in life. But, here he was, in this new vast land, with mining, a booming industry, and a mountain (pun, I tell you) of information to absorb, rapidly. 

Canadian Pacific Railway steamers serviced both mining and forestry, in this era, of the west coast of Vancouver Island. To make the point, an earlier steamer, the Tees, found mention in the Report of the Minister of Mines 1907, in that, the “Provincial Mineralogist” “returned to Victoria” … “to catch the steamer Tees, which runs up the west coast of Vancouver Island to Quatsino Sound”. 5 Princess Maquinna picked up that run, around 1913. 

Dailly Colonist

So, now, a James Dickson was aboard the Tees, destined for Quatsino, according to the Daily Colonist of 21 August 1912 6

Notice that the “voyage” was worthy of newspaper space!

 “James Dickson” was  the total identification for that passenger.  In what confidence may we claim him?  Only by intuition; it feels right.  Of course, that does not make it right. No matter, as you will see. The BC census, taken the year prior, enumerated only eight adult namesakes; Jim would make nine. 7 What might prompt such a journey? A good possibility is that the referenced James Dickson may have been a miner, making his mark, out assessing Clayoquot coal, or Quatsino ore.

Should James Dickson, on the Tees, not be Grandad, then he would, anyway, soon find himself on the Maquinna, to visit the same mining ventures. Routinely, even. Maquinna was how one got there.  For certain, it would be official Dickson-Maquinna, by 1927, when he assumed Chief Inspector, beating Matt’s 1930s start. OK, the reality is, they were both venturing all over Vancouver Island, and all places, British Columbia.

So, family, we always thought that Hemmingsen–Dickson was consequent to a meeting at the University of British Columbia, in the late 1930s. It seems quite possible that the family paths crossed on the Maquinna, or even the Tees, long before.

Little wonder she adorned our wall.

—————————————————————

  1. Cumberland Museum and Archives. Photo C250-001 S.S. Princess Maquinna (steamship) passengers on top deck. Date 1930-40s. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cumberlandmuseum/6961791759/in/album-72157629079624190
  2. Documents Accessed at Family Search: https://familysearch.org ©2017 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. / Canada Passenger Lists 1881-1922: citing Immigration, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada T-4825, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada Digital Folder 004550414 Image 00245
  3. Document accessed at ScotlandsPeople https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Citing document for Dickson, James K (Census 1911 647/00 024/00 028). Data are ©Crown Copyright, National Records of Scotland. 
  4. Family History, John Oliver Hemmingsen, December 1999, Victoria, British Columbia, Presented under this copyright.  All rights reserved.  
  5. Document Accessed At Government of British Columbia http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geoscience/PublicationsCatologue/AnnualReports/Documents/AR 1907.pdf
  6. “For West Coast,” The Daily Colonist 21 August 1912 p. 15 https://archive.org/stream/dailycolonist57214uvic
  7. Document Accessed at Family Search: https://familysearch.org  ©2017 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. / Citing Canada Census 1911 for British Columbia, Canada, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 2,417,658.

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