From: Past and Present of P.E.I. The book was published by B.F.Bowden & Co. about 1906.No authors but editorship of Hon. D.A.MacKinnon and Hon. A.B.Warburton.

Few incidents in our colonial life are more deeply impressed on the history of this province than the voyage of the good ship "Fanny" round the Horn to San Francisco in the year 1849. The gold fever had broken out a few years previously and a number of Islanders then in the Eastern states had hurried thither to make their fortunes. News did not travel in those days as rapidly as it does today. But Peter Pool’s fervid description of the richness of the new found fields, which he had reached some time previously, with a strong invitation to come out and participate in the treasure, was received by his brother in Charlottetown and quickly communicated to the whole population of the Island. Naturally there was much excitement and a disposition on the part of young men able to undertake the hardships of the voyage, to arrange their affairs in their own quiet homes and become part of a band of adventurers in search of rich fortunes on the Pacific slope. There were no trans-continental railways then and hence the resolve quickly reached by a large company to enter into partnership, purchase a, suitable vessel and attain the gold fields by way of Cape Horn.

A substantial ship was obtained from James Peake, Esq., in the good brig "Fanny," built in Charlottetown by Joseph Pippy, of over two hundred tons burden, jumper built, coppered and copper fastened.

The price exacted was four thousand pounds Island currency, which was paid, the shares of the company being placed at one hundred pounds each. The gold seekers then prepared themselves for their long and arduous voyage; they were drawn from the best families of the province and their movements were eagerly watched by the whole people. The following is a complete list of those who composed the company, crew and passengers, which set sail from Charlottetown on the 12th day of November, A. D. 1849, followed amidst the Godspeeds of the entire population-:

Company: Edward Buxton, James Hancock, John H.Gates, John McDonnell, John Pidwell, James Connel, John Norton, John Orr, Douglas Davison, Robert Percival, Malcolm McGougan, Stephen Bouyer, Thomas Keating, George W. Owen, Charles Wright, B. J. Hodgson, Stephen McCallum, Christopher Smith. Edward Love, Thomas Snelgrove, J. McLaine, Richard Smith, Peter McKinnon, George Holman, William N. Kewell, John Putnam, John Hawkins, Charles Blatch, James Howatt, James C. Pope, Artemas Davison, Edward Moore, James Millner, Thomas Chappell, William Barrett, Isaac Rider, Jabez Bernard, W. W. Moore, Robert Boyle, George Moore. Names of the crew: Captain Irving, First Mate Smith, Second Mate Fred Comp-ton, W. H. McKay,-McRae,-McRae, Duncan McGougan, John Sinclair. There were three passengers, namely: Edwin White, Thomas Poole and Gardener.

Only the other day, one of this historic company passed away, but prior to the fatal call he penned for this sketch the particulars which follow and which may be considered perfectly accurate. I need not apologize for giving the particulars of the voyage in the words of my esteemed friend, the late John Orr, of French River, New London; since his demise, but three of those who sailed in the "Fanny" are alive, John H. Gates and Edward Moore, of Charlottetown, and Duncan McGougan, of Princetown.

Story as told by John Orr, of French River, Prince Edward Island:

The brig "Fanny" was built in Charlottetown in the year 1845 by Joseph Pippy, for James Peake, Esq. She was a stanch jumper built craft, about two hundred and fifty tons register and a very slow sailer. A company of forty was formed, who bought her and the cargo from Mr. Peake for four thousand pounds, Island currency, being one hundred pounds each share. She was loaded chiefly with house building material, provisions and tools of all kinds for different trades.

We sailed on the 12th day of November, 1849. A small steamer called the "Rose" towed us out from Charlottetown to Governor’s Islands, where we anchored for the night; the next morning we set sail for Canso, arriving in the evening where we landed the pilot, he carrying the news back how we were progressing. We started from Canso and shaped our course for Cape St. Rogue, which proved a bad mistake. I advised differently, but was overruled, by the captain, and when we got down on the coast of Brazil we found ourselves six hundred miles to the westward and leeward, taking us nearly six weeks to beat out around the cape, causing us to be very short of water, and although we kept ourselves on short allowance and the water under lock and key, when we arrived at Bahia on the 1st day of February, 1850, we had only enough for one day. We made only a short stay at Bahia. Owing to the British consul warning us of the danger of yellow fever; we got our supplies on board as quickly as possible and sailed away, followed by a gale of fair wind, which proved a great blessing, for the first night our first mate took sick of yellow fever; his cries and groans were awful to hear and greatly alarmed us. Our hope now was that the words of the consul might prove true, that the fever would soon die away, and our quick run into a colder climate proved them to be so. Our gallant captain deserved the thanks of all for his kind attention to the mate, whose, recovery dismissed our fears. We had guns and plenty of ammunition and Ion the way shot lots of game. James C. Pope shot the first bird, a very large black one, a kind very plentiful. We, all wished to get it, but were refused the boat. Pope, strong and determined, with not a lazy bone in his body, clothed in duck trousers and shirt, leaped from the deck into the sea and was soon making for the ship with the bird, when within fifty yards of the ship, he was seen to drop the bird. Everyone thought this a bad sign, as he was not the man to abandon his purpose. A rope was thrown him and soon he was on deck, but not a moment too soon, for a large disappointed shark made his appearance just where he had come out of the water. Off the river De La Plata we met stormy weather, which carried away our foretop sail yard and sprung our fore yard. I happened to be in the capacity of ship’s carpenter for the voyage and this incident made some extra work for me. However, we soon got our spars repaired and everything in ship-shape again.

The next place we came to anchor was in the straits of Lamere, near Cape Horn, about the 1st of March, lying there one day. Then we started to turn the cape, when we encountered very strong weather, cold, with snow squalls. We came very near being lost here, our ship being hove over on beam ends, causing the loss of deck load. It took us about three weeks of hard battling before we got around; then we had fair passage up the coast to Valparaiso, where we called, buying a quantity of flour, with the intention of taking it to the mines in California. . We stayed in Valparaiso four days, then sailed again for our destination, with a fair wind which remained with us. But there were some of our company that fine weather and fair winds would not satisfy. One man kept praying to have it all the way, but I rebuked him for his selfishness, saying that a stern wind for us would be a head wind for some one else.

One of the passengers, Mr. White, who had been very sick for some time, in spite of the best treatment and attention our captain could give him, gradually grew worse, so that we despaired.of his life. We were much pleased to sight a ship, whichwe signaled and found a doctor on board. He readily came to us and gave what assistance he could, but of no avail, and in a short time, the poor sufferer died and was buried at sea. The body was sewed up in a hammock with heavy irons attached to the ankles and placed on a plank on the rail of the ship With the Union Jack spread over it. The captain having read the burial service, it was launched into the deep Pacific. That evening we held our meeting on the quarter deck. George Moore conducted the service, which seemed more than usually solemn and impressive. Sailing along the coast of Peru we had a magnificent sight of the Andes, the sun shining bright and clear, making the scene more grand and beautiful. How straight the snow line, how broad and lay on the mountain tops, how wonderful at night to see high up the, bright light of the burning peaks.

Finally we’ passed through the Go1den Gate, arriving at San Francisco on the 28th day of May, A. D. 1850, thus ending a long and tedious passage of about seven and one- half months. When we arrived there was a forest of masts to be seen in the bay; it was estimated that about seven hundred ships from all parts of the world were abandoned, stripped and laid up, crews having gone to the mines. San Francisco being then a town of about thirty houses, we were not likely to get lost. Before coming to anchor there was a draw for the boat. Thomas Poole having got possession of it, went on shore to look up his folks. He soon found them living in a house of their own near Kierney street. They were glad to see us all, but delighted to behold Tom once more.

When the company was f6rmed in Charlottetown we agreed to stick together for three years after arriving in California. Now, we having got better acquainted with each other, thought differently, so it was put to vote to see if we would remain a company, or not. All were in favor of dissolution with the exception of one, James Connel, a plasterer, of Charlottetown. We then sold the ship and cargo to Messrs. Bolton & Baron, commission merchants for a rich Spaniard down in Mexico. for eight thousand dollars, each of us taking his share and as the saying is "Every, fellow on his own hook." Mr. Buxton, the lawyer, announced that the release was ready to be signed. Then on the quarter deck of the "Fanny" the whole company signed a release to each other and, every, man became his own master to go where he pleased.

The facsimile following is photographed from the original discharge, Signed in San Francisco. The names and signatures will be familiar to many, especially that of James C. Pope, being well known, signator afterwards to many of the important public documents of the colony.


For more Information on the Fanny and its voyage, see the Island Register's Ships Page



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