Captain Peter Simon Murchison, 1866 - 1919


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Submitted by David Campbell - DaveHeathr@aol.com


Captain Peter Simon Murchison, 1866 - 1919

The bond between newspaper and shipping was strong in the early 1900's. Shipping records were well documented in order to cover commerce and tourism. Shipping bonded the elite to the common man and still attracted the adventurous spirit of those excited by the constant dangers of sailing.

Captain Peter Simon Murchison, 1866 - 1919, followed the Murchison tradition as a ship captain, but left Prince Edward Island, Canada for the growing city of San Francisco, California. Here, his journeys and travails were well documented. He met his wife and raised his family. Their lives were honored with attention in the social pages as well as the shipping columns.

Raised in Point Prim, Prince Edward Island, Canada, Peter took up the family tradition of sailing. Like his father, he quickly became Captain and Master Mariner, which gave him the privilege of leading transcontinental commerce. As a young captain, he lost a vessel, the John Currier in Washington with details related in the Prince Edward Island papers.

It seems at this point he took his skills to San Francisco, married and raised his family. The most significant article in San Francisco occurred following the tragedy of the death of his younger brother in 1909. Captain Peter dutifully relates the horrific details of his efforts to save his young brother who was clinging to a line in rough seas before being lost.

Tragically, Captain Peter also lost a son to the sea about 15 years later. Of his 15 siblings 8 of whom were brothers, he lost 5 brothers and a brother in law to the sea. His siblings and nephews are tragically lost year after year. The 1881 - 1901 census records of Prince Edward Island document the sad decline of the full household becoming a home of orphans raised by spinster aunts and widows living in the house of Peter's parents who have both passed away by 1901.

The successful voyages are also listed in the San Francisco pages. Mere notes in the column of "Shipping Intelligence". They relay a very prolific career. There is chance that many or perhaps up to half of these entries should be credited to his brother, Captain Neil Donald Murchison. His brother was also a Master Mariner and lived in the San Rafael, California just north of San Francisco. But his brother's name, nor his initials are ever listed in the pages, so the details will never be known. Captain Peter is often listed by name and even his wife's social events are mentioned a couple of times. It's amazing to see the history year to year as Captain Murchison travels the coast for lumber and resources for the growing demands of early San Francisco.


THE STORY OF THE SHIPWRECK

Seattle, Washington Sept. 24

The revenue cutter Thetis arrived here today with the survivors of the American ship "John Currier". Wrecked in Nelson's Lagoon, Bristol Bay, on August 9th. There were 110 white men. 120 Japanese and Chinese and the wife and five children of Captain Murchison in the party.

According to Captain Murchison the "Currier" was driven ashore on August 9th by a fierce gale that came up during a fog. Before the Commander could make out his bearings his ship had been piled up on the rocks. The crew and the passengers were gotten off safely and the following morning when the fog lifted the crew took off all the ship's stores and the baggage of the passengers and crew.

It was estimated thirty days supplies were on hand but Captain Murchison given command of the party by tacit understanding ordered everybody on two meals a day. No warning was given, but it was thoroughly understood anyone stealing supplies would be shot. As a result there was no pilfering. Ten days after the party landed on a coast so bleak and barren that there was neither shelter nor food supplies, the "Currier" dashed herself to pieces on the rocks. From that time until the revenue cutter "MacCullock" appeared, September 11, not a ship hove in sight.

Immediately after landing, two members of the crew were sent away with an Indian guide to seek help, and this company intended to set out again just as the revenue cutter "MacCullock" appeared on September 11th. The "MacCullock" transferred her passengers to the Thetis which brought them here. A bread line on the Thetis was formed at meal hours. Captain Murchison and crew will be sent to San Francisco, the fishermen and the Oriental to Astoria, Oregon.

This is the actual ship the John Currier that Captain Peter Murchison sailed and lost in the late 1800ís.

The Morning Call, San Francisco, February 5th, 1895

SCHOONER MATE DROWNED

Washed Off the Jibboom in a Gale of Wind.

Working the Disabled Vessel Through the Heavy Seas and Watching for the Lost Seaman.

The schooner Fannie Adele, Captain Peter S. Murchison, which sailed from this port for Humboldt on the 5th inst., returned yesterday with her headgear a wreck and without her second officer. John M. Murchison, the brother of the captain, who fell overboard and was drowned on the night of the 7th inst. in latitude 38 north and longitude 125 west. About midnight, while the wind was blowing hard and the sea very high, the martingale was carried away, slacking the stays and placing the vessel in a dangerous predicament.

While out on the boom making fast the broken gear Mate Murchison was struck by a sea and washed from his place on the boom. The captain threw him a line as he floated past the schooner, which the luckless seaman caught and held to with a firm grip.

Every effort was made to heave the schooner to, but the wreck forward and the strong gale that was humming around the close-reefed sails made it impossible to check her speed. The crew tried to haul gently in on the line, but the vessel, rising and falling abruptly in the rough seas, jerked the rope through the drowning manís hands, and finally it was wrenched from his grasp and he drifted out of sight. They could not lower a boat in the wild waves, but lay all night near the spot in their disabled condition, keeping the almost unmanageable schooner from broaching to and watching for the lost officer.

Murchison was a native of Prince Edward Island, unmarried and was about 21 years old. He was well known and very popular along the water front, having sailed in and out of this port for several years.

Shipping Intelligence listings of 57 journeys.

Link: The San Francisco Call - http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/ndnp:90941/issueList.html?titlePid=ndnp:90941

January 1, 1895

The Morning Call (San Francisco)

January 1, 1895

Latest Shipping Intelligence

Schr (Schooner) Adele, Murchison, 13 days from

Grays Harbor, lumber to Simpson Lumber Company

February 12, 1895

The Morning Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1878-1895

February 12, 1895, Page 10, Image 10

Sailed February 11

Schr Fannie Adele, Murchison, Eureka

may 4, 1895

The Morning Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1878-1895

May 04, 1895, Page 10, Image 10

Sailed Friday, May 8

Bktn Uncle John, Murchison, Seattle

May 20, 1895

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

May 20, 1895, Page 9, Image 9

Shipping Intelligence

Sailed Sunday, May 19

Schr Fannie Adele. Murchison

August 2, 1895

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 02, 1895, Page 10, Image 10

Sailed Thursday, August 1, 1895

Schr Fannie Adele, Murchison, Grays Harbor

December 13, 1895

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

December 13, 1895, Page 12, Image 12

Arrived Thursday, December 12

Bktn Uncle John, Murchison, 18 days from Ta -

coma; lumber, to San Francisco Lumber Co.

December 26, 1895

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

December 26, 1895, Page 10, Image 10

Arrived WEDNESDAY, December 25

Schr Fanny Adele, Murchison, 8 days from Grays

Harbor; lumber, to E. K. Wood Lumber Co.

January 04, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

January 04, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Scnr Fannie Adele. Murchison. Willipa Harbor.

January 05, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

January 05, 1896, Page 27, Image 27

Bcnr Fannie Adele, Murchison, Willapa Harbor.

January 31, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

January 31, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Sailed Thursday, January 30

Bktn Uncle John, Murchison, Eureka.

February 13, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

February 13, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Scnr Fannie Adele. Murchison. Grays Harbor.

March 10, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 10, 1896, Page 10, Image 10

Arrived Monday, March 9

Schr Fanny Adele, Murchison, 7 days from

Columbia River: 283 M ft lumber, to Antioch Lum -

ber Co. Up river direct.

March 13, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 13, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Sailed Thursday, March 12

Bktn Uncle John, Murchison, Eureka.

March 21, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 21, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Scnr Fannie Adele, Murchison. Tacoma.

March 31, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 31, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Bktn Uncle John. Murchison, 30 hours from Eu -

reka: lumber, to J J Moore & Co..

April 19, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

April 19, 1896, Page 31, Image 31

Arrived April 18, 1896

Fanny Adele, Murchison, 9 days from

Tacoma; lumber, to Hanson & Co.

May 03, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

May 03, 1896, Page 31, Image 31

Sailed. Saturday, May 2

Scnr Fannie Adele. Murchison, Tacoma

May 17, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

May 17, 1896, Page 31, Image 31

Arrived Saturday, May 18.

Bktn Uncle John. Murchison. 5 days from Grays

llarbor: lumber. 10 Simpson Lumber Co.

August 10, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 10, 1896, Page 8, Image 8

Arrived, Sunday, August 9.

Schr Fanny Adele,. Murchison, 9 days from

Grays Harbor; lumber, to S E Siade Lumber Co.

August 20, 1896

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 20, 1896, Page 12, Image 12

Shipping Intelligence

Scnr Fannie Adele. Murchison, Grays Harbor.

November 29, 1897

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): November 29, 1897, p. 9 - Image 11

January 7, 1898

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): January 7, 1898, p. 9 - Image 9

Bktn Uncle John. Murchison, 14 day* from

New Whntcom; lumber to rtellingham Bay Im -

provement Co.

January 15, 1898

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): January 15, 1898, p. 11 - Image 11

Arrived Friday, January 14

Bktn Uncle John. Murchison. New Whatcom

March 27, 1898

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): March 27, 1898, p. 30 - Image 30

Sailed Saturday, March 26

Schr Ivy, Murchison. Grays Harbor.

April 18, 1899

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): April 18, 1899, p. 8 - Image 8

Arrived April 17

Brig Courtney Ford, Murchison. 10 days from Olympia

May 7, 1899

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): May 7, 1899, p. 30 - Image 30

Cleared Saturday, May 6

Schr Falcon, Murchison, Unalaska; North

American Commercial Co

July 07, 1899

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

July 07, 1899, Page 8, Image 8

Shipping Intelligence

Schr Falcon, Murchison. 14 days from Unga.

November 30 1899

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco) ,

November 30 1899

Schr Falcon, Murchison. 20 days from Coos Bay.

December 30, 1899

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

December 30, 1899, Page 11, Image 11

Cleared Friday, December 29

Schr J H Colman, Murchison, Hilo' J. D. Spreckels & Bros. Co.

Thursday, March 01, 1900

The San Francisco Call

TREANOR-In this city, February 28 1900.

Ellen, beloved mother of William. S. G, and

Hilda C. Treanor and Mrs. J. J. Reilly, Mrs.

C W. Mallett, Mrs. A. W. Doyle and Mrs.

Captain P S Murchison, a native of County

.Armagh, Ireland, aged :72 years.

Thursday, March 08, 1900

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 08, 1900, Image 8

Arrived Wednesday, March 7.

Schr J M Colman. Murchison. 15 day from Hilo

Tuesday, August 21, 1900

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 21, 1900, Image 10

Brig Courtney Ford. Murchison. 12 days from

Tacoma.

Sunday, April 14, 1901

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

April 14, 1901, Image 22

CLEARED Saturday, April 13.

Ship John Currier, Murchison, Bristol Bay

Alaska Packers Association.

Wednesday, March 19, 1902

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

March 19, 1902, Image 5

Schr Courtney Ford, Murchison, 9 days from

Port Ludlow

Thursday, April 10, 1902

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

April 10, 1902, Image 7

SAILED

Wednesday. April 9

Schr Courtney Ford. Murchison, for Port

Hadlock.

Thursday, June 26, 1902

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

June 26, 1902, Image 5

Sailed Wednesday June 25

Schr Polaris. .Murchison, Salinas Cruz.

Thursday, July 02, 1903

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

July 02, 1903, Image 10

Shipping Intelligence

CLEARED

"Wednesday, July 1

Schr Polaris, Murchison, 9 Ĺ days from Port

Gamble

Monday, September 08, 1902

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

September 08, 1902, Image 5

Buford Anchors off her Berth

Leaking Boilers Cause Her to Lay Up at Honolulu

Big Transport Brings more that 1000 Souls from Philipines.

Eighth Infantry; Second

Lieutenant W. G. Murchison

Friday, April 03, 1903

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): April 4, 1903 - Image 7

Arrived April 3.

Schr Polaris, Murchison. 9 days from Port Ludlow

Friday, April 24, 1903

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): April 24, 1903 - Image 10

Sailed Thursday April 23

Schr Polaris, Murchison, Port Gamble.

Thursday, July 02, 1903

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): July 2, 1903 - Image 10

Sailed July 1.

Schr Polaris, Murchison, 91/2 days from Port

Gamble.

Sunday, October 29, 1905

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

October 29, 1905, Page 39, Image 39

Saturday. October 28.

Bktn Planter. Murchison, Port Blakeie

Thursday, January 11, 1906

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): January 11, 1906, p. 11 - Image 11

Sailed Wednesday January 10

Bktn Planter, Murchison Port Blakeley

Sunday, April 29, 1906

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

April 29, 1906, Page 2, Image 2

Shipping Intelligence

Arrived April 28

Bktn Planter, Murchison, 12 days

from Port Gamble.

Sunday, June 03, 1906

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): June 3, 1906, p. 31 - Image 31

Arrived

Bktn Planter, Murchison, 12 days

from Port Gamble.

Friday, June 22, 1906

The San Francisco call (San Francisco [Calif.]): June 22, 1906, p. 12 - Image 12

Steamer City of Peking has many Passengers from Panama and way ports

Mrs. Louisa Murchison and daughter

(This is Peter Murchison's wife)

Sunday, July 15, 1906

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

July 15, 1906, Page 42, Image 42

Shipping Intelligence

SAILED.

Saturday. July 14.

Bktn Planter, Murchison, Port. Gamble

Tuesday, August 14, 1906

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 14, 1906, Page 12, Image 12

TACOMA. Aug. 13.óThe American barkentine

Planter, Captain Murchison. was towed to sea to -

day from Port Gamble, lumber-laden, for San

Francisco.

Thursday, August 23, 1906

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

August 23, 1906, Page 7, Image 7

Arrived Wednesday August 22

Bktn Planter, Murchison, 10 days from Port. Gamble

Monday, February 25, 1907

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

February 25, 1907, Page 7, Image 7

Arrived Saturday Aprill 22

Bktn Planter, Murchison, 10 days from Port. Tacoma

Saturday, October 23, 1909

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

October 23, 1909, Page 27, Image 27

Shipping Intelligence

Schr Melrose. Murchison.: 16 days from

Mukiltco: 800 M ft, lumber to Crown lumber company.

Saturday, January 15, 1910

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

January 15, 1910, Page 21, Image 21

Bktn John C. Meyer. Murchison, 75 days from

New Castle. N. S. 1,328 tons coal lo Hind,

Kolph &. Co.

Wednesday, May 11, 1910

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

May 11, 1910, Page 17, Image 17

Captain P. S. Murchison of the bark John C.

Meyer has presented Manager Delanty: of- the

Grays Harbor stevedore company with a fine oil

painting of the Meyer, painted by an artist In

Newcastle.

Monday, July 04, 1910

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913

July 04, 1910, Page 7, Image 7

Schr Melrosc, Murchison, 10 days from Ever -

ett; 800,000 feet lumber to the Charles Nelson

company.


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