Clipper - Two Brothers

Clippet Two Brothers
A Sketch of the Clipper Two Brothers
in The San Francisco Call, Jan. 10 , 1901

The Down Easter Two Brothers was once a well-known clipper along the coasts of the Pacific Northwest. She originally made runs between Boston and San Francisco with Glidden & Williams as her agent, and then was involved for nearly a decade in the European-Wheat trade between San Francisco and England.  In her later years, She made regular voyages of coal, lumber and salmon up and down the Pacific Coast from ports such as Nanaimo, Seattle, and Portland to San Francisco.

Several other vessels also carried the same name, including smaller schooners, and the famous Nantucket whaler lost off the coast of Hawaii on the French Shoals in 1823. Her captain, George Pollard served as the inspiration for the novel, Moby Dick when his first command, Essex, was rammed by a sperm whale and sank. 

The Two Brothers was built in 1868 Farmingdale, Maine and while few large clippers such as Two Brothers were built in Maine, more wooden sailing vessels were built in Maine in the 19th century than in any other state. 

After the Civil War, competitive Maine builders took much of the large shipbuilding business from cities to the south. Shipbuilders who had started by building smaller vessels took advantage of new opportunities to build ships for the deep water trade with California, Europe, Australia, and the Orient. Mainers kept a financial interest in these ships, frequently providing captains and officers, and Maine ships were recognized in most ports of the world. Investing in them resulted in the wealth that created the attractive towns surrounding the Bay.
With the advent of steam, and the decline of the use of sailing ships after the Civil War, economics necessitated the design of a new kind of clipper, built exclusively in Maine, known as a "Down Easter". The "Down Easter" clipper combined speed, cargo capacity, and strength – a combination necessary for example to match the brutal weather off Cape Horn with a shifting cargo of wheat. 
They were deeper and fuller in shape than the most extreme clipper ships, but still had clean lines for fast sailing. They were a little bigger than the clippers in volume (registered tonnage), but not in overall length, and carried one and a half times as much cargo. Their three masts carried large sails, but they were easier to handle because the largest sails of the clippers had been split into two smaller sails. The rig was not as extreme as the clipper rig. These changes meant that Down Easters typically required a crew of thirty or forty, half that of a clipper ship. By some counts, Maine built about 350 Down Easters between 1862 and 1902. 
Local ownership and captaincy of these ships was important to Maine’s supremacy in the Down Easter era. Though the ships never came back to Maine after their launchings, they became an integral part of Maine’s maritime communities. Maine families went to sea and came home, bringing souvenirs and experiences from around the world. This was especially prominent in the development and exploration of the Pacific Northwest. 
The ship Two Brothers was built by Peter G. Bradstreet and his brother William. At first, Bradstreet built vessels in Pittston on the Kennebec River during the 1850s, but relocated his shipbuilding yard across the river to Farmingdale, in the 1860s when the brothers inherited the Grant shipyard.
The Grant shipyard was established by Samuel Grant who came from Berwick to Benton Maine, at the close of the American revolution, and furnished the first masts and spars for the frigate U.S.S. Constitution, which at that time was being built at Boston. Along with his son, Peter Grant, as a partner, he established in 1792, a ship-yard at Bowman's point, Farmingdale, and built a number of vessels.
Peter, jr., and his brother, Samuel, succeeded the business at the death of their father in 1836. Peter, jr., retired from the firm some years later, and Samuel continued the business until his death about 1858, when his son, William S., succeeded him. The latter built his last vessel in 1858, and the shipyard fell into the hands of the Bradstreets who were related by marriage.
The ship Two Brothers was launched in 1868, and was 197 feet in length, 38 feet in the beam, and had draught of 24.8 feet. She was rated at 1382 tons. She was stoutly built and was known for her double decks, and beams. She was constructed of oak and pine from the Bradstreet lumber mills, had iron and copper fastenings and was sheathed in yellow metal, known as "Muntz Metal", an alloy of 60% copper and 40% zinc.
She was commanded by Robert Norton, and her home port was listed as Gardiner, ME. Shortly after launching, she was moved to Baltimore where she became part of the Gliddens and Williams line of clippers, who acted as her agent in Boston. 
She left Baltimore on her maiden voyage to San Francisco, with a full load of coal for the Pacific Mail Company who had a line of Steamships on June 11, 1869 under the command of Captain N.P. Gibbs. On her first voyage out she encountered no mishaps and although not a "greyhound" of the sea, she proved herself a capable sailor and arrived in San Francisco in 165 Days, on November 23, 1869.
The Two Brothers departed San Francisco for Liverpool on December 31st, 1869 with 37,815 sacks of wheat which was valued at $65,000. By the end of 1870, She then returned successfully to Boston, where she began regular runs between Boston and San Francisco for Glidden & Williams under Capt. N.P.Gibbs.
In June 1871, she made the run from Boston, in an impressive 149 days, her cargo list shows the wide variety of merchandise that she carried.

Import List From Boston for the Two Brothers
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 23, Number 7759, 20 June 1871

Particularly noteworthy was that she brought a considerable amount of hardwood for furniture making. Although the quantity was actually larger, the local newspaper makes an announcement that for furniture dealers and carriage makers, the ship  brought 4,000 pieces of Black Walnut, 285 pieces of Cherry lumber, and 500 pieces of Ash and Oak. 
The Two Brothers next set sail for Molendo, Peru on August 6th with a load of railway ties. After reaching Peru, she headed for England, where she arrived safely in June, 1872.
The Two Brothers is often confused with the barque Brothers, which is often referred to in government reports as Two Brothers, but shipping accounts and logs confirm that while in the same general vicinity at the time they are two separate ships.
The Brothers was captained by James P. Thurston, and sailed from Baltimore on May. 3rd, 1871 and she arrived in the Gulf Of Mexico, at the Santa Anna Bar, on July 3rd. She was consigned to take a load of expensive high-grade mahogany to England. While during the voyage south, the captain was forced to place one of the sailors in irons. On August 20th, while ashore clearing his cargo for sailing with the consignee he was forcibly detained by the civil authorities and the mayor and informed the captain that the sailor he had in irons had to be given up because he owed a $200 debt to a citizen of Santa Anna, and  two others, a German and Chilean sailor, also handed over because they no longer wanted to be on the ship. Captain Thurston replied that the men had been legally and honorably shipped; and that the surrender of these members of the crew would leave his ship short-handed and in distress. Furthermore, the crew weren't Mexican citizens and if they were to be taken by force, then the matter would have to be laid down before the U.S. Government. 
To this, the judge replied, "We do not care for your government! We shall hold you prisoner until these men are put on shore with their clothes and money due them!" In the meantime the jolly boat that had brought him ashore had been commandeered by order of the Judge, and a band of drunken Mexican pirates, began rowing out to the barque Brothers to take the sailors by force. Captain Thurston, in order to avoid the engagement promised to deliver the sailors on shore the next morning if they released him and he was allowed to return to the ship. The judge consented, and as he passed through the motley pirates to the waiting jolly boat  so the mob shouted, "K-iii-lll heee-em", "K--iii--ll Hee-em!"
Once aboard, Captain Thurston wanting to avoid further confrontation made good on his promise and sent the sailors ashore. The following account of the ensuing events are taken from the Sacramento Daily Union, vol. 42, no.7292, Sept.27, 1871:
After returning to his vessel, several attempts were made to decoy Captain Thurston ashore again, but he would not trust himself among the murderous gang. During this time he had some slight difficulty with the consignees of the Brothers regarding some matters relating to the vessel or cargo. 
On the 27th of August the clerk of the consignees was on the Brothers, and returned to shore with the captain's boat, stating that he would return next morning with the necessary clearance papers for her departure. About 10 o'clock on the same night he returned to the bark in company with eight other Mexicans from the shore. Captain Thurston welcomed the party cordially, suspecting no treachery, and they returned his friendly salutations.
Captain Dickey, of the bark Harvest Home, then lying near the Brothers, was with Captain Thurston at the time. For a short time a friendly conversation was kept up, when suddenly, and in accordance witb a preconcerted signal, the Mexicans arose, and drawing revolvers, surrounded Captain Thurston, exclaiming:"You are a prisoner!" 
The captain seized a cutlass and struck at the nearest of the party. The first mate called up the crew and told them to fight for their lives. They seized cutlasses, belaying-pins, capstan bars anything that was handiest and a desperate struggle commenced. The Mexicans fired at the crew, but the characteristic worthlessness of the -"greasers" in a fight made their aim so bad that but two shots took effect, one passing through the steward's mouth and entering his throat, injuring him painfully but not seriously. One of the sailors was also wounded. The crew were making a good fight, but it was reserved for the second mate to distinguish himself by showing coolness and bravery that would have done honor to the veteran of many battles. 
He is the son of Captain Thurston, and is but 18 years old. When the fight commenced he took his revolver and endeavored to enter the cabin and aid his father. The Mexicans prevented him, and he turned and entered by the rear. One of the pirates was scuttling with Captain Thurston, and him he shot dead. Alarmed by the fall of this man, the others attempted to flee, panic-stricken, towards their boat. One was chased by Captain Dickey and shot dead by the second mate. Taking a position on deck young Thurston fired the four remaining shots in his pistol at the wretches as they endeavored to got over the boat's side, and each time one fell dead, making six victims to his brave heart and steady nerve. 
Of all the assailants but two escaped to the boat, and of these one bore a severe saber wound. The ringleader, the consignee's clerk, was killed by a sabra cut from Captain Thurston. Captain Thurston shipped the anchor, made sail and attempted to get to sea; but there was no wind, and the vessel lay motionless. Arms were then collected and preparations made to give the pirates another fight. 
Soon afterward two large boats filled with men were seen pulling out from the shore, and Captain Thurston concluded they were too strong for the means of defense at his command. He and his crew then abandoned the Brothers, and put to sea in the small boat without either water or provisions. They pulled thirty-five miles out, and on the nth were picked up by the bark Harvest Home, which had laid near them at the scene of the attack. 
Captain Dickey, of the Harvest Home, states what occurred after the Brothers was abandoned. The two boats seen by Captain Thurston pulled around her, and by firing on her found that she was deserted. They then rowed towards the Harvest Home and gave her a volley, which Captain Dickey returned with such good effect that they hauled off and returned to the shore. On the following morning, the nth of August, a large party of Mexicans came on hi two armed schooners, and went round the Brothers, firing upon her with a howitzer. They then boarded her and took her to the anchorage near shore. Captain Dickey waited to see no more, but went off to sea, first sending a report of what had occurred to the United States Consul at Manhattan. He picked up Captain Thurston and the crew, arriving at Galveston on the 6th inst.
Mexican Pirates in 1871
Mexican pirates raiding the American ship 'The Bark Brothers' - wood engraving around 1871/72
Credit: UllStein Bild Source: Gettyimages

The Brothers was later recovered in New Orleans, with 500 tons of Mahogany by the U.S. Marshall, and was taken to Virginia where the Mahogany was sold at auction. The government reports confirm the actions of the U.S. captains but the newspapers and dispatches confuse the Brothers with the Two Brothers which appears to have been off the coast of Peru in the Pacific at the time of the altercation.
Two Brothers
Reported in the Sacramento Daily Union, and other newspapers
the bark Two Brothers is confused with Brothers
The Two Brothers was in the Pacific at the time of the affair.
The Two Brothers was an unusually fortunate vessel, for several years without incident, she made made continual round-trip voyages carrying wheat and grain from San Francisco to Cork and Liverpool. She typically returned with coal and miscellaneous cargo.
In January 1875, while she was in port in San Francisco, a fierce northern gale ripped through the city. Many of the schooners riding at anchor were dashed on the rocks, and several ships at their moorings were damaged as hawsers parted, and they were chafed against the docks from the action ofthe wind and waves. However, even as nearby clippers were torn from their moorings, the Two Brothers received little damage and remained practically unscathed:
At Harrison-street wharf the Two Brothers was wearing out the bales of hay used as fenders about as fast as they could be put in place, but she was neither doing nor receiving much harm. The little British Columbia bark Sparrowhawk was not so fortunate, as the large ship America parted one of her bow hawsers, and swinging out, the anchor which hung from her port cat-head caught the former under the projection of her stem at every rise of the sea, tearing the wood-work badly. At this wharf, ropes were not strong enough to hold the three ships named, and the cables were used. The America had a streak of plank off for repairs from stem to stern, exposing her top timbers, but fortunately the opening was high above the water-line. 
-Sacramento Daily Union January 27, 1875
Soon afterwards, she headed for Manilla in ballast for a load of sugar, reported to be worth $14,500 in gold. She made the return run in 63 days, with 63,587 bags of sugar, 2000 bls hemp, and 15 tons of Sapan wood. After discharging, she layed up at Mission Rock where she took on stiffening before departing with another load of wheat for Liverpool. Upon her return, she was surveyed with remarkable results:
The agents of the Bureau Veritas held a survey on the ship Two Brothers yesterday. Not a defective piece of timber was found in her, and she will obtain the 3-3 A 11 rate, the highest of the Bureau. Veritas.
-Daily Alta California, Volume 28, Number 9694, 21 October 1876
It wasn't long before  she was chartered in the Despatch Line to carry Barley and other produce to New York. She completed a couple round trip voyages to New York, but by 1878, the freight prices for grain had dropped dramatically, and with steam power becoming widely adopted the demand for coal was increasing. In the Pacific Northwest, top grade coal was available from newly formed mining companies in Seattle and Nanaimo. It eventually became the cargo of choice, offering quick voyages to San Francisco in favor of hazardous trips around the horn to England. The captain of the Two Brothers in the Seattle Daily Intelligencer Jan. 18, 1878 reported coal prices from Nanaimo at $2.50/ton. This was quite a contrast to the boom years of the San Francisco gold rush, where coal was trading at over $10/ton.  The Two Brothers could load approximately 2,300 tons of coal worth $5,750. A voyage to San Francisco took approximately thirty days from Nanaimo.

Low Freight Article  
Grain prices had dropped by 1878, and the Two Brothers 
began hauling coal from Nanaimo & Seattle.
Source: The Daily Intelligencer, Seattle, January 18, 1878


However, fortunately for the ship owners, the rock bottom freight prices for coal was not to last. A month later, Nanaimo coal prices quickly to rose to over $3.50/ton,  and the improvement in prices meant that the coal trade, with short quick coastal trips, a profitable and viable alternative to long hazardous trips to England with grain. The Two Brothers began to regularly haul coal from both Nanaimo and Seattle to San Francisco as coal prices continually rose.
Earlier, in 1870, the Seattle Coal Company had incorporated and took over the Lake Washington Coal Company. The Seattle Coal Company planned to sell to California markets, but first had to get transport costs down. To that end, several of the owners formed the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company to  transport the coal. It was a difficult task. First, they built a tramway down to Lake Washington, where they loaded the cars onto barges, which were then towed across the lake by steam-powered tugs, such as the Phantom, Fanny, Chehalis, Linnie C, Gray, and the James Mortie.
Coal Cars being towed across Lake Washington
Coal cars similar to those on Lake Washington on a barge on Lake Whatcom (circa 1898)
At the Montlake Portage they built another tramway that allowed them to carry the coal cars across the isthmus to Portage Bay on Lake Union. At first they used mules to pull the coal cars across the portage, a distance of about one-fourth of a mile. Soon they acquired a locomotive. On the Lake Union side, they loaded the cars back onto barges and towed them to the southern end of the lake. There, Seattle's first railroad was built approximately along the present-day route of Westlake Avenue and Pike Street. The coal cars finally arrived at a bunker -- a large bin-like structure built on pilings out over the water --  where the coal was dumped down a slide that fed into the bunkers or directly into ships waiting to carry it to San Francisco.

Fully Rigged Ship At Pike Pier Coal Bunkers 1875
A fully rigged ship similar to the Two Brothers loads coal from the Pike pier bunkers circa 1875 

Seattle WaterFront circa1881
Waterfront with Pike Street coal bunker in distance, Seattle, ca. 1881.
Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. No. UW7227)
Full Rigged Sailing Ship On The Seattle Waterfront
A fully rigged sailing vessel similar to the Two Brothers along Seattle Waterfront circa 1880
On March 22, 1872, the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company began operating Seattle's first railroad. Established by founders of the Seattle Coal Company, it was used to carry coal from a dock on the south end of Lake Union to coal bunkers at the foot of Pike Street, on Elliott Bay for waiting ships. It ran until 1878, when the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad arrived at Newcastle and provided a more efficient route around the south end of Lake Washington through Renton and through downtown Seattle to Elliott Bay.
First Seattle Railroad
 The "Ant" was the first locomotive in Seattle. It began operation in 1872 along a 17 mile stretch, and
eight locally made coal cars which were routinely transferred from barges on Lake Union and hooked to the Ant.
In 1879, the Two Brothers was purchased by the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company and Gibbs was succeeded by Captain Bates, in May, who transferred from the Bark Amethyst.
In June while enroute to Seattle to pick up a load of coal, she fell in with the Ericsson that was headed for Nanaimo. The ships were together for a period of 9 days, and a race ensued where the Two Brothers proved her sailing abilities. A passenger on the Two Brothers describes the event in the local paper, "... they were not out of sight of each other during all that time. At one time the Ericsson would go ahead and at another astern, and again the two ships would be abreast. It was so until they rounded Cape Flattery, when the Two Brothers bore away from her companion in a manner surprising to both vessels." (The Daily Intelligencer, June 04, 1879)
On June 5th, she hauled around to the newly built Ballast pier. Many of the ships coming from San Francisco were traveling in ballast, and when arriving in port needed to discharge the ballast prior to loading coal. Therefore, as the coal exports became prominent along the Seattle waterfront, an area was established whereby the ships could dump their ballast before loading coal.
The Two Brothers was the first ship to use the newly constructed Ballast Wharf and tie up at the city pier. The wharf extended from Washington Street, and formed a square, with Ocean Dock, between Yesler's Wharf and City Dock in 1884. In the middle of the wharf, was piled the ballast from the incoming clippers.
Two Brothers First Ship To USe Ballast Pier
The Daily Intelligencer, June 05, 1879 announced the arrival of
Two Brothers at the new ballast wharf.

Balast Wharf - 1884

A birdseye-view of Ballast Wharf sketched in 1884. 

Ballast Wharf - from Occidental hotel
A picture taken from roof the Occidental Hotel of Ballast Wharf and City Docks from an unknown photographer circa 1884.
A large pile of ballast is visable in the centre of the wharf. 

A large amount of ballast was dumped at the ballast wharf, which eventually formed a man-made island. "Ballast Island" was created when sailing ships dumped their ballast of boulders and other materials at the City of Seattle's waterfront before taking on cargoes of lumber, grains, or other goods destined for San Francisco and other ports. The land became a small aboriginal settlement, providing a home to both migrant workers and native Americans who had been displaced by from the growing city of Seattle by Ordinance No.5 that had came into effect on February 7, 1865 and stated:  "Be it ordained by the Board of Trustees of the Town of Seattle, That no Indian or Indians shall be permitted to reside, or locate their residences on any street, highway, lane, or alley or any vacant lot in the town of Seattle, from a point known as the South side of Chas. Plummer’s ten acre lot to a point known as the South side of Bell’s land claim.”

Ballast Island Circa 1880
Ballast Island circa 1880. An unknown clipper similar to the Two Brothers is docked at the wharve.
The native settlement is in the foreground.

Ballast Island, as it became known, was initially exempt from this ordinance.  Duwamish families and other Native Americans came by canoe to the Seattle waterfront and established makeshift "camps". Some were seasonal visitors, seeking work in the nearby hop fields, warehouses and canneries. ln addition, Native Americans harvested and sold shellfish, sold woven baskets and carvings which catered to the tourists demand for aboriginal souvenirs, and who viewed the Duwamish as an interesting local "curiosity". For some Duwamish, Ballast Island became a year-round residence by 1885.
Ironically, despite the interest in native culture, the Duwamish had been forced from their Longhouses in the new city of Seattle and other parts of their homeland by the local settlers and capitalists. The United States Army under Government directives burned the Longhouses to prevent the Duwamish from returning to their traditional homelands. Many of the Duwamish people did not want to relocate and live with members of other tribes that were traditional enemies at Government designated reservations that were built far from their ancestral villages and burial grounds. For several years, they were allowed to live on the bleak parcel of land, devoid of fresh water and other vital resources. Over time, the Duwamish adopted the use of canvas tents to replace their traditional cattail mat shelters.
In general, the settlement was viewed with awe and interest by the Seattle inhabitants, the The Seattle post-intelligencer, August 25, 1897 published a sketch of the inhabitants described in an idyllic scene:
Indian Hop Pickers On Ballast Island Sketech - 1897
The hop-picking season is at hand, and from far and near the people who earn an annual stipend from the fields are beginning to gather for their labours. If an artist or story writer could visit these scenes of busy and picturesque activity he would find abundant material for sketch work such as has given life to the cranberry marshes, the sumac gatherers and the strawberry pickers. Perhaps nowhere else in all the Pacific Northwest is there a more interesting group of figures than the Indians who gather annually at Ballast Island, on the Seattle water front, to cull the fruitful rows with which that section teems. So long have they been beaching their canoes in the late summer time along those coves and quiet nooks that the old settlers have come to look forward to their annual pilgrimage as a matter of course, and to accord them the same right-of-way in the hop fields that the Negroes are conceded among the cotton bolls of the South. The above cut gives a striking and life-like illustration of a group of these aborigines just landed from their canoes, which lie floating the water. The bowed figure and hooded head of the woman who bends over a steaming kettle, the recumbent form of the brave as he stretches his bare toes in the warm sand, the toddling papoose who turns his back and waddles away to play with sea shells, all these form a part of the Pacific Northwest that aught to be preserved in song or story or sketch, and the Post-Intelligencer takes pleasure in adding it to the store of marine and agricultural pictures which is has accumulated since its art department was established.
However, the reality of living on "Ballast Island" was far from an idyllic picturesque utopia, the conditions were harsh, and difficult - the makeshift settlement had no permanent resources such as fresh water, sewage or electricity. It was located close to brothels and drinking establishments, and frequently, drunk patrons would wander into the settlement and bully the inhabitants, and in some cases even murder innocent victims. In time, even Ballast Island became valuable to commercial interests along the Seattle waterfont and the Duwamish were once again exiled. By 1917, at the beginning of World War One, Native Americans living on Ballast Island was only a distant memory.


Balast Island Marker
Today, all that exists of Ballast Island is a lone historical marker.

In 1880, Captain William O. Hayden was placed in command of the Two Brothers. Hayden was born in Maine in 1840, and spent six years on the Atlantic coast before coming west. Eventually calling Tacoma home, he was well known along the coast commanding several clippers including the Rainier, El Dorado, Arkwright and Buena Vista. He is well known for bringing the historic tug Goliah from San Francisco to Puget Sound and spent a year on her introducing her to the waters which were to be her future home. Hayden commanded the Two Brothers transporting coal from Puget Sound and British Columbia  for almost nine years before transferring to the ship Palestine, just prior to his retirement.

In 1888, the Two Brothers brought up a large 9000lb mooring anchor and  chain from San Francisco to Commencement Bay (Tacoma Harbor), the purpose was to allow incoming ships a safe harbor for moorage while discharging their ballast before moving to the coal wharf. The Two Brothers was instrumental in bringing the anchor to the harbor, and thus was exempt from harbor fees for doing so.

Tacoma Anchorage 1884 for Coal Trade

Description of the mooring anchor brought to Tacoma by the clipper Two Brothers.
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 42, Number 14052, 19 February 1888


Ships loading coal in commencement bay circa 1881
Two ships sit at dock next to the Tacoma coal bunkers
while three more ships lay at anchor in Commencement Bay in this photograph from 1888.

(Tacoma Library, General Photograph Collection: Image TDS-013)


Large Anchor retrieved in 1993

 On July 30, 1993 Robert Mester, with three others side scanning in Commencement Bay, found a very large and old Anchor.
This could very likely be the mooring anchor brought from San Francisco by the
Two Brothers in 1888.
In March of 1994 photographs and measured drawings were shared with Archeologist James Delgado of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
The Anchor was retrieved  sent to Texas A&M university for restoration, and now is in the Museum of History in Tacoma Washington.



The anchor still had 50ft of chain attached when it was recovered.
Each link was 9 inches long and almost 2 inches in diameter. 


In late 1888, Hayden was succeeded by Captain McCartney as commander of the Two Brothers. In early 1889 the price of coal in San Francisco had risen to $10/ton for Seattle coal. A one-way run from Seattle or Tacoma  to San Francisco could be made in generally less than ten days which was nearly half the time it took to reach Nanaimo.


The owners of the Two Brothers took full advantage of their "free mooring" in Tacoma, and began regular trips, shipping coal from Tacoma to San Francisco, Alameda and Oakland.


Captain McCartney successfully brought load after load of coal into San Francisco without any major mishaps, and it was discharged as fast as he could bring it in. In January, 1890, the ship encountered a heavy squall off Cape Flattery which carried away the head gear but the Two Brothers weathered through the storm and made it safely to port. Her good fortune continued in February when she was under tow along with four other vessels, and they encountered a dangerous ebb-tide. However, she was fortunate to be slightly in tow ahead and inboard of the Fairchild, a bark which was being towed in closest to the rocks, when they vessels rounded Fort Point, the Fairchild which was closest to the shore, got caught in a large tide rip, which gave her a big sheer inshore. She hit hard bow first on the rocks, which started her stems and forward planking to begin leaking. Eventually several tugs were able to pull her off and bring her to safety but the damage was substantial.


Bark On The Rocks
Daily Alta California,  24 February 1890


On March 24, Captain J. McCartney's wife gave birth to triplets, two sons and a daughter.


In July 1890, Captain W.O. Hayden, who had been in command of the Palestine retired, and Capt. McCartney resigned command of the Two Brothers and succeeded Hayden, transferring to the Palestine. The first mate of the Two Brothers, Windrow, took over command. Shortly after Windrow took command, on March 6, 1891 while at Tacoma, an unfortunate Swedish sailor named Steve Halmond fell overboard, and although he was rescued from the frigid water, hypothermia had caused him to catch a severe cold. He died at sea on the return voyage to San Francisco.


For the next eight years, Windrow made continuous voyages carrying coal from Seattle, Tacoma and Nanaimo without any serious incident. 


In 1895, the Maguire Act was passed and became a United States Federal statute that abolished the practice of imprisoning sailors who deserted from coastwise vessels. The act was sponsored by representative James G. Maguire of San Francisco, California. Before this legislation, a right to leave the ship existed only for a seaman who "correctly" believed his life to be in danger. This law extended the right in cases where the seaman feared physical abuse from other shipboard personnel. The original package called for an improvement of a seamen's forecastle quarters, a ban on violence by officers, a two-watch (four hours on , four off) system, with legal holidays, and prohibition of advances, allotments, and wage attachments.


In the same year, the International Seamen's Union Of America was formed from a federation of independent unions, including the Sailors' Union of the Pacific, the Lake Seamen's Union, the Atlantic Coast Seamen's Union, and the Seamen's and Firemen's Union of the Gulf Coast and the American Federation of Labor. 
On March 20, 1895 , the union began an all-out strike on the Pacific waterfront from San Diego to Puget Sound. At the heart of the dispute was a demand for an increase in sailors' pay from $25/month to $35/month.

War On The Water - Headline 1895
Sailors' Union Demands Increase
San Francisco Call, 20 March 1895 — "WAR ON THE WATER FRONT"

Striking unionized sailors demanded an increase of $10/month in pay and union crews to be shipped on board all vessels in San Francisco.

At the time of the strike, the Two Brothers had just arrived in port and was planning to head to back sea for another load of Tacoma coal, but the striking sailors meant that she was in need of a crew. Captain Windrow refused to meet the demands of the Union claiming that it was unaffordable for the ship to do so. As a result, many of the ships in port were looking for non-union or "scab" crews, and released their unionized crews from duty. The result was a stand-off between sailors and ship owners.  The Steam schooners on their highly profitable passenger routes acceded to the demands of the union, and were willing to pay $45/month. The reason for this according to Secretary Walthew, was the owners have always allowed the captains to get their crews from where they pleased, in consequence of which no supply of steam sailors have been kept on hand. 

Two Brothers looking for a non-union crew
San Francisco Call 26 March 1895 -- 
During the sailors' strike Captain Windrow refused to take on unionized sailors
citing the cost of wages was problematic. 

A day later, the Two Brothers set sail with a "mixed" scab crew of six Japanese and four Cape Verde Island natives,and it was business as usual. The strike was short lived, by May the sailors' union had agreed to meet the demands of the ship owners, as most ships had began shipping with "scab" crews, and after only a couple months, the unemployed union sailors began to owe the boarding house owners and there was substantial pressure from all sides to get the men working again. The ship-owners had prevailed, Two Brothers once again shipped with a Union crew at $25/month.

San Francisco Call, Volume 77, Number 163, 22 May 1895 — CALL THE STRIKE OFF

The Alaska Packers Association was formed in 1891 when the Alaska salmon industry was in its infancy but already produced more canned salmon than the market could bear. As production of canned salmon rose dramatically during the 1880s and 1890s, Alaska-based fishing and packing companies began to suffer increasingly from competition and lack of consumer demand. In 1892 therefore, the majority of fisheries-related operations in Alaska joined forces to form the Alaska Packing Association, aiming to regulate their operations and pursue more successful marketing strategies. In February 1893, twenty-five of the thirty-three Alaska companies formed the Alaska Packers Association.
The APA controlled and established fishing and cannery stations and salteries at sites that included Nushagak, Kvichak, Ugashik, Naknek and Egegik in the Bristol Bay area. The association also maintained stations at Karluk, Alitak, Cook Inlet and Chignik in Central Alaska, and Fort Wrangell and Loring in southeastern Alaska. Puget Sound operations included a cannery at Point Roberts, Washington (acquired in 1894 and operational until the 1920s), and canneries, warehouses and a boat repair yard located on Semiahmoo Spit, in Blaine, Washington.
Alaska PackersAssociaion Canned Salmon and Cases
Alaska Packers Association salmon cans and freight cases.

(Maine Maritime Museum)
The APA operations were supervised and directed from central offices in San Francisco, with regional headquarters based in Seattle until the early 1960s and then at Semiahmoo until 1974. In 1961, APA opened regional offices in Kodiak and Anchorage in Alaska, to supervise production activities. The association was dependent upon labor from Native Alaskan, Chinese, Mexican, Filipino and African American workers, as well as men and women of European and Anglo-American descent. Although its operations focused primarily on the catch, processing and sale of salmon, APA also harvested marine life such as razor clams and king crab from Kodiak and Cordova from 1961.
In 1898 the APA acquired a large canning operation at Pyramid Harbor, near the Chilkat River from the Northwest Trading Company. The Pyramid Harbor cannery on the western side of the Chilkat Inlet was built in 1883 by the Northwest Trading Company. This cannery burned in 1889, but was rebuilt at once and a pack was made that year. This cannery packed 1000 cases of fish per day and in 1896 employed over 100 people in the cannery (many of whom were Chinese) and over 200 fishermen both native and newcomers.
Alaska Packers Association Cannery At Pyramid Harbor - 1899
The cannery at Pyramid Harbor circa 1899.
In Appleton's Guidebook to Alaska and The Northwest, (1895)  Eliza Scidmore states: "The Chilkat cannery is one of the largest in southeastern Alaska, and its catch of king and red salmon busies a large force of whites and Chinese."
In order to facilitate the transport of canned salmon to San Francisco, and world markets the organization needed to get supplies and fisherman to the operations in Alaska and Puget Sound. The APA was in need of a large fleet of sailing ships. Initially, the wooden Downeaster was perfect this type of vessel for this need, The Two Brothers was rugged and very capable of handling rough seas, she could carry large amounts of cargo and required a smaller crew.

George Skofield
The George Skolfield was a wooden Maine built "Down Easter" slightly smaller in tonnage size, but very similar to the Two Brothers
Along with the Two Brothers, it was one of the first large sailing vessels to join the Alaska Packers Association Fleet in 1899. 

By 1898, many of the old sailing vessels were being scrapped or sat idle in favour of the use of steam schooners, and steamships. 
San Francisco Call 1898 Mar 6

In spring 1898, the Alaska Packers Association began negotiating the purchase of several of the old wooden sailing vessels, and the Two Brothers was in their sights. Captain Windrows decided to head east to visit his family and vowed to return, and Captain Wilson succeeded him in command. At the time, the Klondike and Fraser River gold rush was in full swing, and most of the available ships were being chartered to travel to the northern gold fields. Although still in good condition, the wooden sailing vessels were reaching the end of their service life, but were still ideal for carrying bulk cargo such as canned salmon, lumber and coal. Instead of pointing her bow for the Klondike, the Two Brothers capitalized on high freight prices as a result of a shortage of coal, and she regularly continued to haul coal throughout the rest of year, and into the New Year from the Wellington coal bunkers at  Departure Bay, Nanaimo to San Francisco.

The discovery of gold in the Yukon lead to a massive 
amount of ships and men headed north.
This effectively created a shortage of coal along the coast.
(San Francisco Call, Jan. 23, 1889)


San Franscisco Call - 1989 Jan 


Departure Bay - 1899
The Wellington Collierys coal bunker and wharves  at Departure Bay, Nanaimo, B.C. 1899.
Credit: NOAA's Historic Fisheries Collection Photography: Stefan Claesson
Gulf of Maine Cod Project / National Archives 

In spring of 1899, the Alaskan Packers Association owned the Two Brothers, and many of the remaining available sailing ships and placed her in the salmon fleet to carry supplies, and fisherman to the Pyramid Harbour cannery in Alaska. The ships sailed north with coal as ballast carrying men, nets, small sailboats, and gear. The plan was to return with their holds chock-full of cases of canned salmon.

Alaska Packers Association Premier Brand Cannery Label
A can label from Alaska Packers Association Canneries in Alaska. 
Alaska State Historical Collections: ASL-MS108-7-11


APASalmon Fleet - 1899 - San Francisco Call
Alaskan Salmon Fleet of 1899. San Francisco Call March 18, 1899

The Alaska Packers Association 1899 Fleet

The list of ships in the 1899 Alaska Packers Association Fleet.
The massive fleet consisted of over forty ships, half were sailing vessels.
(San Francisco Call -March 15, 1899)


On April 9th, the Two Brothers left San Francisco for Pyramid Harbor with supplies and men for the cannery. She arrived without incident at Pyramid Harbor on May 2nd. In September, the Two Brothers and the rest of the fleet returned to San Francisco. The Two Brothers and the Simtram were involved in "cleanup operations", that is they traveled to each of the cannery stations along the coast, and collected left over cases that the other vessels had to leave behind. At each station, there is usually a few hundred cases leftover to be picked up. 


The Two Brothers sailed into San Francisco bay on October 15th. The entire fleet of forty vessels brought back about a million cases, and 20,000 barrels of salmon which was considered an average catch for the season. The largest cargo was carried by the W.H. Macy which brought down 70,722 cases. The Two Brothers returned with 50,083 cases.

The Two Brothers then went back to coastal trading for the next six months, carrying coal from Comox, B.C. to San Francisco on several runs and then traveling to Grays Harbor and Port Townsend  in early 1900.  She set sail on April 8, 1900  for Pyramid Harbor with the rest of the Alaska Packers Association Fleet of 1900. By 1900, the Alaska Packers Association owned forty-one vessels. In that year, a large amount of vessels also headed north for the gold fields. As many as fifty-three vessels left for the north, most of them with the Salmon industry. It was expect that between 8,000-10,000 men would be employed in the canneries and on the vessels. The transportation companies had expect to land as many as 25,000 gold seekers in Nome before the spring was over.  It was a debate amongst seaman as to which would bring the most money. The Alaskan Salmon trade was a reliable source of income, and had proven itself over the last few years. The Gold Rush was a high-risk, but could provide a lifetime of wealth over a short period of time. The debate  carried over into seamen's and fishermen's wages, and  many of the ships were hard pressed to fill their crews once word got out of a shortage of men. In past seasons, ships had traditionally been able to fill their crews at $75 or less per round trip voyage to the canneries which was a four month endeavour and received 1 cent per fish. But with the added pressure from the gold fields, the salmon industry began to feel the labour pinch. The newspaper reported that the "job is a sinecure as every cannery vessel is doubly manned and the sailors have watches of four hours on and eight hours off. During the fishing seasons the sailors were allowed 1 cent for every fish they caught and as a result every man had a check for $350 to $500 coming to him at the end of the cruise that generally lasted four months and never ran into a fifth. On the vessels and at the canneries the men lived well and in consequence, while other concerns sometimes found it hard to get men, the Alaska Packers could pick and choose." (source: San Francisco Call, April 7, 1900).


However, in 1900 it was different, several of the vessels had a hard time obtaining crews, and captains were offering an advance of $5/month for sailors. The newspaper reported that most sailors were holding out and demanding as high as $80 and up to five cents per fish for the season. In the early days of the Salmon Industry, the fisherman had divided themselves amongst ethnic lines, on a journey to Alaska on an Alaska Packers Association cannery ship in 1926, Max Stern of the San Francisco Daily News, reported that fisherman-- mostly "Latins" and Italians from Monterey and San Francisco's north bay area, which today is commonly referred to as "Fisherman's Wharf", and "Scandinavians" from the Columbia River and Puget Sound -- "Do not mix any better than oil and water." Because of rivalries amongst the fishing crews, the "Finns, Icelanders, Russians, Norweigans, Swedes, Danes, and Dutchmen" took the port side, while the "Italians, Portuguese, and Sicilians" occupied the starboard side of the forecastle.  


Even more virulent was the animosity between the "Euro-American" fisherman and the Chinese cannery workers, who made the trip to Alaska below deck in cramped, unsanitary forward quarters, which was known as the "China hold". 

The segmentation of the fisherman was not only organic but also as a result of economic fisherman unions and agreements. While the Alaskan Fishermans Union (AFU) wasn't established until the 1902 season, the makings of the unions came into being with the establishment of canneries in the 1870's.  

Since the 1850's when the first Scandinavians came west they began to create homes. At the time in Washington and Oregon, land was free for the taking provided certain requirements were filled. 

The Pacific Northwest was an ideal destination for Finnish and Scandinavian immigrants. There was free land that was covered with timber for them to claim. Seasonal work opportunities were available all year. There was salmon fishing in the spring and summer. Work was available at logging camps the rest of the year. In 1866 the Hume Brothers started their cannery on the north shore of the Columbia. At first they had difficulty convincing people their canned salmon was good to eat and that they could pack it safely. When they improved their canning practices, they were able to sell more salmon; the word spread, and the salmon packing industry suddenly took off. Canneries sprang up all along the Columbia and workers were needed to bring the fish into the canneries.

The Finnish fishermen were experienced at fishing in boats in the rivers and lakes in Finland and were very successful at this work. They sent word to their relatives about the opportunities waiting for them in fishing and soon a rush of immigrants from Finland came to join the Yugoslavs, the Greeks, Norwegians and others in the industry.  By 1874, there were thirteen canneries, 600 fishermen and 2,000 cannery workers, numbers which would double a decade later. They had small double ended boats, about 25 feet in length, with a small spirit rigged sail. When running down wind, the sails gave the boat an appearance of a butterfly, and soon the Columbia river fleet carried the nickname, the "Butterfly Fleet". They used traditional "gill nets" to catch their fish. Both drift gillnets and setnets have long been used by cultures around the world. The Finnish inherited the technology from the Vikings and NorwegiansUsing these small sailboats, they faced enormous risks. Scores died every season. A massive storm in 1880 brought that year’s death toll to over 250. While Scandinavian communities existed throughout Washington, Oregon and even into British Columbia, it was at Astoria, on the Columbia River where the majority of them settled. It became famously known as the "Helsinki of the West". 

Columbia River Butterfly Fleet
The Columbia River "Butterfly" Fleet - c.1900
Photo: Oregon Historical Society/OrHi 4167

Before the anti-Chinese driving out campaigns exploded in the 1880s, Chinese immigrants did the unpleasant work of processing and canning the salmon. White fishermen organized the first unions partly out of racism. The goal of excluding Chinese workers led to the formation of an exclusionist mutual aid association in 1874 and then a successful union in 1880. 

In 1876 the fishermen in Astoria could not agree with the canneries on a price they were to be paid per fish. At that time they were paid per fish, not by the pound. The cannery operators noted that in the few short years that canneries had been in operation on the Columbia, that the average size of the fish they were getting from the fishermen were smaller and smaller. They said they were losing money on the fish. The fishermen complained and they went on strike, refusing to fish. This happened again in 1880 after they had formed the Columbia River Fishermen's Protective Union. The Finns then were the largest ethnic group in this organization. Disputes continued to rise, but in 1896, the most serious occurred. A couple strike-breakers were shot, more violence was threatened and the Astoria businessmen asked for help from the Oregon National Guard who arrived in Astoria, maintaining a presence there and breaking the strike. Gradually the fishermen found they had to go back to fishing in order to survive. But the striking fishermen got even with the canneries by organizing, pooling their resources and building a cannery of their own in 1897. Finns bought 172 out of the 200 original shares of the Union Fishermen's Cooperative Packing Company.

Meanwhile, further down the coast in California, Italian Fisherman had also banded together in San Francisco, in 1876, when they created the Italian Fisherman's Union. In Italy, fishermen's unions had existed since Roman times. These unions were known as Piscatores, and existed in great numbers in Rome, Ostia, Pisae, and other points on the sea and near the mouths of the Italian streams. Fish were held in high regard by the wealthy, and in early Roman times, the fishing business was extensive, and the unions yielded considerable political control. In the latter part of the 19th-century, new immigrants were flooding in to the United States from southern and eastern Europe. Plagued by internal unrest, peasant uprisings and disastrous failure in the attempt to establish an African empire in Ethiopia, Italy made a significant contribution to the flow of immigration westward, and it eventually became known as the Italian diaspora. The new immigrants were primarily of rural peasant stock, and the majority settled near the industrial centers of the northeast and Midwestern United States. However, a large number made their way to California, drawn in part by the climate and geographical similarity to their own homeland.

During the 1880s and 1890s almost ninety percent of Italians entering California came from an agricultural or maritime background. From 1900 to 1910 the number of Italians arriving annually almost tripled, rising from 22,707 in 1900 to 66,615 in 1910. The majority of these immigrants were Ligurians from the coastal sections of northwest Italy. Those from the coastal fishing villages along the gulf of Genova and the Ligurian sea found that California presented them with an opportunity to practice their hereditary vocation of fishing. The first settlement of Italian fishermen in California developed in the bay area around San Francisco. It is estimated, that as early as 1870 these fishermen were providing ninety percent of all fish consumed in San Francisco.

These Italian fisherman brought the "old-world" traditions with them to California. The Italians took great pride in their fishing skill, and it was multi-generational family affair, a fleet of boats ran the length of "Fisherman's Wharf". Most of the boats and nets they brought and built were similar to those developed over centuries in the Mediterranean fishing fleet. The small lateen-rigged sailboats were patterned after the craft that the Italian fishermen knew in the old country with double-ended hulls long, narrow and deep enough to provide good stability in open waters. White and green was the prevailing color of the tiny boats, and the name of a patron saint usually appeared on the hull. One type of net used by the Italians was the paranzella, a close-meshed net that was dragged along the bottom by two boats. Another type used was the trammel net, a net having outside panels of large mesh between which were placed one or more panels of smaller mesh. This type net was often used among the rocks close inshore to catch fish that do not readily take the hook. 

Fisherman's Wharf 1900
The Italian fishing fleet at Fisherman's Wharf (Meiggs Pier)
circa 1900.
 Photo: J.B. Monaco Source: Shaping San Francisco Digital Archive

The Italians were as colorful as the boats they sailed and were heard singing in the fog shrouded waters of San Francisco Bay, primarily as a means of communication, as one could not see a companion boat but could hear it was close by.

In the spring of 1900, the rivalries became apparent along the wharves with the Scandinavians holding out for the better paying ships, but the Italians were proud of the their fishing heritage, and believed that they could make up for any lost money through their fishing skills. The Scandinavian "hold-out" provided them an "in" to the Salmon fishing industry, and with the opportunity to earn 1-2 cents/fish presumed there was good money to be made in the Salmon industry. In their opinions, while gold could be had at risk in the Yukon for great fortune, the Salmon industry represented silver riches ripe for the taking. The Italians seized the opportunity, and many of them signed articles on-board vessels headed for Alaska. The newspaper reported that with most of the Italian fishermen, who were responsible for 90% of the ground fish heading north, it could lead to a market shortage and high cod prices,  "nearly all the Italian fisherman will go north on the salmon fleet this year and that rock cod, sole and tom cod would be very scarce in the markets" (Source: San Francisco Call, April 7, 1900). 

With the Italians willing to head for Alaska at a slightly cheaper rate than their Scandinavian counterparts, Captain Wilson without hesitation signed 21 Italian fisherman aboard the Two Brothers. The men had signed articles, as both sailors and fisherman to perform "regular ship's duty, both up and down, discharging and loading; and to do any other work whatsoever when requested to do so by the captain or agent of the Alaska Packers' Association."" on an agreement to be compensated a sum of $50 and two cents per fish. 


Alaska Packers Association Fleet 1900
The Alaska Association Packers Fleet for 1900.
Source: San Francisco Call, 18 March 1900



Fish Cannery At Pyramid Harbor Alaska - 1892
The Pyramid Harbor Cannery at Chilcat Inlet Alaska, 1892.


The Two Brothers arrived in Alaska safely on May 9th with the rest of the large fleet. The Italians quickly found that they were not making the haul of fish that they had anticipated, and discontent  spread. The Italians complained to the cannery managers that the equipment that had been supplied to them was faulty, the nets were rotten and had holes, and this meant that they were caching far less fish than they had bargained on. Since a big portion of their pay is based on their Salmon catch, they demanded a raise for the cruise north. 

The managers of the cannery replied that there was no reason for them to complain, that the nets and equipment were adequate and the cannery had an equal in the fishermen's success, for if the fishermen caught less fish than it also impacted the company's profits. The Alaska Packers Association had invested $150,000 into the cannery at Pyramid Harbor.  The fishermen went back to the fishing grounds, but they continued to bring in less fish than they had expected. Finally, they were fed up and on May 19th, gave a ultimatum to the cannery managers, unless they were paid this additional wage they would stop work entirely, and return to San Francisco. On May 22nd, the cannery managers faced with the dilemma of a shortage of labour, quickly conceded to the Italian fishermen's demands and promised the raise once they returned to San Francisco. They requested a shipping commissioner to be brought from Northeast Point, as witness to the contract amendment,  and the superintendent told the fisherman that ultimately he was without authority to enter into any such contract, or to in any way alter the contracts made between them and the company in San Francisco.

It was business as usual, and the Two Brothers returned to San Francisco in October, 1900. 

The Two Brothers returned to San Francisco from Alaska on 
October 6, 1900 with a boat full of canned Salmon (source: San Francisco Call, 06 Cotober 1900)

Carrying 47,600 cases of Salmon, the Two Brothers returned safely to port with a large fleet of ships arriving in San Francisco from both the canneries and the gold fields. When the fisherman came ashore to collect their pay, they asked Captain Wilson for the $100 that had been promised by the cannery superintendent, and Captain Wilson just about fell over laughing his guts out, the ensuing chaos erupted into a near mutiny.

Mutiny on Two Brothers
A mutiny nearly occurred on the Two Brothers when the men
went ashore and drew their pay. (source: San Francisco Call, 07 October 1900)

The matter was to eventually set precedence in the 9th Circuit in the United States District Court, which ruled that they men had signed on for $50, and it was unfair of them to "ransom" the cannery managers into offering a higher wage, when a contract was already signed and agreed to in San Francisco. Furthermore, even if the cannery managers had the ability to alter the contract, the claims that the fisherman had been given faulty gear was dismissed, as the Alaska Packing Association had invested significantly into the Pyramid Harbor Cannery, it did not appear reasonable to the court that the association would want to see diminished profit by a willfully doing anything which would decrease the amount of fish caught. They court ruled that would be contradictory to their enterprise which required that "fishermen should be provided with every facility necessary to their success as fishermen, for on such success depended the profits the company would be able to realize that season from its packing plant, and the large capital invested therein. In view of this self-evident fact, it is highly improbable that the company gave the fishermen rotten and unserviceable nets with which to fish. It follows from this finding that fishermen were not justified in refusing performance of their original contract. "

The plight of the fishermen become folklore, and it was well debated throughout the decades, should the fisherman have been bound to their original agreements or were they just in asking for more pay? Exactly who was the exploiter and who the exploitee? There has even been folk-songs written about the incident.

Folksong: Sailing To Pyramid Harbor -
This song is about the labour dispute of twenty-one sailors and fisherman,
who headed North to the Alaskan canneries in 1900 on the ship Two Brothers.


Sockeye and the Age of Sail:
This is a great video that outlines the general history of the Alaska Packers Association --from the ships and men,
to the canneries such as in Point Roberts, and Blaine, and Alaska

By December 1900, the Two Brothers was back on its usual coasting routes, and arrived in Tacoma. It took on a load of coal and then was headed across the Pacific towards Lahaina, Hawaii. It sailed into a heavy gale, which did considerable damage, nearly dismasting her, once she was through the gale, and in calm water, it had became apparent that the damage was worse than it was thought. She was 350 miles Southwest of San Francisco when it was discovered that she was leaking badly, at a rate of 13 inches per hour. The men worked hard at the pumps, and there was no choice but to sail her back to San Francisco for repairs.

She made another quick run to Seattle, and then once again joined the Salmon Fleet and headed north to Bristol Bay Alaska on April 14th. She arrived as usual in early May 1901.

Two Brothers - San Francsico Call 1901 Septemebr 24th
"Ship Two Brothers Making Port From The Canneries And Grain And Coal Laden Vessels Departing.
The Ship Came Down Before a Northwester And Then The Wind Chopped Around to Southwest and Brought Her In" -
San Francisco Call Sept.24, 1901


The Two Brothers made port with 32,200 cases of Salmon. The newspaper reported that she was brought in by a Southwest breeze. The "Two Brothers is one of the best known vessels on the coast and generally makes a good run.. Adverse winds lengthened out the passage from Bristol Bay and she was 26 days on this occasion."

For the remainder of 1901 and into early 1902 she made her usual trips for coal from Tacoma, and Nanaimo, although the coal bunkers had now been moved from Departure Bay to Oyster Bay, which was renamed Ladysmith Harbour.

In spring of 1902, the Two Brothers was again  part of the Salmon fleet, but this was to be her last run north to the canneries. The older wooden vessels were being replaced by iron hulled ships, and the APA had purchased or chartered  all of the remaining star line of sailing ships: Star of Russia, Star Of France, and Star Of Italy from James Corry and Co. in Belfast Ireland, who had replaced all of their sailing vessels with passenger steamers.  In time, the Alaska Packers Association would rename most of the other iron-hulled sailing vessels to the "Star" designation. For example, the Bark Euterpe (named after the Muse of Music) was renamed the Star Of India, and the Balclutha was renamed Star Of Alaska. In four of these ships, Balclutha, Euterpe, Star Of France, and Star of Italy, the APA only had partial ownership until 1904. The ships were used in the lumber trade when "off season" from the salmon fleet. Pope and Talbot owned slightly more than half the shares in the ships, (2,158/4,300) and used them to carry lumber from the Puget Mill to the continent of Australia, and other corners of the globe. However, after 1900 the freight prices for lumber had declined in world markets and only seven trips were made outside of California in 1901. Pope and Talbot had switched from foreign markets to domestic ones.

Alaska Packers Association Fleet 1902

The Alaska Packers Association Salmon Fleet in 1902
(Source: San Francisco Call, 1 March 1902)

There was a little excitement at the pier prior to departing on March 28th, when the Two Brothers was in port in San Francisco preparing to leave for Alaska. It was a beautiful sunny California spring day and a dozen or so Japanese fishermen had decided to lay out and sunbathe on the gangplank leading up to the ship. The plank was old, and under the strain it gave way sending four of the fishermen hurtling into waters of the bay. The remaining occupants quickly scrambled to safety but were scarred and shaken in the process. Captain Andersen quickly jumped into action, and unfortunately broke a very valuable whip when assisting one of the Japanese that could not swim to a friendly piling. 

Captain Thomas Wilson was joined by his wife, and the Two Brothers left San Francisco for Chignik Bay, Alaska on April 4, 1902.

Alaska Packers Cannery at Chignik Bay 1902
The Chignik Bay Cannery and Harbour with cannery ships in the distance circa 1912

Star Of Alask - Chignik Bay Alaska 1911

The cannery ship Star of Alaska (formerly Balclutha) at Chignik, Alaska c.1911
The iron-hull ships replaced the wooden downeasters, and soon  they were all renamed with a "Star" designation.

The Two Brothers arrived in San Francisco from Chignik Bay on 24 September 1900 with 46,000 cases of salmon, a good haul. Although still sea worthy, she was consider an "old timer" and was laid up in Alameda, California along with the rest of the Alaska Packers Association ships. The wharves became know as a "forest of masts", as after each salmon season the clippers were moved over for storage and maintenance.

Alamada Docks
The "Forest Of Masts And Spars" along the Alameda Wharves.
After returning from Alaska in October, the ships were moved over for repairs and storage until the next season.


The lumber industry had become dependent upon San Francisco as the main port of domestic import from Puget Sound and Oregon to California. A vessel in the domestic trade returned to the mills about every three months, in comparison, a trip to a foreign port (including the Atlantic seaboard) meant the vessel was usually gone for a period of six to ten months. In the 1890's the Klondike Gold Rush had put pressure on the availability of men and vessels, creating a tight waterborne shipping situation, thereby diverting much of the freight to railroads. As a result, rates had made it cost prohibitive to ship lumber locally by sea. In order to stay in business, the lumber mills created line yards, where rolling stock was loaded and brought via railway from mills in Oregon to points in the California valley. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company dropped freight prices for lumber from $6.00 to $3.10/ton in 1900.

The effect on shipping was dramatic, Puget Sound mills during the 1890's had averaged over thirty-five shipments per year to points in California other than San Francisco . In 1900, they had dropped to nine, and in 1901 just seven. Never again did the amount of cargo shipments carried by sailing vessels for non-San Francisco outlets reach the level of the 1890's

In San Francisco, the lumber carriers docked at the Vallejo Junction and Valona yards, which was owned by the Port Costa Lumber Company. They company was a "union of all the Oregon pine lumber interests of the coast. This class of lumber will be a specialty.The yards at Valona will be the distributing point for all points on the coast" (Source: Pacific Rural Press 19 February 1887) They built a long wharf which the sailing vessels unloaded directly onto. 

At the time. the docks there were the "main source for Douglas fir from Modesto to Bakersfield" which came from the mills in Puget Sound and Oregon. When the cargoes were unloaded, the lumber was sorted on decks, and lengths and sizes were assembled for shipment by rail to various yards inland.

In addition to trips for coal,  the Two Brothers had occasionally travelled to lumber mills in Comox, and Gray's Harbour in the winter months between her voyages north to the Canneries.  In 1903, she was laid up in Alameda and was replaced in the Salmon fleet by faster steamships and the newer iron hulled "Star Line of Clippers". She did not join the "salmon fleet" in the spring but instead sailed to Oregon, travelling up the Columbia river during the spring freshet for lumber at Vancouver, WA.

She spent two months in Vancouver loading lumber at the wharves, her goal was to bring back 1,500,000 feet of prime Oregon lumber to San Francisco.  After she was loaded, it became apparent that the water levels had dropped during the dry summer months, and there was now not enough water to float her over the bar fully loaded. The Two Brothers drew 18 feet of water, but the water levels in the Columbia had dropped to a depth of only 16 1/2 feet, leaving her stuck in the Columbia river muck.

In September, dredging began in hopes to get the Two Brothers through the bar, but the mighty Columbia River silted over as quickly as they could dredge it. However, Captain Wilson remained optimistic, and had surmised that by removing some of the lumber cargo and ballast to lighten the load, and shifting the lumber in her hold to one side, she could be heeled over on a list which would help reduce her draught. He calculated that by using these measures he could get the draught down to just nine feet, and she would carry over the bar light.

In the end, it took two tugs and nearly a month of wrangling to drag her through the bed of the Columbia River to St. Helens. She anchored at port for three weeks while the lumber that was removed was brought down on barges, reloaded and stacked high on her decks. Furthermore, to complicate matters while she was swinging at anchor it was discovered that she had managed to spring a leak, possibly from all the dragging and shifting of ballast to get her over the bar, and the pumps needed to be manned. A good effort was made to make a repair, but the source of the leak could not be found.

By now it was approaching the end of October, and the winter weather and heavy gales were fast approaching. The crew feared the vessel was not seaworthy, and asserted that in the attempts to move her down the river her cargo of lumber had been improperly stowed and the Two Brothers now carried an insuffecient quantity of ballast which made her "cranky and unsafe" in heavy weather. On November 3, She reached Astoria, and with the efforts to move her down the river, the Two Brothers was now only carrying 220,000 feet of lumber in her hold, and 550,000 feet of lumber between the decks, and the claim was made that the leaky vessel was top heavy.

In light of this, the steam schooner Charles W. Nelson had been arranged to tow her and the crew from Astoria to San Francisco. However, when the Nelson arrived in Astoria, the wind was freshening, and a heavy gale was approaching, the crew of the Two Brothers refused to go with her out into the storm. On account of their refusal to work the vessel the Two Brothers remained in port beacuse the Charles W. Nelson was incapable of handling her in rough seas without at least some crew aboard the Two Brothers.

On September 5th, the Charles W. Nelson with a cargo of 726,000 feet of lumber that she had loaded at Westport and thirty-six passengers and crew left Astoria for San Francisco. When she was two hundred miles down the coast off Heceta Head, she encountered a fierce gale.

In the boiling sea, the deck load worked itself loose, and the stantions which were securing the load gave way. The tearing of the stantions ripped up the deck which opened seams that allowed sea water to pour in from waves that were breaking over her deck fore and aft. The crew and passengers were forced to abandon ship, and were buffetted about for two days until the tug Sea Rover, which was headed to Astoria to take the Two Brothers to San Francisco, came upon them and picked them up.

Steam Schooner Charles Nelson
The Steam Schooner Charles W. Nelson was consigned to tow the 
Two Brothers from Astoria to San Francisco. The crew of the Two Brothers refused to head out to sea, 
claiming she was top heavy and would not withstand the coastal gales.
The Nelson shortly afterwards foundered in heavy seas off Heceta Head.

One of the officers from the tug Sea Rover commented:

I am convinced that the loss of the Nelson can be attributed solely to the immense deckload which she carried. A terrific gale was blowing and the seas were running as I have never seen them before, and I have traveled up and down this coast for many years. In such a storm it Is almost impossible to prevent a deckload such as the Nelson carried from 'working,' as mariners call it, and the Nelson's load proved to be no exception to the rule. Her crew worked heroically, but with such a sea on it was impossible to prevent the load from slipping, and first one stanchion was torn out and then another. The deck seams opened and the water poured Into her hold, washing about between decks and rendering the steamer all the more difficult to handle in a boiling sea.
She was becoming water-logged rapidly and finally the commander of the Nelson gathered his passengers and the crew about him and told them to prepare to take to the boats. The calm demeanor of the captain instilled, hope and confidence in the passengers and crew and the preparations for abandoning the vessel were carried on coolly and systematically, with the result that when  everything was ready, the passengers were first placed in the boats and the crew followed. The boats were cut loose from the steamer and the crew manned the oars, keeping the boats in the track of coasting vessels in the hope that they would be picked up. All during the night the boats were buffeted about by the sea, the waves breaking over them and drenching those in them.
It was a frightful night and the sufferings of the shipwrecked persons were terrible. The storm did not decrease during the night and daybreak found the boats, which had kept closely together all night, out of sight of land and not a vessel to be seen. All during Friday and during the night the unfortunates kept watch for a friendly sail or the smoke of a steamer, but not one appeared to raise the hopes of the party. Hope was rapidly deserting them when we sighted the boats and bore down upon them. It was with great difficulty that we got them aboard our vessel. Not long after the Titania was sighted, and the passengers, who numbered nine, and the Nelson's crew, were transferred to her and taken to San Francisco.
It seemed to many that the crew of the Two Brothers had made the right decision by not travelling out into that storm for most likely should would have met a similar fate as the Nelson. The fierce November gale kept the Sea Rover at bay in Astoria with the Two Brothers for nearly two weeks. Finally, on November 16th, the Sea Rover left Astoria with the Two Brothers in tow. 
In marine circles, news of the Tug and her big tow were anxiously waited upon. Since they left Astoria, south-easterly gales had swept up the coast, and if the vessel parted from the tug, she would be in a serious predicament as it had been impossible to secure a crew, and there would not be enough sailors aboard to handle her under sail.
The newspaper reported that the weather had been unusually bad that winter, and Captain Dan Thompson of the Sea Rover had on his hands one of the biggest contracts he had ever tackled, and everybody interested would feel much better once they saw the Two Brothers safely pass through Golden Gate.
Two Brothers Being Towed By The Tug Sea Rover
An artists depiction of the tug Sea Rover  towing the ship Two Brothers from Astoria to San Francisco
(Source: San Francisco Call, November 22, 1903)

On November 23rd, the Sea Rover crossed into San Francisco Bay with the Two Brothers safely in tow.  During the trip from Astoria, when she was off Tillamook Head, she had encountered a series of south easterly gales that had slowed her speed down to two knots, the tug and tow were continually pounded with heavy seas until the tug reached Point Reyes, when the storms subsided and the tug was able to make up to seven knots.
In regards to his experience, an officer from the tug Sea Rover remarked, "...the wind blew a hurricane almost the whole way down. No sooner had one storm subsided than another set in. In fact, it was a succession of terrific gales during the whole voyage. They expected that at any moment that they heavy hawser would part, and were prepared with a second one of heavier dimensions in case of emergency. This however they did not need, and it remained lashed in the stern of the tug as it was when they left Astoria. The waves rolled high and the Sea Rover was constantly covered with flying spray from stem to stern. The Two Brothers also go the full benefit of the storm, and at times was almost lost from their view."
The success of the Sea Rover marked the end of the sailing days for the Two Brothers. At first, She was laid up in Oakland Creek while her fate was to be determined. In 1906, She was sold to Woodside and Company and used as a temporary waterfront wharehouse for the Barneson-Hibberd Company.
Two Brothers as floating warehouse 1906
The ship Two Brothers was once used as a temporary floating warehouse in 1906
(Source: San Francisco Call, May 25, 1906)
Her life as a floating warehouse was short lived and by September 1906, the Two Brothers was once again plying the waters of the Pacific Northwest, heading for various lumber mills, being towed by the Sea Rover, and Sea Queen. In early, 1907 she was converted into a barge and towed from port to port under the care of a succession of resident aged sea captains. She passed into the hands of the Canadian Pacific Railway where according to Vancouver City archivist, Major J.S. Matthews, she was known as C.P.R. Barge 101.  It was said that she often anchored off Deadman's Island, in Burrard Inlet and could also be found midway between Piers A and B, along the Vancouver waterfront working with another old clipper the Melanope as a coal tender for the great Empress line of steamers.