Sea Bird
The Sea Bird was 69 m long steam-powered side-wheeler, driven by a 110-horsepower walking-beam engine.1 It was brought from New York to San Francisco in 1850-51.2 It was owned by Captain J. T. Wright and Sons and brought to the Fraser River in 1858 by Captain Francis Connor to transport miners to the gold fields.3
On its second trip up the Fraser to Hope, Sea Bird grounded on what is now called Sea Bird Island, a few miles below Hope.4 Every passenger but the cook escaped attack and robbery from local Indigenous residents.5 Following the plunder, the cook was taken to a naval hospital at Esquimalt, where he eventually died from his injuries.6 On 7 September 1858, the vessel caught fire and beached on Discovery Island, near Victoria, and burned to the waterline.7
In this despatch, Douglas mentions the Sea Bird as an American river steamer that, at the time, in 1858, would ply with passengers, mostly miners, between this Port [Victoria] and Fraser's River.
  • 1. Gordon R. Newell, Ships of the Inland Sea (Portland: Binfords & Mort, 1960), 16.
  • 2. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 531.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1847-1871 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1977), 120.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names, 531.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents