Swiss Boy
According to this despatch from 1859, a sodden and unfit-for-sea Swiss Boy, a US merchant brig mastered by Mr. David K. Welden, entered Barclay Sound, and was, as Douglas relates, abandoned and thought to be plundered by the natives.
The Swiss Boy had set off from Puget Sound, bound for San Francisco, with shipment of lumber, when, after taking on water, the ship was beached for repairs.1 On February 1st 1859, while beached, the Swiss Boy was boarded by Huu-ay-aht, and Tseshaht First Nations peoples; the masts, rigging, and sails were damaged, and the cabins and sailors were plundered.2 The crew was only able to survive and escape by the assistance of a highly intelligent and widely respected Makah or Cape Flattery chief, pilot and interpreter called Swell.3
The so-called Swiss Boy affair was investigated by Prevost, from the HMS Satellite, who was able to recover some of the missing material, and question those involved in the incident, who asserted that they had believed the Swiss Boy to be their property due to its location and disabled state.4
  • 1. Barry M. Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846-1890, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984), 111.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents