The Venture, later named Umatilla, was a stern-wheel steamship built by Thompson & Co at Five Mile Creek, near the Columbia River; it was 34 m long and 7 m wide.1
Its trial trip on the Columbia was indeed rife with trials, as it went over Cascade Rapids stern first and, eventually, caught up on a rock.2 Of the forty passengers, one man jumped overboard in a panic, and was lost to the frothy wash. It was floated off of its perch and bought by Ainsworth, Leonard & Green, who repaired its hull, renamed it Umatilla, and had it towed by the Columbia up to Victoria.3 From there, Ainsworth captained it on the Fraser for one trip only, before trading it for the steamer Maria, which had been barged up from San Francisco—upon which the Umatilla was loaded and towed to the same city.4
Among its more notable exploits, Umatilla was the first steamboat, on July 21st, 1858, to drive all the way up the Fraser River to Fraser Canyon,5 which it did once only due to the strain of the journey, and it was the first steamer to go over the Cascade rapids.6
In this 1858 despatch, Douglas mentions that he transferred to the Umatilla during an expedition, which carried a force of Thirty-five non-commissioned officers and men, to report on the state of affairs at Fraser River.
  • 1. E. W. Wright, ed., Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (Portland: The Lewis & Dryden Printing Company, 1895), 72.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1847-1871 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1977), 121.
  • 6. Wright, Lewis & Dryden's Marine History, 72.
Mentions of this vessel in the documents