In Search of the Schooner Exact
Once in olden times, nearly forgotten, the schooner Exact was sailed from Nantucket, around Cape Horn, to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Not finding fortune there the little two-masted schooner was sailed, a half year later, from San Francisco to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. While looking at the Duwamish story pole at the Admiral Way Viewpoint (Belvedere Viewpoint) in West Seattle, in June 2013, I noticed that it includes a carving of a sailing vessel that symbolizes the schooner Exact. I wondered then what ever happened to that old sailing schooner, which landed the Denny Party and other pioneers on what is now Alki Beach. I had long seen at Alki Beach Park the granite obelisk on a concrete base that commemorates the “Birthplace of Seattle” and those pioneers that landed there, on November 13, 1851, from the schooner Exact. Those pioneers, most of whom settled across on the east side of Elliott Bay from there, founded the pioneer settlement of Seattle, Oregon Territory, named in 1852 after Chief Si'ahl in honor of his friendship. Chief Si'ahl (c.1786–1866) was chief of both the Suquamish and Duwamish people and he lived mostly at the Old Man House longhouse, on the west side of the entrance to Agate Passage from Port Madison, across Puget Sound from the pioneer settlement of Seattle. Around that time Puget Sound was also known as Whulge, as anglicized from the earlier Lushootseed name khWuhlch for Puget Sound. I had read sketchy historical accounts about the 1851 voyage of the schooner Exact to Puget Sound, under the command of Captain Isaiah Folger, but I had never read much about the schooner itself or any biographical information about the schooner's captain who brought the founding pioneers of Seattle to the wilds of Elliott Bay. By then it had only been about ten years since the United States Exploring Expedition, led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, U.S.N., had charted and named Elliott Bay. My curiosity from not knowing about what happened to the schooner, which left so much history in its wake, led me in search of the schooner Exact information in the old newspaper records of the day. While researching old newspaper records pieces of information were also found in other old publications and documents, which all pieced together like scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, eventually forming enough of a big picture perspective that the following schooner Exact history gradually all came together, with many interesting sidelights as well. Some of the information that was found had been missing entirely from all Pacific Northwest history, or was previously thought to have been long lost, like some missing pieces found for that puzzle.
Pacific Northwest author Archie Binns (1899–1971) in his classic 1941 book titled Northwest Gateway: The Story of the Port of Seattle gave about the only lead that initially could be found for any biographical information about Captain Isaiah Folger, by mentioning in the chapter titled “The Pilgrim Ship” that Captain Isaiah Folger was from Nantucket and was the son of inventor Walter Folger. One paragraph in that 1941 book was about all that was found written, in any detail, specifically about the captain of the schooner Exact. With that lead the following additional information was found about Captain Isaiah Folger (1795–1872). Captain Isaiah Folger was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on May 11, 1795, and he was a son of Walter Folger Jr. (1765–1849) and Anna (Ray) Folger (1764–1844). Isaiah's father, Walter Folger Jr., was a member of the Massachusetts Senate and a member of the United States House of Representatives, in the 15th and 16th United States Congress. Walter Folger Jr. invented an astronomical clock, which he finished making in 1790. He also made the first high-power reflecting telescope made in the United States, which he finished making in 1820. Isaiah Folger served in the War of 1812, in the defense of New York City, as a private in Captain Henry Van Vleck's Company, 3 Reg't (Van Rensselaer's), New York Militia. Isaiah Folger married, on June 10, 1824, Sarah B. Starbuck (1799–1883), who was a daughter of Kimbal Starbuck (1771–1852) and Mary (Coffin) Starbuck (1770–1847). George Franklin Folger (1833–1917) was the only one of the children of Isaiah and Sarah that lived to adulthood. The family heritage of Captain Isaiah Folger includes whaling. Vessel documents for the Nantucket whale ship Essex record that both Isaiah's father Walter Folger Jr. and uncle Gideon Folger (1780–1863) were part owners of the Essex when, in 1820, it was deliberately rammed, stove in, and sunk by a whale. The plight of the crew of the Essex, during that whaling expedition, later gave Herman Melville the idea, in part, to write the novel about Moby Dick. Niles' Weekly Register, in 1820, listed the Essex as owned by Gideon Folger & Company. The Nantucket newspapers indicate that Captain Isaiah Folger first sailed in American coasting trade, out of Nantucket, from the 1820s through the 1840s. Some of the vessels that he sailed included, in chronological order, the sloop Factor (1827–1828), the schooner Eliza (1829–1831), the sloop Fame (1832–1840), the sloop Triumph (1841–1842), and the schooner Exact (1843–1852). The vessel documents for the schooner Exact and the following old newspaper records indicate that Captain Isaiah Folger as a master mariner sailed the schooner Exact on the Pacific Coast for nearly two years in the early 1850s, in both foreign trade and in American coasting trade, before he returned to Nantucket where he and his family were enumerated in the 1855 Massachusetts State Census. He died in Nantucket on June 30, 1872, and his house still exists in the core area of the old historic district of Nantucket. Also the Nantucket Historical Association has a circa 1830 oil painting showing Captain Isaiah Folger standing by a window, holding a telescoping spyglass, possibly in the captain's quarters of a sailing vessel. The oil painting was donated by Mrs. Helen Eliza (Folger) Appleton, granddaughter of Captain Isaiah Folger, in 1944 and at that time it was said to have been painted by William Swain (1803–1847).
American vessels that sailed from the United States in foreign trade were issued certificates of registry by collectors of customs and similarly American vessels that sailed in domestic coasting trade were licensed through a process of enrollment. Thanks to a helpful archivist at the National Archives, in Washington, DC, a microfilm photocopy of Certificate of Registry No. 250 for the schooner Exact was obtained, which provided important missing historical information and verified other historical information that previously didn't have much primary source documentation. Certificate of Registry No. 250 was issued at San Francisco on August 2, 1851, and was signed by Sheldon U. Hopkins, Deputy Collector at San Francisco. The certificate was also signed, at the bottom in the left margin, by Jacob A. Cost, Naval Officer at San Francisco. This vessel document was actually on board the schooner Exact when it was first sailed to the Pacific Northwest and beyond and when it landed the founding pioneers of Seattle, on November 13, 1851, at what is now Alki Beach. When Captain Isaiah Folger later obtained Certificate of Enrollment No. 191, on July 12, 1852, he surrendered Certificate of Registry No. 250 at the custom house at San Francisco. The deputy collector then wrote on the back of the surrendered certificate “Cancelled San Francisco July 12, 1852 Enrolment and License granted, S. U. Hopkins DC.” Also written on the back, after having been folded up, is the vessel document label “250 Certificate of Register Schooner Exact 1142⁄95 Tons August 2, 1851.” When the master of a vessel surrendered his certificate of registry the collector was required to cancel the master's certificate and send that cancelled surrendered certificate to Washington, DC, for records filing. Certificate of Registry No. 250 has the top left corner missing and shows some wear and tear, especially along the left edge since the surrendered certificates of registry were once bound chronologically in bound record volumes. Fortunately though cancelled Certificate of Registry No. 250 survived through the ages to the present time, as it reveals or verifies the following important historical information from the time of registration on August 2, 1851. The certificate of registry verifies that the schooner Exact was of Nantucket and that Isaiah Folger was at the time of registration the master of the vessel, which was then owned only by Isaiah Folger, George H. Folger, Ovid Starbuck, Henry Coffin, and E. H. Morton. The name Ovid Starbuck (Oved is a Hebrew form of Obed) was probably a phonetic misspelling of Obed Starbuck (1797–1882), since the latter was an uncle to George H. Folger (1816–1892), a brother-in-law of Henry Coffin (1807–1900), and the son of Levi Starbuck (1769–1849), who was a former 1⁄3 owner of the schooner Exact with George H. Folger and Henry Coffin. E. H. Morton was Captain Edward Hussey Morton (1810–1887), who sailed the schooner Exact from Nantucket to San Francisco (from May 4, 1850, to February 2, 1851) with Isaiah Folger and a crew of six others. Certificate of Registry No. 250 also verifies that the schooner Exact was built in the State of Connecticut and that it was first registered at the Port of Hartford, Connecticut. George W. Guthrie, Deputy Surveyor of customs at San Francisco, certified at the time of registration, on August 2, 1851, that the schooner Exact had one deck, two masts, a square stern, and a billet head. G. W. Guthrie also certified the measured dimensions of the schooner Exact, which were recorded on the certificate of registry to the nearest fractional foot, since those measurements were then used to calculate the cubic feet of cargo room to determine the measured tons recorded on the certificate of registry. The dimensions of the schooner Exact were recorded on the certificate of registry as having been 745⁄12 feet long, its breadth was 211⁄3 feet wide, its depth [of hold] was 8¼ feet deep, and it measured 1142⁄95 tons register. These recorded dimensions of the schooner Exact when converted to feet and inches are length 74′ 5″ long, breadth 21′ 4″ wide, and depth [of hold] 8′ 3″ deep.
The Collection District of Middletown was established on February 26, 1795, in the State of Connecticut for the Connecticut River. According to vessel documents, from the Collection District of Middletown, the schooner Exact was a two-masted schooner built in 1830 at Glastonbury, Connecticut. In the early 19th century Glastonbury, then spelled Glastenbury, was an agricultural and budding industrial town with several shipyards along the Connecticut River. Mostly smaller sized sailing vessels were built at Glastonbury since it was difficult navigating upriver as far as Hartford with larger sailing vessels the winding, tidal influenced, river with its series of various sandbars and shoals. The schooner Exact first had a home port on the Connecticut River at Hartford, Connecticut, about ten miles upriver from where it was built at South Glastonbury. At that time, within the Collection District of Middletown, both Glastonbury and Hartford were among about a dozen customs ports of delivery along the Connecticut River and Middletown was the customs port of entry. It was from the Connecticut River, within the heart of Connecticut, near the venerable Charter Oak that the schooner Exact first set out to sea. It was about a 50-mile trip downriver from its home port at Hartford to where the Connecticut River enters into Long Island Sound, between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme located on opposite sides of the mouth of the river. In the 18th century, before the American Revolutionary War, the Connecticut River had become a vital link for commerce in lucrative trade with places such as the islands of the West Indies. In the early 19th century, before the advent of the railroads, the Connecticut River was considered a main thoroughfare from Long Island Sound to Hartford, although navigation with sailing vessels was only possible when the river was free of ice and easiest in the spring and autumn when the river was high. The Connecticut River was designated by Presidential proclamation, in 1998, as one of fourteen American Heritage Rivers.
Rutherford Hayes Calkins (1876–1962) was marine editor for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1911 to 1916 and he was also marine editor for The Seattle Times from 1916 to 1950. In his book titled High Tide, published in 1952, R. H. “Skipper” Calkins left for posterity a clue as to who the original Hartford owners of the schooner Exact were. On page 230 of that book he noted that the schooner Exact was constructed for a Mr. Chapin and Charles H. Northam of Hartford, Connecticut. With that lead the following additional information was found about Merrick Warren Chapin (1796–1867) and Charles Harvey Northam (1797–1881), said to be the original Hartford owners of the schooner Exact. In 1824 Chapin & Northam were agents for the Connecticut River Steamboat Company, which was incorporated in May 1823. About a year after incorporation that company's first steamboat, the Oliver Ellsworth, began transporting passengers and freight in May 1824 between Hartford and New York. In 1825 the business partnership of Chapin & Northam was listed as “Chapin & Northam, West India goods and groceries, Commerce Street five rods north of Ferry Landing.” By May 1826 Chapin & Northam were also agents for the steamboat Macdonough that was built for the Hartford Steam Boat Company and ran between Hartford and New York from 1826 to 1833. The 1828 city directory for Hartford, published by Ariel Ensign, lists on page 42 “Northam & Chapin, Grocers and commission Merchants, Commerce [Street] 36.”
Thomas A. Stevens (1901–1982) was an eminent historian of the nautical history of the Connecticut River and for a while he was a director of the Marine Historical Association, now Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, Connecticut. At the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut is the Thomas A. Stevens Research Library, at the foot of Main Street, by the Essex Town Dock and boat launch ramp on the Connecticut River. The library is housed in a circa 1813 Federal-style building that once was the ship chandlery of Captain Richard Hayden, an Essex shipbuilder and merchant. I contacted the curator of the library, which contains compilations from Mr. Stevens' research on vessels built along the Connecticut River. I inquired if the library had any copies of records for the schooner Exact recorded for the Collection District of Middletown in the 1830s. Found among Mr. Stevens' vessel documentation records were a couple records for the schooner Exact compiled by Mr. Stevens. One record was an old typewritten “Record of Vessel” card for the schooner Exact that had been filled out years ago. Mr. Stevens filled out a Record of Vessel card for every vessel built along the Connecticut River that he found information about. The other record, handwritten by Mr. Stevens, was an old transcription of Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 that had been issued for the schooner Exact at Middletown on November 27, 1835. The transcriptions, according to notation in the front of the record book, were copied by Mr. Stevens in March 1938 from original records in the Hartford Custom House. The customs port of entry was changed from Middletown to Hartford, when the Collection District of Middletown was changed to the Collection District of Hartford on March 3, 1887. The files of vessel documents at Middletown were transferred to the Hartford Custom House sometime after Hartford became the new customs port of entry. Recorded on Mr. Stevens' transcription from Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 that had been issued at Middletown on November 27, 1835, is that the schooner Exact was built at Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1830, as per Enrollment No. 20 that was issued at Middletown on June 5, 1835. Recorded on the Record of Vessel card filled out by Mr. Stevens, from information that he found at the Hartford Custom House, surprisingly was the name of the builder of the schooner Exact. Any record of the builder of the schooner Exact was previously thought to have been long lost, so receiving a copy of the Record of Vessel card that contained that missing information was absolutely astounding. The builder of the schooner Exact was recorded as “Joshua Williams - M.C.” (master carpenter) and that information was originally found by Mr. Stevens, in 1938, among the records at the Hartford Custom House. Also recorded on the Record of Vessel card is that the schooner Exact was built in 1830 at Glastonbury, Connecticut and that it was first owned in 1830 by Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam at Hartford and at that time the master of the schooner Exact was Benjamin Alford.
Thanks again to the same helpful archivist at the National Archives, in Washington, DC, a photocopy of the 1830 master carpenter's certificate for the schooner Exact was obtained, which was previously thought to have been long lost. Received also from the National Archives with the photocopy of the 1830 master carpenter's certificate was a photocopy of the first certificate of admeasurement for the schooner Exact, as well as a photocopy of the first certificate of enrollment for the schooner Exact. The August 12, 1830, certificate of admeasurement was handwritten and signed by William Conner, Surveyor of Customs for the customs port of delivery at Hartford in the Collection District of Middletown and was countersigned by Merrick Warren Chapin. The certificate of admeasurement reads: “District of Middletown, Port of Hartford 12th August 1830, I William Conner Surveyor of the Port of Hartford do certify that I have surveyed and admeasured a vessel having the name ‘Exact of Hartford’ painted on her stern according to law, and find that said vessel is American built, has one deck and two masts, is a square sterned schooner, has a billet head and no galleries, that she is in length seventy feet and half an inch, in breadth twenty two feet one and three quarter inches, in depth five feet six and a half inches, and that she measures seventy three tons and thirty two ninety fifth parts of a ton. As witness my hand, [signed] Wm. Conner, Surveyor. Countersigned in testimony of the truth of the particulars above mentioned [signed] M. W. Chapin.”
The master carpenter's certificate verifies both that the schooner Exact was built by Joshua Williams and that it was built, by August 1830, for Chapin & Northam. The handwritten master carpenter's certificate, written and signed by Joshua Williams, simply reads: “Glastenbury August 16th 1830. This may sertify that I Joshua Williams built a vessail for Chapin & Northam cald the Exact of Hartford. [Signed] Joshua Williams.” The name of the builder of the schooner Exact, Joshua Williams, has always been missing entirely from all Pacific Northwest history and that elusive information was also previously thought to have been long lost. His name was probably not even known to some of the later captains who commanded that sailing vessel. As certified by himself, in 1830, Joshua Williams is here now historically verified as the master carpenter of Seattle's “Pilgrim Ship,” the schooner Exact.
The schooner Exact was first enrolled, on August 18, 1830, at the port of entry at Middletown and Certificate of Enrollment No. 28 was signed in the left margin by Noah A. Phelps, Collector of Customs and by Daniel Burrows, Surveyor of Customs. Certificate of Enrollment No. 28 verifies that the schooner Exact was built at Glastonbury, Connecticut and that Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam, both of Hartford, Connecticut, were at that time the sole owners of the schooner Exact and that Benjamin Alford was at that time the master of the schooner Exact.
Joshua Williams (1778–1860), master carpenter for the schooner Exact, was a ship carpenter who lived at South Glastonbury. Joshua was born in Stonington, Connecticut on November 4, 1778, and he was a son of Joshua Williams (1749–1838) and Dorothy (Edgecomb) Williams (1754–1778), who died a few days after Joshua was born. Joshua's father is listed in American Revolutionary War records as one of the men who marched from the town of Hartford for the relief of Boston in the Lexington Alarm and afterward he was enlisted as a private, under Captain John Durkee, fighting in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Joshua married Lydia Hough (1780–1870) in about 1801. Joshua died on February 7, 1860, and he was buried in the Old Church Cemetery (est. 1823), located off of the west side of Main Street, about two-thirds of the way south between Glastonbury and South Glastonbury. Roderick H. Robbins, according to the 1850 U.S. Census, was a wagon maker and one of the neighbors of Joshua and Lydia (Hough) Williams. Roderick married Anna T. Williams, who was a daughter of Joshua and Lydia. At the time of the 1860 U.S. Census Roderick and Anna were living with Lydia, about four months after her husband Joshua had died. By comparing on the 1850 U.S. Census the names of neighbors of Joshua Williams with the names of residents shown in South Glastonbury on Smith's Map of Hartford County Connecticut (1855) it appears that Joshua Williams lived, near the Connecticut River, along the road that is now Tryon Street (State Route 160), between the old double arch stone bridge over Roaring Brook and the junction with the road that is now Ferry Lane that leads to the Glastonbury-Rocky Hill ferry.
This area in the Nayaug section of South Glastonbury is now within the Glastonbury-Rocky Hill Ferry Historic District, where the Glastonbury-Rocky Hill ferry crossing has been in operation since the year 1655. The Welles Shipyard located along the Connecticut River at Log Landing, downriver from the mouth of Roaring Brook, began operation in about the mid 1700s and was operated by the Welles family and first owned by Col. Thomas Welles (1692–1767). Later the busy Hollister shipyard began operation there at Log Landing in about 1795 and was operated by local shipbuilders and owned by Captain Roswell Hollister (1763–1842). Mainly smaller types of sailing vessels, including sloops, schooners, and brigs, were built for Hartford and Glastonbury merchants at those two Nayaug shipyards. The location of those two former shipyards, off of the end of present-day Pease Lane, was known as Log Landing because logs were once sent down the Connecticut River to there and then sawn at one or more small water-powered sawmills along Roaring Brook.
Examination of the 1830 U.S. Census, from the year that the schooner Exact was built, revealed that the schooner Exact almost certainly was built at the Hollister shipyard at Log Landing. The evidence for that conclusion is that Joshua Williams was enumerated in 1830 by the census taker only three dwellings before the dwelling of Roswell Hollister, who owned the Hollister shipyard. The old John Hollister house, where Roswell Hollister lived, was built sometime after about 1675 and it still exists at 14 Tryon Street. The house is located along the north side of Tryon Street, between the old double arch stone bridge over Roaring Brook and the junction with Pease Lane. The old Hollister family home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and it is the oldest existing house in Glastonbury.
When the schooner Exact was built, by Joshua Williams, it was launched from its ways along the east bank of the Connecticut River and sailed about ten miles upriver to Hartford, where Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam were its first owners. When the schooner Exact was built, in 1830, Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam besides being grocers were also in the shipping, forwarding, and commission business. They probably used the schooner Exact for forwarding and redistributing wholesale goods at ports along the Atlantic seaboard in coasting trade and possibly even sometimes for sailing in foreign trade. Before the advent of the railroads Hartford was a major inland maritime port and distributing center and Commerce Street was the main wholesale business street of the city. Along Commerce Street there were warehouses that had wharves, where sailing vessels frequently came and went. Shipping was done between there and American ports and faraway places such as the islands of the West Indies, except during several periods when there were trade sanctions that prohibited trade with the British colonial possessions among those islands.
In 1832 Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam dissolved their business firm and they both became separate Hartford shipping agents. About that time Merrick W. Chapin married Harriet M. Folger (1800–1836), who was a relative of Captain Isaiah Folger. Harriet and Isaiah were third cousins. They both had as a great great-grandfather Nathan Folger (1678–1747), of Nantucket, who was a cousin of American diplomat and founding father Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790).
The schooner Exact was sold in late 1835, which was at a time when shipping by steamboat to and from the Connecticut River was becoming more common. Also recorded on Mr. Stevens' transcription from Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 is that Certificate of Enrollment No. 20 that was issued at Middletown, on June 5, 1835, was surrendered at the time Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 was issued at Middletown, on November 27, 1835, when the schooner Exact was sold out of the Collection District of Middletown. Recorded on the transcription was that the new owners were all from Nantucket and were listed on Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 as Timothy Fitzgerald (Master), Nathaniel Fitzgerald, William Fitzgerald, Thomas Macy, Peter Macy, Levi Starbuck, William Crosby, Benjamin Coffin, Henry Swift and Henry Coffin. Also noted on the transcription was that Temporary Certificate of Registry No. 8 was surrendered at Nantucket on December 5, 1835.
After the schooner Exact was sold M. W. Chapin & Company and C. H. Northam & Company continued to operate in Hartford as separate agents, while regularly scheduled steam packet service expanded out along the Northeast Coast from the Connecticut River. The 1845 city directory for Hartford, published by Elihu Geer, mentions on page 121 that M. W. Chapin & Company were the agents for “Two new steamers, one of which will leave Hartford once a week, from Chapin's Wharf, and one leaves Philadelphia weekly.” Chapin's Wharf was centrally located on the Hartford riverfront along the Connecticut River, on the east side of what was then Commerce Street, only about three blocks east of the Old Connecticut State House. The 1845 city directory, on page 74, shows C. H. Northam & Company as wholesale grocers at 47 and 49 Commerce Street. Also shown in the 1845 city directory, on page 127, is that Charles H. Northam was in addition to then being a wholesale grocer he also by then was President and Treasurer of the Connecticut River Steamboat Company and both he and Merrick W. Chapin were two of five directors of that company. An 1850 map of the City of Hartford, by Marcus Smith, shows that the Connecticut River Steamboat Company Wharf was located on the east side of what was then Commerce Street, north of the boat slip at the foot of what was then State Street and south of Chapin's Wharf, which in turn was located on the south side of the boat landing at the foot of what was then Ferry Street. The schooner Exact likely once moored at those wharves associated with Merrick W. Chapin and Charles H. Northam, along that block within the Commerce Street wholesale business part of town. Before that wholesale business part of town was developed, the Hartford riverfront was known as Little Meadow and there was then a central boat landing located just north of where Chapin's Wharf was later built. That part of the Hartford riverfront is now where Interstate Highway I-91 now runs along the west side of the Connecticut River just north of the Founders Bridge that now spans the river connecting Hartford and East Hartford on opposite sides of the river.
As a means of widespread communication among mariners and shippers maritime information and news was published in some early newspapers. That information often included vessel entrances and clearances, vessel cargo, consignees, passengers, sightings, relayed communications and other matters of general maritime interest. That newspaper information, what still exists, now preserves an important historical record of maritime shipping and of the travels and activities of specific vessels.
By early December 1835 the schooner Exact had a home port at Nantucket, Massachusetts, located on Nantucket Island off the Atlantic Coast from Hyannis Port between Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. During the latter 1830s to 1850, from its home port at Nantucket, the schooner Exact was sailed in coasting trade along the Atlantic seaboard. The “Marine News” listings and advertisements, in the Nantucket Inquirer newspaper, indicate that after the schooner Exact was first sold to Nantucket owners it was often sailed in coasting trade between Hartford and Nantucket, for at least the next few years, for the firm of T. & N. Fitzgerald. Timothy Fitzgerald and Nathaniel Fitzgerald were merchants who sold a wide assortment of goods at 16 Fair Street, in Nantucket. In the 1840s, when owned by George H. Folger, Levi Starbuck, and Henry Coffin, the schooner Exact was sailed in coasting trade that ranged from at least Boston, Massachusetts, south to Norfolk, Virginia, located up the Elizabeth River from Hampton Roads roadstead. The schooner Exact was also sailed to some of the more inland ports located along rivers, such as the Port of Richmond, Virginia, located up the winding James River from Hampton Roads roadstead. The schooner Exact was also sailed to upper Chesapeake Bay and then on up the Patapsco River to the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, by where the Patapsco River branches at Fort McHenry. It was at Fort McHenry, during the Battle of Baltimore, where the great garrison flag was flown, on September 14, 1814, which later was immortalized as the Star-Spangled Banner in the American national anthem. On a trip to Richmond, Virginia, the Richmond Enquirer newspaper, on June 20, 1845, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Marine Journal” column that the schooner Exact, Capt. Folger, arrived on June 20 at the Port of Richmond, from Nantucket, with sundries. While continuing on that same trip, the American Republican and Baltimore Clipper newspaper, on June 25, 1845, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Marine List—Port of Baltimore” column that the schooner Exact, Capt. Folger, arrived on June 24 at the Port of Baltimore, 10 days from Nantucket, via Richmond, with oil and candles going to T. Whitridge & Co. High quality lamp oil, lubricating oil, and candles, were all products of the Nantucket whaling industry, before cheaper production of those products went to the petroleum industry during the 1860s. Thomas Whitridge (1802–1883) was a commission merchant located in the heart of the Baltimore waterfront, on Bowley's Wharf, in the Basin at the head of the Northwest Harbor (Northwest Branch) of the Patapsco River. The following year, on October 13, 1846, the schooner Exact was caught along the course of the Great Hurricane of 1846, which at that time was the most intense hurricane known to have made landfall on the United States. That hurricane's storm surge inundated the Baltimore waterfront and flooded some of the city streets. The American Republican and Baltimore Clipper newspaper, on October 21, 1846, on page 2, listed damage to the schooner Exact under “Memoranda” in the “Marine List—Port of Baltimore” column. That listing notes that the schooner Exact, Capt. Folger, sailing from Nantucket for Baltimore, arrived at Norfolk on Sunday [October 18] after having experienced the gale on the 13th, off Smith's Island. Also noted is that during the gale they had to carry all sail to keep off shore and by so doing the schooner Exact lost its jib, the foresail split and the fore-topmast and jibboom were carried away, but they sustained no damage to the hull or cargo. An 1840 nautical chart of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, by Fielding Lucas Jr., shows a Smith's Island located on the north side of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, along the Atlantic Coast. Another Smith's Island is also shown, on the same nautical chart, extending across the border of Maryland and Virginia in Chesapeake Bay. The same storm damage to the schooner Exact was also listed in a long listing of widespread storm damage in the New-York Municipal Gazette (vol. 1, no. 48), on March 15, 1847, on page 740.
During the California Gold Rush the schooner Exact was one of numerous sailing vessels that made the long voyage from Nantucket to San Francisco. During that gold rush whaling out of Nantucket had already begun to decline and hundreds of argonauts left Nantucket Island for California, either by sea or overland travel. When the crew of the schooner Exact set sail for San Francisco the Exact would never return to the New England coast. The Nantucket Weekly Mirror newspaper, on May 4, 1850, on page 2, reported: “For El Dorado.—The schr Exact, of 117 tons burthen, cleared from this port for California on Tuesday [April 30], and will probably sail to-day. Her cargo consists of bricks, lumber, hardware and merchandise. Her company consists of the following persons: Captain, Edward H. Morton; Supercargo, Isaiah Folger; 1st Mate, Benjamin H. Gardner; Seamen, John S. Nicholson, William H. Reynolds, Francis Riley, and John Chadwick; Steward, Alonzo Granton.” At that time Captain Edward H. Morton was one of the co-owners of the schooner Exact, along with Captain Isaiah Folger, George H. Folger, Henry Coffin, and Ovid Starbuck (probably actually Obed Starbuck). All five of these owners of the schooner Exact were Nantucket relatives, descendant from Nantucket founder Tristram Coffin. On that voyage Isaiah Folger served on board the schooner Exact as “supercargo,” which is a person on a merchant vessel who is in charge of the commercial matters of the voyage.
The Nantucket newspapers reported on the schooner Exact, during its voyage to California, in their “Marine Journal” columns. The Inquirer newspaper, on May 6, 1850, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Port of Nantucket” in the “Marine Journal” column that on Saturday, May 4, 1850, the schooner Exact, Captain Morton, sailed for California. The Inquirer newspaper, on May 10, 1850, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Memoranda” in the “Marine Journal” column that on May 7, 1850, the schooner Exact, Captain Morton, sailed from Holmes Hole [now Vineyard Haven], hence for California. The Inquirer newspaper, on September 6, 1850, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Memoranda” in the “Marine Journal” column that on July 21, 1850, the schooner Exact, Captain Morton, was at Rio [de] Janeiro, hence for San Francisco. The Nantucket Weekly Mirror newspaper, on November 30, 1850, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Spoken” in the “Marine Journal” column that the schooner Exact, Captain Morton, was off Cape Horn [no date], hence for San Francisco. The Inquirer newspaper, on January 10, 1851, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Memoranda” in the “Marine Journal” column that on November 20, 1850, the schooner Exact, Captain Morton, was at Valparaiso [Chile] repairing, hence for San Francisco. Valparaíso was a main layover point and entrepôt, in the 19th century, for vessels that sailed around South America and that port was particularly busy during the California Gold Rush.
The earliest mention of the schooner Exact found in the old West Coast newspapers was from when the schooner Exact first arrived at San Francisco, less than 5 months after California became the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850. California was made a state then from part of what had been the Mexican territory of Alta California before the Mexican Cession of 1848. The Daily Alta California newspaper, on February 3, 1851, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column that the schooner Exact, under the command of Captain [Edward H.] Morton arrived with 6 passengers on February 2 at San Francisco, 270 days after having left Nantucket and having sailed via Rio [de] Janeiro, [Brazil] and Valparaiso, [Chile]. On that same page, listed under the heading “Importations,” it says that the schooner Exact brought on that voyage to San Francisco 18,000 feet of lumber, 4500 shingles, 12 boxes of hardware and cooking stoves, 3 dozen window sashes, 25 boxes of soap, 10,000 bricks, 35 boxes of candles, and many barrels, bags, and boxes of various food stuff. Brought on the schooner Exact, as mentioned above, on its voyage from Nantucket to San Francisco, were a lot of building materials for construction of one or more buildings. When the schooner Exact arrived at San Francisco, nine months after leaving Nantucket, the burgeoning city was a gold rush boomtown with a sudden population influx and building construction was occurring at a very rapid pace.
Captain Edward Hussey Morton (1810–1887) left the schooner Exact soon after he arrived at San Francisco on February 2, 1851. He captained the ship Kate Napier back to New York, where it arrived on December 27, 1851, having sailed 76 days from Talcahuano, Chile. The ship Kate Napier was formerly the Nantucket and New Bedford whale ship Obed Mitchell, of 355 tons burthen, built in 1837 at Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Edward H. Morton and his family are enumerated in the 1855 Massachusetts State Census, at Nantucket, but by about 1856 he brought his family to San Francisco and he established there a stevedoring business, Morton Brothers, with his older brother Charles Carey Morton (1809–1886). Morton Brothers was listed in the 1856 city directory for San Francisco that was compiled and published by Harris, Bogardus, and Labatt. Edward H. Morton also worked at San Francisco as a watchman at the U.S. Branch Mint, by 1863, before he moved to Sonoma, California, in about 1879. Edward H. Morton had previously purchased in Sonoma, in 1872, the homestead of early Sonoma pioneer John C. McCracken, on Lot 522, which comprised about 32 acres. After Edward H. Morton purchased that property the land was initially farmed by his son Martin Tuller Morton (1845–1916), before Edward and his wife, Jennette Gardner (Coffin) Morton (1815–1897), also moved there. The 1880 U.S. Census lists as living on the farm, Edward H. Morton, farmer, his wife Jennette G. Morton, his son Martin T. Morton, and also two Chinese farm laborers named Ah Pang and Ah Yow. Martin T. Morton later married, in 1886, Martha H. Caldwell, who was a daughter of Albert Caldwell and Cordelia (Hayt) Caldwell. The location of the Morton family farm, in Sonoma, is shown on page 55 of the Historical Atlas Map of Sonoma County, California […], published in 1877.
Despite the boomtown economy in San Francisco in 1851, after six months, Captain Isaiah Folger sailed the schooner Exact up north to the Pacific Northwest and beyond for what turned out to be apparently nearly nine months before he sailed back down to San Francisco. Perhaps having “seen the elephant,” as gold prospectors used to say, or else perhaps having seen a possible tremendous gold rush shipping opportunity, after exactly one-half year to the very day that the schooner Exact first arrived at San Francisco, Captain Isaiah Folger set sail from there on August 2, 1851, which was also the very same day that he received Certificate of Registry No. 250 from the San Francisco Custom House. The Daily Alta California newspaper, on August 3, 1851, on page 2, listed under the subheading “Cleared” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column that the schooner Exact, under the command of Captain Folger, cleared on August 2 from the Port of San Francisco bound for Oregon with “McNeir & Coffin” listed as the consignees. From San Francisco the schooner Exact was first sailed to Portland, Oregon Territory and then way up north to Sitka, where Captain Isaiah Folger arrived in September 1851. Back then Sitka was more commonly known as New Archangel, or Novo-Arkhangelsk, as that small settlement was then within the Russian colonial possessions known as Russian America, or Russkaya Amerika.
The Daily Alta California newspaper, on March 19, 1852, on page 2, reported in an article that the governor of the Russian American Colonies, [Nikolai Yakovlevich Rosenberg], had reported that Captain Isaiah Folger had arrived with the schooner Exact in Sitka (New Archangel) in September 1851, for the purpose of forming an ice company. The article says that the Russian governor, [the Governor General of the Russian-American Company], had reported that Captain Folger, failing to complete his arrangements, had set sail from there in hopes of finding a more convenient place for shipping ice and the governor feared that the schooner Exact may have been taken captive or lost since it had not returned to either San Francisco or to Sitka. The same story was published again the following day in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on March 20, 1852, on page 1, and also later in the Nantucket Weekly Mirror newspaper, on April 24, 1852, on page 2. A similar “Missing Vessel” notice for the schooner Exact even appeared in the New-York Daily Tribune, on April 28, 1852, on page 7, under the subheading “Disasters, &c.” in the “Marine Journal” column. Captain Folger's apparent attempt at shipping ice was at a time when Wenham Lake ice had been imported by sailing vessel to San Francisco, all the way around South America from Boston. It was also before the later American Russian Commercial Company, also known as the Sitka Ice Company, was formed in April 1853 mainly for the purpose of importing ice into the State of California from the Russian settlements in Russian America (now Alaska). Information about the schooner Exact at Sitka is also in the records of the Russian-American Company in Volume 32 (Jan. 3, 1851 to Dec. 29, 1851) on pages 496–505 (NARA Microfilm Publication M11, Roll 57). The correspondence sent by the governor general was written very neatly in 19th-century Russian cursive handwriting, although about all that I could read was the name of the schooner Exact as that was written six times in English.
In the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, on April 7, 1852, on page 2, a small one sentence notice states only that “The schooner Exact, supposed to be lost, has arrived at Puget Sound.” During the time after the schooner Exact left Sitka, in late summer or early autumn of 1851 and was presumed to be lost, it had obviously sailed south at least to Portland and then back north to Puget Sound, where on November 13, 1851, it had arrived at what is now Alki Beach and then was known as Smaquamox, or Sbaqwabqs, by the native people. Despite regular “shipping intelligence” reports in some newspapers back in the early 1850s sailing vessels in the Pacific Northwest apparently weren't always well accounted for. As a case in point the whereabouts of the schooner Exact appears to have been overlooked, since it was mentioned in several newspapers after it left Sitka. The Oregon Spectator, on November 4, 1851, on page 3, reported in the “Marine Intelligence” column that the schooner Exact arrived at the Port of Astoria on October 2, 1851. Also, the Daily Alta California newspaper, on November 13, 1851, on page 2, reported the departure of the schooner Exact from Portland on an expedition to the Queen Charlotte Islands, which are now the Haida Gwaii archipelago in British Columbia. That expedition, to search for gold in the Queen Charlotte Islands, was the same voyage of the schooner Exact that on November 13, 1851, landed, on what is now Alki Beach, the founding pioneers of Seattle. That was also, coincidentally, the same day that the newspaper article mentioned above was published. On that historic day ten adults and twelve children disembarked from the schooner Exact and joined David T. Denny and Leander “Lee” Terry on shore. David T. Denny and Lee Terry had both arrived there over six weeks earlier, along with John N. Low who had left them there and traveled back to Portland by late October and then returned on the schooner Exact with his family and the rest of those who also became the founding pioneers of Seattle. The previous September John N. Low and David T. Denny had traveled north on the Cowlitz Trail and along the way had left Low's cattle with Judge Sidney S. Ford who had settled along the east bank of the Chehalis River, on the west side of the Cowlitz Trail, about four miles downriver from the confluence of the Skookumchuck River by what is now named Ford's Prairie. The Cowlitz Trail was an early route to Puget Sound, from Cowlitz Landing at the head of the navigable water route from Fort Vancouver. When John N. Low and David T. Denny reached Olympia, according to Arthur A. Denny on page 28 of his book titled Pioneer Days on Puget Sound, first published in 1888, “[…] they fell in with Lee Terry and the three there joined Capt. Robert C. Fay and came down to the Duwamish River exploring.” At that time Captain Robert C. Fay had been working as a captain of the brig Orbit, for Michael T. Simmons, of Olympia, who in 1850 had bought controlling interest in that sailing vessel, which measured 15447⁄95 tons register. The landing of the founding pioneers of Seattle, from the schooner Exact, was commemorated for years on November 13. The annual Founders' Day celebrations began in 1905 when the “Birthplace of Seattle” granite obelisk, then on a mortared stone base, was dedicated near Alki Beach.
The article in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on November 13, 1851, on page 2, includes the names of the gold prospectors who chartered the schooner Exact. On page 2 it says: “The schooner Exact, Capt. Folger, left Portland Nov. 6th, on an expedition to Queen Charlotte's Island, via Puget's Sound. This vessel, says the [Oregon] Weekly Times, is chartered by a company of some thirty persons, for the purpose of prospecting the hitherto scarce explored regions above named, to ascertain the fact whether gold exists there, as has lately been reported. The following is a list of persons engaged in the expedition: Isaiah Folger, J. Woodbury, Wm. Baker, Wm. H. Fitch, James Taylor, H. Love, A. Manckly, C. Van Dohten, John Welch, J. R. Kennedy, J. C. Brown, A. P. Sanders, C. Ethridge, S. Hodgdon, Cyrus Aba, John Neely, C. C. Stites, A. Miller, J. W. Donnell, James Cunningham, Wm. Smith, Wm. Fulton, A. Brown, R. Smith, C. Whatterbor and R. Willis.” This very same newspaper article was also later published in The Inquirer newspaper, in Nantucket, on Christmas Day 1851, on page 2. Although the newspaper article only mentions the gold prospectors, by name, it agrees with what schooner Exact passenger Arthur A. Denny (1822–1899) wrote in his book titled Pioneer Days on Puget Sound. On pages 28–29 it says: “[…] the schooner Exact, Capt. Folger, was fitting for a voyage to Queen Charlotte Island with gold prospectors, intending to touch at the Sound with emigrants. We determined to take passage on her.” Arthur A. Denny also mentioned in his book one of the expedition's gold prospectors listed above, saying on page 43 that Alford M. Miller (who was actually Alfred M. Miller) located on Whidbey Island and “[…] was one of the Exact's party of gold prospectors.” He also mentioned in his book, on pages 36–37, that “We had left our stock in the Willamette valley to winter, and our plan was to get the stock over and then divide and move onto our claims. On the 23rd of March the Exact came in [to Elliott Bay] on her return from the gold expedition, having failed to find anything of interest. Boren and my brother took passage on her to Olympia on their way to the [Willamette] valley for the stock, leaving Bell and myself in charge of the claims and families.”
The book titled History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington; […] (vol. I), published in 1889, has a description of the settlers that took passage from Portland on the schooner Exact who were in addition to the gold prospectors that chartered the gold expedition to the Queen Charlotte Islands. On page 338 it says: “On the 5th of November, the schooner Exact, Captain Folger, sailed from Portland for Puget Sound, and for the newly discovered gold mines on Queen Charlotte's Island. A number of settlers came as passengers. On the 13th of November, she landed Arthur A. Denny, William N. Bell [, John N. Low] and Carson D. Boren, and their families, and Charles C. Terry. The little settlement at Alki Point, named New York, numbered twenty-five, twelve of whom were adults. Among the passengers by the Exact [that continued to Olympia] were James M. Hughes, who settled in Steilacoom, Daniel R. Bigelow, who located at Olympia, H. H. Pinto and family, who settled [first] at Cowlitz [Landing], John Alexander and family, and Alfred Miller, who took claims on Whidby [sic] Island.” The legacies of many of those who came to Puget Sound on the November 1851 voyage of the schooner Exact are inextricably woven into the cultural tapestry of the Pacific Northwest.
The first donation land claims in Seattle, Thurston County, Oregon Territory were claimed in 1852 by: Arthur Armstrong Denny and wife, on a 320-acre claim; Carson Dobbins Boren and wife, on a 324-acre claim; William Nathaniel Bell and wife, on a 322-acre claim; Henry Leiter Yesler and wife, on a 322-acre claim; and David Swinson Maynard and wife, on a 322-acre claim. David Thomas Denny waited until after he married Louisa Boren, on January 23, 1853, to claim a 323-acre donation land claim that by then was in Seattle, King County, Oregon Territory. Thurston County was named in honor of Samuel Royal Thurston, the first delegate from Oregon Territory to Congress. King County was later named in honor of William Rufus DeVane King, who at that time had just recently been elected as Vice President of the United States.
Arthur Armstrong Denny (1822–1899) and family, who came from Illinois, settled along Elliott Bay on a donation land claim located between those of William N. Bell and Carson D. Boren. Arthur A. Denny, according to United States Postal Service records, was appointed as the first postmaster of Seattle, Thurston County, Oregon Territory on October 12, 1852. After King County was formed, on December 22, 1852, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon appointed Arthur A. Denny to the Board of County Commissioners for King County, Oregon Territory. Arthur A. Denny also later became a member of the House of Representatives of the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, in February 1854, under Territorial Governor Isaac I. Stevens. Arthur A. Denny was a member of the House of Representatives from 1854 to 1855 and then became a member of the Council of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington from 1856 to 1860. In 1861 he was appointed as register of the United States District Land Office at Olympia for four years and was then elected in 1865, near the close of the Civil War, for one term as a delegate from Washington Territory to the Thirty-ninth United States Congress. Arthur A. Denny was also on the Board of Regents of the Territorial University, from 1868 to 1869, from 1871 to 1873, and from 1882 to 1888.
David Thomas Denny (1832–1903) was married to Louisa Boren on January 23, 1853, by Justice of the Peace David S. Maynard, at the home of his brother Arthur A. Denny. Their marriage was the first marriage recorded in newly formed King County and was certified by David S. Maynard (justice of the peace) and Henry L. Yesler (clerk). David T. Denny and his wife, Louisa, settled on a donation land claim that extended from the south end of Lake Union to Elliott Bay. Their land claim was located between those of Thomas Mercer and William N. Bell. The book History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington; […] (vol. II), published in 1889, notes that David T. Denny held various public trust positions in civic, county, and territorial administration. On page 300 of that book it notes that he was a member of the first board of trustees of the town of Seattle, treasurer of King County for eight years, probate judge of the county for three years, and treasurer of the Board of Regents of the Territorial University for three years [,from 1866 to 1868]. He was also instrumental in organizing the construction of the original canal or waterway connecting Lake Union and Lake Washington and he also supervised the repair of the Snoqualmie Pass wagon road, in 1899, connecting western and eastern Washington.
Carson Dobbins Boren (1824–1912) and family travelled west from Illinois to Oregon Territory in 1851 with the Denny family. Carson D. Boren's sister, Marry Ann (Boren) Denny, was married to Arthur A. Denny and another sister, Louisa Boren, later married David T. Denny in 1853 after Seattle was founded. The Boren family donation land claim was located along Elliott Bay between those of Arthur A. Denny and Henry L. Yesler. Carson D. Boren built in April 1852 the first settler's cabin in what is now downtown Seattle. The cabin was made of split cedar planks and was located about one block northeast of present-day Pioneer Square on the present site of the 1911 origin Hoge Building, along bustling 2nd Avenue at Cherry Street. The Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon appointed Carson D. Boren on January 6, 1853, as sheriff of King County, Oregon Territory.
William Nathaniel Bell (1817–1887) and family settled along Elliott Bay on a donation land claim located between those of David T. Denny and Arthur A. Denny. The area of the Bell family donation land claim eventually became known as the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. The Bell family's original home in what became Belltown was a log cabin, but within a couple years or so a frame house was built on that same location. That house was built with lumber from the H. L. Yesler & Co. sawmill, Henry Yesler's steam-powered sawmill on the Seattle waterfront. The Bell family's new frame house was burned though in the Battle of Seattle, on January 26, 1856, during the Puget Sound War of 1855–1856. In early 1856 the Bell family moved to Napa, California, where the wife of William N. Bell died in June of that year. After his wife Sarah Ann died, William N. Bell later spent some time in Virginia City, Nevada before moving back to Seattle in about 1870. He eventually built his last home in what became Belltown, where he lived for the rest of his life.
John Nathan Low (1820–1888) and family lived in the first log house built at New York (Alki), but they didn't end up settling there and moved away within about a year and a half. By May 1853 John N. Low and family had settled on a 318-acre donation land claim at the west end of Chambers Prairie, on the north side of the Des Chutes River (now the Deschutes River), about three miles upriver from Lower Tumwater Falls at the pioneer settlement of Tumwater, which was founded originally as New Market in 1845. The Low family eventually moved to Cadyville (Snohomish City), where John N. Low was enumerated in the 1870 U.S. Census as a merchant.
Charles Carroll Terry (1828–1867) settled at New York (Alki) on a 318-acre donation land claim by May 1852. Charles C. Terry was unmarried at the time but he was entitled under the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 to a 320-acre donation land claim, since he had arrived in Oregon Territory on November 10, 1850. Charles C. Terry and John N. Low opened at New York (Alki), early in the spring of 1852, the first trading store in the area. The nearest store up until that time was that of Balch & Palmer, general merchants, located at Port Steilacoom, which was established in 1851. Lafayette Balch and Cyrus Palmer (Balch & Palmer) were recorded on Certificate of Enrollment No. 1, issued at Olympia on May 24, 1852, as managing owners of the schooner Damariscove (10251⁄95 tons), of Steilacoom, Oregon Territory. Charles C. Terry and John N. Low dissolved their business partnership running the trading store at New York (Alki) in April 1853, when John N. Low moved away. Charles C. Terry was a member of the Council of the second session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington in 1854 and he was also on the Board of Regents of the Territorial University from 1865 to 1867.
Alfred Mason Miller (1833–1908) was among the following group of passengers that continued sailing on board the schooner Exact through The Narrows and south Puget Sound to Olympia, after having along the way landed on what is now Alki Beach the founding pioneers of Seattle. Alfred M. Miller settled on a 160-acre donation land claim in 1855 on Whidbey Island at Church Prairie, about a mile north of Crescent Harbor. He later moved to Yakima County and in 1868 he married Jane Cleman (1850–1884), a daughter of Augustine Cleman (1816–1882) who settled in the Wenas Valley in 1865 and for which Cleman Mountain in that area is named. Alfred and Jane raised stock in the lower Wenas Valley, on their 320-acre homestead along Wenas Creek.
John Alexander Sr. (1805–1858) and his wife Frances (Sharp) Alexander (1818–1902) and their two sons William and John settled on a 315-acre donation land claim along Penn Cove at the location of present-day Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon appointed John Alexander Sr. on January 6, 1853, to the first Board of County Commissioners for Island County. The Alexander's second son, John Sharp Alexander (1836–1916), made the only known picture of the schooner Exact that was drawn by one of the actual passengers. That picture showed the schooner Exact as a two-masted, bald-headed, schooner having a bowsprit and attached bobstay, forestay and a single jib sail. Frances (Sharp) Alexander wrote that the schooner Exact arrived at the Alki landing site, eight days out from Portland, at 8:00 o'clock in the morning on November 13, 1851, and Captain Folger anchored the schooner Exact well out in the sound and put the passengers ashore by rowboat at low tide.
Horace Hawley Pinto (1810–c.1891), his wife Julia and their five children, came from Louisiana and first settled in April 1852 on a 320-acre donation land claim on the south side of the Cowlitz River directly across the river from Cowlitz Landing. On the north side of the river Cowlitz Landing was located on the 320-acre donation land claim of Frederick Andrew Clarke (1828–1878), where by the summer of 1852 he provided lodging at his home as the Cowlitz Hotel and had a relay of horses at the home of Sidney S. Ford, at Ford's Prairie, so travelers of the Cowlitz Trail could reach Olympia in one day from Cowlitz Landing. It was there at Cowlitz Landing that twenty six delegates representing settlers north of the Columbia River convened for the first Cowlitz Convention, held on August 29, 1851, which resolved that a memorial to Congress should be prepared, petitioning for the organization of a Territorial Government north of the Columbia River. The Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon, on December 22, 1852, established the county seat of Lewis County “[…] at the upper landing of the Cowlitz River, on the land claim of Fred A. Clarke.” Later Fred A. Clarke was appointed, during the first legislative session of the Territory of Washington, as Prosecuting Attorney for the Third Judicial District. Also on the north side of the river, across the river from the Pinto family claim and just upriver from Cowlitz Landing, was the 320-acre donation land claim of Edward Dunlop Warbass (1825–1906). Warbassport, as it was called, had a small warehouse for forwarding farm goods from Cowlitz Prairie and a store that also housed the first Cowlitz post office, where Edward D. Warbass was appointed postmaster on April 29, 1854. The July 1855 List of Post Offices in the United States with the Names of Postmasters lists E. D. Warbass as the postmaster of the Cowlitz post office, where freight and mail was transported by batteaux and dugout canoes on the Cowlitz River to and from Monticello and overland on the Cowlitz Trail to and from Olympia. Horace H. Pinto served in 1856 as a private in Captain Edward D. Warbass' Company L of the 2nd Regiment of Washington Territory Mounted Volunteers. The 1860 U.S. Census lists H. H. Pinto and family enumerated at the Cowlitz Landing post office, where H. H. Pinto is listed in the census as a farmer. Horace H. Pinto in 1867 was Secretary of the Cowlitz Steam Navigation Company, which was organized that year and briefly operated the small shallow-draft sternwheeler Rainier. Captain John T. Kerns in October 1867 first piloted the Rainier on its thirty-two mile run on the Cowlitz River between Cowlitz Landing and Monticello. The 1870 U.S. Census lists Horace H. Pinto and family enumerated at the Cowlitz Prairie post office, where Horace H. Pinto is listed in the census as a merchant. Horace H. Pinto later established the Napavine post office on September 19, 1873.
Daniel Richardson Bigelow (1824–1905) who also continued sailing on the schooner Exact to Olympia became a pioneer lawyer there, when the budding town was in Thurston County, Oregon Territory. Daniel R. Bigelow within a year of his arrival at Olympia established the law practice of Bigelow & Brooks, attorneys at law, along with Quincy A. Brooks. Daniel R. Bigelow mentioned in his diary having left Portland as a passenger on the schooner Exact and along the way, before having arrived at Olympia on November 15, 1851, the schooner Exact had “[…] left a colony at what is now named N[ew] York.” In January 1853 Daniel R. Bigelow was elected, along with J. K. Kelly and Reuben P. Boise, to a Board of Code Commissioners to prepare a new code of laws for the Territory of Oregon. After the Territory of Washington was formed Daniel R. Bigelow became a member of the Council of the first session of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, in February 1854. He also was appointed, during the first legislative session of the Territory of Washington, as Auditor and also as Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District. Daniel R. Bigelow was a member of the Council of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington from 1854 to 1855 and he later became a member of the House of Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, in 1871. He was also on the Board of Regents of the Territorial University from 1866 to 1867. The circa 1854 Daniel R. Bigelow House still exists in Olympia, as a museum, on what was his 160-acre donation land claim along East Bay near the head of Budd Inlet.
The arrival or official “entrance” of the schooner Exact at Olympia, Oregon Territory was recorded on November 15, 1851, on the Register of Entrances & Clearances of Vessels as having been 1142⁄95 tons register and as having a crew of six. At that time Olympia was then the customs port of entry in the Collection District of Puget Sound, before the customs port of entry was changed to Port Townsend in 1854. An earlier Collection District of Oregon, which once included Puget Sound, was approved by Congress on August 14, 1848. President Zachary Taylor proclaimed on January 10, 1850, that Nisqually, located along Puget Sound, was a customs port of delivery for the Collection District of Oregon, but at that time the customs port of entry was at Astoria. When the schooner Exact first arrived in Puget Sound, Olympia was already a budding pioneer town. The townsite at that time was comprised of about a dozen settler cabins, built of hand-split cedar, the first of which was built in 1847 on the Oregon provisional government land claim of Levi Lathrop Smith. The first nearby water-powered sawmill had also been built about four years earlier, as the Puget Sound Milling Company, by Lower Tumwater Falls at the pioneer settlement of New Market. The first wood frame building in Olympia was built in 1850, about a year before the schooner Exact first arrived there. The upstairs of that two-story building was rented from Michael T. Simmons, for fifty dollars a month, for use as the first custom house and residence of the Collector of Customs. Olympia developed early on at the southern extremity of Puget Sound, partly because it was at the closest inlet of that alluring inland sea from the earliest immigrant route between the Oregon Trail and the Puget Sound country. Some even considered Olympia, rather than Oregon City, to be the end of the Oregon Trail. A historical marker was even established at Olympia in 1913, in what was then Capitol Park, “Marking the end of the Oregon Trail.”
The Columbian, the first Puget Sound regional newspaper, began publication at Olympia, Oregon Territory, on September 11, 1852, less than a year after the schooner Exact first arrived. The Columbian was printed in Olympia, within a veritable frontier wilderness, using an early 1800s hand-me-down, hand-operated, wood frame Ramage printing press (No. 913), which is now on display at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle. That old Ramage printing press was previously used to begin the publication of The Oregonian newspaper, on December 4, 1850, until a new printing press was obtained. After publication of The Oregonian was upgraded, to a new printing press, the old Ramage printing press was sold to Thornton F. McElroy and James W. Wiley and was brought to Olympia on the schooner Mary Taylor. The Register of Entrances & Clearances of Vessels lists the arrival of the schooner Mary Taylor at Olympia, on March 1, 1852, under the command of Captain H. M. Hutchinson. The cargo column on that record for the arrival of the schooner Mary Taylor that day includes “Printing Press &c.” The schooner Mary Taylor was a small schooner, 60 feet in length, which had arrived at Astoria from San Francisco on Christmas Day 1849 and was used for piloting for a while as the first pilot schooner on the Columbia River bar. The name of the The Columbian newspaper originated from when settlers north of the Columbia River were organizing in 1852 to petition Congress to establish a separate Territory of Columbia, split from Oregon Territory. President Millard Fillmore instead signed legislation, on March 2, 1853, establishing the new territory as the Territory of Washington, which was a name proposed by Representative Richard H. Stanton of Kentucky. Within six months after beginning publication The Columbian became the first newspaper published in the Territory of Washington, when that territory was created. The Columbian is replete with history, having been the first pioneer newspaper from the Puget Sound country.
Schooner Exact passengers Arthur A. Denny, John N. Low, Charles C. Terry, and William N. Bell were among forty four delegates who convened at the second Cowlitz Convention, at Monticello, Oregon Territory on November 25, 1852. There they signed the Monticello Convention Memorial, the petition to Congress to establish a separate territory north of the Columbia River. The Monticello Convention Memorial was printed in The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 14), on December 11, 1852, on page 1. Seattle pioneer David S. Maynard, having arrived at Olympia in late 1850, was a delegate at both the first Cowlitz Convention on August 29, 1851, at Cowlitz Landing and at the second Cowlitz Convention on November 25, 1852, at Monticello.
As noted in the first issue of The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 1), on September 11, 1852, on page 2, the Collection District of Puget Sound was organized on November 10, 1851. Simpson P. Moses (1822–1883) was the first collector of customs for the customs port of entry at Olympia in the Collection District of Puget Sound and William W. Miller (1822–1876) was the first surveyor of customs in that collection district for the customs port of delivery at Nisqually. William W. Miller later was elected as mayor of Olympia, serving from 1872 to 1873. These first two customs officials for the Collection District of Puget Sound were responsible for recording vessels arriving from or sailing to a foreign port and also for recording American vessels engaged in coasting trade. The purpose for organizing the Collection District of Puget Sound, for the Office of the Register of the Treasury, was for the collection of duties on goods and merchandise imported into the United States and for the collection of duties on the tonnage of vessels. Both vessel entrances (arrivals) and clearances (departures) were recorded, from which summary reports were compiled for the United States Secretary of the Treasury. The Collection District of Puget Sound was approved by Congress on February 14, 1851, but wasn't organized until only five days before the schooner Exact arrived at Olympia on November 15, 1851. The schooner Exact was only the second arrival or “entrance” to be recorded on the Register of Entrances & Clearances of Vessels. The brig George Emery, measuring 17859⁄95 tons register, was the very first recorded entrance in the Collection District of Puget Sound and its entrance was recorded as having been on the very same day as the entrance of the schooner Exact. Simpson P. Moses, the first collector of customs for the Collection District of Puget Sound (from November 10, 1851, to September 27, 1853), actually first arrived in Olympia on November 15, 1851, from San Francisco on the brig George Emery. The next recorded entrance after the schooner Exact was nearly a couple weeks later when the Hudson's Bay Company steamer Beaver, the first steamship in the Pacific Northwest, was recorded on November 28, 1851.
The steamer Beaver had by that time been in the Pacific Northwest for over fifteen years though, having first arrived in old Oregon Country from England in 1836. Oregon Country, as it was considered then by the United States, was loosely defined with vast overlapping British and American claims that were jointly occupied and settled. It was a big piece of country that roughly west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains originally stretched from Alta California north to 54 degrees 40 minutes north latitude, north of Fort Simpson and Fort St. James. The name Oregon first appeared in print, by 1778, in the book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North-America, in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768, written by explorer Jonathan Carver (1710–1780). In the introduction in that book Jonathan Carver first mentioned the fabled “[…] River Oregon, or the River of the West, that falls into the Pacific Ocean at the Straits of Annian [sic].” On July 5, 1843, during the formation of the Oregon provisional government, Oregon Country was divided into the four districts of Twality (Tuality), Clackamas, Champooick (Champoeg), and Yamhill. The British, however, considered that entire area at that time to be within the Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company. The steamer Beaver was built in 1835 for the Hudson's Bay Company as a two-masted side-wheeler, but it wasn't fitted with its paddle wheels until over five weeks after its arrival off Fort Vancouver from England. The steamer Beaver was originally square-rigged on its foremast and gaff-rigged on its mainmast, but after having been fitted with its paddle wheels its sail configuration was later changed. The log of the steamship Beaver reveals that the Beaver first arrived off Fort Vancouver, along the Columbia River, in April 1836 and then arrived off Fort Simpson, northeast of the Queen Charlotte Islands (now Haida Gwaii), by July 1836. At that time Fort Vancouver was the headquarters of the Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company and Fort Simpson was one of their trading posts. The arrival of the steamer Beaver in Oregon Country was even before the United States Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Northwest led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes in 1841 and before the first pioneer wagon trains rolled westward over the Oregon Trail to Oregon Country in the 1840s.
A biographical sketch of John W. Donnell (1822–1906) who was on board the schooner Exact during its gold expedition gives a few more details about that voyage in the book titled An Illustrated History of the State of Washington, published in 1894. On page 595 it says: “In 1851 Mr. Donnell worked in sawmills in Portland for a short time, and in the fall of that year joined an expedition under Captain Folger and sailing master Captain [J.] Woodbury, on the schooner Exact, and sailed from Portland to Puget Sound, their first stop having been made at Dungeness. There they took Lord Jim [Tuls-met-tum], sub-chief of the Clallam [or S'Klallam] Indians, for a pilot down the sound, and at Olympia laid in fresh supplies and started on a cruising voyage to Queen Charlotte Island. Landing at the Indian village called Gold Harbor, they engaged in mining for a time […].” John W. Donnell later settled, in 1853, on the west side of Sequim Prairie and he was buried in Sequim View Cemetery. Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, published in 1895, notes that the schooner Exact was only the second vessel to depart or “clear” the port of entry at Olympia. On page 36 it says that the “[…] first clearance was reported November 19th, [1851,] when the brig George Emery, Capt. Enoch Fowler, took out a coasting license and the same day the schooner Exact, Captain Folger, cleared for the Queen Charlotte gold fields.”
Sailing master Woodbury, mentioned in the preceding John W. Donnell biographical sketch and also in the article in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on November 13, 1851, on page 2, may possibly have been a descendant of Nathaniel and Abigail (Coffin) Woodbury of Nantucket, since Nantucket was where the schooner Exact was from, as well as all five of its owners at the time. Gold Harbour is now named “Mitchell Inlet” after Captain William Mitchell, who was in command of the Hudson's Bay Company brigantine Una on a voyage there for gold explorations, in October 1851, after a large gold nugget was reportedly found on the beach there, by a Haida woman, earlier that year. Late that October, before the schooner Exact arrived at Gold Harbour, the crew of the brigantine Una blasted a gold vein there and worked on it for a while by a point of land, in Gold Harbour, now named “Una Point.” That gold vein, having been discovered over six years before the Fraser River Gold Rush, is said to have been the first authenticated discovery of gold within what is now the Province of British Columbia. According to a dispatch by James Douglas, Governor of Vancouver Island, written on January 29, 1852, and addressed to Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, the gold vein was bedded in quartz and averaged 6½ inches in width and ran 80 feet parallel with the coast and some of the ore specimens collected by the crew of the brigantine Una yielded 25 percent gold. When leaving Gold Harbour the brigantine Una was sailed to Fort Simpson, which was then a fur trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company. Fort Simpson was located at the present-day location of Port Simpson, along the east side of Dixon Entrance, on the mainland coast northeast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. When returning with the gold specimens, to Fort Victoria from Fort Simpson, the brigantine Una was caught in a gale while entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Una was maneuvered into Neah Bay for protection from the rough seas but, in the gale blowing from the southwest, the Una dragging its anchors, was driven on the rocks at Waadah Island, which was then often referred to as Neah Island as named, in 1841, by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes. In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on February 14, 1852, on page 7, an article says that the Una was wrecked in Neah Bay, on December 26, 1851, and that the passengers and crew were taken to Fort Victoria, by Captain [John C.] Huffington, on board the [schooner] Susan Sturges. The schooner Susan Sturges had cleared, on December 10, 1851, from the Port of San Francisco and was then bound for Olympia, Oregon Territory, where it arrived on January 9, 1852, with a cargo of merchandise. By the time of the wreck of the brigantine Una, at Neah Bay, Fort Victoria had become the main western headquarters and dépôt of the Hudson's Bay Company and also the Capitol of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island.
Fort Victoria was located along the eastern inner harbor in what is now downtown Victoria, British Columbia, around what is now the western end of present-day Fort Street. The stockaded fort had two octagonal bastions, built of squared logs, in the southwestern and northeastern corners of the fort. The front gate of the fort was located near what is now the present-day intersection of Fort Street and Wharf Street and the back gate of the fort was located near what is now the present-day intersection of Fort Street and Government Street.
Soon after the brigantine Una was at Gold Harbour the gold prospectors that chartered the schooner Exact visited Gold Harbour during their gold expedition to the Queen Charlotte Islands. News of the schooner Exact voyaging to Gold Harbour was sent from Fort Victoria to London, to both the Colonial Office and to the Hudson's Bay Company. James Douglas was then both Governor of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island and Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Victoria. As Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Victoria, James Douglas wrote to Archibald Barclay, Esq., Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Company in London. Archibald Barclay was Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Company, from 1843 to 1855, at Hudson's Bay House, on Fenchurch Street, in London. In the letter to Archibald Barclay, dated November 24, 1851, James Douglas wrote: “The ‘Exact’ an American schooner arrived here yesterday from Nisqually bound to Queen Charlotte Island with 32 passengers, all of whom are Americans, on board, being the second party of Americans who have gone this autumn to the gold mines. I could take no measure to prevent their going, neither does it appear to me advisable to do so at present as they will assist in exploring the gold district and may be dismissed whenever Government may choose to quiet them.”
A letter by William Baker, who was on board the schooner Exact during its late autumn and winter expedition to Gold Harbour and elsewhere in the Queen Charlotte Islands, was published in an article in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on April 15, 1852, on page 2. Baker's letter says that they experienced very cold weather, in which their water casks were nearly frozen solid and that they were several times for weeks wind-bound in different harbors. Baker wrote, in the letter, that they found the right place and think there is plenty of gold there, but he went on to write that the island is solid rock and that they made only one blast [by Una Point] and had neither the proper tools nor sufficient force to contend against the Indians.
Another dispatch by James Douglas, Governor of Vancouver Island, written on April 15, 1852, and addressed to Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, provides additional details about the gold expedition to Gold Harbour on the schooner Exact. In that dispatch Governor Douglas wrote: “The ‘Exact’ and another American vessel, which called at Gold Harbour since my last report, returned unsuccessful from that voyage, having been beaten off by the Natives; though the American force was considerable, and well armed. Several other American vessels are reported to be on the point of sailing from the Ports of Oregon [Territory], for the same part of the coast. I have no reliable information from California, though the rumours in circulation lead to the belief that Gold Harbour, will be the great attraction of the season.”
Additional information is also provided about the gold expedition to Gold Harbour on the schooner Exact, in the book titled The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: history of Washington, Idaho and Montana, 1845–1889, published in 1890. On pages 57–58 it says: “The Indians of Gold Harbor, though they did not prevent the Exact's company from prospecting, represented that they had sold the island to the H. B. Co., and were to defend it from occupation by Americans. The prospectors remained until March, when they returned to Puget Sound, bringing a few specimens obtained from the natives. The Exact refitted and returned in March. Three other vessels, the Tepic, Glencoe, and Vancouver, advertised to take passengers to the island, but nothing like success followed the expeditions.”
In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on May 31, 1852, on page 2, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column, is a record of the schooner Exact having arrived under the command of Captain Folger on May 30 at San Francisco, 7 days from Puget's Sound, with lath and oysters. On that same page, listed under the heading “Importations,” it says that the schooner Exact brought to San Francisco 92,000 laths and 200 bushels of oysters. Also on that same page, listed under the subheading “Memoranda” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column, is a report that the crew of the schooner Exact saw on May 22 off Cape Flattery, the British frigate Thetis bound in, 40 days from Callao, [Peru] and at the same time they saw a barque bound in.
In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on June 5, 1852, on page 7, in the “Local Matters” section, is an article that says that the schooner Exact with Captain Folger and the brig Tepic had recently arrived at San Francisco from Queen Charlotte's Island. The article says that the island is claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company and that Captain Folger represents that gold is lying among the hills there reaching down to the shore. The article says that the schooner Exact visited nearly every one of the harbors without accident and that the Exact was about to return to the island with gold seekers. The same article was published again in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on June 15, 1852, on page 11. Despite the gold fever excitement, from the prospect of gold on the Queen Charlotte Islands in the early 1850s, no news was found in the newspapers about the schooner Exact bringing back any gold. Later some gold mining was continued by others, intermittently through the 1930s, in the vicinity of the point of land that had been named Una Point by 1853.
Three points of land along the forested shores of remote Skidegate Channel are named Georgianna Point, Exact Point, and Demariscove [sic] Point. Georgianna Point is named after the sloop Georgianna, Exact Point is named after the schooner Exact, and Demariscove [sic] Point is named after the schooner Damariscove. All three of those vessels were sailed to the Queen Charlotte Islands on separate gold expeditions in 1851. The three geographic names were submitted by the Canadian Hydrographic Service to the British Columbia Geographical Names Office and were adopted in 1946. All three geographic names appear on the Skidegate Channel nautical chart (#3891), for the Queen Charlotte Islands, published by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Georgianna Point is located on Graham Island, east of Dawson Inlet, along the north shore of Skidegate Channel. Farther east along Skidegate Channel, along the south shore, Exact Point and Demariscove [sic] Point are located respectively by the west and east sides of the north entrance to Armentières Channel between Chaatl Island and Moresby Island.
As noted by the crew of the schooner Exact off Cape Flattery on May 22, 1852, the British Royal Navy frigate Thetis was bound in on the Strait of Juan de Fuca on that day. The sailing orders to the H.M.S. Thetis, given from Callao, Peru on April 8, 1852, by Fairfax Moresby, Rear Admiral and Commander in Chief of the Pacific Station, included orders to take measures to ensure British sovereignty over the Queen Charlotte Islands, to warn any adventurers that may be located or speculating there that they are there only on sufferance, and to endeavor to obtain specimens of the precious metals located there. Also, to protect the mining interests and sovereignty of the Queen Charlotte Islands from possible American occupation, on September 27, 1852, the Queen Charlotte Islands were made a “dependency” under the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island. James Douglas, then Governor of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island and Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Victoria, was also made Lieutenant-Governor of the “Dependency of the Queen Charlotte Islands.” According to an article in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on July 19, 1852, on page 2, the H.M.S. Thetis had obtained specimens of gold in quartz from the Queen Charlotte Islands [at Gold Harbour] for Her Majesty's Government in England, as well as 25 large mast spars that were on board when the Thetis arrived in San Francisco on July 16 from Vancouver Island. According to the newspaper article some of the gold specimens collected and brought with from the Queen Charlotte Islands could be seen at Adams & Co. [Express], but it was the opinion of the officers of the frigate Thetis that it would not pay to work the mines. The H.M.S. Thetis, under the command of Captain Augustus Leopold Kuper, was a three-masted 36-gun British frigate that was launched in 1846. When the H.M.S. Thetis arrived in San Francisco, 8 days from Vancouver Island, it had 350 men on board. The mast spars brought from Vancouver Island were cut as ordered by Rear Admiral Moresby. His April 8 sailing orders to Captain Kuper included the following order: “Whilst at Esquimalt you are to cut such spars as you can conveniently stow for the use of the Squadron.” Thetis Island and Kuper Island (now Penelakut Island), two of the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland, were named after the British frigate Thetis and Captain Kuper. Also, Kuper Inlet, located north of Mitchell Inlet, is named after Captain Kuper.
Beginning in the early 1850s, before the Territory of Washington was created from northern Oregon Territory, oysters were shipped from Shoalwater Bay to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Shoalwater Bay (now Willapa Bay) had the largest concentration of oysters on the West Coast. Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, published in 1895, says on page 58 that the Shoalwater Bay fleet included [among others] the schooners Exact, Empire, Equity, Alfred Adams, Mary Taylor, and Maryland. In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on September 23, 1852, on page 3, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column, is a record of the schooner Exact having arrived, under the command of Captain Folger, on September 22, at San Francisco, four days from Shoalwater Bay with 4000 bushels of oysters. The oysters may possibly have been brought back to San Francisco on another return trip from the Queen Charlotte Islands. Cranberries were apparently also brought back to San Francisco on that same trip. In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on September 26, 1852, on page 2, a notice advertises “CRANBERRIES! CRANBERRIES!—Fresh large Oregon Cranberries, just arrived from Oregon, and for sale on board schooner Exact, north side of Long Wharf.” San Francisco plat maps from the early 1850s reveal that Long Wharf, also known as Central Wharf, extended into San Francisco Harbor from halfway along the shoreline between Clay Street and Sacramento Street. Long Wharf was the main wharf for San Francisco during the start of the California Gold Rush of 1848 to 1855. As land filling was done during the gold rush out into Yerba Buena Cove of San Francisco Harbor, for additional level building area on the San Francisco waterfront, Long Wharf was extended and the location of the original part of Long Wharf became Wharf Street and was later renamed Commercial Street. In the filled area it is thought that there may be the remains of about forty California Gold Rush era sailing vessels buried in the fill for up to about ¼ mile inland from the present-day San Francisco waterfront.
Within a year after the November 13, 1851, landing of the founding pioneers from the schooner Exact the pioneer settlement of Seattle, Oregon Territory began to flourish at a small peninsula, beside a marshy lagoon, which the United States Exploring Expedition (U.S.Ex.Ex.) had previously named Piners Point on their 1841 chart of Elliott Bay. Piners Point was named in 1841 after Quartermaster Thomas Piner, of the United States Exploring Expedition, who was presumably the same Quartermaster Thomas Piner who was later on the U.S. Navy schooner USS Grampus, in March 1843, when it went missing at sea. The place name Seattle was established by the summer of 1852 and first appeared in newspapers in September 1852. In the second issue of the Olympia, Oregon Territory newspaper, The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 2), on September 18, 1852, on page 1, a list of agents authorized to receive newspaper subscriptions for The Columbian included Chas. C. Terry & Co., New York, [later named Alki] and A. A. Denny, Seattle. In the eighth issue of The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 8), on October 30, 1852, on page 3, D. S. Maynard began advertising his store as the “Seattle Exchange” and as “now receiving, direct from London and New York via San Francisco, a general assortment of Dry Goods, Groceries, Hardware, Crockery, &c., suitable for the wants of immigrants just arriving.” Right from the get-go Seattle was destined to grow, as foretold in The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 16), on December 25, 1852, on page 2. On that page it says: “Seattle is destined to rank high among towns of importance in Northern Oregon.”
In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on November 11, 1852, on page 3, the schooner Exact is listed, under the column heading “Vessels Advertised,” as “FOR SALE—The schooner EXACT, 114 tons Register, coppered and copper fastened, well found in sails, rigging, &c &c., and particularly adapted for the coasting trade. Apply to Captain Isaiah Folger, on board, a short distance North of Long Wharf, or to Moore & Folger, Battery St., between California and Pine Sts.” This same for sale advertisement ran in the newspaper for about eight weeks, into the first week of January 1853. The advertisement indicates that the schooner Exact had a tonnage of 114 tons register and was particularly adapted for the coasting trade. That advertised tonnage agrees with the 1142⁄95 tons register recorded on Certificate of Registry No. 250 on August 2, 1851, and on the Register of Entrances & Clearances of Vessels for the arrival of the schooner Exact at Olympia on November 15, 1851. At that time, in America, the calculated cubic feet of cargo room of a vessel was divided by 95 to determine the vessel's tonnage, which explains the denominator of the remainder fractional tonnage recorded on the certificate of registry and at Olympia. Information about how tonnage admeasurement was determined back then is documented in the United States Statutes at Large, Act of March 2, 1799, Chapter 22, Section 64. Coppered, as mentioned on the for sale advertisement, refers to copper sheathing that was used on the bottom of a wooden hull to protect the wood from marine borers and to prevent the hull from becoming “fouled” with barnacles and other marine organisms that increase drag and significantly decrease sailing speed. Also on the for sale advertisement, the San Francisco merchant shipping firm of Moore & Folger, then at 41 Battery Street, was owned by George Harris Moore and Francis B. Folger. Captain Isaiah Folger and Francis B. Folger were relatives from Nantucket, both being descendants of Nathan Folger of Nantucket. George Harris Moore was born on October 23, 1802, at Waterville, Maine and came to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush and first formed on April 2, 1850, with Francis B. Folger and Horatio Hill the consignment auction partnership of Moore, Folger & Hill. It's interesting to note that the schooner Exact set sail from Nantucket for San Francisco precisely one month after this business partnership was formed, although no business connection between Captain Isaiah Folger and his relative Francis B. Folger has yet been determined.
In the tenth issue of The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 10), on November 13, 1852, on page 3, issued precisely one year after the landing of the pioneers from the schooner Exact, Seattle was listed under the newspaper heading “Routes” in a list of distances between various named places from Portland through Puget Sound and beyond. In that list of distances early settlements were listed from Portland to Olympia by way of the Cowlitz Trail from Cowlitz Landing, where passengers, freight and mail were forwarded by batteaux and canoes on the Cowlitz River to and from the Columbia River at Monticello. Early settlements listed in 1852 along that route included Portland, Rainier, Monticello, Cowlitz Landing, Warbassport, and Olympia. Also in that list of distances early settlements were listed from Olympia to Cape Flattery by way of Puget Sound and surrounding waters. Early settlements listed in 1852 along several routes there included Olympia, Nisqually, Steilacoom, New York, Seattle, Port Townsend, Penn's Cove [or Coveland], New Dungeness, and Victoria. It's amusing to see New York to Seattle having been listed in 1852 as five miles, but in that instance the distance was from the Alki landing site (New York) to Seattle. The monument at Alki Beach Park is even engraved in granite “New York—Alki” reflecting both the former and latter names of the place and the ambitions of pioneer Charles C. Terry who landed from the schooner Exact and started by that location the “New York Cash Store,” named after his home state and first advertised by that name in the second issue of The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 2), on September 18, 1852, on page 3.
For most of 1852 all of the Puget Sound country north to the border with British North America and all of the Olympic Peninsula was in Thurston County, Oregon Territory, until the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon on December 22, 1852, created King, Jefferson and Pierce counties. A couple weeks later, on January 6, 1853, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon passed another act that located the county seat of King County at Seattle, on the donation land claim of David S. Maynard. That same day, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon appointed Arthur A. Denny, John N. Low, and Luther M. Collins to the Board of County Commissioners for King County. The Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon also created Island County on January 6, 1853, with the county seat established at Coveland on the 320-acre donation land claim of Richard Hyatt Lansdale. That same day, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon appointed schooner Exact passenger John Alexander Sr. (1805–1858) to the Board of County Commissioners for Island County along with Samuel D. Howe and John Crockett. The two-story wood frame building that served as the Island County Courthouse still exists, as a private residence, along Madrona Way at the head of Penn Cove and it marks the location of the early pioneer settlement of Coveland that was the original county seat of Island County. The building was constructed in 1855 as a general store and it also housed the first county offices, courthouse and post office. Also, about three miles to the southeast, the circa 1855 Alexander Blockhouse still exists in Coupeville on what was the 315-acre donation land claim of schooner Exact passenger John Alexander Sr. The Alexander Blockhouse is in about its original location, as shown on the 1909 Sanborn fire insurance map for Coupeville, although the blockhouse apparently was rotated towards NW Alexander Street during later restoration of the two-story hewn log fortification. The donation land claim of schooner Exact passenger John Alexander Sr., partially alongside that of Thomas Coupe, comprised much of what is now the western portion of Coupeville between Penn Cove and south to the 641-acre donation land claim of Isaac N. Ebey on Ebey's Prairie.
The pioneer settlements of Seattle and New York, named by September 1852, were first in Thurston County, Oregon Territory and then briefly for over a couple of months Seattle and New York were in King County, Oregon Territory, before the Territory of Washington was created, on March 2, 1853, under the Organic Act of 1853. The pioneer settlement of New York was renamed Alki, in 1853, as noted in The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 39), on June 4, 1853, on page 2. On that page it says: “Our enterprising friend C. C. Terry, Esq. has made an excellent change of name for his flourishing town at the entrance of Duwamish Bay [aka Elliott Bay], hitherto called New York. It is henceforth to be known by the name of ‘Alki.’ […] The interpretation of the word Alki being ‘by-and-by, in a little while, or hereafter,’ we must approve its application to a growing and hopeful place.” Alki also later appeared as a motto on the Washington territorial seal (recorded May 1, 1854), which was designed by Lieutenant Johnson Kelly Duncan while assigned as army topographer and draftsman for Captain George B. McClellan during the Pacific Railroad Surveys. The early development of both Seattle and Alki were noted in The Columbian (vol. 1, no. 50), on August 20, 1853, on page 2. On that page it says: “Seattle is thriving. All the accounts that we receive from thence tell us of new buildings and other improvements. Yesler's steam saw mill is working finely. Alki is full of vigor and go-aheaditiveness. Her commerce is increasing, and her men of business are doing well. Renton's steam saw mill [started at Alki by Captain William Renton and Charles C. Terry] will be in operation in a few days. The enterprising inhabitants of these two places, near together as they are, seem determined that their full, high and important destiny shall be achieved as speedily as possible.”
The schooner Exact had been sold by February 1853, since the Index to the Certificates of Enrollment Issued at San Francisco, 1850–77 indicates that on February 20, 1853, a new Certificate of Enrollment was issued for the schooner Exact and the managing owner listed in that index changed then from Isaiah Folger to Charles L. Heiser. Apparently around that time Captain Isaiah Folger returned to his hometown of Nantucket. The 1855 Massachusetts State Census, for the Town of Nantucket, lists Isaiah Folger (age 60) working as a mariner and living with his wife Sarah (age 56) and son George F. Folger (age 22). The 1860 U.S. Census, for the Town of Nantucket, lists Isaiah Folger (age 65) as master mariner retired and living with his wife Sarah (age 61). After Captain Isaiah Folger retired from sailing he continued to do other work. The 1865 Massachusetts State Census, for the Town of Nantucket, lists Isaiah Folger (age 69) as working for the “Cross Rip Light Boat” and living with his wife Sarah (age 66). The Cross Rip Light-vessel in 1865 was stationed off Cross Rip Shoal, along the main navigation channel near the middle of Nantucket Sound, in the Second Lighthouse District. George Franklin Folger, after he served in the Civil War, worked from 1867 to 1882 at the Sankaty Head Light on the east end of Nantucket Island. The Sankaty Head light is located by Siasconset, where several generations of descendants of George Franklin Folger have lived. His son, Sidney Bradford Folger (1855–1935), and grandson, Oscar Folger (1880–1951), both later on lived at Siasconset. The 1870 U.S. Census, for the Town of Nantucket, lists Isaiah Folger (age 75) as working as a retail grocer and living with his wife Sarah (age 71). Captain Isaiah Folger apparently had a neighborhood grocery store for a while in his later years. A few small advertisements in the Inquirer and Mirror newspaper refer to the store of Captain Isaiah Folger as on “Milk Street” and as on the “corner of Milk and Mill Streets.” The actual store location was probably on the corner of Milk and New Mill Streets though, since New Mill Street actually connects to Milk Street. Working as a neighborhood grocer, or storekeeper, must have seemed rather tame after having sailed the schooner Exact in the Great Hurricane of 1846 and after having ventured forth hither and yon at sea and around Cape Horn to as far away as the verdant sylvan shores of the uncivilized Pacific Northwest and beyond. Captain Isaiah Folger apparently did the modest work of a neighborhood grocer around the end of his life, however he had long sold various grocery items, ever since the 1820s, while sailing in coasting trade. He died on June 30, 1872, and in the Massachusetts death records (vol. 248, page 292, line 40) he is simply recorded as a “grocer.” Isaiah was said to have been buried “according to the Friends' [or Quaker] ceremony” and he was probably buried in an unmarked grave at the Quaker Burial Ground along Quaker & Madaket Roads, near where he lived and where his father was buried.
According to the Indexes to Certificates of Registration and Enrollment, the schooner Exact was sold several more times and was found mentioned several more times in newspapers from the next few years, with several different captains. For example, in the Daily Alta California newspaper, on March 6, 1855, on page 2, listed under the subheading “Cleared” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column, is a record of the schooner Exact, under the command of Captain [Henry B.] Congdon, having cleared on March 5 from the Port of San Francisco bound for Shoalwater Bay with “F. P. Green” listed as the consignee. In the Daily Alta California newspaper, on April 3, 1855, on page 2, listed under the subheading “Arrived” in the “Shipping Intelligence” column, is a record of the schooner Exact having arrived under the command of Captain Congdon on April 2 at San Francisco, 8 days from Shoalwater Bay, with 4000 baskets of oysters going to Captain Russell. This Captain Russell was undoubtedly Captain Charles J. W. Russell (1822–1857) that James Gilchrist Swan (1818–1900) wrote about, in his book The Northwest Coast; […] (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857), saying on page 33 that “His business was collecting and shipping oysters to San Francisco, and he consequently employed a great number of Indians to work for him.” A few years later in the Los Angeles Star newspaper, on February 12, 1859, on page 2, listed under the subheading “Arrivals” in the “Port of San Pedro” column, is a record of the schooner Exact having arrived under the command of Captain Williams on January 17 at San Pedro from Santa Cruz. Also listed under the subheading “Sailed” in the same newspaper column, is a record of the schooner Exact having sailed under the command of Captain Williams on January 26 from the Port of San Pedro for San Francisco.
In the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, on March 29, 1859, on page 2, under the heading “By Telegraph to the Union,” a subheading reveals “The Schooner Exact Wrecked.” The article, dated “San Francisco, March 28th,” goes on to say: “The schooner Exact, [Capt. James J.] Higgins, from this port, was driven ashore at Crescent City in a southwest gale on the 21st of March. She is a total loss. After taking on board three hundred barrels of salmon and ten tons of potatoes, and was ready for sea [destined for San Francisco], the wind coming on to blow from the southwest, with a bad sea running into the open harbor, it was impossible to beat her out. She then lay to two heavy anchors with ninety fathoms chain out until Monday, at 6 A.M., when the wind having increased to a gale, with heavy breakers on all sides of the vessel, she parted both chains and drove ashore. Captain Higgins raised a signal of distress, at which the Crescent City boatmen boldly ventured out through the surf and rescued the crew and passengers. The schooner soon heeled on her beam ends, and in two hours went to pieces.” Also, an article in the Humboldt Times, on April 2, 1859, further explains that the cargo of salmon and potatoes had been taken on board and it had been intended to complete the cargo with lumber from the port when the storm hit. That article says that only 12 or 15 barrels of salmon were saved and that the schooner Exact was a total loss.
So within thirty years of having been built, in which time having sailed the Connecticut River and at sea off the East Coast and all the way around South America and then as far north as Russian America, which is now Alaska, the schooner Exact met its end in a change of seasons the first spring morning of 1859 off Crescent City, California. Thus ends this quest in search of the schooner Exact information in old newspaper and other records of the day, illuminating a few more details lost in the foggy mists of time. The approximate shipwreck latitude / longitude location is 41.74722222,-124.1883333 in Crescent City Harbor.
The following list of vessel documents issued at San Francisco for the schooner Exact is extracted from the Indexes to Certificates of Registration and Enrollment Issued for Merchant Vessels at San Francisco, California, 1850–1877. Listed are the certificate numbers, the managing owner's name at the time issued, and the date of registration or enrollment. The tonnage of the schooner Exact is listed in the indexes as 1142⁄95 tons for the two certificates of registry and for each of the eleven certificates of enrollment.
Vessel documents issued at San Francisco for the schooner Exact:
Certificate of Registry No. 250 to Isaiah Folger on August 2, 1851; Certificate of Enrollment No. 191 to Isaiah Folger on July 12, 1852; Certificate of Enrollment No. 55 to Charles L. Heiser on February 20, 1853; Certificate of Enrollment No. 398 to Edwin Hall on December 15, 1853; Certificate of Enrollment No. 226 to George Swift on July 5, 1854; Certificate of Enrollment No. 323 to Henry B. Congdon on September 22, 1854; Certificate of Registry No. 131 to J. H. Fish on December 2, 1854; Certificate of Enrollment No. 63 to Henry B. Congdon on March 2, 1855; Certificate of Enrollment No. 207 to James Williams on August 28, 1856; Certificate of Enrollment No. 16 to James Williams on January 14, 1857; Certificate of Enrollment No. 165 to C. P. Williams on December 31, 1857; Certificate of Enrollment No. 256 to C. P. Williams on March 19, 1858; Certificate of Enrollment No. 231 to Robert Mayers on February 5, 1859; Certificate of Enrollment No. 231 Surrendered on April 6, 1859, vessel lost at Crescent City Bay, March 21, 1859.
Fair winds and smooth sailing!
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“Certificate, Master Carpenter's,” schooner Exact, August 16, 1830; Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, Record Group 41; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
“Certificate of Admeasurement,” schooner Exact, August 12, 1830; Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, Record Group 41; National Archives Building,Washington, DC.
“Certificate of Enrollment No. 28,” schooner Exact, August 18, 1830; Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, Record Group 41; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
“Certificate of Registry No. 250,” schooner Exact, August 2, 1851; Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, Record Group 41; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
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Revised January 30, 2018
Copyright © by Andrew Craig Magnuson