22. Katalla River to Resurrection Bay

June 26, 2011

More Tramping around Alaska with G. C. Martin.

On the map, chapter 21 is the red path.  The current chapter is yellow with popups.  Chapter 23 is the pink path.

(If the map doesn’t appear in the email, click the title to go to the blog.)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

22.1 Valdez

July 26, 1903

Valdez has, “one business street … lined with a few stores, many groggeries and gambling halls, [and] the inevitable redlight district.” Perhaps a thousand people live here at this stop-off on the way to Eagle on the Yukon. It rains all summer and 63 feet of snow reportedly fell last winter. “Fort Liscum is immediately across the bay from Valdez, where there is a company of soldiers watching all the rapscallions who prey on honest miners.”

Fort Liscum, Alaska 1913

The same Colonel Greene and his party, whom Hayes met on the Bertha out of Sitka, passed through Valdez just before Hayes arrived. Breathtaking reports in the Seattle newspapers tell of their fights with bears and daring exploits on the ice fields. According to Hayes, every column inch is hogwash: “The fact is they never left the Bertha making the round trip in all comfort. Lies are what go over about this northland; no one wants to hear the truth.”

Boarding the Bertha again for Inerskin (sic) Bay, Hayes and Martin hear the skipper laughing at the tales of Colonel Green and his party. Hayes speaks with a prospector now on board the Bertha who staked a rich claim near Dawson. “He sold it for $32,000. Lost half of it in one night at faro, and in three weeks was broke.” Now he’s on his way up the Chitina River to a new strike. “Everybody is insane with gold fever. I’m content with my pay and hope to stay on. Most of the men we meet are broke, but all are hopeful of striking it soon. Many do, but more find graves in this wilderness.”

22.2 Bear Meat at Inerskin Bay

July 30, 1903

Hayes uses the name Inerskin Bay, but from the description of the surrounding land features, it must be the bay now called Iniskin. Martin, who is busily renaming everything in sight, says that this bay was named in honor of a Russian named Enochskin. Somehow the name has settled to Iniskin.

The two won’t stay long here. As Martin examines the sedimentary rock with igneous intrusions and evidence of volcanic action, Hayes speaks with Guzmer, chief of the small local tribe. Guzmer speaks enough English to give a report of a volcanic eruption in 1883: “Big fire! Night all same day! Plenty noise! Fire he come shore here.” (Hayes’ quote.)

Miskar, another man native to the place, shows Hayes the skin covered bidarkies by which the tribe supports itself fishing.

Edward S Curtis collection

When two other men arrived with the haunches of a bear, “larger than the largest bullock in size,” in their boat, Martin wanted to try a bit. So Hayes traded oats for bear. After parboiling it three times, and cooking for a total of five hours, the meat was at least tender, “But I noticed Martin ate but little. The Indians made short work of the lot, however, and all was well.”

22.3 Abundance at Brown’s Creek

August 3, 1903

The two-man, Perkins and Martin, expedition moves slightly north to “another nameless bay.” Hayes never catches Martin’s christening of the bay, “But the large creek that flows into it is to be called Brown’s Creek, this after the head of an oil drilling company whose cabins are here.”

“The numbers of salmon running into this creek are beyond computation.” When Hayes tries to row a skiff across the thirty-foot wide stream, the oars cannot find water, only salmon. The stream is about three-feet deep but no one dares enter to cross for fear of being pressed down by the numbers of salmon and drowned. “The whole of Alaska holds no more luscious fish than these. We eat them day after day and do not become satiated. If we should, there are trout in equal numbers with the salmon.” Hayes gave Guzmer’s wife some fishhooks and now she is catching salmon four times as fast as Hayes.

At Brown’s oil drilling camp, the men have chained a “pet” brown bear that arrived in a coat sleeve but has grown so fast only the strongest man can hold its leash. Suspicious of the men, the bear has great affection for a young malamute dog with coloring similar to the bear’s. The poor pup is nearly crushed with affection whenever the bear catches it in a great hug. Because the bear likes his food cooked better than raw, Hayes boils this giant “pet” a bucket of fine trout.

Hayes hunts with a setter dog so smart that the hunter needs no gun. The dog leaps onto his duck at the slightest quiver of grass. Remarking again on the abundance of the salmon: “Seals lay in the mouth of the creek and play with the salmon running into the stream. They toss them playfully, take one bite and release them for another.” Wildlife abounds up here, but even this vast land has its limits: “There are a few caribou, so say the natives, and an occasional moose. These animals are hunted so sharply the have fled to better and safer pastures.”

22.4 Exploring Chinitna Bay

August 10,1903

In this region tides rise more than 30’ and the currents run faster than any boat can counter, so Hayes must navigate the entrance to Chinitna Bay carefully. Once ashore, he and Martin marvel at a petrified forest standing out from a solid sedimentary rock base; follow bear paths two feet deep in the moss where one hind footprint measures 11”x16”; and reassess the map’s 11,000 foot estimate for Mt Illamna (sic) as closer to 8,500 feet.

Mt Iliamna

“From Illamna emits steam white as snow. Three vast columns rise heavenward for thousands of feet when the air is clear and calm. These join at a great height, making one of the most spectacular pictures I have ever seen.” Chinaboro, another active volcano forty miles from Iliamna, belches smoke that droops around its edges like a mushroom. Mt. Redoubt, farther north, stands quiet for now.

Martin foolishly expects the sea to obey his wishes. He planned to explore a sea cliff base at low tide and when Hayes demurred fearing the tidal bore, Martin sneered, “If you are afraid, you had better go back to the tent!” (Hayes’ quote.) Martin survived his folly but only by two feet. Trapped by the incoming tide, he scrambled up the cliff face as far as he could climb. The 30’ tidal surge rose to his waist – two more feet and he would have drowned. “He seems to think he has achieved a heroic stunt. I think he is a fool.”

Hayes isn’t alone in thinking Martin a fool. When Martin ordered Hayes to auction their small skiff, Hayes turned up a sourdough willing to pay $12. But according to government regulations an auction must be held. So after receiving the $12 offer, Martin called out “What am I bid for this boat?” (Hayes’ quote.) Being the only one present, the $12 man lowered his bid to $10 and Martin sold for that. “The old sourdough turned and looked at me for a long time. Like myself, he considered Martin cuckoo in some ways, and he is.”

22.5 Back at Brown’s Creek

August 10,1903

Everywhere Hayes turns, mountain peaks soar into the blue air. In addition to the volcanoes Chinaboro, Iliamna, and Redoubt, the great snow peaks of Cape Douglas and Afognak can bee seen from Brown’s Creek. From the mouth of the inlet, even Mt. McKinley is visible far to the north.

Martin didn’t affix the name Mt. McKinley; that had already been accomplished by Alfred Hulse Brooks who also named mountains for Vice-President Roosevelt, and senators Foraker and Tillman who controlled appropriations for geological surveys. “They reciprocated by giving Brooks full charge of all Alaska. He is a good geologist, but is more interested in Brooks than in his country’s welfare.”

Alfred Hulse Brooks

While waiting for a ship out of Brown’s creek, “there are endless new rocks to investigate.” And not only rocks – between Iliamna and Chinaboro volcanoes, oil seeps directly onto the ground. Unscrupulous promoters sell stock on oil puddles to, “easy money hunters in the States,” knowing full well that no great oil reserve likely lies between these two fiery peaks.

22.6 Big Bears in Kodiak

August 21, 1903

On the short trip back from Brown’s creek to Iniskin Bay in a small boat overloaded with Martin, Hayes, and Brown’s men, three great huskies also on board almost did them all in. The dogs began rushing from side to side in panic, nearly upsetting the frail craft before the men could restrain them.

From Iniskin Bay, Hayes and Martin were finally able to catch a ship on the way out to Kodiak Island. “At the village of Kodiak a bartender in a low-brow groggery there has a bear skin that squares 12 ½ feet each way.” The town of Kodiak retains a strong feel of the Russian culture established by the fur trappers who built it. The sea otters the Russians hunted are so rare now that only natives are allowed to take any more. “Its wonderful fur doomed it to destruction, just as the fur seal is going now. Man is the most wasteful, destructive animal this earth contains.”

22.7 Cold Bay

August 27, 1903

After Kodiak, the ship made a short stop at a salmon cannery at Uyak on the west side of Kodiak Island. “One of the greatest salmon runs known comes in here to spawn every year, and once 3,000,000 of the fish were taken at one time.” Without capacity to process so many fish, much of the catch was simply destroyed. Hayes laments that the lust for short-sighted profit will soon send the salmon the way of the sea otter.

Hayes wonders: How did the bears cross from the mainland to Kodiak Island? “Shelikoff Strait is one of the roughest bits of water about the Alaskan coast … Perhaps land lay all the way across in some distant geological epoch, for surely no bear could swim that distance in such rough water.” In any case, huge bears roam the island now.

Current maps show Cold Bay farther south from the spot Hayes says they explore next; Martin has gone across from this Cold Bay eight miles to Lake Bencharof. Bad weather forces the two to share the shelter of a fetid old Russian barabara with some of the locals.

The Rosenburg Barabara, Unimak Island,
Urilia Bay, Alaska, circa 1910

Near Lake Bencharof, oil workers drill at a spot where, “over square miles of country oil has at one time flowed and mingled with the soil until all is similar to asphalt.” Initially, coal was shipped from the south to power the drilling rig, until “some genius, waiting for the coal, at last tried out the asphalt. It burns better than the coal, and is here in millions of tons.” So the coal remains heaped on the beach unused.

22.8 Kodiak Again on the Way South

September 10,1903

As the year turns to autumn, it is time for the expedition to return south. “Martin explored much of the coast, and has a badly swelled head. His expedition has received considerable publicity, and he has been flattered by the heads of the mining and oil drilling companies until he believes he is an important man.” Hayes believes Martin’s accounts of the area are being used by speculators to inflate the value of their “barren claims” for sale to gullible investors in the states. “Any remark he makes is at once used to bolster up their stock selling industry, and they even ask for my opinion at times.”

The small steamer Newport that will run as far as Valdez, brings them again to Kodiak Island. A sheep farmer has set up here – providing “a luscious tidbit” for the bears. The many fine furs of red fox, silver-greys, and black foxes they’ve seen about the area convince Hayes that fox farming on the small isolated islands hereabout would be a viable industry.

22.9. Resurrection Bay

September 12, 1903

On board the Newport, “Martin has doubled up with a Belgian scientist, has a bad case of the swell head because of the constant flattery these embryo oil barons have heaped upon him.” Hayes rooms with some gamblers. His other choice would have been bunking with several priests from various missions about Alaska. Also aboard are, “Some of the hard-eyed sisterhood who gold-dig the miners out of every cent.” With ever the wry sense of humor, Hayes notes the “unregenerate steward sandwiched [the priests] between the girls of the row.”

A storm rages all the way from Kodiak Island, but here in the deep bay all is calm. Hayes believes a town will soon be built on this site – the railroad terminal will call it into existence. Right now, “The Santa Ana is here from the south with a cargo of timber, iron and miscellaneous goods for a railway that is to be built towards Fairbanks, a new camp on the Tanana River, a tributary of the Yukon.” The railway promoters who join the company of the Newport, “are in a fever of ecstasy at their prospect of easily gained riches, selling stock to gullible people also anxious to make money without work.”

21. Washington DC to Katalla River AK

June 19, 2011

Finally, some real adventuring with one of the earliest US Geological Survey teams in Southwest Alaska.

(If no map appears in the email, click on the title above to go to the blog page.)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

21.1 Passing through Chicago.

June 5, 1903

Six weeks previously Hayes arrived in the US from Liverpool with less than $5 in pocket. Now he’s at a stopover in Chicago with a first class ticket, “on a fast train that will reach Seattle in four days.” George Curtis Martin, (Jean the genealogist says GC is not related to John Martin the author of these synopses) the leader of the Alaska survey, instructed him to find his own Pullman sleeper and dining car, but that was all too rich for Hayes as he still has only about four dollars to make his way to Seattle.

East of Chicago Hayes marvels at the density of the population, “One wonders where all the people come from, how they all live and how so many can find sustenance in one land.”

June 6 1903

West of Chicago he marvels at the desolation and emptiness, “The Bad Lands are very picturesque, earthen hills eroding rapidly, of little use to man.”

21.2 Outfitting in Seattle

June 8,1903

In the five years since Hayes last visited Seattle, the gold boom has settled and the town shows signs of maturing, it “is much larger and is getting paved streets and cement sidewalks instead of the planked streets and wooden footpaths of those days.”

Martin puts Hayes up at the Hotel Seattle in Pioneer Square carelessly instructing him to pay for his own meals “for a couple of days, then he would settle with me later.” Hayes says he can get just enough to eat for 10¢ at a low-ramp Japanese restaurant nearby. In this contradictory moment, Hayes lodges at a fancy hotel, works on outfitting the Alaska expedition on a $6,000 budget, and has only 10¢ a day on which to eat. “Martin is more extravagant than I am, but I am inclined to believe there is a lot of game to be had in the north, and count on that rather than lump round a heavy burden of unneeded grub. Even my hip boots and oil skins are included in the outfit, which is more than one can hope for after these ships of recent years.”

21.3 Running the Seymour Narrows

June 13, 1903

An uncharacteristic joy suffuses Hayes’ description of the Seymour Narrows and his trip up through this watery labyrinth of British Columbia. “There are green islands on every side, large and small. Winding channels that burst suddenly into wide gulfs and into narrower fjords, with snow mountains sometimes near, always in the distance if we are not shut in. Waterfalls leap into the sea, or roaring rapids boil into the bays as if they were anxious to escape the hills.”

The beauty of the natural world sustains Hayes in all his travels. Perhaps a current reader can understand his ceaseless roaming as pursuit of out-of-the-way corners of transcendence like he found at the Seymour Narrows. “They are said to be about 800 yards across, and there is a large rock in the center of the strait. It is a crooked passage; and when the water is high, ships can pass. Deep enough at any time, but the current is tremendous as the water pours through the passage like the creeks pour into the sea all the way. For twenty minutes the water is still. It is then the ships put on all steam ahead and make the short run before the current begins to run in or out of the Gulf of Georgia.”

This far north daylight lingers very late. Hayes will not go below deck as long as light remains to reveal some new beauty round the next bend. “To one who loves nature it is an ideal life.”

21.4 The Beauty of Sitka

June 20, 1903

In a rugged wooden vessel called the Bertha, Hayes and Martin make their way up the southern Alaska coastline through Ketchikan, Petersburg, Juneau, Douglas, and finally to Sitka. Traveling with them are, “scientists, priests, girls seeking moneyed men for husbands or for prey.”

The biggest catch on board would be Colonel William Greene of the Cananea copper mines in Mexico, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Greene travels with a group of mining men from Arizona whose drunken, debauched behavior elicits this comment from Hayes, “If this is all that wealth brings men, I am content to be counted among the humble of earth.”

Colonel William Greene (with hand raised)
addressing striking Cananea copper mine workers
Mexico, 1906

The beauty at Sitka fairly takes Hayes’ breath away: “The gold mines at Juneau and Douglas may be more profitable, but Sitka has the transcendent beauty that one never forgets. It fronts almost on the open sea. Cut off by numberless tiny islets, it wanders about the rugged coast line and back into the forest in bewildering fashion.” Much of the architecture here is Russian and Hayes wonders why they ever gave up this vast territory rich in natural resources.

21.5 Hemmed in at Dundas Bay

June 22, 1903

Poking up the coast to Dundas Bay, the small ship gets hemmed in by thousands of tiny icebergs off Muir Glacier. They’ll have to wait for the winds to scatter them across the bay before leaving the small salmon cannery near which they are blocked.

The cold water makes the teeming fish life here tastier than in warmer climates but the cannery wants only salmon. There are so many, Hayes wonders where they all come from. Any fish not a salmon is discarded for the gulls. “This when Europe is full of starving people who never knew a square meal, yet so vivid in my mind.”

21.6 Yakatut Bay: Real Alaska

June 24, 1903

At Yakutat Bay: “This is real Alaska, with Indian women selling furs, mukluks, beaded moccasins, ditty bags, everything possible they know to make.” The world’s largest glaciers are on every side. Forty miles distant, though seeming only ten in the crystalline air, “is the famed peak discovered by Vitus Behring (sic) in 1741, I think it was.”

Vitus Bering,
Danish Navigator in service to the Russian Navy

One more short hop across the ocean and the expedition will have arrived at their base and begin some inland explorations.

21.7 Wingham Island

June 27,1903

When Hayes and Martin land on Wingham Island, place names mentioned in the Diary become confusing. Hayes refers to places with names used by the locals, while Martin continually renames them. So when Hayes says a scow immediately towed them from Wingham Island across to the mouth of the Chilkat River, a current map shows this as the Bering River – Martin’s names stuck.

On the scow, Hayes picked up another interesting name: “an ex-prize fighter, one Ed Smith, who was famed for defeating Joe Goddard, the Australian Barrier Champion, was working long-shore at the beach.”

”Denver Ed Smith”

Above the high tide line, the men set up a tent to hold back the voracious mosquitoes, “that are the curse of the north.” Hayes and Martin brought a small skiff from Seattle; the plan is to wander up and down the costal inlets, rivers and lakes of this roadless area looking for resources. Already Hayes can see coal-bearing rocks around what is now Bering Lake.

As Hayes frequently notes throughout his travels to the frontiers of European and American expansion, cultural contact usually is not genteel: “The white man has in Alaska crowded the natives out of all best places, has brought to them social diseases, liquor, and dishonesty.”

21.8 Exploring far Inland.

July 10, 1903

Traveling in the skiff and by hiking along bear paths pushed through “the jungle of devil’s club, tag alder and in the spruce forest”, Hayes and Martin explore where, “No maps have ever been made …. We are the first government party.” Hayes marvels at the volume of water cascading from the enormous glaciers: “there are eighty rivers in the thirty miles falling from the ice field between [the mouth of the Bering River] and Yakataga.”

By law no company can take more than sixteen land claims in this territory. But Hayes knows of one company with more than 1,500 claims taken by two men. “Talking to them, they told me they had difficulty in studying up names to put on claims.” If some mineral resource proves good on a claim, the company places a real homesteader there; if not, the claim lapses in a year. “There are four companies grabbing all prospects of coal, oil or anything else that may give evidence of remuneration in this district.”

During their explorations over the moss covered ground, at the edge of glaciers, and across torrential streams (Martin nearly drowned in one) Hayes feeds himself and Martin on ducks, geese, ptarmigan, and the salmon everywhere. Eagles and gulls gorge on the abundance of salmon and other small fish. “There are numerous bears, and the old Scotch foreman at the coal mines has killed eighteen of these splendid animals for so-called sport.”

21.9 Two Men alone in the Bush and Not Companionable

July 15, 1903

Down from the backcountry, Martin and Hayes push west to Catella River which Martin promptly renames the Katalla. The two aren’t getting along well. For Martin, “Everything must be done according to the book, and this goes ill when one must use his head as emergencies arise in the bush. He has almost caused us to lose our lives several times already.”

Part of the trouble stems from Martin’s inability to see Hayes’ expertise. At Katalla a number of frontiersmen gather as in a gold rush looking to get rich quick on coal or oil claims. As these men watch Hayes pilot the small skiff in off the ocean through the breakers at the mouth of the river, all marvel at his skill with a boat – but not the boss of their little two-man expedition: “Martin never realizes any danger, being inexperienced and foolhardy.”

Nevertheless, the money is good and Alaska endlessly fascinating so Hayes will stick it. At Katalla the mineral wealth astounds him: He describes many coal seams six to eight feet in diameter, and one reaching 27 feet. Not to be outdone, Martin reports one 63 feet in diameter near the glacier line. In addition to coal, oil seeps from the ground in a pool covering several acres. Hayes dips up a gallon to be sent to Johns Hopkins for analysis.

20. Liverpool to Washington DC

June 12, 2011

For this segment of the diary I am indebted to my newly found cousin Jean who contacted me when I first began publishing this synopsis of Hayes’ diaries.  On the Abbreviated Perkins Family Tree  you will see that Daniel Perkins was my great, great, great grandfather.  His wife was Lydia Banks Perkins.  Jean and I share these ancestors which I know because of Jean’s remarkable genealogical work on the Banks family.  At the end of this chapter, Hayes runs into a bit of great good fortune in Washington thanks to an aunt and uncle who give him a boost up.  In four diary entries, Hayes names neither the uncle nor the aunt, only his two cousins.  From this information Jean was able to identify Hayes’ Uncle Epaminondis and Aunt Jennie correcting my guess that it was his Uncle Thomas Jefferson Perkins and Aunt Eliza Jane Houghmaster Perkins.  Thank you Jean.

(If no map appears in the email, click on the title above to go to the blog page.)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

20.1 Broke in London

March 29, 1903

With only two pounds in his pocket, Hayes takes up worried residence at the sailors home at Dock & Wells streets, London.

Inside the London Seamans Home

“The Home Officials, … saw my penurious condition and told me candidly that when my money was gone I would be put into the street….” Hayes will see none of the sights in London this time through; “It is a matter of finding something to keep me from walking the streets starving. I’ll do my best, trust in God, who has never forsaken me.”

Together with an Australian lad, Hayes walks miles of docks up and down the London waterfront “seeking a place as work-a-ways, seamen or anything to any place in the world.” – Still nothing.

Just as they had given up, Hayes spied one more ship, the Allegheny. He knew (his emphasis) this one would take him. The dispirited Australian called Hayes a fool and collapsed into a nearby station. “The mate, gruff though he was, was kindly. He told me to get a permit from the consul, which I did, and we sail in the evening.”

20.2 Bull Pusher

April 4, 1903

All down the English Channel, the crew of the Allegheny puts off stowaways desperate to return to the United States. They deposit three at Goodwin Sands, two more in the Straits of Dover, and then two more off Plymouth.

The mate hired Hayes as a sailor and sent him forward, but Hayes must have arrived at the forecastle shabby of appearance and poor in health. The sailors wouldn’t accept him; they said he was a bull pusher. “Vosper, the mate, is angry, but I am willing to stay where I am.” This will mean considerably less pay for the voyage, but a sailor named Jackson, a bully, rules the forecastle and Hayes knows that trouble would result from asking an officer to intervene where a bully doesn’t want him. He can push bulls.

The next self-contradictory paragraph entered by a battered, world-weary, 25-year-old Hayes describing his bull pushing mates, encapsulates all the wisdom this mean life has taught him thus far: “My mates are drunken, lousy, filthy in personal appearance. They are degraded as only bull pushers may be, but having reached the depths, have ceased to hate those about them. They share their miseries, their few good things together as men should, and are more Christian in spirit than the ones who condemn them.”

For once at least, among the lowest of the low, Hayes finds something of humanity worthy of praise. “But it is cold, oh so cold!” The Allegheny follows a slightly northern route taking the ship more directly home than would a warmer westerly course.

20.3 Icebergs of Newfoundland

April 12, 1903

The Allegheny belongs to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company but flies the British flag to save money. “The boat is unseaworthy apparently…” She broke down for four hours, lying to in a gale, then some drums of creosote got loose below careening about so violently in the rocking hold they would have ruptured the hull had the crew not “managed to chock them with loose bits of dunnage, else they would have wrecked us.”

Fog lies thick in these cold northern climes off the banks of Newfoundland but on the morning of April 12, dawn broke unexpectedly clear. “When daylight came, we were in the midst of a fleet of icebergs, some of them huge mountains, others growlers, scattered on each and every side.” His tone rings more of admiration for the beauty of the sight than for the danger to the ship.

Iceberg Off Newfoundland

On this meager cattle ship, in the northern cold, “We are scrubbing paint as ever, like this ship was a liner…. My hands are like birds’ claws, so numb, so numb.”

20.4 Newport News

April 16, 1903

“If all goes well, we will be in Newport News tomorrow. I will be happy to be rid of her [the Allegheny], but what next?” A well-to-do uncle in Washington DC has been demanding a visit from Hayes next time he’s on this coast. Even in his reduced circumstances, disdain for anything to do with the family runs very deep, he says, “ I am going to see him for a day or two, then have that duty fulfilled for good and all. I have never seen any of them.” The idea that a wealthy, well-positioned uncle might be able to help him seems not to have crossed Hayes’ mind.

One middle-aged bull pusher served in the U.S. navy and receives $80 a month pension. According to Hayes, he ferries back and forth across the Atlantic tending cattle because, “he wants to stay where he is, taking the blasphemous abuse from the head pushers, the hard living and almost loathsome company with whom he associates.” His pension and all the money he earns goes to drink and riotous living ashore ¬– except for his expenses for periodicals; he shares the latest magazines and papers with Hayes and “sometimes unburdens his wearied soul.” Hayes says of all the bull pushers, “At least they can fall no further, and this brings peace to their sordid souls.”

As for peace to their lice infested bodies? “If they ever bathe I have not seen it.” However, hanging an article of clothing through the grating above the steam exhaust “soon kills all the livestock there. Thus they keep the vermin down without washing their clothes at all.”

April 18, 1903

In port at Newport News, all the bull pushers have gone to the groggeries ashore. Hayes has no interest there so doesn’t mind being ordered by the skipper to remain alone on the ship until clearing immigration. As it happens, despite sharing all their work, Hayes shipped at status even lower than bull pusher – as an unpaid “work-a-way.” The Skipper kindly gives Hayes 50¢ for his 17 days labor across the Atlantic but even that is essentially a gift to a work-a-way crewman. The 50¢, Together with $3 from selling his boots and oilskins to a sailor forward, his $2 savings, and a fair exchange on fourteen shillings and six pence, give him enough for a ticket to Washington with $5 left over. “At least there is a door to enter, but I dread it.”

20.5 Caught the Ferry at Fort Morgan

April 19,1903

At Fort Morgan Hayes waits for a ferry making the night run between Norfolk and Washington. Earlier, touring Fort Morgan, Hayes passed by the veteran’s home where old soldiers still in Civil War uniform caroused and drank showing exaggerated Southern civility to every passing woman. Then in the room waiting for the ferry, Hayes ran across the bull pushers from the Allegheny also carousing and drinking – though feebly; one day after de-boarding the ship, not one had money enough remaining for a real drunk. “… The rest of the passengers drew aside from these men as if they were unclean. No wonder, for all of them were blatant, loud mouthed, ribald in conversation and appearance.”

With a happy farewell to the bull pushers, Hayes boards a “wonderfully clean and well appointed” steamer, regretting only that the night ride will deny him the opportunity to see Chesapeake Bay on the ride north.

20.6 Fantastic Opportunity in Washington.

April 22, 1903

Landing in Washington, Hayes can find no seaman’s home to stash his “kit” before calling on the relatives. “Washington is not like other cities, it has no manufacturing, no workingman’s quarter, nothing but government offices and the homes of those who work for Uncle Sam.” He had no choice other than carrying his luggage right to the door of the three-story brownstone on Rhode Island Avenue. “I managed to slip my bag of clothes down under the stoop leading to the basement, so had my hands free on ringing the bell.”

Hayes writes four diary entries over the next month during his stay in Washington. In all four he names his older relatives only “uncle” and “aunt”. However, because he does name cousins Lydia and Adam, the astonishing genealogical abilities of my newly discovered cousin Jean, reveals that they were his father’s brother Epaminondis Daniel Moore Perkins and his wife Jennie Sanders Perkins. On answering the bell, Aunt Jenny did not recognize Hayes; “She was civilly polite and wished to know the stranger’s business.” One might add – the scruffy, ill-fed stranger in clean but ragged clothing – but apparently his aunt did not phrase it that way.

“To skip the details, I may say they could have welcomed me no more warmly than if I was their own son.” Immediately sizing up his lack of funds and “everything else in worldly goods,” and with tact enough not to offer charity, cousin Adam immediately found Hayes a job “to earn some money and leave town like a man.” Hayes has his eye on a railway job in West Virginia but, “Uncle says he can get me a place with the government, but I don’t see how he can.”

May 2, 1903

May in Washington, and “all is green now with the coming of spring.” Hayes and Lydia visit the halls of congress listening to, “the blather of the senators and congressmen.” He and Uncle Epam tour the White House, “but I did not see Roosevelt or any of his family.” And alone, Hayes walks the tree-lined streets, through the statues, and even to the top of Washington’s monument.

May 23, 1903

Uncle Epam must have had some powerful connections: “The impossible has happened. My uncle has wangled it some way, and I have a job with the geological survey in Alaska.” A lone geologist sent to that “far-off land” to investigate for coal “and anything else lying loose in that part of the world,” needs an experienced hand, “to cook, sail boats, to look after the camping and a general roustabout.” With returning health, good clothes, and the promise of an exciting new adventure, “the world looks rosy once more.”

June 2, 1903

On meeting his new boss, named G C Martin, Hayes, ever able to size up the bad in any situation, describes him as, “too eager and has a determined look that bodes no good in the end. He has a very large head for a man his size, for he is almost a pigmy.” But beneath all the dour caution, Hayes simply cannot contain his delight. “Is this what I have been looking for all these years? … I am one of the favored ones, it would seem.”

19. San Francisco to Liverpool

June 5, 2011

The rain in Eureka prevents Hayes from recovering fully from the ravages of his last trip around the horn,  so he rides cross country to see the family in Galveston and from there – signs on to sail to Liverpool again!

(If you aren’t seeing a map in the email, please click the title above)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

19.1 Loggings at the Slough in Eureka

July 10, 1902

After a week at the San Francisco ironworks, Hayes can no longer stand the noise. The bosses are decent about his quick departure and now Hayes has earned enough money to pay fare on the Pamona, a small passenger steamer sailing north to Eureka. Of course the dreadful seasickness strikes him down but upon arrival at Eureka, all there welcome him back, even George Glynn his old boss who has both a position and a promise of a better one to come.  Hayes writes, “I hope to stay on for a long time.”

August 2, 1902

“Time slips by pleasantly and quickly when one is in a congenial place.” Hayes moved out of town to where the logs are floated into a deep slough and made into rafts. He works with Wallace and Billy and “being adept as seafaring it gives me an advantage in handling ropes, wires and rigging in general.” When not on the log rafts, a three-mile walk into town takes him to the library where long quiet hours transport him to other worlds. “To get an education has always been my desire, but thus far it has been one of hard knocks instead.”

August 21, 1902

A small railway runs about ten miles back into the deep woods where the trees are cut. Two or three times a day, a railcar dumps a load of freshly cut redwood into the waters of the slough. The butts of most trees hold so much water the first log cut from a tree almost always sinks. “We bore holes in the sinkers, as these heavy logs are called, then hang them onto a lighter one of corresponding size.” The very lightest logs are pushed far up into the slough to save for winter cutting; the rest are ganged into rafts and towed to Eureka for milling.

October 2, 1902

With so many logs coming the slough is entirely full. “Many of the logs are so large we must blast them into smaller pieces.” The saw mill can handle logs no larger than nine feet in diameter; the largest Hayes has seen is sixteen feet, “and it had to be halved in the woods before it could be loaded on the train.”

Even in the midst of the cutting, all the destruction troubles Hayes. “ Sometimes it seems a crime to destroy all these fine forests. What will posterity think about it?” The cut stumps would rapidly re-grow but the company burns them to seed for pasture seeking short-term profit.

The wild world of Hayes’ childhood is rapidly vanishing: “There is not a tenth duck or goose. The elk are all gone; the fur bearing animals and most of the Indians are gone. Only at the Klamath reservation are there any number now.”

December 3, 1902

In this region of Northern California rain falls nearly every day. As Hayes is not yet recovered from the starvation of the Crown of India, “My teeth are still sore, loose, gums fallen away from the teeth and I fear of losing them all,” the severe weather may force him to leave this very comfortable position. Remarkably, he writes that he still sends all his money out repaying people he outsmarted years ago. “Business, of course, but it was unfair and must be returned.

December 26, 1902

“Christmas, and for the first time in my life I have been to a Christmas tree.” Of course he immediately downplays the evident excitement of this sentence writing that his gifts were trinkets that would have been appreciated when he was a boy, “but give little thrill at my present age.”

The rains swell the slough into a rushing river threatening to sweep all the stored logs out to sea. Dancing on the bobbing log rafts in hobnail boots on a rushing river requires great skill. “Strangely we cannot discern the various elevations of the logs at nights. Thus we sometimes step down two feet, falling overboard or jarring ourselves badly in the darkness.” When new men are sent to help hold the logs against the current, Hayes and the others must constantly rescue them from spills into the muddy waters.

Now comes a tree 28 feet across the stump. “We made 35 logs out of it by blasting it. Surely this tree must have been 3,000 years old, perhaps more than that.” Reading Hayes diaries more than one hundred years after this account, perhaps we know what posterity thinks of cutting and blasting to bits such a magnificent tree.

January 11, 1903

The Northern California rains won’t let his lungs, damaged on the Crown of India, heal – but where to go. Australia? Perhaps in that dry climate he will avoid the tuberculosis that killed several of his relatives.

19.2 Hico with the Family

February 10, 1903

Finally the pleurisy drove him from California – to Hico Texas for his 25th birthday.  Instead of Australia, he now thinks maybe he’ll go to South Africa where “the climate is dry and warm,” and mining work available.

His report on the family comes in the same laconic tones as before:  “Mother is getting old. …  I wish I might do something to aid her more than I do.”  Just this for his sisters:   “My sisters have grown up until I scarcely know them.”  And he has only disdain for his father, now moved to Oklahoma:  “Why a man should be inherently cruel to his children is beyond me, but he was.  It is over forever now, and he has lost the affection of us all.”  His sisters know that Hayes will again leave them shortly; they “chide me because I am given to roaming.”

19.3 Galveston and Back to Sea

February 24, 1903

His sister did survive the flood of 1900 at Galveston but much wreckage to the city still remains. In this Southern town, enmity concerning the Civil war also persists; “there is a certain coolness toward the Yankee who invaded their country and defeated them.”

Despite its tiny size, Galveston is a great port of the world frequented by many British ships but also those of Germany, France and Norway, hauling into stream, loading, and departing as fast as they can, one after another.

Hayes catches a job on the biggest ship in port, the Irak, preparing to leave immediately. His rationale for returning to work as a seaman while still sick from the previous trip is rings hollow: “I am not well, but the clean air of the sea should soon drive away the weakness I have acquired and make me well.” Hair of the dog? Or more likely his desperation to get free of the family: “’meeting my mother is like going to a funeral, she takes it so hard when I leave.” In any case, he sails with the Irak tomorrow.

19.4 Florida Straits.

March 1, 1903

As the Irak was leaving Galveston harbor a tidal surge tossed her against another ship, crumpling the railings on both sides. Neither ship sustained any real damage, but “There were many sweet compliments exchanged between the respective skippers…”

Surprisingly cold air hangs the Florida Strait with thick weather and poor visibility, but a strong current pushed the Irak smartly forward. The small sandy spits of the Bahamas and a quick glimpse of the Florida coast fleeting by indicate the swift passage of the ship.

19.5 Coaling at Hampton Roads

March 6, 1903

Fine weather past Cape Hatteras gives way to “a cold blast right out of the north.” The Irak drops anchor in the wide mouth of the James River with Hampton Roads to the south and Newport News to the north. Many ships stop here for Virginia coal and the Irak will also “take on a deck load of Cattle for Liverpool.” Building pens to hold the bulls on deck delays the Irak’s departure for several icy days. “We do have good food, poorly cooked always, but ample and would be excellent if a man who knew the rudiments of cookery was in the galley.”

19.6 Bull Pushers

March 8, 1903

The 458 bulls on deck headed for the British army boarded the ship as wild animals, “but the sea has tamed them.” Their tenders must keep them standing for the entire voyage for once down they will not rise again. “If there be a more picturesque crew than these bull pushers, as they are called by the sailors, I have never seen them.” These men have fallen to lowest position on the shipboard social scale and their pay reflects that status: $65 for a forty day trip with a second class return ticket for the headman and $25 with a third class return for his underlings. The seamen despise the bull pushers but for Hayes they provide an opportunity to admire a new “fluency in cusswords.”

Fortunately Hayes draws the port watch under a genial Irish mate. The scurvy still weakens Hayes and when the mate sees him struggling with heavy work in seas breaking over the forecastle-head, rather than curse him as Fleck would have, the mate sensibly re-assigns Hayes to lighter work.

19.7 Mid-Ocean with Bulls on Deck

May 12, 1903

All the bulls have great horns, so when their pens break down in heavy weather, even those bull tenders not down with seasickness are afraid to try corralling them. “I was too at first, but one seemed so cowed I petted him a little, then took hold of his ear and led him into a stall farther aft.” Soon Hayes working with another Swedish sailor have the bulls all safe in new pens.

After describing the line dividing the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current as deep blue on one side and light green on the other, Hayes relates some kind of prank that involved painting some of the bulls. He and the Swede had been detailed to paint the insides of all the deck ventilators. He’s not clear about how the paint got on the bulls, but the head bull pusher speaks to the mate in no uncertain terms: “These bloody souji-mouji artists of yours … have ruined my cattle. Wotta hell you keep such punks for is more than I can say! Now they’ve gotta git it off before I am back here. See to that!” The mate sharply assents to the demand, but he’s “grinning at me out of the corner of his eye,” and nothing more is said.

19.8 Paid off at Liverpool

March 19, 1903

Sailing through wild stormy weather, Hayes took quite a shock on the the Irish sea: “I was on the lookout last night, the sleet driving in my face right out of the north. Suddenly a light appeared dead ahead. Too bright for a ship, it seemed like a search light from a warship. I leaped for the bell lanyard and had just reached it when the light jumped twenty feet up the forestay. I hesitated. The light began to move slowly up and down the stay, remaining there for some minutes. It was St. Elmo’s fire, the first time I have ever seen this phenomenon.”

All the bulls but one were happy to disembark the ship at Liverpool. “For three hours he held the fort, the side captain cursing in every tongue he knew until he could speak only in a whisper.” When the mate tried to help out, he collapsed laughing upon receiving whispered curses from the side captain. Finally, they roped the renegade and winched him off the ship.

At payday in England by custom wives collect half a seaman’s salary, “to prevent their spouses from spending their substance in riotous living with the women of the streets and in the pubs.” As he is unmarried, Hayes collects his full pay and takes up residence at the sailor’s home run by missionaries.

March 22, 1903

Now that Hayes is finally ready for Africa, he can’t find a ship. Well, one, the Burutu would have taken him in return for a bribe, but it carried liquor to West Africa. Hayes won’t pay the “pour boire” and, “I don’t care to carry liquor to anyone.” According to Jack O’brien at the Sailor’s home, 50,000 other men are looking for ships out of Liverpool. “I have walked these docks form Hornsby to Herculaneum, seven miles of waterfront, seeking a place on a ship.” Nothing.

March 25, 1903

With a dwindling purse and no ship in sight, Hayes decides he might have better luck in London. Jack O’brien warns of fewer jobs there but Hayes has to move – here all the ship’s mates sign only sailors they know or those willing to pay the bribe.