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Monday, May 24, 2010

History in Hammond

Harpoon gun and harpoons in Hammond, Oregon The last thing I expected to see when I went to the laundromat in Hammond was a harpoon gun. And the last thing I expected when I researched it for this post was that there would be any history connected with my family. The history connection is not to this area, but to the ship that carried the harpoon gun. I'll show you at the end of the post.

Harpoon gun and harpoons in Hammond, Oregon At the main intersection in Hammond (diagonally across from the mini-mart and laundromat) is the Lighthouse Museum, and on its west side is this harpoon gun with two heavy metal harpoons. I truly feel sorry for the whales on the end of that thing, but history and culture are always interesting to me.

Harpoon gun and harpoons in Hammond, Oregon Just as I got this far with the photos, the sun went behind a cloud and stayed there, so the colors became a bit dull and muddy. Sorry about that.

Harpoon gun and harpoons in Hammond, Oregon The harpoon gun and harpoons in situ at the small museum. On the left is a plaque giving a brief history:

The sign says, Harpoon gun used aboard the whaler Tom and Al, co-captains Eben and Frank Parker. Whales processed by Bio Products Hammond, OR 1961-1963. Gun donated by Bio Products, Harpoon donated by Mike Murphy. I didn't know there was whaling in this area. Usually, our local connection to whales is watching them from the headlands along the coast. It seems the whaling years were very short.

King and Winge

I looked up the ship Tom & Al online and found that it was a beautiful ship fitted for both sailing and power, and it had an unusually interesting and varied history. It was built in 1900 or 1914 (depending on the source) as a fishing schooner for halibut and given the name King and Winge, which was later changed to Tom & Al. During its life it made a famous rescue in Alaska, was present at a maritime tragedy, served as a rum-runner, a whaling and dragging ship, and as a Columbia River bar pilot boat before it sank in the Bering sea in 1994.

The connection to my family is that during the rescue in Alaska, the King and Winge struggled with packed ice and bad weather along with the Revenue Cutter (later Coast Guard Cutter) Bear to effect a rescue of survivors of the then-famous Stafansson expedition. This took place in 1914, two years before grandfather, Clement Joseph Todd, was assigned as Executive Officer to the Bear in 1916 for two trips to Alaska and Siberia. The link to his name gives a taste of his experience, which was posted by The Bancroft Library from a booklet my grandmother typed up from letters and photos that he sent home. Just because I was on the track and doing research, I thought I'd post several pictures of the Bear that I found online.



The Bear was also a majestic ship when under sail, and I grew up with a painting of it in my grandmother's house. The Bear had three masts and the King and Winge had two, but they must have looked somewhat similar in their heyday.

Cutter Bear in Ice

Here is the U.S.R.C. Bear in the ice. There's an even nicer photo here.

More links:

Midnight Mike found some fantastic links which he posted in the comments. I've re-posted them below:


Mike's comments:

Sheryl,

I knew Eban Parker from the Triangle Tavern back in the late 70's. Oregon Fur Producers were located right behind Cascade Natural Gas and were the one's that promoted the whaling. Marv Hille was the manager of the Fur Producers and was my stepdad's father. The idea was to get whale meat for mink food. The whales were flensed (stripped of the blubber or skin) out in Hammond at Bioproducts. I remember my grandfather Cass bringing home whale burger in the mid 60's from Bioproducts. It tasted just like hamburger. Here [above] are some pictures of the King & Winge when it was the bar pilots vessel named the Columbia and one of the Tom & Al and one the partners in the enterprise. I think the guy they brought into flense the whales was Marquette Dozier. I guess you don't just find a whale flenser off the street!

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

14 comments:

Don and Krise said...

How cool is that!? To start off researching a local landmark and to then go full circle back to your ancestor. That must have put a smile on your face.

Jacob said...

What an absolutely fascinating post. I've never seen a harpoon gun before...I guess I thought they just threw a harpoon at the poor whale!

And the photos - gorgeous. Love the photos of those old ships.

Fantastic. You have quite a family history! Grandpa and grandma sound like wonderful people - boy, the stories they could tell or did tell!

Francisca said...

Extraordinary post, Sheryl! Whales, up a river? Whodathunkit? And the personal connection, what a fabulous way to make the history come alive! Love those boats. (The thing that surprised me was that the Tom & Al sank as recently as 1994.)

VP said...

I loved everything of this post: great pictures, a well done research and some family memories!

Lee Spangler said...

Tapirgal: You really went the distance on this post. Can you imagine how difficult life was on board such ships. The weather, the long hours, the distances...these were tough people which yu have honored by your post.

paul said...

What a tale and thorough documentation! From a small detail to a much wider background, and absolutely adore the pictures of tall ships.

Midnight Mike said...

Sheryl,
I knew Eban Parker from the Triangle Tavern back in the late 70's. Oregon Fur Producers were located right behind Cascade Natural Gas and were the one's that promoted the whaling. Marv Hille was the manager of the Fur Producers and was my stepdad's father. The idea was to get whale meat for mink food. The whales were flensed (stripped of the blubber or skin) out in Hammond at Bioproducts. I remember my grandfather Cass bringing home whale burger in the mid 60's from Bioproducts. It tasted just like hamburger.

Here are some pictures of the King & Winge when it was the bar pilots vessel named the Columbia and one of the Tom & Al and one the partners in the enterprise.:

http://66.154.152.16/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=extras1&id=Peacock_Astoria_1940_s

http://66.154.152.16/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=extras1&id=Columbia_Columbia_River_Bar_Pilot_Vessel

http://66.154.152.16/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=extras1&id=Pilot_Boat_Columbia

http://66.154.152.16/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album27&id=1961_Tom_Al_Whaling_4_whales_caught

http://66.154.152.16/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album27&id=1961_Tom_Al_Whaling_Astoria_Frank_Parker_Bow

Midnight Mike said...

I think the guy they brought into flense the whales was Marquette Dozier. I guess you don't just find a whale flenser off the street!

B SQUARED said...

Wonderful post,Tapir. Really, well done!

Clytie said...

Wow. What an extraordinary post! Those ships are beautiful, and I love the local history of them.

Now I must go check out a few of these links - both yours and Midnight Mike's. This is so interesting!!!

Lynn D Anderson said...

Im,Lynn Anderson(Parker)Eben Parker's daughter. I would like to thank you for such a beautiful website. You keep my father's history alive.He was a great father,he taught me alot about fishing.He alson took me to alot of beautiful places on the Tom & Al,that most people will never see. I was truly blessed having this man as my Father. He is greatly missed.

tapirgal said...

Lynn, Thank you for your wonderful comment. I can only imagine what it must have been like to travel to remarkable places on that ship. Your comment really made my day. I love helping to keep pieces of history alive, and the people who made that history. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Eben Parker was my grandfather. I know that he participated in many rescues at sea, he and his brothers were amazing men. They were all very hard workers and have contributed to a lot of history in the clatsop county area. There were many stories told at his funeral, one story that I will always remember... is that my grandpa, Eben, rode a whale. I am so proud to be a decendant of such a wonderful man. Thank you for this blog, I was bored and did a search of my Grandpa's name and it popped up. I have never seen that picture of the Tom and Al...very interesting.

midnitemike said...

Yet another link:
http://www.dailyastorian.com/mobile/article_8b456dae-7bfb-11e0-a7dc-001cc4c03286.html

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