Prince of Wales

There were two Hudson’s Bay Company ships of this name that sailed to Hudson Bay.

Prince of Wales [I] 1793-1841:

See doing canadianhistory 2.0, “Ship List,” for the years 1793-1811, 1813-1816, 1818-1830, 1832-1833, 1835-1841, and corresponding numbered entries in “Source List.”

The document, “Search File, Ships,” at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, has some information about this vessel.

The HBCA online finding aid lists the ship’s logs that are available for this vessel [see http://bit.ly/Ofr8o].

Mention of the vessel, and notations on the dates of departure and arrivals along the course of its voyages to is also found in HBCA, C.4/1, Book of Ships’ Movements.

Prince of Wales [II]

See doing canadianhistory 2.0, “Ship List,” for the years 1850-1864, 1876-1884, and corresponding numbered entries in “Source List.”

The document, “Search File, Ships,” at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, has some information about this vessel.

The HBCA online finding aid lists the ship’s logs that are available for this vessel [see http://bit.ly/18FrPo].

Mention of the vessel, and notations on the dates of departure and arrivals along the course of its voyages to is also found in HBCA, C.4/1, Book of Ships’ Movements.

Additional information about the ship’s voyages may be gleaned from HBCA, C.3/20, Portledge Books.

Stories about the Prince of Wales:

Prince of Wales [I]

Alan Cameron, “Ships of Three Centuries,” The Beaver 50, no. 1 (summer 1970): 13, states that the ship was built for the HBC by Messrs. Randall and Brent in 1793.

H.M.S. Cotter, “Famous H.B.C. Captains,” part II, The Beaver 1, no. 9 (June 1921): 32, notes that “When the battle of Trafalgar was fought on October 21st, 1805, the ‘Prince of Wales’ (Captain Hanwell) was nearing England, or perhaps had just arrived for she had sailed from Moose on September 14th of that year.”

John Alwin, in his Ph.D. dissertation, “Mode, Pattern and Pulse: Hudson’s Bay Company Transport, 1670–1821,” (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1978), 18, and Alan Cooke and Clive Holland,The Exploration of Northern Canada: 500 to 1920, A Chronology (Toronto: Arctic History Press, 1978), 142, note that in 1819, shrouded in fog, the Prince of Wales –with Franklin’s expedition and Red River Settlers aboard — struck the rocks off Resolution Island and required constant pumping to make York Factory.

A.J.W. Catchpole, and Marcia-Anne Faurer, “Ships’ Log-Books, Sea Ice and the Cold Summer of 1816 in Hudson Bay and Its Approaches,” Arctic 38, no. 2 (June 1985): 124, mention the Prince of Wales [I] in company with the chartered Swiss settler ship, Lord Wellington, and the HBC supply ship Eddystone in 1821. In Hudson Strait the vessels encountered ice and the Prince of Wales was “stove in” on contact with a berg. The Passengers and cargo were transferred to the Eddystone, the ship was pumped and the damage was repaired sufficient to complete the voyage into Hudson Bay. SettlerPeter Rindisbacher created a watercolour record of the event (see image below).

Prince of Wales [II]

James McDougall, transcription, “Young Apprentice,” part I, The Beaver 32, no. 1 (June 1952): 8, allows the vessel was “a large full rigged ship of about 1200 tons burden mounting eight guns (12 pounders) although she is pierced for fourteen.” He gives a description of a voyage aboard the ship in two parts — the second is found in The Beaver 32, no. 2 (September 1952): 10-13.

Henry Brett, “The Prince of Wales. Whaler, Freezer and Hulk—Over Seventy Years Old—Hull Still in Use,” White Wings,Vol. I, Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 To 1900 (The Brett Printing Company Limited, 1924), New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, New Zealand Texts Collection.

H.M.S. Cotter, “The Ship ‘Prince of Wales': 1850, Full-rigged Ship in Hudson Bay; 1934, New Zealand Coal Hulk,” The Beaver 13, no. 4 (March 1934): 42-44,http://bit.ly/8bu20.

Images of the Prince of Wales:

Prince of Wales [I]

pofwonrocks

Robert Hood, watercolour, “The Prince of Wales Striking Against the Rocks on the East Side of Resolution Island, Hudson Strait,” with additional notation that reads, “Aug. 7th 1819. The boat in the fore ground has been hoisted/out to endeavour to tow the ships head round: she has just escaped from between the ship and/the rocks, and is now pushing clear of the floating ice and heavy surf.” Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1970-188-1270 W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana, online MIKAN no. 2836425.

pofw2

Robert Hood, watercolour, “The Hudson’s Bay Company Ships Prince of Wales and Eddystone Bartering with the Eskimos off the Upper Savage Islands, Hudson Strait,” with notation “The large boat in the fore ground is filled with the Womenand an Old Man steering. The canoe in the fore ground is laden with blubber & bladders of oil. The naked Esquimeaux, has sold all his cloaths. Robert Hood. Aug. 13th 1819.” Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1970-188-1271 W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana, Online MIKAN no. 2836426.

prince of wales

Peter Rindisbacher, pen and ink wash, “The Meeting of the Hudson’s Bay Company Ships Prince of Wales and Eddystone with Captain W.E. Parry’s Ships Hecla and Griper,” dated 15 July 1821. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1988-250-6, Online MIKAN no. 2835774 (2 items).

pofwonberg

Peter Rindisbacher, pen and ink wash, “The ship Prince of Wales runs aground on an iceberg during the night of July 24, 1821. Lat. 61.42 N. Long. 65.12 W.” Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1988-250-10, online MIKAN no. 2835778 (3 items).

Prince of Wales [II]

pofwhulk

“The Hulk Prince of Wales at Wellington,”halftone, printed in Henry Brett, White Wings,Vol. I, Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 To 1900 (The Brett Printing Company Limited, 1924). Courtesy of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, New Zealand Texts Collection.

Miscellany:

There were other non-Hudson’s Bay Company ships of the same name. See, for example, “Prince of Wales,” Other ships named Prince of Wales or Repulse page, Crossed Over the Bar website, http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/.

ice hit shp

The above watercolour by Peter Rindisbacher is entitled, “A drifting Iceberg strikes the ship in the night of June 29, 1821,”  but does not state whether it is based on a second ice incident for Prince of Wales I, an ice encounter involving another vessel [see page for Wellington], or an imaginative composition. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1988-250-4.

Responses

  1. It is so nice to finally find Pictures and stories of the ship that carried my ancestors from Scotland to James Bay. I’ve been searching for a number of years for this information. I do thank you for compiling this information.

    • You’re very welcome. I’m wondering, who were your ancestors? Perhaps yours and mine met? Or, perhaps we are related?

      • So sorry I didn’t get back to you in an entire year, but I hadn’t noticed your reply. My Gr Grandfather was Kenneth McLeod. He was employed by the HBC from 1870-1902 as a blacksmith. I’m not sure how he initially travelled to James Bay, but I know that he took his family back to Scotland in 1879 about the Prince of Wales. His daughter (my Aunt) was born aboard the Prince of Wales tied at the East Indian Dock. The family ws found on the Census in Stornoway Scotland in 1881. They returned to James Bay aboard the Prince of Wales in 1883 and remained there until 1902.

  2. James Aitcheson (GGGGG Uncle) served on the Prince of Wales on and off from 1876 to 1885. The ship was forced to winter over at Charlton Island in 1885 with the crew having to make camp on the island and endure the freezing winter. They survived with the assistance of indian hunters who were dispatched by the local governor from Moose River. A quote from James’ journal:
    “January 22 The Indians arrived here today 2 families of them and have been hunting Rabbits for us – 24 of January the Dog Team arrived here today with provisions for us it was a fine sight to see them coming over the ice all dressed in ribbons and little bells”

    • Hello Mark, thank you for the added comments on the Prince of Wales. The pictures and the stories from someone that worked on the ship adds alot of depth to a part of our family history. I have a picture of my Gr. Grandfather aboard a ship when he was a much younger man. I think it might have been a steel ship. He travelled alot with HBC and was stationed at many different Posts during his employment.

  3. Thanks Jenet, Would it be possible to get a copy of the photo – very interested to get a glimpse of live on the ship.
    mark.aitcheson@gmail.com

    • Hello again Mark–I’ve sent a copy of the photo to your personal email.


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