Biographical Note

Historical Background

Scope and Content

Digital Content

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Acquisition Info

Processing Info

Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms


Guide to the J.F. Ford Photograph Collection
circa 1896-1906



VM Collection No.: 701
Creator: Ford, John Fletcher, photographer
Title: J.F. Ford Photograph Collection
Date Span: 1896-1906
Quantity: 17 black and white photographs (1 box) ; various sizes
37 negatives (1 box) : glass ; 6 x 8 inches
Location: K0196 (original prints and scans of negatives)
HN1539 (glass negatives)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.
Man with sturgeon, undated. Special Collections, UW Libraries, UW25742z




Biographical Note

John Fletcher Ford was born 1862 in Minnesota. He moved to Ilwaco, Washington, in 1893 and became a pastor and evangelist. Local newspapers praised Ford as “a genial gentleman” and “one of the best known citizens of Pacific County.” As an ardent opponent of liquor, Ford was a vigorous proponent of the temperance movement. In addition to his ministry, Ford photographed numerous timber operations and fishing activities in and around the lower Columbia River. He operated a photography studio, Foto Studio, with John T., Charles W., and Richard S. Ford in Portland from 1900-1908.

Ford was stricken with pleurisy during the last year of his life. He died February 16, 1914 in Ilwaco. He was nearly 53. As a tribute to his geniality, newspapers reported upon the impressive numbers of visitors who had come to pay tribute. In his obituary, the Columbia River Sun hailed his photographic work as “extremely interesting and valuable and a veritamine of picturesque illustration.”

Historical Background

Ilwaco was founded around 1848 and incorporated in 1890. The major occupation was fishing and in the seafood industry. At one time, Ilwaco had a bad reputation because of the gillnet wars fought there from 1884 to 1910. Gillnet and trap fishermen fought over fishing ground rights, sometimes to the death. Fishing was often done with a seine, a large fishing net that hangs vertically in the water by attaching weights along the bottom edge and floats along the top. Seine fishing offered the advantage of being able to net fish without having to be concerned with the visibility of the nets in the water, as the seine hangs from the top of the water to the bottom of the river, lake or bay.

Willapa Bay, located on the southwest Pacific coast of Washington near Ilwaco, is a large inlet of salt water separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Long Beach Peninsula. The bay is fairly shallow, with half of the volume of water inside it entering and leaving with every tide. It is bordered only by several smaller towns and unincorporated communities such as Raymond, South Bend, and Tokeland. Willapa Bay is one of the nation's largest commercial producer of oysters.

In 1879, Simon Benson, a Norwegian immigrant, from Wisconsin, settled in Oregon and bought timber lands in the vicinity of St. Helens and the lower stretches of the Columbia River, down river of Portland. Benson was among the first timbermen to use steam donkey engines and small railroads instead of oxen teams to haul logs to water. Another innovation of Benson’s were his famous “Benson rafts," developed as an alternative to the high costs of railroad or ocean barge transportation along the Pacific Coast. After finalizing the initial design, Benson hired John A. Festabend to supervise construction of the cigar-shaped rafts, which were assembled in the calm waters of the Wallace Slough, near Clatskanie, Oregon. Benson rafts were the first ocean-worthy lumber rafts. These cigar-shaped assemblages of logs, held together tightly by stout chains. Benson’s rafts were transported the 1,100 miles to San Diego during the summer, arriving at his saw mill roughly 15 days after leaving Clatskanie. Between in 1906 and 1941, over 120 Benson rafts were sent to San Diego from the Columbia River, with only 4 lost to storm or fire during that time. More than half the time, the rafts were “deck loaded” with processed lumber like shingles, fence posts, poles and spurs to maximize profits. Benson’s mill in San Diego then sold the resultant lumber to the lucrative California market.

Scope and Content

The collection contains images of fishing activities (seining and shell fishing), logging camps and timber activities along the lower Columbia, the construction of Benson Rafts, and various ships.

Digital Content

Printouts of digital scans made from the glass-plate negatives are available for reference purposes.

Restrictions on Access

Glass plate negatives are not available for viewing.

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions might exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.

Acquisition Info

Donor of prints mounted on board, Mrs. E.R. Stromquist, June 6, 1957.

Glass-plate negatives purchased from Richard Sasaki, 2002.

Processing Info

Processed by Tom Dobrowolsky, 2005; Linda Wagner and Megan Peacock, 2006.

Original photographs were transferred from the Industries and Occupations Collection, in the repository, in 2005.


Inventory

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Fishing activities
1/11-3Men on beach pulling in seine (net)   View imageundated
4Men on beach harvesting fish from seine (net)   View imageundated
5People hauling fish onto boats from suspended river nets   View imageundated
6Five boats, laden with fish, being towed   View imageundated
7Man standing next to large sturgeon   View imageundated
8Group standing around dead sea lion   View imageundated
9Crowd gathered to view dead sea lion, Ilwaco, Washington   View imageMay 5, 1896
10Oystering in intertidal zone, Willapa Bay, Washington   View imageundated
11Women and children digging for clams at Willapa Bay, Nahcotta, Washingtonundated

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Logging camps and activities
Deep River, Washington1903-1904
1/212Loggers on springboards undercutting cedar with crosscut saw and felling axes   View image1903
13Loggers posed with springboards, crosscut saw, and felling axes   View image1903
14Loggers sawing felled trees with crosscut saws   View image1903
15Logging crew posed on top of felled tree   View image1903
16Logging crew in front of steam donkey engine   View image1903
John Lundeen identified in photograph.
17Crew loading logs onto railroad cars   View image1903
18Railroad unloading logs into water at log dump   View image1903
19Logging crew   View image1904
Nels Lundeen identified in photograph.
20Logging crew on railroad cars at camp   View image1904
John Lundeen identified in photograph.
21Logging crew at camp, possibly Deep Lake   View image1904
Benson Camp, Clatskanie, Oregon
1/322Logging crew   View image1904
23Logging crew and railroad   View image1904
Unidentified locations
1/424Block houseundated
25Two men in windows of log cabinundated
26Men standing on felled timber as log is hoisted by crane   View imageundated
27Men standing felled logs near railroad tracks   View imageundated
28Cut log rolling downhill after being winched by donkey engine   View imageundated
29Logging crew in front of donkey engine   View imageundated
30Oxen team pulling log   View imageundated
31Men with team of oxen   View imageundated
32Oxen pulling three-log train with people standing on top   View imageundated
33Railroad engine pulling logs over timber trestle   View imageundated
34Men sliding log down skids   View imageundated
35-36Men standing on logs in log boom   View imageundated

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Benson raft construction, Columbia River, near Stella, Washington
Raft construction began with the building of a floating wooden “cradle,” which slightly resembled the wooden frame of a large sailing ship. A floating derrick then lifted logs into the cradle over a period of four to seven weeks. Although logs of all sizes were transported, a large volume of tree-length logs were included in the raft to give it strength and stability in its voyage across the Columbia River bar and in the open ocean. Enormous chains were used to lash the raft together, with one running lengthwise through the center, some encircling the raft approximately every fifteen to twenty feet, and still more attaching the chains to each other at strategic points throughout the raft. When a raft was complete, one side of the cradle was removed and the raft was “kicked out.” Once free-floating, rafts would “flatten out” in the water, further tightening the circle chains and making them even stronger. Most rafts hauled approximately 4 to 6 million feet of logs and were typically about 800 to 1000 feet long, 55 feet wide, and 35 feet thick from top to bottom—usually drafting 26 to 28 feet deep. Holding them together was anywhere from 175 to 250 tons of chain. Construction took 4 to 6 weeks.
1/537Logs inside floating cradle   View imageundated
38Cradle for constructing log raft   View imageundated
39-40Crew arranging logs inside cradle   View imageundated
41Loggers constructing log raft with help of cradle   View imageundated
42-43Boom crane lowering log into cradle   View imageundated
44Completed Benson raft tied to shore   View imageundated
45View of chains and cables holding together completed raft   View imageundated
46View aboard deck of completed raft ready for transport   View imageundated
47Wide view of cradle for constructing log raft   View imageundated
48Sternwheel steamer pushing raft away from cradle   View imageundated

 
Box/Folder Item Date
Ships
1/649Sternwheeler Mascot docked on river   View imageundated
50Sternwheeler Harvest Queen in river   View imageundated
51Sternwheelers Tahoma and Bailey Gatzert tied up at pier   View imageundated
52Four-masted square-rigger tied up at wharf   View imageundated
53-54Four-masted square-rigger tied up at pier   View imageundated
55Three-masted schooner anchored in harbor   View imageundated

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Lundeen, John--Photographs.
Lundeen, Nels--Photographs.
Geographic Names:
Clatskanie (Or.)--Photographs.
Columbia River--Photographs.
Deep River (Wash.)--Photographs.
Ilwaco (Wash.)--Photographs.
Stella (Wash.)--Photographs.
Willapa Bay (Wash.)--Photographs.
Subjects:
Beaches--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Booms (Log transportation)--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Clamming--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Fishing--Washington (State) --Photographs.
Log transportation--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Logging--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Logs--Washington (State) --Photographs.
Lumber industry--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Oystering--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Piers--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Sailing ships--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Ships--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Timber--Rafting--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Wharves--Washington (State)--Photographs.
Genre Headings:
Photographs.
Last modified: September 16, 2011
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