George Flavel

From the Saturday, Jan. 11, 1879 edition of The Daily Astorian:

• British ship Allegiance came in yesterday in a gale of wind, bar breaking badly and anchored in a precarious place without a (bar) pilot. Three bar tugs and the U. S. revenue cutter Thomas Corwin, which was in Bakers bay, went to her assistance …

Note: A report later in the year from the Ninth Circuit Court blamed the master of the Allegiance for taking some bad advice from his mate, which is why he entered the Columbia River Bar without a pilot in the first place.

The three tugs wound up assisting and towing the Allegiance over the course of an arduous two days, and the court got involved when a lawsuit ensued over payment.

The tug owners (one of whom was Capt. George Flavel, pictured) claimed it was a salvage operation, and they should be paid $5,000 ($126,000 now), so they sued the ship’s owner, who claimed he should only be charged for being towed, which would have been only $200 (about $5,000 now). You can read all the details at bit.ly/towsuit

Judge Deady agreed with Flavel, and ruled that $5,000 was “a fair compensation for the services rendered.”

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Daily Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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