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The Yukon River Sternwheeler Mary F. Graff

by Murray Lundberg


Northern Ships and Shipping


    The information on the Mary F. Graff that follows is simply a cut-and-paste from my database, compiled from a wide variety of sources, primarily the White Pass & Yukon Route corporate records (COR 722) at the Yukon Archives and newspapers including the Klondike Nugget (KN) and Yukon Sun.
  • U.S.Reg.#92856 (1898-1901); C.S.Reg. #107839 (1901-), registered at Victoria.
  • wood and steel sternwheeler; 176.1 feet long, with 35.4 foot beam and 5.9 foot hold. Gross tonnage 718.68, registered as 409.06 tons. One deck, carvel build, straight head and square stern. Accommodation for 16 passengers (Affleck says she was not designed for passengers).
  • engine room was 42 feet long, housing 2 horizontal high pressure engines built in 1898 by Moran Brothers; the engines had 2 cylinders each, 10 inch diameter, 84 inch stroke, developing 26.6 NHP.
  • 1898, built by the Moran Brothers Shipyard, for the Seattle-Yukon Transportation Company (Affleck); the SYT may have never taken delivery, and she was sold to the Alaska Exploration Company.
  • May 25, 1898, cleared Customs at Port Townsend enroute to St.Michael.
  • 1898 until about October 1900, operated on the St.Michael-Dawson run by the Alaska Exploration Company (MacBride).
  • 1898-1899, wintered at the Dahl River (KN,June 7).
  • 1899, in command of Captain W. J. Richardson.
  • n.d., hull rebuilt to 177.6 feet long, 35.7 foot beam and 6 foot hold; gross tonnage increased to 864.33, registered tonnage to 544.33 tons.
  • ca.October 1900, sold to the Canadian Development Company, who planned to operated her on the upper river.
  • April 1 1901, all 17 CDCo. steamers were bought by the British Yukon Navigation Company; this included 3 Stikine River boats, 4 lake boats, and 10 Yukon River steamers. The Mary F. Graff was then transferred to Canadian registry.
  • 1902, tied up for July and August due to a lack of cargo (COR722)
  • 1902, she is considered "one of the best if not the best freight carrier of the fleet as to tonnage and as to draught..." (COR722)
  • September 12 1902, brought in a 0-6-0 Brooks locomotive, which was unloaded at Klondike City for the construction of the Klondike Mines railroad (Yukon Sun, Sept.28)
  • 1903 season crew: Master, Charles Gardner; pilot Syd C. Barrington; mate, T. J. Jackman; purser, P. I. Tofft; chief engineer, Frank Mavis; second engineer, Henry Wilson; steward, R. McClosky.
  • October 1903, caught in Dawson for the winter when navigation closed with no warning (they expect manageable ice to run for at least a week first). Affleck reports that her frames were badly strained on this trip.
  • 1903, she "has proved too large, unwieldy and awkward to handle well in low water " (COR722).
  • 1904, left in Dawson; never launched again. YA map #H-2321 shows her position in 1905-1906, sidetracked at the Dawson Shipyard, now known as the "Sternwheeler Graveyard"; published in Cohen, pp.68-69.

Photos:

  • Mary F. Graff near Dawson, n.d. (YA #4031)
  • Mary F. Graff, with extended house (YA #5646)
  • The Mary F. Graff, Yukoner, Selkirk, Canadian and other boats at Whitehorse, n.d. (ca.1904), (YA: J.B.Tyrrell collection, PHO 157, #X-139)