Abel Douglass

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Abel Douglass
Abel Douglass, 1890
Abel Douglass, 1890
Born 1841
Died 1908 (aged 66–67)
Occupation Whaler

Abel Douglass (1841 – 1908) was an American whaling captain.[1][2]

Douglass born in 1841 in Maine as part of a seafaring maritime family.[3]


Captain Abel Douglass was known as a "Down East" Scottish seaman and noted whaler for his career in British Columbia. He owned numerous schooners in his whaling and sealing career and served as the Captain of the ship which completed the first Canadian Coastal survey.

In the 1860s, Douglass partnered with James Dawson. The Dawson and Douglass Whaling Company worked off the coast of British Columbia.[1] The non-Native whaling industry in British Columbia began when Dawson and Douglass took eight whales from Saanich Inlet in 1868.[4]

Dawson and Douglass founded Whaletown in 1869 as a whaling station on Cortes Island.[4] The Whaletown operation was later moved to what is now called Whaling Station Bay on Hornby Island; the Dawson and Douglass Company merged with the Lipsett Whaling Company to form the British Columbia Whaling Company, but the company closed in 1871.[4]

For the remainder of his career, Douglass was an independent whaler. When whaling collapsed Douglas took to sealing, and later dogfish oil. Douglass owned and operated several schooners including the Industry and Arietes. The Arietes was caught up in the International Sealing dispute between the United States and Canada. The vessel was impounded on the coast of Alaska for some 30 years until the dispute was decided by the King of Germany. As an American, Douglass' award for his schooner from the settlement of the dispute did now occur until the 1930s, well after he had passed (1908).

Personal life[edit]

Douglass had a common-law relationship with Maria Mahoi, who was of Hawaiian and First Nations descent; they lived with their seven children on Saltspring Island.[5][6] Mahoi later married George Fisher and moved to Russell Island.[5]

Born in Deer Island,Maine, Douglass and his brothers and father built the California Packet, which transported some 50 families from Maine to San Francisco California in 1850. The Douglass family settled in Petaluma, California and built the first house and the American Hotel. Abel and his brother Robert went off to seek their fortune to San Francisco. There, Abel met James Dawson and signed on with Dawson as his Captain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Vinnedge, Dale (2014). Pacific Northwest's Whaling Coast. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. p. 9. 
  2. ^ Webb, Robert Lloyd (1988). On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1967. University of British Columbia Press. pp. 125–133. 
  3. ^ Wright, E. W., ed. (1895). Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Oregon: The Lewis & Dryden Printing Company. 
  4. ^ a b c "GeoBC: Whaletown". The Province of British Columbia. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Hawaiian Settlement on Russell Island". Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Maria Mahoi of the Islands". New Star Books. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ Ozeki, Ruth (2013). A Tale for the Time Being. Viking. p. 51. 

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