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and Family

Settlers of Valdez Island


An English heritage

Wake Family Tree

Life on Valdez Island

Life in Esquimalt
"Wake Day" 

Source of Information


"It was the mystery of the year 1880! All Vancouver Island talked of it: everyone had his own solution."

So opened an article written by James K. Nesbitt, for The Daily Colonist, Victoria, June, 1950, seventy years after the mysterious event. This Weekend Magazine article explores the unsolved disappearance of a retired Royal Navy Captain.
The article continues:
          "Baldwin A Wake, for long time a prominent resident
          of Victoria, a retired Naval officer, disappeared at
          sea off Nanaimo, and his small sloop was found
          washed ashore, and his valuable treasures buried.

Nesbitt ponders:
            "Was Captain Wake murdered by the Indians?
             Such  things did happen. These were Indians
             known  to be unfriendly, living on small islands.
             Had pirates captured Capt Wake? Were they holding
             him for ranson on some desolate, isolated island? 
             Had he merely been washed over board in a storm?
             No one ever knew. The body of Capt Wake was   
             never found."

On January 16, 1880, retired Royal Navy Captain, Baldwin Arden Wake, departed from Nanaimo Harbour, in his small sloop, with the plan to sail to his settler homestead on Valdez Island. This destination was never realized.

The first details of his mysterious disappearance, and the discovery of his damaged sloop were reported in The Nanaimo Free Press, January 17, 1880.

The mystery deepened. Evidence was revealed about a robbery to the sloop in the The Nanaimo Free Press, January 21.

Further information about the disappearance of Captain Wake was revealed in  The Daily British Colonist, January 24.

More information about the robbery of goods from the sloop, and further speculation about the disappearance of Captain Wake were disclosed in The Nanaimo Free Press, January 31.

George Wake, Captain Waks's son, offered a reward for information leading to any clues about the disappearance of his father.

Two years later, in 1882, a settler on Thetis Island found some human bones near the beach where Captain Wakes's sloop was discovered. A coroner from Nanaimo who evaluated these bones, concluded that they were not of Captain Wake.

One hundred and twenty-two years later, the mystery remains unsolved!

Created 2002 by Lynda G. Poulton