“A miserable old sailing bark known as the ROBERT KERR that ended her days in ignominy as a coaling barge on the Vancouver, BC waterfront, once won a humanitarian reprieve.
But let us go back to the start. The ROBERT KERR was built in Quebec City in 1866. Unfortunately, her sailing days ended prematurely. On September 6, 1885, in a heavy fog, she hit the outcroppings of San Juan Island, seriously damaging her forefoot on the rocks, ending a troublesome ocean voyage that started in Liverpool on September 30, 1884. Pummeled by one storm after another, sickness, plague and quarrelsome, almost mutinous hands, the vessel was jinxed from the start of that voyage. Her rigging and hull badly damaged by the heavy seas that constantly swept her decks. Much of her canvas was ripped to shreds and then to make matters worse, her master, Capt. Edward Edwards died at sea after the ship had rounded the Horn en route to British Columbia.
First officer John Richardson then took command, and with his responsibilities inherited the crew troubles. The most unsavory crewman was William Anderson who was involved in arguments or fights with nearly every man aboard.