CPR Princess Sophia

I happen to find the following excerpt in the Robert McConnell Hattie & Joseph Howe Kirk's "Hattie Family Memoirs" family history book, under the 'Daniel Hattie & His Descendants' chapter, on page 159. Here's what it says...

Rosabel Hattie, daughter of Alexander Allen Hattie & Caroline McDonald (b. Oct. 13, 1879) was on Jan. 31, 1912, married by Rev. J.C. McInnes, to John Chisholm, who had been in Dawson City, Yukon. After their marriage they went to Dawson to live and one child was born to them there, who lived but a very short time. Times becoming dull they took passage on the ill-fated C.P.R. Princess Sophia steamer, on Oct. 18, 1918, to return, but on Oct. 25th the ship went down with all on board. Over 300 perished in that disaster, the subject of this sketch and her husband among the number. A cousin, Alexander Sutherland, of Caledonia, was also among the passengers. The three bodies were recovered and buried in Point Grey Cemetary, Vancouver, BC, where a memorial stone was erected by Mr. Chisholm's brothers. The remains of Mr. & Mrs. Chisholm were found in the cabin of the sunken ship.

I would like to know if anybody has ever heard of the Princess Sophia steamer?

Thank you,
Thank you, Bob, for the above information of where I can purchase the book--"The Final Voyage of the Princess Sophia" by Betty O'Keefe & Ian MacDonald #ISBN O-938665-61-8, price: $16.95.

Because I can't purchase it via the Internet, I wrote them asking if I could please have a snail mail address for which to send my money order to.

Please keep your fingers crossed that I hear from them, with my requested information. If that fails, I can always go down to my local bookstore, which is Hastings Book & Video Store. They can order this book for me.

Thank you again, Bob. Guess what!? No sooner than I sent off my email message to FineEdge.com, when Dina answered. She requested that I send her my snail mail address, so she could quote me the postage & handling price to attach on to the $16.95 price. As well as providing me with their snail mail Washington state address. Now I'm waiting for her to get back to me.

Hi, Tammy- There are two Princess Sophia books. You might want to read "Taking the North Down With Her" as well. It duplicates some of what is in the O'Keefe book but contains much that isn't. The illustrations in "Final Voyage..." are considerably better. Because of the amount of time she was stranded before being driven off the reef, there was opportunity for photos to be taken, and it seems as though every time you think you've seen the last one, another surfaces. If you are not familiar with the details - she was running at high speed in blizzard conditions, off course, in Lynn Canal and struck Vanderbilt reef with enough force for the ship to actually jump onto the reef. The lifeboats could not be lowered- at high tide the water was too rough and at low tide they would have been destroyed on the rocks- and so she remained, in steadily worsening weather, for a day and a half until she was driven free from the reef and sank in an hour or so with the loss of all on board- 343 is the official number, but it was actually more like 356.
Can this book--"Taking the North Down With Her", also be ordered through FineEdge.com too, but if not...where?

I would also like to point out that the Chisholms; Rosabel & John, and Alexander Sutherland, whom perished on the Princess Sophia, are my distant cousins-in-law. Actor, Stephen McHattie is my direct link to them.

Thank you zillions, Bob, for the above link to the UA Press, in regards to Ken Coates & Bill Morrison's "The Sinking of the Princess Sophia" book. I'll certainly besure to email them too...although the UAP has already provided me with their snail mail address. Email is the quickest way to get a response out of them, right!?

Yippeeeee!!!!!!!! My above ordered book--"The Final Voyage of the Princess Sophia" finally arrived in today's snail mail!

I also noticed on the back cover of the book, that she, like the WSL ships, also had a buff-colored funnel with black top. How do I know? Somebody made a model of her, and whomever worked on her...painted her funnel the color as I just described. They also, in my opinion, did an awesome job on her as well too. She's gorgeous!!!

Now, to sit back and skim through the book, and to eventually read it from cover-to-cover.


Luke Weiser

There is a documentary on the Princess Sophia that runs on the history channel here in Canada.
I have seen it a couple of times the series also has several other sinkings'. I believe the series is called Odysseys but not 100% sure. The web site for the History Channel is www.history.ca for any one to look because they run their shows quite often.

Ginny Holl

Hi Tammy:

I also have a special interest in the SS Princess Sophia.

My Great Aunt, Arthemise LEFEBVRE, her husband, Edward Millard BELL, and their two children died on the wreck.

I am from the Yukon and, on one of my regular visits back there last summer, I did a lot of family research.

I was able to gather quite a lot of information on the wreck. I have seen several references to the CHILSHOLMs in various newspaper accounts, etc.

The Centennial Society in Dawson City (my home town) erected a memorial to the wreck there in 2001.

The story of the memorial is here:


They also published a small booklet with biographies of several Dawson City residents who were lost on the wreck in it.

Quoting from the booklet:

" Mr. and Mrs. Jack CHISHOLM, were on route to California. He was a pioneer wood dealer in partnership with his brother Jim. They were from Pictou County, Nova Scotia"

I will look through all my Sophia records and see what I can come up with for the Chisholms and Alexander Sutherland. I also have both books on the wreck.

Regards, Ginny
Thank you, Ginny. I certainly will appreciate that, as will my friend, Hattie F., who is a direct descendant of Mr. & Mrs. Jack CHISHOLM and Alexander SUTHERLAND, through the MACHATTIES, MCHATTIES, HATTIES lineage.

P.S. Sorry, for not replying sooner. Atleast I'm better late than never, aren't I?

Ginny Holl

Hi Tammy:

No problem! :)

There is a short Biography of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Chisholm in A Dawson City Newspaper of the day

" Mr. and Mrs. Jack CHISHOLM were enroute to
California. Mr. Chisholm was a noted pioneer Dawson wood contractor, and brother of Jim Chisholm, new here. They also have a brother at Sacremento, California."

The Whitehorse Star published a list of the identified dead on November 1, 1918. Among the list was

"A.H. Sutherland, deckhand, Stmr. Yukon, Vancouver, B.C."

In a Dawson City Newspaper from July, 1919, John S. Chisholm was among the identified dead recovered from the sunken ship in June, 1919.

All the lists , etc, I have are photocopies, and, several are parts of newspaper pages, etc, and are not complete. In some cases, some areas are illegible. I assume that is why I did not find a record of the recovery of Mrs. Chisholm.

My research was done at the Yukon Archives and the Dawson City Museum. Both places have a lot of information on the wreck. Both places also conduct limited long-distance research. They both provide limited free distance research, with only a nominal charge for photocopying. I'm sure the Yukon Archives would be able to provide you with more information on your family members.

Dawson City Museum:

Yukon Archives.

An additional data source that may prove useful to you is the "Filsons Pan For Gold database". It has various Dawson City records, including Census, Church Records, Sophia passengers, etc. I'm sure you'll find at least a few tidbits here:


If I can help any further, please let me know. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post.


Ginny Holl

Hello again Tammy:

I found the record of John Chisholms' Estate file within a A Yukon Gov't records file index:


You will find the file reference near the bottom in Estate Files.

There is a problem though....this file is listed as "under review". I'm not sure how files are "open" or "closed". I was able to get my Grandfathers Estate file, and he died in 1945...

If you write to the Yukon Archives (URL posted in message above), they should be able to advise you on the status of the file.

The archivist at the Yukon Archives is very helpful, and, any files that they send are charged at only $.07/page! :)