Throwback: Deaths fill May 17, 1913 Delta news

Let’s take a step back in time and check out what was making news on this day in Delta 107 years ago.

The May 17, 1913 edition of The Delta Times had a front page story about the tragic death of six men killed when their steamer Ophir caught fire.

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A corners inquest was held at the court house in Ladner where a jury found it was an accident, and no blame should be attached to the Lincoln Steamship Co. or its officers.

“Evidence of heroic attempts to rescue the men was given by the survivors, and it was only after the vessel was a seething mass of flames from stern to stern, endangering the safety of the wharf to which she was moored, that she was fully cut adrift,” the article read.

The fire occurred after the vessel had left Vancouver with a cargo of tinplate and machinery, arriving at Canoe Pass and unloading passengers.

delta optimist throwback

Paul Swenson was one of the jurors at an inquest into a fatal ship fire


One of the other stories covered the upcoming game between the East Delta Shamrocks and Ladner Beavers lacrosse teams.

Both teams displayed a certain amount of “healthy rivalry” every time they met, the article stated, noting both sides had lost several of their star players from the previous year.

A “strenuous and hard fought” battle was anticipated.


Another article covered the annual general meeting of the Ladner branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which was held in the home of Mrs. R Stokes.

The article noted that retiring Secretary Mrs. C.W. Nelson said they could not “report our roll of membership unbroken” after the sudden death of Mrs. J McAllen who was “called to answer her name up yonder.”

Among the other articles was a piece covering the death of “one of the most honorable and highly respected citizens of Delta” when local businessman Walter John Lanning passed away.

He ran the Lanning, Fawcett & Wilson general store (the building still stands there today in Ladner Village). He was reported to have been suffering from heart problems but until a month prior was still able to attend his business.

“A man of quiet, unassuming manner, Mr. Lanning commanded respect and good will of all with whom he came in contact. His kindly disposition and unfaltering courtesy won great friendship and admirers and his loss will be felt by the whole community.”

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W.J. Lanning operated the Lanning Fawcett & Wilson general store in downtown Ladner. He was just 47 when he died


Another news item noted a group of local businessmen had voyaged to the mouth of the Fraser River on the dredge King Edward to see the work underway to improve the channel.

delta optimist throwback


Among the other stories in that edition was the B.C. Electric Railway being granted permission to erect a temporary transformer house at the corner of Oliver and Trunk roads, former Ladner Methodist pastor J.F Betts, 70, passing away, a worker at the Brunswick Cannery dying suddenly from a heart attack, the Calgary Housewives League launching an embargo against foodstuffs which they said were too costly, as well as a boycott against the dealers who insisted on keeping those high prices, and also a news item a captain Wilson of the steamer Strathfillan, which was docked in Delta, jumping overboard and drowning.







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