Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Charles Hays dream brings his great, great grandson up for a look, another review of the closure of the Daily News and officials from Coast Tsimshian resources report back on their recent trip to China, some of the items of interest from Wednesday's news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
THE GREAT, GREAT GRANDSON OF CHARLES HAYS HAS A LOOK AROUND -- A review of a visit to Prince Rupert by Michael Hall, a great, great grandson of Prince Rupert founder Charles Hays, Hall  travelled north from his Portland Oregon home to see what had become of the town of his ancestors.

Fishery and forestry issues dominated the recent visit  of Coast Tsimshian Resources board members as they travelled to China seeking out ties with industry there, among one of the tours the group took was that of a closed containment facility designed to raise steel head trout, some of the findings of their tour were featured in Wednesday's Daily News.

And a short note of explanation on the recent happenings at the daily newspaper as new owner Black Press work out the details of closing the daily publication after 99 years in business.

The sports section allows sports reporter Patrick Witwicki to get a few local sporting items off of his chest as he outlines his thoughts on a number of local sporting issues in town.

(Daily News Archives Wednesday, July 7, 2010)

The great, great grandson of Charles Hays has a look around 
A taste of Chinese — Lax Kw’alaams and fish farms
Final days at the Daily News 
New NCO for RCMP detachment reflects on experiences — including Afghanistan
Takeda takes his medicine

The Northern View
Prince Rupert and Ketchikan Gateway Borough in Alaska look to increase trade-- Mayor Jack Mussallem outlines some of the highlights of his recent 4th of July visit to Ketchikan, where discussion with borough officials could lead to better economic ties between the two cities (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Not even worth the printing costs says Black Press of the Prince Rupert Daily News-- Black Press officials offer up some harsh economic reasoning behind their decision to close the recently acquired Prince Rupert Daily News (see article here)  (Sahar Nassimdoost also offered up this video report for TV 7)

CFTK TV 7 News
The Northern View Eurocan Viability Committee Buoyed by Meeting-- The latest developments in the plans to try to revive the moribund Eurocan paper mill in Kitimat. (see article here) (John Crawford delivered this report for TV 7 News)

CFTK TV 7 News
Airtankers battling forest fire east of Terrace -- Forest fire crews tackle a blaze reported Wednesday to the east of Terrace (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. 

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News front page, headline story
The great, great grandson of Charles Hays has a look around  
By Patrick Witwicki 
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A man with the lineage of Charles Hays was in town recently, curious about his own history.

For a century now, Rupertites have been left to muse about the greatest “what if” in the city’s history: what if Charles Melville Hays hadn’t gone down with the Titanic?

No one really knows the answer, and perhaps, it’s a moot point anyway now that the Prince Rupert Container Port is finally a viable operation on the international scene, and with CN running the rails between the North Coast and eventual destinations like Chicago.

And yet, the “what if” has a tendency to resurface, especially when individuals claiming to be long-lost relatives of the Rupert legend appear out of the muskeg for significant periods of time.

The latest example occurred just over a week ago, when Michael Hall, claiming to be the great great grandson of Charles Hays, paid Prince Rupert a visit.

“I’ve wanted to come here for years,” he said. “It’s my first time, and I came because of the 100th anniversary. I wanted to come here and see my history before I die.”

Special DNA

Hall was actually born in Hawaii, and now resides in Portland, Oregon, so his claim at lineage would probably seem a little obscure — except for the fact that his grandfather’s name happens to be George D. Hall, the son of Marjorie Hays, one of Hays’ four daughters. Hays did not have any sons.

The vision of Charles Hays was in fact a super port, and a perfect spot for the Grand Trunk Railroad to plan its terminus station, but of course, many of those ideals went down on the Titanic alongside Hays. 

“Life is such a crap shoot,” said Hall.

“I just happen to share the same DNA.”

And the story gets even more interesting. According to the Prince Rupert Archives, the original George D. Hall worked for Brett, Hall & Co. out of Boston, that initially surveyed and mapped out the area that would become Prince Rupert in 1909.

That same company would then do the same for Prince George in 1912, another important stop for the proposed Grand Trunk Railroad.

Hall eventually became a city planner for Pasadena, California, in the early 1920s. George Hall Jr., Michael’s grandfather, was born in Massachusetts, but married Marion Smith in Hawaii.

“I met my great grandmother in Hawaii, but I don’t remember much … I was pretty young,” said Hall. 

That said, two plots of land have always remained in the Hall name. The area in question is down in the Moresby area, and is rather hilly and steep.

Hall’s father, Greg, checked out the land back in 1988 according to the Daily News, and decided to “buy it out,” said Hall.

 “The speculation is we’ve had it for a while,” he added.

 Greg Hall had three children, but while the older two children settled down, married, had kids, and moved to various areas of the United States, Michael Hall remains single, enjoying life in Portland.

 He went to Oregon State University, and now works in the restaurant business, despite the fact he once owned a contracting business — something that had always been a constant in the Hall family tree.

After all, Greg Hall, back in the 1980s, helped develop the Volcano Golf and Country Club subdivision, 30 miles out of Hilo on the Big Island.

But Hall chose a different career road, and it wasn’t until 2010 that he decided he’s finally make the long road trip to Prince Rupert, to get a peek at his heritage. 

“I’m the black sheep of the family,” he smiled.

Appraising the land

At first glance, Hall enjoyed what he saw during his brief week’s visit of Prince Rupert. While in town, he spent a lot of time at the Archives, and volunteers took him up the Skeena and showed him where Port Essington used to exist — important, considering that it was Hays who initially convinced developers to have the train tracks on the northern side of the Skeena.

Had the tracks gone on the south side instead, it’s quite likely everything would be different, with Port Essington being the “terminus” station, and would anyone even be living on Kaien Island one hundred years later?

 “I don’t know that much, so that’s another reason why I came here,” said Hall. “Not everybody thought (Charles Hays) was Mr. Popular … it’s taken me down a notch.”

 Hall has never considered himself an athlete, but he loves to golf, and enjoyed what the Centennial Golf Course had to offer. A chat with Pro Shop manager Moe Hays (no relation, according to Moe) also helped Hall get a better sense of what Prince Rupert is all about.

 “I’m thrilled to be playing golf in the shadow of Mount Hays,” he said. “Back there, all I could hear were the birds.”

 He also likes to fish, but the commute from Portland to Prince Rupert can be rather daunting. 

“Eventually, my dream would be to buy a sailing vessel, and come up here for the summer,” he said.

So for now, he’ll pay the taxes on those two plots of land, but connecting the dots is still far off on the horizon.

 “A big part of my plan is winning the lottery,” he laughed. “But if Charles Hays hadn’t gone down with the Titanic … I probably wouldn’t need to win the lottery.”

 But then, just as he quickly, he added: “But then again, I probably wouldn’t have been born in Hawaii.”

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