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Captain Reuben Boltenhouse Purdy

February 21, 2012

Master Mariner Reuben B Purdy was born in Sackville,  New Brunswick about 1841. He  went to sea at an early age  and was in command of an Atlantic sailing vessel  at the age of 21.   After moving to  New Westminster in 1890 he went to work on boats of the Royal City Planing Mills.  He was appointed Captain of the Surrey in 1903, succeeding JW Rogers, and would be the last to operate the ferry across the Fraser River.


Ferry Surrey at North Vancouver landing Captain Purdy’s days on the Surrey were numbered as there was at this time a bridge under construction to connect New Westminster and Surrey. When the bridge opened in 1904, the Surrey was taken out of commission and later sold to North Vancouver to run between the north shore and downtown Vancouver.

 Surrey ferry in semi-retirement

from photo at North Vancouver Archives


Captain Purdy worked for a time as a fisheries officer on Fraser River.

RB Purdy retired to White Rock but was living with his daughter in New Westminster at the time of  his death in December 1925.

RB Purdy gravestone
Captain Reuben B Purdy gravestone, Fraser Cemetery
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