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Wilkes Expedition Map of Fraser’s River

June 8, 2013

Wilkes - Fraser River - Indian houses

In June 1841 the brig USS Porpoise,   Lt. C. Ringgold commanding, surveyed the lower Fraser River.  The Porpoise was one of two surveying vessels attached to the United States Exploring Expedition led by Lt. Charles Wilkes.

The map excerpt above, from the papers of the expedition,  depicts Indian houses on the south bank of the Fraser River, opposite the future city of New Westminster. Absent is any indication of settlement on the north side of the river. 

The bend in the river above the houses  is shown rather sharper than in later maps,  but it is consistent with the survey of the Boundary Commission in 1857-1858.

Also identified  upstream is Tree Island, which was a significant feature to early navigators of Fraser River and is identified in all early maps, including that of Aemilius Simpson.

Click link to full extent of  Map of Fraser’s River, Wilkes Exploring Expedition, Strait of Georgia to Fort Langley.

Brig USS Porpoise as depicted by WJ Bennett—

US Brig Porpoise in a Squall - by WJ Bennet

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