Report of Investigation by H.W. Mist, Commander of the H.M.S. Sparrowhawk

"Sparrowhawk" Maple Bay
5 January 1869

Rear Admiral
Hon Geo F Hastings, CB


I have the honor to report that having left Esquimalt on the morning of the 2nd in compliance with your order of the 28th ults. I arrived at this Anchorage the same afternoon and immediately communicated with Mr Morley and arranged to embark him on Monday the 4th and proceed to a point in Admiralty Island whence the local constable and several individuals whom Mr Morley wished to examine would be easily reached; accordingly yesterday I landed him at his written request a file of Marines as an escort, at Vesuvius Bay, and in the course of the afternoon he returned and was soon afterwards followed by the Constable and three Settlers who were severally examined on oath by the Magistrate but without eliciting any information in addition to that given by the same individuals at the inquest, except that two of the Indians, who, in Mr. Norton's evidence on that occasion, were stated to have threatened to take his life, have since the murder disappeared from their usual haunts, and that another Indian who was with Mr Norton when threatened and who is the only man capable of identifying these two Indians has also disappeared, it is supposed in order to avoid being obliged to give evidence.

H W Mist

No 2

Reporting Proceedings
Sparrowhawk at Esquimalt
14 January 1869


I have the honor to report in continuation of my last letter of proceedings of the 5th instant, that having made the necessary arrangements with Mr Morley I embarked him on the evening of the 6th instant, and at daylight the following morning steamed over to Vesuvius Bay where I took on board the Constable and Mr. Hester [Estes], the partner of the murdered man and went on direct to Clam Bay between Kuper and Thetis Islands, where the tribe of Indians, to which the suspected man belongs, resides

2 -- Immediately on arriving at Clam Bay, I landed Mr Morley, the Constable and the man Hester [Estes], with a Sergeant and four Marines, who seized and brought off to the ship the Chief and the two suspected men who had recently returned to the camp.

3 -- The huts were all searched in hopes of finding some of the property taken at the time of the murder, but without success

4 -- The Chief and the two Indians were closely questioned and though they contradicted themselves and one another particularly in the matter of their recent absence from the Camp, which they obviously wish to conceal, we got no evidence at all connecting them with the murder or even with the party who had threatened the Settlers on the evening before the crime. However, I thought it advisable to detain the two Indians and take them down to Vesuvius Bay and bring the Settlers on board to see if they could identify them as those who had used the threatening language referred to, and the next morning, (the 8th instant) I weighed and steamed out till opposite the Indian village where I sent the party on shore again and seized the wife of one of the Indians on board, as there were women with the Indians on the eve of the murder, and returned to Vesuvius Bay, where I brought on board two of the settlers who had been threatened, but who failed to identify them; there being, therefore, no case whatever against the Indians, they were landed and I returned to Maple Bay.

5 -- In Anchorage at Maple Bay I landed Mr Morley, who was of opinion that it was no use my following this clue any further, there being no sort of suspicion pointing in any other direction that would require the services of H M Sloop under my command. The depositions enclosed in your memo of the 28 December last, are here returned as therein directed

H W Mist

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, F1222, Navy, H.M.S. Sparrowhawk (Mfm1349), Henry W. Mist, Report of Investigation by H.W. Mist, Commander of the H.M.S. Sparrowhawk , January 5, 1869

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