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Posted November 17, 2014 by Miama Admin in Harrison history
 
 

Captain Dick Warde – Harrison Hermit, An Echo of Abraham Lincoln from the Cascade Foothills.

Dick Warde550x400
Dick Warde550x400

 Hear ye: ” Hermit? Hell; I came here to enjoy what I call absolute liberty and live as I damn well pleased. They can’t make me out,as most men are slaves. But Ezekiel Gould Warde,with eighty-odd years atop of him ,is free. And why not, with the blood of Abraham Lincoln in my arteries, which haven’t begun to harden.”

 open book  Captain Dick Warde “Harrison Hermit” – Indian name “Muxul” meaning nose, was born in March 1860 Falmouth, Massachusetts. Died March 20, 1949. He came to Harrison with his brother Fred in 1889. He was a distant cousin of President Abraham Lincoln, on his mother’s side. As Land Registry Office record reveal, the Captain’s full name was Ezekiel Gould Warde and he owned a mile-long piece of river frontage near Pirate’s Point on the right bank of the Harrison River. Warde was one of the great old characters of the river, well known for his bluff and slightly outrageous sense of humor. When he was found dead in his bed, it is reported there was $1,000 in his pants pockets and quantity of money in a belt around his waist. His house was overrun with pet skunks. Captain Ward had a colorful and exciting life, a sailor in windjammers, farmer, owner and pilot of a river boat, and passenger sailboat on the lake. He sailed in 100 different ships, was shipwrecked, was in a mutiny, put in irons, and sailed around the Horn. He said farewell to the sea after a 141-day trip under sail from New York to San Francisco. He modeled and built a 22-ton custom registered yacht, The Cumulus which he catered to tourist from the St. Alice hotel, carried 100 passengers at 50 cent each for a pleasure trip on the lake and down the Harrison River. He entertained passengers on his tour boat with a repertoire of amusing stories and he needed little persuasion to display to tourist the fascinating collection of curios which he kept at his home, the Echoes. Some of these were Indian artifacts found on his own property, but others were mementos of voyages made in youth. Captain Dick Warde found hundreds of arrowheads on his farm, which was opposite the cave across Harrison River, where apparently Indian battles were fought. The story is told of one large collection of very fine specimens he traded with tourist for a shotgun. He gathered another lot which he sold for $25.00 to pay his taxes.

   He could row up the river to the springs in anything that would float, had never been sick in his life except once – he caught the measles from a lady he danced with at a party. He had his own teeth when he was over 80 years of age. He lost two when he was 14 years of age. He was having a dispute with another boy who broke the two teeth off,but he still used the stumps to chew with. His father was a dentist, but he would not let him touch his teeth. Fifty-nine years before telling this story he went to visit an old school teacher who asked him to marry her. He wished afterwards he had because she had money and died shortly after. The Captain supplied St.Alice Hotel with butter, milk, eggs and poultry, he said, but they would not buy his bread because they could only use it for door stops – it was so hard. He told of his marriage in 1898 to his housekeeper. When he proposed to the lady he just showed her the ring and said “Huh”. She said “Uh huh”! So she donned her best black silk dress, a Paris model. They left early in the morning in a rowboat, arriving in New Westminster late afternoon, and were married. Mrs Ward died in 1911.

The Captain was fascinating story teller and could charm the passengers with his tales. On being asked how come the island five miles out in the lake was named Echo Island he told them if anyone called out when passing an echo would come back to them. So, to prove his statement, he arranged an excursion and also with a man to be stationed at certain point of the island. When he sailed by he called “Hello there”. Presently an echo came back “hello there”. He called back, “how are you”? An answer came back “how are you” One of the passengers then called out, “have a drink”? Immediately the answer cam back “sure will”. Another story is told that one time when he had a particularly large crowd on his boat, a stout dowager was crowded against the Captain and stood on his foot. He asked her to please get off his foot. The lady snapped haughtily over her shoulder at him, “Put your foot where it belongs”. The Captain replied, “Don’t tempt me, lady. Don’t tempt me”.

  The Captain was hale and hearty until two years before his death. He never wore glasses and his hearing was good. In his generation people generally died of old age. An age in which galloping consumption and heart disease were about fatal ills. There were no psychiatrists, virus infections, airplanes or television. Taxes were nothing to speak of. Captain Warde made his last voyage – alone – at the age of 89, one Sunday in March 1949. However Captain Warde has been immortalized in fiction as “Captain Dick Howard’ – “a big, florid-faced mountain of a man, master of the white-winged sloop” – in Bertrand Sinclair’s novel, The Golden Calk, set in Harrison Hot Springs. This portrait was fairly true to life, according to fan letter Sinclair received from Cyrus Flanders, a former resident of Harrison Mills. Flanders well remembered Dick Warde with his “red pirate whiskers and his voracious appetite, and had a lively story to tell about a business trip up the lake in Warde’s boat – a trip memorable for its interminable delays while the Captain put ashore for lengthy meals.

The People of the Harrison by Daphne Sleigh (1990), Healing Waters by Belle Rendall (1976)


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New York Sun 1937, Part 1, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1938, Part 2, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1937, Part 1, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1938, Part 2, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1937, Part 1, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1938, Part 2, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1937, Part 1, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1938, Part 2, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1937, Part 1, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
New York Sun 1938, Part 2, Bob Davis Reveals - Captain Dick Warde
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Echoes – Dick Warde’s Homestead

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Echoes – Dick Warde\’s Homestead
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The Echoes – Dick Warde homestead 

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