Captain Scarborough

Captain Scarborough joined the HBC on 31 October 1829, first serving as second mate and boatswain on board the Isabella (see “Captain Ryan”). By 1832, it was said by John McLoughlin Sr. that there were many complaints about him for his apparent drinking problem and his lack of respect among the men. However, he was admired for his sketching ability (sketched Camosun Harbour). He was present on board the Beaver in 1838, but was cleared of any charges of misconduct. Due to the wealth accumulated from his ongoing promotions, he had a farm established at Chinook Point (Washington Territory) by 1849 (which he claimed in 1843). He then became a bar pilot as his farm was appropriately situated. His farm was his pride and joy, where he cultivated fruit trees, ornamental shrubbery, a large herd of cattle, pigs, and Shanghai chickens. He also had a stake in the commercial salmon trade, the source of wealth which is linked to the rumour of buried and lost gold on his property.

He died a widower in 1855 (his wife was Chinook Chief Comcomly’s daughter, Paley TemaiKamae/Ann Elizabeth), leaving four sons, two of which were left in the care of James Birnie (one of whom made several attempts to locate his father’s buried treasure). His land became the place of Fort Columbia, and he lends his name to Scarboro Hill. He can also claim credit for the many Hawthorn trees in the area as locals took slips from the one he had planted at the top of Scarboro Hill, sadly cut down by the US Army in 1897.


  • "Chief Comcomoly Chinook Indian."
  • History Ink. “James Scarborough occupies Chinook Point on the Columbia River on December 1, 1843.”
  • Evans, Mike. “James Allen Scarborough.” BC Metis Mapping Research Project.
  • Restoration and Preservation Society Inc. "Captain James Scarborough's Gold." Historic Sites and Shipwrecks. scarboroughs-gold.
Miranda Harvey