"..only a couple of letters from the founder of Gastown are known to exist, but that only makes them more valuable.
A Gassy Jack letter that went up for auction March 12 attracted a dozen bidders. When the smoke cleared, it had sold for an astounding $44,000. "
Read more in the Vancouver Sun
Gassy Jack Deighton, Burrard Inlet, 11th March 1875
In 1867, John Deighton opened a bar on the south side of Burrard Inlet near to the Hastings Sawmill. His garrulous nature and gift of storytelling soon earned him the nickname Gassy Jack. He was an influential character in early Vancouver and the Gastown area was named after him.
All Nations Stamp and Coin are offering a rare signed letter from Gassy Jack Deighton in their 12th March 2016 Auction. The 1875 letter requests an extension on a loan. It comes from an Album devoted to Burrard Inlet and historic Vancouver from the legendary B.C. Collector Gerald Wellburn
Bids on the Gassy Jack page Lot 68 can be entered here or emailed to Brian Grant Duff email@example.com or 604-684-4613
Full text of Gassy Jack's letter:
March 11th 1875
I have been expecting you over here or I should have written before. You will think it strange of me not sending you the money I got from you before this. I had it in the bank last fall all ready to pay you, but I had some unexpected bad luck and had to draw it out to pay my debts in Victoria to save my credit, in fact it will take me a year from the time I left the Boat last fall to be in the same position I was last spring, but that is all right. I have got clear of that crowd I had round me and have got strangers and am getting along all right. I have got from 800 to $1000 worth of liquors on hand and all paid for and all the money I owe of any account is what I owe you and you shall be secure if anything should happen to me. John I shall never forget your kindness towards me, depend upon it and if there is anything I can do for you let me know and I shall be most happy to do it. It was a sad affair poor Jim Armstrong's death, it took me by surprise, it was impossible for me to leave home at the time or I should have attended his funeral. He was a good and a faithful man and his equal hard to find. How did you come out with The Custom House Office at Wrangell. It is reported here Otis Parsons had a hand in that with other dirty work. Keep your eyes open and attend to business,. Such men as them have had a long experience in roguery, hoping you are in good health.
I Remain Your,
The only known photograph of Gassy Jack - from the Provincial archives:
Back of Gassy Jack photograph
When the founders of modern Gastown decided to erect a Gassy Jack statue they searched fruitlessly for an image of him. Major Matthews said there were no known photos. While searching through an old box in the Provincial Archives, and using the sharp end of a compass, a photo was found.
1875 letter dealing with Gassy Jack's estate
Page 46. Sold for $253 in our 20th August 2016 Auction.
1876 Gassy Jack Deighton Estate settlement document
The last Gassy Jack item (Page 47) from the Gerald Wellburn historic Vancouver collection.
An 1876 Gassy Jack Deighton Estate settling document which sold for $3,850 in our 3rd September 2016 Auction.