Handwritten list of Gassy Jack Deighton’s debts

Gassy Jack Deighton died with debts unpaid. A handwritten list of the estate’s debts is Lot 145 sold for $2200 our 1200th Auction 9th March 2019.

“When Gassy Jack wrote the 1875 letter that we sold [in March 2016], he was saying, ‘I can’t pay you, give me some time,’” said Brian Grant Duff of All Nations Stamp and Coin.

“And there’s the loan, still appearing (in his debts) after he was dead. And of course, his brother Tom was working for him, Tom and his wife. That’s why he has such a big bill — that’s their wages from Deighton House.”

lot 145 Gassy Jack Deighton estate document unfolded

Gassy Jack Deighton Debts estate document, ex Wellburn

Lot 145 in our 1200th Auction 9th March 2019

Photo of the debt list unfolded

Listing of Gassy Jack’s debts when he died in 1875. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

old photo of Gassy Jack Deighton

John Mackie in the Vancouver Sun writes:
“Gassy Jack Deighton was apparently quite a storyteller. But he doesn’t seem to have been much of a businessman.

When he died on May 23, 1875, the founder of Gastown left behind almost $5,000 in debt, the equivalent of about $115,000 today.

A guy named John Brown was owed $4, Capt. John Irving of New Westminster was owed $500, and Deighton’s brother Thomas was owed $1,800.

How do we know? Because a handwritten list of Gassy Jack’s debts from 1875 is being sold this Saturday at an All Nations Stamp and Coin online auction.

The pre-auction estimate is $500, but that is probably quite conservative — a March, 1875 letterGassy Jack sent to Capt. Irving sold for $44,000 in 2016.”

Read more here

Unfortunately, many of the handwritten names on the ledger are hard to decipher. But you can make out James Cunningham (a merchant who was owed $95), T.R. McGinnis (a physician who was owed $20), and Furry and Daggett (a logging company that was owed $16.50). Gassy Jack’s estate ended up $304.89 in the black, so they were probably all paid.”