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British Columbia Beachcomber Finds 107-Year-Old Message In Bottle

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File image of message in a bottle (Photo  by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

File image of message in a bottle (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

(CBS Seattle) – A man combing a beach south of Tofino last week discovered a glass bottle with a crusted cap containing what turned out to be a message from 107 years ago.

Inside the glass was an envelope containing cursive handwriting signed by Earl Willard of Bellingham and dated Sept. 29, 1906, according to the Bellingham Herald. The envelope indicates the bottle was thrown into the ocean 76 hours into a steamship voyage from San Francisco to Bellingham aboard the steamer Rainier.

According to a 1900 U.S. Census, Willard, a Canadian citizen, would have been 17 at the time he allegedly threw the bottle into the ocean. Further records show Willard spent a substantial amount of time in Bellingham as a teamster before moving to Vancouver, B.C. and then Seattle. Willard reportedly settled in Los Angeles where he worked as an electrical contractor until his death in 1948.

Steve Thurber, the 53-year-old who discovered the bottle, says he doesn’t intend to open the envelope in the near future.

The area where Thurber found the bottle had recently been excavated as part of a Parks Canada restoration project, according to the Times Colonist of Victoria.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Bellingham Herald contributed to this report.)

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