Captain Alfred Hackett

Captain Alfred Hackett
"he had many friends, who admired his sturdy manliness and upright character"

Hackett, Alfred (1819-1895)

“Captain Hackett was a man of good judgment and wide information as might be expected of one who has seen so much of the world as has seen so much of the world as he and being of an observant turn of mind benefited by his travels. His death is deeply regretted and the bereave family have sympathy of all.” Obituary, Wiarton Canadian May 8, 1895

Captain Alfred Hackett was known to have been one of the greatest shipbuilders and captains established in Bruce County. He was born in 1819 in Montrose, Scotland and he served as an apprentice as a ship-builder carpenter. Alfred went to sea as a mate on a bark that was trading with Australia and New Zealand. He then continued to sail and met with having been  shipwrecked off the coast of Saint John, New Brunswick and twice in 1854 and 1855 on the Great Lakes.

In the early 1850’s, Alfred made his way westward from the Atlantic coast to Bruce County. He was engaged at carpentering under a millwright erected a mill and putting in machinery for Col. Valentine at Mud River, that being the initial name of Paisley. Col. Valentine was a fellow Scotsmen from Montrose. Alfred married Elizabeth Cameron (Betsy) in 1857 and they established their homestead on Lot 50 Lake Range on the southern edge of Southampton. They had a family of two daughters and four sons.

In the 1861 and 1871 census of Saugeen Township, it listed Alfred as a farmer. However, records demonstrate that Alfred was building schooners as early as 1858 and into the 1870’s and 1880’s. Alfred built his first schooner, “Britannia” with his only known building partner, John Murray in 1858. The Hackett family continued to live in for years in Southampton and moved to Wiarton in 1883. Alfred and his company built nine Great Lakes schooners, four propeller ships and one dredge. Alfred was also attuned to the need of new technology as found in the prospect of getting a telegraph line from Wiarton to Tobermory. In the Wiarton Echo dated November 14, 1884, Alfred writes:’ It would certainly be a great boon to the people north of this, and also to captains and owners of vessels trading in the Georgian Bay. Every season numbers of vessels are lost in the vicinity of Cove Island and Tobermory were telegraphic communication established to the point proposed some at least of these vessels might be saved as a message could be sent to owners and to wrecking tugs at once.’

Alfred passed away on May 6, 1895 in Wiarton. It appears that the Hackett yard continued to flourish under the leadership of A.A. Hackett, junior. As of 1904, there were twenty men engaged in repairing boats. His intention was to build a marine railway however, in May of 1905, he leaves Wiarton and moves to Winnipeg with his family. Betsy Hackett passed away on October 13, 1903.

Alfred Hackett was an “Explorer” of Bruce County in the great ship-building skills and strong sense of citizenship that he contributed. As noted in Alfred’s obituary,” It is about twelve years since the Captain came to live in Wiarton, and here as elsewhere, he had many friends, who admired his sturdy manliness and upright character.” (Wiarton Canadian, May 9, 1895)


FO’C’S’LE No. 29 January, 1994

FO’C’S’LE No. 21 Aug 4, 1993

Wiarton Echo, November 14, 1984

Personal file of Great-Granddaughter Elizabeth MacKay, Southampton

Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre Archives


Explorer's of Bruce

Mir Hassamudddin - Shenstone Motor Inn Elaine Mathewson
henry_paliga Abdon Aguillon
Debbie Giles Ed Giles
Margaret Adams (Copeland) Jennifer-Lea Oaks Jacalene Burrows (Wiggins)
Katie Lutz Asha and Averee Hamann Jim McTeer Katherine Gowing Gerda Roppel Bev Johnston Joyce Johnston Val Kerr Liz Stobo
Ray Pennington Marcus Lorch, Shepard, Lily Louis Schafer Laurel and Dan Silenzi Jan and John Donnelley Larry Catteau Gay Ratcliffe Gretta Fletcher
Wendy Henderson Larry Weber Maureen Daly-Doersam David Myette Rosanne Moore and Tim Amos Dr. John Van Dorp
Ron Logan Bette Cameron Rowena Tindall Elaine Robins Lloyd Ruffett Lois Hutton Steve Gurney Lilian Chatburn Nathan S Landon
Dr. Harold Robinson Watching the 1987 Canada Cup hockey game Samuel Crawford Retube Bruce "A" Now! Robert Sutherland Plaque at Bruce County Courthouse Thomas Scott moving a house Mel Schroeder Karen Ribey
Ron Oswald Alexander McNeill with his dog There is a season for everything and God gave us memories so we could have roses in December. Lucknow Pipe Band Eldon Lowry Bob Kerry Dennis Hunter Sergio Holobrosky
Captain Alfred Hackett Tish Ford Hugh Ferguson family in front of car Pearl McKelvie Paterson Kerr Elsie Dobson William Wilfred Campbel Joan M Borho Jeanette Steeves The Late George Redden, Carrick Township
Donald McLellan, the Old Reeve of Bruce Township Alexander McCarter, Walkerton William Millar Ex-Reeve of Kincardine Township William Millar, JP of Kincardine Township John Little, one of the first settlers of Brant Township William Johnston, or King Johnston first settler in Brant Township Dr. Margaret MacKellar Howard Krug Bruce County Warden Tessie Greig
Sergeant William Victor Tranter in uniform Rachel Hepburn John S. Tolton, Walkerton Thomas Todd, one of the first settlersin Brant Township Edward McDonald, Deputy Reeve of Walkerton Peter Stewart McLaren, Bruce Township William Carnegie, Mildmay James Taylor, MD, Tara James Murphy, MD, Mildmay
Richard Rivers, President of the Northern Exhibition Society, Walkerton Malcolm Campbell, Lucknow Samuel T. Rowe, Paisley Thomas Pickard, Glammis Paul Ross, Ex-Mayor of Walkerton Michael Fischer, many years Reeve of Carrick Township William Collins, Walkerton James Allen, Reeve of Amabel Township George Gould, Arran Township
Andrew Bingham, pioneer of Carrick Township Richard Guinn, deceased, one of the first settlers of Brant Township John Grainger, Brant Township Charles Wickham, Kincardine Township David Gairdner, deceased, Late Clerk of Kincardine Township Yours Truly, Thomas Bearman, Elderslie township James Reekie, deceased, settled in Kincardine Township 1854 Ira Fulford, one of the first settlers of Teeswater John Douglass, Arran Township
Robert Baird, Kincardine, Warden of Bruce County John Gillies, MP for North Bruce Duncan Kerr, Brant Township Peter F. Brown, First Settler in Teeswater John Hunter Luke Gardiner Alexander McNabb, Crown Land Agent, Southampton A.S. Elliot Robert Graham
Ann-Marie John Valentine Alexander Sproat Sir William Hearst Hannah Rusk Kelly Colonel Hugh Clark Francis Paddy Walker John Harnage Scougall in his office