Monday, May 2, 2011

New Hope

I have had quite a ride trying to find the New Hope plaque.  New Hope was established by 20 men from the Ship Brooklyn, which brought a group of Mormons around New York, around the Cape and to Terba Buena (San Francisco.)  Sam Brannon, their leader, hoped to establish the Mormon head quarters in California.  His sending these men to New Hope was part of this goal.  The established a community with three cabins, a mill and a ferry, close to the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers in 1846.  The community lasted only a year.  The settler grew the first wheat grown in San Joaquin  Valley.  Flooding, a homesickness for their women, and internal bickering doomed the settlement.

It was something to find the plaque.  The information on a website of California Mormon sites is outdated, as the plaque was recently moved to the front of the new museum in Ripon.  The museum is not yet open.  It is the old library.  I visited two parks looking for the plaque, but found it on main street, kitty corner from the high school.

The plaque mentions that New Hope was six miles West of the site of the plaque.  That ends up being about four miles South of our home.  Sam Brannon traveled East to meet Brigham Young, and encourage him to bring the Mormons to California to settle.  Brigham Young had other more inspired plans.  Can you imagine if the Saints had settled at New Hope.  They would have butted against the population at Stockton, as well as the gold miners who followed.  In Utah they had ten years to establish themselves.  In California they would have been lucky to have a year.

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