Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mormon Launch Comet: 1846

Inscription. First known sail launch to ascend San Joaquin River from San Francisco landed here autumn 1846. Carried 20 Mormon pioneers who founded New Hope agricultural project on the Stanislaus. Yoke of oxen and span of mules driven from Marsh’s Landing (Antioch) by two men who followed crude map drawn by Merritt the trapper. Two years later Doak and Bonsell operated here the first ferry on the San Joaquin River.

IN 1846 the pioneers from the Ship Brooklyn hoped to establish and inland colony.  This site became known as New Hope.  However the first needed to transport their equipment to this site.  This Plaque is about a half mile from the actual landing site.  The picture below is taken from the train bridge and shows the actual slough were the Comet landed.  The San Joaquin River continues to the right.  The slough is called Whithall Slough.  In addition to the oxen the hauled a plow, and a mill on the launch, and then overland for about a mile until the reached their final destination on the Stanislaus River, just before the confluence.  

 The plaque had been vandalized, and was removed and repaired.  It has been restored this year after about a four year time away.  It is good to have it back.  It is close to the entrance to the Moss Landing State park launch area.
 The plaque also documents the first ferry over the San Joaquin at Moss Landing.

 Looking from the walkway towards Whithall Slough (east) but the freeway bridges over the river block your view.  The railway bridge is about a half mile up river and Whithall Slough just beyond that.

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