The Writings of Robert Starkey




Satisfaction --Our History
Site Information

Contact Webmaster

Coos map  

 San Francisco and Sacramento during gold rush days.  Sailing around Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.  Historical notes on Port Orford and getting in to the primitive Coos Bay country.. Doggerel poetry on Coquille River and Coos Bay.


(from Coquille Bulletin, Apr 1, 1904)
     A sketch of pioneer days embracing the topics of interest and history, beginning with the year 1845,
and connecting an experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.             (Continued from Last Week.)     

     Having joined the St. Mary's, we sailed under orders for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From that
port we proceeded around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chili [sic].  Passing through the Strait of
Le Maire in the night, we had a narrow escape from losing the ship and all hands.  The
weather or western end of Staten Island was a lee shore for us, Terra [sic] del Fuego being to
the windward.  The land was covered with snow and ice, and the force of the gale had blown
away our fore, main, and mizzen topsails.  With the courses (that means foresail and mainsail)
and fore-topmast staysail, we managed to pull through but it was a close call, and a fair
current must have been in our favor.  The commander gave up all hope, saying, "We'll go

     From Valparaiso we sailed to Monterey [sic], California, and from there to the Bay of San
Francisco, where, on arriving, we anchored in Sausalito.  The number of vessels in the bay,
counting the St. Mary's, was six, three naval vessels and three merchantmen.  What a contrast
to the present era!

     To many of our readers, both in Oregon and California, a retrospective glance at the little
village of Yerba Buena, destined in after years to be the queen city of the Pacific, may prove
interesting.  In the latter part of the year 1838, when the writer arrived in Sausalito, he was
transferred to the U. S. storeship Southampton [sic], then under orders of  Commodore Ap
Catesby Jones [sic] to proceed to San Pedro and convey Gen. Joseph Lane and a company of
dragoons to San Francisco.

     We proceeded there accordingly, returning with the General -- then on his way to the
territory of Oregon to assume the governorship -- his son, Nate Lane, and Joseph Meeks, who
held the appointment of marshal.  We now anchored in front of the town and I remember
counting the houses it contained at the time, but have forgotten the number.  My term of
service having expired, I obtained my discharge and procured employment with the firm of
Mellus, Howard & Co., at the southwest corner of Clay & Montgomery, leaving them in a
few days to engage in the Sacramento river trade under the notorious Sam Brannan.  San
Francisco at that time extended no farther east than Montgomery street; there was a deep
cove, with an extensive mud flat at low water.  A line running from Clark's Point (the only
landing at low water), the present corner of Broadway and Front streets, to Rincon Point
would mark the edge of the flat, the high water mark reaching west of Sansome, close to
Liedsdorf street.

     The customs-house may be said to stand a short distance north of the center of this mud
flat.  I have sailed over this flat frequently in a 30-ton schooner, loaded with freight for the
Sacramento.  A person desiring a walk to North Beach could make a bee line to the Plaza,
with no impediment or obstruction in the way but fences, and they were few and far between. 
But all this was soon changed.  Before the end of the year, from Montgomery to Dupont and
from Pacific to Sacramento streets there was a solid mass of wooden buildings, some --
notably the Eldorado -- three stories high and all of the most inflammable material, dry
redwood.  I was an eyewitness to the December fire of '49, and, thought it took some time to
put the Eldorado building up and at enormous expense, it went down like a piece of paper. 
Those were brisk times for men in business and those having vessels on the rivers; one
hundred dollars a ton for freight and twenty-five for a single passenger, finding his own food
and sleeping on the open deck. The passage up the river was anything but a pleasure trip,
particularly the Sacramento.  Owing to the density of the trees and snags on the river, a
vessel's progress would be fearfully slow.  I have been three days warping with lines through
the Steamboat Slough, distance seven miles, with the mosquitos thick enough to smother you
and no relief until night came; then we would make a landing and build fires, the smoke of
which would cause a cessation of hostilities.  Truly it may be said, "All is not gold that
glitters."                         (To Be Continued)

(from Coquille Bulletin, Apr 8, 1904)

               "THE DAYS OF OLD AND
                  THE DAYS OF GOLD."


     A sketch of pioneer days embracing the topics of interest and history, beginning with the year 1845,
and connecting an experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.               (Continued from Last Week.)  

     Having given a description of the passage up the Sacramento, it may not be out of place to
present a picture of the city of that name as it appeared in the month of March, '49.  The
landing was known as the "embarcadero," this being the Spanish term for a place where
freight is either landed or shipped.  It was a nice, level spot, with open timber.  You could
drive an oxteam anywhere through it, and, the circulation of the wind being rree, it afforded
considerable relief from the ever-dreaded mosquitos.  It had been used for a number of years
by Gen. Sutter, as it was no great distance from his fort.  The business tents -- there were no
houses -- were two in number, one a store kept by Sam Brannan and the other a restaurant
kept by a person named McDougal.  In this restaurant you could revel in the delights of fresh
salmon jerked beef, beans and hard sea biscuit at the reasonable price of $1 a meal, with no
change in the bill of fare from breakfast to supper, coffee and tea excepted.  Down below the
landing on the same bank of the river, you would always see a portion of  Sutter's Indians
engaged in fishing, while on the opposite bank, still farther down, dwelt Schwartz, a German
vetran of Waterloo.  This man was Sutter's drillmaster.  The general would instruct his Indians
in the arts of civillization, and Schwartz would instruct them in the civilized art of handling
the old flintlock.  By these means they were enabled to slaughter and put to flight their wild
brethren of the forks of the American river whenever they approached Sutter's fort in a hostile
attitude.  Schwartz was a genial man.  I remember him as the first raiser of watermelons on
the Sacramento, selling them in the city at from $1.50 to $2.50 apiece.  He died many years

     As I remarked before, there were no houses in the place in March, but each succeeding trip
developed the energy of the inhabitants.  Before the close of the ear it had surpassed the Bay
City, if we take into consideration the greater facilities possessed by the latter and the ratio of
population.  In 1852 a great flood swept over it, and the denizens of that period are in the
habit of classing that as the greatest calamity ever witnessed in that city.  In this they were
mistaken.  In the winter of 1852 a large portion of the city was burned down, and this was
supplemented by a flood as great as, if not worse than, that of '62.  I was engaged at the time
removing stock from the ranches and taking them down to the bay.  It is certainly deplorable
to be compelled to suffer from the devastating influence of one element, but where two of
them are combined the effort must be still greater.

     Having described the appearance of the two cities, in their early days, let us return to San
Francisco and investigate the cause of a great excitement which took place in mid-summer,
'49.  For some time during that year; [sic] a small portion of Col. J. D. Stevenson's regiment,
New York volunteers, had made their headquarters in a saloon called the Tammany Hall,
between Sacramento and  Clay [streets]; they were known as the "Hounds." And, having been
brought into California to conquer it, it was their implicit belief that they had more rights in
the premises than those who did not come, consequently they undertook to organize
themselves into a band called "Regimentors."  Having great opportunities, I noticed that they
were all young, thoughtless men; they drank, seemingly never to excess; they gambled,
almost everyone else did so in '49; they paraded the Plaza with bright ribbons tied in their
hats, in this they were simply foolish; and while they could not be classed with the rowdy
hoodlums of San Francisco of the present day, still, it was evident that the opportunity only
was missing, and that the inclination was ever present and ready for a fight.  It came at last.  A
young Mexican sailor who belonged to an American ship, in fact he had been raised on
American vessels, left his ship and went to live in a boarding house called the Fremont Family
House, situated on the side of the steep hill dipping abruptly into the water, at what is now the
north side of Vallejo street, on Battery, but at that time a very lonely place, Clark's point,
which was in the vicinity, was almost covered with the tents of Mexicans and others of that
race.  The place bore a hard name; it was not safe to be in that vicinity after dark; several men
had been assaulted there and cut with knives.  These reports engendered a deep feeling of
hostility in the "Hounds;" they swore vengeance on the first opportunity, and the young sailor
was the instrument destined to present the opportunity for a display of their belligerent
propensities.  Wandering up town in the evening, he entered a gambling saloon and
commenced to play, at the same time entering into conversation with two Mexicans.  He won
about four hundred dollars and on leaving, his Mexican friends infatuated with his luck,
concluded to see him home, as they lived on the Point, and that was not much more distant
than a stone could be thrown, to where he lived.  Their road lay along Kearny [sic] street, and
while they could have gone home by way of Pacific, his road was a little north of Broadway. 
Enough, he did not arrive at his hotel that night, but in the morning he was found not more
than three hundred yards from the hotel, stabbed in several places, insensible, but not dead. 
He was taken into the house, and doctors summoned, who pronounced the wounds not mortal;
he had become unconscious from loss of blood.  When he became conscious, his statement
was as I have related it.  In fact I had it afterwards from his own lips. And thus the storm
began.  How it ended the conclusion of the narrative will explain. 
                                            (To be continued.)

(from Coquille Bulletin Apr 15, 1904)

                  THE DAYS OF GOLD."


     A sketch of pioneer days embracing the topics of interest and history, beginning with the year 1845,
and connecting an experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.               (Continued from Last Week.)  

     The town, at the time of this robbery, and attempted murder, employed no justice.  This
dastardly crime served to arouse in the minds of the people, the necessity for some measure to
be taken, with the view to checking those midnight outrages.  In the mean time the "Hounds"
were not idle.  They called a council of war, and augmented their number with recruits from
the ranks of the boatmen at Clark's Point, a few of whom had suffered from these nightly
assaults.  Their plan of action, which was fully explained in their defense, was, first:  That the
women residing on the Point, were to be invited into a large tent, where wine and liquor were
sold, and kept by a Portugese [sic]; this man was prevailed on to keep the women there on the
night of the attack.  Second:  No Mexican would be molested, unless he resisted, in that case,
he would have to accept the consequences resulting from his temerity.  Third:  no person
should appropriate any of the goods or chattels, the work was to be, solely, an act of devastion
[sic].  On one point they were fully determined, that every tent occupied by a "Greaser,"
should be torn from its foundation.  Residing on Broadway, a short distance from Sansome
street, it was an easy matte for me and others so situated, to hear the yells and the report of
pistols fired in the air.  It was a  perfect realization of the words of the poet:  "Cry havoc; and
let loose the dogs of war."  The scene presented in the morning, was wild and ludicrous, were
it not for its solemnity.  Not a Mexican was to be seen; they had fled to the bars, solitary
crevices [sic] on Telegraph and Observatory hills.  The ground was covered in all directions,
with the torn canvass [sic] of the tents, blankets and other household goods belonging to this
people.  It was a deplorable sight, and, no doubt, as it is often the case, the innocent suffered
as well as the guilty, the result of indiscriminate association.  Man, it is said, is a gregarious
animal; yet, a well ordered society is governed by judicious rules.  The Mexicans and others
of that race, seem to draw the line nowhere; they have no distinction.  I am speaking of the
middle and lower classes, and a minority of the upper class, also.  The good and the bad; the
honest and dishonest; the virtuous and those who neither possess virtue, nor care a fig for its
meaning; the priest and the game-cock fighter; all meet on the same plane; and if they
occasionally suffer from this false method of association, the fault lies in the base of the
superstructure, it having no moral foundation upon which to rest.  As there may be some
persons who will doubt my assertions in the ast paragraph, it becomes necessary for me to
state that I have lived in South America, and became conversant with the manners and
customs of that people.  On the other hand, I  value not the doubts of the ignorant, nor the
sneers and scoffs of the prejudiced, they merit nothing but contempt.  I am no enthusiast, but I
laugh at those who are. --My motto is, to speak by the card, and to abjure equivocation.
     In the first part of the year '49, San Francisco was governed by a magistrate, called the
"Alcalde."  The name of the incumbent at that time was Leavenworth.  A history of the city,
that made no mention of him, would be incomplete.  A meeting of the citizens having been
called, it was decided that a sheriff should be appointed, and a company of citizen police
formed, who were armed with muskets, and an endeavor made to capture the rioters.  The
sheriff's name was Merrill.  Procuring some witnesses and escorted by a squad of armed
police, he proceeded to execute the duties of his office.  Having been a member of
Stephenson's regiment, he had facilities for discovering the ringleaders, and, about the first
arrests he made were the two principal ones, Sam Roberts and T. R. Saunders.  I was present
at the arrest of Saunders, and from what occurred, I formed the opinion that Merrill was an
over zealous official.  Saunders and a boy were talking, at the door of their boarding house,
when the armed posse came up, the sheriff stepping up to Saunders, addressed him as follows: 
"Saunders, I am sorry to have to arrest a member of our old regiment, but, you have been
pointed out as one of the rioters, and I must do my duty," then turning to the boy, he said, "I
must arrest you two."  The boy expostulated, and tried to reason with the sheriff; he had been
pointed out; but that was his boarding house; he had a right to be there, etc.  All was of no
avail he had to march [sic].  The dignity of the office sat heavily on Mr. errill, and, like
Dogberry, he felt the weight of responsibility.  The Plaza, or as it is properly named,
Portsmouth Square, was literally crowded with people.  Seventeen men had been arrested, and
as that was all they could find, they proceeded to an Investigation.  Whilst the excitement ran
high, the renowned Mormon prophet, Sam Brannan, mounted to the rof of a house, making a
conspicuous and ridiculous show of himself; ranting, tearing his hair, beating his breast, in
fact, he assumed the functions of a braying and kicking ass.  He harangued the crowd on the
blessings and privileges of freedom -- as he understood them -- and then, as an illustration of
his peculiar ideas of freedom, he advocated, aye, demanded that the seventeen prisoners,
innocent or guilty, without judge or pity, be taken out and hung to the tree of liberty.  Of a
certainty, this tree could have existed only in the brain of this incarnation of diabolism. 
Finding that his words had no effect on the people -- they knew Sam, and accepted his
vaporings ad valorum -- he rushed into the Alcalde's office interrupting the proceedings and
repeating his demand for the execution of the prisoners.  Col. J. D. Stevenson was addressing
the court and on being thus interrupted, he opened out on Brannan.  He told him that he ought
to be ashamed, that while some of the prisoners might be guilty, no doubt, others were
innocent.  Braunan, like the generality of demagogues, was unable to repel a manly attack,
single handed, consequently, he fled from the court room ingloriously.  After the lapse of so
many years, when the reflections engendered at the time have fully matured, and passion may
be said to have cooled down, still, my opinion f Brannan has undergone no change.  Knowing
the character of the man, and claiming, as I do, to have understood him thoroughly, it was an
utter impossibility to entertain the least respect for him.  Clothing himself in the garb of a
blasphemous Mormon prophet, and in that capacity, controlling the funds of that association,
he was guilty of a breach of trust, deserting his ignorant proselytes and appropriating the
money in his own use.  Many years afterwards, when he became distinguished as a man of
means, the twitchings of conscience compelled him to return this money, or rather, the loss of
caste in the position that he occupied, made him refund, and, in so doing, he acknowledge his
former guilt.  In filling in the characters, it is necessary at times to digress from the main
feature;  I will now proceed with the trial.
                               (To be continued.)

(from Coquille Bulletin Apr 29, 1904)

                  THE DAYS OF GOLD."


     A sketch of pioneer days embracing the topics of interest and history, beginning with the year 1845,
and connecting an experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.               (Continued from Last Week.)  

     Leavenworth was of the opinion that a jury could be empanneled [sic] and the case tried
that night.  Stephenson argued him out of the position, observing, that, owing to the
excitement and the impossibility of procuring witnesses, it being then about 4 o'clock P. M.,
the prisoners would be unable to obtain a fair trial.  "My advice is, your honor," said he, "to
have the men conveyed on board the U. S. ship-of-war Warren; and deliver them into the
custody of Commander Long until preparations are made for a fair and impartial trial."  This
wise counsel prevailed.  The men were taken in boats to the U. S. ship, and a delegation of
citizens were sent with them, to inform the Captain of the facts in the case, and to draw up an
indictment.  This indictment contained five counts, the first and second were correct, the third
might be termed excusable, yet, not true, the fourth was absurd, and the fifth, as yet uncertain.
     When the indictment was presented to the Commander, the prisoners were ranged in a line
on the quarter deck, and he proceeded to address them.  "Men," said he, "you have been
brought here charged with a certain amount of crime, but the indictment does not state that
you are the very men who committed this crime, you are here only on suspicion.  I will now
read the indictment to you, remarking , by the way, that it seems hardly possible that such a
young, and seemingly, intelligent body of men would be guilty of the acts herein set forth. 
The first count is conspiracy, the second, riot, the third, robbery, the fourth, rape, and the fifth,
what is still worse, murder.  Master-at-arm, Ship's Corporal, put these men in double irons." 
The reader may, possibly, be surprised at my acquaintance with the minutest details of this
trial.  That is easily explained.  In this city, I had the same opportunities enjoyed by others;
but, on board the ship, I possessed an advantage; being but recently a man-of-war's man, I
could go and come whenever it pleased me so, to do.  An old servant of the government is not
treated exactly like a stranger.  After an interval of three days, the Commander was notified
that the citizens had arranged matters, and were prepared to try the accused, with a court,
somewhat resembling lynch law.  This was heaping one crime on another; they had no legal
power to try the case. The Commander refused to give the men up.  Here was a dilemma. 
Any attempt to take them by force from the ship, would end in disaster and defeat. 
Commander Long's advice was that they should apply to the governor of the territory, Gen.
Percifer [sic] F. Smith, for authority to organize a legal tribunal, and that when they pledged
their honor as gentlemen, that the prisoners should be tried by a jury of twelve men, in a court
so organized, he would deliver the men up, otherwise, he would try them himself. 
Application being made to Gen. Smith, it was so ordered that Leavenworth was appointed
chief justice, with power to select two associate justices; a prosecuting attorney. And counsel
to aid him, also, counsel for the defense; territorial government assuming the burden of the
expense of the trial.  I forget the names of the prosecuting counsel,, with one exception, and
that was McAlister.  Judges Norton and Barry were selected to conduct the defense.  Barry
was an  Irishman, with a slight brogue.  It was the first serious case that had arisen, and abut
the first opportunity for the lawyers , most of them having but recently arrived; the display of
talent was fair, on both sides.  The preparations being now complete, the prisoners were
brought on shore, and escorted to the school house situated on the S W. corner of the plaza
and Brenham place.  On the morning that the trial commenced, it was discovered that there
were sixty-five witnesses for the prosecution, the major portion of them Spanish , or speaking
that language, some French, and one rioter, a New York volunteer who turned state's evidence
and, on whose testimony the principal reliance was placed to convict the other members of the
regiment who took part in the riot.

     An artist named Pendergrast was employed as interpreter, he speaking French and Spanish
fluently.  One circumstance connected with the riot should be mentioned, before proceeding
any further with the trial. Two brothers, natives of Chile, resisted the attack on their tent, and
one of them received a pistol shot in the leg. The shot was fired by a New York "rowdy"
named Cornell, who was not connected with the regiment of volunteers; he made his escape. 
Many years afterwards, he kept a low dance hall on Jackson, between Kearney and Dupont
streets. This was what led to the indictment for murder; but he (the wounded man) was
pronounced out of danger during the process of the trial.  In examining a witness, each
prisoner as made to stand up consecutively, to allow the witness an opportunity to indentfy
[sic] him.  Out of the seventeen prisoners, three passed through the ordeal, safely, not a finger
being pointed at them.  These were, Kanaka Jim, a well educated half-breed of that race [Ed.
Note: Hawaiian], whose only fault was associating with the habitues of Tammany hall,
Robison, an Irishman, in whose place, some of the goods were found, which, belonged to the
Mexicans; it was proved on the trial that the goods were brought to his place for safe keeping,
by the owners.  This man's compassion might have led him into the danger of risking his
neck; had the owners been killed in the row, he would have stood fully convicted without a
particle of evidence in his favor.  The third prisoner exonerated was the boy, before
mentioned, as arrested while talking to Saunders.  The prosecuting attorney having entered a
nol proseque [sic] in these cases, they were discharged.

[M. 2006.   I skipped the May 13, 1904 article.   There were no other articles after Apr 29]

(from Coquille Bulletin May 20, 1904)

                  THE DAYS OF GOLD."


     A sketch of pioneer days embracing the topics of interest and history, beginning with the year 1845,
and connecting an experience on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.    

     Passing over a period during which I sailed on the coast and on the bay of San Francisco, I
engaged in the business of shipping lumber at such places as Salt Point and Timber Cove,
finally drifting into "The Land of Webfoot" at Port Orford.  Here let us moor ship for awhile
and take a survey of that healthful harbor.  In my minds eye there comes occasionally a
retrospective glance at that magnifiable [sic] and delightful position.  Without any attempt to
bombast and in defiance of criticism, I select and place Port Orford as possessing the most
enjoyable climate of any place on the coast, from San Diego to Yaquina bay.  I have been
over the course and speak by the card.

     Port Orford is situated half-way between San Francisco and Cape Flattery.  With a
breakwater of sufficient length to protect it and counteract the effect of the sea from the
southward prevalent during winter, Port Orford can be made a perfectly safe harbor
throughout both winter and summer.  Being protected on three sides -- east, north and west --
the bay is as smooth as a millpond in summer, when the northwest wind prevails.  Port Orford
offers a delightful and healthy site for a town.  Its westerly projection seems to be in its favor,
ridding it of the heavy fog that quite frequently prevails on other portions of the coast.  I
predict that the long-buried prospects of Port Orford will yet see the light, and that it will
maintain its legitimate position as the depot of a thriving trade, and, with just recognition of
its merits, become a safe harbor.  If our government would recognize the importance as well
as necessity of improving the harbors of the Pacific Coast, then there would be no relaxations
of efforts to that goal.

     Having given you my impressions from an experience of two years' residence at Port
Orford, I bade adieu to that port in the winter of 1863, and, in company with the mail carrier,
Mr. John Nasburg, I climbed onto the back of a horse (something unusual in my line) and
commenced the trip to Coos bay via the hills, beach and crossing of "the beautiful Coquille." 
The ferry at the mouth of the river was kept by Mr. John Lewis, and the postoffice [sic] on the
north bank was under the control of Mr. John Hamblock.  The mail route through the timber
was full of mud holes, and when we came to the dead timber at the head of South Slough it
was blocked in all directions with fallen timber of large size. We had to foot it for two or three
miles, lead the horses and jump the logs.

     On that occasion I had no opportunity to observe the upper portion of the Coquille river,
but during my long residence in this section of Oregon [forty-one years] I have visited the
river frequently and resided in Coquille City from the month of June, 1884, until May, '85, at
which time I was engaged on the staff of the Coquille City Herald.  I often reflect on the
advantage it would be to the large section of the country tributary to the Coquille river if that
bar at the entrance were improved by some permanent method and carried on with persistence
until definite and successful results were obtained.  The river banks constitute the greatest
portion of Coos county's farming lands, and its resources in timber and coal are immense.  I
will pay a parting tribute to the river, engendered by my later experience of its peacful flow
and fertile surroundings.

     I have floated on its bosom,
      And I've strayed along the shore
    When the trees were rife with blossom
      And enjoyed it o'er and o'er.
    So, wherever I may wander,
      'Twill be pleasant still to  feel
    It was cheerful to meander
      On the banks of the Coquille.

     In my trip to Coos bay I was fortunate in having a companion who had been over the route
previously.  The mail carrier, being better mounted, was able to clear the logs rapidly;
consequently he left us behind.  We arrived at the town after sundown, and on coming into the
open, my first receptive glimpse across Coos bay was the extensive accumulation of sand that
separates the bay from the Pacific Ocean.  I soon began to look around for employment, and,
as m latest occupation was that of a lighterman, I obtained an introduction to Patric Flanagan,
one of the owners and operators of the Newport coal mine.  Mr. Flanagan, in his early years,
had followed the sea, and on comparing notes, a barque which he was in had been moored
close to a ship in which I was an apprentice.  This occurred at a guano island near the Cape of
Good Hope in the latter part of the year 1844.  Being in need of a hand and preferably a
seaman, he employed me to lighter coal to the vessels carrying it to San Francisco, remarking
by the way, "You have done some work of that kind in some rough places; notably that guano
island near the Cape of Good Hope; but at my place it is as smooth as a millpond. [sic; no
closing quote

     Here I will digress for the purpose of comparing seas  in various quarters of the globe. 
Cape Horn has a long, heavy, but fairly easy sea to ride over.  The Cape of Good Hope has a
long sea, with the addition of its being heavier than that of the Horn and liable to topple over,
and carry destruction to any vessel which it may overwhelm.  This phase of the situation
occurs when the gale subsides, and, she cannot keep ahead of the sea; consequently she
"poops" -- takes a heavy sea over the stern -- and goes down with all hands. Even with a
breeze of wind comparatively light, a vessel will become becalmed in heavy "rollers" and
therefore helpless.

     Now, I have run my course and retrospectively arrived at my destination -- Coos bay.  I
had heard of it under various names in earlier days.  My old acquaintance, H. H. Baldwin, of
Bandon, vouches for one name, "the Cowan."  On McArthur's charts of the coast, date 1850,
which I had examined by Thomas Tennant, of San Francisco, it is called "Kowes river.".  Well,
let me give it a parting puff:

                           COOS BAY
     A safe, snug retreat from the waves that do beat
       On that sandspit piled up in the west,
    There's the finest of fish ever seen on a dish,
      And its clam soup goes down with a zest
     Therefore, I bade adieu to the ocean that's blue;
        From its rancid salt pork I cut loose.
    Go to sea if you will, but I'v had a fill
      And have cast my sheet anchor in Coos.

                       ROBERT STARKEY.
[Ed. Note.  Rancid salt pork seems likely to refer to ship's rations.]

home                                 back to Special Collections                   next Starkey              


Copyright © 2005-2009 by Marilee Miller All Rights Reserved