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Talk on Mysterious 1700s Oregon Coast Shipwreck Happens in Tillamook

Published 07/15/2018 at 04:32 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Talk on Mysterious 1700s Oregon Coast Shipwreck Happens in Tillamook

(Tillamook, Oregon) – Recent finds on a famed but mysterious Oregon coast shipwreck will come to light on August 4 as the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum features a talk from an expert on the subject. (Above: Manzanita).

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Historian and north coast resident Cameron La Follette will be the guest speaker that day. She - together with Dr. Douglas Deur, Esther González, Dr. Dennis Griffin and Scott S. Williams - recently made history with research published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly on the subject of a Spanish galleon believed to be responsible for the beeswax finds on the beaches of Manzanita for centuries. The talk is entitled “Oregon's Manila Galleon: Discovering the Crew, Cargo and History,” delving into the group's extensive research on a ship that apparently wrecked near Manzanita around 1693.

The event takes place on Saturday, August 4 at 3 p.m.

Since Europeans started settling the north Oregon coast, Manzanita had been a hotspot for finding beeswax on the beaches, formed together and carved with numbers in a style used by the Spanish. Even before Lewis & Clark's visit to what would later become Astoria and Seaside, American and British fur traders and explorers had heard talk from natives that a large ship had wrecked on the Nehalem Spit generations before. Archaeologists – including the PBS show History Detectives – have determined it's most likely a Spanish galleon called the Santo Cristo de Burgos, which left the Phillippines in the summer of 1693 and disappeared.

La Follette's independent research team recently found detailed archival information about the ship, including its manifest. Aboard the ship were officers and crew of Basque, Spanish and Filipino men, and some passengers. La Follette and her team also discovered biographical information about the men's lives, especially the Captain, Don Bernardo Iñiguez del Bayo, and tantalizing glimpses of the ship's cargo. All aboard the ship were male.

La Follette (above) will also discuss the aftermath of the galleon wreck: a fevered century and a half of treasure-hunting centered on the Neahkahnie Mountain area, and its effects on Oregon's cultural resources protection laws.

While the beeswax finds practically stopped in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the legends remained. The ship had given rise to numerous stories of treasure buried in the hillside of Neahkahnie Mountain, and the stories came with wild, dramatic and differing versions that included someone being buried with the treasure to ward off others.

Cameron La Follette, M.S., J.D., has a Master's Degree in Psychology from New York University and a Law Degree from Columbia University. Currently, she serves as Executive Director of Oregon Coast Alliance, a coastal conservation organization based out of Astoria.

Her first book, “Sustainability and the Rights of Nature,” was published by CRC Press in 2017. Another book is set for 2019, this time called “Sustainability and the Rights of Nature in Practice.” She is also a traditional poet, whose work is archived at the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives. In addition to writing on coastal history for such venues as Oregon Encyclopedia, her research interests include Oregon land use history and practice, early Pacific Northwest coastal exploration and shipwrecks, and the environmental effects of early commercial resource extraction in the coastal region. 2106 2nd St, Tillamook, Oregon. (503) 842-4553. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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