Beeswax Wreck Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography was compiled by Scott S. Williams, the Cultural Resources Program Manager of the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Allan, Jonathan

2005 “Shoreline change in littoral cells.”  Cascadia: News and Information from the Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries, Vol. 4, No. 1.  Online publication at

A generic but informative article by Allan in the Oregon DGMI newsletter that discusses sediment movement in Oregon’s littoral cells, including the note “wave processes are generally regarded as unable to transport beach sediment around the ends of the headlands.  As a result, headlands form a natural barrier for sediment transport, preventing sand exchange between adjacent littoral cells (see diagram below).  Thus, a littoral cell is essentially a self-contained compartment, deriving all of its sediment from within that cell.”  This suggests that the ceramics at Short Sands Beach are not washing north from Nehalem Beach.

American Bee Journal

1922 “Nehalem Wax.”  American Bee Journal, Vol. ?, No. ?

A short article from the Editor, on page 624, noting that “in the present number” (i.e., that issue of the Journal), an article on Nehalem wax.  The note goes on to say that, “although quite similar to beeswax,” it could not be and must be ozokerite because “the story of ships loaded with beeswax having been sunk there in past centuries is too absurd for acceptance.”


1983 “Nehalem Project History.”  Dedication Program Produced by the Port of Nehalem

This is a PDF copy of the Program for the dedication of the new Nehalem jetties on September 22, 1983.  It includes a one-page history of the jetties, noting they were first completed in 1918 and that rehabilitation work on them began in May 1981.  The project was completed in November 1982.

Astoria Daily Budget

1894 “Ancient Wreckage Ashore.”  Astoria Daily Budget, April 21, 1894 (p. 1)

A fairly long article, including three illustrations, of wreckage that washed ashore at Arch Cape after having been “recently…torn loose by the winter’s storms”.  The article says “Far below, at the bottom of the perpendicular cliffs of the Necarney mountain, down on the rocks that have stood for ages battling with the turbulent waters of the Pacific, and where the foot of man has never trod, a piece of wreckage has lain wedged in between the rocks, since long before the first whiteman visited those regions.  Even the oldest Indian of today cannot remember its advent, and the story of how a strange looking ship one day made its appearance off the coast in a heavy gale and was abandoned by the crew, afterwards going to pieces against the storm beaten walls of bleak Necarney, has been handed down to them from several generations back.”  It goes on to note that part of the crew survived, according to Indian legend, and buried a “treasure” somewhere on the mountain, but the survivors were later killed by the Indians.  It goes on to note there are two things that substantiate the Indian legend: the beeswax, and the “fragments of a wreck at the foot of the Necarney cliffs”, and says of the wreck that it, “up to a few days ago, has only been viewed from afar, as it was impossible to reach it by boat, the waters at this point always in a turbulent condition, and access from above being out of the question on account of the great distance [down the cliff to the wreck?].”  It goes on to describe and illustrate the two 14-foot long planks that came ashore (the same ones mentioned in Marshall’s work).

Astoria Evening Budget

1929 “Beeswax Ship May Be Taken From Sand Grave; Old Vessel is Connected With Legends.”  Astoria Evening Budget, August 1, 1929.

A story on E.M. Cherry and his plans to excavate it, the article starts “The mystery of the ‘beeswax ship’, buried in the sands of the Nehalem spit since the coming of the white man and for no one knows how long before, has attracted the interest of E. M. Cherry and A. D. Zimmerman of this city, who have determined the exact location of the buried vessel with a view to perhaps some day digging it up.”  It goes on to note that Cherry “denied reports that arrangements to dig it up have started”, and that he had “only given the matter tentative consideration.”  It does not say where the wreck was located, but does say the wreck “has been completely out of sight for three years, but before that time, part of its teakwood ribs were visible at various times on the surface of the sand.  It is located about half way between the Neah-Kah-Nie mountain and the Nehalem bay entrances”, suggesting in the basin.

Atwater, Brian F., Satoko Musumi-Rokkaku, Kenji Satake, Yoshinobu Tsuji, Kazue, Ueda, and David Yamaguchi 

  1. The Orphan Tsunami of 1700: Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1707.  University of Washington Press: Seattle.

Presents geological evidence that a large mega-quake struck the Oregon coast on January 26, 1700, at 9:00 PM.

Bancroft, Hubert Howe

1886 The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Volume XXVIII, History of the Northwest Coast Vol. II 1800-1846.  The History Company: San Francisco.

Bancroft has a short discussion (pages 531-532) about prehistoric wrecks and castaways on the Northwest Coast, particularly the Columbia River and Oregon coast.  He cites Frances Fuller Victor (see below) as his primary source, and notes the wreck of a vessel at Nehalem with the survivors burying a box on Neahkahnie (so one wreck, not two incidents, in this version as with Victor’s).  He also notes Soto (although he does not use that name), and the presence of Japanese junks.  His footnote on pages 532-533 provides a list of known wrecks.  Specifically, he wrote “…the tale of Mrs Victor obtained from the Nehalems, below the Columbia, of a wrecked vessel where the crew saved their effects and buried them, boxed, near Mt Neahcarny, that is to say Saddle mountain… Then long ago the natives of the upper Columbia has their Spanish guest, who came they knew not whence, and went back they knew not whither.”

Barry, J. Neilson

1932 “Spaniards in Early Oregon.”  Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1 (pp. 25-33).

This article is primarily about Konapee and his wreck, and his possible descendants, including a long discussion of Soto.  It does not discuss the Beeswax Wreck or Neahkanhnie.

Beals, Herbert K.

1983 The Introduction of European and Asian Cultural Materials on the Alaskan and Northwest Coasts before 1800.  Unpublished MA Thesis, Portland State University.

Need to check this reference.

Beals, Herbert K., and Harvey Steele

1981 “Chinese Porcelain from Site 35-TI-1, Netarts Sand Spit Tillamook County, Oregon.”  University of Oregon Anthropological Papers No. 23.  Eugene, OR.

Need to check this reference.  According to Woodward (1986), they dated the porcelains to late Ming (Wan Li period, 1573-1619) and Kang Xi (1662-1722), which fits with Jessica’s analysis.  Not sure how this became Stenger’s later “it’s all Ming Dynasty” interpretation.

Belcher, Sir Edward

1839 Narrative of a Voyage Round the World, Performed in Her Majesty’s Ship Sulphur, During the Years 1836-1842, Including Details of the Naval Operations in China, from Dec. 1840, to Nov. 1841.  Henry Colburn: London.

Belcher writes of his travels on the Columbia at Fort George, and beginning on page 303 he relates the story of the Japanese junk that washed ashore near Cape Flattery in 1833.  On page 306 he writes of the Beeswax Wreck: “A wreck likewise occurred in this bay [referring to Baker Bay at the mouth of the Columbia] many years ago, before the whites occupied this country; which is considered to be a similar occurrence [referring to his previous discussion of a drift junk in Hawaii].  But it must be observed, that since the wreck of the junk near Cape Flattery, the current of conjecture on this subject is, probably, highly Japanese.  It appears that a vessel with many hands on board, and laden with bees’-wax, entered the bay and was wrecked; she went to pieces, and the crew go on shore.  Many articles were washed on shore, and particularly the bees’-wax.  This latter is even now occasionally thrown upon the beach, but in smaller quantities than formerly.  I have one specimen now in my possession.”

Blair, Emma Helen, and James A. Robertson

1903-09  The Philippine islands, 1493-1803 : explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the Catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the beginning of the nineteenth century / translated from the originals. A.H. Clark Co.: Cleveland.

This is a detailed account of the history of the Philippines and the Manila galleon trade, based on archival documents in the Philippines.  Lists the loss of the Santo Cristo de Burgos and the San Francisco Xavier, and notes both disappeared without any knowledge of their fate. The Santo Cristo de Burgos is discussed in Volume 42 (published in 1906), on page 309, which notes, “While this loss was so great, one of the most grievous losses that these islands have suffered [speaking of the loss of the San Jose in 1694], it was made worse by the non-arrival of the galleon that was expected that year, the ‘Santo Cristo de Burgos,’ in charge of General Don Bernando Ignacio de Bayo—who, as we have said, was sent by the viceroy Conde de Galves in the year of 1691, and returned in the same ship the following year; and it put back to the port of Solsogón, after having endured great tempests.  It remained at Solsogón in order to continue its voyage the year of 1693, as it did; but it not only failed to reach port, but was wrecked, without our gaining the least knowledge of the place where that occurred.  There were some suspicions that it was destroyed by fire (a danger for which there is on the sea no help), for at one of the Marianas Islands were found fragments f burned wood, which were sent [here] by the governor of Filipinas, Don José Madrazo, and were recognized to be of woods that are found in these islands only.  Careful search was made for many years along the coasts of South America, and in other regions; but not the least news of this ship has ever been received.  Among the persons who were lost in this galleon was a religious who was most highly esteemed by this province for his great virtue and learning; this was the father reader Fray Fancisco de Ugarte, a Vizcayan, a native of Marquina, who came as superior of the mission which reached this province in the year 1684; he had been sent in this galleon to España, as procurator of the province, to ask for new missionaries.” According to the table of contents, B&R are here quoting a history of the Augustinian monks in the PI, written in 1718.  B&R note in the Preface to the volume the loss of the San Jose in 1694, “the largest” galleon ever made, and “Another galleon is also lost at sea (1693)”, referring to the SCdB (p. 21). The SFX is discussed in Vol. 44, which I have not yet obtained.

Boge, Lila

1975 Tillamook History, Sequel to Tillamook Memories.  Tillamook County Pioneer Association, Tillamook: OR.

This volume is a collection of stories and anecdotes collected by the local historical society.  On page 25 mention is made of how in “The year 1881 a curious find was unearthed at the Bester place by A.A. Anderson, who was known as a very truthful man and who invited people to come and see the relics he had unearthed over an acre of ground.  A skull, several skeletons wearing bracelets made of a metal resembling gold, a hatful of diamond rings, lots of plates and saucers with a Persian trade mark and a legend written in Sanskrit.”  The story goes on to note that the daughter of the family did not want anything to do with items from Indian graves, and pulverized the dishes with a hammer.  There is no indication of where the other materials went, or where the “Bester place” was located.  On page 81 brief mention is made of the bronze chest handles found by S.G. Reed at Neahkahnie.

Boston Evening Transcript

1890 Untitled.  Boston Evening Transcript, November 5, 1890 (p.?).

A short article discussing the “wax mines” of Nehalem and the mystery of the origin of the wax, and noting that “Specimens are found along the length of the beach in various places, but it is most plentiful near the mouth of the Nehalem…and large quantities are found by ploughing in some of the low land near the beach.  There are spots where the sea has never reached in the memory of the oldest settlers, and which are covered with a good-sized growth of spruce, where deposits of wax may be found by digging.”  Of interest, the article ends by saying “These traditions of regard to wrecks come from the Indians and are not reliable.”

Boyd, Robert

2011 Cathlapotle and Its Inhabitants, 1792-1860.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cultural Resources Series #15: Portland, OR

This volume provides an excellent ethnohistory of the lower Columbia and Cathlapotle Village and discusses Soto and other evidence of early Spanish contact and wrecks in the region.

2013 Lower Chinnookan Disease and Demography, in Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia, Robert Boyd, Kenneth Ames, and Tony Johnson, eds. (pp.229249).  University of Washington Press: Seattle, WA

Boyd notes on p. 236 that the first epidemic in the Chinnookan area may have occurred about 1782 as related in John Minto’s (1915) account of Cullaby and his grandfather, who wrecked on the coast “between about 1765 and 1775” but that the epidemic came from two sick men left behind by people landing in small boats and going away again about 1782; this visit sounds similar to the Neahkahnie ship, and if true would indicate it was a very early trader at the start of the fur trade period.

Boyd, Robert T., Kenneth M. Ames, and Tony A. Johnson, eds.

2013 Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia.  University of Washington Press: Seattle, WA

This volume contains the article “Chinookan Oral Literature” by Hymes and Seaburg (see their entry for details). It also contains a chapter by Robert Boyd on disease and demography, which notes on p. 236 that the first epidemic in the Chinnookan area may have occurred about 1782 as related in John Minto’s (1915) account of Cullaby and his grandfather, who wrecked on the coast “between about 1765 and 1775” but that the epidemic came from two sick men left behind by people landing in small boats and going away again about 1782; this visit sounds similar to the Neahkahnie ship, and if true would indicate it was a very early trader at the start of the fur trade period.

Brooks, Charles W.

1876 Japanese Wrecks Stranded and Picked up Adrift in the North Pacific Ocean, Ethnologically Considered, Furnishing Evidence of a Constant Infusion of Japanese Blood Among the Coast Tribes of Northwestern Indians.  California Academy of Sciences: San Francisco.

This volume is an early and comprehensive study of drift wrecks to western North America, noting how they are all Japanese and not Chinese, and the political and sociological reasons why Japanese junks frequently drifted into the Pacific but Chinese junks did not.

Buschmann, Rainer F., Edward R. Slack, and James B. Tueller

2014 Navigating the Spanish Lake: The Pacific in the Iberian World, 1521-1898.  University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu.

A broad history of the Spanish in the Pacific, with discussion of the Manila galleon trade.  No specific information on the Beeswax Wreck, but a good contextual history of Spain in the Pacific.

Capitol Journal

1894 A Problem in Beeswax.  Capitol Journal, month and page number unknown.  Salem, OR.

A short article in the Salem newspaper Capitol Journal and attributed to the Portland Oregonian, stating that the wax found at Nehalem is beeswax, not mineral wax.  Copied from an online archive, the day and page number do not appear on the copy and are unknown.

Careri, Giovanni Francesco Gemelli

1963 A Voyage to the Philippines.  Filipiniana Book Guild: Manila.

An English edition of Careri’s travels in the Philippines and on the Manila galleon in 1696-1697.  On page 125, Careri discusses his visit to Cavite, and notes that the “St. Joseph” (San Jose) of 1694 was the largest galleon of its day, measuring 62 cubits long at the keel and that the “Santo Christo” (presumably the Santo Cristo de Burgos, given the context of its mention) was 60 cubits long at the keel.  This would have made it 90 feet long at the keel, according to online measurement converters (1 cubit = 1.5 feet).  On pages 126-127 he talks about the overloading of the galleon he sailed on, and how “bales of wax” were unloaded to lighten the ship, leaving only the 1500 bales that were on record, but that later the water cisterns were broken open and used to store more goods, leaving the ship short on water.

Carey, Charles Henry

1922 History of Oregon, Vol. I. The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company. Chicago-Portland.

The footnote on page 67 has an excellent summary of the splitting of the known world by Portugal and Spain in the 16th century. Page 68 begins the chapter on Spanish explorations in the Pacific, with discussion of the early explorers to sail north towards Oregon. Page 82 starts a chapter on Francis Drake, but dismisses any claims that Drake landed in Oregon. The footnote on page 95 is the only mention of the Beeswax Wreck or other prehistoric wrecks, and says, 

“There are several legendary accounts of visits of white mengto the Oregon coast at very early periods, such as the “treasure ship” which landed near Neakahnie Mountain, the “beeswax” ship wrecked near Nehalem, and the story of Konapee, cast ashore among the Clatsops. There was a story of a Yazoo Indian called Moneacht Ape or Monchachtabe, seen in his old age in the lower Mississippi region by a French scholar and writer. This Indian claimed to have visited the Pacific coast in 1745, or about that time, and to have learned of the regular visits of a ship to that coast, and to have seen bearded visitors ambushed and slain by the natives on landing. (Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, Vol. I, p. 605) Lyman gives full credence to these stories, excepting the last which he accepts with qualifications (History of Oregon, Vol. I, and Appendix, passim.) They may be classed with other tales and traditions that do not rise to the dignity of history. In Alexander Henry’s Journal under date, December 8, 1813, written at Astoria, is the following about the beeswax ship: “The old Clatsop chief arrived with some excellent salmon and the meat of a large biche. There came with him a man of about thirty years of age, who has extraordinary dark read hair and is much freckled—supposed offspring of a ship that wrecked within a few miles of the entrance of this river many years ago. Great quantities of beeswax continue to be dug out of the sand near this spot, and the indians bring it to trade with us.” (Coues’ Edition, Vol. II, p. 768”

Cherry, E. M.

1929 Letter to J. Neilson Barry.  Unpublished letter on file at the Boise Museum Library, Special Collection Archive (from E. Giesecke collection).

A letter dated 10 August 1929 from E.M. Cherry to J. Neilson Barry of the Trail Seekers Council in Portland, thanking him for a “personal note” and “kind offers”.  Of interest, the letter states “I understand there is another vessel on the beach only visible at the longest run outs and that there is only a small part visible as most of the hull has sunk in the sands.  This vessel is of teak construction the same as the one in the sand dunes.”  This confirms that there were clearly distinct locations of wreckage: one in the ocean at the river mouth on the bar of the spit, and one inland in the back dune basin.

Chicago Daily Tribune

1891 “Nature’s Make of ‘Beeswax’.” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 28. 1891

A short article reprinted from the Detroit Free Press (of unknown date), saying the Nehalem beeswax is actually ozokerite based on “expert examination in New York”.  This same article was reprinted a year later on February 12, 1892 in the Chillicothe Morning Constitution of Missouri, with the same attribution to the Detroit Free Press.

Chief of Engineers

1876 Annual report of the Chief of Engineers to the Secretary of War for the Year 1876 in three Parts: Part II.  Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.

A description of the Nehalem river mouth and surrounding area begins on page 639.  The descriptions are from the five-month period Gilbert spent surveying the area in 1875, and reference is made to the 1868 topo map by Farquhar.  It is noted that in 1875 there were 19 settlers on the river, 8 of which had families.  No mention is made of the wreck or beeswax.

Christian Science Monitor

1909 “Rich Oil is Found in Shape of Wax.” Christian Science Monitor, August 19, 1909

A story about how “J. J. Walter, president of the Necarney City Hydrocarbon Oil Company” has  “ascertained” that “the product found at the mouth of the Nehalem River, popularly believed to be beeswax from a wrecked Spanish galleon, is a valuable substance known to chemistry as ozokerite.”  It goes on to note that “Kit Carson, the famous scout, now employed as an assayer by the government, visited the place [Nehalem] and announced that the supposed beeswax was none other than ozokerite.”  This is remarkable, since Kit Carson died in 1868, and apparently never came to Oregon.

Clarke, Samuel A.

1899 “Wrecked Beeswax and Buried Treasure.”  Oregon Native Son, Vol. I, No. 5 (pp. 245-249).  Native Son Publishing Co.: Portland, OR.

Clarke’s first article on the wreck at Nehalem, which mostly describes beeswax finds and Indian legends.  Of interest he notes (p.245) that when he first visited the Tillamook area in 1870 that “the bones of two wrecks were then to be seen at the mouth of the Nehalem river”.  He also places his story of Sandy, the wrecked Scotsman (who may be the same person as Konapee or is a second, otherwise unknown castaway), occurring “about the year 1745” (p. 247).

1900 “Legend of Nehalem.”  Oregon Native Son, Vol. II, No. 1 (pp. 36-40).  Native Son Publishing Co.: Portland, OR.

This journal is available as a free download from Google Books, and Volume II of the ONS contains several articles on Nehalem and the various wreck stories.  This particular story is about a Scotsman named Sandy who wrecks on the Clatsop plains, and may be related to the Konapee story or may be a later unknown wreck (see note above).

1905 Pioneer Days of Oregon History, Vol. 1.  J.K. Gill Co.: Portland, OR.

This book is a reprint by Powell’s Vintage Prints (Powell’s Bookstore, Portland) of Clarke’s Oregon History, Volumes 1 and 2.  Volume 1 contains a chapter on “Legend of Nehalem” (Chapter XX, page 142) and Chapter XXI (page 155) “Prehistoric Wrecks”.  Chapter 21 has a note saying it was written in 1900, and Clarke wrote part of the article from the Oregon Native Son, Vol. II No. 5 (pp. 219-227; see reference below).  He also did an article in ONS Vol. II No. 1 (pp. 36-40) titled “Legend of Nehalem”, similar but not the same as the chapter in this book.  Of particular interest, Clarke notes that Mrs. Helen Smith judged the Beeswax Wreck to have wrecked “as far back as 1700 or 1710”, and also that the Neahkahnie “treasure ship was a different vessel (one that did not wreck) that occurred about the same time, while “Mr. Warren” reported that “Swan, a very old Clatsop Indian” said they were the same ship.  Clarke goes on to note (p. 163) that, “Where the beeswax was found, at Nehalem Beach, there were also buried in the sand timbers fastened together by peculiar flat spikes, from half an inch to two inches wide and two to eight inches long.  These were used in very hard woods, not like northern timber, and very durable—no doubt preserved by burial in the sands.”  Clarke gives extensive accounts by Hobson and Rogers of their finds of wreckage and beeswax (pp. 166-168).  He goes on in the remainder of the chapter to discuss various finds of beeswax and its sizes, shapes, etc., noting one man found 10,000 pounds of it.

Comerford, Jane

2004 At the Foot of the Mountain.  Dragonfly Press: Portland, OR.

This is an excellent compilation of the history of the Nehalem and Manzanita area, with many historic photographs.  Chapters 12 and 13 are about beeswax, wrecks, and treasure, with pictures of various historic wrecks and a discussion of the various treasure hunters over the years.

Cook, Warren L.

  1. Flood Tide of Empire.  Yale University Press: New Haven and London

Cook corresponded with Eb Giesecke about the Beeswax Wreck and starting on page 31 of his work is a section on the wreck.  He provides an excellent summary of what was known up to the early 1970s about various aspects of prehistoric wrecks and castaways in Oregon.  The book also discusses the various missing galleons, noting the San Francisco Xavier as a likely candidate for the Beeswax Wreck and discussing the translated cargo manifest (but giving the incorrect date of 1707 for the ship’s sailing).  He ends the section with a discussion of the possibility of various European pirates along the west coast that might have preyed on Spanish ships, potentially forcing the Beeswax vessel north toward Nehalem.

Cooper, William S.

1958 Coastal Sand Dunes of Oregon and Washington.  The Geological Society of America Memoir 72.  Boulder, CO.

An excellent resource describing Nehalem Spit prior to the widespread introduction of non-native grass, shrubs, and trees.  It includes a map and physical descriptions of the spit as it was in the 1950s.

Cotton, Samuel

1915 Stories of Nehalem.  M.A. Donohue and Company: Chicago, IL.

Cotton provides an excellent overview of the beeswax and treasure stories and legends.  Page 46 has the memorable line: “That a ship carrying much beeswax was wrecked here is without question.  No story of the Nehalem country has ever been told without a reference to it and all these are substantiated by the immense quantity of wax found scattered along the beach.”  Cotton also has an excellent discussion of the ozokerite-beeswax issue.

Coues, Elliott

1897 New Light on the Early History of the Greater Northwest: the Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry Fur Trader of the Northwest Company and of David Thompson Official Geographer and Explorer of the Same Company 1799-1814, Vol. II.  Francis P. Harper: New York, NY. (published 1897)

This volume is the source for Alexander Henry’s references to the Indians bringing beeswax to Fort George to trade in 1813 and 1814. On page 768 he notes, “There came with him [Chief Concomly] a man about 30 years of age, who has extraordinary dark red hair and is much freckled—a supposed offspring of a ship that was wrecked within a few miles of the entrance to this river many years ago.  Great quantities of beeswax continue to be dug out of the sand near this spot, and the Indians bring it to trade with us.”  Coues has two footnotes to this passage: the first notes Ramsay’s mention by both Lewis and Clark and Cox, and the second states, “The supposed ‘beeswax’ has attracted much attention from Henry’s time to ours.  It is about the only peculiar product of the place which Lewis and Clark seem to have missed. I have lately seen stories floating about that it was genuine beeswax, brought from China in a vessel wrecked on the spot in some indefinite epoch of the past; if so, she must have had a great carrying capacity to have dumped in the sand a cargo not yet exhausted. A certain substance of waxy appearance is found in the ground at various points along the Columbia; its nature is still disputed by the wiseacres whom I have read on the subject, but there is no question of its being an indigenous product, perhaps something like ambergris or spermaceti, from the remains of whales, altered into some sort of adipocerite by long inhumation in wet ground.”

On page 841, writing on Feb. 28, 1814, Henry notes, “They [Clatsop Indians] bring us frequently lumps of beeswax, fresh out of the sand, which they collect on the coast so the S., where the Spanish ship was case away some years ago, and crew all murdered by the natives.” On page 878 in the entry dated April 8, 1814, he notes “The old Clatsop chief, with some of his followers, brought a large beaver in meat, three trout, a few beaver skins, and a few pounds of beeswax.” Page 907, in the entry for May 5, 1814, he notes, “Clatsops brought in some beavers, beeswax, and four whales tusks.”

Cox, Ross

1957 The Columbia River, Or Scenes and Adventures During a Residence of Six Years on the Western Side of the Rocky Mountains Among Various Tribes of Indians Hitherto Unknown; Together with “A Journey Across the American Continent”.  Ed. by Edgar I. Stewart and Jane R. Stewart.  University of Oklahoma Press.

First published in 1831, Cox does not mention the Beeswax Wreck but does mention Jack Ramsay, writing, “An Indian belonging to a small tribe on the coast, to the southward of the Clatsops [Nehalem?], occasionally visited the fort.  He was a perfect lusus naturae, and his history was rather curious.  His skin was fair, his face partially freckled, and his hair quite red.  He was about five feet ten inches high, was slender, but was remarkably well made; his head had not undergone the flattening process; and he was called Jack Ramsay, in consequence of that name having been punctured on his left arm.  The Indians allege that his father was an English sailor, who had deserted from a trading vessel, and had lived many years among their tribe, one of whom he married; that when Jack was born, he insisted on preserving the child’s head in its natural state, and while young had punctured the arm in the above manner.  Old Ramsay had died about twenty years before this period [which would have been the early 1790s]; he had several more children, but Jack was the only red-headed one among them.  He was the only half-bred I ever saw with red hair, as that race in general partake of the swarthy hue derived from their maternal ancestors.  Poor Jack was fond of his father’s countrymen, and had the decency to wear trousers whenever he came to the fort.”

Cromwell, Robert J.

2011 “Comparing the Fur Trade Ceramics of Chinookan and 19th Century Fur trade Sites Along the Columbia River.”  Unpublished paper presented at the 2011 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.

This paper focuses on Fur-Trade era ceramics from the lower Columbia River, but on page 13 Cromwell notes the presence of late 17th century Chinese porcelain that are likely associated with proto-historic shipwrecks, including the Beeswax Wreck, citing Lally’s thesis work.

Crossley, John N.

2011 Hernando de los Rios Coronel and the Spanish Philippines in the Golden Age.  Ashgate Publishing Limited: Surrey.

A good historical overview of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, with some information on the galleon trade.

Dahlgren, Erik W.

1917 Were the Hawaiian Islands visited by the Spaniards before their discovery by Captain Cook in 1778? : A contribution to the geographical history of the North Pacific Ocean especially of the relations between America and Asia in the Spanish period.  AMS Press: New York (1977)

Dahlgren lists each galleon voyage by year, and the fate of the vessel.  He notes for the Santo Cristo de Burgos, “The ‘Santo Cristo de Burgos’ remained at Sorsogon in order to continue its voyage in the year 1693, as it did; but it not only failed to reach port, but was wrecked, without our gaining the least knowledge of the place where that occurred. There were some suspicions that it was destroyed by fire, for at one of the Mariannes were found fragments of burned wood, which were recognized to be of woods that are found in the Philippines only. Careful search was made for many years along the coast of South America, and in other regions, but not the least news of this ship was obtained” (citing Blair and Robertson XLII p. 309; on p. 98-99).  Of the San Francisco Xavier, he writes, “The galleon ‘San Francisco Xavier’, General Don Santiago Zabalburu, sailed from Cavite in August. ‘Nothing is known of its fate; not a fragment, no object whatever, large or small, has ever been found to serve as evidence or support for even a conjecture as to its fate, whether it was shattered on some unknown rock or was swallowed by the waves, crew and all—commander, seaman, and passengers, among whom were whole families of high rank. The ocean has kept the secret of this terrible tragedy.’” (p. 111).  In a footnote at the bottom of the page, he discusses M. Jean de Monségur, the source for the 1707 cargo manifest of the SFX in French. Dahlgren notes de Monségur was a Spanish Navy officer of French birth, who arrived in Mexico City in 1707, stayed for a year, and then wrote a report on his return to Spain and that report is preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; Dahlgren notes de Monségur must have either confused the name of a later ship with that of the SFO, or that a copy of the cargo manifest had reached Mexico on another ship and was copied by de Monségur without him realizing the SFO was lost.

Daily Astorian

1879 “Untitled.”  The Daily Astorian, May 16, 1879 (p.?)

A short article that notes, “Last week Mr. George Dean, of lower Nehalem, along the coast, plowed up 16 pounds of beeswax in one of his fields.  Mr. J.H. Larsen picked up a large piece on his way to this city from Tillamook, in the same vicinity.  This beeswax comes from the wreck of a vessel along the coast, lost so long ago that nobody of this age can give any account of the disaster.  Sixty pounds of the wax was plowed up and saved last year.”  This is the source for the Willamette Farmer (1879, see below) article. 

1881 The Daily Astorian, Saturday, January 22, 1881 (p.1)

At the bottom of the first column under the heading, “The City” is a short note that states, “Mr. E.A. Noyes yesterday showed us an article which may throw additional light upon the traditional wreck of which mention has been made in these parts, from time, to time since the earliest period of civilization here.  It is a brass figure of the Siamese elephant, with crown, an emblem of the Siamese to this day, commonly seen there.  It was presented to Mr. Newell, at the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company’s office in this city, by Mr. Kindred, and has a history which was traced direct to the beeswax wreck of long ago.”  The article does not say how the history was traced: whether it was found in the Nehalem area while farming, or from a midden site, or taken from the offshore wreck.

1883a “An Old Resident, Born in Astoria in 1828”, The Daily Astorian, Friday June 22, 1881 (p.1)

A story on a discussion with Dr. William McKay, born in Astoria in 1828.  When asked about the beeswax found along the coast, he noted it (and other items such as porcelain) were from the Japanese junk wreck at Point Adams in the 1830s (but see 1883c below)

1883b “That Beeswax”, The Daily Astorian, Tuesday, July 17, 1883 (p.1).

A short letter to the editor noting that when the writer “came here in 1843” he made “all inquiries that anyone could concerning that wreck more on account of the great treasure that the Indians say was deposited there” and that it was at the mouth of the Nehalem River.  He goes on to write of the thirty survivors with braids on their heads, “white but not as white as we are.”  He also notes that Thomas McKay “went with a company of Hudson Bay men to Nehalem in search of the great iron chest.”

1883c Untitled column story, The Daily Astorian, Thursday, August 9, 1883 (p. 1).

An untitled story apparently referencing the January 22 story about Dr. McKay, noting that McKay wrote in the Pendleton Tribune that “No one ever denied that there was a wreck in the mouth of the Nehalem centuries ago… the wreck I was alluding to [in the January article above] was about the year 1834 or ’36 [so not the Nehalem wreck].”

1888a A Tale of Treasure Trove, The Daily Astorian, Tuesday, January 24, 1888 (p.1).

A short article noting that a “mossy stone has been found, a huge basalt rock, carven with a cross and an anchor” that was thought to mark the treasure supposed to be on Neahkahnie.  It notes that the stone was found shortly after New Year’s, but not where, and that the finders were “busily engaged in digging and delving for the great treasure”.  It also notes that the shipwreck was “near the mouth of the Nehalem.”

1888b Some Traditional History, Indian Stories of the Long Ago, The Beeswax Ship and the Legend of Konapee, The Daily Astorian, Sunday, January 29, 1888 (p.1).

A long article (for The Daily Astorian) on the Beeswax Wreck, beeswax, Neahkahnie, and Konapee.  It starts with a discussion of the “beeswax ship”, and notes it was “at the mouth of the Nehalem”.  It notes “a few years since an enterprising man dug up and collected the most of it, mining over the low dunes as he might for gold” and collecting about a ton.  It goes on to talk about a separate vessel bringing something—chest or coffin—that was buried on Neahkahnie, and then sailing away again.  The writer notes that it’s unclear if a body was placed with the object, or a crucifix, noting that the Indian word is similar for either.  Interestingly, there is a parenthetical editor’s note that “this chest has been recently reported to be discovered”.  It then goes on to discuss Konapee’s wreck, noting that it was a few miles south of the Point Adams lighthouse near the mouth of the Columbia, and ascribes two survivors to the story.

Daily Record

1989 “Treasure-seeker claims billion-dollar booty.”  The Daily Record, July 25, 1989: p. 13.  Ellensburg, WA

A short article about Bill Warren’s treasure-hunting activities at Nehalem.  Of interest, Warren claims the wreck was broken into three pieces near the Nehalem River, one offshore and two in the river; he identifies the ship as the San Francisco Xavier.

Davis, Horace

1872 Japanese Wrecks in American Waters.  The Overland Monthly, Devoted to the Development of the Country, Vol. 9 (pp. 353-360).  John H. Carmany & company: San Francisco.

On page 356 this article mentions the junk wrecked at Point Adams and confuses it with the Beeswax Wreck at Nehalem.  It notes Belcher’s 1839 noting of beeswax and the wreck, and Davidson’s work of 1851.  It also mentions an earlier article in the Overland Monthly, which I have not yet located.

Davidson, George

1869 Pacific Coast Pilot of California, Oregon, and Washington Territory.  Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.

The Coast Pilot has a section on the Nehalem River starting on page 140.  It is a good description of the river and spit in the mid-19th Century.  He notes the dunes of the spit averaged 25 feet high, and that “Ne-ah-kah-nie” was grass covered to the summit, with a house on the south side at the base.  He does not mention the beeswax or a wreck in this discussion, but on page 144 in his discussion of Point Adams he notes Clatsop Beach and that “Upon it, many years ago, before whites occupied the country, a Chinese or Japanese junk, with many hands and a cargo of beeswax, was cast ashore and went to pieces; but the crew were saved [apparently he is confusing the later junk wreck of 1834, where there were three survivors, with the Beeswax Wreck].  In support of this Indian tradition, there are occasionally, after great storms, pieces of this wax thrown ashore, coated with sand and bleached nearly white.  Formerly a great deal was found, but now it is rarely met with.  Belcher [a British captain on the coast in 1839] mentions having a specimen.  Many people on the Columbia possess them, and we have seen several pieces.  In a late work [footnoted “Perry’s Japan”] this wreck has been confounded with another that took place near Cape Flattery.”

1889 Pacific Coast Pilot of California, Oregon, and Washington Territory.  Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.

Davidson describes the Nehalem River bar (p. 441):  “The Bar of the river was not sounded, but it was sufficiently near to the observer to be watched from shore, and for five months they never saw it without a break entirely across it.  It was believed to have less than six feet of water upon it.  The channel evidently shifts with heavy storms.  There appeared times when a small steamer might enter by running through one line of breakers if the exact position of the bar and the depth of water upon it were known.  A sailing vessel could not, ordinarily, get in or out because the wind is not steady enough so close under the high eastern shore.   Also of interest, Davidson notes on page 450 that “there is one peculiarity of this long stretch of sea-coast; that the winds of the great storms of winter do not make it a lee shore, but blow very nearly parallel with it, and so far as we can gather there has been no case where a vessel has actually been driven ashore from stress of weather.  In the summer northwest winds, although they draw over the land, it never blows so squarely and so violently on shore as to make a dangerous lee shore.”  Davidson discusses beeswax and the wreck on page 453, in his discussion of Point Adams, repeating the information from the 1869 volume and adding “Whether this wreck took place in the Clatsop Beach or farther to the southward is an open question.  At the Nehalem river, and midway across the sandy peninsula at its mouth near its junction with the main-land, large and small pieces of wax are often found uncovered after strong winds.  Among the settlers in the vicinity there is a tradition, derived from the Indians, that the wreck took place off the beach where this sand spit begins; and they even assert that part of the wreck has been pointed out by the Indians at extreme low tides.  The wax found here is black on the surface, but when cut discloses the ordinary color of beeswax.  If the littoral drift is to the northward the wax found on Clatsop Beach may well have come from the southward.”

Dewey, Christopher T. and Scott S. Williams

2021 The Cape Falcon Underwater Survey Project: Archaeological Excavation Permit No. AP-3114. Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR

Doyle, D.L.

1996 Beach response to subsidence following a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake along the Washington-Oregon coast.  M.S. Thesis, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, 113 p.

Erlandson, Jon, Robert Losey, and Neil Peterson

  1. “Early Maritime Contact on the Northern Oregon Coast: Some Notes on the 17th Century Nehalem Beeswax Ship.” Changing Landscapes: “Telling Our Stories,” Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Coquille Cultural Preservation Conference, Jason Younker, Mark A. Tveskov, and David G. Lewis, eds.  Coquille Indian Tribe: North Bend.

Erlandson et al. summarize what is known of the Beeswax Wreck up to that time, and provide a table of radiocarbon dates.  They propose the wreck was a pre-tsunami galleon, and based on the radiocarbon dates and earlier analyses of the porcelains as Ming Dynasty period they suggest an unknown or ‘mystery’ galleon between 1620 and 1650 whose loss was not recorded by Schurz or Blair and Robertson.  They also discuss the finding of the second rigging block and its dating, and Indian uses of beeswax.

Ewing, Paul F.

1940 “Beeswax Renews Tale of Treasure.”  The Hartford Courant, September 8, 1940.

This article starts out identical to the Fresno Weekly Republican article of 1894 (cited below) but appears to be a later article based on the font and its inclusion of other information—it seems Mr. Ewing plagiarized an earlier article.

Fish, Shirley

2011 The Manila-Acapulco Galleons: The Treasure Ships of the Pacific, with an Annotated List of the Transpacific Galleons 1565-1815.  AuthorHouse UK: Central Milton Keynes.

This volume is an easy, comprehensive history of the Manila galleon trade, with chapters on the construction and outfitting of the galleons.  Mostly a summary of earlier works, Fish repeats Schurz’s claim that the Santo Cristo de Burgos burned in the western Pacific and that survivors made it back to the Philippines.  She lists the San Francisco Xavier’s date of sailing as 1704 (rather than the correct date of 1705), and notes that it may be the Beeswax Wreck.  There are some other errors of fact, but they appear to primarily be editing mistakes.

Flynn, Dennis O., Arturo Giráldez, and James Sobredo

2001 European Entry into the Pacific: Spain and the Acapulco-Manila Galleons (The Pacific World: Lands, Peoples, and History of the Pacific, 1500-1900, Vol. 4). Ashgate Publishing Company: Burlington, VT.

This volume is a series of articles taken from other publications and compiled into a single volume on this particular topic. The articles of interest focus mainly on the economics of the galleon trade, rather than shipwrecks, but several of the articles contain particularly relevant information on the sizes of galleons, cargo sizes, the importance of silks in the trade (rather than porcelains), and good discussions of the various laws and regulations and how they were routinely violated or circumvented. The original publication dates of the chapters range from 1907 through 1995, and represent articles from a variety of sources.

Franchere, Gabriel

  1. Adventure at Astoria, 1810-1814 [Translated and edited by Hoyt Franchere, 1967]. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman.

Franchere describes meeting an “old, nearly blind Indian” who was described as “half white” by Franchere’s Indian guides, at the Cascades of the Columbia River. The man said his name was Soto, and that he was the son of a Spanish sailor shipwrecked at the “mouth of the river” (presumable the Columbia, from the way it is worded).  Based on other accounts, Soto appears to be the son of Konapee, wrecked on Clatsop Beach sometime between 1725 and 1750.

Fresno Weekly Republican

1894 “Wax Find Revives Legend of Old Oregon Pirates.”  The Fresno Weekly Republican, June 29, 1894.

A short article notes the “recent” find of “an 85-lb chunk of beeswax”, “the largest piece found in 20 years.”  Found with it were two candles.  It goes on to note that “The broken hull of an old ship does lie on a sandspit just beyond the breakers, as all northwestern Oregon beach residents know.”

Fuller, George W.

1931. A History of the Pacific Northwest.  Alfred a Knopf: New York.

Fuller discusses the accounts of protohistoric wrecks in Chapter III, “Explorers – By Sea”, beginning on page 43.  He notes a wreck at Nehalem, citing 25-30 survivors in an account that seems to be taken from Smith’s account of 1899; the Neahkanie treasure story; and Konapee’s wreck which he places on Clatsop beach about 1850, with two survivors (although later he says four).  On page 44 is a discussion of Nehalem beeswax, noting “about ten tons” had been found, and suggesting the San Jose of 1769 as the source.

Gerhard, Peter

1960 Pirates on the West Coast of New Spain 1575-1742. Arthur H. Clark Co.: Glendale, CA

This book is a good, general summary (although it might be somewhat dated) of pirate activity in the Pacific prior to 1742.  Of interest to the Oregon coast, it notes how difficult it was for pirates to operate on the Pacific coasts of Central and South America, due to the sparse nature of Spanish settlements and the difficulty in provisioning ships: the greatest challenge faced by Pacific pirates was the lack of food and supplies, and the low volume of Spanish shipping.  When pirates were spotted, the Spanish tactic was to drive cattle inland and abandon any coastal settlements, taking provisions with them and hiding anything of value.  The author notes that typically only large groups or fleets of pirates could successfully operate on the coast. There are no records of pirates north of Baja, Lower California.  It was reprinted in 2003 as Pirates of New Spain 1575-1742 by Dover Publications, Inc., of Mineloa, NY.

Gibbs, James A.

1950 Pacific Graveyard.  Binford & Mort: Portland, OR

Published in 1950 and again in 1963 and 1993, Gibbs Chapter 4 beginning on page 54, talks about drift voyages, Konapee, the “Treasure Ship”, and the Beeswax ship.  He considers them to be three separate vessels.  The stories are short, and there is not any information in this book that is not given in more detail in others.

1957 Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast.  Binford & Mort: Portland, OR.

Discussion beginning on page 106 titled “Early Spanish and Oriental Shipwrecks of the Nehalem Shores” and continues on to page 114.  It discusses beeswax and the Nehalem wrecks, as well as the Neahkanie treasure and the legend of a Chinese pirate.  He notes an “unknown wreck has been located in deep water off Treasure Cove, below the towering cliffs of Mount Neah-Kah-Nie” but does not say who located it or how.  He discusses the Spanish trade and Silas Smith’s theory that the wreck at Nehalem is the supply ship San Jose from 1769, and that “most of the wax was found 200 yards from the sea” indicating the crew attempted to save the cargo (not knowing about the tsunami).  He also discusses Konapee’s wreck, putting it about 1725. The rest of his discussion is about the Neahkanie treasure, marked stones, and efforts to find the treasure.

1971 Disaster Log of Ships.  Superior Publishing Co.: Seattle, WA.  

This is the volume where Gibbs relates the story of diver Robert Everett finding a modern wreck “just south of the Columbia River” and finding in the sand beneath it Spanish gold ingots and coins (page 41).  On page 43 he goes on to discuss the treasure at Neahkahnie and the evidence for two wrecks off Nehalem, the one on the beach and “another ancient wreck claimed by commercial fishermen to be reposing in the depths just off nearby Short Sands Beach.”  On Page 44 he notes the San Francisco Xavier or the San Jose as likely candidates for the Nehalem beach wreck, then goes on to mention the wreck at Three Rocks (“Three Rox” he calls it) on the Salmon River.

1978 Oregon’s Salty Coast.  Superior Publishing Co.: Seattle, WA

Gibbs writes that “Indian legend claims that a vessel wrecked near the Quinault River in Washington as early as 1550” on page 20, and then begins discussion of the Nehalem beeswax on page 24.  He goes on through page 36 discussing the San Jose and various other proto-historic wrecks in Oregon (including the Salmon River story), citing earlier works and Indian legends, and that Lewis and Clark were given beeswax by the Clatsop Indians.  He discusses the San Francisco Xavier and that “Commercial fishermen from Garibaldi long claimed that a vessel had been sighted in the depths near Neah-kah-nie’s Short Sands Beach and was believed to be of Spanish origin” (page 36).

1986 Peril at Sea: A Photographic Study of Shipwrecks in the Pacific.  Schiffer Publishing Ltd., West Chester, PA.

This is essentially a duplicate of the information regarding proto-historic wrecks presented in Gibbs’ 1971 book.

Gibbs, George, Wm. F. Tolmie, and G. Mengarini

1970 Tribes of Western Washington and Northwester Oregon.  Extract from Vol. 1 of “Contributions to American ethnology”, Washington, D.C. 1877.  The Shorey Book Store, Facsimile Reproduction: Seattle.

A facsimile reprint from 1970 of the 1877 Department of the Interior Contributions to North American Ethnology Volume I.  This is one of the earlier accounts from the Northwest, and on page 236 starts a section titled “Early Visits of White Men”.  Gibbs, the author of this section, discusses the three proto-historic wrecks including Konapee, Beeswax Wreck, and the Neahkahnie Treasure story (as three separate vessels).  He notes that he was informed directly by “The wife of Mr. Solomon H. Smith, who belonged to the Klatsop, and was born about the year 1810” of the story of Konapee (although he does not use that name).  He goes into quite a bit of detail on the story, including that Soto was the son of Konapee, and noting the wreck was before the Neahkahnie vessel, which anchored (not wrecked).  Of particular interest to the Beeswax Wreck is his account of survivors living with the Nehalem Indians “for some time”, and that when the fight between the survivors and the Nehalem broke out that the survivors “resisted, throwing stones behind them and under their arms with great force, as the Indians say” (original in italics).  This is of interest because he wrote this 22 years before Smith’s presentation to the Oregon Historical Society in 1899, where he discussed the stories his mother told him, and Gibbs does not mention “sling shots” or slung shot—his account may be the Indians way of referring to the survivors using guns, which the Nehalem would not have seen before.

Giesecke, Eb W.

2007 Beeswax, Teak and Castaways: Searching for Oregon’s Lost Protohistoric Asian Ship. Nehalem Valley Historical Society: Manzanita, OR

A small folio published by the NVHS, it consists of copies of Eb’s notes, letters, emails, and various photographs and maps, loosely organized into Eb’s hypothesis that the galleon wrecked at the area of the boat ramp, which he believes was once the river mouth (i.e., that the river used to enter the ocean in the area of the modern boat ramp, not the historically mapped mouth).  Includes Eb’s notes from Manzanita residents and a map of locations reported to him as containing wreckage.

Gilsen, Leland

  1. “Beeswax Discovery, Nehalem State Park.” Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem.

Short archaeological report on a lump of beeswax found during excavation for a utility in the State Park.  The wax was found while digging a posthole in Loop D, about 1.0-1.5 feet below surface.  The report does not say which camping spot or where in Loop D it was found.

  1. Impacts of Earthquake Tsunamis on Oregon Coastal Populations.  In Contributions to the Archaeology of Oregon 2002, Occasional Papers No. 7.  Association of Oregon Archaeologists, State Museum of Anthropology: Eugene, OR.

Gilsen discusses the potential impacts of tsunamis on prehistoric coastal populations, and summarizes the evidence for tsunami deposits at sites in Nehalem and Netarts, as well as other places.

Gitzen, Garry D.

2008 Francis Drake in Nehalem Bay 1579: Setting the Historical Record Straight.  Ekahni Publishing: Wheeler, OR.

This volume details Garry’s hypothesis, originally by Wayne Jensen and Don Viles, that Drake repaired his ship at Nehalem Bay rather than Drake’s Bay, CA, and that the marked rocks and cairns on Neahkahnie are the remnants of a possession survey by Drake.  This version is an advance reading copy, and later versions are slightly different to correct some issues concerning the tsunami and the spit.  The volume does not contain any information relevant to the Beeswax Wreck but does have many photos of the Neahkahnie rocks.

2012 The Treasure Rocks of Neah-ka-nie Mt.  Lulu Publishing.

This book is Garry’s revised reprint of Jensen and Vile’s earlier work.  It does not address the wreck, but like the volume above it has many photos of the Neahkahnie rocks.

Graves, Jack L.

2000 Flagg of the Mimi: Romance and Shipwreck on the Oregon Coast in 1913.  Garibaldi Books: Garibaldi, OR.

Fictionalized account of the wrecking and attempted salvage of the Mimi.

Greenlow, Robert

1840 Memoir, Historical and Political, on the Northwest Coast of North America, and the Adjacent Territories, Illustrated by a Map and a Geographical View of those Countries.  Blair and Rives, Printers: Washington, D.C.

An early history of the exploration and discovery of the Pacific Coast, including an appendix devoted to Drake.  Its only mention of prehistoric wrecks is on page 128, where it is noted that Irving, in his work Astoria published in 1836, noted (in reference to the Columbia River) that “A Spanish ship is said to have been wrecked at its mouth, several of the crew of which lived for some time among the natives.”  This could be a reference to either Konapee or the Beeswax wreck, but given the context is more likely to be a reference to Soto’s story and Konapee.  Greenlow goes on to dismiss this claim, and notes that he hopes this information will be “omitted in future editions of Astoria, or that the author will state more particularly…when the Spanish ship was wrecked at the mouth” of the river.

Griffin, Dennis

2013 “A History of Underwater Archaeological Research in Oregon.”  Journal of Northwest Anthropology, Vol. 47, No. 1 (pp. 1-24)

An excellent overview on the state of shipwreck research in Oregon up to 2013, including a bibliography.

Gulick, Bill

1991 Roadside History of Oregon.  Mountain Press Publishing Company: Missoula, MT

This book contains a short discussion, starting on page 83, or the Beeswax Wreck and the story of Konapee.  There is no new or useful information in the book, and some misinformation such as stating the San Francisco Xavier sailed in 1603.

Hajda, Yvonne

1989 Ehtnohistory of the Nehalem Shipwreck. In “Preliminary Report on the 1989 Excavations at the Cronin Point Site (35-TI-4B) Nehalem State Park Oregon,” by Alison Stenger and Charles Hibbs.  Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem, OR.

Hajda provides a good summary of the various Indian oral histories regarding the Beeswax Wreck, Konapee, and the Neahkahnie treasure.  She thinks they are three distinct stories relating three separate ships and does not discuss some of the earlier accounts saying the Neahkahnie and Beeswax ships were the same.

Handley, T. B.

1899 “An Interesting Discovery.”  Letter to the editor, McMinnville Telephone-Register, September 7, 1899.

A letter to the editor, originally written to the Tillamook Herald, by “T.B.H.” who is T. B. Handley, according to Eb Giesecke.  The letter notes that shifting sands “during the past few weeks” have “uncovered to view the remains” of a wreck that “lies back from the present shore line some 400 feet, and is about at the base of the sand point, which projecting south, forms the lower Nehalem bay.  It lies bottom up and a part of the keel is to be seen a hundred yards away, indicating the hull was broken up in the breakers near the point where it now lies.”  This description is unclear—does he mean it is 400 feet offshore, at the “base of the sand point” being the southern end of the spit, or does he mean it is 400 feet inland, at the base of Cronins Point which forms the bay?  Use of the term “breakers” suggests offshore, but Eb thought he meant in the basin.  Handley goes on to note that “there can be little doubt that this is the vessel from which came the beeswax” of which “several tons” had been collected over the past thirty years (including candles 30 inches long).  Of interest, he notes the markings on the wax and totally dismisses the idea that it could be from an Asian junk and must be Spanish.  He also notes the keel and timbers are teak, including a large block “two feet long and rather clumsily made; the iron has entirely decomposed, leaving a large, discolored hole through the center.”  Is this a reference to the teak rigging block at the Benton County Museum?  Rogers followed up on this sighting with a letter of his own on September 21 (see that citation below).


1921 “Teak From Wreck Sold About County.” Headlight-Herald, February 22, 1921

A copy of a clipping with a handwritten note dating it to 1921, the story is about Pat Smith selling teakwood canes made from wood which he “salvaged…from the hull of an old wreck on Necarney beach… The wreck is only accessible at very low tide, and most of the time it is buried under huge deposits of ocean sands.  When the currents are right, however, and the tide is also low, it can be seen and gotten to.”  This suggests the river mouth wreck; was Smith still collecting wood to sell as late as 1921?  Need to check what year Smith passed away.

Hill, Percy

1925 Romantic Episodes in Old Manila: Church and State in the Hands of a Merry Jester—Time. Sugar News Press:  Manila, PI. 

This book contains a chapter claiming the Santo Cristo de Burgos burned at sea, and two survivors made it back to the Philippines where they were tried by the Catholic Church for the sin of cannibalism (eating one of their dead companions) while adrift at sea.  The account of the Santo Cristo de Burgos is in the first paragraph of a long story that is predominantly a satirical attack on the Catholic Church.  Hill claims in the Preface that the stories in the volumes come from letters and records “in the archives of the Philippines”, but they seem apocryphal.

1928 Romance and Adventure in Old Manila.  Philippine Education Co.:  Manila, PI.

This is the source Schurz cites for his statement that the Santo Cristo de Burgos burned in the western Pacific and that survivors told the tale when they were tried in Manila court “years later”.  This book is essentially the 1925 work (above) with a new title and publisher.

Hobson, John

1894 Letter to the Editor. The Oregonian, June 20, 1894 (p. 6). Portland, OR

This letter to the editor is reprinted in the Oregon Native Son (1900) on pages 222-224, and in the Sunday Oregonian of April 25, 1915 (p. 3).  Hobson wrote in 1894, recounting his early days on the Oregon coast from when he first arrived in 1843 to his continuing adventures including traveling to Nehalem in 1848 to recover a case of drugs for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and again in 1868 to accompany the government surveyors to the spit (to make the draft map of 1868 in our collection). The letter is full of interesting and useful information about the wreck and beeswax, and the distribution of beeswax on the ‘clay-like layer” and Hobson’s idea that a “freshet” deposited the beeswax all over the spit. He writes of finding ship’s timbers with the beeswax, and the finding of a 50-inch long copper chain.  He also notes that the clay-like layer contains other wood besides the timbers.  He also notes that “the constant winds blowing the sands from the northwest in summer and the southwest in winter, has covered and uncovered it [the beeswax] for ages” (p. 223).  He says there were two vessels, the beeswax wreck and the Neahkahnie wreck, and the beeswax vessel wrecked on the spit “near the mouth of the Nehalem River” (p. 222) and later “on the spit” (p. 223), and that the beeswax vessel “must have been a Chinese junk as we had seen several pieces of a junk between Clatsop and Nehalem” (p. 223).

Horner, John B.

1928 Days and Deeds in the Oregon Country: Ten-Minute Stories Offered as Side Lights on Pacific Northwest History.  J.K. Gill Co.: Portland, OR.

A short discussion (pages 48-55) about the beeswax and the wreck, mostly from recollections of Pat Smith (described as “the well-known ‘Hermit of Nehalem’”) and Thomas Rogers.  Of interest, on page 52 Rogers is quoted as saying, “That such a ship went ashore near Neah-kah-nie is beyond questions.  I saw the wrecked ship.  It now lies one and a half miles north of Neah-kah-nie.”  This is interesting because this is the only description of a wreck “north” of Neahkahnie.

Howard, Daniel F.

1927 Oregon’s First White Men.  Rainier Review Press: Rainier, OR

Another fictionalized account of the Beeswax Wreck and the Neahkahnie Treasure.

Hult, Ruby El

  1. Lost Mines and Treasures of the Pacific Northwest. Binfords and Mort: Portland.

An excellent source for information on the Beeswax Wreck, Hult lays out the history of sightings through the 19th century with references to the individuals, their findings, and the years, and discusses where beeswax was found.  She discusses beeswax, wreckage, and Neahkahnie.

1971 Treasure Hunting Northwest.  Binfords & Mort: Portland, OR.

Updates to her 1960 work on Nehalem starting on page 96, including a discussion of the 1961 radiocarbon dating of the “67” block by Shell Corporation on page 103.  On page 105 she notes that according to Harry Tuttle, the man who donated the silver oil jar to the TCPM, the wreck was “just west of the Nehalem Spit almost at its southern end.”  She says this is based on a map Tuttle drew, but does not say where this map is now.

Huntington, J. V. (ed.)

1854 Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific by Gabriel Franchere.  Redfield: New York, NY.

This is the English translation of Franchere’s journal, edited and translated by J.V. Huntington and published in 1854.  It notes on page 112-113, “The next day, the 8th, we did not proceed far before we encountered a very rapid current. Soon after, we saw a hut of Indians engaged in fishing, where we stopped to breakfast. We found here an old blind man, who gave us a cordial reception. Our guide said that he was a white man, and this is name was Soto. We learned from the mouth of the old man himself, the he was the son of a Spaniard who had been wrecked at the mouth of the river; that a part of the crew on this occasion got safe ashore, but all were massacred by the Clatsops, with the exception of four, who were spared and who married native women; that these four Spaniards, of whom his father was one, disgusted with the savage life, attempted to reach a settlement of their own nation toward the south, but had never been heard of since; and that when his father, with his companions, left the country, he himself was yet quite young.”  This encounter took place downstream of Strawberry Island

Hymes, Dell and William R. Seaburg

2013 Chinookan Oral Literature. Chapter Eight in Chinookan People of the Lower Columbia, Robert T. Boyed, Kenneth M. Ames, and Tony A. Johnson, eds. University of Washington Press: Seattle.

Hymes and Seaburg have perhaps the most accurate retelling of the story of “The First Ship Seen by the Clatsop” (suggesting Konapee’s ship) as told to Franz Boas by Charles Cultee, first published by Boaz in 1894. In this version, there are two survivors on the ship, not four, and the ship has two masts and is sheathed in copper—which would put its wrecking near the close of the 18th century, which is too late for Konapee. It also notes the ship was full of boxes, including strings of brass buttons, suggesting it was a fur trader. In this version, the ship is burned so the Clatsop can gather the iron, copper and brass.  It also notes that because of the wreck, the Clatsop chiefs “became rich”, and it was the first time they had seen iron or brass, which does not jibe with it being a late 18th century fur trader. Their Chapter Eight is pages 163-180, with “The First Ship Seen by the Clatsop” narrative being on pages 171-175.

Irving, Washington

1836 Astoria; Or, Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains.  Richard Bentley: London.

On page 39 of Volume I, Irving notes in his discussion of Robert Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River that “The existence of this river, however, was known long before the visits of Gray and Vancouver, but the information concerning it was vague and indefinite, being gathered from the reports of Indians… A Spanish ship is said to have been wrecked at its mouth, several of the crew of which lived for some time among the natives.”  This is probably a reference to Konapee, based on the story of Soto, rather than the Beeswax Wreck.

Jameson, W.C.

1995 Buried treasures of the Pacific Northwest: Secret Indian Mines, Lost Outlaw Hoards, and Stolen Payroll Coins.  August House: Little Rock, AR.

This book contains really, really bad and poorly researched stories on “lost treasures”.  It does not mention the Beeswax Wreck or Neahkahnie Mountain, but does talk about the Three Rocks “treasure” and Drake burying five chests of treasure at Gold Beach, Oregon (after docking in San Francisco Bay and carousing at the taverns there while his ships were loaded!).

La Follette, Cameron, Douglas Deur, Dennis Griffin, and Scott S. Williams

2018 Oregon’s Manila Galleon. Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 119, No. 2 (pp. 150-159).

Lally, Jessica

2008 Analysis of the Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Associated with the Beeswax Wreck, Nehalem, Oregon.  Unpublished Master’s thesis, Department of Anthropology, Central Washington University.  Ellensburg, WA.

Presents her analysis of the porcelain sherds from finds in the area, and dating the porcelain to the Kang Xi reign (1675-1725), with an estimated age of 1680-1710, with some earlier types present.

2014 Analysis of the Beeswax Shipwreck Porcelain Collection. Proceedings of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage, H. Van Tilburg, S. Tiripati, V. Walker-Vadillo, B. Fahy, and J. Kimura, eds. Electric Pencil: Honolulu, HI.

A conference paper summarizing the results of her MA thesis.

2016 Analysis of the Beeswax Shipwreck Porcelain Collection, Nehalem, Oregon, USA.  Harvard-Yenching Institute, Cambridge, MA (expected 2017).

Updates the analysis reported in her 2008 thesis, and narrows the chronology to 1670-1700, with a mean date of 1690.

Lee, Daniel, and Joseph Frost 

  1. Ten Years in Oregon.  Ye Galleon Press: Fairfield, WA.

Lee and frost write about the Beeswax Wreck on page 107, where they note the wreck was “sunk in the sand near shore”.  They note that the Hudson’s Bay Company had bought great quantities of the wax from the Tillamook Indians, and report the finding of a piece of beeswax on the beach of the Columbia River.

Legarda, Benito

2001 Two and a Half Centuries of the Galleon Trade.  Chapter 14 in European Entry into the Pacific: Spain and the Acapulco-Manila Galleons (The Pacific World: Lands, Peoples, and History of the Pacific, 1500-1900, Vol. 4, pp. 337-365). Ashgate Publishing Company: Burlington, VT.

This article, originally written in 1955, provides a nice summary of the history and economy of the galleon trade, in a more concise and easy to read package than Schurz’s work. Legarda discusses galleon sizes briefly on p. 353, noting that “Although the officially permissible number of piezas was four thousand, there were galleons that carried six or seven thousand, and one, the San Jose, sank with twelve thousand in her hold. The Rosario if the mid-eighteenth century had space for 18,667 piezas. The tonnage limits were also not enforced. Although the decree of 1593 prescribed the maximum tonnage of a Manila galleon as 300 tons, there were ships of 700 tons in service and even thousand-tonners before 1614. In 1718 the galleons used in the trade were of 612, 900, and 1000 tons, and the Santisima Trinidad, captured by the English in 1762 and taken as a war prize to Plymouth, had a tonnage of 2000.”

Lévesque, Rodrigue

  1. History of Micronesia, Vol. 20.  Lévesque Publications: Québec.

This volume lists the sailings and known fates of all the galleons that operated out of Manila.

ADD Levesque 2018

Lincoln County Leader

1894 “A Large Lump of Beeswax”, Lincoln County Leader (Toledo, Oregon).

Cover page of the Lincoln County Leader, found online and so no month or date available other than the year (1894).  Near the bottom of the first column is a paragraph noting that “A large lump of beeswax was recently brought up from the Nehalem by a settler in that section and sold to M.J. Kinney of Astoria, Or., for $25.  Its dimensions are about 31/2 x 2 x 1 feet, and on one of the sides are three letters, but so indistinct that they cannot be deciphered.  It was found near the spot on the beach where a Spanish vessel is supposed to have gone ashore many years ago, and where so much of the wax has been found from time to time for twenty years past.”

Lizarraga-Arciniega, Jose R. and Paul D. Komer

1975 Shoreline Changes Due to Jetty Construction on the Oregon Coast.  Oregon State University Sea Grant College Program Publication No. ORESU-T-75-004.

This report provides an excellent overview of shoreline changes caused by several jetty systems on the Oregon coast, including Nehalem.  It also provides a good history of the construction and erosion of the Nehalem jetties.

Los Angeles Times

1906 “Lost Cargo Washed Ashore; Padres’ Sacred Candle Wax Two Centuries Old.”  Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1906.

An article no doubt picked up by the Times off a news service, this one contains a rather amazing amount of misinformation, including placing Nehalem in Washington rather than Oregon.  Still, it shows the widespread interest in the beeswax and its source.

Lyman, Horace S.

1903 History of Oregon: the Growth of an American State.  The North Pacific Publishing Society: New York.

Chapter Five (pages 161-178) is “Indian Traditions of the First White Men” and discusses the various stories of the Neahkahnie ship and treasure, the Beeswax Ship, and Konapee.  Much of the chapter is based on the information of Silas Smith, from his mother Helen, and tells the same stories of the Beeswax Wreck, Neahkahnie Treasure, and Konapee as three separate events.  Of interest is that Lyman notes, in regard to the story of the Neahkahnie treasure, that “The killing of the man is uncertain [the “Negro” of many versions, although Lyman just says “a man”], as the word used for a dead body is also applied to a crucifix.  It is a mere inference also that the box, or chest, contained treasure.”  He goes on to note that “The Indian tradition points to an undoubted landing, but at what time is not indicated; it was probably not very long before white men’s recorded discoveries [i.e., mid to late 18th century].”  In his discussion of the beeswax wreck, Lyman equates one of the survivors with “Sandy” (although not by name), the supposed red-haired, blue-eyed father of Cullaby, if the wreck was the San Jose of 1769.  Most of his discussion is on Konapee and Soto, identifying Soto as Konapee’s son and placing that wreck about 1725.

Lyman, William D.

1917 The Columbia River: Its History, Its Myths, Its Scenery, Its Commerce.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons: New York.

Chapter 2, “Tales of the First White Men along the Coast” starts on page 33 and discusses Neahkahnie, Konapee, and the Beeswax Wreck.  He cites Celiast as the best source for many of the legends, but notes Boaz’s informant Cultee was also knowledgeable and that the presentation in the book is a combination of both their accounts.  The first part of the discussion is on Konapee, and Lyman also places the date of Konapee’s wrecking about 1725.  Lyman considers the “Neahkanie Treasure Ship” and the Beeswax Wreck to be two different vessels, and considers the Beeswax Wreck to be a Spanish vessel (based on the markings in the wax), most likely the San Jose.

Lyon, Eugene

1990 Track of the Manila Galleons. National Geographic Vol. 178, No. 3 (September)

An easy-to-read article on the Manila trade, it provides an overview without a lot of specific details. It does note that the manila galleons were “built, owned, and sailed by the Spanish crown” (p. 17).  The article goes on to note that more than 40 ships were lost, with 15 being westbound galleons and so 25 or more were eastbound.

Mallari, Francisco

1999 Vignettes of Bicol History. New Day Publishers: Quezon City, Philippines

Chapter 6 of this book (pp. 69-81) tells the story of the wreck of another galleon named Santo Cristo de Burgos, the galleon that sank in a storm off Ticao Island near the Embarcadero Strait in July 1726.  Of interest to the Beeswax Wreck, the chapter notes that the 1726 galleon “had a displacement of at least 600 tons, a crew of 252 seamen, and an unknown number of passengers” (. 69).  It also mentions the loading of additional supplies and cargo on the galleon after it left Cavite, and that the galleon deployed six anchors in an effort to avoid wrecking.

Marshall, Don

  1. Oregon Shipwrecks.  Binford and Mort: Portland.

Marshall’s work is a “go-to” source for Oregon shipwrecks, and this volume includes information on the Mimi, the Glennesslin, and the Emily Reed, and other wrecks in the Nehalem area (including Japanese submarine stories).  Beginning on page 170 he discusses the “Galleon of Nehalem”, the beeswax and its various symbols, and the Neahkahnie treasure.  He repeats (and embellishes) the story of the Santo Cristo de Burgos burning and there being survivors, and identifies the Beeswax Wreck as likely the San Francisco Xavier.  He discusses how tales of “buried treasure” are “noticeably absent prior to 1884”, but this is incorrect: Palmer (1847), Hobson (1850s), and the Overland Monthly of 1872 mention a chest being buried at Neahkahnie.  He mentions the “ancient ship” off Neahkahnie at the foot of the mountain, in the water, and how part of it washed ashore in 1894.

Mathers, William M., Henry S. Parker, and Kathleen Copus, eds.

  1. Archaeological Report: The Recovery of the Manila Galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción.  Pacific Sea Resources, Inc.: Vermont.

Archaeological report on the excavation and artifacts from the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción in the Marianas.  The volume discusses the trade, the cargo, and galleon construction, and contains much interesting and useful information.  On page 29 it is noted that by 1620 galleons began to expand to “oversized vessels of 1,500 to 2,000 tons or larger.”  They note that a galleon of 1,000 tons would be 110 feet in length overall, 37 feet at the beam, and hold depth of 18 feet; a 2,000 ton galleon would be 167.5 feet at the gun deck, 50.5 feet beam, and a hold depth of 30.5 feet at the poop deck.  The Concepción was estimated to be 100 feet at the keel, and 150 feet in length overall (p.51).  The galleons are described as “a broad-beamed, lumbering ark, with flattened stern to take advantage of the wind.”  Pages 30-31 discuss the various woods used in galleon construction.  Page37 notes that the water jars were made in “China, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as made locally”.

Maxwell, Ben

1965 “Ocean’s Beeswax Treasure.”  Woodburn Independent, October 14, 1965.

A long feature piece discussing the beeswax and various legends of the ship, and finds made over the years including the oleum jar and the “halberd head” found “quite recently” by a scuba diver in 65 feet of water off the Nehalem River mouth.  The article notes that “a salty fellow at Nehalem looked cynical and when pressed [about it being a Spanish battle ax] exploded: ‘Hell no. It’s a rope cutter. All of the sailing ships running along the coast 60 years ago carried rope cutters.’”  The next paragraph notes, “The curator of the Pioneer Museum in Tillamook had a different identification.  For him the device looked like a cutter for Battle Axe plug tobacco, a popular chew of two generations ago.”  Looking online through Google, it definitely looks like a cutter manufactured by Battle Ax Tobacco.  Of particular interest, the article ends with this:  “Even more recently an anchor was recovered off Mt. Neah-Kah-Nie, just north of Nehalem bay, that somewhat resembles the bower of another galleon lost off the California coast centuries ago.  The recovered anchor is not large, nor was the San Francisco Xavier, that sailed from Manila 264 years ago, a large galleon” (although in fact it was a large galleon).

McDonald, Lucile

1966 Coast Country, A History of Southwest Washington. Binfords and Mort: Portland, OR.

This book does not address the Beeswax Wreck directly, but in Chapter 20 on page 121 the author writes: 

“The nature of the Columbia bar and the drift of the currents since time immemorial have been responsible for strewing Long Beach Peninsula with shipwrecks. Within man’s memory there always have been bits of rusted iron embedded in driftwood, and rotting, barnacle-encrusted pieces of hulls sticking out of the sand. Wrecks were on that coast before Bruno Heceta skirted the shore. Washington and Oregon Indians told of a strange Oriental junk carried in on the tides and also of picking up beeswax from the cargo of a wrecked vessel off of what is now Tillamook County. Fragments of wax drifted ashore for decades, some reaching Baker Bay to mystify Indians and settlers. As late as 1901, a farmer dug a piece twenty-four inches long out of a garden about a thousand feet from the water’s edge east of Ilwaco. In 1960, Long Beach residents were puzzled at finding large clay jars similar to those used for storing rice and wine in the orient. Because the jars had the look of great age and long submersion, they gave rise to the theory that they might have been in the hold of a sunken vessel, and the ropes, netting or wooden racks supporting them had rotted through, releasing the hoard.”

McMinville Telephone Register

1926 “Low Tide Exposes Hulk of Ship Described in Book Written by Resident Here.”  McMinville Telephone Register, August 22, 1926.

This story is a recollection of Thomas Rogers, reported in 1929, of a time he saw the Beeswax Wreck thirty-three years prior (so, 1896). The story is about the time Pat Smith was able to visit the wreck at a low tide (implying the river-mouth wreck), and “ripped up several planks, cut several small pulleys from their chains, and salvaged a large pulley, nearly three feet high, made of teakwood, which he later presented to Mr. Rogers.” This is the teak pulley block in the Benton County Historical Museum. Note the date 1896 conflicts with a story written by Rogers in the McMinville Telephone Register that ran in 1899 (see Rogers 1899, “Beeswax Ship is Found” article referenced following). In that article, the wreck is described as being 600 yards back from the beach, not at the river mouth, and in the “basin of the sand spit jutting out from the base” of Neahkahnie (the modern airstrip area).

Minto, John

1900 “The Number and Condition of the Native Race in Oregon When First Seen by White Men.”  The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. I, No. 3 (pp. 298-315).

This article does not address prehistoric wrecks or treasure stories, but does note (p. 297) that Lewis and Clark received information from the Clatsop Indians that “some time previous to that a malady had been brought to them from the sea, which caused the death of many of their people” and that this was smallpox.  It does not say this was from a wreck but does say “from the sea”.

1915? “A Tale of the Oregon Coast.”  In Rhymes of Early Life in Oregon and Historical and Biographical Facts.  Statesman Publishing Co.: Salem, OR.

A long account of Cullaby, who said he was the grandson of a white shipwreck survivor.  The wreck is said to have happened on Nehalem Beach in this version, not Clatsop Beach.  This appears to be the same story as Sandy, although he does not use that name (see Clark 1899 and Lyman 1903).  Minto claims he heard the story in 1845 directly from Cullaby’s son, Edwin, after meeting the two of them.  The story has a lot of detail and mentions a Capt. R. W. Morrison who went to Nehalem and found an iron cannon on Nehalem Beach.  The book does not have a publication date; the Washington State Library assigns a date of 1915 to it, and Google Books gives it a date of 1912.

Reading the story, which runs from page 56-80, Cullaby’s grandfather could have been Konapee, and tracing the story back based on Cullaby’s supposed age, plus two more generations (father and grandfather), suggests the grandfather wrecked about 1750 or 1760, consistent with Konapee- possibly as late as 1769, when the San Jose was lost on the expedition to San Diego.  On page 71, Minto relates a portion of the story that sounds like the Nehakahnie Treasure Ship, minus the treasure:  “The past ten years of happiness were to be followed by days of heartache for Ona [Cullaby’s grandmother]. They began more than ten years before the Boston men (1792) brought the big ship into the great river. A ship very much like this one came close to the shore near the Nehalem, and some of its people made a landing in small boats. When they went away, they left two sick men who soon afterwards dies. Soon many of the Tillamooks became sick in the same way.”  That would put a ship (fur trader?) off the Oregon coast in 1780 or so, which is in line with Chinook histories of the first smallpox epidemics.

Morning Oregonian

1888 “Tillamook.”  The Morning Oregonian, Sunday, August 5, 1888 (p.?)

A short article that notes (in reference to Tillamook Bay) “A legend exists of the wreck of a Japanese junk, ages ago, and that beeswax washes up from the sands that holds it when the spring tides are on.  Unfortunately, for the legends the blocks of beeswax bear Latin inscriptions.  It is also said that a Spanish galleon was driven north and wrecked here ages gone, that had stores for the Catholic mission on board.  The truth lies between these two.  Some of the junk’s crew escaped and married and lived and died here, leaving descendants.  The Tillamooks have Asiatic features among them to justify the legend.  One year, in the last decade, a ton of this wax was washed up and sold to Portland dealers.  Some of this has been preserved that is fresh when cut into, but its outside looks as if it had buffeted the surf for centuries.”

1901 “Dr. Gue’s Chunk of Beeswax.”  The Morning Oregonian, Monday, March 4, 1901 (p.10)

A short note at the bottom of the last column that reads, “Rev. George W. Gue, pastor of Centenary Methodist church, has a large chunk of beeswax, obtained from Tillamook bay, which he thinks disproves the assumption that the substance found on the beach was washed there by the ocean, and is not beeswax.  The piece has along its sides the clearly defined outlines of the mold in which it was cast.  Dr. Gue says his chunk was found under the roots of a tree that might have been 100 or 150 years old, but is as well preserved as if it had just been lifted out of the mold after it had cooled.”

1903 “Says It’s Ozokerite; the Stuff on Nehalem Beach That Some Call Beeswax.”  The Morning Oregonian, Friday, January 30, 1903 (p. 8).

A short article quoting a Dr. August C. Kinney of Astoria, saying that the beeswax found at Nehalem is not beeswax but is mineral wax, and that the story of a wrecked ship is a myth.  Besides his own “analysis”, his reasons for noting it cannot be beeswax are that “the fact that tons and tons of the stuff have been taken from that vicinity, one man having sold 17,000 pounds as beeswax.  Again, it is found above high-water marks in the river and has been found under the roots of trees some distance from the water.”  The article goes on to note that much of the beeswax is found “in the sand around the mouth of the Nehalem River, and that “some two years ago the late L. B. Cox obtained a chunk of the wax that had a bee in it”.

1905 “Junks Came Here Years Ago.”  The Morning Oregonian, Tuesday, May 9, 1905 (p.10)

A letter to the editor, quoting an article published in the Polynesian in Honolulu on October 27, 1847, noting that a drifting Japanese junk was encountered by a whaleship in April of that year, and that in addition to rescuing the crew the captain took 12,000 pounds of beeswax from the junk, along with other cargo.  The junk was about 80 tons, and had been drifting for five months since losing its rudder in a gale.  The writer goes on to quote a “paper” written by one Rev. John S. Griffin in 1848 and titled “The Oregon American”, which mentions the junk wreck at Point Adams in 1829 and goes on to note, “May we suppose our coast beeswax which the Indians so often bring into the settlements, picked up near the mouth of the Columbia from among the gravel…found its way by some lost junk over a century hence?”

1905 Untitled letter.  The Morning Oregonian, Monday, June 19, 1905 (p. 6)

A short letter, apparently written in response to an earlier letter by “Geologist” (see Sunday Oregonian 1905, below, claiming the beeswax was instead mineral wax and that the bees found in it were trapped much like insects in amber), notes that molded blocks and candles have been found of the material, and that “with these candles were found numerous pieces of oriental pottery, most of them broken, but there was enough, together with the candles and the marked pieces of wax, to show that they were brought from some other part of the country and placed there either by shipwreck or some other means.”

1906 The Nehalem Puzzle.  The Morning Oregonian, Wednesday, February 28, 1906 (p. 8)

This is a short article on the Nehalem beeswax and whether or not it’s beeswax from a cargo, or mineral wax. From the tone of the article, it appears to be “filler”—it cites some older opinions by Diller and others but doesn’t come to any conclusion on its own. It also does not refer to any new finds or indicate what prompted the publication of the short piece.

1907 “Teakwood Found at Nehalem Spit.”.  The Morning Oregonian, February 20, 1907 

A short article that reads “Colonel Miller, who has charge of the permanent exhibit at the Chamber of Commerce, has just received a stick of teakwood about three feet long, from H. B. Karr, of Hobsonville, Tillamook County, which purposes having turned into a walking stick.  Mr. Karr found the stick from which he took the portion sent Colonel Miller, a few days ago in the sand at Nehalem Spit about 34 miles south of Astoria.  Evidently the wood came from the hull of some old vessel long since stranded, as it contained a number of brass nails or tacks.  Teakwood is found in Ceylon and the Philippines, and its presence on the Oregon beach can be accounted for in no other way than that it was a part of some old Spanish ship which met its fate upon the then uncharted Spit, perhaps the much-exploited ‘Beeswax Ship.’”

1909 “Beach Wax Marked; Investigation Years Ago Left Puzzle Unsolved; Old Article Reprinted.”  The Morning Oregonian, Tuesday, September 7, 1909 (p. 13)

A reprint of an article originally printed in The Oregonian on March 21, 1896 titled “The Nehalem Beeswax” and reporting on J.S. Diller’s investigations at Nehalem for the USGS.  It includes an illustration of the shipping marks Diller recorded.  The article continues onto another page (page 14?), which was not copied.

1915 “Treasure Hunt Revived; One Party at Work on Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain; Nehalem Beach Beeswax Mystery Accentuated by Discovery at the Root of Ancient Tree.”  The Morning Oregonian, Monday, March 15, 1915 (p. 13)

The article states that “two or more” persons were searching for the treasure, after a quiet period of “several years”.  It notes that four men spent two months in the winter looking for the treasure, and “several good-sized holes testify to their industry”, and that Pat Smith had applied to Mr. Reed for permission to dig in the summer and that “he has the location of the treasure figured down to 100 square feet”.  The article goes on to state, “A new mystery was added to the beeswax story connected with the Nehalem Beach by the discovery of a large chunk of the substance under a stump some distance back from the Tavern at Neah-Kah-Nie.  While digging out a stump the men removed a root that was more than two feet thick.  Under this root the chunk of wax was found.  From all indications the tree must have been several hundred years old and the wax placed or drifted there when the tree was small.”

Morris, Roger

1987 Pacific Sail: Four Centuries of Western Ships in the Pacific.  David Bateman: Auckland.

This is a good secondary source for information on the Manila galleons and the trade and includes several line drawings and maps.

Moulton, Guy, ed.

2003 The Definitive Journals of Lewis & Clark, Vol. 9, John Ordway and Charles Floyd, University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln.

Discusses Ordway’s recording of the Clatsops bringing “bears wax” to trade (p.276).  Although Moulton does not explain this, Ordway was likely referring to beeswax, as he uses the terms “base wax” and “bease wax” on page 181. 

Nash, Phalle

1995 A Trip Down the Nehalem.  Cumtux: Clatsop County Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 4, fall 1995.

A short reminiscence written at an unknown date (but after 1895 and prior to her passing in 1957) by a woman who traveled to Nehalem in 1893 with her husband and stayed for season.  She writes that they stayed with a man who had a house “three miles north along the beach” (three miles north of the river mouth?), where he and another “hired man” “lived back from the water across sand ridges”, digging holes six to ten feet deep to reach the “’Old Beach’ where often chunks of beeswax were found.”  She mentions the “chest of treasure” buried on Neahkahnie and the marked rocks, and notes that although she lost her “copy of the transcriptions” she remembered several of them, including the W, DE, deos, arrows, and x’s.  Nash’s article is followed by a short article on beeswax, quoting Rogers and Hobson.

Nehalem Bay Fishrapper

1978 “How Many Treasures Are Buried Here?” The Nehalem Bay Fishrapper, September 21, 1978.

This is a reprint of a story that, according to the byline, originally ran in the Garibaldi-Rockaway News on May 11, 1934, written by Olive Brunson.  The story is about the Neahkahnie Treasure, and how two men claim it is not buried on the mountain at all but is on the north fork of the Nehalem River, above the upper rapids.  One of those two men also claimed the marked rocks at Nehalem had nothing to do with the treasure, but were “merely an old Spanish survey marker such as the ones to be found all along the coast from Alaska to Mexico”.

1978 “Discovery of 17th Century Coins Renews Local Interest in Lost Treasures of the Spanish Main.” The Nehalem Bay Fishrapper, September 21, 1978 (p. 3)

A short article, apparently reprinted from the North Tillamook County News of April 17, 1936, that states that a man tearing down an old hose in Mohler found twelve Spanish coins stashed in the walls of the house, and that the coins dated “variously around 1618”

Nehalem Bay United Methodist Church

1970 100 Years of the Nehalem Country: Reminiscences of Early Days in One of Oregon’s Pioneer Coastal Areas.  The Barclay Press: Newberg, OR.

A volume of stories and oral histories compiled by the Memorial Society of the Nehalem Bay United Methodist Church, first printed in 1970 and revised and reprinted in 1972, 1983, and 1990.  Staring on page 10 in a section titled “Early Days’ are related stories of the Neahkahnie treasure and the supposed Spanish origin of the name and how it changed from Necarney to Neah-Kah-Nie.  There is discussion of various treasure hunters, up to Tony Moreno.  A story is related about how a house built on “Charley Pye’s homestead near Mohler” was torn down by a later owner “a few years ago” (in the 1960’s?) and “old Spanish coins” were found between the walls under a window sill (see Nehalem Bay Fishrapper reference above).  It also mentions oil drilling “a half mile or so from the ocean” and a tent city named Necarney springing up, but the drilling did not last long.

Nevada State Journal

1894 “A Problem in Beeswax.”  Nevada State Journal, June 9, 1894

This short article says in one sentence that the beeswax found at Nehalem is actually mineral wax, despite that “the substance is to all appearances genuine beeswax”, but finishes by noting the wing of a bee found in one piece and that it actually is beeswax.  At the end is a citation indicating it was reprinted from the Portland Oregonian.

New York Tribune

1906 Unknown title. The New York Tribune, April 8, 1906.

Need to find this article and see what it says and how it is related to the beeswax or wreck.

Orcutt, Ada M.

1951 Tillamook: Land of Many Waters.  Binfords & Mort: Portland, OR.

A collection of essays published by the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum Commission.  Chapter One discusses the beeswax and early accounts of it and the Neahkahnie treasure and marked rocks, and on page 6 quotes Thomas Rogers noting the remains of an “ancient vessel” at Short Sands Beach.  Chapter Three notes the first settlers in the Tillamook area did not come until 1851, although some whites from Astoria traveled through the area.  Chapter Six discusses historic wrecks in the area, including the Emily G. Reed and the Mimi.

Oregon Bureau of Mines and Geology

1920 “The Mineral Resources of Oregon: Report on Investigation of Oil and Gas Possibilities of Western Oregon.”  Oregon Bureau of Mines and Geology, Vol. 3, No. 1, March 1920.

Page 33 has a section headed “Nehalem Wax” that notes “Since about 1810 somewhat more than 12 tons of material known as Nehalem Wax has been collected in the vicinity of Nehalem in Tillamook county… Much of this material has been taken from a recent sand bed lying just above high-tide level near the beach town of Manzanita and it is still possible to find small amounts of the wax at this place.  Occasional fragments of the wax have been picked up along the shore as far as 40 miles north and south of Nehalem.”  It goes on to note that O.A. Stafford “presents very conclusive chemical evidence” that the material is beeswax from the Philippines, and not ozokerite.  The section ends with “Nehalem wax has played so interesting a part in the early coastal history of Oregon and enters into so many of the legends of the coast tribes of Indians that one is tempted in writing of it to spend considerable time discussing these legends…”.

Oregon Daily Journal

1906 “Beeswax Myth is Down and Out; Certain Now That Stuff Found on Nehalem Beach is Remains of Large Cargo; Padres Needed Wax for Sacred Candles.”  The Oregon Daily Journal, Wednesday Evening, April 4, 1906 (page number unreadable)

The article reports that “another enormous hunk” of beeswax was found on Nehalem beach by a resident named D.R. Lane, and goes on to report that the “residents of the Nehalem coast estimate that more than 400 tons of the wax have been found, in variously sized chunks, along the beach in the last 100 years.”  It reports that Mr. Lane’s discovery was a block of 200 pounds, square in form and molded in a box, with a large letter “S” on one side and a diamond on the other.  The block consisted of a layer of beeswax, then a layer of ‘old candles thrown in”, and then another layer of beeswax on top. 

Oregon Historical Society

1900 Proceedings of the Oregon Historical Society Including the Meeting for Organization Held December 17, 1898, the Quarterly Meetings of the Board of Directors, and the First Annual Meeting of the Member of the Society Held December 16, 1899.  W.H. Leeds, State Printer: Salem, OR.

Appendix C of this volume is the address given to the 1899 annual meeting of the Society by Silas Smith, in which he discusses the various shipwreck stories he learned from his mother.

Oregon Native Son

  1. Oregon Native Son and Historical Magazine, Vol. 1 (1899).  Native Son Publishing co.; Portland, OR.

Volume I consist of nine separate issues, many with stories on Nehalem directly or other wreck legends.  Of interest are Clarke’s article (p.245); a biography of Thomas Rogers (p.292); a fiction story by a T.A. Wood involving beeswax (p.299) that includes a note stating Wood “secured many years ago from the Indian burying grounds of the Tillamook Indians a Spanish coin of the sixteenth century and images in stone of the cross and a figure representing the Savior” (p.301); a fiction story by Thomas Rogers on pirate treasure (p.424); the speech by Silas Smith entitled “Tales of Early Wrecks on the Oregon Coast, and How the Bees-Wax Got there” on p. 443 (in which he talks of three wrecks: Beeswax, Neahkahnie, and Konapee); an article by James Wickersham (p.540) titled “Pre-Historic North Pacific Wrecks”; and a note on p. 576 that the first honey bees were brought to Oregon in 1854 by John Davenport.

  1. “North Pacific Prehistoric Wrecks: Well Known Pioneers Write Concerning Them.” Oregon Native Son Vol. II, No. 5 (October), pp. 219-227.

A collection of short accounts by various Oregon pioneers, including Samuel Clarke, J.Q. Bowley, John Hobson, and Thomas Rogers.  Of note is Clarke’s account of Warren finding planks buried in the sand (p.220), and Hobson’s account of beeswax being found on the “thin stratum of earth” and thinking the wax and wreckage was deposited by a river flood (p. 223) and the recovery of the copper chain (p. 224).  Issue 1 of this volume has Clarke’s “Legends of Nehalem” story (see Clarke above).


1908 “Emily Reed Goes Ashore on Rocks” The Oregonian, February 15, 1908. Portland, Oregon.

Otautau Standard

1910 “Sands That Imprison Ships.”  The Otautau Standard, November 22, 1910 (p. ?)

An article on wrecks of the Columbia River, which briefly mentions the Beeswax Wreck, noting it was likely the San Jose of 1769.  Mostly of interest because it is a New Zealand newspaper, and illustrates how widespread the interest in the Beeswax Wreck was.

Overland Monthly

1869 “In and Around Astoria.”  The Overland Monthly, Vol. III, No. 6 (pp. 495-499).  A. Roman & Company: San Francisco.

An account of a visit to Astoria by a party out of California, this is one of the earliest records of the beeswax and Neahkahnie treasure stories.  The discussion of Nehalem begins near the end of page 498:  “On the coast, thirty miles south of the Columbia, is a small river, called the Nehalem, whose source is in the hilly country  about ten miles to the eastward.  Along its northern banks rises Mount Ne-a-kah/-ne… Numerous conflicting reports have for a long time been in circulation among the whites, concerning treasure that is said to have been buried either by Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish sailors, or freebooters, at a date anterior to the discovery of the Columbia by Heceta.  The most authentic account, drawn from the chiefs of the Nehalem tribe, is, that many years ago a vessel, with a great number of men on board, armed with guns and swords, was wrecked near the mouth of the Nehalem; the personal effects of those on board, some chests of money or treasure, and the boats, being all that was saved.  A large excavation having been made, the treasure was deposited with great care and ceremony, and two swords were laid in the form of a cross upon it, before the earth was replaced.”  The writer goes on to note two of the crew were interred, but it is unclear if these were bodies of already dead men or if they were killed, and then the survivors left in their boats.  The vessel carrying beeswax is noted to be a separate vessel that “came ashore between the Nehalem and the Columbia” and that from this vessel there were only two or three survivors who took Indian wives and lived with the Indians [sounds like Konapee’s wreck story].  The story ends with the note that beeswax was still found at that time, but “No relics, however, remain of those ancient vessels to indicate the spot where they became wrecks…”

1872 “Japanese Wrecks in American Waters.”  The Overland Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 4 (pp. 353-360).  John H. Carmany & Company: San Francisco.

On page 356 the author writes “Following down the American coast, we meet with the relics of a junk, on Point Adams, the south shore of the mouth of the Columbia River.  Indian tradition said she was cast ashore many years before the occupation of the country by the Whites.  Sir Edward Belcher, who was at Astoria in 1839, was told she was laden with beeswax, and had many hands on board.  The vessel was broken up by the surf on Clatsop Beach, but her crew got on shore, and much of her cargo was thrown up by the waves.  The beeswax, he adds, is even now, in 1839, occasionally cast upon the beach…”  He goes on to note the wax is coated in sand and bleached nearly white, and candles are found, and that “The fate of the crew is entirely unknown.”

Owens, Kenneth N. and Alton S. Donnelly

1985 The Wreck of the Sv. Nikolai, Western Imprints, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society: Portland, OR.

This volume is about the wreck of the Russian vessel Sv. Nikolai at the mouth of the Quileute River in November 1808, and the adventures of the survivors; it does not discuss the Beeswax Wreck.  Of interest to the project, however, is a brief mention in the Introduction about the English trading ship Captain Cook, which visited Nootka in June 1786 and left on shore the ship’s surgeon.  The surgeon was ill and begged the captain to leave him behind to recuperate or die; not only did he recover, but went “thoroughly native, took a wife, and became for one season a respected guest among the Nootka people” (p. 24). He left in 1787 on another ship. The authors discuss the possibility that he fathered at least one child during his stay, who became one of the Indians especially friendly to later Europeans.  Although this is far north of Nehalem, it shows that early traders might have left someone behind, such as Jack ramsay’s father.

Oxford Mirror

1907 “A Mystery of the Sea; the Puzzling Beeswax of the Beaches of Oregon.”  The Oxford Mirror, July 25, 1907.

A short news article, probably picked up off a news service, from The Daily Mirror news of Oxford Junction, Iowa; the article does not contain any information not found in primary sources, but does show the nationwide interest in the beeswax and its source.

Palmer, Joel

1847 Journal of Travels Over the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia River; Made During the Years 1845 and 1846: Containing Minute Descriptions of the Valleys of the Willamette, Umpqua, and Clamet; a General Description of the Oregon Territory; It’s Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Productions, Etc., Etc.; a List of Necessary Outfits for Emigrants; and a table of Distances from Camp to Camp on the Route.  J.A. & U.P. James: Cincinnati.

One of the earliest written accounts, mentioning Indian tradition of “five white men…came ashore on this point of rock, and buried something in the cliffs, which have since fallen down and buried the article deep in the rocks…”  He goes on to note (p. 94) “Frequently, after a long and heavy south westerly storm, large cakes of bees-wax, from two to four inches thick, and from twelve to eighteen inches in diameter, are found along the beach, near the south end of Clatsop Plains. The cakes when found are covered with a kind of sea-moss, and small shells adhere to them, indicating that they have been a long time under water.

Parker, Samuel

1838 Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains, Under the Direction of the A.B.C.F.M Performed in the years 1835, ’36, and ’37; Containing a Description of the Geography, Geology, Climate, and Production, and the Number, Manners, and Customs of the Natives.  Mack, Andrus, & Woodruff, Printers: Ithaca, NY.

On page 152 the Rev. Parker, writing of his travels in 1835 at the mouth of the Columbia River, notes “About thirty miles south of this river [the Columbia River], there are the remains of a ship sunk not far from the shore.  It is not known by whom she was owned, nor from what part of the world she came, nor when cast away.  The Indians frequently get bees-wax from her.  It is not improbable that she was from some part of Asia.”  He goes on to discuss the Japanese junk of 1833 which wrecked “fifteen miles south of cape [sic] Flattery” and of which there was three survivors, and notes that the junk was loaded with “rich China ware, cotton cloths, and rice”—he does not mention any beeswax being part of the cargo of the junk, supporting the idea that later writers who said the beeswax was from the junk were confusing the wax found at Nehalem with being from the junk.

Peterson, Curt D., Scott S. Williams, Kenneth Cruikshank, and John Dubé

2011 “Geoarchaeology of the Nehalem Spit: Redistribution of Beeswax Galleon Wreck Debris by Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami (~A.D. 1700), Oregon, USA.”  Geoarchaeology: An International Journal, Vol. 26 (2): 219-244.

This article is where we first presented in print the hypothesis that the Beeswax Wreck predates the tsunami of 1700, and therefore must be the Santo Cristo de Burgos, and not the San Francisco Xavier.

Pipes, Nellie B.

1934 “Journal of John H. Frost, 1840-1843.”  Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1.

On page 52, under Entry 23, Frost noted that when they arrived at Astoria “A number of Indians came on board to trade baskets, Beeswax, &c.”.

Powell, Mary E.

1921 “The Legends of Nehalem.”  Mazama, Vol. VI, No. 2 (pp. 59-63)

A romanticized telling of the Konapee/Sandy story and the Beeswax Wreck, with the Neahkahnie treasure said to be associated with the Beeswax Wreck. 

Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society

1900 “Appendix: Accessions of the Museum.”  The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. 1, No. 4 (pp. 64-69).

This Appendix is part of the Index for Volume I, and the “Accessions of the Museum” lists “62. Beeswax from Nehalem Beach, with a perfect bee embedded therein; found by Ed Hallock.  Presented by George Noland, Astoria” (p.68); and “76. Piece of Walnut- From a vessel wrecked on Nehalem Beach, where the beeswax deposit is found.  Presented by S. M. Reeder, Sauvie’s Island, Oregon” (p.69)


1958 “Oregon’s Buried Treasure Legend Revived by Finding of Beeswax.”  Register-Guard, August 17, 1958 (p. 5)

A long article in the Eugene (OR) Register-Guard newspaper reporting the finding of a 45 lb round cake of beeswax “somewhere on the beach north of Florence”.  The cake is round, not square- from the (poor) picture it seems similar to the round cakes found on the Washington coast, rather than Beeswax Wreck cakes.  The article goes on to tell the various stories of the wreck and the Neahkahnie treasure, and ends with the note that the finder (Owen Goodrich of Florence) had the cake x-rayed, in case there was anything hidden in it (nothing was).  Of interest from this article was that the wax was found so far south, and that it is in a round cake, not a weathered block.

Rogers, Richard

1999 Shipwrecks of Hawaii: A Maritime History of the Big Island.  Pilialoha Publishing:  Haleiwa, Hawaii

Has a discussion about the history of the Santo Cristo de Burgos, and the possibility of it having wrecked in Hawaii.

Rogers, Thomas

1898 Nehalem, A Story of the Pacific, A.D. 1700.  H.L. Heath:  McMinnville, OR.

Rogers’ fictionalized account of the Beeswax Wreck.  Mostly pure fiction, one item of interest is he includes a photo of the “W Rock”, one of the more famous Neahkahnie treasure rocks and the one that Gitzen, Jensen, and Viles cite as the “DEOS” stone.  Interestingly, there is no trace of the word DEOS in the photograph of the rock.

1899 “Beeswax Ship is Found.”  McMinnville Telephone-Register, September 21, 1899.

Rogers notes that “after the lapse of twenty-five years” shifting sand has exposed the Beeswax Wreck, 600 yards back from the beach in the basin at the base of Neahkahnie.  He goes on to note that the shifting sand has exposed “many pieces or upper portions of the wreck” and that the pieces are “soggy and wet and heavy, and are from five to ten feet in length” with all metal fastenings rusted away.  He notes a “huge hoisting block (a solid piece)” made of teak found by Pat Smith.  He also notes the mast step is in the basin “down the south side” and that it is three feet wide and three feet thick, and ten feet long, of solid teak, while on the east side of the basin a mast once “stood” but was “cut down by a man and carried away” to be later dumped in the bay.  Of interest, he notes that “When the ship came ashore the Indians say the swell, which was running mountain high, picked her up and sent her crashing and rolling over the sand bank into the basin like an egg shell.”  Was he actually told this by an informant, or was it a story he made up to explain why the wreck was in the basin rather than the beach?  If he was told this by an informant, is it an account of the wreck being washed over the foredune by the tsunami?

This article was followed the next day (Sept. 22, 1899) by a similar article in the Yamhill County Reporter, titled “An Important Discovery”.

1900 North Pacific Pre-Historic Wrecks; Well Known Pioneers Write Concerning Them. Oregon Native Son, Vol. II No. 5, October 1900, pp. 219-227. Portland, OR.

Thomas notes that his first visit to Nehalem was in 1897, which is when he met Pat Smith (Note: this means Smith must have pulled the large teak rigging block in 1898 or 1899; Eb says 1899, based on Rogers’ later article, but it might have been the same time the silver oil jar was found, which was said to be 1898).  Rogers notes that Pat Smith found marked rocks in “divers [sic] places, from the mouth of the Nehalem river to the little windlocked cove north of Necarney, where the remains of an ancient vessel now lies” (p. 225). 

1929 Beeswax and Gold: A Story of the Pacific, A.D. 1700.  J.K. Gill:  Portland, OR.

This seems to be a retelling of the 1898 novel, but I have not read either closely enough to see if there are significant differences.

Ruby, Robert H. and John A. Brown

1976 The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River.  University of Oklahoma Press.

This volume provides a good summary of the wide variety and conflicting nature of early historic accounts of pre-Contact wrecks and castaways in the Northwest, in Chapter Two which is titled “Those Who Drift Ashore” (pp. 24-39).

Scammon, Capt. C.M.

1869 In and Around Astoria.  The Overland Monthly, Devoted to the Development of the Country, Vol. III (pp. 495-499).  A. Roman & Company: San Francisco.

An early account of the Beeswax Wreck and the burial of cargo by the crew on Neahkahnie Mountain.  It also mentions the Konapee story, but not by name.  It notes beeswax blocks are found, but says “No relics, however, remain of those ancient vessels to indicate the spot where they became wrecks” but notes even at that early date “several visionary money-diggers have made fruitless search for the treasure supposed to have been hidden at the foot of Ne-a-kah’-ne…”.

Scheans, Dan

  1. Notes of a telephone interview with Eb Giesecke, July 26, 1991.

Notes from Eb Giesecke’s files.

Scheans, Dan, and Alison Stenger

  1. Letter Report: 35-TI-1A and Related Porcelains.  Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem.

Archaeological report on file at Oregon SHPO.

Scheans, Daniel, Thomas Churchill, Alison Stenger, and Yvonee Hajda

1990 Summary Report on the 1989 Excavations at the Cronin Point Site (35-TI-4B) Nehalem State Park, Oregon.  Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem.

This is the final report on Scheans’ and Stenger’s archaeological investigation at Nehalem (there is an earlier preliminary report, dated 1989) at Site 4B, the lag deposit below the housepits at Site 4.  The report includes profiles but does not include a site plan map (my copy of the report may be incomplete, however).  One section of the report is Stenger’s analysis of the porcelains; she notes that besides the porcelains there was “stoneware and earthenware fragments of 19th century manufacture” which is unlikely, given the site context—these are almost certainly stonewares from the galleon.  She also notes the porcelains were made “specifically for the Asian market”.  Like the analysis of the Netarts assemblage, Stenger’s analysis here appears to be full of errors and unjustified assumptions.

Schellhase, Theodore

2009 Lost Treasure Ships of the Oregon Coast.  Schiffer Publishing Ltd.:  Atglen, PA

This volume appears to summarize much of the historical and legendary information (e.g., Hult, Hobson, Vaughn, etc.) regarding proto-historic wrecks on the coast, including chapters on Spanish galleons, trading vessels, junks, and treasure.  A lot of information is packed into this slim volume, which can be used to locate primary sources.  There is a comprehensive bibliography included at the end.

Schurz, William L.

1915 The Manila Galleon.  Unpublished dissertation, University of California- Berkeley. Bancroft Library.

This is Schurz’s Ph.D dissertation, in which he mostly discusses the economics of the Manila galleon trade rather than specific of each galleon’s voyage.  The basis for his book published in 1939.

1939 The Manila Galleon.  E.P. Dutton and Co., Inc.:  New York (1959 paperback edition).

Often considered “the Bible” of Manila galleon research, Schurz is a standard and indispensable reference, but there are some errors of fact and this volume is where Schurz state the Santo Cristo de Burgos burned in the western Pacific and survivors were tried in Manila, citing Hill (1928, but not 1925).  However, there are no records of this event other than Hill, and his account is clearly apocryphal; letters in the Archives of the Indies in Seville record that as late as 1699 there was still no trace of the galleon, nor any survivors or wreckage on either coast.  Schurz says of the Santo Cristo de Burgos (p. 259), “In 1693 the Santo Cristo de Burgos left Manila, and for over two years the Spanish coasts of the Pacific kept up a watch for her.  She suffered that most terrible of fates—burning in the open sea—for pieces of charred wood, such as was used in the construction of galleons, were later picked up on the beaches of the Ladrones.  Her fate was eventually learned from two men picked up long after near the town of Binangonan de Lampon.  In the boat in which they managed to reach the Philippines was the corpse of a dead companion.  One of the two survivors had gone stark mad from his sufferings.  Before the burning galleon had foundered six men put off from here sides in an open boat and headed westward.  After three weeks their food gave out and two of the starving men slid over the gunwales into the sea.  Those who were left then ate their jackboots and their belts to stave off starvation.  At last it was decided to draw lots as to which of the four should be eaten by the rest.  One of the three preferred to starve rather than turn cannibal.  It was only the last two who survived these horrible experiences, one without his reason, and the other broken by his sufferings and long under the shadow of the Church for having partaken of human flesh.”

This story has so many holes that it must surely be apocryphal.  A letter dated 1699 in the AGI clearly shows that no wreck and no survivors had been found to that date, and it seems very unlikely that survivors could have escaped the notice of the authorities in Manila for more than six years, or that some report would not be sent on to Mexico or Spain if survivors were found a trial held by the Church (as claimed by Hill).  If a fire broke out on a galleon at sea, it is unlikely that it could spread and consume the entire ship, since not only was fire safety practiced on the vessels, but there would have been upwards of 200-400 crew and passengers to help fight the fire.  Assuming the ship was burning, it is also unlikely that a small boat could be loaded (with three weeks of food) and launched from the high deck of the galleon. And lastly, sailors on galleons would not have worn jackboots; perhaps the ‘survivors’ were noblemen or soldiers, but such men would be unlikely to be able to navigate back to the Philippines.  A later galleon named Santo Cristo de Burgos wrecked in the Philippines in 1726, and her cargo was ‘mysteriously burned” (Schurz p. 260), and Hill (1925, 1928) may have confused accounts of the two.

Of the San Francisco Xavier, Schurz writes (p. 260), “The San Francisco Xavier (Santiago Zabalburu), which cleared from Manila in 1705, disappeared at sea and no trace was ever found of her.”

Scott, Harvey W.

1924 History of the Oregon Country, Volume III.  Riverside Press: Cambridge.

This is a collection of articles from the Morning Oregonian, complied into an “history” (the title page notes it was compiled by Leslie Scott).  Harvey Scott arrived in Oregon in 1852 and wrote for various Northwest newspapers for 45 years.  Pages 125-128 present four short articles on the beeswax, all from The Oregonian (8/19/1895; 2/28/1906; 1/31/1903; and 6/18/1906).  The articles are all focused on whether the material is beeswax or ozokerite and have no information on the shipwreck.

Skowronek, Russell K.

2009 On the Fringes of New Spain: The Northern Borderlands and the Pacific. In International Handbook of Historical Archaeology, Teresita Majewski and David Gaimster, eds. (pp. 471-505).  Springer: New York, NY

Skowronek mentions the Beeswax Wreck as probably the San Francisco Xavier in his discussion of galleon wrecks in the Americas and cites Rick Roger’s (1999) work suggesting the Santo Cristo de Burgos is wrecked in Hawaii (p. 486).  Of particular interest to the Santo Cristo de Burgos as the Beeswax Wreck, Skowronek discusses the case of the Santa Margarita of 1600, noting it “left the Philippines for Mexico on July 13, 1600, with 300 passengers on board. Less than 2 weeks after it cleared Manila Bay, it was struck by a typhoon and heavily damaged, losing topmasts, opening seams, and damaging its rudder. Weathering that storm, the vessel was patched together and continued sailing eastward.  For the next 5 months, the vessel encountered storm after storm. Starvation and disease decimated the crew and passengers, until it was decided to turn back to the Philippines. The ill-fated Santa Margarita limped westward and anchored off Rota in 1601. There, the local Chamorro populace was asked for food. When the Chamorro saw the weakened condition of the 40 survivors they began to strip the vessel of its fittings and cargo.”  This is of interest to the Beeswax Wreck because the Santa Margarita was able to sail through storm after storm, as the Santo Cristo de Burgos did on the 1692 voyage, and make it to Rota with only 40 survivors- so why did the Santo Cristo de Burgos wreck on its 1693 voyage?  Obviously, they had strong incentive not to turn back at any cost, given the results of the 1692 voyage, but if they couldn’t make Acapulco was it because the ship was too damaged, or because there was so few survivors left on board?  The Santa Margarita may have been a smaller galleon, and therefore easier to sail with only 40 survivors.

Smith, Silas B.

1900 “Beginnings in Oregon.”  Appendix, The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. 1, No. 4 (pp. 72-97).

This is the text of Smith’s speech to the annual meeting of the Oregon Historical Society, in which he provides much detail on Nehalem, the beeswax, the treasure, and Konapee.  This is much the same info as is in the Oregon Native Son (see reference above).


1898 Untitled.  The Spokesman-Review, March 17, 1898 (p. ?).

A short article that notes “Hugh Cronen [of Cronin’s Point] recently discovered a fine specimen of Nehalem beeswax on the sand spit at Nehalem, Oregon, which weighed 12 pounds, and on it were what appeared to be odd characters.  P. W. Todd of Tillamook purchased the specimen for Mr. Rogers of McMinnville, who is writing a book on the traditions of the Necarney beeswax ship.  He intends to photograph specimens of the wax for illustrating his book and will have some seal work in wax on the covers of the books.”

1922 “Beeswax Ship and Oregon History.”  The Spokesman-Review, October 6, 1922 (p. ?)

This is a reprint of the article run in The Sunday Oregonian, September 24, 1922 (p. 20).

Stafford, O.F.

1908 The Wax of Nehalem Beach. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX (March).

Stafford’s work provides an excellent summary of what was known of the wreck and the beeswax up to that time, including discussion of the ozokerite issues, and the article includes photographs and figures.

Steber, Rick

1987 Pacific Coast: Vol. 2, Tales of the Wild West Series.  Bonanza Publishing: Prineville, OR.

A collection of short stories, apparently from a syndicated newspaper column.  There is a short story (not very good) on “Kunupi”(Konapee) and Soto (page 4), and another short story on page 21 about the Beeswax Wreck.  Of interest, he notes that in 1892 the owner of a drug store in Waldport collected over two tons of beeswax that had washed ashore after a storm, but this is not referenced.

Stenger, Allison

1989 Preliminary Report on the 1989 Excavations at the Cronin Point Site (35-TI-4B) Nehalem State Park Oregon.  Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem, OR.

This slim report presents the initial findings of the excavations conducted in 1989 by Stenger’s Institute for Archaeological Studies at Nehalem.  There is a 1990 follow-up report (below) that contains much more information, including analysis of the ceramics and Hajda’s ethnohistory.

1990 Summary Report on the 1989 Excavations at the Cronin Point Site (35-TI-4B) Nehalem State Park Oregon.  Ms. on file, Oregon State Historic Preservation Office: Salem, OR.

The final report on the 1989 excavation, including analysis of the ceramics found at Nehalem and Netarts.

2005 Physical Evidence of Shipwrecks on the Oregon Coast in Prehistory, CAHO: Current Archaeological Happenings in Oregon Vol. 30 (1): 9-13.

Stenger’s most recent article, in which she claims at least two and possibly four proto-historic wrecks are on the coast near Manzanita, one or none of which are Spanish.  This is a restatement of her incorrect analysis of the Netarts porcelains, claiming they are a separate and distinct cargo from the porcelains found at Nehalem (they are not).  She also suggests a link between the wrecks and the Shoto clay cultures of the Columbia River (see reference below).

2009 A Vanished People; the Lake River Ceramic Makers.  Institute for Archaeological Studies:  Portland, OR.

This volume is not about the Beeswax Wreck or any coastal sites, but does mention porcelain sherds found at village sites along the Columbia River that contain Kang Xi porcelains from the Beeswax Wreck (incorrectly identified as Ming Dynasty porcelain by Stenger).  The book tries to argue that the Shoto people were wrecked Chinese or Japanese sailors, but does so poorly.

Stratton, David H.

2007 Terra Northwest: Interpreting People and Place. WSU Press, Pullman, WA.

Need to find this reference and see how it relates to the wreck (if it does).

Sunday Oregonian

1905 “Indian Myth on Beeswax; How the Nehalem Legend Had Its Origin; this Geologist Has Investigated the Subject and He Seems to Know What He Is talking About.”  The Sunday Oregonian, June 18, 1905 (p.11)

A letter to the Editor signed “Geologist” which claims that the beeswax at Nehalem is mineral wax, primarily because too much had been found over the years for it to be the cargo of a ship (the writer claims there are records of over 600 tons being collected).  He also mentions Rogers’ book, and notes the “piece of wax, or stone, with engraving thereon.  This carving is a letter W with a cross on each side; below this the word Dios, of which the letter D is missing;…”.

1907 “Legend of the Lost Galleons.”  The Sunday Oregonian, December 6, 1907 (p. 4)

A long, rather fanciful account of the various beeswax, treasure, and Konapee stories, with an even more fanciful illustration of Spaniards burying a chest by torchlight, with the body of a dead African slave ready to be placed on top.

1908 “All About the Beeswax of Nehalem Beach.”  The Sunday Oregonian, January 26, 1908 (p. 2, 11)

A long article, written by O. A. Stafford and with good photographs and illustrations (including shipping marks), about the beeswax and what was known at the time about the wreck.  Discusses Henry, Lewis and Clark (noting they did not mention beeswax), Lyman, Belcher, Davidson, and “C. W. Brooks, in a paper before the California Academy of Science in 1875, and H. M. Davis in a communication to the American Antiquarian Society, April 1882.”  The article discusses Diller’s investigation, and the “ozokerite hypothesis”, dismissing it.  He goes on to address how much wax has been collected and estimates 10-12 tons.  This article was later reprinted in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX.

1909 “Oil! Oil! Oil! Oil! At Nehalem Bay”.  The Sunday Oregonian, September 12, 1909 (p. 8)

An ad for the Necarney City Hydrocarbon Oil Company, which states, “We do not care a rap about the controversy concerning the name of the NEHALEM WAX- they may call it Beeswax, Vegetable Wax, Mineral Wax, Fossil Wax, or any other old Wax, for the Wax has had little to do with the Oil subject other than to have been the means of the Oil discovery.”  It goes on to advertise stock in a company drilling for oil at Nehalem.

1915 “Source of Nehalem Beeswax Still Mystery.”  The Sunday Oregonian, April 25, 1915 (p. 3)

A long article, with illustrations (including shipping marks), bylined by Leslie M. Scott.  The article notes the wax is “in all probability” beeswax, from a wrecked ship 150-200 years ago” and goes on to discuss the evidence.  Of interest the author notes in discussing the 19th century trade of the beeswax that, “George H. Himes, curator of the Oregon Historical Society, says that his parents at Puget Sound in boyhood in the early fifties [1850s] used Nehalem wax for domestic purposes”.

1922 “Beeswax Ship Declared to Hold Many Secrets in Connection With Early History of Oregon”.  The Sunday Oregonian, September 24, 1922 (p. 20)

Article penned by Dr. John B. Horner, Professor of History and Director of Oregon Historical research at the Oregon Agricultural College.  He notes “there is the submerged hull of an old but strange ship near by” Nehalem, noting that “not far away are inscriptions on various stones” and that Indian legends say a ship wrecked at Short Sands beach.  He notes that a Nehalem druggist, Dr. C. E. Linton, collected two tons of wax after a large storm around 1895 (could be 1896 storm that exposed the river mouth wreck?), and that he never saw beeswax north of Neahkahnie or south of the river mouth.  He also says that “On Neah-Kah-Nie beach was found a brass cannon, which an aged Indian, Joe Sattin by name, told me had come from a ship that been wrecked in his grandfather’s time.  He also stated that he had often seen the wreck.  This story was picked up and reprinted by the Spokane Spokesman-Review of Oct. 6, 1922.

Sunday Vindicator

1898 Untitled.  The Sunday Vindicator, January 9, 1898 (p. ?).

This is a short article in the Sunday Vindicator newspaper of Youngstown, Ohio, which mentions “It is on the Nehalem shore where they dig up great chunks of beeswax, buried ten feet in the sand.  I have seen a slab of it three feet by two and one-half and eight inches thick.”  It’s not clear who the narrator is for this story, or if the story was picked up from another paper.  Being an Ohio newspaper, it shows the widespread interest in the wreck and the beeswax.

Swan, James G.

  1. The Northwest Coast; Or, Three Years’ Residence in Washington Territory. University of Washington Press. Seattle and London (1998 Sixth Printing edition).

Starting on page 206 Swan tells “There is also a tradition among the Indians that a Chinese or Japanese junk was wrecked years ago on Clatsop Beach, south of the Columbia.  Part of her cargo was bees’-wax.  And, to prove the correctness of this tradition, there are to this day occasionally, after great storms, lumps and pieces of this wax found on the beach.  There are no wild honey-bees west of the Rocky Mountains, consequently the wax was not the product of that part of the continent, but must have been brought as the Indians state.”  He goes on to note he had a piece of wax given to him by “an old Indian doctor”, and that he sent the piece to the California Academy of Sciences.  He may be referring to the Japanese junk wreck at Point Adams, rather than the Beeswax Wreck.

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed. 

  1. The Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-06. Dodd, Mead and Co.: New York.

Need to check this reference to see if Ordway’s mention of beeswax is included.

Tillamook Headlight

1899 “Nehalem” The Tillamook Headlight, November 23, 1899.

Need to annotate this reference.

Tillamook Pioneer Association

  1. Tillamook Memories.  Tillamook Pioneer Association:  Tillamook, OR.

This is a collection of oral histories and other stories gathered by the Tillamook Pioneer Association, which includes a good discussion of early Tillamook County and the settling of the Nehalem area beginning on page 120, in a discussion of the life of Warren Vaughn written by his youngest daughter in 1938.  There is brief mention of the Beeswax Wreck on page 121, including that the ship wrecked on the beach at Nehalem.  Later in the book, starting on page 156 is a section titled “Beeswax Observations”, written by Mrs. Ben Lane in 1938.  She writes of the “three piles of teakwood planks as high as his woodshed” that her father-in-law had, and that in 1905 or 1906 they found a beeswax block weighing 125 pounds and marked with a letter “M”.  The Oregon Historical Society and the Smithsonian came to “examine it, and if possible, purchase it” but apparently it was not sold and was later melted down by the Lane family.  When it was cut open, Lane “discovered to his amazement that it had a hollow compartment in its center, which was filled with fine specimen [sic] of home-sized beeswax candles, with wicks in them.”  She also notes the visit of a “research worker from Berkeley, California, who, together with a Philippine student from the university there, are interested in establishing the identity of the “Beeswax Ship”, believing it might be one of the lost Manila Galleons” (page 158).  Could this have been W.L. Schurz?  She also notes that “last summer” (1937?) more than fifty pieces of beeswax were found by visitors, and that the beeswax field was “about one and a half miles south of Laneda Avenue on the spit between the bay and ocean.”  On page 128 is a reprint of an article by Mary Powell from the journal Mazama, Vol. VI No. 2, 1921 on the “Legend of Nehalem”, discussing the various legends associated with the treasure.  It includes a nice photo of the “W” Rock.

Tillamook Public Utility District

1962 “Beachcombing… Beeswax Mystery Resolved?”  Tillamook P.U.D. News (newsletter), March 12, 1962 (p. 1).

A copy of the front page of the March 12, 1962 Tillamook County PUD newsletter, with a picture of Ben Lane pointing to the “67” block and a caption explaining how the wax was dated by Shell Oil Company at the request of Burford Wilkerson from the County Chamber of Commerce.  The caption goes on to note that “The Shell company technicians estimate the date of ‘mystery wax’ at from 1570 A.D. to 1790 A.D.”

Van Wert Daily Bulletin

1929 “Ancient Legend Starts Search For Pirate Gold.”  Van Wert Daily Bulletin, September 9, 1929.

An article in the Van Wert Daily Bulletin newspaper out of Van Wert, Ohio, on E.M. Cherry’s claims to have found the inland wreck location and to possibly try to salvage it.  The article does not contain any information not in primary sources.

Vaughn, Warren N.

2004 Till Broad Daylight: A History of Early Settlement In Oregon’s Tillamook County. Bear Creek Press. Wallowa, OR.

See description below; this published version of the diary does have page numbers.

n.d. “Til Broad Daylight”: Early Settlement of Tillamook County 1851.  Copied manuscript on file at the Nehalem Valley Historical Society.

Copy of a manuscript on file at the Nehalem Valley Historical Society in Manzanita, this may be a typewritten copy of Vaughn’s 1948 book “Early History of Tillamook”, which is in the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.  Google Books (accessed 06/18/2015) has a note about that volume which reads “This copy was made by Ada May Orcutt.  Presented to the Pioneer Museum by Constance Buel, grand-daughter of Warren N. Vaughn, August 1, 1948: copy presented to Oregon Historical Society, January 1967 made by Alice G. West”–Page [101]. Typescript.”  It appears that Vaughn wrote the manuscript in the 1890s.  He mentions in Book One (no page number; page 20 of my copy; p.22 pub.) Kilchis and his “African features”, and writes “I believe from all that I could hear from the Indians that he was a descendant from the survivors of the beeswax ship that wrecked on Neah-Cah-Nie.  Tradition has it that there was a Negro among those that got ashore, and he was a blacksmith and taught the Indians how to make their knives and this is what saved him from being killed.”  Of interest, he relates in Book Two (page 47 my copy; p. 38 pub.) the story of an Indian canoe capsizing at the mouth of the Columbia, and the sole survivor “climbed upon the canoe, which was bottom up, and in this condition he drifted about the ocean and down the coast. After three days like this he came ashore on the Nehalem coast.”  He also notes (page 69 my copy; p.52 pub.) that “In the summer of 1851 there was a vessel laden with stores for a lighthouse at Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia river. She was wrecked on the Columbia Bar, split in halves, and one half of her floated down the coast and came ashore on Netarts Bay.”  That’s a distance of over 56 miles.  

He also writes that there was “a tremendous tidal wave” in October 1856, that came into Tillamook Bay “opposite Garibaldi” (page 109 my copy; pp. 74-75 pub.).  He says “Timbers and logs came end over end like a solid wall” and that the lower prairie was inundated 2-3 feet deep.  The tidal wave carried the schooner Calumet “about a mile” up Neslats Bay [Siletz Bay] and “turned her completely over” and “punched her masts through her bottom” (page 109 my copy; p. 75 pub.).

Vaughn also writes (page 117 my copy; pp. 78-79 pub.) about the wreck of a west coast merchant schooner Rambler at Short Sands Beach/Smugglers Cove in 1858 (although other sources, like Wright, put it at 1860 and Marshall says 1859).  Vaughn says the rambler came ashore on the beach (or very close to it, as they were able to salvage barrels of oil from the beached wreck) and that he and another man salvaged the wreck, and then burned it.

It is in Book Four (1860-1867; pp.81-83 pub.) that Vaughn discusses the Beeswax Wreck, starting in the second paragraph of that section.  Vaughn goes on for three pages, noting several important facts: he states that he got the information from the Indians when he first came to the county, in the 1850s; he also states that the Indian stories and the beeswax itself “is the only evidence that we have of a beeswax ship”, suggesting he did not see any wreckage; he notes the story of the “oldest Indians” is that the ship came ashore and wrecked on Nehalem Beach and that there were no Indians alive in the 1850s who had seen the ship—“all that they knew came from their ancestors”; he thought the vessel was a “small vessel belonging to some Catholic society”, and does note that “pieces of wood found on the beach” were still sound (and not worm-eaten), and that “Many persons have secured small portions of the wreck as souvenirs”; he also notes the survivors were white, but one was a Negro who was a blacksmith and that Chief Kilchis claimed to be one of his descendants;  Vaughn notes that the “first man who discovered [beeswax] in large quantities was a man named Baker”, who came to Nehalem in 1864, “took out about five or six hundred pounds of beeswax and never returned here again”; he also states “Not long since, a man wrote me that a number of pieces [of beeswax] had been found at the Nestucca River.  This is indeed a rare coincidence.  It has been found in all of the Indian towns that have been plowed up and all along the coast in plenty from Nehalem to Tillamook Bay.”  He then goes on to relate the story of the Nehakahnie vessel and the buried box, noting it was a different ship that anchored and later sailed away, after killing a Negro man and placing him on the large, marked rock they placed over the chest, with crossed knives on his chest.  Of the Neahkahnie story, he notes it was told to him by two old Indians, “both blind, and their hair was as white as snow”, and they seemed to be the oldest Indians in the area; the woman said she was a little girl when the ship came, and she saw the men come ashore and bury the box.  Vaughn also states that “Some men argue that the beeswax ship and the treasure ship is one, that the men, after being wrecked, buried their money on the mountain.  This does not seem so to me, for there were living witnesses who saw the treasure ship when I came here, and where were none who claimed to have seen the beeswax ship.”  He also notes that the Indians only said a box was buried, and “There is no certainty that the box contains money or treasure.’

Victor, Frances Fuller

1872 All Over Oregon and Washington: Observations on the Country (it’s Scenery, Soil, Climate, Resources, and Improvements, with an Outline of its Early History, and remarks on its Geology, Botany, Mineralogy, etc.  Also, Hints to Immigrants and Travelers concerning routes, the Cost of Travel, the Price of Land, etc.  John H. Carmany & Co.: San Francisco.

Starting on page 51, where she mentions that their guide, while traveling down the coast, produces a pieces of sandy beeswax and a candle, that he says came from wrecks at the mouth of the Columbia one or two centuries ago.  Victor says the beeswax is likely from a Japanese junk, and that it washes ashore when “unusually violent storms” occur.  She also notes that other wrecks, “probably Spanish” have happened, as evidenced by the light-haired and freckled Indians noted by early traders.  On page 53 she discusses the wreck at Nehalem “cast ashore near the mouth of the river, the crew of which were saved, together with their private property, and a box which they carried ashore, and buried on mount Neah-Kar-Ny, with much care, leaving two swords placed on it in the form of a cross.”  She notes another version of the story in which a member of the crew (does not say Negro) was slain and his bones laid on top of the box, to keep the Indians away.  Concludes with mentioning Soto as a tale told by Indians of the upper Columbia, and that Soto lived with them for two or three years along with some other wreck survivors, before leaving to find “Spanish countries overland.”  Note this account is 1872, and says the Nehalem wreck and the “treasure ship” were one and the same.  A shorter version of this was published by Victor in The Overland Monthly in 1872, pp. 71-78 (see below); in that version, she only mentions the crossed swords on the chest, not the body, and notes that even at that early date “Some treasure seekers have endeavored to find the hidden box, but without result.”

1872 “About the Mouth of the Columbia.”  The Overland Monthly, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (pp. 71-78).  John H. Carmany & Company: San Francisco.

See the description above; this short article must have been written before Victor published the work above, since it came out in January of 1872.

Von der Porten, Ed

2007 Letter reporting findings of initial analysis of Nehalem ceramics.

Ward, Donald L.

1988 Case Histories of Corps Breakwater and Jetty Structures.  Technical Report REMR-CO-3, Report 6 of a Series.  Department of the Army: Washington, DC.

The Nehalem River jetties are discussed on page 27.  The history of the jetties is reported, including 19th century plans to build jetties that were not acted upon.  It notes the current jetties were first approved in 1912 (although construction of the south jetty began in 1910 by locals), and the south jetty was completed in 1915 and the north in 1918.  No repairs were made to the jetties until the major rehabilitation project of 1981.

Warren, James Francis

2012 Weather, History, and Empire: The typhoon factor and the Manila galleon Trade, 1565-1815. Anthony Reid and the Study of the Southeast Asian Past, pp. 183-220.  ISEAS (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies) Publishing: Singapore.

This article provides a good summary and description of the various Manila galleon losses and wrecks during the trade period, and particularly the effects of typhoons and the economic impacts of the galleon losses. It includes an appendix in table form of the losses of the galleons from 1565-1815, but unfortunately the information is cut off and incomplete due to poor printing: the table is too large to fit the format of the printed book, and apparently no one noticed.

Washburne, Chester W.

1914 Reconnaissance of the Geology and Oil Prospects of Northwestern Oregon.  United States Geological Survey Bulletin 590.  Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.

Discusses the beeswax and its occurrence on the spit, particularly near the ranch of Ben Lane, and that the material is clearly beeswax and not ozokerite.  The author mentions “primitive Spanish cannon found 9 miles farther north in the sands of Cannon Beach” but give no reference; this may be the Shark’s cannon found in the 19th century, or another cannon (from the galleon?).

Webber, Bert and Margie Webber

1999 Amazing True tales of Wrecked Japanese Junks.  Webb Research Group Publisher: Medford, OR.

A comprehensive history of Japanese junk drift wrecks in the Pacific and Pacific Northwest.  The Webbers explain why all known junk wrecks on the west coast are Japanese, and not Chinese.  The book touches on the Beeswax Wreck in several places, and includes a transcript of Diller’s letter to the Oregonian in 1896 describing his study of the Nehalem beeswax.

Weber, David J.

  1. “The Spanish Moment in the Pacific Northwest.”  Terra Northwest: Interpreting People and Place. David H. Stratton, ed. Pp. 3-24. WSU Press, Pullman, WA.

Wells, R.E. and Victor C. West

  1. A Guide to Shipwrecks Along the Oregon Coast.  R.E. Wells & Victor C. West:  North Bend, OR.

Wheeler Reporter

  1. “Astorian to Salvage Ship.” Wheeler Reporter, August 1, 1929. Wheeler, Oregon.

An article on E. M. Cherry, saying arrangements were in place to salvage the wreck which is located “between Cronen’s and White house, about 300 yards from the sea wall.”  Note the Astorian Evening Budget newspaper of the same date (cited above) is clear that no salvage plans had been made, only that Cherry was considering it.  Eb Giesecke has conducted research to determine where the “White house” was located.

White, James

1975 “Geology and Marine Archaeology.”  The Ore Bin, Vol. 37 (10): 167-168.  State of Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries: Portland, OR.

A short article written by James White, a noted Northwest wreck diver in the early 1970s.  This article reports on a ballast pile found in the Nehalem River near Fisher Point; this is the same wreck that White writes about in the Epilogue to “The Spells of Lamazee” novel.  Apparently, sometime after this short article was written White went back to the ballast pile and excavated a trench through it, hoping to find artifacts to date it.  He found bricks, some with makers’ stamps that suggested an English vessel built prior to 1800 (reference below).

1982 The Spells of Lamazee: An Historical Novel of the Pacific Northwest Coast.  Loki Books: Portland, OR.

This is a fictional novel but based in part of White’s finding of a ballast pile from an unknown vessel in the Nehalem River.  White describes this find in the Epilogue of the novel, and originally reported it in 1975 in The Ore Bin described above.  He does not claim it to be the Beeswax Wreck, but noted the ballast suggested a ship less than 70 feet long that predated the 19th century.  White trenched the pile and found bricks in the lower layers, and markings on the bricks suggested the ship may have been an English “merchant venturer” operating trading in the Northwest in the latter half of the 18th century.

Willamette Farmer

1879a “Another Find”, Willamette Farmer (no day or page number)

Accessed online, this early Oregon newspaper has no date or page number but is from 1879.  A small article in the second column notes, “Mr. C. A. McGuire has a genuine find this time, having recently plowed up some coin on Clatsop plains, which, it is supposed, came ashore on the vessel or vessels that contained the beeswax which has from time to time been ploughed up on the coast of Oregon.”  After noting that the wreck may have occurred “about one hundred years ago” but that “there is no definite data to fix the time”, it continues that “Remarking about these things in the Astorian office, Judge Callendar said that the coins have been frequently ploughed up on Clatsop plains and beyond, but none like those found by Mr. McGuire.”  The article does not say what kind of coins they were, but since it does not mention either gold or silver they may have been Chinese coins.

1879b “Astoria”, Willamette Farmer (no day or page number)

Included in a list of news item from Astoria is this: “Last week Mr. George Dean, of lower Nehalem, along the coast, plowed up 16 pounds of beeswax in one of his fields.  Mr. J.H. Larsen picked up a large piece on his way to this city from Tillamook, in the same vicinity.  This beeswax comes from the wreck of a vessel along the coast, lost so long ago that nobody of this age can give any account of the disaster.  Sixty pounds of the wax was plowed up and saved last year.”  This is a different issue of the newspaper than the reference above for “Another Find”.  The Daily Astorian of May 16, 1879 is the source for this story (see above).

Williams, Scott S.

2007 A Research Design to Conduct Archaeological Investigations at the Site of the “Beeswax Wreck” of Nehalem Bay, Tillamook County, Oregon.  Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. Prepared by the Beeswax Wreck Project. January 2007

2008 Report on 2007 Fieldwork of the Beeswax Wreck Project, Nehalem Bay, Tillamook County, Oregon.  Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR.

2014 A Manila Galleon in Oregon: Results of the ‘Beeswax Wreck’ Research Project. Proceedings of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage, H. Van Tilburg, S. Tiripati, V. Walker-Vadillo, B. Fahy, and J. Kimura, eds. Electric Pencil: Honolulu, HI.

2014 Summary of 2007-2013 Fieldwork and Survey Results of the Beeswax Wreck Research Project, Tillamook County, Oregon.  Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR.

A short manuscript summarizing the fieldwork efforts conducted by the Beeswax Wreck Project from the first field season in 2007 to the close of 2013.  The manuscript includes maps showing the locations of the various survey by types (e.g., GPR, mag, etc.) and the results, and discusses the hypothesis that the wreck is the Santo Cristo de Burgos rather than the San Francisco Xavier.

2016 The Beeswax Wreck, A Manila Galleon in Oregon, USA. Early Navigation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Maritime Archaeological Perspective, Chunming Wu, ed. Springer, Singapore.

2017 The “Beeswax Wreck”: A Manila Galleon on the North Oregon Coast. Alaska Journal of Anthropology Vol 15, Nos. 1&2 (pp. 79-87).

2020 “Santo Cristo de Burgos: Spanish Galleon and Beeswax Wreck Mystery at Nehalem, 1693-1694.” In Shipwrecks of the Pacific Northwest: Tragedies and Legacies of a Perilous Coast, Jennifer Kozik, ed. Globe Pequot.

2020 The Cape Falcon Cove Site, Smugglers Cove/Oswald West State Park, Tillamook County, Oregon. Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR

Report on the results of initial mapping of the shipwreck beams discovered by Craig Andes near the point of Cape Falcon, in the small cove on the north side of Smugglers Cove.  The report also presents the results of wood identification, the radiocarbon date, and discussion of possible site formation processes and recommendations.

Williams, Scott S. and Roberto Junco

2021 The Archaeology of Manila Galleons in the American Continent: The Wrecks of Baja California, San Agustín, and Santo Cristo de Burgos (Oregon). Springer, Switzerland.

Williams, Scott S., and Mitch Marken

2019 Underwater Archaeological Investigations of Sonar Anomalies in Smugglers Cove from 2012 to 2018, Oswald West State Park, Tillamook County, Archaeological Excavation Permits No. AP-1506 and AP-1974.  Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR.  July 2019 

A summary of the dive activities and surveys conducted by Mitch and the BWP and MAS volunteers from 2012 to the finding of the iron/steel section of wreckage at the south entrance to Smugglers Cove, near the cliffs.  

Williams, Scott S., Mitch Marken, and Curt D. Peterson, 

2017 Tsunami and Salvage: The Archaeological Landscape of the Beeswax Galleon Wreck, Oregon, USA. In Formation Processes of Maritime Archaeological Landscapes, A. Caporaso, ed. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Williams, Scott S., and Curt D. Peterson

2017 Archaeological Testing of Magnetic Anomalies at the Nehalem Airstrip, Tillamook County, Oregon, Archaeological Excavation Permit No. AP-2243.  Ms. on file at Oregon State Parks and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, Salem, OR. November 2017 

Report on the results of our test coring near the Nehalem Airstrip, to try to identify the anomalies detected by Ralph Soule in 2013.  We encountered crushed gravel in the testing, suggesting that the anomalies that Soule reported are construction debris, as we hypothesized.

Williams, Scott S., Curt D. Peterson, Mitch Marken, and Richard Rogers

2018 The Beeswax Wreck of Nehalem: A Lost Manila Galleon. Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 119, No. 2 (pp. 192-209).

Woodward, John

  1. “Prehistoric Shipwrecks on the Oregon Coast? Archaeological Evidence.”  Contributions to the Archaeology of Oregon 1983-1986, Kenneth Ames, ed.  Association of Oregon Archaeologists Occasional Papers No. 3.

Woodward provides a detailed account of archaeological investigations up to the mid-1980s in this paper.  Woodward interprets the porcelains found at Nehalem and nearby as all being intended for the Japanese market, not New Spain, although he does note the presence of “covered goblets” (chocolate cups).  Woodward excavated at 35-TI-4, Cronins Point, and found shipwreck materials in the housepits there.

  1. Notes from an interview with Eb Giesecke, April 30, 1995.

Woodward, John, James White, and Ronald Cummings

  1. “Paleoseismicity and the archaeological record: Areas of investigation on the northern Oregon coast.” Oregon Geology, Vol. 25, No. 3. May 1990

Woodward et al.’s discussion of archaeological evidence for paleo- tsunamis at Netarts, Tillamook, Nehalem, and Seaside.  There is brief mention of the Beeswax Wreck, although not in detail in this article.

Woodwick, Gene

2009 Coastal Combing: A Potpourri of Trashy Treasures: A Folk History of Beachcombing on Grays Harbor Beaches. Ocean Shores Interpretive Center, Ocean Shores: WA.

On page 25 of this slim volume, Woodwick reports a child found a “Spanish doubloon” on the beach at Ocean City (year not reported), and goes on to say that such a find is not surprising, “since clumps of beeswax are found with regularity… The wax was carried aboard Spanish galleons during their 1400 explorations along the Pacific coastline.”  In 2015 I met Gene at the International Beachcombing Conference in Pacific City, WA, and she had a piece of beeswax that looked like it was from the Santo Cristo de Burgos, which she had found at Moclips, WA; she said she knew other beachcombers who had found similar beeswax at Moclips over the years.

Wright, E.W. (ed.)

  1. Lewis and Dryden’s Marine History of the Pacific Northwest.  Antiquarian Press:  New York.

Published in 1895, this volume discusses the Beeswax Wreck on page 2, giving it a date of 1772 and saying it was wrecked near the mouth of the Columbia River.  They do note that “most historical writers” say the wreck is on the north side of the Columbia, but “there is strong probability” that the wreck was near the mouth of the Nehalem River because of the quantities of beeswax found there.  It goes on to note, “Adam, a Tillamook chief, who died at Tillamook a few years ago, and who was a remarkably intelligent Indian, told the writer that his father, when a young man, had witnessed the wreck, and that all of the crew were drowned.  As Adam was over one hundred years old at the time of his death, there is no reason to doubt that the Nehalem beeswax ship, of which so much has been written, was identical with the one wrecked in 1772.”  There is a footnote on page 14 that references the rescue of the three Japanese crew of the drift junk that wrecked at Cape Flattery by the bark Lama. The note states, “The rescue of these men… has been confused with the story of the famous beeswax ship, reported to have been wrecked over one hundred years ago; even yet, when the winter’s storms wash the sand from the buried beeswax, and the attendant periodical item appears in the papers, the pioneer contributor confidently testifies that the Japs, rescued by the Lama, and the crew of the beeswax ship, are identical.”

Yamhill County Reporter

1899 “An Important Discovery.”  Yamhill County Reporter, September 22, 1899.

A follow-up newspaper article reporting Rogers’ story from September 21 in in the McMinnville Telephone-Register (see citation above).

Yuskavitch, James

2010 Mysteries and Legends Oregon: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained.  Globe Pequot Press: Guilford, CT.

An eclectic collection of Oregon mysteries, this book includes a chapter on the Beeswax Wreck and another on pirate treasures, which includes discussion of Neahkahnie and Three Rocks.  The chapter on the Beeswax Wreck is actually a good summary of much of the historical and legendary information and discusses how it might- or might not- be the same vessel as the Neahkahnie Treasure Ship.