History Of The Site

Painting by Gordon Miller

1805 Captain William Clark observed a 25 year old male among the Clatsop Tribe, who was light skinned, freckled and appeared to be half white.

1811 Gabriel Franchere of the ship Tonquin met an old native named Soto who stated that he was the son of a Spaniard wrecked many years ago near the mouth of the Columbia River.

1813 Alexander Henry reports meeting a 30 year old male who was supposed to be the offspring of a member of the crew of a ship that was wrecked a few miles south of Astoria. Henry also described great quantities of beeswax dug out of the sand spit.

1833 Sir Edward Belcham tells of the beeswax wreck.

1844 Daniel Lee and Joseph H. Frost in “Ten Years in Oregon” report “The remains of a vessel sunk in the sands 30 or 40 miles to the south (of the Columbia River)…probably from Asia….contains beeswax.”

1847 It has been written that six tons of beeswax was shipped to Hawaii. (No document has yet been located to substantiate that report)

1870 S.A. Clark tells of the “bones of wrecks” of “two vessels” near the mouth of the Nehalem.

Turn Of The 20th Century Publications such as the Oregon Native Son, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Nehalem Valley Historical Society, and others ran numerous articles about the mysterious shipwreck.

1929 E.M Cherry proposed raising the remains for commercial profit. Alas, the stock market soon crashed causing the loss of his financing.

1930s Ben Lane, mayor of Manzanita, built a small table from the wood from the shipwreck. It is in the collection of the Columbia River Museum.

1956 E.W. Giesecke began interviewing the elder residents of Manzanita and Nehalem and gathering their opinions as to the precise location of the remains of the shipwreck in question. His research has continued to this time and has become the basis for this proposal.

1984 Don Marshall published Oregon Shipwrecks which summarized much of what had by then come to print.

1989 Yvonne Hajada published a paper titled Ethnohistory of the Nehalem Shipwreck. This paper summarized the native American oral traditions of the area that may have had some connection to the site.

1991 Wayne Jensen published a pamphlet titled “Tales of the Neahkahnie Treasure”.

2003 Gary Gitzen published “Real Treasure Discovered on Neahkahnie Mountain, the secret voyage of Sir Francis Drake to the North Oregon Coast”. These two publications did little to endear the site to serious historians.

2000 Jon Grandson, Robert Losey and Neil Peterson published “Early Maritime Contact on the Northern Oregon Coast: Some Notes on the 17th Century Nehalem Beeswax Ship”. In Changing Landscapes. This paper makes a good case for the shipwreck dating to around 1640.

2005 Alison Stenger published an article in the Oregon Archaeological Society Newsletter titled "Physical evidence of shipwrecks on the Oregon coast in prehistory."


The Beeswax Wreck Project, Brought To You By © Naga Research Group, 2006. All rights reserved.