Fact #1

In 2018 I created a video featuring the Bancroft Ranch House located in Spring Valley, California. Although I discuss many interesting features and facts related to the property, there are several interesting tidbits which I didn’t have time to mention in the short video.  

One of those tidbits is that the wood used as beams and in the doorways of the house was salvaged from the coal ship, Clarissa Andrews, which had run aground and been left abandoned off La Playa (in the San Diego Harbor) for several years. Prior to running aground, the Clarissa Andrews had been owned by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and “had been a three-decker trans-Atlantic packet, when sail transported newcomers to America.”*

While any story involving abandoned ships and salvaged historical structures is sure to capture my attention, what really tickled me was that this particular historical tidbit creates a connection between the Bancroft Ranch House and my (currently) unpublished Waltz With Me novel.  


Well, if you’ve read my blog post on Lieut. George Horatio Derby, then you know that he makes a cameo or two in my story. As it turns out, Lieut. Derby not only observed the Clarissa Andrews at anchor in the San Diego Harbor upon his arrival in 1853, he included his observations in his writings, as evidenced by this quote in The History of San Diego: v.3 The Silver Dons, 1833-1865 by Richard F. Pourade:

“As Derby’s ship pulled into San Diego Bay he saw “two crazy old hulks riding at anchor” and a bark he identified as the Clarissa Andrews, filled with coal for the Pacific Mail Steamship Co.”*

The best part is that I had no idea of this connection until I was in the middle of touring the site prior to shooting my video and the docent mentioned the name of the ship. I just love little historical coincidences like that.


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