Sir Frances Drake historian Bob Ward wins Lincoln City tourism funds to conduct dig for 16th Century galleon at mouth of Salmon River
British historian Bob Ward received a promise of $20,000 from the Lincoln City City Council Monday night to help pay the cost of excavating what is hoped will be the convincing evidence that English explorer Sir Frances Drake made first landfall in the New World in Oregon, not California as stated in current history books.
Ward contends that despite claims to the contrary, Drake first laid anchor in the New World at Whale Cove, just south of what is today Depoe Bay in the late 16th Century. It was a Whale Cove where Drake dropped off some of his men to continue their search for the infamous Northwest Passage while he and the rest of his men continued their voyage around the world.
Ward says Drake left them a small sailing ship to carry them north along the coast in their quest to find the passage, and once discovered, begin their long sail back to the east coast of the continent.
Ward theorizes Drake’s men later left their Whale Cove shelter to seek a new landing spot away from the southwesterly winds that blow fiercely at Whale Cove during the winter. Ward believes they sailed north to the mouth of the Salmon River which blocks the strong southwesterly winds and provided them adequate shelter on land.
Unfortunately, upon their arrival, the men may have had a fatal run-in with local Native American tribes. Bones discovered in the 1930’s near the site are believed to be the remains of the men. Over the endless decades their small galleon slowly sank into the mud offshore.
Ward says he and his team have performed high-tech ground-probing imaging surveys that leads him to believe that the ship lies a number of feet down, buried in the mud near the mouth of river. Ward says the ship probably contains a goodly amount of silver bars gifted to the men upon Drake’s departure, but which now would legally belong to the State of Oregon.
Ward said his interest is only in setting history straight as to the true course of Drake’s visit to the New World, which he claimed in the name of the English Crown. Ward said if his life-long quest to correct history proves out, Lincoln City and surrounding areas would enjoy a boon in historical significance and remove the claim California has had on it for decades – that Drake first dropped anchor in what is today Drake’s Bay near San Francisco.
Ward said that Lincoln City’s local historical society would be a major beneficiary in that it could support a new chronology of events and exhibits that properly describes Drake’s exploration of the American west coast. It would also properly describe Drake’s claiming, what would later be called Oregon, as England’s first protectorate, rather than New England – standing American history on its head. Ward predicts it would create quite a domestic as well as international tourism magnet that would benefit the city’s tourist based industries handsomely.
The Council voted 6 to 1 to award the $20,000 grant to Bob Ward and his historical society. He said he is in “fundraising mode” for the other $25,000 required to complete the investigation. He says he’s confident he’ll raise it. The dig take place this summer.
Ward says the excavation will be done under very tight security and within a very restricted area. No public observing will be entertained. However major news media will be invited to document the operation and to properly convey to the world what is found.