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A Ship In The Algodones (Woodbury)

In the spring of 1876 one Captain Joshua Talbot stumbled upon the remains of an ancient vessel sticking out of the sand dunes 25 miles west of Yuma. At first glance he guessed that it must be the wreck of a Spanish galleon loaded with gold. The discovery set the whole Pacific Coast talking.

The problem of excavating the wreck from the drifting sand delayed the salvage considerably, and meantime a hot controversy arose. Archaeologists and historians maintained that the vessel could not be a Spanish galleon; it must be a Vikig. Some even insisted that it was the ship that had disappeared with the “lost tribes of Israel,” for how else could one account for the number of prominent noses in California?

Talbot finally organized an expedition to go into the desert and dig up the relic, while sensible people everywhere waited eagerly. What was the Captain’s chagrin, after digging for a week in the glaring sun, to uncover a brass plate screwed to the keel of the mystery ship, and to read this simple inscription:


The vessel had foundered in a sandstorm on its way by mule power to navigate the Colorado River.From David O. Woodbury’s book, “The Colorado Conquest”


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