On the night of July 25th, 1850, the sailing brig Frolic misjudged its distance from shore and ran aground just north of Point Cabrillo. The brig had been employed in the lucrative opium trafficking from Bombay, India to Canton, China, but steamships were quickly displacing sailing vessels in the trade, so the Frolic was loaded with household goods and sailed for San Francisco to capitalize on the gold rush boom.
Edward H. Faucon, captain of the Frolic, abandoned his vessel after she ran aground, landed his lifeboats near the mouth of the Big River, and ten days later turned up in San Francisco. The following year, Jerome Ford attempted to salvage the vessel, but found the work impractical. Besides, Pomo Indians had already recovered a good portion of the ship's cargo as evidenced by the brightly colored silk shawls their women were wearing. Although Ford was disappointed in the salvage venture, he was impressed by the mighty stands of redwoods along the coast and talked his associate, Henry Meiggs, into building a sawmill at the mouth of the Big River.
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