“The Mystery of the Brig Owhyhee‘s Anchor and the Disappearance of Captain John Dominis”

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa annually hosts the Symposium on Maritime Archaeology and History of Hawaii and the Pacific at the Hawaiʻi Maritime Center. I participated as a presentor at the 2000 conference and again in 2002 which was the 14th Annual Symposium and held as a joint conference with the North American Society for Oceanic History.

The UH web site noted that the first day of the 2002 symposium featured presentations on “The Commercial Trades in the Pacific,” including “The Mystery of the Brig Owyhee‘s Anchor and the Disappearance of Captain John Dominis” by maritime historian Jim Mockford. Mockford examines the career of Captain John Dominis, father-in-law of Queen Liliʻuokalani and the builder of Washington Place.” See http://www.uhm.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=267/

This conference paper became an essay that was accepted for publication in “The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord” a publication of The Canadian Nautical Research Society in association with the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) for the 2008 issue and a pdf is available from “The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord” http://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol18/tnm_18_3-4_105-119.pdf/

But that is not the end of the story.

The Spring 2009 issue of the NASOH newsletter ran an update, “The Brig Owhyhee’s Anchor: The Rest of the Story.”

“Readers of The Northern Mariner will be interested in developments that occurred after the publication of James Mockford’s essay, “The Mystery of the Brig Owhyhee’s Anchor and the Disappearance of Captain John Dominis” in a recent issue of TNM (vol. 18:3-4). While the published story told of how the Brig Owhyhee’s anchor had ended up at the Portland Yacht Club there was a discussion among the yacht club board that perhaps a museum would be the best place for the historic anchor so in December 2008 the anchor was formally turned over to the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City. PYC Commodore Berkeley Smith and a delegation of club members gathered at the museum to present the anchor to Curator Charlene Buckley. The anchor will now be displayed for the public at a location not far from the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers where it was originally lost by Captain John Dominis in 1830.For further details about the museum web see http://www.clackamashistory.org/ Thanks to the Washington Place Foundation in Honolulu and the Dominis family. The only known portrait of Captain Dominis that appeared in the publication has also been made available for viewing online at http://washingtonplacefoundation.org/history.php

About Jim Mockford

Author, historian with an interest in maritime history and Asia Pacific cultural exchange. Owner of Kumquat Kids Productions, LLC.
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