The Frolic (excerpted from S.F. Maritime Park pamphlet)
The Frolic, a former opium-runner, was sailing
from Hong Kong to San Francisco with a 26-man crew composed of
Portuguese-speaking Lascars (from India), Malays (modern-day
Indonesians), and Chinese. Her master, Captain Edward Horatio Faucon,
was the same man Richard Henry Dana admired and had made famous
as the captain of the Pilgrim in his 1840 classic, Two Years
Before the Mast.
But now Frolic's voyage seemed at an end. She had run aground just north of Point Cabrillo, between the present-day communities of Fort Bragg and Mendocino (about 100 miles north of San Francisco). Six men refused to come down from the rigging -- the rest managed to board two boats and row six miles south to the mouth of Big River. Faucon hiked two miles inland but found no one. Since one of the boats leaked badly and most of the crew wanted to travel by land, Faucon, two officers, and four oarsmen with a sick Malay rowed the other boat all the way to Bodega, just north of San Francisco. They slept on beaches and ate mussels for sustenance. Whatever became of the rest of the crew remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Faucon or his crew, the Frolic was discovered by Mitom Pomo Indians who salvaged ginger jars full of candied kumquats, ginger and among other things, and carried them inland to their camps and villages.
Within hours of Faucon's arrival in San Francisco he was interviewed
by the Daily Alta California. The story which appeared the next day
Captain F. reached this place yesterday...The Frolic was
bound to this place with a valuable cargo of Chinese goods. The loss is
estimated to be about $150,000.
The following spring Henry Meiggs, a successful San Francisco lumber merchant, sent an expedition inland up the coast hoping to salvage something from the Frolic. They reported finding Indian women wearing elegant silk shawls, but could find no trace of any other cargo. They did, however, discover huge redwood trees growing along the Big River. Meiggs ordered a steam-powered sawmill from back East and located it at Meiggsville (later renamed Mendocino). It was the first of many settlements on the Mendocino coast and established the logging industry there, which continues to this day.
For more information about the Frolic we recommend reading The voyage of the 'Frolic': New England merchants and the opium trade by Thomas N. Layton. It is a great piece of research, and an interesting story.
For another interesting aside, see Ida Louise Jackson