Laura Bevan

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Captain of the Laura Bevan

Laura Bevan (#) (+1855-1858), clipper schooner lost at sea in May 1858. Pieces were found washed up on the east end of Santa Cruz Island. Thomas A. Ayers, a native of New Jersey and the first known Yosemite artist, was lost in the shipwreck. Ayers had gone west to San Francisco aboard the Panama, headed for the goldfields in 1849. Many of his surviving drawings depict mining scenes, gold rush towns, and California scenery. Harper and Brothers engaged Ayers to illustrate a series of southern California articles, thus he set sail for San Pedro aboard the Laura Bevan. He was about 40 years old and left two young children.

In the News~

August 23, 1855 [SBG]: “Regular dispatch of San Pedro Packets touching at Santa Barbara. This line is composed of the favorite clipper schooner Laura Bevan, Captain Frank F. Morton, and others, which will run regular hereafter as above, taking freight and passengers on the most favorable terms, to which every care and attention will be paid. For further particulars apply to any of the principal merchants at Los Angeles, San Pedro or Santa Barbara. N. Pierce, proprietor of the line at San Francisco...”

May 27, 1858 [DAC]: “Los Angeles, May 24, 1858. Considerable anxiety is felt here to learn the fate of Captain Morton and the schooner Laura Bevan. He sailed from San Pedro a month ago, with freight for San Buenaventura, and ballast, intending to take a cargo of asphalt from Santa Barbara. Since that day there has been no trace of him... The day he sailed there was a heavy northwester, and the sea higher at Catalina than for a long time previously. It is feared he may have been swamped in that gale... There were eleven persons on board, several of whom belonged to the ship, and whose names can be ascertained at the office in San Francisco. One of the brothers Johnson, the oldest, for several years a resident of Catalina Island, was a passenger. There were three other passengers...”

June 5, 1858 [DAC]: “The schooner Laura Bevan, bound for San Pedro to Santa Barbara, has been lost at sea, and it is supposed that all on board, numbering ten or eleven persons, have been lost. Among the passengers was Mr. R. A. Ayres, an artist of merit.

February 11, 1859 [DAC]: “The lost Laura Bevan. Pieces of the wreck have been recently picked up on the east end of Santa Cruz Island and identified as having been part of the cabin of the Laura Bevan. [Vineyard, 4th inst.]”