When Ben Thompson came to America – A Great Find
The exact arrival date of when Ben Thompson and his family to America has been a question that has fascinated researchers and authors for decades. Canadian Author and researcher Lisa Lach, along with Ken Aaron, Baker family researcher from Knottingley, England, get full credit for both finding the arrival date and the landing place of the ship Ben Thompson came over on.
We’ve been keeping it secret for about a year and were going to surprise you with the answer in our new book coming out in 2013, but we decided to break the news here instead, in lieu of the April 29th dedication coming up. Thank you both, Ken and Lisa.
The Thompson family boarded the ship Granada from Liverpool, England, and arrived at New Orleans harbor on July 16, 1852. They travelled to Galveston, Houston, and through Bastrop before settling in Austin in November or December of 1852
Source: Ancestory.com; New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945; National Archives’ Series Number: M259_36.
From Hutchings California Magazine, Vol. IV, No. 12 June 1860.
The ill-fated Steamer Granada, wrecked upon the rocks at Fort Point on the night of October 13, 1860. The Granada was a vessel of about 1400 tons, six years old, and had been running in the line between Aspinwall and Havana. She was one of the two vessels, the Moses Taylor being the other, purchased by Marshall O. Roberts and intended for the Pacific side of the new line between San Francisco and the Atlantic States by way of Tehuantepec. She left New York on her way to San Francisco on July 14, 1860, came through the Straits of Magellan, and after 14,000 miles of ocean voyage, without an accident, was wrecked upon endeavoring to enter her harbor of destination.
She had taken on board a pilot before passing Point Lobos, and it was doubtless owing to his rashness that the vessel was lost. He attempted to bring her in at evening and during a very heavy fog. A short time before the vessel struck, he had ordered a full head of steam to be turned on; and the ship was going at full speed when breakers were observed at her bow. The order was given to reverse the engines, but it was too late; she was already firmly imbedded in the sand and on the rocks — and there she remained.
There was no freight and no passengers on board but a son of Mr. Roberts. There was no loss of life. Strenuous attempts with steam-tugs and by pumping were made to save the steamer, but all failed and the wreck was dis-masted. It was sold at auction “for the benefit of whom it might concern” on October 18th for $9,400; ad measures were immediately taken to remove the engines, boilers and other valuable parts.
The rocky shore where the wreck lies has become famous for wrecks. It is the same where several previous ones took place, among them the Jenny Lind and Golden Fleece, the Chateau Palmer only a few years ago, and the General Cushing. The ship Euterpe went ashore there a few months since, but was fortunately recovered.
Have you found a fact about Ben or Billy Thompson that no one else has and feel like you need to share it? Email us what you’d like to share and we’ll post it and credit your name to the Ben Thompson Foundation website.