There sure is. And it is salvage gold, so finders are keepers. I don’t’ think there is argument there…but there is argument.
The gold was dispersed when the Ada Hancock Ferry blew up on April 27, 1863—but folks cannot agree on how or why that happened. I blame the whole tragedy on two of my characters in the sequel to “Grog Wars: Who Will Win The War For Love & Beer”. Would you like to read the excerpt and get a sneak peak at “Grog Wars II: The 251st Empire”?
History lovers, get ready to start your search engines…
EXCERPT: “Grog Wars II: The 251st Empire”
April 27, 1863
Los Angeles, California
goldtreasureWhere are you going? Marchal had been stalking Bombrei since the loathsome rapist had left the palace; he’d watched as a uniform-clad Bombrei donned the final accessory of a stripped, dead soldier. Marchal thought the disguise prudent, but he chose to don clothing from a servant’s quarters–he did retrieve a firearm from a fallen fighter, though. He never considered the weapon for his own security; it was an instrument of justice for Charlotte, and also poor Olivia.
Just as sadness and anger dogged Marchal Bastin across a barren desert, so Marchal-the-peasant dogged counterfeit Bombrei-the-soldier, all the way to Los Angeles. Marchal stretched his eyes around the corner of the ferry office and watched Bombrei at the ticket window. His eyes left the phony soldier to travel down the pier. A paddleboat ferry was readying to shove off. Marchal correctly supposed Bombrei would buy a last-minute ticket aboard whatever ship that ferryboat was going to meet.
There were two piers and several small steamships that operated out of the tiny Los Angeles harbor, by that time. The harbor was much too small to accommodate massive transcontinental steamers of the sort capable of taking Bombrei and Marchal to Europe. Instead, smaller steamers that could navigate the shallow waterway acted as ferries for the bigger ships. Bombrei boarded just before men untied the ferry’s ropes and tossed the coils onto the pier. Marchal ran to the ferry office window. “I need to buy a ticket to wherever that last man is going.” He was polite with the ticket man, but quite rushed.
“Sure, sure. It is ferrying passengers for the S.S. Senator, bound for San Francisco and points beyond. But you’d do best to run and jump on that ferry before it pulls away from the pier, my good man. You can buy whatever tickets you need on board.”
“Many thanks, good sir.” Marchal hollered over his shoulder. He was already running for the pier. “Hold that ferry!” He shouted ahead of himself. The ferrymen picked up the remainder of coil and pulled the steamer back a tad for Marchal to jump aboard.
History’s pages are filled with supposition about what happened to the Ada Hancock ferry. Most folks believed the boiler was struck by an errant bullet, the result of one crooked Wells Fargo Agent firing at another during a brawl linked to stolen gold. The theory endures not only because a gunshot was heard just after the ferry departed from the pier, but also because many folks witnessed a punch up between the two Wells Fargo agents concerning stolen gold, just prior to their boarding. No one was witness to the ugly score Marchal had come to settle with Bombrei.
The boiler did explode when hit by a stray bullet, which blew the ship and twenty-six passengers to smithereens and injured many more. And there was, indeed, $125,000 in Wells Fargo gold aboard the Ada Hancock, which was lost and perhaps would never be found. But it makes no sense that security agents, so practiced with guns, would miss so badly and in such close proximity to one another—especially with one of the men standing next to a boiler.
No, the fatal shot came from a gun Marchal Bastin had repurposed from a fallen soldier, in Mexico. The mannerly Belgian had never in his proper life fired a gun before that moment. And even though Marchal’s shot missed his target, his aim for justice on Charlotte’s behalf was spot on. The Empress of Mexico’s last defender made his stand in the middle of Los Angeles Harbor, just about a mile out from Dead Man’s Island.
What do you think caused the Ada Hancock tragedy? More importantly, what do you think of my excerpt? Comments are welcomed! AnneSweazyKulju@gmail.com