With a great view of the city of Naples off her bow and Mount Vesuvius off her stern there's no doubt where this Baltimore Clipper Brig is located. This very well executed portrait has great detail of the port and ship with great coloration throughout and great reflections of the ship on the water. The ship is shown in full sail with flags flying.
The ship was owned and Captained by Griffith Jones, a Welshman born 1831. Port Madoc refers to the Welsh City of Porthmadog- it was spelled Portmadoc before 1974.
Her sloped bow and stern along with her size are typical of a Baltimore Clipper but her masts are not as raked as often seen in ships of this design and she is square rigged, though there are historical paintings and drawings of other Baltimore Clippers built in this way.
Most of what we know about the Brig EPHRATAH is due to the famous wreck of her sister ship FROLIC, though FROLIC was built much earlier. FROLIC is considered the most important wreck on the West Coast of the United States. Dr. Tom Layton of Stanford University connected the two ships in his research on FROLIC.
EPHRATAH was slightly larger than FROLIC at 230 tons, 152' with a breadth of 22'. She was built in 1873 for Griffith Jones & Co. who would also sail as her master. Jones was Welsh by birth, born in 1831 in Llannor.
FROLIC was built in Baltimore's Gardner Brothers shipyard for the Opium Trade. When steamers came along in the late 1850's it was perfect timing for FROLIC to switch to the busy California trade, fueled by the new California Gold Rush. FROLIC was carrying a rich cargo when she was shipwrecked off Point Cabrillo, California in 1850. When it was discovered in the 1980's the wreck and resultant research helped historians understand how those who had attempted to salvage the wreck ended up discovering the redwood forest, leading to the birth of the mill industry in Northern California and the establishment of cities all along the coast particularly around Mendocino.
The Point Cabrillo Light Station and California Historic Park uses this painting of EPHRATAH on their website as no image of FROLIC exists.
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