This is Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is this twisty network of bays and inslets and islands that has basically one claim to fame other than serial killers and mysterious disappearances (see last week). That’s pirates.
Ahem, excuse me, privateers. Or more particularly ye honorable privateer, Sir Francis Drake. El Draque himself. (his life sounds like it was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs)en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_… I’ve heard several stories but ‘circumsized the globe with a 100-foot clipper’ seems to come up a lot. He’s the man the brought piracy to North America, so think about that next time you log onto a torrent site. Oh and oddly enough, he was named for my 10th great grandfather, his godfather Francis Russell. Good job with the religious education Frank.
During his famous voyage, he stopped off in Point Reyes at a place now known (drumroll) as Drake’s Bay. It was 1579, and he was feeling his oats, so he made a commemorative brass plate, and nailed it, along with a sixpence, to a post somewhere in the Marin area, claiming the land for Her Majesteye Elizabeth, Qveen of Engl. etc. &c. and named the place ‘Nova Albion’ (Albion is the old name of England). Then he left.
In 1936 they found the plaque. It was great. It led off with BEE IT KNOWNE VNTO ALL MEN…and ended with a …G. FRANCIS DRAKE. Berserkeley University immediately pounced on the find and it became the centerpiece of the California Historical Society until the 1970’s when a researcher was looking at it under a microscope and said something like ‘hey why is there an ECV painted in fluorescent paint on the back?'
The history of E Clampus Vitus forging the Drake plate and hoodwinking California’s prestigious University of California academics for fifty years is detailed quite merrily here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake%27….
The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus is a ‘historical drinking society’ or a ‘drinking historical society’ according to their leader, the Noble Grand Humbug. They wear red shirts, and gaudy buttons, and like to throw each other into creeks. Somehow I don’t think Drake would have minded them providing history with the brass plaque, or a serviceable replica thereof. Then again Drake was known to behead people.
At an archeological dig in Marin, they found the sixpence for real, pierced with a nail and bearing the date of 1567.
Berserkeley still has both items on display at Bancroft Library.
But you should visit Eynhallow today instead.