1854: A visit to Half Moon Bay

Story from John Vonderlin

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Trip of the Maj. Tompkins–Description of Half Moon Bay

Monterey Jan 8, 1854

It is with pleasure I embrace the present opportunity of giving you a few items of information regarding my trip to this place. We left Washington street wharf on board the Maj. Tompkins, yesterday mornng, 20 minutes after 10 o’clock, and reached Half Moon Bah at 2 o’clock where the boat was detained until 6 o’clock in the afternoon. We reached Santa Cruz a little before 2 o’clock this morning–landed a few passengers and came on to this place. We had a smooth sea all the way and a very pleasant and speedy trip. The Maj. Tompkins is greatly improved, and is now a boat that I can recommend to the traveling public.I

It is strange that nothing has ever been said about Half Moon Bay and the country around it; it is bounded by a large body of beautiful land, and I am informed the land is very rich and fertile. I saw large herds of cattle grazing on the plains, and some indications of farming. This will certainly be a place of some importance in a few years. It was dark when we landed at Santa Cruz, therefore I cannot say anything about that place at present.

Monterey is beautifully situated and has a good harbor; it is a lively little place. I have never been at any place with a more hospitable reception that I did here. I have just dined with Judge Merrett, one of the most distinguished legal gentlemen of the place. His wife is a California lady and quite an accomplished woman.

I shall be able soon to give you a general history of the early settlement of this place, which I think will be interesting.