Port Isabel, Sonora

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Sternwheel steamboat Colorado No. 2, built 1862, in the tidal dry dock at the former settlement of Port Isabel. Colorado No. 2 in tidal drydock at Port Isabel.jpg
Sternwheel steamboat Colorado No. 2, built 1862, in the tidal dry dock at the former settlement of Port Isabel.

Port Isabel was a seaport established on Port Isabel Slough in 1865 during the American Civil War in Sonora, Mexico in the mouth of the Colorado River on the Gulf of California. It was founded to support the increased river traffic caused by the gold rush that began in 1862 on the Colorado River and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot newly established in 1864 to support the Army posts in the Arizona Military District. The slough was discovered in 1865 by the Captain W. H. Pierson of the schooner Isabel, that first used the slough to transfer its cargo to steamboats safe from the tidal bore of the Colorado River. Shortly afterward Port Isabel was established 3 miles up the slough and replaced Robinson's Landing as the place where cargo was unloaded in the river from seagoing craft on to flat bottomed steamboats of the Colorado River and carried up to Fort Yuma and points further north on the river. [1]

Port Isabel Slough was a deep slough in the Colorado River Delta near the mouth of the Colorado River during the 19th century, within the state of Sonora, Mexico.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Colorado River Delta river in Mexico

The Colorado River Delta is the region where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf of California. The delta is part of a larger geologic region called the Salton Trough. Historically, the interaction of the river's flow and the ocean's tide created a dynamic environment, supporting freshwater, brackish, and saltwater species. Within the delta region, the river split into multiple braided channels and formed complex estuary and terrestrial ecosystems. Use of water upstream and the accompanying reduction of fresh water flow has resulted in loss of most of the wetlands of the area, as well as drastic changes to the aquatic ecosystems. However, a scheme is currently in place which aims to rejuvenate the wetlands by releasing a pulse of water down the river delta.

By 1867, Port Isabel, was situated on Port Isabel Slough whose mouth lay to the east of the main channel of the Colorado River on its channel east of Montague Island about 212 miles from its entrance, at the first good landing place, the shores below being of very soft mud. Port Isabel, served as a location for repairing the river steamers and barges at a location about 2 miles above Port Isabel on what was called Shipyard Slough that became the site called Ship Yard, which had a few frame buildings, a dry dock and a ship way where steamboats could be constructed or repaired. [2]

The arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Yuma in 1877 signaled the end of Port Isabel. Trade by sea was replaced with cargo carried by rail. In 1877, George Alonzo Johnson sold his Colorado Steam Navigation Company to the Southern Pacific Railroad. Yuma then became the head of navigation for steamboats operating on the river. Port Isabel was abandoned by 1879, its shipyard being moved to Yuma, Arizona.

George Alonzo Johnson (1824-1903) 49er, Colorado River steamboat entrepreneur, California politician.

Yuma, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Yuma is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. The city's population was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.

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Robinson's Landing was a location in Baja California, Mexico. It lay on the west bank of the Colorado River northwest of the north tip of Montague Island in the Colorado River Delta, 10 miles above the mouth of the river on the Gulf of California. Named for David C. Robinson, it was the place where cargo was unloaded in the river from seagoing craft on to flatbottomed steamboats and carried up to Fort Yuma and points further north on the river from 1852 onward. Joseph C. Ives, described it as it was in 1858, in his 1861 Report upon the Colorado river of the West The river here was subject to a severe tidal bore that formed in the estuary about Montague Island and propagated upstream and could on occasion swamp barges, boats and ships. By 1865, a better location was found, ships offloaded their cargos on the east bank of the river at Port Isabel, Sonora, northeast of Montague Island. 17 miles from Robinson's landing and 57 miles below Port Famine.

El Dorado Canyon is a canyon in southern Clark County, Nevada famed for its rich silver and gold mines. The canyon was named in 1857 by steamboat entrepreneur Captain George Alonzo Johnson when gold and silver was discovered here. It drains into the Colorado River at the former site of Nelson's Landing.

Steamboats of the Colorado River Set of boats used in the Colorado river

Steamboats on the Colorado River operated from the river mouth at the Colorado River Delta on the Gulf of California in Mexico, up to the Virgin River on the Lower Colorado River Valley in the Southwestern United States from 1852 until 1909, when the construction of the Laguna Dam was completed. The shallow draft paddle steamers were found to be the most economical way to ship goods between the Pacific Ocean ports and settlements and mines along the lower river, putting in at landings in Sonora state, Baja California Territory, California state, Arizona Territory, New Mexico Territory, and Nevada state. They remained the primary means of transportation of freight until the advent of the more economical railroads began cutting away at their business from 1878 when the first line entered Arizona Territory.

Lerdo Landing, now a ghost town, in Baja California was originally located in Sonora, Mexico from 1872 to 1896. Later changes to the course of the Colorado river and political boundaries left the site located in Baja California.

Explorer was a small, custom-made stern-wheel steamboat built for Second lieutenant Joseph Christmas Ives and used by him to carry the U. S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers expedition to explore the Colorado River above Fort Yuma in 1858.

Colorado, was a stern-wheel paddle-steamer, the third steamboat on the Colorado River, and first stern-wheel steamboat put on that river, in December 1855.

Cocopah, was a stern-wheel paddle-steamer, the fifth steamboat on the Colorado River, first put on the river in August 1859.

Cocopah II (Sternwheeler)

Cocopah II, was a stern-wheel paddle-steamer, the tenth steamboat on the Colorado River, first put on the river in 1867.

The Union Line was a transport company of steamboats of the Colorado River, owned by Thomas E. Trueworthy, operating in southeastern California, western Arizona Territory, and northwestern Mexico.

Esmerelda, was a stern-wheel paddle-steamer, built for the Sacramento River trade, in 1864 it became the first of the opposition steamboats on the Colorado River. It was also the first steamboat to tow large cargo barges on that river, in May 1864 and to reach Callville, Nevada in 1866.

Mohave was the first stern-wheel steamboat of that name running on the Colorado River between 1864 and 1875.

Nina Tilden, one of the two opposition stern-wheel steamboats that ran on the Colorado River from 1864 to 1868. Purchased by George A. Johnson Company it ran on the Colorado River from 1868 until 1874.

Eureka or Eureka Landing, is a former mining town and steamboat landing, now a ghost town, on the Arizona bank of the Colorado River in what is now La Paz County, Arizona. It was originally located in Yuma County, Arizona from 1863 through the 1870s.

Williamsport is a former mining town and present day ghost town, on the bank of the Colorado River in La Paz County, Arizona.

Gila, a stern-wheel steamboat of the Colorado Steam Navigation Company running on the Colorado River between 1873 and 1899.

Alfred Henry Wilcox (1823-1883), sea captain, later Colorado River pioneer and steamboat and steamship entrepreneur, partner in the George A. Johnson & Company and of the Colorado Steam Navigation Company, banker and director of the California & Mexican Steam Ship Line.

Hualapai Smith's or Smith's Ferry was a steamboat landing and a ferry crossing and farm on the Sonora bank of the Colorado River, the border between Sonora and Baja California, from the later 1860s to 1878. It was located on the Colorado River in Sonora 20 miles overland from Yuma, Arizona and 30 miles down river from Fort Yuma in 1861.

George A. Johnson & Company was a partnership between three men who pioneered navigation on the Colorado River. Benjamin M. Hartshorne, George Alonzo Johnson and Alfred H. Wilcox. The George A. Johnson & Company was formed in the fall of 1852, and was reorganized as the Colorado Steam Navigation Company in 1869.

Mohave II

Mohave, the second stern-wheel steamboat of that name running on the Colorado River for the Colorado Steam Navigation Company (C.S.N.C) between 1876 and 1875. It was the first and only double smokestack steamboat to run on the river.

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