In June, 1810, fur baron John Jacob Astor created ‘Pacific Fur Company.’ They hoped to best the flourishing Northwest Company (who travelled by land,) which was a most powerful concern, by having a great depot at the mouth of the Columbia, in other words, by using the sea.
One of the vessels selected for the pioneer voyage was the Tonquin. On March 22, 1811, they arrived off the mouth of the Columbia, where they encountered heavy seas. Thorn sent out several boats to find the river channel; two of them capsized and eight men died. One of the men was a Hawaiian. Local history says that the area was named Waikiki Beach in honor of this unnamed Hawaiian who was buried on the beach.