Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Captains' Adams

A random collection of news items about Captains with the surname Adams dailing in California waters.

Captain Adams, U.S.N.

June 8th, 1853, Capt. Adams, U.S.N., arrived enroute for Washington with the treaty concluded between Com. Perry and the Empire of Japan.

David B. Adams

April 1, 1891, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Captain Adams' Death. News comes from Honolulu of the death there, on the 22d alt., ot Captain David B. Adams, who left here on the Alameda to take command of the whaling bark Horatio.

Captain Adams

December 10, 1887, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles

Weekly Excursion.

Excursion to Lower California will leave here to-morrow evening (Sunday), at 5:30 p. m., and connect with the steamer Whitelaw, on the International Line, leaving San Diego on Monday morning next for Ensenada, Punta Banta, San Carlos and San Quentin. Round-trip tickets only $18; good for 20 days. Apply to Adams Son and Co.. 75 N. Spring St. Captain Adams will accompany the excursion. He is well acquainted with the country, and will look after the interests of his party.

Captain Adams

September 11, 1909, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

English Steamer Arrives

REDONDO BEACH, Sept. 10. The English steamship Carleton, Captain Adams commanding, arrived In the roadstead last evening, docking this afternoon. The Carleton is from Japan with 180,000 oak ties for the Santa Fe railroad.

The following sea captains are indexed in Queens Of The Western Ocean: The Story Of American's Mail And Passenger Sailing Lines, one of the finest reference books for those seeking information about ships, passages, captains, etc. based in North America. 

While they did not necessarily sail in/out of California, given the importance of the Port of San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1800s, many did come through with freight and passengers.

  • Atkins Adams
  • Benjamin Adams
  • Calvin Adams
  • Calvin Adams, Jr.
  • Charles Adams
  • Ebenezer G. Adams
  • G. A. Adams
  • Henry M. Adams
  • James Adams
  • John Adams
  • John J. Adams
  • Josiah Adams
  • Reuben Adams
  • Reuben B. Adams
  • Richard Adams
  • Samuel Adams
  • Thomas L. Adams
  • W. A. Adams
  • William A. Adams
  • William H. Adams

Aligned with the sea business:

  • Adams & Armory
  • Adams & Andrews
  • Adams & Rathbone
  • Adams Express Co.
  • John Adams & Co.
  • Samuel Adams & Co.

Gold Rush Port
The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's WaterfrontMaritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront.
James P. Delgado
Gold Rush Port The Maritime Archaeology of San Franciscos Waterfront.Described as a "forest of masts," San Francisco's Gold Rush waterfront was a floating economy of ships and wharves, where a dazzling array of global goods was traded and transported. Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco's unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city's remarkable rise from a small village to a boomtown of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Gleaning history from artifacts, such as preserves and liquors in bottles, leather boots and jackets, hulls of ships, even crocks of butter lying alongside discarded guns. Gold Rush Port paints a fascinating picture of how ships and global connections created the port and the city of San Francisco.

The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold RushPacific Worlds.
David Igler
Master Under God.The Pacific of the early eighteenth century was a place of baffling complexity, with 25,000 islands and seemingly endless continental shorelines. But with the voyages of Captain James Cook, global attention turned to the Pacific, and European and American dreams of scientific exploration, trade, and empire grew dramatically. By the time of the California gold rush, the Pacific's many shores were fully integrated into world markets-and world consciousness. The Great Ocean draws on hundreds of documented voyages as a window into the commercial, cultural, and ecological upheavals following Cook's exploits, focusing in particular on the eastern Pacific in the decades between the 1770s and the 1840s. Beginning with the expansion of trade as seen via the travels of William Shaler, captain of the American Brig Lelia Byrd, historian David Igler uncovers a world where voyagers, traders, hunters, and native peoples met one another in episodes often marked by violence and tragedy.

Rounding the Horn 
Being the Story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives. A Deck's-eye View of Cape Horn
Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives. Captains.Rounding the Horn.
Dallas Murphy
Fifty-five degrees 59 minutes South by 67 degrees 16 minutes West: Cape Horn, situated at the bottom of South America, is a place of forlorn and foreboding beauty that has captured the dark imaginations of explorers and writers from Francis Drake to Joseph Conrad. For centuries, the small stretch of water between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula was the only gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Storms are bigger, winds stronger, and the seas rougher than anywhere else on earth. In Rounding the Horn, author Dallas Murphy undertakes the ultimate maritime rite of passage weaving together stories of his own nautical adventures with tales of those who braved the Cape before him from Spanish missionaries to Captain Cook and interspersing them with breathtaking descriptions of the surrounding wilderness.

Master Under GodAt Sea.Master Under God.
Captain Gwilym Williams
Captains exercised absolute authority at sea and so were dubbed "Master Under God" by early insurance writs, agreements with ship owners and passengers and the Board of Trade.

The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag state policies. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his ultimate responsibility.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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