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Passengers, Seaports, Captains

San Francisco during the Gold Rush. 1849.

B. F. Henderson, Frances Helen (Clipper Schooner)

Editor's Note: There were two vessels named Frances Helen running Northern California's coastline in the 1850s. Both were occasionally misspelled as Francis Helen or Helen Frances:

  • Clipper Schooner Frances Helen, Captain Leeds, arrived in San Francisco on March 30, 1850. She was noted as sailing between Hawaii and San Francisco and from San Francisco to Panama, in addition to running California's coastline.
  • Schooner Frances Helen, Captain Henderson commanded the Frances Helen along California's North Coast bringing in lumber, potatoes, etc.

June 15, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Humboldt County, California. Lentell. 1898.

Humboldt Landowner Map. 1898. Lentell.

HUMBOLDT. -- The schooner Frances Helen, of the "Humboldt Transportation Line," advertised to sail on Monday, will be detained until Tuesday, 18th inst., on account of the fire. As several vessels bound up the coast have put back, Captain Ottinger, who is familiar with the navigation of the coast, will sail in the Frances Helen, giving the master the benefit of his experience. This vessel has superior sailing qualities, and those bound to the Bay, or the Trinity Gold Mines, may rely on a short passage. Ottinger & Brown, proprietors of this line, may be found at the store of Whitney & Britton, California street wharf, where freight and passage may be secured.

July 16, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

For the New Digging

The schooner Frances Helen, of the "Humboldt Transportation Line," advertised in another column, will be detained until tomorrow, to afford those who came down by the "Sierra Nevada" time to return with their goods without delay. Capt. Ottinger, who is well acquainted with the coast, and the prevailing winds, will accompany the Frances Helen.



Being now regularly established, the prices will hereafter be 20 per cent less. Freight and passengers by way of Humboldt reach the Gold Mines of Trinity River, with less time and expense than by any other route. Persons taking passage or making shipments, may rely on dispatch, as the vessels of this line will on no account (accident excepted) be detained 24 hours beyond the time specified for sailing.

The fine A 1 brig ISABEL is now loading, and will sail on THURSDAY, August 1st. For freight or passage, apply to

Central wharf.

July 25, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

We would refer those who have any occasion to go to Humboldt or Trinidad, or who are doing business there, to the advertisement of Ottinger, Brown & Co., in another column. It will be seen that they have reduced the price for passage and freight 20 per cent.

August 22, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Very Late From Humboldt

Trinity County, California. 1894.

The schooner Helen Frances,آ Capt. Henderson, arrived yesterday afternoon, forty eight hours from Humboldt Harbor. By this arrival we have received intelligence from the Trinity mines to a very recent date. Mr. Snyder, one of the passengers in theآ Helenآ Frances,آ comes direct from Weaver's diggings, on the Trinity, where he has been working for several months past. He is on his way home with a "pile" sufficiently large to satisfy the desires of almost any man. He informs us that during the time he worked, ever since the commencement of last autumn, he never obtained less than an ounce in any one day.

His labor produced from $150 to $100 per day, and occasionally a less sum. Other miners had done as well and even better than himself, while others also were unsuccessful. The gulches are now dry, and the miners were throwing up the earth to wash next winter. So far, these gulches have proved to be very rich. The prospect of success for the next winter is good. The gold is found usually in gulches. Where the river has been dammed, those engaged have been but poorly compensated. Only two places have yielded any thing like a remuneration. At Weaver's, flour was selling at $1 per pound, and pork at $1 25 per pound.آ 

September 26, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping Intelligence: Port of San Francisco, September 26, 1850

Arrived: Wednesday, September 25, Schooner Frances Helen, Henderson, 2 days from Humboldt Bay. 17 passengers. Consigned to Brown & Co.
Memoranda: Left at Humboldt Bay brigs Fawn and Emily Farnham -- former to sail for this port on Monday, last, and the latter about the 28th inst., both with piles. Importations per Frances Helen: 100 piles and 20 pieces square timber. Consignees: Ottinger, Brown & Co.

Passengers per Frances Helen: C. C. McDonald, W. Glover, D. D. Mitchell, J. Taffs, E. H. Delaney, J. S. Cotton, E. Dunning, D. & B. Gile, W. Bryan, A. Willett, K. Dean, K. H. Williams, R, Aitchcock, D. Hallman, A. Petrie, M. Taylor.

February 20, 1851, Sacramento Transcript, Sacramento, California: Cleared: Schooner Frances Helen, Henderson, Astoria. 4 passengers.

May 7, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

First Vessel for Oregon

The fast sailing schooner Frances Helen, Capt. B. F. Henderson, will have immediate dispatch for Astoria, Fort Vancouver and Portland. For freight or passage, having superior accommodations for passengers, apply to

Foot of Jackson Street.


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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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