Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

David Patrick Mallagh

My ggg-grandfather was an Irish shipping captain named David Patrick Mallagh, who, according to the records of the Society of California Pioneers, immigrated to California 26 July 1849. He was born 26 September 1825, Ireland, and died 26 September 1880 while working as a prison guard at San Quentin Prison (died on birthday according to obit).

He spent most of his adult life living near San Luis Obispo, California, married to Juana de Jesus Carrillo. I know from the 1852 California Census that his previous place of residence was the "East Indies". Furthermore, from two newspaper records from December 1849, I know that he was the captain of a schooner named Honolulu that ran trade routes back and forth between San Pedro, CA and San Francisco. Additionally, a short biography published in 1891 by Ida Storke on a man who knew Mallagh, J. B. Shaw, states the following about the latter's trip to southern California:

Shaw "took passage on the fast-sailing schooner Honolulu, commanded by Captain Mallagh, who had come with him on the same sailing vessel from China, and whom he had often attended professionally on his frequent trips from Bombay to Hong Kong, where the Doctor was stationed."

From elsewhere in the passage we know that Shaw was residing continuously in Hong Kong from 1844 until 1849, "when he embarked on a Swedish vessel and arrived in San Francisco July 3, 1849." My questions surround the maritime history of my ggg-grandfather. Given that D. P. Mallagh was captain of his own ship in Dec 1849, it seems possible that it was as captain of that ship that he came from Hong Kong to CA. However, the previous passage states that Shaw came with Mallagh to San Francisco, which suggests that Mallagh was at that time not in command of his own ship but on the aforementioned Swedish ship. That is at odds with Mallagh conducting trade between Bombay and Hong Kong, however. Plus, their dates of arrival do not line up.

I am not sure where you acquire your shipping records from, but I am curious if there exist any records of a schooner by the name of Honolulu arriving in July 1849 (or any time in 1849 for that matter). I would be curious to see if D. P. Mallagh is listed as captain. For that matter, I would be interested to know if any Swedish ships arrived around the same time, one supposedly carrying J. B. Shaw (and Mallagh?). I realize these requests are far-reaching, but I am mainly interested in any further direction you might give me in searching for the history of D. P. Mallagh as a captain. Some day I would love to track his movements throughout Asia, if that is even possible given the port/shipping records that may exist in Bombay and Hong Kong from that period.

Thanks so much for your time.
Sincerely, Zach O'Hagan

December 10, 1849, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Port of San Francisco, December 10
Arrived: Am. schr Honolulu, Mallagh, 10 days from San Pedro to Salmon & Ellis.

January 30, 1850: Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Port of San Francisco, January 30
Arrived: Am. schr Honolulu, Mallagh, 9 days from San Pedro, 50 passengers.

October 14, 1858, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.


-- An affair of honor was to have taken place at San Luis Obispo before the departure of the steamer on Monday last, between Walter Murray, member elect of the Legislature from that county, and Capt. D. P. Mallagh. The difficulty originated about matters connected with the late election. The duel was postponed until the return of Capt. Mallagh from the lower country. We understand that one of the parties was unable to obtain a pistol, and the other a second hence the postponement.

October 6, 1876, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

PASSENGERS. SANTA CRUZ, ETC - Per Active - F. Z. Branch, Miss E. B. Branch, Capt. D. P. Mallagh, Miss Helen Mallagh, Miss Jennie Mallagh, L. Castro and wife, Mrs. Jane Whitaker, M. Kennedy, H. Randill, J. B. Ward, J. H. Semmier, M. Dore, Jr., N. Fletcher, J. Churchman, E. C. Stearns, Ed Archer, Saml Cooper, A. Roman.

January 12, 1869, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
PASSENGERS. SAN LUIS OBISPO AND WAY PORTS - Per Gassie Telfair: Thos Barry, G Abegro, Miss E. Murray & str, D. P. Mallagh & fam, T. J. Shackleford, Judge Beeber, Mrs. Lee, C E March, S. H. Epperly. B. McKay, H Jotte, Capt Avery, F. Dowd, George Heath, J A Stagg, S. Moran, J C Allen, G G Fitch, E. Johnson, Jno Conkerite. Dr Hay, G Olive & wf, Mrs Rosenfield, G. Simmons, Wm. Kramer, J. S. Harrington.

January 15, 1859, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

COUNTY PAYMENTS Treasurers of the following counties have made settlements with the State: Juan B. Castro, Monterey, $21,462.33; Thomas D. Boyd, Sutter, ?20,353 04; Giles E. Sill, Yolo, $55,446.88; J. H. Woods, Colusa, $24,088.32 ; O. W. Hollenbeck, Placer, $29,960.42; Mariposa, $8,515 01 . . . David P. Mallagh, San Luis Obispo, $9,194,43 . . . .

June 4, 1872, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
California Pioneers

At the regular monthly meeting of the Society of California Pioneers, held last evening, the following new members were elected: Wm. M. Siddons, Wm. H. Kruse, E. P. E. Kruse, E. F. T. Kruse, Francis W. Faulkner, David Mallagh, Ferdinand Vassault, Captains E. A. Poole, and J. T. McKenzie appointed a committee on decease of Captain David Van Pelt.

February 7, 1888, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

An Undutiful Son.

Juana de Mallagh, being in embarrassed circumstances, conveyed her property, which, was heavily mortgaged, to her son, that he might effect some compromise with her creditors. He compromised by giving them a portion of the property and received back to himself a deed to a portion. Instead of conveying it to his mother he kept it. The Court held it to be a trust, and orders the heirs of the son, who has since died, to convey the property to the mother.


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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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