Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s


Francis R. Baby

Died March 1888, New York City

May 8, 1862, Marysville Daily Appeal, Marysville, California, U.S.A.

Pacific Mail Steamship Co.: The following steamships will be despatched in the month of May 1862: Golden Age, Captain Baby, Friday, May 16th. for Panama.

Captain Baby took command of the following:

1852: Steamer Oregon

1855: Steamer Republic

1858-61: Pacific Mail Steamship Company's Sonora on the Panama-San Francisco route.

1862: February through September Pacific Mail's Golden Age between San Francisco and Panama.

October 29, 1862, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

I learn that Captain Baby has been appointed agent for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in this city in place of Forbes & Babcock. Captain Hudson is to take the place of Captain Baby as commander of the Golden Age.

" . . . and the traveling public South can rest assured that those desirous of going to any part of the world, will be furnished extra facilities by consulting, either by letter or in person, D. H. L. Leaf (at Adams Express Co., 320 Chestnut street), or that old hero of the Pacific and Neptune of the Atlantic, the courtly Captain F. R. Baby, the New York agent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, whose knowledge of his duties is alone excelled by his generosity."

Camp Chase and Johnson's Island
Joseph Barbire

From the New York Department of Parks Annual Report, "Director of the Menagerie," April 1872: "There have been many interesting additions to the collection, as the following list will show":

Received as gifts: . . . A Japanese Deer, Cervus sika, presented by Captain F. R. Baby."

March 21, 1888, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Captain Francis R. Baby, formerly Superintendent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, died suddenly of apoplexy on Monday, at his home on West Fourteenth street, New York City, at the age of sixty-four years.

From United States Life-Saving Service:

"By the death of Captain F. R. Baby, in 1888, a vacancy occurred in the presidency of the Board on Life-Saving Appliances, and Mr. Burgess was invited to accept the office, which is one without emoluments of any kind."


The Authority to Sail.The Authority to Sail: The History of U.S. Maritime Licenses and Seamen's PapersThe Authority to Sail.
Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward) (Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)
This book depicts important aspects of our maritime history as a result of original research done by the author, Commodore Bates, the holder of an unlimited master's license who has enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career in both the Coast Guard and the American Merchant Marine.

The U.S. Coast Guard issues all Captain Licenses for U.S. Ports.
Note: Other countries have different regulations, i.e. the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), conducts certification for Britain and Ireland. As of 2011, they did not recognize the USCG certification; certification through their courses was required.

Master Unlimited is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of a vessel any gross tons. 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. 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 or her ultimate responsibility. The STCW defines the Master as Person having command of the ship.

Merchant Marine License.

The Sea Chart
The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational ChartsThe Sea Chart.
The Sea Chart.The Sea Chart.
John Blake
The sea chart was one of the key tools by which ships of trade, transport and conquest navigated their course across the oceans. Herein is a history and development of the chart and the related nautical map, in both scientific and aesthetic terms, as a means of safe and accurate seaborne navigation. 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by 13th-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as 18th-century charts that became strategic naval and commercial requirements and led to Cook's voyages in the Pacific, the search for the Northwest Passage, and races to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition. Charlie  Wing.
Charlie Wing
Considered the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for the U.S. Coast Guard captain's ratings exams required for anyone who takes paying passengers on a boat, and useful for serious boaters who want to save money on insurance. 350 pages of seamanship and navigation tutorials. More than 1,500 questions and answers from the Coast Guard exams. Includes an interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database, so you can take an unlimited number of practice exams

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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