The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors from The Maritime Heritage Project in San Francisco.

Sea Captains at the Port of San Francisco 1800s



Henry Cleaveland (aka Henry Cleveland)

In 1848 Henry Cleaveland took over as master of the whaler Niantic and in May 1849, he was in Paita, Peru, as captain of the ship.

He learned of the discovery of gold, sailed to Panama, picked up 249 passengers, charging $150 to $250 each, and arrived in San Francisco on July 5, 1849.

Once the Niantic anchored, its crew left town along with the passengers.

Advertisement of the sale of the Niantic.

The whaler's owners pulled the ship ashore, dismantled its masts and rigging, and constructed offices and warehouses on her.

Entrance to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
View of Golden Gate and Fort Point
San Francisco, California

The Presidio has served as a military reservation from its establishment in 1776 as Spain's northern-most outpost of colonial power in the New World. It was one of the longest-garrisoned posts in the country and the oldest installation in the American West.

In 1846, during the Mexican-American War, the 7th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment occupied the crumbling adobes at the Presidio. The U.S. Regular Army took over the post the following year. This military reservation at the Golden Gate developed into the most important Army post on the Pacific Coast. Over time its armaments evolved from smooth bore cannons to modern missiles. It became the nerve center of a coastal defense system that eventually included Alcatraz and Angel Island and that reached as far north as the Marin Headlands and as far south as Fort Funston. Eventually, there were five distinct posts at the Presidio, each with its own commander: the Main Post, Fort Point, Letterman Hospital, Fort Winfield Scott, and Crissy Army Air Field. Also on the 1,491-acre reservation were a Coast Guard lifesaving station and a U.S. Public Health Service Hospital. From 1847 to about 1890, the Presidio defended San Francisco and also participated in the Indian Wars in the West. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the conquest of the Philippines to the end of the Vietnam War in 1973, the Presidio was a key link in the projection of American military power into the Pacific Basin and further west onto the mainland of Asia. New concrete fortifications built after the 1890s indirectly preserved native plant communities on the dramatic Pacific bluffs by making them off-limits.

Get Your Captain's License, Fourth EditionGet Your Captain's License.

Charlie Wing
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The Maritime Heritage Project.

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Recommended Reading

A Selection of Books About
Sea Captains

Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Johnson and Nurminen History of Seafaring.History of Seafaring.
The History of Seafaring:
Navigating the World's Oceans
Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.
Donald Johnson and Juha Nurminen

sea captains and ships.
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Storiessea captains and ships.
Simon Winchester

sea captains and ships.
Shanghaiing Days: The Thrilling Account of 19th Century Hell-Ships, Bucko Mates and Masters, and Dangerous Ports-Of-Call from San Francisco
Richard H. Dillon
D. Michael Abrashoff

Kindly

Coming to America.
Coming to America:
A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life
First Immigrants to America.
Roger Daniels

Rare Books.
First Migrants
Ancient Migration in Global Perspective
Ancient Migrations.
Peter Bellwood

Your story begins as far back as you can imagine.