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Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Born in Boston, November 12, 1806

Until 1822, he attended the Boston Latin School; instead of graduating, he went to sea and learned to captain a ship.

In 1833, on November 15, Friday, Captain Faucon sailed the ship Alert out of Boston Harbor for the firm of Bryant & Sturgis to meet the challenge of rounding Cape Horn to touch at Callao and reach California. During conversations with Richard Henry Dana (Author of Two Years Before the Mast), Captain Faucon said that the crew was exceptional, that he had passed all his life at sea, but whether before the mast or abaft, whether office or master, he had never met suh a crew, and never should excect to.

September 27, 1841, Bangor Daily Whig, Bangor, Maine, U.S.A.

LATER FROM CANTON

The ship Florida, Capt. Faucon, left Canton May 17, Mecca 19th, and was wrecked on Brigantine Shoal, off Little Egg Harbor, on the 21st inst. Mr. Besh, a passenger on board, arrived in the city last night, via Monmouth, New Jersey, and has kindly furnished us with the following information. (N.Y. Express)

Capt. Elliott had an interview with the Kwan Chou Fuu, a high Mandarin, who was desirous that Capt. Elliott should give up the Forts.

Capt. Elliott replied, that on the payment of $22,080,000. he would deliver them up. The Kwan Chou Fou, surprised at such terms, replied that the Emperor would neer make such a treaty, and that they must fight. It will be recollected that Capt. Elliott's first demand was six millions, which had been increased to twenty two . . .

Several British vessels of war were off the Factories and Capt. Herbert commanding the advanced squadron had orders in case of any signs of hostility on the part of the Chinese to bombard the city and not cease till it was reduced to ashes. He was to afford at the same time all necessary protection to foreigners.

Teas were high and scarce, and only to be purchased by dollars. No sales of imports of any description, the Chinese feeling very sanguine of renewed hostilities. The Mandarins will not allow teas to come in.

The city was full of Tarter soldiers, more than 60,000 being there already, and large numbers are daily arriving.

Just as the Florida was leaving Macao, news was received of an outbreak in Canton. The rumor being that the Chinese had commenced hostilities. The Florida passed Capt. Elliott in the steamer Nemesis, on the 18th, bound to Canton.

A part of the British fleet was to leave Hong Kong May 25 for the coast, bound to Peking to commence hostilities.

The cargo of the Florida was insured in China. She had 400 tons of teas . . . valued at about $200,000. The Florida struck the shoals at half past one o'clock and was abandoned at 8 o'clock same evening.

The schooner Birdsto, Captain Crawner, of Tuckerton, N.J. very kindly took off the crew, and rendered them every service in his power.

Captain Faucon brought home the Pilgrim and spent many years in command of vessels in the Indian and Chinese seas.

The arrival of steam transport made the speed of the drug-running Baltimore clipper Frolic suddenly as irrelevant as her rakish beauty.

There were those, however, who were enamored of such loveliness, and their hearts at this point seem to have been ruling their heads. Rather than cutting costs and indulging in minimum maintenance, Captain Edward H. Faucon was rearming his vessel by getting rid of the two heavy ships cannon which fired 9-pound balls intended to open holes in the hulls of attacking ships, and replacing these cannon with two lighter antipersonnel cannon that could fire 6-pound sacks of shrapnel. He was also obtaining one dozen cap percussion blunderbusses on swivel mounts that could be set up at various points along the bulwarks each of which could discharge six musket balls per load, a dozen ship’s muskets, and four braces of pistols, plus a dozen tomahawks and six cutlasses for close-in deck frolicking. No coastal pirates were to be allowed aboard. Also, he purchased six pairs of handcuffs so that his native crewmembers would not be tempted to rebel against his authority.

September 4, 1885, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

REMINISCENCE OF YERBA BUENA

A Post editorial says: "Probably few among the thousands of middle-aged readers of the Post who freshly remember Dana's classic "Two Years Before the Mast," will not learn with surprise that Captain Faucon, of the Alert, is still living, or will not read with peculiar interest a letter from that gentleman on "Early Days in California," in another column.

Captain Faucon says that Capt. John B. Cooper came aboard his ship off Yerba Buena in 1836, with a project to build a mill on the spot where the first discovery of gold was afterward made, and gives an interesting account of the first house built in San Francisco, by William Richardson, roofed with hides, which were blown off in the first rainstorm of that season.

Capt. Faucon turned out his crew, stripped off the fore and main sails, and covered the family from the weather.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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