Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s


Sydney Henry Gough

(Letter from Captain William Ellery)

March 4, 1871

Captain Sydney Gough in 1862

We are in receipt of the following letter, which casts some light on the fate of Captain Sydney Gough, to whom allusion was made in our issue of February 16th, which we publish in the hope that it may induce such others as many know anything concerning the matter to communicate with us:

CAPTAIN ELLERY'S LETTER, February 21, 1870, DANVILLE, Contra Costa Co.,California

EDITOR CHRONICLE:--In the CHRONICLE of the 16th instant, my attention was particularly attracted to the column headed "Mystery." As you wish information, the following is at your disposal:

In the Winter of 1851 I became acquainted, and subsequently very intimate, with one Captain Sidney Gough, in Shanghai, China. He was then chief officer of the steam tugConfucius. On my next voyage to China he was in command of the same steamer, then owned and used as a war vessel by the imperialists. Captain G. stood high in the confidence of the Mandarins, and was Admiral of the fleet. On my arrival in China, in the latter part of 1962, I heard the sad news of 

HIS DEATH

The Chinese were about buying another steamer, and were out on a trial trip, when she blew up, and Captain Gough and several Chinese officials.

In our moments of intimacy (although he was very reticent in some particulars), I learned that he was a Southerner, and between the years 1830 and 1840 was with the celebrated Captain Wm. Smilley of the schooner Ohio, in the sealing business, at the Falkland Islands, and on the east coast of South America.

DESCRIPTION OF CAPTAIN GOUGH. Were Captain Gough now living he would be about fifty five years old, I should say. He stood about five feet eight or nine inches; had a dark complexion, wavy black hair and light eyes. I have a large-size photograph of him, which I would cheerfully resign to his relatives, should it prove to be the right one. 
Any further information you may desire, if within my power, will be cheerfully given. 

Respectfully yours, 
CAPT. WILLIAM ELLERY.

This statement does away with the impression that Captain Gough died in this State. It may be, however, that the person who took possession of his estate came to California afterward, else how did the advertisement, which was copied by the Michigan papers, come to be published here? The narrative of Captain Ellery, while it settles the question as to the manner of Gough's death, and specifies the year in which it occurred, throws no light on the subject of the estate, its value, or what afterward became of it. At present the prospects of recovering the lost fortune to the widow are not flattering; yet it is possible -- barely possible -- that some information may yet be obtained whch may lead to its discovery.

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. John Blake looks at the 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. This handsome work contains 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by thirteenth-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as eighteenth-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.

Maritime History as World History
(New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology)Maritime History as World History.
Daniel Finamore
Maritime History as World History."In the 21st century the division between the maritime and terrestrial worlds has virtually disappeared. Events and issues that previously involved only maritime subjects need to be reexamined today from the perspective of those events and developments occurring simultaneously ashore. It is through this approach, as demonstrated by this fine collection of essays, that maritime history becomes a vehicle for understanding global history."

Essays by leading scholars present an assessment of the field of maritime history in the early 21st century, offering insights into the impact of seaborne exploration, warfare, and commerce on the course of history, from the independent traditions of ancient Japanese, Arab, and Mediterranean seafarers to the rapid European expansion around the globe from the 16th century onward.

Author Daniel Finamore is Russell W. Knight Curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.


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

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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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