Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s
Born in Denmark, September 15, 1830.
Died June 5, 1909 in Oakland, California.
When he was thirteen, Charles Nelson left his family and went to sea, securing a humble position on a vessel and receiving for a month's laborious work seventy-five cents. From this position he rose to that of mate on the ship, for it was found that he had mastered practically every detail connected with the operation of the vessel and could even take the place of cook when necessity arose.
On one of his voyages he went to New York in 1847 and two years later sailed from that city for his old home in Denmark, having promised his mother when he left that country that he would return in five years. This was the last time he saw his parents, for his father died in 1850 and his mother in 1863.
Marysville. 1850. View of the Plaza.
Captain Nelson arrived in San Francisco in July, 1850, attracted by news of gold discoveries. However, meeting with only fair success at mining, he secured an interest in a whaling boat at Sacramento.
With the assistance of a comrade, he rowed the whaler upriver from Sacramento to Marysville, a distance of ninety miles, carrying freight and passengers; he made the trip frequently, often buying vegetables and garden produce, which were sold in the city.
Captain Nelson took up a government claim, paying $2.50 per acre for 250 acres of land. During the winter months, when his shipping operations ceased, he engaged men to chop wood which he sold to steamers engaged in the river trade. In this way he accumulated a small sum of money, and he placed it in the Adams & Company Bank, intending to use it to defray the expense of rebuilding his vessel. However, before he did this the bank, together with other financial institutions in San Francisco, closed its doors and he never received one cent of his money. He continued his shipping operations, becoming interested in 1862, in connection with a partner, John Kantfield, in a barkentine, this being the first vessel of its kind built on the Pacific coast.
In 1867, he purchased an interest in the Kimphill Lumber Company, which controlled large sections of timber land in Humboldt county, California. Mr. Nelson aided in improving the facilities for the manufacture of lumber and was instrumental in securing the purchase of a line of tow boats, on which were shipped large quantities of lumber from the mills to all points along the coast, as far south as San Pedro and north to Portland and Seattle.
As his financial resources increased Mr. Nelson invested in vessels of his own and developed a large lumber shipping business on the coast which he owned himself and which he organized and incorporated in 1901 as the Charles Nelson Company, of which he remained president and active manager until his death.
This company controlled a fleet of steamers, among which is a new one of steel built by Moran Brothers of Seattle. Their trade grew into China, South America, Australia and intermediate points.
Mr. Nelson remained active in the conduct of his immense shipping interests until a short time before his death in 1909, when he was 79 years old.
Captain Nelson was twice married. He wedded in San Francisco on the 13th of October, 1856, Miss Metha Clausen, a native of Denmark, and six children were born to their union, all of whom died in infancy with the exception of one daughter, Margaret, who is the widow of Eugene Bresse of San Francisco. Mrs. Nelson passed away in 1896.
San Francisco Bay. 1899.
Captain Nelson's second marriage was in San Francisco in 1901, when he wedded Miss Helen Stind, also a native of Denmark. They took a trip around the world, seeing much of interest in the many lands visited. They lived on Seminary avenue in Oakland in one of the fine residence properties of the city, the ten acres of well kept grounds beautified by flowers and trees affording an appropriate setting for the pleasing architecture of the house, and there Captain Nelson spent the later years of his life, going daily to his office in San Francisco.
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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.
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Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward) (Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)
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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.
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The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts
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.
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