Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Captain J. P. Ridley

The first official immigrant ship to the northern part of the colony of New South Wales under the auspices of the Colonial Emigration Society was the Artemisia, Master Captain J. Ridley, 1st class certificate, which arrived on 13 December 1848 carrying 240 migrants.

The Artemisia was rigged as a bark sheated in felt and yellow metal in 1848. Tonnage: 492 tons using old measurements and 558 tons using new measurements. Construction: 1847 in Sunderland. Owners: A. Ridley Port of registry.

The Moreton Bay Courier featured the story prominently:

The arrival of the first immigrant vessel direct from England is an important event in the annals of Morton Bay - an epoch to be often reverted to by the future historians of the northern colony.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

This ship brought tradesmen and manual labourers from Ireland and Scotland.

On board were the Crawleys from Armagh, the McCoys from Fermanagh and Tyrone. Mary Smith from Dublin, James Colligan from Tyrone, Robert Reynolds from King's County, and James Wright from Monaghan.

August 22, 1849, British Banner, London, United Kingdom

The Australian Agricultural Company

(Incorporated by Royal Charter, 1824) will despatch, from the East India Docks, for their Colony of PORT STEPHENS, on the 31st August, last shipping-day 29th August, the new Ship ARTEMISIA, A 1, 12 years. 558 tons register.

An experienced Surgeon has been appointed to the ship, and a Surveyor in the employment of the Company, of twenty years' experience as a colonist, will accompany the first band of emigrants.

Applications for land in lots of fifty acres and upwards, by which purchasers will be entitled to a free passage, must be made at the Company's Offices, 12, King's Arms-yard, Moorgate street.

Parties not purchasing land of the Company desirous of proceeding to Port Stephens or Sydney, may be accommodated on application to Hall Brothers, 2, Riches-court, Lime-street; or to T. B. Mallett, 4, Castle-court, Blrchin-lane.

N.B. Easy access to view the ship in the East India Docks is afforded by the Bliackwall Railway, the trains for which leave every twenty minutes from London-street, Fenchurch-street.

For Freight or Passage, apply to Hall Brothers, 2, Richescourt, Lime-street; or to T. B. Mallett, 4, Castle-court, Birchinlane.

By order of the Court, 

 January 10, 1850, Newcastle Shipping


The Artemisia, Captain J.P. Ridley, arrived here this afternoon from Port Stephens, where she discharged a quantity of goods and immigrants for the A.A. Company. She has ten families on board, to be employed as miners in the A.A. Company's service, at the coal mines here. There is a large quantity of iron and other machinery--for the railroad in progress between Newcastle and the new shaft.

July 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California


The well known clipper barque Artemisia, 600 tons register, J.P. Ridley, commander to sail on Wednesday 9th inst.

For freight or passage, apply to the captain on board, between Broadway and Pacific wharves, or to Capt. Pattison, Rose Shipping Office, Pacific wharf.

This ship carries a surgeon.

Wanted to purchase, good gold dust. Apply to Capt. Ridley.

Gold Rush Port

The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's WaterfrontMaritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront.

James P. Delgado
Gold Rush Port The Maritime Archaeology of San Franciscos Waterfront.Described as a "forest of masts," San Francisco's Gold Rush waterfront was a floating economy of ships and wharves, where a dazzling array of global goods was traded and transported. Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco's unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city's remarkable rise from a small village to a boomtown of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Gleaning history from artifacts, such as preserves and liquors in bottles, leather boots and jackets, hulls of ships, even crocks of butter lying alongside discarded guns. Gold Rush Port paints a fascinating picture of how ships and global connections created the port and the city of San Francisco.

The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold RushPacific Worlds the Great Ocean.
David Igler 
Captain.From Captain Cook to the Gold Rush.The Pacific of the early eighteenth century was a place of baffling complexity, with 25,000 islands and seemingly endless continental shorelines. But with the voyages of Captain James Cook, global attention turned to the Pacific, and European and American dreams of scientific exploration, trade, and empire grew dramatically. By the time of the California gold rush, the Pacific's many shores were fully integrated into world markets-and world consciousness. The Great Ocean draws on hundreds of documented voyages as a window into the commercial, cultural, and ecological upheavals following Cook's exploits, focusing in particular on the eastern Pacific in the decades between the 1770s and the 1840s. Beginning with the expansion of trade as seen via the travels of William Shaler, captain of the American Brig Lelia Byrd, historian David Igler uncovers a world where voyagers, traders, hunters, and native peoples met one another in episodes often marked by violence and tragedy.

Rounding the Horn 
Being the Story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives. A Deck's-eye View of Cape Horn
Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives.
Dallas Murphy Captain.Rounding the Horn.
Fifty-five degrees 59 minutes South by 67 degrees 16 minutes West: Cape Horn, situated at the bottom of South America, is a place of forlorn and foreboding beauty that has captured the dark imaginations of explorers and writers from Francis Drake to Joseph Conrad. For centuries, the small stretch of water between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula was the only gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Storms are bigger, winds stronger, and the seas rougher than anywhere else on earth. In Rounding the Horn, author Dallas Murphy undertakes the ultimate maritime rite of passage weaving together stories of his own nautical adventures with tales of those who braved the Cape before him from Spanish missionaries to Captain Cook and interspersing them with breathtaking descriptions of the surrounding wilderness.

New South Wales, Australia, Lands down under.

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.

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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