Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Jasper Stahl

Jasper Stahl was a captain, master and pilot out of San Francisco from about 1870 to 1900. He immigrated from Germany about 1867 and died in 1909. In the 1900 census his occupation is shown as master mariner.

He first shows up as the captain of the Sloop P. A. Owens in the 1871 SF directory. He is the pilot for the Apache in 1881, is the master of the steamer Sonoma, and the captain of the Aurora over the years. In 1904 he is shown as master of the steamer Onward. These are documented in the SF directories.

~ Provided by his great-great grandaughter.

September 1, 1893, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California

Three Captains Laid Off by the Local Inspectors.

Two decisions were rendered by Local Inspectors of Steam Vessels E. S. Talbot and W. A. Phillips yesterday. One had reference to the steamer Newsboy striking the rocks near Point Conception early on the morning of August 2 last, and as a result of the investigation of that mishap the license of Captain C. J. Fosen as master and pilot is suspended for twenty days.

The damage to the Newsboy amounted to about $1500. She was on her way from Los Angeles to this port at the at the time and the weather was very foggy. The captain heard the fog whistle, but it was apparently at such a distance that he could nott distinguish clearly how it bore. He did not slacken his speed, and his course he changed from west by north to west.

In the opinion of the inspectors Captain Fosen should have immediately changed his course off shore, slowed up and taken soundings. By this means the mishap might have been averted.

The other decision was in respect to the collision which happened at 9 a. m. August 9 between the steamers Aurora and Apache at Collinsville, whereby the Aurora was damaged about $100.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Both steamers were bound down the Sacramento River, and the Apache passed the Aurora while the latter was lying at Tolando's Landing, and immediately afterward the Aurora left the wharf and soon overtook the Apache, coming up on the starboard side of her without giving any signal, so the Inspectors find, as required by rule 8 of the pilot rules and regulations.

It was further ascertained that the two steamers ran nearly side by side to Collinsville, the Apache's bow being a little ahead of that of the Aurora. The Apache was to make her usual landing at Collinsville and sounded her whistle, but in the positions the two steamers maintained it was impossible for her to do so unless either one of the steamers stopped. The evidence shows that about the time the Apache gave her landing signal she crowded upon the course of the Aurora in violation also of rule 8.

Captain Jasper Stahl was Pilot of the Aurora and Captain Charles Thompson of the Apache.

Both their licenses are suspended for five days.

Immigration at the Golden Gate: Passenger Ships, Exclusion, and Angel IslandImmigration at the Golden Gate. Immigration to California.
Robert Eric Barde
Perhaps 200,000 immigrants passed through the Angel Island Immigration Station during its lifetime, a tiny number compared to the 17 million who entered through New York's Ellis Island.

Nonetheless, Angel Island's place in the consciousness of Americans on the West Coast is large and out of proportion to the numerical record. Angel Island's Immigration Station was not, as some have called it, the Ellis Island of the West, built to facilitate the processing and entry of those welcomed as new Americans. Its role was less benign: to facilitate the exclusion of Asians, starting with the Chinese, then Japanese, Koreans, Indians, and all other Asians.

The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920Children of Chinatown. 
Wendy Rouse Jorae

Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of our Disreputable Ancestors.San Francisco. Family Skeletons.
Simon Fowler, Ruth Paley
Most families have a skeleton. You may have already discovered yours via the grapevine or your own research. Or you may simply be intrigued by the dark side of our past. This popular history explores the behaviour of our disreputable ancestors from the unfortunate to the criminal, and introduces a host of colourful characters including 17th century witches, 18th century 'mollies' and Victorian baby farmers. Thematically arranged by skeleton, the text also describes how society punished and provided for its 'offenders' - as well as the changing attitudes that could ultimately bring acceptance.

Italy on the Pacific: San Francisco's Italian Americans (Italian and Italian American Studies)Italians in San Francisco.
Palgrave Hardcover)
Sebastian Fichera
San Francisco’s Italian immigrant experience is shown to be the polar opposite of Chicago’s. San Francisco’s Italian immigrants are shown as reintegrating into the host society fairly smoothly, whereas the Chicago group’s assimilation process broke down in dramatic ways.

Migration in World History.Migration in World HistoryMigration in World History. 
(Themes in World History) 
Patrick Manning
Drawing on examples from a wide range of geographical regions and thematic areas, noted world historian Patrick Manning guides the reader through trade patterns, including the early Silk Road and maritime trade, effect of migration on empire and industry, earliest human migrations, major language groups, various leading theories around migration.

Russian San Francisco (Images of America)Russian San Francisco. (Images of America)
Lydia B. Zaverukha, Nina Bogdan, Foreward by Ludmila Ershova, PhD.
Even before San Francisco was founded as a city, Russian visitors, explorers, and scientists sailed to the area and made contact with both the indigenous people and representatives of the Spanish government. Although the Russian commercial colony of Fort Ross closed in 1842, the Russian presence in San Francisco continued and the community expanded to include churches, societies, businesses, and newspapers. Some came seeking opportunity, while others were fleeing religious or political persecution.

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.



Kindly Kindly support our work.


DALevy @

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.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.