The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors from The Maritime Heritage Project in San Francisco.

VIPs and Ship Captains in the Port of San Francisco



Captain John Von Helms

October 25, 1893, Los Angeles Herald

NO GROUND FOR CENSURE.
The Wreck of the Newbern Investigated.
Captain Helms and His Crew Exonerated.
Witnesses Could Give No Reasons lor the Mishap.

The Captains Log Book Showed That the Vessel Was Steered Over the Usual Course
—Pacific Coast News.

By the Associated Press. San Francisco, October 24.—The inspectors of steam vessels yesterday investigated the causes of the recent grounding of the steamer Newbern. Captain Von Helms, First Officer J. P. Gallagher, Second Officer R. J. Paulsen, Quartermaster I. Frank, Sousa and Gust Anderson were examined as to the conduct aboard the vessel the day of the grounding. The captain's log book was examined, and from this it appeared that the Newbern was steered the same day it ran aground as it had been steered for 50 voyages past. None of the witnesses could give any reason for the mishap, so the inspectors found no ground for censure.

October 16, 1893, Los Angeles Herald

VON HELMS EXONERATED.
Mate Gallagher Responsible for the Loss of the Newbern.

San Francisco, Oct. 26.—Captain von Helms has been exonerated from all blame in connection with the loss of the steamer Newbern, and he will go out in command of the St. Paul. It is reported that First Mate J. P. Gallagher has had his license revoked for carelessness. The inspectors refused to confirm the report this morning, on the ground that the investigation had not been completed. At the time the Newbern was lost von Helms was below asleep, having been on duty during the preceding 24 hours. The failure of Mate Gallagher to call the commanding officer when he got into a heavy fog caused him to be charged as negligent. Owing to some delay in getting the cargo on board the steamer St. Paul she will not sail for Mexican ports until Friday. She was scheduled to leave tomorrow.

January 3, 1899, Los Angeles Herald

A Great Gulf Storm

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 2.—A communication has been received by the Merchants exchange from Captain von Helms of the steamer Curacoa, telling of a storm in the Gulf of California. It began on December 25 and lasted through Christmas day. Three hundred feet of the breakwater at Santa Rosalia were washed away and some damage done to the ships Star of France and Falkland Bank.

October 13, 1900, San Francisco Call

New Steamship Company.

The Mexican Steamship Company has been incorporated, with a capital stock of $100,000, all of which has been subscribed by the following directors: J. von Helms, Nathan H. Frank. Ira S. Lilick, F. R. Swasey and J. V. Geary.

San Francisco Call, October 18, 1900

For the Mexican Trade.

The British steamer Manauense is to be put under the Mexican flag and Captain John Von Helms will be her master. The Manauense is to run in opposition to the Curacao and the vessels of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company's fleet. She is a fast and commodious steamer, fitted with a refrigerating plant and everything necessary for a run in the tropics. Captain Von Helms is a great favorite in Mexican ports, so the Manauense should do well on the coast.

San Francisco Call, November 21, 1900

OPPOSITION LINE TO MEXICO.
Steamer Mexico, Formerly the Manauense to Sail Saturday Week.

The Mexican steamer Mexico, better known as the British steamer Manauense, will inaugurate a new line to the Gulf of California next Saturday week. She may have to go out under the British flag as her Mexican registry has not arrived, but should it not come on time she will hoist the Mexican flag at Guaymas. Captain von Helms, who was for years on the steamers of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, will command the Mexico. He is known all over the Gulf and will run his ship to the best advantage. The Mexico will not call at San Jose del Cabo and Magdalena Bay, but will instead take in San Bias and Manzanillo. The Curacao, which runs under the Pacific Coast Steamship Company's flag, will make the round trip in twenty-one days and the Mexico expects to cover the distance in the same time.

San Francisco Call, January 1, 1901

Captain Von Helms of the steamer Mexico reports that the work on the Manzanillo breakwater is progressing very favorably, considering the delays caused by non-arrival of machinery and locomotives so essential for expeditioius work. Still Colonel Edgar K. Smooth is satisfied that he will be able to finish his work in time and he has now everything in shape for rapid handling of the material necessary. The Mexico delivered there machinery that laid in San Francisco since October.

San Francisco Call, October 4, 1901

Accused of Illegal Piloting.

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash., Oct. 3.— An Information has been filed in the Superior Court here and warrants issued for the arrest of Captain Walter McWilliams of San Francisco and Captain John von Helms. The Information charges them with piloting vessels in Puget Sound waters without first having obtained licenses from the Board Pilot Commissioners.

San Francisco Call, April 12, 1902

Von Helms Goes to Mexico.

Captain von Helms, formerly of the steamship Curacao, was a passenger on the Colombia which sailed yesterday for Valparaiso and way ports. Captain von Helms' destination is Altata, Mexico. He goes there in the interest of the underwriters to attend the survey on the brig Lurline which recently went ashore at that port. Temporary repairs will be effected under Captain von Helms' supervision and he will assist Captain Spicer in bringing the brig to this port. Captain von Helms is building a four-masted schooner at the Fulton shipyard. Whatcom, in command of which he expects to return to active sea duty. She will be ready in the fall. She is 166 feet long, 38 feet beam and has 13 feet depth of hold. She will carry 700,000 feet of lumber and will probably trade between Grays Harbor and South American ports.

Colombia Sails.

The Pacific Steam Navigation Company's Colombia sailed yesterday afternoon for Valparaiso and way ports. She carried a large cargo and many passengers.

Summerfleld Bassett, the engineer whose purchase and importation for immoral purposes of Agostina Morales brought him into recent notoriety, was a passenger on the Colombia. Guatemala is his destination and the purchase of another girl, he declares, is the business that takes him south. The immigration bureau will await the engineer's return with interest and his right and title to any "wife" he may bring with him will be thoroughly Investigated by those that are sending Agostlna Morales back to Guatemala.

E. P. Triana, Mexican Minister to Guatemala, was a passenger. Captain Cattarinlch, formerly of the Pacific Mall Steamship Company, went with the Colombia as far as the pilot station, where he will go over the side with pilot Reid and return as a guest of the Lady Mine.

The Colombia carries passengers as follows: O. H. Hllleary, Theodore Bronstrom, B. F. Franklin, Charles Parker McLalne, Mrs. Joseph Diez, Francis M. White and wife, George Newbauer, Thomas Seabury, Miss Genevleve Seabury, Henry Jamison, S. Bassett, Clinton Johnson, F. Burian, C. L. Vucanovich, J. C. Wholey, E. P. Triana, Ramon Arias, Cayetano Romero, Alberto Romero, Miss Romero, Mrs. I. Schwartz, Miss Florence Schwartz, Miss Pearl Schwartz, Dr. Graham, Mrs. Labory, Silas Holman, Mrs. Silas Holman, Captain J. von Helms, J. B. Dennis. L. Foncea, Jackson Duff, C. I. Hinman. G. J. Weeley, A. C. Zollikofer, D. A. McDonald, R. R. Elder, Mrs. W. C. Kaelln. Emil Falk, L. J. Bergendahl, G. F. Morton.

San Francisco Call, June 7, 1902

Lurline On Her Way

The brig Lurline, recently ashore on the Mexican coast, floated and compelled to put into Guaymas leaking, has resumed her voyage to this port. Captain von Helms of this city, who got the craft afloat, is assisting in bringing her to San Francisco.

San Franicsco Call, July 1902

Captain von Helms a Pilot.

Captain John von Helms, formerly commander of the steamship Curacao, and one of the best-known navigators on this coast, was yesterday appointed a bar pilot to succeed Captain Louis Meyer, whose health made necessary his resignation. Both the retiring pilot and his successor stand high in their profession.

Los Angeles Herald, June 24, 1903

Pilots Alarmed

SAN FRANCISCO. June 23.—The pilot boat Pathfinder had a narrow escape this morning from being blown out of the water and all hands on board sunk by a stray shell from the mortars at the Presidio, which failed to explode and came bounding over the waves directly toward the Pathfinder. Besides the crew of the boat, Pilots von Helms and George Wallace were on board and anticipated sudden death. When within about twenty five yards from the Pathfinder the great shell jumped from the crest of a big wave and sank out of sight.

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