The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors from The Maritime Heritage Project in San Francisco.

Ships arriving at the Port of San Francisco

Arrivals 1856

Please note: These arrivals are merchant ships, included to give a sense of the volume and type of goods into early San Francisco. If you had the money in San Francisco of the 1800s, you could have anything your heart desired. They are by no means complete, and they generally do not include passengers. Click here for lists of passengers.

° 1846-1848 ° 1849 ° 1850 ° 1851 ° 1852 ° 1853 ° 1854 ° 1855 ° 1856
° 1858 ° 1860-1862 ° 1863 ° 1864 ° 1868 ° 1870s ° 1880s ° 1890s


  • January 4: Clipper ship Morning Star, Foster, 135 days from New York. Merchandise to W.T. Coleman and Co. Memoranda: Had heavy weather off the Horn, was 35 days from east end of Staten Land to 50 in the Pacific; crossed the Equator Dec 14th, long 113, thence had light winds from WE; for the last 3 days have had light winds from N.W.
  • Clipper ship caught in stormy weather.
    Stormy Weather on the High Seas
  • January 4: Clipper ship Winged Arrow, Bearse, 125 days from Boston. Merchandise to Flint, Peabody & Co. Memoranda: Was off Cape Horn 25 days in very heavy gales; had three gales of wind, in which the ship lay to 32 hours at a time; split sales, broke chain plates, and sustained other damage; crossed the equator Dec 16th, lon 119 30; has been off the coast, within 100 miles, for the last five days; anchored on the bar on Thursday night.
  • January 9: Clipper ship Black Warrior, Murphy, 121 days from New York. Merchandise to D.I. Ross & Co. Memoranda: From New York to Cape Horn had light winds, crossed the Equator on the Atlantic Oct 6, lon 31, was off the Horn 35 days, with strong westerly gales lost foretopsail yard, split sails, and crossed the Equator on the Pacific Dec 15, long 112; from thence had light N.E. winds and calms; have been ten days within 280 miles of this port with continual calms and head winds. Dec 18th to 22d, was in company with a large clipper ship with full figure head, supposed her to be the Defender, from Boston for this port. Died at sea Nov. 16th, David Atkins Stuart.
  • January 10: Clipper ship Samuel Appleton, Deshon, 149 days from Boston. Merchandise to Flint, Peabody & Co. Memoranda: Was off Cape Horn 35 days with strong westerly gales; stove bulwarks, split sails, stove quarter boat, and done other damage; crossed the Equator Dec 16th, lon 113; from thence had fine weather; have been off the coast the last 7 days, in light winds and calms.
  • January 10: Bq. Emily Miner, Metzger, 50 days from Valparaiso. Merchandise to Crosby & Dibbles. Memoranda: Left in port ship Simoda, Knight, uncertain; ship A.M. Lawrence, do; ship Louisa Erskine do; ship Magelan, King, to load on the coast for Boston; ship John Cummings, Adams, to sail on the 23d for Hampton Roads; ship Elizabeth Ellen, Brightman, in distress, repairing; barque Milford, Corry, to load for Australia; brig Boston, Hutchins, to sail for Iquiqua to load for this port, had fine winds from S.E. and south up to 7 north, crossed the line Dec 6., lon 95, in 15 days 21 hours from Valparaiso, had the Doldrums on one day and then took light breezes from the W. and E. from 8 to 20 north, had light baffling winds from 20 to 34 N, had moderate breezes from E. and N.E., was becalmed one day in 35 N. and took light breezes from the S; since then have experienced short severe gales from S.E. Dec 31 passed in sight of Socorro Island, this Island is laid down in the old chart (that is 1849) a degree east of its true position, but on the chart dated 1852 it is correct; navigators sailing on this route would do well to notice the two dates.
  • San Francisco History.January 10: Ships Golden West and Wild Rover have anchored in the steam; brig Wyandot, for Valparaiso, have anchored off Meiggs' wharf.

~ ~ ~ ~

The early days in San Francisco.
San Francisco, California 
Panoramic map from the 1800s 
(Quality images are available by clicking on the image.)

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Merchants of Grain.
Merchants of Grain:
The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply
California commerce, ships, shipping lines.
Dan Morgan
Details how a handful of families have controlled the worlds grain trade for centuries. A great piece for families that till the soil, but one that is even more important to the people who live in the city; and have no idea of the power and control that these families wield.
From Captain John R. Sutton: "I am a captain on Mississippi River towboats. I have pushed millions of tons of grain down the Mississippi River for years. But I never really understood the gobal impact of the world's grain company's until I read this book."

A Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Merchant Marine and Shipping Industry
Since the Introduction of Steam
Merchant Marine and Shipping History.
Rene De La Pedraja

Bonanzas.Gold Lust and Silver Sharks.
Bonanzas & Borrascas: Gold Lust and Silver Sharks, 1848-1884 (Western Lands and Waters)Gold and Silver Sharks.
Richard E. Lingenfelter

Passages to AmericaPassages to America.

Sea Classics: MoviesSea Classic Movies.

Sea Classics: BooksSea Classic Books.

Merchant MarinesMerchant Marines.

Sea CaptainsSea Captains.

Sea ChantysSea Chantys. Ships by Philip Wilkinson.
The Oxford Handbook of
Maritime Archaeology

Maritime Archaeology. Great Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast.
Grest Shipwrecks of the
Pacific Coast

Robert C. Belyk
Ships by Philip Wilkinson.

The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology
(Oxford Handbooks)

Sea Classics.
Great Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast.Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast.
Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast
James A. Gibbs
Sea Classics.

The Graveyard of the Pacific.Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast.
Graveyard of the Pacific
The Shipwreck Stories from the Depths of History

(Heritage House)
Anthony Dalton
Sea Classics.

Pacific Coast Shipwrecks.Sea Classics.
The Unforgiving Coast: Maritime Disasters of the Pacific NorthwestSea Classics.

Breverton's Nautical Curiosities.
Breverton's Nautical Curiosities:
A Book of the Sea
Nautical Curiosities.
Terry Breverton

The Clipper Ship Era
An Epitome of Famous American and British Clipper Ships, Their Owners, Builders, Commanders, and Crews, 1843-1869
The Clipper Ship Era.

Flying Cloud.
Flying Cloud
The True Story of America's Most Famous Clipper Ship and the Woman who Guided Her
Clipper Ship Flying Cloud.
David W. Shaw
Through a study of a record-breaking 89-day voyage from New York to San Francisco, the author recreates life aboard a 19th-century clipper ship. He tells of the role of the ship's navigator, Eleanor Creesy -- who was married to the captain and who helped chart a safe voyage through dangerous seas. Much of this book is based on primary source material: diaries, letters, and ship's logs.

Jews in World Seaports 1500s to 1900s.Sea Classics.

Port Jews

Jewish Communities in Cosmopolitan Maritime Trading Centres, 1550-1950
(Parkes-Wiener Series on
Jewish Studies)
Jewish Communities in Maritime Trading Centers.

Greyhounds of the Sea: The Story of the American Clipper ShipSan Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Carl C. Cutler
This is a rare and invaluable book for all who love the sea and ships.

Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas
° The Yankee Clipper
° Around the Horn
° The Square Rigger
° Ship Ahoy
° Down to the Sea in Ships)
San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.

DVD bonus features include an audio reminiscence by Frank Junior Coghlan about the filming of The Yankee Clipper. An enclosed booklet includes detailed program notes by film scholar and U.S. Navy marine engineer John E. Stone and an essay about the scoring of The Yankee Clipper by organist Dennis James.

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