The Maritime Heritage Project

World Harbors and International Migration from The Maritime Heritage Project.

Dear Maritime Heritage Visitors: This season The Project is asking visitors to help keep the site growing. While publications and prints to aid in your research are included (and bring in a few dollars per sale), the director is now "officially" asking if you will kindly donate. If everyone reading this right now gave $5, it would help provide additional names and stories to the more than 100,000 ship passengers arriving in San Francisco during the 1800s. This 18-year-old Project is free and is accessed from every country around the world. The Maritime Heritage Project (,, is basically a one-person operation developed and managed by the now 70-year-old great-great-grandaughter of Captain James H. Blethen, Master Mariner. Costs include equipment, research materials and time. The Maritime Heritage Project is special: it keeps alive our history of shipping, commerce and migration during an era when more people changed locations than in any other century in the history of the world. It is a resource where all can research ancestry and find heretofore "lost" family members at no charge. If you have visited our site and found it of value, kindly take one minute to keep it growing. Thank you very much. ~~ D. A. Blethen Levy


Ships arriving at the Port of San Francisco

Arrivals 1880s

Please note: Generally, 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 during the 1800s, you could have anything your heart desired. They are by no means complete, and passenger lists for these vessels are often unavailable. 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 1: Daily Alta California. Just landed ex. brig Tahiti: 40,000 cocoanuts. Also desiccated cocoanuts, in bulk and fancy packages.
  • February 11: Arrived: Brig Tahiti, Turner, 29 days from Tahiti. Mdse to Matthew Turner. Memoranda: Left Tahiti Jan 12 at 2:30 p.m., had 9-1/2 days light northerly winds to the equator, which was crosed in lon 146 30 W; took the NE trades strong in 2N and carriedthem to 35N, 142W; thence to port light baffling NE and N breeze. Sighted the high land of the north shore 69 miles distant. February 21: the brig Tahiti came out of Merchants Dry Dock yesterday where she had been repairing and cleaning, and docked at Mission street wharf, where she will load for Tahiti.
    Tuesday, March 1, 1887, The Daily Bulletin, Hawaii: The brig Tahiti, Captain Turner, arrived in San Francisco lately, after a passage of thirty days from Tahiti. She brought up a number of passengers, among them being Captain J. T. Jensson, the carpenter, boatswain, sailmaker and two seamen of the ship Astracan, which struck on a coral-reef off Maturaivavo Island, one of the Tuamotu group, in the South Pacific, on the night of the 17th last, and became a total loss. At the time the vessel stuck a stiff breeze was blowing and one of the boats was smashed. The captain used every exertion to get the vessel off the reef, but finding it impossible, he provisioned the remaining boats and ordered all hands in and set sail for Tahiti, where he arrived nine days later. When the natives there saw the boats approaching the captain says they refused to allow the crews to pull any further, but insisted on towing the boats in, and afterward were very kind to them. The American Consul sent ten of the crew up on the schooner Greyhound, and the remainder, as stated, came up with the captain on the Tahiti. The Astracan was a bark-rigged vessel of 1,041 tons register. She was owned by Burgess & Co. of Liverpool and sailed from Astoria Novemer 16th last, wheat laden, for Queenstown for orders. Her cargo was insured in the Commercial Insurance Company for 9,000 pounds; of this amount 3,000 pounds was reinsured in the Thames and Mersey Marine Insurance Company and 3,000 pounds in other companies having agencies in this city. (San Francisco Bulletin)
  • March 1: Cleared/Sailed: Brig Tahiti, Turner; Mathew Turner. Importations per Tahiti: 1642 logs and knees, 27,000 cocoanuts, 105 bags pearl shells, 2 tns vanilla, 13 cs. cocoanuts, 8 cs. coin.
  • March 9: Daily Alta California. Captain Turner has launched the new schooner for Tahiti. She is named the Papeete, and is 65 feet long, 29 feet beam and 6-1/2 feet depth of hold. Her registered tonnage is 41.
  • March 20: Arrived Schooner J. C. Ford, Le Ballister, 80 days from Honolulu. Rice and sugar to J. D. Spreckels & Bros.
  • March 25: The barkentine Tropic Bird moved from the sea wall to Mission street yesterday, where she will load for Tahiti. Captain Burns has his vessel in vine order.
  • April 7: Arrived Schooner W. H. Stevens, Hansen, 43 days from Tahiti. Mdse to A. Crawford & Co.
  • May 15: Brig Tahiti, Turner, 31 days from Tahiti. Passengers and mdse to M. Turner. Memoranda: Sailed from Tahiti April 14; had light winds from NE; crosed equator 11 days out in long 150 41; took NE trades in 6 N and carried them to lat 28 N. lon 154 43 W; then had winds light and variable for 3 days; then took wind from NW to port. Consignees: A. Crawford & Co; Wilkens & Co; J. Pinkt; I. E. Thayer; Whittler, Fuller & Co; L. Blum; Martenstein & Deming; M. Turner; Order.
    May 16, Daily Alta California: The brig "Tahiti" arrived from Tahiti yesterday and docked at Mision street wharf to discharge. She returns to Tahiti, sailing on June 1st.
  • July 28, 1883, Daily Alta California: The following passengers arrived yesterday from Tahiti per bark Paloma: T. Magee, T. Young, G. Goddeffry, Captain J. Mills, B. Noel, C. Krimphof, E. Mossen, and nine natives for the new barkentine City of Papeete.
  • September 4, 1883, Daily Alta California: The brig Tahiti, Captain Turner, cleared yesterday for the Society Islands with a cargo of merchandise valued at $35,145, including 713 bbls flour, 58,722 lbs bread, 1062 mats rice, 26,694 lbs sugar, 462 de Tes, 165 c. kerosene, 148 cs canned salmon, 22 pkgs salt salmon, 12 coils rope, 57 pkgs dry goods, 437 sls beans, 138 do barley, 4 do wheat and 62 do feed. In transit - $9073, principally dry goods.
    Krakatoa. 1883.
    Eruption of Perbuatan Volcano
    Krakatoa Island. August 1883
    The Java Earthquake struck on August 26, 1883, beginning on the Island of Krakatoa; it then extended to every island and sea for 100 miles in either direction. This quake caused tidal waves, the first over 100 feet in height, which swept the coast of adjacent islands and the country for 500 miles, destroying every living thing in its course. Estimated deaths: 80,000 people. The brig Tahiti rescued the crew of the bark Oswingo, from Newcastle, N.S.W. for Wilmington, Cal., near Apar Island which was affected by the earthquake.
  • October 25, 1883, Daily Alta California: The following passengers arrived yesterday from Tahiti on the barkentine City of Papette: J. Laharragus, Miss Pater, J. Smith and three others.


Daily Alta California, July 21, 1884

Vessels on the Way to and Loading for San Francisco, July 21st

Vessels for San Francisco, July 21, 1884, Daily Alta California.

June 16, 1885

Too Much Opium.

Arrivals in the Port of San Francisco 1885.The steamer City of Peking arrived from China shores yesterday afternoon with a large cargo of coolies, one of whom was dead.

An investigation by the Morgue officials proved that on the trip the dead coolie had indulged so much in smoking opium that his supply gave out.

Being unable to procure some more of the drug, he was attacked by the "habit," as it is called, which was so severe that it killed him before he could be relieved.

From the Colonies.

The War Feeling in the Colonies Strong - 
Career of the Forger, S. W. Green, 
While in Sydney— His Flight.

Among the passengers who arrived in this city on the Australian steamer City of Sydney yesterday was Mr. G. D. Kahlo, whose father for the past four years has been United States Consul at Sydney. Mr. G. D. Kahlo is a young man, not only very affable in address, but also abounding in interesting reminiscences of his sojourn in Australia. An Alta reporter, who sent up a card, was at once granted an interview by Mr. Kahlo. In response to the first query put by the reporter, Mr. Kahlo replied:

"So you want to know what I can tell you about Australian affairs, do you? Well, I'm afraid I haven't any very valuable information, but I shall be pleased to tell you whatever I can."

"I suppose, just at present,'' said the newsgatherer, "that the principle topic of interest in the colonies is the probability of an Anglo-Russian war."


"Yes; there is no little excitement in that respect, and the British Government is now engaged in fitting up the O. and O. steamship Massalia and the Orient steamship Lusatania as cruisers, to patrol the Australian coast. There is also a very great interest taken in the militia, and, in fact, all the volunteer military organizations. On the 3d of last March, you perhaps remember, some 750 troops left Sydney for Egypt. That was one of the greatest days ever seen in Sydney. The people fairly went wild with excitement, and thousands and thousands of spectators crowded the streets all along the line of march to the transport ships. The troops consisted of 500 infantry and 250 artillerymen. Nearly all these volunteers were from the local military companies. The enthusiasm was intense, J and I think the Russian difficulty coming upon the people while yet in an excited and warlike frame of mind, there would be but one sentiment and that for war. At Melbourne for a time no strange vessel was allowed to enter the Heads between the hours of sunrise and sunset, and they enforced a similar rule at Sydney for two days, I think. Measures for defence were taken at Sydney by stretching alone: one side of the harbor a line of torpedoes. In regard to those troops which went to the Soudan, I believe they saw no fighting, and there were but two deaths among them. As to a future confederation of the colonies, I think that, judging from the tone of the prevalent sentiment, if it occurs at all, it will be in the remote future.

Passenger arrivals.

Passenger lists from Sydney and Honolulu.

From Sydney and Honolulu into San Francisco.

The Duke of Edinburgh was daily expected to arrive at Auckland from Australia, via New Caledonia, in the Galatea.

Buy at
The Three Masted Barque Ceres
bound for the U.S.A. 1881
Antonio Jacobsen

The Earl of Pembroke, who was cruising among the South Sea Islands, was wrecked. He was picked up together with the captain and crew by a passing vessel.

The fishing fleet at dock at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California
(Reprints are available by clicking on the image.)

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