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Ships arriving at the Port of San Francisco

Please note: Generally, these merchant ship arrivals are included to give an idea of the volume and type of goods into early San Francisco. If you had the money during the 1800s, you could have anything your heart desired. Listings are by no means complete; names of passengers on these vessels are often unavailable.
Click here for lists of passengers arriving on passenger ships.

° 1846-1847 ° 1848 ° 1849 ° 1850 ° 1851 ° 1852 ° 1853 ° 1854 ° 1855
° 1856 ° 1858 ° 1860-1862 ° 1863 ° 1864 ° 1868 ° 1870s ° 1880s ° 1890s


September 5, 1846, Californian: Arrivals since hoisting American Flag, July 9, 1846

  • July 31: American ship Brooklyn, 230 passengers from New York via S. Islands, landed passengers and freight, and sailed for Bodega, and will touch at Monterey.
  • August 26: American (Californian) Schooner Santa Cruz from Monterey and Santa Cruz; goes to San Jose to load and unload.
  • August 26: U.S. Transport Erie, Lieut. Commander Turner, 31 days from Honolulu, stores for teh squadron.


  • April 24, 1847: Barque Whiton, Capt. R. Gilson, for Oregon. Left New York November 15, 1846 for Oregon. Arrived San Francisco 148 days enroute to Oregon. Passengers: Rev. W. Roberts and family; Rev. J. H. Wilbur and daughter; E. F. Folger; C. L. Ross; Mr. Andrews; G. Wardell; Theadore McCall; Jas Wadsworth; Geo. Whitloy and Chas. Sexton.
  • May 30, 1847: Chilian ship Confederacion, Jones, 58 days from Valparaiso. Passengers: Messrs Vallejo, Townsend, Wooster and others.
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Columbus, Com. Biddle
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Congress, Com Stockton
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Warren, Commander Hull
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Portsmouth, Commander Montgomery
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Dale, Commander Selfridge
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Lexington (Transport), Lieut. Comd'g Bailey
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: Erie (Transport), Lieut. Comd'g. Watson
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: U. S. Prize Sch. Julia, Lieut Selden
  • June 1, 1847, Monterey: U. S. Prize Ship Admittance, Lt. Revere
  • June 10: Brig Francisca, Lemoine, from Honolulu. Sailed from Honolulu on the 17th of May, heavy wind from N. E. up to Lat 35 degrees North. Assorted cargo to J. B. McClurg & Co., and to passengers on board. Passengers: Don Antonio Osio, family and servants, Mr. Lincoln and family, A. J. Ellis and family, R. T. Ridly, Esq., of this place, Messrs, Mitcheneu, Douglass, Maindreau, palmer and Story. Died on board the Francisca, June 6th, after a short illness, Isaac Lincoln (infant) in Lat 27, 80, N., Long 124, 25. Its body was committed to the deep on the 10th.
  • July 3, 1847: Hawaiian Brig Euphemia, Russom, 30 days from Oahu, with passengers and mdse. Passengers: Hiram Grimes, lady, child and servant; Wm. H. Davis, supercargo; Mr. C. S. Lyman, and Mr. M. Griffin
  • September 1, 1847: Brig Everline, S. T. Goodwin, from Boston 28th January last, and 27 days from Honolulu, S.I. Passengers: S. T. Goodwin from Boston. Mrs. C. A. Goodwin, Newburyport, Mass; H. Clark, Sueprcargo, Boston, Mass. F. S. Jewett, assistant do do. Wm. Hendric and Jacob Frankfort from Honolulu.
  • September 24, 1847: Sch. Providence, Mitchel, 34 days from Honolulu. Passengers: John Dickson, Esq. and servant; John Ricord, Esq., late Attorney General S. I. Captain E. Von Pfister, William B. Morrison, C. E. Picket.
  • November 19, 1847: Brigantine Currency Lass, M'Lean from Sandwich Islands with an assorted cargo. Consigned to Robert A. Parker. Passengers A. G. Abell, Esq. (or A. G. Apell); J. G. Christie; Messrs Blancard; Goss, Hammond; Harris; and Dorset.
  • December 1, 1847: Ship Barnstable, Captain Hall, from leeward ports. Passengers: T. O. Larkin, Henry Mellus, H. F. Techermacher, E. L. Stetson
December 31, 1856, Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, California Sutter and Gold Rush Sacramento. Author John A. Sutter, Jr.

In looking about our wharves the other day, I was forcibly impressed with the change that has taken place in regard to the character of our commerce within two or three years. There are now comparatively few large vessels in our harbor, either from foreign or Eastern domestic ports. In place of these, numerous small ranging from five to fifty tons are to be seen, which are mostly engaged in island commerce. As the productions of the State ore developed, means have to be provided for their transportation, so that the producer may realise from his labor by the exchange of his commodities for others which bis requirements may demand, or for cash.

In order to facilitate this, hundreds of small vessels have found employment. They are generally of light draught, and many of them can penetrate any river, stream or inlet where water can be found to the depth of a foot. They come here loaded with the productions of the farmers with grain, hay, vegetables, wood, charcoal, etc. These, together with some larger vessels that are employed in bringing lumber from the northern part of the State nnd from Oregon, and some others engaged in trading up and down the coast, make up the bulk of our commerce at this time.

Sacramento's Gold Rush Saloons:
El Dorado in a Shot Glass
Sacramento's Gold Rush Saloons. Special Collections.

The Annals of San FranciscoThe Annals of San Francico 1855.
Frank Soule, John H. Gihon, Jim Nisbet. 1855
Written by three journalists who were witnesses to and participants in the extraordinary events they describe. The Annals of San Francisco is both an essential record for historians and a fascinating narrative for general readers. Over 100 historical engravings are included. Partial Contents: Expeditions of Viscaino; Conduct of the Fathers towards the natives; Pious Fund of California; Colonel John C. Fremont; Insurrection of the Californians; Description of the Golden Gate; The Presidio of San Francisco; Removal of the Hudson's Bay Company; Resolutions concerning gambling; General Effects of the Gold Discoveries; Third Great Fire; Immigration diminished; The Chinese in California; Clipper Ships; Increase of population; and Commercial depression.

San Francisco, You're History!
Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, and Performers Who Helped Create California's Wildest City
Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, Performers.
California Performers.
J. Kingston Pierce
Seattle-based freelance writer Pierce presents a fascinating view of a variety of colorful people and events that have molded the unique environment of San Francisco. He chronicles historical highlights along with a focus on current issues. Pierce touches on the gold rush, earthquakes, and fires and introduces the lives of politicians, millionaires, criminals, and eccentrics. Pierce sparks the imagination in relating the stories of yesterday to today.

When America First Met China:
An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail
When America First Met China.

Eric Jay Dolin
Ancient China collides with America in this epic tale of opium smugglers, sea pirates, and dueling clipper ships. Brilliantly illuminating one of the least-understood areas of American history, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin traces our relationship with China back to its roots: the nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a ancient empire. It is a fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. The furious trade in furs, opium, and bêche-de-mer -- a rare sea cucumber delicacy -- might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe. Peopled with fascinating characters--from Robert Morris: Financier of the American RevolutionRobert Morris, Financier of the American Revolution. to the The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong: Splendors of China's Forbidden City, who considered foreigners inferior beings -- this saga of pirates and politicians, coolies and concubines becomes a must-read for any fan of Nathaniel Philbrick's MayflowerMayflower. or Mark Kurlansky's Cod.Cod, the fish that changd the world. Two maps, 16 pages of color, 83 black-and-white illustrations.

Latin America, World Journeys, Discovery.The Age of Sail.Commodore Levy:
A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail

(Modern Jewish History)

Irving Litvag
By all accounts, Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish commodore in the U.S. Navy, was both a principled and pugnacious man. On his way to becoming a flag officer, he was subjected to six courts-martial and engaged in a duel, all in response to antisemitic taunts and harassment from his fellow officers. Yet he never lost his love of country or desire to serve in its navy. When the navy tried to boot him out, he took his case to the highest court and won. This richly detailed historical novel closely follows the actual events of Levy’s life: running away from his Philadelphia home to serve as a cabin boy at age ten; his service during the War of 1812 aboard the Argus and internment at the notorious British prison at Dartmoor;  his campaign for the abolition of flogging in the Navy; and his purchase and restoration of Monticello as a tribute to his personal hero, Thomas Jefferson. Set against a broad panorama of U.S. history, Commodore Levy describes the American Jewish community from 1790 to 1860, the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, and the great nautical traditions of the Age of Sail before its surrender to the age of steam.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Sea Captains, Ships, Merchants, Merchandise, 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; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California.

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