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 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 (WikiMaritime.org, WikiMaritimeHeritage.org, WikiSeaports.org) is basically a one-person operation developed and managed by D. A. Blethen-Levy, the 70-year-old great-great-grandaughter of Captain James H. Blethen, Master Mariner. Costs include equipment, research materials and time. The Maritime Heritage Project 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 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

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News from San Francisco: 1800s



Ship Building in New York

Daily Alta California, August 18, 1850

Ship Building in New York.

We take the annexed interesting and valuable statistics of the amount of work in course of completion in and about New York, from the Herald. It is complete, and such as will give a fair representation of the progress and the state of commerce on the Atlantic. It will be observed that the port of San Francisco is well represented on the stocks of the New York ship builders.

The well known firm of Howland &, already so deeply engaged in the California trade, have concluded to add two more steamships to their present fleet. They are to run in connection with the Tennessee, Panama, Oregon, &c., and will rank with the Empire City of J. Howard & Son's Line. One of them is to be 270 feet long, 38 beam, and 22 hold; the other of somewhat smaller dimensions. We understand that Mr. Wm. Webb and Messrs. Smith & Dimon are the contractors, who contemplate having them ready in about nine months. There have also been several splendid packet ships built, and in course of building, each addition producing something new and novel in their construction, their tonnage, varying from 1000 to 1300; indeed, the building this year has been almost entirely contained to large vessels.

W.H. Webb's Yard.
Launched
February 2. Packet ship Isaac Webb, 1,400 tons. Built for the Black Ball Line.
February 28. Ship Vanguard, 1,200 tons. In the Liverpool Line.
April 11. Steamship Florida, Lyons, built for the New York and Savannah Steam Navigation Co. She is 1,300 tons.
June 10. Steamship Alabama, Ludlow, built for the same line - same size and power.
June 10. Ship Celestial, 860 tons, for the Canton trade. (On her way to California.)
On the Stocks
Steamship Union, to take the place of the Northerner. Her tonnage will be 1,500 tons; 212 feet long, 34 beam, 22 deep.
A packet ship, to be commanded by Captain Hoxie, late of the Grimshaw. Measures 1,600 tons.

W.H. Brown's Yard
Launched
January 18. Steamer Arctic, 3,500 tons of E.K. Collin's Line. She is nearly finished, and will shortly take her place in the line.
Same day. Steamer Boston, 700 tons. She runs from Boston to Bangor.
Same day. Steamer New World, Wakeman. 700 tons. (Now in San Francisco.)
May 25. Steamer New York, Jones, of the same tonnage and measurement as the New World, and on her way to California.
On the Stocks:
A steamer, building for Messrs. Lowry & Jarvis, and intended for the California trade. She is 1,100 tons, measures 225 feet long, 20 beams, and 190 hold. It is expected she will be ready next month.

Westervelt & Mackay's Yard
Launched
March 26. Ship Ocean Queen, London packet, 1200 tons.
April 13. Ship Francis P. Sage, Liverpool packet. 1200 tons.
On the Stocks
A ship of 1200 tons, as a Havre packet.
A ship, Havre packet, 1150 tons.
Steamship Havre, 2,700 tons, 283 feet long, 40 wide, and 27 deep. Her engines are of the same power as the Atlantic. She is to run to Havre in connection with the steamship Franklin, and will be launched about the latter end of August.
A steamship for Davis, Brooks & Co., for the Pacific, and to be under command of Capt. Skiddy. She is about 1300 tons, 200 feet long, 30 wide, and 22 deep. She will be launched about September.

Lawrence & Sneden's Yard
On the Stocks
A steamship constructing for the Norwich and New London Steamboat Company. She is 260 feet long, 34 broad, and 21 deep, and 1600 tons burthen, and intended for the Pacific, to be employed in the California trade.

Jacob Bell's Yard
Launched
February 5. Steamship Baltic, one of E.K. Collins' line of Liverpool steamers. She is in build and model the same as her consorts, measuring 3700 tons.
Same day. Ship St. Louis, New Orleans line. She is 1050 tons.

On the Stocks
A ship for the Canton trade, constructing for Platt & Son of Philadelphia. Is 1200 tons, 190 feet on deck, 36 feet wide, and 21 feet hold.
A ship of 1900 tons, intended for Liverpool packets.

Smith & Dimon's Yard
Launched
March 20. Ship Universe (3 decker), is now in Liverpool line. Is 1300 tons.
June 15. Ship Mandarin, owend by Messrs. Goodhue & Co., and intended for the Canton trade.

W. Collyer's Yard
On the Stocks
A double-decker steamship, of about 1200 tons, 242 feet long, 32 feet wide, and 12-1/2 (might be 42-1/2) hold for C. Morgan, and intended to run from New Orleans to Galveston, probably farther, as a mail ship.
A steamship, of 1400 tons, to be commanded by Captain J. J. Wright, of New Orleans, and to run from that city to Chagres.

J. Simonson's Yard
Launched

June 11. Steamer Director, for the Nicaragua company, and to run on the San Juan. She is 65 tons, 80 feet long, and 20 wide, and 4-1/2 feet deep.

On the Stocks
A steamship of 1500 tons, 230 feet long, 33 beam, and 20 hold, building for Captain Vanderbilt. Will be ready to launch soon. Destination not made known.
A small steamer of 100 tons, for the Nicaragua company, also to run on the San Juan. She measures 100 tons, is 110 feet long, 20 beam, and 5 hold, and of very light draught.

Perrine, Patterson, and Stack's Yard
Launched
Ship Star of the West, Lowber, 1280 tons, and trades between Liverpool and this port.

On the Stocks

Steamship San Francisco, of 1800 tons, 255 feet long, 40 wide, and 31 deep. She is to be commanded by Capt. Wilson, and intended to run between Panama and the city she is named after. She is expected to be ready in about four months. Her machinery is being constructed at the Morgan works.

Ship Lady Franklin, of 1429 tons. This vessel is named after the lady of the great explorer of the Northern seas, and will have carved on her stern (which is round) the arms of Sir John Franklin, which is a most chaste and appropriate design, consisting of a dolphin entwined round an anchor. She is to be commanded by Captain Yeaton, and will be launched the first part of the present month.

Ship Arctic, of 1300 tons, for Liverpool Line.

A propeller for the Panama and San Francisco trade. She will be about 1500 tons, be 210 feet long, 33 beam, and 31 hold. She is building for Nathan Dale, and will be ready in about four months.


Recommended Reading

If you cannot find recommended books locally, consider the links provided to
Amazon.com or AbeBooks
both of which have proven to be reliable on service and delivery.

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 Mission and 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!
A Chronicle of the 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 telling of San Francisco stories of yesterday and relating them 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, and 16 pages of color and 83 black-and-white illustrations.

Latin America, World Journeys, Discovery.
The Explorer's Eye:First-Hand Accounts of Adventure and ExplorationLatin America, World Journeys, Discovery.
Fergus Fleming, Annabel Merullo, Michael Palin
During the eighteenth century, exploration entered a new phase; many more explorers were motivated by scientific inquiry rather than greed. Their job was to open new lands, but also to investigate the globe's mysteries. They were expected to make a full record of everything they encountered, and include pictures as well as words. Combining firsthand accounts with original images, The Explorer's Eye gives insight into who these people were, how they operated, and, above all, what they saw. Here you have Alexander von Humboldt braving the electric eels of South Africa, Robert Peary explaining the rigors of polar travel (and his wife giving her own slant), Umberto Nobile lamenting the loss of his Zeppelin in an ice floe, Jacques Cousteau examining the planet from under the waves . . .

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Recommended Reading

Clipper Ships

The American-Built Clipper Ship, 1850-1856: Characteristics, Construction, and DetailsShips, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Gold Rush Port.San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Gold Rush Port:
The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront
San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
James P. Delgado
Described as a "forest of masts," San Francisco's Gold Rush waterfront was a floating economy of ships and wharves, where a dazzling array of global goods was traded and transported. Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco's unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city's remarkable rise from a small village to a boomtown of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Gleaning history from artifacts -- preserves and liquors in bottles, leather boots and jackets, hulls of ships, even crocks of butter lying alongside discarded guns -- Gold Rush Port paints a fascinating picture of how ships and global connections created the city.

A Historical Survey of the Boiler Makers' and Iron and Steel Ship Builders' Society, from August, 1834 to August, 1904San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
OCR Reprint: Typos, etc.)

San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
American Merchant Ships
1850-1900
San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Frederick C. Matthews

San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
American Merchant Ships
and Sailors
San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Willis John Abbott
(Kindle Edition)

The Old Merchant Marine
A Chronicle of
American Ships and Sailors
San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.

Ralph Delahaye Paine

Ship Construction.San Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Ship Construction, Sixth EditionSan Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
David J. Eyres
Ship Construction is a comprehensive text for students of naval architecture, ship building and construction, and for professional Naval Architects and Marine Engineers as a refresher on developments in ship types, safety and shipyard practices. From an introduction to ship building and to the finished product, the book follows the construction of a ship from start to finish. Eyres explores in depth development of ship types, materials and strengths of ships, welding and cutting, shipyard practice, ship structure and outfitting. This edition includes a chapter on computer-aided design and manufacture, and the latest international regulations and technological developments.

Ship Modeling from Stem to SternSan Francisco waterfront commerce, ships, shipping history.
Milton Roth

China Tea ClippersChina Tea Clippers.
George Frederick Campbell
The history of the China tea clippers is examined, especially their struggle in the 19th century for economic survival in the face of the steamships. It also details advances made in design, hull construction, rigging, sail plans and deck arrangements.


Under Full Sail
Silent Cinema on the High Seas

Five films that preserve the romance, grandeur and allure of windjammers sailing open waters, photographed in the style of the time.
The Yankee Clipper (1927), produced by Cecil B. DeMille and directed by Rupert Julian, restored to the most complete version available since the films release. A a feature-length melodrama recreating the real-life race from Foo Chow to Boston for the China tea trade. Filmed at sea for six weeks aboard the 1856 wooden square-rigger Indiana with stars William Boyd, Elinor Fair and Frank Junior Coghlan. Renowned organist Dennis James, in his solo DVD premiere, accompanies the film on an original-installation 1928 Wurlitzer pipe organ, recorded at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
Around the Horn in a Square Rigger (1933). Filmed by noted sailor and author Alan Villiers documenting the record-breaking 83-day voyage of the 1902 barque Parma from Australia to England in the 1933 Grain Race. Villiers writes: "We wanted to capture some of the stirring beauty of these ship to perpetuate something of the glory of their wanderings, some glimmer of understanding of the attraction which they hold over those who sail in them." Music by Eric Beheim.
The Square Rigger (1932), an early sound short filmed as part of Fox's Magic Carpet of Movietone, shows life aboard the schoolship Dar Pomorza, The White Frigate. Built in 1909 as the Prinzess Eitel Friedrich, it was ceded from Germany to France as a prize of World War I, and later donated to the Polish State Maritime School in 1930 where it trained more than 13,000 cadets through 50 years.
Ship Ahoy (1928), a unique record of the conditions and traditions of the North American lumber trade featuring an unidentified schooner equipped with a fore and aft rig as it transports lumber from the Carolinas up the coast to a northern port. Music by Eric Beheim.
The collection is rounded off with a ten-minute sequence from
Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) documenting an authentic whale hunt from the 1878 wooden ship Wanderer out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The camera-men risk their lives to capture practices unchanged since Herman Melville immortalized them in Moby Dick. Music by Dennis James.

 

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Coming to America.
Coming to America:
A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life
First Immigrants to America.
Roger Daniels

Your story begins as far back as you can imagine.