Ship George Washington
New York to San Francisco
From the Diary of Thomas Jefferson Matteson, Calaveras County, California Pioneer
Monday, January 29, 1849
Left my Fathers for a California expedition accompanied by Frisbie, Campbell, Adams and Hallock. Arrived in Albany the same night. Stopped at Stanwix Hall.
Thursday, February 1, 1849
The Falcon, a steamship, left at 12 o'clock with 300 passengers for California by the way of Panama. The steamships Pacific and Atlantic were both launched. A splendid sight.
Friday, February 2, 1849
In the evening we formed a company of 9 for California, up and dressed for gold.
Wednesday, February 7, 1849
Lat 44 44 Lon. 74: After a considerable exertion with assistance made ready and
at 12 o’clock all hands on board the George Washington and off we start for California.
Friday, Mach 16, 1849
Very hot no air wet & rany in the morning. Some 20 went in swiming. Some jumped off the yard some 40 feet. Two sharks were discovered but lucky all were aboard before the sharks were at hand. Several hooks were taken off by the sharks but none were caught
Saturday, March 17, 1849
Pleasant and very hot. Lat 1. Plenty of porpus but none caught. Some of the passengers dove off the end of the gib boom some 40 or 50 feet.
Saturday, April 7, 1849
Stepped on shore of Terra Firma for the first time for two months and for the first time on the Brazillian shore of South American. Saw no inhabitance for it was a desolate watering place. We were quarantined 6 days.
Monday, April 9, 1849
Went ashore Sunday night with Doc Diamond and there got a boat and several others wth us went to town and arrived there at 6 o'clock in the morning. Adams and I took a horseback ride about the country and saw many curiosities and was treated with great respect by the natives where we stopped.
Sunday, April 15, 1849
The Captain and 20 passengers went to town to purchase things. About 5 o'clock a row began between the Portuguese and Americans. There were two Americans killed and two Portuguese, 1 American's leg broken, 10 wounded, 14 Portigies severely wounded the Americans when prisoners.
Monday, April 16, 1849
After being guarded by some 3,000 people, 5 were retained as prisoners. The Captain and Diamond stayed to see Justice. The rest were sent to the ship -- some 25 of us. The man with his leg broken remains in prison without any attendance.
Wednesday, April 18, 1849
Four prisoners were released. The Captain on the Washington told them he would resort to arms without they were released immediately, so they were sent to the ship.
Saturday, April 21, 1849
Searched for Augustus Wright who was murdered and thrown in the water, but could find nothing of him. Returned to ship all hands for going to sea, but on arriving there found 6 sailors had run away.
Thursday, April 26, 1849
Lat 34 degrees 44' Lon 47 degrees 13". Latitude 34 degrees 40'. Dis 138
About three o'clock a violent storm arose and all hands called on deck; before all sails could be taken in the main Royal and main Diglaong sail was carried away. Seasick through the day. Violent winds through the day.
Rough seas continued through May 4 as they approached the Falkland Islands where it was cold and snowy where they sailed through a gale and a violent storm on May 17. Hit fair winds off the Island of Cape Horn, beautiful sunset, fair wind. Thousands of cape pigeons and other birds. Rough weather and cold through June 7, 1849.
Tueday, July 17, 1849: Crossed the line about 2 p.m.
Saturday, July, 28. Lat 19 28 Lon 119 53 Dis 114
About 5 o clock one of the sailors fell overboard. He cut his clothes of with his sheath knife and so kept up until the boat was lowered and got him safe and sound. Many applauses.
(A sheet of better quality lined glossy paper is inserted in the diary at this point, originally fastened with two red stickers. It reads:)
Sunday 25 (Saturday crossed out): Lat 15 19 Faer wind on Saturday evening for some reason thare was cause for suspicion of trouble and every person in 1st and 2nd cabin was requested to load and prepair for defense & consequently guns & pistols were prepaired and about 12 o clock the peace (and) quietness was disturbed by the Larboard watch refusing to do duty. The captain was called and the leader of the watch was ordered on Equator deck and he refused and struck at the captain and notwithstanding the arms that the captain had about his person he used fists and after that he was lashed to the rigging & given 20 cuts & thus ended the excitement for the night.
Tuesday, August 28, 1849
203 days from New York. Arrived in San Francisco harbor about 4 o'clock P.M. Went ashore for the first time and took tea at the Battery House with Mr. Floid. On Wednesday, spent the day viewing the port, gambling houses, etc., and received two letters from home. Heard many large stories about the gold mines.
He left San Francisco for Stockton where he arrived Thursday, September 6, 1849; thence to Murphys New Diggins with two wagons and 6 ox teams, 30 persons, consisting of the Rom & Utica Companies.
Names of Passengers of ship George Washington from New York to San Francisco.
Cap John Holdredge, Master
Ed Andrews, New York City
Gardner Furniss, New York City
John T. Emmet, New York City
T. A. Emmit (cq), New York City
Henry Barnewall, New York City
L. F. Williams, New York City
I. T. Beirs, New York City
P. C. Van Cortland, New York City
Jotham Rogers, New York City
J. H. Rogers, New York City
T. J. Matteson, Rome, New York
C. Adams, Rome, New York
A. M. Briggs, Rome, New York
G. Apley, Rome, New York
D. Sink, Rome, New York
Wm. B. Curry, Pittsburgh, PA
Geo. Richard, Pittsburgh, PA
Z. Curry, Pittsburgh, PA
John Jack, Pittsburgh, PA
John MacKensie, Pittsburgh, PA
H. Ewalt, Pittsburgh, PA
T. H. Willson, Pittsburgh, PA
W. Colstart, Pittsburgh, PA
R. Coltart, Pittsburgh, PA (Might be Colstart), Pittsburgh, PA
A. J. Bormet ( (or Bonnet or Barmet), Pittsburgh, PA
W. M. Bell, Pittsburgh, PA
D. H. Tompson, Ohio
W. M. Henshaw, Providence, Rhode Island
Thos. Cutler, Floucestor, Rhode Island
S. H. Allen, Connecticut
Wm. Pray, Connecticut
Leavinus Bothom, Connecticut
H. F. Fresbie, ONeida, New York
Theo. Dimon M D, Utica, New York
O. A. Spencer, Utica, New York
Geo. Campbell, Oneida County, New York
C. Comstock, Oneida County, New York
E. Comstock, Oneida County, New York
S. D. Sterry, Lagrange, Georgia
H. S. Storrs, Uteca, New York
Volney Smith, Uteca, New York
Samuel Smith, Uteca, New York
Thos. Smith, Uteca, New York
E. D. Leonard, Uteca, New York
O P Newburry, Waterville, New York
T. C. May, Petsburch, Pa
T. M. Statenias (or Statinius), Washington D C
J. S. Stettenias, Washington, D.C.
William Grey, Georgia
C F Grobbohm, Germany
Philip Timm, Germany
H. Hutchinson, England
I. Van Saun, Patterson, N J
T. Tedy, Buffalo, N Y
P. Leddy, N York
F. Breenan, New York
I. Merritt, New York
S. Warren, Ulster, New York
I. Keiffer, Ulster, New York
L Purdy, N. Y. City
E. H. Purdy, Chenango N Y
I. Carlisle, N Y City
H. Palmer, New York City
E. Campbell, New York City
R. S. Van Clive, New York City
I. Shaw, New York City
A. Hallenbeck, New York City
B Thomas, New York City
G Haley, New York City
W. Lowery, New York City
I. Fisher, New York City
C. Lockwood, New York City
D. Sweany, New York City
S. Ford, Norwork, Ct
L. Heiffer, Jefferson, N Y.
G. Heiffer, Jefferson, N.Y.
C. Rouse, Jefferson, N.Y.
D. Meret, Stan Island
G. Gass, Saratogy (Saratoga )
H. Hutchins, Clinton, N Y
T. Bennet, Utica, N Y
M. H. Newell, Utica, New York
A. M. Dobbie, Utica, New York
J. B. Mahoney, Uitca, New York
J. N. Bolden, Utica, New York
E. A. Pomeroy, Utica, New York
J. S. Weaver, Utica, New York
A. Eaves, Wilmington, Delaware
J. M. Gardner
Cap John Holdredge, Mystic, Connecticut
1st mate J. M. Wainright, Long Island, New York
2nd mate Wm. Cheeseman, New York City
3rd mate R. B. Apleman, Mystick, Connecticut
Charles Specht, German Steward
A. J. E. Hentze, German Steward
T. H. Dickerson, Harrisburg, Cook
J. W. Lamphus, Vermont, 1st Steward
J. Walrood, D. C.
W. Jackson, Le Canada, Cabin Boy
31 Spaniards & Indians taken on board at Valperazo
Brought up Paid:
Sugar 155 lbs. 76
Rice 150 lbs. 351/2
Soap . 59 lbs. 13
Salt & c 39 lbs.
Flower 392 lbs. 236
April 1, 1954, Hayward, California
Calaveras County Historical Society, San Andreas, Calif.
I have just been informed by Dr. Coke Wood that you are desirous of publishing a book on the Diary of my father, T. J. Matteson, including a biographical sketch by the Society of Pioneers.
I am filled with pride and extremely happy at this kindly gesture, and most noble consideration of my father’s contribution to early Calaveras history.
He arrived in Murphys on September 14, 1849.
His stages began to carry mail and passengers in 1852 and continued until I891.
He loved dear old Calaveras County.
If you had a mining prospect, he would grubstake you. If you were a Republican on a speaking tour, he would furnish a team, driver and carriage and pay all expenses. If you asked him for half a dollar, he would hand you a five-spot so you would be sure and have enough. In 1891 we moved to Oakland, and a year and a half later to Stockton.
In 1898 I settled at 1566 Fell St., San Francisco, and my father’s greatest pleasure was to visit me and spend his days on the Pan Handle of Golden Gate Park, watching the parade of fine horses.
On one of these visits his final sickness came and he passed away at my home.
My thanks and hearty approval of this, your first publication. Your fine work in searching out, uncovering and recording these valuable events of the past is most commendable.
God bless your effort.
J. V. Matteson.
(Mr. Jesse Matteson is the only surviving child of Thomas J. Matteson.)