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Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Captain Tapley

Anchorage at Yerba Buena, San Francisco. 1846

Anchorage at Yerba Buena, San Francisco, 1846.

Notices of Captain(s) Tapley sailing to and from San Francisco are listed through the mid-1800s to early 1900s. First names were generally not given, so it is difficult to know if they are all the same Captain Tapley.

March 8, 1851, Daily Alta California. Cleared, Schr Caroline, Tapley, 22 days from Honolulu. Product to W. Everett.

March 30, 1851, Daily Alta California. Cleared, Schr. Caroline, Tapley, Lahaina.

April 2, 1851,Sacramento Daily Union. MARINE NEWS. Port of San Francisco. Cleared, Schr. Caroline, Tapley, Lahaina.

July 1, 1851, Daily Alta California
CONSIGNEES Per Ship Scargo, Freeman, 147 days from Boston. Assorted cargo to H. P. Blanchard . . . Tapley, Hallett & Co.

San Francisco Bay 1899.

San Francisco Bay 1899.

August 2, 1853, Daily Alta California (and August 3, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union) Arrived. Brig Boston, Tapley, 28 days from Honolulu. Mdse to G. P Post & Co. 6 passeners. Memoranda: Sailed in company with brig Mary A. Jones for this port. The Boston has experienced light northerly winds for the whole passage; has been within 50 miles of the Heads for this last 5 days in thick fogs and calms.

August 6, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Vessels Advertised

FOR HONOLULU. The clipper brig Boston, Tapley master, will have an immediate despatch for the above port. For freight or passage, having superior accommodations, apply to G. B. Post & Co., Cunningham's Wharf.

October 6, 1853 (from October 8 Sacramento Daily Union): Arrived. Brig Boston, Tapley, 25 days from Honolulu to G. B. Post & Co. FROM THE SANDWICH ISLANDS - By the arrival of the brig Boston, Capt. Tapley, from Honolulu, we learn of the resignation of Dr. Judd as Minister of Finance.

October 14, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco


FOR HONOLULU - The clipper brig Boston, J. Tapley, master, will have dispatch for the above port on Thursday, October 13th. For freight or passage apply to G. P. Post & Co.

February 10, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Arrived Brig Boston, Tapley, 14 days from Honolulu. Mdse to G. B. Post & Co. Memoranda: Has been within 300 miles of this port for the last 14 days.

November 30, 1898, San Francisco Call, San Francisco


Vineyard Haven, Mass., Nov 19. Three lives were lost in the wreck of the schooner Sawyer, which was wrecked on the north side of the island. The dead are: Captain Norwood. Cook Anzever. Seaman Lander Ashley.

Mate Dudley and Seaman Tapley were saved. The Sawyer, which was bound from Calais, Me., for New York, with lumber, anchored off Falmouth, Mass., for shelter Saturday evening, but the gale increased with such fury that the vessel broke adrift and was driven across Vineyard Sound and cast ashore. When the vessel struck Captain Norwood was washed overboard and his body was thrown upon the beach shortly afterward by the heavy seas. The bodies of the cook and the seaman were recovered...

September 17, 1903, San Francisco Call, San Francisco

Captain With Drawn Revolver Compels Them to Work.

NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 16. The Old Dominion liner Princess Anne, Captain Tapley, from New York for Norfolk, with a passenger list of 100, steamed slowly into this harbor tonight with her cargo badly listed, ten hours behind time.

When the gale struck the steamer at 1 o'clock this morning the passengers were panic-stricken. They rushed half-clothed, weeping, praying and screaming from their staterooms in an effort to reach the decks and to obtain seats in the boats. Every door and window was closely fastened, the hatches battened and orders issued that no one save the crew be allowed upon the decks already waist deep in a seething mass of water.

According to the report of the passengers the force of stokers refused to work. Captain Tapley drew a revolver and, pointing it at the men, ordered them back to work. They obeyed. At the time of the mutiny the ship was in only sixteen fathoms of water, and drifting nearer shore. The report of the mutiny cannot be confirmed from the ship's officers. Sixteen passengers, it is said, were more or less seriously injured.

January 25, 1906, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California

Arizonan Around Cape Horn from New York Reaches San Diego Harbor

Special to The Herald. SAN DIEGO, Jan. 24. The big steamer Arizonan, Capt. Tapley, 8671 tons, arrived this evening from New York, bringing about 1100 tons of freight for Southern California cities and over 6000 tons for San Francisco and Honolulu. As the ship arrived after dark. It was stopped at quarantine and will come up the bay in the morning. The Arizonan will be here about three days discharging freight.

January 31, 1906, San Francisco Call: SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED, Steamer Arizonan, Tapley, 52 days from New York, vai SanDiego 40 hours.

February 10, 1906, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California
SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. CLEARED: Steamer Arizonan, Tapley, Honolulu via Seattle and Tacoma. Williams, Dimond & Co.

October 5, 1908, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California

Shipping News and Gossip of the Water Front
Liner Mexican is Tossed by Hurricane Between Hilo and Salinas Cruz

American-Hawaiian steamsnip Mexican, arrived yesterday seven days and 20 hours from Salina Cruz. Captain Tapley reports that on the way from Hilo to Salina Cruz, he ran into a terrific storm, which almost amounted to a hurricane. This occurred on September 8, in latitude 19.42 N. and longitude 117.48 W.

The storm began in the morning and lasted for 24 hours. It came quietly at first, but by evening it had increased to such an extent that Captain Tapley was compelled to slow down the ship. The waves and winds seemed to come, from every point of the compass, and the the great freight cruiser was almost unmanageable.

The Mexican brought 3,300 tons of general merchandise, including some structural iron, which is intended for the United States government breakwater at Hilo, and also for the fortifications now being constructed at Pearl Harbor. The Mexican carried 1,200 barrels of sugar from Hilo to Salina Cruz. When the vessel left this port on its last trip to Honolulu, it went in command of Captain Charles Nichols. Nichols left the steamship at Honolulu and came back to this port on the Arizonan, and on his return here, he was retired from active service.

July 10, 1909, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Bottle Floated 33 Years

Bottles containing messages thrown overboard from vessels have been picked up after drifting about for long periods, but in all probability the bottle picked up last summer at a point in the Atlantic three miles south of Monomy point, Mass. holds all records. The paper within the bottle stated that it had been thrown overboard from the ship Hattie E. Tapley April 13, 1874. a little to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope.

Captain George H. Tapley, in command of the ship at that time, recently stated that when the bottle was thrown overboard the ship was on its way from Bassin, India, to Falmouth, England.

The Authority to Sail.The Authority to Sail: The History of U.S. Maritime Licenses and Seamen's PapersThe Authority to Sail.
Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward)
(Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)

This book depicts important aspects of our maritime history never before addressed. This synthesis of key elements of our rich maritime history might never have occurred without the many years of original research done by the author, Commodore Bates, the holder of an unlimited master's license who has enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career in both the Coast Guard and the American Merchant Marine.

Before the Wind, Charles Tyng.Sea Captains. Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain, 1808-1833An American Sea Captain.
Charles Tyng
Tyng (1801-1879), who rose from cabin boy to captain and prosperous merchant, wrote this account of his early sailing days in later life. In 1996, this memoir was found by his great-great-granddaughter, Susan Fels, who edited the 419-page handwritten manuscript. An unruly boy sent to live in various homes by his rather forbidding father, Tyng first shipped on a merchant vessel at the age of 13. He hated it. But he loved his second voyage and soon became one of the youngest captains in the American merchant fleet. As Tyng tells of voyages around the world carrying cargoes of bullion, tea, linseed oil, molasses and other items to Holland, China, Cuba and other destinations, he writes with understatement, modesty and a deadpan humor that might or might not be intentional.

Tales of the Seven Seas:
The Escapades of Captain Dynamite Johnny O'Brien
Tales of the Seven Seas.
Tales of the Seven Seas, Dennis Powers.Tales of the Seven Seas. Dennis M. Powers
Captain Dynamite Johnny O'Brien sailed the seven seas for over sixty years, starting in the late 1860s in India and ending in 1930 on the U.S. West Coast. He sailed every type of ship imaginable, but this book is more than the story of Captain O'Brien's incredible feats. Tales of the Seven Seas is about sailing where danger and adventure coexists on a daily basis. Smell the salt in the air and hear the ocean's rush as a ship plows its way through heavy seas with hardened men, leaking seams, and shrieking winds. These true stories are about tough times and courageous men in distant places, from the Hawaiian Islands to the Bering Sea, from the waning days of sail to the age of steamships.

Life of a Georgetown Sea Captain, Slocum.Georgetown Sea Captain.The Life and Times of Georgetown Sea Captain Abram Jones Slocum, 1861-1914Abram Jones Slocum.
Robert McAlister
Born at sea on his father's whaling ship in 1861, Captain Slocum learned the seafaring life in New Bedford, Massachusetts as part of the last generation of iron men aboard commercial wooden sailing ships in the Atlantic. His voyages often took him around Cape Hatteras to Georgetown, South Carolina, to load lumber bound for northern cities. He sailed in all seasons, through storms and hurricanes, for twenty years as captain of two schooners, the Warren B. Potter and the City of Georgetown. He was respected in Georgetown, where he wooed his wife. His ship sank in a collision with an ocean liner in 1913, but he survived, only to be lost at sea a year later as captain of another schooner.

The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational ChartsThe Sea Chart.The Sea Chart.The Sea Chart.
John Blake
The sea chart was one of the key tools by which ships of trade, transport and conquest navigated their course across the oceans. John Blake looks at the history and development of the chart and the related nautical map, in both scientific and aesthetic terms, as a means of safe and accurate seaborne navigation. This handsome work contains 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by thirteenth-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as eighteenth-century charts that became strategic naval and commercial requirements and led to Cook's voyages in the Pacific, the search for the Northwest Passage, and races to the Arctic and Antarctic.

The Rebel Raiders
The Astonishing History of the Confederacy's Secret NavyThe Confederacy's Secret Navy. The Rebel Raiders.
James T. deKay
During its construction in Liverpool, the ship was known as Number 290. When it was finally unleashed as the CSS Alabama, the Confederate gunship triggered the last great military campaign of the Civil War; yet another infamous example of British political treachery; and the largest retribution settlement ever negotiated by an international tribunal: $15,500,000 in gold paid by Britain to the United States. This riveting true story of the Anglo-Confederate alliance that led to the creation of a Southern navy illuminates the dramatic and crucial global impact of the American Civil War. Like most things in the War between the States, it started over cotton: Lincoln's naval blockade prevented the South from exporting their prize commodity to England. In response, the Confederacy came up with a plan to divert the North's vessels and open the waterways, a plan that would mean covertly building a navy in Britain with a cast of clandestine characters.

History of Seafaring.The History of Seafaring: Navigating the World's Oceans Navigating the World's Oceans.History of Seafaring.
Donald Johnson and Juha Nurminen
Royal prestige, intellectual curiosity, and territorial expansion all propelled mankind to undertake perilous voyages across unpredictable oceans. This large and lavishly illustrated volume brings that history to life. From the early Phoenician navigation techniques to the technologies behind today's mega-ships, the greatest advances in shipbuilding are covered, accompanied by hundreds of images, with an in-depth look at navigational instruments (including those used by the Vikings).

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Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers, and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Copyright © 1998-2017. All U.S.A. and International Rights Reserved. D. Blethen Adams Levy.

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, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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