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Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Atwill W. Pray

Editor's Note: Multiple listings for the surname Pray; the first initial is not always included in articles.

  • February 1850, Reuel Pray, president of the South Fork Mining Association.
  • March 1852, J. H. Pray noted as passenger on the Monumental City from Panama to San Francisco.
  • May 18, 1854, SS John L. Stephens from Panama: Passengers A. S. Pray and P. H. Pray
  • August 2, 1859, a Captain Pray was noted as being in New York on the ship Prima Donna, which is inconsistent with the West Coast listings that follow. We will continue seeking additional information.
  • March 13, 1868: Passengers, Coos Bay: Per Koloa, L. N. Pray, A. A. Benwick. 160 M ft lumber. Consignee: J. B. Luse

Sacramento TranscriptSacramento, California

MARINE NEWS: Port of San Francisco

MEMORANDA (April 25, 1850)List of vessels at Panama, April 1st, to sail for this port soon: ships West Point, Hunt; brig Carmelita, Fry; R. W. Brown, Bracket; barks Maceno, Gonalez;Rising Sun, Hooper; Algoma, Pray.

MEMORANDA (May 27, 1850): Bks Croton and Algoma sailed from Panama for this port 30th March.

August 11, 1850, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

CONSIGNEES: Per Edgar - Rev. S. Woodbridge, Hayden & Mudge, E. & C. Parker, R. D. Merrill or J. Suydam, West & Brotheres, Johnson & M'Carthy, U. E. Stoutenberg, W. S. Safford, Leonard & Fay, G. Lapin, Wetmore & Pray, T. L. Smith, G. Churchill, M. Coffin and W. D. Davis, W. Fell & Co., J. C. Hewlett or Capt. Smith.

March 7, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Per New Orleans

Arrival of the New Orleans, Daily Alta California, March 7, 1851.

Details:  Arrival of the S. S. New Orlreans

July 31, 1853, Daily Alta California

Shipping Intelligence

Port San Francisco, July 31, 1853

ARRIVED: July 30 -- Brig John Davis, Pray, 7 days from Puget Sound; lumber to A. M. White. 3 passengers
MEMORANDA: Per John Davis -- Left the brig  Franklin Adams, to sail for this port on 30 July.

October 7, 1853, Marysville Daily Herald, Marysville, california


ARRIVED: Oct. 5 -- Brig John Davis, Pray, 8 days from Puget sound, lumber to A. G. Meigs

February 20, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

ARRIVED: Brig John Davis, Pray, 8 days from Puget Sound, with 65m feet lumber, 4500 feet piles, 8m shingles. 
CONSIGNEES: Per John Davis - J. M. Meiggs 

MEMORANDA: Per John Davis: Sailed in company with brigsLeouesa Howardand Franklin Adams, Collins, for this port; also two barques, names unknown. The schr L. P. Foster, Sargent, sailed from Puget Sound on the 28th January, for this port, and was capsized on the morning of the 31st, about 75 miles southwest of Cape Flattery; cut away the masts, when she partly righted, with the loss of everything on deck and full of water. She laid with her larboard mainsail about two feet under water on the morning of the 5th instanct. It being smooth, succeeded in bailing her out; riged jury masts, and arrived in the Straits of Fuca on the morning of the 8th inst. 

March 13, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping Intelligence 
Port San Francisco, March 13, 1854

To Merchants and Ship Masters R. S. Martin is no longer authorised to collect news or reports for the Alta Caliifornia. Commanders of vessels having letters, papers, or reports for this office will confer a favor upon us by delivering them to the Collector for the Merchants' Exchange. Masters of vessels and consignees will be liberally supplied with files of the Alta, at all times, by applying at our office, on Montgomery Street near Clay.

Sailed. Brig Merchantman, Pray, Puget Sound.

January 18, 1855, California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences


Brig Consort, Pray, Cape Classet, 23 days; lumber.

March 7, 1855, Daily Alta California
March 8, 1855, California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences


March 6, Bark Brontes, Pray, Tekalet (P S), 14 days from Puget Sound. Lumber to Talbot & Co.
Memoranda per Brontes: Had light winds from the northward up to Cape Mendocino, since then had light S. E. winds. Left at Tecklet (P. S.) bque Russell, Leary, brig Glencoe, both to commence loading next day for this port; brig Eolian, to sail in a few days for China, schKuluna, to sail same day for Sandwich Islands.

April 26, 1855, California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences
Arrivals: Brig Consort, Pray, Cape Classet, 9 days; lumber

July 12, 1855, Daily Alta California
Sailed, Brigs Consort, Pray, Puget Sound; J. S. Cabot, West Carmel Bay; Wyandott, Woodley, Humboldt Bay.

September 13, 1855, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping IntelligenceSan Francisco, September 13, 1855
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

Arrived: Sept 1: Brig Consort, Pray, 17 days from Puget Sound. Lumber to G. A. Meiggs.

September 22, 1855, Daily Alta California

Shipping Intelligence: Sailed: Brig Consort, Pray, Puget Sound.

December 3, 1855, Daily Alta California

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, Dec 3, 1855
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

SAILED: Dec 2 - Brig Consort, Pray, Puget Sound

March 27, 1856, Daily Alta California

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, March 27, 1856 
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

SAILED: March 26 - Brig Merchantmen, Pray, Puget Sound. (March 13, 1856, Daily Alta California: Capt. Pray, of brig Merchantman, reports things very quiet at Seattle and Steilacoom amongst the Indians.)

April 23, 1856, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Supreme Court, Murray, C. J., Terry, J.

Tuesday April 22

Meigs & Pray vs. Scannell. -- Passed for consideration tomorrow on motion to dismiss.

May 8, 1856, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Merchantman for Pugent Sound, 1856.

May 17, 1857, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, May 17, 1857 
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

SAILED: Steamer Resolute, Pray, Humboldt 
MEMORANDA: Steamer Resolute, Pray, hence for Humboldt, has returned and anchored off Vallejo street wharf. 

Daily Alta California, September 5, 1868
Arrivals and Departures Port Townsend, September 6, 1858.

July 2, 1859, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, July 2, 1859 
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

SAILED: Ship Visurgia, Pray, Puget Sound.

Salmon Can Label.

June 22, 1859,  Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

SALE OF THE SHIP VISURGIS-- The ship Visurgis was sold by the United States Marshal, June 20th, in San Francisco, to G. A. Meiggs and A. W. Pray. She was knocked down at $24,200. She was about two years odl and considered worth over $30,000.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

July 9, 1859, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping Intelligence

San Francisco, July 9, 1859 
Sweeny & Baugh, Merchants' Exchange, Reporters

SAILED: Bque Chas. Devens, Pray, Puget Sound.

September 20, 1859, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Shipping Intelligence


Arrival of the Forwood: The steamer Forwood arrived in port this morning with dates from Victoria to the 15th inst. She brings $26,500 in treasure. The following are her memoranda and passener list: 
Memoranda: Sailed from Victoria Thursday, September 15th, 9:30 A.M.; experienced strong winds from the southeast and heavy seas from the west and southwest. 
Passengers: Mrs. Sipman, Mrs. Matthews, Messrs. Melville, Keating, Tandler, Williams, Kann and lady, Pray, Wilson, Mullot, Peas, Beckman, Herman, Bishop, Cushman,Rogers, Mossly and 36 others.
Consignees: Wells Fargo & Co., $14,000. Freeman & Co. $12,500, Goodwin & Co. 22 packages and others.

May 2, 1866, Daily Alta California

Passengers: PORT MADISON - Barque C. Mitchell, Stevens, 11 days from Port Madison. Lumber to Meigs & Gawley. Captain A. S. Pray, Victor Odel, John Taylor
Memoranda: Per C. Mitchell - Had moderate easterly winds most of the passage; left ships Coquimbo and John Jay loading; April 26th, off Port Townsend, saw barque Legal Tender bound up; 29th, Point Reyes E S E 25 miles, saw ship Amethyst, barque Oakland and brig Deacon, hence, bound north.

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 Project

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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