Clipper Ships and Windjammers
° Passenger Ship Arrivals
Lists are incomplete; information is added as located and as time permits.
Clipper Ships at San Francisco: E to G
The Eagle is 1300 tons burthen, 207 feet in length, 38 feet 10 inches beam, 22 feet depth of hold; and was built by Perrine, Patterson & Stack, at Williamsburg. L. I. She is very nearly of the model of the N. B. Palmer. Capt. Farran reports much light wind on the passage, and that he has, on account of fog, laid off the harbor three days.
November 19, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California
Our harbor was yesterday graced with the arrival of three beautiful clipper ships from the Atlantic States: the Syren, Capt. Silsbee, 141 days from Boson; the Eagle, Capt Farran, 128 days, and theTyphoon, Capt Salter, 107 days from New York. Passengers per Eagle from New York: D. Bailey and lady, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Seaulan, Dr. Lee, and 6 in the steerage.
Built at Baltimore in 1851. 127 x 30 x 15; 582 tons. Owned in Philadelphia. Sold at Hong Kong to go under the Chilean flag, June 1863. Later was Chilean barq Emanuela.
Clipper ship built by Charles Mallory at Mystic, Connecticut in 1854. 156x34x19; 825 tons.
Arrived at San Francisco May 10, 1855, Captain Sisson, 118 days from New York. She was within 800 miles of the Golden Gate for 11 days. The to Callao in i62 days and took guano to England. Left Cardiff, March 25, 1856, arrived New York, February 14, 1857, in 111 days from Foo Chow and 89 from Anjer. Arrived San Francisco August 1, 1857, Captain J. Warren Holmes of Mystic, in command in 130 days from New York.
Clipper ship build by Donald McKay at East Boston, Massachusetts. Measuring 240 feet overall and 2200 registered tonnage (1647 tons, British measurement), Empress of the Seas saw immediate service in 1853 on both the California and China Trade routes. William Wilson & Son of Baltimore purchased her for $125,000; her new owners sent her to New York to load in Oakford's line of California Clippers. Her first run to San Francisco from New York under Captain M. E. Putnam on March 13, 1853. She continued on to Callao, New York, Quebec, London, Bombay, and back to London and New York.
June 4, 1856, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Clipper Empress of the Seas arrived, 115 days from New York, to D.L. Ross & Co.
Per Empress of the Seas -- Ap 13, off Cape Horn, bearing NNW, 20 miles, ship Coquimbo, fm Boston, 104 (or 184) days out, reported to have been 21 days between Staten Land and the Cape.
Per Empress of the Seas - Crossed the Equator in the Atlantic, 26 days out; passed through the Straights of La Moire 54 days out, had heavy WSW gales off the Cape for 11 days. Crossed the Equator in the Pacific 89 days out, lat 115 days out. March 2, Hugh Leach, a seaman of N.Y. died of consumption; March 12, John Chamberlin, seaman, of Vermont, fell overboard and was drowned. Every effort was made to save him, but without avail.
Empress of the Seas made a couple more runs under the American flag before selling to James Baines Australian Black Ball Line in 1861, from Liverpool to Melbourne in 66 days, her final run.
November 24, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California
POLHEMUS'S DRUG STORE
J. L. POLHEMUS, Proprietor, would respectfully inform his friends and the public generally, that he has on hand an extensive assortment of Drugs. Medicines. Chemicals, fee; and further supplies are expected by clipper ships Sirocco, Robert Center, Empress of the Seasand Witchcraft, some of which are now due. Friends and patrons, come and satisfy yourselves that I cannot be undersold in this market.
je2B-6m J.L. POLHEMUS
July 8, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
The expenses of this vessel, which put into St. Thomas some months since in distress, on her passage from Boston to San Francisco, will amount to something like $15,000, including the sum of $10,000 claimed by the British steamship Great Western, which fell in with her and towed her into port. As there were no sticks to be had large enough for masts, a set of made masts were contracted for. Her repairs were nearly completed on the 19th May, and she would leave in five or six weeks.
August 1, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
CLIPPER SHIP FLYING ARROW -- Advices from St. Thomas to the 10th June state the Flying Arrow had finished reloading, and was waiting for lower and topsail yards. She had lost three of her passengers and four of her seamen by yellow fever. Capt. Treadwell, and Mr. Clark, first officer, had been down with it, but had recovered. There were several American vessels in port that had lost officers and crews entire.
She was built at East Boston by Mr. Samuel Hall, the designer and builder of the clippers Surprise, Gamecock, R. B. Forbes, and others famous for their sailing qualities. She is owned by Messrs. J. M. Forbes, and Cunningham Brothers of Boston. Capt. White, formerly of the ship Epaminondas, commands her, and she is now loading in Winsor's line of San Francisco clippers.
175 feet long on the keel, 183 feet between perpendiculars on deck, and 195 feet over all, from the knight-heads to the taffrail; her extreme breadth of beams is 73 feet, rounding of sides 6 inches, depth of hold 22 feet, including 7 feet 9 inches height of between decks; dead rise at half floor 18 inches, sheer 2 feet, and register about 1100 tons. Her ends are sharp, with convex lines, and her floor is long and buoyant. The bow rises boldly, is plain in its outline, without head-boards or trails, and is finely formed. As emblematic of her name, she has the representations of a race-horse for a head, and gilded ornaments on the ends of her catheads. She has a narrow waist of three strakes, defined between the mouldings of the upper wale and the planksheer, and her stern is boldly convex between the quarter pieces, and arched, the quarter pieces having been curved to form its outline. The monkey rail is rounded horizontally aft, in contradistinction to the outline of the stern below, which is rounded vertically. The stern is tastefully ornamented with gilded carved work, &c. The run is long and clean, with fine water lines. Either end or broadside on, her model, to the eye, appears faultless in form. She is sheathed with copper up to 18 feet forward and 19 aft, and is painted black above; inside she is painted pearl color.
April 2, 1853, Daily Alta California
Flying Childers was at the port of San Francisco unloading. Her cargo included 1,300 "splendid fruit-bearing trees in the most perfect order, the largest and finest ever imported into the country, and of the highest character." For sale at Warren & Son's, Horticultural Rooms, Battery Street
An extreme clipper launched April 15, 1851, at the shipyard of Donald McKay, East Boston, for Enoch Train, Boston.
Cleared New York for California between January-December 1851
The Boston Daily Atlas, April 25, 1851, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
The Clipper Ship Flying Cloud
If great length, sharpness of ends, with proportionate breadth and depth, conduce to speed, Flying Cloud must be uncommonly swift, for in all these she is great. Her length on the keel is 208 feet, on deck 225, and over all, from the knight heads to the taffrail, 235 - extreme breadth of beam 41 feet, depth of hold 21 , including 7 feet 8 inches height of between-decks, dead-rise at half floor 20 inches, rounding of sides 6 inches, and sheer about 3 feet.
She left New York on June 2, 1851, arriving in San Francisco in 89 days and 21 hours under the command of Captain Josiah Perkins Cressey. In 1853, she raced the Hornet to San Francisco, arriving in 105 days, just forty-five minutes after that clipper.
Flying Cloud: The True Story of America's Most Famous Clipper Ship and the Woman who Guided Her
David W. Shaw
Through a study of a record-breaking 89-day voyage from New York to San Francisco, the author recreates life aboard a 19th-century clipper ship. He tells of the role of the ship's navigator, Eleanor Creesy -- who was married to the captain and who helped chart a safe voyage through dangerous seas and adverse weather conditions. Much of this book is based on primary source material: diaries, letters, and ship's logs.
September 1, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California
Ship Flying Cloud, Capt. J. P. Creesy
Arrived San Francisco August 31, 1851, 89 days from New York.
The Flying Cloud--This skimmer of the seas, the largest American merchantman ever launched, commanded by Capt. Creesy, arrived in our port yesterday forenoon, after a passage of eighty-nine days from New York - the shortest time ever made; surpassing the hitherto famed trip of theSurprise by seven days. The Flying Cloud is not so remarkable by the richness of her interior decorations as for the perfection of her model and strength of her hull. The N.B. Palmer exceeds her in the former quality, but in the latter we believe her equal has never visited our port.
The Flying Cloud was built in Boston, and will stand, as long as she lasts, a monument of Yankee talent in the way of ship building. Her arrival in port yesterday morning created a considerable degree of excitement, and crowds rushed over to the North Beach to obtain a view of her.
When the Surprise arrived, it was thought by some that the acme of Cape Horn navigation had been reached, and that no ship would ever be built to beat her passage. Indeed, some gentlemen have even backed their opinion on this subject to some considerable amount, who will now find themselves slightly minus, but at the same time possessing the consolation of knowing that they belong to the greatest ship building nation in the world.
Of our merchants on the Atlantic coast may complain that they have been injured by sending out to California the useless trash that would sell nowhere else, they may well be proud that the discovery of our golden sands has done more in four years toward improvement in the style of ship building, than would have occurred from other general causes in half a century. The antiquated hulks which, like huge washing-tubs, has been floating about the seas, sailing about as fast sideways as in any other direction, has been forced, by the rapid spirit of the trade with California, to give place to entirely new models of ships, graceful in their motions as swan on a summer lake, and fleet as the cloud which is blown by the gale.
The registered tonnage of the Flying Cloud is 1784 48-95, and will carry from 2000 to 2500 tons of freight. Her length on the keel is 208 feet; on deck, 225; and over all, from the knight-bends to taffrail, 235. Her extreme breadth of beam is 41 feet, depth of hold 21 . Her keel is 27 inches clear of the garboards; her dead rise, at half floor, 30 inches. Her bow, below the planksheer, is slightly concave. At 18 feet from the apron, inside, on the level with the between-decks, she is only 11 feet wide. She has three depths of midship keelsons, which combined, are molded 45 inches, and are sided from 17 to 15, making her, with her keel, which is in three depths, nearly 9 feet through the backbone. She has also two depths of sister keelsons - the first 16 by 10, and the second 14 by 10 - cross bolted diagonally and at right angles through the naval timbers. She is a full-rigged ship, and all her masts rake alike, 11/4 inch to the foot. The bowsprit is 28 inches in diameter , and 20 feet out-board, jibboom, 16 inches in diameter, and is divided at 16 feet for the inner, and 13 for the jib, with 5 feet reel; spanker-boom, 55 feet; gaff, 40; main spencer-gaff, 24 feet.
September 17, 1851: Married on Wednesday evening, the 17th inst., on board by the Rev. T.D. Hunt, Mr. Reuben P. Boise of Portland, O.T., to Miss Ellen F. Lyon, daughter of Lemuel Lyon, of Roxbury, Mass, who arrived on the Flying Cloud's maiden voyage to San Francisco on September 1, 1851.
The Flying Cloud is intended for China trade. Capt. Creesy, her commander, has been engaged in the India trade for the past twelve years, during which he has made some of the shortest trips on record. Indeed, captain and ship, in this instance, appear to be well matched.
February 28, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, Califordnia
The Flying Cloud reached Hongkong on the 3d, also in a passage of thirty-five days.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco
RACE BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE CLIPPER FLYING CLOUD.
The National Intelligencer says that the clipper Flying Cloud, Capt. Creesy, who is operating with Lieut. Maury in his system of observations for the wind and current charts, on her last voyage from San Francisco for the Sandwich Islands, which she accomplished in 8 days, carried skysails all the way, and averaged 256 miles a day. She was steering west in chase of the setting sun, and actually gained 20 minutes upon old Sol daily, for, in consequence of her great speed, each one of those 8 days was about 20 minutes longer than it was to any one at Washington, who remained at home stationery.
September 7, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Shipping Intelligence: Arrived Clipper ship Flying Cloud, Cressy, 113 days from New York. Merchandise to S. G. Morgan. 2 passengers.
APRIL 20th, 1854. "The clipper ship Flying Cloud arrived at San Francisco from New York, having accomplished the voyage in 89 days, 8 hours. This is the quickest passage recorded as having been made by a sailing vessel between the ports named. On a former occasion, the Flying Cloud made the same voyage in 89 days, 21 hours." The story of Flying Cloud is exciting in itself, but equally intriguing is the fact that the navigator was a woman -- the Captain's wife, Eleanor Creesy. Remarkable for being a functioning female member of the clipper's crew, she was also an inspired navigator. Her skills are considered to be a major factor in the ship's safe and swift passages. A native of Marblehead, Mass., Mrs. Creesy learned navigation from her father, a successful captain in the coastal schooner trade. When she married Josiah Perkins Creesy in 1841, he was master of theOneida, plying the China trade and wishing for a faster vessel. She sailed with him throughout his long career.
September 10, 1858, New York Daily Times, New York City, New York
News from San Francisco: STEAMERS—There was quite a rivalry in the sale of tickets by the steamers from San Francisco. By the Sierra Nevada, the fare was reduced in the main cabin to $300, second cabin $275; steerage $75. By the Winfield Scott, in the main cabin, to $200; second cabin $150; and steerage $40.
ARRIVAL OF TWO CLIPPERS—EXTRAORDINARY COINCIDENCE
Yesterday, the clipper ships Hornet and Flying Cloud arrived at this port, in 105 days from New York. The Hornet came in about forty minutes ahead of the Flying Cloud, having left New York on the same day, theHornet several hours ahead. Outside the Heads at New York, she was becalmed until theFlying Cloud came up with her, when they started together, and have reached their destination almost simultaneously—an extraordinary coincidence. The Hornet was nineteen days on reaching the Equator, and the Flying Cloud seventeen. The Flying Cloud, it will be recollected, has made the quickest passage to this port on record. From the memoranda, she appears to have encountered much worse weather than her rival, having had her jib-boom carried away in a gale, as well as her chief officer, and one of her seamen washed overboard and lost. These passages are the best that have been made this season.
Flying Cloud became part of the "Black Ball Line" and it seems she never reached San Francisco again. In 1874, she was condemned and sold, then burned in 1875 for her copper and metal fastenings, a sad end to this elegant vessel.
In the port of San Francisco February 1853 with "Two invoices of paintings." She sailed February 18, Nichols, Manila.
October 8, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California
Oct 7 -- Clipper ship Flying Dutchman, 106 days from New York to D.L. Ross & Co.
October 9, 1853, Daily Alta California (Advertisements), San Francisco
BILLINGS' BACON--10 tierces, 20 boxes, and 30 barrels, ex. Flying Dutchman.
oc8-4 J.R. NEWTON & CO.
SOAP.--150 boxes Family Soap, now landing from ship Flying Dutchman
For sale by BRAGG, CONLEY & CO. oc9-a3 Corner Front and Merchant Streets;
100 HALF BBLS. SPLIT PEAS-Ex Flying Dutchman --
For sale by HAYNES & BOSWORTH.
oc9 101 Front Street
September 20, 1856, Sacramento Daily Union
Arrivals at San Francisco.
San Francisco, September 19--9 p.m., the French ship Estelhet Pierce, from Bordeaux, and the clipper ship Flying Dutchman, from New York, arrived this afternoon.
October 14, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union
Boston Clipper ship Flying Fish, is of a similar model to the celebrated clipper ship Flying Cloud, and both constructed by the same builder (Mr. Donald McKay of East Boston) but has sharper ends, and is stated to be the sharpest vessel he ever launched. The Flying Fish entered the Golden Gate on January 31, 1853, with the winning Deep Sea Derby passage of 92 days, 4 hours, anchor to anchor (from Oct. 31, 1852 to Jan. 31, 1853). There to greet her in San Francisco Harbor, was the Westward Ho,another McKay clipper that had been launched on September 24, 1852. The Westward Ho had entered the Deep Sea Derby sailing from Boston twenty-two days after her launching on October 16, 1852, fifteen days before the Flying Fish; to chase after theDauntless that had cleared Boston Harbor the day before on her maiden run to the Golden Gate, the same day the Flying Dutchman departed New York. Flying Fish out sailed fourteen other clippers which left that season. Only three clippers made four faster runs around the horn, with the Mckay-built Flying Cloud holding two of those records. Flying Fish's average voyage equates to a very fast 105.6 days, better than Flying Cloud and every other 1850s clipper.
February 1, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Port San Francisco.
Arrived. Clipper ship Flying Fish, Nichols, 92 days from New York. Mdse to Hussey, Bond & Hale.
FLYING FISH completed seven westward Cape Horn passages to California, the most of any of the extreme clippers built by Donald Mckay.
January 1, 1858, Daily Alta California: The Flying Fish, one of the most regular clippers, and, indeed, from this port, claimed as the fastest vessel afloat, made her usual time in January, notwithstanding that before and after her the passages were not even passably good.
September 24, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
Clipper ship Gallatea, Barber, 114 days from Boston. Mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co. Anchored off North Point Dock; lies at Pacific Street Wharf.
Cleared New York for California between January-December 1851. 1392 tons.
October 31, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California
The Game Cock.
The U. S. R. cutter Lawrence, Capt. Ottinger, arrived here yesterday from below, and reports the ship Game Cock as having gone to sea safe. She anchored below last evening, and was boarded by a boat from the cutter; her papers were examined and found to be correct. The passengers of the Game Cock pledged themselves that all was right, when she was permitted to proceed on her voyage.
March 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California
One of five clippers that arrived from the Atlantic since the first of March. She sailed from New York.
Cleared New York for California between January-December 1851
Daily Alta California, September 28, 1854
Clipper ship Gazelle, Dollard, 114 days from New York. Mdse to D. C. Howes & Co.
Arrived February 18--Clipper ship George Raynes, Penhallow, 127 days from Boston, via Juan Fernandez Jan 3d, mdse to Flint, Peabody & Co. Memoranda. --Crossed the equator Jan 22d in long 114, since which time has had light winds; has been within 6y00 miles for the last 12 days.
February 18: Clipper ship George Raynes, Penhallow, 127 days from Boston, via Juan Fernandez Jan 3. Crossed the equator Jan 22 in Long 114, since which time has had light winds; has been within 600 miles for the last 12 days. Merchandise consigned to Eldredge & Poualand; A. Martin; Story, Reddington & Co., Flint, Peabody & Co., Hussey, Bond & Hale; J.W. Stetson; N.L. Drew; J.F. Stuart; Whitman & Herrick; Chapin & Sawyer, J. Baker; Rankin & Co., S.W. Shelton & Co.; Eveleth & Co; Whitman & Hornek; Slide & Co., and Order. Spoken: Ship St. Patrick, from New York for this port, Jan 29, Lat 15 N, Long 122 W. Passengers: F.W. Bigelow; C.H. Cushing; A.F. Saywer; A.W. Haskell; J.H. Roberts; G.E. Russell; Mrs. Mary A. Rogers; Mrs. Amanda W. Rogers; Mrs. Julia How; Mrs. O. J. McKinney and four children; Lewis French; Mrs. Eliza French; Mrs. B. Fletcher; Masters James, William, Payette and Josiah Harlow; Mrs. Ann E. Rayne; Miss Ellen E. Main; Mr. A. Fernald; Mrs. Martha A. Fernald; Mr. G. Davenport; Mr. G.C. Scott; Mrs. Anna Scott; Miss Catherine Scott; Mrs. Eliza Kinsman and three children; Mrs. Mary A. Larnan; Mrs. Mary Kempman; Mrs. Ann Haywood; Miss H.G. Haywood; E. Johnson; E.E. Benjamin; N. Sherburn; F.W. Lewis; C. Barker; D. Scott; J. Scott; S. Trooop; S. Nash; G. Clark; J. Kinsman; E. Gifford; Mrs. Mary Hartwell; Mrs. H. Sweeny; A.C. Littlefield; C. Dunham; P. Cormin; G.C. Hodgden; W. Scott.
October 1876 in San Francisco under the command of Captain Daniel McLaughlin. Glory of the Seas was not the fastest, the biggest, or the most successful sailing vessel of her time, but she was an outstanding example of the medium clipper ships operating under the American flag in the Cape Horn trade after the American Civil War when a marked decline in the United State merchant marine was already having its effects. She was also the last "clipper" built by Donald McKay, builder of Flying Cloud, Stag Hound and others, but because she lasted so long in heavy trade at a time when sailing was dying. A Victoria, B.C. newspaper writer wrote: "Full of years and honors, as the saying goes, the American ship Glory of the Seas is a vessel whose name is familiar to most shipping men the world over, and whose history, if told in detail, would fill a book of many chapters."
Daily Alta California, August 31, 1851, San Francisco, California
Another clipper ship, called the Golden Gate, was launched from Mr. J. A. Westervelt's yard, in New York, on the 12th July last. She is described as one of the finest ships of her class.
Cleared from New York to California between January-December, 1851: Golden Gate. 1349 tons.
The extreme clipper Golden State, built in 1852, by Jacob A. Westervelt (who also built the Golden City and Contest) had five sails on her foremast.
American clipper ship designed and built by Donald McKay. At about 4,555 registered tons and a length of 325 feet (99 m), it was the largest clipper ship afloat and also one of the fastest. It was originally towed from its shipyard in East Boston to New York City in preparation for its maiden voyage, but there, at Christmas 1853, a disastrous fire consumed its fourth deck.
The ship was then bought by Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer, repaired, and rigged in a style more conservative than McKay s original plan. Its best day' s run was 413 miles (665 km).
Montague Dawson, the painter of Ariel and Taeping was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811 1878). Dawson was born in Chiswick, London in 1895. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. While serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841 1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St. George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.
Dawson's paintings are included throughout this site to illustrate these exquisite ladies of the sea.
Snow Squall: The Last American Clipper Ship
Nicholas Dean's book is a series of volunteer archaeological expeditions in the aftermath of the Falkland War.
Snow Squall's story is pieced together with information gleaned from shipping lists, newspaper accounts, disaster books, and diaries.
Her world turns out to be a fascinating one, from the laying of her keel to her captain's heroic efforts to repair his badly damaged ship after going aground near Cape Horn in 1864.