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The Philadelphia


Bridge to the Castle.

Burning of the Ship Philadelphia

June 28, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco, California, USA

Burning of the Ship Philadelphia in

the Harbor of San Francisco

The extraordinary spectacle of a burning vessel was witnessed in our harbor on Sunday morning last, and a fine large ship entirely consumed by fire. Particulars of this disastrous event have been furnished us by Captain Samuel Weare, owner and master of the unfortunate Philadelphia.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

He states that about 6 a.m., the alarm of fire was given by the crew on board, and very soon the entire forward part of the ship was wrapped in flames. The joint efforts of the crews of several vessels in the harbor, who were promptly on the spot to render assistance, proved of no avail, the fire communicating aft, and spreading with such great rapidity as but bare to give time to rescue the personal effects of Captain W. and lady, which, with the ship's boats were all that was saved from the devastating element. The fire originated in the forecastle, a crew of ten men having been employed in getting the ship ready for sea. Burning to the water's edge, her cables were ordered to be cut and the wreck drifted off with the tide.

For the active and praiseworthy exertions made to extinguish the fire by the officers and crews of U.S. vessels in port, and assistance rendered by Captain Pearson and crew of the steamer Oregon, together with those of several merchant ships, Capt. Weare expresses a grateful feeling.

The Philadelphia was 543 tons register, hailed from New York, and was under charter by Messrs Howland & Aspinwall of that city. She was insured for $15,000 and was to have sailed on the 1st July for Manila via the Sandwich Islands.


Beyond the Golden Gate: A Maritime History of California
Ships.A Maritime History of California.
Timothy G. Lynch
Beyond the Golden Gate: A Maritime History of California is the first book-length treatment of California's connection to the sea. Noted maritime historian Timothy Lynch looks at the history of the Golden State through the prism of the maritime world: how the region developed and how indigenous people interacted with the marine ecosystem. And how they and others - Spanish, English, Russian, American - interpreted and constructed the oceans, lakes and river networks of the region.

The waterways served as highways, protective barriers, invasion routes, cultural inspiration, zones of recreation, sources of sustenance: much as they do today. He presents how the Gold Rush transformed the region, wreaking havoc on the marine environment, and how the scale and scope of maritime operations waxed and waned in the decades after that event. In all, the delicate balance between protection and utilization is paramount.

Written as part of a project with the National Park Service and the Organization of American Historians,Beyond the Golden Gate is an immersive look at the maritime history of California that will inspire additional scholarship in this overlooked but critically important field. Benefitting from hundreds of primary sources, dozens of captivating images and reflective of the latest trends in the field, Beyond the Golden Gate is sure to satisfy the curious reader, the serious historian, and the maritime aficionado.

Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime ArchaeologyUnderwater and Maritime Archaeology.
Executive Director James P. Delgado, Editor
Ships.This comprehensive reference book on the discovery and recovery of underwater archaeological remains around the world was directed by noted author and diver James Delgado, along with archaeologists and scientists who have made the discoveries.

It offers a wealth of authoritative and accessible information on shipwrecks, drowned cities, ritual deposits, and other relics of our submerged past. Published in association with the British Museum Press.

X Marks the Spot: The Archaeology of Piracy
(New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology)

Prof. Rusell K. Skowronek, Editor, Charles R. Ewen, Editor
A collection with historical evidence about the actual exploits of pirates as revealed in archaeological records. The recent discovery of the wreck of Blackbeard's Queen Anne’s Revenge, off Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, has provoked scientists to ask, "What is a pirate?

Were pirates sea-going terrorists, lawless rogues who plundered, smuggled, and illegally transported slaves, or legitimate corsairs and privateers?" Highlighting such pirate vessels as the Speaker, which sailed in the Indian Ocean, and the Whydah, the first pirate ship discovered in North America (near the tip of Cape Cod), the contributors analyze what constitutes a pirate ship and how it is different from a contemporary merchant or naval vessel.

Maritime History as World History
(New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology)Maritime History as World History.
Daniel Finamore
Ships."In the 21st century the division between the maritime and terrestrial worlds has virtually disappeared. Events and issues that previously involved only maritime subjects need to be reexamined today from the perspective of those events and developments occurring simultaneously ashore. It is through this approach, as demonstrated by this fine collection of essays, that maritime history becomes a vehicle for understanding global history."

Essays by many of the world’s leading scholars present an up-to-date assessment of the field of maritime history in the early 21st century, offering fresh insights into the impact of seaborne exploration, warfare, and commerce on the course of history, from the independent traditions of ancient Japanese, Arab, and Mediterranean seafarers to the rapid European expansion around the globe from the 16th century onward.

Author Daniel Finamore is Russell W. Knight Curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology
(Oxford Handbooks)

Alexis Catsambis
A comprehensive survey of the field as seen through the eyes of nearly fifty scholars at a time when maritime archaeology has established itself as a mature branch of archaeology. This volume draws on many distinct and universal aspects of maritime archaeology, bringing them together under four main themes: research process, ships and shipwrecks, maritime and nautical culture, and issues of preservation and management.

The Project

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

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Brenda J. Baker

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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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