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Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

Thomas O. Larkin was born in Charlestown, Mass on September 16, 1802.

Early businesses took his health and hard-earned wealth, so Larkin decided to locate his half-brother, John B. R. Cooper, who had married into California's Vallejo family. He obtained space on the Newcastle, Captain Hersey, bound to the Pacific coast in search of markets. She left Boston in September 1831, arrived at the Sandwich Islands in February 1832, then in San Franciscoin April 1832.

Mr. Larkin stayed aboard, and found his brother when then sailed into Monterey.

In 1833, Larkin was married on board of an American ship on the coast of California by John C. Jones, U. S. consul of the Sandwich Islands. His wife, from Massachusetts, was the first lady from the United States to settle in California. He began exporting timber, lumber, singles, flour, potatoes, soap, beaver and otter skins, and horses to the Sandwich Islands, Mazatlan and Acapulco.

In 1844, Larkin was appointed U.S. consul for California -- the first and last American consul ever appointed in the country.

Larkin is greatly responsible for bringing the American flag to California-- he literally assisted in hoisting the national flag in four difference places.

Californian, July 3, 1847

DEED FOR BENICIA CITY, FROM M. G. VALLEJO, TO SEMPLE AND LARKIN.
(Translation)

In the Town of Sonoma, Upper California, this nineteenth day of the month of May, one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven.

I, Mariano G. Vallejo, resident of this jurisdiction and lawful owner of ihe estate known by the name of Soscol in this district, by these presents do declare in my own name, and in the name of my heirs, administrators and others, who through them may have any voice and cause, that I cede and transfer freely, and spontaneously in favor of Don Thomas O. Larkin and Don Robert Semple, for them, their heirs and successors, and whoever through them may have any title, voice and cause, for ever and ever, five miles of land in the said estate of Soscol, in the Straits of Carquinez Bay of San Francisco, according to the measurement, made by Don Jasper O'Farrell, which is as follows:

Beginning at a stone marked RS, and running North seventy-six degrees West to a corner or angle, five English miles; from thence in the direction of South fourteen degrees West to another angle; one mile, thence South seventy-six degrees East to the Bay of the Straits, three quarters of a mile, or one mile a little more or less thence following the sinuosities of the Bay of the Straits to the place where the measurment commenced, which altogether makes an extent of five English miles, following the turns of tho Bay and the sinuosities of the land according to theo measurment and plan made by Don Jasper O'Farrell, Surveyor.

The said place with all its entrances outlets and rights, I cede, transfer and bestow to the before-mentioned Don Thomas O. Larkin, and Don Robert Semple, by way of donation, pure, perpetual and hereditary, that they may enjoy it freely, by virtue of the rights granted to them by these presents, guaranteeing to them the ownership thereof for ever, against whatever reclamations may occur they agreeing to, and strictly fulfilling the following conditions.

1st. ? The said Don Thomas O. Larkin and Don Robeit Semple, oblige and bind themselves, in the most solemn manner, and under the legal guarantees to found a city; which shall be called Francisca, or Benicia on the said land, and divide it into lots for houses, to be disposed of by sale or otherwise as soon as they can obtain purchasers, and in the course of the present year they shall establish at said place, means of conveyance (ferry boats) to pass from one side of the straits to the other, passengers, carriages, &.c.

2nd. ? As soon as the city contains one hundred families, a magistrate or municipal authority shall be named for the administration of justice, and the ferry boats, together with the landing places shall belong to the town, and their products destined for the establishment of public schools for the benefit of the families who colonize said city.

3rd. ? Until the hundred families and the municipal authorities mentioned in the proceeding article be established, the ferry boats and their products shall belong to Don Robert Semple.

In proof and testimony of the mutual agreement of all and each of the contracting parties, they signed these presents in triplicate in the said town, day, month and year, in presence of the Alcalde of the jurisdiction, Don L. W . Boggs, and the undersized witnesses.

(Signed,)

M. G. VALLEJO
R. SEMPLE.
T. O. LARKIN.

Witnesses

J. P. LEESE.
VOR. PRUDON.

Territory of California, District of Sonoma

Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, Alcalde of the District of Sonoma, Don Mariano G. Vallejo, Thomas O. Larkin and R. Semple, all being personally known to me to be the persons whose names are subscribed to the above instrument of writing and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed for the purposes therein mentioned. Given under my hand and private's* al, at the office in Sonoma, this 19th day of May, 1847.

(Signed,) LILBURN W. BOGGS, [Seal]

The foregoing as far as thus mark J is a correct translation, and the remainder, a true and faithful copy of the original document, presented to me by T. O. Larkin.

W. E. P. HARTNELL, Government Translator.

In July of 1853, along with Samuel Brannan, he was elected to office inthe "Society of California Pioneers."

Brannan was elected President, and Thomas O. Larkin was a Vice President.

The Annals of San FranciscoThe Annals of San Francico 1855.
Frank Soule, John H. Gihon, Jim Nisbet. 1855
Written by three journalists who were witnesses to and participants in the extraordinary events they describe. The Annals of San Francisco is both an essential record for historians and a fascinating narrative for general readers. Over 100 historical engravings are included. Partial Contents: Expeditions of Viscaino; Conduct of the Fathers towards the natives; Pious Fund of California; Colonel John C. Fremont; Insurrection of the Californians; Description of the Golden Gate; The Presidio of San Francisco; Removal of the Hudson's Bay Company; Resolutions concerning gambling; General Effects of the Gold Discoveries; Third Great Fire; Immigration diminished; The Chinese in California; Clipper Ships; Increase of population; and Commercial depression.

San Francisco, You're History!
Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, and Performers Who Helped Create California's Wildest City
Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, Performers.
California Performers.
J. Kingston Pierce
Seattle-based freelance writer Pierce presents a fascinating view of a variety of colorful people and events that have molded the unique environment of San Francisco. He chronicles historical highlights along with a focus on current issues. Pierce touches on the gold rush, earthquakes, and fires and introduces the lives of politicians, millionaires, criminals, and eccentrics. Pierce sparks the imagination in relating the stories of yesterday to today.

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of SailWhen America First Met China.
Eric Jay Dolin
Ancient China collides with America in this epic tale of opium smugglers, sea pirates, and dueling clipper ships. Brilliantly illuminating one of the least-understood areas of American history, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin traces our relationship with China back to its roots: the nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a ancient empire. It is a fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. The furious trade in furs, opium, and bêche-de-mer -- a rare sea cucumber delicacy -- might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe. Peopled with fascinating characters--from Robert Morris: Financier of the American RevolutionRobert Morris, Financier of the American Revolution. to the The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong: Splendors of China's Forbidden City, who considered foreigners inferior beings -- this saga of pirates and politicians, coolies and concubines becomes a must-read for any fan of Nathaniel Philbrick's MayflowerMayflower. or Mark Kurlansky's Cod.Cod, the fish that changd the world. Two maps, 16 pages of color, 83 black-and-white illustrations.

Latin America, World Journeys, Discovery.The Age of Sail.Commodore Levy:
A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail

(Modern Jewish History)

Irving Litvag
By all accounts, Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish commodore in the U.S. Navy, was both a principled and pugnacious man. On his way to becoming a flag officer, he was subjected to six courts-martial and engaged in a duel, all in response to antisemitic taunts and harassment from his fellow officers. Yet he never lost his love of country or desire to serve in its navy. When the navy tried to boot him out, he took his case to the highest court and won. This richly detailed historical novel closely follows the actual events of Levy’s life: running away from his Philadelphia home to serve as a cabin boy at age ten; his service during the War of 1812 aboard the Argus and internment at the notorious British prison at Dartmoor;  his campaign for the abolition of flogging in the Navy; and his purchase and restoration of Monticello as a tribute to his personal hero, Thomas Jefferson. Set against a broad panorama of U.S. history, Commodore Levy describes the American Jewish community from 1790 to 1860, the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, and the great nautical traditions of the Age of Sail before its surrender to the age of steam.

 

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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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