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VIPS in California: 1800sWilliam Henry Pratt

November 6, 1911, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

General William Henry Pratt, warden of the port of San Francisco and one of the oldest pioneers in California, died Saturday night at his home in Easton after an illness of several weeks.

General Pratt arrived in San Francisco from his home in New York February 28, 1849, on the California, the first steamer to enter the Golden Gate. He began mining on the Middle fork of the American River.

He returned to this city at the beginning of the rainy season and sailed for New York to bring back with him a consignment of merchandise. The cargo came safely to San Francisco, but was lost upon its landing in the great fire of 1850.

Undaunted by this misfortune, he took up his residence in Georgetown, where he was again burned out, this time losing all his personal possessions. His business prospered, nevertheless, and he eventually became the owner of the telegraph line between Coloma and Iowa hill, also engaging in banking.

In 1855 he was one of the organizers of the Republican Party in El Dorado County. He was present at Lincoln's inauguration and Lincoln appointed him receiver of the United States land office at Eureka. Governor Stanford appointed him a Lieutenant in the first battalion of California Mountaineers, organized to put down Indian disturbances in the Northern part of the State.

Under the administration of President Grant General Pratt was made agent of the Hoopa Valley Reservation, serving until President Arthur made him collector of customs at Eureka.

He was United States Surveyor General under Harrison and then returned to his mercantile business until made port warden by Governor Gillett in 1908.

General Pratt is survived by his widow who was Miss Caroline Pearson and whom he married at Georgetown in 1855. Also surviving him are seven children - four sons and three daughters - William P. Pratt and Walter H. Pratt of Eureka, *Leland S. Pratt of Sacramento, Charles C. Pratt and Mrs. J.A. Lewandowski of San Francisco, *Mrs. Carrie Manson of Easton and Mrs. E. W. Clapp of Tucson, Arizona.

He was a life member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the Pioneers of California and of Colonel Whipple post, Grand Army of the Republic, of Eureka. He was 84 years old.

*Note: Mrs. Carrie Manson was the widow of Captain Homer Manson Master of the Steamer Humboldt, the Bark Uncle John, and the Schooner Oceania Vance (aboard which he died on August 7, 1897. He was buried at sea.)


Gold Rush Port

The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront
James P. Delgado

Gold Rush Port.Maritime Archaeology.Described as a "forest of masts," San Francisco's Gold Rush waterfront was a floating economy of ships and wharves, where a dazzling array of global goods was traded and transported. Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco's unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city's remarkable rise from a small village to a boomtown of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Gleaning history from artifacts -- preserves and liquors in bottles, leather boots and jackets, hulls of ships, even crocks of butter lying alongside discarded guns -- Gold Rush Port paints a fascinating picture of how ships and global connections created the port and the city of San Francisco.

From the Alta California: "From January 1, 1849 to April 11, 1849, there were a great many arrivals by sea, including at least 3,000 seamen who abandoned their ships upon reaching San Francisco.

Americans62,000
Californians 13,000
Foreigners 18,500
TOTAL 94,000

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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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