Sea Captains: San Francisco 1800s

Charles P. Seabury

Several Captain Seabury's sailing during the 1800s. As they are sorted out, they will be separated to indicate which Captain Seabury sailed when.

Journal, April 1-September 21, 1849, of a voyage from New Bedford, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California in the ship America under the command of Captain Charles P. Seabury. Whaling Museum, New Bedford Massachusetts. Judging from the entry of June 4, 1849, this may well be the journal of Captain Seabury, for on that date the entry reads "At daylight went on shore and paid my bills and came on board, took our anchors and stood out to sea with a light land breeze." No entries exist during the stops at St. Catherines Island, May 27- June 3, or at Callao, August 5-8. The entries are very short, and there are numerous gaps between entries. The volume also contains a record of the voyage back to Boston from Valparaiso and of a whaling voyage in 1850-1851.

April 1-September 27, 1849, of a voyage from New Bedford, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California in the ship America under the command of Captain Charles P. Seabury. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California, # 77/155 c.

It seems that numbers of the passengers were whaling captains and mates from New Bedford, and the diarist frequently refers to individuals as captain. There appear to have been at least four separate companies on board as well as some passengers who were not members of companies.

The diarist makes reference to "my color boy Henry" being seasick on April 2 and describes in some detail the sermon of a Black preacher on April 8 and notes that most of those attending Religious services that day were "Darkies." Short and long poems are scattered throughout the journal. Some were copied from other works, but others appear to be original works. Has detailed descriptions of activities and scenery at St. Catherines Island and Callao and Lima. For several days after leaving the latter port, the diarist provides lengthy descriptions of the irreverent activities of many fellow passengers, some of whom he names. He consistently takes them to task for being Sunday Christians.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

In 1854, Captain C.P. Seabury, who had been at the helm of the clipper ship America in 1849, was in command of the sidewheel steamer S.S. Brother Jonathan off the coast of Southern California, and assisted in the transport of survivors from the ill-fated S.S. Yankee Blade, which had struck a rock off Santa Barbara on October 1. Many lost their lives, and a cache of coins, including, perhaps, a few hundred 1854-S double eagles, went to the bottom of the sea.

October 15, 1854. The passengers who survived the wreck of the Yankee Blade, brought up on the Brother Jonathan, had a meeting on the Plaza, in which they passed several resolutions, condemning the conduct of Captain Randall and of the Independent Line, and others complimentary to the Nicaragua Line and Captain Seabury of the Brother Jonathan to whom they also made a present of a handsome gold chronometer and chain as a token of their appreciation of his kindness to them during the passage up.

Immigration at the Golden Gate: Passenger Ships, Exclusion, and Angel IslandImmigration at the Golden Gate. Immigration to California.
Robert Eric Barde
Perhaps 200,000 immigrants passed through the Angel Island Immigration Station during its lifetime, a tiny number compared to the 17 million who entered through New York's Ellis Island.

Nonetheless, Angel Island's place in the consciousness of Americans on the West Coast is large and out of proportion to the numerical record. Angel Island's Immigration Station was not, as some have called it, the Ellis Island of the West, built to facilitate the processing and entry of those welcomed as new Americans. Its role was less benign: to facilitate the exclusion of Asians, starting with the Chinese, then Japanese, Koreans, Indians, and all other Asians.

The Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920Children of Chinatown. 
Wendy Rouse Jorae

Family Skeletons: Exploring the Lives of our Disreputable Ancestors.San Francisco. Family Skeletons.
Simon Fowler, Ruth Paley
Most families have a skeleton. You may have already discovered yours via the grapevine or your own research. Or you may simply be intrigued by the dark side of our past. This popular history explores the behaviour of our disreputable ancestors from the unfortunate to the criminal, and introduces a host of colourful characters including 17th century witches, 18th century 'mollies' and Victorian baby farmers. Thematically arranged by skeleton, the text also describes how society punished and provided for its 'offenders' - as well as the changing attitudes that could ultimately bring acceptance.

Italy on the Pacific: San Francisco's Italian Americans (Italian and Italian American Studies)Italians in San Francisco.
Palgrave Hardcover)
Sebastian Fichera
San Francisco’s Italian immigrant experience is shown to be the polar opposite of Chicago’s. San Francisco’s Italian immigrants are shown as reintegrating into the host society fairly smoothly, whereas the Chicago group’s assimilation process broke down in dramatic ways.

Migration in World History.Migration in World HistoryMigration in World History. 
(Themes in World History) 
Patrick Manning
Drawing on examples from a wide range of geographical regions and thematic areas, noted world historian Patrick Manning guides the reader through trade patterns, including the early Silk Road and maritime trade, effect of migration on empire and industry, earliest human migrations, major language groups, various leading theories around migration.

Russian San Francisco (Images of America)Russian San Francisco. (Images of America)
Lydia B. Zaverukha, Nina Bogdan, Foreward by Ludmila Ershova, PhD.
Even before San Francisco was founded as a city, Russian visitors, explorers, and scientists sailed to the area and made contact with both the indigenous people and representatives of the Spanish government. Although the Russian commercial colony of Fort Ross closed in 1842, the Russian presence in San Francisco continued and the community expanded to include churches, societies, businesses, and newspapers. Some came seeking opportunity, while others were fleeing religious or political persecution.

The Authority to Sail.The Authority to Sail: The History of U.S. Maritime Licenses and Seamen's PapersThe Authority to Sail.
Robert Stanley Bates, George Marsh (Editor), John F. Whiteley (Forward) (Batek Marine Publishing, 2011; Nominated in 2012 for a Pulitzer Prize)
This book depicts important aspects of our maritime history as a result of original research done by the author, Commodore Bates, the holder of an unlimited master's license who has enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career in both the Coast Guard and the American Merchant Marine.

The U.S. Coast Guard issues all Captain Licenses for U.S. Ports.
Note: Other countries have different regulations, i.e. the RYA (Royal Yachting Association), conducts certification for Britain and Ireland. As of 2011, they did not recognize the USCG certification; certification through their courses was required.

Master Unlimited is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of a vessel any gross tons. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws. All persons on board, including officers and crew, other shipboard staff members, passengers, guests and pilots, are under the captain's authority and are his or her ultimate responsibility. The STCW defines the Master as Person having command of the ship.

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. Herein is a 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. 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by 13th-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as 18th-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.

Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition Get Your Captain's License. Fifth Edition. Charlie  Wing.
Charlie Wing
Considered the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for the U.S. Coast Guard captain's ratings exams required for anyone who takes paying passengers on a boat, and useful for serious boaters who want to save money on insurance. 350 pages of seamanship and navigation tutorials. More than 1,500 questions and answers from the Coast Guard exams. Includes an interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database, so you can take an unlimited number of practice exams

The Project

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



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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