Merchant Ships in Port

Please note: Merchant ship arrivals are included to give an idea of the volume and type of goods into early San Francisco. If you had the money, you could have anything your heart desired. Listings are by no means complete; names of passengers on these vessels are often unavailable.

Click here for passenger ship arrivals.

° 1846-1847 ° 1848 ° 1849 ° 1850 ° 1851 ° 1852 ° 1853 ° 1854 ° 1855 ° 1856 ° 1858 ° 1860-1862 ° 1863 ° 1864 ° 1865 ° 1868 ° 1870s ° 1880s ° 1890s

° Vessels & Rigging ° Clippers ° Steamships ° Lines ° Builders ° Shipwrecks



  • January 25: Clipper ship Ocean Pearl, Capt. Sears, 152 days from Boston; mdse. To Hussey, Bond & Hale. Passengers: Greeley, M.; Jarvis, F.; Jarvis, J.
  • January 25: Clipper ship Kingfisher, Captain Crosby, 114 days from Boston; mdse; to Hussey, Bond & Hale. Passengers: Mr. Tout, Master W. Wing, Miss Wing, Miss Wing.
  • January 25: Clipper ship Bald Eagle, Capt. Caldwell, 115 days from New York; mdse. Passengers: Caldwell, Mrs. (Captain’s lady); Cruce, Miss E.; Hopkins, Mrs.; Van Vechten, P. S.; Wickersham, Mr. J. H.; Wickersham, Mrs. M. S.
  • January 25: Tahitian brig Aorai, Capt. Taylor, 50 days from Mangaia, Harvey’s Island, via Huahina 40 days; hogs to V. Marziou & Co. Passengers: Bueman, C.; Regles, Dr. L.
  • January 25: Schooner Matthew Vassar, Capt. Dodge, 6 days from wreck of Winfield Scott; coal; 7 passengers. Passengers: T.M. Drown; W. Dunlap; W. Gardner; W. Ireland; L.B. Lewis; W. Painter; G. Wing.


February 20, 1854, Daily Alta California

Consignee Notices, Port of San Francisco, February 1854.


  • May 1, 1584. Ship Golden West.
    (Consignee Notices printed July 2, 1854)
    Merchandise per Golden State May 24 1854.
  • May 7: Barque Auckland, Nelson, 8 days from Sydney via Tahiti 28 days and Sandwich Islands 13 days; mdse. and passengers to Master.
    Memoranda: Left at Tahiti a round stern Dutch brig and French bk, and two more vessels about the Islands, all for San Francisco with oranges. Left at Hawhahae (S.I.) brig F. Copeland & Co., Trussell, to load for San Francisco in 8 days with sweet potatoes.
    Passengers: D. Thomas, D. Brone, C. Elize, Wm. Wilkinson, E. E. Wilson, J. Rose, J. Bergen, K. Thomas, A. R. Arnot, Mrs. Mary Melaley, three daughters and servant, Mrs. A. McCleland and child, W. Newcomb, C. B. Caldwell, C. Rice (Rise ?), W. Clark, F. Miller, S. Brockers, A. Dalson, C. Woodworth, E. Taylor, J. Sanders, W. Laisler, T. Dickinson, J. Coffee, J. Dawling, M. Hersberg (Herzberg ?), Wm. Walker, C. McNulty, J. Conery, P. O’Brien, H. N. Herrick, D. Foss, J. Toffelmier, T. Worth, H. E. Morgan, S. Bates, J. Walker, J. Williams, D. Cohen, wife and children.
  • May 13, 1854, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California: Among the passengers by the bark Heloise, recently arrived at San Francisco from Melbourne, was Mr. Rowe, formerly the proprietor of the first circus company in this State. During an absence of two years he has realized the sum of two hundred thousand dollars, which he proposes to invest in this State. The Times and Transcript says:- "European and home capital is so abundant in the Colonies that the inducement for the investment is by no meanns comparable to what exists in this country. We are also pleased to learn that Mr. and Mrs. Stark have been so well rewarded abroad as to enable Mrs. Stark to present her sister, in this city, with twenty thousand dollars; a remittance to that amount having come to hand by the Heloise." She sailed for Sydney via Valparaiso, where she arrived October 28, 1854.
  • By the arrival of the schooner Heloise, Capt. Keyes, 76 days from Melbourne, we have received full files of Melbourne papers to February 18th— later than previous advices: —Herald

    More Gold Discoveries in Van Diemen's Land. —The Colonial Times says Mr. Roworoft, the Secretary of the Gold Committee, has received samples of gold from the Northeastern Exploring party, obtained in the vicinity of Ben Lomond. The gold forwarded was found in three distinct places, showing that a considerable tract of country in this locality is auriferous.

    Exodus of Americans in Australia.— There has been, says the Castlemaine correspondent of the Melbourne Morning Herald, a most extraordinary exodus going on amongst the Americans. here— all are off for Callao. I see by your paper that a vast number of ships are laid on for that port, although as far as I can ascertain, there has been no authentic intelligence respecting the gold fields. These knots of Americans may be seen talking mysteriously, and then "up and away for Callao." The mania is at present pretty well confined to Americans, Bryant's diggings holding out too good inducements to allow men to start off such a distance on a wild goose chase.


San Francsco

San Francisco during the 1800s.
  • July 20: Fr. barque Nadir, Carnet, 180 days from Bordeaux, via Callao 61 ds. Memoranda per Nadir: Was off Cape Horn 30 days, with heavy weather; had to put in Callao for supplies; have had light winds and calms from the Equator.
  • Schr Huntress, Hynes, 12 hours from Bodega; lumber to Bodega Lumber Co.
  • Sloop Falmouth, Riley, 6 hours from Bolinas; potatoes to master.
  • July 26: Clipper ship R. B. Forbes, 135 days from New York: also schooner Alet from Guaymas. No important news.


September 9, 1854, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.


LOST OVERBOARD -- From schooner Kate Dodge, on her passage from San Francisco to this city, on the night of the 6th instant, when abreast of Seal Island, Suisun Bay, a passenger, name unknown. He was a young man, about 22 years of age, dressed in a heavy black coat, dark pants, light vest, and had a silver watch in his vest pocket. The captain of the above schooner will pay a reward of $25 for the recovery of the body and its delivery to him at San Francisco. San Francisco papers, pease copy. (s8-2*)

W.C. Johnson

September 11, 1854: Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California


The steamer America, Capt. Fauntleroy, arrived yesterday from Humboldt and Crescent City. By her we have files of the Crescent Herald, to the 9th inst., and the Humboldt Times to the same date.

Memoranda. Steamship America, W. H. Fauntleroy master, let San Francisco Sept 6, at 1 P.M., arrived at Port Orford, having touched at Trinidad, 8th at 8 A.M.; left at 10-1/2; arrived at Crescent City at 5-1/2, left at 12 P.M., arrived at Humboldt Bay, via Trinidad, 9th, at 9 A.M.; left at 5-1/2 P.M.; arrived at San Francisco Sept 10th at 2-1/2 P.M.

Spoke a French ship off Point Regis, from Hong Kong, with Chinese passengers on board.


Major A. J. Smith, USA, Col Robert Buchanan, C Haisch, W. H. Davis, Mrs. Joyce, Jas Gamble, Adams & Co's Express, Lewis Stillman, J Q A Thurber, Chas J. Munson, Mr. Barry, C. Hahn, Capt Lawton, B. Fechtiz, J. Duff, Mr. Fairfield, Leland & Comb's Express, J. Dari, M. Colemear, and 40 in the steerage.

The election at Crescent City went off quietly, and resulted in a majority for Benham and Bowie of nearly two to one . . . During the month of August we noted eleven arrivals from San Francisco, viz: eight steamers and three sailing vessels, which brought a large addition to our stock of goods, say about one thousand tons of merchandise. Flour, french Oregon, as well as from the Atlantic States, sells at five cents, and other goods in proportion. Freights from San Francitcn have been as low as $10 per ton on sailing vessels, and $15 by the steamers.

The passage to and from SanFrancisco was, duirng the last month, $10 and $30, owing to the competition between the different lines.


  • October 29: HBM frigate President, Capt. Burridge, 13 days from Vancouver Island. All well.
  • October 29: Br. ship Elizabeth Kennedy, 63 days from Hong Kong; mdse to order.
Consignee Notices, November 4, 1854.


  • Nov 3: Schr Charlotte, Wilson, 26 hours from Bodega; 200 boxes apples, to Neefus & Tichenor
  • Nov 3: Schr R. S. LaMott, Beckidge, 4 hours from Know Nothing Bay, 5000 feet lumber to C. L. Ross
  • Schnr Young America, Charles, 30 hours from Pajaro, produce to Plummer & Co.
  • November 25, 1854: Daily Alta California, San Francisco.
    Passengers from Australia per Louisa: Messrs. Wm. Wilson, E. B. McCrrea, H. Myers, A. Holway, J. P. Spea, J. Cronin. Capt D. Ross, Dr. J. Johnson, lady and child, Miss Hefferman and Miss Elliot, and 29 steerage.

    Testimonial of Passengers
    Ship Louisa, off San Francisco, November 24, 1854

    Capt. Edbridge Webster:

    San Francisco Panoramic Map. 1800s.
    Dear Sir: At the termination of our voyage our country and our homes before our delighted view grateful thoughts steal o'er us, and we, the cabin passengers, have unanimously resolved in presenting and publishing a copy of this address, of our sincere regard for the unvaried zeal and skillful manner you have coursed our ship to her destined haven. This has not been reached without trials and difficulties incident to the mariner; yet, in every emergency your energy and judgment has been equal to the task. Neither are we unmindful of your earnest endeavors to promote our general happiness; and, ere parting, we could not offer less than these, our grateful acknowledgments. Many years, we trust, are before you, and may your brightest hopes be realized, is the sincere wish of your friends

    H. Myers, J. Johnson, M.D., E. B. McCrea, Mr. W. Wilson
    J. Cronin, D. Ross, J. P. Speer, A. Holway


December 22, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE, Port San Francisco: Arrived:

  • Dec 21 - Sch Ann G. Doyle, Allen, 5 days from Shal Water Bay, 1800 baskets oysters to master.

The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Maritime Archaeology.

(Oxford Handbooks)
Editors: Alexis Catsambis, Ben Ford, Donny L. Hamilton
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 of the distinct and universal aspects of maritime archaeology, bringing them together under four main themes: the 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.



Kindly Kindly support our work.


DALevy @

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.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.