Merchant Ships in Port

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

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.

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1864, San Francisco


  • February 4: French barque Jean Bart, Ollivier, 144 days from Bordeaux. Merchandise to Ed de Rutte. Consignees per Jean Bart: Falkner, Bell & Co; Boisset; De Fremery; H Schroeder; Dolego; Vandercastele; Hellmann Bros.; W. Benkert; A. Sabatie & Co.; Castre & Lacour; Alsop & Co.; L'Maige; Morris Speyer; E. Auger; Renie; F. A. Succses; E. Costerauste; J. Saulnier & Co.; Abel Guy; A. Kohler; E. Cazalis; H. Tongaulis; Lewenhelm & Co; Adelsdorfer Bros; E. Mebius; Woodworth, Allovan & Co.; J. Herman; B. Basagno; Dickson, De Wolf & Co; Heyer & Co; Chas. Meinecke; E. Debedat; E. de Rutte
  • February 4, Sacramento Daily Union: Arrivals in San Francisco. February 3d: Arrived Bark A. A. Eldridge, 14 days from Honolulu.
  • February 7: British ship Wild Pigeon, Mayhew, 47 days from Hongkong. Merchandise to Koopmanschap & Co. Memoranda: Per Wild Pigeon--Left hongkong Dec 21st; had strong breezes and squally weather through the China Sea; passed Loo Choo Island Jan 26th; up to Feb 15 had strong northerly winds and heavy sea; since then had light winds and calms; Jan 25 shipped a heavy sea, which stove the passenger house, skylight and booby hatch. Dutch ship Cornelia sailed for this port 15 days previous, and Han barque Ceres 2 days previous, also for this port. Left Br. ship Boanerges to sail Jan 5th.
  • Febuary 8: Steamer Golden Age, Lapidge, 14 days 22 hours from Panama. Passengers and merchandise to A. B. Forbes.
  • February 8: Steamer Sierra Nevada, Wakeman, 7 days from Mazatlan via way ports. Passangers to B. Holladay.
  • February 9: Ship Twilight, Holmes, 121 days from New York. Merchandise to DeWitt, Kittle & Co. Memoranda. Was 31 days to the equator in the Atlantic; crossed in lon 34 W; was 60 days to 50S in the Atlantic; was 10 days off Cape Horn; crossed the equator in the Pacific in lon 110, 93 days out; thence to this port 28 days, with light winds.
  • February 9: Ship Electric Spark, Candage, 128 days from Boston. Merchandise to Meader, Lolor & Co. Memoranda. Sailed from Boston Oct 4th; had light winds and moderate weather to the line; crossed din lon 30 40 W. 35 days out; was 68 days to 50 S in the Atlantic; passed through the Straits of Le Maire, and rounded Cape Horn with a light fair wind and smooth sea; from 50 S in the Atlantic to 50S in the Pacific 9 days, and 77 days from Boston; thence to the equator in the Pacific had light variable winds; crossed Jan 15th, in lon 114, 103 days out; since then have had light winds and calms.
  • February 9: Barque Comet, Smith, 19 days from Honolulu. Merchandise to McRuer & Merrill.
  • February 9: Brig Hailie Jackson, Hempstead, 21 days from Honolulu. Merchandise to Chas W. Brooks & Co.
  • February 10: Steamer Moses Taylor, Blethen, 17 days from Panama. Passengers and merchandise to I K. Roberts.
  • February 10: Ship Brewster, Carleton, 150 days from Boston. Merchandise to C L Taylor & Co. Memoranda: Was 42 days to the equator, with light easterly winds and calms; crossed in lon 83 50; thence to 50 S, 32 days; was 18 days from 50 S in teh Atlantic to 50S in the Pacific, with strong westerly gales; crossed the equator in the Pacific in lon 109 40; thence had light variable winds.
Shipping Intelligence February 2, 1864 from the Daily Alta California.


  • March 11: Steamer St. Louis, Hudson, 18 days from Panama. Passengers to A. B. Forbes


  • June 14, 1864, Daily Alta California: The barques Comet, 14 days from Honolulu, and A. A. Eldridge, 14 days 7 hours from the same port, arrived yesterday afternoon. The Eldridge consigned to Chas. W. Brooks & Co., with 23 casks Sperm Oil, 1339 pkgs Sugar, 500 bbls Molasses, 143 bales Pulu, 80 bags Rice, and 10 bales Wool. Among the passengers by the A. A. Eldridge, are Asher B. Bates, Esq., and family, who are about to return to the United States. Mr. Bates has resided in Honolulu for many years, and has filled many offices of trust in our community, and by his integrity has secured the confidence of all.


  • August 11: Daily Alta California: Later from the Sandwich Islands. -- The barque A. A. Eldridge, twenty days from Honolulu, entered this port on Wednesday, at noon.


  • September 19: Steamer Sierra Nevada, Connor, 3 days from Victoria. Passengers and merchandise to Ben Holladay.


  • October 1: British barque Fanny Small, Captain Firth, 84 days from Sydney, Australia. Had rough weather and headwinds for a fortnight off New Zealand; light and variable winds on entering the Tropics. For the last 13 days had strong NE winds. Cargo: 407 tons of coal. Passengers: Charles Keane and wife; Miss Chapman; George Everett; J. F. Cathcart; George Coppin; 2 unidentified passengers.
  • Sacramento Daily Union, October 12, 1864: San Francisco, October 11th, Arrived: Bark A. A. Eldridge, 19 days from Honolulu.
  • October 14: Barque Delaware, Captain Gragg, 60 days from Shanghai, China. Left there on August 14th. Put into Kanagawa, Japan, and departed therefrom on September 3rd. First part of passage had strong westerly gales; latter part light and variable winds. Cargo: 89 bales of rags to C.A. Low & Company. Passengers: T.F. Burr; Dr. Simmons; L. Morris; Rev. S. Forbes; M.H. Smith; Dr. Hay; C.L. Churchwell; 4 unidentified passengers.
  • October 31: British ship John L. Dimmock, Harwood, 14 days from Port Ludlow, with lumber, bound to Cork. Put in for crew.
  • October 31: French barqueJoachim, Lanco, 164 days from Bordeaux. Merchandise to Paul Rousset.


  • November 1: November 9: Schooner Eugenia, Captain Stewart, 37 days from Tahiti. Had light winds and calms most of the passage. Anchored on bar November 4th, was blown 30 miles to southward during the N.W. gales, had decks swept, lost binnacle overboard. Cargo: 127 oranges, 40,000 limes, 30 coconuts. Passenger: Thomas Peel.
  • November 13: Hampton ship Arracan, Captain Kuhlken. 77 days from Hongkong, via Nagasaki, Japan, 41 days. Was 30 days in the China Seas with fine weather, put into Nagasaki for water and provisions. Cargo: 47 pkgs opium, 8775 bags rice, 946 cakes sugar, 250 gunny bags, 550 rolls matting, 100 baskets ginger, 14 cartons of champagne, 5 millstones and 4109 pkgs of merchandise. Passengers: William Thorne; Capt. Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Pohl; Dr. Koyke and son; Dr. Rice, wife, child and nurse; Mr. Pfor; 91 unidentified Chinese.
  • Passenger Statistics for the Port of San Francisco October 11, 1864.
  • November 17: Barque Edith Rose, Captain Watlington, 29 days from Kanagawa, Japan. Cargo: 5 billiard tables, 76 boxes silkworms, tar, 86 jars of tea, 25 packages rice, 1 barrel wood oil, and assorted merchandise. Passengers: William Briscoe; Capt. Bucker; George Band; A. H. Banta; N. W. Ellis; Thomas Dyer; William Reardon; William Hall; C. Morgan; P. Kelly; Mrs. Neil; Charles Bavenshin; Mr. Hammond; M. Buel; H. Frenell; Michael Burke; Henry Murphy; Peter Townsend; C. McDonald; W. B. Walter; A. L. Peterson; William Wright; A. Wilson; Fred Coffers; M. Flanning; William Casey; C. G. Bunker; A. H. Foulkes.
  • November 25: Barque Albert from Hamburg, Germany, Captain Schrader, 144 days from Hamburg. Was 65 days to Cape Horn, off the Cape 19 days, with moderate weather. Crossed Equator in Pacific in long. 113, 116 days out; then had light Southerly winds up to 14N. Since then had light Northerly winds and clams. Cargo: 100 cases bitters, 19 cartons hams, candles, 12 cases mineral water, 50 cases champagne, 100 tons pig iron, blue stone, ultra marine, glassware, firebrick and 39 pigs tin. Passengers: Miss Ebeling; Mr. Dose; Mr. Polifka; Mr. Corde; Mr. Lorenzen.


Exports of goods to Honolulu December 20, 1864.
  • December 7: Barque A. A. Eldridge, Captain Bennett, 12 days from Honolulu, Hawaii. Had light winds and fine weather. Cargo: 12 pkgs bananas, 32 bags sugar, oranges, molasses, 110 sacks paddy, tapioca, 14 bags rice and 220 bbls pulu. Passengers: N. Chapman; Mrs. Ada Clair and son; Capt. James Dailey; B. Franum; D. R. Fraser; G. Gilmore; C.H. Hoffman; L. Kelly; M. Lawrence; J. Long; S. Mitchell; Thomas Park; John H. Paty; M. Smart; Miss Syloa; and six unidentified in steerage.

Commercial and Financial

San Francisco during the 1800s.
  • December 20: Daily Alta California, San Francisco

    The steamer Golden Age, which arrived on Sunday morning from Panama, brings up a large amount of freight. Her manifest the items of which are mostly unspecified includes, according to specification, 2589 firkins Butter, the balance of cargo being made up of the usual assortment of Dry Goods, Clothing, Boots and Shoes, Hardware, Tobacco, Cigars, etc

    Barque A. A. Eldridge cleared to-day for Honolulu, carrying merchandise valued at $20,237.54, , including 1000 empty Barrels, 27 cases Boots and Shoes, 17 cases and 13 bales Dry Goods. 200 hf. sacks Flour, 33 pkgs. Hardware, 50 rolls Matting, 100 kegs Nails, 48 sacks Oats, 120 cases Oil, and other articles, as noted elsewhere.

  • December 24: Ship Alice Thorndike, Captain Thorndike, 58 days from Newcastle, New South Wales. First part of passage had fine weather. Passed New Zealand six days out; crossed the equator in Pacific on November 20, 1864, long. 154; then had fine weather up to the 16th inst., when we made land off Monterey, California. Since then we had heavy NW winds. Cargo: 799 tons of coal. Passengers: H. Soloman; Mr. and Mrs. W. Wray; Miss Mary Burke; S.R. Morgan; Miss Mary R. Smith; William Watson; 49 unidentified passengers.

The Annals of San FranciscoTales of Early San Francisco.Stories of Early San Francisco.
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 Mission and 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!
A Chronicle of the Politicians, Proselytizers, Paramours, and Performers Who Helped Create California's Wildest City
San Francisco Artists.California Performers.
J. Kingston Pierce
Seattle-based writer Pierce presents a fascinating view of a variety of colorful people and events that molded the unique environment of San Francisco. He chronicles historical highlights: the Gold Rush, earthquakes, and fires and introduces the lives of politicians, millionaires, criminals, and eccentrics.

Click for a Selection of California History BooksCalifornia History.
including the "Historical Atlas of California," with nearly five hundred historical maps and other illustrations -- from sketches drawn in the field to commercial maps to beautifully rendered works of art. This lavishly illustrated volume tells the story of California's past from a unique visual perspective. It offers an informative look at the transformation of the state prior to European contact through the Gold Rush and up to the present. The maps are accompanied by a concise narrative and by extended captions that elucidate the stories and personalities behind their creation.

Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San FranciscoArtistic Life in Early San Francisco.
Birgitta Hjalmarson
Artists in early California.With a handful of wealthy Gold Rush barons as indulgent patrons, an active community of artists appeared in nineteenth-century San Francisco almost overnight. A subculture of artistic brilliance and social experimentation was the result -- in essence, a decades-long revelry that purportedly ended with the 1906 earthquake. Witness Jules Tavernier, hungry and in debt, accepting a stuffed peacock and two old dueling pistols in payment for a Yosemite landscape; Mark Twain as reluctant art critic.

Publications About San Francisco, including Infinite City
What makes a place? Rebecca Solnit's reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area. Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit offers views that will change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically -- connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo. She finds landmarks and treasures -- butterfly habitats, murders, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, South of Market . . . This atlas of the imagination invites us to search out the layers of San Francisco that carry meaning for us.

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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