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.

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

1868, San Francisco


  • January 26: Ship W. H. Prescott, Batchelder, 114 days from Rio de Janeiro, with cargo of Vitula to George Howes & Co.


  • February 10: Br. barque Speedwell, Hotchkiss, 116 days from Malaga. Mdse to Alsop & Co.
  • February 10: Ship City of New York, Thomas, 130 days from New York. Mdse to DeWitt, Ittle & Co.


  • March 3: Barque Hattie G. Hall, Fisk, 159 days from Boston. Mdse to Stevens, Baker & Co.
  • March 3: Schooner Fanny Gilmor, Friend, 107 days from Boston. Mdse to C. L. Taylor & Co.
  • San Francisco during the 1800s.
  • March 18, 1868, Daily Alta California, San Francisco
    SHIPPING PEARS TO NEW YORK. The experience of shipping fresh pears to New York by way of the Isthmus of Panama has succeeded so well that it is probable that hereafter a large amount of such fruit will find its way to the Eastern markets from California. At present, the charges are high, and the time oonsumed in the transit so great that the experiment was considered very likely to result in loss to tke shippers; but the result proved quite the contrary. Some of the first pears received in New York from San Francisco sold at auction at enormous priocs, as high as $60 per box being realized for the choiceest, and all bringing good prices. The grapes, too, went through in fair order, were sold quickly, and at high rates. Owing to the long time, say three weeks, required to got them to New York by way of Panama, it is impossible to send any but the coarsest and least desirable varieties of pears; but it is believed that when tho Pacific Railroad is finished and they can be laid down in the markets of the East within ten days of their shipment from San Francisco, large quantities of the finer varieties will be sent through and a large trade built up, much to the relief of our glutted market and the pecuniary benefit of our fruit-growers. The last shipment of this season will be made by Lusk A Co., by steamer to-day. No pears are raised east of the Rocky Mountains which can be kept many weeks after being picked, and our fruit-growers have therefore a certainty of a full control of the Eastern markets for all time to come.


  • April 8 1868, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

    Shipping Intelligence

    The British Ship Moneta is in The Port of San Francisco.

    Arrived: Br ship Moneta, Turpin, 124 days from Glasgow; mdse to Dickson, DeWolf & Co.

    Memoranda Per Moneta: Left Glasgow Nov 28, and Greenock the 30th; arrived at Rothsay Bay same day; sailed for Lambash, and arrived same day; put in on account of bad weather; left Lambash Dec 4, and discharged pilot on the 6th; crossed the equator in the Atlantic Dec 29, lon 31 30, 23 days out; from thence to 50 S had very heavy weather; passed 50 S in the Atlantic Jan 30; was 19 days thence to 50S in the Pacific.

    Off the Cape, had strong N W gales which continued up to 33S; crossed the equator in the Pacific, lon 109 45 W; carried NE trades to 29N; from thence to port, moderate weather.

    The Moneta also sailed to and from San Francisco on the following dates:

    July 3, 1870, Daily Alta California
    Shipping Intelligence

    Arrived: Br. ship Moneta, Wilson, 62 days from Sydney; 800 tons coal to Macondray & Co.

    Memoranda: Per Moneta - Left Sydney May 1; had variable wind and moderate weather throughout the voyage; have had no trades, either north or south of the equator; sighted Lord Howe's Island on May 3, and passed to the eastward of Elizabeth Reefs, in lt 30 30, lon 159 E; on the same night, sighted Norfolk Island; from thence had the wind SE, to Rovotongue, which was sight May 22; from thence had the wind north and westerly; passed through the Society Group; sighted Tahiti on May 26; crossed the equator in lon 152 W; on June 11 reached up to Owhyhee, SE side; then tucked to the eastward, and passed the Islands on June 12; saw many fires, supposed to be bush fires on them; from thence had frequent calms and light fine weather to port; on July 1, Point Reyes bore NE, distant 10 miles.

    September 26, 1870, Daily Alta California

    Exports from San Francisco to Queenstown - Per Moneta - September 24th. Ore. Copper, tons . . . 63; Wheat 100-lb sks . . . 18,050. Value: $36,128.01

    March 26, 1872, Sacramento Daily Union
    At last accounts there were five vessels on the way from Australia to New York and Boston with Wool as follows:

    Alice, 1,484 bales; Nardoo, 1,872 bales; Golconda, 1,823 bales; W. Clowes, 2,700 bales;
    Moneta, 2,393 bales;
    making a total of 10,272 bales.

    There were also 2,000 bales on the way to Boston from the Cape of Good Hope.

  • April 12: Ship Mary Bangs, Captain Bangs, 150 days from Boston. Mdse to Williams, Blanchard & Co.
  • April 12: Ship Grace Darling, Gibbs, 14 days from Nanaimo. Coal to Holladay & Brenham.


  • June 2, 1868: Hawaiian barque R. W. Wood, Jacobs, 19 days from Honolulu. Mdse to J. C. Merrill & Co.
  • June 2: Brig Angenette, Freeman, 39 days from Altata. Dyewood to George Howes & Co.
  • June 6, 1868, Pacific Appeal:


    There is now lying in this port ready for sea a vessel named the James M. Waterbury, schooner, and cleared for Monrovia, West Coast of Africa, commanded by Capt. George Brooks, a oolored man, native of Boston, Massachusetts, and manned entirely by seamen. Also, the shipping of the crew, shipping articles and affidavits necessary to clear tbe ship in tbe New York Custom-House made up by William P. Powell, a oolored Notary Public. This is the first time in the history of tbis country where oolored men have taken sueh a prominent part in a commmercial point of view, and have entrusted with such responsibilities. Capt. Brooks passed a regular examination in this city and received his certificate authorising him to command any ship sailing to any part of tne world. This " difficult problem, under great difficulties," is solved. What say the croakers, can the negroes be elevated?

    ~ New York Anti-Slavery Standard, May 2.

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.

Crowley Maritime.Crowley Maritime, San Francisco.Two Men at the Helm: The First 100 Years of Crowley Maritime Corporation, 1892-1992Crowley Maritime Corporation.
Jean Gilbertson.
Crowley Maritime started as a one-man operation, with nothing more than one 18-foot Whitehall rowboat to provide transportation of personnel and stores to ships anchored on San Francisco Bay. In the mid-1800s, the business was incorporated under the name Thomas Crowley and Brothers. Withing a few years, services grew to include bay towing and ship-assist services. By the turn of the century, Crowley's expansion continued by operating small barges to transport steel to Oakland and barrels of oil, ice, and other supplies to ships in San Francisco Bay. In July 1902, the San Francisco Call reported "The new launch Guide, owned by Thomas Crowley & Bros., made her first trip yesterday to the Farallon Islands and carried out her builders' highest anticipations. By 1912, Crowley had built a marine railway, dock and woodworking mill. Growth continues to this day.

A History of CaliforniaThe History of California.
Franklin Tuthill.
This comprehensive 19th century history of California, from its early times up to the Gold Rush was written "because there seemed to be a demand for a History of California which should sketch the main events of the country from its discovery to the present time. Beginning with Spanish priests, who enslaved indigenous tribes, millions rushed in and claimed the land after the Gold Rush. The material is abundant: log-books of ancient mariners; archives of the Government while the territory was under Spanish or Mexican rule; official reports and Congressional documents about the transfer to the United States; files of newspapers; scores of books of intelligent travellers; the oral evidence of natives, and early immigrants." These sources were the base materials for this publication.

When America First Met China:
An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail
When America First Met China.
Eric Jay Dolin.
Amazon.comAncient 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 rising naval power from a ancient empire. The furious trade in furs, opium, and bĂȘche-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 Revolution Robert 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 changed the world. Two maps, 16 pages of color, 83 black-and-white illustrations.

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World
Ignatius Donnelly.
The author and politician Ignatius Donnelly was born in Philadelphia on 3 November 1831. He was educated in the public schools of his native city, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced. He went to Minnesota in 1857, was elected lieutenant governor in 1859, and again in 1861, and was then elected to Congress as a Republican, serving from 7 December 1863 until 3 March 1869. Besides doing journalistic work he has written an Essay on the Sonnets of Shakespeare, and his most enduring work, Atlantis, the Antediluvian World (New York, 1882), in which he attempts to demonstrate that there once existed in the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the straits of Gibraltar, a large island, known to the ancients as "Atlantis"; and Ragnarok (1883), in which he tries to prove that the deposits of clay, gravel, and decomposed rocks, characteristic of the drift age, were the result of contact between the earth and a comet.

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.