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

1890s, San Francisco



  • January 1: Steamer Haytian Republic, Brown, 4 days from Kodiak; salmon, etc. to Kodiak Packing Co.
  • January 1: British ship Harvest Queen, Forsythe, 70 days from Hong Kong. Merchandise to Macondray & Co.
  • January 2: British ship Lord Raglan, Campbell, 64 days from Newcastle, New South Wales. 3154 tons coal, to order.
  • January 3: British ship Peter Steuart, Hughes, 67 days from Newcastle, New South Wales, 2000 tons coal to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • January 11: Ship Charmer, Holmes, 133 days from New York. Merchandise to Williams, Dimond & Co.


  • February 9, 1890, Daily Alta California: Arrived February 8, British Bark Carleton, Lowe. Westport. Starr & Co.
  • February 12, 1890, Daily Alta California
    Passengers from Panama: The following passengers arrived from Panama yesterday on the City of Sydney: Miss L. Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. V. B. Caldwell, child and nurse, J. H. O'Donnell, C. H. Rockwell, F. H. Hines, Miss O. W. Lark, Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Emery, A. C. Rogers, B. Ellis, C. Coleman, Miss F. Leverich, Captain and Mrs. Hastings, four children and nurse, E. Ellsworth, Mr. and Mrs. S. Schwartz, Q. W. Ford, F. R. Meresditle, Mrs. Van Blaroum, and 28 steerage passengers.
  • February 12, 1890, Daily Alta California, San Francsico, California, U.S.A.
    Arrival of the Gaelic: The Occidental and Oriental Company's steamship Gaelic, under command of Captain Pearne, arrived in port about 10 o'clock last night, 23-1/2 days from Hongkong, 14 days 22 hours from Yokohama. The Gaelic brings 48 passengers, of whom 19 are Chinese. The cabin passengers, ten in number, are Mrs C E. Taylor, J. M. O'Neil, Captain J. Soule, J. Kodama, Chum Ah Wung, Frank Upton Charles E. Bowen, Mrs. L. Bradbury and child and A. E. Trew.
  • February 15 1890: Bark St. James, Burnham, 105 days from New York. Merchandise to Sutton & Beebe.
  • February 15: Brig Tahiti, Paulsen, 30 days from Tahiti. Passengers and merchandise to M. Turner. Consignees: I. E. Thayer, J. Pinet, Wo Kie & Co.; W. G. Badger; Wilkins & Co; R. Young.
  • February 19: British ship Lloyd Roseberry, Captain Lloyd, 107 days from Montevideo. Ballast to master.
  • February 19: Bark Alden Besse, Howard, 20 days from Honolulu. Merchandise to J. D. Spreckels & Bros.
  • February 19: Bktin Amelia, Newhall, 17 days from Honolulu. Merchandise to Williams, Dimond & Co.
  • February 19: Brig Lurline, Matson Lines, 15 days from Hilo. 10,034 bags sugar to J. D. Spreckels & Bros.


  • March 4, 1890: British ship Benecia, Taylor, 123 days from Liverpool. Merchandise to J. D. Spreckels & Bros. Consignees: F. F. Low; Huntington, Hopkins & Co; Lowenthal, Livingston & Co; Cerf, Schloss & Co; Whittier, Fuller & Co; H. M. Newhall; F. . Rosenbaum & Co; Mack & Co; Captain H. Bingham; G. Robertson; Safety Nitro Powder Co; Holbrook, Merrill & Stetson; London and San Francisco Bank; J. D. Spreckels & Bros.
  • March 4: British ship Benares, McDonald, 141 days from Newcastle, England. Mdse to Meyer, Wilson & Co.
  • March 4: Italian ship Caterina Accame, Baccone, 150 days from Genoa, Italy. Mdse. to J. W. Grace & Co. Consignees: Order; Weiland Bros; Buneman & Martioni; P. Foppiano; A. Gherini; Genocchie & Belgrano; G. Saloneri; A. Vignier; Whitter, Fuller & Co.; P. Pondenson; Luigi Baglietto; J. W. Grace & Co; James DeFremery & Co.
  • March 4: British ship Dunbritton, Emmett, 151 days from Newcastle, England. Mdse to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • March 4: British bark Stanmore, Brokenshar, 74 days from Newcastle, New South Wales. 2697 tons coas to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • March 4: Schooner Corna, McAllep, 47 days from Pisagua. 4450 bags nitre to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • March 8: British steamer Belgic, Walker, 24 days 8 hours and 47 minutes from Hongkong, via Yokohama 15 days 13 hours and 44 minutes. Passengers and merchandise to O & O SS Co. Had strong head wind and seas to lon 170 W; from thence to port light variable winds. Consignees: A. Borel & Co; Rosenbaum Bros; Bank of British North America; Bank of California; E. H. Sawyer; W. H. harries; H. H. Berger; Haas Bros; Consulate of Japan; S. Asap; J. Steinhardt; F. Deardorf; W. Martin; F. T. Nash; Morton, Bliss & Co; Winter & Smillie; Hayden & Co; L. Freres; A. Brown & Sons; Mathews, Blum & V; Canadian Bank of Commerce; R. Isaac & Bros; Marimura Bros; International Bank of England; China and Japan Trading Co; Barings Bros & Co; H. B.Cowles; Japanese Merchants; Parrott & Co; Siegfried & Brandenstein; W & J Sloane & Co; Order; Brown Bros & Co; Chinese Merchants.
  • March 15: Steamer City of New York, Searle, 23 days from Panama. Passengers and merchandise to Williams, Dimond & Co.
  • March 15: Steamer Alameda, Morse, 24 days 15 hours 15 minutes from Sydney via Honolulu 6 days and 30 minutes. Passengers and merchandise to J. D. Spreckels & Bros. Consignees: Bank of British Columbia; Frank G. Edwards; W. H. Campbell & Son; C. Shard; H. P. Gregory & Co; D. G. Camarinos; W. Lewis & Co; Oder; H. H. Berger & Co; Dr. Brigham; Parrott & Co; H. Creig; D. Michie; A. Crawford & Co; C. P. Stringer; George Lyeurrgus; Hop Chung Jan; Quong Soon; Why Chong Lung; Balfour; Guthrie & Co; J. D. Spreckels & Bros; Wells, Fargo & Co.


  • April 8, 1890: Bktne John Smith, Justel, 19 days from Honolulu. Sugar, etc., to Williams, Dimond & Co.
  • April 8: British ship Dawpool, Fearson, 101 days from Calcutta. Mdse to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • April 8: Schooner Anna, Williams, 18 days from Kahului, 5160 bags sugar to J. D. Spreckels & Bros.


  • May 1: U. S. Steamer Marion, Dyer, 39 days from Yokohama
  • May 1: Schooner Dora Bluhm, Moore, 22 days from Kahului. 7766 bags sugar to John D. Spreckels & Bros.
  • May 14: Ship Conqueror, Lothrop, Jr., 49 days from Hongkong. Mdse to Wm. Lichtenberg.
  • May 19: Bark C. O. Whitmore, Ward, 26 days from Honolulu. Sugar to Welch & Co
  • May 19: Bark Alden Besse, Howard, 25 days from Honolulu. Mdse, passengers and sugar to J. D. Spreckels & Bros.
  • May 19: Bktne Modoc, Borth. 81 days from Newcastle, N.S.W., via Honolulu; 26 days. 646 tons coal to S. B. Peterson
  • May 19: Schnr Letitia, Hansen, 34 days from San Marcos Island. 250 tons Gypsum to Lucas & Co.


  • June 1, 1890: Ship Emily Reed, Sheldon, 36 days from Kobe. Mdse and coal to J.D.Spreckels & Bros.
  • June 11: British ship Buteshire, Storm, 159 days from London, via Portland Roads 133 days. Mdse to Meyer, Wilson & Co.
  • June 11: Brig Sea Waif, Mattson, 61 days from Cortino. 265 cedar logs, 42 tons dyewood, to Master.


  • July 11, 1890, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Oranges from Tahiti on the Lizzie Vance.


  • February 9, 1891, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
    Arrival of the California.
    The steamer State of California, Captain Ackley, arrived yesterday morning, fifty-seven hours from Portland, with the following cabin passengers : J. H. Jones, A. Houlton, A. Fish, H. Johnson, H. M. Kinsen, S. Feig. N. P. Wynne and wile, Miss Collinson, Miss Burrage, Mr. Shackford and wife, Miss Wise, Miss Chandler, R. J. Whelan, George Broughall, George L. Leng: and wife and daughter, H. G. Witherwax, J. Hollerin, H. Kalisch, M. Kalisch, Mrs. France, A. Dement, Julius Levy, C. Ritcliff, S. J. Strauss, L. M. Shumbacker, Mrs. Monroe, Miss Walton and sister, M. J. Connolly and wife. P. Betty, A. D. Brown; J. Simons, S. Glidden, M. Steinbach. T. S. Minelt. E. Dave and wife. H. McKown, J. Smith and E. Dave. There were forty-four steerage passengers.

  • March 27, 1891, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
    Steamer Arrivals Numerous: The weather outside was thick and hazy yesterday, with a light breeze, which probably prevented sailing vessels from making the Heads. Not a single sailing vessel arrived during the day, the arrivals all being steamers, eight of which arrived, as follows: Steamer Gipsy, twelve hours from Santa Cruz; steamer Corona, sixty-two hours from San Diego; steamer Arago, forty-three hours from Coos Bay; steamer Jewel, seventeen hours from Caspar; steamer Humboldt, twenty hours from Eureka; steamer Farallon, sixteen days from Champerico; steamer Navarro, eighteen hours from Mendocino, and steamer Willamette Valley, forty-eight hours from Yaquina Bay.

    Two Deserters From a Sealing Schooner Meet With Death.

    San Francisco during the 1800s.

    Among the steerage passengers on board the steamer Humboldt, which arrived yesterday morning from Eureka, were William and Andrew Sprague, Thomas Barber and Archibald Brady, members of the crew of the sealing schooner Ethel, they, with two others who were drowned, having deserted the schooner on the 20th inst. The Ethel came from San Diego and fitted out at this port. When she got to sea very heavy weather was encountered, and the schooner lay off the Farallones for a week.

    When sixty miles off Cape Mendocino the men, who were new to the business, began to get dissatisfied, and talk of deserting became rife. At midnight of the 20th inst., the four men named above, assisted by Joseph Cuff and a sailor known as Fred, seized one of the boats and started for land. When a few miles from land the heavy rollers capsized the boat and Cuff Fred were drowned. The lighthouse keeper noticed the accident and went to the assistance of the boat's crew. He took them to the station, did all he could for them and forwarded them to Eureka, where they took passage on the Humboldt for San Francisco. Before the four men left Eureka Cuffs body had been recovered and was buried at Mendocino.

    Teak Wood for the Cruisers. The barkentine Modoc, which recently arrived from India and China, brought over 150,000 feet of India teak wood, which she is now discharging at Union-street wharf. The logs are of large size, measuring 19x20x30 and 40. The wood is consigned to the Union Iron Works, and will be used on the new cruisers now under construction.

  • March 28, 1891: Schooner Olga, Bodin, 1 days from Hilo. Sugar to Williams, Dimond & Co.
  • March 28, 1891: Australian Coal Arrivals. The British ship Mayhill arrived yesterday, seventy-nine days from Newcastle, N. S. W., with 3002 tons of coal to Balfour, Guthrie & Co. Captain Hume reports having encountered several heavy gales on the passage. The British ship Dumblair also came in, eighty-two days from Newcastle, N. S. W., with 2856 tons of coal, also consigned to Balfour, Guthrie &. Co.
  • April 12, 1891: San Francisco Call: British bark Carleton, Lowe, 85 days from Newcastle, N.S.W. 1976 tons coal, to Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
  • May 5, 1891, Daily Alta California: The following vessels arrived in port ye sterday: The schooners Occidental and Santa Rosa and the steamers Alcazar, Jewel and Protection.
  • May 5, 1891: A Russian Schooner in Port: Lying in the skip at the north side of Mission is a neat little craft, flying the flag of the Russian merchant marine. She is schooner rigged, and bears simply the name Leon, without any place of register. She arrived from Petropanlovski yesterday, and will probably depart in a day or two for Siberian waters.
  • May 29, 1891: San Francisco Call: Sailed Thursday, May 28, British Bark Carleton, Lowe, Havre.


  • August 10, 1893, San Francisco Call: Sailed British bark Carleton, Lowe, Queenstown.


  • January 18, San Francisco Call: British Bark Carleton, Lowe, 71 days from Newcastle.
  • March 6, San Francisco Call: Sailed British Bark Carleton, Lowe, Dublin


Ad for the Gold Fields 1897.
  • The North Fork was a steam schooner that routinely ran along California's north coast between San Francisco and Humboldt/Eureka (roughly 26 hours).

    She carried food, lumber, shingles and passengers. Captains included John Bash. Consignees were Charles Nelson, Armour Packing, J. H. Holden, Black Diamond Mining Co, etc.,

    Agent: C. P. Troy, Market Street, San Francisco

    September 20, 1910, San Francisco Call

    EUREKA, Sept. 19. The steamer North Fork arrived in port this morning eat 6:20' o'clock, bringing. In addition to a large cargo of miscellaneous freight, 3,000 pounds of United States mail, one of the largest consignments to arrive on one vessel for several days past. The North Fork had all the mail, collected in San Francisco for this port from 10 o'clock Friday until 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon. In addition, to the mail the North Fork had on board 400, cases of giant powder for the Mercer-Fraser company and gasoline for the Coggeshall launch company. After discharging a number of flat cars at the Fields Landing wharf the North Fork proceeded to the Arcata wharf, where a cargo of redwood lumber will be taken on board for the return trip south (to San Francisco).


  • November 17, 1898, Los Angeles Herald

    Sailed for Hawaii

    SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 16.-The steamship Australia left for Honolulu today with a crowded passenger list and a large amount of general cargo. She will bring back the New York regiment from Hawaii owing to the outbreak of typhoid fever in the camps established at Diamond Head. A number of carpenters sailed on the Australia and they will, after she discharges her cargo at Honolulu, fit up the vessel for the accommodation of the troops.

The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Maritime Archaeology.

(Oxford Handbooks)Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology.
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.