News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.

California's Population

June 6, 1857, Los Angeles Star, Los Angeles, California


We copy the following estimate of the population of the State from the new work lately issued, called the "State Register."

The population of California in 1831 was estimated at 23,025, and in January 1849, at 26,00, viz: Californians 13,000, Americans 8,000, foreigners 5,000. The returns of the national census of 1850 exhibit a population of 117,538 and the State census of 1852, of 264,435. The following estimate of the population of California has been prepared from information obtained through official sources and a careful investigation of the different classes of residents included therein: --

Returns of the County Assessors of the citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 liable to military duty to the Quartermaster General of the State, 1856 (estimated in part): 175,000

Citizens exempt from military duty, viz:

Returns of the County Assessors of the citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 liable to military duty to the Quartermaster General of the State, 1856 (estimated in part) 175,000
Over 45 25,000
Disabled 5,000
U. S. Soldiers 2,000
Firemen 2,000
Various 8,250
Sub Total 45,750
Females, white (census of '52, 22,193) 70,000
Children between 4 and 18 years of age; number returned to office of Sup't Public Institute, 1856 29,530
Children under 4 years of age 15,000
Total American population 332,380
French (estimate of M. Dillion) 15,000
English 2,000
Irish 10,000
Germans 10,000
Mexicans 15,000
Various 15,000
Sub Total 67,000
Chinese (estimate of Mr. Hanley, Chinese Agent) 38,687
Colored Persons 4,000
Indians (Estimate of Col. Henly) 65,000
TOTAL 507,067

The Gold Rush Diary of Ramon Gil NavarroNavarro.

Ramon Gil Navarro, Maria del Carmen Ferreyra, David Reher.

Prospectors.Ramon Gil Navarro Gold Rush Diary. Gold! Gold! Gold! This seductive mantra, shouted throughout the Americas in 1848 49, convinced thousands of people that California's gold could be had simply by picking it up off the ground.

Ramon Gil Navarro, an Argentinean political exile living in Chile, heard these rumors of a new El Dorado, but he was not so naive as to believe that the gold merely had to be gathered. He understood that mining required extensive capital investment and labor, and along with three other investors he arranged to have 120 workers and a shipload of supplies sent to California.

Navarro accompanied the workers to Stockton and began prospecting.

Gold Rush California was a rough and tumble world where finding gold and keeping it was not a simple matter. Navarro encountered people from all over the world brought together in a society marked by racial and ethnic intolerance, swift and cruel justice, and great hardships. It was a world of contrasts, where the roughest of the rough lived in close proximity to extremely refined cultural circles.

Despite his planning, Navarro had not reckoned on the racism he would encounter. He witnessed several instances of Anglo miners harassing Latinos and other ethnic groups. After three years without success, Navarro returned to South America. He became a national representative in the Argentinean congress and worked as a journalist. He never returned to California.

The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multiethnic City (Penguin History of American Life)The Irish Way. Becoming American.
A lively, street-level history of turn-of-the-century urban life explores the Americanizing influence of the Irish on successive waves of migrants to America's cities.

The Irish Way. Becoming American. James R. Barrett.James R. Barrett
In this award-winning Penguin History of American Life series, James R. Barrett chronicles how a new urban American identity was forged in the streets, saloons, churches, and workplaces of the American city. This process of “Americanization from the bottom up” was deeply shaped by the Irish. From Lower Manhattan to the South Side of Chicago to Boston’s North End, newer waves of immigrants and African Americans found it nearly impossible to avoid the Irish. While historians have emphasized the role of settlement houses and other mainstream institutions in Americanizing immigrants, Barrett makes the original case that the culture absorbed by newcomers upon reaching American shores had a distinctly Hibernian cast.

By 1900, there were more people of Irish descent in New York City than in Dublin; more in the United States than in all of Ireland.

Barrett reveals how the Irish vacillated between a progressive and idealistic impulse toward their fellow immigrants and a parochial defensiveness stemming from the hostility earlier generations had faced upon their own arrival in America. They imparted racist attitudes toward African Americans; they established ethnic “deadlines” across city neighborhoods; they drove other immigrants from docks, factories, and labor unions. Yet the social teachings of the Catholic Church, a sense of solidarity with the oppressed, and dark memories of poverty and violence in both Ireland and America ushered in a wave of progressive political activism that eventually embraced other immigrants. Drawing on contemporary sociological studies and diaries, newspaper accounts, and Irish American literature.

The Irish Race: In California, and On The Pacific Coast (1878)Irish in California.
Hugh Quigley

The Irish Americans
A History

Jay P. Dolan of Notre Dame University is one of America’s most acclaimed scholars of immigration and ethnic history. Although more than 30 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, no other general account of Irish American history has been published since the 1960s. Dolan draws on his own original research and much other recent scholarship to weave an insightful, colorful narrative. He follows the Irish from their first arrival in the American colonies through the bleak days of the potato famine that brought millions of starving immigrants; the trials of ethnic prejudice and "No Irish Need Apply;" the rise of Irish political power and the heyday of Tammany politics.

The Cross and the Shamrock Or, How To Defend The Faith. An Irish-American Catholic Tale Of Real Life, Descriptive Of The Temptations, Sufferings, Trials ... And Female Servants Of The United States.The Cross and the Shamrock.
Hugh Quigley
Written in the mid-1800s.

Irish Californians.
Irish Californians: Historic, Benevolent, RomanticIrish Californians.
Patrick Dowling has written a collection of brief biographies of Irish immigrants that he found admirable. Published when Patrick was 94, this book contains his personal choices of Irish heroes, entrepreneurs, and colorful characters, arranging from Timothy Murphy, who came to California before the American conquest, to Thomas Sweeny, who tried to invade Canada, to Eleanor Martin, who was the doyenne of San Francisco high society. Index and bibliography. 120 illustrations.

How the Irish Saved Civilization. Thomas Cahill.
How the Irish Saved Civilization
The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
How the Irish Saved Civilization.

(The Hinges of History)
Thomas Cahill
In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. 

Ancestry DNA Testing.AncestryDNA: Genetic TestingAncestry DNA Testing.

This service combines advanced DNA science with the world's largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections. It maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and provides insight into such possibilities as: what region of Europe are my ancestors from, or am I likely to have East Asian heritage? AncestryDNA can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of possible DNA member matches.


The Naval Order of the United States has a history dating from 1890. Membership includes a wide range of individuals, many with highly distinguished career paths.

The San Francisco Commandery meets the first Monday of each month at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, California and holds two formal dinners each year.

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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