News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

Bridge to the Castle.

A Sailor and His True Love

April 4, 1850, Alta California, San Francisco


As a sailor and his true love were walking out last night, in the Third Municipality, where love imparts delight, the stars were shining merrily from their azure homes on high, and the moon looked down in silver sheen as the empress of the sky. Down the far West, the silv'ry queen began to slope away, 'twas past night's noon, and roosters crowed about the birth of day.

The sailor had been drinking, and his true love had been too, and neither knew they where to go, nor knew they what to do. So down they sat on the green sward, as well they could and might, and loud they roared in harmony a song about a sprite; and then a watchman came along and bade them both to cease, disturbing the State's dignity, its quiet and its peace.

But Jack and Joan with louder tone, swore out that not a white, would they for love, or force, or arms, their merry chantings quite: his rattle then the watchman spring, and bounding to his call, five stern protectors of the night from coffeehouse and hall, rushed like a fearful stream on Jack, but, valiant to the last, the sailor called on Joan to nail their colors to the mast.

On green "Elysian Fields" they fought, the watchmen, Jack and Jean, nor did they yield till streams of blood from noses twain had shown, that neither Jack nor Joan would e'er to slight advantage yield, nor bloodless would they render up the spoils of battlefield.

But ah! blood flowed, and then in haste subdued they had to speed, to the watchhouse where indurance vile twas theirs to muse and bleed, till nine o'clock htis morning, when tis not too much to say, that his Honor will advise them both to jog along their way.

San Francisco Bay 1800s.

San Francisco, California

From the Alta California, San Francisco: "From January 1, 1849 to April 11, 1849, there were a great many arrivals by sea, including at least 3,000 seamen who abandoned their ships upon reaching San Francisco.

That dreaded scourge which has visited nearly ever section of the eastern world, and converted the blooming fields of our beloved native land into places of sepulture, sullenly relaxes its fearful grasp, as a huge serpent unfastens its deadly coil, and the glutted monster returns on the charnel horse track, marked by its earlier scenes of carnage, or perhaps to survey fresh fields of slaughter.

It is gradually disappearing from America, without having visited her western shores in that malignant form, or with that fatality which marks its course elsewhere, and never were a people more especially blessed, nor given a truer cause for devout thankfulness to the Almighty, than the inhabitants, the swarming population of the south-western coast, or the thousands assembled in this promising land of wealth, under the free flag of our country.

Tycoons.All About America: Gold Rush and RichesGold Rush and Riches.
Paul Robert Walker
Meticulously researched, with specially-commissioned illustration, detailed reconstructions and original artwork from each period, reading lists, and resources for further study, this is an immersive introduction to the history that shaped America. In 1848, carpenter James Marshall made a chance discovery: a few shiny flakes-of gold in a riverbed he was digging. Within a year 800,000 gold-seekers from all over the world were on their way to California. The Gold Rush was on.

Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in AmericaTycoons.
Jonathan Levy
Until the early nineteenth century, "risk" was a specialized term: it was the commodity exchanged in a marine insurance contract. Freaks of Fortune tells the story of how the modern concept of risk emerged in the United States. Born on the high seas, risk migrated inland and became essential to the financial management of an inherently uncertain capitalist future. Focusing on the hopes and anxieties of ordinary people, Jonathan Levy shows how risk developed through the extraordinary growth of new financial institutions - insurance corporations, savings banks, mortgage-backed securities markets, commodities futures markets, and securities markets - while posing inescapable moral questions. At the heart of risk's rise was a new vision of freedom. To be a free individual, whether an emancipated slave, a plains farmer, or a Wall Street financier, was to take, assume, and manage one's own personal risk. Yet this often meant offloading that same risk onto a series of new financial institutions. Levy traces the fate of a new vision of personal freedom, as it unfolded in the new economic reality created by the American financial system.

Life of a Sailor (Seafarers' Voices) Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.Life At Sea.Life of a Sailor.
Frederick Chamier
Chamier went to sea in 1809 as an officer in the Royal Navy. Like his contemporary, Captain Frederick Marryat, he enjoyed a successful literary career and is remembered for his naval novels. This book, his first, is usually catalogued as fiction, although it is an exact account of his naval experiences, with every individual, ship, and event he described corroborated by his service records. Told with humor and insight, it is considered an authentic account of a young officer's service. From anti-slavery patrols off Africa to punitive raids on the American coast during the War of 1812, Chamier provides details of many lesser-known campaigns. His descriptions of British naval operations in America, which reflected his objection to bringing the war to the civilian population, were highly criticized by his seniors.

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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