Passenger Lists: San Francisco 1800s


Governor Morton

Arrive San Francisco

July 15, 1852
Captain John A. Burgess
New York via Cape Horn


Valparaiso, May 26, 1852: We look hourly for the propeller Pioneer and the emigrant ships Grecian and Gov. Morton. ~ Almendeal.

Spoken per Gov. Morton - April 21, off Rio, ship Catherine from New York for this port, with coal; 55 days out. May 7th, off River La Plata, ship Antelope, from Boston for this port.


July 26, 1851, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Just Received, ex Governor Morton
-- Fifty Thousand Regalia Cigars, of the following brands: Nicotianas, La Fiels, Nabajas, Sultanas, Union Americanas. John C. Morrison, Jr., & Co. 53 Second Street.

Collins' Hartford Steel Picks. 100 doz. new pattern, large eye, made to order, and weighing 5-1/2 to 7 lbs:
100 doz. pick handles, large size;
500 pairs polished straight and twist trace chains;
3 casks brass kettles, assorted sizes;
1 cask No. 9 fence wire.
Also, invoices, hardware and cutlery, builders' hardware, etc., ex. Gov. Morton and for sale by Bingham & Reynolds,
Sansome Street, San Francisco


July 16, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

General Notices

Ship Governor Morton, July 14, 1852. At a meeting of the second cabin passengers held in the main saloon this afternoon, the following card and resolutions were unanimously adopted, and a committee appointed to procure their publication:

Card To The Public

We, the undersigned, passengers of the clipper ship Gov. Morton, Capt. John A. Burgess, from New York to San Francisco, California, beg permission to lay before an unprejudiced and discerning public a few of the facts connected with the manner in which we were treated (or maltreated) throughout the passage. Upon application for passage at their office in New York, they made such representations to us respecting the fare and the spaciousness of deck requisite to our health and conveniences, that we were induced to purchase our tickets even at their high price, placing the fullest confidence in their sincerity and honor, to fulfill their promises. Our bill of fare being shown, the most of us were informed that it was incomplete, inasmuch as it did not contain all the articles put on board and marked for use. Also, that everything was in great abundance, and the private stores would be superfluous.

We are now under the necessity of showing how these promises were redeemed. On the second week out, we were allowanced to three quarts of water per day for each man, from which the quantity necessary for our tea and coffee, and cooking, was subtracted. A few days after, two teaspoonsful of sugar was laid out twice a day, as the greatest quantity that could be afforded each person. The spacious deck, upon which so much stress was laid, was covered with old hogsheads, spars, sils, and other rubbish, leaving but a narrow space on each side for a passageway, and we were repeatedly told that there was room enough for us on these hogsheads, etc.

Matters continued thus for a short time, when were were compelled to submit to a degrading search of our rooms and trunks for a number of hams which were stolen or pretended to have been stolen. The search proved unsuccessful notwithstanding which, the captain charged us, as a body, with the theft; and as a punishment, (without the slightest proof of guilt) deprived us entirely of our small stores, such as pepper, mustard, pepper sauce, etc., in fact, everything requisite to make our food at all palatable. The most filthy and degrading epithets were applied to us without stint by the captain and his officers (the third mate excepted). Our victuals were insufficient in quantity, of inferior quality, frequently not half cooked, and served up in a filthy manner. We from time to time called the attention of the officers to these things, but in vain.

In fact, though repeatedly invited, the captain never made his appearance in the saloon to ascertain whether our grievances were real or pretended. At one time, when butter was weighted out at the rate of six ozs. per week each man, it fell short two ozs. When we made application to have the mistake rectified, the captain arrogantly refused to do us justice, but accused us of having a gang to purloin articles about the ship. Our beef and port were overhauled, and the best pieces taken for the first cabin; also our mackerel and cheese were taken there, although marked and intended for the second cabin. A faint conception of the magnanimity and liberality of our captain can be had in the fact that the steward was required not to press our modicum of butter close, as it made it appear small. These are but a few instances among a host of others where we were compelled to endure sufferings, privations and insults as a result of the cupidity or avaricious passions of those who misled us by the loudest professions of interest for our welfare.

We would submit the question, in the name of justice and humanity, if such should be the treatment of men who had paid the highest price, and expected but a fair equivalent? These facts can be substantiated in a proper place and at a proper time by a host of credible witnesses. These remarks are not submitted through any feelings of vindictiveness or revenge, but that others exposed to similar deceptions and misrule may be warned by our bitter experience.

Resolved, That while we very much regret the necessity which exists for the publication of a breach of contract and confidence on the part of the owners, or captain (or both) of the ship, we realize that our fellow-citizens are exposed to the same frauds and deceptions under which we suffered so long. We therefore feel constrained to warn them against trusting themselves too freely in the hands of avaricious and designing men.

Resolved, That we leave it to the judgment of an impartial public if it is founded in reason or justice that a captain should so construe a bill of fare as to allowance us in some articles mentioned on it, deal out others in stinted and penurious quantities and withhold others altogether.

Resolved, That as we contracted for enough to eat and drink during our passage, the captain's course in respect to allowance has been highly dishonorable and unsatisfactory.

Resolved, That we have as much reason to be dissatisfied with our usage by the captain and his officers (except the third mate) as in regard to our fare, for we have been treated as the off-scourings of the earth, and driven about and threatened as slaves.

Resolved, That the captain and owners have exhibited a total disregard for the preservation of our health as well as the sanitary laws applicable to passenger ships, inasmuch as the vessel was not supplied with a single disinfecting or purifying agent, and a refusal given to our request to have the cabin cleaned.

Resolved, That if it were just to deprive us of the extras, Captain Burgess far over-stepped his prerogative in denying us in part or altogether the articles on the bill, and his conduct in these respects is highly reprehensible, being contrary to the laws of his God, his country, and common humanity, and that had he been a captain worthy of his station, we would have had an uncommonly pleasant passage.


Oliver A. Snow
Israel Kissling
Solomon F. Brown
Signed By
Charley Spear, N.Y. Edward Buckly, N.Y.
S. P. Doane, Mass. David A. Jones, Mass.
Samuel Webber, Me. A. S. Bates, Ill.
John Clark, R. I. J. B. Baker, Pa
And sixty-two others
Papers in the Atlantic States, please copy.


Passengers by the Ship Governor Morton, July 15, 1852.


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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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