Ship Passengers to San Francisco

SS Alaska from Hong Kong

Hong Kong 1800s.

SS Alaska
Left Hong Kong October 1874
Arrived San Francisco February 17, 1875
E. Van Sice, Commander
From Hong Kong


October 2, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

The Alaska on the Rocks at Hongkong

New York, October 1st: The Pacific Mail Steamship Company have received a despatch stating that the side-wheel steamer Alaska, while undergoing repairs at Aberdeen, five miles from Hongkong, was blown ashore in the late typhoon, but was not sinking or leaking. The despatch also states that she will come off at next highwater.

Another despatch from Hongkong states that in the typhoon of September 21st the steamship Alaska was blown ashore, and is now on the rocks. Up the present she has made no water, and hopes are entertained that she may be got off. The vessel is $500,000; insured.

October 15, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

The Steamer Alaska Stranded on the Chinese Coast.
The Alaska in a Dangerous Position

New York, October 14th -- Advises received by the officers of the Pacific Mail Company represent that the steamship Alaska, stranded in the late typhoon on the China Coast, has not been released from her dangerous position up to the latest reports.

November 7, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

The Alaska

The company is in receipt of a cable telegram stating that all efforts so far to raise the Alaska, which was sunk, have proved unsuccessful, and that a new contract for $35,000 had been made to raise her.

November 8, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

On The Rocks
Terrible Effects of the Tidal Wave

Of all the catastrophes produced by storms on sea or land we recollect none, nor the accounts of any which for destructiveness equalled that typhoon at and in the vicinity of Hongkong, the description of which as written by an officer of the steamship Alaska, we publish this morning. We have had some reports of the terrible force of the wind on that occasion, and of the loss of life and property incident. But all previous reports have failed to convey any just and correct idea of the fearful force of the wind and billows, and the sad scenes of destruction of life and property that the typhoon caused.

Chinese Pirates. 1800s.

Our correspondent gives as the number of lives estimated to have been lost at twenty thousand, more than ten thousand in Macao alone. And as if the terrible elements were not enough to complete a scene of horror, the pirates who seem to be abundant thereabout, took possession of the place, burned over seven hundred houses, and robbed and plundered to their heart's content, pillaging all the better portion of the city.

Not a vessel seems to have escaped in that harbor, the steamers faring no better than the sailing vessels. So great was the destruction of human life that the slow process of burial would not do. The decaying bodies had by the fourth day made the place unbearable. The troops that had been engaged in the work of burial could endure the task no longer but revolted, and cremation became a necessity to avoid the danger of a plague. Four thousand bodies were thus disposed of. The work of destruction seems to have been almost complete.

The steamship Alaska was driven from her moorings, all her cables and hawsers broken, and thirty-five, and forty-five fathoms of chains out with her anchors grasping the mud, but all insufficient to hold her. It seems wonderful that although thrown ashore under such circumstances, she did not go to pieces, but did not even get a hole stove in her bottom.

We are glad to read the confidence expressed by our correspondent in the ultimate success of the efforts to float the Alaska, and restore her to her position in the line again. By the removal of fifteen hundred tons of dead weight he thinks this can and will be effected. We trust that such confidence may be verified.

The P. M. S. S. Company have had many and great misfortunes, as well as bad conduct by former officers And just as they were getting into a hopeful condition again with two magnificent ships built and afloat, one now on her way hither and the other soon to follow her, with several others in process of construction, the public can but sympathize with the Company in its losses while rejoicing at their coming and undoubted success. That success is absolutely necessary to the prosperity of this city. For although we are told every now and then that another line is to be put on soon, that the ships are built or to be built on the Clyde, and a strong opposition will be instituted, we prefer to believe in that we have rather than in what is merely promised. And besides we have seen the experiment of an opposition tried, and have seen it fail. Whether another line could compete with better results to itself than did the last may not be known until it shall hare been tried. But if the business end trade are sufficient to pay for two lines, so much the better for San Francisco and this coast At any rate we cannot but admire the pluck and confidence of the P. M. S. S. Company, which appears undismayed by any and all the misfortunes and accidents which has befallen them. They will probably yet save the Alaska, and with the addition of the two magnificent steamships that have been built by Mr. Roach, and the others already in process of construction at his shipyard, they will soon be in condition to make an opposition reflect ere entering on a contest. Evidently no opposition, nor dishonest agents, nor typhoons can dishearten them, nor make them hoist the white flag.

November 10, 1874, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Opium.Barbary Coast.

As a result of the typhoon, at Aberdeen the Pacific Mail steamer Alaska has gone ashore, and there is little hope of floating her again. The force of the wind was so great that, although she got out all the largest hawsers, it was impossible to keep her lashed. Her launch capsized, and caused the death of two men. The scene among the junks and on shore is described as terrific. The dock has sustained great injury, sheds and buildings having been damaged to an estimated value of no less than 50,000. Large numbers of junks got adrift, and many of them went down in a short time.

December 24, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

A despatch from Hongkong says: "The steamer Alaska is afloat. She makes no water and shows no strain. We must change her shaft, and can dispatch her January 6th."

February 17, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Arrival of the P.M. S. S. Co's steamer Alaska, E. Van Sice, commander, arrived yesterday. She left Hongkong January 18th, and Yokohama January 24th.


China and Japan per Alaska:
Tea.Opium. For New York 3000 packages tea, 343 packages silk, 184 packages mdse.
For Boston - 1 pkg tea.
For Montreal - 440 pkgs tea.
For Baltimore - 1 pkg tea.
For Hartford - 53 pkgs silk.
For Central and South America - 31 packages tea, 5 packages silk, 4 do mdse.
For San Francisco - 10,670 packages tea, 213 packages silk, 319 packages mdse, 61 boxes opium.

Per Alaska:
Jos. Addick; Borel & Co; Wm F. Babcock; I Cohn; W W Dodge & Co; Jas de Fremery & Co; London & San Francisco Bank; R. Feuerstein & Co; H Mollineux; Hellman Bros & Co; E. Harris; B. Lefevre; C. A. Low & Co; I. C. Moores; Mendelson Bros; Macondray & Co; Parrott & Co; W. C. Ralston; M. C. Smith; Tillman, Bendel & Co; O. H. Tittman; Wells, Fargo & Co; Prof O. A. Young, S. P. Wells, Williams, Blancard & Co; Order; Bearer; Chinese Merchants.


Antique San Francisco Map.The City of San Francisco Antique Map.
City And County of San Francisco 1800sAntique maps.

Count Batthyana and servant, J. Cohn, H. Comstock, B. J. Conrad, W. S. Edwards, H. E. Falk, H. J. Falk, W. F. Gardner V. B. Gates, C. L. Gorham, F. W. Hart, C. Koopmanschap, John Lawson, J. L. Lieberman and wife, Captain Le Bon, Rev. H. H. Leavitt, E. P. Monroe, D. A. Meyendorff, Mis Jennie McDonald, W. W. Newlin, Gustav Opitz, John Rooney, W. V. Ranger, George D. Rowan and wife, Miss Louise Reed, Mrs. J. H. Smith, Captain Nicholas Schwan, J. Sober, E. Steele, wife and infant, T. S. Tappan, O. H. Tittman, Captain N. R. Warsaw, E. Watson, T. P. Woodward, J. Walenyck, stewadess steamer Japan, Prof. C. A. Young,Mrs. K. E. Fay, Mrs. J. J. Henderson and infant.

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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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