Passenger Lists: San Francisco 1800s


SS John L. Stephens

Arrive San Francisco

March 17, 1855
Captain R. H. Pearson
From Panama


March 17, 1855, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

The steamship John L. Stephens, Capt. Pearson, with the Eastern mails of Feb. 20th, arrived at this port at half-past 1 o'clock this morning. The following is her memoranda and list of passengers.


Pacific Mail Co.'s steamer John L. Stephens, R. H. Pearson, Commander, left Panama on Friday, March 2d at 9 o'clock P.M. with the mails and 422 passengers, all of whom were on board, with their baggage, seven hours after leaving Aspinwall.

P. M. Steamer Golden Age arrived at Panama on the night of the 28th of February, making the run down in 11 days 6 hours. Her passengers were all on the Atlantic in 12 days 5 hours from San Francisco. The trains are running through regularly every day in from 3 to 4 hours.

March 8th, 4:30 a.m., arrived at Acapulco, detained 8 hours. March 13th, 60 miles N. W. of Ceros Island, exchanged signals with barque R. Adams, under easy sail, working to windward. Since passing Cape St. Lucas, have encountered unusually heavy weather for the season, with very strong northwest winds.

March 19, 1855, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

I.ater from New Grenada

Our files of the Panama Star by the Stephens are to the 1st instant. Isthmus of Panama.

The Celebration. -- On the 17th, the Directors of the Panama Railroad, and many other distinguished strangers and residents of Panama, embarked on board the Mail Company's steamerColumbuIsthmus of Panama.s, which Capt. Dow, the gallant commander of the mail steamer Panama, had taken temporary charge of and placed at the disposal of the party at an early hour and proceeded to the Island of Taboga.

After a delightful trip down the bay, the party were landed at the British Company's wharf, amidst a salute of seven guns from the Mora, and the roar of cannon from all the vessels in port, the Pavilion and Veranda Hotels, and other points along the shore.

On landing, the company were received by the Commander of the Bolivia, by whom they were entertained in a most sumptuous manner on board of his ship. The party next visited the John L. Stephens, where Capt. Pearson did the honors as gallantly as seamen can do them. In the evening, a large dinner party was given by Col. Totten at the Aspinwall House, Panama.

The British Ship John Law -- Piracy

The British ship John Law, Capt. Percival, bound from Valparaiso to San Francisco, with a valuable cargo oil board, sprang a leak, in latitude 10 deg. South, causing her to make 3,200 strokes per hour. Whilst in this dilemma the American whaling bark D. M. Hall, Captain Pratt, was spoken by the John Law, and Captain Percival, anxious to do the best for the safety of his vessel, offered a very large remuneration to Captain Pratt to remain by the ship during night. This was refused by Pratt, who proposed to take all hands off the ship if Captain Percival would abandon his vessel, which of course was not consented to.


The bark then left the ship, and, soon after, the crew mutinied. The bark on being signalled returned, when Capt. Pratt received the captain and crew on board, and placed part of his own crew on the John Law, giving her in charge to Capt. Crosby, a passenger on the bark.

Capt. Pratt now having charge of both vessels, stood off for the Marquesas Islands, and on reaching there he hauled the two vessels alongside, opened the hatches of the John Law, and commenced transferring the most valuable part of the cargo to his own vessel, allowing the sailors at the same time free access to the liquor, and suffering them to commit all kinds of depredations. After loading the bark with the ship's cargo, Captain Pratt compelled Captain Percival to assign over to him the entire cargo as a compensation for his services, and the authorities refused to interfere to protect Captain Percival or place him in possession of his ship.

The two vessels then proceeded to Tahiti, where Capt. Percival laid his case before the American Consul and French authorities. Capt. Pratt was arrested as also the disorderly crew, and Capt. Percival placed in command of his ship. An action of piracy has been brought against Pratt.


Not noted.


March 17, 1855, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Passengers by the SS John L. Stephens, March 17, 1855.

Mrs. C. E. Holt
H. H. Haight and lady
W. S. Burns
C. S. Austin and lady
T. Robertson, lady and infant
O. B. Jennings and lady
E. Muger
Mrs. J. W. Thomson, infant and servant
L. L. Robinson
B. Devos and lady
Mrs. J. P. Robinson
C. R. Goodwin
A. W. Baker
Mrs. Lea and two daughters
Major J. Lee
Miss Aldrich
C. E. Hodgking
Miss S. J. Albro
H. L. King, lady and three children
Mrs. Gridley
A. C. J. Wilson
S. Gilmore
Rev. J. O. Bayard
Miss M. Wyckoff
Mrs. Boyd and child
Mrs. Stansbury and infant
P. Sather
Mrs. Jashem and two children
Miss Kirtland
E. M. Neal
Mrs. R. C. Baker and two children
D. N. Hawley
Miss Haight and sister
R. Haight
Mrs. McKune
J. Hobart
C. Griswold
Mrs. C. B. Phelps and son
Mrs. M. A. Smith and cild
Sister Fredericka and 4 other Sisters of Charity
J. Sinclar
Mr. Smith
(A & Co's Messenger) Mr. Hegeman
(W F & Co's messenger) E. Hitch
Miss C. Pratt
Mrs. Wynkoop and child
J. L. Bechtel
J. M. Easterly
W. H. Leverieh
S. B. Colby
F. A. Wilson
B. Seamen
C. H. Green
Capt. Greenwall, U. S. Coast Survey
P. C. F. West, U. S. Coast Survey
Miss Lepfern
J. McCollock
F. Stead
Mrs. S. A. Jenks and two children
W. Bulger
C. W. Stiles
J. Fick
Mrs. Zimmerman and child
W. Carpenter
R. J. Tiffany
W. Calden
C. Earle
Mrs. J. Rowden
J. R. Moores
Mrs. E. Sayers and infant
Mrs. Balleston
Messrs Austin and lady
E. Parsons
Jenkins and wife
E. Kile and lady
Mrs. P. Gorman
Mrs. S. A. Robertson and two children
H. L. H. Emmett
W. Munsden
Mrs. Land and three children
G. B. Preston
A. F. Haines
A. Sherwood
S. Ellsworth
Captain D. Saville
L. C. Thayer
Mr. Jones and lady
279 in the steerage

The Mammoth Book of Life Before the Mast:
Sailors' Eyewitness Stories from the Age of Fighting Ships
Jon E. Lewis, Editor
Firsthand accounts of the real-life naval adventures behind the popular historical sagas of Patrick O'Brian and C. F. Forester. Twenty true-life adventures capture the glory and gore of the great age of naval warfare from the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth century -- the age of the French Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 -- when combat at sea was won by sheer human wit, courage, and endurance. Culled from memoirs, diaries, and letters of celebrated officers as well as sailors, the collection includes accounts of such decisive naval engagements as Admiral Horatio Nelson's on the Battle of the Nile in 1798 or Midshipman Roberts' on the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and also offers glimpses into daily hardships aboard a man-of-war: scurvy, whippings, storms, piracy, press gangs, drudgery, boredom, and cannibalism.

Life of a Sailor (Seafarers' Voices) Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.Life At Sea.Ships, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.
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 Nagle Journal: A Diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841Stories of the Sea and Ships.
John C. Dann

Great Stories of the Sea & Ships Sea Stories and the history of America.
N. C. Wyeth
Life before the mast.High-seas adventures showcasing showcases the fiction of such classic writers as Daniel Defoe, Jules Verne, and Jack London, and also historic first-person narratives including Christopher Columbus’ own account of his voyage in 1492. Vivid tales of heroic naval battles and dangerous journeys of exploration to the stories of castaways and smugglers. The variety of works includes “The Raft of Odysseus,” by Homer; Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Mermaid”; “The Specksioneer,” by Elizabeth Gaskell; Washington Irving’s “The Phantom Island”; and “Rounding Cape Horn,” by Herman Melville. Eighteen black and white illustrations by Peter Hurd.

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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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