Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

SS Oregon

Arrive San Francisco

February 23, 1850
SS Oregon
Captain Lieut. Patterson


Saturday, February 23, 1850, Daily Alta California
San Francisco, California

Arrival of the Oregon.

The U.S.M. Steamship Oregon, Lieut. Patterson, commander, arrived at this port yesterday morning from Panama, whence she sailed on the 2d instant.

The Oregon brings 201 male and 9 female passengers, among whom we note the name of Mr. Allen of Boston, Commercial Agent for the Sandwich Islands, and Mr Judd, connected with the S. I. Marine Hospital. This steamer brings also the mails of the Empire City, Ohio and Cherokee from New York, and that of the Falcon from New Orleans, in all ninety five bags, which were conveyed under the supervision of Mr. W. A. Bailey, U. S. Mail Agent, from Chagres to Panama in thirty-six hours.

. . . The news from the States is of considerable interest. Mr Gregory has furnished us with a number of items of interest. There were not many passengers remaining at Panama after the sailing of the Oregon, with the exception of those holding tickets for the Sarah Sands and Tennessee, which vessels were expected to arrive on the 20th of this month. The steam-propeller Chesapeake was in port, bound for this place, with a number of passengers.

The Oregon spoke the California, bound down, on the 3d inst, boarded her and exchanged newspapers. The passengers on the California had held a meeting, on their passage down, and voted Capt. Budd a silver speaking trumpet.

The Oregon called at Acapulco on the 9th and touched at San Bias on the 13th, at which place Reuben Withers came on board. He was said to be the owner of the bark Rochelle of Boston, which appeared to be condemned as the crew were dismantling her. The Panama was seen near Mazatlan on the 13th. While at that place a difficulty occurred between some of the Oregon's passengers and some Mexican boatmen about their rate of fare. The passengers were severely pelted with stones and driven into the water where they were compelled to swim for their lives. One of the passengers endeavored to use a revolver but could only get one barrel of his gun off. The appearance of the alcalde dispersed the natives. Her B. M. sloop-of-war Amphitrite and tender was to leave Mazatlan, going south, about the 15th. The Oregon touched at San Diego on the 10th. The brig Col. Fremont and barques Bella Isidora and Hortensia were at anchor in that port.

. . . Mr. Secretary Ewing's report is also an interesting document in many respects California is engrossing, as it should do, the most marked attention from all quarters. Congress appears to have gone to work in earnest and taken hold of topics nearly concerning the prosperity of the United States.

Fracas at Acapulco

We extract from the Correspondence of Mr. Gilbert the following account of a difficulty at Acapulco, January 13th.

There was rather a ridiculous yet unpleasant affair happened this afternoon between the authorities of the town and the passengers of the Oregon. The facts, I believe, are substantially these: Some unpleasant words having occurred between a Captain Williams and Captain Pearson, (Williams, who is a passenger, charging Pearson with ungentlemanly treatment of his passengers), they finally came to blows, daring which "passage of arms" Capt. Pearson received a blow upon the nose and lip which knocked him down and started the claret, and Williams caught a blow on the cheek which left a lurid spot under his left eye.

At this moment the "friends" of both parties interfered, but unfortunately the fracas did not end here. This occurred on the beach on landing in front of the town, and only a few rods from the guard-house. The Alcalde, who was at the guard-house, seeing Capt Pearson fall, ordered a detachment of the guard down to assist him and quell the riot, and in the melee that ensued, instead of aiding Captain Pearson, one of she soldiers seeing him covered with blood took him for one of the chief rioters, and gave him a severe blow on the head with his gun and bayonet, which nearly felled the captain.

Another person, a passenger by the name of Lawson, was also struck several times by the soldiery, one blow cutting quite a gash in his scalp. Our fellow citizen, Mr. Hobson, who interfered as a peacemaker, was also slightly pricked by the bayonet, the soldier immediately mistaking his (H's) intentions; and had not H. acted on the motto that "discretion is the better part of valor" he would undoubtedly have been run through. One or two other persons were ''terribly frightened" and one soldier, who had seized on Williams, was knocked down, and one or two others were rather roughly treated Of course, considerably feeling was manifested for a while at this outrage on American citizens, and had the Americans present been armed, it is probable life would have been lost on both sides, but fortunately quiet was at length restored, and both parties saw they had been in error.

It is a mooted point which Captain made the first overt assault, but there appears to be no doubt that Williams opened the quarrel by abusing Capt. Pearson. The most unpleasant yet ridiculous part of the affair was, however, the fact that the soldiers were ordered to assist Captain Pearson, and he was the first man attacked and beaten by them! And to make the matter still more malapropos, all the nobility of the city, including the Alcade, the Commandante, and their families, had been the guests of Captain Pearson not an hour before and dined with him on board the Oregon.

At a meeting of the passengers held on board the U.S. mail steamer "Oregon" on her trip from Panama to San Francisco, on the 21st of February, 1850, the Hon. Elisha H. Allen of Mass, American Consul to Sandwich Islands, was elected president; D. M. Hutchinson of Pa., vice president, and James M. Lemon and W. P. Rodgers of New York, secretaries.

The object of the meeting having been stated to the passengers and a committee appointed to draw up resolutions, the following were read and unanimously adopted.

Resolved, That in our opinion the duty of master of the mail steamers on the Pacific coast, crowded as they are with passengers, requires an able seaman, prompt in judgment and action, who has a knowledge of men as well as ability in his profession.

Resolved, that Capt Patterson of the steamer Oregon has fully redeemed the pledge his distinguished reputation as an officer in the Navy had so fully given that he would perform every duty imposed upon him in that responsible position, and we most cordially recommend him as possessing in a very eminent degree the varied qualifications his present command so imperatively requires.

Resolved, That while we accord to captain Patterson pre-eminent qualifications for this service, we have noticed with pleasure and satisfaction the able cooperation of his officers, and we would tender to Dr. Holman, the accomplished physician of the ship, our cordial thanks fir his very skillful services to all those of us who needed them during the passage.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to Capt. Patterson and published in New York, Boston, Philadelphia Baltimore, Now Orleans, Washington, San Francisco and Panama.

Forging California Passage Tickets

A young man by the name of George W. Divine, alias James Day, was arrested in New York recently, on a charge of forging, or attempting to forge, the passage tickets issued by Howland & Aspinwall, for San Francisco. On the officer searching the person of the prisoner, he found twenty of the spurious tickets, and in a purse, $100 in gold. It appears that the accused had purchased two tickets, one a steerage passage in the Cherokee steamship for Chagres, for which he paid Howland & Aspinwall $65; and the other on the Pacific Mail Steam Company, from Panama to San Francisco, he paid $150. Having the possession of these tickets, the accused on Monday last, called upon Mr. W. L. Burroughs, printer, No. 113 Fulton street, and employed Mr. Burroughs to print twenty tickets or certificates, making facsimile. Mr. Burroughs undertook the job, and agreed to furnish him that number for $4, and to have them ready on Wednesday. Mr. Burroughs, however, not feeling satisfied with the job, believing that some fraud was about to be perpetrated, gave information to Howland & Aspinwall; and yesterday, when the young man came for the twenty certificates, made to his order from the originals, provided as above stated. Mr. Smith was waiting in the street to arrest him when he came from Mr. Burroughs office, which resulted as above described. Justice Mountford committed the accused to prison, to await a further hearing.


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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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