Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

Ship Crescent

Arrive San Francisco

May 27, 1850
Ship Crescent
Captain John Madison
From Salem, Massachusetts via Cape Horn


The ship Crescent sailed from Salem, Mass., December 6, 1849, and arrived in the Bay of San Francisco May 26, 1850.

This voyage was an enterprise of "The Salem Mechanic's and Trading and Mining Association," which purchased the ship and the major part of a cargo, consisting of building materials and provisions, while the remainder of its cargo space was filled with mixed freight, including a knocked-down steamboat intended for use on the Sacramento River.

The prime intent by any Mining Company ship was to secure a passage to California, and at the same time to make the enterprise pay its way by the profitable sale of the vessel and cargo on arrival.

Following is an account also of what happened when the Crescent and the ship Charles, one hundred days out of Boston, Mass. Both were bound for the Sandwich Islands when they came together in the Pacific Ocean, off the southern part of South America. Also presented is a roster of the officers, crew, passengers, and company of the ship Crescent, that sailed from Salem, Mass., 6th Dec. 1849, and arrived in the Bay of San Francisco 26th May 1850, with an account also of what happened when the Crescent and the ship Charles, one hundred days out of Boston, Mass., and bound for the Sandwich Islands, came together in the Pacific Ocean, off the southern part of South America.

The Company on the CRESCENT from Salem, Mass.,
and an incident of their Voyage


March 9th 1850. Saturday, In lat. 49 --47 S. long 79 --35 W. Spoke the Ship Charles from Boston 100 days out bound to the Sand Witch Island. Saw the Ship Charles to the leeward Standing N.W. as time passed on the two ships came nearer together, at 12 oct. M. the sails were seen in the distance very destinkly. At 3 oct. the two Ships had shotened the distance between them so that our Mate with his Spiglass read on her stearn Charles, Boston. The weather was fair, the sun shone out upon the broad waters of the Pacific Ocean with all its Splendor. A gentle breeze sweep across the wateres sufficient to fill the Canvis that ornamented the two Ships. The Band Came on Deck and seated themselves in a suitable situation to perform their musick to welcom the meeting of relitives friends and Streangeres that were watching in the distance to Catch a glance of some familiar Countananc that they had long been absent from.

And still nearer they came, handkerchiefs were waved, hats were swung which seemed to say welcome once more the friends that to me were so Dear in the Days of my Childhood.

The Charles crossed our bows, kind words were said of freind and home and kind looks were passed from one ship to another. The Captains passed the usual Conversation about the weather each others longitude &c. The Charles passes astearn about one half of a mile. By a request of Wm. Hardy the Captain give permission for a boat to be lowered for H. and others to go on board the Charles in which he had a sister.

The boat was maned by the 2d. mate and others and pushed of from the Ship, as soon as the boat left our main, maintop and maintopgalent sails were backed and the ship hove leawes into the wind entirely to the Controle of the wind and waves which drifted one knot per hour to the leward. As soon as they saw the boat coming towards them they wore ship, stood toward us, passed the boat and came up to the leeward of us. When within 20 rods od us they backed their main sail, main topsail and main topgaland sail, to waite for the boat--this did not Stop her headway when she was even with our stearn they Clued up her fore sail put her helm hard down luffed up into the wind under our bows, both Ships were now entirely to the controle of the wind and waves to toss them to and fro to their own liking.

Now look you to the Countanancies on board both when the Captain of the Charles cryed out to our Captain "Hard up your helm"--Which was executed with the utmost exsertion, hoping that our Ship mite pass her stern to leeward, But no, when our helm was hard up our flying jibboom passed over her quarter Deck with our flying jib set and passed through her spanker when her stern rose ona wave it caried away our flying jibboom and martingale. Of which we recovered again with the flying jibboom in two pieces. By this time the tow ships had swang broad side to each other, her quarter Came in contact with our bows which carried away the bullwork of out labboard bow even with the plankshead. by the repeated action of the two Ships assending and descending and Crashing to gether it tore away our labboard anchor which lodged on her quarter deck. Our labboard swinging studding sail boom being set it passed through her uper Cabin and pantry and doing a fierfull Damage by bracking the Crockery ware and smashing up things to a terriable rate.

As the two, ships rose and fell on the waves (which was about 12 feet high) and smashing together with awfull vengance about thirty of the Company took spars and pushed the two ships on opersit directions to a good effect' Some of our men that was on board the Charles sprung into the misin riggin and Cut away some rops that made the connection between her stern and our bows then her stern began to swing Clear from us, her top sails filled and her bows took a parting farewell by smashing in pieces our quarter boats and raking the sides of our ship with her bow anchor and bracking a hole through the planksheir, when to the unspeackable joy of all on board, the two ships parted after making themselves very familiar on short acquaintance.

The most of the damage done to our ship was the loss of our anchor and fore topmast studding sailboom and swinging studding sail boom, the latter of which was smashed up as fine as wood fited for a stove, the flying jib boom martaingail and its stays and sprit sail yard were carried away and brock in pieces, the bullworks of our labboard bow were Carried away even with the plankshier and the quarter boat was stove in peaces (woth $ 60) and a hole brock through the quarter plankshier. The main top gallant yard was brock in pieces and meny rops Carried away from the top rigging, And to finish of with her bow anchor racked the sides of our Ship in meny places nearly through.

The damage done to the Charles was very severe she had her mizzin rigging very badly ingured with the loss of her Spanker And most every thing aft of her mizzin mast above the hull was Carried away

About the time the two ships Came together our boat puled up under her lee beam and the men went on board. Wm. Harday began to look for his sister he hunted the Cabin and state rooms through to no affect and at last found her in the fore Castle very much frightened.

The Capt. wished to have us lay to till he asertained the Condition of his ship, the two ships lay within one mile of each other about 1 hour when the Charles made sail and stood away on her Cours. We Cleared away our ruins our course being the same as his we made sail and stood on after her.

I will now say a few words and try to picture in your imagination the awful and horroable feelings of the men on board While the two ships were smashing and pouncing upon each other with a vengance that seemed imposable only to the eye of the beholder. Then look not only to one end of the ship but all over it you would see not only the youne with the picture of horror on their Countenance but you would see the young the middle aged and old age with its gray locks floating in the breeze Ringing their hands and Caling on the god of mercy to spare them in the hour of peril.

With all the terrible danger that was before my eyes I Cannot help reccolecting the awful Cadaverous looking Countananc of one of the members of our Company which Come to my view as I passed over the quarter Deck, It was a man whose locks had turned gray by the meny winters that had passed over his head, he stood with his hands upraised weeping like a Child and Crying out my God what shall I do we shall all go to the bottom My god my wife will be a widow. While in another part of the ship you would see others expressing the same amount of fear only in a different form, one of those that manefested the most Courage when danger was far at a distance in this Case were the most frightened. If you could look at the men with their sinewy arms and sun burnt faces who by long experience had made the ocean as familiar to their gaze as the home of their Childhood you would see them going about the decks Crying with anguish to to Clear away the long boat, While the officers of the Ship stood between hop and fear giving no orders to the men But saying we shall all go to the bottom soon.

Then look at some of the men between decks you might see men with a stout hart weeping like Children and thinking of the loved ones at home the near and dear friends that will watch for their return with an ancious eye and watch in vain till it shall grow an old mans story upon their native shore. Some were thinking perhaps of a wife and Children that would be left behind to mourn their loss And some are thinking perhaps of a father whoes step was once fearless and bold but now whoes totering step and gray hares will go down with sorrow to the grave without a son to linger around his dying Couch until his aged hart becomes motionless in deaths icy armes. While others were preparing themselves to end their days hear in the wild ocean and breathe their last farewell to earth by going down early to a watery grave without the kind hand of an affectionate sister to Close their eyes in death or breath by thir side gentle prayers and a last farewell!

Officers on Board the Crescent:
John Madison, Captain
Robert J. Perce, First Mate
Robert Pratt, Second Mate
Benjamin Barber, First Steward
James Daugherty, Second Steward

Henry Alstin
Thomas Ashly
Daniel Fields
Nathaniel Holmes
James Kelley
James Lynch
Thomas Pray
Nicholes Simonds
George Williams
John Williams


Mrs. Lackey, wife of Albert A. Lackey
Waldo Lackey, son of Albert A. Lackey
Mary A. Lackey, daughter of Albert A. Lackey
J.W. Kimball, Boat Builder, Salem

Mining Company Members
(Note: Not all of the men listed actually sailed to California. Some were financial backers who helped underwrite the enterprise with the hope of reaping great rewards without going to the gold fields.)

Names Age Birth Place Occupation Residence Marital Status
Andrews, Gelmon 31 Essex,
Blacksmith Salem, Mass. M
Boardman, Benj. S. 31 Exeter,
Currier Salem, Mass. S
Barker, Albert M. 25 Lexington, Mass. Machinist Newton, Mass. S
Bricket, Herbert K. 20 Atckinson,
Mason Lawrence, Mass. S
Brown, John B. 29 Ashburn,
Mill Wright Lawrence, Mass. M
Buffram, William P. 25 Salem, Mass. Shoe Maker Salem, Mass. S
Burnham, Charles C. 34 Antrim, N.H. Carpenter Lawrence, Mass. M
Cearles, Wm. H. 21 Rowley, Mass. Carpenter Salem, Mass. S
Center, Andrew J. 21 Glosester, Mass. Carpenter Salem, Mass. S
Chappill, John D. 34 Marblehead, Mass. Sugar Maker Salem, Mass. S
Clark, Samuel V. 24 Tamworth, N.H. Mason Lawrence, Mass. S
Coburn, Warren R. 23 Fairlee, Vermont Painter Lawrence, Mass. S
Colburn, David H. 47 Lancester, Mass. Yeoman Leminster, Mass. S
Cross, William B. 23 Methuen, Mass Engineer Lawrence, Mass. S
Cushman, Solomon 32 Minot, Maine Stonelayer Lawrence, Mass. S
Davis, Jonathan 22 Salem, Mass. Mason Salem, Mass. S
Dickson, John S. 29 Salem, Mass. Tinman Salem, Mass. S
Dickson, Thomas 35 Davis, Mass. Carpenter Salem, Mass. S
Eastman, Winslow C. 24 Bosquine, N.H. Teamster Lawrence, Mass. S
Evens, Dudley 35 Salsbury, Mass. Currier Amesbury, Mass. S
Lackey, Albert 44 Westborough, Mass. Teacher Salem, Mass. M
Gardner, James 28 Portsmouth, N.H. Carpenter Salem, Mass. S
Gifford, Thomas J. 30 Salem, Mass. Carpenter Salem, Mass. M
Gordon, Ralph S. 42 Violintown, Conn. Trader Fitchburg, Mass. S
Graves, William 25 Salem, Mass. Bleacher Salem, Mass. M
Gilman, John
(Might be Gibson)
27 Salem, Mass. Machinist Woburn, Mass. M
Gilman, Step. S. 29 Cannan, N.H. Pump Maker Lawrence, Mass. S
Haskell, Henry W. 33 Wilton, N.H. Assistant Fitchburg, Mass. S
Harvey, Charles H. 20 Waterburough, Mass. Miller Methuen, Mass. S
Hardy, William 32 Salem, Mass. Baker Salem, Mass. S
Hardy, Charles H. 17 Salem, Mass. Baker Salem, Mass. S
Haven, Sanborn
(Might be Hazen)
24 Effin, N.H.
(Might be Effingham)
Carpenter Lawrence, Mass. S
Haze, Enes G.
(Might be Haynes)
34 Barnstid, N.H. Carpenter Lawrence, Mass. S
Herrick, Israel 45 Chester, N.H. Shoe Maker Salem, Mass. M
Jinkins, Nathaniel 26 Lee, New Hampshire Currier Salem, Mass. S
Larribee, Saml. H. 40 Salem, Mass. Baker Salem, Mass M
Madison, John 51 Ashland, Mass. Mariner Salem, Mass. M
Maxfield, James 32 Lisburn, Maine Carpenter Methuen, Mass. S
McGreger, Thomas J. 32 Vermont Stucco Worker Lawrence, Mass. S
Merriam, Jacob A. 27 Westford, Mass. Carpenter Farmer M
Morse, Payne 42 Methuen, Mass. Shoe Maker Salem, Mass. M
Morse, Edward A. 20 Methuen, Mass. Teamster Methuen, Mass. S
Newton, John H. 24 Chester, N.H. Currier Salem, Mass. M
Nichels, John. 26 Salem, Mass. Cooper Salem, Mass. S
Nickls, George S. 21 Salem, Mass. Tanner Salem, Mass. S
Swartz, Benj. G. 22 Philadelphia Morocco Dresser Lynn, Mass. S
Phillips, Ivers C. 18 Fitchburg, Mass Yeoman Fitchburg, Mass. S
Pratt, Parmenas 31 Freeport, Maine Mason Lawrence, Mass. M
Pratt, Robert K. 25 Freeport, Maine Mariner Lawrence, Mass. M
Neal, Henry R. 22 Boston, Mass. Currier Salem, Mass. S
Simonds, Dean C. 34 Salem, Mass. Blacksmith Salem, Mass. M
Smith, Albert 40 New Hampshire Cotton Manufacturer Methuen, Mass. M
Sargent, Lorenzo D. 23 Lowell, Mass. Cotton Manufacturer Lawrence, Mass. M
Young, Elonzo 27 Beverly, Mass. Yeoman Winham, Mass M
Pope, Joshua 20 Utica, New York Tinman Danvers, Mass. S
Sprey, William 35 Lynn, Mass. Shoe Maker Lynn, Mass. M
Waters, Eben 37 Salem, Mass. Coppersmith Salem, Mass. S
Whealer, Edward 20 Salem, Mass Mason Salem, Mass. S
White, Charles K. 24 Brattleborough, Vt. Carpenter Lawrence, Mass. M
White, Josiah C. 21 Brattleborough, Vt. Carpenter Lawrence, Mass. S
Whitin, Asa A. 36 Beverly, Mass. Baker Salem, Mass. S

Source: The Ships List. This list was originally extracted from the diary of William Berry Cross, one of the members of the Association. Mr. Cross, was for many years a resident engineer at Sacramento, for the California Steam Navigation Company, operating on the interior waters of California. He died in San Francisco 7th May 1891, and is buried in Sacramento. There are a number of volumes in this diary, which is a record of current events taken at the time, day by day. Narrative of the voyage was communicated by the late Henry Byron Phillips of Berkley, Calif. [Mr. Phillips, a life member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, died 22nd Nov. 1924. For fourteen years he was president and later was librarian of the California Genealogical Society. See memoir of him in the Register, vol. 81, pp 338-339 1927]

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