Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

SS Pacific

Arrive San Francisco

August 5, 1849
American ship Pacific, 194 days from New York via Rio de Janeiro
Captain Hall J. Tibbetts (from New York to Rio de Janeiro)
Captain George T. Estabrooks (from Rio de Janeiro to San Francisco)


Along with the list was a letter of commendation was published in the Alta California to Captain George T. Estabrooks expressing "some small degree of the gratitude we owe you for the kindness shown us, on all occasions, during your command of that ship from Rio de Janeiro to this port. We assure you we shall ever carry with us a pleasing recollection of a voyage that, though often attended by trials and dangers, has been a source of so much pleasure to us through your humanity and unsurpassed seamanship."

James P. Delgado, in To California by Sea, cites Stillman from Around the Horn to California, as follows:

Jacob D.B. Stillman, aboard Pacific, said the captain would not even discuss passenger complaints. When a committee of passengers complained about the food, the captain "abused us roundly, and told us if he had any more trouble with us, he would fire the magazine and blow us all to hell together. On another occasion the captain told Stillman he was withholding pickles and vegetables until the passengers got scurvy. Stillman also complained about the way the ship was worked: The master damns the mate, the mate damns the second mate, and the second mate damns the sailors, who damn each other and the cook. . . In short, kindness is a thing I have not seen on board our ship . . . Our Captain, having passed his life among seamen, is incapable of treating passengers any other way.

. . . If a ship-master ever exhibits any gentlemanly spirit, he owes it to something else than the education he receives at sea. Stillman and his fellow passengers triumphed over their captain, who was removed from the ship by the American Consul at Rio de Janeiro, where more than one skipper was removed from command.

Captain Estabrooks joined the ship at Rio, and thus the letter to the Alta California.

The Huntington Library, San Marino, California has a typescript copy of a journal by passenger Charles Williams from January 22-August 5, 1849, of this voyage. The Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts holds the original (MS. K.1.9.) Both versions include a list of the passengers in the first cabin. There are a number of transcription errors in the typescript.

The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, is holding an Anonymous. Journal, January 22-August 5, 1849, of this voyage (# C-F 216). On basis of the type of paper used and the uniformness and quality of the writing, it is probable that this is a holograph copy rather than the original journal. There is no indication of when or by whom the copy might have been made.

When they stopped at Rio de Janeiro, a large portion of the first class passengers protested to the U. S. Consul Gorham D. Parks that Captain Tibbetts was insane and intemperate. After a delay of several days, Parks removed Tibbetts from command and appointed Estabrooks in his place. Estabrooks refused to allow Tibbetts to continue in the vessel to San Francisco even though Tibbetts was half owner of the vessel.

Tibbetts returned to New York, where he created a stir among the shipping and insurance interests, arranged for transportation to San Francisco via Panama, and met the Pacific to resume command when she arrived.

August 10, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco

San Francisco. Aug 10, 1849

To Capt. Geo. T. Estabrooks, Dear Sir:

The undersigned, passengers recently arrived on board the ship Pacific from New York, beg leave to use this method of expressing to you some small degree of the gratitude we owe you for the kindness shown us, on all occasions, during your command of that ship from Rio Janeiro to this port. We assure you we shall ever carry with us a pleasing recollection of a voyage that, though often attended by trials and dangers, has been a source of so much pleasure to us through your humanity and unsurpassed seamanship:

J. D. B. Stillman, M.D., D. W. C. Brown, James A. Morgan, N.Y. Addison S. Clark, Geo.; J. C. Angel, John Cheney, Edward W. Lefferts, N.Y.; Ezra A. Hopkins, Mich.; Hiram Bingham, Chas H. Williams, Elihu Matton, B. F. Reed, E. H. Millner, Jr., P. E. Walden, John S. Dunham, N.Y., Warren S. Smith, Augustine W. Hale, J. Lawrence Pool, N. J.; W. K. Sherwood, N. Y.; B. R. W. Strong, N. J.; W. J. Bigelow, Wm. T. Emmons, J. F. Stacy, Richard Westlake, Z. Snyder, Horatio Emmons, J. Van Wagener, Harvey Caswell, Charles Thomas, Levi M. Kellog, W, H. Barrett, N. Y.; H. A. H. Morris, N.J.; Hart Benton, Richard M. Gulick, Geo. Higgins, Jr., Jacob Drake, Geo. L Powers, Philip H. Stout, Jas. W. Bingham, Wm. Dill, Wm. B. Jones, Henry W. Jones, M.D.; A. S. Marvin, Jr., N.Y.; J. Ross Brown, Lieut. U. S. R.; Mark Hopkins, John Sowen, J. S. Layton, Samuel McKenney, John S. Fisk, N. Y.; John Ingalls, O. N. Humphrey, Con.; John Bettis, Jr., N. Y.; James B. Packard, Con.; Arthur M. Ebbets, Samuel H. Thompson, N. K. Masten, Benj. palmer, Frederick Griffing, Mrs. C. F. J. Griffing, Gilbert Reynolds, N.Y.; J. W. Allen, Ohio; James H. Gager, John Mattoon, A. W. Gay, J. L. G. Cannon, Henry D. Cook, F. Squre, J. A. Aeschimann, E. Slatzmann, J. D. Bell, W. H. Julius, J. Peeler, N. D. Morgan, N.Y.; G. W. Adams, Con.; F. A. P. Stedman, John J. Jones, James Guernsey, E. C. Matthewson, Jesse Griffin, N.Y., Abm. Sulger, Phil.; Wm. Lackerman, Dr. H. H. Beals, N.Y.

To the Passengers of the ship Pacific, Dear Sirs,

I received your note, dated Aug. 10, expressing your gratitude to me for kindness shown you during your passage from Rio to San Francisco. Gentlemen, it was with pleasure that I received your letter; for it enables me to feel that I have the good wishes of you all, and I hope I shall retain it when we are all bountifully supplied with the gold of California. It would give me more pleasure to look forward to our return, if I could have the honor of commanding a ship, and taking you all back to New York, and land you with the same good feeling that now exists, and I trust has existed throughout our passage,


August 30, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco

BINGHAM, REYNOLDS, BARTLETT & Co., Wholesale Dealers and Commission Merchants, corner of Sansome street and Broadway, above DeWitt & Harrison, are receiving and now opening large invoices of goods per ships Pacific, Peytona, John G. Costar, Lota, Architect, etc., etc., comprising woolen Clothing, Boots and Shoes, 60 bales Blankets, white, blue, and green; 60 brls. Rio Sugar; 30 Pilot Bread; 50 ground Coffee; Flour, Pork, Butter, Cheese, Hams, Tobacco, Segars, assorted Hardware, Carpenters' Tools, Pick-axes, Sal Eratus, Hickory Shirts, Flannel Wrappers, Drawers, etc.; fancy Shirts, white do; Hats and Caps, California styles; 50 brls. draught Ale, bottled Scotch do; 100 brls. Brandy; 20 brls. Gin; 25 brls. Aguardiente and Rum; Wines; Saddlery; Stationery; Wrapping Paper; Friction Matches, etc., etc. These goods are offered at the lowest prices; purchasers will find it to their advantage to give us a call.


Adams, G. W., Con.
Aeschimann, J. A.
Allen, J. W., Ohio
Angel, J. C.
Barrett, W. H., N.Y.
Beals, Dr. H. H., N.Y.
Bell, J. D.
Bettis, John, Jr., N.Y.
Bigelow, W. J.
Bingham, Hiram
Bingham, Jas. W.
Bowen, John
Brown, D. W. C.
Brown, J. Ross, Lieut., U.S.R.
Cannon, J. L. G.
Cartwright, A. D.
Caswell, Harvey
Cheney, John
Clark, Addison S. , Geo. (sic)
Cook. Henry D.
Dill, Wm.
Drake, Jacob
Dunham, John S., N. Y.
Ebbets, Arthur M.
Emmons, Horatio
Emmons, Wm. T.
Fisk, John S., N.Y.
Gager, James H.
Gay, A. W.
Griffin, Jesse, N.Y.
Griffing, Frederick
Griffing, Mrs. C. F. J.
Guernsey, James
Gulick, Richard M.
Hale, Augustine W.
Hall, Edwards, M. D.
Hall, R. B., M. D.
Higgins, George, Jr.
Hopkins, Ezra A., Michigan
Hopkins, Mark
Humphrey, O. N., Conn.
Ingalls, John
Jones, Henry W., M. D.
Jones, John J.
Jones, Wm. B.
Julius, W. H.
Kellog, Levi M.
Lackerman, Wm.
Layton, J. S.
Leffrts , Edward W., N. Y.
Marvin, A. S., Jr., N.Y.
Masten, N.K. (Nathan Keyes Masten, per his great-grandson)
Matroon, Elilas( )
Matthewson, E.C.
Matthewson, R.
Mattoon, John
McKenney, Samuel
Miller, E. H., Jr.
Morgan, James A. , N.Y.
Morgan, N. D., N.Y.
Morris, H. A. H., N. J.
Packard, James B., Con.
Palmer, Benj.
Peeter, J.
Pool, J. Lawrence, N. J.
Powers, Geo. I.
Powers, Ten Eyck
Reed, B. F.
Reynolds, Gilbert, N.Y.
Saltzmann, E.
Smith, Warren S.
Snyder, Z.
Square, F.
Stacy, J.F.
Stedman, F. A. P.
Stillman, J. D. B., M.D.
Stout, Philip H.
Sulger, Abm., Phil.
Thomas, Charles
Thompson, Samuel H.
Van Wagener, J.
Van Wagener, U.
Walden, P. E.
Westlake, Richard
Williams, Chas. H.

August 30, 1849, Alta California, San Francisco

Mr. Editor: Having observed in your paper of the 23d inst., the publication of a correspondence between Mr. C. S. Bolts, on the part of a committee appointed at a public meeting held at Monterey, and myself, as Agent for the United States Mail Steamer in the Pacific, I solicit the insertion of another correspondence with the U. S Mail Agent, to substantiate the facts as related in my letter, shewing forth the reason why the Steamship Panama, did not touch at Monterey on her first trip to San Francisco.

The Commanders of the Company's Steamships have instructions to land the mail regularly at Monterey and San Diego, and they are men of too much character to think of "trifling with the rights of the people of Monterey," as alleged by that Committee. There may have been a misunderstanding on the part of the Commander of the "California," who I think was not aware of the importance of touching there, having recently taken charge of the Steamer, yet notwithstanding, he remained off the port some time in a thick fog and would have touched there could he have seen the land.

Boat landing at the Chagres River in Panama prints available.
Boat Landing at the Chagres River, Panama.
Prints available by clicking on the image.

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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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