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SS McKim

October 6, 1847, Californian

The Mexican Tariff -- We learn, says the New Orleans Times of the 3d inst., that up to the departure of the steamer McKim from Vera Cruz to the 20th ult, goods were entered at the rate of duties prescribed by General Scott, no official notification having been received, at that date, of the new tariff prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury.

October 25, 1849, Weekly Alta California, San Francisco

STEAMER MCKIM -- The fine, commodious steam propeller, McKim, sails from this place tomorrow on her first trip up the Sacramento. Invitations have been extensively issued, and a large party of ladies and gentlemen will doubtless attend the excursion.

October 25, 1849, November 1, 1849, Weekly Alta California, San Francisco

STEAMER McKIM FOR SACRAMENTO CITY, touching at Benicia. This vessel having been put in perfect order, and having ample accommodations, will commence her regular trips to Sacramento City, on Friday, October 26, leaving precisely at 7 o'clock A.M. The following rates for freight and passage have been established, will will continue until further notice:

Passage in the cabin, to or from Sacramento City $30
Passage on deck, to or from Sacramento City $20
Berth, if used, all of which are in the State Rooms $5
Meals, which will be provided for cabin passengers only $1.50
Passage to or from Benicia, either way Half price
Heavy freight, per 100 lbs $2.50
Measurement Goods, per foot $1,00

Passage secured only at our office, and of R. Gelston & Co., Sacramento city, by the purchase of tickets. The McKim, until further notice, will leave San Francisco Mondays and Thursdays at 7 a.m. Returning, will leave Sacramento city, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 a.m.

All freight intended for the McKim must be delivered at our warehouse early in the day previous to the day of sailing.

Simmons, Hutchinson & Co.

November 1, 1849, Weekly Alta California notes that the McKim, Farnum, New Orleans was in the port of San Francisco as of October 3, 1849.

The November 3, 1849, Placer Times: Died, on board the steamer McKim on her passage from New Orleans to San Francisco, in latitude 10 North, longitude 110 West, Wm. L'Hommedieu of Mobile, Alabama.

November 8, 1849, Weekly Alta California

(Editorial Correspondence.)
Sacramento City, October 31, 1849
The steamer McKim left here for San Francisco, in fine style, on Sunday last. She was loaded down with passengers, and so soon as she shall establish her regular trips, and her superiority become known, she will give a new impetus to this flourishing inland city. We are now anxiously awaiting the McKim's return, as it is expected she will bring up the Panama mail.

November 22, 1849, Alta California
(From the Placer Times of November 3)

Arrival Extraordinary -- Our city was surprised and pleased by the appearance on Saturday evening last, of the steamer McKim from San Francisco. As she came up to her berth she was announced by the discharge of cannon and cheered by the acclamations of the thousands who crowded to the river's bank to witness the arrival of this first large steamer intended to play upon the waters of the beautiful Sacramento. Nothing could exceed the gratification and joy of our citizens at learning that large and deep as she was (drawing 8 feet water) she had made the trip in seventeen running hours from San Francisco, and that she had met with only one delay, by grounding on the bar formed by the embouchure of the Ulpinos Creek, a few miles above the city of Suisun.

The McKim left San Francisco at 12 M on Friday, the 26th ult. She made the passage to Benicia against a strong ebb tide, in a little less than live hours. Owing to the difficulty of navigating the Suisun Bay, she laid lor the night at Benicia. Leaving there early on Saturday morning, she threaded without delay the serpentine channel of the Suisun, and reached Sacramento City in twelve running hours, having laid for more than an hour on the bar spoken of above.

Sacramento 1800s.

One reason why the McKim was detained on the bar alluded to was the fact that a large sloop was lying aground directly in the channel and the McKim, in attempting to pass outside of her, necessarily came into shoal water. It is believed, therefore, that there is not the slightest danger of this accident occurring again, specially as it is supposed that, by relieving her of her spars and other unnecessary sea furniture, she may be so lightened as never to draw over seven feet of water

The McKim is a propeller, having an engine of two hundred horse power of the Ericsson patent. She is a staunch vessel, having been built for the coast and gulf trade on the Atlantic. She has been newly fitted up. cleaned and painted, and has sixty excellent berths. The best arrangements are made for the accommodation of her passengers, and as she has an excellent steward, we have no doubt she will soon secure the public patronage she so well deserves.

Capt. Macy, and her second captain, Mr Brenham are highly spoken of by the passengers who came up on her trial trip; and all unite in praise of Lieut. Blair, U.S.N., who acted as pilot.

The McKim came up again in line style on Wednesday, and left on Friday morning, crowded with passengers. Her departure was attended with all the bustle and confusion occasioned by the leaving of an Atlantic steamship in New York or Boston.

December 6, 1849, Weekly Alta California

WELD & CO's INLAND EXPRESS by steamer between San Francisco, Sacramento city, Stockton, Benicia and New York. In In connection with Tiffany & Co.'s Express from Sacramento city, to Vernon; and to Culloma, Mormon Island, and other parts of the mining region upon the branches of the Sacramento. The subscribers would give notice that they have established an Express between San Francisco and Sacramento city, with offices at Benecia and New York, and that the line will be immediately extended to Stockton. We will attend to the carriage and delivery of specie, gold dust, and parcels of every description; to the collection of drafts, notes, bills, etc; to the purchase and forwarding of goods; and to the transaction of all other business which may be entrusted to us. A responsible agent will pass between San Francisco and Sacramento city, by the mail steamer Mint, making three trips each way per week. Another agent will be placed on board the steamer McKim, upon the commencement of her trips, and a daily communication will be established as soon as other steamers shall be placed upon the line. For security, all valuable parcels will be deposited in our iron safe, on board, and the utmost promptitude and exactness in forwarding and delivering all parcels entrusted to us may be relied upon. Specie,gold dust and parcels for the United States, will be forwarded through the most responsible houses in San Francisco. In San Francisco and Sacramento city, parcels will be received at the offices, and will be delivered in any part of the city. Offices. San Francisco, Sacramento street, first door above Kearny; Benicia; New York; Sacramento city. We solicit the patronage of the public.

December 31, 1849, Daily Alta California


STEAMER McKIM -- New Arrangement -- This Steamer will hereafter leave this place every SATURDAY Evening at 4 o'clock. Freight will be received and stored, at any time, on board the store ship Florence, where the McKim will load. Rates of Freight, $2,50 per 100 pounds; measurement goods $1 per foot. Passage $25; to Benicia $10. Meals extra. No deck tickets sold. SIMMONS, HUTCHINGSON & Co.

June 14, 1850, Sacramento Transcript, Sacramento, California

Disaster to the McKim.

Sacramento River. Bob Madgic.

As the Gold Hunter was on her downward trip last Tuesday, just as she was leaving the Straits of Carquinez, she came into collision with the McKim, on her upward trip from San Francisco. The accident happened about 9 o'clock in the evening. The Gold Hunter was running close into the larboard shore. Her pilot saw a light ahead, which he supposed to be on board a vessel at anchor. It proved to be, however, on board the McKim, which was coming up to the leeward of the Gold Hunter. The McKim perceiving the situation of things endeavored to get to the windward of the Gold Hunter by crossing her bows. But the two steamers were too close together, and although the engines of the Gold Hunter were reversed, and had made several revolutions, a collision was unavoidable.

The Gold Hunter struck the McKim fair, about amidships, and cut her down below the water's edge. The Gold Hunter sustained no loss, except the loss of her stem. The McKim, of course, soon began to sink, but she was heading for the shore, and her engines were kept working until the water put her fires out. She, however, managed to reach the shore. She struck bottom in two fathoms of water at high tide. No one was injured in the collision. The Gold Hunter took the passengers, (seventy-five in number) with their baggage, from the wreck, carried them to San Francisco, and then brought them to Sacramento, where they arrived yesterday morning.

A schooner has started from Sacramento to assist in getting the wreck up. The Gold Hunter also took twenty-five men from the Bay, with tools, and landed them on the wreck. The pilot of the Gold Hunter thinks that the McKim may be raised in the course of a week, but serious doubts are entertained by others as to whether she will be worth any thing hereafter.

July 18, 1850, Daily Alta California: DAILY LINE FOR SACRAMENTO CITY: The subscribers will dispatch a steamer daily at 4 o'clock (Sundays excepted) from Clark's Point for Sacramento City, touching at Benicia. The McKim, Captain P. E. LeFevre, will leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Freight, or orders for it when it is to be lightered, will be received at any hour at our Steamboat Office in Flint & Peabody's building, foot of Broadway. Simmons, Hutchinson & Co.

October 17, 1850, Daily Alta California: STEAMER MCKIM FOR SALE. A fine boat for the Oregon or Southern Coast Trade. The commodious and popular steam propeller McKim, in complete running order, together with new boilers and other machinery, daily expected to arrive from the United States, is offered for sale. Apply to Everett & Co., Howison's Wharf.

March 29, 1851, Sacramento Daily Union: The McKim leaves on Monday for Panama. On January 16, 1852, the Sacramento Transcript noted that the James Perkins was carrying machinery for the McKim: 1 boiler, 2 propellers, 2 shafts, 2 plates boiler iron, 1 box nails, 4 bearer bars, 4 fire doors.

March 31, 1851, Daily Alta California: For Panama -- The McKim will leave this afternoon, with a good load of passengers, for Panama.

April 2, 1851, Sacramento Daily Union: Cleared Steamer McKim, Hall, Panama. J. C. Titcomb.

February 9, 1852, Daily Alta California: Steamer McKim uncertain when she would leave San Diego, being in distress.

May 15, 1852, Daily Alta California: The propeller McKim is the only vessel in port. She leaves for San Francisco "one of these days." A. R.

Monterey, California.

May 24, 1852, Daily Alta California: Monterey Correspondence, April 22, 1852.

The McKim is the only vessel in port; one of her crew has died since she arrived. Nearly all of her hands have left her. She will probably remain here poco tiempo. A.R.

May 29, 1852 and May 31, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

On board the steamer McKim, sailed from Panama 28th November last, now laid up in Monterey repairing. (Sacramento Daily Union noted that the "steamer McKim burst her boiler on the passage up, but we have not been able to learn the particulars.") In November 1851, the SS McKim sailed from Panama and by May 24, 1852 was laid up in Monterey for repairs. Extract from the log book -- died at sea:

Dec 6. Robert Gemmel, Canada; 7th, Wm. Cotts, England; Amasa Rowell, Michigan; 10th, Neil McQuarry, Ireland; 11th, Jno Clapp, Jr., Massachusetts; Wm. Oakstrong, New York, seaman; Jno. Sayers, Germany; 15th, Benj. Herrick, Maine; 17th, Jos Bolen, Georgia; 24th, Lovan Conaway, Maine; 27th, Wm. W. Johnson, Georgia; Jan 2d, Jno. M. Dodge, Mass. Died in California - Feb 10th, Jno. Cart, Indiana; March 1st, J. J. Simons, Georgia; 14th, Geo. Sandford, New York; April 2d, Jno, W. Moore, Baltimore; May 3d. A. Bisson, Canada, seaman; 13th, Michael Conway, Philadelphia, steward.

June 2, 1852, Daily Alta California: Memoranda -- The Laura Bevan brings up Capt. Osborne and four passengers from steamer McKim, all the others had left previously.

June 12, 1852, Daily Alta California: Monterey, June 6th, 1852. -- The McKim is still here. She has been deserted by her captain and entire crew. A. R.

February 27, 1853, Daily Alta California: District Court - Delos Lake, Judge - Feb 25. Redfern vs. Steamer McKim - Judgement entered upon report of referee hereof refiled.

August 24, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union: WATER PIPES -- The propeller McKim arrived at this port on Monday night, containing a large portion of the pipe purchased by the city from George Gordon, for the contemplated water works.

September 22, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union: The old steamer McKim has been thoroughly renovated.

October 6, 1853, Daily Alta California: Shipping Intelligence
Cleared, Steamer McKim, Jones, Crescent City; R. Chenery.

January 11, 1854, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

The First Steamboat in California.

Few of our citizens who arrived in California after 1819, are aware that the first steamboat in California was built at Benicia, and launched in August, 1819, by the celebrated Boston Association, known as the "Edward Everett Company." This boat was brought out in pieces from Boston, and she was put together at the West Point, in Benicia, and launched as above stated. She was seventy feet in length, with twenty-five feet beam. She had an engine of eight horse power, and made about 4 knots an hour, against wind and tide. Her cabin and decks would contain comfortably about forty passengers. She made her first trip to Sacramento in September, and returned shortly after, when she was sold to Simmons, Hutchinson & Co. for $6,000. cash. She was afterwards engaged on the Yuba River. We well remember the arrival of this steamer (the "Pioneer") at the then inconsiderable collection of huts and tents at Sacramento, for Sutter's Embarcadero.) Guns were fired, and loud cheer, and congratulations welcomed the advent of the first steamer.

The McKim owned by Simmons, Hutchinson & Co. arrived in Sacramento about a month later, and was soon followed by the Senator. The ship Leonore also built a steamboat, which failed to reach its destination. We also learn that as early as 1847, the Russians, from Sitka, fitted out a small steamboat about the size of a ship's long-boat, which made a trip, or part of one, to Sutter's Embarcadero. A Philadelphia vessel brought out in 1849, a miniature steamboat about eighteen feet long, which made excellent time from San Francisco to Sacramento in the latter part of September. But with the exception of the Russian attempt, the "Pioneer" claims to be what her name designated the first steamboat ever ploughing the waters of the placid Sacramento. The Placer Times, then published in Sacramento," had a notice of her arrival, which may easily be found, if files are yet in existence. The "Pioneer" was commanded by one of the editors of this paper. Adv. and Chronicle

January 19, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

From Klamath: The steamer McKim, or Crescent City, arrived yesterday from Crescent City. During a blow on Sunday, the McKim dragged her anchor and went ashore on a reef in the bay, where she lay two days. She was got off, however, without much damage. The Purser reports that just before they left, two couriers had arrived from Smith's River, bringing intelligence of a desperate fight between a party of Indians and whites, in which seven Indians were killed. A company of volunteers immediately started out from Crescent City for the scene of conflict, which was about ten miles up the river. The merchants at that port are driving a brisk business, and forward by this steamer nearly one hundred thousand dollars. She brought twenty passengers . . . The McKim succeeded in floating from her disagreeable position, and this morning she arrived at this port without having sustained any damage.

February 4, 1854, Daily Alta California: Shipping Intelligence
Cleared: Steamer McKim, Smith, Crescent City. R. Chenery

August 13, 1855, Daily Alta California: For Coos Bay -- The Screw Steamer McKim left the harbor yesterday for Coos Bay.

December 17, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

STEAMBOATING. The independent or opposition steamer, McKim, arrived about nine o'clock P.M. on on Tuesday, having left San Francisco at tour o'clock P. M. on Monday, and been detained from about two o'clock a. m. till four o'clock P.M. on Tuesday, on Snag Poiut, which is said to be about ten miles above New York. She left on the downward trip about eleven o'clock yesterday, but not without a struggle for passengers. As usual under the circumstances, there were two sets of runners in the field the advocates respectively of the merits of the McKim and the New World. The fare was fixed by the former at two dollars and by the latter, (until the former had left) at one dollar. The scene just previous to the departure of the McKim reminded us of the past, when Cabby, Phil Smith, Stonecifer, etc., were in full feather and apparent lords of the levee.

December 21, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union

Independent Steam Barge Line for San Francisco.

Freight per Ton $2,50. Passage $2. The steamer McKim, Captain J. R. Fleming, will run regularly, commencing on Tuesday, December 8th, leaving from the storeship Dimon, foot of J. Street at two o'clock P.M. NOTICE: Leaving Sacramento on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and returning on alternate days. For freight or passage, apply on board or to GREEN WILDES, Agent, Brick store, on Front street, between I and J streets, opposite the landing.

December 25, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union

Action against Owners of the McKim

The California Steam Navigation Company has commenced an action against Hugh S. May, Phillip Hinkle and Alfred K. Fisher, owners of the steamer McKim, to recover $50,000 damages for an alleged breach of contract. It is alleged that Richard Chenery, President of the Company, in September, 1854, sold the McKim to defendants, with the restriction that she was not to be used for ten years in the navigation of the Sacramento, San Joaquin or Feather rivers. And in the event of this condition being unobserved, then the purchasers were to pay $50,000 for breach of the agreement. Chenery has since assigned his interest to the Steam Navigation Company, and they now have brought the present action. San Francisco Herald, Dec. 22d.

May 19, 1858, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.


. . . The propeller McKim, as most of our old residents will remember, was the first large vessel which navigated the Sacramento by steam. She had doubled Cape Horn, and arrived at San Francisco, Oct. 3d. She was immediately put in order by her agents, Simmons, Hutchinson & Co., for the Sacramento trade. On the 25th she was advertised for regular trips, and on the next day left on her first voyage up the Sacramento. A large party of invited guests were on board. It was seriously doubted whether a vessel drawing eight feet of water, and of the tonnage of the McKim, could make the journey. The complete success of the experiment was demonstrated by her arrival at the levee of this city on Saturday, October 27, 1849 amid the firing of canon, the cheers of the crowd lining the shore, and a general jubilee throughout the town for the next twenty-four hours. It is but just to remark, that the confidence of the agents in the possibility of the McKim making the trip, was grounded on the success achieved by the bark Whiton, in ascending this river in April, 1849. The Whiton was of 241 tons burthen, and drew nine and one-half feet of water. Nevertheless she came up the river with royal yards crossed, in seventy-two hours from San Francisco, and one hundred and forty days from New York. To the boldness, enterprise and skill which marked this feat, are we indebted for much of the energy and daring which stimulated our early achievements in steam navigation. The Whiton's remarkable trip set up the egg on end.

The incidents of the McKim's excursion are, no doubt, fresh in the minds of those who will trouble themselves to read this story; but, by way of preserving them in our files, they will "bear copying from the columns of the Placer Times, of November 3d:

The McKim left San Francisco at 12 m. on Friday, the 26th ult. She made the passage to Benicia against a strong ebb tide in a little less than five hours. Owing to the difficulty of navigating Suisun Bay, she laid by for the night at Benicia. Leaving there early on Saturday morning, she threaded without delay the serpentine channel of the Suisun, and reached Sacramento City in twelve running hours, having laid for more than an hour on the bar formed by the embouchure of Ulpinos creek, a few miles above the city of Suisun.

The navigation of the Sacramento by large steam carriers was now established. The McKim arrived and departed, attended with all the bustle and confusion occasioned by the leaving of an Atlantic steamship in New York and Boston. But a powerful rival entered the lists against her before she bad completed her third trip. This was the fine old steamer Senator, which arrived at San Francisco November 1, twenty-two days from Panama, where she touched en route from New York. She made her experimental voyage on the 6th November, 1849. The Sacramentans again thronged the levee, again brought out the great gun, and gave the stranger a noisy ovation. The subsequent incidents of the competition and success of the line to which the Senator belonged, merge into the history of the present day. When the career of these pioneer steam vessels began, the fare from this city to San Francisco was thirty dollars.

The innovation of the McKim and Senator upon our inland waters was like the sudden dash of whales in upon a school of small fish. The tribe of Lilliput steamers, which had made themselves so noisy and conspicuous about our levee, dispersed and fled in all directions. Two or three became the pioneers in the new era of navigation for the "rising cities" on the Upper Sacramento and Feather rivers. Others paddled down stream, to try their fortunes on the San Joaquin. The names of all which may justly claim the honor of new enterprises above this city, are not preserved, though we think we can identify as the first which ascended as high as the mouth of the Feather river, a little steamer called the Washington. . . .

November 8, 1859, California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences

The First Mail up the Sacramento.

Some months since we noticed an article in some of our city papers giving an account of the first mail that was carried up the Sacramento river, and if we recollect rightly, the writer stated that Captain Swain had $600 for carrying the mail to Sacramento. Such was not the fact in the case. The first mail that was carried up that river was carried under a contract made with Major Allen, Mail Agent, with Simmons, Hutchins & Co., and that time one of the most wealthy and influential firms of this city, who afterwards started the famous propeller steamer McKim, which coined money for a while. The first mail was carried on board the schooner John Dunlap. Captain Swain, on the 26th of July, 1849. The price paid was $600 a trip (once a week). The freight and passenger list on that trip amounted to between $6,000 and $7,000. We can well remember those days. Soon after, August 3d, we made a trip up the river on the same schooner. Captain Macy was her commander then, and he afterwards took command of the steamer McKim. At this date. August 3d, we were making our first trip up this famous river and leading a band of eleven men to the mines. Capt Roland Gelston was then stationed on board the store-ship at the Levee. From thence we went to the mines to ''dig gold," and shortly afterwards, about one month, we commenced carrying an express mail bag from Mormon Island to San Francisco and back, as our business led us to make frequent trips up and down the river.

So we can well remember the facts relative to the mails of those days, and can also claim to be the "Pioneer Express Carrier" up that river, and to the miners on the North and South Forks of the American River. At that time a letter cost something; the United States postage was forty cents a single and eighty cents a double letter, and the express charges were one dollar per single letter and two dollars for a double letter. This charge may seem incredibly great for carrying a letter twenty-five or thirty miles above Sacramento, but it only cost from $100 to $150 to go to San Francisco and return. Great prices and great profits make great times, but it was not of a durable kind, and has passed away.

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