Home Port ° 2017 ~ 2018 Ongoing Updates

Shipping News

Map of the Black Sea.

The May Flint

Tuesday, August 27, 1895, San Francisco Call

The Big Ship May Flint, Formerly the Persian Monarch, Arrives. 

Arbitrary Ruling of the Quarantine Officer Regarding Ship Arrivals.

The American iron ship May Flint, the largest sailing vessel that has ever entered this harbor, arrived yesterday morning, 147 days from Baltimore. She is 361 feet long, 43 feet beam and 25 feet in depth, and her registered tonnage is 3287 tons. Her cargo of 4320 tons of coal puts her down in the water 23 feet. She is commanded by Captain E. D. P. Nickels.

The May Flint was formerly the Persian Monarch, one of Wilson's Atlantic liners, and was built at Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1881. In consequence of the low steam generating power of her engines she was found to be too slow for a passenger or fast freight racer; consequently she was put in the cattle trade. Her great size of deck room made her especially useful for this business, as hundreds of head of stock could be taken on board.

Last year she got ashore on the Long Island coast and the stranded steamer was purchased by Flint & Co. of New York. She was stripped of her engines, her upper deck and its houses taken off and her rig changed to a four-master, square on the three forward masts. She carries three double topsail yards, but having lost a yard from the main and mizzen mast in a Cape Horn gale she appears as a single topsail yarder, except at the fore. The captain's handsome quarters are in the spardeck, which is stationed amidships. The walls and bulkheads are iron, but artistically painted and decorated in imitation of wood.

The place is fitted more like a hotel suite of rooms, the stationary washstands and shorelike fittings of the apartments not bearing out the idea of a ship. The skipper's large stateroom is provided with the ordinary wide bed instead of the usual boarded-in bunk, and Captain Nickels states that so steady is the big ship that in all her hard weather off the Horn he was not pitched once from his old homestead couch.

On the roof of the deckhouse is a small iron structure which is the captain's office as well as his lookout station. It is provided with deadlights on all sides.

When the vessel went under the American flag she was named after the wife of W. B. Flint, the junior member of the firm. The ship encountered head winds, and the usual rough weather near Cape Horn, and lost her mizzen topmast and three topgallant masts. Three of the topsail yards rattled down on deck, and a number of sails blew away.

Her passage from the equator up was uneventful until she arrived off this port. The wind failing she drifted north, and day before yesterday she was close into Bodega Heads. Captain Nickels tried to work his ship around the point into Bodega Bay, but was unable to manage the big becalmed vessel, and the starboard anchor was let go about one-half mile from the beach.

It was bad holding ground, as they could feel in the sixty fathoms of chain dragging over the boulders on the bottom. However, the wind being so light the anchor held her, though there was only nine fathoms of water under the stern.

The steamer Alice Blanchard came along and, seeing the great ship in a dangerous position, generously offered to tow her out for the modest sum of $12,000, finally falling to $5000. Captain Nickels offered $160, and the steamer saluted by blowing her whistle and passed on. The first mate with two men in a boat went ashore to telegraph for a tug, and during their absence the Flint was enabled to slip and buoy her cable and get into safe water, when she was found by the Alert and towed into this harbor.

The wreckage of the ship James Townsend, which recently went ashore near Point Arena, has been sold to John Sheppard, a farmer living close to the place where the vessel was lost. He paid $200 for the lumber. $50 for one of the boats and $25 for the hull of the ship.

The cargo of the bark W. H. Meyer, wrecked near Port Clarence, was sold to Captain Townsend of the bark J. D. Peters for $600. The latest news state that all hands got ashore in safety and that the crew are on board of a revenue cutter.

The strict ruling of Quarantine Officer Chalmers regarding the stoppage of all foreign port vessels on the quarantine grounds until after his visit is working a great and unnecessary inconvenience to vessels entering this port. A heavily laden ship being towed in with the tide cannot stop below Alcatraz except by turning completely around, incurring an expenditure of time, extra labor and extra towing expense.

Merchant's Exchange Building, San Francisco.

The officer being notified by the Merchants' Exchange (image right) reporter from Point Lobos of the arrival of a vessel has ample time to board her in the bay; but the duties or pleasures of Dr. Chalmers detaining him elsewhere, vessels are constantly being put to the delay of awaiting his appearance.

When the ship Sierra Nevada was recently towing up the bay, the captain of the tug ran under a Blow bell, waiting for the quarantine boat. That vessel did not appear and the ship prepared to anchor, the tug casting off and steaming away. Then the doctor appeared and ordered the ship back to the quarantine station. She was without a tug, but making sail tried to work basic and came near going aground on the Berkeley flats. A tug from another company came to her assistance and towed her down to the mouth of the harbor, the medical martinet keeping alongside in his boat, but refusing to board until the ultimate fathom had been traversed.

Last Sunday afternoon the brig Lurline was being towed in and some distance behind her was the steamer Kahului. Dr. Chalmers, who had been out on the bay with a party of guests, steamed past the towing tug and ordered her captain to stop until the steamer Kahului was inspected. As the tug and her tow were in the midst of a fleet of racing yachts and at the mercy of an incoming tide running five or six miles an hour the order was unreasonable. A slacking-up of the tug's speed would have dropped the towline down under the propeller or caused a swerving to one side, which among the fast sailing vessels of the regatta would have been a stupid movement. The doctor refused to board the brig and went on to the steamer.

The Lurline was anchored in the stream off Vallejo-street wharf, and the doctor went to the regatta with his tug load of guests, leaving the passengers and people on the Lurline to await his pleasure for several hours as a vicarious punishment to the captain of the tug.

San Francisco Bay. 1899.

Topographic Map. San Francisco Bay. 1899.

A team of horses left standing in front of the Oakland ferry landing yesterday became frightened, and running away collided with an express wagon driven by Jake Abrams and belonging to Jacobs & Co. Abrams was knocked down, and the team continuing on in its mad speed ran over Miss Grace McIvor of 715 Twelfth street, Oakland, who was on her way home with her father. Abrams and Miss McIvor were taken to the Receiving Hospital, where it was found that she had her right hip fractured, a finger broken, and was bruised about the head and face. Abrams was bruised about the body and injured internally. He is the man who recently picked up the fruit that was going to waste on the wharves and distributed it around to poor people. It is not known who was the driver of the runaway team.

Last Sunday a party of the employees of Newman & Levison chartered the yacht Ethel S for a regatta of their own. They passed through Raccoon Straits and headed for Vallejo. They did not return Sunday night, and grave fears were entertained for their safety. On Monday morning the party returned, having been becalmed in San Pablo bay, and put in the night fighting mosquitoes.

Maritime Marin.

A small yawl belonging to the Corinthian Yacht Club, with several persons on board, was capsized in Raccoon Straits Sunday. They were rescued by George Flesher of Tiburon, who hurried to the scene in a launch.

Henry Smith, a negro, was arrested on the water front yesterday morning, charged with having pernicious literature in his possession. When searched at the police station a gold watch and chain were found on him, which turned out to have been stolen from Frank Anderson, a sailor.


The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Kindly Kindly support our work.


DALevy @ MaritimeHeritage.org
164 Robles Way
Suite 237
Vallejo, California
94591 ~ U.S.A.


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.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.