Home Port ° 2017 ~ 2018 Ongoing Updates

Passengers, Seaports, Captains

San Francisco during the Gold Rush. 1849.

 SS Sonoma

Details and Images of Steamships

A to C ° D to G ° H to M ° N to O ° P to S ° T to Z
Lists are incomplete; information is added as located and as time permits.

The New York Times, December 30, 1900, New York, New York, USA


From Australia to New York in Twenty-nine Days. 
Heavy Mail Wagon Rushed Across Town
Sacks Were Quickly Loaded on the Campania.

To place on board the Cunard liner Campania 250 bags of New Zealand and Australian mail, the greater part of which was consigned to the British Government, three mall wagons dashed across town from the Grand Central Station to the Cunard piers yesterday morning. The dash in itself was nothing unusual but when it is known that the mail they carried had been rushed as fast as the magnificent new twin-screw trans-Pacific liner Sonoma of the Oceanic Steamship Company of San Francisco could propel it, and then transported across the continent of North America on the swiftest mail specials that ingenious American railway manipulators could furnish to connect with the outgoing Campania, the scope of the undertaking can be appreciated.

With the reports of her British Majesty's officials in the Far East on board, besides other important documents, papers, and communications of State, the Sonoma sailed from Melbourne November 30 and Auckland December 5, The steamer is the fastest of trans-Pacific liners. After touching at Honolulu on the 17th inst. for mail consigned principally to Americans, theSonoma was pushed at full speed and passed in the Golden Gate at 6 o clock P M Christmas Eve.

Then, the race against time began. A special train to start it on its dash across the continent was in waiting. The attach s of the San Francisco Post Office who had been assigned to the task of transferring the mail from steamer to train did their work with all possible dispatch and before the Pacific greyhound had been lashed to her dock, the transfer was completed and the overland race from the Western to the Eastern metropolis began -- through the tunnels of the Rockies, across the Western plains, as fast as steam could carry it, with only a stop as required intervals for a fresh engine, the special dashed. With a momentary stop at Chicago, where the mail car was transferred to the Chicago special of the New York Central, the race continued with unabated, and if possible, increased speed to Buffalo, and started on the homestretch for the metropolis arriving ten minutes late, owing to some unavoidable delay up the State.

It was one minute of 10 o'clock when the train came to a stop and as the Cunarder was scheduled to sail an hour later, the attaches of the New York Post Office who were on hand to make the transfer from car to wagon lost no time. Checking the mail as they threw it from car to floor and then to wagon, a few minutes later the driver of the first wagon, with an admonition to make the trip to the piers as fast as his horses could be made to go, started for the waiting Cunarder. Across Forty second Street to-Eighth Avenue then down to Fifteenth Street, the wagon rumbled as wagons' of its kind seldom rumble over the paved and asphalted streets of New York. It was two minutes past the Campania's sailing hour when the wagon arrived at the piers. Twenty-eight minutes had been consumed in making the trip but as the steamship company had agreed to hold the liner for a reasonable time, the delay was insignificant, and the Superintendent of the new Post Office station at Morton and West Street, together with his Assistant Superintendent of Foreign Mails, . . . the first consignment was transferred, the wagon backed out, expecting the second wagon to follow in a few minutes. Everybody was ready, and matters were so arranged that the transfer would be a matter of but a few minutes.

Ten minutes slipped by and the rumble of the second wagon had not been distinguished. Superintendents Haff and Tiedemann were becoming impatient, for every one connected with the transfer had been impressed with the necessity of making the transfer from station to pier in record breaking time. Ten minutes more elapsed, and impatience gave way to irritation. Both officials -- accompanied by several assistants -- went outside to see what had become of the wagon. Several minutes later, it down the corner and started down the asphalt space to the pier. The driver was coming along at a walk as if nothing depended on his reaching the dock. When he did arrive he was met with rebukes in the most approved postal phraseology, with the additional information that report of neglect of duty would be filed against him.

In a few minutes, the third and last wagon arrived. Like the first, it had made the trip from railroad to steamship terminal as fast as its horses could bring it. In less than ten minutes, the Far Eastern mail, which must be in London by Jan 5, was safely stored away on the Cunarder and the Transatlantic passage began at 11:40 a.m. when the Campania cleared her dock and started toward the Hook enroute to England. In case of an emergency the Post Office authorities had a tug stationed at the piers to overtake the Campania and transfer the mail to the steamship before she cleared the Hook.

July 7, 1907, Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, USA


Sonoma Runs Down and Dismasts Advent -- Injured Vessel Now Being Towed to Eureka

SAN FRANCISCO, July S. The steamer Coaster, which arrived in port late this evening, brought news of a collision between the Pacific Coast Steamship Company's chartered steamer Sonoma and the three-masted schooner Advent off Cape Mendocino at 1 o'clock on the morning of July 6. The sailing vessel was run down by the big liner and the bowsprit, foremast and mainmast of the vessel were carried away. The Sonoma is towing the schooner and will probably take her to Eureka which is the nearest port.

The Coaster reported that when off Cape Mendocino on her voyage to this port she heard the distress signals of the Sonomaand when she bore down on the vessel in response to the signals, the dismasted schooner Advent was sighted. Captain Cousins of the Sonoma reported that the vessel had been run down. A hawser was secured from the Coaster and the big steamship took the windjammer in tow.

The crew of the Advent, with the exception of the captain, were taken off by the steamer. The skipper of the schooner decided to remain with the vessel and the first officer of the Sonoma was ordered to remain with him.


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.