Passengers at the Port San Francisco: 1800s

Charles M. Perkins

Charles M. Perkins, of Hampton, New Hampshire left for the California gold fields in 1849 and again in 1857. Destination: A river town along the San Joaquin River in Stockton, California.

A reader provided entries from his journal, below, which are invaluable for those seeking an overview of such passages. Several ships are named. The original journal resides in the archives of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, New Hampshire.


Nov 10 1849, Saturday Started for Newburyport in route to California
Nov 11, 1849
Sabbath: Spent the day in Newburyport
Nov 12, 1849
Sailed in the Barque Domingo for California
[Nov 17: Domingo sailed from New York on this day]
Dec 4
Made the Cape Deverd Islands [Cape Verde]
Dec 8 Struck the South East Tradewinds
Dec 13Crossed the Equator at 5 P.M.
Dec 16 Sabbath Heat 1.10 [110 degrees?]
Dec 27 Dropped Anchor at St. Catherines, Brazil at 6 oclock P.M.
Jan 4, 1850
Sailed from St. Catherines 7 A. M. Sudden gales with all sail set
Jan 12Gales
Jan 16Spoke the Whale Ship Susan of Newbedford
Jan 17Past Cape of Statin Land
[entered in wrong place? See entry, Jan 23]
Jan 22Spoke the Ship Senator, Boston
Jan 23Past Cape of Statin Land
Jan 24 Made Terra Del Fuego off Statin Land
Jan 25, 1850
Made Cape Horn. Hail storm.
Jan 26Gales
Jan 28Gales and Squalls
Jan 29Gales
Jan 30Gales
Jan 31Hail Storm and Cold
Feb 15Made Juan Fernandes
Feb 16Came to Anchor at Juan
Feb 20Sailed from Juan
Mar 13Crossed Equator at 4 P.M.
Mar 15Struck the Northeast trade winds
Mar 16Made the North Star
Apr 1, 1850
Thick weather and could get no reckoning
Apr 6Entered San Francisco outer Bay
Apr 7Arrived at San Francisco
(From Daily Alta California, April 8, 1850: Arrived April 7 Port of San Francisco, Am bk Domingo, Captain Bray, 145 days from Newburyport, 89 passengers. The Domingo, Captain Bray cleared San Francisco on May 16, 1850 for Manila)
Apr 10 Left San Francisco for Stockton and the mines in company with Charles T. Lamprey, Nat. Johnson and H. S. Lamprey
1851 Entries
May 5, 1851
Left for San Francisco
May 6Arrived in Stockton
May 7Arrived in San Francisco
May 15 Left for New York on the Northerner
(Editor's Note: Pacific Mail Steamship Northerner, Captain Randall, 125 passengers, $600,000)
June 20Reached Home
1857 Entries
Aug 4, 1857
Left Hampton, New Hampshire for New York.
Paid From Hampton to New York $9.10
Aug 5 Left New York on Steamer Illinois for Aspinwall
Paid from New York to San Francisco: $200.00
Aug 11Arrived at Havana at 12 N & Sailed at 5 P.M.
Aug 15 Arrived at Aspinwall at 11 P.M. Paid at Aspinwall: $5.00
Aug 16 Crossed to Panama (via rail. Panama rail began service in 1855)
and sailed for San Francisco at 9 p.m.
Aug 23, 1857
Arrived at Acapulco
Aug 24, 1857
Arrived at Manseniler. Paid at Acapulco and Manseniler: $4.50
(Editor's Note: Manseniler is probably Manzanillo, a port in the Mexican state of Colima on the Pacific Ocean and it is a distance of 419 miles/674 km between the two cities.)
Aug 30, 1857
Arrived at San Francisco at 8 A.M.

Paid in San Francisco: $8.00
(Editor's Note: The steamer J. L. Stephens, Captain Pearson, arrived 13 days from Panama. Passenger list not located, but this is a possibility as no other steamers are noted from Panama during that week.)
Aug 31, 1857
Left for Stockton at 5 P.M.

Stockton was built up along the San Joaquin River in a period of four months. Bayard Taylor, a correspondent of the New York Tribune, traveling through Stockton in 1849, said he found a canvas city of 1,000 inhabitants and twenty-five ships at anchor in the harbor. James H. Carson, passing through the town in the same year on his return from the mines, wrote:

"When I arrived May 1, 1849, a change had come over the scene since I had left it. Stockton that I had last seen graced by Joe (Willard) Buzzell's log cabin with a tule roof was now a vast linen city. The tall masts of the brigs, barques and schooners, high pointed, were seen in the blue vault above, while the merry 'yo-ho' of the sailor could be heard as box, bale and barrel were landed on the banks of the slough. A rush and whirl of human being was constantly before the eye; the magic wand of gold had been shaken over the desolate place and a city had arisen at the bidding of Minerva full-fledged."


The Project

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






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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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