VIPS in the Port of San Francisco

Leon Trousset


Born and raised in France, Lyon, Trousset became known in California as a painter of landscapes, architectural and historical scenes, and city views of the type then popular in lithographs.

He was in Mazatl?n, Mexico, in 1874, but the next year he was actively working in Northern California. In Sonoma in 1875, he fulfilled commissions from Aguillon Winery, rendered a view of J. A. Poppe?s store, and produced a view of the town. He also journeyed to Oakland, where he painted Lake Merritt. That fall he went south to Monterey where he sketched and painted with other artists in the area, befriended Jules Simoneau as he socialized at his restaurant, and became, if only briefly, an important personality in the fledgling art colony.

Trousset arrived in Monterey in the fall of 1875; shortly after his arrival Trousset produced a watercolor, City of Monterey, California, November

First, 1875, prominently titled and dated across the lower margin. Typical of Trousset?s work, the rendering suggests a lack of academic training but is charming in its attention to the unique details of Monterey life. Whaling, complete with flukes emerging from the water, takes place in the bay, and the beach is strewn with the bones of leviathans washed ashore. Architectural landmarks such as Monterey?s Presidio Chapel and the Custom House are also recognizable.

In 1876 Trousset left for Southern California, where he worked briefly for St. Vibiana?s church in Los Angeles producing two large religious scenes, The Resurrection of Christ and The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was perhaps on his way there that he produced a large view of San Luis Obispo.

After Los Angeles, he once again returned to the central coast, initially settling in Castroville, where he and his fellow French artist, Alexander Zins, were commissioned to make paintings for churches there and in Santa Rita.

That same year Trousset produced Moss Landing at Castroville, a large painting depicting a sweeping view of the area?s landscape and architecture. He also produced the equally large and ambitious View of Santa Cruz, along with a smaller, more intimate, view of the town and a view of the local mission.

After completing his church commissions, Trousset returned to Monterey to paint the area?s coastal scenery. He also began a series of historical Monterey subjects.

In 1876 and 1877 he produced scenes of the founding of the mission and Father Serra?s first mass, which took place beneath a large oak on the Monterey shore on June 3, 1770. The location of the event was likely the spot where Sebasti?n Vizca?no had, 168 years earlier, first celebrated the Eucharist. The presence of Indian neophytes and the fact that there is only one boat in the bay, whereas Vizca?no came with three, make clear that the padre was meant to be Serra himself and not one of the Carmelite fathers who came with Vizca?no?s expedition. A large version of the subject, dated 1877, hangs at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo.

In February 1877 Trousset, in the company of the French artists M. Dupont and Frank Renoult, returned to San Francisco. From there the elusive artist left California.

By 1879 he was in Durango, Mexico, and left behind a view of the town. In 1884 he was in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he rendered the city plaza. He was in Texas and New Mexico in 1885 and 1886, producing views and architectural scenes in El Paso, Albuquerque, Mesilla, Socorro, and other towns. He ultimately settled in Ju?rez, Mexico. There he married Mar?a Jes?s Bustos, adopted a son, Antonio Bustos Trousset, and died of arteriosclerosis on December 29, 1917.

The Annals of San FranciscoThe Annals of San Francico 1855.
Frank Soule, John H. Gihon, Jim Nisbet. 1855.
Written by three journalists who were witnesses to and participants in the extraordinary events they describe. The Annals of San Francisco is both an essential record for historians and a fascinating narrative for general readers. Over 100 historical engravings are included. Partial Contents: Expeditions of Viscaino; Conduct of the Fathers towards the natives; Pious Fund of California; Colonel John C. Fremont; Insurrection of the Californians; Description of the Golden Gate; The Presidio of San Francisco; Removal of the Hudson's Bay Company; Resolutions concerning gambling; General Effects of the Gold Discoveries; Third Great Fire; Immigration diminished; The Chinese in California; Clipper Ships; Increase of population; and Commercial depression.

Crowley Maritime.Crowley Maritime, San Francisco.Two Men at the Helm: The First 100 Years of Crowley Maritime Corporation, 1892-1992Crowley Maritime Corporation.
Jean Gilbertson.
Crowley Maritime started as a one-man operation, with nothing more than one 18-foot Whitehall rowboat to provide transportation of personnel and stores to ships anchored on San Francisco Bay. In the mid-1800s, the business was incorporated under the name Thomas Crowley and Brothers. Withing a few years, services grew to include bay towing and ship-assist services. By the turn of the century, Crowley's expansion continued by operating small barges to transport steel to Oakland and barrels of oil, ice, and other supplies to ships in San Francisco Bay. In July 1902, the San Francisco Call reported "The new launch Guide, owned by Thomas Crowley & Bros., made her first trip yesterday to the Farallon Islands and carried out her builders' highest anticipations. By 1912, Crowley had built a marine railway, dock and woodworking mill. Growth continues to this day.

A History of CaliforniaThe History of California.
Franklin Tuthill.
This comprehensive 19th century history of California, from its early times up to the Gold Rush was written "because there seemed to be a demand for a History of California which should sketch the main events of the country from its discovery to the present time. Beginning with Spanish priests, who enslaved indigenous tribes, millions rushed in and claimed the land after the Gold Rush. The material is abundant: log-books of ancient mariners; archives of the Government while the territory was under Spanish or Mexican rule; official reports and Congressional documents about the transfer to the United States; files of newspapers; scores of books of intelligent travellers; the oral evidence of natives, and early immigrants." These sources were the base materials for this publication.

When America First Met China:
An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail
When America First Met China.
Eric Jay Dolin.
Amazon.comAncient China collides with America in this epic tale of opium smugglers, sea pirates, and dueling clipper ships. Brilliantly illuminating one of the least-understood areas of American history, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin traces our relationship with China back to its roots: the nineteenth-century seas that separated a rising naval power from a ancient empire. The furious trade in furs, opium, and bĂȘche-de-mer -- a rare sea cucumber delicacy -- might have catalyzed America's emerging economy, but it also sparked an ecological and human rights catastrophe. Peopled with fascinating characters -- from Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution Robert Morris, Financier of the American Revolution. to the The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong: Splendors of China's Forbidden City, who considered foreigners inferior beings -- this saga of pirates and politicians, coolies and concubines becomes a must-read for any fan of Nathaniel Philbrick's MayflowerMayflower. or Mark Kurlansky's Cod.Cod, the fish that changed the world. Two maps, 16 pages of color, 83 black-and-white illustrations.

Atlantis: The Antediluvian World
Ignatius Donnelly.
The author and politician Ignatius Donnelly was born in Philadelphia on 3 November 1831. He was educated in the public schools of his native city, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced. He went to Minnesota in 1857, was elected lieutenant governor in 1859, and again in 1861, and was then elected to Congress as a Republican, serving from 7 December 1863 until 3 March 1869. Besides doing journalistic work he has written an Essay on the Sonnets of Shakespeare, and his most enduring work, Atlantis, the Antediluvian World (New York, 1882), in which he attempts to demonstrate that there once existed in the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the straits of Gibraltar, a large island, known to the ancients as "Atlantis"; and Ragnarok (1883), in which he tries to prove that the deposits of clay, gravel, and decomposed rocks, characteristic of the drift age, were the result of contact between the earth and a comet.

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 @
164 Robles Way
Suite 237
Vallejo, California
94591 ~ USA

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.