Captains in the Seaport of San Francisco during the 1800s


J. M. Litchfield & Co., owned by J. M. Litchfield, was a clothing outfitters in business in San Francisco, California in 1876. The company went out of business in 1906 after the Great Earthquake devastated the City.

As of November 1886, Litchfield was a registered Republican in the State of California.

On Saturday, October 6, 1894, the Sacramento Daily Record-Union reported that Governor Markham has signed a contract, as President of the University of California, with J. M. Litchfield & Co. for supplying cadet uniforms.

Litchfield invoice available from addition to the cadet uniforms, J. M. Litchfield supplied various military goods, such as the few listed below. The company was frequented by the Masons in the early 1900s, having received $7.50 as payment for "gloves and crepe" from the Mill Valley Lodge in August 1904.

Items made by and/or distributed through J. M. Litchfield & Co. currently available through various collectors include:

  • Artillery Officer sabre and scabbard. 32" blade, 38" overall in scabbard. Fancy frosted etching of a U.S. Eagle, etc., on blade. Blade is polished bright. Nickel plating on scabbard is also bright. Full ray skin wrap on grip.
  • Black or dark blue Naval officer's single-breasted coat, with 1 1/4" closed stand-up collar (1 hook and eye), with anchor insignia on each side of the throat; six buttons down the front which fasten on the interior; gilt lacing trim around each wrist of closed sleeves (no cuffs) with metal star above; bodice slit at the sides, with two sets hooks and eyes to close the slits; 1-1/2" braid trim around the collar, outer edges and vertically incurving at the back of the bodice of coat; 3 panels at the back of the bodice; lined with black silk, breast lightly padded and quilted, vertical slit pocket at the left breast, horizontal slit pocket at the right breast. This officer's coat was worn by E. J. Sadler. Printed on tag inside right breast pocket: "J. M. LITCHFIELD & CO. / SAN FRANCISCO, CAL. / NO." and handwritten on tag inside right breast pocket: "E J Sadler / Sept. 4, 1900.
  • Dress hat with soft, cylindrical, dark blue wool felt crown with gray band around base, and black leather visor; embroidered insignia consisting of a shield over crossed anchors with an eagle with outstretched wings above; chin strap.
  • Black wool Naval uniform trousers c 1900. five-button fly with fabric tab at the top to the left which fastens to a button inside, top of fly closes with metal clasp, with capstan shank on the right which slides into metal fastener on the lapel.

(Note: As of 2008, quite a few artifacts from J.M. Litchfield & Co. have been available through internet sites, such as the sabers below, which were found at with other offerings at J & J Military Antiques

Sabers by J.M. Litchfield in San Francisco.
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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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