Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s


Note: There are hundreds of stories of familes with the surname Phelan in San Francisco during the City's formative years. A few are posted here, however, these families are not necessarily related.

  • Patrick and Thomas arrived on the SS Independence
    July 12, 1852
  • G. J. Phelan
  • J. and M. Phelan
  • James D. Phelan (Grantstown, Queens, Ireland) and Alice Kelly (Queens, Ireland)
    • James Duval Phelan (Born San Francisco April 20, 1861; Died August 7, 1930)

J. and M. Phelan

February 28, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Redemption of City Stock. Office of the Commissioners of the Funded Debt, San Francisco. Awarded as follows:

J. & M. Phelan, Amount bid for: $5,000, $5,000, $5,000, $5,000 $5,000, $6,000 at rate 47-1/2. Awarded $5,000 at 47-1/2: $2,368.75, $2,375.00.

In May 1852, the Phelans bid for $5,000 at 71-3/4; $3,000 at 71-1/2; $2,000 at 71-3/8.

July 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco: Consignees per Kate Hayes: J. & M. Phelan

October 11, 1852, Daily Alta California: Consignees per Antelope: J. & M. Phelan

October 31, 1852: Consignees per Sosish Quincey.

December 7, 1855, Sacramento Daily Union: Shipments of Treasure December 5 per Golden Age via Panama: J. and M. Phelan: $11,150.00

November 4, 1862: In attendance at a "Meeting of the Citizens on the Plaza, for the Relief of the Sufferers by the Fire at Sacramento."

James Duval Phelan

James Duval Phelan, born in San Francisco (April 20, 1861; died August 7, 1930), was the son of an Irish-born Forty-Niner who had become a San Francisco millionaire.

James Phelan was educated at St. Ignatius High School and graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1881. He went on to obtain a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

February 9, 1896, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Offers the Board of Supervisors a Beautiful Fountain.
The Work of Art Is Symbolical of the Admission of California.
The Art Fountain to Be Placed at the Junction of Market, Turk and Mason Streets.

James D. Phelan wrote yesterday to the Board of Supervisors tendering to the City the beautiful fountain which he has caused the sculptor Douglas Tilden to design for him as a gift to San Francisco in honor of the Native Sons of ft the Golden West. For the last few months Douglas Tilden has devoted almost his entire time to designing the beautiful work. Mr. Phelan wished the whole design to have a syru- bohcal meaning and, at the same time, to be a work of art which would be an ornament to the City. Gradually the conceplion of the fountain has grown. Douglas Tilden modeling and remodeling his design and Mr. Phelan applauding, criticizing and suggesting, till at last the completed model stands out in all its beauty, a work of art of which the greatest city in the world might be proud.

The fountain is of marble and bronze, designed by Douglas Tilden, and is to represent the admission of California into the Union. There is a tail shaft of California marble about thirty-five feet high, surmounted by a bronze winged image of the Genius of California, bearing in her hands an open book of the free constitution, datea September 9, 1850, in bold letters, the date of the admission of the State. The base is about thirteen feet square, and on a pedestal rising from it is a bronze ligure representing the Youth of California, clad as a miner, bearing in his right band the National colors and in his left hand his hat, which he is waving, in the attitude of rushing forward with impetuous haste and cheering lustily in triumphant enthusiasm. The figures are each seven feet in height. About the pedestal are the pict and the cradle of the miner, whicn have been temporarily laid aside.

On the face of the pedestal will be inscribed the date of the laying of the foundation of the monument and the dedication, which is to the Native Sons of the Golden "West. There will be emblematic carving and above the two bowls watar flows from the mouths of bears. The whole tells the story of the admission of the State in a SDirit»d way. The figures are full of action and moving forward, apparently to some desired object. Douglas Tilden, the sculotor, in a young Native Son who was educated at the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Asylum at Berkeley, and who, through the patronage of W. E. Brown and F the asylum officials, was sent to Paris, where he executed "The Baseball Player," "The Tired Boxer" and "The Bear Hunt," which have given him international renown. Although young, he ranks among the best and most promising men in his profession, and as this monumental fountain will be conspicuously exhibited, and being for the decoration of his native city, he is taking special pains to make it his masterpiece, li is hoped that other citizens will give him orders, and that this will be the beginning of many such gifts in tbe future. The new Native Sons' Hall is on Mason street, about four blocks from Market street, and this will indicate to all passersby on the main thoroughfare the location of that new and beautiful edifice.

It was in the following terms that James D. Phelan made his princely gift to the Board of Supervisors yesterday:

San Francisco, February 8, 1896. To the Honorable Board of Supervisors, City and County of San Francisco— Gentlemen: I hereby lender the City and County of San Francisco a fountain constructed of marble and bronze, emblematic of the admission of California into the Union, designed by Douglas Tilden, sculptor, to be erected by me, with your consent, at the junction of Market, Turk and Mason streets, and to be forever main- tamed by the City as a drinking fountain. The model may be seen by your committee at the sculptor's studio.

Yours, respectfully, James D. Phelan.

James D. Phelan.

James Duval Phelan was elected mayor for three terms beginning in 1897 without any previous political experience.

Following the earthquake of 1906, Phelan was President of the Red Cross Funds and designed by President Theodore Roosevelt as custodian of the Relief Funds. He also tried to relocate Chinatown to Hunter's Point.

He was also United States Senator in 1913 and served one six-year term.

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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