The Maritime Heritage Project

Ship Passengers, San Francisco: 1846-1899

World Harbors and International Migration from The Maritime Heritage Project.

The Maritime Heritage Project.

Under Serious Reconstruction.
Due to new WWW and Google formatting guidelines, 18 years worth of coding on more than 2,500 entries is being updated, Also, lists of gold seekers, opportunists and immigrants sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s are going on a new site -- Ship Passengers. This may take awhile. Please stopover from time to time. Thank you.

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The Northwest and West Coast of Spain from Point Estaca to Cape Trafalgar (1874)
George M. Totten
This book, "The northwest and west coast of Spain", by George M. Totten, is a replication of a book originally published before 1874. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible.

The Shipping Container.
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy BiggerThe Shipping Container.
Marc Levinson

Tales of the Seven Seas.
Tales of the Seven Seas:
The Escapades of Captain Dynamite Johnny O'Brien
Tales of the Seven Seas.
Dennis M. Powers
Captain Dynamite Johnny O'Brien sailed the seven seas for over sixty years, starting in the late 1860s in India and ending in 1930 on the U.S. West Coast. He sailed every type of ship imaginable, but this book is more than the story of Captain O'Brien's incredible feats. Tales of the Seven Seas is about sailing where danger and adventure coexists on a daily basis. Smell the salt in the air and hear the ocean's rush as a ship plows its way through heavy seas with hardened men, leaking seams, and shrieking winds. These true stories are about tough times and courageous men in distant places, from the Hawaiian Islands to the Bering Sea, from the waning days of sail to the age of steamships.

Sea Captains: Books

History of the California Gold Rush.

Gold Rush History.

Shanghaiing Days: The Thrilling account of 19th Century Hell-Ships, Bucko Mates and Masters, and Dangerous Ports-of-Call from San Francisco to SingaporeHell Ships and Shanghaiing.
Richard H. Dillon

Kindly Kindly Donate.

Artists of the West

Western ArtWestern Art and Artists.

Sea Captains at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

Captain George M. Totten

Died: August 1, 1857 at Mendham, New Jersey

(Note: During the 1850s, Col. George Muirson Totten was chief engineer of The Panama Canal Railway Company. This is a different George M. Totten that Captain Totten mentioned herein.)

From March 1851 through January 1853, George M. Totten was captain of Pacific Mail Co., S.S. Tennessee bringing passengers, mail and gold to/from Panama and San Francisco.

July 24, 1851, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

The steamship Tennessee, Lieut. Totten, Commander, will be dispatched to-morrow morning, for the scene of the wreck of the steamer Union. She is to run in at Acapulco and San Diego, to land those who wish to stop at these places, and then proceed and bring the balance of the passengers to San Francisco. The act of Captain Knight, in placing at the disposal of Messrs. Haven & Co. a steamer for the relief of the unfortunates, is highly commended by all parties.

March 16, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

The Loss of the North America.
P.M.S.S. Tennessee, San Francisco Bar
Monday, March 14, 1852

Editors of the Alta California

Gentlemen . I enclose you for publication, if you think fit, an extract from my report to the Company's agent, forwarded in advance of the report itself principally with a view to stay public opinion until Capt. Blethen is heard, regarding the lots of the North America. I do not know the gentleman, but he had heretofore stood very high in reputation as an officer and a careful navigator. I am, in haste, with great respect, Your obedient servant, Geo. M. Totten, U. S. N., Commander of Tennessee.

Click to view additional extracts from Report of Capt. Totten and other sources to the Agent of P. M. S. S. Co., at San Francisco.

In the mid-1800's when commercial fishing and the lumber businesses were in their infancy, the native oyster industry began. Washington Territorial politicians were so impressed with this mollusk they dubbed it the "Olympia Oyster" in the legislature of 1889. Not wanting to leave the source of this tasty morsel, they elected to maintain Olympia as the capitol city of Washington. These tiny oysters were such a delicacy during the Gold Rush days, it took only a short time to overharvest and deplete the beds within San Francisco Bay.

Note: According to one source, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes during the Wilkes Expedition of 1838-1842, named this inlet to honor George M. Totten, one of the expedition's midshipmen. Note: That in Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, Nathaniel Philbrick's National Book Award Winner, Joseph Totten was on board, not George M. Totten.

Meeting on Board the Tennessee.

At a meeting of the passengers, held on board P.M.S.S. Co s steamer Tennessee, on the 19th January, 1853, at 10 o clock, A.M., William T. Coleman, Esq., was called to the chair, and Messrs. C. A. McNulty, Benj. A. Brown, Albert Berry, and P. W. Sherman, were appointed vice presidents; Messrs. T. R. Anthony, and J. A. Thompson, were appointed secretaries.

On a motion, the President appointed Messrs. Wm. R. McCally, H. Hazeltine, W. H. Hoy, James C. Stebbins, and John Dows, a committee, to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting.

The following resolutions were reported by said committee and unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That we feel with more than ordinary force the sense of duty and justice in expressing our high approval of meed of praise to the officers and crew of the ship, for their kindness and courtesy, and for the untiring diligence, in the performance of their whole duty during our late trying scenes on the passage from Panama to San Francisco.

Resolved, That of Capt. Geo. M. Totten, whose police is unsurpassed, and whose ship is a very pattern of cleanliness and order, and whose urbanity and regard, was equal to all. The travelling public cannot have to high an appreciation, and his passengers most heartily approve and commend.

Resolved, That of the Purser Theo. L. Schell, whose gentlemanly deportment won favor from all, and whose correctness in every move and obliging attractions, went so far to make us comfortable.

Resolved, That of the unstopping, untiring and efficient 1st officer, Mr. Peter H. Dowlie, who sacrificed his quarters and his comforts for the relief of the sick, we feel we cannot speak too highly. But it is of Dr. McNaughton, the Surgeon of whom we would most particularly make mention. We have never witnessed deeper devotion to duty, greater alacrity in attending to the calls of the sick, or more unceasing exertions to relieve their distresses. For several days he saw no sleep, and was ever found at the side and administering to the wants of the afflicted; personal pr?ration was the consequence, and he was alike temporarily a fellow sufferer; but his nerves again brought him to his feet, and he has throughout unflinchingly stood at his post.

For such men we feel we cannot say enough; they may meet with embarrassments and the virulence of disease may sometimes baffle them, but their energy and assiduity will eventually bear them out in triumph.

Resolved, That these proceedings be published in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Stockton and Marysville papers, and that the officers of the meeting present a copy of the same to the officers of the ship.

September 1, 1857, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Lieutenant Geo. M. Totten, of the United States Navy, died at Mendham, N. J., on Saturday August, Ist. Lieut. Totten had been in the Navy for a period of about thirty years, during which time, up to the commencement of his last illness, he was actively employed.

He served with Wilkes in the United States Exploring Expedition, and commanded the U. S. wooden-hulled, sidewheel gunboat Water Witch during the Mexican war. In both these positions he acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his respective commanders.

He afterwards obtained a furlough, and was for some time in command of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Tennessee, running between Panama and San Francisco. While thus employed he won the good opinion of both the Company and the traveling public. He was compelled to leave the Company's service in consequence of ill health, and at the time of his death had just returned from Pennsacola, where he had been serving as First Lieutenant of the Navy Yard at that place.

Lieut. Totten was the son of Gen. Totten of the United States Engineers, and he leaves a wife (daughter of the late Col. Gamble, of the Marines,) and two children to mourn his loss; numbers of warn and attached friends unite with them in their sorrow.

The Sea Chart
The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational ChartsThe Sea Chart.
The Sea Chart.The Sea Chart.
John Blake
The sea chart was one of the key tools by which ships of trade, transport and conquest navigated their course across the oceans. John Blake looks at the history and development of the chart and the related nautical map, in both scientific and aesthetic terms, as a means of safe and accurate seaborne navigation. This handsome work contains 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by thirteenth-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as eighteenth-century charts that became strategic naval and commercial requirements and led to Cook's voyages in the Pacific, the search for the Northwest Passage, and races to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Get Your Captain's License, Fourth EditionGet Your Captain's License.
Charlie Wing
Get Your Captain's License.Considered the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for the U.S. Coast Guard captain's ratings exams required for anyone who takes paying passengers on a boat, and useful for serious boaters who want to save money on insurance.

This study tool includes:

  • The six-passenger "Six-Pack," Master and Mate Inland, Master and Mate Near Coastal, and Sail/Auxiliary Sail Endorsement
  • Every question and answer on the Coast Guard exams--all 9,000 of them
  • An interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database, so you can take an unlimited number of practice exams
  • Make Money With Your Captain's License:
    How to Get a Job or Run a Business on a Boat
    Run Your Business from a Boat.Run a Business from a Boat.
    Author David Brown describes how to get a job on a boat or run a practical boat-based business, including fishing charters, excursions, dinner cruises, and water taxis. He also covers business issues, safety, marketing, liability, and Coast Guard licensing requirements. The author details the possible ups and downs and risks about running a boat-based business.