Very Important Passengers

San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.

William H. Webb

August 21, 1852, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, Califoria

LESSONS IN SHIP BUILDING. -- The city of New York has commenced a. system of education in ship building; desirous ol infusing some of her peculiar ideas of taste and beauty in the art throughout the world, she has sent to England one of her celebrated builders, Mr. Webb, who has given out his intentions of introducing a new model of clippers, and proposes to build a yacht that will beat the celebrated America. His arrival at Cowes was announced in one of the London papers.

Thursday, January 17, 1870, New York Herald Triple Sheet
January 10, 1871, San Francisco Chronicle


By the arrival of the Moses Taylor from Honolulu, which connected with the Wonga Wonga from Auckland, we have New Zealand dates to December 7th and from Sydney to November 30th.

New Zealand

A contract has been entered into between the Postmaster General of New Zealand and W. Nallson, on behalf of Holladay & Brenham, of San Francisco, and W.H. Webb of New York, for a monthly conveyance of the mails between San Francisco and Auckland by a line of first-class steamers. The contractors are to enter into bonds, to the amount of ?25,000, for the due performance of their contract. The contractors agree, subject to a penalty of ?1,000 per annum, to procure from the United States an exemption from all the charges for mails between San Francisco and London, and between New York and San Francisco, which are now imposed under the convention between the United States and Great Britain. The contractors also agree to use their best endeavors to secure a concession under which wool, the produce of any colony contributing to the mail subsidy, and the fiber of the phormium tenax produced in New Zealand, shall be admitted into the United States duty free.

The English and European mails, via San Francisco, were delivered in Auckland on November 11th, the Wonga Wonga having occupied a little more than sixteen days in the run from Honolulu.

January 10, 1871, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Australian Steamship Line

Tasmania, Australia

If we, Americans, are only as anxious to forward our own interests as the people of New Zealand are to advance theirs, a line of steamers owned in the United States, and flying the American flag, will soon be performing mail service between this port and New Zealand. In the present depressed state of our shipping business, every enterprise like the one to which we are alluding deserves special encouragement, and we trust the claims of this New Zealand line will be laid fairly but firmly before Congress.

There is a bill now awaiting consideration which proposes to endow the line with a liberal subsidy; but, unless pains are taken to push it, it may suffer this session the same fate that it did last and get ignominiously shelved. When we find the New Zealand Government willing to aid the enterprise with an annual grant of from $150,000 to $300,000, according to the service performed, we may certainly agree to be at least equally liberal. San Francisco is much more likely to profit pecuniarily from the proposed steam route than Port Chalmers or Sydney, and therefore it would not at all be a wanton expenditure of money to vote the required subsidy. Larger sums, by far, are spent every year upon matters which cannot be anything like so beneficial to the country. As the New Zealand allowance would not, by itself, be sufficient to insure the permanency of the service, we trust that the Washington Government will not refuse of delay the grant. It is proposed that the steamships commence running early next month.

March 28, 1871, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Arrival of W. H. Webb
of Australian Steam Line Celebrity

W.H. Webb, the New York ship-builder and ship owner, accompanied by his wife and son, arrived in this city on Sunday, and is staying at the Occidental Hotel. It is understood that he will make a stay of several months upon this coast, as he intends to take the direction and management of the new Australian and New Zealand steamship line in person. The Nevada (with James H. Blethen as captain of the steamship), now being overhauled and refitted, is to leave on the 8th proximo, to be followed by the Nebraska. A steamship will hereafter leave every twenty-eight days. The time of arrival in Australia will be arranged to alternate with the arrivals of the P. and O. steamers. 

April 20, 1871, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Reception Tendered to W.H. Webb, the Projector of the Australian Steamship Line.

The following invitation was circulated among our businessmen yesterday:

You are respectfully invited to attend a meeting of the members of the Mechanics? Institute, for the purpose of extending a welcome to The meeting will be held in the Lecture Hall of the Institute Wednesday

Yours, very truly, A.S. HALLIDIE .

On pursuance of this invitation a large audience assembled at the Lecture Hall of the Mechanics? Institute last evening. Among those present were Mayor Selby, Henry L. Davis, A.S. Hallidie, Col. W.B. Hyde, Charles R. Bond, J.A. Magagnes, Capt. Owens, Collector T.G. Phelps, H.F. Williams, Ccol. Peter Donohue, Irving M. Scott, Capt. C.L. Taylor, Mr. Dickey, Postmaster N.B. Stone, United States Marshal, W.G. Morris, J.P. Benjamin, David Farqhuarson, Peter Craig and Frank Eastman. A number of ladies were in attendance.

Mr. A.S. Hallidie presided, supported on his left by Mayor Selby and the guest of the evening


Three Centuries of Seafaring: The Maritime Art of Paul HeeThe Maritime Art of Paul Hee.
Rick Carroll, Marcie Carroll (Authors/Editors)

Three Centuries of Seafaring. The Maritime Art of Paul Hee.

The extreme clipper ship Young America, built by William Webb, launched in 1853 from his New York boatyard. Designed for speed, the 243-foot, 1,916-ton clipper sailed with a 100 man crew from New York to San Francisco 20 times, averaging 118 days a trip. Young America sailed to Hawaii, China, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand in a 30-year-career. In 1886, she departed Delaware on a trading voyage and vanished, never to be seen again.

On his right. Mr. Webb is modest in demeanor and reserved in manner. His hair is slightly tinged with grey. He is below the medium size, heavy framed, with a big head and a shrewd, intelligent eye. He listened to the many compliments bestowed upon him with respectful attention, though it was apparent that with him, it was seldom he spent his time Mr. Hallidie welcomed him as a fellow-mechanic and most successful of ship-builders who came to San Francisco to launch a new enterprise.

Mr. Webb replied, briefly returning thanks. He alluded to the fact that he ought to be considered a California pioneer, for he built the first steamship that entered the Golden Gate, the California, which was yet afloat.


was called upon and occupied the attention of the audience for a few minutes. He averted to the necessity for the encouragement of manufactures in California, and the development of the Pacific Coast commerce. He was informed that the prospects of the new Australian line already exceeded the most sanguine expectations of the projector. One fact was noticed in connection with manufactures in San Francisco ? that the weather was always favorable, and work is never retarded or delayed here as in the Eastern States and elsewhere. After Mayor Selby came 


who delivered a very pretty speech full of glittering generalities, specially prepared for the occasion, which Mr. Webb will probably digest at his leisure. Then followed the President of the society for the restoration of ship-building


who delivered a long harangue, in which he said that Mr. Webb occupied to-day a prouder and more enviable position in history than either William H. Seward or Ulysses S. Grant. He concluded by a homily to young men present, and then nominated Mr. Webb as an honorary member of the Institute.


delivered a few remarks on the internal transportation question, predicting that the railroad era had just dawned.


The representative of the iron interest, made a few eloquent remarks, and was followed by Mr. Dickey, a Scotch ship-builder, who delivered an essay upon ship-building in general and composite ship-building.

At the conclusion of the last address a large number of those present were introduced to the building of the Dunderberg, and had the pleasure of shaking him by the hand. After which the meeting dispersed.

April 21, 1871, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Californija

William H. Webb

The Mechanics' Institute and invited guests, citizens of San Francisco, last evening extended a cordial reception to the great American ship-builder, Wm. H. Webb, who has come to our city to inaugurate and supervise the new Australian steamship line. The CHRONICLE unites with the people of San Francisco in extending a hearty welcome to the builder of the Danderbury. California needs men of the caliber and understanding of Mr. Webb; she needs men of enterprise and energy, who will assist in the development of her industry and of her resources. Men who never sleep on their posts of duty, but CHRONICLE-like are ever watchful and wide-awake to the interests of the State. We should be gratified to hear that Mr. Webb contemplates a permanent residence in this city.

May 20, 1894, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Webb's Academy and Home for Shipbuilders at Fordham Heights

Webb's Academy and Home for Shipbuilders, situated on the summit of Fordham Heights, overlooking the beautiful valley of the Harlem River, was dedicated on the 5th inst.

The institution is the outcome of Mr. Webb's own experience during his boyhood, when be found great difficulties while seeking to acquire a theoretical, as well as a practical, knowledge of shipbuilding. The chief and unique feature of the institution is that from the day a student enters the institution, bent upon securing the highest education in marine architecture and steam engineering the world afford?, he need not expend a penny. There is a hospital attached to the institution for the sick, and there are homes for aged and decrepit shipbuilders and their wives free of expense. The managers, professors and a few students have been at work for the past few weeks. Mr. Webb was born in New York City in 1816, and was educated at Columbia College. Before he was 15 years old he built a paddle-boat. Up to 1872 he had built 150 vessels of all classes, and was the largest owner of tonnage in the United States. Warships, armored cruisers for Russia and Italy, packet-ships in the China trade, and Sound steamers, were some of his notable achievements.

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