GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREAT
,GULF OF THE FARAU-ONES
TIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
From the collection of the
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San Francisco, California
SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCE ASSESSMENT
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
GULF OF THE FARALLONES NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE
JAMES P. DELGADO
National Maritime Initiative
Division of History
STEPHEN A. HALLER
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco, California
The United States Department of Commerce,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary,
The United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
SEP 14 1989
SAHAtWJA SPRINGS, HX,
Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers
Santa Fe, New Mexico
SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCES UNIT
REPORT AND PUBLICATION SERIES
The Submerged Cultural Resources Unit (SCRU) was established in 1980 to conduct
research on submerged cultural resources throughout the National Park System with
an emphasis on historic shipwrecks. One of the unit's primary responsibilities is to
disseminate the results of research to National Park Service managers, as well as the
professional community, in a form that meets resource management needs and adds
to our understanding of the resource base. A report series has been initiated in
order to fulfill this responsibility. The following are the categories of reports that
comprise this series.
Submerged Cultural Resources Assessment
First line document that consists of a brief literature search, an overview of the
maritime history and the known or potential underwater sites in the park, and
preliminary recommendations for long-term management. It is designed to have
application to GMP/DCP's and to become a source document for a park's
Submerged Cultural Resources Management Plan.
Submerged Cultural Resources Survey
Comprehensive examination of blocks of park lands for the purpose of locating and
identifying as much of the submerged cultural resources base as possible. A
comprehensive literature search would most likely be a part of the Phase I report
but, in some cases, may be postponed until Phase II.
Phase I Reconnaissance of target areas with remote sensing and visual survey
techniques to establish location of any archeological sites or anomalous features that
may suggest the presence of archeological sites.
Phase II--Evaluation of archeological sites or anomalous features derived from
remote sensing instruments to confirm their nature and, if possible, their
significance. This may involve exploratory removal of overburden.
Submerged Cultural Resources Study
A document that discusses, in detail, all known underwater archeological sites in a
given park. This may involve test excavations. The intended audience is
managerial and professional, not the general public.
Submerged Cultural Resources Site Report
Exhaustive documentation of one archeological site which may involve a partial or
complete site excavation. The intended audience is primarily professional and
incidentally managerial. Although the document may be useful to a park's
interpretive specialists because of its information content, it would probably not be
suitable for general distribution to park visitors.
Submerged Cultural Resources Special Report Series
These may be in published or photocopy format. Included are special
commentaries, papers on methodological or technical issues pertinent to underwater
archeology, or any miscellaneous report that does not appropriately fit into one of
the other categories.
Daniel J. Lenihan
Santa Fe, New Mexico
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCES UNIT REPORT AND
PUBLICATION SERIES .
TABLE OF CONTENTS iii
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY x
HISTORICAL CONTEXTS OF VESSELS WRECKED IN THE PROJECT AREA
Maritime Development on the Pacific Coast, 1542-1945 7
Maritime Trade Contexts for Vessels Wrecked in the Project Area 10
Observations on the Significance of Vessels Wrecked in the Project Area ... 13
SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
Historical Research 15
Archeological Research: SS Tennessee 15
Environmentally Exposed Shipwreck Remains: Rodeo Lagoon, Neptune.
Pomo. and King Philip/Reporter 17
Drakes Bay Remote Sensing Survey, Reconnaissance, and Inventory 20
Ocean Beach Remote-Sensing Survey 20
Collections Management 22
VESSEL LOSSES, POINT SAN PEDRO TO POINT LOBOS
Aberdeen. 1916 25
Aimer. 1871 27
Ann Perry. 1865 27
Atlantic. 1886 28
Beeswing. 1863 30
Bessie Everding. 1888 31
Brignardello. 1868 32
Cornelius W. Lawrence. 1851 34
Drumburton. 1904 36
Dublin. 1882 37
Eliza. 1871 37
Eureka. 1902 38
F. W. Bailev. 1863 39
Gifford. 1903 41
VESSEL LOSSES, BODEGA BAY
A. C. Button. 1953 151
Albion River. 1903 151
Corona. 1924 153
Henrietta. 1868 153
Isaac Reed. 1924 154
Joseph. 1880 155
Marshall. 1850 156
Sarah Louise. 1865 156
Shooting Star. 1861 156
Two Brothers. 1883 157
Volunteer. 1906 157
VESSEL LOSSES, FARALLON ISLANDS AND NOONDAY ROCK
American Boy. 1890 159
Annie Sisie. 1871 160
Benevolence. 1950 160
Bremen. 1882 162
Champlain. 1875 163
Franconia. 1881 164
Helen W. Almv. 1897 165
Henry Bergh. 1944 166
Independence. 1868 167
Labouchere. 1866 167
Louis. 1907 168
Lucas. 1858 170
Melvina. 1868 170
Morning Light. 1868 171
Noonday. 1863 171
Puerto Rican. 1984 173
Sierra. 1923 174
YF #734 and YF #735. 1945 174
MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Beach Activity 175
Sport-Diving Activity 176
SS Ohioan 176
SS Citv of Rio de Janeiro 177
San Agustin 179
Samuel S. Lewis 180
Management Recommendations 181
BIBLIOGRAPHY . 185
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Visible remains of Frank H. Buck and Lyman Stewart at Land's End 14
Remains of Neptune at Fort Funston 19
Exposed hull of King Philip on Ocean Beach 19
Wreckage from the steam schooner Aberdeen on Ocean Beach 26
Wreck of the whaling bark Atlantic on Ocean Beach 29
Wreck of the four-masted bark Gifford at Mussel Rock 40
James Rolph. wrecked at Point San Pedro 42
Two-masted schooner Neptune ashore at Fort Funston 47
Crowds view the remains of Parallel 51
Schooner Reporter, lost on Ocean Beach 53
Debris from the wrecked steam schooner Yosemite 59
Freighter Coos Bay lying aground at Land's End 62
Wreck of scow schooner Elko at Land's End 64
Half-sunk hulk of the tanker Frank H. Buck 65
Ship Frank Jones stranded at Baker's Beach 67
Tanker Lvman Stewart aground at Land's End 69
Viscata, a total loss on Baker's Beach 73
Oceanic sinking City of Chester 77
City of Rio de Janeiro 79
Engraving of the wreck of clipper Golden Fleece 82
Pilotboat Pathfinder 89
Salvage vessels strip City of New York 92
Barge Kona. a total loss at Bird Rock 98
Ship Elizabeth completely disintegrated off Slide Ranch 105
Engraving of the wreck of steamship Tennessee 112
Purse seiner Acalin. a total loss at Bolinas 116
Hanalei's nameboard 119
Steam schooner Hanalei 119
Shattered remains of Hanalei 119
Two views of the four-masted schooner Polaris aground on Duxbury Reef ... 122
Bark Albert 132
Wreck of the bark Albert, lost on South Farallon Island 132
Steam schooner Samoa 145
Wreck of Samoa on Ten-Mile Beach 146
Steam schooner Albion River ashore at Bodega Head 152
Downeaster Isaac Reed 154
Bark Bremen 163
Side-scan sonar image of the hull of City of Rio de Janiero . .178
This monograph by James Delgado and Stephen Haller is the first assessment level
document in the submerged cultural resources series of publications produced by the
National Park Service. It should prove to be a useful working model for land
managing agencies on a Federal or State level that wish to generate straight forward
statements on what is known about a particular resource base without intensive
study and what options exist for exerting responsible stewardship over those
It is the second report of the series that was conducted through the cooperation of
the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service.
Subsuming under one cover the submerged cultural resource management concerns
of two different types of Federal marine protected areas in the same region is a
good practice both in a scholarly and an economical sense. Shipwrecks from certain
portions of Point Reyes National Seashore were intentionally not covered in this
report because they are addressed elsewhere in the series, specifically in Number 1
edited by Larry Murphy. Delgado and Haller know their subject matter well and
the reader will soon discover that besides an obvious competence the authors also
bring an infectious enthusiasm to their writing.
Daniel J. Lenihan
Chief, Submerged Cultural Resources Unit
National Park Service
A number of colleagues and friends provided support, help, and encouragement
during the drafting of this study. Several Superintendents of the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area, notably Bill Whalen, Jack Davis, and Brian O'Neill,
supported the concept of submerged cultural resource management at the park.
Foremost in his support, however, was Chief of Resource Management and Planning
Doug Nadeau. The assistance and support of Park Archeologist Martin Mayer made
many projects possible, starting with SS Tennessee and continuing through to hours
of hard, cold work on Rodeo Beach, in the waters off Alcatraz, and on the wrecks
of King Philip and Reporter. Maritime Unit Manager Glennie Wall also provided
support and was responsible with Jean Swearingen for providing the visitors to the
National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, with their first comprehensive view of
shipwrecks in the museum's first major temporary exhibit, "Shipwrecks at the
Golden Gate." We are also grateful for the continued interest and support of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), primarily through the
offices of the sanctuary. Pete Gogan, the first sanctuary manager, and Miles
Croom, his successor, as well as Nancy Stone, have supported, assisted, and funded
much of the professional maritime archeology that has taken place in the two parks
and the sanctuary, notably the 1982-1983 survey work in Drakes Bay and the
writing of this report. Ed Miller of NOAA's Washington Office funded the
publication of this report.
Many individuals, most National Park Service (NPS) employees, worked to create
the body of knowledge that is combined in this report. We cannot name them all,
but we have not forgotten them or their contributions, and we here acknowledge
and thank them, be they in the Maintenance Division, Ranger ranks, headquarters
staff, a number of dedicated volunteers, or Park Police. A number of colleagues
outside the NPS and NOAA helped with research; again, we cannot name them all
but acknowledge the debt with gratitude. The staffs of the following institutions
and organizations were particularly helpful: California Historical Society; Society of
California Pioneers; California State Library; San Francisco History Room and
Archives, San Francisco Public Library; National Maritime Museum, San Francisco;
Espey, Huston, and Associates; Archeo-Tec, Inc.; San Francisco Cleanwater
Program, California Academy of Sciences; Marin County Historical Society; Sausalito
Historical Society; Mystic Seaport Museum; National Archives; Judicial, Fiscal, and
Social Branch, Federal Archives Records Center, San Bruno; The Mariners' Museum;
Drakes Navigators Guild, Miwok Archaeological Preserve of Marin; United States
Sixth Army, San Francisciana, The Huntington Library; and San Francisco State
The manuscript was edited by Joy Waldron Murphy and J. Candace Clifford, and
reviewed by Edwin C. Bearss, Larry Murphy, Daniel J. Lenihan, Miles Croom, and
Nancy Stone. Despite their fine effort, any mistakes and omissions that remain are
the sole responsibility of the authors.
This report is the first assessment-level publication in a series that documents the
submerged cultural resources present within the boundaries of National Park Service
areas, National Marine Sanctuaries, and other marine-protected areas. It was
drafted in 1986 under a memorandum of understanding between the Gulf of the
Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The tidal and submerged lands within the two parks and marine sanctuary contain
approximately 151 shipwrecks. Of these, research indicates 41 lie solely within the
jurisdiction of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 78 lie solely
within the jurisdiction of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and 32 lie solely
within the jurisdiction of Point Reyes National Seashore. Many of these shipwrecks
are individually significant and potentially eligible for listing in the National
Register of Historic Places; as a study collection, the group of shipwrecks is
significant in documenting and assessing the progression of maritime development
and activity associated with the port of San Francisco and its surrounding subports.
Maritime archeological research has been undertaken in the three areas. This
includes discovery phase surveys, limited site excavation, and documentation of
eight shipwrecks. The activity to date has resulted in the listing of three shipwreck
sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Serious threats to shipwreck
resources exist in the three areas, including National Register sites, including
beachcombing, sport-diver collecting, professional salvage, and treasure-hunting.
This report lists the particulars of presumed "total loss" shipwrecks within the three
areas, assesses research and management activities to date, discusses potential and
actual threats to the resources, and recommends an extended program consisting of
additional historical research, complete nondestructive archeological survey of the
tidal and submerged lands, limited on-site archeological survey of selected
shipwrecks, the preparation of National Register nominations, a comprehensive
program of exhibits, displays, interpretive programs, and publications to enhance
public appreciation of submerged cultural resources and their management and
preservation, and the establishment of local in-house submerged-cultural-resource
management teams and a conservation facility.
Managers of National Park Service areas, and more recently of National Marine
Sanctuaries, has increasingly found it necessary to inventory, document, protect,
preserve, and interpret submerged cultural resources. A variety of
submerged-cultural-resource surveys and vessel-specific archeological research
projects have been accomplished by the National Park Service within the last
decade, the most noteworthy being those of the National Park Service's Submerged
Cultural Resource Unit, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The National Park Service has worked cooperatively with the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Marine Sanctuary Program in three separate instances.
Currently, the National Park Service is working with the NOAA to develop cultural
resource management guidelines for marine sanctuaries. The Service is also closely
involved with NOAA in defining management and research strategies for the
remains of USS Monitor, lying off the North Carolina coast.
In 1985, the National Park Service and NOAA cooperatively performed a
submerged-cultural-resource assessment and survey of selected areas within the
boundaries of Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine
Sanctuary, California. The first major cooperative effort of the two agencies,
however, occurred in 1982-1983, when the Submerged Cultural Resource Unit,
Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the State of
California, and NOAA conducted a Phase 1 Reconnaissance Submerged Cultural
Resources Survey of portions of Point Reyes National Seashore and Gulf of the
Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, California.
The results of the survey were published in 1984. Included in the first volume was
a chapter on "Losses of Major Vessels Within the Drakes Bay Survey Area," by
David Buller and James Delgado. That section recounted the histories and
shipwreck events of 15 vessels greater than 20 tons in waters from Double Point to
Point Reyes (including all of Drakes Bay and the Point Reyes headland). Included
in the two-volume report was a statement by SCRU Chief Daniel J. Lenihan
regarding the Submerged Cultural Resource Unit Report and Publication Series,
which listed various types of reports including a submerged cultural resources
assessment. According to Lenihan, this type of report was a "first-line document
that consists of a brief literature search, an overview of the maritime history and
the known or potential underwater sites in the park, and preliminary
recommendations for long-term management. Designed to have application for
G[eneral]M[anagement]P[lans]...to become a source document for the park's
Submerged Cultural Resources Management Plan." The significance of the 15- vessel
"sample" documented in the Reconnaissance Survey was a clear inspiration to
complete the task through a Submerged Cultural Resources Assessment for the entire
managed area of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which is
contiguous with Point Reyes National Seashore.
Because a small portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area is also included in
the boundaries of the National Marine Sanctuary, it was desirable to include the
entire managed area of Golden Gate in this final report to link the three entities
and provide a complete accounting of potential submerged cultural resources for an
unbroken stretch of coastline from Point San Pedro in the south to Bodega Head in
the north. The area to be covered would also include a large shipwreck
concentration at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, a significant collection of
potential resources that could not be overlooked.
The body of the assessment that follows is a brief account of the particulars, career,
and wreck event of some 136 shipwrecks within the project area, which included
the sanctuary and two NFS areas. The 15 wrecks previously discussed in the Phase
1 Reconnaissance Report were not addressed in this report because they were
adequately covered in the publication of the two-volume report of the 1982-1983
survey. Contextual information is included in the assessment to identify the
geographic, historical, archeological, and management contexts of the wrecks
A number of shipwreck events listed in a variety of secondary histories were found
to have been only partial losses or, in some cases, to simply not be verifiable
through reliable sources. The wrecks listed in the assessment are verified to have
occurred in the project area. It should be noted, however, that additional shipwreck
events undoubtedly did take place within the project area but were not recorded, or
their locations were not accurately plotted; accounts of such shipwrecks may surface
through follow-up historical research following archeological survey. The limited
archeological research conducted to date, the quantity or number and significant
historical contexts of the various vessels, and the broad range of vessel types
indicate that the project area contains a significant archeological study collection
worthy of its nationally unique status within a National Marine Sanctuary and two
units of the National Park system. The utmost caution in management and
innovative archeological technique should be followed in order to protect, preserve,
study, and interpret these shipwrecks for future generations.
Stephen A. Haller
This report describes all of the known shipwrecks that occurred within the present
boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the Golden
Gate National Recreation Area, and Point Reyes National Seashore.
The Sanctuary includes waters adjacent to the coast between Bodega Head, south to
Rocky Point (south of Stinson Beach), and offshore to the Farallon Islands, and
encompasses approximately 948 square nautical miles. The coastal boundary follows
the mean high tide line and the seaward limit of Point Reyes National Seashore.
From Bodega Head to the Point Reyes headlands, the sanctuary extends six nautical
miles offshore, includes the waters within 12 nautical miles of the Farallon Islands
and Noonday Rock, as well as the area between the islands and the mainland from
the Point Reyes headlands to Rocky Point; it also embraces Drakes, Bodega,
Tomales, and Bolinas Bays, and Bolinas Lagoon.
The coastal boundary of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area follows a line
one-quarter mile to seaward of the mean low-water line, beginning about one mile
south of the northernmost point of the Stinson Beach sandspit, and continuing south
to Point Bonita, then east to Point Cavallo, then north to the boundary of the city
of Sausalito. South of the Golden Gate, the coastal boundary begins at the Hyde
Street Pier, extends westward to Fort Point, and continues southward, until it ends
at the San Mateo county line.
The study area is located on the middle part of the California coast, approximately
between latitude 38' 18" N and 37' 40" N. Noted geographer George Davidson, in
his work Pacific Coast Pilot.... describes the area:
The great indentation of the coast of California between Point San
Pedros...and Point Reyes. ..has been very aptly described by one of the
old Spanish navigators as the Gulf of the Farallones. This designation
almost describes the islands that mark its western limit. The coast line
in the deepest part of the gulf, where the mountains are nearly a
thousand feet high, has been ruptured where the Golden Gate gives
connection between the Pacific Ocean and the Bay of San Francisco.
The commerce of the world enters the Golden Gate, and the Bay of San Francisco
affords the finest and most commodious harbor on the Pacific coast of the United
States. From its discovery it has commanded the admiration of navigators, and
since the wonderful rise of California has well sustained its reputation. Its
geographical position, great area and depth of water, its noble entrance and bold
shores; the Sacramento and San Joaquin and their tributaries draining the rich
agricultural valley of California and the auriferous slopes of the Sierra Nevadas; the
magic cities upon its shores, and the salubrity of its climate all these conditions
have conspired to make it emphatically the Port of the Pacific. 
The regional weather pattern is a Mediterranean climate, characterized by two
seasons. A warm, dry season inland stretches from April to October, and is
characterized near the coast by prevailing northwest winds that condense as they
blow across cold offshore waters and so cause a belt of fog to form there and
remain for days at a time. A season of more changeable weather begins around
November and continues until April. During this period the temperature is
generally colder, although still moderate, and rainstorms with southerly winds occur
regularly, followed by periods of mild and sunny weather.
The California Current runs southward along the coast, carrying cold waters from
Alaska into the area, in contrast to the warmer waters farther offshore. This
contrast contributes greatly to the foggy conditions so characteristic of the region's
summers. Water temperatures in the area typically range from 60 degrees
Fahrenheit during the summer months, and 46 to 50 degrees in the winter.
The entire study area is thus subject to prevailing northwesterly winds that blow
from the ocean toward the shore and greatly increase the hazard of navigation along
the coast, because any vessel out of control will be blown toward the shore rather
than out to sea. The coastline is equally exposed when winter storms blow in
southerly winds, because (San Francisco Bay excepted) there are no safe deepwater
anchorages protected from that direction within the study area. Shallow, restricted
anchoring places for smaller craft are located at Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, Drakes
Bay, and Bolinas Bay.
Compounding the dangers of navigating this lee shore, with its scarcity of sheltered
harbors, is the rocky nature of most of the shoreline. A vessel in distress is thus
likely to be blown onto rocks and smashed in the long swells. Treacherous reefs
stretch offshore at Duxbury Point, Bolinas, and off Point Reyes. Ten-Mile Beach at
Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, Stinson Beach, Ocean Beach, and Doran Beach just south
of Bodega Harbor are the only sizable gradual sandy areas on that rocky coast.
Smaller beaches exist at Tennessee Cove and Rodeo Lagoon in Marin County and at
Baker Beach in San Francisco. Even so, vessels stranded on those beaches are
subject to tremendous pounding from the open Pacific swells.
Lying some 20 miles off the Golden Gate, the rocky Farallon Islands and their
satellite Noonday Rock cause additional hazards to vessels travelling along the coast
or attempting to approach the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate is
guarded by a huge sandbar lying in a crescent offshore, facing a navigator with
extremely difficult wave conditions, unpredictable currents, and areas of shoal water
at the harbor entrance. Because of the vast expanse of San Francisco Bay and the
amount of additional water from California's major rivers that empty into it,
currents are greatly accelerated as they pass through the narrow harbor entrance.
Especially hazardous conditions are created by counter currents and back eddies that
form in the coves and bights on each side of the main channel.
The natural geographical features of the area gave it the potential of being the
greatest port on America's Pacific shore. The growth of the area in the wake of the
gold rush, the development of California's agriculture, and the expansion of the
lumber industry fulfilled that potential. Natural resources in what was to become
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area significantly affected the manner in
which the vast maritime commerce of the San Francisco Bay Region developed.
Before good roads connected the far-flung reaches of the Bay Area, sailing was the
most efficient form of transportation between communities isolated from each other
by hills and the Bay.
The earliest local source of building material was the forested slopes of Mount
Tamalpais. Lumber from mills providing both cordwood for fuel and sawn wood
for construction was shipped on small schooners from locations at Corte Madera on
San Francisco Bay and in Bolinas Lagoon. Produce and dairy products to feed the
region's growing population were shipped from Bolinas Bay and the Point Reyes
area at Drakes Estero.
As the San Francisco Bay Region matured, maritime commerce grew
correspondingly. The grain and lumber trades were in response to, and revolved
around, the region's rich natural resources. Passenger routes developed along the
coast and to points across the Pacific and around the world. These subjects are
addressed in the Historical Overview section of this report.
George Davidson, Pacific Coast Pilot (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1889) p. 121.
Point Reyes National Seashore
San Francisco Bay
Point Bonlta Xy^ffib-
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
/ Point Lobos \\ San Francisco
Golden Gate National
HISTORICAL CONTEXTS OF VESSELS WRECKED IN THE
James P. Delgado
The historical record indicates 151 vessels lost in the project area. The project area
includes the coast and open waters from Bodega Head in the north to Point San
Pedro in the south, the waters surrounding the Farallon Islands, the San Francisco
Bay shoreline from Fort Mason to Fort Point, and the waters to one-fourth-mile
offshore from Alcatraz Island. The activity of these vessels at the time of their loss
clearly indicates the variety of maritime trade and commerce on this coast, and in
particular it highlights the busy activities of the Port of San Francisco. From 1849
through the early decades of the twentieth century, San Francisco was the most
important American port on the Pacific. The majority of its shipwrecks date from
this period, although the chronological span of the wrecks runs from 1595, when the
Spanish Manila galleon San Agustin was lost at Drakes Bay, to 1986, when the
70-foot fishing trawler Jack Jr. was hit and sank off Point Reyes.
Maritime Development on the Pacific Coast, 1542-1945
The Spanish conquest and settlement of Mexico in the first quarter of the sixteenth
century opened the Pacific Ocean to Spain's mariners. By the mid-sixteenth
century, voyages of exploration had probed northward along the California coast
and west across the Pacific to the Orient. In 1542, an expedition led by Juan
Rodriguez Cabrillo, a veteran of the Mexican conquest, "discovered" California's
shores. Cabrillo was followed by other explorers, including Pedro de Unameno,
who opened a trade route between the Philippines and Mexico in 1565, allowing
Spain to finally realize Columbus' dream of a new trade route with the Indies.
English freebooter Francis Drake challenged in 1579 the concept of the Pacific as a
"Spanish lake" by making a bold piratical foray into the Pacific and landing and
careening his ship, Golden Hind, on the California coast. The California shore was
a frequent sight for the crews of the annual "Manila galleons" that sailed between
Manila and Acapulco in Unameno's wake; a prominent landmark for voyagers was
the Punta de los Tres Reyes (Point Reyes). It was to Point Reyes that one of the
Manila captains, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, was sent in 1595 to chart the coast
for a suitable harbor. Cermeno lost his ship, San Agustin. when she dragged ashore
in a gale while at anchor in Drakes Bay. Explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed up the
California coast in 1602, landing at Monterey Bay and stopping briefly at Drakes to
see what could be salvaged from San Agustin. His visit was the last in the region
for more than a century.
The entrance to San Francisco Bay had eluded various explorers sailing along
California's shores, largely because of the narrow harbor entrance at the Golden
Gate, the masking influence of the east bay foothills in the background, and the
redundant caution of the early mariners, who sailed well out to sea past the
Farallones to avoid shipwreck. Ironically, the Bay was finally discovered by a land
expedition in 1769. As part of a northward thrust during the initial effort to
colonize California, troops under the command of Caspar de Portola overshot their
destination, Monterey, and stumbled onto San Francisco Bay. Other land
expeditions in 1770, 1772, 1774, and 1775 skirted the fringes of the bay and
discovered the Golden Gate, and in August 1775, the first European vessel, a
Spanish frigate named San Carlos, sailed through the Golden Gate and charted the
bay's waters. The Spaniards considered the settlement and defense of the bay
essential, and in 1776 they established a presidio and mission at the future site of
San Francisco, as the northernmost limit of Spanish imperial expansion in North
America. Soon supply ships began making irregular voyages to the Golden Gate.
The years of Spanish and Mexican hegemony in California (1769-1846) saw
increasing numbers of vessels arriving on the California coast to engage in the
sea-otter fur trade, smuggling, and the legal trade of China goods in exchange for
California's abundant hides and tallow from the vast herds of cattle kept at various
private ranches. The booming nature of the hide trade gave rise to a new port in
1835, when naturalized Mexican citizen William A. Richardson, formerly a British
mariner, founded the settlement of Yerba Buena on the San Francisco peninsula.
Richardson's Yerba Buena was a small but busy hide-trading town, and had grown
to a village of a few hundred by 1846, when war between the United States and
Mexico commenced. Yerba Buena was an early American prize of the Mexican
War, and in 1847 was renamed "San Francisco" by its Yankee military-appointed
With the discovery of gold in California in 1848, the primacy of San Francisco as
the principal port on the West Coast was confirmed, as thousands of vessels made
their way to San Francisco as part of the Gold Rush. Because of the protection of
the great inland harbor, the bay proved to be a relatively safe haven for the vessels.
In addition, the great rivers that pierced California's interior drained into the bay,
providing easy waterborne access to the Sierra foothills- -and the gold "diggin's." In
response to the Gold Rush traffic, San Francisco became a major metropolis, and as
the principal port, it became the anchorage for hundreds of vessels and a way
station for goods bound for the gold fields. The Pacific Coast, otherwise isolated
from the rest of the world until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in
1869, depended on ships as the connecting link with civilization, bringing raw and
manufactured goods, immigrants, and capital.
San Francisco in particular depended on shipborne goods as it grew rapidly in
response to the Gold Rush. Lumber, bricks, food, machinery, and labor all came
from the holds of vessels simply because San Francisco and the rest of California
had only scarce agricultural and industrial output. Later, as industry and agriculture
flourished elsewhere, the important role of maritime trade and commerce continued,
but the role changed. The Pacific Coast was no longer just a consumer, but a
productive partner. Reciprocal trade burgeoned with the establishment of lumber
mills, farms, factories, and ranches. One of the initial maritime trades to develop in
the aftermath of the Gold Rush was the active commerce resulting from the influx
of goods from the Eastern seaboard and Europe to San Francisco, which
subsequently shipped them to various smaller ports on the coast. Lumber, hay,
grain, dairy products, produce, and meat were shipped up and down the coast,
particularly to San Francisco. The rich groves of virgin redwood and Douglas fir
along the coast sparked a busy lumber trade, supplying San Francisco and other
growing urban areas on the West Coast, until the trade eventually expanded to meet
the lumber needs of the world.
Throughout the active years of the lumber trade, ships were used for transport.
The expense of constructing wagon roads and railroads to the forests was avoided
by the cheaper and more expedient means of utilizing ships. At first, conditions
were difficult. Ships built for other purposes were used, but eventually specialized
coastal schooners were developed, propelled initially by sail and later by steam. The
schooners proved to be the backbone of West Coast shipping, many making the
transition from lumber to general cargo. As old wooden ships were retired, new
steel steamers were pressed into service by the same companies that had originally
carried lumber. Hence, into the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, new freighters carried on
the tradition alongside a few hardy wooden veterans of days gone by. The
freighters also ultimately replaced the large wood, iron, and steel sailing ships that
had carried goods from Europe, South America, and the Orient in exchange for
The transportation of people by sea to California peaked between 1848 and 1869 as
the initial boom of Gold Rush migration continued. More than 500,000 persons
were carried to and from San Francisco by the Panama steamers of the Pacific Mail
Steamship Company and their competitors. Coastal steamers carried passengers from
San Francisco to intermediate ports, such as San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey,
Eureka, Portland, and Seattle, while smaller shallow-draft river steamers linked San
Francisco with Sacramento and the other cities in California's heartland. The steam
schooners developed in the 1880s for the lumber trade also carried passengers to and
from the numerous small lumber mill towns and ports.
By the 1860s, the Pacific Mail, and soon thereafter other companies, began regular
trans-Pacific service, opening San Francisco to trade and a massive influx of
migration from Asia. As the transcontinental railroad and coastal railroads linked
California and the Pacific Coast with the rest of the United States, the emphasis on
passenger shipping shifted to the trans-Pacific routes and luxury recreational
cruises, which continue to this day despite air travel.
Smaller craft also made important contributions. The bay and the waters of the
Pacific were harvested for food, and large fleets of fishing vessels based at San
Francisco, Monterey, and other ports soon became a frequent sight along the coast.
From the junks of Chinese fishermen to the feluccas of Mediterranean immigrants,
and finally to the Monterey boats and the trawlers of more modern times, fishing
craft remained through the decades as important participants in the maritime
industries of the San Francisco region.
The decline of Atlantic whaling grounds and the rise of San Francisco opened the
Pacific Coast to America's whaling fleet, and by the 1880s San Francisco was the
undisputed whaling capital of the United States. Dozens of whalers sailed and
steamed from San Francisco each year for the North Pacific and Arctic whaling
grounds. The last outpost of American whaling, a shoreside facility in Richmond, on
San Francisco Bay, closed in the 1970s. Elsewhere on San Francisco Bay, small
two-masted "scow schooners" were the workhorses of the bay, carrying oyster
shells, hay, produce, and lumber to market from mudflat harbors and estuaries.
Recreational craft boomed even in the difficult conditions of San Francisco Bay,
and fleets of yachts appeared in the 1870s; today they are largely the masters of the
Technology brought new fleets of vessels into service. The rich oil fields of
California spawned many oil companies. The development of processing facilities
on San Francisco Bay insured the harbor's continued use even though the other
oil-rich harbors in Southern California ended San Francisco's primacy. Beginning in
the 1920s, oil, gasoline, and kerosene tankers became increasingly numerous on the
Pacific Coast as they made their way to and from San Francisco, San Pedro, and
Ventura. As the need for larger cargoes increased, larger and more complex tankers
were built, culminating in the supertankers of modern industry. Few of the older
tankers are still in service. While older tankers were being replaced by more modern
vessels, a revolution in cargo handling doomed the older bulk freighters.
Containerization spelled the end to San Francisco's active port and insured the
success of Oakland. Now, tankers, container ships, yachts, and fishing boats, and
an occasional visiting naval vessel are the usual denizens of San Francisco Bay's
Maritime Trade Contexts for Vessels Wrecked in the Project Area
The various activities of the shipwrecked vessels in the project area are indicators
of the variety of maritime trade and commerce on the Pacific Coast. The types and
forms of these vessels demonstrate the range of naval architectural developments and
the variety of marine engineering designs and propulsion systems. The categories or
historical contexts for the vessels are as follows:
Voyages of Exploration and Settlement
*San Agustin. 1595
Hide and Tallow Trade
The California Gold Rush
Caroline Amelia. 1850
Cornelius W. Lawrence. 1851
J. Sarkie. 1851
Robert Henderson. 1850
Samuel S. Lewis. 1853
San Francisco. 1854
General Coastal Trade, 1848-1939
*Annie E. Smale. 1891
*Colonel Baker. 1913
Eliza P. Adams. 1860
H. Caroline. 1874
H. C. Almv. 1879
Isaac Reed. 1924
*Lizzie Derby. 1891
Morning Light. 1868
R. D. Inman. 1909
Schah Jehan. 1867
Shooting Star. 1861
*Valentine Alviso. 1883
Western Shore. 1878
Pacific Coast Lumber Trade, 1850-1936
Albion River. 1903
American Boy. 1890
Ann Perry. 1865
Bessie Everdine. 1888
Coos Bav. 1927
Daisy Rowe. 1900
Fourth of July. 1878
George Louis. 1882
H. L. Rutgers. 1868
J. E. Haskins. 1874
Jenny Ford. 1864
Josephine Wilcutt. 1872
King Philip. 1878
Two Brothers. 1883
W. H. Gawlev. 1880
*William Ackmann. 1883
William F. Witzemann. 1907
William Frederick. 1887
William L. Beebe. 1884
Fishing and Sealing
Copper Queen. 1903
H. L. Tiernan. 1882
San Domenico. 1940
Three Sisters. 1929
Transpacific Passenger and Cargo
City of New York. 1893
City of Rio de Janeiro. 1901
Coastal Passenger Trade
Citv of Chester. 1882
Helen W. Almv. 1899
Prince Alfred. 1874
Tugs and Marine Salvage
General Carrying Trade, 1854-1939
A. C. Dutton. 1953
Annie Sisie. 1871
Chateau Palmer. 1856
Claus Spreckels. 1888
Erin's Star. 1880
F. W. Bailev. 1863
Francois Coppee. 1903
Frank Jones. 1877
General Gushing. 1858
Golden Fleece. 1854
Isaac Jeanes. 1876
Julia Castner. 1859
James Rolph. 1913
Jenny Lind. 1858
Lime Point. 1878
Oliver Cutts. 1868
Sea Nymph. 1863
Warrior Queen. 1874
California Grain Trade
Frank H. Buck. 1936
Lyman A. Stewart. 1922
Puerto Rican. 1985
Pilots and Aids to Navigation
Naval and Military Activities
Henry Bergh. 1944
YF #734. 1945
YF #735. 1945
YFD #20. 1943
*Discussed previously in Submerged Cultural Resources Survey: Portions of Point
Reyes National Seashore and Point Reves-Farallon Islands National Marine
Sanctuary, edited by Larry Murphy (Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, 1984).
Observations on the Significance of Vessels Wrecked in the Project Area
Historical contexts significant in the progression of United States, and specifically
for Pacific Coast maritime history, have been identified for the majority of the
vessels discussed in this report. The details of the careers and construction of many
of these vessels indicate potential significance for most under the criteria of the
National Register of Historic Places, should sufficient archeological integrity be
present at the wreck site. While a more detailed discussion of significance will be
found in the section of this report dealing with Management Recommendations, it is
important to note that significance is more than the historical contexts and integrity
of individual shipwreck sites; rather, the arrangement of the vessels in various
contextual groups strongly underscores the significance of the 151 shipwrecks in the
project area as a group of study collections. With several examples of certain types
of vesselsvessels engaged in a specific historical event or trade, and vessels whose
type developed through time--research questions could be developed for the study
of several wrecks in order to better quantify the construction techniques and form
of the American clipper ship. Possible study collections present in the project area
Gold Rush Wrecks: Cornelius W. Lawrence. Tennessee. Samuel S. Lewis. Caroline
Amelia. Aberdeen. Marshall. Petersburg. Oxford. Tagus. Robert Henderson. Mersey.
Extreme and Medium Clipper Ships: San Francisco. Golden Fleece. Sea Nymph.
Noonday. Frank Jones. King Philip.
Early Screw Steamers: Samuel S. Lewis. Prince Alfred. Labouchere. Novick. City of
Chester. City of Rio de Janeiro.
Development of the West Coast Steam Schooner: William Ackmann. Aberdeen.
Pomo. Hartwood. Hanalei. Samoa. Yosemite.
Early Steam Tankers: Frank H. Buck. Lyman Stewart. Richfield.
Iron and Steel-Hulled Sailing Ships: Viscata. Lammermoor. Francois Coppee.
Gifford. Drumburton. Haddingtonshire.
Early Twentieth Century Bulk Freighters: Ohioan. Munleon. Coos Bay.
Visible remains of Frank H. Buck and Lyman Stewart at Land's End, 1986. The
triple expansion marine steam engine and rudder shaft of Buck lie directly off the
point at the center of the photograph; Lyman Stewart's triple expansion engine lies
perpendicular and to the right of Buck's. National Park Service photo by Richard
SUBMERGED CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
James P. Delgado
Considerable historical research into shipwrecks located within the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Gulf of the
Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has been conducted since 1978. The creation
of park reference files for shipwrecks in GGNRA was accomplished in 1980, with
files of primary and secondary source materials and photographs being maintained
in the park historian's office at the GGNRA headquarters at Fort Mason, San
Francisco. In the course of research, some vessels have been the focus of
considerable research effort; not surprisingly, these are usually vessels that have
been or are expected to be the focus of archeological documentation activity. The
shipwrecks extensively researched to date have been SS Tennessee. King Philip.
Neptune. City of New York. City of Rio de Janeiro. Frank H. Buck. Lyman
Stewart. Samuel S. Lewis. San Agustin. Atlantic. C. W. Lawrence. Oxford, and
Golden Fleece. Files for these shipwrecks in some cases include merchant-vessel
documentation records, logbooks, passenger diaries and accounts, newspaper and
official reports of the wreck event, plans, and photographs. Of particular note was
the cataloguing of manuscript plans from the Union Iron Works collection at the
National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, for the tankers Lvman Stewart and
Frank H. Buck: the preparation of a master's thesis on the history and archeology of
SS Tennessee: and the publication of articles pertaining to the history of C. \V.
Lawrence and Tennessee in the American Neptune. Historical accounts of some
shipwrecks in GGNRA were published in 1983 in conjunction with the National
Maritime Museum exhibit "Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate," and brief histories of
three wrecks and a guide to visible shipwrecks in GGNRA were published in the
Winter 1986 issue of The Park, the illustrated newsletter of the Golden Gate
National Parks Association.
Archeological Research: SS Tennessee
Maritime archeological research in the region began in 1980 with the remains of SS
Tennessee at Tennessee Cove in the Marin County portion of the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area. In August 1980, GGNRA Park Archeologist Martin
Mayer and GGNRA Park Historian James Delgado performed a walking survey of
Tennessee Cove beach after a late summer storm. The crosstail from Tennessee's
engine was located partially buried at the south end of the narrow 400-yard-long
beach. Sand was hand-troweled away to expose the crosstail for photographs and
measured drawings. On January 14, 1981, a survey of the beach was conducted
with hand-held metal detectors. Two concentrations of buried metal objects in the
immediate vicinity of the crosstail in the surf zone of the beach were noted and
Based on this work, the site was nominated to the National Register of Historic
Places in February 1981. Subsequently "Shipwreck Site and Remains, SS Tennessee"
was placed in the National Register on April 15, 1981. Following the listing of the
property, several visits to monitor artifact exposure during seasonal winter-beach
erosion were made in 1981-1982. In early 1981 more than 400 artifacts were
exposed on the beach following a major flooding episode that caused Tennessee
Creek to wash much of the beach sand into the cove. In February 1981 a volunteer
crew of archeologists from the College of Marin and the Miwok Archeological
Preserve of Marin worked under National Park Service supervision to record and
remove 230 loose artifacts from the exposed shingle substrata of the beach. The
recovered artifacts were cleaned, catalogued, and placed in passive desalinization.
Of the 230 artifacts recovered, 49 (23%) were determined to be from SS Tennessee.
including nine wrought-iron drift bolts, 13 pieces of cast-iron treads and a walkway
from the engine room, five parts of cast and wrought-iron machinery, 16 iron ship
spikes, and nine brass boat nails.
On March 19, 1981, a winter storm stripped an additional area of the beach,
exposing a deeper strata of shingle and revealing pockets of yellow metal sheathing
nails, fragments of copper sheathing, brass spikes, brass wood screws, glass and
ceramic fragments, and iron drifts. An additional 40 items were recovered; after
analysis, 35 were determined to be from Tennessee. These artifacts included a
Spanish silver onereale piece of 1788, fragments of two separate "cathedral" glass
bottles, fragments of a fluted glass bottle, the base of a dark green liquor bottle, a
shard of crockery, riveted iron plating, and a curved iron artifact marked
" Chemical Soot Remover." To further test the shingle substrata of the beach,
five 1 -meter-square units were hand-excavated along the limits of the exposed
shingle. The overburden of sand and loose shingle was hand-troweled to a depth of
20-30 cm. to reach a hard-packed stratum of sterile gravel. A number of small
artifacts was recovered; more than 100 sheathing nails, fragments of brass spikes,
and many small (less than 2 cm.) fragments of copper sheathing were excavated.
Four additional artifacts were disclosed by winter-beach erosion in 1981. On March
20, 1981, a large wrought-iron shaft was observed lying in the surf perpendicular to
the shoreline. A cast-iron crank was attached to the shaft end closest to the shore.
The 10-inch-diameter shaft was approximately 18 feet long; the offshore end was
buried in sand and the actual end could not accurately be discerned beyond 16 feet.
A one-and-one-half-inch diameter bolt was observed near the offshore end of the
shaft. A comparison of the shaft with engine-room drawings of SS Tennessee
helped identify the artifact as a paddle-wheel shaft from the wreck.
Erosion of the beach by Tennessee Creek also exposed a 3-by-5-foot piece of
double-riveted iron plate one-and-one-half inches thick with torn and buckled
edges. The plate may be from Tennessee's boilers or from her freshwater tanks.
The plating was removed from the beach and placed in passive desalinization at the
National Maritime Museum, San Francisco. Two smaller brass items were also
recovered near the crosstail at the same time. One object is small and flanged with
a threaded socket at one end; two rivets hold fragments of thin brass plating. The
item appears to be a flanged mount for a brass instrument. The second object, a
highly eroded piece of brass plating pierced with numerous one-fourth-inch
diameter holes, is either from a "rose" from Tennessee's sea-water intakes or part of
a bilge-pump strainer.
Archeological work in the cove initially centered on locating the main cluster of
wreckage associated with SS Tennessee. A preliminary survey of the cove with a
handheld proton-precession magnetometer located a series of anomalies near the surf
line that apparently represent Tennessee wreckage, which spreads out into the cove
to approximately 300 yards offshore. Dives made to assess the anomalies concluded
without a visual sighting of cultural material; the remains of the ship are apparently
buried beneath a sand overburden. It is believed that at certain periods the sand
overburden is partially eroded, perhaps during the summer months when the beach
is heavily built up by accretion of sand from the cove. At least one sport diver has
mentioned swimming through an area of large metal objects, pipes, and shafts in the
cove. Unfortunately, the cove is a small opening on a steep rocky coastline open to
the Pacific swell, and is an extremely high-energy environment. Underwater
activity to date has been rare and limited.
To aid in the research of Tennessee, a non-profit organization, the SS Tennessee
Archaeological Project, Inc., was organized by volunteers led by archaeology student
Robert L. Bennett of San Rafael. Incorporated in 1982, the Tennessee Project
performed several functions: organizing volunteer survey efforts at the site,
conducting a successful public relations campaign which included public lectures,
drafting a research design to guide future archeological work, and generating
sufficient funds through private donations, grants, and sales of project T-shirts to
fund historical research. The Tennessee Project terminated in 1987.
Environmentally Exposed Shipwreck Remains: Rodeo Lagoon, Neptune. Porno, and
In late December 1982, the remains of a wooden vessel were exposed by
storm-induced winter-beach erosion at the base of the cliffs at Fort Funston, south
of Ocean Beach in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The remains present at
the site consisted of one large piece of hull structure, 48.5 feet long and 7.6 feet
wide, which represented a starboard portion of the hull running from midships aft
to the stern. This portion included the hull from the turn of the bilge to a point
just below the sheerstrake; the remains of a hold-beam-shelf were noted near the
aftermost end. The vessel was iron-fastened and constructed of Douglas fir.
On December 26 and 27, 1982, the hull portion, which was partially filled with
wave-washed boulders and shingle, was hand-excavated by Historian Delgado and
volunteer archeologists Greg Brown, Rebecca LaFontaine, and Robert Bennett, to
expose the ceiling planking. The hull was divided into 10-foot-square units and
mapped; a photographic mosaic of the hull was also prepared. A clinch-bolt and
treenail were removed for analysis, as well as timber samples from the outer hull
planking, frames, and ceiling. After the photographic and measured documentation
was completed on December 27, the hull was filled with boulders and sand to
rebury it on site. Subsequently, a landslide buried the remains deeply under sand
from the cliffs above.
Analysis of remains determined the vessel to have been about 100 by 30 feet,
two-masted, of Pacific coast construction and late nineteenth century origin.
Historical accounts indicated two vessels lost in the area; one of those, the
two-masted schooner Neptune, was ultimately determined to be the source of the
vessel remains. Neptune, built in 1882 at Eureka, California, was 106 by 30 by 8.6
feet, a near match for the estimated dimensions of the hull associated with the
vessel remains. The remains were designated California Archeological Site
CA-SFr-107H; a project report was prepared and published in 1983, and a revised
version of the report was published in Historical Archaeology. Volume 20, in 1986.
A winter storm in March 1983 uncovered the partial remains of another wooden
vessel on the sand spit of Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin headlands of Golden Gate
National Recreation Area. A piece of oak sternson (approximately 36 inches by 36
inches with an attached fragment of inner sternpost and fragments of outer hull
planking, with brass fastenings and stubs of copper sheathing nails) was in the
process of being stripped by park visitors when a park maintenance worker removed
the piece to safekeeping in the Marin Headlands Maintenance Yard. The piece was
documented, and measured drawings were prepared by GGNRA Archeologist
Martin Mayer and Historian James Delgado on March 4, 1983. The piece was
determined to be from an early-to-mid-nineteenth century shipwreck less than 130
feet in length. It was removed from the Marin Headlands and is now in curatorial
storage at the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
The winter storms of 1982-1983 also exposed eight pieces of wreckage from the
wooden steam schooner Pomo at Drakes Beach and on Limantour Spit, both places
on the shores of Drakes Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore. A team led by
Historian James Delgado, composed of Archeologist Martin T. Mayer and volunteer
archeologists Greg Brown and Rebecca LaFontaine, plotted the locations of the
vessel remains and prepared measured drawings of a portion of starboard bow
structure on March 14, 1983. Four pieces of wreckage were decking, two with
associated carling and coamings; the others were portions of the hull. The drawings
and a brief report of the beach work done with Pomo's remains was published in
1984 in the final report on the Phase 1 and 2 Reconnaissance of Drakes Bay.
In 1982 a resident of San Francisco's western shore notified GGNRA park staff that
the remains of a wooden vessel were exposed at the foot of Ortega Street on Ocean
Beach. Investigation of the site in 1982 provided no results; only 3 inches of frame
ends and a stem post were visible. Winter beach erosion in early 1983 exposed
more of the bow and stern structure, however. The exposed remains were mapped
in March 1983 by a team led by Delgado and Mayer that included volunteers Greg
Brown, Rebecca LaFontaine, Robert Bennett, and Raymond Aker. Detailed
measured drawings of the vessel's scantily exposed bow and stern were prepared,
and the vessel was identified by size and location as the 1856 medium clipper King
Philip, wrecked at the site in 1878. Timber samples taken in 1983 helped confirm
the identification of the vessel, which was probed with a water-jet lance. The team
encountered shingle, some apparent ballast, and the buried port and starboard
portions of the hull midships. As a result of the probing, it was determined that
from 40 to 50 percent of King Philip's intact hull lay buried on the beach.
The vessel remains were buried by summer beach accretion in 1983 but were
exposed again, this time to a greater extent, in April and May of 1984, allowing for
diver access to the bow and the sternpost, which still held the gudgeons and
dumb-chalders for the rudder. The entire outline of the hull was exposed, and
documentation of the wreck's upper portions proceeded photographically and
through measured drawings. A magnetometer survey of the hull and wreck area
indicated a considerable buried mass of wreckage near King Philip's bow. In
addition, intrusive wire rigging, a lead soil pipe, small bobstays with deadeyes and
hemp rigging still attached, and Douglas fir timbers with iron drifts indicated that a
second wreck lay adjacent to and partially inside King Philip. The second vessel
was determined to be the 1875 schooner Reporter, wrecked at the same site in 1902.
The remains of King Philip have not been sufficiently exposed since 1984 to allow
further documentation. A preliminary site report was prepared in 1985 and
published in Historical Archaeology Special Publication No. 4, Proceedings of the
16th Annual Conference on Underwater Archaeology held in Boston, Massachusetts,
in 1985. The wrecks of King Philip and Reporter were nominated to the National
Register of Historic Places in late 1985; the sites were placed in the National
Register at a national level of significance on May 11, 1986. King Philip's
substantially intact remains comprise the only known remains of an American
medium clipper ship, and are the most intact known remains of any wooden
shipwreck on the California coast.
Left: Remains of Neptune
exposed by winter storms at
Fort Funston, December 1983.
National Park Service photo by
James P. Delgado.
Below: The exposed hull of
Kins Philin on Ocean Beach,
1984. National Park Service
photo by Richard Frear.
Drakes Bay Remote Sensing Survey, Reconnaissance, and Inventory
In 1982 and 1983 the first major submerged-cultural-resource management activities
on the Pacific Coast commenced with a joint project of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service to survey portions of the
Point Reyes-Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes National
Seashore for underwater cultural material. The project was directed in all phases by
Daniel J. Lenihan, chief of NPS's Submerged Cultural Resource Unit, with
interagency coordination provided by Western Regional Archeologist Roger Kelly.
The project was manned by personnel from SCRU, Point Reyes National Seashore,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the U.S. Coast Guard and United States
Geological Survey, as well as volunteers, private consulting archeologists, and
Project work was accomplished in three phases: The first ran from August 23 to
September 5, 1982; the second from October 4 to 14, 1982; and the third from
September 7 to 14, 1983. Data collecting by proton-precession magnetometer,
side-scan sonar, and sub-bottom profiler survey was accomplished. A total of 2.5
square miles was covered by magnetometer, and 49 clusters of anomalies were
identified for priority test excavation. Ten square miles of side-scan sonar coverage
was obtained, along with 30 linear miles of sub-bottom profiler survey. Diver
assessment of many anomalies disclosed no visible cultural materials.
The remains of five shipwrecked vessels were disclosed, including two that were
protruding above the water surface. The steam schooners Shasta. Porno, and
Hartwood were located, as was the freighter Munleon and the tanker Richfield.
Pomp's triple-expansion steam engine and Shasta's boilers are visible at low tide in
Drakes Bay. The third field session in 1983 mapped the wreckage scatter of
Munleon. as well as a schooner landing in Drakes Estero. Six anomaly clusters were
re-investigated with negative findings, and brief reconnaissance dives were made on
Pomo. which disclosed some intact, wooden hull structure beneath the engine, and
on Richfield, which was found to be scattered along a rock reef in dark, fast
The Drakes Bay project engendered a considerable media response, particularly with
the ongoing possibility of discovering the remains of the 1595 Spanish Manila
galleon San Agustin. The survey boats were visited in action by the press, who
obtained underwater footage of Munleon for press and broadcast. Through this
coverage, the public gained a better understanding and appreciation of the region's
submerged cultural resources. The successful interagency project was completed, and
planning for future phases of work, including test excavation, was begun. Project
reports, one edited by Larry Murphy and the other by Toni Carrell (both of the
NPS Submerged Cultural Resource Unit, which documented the shipwrecks in
Drakes Bay and along the Point Reyes headlands), discussed the methodology of the
project and the results of the three field seasons.
Ocean Beach Remote-Sensing Survey
A cooperative project between the GGNRA and the Nautical Heritage Museum of
Dana Point, California, in October 1983 resulted in the survey of tide and
submerged lands along a one-fourth-mile section of the southern end of Ocean
Beach. The Nautical Heritage Museum provided GGNRA with a $2,400 donation to
conduct a historical study and an archeological survey to document the operational
history and to locate the remains of the 1848 U.S. revenue cutter C. W. Lawrence.
The survey, which was conducted between October 26-28, 1983, was undertaken by
NFS SCRU archeologist Larry Murphy, GGNRA Park Historian James Delgado,
GGNRA Park Archeologist Martin Mayer, NPS Western Regional Archeologist
Roger Kelly, volunteers Fred Boeck and Larry Tew, and a crew and vessel from the
U.S. Coast Guard's 12th District.
Thick fog and heavy seas breaking in the shallow survey area sharply curtailed the
survey activities; nonetheless, a series of anomalies were plotted that may represent
the 1894 wreck of the three-masted lumber schooner William L. Beebe.
Magnetometer traverses on the beach located a number of anomalies of
undetermined origin that could possibly be wreckage from any one of the three
vessels wrecked in the area: Lawrence. William L. Beebe. or the two-masted
schooner Aimer, wrecked in 1871. Considerable historical research was undertaken
for the project and was incorporated in the final report published in February 1984.
As noted earlier, the history of Lawrence was revised and published in the scholarly
journal American Neptune in 1986.
In September and October, 1987, a 2,770-foot section of Ocean Beach, running from
the foot of Noriega to the foot of Rivera Street, was surveyed by a team of
archeologists from Espey, Huston & Associates under contract to the City of San
Francisco Clean Water Program and by permit from the National Park Service. The
survey, using a proton precession magnetometer, was of a section of beach that will
be affected by construction of a seawall to protect the Great Highway and the sewer
buried beneath it.
Under the supervision of EH&A archeologist Robert Gearhart, a magnetic contour
map of the beach, generated on EH&A's Intergraph computer system, delineated
areas of known or potential shipwreck scatter, including the wrecks of King Philip
and Reporter. Two additional areas delineated may represent wreckage from
Aberdeen (1916) and Atlantic (1886). In April 1988, the EH&A archeologists
conducted additional surveys and limited test excavation at the supposed Atlantic
site, exposing and documenting a fragment of a copper-sheathed ship's keel
tentatively identified as being from the wreck of Atlantic.
The results of the EH&A surveys suggested that the construction of the seawall
would not impact any of the shipwreck sites identified in the magnetic survey. A
report on the EH&A survey and excavation was published in July 1988.
The interpretation of shipwrecks in the Gulf of the Farallones was enhanced in
1983 with the installation of a temporary exhibit, "Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate,"
at the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco. The exhibit, which opened in
June and ran through the end of the year, was enthusiastically received by the
public. A guide to the exhibit, Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate, was published by
the National Maritime Museum Association along with a souvenir postcard of the
exhibit's advertising poster. As part of the exhibit effort, three historic views of
the shipwrecks of Gifford. Frank Jones, and the ferry El Capitan were published by
the Golden Gate National Parks Association, along with a reprint of surviving
passenger Fred Stocking's account of the wreck of SS Tennessee.
A cooperative effort with the Nautical Heritage Museum at Dana Point, California,
in 1983 resulted in a grant of funds to archeologically survey a portion of Ocean
Beach for the remains of the U.S. revenue cutter C. W. Lawrence. Considerable
historical research into Lawrence's career and characteristics, as well as her wreck,
were incorporated by the museum into a video documentary of the construction of
Californian. a tall-ship training vessel and replica of Lawrence. An exhibit on
Lawrence travels with the modern-day ship Californian. and those interpretive
materials enhance public awareness of Lawrence wherever Californian calls on her
With the installation of permanent park wayside exhibits at Point Reyes National
Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1984, 1985, and 1986,
shipwreck events in both parks were interpreted further. Specific shipwrecks noted
in the waysides were Munleon. Frank H. Buck. Lyman Stewart. Qhioan. and
Tennessee. An exhibit of shipwreck events, including a model of the wreck of the
four-masted schooner Annie Smale. was installed at the Point Reyes Light Visitor
Center at Point Reyes National Seashore; likewise, an exhibit of shipwrecks,
including a map showing visible shipwrecks, was installed at the Cliff House Visitor
Center at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Point National Historic Site,
a unit of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, received new exhibits in 1986;
among them was a room devoted to aids to navigation and shipwrecks at Fort Point.
One panel specifically interprets the shipwrecks, the maritime museum resources of
the GGNRA, and the active submerged-cultural-resource program of the park. A
temporary exhibit on the wreck of SS Tennessee and the archeological work on her
remains (once on display at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center of GGNRA) is
currently in the process of being mounted as a permanent exhibit.
Interpretive walks in GGNRA also focus the public's attention on the shipwrecks
within the park. A "Landslides and Shipwrecks" walk is offered by the rangers in
GGNRA's Ocean District, which follows a historic railroad alignment along San
Francisco's Lands End. The rangers discuss the wrecks of Ohioan. Frank H. Buck.
Lyman Stewart, and Coos Bay. A Tennessee Valley/Tennessee Cove walk, offered
by rangers and volunteers-in-park in GGNRA's Marin Headlands District, interprets
the history, wreck, and archeology of SS Tennessee. Interpretation of the wrecks
through the local media has also proved particularly effective: news stories,
including national coverage, have been aired and published on Drakes Bay wrecks,
highlighting San Agustin. Tennessee. King Philip. Frank H. Buck. Lvman Stewart.
Pomo. City of Rio de Janeiro, and Neptune. San Francisco educational television
station KTEH-54 aired a one-hour special featuring park staff discussing King
Philip. Frank H. Buck, and Lyman Stewart, and radio station KCBS-74 has aired
two hour-long call-in talk shows with park staff discussing shipwrecks and maritime
archeology in the Gulf of the Farallones.
Artifact collections in the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, relate to
shipwrecks within the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine
Sanctuary, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Point Reyes National
Seashore. The artifacts include items salvaged from the ships at the time of their
wrecks as well as items recovered in later years by sport divers or from
archeological research. The nameboard of the steam schooner Aberdeen, which
wrecked on Ocean Beach in 1916, is on display at the National Maritime Museum
building at the foot of Polk Street. The museum collection includes items salvaged
at the time of the shipwreck events: brass letters from the stern of Frank H. Buck, a
brass gimbeled oil lamp and a taffrail log from Ohioan. a life-ring and door lock
from the captain's cabin of Citv of Rio de Janeiro, and the captain's sextant case
from the 1886 wreck of Atlantic. Plans for the engines of Citv of Rio de Janeiro
as well as rigging specifications for the schooner Reporter are located in the
museum's historic documents collection; original oil paintings of the wrecks of City
of Chester and King Philip are in the museum's fine arts collection.
Artifacts recovered in later years from shipwrecks in the study area include the bell
of the clipper ship Noonday, a sheave and deadeye from City of New York.
engine-room brass machinery parts and copper steam pipe from Qhioan. and
archeologically recovered artifacts from Tennessee. Neptune. Reporter, and King
Philip. The most notable artifacts in the latter group are the bobstays of Reporter
and a section of boilerplate from Tennessee. Unfortunately, conservation of most of
these artifacts has not taken place; passive desalinization of the Reporter and
Tennessee artifacts is an ongoing preservation activity at the museum's Collections
Management facility at Building 315, Fort Mason.
Other San Francisco Bay Area institutions and museums possess artifacts relating to
the shipwrecks of the region. The Bolinas Town Hall in Bolinas, California,
displays the nameboards of Munleon. Hanalei. and R. D. Inman. A life-ring and
debris from the 1891 wreck of Elizabeth at Slide Ranch is in the collections of the
Sausalito Historical Society. Artifacts including Ming porcelain from the wreck of
San Agustin. discovered during excavation of prehistoric archeological sites on
Drakes Bay, are curated in the collections of the Treganza Museum of Anthropology
at San Francisco State University and the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at the
University of California, Berkeley. The Bancroft Library at the University of
California, Berkeley, holds in its collection, among other things, a manuscript chart
of regional shipwrecks drawn up by former United States Coast and Geodetic
Survey chief George Davidson, circa 1890, as well as an original watercolor of the
wreck of Viscata and albumen prints, carte-de-visites, and stereopticon views of the
wrecks of Oliver Cutts and other shipwrecks.
Jotephine Wilcutt. 1872 <N |.p\ I - a^^%^feT^t^g- = ? B -^Tri^*it * f^
. erb-*^r^^ ^d it ! t
Corrnlim W ^awry^^,
Julia CMtn. J859 t* .
Robert Hendtnon. 1850 -4
VESSEL LOSSES, POINT SAN PEDRO TO POINT LOBOS
James P. Delgado
The area between Point Lobos and Point Pedro is one of the highest zones of
shipwreck concentration. Numerous maritime accidents have occurred here,
including 28 "total losses" that left shipwreck sites in the material record between
1851 and 1926.
Ann Perry. 1865
Bessie Everding. 1888
Cornelius W. Lawrence. 1851
F. W. Bailev. 1863
J. Sarkie. 1851
James Rolph. 1913
Julia Castner. 1859
Josephine Wilcutt. 1872
King Philip. 1878
Robert Henderson. 1850
W. H. Gawlev. 1880
William L. Beebe. 1884
William Frederick. 1887
The 499-ton steam schooner Aberdeen was built at Aberdeen, Washington, in 1899
by J. Lindstrom. A single-ended steam schooner, Aberdeen was 169.8 feet long,
with a 34.2-foot beam and an 11.8-foot depth of hold.  Aberdeen was powered
by a 425-horsepower compound engine. Built for the Pacific Lumber Company,
Aberdeen carried passengers and up to 500,000 board feet of lumber on her
coastwise voyages.  Aberdeen's lumber-trade career ended in 1911 when she was
sold to Fred Linderman of San Francisco. In conjunction with Linderman's steam
schooner Signal. Aberdeen hauled barges of garbage from Oakland out the Golden
Gate and dumped the loads off the Farallons.  The service was controversial
because garbage occasionally floated ashore to litter San Francisco and San Mateo
Alternately running three times a week to dump their loads 25 miles off the Golden
Gate, Aberdeen and Signal operated without incident until 1913, when heavy seas
on the bar claimed Signal and several of her crew. Unfortunately for Linderman,
Aberdeen later shared Signal's fate. On January 23, 1916, while nearing the Golden
Gate after dumping her load of garbage, Aberdeen encountered rough seas that
capsized and broke up the ship. Several of the crew, including Capt. Knudson,
were lost.  Within a few days, most of Aberdeen's shattered hull came ashore
along a 3-mile stretch of Ocean Beach. Her timbers attracted curious onlookers
before disappearing beneath the sand.
United States Department of Commerce, Thirty-Eighth Annual List of Merchant Vessels of the United
States.... (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1906) p. 175. (Cited hereafter as Merchant
Vessels of the United States.)
John Lyman, "Pacific Coast Wooden Steam Schooners, 1884-1924," The Marine Digest, May 8, 1943, p.
Jack McNairn and Jerry MacMullen, Ships of the Redwood Coast (Stanford, California: Stanford
University Press, 1949) p. 68.
Op. cit., Lyman, pp. 68, and San Francisco Chronicle, January 24-30, 1916.
Wreckage from the steam schooner A berdeen washed ashore on Ocean Beach after the
vessel wrecked on the San Francisco Bar, 1916. San Francisco Maritime NHP photo by
The two-masted schooner Aimer, built at Coos Bay, Oregon, in or around 1870, was
a small coasting vessel registered at 96.25 tons.  Aimer was one of a large
number of small two-masted schooners in the Pacific Coast lumber trade, carrying
lumber and occasionally general cargo from small logging ports to San Francisco. On
Monday, June 26, 1871, Aimer arrived off San Francisco with 140 tons of coal,
35,000 board feet of lumber, and some cordwood from Coos Bay. 
A dense fog and strong southerly current caused Aimer's master to miss his bearings
while the schooner drifted past the Golden Gate. Mistaking a light from Ocean-Side
House (a structure located at what is now the intersection of Vicente Street and the
Great Highway) for the light at Point Bonita, the northern head of the harbor
entrance, the captain tacked for what he thought was the Golden Gate. Aimer was
sailed into the breakers. The anchors were let go but failed to hold, and Aimer
soon went up on the beach, where she filled with water. The position of the
beached vessel was given as "on the beach abreast of the Ocean-Side House." 
The chances of getting her off were slight. The cargo was lost, and though "the
rigging and sails will probably be saved. ..the vessel will go to pieces, as the sea is
making a great breach in her."  Amazingly, the wreck held together sufficiently
to be pulled free of the beach by tugs six weeks later, on August 9, 1871. The
damage to Aimer was substantial though, as beachcombers had joined the surf in
stripping the schooner of her mainmast, bowsprit, two deck beams, and part of the
mainrail and bulwarks.  Unfortunately, in the rescue attempt the hawsers
attached to the water-logged hulk parted, and Aimer once again went ashore,
broadside, where she was abandoned.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1871) p. 10.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. June 28, 1871.
Ibid. June 29, 1871.
Ibid. August 10, 1871.
The bark Ann Perry was an early participant in the Pacific Coast lumber trade,
arriving at San Francisco for the first time on November 30, 1850, with 276,000
board feet of lumber from Port Madison, Washington.  Apart from this, the
early history and particulars of Ann Perry were not located. On January 3, 1865,
Ann Perry arrived off the Golden Gate laden with 300,000 board feet of lumber
and 250 sacks of potatoes from Puget Sound. She did not enter the Gate "...owing
to the fog and want of a fair breeze. ..and lay off the bar for the night." During the
evening the seas became rough, and Ann Perry dragged in to the beach, grounding
a "few hundred yards" south of Cliff House. 
The wreck broke up in the surf almost immediately, drowning Capt. Trask and
three of his crew. The vessel was described a week later:
It lies high and dry on the beach. ...The hull seems to have broken
entirely up, and the stout masts were snapped in pieces, and her
timbers torn and splintered. ...The bulk of the lumber lies in a single
pile, upon the wreck of the hull, fragments of the masts, the capstan,
and other heavy articles, lying on top of all. A portion of the
lumber, and large pieces of the deck and sides of the vessel, were
carried by the waves further in shore and scattered on the beach....
Local residents scavenged what they could from the wreck. A gang of Chinese
laborers hired by Ann Perry's owner, Capt. Chase of San Francisco, saved what they
could of the cargo and "timbers of the wreck, and in a few days the last trace of
the vessel and cargo will have disappeared." The sacks of potatoes, buried beneath
the lumber, were sold for $60 to Capt. Junius Foster, proprietor of Cliff House. 
Louis J. Rasmussen, San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists (Colma, California: San Francisco Historic
Records, 1965) Vol. 1, p. 7.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 5, 1865.
Ibid., January 9, 1865.
The 366 57/95-ton bark Atlantic was built at New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1851.
Built for the whaling trade, Atlantic was 116.10 feet long, with a 26.3-foot beam
and a 13.1-foot depth of hold and was built with two decks, a square stern, and a
billethead.  The bark sailed from New Bedford on October 31, 1851, for the
Atlantic whaling grounds. She was gone until July 17, 1854, when she returned
with 1,097 barrels of sperm whale oil, 196 barrels of whale oil, and 600 Ibs. of
whalebone.  Atlantic again sailed from New Bedford on October 14, 1854, for
the Pacific Ocean whaling grounds. She did not return until five years later, on
May 28, 1859, with 1,170 barrels of sperm-oil.  On May 1, 1860, she again
cleared for the Pacific, remaining until May 4, 1864, when she returned with 211
barrels of sperm-oil and 10 barrels of whale-oil. 
Sold to new owners, William R. and Joseph Wing, Atlantic did not sail again until
the Civil War ended.  As large numbers of American merchant vessels were
being swept from the seas by Confederate raiders, and a number of whalers were
burnt in the North Pacific by the Confederate raider Shenandoah. Atlantic's
18-month lay-up was a wise decision. Between 1865 and 1881, she made five
extended whaling voyages from New Bedford.  Beginning in 1881, she began to
sail out of San Francisco, which had become the principal whaling port in the
United States with the decline of the Atlantic whale fishery and the rise of the
North Pacific and Arctic fisheries.  For the next five years Atlantic made short
voyages of less than a year's duration.
Arriving at San Francisco on November 16, 1886, with 600 barrels of oil and 11,000
Ibs. of whalebone, Atlantic was readied for her next year at sea.  One month
later, on December 16, she cleared San Francisco for the last time. After being
towed out the Golden Gate, Atlantic anchored off the bar when the wind died.
Caught in a heavy swell, the ship began to drift toward shore. Capt. Warren
weighed anchor and tried to work Atlantic off. When that failed, both anchors
were dropped but they failed to hold and Atlantic went ashore on Ocean Beach
about 1,000 yards south of the exposed remains of King Philip, which had been lost
under similar circumstances in 1878. 
Atlantic's hull was in poor condition, and she quickly disintegrated in the surf. Her
bow was torn off, drowning many of the sailors asleep in the forecastle, and the
hull was crushed, casting the remainder of the crew into the surf. Entangled in
loose rigging and surrounding by floating debris, many crew members were "beaten
and bruised" and held under the surface. Of the 43 men on board, only 11
survived, including Capt. Warren.  The wreck of Atlantic was the worst
maritime disaster on Ocean Beach.
News of the wreck attracted a crowd of more than 50,000 who flocked to the beach
and collected souvenirs; "nothing that was portable escaped the collectorsropes,
pieces of sail, pulleys, handspikes and tackle of all descriptions were carried away."
 Because of allegations that the ship was unseaworthy, and because of the high
loss of life, an investigation was held that found Atlantic unsound and stated Capt.
A tangled mass of wreckage marks the remains of the whaling bark At/antic on Ocean
Beach, 1886. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Warren had not exercised proper judgement, either in casting off from his tug
inside the bar or in not alerting the sleeping men in the forecastle before Atlantic
went into the breakers. Atlantic's owner, William R. Wing, and Capt. Warren were
censured and indicted for manslaughter in the deaths of the seamen.  Atlantic's
battered remains, spread out over a mile on the beach, quickly disappeared beneath
surf and sand, leaving no trace of the "Atlantic Horror." Archeological research in
1987 relocated the wreck site and excavated and documented an isolated fragment of
the ship's keel.
Record of American and Foreign Shipping.... (New York: American Shipmasters' Association, 1886) p.
182, and Ship Registers of New Bedford, Massachusetts.... (Boston: Survey of Federal Archives, 1940)
Alexander Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fishery. From Its Earliest Inception to the Year
1876. (Reprint edition New York: Sentry Press, 1964) Vol. 2, pp. 470-471.
Ibid., pp. 512-513.
Ibid., pp. 574-575.
Ibid., pp. 602-603 and Ship Registers of New Bedford.... p. 23.
Ibid., pp. 624-625, 642-643, 654-655, and Reginald B. Hegarty, Returns of Whaling Vessels Sailing from
American Ports. (New Bedford, Massachusetts: Old Dartmouth Historical Society, 1959) pp. 3, 9.
Op. cit., Hegarty, p. 12.
Ibid., pp. 14, 15, 17, 19, 20.
San Francisco Examiner, December 18, 1886. San Francisco Call. December 18, 1886.
San Francisco Call, December 18, 1886.
Ibid., San Francisco Examiner, December 19, and 20, 1886.
San Francisco Call, December 22, 23, 24, and 25, 1886; San Francisco Examiner. December 24, 1886;
and San Francisco Call, January 16, 1887.
The schooner Beeswing was owned and operated by San Francisco mariners and
merchants Robert Young and Thomas McRea, and it carried a variety of
merchandise between Monterey and San Francisco.  On February 5, 1863, for
example, she arrived at San Francisco 38 hours out of Monterey with 100 barrels of
oil, 40 steer hides, 120 trees, four boxes of cheese, and five boxes of merchandise.
 Loading a return cargo for Monterey, Beeswing cleared San Francisco a few
days later for Monterey. On the return voyage, Beeswing was caught in gale force
winds off the San Francisco Bar. The bark Ork from Humboldt reported that it had
seen an unidentified schooner founder on the bar and that Qrk had sailed through
flotsam that included cases and cans of oil and camphene and boxes of candles. 
News of a wreck off Point San Pedro with survivors clinging to the hull in the
heavy surf resulted in the dispatch of the tug Monitor. Steaming eight miles south
of Point Lobos, the crew of Monitor saw the wreck of Beeswing ashore near Mussel
Rock, broke and wedged into the rocks. She was "badly broken up; her pumps
being forced up, her masts and bulwarks gone, and her ribs sticking out from the
deck."  There were no survivors among the 1 1 persons on board. Those killed in
the wreck included the two owners and four passengers from Monterey. 
San Francisco Daily Alta California, March 2, 1863.
Ibid., February 6, 1863.
Ibid., February 18, 1863.
Ibid., February 21, 1863.
Ibid., March 2, 1863.
The 73.70-ton, two-masted schooner Bessie Everding. built at San Francisco in
1876, was 73.5 feet long, with a 25.5-foot beam and a 6.5-foot depth of hold. 
The schooner was one of more than 500 two-masters operating on the Pacific Coast
in the last decades of the nineteenth century, and carried a variety of cargoes
between ports. Bessie Everding was built for the Pacific Coast lumber trade, and at
the time of her loss was bound for San Francisco from Bowen's Landing, California,
with a cargo of firewood and railroad ties valued at $1,600. 
Anchoring off the San Francisco Bar on the evening of September 9, 1888, Capt.
Jorgensen and his five-man crew had been unaware of Bessie Everding's slow drift
toward the beach as thick fog obscured the land. "Soon the seas broke over her,
and the crew. ..not knowing their position, took to their boat and safely reached San
Francisco...."  A patrolling surfman from the Golden Gate Park Station of the
United States Lifesaving Service noticed firewood and railroad ties washing up on
the beach, and as he walked south of the station, he heard the meow of a cat to
seaward. Flashing his lamp, he saw the dim outline of a vessel in the breakers and
ran for help. When the lifesaving station surfboat reached the wreck, however, they
found Bessie Everding abandoned by all save the ship's cat. 
When the tide fell, the lifesavers were able to board the schooner and note her
condition. A message was sent to San Francisco, and in the morning Capt.
Jorgensen and the cook arrived on the scene. Bessie Everding. lying about one mile
south of the station near the foot of Lawton street on Ocean Beach, was stripped of
her sails, rigging and useful fittings.  Half the cargo was salvaged, and Bessie
Everding was abandoned to break up in the surf.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1885) p. 86.
Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service. For the Fiscal Year Ending
June 30. 1889. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891) pp. 338-339. (Cited hereafter as
United States Life-Saving Service!
Ibid., p. 108.
The 543-ton bark Brignardello was built in Genoa, Italy, in 1865.  Owned by
Brignardello & Bro. (Stefano Brignardello and Giovanni Battista Machiavello),
"manufacturers, macaroni and vermicelli, ship bread, etc.," of San Francisco,
California, and Genoa, Italy, the bark made only two voyages to San Francisco,
being wrecked on the second.  On September 3, 1868, Brignardello. under the
command of Capt. Mazzini, lay off the Golden Gate after a 54-day passage from
Valparaiso, Chile. The captain, unable to take any bearings in the thick fog, and
being without a pilot, was attempting to make the Gate when breakers were seen
Instantly the helm was put "hard aport," to bring the vessel "to," not
knowing which way the beach trended, with the hope of heading off
shore. Not being able to see the land, all was guess work. ..which,
unfortunately, brought the barque square on the beach. 
Brignardello grounded in the surf on the beach directly south of Point Lobos, just
under Cliff House in "Kelly's Cove." The crew managed to reach shore in the
boats, and when the tide fell, began to land what goods they could from the wreck,
"some of the men standing in the surf up to their middle while handling casks,
bundles, etc." 
Brignardello lay perpendicular to the shore, her bow to the beach, her stern covered
at low tide by eight feet of water, the bow lying in four feet. The wreck lay in a
spectacular location, and thousands of San Franciscans flocked to the beach to see
her. Salvage work proceeded slowly; by September 5, only some of the sailors'
dunnage and a few spars had been sent ashore.  The effort increased over the
next few days. A staging was built from the shore to the wreck, and 1,000 cases of
nuts were landed, but undermining surf caused the staging to collapse. The
pounding of the surf against the stern had opened Brignardello's seams, and by
September 6, six feet of water lay in her hold.  Attempts to pull the bark free
failed, and on September 12, 1868, she was sold with her cargo "as she now lies." 
The cargo was lucrative: 200 tons marble slabs, 2,500 bxs. Olive Oil, 3,000 bags
Almonds, 30 bxs. Cheese, 60 bales Paper, 100 sks. Macaroni Wheat, 200 sks.
Chicory, 400 bxs. Bath Brick, 50s cs. Vermouth, and 4 cs. Blacking. 
L. R. Meyer of San Francisco purchased the wreck for $8,050; "the marble alone--if
it can be got out--is worth more than that sum, and the purchaser has a chance of
making a good thing."  Meyer dispatched the steam tug Goliah to the wreck to
land a barge and pump to aid in the salvage operations. Work progressed nicely:
"the greater portion of the cargo. ..has already been beached in safety." 
The salvage operations continued through the end of September. As the cargo was
removed, Brignardello began to list to starboard.  Meyer finally abandoned his
efforts in October, having made back his investment. The wreck of Brignardello.
along with about 70 tons of marble, 30 tons of sulphur, 20 tons of "miscellaneous
merchandise," and two quarter-boats left on board was offered for sale again. 
On October 10, 1868, the vessel was purchased at auction by San Francisco
shipbuilder J. C. Cousins, who paid $700 for the hulk. "From the price realized,
one would conclude that the chances of getting her afloat were slight. There is still
some marble in her hold, though the bulk of the cargo has been discharged." 
Brignardello remained in the surf through the remaining months of 1868. Unable to
do much with the hulk, Cousins sold her. Late December storms tore at the
exposed wreck, and "the heavy seas breaking completely over her, swept away the
cabin, galley, and forward house. ..and turned her over on her port side." 
Finally, in early 1869, as winter storms battered the hulk, the new owner, a Mr.
Bruce, began to break the ship up.
All hope of saving her has been abandoned; and men were at work
yesterday cutting away everything they could get at, and hauling it
ashore. The foremast, which had stood intact through all the vessel's
disasters, was cut away. ..and fell with a tremendous crash into the
ocean, carrying with it everything above the deck save the short
stump of the hindmast. It was secured by a line attached to a
windlass on the beach, by which it was hauled ashore. 
In order to salvage as much of the vessel's copper fastenings and timbers as
possible, Bruce planned to blow up Brignardello with black powder and "gather up
the fragments, that nothing more may be lost. The explosion. ..will tear into
fragments what was but a short time since as staunch and fine a vessel of her class
as ever rode the waves...."  No further mention of the wreck of Brignardello
was made in the local press.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. September 12, 1868.
Henry G. Langley, The San Francisco Directory, for the Year Commencing October, 1868.... (San
Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1868) p. 109.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. September 5, 1868.
Ibid., September 6, 1868.
Ibid., September 7, 1868.
Ibid., September 12, 1868.
San Francisco Bulletin. September 6, 1868.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, September 13, 1868.
Ibid., September 14, 1868.
San Francisco Examiner, October 1, 1868.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, October 10, 1868.
Ibid., October 11, 1868.
Ibid., January 11, 1869.
Cornelius W. Lawrence
The 144-ton revenue cutter Cornelius W. Lawrence was built by William Easby at
Washington, D.C., in 1848. One of seven new cutters ordered by the United States
Revenue Marine, Lawrence was 96.5 feet long with a 24-foot beam.  Launched
August 20, 1848, the new cutter, rigged as a brig, was armed with five cannon; two
32-pounder guns, two 6-pounders, and one 18-pounder (later removed). 
Lawrence, commanded by Capt. Alexander Fraser, who had until then been
commandant of the Revenue Marine, was to sail to the Pacific, where she was to be
the first Revenue Marine cutter in California, extending American customs and
revenue laws to that recently acquired territory. Lawrence sailed from Hampton
Roads, Virginia, on October 15, 1848, for California. After a long voyage by way
of Cape Horn, with stops at Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, and Honolulu, Lawrence
arrived at San Francisco on October 31, 1849. 
Gold had been discovered in California in 1848, and by the time Lawrence arrived
at San Francisco, the formerly small town had blossomed as thousands of
gold-seekers arrived to make their fortunes. Nearly 500 vessels lay at anchor off
San Francisco, many of them deserted by gold-mad crews. Desertion, mutiny, and
smuggling were major problems, and Lawrence and her crew were pressed into duty
immediately. For more than a year Lawrence remained at anchor off San Francisco,
enforcing the laws of the United States.  At the close of her one-year tenure at
San Francisco, Capt. Fraser was commended by the Collector of the Port for
Lawrence's activities during the Gold Rush.
When it is remembered that you have been in a harbor where from
five to six hundred vessels were riding at anchorin the midst of a
great excitement--with crews insubordinate & lawlesswithout the
aid of civil authorities or civil process & when day and night you
have been called upon to render assistance & to aid Masters of vessels
in suppressing mutiny & violence, surely it becomes me to bear
willing testimony to the necessity of your presence & your
promptness in the discharge of your onerous duties. 
Beginning in December 1850, Lawrence began patrolling the California coast,
searching for smuggling activity. During the next year she made voyages to San
Diego, the Channel Islands, Hilo, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Point
Reyes, and gained a new captain, Douglass Ottinger, in June 1851.
On November 18, 1851, Lawrence sailed from San Francisco for Monterey.
Arriving at Monterey on November 20, she picked up Collector William Russell and
cleared for San Francisco. After a brief stop at Santa Cruz, the cutter anchored off
Point Lobos on the evening of November 25. Unfortunately for Lawrence, the tide
had ebbed and was running with a strong set to the south, impacting with the
incoming swell from the west. After an hour, with rough seas sweeping the decks,
the ship's anchor cable parted. Driving south, Lawrence struck the beach about
four miles south of Point Lobos at 9:00 p.m.
The vessel first struck in 3 1/2 fathoms water, and in the next
breaker came down with such tremendous force, that it appeared as
if every seam and timber in her must have started. At the same
time, tons of water fell on her decks. By changing the position of
the sails, the ship's head was kept toward the beach and stern to the
breakers. ...The vessel then laid bows toward the land, continuing to
strike very heavily, and force her way through heavy combing seas
toward the beach. 
The next morning Lawrence was hove up on the beach by means of a
hawser carried ashore. For the next three days the crew labored to
strip the wreck of "papers, navigation instruments, small arms,
ammunition," cannon, sails, rigging, yards, chains, hawsers, and
Lawrence was not salvaged, despite the opinion of Capt. Ottinger that she could be
got off; "but the expense attending it with the requisite repairs would doubtless
amount to a much larger sum than will replace her with a more suitable vessel for
Revenue duty on this coast. The sailing qualities of the "Lawrence" were very
ordinary...."  A small schooner, Frolic, was chartered to replace Lawrence.
Outfitted with Lawrence's guns and gear and manned by Lawrence's crew, Frolic
had an interesting career in the Revenue service, which included assistance to a
number of vessels wrecked near the Golden Gate. The wrecked hulk of Lawrence
was sold at auction in January 1852. The wreck remained visible for some time,
because it was marked on a survey of Ocean Beach done in mid- 1852. No further
mention was made of her after that time.
[Washington, D.C.] Daily National Intelligencer, October 30, 1848.
Ibid., August 21, 1848.
Logbook, C. W. Lawrence, in "Records of the United States Revenue Cutter Service, 1790-1915, Record
Group 26, Records of the United States Coast Guard, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Ibid., and James P. Delgado, "In The Midst of a Great Excitement: The Argosy of the Revenue Cutter
C. W. Lawrence." American Neptune, XLV (2) Spring 1985, pp. 119-131.
James Collier to Alexander Fraser, November 21, 1850, in Correspondence, Collectors of the Port....,
National Archives Record Group 26.
Lawrence log, November 25, 1851, National Archives Record Group 26.
Ibid, entries for November 26-29, 1851 and San Francisco Daily Alta California, November 28, 1851.
Douglass Ottinger to Thomas S. King, November 28, 1851, National Archives Record Group 26.
The 1,891 -ton, four-masted ship Drumburton was built by Russell & Company at
Glasgow, Scotland, in 1881. Built sturdily of iron, Drumburton was 266.7 feet long,
with a 40.2-foot beam and a 23.9-foot depth of hold.  Built for Messrs. James
Gillison and Joseph Chadwick, Drumburton was the third in their line of "Drum"
ships, the first having been Drumlanrig in 1876. Ultimately, nine vessels shared the
"Drum" prefix of Gillison and Chadwick.  At the time of loss, Drumburton was
owned by three associates: the Drumburton Ship Company of Victoria, British
Columbia, the Western Commercial Company of San Francisco, and Capt. John
Barneson of San Francisco. 
On September 3, 1904, Drumburton cleared San Francisco in ballast, bound for Port
Blakely, Washington, to load lumber. From Port Blakely, the ship was to sail to
Valparaiso, Chile, to sell her cargo. At 10:00 a.m., she was off the Bar, passing the
San Francisco Lightship. With all sails set, the vessel tacked south in the thick fog
to avoid the Farallons. Drumburton. caught in the strong currents, was pulled close
in to shore without Capt. William Thomas' knowledge. A sounding was taken that
showed the ship to be in 15 fathoms of water instead of the 21 fathoms had she
been on course, but Capt. Thomas continued on. At 6:30 p.m., the crew heard
breakers ahead. The captain ordered them to tack, and at that moment the ship
struck the rocks at Point Pedro:
There were three successive jars, none of them violent, as the vessel
slid over the sharp rocks. ...There was an inrush of water through the
gaping hole that was torn in the iron plates. ..and she settled quickly
in the saddle of the rock from which nothing but the storms of
winter will probably ever dislodge her. 
The vessel's position was described as being 500 yards south of the point, "not over
twenty yards from the beach. ...she is tightly wedged in sharp rocks forward, and is
apparently resting on rocks as far aft as midships." 
The vessel flooded, her maindeck awash abaft midships, but she held on the rocks
and did not sink. A boat was lowered, and the second mate and four seamen made
their way to shore where they made Drumburton's plight known. The following
morning the tug Defiance arrived on the scene after searching in the fog for the
wreck. A crew from the United States Lifesaving Station on Ocean Beach also
arrived. The tugs could not pull the ship free, and the lifesavers "were unable to
render any assistance beyond transporting the master's wife and the personal effects
of the officers and crew to a tug." 
Capt. Thomas and his crew stripped sails, rigging, and gear from Drumburton until
September 7. The wreck was sold for $3,000 and turned over to wreckers, but
heavy seas broke up the hull and washed her off the rocks into deeper water where
she sank. On September 17, 1904, a court of inquiry convened by the British
Consul in San Francisco found Capt. Thomas guilty of "being responsible for the
wreck" by not anchoring when the soundings taken just before Drumburton struck
indicated she was off course. He was suspended for three months for losing his
vessel on the rocks. 
Lloyd's of London, Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping.... (London: Lloyd's, 1900) n.p.
(Hereafter cited as Lloyd's Register)
Basil Lubbock, The Last of the Windjammers. (Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd., 1927), Vol. 1,
pp. 256, 473.
San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 1904.
Ibid., September 5, 1904.
Ibid., and op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service. (1906) p. 81.
San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 1904.
The 706.06-ton bark Dublin was built at Brunswick, Maine, in 1839 and was 139
feet long, with a 30.8-foot beam and a 22-foot depth of hold.  By 1879 the
vessel was registered at San Francisco and engaged in the Pacific Coast lumber
trade. On August 31, 1882, Dublin, under the command of Capt. Maloney, was off
the Heads with a cargo of lumber from Seabeck, Washington. The thick fog lifted
enough for the captain to take his bearings, and as the fog again covered the water
he ordered the course changed to make the Golden Gate. Losing his reckoning,
Capt. Maloney sailed the bark ashore. 
Dublin struck Ocean Beach about two miles south of the Cliff House at 6:00 p.m.
Her timbers started and the bark flooded until she lay on the bottom in 12 feet of
water. A boat was lowered and some of the crew went ashore to seek assistance.
After being notified, the tugs Katie. Holvoke. Donald, and Etna steamed to Ocean
Beach to pull the wrecked bark free. On the first attempt the hawser parted, and
on the second the bitts tore free. "Her captain and crew, with their personal
effects, went on board the tugs and came in, leaving the Dublin, with her head on
and sails clewed, to her fate." 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1880) pp. 45, 334, and op. cit., Lloyd's Register of
British and Foreign Shipping (1879) n.p.
San Francisco Call, September 2, 1882.
The 10.20-ton sloop Eliza was built at San Pedro, California, and was employed in
the fishing trade.  Owned by "three Greek fishermen," Eliza left Meiggs Wharf,
San Francisco, on January 31, 1871, for Sonoma with 1,000 Ibs. of fish. One of her
owners, the sloop's captain (unnamed in the accounts of the wreck), was the only
person on board. The captain sailed across the bay but lost the wind near Sausalito.
Attempting to anchor, he found "he had not cable enough. ..bent the main sheet
on. ..went below, where he turned in and went to sleep."  Caught by the outgoing
tide, Eliza drifted out past the Golden Gate. At 1:00 p.m. Eliza went ashore on the
rocks at Point Lobos. The captain rushed to the deck and was immediately washed
overboard by the surf. He caught hold of the stern gearing, but was torn free, and
"floundered around in the water" until thrown up onto a rock near shore. A
neighboring rancher waded into the rough surf and pulled the captain ashore. Eliza
was a total loss. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1871) p. 73.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, February 1, 1871.
The 295-ton, three-masted barkentine Eureka was built by Charles Murray at Indian
Island on Humboldt Bay, California. Launched on October 31, 1868, Eureka was
134.3 feet long, with a 33-foot beam and a 10.5-foot depth of hold.  Just prior
to her launch, the barkentine was described as "a model in which are skillfully
combined the four great essentials: beauty, strength, speed and capacity. ...our town
may feel justly proud that her name is borne by such a staunch and beautiful
craft..."  Eureka was built to carry lumber and passengers from Humboldt Bay
sawmills to San Francisco and bring back general cargo. The commencement of her
career was auspicious. She made the run from Eureka to San Francisco in 30 hours,
and then returned in 24 hours on that maiden voyage. 
Eureka had a long and successful career. In about the year 1900, the yards were
sent down from her foremast and she was re-rigged as a three-masted schooner.
Departing Meiggs wharf, San Francisco, on June 19, 1902, she cleared for Eureka to
load lumber for her owners, the Charles Nelson Company. Sailing through the thick
fog, Capt. Shou did not know that the current had caught his vessel and pulled her
south of the Heads. At nine o'clock that evening, Capt. Shou, believing he was four
miles offshore, ordered the vessel on a port tack. "The peak was lowered and the
topsail clewed up, and, all of a sudden, the first thing we knew, she struck bow
on."  Eureka had gone aground on the beach near Mussel Rock, five miles
southeast of the foot of Sloat Boulevard.
The surf began sweeping the decks, and Capt. Shou ordered the crew and his wife,
who regularly sailed with him (as did many wives of Pacific Coast lumber skippers),
into the ship's boat. The boat was swamped, but they managed to right it and
struggle through the surf to shore, where they built a driftwood fire to dry
themselves. The crew at the United States Lifesaving Service station at Sloat
Boulevard learned of the wreck at 10:30 and responded. They found some of the
crew ashore, the others in the boat attempting to salvage what they could from the
vessel, which lay broadside to the breakers, her bow pointed toward Mussel Rock.
The station's surfboat was launched, and the lifesavers helped remove what they
could from Eureka, including her compasses and chronometer. "When nothing
further could be done, the crew returned to station." 
The morning "disclosed that there was no hope for her. Her worn-out timbers and
frame had given in to the battering of the surf and sand, and her hold was rapidly
filling with water, the garboard strakes having parted company with the keel." 
Capt. Shou and his crew remained at the wreck, camping next to the cliffs in a
small niche that they filled with items salvaged from Eureka:
The personal property of the schooner's crew made a strange
assortment. There were big, white canvas bagsone for each
mantwo weather-beaten old trunks, two old hampers, several
baskets and more boxes, and a red plush-covered whirling chair,
another old red plush armchair, a rocking chair, and old-fashioned
marble-top table that had been the elaborate sitting room furniture of
the captain's cabin. 
On June 20, a wagon dispatched from the lifesaving station carried away the
salvaged items and crew. Capt. Shou remained to guard the ship but she was a total
loss. On June 24, Eureka's battered bones were sold to Harry Goodall of San
Francisco for $105, the low price indicating there was little of value left above the
water to salvage from the hulk. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1901) p. 59.
[Eureka, California] Humboldt Times, October 24, 1868.
Ibid., December 12, 1868.
San Francisco Chronicle. June 21, 1902.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1903) pp. 174, 314- 315.
San Francisco Daily Call, June 20, 1902.
San Francisco Chronicle. June 21, 1902.
Ibid., June 24, 1902.
F. W. Bailey
The 711-ton ship F. W. Bailey was built at Freeport, Maine, in 1854 for C. Gushing
& Co., who owned her throughout her career.  F. W. Bqilev was 160 feet long,
with a 33.3-foot beam and a 21.6-foot depth of hold.  F. W. Bnilev was
apparently engaged in the general carrying trade, and arrived at San Francisco on
November 30, 1862, from Bordeaux, France. Clearing San Francisco on January 8,
1863, in ballast for Puget Sound, F. W. Bailey was to load lumber and then proceed
to Australia. While still under the command of the pilot, Capt. Callot, the ship
began to drift toward shore near the South Head. "It was found utterly impossible
to wear her off.. .the anchor was let go. The chain, however. ...cut her bow down to
the water's edge, and the craft drifted ashore." 
F. W. Bailey struck the beach three miles south of Point Lobos at 7:30 p.m. "There
was no wind, but a very heavy sea." A boat was lowered but swamped. A second
boat was then lowered, and the second mate, the carpenter, and three seamen leapt
in and drifted on to the beach. They went for help as the ship began to break up
in the surf. Of the 17 people on board, only eight were saved, including the pilot.
Among the dead were Capt. Lemuel P. Dyer, the mate, the cabin boy, the cook, and
six seamen.  The wreck of F. W. Bailey was the first with a large loss of life on
Ocean Beach. The body of the captain washed ashore along with the mate's and
cabin boy's. None of the other dead were recovered. The following day, visitors to
the beach reported that the ship was "fast going to pieces. As she breaks up, the
detached pieces come ashore. The beach is strewn with fragments. Judging from
the heavy surf beating upon the ill-fated ship, it cannot be long before she
completely disappears." 
American Lloyd's Registry of American and Foreign Shipping (New York: E. & G. W. Blunt, 1862) p.
37. (Hereafter cited as American Lloyd's.)
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 10, 1863.
Two masts have already succumbed to the surf, the mizzen is half gone, and only the
foremast of the four-masted bark Gifford remains standing in this 1903 view of the
wreck at Mussel Rock. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
The 2,245-ton, steel, four-masted bark Gifford was built at Greenock, Scotland, by
Scott & Co. in 1892. Built during a boom in large deepwaterman construction in
the last decade of the nineteenth century, the bark was 281.6
feet long, with a 42.3-foot beam and a 24.6-foot depth of hold.  By 1895
Gifford was on the Pacific Coast, working in the lumber trade under British
The British iron [sic] ship Gifford. ..is operated by J. J. Moore &
Company in the lumber trade between the Pacific Coast and
Australia. She generally loads at San Francisco and the redwood
portion of her cargo is taken to her by the schooners. She carries coal
on the return trip from Australia. 
The ship was returning to San Francisco with coal from Newcastle, New South
Wales, when she was lost on September 25, 1903.
As Gifford approached the Golden Gate on September 25, a thick fog obscured the
shore. Capt. Robert Michie, who had "only a vague idea that San Francisco was
near.. .plowed ahead, with shortened sails, hearing and seeing no warnings."  At
6:00 p.m. the ship struck the shore just off Mussel Rock, 12 miles south of Point
Lobos. The crew reached shore safely after midnight as the heavy surf abated, and
by the next morning help arrived. Tugs attempted to pull the bark free, but the
hawsers parted. Holed, and half submerged, the vessel was abandoned. Salvors
stripped as much equipment and rigging as possible, and a portion of the coal cargo
was landed.  Two weeks after she went ashore, Gifford disintegrated in the surf:
The fate of the vessel was sealed yesterday when the battering waves
reduced her sides to a shapeless mass of twisted iron and her heavily
sparred mast was sent crashing over the side. ...The hull has settled
deep in the sands and only her torn and shattered bulwarks appear
above water at high tide. 
The stranding and loss of Gifford was ultimately determined by a Court of Inquiry
to be the fault of Capt. Michie.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1893) Vol. II, n.p.
[Eureka, California] Daily Humboldt Times, February 19, 1895.
San Francisco Call, September 27, 1903.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1905) p. 102.
San Francisco Call. October 10, 1903.
The English bark J. Sarkie was supposedly wrecked six miles south of Point Lobos
on Ocean Beach on August 22, 1851. The vessel is not listed in Lloyd's Register of
British and Foreign Shipping and her particulars cannot be ascertained. According
to the San Francisco Daily Alta California of August 23, 1851, the steamer
Chesapeake spotted the bark ashore on the 22nd; "she had been on but a few hours,
and was trying to work off, with all sail set." A search of vessel arrivals for the
month of August and early September 1851 failed to list a J. Sarkie. and no other
mention of the wreck could be located.
The 586-ton, four-masted schooner James Rolph was built in 1899 at Fairhaven,
California, and was 169.1 feet long, with a 37.9-foot beam and a 12.8-foot depth of
hold.  Built for the Pacific Coast carrying trade, the schooner made a number of
coastwise voyages before she was lost on August 2, 1910. Sailing from San
Francisco with a cargo of general freight, lime, hay, and 14,000 board feet of
lumber for the sugar plantations of Theo. H. Davies at Hana, Maui, Hawaii, James
Rolph was swept by the current and plagued by the lack of a strong breeze. In the
thick fog, her master, Capt. A. Olsen, did not see the schooner sail close into shore.
At 10:00 p.m. the captain heard surf and ordered the ship tacked offshore, but it
was too late and James Rolph crashed into the rocks at Point San Pedro, grounding
50 feet from shore at the same spot where the four-masted bark Drumburton had
been lost in 1904.  Rolph's crew managed to reach shore safely, but the vessel
could not be pulled off the rocks. Tugs attempted to haul James Rolph free but
failed. The last attempt to free the schooner failed on August 8, and on August 9,
wreckers from Capt. T. P. Whitelaw's salvage firm stripped the wreck of usable
fittings before abandoning James Rolph to the waves. 
James Rolph. wrecked at Point San Pedro, 1910. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 82.
OP- cit-i United States Life-Saving Service (1912) pp. 86, 134, and San Francisco Examiner, August
The bark Julia Castner of Philadelphia, recently arrived at San Francisco from Puget
Sound, was hauling from Vallejo Street Wharf to Steuart Street Wharf to complete
ballasting when she capsized off Clay Street Wharf on June 28, 1859. The vessel
began to drift and was caught by the steamer San Antonio, which left Julia Castner
moored to the clipper ship Southern Eagle.  During the evening of June 29, Julia
Castner again went adrift in a 7-knot current and was swept out the Golden Gate,
where she went ashore on Ocean Beach.  By the next day, the bark was a total
She is laying about a mile to the southard of Point Lobos, on the
beach, about a quarter of a mile out from high water mark, with the
rollers washing over her. Efforts have been made to save some of
her spars, but to no purpose, as the seas are too heavy for any small
boat to live, and with the exception of what may be washed high and
dry, nothing will be saved. 
The remains of the vessel were not formally salvaged; oral tradition in San Francisco
insists that timbers from a shipwrecked vessel, possibly Julia Castner. near Point
Lobos were used to build the Seal Rock House on Ocean Beach around 1859.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, June 29, 1859; July 3, 1859.
Ibid., June 30, 1859.
Ibid., July 1, 1859.
The 86.04-ton two-masted schooner Josephine Wilcutt was engaged in the Pacific
Coast lumber trade and was owned by the Mendocino Lumber Company.  The
ship was wrecked at Mendocino in early April 1867 when heavy seas caused her and
the schooner Mendocino to part their moorings and go ashore. Despite the opinion
of the San Francisco Daily Alta California that Josephine Wilcutt "will probably be
totally lost," she was gotten off.  On January 24, 1872, she was again wrecked,
blown ashore at Point Lobos while departing San Francisco. Loaded with provisions
for "a mill in Mendocino county," the schooner was tossed onto the rocks just north
of the Cliff House:
The rocks forced a hole through her bottom, and the waves making a
complete breach over her decks soon rendered her a complete wreck.
She is now in pieces, and the adjacent beach is strewn with portions
of the vessel and cargo. 
The wreck of Josephine Wilcutt was followed two months later by the loss of
another Mendocino Lumber Company vessel, the schooner Ella Florence, which
wrecked on the Mendocino Coast in March 1872. The West Coast Signal noted that
the firm "has been particularly unfortunate," losing the schooner Brilliant. Josephine
Wilcutt. and Ella Florence in the space of a year, "wiping out their stock of coasting
vessels."  The wrecked hull of Josephine Wilcutt must have been salvaged despite
the loss of much of the vessel in the surf, for the ship continued to be registered
until 1878, when she last appears in the annual List of Merchant Vessels of the
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1873) p. 161.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, April 15, 1867.
San Francisco Bulletin, January 25, 1872.
West Coast Signal. March 13, 1872.
The 1,194 40/95-ton three-masted ship (later a bark) King Philip was built by
Dennett Weymouth at Alna, Maine, in 1856. She was 186.6 feet long, with a
37.2-foot beam and a 24.0-foot depth of hold.  Built for William T. Glidden of
Boston, and engaged in the general carrying trade, she sailed from Boston to various
ports in Europe, South America, and the Pacific. In March 1869 she was set ablaze
by one or more mutinous crew members at Honolulu. King Philip's bow and
forecastle were seriously damaged, and she was condemned and sold at auction. 
The ship was purchased by Pope and Talbot of San Francisco, lumber merchants,
who repaired her at their Port Gamble, Washington, lumber yard.
Operating under the Pope and Talbot flag, King Philip continued in the general
carrying trade, principally shipping guano and grain to Europe. In May 1874 she
was set on fire by another mutinous crew on Chesapeake Bay off Annapolis,
Maryland. The fire was extinguished and the crew subdued, and King Philip
continued on her voyage. The fire had damaged her hull, though, and she was
forced to put in at Rio de Janeiro for repairs. After a long delay the vessel finally
reached San Francisco in May 1875.  Pope and Talbot never sent her around
Cape Horn again. In September 1876 she was re-rigged as a bark.  The rig had
been reduced for King Philip to better sail coastwise in the Pacific Coast lumber
trade. She was successful in her new career:
The Bark "King Philip" has just completed her tenth trip to Puget
Sound and back since January 1st 1876, and has still some days to
spare. She has brought to port in that time nearly ten million feet in
On January 25, 1878, the bark departed San Francisco Harbor in ballast for Port
Gamble, Washington. Off the San Francisco Bar she lost the wind. Her tug left her
to assist in the rescue of the ship Western Shore, which was in trouble, and King
Philip, her anchors failing to hold, dragged ashore on Ocean Beach at 5:00 p.m. 
The ship was driven high up on the beach by the wind as she grounded at a high
tide. King Philip was high and dry at low tide; sightseers were able to walk up to
and touch her hull. The vessel remained intact, though
Yesterday morning at and after daylight the sea was breaking well up
to the vessel, and she moved very uneasily at times, but later in the
day it appeared as if she had settled down in the sand. ..she was
The action of the surf washing around the hull caused King Philip to sink deeper
into the sand until 16 feet of her hull lay buried. On January 26, 1878, the
stranded hulk was sold at auction for $1,050 to John Molloy of San Francisco.
Molloy stripped the wreck, cut away the masts, and blasted the upper hull apart
with black powder to salvage the metal fastenings and timber. 
The lower portions of the vessel remained buried on the beach, and were visible
though the end of the nineteenth century. In January 1886, when the whaling bark
Atlantic went ashore near King Philip, accounts mentioned that the frames of the
latter wreck were still visible. In 1902, when the three-masted schooner Reporter
was lost at the same site, newspaper accounts noted that the "bones" of King Philip
could be seen.  The bulldozing of the beach dune field in the early decades of
the twentieth century buried King Philip's remains.
Registry for King Philip, Port of Wiscasset, Maine, November 28, 1856. "Records of Merchant Vessel
Documentation," Record Group 36, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Frederick C. Matthews, American Merchant Ships, 1850-1900. (Salem, Massachusetts: Marine Research
Society, 1931) pp. 211- 213.
Op. cit., Registry for King Philip. Port of San Francisco, California, September 4, 1876.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, December 23, 1876.
San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 1878 and San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 26, 1878.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 28, 1878.
Ibid., January 26, 1878, and Matthews, American Merchant Ships p. 213.
San Francisco Examiner, December 18, 1886 and San Francisco Call, March 14, 1902.
The 184-ton, two-masted schooner Neptune was built by Hans D. Bendixsen at
Fairhaven, California, in 1882. Built for the Pacific Coast lumber trade at a time
when three-masted schooners were beginning to take over the lumber trade, the
schooner was a large two-master:
Neptune was 106.5 feet long, with a 30-foot beam and a 8.7-foot
depth of hold.  Neptune was owned by a variety of owners
through her career; at the time of loss, the controlling owner was
Robert Dollar of San Francisco. Dollar, a former lumber mill
operator, had begun his own shipping company in 1888; his business
was booming by 1900, and by 1930 Dollar Lines was one of the
biggest shipping firms in the United States.
Neptune's career consisted of dozens of short voyages along the coast each year,
carrying milled lumber, pilings, and railroad ties from small coast mills to market in
San Francisco. When she departed from San Francisco on July 25, 1900, she was
under charter to the lumber firm of Sudden and Christensen to load shingles and
pilings at the Northern California port of Houda Landing and bring them back to
San Francisco. Sailing in ballast on the 25th, Neptune was back in port August 4,
PUT BACK LEAKING. The schooner Neptune. Captain Johnson,
which sailed from this port July 25th. ..put back last evening, with
three feet of water in her hold. When thirty miles off Cape
Mendocino the Neptune suddenly began leaking, and before the
pumps could be got in order there were [sic] three or four feet of
water in the hold. Captain Johnson managed to reduce the amount to
three feet, but could make no greater headway against the leak, and
decided to return to this port. 
Neptune was quickly drydocked and repaired. She was ready to sail on August 10,
1900. On that date, according to Capt. Johnson:
We sailed from Main-street wharf.. .at 1 o'clock and became becalmed
after getting outside the Heads. We began drifting toward Mussel
Rock, and as we approached the shore we became caught in a strong
and dangerous current that sets inshore at that point. We dropped
both the schooner's anchors, but they failed to hold. Then we
launched the boats and put out what is known as a cat anchor. The
schooner kept drifting in spite of all we could do to prevent it and
we were soon on the sand. 
Neptune was stranded on the beach two miles south of the United States Lifesaving
Service station at Sloat Boulevard, some six miles south of Point Lobos.  The
lifesavers had seen the ship go ashore and quickly responded with their beach cart
to rescue Capt. Johnson and his crew. Aground with her seams open, Neptune was
pounding on the hard sand. Late that evening the tug Alert was dispatched to pull
her off, but by the time Alert steamed out past the Golden Gate, the tide had fallen
and Neptune was high and dry on the beach.
By the morning of August 11, Neptune had been pushed even higher on the beach:
The little vessel is in a worse position than if she had struck on the
rocks, for the reason that she is imbedded in the quicksand, and the
The two-masted schooner Neptune ashore
at Fort Funston, 1900. Courtesy of San
Francisco Maritime NHP.
wash of the waves will soon throw up a barrier around her that will
be hard to dig away. 
The editors of the San Francisco Examiner noted that "it is the opinion of nautical
men that she will remain where she is until a storm breaks her up and scatters her
bones along the beach."  On August 12, 1900, the San Francisco Chronicle
reported Neptune a "total loss." One last attempt to pull the schooner free on
August 12 failed; the two tugs involved, unable to budge Neptune, departed that
afternoon, "leaving the ill-fated vessel to bleach its bones on the beach." 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1900) p. 244.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 1900.
Ibid., August 11, 1900.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1901) p. 286.
San Francisco Examiner, August 11, 1900.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 1900.
The 5,153-ton freighter Ohioan was built in 1914 by the Maryland Steel Company
at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Ohioan was 407.7 feet long, with a 53.7-foot beam
and a 28.1 -foot depth of hold and was propelled by a 4,000-horsepower
triple-expansion steam engine.  The freighter had been built for
American-Hawaiian Steamship Company of New York, the most important
American shipping firm of the early twentieth century. Owners of 25 percent of
the deadweight tonnage of large U.S. -registered sea- going freighters in 1917,
American-Hawaiian, established in 1899, had revived the American merchant
marine. It pioneered the American building of large modern steam freighters, the
introduction of oil-fired boilers, opened the combination steamer-railroad link
across Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec and consistently earned profits. Its fleet of
steamers, operating between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Territory of
Hawaii "constituted the largest single fleet of freighters under the American flag."
 Ohioan was built as part of a major expansion of American-Hawaiian Steamship
Company between 1910 and 1915 when it doubled its fleet.
Ohioan operated on the Atlantic through 1920. During the First World War, she,
like other American-Hawaiian freighters, was requisitioned by the United States
government upon America's entry in the war in 1917. American-Hawaiian's
contribution to the war effort was significant: the first American troops sent to
Europe in June 1917 went in the American-Hawaiian freighters Dakotan and
Montanan. and 625,641 tons of cargo and 125,449 troops were carried in the
company's steamers (including Ohioan) in 145 round-trip voyages. Five of the
company's vessels were torpedoed and lost.  At the war's end, the company
resumed its operations, and Qhioan was the first to initiate intercoastal voyages,
steaming from Boston to San Francisco in December 1920. For the remainder of
her career, Ohioan steamed from coast to coast via the Panama Canal.
Bound for San Francisco with a load of washing machines, trucks,
and general merchandise, Ohioan had picked up a pilot and was
being navigated through the thick fog. Lost in the fog, Capt. Read
and Pilot McFarland allowed the ship to swing too close to shore.
Narrowly missing Seal Rocks, Ohioan sailed past Cliff House and
struck the rocks at Point Lobos at 11:20 p.m. Sparks from the steel
hull's impact lit up the night sky. The engines were disabled and
No. 1 hold, open to the sea, flooded. Lying north of Sutro Baths in
a small cove adjacent to Point Lobos, Ohioan lay 100 yards from
shore, her starboard side to shore and her bow pointing northward.
The next day salvage of the cargo began. Tugs that were dispatched to try and pull
Ohioan free could not reach her, "defeated by the heavy fog and treacherous rocks,"
and a breeches buoy was finally rigged to carry some of the crew and cargo ashore
on October 9.  The following day barges were moored against the ship to load
large and heavy cargo; "plunder cargo" or smaller packages were taken out and sent
to shore on the breeches buoy. The San Francisco Call-Bulletin reported that:
"Whether the ship can floated off will be determined only after most of the cargo is
taken off and after divers have surveyed the damage."  Crowds of several
thousand watched over the next week as the 1,400 tons of cargo was taken out of
Ohioan despite heavy swells and seas crashing against the ship's stern.
The vessel was written off by American-Hawaiian Steamship Company as a total
loss, and on November 4, 1936, Qhioan was sold at closed-bid auction for $2,800.20
to William Mitchell of San Francisco. The vessel had originally cost $729,000. 
Mitchell's seven-month salvage of Ohioan's remaining cargo and gear was a
frustrating though ultimately rewarding experience. In December, Mitchell's barge
Ellen F.. while moored next to Ohioan. broke free of her moorings and stranded on
the beach near Cliff House, but was pulled off.  On March 6, 1937, the vessel
was set ablaze when one of Mitchell's men torched some spoiled meat in the hold.
The flames spread to oil-soaked ropes and sacks and threatened to set off dynamite
the salvors had on board, which would have ignited 9,000 gallons of crude oil left
in a fuel bunker. Mitchell and Joseph Rosenberg made several trips to the burning
wreck to throw the dynamite overboard and quench the fire. 
On June 29, 1937, Mitchell reported that he had sold Ohioan to a San Francisco
scrap metal combine, who would cut up the wrecked freighter, which had been
"stripped of all removable machinery, cargo, and furnishings..."  The vessel was
not scrapped, however, despite a "vigorous campaign" by the San Francisco Chamber
of Commerce to clear the harbor entrance of the rusting hulks of Ohioan and Frank
H. Buck.  Nature finally obliged the Chamber of Commerce, with a winter
storm in January 1938 bringing high tides that destroyed Ohioan:
Heavy surf, lashed by high winds, raged through the wreck of the
steamer Ohioan at the Golden Gate, breaking the stern from the
vessel and leaving the hull in three pieces as it was driven high on
the beach. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1935) pp. 132-133.
Thomas C. Cochran and Ray Ginger, "The American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, 1899-1919,"
Business History Review. Vol. XXVIII (1954) pp. 343-365.
"American-Hawaiian Steamship Company; The Story of the Efficient War Service of America's Pioneer
Intercoastal Cargo Liner Fleet: Installment II," Pacific Marine Review, December 1925, p. 549.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 1936.
San Francisco Call-Bulletin. October 9, 1936.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 10, 1936.
Ibid., November 5, 1936.
San Francisco Examiner. December 19, 1936.
Ibid., March 6, 1937.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 1937.
Ibid., November 29, December 4, 1937.
San Francisco Call-Bulletin, January 15, 1938.
The 148.80-ton, two-masted schooner Parallel was built in 1868 at San Francisco.
She was 98 feet long, with a 31-foot beam and an 8-foot depth of hold.  Owned
by S. E. Peterson of San Francisco, Parallel was one of hundreds of workaday craft
plying the coast. Clearing the Golden Gate on January 13, 1887, with a typically
varied cargo of hay, pig iron, kerosene, oak planks, and 42 tons of black powder
for Astoria, Oregon, the schooner was unable to beat against the head winds and
make the open sea.  The tide setting to the south also blocked her progress.
Parallel struggled for westing for two days off Point Lobos before Capt. Miller
finally gave up the fight. As the schooner was about to go on the rocks at Point
Lobos, he gave the order to abandon ship. The nine-man crew pulled away from
the ship as fast as they could, "fearing she would strike at any moment, and
knowing the dangerous contents..." 
Parallel grounded south of Point Lobos in "the little bay to the south of the Cliff
House, which is being remodeled by Adolph Sutro into an aquarium [Sutro Baths]"
at 9:30 p.m. on January 15.  A crew from the United States Lifesaving Station at
Golden Gate Park responded to the wreck. Finding no one on board, the lifesavers
posted watchmen and retired for the evening. At 12:34 a.m. on January 16, the
powder in the ship's hold was detonated by the schooner's jarring against the rocks.
The explosion obliterated Parallel, demolished much of Cliff House, threw debris
over a mile in every direction, and woke most of San Francisco. The watchmen
were thrown more than 100 yards and were seriously injured, but survived. 
Parallel's crew, meanwhile, had rowed into the Golden Gate, landed at Sausalito,
and after being transported to San Francisco, rode out to the beach to see what was
left of their schooner. They were not alone; more than 50,000 San Franciscans
flocked to the scene:
To the general astonishment, not a vestige of the wreck remained.
Not so much as a floating barrel, bit of spar, or splinter of rail lay
along the beach. Every bit of flotsam and jetsam had been carried
off by the relic-hunters, and even the sand-dunes several hundred
yards away were minutely searched in hope of finding a shred of sail
or rigging or sliver of wood that belonged to the "Parallel." "Fakirs"
materially assisted the relic hunters, and accommodatingly sold them
at fancy prices bits of rope yarn, sections of ratlines and shrouds and
squares of weather-beaten sailcloth procured at city junkshops. 
Capt. Miller was sharply criticized for abandoning his vessel and for not alerting the
lifesavers or Cliff House area residents of the schooner's dangerous cargo when he
arrived at Sausalito. Investigation disclosed that he had not even anchored Parallel
to try to keep her off the rocks, fearing the jarring of the chain would set the
powder off. 
Op. cit. Merchant Vessels of the United States (1886) p. 236.
San Francisco Chronicle. January 17, 1887.
Ibid., January 16 and 17, 1887.
Ibid., January 18, 1887.
Ibid., January 19 and 27, 1887.
Crowds gather in the cove next to the Cliff House to view the remains of Parallel
after the schooner's explosive cargo detonated in the early morning hours of January
16, 1887. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
The 351-ton, three-masted schooner Reporter was built in 1876 at Ludlow,
Washington, by the Hall Brothers, noted Pacific Coast shipbuilders.  Reporter
was 141.4 feet long, with a 34-foot beam and a 10.6-foot depth of hold, and was
built of Douglas fir and fastened with iron.  She spent her career engaged in the
Pacific Coast lumber trade, bringing milled lumber, shingles and pilings from small
coastal logging ports to San Francisco. When lost, Reporter's managing owner was
the E. K. Wood Lumber Company of San Francisco. After loading a cargo of
400,00 board feet of pine lumber, shingles and shakes at Grays Harbor, Washington,
the vessel sailed for San Francisco in early March 1902. The crew grumbled about
two bad omens; the ship had sailed on a Friday, traditionally considered bad luck,
and the ship's catwhich happened to be black--had leapt overboard and drowned
an hour before Reporter had weighed anchor. The cook, a superstitious man, felt
that "the poor thing committed suicide" rather than sail on a doomed ship. 
On the evening of March 13 the ship neared the Golden Gate in a thick fog. In the
dark, Capt. Adolph Hansen saw a strong light to starboard, which he took to be the
lighthouse at Point Bonita. Allowing the vessel to drive ahead and pass the light to
enter the Gate, Hansen found himself caught in the surf; "not until the schooner
was in the breakers did he know he was trying to hurdle her over the peninsula
instead of going in orderly through the harbor entrance."  Hansen had mistaken a
light at Cliff House for Point Bonita Light, and Reporter struck Ocean Beach bow
on about three miles south of Point Lobos, beaching where the bark King Philip
had gone ashore in 1878.
Heavy seas swept the decks, forcing the crew up into the rigging. The mizzenmast
fell, injuring one man who fell to the deck. Capt. Hansen had meanwhile flashed a
light as a distress signal, alerting a surfman from the Golden Gate Station of the
United States Lifesaving Service patrolling the beach. Rescuers from the lifesaving
station soon arrived, and launched a surfboat to retrieve Reporter's crew. The
surfboat was swamped on the first attempt, but on the second try the crew was
saved.  The schooner was gradually driven up on the beach, and at daylight lay
on her starboard side 100 yards from shore. "During the day she heaved and
lurched until she was lying almost stern on."  According to the San Francisco
There is no hope for the Reporter. Her cargo of lumber, worth
$14,000, is likely to drift to the beach in parcels. It can be stacked
and carted away into the city and so saved. The schooner can only
fight until her tendons give. Her ribs and sheathing, masts and rails
will wash ashore, to be carried away by thrifty seaside dwellers and
be used as firewood. 
The day after the wreck, the schooner was visited by Capt. Hansen and the
lifesavers, who managed to save the chronometer and a few personal effects.
Thousands of San Francisco residents visited the wreck, "and not even the biting
wind and sudden squalls could keep them away."  Enterprising businessmen
posted broadsides on the hulk, advertising "Jesse Moore Rye and Bourbon" and
"Boise Liniment" for rheumatism.  Reporter, her keel broken, began to break in
half and disappear beneath the sand, "fast digging her own grave alongside the
bones of Kiny, Philip, whose ribs are still seen...."  The bow and stern soon
washed ashore and vanished.
Op. cit. Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1900) n.p.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1899) p. 158, and Record of American and Foreign
San Francisco Call, March 14, 1902.
San Francisco Examiner, March 14, 1902 and op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1903) p. 136.
San Francisco Call, March 14, 1902.
San Francisco Examiner, March 14, 1902.
San Francisco Call, March 14, 1902.
Photographs A3. 26,459 59 and A3. 6561, National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
San Francisco Call. March 14, 1902.
The Schooner Reporter, lost in 1902 on Ocean Beach at the same spot Kins Philip was
wrecked in 1878. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
The 368-ton bark Robert Henderson was built at Sunderland, England, in 1838. 
Home-ported in Liverpool, Robert Henderson sailed from there to Batavia (Java)
between 1839 and 1843.  In 1843 Robert Henderson began sailing between
Liverpool and Calcutta, continuing to do so until 1849.  In 1850 the ship also
sailed to Adelaide, Australia, where she took on 165 passengers for San Francisco.
The Australian response to the California gold discovery had been tremendous, and
dozens of vessels carried argonauts to San Francisco through the 1850s. 
Leaving Adelaide, the ship made a 123-day passage across the Pacific via Tahiti,
and arrived off the Golden Gate. Then the vessel ran aground on one of the
Farallon Islands, but was undamaged and got off.  On June 23, 1850, Robert
Henderson sailed through the Golden Gate and safely landed her passengers at San
Francisco.  After a short stay of three weeks, the ship cleared San Francisco on
Thursday, June 12, 1850, for Adelaide. The bark missed stays off the Heads,
however, and was blown ashore "on the south [Ocean] beach."  Her passengers
and crew were rescued, but Robert Henderson was a total loss. The wreck was sold
at auction for $170. 
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1839) n.p.
Ibid., (1843) n.p.
Ibid., (1849) n.p.
Charles Bateson, Gold Fleet for California: Forty-Niners from Australia and New Zealand. (East
Lansing: Michigan University Press, 1963) p. 116.
San Francisco Daily Herald. June 24, 1850.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. June 24, 1850.
Ibid., July 13, 1850.
Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald. November 9, 1850, as quoted in Bateson, op. cit., p. 116.
W. H. Gawlev
The 483.15-ton barkentine W. H. Gawlev was built at Port Townsend, Washington,
from the burnt-out hulk of the ship Northern Eagle.  Engaged in the Pacific
Coast lumber trade, W. H. Gawlev was carrying 400,000 board feet of lumber from
Port Madison, Washington, when she was lost attempting to enter San Francisco
Harbor on the foggy morning of October 23, 1880. The vessel ran aground on
Ocean Beach five miles south of Fulton Street when the captain lost his bearings.
Lying about 300 hundred yards from the beach on an even keel in quiet water, W..
H. Gawley remained tight. A boat was launched, and the second mate and four
seamen walked to Cliff House to seek help. 
The tug Rescue was dispatched from San Francisco and arrived at the wreck by
midmorning. Three women passengers were taken aboard the tug and the effort to
save W. H. Gawlev began:
Men were busy tossing her deck-load of lumber overboard, and the
tug. ..was snorting and straining in a vigorous effort to haul her off
into deep water. Her topsails were set, her remaining sails were
clewed and furled, her port-anchor was down, and such other
dispositions had been made as might aid the endeavor to pull her
The effort failed when the barkentine would not move. The hull had given way
and W. H. Gawlev was full of water.  The following day, the surf came up,
knocking W. H. Gawlev on her port side. The crew from the Golden Gate Park
station of the United States Lifesaving Service had been standing by, and fired a
line to the vessel with their Lyle gun. With the help of several hundred spectators,
the crew and captain of W. H. Gawlev were hauled ashore on the breeches buoy. On
Wednesday, October 27, the wreck began to break up, and by the 28th "she had
gone to pieces, the lumber with which she was laden being scattered far and along
the beach." 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1879) p. 213.
San Francisco Daily Altn C^lifornin. September 24, 1880.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1881) p. 119.
San Francisco Daily Altrt California. September 24, 1880.
Op. cit., United States Life-Snving Service (1881) pp. 120, 218- 219.
William L. Beebe
William L. Beebe. built at Seattle, Washington, in 1875, was a three-masted schooner
134.7 feet long, with a 33.3-foot beam and a 10.7-foot depth of hold. She was
registered at 281.43 tons.  The three-master William L. Beebe was engaged for
her entire career in the Pacific Coast lumber trade, and at the time of her loss was
bringing a cargo of lumber from Port Blakely, Washington, to San Francisco. After
a rough 11 -day passage, William L. Beebe arrived off the San Francisco Bar at 5:30
a.m. on December 10, 1894. The sea was smooth, and the schooner was crossing the
Suddenly and without warning an immense breaker rolled over the
stern. ..carrying away the wheelhouse and knocking Olsen [the
crewman at the wheel] from his position. ..the first wave practically
staggered the Beebe. She did not respond readily to the helm and
became unmanageable. 
The rudder and mizzenmast rigging had also been swept away. There was no wind,
and the vessel broadsided as she drifted south along the edge of the bar, with
occasional breakers boarding her.
Finally at 7:30 a.m., William L. Beebe grounded on Ocean Beach near the foot of
Sloat Boulevard. "She dove into the sand in a most remarkable manner, becoming
imbedded so firmly that there was no possibility of her getting off."  The crew
took to the rigging as the heavy surf swept the decks. Crews from the United
States Lifesaving Service stations on Ocean Beach responded to the wreck. The
surf, full of loose lumber from Beebe's cargo, was too rough to launch a lifeboat
from the beach. A Lyle gun was set up and a line was fired to the schooner, but
the line landed on the deck and could not be reached. The next three attempts also
failed when the line tangled in debris; on the fifth try, however, the line was
secured, and the crew was safely brought to the shore by breeches buoy. 
William L. Beebe had wrecked at high tide, and as the tide receded, she was left
high and dry on the beach:
She has a big hole in her bow and is buried up to her water-line in
sand, which makes it impossible to float her. Within a week or two
she will probably have sunk nearly out of sight. About the only use
that can be made of her is for firewood. ...The beach was strewn with
broken lumber and rigging... 
The schooner was a total loss. She was sold to Capt. A. C. Freese of San Francisco
for $255. "The Captain considered that he had made a very good purchase for the
winches and anchors will bring more than that. He is of the opinion that he can
wreck the vessel from the beach. The masts and booms will be saved intact, and
the rigging, with the exception of the mizzen shrouds, is all right."  The salvors
stripped William L. Beebe of usable fittings before she was battered to pieces and
disappeared beneath surf and sand.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1893) p. 263.
San Francisco Bulletin. December 11, 1894.
San Francisco Daily Morning Call. December 11, 1894, and op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service
(1896) pp. 136-137, 234.
San Francisco Examiner. December 11, 1894.
[Eureka, California] Humboldt Times. December 14, 1894.
The 42.36-ton, two-masted schooner William Frederick was built at San Francisco in
18 63. William Frederick was 63 feet long, with a 22-foot beam and a 4-foot depth
of hold.  Like many other small two-masters, she was engaged in the Pacific
Coast lumber trade. On July 2, 1887, William Frederick, with a four-man crew
consisting of Capt. Martin Johnson and seamen Fred Jacobsen, William Keyser, and
Jacob Demick sailed from San Francisco for Russian Landing to load lumber. Off
the San Francisco Bar, however, the ship was becalmed and began to drift ashore
with the current. Capt. Johnson attempted to sail against the current but could
make no headway. 
The following day the schooner struck on the beach below Sloat Boulevard. Both
anchors were dropped, keeping William Frederick from going ashore. The schooner
Anna Matilda discovered the wreck and took off her crew:
subsequently the Captain and two sailors returned to the schooner to
get their clothes. Finding that it was impossible to board. ..the men,
despite the advice of Captain Johnson, determined to go ashore
through the breakers. The boat was capsized and the two men
Capt. Johnson struggled ashore and made his way to the United States Lifesaving
Station at the foot of Sloat Boulevard. The bodies of the drowned sailors, Jacobsen
and Keyser, were searched for but not recovered, and the tug Rescue was
dispatched to pull William Frederick free. "It was impossible, however, to reach the
craft, and when the tide ebbed she was left high and dry on the beach with her
bottom knocked out, a total wreck." 
The wreck was looted by local residents despite the best efforts of the Lifesaving
Service. The "sails, rigging, anchors, pumps, etc." were saved, though, and sold at
auction for $370. The wrecked hulk of William Frederick brought only $5.00. The
purchaser was John Molloy, a San Francisco grocer who salvaged wrecks. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1886) p. 287.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 6, 1887.
Ibid, and Max L. O'Starr, "Strange Case of the Schooner William Frederick," Pacifica (California)
Tribune. February 4, 1981.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 13, 1887.
The 827-ton steam schooner Yosemite was built by the Bendixesn Shipbuilding
Company at Fairhaven, California, in 1906. A single-ended steam schooner,
Yosemite was 193 feet long, with a 40-foot beam and a 10.6-foot depth of hold. 
She was powered by a 750 horsepower triple-expansion engine manufactured by the
Fulton Iron Works of San Francisco. Built for the Yosemite Steamship Company, a
"single-ship corporation" of San Francisco, Yosemite carried passengers and up to
850,000 board feet of lumber on her coastwise voyages.  In 1916 she was
purchased by Pope and Talbot of San Francisco, the largest lumber firm on the
Pacific Coast. As the first steam schooner purchased by the company, Yosemite was
only one of the vessels in its fleet. She proved to be a successful investment: "she
showed an annual profit of $15,000 during the 10 years she operated."  For the
remainder of her career, Yosemite ran between San Francisco and the Pope and
Talbot sawmills at Port Ludlow, Washington.
Steaming out of San Francisco on February 6, 1926, Yosemite carried 25 tons of
dynamite. In the early hours of February 7, the ship was off Point Reyes in a
thick fog when she hit the rocks below Point Reyes light, tearing a hole in her bow.
As Capt. Silvia backed off the rocks, Yosemite began to flood. The radio operator
broadcast a distress signal, which was picked up by the steam schooner Willamette
only five miles away. Willamette rescued Yosemite's crew, who had taken to the
boats and headed back for San Francisco. The Red Stack tug Sea Ranger.
dispatched by Pope and Talbot, ran a hawser to Yosemite. whose starboard side was
now submerged. The tug began to tow her toward the Golden Gate, but the task
was difficult. Waves constantly washed over Yosemite and the hawser snapped
After a day-long battle with the sea, Sea Ranger arrived at the San Francisco Bar
around 2:00 a.m. on February 8, towing the water-logged Yosemite. The schooner
began to drift, and the tug, with all engines going full speed ahead, was pulled
astern. The anchor was dropped and torn away, and finally at 3:15 a.m., Yosemite
broke free. Fifteen minutes later, the ship crashed on Ocean Beach, breaking apart
as she hit the beach at the foot of Fulton Street, just below Cliff House. There was
some speculation that the steam schooner's dynamite cargo had exploded, though the
tug's crew reported that Yosemite had fallen apart in the surf:
Whatever the cause, the ship was splintered to atoms. Her wreckage,
a litter of shattered timbers, empty powder boxes and broken spars,
dotted the beach from the foot of Fulton street to Fleishacker Pool.
Huge posts were twisted and spars were reduced to splinters. 
It was also noted that "a large piece of the ship is aground a quarter of a mile out
and stands a torn and dejected monument to the ship...." 
Thousands of spectators crowded the beach for the next few days, picking up
souvenirs and posing for pictures amidst the wreckage. The largest surviving piece
of Yosemite's hull drifted ashore bottom up, smashing into the Lurline Pier at the
foot of Fulton Street. The pier, which held an intake pipe for San Francisco's
saltwater Lurline Baths, was battered by the hulk until 250 feet of the pier was torn
away.  The beach was gradually cleared of smaller debris, but a week after the
wreck large sections of Yosemite's hull remained visible.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 325.
Op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest, June 5, 1943, p. 2.
Edwin T. Coman Jr. and Helen M. Gibbs, Time, Tide, and Timber: A Century of Pope and Talbot.
(Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1949) p. 247.
San Francisco Chronicle. February 8, 1926, and San Francisco Call, February 8, 1926.
San Francisco Examiner. February 9, 1926.
San Francisco Illustrated Daily Herald. February 9, 1926.
Ibid., February 13, 1926.
Debris from the wrecked steam schooner Yosemite litters Ocean Beach in February
1926. The hull, bottom up, lies in the surf near the broken remains of the salt water
intake for the Lurline Baths. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Schah Jehan. 1867
T 1 S.
Caroline Amelia. 1850
N x Helmet Rock
Lighthouse Java. 1854
mark Head Rock
George Louii. 1882
Unnamed Scow. 1892
Lvman A. Stewart. 1922
Frank H. Buck. 1937
Coos Bay. 1927 ' E PARK
VESSEL LOSSES, LAND'S END WRECKS
Stephen A. Haller
These vessels are known to have wrecked at Land's End, either along the rocky
stretch between Point Lobos and China Beach, or on the sandy stretches of China
and Baker Beaches.
Caroline Amelia. 1850
Coos Bav. 1927
Frank H. Buck. 1937
Frank Jones. 1877
George Louis. 1882
Lvman A. Stewart. 1922
Unnamed Scow. 1892
Schah Jehan. 1867
Caroline Amelia was a Danish bark that wrecked on Mile Rocks on March 19, 1850.
She is not listed in Lloyd's Register in the several years prior to 1850, and therefore
the only source of information on the vessel and her wreck is an account that
appeared in the Alta California of March 20, 1850:
Danish bark Caroline Amelia, which cleared on the 16th inst. for
Costa Rica, was wrecked on the Mile Rocks in the offing yesterday
morning. She was running for "the needles" when the breeze
suddenly died away and a strong ebb tide set her in shore. She
dropped anchors but her chain cables parted, and, in spite of all the
exertions of the officers and crew she was driven by force of the
current directly upon the above named rocks, staving an ugly hole in
her bottom. Being an old ship her timbers soon gave way and filling
steadily she went down in about ten fathoms of water, entirely out of
sight. The captain succeeded in getting his chronometers,
instruments, clothes, and money out of the ship before she sunk, and
the crew saved all their dunnage.
The reference to Costa Rica may indicate that Caroline Amelia was intending to
pick up a load of gold-seekers who were crossing the isthmus of Central America
on their way to California; this conjecture is supported by the fact that there is no
mention of cargo or passengers southbound in the Alta's story.
Coos Bav was built in 1909 at Sparrow's Point, Maryland, by the Maryland Steel
Company, and originally named Vulcan. She was a steel-hulled vessel, intended for
service as a collier, with a pilothouse forward of midships, and additional
superstructure aft. Vulcan was powered by dual triple-expansion steam engines
producing 3,500 indicated horsepower. As built, she measured 5,451 gross
tons,2,989 net tons, and the dimensions of her hull were 386 foot length, 53 foot
beam, and 29.8 foot depth of hold. 
Vulcan was owned by the Navy Department. Based in Baltimore, she was used to
coal U.S. Navy vessels, and served various depots along the Eastern Seaboard. After
a long career that included service in World War I, Vulcan was sold in 1924 to the
Pacific States Lumber Company of Delaware for use on the West Coast. The sale
reflected the passing of the older wooden-hulled steam schooners that had been the
backbone of the West Coast lumber trade since the 1880s. Not only had many of
these vessels reached the end of their useful lifetime, but lumber mills had begun to
ship their timber directly to large ports such as Humboldt Bay, making the
operation of larger steel-hulled freighters economically feasible.
Vulcan was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, for alterations and reconditioning, and
emerged with greater freight capacity (net tonnage now 3,176) as Coos Bay. 
Coos Bay was sent into the Pacific via the Panama Canal, and immediately began
plying the coastal route, carrying lumber from the Northwest to San Francisco and
On October 22, 1927, Coos Bay left San Francisco in ballast for Coos Bay, Oregon.
She departed late in the evening, and entered thick fog as she cleared the Golden
Gate. In the poor conditions, the fog signals echoed confusingly. A strong ebb tide
and a northwesterly swell caused the ship to stray far out of the main ship channel
The freighter Coos Bay lies aground near China Beach at Land's End. where she
stranded in 1929. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
without the knowledge of Capt. B. W. Olson. Coos Bay swung toward the south,
but never cleared the bight outside the Gate. At 8:06 p.m. the ship struck the rocks
at Land's End to the east of China Beach. The hull was torn open and the engine
room began to flood. The "black gang" fled as the main steam line ruptured, and
steam and power were lost throughout the ship.
The 33 officers and crew waited out the night on deck as heavy swells continued to
batter the vessel. At daybreak rescuers appeared on the scene. They readied a
breeches buoy and fired the Lyle gun. The first shot had too great a charge, and it
sailed over the heads of the rescue crew and the crowd that had gathered, to score a
bull's eye on the home of a very surprised E. A. Kinney of 3633 Clement Street.
Subsequent shots found their mark, however, and 14 crew members were saved by
breeches buoy. The remainder were removed by boat.
By the next night, Coos Bay's decks had split under the tremendous pounding of the
seas, and the vessel was doomed. All subsequent efforts to free her failed, and she
was abandoned. For several years, the hulk remained relatively intact, and attracted
curiosity-seekers to the site. The bow became bent and wrenched free, but the rest
of the hull remained above water. The San Francisco Junior Chamber of Commerce
began a campaign that eventually led to the scrapping of the vessel in April 1930,
and all that remains visible today is an assortment of battered metal exposed at low
tide. Various small metal fittings from the wreck are still occasionally recovered in
the area east of China Beach. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1910).
Delgado, Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate. (San Francisco: National Maritime Museum Association, 1984).
The 147.95-ton two-masted scow schooner Elko of San Francisco, "formerly owned
and used as a coal scow by the Central Pacific Railroad Company," spent the last
years of her career working in the Pacific Coast lumber trade.  On April 26,
1881, Elko loaded with lumber from Salmon Creek, California, crossed San
Francisco Bar and was off the South Head (Point Lobos) when she was caught by
the outgoing tide, which swept her in toward the rocks. Both of her anchors were
let go, but the schooner grounded at Land's End.  The tug Wizard responded to
the wreck but, as she readied a hawser to pull Elko off, came down on a submerged
rock and had to return to San Francisco.
Two more tugs, Rescue and Water Witch, then responded to the wreck and attached
a line, but as Rescue pulled Elko free, the rope was cut by the rocks and the
schooner went ashore again, "where she remained all day, lying in a bad position
and full of water." Late in the afternoon two more tugs, Neptune and Monarch.
attempted to pull Elko off the rocks, but could not approach her in the heavy surf,
which by then was "making a clean breach over the vessel.... After waiting about
two hours, they were compelled to give it up for a hopeless job." Salvage was not
attempted as it would scarcely pay to work at it on account of the locality of the
wreck, approach by sea being next to impossible, and the only access by land being
a trail perpendicular up the side of Point Lobos. 
No further mention was made about the wreck of Elko after the initial account of
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1880) p. 52, and San Francisco Daily Alta California.
April 27, 1881.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. April 27, 1881.
Drawing of the wreck of the scow schooner Elko at Land's End, 1881. Courtesy of San
Francisco Maritime NHP.
Frank H. Buck
Frank H. Buck was built in 1913-14 at San Francisco by the Union Iron Works for
the Associated Oil Company of California, and named for its president. She was
said to be "the largest oil tank steamer flying the American flag, having 18 oil tanks
and a carrying capacity of 62,000 barrels of oil." Of 3,850 net, 6,076 gross tons,
she measured 408.8 feet long with a 55.5-foot beam and 31.7-foot depth of hold,
and was powered by a (26.5-inch, 45-inch, 75-inch by 48-inch) triple-expansion
steam engine. Her sister ship was Lyman Stewart, launched later the same year at
Frank H. Buck had an adventurous career that first took her between New York
and far-flung ports in Europe, Central America, and Asia. In July 1918 in the
midst of World War I, she exchanged fire with a German U-boat outside New York
harbor. On September 13 of that same year, she destroyed another U-boat by
gunfire in the mid-Atlantic.  Twice in 1924, she brushed with disaster. Once
her rudder was wrenched free by heavy seas but she made port at Eureka,
California, under a jury-rigged rudder. Later, she ran aground at Point Pinos near
Monterey because of a navigational error. Holed and leaking, she was abandoned
by her crew, but was eventually towed free and repaired. In 1935, she was struck
by bullets fired from a high-powered rifle while crossing the Carquinez Straits at a
time when tankships were involved in a labor dispute. She survived her sister ship
Lvman Stewart by 15 years, but met a similar end at the same spot, in the greatest
coincidence in the annals of shipwrecks at the Golden Gate.
Barges pump oil from the half-sunk hulk of the tanker Frank H. Buck, 1937. The
stranded freighter Ohioan, wrecked in 1936, can be seen in the background. Courtesy
of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
On March 6, 1937, while entering the Golden Gate with a full cargo of oil from
Ventura, Frank H. Buck was rammed head-on by the Dollar Lines luxury passenger
liner President Coolidge outward bound for the Orient. Although conditions were
generally clear inside the bay, the fog dropped like a curtain just at the Golden
Gate Bridge. Coolidge and Buck heard warning signals too late, and spotted each
other only when collision was unavoidable, in spite of immediate evasive action.
Although the bow was crushed, Coolidge was not in any danger of sinking. Buck.
under Capt. R. W. Kelly, headed away from the cliffs of the northern headlands, in
hopes that the strong ebb would carry the vessel to where she could be beached.
When the vessel was down by the bow and trailing oil, the crew was ordered into
the boats. Remarkably, no lives were lost in the collision. The crippled tanker
finally came to rest, stern out of water, across the bow of Lvman Stewart, directly
off Land's End. 
Although the stern continued for some time to swing free in the currents of the
ship channel, Buck's bow remained wedged firmly in the rocks, and all attempts to
free the vessel failed. The remains were dynamited in 1938 to clear the harbor
approach, and the hulk rapidly broke up. Now only the engine and sternpost can
now be seen at low water, next to the engine of the Lvman Stewart. The wreck has
invited scavenging by beachcombers and divers over the years, and the site
occasionally yields copper pipe, ship's fittings, and the letters that once spelt out her
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1915).
Capt. R. W. Daly and Katherine M. Daly, "Golden Gate Graveyard," Sea Classics Special (1976).
Op. cit., Delgado, Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate.
Frank Jones was built in 1874 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by Daniel Marcy,
also the owner of the vessel. She made two trips with general cargo over a
triangular route between New York, San Francisco, and Liverpool, before she was
lost.  The ship was a staunchly built Down-Easter with a medium-full model
hull of oak, fastened with copper and iron. She carried the three square-rigged
masts of a full-rigged ship. She measured 1,452 tons, and was 203 feet long, 40
feet wide, and had a 24-foot depth of hold. 
Frank Jones' final voyage took her from New York to San Francisco in 126 days
under the command of Capt. James N. Nickles. On March 30, 1877, with a fresh
gale blowing from the west-northwest and a pilot on board, Jones left port in tow
of the powerful tug Monarch, bound in ballast for Manila. Monarch may have
chosen a course that was closer to the south shore than was prudent under the
conditions. In any case, the towing hawser parted, and the Jones began to set sail
in an effort to gain steerageway. As the tug came up, another hawser was passed
across (not without a certain degree of dickering, according to one account), but it,
too, parted. An attempt to set anchors in the deep water of the Golden Gate failed,
and the big ship was blown out of control across the South Bay until she struck the
shore south of Fort Point. She scraped across some sharp rocks, then wedged
between the rocks and a small sandy beach, coming to rest nearly upright. The hull
was torn to ribbons, and the hold soon filled with 12 feet of water. 
The vessel was quickly sold at the Merchant's Exchange to one Capt. Lees for
$4,750. The salvager immediately stripped her of stores, spars, and sails, and
installed steam pumps in an attempt to work the wreck free and repair her. This
hard work proved in vain, however, and she was sold again to Col. A. W. Von
Schmidt for a mere $700. He attempted to raise her farther up the beach and
repair her there, but failed utterly, and the vessel was dismantled. 
Because of the thorough salvage activity at the site of the wreck, it is unlikely that
any sizable intact portions of the vessel remain. There may, however, be
miscellaneous scattered fragments and ship's fittings buried under the sands to the
south of Fort Point that were missed by salvors or buried by waves.
Op. cit., Matthews, p. 119.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's (1876).
Op. cit., Matthews, p. 120.
Martin, Wallace E., ed. Sail and Steam on the Northern California Coast, 1850-1900 (San Francisco:
National Maritime Museum Association, 1983) p. 92.
The ship Frank Jones, stranded and a total loss at Baker's Beach, near the Golden Gate,
1877. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
George Louis was a small schooner of 40 tons. She carried the official number of
10730, and was based in San Francisco. While bound from San Francisco to Timber
Cove, California, on March 8, 1882 (presumably to load lumber), she went ashore
inside Mile Rock, six and one-half miles northeast of the Golden Gate Park
Lifesaving Station. The captain, Erickson, and the crew of three were saved, but
the vessel, valued at $4,000, was a total loss.
The particulars of the incident, as recounted in the United States Life-Saving
Service Annual Report of 1882 are given here:
At 3:45 pm the schooner George Louis, of and from San Francisco,
California, for Timber Cove, in ballast, with a crew of four men,
while beating down through the Golden Gate against a fresh
northwesterly wind misstayed and went ashore under the cliffs near
Fort Point at a place about six and a half miles, by land from Station
No. 7, Twelfth District (Golden Gate Park). It was impossible for
the accident to be seen from the station, and the keeper was not
aware of its occurrence until the fact was reported by a messenger
from Captain John Low, of the Point Lobos Signal Station, who,
upon discovering the vessel ashore, dispatched his son, John B. Low,
to the station, and then hurried to the spot alone to render assistance.
The keeper immediately sent off for a team to draw the apparatus,
and was soon on the way to the stranded vessel, arriving on the scene
about 5 o'clock after a hard ride. By that time the captain and two
others of the schooner's crew had managed, with the assistance of
Captain Low, to climb the rocks and were safe, the cook, who was
badly hurt by his efforts to make the ascent, being still at the foot of
the cliff, unable to help himself. As young Low was the lightest
man of the party he gallantly volunteered to make the descent and
attach a line to the poor fellow so he could be hauled up.
Accordingly, the young man was lowered over the precipice, a
distance of seven hundred and eighty feet, by one of the stations's
lines, and upon reaching the foot of the cliff he bent a line around
the man's body and he was safely hauled to the top. As he was
unable to walk and in great pain, he was taken to the house of
Captain Low, which was the nearest place of shelter, and was there
properly cared for until the next day, when he was removed to San
Francisco. The report of the district superintendent states that but
for the timely arrival of the station appliances the man must soon
have perished, the place where he was being a very dangerous one
and inaccessible except by perilous descent from the top of the cliff,
as undertaken by young Low. The vessel broke up during the night,
and, on the following day scarcely a vestige of her was to be seen.
Java is a vessel mentioned by Marshall as having struck, or wrecked at, Mile Rock
in 1854.  No account of this incident was uncovered during research for this
report. Although the Alta California of June 6, 1850, includes "Java, 422t,
Bordeaux," among a list of vessels at San Francisco at the time, the closest vessel to
that description in Lloyd's register is a ship Java of 487 tons, built at Quebec in
1838 and belonging to owners in Bristol, England. It is doubtful that either of
those are the same vessel. A reminiscence in the Alta California of May 29, 1882,
states that, after service as a storeship, "Java, which lay near Broadway Wharf,
afterward made a trip to sea, but finally came back and (Charles) Hare broke her
Marshall, California Shipwrecks: Footsteps in the Sea (Seattle, Washington: Superior Publishing
Company, 1978) p. 102.
Lyman A. Stewart
Lyrnan A. Stewart was built in 1914 at San Francisco's Union Iron Works. She was
a steel-hulled oil tanker, identical to her sister, Frank H. Buck. (Refer to the
section on Buck for dimensions of Stewart.)
Named for the president and one of the founders of the Union Oil Company,
Lvman A. Stewart was delivered to her owners 10 months after her sister ship.
Unlike Buck, however, she had an uneventful career in coastwise service on the
West Coast. Shortly after leaving the Union Oil Company's docks at the San
Francisco Bay port of Oleum, heavy with oil, Lvman A. Stewart approached the
Golden Gate. A heavy swell and a strong tidal current added to the danger of a
thick fog bank as the tanker proceeded out the harbor entrance. At the same time
the freighter Walter A. Luckenbach was inbound through the Gate at the end of a
long voyage from New York. At 3:27 p.m. on October 7, 1922, the fog cleared long
enough for Capt. Brenner of Luckenbach to see the long hull of Stewart cut across
his bow. The freighter cut deep into the port side of the heavily laden tanker,
The tanker Lvman Stewart aground at Land's End in 1922. Courtesy of San Francisco
to rush in and putting her down by the bow immediately. The captain of Stewart
ordered hands to abandon ship, as he stayed with his command and piloted her
toward shore. The ship leaked oil as she went. Stewart grounded on the rocks at
Land's End and tore out her bottom on the jagged rocks. All hands were saved. 
In spite of strenuous efforts to float her, Lyman A. Stewart remained hard aground.
Eventually, heavy seas picked up the hulk and jammed it farther up on the rocks,
breaking it in two.  In 1938, the wreck of Stewart and her sister Frank H. Buck
were dynamited in an effort to clear the entrance of the harbor of visible wrecks.
The dismembered hulks of both vessels slipped further below the waves, where now
only the engine block of Stewart protrudes at low tide. 
Walter A. Luckenbach was able to make port under her own power, and was soon
put back in service, although her ensuring was replete with collisions. In 1938 she
collided with the Japanese motorship Arimasan Maru in San Pedro harbor, and in
1940 she struck the Norwegian refrigerator cargo ship Panama Express in heavy fog
off Cape Mendocino. 
Op. cit., Delgado, Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate.
San Francisco Chronicle. November 28, 1926.
Sea Classics Tragedy at Sea. 1976; p. 105.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 15, 1940.
On October 12, 1892, an unnamed scow drifted ashore one and one-half miles south
of the Fort Point Lifesaving Station, and was totally wrecked. The vessel was
valued at $1,500 and carried gear worth $500. A wire cable was run to a tugboat,
which attempted in vain to haul the scow off. The scow was then stripped of
everything of value that could be saved, including the tug's parted cable, in a
process that took the salvors three days. The estimated value of the loss was $1,950.
No injuries occurred and no lives were lost in this incident.
Schah Jehan (or Shah Jehan) was a British full-rigged ship, about which little is
known prior to her loss. A newspaper account of her loss states that she was an
"old vessel" which arrived in San Francisco with a cargo of coal, tobacco, and
brandy from Sidney, Australia. The cargo was seized by (customs?) Collector
Miller, and the captain and mate (names unknown) were arrested for smuggling.
Released on bonds, they departed San Francisco "rather hurridly" on the afternoon
of February 3, 1867, bound, it was stated, "up the Coast for lumber." It was
conjectured that "This haste to leave between (within?) two weeks probably caused
the loss of the vessel." 
Perhaps Schah Jehan left short of hands. It is stated that the immediate cause of
the wreck was "missing stays through the breaking of the mainsail sheet." She was
driven ashore between Point Lobos and the South Head, where her bottom was stove
in. All aboard reached shore safely. 
The wreck was sold to salvors shortly thereafter, but broke up before any salvage
activity could take place. "A cleaner break-up and disappearance we never saw in
our life," stated the newspaper. 
San Francisco Daily Alta California, February 5, 1867.
Ibid., February 4, 1867.
Ibid., February 6, 1867.
Trifolicum is the name of a vessel listed in Marshall as having wrecked at Land's
End in 1914. No further account of this incident or mention of this vessel in any
register has been found.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 103.
Viscata was built in 1864 in Liverpool, England, by Hart. She was staunchly built,
with a hull of iron and one bulkhead. Lloyd's gave her its highest rating during
surveys in Liverpool and San Francisco. Viscata was a 1,065-ton vessel, whose hull
measured 204 feet long, with a 32.8-foot beam and 21.6-foot depth of hold.  She
is referred to as both a bark and a ship, but photographic evidence taken at the site
of her stranding clearly shows her crossing a square yard for a mizzen course, and
therefore she was rigged as a ship at the time of her loss.
Viscata was owned by J. Steel of Liverpool, who engaged her in a deep-water trade
that took her more than once to San Francisco Bay to load cargoes of California
grain, presumably in exchange for manufactured goods from England.  On
March 7, 1868, Viscata cleared North Point and stood out the Golden Gate on an
ebb tide. Capt. Drummond was the master, but the ship was under the direction of
the port pilot, Capt. Jolliff, who had recently been in charge of the ill-fated Oliver
Cutts. wrecked off Alcatraz only 55 days before. The wind was coming out of the
northwest, and the ship began to beat her way out the narrow harbor entrance,
tacking once off Fort Point, again off the Sausalito side, and attempting to do so a
third time near the Fort again. On the last attempt, the wind shifted suddenly to
the north and she missed stays and was taken aback. At the time she was
dangerously close to the frothing rip of a counter-current that further complicated
the maneuver. While moving astern, the starboard anchor was dropped, and 60
fathoms of chain were run out in an attempt to bring the vessel's head into the
wind. The fates conspired against the vessel, however, for the anchor stock broke
and the anchor failed to hold. It was now too late to avoid grounding, for to have
let go a second anchor at that point would have caused the vessel to damage herself
by running over her own chain. Vicscata came up broadside on the sands of Baker
Beach, where successive waves pushed her higher and higher until she could be
reached by foot at low tide. 
The tug Rescue attempted to pull her free on the high tide, but failed, and the
vessel was sold at auction to Messrs. Stevens, Baker & Co. for $22,500 in gold at the
Merchant's Exchange. The prevailing calm weather, and the vessel's position
embedded in soft sand, made it "generally believed that there is a big thing in the
purchase of the vessel, as she is lying, at the price paid."  The cargo of 32,731
100-pound sacks of wheat was, however, sold separately and the vessel's fate was
sealed. The owners of the vessel, while stripping the ship of topmasts, rigging, and
spars, and engaging a steam pump to keep the hold dry, refused at first to allow the
owners of the cargo to remove the sacks of wheat. Although much of the cargo
was eventually removed from the hull in an effort to lighten ship and allow her to
be floated free, the efforts came too late. When a heavy storm came up, both
parties lost out as the vessel went to pieces.
Newspaper accounts stated that "the scene at the time was magnificent--the huge
rollers, coming in with military precision and regularity, lifting their crests with a
mighty roar and hurling themselves upon the fated ship, as if determined to destroy
her utterly, while the sea and shore were strewn with her timbers, deck planking,
and such portions of her cargo as had not yet been taken from her.
Notwithstanding the rain that poured down unceasingly, many persons rode out
from the city to witness the scene, and the bluff and the beach were covered at
times with spectators." It was further stated that
she had worked loose from her bed of sand, and somewhat farther
inshore, when her wooden decks began to yield to the tremendous
blows of the waves, and gradually broke up as the beams were
broken and timbers twisted and split to pieces. With the deck gone
and the hold filled with water, the waves had full sweep. The iron
plates on her starboard side near the bow and stern began to yield.
The seams along the bilge began to open also, and the mainmast,
with the iron maintopmast, fell out and went over the side to
seaward, while the port side of the hull succumbed to the pressure
and curled in "like a burnt shoe." The iron foremast was also bent
and broken, threatening to fall at any moment. The mizzenmast
alone stood erect and appeared uninjured.. ..At nightfall only the
ragged and torn shell of iron was left to tell of the magnificent
It would appear from this account that considerable material remains of Viscata may
indeed be buried under the sands of Baker Beach near or below the tide line.
However, it is obvious that such remains would be more in the nature of twisted
wreckage of the hull and masts, than any substantial intact portions of the vessel.
Excellent photographic documentation exists that would aid in pinpointing the
location of her remains.
As a postscript, it is to be noted that the pilot's license was revoked by the Pilot
Examiners, in spite of supportive testimony by Capt. Drummond of Viscata.
Examiners reasoned that he should not have attempted to come about so close to an
obvious back eddy, and that more efforts should have been made to let go a second
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1867-68).
San Francisco Daily Alta California. April 28, 1868.
Ibid., March 13, 1868.
Ibid., March 23, 1868.
Ibid., April 30, 1868.
Viscata, a total loss on Baker's Beach, 1868. San Francisco Maritime NHP photo by
VESSEL LOSSES, FORT POINT TO FORT MASON, AND
James P. Delgado
These vessels are known to have wrecked within Golden Gate National Recreation
Area park boundaries between Fort Point, the Marina, and Fort Mason; only one
vessel is listed as a total loss on Alcatraz Island.
Chateau Palmer. 1856
Citv of Chester. 1886
Citv of Rio de Janeiro. 1901
General Gushing. 1858
Golden Fleece. 1854
Isaac Jeanes. 1876
Oliver Cutts. 1868
The 718-ton ship Aberdeen was built at Warren, Maine, in 1847.  The
circumstances of her loss in late December 1852, or early January 1853, are not
recorded, but the log of the United States Revenue Marine cutter Frolic noted the
wreck lay at the Golden Gate "ashore on the Rock off Fort Pt."  On January 8,
Capt. Douglass Ottinger boarded the wreck "and found her broken into two upon
the rocks."  By January 9, 1853, the wreck had gone to pieces and Frolic landed
a crew to "save property" for the owners: 13 hams, 5 pieces of pork, 1 keg of
butter, and 1 box of soap were salvaged. 
The remains of the vessel evidently stayed on the rocks at Fort Point for some time;
on February 16, 1854, the California Legislature passed a joint resolution instructing
California's Congressional delegation to "obtain an appropriation from Congress, if
possible, sufficient to procure the removal of the wreck of the ship Aberdeen,
which now lies at the entrance of the Bay of San Francisco, and presents a serious
obstruction to commerce." 
Forrest R. Holdcamper, List of American-Flag Merchant Vessels Which Received Certificates of Registry
or Enrollment at the Port of New York. 1796-1869. (Washington, D.C.: The National Archives, 1968)
Vol. 1, p. 13.
Log of the United States Revenue Cutter Frolic. Entry for January 7, 1853. Records of the United
States Coast Guard, Record Group 26, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Ibid., Frolic log, Entry for January 8, 1853.
Ibid., Entry for January 9, 1853.
The Statutes of California, Passed at the Fifth Session of the Legislature.... (Sacramento: B. B. Redding,
The 800-ton ship Chateau Palmer of Le Havre, France, was lost on her maiden
voyage when she missed stays and crashed ashore at Fort Point on May 1, 1856.
The final voyage began when she arrived at San Francisco in early 1856 with a "full
cargo of merchandise," and was chartered by the firm of Bolton, Barren and Forbes,
operators of California's New Almaden mercury mines, to ship 719 flasks of
quicksilver from San Francisco to Callao, Peru.  Departing San Francisco on May
1, 1856, Chateau Palmer was just outside the Golden Gate when she missed stays:
...in attempting to wear ship, finding that she would not clear the
shore, both anchors were immediately let go, when she dragged
ashore about five hundred yards west of Fort Point. The wind
blowing fresh from the WNW. at the time, with a heavy sea running,
she struck heavily. Immediately after striking, she floated off shore
with the head to the westward. 
Three days later, it was noted in a summary of the fortnight's news that the ship,
with a cargo of quicksilver and "China goods" had gone ashore and "became a total
wreck, but the cargo was saved."  No further mention of the wreck of Chateau
Palmer was made.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. May 2, 1856.
Ibid., Daily Alta California. May 5, 1856.
City of Chester
The 1,106.21-ton, iron-hulled steamer City of Chester was built at Chester,
Pennsylvania, in 1875. City of Chester was 202 feet long, with a 33.2-foot beam
and a 15.9-foot depth of hold.  Owned by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company,
City of Chester operated along the coast carrying passengers and freight between
San Francisco and the lumbering ports on California's Humboldt Bay for most of
her career. Upon her first arrival at Eureka, California, she was described as "the
finest steamship ever in our harbor. ...large and roomy, having the finest of
accommodations for passengers."  Trouble befell City of Chester in January 1886
when she ran aground on the South Spit of the Humboldt Bay Bar. The steamer
was safely floated on the next high tide, but lost the rudder, rudder post, and a
propeller blade. 
City of Chester's luck ran out with her second accident. With passengers on board,
the steamer departed San Francisco on the foggy morning of August 22, 1888. As
City of Chester steamed past Fort Point, the incoming iron-hulled passenger liner
Oceanic, just arriving from Hong Kong and Yokohama, hit her at 9:25 a.m. The
huge Oceanic cut through City of Chester's hull. When stern lifted high into the
air, City of Chester sank rapidly, her boilers exploding as cold seawater hit hot
metal. Taking about 24 passengers with her, City of Chester plunged deep into the
Golden Gate channel. 
Oceanic, though badly damaged, managed to stay afloat as members of the liner's
crew leapt into the water to save the survivors from City of Chester. The wreck's
location was marked by an oil slick that guided diver Victor Hinston to her. At 50
fathoms "he found the vessel lying across the channel cut in two. Water was
rushing through the cut like a mill race."  No attempt was made to salvage the
wreck until 1890, when wrecker Thomas Whitelaw sounded the wreck; "it was
discovered that the City of Chester lay on a sloping ledge with her bow in 40
fathoms of water and her stern in 46 fathoms. This depth was too great. ..and it is
not probable that any attempt will be made to raise her." 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1888) p. 278.
[Eureka, California] Weekly Humboldt Times, November 4, 1882.
[Eureka, California] Weekly Times-Telephone. January 2 and January 9, 1886.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 23 and August 24, 1888; San Francisco Examiner, August 23, 24 and
Op. cit., Weekly Humboldt Times. October 11, 1888.
Ibid., December 11, 1890.
Oceanic rams and sinks C.itv of Chester at the Golden Gate, 1888. Courtesy of San
Francisco Maritime NHP/ Robert Gilbert, artist.
City of Rio de Janeiro
The 3,548-ton, iron-hulled steamship City of Rio de Janeiro was built in 1877 and
1878 at Chester, Pennsylvania. Built by John Roach, the foremost marine engine
manufacturer and shipbuilder in the United States in the late nineteenth century,
City of Rio de Janeiro was laid down with her sister ship City of Para, to provide
steamers that would link Brazil with the United States. As built, City of Rio de
Janeiro was 344 feet long, with a 38-foot beam and a 28.9-foot depth of hold. 
The steamer's steam engines were removed in 1892 and a new compound engine
manufactured by the Union Iron Works of San Francisco was installed. 
Launched on March 6, 1878, City of Rio de Janeiro was termed "a first class
The ship is inclosed with iron from the stern up to the hurricane
deck, aft of the fore-hatch, to give her extra strength. ...The joiner
work is. ..most splendid and elegant. ...The Rio de Janeiro will
accommodate 100 first-class passengers and about 500 in the steerage.
Unfortunately for John Roach and his backers, the steam line to Brazil was a
failure. City of Rio de Janeiro proved particularly expensive; in 1879 she ran down
three ships, including the lightship at the mouth of the Amazon River, sinking two
of the vessels.  City of Rio de Janeiro and Citv of Para were sold in 1881 to the
Pacific Mail Steamship Company of New York, which sent both vessels into service
on the Panama route--Citv of Para on the Atlantic side, Citv of Rio de Janeiro on
the Pacific side of the continent.
Citv of Rio de Janeiro made only one voyage to Panama before being sent into the
trans-Pacific service. For the remainder of her career, Citv of Rio de Janeiro
connected San Francisco with Honolulu, Yokahama, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Although the steamer carried freight and a number of well-to-do passengers, her
most significant service was the transportation of thousands of immigrant Chinese to
a new life in America. Her career was eventful; frequently the vessel was involved
in customs cases, as smugglers used Citv of Rio de Janeiro to bring a variety of
items, usually opium, into the United States. In 1890 Citv of Rio de Janeiro was
rammed by the English steamer Bombay, crushing her bow and forcing an 18-day
delay in her next sailing. In January 1895, the steamer again met with accident
when she ran aground on the rocks outside Nagasaki harbor. 
Citv of Rio de Janeiro was chartered by the United States Army's Quartermaster
Corps during the Spanish-American War as a troop transport. On July 22, 1898, she
steamed from San Francisco with 888 men and 40 officers from the 1st South
Dakota Infantry, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 18th U.S. Infantry, a Signal
Corps detachment, and recruits for the Utah Light Artillery. Arriving at Manila on
August 24, 1898, Citv of Rio de Janeiro was quickly made ready for a return
voyage. Sailing on September 22, 1898, she brought 150 sick and wounded soldiers
back to San Francisco on October 22. 
Returning to immigrant service in 1900, Citv of Rio de Janeiro made only a few
voyages until she was lost in heavy fog as she entered San Francisco Bay early on
February 22, 1901. After arriving off the Golden Gate on the evening of February
21 and taking on Pilot Capt. Frederick Jordan, Citv of Rio de Janeiro weighed
anchor at 4:00 a.m. the next day to head into San Francisco Bay. Steaming toward
the Golden Gate, the vessel was swept off her course by a strong ebbing tide and
struck the rocks at the Golden Gate at 5:30 a.m.  Tearing open the hull, the
steamer backed off the rocks and slid into the ocean, carrying 128 of the 210
passengers and crew to a watery grave.  Most of the 82 survivors were pulled
from makeshift rafts and wreckage by fishing boats that arrived on the scene as
they departed for the day's fishing. The passing of the steamer left a large amount
of small debris on the water; "small bits of broken planking strewed the vicinity of
the wreck and floated with the changing tide, leaving a grewsome [sic] trail from
Land's End up through Raccoon Straits to the Berkeley shores." 
The vessel apparently sank intact; little floated up from the wreck save a few bodies
and light flotsam. In July 1902, the pilothouse tore free from the submerged hulk
and drifted ashore at Fort Baker inside the Gate. Inside the pilothouse, the badly
decomposed corpse of City of Rio de Janeiro's captain, William Ward, was found,
still partially clad in his uniform. The captain was identified by his distinctive
watch and its fob, a Chinese silver coin.  The wreck of City of Rio de Janeiro
was the worst maritime disaster off San Francisco's shores, and bitter condemnation
of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, Capt. Ward, and, to some extent, Pilot
Jordan, continued for years. The master was ultimately blamed. "This is the second
large steamship [the first was the Pacific Mail steamer City of New York in 1893]
lost within the Heads through a gross neglect to obey the promptings of sound
seamanship."  The wreck was sought unsuccessfully for decades, the endeavors
spurred by rumors of treasure on board. The various search and salvage efforts
came to naught until 1985, when the remains of the steamer were apparently finally
located in approximately 300 feet of water outside the Golden Gate. A claim for
salvage has been filed with the State of California's State Lands Commission; this
threat to the vessel is more fully discussed in the chapter dealing with salvage and
other impacts to shipwrecks in the study area.
The ill-fated City of Rio de Janeiro, lost in 1901 at the Golden Gate. One-hwidred-
and-twenty-eight persons were killed, making this the worst shipwreck disaster in the
Gulf of the Farallones. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1900) Vol. I, Steamers, n.p.
[New York] Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 23, 1878.
Op. cit., Swann, p. 122.
Max L. O'Starr, "Immigrant Steamer: The Story of the Rio de Janeiro. The Life, Death, and the Wake
of a Ship," (1975) Unpublished manuscript, J. Porter Shaw Library, National Maritime Museum, San
Francisco, California, pp. 36-47, passim.
Ibid., pp. 64-72, passim.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1902) p. 122.
San Francisco Chronicle. February 23, 1901.
San Francisco Bulletin. July 18, 1902.
Alexander Woolf, "The Loss of the Rio de Janeiro," Overland Monthly, April 1901, p. 851.
The particulars of the ship General Gushing are not known. She was supposedly
built in Maine in 1856 and was owned in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  On
September 3, 1858, the vessel arrived at San Francisco from Australia to load grain.
After lying at the Lombard Street Wharf loading 10,000 bags of oats and 10,000
bags of barley, General Gushing sailed from San Francisco for Sydney, on October
16, 1858.  As she sailed out past the Golden Gate, she missed stays and, caught
in the ebbing tide, swung into the rocks at Fort Point, "at a point about midway
between where the Golden Fleece. ...and the Chateau Palmer. ..were wrecked, and just
under the 'ten gun battery' on the hill." The vessel lay close in to shore, rocking
violently in the surf, and the masts were cut away to reduce the strain on the hull.
The wreck was described the following day as "a mere mass of timber festooned
with broken spars and tangled rigging..."  On October 17, salvage of the cargo
...three lighter loads of merchandise were removed from the ship
General Gushing. ...The ship lies in the same position, and as the wind
has gone down which blew so strongly. ..she does not thump as
heavily as she did. The next gale will probably break her up. 
On the following day, the wreck and cargo of General Gushing were sold at auction
by McRuer and Merrill of San Francisco.  The sale price was not recorded.
Much of the cargo was pulled from the vessel, but General Gushing was a total loss.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. October 17, 1858.
Ibid., October 18, 1858.
The 968-ton clipper ship Golden Fleece was built by Paul Curtis at Boston,
Massachusetts, in 1852. Golden Fleece was 173 feet long, with a 35-foot beam and
a 21-foot depth of hold.  The clipper sailed from Boston on August 16, 1852,
for her maiden voyage to San Francisco. After a difficult passage, she arrived at
San Francisco on January 4, 1853, with 11 passengers and a typically varied,
speculative Gold-Rush-era cargo:
95 cases Burton ale, 3211 ft. oak plank, butter, hoes, 100 kegs white
lead, 359 plough beams, drugs, candles, 25 boxes peppersauce, 6
churns, chairs, 55 bundles agricultural implements, camphene, 16
boxes gas and lamp fixtures, 5 boxes boiled cabbage, 3 boxes mutton
soup, 7 boxes chicken soup, 112 grindstones, 12 vegetable cutters,
200 ox bows, 50 bales of oakum and assorted goods. 
Golden Fleece made a return voyage to the East Coast, sailing for Boston via
Manila. She then sailed from New York for San Francisco a second time, arriving
at the Golden Gate on April 10, 1854, after a 128-day passage. 
On April 22, 1854, Golden Fleece departed San Francisco for Manila. She was
wrecked when beating out of the Golden Gate. Caught in an eddy, she missed stays
and drifted ashore outside the gate at Fort Point. The next day found her "lying
broadside on to the rocks. ..bilged and full of water, her mainmast is gone, also the
fore and main top mast."  The tugs Resolute and Hercules attempted to pull
Golden Fleece from the rocks and failed. By April 24 the salvage of the vessel was
underway, the tug Resolute taking away "two loads of sails and rigging...." The ship
lay "stern on, all her masts gone, save the stump of the mainmast." 
The wreck of Golden Fleece was sold at public auction on April 24, 1854, to
Messrs. Bokee and Thromb of San Francisco for $2,600.  Over the next few days
they worked to strip and lighten the vessel:
The purchasers of the wreck are busily engaged stripping her of
everything moveable, at the same time preparations are being made to
raise her. ...The sails, rigging, guns, &c., saved by the consignee of
the ship, were sold at auction yesterday, the two brass pieces
bringing $580. 
The salvors sent 300 men to the wreck in late April to strip her,  but four of
them were drowned on May 1 when their boat capsized in the surf as they headed
from the ship to shore.  Six days later, it was noted that all efforts to salvage the
wreck off the rocks had ceased, since "the parties who purchased her have stripped
her of everything moveable, and now await the time she may break up for further
gain."  No further mention was made of the wreck of Golden Fleece.
Octavius T. Howe and Frederick C. Matthews, American Clipper Ships, 1833-1858. (Salem,
Massachusetts: Marine Research Society, 1926) Vol. 1, p. 231.
Op. cit., Rasmussen, Vol. 4, pp. 230-231.
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, p. 232.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. April 23, 1854.
Ibid., April 24, 1854.
Ibid., April 25, 1854.
Ibid., April 27, 1854.
Ibid., April 30, 1854.
Ibid., May 2 and 3, 1854.
Ibid., May 7, 1854.
WllKCK OF THE CLIPPER SHIP "GOLDEN FLEECE."
OFF FOKT I'OliXT, HAY OF SAN FKANCISt'O.
Lettersheet engraving of the wreck of the clipper Golden Fleece at Fort Point, 1S54.
Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Museum, manuscript collections.
The 1,058 91/95-ton, sidewheel steamship Granada was built by Jeremiah Simonson
at New York in 1855. Granada was 228 feet long, with a 31 -foot beam and a
15.6-foot depth of hold and was propelled by a vertical-beam marine steam engine.
 Granada carried passengers between New York and Panama for the United
States Mail Steamship Company from 1857 to 1859.  In early 1860 she operated
between New York and New Orleans. Granada came to grief in January 1860 on
striking floating ice on the Hudson River. After an anxious race to New York, she
sank at the dock. The following day, as steam pumps labored to raise the sunken
steamer, one of the boilers burst, killing one deck hand and scalding several others.
The boiler flew 20 feet into the air, landing on Granada's pilothouse.  Granada
was finally raised and repaired. The owner, Marshall O. Roberts, President of the
United States Mail Steamship Company, then decided to send his steamship through
the Straits of Magellan into the Pacific.
Granada was intended as the first steamer on a steamship line to link San Francisco
with the East Coast by means of a land route across Mexico's Isthmus of
Tehuantepec; she ran in tandem with the steamer Moses Rogers.  Arriving off
the Golden Gate on October 13, 1860, Granada was wrecked when her main steam
line broke, disabling the engine and scalding the chief engineer. Without power,
the steamer drifted into the surf, grounding on a sandbar near Fort Point's beach.
 Within two days, the grounded steamer was a total loss. Drifting up close to
the high-water mark on the beach, her seams open, Granada lay in nine feet of
water with the tide ebbing and flowing into her. 
The wreck was a popular attraction; the San Francisco Daily Alta California of
October 15, 1860, noted "The Granada was visited by crowds of people yesterday, as
she lay high and dry beyond Fort Point." The wreck could not be pulled free. On
October 18, "the hull of the Steamship Granada. ..together with her engine, boilers,
&c., including everything that may be on board" was sold at auction.  California
Steam Navigation Company purchased the wreck for $2,600.  Within a few days,
"men. ..were taking the machinery out, and assisting the waves to break to pieces
what is left of her."  After the engines and boilers were removed, the stripped
hulk was abandoned to the surf.
John Haskell Kemble, The Panama Route. 1848-1869. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1943) p. 229.
[New York] Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 14, 1860.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, October 14, 1860.
Ibid., October 15, 1860.
Ibid., October 18, 1860.
Ibid., October 19, 1860.
Ibid., October 23, 1860.
The 814-ton bark Isaac Jeanes was built in 1854, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Launched from the yard of William Cramp into the Delaware River, the bark was
originally rigged as a ship and was one of only four clipper ships built at
Philadelphia . Constructed for the Isaac Jeanes Company, Isaac Jeanes was a
clipper packet in the Mediterranean trade that made "one run in the California trade
during the clipper ship decade--a passage of 129 days in 1855."  As built, the
bark was 157 feet long, with a 35-foot beam and a 21 -foot depth of hold.  By
1874 the vessel was operating from San Francisco.
On March 9, 1876, Isaac Jeanes. inbound with a cargo of lumber, was wrecked at
the Golden Gate near Fort Point. The bark was entering the harbor "with a
westerly breeze, the wind suddenly came out from the easterly, and after a vain
attempt to tack ship, but not having room, she went ashore. ..near the spot where the
steamer Granada was lost."  The crew barely escaped as the vessel broke up in
the surf upon striking; "there was not a vestige of her to be seen, excepting a few
spars and some rigging, the cargo of lumber having drifted in and out the harbor in
all directions." 
William Armstrong Fairburn, Merchant Sail.... (Center Lovell, Maine: Fairburn Marine Educational
Foundation, Inc., 1955) Vol. V, p. 2769.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's (1876) p. 132.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. March 10, 1876.
The 700-ton bark Oliver Cutts was built at Pembroke, Maine, in 1863. Oliver Cutts
was 143 feet long, with a 31 -foot beam and a 21 -foot depth of hold.  Toward the
end of her career Oliver Cutts was sold to foreign owners, and when lost she was
"hailing from Sydney and sailing under the British flag..."  On the evening of
January 13, 1868, Oliver Cutts entered the Golden Gate with a cargo of 1,016 tons
of coal from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, consigned to the San
Francisco merchant, Macondray and Company. Under the guidance of pilot Capt.
Joliffe, Oliver Cutts was sailing past Alcatraz Island in a 7-to 8-knot breeze when
she was "struck by a sudden squall, which brought her sails aback and brought her
head round toward Alcatraz Island."  The ship could not be brought around, and
Capt. Joliffe attempted to sail Oliver Cutts through the narrow gap between Alcatraz
Island and the rock known as "Little Alcatraz." Unable to control the vessel, he
ordered the anchor dropped, but as the crew prepared to do so, Oliver Cutts ran
aground on the rock, striking it with her stern several times. By 8:00 a.m. on
January 14, she had rolled into the rock, stoving in her starboard side below the
main chains; "at half past 12 today she was lying on an even keel. The point of
rock had made its way through the planking, and the water filled her 'tween
decks...."  The tug Rescue was dispatched with a pump to try and float Oliver
Cutts off, but the effort failed and by the afternoon of January 14, "all attempts to
free her of water had been abandoned...." 
Two days after running aground, Oliver Cutts was "a helpless wreck." When the
tide fell, the ship's hull broke over the rock, and "she sank until her decks--fore
and aft- -are under water." The mainmast fell, carrying with it the mizzentopmast.
Wreckers stripped her of sails, rigging, spars, and "everything which can be saved...."
 The wreck was sold at auction on January 16, 1868, together with "spars, sails,
rigging, anchors, chains, cabin furniture...." and coal cargo.  The wreck was sold
for $875, and the cargo, consisting of the coal, 21 barrels of salmon, "and a lot of
skins," brought $1,550. The purchaser was San Francisco junk dealer Charles
Harley.  The wreck of Oliver Cutts remained visible for a few months, one of
the masts protruding from the water off Alcatraz Island. 
Op. cit., American Lloyd's (1866) pp. 234-235.
San Francisco Bulletin, January 14, 1868.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 14, 1868.
San Francisco Bulletin. January 14, 1868.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. January 14, 1868.
Ibid., January 15, 1868.
Ibid., January 16, 1868.
A photograph of the Golden Gate taken from Alcatraz Island in mid-1868 by Eadweard Muybridge
clearly shows a lower-mast of Oliver Cutts sticking upright out of the water next to Little Alcatraz.
The photograph is in the collection of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Accounts of the wreck of General Gushing in October 1858, note that the ship was
lost in the vicinity of the wrecks of Golden Fleece. Chateau Palmer and Samoset.
Samoset was allegedly wrecked in December 1852; no other reference to the wreck
can be located. Samoset. one of several hundred vessels that sailed to San Francisco
during the Gold Rush, departed New York on March 21, 1849.  The vessel's
subsequent career is not known, though one other Samoset. a 543-ton ship built in
1847, was afloat in 1862 and listed in American Lloyd's.
C. W. Raskins, The Argonauts of California.... (New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1890) pp.
Lime Point. 1878
VESSEL LOSSES, LIME POINT TO POINT BONITA
Prevailing winds and currents at the Golden Gate usually push vessels toward the
south shore--as a result only three vessels are known to have wrecked and been
totally lost between Lime Point and Point Bonita.
H. L. Tiernan. 1882
Lime Point. 1878
H. L. Tiernan
H. L. Tiernan was a schooner of 142.76 tons, based in San Francisco, and carrying
the official number 11396.  On April 5, 1882, she departed San Francisco for the
Chournagin Islands on a fishing voyage with salt and provisions on board. About
4:30 p.m., while attempting to beat her way out of the harbor, she missed stays and
struck Mile Rock. The mate, John Clark, jumped on the rock but was washed off
and drowned. A seaman named B. Sheehan was washed over the side a few minutes
later and drowned too. The vessel drifted ashore below Lime Point and lay there
on her beam ends while she was stripped of her sails and other removable gear.
Tugs attempted to save her but failed, and the vessel was reported in the
newspapers as a total loss.  While confirming the other particulars of the story,
however, the Annual Report of the Lifesaving Service states that the vessel was only
a partial loss.  Davidson's wreck chart indicates that the vessel got off, although
she was badly damaged.
Because of the wreck's location in the area of the present north tower of the Golden
Gate Bridge, it is conjectured that if any portions of the vessel did remain at the
site of its stranding, they were destroyed during bridge construction, and it is highly
unlikely that any material remains from this incident are extant.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1881).
San Francisco Daily Alta California, April 6-7, 1982.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1883) p. 343.
Lime Point was a scow schooner of 19.86 tons, registered at San Francisco, and
carrying the official number 15811. She went "ashore on the beach below Lime
Point, full of water" on or slightly before February 7, 1878.  No further
information about the incident has been uncovered.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, February 7, 1878.
Pathfinder was built in 1900 as a pilotboat. She was an 86-ton vessel with
schooner-rig and an auxiliary gasoline engine that drove a single screw.  She
carried a gaff-rigged foresail and a leg-o'-mutton mainsail on her two masts, and
the standing rigging was secured with turnbuckles. The hull was made of wood,
and it was thoroughly copper-plated below the waterline. 
The particulars of her loss are detailed in the Annual Report of the United States
Life-Saving Service for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 1914:
January 15. While bound into San Francisco harbor on the night of
this date in a dense fog, the 86-ton pilot boat Pathfinder, carrying a
crew of five persons, got off her course and ran on the rocks at
Point Diablo, 2 miles west of the Fort Point Station. After striking,
the vessel lay against a perpendicular wall of rock and as the crew
could not escape ashore and did not care to risk the vessel going to
pieces under them they launched two small rowboats and put to sea,
fighting their way offshore through a heavy surf. Fortunately for
them, the crew of the Point Bonita Station had occasion on this night
to answer the call of a vessel in difficulty on Angel Island. While
running along at full speed in the darkness and fog, the station
keeper caught a glimpse of two lights against the inshore rocks
between Point Diablo and Lime Point. He turned aside to
investigate, and without warning ran between the two rowboats
containing the Pathfinder's crew. After taking the men on board, the
power lifeboat went on her way and soon afterwards spoke the
revenue cutter Golden Gate, which was making search for the
Pathfinder. The rescued men and their boats were put aboard the
cutter. Later in the night both the Fort Point and Point Bonita
Station crews and the Golden Gate returned to the Pathfinder, the
crew of the other endangered vessel referred to having been rescued.
They found the pilot boat on the rocks and full of water. On the
16th the two life-saving crews were again on the scene of the
casualty, assisting the pilot boat tender California, a tug, and the
revenue cutter Unalga in running lines. Strenuous efforts made to
float her, in which a number of hawsers were broken, were
continued for some hours without avail. The Pathfinder broke up
while the salvage work was going on. She was valued at $20,000.
The remains of the hulk of Pathfinder should be fairly easy to locate from the
description above. Material remains of her engine, hull, and bottom plating may be
extant under the water at the base of the cliffs between Lime Point and Point
Diablo. She is photographically well-documented, and is an interesting and
significant type of vessel not otherwise well-represented in this survey, and deserves
Op. cit. Merchant Vessels of the United States (1914) p. 429.
The D. W. Dickie Photograph Collection, National Maritime Museum San Francisco, pp. 78-449.
The pilotboat Pathfinder, wrecked at Point Diablo in 1914. Courtesy of San Francisco
Eliza P. (or Littie T.I Adams. 1860
TY AND CO
San Franciaco. 1853
H. L. Rutgen. 1868
Eureka, 1915 ^'
j^-v) Point Bonita
Dolphin. 1890 Citv of New York. 1893
Jennv Ford. 1864 X N
Mersey. 1850 NX X
Rescue. 1874 XN X X
Lighthouse Litt | e Ml | e R oc k '
Black Head RocK
Lands End .
VESSEL LOSSES, POINT BONITA TO TENNESSEE POINT
Stephen A. Haller
The rough water of Potato Patch Shoal, the deflection of waves north from the bar,
and a current that sets into Pt. Bonita combined to wreck 18 vessels.
City of New York. 1893
Daisv Rowe. 1900
Eliza P. (or Lizzie T.) Adams. 1860
H. L. Rutgers. 1868
Jenny Ford. 1864
Jenny Lind. 1858
San Francisco. 1853
City of New York
City of New York was built in 1875 at the Chester, Pennsylvania, shipyard of John
Roach. Roach, a controversial figure, was a well-known builder of vessels for
steamship lines and the United States government. Among his clients was the
Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company, for whom he built the City of Tokyo. City of
Sydney, and Citv of Peking, the Oregon Steam Ship Co., for whom he built the
ill-fated Citv of Chester, and the U.S. Brazil Mail Steam Ship Company, for whom
he built the infamous Citv of Rio de Janeiro. 
Citv of New York was a 3,019-gross-ton, combination passenger-freight steamer,
339 feet long, with a 40.2-foot beam and a 28.9-foot depth of hold. Her hull was
made of iron, compartmentalized with six bulkheads, and she was powered by a
compound engine driven by six coal-fired boilers. 
She and her near-sisters were designed and built in the 1870s to replace the earlier
generation of side-wheel liners that made Gold Rush history. The Pacific Mail
Steam Ship Company, spurred by the success of the transcontinental railroad, had
begun to supplement its Panama-to-California route with trade to Australia and the
Orient. Passenger service to Asiatic ports was made profitable by the importation
of great numbers of "coolie laborers" into the United States to work in the railroads,
mines, and other industries of the Pacific Coast states. Cargo trade consisted of
manufactured goods, flour, canned goods, and a variety of other foodstuffs expected
to find a market in Asia. Those goods were sent west in exchange for spices,
bamboo, indigo, rice, silk, rubber goods, and the many curios considered "exotic" in
the West. For almost two decades, City of New York plied the sea routes between
San Francisco and China, Panama and Australia.
On October 26, 1893, City of New York stood away from the Pacific Mail dock and
headed out through the Golden Gate bound for China, under the direction of pilot
George Johnson. "There was the heaviest fog on at the time that had been known
in years," the tides were "the highest of the month," and the "light from the tower
on Point Bonita was eclipsed entirely and the metal mouth of the warning siren at
that place had been so deflected as to throw its volume out seaward and render its
weird cry worse than useless to the outgoing craft." Now off course to the north
without anyone's knowledge, the vessel struck gently on submerged rocks about 100
yards offshore, to the southeast of Point Bonita. Then a large roller picked up the
vessel and deposited her on top of the jagged rocks, bursting the bottom plates, and
flooding the hold with eight feet of water. Panic gripped some of the passengers on
board, many of whom were coolies on their way back to their homeland. As soon
as she struck, the calamity was announced by firing rockets and signal cannons,
which were heard at the Point Lobos Marine Exchange Lookout and the Fort Point
Lifesaving Station. All available assistance was speedily dispatched to the stranded
vessel, but tugs found her to be wedged fast upon the rocks.  With help on scene
and the vessel obviously in no immediate danger of sinking, the human cargo was
calmed. A heavy sea was running. With rocks nearby, tugs could not approach the
stranded ship, so the lifesaving crew from the Fort Point Lifesaving Station took all
the passengers off and transferred them to waiting rescue craft. The crew of the
Golden Gate Park Station arrived and assisted their comrades in removing mail and
$241,000 in specie, articles of value, and the effects of the crew. The next day,
four boats were recovered "that had broken loose from her and were drifting out to
sea with some Chinamen on board." 
Salvage vessels strip the wreck of the Pacific Mail steamship City of New York,
wrecked on the rocks below Point Bonita in 1893. The vessel in the foreground is
probably Samson, which was blown ashore and lost while salvaging City of New York
in January 1895. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Salvage efforts immediately commenced. Part of the cargo of flour, shrimp, beans,
and other general goods was removed, and vain attempts were made to tow the ship
free. Later in November stormy weather set in, and all the wreckers on board or
moored nearby had to abandon the site for their safety. 
"For months the big wreck [lay] there dismantled and drear like the decaying carcass
of some vast black monster of the sea, sinking inch by inch into the surrounding
depths" until a great storm in March 1894 shook her free and deposited the hulk in
deep water between the rocks and the shoreline.  Even afterwards, divers
continued to raise scrap iron from the wreck. In January 1895, the wrecking
schooner Samson met a tragic end attempting to stand by the wreck site in another
In recent years, sport divers have occasionally visited the wreck site, presumably
removing such trophies as could be recovered from the dark, swift, shark-infested
waters. In 1984, the National Park Service began to study the remains of City of
New York.  Deadeyes and other paraphanalia have been recovered from the
wreck site, and it obviously promises rich return for future research and on-site
Op. cit., Swann, pp. 239-240
The Record of the American Bureau of Shipping for 1879.
San Francisco Examiner. March 13, 1894.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1893) p. 110.
San Francisco Examiner, op. cit.
Op. cit., Delgado, Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate.
Daisy Rowe was a schooner of 123 gross tons, 116 net tons, built in 1879 at
Fairhaven (Humboldt Bay), California, by the noted Danish-American shipbuilder
Hans Bendixsen, the same man who built C. A. Thaver. now preserved at the
National Maritime Museum as a National Historic Landmark.  In common with
most vessels built on the West Coast, Daisy Rowe was constructed largely of Douglas
fir and fastened with iron. Her dimensions were 94.5 feet in length, with a 29-foot
beam and 7.5-foot depth of hold. She carried a schooner's rig, and a vessel of her
size would usually have two masts. 
Daisy Rowe was owned by E. Higgins of Higgins & Collins of San Francisco, and
carried the official number 6977. Most likely she was employed in the coastal
lumber trade between San Francisco and the dogholes and lumber ports of the
Northwest Coast. Her name drops from the vessel registers after 1900, the year in
which she is listed as having been lost at Point Bonita. 
No particulars of this incident have been found in newspapers or the reports of the
Lifesaving Service. However, the records of the Marine Exchange of San Francisco
indicate that Daisy Rowe went ashore at 7:00 p.m. on November 20, "one mile
inside Point Bonita," a location that would place her just west of Point Diablo.
Although the crew was saved, the vessel quickly went to pieces and was a total loss.
At the time of the disaster, Daisy Rowe was bound out of San Francisco for Coos
Bay, Oregon. On what must have been the previous voyage, Daisv Rowe had come
close to disaster when she lost her foresail, and her mainmast went over the side in
a heavy blow at sea on September 23, while she was bound from San Francisco to
Gray's Harbor, Washington. She was spoke on September 30 by the steamer San
Bias as she was blown as far south as Point Sur in the gale, but declined assistance
then and on October 1, when the steamer Corona sighted her. While anchored
outside the bar at Gray's Harbor, Daisv Rowe's anchor carried away, and the hardy
little schooner was finally forced to hail a tug for assistance in entering the port. 
Perhaps this voyage was a premonition of things to come, for the next voyage was
Op. cit., Martin, p. 158.
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1900).
Op. cit., Martin, p. 101.
Marine Exchange Disaster Ledger, Vol. 1; an unprocessed collection in the Historic Documents Collection
of the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
Dancing Feather is mentioned in Marshall as having been the name of a pilot boat
that became a total loss after she "went ashore in the fog at north point of the
Golden Gate." No further information about the incident has been found in indexes
of newspapers of the time, and the name Dancing Feather does not appear in any
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 101.
Dolphin was a steam tug that reportedly foundered at North Head (Point Bonita) on
May 18, 1890. Further research at the Bancroft Library may uncover more details
of the vessel and the wreck, because they have a copy of the Marine Engineers
Beneficial Association (Yearbook?), which reports on the incident (Call No. F869
S3M25). There are several vessels named Dolphin listed in the registers of the time,
but it is not possible at this point to establish which one we are concerned with.
Eliza P. Adams
Eliza P. Adams (or Lizzie T. Adams) was a scow schooner, one of the bluff-bowed,
barge-like craft indigenous to San Francisco Bay that carried general cargo on
voyages between local ports. She had been chartered to load fencing at Bolinas and
take it to San Jose. She left San Francisco without ballast, trusting to her
flat-bottomed hull for stability, and capsized near Point Bonita in a very severe
northerly blow. Stewart, the man who had chartered the craft and insisted that she
embark despite the weather, and one of the crew of three lost his life. Adams was
"found in tow of several Italian fishing boats who had picked up the wreck and
stuck to their prize, claiming salvage, as is their due, for saving her." 
San Francisco Daily Alta California, November 19, 1860.
Eureka was built in 1900, by Charles P. Doe of San Francisco. In all likelihood, she
was constructed at the shipyard of William Muller.  Built of Douglas fir and
fastened with copper and iron, she measured 312 tons net and 484 gross tons. Her
hull was 142.5 feet long, 26 feet at its greatest beam, and had a 12-foot depth of
hold. Her double-compound steam engine produced 2,751 horsepower, and had
28-foot and 20-foot cylinders with a 12-foot stroke. 
She was owned by Doe for 12 years, then passed into the hands of the North
Pacific Steamship Company. On January 8, 1915, she left San Francisco, bound
south for Ventura. She was struck by an unusually heavy sea while in the north
channel, and quickly became waterlogged and unmanageable. Her crew abandoned
ship in two small boats and were picked up by lifesaving crews from the Fort Point
and Point Bonita Stations. Second Mate Bolger stayed on board the crippled vessel,
and was lost when she drifted onto the rocks at Point Bonita and was dashed to
pieces. The monetary value of the loss amounted to $50,000, which included cargo
as well as the vessel. 
The remains of Eureka's boiler and engine may exist under the rocks at Point
Bonita, although the location may be inaccessible. Eureka's hull and superstructure
have no doubt long since disintegrated under the pounding of the ocean swells.
Op. cit., Lyman.
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1915).
Op. cit., Marine Exchange Disaster Ledger, Vol. 2.
H. L. Rutgers
H. L. Rutgers was built in 1855, at Perth Amboy, New Jersey. She was constructed
of oak and cedar, fastened with copper and iron. She had a medium-full hull with
dimensions of 167 feet long, 36.5 feet beam, 22.5-foot depth of hold, measured 405
tons, and carried a bark rig. She had one full deck, with partner beams below, and
a long poop that was reported to have reached all the way forward to the foremast.
H. L. Rutgers was owned at different times by Laban Howes and by the Western
Union Telegraph Company, which used her as part of the Russian American
Telegraph Construction Fleet. Formerly commanded by Capt. Robinson, she was
later skippered by Capt. Marston and seven-eighths owned by Adams, Blinn & Co.,
who used her in the lumber trade at the time of her loss. The other portion of
Rutgers had been owned by an unnamed Confederate officer, whose interest was
confiscated during the Civil War.
On January 1, 1868, the Alta California reported that H. L. Rutgers, bound in from
Seabeck with a cargo of piles and sawn lumber, had gotten into difficulty in the
Potato Patch Shoal, was lying "just outside the North Head, and exhibited signals of
distress." One of her boats had been carried away, and "seas were breaking over her
badly at times."  Nevertheless, Capt. Marston at first refused the aid of the tugs
Rescue and Lookout, believing he could ride out the rough weather. On the
morning of New Year's Day, she had worked in so far toward the rocky shore that
a great sea disabled her rudder, and the captain then had no choice but to accept
aid. The two tugs returned and attempted twice to pull her off, but twice were
foiled when the towing hawsers parted. A party of men who had crossed to the
Marin shore succeeded in getting the crew ashore by means of a line fast between
the vessel and the beach, but Rutgers had gone "broadside on the rocks in a little
cove or bay just beyond the Light House, on the north side of Point Bonita," so
near shore that the crew might have escaped by climbing ashore on the fallen masts
if they had not come down on the wrong side of the vessel.
The bottom "was soon pounded out of the Rutgers and her masts falling through the
breach, (she) soon began to break up. ..and next morning only a confused mass of
broken timbers and loose lumber floating in the surf marked the place of the
Judging from the description of the vessel as she broke up and the known violence
of the surf on the predominantly rocky shore north of Point Bonita, it is unlikely
that significant remains of this vessel are extant. It is possible that she came ashore
in one of the small sandy coves between the Point and Rodeo Beach, in which case
debris may be found buried in the sand.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's, 1868.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. January 1, 1868.
Ibid, January 3, 1868.
Jenny Ford was built in 1854, at Machais, Maine, a full-hulled barkentine of 396
tons of mixed woods fastened with copper and iron. Her bottom was re-metalled in
1858, and she was last surveyed in San Francisco in 1863. 
In West Coast service she was owned by the pioneer lumber firm of Pope & Talbot,
who kept her plying the coastal trade between San Francisco and the early lumber
ports of the Northwest. She went ashore on the rocks at Point Bonita near the
lighthouse on February 1, 1864, after missing stays as she attempted to come about
in the north channel. Two men were drowned in the disaster, and the vessel lay
broadside to the shore, heavily damaged with 15 feet of her bows gone. Scavengers
helped themselves to a considerable portion of her sails and rigging; the vessel's
starboard side was gone as far aft as the mizzen, and only the mizzenmast still
stood. Remarkably, the steam tug Merrimac was able to pull the hulk free and tow
it to Rincon Point in San Francisco Bay. What was left of Jenny Ford was sold at
auction several days later for a mere $310. It was speculated that the purchaser
could only obtain firewood from the remains. 
It would appear that, although Jenny Ford was pulled free from Point Bonita,
remains of the masts, rigging and bow section may still exist on the site.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's. 1864.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, February 1, 2, 3, and 4, 1864.
Jenny Lind is listed in Marshall as a British ship that became a total loss on the
north side of the outer harbor of San Francisco in 1858.  No reference to such a
vessel or incident has been found in the course of research. However, Lloyd's
Register for 1859 includes a 349-ton bark Jenny Lind out of Waterford,
Newfoundland, that is noted as "abandoned." This may possibly be the vessel
referred to, but at present cannot be confirmed.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 102.
Kona was a 336-foot-long barge owned by Crowley Maritime Corporation, valued
at $2.5 million. She was used to haul general cargo between the San Francisco Bay
Area and Hawaii. Shortly before midnight on December 31, 1979, the 136-foot
Crowley tug Sentinal departed from Oakland with Kona and the 400-foot-long
barge Agattu in tow, bound for Honolulu. Kona carried lumber, plastic pipe, and
paper products. Among Agattu's general cargo were beer, 19 tons of nitro
carbonitrate (a potentially explosive chemical used to manufacture fertilizer), and 35
cylinders of deadly chlorine gas. 
The weather forecast was stormy, predicting southwest winds to 20 knots and
15-foot swells, but as Sentinal crossed the bar and entered the rough waters of Four
Fathom Shoal, skipper John Maddux testified that "the waves were between 35 and
40 feet high and towered over the wheelhouse of his tug."  At 4:00 a.m. the wire
towline to Kona parted and the barge went adrift, to smash upon the rocky shore of
Point Bonita between the point and Bird Rock. The ship soon went to pieces in the
surf, strewing cargo far and wide between Point Reyes and Alcatraz.
Forty minutes after Kona was lost, Agattu's towline tangled in Sentinel's propeller
and was cut. The big barge went ashore at the south end of Cronkhite Beach,
hogged and impaled on an offshore rock. Army personnel at nearby Forts
Cronkhite and Barry were placed on 5-minute alert through the next day, as the
threat of explosion from the chlorine cylinders loomed. However, in spite of fog
and rough water, helicopters eventually succeeded in removing all of the dangerous
cargo without a mishap, and much of the remainder of Agattu's cargo was salvaged
by barge.  Agattu herself was pulled free from the rocks.
For weeks, scavengers collected wood that had drifted far and wide in the wake of
the disaster. The remains of Kona are in place where she wrecked.
San Francisco Chronicle, January 1, 1980.
Ibid., January 4, 1980.
San Francisco Examiner, January 2, 1980.
The barge Kona was a total loss at Bird Rock, near Rodeo Lagoon, on New Year's Day
1980. National Park Service photo by Richard Frear.
Mersey, built in 1840 at Montreal, was a 393-ton bark owned by Buchanan of
Liverpool, and apparently well-built, for Lloyd's surveyors assigned her their second
highest rating in 1848 at the time that damage of an unspecified origin was
repaired. In 1849 she was insured for a voyage from Montreal to Liverpool, a
voyage typical of her career in such a common trade.  Shortly thereafter she
came to California as one of the vessels bound for the Gold Rush, and was lost
when she wrecked near Point Bonita on December 16, 1850.
The particulars of the wreck incident are unclear. It is known from a letter from
the captain, William Cobbin, published in the San Francisco press, that the cargo
had been consigned to Messrs. Starkey Brothers & Co., and that a certain amount of
money was on board. "Bad weather" appears to have been the cause of the disaster.
All hands were saved "with the greatest difficulty," but "the ship is a total wreck."
Afterwards she was able to be boarded at low water, and a mate attempted to
recover some of the crew's effects with the aid of a launch from the U.S.S.
Savannah. It is known that the vessel carried three anchors.  Davidson locates
the wreck at a small point of land about halfway between Point Bonita and Point
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register, 1849.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, December 19, 1850.
Davidson, annotated shipwreck chart found in the George Davidson Papers, The Bancroft Library,
University of California at Berkley.
Pet was built in 1868, probably at Fisherman's Bay, California. She was a small
schooner of 49 gross, 47 net tons, measured 67.5 feet long, with a 22-foot beam,
5.5-foot depth of hold, and her homeport was San Francisco. Her official registry
number was 20092.  The particulars of the wreck of Pet are quoted below from
an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on September 20, 1888:
Word was received at the [San Francisco] Merchant's Exchange today
that the schooner Pet of this port [San Francisco] had gone ashore at
North Heads.... Shortly afterward, the schooner Sarah Alexander, Capt.
Cousens, which left here this morning for Salt Point, returned to port,
having on board the captain's wife and three of the men composing the
crew of the schooner Pet, and having the Pet's boat in tow. One of the
men, Henry Wauhermann, had been injured severely when the vessel
struck the rocks, and was suffering greatly. On landing, the captain's
wife and crew stated that the schooner left here for Albrid [Albion?]
river on Saturday noon, and during the evening, when outside, fell calm
and she began to drift. Fearing that if the wind did not spring up that
the vessel would be dashed on the rocks,
Capt. Purcher ordered the crew into boats with his wife and he,
himself, stuck by the vessel hoping if wind sprang up that he might be
able to save her which he could do as well without as with the crew.
The boat stayed by the schooner awhile and then pulled out to sea and
[was] picked up by the schooner Sarah Alexander, which was sailing out
of the harbor, as stated, and brought it to Meiggs' wharf. It was
learned to-night that the captain is safe.
Certain questions are left unanswered by this account. Why did Capt. Purcher not
attempt to let go anchors to hold his vessel fast until the wind returned? If the
wind had sprung up, did he expect that he could handle the vessel under sail alone
as well as with even a token crew? How did Sarah Alexander sail out of harbor so
handily under conditions that becalmed Pet?
The answers may never be known. What is known, however, from Davidson's
annotated wreck chart is that the remains of Pet are located immediately southeast
of the tip of Point Bonita, and that she was a total loss.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1888).
Piedmont was a little-known schooner, the only reported fact being that she was
wrecked in 1855 after having been involved in trade at Humboldt Bay. The Daily
Alta California of February 20, 1855, reprinted an article from the February 3
Humboldt Times that recounted the loss of Piedmont while "passing the heads...
drifting into the north breakers." A year later, a suit was instituted in Humbolt
County District Court regarding the loss,  and the same vessel under the same
captain (Smith) is among those vessels listed as lost on Humboldt Bar.  It is
therefore believed that the placing of this wreck at the "north heads" of San
Francisco Bay (i.e., Point Bonita) is a case of mistaken location.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, February 2, 1856.
Weekly Humboldt News. February 1, 1879.
Rescue was a 139-ton tugboat built at San Francisco, carrying the official registry
number 21645. She was a steam screw vessel rated at 300 horsepower, and owned
by Captain Griffith & Co. 
At 11:00 p.m. on October 3, 1874, she ran ashore and was wrecked at Point Bonita
while returning to San Francisco after towing the bark Cleta to sea. Running at
"full steam" in spite of dense fog at the Point, she struck "just under the
lighthouse. ..with a tremendous shock." A young lad named Thomas Markey who
was along just for the ride was thrown overboard and lost. Boatman Steve Castle,
defying great danger, went out in his boat and took the crew off the wreck. That
evening Rescue proved to be "beyond rescue," as she sank and became an uninsured
"No signal was given from the fog bell nor from the lighthouse" because they were
undergoing repairs at the time, and proper notice had been posted for mariners to
take heed. "On October 1, 1874, the fog signal was stopped so that workers
could. ..erect a new fog signal structure. ..on the stabilized site" after a severe
landslide the previous February.  Under the circumstances, the conduct of the
master of Rescue would seem to be reckless in the extreme.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1873-4).
San Francisco Daily Alta California. October 4, 1874.
Toogood, A Civil History of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Denver, Colorado: National
Park Service, 1980) Vol. 1, p. 223.
Samson was built in 1890, at San Francisco. She measured 217 gross, 206 net tons,
had hull dimensions of 109 feet long, a 34-foot beam, 8-foot depth of hull, and
carried the official registry number 116375. Her home port was San Francisco. 
She was purposely built strongly and with a shallow draft in order to serve as a
wrecking platform for vessel salvage. She carried a small steam engine on board for
hoisting, but depended entirely on tugs for mobility.
Samson had been engaged in the salvage and dismantling of the hulk of the steamer
City of New York, which had grounded at Point Bonita in October 1893. Samson
passed the winter of 1893-94 perilously anchored alongside the wreck. On January
3, 1895, a fierce gale sprang up, and it was deemed advisable to cast off stern
moorings and allow Samson to swing freely at anchor. Soon a second anchor was let
go, as the gale continued to increase in force, but by midmorning it was evident
that the vessel, now dragging anchors, was in peril. Samson flew flags and blankets
as distress signals and began to blow the whistle on her donkey engine, but sight
and sound were drowned out by the howling storm. A boat was sent to the nearby
lighthouse wharf (and apparently returned to Samson!) requesting that the fog signal
be blown to summon aid. Even the fog signal was drowned out by the storm,
which had attained "almost unprecedented ferocity." Most of that night the crew of
Samson burned torchlights to summon aid, but failed to follow the example of the
earlier boat and abandon their vessel while there was still time to do so.
The light was spotted in the early morning hours by a surfman of the Fort Point
Lifesaving Station, and the keeper summoned the aid of the tug Reliance. With
lifeboat and crew from the station in tow, Reliance attempted to steam to the
rescue, but "the storm was found to be so severe that prudence forbade the
continuance of the journey" until daylight. Late that night Samson's crew finally
attempted to abandon the vessel. A small yawl put overboard broke free when only
two men had boarded it, drifted to leeward, and was not seen again. Eight men got
into the last boat left and pulled away with all their might. They were able to
make headway, and managed to keep off the shore and avoid being dashed to pieces
on the rocks. Before dawn, Samson went ashore in Bonita Cove at the height of the
storm, and the watchman fell overboard and drowned. Three others, including the
captain, rhymingly named Hamson, struggled ashore with the aid of the lighthouse
crew. With daylight, Reliance and the Fort Point lifesaving crew appeared on the
violent scene, and at much peril were able to take on board Samson's boat with
An assessment of the incident concluded that there was "some misgiving" as to
whether enough anchor cable had been played out to stabilize the vessel, and that
"if the crew had remained on board instead of taking to their boats the lives of the
two divers swept away in the yawl need not have been lost." 
The hulk of Samson caught fire shortly after the storm and was "almost entirely
consumed," leaving little trace of this exciting and tragic incident, with the
exception perhaps of equipment and $1,000 worth of salvaged iron on board. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1894).
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1895) p. 49.
San Francisco was built in 1853 at the New York City yard of Abraham C. Bell,
and launched on August 25. She was an "extreme clipper," with a very sharp
entrance and extraordinarily tall masts. Measuring 198 feet in length on deck,
38-foot maximum breadth, and a 22-foot depth of hold, the keel was 190 feet long.
San Francisco was owned by Rich & Elam and Thomas Wardle of New York, and
commanded by Capt. Tetzer. She carried passengers and general cargo consigned
(possibly) to Rich and Elam, that included large amounts of linseed oil. On her
first and only voyage, a 106-day passage from New York to San Francisco, she
cleared New York on October 25, 1853, passed Cape Horn without incident, and
was becalmed for three days 450 miles from the Golden Gate. She then groped her
way through four days of fog, which lifted providentially when she was a half-mile
off the Farallon Islands. 
San Francisco picked up her pilot off the Farallons, and proceeded under his
direction into San Francisco Bay. Passing close by Point Bonita, she was caught in
an eddy and missed stays coming about. She hit the rocks near the Point, and lost
her jibboom, bowsprit, head, and cutwater. Drifting clear, she anchored in Bonita
Cove, and flooded. Steam tugs Abbv Holmes and Resolute came to her aid,
removed the passengers, and attempted to empty the rising water with their steam
pumps, but failed. San Francisco shipped anchor and was towed "close inshore,"
where she soon filled and came to rest in the cove on her port beam, with her
starboard waterways awash. The sea was calm, and hope was held that "if the
weather continues fine, most of the cargo will be saved in a damaged condition..."
although "the vessel will probably become a total loss, and a bad loss it is." 
The infamous sea captain R. H. "Bully" Waterman, formerly of the reputed "hell
ship" Challenge bought the wreck and her cargo for $12,000, in association with
Capt. Wright. With a value of $103,000 to $125,000 for the vessel, and a reported
value of $150,000 to $400,000 for the cargo, there seemed to be a good chance of
an excellent return to be made on the investment. However, before or after the
purchase (and probably both), a veritable "multitude of plunderers hastened to the
wreck and proceeded to help themselves, owner's and agent's representatives vainly
attempting to drive them away. Many of them were armed and defied opposition,
fought among themselves, and frequently stole each other's booty. It was reported
that soldiers from the Presidio, across the Golden Gate, were among the crowd." 
On December 9 and 10, a storm came up that wreaked havoc among the scavengers.
"Several boats were stove alongside or destroyed attempting to land in the surf."
The half-decked sloop Midnight City, belonging to Capt. Hill, who owned one of
the numerous storeships grounded at Yerba Buena Cove, drifted out to sea and was
lost with its drunken crew of eight. A Whitehall boat with two looters was
swamped and the men drowned. "Lighters, tugboats and steamers" scattered for
their lives, many seeking shelter in Horseshoe and Richardson's Bays, while "a large
number of packages of goods were found floating in the bay...." 
San Francisco soon became "a complete and perfect wreck. Her foremast has gone
by the board, and in falling it carried away the main yard.... The sails and part of
the running rigging, as well as a portion of her cargo, were taken out.... Her upper
deck is cut open fore and aft as far as could be to enable the persons employed to
remove the cargo. Hundreds of boats are on the ground saving what they can." 
No blame was attached to Capt. Tetzer of San Francisco because the pilot was in
charge of the ship at the time of the wreck. The blame accruing to the unnamed
pilot has not been recorded.
The further fate of the hulk of San Francisco is not known. It may be assumed that
the salvage work of Capt. Waterman, et al.. was thorough, and the vessel lay with
enough structure above water to allow for considerable dismantling. Nevertheless, it
is possible that considerable portions of bottom structure and plating, as well as
material remains of cargo, fixtures and other detritus, may remain on site near the
lowtide line at the sandy portions of Bonita Cove. At another location nearer to the
Point may lie what remains of San Francisco's headgear.
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, Vol. II, p. 542.
Ibid, p. 543.
New York Daily Tribune. March 13, 1854.
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, p. 543.
Op. cit., New York Daily Tribune.
Susanita is listed as a schooner that was a total loss on the rocks of the North Heads
at the Golden Gate on December 31, 1859.  No other information about this
vessel, or the wreck incident, has surfaced in the course of research.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 103.
Zenobia is described in the newspaper account of her loss as a ship, "built in
Baltimore nearly twenty years ago, but. ..still sound and staunch, and good for ten
year's service. ..valued at about $15,000."  However, a search in Lloyd's Register
for 1858 and for 1846 reveals no listing for a Baltimore-built vessel with that name.
Lack of information about her particulars and early career not-withstanding, the
circumstances of her loss are well-recorded. Bound into San Francisco Bay from
Sitka, Alaska, with a load of ice from the American Russian Ice Company valued at
$30,000, her captain refused the assistance of the pilot boats Daniel Webster and
Golden Gate. Penny-wise shortly became pound-foolish as the wind died and the
tide turned, catching Zenobia in a strong eddy, and depositing her "upon the outer
rock which forms the extreme point of the North Head." The keeper of the Point
Bonita Lighthouse, Mr. Chapman, and a Whitehall boatman, Frank Murphy,
succeeded in "saving part of the clothing of the crew," while the men "were saved
by means of a whaleboat belonging to the ship, which, as the wind increased, was
the only class of boat which could get near her." It was further reported that "the
bottom came up to the surface. ..and floated in pieces into the harbor. The masts
were standing at sundown, but doubtless went by the board during the night. Small
portions of the rigging, and some of the sails in a damaged condition, may be
The location of this wreck is exactly fixed. However, the very rough conditions at
the spot and the reports of her wooden hull going to pieces leave considerable doubt
as to the present existence of sizeable remains at the site. Isolated pieces of her
fittings may, however, be recovered by an exploration of the area.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. May 1, 1858.
The ship Elizabeth completely disintegrated off Slide Ranch on the Northern Marin
coast in 1891. Witnesses described the wreck as a "breakwater of matchwood," as
this view graphically illustrates. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
VESSEL LOSSES, NORTHERN MARIN COAST
James P. Delgado
The Northern Marin Coast has not been the site of many shipwreck events. Only
seven shipwrecks have occurred which resulted in the total loss of the vessel and
archeological deposition of the vessel's remains. These vessels are:
Fourth of July. 1878
Prince Alfred. 1874
Three Sisters. 1929
The 1,866-ton ship Elizabeth was built at Newcastle, Maine, in 1882. Elizabeth was
231.5 feet long, with a 41.8-foot beam and a 19.8-foot depth of hold.  The
vessel was launched in October 1882, and was owned largely by Searsport, Maine,
sea captains, "active and retired, and their relatives."  On her maiden voyage
Elizabeth sailed to Japan, Seattle, San Francisco, Liverpool, and New York.
Thereafter all the ship's voyages were from New York to San Francisco, returning
by way of England. Elizabeth carried general cargoes to San Francisco, there
loading with California grain for Liverpool.  Elizabeth made six round-trip
voyages, being lost on the seventh.
Arriving off the Golden Gate on February 21, 1891, Elizabeth brought a varied
cargo of iron rails, pipe, ink, whiskey, and other general merchandise. In spite of
rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, Capt. J. Herbert Colcord thought he could
work his ship through the Gate, and refused a tow from two tugs. He soon realized
his error, however, as the wind shifted and combined with "the strong eddy, and the
heave of the sea" to drive Elizabeth toward Point Bonita. The tugs were hailed just
before the ship went onto the rocks and they managed to get a line aboard, but it
parted. Driving past Point Bonita, Elizabeth grounded on Four Fathom Bank in the
Potato Patch. Swept by heavy seas, the vessel began to fill with water. The tugs
again approached and took off Capt. Colcord's wife and family as Elizabeth drifted
off the bank and continued north. Striking again at Tennessee Cove, Elizabeth
drifted off again, finally going ashore seven miles north of Point Bonita at Big Slide
Ranch. Going into the rocks, the ship quickly disintegrated, killing 18 of the
26-man crew. Among the dead was Capt. Colcord. 
Crews from the United States Lifesaving Stations at Golden Gate Park and Fort
Point responded to the wreck; their efforts were heroic but doomed to failure. The
Fort Point surfboat, in the tow of a tug, was swamped; Keeper Charles Henry
washed overboard and drowned. Keeper Hollohan of the Golden Gate Park Station
then took some of the Fort Point crew, crossed the bay to Sausalito by ferry, and
with a single horse pulled their surf-cart filled with rescue apparatus over the hills
to the coast. Arriving at Tennessee Cove, the lifesavers found that Elizabeth had
pulled free and drifted farther north. Continuing their trek along the rugged
Northern Marin coast, they finally arrived at the wreck, too late to help. The
lifesavers had responded to the disaster in the best tradition of their service, only to
be thwarted by heavy seas. 
The wreck was described as a vessel "ground to splinters":
Scattered, mashed, and pulverized, the ship herself lined the shorea
breakwater of matchwood a third of a mile long. ...Here and there, on
some jagged rock near the bar, a vaster lump of wreckage than any in
the pulpy breakwater could be seen. The solid stern, almost flattened
by the battering it received, abutted the surf at one point. It had been
lifted bodily over a twenty-foot crag and flung on the rock coast about
fifteen yards beyond. 
The wreck was noted as lying in large distinct pieces, most lying on shore. The
port side of the bow lay in deeper water, however, weighed down by the port
bower and the locker chain.
Local residents, after helping save the eight crew members who washed ashore,
aided in the task of searching through the wreckage for bodies. Most of the dead
were recovered, among the last being the captain, who washed ashore two days after
the wreck. The flotsam in the surf was carefully picked over, but little was saved.
 Four days after the loss of Elizabeth, the cargo salvaged from the beach was
sold at auction, bringing only $650, while the wreck sold for $200.  However,
the ship "contained a good deal of heavy freight that sank the instant the ship broke
in two," and Capt. T. P. Whitelaw was engaged to salvage it. Using his boat Samson
as a working platform, Whitelaw sent divers down to salvage what they could from
"the heterogenous mass of stuff" that had once been Elizabeth.  The loss of the
vessel was a shock to the Pacific Coast maritime community. The dramatic strength
of the gale that blew her to her doom, the heroic rescue of Capt. Colcord's wife and
family, the efforts of the lifesavers and the loss of Keeper Henry, as well as the
complete destruction of the ship and much of her crew made the wreck of Elizabeth
"one of the worst disasters that has happened on the coast for a number of years."
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1890) p. 101.
Op. cit., Matthews, p. 104.
Ibid., pp. 104-105.
San Francisco Examiner. February 22 and 24, 1891, and op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service
(1893) pp. 69-76, passim.
Ibid., United States Life-Saving Service, p. 73.
San Francisco Examiner, February 24, 1891.
Ibid., February 23 and 24, 1891.
Op. cit., Matthews, p. 108.
San Francisco Examiner. February 26, 1891.
[Eureka, California] Daily Humboldt Standard. February 23, 1891.
Fourth of July
The 49.95-ton, two-masted schooner Fourth of July was built by Thomas and
William Johnson at Bolinas, California, in 1870.  Fourth of July made regular
voyages from Bolinas and Point Reyes during her eight-year career, bringing
produce and lumber to market in San Francisco. On February 20, 1878, en route to
San Francisco, Fourth of July was caught in a nor'wester off Point Reyes that began
to drive her ashore. The waves swept the decks, washing two men overboard,
"leaving the Captain alone to meet whatever fate awaited him and his craft." 
Making for Tennessee Cove, the captain anchored. The anchor failed to hold,
however, "and the mighty breakers which were running mountains high and dashing
upon the beach took the vessel, as a toy in the hands of a giant, and tossed it end
over end far upon the sand."  Thrown high up onto the beach by the heavy
swell, Fourth of July disintegrated, killing the captain.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1877) p. 91, and J. H. Munro-Fraser, History of Marin
County. California.... (Oakland: Alley, Bowen and Company, 1880) p. 277.
Ibid., Munro-Fraser, p. 398.
The brig Petersburg of San Francisco was one of a number of small craft that
carried on an active trade between various ports of call and the Gold Rush city. A
detailed accounting of Petersburg's career is not available; however, an indication of
the nature of her cargoes can be found in an advertisement in the San Francisco
Daily Alta California of August 8, 1851:
POTATOES--The cargo of the brig Petersburg, from Sandwich Islands,
in prime order, for sale by GANG & GRIDLEY, Pacific Wharf, cor.
Petersburg was owned and commanded by Capt. Pike of San Francisco. On
Monday, August 23, 1852, Petersburg went ashore in the fog, wrecking one mile
north of Point Bonita in Rodeo Cove, "close to where the Tagus was wrecked..." 
Petersburg carried a cargo of general produce, "which may be saved, though it is
thought that the vessel will be a total loss."  No other mention of the wreck of
Petersburg was made, and it is assumed that she was a total loss.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, November 25, 1852.
The 815-ton steamship Prince Alfred was built at Sunderland, Great Britain, in
1852. Prince Alfred was 160.5 feet long, with a 32.7-foot beam and a 21.9-foot
depth of hold.  The steamer's engines were exhibition pieces from the Great
Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace in 1851. Prince Alfred first arrived at San
Francisco on June 6, 1870, "from Central American ports," and soon thereafter was
sold to entrepreneurs who fitted her up to work between San Francisco and
Victoria, British Columbia.  For the remainder of her career, Prince Alfred
remained on the Victoria run.
Prince Alfred departed Victoria on June 11, 1874, with 85 passengers and a cargo
100 bags of charcoal, 1 package of castings, 3 cases gaiters, 21 bundles
of deer skins, 3 cases effects, 1 organ, 2 bundles and 213 hides, 31
sacks of furs, 75 bags of coal, 37 bales of wood, 3 packages
merchandise and $24,127 in treasure. 
On June 14, 1874, in a thick coastal fog, Prince Alfred struck Duxbury Reef, but
the impact was so slight that the vessel continued on until the chief engineer
informed the captain that water was pouring into the ship from a 10-foot-square
hole punched through the side. The fires were extinguished to prevent the boilers
exploding, and sail was raised in an attempt to run for shore. Prince Alfred was
finally run aground on the rocks just north of Tennessee Cove. The passengers and
crew were safely landed, the crew bringing the treasure and mail to San Francisco
in a boat. Three tugs were dispatched to the wreck, but Prince Alfred sank and
could not be salvaged.  Some of the cargo washed ashore after the wreck, but
the remainder stayed on the bottom with Prince Alfred.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1873) n.p.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. June 15, 1874.
As the California Gold Rush market boomed in late 1850 and early 1851, a large
number of vessels sailed for San Francisco carrying larger quantities of cargo and
fewer passengers. One of those vessels was the ship Tagus of Boston. On February
8, 1851, Tagus sailed from New York for San Francisco. After a 179-day passage,
Tagus lay off the Golden Gate in a thick fog on August 2, 1851, in the company of
the Australian vessel Mary Catherine. Both vessels took on pilots, and Mary
Catherine, in the lead, anchored while Tagus continued on. Mary Catherine safely
navigated the harbor entrance on August 3, where her passengers and crew learned
that Tagus had missed the Golden Gate in the fog and had run ashore four miles
north of the Gate.  On August 4, the steamer California was sent to the wreck
to haul her off but could not. Tagus was declared a total loss but "most of the
cargo will probably be saved. ...Several schooners and lighters are engaged in getting
out her cargo."  By August 8, most of the cargo had been landed in San
Consignees by the ship Tagus are informed that a considerable portion
of the cargo has been landed here by the Salvors, which is ready for
delivery upon securing the freight, salvage charges, and expenses. The
balance of the cargo not yet at hand, will be saved, and will be
delivered as it arrives. 
Ultimately all of the cargo was salvaged but Tagus remained behind on the beach of
small "Potato Cove," which was renamed Tennessee Cove two years later when the
steamer Tennessee was lost at the same spot.
Op. cit., Bateson, pp. 140-141.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. August 5, 1851.
Ibid., August 8, 1851.
The 1,275-ton, wooden side-wheel steamship Tennessee was built by William H.
Webb at New York in 1848.  As originally built, Tennessee was 211.1 feet long,
with a 35.8-foot beam and a 22-foot depth of hold.  Launched on October 25,
1848, Tennessee was fitted with a single side-lever steam engine with a 75-inch
cylinder, 8-foot stroke, and 249 horsepower.  The steamer was built for the New
York and Savannah Steam Navigation Company of New York, which operated
Tennessee and her sister ship Cherokee in a bimonthly steam line between Savannah,
Georgia, and New York. The steamers carried passengers, high freight goods, and
cotton. A substantial area of the South was served by the New York and Savannah
Steam Navigation Company; in 1848, it was noted "this line is now patronized by
New Orleans travellers, and also those going to Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee,
with which places the railroad communication from Savannah is now nearly
Tennessee was withdrawn from the New York and Savannah run in October 1849
after her 15th voyage, having been sold to Rowland and Aspinwall of New York,
for $200,000. The steamer was modified to carry more passengers, and in
December 1849 was sent into the Pacific to join the Pacific Mail Steamship
Company's line of steamers connecting Panama and San Francisco.  The
California Gold Rush had attracted tens of thousands of eager fortune-seekers to
the Panama route, and dozens of vessels, sail and steam, busily served as the oceanic
links of the route. Tennessee, in joining the Pacific Mail fleet, became the first
American steamship to be disrupted in her regular service for the Gold Rush.
Tennessee served on the Panama route for nearly three years, making 29 voyages
between Panama and San Francisco. She carried passengers, high-duty freight, the
United States mail, and specie until her loss on March 6, 1853, four miles north of
Steaming toward the Golden Gate on the foggy morning of March 6, Capt. Edward
Mellus was not aware of the outgoing tide's strong current that was sweeping
Tennessee north past the Gate and along the Marin shore. At 9:00 a.m. the lookout
sighted breakers, and Capt. Mellus ordered the engines reversed. Rocks blocked
Tennessee, however, and Mellus had no choice but to beach the ship on the small
beach of Tennessee Cove. Broadsided and hard ashore, the steamer heeled sharply
to port. It was hoped that Tennessee would be pulled off, "she is perfectly tight,
and although her copper is much chafed and rubbed off, there is every reason to
suppose that no serious injury has thus far been sustained." 
Heavy surf on March 8 broke Tennessee's back, ruptured her steam pipes and
started her timbers, flooding the ship.  A visit to the wreck on March 10
revealed her condition to be perfectly hopeless, and her situation almost
unfavorable for the preservation of the valuable portions of her
machinery and fixtures. She is fast going to pieces. Every joist
appeared started. The sea was thumping heavily against her side, and
the surf flying wildly over her. She cannot hold together another week.
The crew had already salvaged the specie, mail, and baggage; salvors stripped the
steamer of furniture and equipment through March 19. By that time, the stack had
fallen, the deck had collapsed, and the starboard side was breached in several places
. By March 21, Tennessee had disintegrated into the surf, leaving her name to
mark the site of the wreck at Tennessee Cove.
Wrak of the Tonnrune.
Engraving of the wreck of the Pacific Mail steamship Tennessee at Tennessee Cove,
March 6, 1853. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Enrollment #16, Port of New York, November 20, 1849, Records Relating to Merchant Vessel
Documentation, National Archives Record Group 26, Washington, D.C.
New York Tribune. October 27, 1848.
New York Herald, October 26, 1848.
Op. cit., Kemble, p. 248.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. March 7, 1853.
Ibid., March 9, 1853.
Ibid., March 11, 1853.
Ibid., March 19, 1853.
The 28-ton trawler Three Sisters was built in 1917 at Oakland, California. Three
Sisters was 56.3 feet long, with a 15.6-foot beam and a 6-foot depth of hold. 
Three Sisters carried a 135-horsepower diesel engine. The vessel was owned by A.
Paladini of San Francisco and was a member of San Francisco's Fishermans Wharf
fishing fleet. Three Sisters was wrecked on the rocks just south of Tennessee Cove
on April 15, 1929, when she ran aground at the base of Tennessee Point in a thick
fog. Two of the three-man crew were killed in the surf as they struggled to reach
the shore; the third man was found by the Coast Guard "on a wave beaten shelf"
three hours later. He died later that evening at the hospital. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1928).
San Francisco Examiner, April 16, 1929.
R. D. Inman. 1909
H. C. Almv. 1879
Weitern Shore. 1878
Claui Sprckli. 1888
YFD *20. 1943
VESSEL LOSSES, DUXBURY REEF TO BOLINAS
James P. Delgado
Twelve vessels are known to have been total losses off the tiny harbor at Bolinas;
the majority were lost on the rocks of Duxbury Reef, which parallels the rugged
West Marin coastline before jutting out into the Pacific at Bolinas.
Glaus Spreckels. 1888
H. C. Almv. 1879
R. D. Inman. 1909
Samuel S. Lewis. 1853
San Domenico. 1935
Western Shore. 1878
William F. Witzemann. 1907
YFD #20. 1943
The 87-ton, diesel-powered purse-seiner Acalin was built at Los Angeles,
California, in 1928. Acalin was 73 feet long, with an 18.7-foot beam and an
8.6-foot depth of hold.  Registered at San Pedro, California, Acalin's fishing
career was uneventful until 1933, when her captain, Jerry Acalin, brother of the
vessel's owner, and two members of the crew were accused of slaying Mexican
customs guard Pedro Gonzales Pineda off Ensenada, Mexico. The incident sparked
an international controversy between the United States and Mexico, and Acalin and
the two crew members were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months
at the United States Penitentiary on McNeil Island, Washington. 
The next major event in Acalin's career occurred when she was wrecked the
following year on Duxbury Reef. On August 30, 1934, the seiner, with owner
Frank Acalin in command, was returning to San Francisco after delivering supplies
to the steamer Lansing, which lay at anchor between Bolinas and Point Reyes. In
the darkness of the early morning, Acalin was being navigated close to the shore
through a thick fog. At 2:00 a.m., the purse-seiner struck Duxbury Reef, the rocks
tearing holes in her bow and side. As the water poured into Acalin. Capt. Acalin
pulled his vessel off the rocks and began to run for shore. The crew fired the ship's
gun, set off flares, and finally ignited a barrel of pitch on deck to signal for help.
As Acalin rounded the end of the reef, her engine room flooded, and she sank as
Capt. Acalin beached her "on the sandy shore at the south end of the reef." 
The 10-man crew took to the boats, and as they reached shore were pulled in by
the crew from the United States Coast Guard Station at Bolinas, who had been
alerted by the sinking purse-seiner's signals.
The Red Stack tug Sea King was dispatched to salvage Acalin. but reported her
beyond salvage; "the only visible vestige of the vessel was a stubby mast sticking out
of the water."  Acalin could not be pulled free, despite several attempts at
The purse seiner Acalin. aground and a total loss at Bolinas, 1934.
Francisco Maritime NHP.
Courtesy of San
salvage. Her hulk, imbedded in the south end of the reef, was finally considered a
hazard to small craft traffic, and on January 1, 1935, the Coast Guard crew from
the Bolinas Station "placed a charge of TNT in the hulk and blew the vessel to bits."
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1933) p. 200.
San Francisco Examiner. August 31, 1934.
San Francisco News, January 2, 1935.
The 246.62-ton brigantine (later a brig) Claus Spreckels was built by Matthew
Turner at San Francisco in 1879. Claus Spreckels was the thirty-sixth vessel built
by Turner, who constructed 228 vessels in his prodigious Pacific Coast shipbuilding
career. Turner built more vessels than any other nineteenth century shipbuilder in
North America.  Claus Spreckels. one of the largest two-masted vessels built on
the Pacific Coast, was 122.5 feet long, with a 31.8-foot beam and a 10.5-foot depth
of hold. 
Glaus Spreckels was built for John D. Spreckels and Brothers, and was named for
Spreckels family patriarch Claus Spreckels (1828-1908), a shrewd German immigrant
who turned from the grocery business to sugar refining, gradually controlling San
Francisco's sugar refineries and establishing California's sugar-beet industry.
Spreckels expanded his interests to Hawaii, where he reportedly "financed the
Hawaiian Kingdom and controlled much of its can production and shipping." 
Claus Spreckels was a quickly constructed vessel, being launched only 70 days after
her keel was laid. She was, in the opinion of the San Francisco Daily Alta
California, "both well built and good-looking."  On her trial trip, Spreckels
handled quite well, with her builder, Matthew Turner, at the helm. Upon returning
to dock, she passed through a number of yachts in Raccoon Straits. The yacht
Fleur de Lis. racing with Claus Spreckels. crossed Spreckels' bow. Turner managed
to avoid a collision, but Claus Spreckels' jibboom swung out and carried away Fleur
de Lis' mainsail.  The yachtsmen were very angry, stating in a letter to the
editors of the Alta California: "If Captain Turner possesses the preemption right to
the waters of San Francisco Bay, and therewith the right to run over people, with
impunity, we desire to know it, that we may govern ourselves accordingly..." 
After her near mishap on her maiden voyage, Claus Spreckels cleared San Francisco
for Honolulu. For the rest of her career she transported general cargo, usually
lumber, to Hawaii and brought back sugar to market in San Francisco. The Weekly
Humboldt Times of July 22, 1882, noted that Claus Spreckels was then
...lying at Vance's wharf loading lumber for San Francisco. She will
return from that city here and take a cargo of lumber to Kahalui.
Captain Cousins is very proud of his vessel and counts her as one of the
best sailers on the coast. She has logged 13 knots on many trips, and
one trip ran the score up to 14.
Claus Spreckels was wrecked on Duxbury Reef on January 22, 1888, when bound
for San Francisco with a sugar cargo valued at $40,000. As the ship approached the
coast she encountered thick fog, a light east wind, and a heavy swell from the
south. Running with the breeze, Claus Spreckels struck the reef at 4:00 a.m. as the
watch was changing. One of the crew later stated that
The Captain immediately ordered out the boats and ran out the kedge
with the intention of pulling her off, but the sea was too heavy and the
anchor would not hold and finally between 6 and 8 o'clock we left the
vessel, it being impossible to do anything with her. At the time we left
her she was keeled over about 15 degrees and was full of water.. ..none
of us saved anything except the clothes we had on and some few
valuables we placed in our pockets. 
The 10-man crew was rescued by the steamer Emily, bound from Fort Bragg to San
Francisco. The tug Relief was dispatched to the wrecked Spreckels. but she and her
cargo were a total loss.
The San Francisco Call of February 11, 1909, recounts Turner's career.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1888) p. 88.
James D. Hart, A Companion to California. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978) pp. 420-421.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. June 10, 1879.
Ibid., June 11, 1879.
Los Angeles Tribune. January 23, 1888.
The two-masted schooner Esperanza was built in 1877 at Capers Island, South
Carolina. As built, the 15.11-ton schooner was 46.2 feet long, with a 15.8-foot
beam and a 3.5-foot depth of hold.  By 1890 Esperanza had made her way to
the Pacific coast from her former home port of Charleston and was running
between Bolinas and San Francisco. Esperanza carried butter and other dairy items
from Olema Valley and Bolinas ranches to market in the city. On occasion she also
carried passengers. On September 26, 1892, Esperanza sailed from Bolinas with five
passengers and "freight," presumably butter. Sailing from Bolinas lagoon, she passed
the end of Duxbury Reef. The incoming tide caught the tiny vessel and she was
"carried against the reef." The passengers were safely landed, but "the breakers are
now beating the vessel against the reef and it is expected that she will prove a total
loss."  Esperanza disintegrated in the rocks of Duxbury Reef's southernmost
Op. cit. Merchant Vessels of the United States (1888) p. 111.
San Francisco Call. September 29, 1892.
The single-ended, wooden-hulled steam schooner Hanalei was built at Alameda,
California, in 1901. As built, Hanalei was 174.5 feet long, with a 36-foot beam and
a 13-foot depth of hold. Hanalei was registered at 666 tons gross and 502 tons net.
 Originally built for the Hawaiian sugar trade, Hanalei ran between San
Francisco and Los Angeles in 1908 before entering the Pacific Coast lumber trade,
carrying lumber and passengers between San Francisco and various north coast ports.
 Sailing from Eureka, California, with 62 persons on board and a cargo
oflumber, live cattle, sheep, and hogs, Hanalei was lost on November 23, 1914, as
she neared the Golden Gate.
The schooner ran aground on Duxbury Reef opposite the Marconi Wireless Station
in Bolinas around noon on Monday, November 23. Thick fog obscured the water,
and the steamer struck the rocks without warning, tearing off the rudder. Stuck on
the rocks, Hanalei remained in the surf for 18 hours as rescuers, alerted by the
ship's wireless SOS, gathered on shore. Efforts to rig a breeches buoy failed, and as
night fell, would-be rescuers lit bonfires on the beach to wait for morning. When
Hanalei disintegrated, passengers and crew were thrown into the surf. The battering
of wreckage and the loose lumber cargo, as well as the choking effect of the ship's
Above: Hanalei's nameboard,
salvaged from the wreck and now
displayed at the Bolinas
Community Center with
nameboards from other local
shipwrecks. National Park Service
photo by Edward de St. Maurice,
Left: The steam schooner Hanalei
at San Pedro, ca. 1908. San
Francisco Maritime photo by W. A.
Sl*it 9 V
The shattered remains of Hanalei. Twenty-three persons died in the wreck, the worst
maritime disaster on Duxbury Reef. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
diesel fuel on the water took a deadly toll; 23 passengers and crew members died as
they struggled to reach the shore. A number of persons were saved when the
lifesaving steamer McCulloch's crew plucked them from the water; others washed
alive to the beach after several hours in the water, buoyed by floating wreckage. 
The tragic wreck of Hanalei was the worst shipwreck disaster on Duxbury Reef.
The efforts to save the shipwreck victims had been considerable:
Ineffectual attempts were repeatedly made by the life-savers on shore to
shoot a line across to the doomed vessel while yet she held together.
Several tugs and government vessels likeways essayed long in vain to get
near enough to rescue the people on board, the seas breaking over the
reef with fearful force. 
Criticism of Capt. J. J. Carey was immediate; one newspaper openly stated "the
wrecking of the Hanalei seems to have been due to the negligence of her officers...."
 Capt. Carey, who had been below when the ship crashed, blamed the disaster
on first mate W. C. Reese, who had perished in the wreck. A Board of Inquiry
found Capt. Carey guilty of negligence, however, and suspended his master's license.
 Hanalei was destroyed by the surf, breaking into "splinters." A large fragment
of the vessel washed in close to shore with some survivors clinging to it; that section
was the only part of Hanalei left when the surf subsided.  The battered remains
of the steam schooner were not worthy of salvage and were left to the sea.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 232.
[San Rafael, California] Independent Journal. September 14, 1968.
San Francisco Call, November 24, 1914.
Coast Seamen's Journal. Vol. 28, No. 12 (December 2, 1914) p. 5.
Coast Seamen's Journal. Vol. 28, No. 13 (December 9, 1914) p. 1.
San Francisco Call. November 27, 1914, and op. cit., McNairn and MacMullen, pp. 44, 47-48 passim.
San Francisco Call. November 24, 1914.
H. C. Almv
The small 12. 71 -ton schooner H. C. Almv was built by Joseph Almy at Bolinas, and
was launched in the autumn of 1855.  Almy, a sailor who had emigrated to
California during the Gold Rush, had settled in Bolinas in 1852. As master of the
small schooner Julia. Almy had carried cargoes of lumber milled at Bolinas to San
Francisco.  In 1855 he decided to build his own vessel. Establishing a small yard
on the sand spit of Stinson Beach, near the entrance to Bolinas Lagoon, he began
He had never built a vessel before, and knew nothing about the work
practically, but he was an experienced sailor, and had a theory of his
own as to how a schooner should be constructed. ...Ship builders and
sailors laughed at him, and prophesied all sorts of evil betidings for his
craft, but he laughs best who laughs last. ...When she was launched she
proved that she was well proportioned and rode the crested waves like a
thing of life. 
Almy sailed H. C. Almy between Bolinas and San Francisco for the next 12 years,
carrying lumber and dairy products to market. Unfortunately, "by a series of
strange mishaps, she used to get ashore nearly every trip," grounding on the sand at
the entrance to the lagoon. In 1864 Almy sold her, supposedly "disgusted at the
monotony of getting her away from home under such circumstances." 
After 1864 H. C. Almy passed through a series of owners, and reportedly served at
one time as a pilot schooner on the San Francisco Bar. In 1877 she was sold to a
Capt. Mullett, "who used her principally in his business of catching live sea-lions."
 With Mullett at the helm, H. C. Almv sailed from San Francisco on Sunday,
March 30, 1879, with a party of "twelve gentlemen, bound to the Farallons on a
pleasure trip."  The sea being too rough off the Farallons, Capt. Mullett ran in
toward Bolinas for shelter. Arriving late in the evening, Mullett decided not to
enter the narrow channel to Bolinas lagoon and anchored outside instead. The
heavy surf dragged H. C. Almv ashore, where she "became a total loss, the party
having a narrow escape with their lives."  Unfortunately for Capt. Mullett, he
had not renewed the insurance policy. Ironically, H. C. Almv was lost "only a few
yards from where she was built." 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1878) p. 103.
Op. cit., Munro-Fraser, (1880), pp. 455-456.
Ibid., pp. 270-271.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, April 5, 1879.
Ibid., April 4, 1879.
Ibid., April 5, 1879.
The four-masted schooner Polaris was built at Marshfield, Oregon, in 1902. As
built, Polaris was 195.1 feet long, with a 40-foot beam and a 15.6-foot depth of
hold. The schooner was registered at 790 tons gross, 717 tons net.  She departed
San Francisco in ballast bound for Eureka on Friday, January 16, 1914. Towed out
beyond the Golden Gate by the steam tug Wilmington, both vessels were set adrift
in gale-force winds when the towline snapped off the bar. Wilmington nearly went
aground on Potato Patch Shoal before making it back into the bay. Polaris, her
16-man crew helpless, drifted north with the storm before crashing onto the rocks
of Duxbury Reef at Bolinas Point.  A total loss, the four-master heeled to port
and broke up within sight of the remains of the steam schooner R. D. Inman. which
had wrecked near the same spot in 1909. The vessel was partially stripped by
Left high and dry on the beach by the receding tide, the wrecked
schooner "Polaris," which was driven ashore near Point Bolinas, has been
stripped of her salvage by Captain A. S. Hansen and his crew. The
schooner itself is said to be a total wreck and no effort will be made by
her owners to save any of her timbers. Despite a broken back and the
fact that portions of her hull and decks were carried away in the storm,
the "Polaris'" rigging was found to be practically intact. 
The donkey engine from Polaris was salvaged along with the schooner's rigging
before the vessel broke up.
Two views of the four-masted schooner Polaris aground on Duxbury Reef, 1914. The
upper view includes the remains of the steam schooner R. D. Inman, lost at the same
spot in 1909. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 132.
San Francisco Examiner. January 17, 1914.
Coast Seamen's Journal, Vol. 27, No. 20 (January 28, 1914) p. 5.
R. D. Inman
The steam schooner R. D. Inman was built at Marshfield, Oregon, by Kruse &
Banks in 1907.  As built, R. D. Inman was a wooden-hulled vessel 186.5 feet
long, with a 39-foot beam and a 14-foot depth of hold, registered at 768 tons gross
and 427 tons net.  R. D. Inman's career in the Pacific coast lumber trade was
short-lived, the vessel being lost only two years after her launch. The ship went
ashore at "Point Bolinas" on March 20, 1909, when Capt. A. J. Lancaster mistook a
bonfire on the beach for the signal of another ship in distress. 
R. D. Inman had sailed in ballast from San Francisco on the evening of March 20,
bound for Portland, Oregon. Darkness set in, "the sky was overcast, and there was
a heavy swell from the westward." According to Capt. Lancaster,
When off Duxbury I saw a light inshore that looked to be from a vessel
in distress, and I stood for it. The closer I got the more certain I was
that it was a distressed vessel. Then it suddenly appeared that the
supposed distressed vessel was on the beach, that it was a big bonfire,
in fact, and before we could get out of that spot the Inman struck aft
and stopped, and then swung inshore. The engines were reversed, but
by this time the rudder-post and steering-gear broke, and the steamer
began to fill. 
R. D. Inman came to rest parallel to the shore, 500 feet from the beach, washing
over the reef into a shallow basin and listing heavily to starboard.
The vessel was wedged tightly in the rocks; no attempt was made to get her off.
Instead, owner F. S. Loop of the Loop Steamship Company collected his $100,000
insurance policy. Abandoned as a total loss, R. D. Inman was partially salvaged by
the underwriters and left to the sea; "the steamer will be stripped of machinery and
deck fittings and everything of value that can be secured. It is believing that all
this, however, will be worth not more than $10,000. There is no chance to save the
hull."  Portions of the vessel, including the bow, were still visible on the reef
when the schooner Polaris crashed ashore near the same spot in 1914.
Op. cit., The Marine Digest, June 12, 1943, p. 2.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1908) p. 277.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1910) pp. 151, 270-271.
San Francisco Examiner, March 22, 1909.
Ibid., March 23, 1909.
Samuel S. Lewis
The screw steamer Samuel S. Lewis was built at Kensington (now part of
Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, by Theodore Birely and Son in 1851. Designed by
Capt. Richard F. Loper, Lewis was the result of Loper's experiments with screw
propulsion and marine steam engines. A practical engineer, Loper's vessels were
"remarkably successful."  Loper designed the steamer's engines and propeller,
supervised the design of the hull to "ensure that it was structurally and
hydrodynamically suitable for the mode of propulsion," and personally took part in
the manufacture of the machinery and the construction of the hull of Samuel S.
Lewis. Loper and two associates, E. Lincoln and Samuel Reynolds, intended Lewis
to operate in the California trade, carrying immigrants and high-valued freight in
the lucrative boom of steam transportation to the Pacific Coast following the
discovery of gold in California. Before the steamer was launched, however, she was
purchased by the Harnden Express Company of Boston to operate on the Atlantic
Ocean between Boston and Liverpool. 
Samuel S. Lewis was launched on June 12, 1851:
The wharves were thronged with spectators, attracted by the spectacle....
At about a quarter of 1 o'clock, the beautifully modeled hull began to
move along the ways, and. ..she was soon gliding away gracefully upon
the bosom of the Delaware, amid the shouts of thousands that witnessed
the sight. 
As built, Samuel S. Lewis was 216.9 feet long, with a 32.6-foot beam and a
16.3-foot depth of hold, and was registered at 1,103 77/95 gross tons.  Built
staunchly of white oak, Lewis was "cleverly reinforced in critical areas" to withstand
the vibration of the double-oscillating engine. Numerous knees, braces, and
diagonal iron strapping in the engine spaces were installed. Specifications and
scantlings for the vessel have survived and offer a detailed picture of this early
American trans-Atlantic screw steamer. 
Samuel S. Lewis underwent trials at Philadelphia on September 4, 1851, and sailed
for Boston on September 13. On September 16 she participated in a grand jubilee
on Boston harbor to celebrate the completion of the first Boston-to-Canada railroad
link. At Boston, Samuel S. Lewis took President Millard Fillmore and other
dignitaries, including Daniel Webster, on a tour of the harbor. Lewis steamed from
Boston on October 4, 1851, for Liverpool under the command of Capt. George A.
Cole, who was recently returned from California and the steamer Tennessee. The
steamer was the subject of much attention and high hopes:
Of all the new enterprises, the establishment of a line of American
steamships between Boston and Liverpool has been made the occasion of
great rejoicing on the part of our commercial and enterprising
citizens. ...[Lewis is] the pioneer of the line. ...It is estimated that she will
make seven voyages a year between this port and Liverpool.... 
Such was not to be the case. At sea, Lewis lost her propeller in a gale and was
forced to sail to Liverpool, where a new propeller was fitted. She set out for
Boston, only to run out of coal. Finally arriving back in the United States on
January 3, 1852, Lewis's trans- Atlantic career was at an end when her owners'
business failed. 
Sold in February 1852 to George A. Osgood of New York, an agent of Commodore
Cornelius Vanderbilt, Samuel S. Lewis was readied for a new career. Vanderbilt
had established the "Independent Line" to carry gold-seekers to California by way of
Nicaragua. Lewis was to work the Pacific side of the route with the steamer
Independence. Steaming from New York on March 5, 1852, Lewis sailed into the
Pacific, touching at Rio de Janeiro before navigating the Straits of Magellan. After
stopping at Valparaiso and Panama, Lewis arrived at San Juan del Sur, the Pacific
terminus of the Nicaragua route, where several hundred passengers had waited for
three weeks for her. From San Juan del Sur, she steamed to Acapulco, Mexico,
arriving at San Francisco on July 7, 1852, with 653 passengers, 112 days from New
The San Francisco Daily Alta California greeted the new steamer lukewarmly, "she
is a large fine looking vessel, possessing apparently all the requisites for a good safe
sea-going steamer."  Vanderbilt's steamers were not noted for good service, and
the death by disease of 19 passengers en route to San Francisco was not the best
introduction for Samuel S. Lewis. The steamer operated between San Juan del Sur
and San Francisco for more than a year. Her career on the Pacific was marked by
problems; she was fined in the fall of 1852 for overloading, and in January 1853 SS
Lewis was described by the most reliable authority to have arrived here in the most
filthy condition; so much indeed as to create nausea to those who visited her. She
is in a very leaky condition, and has several feet of water. 
The San Francisco Daily Alta California's editors condemned the ship, stating "the
lives and property of the public should not be trifled with. ..the present condition of
the ship. ..is calculated to induce sickness and death, especially where human beings
are packed together in dense masses...." 
On January 4, 1853, SS Lewis broke down off San Francisco and was towed into
port by the steamer Goliah.  A week later, the San Francisco Daily Alta
California reported that the ship was to be "thoroughly overhauled and repaired:"
New engines are going to be put in her, and new propeller paddles to
replace the old ones. The copper will be stripped off, seams recaulked,
new copper put on, and in time the ship made as good as new. We are
really glad that such is to be the case. 
The ship was repaired under contract by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company at
their Benicia depot near San Francisco. The old engines were repaired, not
replaced, despite the newspaper's hopes. In late March 1853 SS Lewis departed San
Francisco for San Juan del Sur. She was wrecked on her return voyage to San
In the early morning of April 9, 1853, SS Lewis ran aground on Duxbury Reef,
north of the point and close to Agate Beach. The thick fog obscured the land, and
like the steamer Tennessee, lost just a month before, SS Lewis was wrecked through
an error in navigation.  William Tecumseh Sherman, who was a passenger on
board, noted that the ship did not completely sink:
...as the water gradually rose inside to a level with the sea outside, the
ship swung broadside to the swell, and all her keel seemed to rest on
the rock and sand. At no time did the sea break over the deckbut
the water below drove all the people up to the main-deck and to the
promenade-deck, and thus we remained for about three hours.... 
The 385 passengers on board were safely landed along with the ship's specie, mail,
and some of the baggage. The U.S. surveying steamer Active arrived at the wreck
on April 10 along with the Revenue Cutter Frolic. On her way to the wreck,
Active passed through a floating field of "drift," consisting of mattresses, benches,
spars, and loose timber, which had floated down from the wreck; and what was the
surprise of all on board to find that of the wreck itself, barely the hull remained!
The SS Lewis, in one night, had completely gone to pieces! At the point on which
she struck was to be seen a fragment of her hull--the lower portion and even this
remnant was being fast washed apart. Her timbers are strewn along the beach. 
On the afternoon of April 10, the steamer Goliah returned to San Francisco from
the wreck of SS Lewis "with the balance of the passengers and baggage of that
vessel. Nothing now remains of the wreck together, as she has broken up, and
fragments can be seen strewn all along the beach." 
Cedric Ridgely-Nevitt, American Steamships on the Atlantic (Newark: University of Delaware Press,
1981) p. 189.
Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, August 23, 1851.
Register #269, Port of Boston, Massachusetts, October 1, 1851. National Archives Record Group 41,
Washington, D.C. and "Steamers Building in Philadelphia, August 1, 1851," Journal of the Franklin
Institute, Vol. XXII (Third Series), No. 3 (September 1851) pp. 212-213.
Op. cit., Ridgely-Nevitt, pp. 189-190, passim.
Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion. October 25, 1851.
Op. cit., Ridgely-Nevitt, p. 190.
Register #6, Port of New York, March 1, 1852, National Archives Record Group 41 and San Francisco
Daily Alta California. July 8, 1852.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, July 8, 1852.
Ibid., January 5, 1853.
Ibid., January 13, 1853.
Ibid., April 10, 1853.
William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs.... (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1875) Vol. 1, pp. 95-96.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, April 10, 1853.
Ibid., April 11, 1853.
The 86-foot-long purse-seiner San Domenico was built at San Francisco, California,
by Andersen & Cristofani and was launched in September 1935.  San Domenico
was built for and owned by the San Domenico Corporation, "consisting of members
of her crew." The vessel's career was brief; just three months after her launch, San
Domenico was wrecked four miles north of Bolinas when she ran aground in the
heavy fog on the evening of December 27, 1935. Her hull torn open by rocks, San
Domenico filled as her 11 -man crew lowered a skiff and headed for shore through
the surf. After struggling to reach the beach, one-quarter mile distant from the
wreck, San Domenico's crew reached safety. However, one man, Salvatore
Finocchiaro, was swept overboard and drowned.  The wreck of San Domenico
quickly broke up in the heavy surf; no attempt was made to salvage her.
Finocchiaro's body was not recovered. 
San Francisco Examiner, December 28, 1935.
Ibid., December 29, 1935.
The 1,117.86-ton ship Western Shore, built in 1874, was the largest full-rigged
vessel constructed on the Pacific Coast. The ship was 183.5 feet long, with a
42-foot beam and a 22.6-foot depth of hold, and was built of Douglas fir and Port
Orford cedar. The vessel's timbers were massive, her frames being 16 by 24 inches,
molded and sided. The vessel was built by John Kruse at Asa Meade Simpson's
North Bend Shipyard at North Bend, Oregon, and was launched on October 10,
On her maiden voyage, Western Shore sailed from Coos Bay to San Francisco with
225,000 board feet of lumber. At San Francisco the ship loaded wheat and sailed
for Liverpool, England. Returning to San Francisco with a general cargo, she
cleared for Portland, Oregon, where she again loaded wheat for Liverpool. Upon
her return from England, Western Shore entered the coastwise coal trade, carrying
coal from Seattle to San Francisco.  Her first voyage from Seattle passed without
incident, but trouble struck when she sailed from San Francisco in January 1878.
Western Shore was nearly lost twice as she made her way out the Golden Gate. On
January 22, she departed San Francisco under tow. In ballast, the lightly laden
vessel proved too much for the tug Richard Holvoke. as Western Shore struggled in
a strong southeast gale at the Golden Gate. Western Shore broke free of the tug
and drifted toward Alcatraz Island. "Both anchors were let go and the ship brought
up, just clear of the island. Had the wind continued blowing. ..the ship must have
gone ashore, but as if by a miracle it suddenly shifted. ..and the vessel was saved."
Two days later Western Shore again departed San Francisco, again under tow from
the tug Richard Holvoke. In company of the barks King Philip and Don Nicolas.
Western Shore was off the San Francisco Bar when the wind died. As the three
vessels began to drift in heavy seas, King Philip's tug cast off to aid Western Shore
and Don Nicolas, both being in danger of going ashore near the gate at Point Lobos.
Capt. Blinn of Western Shore was casting off the tug's hawser when the wind died.
He and the mate then attempted to put a few turns of the hawser around the bitts
when the line surged, breaking off the bitts and striking the captain, "breaking his
leg in two places, and knocking him off the forecastle to the main deck, a distance
of 12 feet.... He lived about four hours afterwards."  Western Shore was able to
anchor and hang on until the next day, when Richard Holvoke was able to put a
line on her and tow the ship into San Francisco Bay. Don Nicolas was also towed
in, but King Philip proved a total loss when she went ashore two and a half miles
south of Point Lobos.
Western Shore's third attempt to clear San Francisco was without accident. The next
voyage from Seattle to San Francisco, however, was her last. Sailing from Seattle on
July 2, 1878, the ship, laden with 2,040 tons of coal, made a fast passage toward
San Francisco. On the evening of July 9, while under full sail at a speed of 10
knots, the ship struck Duxbury Reef. Within three hours she had sunk, lying head
on, listing to port, with only the masts (all sails still set) protruding from the water.
The circumstances of her loss were never fully explained:
There are several theories. ...One is that there being a very strong current
to the northward, the ship was considerably out of her course. Another
is that the Captain, owing to a long experience, got careless. ...Others
cannot comprehend how anyone able to see either Point Reyes or
Farallone light could loose a vessel on a reef so well known and
dangerous as Duxbury Reef, in a fine commanding breeze. There is
certainly something remarkable about the affair that needs investigation.
The vessel, valued at $72,000, was a complete loss, along with the cargo, valued at
$9,180. On July 11, the "Wreck of the Ship Western Shore, as she now lies on
Duxbury Reef," was sold at auction.  San Francisco grocer G. Molloy, who had
earlier bought and salvaged the wrecked bark King Philip, now purchased the ship
that had eluded disaster when King Philip was lost. Molloy paid $1,225 for Western
Shore: the coal cargo was sold separately to a Mr. C. Wilson for $70.  Neither
man profited from the wreck, because heavy seas soon broke Western Shore up.
The only items salvaged were the fore, main, and mizzen royals, the fore and main
topgallant sails, the fore and main topsails, and the jibs, which were pulled from
the yards by Italian fishermen. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1877) p. 269, and the North Bend (Oregon) News.
September 6, 1984.
The San Francisco Daily Alta California of July 11, 1878 recounts the ship's career.
Ibid., January 23, 1878.
Ibid., January 27, 1878.
Ibid., July 11, 1878.
Ibid., July 12, 1878.
William F. Witzermann
The 473-ton, four-masted schooner Wm. F. Witzemann was built by Hans D.
Bendixsen at Fairhaven, California, in 1887. Launched on March 2, 1887, she was
said to be the largest vessel then built on the shores of Humboldt Bay. 
Witzemann was registered at 160 feet in length, with a 35-foot beam and 12.2-foot
depth of hold.  Constructed for San Francisco lumber interests, she was intended
for the Puget Sound lumber trade, ferrying lumber from Puget Sound sawmills to
market in San Francisco. Her cargo capacity was 500,000 board feet. The new
schooner attracted favorable attention at her launch:
The W. F. Witzemann is a fine able vessel, and as she rested on the
water, attracted universal attention and admiration. ...Mr. Bendixsen is an
expert shipbuilder, and the vessels constructed at his yard are considered
among the best in the coasting fleet. 
After a long career in the Pacific Coast lumber trade, Wm. F. Witzemann was
wrecked three miles north of Duxbury Point on February 6, 1907. Departing San
Francisco for Gray's Harbor, William F. Witzemann. in ballast, crashed into the
rocks of Duxbury Reef in a thick fog. The five-man crew was rescued by crews
from the United States Lifesaving Service's Point Bonita and Fort Point stations.
The captain and two officers remained with the vessel, superintending all possible
salvage from the vessel, which was then abandoned. 
[Eureka, California] Weekly Humboldt Times, March 3, 1887.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 167.
Weekly Humboldt Times, March 3, 1887.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1908) pp. 138, 252-253.
The only reference to this wreck event is a notation in a secondary source history,
which notes that the vessel, a Yard Floating Drydock, broke free while under tow
and went aground on Duxbury Reef on January 20, 1943. The wreck was "scrapped"
over the next month's time.  No reference to the event was found in the San
Francisco Chronicle for January 1943. The wreck may have not been publicized
because of wartime censorship. A major storm lasting four days did lash the coast
between January 18 and 22, 1943, according to the Chronicle.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 122.
\\9 ff- C-7742
Fl HOffNm v - 7 -
Anglo-American. 1877 7
Francois Coppee. 1903 %j
Oxford. 1852 m
H. Caroline. 1874
/ / \
Copper Queen. 1903 >
Warrior Queen. 1874
/ 39 37
37 ' ' '
Sea Nvmph. 1861
J. E. Haskins. 1874
VESSEL LOSSES, TEN-MILE BEACH TO TOMALES BAY
James P. Delgado and Stephen A. Haller
Point Reyes' Ten-Mile Beach was the scene of numerous tragedies and accidents,
mostly costing vessel losses of ships inbound from the Pacific that lost their way
while seeking the Golden Gate. Twenty vessels are known to have been totally lost.
Copper Queen. 1903
Erin's Star. 1880
Evening Star. 1880
Francois Coppee. 1903
H. Caroline. 1874
J. E. Haskins. 1874
Sea Nymph. 1861
Warrior Queen. 1874
Albert was built in 1890 at Port Blakely, Washington, at the famous shipyard of the
Hall Brothers. She was well-built of oak and Douglas fir, fastened with iron and
copper. Her hull measured 182.1 feet long, had a beam of 38.3 feet, depth of hold
of by 14.6 feet, and displaced 624 tons.  Albert was rigged as a three-masted
bark, and crossed skysails on her foremast and mainmast. Contrary to the tradition
of West Coast shipbuilders, she carried a figurehead rather than a billethead at her
bow. The National Maritime Museum Library has the sail plan, rigging plans,
inboard profiles, and the hull lines of this vessel in its pamphlet collection. 
Albert was owned by Ned Olson of San Francisco. She was engaged in general
trade between the West Coast, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, and also ranged
as far north as Bristol Bay, Alaska. She had a fine reputation as a handsome vessel
and a "crack passage-maker." 
In her 29-year career she had several near disasters, the most serious being a bout
with heavy northerly gales just 19 miles north of the Farallon Islands, inbound to
San Francisco on a passage from Honolulu. The storm winds carried away most of
her sails, damaged her main royal backstays, and blew her south for three days.
Before repairs were made, she had drifted as far as Montara.
The bark Albert, built in 1890, had a 29-year-long career in the general
carrying trade before her wreck. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Albert sailed from Timaru, New Zealand, on January 26, 1919, and was off Point
Reyes Beach early on the morning of April 2, when she went aground. The
apparent cause of the accident was a combination of fog and light winds. Her crew
of 1 1 men made it safely ashore with the assistance of the men from the nearby
Coast Guard Station, but Capt. H. Ulburg (or H. O. Ulleberg) had broken his leg,
was washed overboard, and was lost. The records of the San Francisco Marine
Exchange indicate that the location of the wreck was at "Abbot's Lagoon 8 miles
above Point Reyes."  The wreck report of the U.S. Coast Guard, however, places
the wreck 12 miles north of Point Reyes. 
The wreck of the bark Albert at Ten-Mile Beach, Point Reyes, January 26, 1919.
Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Within a day the vessel had broken in two in the heavy swell on Point Reyes Beach.
The next day the wreck had entirely disappeared, and her cargo of tallow, hides,
and leather had drifted ashore. The wreck was immediately sold to Capt. E. L.
Whitney, but it seems clear that there was little left to salvage by this time.
American Bureau of Shipping Record, 1918.
National Maritime Museum Library, Pamphlet file XA O3 A4 pam.
Campbell, Esther M., "Proud Sails on Puget Sound," Campbell Industrial Supply New 9 . April 1959.
Op. cit., Marine Exchange Index Cards.
Evans, Peter A.; "Shipwrecks and Strandings on the Coast of Point Reyes National Seashore,
1840-1940;" p. 94, in manuscript.
Allesandro was the name of a fishing boat mentioned in Marshall as having capsized
near the Farallons, and being towed to Point Reyes Beach on June 18, 1874.  It
is further stated that she was the "largest in the fleet of fishing boats." No further
records relating to this vessel have been uncovered during the research for this
project, however, and the story of the Allesandro is a mystery.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 120.
Anglo-American is the name of a schooner mentioned in the San Francisco
Chronicle of September 30, 1877, as having been stranded and lost off Tomales in a
spell of severe weather. The schooner Marin was also said to have suffered the
The Congressional Record of October 1861, mentions the partial loss at Tomales Bay
of the schooner Anglo-American.  No further information on this vessel has
been found to date, and it is unclear if these two incidents refer to the same vessel.
Congressional Record, 8:1, p. 390.
C-7742 is mentioned in Marshall as having been a salmon trawler, under the
command of Captain Bowers, that became a total loss after running aground on a
reef at the head of Tomales Bay near Dillon Beach during a heavy fog.  No
further information has been uncovered about this incident.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 120.
Copper Queen was a small, shallow-draft auxiliary schooner powered with a gasoline
engine. She stranded at 1:30 a.m. on August 6, 1903, on Point Reyes Beach, seven
miles north of the lifesaving station. Because of her light draft, she struck close to
shore, and all of her five-man crew landed safely. The station-keeper was notified
of the casualty by telephone, and proceeded with his surfmen overland in a "hired
conveyence" to reach the site. Once there, there was little to do beyond aiding the
tired and cold survivors, as Copper Queen was already breaking to pieces, and the
cargo of fish had largely been lost. 
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1903) p. 74.
Erin's Star was built in 1877 at McFee's shipyard in St. John, New Brunswick. She
had a wooden hull and was ship-rigged. Her hull measured 203 feet long, with a
38-foot beam, 24-foot depth of hold, and displaced 1,457 tons. It would seem that
the McFees had deep seafaring roots in New Brunswick, for they built at least two
other ships (Erin's Isle and Erin's Gem), and Thomas and J. M. McFee were masters
of the Isle and Star. All three vessels were owned by P. G. Carville & Company of
Liverpool and registered at that port. 
Erin's Star was sailing towards San Francisco inbound from Antwerp with a cargo
of 1,800 tons of railroad iron destined for the Truckee R. R. Company, when she
passed through a zone of dense fog just off the coast. Capt. Thomas McFee was
unable to obtain sightings for two days. By the night of September 13, 1880,
however, he stated that conditions had cleared so there was but little haze. The
water was so smooth there was scarcely a ripple on the sea. Lookouts, aloft until
4:00 a.m., spotted Point Reyes Light, apparently 15 miles distant. At 4:35 Erin's
Star very lightly touched ashore. There was a perfect stillness all about. Capt.
McFee agreed later that the fog was not thick enough to warrant the sounding of
the fog whistle, but accused the lighthouse keepers of allowing the light to go out in
the early hours of the morning. The masters of the brig T. W. Lucas and the
steamer Empire stated that they heard no whistle that night, despite fog, as they
passed close by the Point Reyes Light, causing San Francisco newspapers to
speculate on the negligence of the keepers of the lighthouse.
Erin's Star was reported to have gone ashore with her bow facing north, about eight
miles north of the Point. She rapidly went to pieces, and little hope was expressed
of saving her heavy cargo.  However, a coastal chart annotated about 1893 by
noted navigation authority George Davidson, places the location of the wreck only
three miles north of the Point, just south of the lifesaving station. If the cargo of
railroad iron was not salvaged, strong magnetometer readings along the beach, either
three or eight miles north of Point Reyes, may well indicate the site of this wreck.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1881-1882).
San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 15, and 18, 1880.
European was probably a small two-masted schooner involved in the early coastal
trade. She does not appear in any vessel registries around the time of her loss. The
Bancroft Library holds a citation to the Congressional Record (8:1), in which it is
stated that the schooner European was a partial loss at Bodega Bay in October 1861.
In Mitchell's The Commerce of the North Pacific Coast. European is mentioned as
having been lost while bound for Timber Cove, and as having been worth $5,000.
To the contrary, however, another source claims that a vessel named European was
wrecked at Tomales Bay in 1861. 
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 121.
Evening Star was a two-masted schooner wrecked at Point Reyes in December of
1880.  No further information about this event has been found, and the name
Evening Star does not appear in any vessel registries around that time.
Some years earlier in 1863, San Francisco newspapers covered the launch of a
missionary vessel of the same name, which was built by contributions of
Sunday-school children. The Daily Alta California stated that "500 Sabbath school
teachers, scholars & others assembled at Clark's Point to witness the launch of the
missionary vessel Evening Star. ..built at an expense of $750. ...for use in the
Micronesian Islands. ..next week sent on her way by the bark Comet" August 19,
1863. It is, however, quite doubtful that these two incidents refer to the same
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 121.
Francois Coppee was a magnificent and significant vessel, with a tragic, fascinating
end. She was a steel bark of 2,289 gross tons, 1,728 net tons, launched on
November 6, 1900, at the French shipyard of Chantiers de la Loire of Nantes for
the firm of N. & C. Guillon. Guillon was an old name in French shipping trade,
and their vessels, reflecting French maritime trade in general, often voyaged to the
Pacific with cargoes of Chilean nitrate, Peruvian guano, California grain, and
In contrast to other nations at the time, France subsidized the building of merchant
sailing vessels, and strongly supported its merchant marine through the First World
War. French merchant vessels were, in consequence, often referred to as "bounty
ships" by foreign competitors. Francois Coppee was one of a class of seven similar
steel barks referred to as "Type C," which carried a distinctive rig known as a
"jubilee rig."  Francois Coppee had a length of 267.5 feet, a maximum beam of
40.3 feet, and a depth of 22.4 feet, on a hull that also had its distinctive features:
The French ships have hulls quite different from the usual. The
ordinary British, American, or Scandinavian ship was strictly utilitarian.
She had a cargo-carrying hull with the minimum accommodation built
on top of it--a bit of a raised fo'c'sle-head right forward and a poop
Not so with the French. They had roomy long forecastles extending
often to well abaft the foremast, large houses on deck, big
donkey-rooms, long poops with large charthouses above, almost
invariably. They looked as if they were designed to provide maximum
accommodation, not minimum. I was to discover that indeed they were,
and one reason was that, needing them and having some national
appreciation of those who sailed in them, the French Government
subsidized their building in French shipyards: the larger the gross
tonnage, the larger the subsidy, naturally. They could afford to be
generous. This also meant that they were safer ships, as I learned when
I went to sea. There was less free space for the great seas to wash and
drown and destroy when they broke aboard. They had to reach higher
to get aboard in the first place: when they got aboard, there was far less
volume to them, less weight to pin the ship down and so cause more
seas to follow. 
Francois Coppee's career was short and tragic. Her maiden voyage was to San
Francisco. Returning to the Golden Gate from Newcastle, New South Wales, on
November 20, 1903, she went ashore on Bird Rock at the northern end of the Point
Reyes peninsula. The event, with the loss of a dozen lives, became grist for the San
Francisco newspapers, which indulged in much sensationalism and speculation in an
effort to outdo each other. The particulars of this wreck are therefore quoted in
some length from a report deposited with the French Consulate in San Francisco by
M. Edouard Molines, first officer of the shipwrecked vessel:
On November 20, 1903, the vessel had been without observations for 3
days. The last points observed put the vessel in the latitude of San
Francisco. The estimate made at 1 1 in the evening placed us south of
the Farallones and the cape off the lightship from which we were
expecting the phonic signals. The winds were variable from south to
southwest with bad weather and thick fog cut by a few rifts. The
Captain, who had been on the bridge for 48 hours, set the route slightly
north of east to compensate for the southern current indicated by the
Instructions. The sea was very heavy, the vessel with its main fixed
topgallant was making 7 knots generously. The watch had been doubled
and the afternoon soundings had not touched bottom with 200 meter of
I had left the watch at 8 p.m. but I awakened to hear the man at the
cathead yell "Land ahead"! Hearing the command to brace aback, I
leaped at once onto the poop, having lain down fully dressed. At this
time the vessel touched for the first time across from the foremast very
close to a little island; enormous waves covered the central part of the
vessel. The captain ordered the foresails to be taken aback and the
lifeboats put out. The crew divided into two parts to execute his
orders. While the one part was taking aback (a very difficult maneuver
under the shock of the waves), the vessel fell crosswise on some rocks
situated at 500 meters from the island. During this time the steward's
mate and 2 of the men were provisioning the lifeboats. The rear port
lifeboat on the land side was the first to be put on its hoisting gear and
provisioned. The attention was turned to the loanboat on the rear
starboard, on the ocean side, and it was provisioned. The apprentices
Nicol and Hillion received orders to embark in the first boat. Seven
foreigners joined them there and lowered before orders while the rest
were busy with the long-boat. The rear falls broke; the two men who
were inside were thrown into the sea but were saved. The long-boat
was broken, and then it was discovered that the first lifeboat had been
swung out without orders and with 9 men. She was ordered to return,
but could not get back. There was no other lifeboat. The sea was
breaking, covering the roof and forward part of the vessel, making it
impossible to put out the foreward boats, which were broken a few
minutes later by the falling of the yards and of the masting.
At 2 in the morning the mainmast fell. At 5:30 it was the foremast; at
7:30 the mizzen, the gaff and pole of which had fallen previously. The
bar and the skylight of the salon were torn away. We were shut into
the watchroom, which cracked with every blow from the sea. About 3
in the morning the seaman Le Sachet offered himself, despite his 53
years to try to carry to shore a line fastened to the edging.... He had
hardly left the deck when the vessel went to pieces. I had just time to
loosen the line fastened aboard, and then we were all submerged. I had
undressed and several others had done the same. The Captain, who had
kept on his clothing and had put into a belt all the money on board,
was swimming with the debris of a table. I was swimming toward the
island, but did not see him again. On reaching the island, I found the
men named Victor Auguste, Victor Adolphe, O'Neill Daniel; we spent
36 hours on the island fed by a few mussels and a tin of sea biscuits
washed up by the sea. When the sea had grown calmer, we were able
to reach the shore with the help of wooden debris. We spent the night
at an abandoned barn. Monday morning we were found by a
Portuguese who showed us the way to the farm of Charles Molzen.
There they were succoured and sheltered until the evening of the 23rd,
at which time we were able to return to San Francisco.
Outside of the four survivors named above, the two apprentices who
were ordered to embark in the lifeboat were found and with them the 7
foreign seamen who put off without orders. Also two corpses were
identified. The Captain and 1 1 men had lost their lives in the
Because of the violence of the wreck event and the dangerous area in which she
now lies, it is to be expected that the hull and other material remains of this vessel
are badly damaged and strewn about the bottom, but have survived over the years
with little intrusion from divers and salvors.
Randier, Grands Voliers Francais (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972) p. 237
Villiers & Picard, The Bounty Ships of France (Grenoble: Edition Des Quarte Seigneurs, 1974) pp. 17,
LaCroix, "The Last French Cape Homers of the Nickel and Saltpeter" Voyages of the Pacific, Vol. 1, p.
Haddington was a British iron bark built in 1884. Her ocean-going career ended a
year later on the shores of Point Reyes, two and a half miles north of the Point. 
The vessel's background and the wreck particulars were admirably described in
Eureka's Weekly Times-Telephone of August 29, 1885:
A telephone message received late yesterday afternoon from Olema, on
the North Pacific Railroad, conveyed the news that the British ship
Haddingtonshire. Captain Mackenzie, had gone ashore three miles above
Point Reyes, Marin County, and that 18 lives had been lost, only two
persons, a man and a boy, escaping the fate of their unfortunate
comrades. It was learned that the vessel had gone ashore 3 o'clock
yesterday morning, and that her commander was among the doomed.
It appeared that the Haddingtonshire was a new vessel which was
making her first return trip from the Columbia River to Glasgow. She
had a crew of 24 men, all of whom were shipped at Glasgow. She was
rated a staunch vessel, and with a full cargo the voyage was begun on
the 4th of July, with the first prospects of a favorable voyage.
All went well until the tropics were reached. Then the ship
encountered a succession of fierce gales which finally culminated in a
hurricane on the equator. For days the vessel was driven before the
tempest. All that could be done was to keep her before the wind and
in this effort four men were lost, swept overboard by the heavy seas.
Finally when the storm passed and they could take an account of the
damage done, it was found that the ship was so badly disabled that it
would be hopeless to proceed on the voyage, with the risk of
encountering storms such as they had fortunately weathered. But here a
new danger confronted them. They knew that they were far out of
their course and their only safety was to reach this port, where repairs
could be made. But the Captain found that he had lost his chronometer
during the storm, and therefore the navigation of the vessel must be by
dead reckoning, which at best is only guesswork. With all these
drawbacks, however, the ship made fair way and would have no doubt
have reached this port in safety but for the dense fog which shrouded
the coast yesterday.
Early in the morning, when the fog was so dense that the lookout could
not see 10 yards ahead, the vessel drove upon the big reef which juts
out beyond Point Reyes light, on the Marin Coast, about 40 miles from
this city. The wind was blowing a gale, the sea ran high, and it is an
iron bound coast. There was small prospect for the doomed men on
board to reach the shore through the surf, which beat upon the rocks,
and whose roar they could hear high above the shrieking of the wind.
Of the 20 men on board only two succeeded in reaching the shore alive.
The remainder, including the Captain, went down in the surf or were
dashed to death against the rocks.
Nothing could be done to save the cargo, the ship went to pieces very
speedily, and it was impossible to reach the place where she struck.
Her cargo was a valuable one, consisting of 12,514 barrels of flour,
valued at $50,056, and 17,696 cases of Columbia River salmon, valued
at $53,400. The cargo was fully insured in England.
The Haddingtonshire was an iron vessel and was built by Russell & Co.
at Port Glasgow last year. She was 215-1/2 feet long, with 35 foot
beam and 21 foot depth of hold. Her gross tonnage was 2,110, and her
underdeck 1068. The vessel was valued at $60,000 and was fully
LATER. San Francisco, Aug. 22: The wrecked bark Haddingtonshire
was sold at auction this afternoon in the Merchants Exchange to Paul
Keyser, commission merchant, for $80. The sale was by authority of
the Board of Underwriters. There were few bidders. The sale was
started at $25.
For the Glasgow shipping firm of T. Law & Company who owned her,
Haddingtonshire was the third loss in two years of trade between Europe and the
West Coast. 
Davidson, Coast Pilot. (1889) p. 249.
Op. cit., Evans, manuscript, p. 57.
Haves is the name of a vessel reported wrecked at Tomales Bay in 1869.  No
vessel of this name appears in the registers around that time, and no further
information about the incident has surfaced during this research.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 121.
H. Caroline was a schooner of 22 tons, Official No. 11677,  registered at San
Francisco, and totally wrecked at Tomales Bay in February 1874.  No other
information about the vessel surfaced during the course of this research.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1874) p. 136.
Congressional Record, 8:1.
J. E. Haskins
The 32.88-ton schooner J. E. Haskins of San Francisco apparently was one of many
small two-masted coasters working between San Francisco and various small lumber
ports.  On Thursday, August 27, 1874, the vessel, bound for San Francisco with
a load of lumber from Timber Cove, capsized off Point Reyes:
...the men four in number, after a severe struggle, climbed on her as she
floated. In this exposed and perilous situation they remained for
forty-eight hours, tossed by the waves and expecting every moment to
be lost. 
The fishing smack Alexander rescued the crew of J. E. Haskins on the evening of
August 29 and landed them safely in San Francisco. The wreck was last seen
floating bottom up off Point Reyes; it is assumed that she ultimately went ashore.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1871) p. 131.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. August 30, 1874.
The particulars of the schooner Marin are unknown. The vessel was reportedly a
total loss in Tomales Bay in October 1861, when she and the schooner Anglo
American were "stranded and lost off Tomales" in a spell of heavy weather." 
San Francisco Chronicle. September 30, 1877.
The particulars of the steam corvette Novick (also known as Norvick) of the
Imperial Russian Navy are not known. She may have conformed to particulars cited
for other Russian men-of-war that served with her; if so, Novick was between 800
and 1000 tons, carried a 300-horsepower marine steam engine, was screw-propelled,
and mounted 6 to 12 guns. The ship was wrecked at Point Reyes on September 26,
1863. Novick was the vanguard of the Russian Pacific fleet commanded by
Admiral A. A. Popoff. The fleet was en route to San Francisco as part of a
Russian goodwill visit to the United States during the American Civil War. In the
winter of 1863-1864, Russian fleets visited New York and San Francisco, where
they were warmly welcomed by the beleaguered American government at a time
when many foreign governments, notably England and France, were openly
sympathetic to the rebellious Confederacy. 
Novick had departed Hokkaiddo, Japan, on September 1, 1863, for San Francisco.
On the morning of September 26, the corvette was off Point Reyes when she ran
aground on Ten-Mile Beach. Her officers thought the ship was 25 miles offshore
when she struck. "The weather was very foggy at the time. She tried to back off,
but the very heavy sea running turned her broadside on to the beach, heaving her
into from five to ten feet of water."  A boat was sent ashore and an officer
walked inland to San Quentin on San Francisco Bay, where he caught a boat to San
Francisco. With news of the wreck of Novick at hand, the United States revenue
cutter Shubrick was sent with the Russian Vice-Consul Klinkestrom to Point Reyes.
Arriving there, Shubrick found Novick broken up in the surf: "only a small piece of
the stern was all that remained of her."  The 160-man crew managed to reach
shore with the loss of only one man and were transported with their dunnage to San
The salvage of materials from the wreck began almost immediatelyby November
1863 San Franciscans were able to view "Relics from a Wreck:"
Some five or six guns have been recovered from the wreck, amongst
which is one brass rifled cannon. This is a twenty-four pounder; the
others being thirty-two pounders. There are also to be seen a number
of substantial and handsome copper chests, used as powder magazines.
Of these the Novick had on board no fewer than three hundred and
forty. The engines were saved also, but not the boilers. The sails,
made of simon pure "Russian duck," were also recovered, besides a
variety of other articles, which will repay the inspection of the curious.
Two weeks after the wreck, Admiral Popoff arrived at San Francisco in his flagship
Bogatvre. A court-martial was held that ultimately absolved the officers of Novick
of any blame in the loss of their ship. 
Benjamin F. Gilbert, "Welcome to the Czar's Fleet: An Incident of Civil War Days in San Francisco,"
California Historical Society Quarterly, XXVI (l), March 1947, pp. 13-15, passim.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, September 28, 1863.
Ibid., September 29, 1863.
Ibid., November 27, 1863.
Ibid., October 13, 1863.
At the conclusion of the War of 1812, trade between the United States and Great
Britain blossomed when restrictive tariffs were repealed and merchandise that had
accumulated on both sides of the Atlantic found its way to market. This new trade
made New York the principal port in the United States, and large numbers of
British and American vessels daily navigated through Verazzano Straits.
Trans-Atlantic "packets," beamy bluff-bowed cargo and passenger-carrying ships
were built to sail year-round across the Atlantic to Liverpool and European ports
such as LeHavre. The conditions of the packet trade were difficult, and the
"stormy North Atlantic and the hard winter passages, combined with the desire for
speedy voyages, made the power to carry sail in heavy weather, seaworthiness,
strength and speed prime requisites."  Dozens of packets were built, primarily in
New York, between 1816 and 1848.
One of New York's notable shipbuilders was William H. Webb. Webb had begun his
career apprenticed in his father Isaac's yard. Following his father's death, Webb
entered into business with his father's partner in 1840. In 1843 the business
reverted to Webb. William Webb's yard turned out 133 sail and steam vessels
between 1840 and 1865, the greatest tonnage to come from a single yard during that
period. Webb was also noted for the quality of his ships: the long career of the
first vessel built under his supervision, the packet Oxford, and her survival in two
different shipwrecks, attest to his skill.
The 752 47/95-ton ship Oxford was built at the Webb and Allen shipyard at New
York, under William H. Webb's supervision in 1836. The ship was 147.6 feet long,
with a 33.6-foot beam and a 21.6-foot depth of hold. Built with two decks, Oxford
carried accommodations for passengers in her 'tween decks. Oxford's three masts
sported a ship rig. Her registry papers describe her as having a "square stern, round
tuck" with a billethead.  Oxford was built for the "Black Ball Line" of packets,
running regularly between New York and Liverpool. She remained with the Black
Ball Line until 1850. Oxford's 14-year packet trade career involved regular passages
across the Atlantic; most occurred without incident. She was a fast sailer, her
westbound passages averaging 32.6 days, an impressive figure because less than 33
days was considered a "fast passage." Her shortest passage was 21 days, the longest
47.  Oxford was also sturdy. In early January 1839, the great "Liverpool
Hurricane" wrecked dozens of vessels along the west coast of England, including
Oxford, driven ashore. Oxford survived the accident, being so sturdily built that
when pulled off, she was found to be "as sound as before she was wrecked." 
In 1850, the Black Ball Line sold Oxford to Henry A. Heiser, a New York
merchant.  Under the command of Capt. H. H. McLane, Oxford sailed from
Boston in late 1851 for San Francisco, carrying a speculative cargo for the city's
inflated Gold Rush market. Heiser and his partners hoped to double the investment
on Oxford's $100,000 cargo. Arriving off the California coast at the end of June
1852, Oxford drifted in heavy fog some 500 miles from the Golden Gate for two
weeks, her master unable to ascertain the ship's position. On July 12, the fog
cleared, and Capt. McLane, spotting the promontory of land at Tomales Head,
mistook it for the Golden Gate. He sailed her in "slowly until close under the land,
when the ship brought up suddenly upon a reef making out into the bay. The reef
or point lies at the northern end of Bodega Bay..."  News of the wreck reached
San Francisco the following day. On July 14, 1852, the San Francisco Daily Alta
SHIP OXFORD ASHORE--The Ship Oxford. Capt. Lane, from Boston,
bound to this port, with a cargo of ice and merchandise, went ashore in
Bodega Bay Monday evening. When the messenger left Tuesday
morning, she was broadside on the beach, and imbedded 3 feet in the
sand. Her position, however, was easy and could be got off by
relieving her of some of the cargo.
The steamer Sea Bird, with the owner's agent and the underwriter's agent, reached
the wreck on the evening of July 15. They found her "hard and fast head on, with
all her spars standing and in an easy condition." Some 50 tons of cargo was taken
from Oxford and loaded on Sea Bird, but the ship could not be freed. Her masts
were cut away, but the ship could not be pulled off:
The force of the wind and heavy sea rolling in under her stern, works
her every moment farther on, while the quicksand piles up about her,
forming an embankment or bed in which she lies comparatively easy,
though we think without the slightest prospect of getting out. ...She had
not bilged and was perfectly tight... 
Over the next week, much of the ship's cargo of dry goods, liquor, provisions, and
475 tons of ice was landed with the assistance of the bark Sulla, the revenue cutter
Frolic, the steamer Sea Bird, the schooner John W. Brown, and the schooner Wm. A.
Tarleton. The crew of Frolic succeeded in pulling Oxford free of the beach on the
evening of July 18, but as "the ship on being hauled into deeper water commenced
leaking badly," Frolic's crew let up on the hawser and "let her go farther up on the
Bar."  On July 20 the steamer Sea Bird attempted to tow Oxford off after more
cargo had been landed, but failed. According to the officers of the revenue cutter
Frolic, the failure was due to "gross mismanagement" on the part of Sea Bird's
officers, who let Oxford ground twice after pulling her free of the beach. 
Meanwhile, the cargo that was landed in San Francisco from the salvage vessels had
been sold. The Daily Alta California noted on July 18 that an "assortment of
Liquors, Provisions, Dry Goods, Boots and Shoes, Just Received from the Wreck,
per steamer 'Sea Bird' and schr. 'J.W. Brown' [were being offered] for sale" by the
ship's agents. The attempts to pull the ship free having failed, the vessel was
abandoned, "the chief object of the efforts to get her down, viz., the saving of the
ice, having been accomplished."  Work to salvage the last of the cargo and strip
the vessel of usable materials apparently continued through the end of July; the last
mention was the report of the revenue cutter Frolic on July 25, which noted that
when she had last left the wreck, Oxford was nearly discharged, "having about 90
bbls. whiskey, and 100 tons ice on board." 
Oxford's hulk remained visible at the mouth of Tomales Bay for many years after
the wreck. In 1889, the Pacific Coast Pilot noted in the discussion of Tomales Bay
In 1852 the ship Oxford mistook the entrance to this small bay for that
of San Francisco, and after getting on the rocks outside of Tomales
Ridge. ..floated off, drifted into the bay over the bar with the flood tide,
and. ..grounded on the flats. ..and lay inside of Sand Point for some years.
Howard I. Chappelle, The History of American Sailing Ships. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
1935) p. 277.
Registry for the ship Oxford, Number 252, Port of New York, August 15, 1836, National Archives
Record Group 41, "Records of Merchant Vessel Documentation," Washington, D.C. Hereafter cited by
registry number, port and date of issue.
Robert G. Albion, Square-Riggers on Schedule: The New York Sailing Packets to England, France, and
the Cotton Ports (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1938) pp. 299, 276-277.
Ibid., p. 209.
Op. cit., Registry No. 170, Port of New York, Issued March 12, 1850. This registry was surrendered at
San Francisco in 1852.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. July 14, 1852.
Ibid., July 17, 1852.
Log of the United States Revenue Cutter Frolic, Capt. Douglass Ottinger commanding, July 1852, entry
for July 18. National Archives Record Group 26, "Records of the United States Coast Guard,"
Washington, D.C. Hereafter cited as Frolic log, with date of entry.
Ibid., Frolic log, July 20, 1852.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, July 24, 1852.
Ibid., July 25, 1852.
Op. cit., Davidson, p. 250.
The 84.47-ton, two-masted schooner Rachel was built by Matthew Turner at
Benicia, California, in 1892. As built, Rachel was 79.5 feet long, with a 25.7-foot
beam and a 6.7-foot depth of hold.  Rachel was wrecked on June 21, 1895,
while bound for Behler's Landing, California, with a cargo of general merchandise
from San Francisco.  Rachel stranded three miles north of the Point Reyes light
when she was sailed ashore in the heavy fog just before dawn.  The wreck was
discovered by a patrolling surfman from the Point Reyes station of the United
States Lifesaving Service, who threw a line aboard and rescued the five-man crew
of Rachel. 
A tug was dispatched from San Francisco to pull the schooner off the beach, but
"when the tug arrived she was unable to get near. ..on account of shoal water." A
line was shot on board with a Lyle gun, but pulled free. "Soon afterwards the
vessel came higher on the beach, where she broke up."  The lifesaving service
crew helped salvage Rachel's cargo: an estimated $200 worth of merchandise from a
cargo valued at $500 was pulled from the surf. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1894) p. 221.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1896) pp. 316-317.
[Eureka, California] Daily Humboldt Times. June 22, 1895.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1896) p. 186.
Ibid., p. 317.
Samoa, a typical single-ended Pacific coast steam schooner. Courtesy of San Francisco
The 377-ton, single-ended steam schooner Samoa, designed by John W. Dickie and
built by the Fulton Engineering & Shipbuilding Works, was launched at San
Francisco in 1898.  As built, Samoa was 151 feet long, with a 33.5-foot beam
and a 10.7-foot depth of hold. Samoa was propelled by a 350-horsepower
compound steam engine.  Built for J. R. Hanify, the schooner was named for a
small lumber milling town on the Humboldt Bar and was engaged in the Pacific
Coast lumber trade. Launched on February 5, 1898, Samoa underwent sea trials on
February 17 and steamed on her maiden voyage to Eureka, California, three days
later with three passengers and 113 tons of freight. The Humboldt Times of
February 22, 1898, noted that
The steamer is well-equipped throughout and has electric lights. ...She
will carry about 450,000 [board feet] of lumber. The Samoa has good
passenger accommodations for 23 cabin and 10 steerage passengers. 
Samoa escaped injury on March 3, 1900, when she struck a lumber-laden scow on
Humboldt Bay.  The steam schooner's next brush with fate also ended
fortuitously. In May 1900 Samoa was chartered for $22,500 by a group of Russian
miners seeking to mine gold on the Siberian coast, which was reported to be
"practically the same as the Nome coast, consisting of a strip of beach behind which
lies a tundra or belt of gold-bearing sand...." Samoa was to steam north to Siberia
on June 1, 1900, returning about November 1. 
In mid-September Samoa suddenly returned to Nome, Alaska. After steaming from
San Francisco, the schooner had laid in supplies at Nome, departing on August 9.
American mining engineer George Roberts, leader of the expedition, along with
Russian mining engineer A. Bogdanovitch, became suspicious of the 30 Russian
laborers shipped on board Samoa. When he learned that the 30 men were Cossack
soldiers and that they were plotting to "seize the vessel and maroon or murder the
Americans," he and the other Americans "proceeded to arm themselves heavily and
managed to conceal the remainder of the vessel's supplies of guns and ammunition.
The boat was then turned around and headed for Nome." The ill-fated adventure
ended in Nome with a squad of American soldiers guarding the would-be mutineers
as they awaited trial.  Following this adventure, Samoa was sold by R. J. Hanify
in 1901 to A. W. Beadle, a Pacific Coast lumber-trade steam-schooner builder and
operator. Beadle in turn sold the steamer to the Caspar Lumber Company in 1903.
 The Caspar Lumber Company owned Samoa until she wrecked 10 years later.
On January 28, 1913, Samoa was en route to San Francisco from Caspar with a load
Wreck of the steam schooner Samoa on Ten-Mile Beach, Point Reyes, ashore and a toal
loss on January 28. 1913. Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
of lumber and railroad ties when she ran aground in a thick fog on Ten-Mile
Beach, 600 yards south from the United States Lifesaving Service station on the
beach. The keeper of the station heard Samoa's whistle as "she made her way
slowly down the coast...." A frantic series of blasts from the whistle alerted the
lifesavers that Samoa was in trouble, and they hurried down the beach with their
lifesaving cart and breeches buoy:
Shortly after the lifesavers arrived abreast of the steamer the fog lifted
a little, disclosing her, bow on, in the breakers about 300 yards off the
beach. The seas were sweeping entirely over her and the inshore surf
was already filled with wreckage from her riven deckload of lumber. 
After two unsuccessful tries, a breeches-buoy line was shot within reach of the
stranded sailors on Samoa and they were pulled in over the surf to safety by the
life-savers and several nearby ranchers. Her keel broken, Samoa washed into shore,
twisting and breaking up. Her bow wrenched free and the hull broken into
fragments, Samoa disappeared beneath the sands of Ten-Mile Beach.
Op. cit., McNairn and MacMullen, p. 81, and op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest, May 1, 1943, p. 2.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1906) p. 298, and op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest
May 1, 1943.
[Eureka, California] Humboldt Times. February 22, 1898.
Ibid., March 4, 1900.
Ibid., May 20, 1900.
Ibid., September 14, 1900.
Op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest. May 1, 1943, p. 2.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service. (1914) pp. 106, 180-181.
The 1,215-ton clipper ship Sea Nymph was built by Reuben Fiske & Company at
Fairhaven, Massachusetts, in 1853.  The vessel, a "California clipper," made four
voyages between New York and San Francisco from 1854 to 1861, until she was
lost. On May 4, 1861, Sea Nymph was bound for San Francisco with 1,778 tons of
general merchandise. Sailing through thick fog, the ship was driving along at 10
knots when she struck Ten-Mile Beach three miles north of Point Reyes. The masts
were cut away and washed ashore. The captain fired signal guns to attract help;
several local ranchers finally gathered on the beach and aided in setting up a
breeches buoy to bring the shipwrecked crew of Sea Nymph ashore.  The
steward was drowned in the surf as he made his way to the beach; he was the only
The vessel was driven up close to the beach by the surf before she finally bedded
down in the sand. Two days after she went ashore, Sea Nymph "broke in two in
the centre, and the houses on deck were breaking up and drifting to the shore." 
On May 9, 1861, the wreck and her cargo were sold at auction in San Francisco for
$6,650; "she was bought by Mr. Benjamin, of this city. A large sand bank is
forming around the hulk, which is broken in two, and the cargo will probably be
washed ashore during to-day and to-morrow." 
Sea Nvmph's hull settled even deeper into the sand over the next few days, "which
serves to keep her from going entirely to pieces."  The salvors camped on the
beach by the wreck for 85 days, gradually gathering up unspoiled cargo that washed
out of the hulk and onto the shore and making a good profit for their efforts. 
The wreck was also lucrative for other parties; the steamship Senator left San
Francisco on May 12, 1861, for an "Excursion to the Wreck of the Sea Nymph."
For $1, passengers on Senator would be landed to walk overland to view the wreck.
"Ample time will be furnished passengers to view the wreck, amuse themselves in
fishing, etc., etc. A Splendid BAND OF MUSIC will accompany the STEAMER." 
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, Vol. II, p. 549.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, May 7, 1861.
Ibid., May 10, 1861.
Ibid., May 11, 1861.
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, p. 550.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, May 11, 1861.
The 988-ton ship Warrior Queen was built at Sunderland, Great Britain, in 1856. As
built, Warrior Queen was 186 feet long, with a 34-foot beam and a 22.7-foot depth
of hold.  The ship was built of oak and was copper-fastened, and spent her
career trading between Great Britain and New Zealand.  On July 19, 1874,
Warrior Queen was lost when she went ashore in the fog five miles north of Point
Reyes on Ten-Mile Beach just below Capt. Peter Claussen's "E" Ranch.  The
vessel was bound for San Francisco in ballast from Auckland to load grain for a
return voyage. The 27-man crew took to the boats and for the next day rowed
through wind-whipped waters in the fog to reach San Francisco. The captain
remained on board because the vessel was not in immediate danger she lay high on
the beach with only three-and-a half feet of water in her hold. 
Warrior Queen could not be pulled free. Salvors stripped the ship of sails,
furniture, gear, and provisions before turning to the hull, which had begun to break
up. "Enough can be made out of the vessel by the wrecking party to pay them for
their efforts without undertaking the job of getting her off the beach."  A
number of local ranchers salvaged what they could from the wreck, Warrior Queen
proving to be "the source of considerable profit. ..to several of our enterprising
ranchers."  Warrior Queen's timbers were "built into many a house and barn
along the neck..."  The ship's figurehead was taken to Capt. Claussen's ranch,
where it remained a prominent landmark for many years.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1872) n.p.
San Francisco Daily Alta California. July 21, 1874.
Ibid., July 31, 1874.
Jack Mason, "Ghost of the Warrior Queen," Point Reyes Historian Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 292.
Erie Douglas, Did She Care for Him? (San Francisco: Philip I. Figel, 1886) as quoted in Mason, "Ghost
of the Warrior Queen," Point Reyes Historian III (2), p. 292.
46 Albion River. 1903 ^
v Corona. 1924
48 Joseph. 1880
Two Brothen. 1883 ?-.,
fuse chart 18643)
A. C. Dutton. 1953
Marshall. 1850 ^
Volunteer. 1906 k4|i -
Isaac Reed. 1924
Shooting Star. 1861
-J I /V( +>>
VESSEL LOSSES, BODEGA BAY
Stephen A. Haller
Twelve vessels were wrecked and became total losses at the minor port of Bodega
A. C. Dutton. 1953
Albion River. 1903
Isaac Reed. 1924
Sarah Louise. 1865
Shooting Star. 1861
Two Brothers. 1883
A. C. Dutton
A. C. Dutton was the name of a barge reported to have been wrecked at Bodega
Beach in 1953.  More information about the incident was not uncovered during
the project's research.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 120.
Albion River was a wooden-hulled steam schooner built in 1902 at Everett,
Washington, owned by Robert H. Swayne and home-ported in San Francisco. The
official number was 107737; dimensions were 137.1 feet long, 31.7-foot beam,
10.4-foot depth of hold, and the schooner displaced 185 net tons and 382 gross tons.
The United States Lifesaving Service Annual Report for 1903 gives full details of
the wreck event:
Stranded about 3 a.m. at Bodega Head, 150 yards offshore and 50 miles
from station [Point Bonita], hazy weather and moderate sea. She carried
a crew of sixteen all told, forty passengers, and a cargo of general
merchandise. At 10:40 a.m. the keeper received telegraphic orders from
the district superintendent to proceed to the place of casualty, and he
immediately mustered the crew and put out in surfboat. Soon after
starting the boat was taken in tow by the tug Defiance, but the latter
being compelled to lay to for repairs off Duxbury Reef, the revenue
steamer McCulloch hoisted the surfboat at her davits, took the crew on
board, and carried them to the stranded vessel, arriving near her at 9:30
p.m. Meanwhile all the passengers and nine of the crew had been taken
off the wreck, and the lifesaving crew pulled to it in the surfboat to
rescue the others but they refused to leave. The surfmen spent the
night on board the McCulloch. which, on account of stormy weather, in
the morning put into Bodega Bay, where it was learned that the tug
SEA ROVER had taken the rest of the crew from the wreck, leaving
the master alone on board. Considering his position perilous, the
lifesavers landed in the bay, transported their beach apparatus to a point
on the shore near the stranded craft, fired a line aboard, and soon had
the breeches buoy in working order. The master, however, refused
absolutely to leave his ship. After securing the breeches buoy in place
for his escape, the lifesaving crew took some of the ship's cordage in
exchange for that left on board, returned to the McCulloch. and were
carried back to their station. The vessel finally broke up, the master
landing safely in the breeches buoy. The crews of Fort Point and Point
Reyes also started for this wreck, but were delayed by the high winds
and seas and returned to their stations when they learned that the
McCulloch had taken the Point Bonita crew to the scene of the disaster.
A personal conversation with the grandson of Albion River's part owner B. F.
Weston revealed that her owners hired a salvage crew to strip the vessel of all
machinery, hardware, and brass in order to install it on a new ship. Weston sent his
son Bill to Bodega to supervise the crew and guard against pilferage. A steam
donkey engine was set up on the bluffs [near the present location of the excavation
for Pacific Gas and Electric Company's aborted nuclear power plant], and used to
haul salvaged materials from the beach to the top of the bluff. Albion River's
nameboard is presently in the possession of Mr. Weston's grandson, who is willing to
donate it to the National Maritime Museum collection. 
The steam schooner Albion River ashore at Bodega Head, 1903.
Francisco Maritime NHP.
Courtesy of San
Personal conversation with Mr. W. B. "Bill" Weston, December 23, 1986.
Corona was built in 1918 at Neponset, Massachusetts, by Geo. Lawley for use by
the U.S. Navy in World War I as submarine chaser SC-266. As built, she was a
75-ton vessel, with an overall length of 110 feet, breadth of 13.5 feet, and depth of
hold of 5.5 feet. Vessels of this type usually had wooden hulls. In common with
other members of her class, she was powered by three-shaft gasoline engines that
drove her at a maximum speed of 17 knots. After the war, SC-266 was sold as
surplus, and refitted for a career as a fishing boat, adding four tons to her burthen
in the process. She was registered in Los Angeles, California, and carried the
official number 221444. Merchant Vessels of the United States of 1924 gives her
net tonnage as 31, her dimensions as 104.3 feet, 14.9-foot beam, depth of hold 8.3
feet, and states that she carried a crew of five. Perhaps at the time of her refitting,
she was rigged with a schooner's rig, for she was called a "gasoline schooner" at the
time of her loss.
The San Francisco Chronicle of April 24, 1924, carried the news that the gasoline
schooner Corona had burned off Bodega. Marshall states that she was a total loss,
and places the location of the disaster off Bodega Head.  Nothing further is
known about the details of this event. It is conjectured that a gasoline fire on a
small wooden vessel would leave little remains, and that perhaps only the engines
remain as tangible evidence of this event.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 120.
Henrietta was a small schooner (probably two-masted) of 63.79 tons based in San
Francisco and carrying the official number 11671. 
Mitchell, in The Commerce of the North Pacific Coast, states that the vessel and
cargo, with a combined value of $4,000, were lost when the schooner wrecked at
Tomales on December 11, 1868. The Alta California of December 15, 1868, stated
she had been bound from Tomales to San Francisco when she went ashore on
December 12, about one mile north of Tomales Bar. The cargo of 2,000 sacks of
potatoes and 500 sacks of wheat was indeed a loss, but it was thought the vessel
might be saved. The captain, who was not named, and the crew were all taken off
It is unknown if there are material remains of the wreck on the site. The incident
has a certain historical significance in that it is associated with the early coastal
trade along the California coast, and that the cargo reflected the early agricultural
nature of the Tomales and Bolinas area as a produce supplier to San Francisco.
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1867-68).
Isaac Reed was built in 1875, at Waldoborough, Maine, by A. Reed & Company of
New York. By 1878, Yates & Porterfield had joined the original owners in
purchasing shares of the vessel. She was a full-rigged ship, of the type known as
"Down-Easters," built under the supervision of the American Shipmaster's
Association, of live oak and white oak with iron and copper fastenings. Isaac Reed
displaced 1,551 tons on a hull that measured 199 feet long, 40 feet beam, and
24-foot depth of hold. 
Isaac Reed became a Pacific coaster at the turn of the century, after being bought
by J. Jenson. Her Down-East captain, named Waldo, gave way to a skipper from
the "Scandinavian Navy" named Holmgvist. Isaac Reed's career in the coastal trade
was relatively brief, however. In 1905, she joined a large fleet of vessels waiting at
Newcastle, New South Wales, for the end of a coal strike. The skipper of another
Down-Easter, the James Drummond. bet money against any other vessel that he
would make the fastest passage to San Francisco when the strike ended. When the
race came off, the British vessel Daylight came in first with a 60-day passage. The
field included such historic names as Kauliani. W. F. Babcock. and Olympic. Isaac
Reed's time was not recorded, but she came in among the also-rans. 
The Downeaster Isaac Reed, formerly a full-rigged ship but cut down to a barge in the
early 20th century, was lost at Bodega on August 20, 1924. Courtesy of San Francisco
Some time early in the twentieth century, Isaac Reed was cut down to a barge.
With only the lower sections of her three masts and a stump of a bowsprit
remaining, she continued to travel the seas, under tow, until she foundered inside or
off Bodega Bay on August 20, 1924. The location of the wreck is not known. It
may be presumed from the nonviolent nature of the wreck event that the hulk of
Isaac Reed was relatively intact when it sank. Whether subsequent natural or
human activity had disturbed the remains of the vessel is not known.
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1878).
Basil Lubbock, The Down Easters: American Deep-Water Sailing Ships (Glasgow: Brown, Son <fe
Ferguson, 1929) p. 99, 129.
Schooner Joseph, official number 75800, 65.58 tons, of the home-port San
Francisco, is listed in the 1879 Merchant Vessels of the United States. Marshall
states that a schooner named Joseph went ashore and was a total loss at Bodega
Head on May 21, 1880.  No other mention of the vessel or wreck event has been
uncovered during the course of research. However, a chart annotated about 1893 by
a noted authority on Pacific Coast navigation, George Davidson, marks the site of
Joseph's wreck at the very southern tip of the Head.
Op. cit., Marshall, p.121.
Lammermoor was built in 1874, at Port Glasgow, Scotland, by the firm of J. Reid
& Co. She was a three-masted full rigged ship, whose sleek lines and very tall rig
caused her to be referred to often as an "iron clipper." She carried skysails on all
three masts--a rig that was perhaps over-extreme, for it was not repeated on her
sisters. Lammermoor was registered at Liverpool as 1,626 net and 1,710 gross tons,
with a double-decked hull of iron that measured 260.2 feet long, with a beam of
40.7 feet and depth of hold of 23.5 feet. 
Her owners were J. Williamson and W. C. A. Milligan of the Waverly Line, two of
the best-known owners of iron clippers in Liverpool. All their vessels were named
after characters in Sir Walter Scott's stories, and they all carried lavish decorations
of scenes and portraits from the Waverly novels. Lammermoor. and two of her
sisters, Ivanhoe and Cedric The Saxon, were widely considered to be "three of the
most beautiful iron clippers that ever left the ways." 
Lammermoor was commanded first by G. Duncan, and after 1880 by J. D. Guthrie,
who commanded her at the time of her loss. Davidson's annotated wreck chart
shows the location of Lammermoor as approximately one-half mile southeast of
Bodega Head. The wreck was sold at public auction to J. P. H. Whitelaw for $750
and the cargo for $80. It was felt that he would be able to save the sails, rigging,
anchors and chains, and other articles.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1881-2).
Op. cit., Lubbock, p. 131.
Marshall was a brig, bound from Malaga, Spain, with a cargo of wine and fruit
valued at $49,000, that stranded on August 4, 1850, "somewhere in the
neighborhood of Bodega." The captain and the crew were saved, but the vessel was
presumed a total loss.  Because of the date of her loss was before tugs came to
San Francisco and could double as salvage vessels, it is a near certainty that
Marshall became a total wreck. No particulars of the vessel are to be found in
Lloyd's, the only merchant vessel register published at the time.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, August 6, 2:1.
The schooner Sara Louise (or Sarah Louisa') was mentioned in a small item in the
Daily Alta California. November 11, 1865:
Schooner Sarah Louise, Captain Bruce, from Monterey in ballast, went
ashore on Monday the 20th 21 miles NW of Tennessee Cove. She lays
high and dry and has not received any damage.
In 1875 a schooner of the same name was wrecked and became a total loss at Fish
Rock, well to the north of Bodega, between Gualala and Point Arena. It is very
likely that both incidents involved the same vessel. If so, then any material remains
lie well outside the boundaries of this study. The Daily Alta California reported
Schooner Sarah Louise dragged moorings and went ashore at Fish Rock '
on the afternoon of the 15th during the late southeaster, and became a
total loss. She was a favorite coasting schooner valued at about $6,000
and insured for $4,300.
Sara Louisa, as listed in American Lloyd's of 1875, was a 49-ton single-deck
schooner with a centerboard, fastened with iron, and built in San Francisco, in
1863. Her dimensions were 68 feet long, 22-foot beam and 5-foot depth of hold.
Shooting Star was a schooner that capsized off Bodega Bay in July 1861. The value
of the vessel was $3,650.  She may be the same vessel listed in American Lloyd's
of 1862 as having been built at Pembroke, Massachusetts, in 1860 of mixed woods,
fastened with iron, owned by Wilder & Co., displacing 153 tons, having a draft of 9
feet, and skippered by C. Ramsdell.
John H. Mitchell, The Commerce of the North Pacific Coast (Washington, D.C.: 1879) n.p.
Two Brothers was a schooner of 56.36 tons of San Francisco, whose official number
was 24487.  On April 17, 1883, while bound from San Francisco to Salt Point,
California, with an unknown cargo, she capsized off Bodega Head. The crew of
four was lost, and the vessel a total loss. It is unknown where the schooner went
ashore, if it did. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1883).
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1883) p. 373.
Volunteer was built in 1887, by T. McDonald at Hoaquiam, Washington. She was a
three-masted fore-and-aft rigged schooner, of a type sometimes referred to as
"tern-rigged." Volunteer displaced 529 tons on a hull that measured 128.4 feet long,
with a 38.9-foot beam and 12-foot depth of hold. She was constructed of oak,
yellow pine, and cedar, with iron and copper fastenings. 
On June 4, 1906, while bound from San Francisco to Coos Bay, Oregon, she was
wrecked off Bodega Head. Two children, the sons of Capt. Brissin, lost their lives
in the disaster, as did a seaman named P. C. Nilson. 
The exact nature of the wreck event and the disposition of the wreckage is
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1906).
Coast Seaman's Journal, June 13, 1906.
' / \ / ; AATIOHAL MARINE
Y / Ipmtptted area ' '
Benevol.nf t| ion a, N^^ 5 *) / If
j Yf *" "<i YF 0735. 1945
VESSEL LOSSES, FARALLON ISLANDS AND NOONDAY
Stephen A. Haller
The Farallon Islands, 26 miles west of the Golden Gate, has been the site of 18
wrecks, two of which were lost in the vicinity of the islands or in the shipping
American Bov. 1890
Annie Sisie. 1871
Helen W. Almv. 1897
Henry Bergh. 1944
Helen W. Almv. 1897
Morning Light. 1868
Puerto Rican. 1984
YF #734 and YF #735. 1945
American Bov was a U.S. schooner built in 1882, at Seabeck, Washington Territory,
by Hiram Doncaster. Some confusion occurs because a schooner on the ways at
Hans Bendixen's Fairhaven, California, shipyard in 1876 was to have been
christened American Bov. but apparently was not.  American Bov of 1882 was a
two-masted schooner of 183 tons, built of yellow fir (probably Douglas Fir), and
fastened with a combination of iron and copper. Apparently she was well
maintained, for she was surveyed in San Francisco in 1885. 
She was first owned by William Smith, and later from 1888 on by S. H. Harmon,
both of San Francisco. She was engaged in the lumber trade, with a home port of
San Francisco. In 1886, her captain's name was Nelson, a common name for a
sailor on that coast. 
On the morning of November 4, 1890, while southbound from Gray's Harbor,
Washington, with a cargo of lumber, she went ashore on the North Farallones
during a fog. The vessel and cargo were a total loss. The vessel was only partially
insured; the crew took to the boat and were picked up by a tug.  The historical
record gives no indication of the exact site of the wreck, nor is there any record of
salvage at the site either shortly after the wreck event, or by sport divers in later
Op. cit., Martin, pp. 90, 333.
Op. cit., Record of American and Foreign Shipping (1886).
Op. cit., Martin, p. 206.
Annie Sisie was an American full-rigged ship built in 1856 at Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, by G. Raynes. She was constructed of quality materials: white oak with
essential fastenings of copper and iron. Her dimensions were 182 feet long, with a
36.5-foot beam and depth of hold of 23.5 feet. She displaced 1,030 tons on a
full-shaped hull with two decks and a half-poop. She was surveyed in California by
a marine surveyor accredited by Lloyd's in October of 1865, and re-metalled (most
likely with copper sheathing) at that time. 
Annie Sisie was owned by Sise & Chase, with homeport at Portsmouth. In 1866, the
captain's name was Shields. It seems the ship carried general cargoes, for she has
been reported as carrying both railroad iron for the Central Pacific R.R. and coal at
the time of her wreck.
On September 18, 1871, the Daily Alta California reported that Annie Sisie went
ashore on the west-end reef of South Farallon Island, with all sails set and anchors
hanging by the shank painters. She proceeded to go to pieces. People from the
Farallons reported having found the ship's log book and chronometer boxes, but the
chronometer was missing and the cabin had been "well cleared out."
The West Coast Signal reported that her captain's name was Tucker, that he seemed
to have "lost his way reckoning completely," and that "a mystery overhangs the
disaster." By September 27, the wreck had been sold to the Pacific Wrecking
Company for $500.  Presumably the owners of the wreck attempted to make
good on their investment, but no further references to historic or recent salvage
activities at the site have been uncovered.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's (1866).
Op. cit., Martin, p. 65.
Benevolence was a U.S. Navy hospital ship converted from the U.S. Maritime
Commission standard C-4 type cargo vessel launched as Marine Lion.  She was
built at the Sun Shipbuilding Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, and launched on
July 10, 1944. Within the month Marine Lion was transferred to the U.S. Navy for
conversion to a hospital ship. That work was carried out at the Todd-Erie Basin
Shipyard at Brooklyn, New York, and completed by May 12, 1945, at which time
the vessel was commissioned into the U.S. Navy as Benevolence (AH- 13).  Her
displacement was 13,330 long tons, and her dimensions were 520 feet long, 71-foot
beam, and 21-foot-3-inch depth of hold. Vessels of her class were powered by
dual-cylinder steam turbine engines, and could make 18.5 knots. 
Benevolence spent the waning weeks of World War II tending to those sick and
wounded in operations against the home islands of Japan, and entered Japanese
waters shortly after the cease-fire in order to begin processing of liberated Allied
prisoners of war. She was on station near Bikini Atoll during the 1946 atomic
bomb tests, and went to China in 1946-47 for her last cruise before inactivation.
Benevolence was removed from the reserve fleet in 1950 and refitted at Mare Island
Naval Shipyard for service in the Korean War. On August 25, 1950, she completed
a series of routine test runs outside the Golden Gate. Proceeding in a generally
easterly direction in the main ship channel at a speed of 16 to 18 knots, she entered
a fog bank, but continued as before since her radar screen clearly showed five
ships, but none near enough to be a hazard. Suddenly, the freighter Mary
Luckenbach appeared out of the fog, and in spite of evasive action by the hospital
ship, cut into her port side. Water poured into the 20-foot by 30-foot hole, the
ship listed to port, and began to settle by the bow. Her captain immediately
requested assistance by radio, but assumed that the vessel would remain afloat, and
gave no order to abandon ship. However, Benevolence sank within 40 minutes. 
Two crews had been aboard: one of Navy personnel, the other made up of civilians
being trained to take over--526 persons in all. Many struggled in the cold water
for hours, as a fleet eventually totalling about 40 rescue vessels combed the foggy
ocean for survivors. In all, 18 people lost their lives in the area's worst maritime
disaster since the wreck of Rio de Janiero in 1901. 
An extensive investigation disclosed some curious particulars that contributed to the
disaster: Luckenbach's radar was not in use at the time of the collision, in spite of
the fog; reports of her speed at the time varied from 8 to 16 knots. Capt. Leonard
C. Smith of Luckenbach testified that he ordered his vessel to drop anchor after the
collision, and that he remained in that location for an hour and a half, hearing no
distress signals, without attempting to contact Benevolence by radio, and without
lowering lifeboats. He had concluded "that the damage to the hospital ship was all
above the water line and that she was proceeding into port." 
The hull of Benevolence came to rest on its port side, in 74 feet of water,
approximately one mile south of the main ship channel. It is located 4,250 yards
from Mile Rock, bearing 252 degrees true. The white hull with its red crosses was
clearly visible at low water, and was deemed a hazard to navigation. Unable to
raise the vessel, the wreck was dynamited in 1952 to clear the obstruction. More
than 50 feet of water now covers the remains of Benevolence.  It is therefore
unlikely that significant structural sections, or objects retaining their original
provenience, will presently be located at the site.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. 1, p. 115.
Corps of Engineers Specifications: SC-2, manuscript at the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
San Francisco Progress, January 21, 1977.
San Francisco Examiner, August 27, 1950.
San Francisco Chronicle. August 30, 1950.
Letter; C.O. 12th CG Dist. to Mr. Frank Power: April 11, 1960.
Bremen has an unusual and fascinating story. Built in 1858 at Greenock, Scotland,
by Caird & Company, she had an iron hull and weighed 2,687 net tons, and her
dimensions were 328 feet long, beam of 40 feet 2 inches, and depth of hold of 33
feet 4 inches. She was originally fitted with a steam engine of now-unknown
characteristics (unknown because she does not appear in Lloyd's at that time).
Plying the route between Bremen and New York, she was found to burn too much
coal, and the engine was removed about 1870. Re-rigged as a ship, she sailed under
the "red ensign" out of Liverpool for the firm of E. Bates & Sons. 
The two recorded voyages of Bremen were both from Liverpool to San Francisco
with full cargoes of coal. It is likely that California grain was the return
cargothat was a common pattern and both known voyages were intended to
arrive in California about harvest time. Bremen became notorious in San Francisco
when in 1875 she arrived in port after a hellish voyage with a crew more dead than
On February 6, 1875, she cleared Liverpool with a crew consisting of her captain, a
man named Leslie, three mates, a carpenter, carpenter's mate, three apprentices, one
able-bodied seaman, 36 "colored" seamen, and two stowaway boys (one was the
captain's son, who was running away from home).
Six days out, Charles Purvey, one of the black seamen, reported sick. He was sick
indeed, for an examination showed that his "lungs were completely gone," and in
spite of treatment with cough pills, he died. Despite treatment of lime juice,
sickness increased among the crew until, in superstitious panic, one watch "in open
revolt" refused to do their duties, the ringleader threatening to "cut the mate's lip
off." It took the force of the armed captain to restore discipline. Two men were
put in irons for a week on rations of bread and water.
Heading south to round Cape Horn, the black seamen became more and more
demoralized as the passage grew colder. Panicking, they refused treatment of lime
juice and turnips. Symptoms of scurvy appeared, in spite of fresh messes twice a
week that included sago, rice, arrowroot, oatmeal, and fresh meat. In all, 12 blacks
and one white died on the gruesome 121-day passage to San Francisco. Bremen was
christened a "floating coffin" by the local press. 
Seven years later, under Capt. Dougal, Bremen was approaching San Francisco in a
heavy fog, 118 days out from Liverpool. At 1:00 a.m. on October 16, 1882, the
captain was about to give the order to heave to and wait for better visibility, when
the cry of "breakers" and "land" was heard. The ship went head-on to the northwest
side of South Farallon Island, the after part going underwater and the vessel
"striking heavily" in a severe swell. All hands were saved.
The bark Bremen, lost in heavy fog on South Farallon Island on October 16, 1882.
Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime NHP.
Bremen went ashore within a short distance of where the American ship Franconia
had been lost, and in very similar circumstances. As in the previous wreck, reports
indicated that at no time was the whistle of the Farallon Island Light Station to be
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1882).
San Francisco Daily Alta California, August 18, 1875.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, October 17, 1882.
Champlain was built in 1874, at East Boston, Massachusetts, by the firm of Malcom
& Brooks, who had a reputation of building good ships. Owner John M. Brooks
had previously been foreman for six years at Donald McKay's legendary shipyard.
Champlain was built for W. H. Kinsman & Co. of Boston. She was a wooden vessel
of the type known as "down-easters," her displacement was 1,473 net tons, and her
dimensions were length of 216 feet, beam of 40 feet, and depth of hold 24 feet.
Champlain's career was short-lived. Her maiden voyage was to Bombay and Madras.
The passage to Bombay was fast enough to set a record, from Madras she proceeded
to New York and took aboard a general cargo for San Francisco. She cleared port
on February 15, 1875, in company with five other fast ships, and would have beat
them all into the Golden Gate by as much as 40 days, but for the fates that drove
her ashore on the Farallons. 
One hundred twenty-one days out, Champlain entered a dense fog bank. She sailed
on for two more days when "the lookout uttered the fearful cry of 'breakers ahead'."
After she struck, orders were given to take to the boats, while the vessel slid off
the rocks and began to rapidly settle. Capt. Reuben Merril and 16 others in a
longboat had the misfortune to pull up under the bow of the ship just as a swell
lifted the boat. Simultaneously, the ship's bow came down, and the martingale stay
smashed the boat, killing the captain and mortally wounding a seaman. The
survivors were picked up by the schooner Mendocino.
The ship's fully insured cargo was listed in great detail, and makes a fascinating
itemization of the seaborne trade of the times: ash, boxes, bottles & jars, bolts,
boots & shoes, bitters, copperas, chairs, cork fenders, coal, candles, cocoa mats,
crucibles, earthenware, emery, galvanized iron pipe, gas fixtures, glassware, iron
pipe, iron, ink, tobacco, marble, nails, oil cloth, oak plank, paper hangings, pipe
staves, pitch, paper, peppers, pumps, rosin, stoves, starch, spikes, tin, tar, trunks,
tiles, whiskey, and wine. 
The wreck was sold in short order for $500 to one N. Bruns, whose "first and
principal job is to find her." It was presumed that "she has gone to the bottom of
the sea." The search by the tug Neptune was a very unpleasant one for several of
those who participated. "One was so disgusted that he immediately made his will on
his return, and another who thought he saw the ship with a main spenser set, was
sufficiently excited by a spirit of 'true inwardness' to offer up all of his effects to
the god who rules the 'briny deep.' Both have since recovered, and are again useful
members of society." 
No further records of any salvage activity on the hulk of Champlain have been
found, and the exact whereabouts of this interesting wreck is a mystery.
Op. cit., Fairburn, Vol. 5, p. 2969.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, June 19, 1875.
Ibid., June 22, 1875.
Franconia was "among the Down-Easter type of sailing vessels built subsequent to
the Civil War." She was built in 1874, at the Bath, Maine, shipyard of William V.
Moses & Sons. William and his brother Oliver were prominent Bath shipbuilders, in
business there since at least 1842. 
Franconia was a staunch vessel, constructed of oak and hackmatack (or yellow pine)
fastened with copper and iron. She was of "full model" with two decks and a
half-poop, ship-rigged, displacing 1,461 tons, with dimensions of 207-foot-6-inch
length, 40-foot-6-inch beam and 23-foot depth of hold. She appears to have been
a well-maintained vessel, for she was surveyed in Liverpool in 1875, and
re-metalled in 1878. 
She had been engaged for seven years as "a general trader to South America, India,
and the ports of the far east," when she was wrecked at the Farallon Islands on her
first passage to San Francisco.  Under Capt. William H. Otis, who had been her
master since at least 1876, and who had been calling at San Francisco since Gold
Rush times when he was the master of the ship Rome. Franconia was inbound to
the Golden Gate in a thick fog. By dead reckoning she should have been off Point
Reyes, when, without warning, the vessel struck Middle Rock, and land was spied
all around. Within 15 minutes she found herself "hard and fast on a sandy beach in
a bight on the northwest side of the island." The captain, his wife, the entire crew
of 21, and all their effects were safely landed and kindly cared for by the
Government employees of the island of South Farallon, the scene of the wreck.
The cause of the wreck was ascribed to the fog whistle, which was not heard either
before or after the accident. The nature of Francorua's cargo was unspecified, but
it was noted that it was valuable, worth $250,000, and consigned to John Rosenfeld.
The reports received in San Francisco indicated that "nothing can be done to save
the ship and she has started to break up. ..and portions of her cargo were going
ashore..." The next day the newspapers reported that a good deal of salvage,
probably including the ship's sails, rigging, and spars would be secured, and that
"the purchaser can, without doubt, if he works to advantage, make a good and quick
turn on his investment." It is not known for certain, however, just how thoroughly
this hulk was scavenged, either at the time, or later by sport divers. 
Op. cit., Fairburn, Vol. IV, p. 2493.
Op. cit., American Lloyd's (1876).
Op. cit., Fairburn, Vol. Ill, p. 1693.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, June 27 and 28, 1881.
Helen W. Almv
Helen W. Almv was built in Fair Haven, Connecticut, in 1859. She was constructed
of oak, fastened with iron and copper, measured 117 feet in length, 29 feet in
beam, had a 12-foot-9-inch depth of hold, and displaced 299 tons.  Her rig is
variously described as a bark or a barkentine. After coming to San Francisco, she
participated in the trades up the coast with the California and Oregon Packet Line,
 and to the South Sea islands, under owners unknown. She was last surveyed in
San Francisco in 1890.
Under Capt. William J. Hogan, a former "down-easier" from Maine, she was fitted
out in San Francisco to take gold-seekers to the Alaska gold rush in 1897. The
owner, K. C. Eldridge of San Francisco, insisted that she leave port against the
better judgement of the captain, who feared a coming storm. More than 200
passengers and crew lost their lives the night they sailed. The vessel was found
floating capsized and abandoned the following day. The exact circumstances of the
disaster will forever remain unknown.
More than 20 years later, in a curious aftermath, fishing trawler Ituna snagged its
nets on a wreck in 47 fathoms of water "at a point nearly midway between Point
Reyes and the North Farralon island." That wreck was believed to be the Helen W.
Almv. although the article does not state how the identification was made. 
American Bureau of Shipping Record (1897).
Op. cit., Fairburn, p. 44.
San Francisco Examiner, February 14, 1919.
Henry Bergh was a freighter of the U.S. Maritime Commission's standard type
EC-2, built at Henry J. Kaiser's Permanente Metals Corporation Yard No. 1 in
Richmond, California, and launched in June 1943. In common with all liberty
ships, Henry Bergh had a registered gross tonnage of 7,176 and displaced 14,125
tons on a hull that measured 441.5 feet in length, 56 feet 11 inches in beam and
depth of hull of 37 feet 4 inches. Liberty ships were constructed largely of welded
steel that had been sub-assembled and brought together at the shipyard in order to
take advantage of mass-production methods. Henry Bergh's triple-expansion steam
engine (24.5 x 37 x 70" bore x 48" stroke) was manufactured in Sunnyvale,
California, by Joshua Hendy Iron Works. Henry Bergh was one of 33 of the
5,000-plus liberty ships built that were fully converted to troopships. Such
conversion involved installation of berths for an official capacity of 504 persons,
provision of evaporation plant and galleys, heavy-lift equipment, strong rooms and
equipment storage areas, and extra lifeboats and liferafts. 
Henry Bergh was owned by the War Shipping Administration, operated by the
Norton Lilly Company, and chartered to the U.S. Navy for use as a transport. On
the final voyage, she was bound to San Francisco from the South Pacific, overloaded
with 1,300 sailors returning from the war, as well as a crew of nearly 100. By the
pre-dawn hours of May 31, 1944, she had been cruising through thick fog for 36
hours. Unknown to the captain, Joseph C. Chambers, his allowances for current
and wind were in error. Bergh had set to the north by nearly 10 miles, and was
heading straight for South Farallon Island at 1 1 knots. A faint whistle heard at 4:55
a.m. was wrongly assumed to be that of a passing ship, and the vessel continued on
her way for five minutes, when a faint whistle was heard again, and almost
immediately land was spied dead ahead. In spite of prompt evasive action, she ran
hard aground on jagged rocks about 200 yards offshore, and the exertions of her
engines full astern could not budge her. 
Although Henry Bergh's SOS had been received in San Francisco at 5:05 a.m. and
help had been immediately dispatched, it was evident that none would arrive for
some hours, and that abandoning ship was in order. The weather was fairly calm,
and "the abandonment was so orderly it was more like a drill," one veteran
remarking later, "after what we went through in the war,.. .this morning was mild."
Passengers were shuttled ashore 25 at a time in each of the vessel's eight lifeboats,
and by the time the first rescue craft had arrived on the scene at 8:00 a.m., 600
men had been landed. By early afternoon, all hands had been safely picked up. A
volunteer crew remained on board as a tug attempted without success to haul Henry
Bergh off. Her hull had cracked at the No. 4 hatch by the time the last man
aboardthe captain--had left.  The rescue of every man on board Henry Bergh
was a remarkable achievement. Only two men were injured, and 35 required
hospitalization for exposure.  But for luck and good discipline, the toll might
have been much greater.
In the aftermath of the wreck, an investigation was held by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Its findings were that Capt. Chambers had failed to properly plot his vessel's course;
proceeded at an unsafe speed through the thick fog; failed to use navigational aids
available, including taking soundings; and permitted his passengers to be so noisy, as
they celebrated their imminent return home, as to interfere with the hearing of his
lookouts. He was demoted to the rank of First Mate. 
Photographic evidence indicates that Henry Bergh rapidly broke into three sections.
The hull forward of the bridge is shown hard ashore on South Farallon the day
after the wreck, while the stern and the bridge sections lay partially submergedthe
bridge just offshore, and the stern hung up on a reef about 200 yards away. 
The position of the wreck has been given as 37 degrees 45 minutes north latitude,
123 degrees minutes west longitude. Salvage efforts at this site have not been
found in the historical record, so presumably the remains are present at the site.
L. A. Sawyer and W. H. Mitchell, The Liberty Ships (London and New York: Lloyd's of London Press,
1985) pp. 124, 191.
Ships and the Sea Quarterly, Summer 1957, p. 49.
San Francisco Chronicle, May 31, 1944.
Op. cit., Ships and the Sea Quarterly, p. 51.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 1, 1944.
Ibid., June 10, 1944.
Op. cit., Ships and the Sea Quarterly, p. 24.
Independence is listed in the California State Library index as having an entry in
the Daily Alta California of March 13, 1868, but upon inspection of that issue, no
mention of the vessel was found. She does not appear in any vessel registers around
1868, and no further information about the vessel or the supposed wreck event was
found during the course of research.
Labouchere was built in 1858. Sources give the place of her construction as either
London  or "the Clyde."  Labouchere was built of "oak and teak. ..a staunchly
constructed vessel," and measured 190 feet in length, 26 feet 1 inch in beam with a
depth of hold of 14 feet 9 inches, and displaced 507 tons.  Labouchere's 160
horsepower steam engine was thought to be "very superior, being built for the Great
Exhibition in London in 1851, at which they took the highest prize." Prize-winning
engines notwithstanding, Lnbouchere was considered to be "of small size and a slow
Labouchere entered service with the Hudson's Bay Company under Capt. J. Trivett.
London was her home port. Before the end of the decade, however, she had come
out to California, presumably lured by the expansion of commerce on the Pacific
Coast in the wake of the Gold Rush. In late 1865 or early 1866, she commenced
running between Victoria, British Columbia, and San Francisco. Her second voyage
on that run ended in disaster.
Under the command of W. A. Mouat, Labouchere stood away from the Howard
Street Wharf at 6:00 p.m. April 14, 1866, with approximately 100 passengers and a
full load of general cargo on board consigned to Falkner, Bell & Co. In calm but
foggy weather, she proceeded north at nine knots until Point Reyes was sighted
without warning, only seconds ahead, "the abrupt rocky shore towering threatening
above them, while the breakers roared around them." The location was stated to be
"at almost the exact point at which occurred the disastrous wrecks of the Oregon
and Northerner some years since." Labouchere "backed off the reef into deep
water, and the engines were put under full steam in order to keep the pumps--four
in numberrunning. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the steamer was not headed
back for San Francisco, but continued to run around in the open water outside
Point Reyes all night, the damage being, at first supposed, so slight, as to not
necessitate the abandonment of the trip."  However, early on the morning of the
15th, a new leak was reported and water began to gain rapidly on the pumps. Capt.
Mouat now ordered the boats launched and the passengers taken ashoresome eight
miles distant. A number of "toughs" on board attempted to rush the boats, but were
stopped by a shot from the captain's revolver. Eight boats were launched, but one
was upset by the ship's gangway and two men were drowned. Fortunately for the
23 men still on board, the Italian fishing smack Andrew now hove into sight and
took all hands off just before Labouchere made her final plunge. Soon all that was
left in sight was her deck cabin, recently installed in San Francisco, which floated
free as the vessel went down. All the survivors in the boats made shore, and were
kindly cared for at the ranch of Mr. Flood and family near Point Reyes until the
tug Rescue was dispatched from San Francisco to pick them up.
The lack of a precise location in which Labouchere went down and the deep water
in the general vicinity make the likelihood of salvage activity at the site remote.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1858-59).
San Francisco Daily Alta California, April 20, 1866.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1858-59).
San Francisco Daily Alta California.
Louis was a vessel with an interesting history. Built at North Bend, Oregon, in
1888 by John Kruse, she was laid down as a steamer, rigged as a schooner with five
temporary masts, and sailed south to San Francisco for installation of engines. She
therefore became the first of her rig to sail on salt water (as well as later becoming
the first five-mast schooner to circumnavigate the world). The temporary rig
performed so well, however, that the engines were never put in. Louis displaced
831 net tons, and measured 193 feet 8 inches with a 36-foot beam and 18-foot
depth of hold, and had two full decks. She was constructed of cedar, with iron and
copper fastenings.  It is said that two of her masts were stepped off-center to
give her a greater spread of sail while running before the wind. 
The Simpson Lumber Company of San Francisco was her owner throughout her
career, which was largely spent hauling lumber from the Northwest to the
population centers of the Pacific Basin. In November 1902 she left South Bend,
Washington, bound for East London, South Africa, which she reached seven months
and a day later. From there, she continued east to Newcastle, Australia, and
Lahaina, Hawaii, finally arriving at South Bend in October 1903. Her coastal
passages took her as far north as the Aleutian Islands and as far south as Redondo,
California. Twice she had brushes with disaster. She struck heavily on the bar
while being towed out of Willapa, Washington, harbor in 1904, causing her to leak
10 inches per hour throughout her voyage. In 1906, while being towed into San
Francisco, she collided with the British ship Clan Galbraith and had her jiggermast
carried away, the cabin stove in, and bulwarks, rail, and starboard side badly
damaged. Although exact dates are not known, her captains at various times were
Haskins, Meyer, A. J. Hatch, and (lastly) Dyer. 
Her final voyage was from Gray's Harbor, Washington, when bound for San
Francisco with 900,000 board feet of railroad ties. She never arrived. The
particulars of the disaster are recorded in the Annual Report of the United States
Life-Saving Service for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30. 1907:
Stranded at 2:30 a.m. in dense fog, about 30 miles WSW of stations.
Moderately rough sea. Reported by Merchant's Exchange and by
Weather Bureau. Both (lifesaving) crews (Fort Point and Point
Bonita) were immediately mustered for service, and upon arrival of
the tug Sea Queen they were taken in tow for the Farralon Islands,
where the wreck had occurred. The schooner was found fast ashore,
full of water, and in danger of going to pieces at any moment. The
master refused to leave her, so the lifesavers rigged up a breeches
buoy between her and the island. By evening the sea had made up
so that the master was persuaded to leave; 5 were taken ashore in the
breeches buoy and 5 in the ship's boat. The surfboat crews were
then towed back to port. The schooner went to pieces that night. 
Records of the Marine Exchange of San Francisco confirm that Louis went to
pieces, and offer the further information that the location of the wreck was at
"Franconia Beach" on the "West end of Island."  The ship Franconia was lost in
1881 at "a sandy beach on the northwest side of the island," meaning, in context,
South Farallon Island.  The occurrence of any salvage activity at the site is
unknown. Considering the floatable nature of the cargo and the fact that she soon
went to pieces in heavy weather, it is unlikely that such activity took place after the
wreck event. The impact of sport divers on the site is unknown.
Op. cit., Lloyd's Register (1905-06).
Op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest. June 14, 1941, p. 2.
Op. cit., Marine Exchange Index Cards.
Op. cit., United States Life-Saving Service (1907) p. 166.
Op. cit., San Francisco Marine Exchange Index Cards.
Daily Alta California: June 27, 1881.
Lucas was built in 1828 at Castine, in the Penobscot Bay region of Maine. Castine
was a busy shipbuilding port from 1810 to 1857. Lucas was constructed of white
oak and hackmatack, had dimensions of 102 feet long, 25 feet in beam, 12-foot
depth of hold and was rigged as a full-rigged ship. 
At the time of her loss, Lucas was owned by her captain, a man named Dagget, and
Leonidas Haskell, an early San Francisco merchant and squatter at Black Point, now
Fort Mason. The ship had left Victoria, British Columbia, with 180 passengers on
board, most disappointed gold-seekers from the rush at the Frasier River. Running
south for several days in the fog without aid of accurate sightings, she struck a rock
in the dead of night, and broached to as the ocean swells hit her. An attempt to
free her by kedging the anchor failed, and people commenced to abandon ship by
boat, by swimming, and by ropes brought a "few hundred yards" to shore by
swimmers, as the "crew worked nobly to save the passengers."
Within an hour of running on the rocks, only the topsail yards of Lucas were
visible, and daylight revealed that the ship had run upon "Seal Rock" to the
"southward and eastward of the main Farallon Island, distant about 300 yards." The
keepers of the recently established Farralon Island Lighthouse cared for the
survivors to the best of their ability until the U.S. Survey Steamer Active picked
them up. Between 15 and 30 people lost their lives. The Alta California reported,
"as near as we can learn, this is the first vessel lost on these islands." 
The next day, the Alta California's reporter described the scene of the wreck:
Salvage activity at this site is not known, and it is presumed that
sport diver activity at the site has been limited, because of the
prevalence of sharks in the area. 
Op. cit., Fairburn, Vol. V, p. 3459.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, November 12, 1858.
Ibid., November 13, 1858.
Little is known about the sloop Melvina beyond what appeared in the Alta
California of February 1, 1868:
The sloop Melvina from Bolinas, with a load of wood, sprung a leak,
filled with water and capsized on January 29th and drifted off the
Farallones. The crew were rescued by the schoner Horace, bound in
from Tomales, and brought into port after being on the vessel's
bottom 24 hours.
In the 1850s and 1860s, before roads of any sort connected west Marin County with
San Francisco Bay, Bolinas gained prominence as a port where lumber and cord
wood, cut on the northern slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, was lightered out to small
locally built sailing vessels for the brief voyage into the Golden Gate. Although
short, such a voyage was obviously not without risk. The story of the Malvina is an
episode in this significant early trade.
Morning Light was a schooner lost on the Farallon Islands in 1868. Although two
schooners named Morning Light are listed in American Lloyd's for 1868, both were
East Coast vessels built in 1855 and 1856, and surveyed in New York as late as
1862. It is possible, but unlikely, that one of those vessels came around Cape Horn
to the West Coast. Probably Morning Light was a small schooner, locally built for
the early lumber trade and was lost before her name appeared on any of the
published vessel registers. The particulars of her loss, scarce as they are, and the
size of her cargo seem to support this conjecture.
Morning Light, under Capt. Stevens, was bound south from the Russian River with
50,000 feet of lumber destined for the firm of H. B. Tichnor & Company when she
sprung a leak and was abandoned near the Farallon Islands. The weather was foul,
and the newspapers reported that it was the "roughest storm in many years" as the
crew took to a boat. The boat was able to make South Farallon Island, where the
crew was rescued by the lighthouse crew. The water-logged schooner was driven
by southeast winds until she went ashore on North Farallon Island, where she was
presumed to be a total wreck. 
It may be assumed that a vessel adrift in such conditions would have came ashore
on the south or southeast side of the island. In all likelihood it was quickly
smashed to pieces. Perhaps some of the larger iron fittings remain near the shore,
but no references have been found.
San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 20, 1868.
Noonday was a fine medium clipper ship built in New England for the California
trade. Howe and Matthew's American Clipper Ships contains such an excellent
narration on this vessel that it is worth including at length:
Medium clipper ship, built in 1855, by Fernald & Pettigrew, at
Portsmouth, N. H., for Henry Hastings of Boston. She had fuller
lines and was somewhat larger than the Midnight, a product of the
same builders in 1854, for the same owner. The Noonday was 200
feet in length, with a beam of 38 feet-6 inches, depth of hold of 23
feet-6 inches; 1,189 tons old measurement; deadweight carrying
capacity, 1,500 short tons; capacity for weight and measurement
general cargo for California, about 2,100 tons. She was a
fine-looking ship and carried only one skysail, the main.
On her maiden voyage, under command of Capt. William Blackler Gerry, whose last
ship, the Cahota. had been sold at Calcutta in 1854, the Noonday sailed from
Boston, October 17, 1855, and arrived at San Francisco March 4, 1856, in a passage
of 139 days. The Noonday completed three other passages from eastern ports to San
Francisco, being lost on the fourth when about to take her pilot near the Farallon
Islands. Capt. Brock, who had her on her second passage, reported on arrival out,
May 13, 1857, that this run was 117 days from Boston. Her next arrival out was on
February 10, 1860, Capt. Henry, formerly in Romance of the Seas in command;
passage, 126 days from Boston. In 1861, reaching San Francisco, August 26th, Capt.
Henry reported being 146 days from New York....
Her first two voyages were completed by her return east from San
Francisco, via Calcutta. On the second, she was forced to put into
Batavia, August 1857, for repairs, having struck a rock near the
Banda Islands. It was found that 50 feet of her keel had been
knocked off and a hole stove in her bottom. In 1860 she took guano
from Callao to Hampton Roads, in 85 days.... In 1861 the Noonday
loaded wheat and other California products for London and made the
passage from San Francisco in 117 days.
On Jan. 1, 1863, the Noonday was approaching the entrance to San Francisco
harbor, 139 days out of Boston, weather clear, sea smooth but with a long swell on,
the ship under all sail to main skysail and topgallant studdingsails and making 9 to
10 knots. When about eight miles west of the North Farallon, she struck a rock but
glided clear. The shock was not sufficient to carry away any of the spars or
rigging. However, her bottom had been stove and she immediately started to fill.
Capt. Henry and his crew had only time to save a portion of their effects and take
to the boats before the ship sunk in 40 fathoms. The pilot boat Relief, some two
miles distant, picked up all hands. It appears that the rock that caused the disaster
was covered by 18 feet of water; its existence was known to pilots but it had not
been charted; it subsequently received the name of Noonday Rock.
The Noonday had 2012 weight and measurement tons of general cargo, which with
the vessel, was estimated worth about $450,000. It is noted that the Midnight met
her fate in the Banda Sea, not far from where the Noonday narrowly escaped being
wrecked in 1857, some 20 years later. 
In spite of the depth, there were apparently some attempts made to salvage her
cargo, in some reports valued as high at $600,000. The steamer Active sailed from
San Francisco on January 3, 1863, with the intent of grappling for the hulk and
attaching hawsers. The results of that attempt are unknown.  In more recent
times, Noonday's bell was recovered, quite by accident, when a trawler Junto
dragged her net across the site of the wreck while fishing near the Farallons. 
The wreck of Noonday had a more beneficial sequel, however, than simply the
application of a new name to the rocks formerly known as Fanny Shoal, according
to the Marysville Daily Appeal:
The United States schooner William L. Marcv arrived in port last
evening, having been absent since the 26th inst. in search of the
mysterious Fanny Shoal, which was found and located by the officers
who had the Marcv in charge. ..the Department at Washington will be
immediately telegraphed to in regard to the survey of the shoal, after
which will be published an account of the survey, when the correct
bearings, distance, soundings and all other particulars will be given
that will be of service in preventing another Noonday disaster and
the loss of any more $400,000 cargoes! 
Op. cit., Howe and Matthews, Vol. 2, pp. 441-443.
Marysville Daily Appeal. January 4, 1863.
Unknown San Francisco newspaper, April 20/??.
Marysville Daily Appeal, February 1, 1863.
Puerto Rican was built in 1971 at Sparrows Point, Maryland. She was a
chemical-product tank vessel of 34,684 deadweight, 20,295 gross, 15,922 net tons,
measuring 632.3 feet long, 90.1 feet in beam, with a 45.8-foot depth of hold. She
was powered by a steam engine delivering 13,600 horsepower using oil for fuel. 
Originally owned in trust by the Banker's Trust Company of New York, she was
operated at the time of loss by the Keystone Shipping Company of Philadelphia,
Under master James C. Spillane, Puerto Rican arrived in San Francisco Bay on
October 25, 1984, and called at Richmond and Alameda. She loaded a cargo of
91,984 barrels of lubrication oil and additives, took on 8,500 barrels of bunker fuel,
and departed for sea shortly after midnight on October 31, bound for New Orleans.
At 3:24 a.m., as she was disembarking the pilot outside the San Francisco Bay
Entrance Channel, an explosion occurred near the No. 6 center-independent tank,
which blew flames several hundred feet into the air, knocked the pilot and two
crew members into the water, and folded back an immense section of the deck
measuring nearly 100 feet square. The pilot boat San Francisco rescued pilot James
S. Nolan and third mate Philip R. Lempiere, but able seaman John Peng was lost.
Response by the Coast Guard was immediate, and the burning tanker was towed to
sea in order to minimize the chance of a disastrous oil spill on the sensitive areas of
San Francisco Bay, the adjacent ocean shoreline, and the Gulf of the Farallones
National Marine Sanctuary. By the following afternoon, the fires had been
extinguished, but on November 3, Puerto Rican. her hull weakened by explosion
and fire, broke in two sections, releasing 30,000 barrels of oil into the water. The
stern section, containing 8,500 barrels of fuel oil, sank at 37 degrees, 30.6 minutes
north latitude and 123 degrees, 00.7 minutes west longitude, one mile inside the
boundaries of the sanctuary. The remains at a depth of 1,476 feet have been
thoroughly surveyed by side-scan sonar. Oil still leaks slowly from the vessel.
From November 6 through 15, an intensive cleanup program worked to minimize
the effects of Puerto Rican's cargo on the environment of the area. More than
1,000 sea birds died from the oil, but the disaster could have been greater if not for
the cooperative efforts of various government agencies, corporate bodies, volunteer
groups, and private individuals.
On November 18, the forward section of Puerto Rican was towed to drydock at
Triple-A Shipyard in San Francisco, where the cargo was removed and the vessel
was made seaworthy. On April 6, 1985, the remains of Puerto Rican were towed to
Taiwan where she was scrapped. 
Op. cit., Merchant Vessels of the United States (1980).
USCG, Marine Safety Office; "On Scene Coordinator's Report, Tank Vessel Puerto Rican Explosion and
Oil Pollution Incident, San Francisco, California, 31 October 1984".
Sierra was built in 1916, at Hoquiam, Washington, by the Matthews Shipbuilding
Company. She was a wooden-hulled double-ended vessel of the Pacific Coast type
commonly known as steam schooners. In her case the term is somewhat misleading,
for Sierra was fitted out with two Bolinder diesel engines and twin screws instead
of traditional steam power. 
She was owned by the E. K. Wood Lumber Company of San Francisco, the firm
that first owned C. A. Thaver. Like Thaver. Sierra was intended for the coastal
lumber trade, but the great range of her diesel engines allowed the ship to carry
lumber as far south as Valparaiso, Chile, where it was exchanged for nitrate
In the foggy early morning hours of February 7, 1923, Sierra collided with the
Matson Navigation Company's passenger liner Wilhemina near the San Francisco
lightship. Her lumber cargo kept her afloat, however, and a 45-degree list righted
itself as the hold filled with water. Sierra was towed slowly into San Francisco by
the tug Fearless, where her $150,000 worth of damage was repaired. Sierra had a
long career that ended when she deteriorated on the tidal flats of Lake Union,
Reports that she was wrecked at the Farallones are incorrect, and no material
remains of this vessel should be anticipated within the area of this study.
Op. cit., Lyman, The Marine Digest, July 3, 1943, p. 2.
Hughes, "Sierra," in The American Neptune, October, 1965, p. 288.
YF #734 and YF #735
YF #734 and YF #735 were U.S. Army barges that are mentioned in Marshall as
having "foundered in heavy weather off the Farallons" on March 22, 1945. No
additional data on this incident has been found.
Op. cit., Marshall, p. 92.
MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
James P. Delgado
The remains of five shipwrecked vessels are known to be exposed periodically by
seasonal winter beach erosion in the project area. Neptune. King Philip, and
Reporter's remains are sometimes exposed on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, and the
remains of SS Pomo are occasionally visible on Limantour Spit in Drakes Bay.
Artifacts from the wreck of SS Tennessee are sometimes found on the beach at
Tennessee Cove. Scavenging and collection of artifacts from the Ocean beach
wrecks are not known to have occurred, although an unknown person did saw the
end from an exposed frame in the bow of King Philip in 1983; this is the only
recorded act of vandalism at the site.
A more serious problem exists with the remains of SS Pomo. The exposed remnant
of a portion of the vessel's hull which lies at the base of the cliffs immediately
south of Drakes Beach has been burned apparently as a beach campfire--on more
than one occasion. The fires have caused the destruction of the knees, some of the
ceiling planking, and charred frames. Other hull remains that lie on the beach at
Limantour Spit have escaped burning, probably because they are only occasionally
exposed by erosion. 
The remains of SS Tennessee have apparently been collected from the beach at
Tennessee Cove for years; unverified oral tradition insists that brass artifacts,
including a builder's name-plate, have been pulled from the surf and sand in years
past. Artifacts exposed on the beach have been noted and recovered by National
Park Service staff whenever possible; it is likely that the discovery of artifacts by
park visitors occurs more frequently and is unreported. In summer 1986 a park
visitor recovered a fragmentary iron double-bar chainplate and deadeye, apparently
from SS Tennessee, from the rocks of Tennessee Cove. The artifact was presented
to park rangers and is now in the park collections at the National Maritime
Museum. Other maritime artifacts that have either washed ashore or become
exposed on the beaches in Golden Gate National Recreation Area have been
scavenged by park visitors; the sternson of an unidentified mid-nineteenth century
vessel exposed on the beach at Rodeo Lagoon in 1981 was in the process of being
stripped of its yellow metal fastenings by visitors when park maintenance workers
recovered the piece, which is now in the park collections at the National Maritime
Museum.  At Point Reyes National Seashore, park visitors occasionally recover
exposed porcelain fragments from the 1595 wreck of San Agustin. Some of these
pieces have been turned over to the park staff and are now in Point Reyes' museum
collection; others may be in private hands. Visitors have recovered additional
maritime artifacts from Point Reyes shipwrecks in past years; in the early 1960s, the
donation to the Marin County Historical Society of a deadeye still attached to a
strap-iron chainplate fragment of late nineteenth or early twentieth century vintage
inspired uninformed speculation that it was left behind by Francis Drake in 1579.
Several hundred artifacts, including spikes, "a striker pin from a pistol, a sailmaker's
awl, rectangles of amber, china shards, glass fragments and trade beads" have been
recovered from the shallows of Duxbury Reef at Agate Beach over the past few
years by San Rafael resident George Epperson. Epperson believes that the artifacts
he has salvaged, and which are now in his possession, are evidence that Francis
Drake landed at the site in 1579, when Drake was known to have made a California
landfall. Others, notably former California Historical Society Trustee and President
Robert H. Power, believe the discovery of artifacts "suggests that an Elizabethan
expedition [other than Drake's] reached the Bolinas area." Another possible
explanation is that the materials come from a more recent shipwreck on Duxbury
Reef, perhaps Samuel S. Lewis (1853) or Polaris (1912). 
The extreme environmental conditions of the Gulf of the Farallones, the North
Pacific Coast, and San Francisco Bay, as well as the area's reputation as a breeding
and foraging area for the white shark, generally limit sport diving activity in the
project area. Nonetheless, some sport diving has taken place that has included the
collection of artifacts from shipwrecks. Sport divers have allegedly collected
artifacts from the wrecks of Drumburton and James Rolph at Point San Pedro. The
Pacifica Sea Lions diving club salvaged an anchor from the wreck of James Rolph
that was donated to the City of Pacifica in 1962 and now stands in front of City
Hall in Pacifica.  Two wreck diving brothers visited a number of shipwrecks in
the project area, apparently locating and salvaging brass, copper, and other artifacts
from Samuel S. Lewis on Duxbury Reef. They also dove the wreck of City of New
York off Point Bonita and recovered artifacts, two of which, a sheave and a
deadeye, were donated to the San Francisco Maritime Museum.
The wreck of the American-Hawaiian freighter SS Qhioan in 1936 was followed by
more than a year of intense salvage effort. Nevertheless, when the vessel finally
broke up in the surf a number of fittings remained in the wreck, the most valuable
being a 10-ton manganese bronze propeller in cargo hold No. 4. In September 1973,
the San Francisco Examiner reported that
Lt. Jim McDermott and Bill Norton of the [San Francisco] fire department
will be doing a lot of scuba diving below Sutro Baths, not for fun, but
The goal of the two men was the propeller from Ohioan's No. 4 hold: "Look
down. ..at Land's End and you can still see the Ohioan's boilers sticking out of the
water." According to the story, McDermott held title to the ship, a relative of his
having purchased the wreck with the hope of raising the propeller. "But nothing
came of it. That's the ambitious project of the two fire department scuba divers 37
years later"  The propeller was not salvaged, but the story attracted other divers
to the wreck, and, whenever conditions have been safe, local divers have visited the
On March 7, 1982, United States Park Police and Golden Gate National Recreation
Area rangers from the park's Ocean District halted a partial salvage of Ohioan's
remains. The salvage vessel Cosmos, owned and operated by George K. Purvis of
San Francisco was anchored over the engine room of the wreck when observed by
park rangers. Because a permit had not been issued by the California State Lands
Commission for the salvage of the wreck (which lay inside park boundaries but
which was under State jurisdiction), the rangers and Park Police stopped the salvage
and escorted Cosmos to Pier I, Fort Mason, where 28 salvaged pieces of wreckage
were unloaded and taken into custody by the National Park Service.  The
recovered artifacts included copper steam pipe with brass flanges, bronze shaft
bearings, and brass valves.
Subsequent to the seizure of the Ohioan artifacts, the California State Lands
Commission authorized the National Park Service to "hold such items pending a
more formal arrangement between the Commission and your agency and the
Commission's issuance of a salvage permit to the salvor pursuant to its regulations."
 In May 1982 the State Lands Commission issued a permit to the salvor
retroactively authorizing the salvor to remove the recovered artifacts. Under the
provisions of the permit, 25 percent of the artifacts was retained by the State. The
State Lands Commission authorized the National Park Service, through the Service's
National Maritime Museum, to select "historically significant" artifacts for the
museum's collections. Those artifacts which the museum selected would then
constitute the State's percentage. Eight artifacts were placed in the museum's
The salvage of artifacts from the historically significant remains of SS Ohioan. and
the State's subsequent decision to sanction the salvage of a submerged cultural
resource on tidelands and submerged lands (within the park's boundaries but as yet
not transferred to the National Park Service) spurred park officials to seek review
of State actions and, ultimately, review of the management of the park's shipwreck
resources. A public agency general permit from the State Land Commission for the
purpose of managing the submerged tidelands within Golden Gate National
Recreation Area was drafted and signed in 1987.
SS City of Rio de Janeiro
The first attempt to locate and salvage the wreck of SS City of Rio de Janeiro
began soon after the ship sank. In 1901 the "Rio Wrecking Company" was formed
and later incorporated to locate and salvage the wreck. According to the company's
prospectus, on March 14, 1901, "Capt. John Ross, assisted by Capt. J. J. Sullivan, in
company with sub-marine divers Thomas Olsen and John McLaughlin, began the
search in the harbor of San Francisco for the location of the lost steamer."  The
goal was the cargo, which the company listed as $1,200,000 of "silk, opium,
cocoanut oil, tin, silver in bars...." The prospectus also noted "rumors of treasure".
Of the various rumors regarding the treasure, it is fair to assume the steamer carried
for her own special use $20,000 in gold. Reliable information states the Collector
of Customs at Honolulu shipped $35,000 in gold coin. Newhall & Co. insured
treasure to the amount of $35,000. It was rumored from a reliable source on the
day of the sinking of Rio that treasure amounting to $250,000, consigned to the
banks of this city, was lost. 
"We feel perfectly safe," the prospectus said, "in stating. ..that we think we have
located the wreck of the steamship Rio in 21 to 23 fathoms of water, where the sea
is rough and choppy, the currents strong, and where diving will be difficult." 
The Rio Wrecking Company failed to back up its claim. Since then, numerous
searches and occasional "discoveries" of the wreck have been announced. In 1913,
diver Herman Stelzner, "inventor of a new diving device, went down 128 feet. ..in
the vicinity of Mile Rock, and saw the shadow of a hull which he believes to be
the remains of the. ..Rio de Janeiro. ...The Rio's cargo included a large shipment of
raw silk, the value of which is doubtful, after 12 years submersion. There was also
a shipment of tin, which might be worth recovering. ...The only money known to be
on board is locked up in the purser's safe." 
, - . '
.A. .- , ^. t _r.
Side-scan image of the intact hulk of City of Rio de Janeiro, located in over 300 feet
of water in the Golden Gate channel in 1986. Courtesy of Seagamb, Inc. and the
California State Lands Commission.
In May 1924 the government dredge Culebra. deepening the San Francisco channel
five miles west of the Golden Gate, struck an obstruction thought to be "an old
hull. ..the wreck of the Pacific Mail Steamship Rio de Janeiro, which sank. ..with a
loss of 131 lives and $1,500,000 in treasure...."  The wreck was again "located"
in 1937 by Santa Barbara diver Bill Wood, who claimed he found the ship lying
upside down in the shallows between Mile Rock and Land's End with holes in her
hull "big enough to pass a rail car through." Wood supposedly pulled a brass plaque
from a lifeboat that read "Rio de Janeiro- -Capacity 20 Persons." Wood stated he
made no attempt to salvage the wreck because "she contained nothing of value...."
But newspaper reports of Wood's discovery stated, "There have been persistent
reports over the years. ..that the vessel carried $5,000,000 in gold into the murky
depths of the Golden Gate."  The same year former Postal Inspector William
Madeira claimed to have deposited $75,000 in gold coin on board the vessel. While
doing so, he said, he noted stacks of Chinese silver bars worth nearly $2,000,000
lying in the steamer's vault. Madeira's claim spurred other efforts to locate the
wreck of City of Rio de Janeiro.
In May 1946 a highly publicized hunt for the wreck one and a half miles southwest
of Mile Rock led to a mound of sand that covered a wooden hulk in the vicinity of
Seal Rocks. The divers attempted to excavate the sand mound but finally
abandoned their efforts to locate the wreck and her treasure of "five million dollars
in gold bullion."  In 1955, a group led by William A. Pomeroy claimed to have
found the City of Rio de Janeiro inside the Golden Gate, lying on her side in 100
feet of water off Angel Island. Pomeroy's divers were reportedly making daily
dives on the wreck, searching for precious cargo. "She carried with her to her
grave at least $2,000,000 in gold bars and bullion, silver, and gems."  Nothing
came of Pomeroy's quest.
In the 1950s, Oakland diver Al Mikalow began to claim that he had found the
wreck off Angel Island. Mikalow to this day  periodically announces his
intent to salvage the wreck. In May 1985, he again stated his plans to excavate the
bay bottom to reach the ship, noting "I've been chasing the Rio since 1950. ..I know
what's in there. It's taken this long to build the proper equipment and raise enough
money. ...[I will have to go] through about 60 feet of water and 60 feet of sand...."
In October 1985, the California State Lands Commission received a permit
application from Seagamb, Inc., a group of individuals not associated with Mikalow.
Seagamb claims to have located the substantially intact wreck of City of Rio de
Janeiro in the Golden Gate channel in the vicinity of Point Diablo, and have
provided side-scan sonar images to support their claim, along with tracking data
drawn from historical accounts and tide and current charts.  The State Lands
Commission deemed the application complete on November 27, 1985, but as yet has
not granted a permit for the salvage of the wreck.
The most recent salvage attempt of a historic shipwreck within the study area
concerns the remains of the earliest known wreck, San Agustin. Lost in 1595
during Sebastian Cermeno's exploratory expedition, San Agustin has been the center
of numerous unauthorized secret searches by private individuals. The 1982 National
Park Service/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration submerged
cultural-resource survey of portions of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine
Sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore may have located the remains of the
vessel, but test excavation of a number of promising anomalies is required.
Considerable media attention devoted to the NPS/NOAA survey focused public
interest on the wreck of San Agustin and ultimately attracted Florida salvage-hunter
Robert F. Marx to Drakes Bay.
To finance excavation, Marx has contacted potential investors under the aegis of
Phoenician South Seas Treasures, Ltd. The investors would be compensated with
"non-unique duplicate" artifacts. Marx was provided with copies of federal
legislation and regulations governing external archeological work in National Park
Service areas, notably the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). Marx,
after reviewing the ARPA materials, filed a suit in United States District Court to
arrest the wreck of San Agustin under the provisions of Admiralty law, a common
legal device used by salvors seeking absolute control of shipwrecks. 
Marx's admiralty case ultimately was dismissed. Meanwhile, claiming that the wreck
may actually lie more than one-quarter mile offshore and hence not within
NPS-controlled submerged lands within Point Reyes National Seashore, Marx filed a
successful application with the California State Lands Commission for a lease of
submerged lands immediately outside the park. Marx's permit would allow him a
one-year lease on a 20-acre parcel for survey purposes. If San Agustin is found,
Marx would then apply for another permit to allow him to excavate the shipwreck.
Under the provisions of State law, Marx would not have to comply with the
archeological standards recognized by federal law and would keep 75 percent of all
recovered artifacts or be compensated for their value by the State. 
At the time of writing, Marx's permit application has been approved by California
State Lands Commission staff, despite a variety of technical deficiencies and
archeological ethics issues raised by NPS, NOAA, and the California Office of
Historic Preservation. A permit is required from NOAA for Marx to conduct his
search because the permit area, while not within NPS jurisdiction, does lie inside
the boundaries of the national marine sanctuary. Marx's NOAA permit application
is currently under review. A decision on this permit request is still pending at press
Samuel S. Lewis
Minor salvage of the remains of SS Samuel S. Lewis, wrecked off Duxbury Reef, is
known to have occurred within recent years. The wreck was apparently located by
two wreck-diving brothers, who removed a number of large brass valves and other
artifacts for scrap. They showed their finds to shipwreck historian/diver David
Buller of Pinole, California, who managed to purchase many of the artifacts for
their scrap value and save them. Buller retains the artifacts in his private collection.
The threat of salvage of Samuel S. Lewis was exacerbated with the publication of an
article by John Grissim in the April 26, 1984, edition of the Point Reyes Light.
Grissim informed his readers that Lewis's purser's safe, containing "19th century
U.S. gold coins worth at least half a million dollars lie in less than 30 feet of
water...." Grissim told the story of the wreck, and concluded with an estimate of
where the ship lies, and an invitation to his readers to find the wreck. In response
to Grissim's article, then Sanctuary Manager Peter J. Gogan, in a letter to the editor
published in the Point Reyes Light June 7, 1984 edition, noted that research had
shown the safe had been salvaged from the ship after the wreck and that the site
lay within the sanctuary, making such salvage illegal: "Sanctuary regulations prohibit
the removal or damage of any historical or cultural resource." Rumors of
unauthorized searches for the wreck of Samuel S. Lewis occasionally circulate but
have not been verified.
James P. Delgado, "Erosion Exposed Shipwreck Remains, Winter 1982," in Larry Murphy, ed.
Submerged Cultural Resources Survey. Portions of Point Reyes National Seashore and Point
Reyes-Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Phase 1 Reconnaissance. Sessions 1 and 2. 1982.
(Santa Fe, New Mexico: National Park Service, 1984) pp. 179-185, passim.
Ibid., p. 179.
[San Rafael, California] Independent Journal. April -, 1966.
Robert H. Power, "Maritime Artifacts in Marin: A Historic Whodunit," California Historical Society
Courier. February 1984, p. 9.
Richard Tooker, National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, personal communication, September 1986.
San Francisco Examiner. September 27, 1973.
National Park Service Case Incident Record, Case 002358, March 7, 1982. United States Park Police,
San Francisco Field Office files.
Leslie H. Grimes, California State Lands Commission, to United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, April 5, 1982.
Anonymous, Rio Wrecking Company (San Francisco: Marshall Printing Company, 1901).
Ibid., p. 3.
Ibid., p. 7.
San Francisco Call, October 18, 1913.
San Francisco Chronicle. May 19, May 20, 1924.
San Francisco News, February 21, 1938.
San Francisco News. May 18, 1946.
Fred Storm, "Seeking the Golden Gate's Sunken Treasure," San Francisco Examiner. April 3, 1955.
San Francisco Chronicle. July 27, 1985.
Seagamb, Inc., Salvage and Research Design for the S.S. City of Rio de Janeiro. (Lafayette, California:
Seagamb, Inc., 1985)
San Francisco Chronicle. February 11, 1986, April 11, 1986, October 29, 1986; [Bolinas, California]
Coastal Post. November 10, 1986; Sacramento Bee. December 1, 1986.
Proposed Salvage Permit and Salvage Proposal, W 23816, Files of the California State Lands
1. Continue Detailed Historical Research
This report consists of summary statements of vessel characteristics, historical
contexts, and circumstances of loss. Exhaustive historical research into all wrecks in
the study area should be continued to provide in-depth analysis of the significance
of these resources. Constant searches for graphic materials, such as ship plans,
paintings, and photographs, as well as artifacts associated with these vessels, should
be undertaken. The existing information files for shipwrecks in the study area
should be maintained and expanded as research continues.
2. Archeological Survey
Physical archeological surveys of the submerged areas of the Gulf of the Farallones
National Marine Sanctuary, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Point Reyes
National Seashore should be accomplished. Survey efforts should include remote
sensing with magnetometers, side-scan sonar, and the use of remote-operation
vehicles (ROV) in deep areas such as the waters surrounding the Farallon Islands
and the Golden Gate channel. In other areas, ground-truthing by divers should be
undertaken. Basic-level mapping of exposed shipwreck remainsas was done in the
survey of portions of the sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore in
1982--should be accomplished for each wreck encountered. Sites located and
identified should be listed in the California Archaeological Sites Inventory;
NPS-administered sites should also be listed in the computerized Cultural Sites
Inventory (CSI) and the shipwreck inventory of the National Maritime Initiative.
As much information as possible should be gathered to nominate shipwrecksas
individual properties, districts, or thematic groupsto the National Register of
The following list is a priority order for survey efforts based on potential threat,
accessibility, and potentially significant wrecks:
1. Duxbury Reef
2. Ocean Beach
3. Lands End
4. Farallon Islands
5. Fort Baker/Fort Barry
6. Fort Point
7. North Marin Coast
8. Bodega Bay/Tomales Bay
9. Ten-Mile Beach
3. Site Specific Surveys
Detailed site mapping and assessment activities should be commenced (and in some
cases continued) for the following shipwrecks:
1. SS Tennessee
2. SS Samuel S. Lewis
3. SS City of Rio de Janeiro
4. SS Ohioan
5. SS Frank Buck/Lyman Stewart
6. King Philip
National Register nominations should be prepared as soon as possible for Samuel S.
Lewis and City of Rio de Janeiro. Documentation of Pomo should begin as soon as
possible to architecturally document the scattered remains of the vessel on the
beach, accurately plot the locations of the wreckage, assess geomorphological
processes, and hypothesize a natural site-formation process for the shipwreck.
4. Test Excavation
The anomalies recorded during the 1982 submerged cultural-resource survey of
Drakes Bay should be selectively test-excavated to determine the nature of the
subsurface remains of shipwrecks and to attempt to identify and locate remains of
the 1595 Spanish Manila Galleon San Agustin.
5. Collections Management
The National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, is in critical need of a permanent
full-time conservator and a conservation facility, in order to adequately treat and
maintain artifacts from marine environments that are currently in the museum/park
collections, and to provide a support base for the recovery of endangered or
test-excavated shipwreck materials from park or sanctuary waters.
Additional exhibits on shipwrecks and submerged cultural resource management in
the parks and sanctuary will enhance public understanding, appreciation and
support. Specifically recommended are:
a. A permanent exhibit on shipwrecks and maritime archeology at the National
Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
b. Reinstallation of the SS Tennessee exhibit at the Marin Headlands Visitor
Center, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
7. Increased Public Interpretation
Other interpretive devices should work hand-in-hand with exhibits in museums and
visitor centers to foster public interest and support of submerged cultural-resource
significance and management. Specifically recommended are the following:
a. Additional wayside exhibits for shipwrecks at the following locations (or
wrecks): King Philip/Reporter: Mussel Rock; Point Bonita; Slide Ranch
(Elizabeth): Ten-Mile Beach; Point Reyes Light; Limantour Spit.
b. Continuation and expansion of existing ranger and VIP-led interpretive talks
c. Preparation of video documentaries with local groups/media to document
the historically unique or significant shipwreck events and also document
submerged cultural-resource-management projects, such as survey and
identification of shipwreck resources.
d. Publications to assist in the interpretive effort. Trail guides for exposed
shipwreck remains in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Lands
End area should be prepared. A popular-style, well-illustrated book,
Shipwrecks of the Golden Gate, which discusses history and archeology,
should be written and sold. Reprints of first-hand shipwreck narratives of
survivors and picture postcards of historic wreck views should be published
e. Wherever possible and safe, shipwreck locations should be buoyed and
wreck trails laid out to encourage sport diver use and appreciation of these
8. Maritime Archeology VIP Program
An active public participation in shipwreck research, archeology, and interpretation
should be commenced in each park and at the sanctuary, perhaps operated by the
National Maritime Museum through the Volunteer-in-Park (VIP) Program. The
public is extremely interested in management of underwater sites, and should be
encouraged to participate. The public is extremely knowledgeable, helpful,
cost-effective, and supportive. Sport diver and other public participation in
shipwreck management activities at Isle Royale National Park and other areas has
proved beneficial, not only to the work at hand but also to the long-term
preservation of the shipwrecks.
9. Park Dive Team Establishment and Training
Each park should have in-house dive teams with submerged cultural resource
management components prepared to work on specific projects year-round and to
form a working group when external assistance through academic organizations, the
United States Navy, or the National Park Service Submerged Cultural Resource Unit
becomes available. The possibility of a combined dive team jointly funded and
staffed by the two parks and the marine sanctuary could also be considered.
Adequate dive training for depth, current, and limited visibility work is needed, as
well as training in submerged cultural-resource research and knowledge of naval
architecture/maritime culture. Maritime/naval training can be conducted through
internships in cooperation with the National Maritime Museum, San Francisco,
which could offer the same opportunity service-wide and to National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration staff as well as to staff of other local, state, and federal
agencies involved in submerged cultural-resource management.
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Marine Exchange (San Francisco), "Marine Disaster Ledger," unprocessed
manuscript, National Maritime Museum, San Francisco.
O'Starr, Max L., "Immigrant Steamer: The Story of the Rio de Janeiro: The Life,
Death, and the Wake of a Ship," 1975. Unpublished manuscript, J. Porter Shaw
Library, National Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California.
Seagamb, Inc., "Salvage and Research Design for the SS City of Rio de Janeiro."
Lafayette, California, 1985.
San Francisco Newspapers:
San Francisco Bulletin
San Francisco Call
San Francisco Call-Bulletin
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Daily Alta California
San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Illustrated Daily Herald
San Francisco News
San Francisco Progress
Coastal Post (Bolinas)
Daily Humboldt Standard (Eureka)
Daily Humboldt Standard (Eureka)
Humboldt Times (Eureka)
Independent Journal (San Rafael)
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Tribune
Marysville Daily Appeal
Sacramento Bee (Sacramento)
Weekly Humboldt Times (Eureka)
Weekly Times-Telephone (Eureka)
West Coast Signal (San Francisco)
Other Newspapers and Periodicals:
The American Neptune
Daily National Intelligencer (Washington. D.C.)
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (New York)
Sea Classics Magazine
New York Daily Tribune
New York Herald
Overland Monthly (San Francisco)
Ships and the Sea Quarterly Magazine
PUBLISHED REPORTS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SOUTHWEST CULTURAL
*No. 1. Murphy, Larry, James Baker, David Buller, James Delgado, Roger Kelly, Daniel Lenihan, David
McCulloch, David Pugh, Diana Skiles and Brigid Sullivan, Submerged Cultural Resources Survey:
Portions of Point Reyes National Seashore and Point Reyes-Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary
(Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, 1984)
*No. 2 Carrell, Toni, Submerged Cultural Resources Inventory: Portions of Point Reyes National Seashore and
Point Reyes-Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, 1984).
No. 3 Bearss, Edwin C., Resource Study: Lyndon B. Johnson and the Hill Country. 1937-1963 (Division of
No. 4 Bearss, Edwin C., Historic Structures Report: Texas White House (Division of Conservation, 1986).
No. 5 Holmes, Barbara, Historic Resource Study of the Barataria Unit of Jean LaFitte National Historical Park
(Division of History, 1986).
No. 6 Burke, Steven M., and Marlys Bush Thurber, Southwest Region Headquarters Building, Santa Fe, New
Mexico: A Historic Structure Report (Division of Conservation, 1986).
*No. 7 Carrell, Toni, Submerged Cultural Resources Site Report: NOQUEBAY, Apostle Islands National
Lakeshore (Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, 1985).
*No. 8 Lenihan, Daniel J., Toni Carrell, Thorn Holden, C. Patrick Labadie, Larry Murphy, Ken Vrana,
Submerged Cultural Resources Study: Isle Royale National Park (Submerged Cultural Resources Unit,
No. 9 Ambler, J. Richard, Archeological Assessment: Navajo National Monument (Division of Anthropology,
No. 10 Speaker, John S., Joanna Chase, Carol Poplin, Herschel Franks, R. Christopher Goodwin, Archeological
Assessment: Barataria Unit, Jean LaFitte National Historical Park (Division of Anthropology, 1986).
No. 11 Ivey, James E., Marlys Bush-Thurber, James T. Escobedo, Jr., Tom Ireland, The Missions of San
Antonio: A Historic Structures Report and Administrative History (Divisions of Conservation and
No. 12 Coleman, Roger E., The Arkansas Post Story (Division of History, 1987).
*No. 13 Carrell, Toni, James E. Bradford, and W. L. Rusho, Submerged Cultural Resources Site Report: Charles
H. Spencer Mining Operation and Paddle Wheel Steamboat, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
(Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, 1987).
*No. 18 Delgado, James P., and Stephen A. Haller, Submerged Cultural Resources Assessment: Golden Gate
National Recreation Area and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes
National Seashore (National Park Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1989).
*These reports deal with submerged cultural resources.