Passenger Lists: San Francisco 1800s  
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Humboldt

(Also noted as Humbolt and Alexander von Humboldt)

There seem to be more than one vessel named Humboldt; with the exception of Huntington's writings, there are no other mentions of a early 1800s vessel named Alexander von Humboldt.

  • June 21, 1849, Weekly Alta California, San Francisco, California: Hamburg ship Humboldt was purchased 12th March for $60,000 to take passengers for San Francisco.
  • July 26, 1849, Weekly Alta California, San Francisco, California: SHIP HUMBOLDT: Considerable alarm is felt as to the fate of the passengers on this ship. We learn she was spoken by the steamer, and had the ship fever on board. The accounts from Panama, said that she had four hundred passengers when she left that port. The report that she had arrived, and had the cholera on board is incorrect.
  • 1853: Humboldt was launched by the New York & Havre Steam Navigation Company, which apparently was was formed by the Bremen Line "owing to a disagreement among the subscribers of the first American mail company, some of whom wished to make Havre, rathern than Bremen, the European terminus. She went down in 1853.
  • 1878 article: The article (excerpted below) indicated that the "Alexander von Humboldt was a Dutch bark."
  • 1906: Another source: "Alexander von Humboldt was a German sailing ship built in 1906 by the German Shipyard AG Weser at Bremen." She was converted to a three-masted barque by a German shipyard and re-launched as "Alexander von Humboldt."

Excerpted from an out-of-print-publication "The Inside Man: The Life and Times of Mark Hopkins of New York:

Hoping to get a jump on the large number of gold seekers, Huntington and his group planned on crossing the Isthmus. Arriving in New York, they booked passage on the paddlewheeler Crescent City, which left March 15, 1849. They decided to cross the Isthmus, which was then quite dangerous.

Huntington secured passage for 260 passengers for $2,600, payment to be made only after they reached Gorgona. (Another source indicates that they left with 365 passengers plus crew.) The group, who was mainly from the Oneonta area of New York, had failed to secure advance tickets for the Pacific leg of the trip and were stranded at Panama City.

Through careful machinations, Hopkins was able to pull together $3,000 and secure pasage on the Dutch bark, Alexander von Humboldt, which was overloaded but reached San Francisco after 100 days' travel up the Pacific.

Arrive San Francisco

August 30, 1849

At 10 o'clock on the morning of August 30th, passed through the historic Golden Gate, and at 12 o'clock noon anchored in front of the town, 102 days out, the entire trip from the Est having consumed from six to eight months, instead of weeks, as most of us expected. We lay near the old man-of-war Warren, and when the consignee came aboard and requested that we be moored nearer shore, Captain McArthur said, "This, this vessel will remain under the guns of that man-of-war until the money is paid ot those who advanced it to reprovision and water this vessel."

Three cheers were given for the Captain, and Dr. John F. Morse offered a series of resolutions thanking the officers, and exonerating them from all blame in the matter.

On September 1, 1849, we all went ashore, ouir boat landing on the corner of Montgomery and Washington streets.

October 1, 1849, Weekly Alta California, San Francisco

List of Vessels in the Port of San Francisco

On August 30, 1849, the N. G. sp Humboldt, Captain Lasso, 101 days from Panama.

December 26, 1849, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

Vessels Advertised: The Ship Humboldt, 849 tons register, three and a half years old, is offered for sale on favorable terms: Simmons, Hutchinson & Co.

1878: Collis P. Huntington of New York offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

Resolved: That we whose names are hereto subscribed mutually pledge each to the other that we will once a year, on the 30th day of August, lay aside all other business o rpleasure and meet together as "Humboldters" to celebrate by a suitable banquet the old memories attached to our voyage to this State . . .

Capt. McArthur 
Jonathan Kittridge 
R. E. Raimond
James Irvine
Dr. J. W. Morse
D. W. Hunt
Richard Kirby
Addison M. Starr
Isaac E. Davis
I. B. Lewis, Petaluma
A. A. Bennett
Levi P. Bashford
Mattingly, Mg. Eng.
H. Ickelheimer
R. E. Cole 
C. P. Huntington
S. W. Shaw
Mahlon Spaulding
W. W. Light
R. B. Turner
A. B. Perkins
Benj P. Flint
John Wright
W. R. S. Taylor
Jas. Anthony
John Clar
R. E. Hendricksen
J. H. Alvord
A. M. Kenaday, Wash., D. C. 
J. E. Gordon

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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