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Very Important Passengers

San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.

Pder Sather

Peder Sather. Karen Sveen.


Peder Sather, a farmer’s son from Norway, emigrated to New York City in 1832. Born in Trondhjem, Norway, on September 17, 1810, Sather was a fisherman before emigrating to New York in 1841.

There he started up as a servant and lottery ticket seller before opening an exchange brokerage, later to become a full-fledged banking house.

When gold was discovered in California, banker Francis Drexel offered Peder Sather and his companion, Edward Church, a large loan to establish a bank in San Francisco.

June 3, 1851, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

NOTICE— The undersigned do hereby certify that they have formed a general partnership in this city, under the firm of Drexel, Smher A Church, for thea transaction of a Banking, Exchange and Commission Business, the said partnership commencing from May 1st, 1851, and to continue for the term of five yeas.

FRANCIS M. DREXEL, Philadelphia,
EDWARD W. CHURCH, S.Francisco.

DREXEL, SATHER & CHURCH, Bankers, Post Office Building, cor Clay st and the Plaza, office located in Atwil's Music Store until further notice. Exchange for sale in sums to suit on the Atlantic cities and other prominent points throughout the United States.

From 1863 Peder Sather was the sole owner of the bank and in the late 1860’s he had become one of California’s richest men.

Peder Sather was California’s most successful and prominent Norwegian's before his death in 1886. His financial achievements were remarkable: the 1870 census taker recorded the value of his real estate at $400,000 and his personal fortune at $400,000. Born in Trondhjem, Norway, on September 17, 1810, Sather was a fisherman before emigrating to New York in 1841.

In 1850 he and his money brokerage associate, Edward W. Church, went to San Francisco, where they established a banking office in a wooden shanty built on piles over the water of the bay, so that they could be among the first to meet incoming ships. As business grew, so did Sather’s reputation for sound business practices, "commercial probity and solidity." Finally absorbed by the Bank of California in 1910, Sather’s business was the only banking company organized in San Francisco during the 1850’s to continue business into the twentieth century.

Peder Sather was a public-spirited man, a philanthropist and an eager supporter of public education on all levels and for both sexes. In 1860 he was elected member of the Board of Trustees of The College of California in Oakland. This board worked to establish the first university in California, today’s University of California, Berkeley. Thus, he became one of the founding fathers of this institution. Being deeply engaged in equal rights of blacks in the U.S., Peder Sather also supported an end to slavery, and helped secure housing, work and education for freed slaves after the Civil War. Today Peder Sather’s name is memorialized by the Sather Gate and the Sather Tower at the UC Berkeley campus.

December 29, 1886, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


Death of a Prominent San Francisco Banker at Oakland

Peder Sather died at his residence, 664 Twelfth street, Oakland, about 4 p.m. yesterday. He retired from active business about three months ago, and has since been under the care of physicians. The cause of his death was miliary apoplexy.

Deceased was a prominent business man of this city, having been for more than thirty-five years engaged as a banker. He was born in Norway about 1815, and came to America when quite young. He entered the banking house of Drexel & Co., in Philadelphia, and remained there until 1854, when he came to San Francisco with Edward W. Church, a fellow clerk, and started the banking house of Drexel, Sather & Church.

During the financial panic of 1857 the firm suspended for a few months, but soon regained as Sather & Church, Mr. Drexel having withdrawn. Mr. Church died some years later, and since then Mr. Sather has carried on business alone, though the firm name is still Sather & Co. Deceased was a man of sterling worth, anad no one stood higher in mercantile circles. He leaves a widow and two daughters.

Norwegians to California

Discovery of Gold1848.

The first real influx of Norwegians to California occurred after the discovery of gold in January, 1848.

By 1850 there were 124 Norwegians in California, according to the incomplete federal census of that year. A study of the 1852 California census shows a total of 227 immigrants of Norwegian birth in the twenty-nine counties for which there are partial or complete records. The majority of these people were located in the mining counties — 86 per cent in 1850 and 69 per cent in 1852.

The three counties with the largest numbers — El Dorado 30, Calaveras 27, and Tuolumne 20 — contained 70 per cent of the total Norwegian population in 1850, whereas in 1852 the three counties with the largest total number were Tuolumne 35, Yuba 25, and San Francisco 23. But these counties had only 37 per cent of the total. The figures indicate that by 1852 this minority group was mining in several counties rather than concentrating in just a few, and that they were spreading out to other parts of the state in their search for gold or for other profitable employment. This trend is confirmed by the fact that in 1850 there were one or more Norwegians recorded in only thirteen counties, whereas in 1852 they were located in twenty-five.

BARSKA Anchormaster 15-45x50 Spyscope w/ Mahogany Floor TripodBARSKA Anchormaster Telescope.

BARSKA Anchormaster Spyscope.

High power viewing with zoom magnifications from 15x to 45x and large 50mm objective lens in a polished brass scope

• Fully coated achromatic lenses for brilliant images structured in a refractor design with helical focusing rings
• Internal image-correcting lens provides right-side-up images for the naked eye
• Brass arc mounts allows the scope to move smoothly in all directions
• Stands proudly on a mahogany tripod with extendable legs and polished brass joints

The Project

Ship Passengers, Sea Captains, Maritime Nations, Merchants, Merchandise into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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