Seventy-five Years in San Francisco
My first visit to California was in 1831, in the bark Louisa of Boston, Captain George Wood, with J. C. Jones as supercargo and owner and Charles Smith as assistant supercargo. [Davis was around nine years old at the time. He was born in Honolulu in 1822.] She had come from Boston with a cargo of assorted merchandise to the Sandwich Islands, where she disposed of a portion of her goods, and sailed thence to Sitka, and from there to Monterey, to Santa Barbara, to San Pedro (the port of Los Angeles), and to San Diego, trading at each of these points. In trading at Sitka on this trip we took furs and Russian money in payment for goods disposed of there.
At that time Sitka presented many points of interest. Besides the government fort the different residences of the governor and his staff were fine buildings, in the shape of castles or round towers, each mounted with guns as a protection against Indians, who were very hostile. The office of governor was both civil and military. He and his officers were gentlemen, highly educated, refined in manners, intelligent and courteous. They received us with great hospitality.
These gentlemen were from the nobility of Russia. Their wives and daughters were exceedingly beautiful and highly accomplished; they were of medium height, delicate and symmetrical in form and figure, and exceedingly graceful in their walk and carriage. What struck me particularly was the wonderful transparency of their complexions and their rosy cheeks. At my age I was much impressed with their handsome appearance.
Most of the gentlemen and ladies spoke French and English in addition to their own language. They gave family parties and balls for our entertainment, which were conducted with great elegance and refinement. In return we gave two or three entertainments on board the Louisa, the vessel on each occasion being handsomely decorated with the flags of almost every nation, the Russian flag flying at the foremast. On the arrival of the governor with his staff, and the ladies of their families, he received a salute corresponding to his rank.
At San Diego we received many hides from the Volunteer, an American bark, Captain J. O. Carter, supercargo Ebbetts, that vessel as well as the Louisa being owned by J. C. Jones, who was a Boston merchant engaged in trading to ports on the Pacific coast and the Islands. From San Diego we sailed for Honolulu with a full cargo of hides and a deckload of horses. The horses were disposed of at Honolulu, and the hides taken in the vessel to Boston on her return voyage.
Among the residents of Monterey at that time were David Spence, Captain J. B. R. Cooper, Nathan Spear, James Watson, George Kinlock, William E. P. Hartnell, and these men were the most prominent of the foreigners. The first three named were engaged in merchandising. Kinlock was a ship and house carpenter. Hartnell was an instructor in the employ of the Mexican government in the department of California, of which Monterey was the capital.
In 1833 I visited the coast again in the Boston bark Volunteer, Captain Thomas Shaw, J. C. Jones owner and supercargo, Sherman Peck assistant supercargo. Jones went from Boston to the Sandwich Islands about 1820 or 1822 and became United States consul, and during his consulship made voyages between Boston and the Islands and other points. During his absence his duties were performed by a deputy, Stephen Reynolds, of Boston.
We arrived at Monterey and sailed thence to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Pedro, San Diego, and returned, touching and trading at these places. We then came to the harbor of San Francisco, and anchored in a cove known as Yerba Buena or Loma Alta Cove, Yerba Buena being San Francisco, and Loma Alta Telegraph Hill. At that time there were trading on the coast at different points the ship Alert of Boston, Captain Thompson; ship California of Boston, Captain James Arther, supercargo Alfred Robinson; the English brig Ayacucho, Captain John Wilson, supercargo James Scott, both being owners; the American brig Bolivar Liberator, Captain Nye; the Boston bark Don Quixote, Captain John Meek, supercargo William S. Hinckley; and the Mexican brig Leónidas, formerly U. S. vessel of war Dolphin, Captain Juan Malarín owner and supercargo Don José Antonio Aguirre.
As the Volunteer approached the bay of San Francisco on the trip from the south just mentioned, she was becalmed and compelled to lie to in a fog. About 11 o'clock in the forenoon the fog lifted and disappeared from the horizon, and as it did so we noticed the English brig Ayacucho, also becalmed, lying near us, almost within hailing distance, she also having just come from the southern ports, bound for Yerba Buena. We were then about twenty-five miles west of the entrance to the bay. The Ayacucho was claimed by her owners to be the fastest vessel on the coast, and this was conceded by all the captains except Captain Shaw of the Volunteer, who was very proud of our pretty bark and her superior sailing qualities and had often remarked to me that he desired an opportunity for a trial of speed between the two vessels.
The opportunity now presented itself, and he determined to avail himself of it, to the delight of all on board. The captain gave orders to prepare for the exciting race, which were obeyed with alacrity by all with smiling faces. The Ayacucho, being a little to the west of us, took the trade wind first, it having sprung up as the fog cleared, and so had the lead. Captain Shaw. approaching me on the quarterdeck, said, "Billy, she will not maintain that position long." The breeze freshened, both vessels put on more sail, and we began slowly and surely to gain on the brig. Captain Shaw, standing by the man at the wheel, said, "I want to pass her within hailing distance." "Aye aye, sir," was the response. When abreast of the brig, Captain Shaw called to the steward to bring him the speaking trumpet, and on receiving it he hailed the other vessel with, "Captain Wilson, how do you do?" The reply came, "I am well, thank you. Captain Shaw, you are gaining on me fast." When the stern of our vessel was about abreast of the forecastle of the brig, three cheers from the Volunteer rent the air, spontaneously given by the crew, and they were returned from the brig. We anchored about fifteen minutes before she did, in the present anchorage at the port of San Francisco, and our captain and all the crew were joyous and happy, as they had beaten the vessel reputed to be the fastest on the coast. The race had been very exciting, both vessels flying their national colors and spreading their sails to the fullest extent, the captain of each standing on the quarterdeck watching every movement and trimming sails to catch every portion of the breeze.
In the evening the captain and supercargo of the Ayacucho came on board the Volunteer and spent a few hours, and the race formed the subject of conversation, Wilson admitting that he was fairly beaten for the first time. A good many social glasses passed over the event, and the best feeling prevailed. This little episode was an illustration of the national feeling of pride existing between the English and Americans.
The presidio was the military post, where all the white inhabitants lived, and was commanded by Captain M. G. Vallejo, later General Vallejo. There were probably at the barracks, including soldiers and their families, between four and five hundred men, women and children. The soldiers were native Californians, all vaqueros, all horsemen. Captain Vallejo was then only recently married to his beautiful bride, Doña Francisca Benicia Carrillo. Fort Point was garrisoned, and was then known as Punta del Castillo, or Castle Point, and was also under the command of Captain Vallejo.
Among the foreigners who were here at that time were Captain William A. Richardson, a native of England, the owner of the Sausalito ranch, who was married to the daughter of the late Captain Ygnacio Martínez, who commanded the presidio and Fort Point military posts previous to the command of Vallejo; John Read, of Ireland, who subsequently was the owner of the Read ranch adjoining the Sausalito ranch; Timothy Murphy, of Ireland, and James Black, of Scotland.
Murphy was a sea-otter hunter, making his headquarters at the presidio and the mission of San Rafael. Sea otter were plentiful in the bay, and at Bodega and other points along the coast. The skins were quite valuable, worth from forty to fifty dollars, and sometimes as high as sixty dollars apiece. They were sold to the Boston ships that traded on the coast. Read became a stock raiser on his ranch. Richardson commanded a vessel and traded up and down the coast, and on the coast of Peru and Chile. He made his headquarters at Yerba Buena. He got his goods at Callao and Lima, mostly English and German, which had been sent there from Europe. For them he exchanged tallow and furs which he had collected about the coast. He was sailing for a Lima house. Black was a cattle raiser and otter hunter, and became owner of ranches in Marin County. He died a few years ago, leaving to his heirs a large fortune in land and cattle.
The trade on the coast at that time was mostly a barter trade. The currency was hides and tallow, with considerable sea-otter, land-otter and beaver skins, the latter being obtained on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.
The mission of San Francisco de Asís, usually called the Mission Dolores, situated one league from the site of Yerba Buena on the west side of the bay of San Francisco, contained at this time, August, 1833, about two thousand Indians, more or less civilized, well clothed. Among them were blacksmiths, shipwrights, carpenters, tailors, shoemakers and masons, all of whom had learned these trades at the mission, under the superintendence of the padres. They had also learned the Spanish language, as a general thing had acquired habits of industry, and had become civilized and Christianized. Many of them could read and write.
Padre Quijas was at the head of the Mission Dolores, and administrator of the establishment. He had about ten thousand head of cattle, many thousand head of horses and mares, and a vast number of sheep. The domain of the mission extended to what is now known as San Mateo, including the rancho of Buri-buri, formerly owned by Don José Sanchez and his family.
I visited the Mission Dolores frequently during our stay at the port here, was always kindly received by the padre, and drank as fine red California wine as I ever have since, manufactured at the mission from grapes brought from the missions of Santa Clara and San Jose.
The Indians were captured by the military who went into the interior of the country in pursuit of them, detachments of soldiers being frequently sent out from the presidio and other military posts in the department on these expeditions, to bring the wild Indians into the missions to be civilized and converted to Christianity. Sometimes two or three hundred would be brought in at a time—men, women and children—from the foothill region of the Sierra Nevada and the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. They were immediately turned over to the padres at the different missions, generally with a guard of a corporal and ten soldiers to assist the priest in keeping them until they had become somewhat tamed. They were kindly treated, and soon became domesticated and ready and eager to adopt the habits of civilized life. They gradually lost their desire to return to their former mode of life.
After they had become adapted to their new condition their influence on the later arrivals of Indians was very marked. These yielded much more readily to the civilizing influence exerted upon them than those first captured. They were baptized and the children christened and taught in schools and in habits of industry. Many of them were employed to look after the stock belonging to the missions and became expert horsemen and vaqueros.
During our stay in the bay (about three or four weeks) we sold some fifteen or twenty thousand dollars' worth of goods to Padre Quijas. We received in payment hides and tallow, sea- and land-otter skins, and beaver skins, and also some Spanish and Mexican doubloons which had probably been laid away for many years. The goods were mostly sugar, tea, coffee, clothing and blankets for the Indians. There were blankets manufactured at the missions, of very coarse texture, from the wool of their sheep. They were known as mission blankets and used at the missions mostly.
We also sold to the missions of Santa Clara and San Jose a large amount of goods which was sent to them in launches to what is now known as Alviso Landing, for which we received in payment hides, tallow, furs and some coin—Mexican and Spanish doubloons. The missions of Santa Clara and San Jose were richer in cattle, horses and sheep than the Mission Dolores, and each of them had a much larger number of Indians. The Mission Dolores was considered a poor mission compared to these other two. The mission of San Rafael was also in existence, and that was inferior to the Mission Dolores.
In 1833 there was not a single inhabitant of what is now known as the city and county of San Francisco outside of the presidio and the mission. At the place where Portsmouth Square now is there was a growing crop of Irish potatoes—a patch about the size of the square—enclosed by a brush fence, the crop having been planted by Candelario Miramontes, who resided near the presidio with his family. One of his sons loaned me a beautiful horse to ride to the presidio and Mission Dolores whenever it suited my pleasure to do so. I had him picketed with a long rope, for pasturage, at a place which is now the block between Pacific and Jackson and Montgomery and Sansome streets. I used to bring oats and come from the vessel to feed the horse. Our stay was so long in the bay that I bought the animal from young Miramontes for two dollars. He was a sorrel about sixteen hands high and thoroughly broken to the saddle. The horse would be worth today one hundred dollars.
When we left the bay of San Francisco we traded down the coast at different points. While stopping at Santa Barbara, Thomas O. Larkin, who was afterwards United States consul at Monterey, was married on board the bark Volunteer by Mr. J. C. Jones, acting in his capacity as consul. The bride was a Massachusetts lady whose name has passed from my memory. We had a wedding festival, which was attended by the élite of Santa Barbara—beautiful ladies, mothers and daughters, with their husbands and sons, all of Castilian extraction. There was music with dancing, commencing soon after the marriage and kept up till a late hour in the evening. Native California wine and imported sparkling champagne were freely used, and all had a very enjoyable time.
On reaching San Diego our vessel was turned over to Captain Joseph O. Carter of the American schooner Harriet Blanchard, both vessels being owned by J. C. Jones.
Shaw took command of the latter, and Jones and myself went in her to Honolulu, with a cargo of hides, some furs, and also thirty head of fine California horses for a deckload. Sherman Peck remained in the Volunteer as supercargo. He was a Spanish scholar and a business man, and popular on the coast. The horses were sold at Honolulu and the hides transferred to another vessel about to sail for Boston.
On William A. Richardson's arrival here in 1822 the Mexican flag was floating over the province, and Governor Sola, the last Spanish ruler, who had become reconciled to the new Mexican regime, was on the point of going to Mexico as a deputy for California to the Mexican Congress.
RICHARDSON’S PETITION TO GOVERNOR SOLA.
William A. Richardson, a native of Great Britain, and a resident of
this Province, hereby respectfully represents: that he arrived at this
port of San Francisco on the second day of August last, as mate of the
British Whaleship Orion, and your Worship having approved of my
staying here, and it being my intention to remain permanently and become
domiciled in this Province at some place with suitable climate, I most
humbly pray that your Worship be pleased to grant me this privilege and
WILLIAM A. RICHARDSON
San Francisco, Presidio, Oct. 7, 1822
THE DECREE WRITTEN ON THE MARGIN OF THE ABOVE.
Monterey, October 12, 1822.
Being aware that the petitioner, besides being a navigator, is conversant with and engaged in the occupation of a carpenter, I hereby grant the privilege he asks for with the obligation that he shall receive and teach such young men as may be placed in his charge by my successor.
William A. Richardson, an Englishman by birth, arrived at the presidio of San Francisco as chief mate of the British whaler Orion on the 2nd of August, 1822. He left his vessel and was permitted by the authorities to remain temporarily, but on the 7th of October he concluded to settle permanently in California. He applied to Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola to grant him the privilege of domicile, which was acceded to on the 12th of October of the same year.
Richardson, during his stay at San Francisco, resided at the home of Lieutenant Ygnacio Martínez, then comandante of the presidio. He noticed the difficulty of bringing the food supply for the troops at the presidio. He at once went to work and built a launch and a boat for the purpose of transporting provisions from the San Jose and Santa Clara missions. This undertaking he performed in six months with the aid of six Indians whom he taught the trade of carpentering and of shipwright and also as boatmen in the management of the newly built vessels. It is well known that the transportation of provisions by land was done by carts drawn by oxen. Richardson was the manager of the transporters for three years.
At the end of his charge he married María Antonia, the eldest daughter of Comandante and Martina Martínez. The young couple were married at Mission Dolores by Father José Altimira; the sponsors were the comandante and one of the bride's sisters. The wedding was made the occasion of a great feast. The families of the officers and others were present at the ceremony and banquet. Señorita María Antonia was considered a belle of great beauty among the handsome women of the presidio in the 'thirties.
There was a romance connected with this marriage. After the Orion had dropped anchor off the presidio, the usual old anchorage, William A. Richardson, first mate, landed a boat's crew on the beach. He found there a portion of the inhabitants of the garrison who were attracted by the arrival of a foreign vessel in the bay. Among the number were the señoritas of the Martínez household. As Richardson leaped from the boat to the landing, Señorita María Antonia Martínez exclaimed, with joy in her eyes, to her lady companions, "Oh, que hombre tan hermoso el estranjero que desembarcó del bote; el va hacer mi novio y yo voy hacer su esposa." ("Oh, what a handsome man that foreigner just landed from the boat. He will be my bridegroom, and I will be his wife.") It was love at first sight. Richardson was equally impressed then and there with the loveliness of Doña María Antonia. A match was made and two hearts were entwined as one, without the formality of expressing to each other orally their love and devotion.
The union was blessed with three children: namely, Francisco, Stephen and Mariana, who later became the wife of Manuel Torres. The Torres marriage was blessed with two daughters, Ruth Mariana, wife of F. E. Beck, and Juana Agripina, wife of George W. Davis; and four sons: Manuel, Alfred, Charles and Albert.
On the third day after his marriage Richardson found it necessary to go to the Mission of Solano at Sonoma, the military headquarters of the northern frontier, conveying in the vessel he had built, and which he had named María Antonia after his wife, a bell for the mission church. Four or five months later he made a voyage to Sitka in the María Antonia to bring merchandise which was very scarce in the department. He was back in six months with the commodities that were disposed of in San Francisco District and other parts about the bay.
During Richardson's absence his wife gave birth to a girl, named Mariana. With a few days' difference, Mrs. Richardson's mother also gave birth to a girl, named Rafaela. On Richardson's return the babies were held in the hands of the two mothers, who had exchanged the little ones just before the time of the first presentation to him. He was asked which was his child and at once recognized his own, which created a great deal of merriment in the two families and among the visitors gathered for the occasion.
In 1829 Richardson started for Los Angeles to see what he could do there, and he noted that there was a great scarcity of goods. Without loss of time he built another schooner at San Pedro in order to make a voyage to Peru and bring back to Los Angeles and the vicinity the much-desired merchandise. Before taking his departure he sent for his family. This first voyage to South America took place about 1831 and occupied nine months. He rejoined his family at the mission of San Gabriel, where he sold some of the goods he had brought from Peru and also sold his vessel. He bought a drove of horses and took his family overland to Yerba Buena. He had, thus early, an idea that San Francisco, or Yerba Buena as it was then called, was destined to become a city of great importance and, in all likelihood, a part of the United States.
Richardson and his family settled in Yerba Buena in 1835. His only daughter, Mariana, was then about nine years old. There were no friction matches at the home, and, their fire having become extinguished, they found themselves during two whole days without fire, and there were no neighbors at a convenient distance to get any matches from. The head of the family was then absent at Santa Clara. Fortunately, Pedro del Castillo, who was on his way from the presidio to Mission Dolores, took a notion to go round by Loma Alta (Telegraph Hill), which was near Yerba Buena, and call upon the Richardson family. He supplied them with fire drawn with steel, flint and tinder.
Some time after Richardson had fixed his residence at Yerba Buena he heard that a vessel was at the presidio. He soon ascertained that it was the brig Ayacucho, commanded by his friend Captain John Wilson, who, descrying a man on the beach, sent a boat ashore, and Richardson, going on board, piloted the vessel into Yerba Buena Cove. After the vessel cast anchor, Captain Richardson and his friends, Wilson and the supercargo James Scott, came on shore and visited Richardson's tent, the domicile of the family.
This tent was the first habitation ever erected in Yerba Buena. At the time Richardson's only neighbors were bears, coyotes and wolves. The nearest people lived either at the presidio or at Mission Dolores. The family lived under that tent about three months, after which Richardson constructed a small wooden house, and later a large one of adobe on what is now (1889) Dupont near the corner of Clay Street. After Richardson came Jacob P. Leese and José Joaquín Estudillo. Lots at that time were one hundred varas square (275 by 275 feet), and were granted by the alcalde for the sum of twenty-five dollars. Another early settler was Doña Juana Briones, who lived to be a centenarian.
During Richardson's long life in California he made friends with all who came in contact with him in social or business relations. They were firmly attached to him for his goodness. He had not a single enemy, because his heart and nature were noble. He was seized with a desire at all times to serve his fellow beings in their hours of need. He was incapable of saying no to a deserving applicant for alms. It was inconsistent with the impulses of his nature, a birthright inherited from his pure Anglo-Saxon parents. He was a handsome man, above medium height, with an attractive face, winning manners, and a musical voice, which his daughter, Mariana, inherited.
My knowledge of the captain dates back to July, 1838, when I was in the employ of Nathan Spear. Richardson was the grantee of the Sausalito rancho, with thousands of cattle, horses and sheep. His family had two residences, one at Yerba Buena, an adobe dwelling, a structure of primitive architecture which contained a parlor, commodious bedrooms and a sitting and dining room which was used at times as a ballroom. The walls were thick, with blinds or massive shutters closing the windows on the inside. The other residence was at Sausalito.
At the time of my acquaintance with this good man, he was captain of the port or bay of San Francisco, under the immediate direction of General Vallejo, who was the comandante general. General Vallejo appreciated Richardson's experience as a seafaring man, and, as the general expressed it, Richardson was the right man in the right place. Both men respected each other, and their official and social relations were as smooth and as placid as the waters of the anchorage of Sausalito or Richardson's Bay on a calm day.
I knew Mrs. Richardson personally as far back as the year 1838. She was a model of grace and dignity, with a face full of expression. Doña María Antonia was truly entitled to be called a Spanish beauty. She was gifted with vivacity and intelligence, and a little spice of satire gave an added charm to her winning manners. She came from a family of good-looking brothers and sisters.
Anterior to the year 1838 Captain Richardson had piloted vessels of war in and out of the bay. His long practice as a mariner made him one of the best pilots for the bay and the bar beyond the Golden Gate. Admirals and commodores of different nationalities would communicate with him from Callao, Valparaíso and from Honolulu, that in case a vessel of their squadrons should visit San Francisco she would fire two guns, one after the other, outside the heads. This was the signal for Richardson to go out and pilot her in. The captain had eight trained Indians who had become proficient boatmen. They lived on the premises at the captain's home in Sausalito. At the report of one or two guns from outside the bay Captain Richardson would whistle three times, which was the order for the Indian crew to repair at once to the boat which was moored close at hand. Away the surfboat would slip through the water with Richardson in the stern steering and the aboriginal boatmen bending to their oars with a will to board the man-of-war. These Indians would do anything to serve and please the captain. He was kind to them and they loved him.
William A. Richardson was a master mariner trading up and down the coast of California in the 'thirties with assorted cargoes for a Lima house, which were exchanged for hides and tallow, the currency of the country. Richardson was considered a bold navigator but not a rash one. He was a man of judgment and never abused it.
During the summer months the westerly winds prevail on the coast of California. It is a dead beat from San Diego to San Francisco against strong trade winds. Richardson had a perfect knowledge of the coast. Whenever he sailed from San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo or Monterey for San Francisco, he would invariably hug the shore; in other words, he would make short tacks, from the land, and to the land, of twenty-five or thirty miles each way during daylight. But as night approached, his calculation was always correct; he would find himself two, three or four miles off the shore in order to be handy or within reach of the land breezes which generally prevail after nightfall.
These winds, right off the land, from the direction of about east or eastnortheast, six or seven knots strong, extended only a few miles out to sea. I have observed the log at nine knots and as high as ten-knot breezes an hour with every sail set, with the sheets of the main and foresails a little free and the braces of the yards of the upper canvas consistent with the lower canvas. At this rate of sailing slantingly along the shoreline through smooth water, the vessel was approaching her destination northwardly much faster than another vessel beyond the line of the land breezes away out at sea battling against strong westerly winds to reach her port of destination from leeward or southern ports.
When Captain John C. Frémont came from Sonoma to the region now within the county of Marin in 1846, William A. Richardson was at his Sausalito rancho with his family. Frémont’s visit with an armed force of about one hundred men caused great alarm among the native Californian families residing on the north side of the bay of San Francisco. All the women and children, numbering one hundred and more, sought refuge at Richardson’s rancho and remained there about fifteen days, camped near his residence, and he made them as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. During their stay Richardson supplied the refugees with one beef and four sheep daily, which were slaughtered for their support. The alarm was caused by Frémont’s unlawful proceedings. He also camped with his men three days at Sausalito and forced Richardson to furnish the party with beef and mutton. Frémont personally demanded the best the place afforded, such as milk, butter, eggs, chickens and other luxuries.
Richardson went to see Frémont at San Rafael and besought him not to permit his men to commit outrages at his home, because it was filled with helpless women and children. Frémont took away all the broken horses, consisting of several caponeras, and left Richardson with only four saddle horses for the use of the rancho of two or three thousand head of animals. He did not pay for the animals, nor even give vouchers for them. He did the same with all the horses belonging to Timothy Murphy. Mariana, Richardson’s daughter, went to see Frémont personally and begged him to restore two of the horses which were her own riding animals.
In 1850 I owned and had the bark Hortensia lying at anchor at San Diego in ballast, ready for any adventure that might offer a profitable voyage. Richardson was our guest at the time. When the grant was made to the original projectors of New San Diego, now the city of San Diego, there was a condition in the deed that the grantees should, within one year, build a wharf and warehouse on the site deeded by the alcalde and subprefect. The proprietors of the new town proposed that I should accept from them some of the realty in the new town for complying with the conditions above mentioned. This I accepted. The deed to the property was made to William A. Richardson and myself. Thus we became partners in the construction of the compulsory improvement at San Diego. The Hortensia was well adapted as a carrier of piles and other material for the first wharf.
In June, 1850, Captain Richardson sailed in the Hortensia as master, bound north for Sausalito. The morning he weighed anchor to beat down the narrow channel from the present city of San Diego to La Playa he had only five men, one of whom was a vaquero by occupation, and not one of the five had ever been to sea as a member of a crew. He had no mate to help work the vessel up the coast against strong head winds. The Hortensia was a bark of three hundred tons measurement. I received a letter from Santa Barbara that he had made a good passage to that port and that he would leave for Sausalito direct the following day with the same crew of five men.
This voyage in the Hortensia has always been a mystery to me; how he could navigate a vessel without mates, change watches with no one to relieve the captain, and without cook or steward provide food for those on board. The captain arrived at Sausalito in a remarkably quick passage, with very few hands to work the bark, to set the sails, take in reefs in the sails in stormy weather, steer the vessel day and night, and other compulsory duties necessary for the safety of the bark and all on board. Richardson was in all respects a navigator, a seaman of great self-reliance, and was perfectly at home in his own vessel—provided he had plenty of corned beef on board, for he was passionately fond of that meat—even though he had scarcely help enough to work her. He hugged the shoreline, the roaring surf, the rocky points usually enveloped in smothers of foam. He knew well the locations of the dangerous shoals along the coast; to these he gave plenty of sea room.