[A Manuscript Journal, Describing Voyages of the Pleasure Yachts “Restless” and “Peerless” in the San Francisco Bay in the 1860s and 1870s, Illustrated with an Ink Drawing Showing Ogden Hunting from the board of “Restless,” and Several Contemporary Newspaper Clippings about “Restless” and “Peerless;” The Journal is Titled:] A Concise and Condensed History of the Goings & Comings & Voyages of the Sloop Yacht "Restless" by a reliable not contraband but highly respectable gentleman slightly tinctured with a fondness for salt water, a piscatorial weakness and the pursuit of ducks under difficulties. <…> The schooner “Peerless” appears upon the surface of events and the water…
Quarto (ca. 25x20 cm). 25 pp. of text and fifty blank leaves. Brown and blue ink on laid paper, with several newspaper clippings and an ink drawing of the yacht “Restless” mounted on the leaves. Original violet full sheep notebook with raised bands and blind stamped decorative borders on the boards. Binding rubbed on extremities, hinges cracked, foot of spine chipped, but overall a very good internally clean manuscript.
Original manuscript journal, compiled by a noted San Francisco industrialist, pioneer yachtsman and society figure Richard Livingston Ogden, with a captivating and often humorous account of his early voyages in the San Francisco Bay onboard his yachts “Restless” and “Peerless.” Ogden came to California in 1852 as a major of the US army and for ten years served as the quartermaster of the Department of the Pacific, taking an active part in supplying the troops during the so-called California Indian Wars. After his resignation, Ogden managed the “Kimball Carriage and Car Manufacturing Co.” and invested most of his funds in the Bank of California, whose bankruptcy led to a significant financial loss for Ogden.
Ogden was “one of the oldest and most prominent yachtsmen of San Francisco Bay” (Los Angeles Times, 9 October 1900, p. 8). In the 1850s, he purchased sloop “Restless” from New York, which became “the first pleasure yacht seen on these waters” (Famous Boat Builder and Financier is Dead. Commodore R.L. Ogden, One of the Oldest Yachtsmen on the Bay, Passes Away// The San Francisco Call, 7 October 1900, p. 23). In the late 1860 Ogden sold “Restless” and built a larger schooner “Peerless,” which in 1869 took part in the first yacht club regatta ever held in the San Francisco Bay (Yale, C.G. The California Yacht: History and Evolution of Yachting in San Francisco Bay. Told by the Sole Survivor of the First Yacht Club// The San Francisco Call, 27 May 1900, p. 8). In ca. 1874 Ogden sold “Peerless” to the government of Samoa, and it was mainly used as a private yacht of Albert Barnes Steinberger (1841-1894), a US agent on the islands who became the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Samoa (1875-76). Later, Ogden owned the steam yacht “Quickstep” and the steam launch “Hi-Yah”. In 1874-78 he was the president of the reorganized San Francisco Yacht Club and in 1886 became one of the founders of the Jekyll Island Club (Georgia).
In the journal, compiled in the form of a memoir, Ogden talks about the history of “Restless” (her construction and early life in New York, purchase and arrival to San Francisco), describes her size and structure, and talks about her voyages in more or fewer details. Among the locations mentioned are Sausalito, Martinez, Sacramento, Angel and Alcatraz Islands, Benicia, Antioch, and others. The last eleven pages are dedicated to the sailings of the “Peerless” in the 1870s. The first free endpaper bears an amateur ink sketch of the “Restless” resting onshore and Ogden shooting a duck from a log nearby. Overall an attractive original manuscript source of the early history of yachting in the San Francisco Bay.
Excerpts from the journal:
“The Restless is at the present <…> 31 feet long, 16 feet beam, 3½ deep centre board, with a cabin10 feet long 12 feet wide 5 feet high, finished a la rosewood gilt mouldings, stained glass windows, velvet cushions forming very comfortable sleeping accommodations <...> The first voyages of the Restless were to Sausalito on picnics, fishing trips, to Angel Island on clambakes, to Alcatraz on offishal [sic!] business, to Benicia, to Martinez, and on the 3rd of July (63) to Sacramento in 18 hours against the tide & with calm weather to contend with beating 14 schooners & sloops <…>
On the opening of the Ducking season she was put in shooting trim and some half dozen successful voyages with glorious results <…>
Another interval is supposed to have elapsed and this time there is no question about it. Three years having flown since the cruise last mentioned. The Restless was sold on the departure of the owner for the East for $1000 to a gentleman in the Lager Pier line of business who put her into service as a ferry boat between 3 St. wharf and the Potrero [Hill]. She won a race between herself and a boat of about the same size called the “Anna” winning the race easily. <…>
Saturday the 2nd [January 1869]. Promising a little better the Restless was <…> put in commission for a trip to Belmont and a port. She got under way at 2 pm this day in company with the “Lotus,” Capt. Moody, and we headed up the Bay with a strong south west wind & sloppy sea. Passing Huntley Point found sea heavier and squally, laid to put single reef in mainsail bonnet of the jib <…> Ran along very nicely & came to an anchor in Belmont creek at 5 pm very comfortably. The Lotus having superior accomodation & cooking facilities we adjoined aboard to dine the crafts being dashed together for sociability. Crew of the Restless: John Maxwell, Professor Blanding & self, on the Lotus Capt. Moody, Miss Brook & Dog Flossy, my dog Rex on the Restless. Loafed aboard the Lotus until bed time, telling stories, drinking whiskey, punches, smoking &c. Maxwell & Blanding rather weak on the fire <…> The Lotus having a stove took their blankets & slept aboard that craft. In the morning early coffee and off for the early birds, indifferent success. Weather delightful. Supplies getting low owing to the remarkable appetites of the…
An interval of several month interferes during which several things are supposed to happen and do. The Restless changes hands, Capt. Wilcox of San Diego becomes her owner, and R.L.O. proceeds to build a new vessel as will appear hereafter.
The Schooner Peerless appears upon the surface of events and the water. Built by Wm. Stone for R.L. Ogden and launched in 1869. <…>
Length on water line 53, length on deck, beam 17 feet, depth 5 ½. Schooner rigged, built of bent Oregon & Eastern oak, bent timber (frames), cedar & Oregon, galvanized fastenings, cabin Oregon maple & cedar, all built in best manner <…>
Voyages from No. 1 to 25 omitted for want of aged memory to unite them up without notes. Suffice it to say they were variously successful. Much swerving <...> about wind, calm prevails.
Christmas, a famous “lay out” was knocked in the head by reason of much rain & no wind. <…>
New Year. Jan. 1st 1870 ushered in by a calm and ushered out by “a same.” The Peerless making vain attempts to sail without wind. Fails. Disgusted “shooters” go ashore, take steamer and rail road and go into the country to meet a fog so thick that ducks & geese wanted to light in shooters’ heads under impressions that they were hollow log stumps <…>
Voyage No. 28. The Peerless leaves her anchorage <…> on Friday p.m. at 4 with rain, squalls & plenty of wind. All sail. At 9 pm come to anchor at Martinez, the inhabitants not expecting us had gone to bed. <…> Made the city of Antioch about noon and attempted to come to anchor in front of the town with a grand flourish but the tide running strong & wind blowing ditto we did not stop but continued to drag an anchor up stream and proceeded on to Stockton <…> We get under weigh again and proceed to leave Antioch it giving no signs of <…> entertainment for man or beast. Went shopping for supplies and brought a steak and some <…> sausages. The dogs of the place all howled in concert as we walked along with our basket containing the sassengers [sic!]. Why? <…>
February 22, 1870. The Peerless went out for an afternoon sail. Present Genl. & Mrs. Whipple, Capt. Hughes, Capt. Gedge, Capt. Lapedge. Calm at first, plenty of wind <…> quietly. While eating lunch Genl. Whipple desiring to look out leaned against the cabin door which happening to swing, pinched the end of his finger off making painful wound on the strength of which we returned to port & came to an anchor. The Genl. Went ashore for medical treatment.”.
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