Thomas Crosby Lancey (1824-1885) joined the U.S. Navy (1846) serving as baggage master on the
North Carolina before being transferred to the U.S. Sloop of War
Dale as captain's coxswain. He kept a journal of daily occurrences which formed the basis of the three volume manuscript,
The Cruise of the Dale, some of which Hubert Howe Bancroft used in preparing his
History of California. After his discharge from the U.S. Navy (1849), Lancey kept a store for Hoyt and Smith near Sacramento and ran the first
stage to the gold mines while continuing to collect clippings from newspapers and information from his fellow veterans. The
collection consists of historical notes, loose papers, clippings and ephemera chiefly concerning the American conquest of
California (1846-1849), with particular emphasis on naval operations.
Lancey was born in 1824, and was a native of Dover, Maine; entered merchant service at an early age and served on voyages
to Havana, the Netherlands, France and China; entered the U.S. Navy on April 26, 1846 as baggage master on the North Carolina,
serving until July 3, when he was transferred to the U.S. Sloop of War Dale as captain's coxswain; the Dale sailed from the
Brooklyn Navy Yard on June 6, 1846 to take re-enforcements to Commodore Sloat's Pacific squadron; Lancey served on board while
taking in the action of Muleje, Lower California and the bombardment of Guaymas, Mexico; he kept a journal of daily occurrences
which formed the basis of the three volume manuscript, The Cruise of the Dale, some of which Hubert Howe Bancroft used in preparing his history of California; after his discharge from the U.S. Navy on
March 13, 1849, Lancey kept a store for Hoyt and Smith near Sacramento, and ran the first stage to the gold mines; in 1851
he settled in San Francisco, where he became a painter and mining agent; he continued to collect clippings from newspapers
and information from his fellow veterans; he died in 1885. The Thomas Crosby Lancey Papers contain bound volumes, loose papers, notes and clippings pertaining to the American conquest
of California during the Mexican War with particular reference to the American naval operations. These papers are the rough
notes and journals of Thomas C. Lancey, who served on the U.S. Sloop of War Dale from 1846 to 1849.
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