The Finding Aid for the Winslow Crocker Journal C057889

J. Davis
Society of California Pioneers
101 Montgomery Street, Suite 150
Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129


B002182 / B-2-1B

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
Title: Winslow Crocker Journal
creator: Crocker, Winslow
Identifier/Call Number: C057889
Physical Description: 1 folder 1 Folder (1 negative print of diary)
Date (bulk): 1849, 1865
Abstract: This file contains a negative photocopy of the original hand written journal written by Winslow Crocker. Crocker's journal is an account of his trip to San Francisco, upon leaving Concord, N.H., Jan. 1st, 1849, his boarding the Barque Oxford in Boston on Jan. 11, 1849, until his arrival in San Francisco Aug. 4, 1849. It starts before he decided to board a ship to California, in Concord, N.H., and thus talks about his decision to go to California. The journal is detailed in parts, especially his descriptions of Rio de Janeiro, and then cities in Chile. There is also a partial list of passengers on his Barque Oxford, and a half page note written by his wife, unnamed, in 1865.

Scope and Contents

Winslow Crocker details his life and journey to California in search of gold. Crocker's journal is an account of his days in Concord, N.H. while he decides to go to California, and then his trip to San Francisco. He leaves Concord, N.H., Jan. 1st, 1849, he boards the Barque Oxford in Boston on Jan. 11, 1849, and arrives in San Francisco Aug. 4, 1849. He left Boston on January 11th 1849 and sailed "around the Horn" and many of the diary entries detail the weather and his daily life while traveling. The first page of the diary is written in Concord, N.H., and notes, "Great excitement prevailing in world and throughout the country concerning the California enterprise. ... Webster, one of our boarders , is fitting out for the above place. He has joined a company consisting of one hundred and fifty men who have purchased the Ship Edward Everett and are to sail soon for the promised land. I have been thinking for several weeks of going myself, have writen (sic) to an acquaintance in Boston to learn something of the prospects for a passage, on new Years eve there was a small company of young people came in and the consequence was that we had lively and agreeable times for a few hours, thus ends the first days works." He discusses a bill being passed concerning the Shakers, it appears he may have been a legislator. On Thursday, the 4th of Jan. 1849, he notes, "I have been thinking today somewhat seriously upon going to California, have come to the conclusion to go the first suitable opportunity..." On Friday, the 5th, he takes the train to Boston, engages his passage on a ship, and returns to Concord via train. He packs, then returns to Boston and prepares for the trip. He leaves on Jan. 11th, and the remainder of the journal talks of the weather, the goings on aboard ship, notes many passengers sick, and notes he skips days in his journal because of the monotonous days aboard ship. He talks of the men shaving on board, and getting ducked in a bucket of water. The writing is sometimes difficult to read because of the slant of the script, but the writer is well educated. He notes when they head course for Rio Janerio, and the journal continues to discuss weather, winds and the sailing of the ship. The ship is near the harbor on March 3rd, at Rio de Bahia (name of the River which empties into the ocean at Rio de Janeiro), and describes the problems getting into the harbor with the winds, etc. He left the ship and describes walking around a market plaza, the men on ship eat a different meal, including "2 kinds of fried fish", and he comments about the buildings he sees in the city, the broad streets, aqueducts and water carriers walking through the street with buckets of water balanced on their heads. Crocker and others ride mules up a mountain outside the city and he describes this trip to somewhere called the Emperor's Gardens (which was a plantation with slaves). Crocker describes other passengers, food eaten, and the inhabitants, some French, of the area - and their use of wines and liquors. He mentions a Mr. Southworth, who was thirty years of age, and had been living in Rio 3 years, and seems to be a successful entreprenuer. Alot of description of Rio de Janeiro (over 10 pages), for the ship seems to have been in port for some days due to weather conditions, but on March 5th, the ship sails again. In early April, the ship has arrived at the port city of Concepcion (Chile), he describes fish and sharks seen, then the journal then goes to the islands of San Diego de Ramirez (Chile), then describes port of Talcahuana (Chile) (May 1st). He discusses the wide use of Spanish, produce grown, and livestock raised and prices as well as active volcanoes. The journal of the ship voyage stops there, at page 39, and the next 4 pages are given over to "A poem delivered on board the Barque Oxford, July 4, 1849, by a Mr. Snow.", which begins, "Hail to America!". He then notes he is taking up his journal again, but it is now, March 27, 1853. He notes they remained in Talcahuana one week, and the remainder of his voyage, which ended after 7 months, 10 days from Boston passed plesantly. This portion ends abruptly. The next page is dated, San Francisco, Jan. 15, 1865, and is written by Winslow's wife (unnamed), with "Winslow looking over her shoulder", and notes they have been married now four weeks. The last page of the journal notes information about the ship on which Crocker sailed to San Francisco. "Reached San Francisco Aug. 4, 1849, the Barque Oxford left Boston 11 Jan. 1849, came around the horn. Captain S.Horan of R.I., 1st Officer Hatch, No. of Passengers / 80." He then lists names of some of the passengers, they are: John Horan, William Horan, ....Horan, W.S.. Cooledge, Cornelius Cooledge, Winslow Crocker, Henry Bennett, ...Bixbee, Geo. H. Sprague, ...Richardson, ...Roby, ...Tilden, ...Pinkham, ...Rice, James Brown, ...Drew, Wm. Fullerton, ...McCall, ...Fitzgerald, ...Drew, ...Storey, ...Rich, ...Wells.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source and date of Aquisition not known.

Negative photo copies

The Society of California Pioneers, 101 Montgomery St, Suite 150, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco CA, 94129

Preferred Citation

The Winslow Crocker Journal. The Society of California Pioneers.

Biographical / Historical

According to the journal, Crocker arrived in San Francisco on Aug. 21, 1849, on the Barque Oxford, which left Boston on the 11th of January 1849. Crocker was living in Concord, N.H., perhaps the owner of a boarding house, when he heard of the discoveries in California, and decides over a short time, to join a company to sail to California from Boston. No birth or death information was found on Crocker, but he first appears in the San Francisco City directory of 1863, "bds, 214 Powell". In 1865, 214 Powell is listed as his dwelling, then in 1867, his occupation is listed as real estate. He disappears from San Francisco then, and appears in the Oakland City directory in 1874, as "dwl. 1169 West". His dwelling remains the same through 1877, but his occupation goes from an architect to a carpenter, through 1880, and his dwelling changes to 813 14th Street. In 1892 the Union Whist Club of Oakland meets at his house, and in 1894, there are unclaimed deposits of $159.51 at the Hibernia Savings and loan. From the journal, we know he married late December of 1864. No further information could be found.

Existence and Location of Originals

The existence nor the location of the originals could not be determined.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Pioneers -- California -- History -- 19th century
Voyages to the Pacific coast
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - Description and travel
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) - History - 19th century
Navigation -- Chile -- Horn, Cape
Chile - Description and travel
Crocker, Winslow