Finding Aid of the Capt. A. Y. Easterby Papers C058838

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

Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
Title: Capt. A. Y. Easterby Papers
Creator: Easterby, Anthony Y., Captain
Creator: Easterby, Robert O., d. 1851
Identifier/Call Number: C058838
Physical Description: 5 folders Includes the Memoirs and various letters of Captain Anthony Y. Easterby 5 manila folders; one containing a 73-page, loose-leaf transcription of a 132-page memoir (typewritten), the others containing compilations of transcribed letters (handwritten on lined paper, glued into and album) which are bound with string.
Date (bulk): 1803 January 1 - 1885 August 31
Date (bulk): 1885 August 01 - 1886 June 01
Date (bulk): 1842 January 8 - 1853 March 11
Abstract: This collection includes the transcribed memoirs and letters of Captain Anthony Y. Easterby. The collection is comprised of 5 folders; one contains a 73-page transcription of Easterby's dictated memoirs (the original version of this memoir is in our collection under the collection number C058786), the other 4 folders contain various letters and correspondences by and to Easterby throughout his life. The date of the transcription of these documents is unknown.
Language of Material: English .

Scope and Contents

The first file in the collection is a dictated autobiography of Captain Anthony Easterby, dated August, 1885, to June 1, 1886. The memoirs follow in great detail Easterby's life and experiences, beginning with his childhood, his early experiences in the British Navy and sailing to places such as Canada, the Mediterranean, China, Java, Lombock, Australia, Manila, Chile, and Panama, aboard barques which included the "Africaine", the "Acasta", and the "George Canning". He describes thrilling adventures involving pirates, exotic places and people, several near-deth experiences, and other trials and triumphs. In his memoir, Easterby states that he came to California on January 10, 1849, after hearing of the discovery of gold while abroad. He went to Stockton in April of that year to search fr gold, describing Indians who were undervalued in their labor and commonly underestimated the value of gold, as well as his experiences in "Angel's Camp" and "Mormon Diggings". He returned to San Francisco in August, caught malaria in September, and upon recovery, went into the "storage business" with Frank Gray and Edmund Laffan. Thus, the firm of Gray and Easterby was started, which stored good aboard their ships in San Francisco Bay which would later be sent upriver to miner communities and California towns. Easterby describes his generally successful business dealings, including a massive profit he made on the investment of flour, his mediated losses in the floods of 1849 and 1850 and the fire of 1851, and different landmarks in the city that helped fund the constrution of, especially in the section of town known at the time as "Happy Valley". He also relays his brother's sudden and violent death by pleurisy. On November 5, 1853, he married Frank Gray's sister, Emily, at the Trinity Church on Pine Street, providing a detailed description of the ceremony. The memoir ends in 1854, wherein his son, Frank, was born in September, and due to Frank Gray's decline in health, the family closed their business, sold their ships and property, and moved to Guilucos Ranch in Sonoma County in November. The transcribed letters and correspondences are organized into 5 groups. "Group A" is comprised of letters written by Anthony Easterby from San Francisco from February 18, 1849, to August 31, 1852. Many of the letters in this group were sent through the mail and bear interesting postmarks and cancellations and have been arranged in an album. The others have no such postal markings, evidently having been sent in care of captains of vessels sailing for English Ports. "Group B" Conatins letters written by Anthony Easterby while in port and at sea, from January 8, 1842, to November 28, 1848. Some of the letters in this group also have interesting postal markings and have been included in the album with those of "Group A". The letters in "Group C" were written by Robert O. Easterby, youngest brother of Anthony, while en route to and as a resident of Australia, from December 26, 1848, to August 1, 1850. Letters in "Group D" were between members of the Easterby Family and their friends, mostly local to England, from April 23, 1838, to March 11, 1853. Many in this group bear early one-penny brown British postage stamps of the first issues. Another group, entitled "Miscellaneous", contains about 85 letters relating to family matters, none of which have been transcribed. They date from 1803 to 1851, and are principally local to England. (Note: This group of letters, having not been transcribed, are assumed to be present in C058786, but are not found in C058838.)

Biographical / Historical

Captain Anthony Y. Easterby was born in Surrey, England in 1818. He studied at the Hunter Street Academy under "Dr. Dawson" until the age of 14, when he set out to sea, visiting the Mediterranean, Chile, Panama, and other locations before arriving in California in 1849. While in California, Captain Easterby set up several businesses in San Francisco, Sonoma, Fresno, and Napa City. He married Emily Gray, sister of his business partner Francis Gray, in San Francisco on November 5, 1853. Mr. Easterby was involved in the founding of the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company in 1871, and was also the President of the Napa Valley Railroad, as well as a member of the Masonic Order, Knights of Templar, and Knights of Malta. He died in Napa, California in June of 1893. Captain Frank Gray was the brother-in-law of Captain Easterby and accompanied him to San Francisco, California in 1847-48. Other members of the Easterby family include John Easterby, Emily Gray Easterby (wife), Mrs. S. T. Easterby, E. G. Easterby, and Jane Tinley Easterby. Although no substantial biographical and/or genealogical information could be found, these members are assumed to be related to Captain Easterby and Captain Gray.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Emily Ethel Easterby, Napa, CA, 1933

Preferred Citation

Capt. A. Y. Easterby Papers. The Society of California Pioneers.

Existence and Location of Copies

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

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Family (San Francisco, Calif.)
Business enterprises.
San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.) - History - 19th century
Chile - Description and travel
Voyages and travels -- 19th century
Panama, Isthmus of (Panama) -- Description and travel.
Fires -- California -- San Francisco.
Gray, Frank, Captain
Easterby, Jane Tinley, d. 1850
Easterby, John, 1784-1845