Voyage to California (31) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.


There was a heavy fog during the night and the vessel was stopped for a time, for fear of getting aground on some of the numerous islands or rocky shoals in the vicinity.  The weather to day is cloudy, cold and disagreeable.  We have been sailing near the coast to day.  Some of the mountains, inland, appear to be covered with heavy timber; the hills near the shore with grass or wild oats.  There is a very perceptible improvement in our fare to day.  Distance from San Francisco, noon, 195 mi., Distance sailed 210 mi.


This morning a heavy fog obliged the vessel to lie to for a while before daylight, and the day continued for the most part cloudy, cold and disagreeable.  The hills near the coast appear to be covered with grass, and at a considerable distance inland we can distinguish forests of trees on the mountains.  Distance to-day 210 miles; distance from San Francisco,195.  We passed between some islands and the coast to-day.  They appear to partake of the character of the coast, being  rocky, rugged and hilly.

Tomorrow I’ll post another segment about My Ancestors. This one is about Alfred Beck Guion, son of the Rev. Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion.

Next week, a week of posts from Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion, Grandpa’s story in his own words from the beginning.

Judy Guion

5 thoughts on “Voyage to California (31) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

  1. Reblogged this on Musings of a Penpusher and commented:
    The attention to the minutest detail, makes these entries irresistible.

  2. Sheryl says:

    The entries create a vivid word picture of the weather – “foggy” and “cloudy, cold, and disagreeable.” It doesn’t sound like a pleasant day to be traveling along the California coast.

    • Judy Guion says:

      Sheryl – No, it doesn’t sound like a day I’d like to be outside enjoying the scenery. I’d be in my bunk reading a good book.
      Only 195 miles from San Francisco… maybe I would be out looking at the coast as I got closer and closer….

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