Voyage to California – 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.

Diary

The wind blew hard last night and today, while we were on the ocean.  Of course the sea was rough, and, of course, I was again seasick.  We entered the Golden Gate in the afternoon and anchored off San Francisco about 5 o’clock.  The bay and part of the city is crowded with shipping, and the city almost hidden by the forest of masts.  A majority of the passengers succeeded in getting ashore this evening, but owing to the delay, on account of the customhouse officer, several of us remained on board all night.  Some who had been on shore, returned in the evening and numerous and startling were the reports from the gold regions circulated through the ship.  The stillness and quiet of the vessel, so friendly to repose, were very acceptable after so much tossing and rolling.

Journal

A strong wind arose in the night, causing a very heavy sea, and we were obliged to travel very slowly in consequence, during the latter part of the night.  As another consequence, I was again seasick immediately after rising.  As soon as I could do so I went on deck, and selected a position near the middle of the vessel, where there was the least motion, the most protection from the wind, and exposure to the sunshine, and there I sat until we approached the Golden Gate, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  After getting through the Gate the cannon were fired, we proceeded up the bay a short distance past the city, and finally cast anchor at 5 o’clock P.M., – thus completing our long journey in 35 days, one hour and 30 minutes from the time of leaving New York, including a detention of 5 days at Panama.  Owing to the sun setting immediately behind the town, and the forest of shipping in front, we have as yet been able to distinguish but little in regard to it.  We could see however that building still progresses, and that a number of lots were laid out on the hills immediately in the neighborhood of the town.  The bay looked beautifully calm and placid after coming in from the turbulent ocean.  A number of boats came off to us from the shore, and most of the passengers succeeded in getting ashore.  In consequence of having to wait the examination of the custom-house officers, we could not all land before night, and rather than do that, I and a considerable number of others concluded to stay on board till morning.

Tomorrow, another post about My Ancestors, this one, Alfred Beck Guion, son of Rev. Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck. He is Grandpa’s father and my gret-grandfather.

Next week I’ll be posting more sections from Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in his own words. 

Judy Guion

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Voyage to California (29) – 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.

Diary

March 1 – Weather clear and very pleasant.  In sight of coast and considerably nearer than for a few days passed.  The smoke on shore, in various places, indicated that the country hereabouts, is at least habitable.  I saw some sperm whales to day.  The gambling in the steerage continued until 3 o-clock in the morning and then broke up in a row.  Some high words passed and shooting was talked of, but no blood was spilled, and the war-like ones soon cooled off.  The supply of potatoes for the steerage gave out today, and the complaints are becoming louder.  Distance from San Diego, at noon, 115 miles.  Distance sailed, 200 miles.

Journal

March 1 – To-day the weather is again, calm and pleasant.  We are nearer the coast than for some days previously, but it presents little difference in appearance from that mentioned a few days since.  It is still rugged and barren, with but little appearance of vegetation.  In one or two places near the coast, large volumes of smoke were rising, but what caused it was not satisfactorily ascertained.  This morning we passed what might be called a shoal of sperm whales; probably a dozen were seen in the course of half an hour, some of them quite near the vessel. Tho’ but little of them can be seen, they may be readily distinguished from the hump-backed whale by their different manner of blowing.  There is no regularity in the blow of the hump-backed.  They may blow once and then disappear for a long time, or they may blow to or three times in quick succession.  The sperm on the contrary, keeps at the surface for a considerable time, and blows at regular intervals.  Beyond this, but little difference is generally observable.  To-day it became rather disagreeably evident that our stock of potatoes was exhausted, and as nothing additional was given in their stead, their loss was sensibly felt at our table.  Distance to-day 200 miles, distance from San Diego, 145 m. (The transcription has two different distances and I have no idea which one is accurate.)

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s lives in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

Judy Guion.

Voyage to California (28) – 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.

Diary

High wind last night, sea rough, and of course I was seasick in the night and this morning.  We continued in sight of the coast all day.  The monte bank again in operation and is said to have cleared $40 to night.  My supply of crackers brought from Philadelphia was exhausted to day, and henceforth I must rely on the steerage, which is becoming rather homely.  Distance 195 miles.

Journal

High wind and rough seas last night and this morning, and as a natural consequence, I again suffered from seasickness.  To day I finished the last of the stock of crackers laid in at Philadelphia, and sorry was I that I had not more of them.  They have been quite serviceable on several occasions.  Distance accomplished 195 miles.  Our interesting companion the banker is reported to have cleared about $40 this evening.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s marriages. 

Next week, I will continue this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (27) – 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.

Diary

Day clear and pleasant.  In sight of the coast part of the day.  A gambler on board opened a monte bank in the steerage cabin last evening and was reported to have made $75 by his operation.  Distance 205 miles.

Journal

Nothing remarkable to note of this days occurrences, in sight of the coast part of the day, pleasant weather, and 205 miles accomplished, being the chief events.  The monte banker plied his trade again in the evening, and, as one who played with him and lost by him informed me, made about $100.  A number of the passengers are quite dissatisfied at such proceedings being permitted on board.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s marriages. 

Next week, I will continue this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (26) – 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.

Diary

Cape St. Lucas in sight this morning, weather clear and cool so that a cloth coat could be borne very comfortably all day.  Nearest land at noon, Cape St. Lucas, distant 28 miles.  Distance sales 218 miles.

Journal

Weather clear again this morning, but cool enough to make a coat quite comfortable all day.  The wind is fresh, bracing and invigorating, and makes me feel more like myself again.  Cape St. Lucas has been in sight most of the day, distance at noon 28 miles.  Distance accomplished 218 miles.  Something new introduced into the steerage this evening: this was nothing less than a monte bank.  Some of the passengers and crew bet small sums, but, as is usual I suppose in such cases, the banker was the chief gainer, his process I suppose amounting to some $20 or $30 for the evening’s work.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their daughter’s marriages. 

Next week, I will continue this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (25) – 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.

Diary

The apprehensions entertained of stormy weather have not been realized.  The day has been cloudy, but the sea is not rougher than usual.  At noon observation we were Lat.  20° 40’ n.  Lon.  107° 11’ w.  —- miles distant from Cape Corientes, which is the nearest land. Dis. 133 ½ miles.

Journal

The apprehensions of rough weather felt last evening have not been verified.  The day has been cloudy with a slight sprinkle of rain occasionally, (the first of the kind for a considerable time), but the wind has not been high, and the water is comparatively smooth.  The observation at noon informed us that we were in latitude 20° 40’ N. longitude, 107° 11’ W.,  Nearest land Cape Corientes, distant 90 miles; distance accomplished since yesterday’s observation 118 ½ miles.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their family in New Orleans.

Next week, I will begin this story at the very beginning with Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion, my Grandfather’s memories of growing up in Mount Vernon, New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s. 

Judy Guion

Voyage to California (24) – 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.

Diary

To- day there was such a general washing and cleaning up that I lay in my berth most of the day to be out of the way.  A portion of the crew were busy lowering yards and making other preparations for crossing the mouth of the Gulf of California, where rough water is occasionally experienced.  The wind blows quite fresh this evening.  Some kinds of provisions are becoming scarce on board and we have less variety on the steerage table than formerly.  There is consequently some complaint among the passengers.  Distance 205 miles.

Journal

Our crew to day appear to be inspired anew with a spirit of cleaning.  Washing paints, scouring deck, and cleaning generally on the upper deck has occupied almost the entire day, and in consequence, I have passed no inconsiderable portion of it in the very interesting occupation of lying in my birth.  As I can now read a portion of each day, this is more tolerable than formerly.  The wind blows quite fresh this morning, and as we shall be crossing the Gulf of California on the morrow, a still harder blow is anticipated.  The vessel was prepared to- day to meet it, by the lowering of yard-arms, and the tightening of the various parts liable to injury from heavy winds.  Distance to-day 205 miles.

I will continue this story next Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their family in New Orleans.

On Monday and Tuesday, the last two Christmas Cards from Grandpa to his friends and family. I’ll post Special Pictures the rest of the week.

Judy Guion