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Orizaba (#19148) (1854-1887), 246-foot wooden side-paddle-wheel two masted ship built in New York and owned for a time by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. She had three decks with a reported sleeping capacity of 1028 passengers. Orizaba was familiar to local residents for she carried both passengers and freight along the California coast for many decades. She was fully overhauled in September of 1875, and her Captain “Ninety-fathom” Johnson was as well known as the boat herself. With the advent of faster liners such as the Santa Rosa, passengers would wait rather that take the slower Orizaba. She was eventually replaced by the Queen of the Pacific, and in 1887 she was broken up for scrap in San Francisco. In her day it was estimated Orizaba carried hundreds of thousands of passengers over a third of a century. Orizaba was named after a volcano in Mexico.

In the News~

May 10, 1863 [DAC]: “Arrival of the Orizaba. The P.M.S.S. Co’s steamer Orizaba arrived last evening [in San Francisco] from Panama. Passengers A. C. Peachy, Wm. Barron, Eustace Barron, J. Barron…”

January 26, 1874 [SBDP]: “The following is a list of the passengers per steamer Orizaba which arrived at this port [Santa Barbara] on Sunday evening, January 25th ...Dr. J. B. Shaw, J. S. Bell, ...J. M. Bolton, ...A. Larco...”

May 20, 1875 [SBDI]: “There arrived yesterday by the steamer Orizaba, a number of game birds, among which we saw several grouse, golden pheasants, Japanese and English pheasants. We understand that they are to be let loose on Santa Cruz Island, and there is every reasonable hope that they will thrive and increase.”

March 20, 1877 [SBDP]: “A large party of sheep shearers arrived here in the Orizaba last evening, bound for Santa Cruz Island.”

December 30, 1878 [SBDP]: “Captain Johnston retires from the command of the steamer Orizaba, and Captain Johnson takes the vacated berth on that vessel. Captain Johnson’s position on the Senator will be filled by Captain Wallace, late of Los Angeles.”

September 11, 1879 [SBDP]: “The captain of the schooner Prescott, ashore on San Miguel Island, sailed for San Francisco this morning on the Orizaba to order heavy anchors to be used in heaving the schooner off, those taken from this place not being heavy enough for the purpose...”

September 22, 1879 [SBDP]: “The agent of the Underwriters arrived from San Miguel Island on Saturday evening and left on the Orizaba for San Francisco to secure the services of a tug to tow the schooner Prescott up to the city...”

March 30, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom left the wharf at noon yesterday for Island Santa Cruz. On her last trip she brought over 20 bags of wool and 25 sacks of abalone shells. She is to return on Friday with 300 sheep to be shipped on the Orizaba.”

April 8, 1880 [SBDP]: “Schooner Star of Freedom arrived yesterday from the Santa Cruz Island bringing 290 lambs, which were shipped today on the Ancon by Mr. Tucker. The schooner returned this morning to the island and will bring over on Monday a lot of sheep to be shipped on the Orizaba Tuesday for the San Francisco market.”

April 12, 1880 [SBDP]: “The Star of Freedom arrived this morning from Santa Cruz Island with 251 lambs for Mr. Tucker, who will ship them on the Orizaba tomorrow morning. The schooner will return to the island tomorrow.”

June 15, 1881 [SBDP]: “George Orcutt and family who arrived here by the Orizaba Monday evening are now at the Arlington. Some time this week they will go to Santa Rosa Island, where Mr. Orcutt is to take charge of the property of his brother-in-law, A. P. More. Mr. A. P. More, who represents the largest grazing interests in Santa Barbara County, is stopping at the Arlington for a few days. He returns to his home in San Francisco by the Orizaba tomorrow night.”

June 9, 1882 [SBDP]: “We understand that the Orizaba is to be laid up for repairs, and that her place will be taken temporarily by the City of Chester.”

February 13, 1883 [SBDP]: “The following is the manifest of freight which arrived per the Orizaba last Thursday evening: …Santa Cruz Island Company 110…”

April 15, 1883 [LAT]: “The Orizaba sailed north yesterday with the following list of passengers: for San Francisco… J. B. Joyaux…”

June 15, 1883 [SBDP]: “Eight captive seals from San Miguel Island were shipped on the Orizaba for San Francisco last night. They are on their way to New York. Poor brutes.”

November 19, 1883 [SFMC]: “…Captain Higgins tells an amusing story at the expense of one of the former mates of the steamer Orizaba. That gentleman for some time wanted a certain billygoat that has been raised as a pet on Santa Rosa Island. More did not wish to part with it for a long time, but finally that billy ate up its master’s coat containing papers valued at $5000. More became incensed, told Higgins to get rid of the animal, and upon the next trip of the Orizaba, the goat took passage with its new owner, the mate. The latter took it to his home in this city, bought a set of harness and a small wagon, and made the outfit a present to his little girl. One night going home, he learned that the goat had eaten up his coat and $100 in greenbacks, and that an hour later or so afterward, had been hitched to the wagon so that his little girl could have a ride. The billy ran away and threw the child out of the wagon, nearly breaking her back, demolished the vehicle in its flight, and from that day to this the goat has not been seen. Captain Higgins and the mate still speak, but for some reason their friendship is not quite as warm as in days of yore.”

February 16, 1884 [SBDP]: “…It is said that the Orizaba will be permanently withdrawn from the line, and her place will be filled by the new steamer Santa Rosa, which leaves New York for San Francisco this week…”

March 30, 1885 [SBDP]: “Five bull sea lions were caught by Captain Ellis, and on Sunday were shipped by him on the Orizaba to J. P. Thomas at San Francisco, to be forwarded to the East.”

June 15, 1886 [SBDI]: “Captain Larco shipped several hundred pounds of crawfish to San Francisco on the Orizaba. They bring him 75 cents per hundred pounds.”

July 23, 1886 [SBDI]: “The steamer Orizaba sailed from San Diego on an excursion to the Coronado islands on Monday, the 19th inst.”

November 9, 1918 [SBMP]: “Officer [W. J. Davis] on old side-wheeler Mohongo makes his home here. Forty-five years ago the steamer Mohongo, a side-wheeler of about 1400 tons, touched at Stearns Wharf while steaming between San Francisco and Mazatlan, Manzanillo and Acapulco. Those were the days when diesel engines were unknown and the fast turbines of today that reel off 25 knots an hour in a choppy sea were little dreamed of… For about eight years the Mohongo and Orizaba operated up and down the coast. Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and San Simeon wree prominent ports of call and life here then was tinged with much of the romance and glamour that has made the state famous in both fiction and history… The steamer Orizaba, sister ship of the Mohongo, was in the service of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company…”