San Pedro

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San Pedro (#116168) (1887-1894), 79.5-foot two-masted wood-hulled commercial steam schooner/wrecker built in San Francisco by Alexander Hay. For seven years she was used in California coastal salvage operations. On November 4, 1894 San Pedro caught fire and burned while engaged in salvage operations of coal from the sunken ship Gosford off Cojo Harbor near Point Conception.

In the News~

July 26, 1887 [SBMP]: “The schooner Catalina sailed from San Francisco on Wednesday for San Pedro with a dredging outfit, to be used in the Government work at Wilmington Harbor. The stone material for the above mentioned work will be taken from Catalina Island by the schooners Catalina and San Pedro, which were built expressly for this kind of work.”

July 7, 1893 [SBDI]: “The steam schooner San Pedro arrived in the Santa Barbara Channel yesterday from San Francisco and proceeded to tie up to the wharf and unload some ‘truck,’ which seems to be the best term by which to express it. The San Pedro is the boat fitted up in San Francisco recently for the purpose of going after the wreck of the British four-masted ship Goldenhorn, which was wrecked on Santa Rosa Island several months ago. She will make Santa Barbara her headquarters, intending to go to the spot where the Goldenhorn lies and raise, by means of dynamite if necessary, the steel and iron of which the vessel was built… The San Pedro is employed by the California Iron Works who are after the iron. Captain Julius accompanied the San Pedro to act as pilot.”

July 8, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The steam wrecker San Pedro of San Francisco arrived Thursday on its way to the islands to secure what can be recovered of the ship Goldenhorn. The Goldenhorn was purchased by a firm in San Francisco as she lay off the island where she was wrecked, and they now have sent the San Pedro, in charge of Captain McGuinn, to recover their property. The San Pedro carried a crew of sixteen men, six of whom were left at this place to take charge of the wreckage as it arrives. Two divers were on board to set the dynamite cartridges beneath the water to blow the hull loose. The iron sides of the vessel will be blown into fragments with dynamite and brought to the wharf here, where the iron will be cut into pieces suitable for shipment and worked into nails, spikes, etc. at the foundry. It will take about five months to do the work, and it is estimated about sixteen hundred tons of iron will be secured, though it is expected little else can be saved from the wreck. The San Pedro pulled out Thursday night after unloading material for the work here.”

July 11, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro will probably be in a day or two from the scene of the wreck of the Goldenhorn on Santa Rosa Island. Her return will be awaited with interest.”

July 12, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The engine and other appliances for handling the wreckage from the Goldenhorn is being put in place on the wharf. It is thought the San Pedro will arrive with a cargo about Wednesday.”

July 15, 1893 [SBDI]: “The non-arrival of the wrecking scow San Pedro is causing considerable comment at the wharf. It was over a week ago that the schooner left for Santa Rosa Island to break up the wreck of the Goldenhorn, and bring the first cargo of plates to Santa Barbara. She expected to return Tuesday or Wednesday of the present week, but nothing has been heard or seen of her since she left. No fears for her safety are apprehended, but it is supposed that the wreckers are having some difficulty in getting the hull.”

July 15, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner San Pedro has been sent to Santa Barbara to fish up the wreck of the British four-masted ship Goldenhorn, which foundered off the Santa Barbara islands several months ago.”

July 17, 1893 [SBDI]: “The San Pedro arrives with wreckage from the island. The wrecking scow San Pedro, Captain McGuinn, arrived in the harbor early Sunday morning from Santa Rosa Island. She brought sixty-five tons of iron and other wreckage from the Goldenhorn, the British four-masted iron ship that went ashore on the island last fall. The San Pedro experienced rough weather outside the islands and for four days was unable to do anything. The wind died down somewhat on the fifth day, and the diver got to work. It took two days blasting and raising the stuff brought over on this trip. The Goldenhorn is completely under water. She struck a rock about a quarter of a mile from shore and remained in sight for some time, but the action of the waves and wind has settled her until nothing can be seen. The San Pedro landed her cargo on the wharf yesterday afternoon and this morning. Some of the pieces weigh many tons and it was quite an interesting sight to see them taken off the vessel. The wreckage will be broken up here for shipment to the California Ironworks, San Francisco. The San Pedro left today for another load. There are thousands of tons of iron in the wreck, and the work will require several months.”

July 18, 1893 [SBDI]: “The Independent was a few hours previous in announcing the departure of the San Pedro yesterday. She steamed away from the wharf at about 9 o’clock, bound for Santa Rosa Island to obtain another cargo of wreckage from the Goldenhorn.”

July 18, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecker San Pedro, which went to Santa Rosa Island for the wreck of the Goldenhorn, came into port Sunday morning. The San Pedro brought about sixty-five tons of iron from the sides of the wrecked Goldenhorn Saturday night. They will start back to the island Monday night.”

July 20, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecker San Pedro is expected back from Santa Rosa Island about Saturday with another cargo of plates from the Goldenhorn.”

July 20, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecker San Pedro steamed away for the islands again Monday night for another cargo of iron from the wrecked Goldenhorn. As they bring from sixty-five to a hundred tons at a trip, and there is estimated to be about sixteen hundred tons over there, at one trip a week it will take them several months to land it at this place. The iron will be disposed of in San Francisco at the foundry for about $18 or $20 per ton. The company paid $250 for the wreck, and the chances are they will make some money.”

July 24, 1893 [SBDI]: “The scow San Pedro arrived Sunday morning with the second cargo of wreckage from the Goldenhorn. It is estimated that there is about fifty tons of iron in this cargo. The crew reports rough weather outside the islands, and the diver finds extreme difficulty in working in the water owing to the heavy undertow. He gets tossed about and tangled up in the kelp, and has to cut himself out with a knife. It is dangerous work and it will be wonderful if there is no accident before the job is finished. The San Pedro is expected to get away tonight for another load.”

July 25, 1893 [SBDI]: “The San Pedro left last evening for Santa Rosa Island for another cargo of wreckage from the Goldenhorn. The men who are breaking up the iron when it is brought here are making good headway and have no difficulty in disposing of the plates as fast as they are landed on the wharf.”

July 25, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecker San Pedro came into port Sunday with another cargo of iron from the wrecked Goldenhorn. They expect to bring in a cargo a week from now on.”

July 28, 1893 [SBDI]: “The scow San Pedro arrived this morning from Santa Rosa Island with another cargo of wreckage from the Goldenhorn.”

July 31, 1893 [SBDI]: “The scow San Pedro left for Santa Rosa Island again Saturday evening for another cargo of the wreckage from the Goldenhorn. Each trip the wrecker brings between 50 and 100 tons of the iron plates.”

August 5, 1893 [SBDI]: “The steamer Excelsior is expected the later part of next week to take a cargo of Goldenhorn wreckage to San Francisco. The wreckage steamer San Pedro arrived last night, bringing 50 tons of iron from the island. She has already brought in over 300 tons, and there is plenty more left.”

August 7, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecker San Pedro left for Santa Rosa Island again yesterday afternoon.”

August 7, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking steamer San Pedro is in the harbor with another load of wreckage from the British vessel Goldenhorn.”

August 10, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived last night with another cargo of iron from the unfortunate wrecked ship Goldenhorn. The cargo this trip amounted to about sixty tons of iron and workmen are now busily engaged in getting it in shape for shipment to San Francisco when it will be passed over to the Union Iron Works, the price paid being $15 per ton. The wreck will probably yield about eight hundred tons of old metal, we are informed.”

August 11, 1893 [SBDI]: “It takes a lot of skill to handle the big chunks of plate portions of the wrecked Goldenhorn. The San Pedro was taking off some particularly big pieces yesterday when some of the tackle broke and let the mess fall. No one was injured fortunately. A number of people were present when the wreckers punched a hole as big as one’s hat through one of the plates. A lot of nitroglycerine was placed on the top, a battery sent its spark, a quick loud detonation followed, and the hole was made. There seemed to be no dread on the part of the crew.”

August 14, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro started for the islands in the afternoon for another load of old iron.”

August 22, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow, San Pedro, was in port yesterday from the islands with about ninety tons of old iron from the Goldenhorn. She was busy unloading yesterday afternoon and this morning with the usual lot of inspected spectators on the wharf.”

August 31, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro is at the wharf with about ninety-five tons of the old iron from the ill-fated Goldenhorn. This load makes about five hundred tons in all brought over, and the work will continue until Christmas. The San Pedro is an old, rough-looking affair, but is, beyond doubt, making more money for her owners than any other steamer on the coast. She is averaging from $1200 to $1500 per week, and her expenses all told do not run over $50 per day. She is worth about $10,000…”

September 12, 1893 [SBDI]: “The wrecker San Pedro arrived in port last evening with no cargo. She reports the seas have been running high and a heavy blow prevented them from working on the wreck. The men were much surprised to hear that, up to yesterday, we have had heavy wind or seas.”

September 26, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro, Captain Mack, is lying in the harbor, waiting for the schooner National City to take her cargo, consisting of iron, spars and other wreckage from the Gosford, which was partially burned some time ago in El Cojo Harbor near Point Conception. After being relieved of her cargo, she will return and finish the work of breaking up the wreck. That finished, the San Pedro will proceed to San Pedro to work on the wreck of the Newburn, and thence to the Goldenhorn.”

October 9, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in the harbor this morning from Redondo. The wharf company has engaged the captain to overhaul and repair their harbor buoys, after which he will sail to Anacapa Island and endeavor to raise some of the wreck of the Winfield Scott which was wrecked in 1853.”

October 8, 1894 [SBMP]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in port this morning from Redondo. Captain McGinn says he is going over to Anacapa Island to take a look at the wreck of the Winfield Scott, which went ashore in 1852. He says he thinks there is a great deal of copper and brass to be obtained there. After this trip the scow will sail north to the Gosford again.”

October 9, 1894 [SBDI]: “The San Pedro is overhauling the buoys in the harbor.”

October 11, 1894 [SBMP]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro sailed for Anacapa Island to take a look at an old wreck there.”

October 11, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left yesterday for Anacapa Island to inspect the wreck of the Winfield Scott, after which she will return to the Gosford.”

October 12, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left yesterday afternoon for Anacapa Island to inspect the wreck of the Winfield Scott, after which she will return to Cojo Bay to resume work on the Gosford.”

October 18, 1894 [SBMP]: “Raising the Winfield Scott. From Alex. Eaton, who returned from a fishing trip at the Anacapa Island last Wednesday night, we learn that the wrecking schooner San Pedro, owned by San Francisco parties, is at work on a wreck at the island. The wreck is the Winfield Scott, a side-wheeled steamer which was sunk on the reef there forty-two years ago. The wreck was easily located and at last accounts the work of raising the machinery was progressing favorably. It is also reported that a large amount of bullion was aboard the vessel when she was sunk. On Saturday evening, Bay Webster took over a party of about a dozen persons to watch the work of the wrecking schooner.”

October 20, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived this morning from Anacapa Island with a load of wreckage from the old steamer Winfield Scott which was wrecked in the year 1852. Captain McGinn says this is the most romantic wreck he has ever worked on. The scow lays under the cliff within fifty feet of shore and with one line fast to the rock on which the passengers from the steamer were landed. They broke up portions of the wreck with dynamite and raised a large amount of iron, shafts, wheels, bolts, etc. There are a great many copper bolts four or five feet long which are quite valuable. Captain McGinn got a brass plate from the engine room showing that the steamer was built in 1851, according to which she was only a year old when she sunk.”

October 22, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left last evening for the wreck at Anacapa Island.”

October 22, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in port this morning with a large quantity of wreckage from the side-wheel steamer Winfield Scott, which went ashore on Anacapa Island in 1852. She had a number of shafts and considerable old iron from the engine room, besides a number of copper bolts about five feet in length. Captain McGinn said he thought there must be some mistake regarding the year of the wreck, as he found a brass plate, nickel-plated in the engine room stating that the vessel was built in 1851, and there was evidence that she had been running several years before she was wrecked.”

October 25, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecker San Pedro was obliged to cease work yesterday on the Winfield Scott on account of the heavy swell, so she returned here, arriving about midnight. She brought over about twenty-five tons of iron and about five tons of copper which she raised on this trip.”

October 31, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived early this morning from Hueneme, where they have been overhauling buoys. On leaving here they returned to the wreck of the Winfield Scott at Anacapa Island, but, as they had no giant powder, they could do nothing. They then returned to Hueneme. Captain McGinn says that they will now proceed either to the wreck of the Goldenhorn at Santa Rosa Island or to the Yankee Blade around Point Concepcion. They will not again visit the Winfield Scott.”

November 1, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro returned this morning from Hueneme. She went from this port to Anacapa Island, but on account of the non-arrival of their dynamite they were unable to do any more work on the Winfield Scott. They will not make another trip to this wreck, but will go to the Goldenhorn or Yankee Blade.”

November 5, 1894 [SBDI]: “The steamer Santa Cruz was in the harbor yesterday and took on the remainder of the wreckage of the Winfield Scott left here by the wrecker San Pedro, and after placing a couple of buoys for the wharf company sailed for San Francisco.”

November 8, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “On Monday night’s stage Captain McGinn and three seamen arrived from Gaviota and reported the total loss of the wrecking scow San Pedro at Cojo Bay Sunday night. The wrecker was raising the coal from the sunken ship Gosford, and had on board several tons of it beside about thirty tons of wreckage. They were working short-handed, and on Sunday Captain McGinn, seaman Andrew Uden, diver John Lawrence and Captain Julius of this city, who acts as pilot in the channel and among the islands, started for Gaviota to engage more help. They returned in the night or toward the morning Monday, and found the scow burned almost to the water’s edge. The crew had left and were nowhere to be seen. They had been unable to quench the flames, so put off for land in a small boat… The wrecking scow was the property of Rogers & Co. of San Francisco and was valued at $12,000, and was insured for $6000.. She has been working recently on the wrecks of the Newburn, Goldenhorn, Winfield Scott, Gosford, and intended in a short time to work on the Yankee Blade…”

November 14, 1894 [SBDI]: “On her way down the coast, the Fearless stopped in Cojo Bay and took a look at the burned scow, San Pedro. Nothing is to be seen of her but the stumps of the two masts. Her owners will probably charter or buy another scow and come down this way in a short time and resume work.”

November 16, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The tug Fearless, Captain Haskell, arrived in port at a little after 9 o’clock Tuesday night from Santa Rosa Island, bringing a fuller account of the wreck of the steamer Crown of England. The ship is a total wreck… Captain McGinn of the burned wrecking scow San Pedro was on board the Fearless…”

November 23, 1894 [SBMP]: “The government inspectors have filed their report on the burning of the wrecking scow San Pedro at Point Conception on November 4th. They exonerated all officers and found the fire was first discovered at 11 P.M. Engineer Harley was justified in ordering all hands to the lifeboat, for dynamite was aboard.”

November 30, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The tug Katie O’Neil, which is towing the wrecking outfit from San Francisco to Santa Rosa Island [Crown of England wreck], left it there yesterday and came on here, arriving last night to take on coal. She is in charge of Captain McGinn, formerly of the wrecking scow San Pedro.”

November 24, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The California Iron and Wrecking Company has undertaken to save the machinery from the wrecked steamer Crown of England, and tomorrow will start for the scene of the disaster at Santa Rosa Island. The schooner Anna has been chartered, and today pumps, hoisting gear and engines were rigged on her decks for the expedition. She will be towed down the coast by the tug Kate O’Neil, and the rescue of salvage will be conducted under the direction of Captain McGinn, who was in command of the wrecker San Pedro, when she was burned a few weeks ago off the Santa Barbara coast. The wreck of the steamer is lying high and dry on the beach in a sheltered position, and can be easily reached.”

December 13, 1894 [SBDI]: “Captain Perry, the lighthouse keeper at Point Conception, is in receipt of a card of grateful acknowledgment from four of the crew of the wrecker San Pedro. The latter was destroyed by fire about three weeks ago near Santa Barbara, and four men got away in the small boat just in the nick of time to save their lives. The boat was missing for two days, and it was feared that the men were lost. They succeeded, however, in making Point Conception, where they were picked up by Captain Perry. The lighthouse keeper treated them with every mark of kindness, providing them with food and entertainment. The names of the men are John Harley, chief engineer; James Haldkiar, assistant engineer; Henry B. Thum and Julius C. Ohm. Captain Perry has been in charge of the lighthouse for twenty years.”

February 22, 1906 [SBMP]: “The steamer San Pedro passed slowly up the channel early yesterday afternoon with a three-masted schooner in tow. The schooner had evidently lost her rudder, as she had all her sails up.”