Senator (#23219) (1848-1884)(1848-1884), famous 219.5-foot side-wheel passenger cargo steamer with a 450-horse power engine built in New York. She first arrived at San Francisco in 1849, and was used to survey the Sacramento River in the Wilkes Expedition. Senator ran on the Northern California rivers carrying gold seekers to the mines. From 1855 to 1882, she was engaged in coastwise voyages from San Francisco to San Diego, where she was the most popular steamer along the Pacific Coast. From 1869 to 1875 she was owned by Goodall, Nelson & Perkins.
In April 1872, the Santa Barbara Times reported that the steamer Senator transported 20,000 sheep to the mainland from Santa Cruz Island for the More brothers who had paid the Santa Cruz Island Company $70,000 for them.
From 1875 to 1882 she was owned by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. In 1884, Senator was transformed into a barkentine and sailed to New Zealand where she was finally broken up for scrap.
In the News~
April 17, 1858 [Los Angeles Star]: “...getting aboard the noble craft, the Senator, were anon steaming out of the interesting harbor of San Pedro. Next morning, ere the rosy dawn, we were lying off the island of Santa Cruz, one of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. Here we remained some hours taking aboard sheep, the island's contribution to appease the hungry maws of San Francisco. Whilst then, the men taking them aboard from the beach, where, recumbent, and bound as to their trotters, they are patiently awaiting their destiny, let us step into the boat which Capt. Seely has kindly placed at our disposal, pull ashore, and see how the land lies...”
April 20, 1861 [DAC]: “The abalone shell business is another branch of industry in which the Chinese seem to have taken the lead. Formerly these fishermen threw away the shells, and only procured the meat, which they packed nicely and sent hither for the tables of the moon-eyed epicures. These shells were gathered up by the wiser Anglo-Saxons, and shipped to this port, whence they are sent to Europe and made into a variety of fancy articles, such as enamel work for boxes, card tables, etc. The Chinamen at last saw the point, and now save the shells and all. The Senator had 216 sacks of these on board.”
February 21, 1865 [SFDEB]: “New craft in the Santa Barbara channel. The Eustace, one of the finest schooner craft in California, built especially for the Channel trade, arrived at Santa Barbara on the 20th of January, in charge of Captain Furlong, under whose inspection she was constructed last year at Portsmouth, N. H., for the proprietors of the island of Santa Cruz, regardless of cost. She made the run from Rio Janeiro to San Francisco in 76 days, and from Point Conception to Santa Barbara in a little over three hours, and is warranted to sink the hull of the old Senator into the horizon in any breeze in which sails can draw. The people at the port took her for a revenue cutter as she sailed in, and they hope from her good looks to see their heavy freight bills cut down for the remainder of 1865.”
February 27, 1865 [SDU]: “The Senator arrived from Santa Cruz Island today with seventeen hundred sheep for the markets.”
April 20, 1872 [SBT]: “The steamer Senator, Captain M. Harloe, was engaged during the first of the present week in bringing in sheep from Santa Cruz Island to this place for the More brothers, who, we understand, purchased , a short time since, twenty thousand from the company, for the sum of $70,000. The captain of the Senator, unlike the passenger ships, brought the Senator up to the wharf in fine style, and discharged her cargo. The captain says there is no difficulty whatever in landing at our wharf.”
September 27, 1875 [SBDN]: “The schooner Matinee came over from the islands yesterday with 50 sacks of abalones which will be shipped to San Francisco this morning by the Senator.”
July 24, 1878 [SBDP]: “Captain Mullett sent his sea lion to San Francisco by the Senator this morning.”
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.”
June 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “Eight large sea lions, belonging to Captain Mullett, were sent to San Francisco on the Senator last Saturday.”
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 29, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Senator arrived from Hueneme on Saturday with 150 sacks of wheat for the mill, and 10 barrels and 30 cases of oil from Ventura. From this place she went to Santa Rosa Island for wool.”
October 1, 1879 [DAC]: “Importations. Per Senator. Santa Rosa Island. 168 bales wool.”
October 6, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Senator was unable to land the wrecking party on San Miguel Island on her last trip, on account of the heavy sea. The spray from the surf entirely concealed the wrecked schooner Prescott, and it is feared she may have gone to pieces.”
November 21, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Senator took away six tons of Indian bones and relics gathered in this neighborhood. They will be sent to France to a historical and scientific society for which they have been collected by M. Cessac.”
December 2, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Senator took 20 tons of Chinese freight from here yesterday. Gourley says it smelled strong enough for 500 tons.”
May 21, 1881 [SBDP]: “Miss Nellie K. More, daughter of A. B. More, the eldest of the More brothers, has been visiting the family of her uncle, Mr. John F. More, on Santa Rosa Island, for a couple of months. She returns to her home in San Francisco on the steamer Senator tomorrow.”
June 9, 1882 [SBDP]: “The popular old steamer, Senator, which is one of the old landmarks of the coast, is being broken up for use as a hulk, by her owners, the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. It is a pity to lose this old but staunch and comfortable craft from the carrying trade of the coast.”