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San Francisco Gold Rush Chronology

Related Museum Links "Ranch and Mission Days in Alta California," by Guadalupe Vallejo

"Life in California Before the Gold Discovery," by John Bidwell

California Gold Rush Chronology 1846 - 1849

California Gold Rush Chronology 1850 - 1851

California Gold Rush Chronology 1852 - 1854

California Gold Rush Chronology 1855 - 1856

California Gold Rush Chronology 1857 - 1861

California Gold Rush Chronology 1862 - 1865

An Eyewitness to the Gold Discovery

"Discovery of Gold in California," by Gen. John A. Sutter

Military Governor Mason's Report on the Discovery of Gold

San Francisco During the Gold Rush Era

Steamer Day in the 1850s

Sam Brannan Opens New Bank - 1857

January 10, 1862
Inauguration of Leland Stanford as Governor of California. In his inaugural address he said "Asia, with her numberless millions, sends to our shores the dregs of her population." He urged repression of immigration of Asiatic races.
January 11, 1862
Fire destroyed the boarding house known as Sarsfield Hall, Pacific and Montgomery streets.
January 13, 1862
Fisherman of the Bay of San Francisco mass meeting called by Giuseppe Vernego, president and Antonio Berondi, secretary.
January 19, 1862
Rev. S.C. Thrall delivered a sermon in Trinity Church about the flood of January 1862, its meaning and lessons.
February 27, 1862
Josiah Dwight Whitney, the State Geologist, lectured on geology before the Legislature of California, at San Francisco.
March 3, 1862
Dashaway Association of San Francisco adopted constitution and by-laws. It was organized by members of Howard Fire Co. No. 3, after a series of drinking binges. In a song, they wrote, "With manly self-control we'll dash away the bowl." Their foreman, F.E.R. Whitney, was a founding member.
April 10, 1862
U.S. Sen. Milton Slocumb Latham delivered in the Senate of the United States, a speech in support of a steamship line from California to China, via the Sandwich Islands and Japan.
April 28, 1862
Col. J. H. Carleton's California Column defeated Confederates at Picacho Peak, A.T., and invaded Texas.
May 18, 1862
Mrs. E.V. Farnham lectured on the philosophy of spiritual growth at Platt's Hall.
June 2, 1862
100-vara square at Mission Dolores surveyed for Francisco Ruffino by C.G. Patton, City and County Surveyor for a land posession suit in federal court. [One vara equals 33 inches, or about one metre.]
June 18, 1862
San Francisco Savings Union incorporated.
July 1, 1862
Central Railroad Company of the City and County of San Francisco adopted articles of association and bylaws.
July 2, 1862
Two 50-vara lots in Mission Dolores, finally confirmed by the courts to the heirs of Francisco de Haro.
July 7, 1862
Cornerstone laid on Fourth St. for the new Pioneer Hall of the Society of California Pioneers. Oration by Willard B. Farwell, Esq. Poem read by Miss Eliza A. Pittsinger.
July 11, 1862
Grand torchlight demonstration of firemen in honor of passage of the Pacific Railroad Bill.
July 27, 1862
Steamer "Golden Gate" destroyed by Fire.
August 2, 1862
200-vara plat of land in Mission Dolores, finally confirmed by court order to C.S. de Bernal.
August 31, 1862
Thoma Starr King spoke in memory of Frederick William Macondray at the First Unitarian Church. Macondray died in 1852.
September 1, 1862
Colored citizens of San Francisco held a grand festival in Hayes' Park to celebrate emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies in 1834, and emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia in April. A National Salute was fired at 12 o'clock noon.
September 4, 1862
North Beach & Mission Railway Co. organized.
September 5, 1862
Gen. Wright at the Presidio ordered the post office not to carry copies of several newspapers through the mail because of Southern sympathies. The papers included the "San Jose Tribune," "Stockton Argus" and "Visalia Equal Rights Expositor."
September 6, 1862
Illumination, firing of guns, and other manifestations of joy at San Francisco in honor of supposed victory of Union forces at Manassas. Subscription begun for the relief of the sick and wounded soldiers of the Union Army.
September 8, 1862
San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board was founded.
September 13, 1862
Second public auction of the Broderick estate by Cobb, Sinton & Bond at Platt's Music Hall.
September 15, 1862
Citizens of San Francisco proposed to raise a regiment of infantry for service in the East.
September 20, 1862
The sum of $100,000 sent East, as a contribution for the relief of the sick and wounded soldiers to be disbursed by the National Sanitary Commission. David Starr King was among the organizers.
September 29, 1862
A very smart earthquake shock felt; also felt at Petaluma.
November 4, 1862
Grand Union festival for the benefit of the families of California Volunteers. Address by the Rev. Thomas Starr King; Beautiful and classic tableaux and statuary, Gipsy tents and fortune telling; Refreshments, the whole concluded with dancing. The Presidio Band, with the kind permission of Gen. Wright, was engaged.
November 6, 1862
Direct telegraphic communication established between New York and San Francisco.
December 11, 1862
Company of cavalry, known as the "California Hundred," intended for service in the East, sailed aboard the "Golden Age" for Panama.
December 20, 1862
Slight earthquake shock in San Francisco.
January 1, 1863
Occidental Hotel opened at Montgomery between Sutter and Bush, diagonally across from the Lick House.
January 8, 1863
Gov. Stanford broke ground at Sacramento to begin construction of Central Pacific Railroad.
February 5, 1863
Third public auction of the Broderick estate, in the city of San Francisco, by H.A. Cobb & R.H. Sinton.
February 22, 1863
Gov. Stanford laid cornerstone for the Broderick monument in Lone Mountain Cemetery.
March 15, 1863
Schooner "J.M. Chapman" seized in the Bay and five men arrested as privateers.
March 18, 1863
Severe earthquake shock at 2 o'clock this morning.
April 13, 1863
Founding of the Union League of America San Francisco chapter.
May 4, 1863
California State Teachers' Institute and Educational Convention held.
May 6, 1863
Charles Allen Sumner recited poem on the occasion of I.O.O.F. anniversary and dedicatory ceremonies.
May 12, 1863
Exempt firemen were given the old Manhattan Engine Co. house on Jackson St. The Manhattan Co. moved to O'Farrell Street above Dupont.
May 20, 1863
City Railroad Company of the City and County of San Francisco adopted articles of association and bylaws.
June 4, 1863
Fight at the Farallone Islands between Farallone Egg Company employees and a party of Italians; one killed and five wounded.
June 24, 1863
Union Party of California grand mass meeting of the citizens of San Francisco at Union Hall, Howard Street, to ratify the nominations of the Union State Convention.
June 30, 1863
St. Ignatius College conferred the A.B. degree for the first time.
July 2, 1863
Water of the Spring Valley Water Works first brought to the city from Lake Honda on the slopes of Twin Peaks.
July 4, 1863
City Guards held a civil and military ball for the pro-Union Russian Fleet.
July 15, 1863
Smart earthquake shock felt in San Francisco.
July 30, 1863
Hon. Thompson Campbell, of San Francisco delivered, at Sacramento, an address about the Union and secession.
August 1, 1863
Two light earthquakes were felt tonight.
August 4, 1863
Grand Council of the Union League of America for the State of California held its annual session.
August 7, 1863
San Francisco Cadets, Company H., Second Regiment, National Guard of California, organized. Capt. C.E.S. McDonald, commanding.
August 19, 1863
The Pennsylvanians, later Engine No. 6, the first to use horses to pull fire apparatus.
September 1, 1863
Railroad and ferry connection with Oakland inaugurated.
September 4, 1863
Third annual convention of the ministers and lay delegates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church opened at Bethel Church.
September 21, 1863
Scottish St. Andrew's Society, of San Francisco organized.
October 5, 1863
Lillie Hitchcock appointed an honorary member of Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5.
October 15, 1863
San Francisco and San Jose Railroad formally opened.

The Cliff House opened by its properieter Capt. Junius H. Foster.

October 20, 1863
First number of "Democratic Press" issued.
October 28, 1863
Telegraph cable laid across the Golden Gate from Fort Point to Lime Point.
November 1, 1863
Troops began erecting fortifications on Angel Island.
November 2, 1863
Theodore Dehone Judah, engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad, died of yellow fever contracted in Panama.
November 21, 1863
Harbor Commissioners took possession of Vallejo, Jackson, Clay, Washington, and Mission wharfs.
November 27, 1863
Count di Castiglione and Major Devecchi, Commissioners of Exploration, feted by the Italian merchants of the city.
December 2, 1863
Irataba, Chief of the Mohave Indians, arrived.
December 19, 1863
Severe earthquake felt this afternoon, followed a few seconds later by another yet stronger. The earthquake was also strong at Santa Clara and San Jose.
December 23, 1863
Strong earthquake shock felt in San Francisco and San Jose.
December 31, 1863
Union College San Francisco, Second and Bryant streets, published a prospectus with a catalogue of the pupils to the end of the year 1863.
January 1, 1864
James Madison Bell read poem, "The Day and the War," delivered at Platt's Hall at the celebration of the first anniversary of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
January 5, 1864
More's Wharf collapsed.
January 10, 1864
First Unitarian Society of San Francisco dedicated the Unitarian Church on Geary Street.
January 11, 1864
Strike for higher wages by stable grooms.
January 16, 1864
San Francisco-San Jose railroad celebrated completion of its road with a grand dinner and speeches at San Jose.
January 17, 1864
John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a hymn for the patriotic dedication of the Unitarian Church in San Francisco.
January 26, 1864
Masonic Cemetery Association organized.
February 14, 1864
Norton I arrived in Marysville to join the celebration of the opening of the railroad.
February 16, 1864
Earthquake shock of considerable violence shook San Franicsco and Santa Rosa this morning at 8:49. Plaster was cracked and a few plate glass windows were shattered. In San Jose, plaster cracked in buildings.
February 24, 1864
Meeting of German citizens regarding Holstein-Schleswig war question.
March 4, 1864
Rev. Thomas Starr King died of diptheria.
March 10, 1864
A slight earthquake shock today.

Miss Emma Hardinge delivered a funeral oration for the Rev. Thomas Starr King at Platt's Hall.

March 15, 1864
Memorial to the late pastor Rev. Thomas Starr King at the First Unitarian Society of San Francisco.
March 17, 1864
Two mining companies, San Luis Rey Gold and Silver Mining Co. and the Santa Clara Gold and Silver Mining Co. issued stock.
March 19, 1864
Fairmount Tract, a portion of the San Miguel Rancho, sold by Cobb and Sinton. The area is bounded by San Jose Rd., Castro St., and Grove St.
March 20, 1864
Another light earthquake shock.
April 2, 1864
Rincon Hose Co. No. 6 went into service.
April 4, 1864
California Legislature established police regulations for the harbor of the City and County of San Francisco.
April 7, 1864
The Legislature authorized the Board of Supervisors to construct a fire alarm and police telegraph.
April 15, 1864
General Wright issued order forbidding vessels entering the harbor of San Francisco to pass north of Alcatraz on penalty of being fired upon.
April 28, 1864
Officers Quarters at Black Point Battery destroyed by fire.
April 29, 1864
Sale of properties at University Mound today, situated on the San Bruno Road, 4 miles from City Hall being a portion of the Bernal Rancho, bounded by San Bruno Ave., Harvard St., and Silver Ave.
May 1, 1864
Henry Whitney Bellows spoke in memory of Thomas Starr King: a discourse given to his flock in San Francisco, Sunday morning and evening.
May 7, 1864
Property adjoining the South San Francisco Homestead Association sold by Cobb and Sinton today. Covered area bounded by 1st, A, 7th, and I streets.
May 18, 1864
Tom Maguire opened the Maguire Academy of Music.
May 20, 1864
Slight shock of earthquake in San Francisco, but very severe at Stockton, Sacramento and Santa Rosa.
May 22, 1864
Rabbi Preacher H.A. Henry of the congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco, consecrated the new synagogue Benai Israel in Sacramento on Sunday, May 22, 5624.
May 23, 1864
The National Freedmen's Association organized regionally in city.
June 6, 1864
Moderate earthquake felt. There were four shocks.
June 11, 1864
300 feet [91 metres] of Meiggs Wharf washed away in gale.
June 22, 1864
Smart earthquake shock felt in San Francisco.
July 5, 1864
Moderate earthquake shock with four vibrations were felt.
July 21, 1864
Several earthquake shocks were felt today. The effects were severe at Stockton. Reporter Mark Twain, in the "Call" newspaper offices at the time,wrote, "...several persons started downstairs to see if there were anybody so timid to be frightened by a mere earthquake."
September 1, 1864
Fenian Brotherhood of the Pacific Coast held first general convention in San Francisco.

Gen. William T. Sherman captured Atlanta from the Confederate Army.

September 6, 1864
Earthquake was felt at San Francisco.
September 11, 1864
Rev. Horatio Stebbins became pastor of the First Unitarian Church.
September 19, 1864
Former mayor, Dr. Stephen R. Harris was elected Coroner of San Francisco.
September 20, 1864
Earthquake felt at San Francisco and San Jose.
September 21, 1864
Great speech of Hon. Henry Edgerton at the mass meeting in support of the Union held at Platt's Hall.
September 22, 1864
Gen. Sherman captured Savannah, Georgia.
September 25, 1864
A Mother's Sorrow. A sermon about war casualty losses preached by Charles Wadsworth before the Young Men's Christian Association of San Francisco, in Calvary Church, Sabbath evening,
September 29, 1864
Earthquake shock was felt.
September 30, 1864
Another earthquake was felt today.
October 6, 1864
An earthquake was felt today.
October 21, 1864
Major General Irvin McDowell, Commander in Chief of the U.S. military forces on the Pacific Coast, spoke at Platt's Hall and criticized various military movements of Gen. McClellan during the War.
October 24, 1864
Professor Hugh Huger Toland dedicated the new Toland Medical College.
October 25, 1864
Cornerstone of Temple Emanuel on Sutter Street, was laid this day.

Rev. Horatio Stebbins spoke about the war between the States in Platt's Hall.

October 27, 1864
Several light earthquake shocks were felt.
November 14, 1864
The Comanche, an iron-clad monitor of the U.S. Navy, launched at the Union Iron Works.
November 24, 1864
War, a Discipline; sermon preached in Calvary Church, by Charles Wadsworth, on Thanksgiving Day
December 11, 1864
Earthquake in San Francisco, but more severe in San Jose.

Major fight between members of the Columbian Engine No. 11 and Eureka Hose Co. No. 4. in front of the Eureka fire house on Mason just south of Sutter. Paving stones were thrown. There were many injuries including Police Officer Miles who tried to stop the riot.

December 28, 1864
San Francisco Central Methodist Episcopal Church musical program. Singing under the direction of M.A. Anderson, Esq.
December 29, 1864
Fire Department held its first grand ball.
January 8, 1865
Gen. Grant wrote to Gen. McDowell at the Presidio to notify him that former U.S. Senator Gwinn had become Governor-General of Sonora and was to be considered a rebel in the cause of the South. The former senator was later arrested in New York for treason and briefly detained.
January 16, 1865
First issue of "San Francisco Daily Dramatic Chronicle" published by Charles and Michael de Young. It was to be a daily record of affairs -- local, critical and theatrical. It was first published in the corner of their landlord's print shop on Clay St.
January 19, 1865
Light earthquake felt in San Francisco.
February 4, 1865
Strong earthquake felt today.
February 7, 1865
Another earthquake was felt today.
February 8, 1865
Two earthquake shocks were felt; the first at 2 p.m., and another at 6:30 p.m.
February 13, 1865
Spring Valley Water Co. merged with John Bensley's water company.
March 1, 1865
City Hall bell moved to the Old Union Hotel building where it hereafter will sound the alarm in case of fire.
March 7, 1865
Earthquake in San Francisco, but more severe at Napa.
March 8, 1865
The strong earthquake in Petaluma was felt in San Francisco. In Petaluma, people who occupied the upper stories of the principal hotels were greatly excited.
March 19, 1865
An earthquake shock was felt today.
March 24, 1865
Another earthquake shock was felt today.
March 30, 1865
Very smart shock of earthquake was felt.
April 13, 1865
New $24,000 fire alarm system has been installed with alarm boxes on street corners to report fires. It would be tested for the next two weeks.
April 16, 1865
First alarm over new fire alarm came from box No. 46 at Market and Powell sts. It was a false alarm.

Rev. Joseph Dwight Strong addressed the nation's sorrow, a discourse on the death of Abraham Lincoln, at the Larkin Street Presbyterian Church.

April 18, 1865
Light earthquake was felt in San Francisco, at Angel Island and at Oakland. It was severe at San Juan Bautista.
April 19, 1865
Rev. L. Hamilton at Oakland preached on the death of President Lincoln yesterday. The sermon was published in today's "Daily Alta California."
April 22, 1865
Homesteads sold at public auction by Cobb & Sinton in the area bounded by Castro, 18th, Valencia and Park.
April 24, 1865
New fire alarm system went into official operation at the stroke of noon. There were 37 miles of cable in the system and 60 fire alarm boxes. Three large bells, one at City Hall, the second on Sixth St. and the other on Dupont St. tapped out the signal number of alarms to alert all the firemen. The alarm office was in room 12 at City Hall.
April 26, 1865
Very severe shock of earthquake today. The shock came from east to west.
May 13, 1865
Barman's Homestead, property sold at auction by Cobb and Sinton. Covers area bounded by Cortland Ave., Nevada Ave., Powhattan St., and San Bruno Road.
May 24, 1865
Another earthquake in San Francisco, but felt also at Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista.
May 30, 1865
Earthquake felt in San Francisco and Oakland.
June 10, 1865
Part of Haley Tract, south and adjoining the Potrero Nuevo auctioned by Cobb and Sinton. Covers area south of Islais Creek bounded generally by S St., 12th Ave., P St., and 20th Ave.
June 12, 1865
First edition of the "Daily Examiner" appeared. It had been the "Democratic Press" which was forced to close because of its support of the South. William A. Moss remained editor.
June 14, 1865
Slight earthquake shock today.
June 18, 1865
Haybarns and other buildings at Sacramento and East St. burned. Loss was $6,460.
July 1, 1865
1000 dollar Republic of Mexico bonds issued today by the Pacific Bank in San Francisco, payable July 1, 1871, with interest at 10 per cent per annum, payable in gold coin of the U.S.
July 13, 1865
Earthquake felt at 11 p.m.
July 17, 1865
Homestead lots sold at public auction today by John Middleton & Son. Covers area bounded by Diamond, 18th, Valencia and Temple.

Pacific Warehouse at Broadway and Battery streets burned. Loss was an immense $843,827.25

August 15, 1865
Address delivered at Platt's Hall by the Hon. William Morris Stewart, United States Senator from Nevada, on the mineral resources, financial policy, and general interests of the Pacific states and territories.
August 28, 1865
Board of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco today adopted a constitution, rates of premium, and rules of marine insurance.
August 29, 1865
An earthquake, with waves from the southeast to the northwest, was felt.
September 24, 1865
James Cooke performed ropewalking feat from the Cliff House to Seal Rocks.
September 25, 1865
Ground broken for the track of the Front Street, Mission and Ocean Railroad.
October 1, 1865
Eureka and Ft. Humboldt badly damaged by an earthquake today.
October 8, 1865
Much of the city was wrecked by an earthquake today. The chief damages to buildings were to Popper's Building, corner Battery and Washington streets. The latter building was completely ruined. The California Engine Company's house, Market and Sansome sts., was severely injured and rendered unfit for occupancy. The chimney in the rear of the Lick House was shaken down. Stoddard's Warehouse on Beale St. is said to have been thrown out of place several inches. On Third St. from Market to Howard, the window glass was broken in many places. On Washington St. also, the glass appears to have suffered from Dupont St. down to Montgomery. On the marshy lands in the vicinity of Howard and Seventh streets, lamp posts, water pipes and gas pipes were broken and thrown out of position. The ground on Howard St., from Seventh west to Ninth, cracked open, leaving a fissure nearly an inch wide.
October 9, 1865
There was an earthquake shock today, and the earth continued to vibrate for 24 hours.
October 12, 1865
The earth continued to vibrate today.
October 13, 1865
Constant tremors in San Francisco. They continued through Oct. 20.
November 10, 1865
Trades Union of San Francisco banquet for the installation of officers. Address by Alexander McConnell Kenaday.
November 16, 1865
Pioneer Ball held.
November 19, 1865
Odd Fellows' Cemetery on Point Lobos Road dedicated.
November 24, 1865
Earthquake felt in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.
November 26, 1865
Dedication of the Central Presbyterian Church. Dedicatory sermon by the Rev. John G. Fackler.
December 7, 1865
Light shock of earthquake today.
December 12, 1865
Hostlers stuck for higher wages.
December 14, 1865
Grand musical festival of the Sunday School Union at Platt's Music Hall. 500 children sang.
December 17, 1865
Shootout between members of Howard Co. No. 3, Knickerbocker Co. No. 5 and Monumental Co. No. 6 at Fourth and Howard. Knickerbocker Asst. Foreman Edward Flaherty was shot in the arm. The dispute was over support for a paid fire department.

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