The Sinking

The Ship

The Survivors

The Deceased

Source Documents

Survivors accounts

Capt. Hudson's report

Capt. Pearson's report

  Lodge Journal (NEW)

Journal of Francis W. Lodge, 1864

by Andrew Czernek,

Since the original web page was posted in 1997 on the sinking of the SS Golden Gate, about once each year I receive some piece of new information. In April, 2009 Kim and Robin Paterson, of Australia, sent copies of 50 pages of his great great grandfather's journal written in 1864 from San Francisco. It is transcribed here and the original also linked below in two PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files.

Capt. Francis W. Lodge Captain Francis W. Lodge (1813-1895) arrived in San Francisco in late 1862 as an agent of Lloyd's of London, the British insurance underwriter that exists to this day. Lodge had previously done salvage work in the U.K., Ireland and France and expected to do the same in Manzanillo with the wreck of the Golden Gate. Lloyd's of London was one of several underwriters for the cargo and also an insurer of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's fleet.

Instead of working on the wreck, for the next two years he would be embroiled in and out of court with at least two salvage groups. This journal, which is a copy of his letters, recounts portions of the tale with a letters from 1864 and a summary of his expenses, which continued into 1865.

In August, 1864, Lodge would settle with Thomas J.L. Smiley, one of the salvors, for $40,000 and give Smiley rights to any remaining treasure on the Golden Gate. Smiley would return a second time to dive the wreck later that year, his results unknown.

Lodge would be back in London by the end of the year, working at Marine Insurers on Broad Street. He would participate in other wreck recoveries in 1869 and 1875, eventually retiring in Helford, Cornwall.

Transcribed pages are linked below, as well as a copy of the original journal at the bottom. All errors of transcription are the webmaster's.

A little historical background is helpful here in understanding these journals. At the time of the sinking, the U.S. Civil War was in progress (and would be through the end of Lodge's stay in San Francisco). During this period, the French intervention in Mexico was occurring, so you will read references to French men-of-war and French authorities in Lodge's letters.

This journal has prices in both British pounds and U.S. dollars. In 1863-1864 exchange rates for the pound sterling were about $7 in 1863 and $9.90 in 1864. Gold was officially fixed at $20.67 per ounce for U.S. government purchases but traded in New York at $30 (1863) and $42 (1864).

Journal of Francis W. Lodge, 1864

Jan. 31, 1864: Names of those involved with the Smiley expedition
Jan. 31, 1864: Smiley arrested by the Admiralty Court
Undated: Additional list of persons in the Smiley expedition
Undated: List of gold shipped from Manzanillo
Feb. 15, 1864: plans for a civil suit against Smiley
Undated: list of treasure from the Irelan expedition (Nov./Dec. 1863)
Feb. 28, 1864: where the Manzanillo gold was shipped
Mar. 2, 1864: letter to British consul in Callao seeking help
Mar. 2, 1864: seeking French assistance
Mar. 18, 1864: letter to brother Frank
Mar. 13, 1864: Smiley arrrested in criminal court
Mar. 13, 1864: trying to track treasure shipped from Mexico
Mar. 13, 1864: seeking help tracking gold with Boston underwriters
Mar. 20, 1864: reports of gold arriving in England
Mar. 22, 1864: enlisting the help of the U.S. consul in Manzanillo
Apr. 14, 1864: how the divers worked the wreck
Apr. 28, 1864: treasure at Liverpool?
Mar. 16, 1864 & Apr. 5, 1864: Circuit Court indictments
Apr. 30, 1864: first memo suggesting a $30,000 settlement with Smiley
May 3, 1864: second memo on Smiley settlement
Jun. 2, 1864: a response to the U.S. consul in Manzanillo
Undated: Irelan's $60,390 in gold itemized
Jun. 18, 1864: Irelan settlement for $7,000
Apr. 18, 1864: Samuel's life threatened in Manzanillo
Jul. 10, 1864: Pacific Mail makes a claim on Lloyd's for damage to the SS Golden Age
Aug. 10, 1864: settlement offer at $30,000
Aug. 12, 1864: response to U.S. consul at Manzanillo
Undated: details of the $40,000 settlement with Smiley
Aug. 17, 1864: do I hear $45,000?
Aug. 26, 1864: telling the boss that the settlement was $40,000
Last pages: itemized expenses for 1863-1865

Original Lodge journal (1864)

Pages 1-20
Pages 21-50




Revision: 10/28/2010