It is 1862 and most of the news is the Civil War, with large maps on the front pages of eastern newspapers showing the Richmond area and many battle accounts. The president is pushing Emancipation; debates are raging over whether the North has the manpower to win the war; England is debating intervention to get access to Southern cotton; and Napoleon has troops fighting in Mexico. The daily newspaper is 2 cents.
Letters take a month to arrive either overland or via ship on the Panama route. The telegraph line is complete across the country, bringing snippets of news from San Francisco. But a break in the line near Salt Lake City delays news from the West Coast for a day or two.
Suddenly the monopoly of the Civil War on the news is broken in the New York Herald Tribune. These headlines are from the newspaper:
Aug. 8, 1862
APPALLING DISASTER AT SEA.
--- Destruction by Fire of the California
Steamship Golden Gate.
--- 180 Passengers Lost.
Over a Million and a Quarter
in Treasure Sunk..
--- THE EXCITEMENT IN THE CITY.
REPORT OF A SURVIVOR.
The Vessel Beached.
No Insurance on the Ship.
Effect of the Disaster on Stocks,
Etc. Etc. Etc.
There are various accounts of how many were on-board and how many lost. One of the problem is that in the fire the ship's records were lost, so passenger lists had to be reconstructed from Pacific Mail Steamship information in San Francisco. The habit of the day was to book at the last minute (as fares would change to match supply with demand), so the records onshore were less complete. We're aware of at least one passenger killed on the ship who is not on any casualty lists. Raphael Myers, who was going to Burmingham, England to meet his wife and two daughters, who had preceeded him. His great great grand-daughter knows that he was on the ship.
This account resurrects the lists of survivors and those lost from the newspapers at the time. The New York Herald Tribune was used for the first two reports; the San Francisco Bulletin and San Francisco Daily Alta California for a "final" list of those lost published on August 11, 1862 (and corrected with the Aug. 18 arrival of 23 of the missing).
Please note that spellings are as consistent as possible with those provided by the newspapers, but errors have been detected at every transcribing. For example, "Abel Grey" is listed in a number of accounts but it is likely Abel Guy, a San Francisco banker and merchant who also had invested in the Chavanne brothers gold mine in Grass Valley. Guy was dining together on the Golden Gate with André Chavanne when they learned of the fire, thought they were separated at the sinking. Guy would retire to Paris, committing suicide by jumping from the top of a building in 1891.
André Chavanne would drift for more than 24 hours in a pair of life jackets before being rescued.
LIST OF NAMES OF PASSENGERS AND CREW SAVED.
Ben J. Holladay and servant (listed below)
J.C. Jonghaus and wife, of Sacramento
Chas. J. Fox
Mrs. David A. (Harriet) Nurse, of San Francisco
G. Given (boy 2 years old)
Ellie Oceanae Wandesford Given (8 weeks old)
Captain R.H. Pearson
Abel Grey or Abel Guy*
Mrs. Thomas Gough
Mrs. A.E. Wallace
S.M. Murphy and wife
Geo. O. McMullen (lost wife and children)
Capt. James Whitney, Jr.
Miss A.A. Manchester (8 years)
Miss E.C. Manchester (5 years)
Frank Manchester (3 years)
C.D. Bonestel, of Catskill
Julius Salinger, of San Francisco
George Fulton (7 years, nephew of George Henry Fulton)
Mrs. S. Francis
William W. Walker
Jane C. Forsyth, servant to Mrs. A.T. Greene
Isaac L. Gear
Gesba R.H. Dorsey
Mrs. D.J. Ross
John or Jonas (boy 4 years)
William R. Wilcox
Chas. E. Thomas
John Henry Booth, 10 years
William Hamilton, Ben Holladay's servant
Mrs. S. Tralis
J. Enba, Italian sculptor
Dr. James McChesney
Francis Carroll, of Quincy, IL
James McHenry, of Troy, NY
Father Miguel Arano
Charles A. Bedford, of Boston
Father Marcellino Blanco
Father I. Cardenas
Amos F. Clark, Baymansville, St. Lawrence County, NY
E.J. Clark, , St. Lawrence County, NY (brothers who had been in North San Juan running a sawmill)
Richard W. Henderson, of Cleveland, OH
Wilhelm Herbert, of Bavaria
Arthur Lepper, of West Catharine, Canada
Father Juan Parga
J. Rosenberg, of Hungary
Max Seligsohn of Seligshaw, of Prussia
S.P. Storms, Indian agent, Nome Cult Reservation
N. E. Emerson
S.A. Munn, Sergeant U.S.A.
S.N. Huley, of Wyandotte, OH
OFFICERS AND CREW.
W.W. Hudson, Captain
W. Waddell, Chief Engineer
Henry McKinney, Second Mate
Mathew Nolan, First Mate
James Scott, Third Mate, New York
J.K. Wood, purser
P.A. Bergerly, first assistant engineer
J.G. Whiting, second assistant engineer
Thomas McDonald, water tender
Antonio Pachero, fireman
C. Noyes, coal passer
M.J. Matthews, steward
Margaret McIntyre, stewardess
Caroline Hamilton, steerage do.
Samuel Howes, steerage steward
N. McLane, baker
R. Murley, second do.
J.F. Harris, porter
F. Douglas, butcher
Edward Douglas, sailor, of New York
Thomas Riley, seaman
Thomas Keepe or Kefe, seaman, of Ireland
P.A. Ryan, storekeeper
J. McMealey, 2nd cook after galley
Michael McLane, 3rd cook after galley
D. Jack Morrell, barkeeper
William Morrisey, waiter
Reem R. Redden
William H. Bibson, second barber
J. McLaughlin, sailors' mess box