Photograph of illustration of steamship California
Illustration of steamship 'California' at sea (1848 – 1894). Only a few passengers were on board when the ship left New York on October 6, 1848. By the time the ship reached its stop on the Panama’s Pacific coast, word had spread of the great new find of gold in California. Over 700 people tried to get passage on the ship in that harbor. The Pacific Mail agent managed to cram 365 people aboard the ship before it set sail for California. The ship and passengers reached San Francisco on February 28, 1949, where all but one member of the crew deserted the ship for the goldfields. The ship was lost in a wreck off the Peruvian coast in 1894.