The Nagle Family California 1850-58

31/1/1850 Nagle departs on Gloucester for San Francisco


Jan 31st . Gloucester 397 tons (sic) Tardiff, master for San Francisco

The New Zealander 2/2/1850 p2 col 1

1850 Nagle, Capt. Jeremiah, ship Elizabeth, Clark’s Point, San Francisco

Source San Francisco City Directory

See also Schooner Elizabeth ‘Gold Fleet for California’ p108 The schooner Elizabeth was 38ft long, 13ft wide 6ft depth, 22 tons built by James Gibson in Auckland in 1849.

The Elizabeth was owned and commanded by Wm Talbot, and made a passage of 100 days Ak to SF.

P115 elizabeth reported as departing ak 2/11/1849 p116 arr sf under capt Kirby 10/2/1850


San Francisco in 1849. Locate Clark's Point.
 San Francisco waterfront early 1850s. Abandoned vessels lie rotting at their moorings, their crews having left them for the goldfields.
  27/4/1850 Arthur Devlin departs to San Francisco as passenger with his brother Patrick and Robert Campbell on ‘Constant’

See ‘Multiple Stains’ by Brig. Stan Devlin p183


At some time shortly after his arrival in San Francisco, Nagle formed‘Cole & Nagle’ Shipping & Passenger Agents, San Francisco *


Oct/Nov 1850 Hargraves in California about to depart on Emma, master Captain Arthur Devlin, to Sydney.

The Discovery and Geognosy of Gold Deposits in Australia: with comparisons and accounts of the … by David Simpson published 1860, p83-4   


7/1/1851 Emma Capt Devlin arrives Sydney from California with Hargraves on board

barque Emma, 295 tons, Captain Devlin
from San Francisco 23rd November 1850, arrived Sydney 7th January 1851

The Emma:— Captain Devlin has kindly favoured us with the following interesting account of this vessel's passage:— The above vessel sailed from the anchorage on the 23rd November, 1850, and has made the passage over in forty-five days, and from land to land in thirty-seven days, having been beating off a lee shore the first seven days after leaving the port, with gales veering between south-west and west-south-west, and a mountainous sea from the westward. She ran from the land to the Line in sixteen days, which she crossed in 156'50 west, carrying strong winds the whole time between north-east and east, passed seventy miles to the eastward of the Navigator group, and within one mile of the island of Vavau ; sighted Turtle Island, and carried moderate winds between north-east and east-north-east to the extreme of the Southern Tropic, when I experienced a series of moderate gales between west-north-west and north-west, accompanied with much thunder, lightning and rain. Barometer receded to 29'40 and stood so for six days in continuance. Sighted Lord Howe's Island on the 1st January, and experienced light south-west winds and fine weather for several days. On the 4th had a strong southerly gale, which lasted eighteen hours, when the wind became light at south-east to east, with fine weather, until I made land yesterday of Newcastle. Made the run for the meridian of Sandwich Islands to Sydney Heads in twenty-seven days.

The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General trade List, Volume 8, Number 356 (11 Jan. 1851) pp. 350, 355


7/1/1851 Emma arrives in Sydney from San Francisco- passenger list

January 7, - Emma, barque, 295 tons, Captain Devlin, from San Francisco the 23rd November. Passengers - Mr E H Hargraves, Mr Frederick Lockyer, Mr Frederick Shrove, Mr J Walford, Master Anderson, Mr Sloman, Mr and Mrs Leaner, Mr and Mrs Simmons, Mr and Mrs Ridgley and son, Mr Mullair, Mr O’Neill, Mr Slaterie, Mr Quark, Mr Moore, Mr Carr, Mr Nowlan, Mr Thompson, Mr M’Michael, Mr and Mrs Otto, Mr and Mrs Williamson, Mr Gosney, Mr White, Mr Brown, Mr Jamieson, Mr Cunningham, Mr Cowper, Mr Simpson, Mr McCullory, Mr Munn, Master Munn, Mr Osmend, Mr Glenwright, Mr Sullivan, Mr Ritchie, Mr and Mrs Sells, Mr Wilkinson, Mr Nairn, Mr Devine, Mr Moreton, Mr Paton, Master Paton, Mr M’Cabe, Mr M’Pherson, Mr Bird, George Latimor, George Dent, Leyey Van Den Brey, George Rawson, James Phillipson, Thomas Lead, William Kinchela, Phillip Lorrison, Malek Adel, Owen Pearson, John Tysson, James Tye, William Smith, James Hogan, Stephen King, James Byrne, and Adolphus M’Michan.

The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List, Volume 8, Number 356  Sat Jan 11, 1851

7/1/1851 Hargraves arrives in Sydney on the Emma master Devlin from California

The Discovery and Geognosy of Gold Deposits in Australia: with comparisons and accounts of the … by David Simpson published 1860, p83-4 see Hargraves file


Burton Ale Bass’s No. 3 - 50 hhds for sale on board store ship Elizabeth, Pacific Street Wharf. Apply to Mr. Davidson, or to Capt. Nagle on board.

Source: The Daily Alta  9th March, 1851.


22/1/1851  Advertisement for auction of Nagle’s house and contents in Auckland

               Sales by Auction.

Sale of Dwelling House and allotment, household furniture, &c., &c., - The Proprietor being about to leave the Colony.


Connell & Ridings

Have received Instructions to sell by Public Auction, on the Premises, at the Residence of Capt. Nagle, near Fort Ligar, on Tuesday, 28th inst., at 11 o’Clock-

A new and substantial, weather-boarded cottage.-

Lined throughout, consisting of two Sitting-rooms, canvassed and papered, two Bedrooms, Kitchen, Closet, Verandah, Lobby, &c., with Outhouses, and an excellent Well which yields a never-failing supply of pure water.- also the entire Allotment (No, 14 of Section 23) on which it stands, with frontage on a principal street 100 links wide- Nelson-street, parallel with Hobson -street.

                               After which-

               The Household Furniture and effects, viz., - Tables, Chairs, Sofa, Portable Iron Bedsteads, Large Hair Mattrass, Work Table, Marble Slab, Washing stand, Fender, Curtains, &c., &c., &c., Also about 120 Volumes Books, among which are

               Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 12 vols.,

               Rollin’s Ancient History, 6 vols.,

               Lingard’s History of England, 14 vols.,

               Bouuet’s variations of the Protestant Church,

               Works of Pindar, Shakespeare, Johnson, &c., &c.

The New Zealander Wednesday 22nd January, 1851. page 2,  


28/1/1851 Tuesday 11 O’Clock, Nagles house sold followed immediately by auction of contents.

See The New Zealander 22/1/1851


29/1/1851 Barque Novelty to sail for San Francisco with Mrs Nagle and children

The barque Novelty is now a full ship and will sail on Friday for San Francisco.

The New Zealander wed 29/1/51 p2


31/1/1851: Barque Novelty (British), Capt. Harrison, 62 days to San Francisco with  assorted cargo. Passengers: Dr. Campbell; Mr. Murray; Mrs. Nagle and family              

Shipping Intelligence

Jan 31-Novelty, 255tons, Capt Harrison, for San Francisco. Plus long list of cargo.

The New Zealander  1/2/51 p2


1/4/1851 Barrier Estate transferred to John Falconer by Campbell and Smith for £35,000

Grouden p46 ref Whitaker/Heale papers


12/2/1851 Gold discovered in NSW by Hargraves after arriving back to Sydney on the Emma master Arthur Devlin- mentions Wm Abercrombie being in California and Melbourne


April 3: Barque Novelty (British), Capt. Harrison, 62 days from Auckland, N Z, assorted cargo. Passengers: Dr. Campbell; Mr. Murray; Mrs. Nagle and family
Source: Gold Fleet for California: Forty Niners from Australia and New Zealand, Charles Bateson, Michigan State University Press, 1963.  

From John Logan Campbell file- mention of trip to San Francisco :-

In the meantime there was much to occupy him: a trip to San Francisco to salvage an unprofitable goldrush speculation (February to August 1851), exports to Australia and cargoes of timber and kauri gum for Britain, and a wide range of agency and commercial activities. The speculative coup of this period was the purchase in September 1853 of a superb 1,000 acre suburban farm, which Campbell renamed One Tree Hill.”

Source: coming

Note: Obviously Mrs. Nagle and Co would have had good medical advice and care aboard, as Dr Campbell had been a ship's surgeon on his first voyage from Europe. 

Campbell was also interested in forging commercial links to stimulate trade, and Nagle had or was about to have, a shipping agency in California.-DJA


13/9/1851  William Webster referred to as being in California.

SUPREME COURT. Civil Side.—Tuesday. September 9. Before His Honor the Chief Justice and a Special J... [truncated]

New Zealander, Volume 7, Issue 565, 13 September 1851, Page 2




Cole & Nagle, shipping office, commission merchants, and packet agents, corner pacific and front.

Source: The Sacremento Daily Union  20th February, 1852 and repeated for many months



Shipping Intelligence

Cleared March 2

Barque America, McKenney, South Seas Islands, Cole & Nagle

Source: The Daily Alta 3rd April 1852


Extraordinary News - From the Australian Gold Mines:- for Sydney, Direct - the fast sailing frigate built ship BLENHEIM, A1 for twelve years, will positively sail on the 5th of May.

The sailing qualities of this fine vessel are well known and her commander is intimately acquainted with the coast of the Australian Colonies, having commanded ships trading thither for nearly twenty years. Her dietary scale is a liberal one, and she will positively sail on the above day, offering a desirable opportunity for passengers.

By an arrival from Van Diemen’s Land this day with dates to the 3rd of February, intelligence has been received of the unprecedented success of the miners in the Australian Diggings which can be seen at the offices of the undersigned by intending passengers, who are requested to make immediate application to

                        McKenzie Thompson & Co.      Consignees

                        Front Street between  Broadway and Vallejo or to

                        Cole & Nagle, Shipping Agents

                        Corner Pacific and Front St.

Source: The Daily Alta  23rd April, 1852


San Francisco

City Directory



     We here present to the Public, the first San Francisco Directory yet published.
     In an ordinary work of the nature, in a long established community, the difficulties are such as to require the closest care, and yet in many instances to disappoint the best efforts of the compiler. All these disadvantages prevail here in a greater degree, in addition to many others peculiar to this place alone.  The very frequent change of business residence, rendered necessary by the almost daily change in all the thoroughfares of trade in the City - the great variety of inhabitants, comprising denizens of every clime, creed and country - their very mixed occupations, (with the minor difficulties of foreign languages and names,) all present obstacles to a perfect comprehensive summary, such as to task, and almost exceed, the best energies of any publishers.  As far as it has been possible to attain, correctness in a work of this kind, under such circumstances, the present publishers have endeavored to effect it. For any verbal errors, or mistakes in names, almost
unavoidable in a first issue, they request a favorable consideration.
     The classification of professions, trades, &c., and the numerous business advertisements immediately following it, will be found worthy the attention of the reader.                                            

A. W. M. & CO.
     San Francisco, Sept 8, 1852.


Names Omitted in the General Directory

Cole & Nagle, shipping agents, 155 Front



 Cole G H S. shipping office, 153½ Front
 Cole & Nagle, shipng office, 153½ Front
 Nagle J. shipping office, 153 Front

San Francisco City Directory


‘Deborah’ wrecked in Pacific 23/2/1852 at Anietyum the sthn most island in New Hebrides group

See Wing of the Manukau p130 and refers Capt White’s letter referring to the loss.


Steam to the Colonies

Editors Alta California - In your issue of to-day appears a premature statement, calculated to injure the sailing vessels laid on at present for the Colonies. You state  that a first-class steamer will be laid on by Messrs Cole & Nagle and that the steamer must of couse out-rival everything in the expedition of her voyage.

A steamer is not required to make the passage to Sydney at all. Good sailing vessels have performed the voyage in 38-42 days - a distance of 7000, not 2000 miles, and the only steamer which left this port for Sydney took 75 days. A trade wind exists the whole way, or until near the coast.

As Messrs Cole & Nagle have not absolutely chartered any steamer yet  for this purpose, I should recommend persons intending to visit those interesting colonies to stick to the canvas and leave Messrs Cole & Nagle the enjoyment of the smoke.

                        Yours ab’t serv’t

                        Joseph H. Scrutton

                        Semi-monthly Packet office, Front Street.

Daily Alta  1st November, 1852.  





Nagle J. shipping office, 153 Front

San Francisco City Directory

Vessels Up For Sydney- Cole and Nagle have manifested much enterprise in throwing such activity into their Great Australian Line of Packets as they have within the last month or so.
Source: The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld, Australia) Sat. 7th May, 1853. p2.
The Ship Isle of Wight, and the American barque Pacific, were laid on by Captain Nagle, firm of Cole and Nagle, for Sydney and Port Phillip, to sail about the beginning of February.
Source: The Argus, (Mebourne, Victoria, Australia) Mon. 16th May, 1853, p4.
The United States
Cole and Nagle announce a regular line of packets for Sydney and Melbouirne, and guarantee to make such arrangements as will secure the permanence of a regular line of packets of the first class in point of accomodation and sailing qualities.
Source: The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) Wed. 25th May, 1853 p4



Late March, 1854 Nagle subpoenaed to testify at trial - but didn’t take the stand.

Nagle was subpoenaed to testify in Watkins' trial,
which took place in late March 1854, but apparently never actually took the
stand. It's unclear whether Nagle was called because he was in league with
the filibusters or in some way had knowledge of their plans. The same
subpoena includes the names of other prominent San Francisco merchants,
none of whom testified either. No newspaper accounts on the
filibusters---and I've been through all of them---mention Nagle (or the
other merchants in the subpoena), so one can only surmise why the district
attorney was interested in their testimony. The filibusters had the support
of many merchants, who stood to reap huge contracts as the first comers in
a newly established independent "Republic of Sonora and Lower California."
It's possible that, in the case of Drake and the others, the DA simply was
canvassing prominent merchants and captains for what was generally known in
their community about the filibusters' plans and activities. In any case,
it must not have yielded much.

The subpoena is in Case 88, US v. Watkins, Box 3, Record Group 21, US
District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco, Old Circuit
and District Courts, Criminal Case Files, 1851-1912

Source Chris Nelson perscom email 31/3/2006  



Nagle has his house up for sale

For Sale or Lease, Furnished or Unfurnished - The handsome villa residence of Capt Nagle, in Clinton.

            The house is 30 x 26 feet, 2 ½ stories high, and contains 13 rooms, well finished and furnished - the lower part and kitchen hard finished. Has verandah and balconies in front, and convenient outhouses, &c, at rear.

            The grounds (4 acres) consist of blocks 1 and 11, and are laid out with gravel walks and shrubbery, and enclosed by a substantial fence. Each block has a frontage of 300 feet on four different streets.

            This delightful residence is not surpassed in California by the beauty of its situation, being surrounded by ffne [sic] large oak trees, and being on an elevated promontory, having a frontage to the Bay on three sides. Peralta title, and warrantee deed given. Terms easy. Apply to Capt. Nagle, Clinton, or to

            A. FORBES & CO., Real Estate Agents, &c,

            150 Washington street, below Montgomery,


Source: Daily Alta   11th July, 1855.

1855 Sometime, Edward Robert Campbell Nagle born in California

Note- Campbell name would have been after John Logan Campbell as he accompanied Mrs Nagle and children to SanFrancisco-DJA  


For Callao

The First class clipper ship

De Koningin Der Nederlander

Captain D.K. d Dezong

Will be despatched in a few days as above.

For freight or passage, apply to


                        102 Davis Street

                        Near Jackson street.

Source: Daily Alta 20th October, 1855



Nagle a shipping agent, sends ships to Melbourne, Australia.

For Melbourne Direct

The well-known new clipper schooner

Simeon Draper

                        Capt Ashby

Is now ready, at Market street Wharf, to take freight. The attention of shippers to Australia, and especially strangers who feel inclined to ship, must bear in mind that Melbourne is the great depot for the Australian mines, and those who forward goods to Sydney ought to be aware that nine-tenths of their merchandise is transhipped to Melbourne, as that is the great mart for American goods. Therefore, as a matter of economy and an immense saving of time, I would recommend shippers to send their goods direct to Melbourne. Will sail on Saturday next. Has room for 10 tons of freight.

For further particulars, apply to

                                                J. Nagle

102 Davis, 4 doors south of Jackson St.

Source: The Daily Alta.   January 15th 1856.


Vessels up for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Simeon Draper   Sydney   Jeremiah Nagle

Daily Alta  15th January 1856


Vessels up for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Simeon Draper   Melbourne  Jeremiah Nagle

Daily Alta  2nd February, 1856


For Freight or Charter

A new Baltimore clipper built SCHOONER, 140 tons register. Apply  to

                                                            J. Nagle

                                                            102 Davis st.

For Sale - Two schooners of 150 and 25 tons register.

Source: The Daily Alta. 2nd February, 1856.


Vessels up for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Simeon Draper…Melbourne….Jeremiah Nagle

Daily Alta, 2nd February, 1856.


Vessels up for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Simeon Draper…Sydney….Jeremiah Nagle

Daily Alta, 15th January, 1856

 Wool, Hides and Tallow
Purchased by Jeremiah Nagle
No. 102 Davis Street near Jackson
Daily Alta 16th April 1856

Sometime in 1856 Nagle becomes master of the steam-powered sidewheeler/sailing ship ‘Commodore’   




Sch Jeanette, Leeds, Colorado River; J.Nagle.

Daily Alta. 4th January, 1857


Vessels for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Franklin Adams….Mansanillo….J.Nagle

Daily Alta, 6th January, 1857.


For the Mouth of the Colorado, Direct.

Touching at La Paz on her return

The A1 clipper schooner


120 tons burthen,…..Captain Leeds, master.

Will sail on Monday, Dec 29, having most of her cargo engaged; she can receive but a few tons more. Shippers are requested to have their freight on board before that day.

For freight of passage apply to

                        Jeremiah Nagle

                        Or John Dewar

                        Corner East and Commercial streets.

Daily Alta 7th January, 1857.



Barque Sophronia, Hall, Mazatlan; J.Nagle.

Daily Alta 7th January, 1857.


For Guaymas

Touching at La Paz

The well known clipper schooner


Edward Ginn, Commander.

Will be dispatched for the above port, on the 25th of January. She will be replete with every accommodation for passengers, and this will be a good opportunity for these desiring to settle on the Gadsen Purchase.

For freight of passage, apply to

                        Jeremiah Nagle

            Or        John Dewar

                        Corner East and Commercial streets.

NB - A splendid vessel, of about 350 tons, fitted expressly for passengers, will be dispatched soon after the sailing of the Falmouth.

Daily Alta 9th January, 1857.



Sch Jesse, D.Carr, Quear, Guadalupe, (Mexico), J. Nagle.

Daily Alta 18th January, 1857


Vessels up for Foreign and Domestic Ports

Mary Taylor   Guaymas   J. Nagle

Daily Alta  15th March 1857


For Victoria, Vancouver’s Island

Regular Trader

The brig Ellenita

250 tons burthen…….Edward Ranger, Com’r.

Will have immediate dispatch for the above ports,

For freight or passage apply to

                        Jeremiah Nagle

                        Or to John Dewar

                        Corner of East and Commercial streets.

Daily Alta 21st August, 1857



For Mazatlan Direct

The A1 Clipper Schooner

Frances Allen

Of 250 tons burthen….S.J.Collins Com’r.

Will have dispatch for the above port on the 27th inst.

Being chartered for the Coast of Mexico, she will touch at the above port with freight and passengers, should sufficient inducements offer.

Freight and passengers will be taken at low rates.

For particulars apply immediately to

                        Jeremiah Nagle

                        Or John Dewar

                        Corner of East and Commercial streets.

The Daily Alta 26th August, 1857

The sidewheel steamer 'Commodore', previously named the 'Brother Jonathon', and later renamed that after being called the Commodore. It sank off California shortly after Nagle stopped commanding her, and was located in 1995 I think it was, and the wreck gave up gold coins and other valuable items. It is now a famous shipwreck off the California coast.



Vancouver Island Coal

The undersigned, having purchased a quantity of coal from the Hudson Bay Company, at Vancouver Island, is ready to contract with parties, either here or at the pit’s mouth, on the most reasonable terms. Can also supply parties in Oregon and Washington Territories.

                                    Jeremiah Nagle

                                    East Street, near Commercial.

Source: The Daily Alta 23rd February, 1858.



Ho! For the Mines - We notice in the San Francisco papers that in consequence of the recent intelligence from the mines in the vicinity of Vancouver’s Island, the ship California, of 500 tons register has been put up for freight of passage by Jeremiah Nagle, corner of Commercial and East streets.

Sacramento Daily Union 5th April, 1858


The Thompson River Mines - Mr Jeremiah Nagle of this city, who has advertised vessels for the Frazer, or more properly, the Thompson river mines, favors us with some nimportant information in regard to the state of affairs there. This information has been communicated to him in a letter from Victoria or Vancouver’s Island and is probably correct.

            The mines are twenty days journey from the mouth of Frazer’s river. A considerable portion of the distance is over rough mountains; and another portion is up shallow rivers which are navigated by canoes. The Hudson Bays Company has under its charter the exclusive rights to navigate the rivers of the country, and this gives the Company a complete command of the trade. They furnish all the goods sold in the mines, and fix their own prices. Any vessel which should attempt to enter Frazer’s river without licence from the Company would be seized.

Source: Daily Alta  12th April, 1858.

 April 1858 Nagle writes to ALTA Newspaper warning of dangers of unlicensed vessels entering Fraser River.
  ….difficulty in going some fifty miles up the stream, and her captain thinks, he can easily run his boat to the locality of the present mining operations, (twenty miles above Fort Hope at the Rapids). The Fraser is a large stream, larger than the Sacramento having its source in the Rocky Mountains, and draining a vast extent of county; its principal tributary, Thompson’s River, comes in from the south, having its source in this Territory.

               Provisions are very scarce and high at the mines, and persons who design coming from California, would do well to bring a supply of articles of consumption, as well as mining tools. The point of debarkation will be this place, from which conveyances can, at all times, be had to the river and up to the mines. The citizens of Bellingham Bay are cutting out a pack trail from that place to the river near Fort Hope. By this trail the distance from the coast to the mines will not be more than 75 miles, while it is 150 miles by Fraser’s River. The road will be open about the 15th of May, and Bellingham Bay will become the great starting point for the mines.

               MINES IN WASHINGTON TERRITORY - The Fraser River mines will doubtless exert a powerful influence on the Sound country. It is true that these gold deposits are on British soil, but what of that? If gold is found in abundance on the line, or just north of it, why not just south of it? It has already been proved that gold does exist, in small quantities at least, in all the streams that flow from the Cascade range of mountains. If there is gold north and south of us, why not in our own territory?

               I predict that at no distant day the eastern portion of Washington Territory will be found to be rich in the precious metals, and instead of being an out-of-the-way and neglected place, it will have a dense population..”


               The Alta received two letters within three days from a Mr. Jeremiah Nagle, a business person of San Francisco, who was advertising vessels for the Thompson River mines. In his two letters, he provided information received by him, by letters from Victoria, V.I. about the exclusive rights of the H.B.Co. over the trade and navigation of boats and provisions within the British Possession area. The combined information being provided stated:

               “Editor Alta: The Hudson’s Bay Company has under its charter the exclusive rights to navigate the rivers of the country, and this gives the Company a complete command of the trade. They furnish all the goods sold in the mines, and fix their own prices. Any vessel which should attempt to enter Fraser’s River without a license from the Company would be seized. I would recommend all who would intend visiting the mines to proceed to Victoria, take out their licences, and there they will receive every information connected with the gold diggings. Their licence will be a kind of pass, which will, I believe, be a benefit to the holders. I would strongly advise ship owners not to allow their vessels to take freight up the Fraser River. If they do, it is ten to one bet they will be seized. This advice I have given to many, but they have said, “The Governor has not the power to enforce the law.” They are mistaken. He has two vessels of war under his control, and the commanders of these vessels are bound to enforce his orders, however unpleasant may be their feelings. Whenever John Bull’s officials give an order they must be obeyed ; therefore, I recommend the public, whether they are natives of England or America, or any of any other country, to be careful how they venture to navigate the river under the control of the Hudson’s Bay Company without their consent.”


               On the 13th of April, the Alta had received another letter, which provided a little more information about the status of the mines and on the routes to the mines. The information being spoken about by the writer was relayed as coming from the experience of an Indian trader.

               “Editors Alta: By the arrival of the steamer Columbia, the news from the gold diggings in the Shuswap country is partially confirmed, but still indefinite. Now, in regard to this place, about which so little is known, I desire to state what I learned nearly a month since, from an Indian trader, who was then in….”

Source: ‘The Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858 as Reported by the Californian Newspapers: Was it a Humbug?’  page 34, Compiled and written by Lewis J. Swindle ISBN 1552127214 Trafford Publishin
Nagle organizes Blacks from California to Victoria, BC, Canada. April, 1858


Eight hundred freed Black men, women and children emigrated to Victoria during 1858 from California. A proposed bill that would restrict the immigration of Blacks to California prompted their departure from the US. "The effect of the bill would have been to legalize slavery in California as long as the government itself was the slaveholder."*

Members of California's Black community met in April of 1858 to plan a mass migration from the state. They considered several destinations including: Panama, Sonora and Vancouver Island. Interest in Vancouver Island grew when Jeremiah Nagle, Captain of the steamer Commodore addressed the community. His presentation included a letter from a representative of the Hudson's Bay Company, believed to be Sir James Douglas, giving details about the colony and welcoming the Blacks.

A pioneer committee was sent to interview Governor Douglas to see if they would be received in the colony. The committee returned and reported that they had been welcomed by Douglas. Throughout the spring and summer of 1858 Black immigrants left California for Vancouver Island.

*Source: Go Do Some Great Thing by Crawford Kilian


 April 14th, 1858 Nagle addresses Blacks in a downtown church to make a case for their emigration to Victoria.

Source “The Black islanders” by Grant Shilling in 7/2/2001 edition of ‘Monday’ magazine, Victoria BC  


April 20, 1858,

some 600 - 800 black Californians including Archy Lee boarded the steamship Commodore owned by the Columbia Steam Navigation Company,  and set sail for Victoria, British Columbia.

Source: coming

For Victoria Direct

The ship California

In consequence of the very flattering accounts from the Mines in the vicinity of Vancouver’s Island, this fine Ship is laid on, and will have immediate dispatch.

For freight or passage, apply to

            Jeremiah Nagle

            Corner Commercial and East streets

Daily Alta  24th April, 1858.


Shipping Intelligence

Vessels for Foreign and Domestic Ports

California…Victoria….Jeremiah Nagles

Daily Alta 7th May 1858

 *  Nagle's partner in the company 'Nagle & Cole' was George Cole. Here is a biography of Cole:

COLE, GEORGE WARD (1793-1879), merchant, was born on 15 November 1793 at Lumley Castle, Durham, England, the fourth son of John Cole and his wife Eliza, née James. In 1807 he joined the navy and as a midshipman was stationed in the West Indies until 1810 when he transferred to the Channel Squadron. He was promoted lieutenant in 1814 and spent the next year on the North American coast in various amphibious operations, among them the destruction of Washington. In 1817, after further service in the West Indies, he was retired on half-pay. Then began an adventurous career in the merchant marine, sometimes as part-owner of the ships he commanded. He engaged in such speculative trades as opium, furs and sandalwood and spent some time pearl-fishing. In the 1830s he was whaling and trading out of Honolulu. Here he antagonized the missionaries by opening a grog shop, and he helped to found a non-mission school for European children. He had several clashes with natives, and in 1834 he won a lawsuit with Pomare of Tahiti over the theft of his vessel, the Truro. Shortly before settling at Port Phillip in 1840, he set up in business at Sydney, fitting out whaling ships, and had even bought land there for a patent slip. He was in England buying machinery when he changed his mind.

Cole arrived in Melbourne on 4 July 1840 in the schooner Waterlily, of which he was part-owner. He set up as a general merchant, and in 1841 bought land on the Yarra River near Spencer Street, where he built Cole's Wharf. In 1842 he married for the second time. His first wife had been a widow, Eliza Cantey, the daughter of Colonel Charles Brietyche. His second wife was Thomas Anne, daughter of William Gordon McCrae, formerly of Westbrook, Midlothian, Scotland. He had one son by the first and three sons and three daughters by the second marriage.

In Melbourne he continued his interest in shipping. He operated paddle-steamers on the Yarra and in Port Phillip Bay, and in 1851 he built the City of Melbourne, the first screw steamer south of the equator. He ran it between Melbourne and Launceston until it was wrecked. He also had important banking and squatting interests and was agent for Lloyds. He had quickly established himself as a prominent citizen, and his wealth is evident in the scale of a fishing and picnic party he gave in December 1841 for 150 friends, including Superintendent La Trobe; and in the purchase, in 1842, of 24 acres (9.7 ha) on the sea front at Brighton, where the famous St Ninian's was erected from prefabricated teak.

Cole won the Gippsland seat in the Legislative Council in 1853. He may have been motivated by a desire to obtain full redress for the resumption of his wharf in 1852, at the height of the gold rush, just when it would have made a fortune. If so, he had a long and disappointing wait: not until 1868 did he receive £19,000 in compensation. He considered this sum paltry when set against his expenditure and the revenue he might have had from the thousands of immigrants who used the wharf in the 1850s. He resigned from the Legislative Council in 1855 and went to England, but on his return in 1857 was elected for the Central Province and again in 1860 and 1870. An ardent protectionist, as one of his pamphlets dated 1860 shows, and a radical, he supported McCulloch in the Darling grant deadlock in 1867. In that year he was made an executive councillor. Cole published a number of pamphlets in the 1860s and 1870s in which he displayed an interest in social and economic questions ranging from unemployment and the establishment of a harbour trust to the Yarra floods and the need for gunboats and a local powder manufactory.

The Coles's life at St Ninian's was far from ostentatious, much of their food coming from the property itself, but they were frequently received at Government House, and counted as friends many prominent people. They were members of the Church of England. Captain Cole was keenly interested in horticulture. In the 1860s St Ninian's was the scene of the celebrated Brighton Flower Show. He introduced sugar beet into the colony in 1863 and was a pioneer in the use of seaweed as a fertilizer. In parliament he strongly advocated the establishment of agricultural colleges. He died at Melbourne on 26 April 1879.

Portraits are in the Brighton City Council chambers, Victoria.

Select Bibliography

Men of the Time in Australia, Victorian series (Melb, 1878); A. Sutherland, Victoria and its Metropolis, vols 1-2 (Melb, 1888); W. Bate, A History of Brighton (Melb, 1962). [more].

Author: Weston Bate

Print Publication Details: Weston Bate, 'Cole, George Ward (1793 - 1879)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, 1966, pp 233-234.