Skip to main content

Brother Jonathan (steamship) cargo manifest

 Collection — Multiple Collection Box: [CA 1860 Mar 21] 1
Identifier: CA 1860 Mar 21

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the manifest of the cargo of the steamship Brother Jonathan. The Brother Jonathan left the port of San Francisco, bound for various ports along the Oregon and Washington coasts, including Portland, Port Townsend, Olympia, and Steilacoom. The ship carried hardware, liquor, oil, iron, groceries, sails, clothing, provisions, and hops.


  • 1860 March 21


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The S.S. Brother Jonathan was a fixture of the shippings lanes along the Pacific Coast in the mid-nineteenth century. Commissioned by Edward Mills, and built in 1851, the Brother Jonathan measured 220 feet long and 36 ft wide. The ship was eventually sold to Captain John Wright, renamed the Commodore, and used on West Coast routes, primarily from her home port of San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia.

On March 15, 1859, it was the Commodore that delivered to Portland the official notification of Oregon's statehood, signed by President James Buchanan on February 14 of that year. By 1861, however, the Commodore had fallen into disrepair and was sold to the California Steam Navigation Company, who retrofitted her and renamed her Brother Jonathan. At the time of the manifest that comprises this collection, the Brother Jonathan was helmed by Commander George W. Staples. She was well known as one of the fastest passenger and cargo ships on the West Coast, running from San Francisco to Portland in just sixty-nine hours, the best time on record in 1862.

On July 30, 1865, after briefly achoring in Crescent City harbor to try to avoid rough seas and a strong storm, the Brother Jonathan again set sail for Portland. Weather conditions had not improved, and the Captain soon decided to reverse course and head back to the harbor at Crescent City. Close to port the ship struck a rock and the captain was forced to begin abandoning ship. Only a single surfboat, holding eleven crew members, five women, and three children managed to escape the wreck and make it safely to Crescent City.


0.1 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder

Language of Materials



Collection is comprised of the manifest of the cargo of the steamship Brother Jonathan.


This collection is comprised of a single item. The arrangement is derived from the records' creators or custodians or from staff at the time of initial processing.

Guide to the Brother Jonathan (steamship) cargo manifest
Preliminary Description
Rachel Lilley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA