This Day in Maritime History, March

This Day in Maritime History highlights the connections between SF Maritime NHP Collections and maritime historical events through the year.

January -- February -- March
April -- May -- June
July -- August -- September
October -- November -- December

Scanned image of Navy dog Jay J. Jib's paycheck with pawprint
J. Jib's paycheck

(Digital image by NPS)

March 1, 1946

US Navy Reserves dog Jay J. Jib, assigned to the USS Henrico, earns a paycheck of "54 bones." You can view a photo gallery of Jay J. Jib's official Navy documents from our collections.
Two page spread of manuscript journal entries
SAFR 14299, HDC 91

(Digital image by NPS)

March 2, 1849

H.W. Chittenden, enroute to San Francisco on the bark Croton, writes about passengers getting drunk and dealing with hangovers. Read more about his sea journal held by the Park in collection SAFR 14299 via the links to blog posts under "Croton" on our Sailing Ships and SF Maritime Collections page.
Full color painting of the ship on rocks, in the surf, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background
Painting of wreck by Mattner Southard (SAFR 12248)

(Digital image by NPS)

March 6, 1937

While steaming through the Golden Gate in a thick curtain of fog, the Frank H. Buck is rammed head-on by the Dollar Line's luxury liner President Coolidge as it is leaving the fog-free Bay. Captain R.W. Kelly attempted to steer the Frank H. Buck into the strong ebb in hopes of being able to beach her. Instead her bow becomes wedged in the rocks at Land's End. Meanwhile, Captain K.A. Ahlin holds the bow of the President Coolidge firmly in the hole of the Frank H. Buck's bow in order to keep her afloat until all hands, including the ship's dog, can be rescued. The Frank H. Buck sinks alongside the Lyman Stewart, her sister ship which was built right after her on the same ways.
Black and white photo of the baby seated in a chair in a long white gown
Inda Frances Durkee as a baby (SAFR P00.08000)

(NPS photo)

March 11, 1899

On Balclutha's last voyage under the British flag, Captain Durkee’s wife, Alice, gave birth to a daughter on March 11, 1899. They named the little girl Inda Frances because she was born on the Indian Ocean while the ship was bound for San Francisco.
Cover of comic book Heroes in Dungarees

(Digital image by NPS)

March 15, 1886

Hugh Mulzac, the first African-American merchant marine naval officer to command an integrated crew during World War II, is born in Union Island, St. Vincent Island Group, British West Indies. He will become an American citizen and earn his captain's rating in 1918, but racial prejudice will prevent him from commanding a ship until 1942. He later writes A Star to Steer By, and many will read of him in the comic book Heroes in Dungarees: the story of the contribution of American Merchant Seamen to the War Effort!
Single-mast boat being pulled by 2 wading men, 3 other men in water pulling a seine net supported by floats
SAFR 13841

(Digital image by NPS)

March 20, 1875

Harper's Weekly publishes a half-page engraving titled "Chinese Fishermen in San Francisco Bay."
Spectators gather around signs to welcome the Eppleton Hall crew to San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf.
SAFR 22591, P99-014

(Sims, H. Alan, Harry Alan, 1932-  , photographer)

March 24, 1970

Eppleton Hall (built 1914; tug) arrives at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco after an 190 day voyage from Newcastle-upon-Tyne England under the command of Scott Newhall.
Dust jacket of the book Yankee Stargazer with pencil drawing portrait of Bowditch
Portrait of Nathaniel Bowditch on the cover of the Research Center's copy of biography of Nathaniel Bowditch

March 26, 1773

Nathaniel Bowditch is born. He will author the American Practical Navigator, one of the most influential books on navigation ever published.
Text in multiple fonts, with two signatures, inside decorative border
SAFR 23806/HDC 1649

(Digital image by NPS)

March 28, 1931

Mary Tornich Janislawski graduates from the Sperry Gyroscope school, becoming only the second woman to hold this distinction--the first was Amelia Earhart.
Portrait of Robert Falcon Scott and title page of the Folio Society edition of his personal journals
Frontespiece portrait of Robert Falcon Scott and title page of the Park's Folio Society edition of his personal journals from the British Antarctic ("Terra Nova") Expedition (1910-1913), available in the Research Center.

(Digital image by NPS)

March 29, 1912

The last entry in South Pole explorer Robert Falcon Scott's diary entry reads:

Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

For God’s sake look after our people.

Scott and his two companions are found dead 8 months later.
Color portrait of the three of them outside in front of greenery
Ron Cleveland, Irene, and Captain Fred Klebingat (SAFR 22583, P90-062, Box 2 Folder 3)

(Digital image by NPS)

March 31, 1985

Captain Fred Klebingat, one of the last men to command square-rigged ships around Cape horn, dies. He wrote many reminiscences such as Christmas off Meiggs Wharf, Christmas at Sea, and A Waif of the City Front.

Last updated: April 26, 2018

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