Steamer Vanderbilt - The Pride of the American Navy

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Steamer Vanderbilt - The Pride of the American Navy
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This is a coverless, stampless letter. It was sent on November 2, 1858 from Glasgow, scotland to Daniel Gibbs & Company of San Francisco. Has two stamps: "PAID" and a circle "PAID / D / GLASGOW / NO2 / 58". Inside is a letter on letterhead for Well Park Brewery. There is a handwritten notation "Rec'd 15 Dec 1858." The author writes that he has received an Exchange for 4320 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence. He also states that he is dismayed that only 1/4 of the bulk arrived in "sound condition." The entire letter is three pages long and ends with an inventory of what was shipped on the Pudel: 50 barrels D. B . Stout, etc.

Wellpark Brewery is a brewery in Duke Street in the East End of Glasgow near the Glasgow Cathedral. It was founded in 1740 on the bank of the Molendinar Burn by Hugh and Robert Tennent. Letter is signed by G. A. Tennent, who would have been a grandson or great grandson of Hugh. Brewing had been going on at this location since 1556 making it the oldest continuous concern in Glasgow to this day. The firm originally brewed stout and strong export ales. By the mid-19th century J&R Tennent was the world's largest bottled beer exporter. [wikipedia]

Daniel Gibbs & Company seems to be a San Francisco agent or transfer agent for bringing goods into the fledgling state of California.

The steamer Vanderbilt had a very famous career. It was built for Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt c1857. It would become the flagship of the North Atlantic Steamship Company making the San Francisco to British Isles run. It was built by Jeremiah Simonson. It was 340 feet long, 49 foot beam, 33 foot depth of hold and 526 tons. It was propelled by two engines of 2,500 horsepower each. However, it was not destined to be a transport for long. In 1861 the United States went to war with the Confederate States. One of its strategies was to blockade Southern ports from receiving goods from England and France. But it had only 5 ships. President Lincoln sent out a call for volunteers and Vanderbilt gifted his ship to the United States Navy. It was described as "This magnificent vessel, the finest man-of-war in our navy, was built at a cost of nearly a million dollars....notoriously the fastest vessel afloat was well as one of the strongest...." [Western Express, Volume 8 and Harper's Weekly, November 22, 1862]

So this is a transcontinental letter sent via the flagship Vanderbilt, on Glasgow letterhead, form the longest operating business in Glasgow, referencing a destroyed shipment of ale and stout, on a vessel that would become an important man-of-war in the United state mail! (Al Adams Gold Rush Memorabilia Collection) Date: c1850's Location: San Francisco, California HWAC# 58334