Sunday, February 3, 2013

Captain James Kellogg Remington (1844-1907) - Captain of largest boat on San Francisco Bay


Captain James Kellogg Remington was born in New Salem, Massachusetts in 1844 to William and Sussana Remington.

He was the second captain of the steamer Solano, which was the largest boat sailing on San Francisco Bay. The boat was 424' long and over 116' wide with four tracks for railroad cars. It contained two independent vertical walking beam engines, each having a 5' diameter piston and an eleven foot up and down stroke developing 2,252 horsepower each. On her sides were two independent wheels each 30' in diameter with a 24" diameter shaft and 24 buckets.

The Solano carried entire trains across the Carquinez Strait between Benicia and Port Costa, California, on the Central Pacific and the Southern Pacific mainline connecting Sacramento with Oakland on the extension of the original Transcontinental Railroad. The crossing was about 1 mile and was considered the busiest train ferry in the world. In 1904, the Solano handled approximately 115,000 freight cars and 56,000 passenger cars in one year, an average of 315 freight cars and 153 passenger cars daily, 365 days a year.  In 1904, she was making between thirty six and forty six crossings every 24 hours, an average of one trip every 31 to 40 minutes, day and night, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Solano

The Solano made her first trip on November 24, 1879, and Remington was the second captain of the steamer under Captain Elijah Morton. Previously,  he had been a mate on the steamer Capitol, and also filled a like position on the steamers Transit and Thoroughfare, plying between San Francisco and Oakland.

A serious nose infection forced him to retire as captain of the Solano. After his health improved he captained some San Francisco ferry boats.

He was married to his wife Lucy in 1875 and had three children, Maud Thompson, Herbert Remington and Orie Remington.

[Sources include Oakland Tribune, and Central Pacific Railroad Discussion Group]

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