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In One Ear: Tidbits from 1883

Newsy Notes from long ago
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 3, 2018 12:01AM

From the Friday, Aug. 3, 1883 issue of The Daily Astorian:

• The West Shore for July is on our table. Those of our citizens who purchased the admirable June number with its wealth of illustrations of local interest will want this companion number which has some charming portrayals of our coast scenery …

Note: The illustrations (a section of one is shown) are of a time before the devastating Astoria fire in December that year. The full issues of The West Shore mentioned are available online: June at, and July at The images are at

• The fastest passage ever made from Rio De Janeiro to San Francisco was by the American clipper ship Wizard, Captain Slade, in 1858, in 59 days. This has never been beaten before or since …

Note: Well, not really. Wizard, an “extreme” clipper ship, was shipbuilder Samuel Hall’s “masterpiece” in 1853, when clipper ships were breaking records on every ocean. There appears to be some confusion about the captain’s name, however: the original owner was Oliver Slate, the first skipper was Capt. Salde, then later there was a Captain Slade and possibly a Captain Slate.

A detailed log of the ship’s voyages makes no mention of this particular Rio voyage in 1858. However, a 1936 book “Clipper ships of America and Great Britain, 1833-1869” says the Wizard’s unbeaten run actually occurred in October 1855 (possibly 1884) from New York to Singapore in 78 days. Sadly, she was wrecked in the English Channel in 1874. (,


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