Ship Linked to Adventist Pioneer Found
A 188-year old ship that once carried Adventist pioneer Captain Joseph Bates has been discovered under a new high-rise building site in California

BY MARK A. KELLNER, assistant director of news and information for the General Conference Communication Department

he nearly-intact hull of the Candace, a 188-year-old, 100-foot-long, three-masted barkentine ship that once carried Seventh-day Adventist pioneer Captain Joseph Bates on a memorable journey from Peru to Boston, has been found buried under a site for a new high-rise condominium development in San Francisco, California.

Bates was a sea captain, but did not command the ship. He was a passenger and became a friend of Captain F. Burtody, who sailed the vessel from the port of Callao, near Lima, Peru, in November of 1823. He later became a pioneering member of the Adventist Church and, in fact, is credited with introducing the concept of the biblical seventh-day Sabbath to Ellen and James White and other early Adventists.

A PIECE OF HISTORY: Adventist Church pioneer Captain Joseph Bates was a passenger for a memorable voyage on the Candace, a 100-foot-long, three-masted barkentine sailing ship. Remains of this ship have been discovered in San Francisco. [Photos courtesy of William Self Associates/ANN]
“None but those who experience these feelings can tell the thrill that fills every soul, from the captain to the cabin-boy, when the order is given to ‘weigh anchor for home,’” Bates wrote in his autobiography. “New life, with energy and strength, seems to actuate all on board.’”

The ship was found in what are apparently the remains of a salvage business run in the late 1800s by Charles Hare. Among other tasks, the Hare firm dismantled old ships, but the Candace was not totally dismantled before its remains were buried under new construction in the city, which also sustained a cataclysmic earthquake in 1906.

James Allan, a research archaeologist called in when the hull was found, said the discovery of the Candace is important: “It’s significant for a number of reasons. It’s one of the oldest shipwrecks we have recovered intact,” he said. “It’s representative of the early San Francisco entrepreneurial spirit; and it was the last ship being dismantled by Charles Hare, who was in the business of breaking ships apart.”

Allan said Hare was a pioneer in reaching across boundaries for his workers. Hare “used the marginalized Chinese fisherman community in his business,” he said.

Also, the Candace was “one of the first ships to carry the American flag into the South Pacific,” Allan added. “It has quite an interesting history.”

That history did not include luxury, however. At 100 feet long, the ship’s quarters were undoubtedly compact: “It wasn’t a very comfortable vessel,” Allan said.

Plans call for the hull to be a main exhibit at the anticipated San Francisco Museum, which is expected to open in 2008 in the former U.S. Mint building.

Captain Joseph Bates [Photo courtesy of the White Estate]
Bates, in his autobiography, wrote of the trials and struggles of the voyage. Both he and Burtody tried to give up chewing tobacco; only Bates succeeded. Bates also said he tried to lose a habit of foul language. The ship ran into a heavy storm on the way to Boston, but sustained no damage.

Finally, after about three months at sea, they were anchored at Boston Harbor.

“Fifty-five miles by stage, and I was once more at home,” Bates wrote. “A little blue-eyed girl of [16] months, whom I had never seen, was here waiting with her mother to greet me, and welcome me once more to our comfortable and joyous fire-side. As I had been absent from home over two years, I designed to enjoy the society of my family and friends for a little season.”

He soon went to sea again, however. After retirement, Bates became interested in the Second Advent message and introduced the concept of the Sabbath to what is today the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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