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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Capt. Nathaniel Gould

The history of the Gould family is a most interesting and eventful one. Of sturdy New England stock, with a natural bent for the sea, their courageous spirit and strength of character have been handed down through the generations. Captain Gould’s maternal grandfather was Edmund Crosby, who served in the war of 1812, and by trade was a ship-builder. His marriage united him with Miss Mehitable Taylor. Captain Gould was the namesake of his father, also Nathaniel Gould, who followed the occupation of coast trading, eventually becoming the captain of a vessel. He built the schooner N. and H. Gould, upon which, during its second voyage up the Delaware, he lost his life, in saving the life of one of his sailors. He was then forty-five years of age, and left his widow, Hannah King (Crosby) Gould, with five children to rear and educate. She proved equal to the task laid upon her, rearing her children to lives of usefulness. Her death occurred in Massachusetts in 1904, at the good old age of eighty-seven years.

Capt. Nathaniel Gould was born on Cape Cod (as were his parents and grand parents) October 1, 1842, and at the age of fourteen took his first voyage. Leaving Boston for New Brunswick, he went to Spain, on to Smyrna and back to Boston. He then left New York on the sailer Endeavor via Cape Horn to San Francisco, a trip of about one hundred and twenty-three days, reaching the Golden Gate in 1862. From there he went to Hong-Kong and Fou Chou, Chine, where the vessel was loaded with tea for New York City, and returned around Cape of Good Hope home, having circumnavigated the globe. After a few short trips around home he once more started out on a long voyage on the Mary Bangs, loaded with lumber for Montevideo, and from there went to Callao, Peru, where the ship was loaded with guano for Antwerp, going from there to Liverpool, England. He then sailed in the packet Ne Plus Ultra to New York City. It was at this time that the Civil war was raging and he then served on a schooner carrying supplies to Grant’s army at City Point, then as second mate of the barque Burnside he went to Hong-Kong, returning with a cargo of tea for New York. Later he made a trip to Valparaiso and returned; next a trip to the Mediterranean and back to New York; from here to Australia, bringing coal for Shanghai and tea back to New York. From there as mate on the Agenor he loaded lumber in Boston for Callao, Peru, thence went to San Francisco, where wheat was loaded for Liverpool, and upon his arrival at that port, he was made captain of the Agenor. Arriving in New York in 1868 with a cargo of salt from Calcutta, he was ordered to San Francisco, where he loaded wheat for Queenstown, but on his arrival he was ordered to discharge the cargo in Belfast, then returned to Boston and was sent to San Francisco by the owners to take charge as master of the Conqueror, taking her to Liverpool, then to New York, where it was loaded for San Francisco; from there to Hull and back to New York, where it was loaded for San Francisco, going back to Queenstown and on to Havre, thence to Cardiff, where he took on coal for Hong-Kong and back to San Francisco.

In that city, October 20, 1880, Captain Gould was united in marriage to Miss Mattie A. Miller, who was born in Rochester, N. Y., the daughter of Michael John Miller, born in Alsace, France. His father, John Miller, served twenty years in the French army under Napoleon and was on the march to Moscow and present at the burning of that city. He brought his family to Monroe county, N. Y., where he died. M. J. Miller brought his family to California in 1864, coming via Panama and engaging in the commission business in San Francisco, and later in the transportation and freight business. In 1870 he located in Petaluma, where he was prominent in business and social circles; a man of great foresight, to him is due the present splendid water supply of Petaluma. His decease occurred in 1900. The mother of Mrs. Gould was Julia Upton, born in Rindge, N. H., the daughter of Nathan and Hannah (Colburn) Upton, both natives of that state. She spent her last days with her daughter in Petaluma, passing away in October 1908, at the age of eighty-five, leaving two daughters, Hattie, Mrs. John A. McNear, of Petaluma and Mrs. Gould. Mrs. Gould was educated in Oakland at the Female College of the Pacific. Her culture, refinement and integrity have won her hosts of friends, and to those less fortunate in this world’s goods she has never been known to turn a deaf ear and they have truly found in her a sympathetic friend. Her charities are many and the love and esteem of the community are hers.

Among the exploits of Captain Gould are: Circumnavigation of the globe, twice; rounding of Cape Horn, twenty-three times; and rounding Cape of Good Hope, seven times. The fact that he never had a mishap, and that good luck followed him through all his achievements, are matters of great pride and satisfaction to him. He was intrusted with the most valuable cargoes, and always proved equal to the confidence reposed in him, executing all orders with great credit and filling the positions with great ability and integrity. He was mad a Mason in West Harwich, Mass., and raised to the Royal Arch degree in the Orient Chapter at Hyannis. Both Captain Gould and his wife are members of the Congregational Church at Petaluma. His benevolences are many, and no enterprise that is for the public good and the upbuilding of the community ever lacks his support.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011