The Valley of Heart's Delight

 Captain Christian Fieldsted
Arriving in San Francisco , 1849
First Attempted Oyster Growing in San Francisco Bay

BIO Pen Pictures

CAPTAIN CHRISTIAN FIELDSTED, residing on the corner of Emory and Myrtle Streets, near the University of the Pacific, San Jose, has been a resident of California since 1849, and of San Jose since the fall of 1853. He was born in Frederickstad, Norway, October 18, 1822, and attended school at his native place up to the age of fifteen years. In 1836 he commenced going to sea, and followed that life for seventeen years, visiting almost every part of the globe. During the last few years he was captain of his own vessel and part owner of two others. In 1848-49 he made a trip from Boston to San Francisco as first mate of the brig North Bend. On arriving in San Francisco, like almost every man who came to California in that year, no matter what his previous occupation, he tried the mines for a while. In two months he was so successful as to make money enough to purchast the schooner Two Brothers, which he bought at a low figure. He made a trip with her to Oregon, where he discovered in Shoal Water Bay an oyster-bed, the first oysters found on the Pacific Coast. ON his return trip he brought to San Francisco 1,700 baskets of oysters, each holding a little over a half bushel. Oysters were then selling at an ounce ($16) a basket. He sold a few baskets at that price, and was offered $20,000 for the cargo. Not thinking that amount sufficient he planted them at North Beach, which was a very unfortunate move, as the sand from the surf destroyed the whole lot! He was then relying on the judgment and advice of a Cape Cod man, whom he employed at $500 per month, and supposed to be a practical oyster man, but who really knew little about the business. Captain Fieldsted himself had no knowledge of theoyster business. On his next trip the whole cargo of oysters were spoiled in a thunder-storm off Point Reyes. Arriving from his third trip, San Francisco was burning, so he planted his oysters in Mission Creek, where they were stolen and marketed before he returned from his fourth trip, when he had a partner who understood the buisness. On that trip they made $7,000 each, and the next trip, being the fifth, he brought 2,700 baskets, which he planted off Ricon Point, where they were destroyed by drum-fish. In trying to harpoon a drum-fish he fell overboard, and as a conseuence was disabled for several months. Thus ended his oyster experience! A party who went into the same business about the time Captain Fieldsted left it, is now a millionaire, from money made in bringing oysters to San Francisco! After regaining his health he purchased a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley, for which he had to pay three different claimants, at different times, finally getting a pefect title. There were in the ranch 156 acres, situated four miles east of San Jose. This ranch he kept until 1882, when he sold it and removed to his present residence, near the University, where he has since resided. His ranch was devoted to fruit, grain, and hay.

In 1846 he was married to Miss Emily C. French, of Southhampton, New Hampshire. She died in 1880. In 1882 he was married to Miss Nancy Waterman Winsor, a native of Providence County, Rhode Island. Captain Fieldsted is in his declining years, enjoying the comforts of a pleasant home. Having no active business interests, he passes his time happily in the society of his friends and his cultured and charming wife, surrounded by all that renders life desirable. Mrs. Fieldsted's parents were Andrew and Lydia(Winsor) Winsor, both natives of Rhode Island. Their ancestors emigrated from England in the time of Roger Williams. One of her ancestors, Joshua Winsor, was with him one of the origina owners of what is now Providence, Rhode Island. Captain Fieldsted's parents were Jacob and Gerta (Anderson) Fieldsted, both natives of Norway. His father was in his early days in the war between Sweden and Norway, ending in 1814, a Lieutenant of Infantry. In later years he was a civil officer in Frederickstad, his position corresponding to that of Alcalde of a town in the early days of California. The family are attendants at the Congregational Church.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H.S.
Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. page 269-270 transcribed by Carol Lackey-


-The Valley of Heart's Delight