Summer Reading: A Honeymoon, A Disaster at Sea & 21 Tons of Gold (1)

Wedding Journey: The Story of Adeline Mills and Ansel Easton***

By June Morrall

(From my “Over the hill stories” series)


Through the decades family and friends of Adeline Mills Easton were so captivated by her account of surviving a harrowing sea disaster in 1857 that the Burlingame grande dame privately published a 38-page book called: The Story of Our Wedding Journey.

But the misleading title masks the horror of the sweet shipboard honeymoon turned ocean nightmare, the kind of sea journey every traveler dreads.

A joyful, romantic future must have been all that was on the mind of 28-year-old Adeline “Addie” Mills when she wed Ansel Ives Easton in a San Francisco ceremony on August 20, 1857.

Both bride and groom came from accomplished, successful families. She was the sister of the conservative financier, Darius Ogden Mills, a New Yorker who had founded a bank in Sacramento and later established the famous Bank of California with the legendary William Ralston.

Ansel had made his fortune selling furnishings to the steamship lines servicing the booming city of San Francisco.

A perfectly matched couple, every detail of their honeymoon itinerary had been meticulously planned. Immediately after the nuptials, the newlyweds boarded the SS Sonora, settling into their first-class cabin as the steamer sailed out the Golden Gate, bound for Panama–a two week voyage.

It was “one long delight,” a continuation of their wedding party, remembered Addie.


(Next Part 2)

***Note: I am one of many “local” writers who has written about this fascinating story. If you can, check out all the versions!