NAME, Years Elected to City Council

John Hackett (1848-1910) was on City Council in 1885-1886 and 1889-1890.




John Hackett was an early pioneer of Oakland and is famous for dredging the harbor of Honolulu. More importantly, he dredged Lake Merritt.10 Hackett was born in Canada to Irish immigrants and came to California in 1862 or 1864 or 1866.12 From 1868 until 1880, he was a ferry captain on the boats running between Oakland and San Francisco, earning the title "Captain Hackett." In approximately 1880 he founded the Pacific Dredging and Reclamation Company. He was the first president of the San Ramon Bank. He was a milllionaire and an avid horseman.3

Hackett lived on Clay between 7th and 8th Streets.5

Hackett had contracts for dredging with the City of Oakland and Brooklyn.6

In 1893 there was some discussion about whether Hackett should stop dredging the lake and whether further bidding should happen on the contract, but Hackett continued on working.11

In 1895, Hackett and Captain Enas took a variety of dignitaries on a trip up the estuary designed to get stuck in the mud in order to demonstrate the importance of dredging. They got stuck in the southern part of San Antonio creek and discussed the costs of San Antonio creek to the San Leandro bay.9

In 1891 Hackett sued the Southern Pacific Railroad for $25,000 after a serious accident on the Webster-street drawbridge. Thirteen people drowned. Hackett had a hand injury and claimed that his eyes were seriously injured due to shock to the nerve system. 8

Hackett died of a heart attack in 1910 in Texas while attending a meet at Juarez, Texas. He outlived his wife and had no children. 1

John Hackett is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.


almost-Mayor: Hackett lost the election against the incumbent Mayor Eli Payter in 1886 by a vote of 2,818 to 2,691.2

1895-1896: Pilot Commissioner (state)7

1890: Nominated for for Assessor13

Nominated for council in 1891 but defeated.14


  1. "Captain Hackett is to be buried today." San Francisco Call: 1910.
  2. "List of Mayors of Oakland." Wikipedia. 
  3. "CAPTAIN HACKETT OF OAKLAND IS DEAD." San Francisco Chronicle: Jan 13, 1910. 
  4. “ACROSS THE BAY.” San Francisco Chronicle: March 15: 1887.
  5. "Oakland Directory." 1874.
  6. "Annual Reports of the War Department, Part 4." US Government Printing Office: 1893.

  7. "The Journal of the Senate During the ... Session of the Legislature of the State of California." The Legislature: 1895.

  8. "OAKLAND NEWS: A Lawsuit That Attracts Attention." San Francisco Chronicle: Jan 30, 1891.

  9. "STOPPED BY MUD IN THE ESTUARY." San Francisco Chronicle: Sep 24, 1895.

  10. "IN FIRM POSSESSION." San Francisco Chronicle: Apr 4, 1893.

  11. "OAKLAND NEWS: Opposition to Boulevard Work." San Francisco Chronicle: Apr 5, 1893.

  12. Irvine, Leigh Hadley. A history of the new Californiaits resources and people.The Lewis Publishing Company: 1903.

  13. Baker, Joseph Eugene. Past and present of Alameda County, California. SJ Clarke: 1913. 

  14. The Bay of San Francisco. Lewis Publishing Company: 1892.