BETHUNE, Dan (1852-1919), Canadian-born captain of the local vessel Nellie on New Year’s eve, 1912 when she was wrecked on the east end of Santa Cruz Island in a southeaster. Bethune and his mate made it to shore and were rescued. He was later hired as a sheepherder to watched Ira Eaton’s sheep on Anacapa Island in 1917 when Eaton got the Anacapa lease (1917-1927). [Eaton 1980: 213]. Bethune died on November 11, 1919 of tuberculosis at age 66, just four days before his 67th birthday, and is buried at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.
In the News~
January 2, 1913 [SBDN]: “In a terrible storm, which swept the ocean Tuesday, the staunch little launch Nellie, in command of Captain Dan Bethune, was driven onto the rocks on the east end of Santa Cruz Island and completely wrecked. Captain Bethune and a sailor, the only two on the launch at the time only saved themselves by swimming through the angry surf, reaching shore in an exhausted condition. When the storm struck the launch the little vessel was being crowded forward by the men to escape to shelter. At a distance the storm could be seen, the waves being lashed mountain high, while an ominous roar told how furious was the gale. Almost within sight of a safe harbor the little craft was engulfed.”
January 3, 1913 [OT]: “Santa Barbara. Telling a story of great suffering and danger, Captain Dan Bethune and Mate Fisher of the power vessel Nellie, of San Pedro, which was dashed to pieces on the rocks on the east end of Santa Cruz Island, were brought here yesterday by a party of fishermen who rescued them. Captain Bethune told of having encountered a southeast gale on New Year’s Eve which drove their small craft upon the rocks. When the vessel struck, they jumped overboard and battled with heavy seas until they reached shore. Exhausted, they fell upon the sands, which where they remained all night. They passed New Year’s Day in watching and signaling for help. The fishermen who rescued them put out from Santa Barbara yesterday morning and passed near enough to Santa Cruz Island, twenty miles across the channel, to send signals of distress.”
November 14, 1919 [SBMP]: Daniel Bethune, age 68 years, and well known to the sailors that work around the islands, died yesterday afternoon at the General hospital from tuberculosis. He had been ill for two months. Mr. Bethune leaves a sister in Australia…”