BURTIS, Samuel Henry Jr.
BURTIS, Samuel Henry Jr. (1862-1939), New York-born sea captain son of his namesake sea captain father. The New Directory of the City of Santa Barbara, 1888 lists Samuel H. Burtis, Jr. residing with his father on Quarantina Street between Montecito and Guiterrez streets.
He was captain of the schooner Santa Rosa Island in 1888. When the guano collecting expedition of the Helene was wrecked at Forney's Cove on Santa Cruz Island in 1898, Captain Burtis of the schooner Santa Rosa returned the crew to Santa Barbara.
An 1899 ships' register lists Captain Burtis as master of the wooden steam-schooner Weott. On December 1, 1899, Weott ran aground on the Humboldt sand bar, and Captain Burtis was held responsible. As a result, his license was revoked for six months.
Captain Burtis, Jr. later ran the steamer Eureka on her California coastal run. In 1915 at the time of his father’s death, Sam Jr. lived in Oakland.
Samuel Henry Burtis, Jr. =  Annie Genevieve Lawrence (1871-1942) and they had two surviving daughters:
1. Irene Eleanor Burtis [Mrs. Philip Conrad Huth] (1898-1997) 2. Hope Burtis (1903-1903) 3, Mary "May" Genevieve Burtis [Mrs. John Hutton Luhr] (1907-2007)
- Click HERE for: Mary "May" Luhr (1907-2007) interview, daughter of Samuel Burtis Jr.
Sam Burtis Jr. died in May of 1939, and is buried in Cypress Lawn Cemetery, Colma, CA.
In the News~
July 9, 1883 [SBDI]: “Captain Sam Burtis, his son, and Antonio Cavalleri, came over from San Miguel Island last Saturday, after a two months hunting and cruising trip. Larco brought them over and also their cargo, secured while away. This consisted of eleven barrels of seal oil, almost three tons of skins, a quantity of abalone shells and dried fish besides fifteen fine large sea otters. The value of the otters is about $900. The captain and his party were unusually successful this time, and had a most enjoyable trip throughout besides.”
July 10, 1883 [LAT]: “A son of Captain Burtis, who is fishing for seals on San Miguel Island, while rowing out to meet Larco’s boat the other day, shot a fine sea otter whose skin netted him $75. This was what might be termed a good morning’s work.” [Santa Barbara Press, July 5.]
July 19, 1883 [SBDI]: “Yesterday afternoon a party consisting of Captain Sam Burtis, Jr., Misses Ella Haese, Lola Mix, Ellen Knowles, and Messrs. Henry Sciutti and Walter Lewis, went out in Larco’s sloop for a sail… They desire to express their thanks to Captain Larco, whose kindness contributed so largely to the enjoyment of the day.”
May 1, 1886 [SBDP]: “Captain Sam Burtis Jr. is now ship master of the Santa Rosa.”
April 14, 1894 [SBDI]: “The sealers sent out from San Francisco have not met with the greatest luck this season, according to the Chronicle. There were fifteen in Yokohama on March 24th, and only three had had any luck at all: of these the Louisa D, commanded by Captain Sam Burtis [Jr.] of Santa Barbara, was one. This schooner had fifteen skins.”
April 19, 1894 [SBDI]: “In a letter dated Yokohama, Japan, March 16th, Ira Whitney, on board the Louisa D, Captain Sam Burtis [Jr.], writes to his father D. L. Whitney of this city, giving an account of their voyage from San Francisco and their success in hunting otter and seal. The explosion of a cannon on board the schooner injured the second mate and tore a hole in the forecastle. Otherwise the Louisa D has had good success, and expects to return in November after a profitable cruise.”
August 1, 1894 [SBDI]: “Word has been received from Ira Whitney, now sealing in Japan waters, that the Louisa D, of which Sam Burtis [Jr.] is captain, has succeeded in catching 1,547 skins. They expect to visit Copper Island and the Bering Sea, and will return home about October 1st.”
October 2, 1894 [SBDI]: “The schooner Louisa D, of which Sam H. Burtis [Jr.] is captain, and I. J. Whitney hunter, arrived safely at San Francisco last Sunday, the 30th ult., with 1786 seal skins—the largest catch of any vessel leaving San Francisco the past season. Captain Burtis reports having lost a German sailor off Copper Island, by the capsizing of one of the small boats.”
November 19, 1894 [SBDI]: “S. H. Burtis [Jr.] arrived here on the steamer Queen Saturday afternoon, after an absence of nearly a year, sealing in the Japan and Bering seas. Mr. Burtis has purchased an interest in the George Peabody, formerly a pilot boat at San Francisco, and will refit the vessel and start again for Japan in about thirty days.”
November 26, 1894 [SBDI]: “Captain S. H. Burtis [Jr.] left Saturday evening on the Pomona for San Francisco, where he will at once refit the schooner George Peabody preparatory for a season’s sealing cruise in Japan waters. Captain Burtis expects to sail from San Francisco in about twenty days.”
July 16, 1895 [SBDI]: “Captain Sam Burtis [Jr.], who lost his schooner on the Japan coast, is now on another vessel. He is expected home in two or three months.”
January 18, 1897 [LAT/SB]: “The sealing schooner Louisa D of San Francisco, Captain Sam Burtis [Jr.], is in the harbor for a few days. The Louisa D has been cruising along the coast and around the islands for several weeks, and the hunters have already taken about 150 skins, the largest catch for the season to date so far as known… Captain Burtis claims Santa Barbara as his home, for he spends his time here when not at sea. In command of sealing vessels he has sailed extensively in Alaskan and Japanese waters; he reports that he will not take Louisa D to Japan this winter, but will continue his hunt in this vicinity for the present, probably going north later…”
February 2, 1897 [LAT/SB]: “Reports from the sealing schooner, Louisa D, Captain Sam Burtis [Jr.], now off Point Sur, are to the effect that the hunters have taken but 155 skins, a discouraging catch.”
June 24, 1898 [SBMP]: “The sea-going vessel, Flying Jib, under command of Captain Sam Burtis, Jr., arrived in this port yesterday afternoon from Acapulco, Mexico with quite an unusual log book to relate. Nearly four months ago the craft put into Acapulco, and the Mexican customs officials boarded her and found that she was not under tonnage to that port, but that she had left an American port for a cruise, departing from San Francisco. This was a violation of the international customs regulations, and furnished due cause for detention. Captain Burtis represented that he was on a pleasure and hunting trip. He left San Francisco in a trip to hunt for egret plumes, but his vessel having too small a tonnage, was unable to obtain clearance. He therefore did not car to enter any ports, but cruised about, putting into outlying islands, and not going to the mainland to hunt. He succeeded in getting about a hundred dollars worth of plumes even under these disadvantageous conditions. Finally, being forced to run into a port, he did so at Acapulco as stated, hoping to be unmolested by the customs’ authorities. But his hunting armament brought him into trouble.”
November 26, 1899 [LAT/SB]: “Schooner Santa Rosa lost in Cuyler’s Harbor. The steamer Santa Cruz brought into port Captain Burtis and Philip Curran, the crew of the Santa Rosa, and they tell a tale of terrible suffering for three days and nights, and the wreck of the finest vessel in the harbor. The schooner Santa Rosa, belonging to the A. P. More estate, was lost early Friday morning in Cuyler’s Harbor, San Miguel Island, during a raging southeaster. The Santa Rosa left this port Sunday morning with freight and mail for Santa Rosa Island, and on Monday proceeded to San Miguel and encountered a southeaster, with a heavy sea. She put into Cuyler’s Harbor and threw out both her heavy anchors. The storm became fiercer and breakers began rolling over the vessel. Every jerk the captain thought to be the last and fatal one. Two hundred yards off were several hidden rocks. This lasted two days when, on Friday morning at 3 o’clock, one anchor chain parted and the vessel dragged the other and was at the mercy of the sea. The small entrance to the channel was a whirlwind of fighting waves. The vessel could not be controlled and was fast closing in on the sunken rocks. Seeing this, the men lowered the boat and had no sooner gotten in when, looking about, they saw the Santa Rosa covered by a wave, and that was the last time she was seen. They had had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours before the wreck. They made for the open sea, and for fifteen hours were at the mercy of the waves, when finally picked up by the steamer Santa Cruz. The Santa Rosa was the largest vessel in the channel, being thirty-five tons register. She was built for the More brothers in 1878 for use in the island business. She was valued at $6000, with no insurance, and last year $1000 worth of repairs were made on her.”
March 7, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Kate and Anna, Captain Sam Burtis, now on a seal hunting cruise along the coast, came into port yesterday with a sick man. The schooner will sail this morning.”
May 4, 1900 [SBMP]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Sam Burtis, arrived in port early yesterday morning with 107 seal skins and two otter skins, the result of a several weeks' hunt in the channel. The otter skins form a most valuable part of the cargo, as they are worth from $250 to $500 each. Captain Burtis will soon take his schooner to San Pedro.”
May 24, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis will make the effort to raise the Magic. The wreck of the vessel said to be in very fair condition and worth saving. Captain Sam Burtis, with the schooner Kate and Anna, will make an effort this week to raise the gasoline schooner Magic, wrecked nearly a year ago off the southeast shore of Santa Rosa Island. The wrecked vessel was in crawfish service for the Catalina Conserving Company of this city. She contains valuable machinery, and Captain Burtis, after a thorough inspection of the hull recently, decided that she could be raised, or the engines at least saved, and he accordingly purchased the wreck from the underwriters at San Francisco. Captain Burtis will begin the task at once.”
May 25, 1900 [LAT]/SP]: “Captain Burtis sailed from this port Wednesday with the schooner Kate and Anna, intending to make an attempt to recover the power sloop Magic, which was sunk last year off Santa Rosa Island. The Magic was formerly the Lizzie Belle W. When lost the boat was engaged in the lobster-catching trade. If the Magic is not more than half full of sand, Captain Burtis thinks she can be raised without the aid of divers.”
May 27, 1900 [SBMP]: “The schooner, Kate and Anna, reached port yesterday from San Pedro. The crew went on a spree just before sailing time, and Captain Sam Burtis worked the schooner alone from San Pedro, and was two or three days on the voyage. Today the boat will go to Santa Rosa Island with the intention of raising the wrecked gasoline schooner, Magic. Captain Burtis will take as guests C. L. Donohoe and Mr. Reese of this city.”
June 6, 1900 [SBMP]: “The schooner, Kate and Anna, Captain Burtis, returned yesterday from unsuccessful attempts to raise the gasoline schooner Magic, wrecked off that island nearly a year ago. It was found that the Magic was filled with sand, and Captain Burtis will go to San Pedro to secure a diver and arrange to sand pump the vessel if possible. He still has hopes of saving the Magic.”
June 26, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis, with his schooner Kate and Anna, left yesterday for Santa Rosa Island to make another attempt to raise the sunk gasoline schooner Magic, or at least to save the machinery. Captain Burtis is provided with a diver’s suit and apparatus, and will himself act the diver’s part. He experimented with the suit Sunday for the first time, and went down in three fathoms of water with good success.”
June 30, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis returned from Santa Rosa Island Thursday night with his schooner, Kate and Anna, having been unable to save but a small portion of the machinery of the wrecked gasoline schooner Magic. The hold of the Magic is filled with sand, and even with the assistance of a diver's suit little could be done. The Kate and Anna has returned to San Pedro.”
October 24, 1903 [SBMP]: "Died. Burtis—In San Francisco, October 23, 1903, Hope Burtis, infant daughter of Capt. and Mrs. S. H. Burtis, Jr., aged 3 months.”
February 22, 1908 [SBMP]: "Word has been received that Captain S. H. Burtis of the steamer Plant has been presented with a gold watch, chain and charm by the passengers who were aboard the boat when she lost her propeller and drifted from midnight on Tuesday until Thursday morning February 6th, being finally towed into Coos Bay by the Paulson. The Plant plies between San Francisco and Oregon. The passengers speak in high terms of the manner in which Captain Burtis handled his boat and crew.”
June 10, 1911 [SBMP]: “Captain Burtis Makes Big Haul Says this Report. A story comes out of San Diego to the effect that Captain Sam Burtis, a former Santa Barbaran and one of the best-known mariners of the Pacific, has just made a successful haul of a sum variously estimated at from $15,000,000 to $60,000,000. Burtis, in his Santa Barbara days, commanded a sealing schooner; but as the law and the extinction of the seal combined to make it unprofitable, he went into commercial lines, and in recent years has commanded a steamer running from San Francisco to Eureka. His father was also a sailing master, his old boat Restless being well remembered here. The San Diego Dispatch says treasure hidden by the crew of a Chilean cruiser off the coast of Honduras more than a generation ago has been recovered by a party of explorers aboard the steamer Eureka. .. ”
November 29, 1921 [SBMP]: “Yachtsmen photograph proposed harbor site. With a view to preparing a series of views to show the protected anchorage into which it is proposed to convert the well-known bird refuge, two enthusiastic yachtsmen, Earle Ovington and Tom Cornwall, accompanied by J. W. Collinge, photographer, yesterday took a number of photographs of the coast between the wharf and almost up to Miramar. The photos were taken from the deck of the John Percival Jefferson's yacht, Invader, offered by its owner for the purpose, Capt. Sam Burtis sailing the stately craft back and forth until the yachtsmen had taken all the pictures they wished. The photographing was done by Mr. Ovington, who climbed to the masthead of the yacht, carrying a camera on his back. Eighteen plates were exposed in all, those showing the bird refuge and its proposed entrance being taken while the Invader sailed so close to shore that her keel almost touched bottom. The views of the bird refuge and the beach outside will be retouched by John Chard, architect, so as to give a visual representation of what the proposed harbor will look like when completed. Two jetties and an entrance to the harbor from the ocean will be painted in by the architect on one of the photos, which will then be enlarged so that a complete visualization of the entire project may be had. After the photographing was completed the yachtsmen expressed their thanks to Mr. Jefferson on behalf of the yacht club for his courtesy in permitting the use of the Invader. The yacht owner stated that he was deeply interested in the proposed harbor project and said he hoped the scheme to dredge the bird refuge and make a yacht harbor out of it would come to pass in the not distant future. Mr. Ovington said the club contemplated the taking of another series of photographs from an airplane within the next few days, in order to get an adequate bird's-eye view of the proposed anchorage. It appears that practically the entire membership of the club favors the dredging of the bird refuge rather than the Chapman plan.”