Baltic

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Baltic (#) (fl. 1906-1912+), a power schooner operated locally for a time by Captain Gilbert, and formerly named Rover. In 1906 when Ira Eaton lost his boat Irene, he made arrangements to work on the Baltic for a short time. A few months after the wreck of the Anubis on San Miguel Island in 1908, Baltic delivered mail to her crew at the wreck and salvaged flour from her cargo. In 1909, the Baltic took fish to town for the Eatons who were living at Willows Canyon on Santa Cruz Island, and occasionally her crew stayed for supper. During the troubled time among lobster fishermen when traps were being robbed and the island fishing camps went on strike for higher wages and more help, an unexploded stick of dynamite was found planted in the hold of the Baltic. San Pedro fishermen were blamed. [Eaton 1980: 33, 63, 118, 119].



In the News~

November 25, 1906 [LAT/SD]: “A warrant was issued here late today for the arrest of A. W. Hall, sometimes known as ‘Windy’ Hall, a seafaring man. Marcos Bennis is the complaintant. He says that he entered into an agreement under which his daughter, Dora Bennis, was to be employed at a camp at San Juan Capistrano, and the girl, who is only 14, departed with the Hall party, presumably for San Juan Capistrano on the 7th inst., leaving on the gasoline launch Rover, of which Hall is skipper. Today Bennis received a letter dated at San Quentín, Lower California, and written by a woman in the Hall party and signed by Dora Bennis, in which it is charged that Hall took her to the Mexican port and that he made improper overtures to her. An effort will be made to extradite Hall.”


September 22, 1907 [SBMP]: “The schooner Baltic of San Pedro arrived in this port last night with a cargo of crawfish from the islands.”


November 15, 1907 [SBMP]: “...On the other side of the commercial wharf lay the power schooner Baltic, Captain John Warnell, who also brought in half a ton of crawfish...”


December 4, 1907 [SBMP]: “That rakish piratical craft, the Rover, which some years ago was instrumental in the abduction of the girl Bessie Benson by Captain Hall, aided by one John Warnell, part owner of the vessel, is again figuring in a crime of the erstwhile Rover, alias the good steam schooner Baltic, which was alongside the commercial wharf. John Warnell was arrested together with his mate Charles Hansen, by the constable Jack Fullington upon a warrant issued by Judge Overmen. The charge is grand larceny preferred by Captain George McGuire and Vasquez, who allege that Warnell and Hanson, while craw fishing around the islands, made a piratical cruise... with the aid of the Baltic - once the Rover...”


December 11, 1907 [SBMP]: “Woman falls into sea in mid-channel. Heroic rescue of San Pedro resident by mate Charles Hanson of the schooner Baltic. Swept from the deck of a fishing schooner in a howling southeaster in mid-channel, a woman fought heavy seas until a heroic man from the same boat reached her and then, after a difficult and dangerous maneuvering, both were rescued by a boatman from another craft. This was the story brought here last night by Wesley Thompson of the launch Irene, just in from the islands...”


December 12, 1907 [LAT/SB]: “Mrs. Charles Sanderson of San Pedro was rescued from the angry waters of the mid-Santa Barbara Channel, by the heroic act of mate Charles Hanson of the power schooner Baltic in a southeaster last Thursday. The news of the rescue reached here only last night. The Baltic is the schooner arrested recently for piracy. She left here last Thursday for Santa Cruz Island, in charge of Captain John Warnell and carrying as passengers Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sanderson. About the same tine the power schooner Irene also started for the same island. The Irene was a quarter of a mile astern of the Baltic, when a sudden puff heeled the latter. In the sudden shift of the tiller, Mrs. Sanderson, who was sitting aft, was caught in the sheet line and the whirl of the tiller and whisked overboard. Mate Hanson leaped after her. The sea was running high, with combing tops and the gale was at its fiercest. The mate reached the woman and held her head above water. In the meantime, the crew of the Irene had seen the woman go overboard, and her captain sent away a dory in charge of Joe Morales. Morales reached the pair, after a fight with the heavy seas and wind, and both were taken aboard. The Baltic is now on the south side of Santa Cruz Island, and the Sandersons are camped on Gull Rock. The woman suffered no ill effects from her experience, but Mate Hanson is the hero of the fishing fleet.”


February 13, 1908 [SBMP]: Seventeen-ton sealing craft [Ella G] driven 250 miles through turbulent seas without a rudder, finally to dash to pieces on the rocks off Bechers Bay. Shipwrecked crew brought here [Santa Barbara] by the Baltic…” the Baltic rescued survivors at a fish camp on Santa Cruz Island who had been shipwrecked on the Ella G which sank at Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa island… They reached there safely and remained on the beach in one of the many fishing camps until the schooner Baltic appeared picking up the catches of the fishermen. The commander of the Baltic gladly volunteered to bring the men back to the mainland.”


February 13, 1908 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara. Captain Joseph Lamp and his crew of eight men of the seventeen-ton sailing schooner Ella G of Victoria, B. C., were landed here today by the power schooner Baltic, and tell of the wreck of their vessel at Beecher’s Bay, Santa Rosa Island, February 2…”


July 26, 1908 [LAT/SB]: “Unless the crews of Mexican and Chilean stevedores are soon brought to the mainland from barren Flea Island, the scene of the wreck of the steamer Anubis, there may be bloodshed and death. The hot-tempered gangs, cooped in narrow quarters, are armed factions, ready for the spark that will ignite passions. Petty fights, in which knives were drawn, have taken place frequently since the ship went aground… Captain Rosaline Vasquez of the Gussie M, and Captain Ramon Vasquez of the Baltic, both arriving today, told of the ugly situation and the revenue cutter Manning, with Captain Pillsbury of the Marine Underwriters of San Francisco on board, reached here tonight and the story was confirmed…”


July 27, 1908 [SBI]: “Steamer Anubis now a hopeless wreck. Steam schooners from San Francisco have arrived at the wreck of the Anubis and are taking off the small portion of her cargo that has been piled on the decks as fit to be saved. There is no change in the condition of the ship, which is now looked upon as a hopeless wreck by all who have visited her. A regular traffic in flour from the wreck is being carried on between the wreck and Santa Barbara… The launch Baltic, Captain Prescott, brought several tons of flour yesterday, and left again for San Miguel…”


September 24, 1908 [SBI]: “The launch Baltic came over from the south side of Santa Cruz Island with 20 sacks of crawfish for the Larco fish market. The fishermen report improvement of fishing around the islands. Captain Dan Pico was in charge of the boat.”


October 14, 1908 [SBI]: “The gasoline schooner Baltic came over late yesterday afternoon from the islands with a cargo of fish for shipment, but the men employed in taking the fish grumbled over their scarcity.”


October 25, 1908 [SBMP]: “More reports of the scarcity and wariness of crawfish reached here yesterday on the power schooner Baltic, Captain Gilbert declaring that catches are short.”


November 24, 1908 [SBI]: “Although the rough weather yesterday interfered with crawfishing, two heavy catches were brought over from Santa Cruz Island by the crews of the Baltic and the Ina C. The boats had something over a ton of fish each. It is reported that the industry is picking up materially, rather contrary to expectations. The Baltic came near breaking a record on her trip over. Starting from the south end of the island, the crew crowded on all sail possible and, running before the stiff breeze, which blew during the afternoon and evening, made the trip in two hours and forty minutes. The sailing was rather rough, but the speed was excellent. Fishing yesterday was called off almost entirely. Several traps were lost, but no other damage has been reported.”


November 28, 1908 [SBI]: “Fishing at the islands has been considerably hampered for the past few days owing to the fact that the recent storm either badly injured or demolished about half a dozen boats of the Italian and Japanese fishermen. According to reports from the islands, four boats were lost at Cueva Valdez. A large skiff used by the Japanese as a sailboat, was washed ashore and broken up at Hazzards. Other boats are reported missing. Not in the last 20 years, fishermen say, have the waves rolled as high as in the recent storm. It was reported among fishermen at the time of the storm, that both the Baltic and the Peerless failed to weather the gale and went down. The Baltic was here at the time, and the Peerless has since been reported safe. The loss of the Japanese sailboat probably caused the rumor of the loss of the Peerless, as she is owned by Japanese. It will be several weeks before the wrecked boats are repaired or replaced, and in the meantime skiffs are at a premium. Crawfishing is still reported good, and it is expected that several large catches will be brought in tomorrow.”


December 10, 1908 [LAT]: “Mary Magdalena Cavallero, who on November 12 was acquitted after a week’s trial, of killing her common law husband, Walter Sproule, on July 18 last, will within this week become the bride of a sailor. Maggie, as she is best known, was taken to her brother’s crawfish camp at Santa Cruz Island, across the channel, the morning after her acquittal. She returned yesterday morning on the power schooner Baltic, which had taken her on the outbound trip. On the way to the island she met W. W. Barce, aged 26, engineer of the ship, and the mutual liking soon sprang into love. Barce yesterday accompanied her to her home here, where he asked her to marry him. She consented. Schooner Baltic, too, has had a romantic history. It was in her cabin that Dora Bennett was alleged to have been abducted.”


December 12, 1908 [Lompoc Journal]: “Maggie Cavallero is going to be married soon. Mary Magdalene Cavallero, as she was best known during her trial for the killing of her common-law husband, Walter Sproul, is going to become the wife of Engineer W. W. Barce, of the power schooner Baltic, which plies between this city and Santa Cruz Island, visiting the fish camps. It was a case of love at first sight. Thus is the tragic past of this young woman — just twenty-three — giving place to happier prospects for the future. Thus she will find in honest wedlock with her sailor gallant that serenity which Sproul is said to have denied her, through calling her his wife. Santa Barbara Press.”


January 9, 1909 [SBMP]: “According to Captain Gilbert of the power schooner Baltic which arrived here from Santa Cruz Island, there has been considerable trouble among the crawfishermen of the islands for some days, and shooting scrapes have been reported. He brought over two wounded men, one with a bullet that entered his cheek and passed out the back of his neck, and the other, Julius Valdez, slipped on a rock, it was stated, and so hurt himself. The man with the bullet wound was attended by a local physician. ‘Valdez slipped and fell on a rock,’ said Captain Gilbert last night, ‘and when we arrived at his camp where he was in company with Frank Nidever and Ira Eaton, we had to take him aboard and bring him here for medical treatment.’ He is at his home. There has been a good deal of stealing from the traps of the crawfishermen, and the latter are guarding their traps with weapons. It is dangerous for any one to approach these camps from the water, for fear of being shot. ‘We went into the camp of Clarence Levy and Charles Hansen on Tuesday, and Levy fired at us with a rifle as we sailed in. He said it was merely a salute, but the bullets flew mighty close. When we got to Prisoners’ Harbor, we found a man with a bullet wound in his cheek, the bullet having come out of the back of his neck. He said he shot himself, but I don’t know whether this was right or not. He was a fellow named Bill, and I think his last name was Johnson.’ He was attended by a doctor here. He was a partner of Joe Warnell, and after he was shot, Warnell went over to the camp of Joe Morales and the two got into a skiff and went to Prisoners’ Harbor. As they approached the shore, they say, they were fired at by some Italian fishermen on shore, who used rifles. The bullets struck the boat. They continued on to the shore, however, and made arrangements for bringing over the wounded man. We got there on Wednesday, took the wounded man on board, and started for home. The weather there was pretty bad and the sea ran high, but we had to come over with those two fellows, and so we ran for it. There are about forty camps on the island of from one to three men each, and they are all armed.”


January 9, 1909 [LAT/SB]: “War declared by fishermen. Rifles used at Santa Cruz Island camps. Trouble is due to alleged stealing of crawfish… According to reports brought in by the schooner Baltic today, craw fishermen on Santa Cruz Island are at war. The trouble is due to the alleged stealing of crawfish from traps…”


January 11, 1909 [SBI]: “Friends search in vain for wounded fisherman. Where is Clause Petersen, the craw-fisherman who accidentally shot himself through the left cheek with a .38 caliber revolver last Thursday night on Santa Cruz Island? Where did he go after arrival at the commercial wharf Friday evening in the power schooner Baltic. Is he dead or alive? These and many other questions are being asked today by citizens of Santa Barbara in the Independent, Saturday afternoon. The affair is shrouded in the deepest mystery, and bids fair to pass into history without ever being solved. No report of the shooting of the crawfisherman has been made to the chief of police or the sheriff… Petersen is a strong, sturdy man accustomed to outdoor life and possesses a wonderful constitution. He never lost consciousness even after losing a considerable amount of blood. When his partner and another crawfisherman returned after an absence of many hours in search of medical aid, they found Petersen sitting up awaiting their coming. When the Baltic, the schooner which brought Petersen over from the island, docked at the State Street wharf, Petersen jumped up on the deck, and before Gilbert and Barce were able to securely fasten the schooner, Petersen was several hundred feet away, walking rapidly up State Street. That is the last seen of the wounded man by any person, to the knowledge of Petersen’s friends. No wonder everybody is mystified and asking each other, ‘Where is Petersen?’ The Baltic sailed back to Santa Cruz Island Saturday evening and no other boats have arrived from the island since Friday evening.”


January 30, 1909 [LAT/SB]: “Mary Magdalena Cavallero, 22 years old, who last November was acquitted of killing Walter Sproul, her common law husband, will be married Sunday afternoon in this city to Wallace William Barce, 23 years old, of Los Angeles. Since her acquittal Miss Cavallero has lived in this city. Barce in engineer of the power schooner Baltic, which vessel was once the Rover, the ship of romance involving a San Diego girl. The marriage license was taken out today…”


February 14, 1909 [SBMP]: “The fishing fleet which went out to the islands just prior to the big southeast storm got in yesterday afternoon with the last load of crawfish allowed by law this season. This included the Baltic, Peerless, North Star and the Gussie M...”


March 21, 1909 [SBMP]: “Mystery surrounds the finding of a stick of dynamite in the hold of the power schooner Baltic, now lying in the channel here. Captain Gilbert can give no idea as to who placed the explosive in the vessel. The crew of this boat, which plies between this city and the island fish camps, went on strike recently for higher wages and more help. There was nothing connected with the dynamite and the stick was found in the hold, where with the tossing of the boat, there was danger of its being exploded by contact with hard substances. Captain Gilbert took the boat to San Pedro some time ago and placed it in dry dock there to have it overhauled and painted, and it was during this work that the dynamite and cap were found. It was directly under the propeller shaft, and had there been a sufficient jar to discharge the cap, the vessel would undoubtedly have been destroyed. U. Dardi, the local grocery man who is manager of the boat, declared he could see no reason why anyone should have planned to destroy the Baltic.”


June 4, 1909 [SBI]: “The gasoline launch Baltic with Captain Gilbert in charge arrived this morning from Santa Cruz Island. The boat will shortly leave on a fishing expedition of several weeks in the vicinity of San Miguel Island.”


June 16, 1909 [SBMP]: “The crew of the Baltic, which returned from Santa Cruz Island yesterday, brought the report that the Charm, Captain Short, went ashore at Pelican Bay yesterday morning, smashing in her side and damaging her to a serious extent. It is reported that the Charm, while anchored, either broke or fouled her anchor chains and went onto the rocks. It could not be learned last night whether anyone was on the boat at the time of the accident, or whether it had yet been pulled off the rocks. Captain Short, accompanied by Captain Waters, left last Sunday for San Miguel Island with a cargo of general merchandise, intending to stop at Santa Cruz on his return trip.”


June 25, 1909 [SBMP]: “Captain Short returned from San Miguel Island yesterday in the Charm, and expressed great surprise when he learned that he had been reported wrecked at Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island. Captain Short emphatically stated that he had not been near Pelican Bay on this trip and could not see how the crew of the Baltic could have circulated such a report...”


July 1, 1909 [SBMP]: “Hansen and Warnold brought over 600 pounds of fine smelt in the Baltic yesterday from Santa Cruz Island. The fish were caught in yesterday morning’s haul, and the fishermen left for Santa Barbara at once so that the catch would be delivered in good shape. This is one of the largest hauls made lately and indicated the fish are beginning to run in the channel. S. Larco, the local fish dealer yesterday said: ‘From all indications, the fish will be running fine in a week. This year the run has been exceedingly late, and it was the opinion of some of the fishermen that there would be no summer run.’”


August 17, 1909 [SBI]: “J. L. Warnell, a fisherman of Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz Island, has filed charges of petty larceny and embezzlement against Jess and Art Gilbert, mate, and captain respectively of the power launch Baltic. The Gilberts are charged with running off to San Pedro with a quantity of hardware bought by Warnell, who had chartered the Baltic to come to the mainland for supplies. According to Warnell they left for Santa Cruz while he was on shore, after having loaded the launch with supplies, and running to the island, took on a large consignment of fish caught by him for the Santa Barbara and San Pedro markets. Officers at San Pedro are now looking for the Gilberts at San Pedro and their arrest is expected in a day or two. Their side of the story has not been told. Warnell filed his charges in Justice Overman’s court.”


November 19, 1909 [SBI]: “Crawfish catches are improving, according to reports from the islands. Four fishing vessels, the Baltic, the Gussie M, the Charm and the Ina C came over last night, bringing about three tons of the fish. The fishermen report that the fishing is better than at any time this season. The fish have finished shelling and for that reason are easier to catch. Fishing in general is only fair. A few rock cod were brought over, but they are scarce, only enough being caught to supply local demand. As lobsters are scarce all along the coast, the fact that the fishing in Santa Barbara waters is improving is welcome news to local fishermen.”


March 16, 1912 [LAT/SP]: “Anxiety is felt here for the safety of the gasoline launch Baltic, of this port, which has been missing for eight days. The Baltic is a fishing sloop and is said to have four men on board. She was last seen off San Nicolas Island about a week ago. Baltic was formerly launch Rover, which acquired considerable fame some years ago as the boat on which Dora Bennis of San Diego was alleged to have been kidnapped and which led to an extended ocean search at that time.”