CAIN, Cyrus J.

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CAIN, Cyrus J. (1855-1928?), born in Ireland, he married Mary Ellen McInerny in 1886.

Cain began working on the Farallon Islands as Third Assistant Lighthouse Keeper in 1890. The following year he was promoted to Second Assistant and then First Assistant. In 1901 Cain became Head Lighthouse Keeper, a position he held until 1905. The Cains were related to the Beemans. Their children were cousins. Three of Cain's children died on the Farallon Islands and two were born there.


Cyrus J. Cain = [1886] Mary Ellen McInerny (1856- )

  • 1. Catherine Cain (1887-1983)
February 19, 1887. Born in this city [San Francisco], to the wife of Cyrus J. Cain, a daughter. [DAC]
  • 2. daughter Cain (1890- )
Born in this city, December 27, to the wife of C. J. Cain, a daughter.
  • 3. son Cain (1891- )
December 7, 1891: Born to the wife of C. J. Cain, 1st Assistant, a son. [Farallon Logbook, National Archives].
December 8, 1891. Born in this city [San Francisco], December 7, 1891 to the wife of C. J. Cain of the Farallon Island, a son.
  • 4. George Edwin Cain (1893-1901)
Died of diphtheria on the Farallon Islands on June 20, 1901 after suffering for 8 days
  • 5. Cecil C. Cain (1895(?)-1897)
October 2, 1897: Cecil Cain drowned at North Landing. [Farallon Logbook, National Archives].
  • 6. Harold Joseph Cain (1897-1901) died of diphtheria on the Farallon Islands on September 17, 1901
  • 7. Farallon Wilhelmina Cain [Gerstmann] (1898-1954) [SS#561-38-2336] = [1919] Frank Middleton Gerstmann (1899-1950)
April 8, 1898: Mrs. Cain gave birth to a daughter (Farallon) 9:15 P.M. [Farallon Logbook, National Archives] She is buried in Colma, CA.
1. Frank Harold Gerstmann (1919-1993)
1. Steven Martin Gerstmann (1950-2009) = Charlotte [Lake County, CA]
2. Thomas Ryder Gerstmann (1952-2014) = Diane [of Petaluma]
1. Jeff Gerstmann
3. Frank Gerstmann = Lee [of Oakland, CA]
4. Ingrid Gerstmann = John [of Manhattan, N.Y.]
1. Farallon
2. Eleanor
2. Gloria Gerstmann (1924-2003)
  • 8. Charley Cain (1901- )
  • 9. Loretta Cain (1903- )




In the News~

October 3, 1897 [SFCall]: “Death in the waves. Baby son of Lighthouse Keeper Cain drowned at the Farallones. He was playing with his brother and fell down a flight of stairs into the water. Cecil C. Cain, the pretty baby boy of Lighthouse-keeper Cain of the Farallones Islands, was drowned in the breakers near his father's home yesterday afternoon. Last night the little baby was brought to this city on the lighthouse-tender Madroño and taken to the morgue. There an inquest was waived and the body was taken away by the heartbroken parents. The story of the baby's death is a sad one. Just after noon Cecil, who is 3 years of age, was playing with his brother George, two years his senior, and they wandered down to he boat-landing, 800 yards away from the lighthouse. They were playing near the steps leading down to the water when their father, who was watching the horizon for incoming vessels, noticed them. He turned a megaphone toward them and called for them to return. They started to obey, walking toward their home, hand in hand. The father turned again to his duty, and, childlike, they again returned to the steps to watch the breakers roll. The little boy stumbled, fell and plunged into the water. George, though but 5 years of age, was not afraid of the water, and seizing a gaff hook near at hand he hurried to the bottom of the steps and tried to save his brother. He could not reach him, however, and with his childish might ran to the lighthouse to tell his father. The father saw him coming without his brother and ran to meet him. The little boy told his father that his brother had fallen into the water. The lighthouse keeper searched up and down the water's edge, but could find no trace of his son. In the meantime several men hurried to the father's assistance, and the little body was finally found in a sheltered cove. Death had long since taken place, and the body was carried to the lighthouse keeper's home. Later in the afternoon the Madroño was made ready and the body was brought to this city for burial.”


April 14, 1898 [SFCall]: “Born. KANE [sic]—on Farallon Islands, April 8, 1898, to the wife of First Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, C. J. Kane [sic], a son [daughter Farallon].”


June 25, 1901 [SFCall]: “Remains of little George Cain are brought ashore on the Madroño. The lighthouse tender Madroño returned from the Farallones yesterday bringing the remains of little George E. Cain, the 10-year-old son of the head lightkeeper, who died several days ago of diphtheria. An attempt was made to secure the services of a tug, but all the owners were afraid of the quarantine officer, so the lighthouse inspector took the matter up. After permission had been received from the quarantine authorities a metal casket was secured and out at the island the remains were placed in it. Sunday it was blowing a living gale at the Farallones and the Madroño had to stand out to sea. During the night there came a lull for an hour, and in that time the body was got aboard the tender. Lighthouse Keeper Cain and his wife came ashore with the remains. The casket was landed at the quarantine station and after it has been examined it will be given back to the parents for burial. The Madroño had a very rough trip to and from the islands, as it blew a gale the whole time save for the hour's lull.”


July 5, 1901 [Amador Ledger]: “George Edwin Cain, 9 years old, son of the head keeper of the Farallon lighthouse, died of diphtheria, and two of the other ten children on the island are suffering with the same disease.”


September 17, 1901 [Keepers Log]: “Mr. and Mrs. Cain's son Harold Joseph Cain died in the Stone House at 2:40 p.m. aged 4 yrs 7 months and 12 days after lingering for two weeks... He died very peacefully. Mr. Kaneen, 2d assistant, aided in helping to lay him out.”