CAIRE, Frederic Felix

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Frederic Caire in the Island office
Main Ranch, Santa Cruz, September 1932
Caire family, Santa Cruz, 1920s:
Rear left to right: Jeanne, Helene, Fred, Lillian Suich Caire, May Suich Caire, a friend, Miriam
Front left to right: George Olsen, Delphine “Didi”, Marie, Vivienne “Vivi”, a friend
Frederic Caire (L)

CAIRE, Frederic Felix (1865-1950) [SS#556-26-5303], seventh child and the younger of two surviving sons born to Justinian and Albina Caire. He married Lillian Suich (1877-1960), and they had five daughters:

  • Jeanne (1902-1978) [SS#556-14-2033]
  • Marie (1903-200?)
  • Helene (1905-2002) [SS#569-38-7632]
  • Delphine Adelaide (1906-2000) [#560-20-7515]
  • Vivienne (1910-2002) [SS#556-18-1394], the youngest and only one to marry.

Fred’s older brother Arthur married Lillian’s sister Mary, thus their children were double first cousins.

In 1897 Fred became the president of the Santa Cruz Island Company and served as such until the corporation was dissolved in 1946. He also served as president of the Justinian Caire Company for many years. Fred devoted his life to Santa Cruz Island, a love shared by all of his daughters. He was superintendent of the island from October 1924 until 1932. March 8, 1927, Fred Caire visited the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to give D. B. Rogers permission to conduct fieldwork on Santa Cruz Island. In 1929, D. B. Rogers stated “Our exploration of this [Santa Cruz] island was made easier by the friendly interest and hearty cooperation shown by Mr. Fred Caire.” [Rogers 1929: 281]. The May 1931 museum Leaflet thanks Mr. Frederic F. Caire for his donations of Chumash material, and adds that through his courtesy, Ralph Hoffmann and W. T. Howell of the California Academy of Sciences were allowed to camp near the Main Ranch on Santa Cruz Island and “study the interior of the island.” He sent the Museum fruiting branches of a large deciduous oak west of the Main Ranch for identification later that year (Valley Oak, Quercus lobata.) Fred Caire died on December 22, 1950 at the age of 85.

Tract No. 2 to son Frederic F. Caire. It contained 3667.12 acres, and included Black Point and Christy Ranch on the island's south side, and Ruby Rock and Hazard's Anchorage on the island's north coast.


In the News~

August 29, 1891 [SBMP]: “Fred F. Caire and Miss Caire of Oakland left yesterday morning for Santa Cruz Island on the schooner Star of Freedom.”


July 20, 1893 [SBDI]: “The steamer Santa Cruz sailed for Santa Cruz Island last evening about 5 o'clock, having on board F. F. Caire and Miss Caire of San Francisco.”


September 28, 1893 [SBDI]: “Mrs. A. C. Caire, Miss A. L. Caire, F. F. Caire, Miss H. Caire and Miss A. Dusio left on the Corona last evening for San Francisco. They have been spending some time on Santa Cruz Island.”


August 26, 1896 [LAT/SF]: “Coming by boat… San Francisco… For Santa Barbara: …Fred Caire…”August 18, 1908 [SPDN]: “Fred Caire of San Francisco, who with other members of the Caire family hold the title to Santa Cruz, largest of the Santa Barbara group of islands, announced today that it may be necessary to establish a patrol along the shore of the island and eject all campers who do not hold permits from the family or the management. Mr. Caire is at the Raffour House and will leave with Mrs. Caire and the children for a months’ stay in the island as soon as the machinery of the power schooner Santa Cruz is repaired. He said today that he might fill the schooner with campers and ship them back to the mainland if he finds any of the parties in the island have committed acts of vandalism. ‘It is a marvel to me that many of these people do not contact typhoid fever and bring it back with them,’ said Mr. Caire. ‘Many take no sanitary precautions and have turned some along the shore into a pigsty. When one of the most beautiful little canyons my family wishes to picnic on, a canyon we sometimes must go two or three miles back from the coast to reach a spot that is free from stench and filth. We have no objection to people camping on the island if they will respect our right. But we want them to understand that somebody owns that property and they cannot do as they please, regardless of the laws of decency. It looks like now we would have to resort to a patrol and close the island except to our friends and those who secure permits. It is the riff-raff who steal sheep, cut down trees, and defy our employees, who cause the trouble. We are after these people now, and expect to get some of them. We have some old fine trees on the island that could not be replaced. We would not lose them for anything, not because of their money value, but because they are native, and on a sheep ranch nothing can be made to grow to replace trees and shrubs once destroyed’…”


May 1908: “Santa Cruz Island is very mountainous with wide valleys intervening. There are perhaps 40,000 sheep on the island, a few cattle, immense barley fields and grape vineyards, several ranches, a large winery, and some 100 men employed during the harvesting season. It was with the kind permission of Mr. Fred M. [F.] Caire, owner of the island, that I was enabled to carry on the observations herein chronicled...” [Linton, Clarence B. Notes from Santa Cruz Island in Condor, May 1908, p, 125].


August 18, 1908 [SPDN]: “Mr. [Fred] Caire does not believe Santa Cruz Island will ever be a popular resort. ‘We want it kept in the family, for a ranch,’ he said. ‘We are not in the hotel business, and although the people of Santa Barbara would doubtless like to see a good hotel there, the population of Santa Barbara is too small to insure enough visitors.’”


July 18, 1909 [SBMP]: “Within the last few weeks vast quantities of wine have been shipped from Santa Cruz Island to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The wine is the product of the famous Santa Cruz Island Company's vineyards. Large local orders are also registered by A. and L. Miratti, the Raffour House and the Montecito Hotel and Frank Nardi. On Santa Cruz Island where the wine is manufactured, there is a vineyard of several hundred acres which each year yields sufficient grapes for the manufacture of 40,000 gallons of wine. The wine is stored on the island in large vats ranging in capacity from 3000 to 5000 gallons, and from these vats it is drawn into common barrels for shipment. The wine industry of the island comprises the major portion of the Justinian Caire estate and is now managed by F. F. Caire whose headquarters are in San Francisco...”


August 14, 1909 [SBI]: “Fred F. Caire, of San Francisco, who with other members of the Caire family hold the title to Santa Cruz, largest of the Santa Barbara group of islands, announced today that it may be necessary to establish a patrol along the shores of the island and eject all campers who do not hold permits from the family of the management. Mr. Caire is at the Raffour House, and will leave with Mrs. Caire and children for a month’s stay on the island as soon as the machinery of the power schooner Santa Cruz is repaired. He said today that he might fill the schooner with campers and ship them back to the mainland if he finds any of the parties now on the islands have committed acts of vandalism. ‘It is a marvel to me that many of these people do not contract typhoid fever and bring it back with them,’ said Mr. Caire. ‘Many take no sanitary precautions and have turned some of the most beautiful little canyons along the shore into a pigsty. When my family wishes to picnic in a canyon we sometimes must go two or three miles back from the coast to reach a spot that is free from stench and filth. We have no objection to people camping on the island if they will respect our rights. But we want them to understand that somebody owns that property and they cannot do as they please, regardless of the laws of decency. It looks now as though we would have to resort to a patrol and close the island except to our friends and those who secure permits. It is the riff-raff who steal sheep, cut down trees, and defy our employees, who cause the trouble. We are after these people now, and expect to get some of them. We have some fine old trees on the island that could not be replaced. We would not lose them for anything, not because of their money value, but because they are native, and on a sheep ranch nothing can be made to grow or replace trees and shrubs once destroyed.’ Mr. Caire said he would welcome camping parties if they secure permission and notify the manager of their arrival and what they were doing on the island. Grapes on the island promise a full crop, and one of Mr. Caire’s objects in visiting the property is to get the work of wine making under way. ‘Wine is very low this year,’ said Mr. Caire. ‘The prohibition wave has reduced sales very materially. What the wine growers want is temperance, for moderate drinking of wine is far different from drinking liquors in a saloon.’ Mr. Caire expressed satisfaction with the action of the legislature in prohibiting the catching of crawfish or abalone for two years. There will be no fishing parties on the islands this year, in consequence. ‘I can remember when we could see large numbers of crawfish along near the shore at Prisoners’ Harbor,’ said he. ‘They are one of the choicest seafoods, and the supply should be protected. Fishermen have been careless in observing the legal limit as to size and no one knows how many undersize fish have been shipped to San Pedro and other markets.’ Mr. Caire said the who gather abalone and sea weed have caused less trouble on the island than Americans. They pay a small rent for the use of the land and this has served to regulate their actions. Several boatloads of sheep will be shipped to Santa Barbara next month. The large schooner, Santa Rosa, owned by the Santa Rosa Island Company, will be chartered for this purpose. Mr. Caire does not believe Santa Cruz Island will ever be a popular resort. ‘We want to keep it in the family for a ranch,’ said he. ‘We are not in the hotel business, and although the people of Santa Barbara would doubtless like to see a good hotel there, the population of Santa Barbara is too small to ensure enough visitors.’”


July 22, 1910 [SBI]: “The launch Santa Cruz has returned from the islands where she left Frank [Fred] Caire, part owner of the island, who is overseeing the building of the ranch house.”


May 31, 1912 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island may become property of church. Interesting rumor offers explanation for sale of livestock. Wine to the value of $100,000 shipped this week by Caire estate. Movement of sheep will begin soon. Company has steadfastly refused to consider the sale of island domain. The Santa Cruz Island being cleared of its personal property in anticipation of the giving of the vast estate to the Roman Catholic church is an interesting but unconfirmed report received last night. The change of ownership is to take effect upon the death of the widow of Justinian Caire, according to this story; and Mrs. Caire is an aged and infirm woman. The home of the Caires is in San Francisco; and only one member of the family, Fred Caire, is now in this part of the state. He is at the island, and could not be seen as to the truth of the rumor...”


June 24, 1914 [SBMP]: “Island magnate comes for annual summer vacation. F. F. Caire interestingly discusses sheep and wine industry. F. F. Caire, president of the Santa Cruz Island Company, owner of the island named, which is generally conceded to be the most beautiful island on the American side of the Pacific Ocean, is staying at the Raffour House, accompanied by his family. The Caires have come down from their San Francisco home for their customary summer sojourn at Prisoners’ Harbor… They will remain on the island, as usual, about two months…”


June 24, 1914 [SBDNI]: “The Caire family, owners of Santa Cruz Island, have come from San Francisco for the summer’s stay on the island. F. F. Caire reports that there are now about 10,000 sheep on the island.”


July 29, 1916 [SBMP]: “…Mrs. Justinian Caire and her sons, Arthur and Fred, with their families, are at the middle ranch where they generally spend their summers and are having the usual enjoyable experience.”


June 23, 1918 [SBDN]: “Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Caire with a nurse and their children and those of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Caire, left this morning in the Santa Cruz Island schooner for the island to spend several weeks. They came down from San Francisco Sunday, stopping at the Raffour House. Each summer the Caires spend the summer on Santa Cruz Island, which they own.”


December 11, 1932 [LAT]: “ The story of an expedition headed by a young archaeologist who dug up 132 skeletons and sites of 40 villages. [by Ransome Sutton.] Gone are all our island peoples... Mr. Van Valkenburgh’s party also took plenty of provisions, including drinking water and medicines, because they proposed to remain on this lonely island (inhabited only be Fred Caire, its owner, and his semi-wild sheep) until it revealed the reasons for its depopulation...”

September 13, 1935 [OT]: “Official Tree Propagated at Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, Sept. 13.—Propagation has been started by county forestry officials of the new distinctive tree—the Island Ironwood—recently adopted as official tree for Santa Barbara County. The tree is a native of Santa Cruz Island, 30 miles off the Santa Barbara coast. Seeds of the Island Ironwood have been furnished the county by Frederic Caire, whose family has owned the island for many years.”

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