CAPUCCIO, Aglae S. née Caire

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Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, CA
Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, CA

CAPUCCIO, Aglae S. née Caire (1864-1943), sixth of nine children born to Justinian and Albina Caire. Aglae married island superintendent Goffredo Capuccio in October 1903, becoming the second of only two daughters to marry. Capuccio had been hired as a clerk at the Justinian Caire Company in San Francisco in 1891. At the end of 1892 he became superintendent of the Santa Cruz Island Company, a position he resigned in 1894. Justinian Caire died in 1897, leaving the stock to the Santa Cruz Island Company to his widow, Albina. In December 1910, Albina gifted her married daughters, Amelie A. Rossi and Aglae Capuccio, stock in the Santa Cruz Island Company. The following spring of 1911, through what some family members called an oversight and others called intentional, a $5 State of California Corporation tax was not paid by Aglae’s husband, Goffredo Capuccio, island company secretary at that time, thus laying the legal grounds upon which suit against the company was brought.

On November 30, 1911 the company charter was forfeited for non-payment of its license tax of that year. At the time it owned personal property valued at $250,000 and Santa Cruz Island. The capital stock was $50,000 of the par value of $500 each.

In February 1913, fourteen months after they had received their gift of stock from their mother, Amelie (widow of Pietro Rossi and mother of fourteen children) and Aglae (wife of Santa Cruz Island Company secretary Goffredo Capuccio), initiated what was to become a succession of lawsuits that forever divided the family for generations to follow. Amelie and Aglae were pitted against their widowed mother Albina Caire, their two brothers Arthur and Fred, and their two spinstress sisters, Delphine and Helene.

In 1924 Santa Cruz Island was portioned into seven parcels by court action. Aglae Capuccio received Tract No. 7, located on the east end of the island. It contained 3035.60 acres, and included Scorpion Ranch, Cavern Point, Potato Bay and Coche Point.

The Capuccios had two children:

  • Goffredo, Jr. (1907-1986) [554-18-2138] = Irene Madelane Scott (1912-2004)
  • Aglae “Cita” (1909-1994) [551-64-8579] = L. M. McDougald




In the News~

March 23, 1913 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island involved in suit. Suit for seven shares of the stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company, owned principally by the Caire family, has been filed in superior court of San Francisco by Aglae S. Capuccio, a trustee and stock holder, who asks that a receiver be appointed to convert the assets of the corporation into cash and distribute to each stockholder his pro rata share. The defendants are A. J. Caire, Fred F. Caire, Albina C. S. Caire and Delphine A. Caire, who comprise the board of directors, and Helen A. Caire and Edmund A. Rossi, stockholder. The plaintiff alleges that disputes among the directors have led to the necessity for closing out the corporation. The company was formed in 1869 to engage in stock raising on Santa Cruz Island in the Santa Barbara Channel.”


April 18, 1913 [SFE]: “Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara, which was received as a grant from the Spanish government by the pioneer Caire family [not true], is to be sold and the proceeds divided among disgruntled stockholders. The selling of the island was foreshadowed in the instructions given by Judge Sturtevant yesterday to counsel for Edmund A. Rossi to prepare findings to that affect and present them to him when he would render a judgment. Rossi, a member of the Caire family, is suing Arthur J. Caire, present manager of the Santa Cruz Island Company, for an accounting of his stewardship and to force him to wind up the affairs of the company and distribute the proceedings among the stockholders. Named as defendants with Arthur J. Caire are the other members of the family: A. C. S. Caire, F. F. Caire, Helene A. Caire, D. A. Caire and Aglae Capuccio. It is said that the heirs of Justinian Caire, who originally owned the island, have been unable to agree for some time about its management and have decided to disband their financial interests. Two years ago the company lapsed in its corporation tax payments and was ordered by the State to dissolve… The island was obtained by the late Justinian Caire as a grant from the Spanish government [not true]; it contains 64,000 acres of an estimated valuation of $2,000,000. For many years the Caire family have used the island for the raising of livestock, and according to the stockholders there are cattle on the island at present time of an aggregate value of $500,000.”


June 21, 1918 [SFC?]: “To Whom It May Concern: In view of certain scandalous allegations made in various suits at law in which I have been made to appear as a defendant, I hereby declare and assert: That after the death of my husband, the late Justinian Caire, who made me his sole legatee, and until the month of May 1905, I was the sole owner and full possessor of the entire Capital Stock of the Justinian Caire Company and of the Santa Cruz Island Company, two corporations duly organized and existing under the laws of this State, and that until said time none of my children had any interest of any kind in either of said Corporations. That my daughters, Amelie A. Rossi and Aglae S. Capuccio did not have or possess any interest in either of said Corporations until the 21st day of December 1910, and that only on said day did they acquire an interest in the Santa Cruz Island Company and said interest was acquired through a gift made by me unto them (of property belonging to me), for love and affection. That all acts of my sons in the management of said Corporations have been performed in accordance with my wishes and under my direction and with my full approval and consent. I further declare that I do not hold myself accountable to any of my children for any disposition of my property made by me during my lifetime and hereby confirm any transfer of interest, of any kind or nature, that I have made to this date. When the Santa Cruz Island Company, through inadvertence, forfeited its charter, I became (under the law) one of the Trustees of the dissolved Corporation and I have taken part in all proceedings of the Trustees and in all matters pertaining to the rehabilitation of said Corporation and am at all times ready to accept the consequence of my actions in the premises. Oakland, Cal. June 21, 1918. Albina C. S. Caire”


June 23, 1918 [SFC?]: “The historic days of the Spanish dons in California, when valuable land grants were bestowed freely by the Mexican government to a chosen few, are recalled by litigation over the former estate of Justinian Caire, California pioneer and founder of the Santa Cruz Island Company, owner of Santa Cruz Island, off the coastline of Santa Barbara, comprising 56,000 acres, by two of his daughters, and the publication of a legal notice by his widow, Mrs. Albina C. S. Caire, 1426 Madison Street, Oakland, denying certain alleged malicious statements made against her and her two sons, Arthur J. Caire and Fred F. Caire, and her daughter Delphine Caire, as the result of suits now pending in the courts over the property. The publication by Mrs. Caire, the widow, is the result of a suit brought in Santa Barbara County by Aglae S. Capuccio against her and her two sons, Arthur J. Caire and Fred F. Caire, and her daughter Delphine Caire, as the trustees of the Santa Cruz Island Company, to compel them to partition the island or sell it, so that Mrs. Capuccio may come into possession of the value of her interest, which consists of seven shares of the 100 shares of the Santa Cruz Island Company. In the suit, Mrs. Capuccio accuses Delphine Caire and her two brothers of conspiring to defraud her, and to this Mrs. Albina Caire takes particular exception, for the reason that she has been acting as trustee and director jointly with the accused in the affairs of the island company. Another suit is pending against the same defendants in this city. The San Francisco suit was brought by Edmund Rossi, son of Mrs. Amelie Rossi, demanding that the affairs of the Santa Cruz Island Company be wound up and the proceeds divided among the parties interested in it, namely the two daughters of Mrs. Albina Caire, who are arrayed against her, and the two sons and two other daughters, who are on her side in the suit. Each of the children received in 1910 as a gift from their mother seven shares of stock in the Santa Cruz Island Company, and the suits are the outgrowth of this gift. The attorney in the suit brought in Santa Barbara county is Ambrose Gherini of San Francisco… The island was originally granted to Andres Castillero, a Mexican general, for services rendered to his country. Later the title passed from him to some English Barrons, who in turn conveyed it to the Santa Cruz Island Company, one of the founders of which was Justinian Caire, who gradually by purchases became sole owner of all the property. All of his holdings prior to his death were transferred to his widow, Albina Caire.”


July 14, 1918 [SBMP]: “Arthur Caire here to fight for Santa Cruz Island. The historic days of the Spanish don, when valuable land grants were bestowed freely by the Mexican government, are recalled by litigation over the estate of Justinian Caire, now pending in the courts of this county. In order to look after this matter, Arthur Caire of San Francisco is now in town to answer the suit brought against his mother, Mrs. Albina C. S. Caire; his sister, Delphine Caire; his brother, Fred Caire, and himself. The suit was filed by Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio, a sister, who demands the partition of Santa Cruz Island, which is now in the sole possession of the Caire family. Mrs. Capuccio demands the partition of the island so that she may come into possession of the value of her interest, which consists of seven shares of the 100 shares of the Santa Cruz Island Company. She further charges the defendants with conspiring to prevent the winding up of the affairs of the corporation, which was dissolved in 1911 when it failed to pay its taxes, and in keeping control of the company and thereby preventing her from obtaining any revenue made by the plaintiff. Arthur Caire states that his mother takes particular exception to this charge as trustee and director jointly with the accused in the affairs of the island company. The value of Santa Cruz Island is now placed at $1,000,000 and in asking the partition the plaintiff sets the counsel fee at $75,000 and asks that all costs, including these fees, be paid by the parties interested in the island… Each of the children received in 1910, as a gift from the mother, seven shares of stock in the Santa Cruz Island Company, and the suits are the outgrowth of the gift, it is said. In speaking of the approaching suit, Arthur Caire declared yesterday that his mother and four children, who stand by her in the suit, would fight it to the end. Caire has twelve more days in which to answer the allegations.”


July 27, 1918 [LAT/SB]: “Arthur Caire of San Francisco is here to look after the interests of his mother, Mrs. Albina C. S. Caire, in a suit brought by Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio, a daughter, to secure the partitioning of Santa Cruz Island. The island is owned by the Caire estate, the plaintiff being entitled to seven of the 100 shares into which the stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company, holding corporation for the estate, is divided. The island is valued at $1,000,000…”


February 12, 1919 [SBMP]: “Suit for partition of Santa Cruz Island to be tried soon. Suit involving the partition of the whole of Santa Cruz Island, or the sale of the property and the division of more than a million dollars among the individual owners, will soon be ready for trial in the Santa Barbara county superior court. The amended demurrer to the complaint is to be submitted to the court on briefs, as stipulated by the counsel for plaintiff and defendants yesterday. The defendants are given 20 days in which to file their opening brief. Twenty days time is allowed the plaintiff for reply, and the defendants are given 15 days to present their closing brief. Then the demurrer will be deemed submitted. The suit had its start May 16, 1918, when Aglae S. Capuccio filed a complaint for the partition of the island among the plaintiff and defendant owners. The defendants are Arthur J., Fred F., Albina C. S. and Delphine Caire, individually, and as trustees of the Santa Cruz Island Company, a dissolved corporation, and its stockholders, Helen A. Caire and Edmund A. Rossi and the Santa Cruz Island Company, claiming to be a revived corporation. The complaint alleges that plaintiff and defendants have an estate of inheritance in and are owners as tenants in common and hold and are in possession of Santa Cruz Island; the title of which was confirmed by a decision of the United States Supreme Court in an action entitled United States vs. Andres Castillero; that the plaintiff is the owner of an undivided 7-100 interest in fee simple; that the four Caire defendants and E. A. Rossi as successor in interest to Amelia A. Rossi are each owners of an undivided 7-100 interest, and that Albina Caire is the owner of 58-100 interest; that the defendants acquired title February 20, 1869, when the Santa Cruz Island Company was incorporated, for the purpose of raising cattle, and continued until November 30, 1911; that the corporation became defunct by proclamation of the governor, through failure of the corporation to pay its state corporation tax; it is alleged that thereafter the plaintiff and defendants became trustees of the corporation. The plaintiff avers that August 28, 1913, A. J., F. F. and D. A. Caire wrongfully applied trust funds to the payment of the corporation tax and caused themselves to be installed as directors of the alleged revived corporation and that defendants and Albina Caire have ever since claimed that the Santa Cruz Island Company is a revived corporation. It is further contended by the plaintiff that said revival of the corporation was nugatory and void, for the reason that all of the stockholders did not assent; but plaintiff and Rossi objected to the revival. It is alleged that the defendants conspired to prevent the winding up of the affairs of the dissolved corporation and prevent a distribution to plaintiff and to continue to control plaintiff’s interest and prevent her from obtaining any revenue there from and render her interest of no value, and thereby defraud her. The plaintiff charges that defendants as trustees of the defunct corporation transferred the property to the revived corporation without authority and that no deed of such conveyance is of record. She claims the market value of the property as being in excess of a million dollars and asks that her attorney fees of $75,000 be allowed. Her prayer is that she be adjudged the owner of an undivided 7-100 interest in the entire property between the parties as their interests may appear, or that the property be sold and the proceeds be divided. Ambrose Gherini of San Francisco represents the plaintiff; J. J. Squire, counsel. J. F. Bluxome and F. P. Deering are attorneys for defendants. The demurrer filed August 9 prayed for a dismissal of the action. The amended demurrer alleges that several causes of action have been improperly united in the complaint—the attempted action for partition of real property with an attempted cause for action for fraud, to quiet title, and to attack corporate existence.”


July 18, 1919 [SBMP]: “Demurrer avers island is owned by corporation; denies fraud charge. Trial of the suit for the partition of Santa Cruz Island among the several individual owners or the sale of the property and distribution of the money is still in the future, a demurrer having been filed yesterday by the defendants in the action brought in May of last year. The suit is of Aglae S. Capuccio vs. Arthur J. Caire, et al. The original complaint alleged that plaintiff and defendants have estate inheritance in and are owners of the island, the title of which was confirmed by a decision of the United States Supreme Court. Defendants are charged with wrongful appropriation of funds. It is alleged that they conspired to prevent the winding up of the affairs of the corporation and make a distribution of the funds, thus rendering it impossible for the plaintiff to derive any revenue from her interests in the property. The demurrer filed yesterday denies in general the allegations set up in the complaint and avers that plaintiff’s only interest is stockholder in the Santa Cruz Island Company , a revived corporation and owner of the island. Denial is made that defendants applied trust funds wrongfully or that the Santa Cruz Island Company is nugatory and void and aver that the Santa Cruz Island Company is an existing revived corporation. It is denied that the defendants confederated or conspired to prevent a winding up of the affairs of the corporation as to prevent distribution to plaintiff or her alleged distributive share or to defraud her in any way. There is also denial that the $75,000 asked for as attorney fee by the plaintiff is reasonable. The prayer of the demurrer is for judgment and costs of the action to be recovered from the plaintiff.”


August 15, 1919 [CDC]: “Island may be opened by suit. Action filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court involves ownership of Santa Cruz Island… If a suit filed in Santa Barbara County superior court is successful, one of the wonder-spots of the Pacific coast will be thrown open to the public. The suit, which is brought by Aglae S. Cappuccio against Arthur J., Fred F. and Albina C. Caire, the Santa Cruz Island Company and others, involves the ownership of Santa Cruz, the largest of the Channel Islands… On Caire’s death the widow, holding one-half of the stock, combined her interests with those of one of her children, thus exercising complete control of the company and the island. A recent failure to pay the annual corporation tax gave the other heirs an opportunity to attack this control. The suit, it is believed by some of the protesting heirs, will result in the corporation’s being dissolved and the property divided into parcels in accordance with the stock holdings… There is a small settlement upon it. Part of the island is devoted to sheep grazing and part to wine grape cultivation, but the greater part is wild…”


July 15, 1922 [LAT]: “Santa Cruz partition case is reopened. Supreme Court announces granting of hearing on appeal. San Francisco, July 14. The State Supreme Court announced today that it had granted a hearing on an appeal on a District Court of Appeal decision denying Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio, the right to the partition of Santa Cruz Island, lying off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The Supreme Court order has the effect of putting the District Court decision aside, according to officers of the higher court. Mrs. Capuccio sued Arthur J. Caire and others for the partition on the ground that the original Santa Cruz Island Company, which included her one seventh interest in the island property, had been rechartered and refinanced without her consent, after its charter had been revoked for the non-payment of taxes. She won in the lower court, but the District Court reversed the judgment. The properties of the company are valued at $1,000,000.”


January 9, 1923 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island case up again for new court ruling. The Santa Cruz Island subdivision case bobbed up again in the superior court yesterday when an amended motion for order of instructions to referees was made by the defendants in the case of Aglae S. Capuccio against Arthur J. Caire and others. The original motion asking that the court instruct the referees, F. F. Flournoy, F. M. Whitney, and George W. McComber, not to go to great expense and to take orders from none except the court itself in subdividing the island in accordance with a decree upheld by the Supreme Court, was to have been ruled on January 15. The amended motion filed yesterday was taken under advisement by the court.”


January 14, 1923 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island case up for order to three referees. The postponed motion of Aglae S. Capuccio against Arthur J. Caire and others asking court instruction to the referees appointed to subdivide Santa Cruz Island will be heard in the superior court of Judge S. C. Crow tomorrow morning, according to the calendar. The Supreme Court recently upheld the order of Judge Crow authorizing a subdivision in favor of Mrs. Capuccio against the Caire interests who control five-sevenths of the stock of the defunct corporation. The motion for instruction to the referees, Frank F. Flournoy, F. M. Whitney and George W. McComber was made by the Caire trustees, and asks that expense of subdivision be curtailed. The motion was filed some time ago, the day before actual work was to start.”


February 18, 1923 [SBMP]: “Referees will start island partition March 1. Legal obstacles put aside and party is ready to enforce court order. Resort plan hinted. Santa Cruz Island used as Mexican penal colony before U.S. took it over. Partitioning of Santa Cruz Island will begin about March 1, Frank F. Flournoy, one of the referees appointed by Judge S. E. Crow, announced yesterday. The court having denied a motion to hold up the work, nothing prevents immediate action, he said. At that time, Mr. Flournoy, accompanied by George W. McComber and E. J. Doulton, the other referees, will make an extended tour of the island and lay preliminary plan. Division of the island was ordered by Judge Crow and upheld by the Supreme Court in the case against Aglae Capuccio against Arthur J. Caire and others. By the court decree, two-sevenths of the island will be given to the Capuccio interests and the remainder will go to the Caires... It has been reported, and not denied by the Capuccio interests, that when the subdivision is completed a portion of the island will be developed for resort purposes, possibly to compete with Catalina.”


March 13, 1923 [SBMP]: “Government may own portion of Santa Cruz Island under Mexican grant and patents. Research shows maps and plats in conflict, but over 3,000 acres uncovered by land patents; excess areas cause speculation. The United States government has claim to a portion of Santa Cruz Island. This became known last week when preliminary work was done preparatory to the sailing of the referees yesterday morning to start a partition of the island under decree of the Santa Barbara superior court, upheld by the Supreme Court, in the case of Aglae S. Capuccio vs. Arthur J. Caire, and others. Under the terms of the settlement, the Capuccio interests will be assigned two-sevenths of the estate and the Caire estate the remainder. One of the first questions to be considered by the referees, Frank F. Flournoy, George W. McComber and H. J Doulton, is how much of the island is contained in the original land grant...”


September 3, 1924 [SBMP]: “Isle partition truce reached. Resumption of Surveys for division of Santa Cruz property planned. Decision to complete the partition of Santa Cruz Island in accordance with an order given by Superior Judge S. E. Crow and sustained by the Supreme Court was reached by the referees yesterday, according to Frank F. Flournoy... Suit to partition the 58,000-acre island was started by Aglae S. Capuccio, representing two-sevenths of the owners, against Arthur J. Caire, representing the other trustees of the defunct Santa Cruz Island corporation. The island company lost its corporation rights in 1919 by failure to pay the state tax and soon after that Mrs. Capuccio started her long fight to obtain control over her portion of the huge estate and the right to improve or sell it. Mr. Flournoy said yesterday that the partitioners are acting entirely on their own initiative in rushing the work of completion without awaiting the outcome of the suit in the federal courts.”


October 2, 1924 [SBMP]: “The survey of Santa Cruz Island which was ordered four years ago by the Superior Court will be completed in about 30 days, as soon as field notes are transcribed and maps completed, Frank F. Flournoy announced yesterday upon his return from the island. Mr. Flournoy is one of the three referees appointed by Judge Crow to settle the dispute over subdivision of the island. H. J. Doulton and George McComber will assist Mr. Flournoy in allotting two-sevenths of the island to the heirs represented by Mrs. A. Capuccio, while remaining portions will go to the faction headed by Arthur J. Caire. Mrs. Capuccio has announced her intention of improving the portion of the island allotted to her and possibly selling it. The division will be made so as to allow her two-sevenths of the appraised value of the island, including harbors and agricultural land.”


December 28, 1924 [SBMP]: “Island report will be read. Santa Cruz referees are scheduled to appear in court tomorrow. The final report of the referees on partitioning of Santa Cruz Island will be made to Superior Judge S. E. Crow tomorrow afternoon and set for hearing, according to the court calendar. The filing of the report will be the signal for another court battle in the seven years’ litigation to determine whether or not Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio has a right to dispose of her one-seventh share of the island as she sees fit. Mrs. Capuccio has been upheld in her suit against the Caire estate by Judge Crow and the Supreme Court has confirmed his judgment. Frank F. Flournoy, H. J. Doulton and George W. McComber were appointed by the court to partition the 60,000-acre island as a basis for setting aside Mrs. Capuccio’s separate estate. It is this report which is due to be submitted to the court tomorrow.”


February 10, 1925 [SBMP]: “Island report to be heard tomorrow. The hearing on the referees report on partitioning Santa Cruz Island will open in the superior court at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning when the contesting parties will be represented by San Francisco attorneys. The referees, Frank F. Flournoy, George W. McComber and H. J. Doulton, have retained attorney William J. Griffith to represent them in court in an effort to obtain their fee and expense allowance of approximately $28,000. The extreme east end of the island has been set aside by the referees to Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio and Edmund Rossi, who, according to their attorneys, expect to develop it as soon as the referees’ report is accepted.”


February 27, 1925 [SBMP]: “Island suit peace seen. Two owners pay share of cost of dividing 62,000-acre tract. An early settlement of the suit over partitioning Santa Cruz Island was indicated yesterday when Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio and Edmund A. Rossi paid their share of the cost of dividing the 62,000-acre estate between seven contesting parties. The significant part of the settlement made yesterday is the fact that court had allowed the parties 30 days after final acceptance of the referees’ report in which to pay the costs, and the final hearing has been set for argument on March 18. A receipt for $2372.58 was filed with the county clerk yesterday by Frank F. Flournoy, H. J. Doulton and George W. McComber. This amount covers costs only and does not include the shares of $37,500 commission already agreed to by the owners of the island. Mrs. Capuccio and Mr. Rossi have been allotted approximately 13,000 acres at the extreme east end of the island, but they have petitioned the court for an additional frontage between Prisoners’ Harbor and Punta Diablo, and for a public road between the east end of the island and Prisoners’ Harbor. The largest portion of the island, consisting of 51 percent of the total acreage, has been allotted to the estate of Mrs. Justinian Caire, who died in San Francisco several months ago. This property will be distributed to the heirs of her estate who are the other four contesting owners of the island.”


March 19, 1925 [SBMP]: “Court continues island hearing. Case will be reset by Crow next Monday; report also deferred. The hearing on the partitioning of Santa Cruz Island, which was to have been held in the superior court yesterday morning, was continued until next Monday, to be reset by Judge S. E. Crow on motion of attorney W. G. Griffith, representing the referees. Both the report of referees Frank F. Flournoy, George W. McComber and H. J. Doulton and the objection by Mrs. Aglae S. Capuccio and Edmund A. Rossi were continued yesterday.”