COTA, Miguel

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COTA, Miguel Gregorio (1802-1858) was descended from one of the Spanish soldiers who came to California. (The family's genealogy is contained in records at the Santa Barbara Historic Society.) Within the family history is a document that states:

“On March 4th, 1844 Miguel and Manuela became the parents of a baby boy baptized, Victor Guillermo Cota.... At that time, Miguel was in the cattle business and in 1862 [1858], when his son was about 18 [14] years of age, the cattle boat sunk on the way to the Santa Rosa Island from Santa Barbara.

Years later, Victor Guillermo told his son, Julius Manuel Cota that he helped his father build the cattle boat that sunk. Victor said:

“I told my father the boat was too light and should be somewhat heavier. He said, that upon his return from the islands, he would build a larger and heavier one, but father never returned.”

Manuel Cota and his wife, Maria Manuela Antonia Ortega (1813-1878) had eleven children:

  • Jose Francisco Tomas Cota (1835-1870) = Maria Adalida Batista
  • Micaela Geronima Celsa Cota (1836-1878 )
  • Maria Manuela “Josefa” Cota (1838- )
  • Maria “Gracia” de Jesus Cota (1840-1880)
  • Miguel Gregorio Cota, Jr. (1842-1911)(buried in S.F. National Cemetery)= Maria Manuela Sepulveda
  • Victor Guillermo Cota (1844-1927)
  • Maria Tomasa Antonia Cota (1846-1921)
  • Felipe Leonardo Cota (1847-1925)
  • Benito Cota (1850-1925) = Isadore O'Brian (1860-1936)
  • Maria Rosa Cota (1851-1860)
  • Juan E. Cota (1855-1890) = Maria del REfugio Rebecca Romero (1875-1910)

Miguel Cota died on September 13, 1858 in the shipwreck of the San Buenaventura.

In the News~

September 25, 1858 [LAS]: “Fatal accident. A small boat, while crossing from Santa Barbara to the island of Santa Rosa last week, was swamped near the west end of the island of Santa Cruz, and of three who were on board only one was saved to tell the tale. Those on board were, Peter Hammond, who served as a teamster during the Mexican war, and came to California in 1848 with the Graham expedition; Miguel Cota, a native Californian; and Vicente Panateri an Italian, long resident of San Buenaventura, in Santa Barbara County. Panateri was saved, and arrived at the house of Dr. Shaw on Santa Cruz Island, in a state of nudity and utter exhaustion, after having wandered for four days on the island. Hammond was in the employ of the Sheriff of Santa Barbara County, as keeper of the island of Santa Rosa, and was returning from a business visit to Santa Barbara, when thus hurried into eternity. He leaves a wife and five young children to mourn his loss. On the facts becoming known here, a subscription list was circulated by which, through the liberality of the citizens of Los Angeles, the sum of $264.50 was obtained for the relief of the widow and orphans of Hammond. The bodies had not been recovered at last accounts.”

October 13, 1858 [SFAC]: “Wreck and loss of life. On the 13th of September, the sloop San Buenaventura, of Santa Barbara, sailed from that port for the Island of Santa Rosa, having on board Peter Hammond and Miguel Cota, as passengers. She was under the command of Vizenzo Panatieri, alias John Brown, alias Captain Piasco, an Italian. When near the island of Santa Cruz, at about 4 o’clock A.M., she sprang a leak and soon filled and sank. All who were on board succeeded in reaching the shore, which at that point is very high and precipitous. Panatieri climbed up the steep bluff, and after wandering about the island for two days and nights, naked, hungry and thirsty, reached one of the houses on the island. The others, less fortunate, have not since been heard of. Diligent search has been made upon and around the island, but no traces have been discovered of them. It is supposed that they must have perished at the foot of the bluff, where they landed. The escape of Panatieri is little less than miraculous. The bluff rises to the height of about two hundred feet and is almost perpendicular for the first hundred feet. Hammond was an industrious and respected citizen of Santa Barbara, and leaves a wife and five children of tender age. Miguel Cota was a native Californian, and a citizen of this place.” [Santa Barbara Gazette].

January 22, 1859 [SDU]: “The body of Miguel Cota, the person drowned some three months since, in company with Peter Hammond, in the Santa Barbara Channel, has been found at Prisoners Harbor, Santa Cruz Island; and Vicenti Panateri, the only one who escaped the sad catastrophe, has since died from the effects of exposure and over exertion at the time of the accident.” [January 20, 1859 SFDEB]