DALLY, Henry

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Henry Dally holding his grandson, Karl Zapf, Ventura, Ca c. 1900


DALLY, Henry Johnson (1815-1908), New York-born son of a sail-maker who became a sea captain and early California pioneer. At the age of 18, Dally went to New Bedford, Massachussetts, and sailed aboard the whaling bark Winslow, bound for the Pacific. He and eight companions deserted this ship at Cocos Island, and were picked up by the schooner, Altnira, upon which Dally worked for the next two years, leaving her at Peru.

Dally eventually came to the California coast in 1843, and was one of the earliest pioneers to Santa Barbara County, where he hunted otter, without much success, on the Channel Islands.

On February 12, 1846 Dally married native Californian, Felicita Indegunda Rodriquez (1840-1884), in San Luis Obispo, where he worked for a time as a carpenter. Two years later he was elected county sheriff. Although he was reelected in 1850, he resigned due to the dangers of the job. In 1852 the Dallys moved to Carpinteria where they kept a stage-stop inn, Rancheros Resort, near Rincon Point. In 1867 the Dallys sold their inn and moved to Santa Barbara.

Henry J. Dally = [1846] Felicita Indegunda Rodriquez They had 16 children in 26 years:

  • Jose Timoteo Jones Dally (1847-1855)
  • Maria Raphaela Aldegunda Dally (1848-1883)
  • Matilde Dally (1851-1853)
  • Ramona Adelaida Dally (1852-1853)
  • Josefa Natalia Dally (1854- )
  • Jose Alejandro Dally (1855-1856)
  • Enriquetta (1857-1933) = [1880] Jose Jacinto Lorenzana
  • John Henry Dally (1858-1941)
  • Joseph Agustin Dally (1858-1917) = Maria Ruiz (parents of SB bus driver William A. Dally)
  • Henry Dally (1860-1860)
  • Juan Dally (1862- )
  • Josephina Sabela Dally (1864- ) = [1884] Joseph C. Dover
  • Martin Dally (1865-1865)
  • Ramona Dally (1866- )
  • Martha Dally (1868- )
  • George Luis Dally (1873- ) = Juana Swope


Dally died in Ventura at age 93.


In 1895 while bringing a load of sheep for Captain Waters from San Miguel Island in mid-March, Captain Dally told of a series of disturbances that occurred March 9. Dally had run into Cuyler’s Harbor during an eclipse, and could not see the land very plainly. When he ran the sloop near where he thought the buoy was located, he discovered that he was almost alongside a bluff where there had always previously been a sandy beach. Upon further investigation, he and Captain Waters found the boathouse that was previously at the waters edge was now 300 feet inland. The sheep corral had been raised 65 feet higher than it was before, and the upheaval of land left marine life, fish and abalone high and dry. William Waters wrote to the Director of the State Weather Service in Sacramento:

There has been quite a commotion on San Miguel Island. The land which formed a high bluff on the west side of the harbor (Cuyler’s Harbor) has sunk more than sixty feet and forced itself under the beach, not only raising it, but stones which had lain at the water’s edge for years are now fifteen feet above it... So sudden was the change that fish and crabs were left high and dry and thirty feet above the harbor.”



In the News~

April 28, 1884 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King sailed this morning for San Miguel, with a portion of a seal hunting party sent out by Mr. Henry Dally. The balance of the party will be taken over to the island in a couple of weeks, when active warfare will be waged against the seals, for their hides and oil.”


April 20, 1885 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King was today loaded with supplies and ready to sail for San Miguel and Flea Island with Henry Dally and a party of seal hunters.”


May 22, 1885 [SBDP]: “The sloop Ocean King is taking on supplies preparatory to a trip to Flea Island, on the other side of San Miguel Island, with Henry Dally and a party of seal hunters.”


May 27, 1885 [SBDP]: “The sloop Ocean King arrived from Flea Island, where she left Henry Dally and party of seal hunters.”


June 7, 1886 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King has gone to Flea Island with supplies for the Dally sealing party.”


July 2, 1886 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King arrived day before yesterday from Dally’s camp on Flea Island with fifteen barrels of oil and three hundred seal skins.”


November 8, 1894 [SBDI]: “The sloop Liberty arrived yesterday from San Miguel Island. Captain Dally will take charge of this boat in the future.”


March 25, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “Captain Dally of the sloop Liberty, which arrived from San Miguel Island on Saturday, reports the ground in Cuyler’s Harbor is still moving, and that the shoreline has advanced fully one hundred feet since his last trip across. The account of these convulsions, published in a San Francisco paper and purporting to come from a correspondent who has visited the island since these disturbances began, was ‘faked’ from beginning to end.”


January 6, 1901 [SBDI]: “The sloop American Eagle, Captain Henry Dally, sailed for the islands this morning after a cargo of crawfish.”


June 26, 1902 [LAT]: “Henry Dally [Jr.] has instituted suit for divorce against Anita Dally, naming Joe Dover as co-respondent.”


June 24, 1905 [SBMP]: “The power launch Pietra Legura arrived yesterday from the islands with an elegant lot of fine sea lions belonging to Mullett and Slinkey, for shipping east and to European markets. They were all lassoed by Dally and Espinosa, experts in the business.”


April 1, 1906 [SBMP]: “D. W. Ferguson of Los Angeles arrived in the city yesterday and returned with five sea lions, which will be shipped to the Matt Gay Carnival Company of Birmingham, Alabama. The seals were caught off Santa Cruz Island by Henry Dally of this city and were brought over in the launch Irene. The sea lions from this locality are much in demand, for it is said by animal trainers that they are more easily trained than those from other places.”