DAPELO, Giovanni

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S.S. La Bourgogne


DAPELO, Giovanni “John” (1865-1920), Italian-born lifelong bachelor who immigrated to New York aboard the 497-foot French ocean liner, S.S. La Bourgogne, out of Le Havre, France. Dapelo sailed in steerage passage in 1890, arriving on June 30. He was 27 years old. (The S.S. La Bourgogne sunk in a collision on July 4, 1898 and 549 of 726 passengers and crew were lost.)

Dapelo worked on Santa Cruz Island for many years, beginning in August 1912 at age 47 doing general orchard and vineyard work. By 1919 he was cook at Scorpion Ranch.

Former superintendent Clifford McElrath described him:

“Dapelo was an old-country Italian. He drank his bottle of piquette twice a day and that was all.” [1968, 101-102].

He was taken ill and hospitalized at Saint Francis, where he died on July 3, 1920 of cerebral meningitis at age 55. Dapelo is buried in Calvary Cemetery (#2098.) He had been the United States for 21 years.



In the News~

December 19, 1916 [SCICo]: “Five men are going to Santa Barbara on this trip for Christmas, among them being Dapelo who is taking a check for $1000.


November 17, 1919 [SCICo]: “…Also enclosed check for $50, fifty, dollars. Kindly send draft for this amount including cost of exchange to Maria Dapelo, V. Badovucao, Recco B. Guestate No. 118, Italy. Yours truly, C. McElrath Supt. The Santa Cruz Island Co. Santa Barbara.”


June 24, 1920 [SCICo]:Sea Wolf arrived from Santa Barbara via Scorpion late P.M. June 23rd… I am enclosing letter as to Dapelo’s condition.”


June 24, 1920 [SCICo]: “Dr. Bakewell, We are having an epidemic on the island in which the effected men are dizzy, extremely sleepy, sometimes shaky as with malaria, their eyes red and they move listlessly and in bad cases as though intoxicated. We sent one old man [Dapelo] to the mainland completely out of his head. Is it serious and what is the best treatment to give incipient cases? Yours truly, C. McElrath, Superintendent.”


June 28, 1920 [SCICo]: “Have heard no word as to Dapelo’s condition.”


July 5, 1920 [SCICo]: “I received information indirectly from [Ira] Eaton this morning that Dapelo had died at the St. Francis Hospital. He has something over $300 in the account which I will hold until properly categorized to pay heirs.”


July 22, 1920 [SCICo]: “The amount due Dapelo when he left here after deducting $5 for taxi was $132.15.”