DEL VALLE, Thomas

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DEL VALLE, Thomas (1891-1910), son of Enrique (Henry) Del Valle (1867-1928), grandson of Tomás and Josefa R. Del Valle, and nephew of Joseph J. Del Valle, who was accidentally drowned in a skiff accident at Cueva Valdez, Santa Cruz Island. He was 19 years old.

Isabel Pierce also was drowned in the same accident.


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In the News~

July 10, 1910 [LH]: “Santa Barbara, July 9. Isabelle Pierce, the 16-year-old daughter of A. M. Pierce, a furniture dealer; and Thomas Del Valle, the 17-year-old son of Henry Del Valle, of the old California family, were drowned and six others had a narrow escape from death when another boat in which they were rowing three-quarters of a mile from the pleasure camp at Santa Cruz Island capsized. Six of the party were women, three of whom were saved by the heroic work of Eugene Whitcomb, whose mother is Mrs. E. V. Whitcomb, a sister of Lois Were, who was with the party. Mrs. George A. White, the wife of a member of the state dental board, was among those rescued. Some of them were in the water two hours. The body of the boy was brought here tonight. The other was not recovered. The accident was due to blind breakers off Arch Rock.”


July 11, 1910 [LAT]: “Accidental drowning was the verdict of the jury impaneled by Coroner Ruiz to inquire into the death of Thomas Del Valle, who lost his life in the channel off Santa Cruz Island at the same time Miss Isabel Pierce came to her end. Mrs. Whitcomb, still suffering from nervousness and almost hysterical, and her son Eugene, were the only witnesses. Miss Pierce and Del Valle were drowned Friday, but it was not known here until last night, when a pleasure boat returned from the island bearing the body of the young man, and three members of the party… Eugene Whitcomb was the hero of the party. Without regard for his personal safety he worked bravely to save the others, and the women declare they owe their lives to him. When the boat overturned the party was set adrift, and confusion reigned… The rescued spent a terrible night on the island Friday, and the women were hysterical.”


July 11, 1913 [SBMP]: “Miss Isabel Pierce and Thomas Del Valle of island camping party drown when boat capsizes. Sobered by the first marine tragedy in many years, Santa Barbara talked of little else than the drowning on Friday of Miss Isabel Pierce, 16, daughter of A.M. Pierce, 1629 Garden Street, and of Thomas Del Valle, 19, son of Henry Del Valle, 25 East Ortega Street, who perished after a long struggle in the channel waters on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island Friday morning… Captain Henry Short returned from the island yesterday afternoon with those of the party who remained in camp at Quava Valdez, after Rosaline Vasquez left for the mainland Saturday night with Del Valle’s body and the first news of the tragedy… The party went to the island a week ago Saturday and pitched their tents at Quava Valdez, or Valdez Cave, on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island and about a mile west of Frye’s Harbor… On Friday morning Mrs. Whitcomb, Miss Whitcomb, Eugene Whitcomb, Miss Lober, Miss Isabel Pierce, James Clark, Thomas Del Valle and Mrs. White left in a flat-bottomed otter boat for Frye’s Habor, intending to row down the coast… The boat was about half a mile east of the camp and nearly one mile from shore when without warning from what seemed a smooth sea, a large roller crested just as it hit the boat and broke over the gunwhale, filling the boat almost full of water and creating an instant panic among most of those on board. Several of the occupants at once jumped into the water and the boat capsized, throwing all of the party into the ocean…”


July 13, 1910 [SBMP]: “Many friends attended the funeral of Thomas Del Valle, the nineteen-year-old high school boy who was drowned at Cueva Valdez, Santa Cruz Island, last Friday. The impressive service yesterday afternoon was conducted by the Rev. Father Villa at the church of Our Lady of Sorrows. Many beautiful floral pieces covered the casket. ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ was sung by the choir. The friends and relatives went in ten closed carriages, the Whitcomb family occupying one. The Del Valle family is one of the oldest Spanish families of California, and the young boy was a cousin of the late Senator Del Valle who owned the Camulos Rancho of Ventura County. Among the out-of-town relatives who attended the funeral were Mrs. Tico and Mrs. Charles Carnes of Oxnard. The services at Calvary Cemetery were conducted by Rev. Father Villa, assisted by Rev. Father Kavanaugh.”