ERICKSON, August

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ERICKSON, August (c. 1843-1902), single, Swedish fisherman employed by the West Coast Fishing Company who drowned at Santa Cruz Island in early March 1902. Erickson and his partner, David Peterson, had been out fishing in a skiff near Smugglers Cove, about a mile from their island camp. They tried landing, but were capsized by large waves breaking along the cove. According to Peterson's account, it was dark, and Erickson must have been caught under the skiff. Both men worked for the West Coast Fishing Company located at Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island. Erickson had lived in California for many years, and was about 59 years of age and single. He was buried at Santa Barbara Cemetery on August 19, 1902.



In the News~

March 12, 1902 [SBMP]: “The gasoline launch Peerless arrived from Santa Cruz Island yesterday with news of a drowning. The man whose life was lost [August Erickson], employed by the West Coast Fishing Company, whose cannery is located on the island. The accident occurred Friday night, and the body was recovered the third day following. It was left on the island and until authorities could be notified, and Coroner Ruiz has sent a boat to bring it to this city, where the inquest will be held upon its arrival. The details of the drowning are told by David Peterson, a Finnish fisherman, partner of Erickson, who was with him at the sea claimed him for a victim, and who had a narrow escape from a similar fate. Peterson and Erickson had been out in a skiff near Smugglers Cove and at dusk were approaching their camp, about a mile above the cove. The weather was not rough, but a heavy sea was running, and the turn of the tide sent large breakers upon the shore. The men had landed here often, and did not realize danger until an unusually heavy sea capsized their skiff, and both were in the water. It was dark by this time, and while both could swim, they lost each other in the darkness. Peterson was down several times, and he believes he must have been caught beneath the skiff, but he finally reached the shore. He was completely exhausted and was badly bruised in his struggle with the waves. Erickson was less fortunate, and Peterson failed to find any trace of him until Monday when the body came ashore. The dead fisherman was a resident of San Pedro. He was about 59 years of age and single. He had lived in California for many years. Peterson came to this city to seek medical assistance, as his physical condition is somewhat impaired by his experience. He is also a resident of San Pedro, and is an elderly man.”


March 12, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “The gasoline launch Peerless arrived here from Santa Cruz Island today with news of a drowning. The man whose life was lost in the waves of the Pacific was a Swedish fisherman, August Erickson, employed by the West Coast Fishing Company, whose cannery is located on the island. The details of the drowning are told by David Peterson, a Finnish fisherman partner of Erickson, who was with him when the sea claimed him for a victim, and who had a narrow escape from a similar fate. Peterson and Erickson had been out in a skiff near Smuggler’s Cove, and at dusk were approaching their camp about a mile above the cove. An unusually heavy sea capsized their boat, and in the darkness they were lost from each other’s view. Peterson, badly bruised and almost exhausted, reached the shore. But Erickson was drowned and his body was not recovered for three days. Both men were residents of San Pedro. The coroner has sent a boat to the island to bring back the remains and the inquest will be held in this city.”