FORNO, Angelo (1853-1895), Italian-born Santa Cruz Island employee who came to work on the island as a laborer on March 31, 1893 at the standard salary of $20 a month. His passage to the island was deducted from his first month’s wages. Ranch records indicate Forno was “accidentally killed — thrown from a horse” on Sunday, August 4, 1895 at 9:00 P.M. After his death, his remaining salary balance saved with the Santa Cruz Island Company of $214.33 was “transferred to the San Francisco office.”
Forno was originally buried next to Tomas Sansoni on a bluff above Prisoners’ Harbor. When his body was exhumed in the 1970s for reburial at the newly created island cemetery at the chapel, Carey Stanton, a pathologist by training, was fascinated by a silver dollar sized hole in the back of Forno's skull. Stanton took the skull to Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Nogouchi’s office for further examination. It was determined that the hole “posterior to the foramen magnum was consistent with a depressed skull fracture”, and not a bullet hole.
In the News~
August 10, 1895 [SBDI]: “The gasoline schooner Santa Cruz arrived from the Island yesterday afternoon, bringing the news of the death of Angelo Forno, stableman. Forno was out with a party last Sunday night for a ride, and on coming home his horse shied and ran into a gate. The rider was thrown about thirty feet, the fall breaking his neck. Death was instantaneous. An inquest was held, finding that his death was accidental as stated. He was buried on the island. Forno was 42 years old, and leaves a widow and three children in Italy. He had been on the island about two years.”
August 10, 1895 [SBMP]: “Fatal accident. An Italian killed on Santa Cruz Island. News reached here yesterday of the horrible death of an Italian named Angelo Forno, which occurred on Santa Cruz Island Sunday last. Forno was riding horseback in the advance of a party on a canter and in attempting to pass through a partly closed gate his stirrup caught, throwing both the rider and horse over a thirty-foot embankment. The horse rolled over and over the unfortunate man, killing him instantly. When picked up it was found that his neck and right shoulder were broken and nearly every bone in his body crushed. It was necessary to bury him on the island, as the island schooner was at this port. Forno was 42 years of age and leaves a wife and two children in Italy.”
August 10, 1895 [SFCall]: “Santa Barbara, August 9. A party returning from Santa Cruz Island today brings news of a distressing accident. Sunday night a party of young people started for a moonlight ride. Angelo Forno, a stable hand in the employ of Justinian Caire, the owner of the island, was riding a spirited stallion. When a mile and a half from the ranch house, at the iron gate crossing the Avenue del Capital Est, the animal suddenly shied, throwing Forno thirty feet, his body striking an iron gate, breaking his neck and crushing his right shoulder and head. He was dead before his companions could reach him. An inquest was held there, and the body was buried on the island. Forno was an Italian, 42 years old, and had a wife and three children in Italy. He had been employed on the island for two years.”