HANSEN, Frank

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HANSEN, Frank (?-?), fisherman who lived for a time on Santa Cruz Island in the early part of the century. Several attempts to evict him proved useless. The island superintendent’s report of April 15, 1918 authored by Alanson Swain states:

“The shack of Frank Hansen at Albert’s has been destroyed—during the absence of the “Wild Man” [to keep Hansen from returning].

Another report dated May 13, 1918 discusses three mysterious fires which were believed to have been intentionally set near Pelican Bay, and it was noted:

“There are only three or four men that would have any interest in burning us out... Frank Hansen would do it without any scruples.”

Island superintendent Clifford McElrath described Frank Hansen, the Wild Man, as a good looking, good natured young Swede who got his nickname because most of the time, winter and summer, he went around in just a pair of trunks. After his shack at Albert’s had been burned down by island employees, he built a better one at Los Sauces near the beach.

January 19, 1920 McElrath wrote to Santa Barbara's Sheriff Ross:

“We have granted camping permits to several craw-fishing outfits this season, charging a nominal rent [$2.50 for the season]. Among those granted we gave one to Frank Hansen (Wild Man). On the 15th of this month I met two of the riders from one of the ranches in the hills. They told me they had just visited the Wild Man's camp and found evidence of his killing sheep. At the place where I met them called Malva Real, we found fresh sheep skin evidence he killed that same morning. This skin we took with us. As I could see Hansen and his two partners approaching the shore in a boat, I waited for them. I wanted to see what they would do. They attempted to treat the matter as a joke and said of course they took the meat, they needed it, but claimed that particular hide was given them at one of the other islands. Our sheep as you know are not branded which probably makes the hide of little value for evidence. What chance do you think there is of convicting these men if I swore out a warrant for their arrest?”

McElrath considered Hansen an old offender who would continue killing sheep for meat.

Finally, after Hansen's third eviction from the island, he reportedly loaded his boat, Annie, with all his possessions and put to sea. Overloaded, it sank and Hansen made it back to Santa Barbara aboard his skiff. He wasn’t seen again at Santa Cruz Island, and rumor had it he moved to San Pedro and took up his old trade as a carpenter.