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HIGGINS, Harry ( - ) master of the schooner Santa Rosa in 1883. When Captain Frank Wildes Thompson resigned as captain of the Star of Freedom in December, Higgins left the Santa Rosa to take command of Star of Freedom. Higgins and Star of Freedom rescued the crew of the shipwrecked Convoy from Santa Rosa Island in January of 1884. In July of 1884, Higgins testified in the trial of Alexander P. More for More’s killing of Ah You, the Chinese cook on Santa Rosa Island. In 1907 when George E. Nidever was applying for the position as captain of the schooner Santa Cruz, he wrote to the island company that was an engineer who could get the engine “in order.”

In the News~

November 17 1880 [SBDP]: “Mrs. Captain Higgins died this morning. She has only been sick a couple of weeks.”

November 19, 1883 [SFMC]: “An extensive sheep range on Santa Rosa Island. How 80,000 sheep are readily and thoroughly washed twice a year. A herd of goats. The little schooner Santa Rosa, registering thirty-one tons, arrived in port from Santa Barbara a few days ago. She is in command of Captain H. Higgins, and plies between Santa Rosa Island and the mainland, and comes up to this city [San Francisco] twice a year to secure provisions, clothing, lumber, etc. for use on the island. She being owned by the great sheep rancher, A. P. More, who owns the island and the 80,000 sheep that exist upon it… Captain Higgins tells an amusing story at the expense of one of the former mates of the steamer Orizaba. That gentleman for some time wanted a certain Billy goat that has been raised as a pet on Santa Rosa Island. More did not wish to part with it for a long time, but finally that Billy ate up its master’s coat containing papers valued at $5000. More became incensed, told Higgins to get rid of the animal, and upon the next trip of the Orizaba, the goat took passage with its new owner, the mate. The latter took it to his home in this city, bought a set of harness and a small wagon, and made the outfit a present to his little girl. One night going home, he learned that the goat had eaten up his coat and $100 in greenbacks, and that an hour later or so afterward, had been hitched to the wagon so that his little girl could have a ride. The Billy ran away and threw the child out of the wagon, nearly breaking her back, demolished the vehicle in its flight, and from that day to this the goat has not been seen. Captain Higgins and the mate still speak, but for some reason their friendship is not quite as warm as in days of yore.”

December 14, 1883 [SBDI]: “The Star of Freedom has gone to Santa Cruz Island for orders. Captain Frank Thompson has resigned his commission and will engage in business in San Francisco. Captain Harry Higgins takes command. Captain Burgess takes the schooner Santa Rosa.”

January 1884: Captain Higgins of the Star of Freedom returned the crew of the wrecked Convoy to Santa Barbara [Morris: 112].

July 7, 1884 [SBDP]: “…Harry Higgins, formerly captain of the schooner Santa Rosa, testified that he had been in More’s employ prior to December 2, 1883; he was discharged at that time…”

July 7, 1884 [SBDI]: “Preliminary examination… Harry Higgins’ testimony. The admission of this witness’ testimony was objected to by the defense, on account of irrelevancy. Objection overruled. Witness testified as follows: I am a sailor; know More and Ah You. I took the Chinaman over to the island, and remained on the island two weeks; took the Chinaman as cook. After taking him over there, he cooked while sheep shearing was going on; he cooked at More’s residence. He wanted to come back to Santa Barbara. More told me not to take him. I have seen More and the Chinaman having words together; once when I came back from the house saw More’s thumbs bleeding. I worked for More until December last, as Captain of the schooner Santa Rosa. The Chinaman applied for passage every time the schooner was ready to sail. More said the schooner wasn’t in the passenger business; that the Chinaman should go over when he (More) chose to let him. This state of affairs existed up to the time I was discharged from More’s employ, December 1st, 1883. I have never heard anything of the Chinaman since. There are no means of reaching the mainland from Santa Rosa except in More’s schooner.”

October 12, 1907 [George Nidever to Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, Please don’t think I want to intrude in your business… Angelo Castagnola—you know him— told me today that he know how to run the engine if Mr. Higgins or some other engineer get the engine in order…”

October 31, 1907 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, Just a few lines to let you know that I couldn’t sail yesterday on account of the engine being out of order [Santa Cruz], but Mr. Higgins told me he will have everything ready so I can be able to sail at 9:00 A.M. this morning…”

September 6, 1908 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, I went to the island the day before yesterday but the engine is out of order. Mr. Higgins is working on it. He told me that it will be ready Monday late, so I will sail for the island as soon as it is ready…”

June 11, 1909 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, I write you these few lines to let you know about the engine. Yesterday at 2 P.M. I was ready to sail from the wharf with the freight for the island but the engine broke down just as we start. I send for Higgins, so we took part of the engine to the shop. Higgins told me that it will be ready tomorrow noon…”

June 13, 1909 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, We have been working with Mr. Higgins at the engine until 3:30 P.M. today but we find something more broke, so it will take all day tomorrow to be repaired…”

July 28, 1909 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, …I am going with two cylinders of the engine. The other two are at Higgins machine shop but I think that we can get along.”

August 15, 1909 [George Nidever to A. J. Caire, Santa Cruz Island Company]: “Dear Sir, …Higgins is working at the engine and say that it will be finished tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Caire you know your business better than I know and you must excuse me to tell you that you are taking big chances with your vessel with this engine…”