HOWLAND, Charles Taggart

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HOWLAND, Charles Taggart (1868-1938), third-born son of stock-raiser, William R. G. Howland. Charles T. Howland developed San Clemente Island as a sheep ranch just after the turn of the century and continuing island ranching until 1918 when he sold his San Clemente Island Wool Company lease to the San Clemente Sheep Company of E. G. Blair. C. T. Howland had lived on San Clemente Island for 15 years when Alfred B. Howell, Donald R. Dickey and Laurence M. Huey visited the island in 1915. [L. Kiff ‘Historical Changes in Raptor Populations’].

Howland’s San Clemente Wool Company had consecutive leases on San Clemente Island from the federal government from 1901 to 1918. In 1912, C. T. Howland introduced Gambel quail to the island.

In 1905, the directors of the San Clemente Wool Company were A. C. Harper, president; Robert S. Howland, vice president; Charles Taggart Howland, secretary and manager; Sarah Ann Howland, treasurer (mother of Charles and Robert). Charles Howland, an attorney, answered correspondence, signed leases, etc. According to the 1906 lease agreement, the Company was to pay $1000 annually. In addition, in 1906, $5000 was to be spent for the development of water supplies and in the construction of reservoirs. No permanent buildings were to be constructed. In 1914, Charles Howland was listed as company president. This changed in 1916 to E. G. Blair.

In 1916 Howland sold his island assets to E. G. Blair who formed the San Clemente Sheep Company, who then held the island lease until 1934 when the U.S. government cancelled the island lease.


Charles Taggart Howland (1968-1938) married Nellie Louise Wollacott (1872-1951) in December 1892. They had three children:

  • Percival "Percy" Howard Howland (1893-1962)
  • Winifred "winnie" Howland (1895-1987)
  • Marjorie Ann Howland (1903-1984)

Charles Taggart Howland is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles.


» Huey, Laurence M. Some light on the introduction of Gambel quail on San Clemente Island in Condor 34:1 (46) January-February 1932.


» San Clemente Wool Company


see photo in Holder p. 145 of C. Howland.



In the News~

December 27, 1892 [LAT]: “The marriage of Miss Nellie Wollacott to Charles Howland occurred on Saturday evening… The attendants were Miss Winnie Wollacott, sister of the bride; Burt Howland, Miss Grace Howland, brother and sister of the groom… The couple received some very handsome and valuable presents, including a fine piano from the bride’s mother and a generous purse from her brother. Mr. and Mrs. Howland will reside in Los Angeles.”


August 8, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “Mr. Howland and party chartered the Sunbeam' and went to Howland’s Landing, two miles beyond the lath house, which was Mr. Howland’s old home when the island was a sheep ranch. There are several buildings at the landing and a large fig tree, with ripe fruit.”


January 1, 1898 [LAT]: “Charles T. Howland. In Charles T. Howland once more we have a young attorney who is a son of the soil. He was born in 1868 at San Pedro. His early education was acquired in the public schools. Completing this course, he went to Ypsilanti and was graduated from the Normal School of Michigan. He then returned to Los Angeles and studied law in the office of Wells, Van Dyke & Lee. He was admitted to practice in 1890 and has practiced constantly in the courts of this county since 1892. Ever since opening his office, Mr. Howland has been his own only partner, and by steady application to business has built up a good practice. His business is almost entirely of a mercantile and financial character. He handles many cases where failures and attachments figure. Mr. Howland, following that good maxim laid down in the Scriptures that it ‘is not good for a man to be alone,’ has joined to himself a life-partner, and in a couple of charming children, as that eminent exponent of the law, Francis Bacon, says, has ‘given hostages to fortune.’ Mr. Howland has a good many friends in this section. His father, Captain William R. Howland, came here before the discovery of gold. He was known to all the old-timers, and was in the sheep business on Catalina Island for years. The friends of Captain Howland naturally take an interest in the son, and are glad to meet him in a business as well as social way.”


July 27, 1900 [LAT/SCat]: “Charles T. Howland, whose father was a resident of Santa Catalina many years ago, and who gave his name to Howland’s Landing, chartered the Mascot this morning and took a number of his friends to the scenes of his youth and to the Isthmus. They were Charles T. Howland and wife, Percival and Winifred Howland, C. V. Baxter and Harry Baxter, Mrs. C. K. marsh and family, Henry Tripps, Howard Thomas, William Johnson, Miss Gladys Smith, all of Los Angeles; R. R. Richey, Mr. And Mrs. W. B. Green, Redlands, MR. And Mrs. Sherman.”


[ref DFG Book?] “In late 1901, an abalone camp was set up on San Clemente Island, which is 43 miles southwest from San Pedro. The camp was opened with the permission of Charles Howland, who was the secretary of the San Clemente Island Wool Company, which leased the island from the federal government. The cost for a license to use the island and to fish was $5 for five years. The camp consisted of three large tents for the workers, and drying racks.”


September 2, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “Charles T. Howland entertained a picnic party at Moonstone beach today, where they regaled themselves with watermelons and other good things. There were in the party Mr. And Mrs. Charles T. Howland, Percy and Winnie Howland, Mr. And Mrs. W. H. Cline, George and Willie Cline, Miss Mabel Young and Banning Young.”


June 31, 1902 [LAT]: “Charles T. Howland sues the local water board. Wants his water meter taken off…”


August 5, 1902 [LAT/SCat]: “Mrs. Charles T. Howland, well-known in Los Angeles society circles, is at Camp Swanfeldt for a month.”


December 30, 1902 [LAT]: “Durand claims that Wollacott and Charles T. Howland gave him wrong end of it in trade of mine [Valencia Mine] for city lots. He had note coming due at bank… T. J. Durand thinks he got the worst of a bargain at the hands of H. J. Wollacott, president of the State Bank and Trust Company, and Charles T. Howland…”


December 31, 1902 [LAT]: “H. J. Woollacott, president of the State Bank and Trust Company, who has been sued jointly with Charles T. Howland over a mining deal, has something to offer in his own behalf…”


September 8, 1903 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. The San Clemente Wool Company, of which Judge S. C. Hubbell was president and general manager, has been transferred by purchase to a company composed of Charles T. Howland, an attorney of Los Angeles, and Frank, Henry and Oscar Werner. Frank Henry is not related to the two others, who are brothers, and have recently arrived from Germany. The parties making the purchase have just returned from San Clemente, where they spent a week inspecting the island and the company’s affairs. There are supposedly from 12,000 to 15,000 sheep on the island with a large ranch house, barns and corrals, and several auxiliary stations about the island. San Clemente Island is about the size of Santa Catalina, but is comparatively level, its greatest drawback being its deficiency of water, requiring wells and windmills to furnish water for the sheep. The island is leased from the government for a term of years at a nominal figure, and the industry of sheep-raising should be one of profit.”


September 20, 1903 [LAT]: “The Pasadena Star recently published the following correspondence from Avalon: The San Clemente Wool Company, of which Judge S. C. Hubbell was president and general manager, has been transferred by purchase to a company composed of Charles T. Howland, an attorney of Los Angeles, and Frank Henry and Oscar Werner. Frank Werner is not related to the other two, who are brothers, and have recently arrived from Germany. The parties making the purchase have just returned from San Clemente, where they spent a week inspecting the island and the company’s affairs. There are supposedly from 12,000 to 15,000 sheep on the island, with a large ranch house, barns and corrals and several auxiliary stations about the island. San Clemente Island is about the size of Santa Catalina, but is comparatively level, its greatest drawback being its deficiency of water, requiring wells and windmills to furnish water for the sheep. The island is leased from the government for a term of years at a nominal figure, and the industry of sheep raising should be one of profit. It has always been a wonder to many people how the San Francisco company, which has leased this ‘lighthouse reservation’ for a number of years at a nominal price from the government, has been able to secure it in this manner; also as to why the government needs such a big island for lighthouses, when there are many settlers who would be glad to go and make homes there. There is something mysterious about the attitude of the government authorities in San Francisco in regard to this island, and now that investigations are in order, a little investigation into this subject might do no harm.”


August 17, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “On the waterfront. Port San Pedro, Los Angeles. Sailed. Tuesday, August 16. Schooner Edith, Captain Howland, for Clemente Island, for lobsters.”


August 18, 1904 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. John C. Cline, Collector of Customs, has returned from a visit to Mrs. Charles Howland at San Clemente Island. The Banning yacht Cricket was placed at his services…”


January 26, 1905 [LAT]: “The sensational suit of Henry Werner and his two brothers, Fritz and Oscar, against Charles T. Howland, Frank A. Werner [not related] and Abraham Jacoby, to recover $2833.30, with interest, on the ground that fraud is on trial before Judge Conroy. This is the last of a trio of suits, one of which arose out of the sale by the San Clemente Wool Company of its holdings on the island, in which the same defendants were sued, but the other two actions were finally settled out of court…” [This suit involves a tract of land on Florence Avenue in Los Angeles.]


February 8, 1905 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Charles F. Howland, one of the men composing the San Clemente Wool Company, with his wife and two children, are at the Grand View, en route to San Clemente Island. They are waiting the arrival of the company’s schooner to convey them to their destination.”


September 12, 1906 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon… C. T. Howland, of the San Clemente Wool Company, and John C. Cline came in from San Clemente yesterday.”


1907. “In 1907, late in the fall, when the winds were low on the California coast, Gifford Pinchot and I were enjoying the hospitalities of Mr. Charles Howland, of Howland’s, on San Clemente Island. It was a part of the courtesy of the old Spaniards to say to guests, ‘All that I have is yours.’ Mr. Howland not only said this, but he meant it, and we owned the island… Mr. Charles Howland has a long lease upon San Clemente, and uses it as a sheep ranch. He is developing the water, damming up the canyons at great expense, planting it with spineless cactus and various trees, and improving the charge generally. Visitors must obtain permission from Mr. Howland before landing…” [Charles F. Holder Channel Islands of California 1910 p. 133; 146.]


1908. “San Clemente Island is twenty-two miles long by four miles wide. The northwest one-half is very barren in the larger ravines. In this portion of the island, about four miles from the westerly end, is situated Howland’s Ranch, on Howland’s Bay…” [Linton, C. B. Notes from San Clemente Island in Condor 10:2 (82-86) March-April 1908].


1908. “During 1908 I [C. B. Linton] added the following species to my early list of the birds of San Clemente Island, California. I wish to tender my sincere thanks to Mr. Charles T. Howland, lessee of San Clemente Island; and to Mr. Robert Howland and the ‘boys’ of Mr. Howland’s various ranches, for the many fine favors extended to myself and party while working this island.” [Linton, C. B. 1909 Further Notes from San Clemente Island in Condor 11:6 (193-194) November-December].


March 31, 1908 [LAT]: “Mile after mile of sheep ready for shearing, not to mention mile after mile of goats for butting, was the sight that greeted Superintendent Zimmer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, when he visited San Clemente, from which Island he returned yesterday. Next month the sheep and goats will be separated; not in the old biblical way, but in modern style and after an exciting round-up. San Clemente Island is twenty-eight miles long and to Mr. Zimmer it seemed as if he saw twenty-eight miles of sheep. He was not there on business, but as the guest of the owners of the island, Robert and Charles Howland and Mrs. Howland...”


April 3, 1908 [LAT/SA]: “The Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association of this city is awaiting a copy of the bill and its amendments under which San Clemente Island has been leased to the San Clemente Wool Company, of which Mayor Harper and C. T. Howland of Los Angeles are the principal stockholders. Mayor Harper and Howland have been here to explain the terms of the lease and to meet objections likely to be voiced by the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association and the Chamber of Commerce. They declare that under the lease plenty of reservations are made for visitors. The company pays $1500 a year rental, and herds 10,000 sheep on the island, the term of lease being twenty-five years. The protests were started on the ground that no reservations will appear when the bill and its amendments are received from Washington by Secretary N. A. Ulm of the association.”


June 2, 1908 [SBMP]: “Horrid death faced fishers. Three local men escape starvation on San Nicolas Island. Visiting yachtsmen from San Pedro find cached food supply and almost get away with whole stock of provisions before fishers appeared... Before they had time to remove their supplies thither, the schooner Edith from San Pedro, carrying Thomas [?] Howland of the Clemente Island Company, and a party of surveyors, reached the island. Landing, they found the fishermen’s' cache and believing it to be an abandoned store, removed the contents to the schooner, even taking some of Hansen's clothing. The schooner was still anchored in the little harbor when the fishermen returned to the shack for food supplies, and found the Howland party. Had the Edith sailed with the fisher's provisions, the trio surely would have starved.”


September 25, 1908 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Power vessel storm-tossed. Edith compelled to run to Avalon for shelter. After tossing about for several hours in an effort to cross the channel to San Clemente Island, the power schooner Edith, Captain C. Howland, which left San Pedro yesterday, was compelled to make for this port late last evening. When seen this morning, Captain Howland said: ‘This is the first time in all my experience, and I have crossed this channel many times, that I have been compelled to make Avalon a port for refuge. We had ten men aboard the schooner, but it was as much as we could do to keep the boat head on so that we should not be swamped…’ The Edith was built several years ago for the Alaskan fishing trade, but was purchased by Captain Howland who uses it to transport livestock from San Clemente Island to the mainland.”


September 26, 1908 [LAH]: “The schooner Edith from San Pedro to San Clemente, lost most of her cargo of railroad ties on the way over, and a part of her forward canvas. Captain Howland was forced to put into Avalon to wait till the wind fell. The loss of the cargo was estimated at $300.”


April 16, 1909 [LAH]: “San Pedro, April 15. With the assistance of the Pasadena Humane Society, the San Pedro Humane Society has won a signal victory in securing the punishment of the three men employed by Howland brothers, who were arrested on April 4, 1908, on a charge of cruelty to some cattle they were bringing from San Clemente in the power schooner Edith. The cattle were in an impoverished condition and were hoisted from the little boat to the wharf here by means of a rope attached, in some instances, around their becks and in other cases by the heels. The trial here resulted against the defendants, but owing to a faulty complaint, the superior court threw the case out of court. There were many in this city who scoffed at the efforts of the local society, which was under the leadership of Mrs. W. A. Weldon. But the protectors of dumb brutes were not to be defeated and the aid of Dr. E. L. Conger, president of the Pasadena society, was secured and new complaints filed at South Pasadena in March this year against three of the men who handled the cattle. These men, Gonzales, Gregory and Kellum, pleaded guilty and were fined $25 each by Judge Glover. Mrs. Weldon stated today that other cases would be filed against the Howland brothers for transporting the cattle in such a poor craft as the Edith proved to be, and also against Benkert, who was buyer for the Howland brothers.”


April 20, 1909 [SBI]: “Small offer for an island. When bids for the lease of Santa Barbara Island near the Mexican line were opened yesterday in the office of the lighthouse engineer for the Twelfth District, it was found that few persons were willing to relieve the government of the care of the barren island. Only four bids were submitted, and bidders offered from $10 to $26 a year for the privilege of occupying the island. In a circular which the government sent out when advertising for a tenant, brutal frankness was exhibited in describing the disadvantages of the place, and even the cheeriest optimist could hardly have been favorably impressed. The bids will be forwarded to Washington, with the recommendation that the highest be accepted, and probably the offer of $26 a year, made by J. G. Howland of Los Angeles, will be accepted.”


May 1, 1909 [LAT]: “Complaints come from San Cemente [Island] to the deputy game warden here that a party of curiosity seekers from the mainland are making nocturnal trips to the island in search of eagles, and their eggs. Several birds are said to have been shot by these mauraders. One of the enthusiasts was captured Wednesday by men employed by Charles T. Howland. He had fifty-four eggs and ten claws.”


August 18, 1909 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Charles T. Howland, the present lessee of San Clemente Island, and family are occupying the Crank’s cottage on Ocean Front.”


July 15, 1910 [LAH]: “Avalon, July 14.—With a view to purchasing the entire stock of sheep here, C. F. Howland, lessee of San Clemente Island, and representatives of the Southwestern Packing Company have visited the stock this week and estimate there are 15,000 sheep on Catalina.”


1912. “The quail on San Clemente Island were released by us about 1912. We secured, through the Game Commission, twenty dozen, about one-half of which died before being released. They were caught in the Banning-Coachella district and shipped to Los Angeles. It took about two weeks to get them to the points of distribution and although they were fed and watered there was a heavy loss because of their wildness. The first year or so after being released there was no apparent increase, but I understand that later the showing was quite ‘fair’.”


Island Collections~

San Clemente Island

3/23,29,31/1915 LSUMZ birds

4/3,5/1915 LSUMZ birds


In the News~

April 6, 1916 [LAT]: “Third of a million for San Clemente Island. Big cash deal includes twenty-five thousand head of sheep. Famous and romantic ocean rock, home of prehistoric civilization and of pirates and smugglers, is taken over by one of Montana’s biggest ranchmen and will be used for great flocks of blooded wool-bearers. The lease of San Clemente Island, 25,000 head of sheep, blooded stallions, draft mares, colts, mules, jacks, and other property on the island, were sold yesterday by the San Clemente Wool Company to Lewis Penwell of the Lewis Penwell Company & Associates. The consideration, reported as all cash, was $300,000. The deal was made through W. B. Merwin & Co. of this city… Sheep have been pastured on it for more than sixty years, and with the water system and other improvements by the San Clemente Wool Company it has been regarded as one of the best ranches in the country. Charles T. Howland, one of the principal owners of the San Clemente Wool Company, has retained an interest in the new concern and will be on the board of directors…”


April 11, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “The lease of San Clemente Island, 25,000 head of sheep, blooded stallions, draft mares, colts, mules, jacks and other property on the island were sold April 5th by the San Clemente Island Wool Company to Lewis Penwell of the Lewis Penwell Co. and Associates. The consideration, reported as all cash, was $300,000. The deal was made through W. B. Merwin & Co. of Los Angeles. Charles T. Howland, one of the principal owners of the San Clemente Wool Company, has retained an interest in the new concern and will be on the board of directors. Mr. Penwell is a prominent sheep and ranch owner in Montana. He is owner or part owner of twenty-five big ranches in that state.”


April 27, 1916 [LAT]: “Announcement was made yesterday at the Van Nuys by Lewis Penwell, who recently leased San Clemente Island and purchased the 25,000 sheep and other livestock there, that a $300,000 corporation will shortly be formed to develop the island and the stock into the finest sheep ranch in the country. Mr. Penwell, who is sometimes called the ‘Sheep King of America,’ will go to the island tonight or tomorrow with Charles T. Howland, one of the former owners of the property. The plan of development for the island, according to Mr. Penwell, includes among other things the addition of about 5000 sheep of the Rambouillet type to the stock already there. The new animals are expected to cross with the peculiar island type of sheep now on the ranch, and to make the herd one of the most valuable in the land, as it is believed the mixed strain will produce animals of excellent wool and meat value. Regarding the incorporation, Mr. Penwell stated yesterday that very little of the stock remains unsubscribed, most of it being taken in advance by himself and his associates, including Charles T. Howland, who will be actively identified with the corporation. The money realized will be used to purchase sheep and for improvements. E. G. Blair, who will manage the ranch for the corporation, is at present on the island, with Robert Knowland, engaged in gathering the sheep, shearing, weeding out undesirable stock and making a final count. The work is expected to be completed Saturday night and plans will immediately be made to secure additional sheep. Additional fencing will be done shortly and a preliminary survey of improvements started...”


September 17, 1916 [SBMP]: “Captain W. G. Waters went to San Miguel Island in the Sea Wolf yesterday morning, accompanied by Mr. [Charles] Howland, president of the San Clemente Wool Company of San Clemente Island, and superintendent and Mrs. Russell, whose home is on San Miguel Island. Captain Waters and Mr. Howland expect to return to the mainland next Tuesday.”


September 18, 1916 [SBDN]: “Captain W. G. Waters left in the Sea Wolf for San Miguel Island Saturday, accompanied by Mr. Howland, president of San Clemente Island, and superintendent and Mrs. Russell, of San Miguel Island. Captain Waters and Mr. Howland will return to Santa Barbara tomorrow.”


February 12, 1938 [LAT]: “Charles Taggart Howland, 67 years of age, who was born in Wilmington and lived all his life in the Los Angeles area, died yesterday at the home of his son, Percy H. Howland, 6239 Maryland Drive. Funeral services will be conducted at noon Monday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Howland leaves his widow, Mrs. Nellie L. Howland, his son, a brother, Robert S. Howland, and two grandsons.” [Percy H. Howland (1882-1962)].