HOWLAND, Joseph Garcia

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HOWLAND, Joseph Garcia (1862-1923), oldest born son of William Roberto Garcia Howland, born in San Pedro, California. Joseph Garcia Howland was manager of Santa Catalina Island after it was acquired by William Banning in 1892, until it was sold to William Wrigley, Jr. in 1919. J. G. Howland also leased multiple California Channel Islands from the federal government.

His earliest lease was on San Clemente Island, and taken in the name of the San Clemente Wool Company. Consecutive leases were issued 1901-1905; 1905-1910; 1910-1934. In 1918, the lease was transferred to the San Clemente Sheep Company. The lease agreement forbade the removal of minerals of any kind from the island. In 1909, he took leases on both Santa Barbara and San Nicolas islands. The San Nicolas Island lease ran from 1909-1914 and was renewed 1914-1919. He was the first to lease Santa Barbara Island beginning July 1, 1909 for five years at a rate of $26/year.

Although Howland’s lease forbade the subletting of the island, in October, 1909 he rented a portion of Santa Barbara Island to C. B. Linton of Long Beach for $125 for the propagation of pearls in abalones. Howland also issued fishing rights for a fee to Japanese and Chinese fishermen. J. G. Howland continued to lease Santa Barbara Island until 1914 when the lease went to Alvin Hyder.

In 1885 Joseph Garcia Howland married Dora Irene Burton (1866-1944), from Nova Scotia, and they had eight children:

  • Gertrude Emma Howland [Adam] (1886-1956)
  • Myrtle [Knowlton] (1888-1942)
  • Hazel (1891-1973)
  • Glenn H. (1894-1966)
  • Roy (1896-1969)
  • Eloise H. (1899-1978)
  • Thaddeus Joseph (1903-1953)
  • Bessie L. (1906-1976)

After J. G. Howland died, Dora remarried Henry Ward Beach. Howland died on February 2, 1923 at age 70. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles.

In the News~

July 13, 1883 [LAT/SCat]: “Timms’ Landing, Catalina Island… A party of select company, invited by Mr. Hancock Banning, started up the coast to Swain’s Valley, a distance of seven miles, in Mr. Hancock’s new yacht. This valley contains the establishment of Messrs. Howland, Whittley and Harris for shearing sheep. We found Messrs. Howland and Whittley very kind and obliging. After enjoying the hospitality of Messrs. Howland and Whittley, we started for Timms’ Landing…”

August 19, 1886 [LAT/SCat]: “Santa Catalina Island, An enthusiastic Angeleños count of the resort… A German who seems to have taken up his retreat there, replied: ‘vell dere ish seven or eight thousand vild goats und about twenty wild cows, und ofer fifty vild jackasses’…in addition can be mentioned twenty thousand sheep, the property of Howland, Whittley & Co., who rent the island from the Lick estate. Mr. Whittley, who has immediate care of the island, does not object to the shooting of the goats, not the many quail…”

June 5, 1908 [LAT/SP]: “Battle royal in justice’s court in San Pedro over manner of handling cattle. A battle royal raged in Justice Stieglitz’s court for two days over the cases of Captain John Keller, Lee Gregory, J. Beukert and Frank Gonzales of the schooner Edith, charged with cruelty to animals preferred by the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The case is being vigorously prosecuted and strenuously defended. It is alleged that the defendants, who are employed by the Howland brothers in transporting cattle from San Clemente Island to San Pedro, on April 5, crowded nineteen cattle into the small hold of the Edith, kept them without water or food for twenty-four hours. And then used cruel and inhuman methods in unloading them from the schooner… The trial will not conclude until tomorrow.”

July 17, 1910 [LAT]: “…’Is the price of wool up?’ I asked J. G. Howland as he was looking over the situation at Middle Ranch Santa Catalina Island] yesterday. ‘Up? Well, I should say not,’ he replied. ‘We got 19-1/2 cents in Boston last year, and this year we have been offered only 12 cents, or practically that. There is something the matter. Some fellow is getting an immense profit out of the woolen business, and it isn’t the sheep man. I can remember when I got 32 cents for wool at the Isthmus, without even shipping it away, and I sold four tons in the one lot’…”

October 7, 1910 [LBP]: “Captain Joe Freeby of the steamer Edith of San Pedro, who resides in this city, returned to Long Beach yesterday after taking six Mexican laborers and 20 tons of seed barley to San Clemente Island, 60 miles from here. Freeby is employed by Howland brothers of Los Angeles, proprietors of the San Clemente Wool Company, to pilot the Edith to and from the island and to transport the big herds of sheep which are exported from the island to the big markets of the west every month. The captain of the Edith now says there are from 30,000 to 35,000 sheep roaming the island at present time, all of which are the property of the San Clemente Wool Company. The laborers taken over to the island are employed to help dig dams in various parts of the numerous canyons to hold rainwater for the sheep. The present existing conditions make it necessary for some of the sheep to cover a long range of ground before they can secure water, and the continual running makes them poor, and therefore takes more grain to feed them. The 20 tons of seed barley which was taken over the first week will be sowed in about two weeks. Last year the output of barley on the island was 180 tons, all of which was fed to the sheep. Sheep are sheared on San Clemente in January and this work gives employment to about 75 men. Only 18 people reside on the island year around, and these are herders who spend most of their time in the saddle looking after the big herds.”

August 20, 1913 [LAT]: “Commission to hunt hunters. Stop seal murder, say Fish and Game officers… It appears that the alleged seal killing has taken place on Santa Barbara Island, which does not come under the law which protects seals in the waters of the Santa Barbara channel. There has been no violation in the Channel Islands, which have been visited by Frank A. Garbutt and James Rasmussen, our deputy in Ventura… The law reads: ‘It is unlawful to take or kill seals in the waters of the Santa Barbara channel, or on or near thereto.’… So far as any destruction of seals on the islands in the Santa Barbara channel is concerned we are convinced that the law has not been violated there, and we have received no information of unusual conditions on Santa Barbara, San Nicolas or San Clemente islands which are leased to Howland brothers, and who would probably report anything unusual…”

October 31, 1914 [LAT]: “Accused of raiding the sheep herds of the Howland brothers, lessees of San Clemente Island, ten Norwegian and Russian fishermen were placed in the County jail yesterday afternoon by deputy sheriffs on petty larceny warrants. An armed posse was recruited during the day by the sheriff, who obtained ten additional warrants for fishermen who are to be arrested today. According to Deputy District Attorney Hammon, who issued the complaints, the sheep-herders and fishermen on the island have been at swords’ points for many weeks. Many battles have been fought between the factions. It is alleged the accused men stole many sheep and goats belonging to the Howlands and sold them in Los Angeles markets. Many of the fishermen are known to be armed, and a battle is looked for when the deputies try to take the ten men away. The Howland brothers lease the island from the government.”

November 3, 1914 [LAT]: “Fourteen arrested, San Clemente now peaceful. With a deputy sheriff and a boatload of other officers after him, William Blair, rowing desperately away from San Clemente Island toward the three-mile limit and neutral waters, refused to quit when the rough seas capsized his little boat and pitched him into the ocean. Kicking off his boots and coat, he swam sturdily. To the amazement of the officers he did not turn back to land, but headed straight out to sea, seeking to get away from the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles county authorities. While the officers waited to wonder whether the man was merely fooling or possessed of exceptional courage, the fugitive secured a good lead and it was an exciting chase. Blair was caught before he could get far enough to secure immunity and, with two other men, arrested on San Clemente Island, was brought to Los Angeles yesterday morning and lodged in jail. Just what plan Blair had made for maintaining existence in the event that he succeeded in his mad dash for liberty he declined to explain to the deputy. Now he will have to explain to the court whether or not he is guilty of stealing sheep. This was the second trip made by Deputy Sheriff Jack Adams and eight deputies to the island where Howland brothers, the lessees, allege fishermen have been committing depredations on their property. Notices were served last week on the fishermen to leave the island, Howland brothers alleging that they are the sole lessees and in control of the entire island. Ten Russian and Norweigan fishermen were brought in last Friday and committed to jail. Adams furnished free transportation for many others to San Pedro. He went again to the island Saturday armed with warrants and with a force of armed men. The island is about forty miles outside of Catalina, and it was an all-night trip for the launch. Nearly all the fishermen against whom complaints had been made had observed the warning in the notices served upon them and departed. J. Randall and W. Swanson were arrested and then the deputies started after Blair. He had heard of their coming, however, and with his skiff loaded with provisions started for the high seas. This made thirteen in custody yesterday forenoon. Fritz Frye, sparring partner of Battling Johnson, and also wanted for depredations on San Clemente, was undone by his curiosity. Hovering about the sheriff’s quarters with his ears open to learn what had happened, he was detected and arrested. The fourteen prisoners will be given a hearing next Thursday morning. Four were admitted to bail, the other ten being still in jail yesterday. Deputy Adams says all is peaceful now on San Clemente and that the island tempest is permanently settled.”

November 4, 1914 [LAT]: “Flood market with crawfish. Heavy early-season catches exceed demand when offered for sale. Owing to an abundant catch of lobsters, the wholesale price dropped to 17 cents today… Since the arrest of the craw fishermen at San Clemente, the Howland brothers, lessees, announce that all is quiet once more, and that no more sheep have been stolen or killed since Deputy Constable Adams dragged fourteen of the fishermen to the County jail to await trial on Thursday.”

November 17, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Launches Edith and Mary Ann total wrecks. Two power launches are known to have been wrecked on San Clemente Island by a terrific storm that raged Sunday night and reached the height of its fury Monday morning. It is feared that the greater damage that has not been reported has been done. News of the disaster was brought to port by Reg. Brett, who has been working at the crawfish camp of Billy Souder of Newport. Brett brought Captain Al Gregory of the power schooner Edith to port get assistance. The Edith is a total wreck, but a tug will be sent to the island to save the engine, which lies in about fifteen feet of water. The launch Mary Ann, a fishing boat, is also a total wreck and is high and dry on the rocks. The barge of the Howland brothers is also high and dry on the beach. When the storm broke waves were running 25 to 30 feet high…”

November 24, 1914 [LAT]: “Deputy Sheriff Jack Adams, with three other deputies, will leave early this morning for San Clemente on the launch Imp to arrest ten men accused of stealing and killing sheep belonging to the lessees of the island. The men wanted are all fishermen and credited with having more or less disregard for the law, and there may be a battle before they are taken. Deputy Adams, a fighter who usually gets what he goes after, rounded up several of the same type not long ago.”

November 26, 1914 [LAT]: “Caught with the goods. Seven more Clemente Island crawfishermen are arrested on sheep stealing charge. Fresh mutton hanging outside their tent on San Clemente Island led to the arrest of seven more crawfishermen, Tuesday… This makes a total of more than twenty men who have been arrested on the island upon the charge of stealing sheep belonging to Howland brothers. With the opening of the lobster season the island became the camping ground for nearly 100 fishermen. With plenty of sheep running at large, the temptation of fresh mutton was too much for some of them. Howland brothers, who have a grazing lease from the government, have been making was on the fishermen to stop the raids upon their flocks.”

December 1, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Because they refused to leave San Clemente Island, twenty crawfishermen were arrested by special officers and Mr. B. Howland on board the launch Imp, last Wednesday. This makes the second roundup of fishermen during the past six weeks. Each officer carried a warrant and a miniature cannon. It is claimed by Mr. Howland that the fishermen at San Clemente wantonly and willfully kill sheep and goats. Driven from the island a number of the fishermen are now sleeping in skiffs anchored in Mosquito Harbor. The men claim that they have not been trespassing over the San Clemente Island Wool Company’s property, and that they will continue to catch crawfish, as long as the season lasts…”

April 20, 1917 [OC]: “J. G. Howland, who leases San Nicolas Island from the government, has filed his annual tax report with County Assessor Barry as the island is a part of Ventura County. Mr. Howland lists 1400 head of sheep. The island is 60 miles from shore. Howland lives there alone.”

June 7, 1919 [SBMP]: “Uncle Sam has a pair of islands to rent. He wishes to lease San Nicolas and Santa Barbara for a period of five years, reserving the right to take any timer, stone, sand or other materials he may require. The highest and best bidder will get the lease, with the approval of the secretary of commerce. San Nicolas Island is 55 miles west of Santa Barbara. It is approximately seven and three-fourth miles long, and the average width is two and one-half miles. The highest point on the island is 890 feet. Most of the area, about two thirds, is covered with sand; the balance has coarse grass and scrub oak. All rights to maintain post lights, roads and landings are reserved by the government, and the lease may be revoked at any time. J. G. Howland of Los Angeles is the present holder of the lease…”

June 19, 1919 [SBDNI]: “Santa Barbara and San Nicolas islands that lie about midway between the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and Catalina and about sixty miles off shore are for rent. In the Ventura courthouse the terms of lease and description of the islands are filed. San Nicolas Island is now under lease to J. G. Howland of Los Angeles. The island is described as being 65 miles off shore and 44 miles westward from San Clemente, seven and one-half miles long and a general width of two and one-half miles. The highest point is 890 feet. Two-thirds of the island is covered with sand and the balance with coarse grass and a few patches of scrub oak. The present holder has a good flock of sheep on the island.”