IMBODEN, Carolyn Sylvia

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Carolyn Sylvia Gherini Imboden (1893-1933)
on her wedding day in 1919.

IMBODEN, Carolyn Sylvia Gherini (1893-1933), San Francisco-born younger sister of Ambrose Gherini, who hanged herself at Scorpion Ranch on the east end of Santa Cruz Island. She was 40 years old. She had married Daniel Carrington Imboden (1891-1965) in 1919 in San Francisco. When she was found, members of the Gherini family rode to the Main Ranch to seek assistance from the Company schooner Santa Cruz. Interestingly, it was the only time in memory after the partition lawsuit between these family members that the two factions again met on the island. The schooner Santa Cruz delivered the body to Santa Barbara.

Caroline is buried in San Francisco National Cemetery [Presidio Cemetery] with her husband, Daniel Carrington Imboden (1893-1965). She left behind daughters:

  • Constance Imboden [Sharp] (b.1921)
  • Virginia Lee Imboden [Faulk] (b. 1927)

The daughters were subsequently raised in a convent. At the time of Carolyn’s suicide, the following message was dispatched from Scorpion Ranch to the Main Ranch, Santa Cruz Island:


July 18, 1933 [María Gherini to Mr. F. F. Caire]: “Scorpion Ranch. Santa Cruz Island Company, Mr. F. F. Caire, President—or whoever is in charge—Dear Sir, We beg to request the use or the privilege to go to Santa Barbara at the earliest possible moment on the schooner Santa Cruz for which we will of course pay, to notify the proper authorities of a death of a woman on our ranch. We have already endeavored to get a message through the Anacapa radio for the Coast Guard, but we fear the message was not received. Thank you. I remain Sincerely, María Gherini”


In the News~

July 20, 1933 [SBMP]: “News of the suicide of Mrs. Carolyn Imboden, 43, of San Mateo, in a sheep shearing house on lonely Santa Cruz Island last Monday afternoon was brought across the channel yesterday by Ambrose Gherini, prominent attorney and owner of the eastern portion of the island. Gherini, who had no boat at the island, told of building signal fires along the island coastline all Monday and Tuesday nights in a frantic fruitless effort to attract a passing craft, but it was not until yesterday that the schooner Gittano, out of Los Angeles, finally answered, and brought him, with the tragic tale, here. Mrs. Imboden was a houseguest at the Gherini ranch at Scorpion Bay. According to the story told Coroner E. G. Dodge by Gherini, the body of the woman was found after an intensive search late Monday afternoon. It was suspended from a rafter in a sheep shearing shed near the ranch. Deputy Coroner Dodge said that there will be no inquest, believing it a definite case of suicide. He said that according to Gherini, two notes were left by Mrs. Imboden. A tone of despair was expressed in the note addressed to him. Gherini said, Mrs. Imboden saying that she ‘couldn’t go on any longer’ because of ill health. The second note was addressed to her husband, Daniel C. Imboden, in San Mateo, who was notified of the tragedy by telegram last night. Coroner Dodge said that he would leave for Scorpion Harbor to return the body here early this morning. He will sail on the Ethel A, piloted by Captain Charles Anderson. Mrs. Imboden had been a houseguest of Mr. and Mrs. Gherini for a week. When she did not appear for dinner, late Monday afternoon, searching parties were organized. Gherini and a cook at the ranch, discovered the body. Mrs. Imboden had jumped from a box. In addition to her husband, the San Mateo woman leaves a young daughter, who was on the island with her. It is believed that funeral services will be held in San Mateo.”


July 20, 1933 [SBMP]: “San Mateo. July 19. Daniel C. Imboden, former secretary of the Three Cities Chamber of Commerce here, was reported by relatives to have left for Santa Cruz Island today after receiving word of the death of his wife, Mrs. Carolyn Imboden. Ambrose Gherini, San Francisco attorney, who reported the tragedy in Santa Barbara, was a brother of Mrs. Imboden, relatives said. The Imbodens were married in San Francisco in 1919.”


July 20, 1933 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara. Death ends isle outing. Marooned on Santa Cruz Island since Monday with the body of a prominent San Mateo woman who committed suicide on that day. Ambrose Gherini and party were brought here tonight and told a harrowing story of seeking with signals to attract passing vessels for the last three days. Gherini, a leading San Francisco attorney and said to be the owner of the south [east] half of the island, went to the island ten days ago with friends to enjoy an outing. Mrs. Carolyn Imboden, 43 years of age, as member of the party, disappeared on Monday, Gherini said, and after several hours of search her body was found in a sheep shearing building hanging from a rafter. Being without transportation to the mainland, members of the party signaled to passing vessels with sheets in the daytime and flares at night, but were unable to attract attention until late this afternoon. They were rescued by the schooner Gitana, outbound from Los Angeles harbor. The outing party was staying in a ranch house on Scorpion Bay where the body will remain until tomorrow when Coroner E. G. Dodge will make an investigation. The Coroner said tonight that there probably will be no inquest. Mrs. Imboden was the wife of Daniel C. Imboden, prominent resident of San Mateo, and also leaves a daughter. Mrs. Imboden left two letters, Gherini said, attributing her act to ill health.”


July 20, 1933 [OT]: “Woman ends life on lonely Channel isle. Mrs. Carolyn Imboden, 40, wife of Daniel C. Imboden, prominent business and political figure, hanged herself on the ranch of her father, Ambrose Gherini.”