Difference between revisions of "Indian Relic Hunting: San Clemente Island"

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'''October 11, 1888 [The Record, National City):''' “An ancient temple, erected by the sun worshippers, was discovered on San Clemente Island last week. Scentists are investigating the find.”
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'''October 15, 1888 [LAT]:''' “Pasadena. The prospecting party that started for San Clemente Island yesterday week, returned this morning enthusiastic and well satisfied with the results of their trip, although insufficient time prevented as full an investigation as was desired. The party was as follows: Col. W. A. Ray, W. H. Wakeley, Sam Wakeley, H. J. and W. L. Vail, J. W. Wood, Delos Arnold, George Prosser, L. Jarvis, Frank Healy and C. E. Deschampaugh… Several broad plateaus exist, which with proper cultivation would probably prove fertile, but the only use to which the island is put at present is that of sheep-grazing, about fifteen thousand of these animals now existing there under the care of an Irishman, whose lonely residence there dates back 25 years. As this man, Tom Gallagher by name, is a Republican, it is supposed that the vote of San Clemente will be sold for Harrison and protection — to wool… No less than six perfect skeletons were found… numerous stone mortars and pestles, many broken and some entire… earrings of abalone shell, and numerous other trinkets…”
 
'''October 15, 1888 [LAT]:''' “Pasadena. The prospecting party that started for San Clemente Island yesterday week, returned this morning enthusiastic and well satisfied with the results of their trip, although insufficient time prevented as full an investigation as was desired. The party was as follows: Col. W. A. Ray, W. H. Wakeley, Sam Wakeley, H. J. and W. L. Vail, J. W. Wood, Delos Arnold, George Prosser, L. Jarvis, Frank Healy and C. E. Deschampaugh… Several broad plateaus exist, which with proper cultivation would probably prove fertile, but the only use to which the island is put at present is that of sheep-grazing, about fifteen thousand of these animals now existing there under the care of an Irishman, whose lonely residence there dates back 25 years. As this man, Tom Gallagher by name, is a Republican, it is supposed that the vote of San Clemente will be sold for Harrison and protection — to wool… No less than six perfect skeletons were found… numerous stone mortars and pestles, many broken and some entire… earrings of abalone shell, and numerous other trinkets…”
  
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'''January 30, 1897 [LAT/P]:''' “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences was duly organized this evening at Throop Hall. The business meeting was preceded by some discussion of scientific subjects. Professor C. F. Holder gave an interesting address upon ‘Deep Sea Life’…He also touched upon the discoveries made at San Clemente Island and showed a number of skulls and utensils exhumed from an Indian grave.”
 
'''January 30, 1897 [LAT/P]:''' “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences was duly organized this evening at Throop Hall. The business meeting was preceded by some discussion of scientific subjects. Professor C. F. Holder gave an interesting address upon ‘Deep Sea Life’…He also touched upon the discoveries made at San Clemente Island and showed a number of skulls and utensils exhumed from an Indian grave.”
 
 
'''April 2, 1897 [LAH]:''' “Avalon, April 1. E. B. Hoag, professor of biology in Throop University, accompanied by five students, has just returned from a week's visit to Clemente Island, where they went for the purpose of pleasure and research. Prof. Hoag made an interesting collection of rocks and minerals while Joseph Grinnell, the assistant curator of the museum, succeeded in securing some fine specimens of birds, including several new varieties. Some of the party returned to Clemente this morning on the ''Bertha'', where they intend to search for Indian relics at the west end of the island.”
 
  
  

Latest revision as of 15:05, 22 March 2020

Bird Rock, Santa Catalina Island
November 25, 1888



Indian Relic Hunting: San Clemente Island




In the News~

October 11, 1888 [The Record, National City): “An ancient temple, erected by the sun worshippers, was discovered on San Clemente Island last week. Scentists are investigating the find.”


October 15, 1888 [LAT]: “Pasadena. The prospecting party that started for San Clemente Island yesterday week, returned this morning enthusiastic and well satisfied with the results of their trip, although insufficient time prevented as full an investigation as was desired. The party was as follows: Col. W. A. Ray, W. H. Wakeley, Sam Wakeley, H. J. and W. L. Vail, J. W. Wood, Delos Arnold, George Prosser, L. Jarvis, Frank Healy and C. E. Deschampaugh… Several broad plateaus exist, which with proper cultivation would probably prove fertile, but the only use to which the island is put at present is that of sheep-grazing, about fifteen thousand of these animals now existing there under the care of an Irishman, whose lonely residence there dates back 25 years. As this man, Tom Gallagher by name, is a Republican, it is supposed that the vote of San Clemente will be sold for Harrison and protection — to wool… No less than six perfect skeletons were found… numerous stone mortars and pestles, many broken and some entire… earrings of abalone shell, and numerous other trinkets…”


November 25, 1888 [SF Chronicle]: “A Mysterious Island. Archaeological Treasures of San Clemente. A Visit of Exploration. What the explorers found—numerous remains on an extinct race. Pasadena, November 9, 1888. The expedition sent out by the Daily Star of this city to San Clemente Island, in the interest of archaeology and paleontology, was surprisingly successful. San Clemente Island lies 60 miles off the port of Wilmington in American waters, 83 deg. latitude, 115 deg. longitude. Its length is nineteen miles and the breadth varies from two to five miles in different points. The island is rocky in the main, though there are innumerable valleys, in which grows, with luxurious abundance, the long bunch grass peculiar to California plains and valleys. At present there are 25,000 sheep pastured here, owned by Messrs. Macey [sic] and Goodwin of Los Angeles. The guard of these sheep is a large, fat, good-natured Irishman from the "North Country," who has been the sole resident on this desolate isle for nearly twenty-seven years. The old man's face brightened when we came ashore and he first et eyes upon us, yet he says he never gets lonesome. The constant beating of the waves at the very foot of his cabin and the otherwise oppressive stillness, which would well nigh drive an ordinary mortal mad, never ruffles his spirit or alter the serene and complacent look on his face. Tom Gallagher—for such is his name—received for his services the extortionate sum of $15 per month in gold coin of the United States of America. Mr. Gallagher was of material assistance to our party in locating some of the ancient camp-grounds and burial mounds of the Indians who at one time inhabited the island. The first day we landed upon St. Alin's bay, at the west end of the island, which yielded richly to our toils. The top, crusted by the beating of winter rains, was covered for the distance of a mile and a half up and down the beach and many hundred yards inland with decayed and broken shells of various sorts, the most being of the black and white abalone. Occasionally members of the party, in prying up what appeared to be a rough stone, would unearth a handsome mortar, sometimes of granite, sometimes of sandstone. One mortar in particular was made of a strange, metallic-looking substance supposed to be an aerolite. It was rudely fashioned, while the majority were very handsome and highly polished; but the wonder is how, with the limited means at their disposal, they ever managed to hollow out a cavity in such hard rock at all. Small charms of shell were also found strewn on the sand, and several knives or meat scrapers unearthed by the wind were picked up. We were told that in the winter, when down-easters blow, a large quantity of specimens are exposed by the shifting sand...” [very long article continues, with illustrations]


July 28, 1889 [LAT]: “A party has just returned from San Clemente, having made the trip in the Ruby. They made a three-days’ stay on the island, and Mr. Harry Polley brought back a fine mortar and a number of Indian curiosities, some bones, and parts of skulls…”


July 1, 1891 [LAH]: “On Thursday, June 25th, the yacht San Diego, A. M. Hayward, master, sailed from Santa Catalina Island with a jolly party on board, for the purpose of fishing and gathering Indian relics at that island. The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. F. P. Francis, Miss Jennie Francis, Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Kelsey and son, Miss Eva Barce, Miss Louise Francis, Robt. Mansfield, John Winder, Robert Flournoy, Delbert Hammel, and Harry Polley. A fresh breeze enabled the party to make good time, and as the fishing was excellent, the party did not lack amusement. Coming to anchor at Mosquito Harbor the party passed the night on board, and early Friday morning landed at the house of Mr. Gallagher, the only inhabitant of the island, and took a long tramp over the hills to the isthmus hunting for Indian curios, of which a large variety was brought on board at night. Among the relics obtained were some fine specimens of black whalebone, Indian skulls and other bones in a fine state of preservation, stone hammers, spears, mortars and other implements, together with various kinds of coral, flint and petrified wood. The homeward voyage was pleasantly spent with music, dancing, games and pleasant chat, and Avalon harbor was reached on the evening of Saturday, the 28th. Upon dropping anchor, a salute was fired from about a dozen rifles and revolvers, and three hearty cheers were given for Captain Hayward and the San Diego. Every one was sorry that the cruise was ended and all wished that it might be repeated in the near future.”


August 23, 1895 [LAT/SCat]: “Dr. de Souchet, who came here [Santa Catalina] from Los Angeles for his health, returned yesterday from a week’s exploring expedition to San Clemente Island with Indian curios, beads, wampum, etc. He was accompanied by his nephew and a guide, and walked forty miles a day while exploring.”


September 1, 1895 [LAH]: “Dr. de Souchet made an exploring tour to San Clemente Island, accompanied by an experienced guide. He returned after an eight days' trip, having had many exciting experiences and loaded down with Indian relics and other curiosities. Dr. and Mrs. de Souchet, with a guide, visited the opposite shores of the island, hunting on muleback. They captured several fine pairs of wild goat horns. Mrs. de Souchet is a splendid horsewoman, a daring mountain climber and a fine shot. She wears a pretty brown corduroy hunting costume, with short skirt and brown leggings.”


January 30, 1897 [LAT/P]: “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences was duly organized this evening at Throop Hall. The business meeting was preceded by some discussion of scientific subjects. Professor C. F. Holder gave an interesting address upon ‘Deep Sea Life’…He also touched upon the discoveries made at San Clemente Island and showed a number of skulls and utensils exhumed from an Indian grave.”


May 9, 1897 [LAH]: “At the meeting last night of the Academy of Sciences of Throop Polytechnic Institute an expedition of the members to the Islands of San Clemente and San Nicolas was organized. The expedition has been contemplated for some time and the generous subscription of H. C Merritt has made t possible. Bugs, Indian relics and plants will be gathered in and placed in the Throop collection.”


May 22, 1897 [LAT]: “The schooner Manatee has just returned from San Clemente Island, having taken an expedition there in quest of abalones and Indian relics. The captain reports a stormy passage after leaving Catalina Island, having drifted as far south as the Coronado Islands.”


May 24, 1897 [SDET]: “The schooner Manatee has just returned to Redondo from San Clemente Island, having taken an expedition there in quest of abalones and Indian relics. THe captain reports a stormy passage after leaving Catalina Island, having drifted as far south as the Coronado Islands.”


May 25, 1897 [LAT/Red]: “The schooner yacht Manatee, used for carrying provisions to abalone gatherers on San Clemente Island, and bringing abalones and Indian relics back, parted her anchor and drifted ashore in front of the bathhouse. But little damage was done as the water was not rough.”


May 31, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Harry D. Gaylord, one of the members of the expedition sent out under the auspices of the [Pasadena] Academy of Sciences, returned this morning from San Clemente Island. The other members of the party are still at the island, where Mr. Gaylord will rejoin them within a few days, having come back to Pasadena only to be present at the exercises of Memorial Day. Santa Barbara Island and San Nicolas Island were visited by the party, and at the latter, many interesting Indian relics were found. Three species of birds new to this coast have been discovered. The expedition is meeting with much success in its researches, and Mr. Gaylord speaks with enthusiasm of the work already accomplished.”


June 4, 1897 [LAT/Red]: “The schooner yacht Manatee is still on the beach in front of the bath house, and is daily becoming more deeply bedded in the sand. She is owned by a number of fishermen here. The man owning the sails and rigging has stripped her, and nothing remains but the hull. While the owners are quarreling over the possession of the wreck, the party of relic-hunters she carried to San Clemente Island is awaiting her return with provisions, and to carry them and their shells and Indian relics back to the mainland. The friends of the marooned relic hunters are making arrangements for another boat to go to San Clemente to bring the men home.”


June 5, 1897 [SDET]: “A party of Redondo relic hunters is marooned on San Clement Island. A yacht will be sent out after them.”


June 11, 1897 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara Islands. Pasadena, June 10. — Messrs. H. D. Gaylord, Joseph Grinnell and Horace Gaylord of the Pasadena Academy of Sciences expedition to the Santa Barbara Islands, returned late last night bringing back many interesting and valuable relics. They visited San Nicolas and San Clemente islands, besides the Santa Barbara group, finding many evidences of former Indian occupation, especially on the first named islands. A hermit was found living on San Clemente. Otherwise the islands are uninhabited.”


June 11, 1897 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara Islands. Pasadena, June 10. — Messrs. H. D. Gaylord, Joseph Grinnell and Horace Gaylord of the Pasadena Academy of Sciences expedition to the Santa Barbara Islands, returned late last night bringing back many interesting and valuable relics. They visited San Nicolas and San Clemente islands, besides the Santa Barbara group, finding many evidences of former Indian occupation, especially on the first named islands. A hermit was found living on San Clemente. Otherwise the islands are uninhabited.”


June 13, 1897 [LAT/Red]: “William Carleton has left for San Pedro to engage a boat to carry provisions to the marooned relic hunters on San Clemente Island, and return them and their stores to the mainland.”


June 13, 1897 [LAT]: “DeMoss Bowers of this city has returned from a two months’ sojourn on San Clemente Island with a rare collection of Indian relics to supplement an already choice collection in his possession. Much interest has been excited among archaeologists over these San Clemente specimens, as many of them are unique and of particular interest. Some of the curious consist of ornaments, trinkets and utensils of stone, bone and shell, stone pipes, whistles, figures of seals, birds, fish, butterflies, etc. ‘San Clemente Island,’ said Bowers yesterday, ‘is one of the most desolate and forbidden places that can be made on the bleak western side, and there isn’t a harbor on the whole island that is a safe anchorage at all times. There are one or two places very difficult to reach, where a certain amount of water may be procured. We were compelled to go twenty miles for the water we used. A company has a man to look after some stock on the island, but he is unable to succor distressed parties.”


July 10, 1898 [LAT/SCat]:La Paloma put out to San Clemente Island this morning for three days’ pleasure trip. On board were Mr. And Mrs. W. S. Goodfellow, Miss Davenport, E. L. Doran and Hugh Goodfellow, who have gone in search of relics...”


August 25, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “The San Diego, Commodore W. H. Burnham’s handsome private yacht, returned this morning from a pleasure trip to San Clemente… A stop was made at Gallagher’s Landing of a half hour, when the party crossed the channel, and anchored at San Clemente. Here they gathered relics…”


September 8, 1899 [LAT/SCat]: “The Alert returned last evening from San Clemente Island, where a party spent a very pleasant week… Mr. Burtner made a collection of Indian relics, consisting of skulls, mortars, earrings, a war club, and various other articles. His most interesting find was a bit of matting from a cave dwelling in the cliffs, which withstood the ravages of time, and is in a fairly good state of preservation. It is made of native grasses and evidently adorned the home of an uncommonly aesthetic aborigine.”


January 31, 1900 [LAT/SBer]: “Messrs. E. L. Doran, L. Bloodgood, E. P. Averill and Al Shade returned yesterday from a week’s outing on San Clemente Island. They explored the island from end to end, and incidentally employed a portion of their tine in searching for Indian relics, and were richly rewarded, bringing back enough to stock a small museum…”


February 11, 1900 [LAT]: “Another party has just returned from San Clemente Island, bringing with them a large amount of Indian relics. There must have been a carload of such relics brought away from this and other islands of the channel during the past few years. These Channel Islands are, indeed, a rich field for the archaeologist… It is said that as late as the year 1805 there were fully ten thousand Indians upon the islands, while in 1816 there was not one left…”


October 4, 1900 [LAT/SCat]: “The schooner Nellie, Captain Frank Whittley, left this morning for San Clemente Island, chartered by Chappie, who goes over for a four months’ hunting expedition for Indian relics. The Nellie will leave him there, and at the end of the four months will return and take him off with his treasures. Chappie has a valuable collection of relics from San Nicolas, and will now supplement it with a collection from San Clemente. The early inhabitants of those two islands were of distinct tribes, and while all the artifacts left behind are of stone or bone, they are very different and distinct in character.”


January 7, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “Several gentlemen who had drifted into Avalon got together last week and arranged a trip to San Clemente, lying about twenty-five miles southward from Santa Catalina. The island is government property, and is uninhabited, save by two young men, John and Robert Robarts, who have charge of some five or six thousand sheep belonging to S. C. Hubbell of Los Angeles, and Alec O’Leary, who has led a hermit life down near the east end for ten years past. The gentlemen were seeking adventure… These adventurous spirits chartered the Mascot, George M. Connell, skipper, who brought his launch down from Monterey last spring in one of the worst storms of the season. The party started from Avalon at 4 A.M. Thursday morning, and about 8 A.M. cast anchor at Gallagher’s Landing, near the west end of San Clemente, where the Robarts brothers have their headquarters. Here they found W. A. Chappel, otherwise known as ‘Chappie,’ a character among Avalon boatmen, who has been there for nearly four months engaged in hunting Indian relics with which to enlarge his already magnificent collection. He has been quite successful in his search and has a ton or more of curios and things piled on the beach waiting for the schooner Nellie, which is under contract to go for him and bring him back to Avalon January 10.”


May 31, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. The Mascot returned from San Clemente Island this morning, after a stay of eight days, spent in fishing and relic hunting… The party comprised George N. Carnell, Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Giddings of Pasadena, and Captain Samuel Moffitt.”


July 8, 1909 [LAH]: “Long Beach, July 7. The party of sixteen members of the Cooper Club of California who went to Santa Barbara Island July 3 in Captain W. H. Graves’ launch Flyer, returned last night with a large assortment of relics and interesting discoveries and with a story of having weathered one of the sharpest storms known among the Channel Islands for some years. Several different times members of the party were thrown overboard while trying to make landings through the heavy surf, and once several of the men had to stay all of one night and the following day in a small cave, being unable to return to their boat. In the party were Harry Lelande, city clerk of Los Angeles; attorney Howard Robertson, O. W. and Arthur Howard, Dr. Otto J. Zahn, W. B. Judson, H. F. Hossack, Antonio Jay, Emerson Knight, Dr. Horace Gaylord, H. N. Lowe, W. S. McQuilling, Chester Lamb, C. S. Caldwell, Clarence B. Linton, Horace Linton, Captain W. H. Graves, Mate Granis Crandall and Chef Victor Sepulveda.”


[1910]: “… At San Clemente Island I found numerous town-sites, and the great and beautifully chiseled sand dunes on the southwest side has been a treasure-house to the ethnologist… At San Clemente, one find I saw Mexican Joe carefully cut out of the damp sand from near a man’s skeleton, was a flute, made of the leg bone of a deer. The native had covered it with bits of beautiful pearl (abalone), fastening each piece on by asphaltum, the result being a rude mosaic. It was difficult to consider this aesthetic musician—whom we dug out carefully and sent to the Smithsonian — as very much of a savage. He was buried in the sand in a sitting position, his arms bound to his knees, on which rested his head, while in front, behind, on each side, and over him were flutes, each carefully placed, and bearing the beautiful abalone mosaic. Here rested some savage Medelssohn of the Isles of Summer…” [Holder, Charles F. The Channel Islands of California 1910:29-30].


August 28, 1914 [Santa Ana Register]: “Contributions to Chamber of Commerce. Dr. G. H. Dobson, City, Indian mortar and pestle, two bones from Indian, found at San Clemente Island.”


September 21, 1931 [SDET]: “Finds images in stone on island. Several steatite effigies of deep-sea sharks, porpoises and whales were found recently by Arthur R. Sanger, a Los Angeles archaeologist, on the northern shore of San Clemente Island, 50 miles off the coast of San Diego. The stone images, according to Sanger, were carved with great artistry by the prehistoric aborigines formerly inhabiting San Clemente and are among the finest examples of early California sculpture. The effigies will probably be temporarily exhibited in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, Sanger having made numerous archaeological collections for that institution as well as for others throughout the country. The Heye Foundation, Museum of the American Indian in New York, has material gathered by Sanger, and his own collection is probably the largest private assortment of Channel Islands remains extent. It is said that the most complete collections of prehistoric California Indian relics are to be found abroad. They were shipped out of the state before American scientists had awakened to the archaeological and ethnological importance of this group of long-inhabited islands, which supported a native population when Cabrillo first sailed into California waters. Within 400 years thereafter the islanders became an extinct race. Recently archaeologists in California have asked the federal government to set these islands aside as a national monument, thus preventing the invasion of itinerant trophy hunters. In the meantime many of the islands, such as wind-swept San Nicolas, 100 miles off the coast, are slowly being blown into the sea, for the Pacific gales carry tons of sand into the ocean every day. By this means shell, bone and ancient skeletons are being exposed and scattered, baffling the calculations of the archaeologist, who depends upon stratification for approximating his chronological sequences of culture.”


October 25, 1936 [LAT]: “Costa Mesa. More than 450 relics of Indian days, an extremely valuable collection, were brought from San Clemente Island, the country’s newest naval base, by two Costa Mesa couples, who obtained the relics during an eleven-week period in which they were practically isolated from civilization. The discoveries were made by Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Murbarger and Mrs. Murbarger’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Lounsberry, all of whom have a wide knowledge of archaeology and botany. Mrs. Murbarger also gathered 240 varieties of plants for the University of California. Also discovered were early issues of the Los Angeles Times yellowed with age. Workmen found them crammed between old partitions of a historic ranch house at Wilson Cove. Five automobile loads of equipment, including 1000 pounds of provisions were conveyed to the plant on the forty-two-foot cruiser, Elf-Fin. Tents housed members of the party. While the relic-hunters worked, wild goats and their kids scampered about. Hundreds of calves played in the nurseries of the rookeries along the shores as sea lions and hair seals barked and played. Wild domestic cats, over-running the island, hissed at them. Nests of osprey and bald eagle were discovered. The collection of plants contained many found nowhere else in the world. Many perfect mortars weighing as much as twenty-five pounds, steatite bowls, basalt knives, picks and stone hooks, abalone shell dishes, charm stones, hair ornaments and artistic stone lamps were among the specimens found.”