Kate and Anna

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Kate and Anna (#14376) (1879-1902), 56.4-foot wood sealing schooner built in Oregon in 1879 by Captain Lutjens. She was rebuilt several times during her lifetime, and ended up licensed for fishing and the California coastal trade. While anchored at Cuyler's Harbor, San Miguel Island on April 9, 1902 during a northwester, the anchor chain of Kate and Anna, parted, and she was blown ashore and beached, where she quickly filled with sand. Her Captain Lutjens and crew of six men reached the shore safely. The Rawlins family, living on San Miguel Island for lessee Captain Waters, took photographs of the wreck. PHOTO OP


September 24, 1892 [LAT]: “San Francisco. The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Lutgen, reached here today with only sixty skins…”


August 5, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “Interesting complications arising under the Bering Sea Convention. The first case to come up under the provisions of the findings of the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration to settle the Bering Sea controversy between the United States and Great Britain was brought to light at Astoria by the arrival there last Thursday of the American schooner Kate And Anna, from Bering Sea waters, having on board 608 seal skins, part of which were caught during the closed season in the waters governed by the provisions of the tribunal’s findings, and included in the proclamation of the President…The Kate and Anna was in Alaskan waters at the time…”


March 16, 1897 [LAT/SB]: “The lost sealers. Two weeks ago it was reported that Antone Anderson, a hunter on the sealing schooner Eppinger, and two other men from the same vessel were lost at sea. It appears, however, that the three men were not victims of the ocean’s wrath, for they were picked up a day or two ago on San Miguel Island many miles from where they left the Eppinger. They claimed that adverse winds had carried them across the channel, and, finding it impossible to pull against the wind, they went ashore on the isle, thinking the Eppinger would search for them. They waited a few days, finding life on an island sheep ranch rather pleasant. Finally the sealer Kate and Ann stopped at San Miguel for water, and the men told the captain their story and shipped with him. The Kate and Ann touched at Gaviota yesterday to give the news. The Ann is a small schooner, only twenty-four tons burden, and having but four boats. She has taken 300 skins while in the channel, during the past few weeks.”


March 16, 1897 [SFCall]: “Santa Barbara, March 15. The three seal hunters who became separated from the sealer Eppinger two weeks ago in Santa Barbara channel were found yesterday on San Miguel Island, whence they had drifted in a rowboat. The schooner Kate and Anna brought them to Santa Barbara. They intend claiming their share of the Eppinger’s catch.”


December 16, 1897 [LAT/SF]: “The schooner Kate and Anna will be the only sealer to go out of San Francisco this year…”


February 10, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, from San Francisco, reports a catch of forty skins in this channel, most of them the result of a single day’s hunt near San Miguel Island.”


May 1898 U.S. Customs Report of Catch of Fur Seals declared Kate and Anna had secured 336 skins, one male and the rest female, all of which were shot on or near San Miguel Island. Kate and Anna was suspected of smuggling Chinese and opium, but was never caught.


October 24, 1898 [LAT/SD]: “The steamer St. Denis brought thirty-one sea otter skins, valued at $4650… The sea otters were killed off Santo Tomas, Lower California, by Charles Lutjens of the schooner Kate and Anna, of San Francisco. They are valued at about $150 each, and have been very scarce until recently.”


October 30, 1898 [LAT]: “There is likely to be a stampede of the mosquito fleet for the Lower California coast after sea otters as a result of the remarkable catch made by Charles Lutjens of San Francisco in the schooner Kate and Anna, off Santo Tomas Landing the past week. He arrived on the steamer St. Denis recently from Ensenada with thirty-one fine otter skins, of aggregate value of $4650. He was engaged only two or three days in the work of securing the skins…”


April 23, 1899 [LAT/SP]: “American sealers complain of discrimination favoring British. The little schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Antone Anderson, arrived at this port Friday after a three-months cruise in the waters off Point Conception. She brought 169 skins. The Kate and Anna sailed from here on January 11, and carried fourteen men all told. With that number it was possible to operate four boats carrying three men each, and leave two aboard the vessel. Each small boat carried a puller, a steerer and a hunter...”


April 26, 1899 [LAT]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, said to be the only American sealer that has been out this season, arrived at San Pedro last Friday. She had been out over three months, but had been prohibited by law from cruising further north than Point Conception. Seals were scarce in those waters and she took only 169 skins…”


May 1, 1899 [LAT/SP]: “Cruising for seals. A three months’ sealing cruise is a hunting trip, but it is no picnic. The working day is long and the quarters are cramped. When the catch is small, as was in the case of the little schooner Kate and Anna, which arrived at San Pedro with 169 skins the other day, it is bad luck for the owners and worse for the men. The old ‘lay’ system under which each man in the crew got a certain percentage of the entire profits of the cruise has largely been abandoned. The plan in more common operation now is to pay each man a stipulated sum for every skin which he is instrumental in getting. The Kate and Anna with fourteen men all told sailed from San Pedro in January, under agreement that the men should receive compensation according to the latter plan. The schooner was prohibited by law from cruising north of latitude 35 degrees north, which is near the northerly line of Santa Barbara County, so most of the hunting was done off Point Conception. Hunting seals is a lonely occupation. When not occupying crowded quarters aboard the schooner, the men, all except one officer, the cook and cabin boy, if the vessel has one, take to the small boats in search of the elusive game...”


May 7, 1899 [LAT/SP]: “The little schooner Kate and Anna, which recently returned from a sealing cruise in the waters off Point Conception, is fitting out for an otter-hunting expedition in Alaskan waters. She will probably sail in a day or two.”


March 7, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Kate and Anna, Captain Sam Burtis, now on a seal hunting cruise along the coast, came into port yesterday with a sick man. The schooner will sail this morning.”


March 27, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Defender, Jr. and the Kate and Anna, two sealing schooners now in the channel, were in port yesterday for supplies and water.”


May 4, 1900 [SBMP]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Sam Burtis, arrived in port early yesterday morning with 107 seal skins and two otter skins, the result of a several weeks' hunt in the channel. The otter skins form a most valuable part of the cargo, as they are worth from $250 to $500 each. Captain Burtis will soon take his schooner to San Pedro.”


May 24, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis will make the effort to raise the Magic. The wreck of the vessel said to be in very fair condition and worth saving. Captain Sam Burtis, with the schooner Kate and Anna, will make an effort this week to raise the gasoline schooner Magic, wrecked nearly a year ago off the southeast shore of Santa Rosa Island. The wrecked vessel was in crawfish service for the Catalina Conserving Company of this city. She contains valuable machinery, and Captain Burtis, after a thorough inspection of the hull recently, decided that she could be raised, or the engines at least saved, and he accordingly purchased the wreck from the underwriters at San Francisco. Captain Burtis will begin the task at once.”


May 25, 1900 [LAT]/SP]: “Captain Burtis sailed from this port Wednesday with the schooner Kate and Anna, intending to make an attempt to recover the power sloop Magic, which was sunk last year off Santa Rosa Island. The Magic was formerly the Lizzie Belle W…”


May 27, 1900 [SBMP]: “The schooner, Kate and Anna, reached port yesterday from San Pedro. The crew went on a spree just before sailing time, and Captain Sam Burtis worked the schooner alone from San Pedro, and was two or three days on the voyage. Today the boat will go to Santa Rosa Island with the intention of raising the wrecked gasoline schooner, Magic.”


May 28, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Kate and Anna left for Santa Rosa Island today with a cargo of empty oil barrels and a crew of five men to fish for seals.”


June 6, 1900 [SBMP]: “The schooner, Kate and Anna, Captain Burtis, returned yesterday from unsuccessful attempts to raise the gasoline schooner Magic, wrecked off that island nearly a year ago. It was found that the Magic was filled with sand, and Captain Burtis will go to San Pedro to secure a diver and arrange to sand pump the vessel if possible. He still has hopes of saving the Magic.”


June 7, 1900 [LAT]: “The schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Sam Burtis, returned from her wrecking cruise near Santa Rosa Island last night. Captain Burtis brought away the masts and rigging of the sunken Magic, but cannot raise the hulk until the sand is removed from her. The Kate and Anna will sail for San Diego in a few days.”


June 25, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Kate and Anna left yesterday for Santa Rosa Island to try to raise the schooner Magic.”


June 26, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis, with his schooner Kate and Anna, left yesterday for Santa Rosa Island to make another attempt to raise the sunk gasoline schooner Magic, or at least to save the machinery. Captain Burtis is provided with a diver’s suit and apparatus, and will himself act the diver’s part. He experimented with the suit Sunday for the first time, and went down in three fathoms of water with good success.”


June 26, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Kate and Anna left yesterday for Santa Rosa Island to try to raise the schooner Magic.”


June 30, 1900 [SBMP]: “Captain Sam Burtis returned from Santa Rosa Island Thursday night with his schooner, Kate and Anna, having been unable to save but a small portion of the machinery of the wrecked gasoline schooner Magic. The hold of the Magic is filled with sand, and even with the assistance of a diver's suit, little could be done. The Kate and Anna, has returned to San Pedro.”


December 30, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The little schooner Kate and Anna, which recently arrived from Ensenada with a cargo of otter skins, paid her men $3500, most of which will be distributed in this city. The same craft is being fitted up at a cost of about $2000 for a sealing cruise.”


January 4, 1901 [LAT]: “San Pedro. Nearly a block was burned clear of buildings… When it was seen that the solidly built block south of Fifth Street was threatened, Captain Charles Walker of the sealing schooner Kate and Anna volunteered to play a hose stream on the building on the south side of Fifth Street…”


January 14, 1901 [LAT/SB]: “Bloody schooner at Santa Barbara. Awful work done by a maniac sailor. He attempted to kill the captain, fatally cut the cook and nearly severed his own head from his body. The schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Walker, arrived from Santa Rosa Island today. She reports that Mike O’Brien, a seal hunter, ran amuck aboard the vessel Saturday morning. He made a vicious attempt to kill Captain Walker with a knife and succeeded in cutting the cook badly in the region of the heart, the wound probably being fatal. He then cut his own throat, dying on the deck. He slashed his throat until his head was nearly severed from the body. The schooner arrived here at 6 o’clock this evening for medical aid for the cook and captain, and to deliver the body of O’Brien to the morgue.”


January 14, 1901 SBDI]: “Mike O’Brien attempts murder and commits suicide in channel Attacks captain and cook of the schooner Kate and Anna and cuts his own throat, almost severing head from body—cook stabbed near the heart. The sealing schooner Kate and Anna of San Francisco arrived in port Sunday night, bringing the body of Mike O’Brien of this city, to be turned over to the coroner, and for medical aid for Captain Charles W. Walker and the ship’s cook, Steve Brennen. O’Brien had taken his own life, and had attempted to murder the captain and cook last Saturday morning as the vessel lay at anchor off the east end of Santa Rosa Island. Captain Walker reported that O’Brien ran amuck aboard the schooner Saturday morning. He drew a knife and attacked the captain, who escaped him by running below to his cabin. O’Brien then turned on the cook, who interfered when the captain was attacked. In the struggle the crazed man buried his knife in the cook’s breast near the heart. He held the blade there, turning and twisting it, until the cook, with an utmost effort, pushed him away. Still holding the knife in his grasp, the blade was withdrawn. The cook reeled forward while O’Brien rushed madly aft of the vessel. As he ran he began slashing his own throat with the bloody knife…”


January 15, 1901 [SBMP]: With bloody decks, one man dead and another wounded, the sealing schooner Kate and Anna came into port Sunday night from Santa Rosa Island. The dead man was Miguel O'Brien, a seaman. The wounded man was Steve Brannen, the cook. Brannen's wound is in his breast near the heart. It was inflicted by O'Brien with a small pocket knife, the same with which he afterward cut his own throat, nearly severing the head.


January 15, 1901 [SBDI]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Ann cleared this port this morning, returning to Santa Rosa Island to pick up her hunting boats that were left behind on the east end of the island, when the exciting event of last Saturday morning took place and the schooner left in haste for Santa Barbara, to bring the body of Mike O’Brien, the seal hunter who committed suicide aboard, to the coroner here. The cook, Steve Brennen, who was stabbed in the breast by O’Brien, was well enough this morning to accompany the vessel on the return trip. Captain Charles W. Walker, who also was attacked by the crazed sailor and hunter, continued in command of the vessel. The three hunting boats carried by the Kate and Ann will be painted and overhauled, and when ready a fur seal hunting cruise in the channel waters and about the Channel Islands will begin. Captain Walker reported that fur seals are ore plentiful among the Southern California coast now than for several years past. The funeral of Mike O’Brien took place this morning from the Parochial church.”


January 15, 1901 [LAT/SB]: “An inquest was held this morning over the self-mutilated body of Miguel O’Brien, the sailor who attempted to murder his shipmates on the schooner Kate and Anna, near Santa Rosa Island on Saturday morning. The vessel was in command of Captain Charles W. Walker. She had put into Santa Rosa Island from San Pedro to paint her boats, preparatory to a voyage. At noon on Friday, O’Brien, who had been working ashore on the boats, complained of being dizzy. He was told by the captain to stay aboard. During the afternoon he lay in his berth. In the evening the captain went down to see him and O’Brien said that the captain and crew wanted to cut him up for crawfish bait. This put Captain Walker on his guard and he sat up with the crazy man until midnight, when he was relieved by the mate, who sat up till dawn. About 5 A.M., the mate went to bed, and the cook went on deck. He was followed in a few minutes by O’Brien who stood in the stern and appeared to be contemplating jumping overboard. The cook attempted to restrain him, but was attacked. It was rather dark and the cook did not see the knife until he was stabbed about an inch below the heart. After stabbing the cook, O’Brien ran forward, striking at Captain Walker, who looked out of the hatch as he passed. He stopped in the bow and slashed his throat, then ran aft and fell down in the companionway…The dead man was a native of Santa Barbara, about 30 years old. Relatives have taken charge of the body. About two years ago, while drunk, O’Brien attempted to commit suicide in the City Jail.”


January 16, 1901 [SBMP]: “The schooner Kate and Anna, left port yesterday morning for Santa Rosa Island. The cook, Brannen, who was stabbed by O'Brien, the crazy sailor who afterwards committed suicide, is considered out of danger.”


March 12, 1901 [SBDI]: “The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, Captain W. Walker, came into port last evening for supplies and water. The schooner has been cruising about the channel and islands in search of seals and otters. On her last visit here the Kate and Anna had a gruesome tale of an attempted murder and a suicide at sea. Mike O’Brien had tried to kill the cook of the vessel after which he cut his own throat from ear to ear. The coroner’s verdict was that O’Brien was insane at the time. After the inquest the schooner resumed her hunting trip. The schooner sailed again this morning, to resume hunting about the islands. Members of the crew reported that they were having a very successful trip.”


May 15, 1901 [LAT]: “The little schooner Kate and Anna, Captain C. Walker, has returned to port after having spent four months in a sealing cruise. She did not have a good run of luck, and brought only twenty-two skins. The Kate and Anna had been out only a few days when Michael O’Brien, one of the hunters, cut his throat, and died on deck. The vessel put into Santa Barbara. After the Coroner’s inquest, she returned to the pursuit of the seals. All of those taken were female. The skins are said to be in good condition. In common with other American sealing schooners, the Kate and Anna operated under an American law which discriminates in favor of British sealers. Under the treaty provisions all persons are prohibited during the months of May, June and July from taking fur seals in the waters off the Pacific coast north of 35 degrees north latitude, which is not far from Point Conception. There is a law of the United States, however, which at all times of year restricts Americans from taking seals in the waters north of that latitude, but does not restrict British vessels from taking seals in those waters. The result is that an American sealing schooner operating off the coast of her own country is restricted to the waters where seals are scarce, while foreigners may pursue the furred denizens of the sea over the grounds where American sealers are forbidden. The Kate and Anna will be beached and repaired. It is probable that she will start off on another cruise about the middle of next month. Patrick Sullivan, a San Pedro man who was in the schooner’s crew, came ashore sick and was sent to the United States marine Hospital ward of the Sisters’ Hospital in Los Angeles for treatment.”


May 16, 1901 [SBMP]: “The sailing schooner Kate and Anna has returned to San Pedro after an unprofitable cruise. She only brought back twenty-two skins. The Kate and Anna had been out only a few days when Michael O'Brien, one of the hunters, cut his throat, and died on the deck. The vessel put into Santa Barbara. After the coroner’s inquest, she returned to the pursuit of seals. All of those taken were females. The skins are said to be in good condition…The Kate and Anna will be beached and repaired. It is probable that she will start on another cruise about the middle of next month.”


June 24, 1901 [SBDI]: “Kate and Anna in port again. The sealing schooner Kate and Anna, Captain Walker, which had been cruising off the southern coast of the state in quest of seal and otter, put into port early this morning. The schooner is short of hunters and will endeavor to ship two from here. The Kate and Anna has been in port on several occasions. Some months ago she put in here to report a tragedy on the high seas. Mike O’Brien, one of the crew, who was shipped from this port, after making a murderous attack on the cook of the vessel, cut his own throat from ear to ear. The body of the suicide was taken ashore here, and an inquest held over the remains. Many rumors of foul play were circulated, but nothing was brought out at the inquest, and the vessel proceeded from here to one of the Channel Islands, where a few needed repairs were made. The Kate and Anna in her best days was considered a very lucky boat and has paid for herself many times over, but the last few years, the owners say, she has been a losing proposition.”


April 17, 1902 [SBMP]: “The schooner Restless, arriving from San Miguel Island yesterday morning, brought the report of the wreck of the sealing schooner, Kate and Anna, Captain Lutjens, in Cuyler's Harbor on San Miguel Island April 9th. The Kate and Anna had been out from San Francisco since January 20 hunting seal and otter. On the afternoon of the 9th, the vessel was in the vicinity of Cuyler's Harbor and made for that shelter to escape a hard northwest blow. Anchor was dropped at about one o'clock in the afternoon, and Captain Lutjens was taking advantage of the first opportunity in several days to write up his log, when word was brought to him that the anchor chain had parted, and the schooner was being driven on the rocks. The cable was a heavy one, and under ordinary circumstances would not have broken. It is supposed that it caught in some manner on a sharp rock and snagged.”


April 17, 1902 [SFCall]: “Santa Barbara, April 16. The schooner Restless, arriving today from San Miguel Island, brings news of the wrecking of the sealing schooner Kate and Anna in Cuyler’s Harbor, on the island of San Miguel, on April 9. The schooner had been put into the harbor to escape a hard northwest gale. The anchor chain parted and the vessel was driven on the beach. Captain Lutjens and the crew of six men, reached shore in safety. The Kate and Anna filled with sand and was going to pieces when the Restless sailed yesterday. She was a thirty-ton boat, plying from San Francisco, and owned by Captain Lutjens.”


April 17, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “Kate and Ann wrecked. The sealing schooner Kate and Ann was wrecked in Cuyler’s Harbor, on San Miguel Island, the 9th inst. The schooner had put into the harbor to get out of a hard northwest blow. The anchor chain parted, and the vessel was driven on the beach. Captain Lutjers and the crew, six men all told, reached shore in safety by swimming through the breakers, but lost everything. The Kate and Ann filled with sand, and was going to pieces when the schooner Restless sailed yesterday. She was a thirty-ton boat, home port San Francisco, Lutjers owner. The loss is over $3000. The Kate and Ann was one of the best-known vessels in southern waters and has an interesting history. For several years she has been a source of considerable concern to the revenue officers, as it was thought that she was connected with shady transactions in violation of the revenue and immigration laws. Several times she was overhauled by the revenue cutters, and for days at a time she was closely watched, but no conclusive evidence was ever obtained to prove that the Kate and Ann ever smuggled either opium or Chinese into the United Sates territory from British Columbia.”