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Leone (#140897) (1887-1920+), 32.2-foot wood-gulled gas-screw fishing vessel built in Eureka, California and used in the crawfishing business in Southern California.

In the News~

October 11, 1894 [SRU]: “Los Angeles, October 10. Much excitement prevails at San Pedro over the supposed loss by drowning of a party of four citizens who left the harbor last Saturday in the sloop Leone, bound for San Nicolas Island. The party consisted of Postmaster James H. Dodson, N. O. Anderson, a businessman, a laborer named Brant, and Captain Alexander, who was in charge of the sloop. The party started out for a week’s cruise. A squall came up on the second day out, and it is reported that the sloop was sighted by a passing steamer. She seemed to be in distress. A party is out now searching the shores for wreckage.”

October 18, 1894 [LAH]: “San Pedro, October 17. The Leone, Captain Aleck Smith, came into port safely about 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening. This is the boat of which there ware so many conflicting rumors of shipwreck and drowning. A party consisting of Jim Dodson, our postmaster, N. O. Anderson, a prominent businessman, T. R. Breat and the gallant captain left here on the 6th inst. for a 10 days' cruise among the islands. They first visited Santa Barbara Island, remaining there one night; from there to St. Nicolas, remaining one day and one night. They report this as a most dry, barren and dismal place, and the sand blowing so as to give the island the appearance of being enveloped in fog when seen from a distance. It will be of interest to future visitors to know that at the northwest end of the island are three good streams of running water flowing directly into the ocean. Numerous traces of volcanic eruption are to bee seen, and on higher portions of the island Indian mounds and relics are to be found. An interesting souvenir of the ill-fated steamer Los Angeles was here discovered in the shape of a box of butter, which had been shipped from Cayucos to San Francisco, and bore a brand resembling a boat's oarlock. The butter, considering it was 300 miles away from the scene of the disaster and had been floating about for nearly five months, was in excellent condition, a heavy mold on top being, seemingly, all that harmed it, although none of the voyagers were brave enough to taste it. From San Nicolas they sailed to San Clemente, spending one night at Northwest Harbor, one at Mosquito Harbor and one at Smugglers Cove. They shot some goats here, but report fishing a failure, probably because they sailed without bait. They say Jim Dodson can descry a goat at a greater distance than can any other living man, but the genial Jim denies the allegation. From Clemente they went to Catalina, staying over at Avalon, from which, they say, the visitors have now nearly all departed. The only vessel they sighted whilst gone was the Lizzie Belle W, San Pedro's pilot boat, anchored Dume Cove. From Avalon they steered a straight course home, and were surprised to find that they had been drowned and given up as lost during their absence, but glad to have escaped a trip to Davey Jones' locker.”

April 10, 1903 [LAH]: “Arrived. Power boat Leone, Captain Swanson, from Clemente Island.”

April 30, 1903 [LAH]: “Arrived. Power launch Leone, Captain Cavenauer, from Anacapa Island.”

May 3, 1903 [LAH]: “Arrived. Power boat Leone, Captain Cavenauer, from San Clemente Island, with 600 pounds fish for local dealers.”

August 23, 1903 [LAH]: “San Pedro, August 22. Captain J. E. Swensen (sic) of the yawl Leone arrived in port this morning from San Nicholas (sic) Island, with a large cargo of crawfish. Swensen reports that all the fishermen have been warned to leave the island and adjacent waters. W. J. McGimpsey, owner of the schooner Nellie, claims to have obtained from the United States government a lease for the entire island for a period of three years. Last year McGimpsey drove all the fishermen away from their camps on the island, and this year he claims a three-mile strip all around the island and avers that he will not allow any fishing within those limits. San Nicholas is a barren, cheerless island, one of the Channel group. The greater part of the island is covered with sand and is worthless. A small portion is covered with coarse grass and a few sheep have been kept there, but at present there are no inhabitants whatever and aside from the few fishermen who have been going there the place is deserted. The local fishermen are very much excited over the situation and say they will fight for what they conceive to be their rights. They do not believe McGimpsey has any title to control the waters adjacent to the island, though they concede that he may have a lease of the island. The Catalina Island Company owns the island of Catalina, but has never attempted to control the waters around it. It is probably that if McGimpsey persists in his attempt to drive the fishermen away that there will be bloodshed over the matter. The fishermen maintain that they will fight for their rights and it looks as if there is trouble ahead. To the casual observer it seems like a case of dog in the manger, as McGimpsey is himself deriving no revenue from the island or the fishing grounds adjacent.”

September 16, 1903 [LAT/SP]: “When the little powerboat Leone arrived from San Clemente Island Sunday evening, she had on board four Chinese fishermen, who were arrested on the island by Fish Commissioner Hall, charged with having taken lobsters under size. They will appear for trial in Justice Downing’s court tomorrow.”

December 11, 1903 [LAT/SP]: “Arrived—Sunday, December 9. Launch Leone, Captain Swenson, from San Nicolas Island, with 500 pounds lobsters.”

August 16, 1904 [LAT]: “Season opens for lobsters… For days past, weeks past, the little lobster sloops have been cleaning away their decks and stealing away with huge deck loads of lobster traps to St. Nicolas, San Clemente, Santa Barbara Island, Anacapa — almost every island in the channel, to leave camps of lobster fishers. They are planted there in camps of two, not to return to the mainland until next April; and then $500 cash to the good if the luck is fair… The wild, uninhabited island of San Nicolas is considered to be the best lobster ground for the next two months… The fishers depend absolutely on the little sloops that ply to and from the mainland to bring them their provisions and take their fish to the market. Most of the fishers are Swedes and Norwegians… The fishers live in tents on shore… There are some picturesque characters along the lobster coast. One is Captain Swenson of the sloop Leone. He is square-cut Swede who talks like a Rhode Island Yankee with a Stockholm brogue. He is the lobster magnate; grubstakes fishermen who can’t raise the price of an outfit; has run his own traps and now runs a gasoline sloop to the San Nicolas crawfish grounds…”

August 27, 1904 [LAH]: “The power schooner Leone came in from San Nicolas Island today with a load of crawfish. She had as a passenger Fish Commissioner Morrison and four Japanese fishermen, whom that official had placed under arrest for violation of the state fish laws. The Japs are engaged in abalone fishing and took small ones. They were taken before Justice Downing and will plead to the charges Saturday at 11 o’clock.”

August 30, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “On the waterfront. Port San Pedro, Los Angeles. Sailed. Monday, August 29. Launch Leone, Captain Swenson, for San Nicolas Island.”

September 2, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “Captain Swenson of the power-launch Leone, which arrived last night with a catch of 6000 pounds of lobsters from San Nicolas Island, reports a desperate battle between a swordfish and two whales which occurred day before yesterday off that island and resulted in the death of both the whales, the bodies being later washed ashore by the tides and secured by Swenson. When first seen by Swenson the battle was at its height and the monsters of the seep were lashing the waves into fury in their desperate conflict, the huge bodies of the whales rising many feet out of the water in their attempt to inflict damage to their enemy. The swordfish, which was an exceptionally large specimen, had the fight all its own way, and succeeded in killing both its adversaries. The larger of the whales is about seventy feet in length and twenty feet in diameter, while the smaller is fifty-five feet in length and fifteen feet in diameter. The sword of the swordfish had entirely penetrated the body of the larger whale, and there were numerous jabs in the body of both. The bodies were washed upon the beach, and Captain Swenson made an ineffectual attempt to pull the small specimen off the beach and tow it to San Pedro, but the weight was too much for his engines. He thereupon covered the bodies with sand and will make an attempt to bring them over, using a larger boat. Captain Swenson states that he has been offered $100 by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad to deliver the bodies of the whales at East San Pedro.”

September 17, 1904 [SBMP]: “Wild man story again to the fore. San Nicolas Island has furnished the papers with another story of a castaway… The story of the castaway, or ‘wild man,’ comes from San Pedro and is as follows: Captain Swenson of the lobster schooner Leone, who arrived here this afternoon from San Nicolas Island, reports having seen a wild man on the island day before yesterday. He states that the man was tall and had long gray hair and beard, and was dressed in garments which had little semblance of civilized clothing, but which had evidently at some time or other had been such. When the man saw Captain Swenson he ran off at full speed, and Swenson says he never saw a human being get out of sight so quickly. He states that during the past two years he has noticed unaccountable human tracks on the island, which is uninhabited save for the fishermen that go there during the lobster season... Swenson also states that the man was seen by the party of Pomona people who were taken over there about ten days ago by Carl Jorgensen in the Ruth. They are still there, but will return about the first of next week. No explanation of the presence of this man on the island can be given. It is believed, however, that he succeeded in making his way there in a small boat either from the mainland or from some vessel, and that he has remained there so long that he has become demented. If this is true, he must have been living on the sheep that still remained there after the herds were removed two years ago.”

October 2, 1904 [LAH]: “Wild man is discovered on San Nicolas Island. San Pedro, Oct. 1.— For several weeks past rumors have been brought in by fishermen to the effect that a wild man had been discovered on the island of San Nicolas, about ninety miles southwest of this port. The man was first seen three weeks ago but disappeared in the brush so quickly that only a passing glimpse was obtained. This was enough to fire the imaginations of the superstitious fishermen who conjured a ferocious giant from their imaginations. Last night the Leone, a fishing smack owned and operated by Captain J. E. Swenson, arrived in port and brought additional facts concerning this “wild man of Borneo”. According to Captain Swenson's report the wild man was seen one evening this week by E. A. West, a fisherman employed by Captain Swenson, on the island. The wild man was bare foot and almost naked, his clothing consisting apparently of pieces of sacking. His beard was long and unkempt and his hair hung in a touseled mat over his shoulders. The following morning several fishermen accompanied West to the spot and the rude habitation of this lone inhabitant of San Nicolas was found. It consisted of a cave hollowed out under a rock in the side of the canyon, making a room about eight feet square. The opening was covered by a mat of bought woven together making an effectual screen against the elements and hid the little home from view. A rough couch of moss and dried grass, the remnants of a camp fire and a large quantity of abalone shells were found. There were no household implements nor weapons of any kind. The man is said to be strong and robust and probably 50 years old. Who he is or how he came on the island is a mystery. Plans are on foot to make an organized search of the island and if possible come up with the so-called wild man and learn his history.”

December 4, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “Movement of ‘Mosquito’ Fleet. Saturday, December 3. Launch Leone, Captain Swenson, from San Clemente Island, with 2000 pounds of lobsters.”

December 1, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “Movement of ‘Mosquito’ Fleet. Sailed. Launch Leonev, Captain Swenson, for San Clemente Island.”

December 6, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “Movement of ‘Mosquito’ Fleet. Arrived—Monday, December 5. Launch Leone, Captain Swenson, for Santa Cruz Island.”

December 9, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “On the waterfront. Port San Pedro, Los Angeles. Arrived. Thursday, December 8. Launch Leonev, Captain Swenson, from Santa Cruz Island, with 1830 pounds of lobsters.”

December 23, 1904 [LAT/SP]: “Over four thousand pounds of lobsters will be dumped onto Los Angeles and vicinity for Christmas. The launch Leone, Captain Swenson, arrived from Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands with the large catch.

December 24, 1904 [LAT]: “Over four thousand pounds of lobsters will be dumped onto Los Angeles and vicinity for Christmas. The launch Leone, Captain Swenson, arrived today from Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands with the large catch.”

January 4, 1905 [LAT/OX]: “The gasoline launch Glendale was piled up on the rocks of Anacapa Island Christmas Eve and totally wrecked. The craft belonged to a Hueneme fishing company, which was engaged in crawfishing and had a camp on Santa Cruz Island near Smugglers Cove. The party left the camp on the preceding Friday intending to fish on the banks off the east point of Anacapa, but the heavy weather prevented and they anchored near the beach at Merry’s camp, expecting that the storm would soon subside. Instead of subsiding, it developed into a stiff northeaster, and as they were unable to leave their exposed position, they made things snug to ride it out at their mooring. Early Saturday night Jerry Shively and a man named Ross, who were sleeping aboard, were awakened by the unusual pitching of the boat, and upon investigating found the cockpit half full of water and the motor submerged beyond all hope of starting it. Seeing that the launch was gradually sinking, they took their tender, which had been made fast astern, and put off for shore. They rode in on the top of a big comber and made a landing that was spectacular to a high degree. The Glendale tugged at its moorings for a while, but finally dragged, went on the rocks and was battered to smithereens. The fishermen’s friends, becoming alarmed at their long absence, induced Captain Swenson, who happened along at Hueneme with the yawl Leone, to go to their assistance. Swenson found them near his old fishing camp, and brought them to the mainland in time for their New Year’s dinner. It is said that one of the party is still marooned at the Santa Cruz Island camp, but as he has plenty of provisions, he will be none the worse for his lonesome holiday season.”

January 6, 1905 [OC]: “Big Jerry Shively and Jack Ross, who have been running the gasoline fishing craft Glendale near Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands for some time, had a most exciting experience and a narrow escape from drowning at the latter last week. The party left the camp on the preceding Friday, intending to fish on the banks off the east point of Anacapa, but the heavy weather prevented, and they anchored at the beach near Merry’s camp, expecting that the storm would soon subside. Instead of subsiding, it developed into a stiff northeaster, and as they were unable to leave their exposed position, they made things snug to ride it out at their mooring. Early Saturday night the two men, who were sleeping aboard, were awakened by the unusual pitching of the boat, and upon investigation found the cockpit half-full of water and the motor submerged beyond all hope of starting it. Seeing that the launch was gradually sinking, they took their tender, which had been upon the stern, and put off for the shore. They rode in on top of a big pounder, and made a landing that was spectacular to a high degree. The Glendale tugged at its moorings for awhile, but finally dragged west of the rocks and was battered to smithereens. The fishermen’s friends, becoming alarmed at their long absence, induced Captain Swenson, who happened along at Hueneme with the yawl Leone, to go to their assistance. Swanson found them near his old fishing camp and brought them to the mainland in safety, while one of the party, who had been left in camp on Santa Cruz Island, was left to eat his New Year’s dinner alone—but he had plenty pf provisions and fared fully as well, if not better than his unfortunate partners. It is stated that Jerry returned to the island the first of this week and waded out to his wrecked launch and took the gasoline engine—a four-horse power one—to land, where, with a little repair work, it will be made to do service in a new craft.”

March 20, 1905 [LAH]: “The power sloop Leone, Capt. Swenson, came in last night from Santa Cruz Island with five men from the crawfish grounds. It was decided to give up further attempts at fishing, as the season is now nearing a close and also for the reason that their living quarters at the island had been demolished, most of their fishing paraphernalia had been washed away and the large crawfish receiver, which was filled to its utmost capacity, had been torn from its mooring and smashed on the beach, allowing the crawfish to escape. Captain Swenson had left Santa Barbara Wednesday and managed, despite the gale, to make the island. He found it impossible to reach Smugglers Cove and waited a distance offshore, pending abatement of the blow. At the fishing camp all was in confusion and the residue of moveable property was gathered together and packed on board and the camp was gladly deserted. The crew report that the sloop Rose, Capt. Muncie, was assisted from the supplies of the Alpha and the Leone. The Rose had partly drifted and partly sailed from Anacapa to Santa Cruz and her stock of gasoline and stores was greatly diminished, though the crew and boat were safe. Their intention was to await fair weather and set sail for San Pedro, and they may be expected within a few days.”

September 21, 1906 [SBI]: “The launch Irene, Frank Nidever, captain, which has been in the harbor for the past two days, will leave this afternoon for Forney’s Cove, Santa Cruz Island. Captain Nidever on Tuesday brought eighteen sacks of crawfish from the fishers at the cove. He reports that the fishing is as good as in previous years, but that the market is not strong. The prices which the first shipment brought were a disappointment to Santa Barbara fishermen. Captain Nidever says the only way he can account for the low prices which are being received in the north is that the destruction of San Francisco has brought new conditions and lessened the demand. ‘There is a new class there, a kind that don’t eat lobsters or crawfish,’ he says. ‘The market in Los Angeles is no better.’ The Leone, a gasoline launch, and a crawfisher, with Captain Swanson in command, arrived in Santa Barbara this morning from San Pedro and will leave tonight or tomorrow for the island. Captain Nidever and his partner, Ira K. Eaton, are handling the catch of four crews. The Irene will return to Santa Barbara Sunday night in time for the northbound boat.”

September 17, 1907 [LAT]: “The launch Leone, Captain Swanson, arrived here this afternoon from San Nicolas Island with one of the first lobster catches of the season, taken at the islands.”

February 8, 1908 [LAT/SP]: “The fishing power launch Leone, Captain Swansen, has returned from a trip to Santa Cruz and other Channel Islands, bringing back but a small catch of crawfish. Captain Swansen reports that the recent storms were especially severe on the islands, and nearly all the men who have established fishing camps on the various islands sustained loss or damage to their outfits. The crawfish traps and storage boxes, as well as the small boats and camping outfits were destroyed by landslides and the heavy swells. Charles Wilson, who has a camp on Santa Cruz Island, lost $200 worth of crawfish which were ready for shipment to the mainland. Most all the provisions in his camp were destroyed by the rush of water from the uplands and the small fishing boats were smashed by the breakers on the beach. The Dubbin brothers, who had established a camp on Anacapa Island, sustained similar losses. In one particularly heavy downpour six inches of rain fell in two hours.”

February 9, 1908 [SBMP]: “Returning to San Pedro from Santa Cruz Island after 17 days on a trip which usually occupies four, the fishing launch Leone, Captain Swenson, Friday brought a report of terrible suffering and narrow escape from starvation among campers on the island. George Maxwell, Charles Wilson and J. Gilbert, who endured severe hardships, came on the Leone. The rain was the heaviest ever known on the island, the cloudburst dropping six inches of water in two hours. Floods rushed shoreward... while all small boats were shattered on the rocks. Many hundred dollars' worth of crawfish stored for market were washed away, and more than the season's profit vanished.”

February 24, 1909 [SBI]: “Fishermen marooned on San Nicolas. Nearly five weeks on lone island far off Santa Barbara. Subsist on fish and suffer severely from exposure. San Pedro. Captain Swansen of the launch Leone arrived this morning after a stormy trip to San Nicolas Island, where he found four men who had been living on crawfish and other such fish as they were able to catch, for nearly five weeks. They are Charles Erickson, Jack Anderson, “French Joe,” “Russian Pete,” crawfishers who state that they had been fishing for Captain Vasquez of Santa Barbara… The launch Gussie M of Santa Barbara, which was nearly wrecked last Sunday, was their supply boat, but she was unable to make the landing at San Nicolas during the period when they were marooned, and had been forced to remain offshore.”