Morgan Oyster Company

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Morgan Oyster Company (1886- ), was a San Francisco-based seafood company primarily harvesting oysters. The company operated several lobster camps on the California Channel Islands until a severe southeaster destroyed several of the camps in 1905. Capt. George McGuire occupied the territories abandoned by the Morgan Oyster Company, increasing his camps.

In the News~

July 24, 1886 [DAC]: “The Morgan Oyster Company has filed articles of incorporation; object to cultivate and deal in oysters. John S. Morgan, John Crellin, Thomas Crellin, J. Arthur Crellin and Fred C. Morgan are the Directors. Capital stock, $600,000—6,000 shares.”

May 4, 1894 [SFMC]: “…Resolved. That the secretary of this bank be and is hereby instructed, on or after May 2 to allow Messrs. Westphal and Swanberg to change the securities on their $40,000 note, which is now due, as follows: that in lieu of 150 shares of the Morgan Oyster Company’s stock, that the par value of which is $15,000… now held by this bank as security… to surrender to Messrs. Westphal and Swanberg the 150 shares of Morgan Oyster Company’s stock we hold…”

January 30, 1900 [LAH]: “The gasoline schooner Clemente arrived here Thursday from Clemente Island with 1,500 pounds of lobsters and 1,000 pounds of fresh fish.”

February 13, 1901 [LAH]: “Schooner Dawn is wrecked. Hueneme, Cal., Feb. 12. — The schooner Dawn of San Pedro was wrecked on Anacapa Island last Saturday while loading crawfish. The loss is $2000. Captain Sorensen and Engineer Morris landed at Hueneme tonight. Five men are left on the island. The vessel was owned by the Morgan Company of Los Angeles.”

September 7, 1901 [LAH]: “The power schooner Clemente arrived in port today from Santa Barbara islands, with 3000 pounds of lobsters.”

September 10, 1901 [LAH]: “The schooner Clemente brought 2000 pounds of lobsters from Clemente Island yesterday for J. J. Conner, and the Amy came in from Santa Cruz Island with 6000 pounds for Morgan Oyster Company.”

March 14, 1902 [LAT]: “The power sloop Clemente, Captain Al Hyder, came into port Wednesday, with one of the biggest specimens of ocean game caught in these waters for a long time. It was a big blackfish, somewhat like a porpoise, about ten feet in length, and was taken after a battle that threatened to send the good little craft and her gallant crew down to Davey Jones’s locker... After considerable difficulty in getting good aim, a bullet was sent true and the monster was dead. It was brought to port and turned over to W. H. Wickersham, agent for the Morgan Oyster Company, who forwarded it to the company’s office in Los Angeles.”

September 28, 1902 [LAH]: “The schooner Clemente of the Morgan Oyster Company arrived during the week from Clemente Island with 7000 pounds of lobsters for the company.”

November 25, 1902 [LAT/SP]: “The schooner Clemente, Captain Romans, came in last night from the Santa Barbara islands with a ton of lobsters for the Morgan Oyster Company.”

January 11, 1903 [LAH]: “The gasoline schooner Clemente arrived Wednesday from Anacapa Island with 3000 pounds of rock and 1000 pounds of lobsters for the Morgan Oyster Company.”

January 4, 1903 [LAH]: “Arrived. Schooner Clemente, Captain Roman, from Anacapa Island with fish for Morgan and Western Fish companies.”

March 9, 1903 [LAH]: “Movement of local vessels. Sunday, March 8. Arrived. The power boat Clemente with 1300 pounds of rock cod for the Morgan Oyster Company.”

March 20, 1903 [LAH]: “Arrived. Schooner Clemente, with Captain Roman, Anacapa Island, with fish for Morgan and Western Fish companies.”

April 30, 1903 [LAH]: Arrived. Sloop May, [Captain] Manha, from Anacapa Island, with 1000 pound of rock cod for Morgan Oyster Company.”

February 14, 1905 [SBMP]: “The Morgan Oyster Company is having a hard time in maintaining its fishing camps along the island coast. Their camps are on the outside of the islands and the rough weather which they have been experiencing has made fishing impossible and heavy seas have taken away almost all their tackle and traps. It has also been a very perilous matter to get supplies to the men, as the weather has been worse than for several years.”

February 18, 1905 [SBMP]: “Morgan Company gives up camps. During the summer months and during the time when there was a great demand and a scant supply of crawfish in the markets, there was a scurry among several of the larger concerns to get control of the channel crawfish trade, and as a strategic move in the matter the Morgan Oyster Company decided that instead of attempting to buy of the local fishermen, who had already taken the most choice fishing grounds at the islands and were driving a brisk trade with the San Francisco market at $4 per sack, ranging in weight from 55 to 60 pounds, they could supply their own demands and therefore set about establishing camps along the outer shore of the islands. They figured that their interests were paying them sufficiently to allow them to make the venture, and while there is not a great amount of territory to cover, there were at least six camps established which all succeeded in making good catches and supplied the city of Los Angeles with the toothsome crustaceans. During the heavy weather early in the last week there was considerable complaint from their fishermen that the weather would not permit of fishing. Several of their traps were sent in-shore and their fishing tackle badly damaged. Early in this week more trouble followed, and during this last southeaster the entire camp was destroyed, all the tackle swept away and the traps completely demolished. The Morgan people have decided that they will not put in new camps this year at least, but will continue to plant oysters in the San Francisco bay. There was destroyed the equipment of six camps and all the boats were damaged to the extent of about $1000, which, with the wrecking of the effort, is quite a definite loss to the company, though it will increase the demand on the local fishermen.”

February 19, 1905 [SBMP]: “There seems to be a disposition on the part of parties interested in the channel crawfish trade to take up the work where the Morgan Oyster Company was compelled to leave off after wrecking of their camps by the southeaster recently. The trade is a lucrative one, and not only is there good revenue from the crawfish, which are found in this channel almost exclusively, but there is a brisk market for abalone and shells also. In sea lions, while there is not a steady market, pays well when orders are to be filled. A company which has been in operation for some time, at the head of which is George McGuire of this city, has been operating several camps on the islands, and besides their supplying all the San Francisco markets and that of Los Angeles with crawfish, have made shipments of seals and sea lions to almost all of the prominent zoos of the United States and to several points in Europe. They supply an immense amount of abalone and abalone shells to the market, and quantities of their fish are sold to local markets. Figuring the importance of this trade and the extent to which it can be carried, this company will in all probability occupy the territory recently abandoned by the Morgan Company and add this to their supply list. Mr. McGuire and his cousin, Ralph Foote of Ogdensburg, N. Y., will leave for the islands today if the weather permits…”

February 19, 1905 [LAT/SB]: “The Morgan Oyster Company of San Francisco, has abandoned its crawfish camps on the Channel Islands, lying off this city, and will in the future employ no regular fishermen in these waters. This decision on the part of the company has been brought about by the recent bad weather at the islands, which has not only made fishing very unprofitable, but has destroyed boats and fishing tackle belonging to the company valued at about $1000.”

April 7, 1905 [SBMP]: “The Morgan Oyster Company, one of the largest fishing companies of San Francisco, attempted to enter into competition with the local companies and established several camps here, but not understanding the local conditions, met with disaster in rough water and lost most of their fishing outfits, and at last they abandoned the field.”

March 16, 1905 [LAH]: “…at the Morgan Oyster Company’s office they report that Caresse is at Catalina Island.”

July 16, 1905 [LAT]: “Full details came out yesterday regarding the project for a new four-story hotel to be erected at the northwest corner of Green Street and Fair Oaks Avenue… the buildings occupied by the Morgan Oyster Company…”

September 1, 1909 [SFCall]: “Thomas Arthur Crellin, secretary of the Morgan Oyster Company and prominent in San Francisco and Oakland business circles, was shot and seriously wounded yesterday afternoon through the accidental discharge of a revolver owned by E. M. McMillan, deputy game and fish commissioner. There is but little hope for Crellin’s recovery. Dr. Stillman, assisted by Drs. Fuller, Cooper, Chamberlain and Rosenkrantz, operated on Crellin last night, and it was discovered that the ball had lodged near the spine and could not be extracted. Dr. Rosenkrantz, the physician in charge, said however, that there was a fighting chance for recovery and that a second attempt to find the bullet would probably prove successful. Crellin was standing behind McMillan when a revolver dropped from the latter’s pocket. It was discharged as it struck the floor and the bullet tearing upward, struck Crellin in the abdomen. McMillan, accompanied by Deputy Frank H. Smith, called at the warehouse of the organ Oyster Company, 414 Third Street, for the purpose of making the regular examinations in line with their duties…”