PEMBERTON, John Rothwell "Bill"

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Bill Pemberton (1884-1968)
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery


PEMBERTON, John Rothwell “Roy” (1884-1968)[SS#570-03-4456], Los Angeles-born Stanford educated petroleum geologist and engineer by training, and ornithologist by avocation. He authored over 30 publications in ornithology and co-produced a film on the life of a condor starting at birth. Pemberton visited Santa Cruz Island from March 25-April 5, 1927 with a side trip to the eastern portion of Santa Rosa Island looking at birds from April 2 to 4, 1927:

“Through the generosity of Mr. Silsby M. Spaulding who placed at our disposal his splendid cruiser Padariva II the writer [Pemberton] accompanied by H. W. Carriger, Dudley DeGroot, and O. W. Howard was enabled to spend the period from March 25 to April 5, 1927, inclusive, among the Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. Howard alone had visited the islands during the nesting season some twenty years before, the rest of us had long craved a chance of clambering over their rugged slopes, and Howard was eager to revisit the spots he had seen so long ago... We visited all of the islands excepting San Nicolas...” [Condor 30:2 (144), March-April 1928]

Pemberton also visited Santa Barbara Island on November 11 and 12, 1928 where he reported two ravens "doubtlessly attracted to the island by some recently imported sheep which are rapidly dying because of the absence of fresh water on this island."

Pemberton was a Vail family friend who represented Vail & Vickers, owners of Santa Rosa Island, in oil matters. In 1949, encouraged by both the non-commercial showing of oil from Santa Rosa Island well, Tecolote #1, and by Signal and Honolulu geologists, Pemberton, along with Vail and Vickers family members, decided to form an in-house joint venture on the heels of the 1949 departure of Signal-Honolulu-Macco from Santa Rosa Island. Pemberton wrote:

“This joint venture group intends to drill to the base of the Sespe formation at a location between 1500' and 3000' northeast of Tecolote #1 in hopes of finding a thickening down structure of the oil zone found in that well. The well will be under the supervision of Mr. Harold Hoots and myself.” [25 April 1949]

Since Robert E. Anderson was so familiar with the island's geology, he was “loaned ” by his employer, Signal Oil & Gas, to assist with the J. R. Pemberton venture. Signal Gas & Oil attorney, Sloan Flack, also invested in the syndicate. Louis H. Scott of Chino, California was hired as the drilling contractor. Three shallow holes were drilled: Tecolote #2 which ran to a depth of 2,284 feet, Tecolote #3 which ran to a depth of 1,585 feet, and a core hole located toward the island's west end. All proved dry and were capped in 1949 and 1950. During the Pemberton operations, Louis Scott and his crew stayed at the rehabilitated World War II barracks previously used by the Signal-Honolulu-Macco crew. Henceforth this island location has been known as Scott's Camp. All materials were barged and landed on the beach at Water Canyon.

Pemberton was also a close friend of Ed Harrison and founding board member of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology [WFVZ]. Many of his egg sets as well as copies of his field notes are deposited in the WFVZ library in Camarillo, California.


Directory of Members, Cooper Ornithological Club, May 1914:

  • J. R. Pemberton. 71 Clarendon Ave., San Francisco, CA 1900.


Pemberton died at age 83. He is buried in Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles.


Pemberton collected sets of bald eagles eggs on:

  • Isla Natividad (1940)
  • San Miguel Island (April 1, 1927)
  • Santa Rosa Island (March 28, 1927)
  • Santa Cruz Island (March 11, 1928)
  • Santa Catalina Island (February 22, 1929)


Pemberton collected on all eight California Channel Islands:


Pemberton correspondence (1913-1930) is in the files of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley.



» Pemberton, J. R. Additions to the known avifauna of the Santa Barbara Islands in Condor 30:2 (144-148) March-April 1928 [[1]]


» Pemberton, J. R. Some new records for Santa Barbara Island in Condor 31:1 (37) January-February 1929

» Pemberton, J. R. New Records from the Channel Islands of Southern California in Condor 33:5 (218-219) September-October, 1931

» Pemberton, J. R. Vaux swift on Santa Rosa Island in Condor 54:1 (62) January-February 1952



Island Collections~

ANACAPA ISLAND

Heading text
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Anacapa Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 28, 1927 WFVZ-2927 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
~ trip ~
Anacapa Island (Cat Rock) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 19, 1929 WFVZ-2543 Haematopus bachmani Eggs


SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 26, 1927 WFVZ-5771 Carpodacus mexicanus Eggs
San Clemente Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 26, 1927 WFVZ-5772 Carpodacus mexicanus Eggs


SAN MIGUEL ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-201 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-202 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 31, 1927 WFVZ-192121 Ptychoramphus aleuticus Eggs
San Miguel Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 1, 1927 WFVZ-52456 Haliaeetus leucocephalus Eggs
~ trip ~
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ June 3, 1928 WFVZ-192121 Phalacrocorax pelagicus Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) J. R. Pemberton WFVZ June 3, 1928 WFVZ-874 Larus occidentalis Eggs
~ trip ~
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens & J. R. Pemberton SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-22162 Larus occidentalis Eggs
San Miguel Island (Prince Island) L. T. Stevens & J. R. Pemberton SBMNH May 25, 1929 SBMNH-22163 Larus occidentalis Eggs


SANTA BARBARA ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 27, 1927 WFVZ-2916 Phalacrocorax penilillatus Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 27, 1927 WFVZ-2917 Phalacrocorax penilillatus Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 27, 1927 WFVZ-6205 Zonotrichia melodia Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-851 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-852 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-853 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-854 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-855 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-856 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-857 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-858 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-859 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-860 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-861 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-862 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-863 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-864 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-865 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-866 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-867 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-869 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 6, 1928 WFVZ-873 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island J. R. Pemberton SDNHM August 4, 1933 SDNHM-21128 Xantusia riversiana Herps


SANTA CATALINA ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Catalina Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ February 22, 1928 WFVZ-3224 Haliaeetus leucocephalus Eggs


SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 29, 1927 WFVZ-3463 Aphelocoma coerulescens Eggs
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 30, 1927 WFVZ-5773 Carpodacus mexicanus Eggs
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 30, 1927 WFVZ-5774 Carpodacus mexicanus Eggs
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 5, 1927 WFVZ-3464 Aphelocoma coerulescens Eggs
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 5, 1927 WFVZ-3417 Sayornis nigricans Eggs
~ trip ~
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 10, 1928 WFVZ-3226 Haliaeetus leucocephalus Eggs
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ March 11, 1928 WFVZ-3227 Haliaeetus leucocephalus Eggs
~ trip ~
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ June 2, 1928 WFVZ-2888 Oceanodroma homochroa Eggs
~ trip ~
Santa Cruz Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ May 19, 1929 WFVZ-875 Larus occidentalis Eggs


SANTA ROSA ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton PSM April 27, 1924 PSM-15352 Eremophila alpestris Birds
~ trip ~
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 2, 1927 WFVZ-3776 Pipilo erythrophthalmus Eggs
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-10516 Pseudacris regilla Herps
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-10517 Pseudacris regilla Herps
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-10518 Pseudacris regilla Herps
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-10519 Pseudacris regilla Herps
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-10520 Pseudacris regilla Herps
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 3, 1927 WFVZ-3991 Vermivora celata Eggs
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 3, 1927 MVZ-50594 Myadestes townsendi townsendi Birds
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 3, 1927 WFVZ-3991 Vermivora celata Eggs
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton WFVZ April 3, 1927 WFVZ-5775 Carpodacus mexicanus Eggs
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ April 4, 1927 MVZ-37485 Urocyon littoralis santarosae Mammals
~ trip ~
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton MVZ March 10, 1928 MVZ-38929 Urocyon littoralis santarosae Mammals
~ trip ~
Santa Rosa Island J. R. Pemberton PSM April 22, 1928 WFVZ-5131 Eremophila alpestris Eggs



In the News~

July 6, 1937: “Recently, through the kindness of J. R. Pemberton, I was privileged to make a trip to the Cortez and Tanner Bank region, off extreme southern California. On the morning of June 26, 1937 we left San Pedro on Mr. Pemberton’s yacht, Kinkajou, and laying a course between Catalina and San Clemente islands to the vicinity of Cortez Bank, we hove to the Bishop Rock shortly after dark…” [Willett, George. Off-shore Bird Notes. Condor 34:226.]


July 2, 1968 [LAT]: “Pemberton; Ornithologist. John R. (Roy) Pemberton, 83, a former oil umpire and ornithologist, died Monday in a Tujunga rest home. Mr. Pemberton, an outstanding Stanford University athlete, taught at the university for one year before going to Argentina as a geologist. When the Western petroleum industry faced an over-production problem in 1932, Mr. Pemberton was named oil umpire to allocate pumping quotas and served in that capacity until 1940. A leading authority on the condor, Mr. Pemberton was a former president of the Cooper Ornithological Society, and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and served on the board of the county museum. He is survived by his wife, Diana; a son, John, and a brother and sister. Funeral services will be conducted Friday at 11 a.m. at Rosedale Chapel, 1831 W. Washington Blvd.”