PETERSON, Fred "Kangaroo"

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PETERSON, Fred “Kangaroo” (1885-1939), Swedish deep water sailor and fisherman whose nickname was derived from his long time residence in Australia. Peterson was born on July 17, 1885 in Sweden, and died in his cabin on Santa Cruz Island “about January 9,” 1939. He was 53 years old.

Helen Caire described him:

“Kangaroo” Fred lived in a small cabin at Chinese Harbor. Fred was an old salt who had been to Australia in sailing ships. He told Justy [Caire] about a bag made out of hemp or raffia which took him years to make. It was a fine bag. Now he said he was a fool for giving it to a woman there.” [Caire:1993 p. 142].

Merrill Allyn noted in his journal:

“Peterson tried to talk quietly but his voice just wouldn't let him. His least whisper came out as a big bass shout. He was a fine looking man who appeared to be in the best of health. Peterson stayed at the north fish camp on Anacapa Island for one season, then moved up to a camp on Santa Cruz Island.”

One day in early January 1939, Justinian Caire and Carey Stanton were riding in the Potrero Norte, and they went to pay Fred a visit. They found him dead in his small fisherman’s shack at China Harbor where he had lived alone with his cats. The schooner Santa Cruz was summoned from Santa Barbara to come with a coroner and pick up his body. His cause of death was listed as unknown, “probably alcoholism.” He is buried in Goleta Cemetery.