PRESCOTT, James Giacomo

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PRESCOTT, James Giacomo (1850-1913), Austrian-born seaman naturalized as a citizen in Santa Barbara on January 26, 1880. He was captain of the Star of Freedom as early as 1884, and hired as master of the schooner Santa Cruz for the Santa Cruz Island Company in 1894-1895 after Captain Revello left on July 1, 1894. Prescott was paid $30 a month for his services. In 1901 when Vail & Vickers purchased the schooner Mildred E, Prescott was hired as her captain. In 1904 Prescott was running the Pride for passengers destined for the new resort at Pelican Bay opened by Allan G. Fraser. In 1905 through 1907, Prescott was again working for the Santa Cruz Island Company until he resigned. Prescott and his wife Marquesa (1863-1958) had five sons, two of whom predeceased her. Captain Prescott died of pneumonia on April 14, 1913 at age 63, and is buried in Santa Barbara at Calvary Cemetery (#1263). His wife, Marquesa, outlived her husband by 45 years, and is also interred in Calvary Cemetery.


James Prescott (1850-1913) = [1890] Marquesa Gonzales (1863-1958)

  • 1. Jane Prescott (1884- )
  • 2. Joseph R. Prescott (1890-1965)
  • 3. James B. Prescott (1890-1917)
  • 4. Rosa Prescott (1892-
  • 5. Orestes B. Prescott (1894-1917)
  • 6. Charles Paul Prescott (1896-1971)
  • 7. Emmett Raymond Prescott (1898-1973)
Calvary Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California
Calvary Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California



In the News~

December 23, 1884 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, Captain Prescott, came over from the island last night with 150 head of sheep for this market.”


January 7, 1885 [Coroner’s Inquest]: “Coroner’s Inquest, held this day at P.M. upon the remains of Thomas Sansoni, deceased. We the undersigned residents of Santa Cruz Island, County of Santa Barbara, State of California firmly believe and hereby testify that the deceased died from dysentery, caused by eating castor oil beans. His death occurring at 1:20 P.M. on board schooner Star of Freedom about one half mile from Santa Cruz Island whilst being conveyed to Santa Barbara for medical treatment. James B. Prescott…”


February 14, 1888 [SBMP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, Captain Prescott, left yesterday for Santa Rosa Island with thirteen men and a lot of provisions.”


February 22, 1888 [SBMP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, Captain Prescott, left yesterday morning for Santa Cruz Island.”


March 12, 1891 [SBMP]:Star of Freedom, Captain Prescott, has returned from Santa Cruz Island.”


March 28, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, Captain J. G. Prescott, sailed for Santa Cruz Island yesterday morning, taking thirty-five sheep shearers.”


November 8, 1892 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, arrived in the harbor yesterday from the islands. After this, Captain Frank Thompson will take command of the schooner in place of Captain James Prescott.”


November 11, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Star of Freedom was taken over to Santa Cruz Wednesday evening. Captain Prescott has left the vessel and Captain Thompson will be master after the first of December on his return from San Francisco.”


June 30, 1894 [SBDI]: “Captain Jim Prescott will take charge of the schooner Santa Cruz tomorrow.”


July 3, 1894 [SBDI]: “The schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Jim Prescott, arrived yesterday from Santa Cruz Island.”


July 6, 1894 [SBMP]: “The gasoline schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Prescott, is at anchor in the harbor.”


February 29, 1896 [SBDN]: “The Santa Cruz Island Company schooner, Santa Cruz, left for the island this morning with Justinian Caire on board.”


March 10, 1896 [SBDN]: “A large consignment of abalone shells were brought over from Santa Cruz Island yesterday by the gasoline schooner Santa Cruz.”


March 21, 1896 [LAT/SP]: “Vessel movements. March 17, gasoline schooner Santa Cruz, Captain James G. Prescott, from Santa Cruz Island with 2663 gallons of wine.”


June 30, 1896 [LAT/LB]: “The schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Prescott, anchored off the pier Sunday morning for an hour, and as no one came ashore a Times reporter rowed out to her, where he was courteously received by Captain Prescott…”


April 11, 1899 [SBMP]: “...Captain James G. Prescott stated that when he first came to this country and engaged in the fishing business here, Santa Barbara Island had as many crawfish as any other.”


August 10, 1899 [SBMP]: “Henry Short and a party of seal hunters under Captain Prescott will leave for Santa Cruz Island this morning on the Olita. Mr. Short will secure seal for eastern museums.”


April 17, 1902 [SBMP]: “The schooner Mildred E, Captain Prescott, was in port yesterday from Santa Rosa Island with a cargo of sheep.”


May 8, 1902 [SBMP]: “The schooner Mildred E, Captain Prescott, arrived from Santa Rosa Island Tuesday evening with 300 head of sheep for a Los Angeles firm. The Mildred E. also brought over thirty sheep shearers who came over to draw their pay. The schooner made the best time she has ever made between the island and this port, making the trip in just four hours.”


May 25, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “Two cargoes of sheep were landed at the wharf yesterday from San Miguel and Santa Rosa islands, the Restless bringing over 100, and the Mildred E, Prescott, 250. These are for the Los Angeles market.”


September 17, 1902 [SBMP]: “The schooner Mildred E, Captain Prescott, sailed for More's Landing yesterday, whence she will go to Santa Rosa Island. The Mildred E carried a group of sheep shearers.”


November 14, 1902 [SBMP]: “The Santa Rosa Island vessel, Mildred E, Captain Prescott, sailed for San Pedro yesterday. The schooner is to be sold, the island company having purchased a powerboat of greater carrying capacity, designed expressly for the needs of the island commerce, such as transporting livestock.”


October 24, 1903 [LAT]: “The sloop yacht Pride, owned by Venturans, and which has done duty at this port during the past summer, has been leased to Santa Barbara parties, who will put her in service between that port and the Channel Islands. Captain Prescott of Santa Barbara sailed the Pride to her new home port Wednesday.”


April 12, 1904 [SBI]: “Pelican Bay resort open for business in small way. Allan G. Fraser, who has been working for a long time past at preparations for a pleasure resort at Pelican Bay on Santa Cruz Island, reports that matters are now in such shape that small parties can be comfortably accommodated. Mr. Fraser has secured the gasoline sloop Pride, one of the finest small boats in the island passenger traffic until enlarged facilities at the island shall make feasible the entertainment of people in large numbers, and larger vessel will be available when it is required. The Pride, in command of Captain Prescott, is a delightful boat in which to travel, and she can carry twenty-five passengers in comfort...”


April 28, 1904 [SBMP]: “The sloop Pride arrived yesterday afternoon with a party from Pelican Bay Inn, Santa Cruz Island. Captain Prescott reports fine fishing on the other side of the channel.”


May 29, 1905 [SBMP]: “Sheep shearers return. The schooner Santa Cruz, Captain James Prescott, came in from Prisoners’ Harbor at 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon and discharged a crew of 20 sheep shearers, who have been employed on the island for several weeks. The boat also brought over 120 sheep for Sherman’s meat markets, and unloaded several barrels of wine for the local trade.”


March 15, 1905 [SBMP]: “The auxiliary schooner Santa Cruz, in charge of Captain Prescott, came in yesterday afternoon from the islands, having ridden out the storm on this side of Santa Cruz. Captain Prescott states that Sunday's storm was the worst ever experienced at the islands...”


June 23, 1905 [SBMP]: “The auxiliary schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Prescott, came into port yesterday from Santa Cruz Island in tow of a launch, having been picked up outside. The Santa Cruz dropped her propeller in the channel and is here for repairs.”


August 13, 1905 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Cruz came in from the islands late yesterday afternoon on one of her regular trips. She is in charge of Captain James Prescott.”


October 4, 1905 [SBMP]: “The power schooner Santa Cruz, Island arrived in port late Monday night from San Francisco where she has just received a thorough overhauling in the dry docks of that city during the last two months. She has received a new shaft and a propeller. The bottom has been strengthened and the rigging put in first class condition. The vessel made the trip from San Francisco in 40 hours, a very quick trip. She carried a cargo of pipe and other supplies for the Santa Cruz Island Company and sailed across the channel yesterday in charge of Captain James G. Prescott.”


October 26, 1905 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Cruz Island in charge of Captain Prescott, sailed for Prisoners’ Harbor on that island yesterday morning with a cargo of supplies, mail and expresses for the Santa Cruz Island Company.”


November 1, 1905 [SBMP]: “The steam schooner Santa Cruz came into port yesterday morning in charge of Captain James Prescott. She will soon return with supplies for the Island Company.”


November 14, 1905 [SBMP]: “Manager Arthur Caire of the Santa Cruz Island Company has returned from his island ranch with a party of friends, having been brought across the channel in the Santa Cruz Island steam schooner, which was in charge of Captain James Prescott. The schooner returned to Prisoners’ Harbor yesterday.”


February 15, 1906 [SBMP]: “The power schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Prescott, sailed for Prisoners’ Harbor, Santa Cruz Island yesterday.”


March 15, 1906 [SBMP]: “The steam schooner Santa Cruz came into port from Prisoners’ Harbor yesterday afternoon in charge of Captain James Prescott. She is after mail and supplies for the island ranchers.”


May 26, 1906 [SBI]: “The power launch Santa Cruz is expected to arrive from Santa Cruz Island tonight or tomorrow morning with a cargo of sheep. The Santa Cruz sailed for the island with a quantity of supplies, with Captain Prescott in charge, on Thursday last. It is expected that she will be able to discharge her cargo of livestock in time to leave for the island with more supplies on Monday afternoon.”


May 29, 1906 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Cruz, Captain James Prescott, came in from Prisoners’ Harbor at 10 o’clock yesterday afternoon and discharged a crew of 20 sheep shearers who have been employed on the island for several weeks. The boat also brought over 120 sheep for Sherman’s meat markets, and unloaded several barrels of wine for the local trade.”


June 10, 1906 [SBMP]: “The Santa Cruz Island schooner came in port yesterday from Prisoners’ Harbor in charge of Captain James Prescott. She carried 140 sheep for William Sherman's market, and a cargo of wine for the local trade.”


June 28, 1906 [SBI]: “The island schooner Santa Cruz, which arrived from Santa Cruz Island yesterday, Captain Prescott in charge, with 250 head of sheep for William Ealand of this city, will sail for Prisoners’ Harbor tomorrow morning, and will take on another cargo of sheep for the local market and for shipment to Los Angeles. Captain Prescott stated today that it was expected that the schooner would be back to the mainland again early Friday morning. The boat will continue to make trips across the channel until all of the sheep that Mr. Ealand recently purchased from the island company shall have been delivered.”


July 11, 1906 [SBI]: “The island schooner Santa Cruz, which arrived from Prisoners’ Harbor a few days ago with a cargo of sheep for William Ealand of this city, will sail for the island late this afternoon, in charge of Captain Prescott, and will return with another load of sheep within a few days. Today the schooner was taking on a quantity of supplies for the various camps on the island.”


November 10, 1906 [SBMP]: “The auxillary schooner Santa Cruz sailed for her home port across the channel yesterday in charge of Captain Prescott.”


December 15, 1906 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Cruz arrived from Santa Cruz Island at an early hour yesterday morning, bringing with her a quantity of wine. As soon as she can take on supplies, the schooner will return to Prisoners’ Harbor. It was the intention of Captain Prescott to return to the mainland early in the week, but the storm rendered it unsafe to attempt the trip across the channel.”


January 9, 1907 [SBMP]: “Wind demoralizes shipping, driving many craft to beach. Power schooner Santa Cruz, Captain Prescott. In dangerous position. Still in harbor.”


March 2, 1907 [SBMP]: “Captain James Prescott, who is at San Pedro, is expected back in a day or two.”


April 13, 1907 [SBMP]: “The auxiliary schooner Santa Cruz reached this port from Prisoners’ Harbor yesterday, with Captain James B. Prescott aboard. This is the vessel's first visit since she was damaged in the southeast gale in January last. On that occasion it will be remembered she was towed to port by the torpedo destroyer, Paul Jones, and it was found she had sustained some $800 in damage. She went down to San Pedro to be repaired, and has now returned to resume regular trips to the island.”


June 26, 1907 [SBMP]: “The power schooner Santa Cruz reached port yesterday morning with Captain Prescott aboard, and a cargo of cattle from the islands for the local market.”


August 17, 1907 [SBMP]: “Captain J. G. Prescott, who ever since 1894 has been skipper and chief engineer of the steam schooner Santa Cruz, has severed his connection with the island company owing to the refusal of the Justinian Caire Company to recognize the increased cost of living and the advance in wages necessitated all along the line. According to those in a position to know, the skippers of small coasting steamers receive $85 per month, the first mate earning $75 and of course rations. The Caire Company has been paying their skippers $55 with a promise of an increase. This promise has never blossomed into fulfillment, and upon being reminded thereof the island company replied by accusing the captain of taking people across to the island without the company’s permission and to the annoyance of the superintendent, while the fact appears to have been that a local grocer paid a visit to the island at the special request and suggestion of the superintendent. The accusation in Captain Prescott’s case was the last straw, and he handed in his resignation forthwith. The Santa Cruz has been lying on this account at anchor with an idle crew ever since the middle of last month. There are hundreds of head of mutton undelivered, and thousands gallons of wine waiting to be transported to the mainland. The business of the island is at a standstill. Captain Prescott is a fully licensed mariner, and such men are not to be had unless paid the regulation scale. In the meantime, the captain will turn his attention from nautical affairs to agriculture, and farm his place on the mesa.”


October 26, 1907 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Cruz, after lying idle for over three months—ever since Captain Prescott handed in his resignation, sailed yesterday for the islands with Captain George E. Nidever at the helm. Captain George, it is presumed, got the raise Prescott wanted, as it is known he was approached more than once with an offer of position before he accepted it.”


July 27, 1908 [SBI]: “Steamer Anubis now a hopeless wreck. Steam schooners from San Francisco have arrived at the wreck of the Anubis and are taking off the small portion of her cargo that has been piled on the decks as fit to be saved. There is no change in the condition of the ship, which is now looked upon as a hopeless wreck by all who have visited her. A regular traffic in flour from the wreck is being carried on between the wreck and Santa Barbara… The launch Baltic, Captain Prescott, brought several tons of flour yesterday, and left again for San Miguel…”


August 30, 1908 [SBMP]: “The following communication from Captain James Prescott appears to throw an uncomfortable light upon the recent wholesale poisoning that has taken place at the Hope Ranch end of the Mesa…”


December 18, 1910 [SBMP]: “The recent statement that the federal government is looking over the group of Santa Barbara Islands with the view of selecting one of them for a quarantine station for livestock shipped in from the Philippines has called forth from Captain James G. Prescott, one of the early mariners of the channel, the statement that the only island both suitable and in any way available for the purpose is Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Island is ostensibly owned by a corporation, but Captain Prescott revives and enlarges the statement that has been made from time to time that the Company’s patent includes only a portion of the acreage of the big holding, the isle being 24 miles long and over 7 miles in maximum width. Survey by the government would determine, in his opinion, the fact that there are several thousand acres to which the Caire Company has no title, and on which they have paid no taxes. The point is not a new one, but it has never been pressed to the point of investigation by the nautical authorities.”


March 5, 1911 [SBMP]: “Water spout plays havoc on land and ocean. A water spout, first seen yesterday five miles out at sea, according to reports by Captain J. G. Prescott of La Mesa, swept across the channel and struck the bluff, scattering the water on its course for 100 feet as it continued its way over the hill… Captain Prescott’s house is about 1000 feet from the bluff, and the wave of wind swept within ten feet of his house, twisted up several oak trees, and went to Mrs. Rosa Adrian’s place where it whirled off the top of the water tank, and broke one of the windows of her house…”


April 15, 1913 [SBMP]: “After an illness of several days, Captain J. G. Prescott of the Mesa died at his home yesterday morning [April 14, 1913] of pneumonia. He is survived by a widow and five sons, the Messrs.. James, Joe, Oresta, Charles and Emmett Prescott.”