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Steamer Ferndale and sailboat Ruby,
Santa Catalina Island, c. 1888
Sailboat Ruby (center) and steamer Ferndale off
Sugar Loaf, Santa Catalina Island, c. 1888

Ruby (#110779) (-1892)

In the News~

[1888] July 1, 1937 [TI/Avalon]: From a letter written by the Misses Geneva R. and Annie L. Wheeler at the time of Sophie Wheeler’s death. “… In 1888, somewhat worn by hard work, [Mr. Wheeler] bought the schooner Ruby, in which they sailed down the coast, encountering a fearful gale at Point Conception, but coming into quieter waters among the Islands. Rounding the east end of Avalon Bay, Mrs. Wheeler’s attention was arrested by the septosyne, with its striking yellow flowers against the cliffs, and seeing the charming little bay said, ‘Let us come here.’ Mr. Wheeler bought the first lot to be used for business purposes. The brick oven he built there has been only recently demolished. It long remained in the store on Crescent Avenue…”

[1888] July 1, 1937 [TI/Avalon]: “In 1888 Avalon was made a voting precinct. The voting at the time was held in the Hotel Metropole. The first vote showed that 18 or 19 voters were there. The results of this vote were carried to the authorities on the mainland by Captain Wheeler on his schooner, Ruby. When they were ready to set sail they tried to hoist the anchor, but it would not come up. Three hours of hard work, and the combined efforts of all the men on shore were required before it came in sight, and then, to their amazement, it had hold of another anchor weighing 800 pounds, which it had picked up on the bottom. Much surmise has resulted as to what ship it belonged. Many think it was lost from the steamer U.S.S. Hassler; but by others it is questioned as to whether that vessel ever was in the harbor. When later on the Ruby was sold, the anchor of mystery went with it, and when the vessel went on the rocks at San Clemente some time later in a fog, all was lost.”

July 28, 1889 [LAT]: “A party has just returned from San Clemente, having made the trip in the Ruby. They made a three-days’ stay on the island, and Mr. Harry Polley brought back a fine mortar and a number of Indian curiosities, some bones, and parts of skulls…”

February 10, 1891 [SBI]: “Schooner Ruby arrived from Island San Nicolas this morning.”

March 13, 1891 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby is in from San Miguel Island. She brought back a gang of Chinamen, twelve tons of dried abalones, and four tons of abalone shells.”

April 8, 1891 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived at noon yesterday from Catalina Island, having been a week beating up the coast.”

April 18, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Ruby arrived night before last from San Nicolas Island having on board the remains of a Chinese fisherman. They are to be shipped today to San Francisco.”

May 8, 1891 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived from Anacapa Island yesterday morning bringing over E. Elliott, the owner of the island, and nine sheep shearers. They were kept on the island ten days after they were ready to return, by reason of the schooner neglecting to come for them promptly, and provisions began to get scarce. Mr. Elliott says the wool clip both on Anacapa and San Nicolas was unusually heavy. The price of wool is also better than it has been of eight or nine years past.”

June 23, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Ruby arrived yesterday with seventy-seven sheep from San Nicolas Island for the Santa Barbara Slaughtering Company.”

June 12, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Ruby sailed for San Nicolas Island yesterday for a cargo of sheep for Fisher & Company.”

August 18, 1891 [SBMP]: The schooner Ruby arrived from the islands yesterday afternoon.”

September 8, 1891 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby returned from an extended trip to Lower California, San Diego and San Nicolas Island.”

September 22, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Ruby returned Saturday night from San Nicolas Island with seventy-seven sheep and nine bales of wool for the Santa Barbara slaughtering Company.”

October 6, 1891 [LAT]: “The schooner Ruby is several days overdue from San Nicolas Island and Anacapa islands.”

October 15, 1891 [LAT/SB]: “Rogers Brothers, of this city, have just completed the equipment of the schooner Ruby for their annual sea otter hunt at the islands and along the north coast. The expedition will be under the immediate charge of Captain Hicks, and the shooters are Jake Nidever, José Olivas and Edward Valencia, lately arrived from Bering Sea. The expedition starts today and will visit San Miguel Island first, thence to Flea Island and San Nicolas. The crew will be away about two months, and it is believed that the season will be a good one.”

October 17, 1891 [LAT/SB]: “Despite the protest and published declarations of E. Elliott to the effect that the schooner Ruby should not go to sea on the otter hunt, the craft did sail yesterday in charge of Captain Hicks as stated in the Times of Wednesday last.”

December 25, 1891 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby has returned from another hunt at the island. Four otter skins is the result of a month’s trip.”

January 17, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The Ruby has arrived from Catalina Island with a cargo of gravel.”

January 19, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby has sailed for Catalina Island for another cargo of gravel.”

January 26, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby has returned from Catalina Island with a cargo of gravel.”

February 5, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby is at the wharf unloading Catalina Island gravel.”

February 8, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby has gone to San Nicolas Island.”

February 28, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The sloop Ruby was sent out yesterday by H. A. Rogers with eight otter hunters for a cruise of eight months around the islands.”

February 14, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby brought from Catalina Island a number of tons of fine gravel which is to be used in making sidewalks. She is to bring a couple of loads as soon as she discharges her present cargo.”

February 14, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby was at the wharf yesterday, discharging her cargo, which consisted of ten tons of abalones from the San Clemente Island consigned to some Chinese merchants of this place.”

March 4, 1892 [SBDI]: “The schooner Ruby came in from San Pedro this morning and left again almost immediately on a cruise after otter.”

March 13, 1891 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby is in from San Miguel Island. She brought back a gang of Chinamen, twelve tons of dried abalones, and four tons of abalone shells.”May 1, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby, fitted out some time ago for a three or four months cruise otter hunting among the islands be the Rogers Brothers, returned Friday evening after being out just two months. The hunt was unsuccessful, the weather being bad an no otter to be found. They killed one otter and claim to have only seen two during the entire cruise.”

May 3, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby left for San Clemente Island yesterday morning, taking down four Chinamen who will remain on the island for four months gathering abalones. The Ruby will bring a load of gravel from the island.”

May 18, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby came in from Catalina Island on Monday evening loaded with gravel.”

May 24, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby returned yesterday from a short sealing trip to the islands. The Ruby leaves today for Catalina Island.”

June 5, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived yesterday from Catalina Island with a cargo of gravel.”

June 7, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby came in from Catalina Island Saturday evening from bringing a load of gravel. She unloaded yesterday morning and sailed again in the afternoon for Santa Cruz with a crew of eight men for the purpose of catching some live seals.”

June 7, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby left for Santa Cruz Island yesterday afternoon on a seal hunting expedition.”

June 14, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Ruby has arrive from the islands with eight large live seals, which will be shipped east, for exhibition in parks, etc.”

June 15, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby, in charge of Captain Stevens, came in from the islands Monday evening bringing eight live seals in boxes. Three of them are very large, one especially so. It is thought by those who assisted in his capture that he will weigh 900 pounds and is the largest one ever shipped from here. They were shipped north to San Francisco yesterday on the steamer Eureka. Five of the number are for the park and the other three go inland.”

July 7, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby sailed yesterday morning for San Clemente Island for a cargo of abalones.”

July 12, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Union Mill & Company’s schooner, Ruby, has not been heard of for two weeks. It left San Clemente Island in charge of Captain Libbey and Cremon Meesia. They intended to bring back a load of Chinamen from the island, but the owners fear the government officials have seized the boat on suspicion.”

July 14, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby is in the harbor with a cargo of Catalina Island gravel.”

July 16, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby returned to Catalina Island yesterday.”

July 17, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby sailed for the islands on Friday for another load of gravel.”

July 18, 1892 [SBMP]: “The report that the schooner Ruby was several days overdue from Catalina is denied by one of the owners. The boat left less than a week ago for a cargo of gravel, and is not expected for a day or two.”

June 25, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby is discharging a cargo of Catalina Island gravel at the wharf.”

July 28, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby sailed for San Nicolas Island yesterday with E. Elliott and son. The boat will bring back a cargo of sheep.”

August 4, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Ruby sailed for the islands yesterday.”

August 9, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Ruby has returned from Catalina Island.”

August 10, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby sailed for Cava [Cueva] Valdez Harbor with a large party of pleasure seekers yesterday morning. The boat will stay with them and they expect to be gone about ten days.”

August 12, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “George Tibbets was arrested yesterday and taken before Justice Crane and charges with stealing a gun, the property of Captain Stevens of the schooner Ruby.”

August 18, 1892 [SBMP]: “Captain Brownell arrived from the islands yesterday in the Big Loafer. He brought over Miss Everett, one of the schooner Ruby’s party, who was suffering from consequence of a close contact with poison oak. Captain Brownell left Dr. Hall and party at Lady’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. They were having a splendid time and decided to remain a week or ten days more. Captain Brownell returns today with a supply of provisions.”

August 19, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived from the islands yesterday.”

August 19, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby sailed again yesterday morning for the islands.”

August 21, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived from the islands yesterday afternoon with a party of Good Templars who have been camping on Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands for the past two weeks.”

September 4, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby has returned from Catalina Island.”

September 5, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby returned from Catalina Island Saturday morning, and will sail again tomorrow for Santa Cruz Island.”

September 9, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby sailed for San Nicolas Island yesterday morning to bring back Joe Olivas and a party of men who have been there for some three weeks past gathering shells.”

September 18, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The Ruby sailed for the wreck of the Goldenhorn last evening, taking a crew of eight or ten men… Messrs. Stevens and Clark have chartered the sloop Liberty and sent it with a crew of seven men to the wreck to see if something can be saved from it…”

Sept. 21, 1892 [LAT]: “The schooner Ruby brought back some rigging, anchors, ropes and sails saved from the Sept. 12, 1892 wreck of the Goldenhorn off the rocks along the southwest coast of Santa Rosa Island.”

September 21, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby returned yesterday from the scene of the wreck of the British four-masted ship Goldenhorn on Santa Rosa Island. She brought over some rigging saved from the wreck. The men report that the vessel has broken in two between the fore and main masts and is fast going to pieces. Little, if anything more can be saved from the wreck.”

September 25, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The wreck of the Goldenhorn has been disposed of to Whitelaw of San Francisco, and it is supposed that a tug with all the modern wrecking appliances is now at work. The schooner Ruby came in yesterday with a load from the wreck yesterday afternoon, consisting of three anchors, a lot of ropes and sails. Some arrangement will doubtless be made between Messrs. Clark and Stevens and Captain Dunn of the Goldenhorn, and the stuff be disposed of to their mutual advantage.”

September 28, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Ruby started for Santa Cruz Island yesterday for a load of seals.”

October 5, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby left yesterday for the island.”

October 11, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby will sail today for San Pedro for repairs. She landed a couple of fine seals yesterday morning. They will be shipped to San Francisco.”

October 30, 1892 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ruby arrived yesterday from the islands and sails today for San Nicolas and Anacapa islands.”

November 5, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Ruby returned from the islands yesterday, bringing a load of twenty-five tons of abalone shells.”

November 5, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The steamer Ruby came in from San Miguel Island yesterday morning bringing a load of shells. The Ruby sailed around the wreck of the Goldenhorn, and the captain reports the wreck all gone to pieces, only a small portion of the bow of the ship being visible. The masts are all down and nothing more is to be gotten from it.”

November 25, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Ruby returned from San Clemente Island yesterday morning after a very rough trip of five days coming. She had been gone eighteen days and brought back 850 bags of abalone shells. The schooner will leave on another trip in a few days.”

December 10, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “The owners of the schooner Ruby received a telephone message Thursday night from San Pedro announcing the wreck of the schooner on San Clemente Island. No particulars were given, further than that the boat was a total loss. The schooner was a small, two-masted vessel, and was owned by Thomas Clark and E. P. Stevens of this city. The Ruby had gone to San Clemente Island after a cargo of shells, and it is supposed that she ran against a rock. There were three men aboard: Clarence Libbey in command; E. P. Stevens, one of the owners, and a seaman. No one was hurt. The schooner was valued at $1500 and was not insured.”

December 14, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “Latest news from the wreck of the schooner Ruby of this place, at San Clemente Island, goes to show that the vessel was a total loss and that Mr. Stevens, one of the owners, came near losing his life. When the Ruby reached the island, although the storm had abated, there was a heavy swell on. Mr. Stevens and two men had remained on the island from the last trip to gather shells for another load. The Ruby anchored a safe distance off shore, and Clarence Libbey, the master, and young Nidever, after making everything safe, went ashore in the small boat. Soon afterward the swell was so heavy as to break the anchor chain, and the vessel began drifting ashore. Stevens, Libbey and Nidever took the small boat and went on board to try to save the vessel. This they would have done, getting sails up at once, had she not struck a sunken rock which broke a hole in her bottom, when she sank. Stevens, who could not swim, took refuge in the rigging, while Libbey and Nidever swam ashore with a fish line. He was under water much of the time, and had imbibed considerable seawater, but after awhile was as good as new again, but with a keen realization of the danger he had just passed through. After resting completely the three men took an otter boat, and by rowing and sailing made their way in the open boat, first to San Nicolas Island, then to San Pedro where Mr. Stevens chartered another vessel and went back after the men left on San Clemente, together with their effects and the shells gathered. They are expected in Santa Barbara in a few days.”

December 18, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “Mr. Stevens, upon arriving at San Pedro from San Clemente, after his own vessel, the Ruby, was wrecked, chartered the schooner San Mateo of that place, and brought his load of 300 sacks of shells, arriving here Friday evening. The San Mateo is a boat schooner rigged about the same size as the Ruby. Messrs. Stevens and Clark have purchased the vessel, and sent Captain Libbey and young Nidever down to San Pedro where the transfer of ownership will be made. They will bring the vessel back, and it will be run in the island trade by the new owners.”