SANTA CRUZ ISLAND BRANDS

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SANTA CRUZ ISLAND BRANDS

The custom of branding is by no means a modern one. When Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico in 1519, he introduced to the New World the first branded livestock. Branding was deemed necessary to establish ownership of co-grazing livestock on open range lands. In 1770 Alta California (Spain) passed a law making it mandatory that all cattle, horses, mules and sheep be branded. Each Mission had its own brand, and as ranch grants were made to private owners, these owners were required to adapt a personal livestock mark. To keep brands straight and to prevent duplication, a Libro de Fierros (brand book) was kept by the local Justice of the Peace.

March 29, 1855, James B. Shaw recorded both a brand and an ear mark with the County of Santa Barbara. Shaw is known to have managed ranching on Santa Cruz Island from 1855-1869, and presumably this brand was used on island livestock.



With the formation of the Santa Cruz Island Company in 1869 also came the registration of the Company's first brand, an "S" over a Cross in a circle.



In 1918 it was altered to an "S" followed by a Cross, without the circle, to be placed on the animal's left hip. Designated as Brand #1840 in the State registry (which now has over 50,000 brands), this brand was transferred to Edwin Stanton in 1937, the year he purchased the western 9/10ths of Santa Cruz Island. In 1957 it was again transferred, but this time back into the Company's name. After the 1987 death of Ed Stanton's son, Carey Stanton, the brand was transferred to the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, where it remains today.