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Santa Cruz Island is known to have been visited by several early expeditions:

The Portolá expedition claimed Santa Cruz Island for the King of Spain. Charts from the 1793 voyage of George Vancouver’s exploration of the California coast standardized and finalized the names of all eight California Channel Islands. In 1821, with Mexico’s successful revolt agains Spain, Santa Cruz Island passed to Mexican ownership.

The first vessels to carry merchandise to and from Santa Cruz Island before the formation of the Santa Cruz Island Company in 1869 were:

  • Queen of the West (1854)
  • Ann G. Doyle (1856-1861)
  • Francis Skiddy (1856)
  • Marine (1856)
  • Elsie (1856)
  • Elizabeth Owens (1859)
  • Naiad (1860)

In the News~

March 29, 1769: “At one of the islands of the channel of Santa Barbara which is populated with heathen, they [San Antonio] took on water. As soon as the launch approached, the natives from the village near the beach came up and welcomed them with demonstrations of joy, making them presents of fish which they had in great abundance, and joining in to help with the water, even the women. In return the Indians were given glass beads, which they greatly prized. The missionary fathers then decided to go ashore and visit the village. They were well received by the heathen and presented with fish, in return for which the Indians were given some strings of beads. The watering finally finished, they returned to the ship, now late, with the determination to set sail on the following morning. In the night it was remembered that they had forgotten their staff and left it at the village. They immediately gave it up as lost, on account of the cross that it carried for it was of iron, and it was known how the Indians coveted this metal. But they were so honest that at daybreak it was discovered that one of the little canoes of the island was coming to the ship, and that one of the heathen was carrying in his hand the staff with the holy cross. Climbing on board he delivered it to the father and after being rewarded returned to the island. For this reason it was called the Island of the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz), and as such it has been known ever since.”

» WOODWARD, Arthur The Sea Diary of Fr. Juan Vizcaino to Alta California 1769, (1959)

» Bolton, Herbert E. Historical Memoirs of New California by Francisco Palou (1926)]

» VIZCAINO, Fr. Juan

May 22, 1839 Governor Alvarado grants to Andres Castillero, native of Spain and captain in the Mexican military, Santa Cruz Island.

November 23, 1850 [Santa Barbara County Deeds Book B, pages 10-11]: Land sales. Antonio de la Guerra, treasurer, to Francisco de la Guerra, southeastern half of the island of Santa Cruz; consideration, $26. [Claim eventually denied by the court.] “Where as the owner of certain lands lying in the County of Santa Barbara and State of California being the whole of the Southeastern half of the Island of Santa Cruz, has neglected to pay the tax by Law imposed on said lands, and whereas said lands were on the 20th of November A.D. 1850 exposed to public sale in the manner prescribed by law in such case provided; and whereas at such sale Francisco de la Guerra, witnesseth: That the said party of the first part in consideration of the sum of $26.00 to him paid by the party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, doth by these present grant sell and convey unto the said party of the second part and convey unto his heirs and assigns forever, all of aforesaid Southeastern half of the Island of Santa Cruz in the County of Santa Barbara and State of California… [Signed] Antonio Maria de la Guerra; Francisco de la Guerra. Sealed, signed and delivered in the presence of Nicholas A. Den; Guillermo Carrillo.

December 31, 1851 [Santa Barbara County Deeds Book B, pages 28-30]: Land sales. Francisco de la Guerra, treasurer, to James B. Bolton, southeastern half of the island of Santa Cruz; consideration, $13,000. [Claim eventually denied by the court.] “This indenture made this day of June A.D. 1851 between Francisco de la Guerra of Santa Barbara in the State of California and Concepcion, his wife...“

1852 A. D. Bache’s Report of the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey for 1852 states Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of this group, is the next island to the eastward [of Santa Rosa Island], distant six miles; it is about 21 miles long and from 4 to 5 miles wide. There are a few cattle here, but like all the other islands, there are no inhabitants.“

June 21, 1852 [Senate, Report of the secretary of the Interior, 32nd Congress, 1st session]: “Washington, June 21, 1852. Sir: in obedience to a resolution of the Senate of the 11th instant, directing me to report to the Senate whether any portion of the public domain on the island of Santa Cruz, in the state of California, has been leased to any person or persons; and if so, to furnish for the use of the Senate a copy of the lease, together with any legal opinion that may have been given regarding the power to lease the public domain, and to state under what law of the United States such lease may have been made, I have the honor to state that according to authentic maps and charts of the Pacific Coast, there are a number of islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of of that portion of Upper California which was acquired by the United States in virtue of the treaty with the Republic of Mexico, concluded at Guadalupe Hidalgo, on the 2d of February, 1848. That nearly due south of the town of Santa Barbara, and about twenty-five miles distant from the coast, there is one known by the name of Santa Cruz. Some weeks ago, Mr. Alexander G. Abell, of San Francisco, applied to me for a lease of this island. I at once informed him that as Congress alone had the power to dispose of the public domain, I did not conceive that I was authorized to make a lease of any portion of it which would interfere in any way with the free exercise of that power, and therefore declined acceding to his proposition. Upon further examination and reflection, however, I conceived it to be proper to enter into an arrangement with Mr. Abell which, whilst it tends to promote public interest, is not, in my judgment, obnoxious to the objection of interference with the appropriate powers and duties of Congress. The Treaty of Guadalupe is silent in regard to the islands on the coast of the territory ceded to the United States, and there is no certainty that the island in question was ever in the actual occupation of Mexico. I had no doubt, however, that the United States did acquire a lawful title to the islands as incidents to the mainland, by virtue of the treaty above referenced to. But apprehending, from the remoteness of this particular island from the coast, and from the fact that it is well supplied with wood and water, and is said to possess a good harbor, that it might be an object of interest to citizens of other countries, or to adventurers from our own, who might create embarrassments by setting up conflicting claims of jurisdiction and title, I deemed it prudent to cause actual possession to be taken care of it for and on behalf of the United States. For this purpose I entered into an agreement with Mr. Abell, a copy of which is herewith communicated to the Senate. From an inspection of the agreement it will be seen that it authorizes Mr. Abell to take possession of the island in the name and on behalf of the United States, and to hold and enjoy it for one year, subject, however, to the power of Congress at any moment to annul the contract without the consent of Mr. Abell. It will be seen that, although the form of a lease was adopted, great care was taken to avoid interfering with the right of Congress at any time to exercise complete control over the whole subject, and that form was adopted because, from the established principals regulating the relation of tenant and landlord, Mr. Abell and all claiming under him would be precluded from setting up any claim of title adverse to the United States. I did not regard the subject as of sufficient importance to call for the opinion of the Attorney General as to the extent of my authority in the premises, though I mentioned the subject to him orally, and I acted from a conviction that I was doing what would very probably avoid many embarrassing disputes in the future, and could be obnoxious to no valid objection, though it may possibly disappoint the cupidity of adventurous speculators. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Alex. H. H. Stuart, Secretary.”

September 23, 1854 [SDU]: “Drowned at Santa Barbara. On the 15th inst., William Butterfield, a native of Connecticut, fell overboard from the schooner Queen of the West, in the channel of Santa Barbara, and drowned before a boat could reach him. He had been living on Santa Cruz Island, and his destination was Santa Barbara. [San Francisco Herald.]”

July 21, 1855 [Los Angeles Star]: “Claims confirmed. No. 176.—Andres Castillero, for the Island of Santa Cruz, opposite the roadstead of Santa Barbara; claiming from Alvarado, 1839. Opinion by Farwell.”

May 15, 1856 [SBG]: “A report was received from the district attorney relative to the islands on the coast of Santa Barbara county whereupon it was ordered that the Islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa be and are hereby considered as pertaining to the 2nd township of Santa Barbara county.”

May 29, 1856 [SBG]: “The schooner Ann G. Doyle, Captain Phillips, arrived on Monday afternoon from the island of Santa Cruz.”

June 5, 1856 [SBG]: “Schooner Ann G. Doyle, Captain Phillips, arrived yesterday from the island of Santa Cruz.”

June 9, 1856 [SBG]: “The Ann G. Doyle, Captain Phillips, arrived at this port last evening from Santa Cruz Island with wool.”

June 12, 1856 [SBG]: “The schooner Ann G. Doyle, Captain Phillips, sailed from this port last Friday for the adjacent islands. She took over Dr. J. B. Shaw and Captain D. W. Thompson as passengers, the former for Santa Cruz and latter for the island of Santa Rosa.”

June 19, 1856 [SBG]: “Dr. J. B. Shaw informs us that on the 9th instant John Henry Kelty, a seaman on board the schooner Francis Skiddy, went on shore at Santa Cruz Island with the intention of bathing. His companions, thinking that he was absent a very long time, went to look for him. They found his clothes upon the bank, and after some considerable trouble, succeeded in discovering the body at the bottom of the lagoon. He was very decently buried on the following morning. Deceased was a native of Sunderland, England.”

June 25, 1856 [SDU]: “Lighthouse — The lighthouse near Point Castillo, says the paper of the 19th, is now finished and ready for the reception of the lantern. The light, we learn, is to be of the fourth class, designed to illuminate the harbor and channel to Santa Cruz Island.”

July 17, 1856 [SBG]: “Sloop Marine, [Captain] Eastman, arrived on Monday last, from Santa Cruz Island.”

September 30, 1856 [SDU]: “At 7:30 P.M., September 28th, below Monterey, during a thick fog, [a steamer] ran down the schooner Frances Skiddy, of 17-1/2 tons. The Captain, Hugh Robertson, was drowned. The schooner was bound to Santa Cruz Island with a cargo of provisions for the Chinese fishery, and had on board four Chinese passengers, who were all saved. One Chinaman had his shoulder broken, but is doing well. The steamer was on her usual course, with her lights burning. The crew of the schooner report that they heard the steamer for some minutes before striking, but became bewildered, and the Captain ordered the helm put down, which kept the schooner directly in the steamer’s track, without showing a light until nearly under her bows, when it was too late to prevent the catastrophe. The names of the persons saved are Captain Eastman of the sloop Marine; James Wilson, James Hardy, John Bathgate, and four Chinamen.”

October 9, 1856 [SBG]: “The steamer John L. Stephens, on her recent trip to San Francisco, during a thick fog, ran into the schooner Francis Skiddy, and cut her completely in two. The schooner was bound to Santa Cruz Island. The crew and passengers, with the exception of the captain, Hugh Robertson, were saved.”

November 9, 1856 [DAC]: “Arrived. Schooner Elsie, McEwing, 10 days from Santa Cruz Island. 12 tons abalones to order.”

November 13, 1856 [SBG]: “The schooner Ann G. Doyle, [Captain] Phillips, arrived yesterday from the island of Santa Cruz.”

February 26, 1857 [SBG]: “The schooner Ann G. Doyle, [Captain Phillips], from San Francisco via San Luis Obispo, sailed the same day for Santa Cruz Island, and returned to port on the 25th.”

April 16, 1857 [SBG]: “We are informed that there are some two hundred acres of land under cultivation on the island of Santa Cruz this season. This is the first attempt on any extended plan, which has yet to be made to test its agricultural resources. It is free from one great pest, viz: ground squirrels, there being none of these animals on the island. Surveyors are about taking the necessary steps to make a complete survey of the same.”

April 23, 1857 [SBG]: “Arrived April 21, schooner Ann G. Doyle, [Captain] Phillips, from Santa Cruz Island. Sailed on the 22nd for same island.”

April 27, 1857 [DAC]: “The Santa Barbara Gazette says, we are informed that there are some two hundred acres of land under cultivation on the island of Santa Cruz this season. This is the first attempt of any extended plan which has yet to be made to test its agricultural resources. It is free from one great pest, viz: ground squirrels, there being none of these animals on the island. A company of U.S. Surveyors is about taking the necessary steps to make a complete survey of the same.”

June 21, 1857 the deed to Santa Cruz Island was transferred from Andres Castillero to William E. Barron.

April 17, 1858 [Los Angeles Star]: “...The Channel Islands extend from Point Conception to San Diego—the most important of them laying off and forming Santa Barbara county... [Santa Cruz] Island is rough, ragged and mountainous, the peaks, as those in front of us rising up from 1500 to 2000 feet above the ocean; so steep are the sides of the mountains, that it is with difficulty they can be ascended, even afoot. There is a good stream of water on the island, emptying into the ocean at the harbor. Following the course of this ravine for about three miles, we are led to the residence of Dr. Shaw, the occupant of the island; it is situated in a valley, about two miles long. Here the Doctor has erected a most comfortable dwelling house, with extensive sheds and office houses, with substantial cottages for his men. There is not a better appointed nor more complete establishment in California than this—every comfort that can be desired is found here, except the "trifling" one of society. The Doctor resides at Santa Barbara. He has eight or ten thousand sheep on the island, the finest, probably, in the country. Santa Cruz mutton is much sought after, and sometimes commands very high prices in San Francisco market. No part of the island is fit for cultivation; Dr. Shaw has repeatedly made the experiment and failed to realize a crop...”

May 25, 1858 [DAC]: “Island for sheep raising. For sale — an island containing about 60,000 acres of land, well-watered, and abounding in small valleys of the best pasturage for sheep. There are no wild animals on it that would interfere with the stock. There is a good harbor and safe anchorage. The owner is now in the city, and if a party should desire to place stock on it, an arrangement may be made to do so, by putting the island, to a certain extent, against the stock furnished. There are about fifty sheep now upon the island. Apply at 119 Sansome Street. [This ad ran for several weeks. Note: On June 21, 1857 title to Santa Cruz Island transferred from Andres Castillero to William E. Barron.]

January 22, 1859 [SDU]: “The body of Miguel Cota, the person drowned some three months since, in company with Peter Hammond, in the Santa Barbara Channel, has been found at Prisoners Harbor, Santa Cruz Island; and Vicenti Panateri, the only one who escaped the sad catastrophe, has since died from the effects of exposure and over exertion at the time of the accident.”

August 21, 1859 [DAC]: “Arrived. Schooner Elizabeth Owens, [Captain] Cooper, 6 days from Santa Cruz Island; in ballast to R. E. Raimond.”

June 2, 1860 [SDU]: “The Island of Santa Cruz. As is well known, the United States Supreme Court recently confirmed the claim of Andres Castillero to the island of Santa Cruz. Of this island the Alta says: ‘It is the largest of the islands belonging to this State, lying about 25 miles south of the shore of Santa Barbara County, which there runs nearly east and west for a distance of about 40 miles. The island is about 20 [sic] square miles or 75,000 acres. It contains no special wealth of soil, timber, grass or minerals, but so large a body of land must possess value for many purposes. The island was once a great resort for seal and sea otter, but most of them have been driven away now. Andres Castillero, the claimant, is the same person who discovered and opened the New Almaden quicksilver mine.”

June 2, 1860 [Los Angeles Star]: “The Island of Santa Cruz has been finally confirmed by the Supreme Court to Andres Castillero; he discovered and opened the New Almaden quicksilver mine.”

October 5, 1860 [DAC]: “Arrived. Schooner Naiad, [Captain] Bloomfield, 7 days from Santa Cruz Island; mackerel, to Master.”

October 23, 1861 [SFDEB]: “Marine Intelligence. Sailed. Schooner Ann G. Doyle, [Captain] Furlong, Santa Cruz Island.”

October 18, 1862 [SFDEB]: “Importations. Santa Cruz Island per Ann G. Doyle — 20 bbls. tallow, 2 bales wool, 5 bales skins, 30 sacks abalones.”

February 20 1865 [SFDEB]: “A sorrowful event occurred near Santa Barbara a few days ago. Late in the afternoon of Sunday, the 12th of February, George F. Leslie, who was for several years in the employ of Santa Cruz Island, started in an open boat with three men from Santa Barbara for the island, some 20 miles distant. Shortly after he left, it came on to blow very fresh, in consequence of which one of the gentlemen connected with the business on Santa Cruz went down to the beach to order the return of the party, but was too late to signal them. On the day following, Captain Trussel, of the schooner Ana Ellen, coming from the island, was hailed by some object floating about in the channel. After much difficulty he found that the noises proceeded from a Portuguese seaman who was clinging to a boat which had been upset. He immediately, of course, rescued him from his perilous situation, and at that time he was nearly dead from exposure and the violence of the waves. It appears that the remainder of the party after the upsetting of their craft—viz. Mr. Leslie, Porfirio Vasquez and a Portuguese seaman — were washed off the boat to which they had clung, and were drowned; and the survivor only saved his own life with great difficulty till rescued by the good luck of Captain Tressel hearing his voice, which had become piped to a very feeble wail after struggling in the water for 12 or 15 hours. The old sailor is said to have had the fortune to have been twice before rescued from shipwreck. He has been lately engaged with his two lost companions, Vasquez and a brother Portuguese, in salting fish on Santa Cruz and other Channel Islands. The bodies of the three drowned men have not as yet been discovered, ad it is likely many days will elapse before they are found, as the currents off shore are very strong and the accident took place six or seven miles from land. Mr. Leslie was about 27 years of age and had for several years past lived on Santa Cruz. He has left a family. His death is deeply regretted in the town of Santa Barbara, as he was a worthy and excellent young man. He was a native of Lowell, Massachusetts. At the time of his death his wife was waiting his arrival on the island to remove over to the mainland.”

February 21, 1865 [SDU]: “George F. Leslie, a Mexican, and a Spaniard were drowned in attempting to cross from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island, by the swamping of a boat, on the 12th.”

February 21, 1865 [SFDEB]: “New craft in the Santa Barbara channel. The Eustace, one of the finest schooner craft in California, built especially for the Channel trade, arrived at Santa Barbara on the 20th of January, in charge of Captain Furlong, under whose inspection she was constructed last year at Portsmouth, N. H., for the proprietors of the island of Santa Cruz, regardless of cost. She made the run from Rio Janeiro to San Francisco in 76 days, and from Point Conception to Santa Barbara in a little over three hours, and is warranted to sink the hull of the old Senator into the horizon in any breeze in which sails can draw. The people at the port took her for a revenue cutter as she sailed in, and they hope from her good looks to see their heavy freight bills cut down for the remainder of 1865.”

July 1, 1867 [SFDEB]: “Marine Intelligence. Arrived. Schooner Eustace, [Captain] Furlong, 15 days from Santa Cruz Island, via San Simeon 5 days; wool to Barron & Company.”

September 22, 1868 [SFDEB]: “Santa Barbara Items. From the Post of September 12th we glean the annexed: A most cold-blooded and wanton murder occurred in Santa Barbara on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Two Indians, in the employ of Dr. Shaw on Santa Cruz Island, came to this place on Saturday last, and as usual, were seen constantly together, having been heretofore great friends. In the afternoon they both by some means obtained liquor, of which they both freely partook. Late at night a quarrel arose, and Francisco Dominguez stabbed Jose, his former friend and companion, in the abdomen, from the effects of which he died on Sunday afternoon. Dominguez was arrested and is now lying in jail.”

February 17, 1869 [SBP]: “Sale of Santa Cruz Island. The San Francisco Herald says: ‘We hear that the island of Santa Cruz has been sold to an association of French and German wool-growers’ — report says for the sum of $150,000. If so, the purchasers have certainly secured a great bargain, for the island is one of the largest and most fertile on the California coast. It is situated about twenty-one miles in length and four miles wide, containing an area of about 30,000 acres. The land rises in spots to a considerable altitude, but among the somewhat rugged hills, themselves covered with the richest pasture, wind beautiful valleys of great fertility. There is plenty of water upon the island and a good harbor. For many years past it has been occupied as a sheep run, and now contains some thirty or forty thousand sheep, for the improvement of which the proprietors are said to have taken great pains.”</span>

March 29, 1869 the deed to Santa Cruz Island is conveyed from William E. Barron to the Santa Cruz Island Company and its ten stock holders: Pablo Baca, Justinian Caire, Giovanni Battista Cerruti, Thomas J. Gallagher, Adrien Gensoul, Nicolas Larco, Gustave Mahé, Camilo Martin, T. Lemmen Meyer, and Alexander Weill.

May 3, 1869 [SFDEB]: “The schooner J. D. Sanborn has been purchased by T. Lemmen Meyer and others for $10,000. This vessel is 71 tons register and is about 5 years old. She will be employed in the Santa Cruz Island trade. The sale of the island to the above parties was recently noted in the Bulletin.”

May 5, 1869 [SBP]: “The schooner J. D. Sanborn, Captain Chase, arrived in port on Thursday last from San Francisco with a load of piles for the wharf at Santa Cruz Island. The schooner is owned by the new company that recently purchased the island. We hope the Sanborn may have a long and prosperous career.”

July 23, 1869 [SFDEB]: “Marine Intelligence. Sailed. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

July 24, 1869 [SBP]: “Santa Cruz Island. Twenty-five miles right opposite Santa Barbara, is to be, after this, an occasional stopping place of the steamers passing up and down. Since it has come into the possession of its present owners, T. Lemmen Meyer & Co. of San Francisco, a wharf has been constructed on the northern or leeward side of the island, in a cove which makes in from a stream, and gives fine shelter from all winds but northers, to vessels at anchor. The wharf is 200 feet long, and at low tide there is 18 feet of water at the pier. The wharf is so constructed that on one side the cars take the bales of wool to the vessel, and on the other, cattle and sheep are driven to the steamer’s deck with perfect ease and safety. The island itself is some 25 miles long, and from 3 to 12 miles wide. It is used at present for nothing else but a sheep range, of which there are some 30,000 or more. Fine stock has been taken and will be kept there in addition. The products of the island are increasing so fast under the present management that it has been found necessary to furnish steam transportation to market. Wild hogs are so numerous that they have become a great nuisance, and the owners of the island are willing that Lux & Miller or any other man should shoot them, butcher them, corral them, clean them out any way they please, free of charge. As there are many steep places thereabouts, what fun it would be for the Gaderene demons to hunt there a week.”

September 18, 1869 [Santa Barbara County Record of Brands & Earmarks A, p. 131]: “Santa Cruz Island Company [brand S over +] recorded at request of William Watson. 18th A. D. 1869. F. A. Thompson, County Recorder.”

July 29, 1869 [BDA]: “Marine Journal. Domestic Ports. San Francisco. Arrived 17th inst. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

August 27, 1870 [SBT]: “Arrived. August 22. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

August 27, 1870 [SBT]: “Sailed. August 22. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

August 27, 1870 [SBT]: “Arrived. August 24. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

September 3, 1870 [SBT]: “Sailed. September 2. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

September 30, 1870 [DAC]: “Arrived. Schooner J. D. Sanborn, [Captain] Chase, 7 days from Santa Barbara; 300 barrels tallow, 4 dozen sheep tongues, 14 bales wool, 74 hogs, to Santa Cruz Island Company.”

January 7, 1871 [DAC]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, 23 tons, has been sold to the Santa Cruz Island Company for $2300.”

February 4, 1871 [SBT]: “We have just learned from Captain Brown that Captain Chase, who commanded the schooner Sanborn, has traded her for a first class passenger yacht [Star of Freedom], and will leave San Francisco about the 10th instant for this place, and will thereafter ply between our port and Santa Cruz Island.”

February 25, 1871 [SBT]: “Arrived. February 22. Schooner Star of Freedom, [Captain] Chase, San Francisco, ballast.”

April 22, 1871 [SBT]: “Chase, the genial master of that splendid yacht, the Star of Freedom, dropped in on us a few days since with the pleasing information that he is overhauling his boat and preparing her for the accommodation of pleasure parties, families and others who wish to employ such means of recreation.”

June 10, 1871 [SBT]: “Several schooners are laying in our harbor at present, none of which we recognize, except the Star of Freedom, which has been repainted and renovated lately.”

June 17, 1871 [SBT]: “Captain Chase has now got his yacht, Star of Freedom, ready to accommodate pleasure parties. Those desiring to engage the vessel can apply on board or to Leland & Co.”

October 14, 1871 [SBWP]: “Probably on fire. It is generally believed, as we go to press, that Santa Cruz Island is on fire, the air being full of smoke, and other appearances indicating fire in that quarter. If this be so, it will prove a great loss. The stock will almost certainly perish, and great damage will be done to the improvements on the island.”

November 4, 1871 [SBT]: “Departures. October 29. Schooner Star of Freedom, [Captain] Chase, Santa Cruz Island.”

November 4, 1871 [SBT]: “Arrivals. October 31. Schooner Star of Freedom, [Captain] Chase, Prisoners’ Harbor, Santa Cruz Island.”

October 16, 1872 [SBT]: “Voyage of the Star of Freedom to Santa Cruz Island. The passengers and baggage esconded aboard safely at 3 P.M. The bold and noble Captain [Chase] gave orders to haul in the boy and heave up the fish hook. We then set sail and bore away for the island of Santa Rosa. It was a tempestuous night, but the bold Captain, with undaunted courage, stood at the brakes…”

June 24, 1873 [SBDP]: “The arrangements are completed with Goodall, Nelson & Perkins, and the Ventura is engaged for the Fourth of July excursion to Santa Cruz Island. Ample accommodations will be provided for all who wish to go from town and country.”

July 3, 1873 [SBDP]: “Excursion to the island tomorrow. The committee is informed by M. Ohlmeyer that there is an abundance of good water at the Santa Cruz wharf. Persons going should if possible procure tickets before going on board the steamer. The Ventura can accommodate one thousand persons. Let it be understood that we take with us our lunch or dinner. The Ventura will leave Stearns’ Wharf at eight o’clock. A.M. sharp. Family tickets may be had at Miss Plummer’s.” » Ohlmeyer

September 27, 1873 [SBSWT]: “The steamer Constantine arrived at this port yesterday from Santa Cruz Island where she took on board a cargo of wool, 80 tons. She left for San Francisco in the afternoon.”

November 27, 1873 [SDU]: “A magnificent project — of the most beautiful place in Santa Barbara, and according to our belief, in all the country around… It is the property of Don Luis Burton, containing about thirty acres, and lying down by the sea… If the plan is carried out there is more talk of purchasing Santa Cruz Island, and erecting another hotel, having regular steamers to ply between the two pieces. The idea is a capital one. It will be a certain success as a private enterprise. With two hotels thus located we should be constantly swarmed with pleasure-seekers…”


March 12, 1874 [SBDP]: “The Constantine sailed at 8 A.M., taking 71 bales of wool and tons of other freight for San Francisco: forty-eight bales of this wool belonged to the Pacific Wool Growing Company, and twenty-three bales to the Santa Cruz Island Company.”

March 11, 1876 [SBDP]: “Shell-hunting on Santa Cruz Island. Placing ourselves in charge of Captain Thomas, on board the Star of Freedom, at 9 A.M. we sailed for the famed island of Santa Cruz… A commodious adobe house, though damp, cold and dusty from long vacancy, afforded us a sufficient shelter. The darkness of the hour compelled us to destroy some of the Chinese furniture in the house, such as soap boxes, barrels, etc., to provide ourselves with fuel… Our three day’s excursion was unavoidably extended to eight, and had it not been for the kindness of the captain of the Reliance, who put into the little harbor during a storm, and for the generous hospitality of the superintendent of the island, who kindly furnished us with supplies, our subsistence must have been procured from the abundance of sea gulls, frogs, and prickly-pears with which the island abounds…”

July 13, 1876 [SBIndex]: “Gone to the island. Mrs. Perry, Professor A. Bell and Miss S. L. Anderson have gone to Santa Cruz Island to study its flora. They will divide their selections with Professor Lemmon on their return.”

May 28, 1877 [DAC]: “Importations. Per Los Angeles. Santa Cruz Island. 14 bales wool, 144 bundles pelts, 23 hides, 24 barrels tallow, 33 sacks bones, 1 case clothing.”

August 11, 1877 [SBDP]: “Mrs. Brietzman is paying a visit to friends on Santa Cruz Island. She left town last Sunday.”

March 20, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Star of Freedom is taking a load of freight that arrived by the Ancon for Santa Cruz Island.”

October 8, 1878 [DAC]: “San Pedro. Per Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Island. 51 bales wool.”

March 6, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom left this morning for the Island of Santa Cruz, taking over seven tons of freight brought down by the Ancon.”

April 5, 1880 [SBDP]: “The Star of Freedom left yesterday for Santa Cruz Island, where she goes to bring over about 300 sheep to be shipped on the Ancon on her trip up.

April 8, 1880 [SBDP]: “Schooner Star of Freedom arrived yesterday from the Santa Cruz Island bringing 290 lambs, which were shipped today on the Ancon by Mr. Tucker. The schooner returned this morning to the island and will bring over on Monday a lot of sheep to be shipped on the Orizaba Tuesday for the San Francisco market.”

October 25, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom, Captain Burtis, arrived from Santa Cruz Island Saturday night with 72 bales of wool. The aggregate weight of this wool is 20,500 pounds. It is owned by the Santa Cruz Island Company, and is only a small part of the fall clip. The Company has something like forty thousand sheep on the island. The wool was shipped to San Francisco this morning on the Ancon.”

May 27, 1881 [SBDP]: “J. B. Joyaux, superintendent of Santa [Cruz] Island, arrived from San Francisco by the Constantine this morning. He will go to the island on the schooner Star of Freedom tomorrow.”

October 19, 1881 [SBDP]: “The Constantine is expected to call at Santa Cruz Island for wool in a few days.”

November 28, 1882 [SBDP]: “Freight manifest. The steamer Ancon arrived November 26 with the following freight manifest: …Santa Cruz Island, 29 [packages]…”

April 23, 1888 [SBDI]: “The party of young men that went over to Santa Cruz Island last week returned today. They report finding the body of a man who had evidently been washed ashore.”

July 22, 1885 [SBDI]: “We learn that on Sunday night last, the main barn on Santa Cruz Island was entirely destroyed by fire. The barn was filled with hay at the time, cause of fire unknown. The loss will amount to two or three thousand dollars at least.”

July 19, 1886 [SBDI]: “Supervisors’ proceedings. Comparative assessment of ranches… Santa Cruz Island 59,041 acres; 1882 — $31,880; Rates of increase — 2.54; 1886 — $81,015…”

May 18, 1887 [SFDEB]: “A fire broke out in Michelssen, Roth & Co.’s pork-packing establishment in South San Francisco shortly after 10 o’clock last night, and spread with such rapidity that before the Fire Department could be summoned an entire block bounded by Fifth and Sixth avenues and M and N streets and Railroad Avenue was a mass of flames. From Michelssen & Roth’s the fire spread to Donnelly, Dunn & Co.’s warehouse, thence to Cummings & Newman’s slaughter-house, thence to J. Spellacy’s establishment, and then to the Santa Cruz Island Packing Company… The total loss is estimated at $50,000. Spontaneous combustion is supposed to have caused the conflagration.”

July 20, 1892 [SBMP]: “Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors. The Board reestablished the boundaries of the third Supervisor District… including also the islands of Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Anacapa…”

March 20, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The City Council, at its adjourned meeting Friday night, ordered a warrant drawn for $600 to pay for the right-of-way for the boulevard over the Santa Cruz Island property. This company filed its deeds to this land several days before, and the transfer will be at once made.”

May 7, 1893 [LAT]: “Sicilio Ferdinando, the Italian blacksmith on Santa Cruz Island, came over in the schooner last night, and with a companion, one Guiseppe Borgaro, started up to visit a fellow countryman. They took liberal allowances of beer and wine to cheer them on their evening walk, but while going over the railroad trestle on Rancheria Street between Carillo and Figueroa streets, Ferdinando became unsteady and fell over the side of the trestle to the bed of the creek, a distance of thirty feet. His neck was broken by the fall, but he lived from 9 o’clock Friday night to 4 o’clock Saturday morning. A coroner’s jury brought in a verdict in accordance with the above facts. Deceased was 64 years of age, unmarried, and had worked five years for the Santa Cruz Island Company.”

September 5, 1893 [SBDI]: “The Santa Cruz Island suits have been settled to the mutual satisfaction of all and the case taken from court. It was the result of a misunderstanding that the affair took place. This is better for all and cheaper for all.”

January 18, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “A large force of men left for Santa Cruz Island to go to work on the crawfish cannery to be erected on the east side of the island.”

October 3, 1907 [SBI]: “In the line of progress, is the announcement made in this paper, of the project of Captain Goodall and capitalists associated with him to make Santa Cruz Island a resort place for Santa Barbara and the thousands of visitors who come here each year. Not anywhere on the Pacific coast is there a more interesting and naturally beautiful place than the island directly off this city. The wonder is that the improvements that are now promised were not made long ago.”

June 8, Superscript text1911 [LAT]: “Dick Bixby and Roger Roe, owners of the yawl Diana, at Long Beach, are making preparations to do considerable cruisinf after the first of July. This craft has made more individual cruises to Santa Cruz Island than any other boat in the fleet, and her owners and friends know every cranny and nook of the big island off Santa Barbara.”

June 9, 1911 [LAT]: “Shipping. Port San Pedro, Los Angeles. Arrived Friday June 9. Power schooner Santa Rosa Island, Captain Walton, from Santa Cruz Island… The steamer Helen P. Drew …cleared this afternoon for Santa Cruz Island to discharge 90,000 feet of lumber and posts.”

August 18, 1912 [SBMP]: “The work of checking up in the office of County Assessor C. L. Lloyd, the boundaries of the sixth road district created last year, reveals some interesting facts: among them that the islands of Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are now attached to this district, which includes otherwise the territory immediately contiguous to Santa Barbara city, and under the supervision of H. J. Doulton…”

March 21, 1913 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island suggested as ideal reformatory spot. Judge Wilbur approves island location for keeping bad boys. Following the report of the county grand jury condemning Whittier as an unfit place for the location of a reform school and the branding of the building as unsanitary and unsound, Judge Curtis D. Wilbur of the juvenile court today suggested Santa Cruz Island, off the Santa Barbara coast, as an ideal location for a state reformatory institution…”

January 2, 1916 [LAT]: “A modern hotel for Santa Cruz Island is the latest move afoot to further popularize the island retreat which lies thirty miles off the coast of Santa Barbara and is assessed as part of this county. The Caire estate, which owns this island, has had offers from resort men and the trustees have made careful inquiry into the feasibility of such an investment. It is expected that this summer will see extensive improvements on the island as preliminary to permanent building. It is proposed to make a second Catalina of the island…”

March 21, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Romance which for nearly a hundred years has held sway on old Santa Cruz Island, has been banished with the coming of modern business efficiency. The Santa Cruz Island Company, which now has control of the 58,000 acres of the island, has found that its men do better work if they are not ‘lured’ by the strains of ‘La Paloma,’ sung by a Spanish señorita. Women have been banished from the island and it is now an Eveless Eden, an isle of gloom, off the coast of Santa Barbara.”

March 24, 1916 [SBDN]: “Development of the camping possibilities on Santa Cruz Island are expected to take on extensive activity this summer. It is reported that Los Angeles interests are making inquiries concerning long concessions, and if suitable arrangements can be made it is said they will not only put up a very modern lodge of 100 or more rooms, but also install a camp with water piped to each tent, and the tents floored and furnished. Besides this, it is stated, if the lodge is built, a federal license for a wireless station will be secured, and the proprietors will have a news bulletin board on which the events of the world will be recorded fresh from the ticker, and a pleasure wharf will be built, where passengers can effect an easy landing without the surf boat gliding, now necessary. The rapid growth of Santa Barbara is said to be one of the reasons why large interests are now looking to the islands. The men planning all this development want a lease running 50 years at least. They propose to pay well for it, if they can have exclusive resort privileges. Even should this very pretentious scheme not develop this summer, Captain Ira Eaton will have a larger camp, it is said, and add materially to the comforts and convenience of the place, which he has made famous, besides which Captain Vasquez also hopes to open his camp. It is expected neither of these camps will open before June, through Captain Eaton may be induced by the demand to open up earlier.”

April 10, 1916 [SBDN]: “Sheriff Taylor of San Luis Obispo has just returned to his home after an unsuccessful attempt to land on Santa Cruz Island. He was here on a hunting trip, and took a launch to the island, believing that R. H. Wiley, launch owner, for whom the sheriff was hunting, had taken a camp on the island. The fog was so dense when Sheriff Taylor arrived in the lee of Santa Cruz that he did not dare attempt going ashore in the flat bottom boat used for the purpose…”

December 1, 1916 [SBDNI]: “Ventura, December 1. A plan to convert Santa Cruz Island into a second Catalina as a summer resort is the plan of A. N. Buel of San Francisco, who is investigating a project for the construction of a hotel on the island. Mr. Buel has left for the north to interest capital in the proposal. Mr. Buel was here some time ago and visited other cities in looking into a proposition to operate excursion boats from Santa Barbara and Ventura to the island. ‘I am convinced that the hotel would be a paying one and we have secured men with the necessary capital to back the construction of a summer hotel on the island,’ said Mr. Buel. ‘Santa Cruz will some day be more famous than Catalina ever was, for the natural advantages there are superior to Catalina in every respect from the standpoint of a pleasure resort. The sport in fishing is as good as it is about Catalina, and the wild boar hunting will form a unique attraction to tourists who delight in hunting.’”

April 19, 1918 [Lompoc Journal]: “In the matter of the Petition of the Santa Cruz Island Company to establish a voting precinct on Santa Cruz Island, on motion duly seconded and carried it is ordered that the petition in the above entitled matter be and the same is hereby continued until May 6th, 1918 at 10 o'clock A.M.”

January 29, 1919 [OC]: “Everyone on Santa Cruz Island has the flu. M. H. Herbst arrived in the city yesterday from San Francisco. He is the guest of Charles Lindenbaum, and will remain here a few days only. Mr. Herbst was talking shortly before he came here with Justinian Caire, whose family owns Santa Cruz Island, and learned from him that every one of the 50 or 60 people residing on the island has the influenza or has just had it.”

March 8, 1919 [SBMP]: “The matter of getting adequate steamship facilities to and from Santa Cruz Island is being investigated by the D. M. Linnard interests, which operate the Belvedere Hotel here. It is realized that these islands could be made an invaluable asset to Santa Barbara, from a tourist standpoint, if there were some adequate way of tgransporting the people back and forth… The natural attractions of Santa Cruz are regarded by many to exceed those of the southern island [Santa Catalina]…”

January 29, 1921 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara. January 28. Four more victims of the strange malady which is sweeping the settlement on Santa Cruz Island were brought to the mainland today. This makes thirteen men in all under care of doctors here out of about 100 men who compose the settlement. The victims stagger about as though intoxicated, their eyes being affected by the disease. It is claimed several of them have been asleep for as long as three days. Under treatment, most of the men have made recovery. One doctor clings to the belief that the men are victims of sleeping sickness, but other doctors scout this diagnosis, and say the trouble has been caused by poisoning either from food or drink. City Health Officer Hartwell says the symptoms as a whole are not those of sleeping sickness, but of poisoning. Dr. G. Stillman Lovern of the State Health Department and county physician has six of the cases under observation. He states symptoms of sleeping sickness are lacking. He believes the men are suffering from food poisoning.”

June 25, 1922 [LAT]: “The two largest undivided ranches in Santa Barbara county are situated on the islands twenty-five miles from the mainland. Santa Rosa Island, embracing 51,609 acres, is owned by Vail & Vickers. Santa Cruz Island, comprising 58,422 acres, is owned by the Justinian Caire estate.”

September 23, 1968 [LAT]: “A Navy helicopter plucked Laurie Guerin, 15, of 16147 Wyandotte St., Van Nuys, from a ledge on Santa Cruz Island after she fell from a clifftop while hiking. The aircraft was dispatched by the Pt. Mugu Pacific Missile Station in response to a radio call. St. John's Hospital in Oxnard reported Miss Guerin suffered fractures and a spinal injury. Her condition was described as fair.”

July 17, 1929 [SBMP]: “Justice of the Peace Thomas Poole dismissed the case against Roy Smith who was charged with contributing to the delinquency of the 15-year-old daughter of Earl Fisher, 312 Ladera Street, at a preliminary hearing held in his office late yesterday afternoon. Smith was arrested on Santa Cruz Island late Monday afternoon on the complaint of Mr. Fisher, who claimed that his daughter had been taken there last Friday by a group of men. He said that the girl was being held there against her wishes. From testimony offered at the hearing by the girl, Mrs. Fisher, who was in the party, and an 11-year-old boy, who also was on the island part of the time, it was revealed that the behavior of Smith and the girl was proper and that the girl was not kept on the island against her wishes. Smith was not called to testify. When he had heard the testimony, Justice of the Peace Poole decided that there were no grounds for the charges and dismissed Smith.”

1980 ~ Channel Islands National Park was created on March 5, 1980 when President Carter signed Public Law 96-199, which calls for the protection of

the nationally significant natural, scenic, wildlife, marine, ecological, archaeological, cultural, and scientific values of the Channel Islands in the State of California.

June 17, 1983 [SBNP]: “Woman excapes death in island fall. A North Hollywood woman narrowly escaped death when she fell about 40 feet from a cliff on Santa Cruz Island Thursday, Coast Guard officials reported. Lt. Peter Dinicola of the Coast Guard's Rescue Coordination Center in Long Beach said 32-year-old Deborah Sallard fell from the cliff about 10:30 a.m. She was listed in critical condition today in the intensive care unit at St. John's Hospital, Oxnard, but Dinicola said she almost certainly wold have died had she not gotten help so quickly. Moments after the woman fell, Dinicola said, her companions were able to attract the attention of people aboard the fishing boat Fortuna just offshore. Some on the boat radioed the Coast Guard's station at Oxnard's Channel Islands Harbor and a helicopter was dispatched from the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu. The helicopter flew Deborah Sallard to Oxnard, and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Dinacola said she siffered a broken right leg, a compound fracture of the left leg, an open head wound and multiple back and head injuries in the fall. She was also in shock when the helicopter crew picked her up, he said.”

May 4, 2005 [SBNP]: “Search and Rescue. Williard Thompson of Montecito is singing the praises of the sheriff's search and rescue team for its work on Santa Cruz Island after he was reported missing last weekend. He injured a knee Saturday and could not make it back to camp. A group of 14 volunteers, with search dogs, jumped on a ship and plowed through the heavy seas to the island Saturday night to search for him. "They gave up a comfortable Saturday night to come search for me, a stranger, in the dark. "They stayed in touch with my wife, Jo, through all this experience," getting information and "providing her reassurances and moral support," he said.”