SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND THROUGH TIME

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Los Angeles Herald, 1891
San Clemente Island airfield (1935-1941).
The original airfield was a hard packed gravel-dirt strip located in the center of the island. Work started in 1938 and paved over that original strip, completed in 1941.

SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND THROUGH TIME

1930s-2000
1981-2007
San Clemente Island Range Complex

___________________

EARLY REFERENCES:




  • 1897. Grinnell, Joseph Report on the birds recorded during a visit to the islands of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente in the spring of 1897 in Pasadena Academy of Sciences 1:1-25, 1897



  • 1904 Trask, Blanche Flora of San Clemente Island Bulletin of the California Academy of Sciences 3:76-78, 90-95, 1904
Mrs. Blanche Trask, tireless explorer of the Channel Islands, first visited San Clemente Island in October, 1896, walking the length of the island and discovering Quercus tomentella (Erythea 5: 30. 1897). She apparently also was there for a short time in October 1902; and she returned in 1903, living on the island for three months in late spring and publishing a narrative "Flora of San Clemente Island" (Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 3: 76-78, 90-95, 1904). The first set of her plants , at the California Academy of Sciences, was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 (with the exception of a few sheets). But she apparently also sold sets of San Clemente plants, however, and they are represented at the Gray Herbarium , New York Botanical Garden, United States National Museum, and several European herbaria, including Edinburgh.


Since 1934, San Clemente Island has been owned and operated by various naval commands. More than a dozen range and operational areas are clustered within a 60 mile radius of the island. The Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces, Pacific (CINCPACFLT) is the major claimant for the island, and Naval Base Coronado (NBC) is responsible for its administration. Today San Clemente Island's primary function is two fold:

(1) to support tactical training of the Pacific Fleet
(2) to continue as a key research and development facility.

The island provides the Navy and Marine Corps a multi-threat warfare training range. A major part of Navy training takes place on the ranges right off the island shores. The primary range covers over 149,000 square miles and is the Navy's busiest Fleet airspace. Also included in this training area are two mine exercise areas, the Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range, seven submarine areas, the shallow water Undersea Training Range, and two laser training ranges. In total, San Clemente Island is a very unique combination of airfields, airspace and ranges unlike any other facility owned by the Navy. It is the only location in the Pacific where surface ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy expeditionary forces can train in all warfare areas simultaneously using shore gunnery, bombardment, air defense, anti sub and electronic warfare.


Bruce, Stewart C. A Historical Geography of San Clemente Island 1542-1935


16th CENTURY


1542 “On Tuesday, the 3rd of October [1642], they [Cabrillo's expedition] left the port of San Miguel [San Diego] and during Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they continued on their route about eighteen leagues along the coast... On Friday night they were near some islands that were about seven leagues from the mainland... The dawn of Saturday, the 7th of October, found themselves on the islands, to which they gave the names of San Salvador [Santa Catalina Island] and Victoria [San Clemente Island]....” Paez, Juan. Cabrillo's Log, 1542-1543: A Voyage of Discovery in Western Explorer 5:2 & 3 (7). Cabrillo Historical Association.


18th Century


In the News~

March 15, 1769 [Fr. Juan Vizcaino aboard San Antonio, sea-going arm of Portola's expedition]: “Drizzling about daybreak and not a little mist. An island [San Clemente Island] was seen (the first). We are going to turn the point jutting out to the left. Heavy sea and cold. On the point of the Island which faces toward the east, with a hummock rising from the sea, we saw people who raised smoke, and upon passing parallel to the said points, of which there are two [China Point and Pyramid Head], with a bay or port between them [Pyramid Cove], the other one tapering to a point, we could see the light on the other side, but not a tree, only the grass was beginning to grow green.”


19th CENTURY


March 16, 1803: The otter-trading vessel, Leila Byrd, run by Captain William Shaler and his partner, Richard Cleveland, was becalmed at San Clemente Island. Supercargo Richard Cleveland reported:

“the crew observed eleven completely nude individuals, men, women and children, living in a cave on the south side of [San Clemente] the island. These natives live exclusively on fish that they baked in the earth.”

» Cleveland, R. J. A Narrative of Voyage and Commercial Enterprises. John Owen, Cambridge, 1842 » Shaler, W. Journal of a Voyage between China and the North-western Coast of America made in 1804 Saunders Studio Press, Claremont, 1935.


June 25, 1851 [SDU]: “...Sec. 3. County of Los Angeles, Beginning on the coast of the Pacific...including the islands of Santa Catalina and San Clement...”


July 24, 1852 [Los Angeles Star]: “Los Angeles County Indians. [Letter No. XXII.] Finis. Having given a sketch of the Angeles County Indians from the time they were the free, natal possessors of the soil, living contented in a state of nature, until these civilized times of squatting and legislative oppression, in which not only they, but those bearing their blood in a fourth degree, are included, to the shame of this our country, and disgrace of the framers of such laws, I shall now conclude them, with a very short review of how far their ancient manners and customs remain in force among the handful left of a once happy people. Their former lodges are not now in existence, and most of the Indians remaining in the county are from other parts —from Santa Ynez to San Diego. A few are to be found at San Fernando, San Gabriel and the Angeles. Those in service on ranchos are a mere handful. You will find at present more of them in the county of Monterey than in this, excluding the three places names above. Death has been very busy among them for years past, and very few more are wanting to extinguish this lamp that God lighted! The Indians from the northwest coast killed great numbers years ago on the Islands. Those of San Clemente, the remains of which some eighteen years since [1834] were collected in caves on the Island, showed the whole of them to have been possessed of double teeth all round, both in the upper and under jaw. I have previously mentioned that their language has deteriorated much since the conquest. Numerous causes affect all languages, and one of the many which did so to theirs, was the want of their former Councils held so frequently, in which their wise men spoke with eloquence suited to the occasion, using more dignity and expression, which naturally elevated the minds of all, and gave a tinge of better utterance even in ordinary conversation. They have, at present, two religions—one of custom, and another of faith. Naturally fond of novelty, the Catholic one serves as a great treat—the forms and ceremonies an inexhaustible source of amusement. They don't quarrel with their neighbor's mode of worship, but consider their own the best. The life and death of our Savior is only, in their opinion, a distorted version of their own life. Hell, as taught them, has no terrors. It is for whites, not Indians, or else their father would have known it. The Devil, however, has become a great personage in their sight; he is called Zizu, and makes his appearance on all occasions...”


June 16, 1853 [DAC]: “U.S. Surveying Schooner Ewing, off San Pedro, June 1st, 1853. Lieut. Commanding James Alden, U.S.N., Chief of the Hydrographic party on the West Coast:

Sir—I have the pleasure of reporting my return to this place, from the shoal to the southward of San Clemente and San Nicolas, which I have made a thorough examination of, having been five days anchored upon it. The shoal or bank is in Lat. 32 deg. 30 min. N., long. 119 deg. 10 min. 50 sec. W. by N., (by compass), distant forty-six miles; Island of Clemente bears N.E. 1/2 N., (compass), distant forty-three and a half miles. The nature of the bottom is hard, composed of white sand, broken shells and coral; the least water found ten fathoms, which would be about nine reduced to low water, and the character of the soundings, as you will find upon reference to the chart which I send herewith, irregular and abrupt. The weather, while at anchor upon the shoal, we found different from that which ordinarily prevails upon the coast in the vicinity, bearing a strong resemblance to that upon the Banks of Newfoundland. The current is irregular, frequently setting against the wind, and running with a velocity of nearly two knot per hour, producing a heavy sea and causing the water to break in heavy weather as has been reported. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, T. H. Stevens, Lieut. Commanding, U.S.N.”


July 14, 1853 [NYT]: “Lieutenant F. H. Stephens of the U.S. Coast Survey, has completed an examination of the shoal near San Clemente and San Nicolas islands on the California coast… the island of San Clemente bears NE half N distant forty-three and a half miles…”


1854 “The beautiful islands of St. Clemente or St. Salvador, is just appearing over our larboard. I say beautiful island, because it rises fair and graceful out of the oceans, and stands so lofty and relieved against the sky. At the distance from which we have the view, it does not look like land, but resembles a darkish cloud; yet, as we approach, the appearance is constantly changing. The bright clouds around and above it very ditinctly mark its outline. Now it presents the character of its soil, barren clay and rock, with sparce stinted vegetation. This island is said to be about fifteen to twenty miles long and is not inhabited.” [E. S. Capron, 1854]


February 18, 1854 Los Angeles Star


February 22, 1855 Los Angeles Star


August 9, 1856 [SFBulletin]: “U. S. Marine Survey.—Capt. Alden and his assistants, having completed the survey of our harbor and the coast in the immediate vicinity, sailed with the Active, on Monday morning last [28th July], for San Clemente Island. They intend making a thorough survey of the island, and that past of the coast lying between Monterey and San Francisco.”


August 20, 1856 [SFDEB]: “The San Diego Herald says, Captain Alden and his assistants having completed the survey of our harbor and the coast in the immediate vicinity, sailed with the Active on Monday morning last, for San Clemente Island. They intended making a thorough survey of this island, and that part of the coast lying between Monterey and San Francisco.”


September 28, 1857 [DAC]: “…Having visited and examined San Clemente, Santa Catalina, San Nicolas, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel, we [Coast Survey] found them offering no inducements for agriculture, and very few indeed for raising stock, whilst there are so many advantages on the main[land]. In a few words, we may characterize their disadvantages as: want of water and want of fuel, with high, bold and rugged sides, which in many places become precipitous…”


December 5, 1857 [LAStar]: “Delinquent Tax List for the State and County for the year 1857... Owner unknown. 20,000 acres. Island of San Clemente...”


1860-1862: W. E. Greenwell and his team were on San Clemente Island to conduct a topographic survey. No complete map was produced.


January 11, 1861 [California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences]: (Continued from the Farmer of Dec. 28, 1860.) “IV.—D. Indians of Los Angeles County—No 1. 69. Lodges, Languages, etc. The following account of the Los Angeles Indians, by our deceased friend Hugo Reid, was published in the Los Angeles Star; in a series of twenty-two numbers, from February to 24 July 1852. Being the only account of the Indians of that county of any value, and now entirely out of print, we republish them in the Indianology, to give the inquirer one of the most excellent and reliable papers written on the California Indianada by one who resided in the country, twenty years before his death, in 1853. This history of Reid's is accounted of great value among the Ethnologists of Europe and America, who have repeatedly sent to this country for it without avail, as no complete copies of it are now to be had in the State. Lodges.—Before the Indians belonging to the greater part of this county were known to the Whites, they comprised as it were one great Family under Chiefs. They spoke nearly the same language, with the exception of a few words; and were more to be distinguished by a local intonation of the voice than anything else...The following are the principle Lodges or Rancherias, with their corresponding local names: Yang-na, Los Angeles; ... Pineug-na, Santa Catalina Island;,,,Kinkipar, San Clemente Island... There were a great many more villages than the above, probably some forty; but these are a fair sample of their names...”


June 5, 1862 [Greenwell letter]: “[San Clemente Island has] about 150 head of wild sheep…”


February 7, 1865 [SF Bulletin]: “Matters on the Southern Coast. San Pedro, February 2, 1865. For the last ten days we have had a series of rain storms...Nearly every trip the steamer takes up fat beef from this county; and mutton from Clemente Island went up by last trip of the Senator, which must have caused surprise to many persons there, knowing as all do of the severe drought for the past two years. The mutton has but one fault—it is too fat. We killed one of the sheep recently which weighed, dressed, 109 pounds. Before cooking it was necessary to strip off the tallow which, when tried out, weighed nearly 40 pounds. The men residing on Clemente (which is 20 miles or more outside of Catalina) engaged in herding sheep, which grow to enormous size though they __ ___ to ___ without water. Several ___ ___ have prospected for mineral on San Clemente, but have not succeeded in finding any thing ___, though minerals exist there. One of the men living there, a Swede, I think, who is generally known by the name of John Brown No. 1, has a sloop, and frequently takes freight and passengers from the island. The other two men, who are Americans, have a nice vessel, nearly completed, built by themselves there, and will soon be ready to transport their own sheep and wool to a market. The climate on both Catalina and Clemente is said by all those who have resided on these islands, to be much superior to that on the mainland, not being so liable to sudden changes, neither is there much fog. I have written this much for the purpose of letting the readers of the Bulletin, and those who are invalids particularly, know of a chance to regain health without previously visiting the Islands, as many have done... ”


October 5, 1872 [Weekly Alta California]: “The Los Angeles Ranchos... Catalina Island, James Lick... San Clemente Island. Unrecorded...”


1874: Lieut. Col. R. S. Williamson conducted a topographic survey on San Clemente Island for the Lighthouse Board to determine areas for possible lighthouses.


1878: Stehamn Forney conducted a survey of San Clemente Island for the U.S. Coast Survey. His work resulted in a detaild topographic map in 1879.


April 11, 1878 [SF Bulletin]: “San Clemente Island. San Clemente Island lies about twenty-five miles west of Catalina Island, and is about its equal in size. At present it is utilized as a sheep-run, there being at the time of the last shearing from ten to fifteen thousand sheep browsing on its pasturage. In consequence of its distance from the mainland, added to its isolated position, shepherds are dispensed with, and no attention is paid to the flocks by their owners from one shearing to another. Strange to say, not a spring or stream of water has yet been discovered on any part of the island. The sheep are supposed to obtain moisture to allay their thirst from the sea fogs with which the grass is almost constantly drenched. These fogs also sustain good pasturage throughout the year, and the sheep are always in good condition, the wool season having fairly set in, sheep-shearers are now on their way to the Island to ease the flocks of their fleece. The wool is brought away in the schooner that conveys the shearers thither. The number of sheep on the Island cannot be ascertained until the shearing, which will continue for three weeks or a month has been completed. Unless some evil has befallen the flock, their number is now double that of last year. (Los Angeles News.)”


April 24, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Hassler arrived this afternoon from San Clemente Island where she has been engaged for the past three weeks surveying. She will remain about one week.”


May 18, 1878 [LADH]: “Oscar Macy, who has returned from of some weeks duration at San Clemente Island, informs us that fully 9,000 sheep perished there last season on account of the drouth. About 7,000 still remain on the Island, all of which are in a flourishing condition, the grass being very luxuriant.”


September 14, 1878 [Stehman Forney to Mr. Carlile Pollock Patterson, Superintendent, U.S. Coast Survey]: “…I returned to Catalina Island, struck my camp and proceeded by sailing vessel, with men, horses, and camp equipment to San Clemente Island, where I arrived September 14, 1878…”


October 24, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Hassler arrived this afternoon from San Clemente where she has been engaged for the past three weeks surveying. She will remain about one week.”


December 22, 1878 [NYT]: “The Lebanon (Penn.) Courier prints the following extract of a letter from Stehman Forney of the United States Coast Survey, dated on the Island of San Clemente in the Pacific, December 1, 1878:

‘I am at present engaged in making a survey of San Clemente Island. It is 40 miles from the mainland, and is 22 miles in length and 2 miles wide. It is a wild, dreary place, with no water on it, except in immense natural tanks, which are so deep and precipitous that the water in them is inaccessible. I transport the water for my men and horses from the mainland. There is no wood, either, on the island, which is of volcanic formation, and composed of lava and conglomerate. The top of the island is covered with an abundance of grass, which sustains about 10,000 sheep, and, strange to say, they live, grow very fat, and are very profitable to their owners, and yet in the summer season get no water, except in the form of dew on the grass. There is, however, a peculiar plant on the island, called the ice plant, which is filled with moisture and is eaten by the sheep to quench their thirst. They are very fat, and make the finest mutton I have ever eaten.”


June 30, 1879 [Stehman Forney to Mr. Carlile Pollock Patterson, Superintendent, U.S. Coast Survey]: “At the north end of the island there is a small indentation in the shoreline. This place is known as Clemente Anchorage, but is not considered a safe or comfortable place to anchor… There is a house and corral at this place. Anchor to the southward of the house close under the high cliffs in seven fathoms. This place is called Wilson’s Cove, and is the point from which all the wool that is raised on the island, is shipped… The island of San Clemente is the property of the United States, and at present is occupied by Messrs. Goodwin and Mace of Los Angeles, Cal. They support from eight to nine thousand head of sheep upon it…”


April 6, 1880 [San Francisco Bulletin]: “Last week a gang of 25 sheep shearers, principally Indians from San Bernardino, came over from San Clemente Island and were paid off in Los Angeles. About half of them were afterwards arrested for being drunk and for fighting.”


July 3, 1880 [LAH]: “Arrived at San Pedro July 1st, sloop Flora, Perry master, from Clemente Island with cargo of abalone shells for I. Morrison.”


September 14, 1880 [LAH]: “Arrived at Wilmington September 11th, sloop Flora, [Captain] Perry master, from Clemente Island with cargo of shells.”


January 11, 1881 [LAH]: “Arrived January 9th, schooner Alexander, [Captain] McMillen master, from Clemente Island.”


January 28, 1882 [LAH]: “Col. Oscar Macy got home yesterday from a brief visit to San Clemente Island.”


April 12, 1881 [LAH]: “Arrived, April 7th, schooner San Mateo, Sylvia, master, twelve hours from San Clemente Island, with passengers and wool.”


January 31, 1882 [LAH]: “One of the lighters belonging to Gen. Banning, that was blown to sea during the severe gale of the 12th inst., was recovered by Capt. Samuel Sylva while returning from Clemente Island on the 25th inst. Her cargo of about fifty tons of coal was safe and dry. From the position in which she was found it would indicate that she had made the entire circuit of Catalina Island and was bound toward San Diego to take water.”


October 24, 1883 [San Diego Sun]: “The schooner Ellen, Captain Behen, consigned to Mr. A. Wentscher, arrived on Sunday from Clemente Island with six hundred gallons of oil and eight hundred seal skins. She was absent one and a half months.”


November 17, 1883 [San Diego Sun]: “The schooner Ellen, Captain Wilson, consigned to Mr. A. Wentscher, arrived yesterday, from Clemente Island, with four hundred seal skins.”


November 23, 1883 [LAT]: “A Chinaman who drowned at San Clemente Island last Saturday, was brought up from Wilmington, and after a coroner’s inquest was held, the body was buried from the undertaking establishment of Mr. Albert Brown. The Chinaman was with others, engaged in fishing on the island, and accompanied by his brother, on the fatal day were plying their vocation when their little boat was overturned and both thrown into the water. One regained the boat and was rescued. The other drowned.”


April 23, 1883 [SFMC]: “The sloop Isabella, Captain Charles England, will sail this morning for San Clemente Island.”


November 19, 1883 [SFMC]: “…On Catalina Island, sixty miles east of Santa Barbara, are 15,000 sheep, and on Clemente Island, 80 miles east of that city, are 10,000 sheep. Forty miles west of the same city is San Miguel, on which are 2000 sheep. Each one of these ranches has a sailing vessel to carry freight etc. to and from between the islands and the mainland, and they are kept busy the greater part of the time…”


January 25, 1883 [LAH]: “Los Angeles lights at sea. The peculiar merit of out electric lights, and the distance at which they may be seen, was forcibly illustrated yesterday, by the statement of some gentlemen from the Island of San Clemente eighty miles distant. They stated that the high mast lights of the city are all visible from that island, in clear weather, and the captains of coasting vessels report that they are clearly seen from their decks, when the light from the San Pedro lighthouse is invisible. When they see the nine colored stars in the east, the skippers know their latitude without reference to the stars or the lighthouse. These facts show the propriety of having an electric light in our lighthouses along the coast. While lighting our streets at night the electric rays reach out over the sea to 'tell the homesick mariner of the shore,' and waken visions of orange groves and the perpetual beauty and odor of flowers in fair Los Angeles.”


February 2, 1884 [SDRU]: “The electric lights on the high masts at Los Angeles can be distinctly seen from the Island of San Clemente eighty miles out to sea.”


August 4, 1885 [SF Chronicle]: “The Academy of Sciences held a meeting last evening, Professor Davidson presiding and C. Walcott Brooks, Secretary... Professor Davidson gave a description of the San Clemente Island, drawing a map on the board and describing different points.”


April 7, 1888 [DAC]: “Los Angeles, April 6. It has been learned that on the 10th of March the body of an unknown man was washed on the beach of San Clemente Island, about seventy-five miles from the mainland. The body was naked and was covered with holes, which may have been made by seabirds. Some Indian children found it. It is supposed that the remains were those of a sailor from some passing ship.”


October 5, 1888 [LAT]: “Pasadena. It is reported that an ancient temple, dedicated to the god Chiuigehinich, has been discovered on San Clemente Island. A number of prominent scientists and businessmen went to the island this evening in a yacht for the purpose of investigating the rumor.”


October 15, 1888 [LAT]: “Pasadena. The prospecting party that started for San Clemente Island yesterday week, returned this morning enthusiastic and well satisfied with the results of their trip, although insufficient time prevented as full an investigation as was desired. The party was as follows: Col. W. A. Ray, W. H. Wakeley, Sam Wakeley, H. J. and W. L. Vail, J. W. Wood, Delos Arnold, George Prosser, L. Jarvis, Frank Healy and C. E. Deschampaugh… Several broad plateaus exist, which with proper cultivation would probably prove fertile, but the only use to which the island is put at present is that of sheep-grazing, about fifteen thousand of these animals now existing there under the care of an Irishman, whose lonely residence there dates back 25 years. As this man, Tom Gallagher by name, is a Republican, it is supposed that the vote of San Clemente will be sold for Harrison and protection—to wool… No less than six perfect skeletons were found… numerous stone mortars and pestles, many broken and some entire… earrings of abalone shell, and numerous other trinkets…”


July 5, 1890 [SFC]: “San Pedro, July 4. Captain Innes, a resident of San Pedro, went hunting on Clemente Island two weeks ago. He expected to be back the next day, but as he was not heard from a search party went over and found his body this morning. He had probably been dead two days. He had wandered around weak from want of food, and had fallen and struck his head on a sharp stone and was killed instantly.”


August 12, 1890 [Riverside Daily Press]: “Riverside goes to Clemente. Hurrah! we've been to San Clemente Island and have seen the Robinson Crusoe of the Pacific. Last Wednesday morning a party, exclusively of Riverside people, got together by Dr. Shugart, sailed out of Avalon harbor on the yacht Hattie, bound for this lone island in the Pacific Ocean. The party consisted of Dr. and Mrs. K. D. Shugart and Marion Waite, Dr. and Mrs. E. H. Way, Hon. A. P. Johnson, wife and son Orson, Mrs. Jno. McFarland and son Chauncey, J. H. Roe, wife and daughter Mary, John Bigelow and H. L. Morton. The Hattie is a staunch one-masted yacht, forty feet long, with a vapor engine which runs by gasoline and takes the boat along five miles an hour when there is no wind...We started about 10 a.m. and plowed the blue waters in a southerly direction for six hours, till at 4 p.m. we cast anchor in Dakin's Cove where Tom Gallagher lives out his lonely life. The island is 30 miles from Catalina and 60 from Laguna. It is 21-3/4 miles long—just the same as Catalina, and from one to five miles broad. We had heard that it was a sand island, but it is nearly as hilly as Catalina, the highest point being 1960 feet...The southern shore of Clemente is the most desolate coast I have ever seen. It fairly gives me the horrors. Extensive sand slopes stretch down to the beach, which is lined with black and jagged rocks, around which the surf thunders ominously. But it is par excellence the place to find abalone shells. Here you can pry them off the rocks or pick them up empty. Chinamen had lately been along collecting abalone meat, which they cook and dry. They throw away the shells and Riverside orchardists pick them up. The rarest are the yellow ones, which must be pulled out from under with boat hooks. Marion Waite got a perfect Indian skull, McFarland a nearly complete skeleton, Dr. Way a whale's vertebra and rib, and the rest, limpets, black and white key-hole varieties. As for abalones, we all got all we could lug over the hill. Gallagher's billy goat is a character. The old man said he had been known to eat a plug of tobacco. To test it, Dr. Shugart cut off a good sized pipeful and handed it to him with a Jewfish kind of smile. Billy took it, winked once and swallowed it promptly. Having begged in vain for more he resumed his former diet of old newspapers, tin cans, etc. The old Crusoe keeps the goat to get the sheep into any corral he wants them in. The goat understands it, and marches out of one corral into another, the sheep following. They are sheared in February, 50 men coming over for the purpose. Last time they sheared 14,000 and a good many got away. There used to be twice as many, Gallagher said, but they have gradually killed all the brush and water-containing shrubs on the island, and are now decreasing. There is no spring of water on the isle, and it is a singular fact that they live from July till November without getting a single drink. In July the "tanks" or ponds dry up, and no more water till next rains...They even chew the cactus, or "tunies”, because it is filled with moisture. The poor things sometimes drink sea water, which kills them. Yet they keep fat, and on the whole seem to enjoy themselves better than some people I know. Just think of going to far Clemente for a hot chicken dinner! We had one there. The venerable occupant keeps fouls and we bought one for fifty cents, cooked it on his big range, and ate it with relish. T. B. Gallagher was born in Ireland nearly 70 years ago, he does not know his age but looks about that. He came to "Ameriky" when a lad, served ten years in the "rigular arrmy, Oh!", came to San Bernardino some time before the war, visited San Clemente 30 years ago, and has resided there for 28 years past. He is employed to remain as a guard for the sheep and property for the owners—Goodwin, Mace & Hubbell of Los Angeles. He has now with him a Mexican, Alvitre Martinez by name, who has been there since last shearing time, five months. He can't speak Spanish and Alvitre "no spikky mucho Engliss," so they must have an interesting time. I was witness to an unsuccessful attempt on Gallagher's part to make him understand a question. It was a no go. But for many, many years Old Tom has had to "go it alone", his solitude being interrupted only by the annual shearing and occasional yachting parties. When asked if he did not get lonesome, he laughed and said "Oh, I often go over to the mainland, but I soon get tired of it and come back. I needn't stay if I don't want to." He looks hale and hearty, and sticks close to his pipe, and is good for many years yet, no doubt; but some morning he won't get up any more, and the two white dogs will howl and nobody will be there to feed them. After one day and two nights on the island we bade adieu to the hospitable master of this inhospitable shore, shoved off the bouldery beach, climbed gladly up the side of the Hattie, steamed three miles to the isthmus, debarked and got more shells, bones and "trash", returned and at 1 o'clock hoisted sail and "sailed the ocean blue" till Castle Rock (dubbed Gallagher's Nose by our party) disappeared beneath the horizon and Catalina loomed loftily along the lee...”


1891: W. W. Allen, surveyor hired by the Lighthouse Board to determine rights of way for roads connecting the three lighthouse reservations on the island.


May 14, 1891 [DAC]: “San Diego, May 13. County Surveyor Allen, with a complete surveying outfit, sailed today for San Clemente Island to make a Government survey for three lighthouses and a road to connect them.”


June 15, 1891 [San Diego Union]: “Surveys have just been completed at San Clemente Island, sixty miles off Del Mar, for three lighthouses with connecting roads. County surveyor W. W. Allen has done the preliminary work.”


August 21, 1891 [LAT]: “It was reported on the streets yesterday that a number of settlers are making their way to San Clemente Island where they are locating Government land. It is said that water has been found only nine feet from the surface and the land will grow anything. Another big crowd will go over Sunday.”


August 22, 1891 [LAH]: “San Clemente Island. Plenty of good land claimed to be open to settlers. San Clemente Island is now the scene of considerable excitement. Some few weeks ago two Glendale men went to the island and discovered that it contained considerable fine land, but no water. They prospected and found plenty of good water, however, at a depth of ten feet, and so came back to this city and attempted to file claims under the preemption act. The island belongs to the government, but it is a question as to whether the land is open for settlement, as all the islands are reserved by the government except where they are conveyed by special grant. The Indians have a tradition that years ago, during an earthquake, San Clemente was cut off from the mainland, with the Indians that happened to be in that locality, and that they all died from thirst, as no water could be had. The place has of late years only been considered good for sheep pasture. If it be true that plenty of water can be had, and that the land is open for settlement, there will be a big rush of land seekers.”


August 23, 1891 [LAH]: “San Clemente Island. No filings on land on the Island are receivable. Inquiry was made at the United Stated Land Office yesterday in regard to the alleged stampede of settlers to San Clemente Island for the purpose of taking up lands. No filings have so far been made on any land on the island, and none would be received if offered, for the reason that Clemente has never been surveyed, and there are no plats of the island in the local office. The receiver does not know whether or not the land is reserved from settlement by the government, but the supposition is strong that it is, for if the land were open to settlers plats of the island would be on file here. The local office directs all inquiries to the deputy surveyor-general of the United States for this district, whose headquarters are at San Francisco. No report of the discover of water on the island has been made to the receiver.”


August 27, 1891 [LAH]: “Fifteen claims have been filed in the county recorder’s office to land on San Clemente Island within the past four weeks. A Herald reporter last evening saw one of the island boomers, and was told that the soil is mainly a rich sandy loam, similar to that in the famous San Gabriel Valley. The island is twenty-nine miles long by from three to five miles wide. It is not broken and rocky like Catalina, but is made up of rolling plateaus of, as stated, what appears to be the very best quality of soil. ‘Land Register Seamans told me,’ said a settler whom the Herald man saw last evening, ‘that we are all right, and that we have a good thing. He is going to cross to the island on Friday. ‘To show that the soil is good, I will tell you that I found luxuriant growths of wild cherry and wild plum trees, and mountain mahogany, and rank plants of malvia. The wild cherries were longer than most of the domestic ones now in the market here.’ ‘How about water?’ ‘Plenty of it. We have one well eight feet deep in which there is three feet and six inches of good water. We have a well contractor over there now, who is to put down a number. Why, there used to be a spring and a little lake on the island. When those fellows who have got sheep there took possession they stopped up the spring and drained the lake, so as to keep people from interfering with them. The spring was on the middle ranch, as it is called, and we will clear it out. ‘Have not these sheep men any title?’ ‘Not a particle. No one has. All people can do is to file possessory claims in the county recorder’s office, and when the government survey is made those who have complied with the requirements of the homestead law will get the land they have filed on.’ ‘How much land is there?’ ‘There are about 75,000 acres altogether, of which at least three-fourths are good land.’ ‘Who have claims there now?’ ‘There are fifteen altogether. I can’t remember all the names; among them are G. W. Sanford and Mr. Bruns, of Verdugo; Carl Stromsen, Andrew Olden, Fred Entwoldsen, of San Pedro; W. S. Deacon, W. W. Freeman, and D. W. Freeman, of Los Angeles. Several hundred men have arranged to go to the island this week, and a petition is already being circulated asking for the establishment of a post office. It is not probable that Oscar Macy and his associates in the sheep business on the island, will give up their bonanza without a struggle, though if as claimed they have no lease, it is hard to see how they can fight. The only inhabitant of the island has been an old sailor named Gallagher, who has turned his luck to the world and ‘let her go,’ and for many years has taken care of his sheep. He swears by the place, saying it has the finest climate in the world, and that living there has added decades to his life. He has lived there as long as any one can remember, and he does not know how old he is now, and presumably expects to remain there for an indefinite period. The party which returned yesterday come for more supplies, and will return on Friday. They are sanguine as to their prospects, and have caused a widespread fever among those adventurously inclined to go to San Clemente and get a quarter section. In these affairs the wise man looks well before he leaps.”


August 27, 1891 [LAH]: “It has always been understood here that San Clemente Island was waterless — that is fresh water could not be developed there by the digging of wells. Since the excitement started about the island being pre-emptible by settlers, however, water has been developed there, we are assured, in sufficient quantities for all purposes. A gentleman who returned from the island yesterday informs us that he found plenty of water there. He is one of the settlers, and believes that he can hold his location as long as the government does not want the island for military purposes. When asked, how he could hold it as against the parties who had leased it for sheep grazing, he said it was not true that the government had ever leased the island or any portion of it. If this is so, it will prove a revelation to all the old-timers here.”


August 28, 1891 [LAH]: “There appears to be little doubt but that San Clemente Island is open for settlers, and that the adventurous men who have taken up claims there, as exclusively announced in yesterday’s Herald, will make a good thing out of their enterprise. United Stated Land Register Seamans yesterday said about the matter, ‘we have no information in our office that San Clemente is reserved by the government for any purpose, and no one has any lease of it. It is only known to us as unsurveyed government land. ‘The only way in which anyone can acquire a claim to unsurveyed government land not reserved, is by occupying it, and thus getting a possessory right; after the land is surveyed and the plat filed in the local land office, the occupant of the land will have the preference in the privilege of making entry. I do not think there is anything in the way of the men who have taken claims there eventually getting titles. A number of expeditions were fitted out yesterday for the island, and in a few days time, it will probably be over run with settlers.”


August 29, 1891 [LAH]: “Over on the island. The San Clemente boomers satisfied with their prospects. W. C. Deacon, one of the settlers on San Clemente Island, returned to this city yesterday. He stated to a Herald reporter that there is no question about it being easy to obtain water on the island. The well sunk a few weeks ago is apparently inexhaustible. There are now about twenty claims taken; and thirty odd people will go over on Monday or Tuesday. Mr. Deacon asserts that the land is of the very best quality, and displayed a government chart which showed that the greater part of the island consisted of plateaus. The quality of the soil Mr. Deacon said, was demonstrated by the luxuriant growth of wild fruit trees. He is well satisfied with the speculation and the prospect of eventually getting a title to his land.”


August 29, 1891 [LAT]: “The attempt to boom San Clemente fell flat, and the island will continue to be used as a sheep pasture as it has been for years.”


September 2, 1891 [LAH]: “The sheep men have no lease to the island. A San Diego County Surveyor enthuses over the place. Land as good as found anywhere. The climate perfect. Ex-supervisor Oscar Macy was seen by a Herald Examiner reporter yesterday and asked about San Clemente Island. He stated that the Wool Growers’ company in which he was interested had no claim to the island beyond that of using it as a pasture. He did not think, however, that people would care to settle on it to any great extent. The San Diegan, of Monday, contains the following matter apropos: ‘A good deal of interest is just now being manifested in San Clemente Island, which lies forty miles off the coast due west from Del Mar. It has been supposed by most people that the island was personal property through the operation of a Mexican land grant, but a search of the records show that it is ordinary government land, and as open to entry by homesteaders as any other unsurveyed government land. The result of this discovery is that a number of people from Los Angeles have gone “west” to San Clemente and staked out homestead claims. There is also talk here of organizing a party for the same purpose. Last May County Surveyor Allen, acting as United States deputy surveyor, went to San Clemente with a force of men and ran lines for three light house reservations and for a road to connect them all. The land lays somewhat in the form of a pyramid, the north end tapering to quite a narrow point, and the south end or base being broader. A light house reservation was staked off at the two corners of the base or south end, and at the north end, called Schubert’s Harbor. Mr. Allen said today his surveyors showed the island to be 20 miles long and from 2 to 6 miles wide. Portions of it are plenty high enough to keep people out of the mud, the altitude in places reaching 1900 feet. The shore next to San Diego is almost a wall, the bluffs rising from the water at an angle of 45 feet up to about the highest elevation of the island. From the crest of this bluff the land slopes gently to the waters’ edge on the west. The southern third of the island is broken and full of canyons, of value only as reservoirs for water caught by winter rains. The northern two-thirds is fairly level, the slope being to the west and north. At the extreme northern end the land is sandy, but the middle belt is of adobe foundation, “and when I was there,” said Surveyor Allen, “was covered with fileria two feet high. There are in fact,” he said, “thousands of acres of as good land there as there is anywhere in the world, and the climate tempered by the ocean, is perfect.” Up to a short time ago, it was supposed no fresh water could be obtained except that which was caught in the canyons, but a well was then dug and reasonably good water was found. The absence of water is the chief obstacle to a residence and cultivation of the soil, however. Tom Gallagher has for over twenty years been the sole occupant of the land, which has been used as a free sheep pasture by the San Clemente Wool Grower’s Association. Indian mounds and relics found there make the place of historic interest.”


September 3, 1891 [LAH]: “Captain Condit’s sloop Hattie carried a party to San Clemente Island last week. Among those on board were Messrs. Harris, Howard, Condit, Arthur Kenney, Charlie Hubbell and Gay Lewis.”


September 5, 1891 [LAT]: “The Clemente Colonists. W. W. Freeman, one of the Clemente Island colonists, last evening called at The Times office to deny the statements made by Secretary Howard of the Park Commission, who, he says, is working in the interest of the sheep men. Freeman says that while there are only eight or ten men on the island at present, twenty or twenty-five claims have been entered and the settlers expect to take possession about October 1. Freeman says water is abundant, and a good supply can be had by ten to fifteen-foot wells. He further says two-thirds of the island is good farming land.”


September 5, 1891 [LAT]: “San Clemente Island is not to be restored to the public domain. Commissioner Carter of the General Land Office some time ago received an application to have San Clemente Island, located about thirty miles off the southwest coast of California, restored to the public domain. In view, however, of its possible importance as a naval station the Commissioner has rejected the application.”


September 10, 1891 [LAH]: “The experience of a couple of San Diego boys at San Clemente Island. E. Tiel, a well-known young man about the city, says the San Diegan, started with a companion for a pleasure tour to San Clemente Island, a few days ago. They embarked on the yacht Excelsior, and made their way to the island without anything to mar their pleasure. Arriving there they anchored off shore about half a mile. They then placed their guns into the yacht’s row boat and made for the shore, but trouble then began. Upon getting near shore the breakers upset their small boat, and swept the boys and the guns to the beach in a heap. As they had taken nothing from the yacht but their guns the accident left them without anything to eat, and all the matches they had were spoiled by the wetting. The only ting to do was to try and get back to the ship. They launched their small boat, but as soon as the breakers were reached they were upset again and washed ashore. After repeated trials with similar results the boys gave it up and started with their guns to try to kill some game, as hunger had set in. After an hour or so they killed a goat and brought it back to the place where they first landed. But the cooking of the meat was now found to be difficult. How was a fire to be started? One of the boys had a microscope and some fine grass was gathered and after a long trial a fire was started by the concentrated rays of the sun. For four days they were held prisoners until finally old Neptune was caught alseep and the ocean became quiet. They then passed the breakers and and got aboard their yacht nd immediately set sail for San Diego They don’t think much of San Clemente.”


September 12, 1891 [MD]: “The commissioner of the general land office refuses to restore San Clemente Island to the public domain. It is a military reservation, and the boomers there and their victims can acquire no title.”


September 16, 1891 [HL/BP]: “The Honorable To the Secy. Of Interior: Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of September 11th, 1891, and in reply… the entire surface of San Clemente Island off the Coast of California be held permanently for the use of the light-house establishment, and therefore request… that the necessary instruction be given to the commissioner of the General Land Office that no part of the island be restored to the public domain… Very Respectfully, Charles Foster, Secy. T. A.M.”


September 16, 1891 [LAH]: “San Clemente Land. Justice King declares the land valuable and water plenty. Justice P. E. King, of Burbank, who has been spending the past three weeks on San Clemente Island with his wife and daughter, has returned to his home and gives a most glowing account of the possibilities of that hitherto unappreciated spot. ‘I have taken 160 acres of as fine land as your foot ever trod on,’ he said yesterday, ‘and on it I have a well of fresh, sweet water, eight feet from the surface, which you couldn’t pump dry in a week.’ The justice says that about twenty-five entries have so far been filed on San Clemente Island lands. The settlers are proceeding under the Act of 1852, which allows citizens to file on unsurveyed lands in the office of the county recorder. There are 50,000 acres of good arable land awaiting settlers, and water is obtainable on very much of this, at very little cost. Most of those who have already taken up claims have located about what is known as ‘Northwest harbor,’ which is a fine body of water well protected by a head of rocks and a submerged reef. Most of the land at this particular spot has been taken up, but further down the island there is a large area of plateau land, gently sloping to the outer shore, on which grow wild cherries, wild oats, alfileria and other grasses. Very little of this land has as yet been entered. Several cabins have been erected at Northwest Harbor, and there are about fifteen people residing there. The land about the harbor rises slowly to the hills, and forms a magnificent natural amphitheatre, said to exceed in beauty even far-famed Catalina. Between the harbor and the center of the island there is a strip of rocky soil, but beyond this land there is a rich, sandy adobe, of great fertility and depth. There are 20,000 sheep on the island and 12,000 goats, the latter of which are easily killed, proving fine eating. The water in the wells is said to be so excellent that boatmen running from Northwest Harbor to San Pedro carry enough for the return trip, as they prefer it to the water obtainable at the latter place. The yacht Mystic is making regular bi-weekly trips between San Pedro and San Clemente, and other boats make occasional visits to the island. Several excursions have also gone from San Diego, sixty miles distant. Northwest Harbor is forty miles from San Pedro and forty from Del Mar, and is equally accessible from both places.


September 18, 1891 [LAT]: “Two San Diego boys were shipwrecked on San Clemente Island and had to play Robinson Crusoe for four days.”


September 20, 1891 [LAT Classifieds]: “Government Land! San Clemente Island. For full particulars of land, transportation, etc. see W. W. Freeman, rooms 55 and 56, New Wilson Block, corner First and Spring at Los Angeles. Open evenings from 7 to 9.” [Advertisement ran multiple times through the end of the year.]


September 23, 1891 [LAH]: “Are they antiques? Captain Envoldsen's Find at San Clemente Island. Captain Envoldsen recently made a discovery at San Clemente which has been much discussed by the residents of the island. At the east end of the island the captain found three rock houses seven or eight feet high. They were made of big slabs of rocks and were put together as if by a professional bricklayer. Tom Gallagher, the pioneer explorer of the island, never knew of the presence of these houses. It is supposed that they were constructed by Indians years ago. Near the house was found a well. It appeared to have been recently filled, consequently someone must have known about these slab houses.”


December 17, 1891 [LAH]: “About San Clemente Island. Editors Herald: For the benefit of those who are intending to settle on San Clemente Island, I wish to state that it is not at all as represented by certain parties interested in a scheme to put money in their own pockets, at the expense of the poor, deluded land-seekers. The island is perfectly barren and has no fresh water on it. A number of the would-be settlers have made attempts to strike water by digging wells, and have been unsuccessful in each and every case. There is only one well on the island and that is almost on the ocean beach, where there a brackish water is obtained, which is not fit for drinking purposes, and even the sheep refuse to drink it as long as they can find it elsewhere. They also boast of having a good harbor which is a lie on the face of it, as the so-called harbor is open to all winds except the south winds, and within the last three months no less than four staunch boats have been lost in this very harbor, and during a great portion of the year it is impossible to land on the beach in the harbor, on account of the high surf, and several persons have nearly lost their lives in making the attempt. This is the true state of affairs, and should be enough to deter any sensible man from settling there. But there is another obstacle even more insurmountable than the absence of water. The land, like all islands, is a military and naval reservation, and always will be, which any one can learn by addressing a letter to the land department at Washington. Yours truly, A-Would-Be-Settler.”


January 3, 1892 [LAH]: “Justice P. E. King of Burbank, on a recent trip to San Clemente Island, secured a curiosity, which has been named 'What-is-it?' Mr. King thinks it is a petrified ostrich egg. Others think it is a geode, and so on. Mr. King presented it to the Southern California Science Association, and Dr. B. H. Alter has the 'What-is-it?' in his custody for the society.”


January 9, 1892 [MD]: “The people who flocked to San Clemente Island some months ago to take up government land, paying the promoters of the scheme for transpiration and from $25 to $50 apiece for locating government land, are a disgusted crowd. The entire island is a government lighthouse reservation and not subject to entry.”


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 14, 1892 [LAH]: “Was he murdered? Captain James Posey, who owns the schooner Lou, returned a few days ago, says the San Diego Sun, from a voyage to San Clemente Island. At the time he reported that he had seen a dead Chinaman on the island, but as another Chinaman was near the spot he concluded there was nothing unusual about the affair. It now transpires that there is a mystery surrounding the matter. Ah Gin and Lee Duc had been fishing together for several months. One day last week Lee returned from a fishing trip of long duration, alone. He was asked what had become of Ah Gin, and replied that he knew nothing about him. Soon after this Mr. Duc disappeared, and has not been seen in the city since. A reporter made inquiries in Chinatown last night and today, but no definite information could be obtained. The Chinamen all seem to know Ah Gin and Lee very well, but they won't say much regarding the disappearance of either. Captain Posey says that when he saw the dead Chinaman the body was lying on the rocks about a quarter of a mile from shore, and that he supposed the man had died of disease and was being got ready to bring back to San Diego or to be buried on the island. Two Portuguese fishermen who arrived yesterday report that they also ran across the body of a Chinaman, but that the birds and beasts had eaten the flesh off the bones until it was only by the clothing that the nationality could be established.”


March 29, 1892 [LAH]: “Yesterday Judge Smith of the superior court administered a severe lecture to Amos Abbott, who was arrested for contempt of court early in the week. Abbott was subpoenaed to attend the trial of his brother, and instead of obeying the mandate of the court he went over to San Clemente Island, from whence he was brought back by Deputy Sheriff Anderson. After giving him a lecture, Judge Smith fined Abbott $400, or in default of payment there of 200 days' imprisonment in the county jail.”


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.”


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.”


August 17, 1891 [LAH]: “The schooner Kewee, Captain Whitley, arrived today from San Clemente Island with 500 sheep for Oscar Macy.”


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 21, 1892 [LAT]: “San Clemente Wool Company vs. Alexander O’Larrey; suit in ejectments to recover possession of part of San Clemente Island and for $500 damages. The plaintiff claims to have been in exclusive possession of all of San Clemente Island for 20 years past, and alleges that within the last year the defendant has unlawfully taken possession of Mosquito Harbor on the island. The plaintiff sues for restitution of the premises and $500 damages.”


February 7, 1893 [SBMP]: “The schooner San Mateo came in Sunday night from San Clemente Island with a cargo of twelve or fifteen tons of abalone shells.”


February 9, 1893 [LAH]: “Redondo Beach, Feb. 8,— Captain Gent moored his yacht Oregon along side Redondo wharf at 2:30 P.M. today, just in from San Clemente Island. The Oregon brought in a full cargo of abalone shells gathered by the crews of the steam schooner Hetty and the Oregon on the beaches of San Clemente. Captain Gent left San Clemente yesterday at noon, making a good run into this port. The remaining members of the crews with the Hetty he left at San Clemente, all in good health and spirits. Captain George Earle, with the Hetty, will soon proceed from that island to the island of San Nicolas, located to the northwest, where they will make their next rendezvous. Captain Gent proposes putting to sea tomorrow for San Nicolas Island, or as soon as he can ship sufficient stores aboard the Oregon required for the crews of the expedition.”


February 28, 1893 [SBMP]: “The schooner Santa Rosa came in from San Clemente Island Sunday with a cargo of four tons of gravel. The schooner will take a load of lumber back to Santa Rosa Island.”


February 28, 1893 [LAH]: “San Pedro, February 27. The skeleton of a lost man found. About 10 years ago C. Frankel, with a party of friends, went to San Clemente Island for his health. One night Mr. Frankel wandered away from camp and never returned, and although a most thorough search was made, no trace of the missing man could be found. A few days ago as Captain Ross of the yacht White Wings was exploring a deep canyon on the south side of the island he came across the bleached skeleton of a human being, which is supposed to be that of the missing Frankel, as no one else has been lost since that time whose remains have not been found. Mr. Frankel was quite wealthy, and his relatives, who reside near here, will probably have the remains brought over and buried.”


March 5, 1893 [LAH]: “Messrs. Hall & Trudel, the enterprising abalone shell and curio dealers and collectors, have chartered the steam tug Pelican, under the command of Capt. Alexander Smith, for a trip to San Clemente Island, to leave Redondo on Wednesday, March 8th. The trip is intended to combine business with pleasure, the business part being the collection of spoils gathered by Capt. George Earle and his party, who went out to San Clemente about six weeks ago for the steam schooner Hatty. Reports have been received from time to time, from Captain Earle's party, indicating some rare and valuable finds on and about San Clemente. Accommodations for eight or 10 excursionists as passengers have been made my Messrs Hall & Trudel for the trip, and any one desiring to be ;in it' should be on the alert. The Pelican will make an early start from Redondo wharf, at 6 o'clock A.M. March 8th.”


March 9, 1893 [LAH]: “The excursion trip to San Clemente Island by the steamer Pelican had to be postponed until tomorrow, on account of extra work on the moorings in this port.”


August 31, 1894 [LAH]: “Judge S. C. Hubbell has returned from a fishing trip to San Clemente Island.”


January 16, 1894 [SBMP]: “...Dr. Yates had both shells and fossils from the islands... Among the beautiful specimens of shells was an immense paper nautilus from San Clemente which attracted much admiration.”


August 30, 1894 [SBDI]: “The sloop Restless arrived from San Clemente Island last night with a cargo of abalones and shells, being the catch of a party of Chinamen who have been at work there for some time past.”


March 31, 1895 [LAT/SM]: “The following message sailed in a bottle was picked up on the beach today: ‘We think Island San Clemente, March 1, 1895. Our three-mast schooner Howitzer, from Guaymas to San Francisco in ballast, was wrecked on the rocks day before yesterday and the crew are now waiting to be rescued. Please send us your immediate assistance as our provisions are very low. James E. Von Blich, Captain. Henry Awer, First Mate.’ An Associated Press dispatch from San Francisco says the Merchants Exchange here has no record of the schooner Howitzer. No such vessel is known and it is believed the story of the wreck is a hoax.”


June 4, 1895 [SFCall]: “Sloop reported ashore on San Clemente. Los Angeles, June 3. — it is reported that a sloop in command of Captain Harlow has gone ashore on the Island of San Clemente, about forty miles south of San Pedro. The name of the sloop is not known and no details are obtainable.”


June 5, 1895 [LAH]: “They ate the ship's dog. Rough trip of the crew of a little craft. Loss of the sloop Crest. Terrible hardships endured by three sailor men. After weathering a gale the Captain lost his bearings and the vessel was wrecked on San Clemente. San Pedro, Cal., June 4. — Captain Harlow of the wrecked sloop Crest is at present at the marine hospital here slowly recovering from the effects of starvation and thirst and with feet poisoned with cactus and swollen to twice their natural size and cruelly burned by the sun and the awful story of their sufferings as told by the captain is as follows: On April 19th the sloop Crest was brought round here from her winter quarters, Alamitos Bay, and was thoroughly overhauled and refitted on the 13th of May, when the craft sailed for Pismo beach, near Port Harford, the intent being to fish and run excursions during the summer. The crew of three consisted of Captain Harlow, Harry Wilkinson and W. Warren and the ship's bulldog called Jim Corbett. They arrived all well at Santa Barbara on the 15th, where they purchased provisions and refilled their water casks. They sailed again that afternoon but it blew so hard off Point Concepcion that they ran into Coho and laid there for twenty-four hours weather bound. On Friday, the 17th at 6:00 P.M. they sailed once more and rounded Point Concepcion, steering a course for Point Arguello, with a light northwest breeze. At 9 P.M. a nice breeze opened up from the north which the captain thought would carry him fairly on his course during the night, but no preparations were made for stormy weather. As the wind increased they reefed the main sail, but before they could stow the jib it was blown away. By this time the wind was blowing a gale and the sea was running high. As nothing more could be done, the tiller was lashed and the vessel hove to for the wind to go down. The weather not abating, and being unable to wear ship, they were compelled to remain as they were for four nights and three days, or until Tuesday morning. They they got under way and steered a course E.N.E. until they sighted San Clemente Island, which they took to be Santa Rosa Island. The provisions being exhausted and the water all gone, by Thursday evening they were compelled to kill the captain's dog, drinking the blood and cooking and eating a portion of its flesh and throwing the remainder overboard on sighting land. Anchoring the sloop they went ashore in the small boat on Friday, and the captain being the only man able to walk, hunted for water. He found some and carried a two-quart can to his crew, whom he found in a deplorable condition, they having drank salt water during his absence. It was then decided to sail for the mainland, and the sloop was once more manned, but the centerboard would not work, and the little craft fouled in the kelp, struck a rock and began to break up. Warren and Wilkinson landed and the captain passed the compass, gaff, boom and mainsail, a blanket and some loose clothes ashore and then landed himself. The last seen of the ill-fated craft she was slowly settling down. This is where their greatest hardship commenced. For two days the men roamed the island, still thinking they were on Santa Rosa. Harry Wilkinson was so ill, they had to leave him by the water until they could secure help. The captain eventually reached Judge Hubbell's ranch, where he was given the kindest care and attention. The men were soon put aboard the yacht Keywee and brought to San Pedro. Harry Wilkinson recovered enough to go on to San Francisco on the St. Paul's last trip. Warren is in Los Angeles, and Captain Harlow is slowly recovering his health under the care of Dr. Hill and Steward Duffy at the Marine hospital.”


June 17, 1895 [LAT]: “Honorable S. C. Hubbell returned from San Clemente Island yesterday, bringing full confirmation of the wreck of the sloop, Crest, and the sufferings of her unlucky crew… The Crest had sailed from San Pedro for Pismo, a small seaport on the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Her crew consisted of Captain W. A. Harlow and two seamen, Wafton Warren and Harry Wilkerson, and a small white bulldog. They took with them a small quantity of provisions, and only ten gallons of water, as they had anticipated smooth sailing and a quick passage. Off Point Dume they encountered a northwester which raged with such a fury that it carried away the rigging, tore off the rudder and drove the small craft far out to sea… they drifted ashore at the lower end of San Clemente Island… As soon as the castaways had recovered somewhat from their sufferings they were sent to San Pedro on the company’s sloop in care of Captain Pete…”


July 4, 1895 [LAT/P]: “San Clemente is a lighthouse reservation, but why don’t we have the lighthouse? A gentleman, a famous yachtsman on the eastern coast, stated that not having a light on the island was a criminal neglect.”


August 23, 1895 [LAT/SCat]: “Dr. de Souchet, who came here [Santa Catalina] from Los Angeles for his health, returned yesterday from a week’s exploring expedition to San Clemente Island with Indian curios, beads, wampum, etc. He was accompanied by his nephew and a guide, and walked forty miles a day while exploring.”


September 17, 1895 [SanDU]: “...San Clemente [Island] is frequented by Chinese abalone fishermen from Santa Barbara and San Diego, and on the second night we came upon a camp of five Chinamen from San Diego, who treated us with great hospitality...”


March 1, 1896 [LAT/SP]: “Collector John T. Gaffey, with some deputies and assistants, started yesterday on a cruise to San Clemente Island to look for contraband Chinamen. Before his departure, Mr. Gaffey swore all of the newspapers to secrecy, representing that his object might be foiled by premature publication, but the secret has leaked out… Mr. Gaffey suspects that Chinamen are being landed at San Clemente, whence they are brought to California shores in fishing boats, and he proposes to break up the traffic…”


March 4, 1896 [LAT]: “John T. Gaffey, the Collector of Port, is still over across the San Pedro channel hunting for a band of seventy-five unregistered Chinamen which is said to be at San Clemente awaiting a favorable opportunity to slip into the country. It is reported that there really is a party of Chinamen on San Clemente, but that the men are merely Santa Barbara fishermen...”


March 5, 1896 [LAT]: “Weather too rough to capture Chinese smugglers. John T. Gaffey, Collector of the Port, returned yesterday from his attempt to reach, with his expedition, San Clemente Island, believed to be a point from which unregistered Chinamen have been landed on American soil…”


March 5, 1896 [LAH]: “The report from Los Angeles concerning secreting illicit Chinamen on San Clemente Island is not believed here. A party of Santa Barbara Chinamen has been on the island several weeks, gathering fish and shells. The schooner Restless is now on her regular trip to Clemente with provisions.”


March 9, 1896 [LAT]: “Unexplained presence of schooner at San Clemente. Reports indicating the presence of contraband Chinese on San Clemente, and perhaps on San Nicolas Island, also continue to be heard. From the captain of a boat which makes frequent trips about the islands and to San Pedro it has been learned that a four-masted schooner was seen about ten days ago in Smugglers’ Cove, which indents the coast line of the southeast end of San Clemente…”


March 11, 1896 [LAT/SB]: “Three Chinamen held by customs officers at San Pedro, suspected of being smuggled from San Clemente Island, are well known here, where they have resided twenty years, and been engaged a long time abalone gathering on Channel Islands. Their certificates are in the hands of an attorney.”


March 28, 1896 [MD]: “Three Chinese who are held by the Customs officers of San Pedro, suspected of being smuggled from San Clemente Island, are well known at Santa Barbara, and their certificates are there in the hands of an attorney.”


May 6, 1896 [LAT]: “The athletes of the University of California will not go East this spring. This conclusion was reached today when H. B. Torrey, the hurdler, told Captain Merwin that it would be impossible for him to accompany the team on its tour. Torrey is a student assistant in the department of biology. The department has arranged to do summer work on San Clemente Island, beginning about May 20…”


June 2, 1896 [LAT]: “San Clemente will be haunted by biologists this summer. Several instructors of the science departments of the University of California will visit the island in company with a number of students and they will spend the summer in scientific research.”


July 23, 1896 [LAH]: “Santa Ana, July 21,—The tramp boat Santa Barbara of San Diego, who has been spending its vacation at San Clemente Island, was off the east end last evening.”


July 30, 1896 [LAH]: “After an eight-day trip the sloop Ocean has returned from San Clemente Island, with the following pleasure party aboard: J. M. Templeton and son, Fred Foster, Will Brill and John A. F. A. Foot, all of Pasadena. They succeeded in gathering a fine collection of shells.”


August 2, 1896 [LAH]: “Sir: Your letter of June 17, 1893, to the honorable, the secretary of the treasury, proposing to lease San Clemente Island, California, has been referred to this office. In reply the board informs you that San Clemente Island is a lighthouse reservation. It is held for lighthouse and other government purposes. Answer has been made to similar applications that the board did not find itself able to recommend the leasing of the whole or any part of the island. Respectfully yours, F. A. Mahan, Captain of Engineers, U. S. Army, Engineer's Secretary.”

“Los Angeles, California. Sir: I am in receipt by reference from the department of your letter dated June 17, 1893, requesting information in regard to purchasing or renting San Clemente Island, situate off the coast of California. In reply I have to state that said island is, therefore, not subject to disposal. This office has no authority to lease or rent surveyed or unsurveyed land. Very respectfully, S. W. Lamoreaux, Commissioner.

Judge S. C. Hubbell is one of the sheep syndicate, which includes some of the wealthiest men of the city, and he was asked about his right to the island yesterday, but was rather reticent. He denied having any lease of the island or any title to it, but said that they had their sheep there by a right that they had purchased from sheep owners who preceded them, and while not saying so gave the reporter the impression that the company had some sort of a right which he did not feel like discussing. He admitted having 3000 sheep there, but declined to go into the details of the profits derived from them. In fact, very little light on the matter was obtained from Mr. Hubbell, except a denial of a rumor that the company intended to make a summer resort out of the island, which he laughed at as absurd, as the place is too barren and not supplied with enough water. The facts are, then, that a private company has been allowed the valuable right of making a sheep ranch out of the island, keeping its employees there, monopolizing the feed and making presumably thousands of dollars a year out of it, without paying anything for it, as the above letters plainly say that the island cannot be rented. There are a number of people who would like to know how the matter has been arranged with the federal authorities, if they have been, and if there is no understanding between the company and the department officials, have the latter been aware of the use that is being made of the property?”


August 17, 1896 [LAT]: “The report comes of a singular discovery by a naturalist on San Clemente Island, which, on the faced of it, seems almost incredible. While clambering about among the rocks this naturalist noticed an unusual number of humming birds going and coming from some point far up the rocky ravine. He followed the procession and found that the birds entered a small hole in the side of the ravine. He peered into this hole, after tearing away some of the side earthen wall, and there a wonderful sight met his eyes. There was a cavern about twenty feet square. In it were thousands of humming birds of beautiful plumage. They appeared to have constructed apartments for separate families about the sides of this cavern. It was a kind of cooperative housekeeping affair. Ornithological experts have never known of such a thing before. Usually the humming bird is the most independent of birds as well as ‘sassy.’ Cooperation among hummers is extraordinary.”


September 9, 1896 [LAT/SD]: “The junk Acme has returned from San Clemente Island with Chinamen and abalone shells.”


September 17, 1896 [SanDU]: “San Clemente is frequented by Chinese abalone fishermen from Santa Barbara and San Diego, and on the second night we came upon a camp of five Chinamen from San Diego who treated us with great hospitality.”


September 24, 1896 [LAH]: “Avalon, Sept. 23,— The yacht Nellie, of fifty tons, has returned from a cruise of San Clemente Island with the following party: Mr. Swanfeldt and family, Charles Parker and Mr. A. B. Chappell. Captain Frank Whittley, the owner, was in command. Fishing and hunting was enjoyed.”


September 24, 1896 [LAH]: “Avalon, Sept. 23,— Messrs. J. A. Graves, H. E. Graves, Los Angeles; William E. Harris, John L. Petrie, New York, and F. W. Henshaw of Oakland, who have been stopping at the Metropole, left this morning on a week's fishing trip to San Clemente Island on the La Paloma.


December 1, 1896 [LAH]: “San Pedro, Nov. 30, — The schooner Freia, Captain Martin Bernson, put in here for shelter to await the subsiding of the heavy seas. The vessel is from Washington and is getting a cargo of abalone shells and meat, which she will carry back north. Her cargo is to be loaded aboard at San Clemente Island.”


December 25, 1896 [LAH]: “Schooner Brothers, Capt. Widing, arrived from San Clemente Island.”


January 30, 1897 [LAT/P]: “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences was duly organized this evening at Throop Hall. The business meeting was preceded by some discussion of scientific subjects. Professor C. F. Holder gave an interesting address upon ‘Deep Sea Life’…He also touched upon the discoveries made at San Clemente Island and showed a number of skulls and utensils exhumed from an Indian grave.”


March 28, 1897 [LAH]: “M. A. Call, one of the Throop students who, with Prof. Hoag, started upon a ten days' scientific exploration trip on San Clemente Island, returned today. The party reached San Pedro at four o'clock on Thursday afternoon. The sloop that was to take them to the island was found in bad shape and the captain who was to run her was half seas over in a nearby saloon. Finally they got started and the captain, who was still under the influence, threatened to sink everything. Prof. Hoag and his boys persuaded him not to do so however, and they returned to the mainland. The party re-embarked in another boat Friday evening. Mr. Call, however, did not join them, but returned home.”


April 2, 1897 [LAH]: “Avalon, April 1. E. B. Hoag, professor of biology in Throop University, accompanied by five students, has just returned from a week's visit to Clemente Island, where they went for the purpose of pleasure and research. Prof. Hoag made an interesting collection of rocks and minerals while Joseph Grinnell, the assistant curator of the museum, succeeded in securing some fine specimens of birds, including several new varieties. Some of the party returned to Clemente this morning on the Bertha, where they intend to search for Indian relics at the west end of the island.”


May 9, 1897 [LAH]: “At the meeting last night of the Academy of Sciences of Throop Polytechnic Institute an expedition of the members to the Islands of San Clemente and San Nicolas was organized. The expedition has been contemplated for some time and the generous subscription of H. C Merritt has made t possible. Bugs, Indian relics and plants will be gathered in and placed in the Throop collection.”


May 11, 1897 [LAR]: “The expedition under the auspices of the [Pasadena] Academy of Sciences will leave tomorrow (Tuesday) for scientific research on the Santa Barbara islands. A schooner has been chartered, and fully equipped. The party will consist of Joseph Grinnell, Horace Gaylord, Harry Galyord and James Britton. They will probably be joined later by Professor Hoag of Throop, and F. S. Daggett. The plan is to spend the first week on Santa Barbara Island, the second on San Nicolas, and about two weeks on San Clemente.”


May 22, 1897 [LAT]: “The schooner Manatee has just returned from San Clemente Island, having taken an expedition there in quest of abalones and Indian relics. The captain reports a stormy passage after leaving Catalina Island, having drifted as far south as the Coronado Islands.”


May 25, 1897 [LAT/Red]: “The schooner yacht Manatee, used for carrying provisions to abalone gatherers on San Clemente Island, and bringing abalones and Indian relics back, parted her anchor and drifted ashore in front of the bathhouse. But little damage was done as the water was not rough.”


May 31, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Harry D. Gaylord, one of the members of the expedition sent out under the auspices of the [Pasadena] Academy of Sciences, returned this morning from San Clemente Island. The other members of the party are still at the island, where Mr. Gaylord will rejoin them within a few days, having come back to Pasadena only to be present at the exercises of Memorial Day. Santa Barbara Island and San Nicolas Island were visited by the party, and at the latter, many interesting Indian relics were found. Three species of birds new to this coast have been discovered. The expedition is meeting with much success in its researches, and Mr. Gaylord speaks with enthusiasm of the work already accomplished.”


June 4, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Harry Gaylord will return tomorrow (Friday) to San Clemente Island to rejoin the expedition sent out by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences.”


June 4, 1897 [LAT/Red]: “The schooner yacht Manatee is still on the beach in front of the bath house, and is daily becoming more deeply bedded in the sand. She is owned by a number of fishermen here. The man owning the sails and rigging has stripped her, and nothing remains but the hull. While the owners are quarreling over the possession of the wreck, the party of relic-hunters she carried to San Clemente Island is awaiting her return with provisions, and to carry them and their shells and Indian relics back to the mainland. The friends of the marooned relic hunters are making arrangements for another boat to go to San Clemente to bring the men home.”


June 5, 1897 [LAT]: “The scientific researches which are being carried on by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences on San Clemente and other islands off the southern California coast, promise to give results of an unusual interest. These islands are practically virgin soil and are not only rich in archaeological remains, but also contain many new varieties of animals and vegetable life. It is probable that a second expedition may follow the present one.”


June 10, 1897 [LAH]: “Avalon, June 9.— E. L. Doran, accompanied by his nephew, A. C. Breese of Los Angeles, left for San Clemente Island yesterday. Captain Al Holbrook went along as navigator. They expect to be gone for a week.”


June 11, 1897 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara Islands. Pasadena, June 10. — Messrs. H. D. Gaylord, Joseph Grinnell and Horace Gaylord of the Pasadena Academy of Sciences expedition to the Santa Barbara Islands, returned late last night bringing back many interesting and valuable relics. They visited San Nicolas and San Clemente islands, besides the Santa Barbara group, finding many evidences of former Indian occupation, especially on the first named islands. A hermit was found living on San Clemente. Otherwise the islands are uninhabited.”


June 13, 1897 [LAT]: “DeMoss Bowers of this city has returned from a two months’ sojourn on San Clemente Island with a rare collection of Indian relics to supplement an already choice collection in his possession. Much interest has been excited among archaeologists over these San Clemente specimens, as many of them are unique and of particular interest. Some of the curious consist of ornaments, trinkets and utensils of stone, bone and shell, stone pipes, whistles, figures of seals, birds, fish, butterflies, etc. ‘San Clemente Island,’ said Bowers yesterday, ‘is one of the most desolate and forbidden places that can be made on the bleak western side, and there isn’t a harbor on the whole island that is a safe anchorage at all times. There are one or two places very difficult to reach, where a certain amount of water may be procured. We were compelled to go twenty miles for the water we used. A company has a man to look after some stock on the island, but he is unable to succor distressed parties. Six or eight men have lost their lives by drowning, by starvation or thirst, or through being lost on San Clemente, and it is a good place to stay away from.”


July 14, 1897 [LAH]: “Redondo. The yacht Violet, Capt. Sherubel, has a charter party for San Clemente Island the latter part of this week.”


July 21, 1897 [LAT]: “Judge and Mrs. S. C. Hubbell and daughters and Dr. Brainerd will leave in a day or two for San Clemente Island for a stay of three or four weeks.”


July 25, 1897 [LAH]: “Judge and Mrs. Stephen C. Hubbell, with their daughters and Dr. Brainard, have gone to San Clemente Island, where they will remain two or three weeks.”


Augusy 5, 1897 [LAH]: “Alec O'Leary, in his fourteen-foot boat, in company with his dog, Bo'sun, made the trip from San Clemente to Avalon yesterday in eight hours, leaving San Clemente at 7 A.M. in the morning and arriving here at 3 in the afternoon.”


September 9, 1897 [LAH]: “W. J. Rouse returned last night from a hunting trip on San Clemente Island.”


September 26, 1897 [LAH]: “Early this morning a large party left for Newport, where they will take the naptha launch Santa Barbara and go on a five days' trip to San Clemente Island, and possibly touch other places. Those in the party are: Ed H. McPherson of McPherson, Thomas Brown, C. H. Canfield, Dr. W, B. Wood, A. B. Tiffany, Fred M. Robinson, Samuel Sollenberger, Earl Hemphill, S. M. Craddich and John Woolsey of Orange.”


September 29, 1897 [LAH]: “The party which left Orange early Friday morning to visit San Clemente Island returned Monday evening. Their provisions ran short, they were nearly all seasick, and altogether they will have few pleasant recollections of their 'pleasure' trip.”


September 30, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “S. C. Hubbell of Los Angeles, who is a monopolist to the extent of owning all the sheep on San Clemente Island, sailed over from there this morning in the Brothers, to take the steamer for San Pedro today.”


October 15, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “This morning Jim Gardner and T. V. Hardwick sailed for San Clemente Island in the sloop Violet, taking with them a supply of provisions for Alex O’Leary at Mosquito Harbor. The island belongs to the government, and in anticipation of its being thrown open to settlement some day, O’Leary five years ago located at Mosquito Harbor, where there are about two acres of available land and a stream of water…”


October 22, 1897 [LAT/SP]: “San Pedro harbor work… San Clemente Island, to which Senator White lately referred as a source of rock supply, in a communication addressed to the Secretary, is owned by the United States for lighthouse purposes. Rock was once taken from there for the improvement of Wilmington Harbor. I shall recommend to the War Department that authority be secured from the Lighthouse Bureau to draw upon the San Clemente quarries, and the specifications will provide for the use of that rock, if thought best, as it is of good quality.”


October 23, 1897 [LAH]: “San Clemente Island is owned by the United States for lighthouse purposes. Rock will be at once taken from there for the improvement of Wilmington harbor. I shall recommend to the war department that authority be secured from the lighthouse bureau to draw upon San Clemente quarries, and the specifications will provide for the use of that rock if thought best, as it is of good quality. (Maj. C. E. L. B. Davis of the corps of engineers of the United States army).”


October 24, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “T. V. Hardwick and Jim Gardner returned from San Clemente Island yesterday morning in the sloop Violet. They brought back several goat skins and report Mosquito Harbor as being filled with yellowtail in the mornings in quantities unlike anything they had ever seen.”


November 7, 1897 [LAT/SCat]: “George and Louis Emerson, B. Ogden and Charles Parker of Avalon leave tomorrow for San Clemente Island to remain ten days.”


December 2, 1897 [LAT]: “A recent report became current to the effect that three or four people had filed claims on San Clemente Island, hoping thereby to profit from the government’s need of rock for use on the breakwater construction at San Pedro harbor…”


December 18, 1897 [LAT/SP]: “Rock for San Pedro. San Clemente and Santa Catalina islands visited by experts and samples secured. Differences in the cost of transportation from two islands…”


December 18, 1897 [SN]: “San Clemente Island, off the coast of Southern California, is unsurveyed Government land. The island is, in fact, a reservation held by the Government for lighthouse purposes, and is under the jurisdiction and control of the United States Treasury Department. Nothing short of an act of Congress, it is said, can place that land open to the filing of private claims.”


December 25, 1897 [LAT/SP]: “The Wilmington Transportation power yacht La Paloma, Captain Smith, arrived from San Clemente Island this morning. She had on board the crew of the schooner Minnie [Minna], which was wrecked last week. The Minnie, a small schooner of twenty-seven tons, Captain William Gerald in command, belongs in San Diego. She left that port some three weeks ago with a crew of one seaman and a cook. On the morning of Saturday, December 18, a squall was encountered and the Minnie was overturned. Fortunately as small skiff was being towed at the stern of the vessel. The captain and the crew swam the heavy sea to the boat and with the greatest difficulty freed it from the schooner. They had scarcely got into it when the Minnie went down. She was about thirteen miles east-southeast of San Clemente Island at the time, to which the shipwrecked crew pulled their way. They reached the island in such an exhausted condition that they could not pull the skiff ashore, so they left it in the shallow water on the beach. After resting a few hours the men walked about the island until they came upon some Mexican sheepherders who fed them. They learned that they had walked fourteen miles from the east end of the island. They went from there to Gallagher’s place, a distance of seven miles, on horses that the Mexicans had lent them. They remained there for four days and as good fortune would have it, La Paloma put in to Gallagher’s landing and they were brought here in that yacht. The men were barefooted, and their feet were full of cuts and bruises from the long walk over the island. They left here today for San Diego on the steamer Alexander Duncan.”


December 26, 1897 [LAH]: “San Diego, Cal., Dec. 25.—Skipper William Gerull has lost his little schooner Minna. He arrived today on the steamer Alex Duncan and reports that a week ago the Minna capsized in a squall and Gerull and his cook saved themselves by swimming to San Clemente Island. There they were cared for by sheep herders several days until they were taken to San Pedro on the Banning Bros. launch Paloma and thence to this city on the Duncan. The Minna was a tub-shaped craft of about twenty tons.”


January 1, 1898 [LAT/SD]: “Skipper Gerull of this city, who lost the schooner Minna a week or more ago just off San Clemente Island by being capsized, left here a day or two ago in the schooner Lura, to search the high seas for his lost Minna.”


January 1, 1898 [LAH]: “Captain William Gurrull, whose schooner Minna was wrecked off San Clemente Island recently, left port a few days ago with the schooner Lena in the hope of finding something of value from his boat. He returned last night having in tow the sloop Ranger of San Pedro, which went adrift off St. Nicholas [San Nicolas] Island on Dec. 9, and whose crew was brought here on the British ship Roby. The Ranger was found by Gurrell about eight miles off shore drifting leisurely towards the tropics. The Ranger is a little battered, but skipper Gurrell expects several hundred dollars as a reward for his prize.”


January 16, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “A.M. Jennings of New York, a builder of breakwaters and jetties, who expects to bid on the San Pedro Harbor work, chartered the Paloma Monday, and, accompanied by John Lesher of Baltimore, visited San Clemente to inspect the rock there. They also went to Empire Landing to view the Catalina quarries.”


January 27, 1898 [LAT]: “I. N. Day, the man who built the Cascade Locks in Oregon, and Charles A. Warren of the firm of Warren & Malley, are in the city and staying at the Hollenbeck. They are here to look over the San Pedro Harbor with a view of putting in a bid for the work. They will examine the stone quarries at San Clemente and Santa Catalina islands…”


January 29, 1898 [LAT]: “Major Charles E. L. B. Davis of San Francisco, the government engineer who will open the bids for the San Pedro breakwater on February 10… has been anxious to visit the islands of Santa Catalina and Clemente for a personal inspection of the rock to be found at those quarries… On Thursday he chartered La Paloma, and accompanied by six contractors and J. B. Banning, left Avalon for Clemente at 7 A.M. The party landed at Gallagher’s…”


January 30, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. Bidders on the proposed breakwater at San Pedro are coming over every day to visit the quarries at Catalina and Clemente…”


February 4, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The chamber has started a movement, the purpose of which is to have San Clemente, San Nicolas and Anacapa islands opened to settlement.”


February 11, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “San Francisco. Harbor bids are opened… Bids for the construction of the proposed breakwater at San Pedro were opened at noon… One proposition called for the taking of stone from private quarries and the other called for the taking of stone from the government reservation on San Clemente Island…”


February 18, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The Board of City Trustees at Tuesday evening’s meeting indorsed the resolution of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce in favor of opening San Clemente, Anacapa and San Nicolas islands to settlement.”


March 4, 1898 [LAT]: “Fight is won. San Pedro contract to be awarded. San Clemente rock to be made use of… awarding the contract to the firm of Heldmaier & Neu of Chicago, their bid being something less than $1,500,000…”


March 15, 1898 [LAH]: “Terminal Island, March 14.—Major Davis of the Engineer corps, and Major Sutton of the regular army were overnight guests at the Tavern on Friday, they having arrived from San Clemente Island that day, at which place they had been examining the rock for the harbor breakwater. Major Sutton is the officer who will be in the immediate charge of the works while under construction.”


April 3, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The sloop Kee Wee, a twenty-ton craft owned by F. K. Whittley and engaged in the traffic between this port and Santa Catalina and San Clemente, capsized this afternoon about a mile off Deadman’s Island. The wind was blowing about forty miles an hour from the west. Gus Knowles and George Johnson, the crew of the sloop, were picked up by a boat from the United States Fish Commission steamship Albatross, which was anchored about a quarter of a mile away. The Kee Wee was returning from San Clemente Island with livestock when she turned turtle.”


April 6, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “It is not expected that the sloop Kee Wee, which capsized in a gale and sunk in the channel last Saturday, will be recovered. A search for indications by which to find her location was unsuccessful.”


June 19, 1898 [SBMP]: “The Restless brought over a cargo of abalones and shells from San Clemente Island yesterday.”


July 11, 1898 [LAH]: “The yacht La Paloma, which started for San Clemente Island yesterday morning, returned in the evening. When out about fifteen miles the barometer fell as though it was going right on through the bottom of the glass, and Capt. Goodfellow decided that the safest course was to turn and run for the shelter of the island before the expected blow should set in. The yacht was sighted from the seal rocks and the launch Narod was sent out to tow them in.”


July 27, 1898 [LAH]: “...Most of the bidders made two bids, one for stone from their own quarries and the other for stone from San Clemente Island, which the government was to furnish without royalty. In the above list those for the Clemente rock are the ones given, except in the case of the last bidder, their offer for that rock being $2,249,187.”


August 20, 1898 [LAH]: “San Pedro harbor assured. San Francisco, Aug. 19.—(Special to the Herald.) The San Pedro harbor contract has been signed and sealed and sent to Washington, and within a month or so work will be under way on the big breakwater... There is much preliminary labor necessary, before rock hauling from San Clemente Island can begin. Two strong sea-going tugs are to be secured, and ten large barges built...”


August 21, 1898 [LAH]: “The yacht Aggie has just returned from San Clemente Island after a three-day's trip. Mr. Wiltsee, the owner, reports a very pleasant trip, as the weather was all that could be asked for. The guests on the voyage were J. C. Jordan, Mrs. Jordan, Miss Bender, Miss A. Moffitt, C. A. Williams and Dan McFarland.”


August 21, 1898 [LAH]: “Captain W. E. Burnham's yacht San Diego has returned from ten days' trip to San CLemente Island. On the way over they caught sixteen yellowtail and two barracuda. Those on board were W. Sidney Smith, C. O. Sharr, H. Gregg and H. A. Walton.”


September 1, 1898 [LAH]: “San Clemente Island rock may be used in the building of the San Pedro breakwater, for which the contract has already been signed, and the bond approved.”


September 1, 1898 [LAH]: “The yacht Violet has returned from San Clemente Island. In the way back she made an exceedingly fast run until she came about half a mile from the harbor, when the wind left her, and it took her almost as long to get into the bay as it did to make the entire trip from Clemente.”


September 4, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The schooner Brothers arrived from San Clemente Island this morning.”


September 4, 1898 [LAT/OC]: “J. B. Joplin and W. J. Rouse left this morning for San Clemente Island for a week’s pleasure.”


September 9, 1898 [LAH]: “W. J. Rouse returned last night from a several days' hunting trip on San Clemente Island.”


September 10, 1898 [LAH]: “J. B. Joplin returned this morning from a yachting trip to San Clemente Island.”


September 14, 1898 [SFCall]: “Pasadena, September 13. San Clemente, a desert island so called, which lies in the Pacific in the Santa Barbara Channel group [?], is to be colonized, if the plans of Mr. Bolton and forty odd families of this neighborhood he has interested do not fall through. These families have pooled their belongings and propose to squat on 160 acres each… The only inhabitants of San Clemente are a few sheep and cattle herders, and a hermit, Alec O’Leary, who lives with his goats and cat and dog miles from human beings. Sometimes he comes to the mainland, making the trip in a skiff with a flour sack for a sail. The climate of the place is excellent and the soil good. There is but one obstacle in the way of settlement by farmers. This island, together with Santa Barbara and San Nicolas islands and several of the Santa Cruz group, was set aside by the government for lighthouse and naval purposes. A very plain title cannot, therefore, be secured by the settlers, but the would-be colonists think that their rights, if they can cultivate the soil, will receive as much respect as those of the sheepherders, and eventually the government will grant them title.”


September 23, 1898 [LAT]: “Plenty of suitable rock on San Clemente Island… ‘At San Clemente Island I [Mr. Neu] found a quarry of suitable rock, at the north end of the island and about 3000 feet southeast of Wilson’s Cove. We will build piers for mooring barges there, so that the rock can be loaded directly from the quarry into the boats…’”


October 6, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “The Violet, Captain C. F. Reeves, returned last night from a trip to Clemente, having taken over three months’ provisions for Alex, the hermit of Mosquito Harbor.”


November 13, 1898 [LAT/SCat]: “The little schooner Amy, Captain Jenkins of San Diego, dropped anchor in the bay late Thursday night, party laden with guano. When interviewed, the captain stated that he had put in here in distress, having lost his skiff and tools, and that on replacing them he would return to Clemente Island, where he had a gang of Chinamen gathering guano and would complete his cargo and return home…”


November 20, 1898 [LAH]: “Dying by the thousands. It is reported that the dry season is playing havoc with the herds of sheep on San Clemente Island, and the animals are dying rapidly owing to a lack of water and feed. Judge S. C. Hubbell of this city, is interested in the San Clemente Wool Company, and he states that within a month all of the flocks will be gone. The sheep are simply dying from starvation and thirst. There is no disease among them, and in spite of this fact, the owners, and shepherds are helpless to save them, as it is impossible to provide the animals with water or food.”


November 22, 1898 [LAH]: “Mr. Anunsen returned from San Clemente Island today, to which place he had accompanied the men he brought down with him on Saturday evening, and he will now attend to the building or purchase of barges. It seems probable that most of them will be built at this place, there being already a good ship yard, belonging to the Bannings, on Mormon Island. The ' Hercules is a large, powerful tug and is capable of doing good work. She made the trip here from Coos Bay, with a heavily loaded barge in tow, in the remarkably good time of six days...”


November 22, 1898 [SBMP]: “…The first work, Superintendent Anunsen, says will be building of a rock breakwater at San Clemente Island, east of Wilson’s Cove, to cost $34,000, and take about four months’ time. This is where the rock for use at San Pedro is to be procured, and the surf at the island is so heavy as to necessitate the breakwater…”


December 30, 1898 [LAT/SP]: “The powerboat Clemente arrived this morning with a ton of San Clemente lobsters for the Haniman Fish Company.”


January, 1899 [Land of Sunshine/p. 66]: “…the island is often unapproachable on account of rough weather. At such seasons, one old man, who had lived there for thirty years, used to have the island to himself, and might see no human face for three months at a time. His cabin stands just above the shore at Wilson’s Cove, and near it are the few rough buildings used by the sheep men… The place is usually known, from his name, as Gallagher’s…” [Smith, Ruth Tangier San Clemente Island 10(2):65-72, 1898-1899]


January 13, 1899 [SFC]: “Los Angeles, January 12. J. A. Anunsen, who has charge of the San Pedro Harbor work for Neu & Heldmaier, the contractors, sailed for San Clemente Island this morning on the tug Hercules. A force of eighteen men is now employed on the island surfacing the hill from which stone will be quarried for the breakwater. The stationary engine and huge lifting derricks, capable of hoisting tons of rock at one raising, will be taken to San Clemente on Monday on the barge which has been constructed at San Pedro. A schooner carrying framing timbers, the keel and sides for the first dumping barge, which will be built at Terminal Island, will arrive from the north on Friday. Work on constructing their own protective breakwater began today.”


January 22, 1899 [LAT/SCat]: Avalon. The tug boat Hercules put into Avalon Bay Thursday evening, having on board P. W. Neu of the firm Heldmaier & New, the contractors building for the San Pedro Harbor, with J. S. Anunsen, their foreman, and a friend, Adam Myer of Chicago. The party had been to Clemente Island.”


February 5, 1899 [CDT]: “One of our desert islands. San Clemente, off the coast of California and under our flag, is as barren as Sahara… Wilson’s Cove offers a comparatively safe harbor… San Clemente forms a pasture for thousands of sheep and a smaller number of cattle, and Wilson’s Cove is the headquarters of the sheep herders when they are on the island. That is chiefly in the spring and summer…”


March 8, 1899 [SDU]: “Hermits of the Pacific. ...Sixty or more miles to the south [of San Nicolas Island] is the Island of San Clemente, about twenty-two miles in length, where lived an Irishman up to the present year. His name was Gallagher, Gallagher of San Clemente, and he too, was at war with all the world, thought it is but fair to say that once a year he left his island home and repaired to Los Angeles, where he diligently spent his money, then returned to live alone for another year. Gallagher preferred his own society and that of his sheep and dog. He never was afraid of their overreaching him, he once said. He lived on San Clemente, fifty miles off the coast, for twenty years, and was finally stricken with paralysis, being found by some fishermen sitting in is chair looking out over the sea and unable to move. They took him to Los Angeles, where he died...”


March 28, 1899 [LAT]: “The San Clemente Wool Company has brought suit against one Peter Jensen, who has squatted on the island of San Clemente and is alleged to have taken up almost one hundred acres of land. The wool company claims title by long continued and undisturbed possession, and now seeks to recover damages and restitution.”


May 14, 1899 [LAT]: “Aleck O’Leary pulled into Avalon yesterday afternoon in a little unpretentious home-made skiff about twelve feet in length, having rowed over from San Clemente Island. He left home about 6:30 A.M., and arrived here at 3 P.M., making the distance of nearly forty miles in less than nine hours. He had with him three goats and his faithful dog. O’Leary is holding down a government claim on Clemente, and as his larder was depleted, he sought the nearest base of supply.”


June 7, 1899 [LAT/SP]: “…The Brothers has been in use for several years carrying stock to and from Clemente Island. She will probably sail for the south in about a fortnight.”


September 11, 1899 [LAT/P]: “H. Seward, who recently returned to Pasadena from the Klondike, is organizing a company here and in El Monte to colonize San Clemente Island. It is said that forty families have enlisted in the movement, and want to take up government land. They are informed that they cannot get a title, as the land is reserved for naval and lighthouse purposes; but they propose to squat if they can do no better. They propose to raise fruit and breed sheep.”


September 14, 1899 [SFCall]: “Pasadena, September 13. San Clemente, a desert island so called, which lies in the Pacific in the Santa Barbara channel group, is to be colonized, if the plans of Mr. Bolton and forty odd families of this neighborhood he has interested do not fall through. These families have pooled their belongings and propose to squat on 160 acres each… San Clemente is frostless. There is water standing in pools in the canyons. Wild goats and quail are there in abundance. Years ago a sheepherder brought over three brown goats and left them corralled while he visited Los Angeles a hundred miles away. When he returned to the island the goats had broken away and were never caught. They multiplied and today hundreds of them dwell in the caves or rock shelters and scurry up the canyons. The only inhabitants of San Clemente are a few sheep and cattle herders and a hermit, Aleck O’Leary, who lives with his goats and cat and dog miles from human beings. Sometimes he comes to the mainland, making the trip in a skiff with a flour sack for a sail… There is but one obstacle in the way of settlement by farmers. This island, together with Santa Barbara and San Nicolas Island and several of the Santa Barbara group, was set aside by the Government for lighthouse and naval purposes.A very plain title cannot be secured by the settlers, but the would-be colonists think that their rights, if they cultivate the soil, will receive as much respect as those of the sheep herders and eventually the Government will grant them titles.”


September 27, 1899 [LAH]: “The Pasadenans who thought of forming a colony on San Clemente Island have been informed by the government that there is no use of their going there because the land has all been surveyed and set aside for naval and lighthouse purposes, and they could not get title to it.”


November 15, 1899 [LAT/SP]: “Japanese abalone divers. The abalone industry is to be carried on by more modern methods. Recent advances in the price of the shells have brought about the change. Heretofore the abalones gathered from along this part of the coast and the shores of the neighboring islands, have been taken almost altogether at low tide. But the range of high and low water does not compass all of the hunting ground. The abalone is somewhat of a deep water creature, and may be taken from far beneath the surface if the means are at hand wherein to take them…The schooner Edith has just returned from a trip to San Clemente Island, where she went with a number of Japanese who will collect abalones. The little brown men are equipped with diving apparatus, and will take the much prized univalves from submarine grounds which have hitherto been undisturbed by man.”


20th CENTURY


January 30, 1900 [LAH]: “The gasoline schooner Clemente arrived here Thursday from Clemente Island with 1500 pounds of lobsters and 1000 pounds of fresh fish.”


February 11, 1900 [LAT]: “Another party has just returned from San Clemente Island, bringing with them a large amount of Indian relics…”


February 27, 1900 [LAT/SCat]: “San Clemente is given over to sheep raising, C. S. Hubbell & Son owning the herds. Sheep shearing is now on, and they have some forty or fifty men there rounding up and shearing. Last season they lost a large number of sheep because of the drought, but they have fared better this season in respect to rain, and feed is plentiful. Some weeks ago, when no rain fell here, they had a copious downpour.”


March 20, 1900 [LAH]: “The action of the department will cause a cessation of work for about six months. Heldmaier & Neu met with a great deal of trouble in attempting to carry out their contract. For instance, they intended to get their rock from San Clemente Island and did take considerable rock from that island, but it was not of sufficient gravity. This necessitated removing their plant to Santa Catalina, where they purchased quarries and invested about $300,000. This and other unfortunate drawbacks interfered with the progress of the work which caused the chief of engineers to annul the contract.”


August 21, 1900 [LAT]: “The power launch Luella leaves today for San Clemente Island for a cargo of crawfish for the Los Angeles market.”


August 24, 1900 [LAH]: ”The power launch Luella is back from San Clemente Island with over 2000 pounds of crawfish.”


August 24, 1900 [LAH]: ”Santa Barbara, Aug. 23,—One of the two men arrested here a day or so ago, charged with stealing abalones from Chinese fishermen on Santa Cruz Island, was seen in the county jail this morning. He refused to admit his guilt of the theft, but when closely questioned said that he knew who the parties were who some time ago caused the death of a Chinaman on San Clemente Island by stealing his provisions. The man may yet be brought to the point of telling who these provision thieves were. If they can be located the most serious charges will be brought against them, as their victim perished of starvation.”


November 6, 1900 [SBDI]: “The Saturday Post of Los Angeles is engaged in a movement to open San Clemente Island of the Santa Barbara group, to settlement… ‘The island is all public land. It is all monopolized by a wool company. It has been monopolized by this wool company for more than thirty years. The people have received nothing for their land. The island is a free pasture for the wool company. The company has houses, corrals, etc., on the island. It pays no tax or rent for the land. Settlers have been driven from these lands repeatedly. Federal officers protected the wool company…’”


December 30, 1900 [LAH]: “On the bank of the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, is an extensive aviary, where in palm-thatched houses birds of all nationalities thrive and multiply. This bird home is located on the corner of Bradford Street and Arroyo View Drive... Two small foxes that were captured on San Clemente Island are quite tame and can be led about with a chain. Perched upon a branching tree stump, in their outdoor drawing room, were two fine eagles. They seemed absolutely indifferent to and independent of their surroundings, spreading and folding their dark-plumaged wings with happy abandon. Even in caged quarters they seemed the embodiment of strength, power and contentment. They were captured with great difficulty by the hermit of San Clemente Island, who narrowly escaped with his life in attempting to procure the young birds. The old birds had built their nest among the crags of a rugged cliff, high above the dashing waves. This was their sentinel tower and from its heights they watched for prey. Hawks, diving into the waves for their daily repast of fish, would barely have time to taste the delicious morsels when the great birds would swoop down upon them and an exciting battle in midair would take place. When, in excitement or despair, a hawk would drop a fish, an eagle, with marvelous rapidity of movement, would invariably catch it before it reached the water. The hermit, discovering the birds, made the perilous ascent of the cliff, but upon reaching the nest, was beset by the old birds, that in the majesty of paternal protection, seemed in their fury to be endowed with indomitable strength. He hastily placed and held the small birds beneath his coat, while with his free hand he partially protected himself from the infuriated birds... S. Tyler, who owns the collection of birds and beasts, is a born naturalist, and it has been the delight of many years to gather and care for his beautiful pets.”


March 31, 1901 [LAT]: “Old property values. A copy of an old Los Angeles newspaper, El Clamor Publico, for November 28, 1857, a weekly printed entirely in the Spanish language, contains a delinquent tax list, which throws an interesting light on real estate values at that remote period in the history of Los Angeles. For instance… 20,000 acres of the island of San Clemente, to an unknown owner, at $46.43…”


August 11, 1901 [LAT]: “The island of San Clemente, lying to the south of Catalina, is visited by very few persons, there being no regular means of communication. The whole island is a lighthouse reservation of the United States government, and is leased by a San Francisco wool firm…”


[ref DFG Book?] “In late 1901, an abalone camp was set up on San Clemente Island, which is 43 miles southwest from San Pedro. The camp was opened with the permission of Charles Howland, who was the secretary of the San Clemente Island Wool Company, which leased the island from the federal government. The cost for a license to use the island and to fish was $5 for five years. The camp consisted of three large tents for the workers, and drying racks.”


September 3, 1901 [LAH]: “The Eagle returned yesterday from a week's cruise to San Diego and San Clemente Island.”


March 9, 1902 [LAT]: “For many years settlers have made determined efforts to obtain the right to file homesteads on San Clemente Island, which is described by some who have visited it, as equal in all respects to Santa Catalina Island, with many valleys that are capable of cultivation. Yet is has been found impossible to obtain the sanction of the government for this course. The island has been monopolized by a San Francisco wool firm, and its population consists of one man…”


March 15, 1902 [LAT/SCat]: “Bautiste, a market fisherman who maintains a camp at San Clemente Island, on his trip from there here yesterday, reports having seen immense schools of flying fish and tuna in the channel.”


October 19, 1902 [LAT/SD]: “The Corinthian Yacht Club left this evening on the Dophin for a cruise to San Clemente Island. The party will arrive there at daylight and will pass the day in hunting and fishing, leaving late in the afternoon and reaching home Monday morning.”


November 25, 1902 [LAT/SP]: “The steamer Robert Dollar, Captain Johnson, was chartered Saturday by Captain Edwin Jadwin and other government officials of Los Angeles, to take a party to San Clemente Island. The meaning of the visit to San Clemente is not known, but it is believed here that the government desires a survey of the island, with a view to establishing marine barracks. The Robert Dollar is due to arrive here tonight.”


April 22, 1903 [LAT/SCat]: “’Johnnie’ Robarts, majorodomo of San Clemente Island, accompanied by his wife, is visiting his friends here. Mr. Robarts and his brother, with their wives, are the only residents of San Clemente and life becomes rather monotonous after being marooned for a year or so at a stretch. Robarts is superintendent of the San Clemente Wool Company, and as the season of sheep shearing has just been closed, he reports a successful and prosperous year. They have had a force of fifty or sixty paisanos in rounding up and shearing, their one yearly diversion, and these were brought over with a cargo of wool on the company’s schooner, The Brothers, last Saturday.”


August 18, 1903 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon… S. C. Hubbell, lessee of San Clemente Island, and president of the San Clemente Island Wool Company, is at the Hotel Metropole. The Meteor made her usual Monday trip to the island of San Clemente this morning with the following party: R. T. Whittlesey, J. A. Larraide, George D. Henck, Glenn Whittlesey, H. G. Williams, O. Lawler, Los Angeles; Grangier Hyer, Ontario; Mrs. William O’Brien and Mrs. Dawson Hawkins, Colorado Springs; Charles J. Barnes and Henry B. Ruggles, Redlands.”


September 1, 1903 [LAT/SCat]: “The Meteor went out this morning on what will probably be its final regular trip to San Clemente Island for this season, with the following party: G. B. Smee, Covina; Frank Lambert, Monrovia; E. W. Crowther, Placentia; Mrs. C. Driskell, Clyde N. Driskell and Alfred Hutchings, Pasadena; C. M. Smith, Avalon; and Mrs. Lucy Robarts. Mrs. Lucy Robarts, wife of superintendent of the San Clemente Island Wool Company, who has been visiting her parents here, Mr. and Mrs. Vincenti Moricich, for three weeks, returned to her home on San Clemente this morning.”


September 16, 1903 [LAT/SP]: “When the little powerboat Leone arrived from San Clemente Island Sunday evening, she had on board four Chinese fishermen, who were arrested on the island by Fish Commissioner Hall, charged with having taken lobsters under size. They will appear for trial in Justice Downing’s court tomorrow.”


July 18, 1905 [SBMP]: “A party of scientists under the charge of Professor C. C. Nutting, all of the biological station at Point Loma, are cruising about Santa Barbara Island on the launch Loma. The first object of the trip is to take soundings over a line between Point Loma and San Clemente Island, a distance of about 26 miles...”


August 27, 1905 [LAT]: “W. R. Randolph, a Kansas City real estate dealer, has a new idea to spring on the public. Said Mr. Randolph: ‘Say, do you know what I’d do if was a Los Angeles real estate man? Well, I’d turn every stone possible to get hold of a slice of San Clemente Island, or the whole of it, if I could, and then I would cut it up into island villa tracts and put it on the market…”


August 17, 1906 [LAH]: “Special excursion from Avalon to San Clemente Island, Sunday, August 19, 1906, leaving Avalon at 9 A.M. Procure your tickets in advance from Banning Co., Pacific Electric Building, Los Angeles. Both phones 36.”


September 28, 1907 [LAH]: “Wanted. Help. Teamsters, San Clemente Island, $40 mo. & food; Laborers, San Clemente Island. $40 mo. and board.”


September 28, 1907 [LAT]: “Los Angeles youth drowned at San Clemente Island.”


September 28, 1907 [LAH]: “Long Beach, September 27. Verne Ward, son of Mrs. E. F. Ward of 1177 East Forty-ninth Street, Los Angeles, was drowned while bathing at San Clemente Island this afternoon about 1 o’clock. He went to Clemente Wednesday on the launch Music on which he was learning to be an engineer. Captain J. W. Russell, owner of the Music, brought the body to Long Beach this evening. The young man had been employed aboard the Music for two or three months.”


April 3, 1908 [LAT/SA]: “The Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association of this city is awaiting a copy of the bill and its amendments under which San Clemente Island has been leased to the San Clemente Wool Company, of which Mayor Harper and C. T. Howland of Los Angeles are the principal stockholders. Mayor Harper and Howland have been here to explain the terms of the lease and to meet objections likely to be voiced by the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association and the Chamber of Commerce. They declare that under the lease plenty of reservations are made for visitors. The company pays $1500 a year rental, and herds 10,000 sheep on the island, the term of lease being twenty-five years. The protests were started on the ground that no reservations will appear when the bill and its amendments are received from Washington by Secretary N. A. Ulm of the association.”


June 2, 1908 [SBMP]: “Horrid death faced fishers. Three local men escape starvation on San Nicolas Island. Visiting yachtsmen from San Pedro find cached food supply and almost get away with whole stock of provisions before fishers appeared... Before they had time to remove their supplies thither, the schooner Edith from San Pedro, carrying Thomas [Charles T. ?] Howland of the Clemente Island Company, and a party of surveyors, reached the island. Landing, they found the fishermen’s' cache and believing it to be an abandoned store, removed the contents to the schooner, even taking some of Hansen's clothing. The schooner was still anchored in the little harbor when the fishermen returned to the shack for food supplies, and found the Howland party. Had the Edith sailed with the fisher's provisions, the trio surely would have starved.”


June 4, 1908 [SBMP]: “...Dispatches received from Admiral Sebree yesterday morning directed that officer commission one of the cruisers of the squadron under his command to proceed at once to San Clemente Island and reconnoiter for the purpose of ascertaining whether that locality is well adapted for the purposes of a naval target field and range...”


September 24, 1908 [SFC]: “Los Angeles, September 23. With the cooperation of Giffort Pinchot, chief of the United States bureau of forestry, and of County Game Warden Morgan of Los Angeles the sportsmen’s clubs of southern California, led by the Tuna Club of Catalina, have started a movement for a national game fish preserve at San Clemente Island, about 60 miles at sea from San Pedro. The island is government property, leased for a number of years for grazing purposes. Most of the record breaking fish that are taken every year come from the vicinity of San Clemente, and it is a desire to protect these fish that congress at its next session will be asked to create the preserve.”


December 16, 1908 [SFC]: “Washington, December 15. The house committee on interstate and foreign commerce agreed today to a favorable report on the senate bill to authorize the secretary of commerce and labor to lease San Clemente Island, just off Los Angeles, to the San Clemente Wool Company for 25 years. The company will attempt the novel process of redeeming the sand under water and will plant spineless cactus, promising to spend $25,000 for this purpose and other improvements.”


January 22, 1909 [LAT]: “Fears are entertained for the safety of Captain Mason and his engineer, who started in the launch Camiguin yesterday for San Clemente Island. There is no shelter near there, and unless the boat got in the lee of Catalina she must have experienced some rough weather.”


May 14, 1909 [LAT]: “Gradually the truth of young Roy Carr’s travels since he jumped his bail two months ago is coming out. He is now probably in Honduras… Carr was on San Clemente Island as late as the 23rd ult., when a launch called for him, and he went to San Diego…”


July 15, 1910 [LAH]: “Avalon, July 14.—With a view to purchasing the entire stock of sheep here, C. F. Howland, lessee of San Clemente Island, and representatives of the Southwestern Packing Company have visited the stock this week and estimate there are 15,000 sheep on Catalina.”


July 17, 1910 [LAT]: “…‘Spineless cactus? Oh Burbank invented it, did he? Well, there’s just where my brother and I got stung. You see, we were mighty in love with the idea, and we bought 200 leaves at $2.50 a leaf. Well, we planted it and the stock ate most of it and the rest died out, and we felt sort of discouraged, but we thought we would try it another year, so we planned to put out a whole wad of money for another set out, and we paid down $500 to Luther Burbank to clinch the order. About that time along comes a government official, one of Pinchot’s men, and he said, ‘Are you trying to grow spineless cactus? I can get you all you want for nothing. This is a government island.’ And he took us [Howland brothers] up to Los Angeles, and out at Westlake Park there was a lot of the stuff that had been there for seven or eight years. We had to go through a lot of red tape, and we got a wagon load for the carting away. We felt mighty fine, but how to get out of what we had ordered from Burbank. We just wrote him a letter to cancel the order, and he sent us back the money and said he had so many orders to fill he was delighted to get out of that one. But the stuff won’t grow.’ But I’ll tell you what we are trying now, and it will start on a barren rock: the Australian saltbush. I have seen it spread ten feet in a year, and all kinds of stock can eat it…”


August 19, 1910 [LAH]: “Several precincts remain to be heard from before the exact result of the primaries in Los Angeles county will be known. One of these embraces San Clemente Island. Twelve votes live on the island. There are periods when a boat is able to make a landing only once a month. Thus the returns from that precinct may not be in for weeks…”


October 7, 1910 [LBP]: “Captain Joe Freeby of the steamer Edith of San Pedro, who resides in this city, returned to Long Beach yesterday after taking six Mexican laborers and 20 tons of seed barley to San Clemente Island, 60 miles from here. Freeby is employed by Howland Brothers of Los Angeles, proprietors of the San Clemente Wool Company, to pilot the Edith to and from the island and to transport the big herds of sheep, which are exported from the island to the big markets of the west every month. The captain of the Edith now says there are from 30,000 to 35,000 sheep roaming the island at present time, all of which are the property of the San Clemente Wool Company. The laborers taken over to the island are employed to help dig dams in various parts of the numerous canyons to hold rainwater for the sheep. The present existing conditions make it necessary for some of the sheep to cover a long range of ground before they can secure water, and the continual running makes them poor, and therefore takes more grain to feed them. The 20 tons of seed barley, which was taken over the first week will be sowed in about two weeks. Last year the output of barley on the island was 180 tons, all of which was fed to the sheep. Sheep are sheared on San Clemente in January and this work gives employment to about 75 men. Only 18 people reside on the island year around, and these are herders who spend most of their time in the saddle looking after the big herds.”


October 16, 1910 [LAH]: “The rock supply for the filling of the 1800 feet left open in the government breakwater in Los Angeles harbor probably will coe from San Clemente Island, a distance of seventy miles by sea, and Morro Rock, and island owned by the government near the breakwater building at Port Harford, in San Luis Obispo county… the sea haul is much cheaper than by rail, as the rock is loaded on barges and towed to the scene of the operation, where it is dumped into the ocean.”


December 23, 1910 [SBMP]: “When Theodore Roosevelt visits Southern California about the first of March, he will spend at least three days in camp on San Clemente Island, fishing in company with Charles F. Holder and former Governor George C. Pardee. Mr. Holder, who is a close friend of the former president, is the discovered of San Clemente Island as a fisherman’s paradise and makes camp there at least once a year. He has introduced many of his friends to it, and Stewart Edward White, Gifford Pinchot, Frank P. Flint and others have become regular habitués...” [Note: Pardee, a Republican, was 21st governor of California. He served from 1903-1907.]


November 24, 1911 [LAT]: “San Clemente Reserve. Island beyond Catalina may be set aside by government to propagate game and fish. Sportsmen interested in protecting the game fish of Southern California waters are making an effort to have San Clemente Island set apart by the government as a game and fish reserve. In this way it is hoped that the rapidly-waning sport off the coast may be restored to its former greatness…”


March 16, 1912 [LAT/SP]: “San Pedro man drowned off San Clemente coast… The Bear brought two survivors of the wreck, Lester and Austin Freeman, brothers, who also had a narrow escape from drowning. Lester Freeman, who lives in Riverside, and his brother, Austin Freeman of San Bernardino, chartered the lost Dora on March 1, from Benman for a week’s fishing trip and left this harbor, arriving at San Clemente the following Saturday night. The sloop was anchored near Wilson Harbor, and about 2 o’clock on Sunday morning a heavy storm came up accompanied by a tremendous sea. The Dora’s anchors failed… The two Freemans managed with great difficulty to make shore and spent the night in a barn owned by the San Clemente Wool Company. In the morning when the sea had subsided they made their way back to the Dora and found Benman dead in the cockpit of the little craft. His body was taken ashore and the two brothers with the help of several employees of the Clemente Wool Company, dug a grave on the bleak bluff of the island, where the body was buried. Revenue cutter Bear on a cruise today sighted the wreck of the Dora and went to investigate…”


March 18, 1912 [LAT]: “San Bernardino. Austin Freeman, who with Lester Freeman and ‘Chips’ Benman, was in a shipwreck off San Clemente Island last Sunday, Benman being drowned, was heading a treasure hunting expedition at the time. He is a member of one of the pioneer families. His father had a chart showing where treasure was buried on the island during the very early days of California. For years Austin Freeman has been seeking to interest local men of means in outfitting an expedition to the treasure island, only recently succeeding. It is not known here who put up the money for the disastrous voyage. The Freemans will start again soon. They are positive that the treasure will eventually be found. According to the word coming down through their father, now deceased, the treasure is of vast amount.”


May 2, 1912 [LAT]: “At the Lighthouse Service Bureau, Osborne made an effort to secure lights for the southeastern end of Catalina Island and San Clemente Island, as a protection to ships in the Panama Canal service. He met with little encouragement and says he is afraid a great deal of pressure will be necessary to secure the establishment of more lighthouses in these waters.”


August 27, 1912 [LAT]: “Islands denuded. Clarence B. Linton of Long Beach, who was here today, and who has the abalone concession on San Nicolas and San Clemente islands, says that the accessible parts of the Channel Islands have been almost denuded of abalones, and that it will not be a very long while until the abalone shell and meat industry in Southern California will be a thing of the past. There are portions of San Nicolas and San Clemente islands where the mollusks are as thick as bees in a hive, but it is impossible to reach them from either sea or land owing to the threatening rock-bound coast. It is rumored, says Linton, that P. Sandoval is losing his hold on the abalone and fishing concession on the Lower California coast, and that several Californians are after the concession from the Madero government.”


October 19, 1912 [LAT]: “No snakes on San Clemente. After hunting reptiles on the Channel Islands for the past three months, Prof. J. R. Slevin of the [California] Academy of Science of San Francisco, finished a four-day hunt on San Clemente Island and added nine varieties of lizards to his collection. No snakes were found on San Clemente Island… Each specimen has been preserved and will be sent to San Francisco. ‘It is the desire of my department,’ said Prof. Slevin, ‘if possible, to connect the Channel Islands by their reptiles and other scientific proofs. I have found exactly the same species of lizards on San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands. Two of these islands, however, have no snakes…”


October 23, 1912 [LAT]: “Colony for lepers on San Clemente. The establishment of a colony on San Clemente Island for the care of all the lepers in the country, the project to be under Federal direction, is a departure recommended yesterday by County Health Officer Sawyer…”


January 16, 1913 [LAT]: “As a direct result of the exclusive publication in The Times October 23 last of a plan originated by County Health Officer Sawyer to convert San Clemente Island into a leper colony under Federal supervision, Congressman A. W. Lafferty of Oregon will soon introduce a bill to bring this about…”


February 14, 1913 [LAT]: “Wilson is interested. President-elect evinces appreciation of national leper colony project for San Miguel Island… San Miguel Island, instead of San Clemente, may become home for the colony, because a water supply can be obtained there…”


December 31, 1913 [LAT]: “Beginning Monday next the launch Eagle, owned by Captains Denslow and Anderson, will inaugurate a weekly service to San Clemente Island from Long Beach, which because of the hunting and fishing they believe will prove attractive and profitable. According to the schedule, the Eagle will go to San Clemente via Santa Catalina, passing the first night at the latter place. Tuesday morning the trip will be resumed, where the passengers will remain until Wednesday evening, returning here Friday. San Clemente is sixty miles from Long Beach.”


January 28, 1914 [SBMP]: “That the Union Oil tanker reported ashore at San Clemente Island is really at San Miguel is an unconfirmed report that is received here.”


April 14, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Arrangements have been made by the Long Beach Tuna Club to weigh fish caught at Clemente Island at Camp Shade, Mosquito Harbor. Captain Shade has been appointed official weigher of this club. It would be a great convenience to Avalon anglers if some such arrangement could be made by the Catalina Tuna Club, for it would allow anglers to remain for several days longer, instead of having to cross the channel with the first record fish the angler caught.”


May 4, 1914 [LAT/SP]: “The power schooner Edith arrived from San Clemente Island today with a cargo of sheep. On account of the copious rains this winter, livestock on all the islands are reported in fine condition. There is plenty of grass and hay. About 3500 head of sheep will be the increase on San Clemente Island.”


May 20, 1914 [LAT]: “Memorial Day will be spent on San Clemente Island by employees of the Mullen & Bluett Clothing Company, who will make the trip on the launch Yankee Boy, sailing the evening of the 29th…”


November 3, 1914 [LAT]: “Fourteen arrested, San Clemente now peaceful. With a deputy sheriff and a boatload of other officers after him, William Blair, rowing desperately away from San Clemente Island toward the three-mile limit and neutral waters, refused to quit when the rough seas capsized his little boat and pitched him into the ocean. Kicking off his boots and coat, he swam sturdily. To the amazement of the officers he did not turn back to land, but headed straight out to sea, seeking to get away from the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles county authorities. While the officers waited to wonder whether the man was merely fooling or possessed of exceptional courage, the fugitive secured a good lead and it was an exciting chase. Blair was caught before he could get far enough to secure immunity and, with two other men, arrested on San Clemente Island, was brought to Los Angeles yesterday morning and lodged in jail. Just what plan Blair had made for maintaining existence in the event that he succeeded in his mad dash for liberty he declined to explain to the deputy. Now he will have to explain to the court whether or not he is guilty of stealing sheep. This was the second trip made by Deputy Sheriff Jack Adams and eight deputies to the island where Howland brothers, the lessees, allege fishermen have been committing depredations on their property. Notices were served last week on the fishermen to leave the island, Howland brothers alleging that they are the sole lessees and in control of the entire island. Ten Russian and Norwegian fishermen were brought in last Friday and committed to jail. Adams furnished free transportation for many others to San Pedro. He went again to the island Saturday armed with warrants and with a force of armed men. The island is about forty miles outside of Catalina, and it was an all-night trip for the launch. Nearly all the fishermen against whom complaints had been made had observed the warning in the notices served upon them and departed. J. Randall and W. Swanson were arrested and then the deputies started after Blair. He had heard of their coming, however, and with his skiff loaded with provisions started for the high seas. This made thirteen in custody yesterday forenoon. Fritz Frye, sparring partner of Battling Johnson, and also wanted for depredations on San Clemente, was undone by his curiosity. Hovering about the sheriff’s quarters with his ears open to learn what had happened, he was detected and arrested. The fourteen prisoners will be given a hearing next Thursday morning. Four were admitted to bail, the other ten being still in jail yesterday. Deputy Adams says all is peaceful now on San Clemente and that the island tempest is permanently settled.”


November 11, 1914 [SBDNI]: “San Pedro. Fear three died in storm on island. One of the severest storms in years swept San Clemente Island on Sunday night, according to Reginald Breet of Newport, who arrived here today in the fishing boat Ruth. He declared two fishing boats were pounded to pieces on the island beach. He also said that three unidentified men on an unidentified sloop, which had landed lumber on the island, were believed to have been drowned. It is feared also that three men in fishing boats were lost. The storm came suddenly from the southwest and there was no chance for the boats to put to sea and ride it out. They were hurled on the beach and pounded to pieces by the heavy surf. The waves were immense, according to Breet, who said that the storm was so terrific at times that it was difficult for men on shore to keep their footing against the driving wind.”


November 11, 1914 [San Pedro News Pilot]: “Storm hits San Clemente Island. Three men believed to have been drowned and two boats wrecked. Edith and Mary Ann total wrecks. Storm hits San Clemente Island hard. Three men are believed to have lost their lives and two power boats are known to have been wrecked on San Clemente Island by a terrific storm that raged Sunday night and reached the height of its fury early Monday morning. It is feared that damage that has not been reported has been done. News of the disaster was brought to port this morning by Reg. Brett, who has been working at the crawfish camp of Billy Bonder of Newport. Brett brought Capt. Al Gregory of the power schooner Edith to port to get assistance. The Edith is a total wreck but a tug will be sent to the island to save the 40 horse power engine, which lies in about fifteen feet of water. The launch Mary Ann, a fishing boat, is also a wreck and is high and dry on the rocks. The barge of Howland Bris. is also high and dry on the beach. A sloop rigged fishing boat with a crew of three is believed to have been lost. The boat came up to the barge at Howland Bros. ranch and discharged lumber for traps and moved off. Later three men were seen battling in the heavy sea in a skiff and finally a skiff was sighted in the storm bottom up. The sloop was leaking when she was at the float. "All the crawfish camps suffered heavy damage from the storm," said Brett, at the Daily Pilot office today. "After the storm abated the beach was strewn with a mass of lobster traps and lumber in the wreckage. We were on this side of the island. How much damage was done on the other side we do not know, but it must have been considerable for the storm came from the southwest and then veered to the southeast so that both sides of the island got it. "Our boat, the Ruth was not damaged. Souder had the motor going and expected every minute to have to cut the anchor line when the storm broke. He was unable to pull up the anchor. The Ethel H had a narrow escape, but the boys from Wilmington saved her by hard work and much bailing. The sea rolled in on the beach and the breakers smashed the crawfish camps with their lumber and traps into kindling wood. "There were about 20 camps left on the island with about forty men. Before Howland Bros. started to get rid of them there were forty-six camps." ”


November 26, 1914 [LAT]: “Caught with the goods. Seven more Clemente Island crawfishermen are arrested on sheep stealing charge…”


February 7, 1915 [LAT]: “This has been the worst winter I have ever known on the Pacific Coast. At San Clemente Island there have been four wrecks this winter, to say nothing of two house boats and nearly 3000 crawfish traps…”


December 3, 1915 [LAT]: “Willie Pearson, aged 32, a lobster fisherman, lost his life at Long Point, San Clemente Island yesterday. With Chris Fosstrum he was attempting to make a landing in a skiff. The boat capsized and both men were thrown into the breakers. Fosstrum swam ashore, but Pearson went down. He was unmarried, and had relatives in Oakland and Norway.”


January 10, 1916 [LAT]: “Question: Please find sample of ore enclosed, picked up on San Clemente Island. I would like to ascertain through the columns of your department your opinion as to the nature of the white crystals therein. Answer: We searched hard for the white crystals, but failed to locate them. There is grayish amphibole (microscopic) in the mass; various iron oxides and a trace of manganese, with sulphur and quartz present.”


April 6, 1916 [LAT]: “Third of a million for San Clemente Island. Big cash deal includes twenty-five thousand head of sheep. Famous and romantic ocean rock, home of prehistoric civilization and of pirates and smugglers, is taken over by one of Montana's biggest ranchmen, and will be used for great flocks of blooded wool-bearers. The lease of San Clemente Island, 25,000 head of sheep, blooded stallions, draft mares, colts, mules, jacks and other property on the island, were sold yesterday by the San Clemente Wool Company to Lewis Penwell of the Lewis Penwell Company and associates. The consideration, reported as all cash, was $300,000. The deal was made through W. B. Merwin & Co. of this city. San Clemente Island is one of the most famous in the world, chiefly for the many evidences of a high prehistoric civilization which have been found there. Its rugged caves and natural havens have sheltered pirates and smugglers without number, one of its bays being even now known as Smuggler's Cove. Its fishing grounds are regarded as the finest of any about it by thousands of years of hard-won life on its inhospitable rocks has made it a favorite with writers of fiction and on archaeological subjects. The San Clemente Island sheep ranch is larger than any in California. Sheep have been pastured on it for more than sixty years and with the water system and other improvements made by the San Clemente Wool Company it has been regarded as one of the best ranches in the country. Charles T. Howland, one of the principal owners of the San Clemente Wool Company, has retained an interest in the new concern and will be on the board of directors. Mr. Penwell is a prominent sheep and ranch owner of Montana. He is owner or part owner of twenty-five big ranches in that State and has conducted operations on a big scale for many years. Last year 105,000 sheep were sheared on his ranches. He has recently become interested in Southern California and its lands, but the San Clemente purchase is the first of any considerable size to be made by him here. Mr. Penwell and his associates will take possession about the time the sheep are sheared, which will be near the end of the month. The enterprise will be managed by E. G. Blair, president of the Blair-Penwell Company of Montana, which has recently sold its holdings. Most of the sheep now on the island will be sold soon and replaced with pure bred stock. Twenty-five thousand Hampshire Down and Rambouillet ewes will be put on the island some time this year. Mr. Howland says that an increase of not less than 80 percent a year can be depended upon from them. That the venture will be highly successful is the belief of the new owners. The sheep business all over the country is crowded for range or pasture room. Mutton and wool command an exceedingly high price on account of the world's shortage. Mr. Penwell and Mr. Howland say conditions on San Clemente are ideal for sheep and that a high percentage of increase will be obtained from the pure bred ewes to be shipped there. The forage is excellent, consisting mostly of red-top clover and alfalaria, the latter a type of pin clover that grows in a wild state in some portions of Europe and which has been naturalized in California and a few other states in this country. San Clemente Island is owned by the United States government, and is held by the sheep company under long-time lease. It is twenty-two miles long and four and a half miles wide. Sheep were first put on the island in 1854, and have been pastured there ever since. For half a century the animals existed without water save what they got from occasional morning dew and from a small, water-bearing plant, "siempre viva."


April 27, 1916 [LAT]: “Announcement was made yesterday at the Van Nuys by Lewis Penwell, who recently leased San Clemente Island and purchased the 25,000 sheep and other livestock there, that a $300,000 corporation will shortly be formed to develop the island and the stock into the finest sheep ranch in the country. Mr. Penwell, who is sometimes called the ‘Sheep King of America,’ will go to the island tonight or tomorrow with Charles T. Howland, one of the former owners of the property. The plan of development for the island, according to Mr. Penwell, includes among other things the addition of about 5000 sheep of the Rambouillet type to the stock already there. The new animals are expected to cross with the peculiar island type of sheep now on the ranch, and to make the herd one of the most valuable in the land, as it is believed the mixed strain will produce animals of excellent wool and meat value. Regarding the incorporation, Mr. Penwell stated yesterday that very little of the stock remains unsubscribed, most of it being taken in advance by himself and his associates, including Charles T. Howland, who will be actively identified with the corporation. The money realized will be used to purchase sheep and for improvements. E. G. Blair, who will manage the ranch for the corporation, is at present on the island, with Robert Knowland, engaged in gathering the sheep, shearing, weeding out undesirable stock and making a final count. The work is expected to be completed Saturday night and plans will immediately be made to secure additional sheep. Additional fencing will be done shortly and a preliminary survey of improvements started. Mr. Penwell states that every effort will be made to breed to highest grade stock in America, since the curtailment of sheep growing in many localities, by the increase in the price of agriculture acreage, has made fine sheep growing on low-priced land one of the most profitable pursuits in America. He asserts that the number of sheep is decreasing rapidly and that he price of wool and mutton is going higher steadily. It is planned to proceed about 20,000 lambs annually on the island. These will be marketed through packing houses and the new corporation will devote all its attention to producing. Mr. Penwell purchased the lease of the island several weeks ago from the San Clemente Wool Company, who held it under a long term agreement with the United States government. Mr. Penwell states that the new owners will not discourage archaeological exploration parties, and as the island is noted for its many remains of a prehistoric civilization this will be good news to persons interested in studying the island from a scientific standpoint. Many parties have conducted explorations on the land, which is said to be one of the most picturesque along the California shore.”


October 23, 1916 [LAT]: “Sitting bolt upright on a pile of rock, with a gaping wound in his left breast made by a bullet from a rifle which he was carrying and which accidentally discharged when he pitched headlong from one of the narrow sheep trails on San Clemente Island, the dead body of Lorenzo Higuera, a sheep herder, was found Friday by a searching party that had been out for four days looking for him. The unfortunate man was carrying a rifle and revolver and about his waist a heavily-loaded cartridge belt. It is thought that he stumbled on one of the steep narrow sheep trails, and after plunging down the hillside, struck the pile of rock on which his body was found with such force as to cause the rifle which he carried in his hand to discharge with fatal effect. The bullet pierced his heart and physicians say that death was instantaneous. The remote spot in which the body was found made it extremely difficult to recover, as at this point the trails are narrow and the grades steep in places. The body was finally gotten to the boat landing and brought to Wilmington in a motorboat. The funeral services were conducted at the Wilmington Catholic Church at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon with Rev. Father Elling officiating. The interment took place at Wilmington cemetery.”


November 28, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Captain W. I. Danielson and I. L. Newberry made a trip to San Clemente Island to overhaul their moorings, returning home Saturday they sighted several schools of fish.”


April 7, 1918 [LAT/OX]: “One thousand acres on San Clemente Island, formerly used only as pasture, will this year be planted to beans, the Hogue-Kellogg Company of this county having secured a lease on the island, the most southerly one of the Catalina group, from the government.”


April 12, 1918 [OC]: “Lease of San Clemente, the most southern of the California group of islands, has been secured from the government by the Hogue and Kellogg Company of Ventura. The island is 60 miles from the mainland. The company plans to plant 1000 acres of beans on the island. The island has been utilized in the past mostly for stock grazing.”


May 17, 1918 [OC]: “The Hogue-Kellogg Company which has leased San Clemente Island from the government has begun improvements there. The Ventura Post says: H. E. Lowe, deputy in the office of the county surveyor Petit, has gone to San Clemente Island, which is beyond Catalina, for a few days. He was accompanied by a representative of the Hogue-Kellogg company here, the latter planning to do some work for the company there.”


July 6, 1918 [Coronado Eagle Journal]: “One thousand acres on San Clemente Island, one of the Catalina group, formerly used only as pasture, will this year be planted to beans.”


August 26, 1918 [OC]: “Joe V. Conklin, who has been looking after the interests of the Hogue-Kellogg Company in San Clemente Island has returned to Ventura. Because of lack of rain he was unable to get the land on the island in shape for planting a crop of beans this year, and the company will let the land lie idle until next season. San Clemente is beyond Catalina Island about seventy miles from the mainland. During Mr. Conklin’s stay there only one boat was able to reach the island because of the rough seas.”


May 3, 1919 [LAT]: “Mrs. Carmen Ferrer, who says her father, William Walton, is first officer of the United States battleship Maryland, was taken into custody yesterday by Deputy United States Marshal Cavanaugh, on San Clemente Island, charged with having forged a signature to a money order for $5. The Ferrers were on the island temporarily, on account of the ill-health of Mrs. Ferrer, whose husband is employed as a range rider there. The accused woman, who is 18 years of age, was reared in Nicaragua, although born in Arizona… Frank Ferrer gave up a good position with the Southern Pacific to take his wife to San Clemente for her health, as he says she is a sufferer of tuberculosis… A letter came for Santiago V. Ferrer, inclosing a money order, and Mrs. Ferrer, thinking it was for her husband, had her friend endorse it… Being unable to read or write English, she says, she did not understand that the letter and money order were for her brother-in-law and not her husband…”


July 24, 1920 [LAT]: “Dr. Robert W. Thomas, who is in charge of the municipal clinic at San Diego, and Health Commissioner Powers of Los Angeles, are trying to interest Internal Reveniue Collector Carter, and through him the government, in the establishment of a sanatorium near Los Angeles, to accommodate the narcotic addicts who have partially recovered their health and need assistance. One of the places suggested is San Clemente Island, which is the property of the government, but the great drawback is the fact that there is not a drop of water on the island or any opportunity to get any except as it is brought from Catalina or the mainland…”


July 28, 1920 [SDET]: “Plan advances to herd drug addicts together on San Clemente Island. Between the hours of 8 o'clock and 9:30 o'clock each morning during the week, George Coop, the veteran elevator operator at the city hall, is a conductor of a mixed throng of race, color and sex — addicts to narcotics — which now is dependent on the free clinic of the health department for daily "shots."... With the council almost constantly hounding the free clinic, Dr Thomas is working on a scheme to move all narcotic addicts to San Clemente Island, Government, state, and county officials have endorsed the plan. A big hospital on San Clemente would be built largely with the aid of a government appropriation... Dr. L. M. Lowers, health commissioner in Los Angeles, and the Collector of Internal Revenue John P. Carter, who are largely instrumental in the establishment of the clinics in Los Angeles and San Diego have requested the Washington government to give serious thought to the plan of placing a federal sanitarium on San Clemente. The government controls this island through a lighthouse reservation. At present, and for years past, the island has only been used for grazing goats and sheep. Island has handicap. The one great drawback to its cultivation or being used for resort purposes is the lack of water. There are no springs or streams there...”


September 20, 1920 [SDET]: “Proposing that an isolation hospital for the treatment and cure of dope addicts be established on San Clemente Island. Dr. Robert William Thomas, former head of the San Diego county narcotic clinic, today suggested what he says is a practical plan for solving this problem. Dr. Thomas enthusiastically endorses the suggestion that such a hospital be provided and he proposes that this island, like the famous Molokai Island in Hawaii, where lepers are isolated and treated, be utilized for reclaiming the dope victims of California. Doctor Thomas says that he stands ready to do for dope addicts what Father Damien did for exile lepers at Molokai. On San Clemente Island he proposes to cure the addicts medically by the withdrawal method, and psychologically by teaching them new, rigorous, healthful, economic and social habits. San Clemente Island is 65 miles off Pacific Beach, and is due south of Catalina Island. It is 20 miles long, eight miles wide and is practically uninhabited. In the damp season rangers [ranchers] bring cattle to the island to graze. The rest of the year it lies desolate. There is no water. Lack of water on the island is not, according to Doctor Thomas, as obstacle that cannot be overcome. If wells cannot be drilled it would be simplicity itself, he says, to set up on the island a condenser similar to those used by the navy on war vessels...”


September 17, 1921 [LAT]: “Lieutenant H. M. Haver, commanding officer of the destroyer Farragut, and one of the few Naval Reserve officers who had an independent command during the World War, has been selected by Commander A. H. Woodbine to conduct the weekly reserve cruise tomorrow. One Eagle boat is to be used and San Clemente Island has been selected as the destination. Naval reserves intending to take the cruise are asked to notify Commander Woodbine immediately.”


August 30, 1922 [LAT]: “Youths rescued from island. Rescued after being lost forty-eight hours on the island of San Clemente, a barren waterless bit of land that juts from the Pacific miles beyond Catalina Island, two Los Angeles youths reached Los Angeles harbor late last night in a weakened condition and with their clothes and bodies torn from scaling the rocky cactus-strewn slopes of the island. Of a party of four young men, two became separated and were lost. For two days and nights they wandered without food or water, as they searched vainly hour after hour for some signs of human habitation… The two searchers at that time came upon the camp of a Russian sportsman at Mosquito Harbor. Fifteen minutes later Elmer Adams and Beatty reached the scene, stumbling into the camp on the verge of exhaustion. They had been attracted by the glow of the campfire. The youths then fired their guns and attracted the attention of the power cruiser Mañana yesterday morning and were taken to Catalina Island, reaching Avalon yesterday afternoon.”


March 23, 1923 [LAT]: “…It is planned to appoint a committee to carry a petition before Congress at the next session of that body to ask that funds be given for the purchasing and building of of a Federal narcotic asylum on San Clemente Island, a few miles from Catalina. According to those interested in the American Narcotic Crusade movement, the island can be purchased for $160,000, and the erection of a suitable building, necessary repairs, and the cost of the island is estimated at approximately $5,000,000.”


April 30, 1924 [SDET]: “Recommendations for the establishment of six radio compass stations in southern California for the protection of merchant shipping and naval movements have been forwarded to Washington by Lieut. Com. W. J. Ruble, battle fleet radio officer, according to advices received at naval district headquarters here this morning. The stations would be established at Point Sur, Point Arena, Point Del Gado, Point Buchon, Point St. George and San Clemente Island according to reports. First proposals of the establishment of new stations followed the wreck of destroyers at Point Hondo last year. It is said that 25 merchantmen have gone on the rocks in this part of the pacific in the past few years and that these vessels might have been spared had radio warnings been given them.”


June 12, 1924 [ ]: “Two premature explosions killed three officers and forty-five men of the battleship Mississippi today and injured a score of others and the menace of death still hounded the crippled dreadnaught tonight as she left her dead and injured behind and headed out to sea to protect harbor life and shipping from the peril of a third blast. The first explosion occurred at 1 p.m., while the Mississippi was engaged in target practice off San Clemente Island, forty-five miles from here, spreading death among the eighty-eight men in No. 2 turret. Officers said the premature blast might have been due to a sailor giving the signal for the electric flash igniting the charge in one of the turret's fourteen-inch rifles before the breech was properly closed or it may have resulted from a "flareback" caused when a fresh charge was being loaded into the breech. As the stricken ship reached the goal of its race for surgical assistance — the hospital ship Relief, just inside the breakwater here — a second blast rocked the vessel. The charge in the damaged turret's second fourteen-inch rifle exploded, hurling the steel projectile out to sea, and narrowly missing the prow of the passenger liner Yale, which was leaving the harbor for San Diego. The men were all from the battleship New Mexico doing observation duty in accordance with the interchange of officers and men between the various ships of the fleet when practice was being held. Had the turret, which was revolving at the time the explosion on the battleship Mississippi occurred, remained in the position in which it was at the time of the explosion, the bang fire from the left gun would have gone into the center of the city of San Pedro, witnesses aboard the ship said. When the gunner's hand, guilding the controls was wrenched away by the explosion, the guns kept revolving and stopped as they pointed directly aft. Thus, fortune probably saved the lives of many citizens and the destruction of much property in San Pedro. Lieut. Jack Kennedy, the athletic officer of the Pacific Fleet, was among the first to help remove the injured and dead. He was at first reported killed. Ensign J. J. Leveasseur, officer on the New Mexico, dived forty feet from the shell deck down the shaft of the endless powder chain bucket, thus saving his life when the flames of smokeless powder spread in its death path. Lieut. Zellars, 25 years old, one of the three officers killed in the turret fire in No. 2 turret of the battleship, leaves a wife at his home in Long Beach. He is not believed to have any children. His home city is said to be Atlanta, Ga. Ensign H. D. Smith from the U.S.S. New Mexico was the first man to enter the turret No. 2, following the burning of the smokeless powder about snuffed out the lives of two score men. Upon entering the turret, Ensign Smith took with him an air hose which immediately caused the flames again to shoot forth. After flooding the turret the second time with water, Ensign Smith was able to enter. All the men were dead at that time, their faces swelled and puffed almost beyond recognition by the intense heat. Identification marks on the clothing however, were still discernible…”


1926: “In 1926 Theo Murphy and his wife, Lettie, arrived on San Clemente Island. Murphy, the island’s last sheep rancher, had gone into partnership with E. G. Blair to manage a flock of approximately 20,000 animals (Hatheway and Greewnwood 1981:31).


August 26, 1932 [LAT]: “…Latest addition to the Los Angeles whaling fleet is the former coastwise lumber steamer Willamette, renamed California and being reconditioned as a whaling factory ship for local operation by the California Whaling Company. With the killer ship Columbus, renamed Monterey, the California will next week establish an operating base in a San Clemente Island anchorage and operate until January 1. Captain F. K. Dedrick, general manager, expects to secure a minimum of 800 tons of whale oil monthly, in addition to a new plan for disposing of whale meat for manufacture of dog and cat food.”


May 12, 1933 [LAT]: “Wigwag tells of trio’s death. Two men and woman vanish in sea off island. Victims in skiff unable to combat howling wind. Member of party signals destroyer Preble. Trying to row a little skiff through high seas and in a howling wind out to a forty-two-foot speedboat anchored 300 yards offshore in Mosquito Bay at lonely San Clemente Island Wednesday morning two men and a woman found their little craft borne relentlessly away from their goal and out to the open sea, and probably were drowned not long after, according to a story first wigwagged from the shore of the island to a destroyer and then relayed here by wireless yesterday. The missing trio are William Rudolph and Mr. and Mrs. John Sweedborg, all of San Pedro. With Jack Gardner, Jack Long and Charles Carney, also of San Pedro, they chartered the speedboat Let's Go two weeks ago and went to San Clemente Island. Wednesday all the party were on shore when Rudolph and the Sweedborgs decided to row out to the speedboat. They had scarcely left the beach when the wind's force increased and they found themselves helpless against the strong current which was carrying them out to sea. While the other three men were forced to watch impotently from the shore, they saw the hapless crew of the skiff getting dimmer and dimmer in the distance and finally, when the skiff disappeared around a bend of the island, one of the men on shore, Carney, started a laborious climb across the desolate and rocky island in the hope that on the other side he could find and attract the attention of some ship which might be able to rescue the three in the skiff. It took Carney six hours to cross the island. Arriving at Pyramid Bay, he was rewarded by sighting the U.S.S. Preble, a destroyer anchored a short distance offshore. Carney knows the wigwag system of signaling used in the Navy and after attracting the attention of the crew of the Preble, he wigwagged the story of the plight of the three persons in the skiff. The Preble's commander at once wirelessed the tale to the destroyer base at San Diego and the U.S.S. Dorsey was sent out to search for the two men and the woman. All day yesterday the Dorsey searched fruitlessly for any trace of the three persons or their tiny craft. at nightfall it wirelessed a request to the San Pedro Coast Guard station to take up the search and also to send a patrol boat down to Mosquito Harbor to pick up the three men on shore and to tow the Let's Go, which apparently was disabled, back to port. Last night Patrol Boat No. 253 set out to carry on the quest.”


May 14, 1933 [San Bernardino County Sun]: “Terror story disclosed as trio rescued. Two men and woman on way back to San Clemente Island after narrow escape. Avalon, Catalina Island. May 13.— Rescued by a whaling schooner after two days and nights of helpless drifting in a row boat without food or water, Mr. and Mrs. John Sweedborg and William Rudolph of Los Angeles were on their way back to San Clemente Island tonight. A graphic story of bravery born of desperation was related by Sweedborg about his second night in the ocean. The little launch was swept by the heavy waves out intoi the range of the gunfire from the United States fleet, holding target practice off San Clemente Island. Mrs. Sweedborg waved her sweater and the three shouted and yelled in a vain attempt to attract attention. Sweedborg, fearing they would not be able to hold out much longer, decided to risk his life by rowing a raft which held afloat one of the targets, and place himself directly in the fire of the big guns. He said the little craft was almost to the raft when the battleship pulled in the target and steamed back to the harbor. "My heart sank when i saw that target streaking away," Sweedborg told his rescuers. "I didn't think we'd live the night through." Owners of sheep grazing on the island, they had gone there in a launch to patrol the waters against rustlers. One of the oars of the small boat was lost early Wednesday as they were proceeding toward shore from the launch, and they were carried out to sea. They were picked up 40 miles southwest of here yesterday morning by the whaler Port Sanders, whose lookout sighted the rowboat from the crow's nest. At first it was believed to be empty and the crew of the Port Sanders sought to salvage it. As the whaler approached the forms of the woman and two men were seen collapsed in the bottom f the craft. Sweedborg, having swallowed a quantity of salt water when thirst attacked him unbearably, was helpless. Mrs. Sweedborg and Rudolph, who used their shoes to bail after the boat's buckets were lost, were exhausted and suffering acutely.”


May 15, 1933 [Wilmington Daily Press Journal]: “Three persons believed lost, found at sea. Island Lookouts, San Pedro man taken to Catalina. Three persons who drifted for five days on the Pacific ocean before they were rescued yesterday, returned to their home on San Clemente Island today, none the worse for their harrowing experience. The three, Mr. and Mrs. John Sweedborg and William Rudolph, left the island Wednesday in a skiff, intending to row up to a motor cruiser for supplies. A gale came up, they lost one of the oars, and were clown out to sea. Coast guard vessels and the destroyer Preble searched for the missing trio, who meanwhile had drifted into the range of gunfire from the United States. In desperation they attempted to fasten their skiff to one of the naval targets, but it was towed away before they could make fast to it. Friday all lost consciousness. Capt. Finn Nalm of the whaler Port Sanders found them drifting far at sea and removed them to a hospital in Catalina. Sweedborg was delirious from drinking salt water. He and his wife are employed as guards to protect sheep on San Clemente Island. Rudolph, a San Pedro man, was visiting the couple.”


July 7, 1933 [SBMP]: “The 70-foot purse seiner, Valencia, burned and sank off San Clemente Island south of here, it was learned here yesterday. The Valencia has frequently put in at this port in the past for supplies, and her owner, Steve Vlatkovich, is known in waterfront circles. Vlatkovich and all members of the crew of ten were rescued by the Coast Guard cutter Bonham, one of the newer type cutters. The Valencia left San Pedro Tuesday in quest of blue fin tuna.”


August 15, 1933 [LAT]: “NRA funds were yesterday allocated in San Pedro to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey for completion of a hydrographic survey of the California coast, and as first project in this area, topographic survey of San Clemente Island was begun under the direction of Lieutenant R. W. Knox. The new appropriation will insure completion of arrested topographic and hydrographic surveys of the eight Channel Islands, from San Clemente north to San Miguel; continuance of the offshore surveys by the steamers Pioneer and Guide; and early publication of a complete new set of navigation charts of the California coast. The survey of San Clemente Island, the first since 1870, will require three months…”


[June 1933 San Clemente Island]: “...As part of their southern California work, it was necessary to establish survey control on San Clemente Island. As both the Coast Guard and Navy were unable to guarantee a return trip from the island, Pierce had to hire a fishing boat to pick up him and his crew when finished on San Clemente. The trip out was made on a Navy tug USS KOKA. The fishing boat charged $50.00 for the 120 mile trip--60 out and 60 back. Prior to getting to San Clemente, it was "an absolute impossibility to obtain any information concerning drinking water on the south end of the island"--consequently "we were forced to take over three 25-gallon barrels of fresh water as part of our equipment.

"The party and equipment was landed on the sandy beach on Smugglers Cove in a whale boat thru a moderate surf. The Navy personnel in returning to the anchored KOKA thru the surf capsized their whale boat, the only casualty being a broken oar.... On this section of the island the time of year we worked here it resembled a desert more than any other type of country. A low cactus, of ball type, made packing difficult as the sharp cactus penetrated the heaviest type of leather boot. There was practically no vegetation other than cactus, and all of the deep ravines and canyons were dry...."“ [Some Notes from Lieutenant Charles Pierce Part 1: The California Coast 1932-1933 in The American Surveyor, August 21, 2016]


[1933 San Clemente [Island], under the jurisdiction of the Navy, had a fleet training facility at Wilson Cove. A small crushed rock and shell air strip, built in 1933, [????] was also used by the Marines. These two facilities were connected by a six-mile macadam road. In late 1938, a project began to improve the existing airfield. The WPA and a civilian contractor built a 3000-ft. and a 2000-ft. runway plus a hangar. The runways were available for use in December 1939. The remainder of the project reached completion in July 1941. http://www.militarymuseum.org/NAASSanClemente.html


January 20, 1934 [SDET]: “Isles off southern coast to get lights. Seven new lights are to be established Feb. 10 on islands off the coast, according to report by Capt. H. W. Rhodes, superintendent of lighthouses for the 18th district. Two of the lights are to be placed on San Clemente Island, one at China Point, the second at Pyramid Head and the third at the end of the headland at the northerly end of San Clemente. The other four lights are to be established on San Nicolas Island, Catalina Island (east end and west end), and Santa Barbara Island.”


February 20, 1934 [LAT]: “Circumstances surrounding the death at San Clemente Island last Sunday of Allen Oxspring, 30 years of age, 1939 Eastlake Avenue, were under investigation yesterday by deputy sheriffs. Oxspring, according to a report made to the coroner, was fatally injured when he fell from a cliff while on a goat-hunting trip with several friends. The body was taken to the undertaking parlors of Palm & McLin in San Pedro.”


November 7, 1934 by an executive order San Clemente passed from the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce to the control of the Secretary of the Navy.


1935: In 1935 the Navy moved civilian workmen out to the prospective naval base to build barracks, roads, and a pier at Wilson's Cove.


January 23, 1936 [TI/Avalon]: “Captain George Michaelis visited Avalon last Tuesday en route to San Clemente Island. Capt. Michaelis states that the officers of the 11th Naval District are constructing a 500-foot steel pier at Gallagher’s Landing, San Clemente Island, and that two airplane fields are now under construction there. One of the fields is located near the ranch house, and the other at the east end of the island.”


February 18, 1937: “The USS Wyoming (BB-32) departed from Norfolk on 5 January 1937, transited the Panama Canal and headed for San Diego soon thereafter. The ship spent the following weeks engaged in assault landing exercises and gunnery drills at San Clemente Island. On 18 February, during the culminating phase of a multi-faceted (land, sea, and air) exercise, a shrapnel shell exploded prematurely as it was being rammed into one of the ship's 5 in (130 mm) broadside guns. One officer and six enlisted Marines were killed, and 11 were wounded. Immediately after the explosion, Wyoming sped to San Pedro, where she transferred the wounded Marines to Relief. After completing her slate of exercises and war games off the island on 3 March, Wyoming stood out of Los Angeles harbor on that day and then headed back to the East Coast.”


November 15, 1938 [SDET]: “Notice to mariners. Southern California Islands. San Clemente Island light, previously reported extinguished, was relighted November 8.”


1939: The Navy developed the first Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP) "Higgins Boat" at San Clemente Island. This was the beginning of the Naval Amphibious Force, which was one of the key factors in the outcome of WWII.


July 20, 1939 [SBNP]: “The Coast Guard patrol boat Cahoone reported today it had taken in tow the fishing boat Harmony on charges that it was within the 300-yard naval restricted area off San Clemente Island. It was the fourth vessel seized since July 1 on similar charges.”


November 9, 1939 [SBNP]: “Scientists to explore San Clemente Island for burial ground of prehistoric Indians…”


1942: Following commencement of WWII hostilities, the Navy accelerated use of the Shore Bombardment Area (SHOBA) at the southern end of the island for fleet training.


October 1942 [USNIP]:» Flynn, S. E. The History of San Clemente Island U. S. Naval Proceedings 68(476):1417-1426 October 1942.


January 1942: a Marine scouting squadron with 19 Vought SB2U Vindicators and one J2F Grumman Duck operated from the airfield. The next month another project commenced to extend the runways and make additional improvements. In March, a 200-man Army detachment set up two radar stations on the island. Two months later, the Marines returned for flight operations with the establishment of an antiaircraft machine gun training unit. The Marines utilized J2F Ducks for target towing. http://www.militarymuseum.org/NAASSanClemente.html


February 1943: the Navy commissioned NAAF San Clemente Island. The location was evaluated for blimp operations and deemed, at that time, to be unsuitable due to strong and unpredictable winds. In March, the Bureau of Ordnance came to the station for a two month period to test 1600-lb. bombs. VJ-7 supported the project with two PBY-5As. In July, the Navy formed a Combat Information Center (CIC) - Team Training Unit. The unit's syllabus consisted of a three-week course training 589 officers and 1914 men during its existence. The next month, this unit trained the first of seven ARGUS units. ARGUS was a shore-based radar unit that provided the CIC mission for island bases. Airborne radar targets for training were provided by VJ-7 with two PBY-5As and 12 SBDs.


January 1944: Seabees built two permanent radar installations on the island. The next month, the Navy upgraded San Clemente to an NAAS. Beginning in April, fighter components of VC squadrons started using the station for gunnery training. A total of 10 groups of 10 to 15 FM-2s, supported by San Diego's CASU 5, trained at the base during 1944. In June, the Navy established a Special Projects School for Air that taught radio and radar countermeasures. The School utilized 15 SNBs and trained 44 teams during the war.


March 1944 [USNIP]: “Today it [San Clemente Island] is the site of the U.S. Fleet Training Base, an activity within the Eleventh Naval District. Civilians are forbidden to pass within one mile of its shore line,” notes Lieutenant Commander Stanley A. Wheeler.


Early 1945: the Navy rebuilt the runways. On April 15, an Airborne Early Warning Training Unit began operations from the station. In June, this unit operated one SNJ, three TBM-3Es, and nine TBM 3Ws. Also that month, LTA began operations at San Clemente, as blimps from Santa Ana and Del Mar averaged three landings a week. San Clemente, had three asphalt runways -- the longest 5,000 ft. On the northern tip of the island was Castle Field, a dirt strip used for emergencies. In March 1944, station personnel numbered 117 officers and 749 men with barracks for 100 officers and 600 men. The station usually had a J2F Duck, but in mid-1944 also had a GH ambulance plane.


1949: In 1949 Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS), China Lake, began using San Clemente Island as a test and evaluation range on an occasional basis.


October 27, 1957 [LAT]: “Navy closes San Clemente Island area. The Navy will conduct shore bombardment exercises in the Pyramid Cove area, San Clemente Island, tomorrow from 1 to 10 p.m.; Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All fishermen and yachtsmen are warned to avoid the Pyramid Cove area during this period.”


January 3, 1960 [LAT]: “San Diego, January 2. The body of a man believed to be James McCoy, 37, of Wilmington, a fisherman, who disappeared while fishing off San Clemente Island December 19, was found today on a beach at the island by navy personnel. Dep. Coroner Jesse Canale said positive identification has not yet been made.”


March 31, 1960 [LAT]: “Two workers at a construction job on San Clemente Island were killed yesterday when their truck overturned while working on a naval base area. The victims were Joseph Henry Hargroves, 14516-1/2 Burton Ave., Lawndale, and Richard L. Whitten, 1220 Margarita Dr., West Covina. Both were in their 20s, sheriff’s deputies said. The bodies were taken to Long Beach.”


January 11, 1961 Following the war, San Clemente became an ALF to San Diego and remains so to this day. The Navy has since abandoned the WW II station site and built an 8,000-ft. runway at the former Castle Field. In 1961, the Navy named the facility Admiral Frederick C. Sherman Field in honor of the three-time winner of the Navy Cross and carrier task group commander during World War II.


February 20, 1969 [LAT]: “Sealab 3, the Navy’s 299-ton deep ocean habitat for aquanaut operations, will be placed on a barge and towed from San Clemente Island to Long Beach for repairs to seal off leaks in its helium pressurization system. Meanwhile, pathologists examining the body of aquanaut Berry M. Canon, who died of a heart attack at a depth of 610 feet Monday while attempting to inspect the laboratory, said in San Diego that autopsy reports will not be available for several days.”


May 4, 1969 [Independent-Press-Telegram]: “Long Beach Firm Erects Unit on Island. Tri-Cor, Inc., of Long Beach, is building a new government facility for the United States Navy on San Clemente Island. The $6,200 structure, designed by L. R. Schwabauer, measures 20 by 60 feet and has an eave height of 14 feet. Tri-Cor is a franchised builder of Pascoe Steel.”


August 17, 1969 [LAT]: “Firm Given Contract. Gardena—B. F. Gosser Inc. of this city was awarded an $815,754 contract to construct barracks at the San Clemente Island Naval Undersea Warfare Center in San Diego, according to an announcement from Rep. Glenn M. Anderson (D-Hawthorne).”


April 22, 1974 [LAT]: “A skin diver drowned when he became tangled in seaweed at China Point off San Clemente Island. Trevis D. Marsha, 58, of Ukiah, and a diving partner were swimming back to a chartered 85-foot sport-fishing vessel named the California when the companion looked back and saw Marsha face down in the water. When thepartner tried to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Marsha’s body sank. Divers aboard the vessel retrieved his body and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.”


January 6, 1977 [LAT]: “Navy searchers found the body of Thomas J. Burns, Jr., 28, of San Diego at the base of a 300-foot sea cliff near the southern tip of San Clemente Island after he failed to return from a goat-hunting expedition. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Burns, a temporary employee of the Naval Undersea Center on theisland, and a San Diego State College graduate, apparently fell accidentally. He was hunting goats as part of a Natural Resource Management Project effort to restore the island to its natural ecological condition.”


August 9, 1986 [LAT]: “The family of a San Diego fisherman who drowned last winter under mysterious circumstances off San Clemente Island filed a $10.8 million lawsuit Friday against the Navy, contending the man died after stray Navy explosives struck his boat. The suit, filed in federal court in San Diego, alleged that Boyd Reber of San Diego and crewman Frank Germano of Ventura died February 25 in an explosion of either a missile or live ordnance fired by sailors in target practice off San Clemente Island. The lawsuit accuses the Navy of negligence by failing to warn the fishermen of danger and in allowing explosives to strike their boat. It seeks damages of more than $10.8 million, covering the cost of the boat, and the loss suffered by Reber’s wife and 3-year-old child…”


21st CENTURY


January 13, 2018 [The Diplomat]: “US, Japan Kick off Joint Military Exercise. The U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force kicked off their annual Iron Fist Exercise on January 12. Last week, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) launched the 13th iteration of the amphibious warfare exercise Iron Fist 2018, held at Camp Pendleton and San Clemente Island in southern California. The exercise, which kicked off on January 12, involves around 500 U.S. Marines and sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and around 350 soldiers of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force’s Western Army Infantry Regiment. Iron First is expected to conclude on February 12. The five-week long bilateral drill will focus “on advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire and maneuver assaults, staff planning, logistical support, medical knowledge sharing, fire support operations, including mortars, artillery and close air support, and amphibious landing operations,” according to a U.S. Marine Corps press release. The major emphasis of the exercise will be on combined amphibious warfare operations at the platoon, company, and battalion levels. The “culminating training event” will be a joint amphibious assault.

“It is essential that U.S. Marines and sailors maintain our strong working relationships with our Japanese military partners and continue building our mutual understanding of each other’s amphibious capabilities,” said Colonel Fridrik Fridriksson, the commanding officer of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. This year’s exercise will be a bit more complex than Iron Fist 2017, Fridriksson told USNI News last week. “There will be a little bit more combined arms, there will be a little bit more live fire, and it will be a little bit more technical… This is really designed to support the Japanese and do what they want to do.”

As I reported previously, Japan intends to stand up a new amphibious warfare brigade by April 2018: The initial size of the brigade will be around 2,000 troops, but this is slated to increase to 3,000 once the force becomes fully operational sometime in 2018. The new brigade’s principal mission will be to defend the 6,000 islands and islets of the Ryukyu Islands chain, which stretches southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan. The Western Army Infantry Regiment, based in Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, is the nucleus of this new unit, as I noted: Seven hundred troops of the light infantry regiment are currently charged with defending the remote islands. However, the establishment of the new unit has been plagued by inter-service rivalry, budgetary constraints, and the Japan Self-Defense Force’s traditional problem of a lack of inter-service coordination, which, given that any amphibious warfare operation will require all three services to cooperate, may prove particularly problematic. Lack of inter-service coordination remains one of the biggest challenges for the Japanese military. “One of the shortcomings is that GSDF and MSDF [Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force] are not coordinating their efforts the way they should,” a former U.S. liaison officer in Japan told USNI News last week. “It’s kind of done in parallel, and that’s the wrong way to do things. Look around at Iron Fist and ask where the MSDF is.”