SHADE, Albert

From Islapedia
Albert "Al" John Shade

SHADE, Albert “Al” John (1868- ), German immigrant who lived on Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands, and for whom Camp Shade at Mosquito Cove, San Clemente Island was named. In the 1900 census of Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, Shade was 32 and single; occupation boatman.

Al Shade was a member of the first baseball club organized on the island in 1900, called the Lulus. Team members included: W. Beeson, A. Davis, M. L. Bloom, E. Hunter, George Johnson, Tom Whittley, Captain Lewis, J. Jones and Jim Gardner.

For a number of years Shade operated a camp at Mosquito Harbor, San Clemente Island (c. 1909-1919). In the summer of 1911, Howard Wright sailed his boat, Siwash, to San Clemente Island where he met Al Shade:

“Met a fellow named Al Shay [sic] there... quite a character... he was drunk. He told us the story about some fisherman there, fishing for swordfish. They gave him some liquor and he got drunk. They had to leave so they finally left him with about a half case of booze. He said to himself, "I can't leave that in my camp because I'll get drunk., so he took it clear across the island by Pyramid Point and it took him all day... "Carted it all the way over there and then got back and wanted a drink. So I walked back 8 miles and had a couple of drinks and walked back to the camp... Thought maybe I'd better get another one... did that for two days...said to hell with it... I'd better bring the whole damned thing back... which I did." ” [History of Siwash as Recalled by Howard Walter Wright, Sr., n.d., unpub.ms., SCIF Archives]



In the News~

August 5, 1898 [LAH]: “Al Shade and Mr. Steinfeldt yesterday captured four yellowtail and one immense albacore.”


September 7, 1898 [LAH]: “P. Billington and C. A. Smith have just returned from a three days’ cruise and camping trip in the Sailor Boy, with Al Shade as boatman. The first day they ran down to the Isthmus and then back to Goat Harbor, where they camped over night, and the next day was spent in hunting goats, a number of which were secured. They also got the usual number of cactus thorns in various portions of their anatomy. While at Italian Gardens they saw the two boys who were marooned there, and picked them up and did their best for them until they were taken off by the Santa Ana. They also pulled Mexican Joe’s boat up on the beach, where the waves that were grinding it to pieces would not reach it.”


June 17, 1899 [LAT]: “Another big sunfish, weighing nearly one hundred pounds, was brought in by Al Shade yesterday.”


September 17, 1899 [LAT]: “Charles Steinfeldt and wife, Jim Gardner and wife and Al Shade went up to Johnson’s Landing this morning for a week’s camping.”


November 13, 1899 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. George Hoffmann, Al Shade and Ernest Morris, boatmen, whose occupation is not brisk in the winter season, have established a camp at Silver Canyon, on the south side of the island, and are making a business of hunting abalones for market. Yesterday they made a ‘clean-up’ and brought over a ton of shells and half a ton of dried abalone meat.”


November 30, 1899 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. The young men who established a camp at Silver Canyon and engaged in abalone fishing, have sold shells to the amount of $180, and have 1200 pounds of dried abalone meat still on hand. Yesterday Al Shade and Ernest Morris went round the west end of the island in a rowboat, prospecting for a better place for their camp. It was a long row and a risky one for a small boat at this season of the year. They reached Avalon at 8 P.M.”


January 31, 1900 [LAT/SBer]: “Messrs. E. L. Doran, L. Bloodgood, E. P. Averill and Al Shade returned yesterday from a week’s outing on San Clemente Island. They explored the island from end to end, and incidentally employed a portion of their time in searching for Indian relics, and were richly rewarded, bringing back enough to stock a small museum…”


April 24, 1900 [LAT]: “Avalon, April 23. The launch Mascot is again the object of solicitude. The little boat has been making her way down from Monterey, having left there about two weeks ago. On the 18th she was at Santa Barbara, where Mrs. Cornell wrote a postal to Mrs. J. W. Williams of this place, saying they had arrived there the previous evening, and would remain that day, probably resuming their voyage the next day. They lost their skiff in the rough sea at Point Sur, but had rounded Point Conception safely… There were supposed to have been aboard the Mascot, Captain George N. Cornell and wife, Al Shade, and probably a San Pedro man by the name of Phillips…”


October 7, 1900 [LAT]: “Long skiff voyage from San Nicolas to Avalon — Catching fish. Avalon, Oct. 6. Three of the five men who went over to San Nicolas Island a month go, abalone fishing,and expected to remain during the winter, very unexpectedly turned up in port Thursday afternoon, in their skiff, having rowed the entire distance with the help of a small sail, which they had rigged up. They returned because shell hunting did not prove satisfactory, as the island rocks have been almost denuded of abalones by Chinamen, who have made San Nicolas their rendezvous for years. They turned their attention to relic hunting, and were quite successful at that; procuring perhaps half a ton of the stone and bone implements of the early inhabitants. But as they did not care to spend the winter in that occupation, and the boat that took them over was not expected for a month or more, Ernest Morris, Al Shade and O. D. Barns took the hazard and set out in their skiff. Out of a floating timber which they recovered from the water a mast was constructed, their only tool being an ax. They had no nails with which to secure the mast, and made it fast with rope. They had no sail and used a blanket…”


April 5, 1901 [AL]: “On Catalina Island a lady and a gentleman, tourists, walked to the beach by way of the trail, but seeing a long stretch of sand, attempted to return by way of the beach. When they reached Abalone Point they found their way closed and they must either retrace their steps or scale a small cliff, and they undertook to climb it. After laboring up 200 feet they came upon a place more difficult than any yet encountered. Rocks and shale were slipping beneath their feet and dashing into the foaming waters below. It was still a hundred feet or more to the top of the cliff, and when they tried to return to the beach the woman became dizzy and could not move. The man reached the trail and came to town for help, leaving the woman on the cliff side. J. Gardner took his launch, and, with Al Shade and Gus Knowles repaired to the spot. Shade and Knowles climbed up to the woman and fastened a rope about her, and she was drawn up in safety. The woman refused to giver her name, as did her companion, for she said she had traveled all over the world, climbed the Alps and the Himalayas, and did not like the proposition of being knocked out on a little 400-foot climb on Catalina.”


October 17, 1901 [SBI]: “Al Shade, Ernest Morris, Jack Bryant and Sam Brown have just returned from a weeks’ cruising about San Clemente Island in the little sloop Bertha. They came over for a supply of provisions, bringing with them Robert Robarts, one of the men in charge of the island for the San Clemente Wool Company. The boys will spend a few days in going around this island and then return to Clemente and finish their outing.”


October 25, 1901 [SBI]: “Al Shade and Ernest Morris, who left here a week ago on the little sloop Bertha to look up the wreck of the schooner La Gironde on San Nicolas Island, returned yesterday. They found a party of five men from San Pedro in possession of the craft, and they refused all comers permission to board the boat. When the boys reached the site of the wreck they found the men busy dismantling it. They took out the masts and sails and a few other things, and carried them ashore, and then desisted from the work and are contenting themselves with holding the fort. The captain of the Gironde, with his first and second mate, is on Nicolas awaiting some legal process by which he may regain possession of his ship. The schooner is high up on the beach, each end resting on rocks, and at low tide is completely out of the water. It looks like a physical impossibility to float her, and the first storm will break her in two.”


November 13, 1901 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. George Hoffmann, Al Shade and Ernest Morris, boatmen, whose occupation is not brisk in the winter season, have established a camp at Silver Canyon, on the south side of the island, and are making a business of hunting abalones for market. Yesterday they made a ‘clean-up’ and brought over a ton of shells and half a ton of dried abalone meat.”


August 10, 1902 Catherine MacLean Loud writes in her diary: “E. N. Dickerson’s new yacht came in today, the new Lillian with Capt. J. E. Fowler and First Officer, Al Shade.”


November 1, 1903 Catherine MacLean Loud writes in her diary: “Al Shade who for two years past has been studying mechanics in Pennsylvania and New York has now returned to Avalon.”


June 1, 1908 [LAH]: “Avalon, May 31. Every hour adds to the mystery of the disappearance and probably death of Antonio Christ, known as ‘Tony the Greek,’ who dropped from sight somewhere in the sea between Santa Catalina Island and San Clemente a week ago. At 5 o’clock tonight the launch Nevada returned to Avalon, bringing the skiff which belonged to the ill-fated boatman and which was picked up in the channel at a point about twelve miles north of Avalon by the tug Redondo Saturday morning. When the boat was picked up the painter was beside the small craft. This is taken to indicate that the boat did not break loose, as has been believed. In the boat when found were some stones, which might have been used as light anchors. This shows the boat had not been capsized. On board the Nevada were Al Shade, John Robarts, Tommy Whitley, Charles Parker and another Avalon man. They have been searching for the boatman several days, but until they put into San Pedro today and learned that the boat had been picked up at Redondo they had no trace of the missing man or any of his belongings. At 2 o’clock last Tuesday afternoon the United States cruiser Buffalo, from Panama to Mare Island, twelve days out, picked up the launch Zeus, drifting helplessly at a point nineteen miles southeast of San Clemente Island. The launch contained Edward E. Easton, his wife, two children and a negress nurse of the little ones. The story told by Mr. Easton was one of great hardship to himself and family, as they had been buffeted by the sea nearly forty-eight hours after the engine stopped. Mr. Easton said they had all retired on the Zeus about 9:30 Sunday evening with the understanding that the boatman was to raise anchor and proceed to Avalon early the next morning. Avalon is about an hour and a half run from Silver Canyon, where the boat was anchored for the night. He said that some time before daylight he was awakened by the heavy pitching of the boat. He shouted to Tony, but received no response. The engine was running and the launch was plunging along in the darkness with no guiding hand at the wheel. Mr. Easton made a search for the boatman and was horrified to find the man was not on board. The anchor had been raised, but the anchor rope had not been coiled. About thirty feet of heavy chain lay on the forward deck of the little craft. The launch's tender was also missing and Mr. Easton frequently expressed the fervent hope that the man might be picked up at sea. Mr. Easton went to the wheel and steered, he says, steadily for the east. They ran for hours without sighting land. Finally the engine stopped and all Mr. Easton's efforts to start it again were of no avail. He believed the fuel was exhausted. This was not the case, however, according to the statement of the Avalon boatmen who went on board the Zeus when the launch was moored after the Buffalo had towed her in. The real cause of the engine stopping, these boatmen say, was that the lubricating oil was exhausted and Mr. Easton did not know how to replenish it or did not know it was essential. Without lubrication the engine ran hot and finally stopped. With the boat adrift Mr. Easton attempted to rig a kedge anchor or to make a float to keep the boat's nose to the weather. In this he practically succeeded and doubtless saved his family from much suffering by the launch falling into the trough of the sea and rolling on her beam ends with every swell. What was placed in this drag is not known beyond the use of a tent which the party had used in camping. This tent was thrown overboard and abandoned when the seamen of the Buffalo sought to lighten the Zeus while under tow. The Buffalo's speed threatened to swamp the launch. An Avalon boatman said today there was half a cord of wood in the Zeus. He could not understand why this was not used in the drag or why the sailors had not jettisoned this when they feared being towed under. In speaking of the tragic fate of Antonio Crist, an Avalon man who is familiar with launches and the ways of the sea said: "We have discussed the affair at great length here, and we are unable to reach any tenable theory of how Tony met his death, for it seems certain he is dead. One thing is certain: if Tony fell overboard while his engine was running and the clutch was in — that is to say, the propeller working — the boat would have come back to him.”


June 11, 1908 [LAH]: “Avalon, June 10. Captain Al Shade of the launch Pilgrim has a lucky streak and it seems he can find nothing but white sea bass for the anglers. Today while fishing from the launch Pilgrim, A. Houghton hooked and brought to gaff nine white sea bass, all on light tackle. The fish averaged about fifteen pounds each. Shade has a wonderful collection of lucky stones, which are found near the eye of the white sea bass…”


September 6, 1908 [LAT]: “A boatsmen’s union is the latest organization at Avalon, which proposes to dominate sportsmen, to blacklist any who would employ boatmen outside the union, and to say where anglers shall be permitted to fish… ‘We will have three or four large boats, and one will make daily trips to San Clemente, and boats will also go to Anacapa Island, or anywhere else that anglers want to go… ‘When I returned from Clemente the other day, they called my boatman a scab, and have combined to ruin him. This is true of some of the best boatmen here, who have been taking their patrons to Clemente this season — Al Shade, Mexican Joe, Cover, the owners of the Garfield, Zeus, San Toy, and all the boatmen who have had the independence to do anything that the union does not like…”


1909: “There is a small camp at Mosquito Harbor, where Alec O’Leary once lived… Al Shade, a boatman, had a few fig trees at his camp at Mosquito planted, I fancy, by O’Leary, and one little spring on the south side; and these trees were continually filled with finches and mockingbirds…” [Holder, 1910, p. 145, 159]


June 25, 1910 [LAT]: “Avalon, June 24. “…Captain Al Shade, who came over from Mosquito harbor yesterday, said: ‘If Col. Roosevelt doesn’t get all the fun out of Clemente fishing which ought to come to him next September. I’ll miss my guess. When I left the island the sea was almost black with fish. Coming over I had two swordfish strikes while trolling with a piece of white rag for bait.’…”


July 6, 1911 [LAT]: “Long chase to San Clemente… With a view of giving his favorite refinement in sea-angling methods, the Three-Four-Five, a thorough and practical try out against the big, husky yellowtail of Mosquito Harbor and the lee of San Clemente Island generally, Roy F. B. Shaver left San Pedro in his home-made boat, the Roncador… laying a course for Al Shade’s camp at Mosquito Harbor…”


August 1911 [H. W. Wright unpub. interview, 1960s, SCIF]: “…Met a fellow named Al Shade there. Quite a character. He was drunk. He told us the story about some fishermen there, fishing for swordfish. They gave him some liquor and he got drunk. They had to leave, so they finally left him with about a half a case of booze. He said to himelf, ‘I can’t leave that in my camp because I’ll get drunk.’ So he took it clear across the island to Pyramid Point, and it took him all day. ‘Carted it all the way over there and then got back to camp and wanted a drink. So I walked back eight miles and had a couple of drinks and walked back to the camp. Thought maybe I’d better get another one. Did that for two days. Said to hell with it. I’d better bring the whole damned thing back, which I did.”


1913 [USNIP March 1944]: “In 1913, as a boy, the author visited Mosquito Harbor soon after Al Shade, a veteran boatman, had established a small fish camp there for use of sportsmen. Today the fig trees which Shade planted more than 30 years ago are among the largest to be found in California. There is just enough water from a near-by spring to support these two trees,” notes Lieutenant Commander Stanley A. Wheeler.


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 12, 1914 [TI/Avalon]: “Captain I. L. Newberry made a hurried trip to Mosquito Harbor Sunday, to get Captain A. Shade to finish the refrigerating system installed by William Judd.”


1915: “Where Others Do Not Go. …Six o’clock we are on our way to San Clemente; ten thirty and down goes the anchor in the harbor of San Clemente Island and a boat containing one occupant is putting off from shore. Al Shade is the boatman’s name and he insists we must come ashore and have dinner with him... Imagine a cove with a small, deep harbor, a sandy beach for about a hundred yards, back of that a knoll, and then the mountains arising straight up for a mile. Upon a knoll, a small well-made house constructed of rough lumber and canvas - three rooms; kitchen, dining room and bed room erected under the only trees I saw on the island. There is scarcely any vegetation excepting cactus, sage brush and mesquite. Al Shade lives there the year round and makes a good living entertaining fishing parties. Swordfish, tuna or smaller fish, whatever it is you want to catch, Al knows where it is — and such a cook! Such chowders! absolutely the best ever...” [Forest and Stream, p/ 685.]


July 18, 1916 [TI/Avalon]: “Pete Snider has signed a 5 year lease for the camping rights at Mosquito Harbor, San Clemente Island, and has taken over possession of the camp. For many years, ‘Pete’ has cooked for campers on Catalina and San Clemente islands. He is known by many sportsmen in the hospitable capacity of a first class cook and caterer. And Pete is arranging to install a 25,000 gallon water tank. At present he has accommodations for 20 persons. Captain A. Shade who formerly owned the camp has left for the mainland. Mosquito Camp is used by Mr. Z. Grey, W. C. Boschen, Gifford Pinchot and almost every member of the Tuna Club.”


1919: “Al Shade keeps the only camp at Clemente. It is a clean, comfortable, delightful place. I have found no place where sleep is so easy, so sweet, so deep. Shade lives a lonely life there ten months in the year. And it is no wonder when a fisherman arrives Al almost kills himself in his good humor and kindness and usefulness. Men who live lonely lives are always glad to see their fellowmen. But he loves Clemente Island. Who would not?” [Gray, Zane. Tales of Fishes, p. 47.]