SHEEP ON ANACAPA ISLAND

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SHEEP ON ANACAPA ISLAND

Vessels used to haul sheep from Anacapa Island include:



In the News~

November 4, 1871 [SBT]: “Departures. October 31. Schooner Active, Mills, Anacapa Island.”


October 2, 1875 [SBDP]: “A sojourn in California… Having concluded to visit Santa Cruz Island by permission of its superintendent, we engaged a passage over on board of the small schooner Star of Freedom… In the morning we started homeward bound, with the little island of Anacapa a few miles eastward upon our port bow. As this is a mere barren and elevated land of rocks, with little vegetation, the owners of San Miguel, as we are informed, keep about 500 sheep only upon Anacapa. We touched near shore long enough to send a boat to one of our herdsmen’s ranchos and bring aboard a young mutton for home use, which, with a dozen or more barracuda and bonito, fish taken on our trolling lines, will give the schooner’s crew an ample supply…” » Pacific Wool Growing Company


February 19, 1876 [VS]: “Delinquent Tax List — Year 1875-6. The following is a list of the names of the persons, and a description of the property delinquent by reason of non-payment of State and County taxes in the County of Ventura, for the year 1875-6… Interest, claim and possession of, in and to the island known as San Nicolas $4000; also Island of Anacapa $1500; Improvements thereon $400; Three mixed horses $90; 3000 improved sheep $6000; 400 lambs $400 = $9390.


January 17, 1877 [SBDP]: “Anacapa Island. Seal and other fishing — shells, mosses and a great cave. A sketch by the editor of the Ventura Free Press… At the extreme west end of Anacapa there is a small corral and sheep camp, where a vessel calls once or twice a year with a party of sheep-shearers, and leaves them to take the fleece from the backs of the fat sheep. This is usually accomplished in four or five days, when the vessel returns and takes both men and wool to the mainland…”


June 22, 1878 [SBDP]: “The little schooner H. W. Almy arrived in port this morning, having made since the 14th instant a complete tour of all the islands lying off Santa Barbara… Grass is very good on the islands, though now growing brown, and sheep are doing well. Shearing at San Miguel, San Nicolas and Anacapa islands has been finished, and a good yield made. The sheep on the smaller of the Anacapa islands having died during the dry season of last year, they are now being stocked from the larger islands. Captain Mullett says the weather on the islands has been delightful and not a bit foggy.”


June 22, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Star of Freedom last night brought a half-dozen wild-looking common black sheep for butcher’s meat from Anacapa Island.”


[June 1879] June 5, 1883 [LADT]: “It was on a pleasant morning in June [1879] that a party of us boarded the little schooner Rosetta, commanded by the late Captain Myron Warner, and helped to spread her sails for a sail across the channel. Anacapa makes a bend, something in the shape of an irregular crescent, with its convex face towards the ocean, so that in its lee is a perfectly sheltered anchorage, with only the faintest suspicion of a surf. The entire island is one massive rugged rock, broken in places, and precipitous, it base honey-combed with water-worn caves, some of them piercing it through and through, its top covered at sheltered points with a thin coating of soil, but containing in all its length and breadth neither fresh water nor any but the scantest vegetation… On the hills at its summit graze a scanty flock of ragged unshorn sheep. How they got there or, being there, how they manage to pick up subsistence, is more than I can say, but there they are, for I have seen them…”


June 4, 1883 [SBMP]: “Larco arrived with his sloop yesterday from Anacapa Island with a cargo of fifty sheep and about 1200 pounds of rock cod. The latter is shipped here by Chinaman to be salted, dried and sent to China. Captain Larco took on a load of lumber and started for San Miguel.”


June 14, 1883 [SBDP]: “Larco arrived with his sloop yesterday from Anacapa Island with a cargo of fifty sheep and about 1200 pounds of rock cod. The latter is shipped here by Chinamen to be salted, dried and sent to China. Captain Larco took on a load of lumber and started for San Miguel Island.”


July 14, 1883 [SBDI]: “The schooner Convoy has returned from Anacapa Island with a cargo of skins, wool and oil for Mr. Elliott.”


July 14, 1883 [SBDP]: “The schooner Convoy came into port today from Anacapa Island with a cargo including 11 barrels of seal oil, 25 sacks of abalone shells, 2 tons of seal skins, 10 sacks of dried abalones and one ton of wool.”


August 1, 1883 [SBDP]: “Further adventures of the Santa Barbara exploring party... High upon the coast of the narrow island could be seen scattered flocks of sheep belonging to Mr. Mills, who claims the island as his own...” [Note: Mills’ sheep were on San Miguel Island.]


August 11, 1883 [SBI]: “The schooner Convoy arrived from Anacapa loaded with sheep this morning.”


May 27, 1884 [SBDI]: “The Angel Dolly, Captain Ellis, left this afternoon with sheep shearers for Anacapa Island.”


March 17, 1885 [SBDP]: “The sloop Ocean King came in from Anacapa Island Saturday afternoon with a quantity of wool and forty head of sheep from Mr. Elliott’s Anacapa and San Nicolas bands for I. K. Fisher.”


August 12, 1885 [SDU]: “The springs upon Anacapa Island, off the Santa Barbara coast, have all dried up and the sheep pastured there are forced to depend upon the dew for moisture.”


October 1, 1886 [SBDI]: “Monday, Mr. Elliott will leave for San Nicolas and Anacapa Island with some sheep shearers. He is to charter the Ocean King for the occasion.”


October 22, 1886 [SBDP]: “The Ocean King yesterday brought to the mainland another cargo of Anacapa Island wool.”


March 19, 1890 [SBMP]: “Some people are never satisfied unless they are destroying someone’s property. It is reported that a few days ago some fiend went over to Anacapa Island, on which there is a large band of sheep, and killed over fifty of them because of some grudge he held against the owner. An investigation is being made and further particulars will be published later.”


September 24, 1890 [LAT]: “Santa Barbara Wool...That a woolen mill could be made to pay in Santa Barbara is apparent. This county is a great wool-raising district. On the Island of Santa Rosa there are 60,000 sheep; on Santa Cruz, 35,000; on San Miguel, 5,000; on Anacapa, 3,000; on the great San Julian ranch, 30,000; besides innumerable smaller flocks in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. These figures are from the County Assessor's books, and are probably underestimates.”


December 6, 1890 [LAT]: “The Undine was a small naphtha launch recently brought from San Francisco by Capt. Ellis, and was used to carry passengers to and from the points of interest on the Santa Barbara Islands, and also in the transportation of supplies to the sheep-herders of Anacapa. The wreck occurred off Hueneme, and the capsized sloop was passed by the Santa Cruz while on her way from that point to Ventura.”


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


October 26, 1892 [SBMP]: “The sloop Liberty arrived yesterday with a large cargo of wool for E. Elliott from San Nicolas and Anacapa islands.”


October 29, 1892 [SBMP]: “E. Elliott will ship forty sacks of wool on the Corona today, part of the shearing from his San Nicolas and Anacapa sheep.”


September 12, 1893 [SBMP]: “The sloop Restless will leave this city in a day or two with Mr. E. Elliott and a party of sheep shearers. They go to San Nicolas Island to leave the shearers, and the Restless will return with a load of sheep. She will then return for the men and go to Anacapa where the sheep on that island will be sheared.”


September 29, 1893 [SBMP]: “The sloop Restless is in from Anacapa Island with a cargo of wool. Mr. Elliott was a passenger.”


June 5, 1894 [SBDI]: “The sloop Restless is at the islands engaged in transferring sheep from San Nicolas Island to Anacapa Island. The sloop will bring a cargo to Santa Barbara on the return trip.”


June 5, 1898 [SFCall]: “Ventura, June 4. There has been filed with the County Recorder a deed whereby, in consideration of $8000, Ezekiel Elliott of Santa Barbara conveys to George Le Mesnager of Los Angeles all his right, title and interest in Anacapa Island, and a deed whereby J. V. Elliott of Santa Barbara conveys, in consideration of $8000, to Peter Cazes of Los Angeles all of his title and interest in San Nicolas Island. Both islands are off the coast of Ventura County, and are a part of this county. Anacapa lies about twenty [something missing] nearly 1000 acres of land, capable of supporting 1500 sheep or goats. San Nicolas is due south, eighty miles from Ventura, and contains about forty square miles, capable of carrying 3000 sheep.”


June 14, 1894 [SBMP]: “Mr. E. Elliott returned at an early hour yesterday morning on the Restless from a trip to San Nicolas and Anacapa islands, from the former of which he brought a schooner load of fine sheep which he will dispose of by private sale. The sheep are in fine condition and all free from scab or any other diseases. There are 80 or 90 splendid ewes among them, and these will also be sold to those desiring them...”


October 2, 1898 [LAT]: “Isabel M. Austin. A dry and thirsty land. Story of a matanza on Anacapa Island… A matanza. That’s a Spanish word for a big cooking apparatus that extracts the fat from the meat after the sheep are skinned…”


April 6, 1900 [SBDI]: “The steamer Dawn returned from the islands yesterday where she had gone for a load of sheep for Sherman & Ealand, but on account of the rough weather they were unable to land. The boat will return in a few days for the same purpose.”


June 16, 1900 [OC]: “We are informed that a gang of men are blasting a roadway from west end island to the middle island of the Anacapas to allow the sheep to reach the middle island. As the islands are government property and belong to this township, we should imagine permission should first be had to do this kind of work. There must be someone in authority in the matter.”


July 21, 1900 [OC]: “An outing on Anacapa… The only human inhabitant is one man who tends the sheep, and three Chinamen, who during the season collect abalone shells. For these they receive $70 per ton in Germany, while the meat is dried and sold in China…”


March 4, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “Little Anacapa Island has been leased by the government to Louis LeMesnager, a Los Angeles county sheep raiser, for a term of five years, at an annual rental of $5. In the three small islands comprising this group there are some 5000 acres. In years of abundant rainfall there is ample feed for the support of large flocks of sheep. When water is scarce they subsist on ice grass [plant]. The lessee will soon stock the islands.”


September 16, 1904 [OC]: “…Anacapa… Old Charlie, who has lived there alone for the past five years, and who, in addition to looking after the sheep, fishes, gathers abalones and traps crawfish for market has a small cement cistern supplied by the water which falls on the roof of his shack during the rainy season…”


October 7, 1904 [LAT/VC]: “A story printed in a Los Angeles ‘yellow’ paper yesterday to the effect that sheep are on Anacapa without Island were without water and that the attention of the government would be called to the fact by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has created a laugh among the residents of this section, who know about sheep. It is true that there are several hundred sheep on the island. It is also true there is no water for them. It is equally true that his state of affairs has existed for thirty years. There has always in the years intervening been sheep on Anacapa Island, and they have ever subsisted and waxed fat without water. There is considerable feed on the island, for more rain falls there than on the mainland. The sheep do not need water, for the cactus plant supplies this deficiency. It is also harmless for the sheep to eat. Anacapa sheep thrive splendidly on what nature affords them. The same sensational sheet also sends an alarm that the sheep are wearing the earth off the island and will eventually destroy it. This part of the story is also laughed at by those who know that in all the years the sheep have been on the island it has no way diminished in size or area; in fact, its volume has probably increased.”


October 9, 1904 [SFCall]: “Berkeley, October 8. ‘Anacapa Island is wearing away.’ This is the statement made by the Fred Johnson party, which has just returned from a tour of inspection. According to the primary report, the shores of the sheep island are being eaten away at a rapid rate. But one man is reported to be the caretaker and not a drop of water is in sight for the sustenance of the sheep. A full report of the results of the expedition will be made by Johnson to the department of geology of the university at a later date.”


October 14, 1904 [OC]: “Members of the Santa Barbara Humane Society are looking into a story that from 350 to 400 sheep are being kept upon Anacapa Island without water and with no food except the leaves of prickly pears. The cruelty of the situation is manifest but the society has not found the name of the owner… From Captain Merry we learn that about eighteen years ago a man named Elliott put a band of sheep on that island and one on San Nicolas…”


October 14, 1904 [OC]: “The sheep on Anacapa Island are claimed by a Frenchman with a peculiar name [LeMesnager] who lives in Los Angeles. His name is well known to several Oxnarders. There are people who claim that this man has no right to the sheep except the possession. From Captain Merry we learn that about eighteen years ago [c. 1886] a man named Elliott put a band of sheep on that island and one on San Nicolas. A number of men were one day sailing around the spot and landed a few hours. The owner of the sheep came up to them and ordered them to immediately leave, saying that the place belonged to him. They well knew that the island was government property and that no one had a right to use it as a sheep run so when they returned to the mainland they wrote the facts to the secretary of the interior and a few weeks later a revenue cutter came along and gave him a week to remove his sheep which he did, taking them to San Nicolas where his other band was. In the moving there were a number of the sheep that could not be caught and it is said from these the band now living sprung. That the present owner, or claimant, was a visitor to the island a few years after the removal and discovered that there were quite a number of the sheep there, so he laid squatter sovereignty to the island and all on it and in due time received a lease from the government, permission to run the sheep on the land there. It is to be hoped that the Humane Society will take the matter up and cause the sheep to be removed.”


October 28, 1904 [BG]: “Geologist says sheep are wearing away a California Island… That the island of Anacapa, one of the Santa Barbara channel group, is slow-forming deep pathways about three feet from the edge of a cliff. Rain soaks into these ruts and from time to time parts of the bluff fall into the sea. On the north side of the island are canyons and hollows where the soil has collected. Between the rock and the under crust the soil washed out, and caves sometimes as deep as 20 feet are formed. The sheep run over the top of these and wear ruts in the earth, which in turn is washed into the sea. Another remarkable statement of the scientists who visited the island is to the effect that there is no drinking water on the island for sheep. All the refreshment and nourishment they get comes from the leaves of the prickly pear plant, which the sheep manipulate dexterously so as not to be hurt by the thorns…”


November 28, 1904 [DMN]: “That the island of Anacapa, one of the Santa Barbara group, is slowly disappearing in the ocean is the rather startling statement of Fred Johnson, who, with a party of scientists from Berkeley, recently visited the place. And more curious still, Johnson claims that this phenomena is due to the presence of 400 sheep on the barren rocky island. These sheep, according to Johnson, are actually wearing away the rocks. On the south side of the island they run along the top of precipitous cliffs, forming deep pathways about three feet from the edge of the cliff. Rain soaks into these ruts and from time to time parts of the bluff fall into the sea. On the north side of the island are canyons and hollows where the soil has collected. Between the rock and the upper crust the soil washes out, and caves sometimes as deep as twenty feet are formed. The sheep run over the top of these, wear ruts into the earth, which in turn is washed into the sea. Another remarkable statement of the scientists who visited the island is to the effect that there is no drinking water on the island for the sheep. All the refreshment and nourishment they get comes from the leaves of the prickly pear plant, which the sheep very dexterously manipulate so as not to be hurt by the thorns. The only man on the island is the sheep herder, who draws his supply of drinking and cooking water from a cistern in which he collects rainwater. Johnson is preparing a report on Anacapa Island for the department of geology at the State University.”


June 22, 1908 [LAT]: “Ventura. Captain Bay Webster, the ‘King of Anacapa Island,’ has gone to the island to round up the sheep. There are about sixty head on the rock in the ocean.”


March 8, 1911 [SBMP]: “Ventura. Bay Webster of this city, lessee of the island of Anacapa, left for San Pedro today where he is requested to meet with the government lighthouse board. The party will take Mr. Webster to the island. The trip will be made for the purpose of investigating and starting preliminary work with the object of locating a lighthouse on the island. Congress has appropriated $100,000 for the purpose of erecting a lighthouse on the island, and the prospect is that this present move is preliminary to beginning work on the structure immediately. Anacapa is part of this county and it lies 20 miles off the coast. The island is about five miles long, and made up of three islands closely joined. It is practically a mere rock, though it is capable of carrying several hundred head of sheep during the season. There is no water on the island, except one or two seepages, but it is believed water could be developed and will be by the government. The sheep on the island get their moisture from the cactus and ice plants and other plants of that character. The lighthouse, it is thought, will be placed on the east end of the extreme eastern island of the group.”


March 30, 1912 [SBMP]: “Anacapa Island has again been leased by H. Bay Webster of Ventura... Mr. Webster has 1000 sheep upon one section of the island at the present time and because his lease is renewed he will be saved the trouble of moving these from the islands, where feed is plenty...”


March 13, 1915 [SBMP]: “Captain Bay Webster left yesterday morning in his power sloop Anacapa for his home in Ventura. The captain holds a five-year lease from the government for Anacapa Island, for which he pays an annual rental of $5. He has a flock of sheep on the island, and a camp to which he takes pleasure parties from Ventura every summer.”


June 25, 1915 [SBMP]: “Captain Bay Webster left yesterday afternoon in his power launch, the Anacapa, for his camp on Anacapa Island with supplies for his family. He will come back today or tomorrow with a few fat sheep for one of the local markets.”


1917: “There is no fresh water on Anacapa to speak of, but several hundred head of sheep are kept there the year through by the lessee, Captain Bay Webster, who has had charge of the island for nine years.” [Gidney et al. History of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, California 1917.]


February 12, 1917 [SBDNI]: “Island without water for rent as sheep ranch. Anacapa Island, the rocky mountain top of a submerged range that rises out of the ocean just east of Santa Cruz Island, is again offered for lease by the United States Government. Bids for the lease will be opened by the Lighthouse Inspector at San Francisco March 15, and information about the island and the government terms can be secured from the same office. For a number of years Anacapa Island has been leased by Captain Bay Webster of this city and Ventura. With his wife and his children, he has made his home on the lonesome place, and tended a large flock of sheep. In the summer time Captain Webster has taken tourists and camping parties to his island home. Anacapa Island is practically without water except for the rainfall of which Captain Webster catches large quantities in tanks to serve his family during the summer. The only fresh water spring on the island is in a sea cave, so that the islanders have to take a boat to get a pail of water. The sheep drink the rain water during the winter and spring until the rains are over and the summer weather has dried up the pools. They then have to get along with the moisture from the fogs and dew and that which they get in the grass and weeds. Captain Webster is expected to take the island lease again. Since he has houses and sheep on the place, the government will give him the preference, all other things being equal in the bidding. The island has up to the present been leased to Captain Webster at a nominal fee.”


March 20, 1917 [SBMP]: “Captain Ira K. Eaton has just been awarded by the Federal Government the lease of Anacapa Island for a term of five years beginning April 1. The last two terms, aggregating ten years, the island has been leased to Captain Bay Webster of Ventura, and he was one of the bidders for the ensuing term, but Captain Eaton's bid was higher than that of the Ventura man, and he took the prize. Captain Eaton will use the island primarily for fishing camps—the waters roundabout constituting famously good fishing grounds, better at certain seasons, than in any of the other island waters — and he will also utilize the small sheep range on the island, expecting to have a flock of about 500 of the profitable wool bearers. There are at present about 400 sheep on the range belonging to Captain Webster, and these may be bought by the new lessee, or they may not.”


March 23, 1917 [OC]: “Captain Ira Eaton has just been awarded by the federal government the lease of Anacapa Island for a term of five years, beginning April 1. For the last two terms, aggregating ten years, the island has been leased to Captain Bay Webster of Ventura, and he was one of the bidders for the ensuing term, but Captain Eaton’s bid was higher than that of the Ventura man, and he took the prize. Captain Eaton will use the island principally for fishing camps, the waters roundabout constituting famously good fishing grounds, better, at certain seasons, than in any of the other island waters, and he will also utilize to the utmost the small sheep range on the island, expecting to have a flock of about 500 of the profitable wool bearers. There are at present about 400 sheep on the range, belonging to Captain Webster, and these may be bought by the new lessee, or they may not be.”


March 26, 1917 [LAT]: “Ventura. Captain Bay Webster, who has reigned as King of Anacapa Island for ten years, was overbid for the possession of the island, the government giving the lease for the next five years to Ira Eaton of Santa Barbara. Webster has carried on the business of sheep raising there, and now has 500 in his flock. During the summer months the only way the sheep have of quenching their thirst is from eating vegetation, which accumulates quantities of moisture. Eaton is engaged in deep sea fishing, and will use the island principally for fishing camps.”


May 3, 1917 [LAT]: “Ventura. Ramon, a Mexican sheep shearer, while lassoing a sheep on a steep cliff at Anacapa Island yesterday, was pulled over the cliff. Ramon fell twenty feet. His head is badly cut, his hip broken, and he has internal injuries.”


May 11, 1917 [OC]: “J. Flores, a sheepherder in the employ of Bay Webster, is still in a serious condition at the county hospital as the result of injuries received several days ago. Flores was chasing a sheep on Anacapa Island and in some way fell over the brow of a cliff. He was carrying a loaded gun in his pocket as the herders there usually do, for use in emergency cases when animals have fallen into any of the barrancas common to the island and hopelessly crippled themselves. The gun went off shattering Flores’ hip. Fortunately Webster was at the island and brought the man to the mainland for treatment. Flores has been at the hospital several days and is still unconscious.”


July 2, 1917 [LAT]: “…Captain H. B. Webster , who for ten years has been lord at Anacapa, will today get the last units of a herd of some 500 sheep loaded on a barge and, with 1400 pounds of wool as treasure trove, will depart for the mainland, to become an ordinary citizen once more… Captain Webster got Anacapa in 1907 for $26 a year, and in 1912 he secured the lease for $77 a year. This time Captain Eaton overbid the former sovereign of Anacapa, and will assume possession today, wind and tide allowing. Captain Webster made the Anacapa a sheep ranch that is unusual in many respects. Captain Eaton will stick to the wool business, also, with modifications. Incidentally, the island is wild and picturesque and the sheep that are raised there are teetotalers. There is but one spring on Anacapa; that yields thirty gallons per day of inferior water and is accessible only at low tide. To the sheep this spring is never accessible, and in the summer, it is said, the flocks literally never drink. On the other hand, herders’ stories have given to the sheep the nickname of ‘sponge.’ During the dry months very heavy fogs and dew are common on the island, and the sheeps’ fleece is sopping wet in the morning. So, the herders report, the little fellows drink from one another’s wool. The pasturage is of cactus, wild oats, filaree, burr clover and iceplant, all of which contain a large percentage of water. The sheepmen have to contend with many natural difficulties, including eagles and approaches to the beach so precipitous and jagged that the muttons are lowered through wooden troughs by means of ropes, when it is necessary to load them on boats for shipment… Captain Eaton has also purchased some of the best of Captain Webster’s herds, and will the pastures well-stocked, at the same time he tries to keep the picnic grounds occupied.”


July 2, 1917 [SBDN]: “Captain Ira Eaton has succeeded in out-bidding Captain Bay Webster for the government lease on Anacapa Island, and today took possession of the island, where, since 1907 Webster with his sheep has been sole possessor. Eaton bid $607 for the lease, which extends over a period of five years. There are 800 acres on the island, mostly rugged mountain sides and, it is said, but one spring, this flowing a brackish water which the sheep do not like. Webster had 500 sheep, and came away with some of these, and 1400 pounds of wool. Eaton bought some of the flock, and will continue to raise sheep for the wool, at the same time popularizing the island as a summer camping spot. He proposes to run the Sea Wolf as a passenger boat from Santa Barbara, Ventura and Hueneme to the island, and will erect tents for his patrons. The place is said to be interesting because of the many caves.”


June 11, 1918 [SBDN]: “Captain Ira K. Eaton has taken an interest in the Central Market, and extensive alterations are being made to take care of fish sales as well as of meats. Captain Eaton has started from San Pedro for the islands to catch a load to fish for the Friday’s demand, and has also made arrangements both from San Pedro and San Francisco to receive supplies of the various fish in demand here. Captain Eaton is one of the best known seamen on the coast, and for many years has had charge of vessels having Santa Barbara as their home port, and as master of the Sea Wolf he has been doing a large passenger business, as well as bringing fish. He has become widely known through his summer camp at Santa Cruz Island, and is now lessee from the government of Anacapa Island, where he has a big flock of sheep.”


February 6, 1921 [SBMP]: “Several thousand head of sheep will be fed on Anacapa and San Nicolas islands this year, according to A. K. Stephenson, who several years ago claims to have had a large number of livestock on San Nicolas for the season. New springs have come to life on both islands, Stephenson declared. Anacapa, which has been a barren waterless island, now has at least two good springs…”


July 5, 1932 [LAT]: “Anacapa hunting planned. Company is formed to stock island with game birds for public preserve… It is the purpose of the company to conduct at once an extensive reforestation program, planting trees and shrubs that grew there before their partial destruction by grazing sheep. ..”