STORKE, Charles Albert

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STORKE, Charles Albert (1847-1936), New York-born (November 19, 1847) Cornell University graduate who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He came west as a teacher hired for the new Santa Barbara College in 1872. He arrived aboard the coastal steamer, Pacific, and taught only one year before marrying one of his students, Martha Mary More (1854-1890), daughter of wealthy rancher, Thomas Wallace More. Storke moved to Los Angeles where he founded the Daily Herald in 1873. Within a few months the paper failed and he returned to Santa Barbara where he became a lawyer. In 1878 Storke participated in the trial of the murder of his father-in-law, T. Wallace More. A natural-born politician, Storke was elected to the State Legislature in 1882, serving in the California state assembly 1883-1885 (3rd District); and 1889-1891 (74th District). C. A. Storke was mayor of Santa Barbara 1899-1902.

Charles Albert Storke and Martha Mary More had three children:

  • Martha 'Minita' Storke [Banks] (1874-1956)
  • Thomas More Storke (1876-1971)
  • Alice Cary Storke [Maynard] (1878-1955)


Storke divorced Martha and married Yda Addis in 1890. Addis sued Storke for divorce in 1891, charging him with sexual perversion. She was later committed to an insane asylum for life. Storke then married Mary Emeline Gregory Webb in 1917. C. A. Storke died on December 6, 1936 at age 89 in Santa Barbara. He is buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery.


  • Storke, C. A. The English Storkes in America Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara News Press Publishing, 1936. First edition.
[original in SCIF archives]




In the News~

September 5, 1873 [Marriage Licenses, Box 10, 1864-1875, SB County Archives]: “My name is C. A. Storke. I reside in Santa Barbara in the State of California; I desire a license to authorize my marriage with Martha More…”


April 13, 1878 [SBDP]: “Messrs. Henry More and C. A. Storke returned yesterday from San Buenaventura.”


December 16, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Alma was sold under an execution this morning by Constable Phillips. She was bought in by C. A. Storke for $80.”


June 18, 1879 [SBDN]: “The Ancon will sail for San Francisco via Port Harford at 6 o’clock tomorrow morning. .. the following passengers from Santa Barbara: Mrs. C. A. Storke and child… H. H. More…”


August 7, 1882 [SBDP]: “C. A. Storke is prominently mentioned as candidate for the Assembly for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties…”


August 7, 1882 [SBDP]: “C. A. Storke has leased a portion of the Sespe Rancho to Charles Barnard of Carpinteria, for a term of five years. This transaction will enable Mr. Storke to devote his entire time and attention to the practice of his profession.”


September 6, 1882 [SBDP]: “Last evening was the 9th wedding anniversary of the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Storke, and the occasion was celebrated by a grand banquet given at their residence to a few invited friends…”


December 28, 1882 [SBDP]: “Mr. C. A. Storke received a telegram yesterday stating that his house on the Sespe Rancho had burned down; loss about $1000.”


July 4, 1886 [C. A. Storke unpublished ms.]: “On July 4th, 1886 I took Mrs. Miller, the administratrix of the estate; another woman who was also an heir; and a young man to Santa Rosa [Island]. The small sailboat had a crew of two. It was fair when we left Santa Barbara, but a bad storm came up in the afternoon and raged all night. Darkness came on quickly and the rain beat upon us. The darkness became intense, so that we could see nothing but the mountainous waves which, marked faintly with foam, rushed out of the blackness at us. Both of the women were taken deathly sick, and I was in the small cabin ministering to them, when there came a cannon-like report. I stuck my head out of the cockpit to ask, ‘What was that?’ ‘Sail’s gone,’ was the reply of the skipper. So we were at the mercy of the storm...It was a matter instinct, as well as nautical craft, that we did manage to move warily about until daylight came. We limped into the anchorage...”


August 22, 1891 [LAT]: “Yda Addis Storke, the plaintiff in a somewhat sensational suit for separation, now pending in the Santa Barbara courts, has been seriously ill for several days past, from the effects of the terrible strain imposed upon her by the events of the past few weeks… Mrs. Storke alleges that her husband has a knack of denouncing everyone with whom he has trouble as a lunatic, and among other instances she cites those of A. A. Finger, J. F. Conroy and others to whom he owed money at various times…”


February 16, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “The sensational suit of Eliza J. More vs. E. R. Rogers, Henry J. Finger and Thomas R. More, was called in the Superior Court Friday. Boyce & Taggart representing the plaintiff and C. A. Storke appearing for the defendants, Rogers and Finger and Richards& Carrier for defendant Thomas R. More. The defendants offered a demurer and motion to strike out, which were taken under advisement by the court.”


May 28, 1895 [SBDI]: “The sloop Restless with Captain Burtis, E. B. Pratt, C. A. Storke and Maurice Kittredge returned last evening from Santa Cruz Island. The party had considerable experience with the weather on this trip. They came back with double-reefed mainsail and small jib, and the water rolling entirely over the little ship, which rode the storm in fine style.”


June 10, 1895 [SBMP]: “C. A. Storke and party are back from the islands. Mr. Storke says they discovered some good-looking rock, but whether it contains anything valuable or not is a problem. It will be sent immediately for assay, which will tell the tale. He brought over about 150 pounds of valuable looking specimens.”


June 12, 1895 [SBDI]: “All mining men can call at the office of Mr. C. A. Storke and inspect the ore brought from Anacapa Island. He is expecting the assay report, and unless the old miners are all mistaken, it will be a large one. Such looking rock, in a mineral bearing country, would run up into hundreds of dollars to the ton.”


July 9, 1895 [SBDI]: “The Restless will leave in a day or two for Anacapa Island with Messrs.. Pratt, Storke, and others, who will further investigate the gold discovery.”


July 11, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “A mining party left today (Wednesday) by the schooner Restless for Anacapa Island. The gentlemen comprising the expedition were Messrs. Lansley, Pratt, Storke, Dodge, and T. Storke.”


July 12, 1895 [SBDI]: “The Restless came in from Anacapa Island this morning with a party of gold prospectors. The reason for the quick return is that the sloop has an engagement for Monday to take a camping party to Santa Cruz Island. Mr. Storke said that they were not at the island long enough to ascertain anything further, and there was nothing new to report. With the use of dynamite the men went down eight feet below the former excavation; they found that the rock was not so far decomposed as that nearer the surface, but was full of metal. They brought over about half a ton and will send samples to San Francisco.”


1896 [C. A. Storke unpublished ms.]: “Mrs. More was appointed administratrix [of the estate of Alexander More] in 1896. As she could not go over to [Santa Rosa] island and manage actively the affairs there under rough surroundings and hard conditions, the burden of this work fell on me.”


April 29, 1896 [LAT/SB]: “C. A. Storke left on last night’s steamer for San Francisco, where he will appear in a case involving the A. P. More estate. C. Sherman accompanied him as a witness. They will be absent about ten days.”


June 13, 1896 [LAT/SB]: “C. A. Storke returned from San Francisco yesterday, where he has been the past thirty days as an attorney in the A. P. More case.”


July 1, 1896 [SBDN]: “Mrs. Miller, administratrix of the More estate, and C. A. Storke, her attorney, are at the island of Santa Rosa for business pertaining to the estate. Mr. Thomas More is also on the island.”


July 7, 1896 [SBMP]: “C. A. Storke returned from the islands last night.”


July 22, 1896 [SBDI]: “The Restless with Winfied Moore on board came in this morning from Santa Rosa Island. Mrs. Miller the administratrix of the A. P. More estate and Attorney Storke will remain on the island till next trip, which will be the latter part of the week.”


July 28, 1896 [SBDI]: “Mrs. Miller and C. A. Storke returned yesterday from Santa Rosa Island where they had been for two weeks past in the interest of the heirs of the A. P. More estate.”


August 5, 1896 [LAT/SB]: “The case of the removal of J. F. more as administrator of the estate of the late A. P. More, is set for August 12 at San Francisco. Mrs. Miller, the newly appointed administratrix, and her attorney, C. A. Storke, are already there.”


October 20, 1896 [LAT/SB]: “C. A. Storke has returned from San Francisco where he spent the past few weeks on business relating to the More estate. It is learned that the motion made by the former executive, John F. More, for a new accounting of the stock on Santa Rosa Island was denied by the court and the citation against Mr. More for contempt was continued until the property shall be delivered.”


December 2, 1896 [SBDN]: “The schooner Santa Rosa came over from the island last evening having on board Mrs. Miller, administrative of the estate of the More estate, and C. A. Storke, Esq., her counsel.”


June 27, 1897 [SBMP]: “C. A. Storke in on Santa Rosa Island looking after the affairs of the A. P. More estate.”


July 17, 1897 [LAT/SB]: “John C. More was non-suited today in his $10,000 damage suit against C. A. Storke and Mrs. Miller for malicious prosecution. Mrs. Miller is executrix of the estate of A. P. More and the plaintiff is one of the heirs. Storke about two months ago had J. C. More arrested for disturbing the peace, a constable going to Santa Rosa Island to get him. More alleged in his complaint that his arrest was simply a conspiracy on the part of Storke and Mrs. Miller to get him off the island so that he could not see what was going on there. The defense put in no testimony in this case, alleging that the plaintiff had not substantiated his charge of malicious prosecution.”


November 11, 1897 [LAT/SB]: “C. A. Storke, attorney for the A. P. More estate, returned yesterday from San Francisco, where he has been detained some time on business relative to the estate.”


1898 [C. A. Storke unpublished ms.]: “The year 1898 was an exceedingly dry one, and there was no pasture on Santa Rosa Island. Mrs. Miller had to account for those sheep, dead or alive, and I determined they would be disposed of alive, and at the best possible price. I chartered the old steamer Santa Cruz from Goodall, Perkins & Co. for $300 a day to bring the stock to the mainland where it could be sold. That meant $9000 a month, which is a lot of money. I never worked harder on a task than that one. We could load 1200 sheep at a time. I lived aboard the ship. We sailed in the evening from Santa Barbara, arrived quickly at the wharf at daylight, took our cargo aboard and came back as quickly as possible. We sold to sheep and cattle buyers who were waiting and who, during that dry summer, operated in large numbers all over California. A good many of our sheep went to the ranches of Wyoming and the Dakotas. They sold for nearly two dollars a head. The cattle went to Texas and to Siskiyou and nearby counties of California. They brought the ridiculous price of $13 apiece, and that price included the calf at the cow’s side. The stock was pure shorthorn and, of course, in normal times sold for much more.”


April 24, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “District Attorney C. A. Storke has returned from Santa Rosa Island, where he has been looking after the interests of the A. P. More estate.”


May 13, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “District Attorney Storke went to Santa Rosa Island yesterday in the interests of the A. P. More estate.”


May 16, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “District Attorney C. A. Storke has returned from Santa Rosa Island.”


June 19, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “Professor E. B. McGilvary of the University of California went over to Santa Rosa Island for an outing yesterday. He was accompanied by Thomas Storke, son of District Attorney Storke of this city.”


April 28, 1899 [SBMP]: “If one may believe street rumor, which is a very unwise thing to do unless there are other reasons for so doing, Santa Rosa Island is about to be sold, sub-divided and colonized. Such reports have been heard for some days, and they were emphasized yesterday upon the departure of W. W. Burton, the well-known realty dealer, and L. A. Hearn, a Los Angeles gentleman, who engaged Captain Larco to take them to the island in the Genova. As Mrs. Miller, administratrix of the A. P. More estate to whom the property belongs, and Mr. Storke, her attorney, are already on the island, weight is added to the reports.”


May 25, 1898 [LAT/SB]: “District Attorney C. A. Storke returned from Santa Rosa Island Sunday.”


September 20, 1898 [SBMP]: “District Attorney C. A. Storke has returned from a business trip to San Francisco.”


July 10, 1899 [SBDP]: “C. A. Storke returned yesterday from a trip to Santa Rosa Island.”


August 21, 1899 [SBDI]: “C. A. Storke left for Santa Rosa Island this morning.”


August 22, 1899 [LAT/SB]: “C. A. Storke, manager of the A. P. More estate of which Santa Rosa Island is a part, left here for the island this morning. There is talk that the island is to be sold.”


August 23, 1899 [SBDI]: “The school trustees met in regular session last night, only two members being present, as Mr. Storke is away to Santa Rosa Island.”


August 24, 1899 [SBMP]: “The Santa Rosa returned to Santa Rosa Island late last evening. She will return Friday, when Mr. Storke will come over from a business trip to the island.”


December 6, 1899 [SBI]: “Victory for the Independent ticket. Mayor C. A. Storke…”


February 10, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “Mayor Storke returned at noon today from a trip to San Francisco where he looked after the affairs of the More estate, a part of which consists of Santa Rosa Island in the Santa Barbara Channel.”


July 27, 1900 [SBDI]: “Mayor C. A. Storke is in San Francisco. He will probably be absent several weeks.”


1901 [C. A. Storke unpublished ms.]: “Some years later, I think 1901, Mrs. Miller and other heirs of Alexander P. More favorable to her sold their five-eighths of Santa Rosa Island to Vail & Vickers, Los Angeles stockmen, and the estate of the partners still owns it. My clients received $200,000. This was in 1903. Vail & Vickers also bought the one-eighth left him by his sister, from John More. My clients, Mrs. Miller and her sister, Mrs. Camelia Baldwin, got $40,000 apiece for themselves and I felt, under the circumstances, that I had done very well for them. They could not have managed the island successfully, and would probably have lost a great deal had they attempted to do so. They were women of a mature age and a good, steady income was worth more than a larger income that was not dependable. When Mrs. Miller died she left an estate of $150,000 so her income had been $9000 a year. Mrs. Baldwin’s estate was $50,000.”


July 24, 1917 [SBDNI]: “C. A. Storke, well-known local attorney and pioneer, and Mrs. Mary Gregory Webb of Glenn Ridge, N. J., were married today at the home of the bride. This is the culmnation of an early romance as they attended the same college in their youth. Mrs. Storke is the daughter of the president of the college. After a trip through northern states, Mr. and Mrs. Storke will come to Santa Barbara about the middle of August to make their home here.”