Santa Cruz Island Company
Santa Cruz Island Company: [SCICo] (1869- ) was incorporated in San Francisco, California on February 19, 1869 for a period of fifty years.
Original incorporators of 1869 were:
- 1. Nicolas Larco (1818-1878)
- 2. Giovanni Battista Cerruti (c. 1823-1890?) sale by executor; see also Italian Cemetery, Colma
- 3. Adrien Gensoul (1823-1877)
- 4. Justinian Caire (1827-1897) died of a stroke in Oakland, CA
- 5. Gustave Mahé (1831-1878) committed suicide by shooting himself at age
- 6. Camilo Martin (1832-1901)
- 7. Theodore Lemmen Meyer (1832-1900)
- 8. Alexander Weill (1834-1906) died in Paris
- 9. Thomas J. Gallagher (1842-1888) committed suicide by jumping out a window at age 46
- 10. Pablo Baca
February 23, 1869 [SDU]: “Incorporations.— Articles of incorporation of the Santa Cruz Island Company were filed in the office of the Secretary of State yesterday. This corporation was formed for the purpose of engaging in and carrying on the business of raising cattle and selling and disposing of the same; of acquiring, holding, using and selling such real estate as may be requisite and necessary for the prosecution of ther business, etc. Capital stock, $300,000, in shares of $500 each, The principal place of business is in San Francisco. Trustees—Gustavo Mahe, Camile Martin, T. Lemmen Meyer, Thomas. J. Gallagher and Pablo Baca.”
April 30, 1869 [SF Chronicle]: “Santa Cruz Island was recently sold by Barron Brothers for $150,000, including a large number of sheep thereon. T. Lemmen Myer and others were the purchasers.”
1869-1873: On March 29, 1869 the deed to Santa Cruz Island was conveyed from William E. Barron to the Santa Cruz Island Company and its ten stock holders: Pablo Baca, Justinian Caire, Giovanni Battista Cerruti, Thomas J. Gallagher, Adrien Gensoul, Nicolas Larco, Gustave Mahé, Camilo Martin, T. Lemmen Meyer, and Alexander Weill. At the time, each owned one-tenth of the capital stock of the company (a total of 600 shares valued at $500 each for a total of $300,000). They acquired the island as a basis for sheep and livestock operations. These men were also the directors of the French Savings Bank in San Francisco, La Societe Francaise d’Espargnes et de Prevoyance Mutuelle: At the time of the Company's formation, there was widespread cooperation between the French and Italian communities of San Francisco, particularly among powerful businessmen.
May 27, 1872 [SFDEB]: “The Santa Cruz Island Company have declared a dividend of $2000 per each full interest.”
January 22, 1873 [SFDEB]: “In addition to the dividends of local incorporations for 1872, published in the Bulletin a few weeks ago, the Santa Cruz Island Company paid stockholders $48,500, that being the profits of the Company for the year.”
February 12, 1873 [SFDEB]: “In accordance with a resolution adopted at a meeting of the Trustees of the Santa Cruz Island Company, duly held on February 5th, 1873, a Special Meeting of the Stockholdres of said Company is hereby called to be held at the Office of the Company, Room No. 10, Belden's Block, No. 137 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California on Monday, the tenth day of March, 1873, at the hour of one o'clock P.M. of said day, to take into consideration and decide upon a proposition to increase the capital stock of said Company from $300,000, divided into 600 shares of $500 each, the present capital stock, to $500,000, divided into 100 shares of $5,000 each. Justinien [sic] Caire, T. Lemmen Meyer, trustees. Gustave Mahe.”
July 18, 1873 [SBMP]: “Equalization of Assessment. The Board of Equalization have made the following charges in the Assessment Roll of the county of Santa Barbara: ... Santa Cruz Island Co. —Deduct $2500 from total... ”
1873: In 1873 the company reorganized and changed its capital stock to a total of 100 shares valued at a total of $500,000, or $5000 a share. Under the reorganization, the number of stockholders decreased from ten to nine: Pablo Baca, T. J. Gallagher, and Nicolas Larco dropped out of the company, and Henry Ohlmeyer and J. V. Delaveaga were added as stockholders. Gustave Mahé owned two tenths of the stock, with one tenth each owned by Justinian Caire, Giovanni B. Cerruti, J. V. Delaveaga, Adrien Gensoul, Camilo Martin, T. Lemmen Meyer, Henry Ohlmeyer and Alexander Weill. The company had no debts or liabilities. Delaveaga died on March 14, 1874. On September 17, 1878, Mahé committed suicide by pistol when his French Savings Bank failed. Justinian Caire began acquiring additional company stock, and by 1878 he owned 17 of the one hundred shares.
1880-1897: Although transfer records and other corporate papers were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, it is known that by about 1880 Justinian Caire had become the sole shareholder of the stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company. Before he died in December 1897, Justinian Caire transferred the entire capital stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company to his wife, Albina Cristina Sara Molfino Caire, who outlived Caire by 27 years. In his will, Justinian Caire had expressed a wish for “all to share and share alike,” with the ultimate decision in such matters being left to Albina. After the turn of the century, Albina Caire began making distributions of her Santa Cruz Island Company stock to her six surviving children (two sons and four daughters). As was her right, she gave more stock to some than to others, showing apparent favoritism towards her two sons, Arthur and Frederic, who were running the family businesses. Albina’s unequal stock distribution resulted in great family infighting. In December 1910, Albina gifted her married daughters, Amelie A. Rossi and Aglae Capuccio, stock in the Santa Cruz Island Company. The following spring of 1911, through what some family members called an oversight and others called intentional, a $5 State of California Corporation tax was not paid by Aglae’s husband, Goffredo Capuccio, island company secretary at that time, thus laying the legal grounds upon which suit against the company was brought. On November 30, 1911 the charter was forfeited for non-payment of its license tax of that year. At the time it owned personal property valued at $250,000 and Santa Cruz Island. The capital stock was $50,000 of the par value of $500 each.
1912-1932: The island years are dominated by fractious family lawsuits. In February 1913, fourteen months after they had received their gift of stock from their mother, Amelie (widow of Pietro Rossi and mother of fourteen children) and Aglae (wife of Santa Cruz Island Company secretary Goffredo Capuccio), initiated what was to become a succession of lawsuits that forever divided the family for generations to follow. Amelie and Aglae were pitted against their widowed mother Albina Caire, their two brothers Arthur and Fred, and their two spinstress sisters, Delphine and Helene. The original suit was brought by Amelie Rossi’s sixth of fourteen children, Edmund Rossi (a twin), who sought to obtain a court order against his grandmother, Albina Caire, for the sale of the island property on behalf of his mother. On May 23, 1912, his mother, Amelie, had transferred her seven shares and all her interests as stockholder to him. Edmund Rossi was represented by his brother-in-law, lawyer Ambrose Gherini, who had married the second oldest of Amelie Rossi’s fourteen children, daughter, Maria. Shortly thereafter, suit was filed by Algae Capuccio, who was also represented by her sister’s son-in-law, Ambrose Gherini. Gherini worked with attorney David Freidenrich. Albina Caire led the fight against the sale of the property, and was represented by Frank P. Deering. Albina’s daughters, Amelie and Aglae, were pitted against not only their mother, but also against their siblings, Arthur, Fred, Delphine and Helene. By 1918 Albina found it necessary to make a public announcement, published in the Legal and Offical section a San Francisco paper, addressing ‘scandalous allegations’ made in various lawuits. Albina lived long enough to realize that as a result of the many lawsuits, and despite her wishes, the island would ultimately end up being divided.
In 1920 surveyor, Frank Flournoy, was appointed, by court order of Judge Crow, to survey Santa Cruz Island in order to settle the dispute among the Caire family. H. J. Doulton and George W. McComber assisted Flournoy in this Herculean task which was finished at the end of 1924 and resulted in a partition of Santa Cruz Island into seven parcels.
December 16, 1916: Edmund A. Rossi, Respondent, v. Arthur J. Caire et al., Appellants; Agale S. Capuccio, Respondent, S. F. No. 7101 Supreme Court of California
July 28, 1921: Edmund A. Rossi, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Arthur J. Caire, et al., Defendants and Respondents; Aglae S. Capuccio, Individually and as a Trustee, etc., Defendant and Appellant, S. F. No. 9402, Supreme Court of California
February 10, 1925: Aglae S. Capuccio, Plaintiff and Appellant v. Arthur J. Caire et. Al, [Defendants other than Edmund A. Rossi]; Edmund A. Rossi, Defendant and Appellat, L. A. No. 9165 In the Supreme Court of the State of California, Transcript on Appeal Filed February 10, 1925 by Ambrose Gherini
1932-1937: Five years were spent in search of a buyer for the Caire holdings on Santa Cruz Island. April 10, 1937 Edwin L. Stanton purchased the Caire holdings.
In the News~
February 17, 1869 [SBP]: “Sale of Santa Cruz Island. The San Francisco Herald says: ‘We hear that the island of Santa Cruz has been sold to an association of French and German wool-growers’—report says for the sum of $150,000. If so, the purchasers have certainly secured a great bargain, for the island is one of the largest and most fertile on the California coast. It is situated about twenty-one miles in length and four miles wide, containing an area of about 30,000 acres. The land rises in spots to a considerable altitude, but among the somewhat rugged hills, themselves covered with the richest pasture, wind beautiful valleys of great fertility. There is plenty of water upon the island and a good harbor. For many years past it has been occupied as a sheep run, and now contains some thirty or forty thousand sheep, for the improvement of which the proprietors are said to have taken great pains.”
February 21, 1869 [DAC]: “The certificate of incorporation of the Santa Cruz Island Company was filed this day. Their objects are to raise and sell cattle, hold land, etc. Capital stock, $300,000, in 600 shares of $500 each. Place of stock-raising, Santa Cruz Island. Trustees: G. Mahe, C. Martin, T. L. Meyer, T. T. [?] Gallagher, and Pablo Baca.
April 29, 1870 [SFDEB]: “For Sale by the Santa Cruz Island Company, deliverable at Santa Barbara, during months of June and July: 5,000 wethers, above one year old; 7,000 ewes, above one year old. For further particulars, apply to T. Lemmen Meyer, southwest corner Front and Jackson streets, or to H. Ohlmeyer, Santa Barbara.”
August 28, 1870 [DAC]: “Removal. The office of the Santa Cruz Island Company has been transferred to No. 137 Montgomery Street, where all bills due by said Association will be paid upon presentation, at Rooms No. 9 and 10, upstairs. Office hours from 10-12 and from 2-4. M. DeKirwin, Secretary.”
October 22, 1870 [SBP]: “The Santa Cruz Island Company, composed of Mr. Ohlmeyer and others, successors of Dr. Shaw and Messrs. Barron, are extensively engaged in the sheep business, and have large clips, in part Merino and in part long wool.” See 1869 photo of Ohlmeyer
January 22, 1873 [DAC]: “Santa Cruz Island Company. Annual Statement of the affairs of the Association for the term of 1872 as reported to the general meeting of the Stockholders held January 20, 1872: Receipts from January 1 to December 31, 1872… General total of receipts $82,074.67 Disbursements for the same period of time… Same total as above. Out of this amount of profits $48,806.08… Gustav Mahe, President. T. Lemmen Meyer, Vice President. Camilo Martin, Treasurer. M. DeKirwin, Secretary.”
February 17, 1873 [SFDEB]: “Office of the Santa Cruz Island Company, San Francisco, February 6, 1873. In accordance with a resolution adopted at a meeting of the Trustees of the Santa Cruz Island Company, duly held on February 5th, 1873, a special meeting of the stockholders of said company is hereby called to be held at the office of the company, room No. 10, Belden’s Block, No. 137 Montgomery St., San Francisco, California, on Monday, the tenth day of March, 1873, at the hour of one o’clock PM of said day, to take into consideration and decide upon a proposition to increase the capital stock of said company from $300,000, divided into 600 shares pf $500 each, the present capital stock, to $500,000, divided into 100 shares of $5,000 each. Justinian Caire, T. Lemmen Meyer, Gustave Mahe, trustees.”
January 25, 1873 [SDU]: “Landholders… Santa Cruz Island Company 53,000 acres; $39,750 value of land; $100,640 total assessment.”
April 17, 1873 [DAC]: “Incorporation. The Santa Cruz Island Company filed a certificate of increase of capital stock and of incorporation yesterday. Capital stock, $500,000, in one hundred shares.”
April 22, 1873 [SDU]: “Increase of Captial Stock—A certificate was filed in the office of Secretrary of State yesterday attesting that the capital stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company has been increased from $300,000 to $500,000.”
October 25, 1873 [PRP]: “Seventy-five percent yearly on the investment. The great success of the Santa Cruz Island Company, off the coast of Santa Barbara, who now have property estimated one million dollars in land and sheep, commenced with a small capital a few years since, is sufficient to demonstrate the future success of this company. Our principle is to invest all the money in sheep received from the sale of the shares offered, immediately, as fast as received, whereby it commences to earn money in any shape; for, if the shares are disposed of, the money is invested in sheep for the benefit of the shareholder. If not disposed of, those remaining will belong to and remain with the company, drawing no dividends, from the capital now invested, so that every share will actually earn the same amount that it would if a person was to enter into sheep-raising as a private enterprise. The present arrangement gives an opportunity to farmers, merchants, miners, mechanics, and all to take an interest in sheep raising, which is acknowledged to be the most profitable, legitimate business in the State. The immense fortunes accumulated by private individuals in sheep alone is another guarantee of success. All the parties connected with this enterprise are well known, and refer by permission to some of the most reliable parties in the State: Messrs. Christy & Wise, San Francisco; Messrs. H. & D. Pierce, San Francisco; Messrs. Watt & McLennan, James Patterson, San Francisco; George W. Kidd, Pres. Bank Stockton; Hon. R. B. Lane, Stockton. All further information can be obtained at the office of the company, where subscriptions will be received.”
January 1, 1874 [SDU]: “
February 5, 1874 [LAH]: “The Santa Cruz Island Company was organized in 1869, having been incorporated under State authority, with half a million dollars’ capital, for carrying on the business of sheep-husbandry, stock-raising, etc. The island of Santa Cruz, one of the Santa Barbara group, was purchased by the company as a field of operations. This island, which has a superficial area of 52,700 acres, as per patent, was originally granted to a Spaniard, Andres Castillero, by Alvarado, Governor of California, May 22, 1839, and the grant was subsequently confirmed by the Board of United States Land Commissioners, and by the District Court of the Southern District of California; the patent bearing the date of March 21, 1867. In 1857 it was bought from Castillero by an American, William E. Barron, by whom it was held as a private property, used for sheep-raising, until it was bought by the Santa Cruz Island Company. The officers of the company are all naturalized citizens, including two Germans, two Spaniards, and one Frenchman. The buildings and improvements of all sorts located on five different points of the island, are valued at $20,000 to $40,000, exclusive of steam tallow works erected two years ago at the expense of about $6,000. The wharf at Prisoners Harbor, recently restored, has cost the company no less than $10,000. The fences all over the island represent a prime cost, since the purchase by the present owners, of $6,000. The schooner and surf boats have cost not less than $6,000; and the stock of the wagons, saddles, agricultural implements, etc. may be valued at about $2,500. There are now running at liberty over the island, flocks of Spanish Merino sheep, numbering between 40,000 and 45,000 head, worth, according to the season of the year — that is to say, with or without wool on — from $2 to $3.50 each, and representing an aggregate value of $150,000. Besides these immense flocks there is a stud of about 125 saddle and draft horses and mules, some breeding mares with colts, and a fine stallion of the Morgan stock, representing a value of $10,000 to $12,000; about thirty head of fine tame Devon cattle, including bull, milk cows and their increase for the use of the island, valued altogether at about $1,200 or $1,500; and finally, perhaps, 150 head of cattle running wild in the valleys and over the mountains, and affording, whenever desired, an extra supply of fresh beef for the use of the permanent residents on the island. How this splendid property will ‘pan out’ in the future, in the shape of dividends to the stockholders (and I’m not one of them, so this may be accepted as an unbiased account,) may best be judged after an examination of the results of the past year’s operations. The cash receipts and earnings of the company, from the sales of livestock — sheep, sheep-skins, wool — and from sundry other sources, reached $76,000, and the net profits, after paying all expenses, amounted to $48,000, leaving the company with no outstanding debts or obligations whatever. A splendid result, that carries its own lesson with it. After all, it is not the true ‘golden fleece’ to be found on the back of the patient sheep?”
March 19, 1875 [SFDEB]: “Santa Cruz Island Company—The dividend declared by the Board of Trustees of this association on March 16th, is made payable on or after FRIDAY, the 19th instant, at the Company's office, 137 Montgomery Street, Room 10, by M. DeKirwan, secretary. San Francisco, March 18, 1897.”
March 20, 1875 [SDU]: “The Santa Cruz Island Company have declared a dividend, payable today. This is the second dividend.”
June 2, 1875 [SBDP]: “Thanks again. The Santa Cruz Island Company and Mr. J. C. Hammer, County Superintendent of Public Schools, will accept our heartiest thanks each for large packages of the missing numbers of our Weekly files. A few more are still missing, and we are anxious to complete the volume as speedily as possible.”
August 18, 1875 [SDU]: “The dividend of the Santa Cruz Island Company is now payable.”
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… This island contains about 52,000 acres, and now belongs to a company of ten San Francisco merchants, most of whom are of French descent. It is said that the company paid $150,000 for the island, and the property on it about five years ago, and that their first superintendent earned for them a revenue of $50,000 per year…”
December 8, 1879 [DAC]: “Office of the Santa Cruz Island Company, No. 530 Washington Street, San Francisco—To the Stockholders of the Santa Cruz Island Company: The Stockholders of the Santa Cruz Island Company are hereby notified that it is proposed by the said Company, by resolution of its Board of Trustees, adopted at a meeting held on November 22nd, 1879, at the office of the Company, No. 530 Washington Street, San Francisco, to diminish the Capital Stock to the sum and amount of $50,000; and that a special meeting of the Stockholders be called, to be held at the office of the Company, No. 530 Washington Street, San Francisco, on the twenty-third day of December, A.D. 1879, at 11 o’clock A.M. of that day, to consider and vote upon the said proposition; and that the notice to Stockholders of the meeting be published once a week for four weeks successively in the Daily Alta California, a newspaper printed and published in the City and County of San Francisco. By the order of the Board of Trustees. A. Weill, President of the Santa Cruz Island Company. Mark Tromboni, Secretary.”
December 27, 1879 [SDU]: “Incorporations… Also filed, a certificate of diminuation of capital stock of the Santa Cruz Island Company from $500,000 to $50,000.”
By 1880, Justinian Caire had acquired all of the stock in the company, becoming its sole shareholder. That same year he paid his first visit to the island and began his program of construction and development. Outlying ranches were created or expanded at Prisoners’ Harbor, Scorpion, Smugglers, Christy, Sur, Portezuela, and Punta West. Ranch operations were diversified to include viticulture and the raising of sheep and cattle.
April 19, 1882 [SBDP]: “Board of Supervisors, Friday, April 14, 1882… The claims of Sturgeon, Harris, Haggin and Santa Cruz Island Company lard over…”
August 15, 1882 [SBDP]: “Notice. The official relations of the undersigned with the Santa Cruz Island Company terminating, by mutual consent of the parties, at the end of this month, all persons having any matters of account, or other business matters pending with said Santa Cruz Island Company, or with the undersigned as its Superintendent, will please present such matters to the undersigned for settlement on or before August 25, 1882. J. B. Joyaux, Superintendent.” [also SBDP August 16-18, 1882].
February 13, 1883 [SBDP]: “The following is the manifest of freight which arrived per the Orizaba last Thursday evening: …Santa Cruz Island Company 110…”
September 22, 1883 [SBDP]: “Orizaba’s Manifest… Santa Cruz Island Company, 1…”
October 2, 1883 [SBDP]: “Orizaba Manifest… Santa Cruz Island Company, 3…”
January 27, 1884 [DAC]: “Santa Cruz Island Company. Location of principal place of business, San Francisco, California. Location of works, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara county, California. Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the Board of Trustees, held on the 23rd day of January, 1884, as assessment (No. 1) of fifty dollars ($50) per share was levied on the capital stock of the corporation, payable immediately, in U.S. gold coin, to the Secretary, at the office of the Company, No. 521 Market Street, San Francisco, California. Any stock upon which this assessment shall remain unpaid on the 27th day of February, 1884, will be sold on SATURDAY, the 15th day of March, 1884, to pay the delinquent assessment, together with costs of advertising and expense of sale. By order of the Board of Trustees. Arthur J. Caire, Secretary. Office—No. 521 Market Street, San Francisco, California.”
February 14, 1884 [SBDP]: “Assessment Notice. Santa Cruz Island Company—location of principal place of business, San Francisco, California — Location of Works, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara County, California—Notice is hereby given that at a meeting of the Board of Trustees, held on the 23rd day of January, 1884, an assessment (No. 1) of Fifty Dollars ($50) per share was levied on the Capital Stock of the Corporation payable immediately in United States gold coin to the Secretary of the Company, at the office of the Company, No. 421, Market Street, San Francisco, California. Any stock upon which this assessment shall remain unpaid on the 27th day of February, 1884, will be delinquent and advertised for sale at public auction, and unless payment is made before will be sold on Saturday, the 15th of March, 1884 to pay the delinquent assessment, together with costs of advertising and expenses of sale. By order of the Board of Trustees. Arthur J. Caire, Secretary.”
March 7, 1884 [SBDP]: “Freight manifest… Los Angeles… Santa Cruz Island Company, 9…”
March 12, 1884 [SBDP]: “Freight manifest… Queen of the Pacific… Santa Cruz Island Company, 11…”
April 1, 1884 [SBDP]: “Freight manifest… Queen of the Pacific… Santa Cruz Island Company, 77…”
February 20, 1892 [SBDI]: “In the matter of the portion of the real estate belonging to the Santa Cruz Island Company which is intended to be used for the proposed boulevard. It was moved and carried, that the city appoint two disinterested persons, and the Santa Cruz Island Company appoint an equal number to appraise the land owned by said company to be used for the proposed boulevard, and that the said four persons appoint another disinterested person to act in conjunction with them, and that said appraisers file a report thereupon in the Office of the City Clerk of this city on or before 1 P.M., Thursday, March 3rd, 1892.”
March 1, 1892 [SBDI]: “A portion of the Santa Cruz Island Company’s land, consisting of a strip of 100 x 300 feet, situated on the beach on the site of the proposed boulevard was appraised by a committee consisting of J. E. Goux, Louis Dreyfus, Judge Crane, Harry Stoddard and W. E. Noble, yesterday afternoon. Two of the committee were chosen by the city, two by the Santa Cruz Island Company and one at large. The committee decided upon $600 as the land’s value.”
March 20, 1893 [LAT]:“The City Council, at its adjourned meeting Friday night, ordered a warrant drawn for $600 to pay for the right-of-way for the boulevard over the Santa Cruz Island property. This company filed its deeds to this land several days before, and the transfer will be made at once.”
May 25, 1900 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island Company files articles¬—A new oil company. Two sets of papers of the Santa Cruz Island Company were filed yesterday. One was the articles of incorporation, naming San Francisco as the place of business for 50 years. The capital stock is $300,000, divided into 600 shares. The articles call for a business dealing in cattle and real estate and personal property. The directors named are: Gustave Mahe, Camilo Martin, T. L. Meyer, T. J. Gallagher and Pablo Baca. This instrument is dated February 19, 1869. Filed together with this are the articles of reincorporation, increasing the capital to $500,000 and decreasing the shares to 100. This paper is dated March 3, 1873. In this second instrument the name of Justinian Caire appears as one of the directors.”