Surprise

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Surprise (#115499) (1876-1881)

Surprise (#115499) (1876-1881), 40-foot two-masted wood sealing schooner built in Davenport, California by Henry Fritch and owned by Eugene Rogers of Santa Barbara in the late 19th century. In 1877, Captain Rogers sailed her to Guadalupe Island, Mexico with a crew of six, including George and Jake Nidever, in search of sea otters. Near San Vincente they spotted about 200 of the animals, 55 of which they were able to kill with muzzle-loading rifles. At that time, the skins brought $50 each, far short of the $500 to $1000 a piece they reached at the peak of the market. Charles Libbey was another master of the Surprise.




In the News~

May 15, 1876 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived in port last evening.”


August 7, 1877 [SBDP]: “A private letter received from Mr. J. C. Johnson of Santa Catalina Island, states that he has secured a lease for twenty-five years from the Mexican Government of one of the Socorro Islands, situated about one thousand miles west from the Mexican coast. He intends using the island as a sheep pasturage, the first shipment of two hundred head having just been successfully landed. The schooner Surprise, which is used in the transportation of the sheep, will leave Santa Catalina again in a day or two with the second installment of two hundred head, and will continue her trips until some fifteen hundred sheep are landed on the island. The feed is reported to be luxuriant, and the enterprise of Mr. Johnson promises to be eminently successful.”


January 6, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Star of Freedom and the Surprise are riding at anchor in the channel.”


February 9, 1878 [SBDP]: “It is feared that the schooner Louisa Harker, commanded by Captain Anderson and manned by two sailors, has been lost at sea. She sailed from the port of Wilmington in August last for the island of Socorro, which lies some 300 miles south of Cape St. Lucas [Mexico]. She was loaded with sheep to stock that island, and expected to be back in Wilmington in two months. The schooner Surprise has been chartered to sail in search of the missing vessel, carrying relief.”


July 12, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from San Miguel Island this morning with fifty barrels of seal oil. The oil will be shipped from here to San Francisco, after which the schooner will return to the islands and take the remaining thirty barrels of oil to San Diego.”


July 12, 1878 [SBDP]: “E. F. Rogers of this city contemplates purchasing the schooner Surprise.”


July 13, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooners Alma and Surprise were in the harbor this morning.”


July 18, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise, recently purchased by E. F. Rogers, will return in a few days from San Diego. She will be overhauled and fitted up for the seal oil and abalone shell trade between this place and the islands.”


July 25, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from San Miguel Island this morning with fifty barrels of seal oil. The oil will be shipped from here to San Francisco, after which the schooner will return to the islands and take the remaining thirty barrels of oil to San Diego.”


July 25, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is due from San Pedro.”


August 9, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise left here last evening for San Nicolas Island for abalone shells.”


August 14, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise from San Miguel Island arrived in port this afternoon with five tons of abalone shells for Rogers Brothers & Company.”


August 23, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived in port yesterday afternoon with a cargo of abalone shells from the islands.”


August 30, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived in port yesterday afternoon from the islands.”


October 14, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived Saturday afternoon from Santa Catalina Island, where she has been undergoing painting inside and out. She is loaded with fifteen tons of coarse gravel for garden walks.”


October 16, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed yesterday afternoon for the islands.”


October 18, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived yesterday from Santa Rosa. The schooner Surprise will sail this evening for San Miguel, San Nicolas and Santa Rosa islands. At one she will take shells on board, at another leave a party, and at the third pick up a party from Santa Barbara.”


October 25, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise, from San Nicolas Island loaded with sheep and shells, arrived this morning [in Santa Barbara]. The sheep are for Sherman & Ealand.”


November 7, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed this morning for Santa Rosa Island.”


November 11, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is expected today from Santa Rosa Island. She has on board two men under arrest, charged by the More brothers with having committed a misdemeanor.”


November 12, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooners Laura, Surprise and Alma are lying at anchor in the harbor.”


November 13, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed last night with a party for Anacapa Island.”


November 15, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived this morning from San Nicolas Island, loaded with abalones.”


November 16, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is discharging a cargo of shells on the wharf.”


November 25, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from Santa Rosa Island this morning.”


December 3, 1878 [SBDP]: “The Surprise brought over a lot of sheep for Sherman & Ealand last night.”


December 4, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is loaded and waiting for a breeze to sail for Lower California.”


December 17, 1878 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived yesterday afternoon from Santa Rosa Island with a load of shells.”


January 4, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived this morning from San Miguel Island, where she rode out the storm with one anchor out. The men took to a cave to get out of the way of the storm.”


January 14, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived this morning from San Miguel Island with part of a load of sheep and the sheep-shearers.”


January 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise has discharged her cargo, and now lies at anchor in the bay.”


January 20, 1879 [SBDP]: “Eugene Rogers sailed with the schooner Surprise last night for Lower California. He goes to hunt otter, seal, shark, etc., and will be gone from three to five months.”


April 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from the island last evening. She returns this evening for shells and abalone.”


April 17, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sails today for San Miguel Island on a fishing and otter hunting expedition.”


April 26, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is expected in from San Miguel Island today.”


April 30, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from San Miguel Island yesterday.”


May 13, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise has been due several days from San Nicolas and San Miguel Island.”


May 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived in port last evening.”


May 17, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed for Flea Island on a seal killing expedition.”


May 19, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise from San Miguel and Flea islands, arrived this morning and lays at anchor in the harbor today.”


May 20, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise and Santa Rosa and the McArthur are in the harbor today.”


May 14, 1879 [SBWP]: “The Rogers Brothers are preparing for seal hunting on the islands. A large number of empty barrels were taken on board of their schooner Surprise yesterday, which are to be filled with seal oil.”


May 26, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed for San Miguel Island this morning.”


June 12, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from the San Miguel Island last evening. The captain reports that Rogers & Brothers seal hunting party have already commenced to kill seal for oil.”


June 13, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed for San Miguel Island last night.”


June 21, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from the islands today, bringing eight live sea lions, which will be shipped to parties in the East for whom they were captured.”


June 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from Anacapa Island Saturday evening with eight sea lions.”


'July 5, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner N. B. and Surprise and the U.S. Coast Survey steamer McArthur are in the harbor today.”


July 7, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooners N. B. and Surprise sailed for San Nicolas and San Miguel islands last night.”


July 21, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived Saturday with a cargo of mutton sheep from Catalina Island.”


October 24, 1879 [SBDP]: “...The otter skins received this week by Rogers Brothers from the Surprise party are unusually large and fine, many of them measuring over 5 feet in length...”


October 28, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise has gone to Santa Cruz Island to bring off the men hunting otter and seals for Rogers Brothers at that place.”


October 28, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner California sailed last night about 10 o’clock, and some two or three hours later the Surprise followed her. This morning at 10 o’clock they were only about five miles away, becalmed.”


November 3, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Surprise returned from Santa Rosa Island Saturday night with a lot of abalones and a few otter skins for Rogers Brothers.”


November 5, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is preparing for a trip to San Miguel Island for abalones and bilge water.”


November 8, 1879 [SBWP]: “The Surprise returned from Santa Rosa Island Saturday night with a lot of abalones and a few otter skins for Rogers Brothers.”


November 8, 1879 [SBWP]: “The double-breasted schooner Surprise is preparing for a trip to San Miguel Island for abalones and bilge-water.”


November 8, 1879 [SBWP]: “By the schooner Surprise, which arrived from Santa Rosa Island Saturday evening, intelligence is brought of the fatal shooting of Guillermo Cardona [Cordero] by Antonio Cavalleri...”


November 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Surprise arrived from the islands this morning with a lot of abalone, shark fins, shark oil and Chinese traps and calamities.”


November 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise brought from San Miguel Island the party of wreckers who have been engaged in getting off the schooner Prescott, which went ashore in September last. The vessel had been hauled off and anchored at a little distance from the shore to wait for a steamer to tow her to the city for repairs, with every prospect of saving her in good condition. The Newport called twice at the island for the purpose of taking her in tow, but owing to rough weather, had to abandon the attempt. On Wednesday last, the wind, which had been blowing hard from the southeast, whipped around to the west and blew a gale which tore the ship from her anchorage, and with an unusually high tide threw her up onto the beach higher than when she first went ashore. The men, who had expected to obtain supplies from the Newport, had run out of flour and other luxuries, and had subsisted for several days on mutton, of which there is a plentiful supply on the island, so that they were glad of the opportunity of leaving by the Surprise.”


November 15, 1879 [SBWP]: “The Surprise arrived from the islands this morning with lots of abalone, shark fins, shark oil and Chinese traps and calamities.”


November 17, 1879 [SBDP]: “On Friday night last, the schooner Surprise was becalmed above Lighthouse Point, and Mr. Herbert Rogers, who was anxious to get home started to go ashore in a small boat, accompanied by two men. When near the shore a breaker upset the boat and threw the three men out into the water. The two men being unable to swim clung to the boat, but Mr. Rogers struck out for shore, which he reached just above the lighthouse. He started on foot for home and had a cold and disagreeable walk, but on Saturday said he felt none the worse for the ducking. The boat with the two men came ashore all right and the salt bath did none of them any harm.”


November 17, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Surprise has returned to San Miguel Island, where she left a party of otter hunters on her last trip.”


November 26, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise has returned from the islands with forty sacks of abalones and some otter skins for Rogers Brothers.”


November 29, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooners Star of Freedom, Santa Rosa and Surprise and the steamer McArthur are at anchor in the harbor.”


December 5, 1879 [SBDP]: “The little schooner Surprise is in port again from the islands.”


December 15, 1879 [SBDP]: “The Phantom, Star of Freedom, N. B., and Surprise were all at anchor in the harbor yesterday.”


December 18, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooners N. B. and Surprise are barnacle gathering at the anchorage.”


December 23, 1879 [SBDP]: “The schooners Santa Rosa and Surprise are at the anchorage.”


January 12, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise left yesterday for San Miguel Island with eight calves for Mr. Mills and a large cargo of supplies for the abalone hunters.”


January 20, 1880 [SBDP]: “The Surprise, now cruising near the islands after otter, will go to the lower coast in about a month.”


January 22, 1880 [SBDP]: “The Surprise came in from the islands yesterday with a lot of abalones.”


January 27, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise has gone to San Nicolas Island after abalone shells.”


January 29, 1880 [SBDP]: “It blew great guns over at the islands night before last, and unless the little schooner Surprise found shelter, she must have had a rough time of it.”


February 6, 1880 [SBDP]: “The Surprise is the only vessel in the harbor today.”


February 16, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is cruising about the islands after hair-seal. The animals are rather scarce at this season of the year, and a large capture is not one of the things to be counted on with certainty.”


February 18, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise came in from San Miguel Island on Monday evening, bringing the rigging of the wrecked schooner N. B. The sea was rough about the island, and she had difficulty in landing the party of seal hunters which she took over for Rogers. She got out right quick. She left for San Nicolas Island this morning on a shell hunting trip.”


February 26, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise arrived from San Nicolas Island this morning and discharged 100 sacks of abalone shells and meat. She will depart tomorrow for San Miguel Island for seal oil and skins.”


March 4, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise, under Captain Smith, arrived last night from San Miguel Island, discharged 65 sacks of abalone shell, 14 sacks of meat, 119 seal skins, 7 barrels of seal oil, 1 barrel of intestines.”


March 12, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise left the wharf this morning for Catalina Island on a fishing excursion.”


March 30, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise is being repaired on the beach at Catalina Island. They took the material and workmen over from here.”


April 9, 1880 [SBDP]: “More seals wanted. The seal business of Santa Barbara is looking up. Rogers Brothers received a day or two ago a dispatch from Captain Weber of San Francisco, who, it will be remembered, was here a few weeks ago for the purpose of taking seals, but returned unsuccessful, stating that he wanted fifty seals, and also a letter from the manager of Woodward’s Gardens, San Francisco, inquiring as to the probable cost of the capture of six seals for that pleasure resort. The schooner Surprise, which is owned by the Rogers Brothers, is expected back today from Catalina Island where she has been undergoing repairs, when she will be fitted up and started with a party for the San Miguel Island or Anacapa, and make another attempt to fill the orders.”


April 12, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise came in yesterday from Catalina Island, having on board 90 seal skins, 40 sacks of abalone meat, and 40 sacks of shells. She goes in a day or two to Anacapa Island with a party of seal hunters, who are employed to capture 50 seals alive, which are designed for the East.”


April 27, 1880 [REG]: “The Santa Barbara Press of the 20th says the schooner Surprise came in yesterday from a California island, having on board 90 seal skins, 40 sacks of abalone meat, and 40 sacks of shells. She goes in a day or two to Anacapa Island with a party of seal hunters, who are employed to capture fifty seals alive.”


June 18, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise from the island San Nicolas, arrived today with a lot of shells and abalones. She sails this evening on her return with supplies for the sealing camps.”


October 14, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise, Rogers Bros., owners, from San Miguel Island, lies in the harbor today, also the schooner Star of Freedom, Captain Burgess, from Santa Cruz Island.”


November 12, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise, Rogers Bros., is lying in the harbor. She has been freshly painted and put into order.”


November 23, 1880 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise sailed this morning for San Miguel Island and other islands otter hunting.”


January 17, 1881 [SBDP]: The schooner Surprise sailed yesterday for San Miguel Island on a hunting expedition.”


March 22, 1881 [SBDP]: “The schooner Surprise was anchored at San Miguel Island on the 13th inst., and during the wind storm, parted both cables and went ashore. The Captain, Charles Brown, together with John Haskell and Ramon Mesa, and Mr. Muller who had the vessel chartered, arrived here last night and gave the particulars. The schooner is now lying high and dry, and it is as yet uncertain whether she can be got off, or whether she is a total loss. The schooner belongs to Rogers Brothers & Company of this city.”


March 23, 1881 [SDU]: “Santa Barbara, March 22. The schooner Surprise, which went ashore on San Miguel Island during the wind storm of the 13th instant, is lying high and dry, and may prove a total loss. Rogers Bros., of Santa Barbara, are the owners. Captain Brown and the crew came over in a small boat last night and reported the accident.”


March 26, 1881 [SBWP]: “Schooner ashore on San Miguel Island. The schooner Surprise was anchored at San Miguel Island on the 13th inst., and during the wind storm, parted both cables and went ashore. The captain, Charles Brown, together with John Haskell and Ramon Mesa, and Mr. Muller who had the vessel chartered, arrived here last night and gave the particulars. The schooner is now lying high and dry, and it is as yet uncertain whether she can be got off, or wether she is a total loss. The schooner belongs to Rogers Bros. & Co. of this city.”


April 30, 1881 [SBDP]: “The schooner Convoy arrived here yesterday from San Miguel Island. She brought with her the schooner Surprise, which went ashore on the island some time since, and was given up by her owner as a total loss. A few repairs will place the Surprise in as fine trim as ever.”


May 7, 1881 [SBWP]: “The schooner Convoy arrived here from San Miguel Island. She brought with her the schooner Surprise that went ashore on the island some time since and was given up be her owner as a total loss. A few repairs will place Surprise in as fine trim as ever.”


June 11, 1881 [SBMP]: “The schooner Surprise is lying in the harbor.”


October 26, 1881 [SBDP]: “Four schooners are in the harbor, the Star of Freedom, Convoy, Surprise, and Santa Rosa.”


December 31, 1881 [SBDP]: “The ancient schooner Surprise has finally succumbed to circumstances and has gone down into the deep with all on board, the said all being composed of rigging not worth removing. Her masts are still in view, and the youthful oarsman with a strong imagination can row over the wreck, and fancy it some Spanish galleon or bold buccaneer, overwhelmed by storms or hostile fleets.”