URQUHART, Alex (1854-1891), Scotsman, was one of two who was lost at sea in the loss of the sloop, Fawn, wrecked in a storm enroute to Avalon, Santa Catalina Island from San Pedro on February 8, 1891. Andrew Rule, 60, also drowned. Urquhart immigrated to the United States in 1869. About 1881 he settled in San Pedro, California. One of his business ventures was to enter into a partnership with W. L. Banning in the ship chandlery business. He also became the first vice-consul of Norway and Sweden for this port, looking after the interests of the subjects of those countries as they arrived in the district. He conducted a small merchandise business and piloted ships in and out of San Pedro harbor, also acted as adviser in nautical matters. He was city treasurer of San Pedro for a number of years and one of the leading citizens of that period. Urquhart lost his life at age 37, leaving behind his wife of seventeen months, Sarah MacKenzie [Davidson] of Nova Scotia.
In the News~
February 12, 1891 [LAT]: “San Pedro is all astir and great excitement pervades the little seaport town. Sunday last the Fawn left the harbor with a party of pleasure seekers bound for Catalina. Since then neither the boat nor the party have been heard from, and it is feared that she is lost. Just after the Fawn left the harbor, a norther came on and quite a gale followed. As nothing has been heard of the boat it is feared that she was unable to weather the storm. Yesterday a schooner was manned, rigged and provisioned and set in search of the Fawn and her precious cargo.”
February 13, 1891 [LAT]: “Went to pieces. Loss of the sloop Fawn confirmed. Alexander Urquhart of the firm of Banning & Company of Wilmington, and Andrew Rule of Rattlesnake Island drowned. Later reports confirm the loss of the sloop Fawn, with those on board. News first reached the city on Wednesday afternoon that it was feared that the vessel was lost, and that there was great excitement in San Pedro over the disaster. These facts were published in The Times yesterday morning, but the names of the persons on the sloop, or the circumstances surrounding the sad accident, could not be learned. Yesterday, however, on the return of the steamer Catalina, which had been out in search of the missing vessel, all doubt was removed as to the fate of the boat and those on board. On Sunday morning last the Fawn, with Alexander Urquhart, one of the members of the firm W. L. Banning & Co., of Wilmington, and Andrew Rule, who lives on Rattlesnake Island, left San Pedro harbor for Catalina. They had got well out into the channel, when a heavy gale came up, and nothing more was seen of the sloop. The Fawn was an old vessel, but was generally regarded as sea worthy, and as those on board were expert sailors, no apprehension was felt for their safety. As they did not return Monday, it was thought that they might have met with some slight mishap, and nothing was thought of the matter. On Tuesday, however, the friends of the missing men began to get uneasy, and inquiries were sent out to the various coast ports, but nothing had been seen or heard of the sloop. Wednesday morning the steamer Catalina, with a party on board, sailed for Catalina, and when near the shore portions of the wreck of the sloop were discovered, indicating that the vessel had gone to pieces, and leaving no doubt as to the fate of the crew. A search was made along the shore for the bodies, but nothing was discovered, and after leaving a party at Catalina to continue the search, the steamer returned to San Pedro. Andrew Rule resided on Rattlesnake Island, and was about 60 years of age. Alexander Urquhart was a third owner in the firm of W. L. Banning & Co., about 38 years of age, and has a family residing at Wilmington.”
February 13, 1891 [SFCall]: “Los Angeles, Feb. 12. The arrival of the steamer Catalina at San Pedro today confirms the fears of the loss of the sloop Fawn in Sunday's gale. The steamer found pieces of wreckage belonging to the Fawn near this island. The occupants of the Fawn are supposed to have been drowned, but the bodies have not yet been found. They were: Andrew RUle, a seaman, aged 60, and Alex Urquhart, a leading merchant of San Pedro and a member of the firm of W. T. Banning & Co. Urquhart was 37 years old and has a fmaily. The sloop Fawn left San Pedro for Catalina on Sunday morning, and was an old boat. It is supposed it soon went to pieces in the violent northern gale that suddenly sprang up.”
February 22, 1891 [LAT]: “Avalon. Parties have been out every day looking for the bodies of the lost on the ill-fated Fawn, but they have found only pieces of the vessel. They are still watching all of the beaches.”