VALENCIA, Belisario

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VALENCIA, Belisario (1875-1915), Santa Cruz Island Company worker who accidentally drowned at Scorpion Harbor on February 23, 1915. He was 35 years old. His body was recovered after several weeks, and he is buried in Calvary Cemetery (#1451), Santa Barbara.

February 25, 1915 [SBMP]: “Scorpion Harbor scene of drowning. Belisario Valencia is swept from boat in heavy sea. Yesterday afternoon Coroner Ruiz received word from Santa Cruz Island to the effect that Belisario Valencia, one of the Caire employees, had been drowned on the afternoon of the preceding day, at Scorpion Harbor on the south side of the island. The message came from Captain Andreas [Giovanni Battista] Olivari of the power schooner Santa Cruz, who had sent a man over in a launch for the purpose of bringing the information to the coroner. It seems that Valencia was assisting in landing a lot of piles that had been taken from Prisoners’ Harbor to Scorpion. The piles were taken from the schooner onto a small boat to a lighter to the landing. There was a high sea running, and while Valencia and a son of Captain Olivari [Pete] were on the lighter, a huge wave swamped the craft and washed the men overboard. Young Olivari managed to swim ashore, but his unfortunate companion was seen no more. Coroner Ruiz sent word back to the island for the men there to keep a watch for the body of the drowned man and send the body to this city when it should be recovered, for inquest and burial. The deceased was about 40 years of age and a widower. Several relatives live in Santa Barbara.”

February 25, 1915 [SBDN]: “A close watch was kept today at Scorpion Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, for the body of Belisario Valencia, one of the Caire ranch employees who was accidentally drowned Monday while transferring wooden pilings from the company’s boat to a lighter. The body sank when the lighter capsized, and efforts to recover it were unavailing. No word had been received down to a late hour today concerning the recovery of Valencia’s remains. The company’s schooner, which brought the news of the drowning late yesterday from the island, returned today, conveying a request from Coroner A.M. Ruiz to ship the remains here as soon as they are found, so that an inquest may be held. It is thought that the body will be washed to shore by the waves. Valencia was 40 years old, and a widower. He has a number of relatives living here. He was employed as a laborer for the Santa Cruz Island Company.”

March 13, 1915 [SBMP]: “Last evening Jacob Nidever came over from Santa Cruz Island to report to Coroner Ruiz that the body of Belisario Valencia, who was drowned about two weeks ago at Scorpion Harbor, had been recovered. The body was washed ashore at a point very near the place where Valencia was thrown from a small boat that capsized in a gale of wind. Coroner Ruiz will go to the island this morning to give his official attention to this case. The remains of the drowned man will be brought to this city for internment.”

March 19, 1915 [SBMP]: “The inquest in the case of Belisario Valencia, who was drowned at Scorpion Harbor on February 23 last, and which was continued from last Sunday to get evidence not procurable at that time, was concluded last night at Gagnier’s Undertaking establishment. Seven witnesses who saw the accident in which Valencia lost his life in the water, were on hand at the inquest and testified as to the facts as they understood them. They told how Valencia and young Olivari, son of the captain of the power schooner Santa Cruz, had tried to land in the schooner’s launch in a gale; how the rough waves swamped the small boat, and how Olivari gained the shore, but Valencia had sunk beneath the water to be carried by the surging waves away from the spot at which his body was submerged; how earnest effort was made to find the victim and help him to safety, but without avail. The facts of the recovery of the body from the water on March 12, at a point very near where it sank from view, and its removal to Santa Barbara last Saturday were detailed in the evidence. The burial of the remains of the deceased in Calvary Cemetery, and the preliminary inquest last Sunday have already been chronicled in these columns. After hearing the evidence, the jury brought in a verdict of accidental death by drowning. The jury was composed of J. B. Armstrong, foreman; W. E. Lorimer, J. G. Wilson, W. S. Drebert, William Zurmuhlen, S. S. Kelly, Charles Wood and John Leon.”