WILSON, James C.

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WILSON, James C. (c. 1935-1964), 39, a Santa Barbara engineer, along with his three sons, 17-year-old Larry, Jerry, 13 and Wayne, 11, were drowned at Anacapa Island when their 17-foot fishing boat capsized.

In the News~

May 4, 1964 [LB Independent]: “Father, 3 sons lost at sea; boat capsized. 4 rescue jackets found. A 39-year-old Santa Barbara engineer and three of his 10 children were missing Sunday after their 17-foot boat was found capsized three miles off Anacapa Island, 70 miles northwest of Long Beach. The Search and Rescue Office of the Coast Guard at Long Beach, which directed an all-day search, reported finding the boat and four bobbing life jackets at 10 a.m. Sunday. Missing were James W. Wilson, 39, a geologist and engineer of Goleta, a beach community near Santa Barbara, and his sons Larry, 17, Jerry, 13, and Wayne, 11. The four had embarked from Santa Barbara at 7:30 a.m. Saturday for Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. Twelve hours later Mrs. Wilson phoned the Coast Guard office in Long Beach that her husband and boys were overdue and that, with blustery winds whipping the channel, she feared for their safety. Two helicopters, two planes and a 95-foot patrol craft started search over the choppy channel. The capsized boat and the drifting, empty lifejackets could mean either that the group had been lost overboard by a capsizing, or that the empty boat may have drifted from a beach leaving the group stranded, the Coast Guard indicated Sunday night. Mrs. Wilson told an Independent reporter that she was hoping the four would be found somewhere ashore on one of the channel Islands. "We have 10 children in our family," she said. "We have one married daughter; the other nine live here with us. In the boat there were 10 or 11 lifejackets, so if four were found floating empty it doesn't mean, necessarily, that my husband and the boys weren't wearing life jackets." Mrs. Wilson said her husband and the oldest son, Larry, had taken a Coast Guard course in small boat handling, but that the trip to the island was their first long cruise. The outboard was powered by a 40-horsepower motor. Search will be resumed today.”

May 4, 1964 [LAT]: “Father, 3 sons feared lost in boat accident. A Goleta man and his three sons were believed drowned after their 17-ft. outboard cabin cruiser was found capsized in choppy, wind-lashed waters Sunday. Their partly submerged craft was spotted 3 miles southeast of Anacapa Island by a Coast Guard aircraft. An Israeli freighter was diverted to the site and crew men found four life preservers in the boat. Coast Guard officers at Santa Barbara said that James C. Wilson, 5673 Marbury Dr., and his sons, 11-year-old twins and 13, disappeared Saturday enroute to Santa Cruz Island. While Coast Guard amphibious aircraft and a helicopter scoured the area until sundown Sunday, a cutter was dispatched from Santa Barbara to tow the boat in. Along with the rough seas searchers had to contend with winds up to 35 m.p.h. Adverse weather continued to hamper recreation-minded weekenders throughout the state...”

May 4, 1964 [Lompoc Record]: “Four believed drowned as search called off. Coast Guard this morning called off its sea and air search for a Goleta father and three sons presumed drowned during the weekend after their 17-ft. outboard cabin cruiser was found capsized in the ocean near Anacapa Island. The father was identified as James W. Wilson, 30, an engineer for the American Machine & Foundry Co. of Santa Barbara. He and three of his sons were reported missing to the Coast Guard at 7 p.m. Saturday. The four had left at 7:30 a.m. Saturday for Santa Cruz Island on a fishing expedition. Their boat had a 40 h.p. engine. The Coast Guard set out in search in rough water in the 95-ft. patrol boat Cape Sable and remained out five hours in darkness without sighting the Wilson boat. At daybreak yesterday, and all-day air and sea search was started and the capsized Wilson boat was located about 11 a.m. some four miles southeast of Anacapa Island. The Coast Guard was unable to right the boat and towed it some 35 miles to Santa Barbara. Five life preservers were accounted for, four in the boat and one in the water. Meanwhile three light aircraft and two helicopters combed a land and ocean area from Santa Barbara to four miles southeast of Anacapa Island with the helicopters dropping to within a few hundred feet of the shoreline of the islands.”

May 4, 1964 [Desert Sun]: “Santa Barbara. A father and three sons were presumed drowned during the weekend after their 17-foot outboard cabin cruiser was found capsized in the ocean near Anacapa Island. James C. Wilson, a geologist of nearby Goleta and the boys — 11-year-old twins and a 13-year-old were last seen Saturday as they left on a trip to Santa Cruz Island to study rock formations.”