Winfield Scott

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Winfield Scott
The Winfield Scott
The Winfield Scott


Winfield Scott (1850-1853), 225-foot wooden steam-powered paddle wheeler with three masts, built with accommodation for 165-cabin and 150-steerage class passengers. Built by Westervelt & Mackay, New York, Winfield Scott was launched on October 27, 1850. She arrived at San Francisco on April 28, 1852 and operated to Panama until the end of 1852 for the Independent Line, then for the New York & San Francisco Steamship Company from February to April 1853. Winfield Scott was purchased by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in July 1853 to make the run between San Francisco and Panama with passengers, mail, and supplies.

Winfield Scott departed San Francisco headed to Panama on December 1, 1853 with a full load of passengers and a shipment of gold bullion. Selecting the Santa Barbara Channel rather than the transit outside the Northern Channel Islands, on December 2, 1853 the Winfield Scott went aground on the north side of Middle Anacapa Island due to pilot error in heavy fog. There was no loss of life. The accident occurred about midnight after most of the passengers had gone to sleep. Captain Simon Frazier Blunt reportedly had to draw his pistol to quell the panic, which ensued among passengers scrambling to escape. Blunt was lauded as a hero for the survival of all of his passengers and crew.

A temporary camp was set up on Anacapa Island for many of the passengers. On December 4th, two days after the accident, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s California, en route to San Francisco, picked up many women and children, returning December 9th for the rest of the passengers and crew who continued on to Panama. Passenger Cyrus Call kept a diary at the time of the incident.

Today, the wreck site is on the National Register of Historic Places, and divers can swim around her parts, including the paddle wheel. Captain Horatio Gates Trussell of Santa Barbara used salvaged timbers and brass from the Winfield Scott in construction of his adobe home on Montecito Street, today owned by the Santa Barbara Historical Museums and known as the Trussell-Winchester Adobe.


http://www.cawreckdivers.org/Wrecks/Winnfiel.htm



In the News~

December 7, 1853 [DAC]: “Purser’s report. The Pacific Mail steamer California… December 4th at 10 A.M. saw steamer Winfield Scott ashore at Anacapa Island. Ran close to her and received ladies and children, and also treasure on board. She went ashore about midnight, December 2 in a dense fog. Passengers were aided without loss of life or confusion, owing to the coolness of Captain Blunt and officers. They were quite comfortably situated. The W. Scott will be a total loss.”


December 7, 1853 [DAC]: “The P. M. steamship Winfield Scott, burthen 2000 tons, was lost on Anacapa Island, 25 miles south of Santa Barbara, on the 2nd of December, at 12 P.M., in a fog. The passengers, mails and treasure were saved. The California steamer of the same line, passed on the morning of the 4th, and brought some of the passengers to this city. The same steamer arrived here on the 6th, and this morning, the 7th, will return to Panama, stopping on the way to take passengers, etc. of the Winfield Scott, which is a total loss.”


December 7, 1853 [DAC]: “We are indebted to Purser Watkins, of the steamer Winfield Scott, for some particulars in relation to the loss of that steamer. She ran ashore the night of the 2nd of December, on the island of Anacapa, which is situated about twenty-five miles in a direction about south by east, from Santa Barbara, and about five miles distant, in an easterly direction, from the Island of Santa Cruz. There was a very dense fog, so that it was impossible to see the ship’s length ahead. She struck bow on, staving two holes in her bow, and then, in backing off, her stern struck, knocking away her rudder. There was a good deal of alarm manifested among the passengers, most of whom had turned in; and even after she struck, the fog was so dense that they could see nothing before them. After the loss of her rudder, the boat drifted off a distance of about three hundred yards, and went ashore bow on, striking upon a high bluff. She had already commenced filling, and soon after striking for the last time sunk up to her guards. A boat was immediately sent out to find a place where the passengers could be landed. A little island, separate from the main one, was found, and there the passengers, mails and treasure were taken on the island where they are now. The coolness and presence of mind of Captain Blunt, under the circumstances, are spoken of in the highest terms of commendation. He remained on board until all the passengers were landed, which was nearly daylight, and during the night was busily engaged in superintending the necessary work which was in progress. We do not think that his well-established reputation as a careful and skillful navigator will suffer from this unfortunate loss. Provisions and bedding were taken out of the boat, and the passengers well provided with everything that was necessary, and they were made as comfortable as they could be under the circumstances. The island is rocky, barren and desolate, without inhabitants of any description.”


December 7, 1853 [SDU]: “Loss of the steamer Winfield Scott! Passengers and treasure saved! On the 4th of December, the steamer California saw the steamer Winfield Scott ashore at Anacapa Island — ran close to her and received the ladies and children on board, and also her treasure. She went ashore about midnight on December 2nd, during a dense fog—her passengers were landed without loss of life or confusion, owing to the coolness of Captain Blunt and his officers. They are quite comfortably situated. The Winfield Scott will be a total loss.”


December 7, 1853 [SDU]: “On Friday night, December 2, at 12 o’clock, the Winfield Scott struck upon a rock on the Island of Anacapa, off the coast of Santa Barbara, about twenty-five miles. She struck bow on, and then her stern, next on her side, carrying away her rudder. A great deal of confusion was created on board. The fog was dense, but weather calm, and by half past one the boats were lowered, and first filled with women and children, who were safely landed, the beach being but a short distance off. In this way all on board were taken ashore, and they were amply supplied with provisions from the wreck. The California brought off 5 passengers, 2 children and the purser. The remainder were left on the island, there being but one tent. The wreck of the steamer was left hanging on the rock by her bow, her stern being in eight fathoms of water. She will be a total loss, and must go to pieces in the next storm. The passengers had experienced no suffering, except that of the mind. Treasure and valuables all saved.”


December 8, 1853 [DAC]: “The California. The P. M. Steamship Company’s steamer California sailed yesterday afternoon at 5 o’clock, for Panama, by way of Anacapa Island, whence she will take the passengers and mails left by the Winfield Scott. She went off in fine style.”


December 10, 1853 [LASTAR]: “Steamer Winfield Scott wrecked. Another of P.M.S. mail company's ships is a wreck on our coast. The Winfield Scott, Captain Blunt, left San Francisco on the lst inst, bound for Panama, with 450 passengers and $800,000 treasure. The same night, there being a dense fog, the captain, to avoid the main land, put off, as he supposed, into the clear sea, and was only aware of his danger when the ship struck hew bows upon a sharp point of rocks shelving out upon the north side of the island of Anicapa [sic], which lies north of Santa Rosa and about 30 miles west of Santa Barbara. The next day signals were made for the steamer California on her way up, which steamer hove to and took off the ladies and treasure, the balance of the passengers remaining with the wreck, where, if not soon relieved, they must endure sever privations. From the exposed situation of the ship, it was expected she would go to pieces in the first swell of the sea. The baggage of the passengers, together with the mails and express matter, is said to be a total loss. Two gentlemen took a small boat, and after two days exposure reached Santa Barbara with the intelligence from whence assistance was probably sent to the wrecked vessel.”


December 15, 1853 [SDU]: “The Winfield Scott. A meeting was held by the wrecked passengers of the steamer Winfield Scott, on the rock of Anacapa, 7th inst., at which the following proceedings were held:

  • 1st. That in the recent wreck of the steamship Winfield Scott, we find not the slightest cause of censure attends either Captain S. F. Blunt, or any of his officers. On the contrary, Captain Blunt displayed throughout the voyage from San Francisco and to the last moment of the catastrophe, extending to the landing of and providing for the passengers, the highest degree of master seamanship and tender humanity;
  • 2nd: That in the gentlemanly deportment and kind attention to his passengers, Captain Blunt is without superior indeed, it is of so high character as to render it superfluous to mention his sharing his last blanket with his passengers after reaching the rock, and giving his own life preserver to a passenger before leaving the ship;
  • 3rd: That in consequence of the dense fog prevailing at the time, it is the opinion and firm conviction of all, that no other than a Divine hand caused the calamity which has befallen us all.

Signed by over two hundred passengers.”


December 15, 1853 [DAC]: “Arrival of the Republic. The Republic left this port on the 5th of December to visit the wreck of the Winfield Scott at Anacapa Island. After experiencing heavy southeasterly gales off Point Conception, she arrived at her destination on the 10th, at 5 P.M., and found the Winfield Scott on the rocks and bilged, her mid-ship section much sunk. Captain Blunt, having abandoned all hopes of saving her or getting her off, all hands were turned to, on the morning of the 11th, to save, for the benefit of all concerned, her apparel, the balance of the mails, baggage, and so forth. This was accomplished on the morning of the 12th, when the Republic got under way for this port. After leaving Anacapa, she encountered strong gales from N. N. W. and a heavy sea.”


January 6, 1854 [NYDT]: “The U.S. Mail steamship Illinois arrived at this port yesterday morning at 9 o’clock. She left Aspinwall [Panama] with the passengers, mail and specie from the wrecked steamer Winfield Scott, brought from the wreck to Panama by steamer California, leaving San Francisco on the 7th of December…”


January 6, 1854 [NYDT]: “We are indebted to the Purser of the California for the following memoranda:

To the Editor of the New York Daily Times, The Pacific Mail steamer California, A. V. H. LeRoy, Commander, sailed from San Francisco December 7, arrived December 24 at Panama. On the upward trip the California (December 4) saw steamer Winfield Scott ashore at Anacapa Island, in the Santa Barbara channel, about 25 miles from the mainland. Immediately ran in to her and finding nothing could be done to save her, received on board the gold dust, (which had already been landed), also the ladies and children. The Winfield Scott went ashore at midnight, December 2, in the midst of a dense fog, and will probably prove a total loss. All the passengers were landed without confusion or accident, owing to the coolness of Captain Blunt, aided by his officers and some of the more experienced of the passengers, among whom the name of R. P. Meade, of Adams & Company’s Express, is mentioned as being prominent. Immediately on the arrival of the California at San Francisco with the intelligence, preparations were made for the return to the wreck, and thence to Panama. She sailed from San Francisco at 5 P.M., December 9, twenty-nine hours from the date of arrival, and reached the island at daylight on the 9th. Captain LeRoy approached the shore as near as was deemed prudent, and all the boats of each steamer were put in requisition for the conveyance of passengers, mail, express matter, and baggage from the shore. In seven hours this was effected, and the California sailed for Panama, perfectly prepared for sea—being less than five days from the time she left the same spot on the upward trip. The steamer Republic had also been put in readiness for sea, and was to sail immediately after the California, to stay by the wreck and save such articles as could be most easily removed. Touched at Acapulco as usual for coals and water, on the 17th. Sailed thence at noon, same day, arriving at Panama on the 24th. California.”


January 10, 1854 [NYDN]: “The P.M.S.S. Co’s steamer Republic, A. McLane, Esq., commander, left San Francisco at 5 o’clock P.M., December 5, for the island of Anacapa, in the Santa Barbara Channel, for the wreck of the steamer Winfield Scott. She experienced a heavy southeast gale off Point Conception, and reached the wreck on the afternoon of the 10th. The Scott was embedded among the rocks, bilged, and her midship section greatly sunk. Captain Blunt, having abandoned all hope of either saving her or of getting her off, the men were put to work on the 11th to save her apparel, tackle, etc., and the balance of the mails and baggage. This was accomplished by the evening of the following day, when the Republic sailed for this port, and arrived on the 14th.”


January 13, 1854 [BP]: “The loss of the Winfield Scott. A passenger who was on board the California steamer Winfield Scott when she was wrecked, lat month, on the Island of Anacapa, off the coast of Santa Barbara, has furnished the N.Y. Sun with a lengthy and interesting narrative of the occurrence. The island is some four miles long, with two natural bridges running under it, but without anything to sustain life. The part of the island where the steamer struck was the only part where it was possible to have landed, as the whole island is perpendicular to the sea, being from two to three hundred feet high. When the vessel struck she made a tremendous report which sounded like the explosion of both boilers. Those in the steerage could not get out for half an hour, and it was feared she would go down with all on board, the gangway being jammed up by the anxious multitude. Orders were given at this time to back off, and the vessel continued backing until she struck again, stern on, as it appeared to them. Much alarm was manifested at first, but the passengers became somewhat calm, having learned that she had sunk as far down as it was possible to sink, having taken water very fast. The boats were lowered and officers sent to see if they could effect a landing. They returned with a favorable report, and by eight o’clock in the morning 500 persons inhabited the barren island of Anacapa. The writer says that what occurred during the six days sojourn on the island, was outrageous in the extreme. The passengers had been put ashore as fast as possible, no baggage being allowed until all were ashore, when the baggage was sent. Trunks came broken open, carpet-bags cut, and their contents extracted; clothing lost and strewn about—money “cared for,” such a general robbery was never before perpetrated. A Vigilance Committee was appointed, although the gold that was stolen was, under the circumstances, of no account, as the thieves could not buy anything to keep body and soul together; and a person having anything would have been murdered for it. Some had potatoes and pork buried, and a Negro and a white man for twenty-five lashes for stealing. The committee, however, were successful in discovering some two or three thousand dollars worth of stolen property, which was returned to the owners; but a great number of the passengers lost much, and some of them all they had. The writer had $900 stolen from his baggage. At length, after barbarous residence of six days on this desolate island, the unwilling residents were discovered and taken off by the steamer California, which was coming up the coast. They were rescued just in time to prevent worse suffering, as they had got down from a scanty allowance of breads to a potato a day, and the water had become salt.”


January 27, 1855 [SDU]: “San Francisco, January 26. A company of five has been formed in this city to go to Anacapa Island, to break up the hull of the Winfield Scott. She is known to have two hundred tons of pig iron as ballast, and eight or ten thousand dollars worth of copper on her. She now lies as she did when wrecked more than a year ago.”


July 12, 1873 [SBDP]: “Buried treasure. Anacapa's hidden wealth. In the year 1854 the steamer Winfield Scott, plying between San Francisco and Panama, was stranded during a storm on the rocks near the eastern entrance of the Santa Barbara channel, and was run ashore on Anacapa Island, situated about sixteen miles from this place. Among the passengers were a number of miners returning well laden with the precious dust to the states, one of whom was a Mr. ----, who had $30,000 worth of nuggets sewed up in a canvas bag, and three or four of his companions had each nearly as much secured in the same manner, which fact becoming known they were looked upon with envy by some of their fellow travelers, and it was not without some suspicions as to their safety that they observed the movements of their less fortunate companions after the accident to the vessel. But all other thoughts were swallowed up for the time in personal safety and securing a shelter, which they hastily constructed out of pieces of canvas and such portions of the wrecked steamer as could be got on shore. About midnight the storm burst in all its fury, sweeping away every vestige of their tent and very nearly carrying its occupants into the sea. Mr. G. was deputed by his companions to conceal their treasure, while they remained assisting the other passengers in their efforts to protect themselves from the storm. This he did, selecting a lone spot and digging a hole in the sand, buried the treasure, and leaving a few marks as a guide, returned to the camp. During the rest of the night the wind swept over the island with fearful violence, and at times it appeared as though the waves would completely cover them. Day broke upon a desolate scene indeed. The miners succeeded in getting hold of one of the ship's boats, in which they reached the mainland, intending to return at a favorable opportunity and secure their nuggets. They remained about this place, then of nominal importance, until finally all hope for the time of returning vanished by the loss of the boat. They betook themselves to the mines, intending to replenish themselves and return to fit out a boat and recover their hidden treasure. One of them was killed in a miner's quarrel; another soon followed by falling down a shaft, and the third died from the effects of an accident. Mr. ----, after mining with varying success in different parts of the state, returned about six months ago and was engaged in fitting up an expedition to visit Anacapa and search for his long-hidden treasure, when death unfortunately cut him off but a short time since, just as he was about to realize his long-cherished hopes. Thus perished the key to the hiding place of this vast sum of gold.

In substantiating the above we will state that our informant is in possession of letters from the deceased, and it is not unlikely that an expedition will soon leave this place, accompanied by a gentleman from Hueneme, in search of the buried treasure.”


July 26, 1883 [SBDP]: “The story of the wreck of the Panama steamship Winfield Scott nearly in sight of Santa Barbara, nearly thirty years ago, has just been given to the public by a survivor of the wreck, Mr. Charles P. Holden, who writes to the Chicago Times. From Holden’s story, the following condensation is made. The Winfield Scott with 200 passengers for Panama went on the rocks of Anacapa Island. Captain Blunt, who commanded the steamer, had decided that the Santa Barbara Channel was the shortest cut to Panama...”


July 28, 1883 [SBDP]: “It is not generally known that the eagle which ornamented the front of the Lobero’s Theatre is a relic of the wrecked Panama steamer, Winfield Scott, which struck upon the rocks on Anacapa Island thirty years ago. It was the only piece of the steamer which was saved. The editors of both papers and half the county officials go forth to Anacapa Island to dive for treasure supposed to have been lost thirty years ago when the Winfield Scott went down on the reef. If the searching expedition is lost, a special county election will be necessary, and Captain Larco will be held responsible.”


August 1, 1883 [SBDP]: “Further adventures of the Santa Barbara exploring party... ’There is the rock upon which the Panama and San Francisco passenger steamer, Winfield Scott, struck and went to pieces in 1853’ said Captain Larco as he pointed towards the worst looking rock and reef to be seen near the island. The Ocean King was brought-to and made fast to a bunch of kelp and Larco kindly rowed a skiff containing the news-hunter and a friend to look at the wreck. On reaching a point about one hundred feet from a towering castellated rock, upon the apex of which could be distinctly seen, the boughs, brush, and straw of an eagle’s nest, Larco who had been looking downward at the bow of the boat cried ‘Hold! Here is the steamer.’ The boat came to a stop and we were over the watery grave of one of the majestic steamships which proudly plough the ocean. We looked down through transparent waters which gently rose and fell beneath us, upon a scene of rare beauty...”


October 8, 1894 [SBMP]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in port this morning from Redondo. Captain McGinn says he is going over to Anacapa Island to take a look at the wreck of the Winfield Scott, which went ashore in 1852. He says he thinks there is a great deal of copper and brass to be obtained there. After this trip the scow will sail north to the Gosford again.”


October 9, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in the harbor this morning from Redondo. The wharf company has engaged the captain to overhaul and repair their harbor buoys, after which he will sail to Anacapa Island and endeavor to raise some of the wreck of the Winfield Scott which was wrecked in 1853.”


October 11, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left yesterday for Anacapa Island to inspect the wreck of the Winfield Scott, after which she will return to the Gosford.”


October 12, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left yesterday afternoon for Anacapa Island to inspect the wreck of the Winfield Scott, after which she will return to Cojo Bay to resume work on the Gosford.”


October 18, 1894 [SBMP]: “Raising the Winfield Scott. From Alex. Eaton, who returned from a fishing trip at the Anacapa Island last Wednesday night, we learn that the wrecking schooner San Pedro, owned by San Francisco parties, is at work on a wreck at the island. The wreck is the Winfield Scott, a side-wheeled steamer which was sunk on the reef there forty-two years ago. The wreck was easily located and at last accounts the work of raising the machinery was progressing favorably. It is also reported that a large amount of bullion was aboard the vessel when she was sunk. On Saturday evening, Bay Webster took over a party of about a dozen persons to watch the work of the wrecking schooner.”


October 20, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived this morning from Anacapa Island with a load of wreckage from the old steamer Winfield Scott which was wrecked in the year 1852. Captain McGinn says this is the most romantic wreck he has ever worked on. The scow lays under the cliff within fifty feet of shore and with one line fast to the rock on which the passengers from the steamer were landed. They broke up portions of the wreck with dynamite and raised a large amount of iron, shafts, wheels, bolts, etc. There are a great many copper bolts four or five feet long which are quite valuable. Captain McGinn got a brass plate from the engine room showing that the steamer was built in 1851, according to which she was only a year old when she sunk.”


October 22, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro left last evening for the wreck at Anacapa Island.”


October 22, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived in port this morning with a large quantity of wreckage from the side-wheel steamer Winfield Scott, which went ashore on Anacapa Island in 1852. She had a number of shafts and considerable old iron from the engine room, besides a number of copper bolts about five feet in length. Captain McGinn said he thought there must be some mistake regarding the year of the wreck, as he found a brass plate, nickel-plated in the engine room stating that the vessel was built in 1851, and there was evidence that she had been running several years before she was wrecked.”


October 25, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecker San Pedro was obliged to cease work yesterday on the Winfield Scott on account of the heavy swell, so she returned here, arriving about midnight. She brought over about twenty-five tons of iron and about five tons of copper which she raised on this trip.”


October 31, 1894 [SBDI]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro arrived early this morning from Hueneme, where they have been overhauling buoys. On leaving here they returned to the wreck of the Winfield Scott at Anacapa Island, but, as they had no giant powder, they could do nothing. They then returned to Hueneme. Captain McGinn says that they will now proceed either to the wreck of the Goldenhorn at Santa Rosa Island or to the Yankee Blade around Point Concepcion. They will not again visit the Winfield Scott.”


November 1, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The wrecking scow San Pedro returned this morning from Hueneme. She went from this port to Anacapa Island, but on account of the non-arrival of their dynamite they were unable to do any more work on the Winfield Scott. They will not make another trip to this wreck, but will go to the Goldenhorn or Yankee Blade.”


November 5, 1894 [SBDI]: “The steamer Santa Cruz was in the harbor yesterday and took on the remainder of the wreckage of the Winfield Scott left here by the wrecker San Pedro, and after placing a couple of buoys for the wharf company sailed for San Francisco.”


November 7, 1894 [LAH]: “The Winfield Scott was a modern side-wheel steamer and was built on the Atlantic coast early in the fifties for the San Francisco and Panama trade. In 1852 she arrived on the Pacific coast, after a successful voyage around the Horn crowded with miners eager to get started in the gold fields of California. She discharged her cargo and landed her passengers and started south for Panama with about 200 passengers who were returning to the east with the products of their labors in the mines. During a fog on the voyage down the coast the steamer ran over a reef that juts out from Anacapa Island. Most of the passengers reached the shore in safety, but there was no shelter on the island, and from the time the vessel struck until they were rescued a storm kept shipwrecked people drenched to the skin. Provisions were scarce, and they were in about the last stages of starvation when the steamer California came along and took them on board. The California was on her way up from Panama, and the passengers who escaped the wreck were brought back. When the San Pedro began her work of recovery, 44 years later, four fathoms of water covered the wreck. The hull was almost covered by sand, but there was an open space about the machinery, so that the wreckers could get at the more valuable parts of the ancient steamer. Many large castings were brought to the surface, and what was recovered from the old wreck was brought up on the steamer Bonita.”


November 8, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “On Monday night’s stage Captain MacGuin and three seamen arrived from Gaviota and reported the total loss of the wrecking scow San Pedro at Cojo Bay Sunday night. She has been working recently on the wrecks of the Newburn, Goldenhorn, Winfield Scott, Gosford, and intended in a short time to work on the Yankee Blade…”


July 7, 1900 [OC]: “Wonders of Anacapa Island. Captain Merry sailed last Friday in his yacht Naiad for Anacapa Island… The steamship Winfield Scott can be plainly seen at low tide beneath the surface. There she lies cradled on the rocks where she was wrecked 145 years ago, having on board 800 passengers, 350 sacks United States mail matter and three million in gold. All the was saved and taken off by another steamer ten days after the wreck.”


September 7, 1901 [OC]: “A local in last week’s Courier made mention of the fact that J. F. Crane of Illinois, the last survivor of the wreck of the steamer Winfield Scott on Anacapa Island in 1853, was to make a trip to the scene of the celebrated wreck. He arrived on Friday and on Sunday, accompanied by Captain Merry, A. Hankens, E. A. Poe, B. F. Meyers and Dave Samuel, took the yacht Daisy and made the trip. Mr. Crane asked the captain not to explain any of the points of the island that he might remember the location of the wreck. The whole scene came back to him vividly and he pointed out a small island on which several hundred people were huddled together like sheep after the vessel had struck. The trip home consumed 22 hours on account of adverse winds. A number of photographs were taken of the scenes about the place f the wreck.”


January 12, 1904 [LAT]: “Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Crane of Long Beach are guests of Mr. and Mrs. B. W. Merrill. Mr. Crane was one of the argonauts, and away back in the early fifties had the harrowing experience of a shipwreck on the rocks of Anacapa Island.”


October 14, 1904 [OC]: “Survivor of the ill-fated Winfield Scott relates his experiences during the wreck on that lonely spot… It was on December 1, 1853 that I took passage on this steamer from San Francisco for Panama and home… Captain Blunt was on the bridge, and the ship having struck a slanted ledge, he directed the engineer to push her as far on as could be done… Seven days had been passed on the island and the officers began to look discouraged… It was the steamship California, Captain LeRoy… We reached Panama without any further mishap… Charles C. P. Holden”


June 27, 1907 [SBMP]: “Anacapa may be stocked with game birds. Captain Bay Webster, lessee of Anacapa Island, will stock that little rock off in the Pacific with coast quail, if the authorities will give him permission. He has made application to the State game commissioners… Anacapa would be a prime place for the raising of quail. There are no wild animals whatever on the island, such as foxes, wild cats, skunks, weasels or the like, nor are there any snakes or other living things, outside of rats, and it is not thought these latter would bother the birds, preferring to live in the fish leavings and about the houses of the island fishermen. The rats were left on the island by the wreck of the old steamer Winfield Scott in 1849 [1853]. At one time there were hordes of them, but they are getting scarce now. The quails put on the island would have a free run and would, it is thought, increase rapidly.”


March 1967 [Skin Diver Magazine]: “Would you believe... a gold strike, near a small island off Santa Barbara? Neither did we, until that warm California autumn revealed the unmistakable glint of gold nuggets in the dredge 's rifle box. There we were, miles out to sea in a 62-foot diving charter boat, bringing up 49'er gold from the Mother Lode because of a series of accidents more than 100 years ago... On the night of December 2, 1843 the pride of the Pacific Steamship Lines, the sidewheeler Winfield Scott was bound from San Francisco to Panama. Her hold was stuffed with general cargo. Two hundred passengers returning home from the gold fields crowded her staterooms. Many of them were reportedly carrying personal fortunes in gold nuggets. She was heavy in fog traveling between the Channel Islands and Santa Barbara. Just as the passengers were sitting down to eat dinner they felt the ship turn sharply and heard frantic shouts and signals from the bridge. They found that the ship has almost run into the end of Santa Cruz Island but the alert bow lookout had seen the island looming up through the fog just in time. By 11 P.M. that near crisis was almost forgotten and most of the passengers were asleep in their binks. They were awakened by a lurching halt...”