Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Feb 14, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
0 Reviews
One of the fabled Channel Islands of Southern California, Santa Cruz was once the largest privately owned island off the coast of the continental United States. This multifaceted account traces the island’s history from its aboriginal Chumash population to its acquisition by The Nature Conservancy at the end of the twentieth century. The heart of the book, however, is a family saga: the story of French émigré Justinian Caire and his descendants, who owned and occupied the island for more than fifty years. The author, descended from Caire, uses family archives unavailable to earlier historians to recount the full, previously untold story.

Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island opens with Caire’s early life as a San Francisco businessman and his acquisition of Santa Cruz Island, where he created a ranching kingdom based on sheep, cattle, and wine. Frederic Caire Chiles examines the business practices of the Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island companies, documenting the island’s economic ups and downs and the environmental impact of ranching in those days. Above all, he looks at the family’s daily life on the island from the mid-nineteenth into the twentieth century. This epic contains tragic elements, as well. What began as a profitable ranch and an idyllic retreat ended in the family divided by bitter litigation and the forced sale of the island. Family diaries and letters enable Chiles to tell the story of an intensely private clan and its struggle to hold an island dynasty together.

The history of Santa Cruz Island has never been told so thoroughly or so well. Replete with intimate portraits and high drama, this California story will move readers as it informs them.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Foreword by Marla Daily
11
Preface
13
Acknowledgments
17
Chapter 1 Beginnings
21
Chapter 2 Chumash Limuw Becomes the Island of the Holy Cross
29
Chapter 3 The Justinian Caire Family
43
Chapter 4 The Caire Years on Santa Cruz Island Begin
53
Buildings and Water Systems
59
Chapter 16 Death and Disappearance
145
Chapter 17 Daughters against Mother
149
Chapter 18 First Defeat in the Courts
159
Chapter 19 A Fight to the Finish
167
Chapter 20 Distant Thunder
175
Chapter 21 Partition and Downfall
181
Chapter 22 The Gherini Era Begins at the East End
191
Chapter 23 The Gherinis Search for Profitability
195

Out Ranches
63
Chapter 7 Diversification into Wine
73
Chapter 8 The Vision Completed
81
Chapter 9 The Enterprise Continues
87
Chapter 10 New Blood in the Family
103
Chapter 11 The Life and Times of Pietro Carlo Rossi
113
Chapter 12 The Legacy of Justinian Caire
117
Chapter 13 The 1906 Earthquake the Fire and the Fate of Santa Cruz Island
123
Chapter 14 The Stolen Will
127
Chapter 15 The Struggle for Profitability
131
Chapter 24 The Last Days of Ranching on Santa Cruz Island
201
Changing the Guard
205
Chaptger 26 The Caire Legacy Diappears and the Carey Stanton Era Begins
213
Enter the Nature Conservatory
219
Appendix 1 Chronology 19101932
225
Appendix 2 Superintendents 18751937
227
Selected Bibliography
229
Index
235
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Frederic Caire Chiles is the author of Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California–Santa Barbara and divides his time between London, Italy, and California.

Bibliographic information