The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 2000, Volume 46, Number 1
Gregg Hennessey, Editor

Hunting in Baja California for a Living

by Eric Mellink

Photographs from this article

On a crisp, clear March morning in 1917, a mild-mannered, 52 year-old man, with a .25 caliber repeating rifle and 40 cartridges, boarded the train at Calexico, California. After a while he stepped off at Palaco, Baja California, Mexico, and headed for Long’s Cattle Company where his pack animals and equipment awaited. He chose two mules, gathered “…a riding saddle, a pack saddle, two packing boxes, a folding canvas cot, sleeping bag, grub and tobacco…”, and was soon off on a seventeen-day solo trip in the San Felipe desert in search of pronghorns (Antilocapra americana) for the Brooklyn Museum.1

The man was Captain Edward William Funcke, the most renowned hunting guide in northeastern Baja California at the time and a museum specimen collector. He was regarded as an adventurer or, in Steward Edward White’s words, a “soldier of fortune”.2 Yet his life was more significant than this concept suggests. His story is a lens through which we can glimpse Baja California at the dawn of the twentieth century, and exemplifies several historical trends that continue to shape the U. S. Southwest and Mexico’s Northwest, including worldwide migration during the 18th and 19th centuries, and wildlife utilization patterns. The reconstruction of Funcke’s life offers important insight into the character of many Baja California’s early colonizers, who, being neither famed leaders nor brazen heroes, have slipped through the cracks of history.3


The Funcke name dates back at least to the 15th century in rural Prussia. During the following centuries some Funckes became wealthy entrepreneurs, while others remained poor farmers.4 By the mid-19th century, economic depression, crop failure, and political turmoil forced Charles Philipp and at least three other Funckes to emigrate. They joined the thousands of prospectors in the early 1850s who descended to the Ballarat area of Victoria, Australia, in search of gold.5

Charles Philipp Funcke, who had been born in 1832, married Jane Riddle, an immigrant from Peebles, Scotland, in 1860. They had six children including Edward William who was born on February 20, 1865 in Ballarat. After several years of moving around in the Ballarat area, the expectations of the Funckes had not been met, and by 1870, some members of the family had moved to San Francisco, California.6 Charles Phillip, with 13 year-old Charles Phillip Jr., and 9 year-old Edward William, followed in 1874. Jane and the smaller children remained in Australia, where she died the following year. Of the children that stayed behind in Australia, at least Thomas Alexander and Robert Charles moved to San Francisco in the 1880s.7

By the end of the 19th century, gold mining and hunting of marine mammals, including whales, fur seals, sea otters, and sea elephants, drove San Francisco’s burgeoning economy. As is often the case in boomtowns, secondary and tertiary economic activities become some of the most profitable. Charles Philipp benefited from this and in 1880 he owned a boarding house and a saloon, which he and his children shared with a cook, a barkeep, and 19 boarders, the later of very diverse geographic origins.

Both mining and sea mammal hunting offered highly coveted commodities while also spawning a strong market for leather and its manufactured derivatives. Not surprisingly most of the boarders at Edward William’s house were tannery workers. Charles Philip Jr. also worked at a tannery, while Edward William attended school. Between 1886 and 1890 Edward’s father and brothers founded the Bay View Tannery, in San Francisco.8

Bay View Tannery would probably have offered Edward a sure employment, especially since he knew the trade: In 1886 he had worked as a cutter of footwear at Porter, Slessing & Company.9 However, his personality had been profoundly shaped by a childhood in the rough and tumble mining towns of southern Victoria, an ocean voyage across half the world, the absence of his mother since age 9, and exposure to saloon and boardinghouse life. Rather than joining the family’s tannery, he disappeared from San Francisco, in what seems the beginning of a rough life at sea.10

The record on his life at sea is rather scant. Some sources indicate that he sailed the seven seas, and variously worked as a whaler, a sealer, and hunter of sea otters. He eventually rose to captain.11 A family history tells that Edward William was arrested in Russia, a fact that, in those days, could have resulted from sealing in the North Pacific. Though at the end of the 19th century whaling and sea otter hunting were in decline, they were still practiced on a broad scale.12 Funcke also dove for pearls, and appears to have worked for the merchant marine.13 Pearling was not uncommon in the southern Gulf of California, and while the records do not directly suggest it, given Funcke’s involvement in maritime activities in the area, he could have pearled there.

Between trips, Edward William returned home to California and on one such visit got married. The details are obscure, but in 1893 a “Mrs. E.W. Funcke” appeared in the San Francisco city directory, at an address different from that of the Funcke family. The following year Edward reestablished himself in San Francisco, landing a job as a salesman, a life far too mundane for the now veteran sailor. The call of the sea was just too strong. He again disappeared, only to show up a short time later when he registered in the San Francisco 1896 city directory as “seaman.” Perhaps suggestive of a failed marriage, he gave his father’s address as his. He appeared in the San Francisco directory for the last time in 1901.14

According to his descendants and a brief obituary, Edward William was a friend of novelist Jack London and even captained his vessel for over a decade.15 Whether they in fact were friends is unclear. But, London’s writing career was short and he probably did not own a vessel for over a decade. Moreover, by Funcke’s own accounts he was guiding hunters continuously from 1903 onward.16 His participation in London’s 27-month sea expedition, which started in 1907, would not have been possible. Ottomar H. Van Norden17 states only that Edward William “… was once captain of a pelagic sealing schooner…[and] a colleague of Captain McLean from whom Jack London drew the inspiration for his ‘Sea Wolf'”.18

His roaming brought Edward William to Bahia Magdalena. During the mid-1800s this was a favorite resort for whaling fleets operating in the area. In 1870 a whaler reported orchilla (Ramalina spp.), in Baja California, a dye producing lichen, to be abundant in the area. Shortly thereafter this lichen began to be exploited commercially and exported to England and Germany. In 1889 500 workers and their families lived on Isla Magdalena. The discovery and fabrication of the synthetic die aniline outdated the exploitation of orchilla, and this activity ceased completely in 1904.19

While anchored in Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, during the late 1890s, Edward William met Enriqueta Jaques, the daughter of a local customs officer, and fourteen years his junior. They married in 1899 and moved north to Ensenada, Baja California. They had six children, two of whom died at very young ages. Enriqueta was strong willed and succeeded in keeping Edward William away from the sea, although not away from rough life in the open.

In January 1903 Edward William and family were living in Ensenada, when they lost two-year old Edward to pneumonia.20 Shortly afterwards, Edward William lived in a rented furnished bedroom at The Santa Fe on the southwest corner of 4th and C streets, San Diego, and registered in that city’s directory as “plumber”. However, in less than a year he dropped his tools, and returned south.21

For the following sixteen years Edward William’s life centered on hunting in northeastern Baja California. This area was almost entirely unpopulated except for native Cocapas that lived along the Rio Colorado, a small mestizo settlement near the upper gulf, and a few isolated ranches. Agricultural development of the Imperial Valley, just north of the US-Mexico border, helped to stimulate slow but steady population growth in the Valle de Mexicali after 1902.22

The Mexican portion of the Rio Colorado delta was acquired in 1904 by the Colorado River Land Company, which held control over it for more than thirty years. During the 1910s, the Mexican portion of the delta was used primarily for livestock, but in the 1920s it was subject to an impressive agricultural development. Mexicali itself increased in size from 397 inhabitants in 1904 to between 1,500 and 2,000 by 1910 and finally to several thousand in the 1920s. Nearly 8,000 Asians, mostly Chinese, made up the majority of the agricultural labor force. As of 1910 Mexicali, with its forty bars, brothels and gambling dens, had already earned a bad reputation. In the following decade, the control and exploitation of vices diversified to include, along with gambling and prostitution, opium, morphine, and heroin dens.23

In 1907 or 1908, apparently, Edward William moved his family from Ensenada to Calexico, then a relatively young agricultural town with about 500 inhabitants.24 The only hunting recorded in the valley then was for waterfowl.25 Always on the lookout for big game, Funcke must have been an odd figure in this town.

In September 1911 Funcke traveled to Calmalli in the center of the Baja California Peninsula to hunt, and spent most of the time between December of 1911 and late August of 1912 there.26 Gold had been discovered in Calmalli in 1883 and a bonanza ensued. Visions of wealth vaporized quickly and by 1910, just twenty-seven years after its birth, Calmalli was another mineral bust town with only 108 inhabitants.27 In 1919 there were 25-30 scattered houses, two or three stores and about 300 people.28 It’s quite possible that Funcke supplemented his income with gold prospecting, not surprisingly considering his childhood in the Australian gold fields and in the San Francisco gold culture. However, no claims in his name exist in the Archivo de Mineria (mining archives) in Ensenada.

From 1913 to 1920, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in San Ysidro, the Funcke family lived in Calexico.29 All this time Edward William traveled extensively through northeastern Baja California including the Rio Hardy, a branch of the Rio Colorado. During the later years of his activities, he maintained his saddle, pack animals and outfitting supplies at Long’s Cattle Co., about 15 kilometers east of Mexicali.30

Finally, Funcke and his family settled permanently in San Ysidro, where the directory lists him as “trapper” from 1921 to 1923, and from 1924 on as a mechanic along with his son Carl, who had worked in 1918 as a mechanic’s assistant at J.W. Lewis & Company, a car dealership in San Diego. In 1924 and 1925 Edward and Carl owned the Tourist Garage in San Yisdro, California. Funcke’s obituary states that he retired in 1920, but it does not say from what, and refers only to his life as a seaman. Although retired, he still obtained Mexican hunting licenses in 1922 and 1926.31

In his later days, Funcke was fond of attending wrestling events. On 11 June 1940, on a trip to one such event, his companion lost control of the steering wheel and the car overturned. Edward William, with several broken ribs, was taken to the Quintard Hospital, in San Diego. The injuries lead to a broncho-pneumonia, from which he died four days later. He was buried on 18 June 1940.32

Edward William always had kind words to say about northwest Mexico. He emphasized that it was a safe, crime free area, where everybody was welcome. In fact, during the hunt with Van Norden and Burnham, in 1917, he did not hesitate to take along his son Carl, still an adolescent. His opinion of Governor Esteban Cantu and his government was excellent. In addition to reflecting his feelings, these positive comments were also directed to stimulate his possible hunting clients.33


During his hunting years, Edward William became known as the most important hunting guide of bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelopes in northeastern Baja California. Indeed, he is the only full-time professional hunting guide for Baja California on record. Other guides seem to have guided hunters sporadically, and as a secondary activity.34 Funcke’s specialty was big game with occasional outings for small game.35 According to one of his grandsons he guided many renowned people, including western-novelist Zane Grey. A letter from Grey, later in the possession of Funcke’s grandson Adolfo Ramirez-Funcke, is now lost.

Edward William was an accomplished marksman. On his solo expedition in 1917, he killed five pronghorns with a single bullet each, but he did not hesitate to use seven bullets to kill another one. His ability as a hunter allowed him to take only forty cartridges to kill six or eight pronghorns in twenty days. Funcke was a careful hunter: “If it is late in the day and the [bighorn] sheep are over 300 yards away and no chance of getting nearer and a chance for only two or three shots before they disappear, it is a good plan to leave them alone and look for them early next day in hopes of getting a better chance”.36 However, despite his expertise he also made common mistakes. One time he pulled the trigger only to discover that the safety was still locked, losing his trophy.37 Another time, he badly missed an easy target because he used somebody else’s gun without practicing with it first.38

A special arrangement with Governor Cantu, allowed Edward William to hunt bighorns in Baja California even though such activity had been legally prohibited.39 In addition to previous regulations, Cantu posted a ban on bighorn sheep hunting on 10 October 1917, but Edward William continued his activities until at least 1919.40

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1921) caused a sharp reduction in hunting by Americans in Mexico.41 This war, despite opinions to the contrary, did not affect Funcke’s activities, however. Strict control of the Valle de Mexicali by the Colorado River Land Company created relative stability in the area, and the few Mexican laborers had little incentive to participate in the Mexican Revolution. At the same time, Cantu successfully channeled proceeds from the vice industry and from the trafficking of Chinese immigrants into his administration, and so remained more or less independent from the centralized federal government. The only local manifestation of the Mexican Revolution was the relatively innocuous occupation of Mexicali by a party of the exogenous Flores Magon anarchist movement.42 After this was controlled, Governor Cantu, acting as both military leader and political boss from 1911 to 1920, kept Baja California marginal to the Revolution (except for a brief conflict in 1913).43 The only signs of the Revolution to Funcke and his clients were soldier parties that demanded to see their gun permits.44

In addition to guiding hunting parties, Edward William collected specimens for different natural history museums. According to a letter by Robert Cushman Murphy to Henry Fairfield Osborn,45 Edward William had been employed continuously for about ten years by well-known naturalist Edward W. Nelson of the U.S. Biological Service. The U.S. National Museum of Natural History holds 68 specimens collected by him.46 He also sent several specimens to J.C. Phillips, who deposited many of them in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.47

At those times it was not unusual for museums and taxonomists to send professional collectors into the field. For example, Brewster produced his comprehensive work on the birds of the southern part of Baja California based on over 4,400 specimens collected by M. Abbott Frazer during a nine month stay in that area.48 Likewise, John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs based their work on specimens obtained by collector Wilmot W. Brown in Baja California from 1906 to 1909. In 1908 and 1909 Brown lived over a year in southern Baja California.49 Frazar and Brown were trained biological collectors who were aware of taxonomic issues and who prepared museum specimens in the field. Contrary to these learned collectors, Funcke was primarily a hunter who had learned how to make some basic measurements and how to preserve heads and skins in such a way that they could be mounted for museum purposes later. Two of his bighorn specimens gained a place in the trophy record book.50

The oldest specimens known to have been collected by Funcke are three coyotes from southern Sierra de San Pedro Martir, which he collected in 1904. He collected the type specimens51 of the Baja California pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana peninsulae)52 and the Baja California mountain lion (Puma concolor improcera).53 He guided R.C. Murphy, and later collected the pronghorns for the “Desert group” exhibit of the Brooklyn Museum, and collected skulls of hinnies for the American Museum of Natural History.54 In 1909 he guided U.S. Congress member William E. Humphrey to hunt bighorn sheep for an exhibit at the natural history museum of the University of Washington.55 The inscription on an old family-owned photograph indicates that he also guided a “Dr. Miller” on a hunt “40 miles south of Calexico” on an unspecified date.56

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fashion designers used nuptial feathers of egrets to adorn women’s hats. This triggered large-scale exploitation of egrets throughout the world. The hunting of the adults resulted in abandonment of the nests and thus reproductive failure and later to population decline. Despite subsequent bans on egret hunting, prices as high as $50-60 per ounce (37.8 g, which required the nuptial plumes of six birds) were an important stimulus for poachers. The fashion was abandoned only when Queen Alexandra of England prohibited the use of the feather-adorned hats in the court.57

The egrets of the Rio Colorado Delta did not escape being hunted to provide nuptial feathers for the trade. Indeed, they were hunted intensively, and several nesting colonies were deserted as a result. In 1915, the hunters were receiving $3.00 per bird.58 During the spring of 1913 and 1914, the U.S. Biological Survey hired Edward William to hunt egrets for their collection and carry out observations on their colonies along the Rio Colorado. Funcke enlisted the help of the Cocopa with their deep knowledge of the delta and their suitable canoes. Excerpts from three letters following these trips include a description of breeding colonies of Great White (Ardea alba)59 and Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) on the Rio Hardy, as well as references to Cocopa hunting of them for their feathers.60 As a result of these activities, between May 1 and June 11, 1915 Funcke guided Luther J. Goldman, of the U.S. Biological Survey, to the Rio Hardy, to collect nesting birds.61

According to a letter to ornithologist Joseph Grinnell, of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley, Funcke hunted in the Valle de Mexicali over four or five years. About 1914 he collected a roseate spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), from near Volcano Lake, in the Valle de Mexicali. The mounted specimen was exhibited at the Museo Regional (later the Goldbaum Museum), in Ensenada.62


The sea was a strong force in Edward William’s life. In the 1910 Federal Census he still declared himself a “seaman” though he hadn’t felt the spray of the open seas for almost a decade. Indeed, he maintained the title of captain through life. Life aboard ship molded his personality, and the abrasive manner in which he sometimes treated his assistants reflected the rank segregation that occurred aboard ships.63 As hunting guide, collector, and outfitter, however, he was variously viewed as courteous and very considerate, efficient, obliging and completely trustworthy.64

Funcke was bold. Once, out in the middle of the desert, he stepped between a drunk, insubordinate recruit and the Mexican Army officer who threatened to kill him. Edward disarmed the officer and finally arranged a peaceful solution.65 On another occasion, upon returning from a ten day hunt, he found out that a novice horse-wrangler who had earlier deserted from the party had not yet arrived in Calexico. Unrested, he took a fresh horse, grabbed a companion, and went off in search of the lost wrangler. Three days later they found him, alive.66

Hardiness was requisite for the life Edward William had chosen. And, he was hardy. At age 52 he embarked on his solo expedition in search of pronghorn, for which he had planned up to twenty days in the field. On a different expedition in 1915, at age 50, his daily walks averaged between 20 and 35 miles in what Robert Crushman Murphy, a well-known naturalist of the Brooklyn Museum, considered the most exhausting weeks of his life. Barely rested from this trip, Edward William led yet another group, a U.S. Biological Survey team, into the Rio Colorado delta.67 Although, Edward was generally healthy, during a hunt in 1917 he suffered an acute attack of rheumatism, which Ottomar H. Van Norden, a hunting client, attributed to his frustration for not finding any bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis).68 Toward the end of his career he lost an eye during an unrecorded hunting accident, but this did not prevent him from continuing to hunt and guide.69

He was a practical man, and preferred to ride a small mule instead of the less well- equipped, though romantically more appealing horse. His animals were part of the team, and, in the account of his solo hunt, when he described shooting at an animal he wrote “me,” but in describing his travels or encounters of interesting things, he wrote “we”, giving his mules due consideration. Funcke was ascetic, and appears not to have used more than one firearm on any particular hunt. On his solo hunt he used a .25 repeating rifle.70 On a hunting permit for small game in 1922 he registered a 12-gauge shotgun. Despite his austerity, he sometimes hauled around a foldable cot rather than bedding down on the pebbly desert ground.

Although the acquisition of specimens or trophies was his final objective, Edward William enjoyed all aspects of a hunt. For example, in his solitary expedition for pronghorn antelope he wrote “If I was lonely I was not alone, for I had the company of many coyotes from dark until dawn”.71 After dinner he would lie down and smoke his pipe, enjoying the sky and the sounds of the night. At the end of his career as a hunter he enjoyed photographing wildlife, but almost all of his photographs are now lost.72

Funcke did not speak Spanish at home, but he regularly talked in Spanish with the Cocopa Indians of the Mexican portion of the Colorado River delta and with Mexican soldiers, and translated the conversations for his American customers. Also, misspelling of Spanish names of plants and land features in the article by Van Norden suggests that they were orally transmitted, possibly by Funcke. In addition to speaking Spanish, he was also able to read it, as he translated a Mexican military note on one occasion.73

According to one observer Edward William possessed “…perhaps a more practical knowledge of the Mexican half of the Colorado Desert than any other American”.74 Of the species of his interest, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), he knew their breeding seasons, details on their diet, water requirements, predation, habitat, and habits. He could identify game birds and wildlife tracks, interpret local meteorological conditions and knew a good deal about the Rio Hardy and its nesting egrets. He had an overall knowledge of the peninsula geography and big game distribution, and drew a map of the game ranges (bighorn, pronghorn and deer), and provided information for Edward W. Nelson’s map of Baja California.75

Survival in the desert hinges on the ability to find water. Edward William learned the location of many watering places from the Indians; he found others by himself, and was able to locate some that were very little known. He also enlarged one of the watering holes of Tres Pozos and provided it with permanent markers. This hole became a very important site along the Delta – Arroyo Grande – Camino de la Sierra route.76 Funcke had other interesting abilities. During a hunt, after one of the customers complained about the unexpected cold and wet weather, Edward William unearthed a bottle of mezcal that he had buried under a mesquite tree, eight years before.77

In addition to his knowledge of the region, Edward William knew much about contemporary Cocopa culture and always enjoyed good relations with them. He also knew of sites with petroglyphs, and was aware of local events, such as the death of ranchers by freezing, the traffic of illegal Asian immigrants along the Rio Hardy, and the death of several of them at a place currently commemorated as El Chinero.78

Edward William had a clear sense of commercial honesty. In 1915, he charged $20.00 per day to guide a hunt. However, because of the low success of R.C. Murphy’s hunting trip, he charged for only 15 days, instead of the 19 that he had actually worked. Moreover, he promised to go out to hunt the remaining two pronghorns at no cost to the museum.79 In 1917, Edward William sold eight pronghorns to the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences for $ 190.00.80

Despite the relaxed hunting rules of the time, Edward William followed his own code of ethics. On his solo hunt, he refused to hunt a deer because it had already lost the antlers and was no longer a trophy, its skin was not worth killing for, and he had already killed a jackrabbit and, therefore, did not need meat to eat. Also on this hunt, he felt remorseful when he found out that he had killed two females instead of one, for he thought he had failed on the first one. Later he resisted aiming at a female he liked very much, as he did not need her, and desisted from shooting at a male behind which stood a group of females. Referring to this hunt, he acknowledged “…some readers will say that the number killed was too many. Truly, it was a shame to slaughter so many, but not a single pound of meat was willfully wasted. The skins were used for scientific specimens; no cripple got away to die a lingering death or be devoured by coyotes”.81

Notwithstanding the huge populations of egrets in the delta of the Rio Colorado,82 Edward William considered it “a shame the way the Indians kill the old birds and leave the young to die in their nests”, and “if I can stop them next year, will do so”.83 The 1915 strict prohibition by Coronel Cantu of the generalized hunt of egrets before July, while the inmatures could not survive on their own, and the appointment of a ward in one colony to enforce this prohibition,84 suggest that Funcke succeeded in his efforts.


Sixty years after his death, Captain Edward William Funcke has been virtually forgotten. The watering hole of Tres Pozos is important only to the rancher who lives there, and nobody will search for mezcal bottles buried under mesquites. Baja California still maintains some of the hunting fame that he helped to create, but a period of intense legal hunting of bighorn sheep lead to a decrease in their populations and the quality of the trophies. This hunt is now under heavy siege, more politically than biologically stemmed.85 Pronghorns have been extirpated from the area where he used to hunt them. Sadly, we have advanced little in our understanding of the biology of either of these two species.

The Captain’s memory has vanished, but his two articles can be read at some libraries, as can those articles written by others whose expeditions he guided. The drawers in some museums keep faithfully for science the specimens that he collected or that were collected under his guidance. And so, the extraordinary life of Captain Edward William Funcke has transcended his time.



I am profoundly grateful to Don Adolfo Ramirez-Funcke and Adolfo Ramirez-Gonzalez for their constant enthusiasm and for the information they provided. Jaime Luevano (CICESE, Ensenada) constantly assisted me during archival or library work. Gary P. Nabhan, Gregg R. Hennessey, and Jeffrey Bannister provided important editorial assistance. Many other people helped me with suggestions, editorial comments or during data gathering. They are: David Acosta, Sydney Anderson, Nora E. Arvide, Jenny Boyer, Steve Bullock, Joaquin Contreras, Juanita Crostwhite, Francisco Duenas, Vicente Ferreira, Robert D. Fisher, Harry Green, William O. Hendricks, Joyce Hattich, Richard Jordan, Rosy Licon, Carlos and Petra Mellink, Flore Mellink, Oscar Sosa, Susan Painter, Amadeo Rea, Maria Rutzmoser, Barbara R. Stein, Kate Thibault, Philip Unit, Maria Estela Garibay. To all of them, I extend my deepest appreciation.



1. Edward William Funcke “Hunting Antelope for Museum Specimens,” Field and Stream 1919(March 1919):834-836.

2. Steward Edward White, “Sheep Hunting in Lower California,” Field & Stream Treasury, eds. Hugh Grey and Ross McCluskey (Holt. New York, 1955), 120-126.

3. Sources for the reconstruction of E.W. Funcke’s life, in addition to the articles cited in the text, were the archives of the Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, New York), the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts), the American Museum of Natural History (New York City), the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (University of California, Berkeley), and the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.); the city directories for San Francisco (1886-1915) and San Diego (including the county, 1890-1939); the mammal collections of the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Comparative Zoology, and National Museum of Natural History; the U.S. Federal Census, for California, 1880-1920; and the Victoria Pioneer Index (Australia).

4. See Eberhard Winkaus, “Wir stammen aus Bauern- und schmiedegeschlecht: genealogie eines suderlandischen sippenkreises und ihm angeharenden industriepioniere,” (C.A. Starke. Garlitz, Germany, 1932), 304-332.

5. Gold was discovered in 1851 at Poverty Point. In 1852 there were about 20,000 prospectors, including many Europeans and North Americans.

6. As surmised by the birth of girl with this surname in 1869. Around 1870 Henry William, likely Edward William’s brother, moved to this city with his wife and three sons; 1900 U.S. Federal Census.

7. As inferred from the San Francisco 1886 city directory.

8. San Francisco 1890 city directory.

9. San Francisco 1886 city directory.

10. San Francisco city directories 1886-1915.

11. Robert Cushman Murphy, “Natural History Observations from the Mexican Portion of the Colorado Desert,” Abstracts of the Linnaean Society of New York 24-25(1917):43-101; Robert Cushman Murphy, “The Desert Life Group, and an Account of the Museum Expedition into Lower California,” Brooklyn (N.Y.) Museum Quarterly V(=4) No. 4(1917):179-210; Ottomar H. Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” Outing 74 (1919):209-213, 260, 280-284, 316-317, 349-353, 380, 386; White, “Sheep Hunting,” 124.

12. At the time, sea otter pelts brought more than $1,000 each; Briton Cooper Busch, Whaling Will Never Be For Me, (University of Kentucky. Lexington, 1994), 265 pp; D.W. Kenyon, “The Sea Otter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean,” North American Fauna 68 (1969):1-352.

13. White, “Sheep Hunting,” 124.

14. San Francisco city directories 1886-1915.

15. San Diego Union, 17 June 1940.

16. Edward William Funcke, “The Sheep Hunting of Lower California,” Outdoor Life (Sept. 1915):221-228.

17. Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” 212

18. Published in 1904.

19. Eugene K. Chamberlin, 1988. “Explotacion de la orchilla, Bahia Magdalena,” in Baja California; textos de su historia, comp. Miguel Mathes, (Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. Jose Maria Luis Mora, Secretaria de Educacion Publica, and Gobierno del Estado de Baja California. Mexico, D.F. 1988), vol II, 46-50; Edward W. Nelson, “Lower California and its Natural Resources,” Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 16(1921):1-194.

20. Daniel Pinera-Ramirez and Jorge Martinez-Zepeda. Baja California 1901-1905, (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, and San Diego State University. Mexicali, B.C., 1994), 236.

21. Two facts allow me to inferr this: he does not appear in any of the city directories of of southern California or San Francisco for the following years, and his daughter Maria Ana was born in Ensenada on the 25ft of February of 1907. See, San Diego City Directory, 1903, p., 152.

22. Edna Aide Grijalva-Larranaga, 1988. “Colonizacion del valle de Mexicali, 1902,” in Baja California, ed. Miguel Mathes (Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. Jose Maria Luis Mora. Mexico, D.F.), 234-248; Oscar Sanchez-Ramirez, Cronica agricola del Valle de Mexicali, (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Mexicali, 1990), 274 pp; Adalberto Walther-Meade, 1988. “La fundacion de Mexicali, 1903, ” in Baja California, ed. M. Mathes, (Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José Maria Luis Mora. Mexico, D.F. 1988), vol II, 249-269.

23. C. Franco-Pedroza, “Los sucesos de 1911,” in Mexicali; una historia, ed. Jorge Martinez-Zepeda and Lourdes Romero-Navarrete, (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Mexicali, 1991), 203-252; Edna Aidé Grijalva-Larrañaga, “La Colorado River Land Company”. in Panorama histórico de Baja California, ed. Daniel Piñera-Ramirez (Centro de Investigaciones Historicas UNAM-UABC. Tijuana, B.C., 1983), 350-361; Grijalva-Larrañaga, “Colonización del Valle,” 234-248; Sanchez-Ramirez, Cronica agrícola, 23-44; Walther-Meade, “La fundacion,” 249-253.

24. Edward William is not registered in San Diego nor in San Ysidro, but his son Winchester Keppel was born on the 19th of January of 1908 in California (Defunction files at the San Diego County Recorders Office). In 1910 the Funcke were living on 6th Street in Calexico, according to the U.S. Federal Census.

25. Tracey Henderson, Imperial Valley, (Published by the author. Calipatria, Calif., 1968), 240 pp; Edgar F. Howe and Wilbur Jay Hall, The Story of the First Decade in Imperial Valley, California, (Howe & Sons. Imperial, Calif., 1910), 291 pp.

26. As surmised from specimens he collected.

27. Nelson, “Lower California”, 10; E.A. Goldman, “Biological Investigations in Mexico,” Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 115(1951):1-476.

28. Nelson, “Lower California”, 31.

29. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176.

30. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 834.

31. In possession of the family.

32. San Diego County Recorders Office.

33. Funcke, “The Sheep Hunting,” 227-228; Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 836.

34. See, for example, C.B. Slade, “Hunting Sheep and Antelope in Lower California,” Outing 39(1902):505-512.

35. Funcke, “The Sheep Hunting,” 227.

36. Ibid, 224.

37. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 835.

38. Murphy, “Natural History Observations,” 65.

39. Funcke, “The Sheep Hunting,” 227.

40. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 834-836.

41. Neil B. Carmony and David E. Brown (eds.), Mexican Game Trails: Americans Afield in Old Mexico, 1866-1940, (University of Oklahoma, Norman, 1991). 269 pp.

42. Lawrence D. Taylor, “The Magonista Revolt in Baja California: Capitalist Conspiracy or Rebelión de los Pobres,” Journal of San Diego History 45 (1999).

43. Adalberto Walther-Meade, Origen de Mexicali, (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Mexicali, 1991), 170 pp; J.R. Werne, “El periodo del gobernador Esteban Cantu; 1915-1920,” in Mexicali; una historia, ed. Jorge Martinez-Zepeda and Lourdes Romero-Navarrete, (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Mexicali, 1991), 255-275.

44. Murphy, “Natural History Observations,” 53; Van Norden, “Hunting in the Laguna Salada,” 211.

45. 16 July 1915, Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives.

46. Eight coyotes (Canis latrans), 3 gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), 1 kit fox (Vulpes velox), 2 badgers (Taxidea taxus), 1 wildcat (Lynx rufus), 9 mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), 24 pronghorn antelopes (Antilocapra americana) and 7 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), from Calmalli; 1 muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), 3 coyotes, 1 raccoon (Procyon lotor) and 1 skunk (Mephitis mephitis), from Valle de Mexicali (including Calexico); 4 bighorns from Matomi; 1 from Sierra Cucapa and 1 from Arroyo Grande; and 1 pronghorn from Tres Pozos.

47. Five mule deer and 8 pronghorns from Calmalli, 3 coyotes from southern Sierra de San Pedro Martir, and 9 coyotes and 1 gray fox from Mexicali. Later, he sent 7 heads of mule deer, 2 of pronghorns and 2 sets of mule deer antlers.

48. William Brewster, “Birds of the Cape Region of Lower California”, Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 41(1902):1-241.

49. John E. Thayer, “The Eggs of Heermann’s Gull Discovered” Oologist 26(1909):101; John E. Thayer, “A Nesting Colony of Heermann’s Gulls and Brewster Boobies,” Condor 13(1911):104-105; John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs, “A New Race of the California Trasher from Lower California,” Proceedings of the New England Zoological Club 4(1907):17-18; John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs, “Birds Collected by W.W. Brown, Jr., on Cerros, San Benito and Natividad Islands in the Spring of 1906, with notes on the Biota of the Islands,” Condor 9(1907):77-81; John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs, “The Present Status of the Ornis of Guadalupe Island,” Condor 10(1908):101-106; John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs, “Description of a New Subspecies of the Snowy Heron,” Proceedings of the New England Zoological Club 4(1909):39-41; John E. Thayer and Outram Bangs, “A New Race of Great Blue Heron from Espiritu Santo Island, Lower California,” Proceedings of the New England Zoological Club 4(1912):83-84.

50. One, with a score of 1764/8, is at the U.S. National Museum; the other, with a score of 174, is at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard); WM.H. Nesbitt and Jack Reneau, Records of North American Big Game (9th ed.), Boone and Crockett Club, Dumfries, Virginia, 1988), 433-434.

51. That is, the specimens from which previously unknown forms of plants or animals are described.

52. Described by Edward W. Nelson, “A New Sub-species of Pronghorn Antelope from Lower California,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 25(1912):107-108.

53. Described by J.C. Phillips, “A New Puma from Lower California,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 25(1912):85-86.

54. Hybrid offspring of she-ass and stallion, which are much rarer than mules, the offspring of a he-ass and mares.

55. W.E. Humphrey, “Shooting the Vanishing Sheep of the Desert,” Outdoor Life, 28(1911):477-487, 29(1912):3-16, 95-105.

56. Probably Gerrit S. Miller, Jr., from the U.S. National Museum.

57. Cousteau Society, The Cousteau almanac, (New York, 1981), 359; Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 834; C.A.W. Guggisberg, Man and Wildlife (Arco, New York, 1970), 68-69.

58. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 834; Summaries of letters by Edward W. Funcke, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176; Report of Luther J. Goldman, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176.

59. Formerly Casmerodius albus, and considered by some authors as Egretta alba.

60. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176.

61. Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives, Records of the Office of the Director [W.H. Fox, 1913-33], Murphy, R.C. [file # 102], 1914-29; Report and field notes by Luther J. Goldman, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176; Nelson, “Lower California”

62. Joseph Grinnell, “Occurrence of a Roseate Spoonbill in the Colorado Delta,” Condor 28(1926):102; Correspondence between Joseph Grinnell and Edward W. Funcke of 17 December 1925, 31 December 1925, and 5 January 1926, at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley.

63. Busch, “Whaling Will Never,” 265 pp.

64. Humphrey, “Hunting Bighorn,” part III, 105; Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” 212; White, “Sheep Hunting,” 125; Robert Cushman Murphy, in letter to H.F. Osborn, 16 July 1915, Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives; Many of the known traits of his character are revealed in his handwriting (C.F. Mellink, personal communication), which reflects that he was practical, smart, enthusiastic, optimistic, and persistent; with a good character, friendly and warm, shy, dangerously impulsive, and fond of outdoor sports. It shows also that he may have been vain, susceptible to criticism and to flattery, and sexually dominating, perhaps obsessed.

65. Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” 385.

66. Funcke, “The Sheep Hunting,” 225.

67. Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives, Records of the Office of the Director [W.H. Fox, 1913-33], Murphy, R.C. [file # 102], 1914-29.

68. Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” 349.

69. White, “Sheep Hunting,” 124.

70. Very likely a Winchester model 1894. According to many a hunter this is one of the best hunting rifles ever built.

71. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 835.

72. Adolfo Ramirez-Funcke, personal communication, Ensenada, Baja California.

73. Van Norden, “Hunting in Laguna Salada,” 380.

74. Murphy, “Natural History Observations,” 52.

75. In Nelson, “Lower California,” plate 35.

76. Humphrey, “Hunting Bighorn,” part I, 482; Murphy, “Natural History Observations,” 52, 60.

77. White, “Sheep Hunting,” 125.

78. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 834; Van Norden, “Hunting in the Laguna Salada,” 212.

79. Letter by Robert Cushman Murphy to his director, Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives, Records of the Office of the Director [W.H. Fox, 1913-33], Murphy, R.C. [file # 102], 1914-29.

80. Brooklyn Museum of Art Archives, Records of the Department of Natural History, Accession records, 1916-17.

81. Funcke, “Hunting Antelope,” 836.

82. Aldo Leopold, “The Green Lagoons,” in The Sand County Almanac, (Ballantine, New York, 1949), 150-158.

83. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7176.

84. The adults would be hunted after July, but such a hunt was to be carried out by employees of Fred Dalto, the governor’s brother-in-law. Report of Luther J. Goldman, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unitt 7176.

85. Eric Mellink, “The President Spoke,” in Counting Sheep: Diversity in Nature Writing, ed. G.P. Nabhan, (University of Arizona Press, Tucson,1993), 201-220.


Eric Mellink is a Mexican wildlife scientist, who works at a research and educational institution in Ensenada, Baja California. His interests range from rodents to seabirds, and he has conducted investigations throughout Mexico. Most of his current work focuses on seabirds in the Gulf of California. Dr. Mellink also teaches and directs graduate students in marine wildlife ecology. Centro de investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion Superior de Ensenada Apartado Postal 2732, Ensenada, B.C. Mexico.

Photographs from this article