Chicken of the Sea Tuna

In 1914, following the death of Frank Van Camp’s wife Clarissa at age 49, he moved to Los Angeles and purchased the California Tuna Canning Company. He changed its name to Van Camp Seafood Company, and within a decade, it was the world’s largest seafood packing plant, controlling 50 fishing boats. Frank would occasionally join the fishermen on their journeys. In the early 1900s, tuna fishermen used to joke that white albacore tuna was “the chicken of the sea” because of its mild flavor and light color.

Van Camp Seafood started in 1914; Photo credit:

In 1930, the first Chicken of the Sea-branded products appeared on store shelves. The name was so successful that after the Van Camp Seafood Company passed through a succession of owners beginning in 1963, Chicken of the Sea International became the company’s name in 1972. While still headquartered in California, today this popular brand is owned by the Thai Union Group in Thailand.

Not all famous brands endure and it’s a credit to the Van Camp family that the Van Camp and Chicken of the Sea brands are still famous and going strong. The tag line on the Van Camp website is “Making delicious beans for more than 140 years,” and on a can of their pork and beans is the motto, “Satisfying Families since 1861.” This famous family pre-dates Crown Hill and from its very origins they canned food grown on the farm of Gilbert’s partner, Martin Williams, on a farm that became Crown Hill! And this same land that Williams once owned includes the burial sections for Cortland Van Camp and Calvin Fletcher.

Van Camp & Other Burials
Gilbert Van Camp – Section 40, Lot 273; GPS (39.8202100,-86.1660243)
Hester Raymond Van Camp – Section 40, Lot 273; GPS (39.8202100,-86.1660243)
George Van Camp – Section 40, Lot 273: GPS (39.8202100,-86.1660243)
Cortland Van Camp – Section 29, Lot 16; GPS (39.8168602,-86.1708647)
Frank Van Camp – Section 42, Lot 223; GPS (39.8213235,-86.1670807)
Calvin Fletcher – Section 7, Lot 9; GPS (39.8207577,-86.1748920)
Martin Williams – burial location unknown
William Burnett Stokely Jr. and other Stokely family members are buried in Union Cemetery in Newport, TN; GPS (35.95640,-83.18810)