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Full text of "History of San Luis Obispo County and environs, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county and environs who have been identified with the growth and development of the section from the early days to the present"

979.401 



1729149 







HISTORY OF 

San Luis Obispo County 
and Environs 



CALIFORNIA 



WITH 



Biographical Sketches 



OF 



The Leading Men and Women of the County and Environs 

Who have been Identified ivith the Growth and 

Development of the Section from the 

Earlv Davs to the Present 




HISTORY ^\ 
Mrs. Annie L. Morrison and John H. Haydon 

ILU'STRATED 
COMPLETE IN ONE NOLUME 

HISTORIC RF.CORD COMPANY 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNLA 

1917 



17?S149 

CONTENTS— HISTORICAL 



HISTORY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY 

liy Airs. Annie L. Alorrison 

PAGE 

Introduction 17 

"Memories Green," by Horace Annesley Vachell, noted English novelist and 
dramatist — Beginning of San Luis Obispo County — Cabrillo in 1542 names 
Morro Rock, visits the bays, and names Piedra Blanca — Beauty of the natural 

scenery — Topography of tlie county. 

CHAPTER I 
The Spanish Quest p^ok "Et. Dorado" 21 

How our state got its name — Spanish formalities in taking possession of the 
state — Cabrillo, his voyage to Cape Mendocino ; his death and burial place — 
Indians in San Luis Obispo County — Piedra Pintada, or Painted Rock, an 
ancient temple of sun worship on the Carissa plains. 

CHAPTER II 

The Pounding op toe Missions 24 

The Jesuits expelled from Spain's dominions by order of Charles the Third, 
of Spain — The Franciscans establish missions in Alta California — Don Caspar 
de Portola and Fathers Junipero Serra and Francisco Palou, and the two expe- 
ditions, by land and by sea — The founding of the San Diego Mission — ^Transla- 
tion of Father Juan Crespi's diary describing Portola's journey through San 
Luis Obispo County — Manner of founding a mission — Construction of the mis- 
sions — Founding of ^Mission San Luis de Tolosa — Wealth of the mission — 
Later history of the mission — San Miguel Mission — Relics of mission day.s — 
Origin of the introduction of the tiled roofs. 

CHAPTER III 

California During the Mexican Revolt 33 

Mexico a dependency of Spain from the conquest of Cortez — Father Hidalgo, 
and the revolt of 1810 — Mexican independence acknowledged, and a republican 
form of government adopted — Execution of Iturbide — The Indians of the mis- 
sions inaugurate a little civil service reform of their own — The Indian revolt 
at Santa Ynez — California declares her independence of Spain and her allc.i»iance 
to Mexico — The beginning of the end of ecclesiastical rule — Tlie act of seculari- 
zation — The end of mission rule. 

CHAPTER IV 

The American Conquest 3(5 

The early Californians — Their speech and manner of life — Captain John Wilson 
— Prominent families of the early days — Means of travel — Julian Estrada and 
Joaquin Estrada — Rufus Burnett Olmstead, Jerry Johnson, the Mathers, and 
the Leffingwclls — Trade by barter — Mexican governors of California — The com- 
ing of the Americans. The Conquest: .-X move by the .Vmericans — Fremont — 
The trip to Sonoma, and the raising of tlie Bear Flag — Ford's address — Sloat 
at Monterey — Fremont goes south — .\ Iiluuder — Juan Flaco (Lean John) or 
John Brown's ride — The trouble in tlie south — Flores ahead — Stockton to the 
rescue — The Americans are defeated — Merritt retakes San Diego — Kit Carson 
and Stephen W. Kearny reach the crossing of the Colorado — Gillespie and Beal 
are sent to their relief — Pico defeats the .-\mericans at San Pasqual — Lieutenant 
Gray to the rescue — Kearny and his dragoons reach San Diego — The Battle of 
the Mesa, and the capture of Los .'\n.geles — Fremont goes north for recruits — 
San Luis Obispo captured — Pico a prisoner — Pico's life saved — The departure 
of Fremont — The struggle through the storm over San Marcos Pass — Terms 
of peace — Governors of California after the conquest — Fremont's great ride. 



CONTENTS— HISTORICAL 
CHAPTER V 

Spanish Grants and Old Faiuues in San Ll'is Obispo County 51 

The Grants : A list of the grants made in San Luis Obispo County — The 
breaking up of the grants with the coming of the "Gringos/' Old Families: 
John M. IVice — William G. Dana — Francis Ziba Branch — Isaac J. Sparks — 
Francis E. Quintana — Captain John Wilson — Mrs. Ramona Hillard — Mrs. 
Estafana Esquar. 

CliAPTEB VI 

Discovery of Gold, and Early History op" the Countv 56 

Government under Kearny and Mason — Peace proclamation published — Discov- 
ery of gold — Governor Riley and the first constitution — First state election — 
California admitted to the Union, September 9, 18,S0 — A jubilee — Counties estab- 
lished — First county elections — First courthouse, and laws of the court — First 
Sunday liquor law — First board of supervisors — Tax list and taxes in ISSO — 
A few items of interest — A little episode not confined entirely to the pjist — A 
tribute to the early pioneers. 

CHAPTER VTI 

History prom IS.'O th ISCO. A Ijand op Crimes 62 

Cattle-raiHii: ilu iiimipal industry — Travel limited — The whole county infested 
by bancK .i di i.. i.uKirs — Love's Rangers — Murrieta, Vasquez, and Jack Powers 
— Murder oi lv\o Frenchmen — Murder at San Juan — Murder of the Read 
family at San Miguel Mission — Other crimes — Organizing of a Vigilance Com- 
mittee — The pledge — Roll of members — The mvsterious disappearance of O. K. 
Smith. 

CHAPTER VTII 



The Great Drought. The Early Pioneers _ 

Development of the county hindered by various conditions — The early land- 
holders — Manner of life before the great drought — The dry years of 1862- 
63-6-1 — J. P. Andrews raises hogs — The cattle die, new settlers come in, and 
a new era is entered upon — A pioneer woman, Mrs. Neal Stewart — Other 
p'oneers of the coast section — Settlers in the Salinas vallev — Earlv office holders 
-J. B. Kcster tells about Old Creek— G. W. Hampton— R W. Murph\-— Afessrs. 
James and D. D. Blackburn— D. W. James— John H. Hollister— Charles H. 
Johnson— Myron Angel— Henrv M. Osgood— C, H. Phillips- T. 1. Simmler— 
J. W. Slack— Major William Jackson and Mrs. Mary Jack<on. 

CHAPTER TX 

Products op the Soil, Dairvinc;, Grazing .\nd the Great Landholdings 

Wlieat and barley— Cultivation of the wheat— Mills— Irrigation-Vegetables— 
Beans— Orchards— Dairying; Its history and growth— The Steele brothers- 
Production of butter and cheese— J. H. "Orcutt and Laurel ranch— Grazing and 



the yr 



CHAPTER X 



ORAL I'RODrCTIONS 9(3 

Coi.m: Where found- Early Indian and Mexican operations in the La Panza 
niMu-;— (lold production in De la Guerra gulch— Prospecting on Navajo creek 
I," 'S'"^-— The stream and pool in Haystack canon— Crevice deposits near the 
"1 auited Rock"— Findings of an old prospector in 1879— Report of Mason and 
Stdl. Salt: The salt springs around the headwaters of the Salinas— The dry 
lake bed on tlic Carissa plains. Coal: Outcroppings in northern end of the 
county— The rocks along the bay at San Simeon— Coal- Mountain. Quicksilver : 
Josephine mme— Klau mine- Pine Mountain mine— The Keystone mine— Oceanic 
mine. Coi>i>i;r : Good Will mine Coodwill Mining Svndicate. Chromit'm: 
Ranks next to quicksilver— TwrKr-niile vein northwest of San Luis Obispo— 



CONTENTS— HISTORICAL 

Deposits at the head of Chorro creek — Assay and production — Deposit between 
San Luis Obispo and Avila — Shipments. Other Minerals and Stonks: SiHca 
— Iron — Lime — Gypsum — Alabaster — Onyx. ,\sphaltum: Deposits on the 
Corral de Piedra, Pismo, and Santa Manuela grants — Uses — The beds below 
Edna — Shipments— fThe Huasna deposits — Tar Springs ranch. The Oil In- 
dustry: Early operations in Price's canon — Tiber Oil Company — Operations of 
the Baker Ensign Company and the California Paint Company at Hadley — The 
Producers Transportation Company — The Tank Farm — Ships and shipments. 
Building Stone: The yellow sandstone quarries near Arroyo Grande — The 
green granite of Bishop's Peak and San Luis Mountain — "Chalk rock" — The red 
granite of Morro Rock. Statistical Data: Items from assessor's report, and 
statistics of the State Mining Bureau. 

CHAPTER XI 

Roads, Whakxes. Raii,K((.\i)s. Stage Lines axd Mail Routes, County 

Buildings .vnd Countv Finances 103 

Roads : Travel in the early days^— Early road laws — Roads and bridges — State 
highway. Wharves: Pismo wharf — Morro wharf — San Simeon wharf — 
Cuyucos wharf — Wharves on San Luis bay — County wharves. Railroads : Bill 
enacted, authorizing construction of a railroad from San Luis bay to Santa 
Maria valley — San Luis Obispo Railroad Co. — San Luis Obispo & Santa Maria 
Valley Railroad Co. — Fares — Oregon Navigation Co. — Pacific Coast Railway Co. 
— Southern Pacific Railroad — Excursion and land sale — Tunnels — May 5, 1894, 
a historic date in the county's history — Completion of the line from San Fran- 
cisco to Los Angeles — From surf boat to parlor car. Mail Routes and Stage 
Lines: First regular mail route — First post office — Early passenger service to 
Monterey, San Jose and San Francisco — Tri-weekly and daily stage and mail 
service from San Francisco to Los Angeles — Coast Line Stage Co. — A typical 
stage driver — Other mail routes and stage lines — Post offices and post office 
receipts. County Buildings : Courthouse and Hall of Records — Walter Mur- 
ray's stand in the interest of public progress — County hospital. County Fi- 
nances : Early property valuation, tax rate and taxes, state and county — Work 
of present advisory board — Present valuation, debt, and tax rates on city and 
county property. 

CIIAPTf]R XII 

Schools, Churches and Lodges .113 

Edwin Markliam and his "Oak-tree College." Schools: The first schools in 
California — First .American schools — Provision of public school fund — Public 
school sj-stem established — First public schools in San Luis Obispo County — 
Early teachers, and county superintendents — .\ttendance in 1882 — Pioneer 
teachers — Growth of the schools since 1882 — School funds — A much misunder- 
stood law. High Schools: San Luis Obispo high school— Paso Robles high 
school — Templeton union high school — Arroyo Grande union high school. New 
Grammar Schools: Paso Robles. Santa Margarita, Atascadero, San Marcos. 
Other Schools: Academy of the Immaculate Heart— The State Polytechnic 
Scliool. Our Honored Veterans: Mrs. Mary S. Spaulding — Clara Belle 
Churchill— Flora E. Armstrong— William M. .'\rmstrong— Clara E. Paulding— 
F. E. Darke. Churches; Pioneer churches and preachers — Episcopal Church — 
Presbyterian churches. Lodges : Early and later Masonic and Odd Fellow 
lodges — Rebekah lodges and Eastern Star — Knights of Pythias — Native Sons 
and Native Daughters — Other lodges 

CIIAI"l'i:i; XIII 



The Press, the Bench and I5ar, Piivsici ans and Others 

The Press: The Californian— The Pioneer— The Tribune— The South Coast 
— The Southern California .\dvocate — The Mirror — The Breeze — 'The Telegram. 
Bench and Bar: Early judges — Judges Beebe, Venable, Gregory, Gregg. 
Unangst, and Murray — Present judges and lawyers. Physicians: The pioneer 
doctors — Present practitioners. Other Prominent Names: Dana, Mallah, 
Leland, Rodriguez, Kelshaw — Present county officials — Paderewski's ranch — 
The .\tascadero Colonv. 



CONTEXTS— HISTORICAL 

CHAPTER XIV 

Cities, Towns, and Villages 136 

San Luis Obispo, the City of the Bishop: Description of the early settlement 
— Land rights — Organized under state law in 1859 — Incorporated as a city in 
1876 — History of the water works — Progress in development and in population 
since 1868 — Present city government — Public improvements — Fires — Churches 
— New Federal Building — Banks — San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce — The 
Woman's Civic Club of San Luis Obispo — Climate. Paso Roples : Incorporated 
in 1889 — Pioneer business men — Dr. J. H. Glass — Other pioneers — Products — 
Churches — Banks — Upper Salinas Valley Fair — Newspapers — Public improve- 
ments. Templeton: Settlement — Pioneers: Albert Crum, H. C. Whitney, Ly- 
man Brewer, Frank Hansen, Harry Scheele, Will Lawton, Drs. Pendleton and 
Heath, Dr. S. Helgesen, G. H. Fisher, Eben Ward. H. B. Morrison, Jean Donel- 
son, William Horstman, Hans Petersen — Other pioneer business men — Pioneer 
families: The Wessels, the Bierers, the Mercers, the Thomas's — "College Hill" 
— Present business men — Churches — The first entertainment — Attractive features 
of the town. San Miguel: Settlement — Celebration of the one hundredth an- 
niversary of the Mission — Improvements and industries. Creston. Santa 
Margarita: Location and settlement — Industries and improvements. Nipomo: 
Location, improvements and industries. PiSMO: Pismo beach — Pismo clam 
beds — The baths — Scenery and climate. Arroyo Grande : Location — Develop- 
ment since 1867 — Incorporated in 1911 — Improvements and industries — Bank of 
Arroyo Grande — Newspapers — Seed farms — The valley. Oceano: Location — 
Shipping interests— "Le Grand Beach." Newsom's Springs: Location— .As a 
resort — The springs. Behros : Location and industries. San Simeon: Early 
shipping interests — Early stage line — Ocean View mine — Captain Clark's whaling 
station — Industries and improvements — Piedra Blanca lighthouse. CAMnRiA: 
Government land surveyed and thrown open to settlement — Early settlers — 
Adoption of its name — Early enterprises — Improvements and industries. 
Cayucos ; The name — Captain Tames Cass — Early settlers — Pioneer ministers — 
Pioneer business men — The abalone cannery — Other business firms — Another 
O. K. Smith item — The Cayucos bank robbery. MoRRO : Morro Rock — Campers 
on the "Point" — The legend of Morro Rock — The town laid out in 1870-71 — 
Celebration on Toro creek, July 4, 1870 — Atascadero Beach — Morro Rock Inn — 
Improvements and industries. Avila : Laid out by the Avila brothers — Avila 
beach — The county wharf. Port San Luis : Wharves — Hotel Marre — The har- 
bor — The lighthouse — San Luis hot sulphur springs — The climate. Pozo : The 
name — The Salinas river — The climate. Shandon : .\doption of the name — 
Laid out by the West Coast Land Co. — The staple product — Starkey — Pioneer 
settlers — Products and climate. 

CHAPTER XV 

PREsinEXTiAi. Visits, and the G. A. H.. JGP 

President McKinlev's vi'iit- President Roosevelt's visit— G. .A. R. of San Luis 
Obispo County: Colonel Harper Post, No. 126, roster and charter members; 
Fred Steele Post, No. 70, charter members and present officers — Woman's Relief 
Corps of .-\rroyo Grande, organization and charter members — The Fred Steele 
Relief Corps, past presidents and present officers. 

CHAPTER XVI 

A Celebrated Land Case, and Old County Documents 173 

The story of the litigation over the Cuesta rancho — Copy of old documents 
found in the county clerk's office — .An old account, illu.strating old-time trans- 
actions. 

CHAl'TER XVII 

A Chapter op Politic.vl History, and Items from the Tribune MG 

Fir.st county election — Early political parties — First Republican state convention 
in 1856— The county divided into election precincts in 1859- Election of 1860; 
the state carried for Lincoln— The first Republican county convention, in 1873— 
Various parties— The state divided into six Congressional districts— Organiza- 
tion of the Grangers, the Good Samaritans, and the Good Templars— .A new 
issue: .Saloons or no saloons — The Farmers' .Alliance — Progress of Prohibi- 
tion-Items of interest taken from the files of the Tribune. 



CONTENTS— HISTORICAL 

HISTORY OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY 

P.y John H. Haydon 

Santa JIaria 1S3 

Laid out in 1875— Change of name— Early buildings— Churches— Early school 
districts— Pacific Coast Railroad— First hotel— First brick buildings— Reuben 
Hart— An eye for the beautiful— Efforts at fruit industry— Banks— Homicide— 
Telephone— Incorporation— Temples and halls— Lodges in the city— Santa Maria 
high school— Grammar schools— Hotels— Roads— Santa Maria oil fields— Opera- 
tions of the oil companies— The Palmer field, and the Santa Maria Valley and 
Southern Pacific railroads — Sisquoc. 

Santa Maria Valley and Environs 189 

Location and description of valley— Fremont's expedition in 1846. Guadalupe 
rancho: Original grant— The "Old Adobe"— Industries— Settlement of Guada- 
iupe— Pioneers— Chisito Olivera— Lodges— History of growth. Rancho Punta 
de la Laguna: Original grant and patent— The Laguna— Santa Maria water- 
shed — Early industries — The Union Sugar Company — Improved farming methods 
—Public improvements— Bean culture. Suey rancho: Original grant and 
patent — Location — Stock, grain and beans. Rancho Tepesquct : Original grant 
— W. D. Foxen— Pacifico Ontiveros, patentee— Santa Maria mesa. Sisquoc 
rancho : Location and description — Industries. Rancho Tinaquaic : Original 
grant and patent — Industries. Rancho Los Alamos: Original grant and patent 
— Contest over title — Industries — Los Alamos. Todos Santos rancho: Original 
grant and patent— La Graciosa pass— The great gusher, Hartnell No. 2. Town 
of Garey: Thomas A. Garey— Kaiser brothers— Attemps at fruit culture. Or- 
cutt : Charter provision — Improvements and industries. Cuyama Valley : 
Description — Pioneer settlers— Early school districts— The drought of 1897-98 
— Products and improvements — Cuyama rancho : Original grant and patent — 
Ranches No. 1 and No. 2 — Improvements — "A Tragedy of thf. Range," by 
Augustus Slack. What Was Public Domain of Santa Maria Valley : Loca- 
tions by early settlers — La Graciosa district — Santa Maria city and vicinity. 

A Chapter on Education 202 

Education under the Mexican regime — .\merican influence — Early commissioners 
— ^Early county superintendents — Recent county superintendcnLs — The schools 
of the Santa Maria valley — The high school district — The Bell district. 



INDEX— BIOGRAPHICAL 



Aaroe, Hans Nissen 924 

Aaroe, Laurits N 72.S 

Abbey, Thomas F 303 

Abels, Henry John 939 

Abies, Asa W 455 

Ahramson, Martin Theodore 767 

Acebedo, Manuel C 689 

Albert!. Lorenzo 986 

Anderson, Charles \V 655 

Anderson, Herman 798 

Anderson, James Robert 897 

Anderson. John S -- 601 

Anderson. Victor 654 

Andrews. George H 352 

Andrews, George Leslie 607 

Andrews, John Pinckney 207 

Angel, Myron 78 

Arata, P. A. H 531 

Armstrong, Flora E 127 

Armstrong, William M 127 

Asebez, Edward --- 807 

Asmus. T. C 920 

Atkinson, J. W 941 

Avila, Manuel F 972 

Await, William Henry 610 

B 

Bagby. William C 802 

Bagnell. John D 866 

P>akeman. George A 783 

Ballard. Edward Boucher 814 

Ballard. Thomas Jefferson 375 

Bank of Santa Maria 389 

Barba, Ramon K 79.5 

Barlogio, Joseph 98.-1 

Barnhart, James 71S 

Barr, Sidnev Montgomery 91)2 

Bassi, Alessio 1"31 

Bassi, Angiolino lOl.-' 

Bassi, Rinaldo WM) 

Bassi, Ugo 1032 

Bassi, Vincenzo /33 

Beckett. John F £.52 

Bell, George F /81 

Bcnnedsen. Jens 515 

Bennett, Frank E S79 

Bennett, Warren C 275 

Berkemever, John B S97 

Bettiga,. I^uis 9/9 

Biaggini, Ercole 309 

I'.ianchini. Eugenio 739 

Biasoni. Alex ?93 

Bick.nnre. Elery 582 

Biddlc, I'hilip and John 587 

Biggs, Mr. and Mrs. John D 31/ 

Bigler, A. B 442 



Bilton, Leonard Law 691 

Black, John P 246 

Black. Patrick James 256 

Blackburn D. D 76 

Blackburn, James 76 

Bondietti, A 995 

Booth, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred R 667 

Borkey, Mr. and Mrs. .Andrew Paul.. 557 

Bosse, Henry 767 

Botts, John Franklin 632 

Bowen. Royal Eugene 713 

Bowers, Frank J 935 

Boyd, John : 393 

Boyd, Thomas 362 

Bradhoff, John Henry 591 

Bradley, Charles 232 

Brainard. John H 602 

Branch, Francis Ziba 54, 394 

Branch, J. Fred 377 

Bras, Anton V 1005 

Brass, John V 1003 

Brass, Joseph, Sr 1003 

Bray, Egbert D 546 

Brewer, Lyman 657 

Brintnall Eucalyptus Ranch 949 

Brooks, Benjamin .503 

Brooks, Herbert E 624 

Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Myron H 497 

Brophv, John 786 

Brown. Evan 848 

Brown. James M 355 

Brown, Richard 433 

Brubaker. Mr. and Mrs. Elias P 3.38 

Bryan, George W 925 

Budan. Edith B 31!? 

Budan. Herman 318 

Bulcy, Rev. Thomas McPherson 779 

Bunch, John H 927 

Burke, William G 587 

c 

Cahill, Hiram S 661 

Caldcron, Jose J 1020 

Caldcron, Jose S 1013 

CamiJodonico, S 335 

Campodonico, Stephen V 1034 

Careaga, Bernardo F 658 

Careaga, Charles M 735 

Careaga, James F 613 

Careaga, Ramon A 908 

Careaga, Ramon F 217 

Carr. Thornton Washington 310 

Carranza. Geronimo 397 

Carroll. John 617 

Carson, Charles 4ri9 

Carson. Ellard W 815 

Cass. Charles Albert 400 

Cass. Capt. James 435 

Castillo. Graciano 730 



INDEX-BIOGRAPHICAL 



Castro, Rosamel 943 

Castro, Vicente 943 

Cesmat, Ernest F ol9 

Cliaffin, Mrs. George 943 

Chapek, John 569 

Chase, Samuel P 910 

Cheadle, Charles A 419 

Childs, Mr. and Mrs. John E 29! 

Christensen, .\braham 639 

Christensen, C. A 679 

Cliristensen, John 581 

Churchill. Arthur C 749 

Churchill, Clara Belle 126 

Clark, Capt. Abner 450 

Claus, Mr. and Mrs. Charles T 810 

Clausen, Fritz 734 

Clink. Frank 889 

Coiner, Samuel T 330 

Colbcck. William Thomas 797 

Colby. H. H., D. 788 

Conkey, John F 551 

Conkcy. Robert M 938 

Conrad. William .Arthur, Jr 560 

Cook, Ale-K Stirling 609 

Conterno, Othello Charles 611 

Costa, Frank 516 

Cox, Arthur E 860 

Cox. Marion 959 

Craig, Edgar 863 

Crediford, Joseph 785 

Crossett. Fred D 596 

Cruni, Albert 685 

Cuendet, Frederic 727 

Culp, William W 376 

Curti, Joseph 1025 

D 

Dana, Richard H 538 

Dana, William G - 53 

Daniels, Edward J 90S 

Darke, Frederick E 128, 229 

Dauth, Otto Edgar 895 

Davis, Anthony Tinsley .. 871 

Davis, Joseph Benjamin 349 

Dean, Fred A 835 

Deising. Walter Hugh 950 

Deiss. George F 545 

Dflcissegues, Alberto 854 

Delcisscgues, Benjamin Pierre 953 

Dille, Stephen P 631 

Doane, George M., Sr 521 

Dodd, Willis 899 

Domingues. John P 998 

Donclson, Virlin Eugene 705 

Donovan, Con 499 

Donovan, Jerry 293 

Doty, Jacob R 855 

Doty, Sherman 1 840 

Dowell, William II 568 

Doylc, Patrick 888 

Draper. Harry 1) 400 

Dresser, William Orlando 744 

Drumm, Calviu R 494 

Dubost, .Mfred .\uguste 823 

Dubost, -Augustc 402 

Dudley. Albert Allen 845 

Dughi. I'.dwin P 1024 



E 

F:ames, Abraham Lincoln 859 

Earl, Fred 922 

Earl, John Robert 919 

Earl, Robert Wesley 413 

Eddy, William Tyler 405 

Ellis, William 828 

Emerson. Mrs. Dove 647 

linos. William L 1001 

Erickson, Matt William 729 

I'irickson, Oscar F 790 

Estergren, John P 877 

Exline, Bernard 237 

Exline, Mrs. Harriet Esther 281 

Exline, Levi 271 

Exline, Vernon 613 

F 

I'arnum, Lucius Lamar 870 

I'"ast, Gustav W 833 

Feliciano, Antone 1028 

hY-rrari, Severino 914 

Ferrasci, Louis 980 

I-'ilipponi, Laurice 988 

Filoucheau, F. J 930 

Fink, Carl 413 

Fink, Charles 412 

Finley, Hon. T. R 2.V 

First National Bank of Santa Maria. 

The 520 

Fiscalini, Charles 982 

Fiscaliui, John D 977 

Fleig, Joseph 804 

Foley, Patrick 881 

Forbes, James F 868 

Ford, John J 801 

Fotheringham, Frank E 751 

Fouch, Erastus 573 

Fowler, Cecil H 960 

Foxen, Thomas Frank 543 

Franklin. J. H., M. D 590 

Fratis, Frank M 1032 

Fratis, John J 987 

Fredrickson. Gustav Robert - . 793 

Freeman, Mrs. Albert J 945 

Freeman, John C 6^3 

Freeman, Josiah 743 

F'reeman, Rega Dent 504 

Freeman, Thomas Francis 730 

Frick, Norman F 576 

Fritzinger, Edward Henry 899 

Froom, John R 626 

Fruits, George A 803 

Fuller, George Lesh 906 

G 

Gallup, Howard A., M. D 581 

Ganoung, Mrs. Priscilla 443 

Garcia, Lazaro Silvers 881 

Gardner, Mrs. Helen L 420 

Garkee, Mrs. Lulu Terrill 332 

Gates, Marion Francis 723 

Gerst. Michael 409 

Ghigliotti. John 976 

Gilibons. Lewis D. and Carrie 226 



INDEX— BIOGRAPHICAL 



Gibson, Alex Franklin 787 

Gibson, Ernest H 502 

Gillespie, George Winfield 514 

Gillis, Archibald 757 

Gillis, Mrs. Lucy 416 

Gingg, G. Conrad 589 

Giumini, Innocenti - 971 

Glass, Karl Bevan 652 

Glines, Cassius H 244 

Glines, John T. and Dora B 948 

Glines, Robert Cassius 867 

Gnesa, Henry Andrew 1022 

Goodchild, James Wilson 476 

Goodchild, John Thomas 447 

Goodchild, Ramon W 915 

Gorham, Thomas P : 829 

Goulding, James M 849 

Grafft, Herbert W 911 

Gragg, George T 231 

Grant, John - 847 

Gray, Samuel 278 

Grove, Mrs. Clara Susan 894 

Gruwell, Charles L 563 

Guerra, Mrs. Mary 1021 

Gularte, John S 994 

Gularte, Manuel S 1022 

Gunderson, Gunder 832 

Guy, John 882 

H 

Haabesland, Hjalmar 707 

Hahl, Ernest A 928 

Hallstrom, Oscar E 934 

Hampton. G. W 75 

Hansen, Hans N 544 

Hansen, John C 574 

Hansen, Jacob P 917 

Hansen, Morten Peter 513 

Hanson, Carl E 673 

Harloe, Capt. Marcus 479 

Harris, John L 911 

Harrison, John H 958 

Hart, Reuben 224 

Hathway, Amos Riley 361 

Haun, Louis Z 567 

Hawkins, Howard A 674 

Haydon, John H 565 

Hearst, George W 559 

Heinrich, Johannes R 574 

Hemphill William 570 

Hobson, Clarence J 954 

Hollister, John H >. n 

Holloway, John James 219 

Holmes, Albert 789 

Holt. Henry 297 

Holzinger, Ed 831 

Holzinger, Martin 680 

Hopper, David Le Roy 876 

Hopper, John B 876 

ll..p,,cr, John T 873 

llM,.,i,r. Oliver and Everett 874 

llorMiiian, Albert Ralph 778 

Hou,L;hton, George A 412 

Houghton, Jonah 411 

Houk, John 398 

Hourihan, Patrick E 904 

Howard. A. A 857 

Howard. Harry H 598 



Hudson, John 698 

Hudson, Perry •. 905 

Hudson, William K 880 

Hutches, James M 916 

Hultquist. John 891 

I 

Ide. Bela Clinton 552 

lliff. Horace Greeley 898 

Iversen, Andrew H 933 

Iversen, Chresten A 324 

Iverson, Clemen Fredleff 851 

Iversen. Hans 846 

Iversen, Iver - 843 

Iversen, Mat 300 

J 

Jack, Miss Christine 223 

Jackson, Major William 85 

James, D. W 11 

Jardine, John T 774 

Jensen, Thomas 955 

Jespersen, Christian N 927 

Jespersen, Hans 1 824 

Jessee, Archer Catron 250 

Jessee, Bert E 916 

Johe, William 422 

Johnson, Albert . 675 

Johnson, Charles H /8 

Johnson, Edwin S 864 

Johnson, Elvert Andrew 722 

Johnson, Niels .'. 636 

Johnson, Peter and Ina 382 

Johnson, Thomas 928 

Jones Albert 456 

Jones, J. Thomas 614 

Jones, Miss Sophia F 457 

Jones, Mrs. Sophie Butler 312 

Jones, Thomas Allen 312 

K 

Kalar. Johnson M 469 

Kelsea, Henry Clay 816 

Kester, John Bonham 383 

Kiler. Mrs. Jane 645 

Kimball, John Albion 794 

King, Charles 292 

King. Maria Zorada 271 

Kinnebrew, Marcus 951 

Kinney, Charles S 679 

Kirchncr, Gottlieb W 535 

Kitchen, William Henry 830 

Klintworth, Gerd 771 

Kneppel Bros 664 

Kortner, Christian 277 

Kortner, James 277 

Krumlinde, John Charles M. 879 

Kuehl, Mrs. Emma 790 

Kuhnle, Emanuel D 669 

L 

Lack. Rev. F. M 634 

Laing. George 642 

Lambrccht, Peter C 721 



INDEX— BIOGRAPHICAL 



Lanini. Gioachino 965 

Larson, Carl 742 

Lauridsen, Louis 853 

Lee, Joseph B. F 597 

Leffingwell, William and William J... 500 

Lehner, Mary Vignette 486 

Leisy, Herbert E :.- 745 

Lertora, James 345 

Lewis, Charles Samuel 791 

Lewis, Mrs. Frances E 924 

Lewis, Jesse E 537 

Lima, Frank A. and Manuel F 522 

Lingo, George W 699 

Linn, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Mal- 
colm 651 

Long, E. E 623 

Loose, August, Jr S5.t 

Lopez, Joseph V 1014 

Lovgren, Alfred Theodore 714 

Lowe, Dawson 390 

Lowe, S. Jackson 542 

Lucas, William T., M. D 249 

Luchessa, James 978 

Luis, Joseph S 969 

Lundbeck, Frank J 653 

Lyman, Harry E 524 

Lynch, Frank J., D. 585 

M 

Mc.\li)in. John W 930 

McCabe, Anthony F S9cS 

McCann, Peter 784 

McCulloch, John 8.38 

McDonald, Michael 629 

McEUigott, William 914 

McKay, Ralph E 901 

McKce, Tomas Edgar 909 

McKinzie, Simon Henley 71)6 

McMillan, Alexander 432 

McMillan, Donald C 481 

McNeil, Archibald 404 

Macdonald, William 937 

Mader, Anton 656 

Madonna, Paul 984 

Madruga, Manuel F 1033 

Madscn, Niels G 756 

Magoria. Peter F 962 

Mahoney, James J 825 

Maino, Joseph 358 

Malmberg. Rev. Anders 764 

Mann, William Joseph 782 

Marctti, Joseph C 974 

Margetts, Percy Jennings 690 

Marre, Luigi 211 

Martin, James G 946 

Martin, James Wightman 837 

Martinez, Manuel M 996 

Marzorini, John 991 

.Mathieson, Hans Peter 554 

.Matncy, Jackson Rodkey 819 

Mastagni, Bernardo A 989 

Meherin, Michael J 298 

.Mehlschau, .Andrew 595 

Mehlschau, Hans 590 

Melchior, Taylor S 344 

Mcng. Albert 826 

Meyer. Eskel E 886 

Miclielson, George Louis Feilcr 704 



Aliller, Orrin E 635 

Miller, William Alfred 773 

Minetti, Thomas 1012 

Miossi, Bernardo 973 

Monighetti, Charles 970 

Moore, George W 913 

Moore, Oliver Perrv 387 

Mora, Rafael A 620 

:Morehous, Edward .Sherman 719 

;\Iorehouse, Ambert C 662 

Morrison, .Annie L 463 

Morrison, Hamilton Brown 428 

Morton. Mrs. Annia Blair 719 

Mosher, Carnii Fllisr.n 567 

Mnrpliv, r W 76 

.Musci^i. Alirain 414 

.\lii>ci... CUinem 999 



N 



Negranti. James Peter, Sr 724 

Nelson, Andrew 378 

Nelson, Frederick 851 

Nelson, Knute Berger 763 

Nelson, Ole 501 

Nelson, Swan 900 

Nerelli. Lorenzo 1011 

Newsom, David F 235 

Nichols, Stanley L 525 

Nicholson, Abraham Lincoln 922 

Nielsen, James Poulsen 585 

Nielsen, Knud 592 

Norris, John M 869 

Nunez. Frank 758 

Nunez, Manuel 1017 

Nyberg, Charles L 840 



Oakley, Carey C. and William C 370 

Oaklev, William Calvin, Jr 952 

O'Donovan, Patrick 811 

Oilar, John Lincoln 604 

Olgiati, Charles 990 

Ontiveros, Abdon T 857 

Ontiveros, Abraham 364 

Ontiveros, Jose Dolores and Mrs. 

Augusta 381 

Ontiveros, Juan Pacifico 364 

Ontiveros, Kencho Salvador 903" 

Ooley, John Harris 646 

Ortega, Victor 717 

Osgood, Henry M 79 

P 

Palla, Joseph Edward 836 

Palmer, Charles W 603 

Palmer, John Joseph 806 

Paolini, Luis 1019 

Parnell, Harrv 940 

Paul, Alva .... 304 

Paulding, Mrs Clara E 127 

Pearson, Charles H 509 

Pedraita, Louis G 1018 

Pcdrotta. Tames 700 

Pentzer. W. C 862 

I'eppard. Matthew T 580 



INDEX— BIOGRAPHICAL 



Perinoni, Frank 746 

Perozzi, Peter 967 

Perry, Robert Lucian 762 

Pertiisi, Filippo _ 1007 

Petersen, John 529 

Petersen, Martin 875 

Petersen, Thomas 774 

Peterson, Andrew C 601 

Peterson, Capt. Frederick J 890 

Peterson, Halver '. 800 

Peterson, Swan 305 

Pezzoni, Ernest J 966 

Ptister, Albert 319 

Pfister, Paul 752 

Phelan, Jeffrey _ 618 

Phelan, Jeffrey William 618 

Phelan, Michael W 609 

Philbrick. George A 885 

Phillips, C. H 79 

Pimentel, August C 1023 

Pimentel, Joseph C 1002 

Pinkert, Mrs. Magdalina 708 

Pippin, William T 884 

Plympton, Robert M 633 

Poletti, James 992 

Pond, John H 478 

Powell, Col. William V 472 

Prell, John G 264 

Prewitt, John Calhoun 331 

Price, John M 52. 299 

Price, William B 498 

Purkiss, Myrton M 912 

Q 

Quenzer. Fred 894 

Quintana. Francis E 55 



R 

Radloff, William t arl 
Raincy, Robirt \lc\and 
Ranney. Willard C 
Records, Spencer C 
Records, Thomas B 
Reese, Jenkin 
Reid, Robert P 
Reinke, John Henry 
Rcmbusch, Joseph \ 
Reynolds, Carmi W 
Rcvnclds. Charks 
Kt-vncdds. Duii^'ht 
Reynolds, Ross 
Rhyne, Walter W 
Rice, Marion Hell 
Rice, William 11 
Richina, Peter 
Ricioli, Victor 
Righetti, Frank Egedio 
Robertson, Risdom W 
Rolita, Manuel P 
Ronconi, Charles, Jr 
Root, George Francis 
Rosa, Jose G 
Rossi, Vincent 
Rotanzi, Eligio 
Rotta, Geromi 
Rougcot, Thomas H 



766 
670 

S50 
^V 
Wl 
741 
S70 



808 
24 1 
76.1 
772 
858 
388 
967 
976 

1035 
932 
96? 
989 
676 

1013 
752 

1019 
994 
881 



Routzahn, Lewis C 466 

Rubel, Eugene D !!."..''..!. 936 

Rucker, James H 329 

Rude, Amador Nevada ..: 438 

Rude, Mrs. Emma Kearney 553 

Rude, William H 355 

Ruiz, Elisco B [[[ 1012 

Ruiz, Estanislao N ' 1...1018 

Rusconi, Fulgenzio C 953 

Rutherford. Jesse T 597 

Ryan, John J _ §22 



Salmina, Marius G 931 

Samuelson, Philip 923 

Sanborn, Harry John .....'. 955 

Sanchez, Miguel D 740 

Santa Maria Free Public Library 918 

Santa Maria Union High School 907 

banta Maria Valley Railroad 938 

Santos, Manuel J jqjq 

Sargenti, George 999 

Sarmento, Manuel ."''....Z 964 

Satchell, Ernest A 944 

Saunders, Harry C. 942 

scaroni, John ^ :zz;::;;;i03i 

Scaroni, Leo P 334 

Schlegel, Joseph, Jr 'ZZZ''. 809 

Schroeder, Henry F 634 

Schulze. William H. " 523 

Schutte, Fred ' "' yn 

Scolari. Pietro '.1037 



Seeber. Alonzo H 

Senneth. John 344 

Serrano, Carlos 530 

Serrano, Michael 530 

Shackelford, Richard .\l \jj 

Sherman, Thaddeus 7% 

Shimmin. Marion 261 

Shinners, Michael .. ... ^ 663 

Signorelli, .Mfred Isadore 1035 

Signorelli, Celestino 7l026 

Signorelli, Frank 1036 

Signorelli, Louis _ ;io29 

^^ignurelli, Lovia iq29 

Silacci, Antone 975 

Silacci, Paul '[''' jqj^ 

Silacci. Peter ......."l021 

Silva, Faustino J -[QQg 

Silva, Joseph C. Jr .'.Z^^^'lQOO 

Si va. Joseph F. 1027 

Silvcira, .Anton, Jr ]004 



Silvcira. Antonio T 

simmier, J. J... ;;;;■; -^ 

Sims. Isaac 93J 

Skinner C P ..:;:: 366 

Slack. J. W 31 

Smith, Benjamin Reed 77.77 694 

Smith. Clark Sherwood 692 

Smith, Henry B 54] 

Smith, Prof. Nelson Croxford .7 907 

Smith, William E 530 

Smithers, Amos sgg 

Soares, Joseph C ]005 

Souza, Antonio J 294 

Souza. Catano Joseph 425 

Souza. Frank C ]001 

Souza. Joe J " 995 



INDEX— BIOGRAPHICAL 



Souza, John Paul 1"09 

Souza, Manuel J., Sr ]l^ 

Souza, Maria Doroth> -t^-^ 

Sparks, Isaac J " 

Spaulding, Mrs. Mary 15 '^o 

-Spillman, John Calvin ^^o 

Spooner. Rev ^ R ,^ , ^^^ 

Spooner, Ahlen Bradford -«/ 

Steiner, Karl fli, 

Stevens, Thoniab ^f 

Stevenson, Milton Stewart »J^ 

Stewart. Mrs Ntal ^^ 

Stier, Henr> \ f^ 

Still, Abrani \ ^i/ 

Still. Mrs. Ltlia Penwell 48/ 

Stockdale. David rMnle> -Jfi 

Stokes. William C I'" 

Stoltz. Randolph Joseph SW 

Stombs, Mrs S R 9^9 

Stone, Carol H 886 

Stornetta, Antonio ^°° 

Storni, Achille 1016 

Storni, Nicola 961 

StuU. Ed . «^ 

Stull. Jacob B 86 

Stumpf, John 641 

Sutton. Herbert Charles 485 

Swall, Mathias R ■ ^04 

Sykes, Heni> ^"-^ 

T 
Talbot, Giles \ 625 

Tanner, Heniv 624 

Tanner, James C and Nora E 59_ 

Taylor, Hiram 283 

Taylor, John 79/ 

Taylor, Peter 45^ 

Terris. David. Sr 392 

Thaler, Da\id '^^J 

Thomas, Allen Lloyd 4/,^ 

Thompson, Charlotte M (Ashbaugh") 41U 
Thornburg, John 346 

Thralls, Arthur 792 

Thralls, James (. onstantine 833 

Thurmond, Gideon Edward 564 

Tidrow, Joseph (^77 

Tietzen, Paul 371 

Tobey, Stephen Henry 470 

Tognazzini, Abraham 102j 

Tognazzini, John 972 

Tognazzini, Samuel Martin 964 

Tolle, Henry Bascome 683 

Toniasini, Benjamin 983 

Tomasini, Frank E 985 

Tonini, Michael 962 

Tonini, Robert 983 

Trigueiro, Manuel 995 

Trignciro, Manuel J 1011 

True, Charley 765 

True, Hanson W .' 712 

Trucsdale, Isaac Newton 934 

Truesdalc, Willis H 52(1 

Tucker. Douglas A 827 

Tulcy, Jacob Thomas 893 

Tuley, John li 648 

Tuley, William Henry 460 

Tunncll, George R 427 

Tunnell, Martin Luther 426 

Twitchell, Jacob Silas 812 



U 

Upton, Roscoe E 863 

V 

Valley Savings Bank 937 

Vanderpool, P. F 736 

Van ?.latre. Isaac S 548 

Vasquez. Rudolph 575 

Vear. Frank 761 

Villa, Frank N 768 

Villi, Augusto 970 

von Dollen. Martin E. E 892 

von Dollen. Ma.K 755 

w 

Wahlgren, O. P 835 

Waite. David 519 

Walker, Judge Gordon G 356 

Wallace, William 569 

Waller, L. D 618 

Warden, Horatio M., Jr 608 

Warden, Horatio Moore 209 

Warden, Mrs. Queenie 214 

Webster. Hon. Jonathan Vinton 488 

Weeks. Lewis Drew 433 

Weir. Frederick William 879 

Weir. George 818 

Weir. Henry 891 

Welsh. Toseph and Joseph Clarke 458 

Wessman. Frank A 805 

Wharff. Arza A 862 

Whitaker. W. S. and Ira Ray 431 

White, George A 872 

Whiteley, Thomas 443 

Whitlock, Edwin S 586 

Whitney, Mark H 919 

Wickenden, Albert P 950 

Wickenden. Fred 289 

Wicktn.len, Tnhu R 947 

Wickstroni. K.lwar.l Joseph 839 

Wilkinson, Cleveland J 957 

Williams, Antonio _. 777 

Williams. John Perari 777 

Williams. Louis 906 

Willson. Henry Sanford 507 

Wilson, Charles 720 

Winiiner. William Dalton 887 

Witcuskv. Frank - 641 

Wolf. Albert 771 

Wolf, Daniel 326 

Wolf, Laura White 325 

Wolf. Louis 842 

Wolf. Otto 838 

Worden, Clyde 820 

W'orden, Guy T 878 

Work, John , 821 

Wrmhi. Horace G 306 

Wriyhl. lolin Francis 444 

Wy.s, (iltn 526 

Y 

^•,.rk. Walter 896 

z 

Zanetti. Maurice 1008 

Zanetti, Severino 1006 

Zanetti. Tilden E 1010 

Zimmerman, A, August 799 



HISTORICAL 



HISTORY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY 

By Mrs. Annie L. Morrison 

INTRODUCTION 

In reply to a letter the writer sent to the now famous novelist and 
dramatist, Horace Annesley Vachell, the following reply was received : 
Beechwood House, Bartley, 

Southampton. England, Oct. 29, 1916. 
My dear Airs. Morrison — 

I send the little sketch you ask for with pleasure, and hope it is what 
you wanted. With all good wishes, 

Yours sincerely, 

HoR.xcE Anneslev \'achell. 

Mr. Vachell lived in San Luis Obispo County from 1882 until about 
1894, on his Tally-IIo! ranch at Arroyo Grande, then on the ranch near 
San Luis Obispo, on the road to Pismo. \'achell Avenue is named for him. 
He married Lydie Phillips at Templeton in 1889. A son was born ; and when 
this child was a few years old, a daughter. Mrs. Vachell died when the 
daughter was about a month old, and is buried in the San Luis Obispo city 
cemetery. Mr. Vachell returned to England with his children. 

His family is one of the oldest in England, his ancestors coming with 
William the Conqueror. He was born at Sydenham, Kent, October 30, 1861. 
In Tyson's Magna Britannica, the Vachell family is recorded as the oldest 
in Berkshire, and that in 1309, John \'achell was Knight of the Shire. Many 
noted men came from this family. They were soldiers and statesmen ranking 
high in England. Horace Annesley Vachell was educated at the famous 
Harrow School, then entered the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, gradu- 
ating in 1881, at the age of twenty. He wanted to enter a special regiment, 
but w^ould be obliged to wait for several years ; so he resigned his commis- 
sion and decided upon a tour of America. The rest is told in the sketch 
he sent. The letter was written on black-bordered paper; for in June, 1916, 
his son, a member of the aviation corps of the British army, was killed — 
a sacrifice to the horrible war n(nv raging in Europe. As this sketch is a 
sort of keynote to much that is to follow, we give it to our readers as an 
introduction. 

MEMORIES GREEN 
By Horace Annesley Vachell 

I remember vividly — as if it were yesterday — those delightful days in 
the early "eighties" when my brothers and I lived at Tally-Ho ! ranch. 
Some colossal vegetables, exhibited in San Francisco, lured me to San Luis 



18 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Obispo Count}'. That was in '82. and I came alone, not knowing a single 
soul in the ancient IMission town, but carrying a letter to my future father- 
in-law, C. H. Phillips, which I presented forthwith. He entertained me 
handsomely, and then passed me on to a compatriot. Major Moreton, who 
had bought land near Arroyo Grande. The Major Was the most genial and 
hospitable of men, honorably known afterwards in Santa Cruz as "The 
Picnic King." I became his partner. At that time the vast Spanish' fanchos 
were still in existence, and one could ride league after league without seeing 
that crude symbol of civilization — a barbed wire fence. 

The Arroyo Grande valley was already settled up with bean-raisers 
and fruit-growers, all of them prosperous. The foothills were swarming 
with quail; the marshes held duck and snipe innumerable; the creeks were 
full of trout ; and clams were to be had for the digging. What a paradise 
for the sportsman ! And a good pony cost forty dollars ! Add to this a superb 
climate and pleasant people. Throw into this delectable melting pot, youth, 
an inordinate appetite for enjoyment, and the probability of making a fortune 
easily. What more could be asked of the gods? Briefly, I had the time of my 
life, and rushed back to England to persuade others to join me. Many came. 
We started polo, and talked of a pack of hounds. We bought more land 
and planted out vineyards and orchards in blissful ignorance of horticulture 
and viticulture. I confess that we were reactionaries. 

We liked best the old-timers, the patriarchs, the men of flocks and 
herds. We knew that the old order was passing, that the courteous Don 
had his back to the wall; but this knowledge lent a curious piquancy to 
our lives. We were witnesses of a great change. The "bad men," I remember, 
interested us enormously. A lynching of two neighbors thrilled us to the 
core. This was still the land of Bret Harte. I exchanged greetings with 
Frank James, and beheld Black Bart, who robbed stage-coaches, and pinned 
a copy of verse embalming his adventure to the nearest live-oak. The! 
foothills harboured cattle and horse thieves, and half a dozen train-robbing 
desperadoes. We attended barbecues and rodeos, and practiced throwing the 
lariat. We fished and hunted all the time. 

Our impressions of the people are not so easily recalled. Certainly, 
with rare exceptions, we remained very English. We Avore breeches and 
boots, and rode in English saddles upon hogged-maned, bob-tailed ponies. 
We cherished the conviction that we should make fortunes and return to 
spend them in England. The old-timers hinted at dry years, but we paid 
no attention to them. Land bought at five dollars an acre was sold at sixty! 
We came to the conclusion that our rich friends did not know how to 
spend their money. I caught one millionaire digging -post-holes, with the 
thermometer above eighty in the shade. I asked him point-blank, why he 
did it. ""N'oung man," he replied, "why do you drive tandem?" I told him 
that I liked driving tandem. He replied drily: "And I like digging post- 
holes." ," , , 

'["here were many amazing.charactej'.g— wbatwe call in England, "cards." 
I remember so well Uncle Johnny Price .of Pisma, Billy Ryan, Captain Harloe 
of the Iluasna, J. P. Andrews, the banker, tlie brothers Warden, Uncle Dave 
Norcross, and a host-of others.- Of the men I knew whohad-much to do 
with the building of the state, such as Colonel- HoHister, Frank MeCoppin, 
Elwood Cooper, C-harles Crocker and Senator Stan-ford, it is a keen regret 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 19 

that I did not profit by many opportunities of asking questions. In those 
days I considered interrogation to be "bad form." My father-in-law, C. H. 
Phillips, became my intimate friend and companion. He was a man of great 
parts and energy. Had Fortune dealt with him more generously, he would 
have risen to the heights. I owe much happiness to him and his. He had, 
essentially, the broad outlook, and a delightful vein of humour. In bad 
times his pluck, courage and optimism shone out supreme. No man had a 
deeper faith in California, nor a livelier interest in men and affairs. 

To Benjamin Brooks, the editor of the Tribune, I owe much kindly 
criticism and advice on literary matters. He encouraged me to write at a 
time when I needed badly such encouragement. He taught me the art to 
blot. He counselled me, most sagely, to deal faithfully and sincerely with 
life as it is rather than life as a budding novelist would like it to be. Oddly 
enough, he urged me again and again to write plays, affirming that I had a 
sense of the theatre which he regarded as a disability in a novelist. 

I hope to revisit California in the near future. I want to smell the 
tarweed again, and to see the brown hills scintillate into opalescent colours 
as the sun sinks into the Pacific. It is a dear, sweet land, different from any 
other I have known, a land of immeasurable spaces. It is at once intimate 
and panoramic, a curious combination that battles description. It allures irre- 
sistibly. During the horrors of this war, I have thought of it again and again 
as a sanctuary of peace and plenty. Long may it flourish ! H. A. V". 

No history of a county in California can be written until one has at least 
a speaking acquaintance with the history of the state, and that always reads 
like a romance. It began as that of a fabled island, peopled by a race of 
Amazons clothed in strange armor who engaged in continuous warfare on 
men and beasts alike. 

The finger of Fate pointed westward in the dreams of Columbus, and 
his voyage of 1492 opened the way to a new world. Still the goal always 
lay to the west, and brave adventurous spirits followed the westward course 
until the blue Pacific, its islands, its seas, its tree-clad shores or battling 
clilifs were no longer myths but glorious realities. 

Cabrillo, in 1542, was the first white man to set foot on our shores; 
and he was here in our own county of San Luis Obispo visiting San Luis 
bay, which he called Todos Santos, or All Saints bay. Los Esteros is 
Morro bay, and he gave to the great conical rock towering from its placid 
waters the name it still bears, Morro Rock.* San Simeon bay was the Bay 
of Sardines, and he it wias who named the Piedras Blancas on whose rocky 
heights now stands one of the finest lighthouses on the coast. Fifteen miles 
out to sea shine its beacon rays, warning ships away from the rocks. In 
times of storm, its' booming fog-signals, coupled with the pounding surf, 
sound a requiem to the brave and dauntless Cabrillo. In May of 1908 the 
writer stood on' the cliffs of San Simeon Bay and just at sunset saw the 
great fleet of United. States war vessels sweep gallantly liy on its trip around 
the world. The flags of "Our Own United States" waved fi'om every great 
gray ironclad, strains of music floated to' us on the evening air across' the 
dimpling, sparkling waters ;' and from Cabrillo, in his crdde 'vessel, to tliese 



'Cabrillo seems' to have' spelled the -word with' a single "r" for on a copy of hi; 
chart the nanie.so appears. . , ■ . ... .,..— 



20 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

hiij battleships was a far cry indeed. Few of those who watched had ever 
heard that Cabrillo was there in the summer of 1542, and that is one 
reason why this history is being written. If every man, woman and child in 
the county could read it, how interesting would be the places we daily 
see about us. 

Our' county has all the beauty of seashore and mountain peaks, of deep 
caiions, fertile valleys and sweeping plains. Over its rolling hills the grain 
fields dapple in harvest time, orchards cliiub the gentle slopes, and cattle 
by thousands graze on the higher pastures or the great grazing plains of the 
southeast. Its mineral wealth is of great value, its beaches beyond compare 
and its climate that of paradise. 

The Padres founded within its precincts two great missions, and its 
history begins with Cabrillo in 1542, goes to the founding of San Luis 
Obispo de Tolosa in 1772, three years before the Atlantic coast was wit- 
nessing the War for Independence, and steadily on to the present, which 
is only the beginning of what is to be. The "dark and bloody days" of the 
Nacimiento, the days of the stage-coach, of no coach at all, of travel by 
scliooner and sailing vessel, over cow-trails on horseback, and at last by fast 
trains down the valley, over the range and beside the sea will be authentically 
and pleasingly told. 

All the industries will be written of and all the many resources dis- 
cussed. The men and women, dead and living, who pioneered the way for 
us shall be remembered — and what a story they lived and worked out ! Many 
of them sleep the long sleep in lonely hillside cemeteries or within sound 
of the lapping waves. None are left of the very early days, and only a few 
of the days when a vigilance committee had to hang murderers and 
thieves in order to make it possible for settlers to come and live in safety. 

In order to understand the scenes and events described, one must know 
the topography of the county. All along the coast, caiions and valleys, 
each with its own sparkling stream, open to the sea. San Carpojaro, Arroyo la 
Cruz, .■\rroyo Pinal, San Simeon, Santa Rosa, Villa creek, Cayucos creek. 
Old creek, Toro creek, Morro creek, Islay creek, Canon del Diablo, Pecho 
creek, San Luis creek, and Arroyo Grande creek. These open caiions 
or fertile valleys were the first sections settled. Along the coast were the 
great land grants which will be given a chapter by theinselves. San Simeon 
bay, Cayucos, Morro bay, San Luis bay were, and three still are, good ports, 
liefore wharves were built, there were "landings" — Cave landing with its 
robbers' caves, and Pecho landing, where goods and cattle were hoisted or 
lowered by derrick to the vessel below the rocks. Then comes the Santa 
Lucia range, with Cuesta Pass the main gateway to the broad Salinas valley, 
and the more northern pass up Old creek and over the Ascunsion or York 
grade. Of course there are other passes that the old-time desperadoes and 
cattle thieves knew how to use. Beyond the Salinas valley lies a region of 
plains, canons and mountains. The San Juan, Huer-Huero and Estrclla are the 
principal streams. Along the .southern "boundary runs the Santa Maria river, 
a broad stretch of sand in summer and a roaring, unruly demon in winter, 
tossing bridges out of its way or cavorting out over the valley and inun- 
dating Santa Alaria for a lark. 

The Huasna and Alamo are streams that water the cattle of the southern 
ranges and flow into the Santa :\laria. The Salinas river rises in the south- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 21 

eastern portion of the county and flows northwesterly through this and 
Monterey counties into Monterey bay. A range of mountains forms our 
eastern Ijoundary, and as a sample, Caliente mountain rises 5,095 feet into 
the clear dry air southeast of the Chimeneas ranch. Pine mountain, 3,600 
feet. Coal peak, 3,500 feet. Cypress mountain and Black mountain are land- 
marks in the northwestern portion of the county. The Nacimiento river 
springs into life near Coal mountain and goes tumbling, splashing on its 
way, a home for trout and salmon, a drinking fountain for deer, and long 
ago for bears galore, until it joins the Salinas up in Monterey county. Such 
was and is the land that Cabrillo, Don Caspar de Portola, Father Junipero 
Serra and his brothers traversed, and that Dana, Estrada, Price, Wilson, 
Branch, the Steeles, Cooks, Olmsteads, Murphys, Blackburns, Murrays, Hol- 
listers, C. H. Phillips and all the others pioneered and opened up to devel- 
opment. To tell the story of much that befell them and the results they 
wrought, is now the task the writer begins. 



CHAPTER I 
The Spanish Quest for "El Dorado" 

How Our State Got Its Name 

When Columbus sailed from Spain in 1492, under the patronage of 
Isabella, he was under promise to himself to seek an ocean passage to India, 
and to the Spanish rulers, to seek for gold. "Loot," it mattered not how 
gotten, just so it poured treasure into the coffers of the king. Columbus 
took back no gold ; but the stories of the Indians, of treasure to the west-i 
ward, were sufficient to lure the adventurers on. Pizarro ravaged the Incas 
in Peru, destroyed their cities, took them captive and carried home vast 
amounts of gold, silver and precious vessels used in the worship of their 
gods. In 1520, Cortez climbed to the crest of a mountain in Mexico and 
looked upon the peaceful blue western sea, naming it Pacific. Yet the 
peace of the ocean did not deter him from following in Pizarro's wake. The 
ruler of the land, Montezuma, and his people met the fate of the Incas, 
and their hoards of treasure were taken by their conquerors. It is little 
wonder that by this time all the new world was regarded as one vast vault 
of riches, and that fabulous tales were told and written. One of these writers 
was Ordonez de Montalvo. In 1510 he published a book, Ingas de Esplandian, 
telling of a magic island where Amazons ruled and griffins guarded the wealth 
of the land. The young grandee, Esplandian, falls in love with the Amazon 
(|ueen, Califa. Many battles take place between his followers and the dragon- 
like griffins. Because of their ability to sail around in the air, and because 
Ingas remembered his Greek, he called them "ornis" and his bride "Kalli" 
(beautiful), from the same language. Professor George Davidson, the trans- 
lator, says that an "f" was inserted for euphony, and so we have the name of 
our glorious state, California, meaning "beautiful bird." 

When Don Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, in 1542, made liis voyage ti> our 
coast, he had in mind the romance of Esplandian, and when he saw the 



22 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

islands off the southern coast, lie named them "Las Californias." Soon the 
name was applied to the Mexican peninsula, and later "Alta California" was 
that part which is now our state. 

Spanish Formalities in Taking Possession of the State 

It has already been related how Cabrillo explored the coast of San Luis 
Obispo and named bays and Morro rock. After leaving San Simeon bay, 
he sailed on and entered Monterey bay, which he named the Bay of Pines. 
The following day he took formal possession. A large cross was erected 
under a great oak in a pleasant ravine, mass was said and the country claimed 
for Spain. Father Andreas thus describes the place : "Near the shores are 
an infinite number of pines, straight and smooth, fit for masts of ships, like- 
wise oaks of a prodigious size for building ships. Here likewise are rose-trees, 
white-thorns, firs, willows and poplars, large clear lakes, fine pastures and 
arable lands." One likes to think that the great oak whose branches shade 
more than an acre of the grounds of Del Monte, was the oak under which 
mass was said by Cabrillo's priests. The description, however glowing, 
failed to convince Caspar de Portola, one hundred sixty-seven years later, 
that he was in the bay he sought. Viscaino, in 1602, entered this bay and 
named it Monterey, in honor of the Viceroy of Mexico. Portola, recalling 
Fatlier Andreas" description, went farther and discovered San Francisco bay ; 
but more of that story later. 

Cabrillo 

Cabrillo is said to have sailed as far imrth as Cape Mendocino, which he 
discovered on the last of February, 1543, and named Cabo de Fortunas, Cape 
of Perils. From there he returned to the island of San Miguel, oft" the 
coast of Santa Barbara, intending to winter there. Historians differ. The 
accepted theory is that he died there, January 5, 1543, and is buried on the 
island. Others say that he died in San Simeon bay and that his bones still 
rest in San Luis Obispo County. From a narrative written by Cabrillo, 
he was on Santa Rosa island, and he describes the Indians there as living 
in most wretched condition. "They are fishermen, they eat -nothing but fish, 
they sleep on the ground, they go naked." 

Of the Indians further up the coast he speaks cpiite differently. They 
seem to have had a form of government, to have been better fed, and the 
women partly clothed in garments of skins. He speaks of them as coming 
out from their villages in canoes to his ships, and of bartering trinkets of 
beads for food from the nati\es. 

Indians in San Luis Obispo County 

A writer of this county during the earlier days was Charles H. Johnson. 
These items are taken from a lecture of his, and refer to the Indians when 
Governor Portola made his journey through this county in 1769. 

"The Indians lived in the open, their only protection seeming to be stone 
corrals to save tiiem from the bears. They were numerous and divided into 
tribes or rancherias. The men went naked. The women wore garments of 
skins. When game was scarce, they would squat in a circle and, each in turn, 
chew a piece of dried meat attached to a string. It would be masticated, 
swallowed, drawn up again and the performance repeated several times, then 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 23 

passed to the next, and so on round the circle." It must have been a gamble 
to see who began on that meat. "They ate acorns, usually pounded to a 
meal in their stone mortars, and made into bread. If they lacked mortars, 
they sought a big flat rock and hollowed out places to pound the nuts in." 

Towards the south end of Templeton, between the highway and the 
Salinas river, stands a group of big oak trees ; and under them are great 
rocks showing the hollows where the Indians ground their meal. In 1887, 
the writer found there several pestles buried in the soft mold close to the 
hollowed rocks. Mortars of all sizes are or have been found all over the 
county, especially on the tree-covered hills and in the valleys. 

In the old burying grounds used to be found beautiful arrowheads, spears, 
mortars and pestles, stone kettles, beads made from the claws of crabs and 
bear's teeth, ornaments of abalone shell, shark's and whale's teeth, hammers, 
and needles of bone. No metal whatever has been found in those ancient 
graves of San Luis Obispo. The Indians believed in the Great Spirit, and 
some tribes worshiped the sun. At Avila was an Indian graveyard, and 
out on the Huasna, on the John P. Black ranch, was a hillside cemetery. 
The Alamo school is on that ranch, and in 1902-3-4 two little boys, with their 
dogs and sticks, excavated many fine arrows, spearheads, beads, mortars 
and pestles. One of the neighboring ranchers used an Indian skull for a 
tobacco jar. The natives rapidly decreased after the advent of the white man, 
and in 1870 a census of the county showed one hundred thirty-seven Indians. 
Today there is not one full-blooded Indian in the county, and probably not 
one who would admit Indian ancestry. 

Piedra Pintada, or Painted Rock 

On the western side of Carissa plains, a tract some twelve miles wide 
and sixty long, with the Diablo range of mountains to the east, is a remark- 
able reminder of an ancient race. Rising from this plain to a height of two 
hundred feet, and about one thousand feet in diameter at the base, is a great, 
isolated rock. On its eastern side, facing the rising sun, is a portal twenty feet 
wide leading to an oval-shaped chamber some two hundred tvi'enty-five feet 
in length by one hundred twenty feet in its widest part. The floor seems 
to slope upwards from this portal. The walls on the west are one hundred 
forty feet high and the amphitheatre is open to the blue sky. A gallery 
has been hewn out of the solid rock walls and extends nearly around the 
great room. At the west end there seems to have been an altar. 

All along this gallery, on the walls, arc pictures painted by this lost race, 
no doubt depicting historical events, as did the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians. 
The colors used are red, white and black, and are very well preserved. The 
accepted opinion is that this was the temple of a race of sun worshipers. The 
rock is cone-shaped, of a hard, gray sandstone, yet not too hard to have been 
excavated by willing devotees. The ancient temple, once thronged with wor- 
shipers, has been used by various owners for a sheep corral and is said to 
have held four thousand sheep at a time. Vandal tourists have chipped 
away portions of these paintings. The late Myron Angel wrote a charming 
little book containing a legend of the ancient temple as told to Mr. Archiliald 
McAllister by his Indian major-domo, Jose Sequatero ; and if you would 
know more of this antique cathedral to the sun, read "The Painted Rock of 
California, a Legend, by Myron Angel." Similar paintings are found on 



24 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

other rocks of the Carissa, and on the series of pyramidal peaks extending from 
San Luis mountain to Alorro, and ending with Morro Rock. Mr. Angel advo- 
cated at least state protection for this temple of the plains, and only a few 
days ago the San Luis Obispo Tribune published an article urging that some 
steps be taken, as the rock is rapidly being defaced and spoiled by "tourists," 
those locusts of travel who will try to write their initials on the walls of 
heaven if they ever get there, and chip the golden streets for "souvenirs." 

If this marvelous work of a race forever gone were in many countries, 
the authorities would protect it by law ; but in our state it may be used 
f(ir a sheep corral. Here is an object worthy of effort. Why not be looked 
after by the Native Sons of the state or by some of the women's clubs? It 
might be possible to get an appropriation from the state if someone would 
make the attempt. This "Piedra Pintada" may be as ancient as the pyramids 
of the Nile, and no doubt chronicles a story as old and possibly as interesting 
as ever the Rosetta stone unfolded. 



CHAPTER II 
The Founding of the Missions 

From Cabrillo's time, 1542, to the founding of the mission at San Diego, 
in 1769, the world seems to have thought little of California, the "beautiful 
bird" of the Pacific coast. To be sure, Drake, in 1579, visited our shores, 
landed north of San Francisco bay, at Drake's bay, and claimed the country 
for England, naming it New Albion ; but that, so far as the English went, 
seemed to end the matter. During this period the French had settled in 
Canada and planted colonies in the Mississippi valley. England had settled 
the thirteen colonies of the Atlantic coast. 

In 1697, the Order of Jesus, the Jesuits, were given a license to enter the 
peninsula of Lower California and establish missions for the conversion of the 
Indians to the Catholic faith. The Lady of Loreto was chosen as the pa- 
troness, and the place they selected to reside in and begin their labors was 
called Loreto. They were to have all ecclesiastic, military and civil authority. . 
l-'or seventy years the Jesuits were undisturbed in their labors of founding 
missions and converting natives; but in 1767, Charles the Third of Spain, 
grown jealous of the political power of the Jesuits, determined to supplant 
them, and in April, 1767, issued a decree ordering their expulsion from all 
])arts of his dominions. The Order of Dominicans was to have charge of 
the Lower California missions, and the Franciscans were to establish missions 
in Alta California. 

Don Caspar de Portola, governor of the province, was ordered to carry 
out the king's decree. Two expeditions, one by sea and one by land, were to 
I)roceed to San Diego bay and there establish the first mission in Alta Cali- 
fornia. Father Junipero Scrra was made president of all the missions. Portola 
was in command of the land expedition. Father Francisco Palou accom- 
])anied Junipero Serra, and from his diary, first published in Mexico in 1787, 
many of the following facts are taken. 

I'oth expeditions started from La Paz, and those going by sea arrived 




PIEDRA PINTADA OR I'AINTIOU ROCK 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 25 

first. Father Serra was then well on in years ; and having always traveled on 
foot, wearing only leathern sandals, was afflicted with painful sores. In time 
he became very lame, but to the end of his beautiful life he literally "walked 
the narrow way." On July 1, 1769, the land expedition reached San Diego and 
was joyfully greeted by those who had come by sea. The mission was founded 
there July 16, 1769. 

Now comes a most interesting bit of our country's history. On July 14, 
two days before Father Serra performed the religious ceremonies founding 
San Diego mission, Don Caspar de Portola, with a part}- numbering sixty- 
five in all, set out to re-discover Monterey bay. A pack train of mules carried 
provisions. With this company was Father Juan Crespi, and the following 
translation from his diary is given as being of much interest, though the wil- 
lows do not grow on the hills now. But to a man traveling on foot, all the 
way from San Diego through the wilderness of 1769, to this county and on to 
San Francisco bay, no doubt it was all an uphill road. On the evening 
of September first, 1769, the party halted by a lake which Father Crespi 
called Laguna Granda de San Daniel. Now for Father Crespi's diary. 

Translation of Diary Relating to Portola in San Luis Obispo County 

Saturday, the 2i\. — We set out from the Laguna at a (|uarter past eight, 
crossing the adjacent plain at a distance of two leagues ; by the course that we 
followed, being toward the northwest, the remainder of the day's journey 
lay over mesas [table-lands] until we came to a watering place, which was a 
large laguna, circular in form, within a glade, some sand piles between it 
and the sea ; all this dale is covered with rushes and "cat-tails," and is very 
swampy and wet. It lies from east to west. In the afternoon the soldiers 
went out to hunt bears, of which they had seen signs, and succeeded in 
shooting one, the animal measuring fourteen palms from the bottom of his 
feet to his head; he might have weighed more than fifteen arrobas [375 lbs.]. 
We tried the meat, and to me it seemed very palatable. Six gentiles [In- 
dians] came to visit us, who live in two rancherias, which they say are not 
far distant. We gave to this lake the name of La Laguna de los Santos 
Martires. 

Sunday, the 3d. — This day we rested to allow the scouts to search out a 
pass by which we might cross the sierra that we had in sight, and that we 
supposed extended down to the seashore. It seems to be the same range 
that we have seen upon our right ever since leaving San Diego ; retiring in 
places, and again intruding upon the shore, and now is so close thereto as to 
cut u.s ofT from that course. Our stopping jilace was called El Oso Flaco 
[lean bear]. 

Monday, the 4th. — At half past six in the morning we started out, taking 
the road to the west, and crossing the sand-hills by the shortest route that 
our scouts were able to discover, it being only half a league to the beach. W^e 
came then to the shore, which we followed for about a league to the north- 
west, turning then to the east and crossing the sand-hills again to a narrow 
place, when we found ourselves on firm ground. For a league further we 
traveled, our course lying between two bodies of water. At the right 
lay a lagoon of fresh water, which rests against the sand dunes, and is by 



26- SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

them cut off from the sea; at the left we have an estero which enters this 
plain, and obliges us to make a detour to the northwest to pass it. Then 
taking the road to the north we entered the sierra through a glade covered 
with live-oaks, alders, willows, and other trees, and halted near a running 
stream covered with water cress. In all our course of more than four leagues 
we encountered but one little rancheria of Indians ; but near our stopping- 
place we found an Indian settlement whose people came to visit us, bringing 
presents of fish and seeds, to which our Senor Comandante responded with 
some glass beads. 

Tuesday, the 5th. — At half past six we left camp, following the valley 
[canada] until it turns to the northwest, where we left it, taking to the 
high hills not far from the shore, our course being rough and painful with 
many ascents and descents, but happily the hills were well covered with oaks, 
live-oaks and willows. In one day's travel of two leagues we saw no Indians. 
W'e halted at night within a narrow valley encircled with high hills, with 
running water in plenty and abundance of grass for the animals. I named 
it La Canada de Santa Elena, but it is known to the soldiers as La Canada 
Angosta. It is 35° 30'. 

Wednesday, the 6th. — This day was set apart for rest and to give oppor- 
tunity for the explorers to lay out our future course. 

Thursday, the 7th. — We left at half past six, passing over high hills 
for more than three leagues of our road, until we came to another vale, spa- 
cious, with many ponds of water, whose banks were so muddy as to prevent 
our horses from approaching to drink. We saw here troops of bears which 
have ploughed up the soil and dug pits in their search for roots, which are 
their food, as also the support of the Indians, who feast upon such roots 
as are of good flavor. The soldiers went out to hunt the bears and suc- 
ceeded in killing one of them by shooting, after gaining some experience 
as to the animal's fierceness. Upon feeling itself wounded the animal 
rushes to attack the hunter, who is only able to escape by his horse's fleet- 
ness, the bear never submitting until he receives a shot in the head or 
heart. The one they killed received nine bullets before he fell, only suc- 
cumbing to one in the head. Other soldiers had the recklessness to ride up 
to one of these bears while mounted on poor saddle mules ; they then gave 
him seven or eight shots and supposed he was dead ; but he arose and crippled 
two mules, whose riders only escaped by a scratch. This cafiada was named 
by the party de Los Osos, but I called it Canada de la Natividad de Nuestra 
Senora. 

Friday, the Sth. — This morning after saying mass on this great day of the 
Mother of our Lord's nativity, we set out, following the same Canada west- 
ward to the sea, meeting on our way some impediments because of deep 
water-courses whose banks it was necessary to cut down to permit of our pack- 
train passing; after two leagues we halted upon a hill within sight of the 
sea, and near a rivulet of good water, upon which grew water-cress. It is a 
pleasant locality, with many trees and good pastures. Not far from our 
c^mp was a band of Indians who seemed to be traveling, for we saw no 
house; there might have been seventy souls who came to visit us, presenting 
us with a sort of ]nnole, made of parched seeds and resembling almonds in 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 27 

its taste ; to this tlie Governor responded with beads and they left very 
joyfully. 

There enters in this Canada at its southern side an estero of immense 
capacity, that seems to us to be a port; its mouth is open to the south- 
west, and we observed that it was covered with reefs that occasioned furious 
breakers; a little distance further to the north we saw a great rock that had 
the shape of a dome, and that at high water is isolated and separated from 
the coast little less than a musket-shot. From the morro the shore makes 
to the west and northwest as far as a point of land which we made out 
cut oflf from the sea, and between this and another point of the sierra that 
we left behind, the coast forms a great bight, with shelter from the winds 
of the south-south-east and west ; but it is necessary to examine the anchor- 
age. We named the place La Canada de San Adriano. [This describes ]\Iorro 
bay and Cayucos bay.] 

Saturday, the 9th. — About 6 o'clock of the morning we went out, taking 
the route towards the northwest, traveling over mesas of fertile land, treeless 
but covered with grass, and after four hours of journeying, during which 
we went about three leagues and crossed eight rivulets [arroyos] which run 
from the mountains to the sea, we halted at the last of these within a glen 
of moderate breadth, through which runs a stream which terminates in an 
estero that enters the lower end of the valley or glen. The hills which 
surround this valley reach to the sea on the west, and prevent our progress 
along the shore, but leave a free passage to the north and northwest. The 
party named this place El Estero de Santa Serafina. 

Sunday, the 10th. — After having said mass and hearing all the soldiers, 
we started out this pleasant morning and took the north-northwest branch 
of the cafiada and traveled along it for a space of two hours and a half, trav- 
eling two good leagues. We then left it, as we saw that it turned to the 
north, where we discovered a mountainous region covered with pines and 
surrounding a caiion of great depth whose sides were thickly clothed with 
willows, poplars and other trees. Pursuing our route we encountered a large 
creek, by whose banks we made our halt for the night, high above the canada. 
There came to visit us some seventy gentiles of a ranchcria which was not far 
from us. They presented us with bowls of ])inole, for which we returned 
beads. They brought and offered to us a bear cub, which they liad bred up; 
but we refused it. 

Monday, the 11th. — This morning, which dawned very cloudy, we left 
our camping place, and traveling down to the seashore followed the beach 
to the northwest. We traveled an hour and a half over an easy route, well 
provided with streams of good water, then halting by a steep rock in a small 
valley where runs a rivulet I named El Arroyo de San Nicolas, but the soldiers 
called it El Cantel. There is abundance of grass and wood. 

Tuesday, the 12th. — At half past six we started out, following the sea- 
shore, for the higher lands were extremely broken and rough. Our road 
abounded with rivulets and creeks whose washed-out channels gave us much 
trouble, as a great deal of labor had to be expended in creating a passage 
for the beasts of burden. We came to a point of land that extends into the 
sea, and then leaving this to the left we entered a narrow gorge opening from 
the sierra and followed it toward the north-northeast, traversing various 
valleys and -streams during a journcv of three hours, in which we came two 



28 SAN LUIS (3BISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

leagues, enc(nmtering two watering-places on our way. We halted on a hill 
beside a very deep canon where there is a pool of water. Apart from us 
there was a rancheria of Indians, six of whom came to visit us. I named 
the stream in the canon after San Vicente. 

Wednesday, the 13th. — We left camp at half past six in the morning, 
taking a course to the northwest, part traveling by the Canada and part by 
the high table-lands to the seashore, along which the remainder of our two 
leagues of travel lay. We halted by two rivulets where there was plenty of 
grass and wood. There came to visit us six of the inhabitants of a rancheria 
which was not far distant, and at midday they regaled us with presents of 
pinole in their bowls and some good fresh fish, the Comandante responding 
as usual, with beads, to the joy of the natives. We had in the front the 
very high and rough sierra, thickly covered with pines, that seems to be the 
Sierra de Pines or Sierra de Santa Lucia [a landmark by which they ex- 
pected to find the bay of Monterey], and its roughness would seem to debar 
us from crossing the range ; accordingly our commander halted us for some 
days in this place, in order to give opportunity for the scouts to explore the 
surrounding region. I named this place Los Arroyos de Santa Hunuliana. 

Here is the record of the first white men, save Cabrillo's, who traversed 
our county. They are easily traced from the laguna at Guadalupe over the 
sand hills to Pismo and Arroyo Grande, the Los Osos, Morro Rock, the tree- 
less hills of Cayucos, and on up over the difficult mountains of the northern 
part into Monterey county and on to Monterey bay, which Portola either did 
not recognize or did not want to, for he forced his men on and at last, going 
via what is now San Jose, came out upon the shores of the long-sought 
inland bay; and so to Portola belongs the honor of discovering San Fran- 
cisco bay. The party returned to San Diego, reaching there January 24, 1770, 
six months and ten days from the time of departure. 

Manner of Founding a Mission 

After a place had been selected for the founding of a mission, possession 
was taken in the name of the King of Spain. A tent or arbor, sometimes only 
a spreading oak, took the place of a church, and such adornments as were 
possible were hung up. Then a Father in his robes blessed the place and 
sprinkled all with holy water. The cross was erected, after being adored by 
all, and a saint was named as patron of the mission. Candles were lighted and 
a bell suspended from a tree was rung, to call the gentiles (Indians) 
to the ceremony. Mass was said, a priest placed in charge, and the work 
of converting the Indians began. Writers dififer as to the treatment of the 
neophytes or converted Indians. Some say that the priests treated them as 
slaves, using cruelty to compel them to stay at the missions and \\-ork, and 
that if they "jumped their job," soldiers were sent to drive them in. ( )n the 
other hand, it is contended that the Indians were always well treated, and 
loved the Fathers and the missions. No doubt there were good and bad 
priests, as there are good and bad men in every walk of life. Zeal for the 
church, and later, when it was found what vast wealth could be accumulated 
by the Indian labor for the missions, lust for power and wealth undoubtedly 
found votaries among the priests, for priests are just plain humans unless 
vitalized by the spirit of God to something akin to angels. Such men as 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 29 

Junipero Serra and others of those brave old TVaiiciscans surely "walked 
with God.'' 

The Indians came into the missions by thousands. They were fed, 
clothed and cared for, always sure of food, far more than they received from 
a life in the wilds; and work is good, even for "Lo" and his family. The 
devotion of the majority of the Fathers to their charges far outweighs the 
hardships imposed by a few in power. Romance has woven a spell about 
those years of mission life, and only a vandal would dispel the charm. 

Construction of the Missions 

The Fathers taught the Indians to make bricks of adobe, and the walls 
were made of these sun-dried bricks. The heavy timbers were hewn and 
hauled, often long distances, and bound in place with thongs of rawhide. 
At first thatch was used for roofs ; but experiences with fire soon drove the 
Fathers to having the beautiful red tiles made that are seen yet in perfection 
in several places, and that California millionaires are fond of roofing their 
mansions with. 

Alore than twenty years ago the tiles from the old adobe Blackburn ranch 
house, just south of Templeton, were sold to help roof the mission station at 
Burlingame, where the rich Englishmen and their followers disport them- 
selves in polo and golf games out of doors, and live in beautiful homes when 
not in the open. 

Rude spikes were made by the Indian blacksmiths and used where thongs 
would not do. So familiar is the mission style of architecture that it is 
needless to describe it. The open court, the long-, pillared corridors, the tiled 
roof, the square towers lend dignity and beauty to the picture. It is a pity 
that cheap wooden structures ever attempt to be "mission." They are never 
anything but ridiculous mistakes. The Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez mis- 
sions are very fine examples of the beauty of real mission style ; and so was 
our own mission of San Luis Obispo until, after years of neglect^ friends 
attempted to save it ; but its chief beauty, the old corridor, is gone. The 
picture seen in the history shows what it once was. 

The P'athers journeyed up the coast as far as San Francisco I)ay, and as 
they went chose sites for their missions. Always there was an abundance 
of water close at hand, trees for timbers, and often a possible seaport, with 
leagues of rich land back of it, or a great valley to pasture the flocks and 
herds. Beauty was never forgotten, and a mission was never built that did 
not face a glorious view. Visit the old missions and see the panoramas of 
beautiful mountains, rolling hills, broad valleys dotted with magnificent oaks, 
streams whose banks are fringed with alder, willow, giant sycamores and a 
hundred other varieties of spicy fragrance stretching like dappled green rib- 
bons away to the sea. Or else, as at Santa Barbara and Monterey, the mis- 
sion faces the bay and the mountains form the background. No limit seems 
to have been set as to the land each mission might own, just .so it did not 
overlap that claimed by another. 

Founding of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 

Father Junipero Serra was on a return jnurncy from Munteroy to San 
Diego, where he went to confer witli the authorities, and stopjicd to found 
the mission of San Luis (~)bispo de Tolosa, tlie fiftii in order of establish- 



30 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

mcnt. He brought with him Fray Jose Caballar from San Antonio Mission 
to assist in the ceremonies. They killed bear on the Los Osos for food, 
and this pleased the Indians. 

The party arrived August 19, 1772, but the ceremonies of founding were 
not performed until September 1, 1772. AVhile a mission here had been set- 
tled upon, the intervening days were spent in deciding the exact location, 
and the present site on the north bank of San Luis creek was chosen. The 
Fathers blessed and put in place the holy cross. A bell was suspended from 
a Ijranch of a large sycamore on the edge of the creek. After ringing it for 
some time to attract the attention of the Indians, a priest advanced towards 
the wondering Indians, crying out, "Ea, gentiles, venid, venid, a la Santa 
Iglesia, venid, venid, a recibir la fe de Jesu Cristo." (O gentiles, come ye, 
come ye to the holy church. Come, come and receive the faith of Jesus 
Christ.'") Mass was then sung to the multitude, though they understood 
not a word. Thus was founded San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission, destined 
to become the richest of all the missions, and in spite of the hand of man to 
continue a place consecrated to the religion of "Jesu Cristo" unto the present . 
day, and in all probability for centuries to come. 

The erection of buildings began in 1773, and passed from simple to fine 
proportions as the wealth and population of the mission increased, reaching 
its zenith some years before the secularization. Schools were established, 
orchards and vineyards were planted, vast areas were sown to grain and 
wealth flowed into the mission coffers. A great storehouse was built at 
Santa Margarita, one hundred ninety feet long, and some say a chapel 
also. The storehouses were never emptied. The Fathers always kept a re- 
serve to offset the lean years when the drought came upon the land. A launch 
was built and carried grain, hides and tallow to Santa Barbara. The Indians 
were housed in rows of small adobe buildings. They were taught many of 
the ruder arts of civilization. Those musically inclined were taught singing, 
and to play the violin and a sort of rude organ. They were clothed and well 
fed. With its red-tiled roofs, whitewashed walls and beautiful setting, the 
mission was a wonderful sight to all beholders. Its hospitality was un- 
bounded. 

Many are the tales told of when a cavalcade of visitors arrived and 
stayed for days. Often it was a bridal party from the south bound for Mon- 
terc)^; and to entertain a bride on one occasion, all the poultry was assorted 
over night and in the morning driven past the church for her delight. It was a 
comical procession, and the newly-made Senora was vastly amused. 

Wealth of the Mission 

Each mission, when founded, received a quota of cattle, sheep, horses 
and mules. All the stock was propagated from animals originally brought 
from Spain. From some that escaped came the herds of wild horses and 
cattle that once roamed the western plain? and valley,s.. The vestments, 
altar service and adorjnnents were magnificent, and in the treasure chests 
today arc \-cry valuable reli{:s? ''-" '■•• - ■''■■<?■ '■- .t- .•■-•-"':::-"■ 

From ii report of thcwejilthof. tliis missiqn.,.abQut..J828,.this, is, taken. Re- 
mcmlucr tk^rpadrestwere wis.G'i.the,strean'ts \v,ef:e used to- irrigate .the orchards 
aiid vi>oiisihly 4lvc fields-of-, grain.. ■. ''Growja cattle, 8.700 .head ; 2,0.00 tame 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 31 

horses; 3,500 mares; 3.700 mules; 7,200 sheep." In 1827 the major-domo 
scattered on the ground one hundred twenty bushels of wheat and scratched 
It in with wooden "harrows." There was no plowing. From this he harvested 
/,000 bushels of wheat. The priest then in charge, Luis Martinez returned 
to Spam m 1828 and carried with him $100,000 as the fruits of his'ranching 
Possibly not all this wealth was gathered from agriculture and grazing There 
are stories of rich mines that once yielded up their treasures. It is said that 
a priest once came from Spain with a map to locate a mine near San Luis 
Obispo; and in the Arroyo Grande regions old furnaces have been found. 
Not many years since, two men searched in the mountains between here and 
Santa Margarita for the "lost mines." 

It is more than likely, if ever such mines existed, that the angered priests 
caused all trace of them to be destroyed when the act of secularization of 
1833 went into force. 

Later History of the Mission 

^ After the flocks and herds were taken, the land was given to the hated 
Gringos" or the Spanish favorites. The Indians were ^scattered and the 
priests in anger left the missions. The buildings rapidly passed from glory 
and riches to poverty and decay. Volumes have been written on this subject 
but the story here must be brief. Often the orchards were destroyed and the 
vessels of the Church buried or hidden with some faithful family in the hope 
that some day the vast possessions of the Church would be restored. 

Mission San Luis Obispo was claimed by John Wilson by right of pur- 
chase, but eventually 52.72 acres was deeded to the Church, and in 1874 the 
portion south of the creek was laid out in town lots and sold. For almost 
forty years after the secularization act of 1833, the mission was used by the 
public. In It rooms were used for jails, courts, barracks, saloons, schools 
hotels, stores, restaurants and dwellings. It fell rapidly into a dilapidated 
condition, but strange as it may seem, through almost forty years of deso- 
lation Its holy vessels, its interior treasures, remained untouched. 

The devoted Junipero Serra had spent fifty-three years of his life in his 
Master's service in the New World. Feeling the end near, he retired to the 
Mission Carmel at Monterey and went to his reward August 29, 1784, aged 
seventy-one years. Perhaps the Master he had served so well gave his' spirit 
charge of this beloved mission, and the holy things were not profaned. In 
1847 the mission was repaired, as it was liable, under the change of govern- 
ment then taking place, to become very valuable. John Wilson claimed'^it still, 
but Father Gomez maintained possession of the chapel. In 1880 it was thor- 
oughly renovated, and the once beautiful old corridor removed. Ever since 
then the building has been at times repaired, and the historic old pile is now 
the chief attraction for visiting tourists. 

San Miguel Mission 

This mission was founded July 25, 1797, and is the sixteenth one estab- 
lished. San Miguel Archangel stands upon the west side of the Salinas 
river near the junction of, the, Estrella, and amid leagues of fine land for- 
merly used for grazing but pow devoted to ranching. Great -trees dot the 
valley, and in mission days' vast herds roamed the pastures. It. is forty 
miles north of San Luis Obispo and four miles south, of the northern boun- 



32 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

dary of the county. The mission became very prosperous, at one time 
owning 91,000 cattle, 1,100 tame horses, 3,000 mares, 2,000 mules, 340 oxen 
and 47,000 sheep. It claimed 6,000 Indian converts, and soldiers, priests and 
other whites necessary to manage such vast estates. Ranches San Marcos 
and Paso Robles were the chief tracts cultivated. Wheat and beans were 
raised. Fine gardens and orchards surrounded the building and a great 
wall enclosed them. 

The old church seems almost indestructible. It stands facing the east, and 
to the south a wing extends, once 490 feet long. Most of this is now in 
ruins. The church itself is 230 feet by 44 feet, and 45 feet to the eaves. The 
walls are seven feet thick. The roof is of tiles, in fine state of preservation. 
The inside is frescoed, and the colors are still good. The altar stands at the 
west end, guarded by its patron saint, Michael the Archangel, with extended 
sword. The floor is of tiles or brick. 

Through all its vicissitudes the beautiful vestments and altar service have 
been retained, and about the old building within its broken walls hangs a 
brooding silence. Services are held in the church, and the faithful are still 
buried in its consecrated ground. Blankets were woven here by the Indians. 
Water from the Santa Ysabel springs was carried by ditches to the mission, 
a distance of nearly fifteen miles. Out of its possessions six great grants 
were made, totaling 116,945 acres. These will be mentioned in the chapter 
devoted to the land grants. The faithful Father Farrelly did much to restore 
the mission in the eighties and nineties. Rev. Fr. Nevin has charge of the 
mission at the present time, and has labored zealously to restore the church. 

Relics of the Mission Days 

Tlie furnaces found about Arroyo Grande valley have already been men- 
tioned. On the Santa Ysabel ranch are remains of the old dams and irriga- 
tion ditches that used to carry the water from the great springs there to the 
San Miguel Mission orchards and fields. About five miles south of San Luis 
Obispo is the Corral de Piedra (stone corral). This region takes its name 
from the stone corrals built by the mission Indians in the days when they 
lived, to the number of six hundred or more, in the San Luis Mission. Some 
years ago one of these corrals was taken down and built up again to form 
the boundary line between the ranch owned by Mrs. C. I. Thompson and 
that of David ^Mitchell. The wall is all of three-fourths of a mile long, about 
three and one-half feet high and two and one-half feet wide. On the Miossi 
ranch, three miles further towards the ocean, is another long wall, probably 
a part of some big corral. This used to be known as the Cavitas (cave) from 
the caves in the rocks. In the city of San Luis Obispo are some giant olive 
and pepper trees of the old mission gardens, still a joy to the living and monu- 
ments to the devoted souls who planted them. 

San Luis Obispo Mission was the first one to have a tiled roof. The 
Tulare Indians had been accustomed to make trips to this section for game, as 
the Caris.sa plains swarmed with deer and elk, and the coast region with bears ; 
so much so that Portola's soldiers' names, Oso Flaco (lean bear) and Los 
Osos (the bears), were so appropriate no one has ever troubled to change 
them. In 1775, three years after the founding of the mission, a marauding 
band of Tulare Indians attacked the San Luis Mission in the night, firing 
lighted arrows into the thatched roofs of the buildings. The roofs ignited and 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 33 

much damage resulted. Then tiles were made, and all repaired buildings and 
new ones were tile-roofed. San Miguel suffered from Indian attacks, and 
during its years of misfortune after secularization, was the scene of aw fid 
crimes. These will be related in another chapter. 



CHAPTER II! 
California During the Mexican Revolt 

Wiiile the missions were growing in wealth and the conditions of the 
Indians hap]jy or otherwise, everything depending on the priests in charge, 
Mexico was having troublous times. From the conquest of Cortez, Mexico 
had been a dependency of Spain, and her country and people made to dis- 
gorge wealth to fill the Spanish treasury. The government was tyrannical, 
and all were tired of it, but no one arose against it until Father Hidalgo, on 
September 16, 1810, with a small number of followers, revolted against the 
rule of Spain. In 1822, Mexican independence was acknowledged, and in 
1824 a republican form of government was adopted. During these years 
of revolution in Mexico, California remained in peace under her Spanish 
governors, with only a ripple or two to disturb the even tenor. The Mexicans 
had executed Iturbide when he came back from his exile in Italy in 1824 with 
the hope of being reinstated Emperor of Alexico. The news of this reached 
the Indians at the missions, and they proceeded to inaugurate a little civil 
service reform of their own. 

The chief of the San Diego Indians was not a popular official, so they 
proceeded to burn him at the stake and celebrated with a week's feast. When 
the priest rebuked them for the deed, they cited the fate of Iturbide, saying, 
"Have you not done the same in Mexico ? You say your king was not good : 
well, our captain was not good, so we burned him, and if the new one shall 
be bad, we will burn him also.^' This order of making officials good might 
be still practiced with splendid results. 

At Santa Ynez, in 1822, the Indians revolted. Two priests were in 
charge and one of them was cruelly put to death ; the other, a powerful 
man, escaped to the guard-house, where four soldiers, under a corporal, were 
always kept as a sort of police force. The Indians shot showers of arrows and 
the guard were demoralized, when the priest himself took command. The 
shaven head, the sandaled feet, gray gown and cord of St. Francis did not 
prevent the priest from showing the man and using carnal weapons. 

"PIo, Father," shouted a young Indian, "is that the way to say mass?" 
"Yes, I am saying mass, my son. Here [holding up the cartridge box] is 
the chalice, here [showing his carbine] is the crucifix, and here goes my 

benediction to you, you ," using a foul epithet as he tired, killing the 

tormentor. 

A sufficient force was at last collected from the other settlements, the 
Indian converts were followed to the Tulare valley, the ringleaders were shot, 
and the rest forced to return to the missions. The president of the missions 
thought fit to punish the violent priest for using strong language, so his 
clerical orders were revoked for a year and he was sent to live at San Luis 
Obispo Mission during his punishment. A friend stopping at the mission 



34 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

rallied him on his plight, and he replied, "The old fool thinks he is punishing 
me. Here I have no mass to sa}', and nothing to do but eat and drink. He 
knew I Avas a soldier before I was a priest. When those accursed Indians 
dro\e me back to my old trade, how could I help using mj^ old language?" 

When }iIexico became independent, California followed suit. In 1822, the 
Spanish governor, Don Pablo \"icente de Sola, and others at Monterey issued 
a declaration of independence of Spain and took oath of allegiance to the 
new power, Mexico. The heads of the military and church authorities joined 
with the civil authorities, and Governor De Sola held his office for a year 
under the new government. 

Beginning of the End 

The new government at once began steps to supersede ecclesiastical 
power with secular authority. It was contended that the missions had failed 
to civilize the Indians. Over fifty years had passed, and Christianity had ap- 
parently little hold on the natives. The power of the priests and the vast 
wealth of the missions were coveted by the secular authorities, so steps were 
taken to bring the priests under control. In 1824 and 1826, the Mexican 
government passed laws suspending the pay of the priests and releasing all 
Indians from slavery. This act was premature : for the Indians, having 
learned all the vices of the white man and few of his virtues, "took to the 
woods." robbing and stealing. Cattle were run off by the hundreds into the 
hills and canons. The existence of the settlements was threatened by law- 
less deeds. The law was repealed, and many of the Indians were induced to 
return to the missions. Things w^ent on about as before for a while. 

A \icious element of discharged soldiers had come to California from 
IMexico. They incited the Indians to insurrection, and led all sorts of out- 
rages. Manuel Victoria was appointed to put down this criminal element 
and punished a few as they deserved, but there were those who claimed the 
colonists were being abused. Open hostility broke out, and Jose Maria Avila 
led the outbreak which began at San Diego. Victoria's friends put Avila in 
irons and waited for the next move. Governor Victoria left ]\Ionterey and 
reached San Fernando, near Los Angeles, December 4, 1831. A party of 
the opposing forces reached Los Angeles the same evening, and Avila was 
released, swearing he would kill Victoria. He led his follov,rers to Cahuenga 
Pass, about eight miles west of the city, and the parties halted for a parley; 
but .\vila rushed upon Victoria and wounded him in the side. Romualdo 
Pacheco parried the thrust, but before he recovered his guard he was run 
through by Avila. Victoria drew his pistol, shooting Avila, who fell from his 
horse at the same instant Pacheco dropped from his. 

The Mexican forces went to the San Gabriel Mission, while those under 
Avila, calling themselves Californians, went back to Los Angeles. Victoria 
resigned as go\ crnor and returned to Mexico, January 15, 1832. The bodies 
of the slain were taken to the town and buried side by side. Now followed 
confusion, some adhering to Victoria as governor; but finally Pio Pico was 
declared governor, ad interim, and Los Angeles the capitol de facto. General 
Jose Figucroa arrived in 1833 and some degree of order was restored. 

The Act of Secularization 

In 1833 the secularization act was enacted. In 1834 the governor began 
to enforce it, or at least issued orders for its enforcement. This act sought 



17^9149 

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 35 

to do away with the supreme power of the priests, to release the lands held 
by the missions for settlement, and to put the missions on the same footing 
as the parish churches. The rules issued in 1834, to take effect in August, 
1835, were designed to do justice to all. In fact, they were these: To each 
head of a family and all who were more than twenty years old, though with- 
out families, a plot of ground not more than three hundred yards square nor 
less than one hundred yards square was to be given from the mission lands. 
Sufficient land in common was to be set aside for watering the cattle. \^il- 
lages with roads were to be established and corporation lands designated. 
Half of the movable property of the missions was to be distributed to the 
Indians, and one-half of the seeds and roots and one-half of all implements 
indispensable for agriculture. The other half of all property mentioned was to 
be in the care of an agent, or steward, named by the supreme government, 
and from the common mass of property, the expenses of missionary work, the 
stewards, churches, schools, cleanliness and health were to be met. 

The missionary priest was to select the place he desired for his residence 
and for his servants' houses. They were to be fully furnished for him. The 
vestment, library and furniture of the church were to be under the care of a 
sexton chosen by the priest. The sexton was held responsible for the prop- 
erty in his care, and a salary was to be paid him by the proper government 
official. 

Inventories of all the property of each mission, lists of all books, papers, 
charges with dates and descriptions of the credits, liquidated or otherwise, 
with their respective marks and explanations, were required to be made to 
the supreme government. Laws were made for governing the villages. The 
emancipated Indians were, required to assist in the care of the vineyards, and 
other things maintained for the public good. The Indians were not allowed to 
sell or mortgage the lands or cattle; if they did so, the cattle, lands, etc., w-ere 
seized by the government, and the purchaser forfeited his money. The politi- 
cal chief settled all disputes, and appointed those necessary to carry out the 
laws of secularization. The priests were ordered to hand over to the com- 
missioners all books of accounts, all houses, churches, workshops, utensils 
and furniture, save that belonging to the homestead. The stock was estimated 
by two responsible parties; for so vast was the number, and so few the horses 
that could be ridden for a general round-U]>, that an actual count was out of 
the question. 

It was during these years of trouble that the great land grants were 
made. It was urged that somuch land was not needed for the mission herds, 
and many an enterprising "Gringo" became a naturalized Mexican citizen, 
married a Spanish or Mexican woman, and shared in the lands wrung from 
the missions. The Fathers were in no position to resent this, nor should 
they have held such vast tracts longer; but it was a bitter experience for 
them. Influential families were given vast grants, and it was no trick at all 
to stock them from the mission herds running at large. 
The End of Mission Rule 

Abandoned by the Mexican government and plundered by the Califor- 
nians, ruin faced the missions. The priests again showed their purely human 
side (no discredit to them) and began slaughtering the cattle for their hides 
and tallow. One-half the hides were given for killing and skinning, and the 
plains reeked with decaying carcasses. Over all hovered the vultures of the 



36 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

sky, and in the background rapacious human vultures; for often the lowest 
passions, lust for wealth, and lust of women, were no little factors in the 
transaction. 

The writer knew a man, rich and influential, who got a great tract of rich 
Sacramento valley land along with his ]\Iexican (half-breed Indian) wife. She 
bore him two daughters and a son. He divorced or set aside the Mexican 
wife and married a woman from a prominent family. There was some illegal- 
ity somewhere ; for in 1884 he adopted his own son in order to make him a 
legal heir to his own mother's land. However, the son inherited the bad 
traits of both sides of his ancestry ; for he gambled and drank away his patri- 
mony. Fourteen years later he was seen squatting on the streets of his 
native town, a fat, greasy "Injun," l)egging a drink or tobacco from men he 
once called his equals. 

The Indians who once li\-ed at the missions and looked upon the cattle 
as theirs, stole all they could. Bands of Indians from Mojave, the San Joaquin 
plains, and even from Oregon and the Rockies, raided the rich coast ranches. 
As late as 1840, "Peg Leg Smith," a noted scout, led a band of Indians from 
the Bear river in California and drove off seventeen hundred head of horses. 
This continued more or less until the Americans came in sufficient force to 
put a stop to it. 

Governor Figueroa, worn out and disgusted with the rapacity and dis- 
honesty of the people, died September 29, 1835. Then he was lauded and 
called "The Father of California." His remains were carried in a vessel 
from Monterey to Santa Barbara, and buried in a vault at the mission, with 
all the honors due him. 

Slowly but surely the secularization of the missions went on and Ijy 1845 
utter devastation marked some of them, while poverty stalked through the 
deserted rooms and down the long, pillared corridors of the rest. The his- 
torian may only repeat the facts as gleaned from ancient diaries, old books 
and the best written records, but the poet and the artist have idealized, and 
will continue to idealize, the mission days, throwing about them all a halo 
of religious zeal, romantic loves and valorous deeds. As such, the writer 
likes best to think of them. 



CHAPTER IV 

The American Conquest 

From San Diego to San Francisco the people were almost entirely Span- 
ish. .There were two classes: those who were pure Castilian, very careful to 
remain so, and the Mexicans. These were of all degrees, both in color and in 
their claim to .Spanish blood, a race produced by the intermarriage of Spanish 
and Indian parents. The least claim to a Spanish ancestor was a mark of 
dignity, and kept the individual apart from the Indians, both in social standing 
and in clothes. Some people still adhere to the belief that clothes and caste 
are synonymous. The pure Castilians spoke Spanish beautifully, were of fair 
complexion, often even blonde, and avoided marrying outside their class. The 
Mexicans spoke a mixture of Spanish and Indian words probably quite dif- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 37 

ferent from the speech of the superior class wlio were the rulers, sncially and 
otherwise. 

The grandees lived at Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and jNIonterey or on 
the great ranches, where an almost feudal style of living existed. Countless 
Indians and Mexicans did the work indoors or out. Cattle were the only 
things raised for an income, though each ranch owned hundreds of horses, 
some saddle animals being very beautiful, and all capable of fleetness and 
endurance. The men were often handsomfe and dressed well ; and the women, 
in many cases extremely lovely, dressed in silks, laces and dainty mus- 
lins when attending the numerous fandangoes. Daacing, horse racing and 
bull fighting were the main amusements. Hospitality was unbounded. Often 
a cavalcade of men and women all mounted on fine horses, the men with 
silver- or gold-trimmed sombreros, saddle and spurs, would go on a visit 
to one ranch, then to the next, and remain a week at each, feasting, dancing 
and enjoying the gay, easy life. Weddings were great events. If you want to 
know Kiore about these days, read Dana's "Two Years before the Alast," and 
Athertiin's "Splendid Idle Forties." 

Xcrth of San Francisco and to the east. Americans were coming in 
rapidly ; and John A. Sutter, the wealthy, ambitious Swiss, was gathering 
about him a band of daring men. He dreamed of a new Helvetia and himself 
its leader. That portion of California now embraced in the County of San 
Luis Obispo was sparsely settled. Around the missions clung a few Mexi- 
cans and Indians after the secularization took away their glory. Captain 
John Wilson was the wealthiest man in the county in 1850. His taxes were 
$639.20. He owned the Los Osos, Pecho, Chorro and other ranches; 
and it will be remembered that at one time he claimed the San Luis Mission. 
He was a Scotchman, a sea captain, coming from Peru in 1830. He married 
Dona Ramona Pacheco, widow of Don Romualdo Pacheco, killed by Avila 
near Los Angeles, as has already been related. She was the mother of 
Governor Pacheco. Captain Wilson died at San Luis 01)ispo in IStiO. 

Other prominent families of those early da\-s were the Pico, Estrada, 
Villavicencio, Olivera, Canet, Cantua, Linares, Boronda, Avila, Sparks, 
Branch, Dana, Garcia, Narvaez and Bonilla families, and probably a few 
others. These families all obtained grants which will be more particularly 
spoken of elsewhere. The roads were merely trails leading from one ranch 
to another, and from mission to mission. Everyone rode horseback. The 
carreta was a two-wheeled cart — the wheels, sections of logs sawed off — 
the whole rudely bound together with thongs of rawhide. To go joy-riding 
in a carreta was surely an experience. 

The story is told of how once upon a time a set of society belles and 
matrons set out from San Luis Obispo, escorted by their cavaliers on horse- 
back, to attend a fandango given by a valiant dame at Avila. Her spouse 
was opposed to balls and giddy goings-on, so she got him safely locked in his 
room early in the evening. The carretas, with all aboard, tried to cross San 
Luis creek. The tide had backed up and the carretas were swamped. The 
stiffly starched, voluminous petticoats of the ladies hung limp and dripping 
when they were at last carried out the rest of the way on horseback. All 
save one. This wise sefiorita caught up over her shoulders all but one of her 
skirts, and had only to slip oft' the wet one and go to dancing, while all the 



38 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

others had to dry theirs or be fitted out by the hostess before they could trip 
a step. No need to say who was the belle of that ball. 

Julian Estrada owned the Santa Rosa rancho. This story is told by the 
son of Rufus Burnett Olmstead, the first American who settled in Green val- 
ley. He came there in 1860, taking possession of land claimed by Estrada. 
The government survey was soon made, and Mr. Olmstead got legal pos- 
session of his land. Don Julian liked to do things up with eclat, so when 
he paid social calls on the neighbors he went in state, dressed in all the 
grandeur of his station as master of the rancho. Before him galloped Indian 
outriders on their ponies, and a guard followed, each displaying all the 
horsemanship he could. When guests were to be entertained, the don had a 
bear lassoed, and a bear and bull fight took place. Air. Olmstead says the 
bear would be tied to a great oak tree, and several bulls driven up; then the 
bear would be loosened and the fight was on. Hard on the four-legged 
animals, but no doubt pleasing to the onlookers. 

Joaquin Estrada owned the Santa JMargarita ranch, and it was his 
enterprise that l)rought the first circus to the munty. The circus had ap- 
peared at Santa Barbara, the writer was told, and Don Joaquin hired the 
outfit to come to his ranch. He invited the people from all directions and 
all distances, and entertained them for two weeks with a circus every after- 
noon, dancing in the evening, and feasting all the time. No matter just 
where the circus came from, it is certain it was there for two weeks, and 
more than one old man remembers hearing his elders tell of the time when 
they went to a circus fc.ir two weeks at a stretch. 

A ranchcria of about seventy-five Indians lived in Green valley just aVjout 
where the Olmstead schoolhouse now stands. Smallpox got in among them, 
and all ])Ut three died. They knew only one mode of treatment for all ills. 
They would build a great fire and dance and leap in its heat until the 
perspiration was streaming from every pore, then rush into a swimming-hole 
they had in the creek. It is no wonder that but three were left after they 
had taken this "nature cure." 

Mr. Olmstead, the pioneer of Green valley, raised some very fine water- 
melons. Wishing to be neighborly, he invited Don Julian Estrada up to help 
enjoy them. He came in all his state, and as a return favor arranged a bear 
and bull fight in honor of Mr. Olmstead. His son, now an old man living in 
Santa Cruz, says the Indians of the rancheria used to find both food and 
])leasure shooting rats, probably the big wood' rats common in the hills. 
Just below where the James Taylor house now stands was a low, swampy 
place. After ;i storm the rats to the number of hundreds would take to the 
trees; and as a boy he watched the Indians shoot them with their bows 
and arrows. 

In (jreen valley there \\-ere no other Americans living save the Olmstead 
family. Guadalupe Graciola, a Spaniard, lived in the valley. Jerry John- 
son, James lUiffum and Hardy were "baching" in a little cabin on Santa 
Rosa creek. At the time, the Mathers lived near Rocky Butte, back of 
where Cambria now is, and the Lefifingwells lived up in the pines above the 
site of the present town. They started a sawmill there, and ran it by horse- 
power. Rufus B. Olmstead was justice of the peace in Green valley. J\Iany 
cattle tliieves were haled before him ; but to prove their guilt was impossible. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 39 

Fear of the thieves or their kin closed the mouths of those who could have 
proven their misdeeds. 

Boats stopped at Santa Barbara and iMonterey, but only very occasionally 
at our port, and as there was no wharf, passengers and freight were ferried 
out or back in rowboats or scaled the cliffs by rope ladders. There was 
almost no money; hides and tallow were traded for rations, silks, laces and 
broadcloth. The food was mostly what the ranchers produced. The wheat 
pounded by Indians in mortars made the bread, tortillas. Frijoles, red 
peppers, garlic or onions were raised in the gardens ; the cattle and sheep 
furnished abundance of excellent meats; the fruit trees, especially pears, fur- 
nished preserves for great occasions; and there were often thrifty grapevines. 

After Figueroa's death in 1835, three men, Jose Castro, Nicola Guiterrez 
and Marino Chico, held the office in turn until Juan B. Alvarado was ap- 
pointed in 1836. He continued governor until December, 1842. Then Manuel 
INIicheltorena served from December, 1842, to February, 1845, when Pio Pico 
took the office and held it to the American conquest in 1847. 

As soon as the mission lands were known to be available, Americans 
came into Southern California. They married Spanish or Mexican women, 
and to all intents and purposes were Spanish. The Americans north and east 
of San Francisco bay cared little for the Spanish. Their interests were purely 
personal. They were in California for gain, for the enjoyment of its climate 
and scenic beauties, much as they are today. The "Californians" then meant 
those of pure or mixed Spanish blood and those naturalized iMexican citizens 
who were once Americans or of other nationalities. 

THE CONQUEST 

The Mexican government had resented the indifference or open disregard 
of the Californians for the parental rule; and taking advantage of the jealous- 
ies and quarrelings of those in authority in the province of Alta California, 
started in to pay up old scores. Santa Anna had risen to be the head of the 
Mexican government. In February, 1842, he ordered an army of three hun- 
dred convicts and about one hundred fifty others to be sent to Cali- 
fornia under Micheltorena, who was also appointed governor. He arrived 
in San Diego in August, and as a new governor meant feasting, balls, bull- 
fights and g-eneral hilarity, he was joyfully received. Pie started northward, 
but before he reached Monterey he got news that set him footing it back to 
Los Angeles. This was that Commodore Jones of the United States navy 
had sailed into Monterey bay and hoisted the American flag. Acting Gover- 
nor Alvarado preferred this to being deposed, and took things as they came. 
Micheltorena ordered the Californians to drive all their cattle and horses into 
the mountains. Jones hauled down the Stars and Stripes after they had 
floated over the "Castillo" for just one day, being assured that there was no 
war between the United States and Mexico. He retired from the Bay of 
Monterey, and sent dispatches to his government explaining his mistake. 
Micheltorena removed all the military stores, guns, etc., from Monterey to 
the Mission San Juan Bautista, near the present town of Hollister. This 
was to prevent the Americans, or any one else, from sailing into port and cap- 
turing them. 

The convict-soldiery was an offense to the Californians, and they were 
tired of Mexican rule. Alvarado, Castro and Vallejo united for an insur- 



40 SAN LUIS OBISIHl COUxXTY AND ENVIRONS 

rectiun. Alichelti irena had promised wSutter rich grants of land in tlie Sacra- 
mento xalley for himself and American friends in return for his friendship. 
November I'-l, 1842, the insurrectionists captured the gams and ammunition 
stored at San Juan Mission; Castro retreated, followed by Micheltorena, to 
San Jose, where he expected aid from the foreigners, the Americans. They 
failed him. antl he continued his retreat up the east side of the bay. At San 
Jose was Charles M. Weber, who had purchased and brought there a large 
store of fine goods. Fearing that if the convict-soldiers entered San Jose his 
goods would suflfer, he went out to meet Micheltorena and begged him not to 
enter the town. With Weber went a number of Americans and Californians. 
They meant resistance if the troops tried to come into the town. Castro, 
hearing of this, came back, and IMicheltorena agreed to return to Monterey. 
Al)out this time a family of note arrived at Sutter's fort. It was Martin 
Murphy with his wife, sons and daughters. Of this family, P. W. INIurphy 
and James Murphy became residents of San Luis Obispo County, owning the 
Santa Margarita and Atascadero ranches. Sutter got his men together, and 
in January, 1845, started south to help Micheltorena. He had about one hun- 
dred fifty Indians and sixty Americans. Soon the .Vmericans learned 
that it was only their countrymen of the Sacramento who favored Michel- 
torena, and they began leaving Sutter. Castro had gone south and ]\Iichel- 
torena followed. The two forces finally came together near Los Angeles. 
A battle took place, but in the end Micheltorena was induced to surrender 
and return to Mexico. Pio Pico was declared governor. 

A Move by the Americans 

Now was started a movement among the Americans designed to result 
in l^anding them together for mutual protection, and eventually to wrest the 
northern half of the state from the southern ; but events were fast coming 
that were to settle the fate of California witiiout their aid. In 1846 war was 
declared between Mexico and the L'nited States. The results were bound to 
follow as they did. 

Fremont 

John C. Fremont was sent by the United States government on a third 
trip across the continent. He Avas a captain of topographical engineers and 
was, no doubt, sent to be here in case of trouble with Mexico. He was 
already known as the Pathfinder, and was seeking, on this trip, among other 
things, an easier route from the western base of the Rocky mountains to 
the mouth of the Columbia river. Fremont visited Castro, stated his pur- 
[)(.>se and asked permission to continue his journey. Castro was all cor- 
diality, and readily gave consent "on the honor of a Mexican soldier," as- 
suring him of protection. With Fremont were sixty-two hardy soldiers and 
frontiersmen, among them Kit Carson. No sooner had Fremont started north 
than Castro began pursuing him with his rabble army, dancing up in front of 
Fremont's men, l)ut always keeping out of range of their bullets. He ordered 
F'remont to at once leave California or be annihilated. Fremont was not 
here to start troulde, so he left Castro and his circus-riders, and moved on to 
the north. May '>, 1846, he was overtaken near Klamath lake by Lieutenant 
A. Ti. Gil!es[)ie, U. S. Marine Corps, who had been sent out from \\'ashington 
the previous November, with orders to overtake Fremont. Gillespie had had 
a long conference with U. S. Consul Larkin at ^Monterey, where he was 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 41 

known as a ""private gentleman traveling for his health." Gillespie cer- 
tainly carried verbal messages from President Polk to Fremont (it was not 
intended that the messages should be taken, if the bearer were himself cap- 
tured), and he brought letters to Fremont from his father-in-law, U. S. Sen- 
ator Benton. In Congress much had been said about California in the event of 
war with Mexico. The slave-holding states were looking forward to getting 
another slave state, or at least the half that lay south of 36 degrees 30 min- 
utes N. Lat., the old Missouri Compromise line. Fremont and Gillespie 
talked long by the camp fire that night, and in the morning the horses were 
headed south on the backward trail. - ' 

The controversy with England over the northern boundary line was on. 
An English fleet was on the coast, and three nations were watching, each 
eager for the plum when California should finally drop from the parent tree. 
These were England, France and the United States. Castro was making a 
great ado over driving out the "Gringos," this to curry favor with Mexico in 
hope of being made governor. When Fremont got back to Sutter's fort, he 
found the settlers greatly excited. Castro had given orders for all the horses 
north of San Francisco bay to be taken and driven to the Santa Clara valley 
for his soldiers' use. A large band had been driven to Knights Landing on 
the Sacramento river to be swum across. This was reported at .Sutter's as 
"a band of three hundred men approaching." The settlers about the fort 
joined Fremont's men, and it was decided to "go ahead." The Americans 
were thoroughly tired of Castro's boastings, and, it seemed, were determined 
to really let him get acquainted with the genuine "Yankee," and not allow him 
to have the horses he had gathered to use against them. 

Ezekiel Merritt, with twelve others, was ordered to "get" the horses. 
On the night of June 9 they surprised the camp — De Arce was in charge — 
and drove the animals back to Fremont's camp. It is not definitely known 
that Fremont sent Merritt for the horses, but he certainly did not insist on 
their being taken back. No doubt Fremont understood that the United 
States government intended him to take a hand if he felt it was necessary, but 
he did not want to repeat Jones' error at Monterey four years before; so he 
seems to have done things without definite orders from the government at 
Washington, yet fully assured that if necessary it would back him. 

He knew that Commodore John Drake Sloat was sailing northward in the 
U. S. frigate "Savannah," closely followed by Admiral Sir George Seymour in 
the British ship "Collingwood," and that it was an ocean race, with California 
the prize. He probably knew that Secretary of the Navy Bancroft had 
ordered Sloat to take Monterey, and that the British Vice-Consul at Mon- 
terey was only waiting for Seymour and the guns to annex California to 
Great Britain. 

The Trip to Sonoma 

Fremont may not have ordered the thirty-three men who left camp at 
3 P. M., June 12, 1846, to take Sonoma, but he saw them start from his camp 
on the Feather river, and he knew their intentions. On June 13 they reached 
Grigsby's ranch in Napa valley, where others joined them. June 14, 1846. at 
daybreak the Americans rode into Sonoma and surrounded General Vallejo's 
l)ig adobe house. Vallejo knew that California was bound to be annexed 
by one (it the three nations after it. He preferred the United States, so 
when he heard English words calling at his door, he dressed and ordered the 



42 SAN LUIS OCISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

men to enter. In spite of the writers who have tried to make this event 
dramatic, spectacular or ridiculous, it was really none of the three. Coman- 
dante Vallejo asked the callers their business, and by whose authority 
they made their demand. He was a Republican and quite ready to foil Castro 
and Pico, who were plotting to annex California to a monarchy. The Ameri- 
cans told Vallejo they arrested him by orders of Captain John Fremont, but 
said nothing about the United States. If trouble came, they were going to 
shoulder it, and not make it a matter for their country. If this was not true 
"love of country," then show a greater example. 

Vallejo knew that Fremont was not the man to act hastily nor without 
authority, so he realized this was not just a mob he was dealing with. He 
could surrender and be relieved of his duties as a Mexican official, and he was 
ready to become an American. His brother, Salvador Vallejo, and Victor 
Prudon were arrested with him. The surrender of all the guns and govern- 
ment property in the castillo ended his official connection with Mexico, and 
now it was "up to him" to show California hospitality; so he invited all tlie 
company, to breakfast. There were lively times in the old adobe kitchen for 
a wliilc, then all sat down to a bountiful meal. The .Americans were toasted 
l)y the General in his own wine, and as Tom Gregory says in his history of 
Sonoma county, "Knight the interpreter didn't try to interpret. He let 
everybody eat and drink in his own language." The following paper was 
drawn up and signed, then presented to General Vallejo : 

"We, the undersigned, having resolved to esta1)lish a government upon 
republican principles, in connection with others of our fellow citizens, and 
having taken up arms to support it, have taken three Mexican officials 
prisoners, General M. G. Vallejo, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Prudon and 
Captain Salvador Vallejo. Having formed and published to the world no 
rogular plan of government, feel it our duty to say it is not our intention to 
take or injure any person who is not found in opposition to our cause, nor will 
we take or destroy the property of private individuals further than is lieccs- 
sar_\- to our support. Signed, Ezekiel Merritt, R. Semple, William Fallon." 

The Raising of the Bear Flag 

The little s<|ua(l of men whu captured Sonuma, June 14, 1846, had a new 
rciMiblic on their hands; so the next thing was a flag for it. Bound to save 
trouble for their "own United States," they did not raise her flag, but made 
one of their own. They used Old Glory's colors, red and white, a white square 
of cloth \vith a strip of red flannel sewed across the bottom. James McChris- 
tian, the last known survivor of the Bear Flag party, lived at Sebastopol in 
1912, and he told the story as follows: "Colonel Merritt told oflf Jack Rans- 
ford, Peter Storm and John Kellar to 'do the heavy work.' In their cruise 
around Sonoma, thev came across Mrs. John Matthews, wife of the express 
rider between Sutter's fort and Sonoma. She gave them a red flannel petti- 
coat. A band of it was sewed across the piece -of white sheeting by Ransford. 
\\'i]liam Lincoln Todd, nephew of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, was the artist. It 
had been decided to paint 'Los Osos," emblem of strength and native of the 
country, on the while field, and a star in the right upper corner. Across the 
lower ])art the legend. 'California Republic' Some lampblack, a can of red 
ixiint and another of linseed oil had been commandeered. Henry Ford out- 
lined with pen and ink the outlines of the bear on both sides of the cloth, and 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 43 

Todd went to work. The bear came out more cinnamon than grizzly. The 
townspeople looking on pronounced it 'el porcino,' and an English sailor 
present said it 'looked like a bloomin' red 'og.' The flag of Mexico came 
down, and that of the Bear Flag Republic went up and stayed up for twcnty- 
five days." 

The Bear Flag was adopted by the new California Republic sixty-nine 
years to a day after Congress adopted the national flag June 14, 1777. It 
became the state flag March 3, 1911. June 8, 1880, the Native Sons adopted 
it as the standard of their order. At the request of J. R. Snyder of Sonoma, 
its bear was placed on the state seal. The only ceremony at this flag-raising, 
aside from the cheers of "Los Osos!" as the new flag fluttered from the staff 
from which the Mexican colors had come down, was an oration by Lieutenant 
Henry L. Ford, who with First Sergeant Granville F. Swift and Second 
Sergeant Daniel Gibson, composed the "Grand Army" of the new republic. 

Ford's Address 

"My countrj'men, we have taken upon ourselves a damned big contract. 
We have gone to war with the Mexican nation, and that will keep us busy 
for some time. We are bound to defend one another or be shot. There is 
probably no half-way place in the matter. To make our object good and 
take care of ourselves we must have order, we must have discipline. Each 
of you have had a voice in choosing your officers. Now that they have been 
chosen, the}' must be obeyed. This is business, and there is no back-out from 
it." Vallejo said "Bucno," and started right in being a good American citizen. 

Sloat at Monterey 

"Down on the Rio Grande" the two republics, the United States and 
Mexico, were bitterly fighting, but as yet the people at large in California 
knew nothing of this. Twenty-five days later, war in California was on in 
earnest. ]\Iay 15, 1846, Secretary of the Navy Bancroft sent Sloat orders to 
take Mazatlan, ^Monterey and San Francisco, one or all, according as his 
force would permit. Arriving at the port, he learned more of Great Britain's 
schemes. 

British Consul Forbes, Governor Pico and Castro had talked over a fresh 
"declaration of war" on the part of California, and an appeal to Great Britain 
for protection. A British fleet was to be handy and, presto, California was to 
lie "protected" by the British lion. Mexico owed large sums of money to 
luiglishmen in Mexico ; she was tired of her troublesome child, California : 
her enemy, the United States, would be cheated out of the chief prize of 
victory over Mexico, and by letting California go to Great Britain she saw a 
chance to pay her debts, get revenge, and be rid. of trouble, so there was 
nothing to fear from Mexico if this little plan carried. Larkin had managed 
to let this plan be known at Washington, so Fremont, acting on the verbal 
orders Gillespie carried to him, had retraced his steps and gone into camp on 
the Sacramento river close to the Feather river. His civil engineering train- 
ing told him to get possession of Sonoma, for there he had a clear way to 
San Francisco bay. Sutter's fort was close at hand, where the Americans 
from the east gathered, and upon tliese he knew he could rely for help if 
he needed it. 

While Sloat's ship, the "Savannah," lay idle in the port of Monterey, the 
"Collingwood," slow but sure, was ct)ming, too. Sloat hesitated about raising 



44 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

th'e fl'AiX for fear he should be premature as was Jones four years before, but 
if Seymour L;xit ahead of him on shore, then there would surely be trouble. 
He had been told to take any one of three ports and it was hard to under- 
stand his delay. He had heard of the capture of Sonoma and at last, July 
7, 1846, hoisted the Stars and Stripes over Alonterey, where it has ever since 
floated on the breezes of the blue Pacific, and from wdiich it shall ever float 
while American men live to protect Old Glory. 

The three men taken prisoners at Sonoma were removed to Sutter's fort. 
Vallejo communicated with Commander John B. Montgomery of the U. S. 
sloop of war "Portsmouth" in San Francisco bay. Montgomery disavowed that 
his government had anything to do with Fremont's or Merritt's acts, and 
promised to protect the people of Sonoma. It was the fashion to "disavow" 
Fremont in those days, but he was not the only one to suffer in the end. 
Sloat "disavowed" but finally stirred himself and obeyed orders, taking Mon- 
terey, though that did not save him from being rebuked by the government 
for his tardiness. He resigned his command, and Stockton took his place. 
Fremont kept on doing what he believed his duty, which meant terrible 
hardship and considerable fighting, while the others "disavowed" and 
squabbled. 

Colonel Philip Coke thus descriljes the situation : "Colonel Kearny is 
supreme, somewhere up the coast. Colonel Fremont is supreme at Pueblo de 
Los Angeles, Commodore Stockton is supreme at San Diego, Commodore 
Shubrick the same at Monterey, and I at San Luis Rey. We are all su- 
premely poor, the government having no money nor no credit, and we hold 
the territory because Mexico is the poorest of all." 

On July 8, 1846, the Stars and Stripes went up over Verba Uuena by 
Montgomery's orders; on the 10th the Bear Flag was lowered at Sonoma, 
ha\-ing floated there since June 14; ;md on July 13 the American flag was 
raised over the town of San Jose by Captain Roliert Fallon. 

Fremont Goes South 

St'u'kton decided to take the southern towns, and July 27, by his orders, 
the "Cyane." with Commodore Dupont in command, sailed for San Diego with 
I'"renioiit's battalion of one hundred and sixty volunteers on board. August 
10, Stockton and three hundred soldiers on board the "Congress" sailed, intend- 
ing to take Los Angeles. August 12 the U. S. sloop of war "^Varren," under 
Ihdl. arrived with the news of war between the United States and Mexico. 
Then it was realized that Fremont must have known what he was about, and 
that lie and liis followers would be protected. 

A Blunder 

Castro and his men liad been jiaroled and Los Angeles garrisoned by 
fifty men, while only ten were left to hold Santa Barbara. The naval and 
land forces had gone north, ('.illcspie at Los Angeles had tried reforms that 
angered the Cahfornians. who, led by Jose Maria Flores, rebelled, and there 
was another "insurrection" to (|uell. 

Juan Flaco (Lean John) or John Brown's Ride 

September 23. 1846, i^Kires with a large force demanded the surrender of 
Los Angeles, Cillespie refused and Mores began a siege. Stockton must be 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 45 

asked for aid. lie was at Monterey, nearly five hundred miles to the north, 
and it was presumed that the intervening country was filled with hostile Cali- 
fornians. In Gillespie's command was a man bearing a name later to become 
immortal, the name of John Brown, christened by the Californians Juan Flaco 
(Lean John). He volunteered to ride with the message to Stockton. He 
worked his way through the enemy's lines, but was soon discovered and given 
chase. A horse was shot and killed under him, but he fled on foot for nine 
leagues, about thirty miles, until he reached the house of an American and 
secured a fresh mount. He reached ]\Ionterey September 30, having cov- 
ered four hundred sixty miles in fifty-two hours and walked about thirty 
miles of it. Stockton was in Yerba Buena, one hundred forty miles farther 
north, and it was vital that he get to him. He had a few written words 
signed by the American alcalde rolled in a cigar carried in his hair. Colton 
says : "He was quite exhausted. I ordered him a bowl of cofTee and a hearty 
supper. He slept three hours. In the meantime I secured fresh horses for 
him, and penned a permit to press others wdien these should flag. Fle was up 
and away before dawn." Colton was not inclined to give credit when not 
due, especially to those of the lower walks in life, so we may believe this 
story of an awful ride over the trails and mountain passes between Los 
Angeles and San Francisco, or Yer])a P.ucna, as it was then called, "luan 
Flaco" died at Stockton in 1863. 

Gillespie surrendered to Florcs with the understanding that he might 
march under arms to San Pedro and embark for Alonterey. The garrison 
at San Diego escaped on board a whaler that lay at anchor in that harbor. 
This garrison was in the command of Captain Merritt of Bear Flag fame. 
Lieutenant Talbot at Santa Barbara, though having only ten men, refused 
to surrender when surrounded by two hundred Californians on horseback. 
The little garrison escaped in the night and were hunted over the hills 
and through the canons back of the town for some time. The country was 
even set on fire to rout them out of their hiding, but a little canon of pines 
concealed them until Cholo, an Indian chief, found them and conducted them 
safely to the San Joaquin valley. From there, though half starved, they 
made their way to Alonterey, traveling probably full}' five hundred miles. 

Flores seemed to now have the country at his disposal with an army 
of three hundred to do his bidding. He issued a proclamation promising 
death to all Americans and confiscation of ]:)roperty. He called upon all 
Californians between the ages of fifteen and sixty to rally to arms and 
promised them death if they opposed him. W'lien Stockton received John 
Brown's news he sailed in the '■Sa\ainiah" for San IV'drn, wliore he found 
Gillespie ajid his men on the ■■\'andalia" in llie liarlxir. ()ctw])er 7, the forces 
were landed and started for Los Angeles. They were met by a party under 
Flores and Jose Antonio Carrillo on horses, and having a four-pound field 
piece. The Americans on foot, armed with muskets, were no match for their 
enemies; so after five of them were killed and others wounded, they retreated. 
The next day they re-embarked and sailed for Monterey, an<ither ojiportunity 
for ending the rumpus gone. 

Stockton sailed from San Francisco. October 2.^, and when he reached 
San Diego, found that Merritt had retaken it. He set his men at work making 
saddles, harness and bridles, preparatory to marching on Los .Vngeles. 

In September, when Fremont was holding San Diego, he started Kit 
Carson and a small party to Washington to tell of the capture of California. 



46 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

The\' went by the old Santa Fe route and on the Rio Grande met Stephen 
\\". Kearn}' and an army on their way to California. When Kearny heard 
that his army was not needed here, he left it in New Alexico to help hold 
things even there, and with one hundred dragoons, guided by Carson, has- 
tened on to California, reaching the crossing of the Colorado in November 
with exhausted men and famished horses. 

There he learned of this second uprising and the need of his army left 
in New Mexico. Stockton was sent word of his arrival and of his condition. 
Stockton sent fifteen men under Gillespie and Beal to help the forlorn rem- 
nant to San Diego. On December 6, at San Pasqual, an Indian rancheria, 
they were met by one hundred sixty Californians under General Don 
Andres Pico. A fight ensued. Three ofificers and sixteen men were killed. 
The horses drawing one of the howitzers became scared, stampeded and 
were lost, cannon and all. Kearny took position on a rocky elevation, but 
having neither food nor water, knew he was doomed unless help came. 
That night Carson, Beal and an Indian made their way through the enemies' 
line and succeeded in reaching San Diego. Lieutenant Gray and others went 
to the rescue, Pico fled, and at last Kearn}^ and his dragoons reached San Diego. 

January 8, 1847, the Americans with Kearny and his men, a force num- 
bering six hundred, met the Californians, five hundred in number, at the San 
Gabriel river. The Americans forded the river, drove the enemy from their 
entrenchments and camped on the field. January 9, the battle of the Mesa 
took place, victory being with the Americans. On January 10 they took 
possession of Los Angeles, while the Californians. with glistening lances, 
looked on from the near-by hills. 

Fremont Goes North for Recruits 

Ncjw we must go back to Fremont, wdiu \vas in the northern part of the 
state seeking more help. In November, 1846, he organized a battalion of 
four hundred twenty-eight men. Among them were his mountaineers who 
crossed the plains with him, some Walla AA'alla Indians, and a few men 
lately arrived from the East. No gay uniforms clothed this army. Buck- 
skin, woolen of all colors, slouched hats or coon-skin caps, clothed the white 
men. The Indians wore their nakedness, paint and war bonnets. The only 
music was a l)attered bugle. All were mounted and four hundred horses, 
])esides pack-mules and beeves, were driven along. 

On Novcinl)er 15, former Consul Larkin was captured while on his way 
to San Juan. The Californians proposed to make him write notes to different 
members of Fremont's battalion, asking them to come to him. Fie refused, 
knowing that the object was to capture them if they came. Fie was threat- 
ened with death, but refused to write. They carried him prisoner to Los 
Angeles, and he was not restored to liberty until the Americans won the 
state. November 28, Fremont left San Juan, and reached San Miguel Decem- 
ber 10. The cattle brought along for food were all gone, but the sheep at 
San Miguel furnished mutton instead. His horses were worn out, as there 
was almost no grass left at this season; so they were turned loose with 
bridles and saddles, and driven forward by the horse guard. The battalion 
left San Miguel on foot, December 14, the rain pouring. At noon cattle were 
killed and dinner (just meat) prepared. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 4/ 

San Luis Obispo Captured 

The battalion reached the foot of Cuesta grade during tlie night, the 
rain still coming in torrents. Don Mariano Bonilla and his family lived in the 
Canada and were made prisoners to prevent them from warning the enemj' that 
was thought to be in waiting for them at San Luis Obispo. In reality there 
was no military force at San Luis Obispo. Fremont's men struggled along in 
the pitchy, wet night and the foremost halted on the outskirts of the town, 
waiting for the rest to come up. The artillery was still in the rear with the 
pack animals. What a trip that must have l)eeii over the old Cuesta road ! 
Picture, if you can, getting any sort of artillery over the mountains in the 
deep mud and inky darkness with tired, worn-out, half starved animals for 
power. The town lay in darkness and Fremont supposed, when he saw one 
solitary light go out or disappear, that an armed force was waiting to receive 
him. Fremont formed his men in column, the bugles sounded "Charge" and 
three hundred horsemen dashed down the main street, the Indians sounding 
their war-whoops. The row aroused the sleeping people and ])anic ensued. 
All were declared prisoners and San Luis Obispo was taken "without blood- 
shed." 

Two are said to have escaped and carried news of the capture to the 
outside populace on the ranchos. The soldiers were quartered in the Mission 
buildings and some in the church, where a guard was set to see that the 
altar and church decorations were not disturbed by sacrilegious hands. 

Pico a Prisoner 

Don Jose de Jesus Pico, who had taken part in several insurrections or 
revolutions, was brought in from the house of a friend and made a prisoner. 
He was tried on the charge that he had written a letter to some of his 
friends denouncing the manner in which Fremont's army was taking horses 
from the Californians, depriving them of caring for their cattle, in thus 
taking away the horses. Also that he had broken his parole and was inciting 
the Californians against the Americans. A most natural thing to do, surely, 
all considered ; still it was held punishable with death and the court-martial 
so pronounced it. The letter. Pico was accused of having written had been 
found on an Indian, December 15. The Indian had been tied to a tree, 
Indians from a near-by rancheria driven in to witness the proceedings, and 
a file of soldiers ordered to fire upon the wretched creature. It is said the 
letter was never made public. This occurred just south of San ]\figuel, near 
Paso Robles. 

Tlie day after entering the town Fremont's men threw up earth-works 
on the elevation just beyond the present Andrews Hotel and back of the 
courthouse, the artillery so placed as to command the approaches to the 
town, for it was believed a large force of Californians was somewhere close 
at hand. Pico was sentenced, on December 16, to be shot the next day. 
lie was not in arms when taken, and the whole thing has since been con- 
demned. 

Pico's Life Saved 

Early on the morning of December 17, a procession of women, with 
faces covered, some weeping audibly, led by a stately, beautiful woman with 
face upturned as if in prayer, passed down the corridor of the Mission to 



48 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Fremont's headquarters, where, on bended knees, they besought his mercy, 
begging for the life of their friend and relative, Don Jose de Jesus Pico. 
Fremont was obdurate at first, but the women still knelt before him and 
at last, a few minutes before the time wdien Pico was to have been shot, 
pardon was granted, at least his life was spared. He was taken with Fre- 
mont, a prisoner to Los Angeles. The beautiful woman who led the pro- 
cession was Doiia Ramona Wilson, mother of Romualdo Pacheco, whose 
father had been killed at Los Angeles by Avila. This son later became 
go\ernor oi the state. 

The Departure of Fremont 

On December 18, about ten in the morning, the army started south, 
the expected enemy not having appeared. Fremont and his frontiersmen 
first, then the settlers who had joined him, then the Walla Walla Indians, 
and last a small band of California Indians under their chief, Antonio. All 
were in bad shape, draggled, wet and dirty. They traveled on through 
mud and rain for a week, then went into camp at Santa Ynez ^lission, 
December 24. Fremont seems to have taken his men over difficult moun- 
tain trails in order to avoid an encounter with the enemy he believed 
traveling to meet him by the easier road along the coast. They were 
now in sore straits for food and the "aguardiente" they found in the 
^Mission in abundance turned the men for the time being into hungry, 
but happy drunks. They drowned with liquor their memories of happier 
Christmases, as men in like straits have often done. Christmas morn broke 
bright and cheerful. Fremont, having been warned bj- Capt. Isaac J. Sparks 
and Mr. Foxen not to attempt Gaviota pass, as it was strongly guarded, 
led the men o\er a narrow trail now known as San Marcos pass. On top 
of the mountain a fearful cold blast almost froze the men, but they rolled 
and stumbled on, for rain and wind now tore down the canon, almost sweeping 
the men into the gorge below. Some of the horses did go over into the 
canon and perished. The horses were turned loose to do the best they 
could for themselves. The two pieces of artillery were left somwhere on 
the Santa Ynez mountains. 

I'icture those men, half clad, hungry and some shoeless, crawling and 
stumbling over the rocky pass in the storm on Christmas day, 1846, and 
take off your hats to those who saved this state to be one of the brightest 
stars in the galaxy of our national diadem. At the foot of the pass on a 
strip of level land the battered soldiers tried to make camp. A few little fires 
were got to burn, but the cold was terrible. All night men half dead 
from exposure straggled into camp. The army found no resistance at Santa 
Barliara and went on to Los Angeles too late to take part in the fighting 
in the south ; but they had certainly shown their zeal for the cause, winning 
California for the United States. The Californians surrendered to Fremont 
at Cahuenga pass, a treaty of peace was negotiated and the war of conquest 
ended January 13, 1847. 

Terms of Peace 

P'remont sent I\Iajor Pearson B. Reading, Lieutenant Louis McLane 
and Captain \\'illiam II. Russell to Cahuenga pass, where Jose Antonio 
Carrillo and Augustin Olivera of the California forces met them. The 
treaty was arranged and signed January 13, 1847. By its terms all the Cali- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 49 

fornians were to deliver all guns and artillery to Fremont, return peacealjly 
to their homes, promising to obey the laws of the United States, and not 
again take up arms during the war between the United States and Mexico, 
but to aid in preserving peace in California. Fremont guaranteed protec- 
tion to life and property, and no one had to take the oath of allegiance until 
a treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico was made and 
signed. Any Californian so desiring could leave the country, and those 
choosing to remain should lun-e all the rights and pri\-ileges of American citi- 
zens. Three days later, at Los Angeles, another item was added whereby all 
prisoners of both parties were released and all paroles and terms thereof 
canceled. The men from both sides appointed to arrange this treaty signed 
this and Fremont affixed his signature as Military Commander of California. 
This ended the insurrection. The Californians knew a nation stronger than 
themselves possessed the land ; and thus was born the state of the golden 
poppy. 

Governors of California .after the Conquest 

\Vhen Sloat raised the flag, July 7, 1846, at Monterey, California passed 
under the government of the United States. Sloat, by virtue of his office 
as commander of the American vessel that raised the flag, was governor; 
but he never assumed the title, only issued a few proclamations. On July 17, 
1846, he resigned his authority to Capt. Robert F. Stockton, who added 
governor to his title. After the second occupation of Los Angeles, Stockton,' 
on January IS, 1847, appointed John C. Fremont governor, and himself 
returned to the command of his ship. As has already been told, Gen. Stephen 
W. Kearny had arrived in California without his army, having left it in New 
Mexico. He carried orders from Washington to organize a civil government 
in California if he conquered it. He certainly had done very little, compared 
with Fremont, in conquering the state. Stockton felt that he should be 
ahead of Kearny. Fremont's men blamed him for holding them back by his 
many detours, thus preventing them from getting to Los Angeles in time to 
share in the fighting. They could not get their pay ; they blamed him for 
the awful hardships of the winter march, and for his liberality towards the 
Californians in allowing them all to go unpunished. His soldiers returned 
north, but Fremont remained in Los Angeles, calling it the capital. The 
Californians liked him because of his generous treaty terms, and in the 
south he had no trouble being governor. Early in March letters from Wash-' 
ington arrived for Kearny addressing him as governor, and that settled it. 
Kearny sent out a circular proclamation by couriers to all parts of the 
state, and when the news reached Los Angeles it resulted in Fremont's 
great ride. 

Fremont's Great Ride 

Fremont at once set out for Monterey to see what could be done. With 
him were Don Jesus Pico, who.se life he had spared at San Luis Obispo, 
and who was now a strong friend ; also a servant, Jacob Dodson. They left 
with three horses apiece, so as to be able to change every twenty miles or so. 
They left early in the morning of March 22. Dodson or Pico lassoed the 
horses, which ran loose with the riders, when they desired to change mounts. 
Over the rough mountains and across deep caiions the riders sped until, at 
El Rincon, they were obliged to ride for fifteen miles in the surf that at 



50 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

times almost covered them. Twilight was creeping over the sea when they 
at last reached the home of Don Thomas Robbins, who had married a 
sister of William Dana's wife. They had ridden one hundred and twenty 
miles. They stayed at the Robbins ranch over night, and the horses refreshed 
themselves on the abundant green grass. The next morning they were away 
over the spurs of the Santa Barbara mountains and close to the steep ridge 
where, the Christmas before, Fremont had taken his men over San Marcos 
pass through the awful storm. By evening they were at Captain Dana"s 
home on the Nipomo, where the}" ate supper ; but Don Jesus's home and friends 
were at San Luis Obispo, so they pressed on, reaching there at nine o'clock, 
one hundred thirty-five miles for that day's ride. The friends of Pico and 
Fremont were bent on entertaining the guests royally, and an elaborate 
breakfast was insisted upon ; so it was eleven o'clock when, with eight 
fresh horses, the party resumed the ride. 

At eight in the evening they lay down in their blankets for a few hours 
sleep, seventy miles from San Luis Obispo. There bears stampeded the 
horses. They were at length caught up, and early in the morning the party 
rode forward. At sunset they rode into Monterey, having ridden ninety 
miles that day. Fremont had an interview with Kearny, who showed him 
no orders, but commanded him to return to Los Angeles and send his soldiers 
to Monterey by sea ; while he, himself, was to follow by land. 

Colton tells this story of the return ride. "The two horses ridden from 
San Luis to ^Monterey were a present to him from Don Jesus, who now- 
desired Fremont to test their strength. They were brothers, one a year 
younger than the other, both beautiful satin-coated (los canelos). Fremont 
mounted the older of the two, that with tossing head and streaming mane 
gallantly led the rest. They started at four o'clock in the afternoon, the day 
after their arrival, rode forty miles that evening, and Fremont on the same 
horse rode ninety miles the next day. When thirty miles from San Luis 
Obispo he changed to the younger horse, thovigh Pico insisted the one ridden 
so far that day could easily finish the remaining thirty miles. However 
Fremont turned him loose, and he led the loos.e horses while the younger 
one swept ahead of all those under the saddle. The older horse, after 
carrying Fremont ninety miles, entered San Luis Obispo in the lead on a 
sweeping gallop, neighing with exultation and joy at the return to home 
pastures. All the eight horses had traveled one hundred and twenty miles 
each that day. A rainstorm held the party in San Luis Obispo until noon 
the next day, when they left on the horses ridden from Los Angeles and 
made the rest of the trip in equally good time. In all, they had ridden eight 
hundred and fort}' miles in seventy-six hours. 

Kearny as general had rank over Fremont as captain. Envy and jealousy 
played a large part in trumping up charges of disobedience to a superior 
officer. Fremont was ordered to Fortress Monroe, A'a., wdiere he was tried 
and ordered dismissed from the service. The President, after signing the 
order for dismissal from the army and the service, at once re-instated him to 
his rank and asked him to enter the service. Fremont refused. He had 
endured enough of "military precedence." The people, to show their sym- 
pathy, nominated him for President, and he made a close run with his 
opponent. He entered the Civil War as a volunteer and was mustered out 
Major General. He died in New York, Julv 13, 1890. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 51 

CHAPTER V 
Spanish Grants and Old Families in San Luis Obispo County 

THE GRANTS 

The following is a list of the grants made in San Luis Obispo County. 
A few Spanish grants were made prior to the secularization of the missions, 
but the most were made later by the Mexican government. By the treaty 
with Mexico, the landholders were guaranteed their possessions. A com- 
mission was appointed to hear testimony and settle claims. The decision 
of the commission might be appealed to the United States District and Su- 
preme courts. In many cases long litigation followed the commission's de- 
cisions, and often the costs of the suits ate up the land in question. Taking 
the San jMiguel Mission lands, they were divided into the Ascunsion rancho of 
39,224.81 acres, and the Atascadero, 4,348.23 acres. These were at one time 
owned by Martin Murphy, and later by his sons, P. W. and James Murphy. 
P. W. Murphy also owned the Santa Margarita ranch, in all about 70,000 
acres, in this county, 'and the Cojo ranch of 9,000 acres in Santa Barbara 
county. The Cholame grant of 13,919.82 acres was given to Mauricio Gon- 
zalez. The Santa Ysabel,. 17,774.12 acres, was granted to Francisco Arce; 
the Huer-Huero, to Jose Mariano Bonilla, 15,684.95 acres. Paso de Roblcs 
grant, 25,993.18 acres, became the property of James and Daniel Blackburn 
and D. L. James, a brother-in-law of the Blackburn brothers. Piedra Blanca, 
48,805.59 acres, was granted to Jose de Jesus Pico. Later owners were Juan 
Castro, heirs of Mariano Pacheco, and Peter Gillis. At present this and the 
Santa Rosa grant are owned by W. R. Hearst and are known as the Hearst 
Ranch. One of Mr. Hearst's vaqueros, it is said, is the son of Julian Estrada, 
who once owned the Santa Rosa grant and lived in feudal style. This ranch 
controls almost fifteen miles of seacoast and the fine harbor of San Simeon 
bay, where large seagoing vessels can and do anchor at the wharf. The San 
Simeon grant of 4,468.81 acres was granted to Jose Ramon Estrada; San 
Geronimo, 8,893.35 acres, was granted to Rafael Villavicencio; Morro y 
Cayucos, 8,845.49 acres, to Martin Olivera and Vicente Feliz ; San Bernardo, 
4,379.43 acres, to Vicente Canet; San Luisito, 4,389.13 acres, to Guadalupe 
Cantua; Canada del Chorro, 3,160.99 acres, to John Wilson and James Scott; 
El Chorro or Huerta de Romualdo, 117.13 acres, to an Indian, Romualdo, but 
it soon passed to another person ; Canada de Los Osos, 32,430.70 acres, to 
Victor Linares, Francisco P.adillo, James Scott and John Wilson. 

Potrero de San Luis Obispo, containing 3,506.33 acres, went to Maria 
Concepcion Boronda ; Santa Fe, 156.76 acres, to Victor Linares; La Laguna, 
one league mission land, 4,157.02 acres, confirmed to Archbishop Joseph 
Sadoc Alemany ; San Miguelito, 22,135.89 acres, to Miguel Avila ; Corral de 
Piedra, 30,911.20 acres, to Jose Maria Villavicencio; Pismo, 8,838.89 acres, to 
Isaac J. Sparks; Arroyo Grande or San Ramon, 4,437.58 acres, to Zeferino 
Carlon ; Santa Manuela, 16,954.83 acres, to Francis Z. Branch ; Balsa tie 
Chemisal, 14,335.22 acres, to Francisco Ouijada; Nipomo grant of 37,887.91 
acres, to William G. Dana. 

Suey was granted to Ramona de Carillo Wilson ; the entire ranch con- 
tained 48,234.77 acres, 24,497 acres lying in this county and the remainder in 



52 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Santa Barbara county. Huasna, 22,152.99 acres, was given to Isaac J. Sparks; 
Tepesquet, 2,950 acres in San Luis Obispo County, and 5,950.75 acres in 
Santa Barbara county, to Tomas Olivera ; Santa Margarita, 17,734 acres, to 
Joaquin Estrada ; Atascadero, 4,348.23 acres, to Triphon Garcia ; Ascunsion 
39,224.81 acres, to Pedro Estrada; Paso de Robles, 25,993.18 acres, to Pedro 
Narvaez; Mission San Luis Obispo, 52.72 acres, to Catholic Church; lot in 
Mission San Luis Obispo, one acre, to John Wilson. The public library of 
San Luis Obispo now stands on that lot. 

In the majority of cases these great grants were literally sold for a 
song to the American settlers when they came in. At the present time only 
a very few are held in part by the heirs of those who received the grants. 
The Huasna rancho was divided by Mr. Sparks among his three daughters, 
Mrs. Flora Harloe, Mrs. Rose Porter and Mrs. Sallie Harkness. These 
ladies either still own part of their inheritance, or held it until it commanded 
a good price. The Nipomo grant was subdivided among the heirs of William 
G. Dana, and some of his sons still own portions of it. Members of the 
Branch family still own a small portion of the Santa Manuela and Arroyo 
Grande ranches. So far as can be learned, all the other great grants have 
passed out of the possession of the original holders. ' 

About fifteen years ago the grandson and granddaughter of Jose Maria 
Villavicencio, known as Villa, found and homesteaded a piece of govern- 
ment land in the hills back of Nipomo. The granddaughter is a teacher in 
the county, a fine woman, who, with her brother, has for years made -a 
comfcjrtable home for their mother. This mother as a girl dressed in silks 
and wore her satin dancing slippers. As a wife and mother she toiled on a 
little ranch to raise the family, and saw others grow rich and live in luxury 
on the lands of the Corral de Piedra that her father sold for so little. No 
wonder some of these Spanish women of the olden days refuse to speak the 
language of the Americans. To them the Americans spelled ruin, and their 
girlhood memories were embittered because their Spanish fathers were not 
able to cope with the keen Yankee business of the "Gringos." 

OLD FAMILIES 
John M. Price 

John M. Price came to California in 1830. lie was born in Bristol, Eng- 
land, in 1810. From there he went to sea at the age of fifteen and before he 
was eighteen was on a whaling vessel in the Pacific. With a companion he 
ran away while on shore in western Mexico to escape the brutal treatment of 
his captain. For six or seven years Mr. Price worked on the cattle ranches 
of the Salinas valley, in what is now Monterey county. He then came down 
and went to work on the Nipomo for William Dana, being paid fifteen dollars 
per month. Alvarado, the Mexican governor, had made promises to an 
American, Isaac Graham, who had helped him win over Guiterrez as governor 
of the state. Those promises Alvarado now refused to fulfil and determined 
to rid himself of Graham and all the other Americans. On one pretext or 
another he induced "the foreigners" to come by twos and threes to IMonterey, 
when he arrested them and threw them into prison, until he had one hundred 
sixty prisoners. He placed them on a ship and started them to Mexico, 
stopping at Santa Barbara. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 53 

One day in May, 1840, a band of soldiers arrived at the Dana ranch 
and arrested Price. He was taken to Santa Barbara and placed with the 
other prisoners. At Monterey it was debated whether shooting the prisoners 
would not be best ; but a vessel, the "Don Quixote," came into port, and the 
captain learned Alvarado's plan and induced him to send the captives to San 
Bias for trial. The "Don Quixote" followed the ship having on board the 
prisoners. At Santa Barbara, they were taken off the vessel and put in prison 
there, where one, an Englishman, died from the cruel treatment they were all 
subjected to. After a few days at Santa Barljara, the men were taken l)ack to 
the ship and the vessels sailed for Tepic. Plere an appeal was made to the 
American consul, who seemed to do nothing; then the English consul was 
asked to interfere. He got the prisoners released, and allowed $3.50 per 
week for rations. 

The men now demanded compensation of the Mexican government and 
after months were offered $400.00 each, and all to be set free at San Bias. 
All but fifteen accepted these terms. Among the latter was Price. These 
men demanded to be returned to their homes and compensated in full for 
their losses and sufferings. They were settled with, and returned to Mon- 
terey after six months' absence. In 1846, Mr. Price lived in an old adobe 
near where the town of Arroyo Grande is. Fremont, on his way from San 
Luis Obispo to Los Angeles, stopped at the ranch, but after a short parley 
went on. "Uncle Johnnie Price" was the friend of all, and during his latter 
years dressed in a neat gray suit and silk hat. He was a familiar figure 
on the streets of Arroyo Grande, where the writer first met him in 1900, still 
hale and hearty. He owned 7,000 acres at Pismo and held many public offices 
which will be mentioned later. He died at his home, June 4, 1902, at the 
age of eighty-two. He is buried in the Catholic cemetery at ,\rroyo (jrande. 

William G. Dana 

On the Nipomo lived ^\'ill^am G. Dana and his family. Mr. Dana was 
born in Massachusetts in 1797. He came of a fine family, among them min- 
isters, statesmen, authors, poets and men of the sea. At the age of eighteen, 
he went to China on board his uncle's vessel. He determined to enter the trade 
with China and India and later we find him captain of the "Waverly," plying 
between this coast, the Sandwich islands and the Orient. In 1825 he estab- 
lished a store at Santa Barbara. The handsome young American fell in love 
With Dofia Maria Josefa Carrillo, daughter of a wealthy Spanish family of 
Santa Barbara, and he applied to Mexico for citizenship. Things did not 
move fast enough to suit the ardent lover, so he applied to the governor of 
California for permission to marry the lady at once. The governor said he 
must wait five months, or until his papers of naturalization were forwarded. 
In August, 1828, the marriage was celebrated with great ceremony. The 
same year he built the first vessel ever launched in California. The place 
where it slipped into the sea still bears the name Goleta (schooner). In 
1835 he secured the Nipomo (foot of the hill) grant and in 1839 came there 
to live. A big adobe house of thirteen rooms was built, and a lavish hos- 
pitality characterized the Dana home. Often marauding bands of Tulare 
Indians had to be driven off or suffered to drive off the cattle. Mr. Dana 
established a soap factory, furniture factnr\-. l<ir«ms for weaving and black- 



54 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

smitli shops. He sold his goods to neighboring ranches, and to the Santa 
Ynez and La Purisima missions. 

He brought home from his voyage quantities of sandal and other valuable 
woods. From these he made beautiful furniture, tables, bedsteads and ward- 
robes. Mr. Dana held the office of Prefecto under the Mexican rule. At 
the first election for state officers in 1849, he received a large vote for state 
senator; but some informalities awarded the election to Don Pablo de la 
Guerra. In 1851 he was the first county treasurer elected. Twenty-one 
children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dana. He died February 12, 1858, and is 
buried in the Catholic cemetery at San Luis Obispo, where a fine monument 
marks his resting-place. 

Francis Ziba Branch 

Francis Ziba Branch was born in New York, July 24, 1802. His father 
died before he could remember him, and as soon as he was able the boy 
had to become self-supporting. He went to work on the Erie canal, then on 
the Great Lakes and Mississippi river boats. At St. Louis he joined a party 
of one hundred fifty men, with eighty-two ox-drawn wagons, bound for 
Santa F'e, N. M. Later Mr. Branch joined a party under William Wolfskill, 
bound for California. In this state Mr. Branch engaged in hunting the sea 
otter. He made enough capital to set up a store at Santa Barbara. In 
1835 he married Dona Manuela Corlona. In 1837 he received his great land 
grants on the Arroyo and the Santa jNIanuela, amounting to almost 17,000 
acres. Later he became owner of the Huer-Huero and Pisnio grants. He 
came to live upon his Arroyo grant and built a large adobe house. To pro- 
tect his stock from Indians and bears, he kept his horses in a large corral. 
A bell was kept on one of the animals to warn him if they were disturbed. 
One night the steady tinkling of the bell aroused his suspicions. He went 
out and found an Indian steadily ringing the bell, while the corral was 
empty of horses. The rifle ball he sent after the thief missed, but soon Price, 
Sparks, Dana, Branch and others organized against the thieves, and more than 
one met his dues at the hands of the ranchers. 

Bears were a great pest, killing the stock, and Mr. Branch related how, 
on one occasion, a bear killed a cow and partly ate the carcass. A pit was 
arranged, covered with brush, and in this Branch and a companion hid, 
hoping to get bruin the following night when he or she returned to finish 
the cow. It proved to be "she" and her cub. Branch shot the cub, and the 
cries of her child enraged the mother beyond telling. She tore around the 
dead body, leaping at the trees, tearing great strips of bark from them. 
Neither of the men in the pit dared reload and fire, so they stayed till morn- 
ing, when the maddened creature left. On another occasion Mr. Branch said 
he saw nine bears at one time eating berries in the thickets on the hillside. 
He had his rifle and had gone out intending to shoot a bear if he saw one. 
To shoot nine was more than he wanted to tackle, so he quietly "got out." 

Michael Daugherty, "Old Mike," was a valued servant on the place; and 
one time when a bear had killed a calf, he skinned the calf, put on the skin 
with head and horns attached, and "lay" for the bear. Fie also got it when it 
came back to finish the calf. In a copy of the San Luis Tribune, 1877, Hal 
Williams writes of a visit to the Branch estate. In the old adobe house one 
room was used for a school room ; and fifteen children, mostly scions of the 
Branch family, were lacing taught there. In another room Old Mike, now 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND . ENVIRONS - 55 

blind and eighty years of age, was being cared for. He said one day, while 
talking to Williams, "I don't know where old man Branch has gone, but 
wherever he is, he wants Mike." A few months later, November 3, 1877, 
Old Mike went to his master. 

Mr. Branch at one time was the wealthiest man in the county, owning 
37,000 acres of land and great herds of cattle and horses ; but the dry years 
of 1862-63-64 almost ruined him and many others. In the beginning of 1863 
he had 20,000 head of large cattle ; before the close of 1864 he could gather 
less than 800 alive. Early in 1863 a cattle buyer from the north offered him 
twenty-eight dollars a head for his cattle ; Branch refused and the deal Avas 
off. By failing to sell at the price oiifered, he lost $96,000. He was a man 
well liked and was elected treasurer of the county and supervisor of his dis- 
trict. He died J\Iay 8, 1874, and is buried in the family burying ground on 
tTie Santa ]\lanuela ranch. His descendants still live on portions of the old 
grants and in the towns of Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo. 

Isaac J. Sparks 

Mr. Sparks was born in ]\laine in 1804. With his father he went west and 
finally went to St. Louis, leaving there in 1831, with a party bound for Santa 
Fe. He had many adventures on the way, but finally reached California in 
February, getting into Los Angeles, February 10, 1832. Here trouble awaited 
him ; for by the laws, no one without a passport was allowed, and he was 
made a prisoner. He soon escaped ; and without a cent in his pocket, but 
still possessed of a gun, he started to reach the coast at San Pedro. He shot 
a sea otter and thus began a business that he followed for years, reaping a rich 
harvest from it. The business then often yielded from seventy to one hundred 
thirty otter skins a year to each hunter, and the skins sold for from twenty- 
five to forty-five dollars each. He had, by 1848, established a large business, 
and had his headquarters at Santa Barbara. He decided to go further north 
for otter and took four boats and twenty men to Cape Mendocino. Hostile 
Indians drove them off and they returned to Yerba Buena. Here the gold 
excitement demoralized his crew ; they sought the mines and Sparks returned 
to Santa Barbara and engaged in storekeeping. He was the first postmaster 
at that place under the L^nited States government. He was a firm friend of 
the .American cause in California, and of Fremont. He advanced $25,000 
worth of supplies in cattle, horses and other things to the army, and appealed 
in vain to the government for payment. He erected the first fine brick build- 
ing in Santa Barbara. Mr. Sparks obtained from the Mexican government 
two grants, the Pluasna and Pismo. The latter he sold to John M. Price and 
the Huasna lie gave to his three daughters, as previously mentioned. 

Francis E. Quintana 

Francisco l^stevan Quintana came here from Mexico in 1843. He pur- 
chased 6,000 acres of land, owned much town property and was one of the 
pioneer business men of San Luis Obispo. His son, Pedro Quintana, lives 
in a fine home in this city at the present time (1917). Francisco E. Quintana 
died in 1880, at the age of seventy-nine years. 

In a previous chapter Captain John Wilson and famih- were mentioned. 
The members of those prominent early Spanish families that once lived 
here are now few and fast passing away. Mrs. Ramona Hillard, daughter 



56 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

of Dona Ramona Carrilld A^'ilsl>n, died in 1913, and is Iniried here. Mrs. 
Estafana Esquar. dantihter tif Governor Alvarado, and wife of E. Esqnar, at 
one time superior judge of Monterey, died at her home in San Luis Obispo 
in September, V>\(k Mrs. Esquar would tell of looking on with all the others 
at Monterey when the Mexican flag went down and the Stars and Stripes 
went up. She had resided here for sixty years and was eighty-four when 
she died. At her wedding the military band from the L\ S. battleship ".Savan- 
nah." lying in the harbor, came out in all their jximp of uniform and furnished 
music for the occasion. Officers in full regalia and all the grandees attended 
the ceremony. 



CHAPTER VI 
Discovery of Gold, and Early History of the County 

Kearny was recognized liere as governor, but on Novemlicr 7, 1846, Col. 
R. B. ^lason was dispatched by General Scott, Commander-in-chief of the 
U. S. Army, with a letter to Kearny, dated November 3, 1846. Mason came 
by way of Panama, arriving in San Francisco, February 13, 1847. This letter 
charged Kearny to assure himself that all was quiet here, and then to turn 
over his authority to Colonel Mason, and to return with a proper escort of 
soldiers. The U. S. Dragoons that came with him were to remain here. 

July 4, 1848, the peace proclamation and its terms ending the war with 
IMexico were officially signed and published. 

Discovery of Gold 

January 19, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in the mill-race 
of Sutter's sawmill. Of all that followed, of the mad rush of gold-seekers, 
by wagon train and Panama or around the Horn, so much has been written, 
and so often, that we are not going to repeat it here. On February 28, 1849, 
the steamship "California" arrived in San Francisco bay, having on board 
Gen. Persifer F. Smith, who had come to take command of the department, 
relieving Mason. 

Governor Riley and the First Constitution 

The disco\-ery of gold had brought a great number of people to Cali- 
fornia, an<l a hundred thousand more were expected during the summer. 
The state so far had been under military government and no civil government 
had been established. The time had come when a suitable state constitution 
and government must be decided upon. On April 13, 1849, Brevet Brig. Gen. 
Bennett Riley issued a proclamation as commander of the department and 
goxernor of California. No longer were the people willing to be governed 
by a military governor and alcalde. Therefore, on June 3, 1849, Riley issued 
a ]iroclamation recommending the forming of a state or territorial government. 
Ten districts were named, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San 
Luis Obispo, Ab>nterey, San Jose, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Joaquin and 
Sacramento. 

The convention met in Colton's hall at ]\Ionterey, September 1, 1849. 
San Luis Oi)ispo sent Henry Amos Tefift and Jose AT. Covarrulnas to the con- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS :-'7 

ventinn, which was in session six weeks, adjourning sine die October 13. 
The Ixiundaries of the state were decided upon, and of course the discussion of 
slavery was introduced. There were seventy-three delegates to the con- 
vention. Of those American born, thirteen were from slave states. It was 
often reiterated, "This is a white man's government," and slavery or not for 
California was hotly discussed. William E. Shannon, a native of Ireland, 
was an ardent champion for a free state, and a free state California entered 
the Union, but with heavy restrictions upon the colored race. 

The two great interests of the state at that time were mining and graph- 
ing, and there were "cow counties" and "mining counties." A\'e were in the 
former class, and some folks still refer to us as "cow county." Long live the 
cow, for she has turned millions of dollars into our pockets, and we are plant- 
ing alfalfa for her, building good barns and toadying to Madam Cow generally ; 
but we do a few other things also, even mine a little. When taxes were dis- 
cussed, members from the cow counties saw to it that a clause went in read- 
ing: "All property shall be taxed according to its value." November 13, 1849, 
the people adopted the constitution by a \ote of 12,064 to 811. 

First State Election 

The first state election was held Novemlx-r 12, 1849. State and legislative 
officers were both chosen at this election. The Constitution had divided the 
state into assembly and senatorial districts, and San Luis Obispo and Santa 
Barbara counties formed one senatorial district. Don Pablo de la Guerra 
of Santa Barbara was chosen senator and Henry A. Tefift, assemblyman 
from San Luis Obispo County. Peter H. Burnett was chosen governor and 
John McDougal lieutenant governor; William Van Voorhies, secretary of 
state ; Richard Roman, state treasurer ; John I. Houston, comptroller ; E. J. C. 
Kewen, attorney general; Charles 'H. Whiting, surveyor general; S. C. Hast- 
ings, chief justice; J. A. Lyon and Nathaniel Bennett, associate justices of the 
supreme court. The constitution, if adopted, appointed December 15, 1849, 
for the opening of the assembly without waiting for the action of Congress. 
There were sixteen senators and thirty-seven assemblymen in the first Cali- 
fornia assembly which met at San Jose. E. Kirby Chamberlain was presi- 
dent pro tem and John Bigler, speaker. William M. Gwin and John C. Fre- 
mont were elected United States senators, and the congressmen were Gil- 
bert and Wright. 

These four men were instructed to go at once to Washington and urge 
Congress to admit California to statehood. Considerable discussion took place 
in Congress when the men from California made their request. The old 
slavery and anti-slavery wrangle had to be gone over. Some insisted that 
California must be a territory before she could be a state. After a long ses- 
sion and some compromising, California was admitted to the L'uion as a 
free state, September 9, 1850. 

A Jubilee 

October 18, 1850, the steamship "Oregon" entered the port n\ San I'ran- 
cisco firing repeated signals as she rounded Clark's Point, her masts literally 
covered with flags. A universal shout went up from the entire populace, 
which at the first firing of the signals had left homes and all places of 
business to hear the news they expected the ship was bringing. I'eople were 



58 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

crowded upon the wharves, the hills and house-tops, and the ships in the 
bay. From every throat leaped huzzas, flags of all nations were run up on 
the masts of the ships in the bay. An hour after the Oregon's arrival, the 
newsboys were crying the joyful tidings and selling papers for from one 
to five dollars each. The rejoicings continued all night. Cannons were fired, 
rockets hissed across the sky, bonfires blazed on the hills and it is safe to say 
no Fourth of July or Admission Day celebration since has ever equaled that 
celebration of October 18, 1850. 

Counties Established 

February 18, 1850, an act was passed by the assembly dividing the state 
into twcnt3'-seven counties and fixing their boundaries. The boundaries of 
San Luis Obispo County are practically the same as those fixed at that 
time. A little change was made in the southern boundary line a few years 
later, making it what it is today. San Luis Obispo was named as the county 
seat. The topography of the county has been described. The area is 3,284.3 
square miles ; its average length is sixty-two miles and average width sixty- 
four miles, though from the farthest eastern to its most western point is a 
distance of one hundred miles. 

First County Elections 

Tlic first county elections were ordered held on the first ^Monday in 
April, 1850. Tiie prefects of districts were to designate election precincts 
and name the officers of election. March 23, 1850, an act was passed pro- 
viding for general elections ; the first Monday in October of each year state 
and district officers were to be elected. County officers were to be elected 
the second Monday in April, 1852, and every two years thereafter. The 
officers of each county wore Id ]ic; one county judge, clerk, attorney, treas- 
urer, surveyor, sherifif, recorder, assessor and coroner. It was ordered to 
have printed in Spanish two hundred fifty copies of the act, and these 
were to be sent to the prefects of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Bar- 
bara, Los Angeles and San Diego, and by them distributed at their dis- 
cretion. 

J\Iarch 16, 1850, the state was divided into nine judicial districts; San 
Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties formed the second district. A 
"Court of Sessions," consisting of the county judge and two justices of the 
peace, exercised the administrative and financial authority until 1852, when 
these duties were passed over to the board of supervisors. The legislature 
adjourned April 2, 1850, and has come down in history as "The Legislature 
of a Thousand Drinks," some say because all the members w-ere so convivial; 
others say it was because on one occasion one member who felt very much 
like rejoicing, exclaimed, "Come on, boys, let's take a thousand drinks." 
Drinks or not, a pretty good job was accomplished, and some brilliant men 
sat in tliat first legislature. 

All have passed to the "Great Beyond," but here is a list of some of 
them. Senators: Salem E. Woodworth, David F. Douglass, Elean Heyden- 
feldt, M. G. \''allejo, Pablo de la Guerra, Thomas Vermeule, W. D. Fair, Elisha 
O. Crosby, David C. Brodcrick, Dr. E. Kirby Chamberlain, John Bidwell, 
H. C. Robinson, I'.cnjamin S. Lippincott. Assemblymen — Thomas J. White, 
Flam Brown, J. S. K. Ogier, Dr. E. B. Bateman, Edmund Randolph, E. P. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 59 

Baldwin, A. P. Crittenden, Alfred Wheeler, James A. Gray, Joseph Aram, 
Joseph C. Morehead, Dr. Benjamin Cory, Thomas J. Henly, Jose jM. Covar- 
rubias, Elisha W. McKinlev, John B. Tingley, John S. Bradford and Henry 
A. Tefft. 

The population of the county, in 1850, is given as three hundred thirty- 
six ; this did not include Indians, but there were not a great number of them. 
A few worked on the great ranches and several hundred probably lived in 
rancherias. Before 1850, William G. Dana had served as prefecto of this 
section. Victor Linares, Jose de Jesus Pico, John M. Price, Miguel Avila, 
Joaquin Estrada, Esteban Ouintana, J. M. Bonilla and others had been al- 
caldes. 

At the first election for county officers held April 14, 1850, the following 
were elected: J. Mariano Bonilla, judge; Henry J. Dally, sheriff; C. J. Free- 
man, clerk; Joacjuin Estrada, recorder; John ^^'ilson, treasurer; Joseph War- 
ren and Jesus Luna, justices of the peace. The court of sessions appointed 
Francis Z. Branch, assessor; William Hulon, county surveyor; and William 
Stener, harbor-master. Gabriel Salazar was appointed "judge of the plains." 
This was an important office, for these judges had charge of all questions 
relating to cattle, had to supervise the driving, branding, killing and ownership 
of the cattle on the great stock ranges. San Luis Obispo County had several 
judges of the plains after it became a county. The office had first been created 
under Mexican rule, but it was an office needed much under American rule 
as well. All records were kept in little books, much like the blank books 
used by children in school for their written work, and in the Spanish language. 
The court passed sentence as it thought best. In the case of Pedro IMar- 
quez, recorded as '"a criminal case between the state versus Marquez," the 
criminal was sentenced to three months imprisonment and $100.00 fine. The 
fine was evidently worked out on the ranches of "Juan" Price and "Guillermo" 
Dana, as there were certificates filed from these men stating the number of 
days he had worked for each. 

First Courthouse 

At the meeting of the court of sessions, August 20, 1850, the (luestion 
of a courthouse and jail came up. Rooms in the ^Mission had been used for 
holding court and for confining prisoners. The chapel and adjoining rooms 
were under the control of the priest, by order of Secretary Halleck. John 
Wilson and his partner, Scott, claimed the rest of the buildings, and the pub- 
lic also claimed and had used for all sorts of purposes, rooms of the wings. 
If Wilson owned the property, he was ordered to make repairs. The court 
took upon itself a good many powers. It ordered the people to put the 
roads in repair and keep them so ; closed to travel the road made by passengers 
from the entrance of the Cuesta to the Nipomo road, and a fine of ten dollars 
was imposed for each oft'ense of disobeying; arranged for tavern licenses 
to be granted only to residents. A gambling license cost fifteen dollars a 
month, rules in Spanish and English to be placed on view in each gambling 
resort. It appointed a superintendent of water to look after the irrigation 
rights. The one farthest from the dam could irrigate first, the others in 
order, and each "one hundred varas" of land could have water for forty-eight 
hours at a time. It allotted land in the town, where all cattle killed in the 
town nuist be slaughtered, aiul provided a penalty of two dollars fine for the 



60 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

first infraction of tlie law and twenty for the second. The streets were to be 
kept clean by the inhaljitants. All foot-paths in front of buildings must be 
swept by 8 A. AI. on Saturdays or a fine of two dollars would be im- 
posed; also on Saturdays the justice of the peace should see that a cart and 
two men clean away all street garbage. 

A prisoner, Francisco Garcia, was being held and the court ordered two 
dollars per night paid to each man necessary to watch him. No mention is 
made of the crime for which he was held. The days on which each cattle 
owner in the county might hold a rodeo were set and the "judge of the 
plains" was to be notified of a rodeo two days in advance. All brands and 
earmarks were to be registered. A piece of the town land was set aside as a 
sort of rancheria ; all Indians "with white masters" must live on this plot, 
and persons holding contracts with Indians for labor to be performed must 
publish the same without delay. Liquor could be sold to Indians on Sunday 
afternoons only between the close of church and sundown, and the Indians 
must go to a place designated to drink it. Behold the first "Sunday liquor 
law" of the county. 

Henry A. Tefift was elected the first judge of the second judicial district, 
viz. : this and Santa Barbara counties. ^lay 3, 1852, boards of supervisors were 
provided for, by an act of the legislature, for some counties, this being one. 
The supervisors took over the duties of the courts of sessions, and they ceased 
to be. The duties were about the same as for supervisors at present. The 
first Ijoard was composed of John Wilson, Francis Z. Branch, Joaquin 
Estrada, William G. Dana and Samuel A. Pollard. At the first meeting, Mr. 
Dana was declared "not eligible," as he was to be treasurer of the county; 
so ^^'illiam L. Beebee was appointed in his place. Each supervisor was to 
receive five dollars per day for each day's necessary attendance, and twenty- 
five cents per mile going, the miles to be estimated from his home to the place 
of meeting. They could not contract debts that would exceed the annual 
revenue of the county for county purposes. 

In 1850, the tax list showed sixty-two taxpayers and the amount of 
taxes placed at $4,150.67. Of this sum John Wilson paid S639.20; jesus Pico, 
$207.30; Rafael Villa, $176.57; Isaac J. Sparks, $260.80; Julian Estrada, 
$190.70; Joaquin Estrada, $296.50; W. G. Dana, $379.17; Vicente Canet, 
$122.10: F. Z. Branch, $431.52. The other sums ranged from $98.50 to the 
lowest, $4.50. Don Jose Jesus Pico got a change made in his taxes as you 
will see later. 

A Few Items of Interest 

March, 1852, $300 for repairing courthouse, $20 for lock to "gaol," $8 for 
county branding iron, $5 for interpreter. Licensed, two monte tables, @ 
$"35.00 per month; two billiard tables @ $10.00 per month; retailing liquor, 
$7.50 per (lunrter, nine bars licensed. Two peddler's licenses, @ $7.00 per 
month. Merchants, $1.00 per month, seven licensed. This is in 1852-53. 

.At a meeting of the court of sessions in December, 1851 the following 
business was transacted. County Judge Bonilla received $759.00 for three 
months' services ; all taxes could be paid in legal tender of the United States, 
foreig!! coins of fixed \aluc or gold dust at the rate of $16.00 Troy ounce; a 
jailor was appointed, pay $25.00 per month ; $36.00 per month allowed for 
each prisoner's l)oard. The clerk's salary was reduced from ten to six dol- 
lars per day "while attending upon the court." The county auditor got ten 



• SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 61 

dollars for the month of September, 1851; $300.00 was appropriated for 
courthouse furniture, to lie used presumably in a room of the Mission, 
"to wit, five common lienches, each eight feet long, two six feet long, one 
judge's liench five and a half feet long, to be raised twelve inches from the 
lloor, one seat for the associate judges ; one book case with pigeon-holes, one 
clerk's table, two smaller tables for use of lawyers, and a railing across the 
court-room with gate." The contract was awarded Rollin M. C. Hoyt, wit- 
nessed i)y F. I. Maguire, county clerk. 

A Little Episode not Confined Entirely to the Past 

An unassuming gentleman called upon Don Jesus Pico, asked for enter- 
tainment, and it was granted. During the visit the Don boasted of his wealth, 
family jewels, land and herds worth $22,000. Out came a little book and the 
assessor (it chanced to be he) entered Don Pico's taxable property in his 
lists. In January, 1852, the Don prayed the court of sessions to reduce his 
taxes; he was worth only $1,200. They were reduced. A little later the Don 
appeared, complaining that fifteen young mares had been omitted, and asked 
that the court add them. It did, and justice seemed to be satisfied. 

A Tribute to the Early Pioneers 

It is not our intention in this history of San Luis Obispo County to make 
it a record of political parties. It matters little to our readers whether the 
Republicans, Democrats or some other party won at this or that election. If 
anyone is especially interested in political records let him search the election 
returns for himself. Myron Angel's history of the county, published by 
Thompson & West in 1883, contains a record of every county election from 
1850 to 1883, and all are interesting; but in the space allotted us in this 
volume we w^ish to tell of the men and women who won our county from a 
wilderness to its present state of prosperity. Of their toils, dangers and suc- 
cesses we shall write. Few of those who first settled in the county won wealth 
or fame ; pioneers in any place seldom do. They break the way, sufl:'er priva- 
tions and loss, then die or give up in despair. The second and third genera- 
tions of settlers come, profit by the others' mistakes, find the foundations all 
laid and go on building up successful, prosperous lives, often thinking it is 
because they have the "gray matter" under their hats. It is nothing of the 
kind, it is because they have "reaped where others have sown." None of 
the men in San Luis Obispo County today, calling themselves rich, fought 
bears and cleared the "montes" for cultivation; neither have they been com- 
pelled to travel hundreds of miles on horseback, eat coarse fare and little of 
it, and wait for months for the letter their lonesome hearts were longing for. 
The pioneers have mostly gone to their graves made on lonely hillsides or in 
forgotten places. Some of these gra\es are marked by leaning headstones ; 
more are covered with weeds and briars. They have passed on among those 
"unhonored and unsung" on earth, but we have faith in the God who created 
souls brave and strong enough to dare the wilderness, to see that they are 
not unhonored in "the land of the hereafter." 



62 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

CHAPTER VII 
History from 1850 to 1860. A Land of Crimes 

The discovery of gold had apparent!)' no influence upon the history of 
this county. The gold frenzy was confined to the northern part of the state. 
From San Jose to Los Angeles the cattle business was the principal industry. 
Only two settlements large enough to be called villages even, existed in 1850, 
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Travel from one place to the other had 
to be by schooner or sailing vessel, and few stopped at our ports ; for there 
were no wharves, only "landings," and rarely a passenger; so on horseback 
down the Salinas valley, over the Santa Lucia mountains, through Cuesta 
pass to the first little town, and on by the coast trail to Santa Barbara and 
Los Angeles. Travel by land was very dangerous, for the whole region, 
especially south of Soledad, was infested by bands of desperadoes. Robber- 
ies and murders were of great frequency. The native Californians, with 
their hatred for the "Gringos" and fear of meeting a like fate at the same 
hands, would give no evidence against the villains, but harbored them, either 
through fear or for a share of the plunder. 

In 1852-53, the state was terrorized by a band of desperadoes that ranged 
the country under the leadership of Joaquin Murrieta. Another leader. Jack 
Powers, with his gang infested this and Santa Barbara counties, making 
excursions into other territory as well. In 1853, the legislature ordered the 
enlisting of a company of rangers to hunt Murrieta and the others. 

The company was known as Harry Love's Rangers, Love being the 
captain. Murrieta on more than one occasion was in San Luis Obispo living 
with his pals. At the end of Chorro street over near the mountains are two 
little adobe houses ; Murrieta is said to have lived in one, and another scoun- 
drel, Vasquez, in the other. In the spring of 1853 Murrieta and his gang came 
to town, first sending word that they were coming for a rest, before going on 
to Mexico; and if any one attempted to meddle with them, the town would 
be sacked. They arrived, a desperate, swarthy set, "armed to the teeth," and 
camped in the garden of the Mission. There. were only five or six Americans 
in town ; and knowing his hatred of them, they kept out of sight day times, 
and at night camped with their arms in Pollard's store. The building was 
an old adobe on the corner of Chorro and Monterey streets, where Fletcher's 
store now stands. Murrieta left town without making any "killings," only 
robbing a gambler of his ill-gotten gains. 

Jack Powers was a criminal and gambler in San Francisco in 1849. 
Fleeing from justice there, he organized a band of cutthroats and transferred 
his operations to this section. He would send out spies to find out when 
men would lie coming south to buy up cattle. Often these fellows repre- 
sented themselves as owning large herds seeking buyers. The buyers would 
set a time to come ; and few, if any, got south of the Nacimiento river, which 
became known as the "dark and bloody ground." Their disappearances 
remained mysteries so far as the courts were concerned, for reasons already 
given. Their bodies with bullet holes or gaping knife thrusts were often 
found beside the road ; or later in some ravine not far distant a bleached 
skeleton, with jierhaps enough clothing left for identification, would be found. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 63 

In November, 1857, two Frenchmen, Pedro Obiesa and Graciano, col- 
lected a band of cattle and started north, hiring a Mexican, Prolian, as 
vaquero. This man and Jack Powers saw the Frenchmen receive money 
before leaving San Luis Obispo. The following Monday, November 30, a 
horse race took place at Santa Margarita; Powers, Lenares and a band of 
"greasers" were present, and that night disappeared. At Paso Robles the 
Frenchmen received cattle and paid for them. Here Frolian left the cattle 
buyers, but a man named Nieves Robles appeared and asked to join the 
Frenchmen and travel with them to San Jose. That night their horses 
were stampeded. In the morning the two Frenchmen left camp, going in 
opposite directions to look for their horses. Neither ever returned. Robles 
made excuses twice during the day to the others at camp and went off, each 
time returning with his horse in a lather. The next inorning he left, saying 
he was going back to San Luis. A few days later Lenares, flush with money, 
was back in tow^n. At last, on December 20, Robles was taken from a 
gambling den on suspicion of the murder and jailed; Lenares at once went 
north and warned Powers, who came down on the next steamer and furnished 
Robles with cofifee, liquor and other comforts, at the same time urging 
Robles' attorney to get him released in some way. The night before the 
murder, Juan Pedro Olivera, a man of evil deeds, told another rascal what 
was to take place, mentioning every one in the plot. An Indian told of seeing 
one of the men murdered, the one found, by two men on horseback with 
reatas and pistols. One was never found. Robles was tried. He was a 
Californian, the murdered men only Frenchmen, and the Californians swore 
to kill every Frenchman in the county if Robles were convicted. W. J. 
Graves, the best lawyer in the county, was district attorney, but what could 
he do with a "packed" jury? One juryman was a fugitive from a murder 
committed; another, it was later learned, participated in the murder of the 
cattle buyers. 

Murder at San Juan 

The cattle buyers were murdered in the early part of December. In May 
two more Frenchmen, Bartolo Baratie and M. J. Borel, came down from 
Oakland to settle on the San Juan ranch, which was forty-five miles from San 
Luis Obispo, fifteen miles from the Mallah ranch, and six miles from the 
Comatti. They had two Californians for servants, Ysidero Silvas and Luis 
Murillo. On May 10, eight men appeared saying they were horse runners 
and wanted to buy food. The food was freely given to them. That night 
they slept in a hut apart from the rest, leaving on the morning of the eleventh. 
On the twelfth, Miguel Blanco, one of the party, returned saying he was not 
going to run his horse, and asked if he might unsaddle it there and rest. 
His request was granted. The Frenchmen were some distance from the 
house cleaning out a spring. The Californians were a short distance away 
cutting hay, but out of sight of the Frenchmen. Miguel Blanco stood on a 
little knoll that commanded a view of both parties. Suddenly he started 
towards the two Frenchmen. Baratie left his partner and started to go to 
the servants. Just as he reached them shots were heard from where Blanco 
and Borel were. The rest of the desperadoes rode up on horseback; and as 
Baratie appeared, Blanco shot him, wounding him in the shoulder. A bullet 
passed so close to the servant .Murillo that it singed his hair. Murillo, .Silvas 



64 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

and Baratie were then bound and driven to the house, where ]\Iadani Baratie 
was threatened, with death. The bandits then forced Baratie to show them 
the trunk the money was in. The captain of the band, Huer Rafael, poured 
the money, $2,700, onto a blanket, dividing it into eight piles, which were 
passed out to the eight murderers, for so they all were. Baratie and his wife 
begged for mercy and it was promised. Two of the villains, Luciano and 
Frolian, one of the gang that committed the double murder the December 
before, but still at large, were told to take Murillo and Silvas off and shoot 
them. They took them, still bound, some distance, but finally promised not 
to kill them if they stayed where they were told until dark. The thieves 
then returned to the rest of the gang. Meantime Baratie and his wife had 
been taken to a patch of willows. Here Baratie was shot before his wife's 
eyes. The poor woman covered her husband's body with his cloak and hat, 
and so he was found. 

Luciano returned after taking the servants away and was told off to 
take Airs. Baratie to his resort, the "Ctievas." He compelled her to mount a 
horse and started oft', promising her safet}'. For a week he took her by trails 
known only to the thieves, and at last arrived at a ranch, the "Pulvaderas," 
kept by a harborer of thieves. They stayed there one night, but the terri- 
fied woman dared not speak. At last he took her to San Juan, the old settle- 
ment near Hollister. She knew he was among accomplices and she held 
her peace. The house where Luciano left her was about a half mile out from 
the town and was kept by a fellow named Chavez. From there she took the 
stage and went to Oakland, let us hope to safety and friends. 

About five o'clock Murillo and Silvas went back to the house ; Borel lay 
dead with three shots in his body. They did not find Baratie in the willows. 
Everything had been rifled and the best clothing was gone. The horses were 
unmolested save a black horse, and a mare the woman rode. Murillo and 
Silvas went that night to the Estrella. On the morning of May 13 they 
went to Captain J\Iallah's ranch, now known as the Huer-Huero, and told 
their story, ^klallah at once saddled up and came with them to San Luis, 
where warrants were issued for the murderers as John Doe and Richard Roe. 
Mallah, Alurillo, Silvas and the sheriff walked about the town to see if they 
could locate any of the murderers. They stumbled on one, Santos Peralta, 
who was recognized as one of Chico Martinez's band of horse runners. Of 
course he denied his guilt, but part of the stolen clothing was found on him. 
He was arrested and jailed, and that night a party of citizens saved the county 
expense by taking him out and hanging him. 

In the morning word was brought to the town that four of the gang 
were hid in a ravine back of town, where Pio Lenares had a "ranchito" for 
stolen horses. The sheriff with fifteen men set out to capture them. It was 
later proven that Lenares went with the gang to murder the two Frenchmen, 
as far as the San Juan ranch, but left there because the rest would not consent 
to the murder of the woman. Lenares' motto was "Dead men tell no talcs." 
This was also the saying of Jack Powers. For a week the sheriff" and his men 
hunted the bandits, who on fine horses easily eluded them in the hills. At a 
ranch, however, they took Joaquin Valenzuela, identified by several as one 
of the five Love's Rangers were to capture. He was one of Jack Powers' 
pals, whom he called his "patron." He was hanged in dajdight in full sight 
of the po]nilace, who turjied out to a hanging as to a new kind of "fiesta." 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 65 

Before dying he confessed his guilt. Aimthcr party followed on the tracks 
of Mrs. Baratie and captured Luciano on liis return from San Juan. He was 
brought to town, confessed and was hanged in broad daylight — "fiesta" num- 
ber two. Mrs. Baratie was brought down from Oakland by Americans and 
corroborated the testimony of the others in the case. 

One June 6, 1858, Jose Antonio Garcia was arrested and confessed to being 
one of the gang who murdered the two Frenchmen the previous December. In 
his confession he told of the part Pio Lenares, Jack Powers and Huer Rafael 
Ilerrado took, and told of receiving two hundred dollars Powers sent him as 
his share of the booty. Garcia was hanged at 3 P. M., June 8, another 
"fiesta"; but now things were getting serious, for justice was being dealt out 
by the Vigilantes — but that story must be told more fully. On the same 
night ten men, with twenty horses furnished by the ranchers, set out after 
the remaining members of the gang. On June 9 another party went to 
Lenares' "ranchito," and driving in his horses as a preventive measure, 
started off for Santa Ynez and La Purisima, where the rest were said to 
be. Pio and his friends were right at hand, however, and saw the party 
starting, but thought it was two parties. This spelled business; so in the 
night Lenares and his men left for the immense willow thickets that grew 
on the Los Osos, then owned by Captain John Wilson. On Thursday morn- 
ing, June 10, Captain Wilson sent word that one of the gang, Pluero Rafael, 
had given one of his shepherds twenty-two dollars and asked him to get 
them food. The shepherd gave Wilson the money and information. In 
about two hours thirty men were in the saddle and off. The men pushed 
their horses into the willows, but so dense was the growth little could be 
done. At 3 P. M. fifteen men on foot entered the thicket beating the brush 
for their men. At length three horses, two saddles and a little bag of provi- 
sions were found. Night was near and it was thought best to get out of the 
woods. Guards were placed, but wide apart, as there were not enough men 
to circle the place at nearer distances. One guard was shot through the 
instep. About 10 A. M. the guard was called oft', and it was decided to let 
the bandits get out of the woods and then set the "trackers" on their trail. 
However, twenty men insisted on taking up the trail in the willows. Soon 
they found Lenares' saddle bags, and robber and murderer though he was, 
he carried with him a picture of his wife, which was in one of the bags. In 
a moment bullets flew, one wounding Lenares through the leg. The pur- 
suers then left the woods and the brush was set on fire; but it was so green 
it would not burn. Couriers were sent all ovc-r the county, and soon one 
hundred fifty men were on the ground. ,\ close line of guards were set about 
the willows, through which, all night long, the bandits could be heard 
breaking their way. In the morning a party of twenty-four men under 
Captain Mallah crawled on their bellies into the thicket, for shots from the 
hunted men showed their location. In about fifteen minutes Pio Lenares was 
shot through the head and Miguel Blanco and Desidero Grijalva taken priso- 
ners. John Matlock, a well-borer from San Jose, was killed and two men 
wounded, of the pursuing party. The prisoners stated that they had been 
without food for four days, but Lenares refused to let them surrender. The 
dead and i)oth sides were brought to town and buried. Alonday, June 14, 
Blanco and Grijalva were hanged at 1 P. M., all hands looking on ; but now the 
"fiestas" were not very gay aft'airs. Human life is not a tiling to sec pass 



66 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

without a tremor, and the Californians of the desperado class knew they 
were all in close quarters. Some of the better class of Californians assisted 
the Americans in raiding the bands from the county, notal:)ly Romualdo 
Pacheco. 

Murder of the Read Family 

In 18-17, a man named Read, w'de and daughter, son-in-law, and an old 
negro ser\-ant came to San Miguel, and as the ^Mission was then regarded 
as public property, they set up housekeeping in some of the rooms of the 
old building. When gold was discovered, Mr. Read went to the mines, and 
in the fall of 1848 returned with several thousand dollars in gold. Read was 
hospitable and talkative, and showed his "dust" to several people. In Octo- 
ber, 1848, a party of sailors, deserters from a ship at Monterey, came to 
Read's home. He showed his gold and talked freely. The sailors asked to 
stay all night and permission was given, also food. Mrs. Read had recently 
been confined, and with her w-as another woman acting as nurse, besides her 
grown daughter, son-in-law, their three children, the old negro and Mr. 
Read. The sailors planned and executed the murder of the entire family, 
even brained the infant on one of the pillars of the corridor. Of course the 
gold dust was the incentive for the deed. 

The following day John M. Price and F. Z. Branch, on their way home 
from the mines, stopped to visit tlje Reads, who were friends of Mr. Price. 
Calling, and receiving no answer, they dismounted, entered and soon knew 
of the terrible murder. After making sure that no breath of life remained in 
any of the Ijodies, they hastened to the Paso Robles rancho and gave the 
alarm. One party went north to bury the victims and another south in pur- 
suit of the murderers, whose trail was easily followed. At Carpinteria, or 
where it now is, close to the beach, the sailors were overtaken. A desperate 
battle ensued. One of the pursuers was killed and others w'ounded. All the 
murderers were shot. One plunged into the surf and tried to swim out to sea. 
A bullet was sent after him and down he went, food for sea monsters. The 
others were left where they fell, food for vultures and coyotes. Thus closed 
one of the greatest criminal tragedies of the state and of this count}-. \Miat 
became of the gold dust? Did the pursuers get it? 
Other Crimes 

In November, 1855, Isaac B. Wall, collector of the port of Monterey and 
T. B. Williamson, an officer of Monterey county, were on their way to San 
Luis Obispo. On the "dark and bloody ground" of the Nacimicnto they were 
waylaid and murdered. No direct trace of the murderers was ever found. 

In October, 1853, eight or ten men passed through San Luis Obispo 
going south and openly boasted of having killed a peddler near San Juan. 
After being "bad men" here for a few days they stole a lot of horses and left. 
A party from San Luis Obispo followed them and overtook them in Los 
Angeles. They had the horses and the stolen goods of the peddler. Three 
of them were put aboard a boat and started back. At Avila a party with 
ropes received the gentlemen and there was a triple hanging. One w^as 
brought back with the pursuers, some say taken in town. At any rate he 
also was hanged. 

Bodies were found beside the road, north or south of town. Once 
four bodies were fi mud in one place. In 1850, a man named George 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 67 

Fearless came down from San Francisco with $2,000, and went into 
business with Jesus Luna, a Mexican. They established a "ranchito" on the 
Nacimiento. Soon Fearless disappeared ; Luna said he "had gone to the 
states." Luna sold out cattle, horses, and even the Newfoundland dog and 
his partner's gold watch, then left for the south. About three months later 
Fearless' body, or what was left of it, was found near the ranchito. Luna 
was a pal of Pio Lenares, so the truth is easy to guess. John Gilkey, living 
on the Comatti ranch, had been killed by the gang who murdered Borel and 
Baratie, after they left the San Juan ranch. Grijalva confessed that he shot 
him in the back and Valenzuela dragged him fifty yards with his reata. 

Organizing of a Vigilance Committee 

Nieves Robles had been acquitted, though every one knew he was a 
murderer. The majority of the native Californians either resented or resisted 
punishing the criminals. Settlers would not come into a county where they 
were almost sure to meet death on the way. Other portions of the state were 
filling up with a good class of settlers. Here business was prostrate, life very 
unsafe and the county known far and wide as a camping ground for count- 
less thieves and murderers. From Monterey to Los Angeles stretched a 
country full of mountain hiding-places, pleasant pastures for horses, and 
abundant game. No wonder the bandits gathered here from all over the 
state. Jack Powers and ex-Jtidge "Ned McGowan," infamous Americans, 
who had fled from the San Francisco Vigilantes, came here and organized 
bands. They plotted and planned most of the crimes, while the natives exe- 
cuted them, alone if the leaders failed to take a hand at the critical moment. 
The Vigilance Committee of 1858 was the result, and they deserve great 
praise for the work they did that the courts could not do for lack of evidence, 
that is, sworn evidence in a court room. 

The Pledge 

"The undersigned hereby pledge themselves, each to the other, that in 
the case of the murder of two Frenchmen, Bartolo Baratie and M. Jose 
Borel, we will stand together and by all means whatsoever, discover the 
truth and punish the guilty. The first step shall be the personal restraint 
and intimidation to the prisoner now in jail, even if necessary to the danger 
of life. Signed : Walter Murray, Francisco Letora, Francisco Brizzolara, 
Charles Pellerier, B. Block, P. A. Forrester, Jacob J. Scheifferley, A. Alba- 
relli, Luis de la Cella, Domingo Garcia, Nicolo Ravello, T. P. Commay, J. J. 
Simmler, Rudol[)h Blum, B. F. Hamilton." 

Roll of Members 

"The undersigned citizens of San Luis Obispo sign our names as members 
of a body to be called the San Luis Vigilance Committee, the object of which 
is and shall be the repression and punishment of crimes by all means whatso- 
ever : \\alter Murra}', Fred'k Hillard. S. A. Pollard, Thos. Graves, Labat Pere, 
G. Leemo, P. A. Forrester, Jules Baume, Chas. Johnson, Wm. Coates, Ber- 
nardo Lazcano, Jose Cantua, Carl Dictz, Ferdinand Quievreux, Manuel Otero, 
Thomas Herrara. N. Amos, J. J. Simmler, Thos. R. Thorp, Leonardo Lopez, 
Ramon Baldez, J. A. dc la Guerra, Pedro Ruperez, Trinidad Beccrro, John 



68 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Matlock, Cayetano Amador, Fabian Dastas, B. P. Brown, Miguel Serrano, 
A. Farnsworth, Joseph Stutz, Domingo Garcia, Dolores Herrara, Henry 
Tandee. W. L. Beebee, Daniel McLeod, B. J. Jones, Guadalupe Gonzales, D. P. 
Mallah, Basilio Castro, John Patton, A. Albarelli, J. T. Zamorano, Ysidro 
Balderana, Ysidro Silbas, Jerome A. Limas, John Bains, Albert Mann, Calistro 
Morales, L. H. Morrison, Captain John Wilson, F. Laburthe, Enrique Galindo, 
Feliz Buelna, A. Elgutter, Estevan Quintana, Jose M. Topete, Inocento Garcia, 
Didelot, Manuel Serrano, S. Rojas, James White, W. W. Gilfoyle, Bias Castro, 
Bentura Lopez, F. Wickenden, Chas. Pellesier, F. Martinez, Benjamin Wil- 
liams, Jose Canet, Luis de la Cella, R. Holford, F. Salgado, Ardadio Borgues, 
Jesus Olgin, jMiguel Herrara, F. W. Slaughter, Nicolo Revello, Chas. W. 
Dana. Francisco Huares, A. Cordova, Jose Maria Ordunio, Modesto Carranza, 
Byron Olney, Lugardo Aguila, W. C. Dana, Antonio Paradeo, James A. 
Wright, S. O. Sweet, Francisco Brizzolara, D. D. Blackburn, Pedro Ortega, 
J. A. Chaves, Antonio Capuero, B. Clement, B. F. Davenport, A. Murray, Dr. 
Ed Albert, Rudolph Selm, A. Mullins, Isaac H. Bunce, G. F. Sauer, Reyes 
Enriquez, A. Stanwick, Peter Forrester, Robert Johnson, Chas. Varrian, W. 
J. Graves, John Daley, Juan Stanwick, Ygnacio Esquerre, H. Dallidet, Vic- 
torino Chavez, C. Dockes, Manuel Vanegas, William Church, William F. 
Gilkey, V. Mancillas, A. Hcrrera, C. G. Abbey, Bonifacio Manchego, B. F. 
Hamilton, John M. Price, Ricardo Durazo, J. Roth, B. La Rey, I. Mora, 
J. Garcia, Jose A. Garcia, Mariano Lazcano, Sandy Martin, Francisco Garcia, 
T. Ph. Schring, Augustin Garcia, Jose Carlon, P. W. Williams, P. Z. Taylor, 
A. P. Hartnell, Angel Barron, V. Mancillas, William Snelling, Noracio Car- 
roso. Win. E. Borland, Gabriel Labat, W. C. Imos, James McNicol, J. M. 
Martinez." 

The following subscrilied ior tlie expenses of the committee: ]\Iurray, 
$50: Thomas Herrara, $50; Albarelli & Co., $100; Pollard, $50; Beebee, $50; 
Lafayette, $50; Johnson, $30; Stone and Barns, $65; Dr. Thorp, $25; F. 
\\"icken(len, $30; Davenport, $40; Elgutter, $20; Alex Murray, $25; Pedro 
Labat, .'R5 ; John Wilson, $500; Capt. F. Hillard, $30; Joaquin Estrada, $200; 
F. Z. Branch, $300; Lazcano, $50; Domingo Garcia, $10; Fabian Dastas, 
$5; Dolores Herrara, $10; Ramon Valdez, $10; J. H. Hill, $10; Simmler &: 
Co., $20; C. F. Roman, $20; Lenares, $50; Letora & Co., $50; Juan Price, $50; 
D. P. Mallah, $22; Horse, $37; ditto, $26; Stanish, $30; Block & Co., $25; 
Dana. $20. Total amount, $1,525; disbursements, $1,487; balance, $38. 

Many more murders were committed besides those mentioned, but the 
quick work of the Vigilance Committee put a damper on crime and it was 
less openly boasted of and of much less frequency. The accounts of those 
crimes from 1850 to 1858, are taken from a scries of letters written by ^Valter 
^Murray in 1858, to the San Francisco Bulletin. He came to San Luis Obispo 
in 1853, and was from the first a leading citizen, foremost in wiping ofif the 
slate of criminality, that for so long had made of the county a safe nest for 
all sorts of vagabonds. ^Murders and roliberics still occurred, but at longer 
intervals. 

The Mysterious Disappearance of O. K. Smith 

One crime frcciucntly referred to as we gathered data for this history 
was the disappearance of O. K. Smith. Strange to say, he was always 
spoken of as assessor and tax collector. The stories varied so in date that 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 69 

the writer determined to .sjet at the facts, at least of his calling and the date 
of his disappearance, and so went to the one reliable and accurate source, the 
files of the Tribune. There we find that in August, 1869, O. K. Smith ran for 
assessor on the Republican ticket, receiving 393 votes, but James Buffum, 
Democrat, received 467 ; as the majority rules, this lets Smith out as assessor. 
Smith came to the county in 1866 and settled near Cambria. In 1861 he 
represented Tulare county in the legislature, and had also served as a deputy 
sheriff in that county. He began farming near Cambria, but being a man of 
considerable education and ability, he naturally took an active part in county 
affairs. 

The Tribune of June 11, 1870, announced that Governor Worris had 
appointed O. K. Smith of San Simeon (this name then included all that 
upper coast country) census marshal of this county. A. M. Hardie worked 
with Smith taking the 1870 census. February 25, 1871, The Tribune pub- 
lished a letter sent from Cambria and signed by C. Mathers, in which 
Mathers states that "our friend" O. K. Smith had left Cambria on Friday, 
February 17, 1871, bound for San Luis Obispo; that a wagon thought to be 
his had been found on the beach near ^Morro Rock; and that it was feared 
that Smith had been drowned. On February 25, 1871, a letter was sent 
to the Tribune from Morro signed by Smith's ^Masonic brothers, G. S. 
Davis, G. Rothschild and G. AI. Cole, telling about the same news and 
asking for help in the search for his body or any trace of him, his team 
or papers. 

JMarch 25, 1871, the following description \\as printed in the paper: 
"Two fair-sized strawberry roan mares, bearing the brand of K in a circle or 
circle K, one a little darker than the other. Gentle to work or ride. Any 
persons seeing such horses are requested to write to this office or to Z. B. 
Smith, Cambria. Papers throughout the state please copy." Now we have 
two facts at least: O. K. Smith was census marshal, not assessor; and he was 
undoubtedly murdered, February 17, 1871. 

One other fact was established. Smith was last seen alive Friday, Feb- 
ruary 17, 1871, at a saloon and road-house kept by George Stone on the 
road to San Luis Obispo. It stood on the rocky point just where the Old 
creek road enters the coast road, where the old unpainted shack now stands 
up on the rocky hillside to the right going to San Luis Obispo. A. M. Hardie 
says it was a bad, stormy day ; that Smith had a premonition that evil was 
to befall him and wanted his wife to go with him ; also that at Stone's place he 
asked a man named Rudisill to go on with him, but Rudisill also refused. 
Mr. Hardie says that Stone and Rudisill helped Smith to harness up when, 
about two o'clock P. M., he .started out on what proved to be his last ride, 
and that they used rope and wire to fasten the tugs to the whiffletrees. "The 
horses never got out of those tugs without help," said Mr. Hardie. Of course 
from the moment the wagon was found, and no trace of the body, the team 
or harness, foul play was suspected and suspicion placed upon several men 
now dead. Here are a few of the many stories told the writer. 

In those days the farmers often sent their tax money to the oflSce in 
San Luis Obispo by neighbors going down. This custom yet prevails. One 
man (we are .going to eliminate names) says that after Smith's death men 
presented receipts given by him to them showing that he had nearly or Cjuite 
$600 of tax moncv ^^■ith him when he was killed. Certain it is that he had 



70 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

papers of some census reports, for a boy sixteen years old named Taylor, 
brother of Charlie Taylor, the present sheriff, found the wagon and a roll 
of wet papers belonging to Smith. The papers were taken home and dried 
out. Later some men rode up to the Taylor house and asked for the papers, 
which the boy gave to them. They were census reports, and ]\Ir. Hardie 
received them from the boy, and w^as entitled to them as he was Smith's 
helper in taking the census. Now for stories weird and otherwise. If 
they are all just fabrications built upon the facts stated, they show brilliant 
imaginations and some good novelists have missed their calling. Story num- 
ber one follows : 

A man about to die confessed that he and another man equally well 
respected were hard up and killed Smith. 

Story number two is more elaborate in detail : On the night of Smith's 
disappearance, a man living on Morro creek went down to dig clams. He 
saw a fire burning on the beach and, turning back, went up on the blufif 
where he could see l^ut not be seen. Looking over, he saw two men digging 
a great hole. They gathered beach wood and built a fire in it, meantime dig- 
ging another hole. Soon Smith's team, driven by a third man, came around 
Toro point ; Smith was very drunk and was being held in the light wagon. 
He was knocked on the head, stripped, rolled into hole number two and sand 
was scooped in on him. All his clothing, his gold watch, the harness from the 
horses, their halter ropes and the tongue and one wdieel from the wagon were 
thrown upon the fire and burned. When burned down to coals sand was 
scooped into that hole and all traces of the doings destroyed by scraping and 
scratching about over the sand. Then the three men tied their own ropes 
about Smith's horses and led them up the creek to a rocky side canon and 
shot them. The narrator said this yarn w-as told to him by a dying man 
under a promise of secrecy until after his death, and that it was told to that 
man by another man. Upon asking why this story was kept secret so long, 
the man said it would have meant death to the teller had he told it then 
or while certain other men now dead were living. 

This is written not as a fact but because it has thrills in it. It may or 
may not be true; no one will now ever know. The strange thing was that 
no trace of the harness or team was ever found. Two skeletons of horses, 
each with a bullet hole in the skull, were certainly found in a canon not too 
far from the be^ch to have been led there by Smith's murderers. The 
wagon when found had lost one wheel and the tongue. 

At about the place where the wagon was found others had lost their 
lives in the quicksand in attempting to drive across when the tide was out, 
but their bodies or some trace of them was always found. There were 
many suspicious circumstances, or so it seemed, about Smith's disappearance; 
but one more story, and then we will leave the subject. 

Near the entrance to Green valley in an old house lived a man named 
Kilpatrick. He was the wreck of what had once been a well-educated, well- 
bred man, and was well acquainted with Smith. One night Kilpatrick on his 
way to San Luis Obispo camped in the "monte" or patch of willows all are 
familiar with, just north of Morro on the road to Cayucos. It was a beauti- 
ful moonlight night, made more so by a luminous sort of haze. Kilpatrick 
had just lain down and composed himself when O. K. Smith, or so it seemed 
to him, walked out of the willows and up to the foot of his shake-down. So 



SAN LUIS OCISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 71 

sure was he that it was Smith that he exclaimed, "Where the devil have you 
been all this time!" Smith stood looking at him in silence for some moments; 
then turned and disappeared into the willows. This might be called "a 
psychological moment." 



CHAPTER VIII 
The Great Drought. The Early Pioneers 

Many things conspired to hold back the development of the county after 
it became such. The murders and robberies related in the previous pages 
had much to do with this. Then it was said abroad that all the land in the 
county good for anything was held in the great grants. We know now that 
there was much fine land outside the grants, but it was only when a thorough 
government survey was made that the fact was established. Tiie owners 
of the grants did not want their ranges interfered with and avoided exact 
boundaries. All along the coast extended the grants held by Spanish families 
or the five Americans, Dana, Price, Wilson, Sparks and Branch. Across the 
mountains were the Blackburn brothers, James and P. W. Murphy, and D. W. 
James, associated with the Blackburn brothers, who controlled immense 
tracts. P. W. Murphy had the Santa Margarita, Atascadero and Ascunsion 
grants, in all 70,000 acres, by right of purchase from the original grantees, 
who seemed to have no appreciation of the value of their holdings. The 
Spanish grantees, no matter what their previous condition, \vhen once they 
could claim thousands of acres as their own, tried to live in great style. 
Velvet and broadcloth for the men ; silks, satins, laces and jewels for the 
women. Silver- or gold-trimmed sombreros, trappings for their saddle ani- 
mals adorned with gold, silver and even costly jewels. The men did no work, 
unless an occasional interest in counting up the cattle at a lively rodeo could 
be called work. The women were supposed to manage the household, but 
Indians and ^Mexicans did the work. A life of pleasure and case was all 
that was sought. 

A pioneer woman, who braved great hardships, told the writer of licing 
robbed and begged of the greater part of the supplies her husband brought 
with them, by members of a Spanish family who wore clothing stiff with gold 
lace when they went out to a fandango or fiesta. Among the things taken 
was a bottle of whiskey with garlic in it. This was supposed to cure worms 
in children. No doubt the "kiddies" were very glad when the bottle disap- 
peared, but it would be interesting to know what the other party thought 
about his liquor. 

In order to live and 'not work, they eventually mortgaged the grants for 
large sums. When the mortgages became due, portions of the land were 
given in payment, and what was left was sold for almost nothing. There were 
no good roads, no railroads, nor, in spite of seventy miles of sea coast and 
three or four good harbors, no wdiarves where schooners or steamers could 
take on or deliver cargoes. Cattle could be driven off to market, so cattle it 
was and nothing else. After the gold discoveries the ranges of this section 



71 SAN LUIS (3BISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

furnished meat for the miners of tiie northern seeticjn, and so things were 
until the great drought. 

The Dry Years of 1862-63-64 

Usually all the hills and plains were covered with abundant rich grass; 
wild oats six feet high covered the hills where the grass did not flourish. 
From the early winter rains to the end of May or June green feed was plenti- 
ful. Then tiio hunch grass ripened and furnished winter feed. No hay was 
raised, nu attempt whatever was made to provide food for the cattle, if Nature 
failed to do it. At last Nature did fail; while in the East men were fighting 
the awful battles of the Civil War and meeting death, here on the great 
ranges hundreds of thousands of cattle were fighting a losing battle with 
Nature and the long-horned Spanish cattle were literally wiped out of exist- 
ence. It meant ruin for the cattlemen in some instances, and years of effort 
to recover from their losses to the rest. Over across the mountains the cattle 
were driven to the swamps of the Tulare, and many of the herds were saved. 

\Vhile many grew poor one man at least laid the foundation for his 
future fortune. J. P. Andrews bought up hundreds of the starving cattle 
for ten cents each, killed them, boiled them up and fed them to his hogs, 
which for lack of beef he sold at a high price. Also towards the close of the 
drought he bought two hundred head of steers for two hundred dollars ; and 
before December he had sold them for just twenty-five dollars per head, a 
neat little profit of $4,800. Any one else could have turned the deal. Mr. 
Andrews had no monopoly on the beef-bones-versus-hogs transaction ; but he 
later loaned his profits at big interest to some of those who looked on while 
their herds died, and he was called "skinflint." He was not; he was just a 
keen-witted, hard-working, brainy man, who looked out for chances to make 
honest money, which he held together while he lived. 

Many thousands of cattle and horses were driven over the bluffs into 
the sea and drowned. The owners could not stand the meanings of their herds, 
nor bear to see them falling by hundreds before their eyes ; for be it known, 
when starvation pursues the dumb animals, horses and cattle especially, no 
matter how "wild" they may have been before, they will crowd up to the 
ranch buildings, asking in their low moaning cries for food. Julian Estrada 
of the Santa Rosa grant drove hundreds of his cattle and horses over the 
bluffs into the sea up near Cambria. \\'hen the creatures are almost gone, 
they will form a circle, heads to the center, and. by jiressing against one 
another, hold each other u|.). When one drops, the circle narrows. In 1898-99, 
a "dr}- year" Ijrought suffering and loss to many in the northern half of this 
count}' and Monterey county. We saw a few years later on several ranches 
these circles of cattle-skeletons, and were told how they came to be there. 

When the grass grew again, after the great drought, it grew up through 
the skeletons and around the bleached bones of the Spanish cattle. The 
cattle Avere gone, and few had money to restock their ranches. They .must 
turn their attcniioii to other ways of making money ; so they began to think of 
cultivating the land. Some maintain the drought was a blessing, for it ridded 
the count}- of the long-horned, rangy Spanish cattle and started agriculture. 
If it blessed some, it was certainly not a blessing to a good many others. 
Now the cattle were dead, the land likely to be sold cheap, the criminals 
reduced to a fair average with other communities, settlers beoan comin"' in and 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 7i 

of course other things followed. Roads in time were built, wharves came as a 
matter of course, and later railroads. We will write of these in another chap- 
ter, but in this speak of the very early pioneers of the late sixties and early 
seventies, and of the conditions they met and overcame. 

In a previous chapter we spoke of Rufus Burnett Olmstead, who was the 
first American settler in Green valley. Mr. Olmstead was a man of education, 
helped establish schools, and was at one time supported by his friends for 
county superintendent of schools. The Olmstead school in Green valley 
was built on his land and was named for him. 

A Pioneer Woman 

In March, 1868, Mr. and Mrs. Neal Stewart arrived from San Francisco, 
coming originally from Canada. They came by boat and were landed at Port 
San Simeon. Mrs. Stewart carried in her arms her oldest child, James, 
then a baby about a year old. The waves were tossing whitecaps. The 
steamer came to anchor well out from shore, a ladder was lowered to a small 
boat, and Mrs. Stewart, with her child in her arms, clambered down into the 
tossing rowboat. The surf was so bad, the waves so rough, that as soon as 
the boat came in close enough, two men carried Mrs. Stewart and her baby 
ashore. Mr. Stewart rented two rooms in the big adobe house of Julian 
Estrada, located on the Santa Rosa grant. It stood near the corner where 
the road from Green valley now joins the Cambria road. One room was 
weatherproof, but the other was only partly roofed. They brought with 
them supplies of groceries and food enough to last for some time, but ]\Irs. 
Stewart says it was a problem to keep it, especially the "poppas" — potatoes. 
Mr. Stewart homesteaded one hundred sixty acres in Green valley and later 
pre-empted one hundred sixty more. The Stewarts brought with them the 
sterling principles and sincere Christianity of their Scotch ancestry. They 
were in a wilderness devoid of schools or churches, but the family altar was 
set up and no lack of parental training or authority was ever let interfere 
with the upbringing of their children. Mrs. Stewart did all the work, wash- 
ing, cooking, sewing, and successfully mothered and reared ten children. 
She had no near neighbors and little time for what nowadays are called 
"social duties," which so often seem to replace all other duties. I lowever, 
if a woman were to go through the throes of childbirth, or a child, or man, 
or any human being were ill, this woman left her home, carrying her baby 
along, if it couldn't be left, mounted her horse and rode any distance through 
any sort of weather to minister to the one in need. On horseback she rode 
to church with the baby in front and the one next in order behind. 

^\'hen on rare occasions church services were held in a schoolhouse at 
Cambria or elsewhere, she attended ; the stranger or acquaintance was al- 
ways made welcome, and kindness and charity were shown to all in need. 
When the children were old enough to go to school and none was within 
reach, Mr. Stewart moved over onto Toro creek, where he gave ground 
for a school yard. Others were coming in, and there at I'airview scliool 
the ten Stewart children received their grammar school education. In turn 
they were given the advantages of higher education. Four are graduates 
of the university, and others of normal schools. One daughter. Dr. I\Iary 
Alarshall, has been a medical missionary to India for many years. Another 
daughter, Katherine, was also a missionary in India, where she died, in May, 



74 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

1917, from an attack of diphtheria, a disease almost unknown there. Her 
brother John died early in June, 1917, and word of her death was received 
a few days later. All are filling places of honor and trust. One daughter, 
Helen, a beautiful girl, died just in the flush of early womanhood in 1902. 
In 1904, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, with the unmarried children, came to live in 
San Luis Oliispo, renting their ranch of four hundred seventy-five acres on 
Toro creek to a Swiss for dairying purposes. Mr. Stewart died December 24, 
1915, but "Mother Stewart," as she is known to so many, now a frail old 
lady, still lives at the family home on ^Monterey street. 

There were many women of sterling worth among those who came about 
the time Mrs. Stewart did. THe families settled mainly in the little valleys, 
each with its creek running to the sea. In Harmony valley, Alexander Cook, 
father of I\lrs. Stewart, settled, bringing with him a faniih' of sons and 
daughters who have made worth-while citizens. There were the Buffington 
families, the Lcffingwells, the Hazards, Swains, Kesters, Freemans, Floods, 
Taylors, Brians, Van Gordons, Rectors, Wallaces, Hardies, Mayfields, Hills, 
McPhersons, Murphys, Cass's, McFaddens, Archers, Harolds, Bickells, Pe- 
tersens, De Nises, Yorks, Hudsons, Whitakers, Kingerys, Mables, Langlois's, 
Stockings and many others who lived along the coast or in the valleys along 
the creeks between San Simeon and Morro. The O'Connors, Wardens, 
Steeles and Hollisters li\'ed near San Luis Obispo. jMusick, Fink, Hasbrouck, 
Newsom, Fowler, Ryan and Branch were names of early settlers about Arroyo 
Grande. Across the mountains were the Blackburns, Alurphys, James's, and 
Henry \\'ilson and others who ranched there before the coming of the South- 
ern Pacific Railroad in 1886. Then many others came, settling in the towns of 
San ;\liguel, Paso Robles, Templeton, and Santa ^largarita, and buying up 
the farming tracts into which the large landhoklings were then divided. 

Going back to the old records of from 1850 up, we find these men holding 
prominent offices: A\'illiam J. Graves, county judge in 1852. The first board 
of supervisors was composed of John Wilson, Francis Z. Branch, Joaquin 
Estrada, \\'illiani G. Dana, S. A. Pollard. At the first meeting, December 13, 
1852. Dana was found disqualified, as he held the office of county treasurer, 
and William L. Beebee was appointed to take the place. Parker H. French 
was appointed district attorney with a salar}' of $500 per 3-ear. AV. J. Graves 
was also sent to the legislature as senator and assemblyman at different 
times. Alexander Alurray, Walter Murray, D. F. Newsom, PI. M. Osgood, 
F. Wickenden, J. J. Simmler, J. M. Havens, F. E. Darke, P. W. iSIurphy, 
S. P. Mallard, C. W. Dana, Levi Racklift'e, D. C. Norcross, A. M. Hardie, 
McD. R. \'enable, R. R. Harris, L. M. Warden, Nathan King, W. J. Oaks, 
Romauldo Pacheco, A. C. McLeod, all held offices of trust for the people 
before 1883, and in the years immediately following. The writer has written 
letters to some of tlie pioneer men and women still living, and seen a few in 
personal interviews, and many interesting facts are gleaned. 

J. B. Kester gives these items in a letter dated September 30, 1916. In 
1868, I\lr. Kester settled on Old creek. A few Spanish families and one or 
two American families were alread}' living along the creek and must have 
been there for some time; for ?vlr. Kester says one of the first jobs he had 
there was putting new ro(jfs on some of the houses. These first settlers 
soon Sold out and moved awav. The Packwood faniilv, A\'illiam Munn, 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 75 

Wash and Samuel James were living on Old creek prior to Mr. Kester"s 
going there. There were but two orchards in the valley, one owned by Mr. 
Munn, but with the second influx of families many orchards were set out 
about the year 1870. When they came into bearing, the fruit was of the 
finest in flavor and size. The now famous Glenbrook orchard, owned by 
the late Captain Cass, is near the headwaters of Old creek, but on tlic coast 
side of the mountain range, where moisture and heat are controlled by the 
fogs and breezes of the ocean. School was kept in a private house and the 
expenses borne by the settlers until, in 1869, a small schoolhouse was built 
by subscriptions. Miss Annie Packwood taught in the private house and 
James F. Beckett was the. first teacher in the little new school building. 
Many wild animals, bears, mountain lions, coons, wildcats, coyotes and foxes 
were to be reckoned with. Cattle thieves raided the country — "about as 
many thieves as cattle," says Mr. Kester, for the country was still sufifering 
from the great cattle loss of the big drought. There were no fences, and 
plenty of hiding-places in the mountains ; so the thieves generalh^ got away 
with the cattle unmolested. The lions killed many young horses and fine 
colts. Mr. Kester lost two of his own, and one belonging to his neighbor, 
which he was pasturing. Mr. Kester was a trustee of Central school for 
twenty-five years. Twenty-two years of this time he was clerk of the board. 
He was supervisor from his district from 1890 to 1898, and deputy United 
States census marshal in 1900. O. K. Smith is referred to by almost every old- 
timer interviewed. Mr. Kester thinks Smith never collected taxes on Old 
creek or in the county. He thinks Dave Norcross, sheriff at the time of 
Smith's disappearance, collected taxes, appointing the time and place where 
taxes might be paid that had not been paid directly into the sheriff's office. 
The fact, if such it was, that Smith was not collecting taxes, was not so fully 
known that it saved him from being murdered or at least "disappearing." 
The "O. K. Smith mystery" bids fair to "bob up" anywhere, at any time, 
all through the succeeding pages. 

G. W. Hampton 

Mr. Hamilton now lives with his wife and one daughter in a pleasant 
home on Broad street, San Luis Obispo, and has always resided in this town 
since coming here in 1869. He was born July 12, 1832, in Washington 
county, Va.. and is now eighty-four years old, but quite hale and hearty, 
and his mind seems as alert as it ever was. Mrs. Hampton is seventy-seven. 
The couple were married in Napa county, October 3, 1866, her maiden name 
being Julia Hudson. Mr. Hampton was a carpenter by trade and worked 
on all the good buildings put up in the town in the early days. One of those 
is the building now occupied by the San Luis Implement Company, on the 
corner of Higuera and Chorro streets. He was tax collector in Napa county 
and supervisor in this county for three years. When he came to San Luis 
he bought eighty acres of land adjoining Charles Johnson in the Stenner 
creek valley; Judge Venable owned an eighty-acre tract beyond the eighty, 
between Hampton and the Venable place. Ned Morris bought these eighty 
acres for $4,000, and sold out soon to a man named Wheeler for $15,000. 
This was in the late seventies, or early eighties, when the residents of the 
town in some way started a boom. There was another of those erui)tions 
just aI)out the time the Soutiiern Pacific entered the county, when property 



76 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

changed hands for high prices. An old adobe ruin now used as a Chinese 
wash house was once pointed out to the writer by a man who paid 
$9,000 for the "corner" and shortly sold it for $16,000. It is still adorned by 
the adobe and is a dumping ground apparently for old boxes. Mr. Hampton 
says he is the oldest living Odd Fellow, or has been a member of the local 
lodge longer than any one else now residing here. He joined Napa Lodge 
No. 18 in 1855. In 1869, when Mr. Hampton came to San Luis, there was 
but one dwelling south of San Luis creek. That was the old Dallidet adobe 
in the midst of its vineyard. Mr. Dallidet was French and married a Spanish 
lady. He took an active part in civic life during the early days. 

P. W. Murphy 

This gentleman has already been referred to as the owner of 70,000 acres 
of land at or near Santa JNIargarita. He erected a fine home for those days, 
and took an active part in the social and business life of the county. The 
Atascadero Colony is on a part of his former holdings, and the Reis estate, 
comprising 20,806 acres, once belonged to him. His brother James was 
associated with him, owning the Atascadero ranch in the early eighties 
and later. 

Messrs. James and D. D. Blackburn 

These men owned the Paso Robles rancho ; they came to California in 
1849, and to tliis county in 1857, and with Lazarus Godchaux bought the 
rancho of Petronillo Rios. It comprised six leagues of land, 25,993.18 acres, 
including the now famous Paso Robles Hot Springs, and they paid $8,000 
for it. In 1860, the firm divided and D. D. Blackburn took one league, upon 
wlrich were the springs. In 1860. he sold a half interest to I\Ir. McCreel, 
who resold it in 1865 to D. \V. James for $11,000; and in 1873, he sold a 
one-fourth interest to James Blackburn. D. D. Blackburn was a member 
of the Viligance Committee of 1858, and acted as sheriff for that body, the 
regularly elected sheriff taking a back seat while the A'igilantes cleaned up 
the county and drove out the notorious desperadoes, or hung them up on 
trees or the old iron arch of the jail gate. 

James Blackburn raised sheep and cattle, and invested in property in 
San Luis Obispo. The old Cosmopolitan Hotel, which had for a beginning 
a small adobe building put up for a saloon, was his property. He enlarged 
it until it.became a fine hotel; Ned Morris was the manager most of the time. 
The home of the Blackburns was, until 1872, a l)ig adobe house with iron- 
barred doors and windows, that was built by the padres of San Miguel 
Mission, for the mission lands extended to an indefinite line near the present 
town of Santa ^largarita. This old adobe was used for store rooms and 
laljorcrs' (juartcrs after the erection of the wooden structure that was the 
ranch house when the rancho was divided in 1887 and sold to eager buyers; 
for now the .Southern Pacific had reached Templeton. The old adobe stood 
close tci tlie newer Imnie, which was surrounded by lawns and an orchard 
that Ixirc delicious fruit, especially cherries. The tiles of the old adobe 
were sold t(j help roof the depot at Burlingame, and only a few yards of crum- 
bling wall now stand close beside the highway to mark the place where once 
stood one of the landmarks for close to one hundred years. James Blackburn 
never married, but Y). D. Blackljurn and D. W. James married sisters, Celia 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 77 

and Louisa Dunn. The marriages were a douljle wedding on September L^, 
1866, and occurred in San Luis Obispo, Rev. Father Sastre officiating. 

For a few years after 1887, the Blackburn family continued to live on the 
ranch, but Mrs. Blackburn and the children finally went to Paso Robles, 
where a big modern house was built, which was their home for some years. 
After the death of James Blackburn, there were many lawsuits brought by 
some of the D. D. Blackburn children for portions of the estate, which had 
been willed to Mrs. D. D. Blackburn and certain of the children. As usual, 
the lawyers' fees ate up large portions, and this was a case where money 
seemed to be a curse. The Blackburn home in Paso Robles was bought, 
after Mrs. Blackburn went to the bay cities to reside, by Dr. J. H. Glass 
and used as a sanitarium until he died there a few years ago. It is now the 
property of Rollo Heaton and is occupied by himself and family as a resi- 
dence. Tlie towns of Paso Robles and Templeton are built on the Blackburn 
rancho. 

D. W. James 

This man's connection with the county history is so interwoven with 
that of the Blackburns that little need be separately written. He built a 
good home in Paso Robles in 1871, which still stands amid its trees close to 
the Paso Robles Hotel grounds. The Blackburns were natives of Virginia, 
but James was a Kentuckian. He served all through the war with Mexico, 
and in 1849 crossed the plains, mining at Hangtown, Weber and other camps 
until the spring of 1850, when he began buying cattle, steers, at twenty 
dollars each in Santa Clara county, driving them to the mines at Hangtown 
and selling them on the hoof at sixty cents per pound, or one dollar a pound 
if he killed and retailed them. Talk about the "high cost of living" ! Later 
he bought cattle as far south as Los Angeles, at one time driving fifteen 
hundred head from there to the mines. In 1860, with John D. Thompson, 
he bought 10,000 acres of government land on the La Panza and stocked 
it with 2,500 head of cattle. His neighbors were Robert G. Flint at the 
San Juan ranch, Briggs on the Comatti, and Slaven at French camp, a sort 
of trappers' camp, some say, also a resort for cattle thieves, over on the 
eastern border of the county. At the time of the great drought he had 5,000 
head of cattle which he drove to Tulare and Buena Vista lakes, saving them 
all. James stopped at Paso Robles springs on a cattle-buying trip in 1851, 
and it was he who 'first made the place a resort. The James family were 
prominent in the new town of Paso Robles, which came into existence along 
with the toot of the railroad whistle in 1886-87. The Blackburn brothers, 
D. W. James and all their "neighbors" of those very early days have gone 
over the "Great Divide," but they lived up to the times and had the courage 
of strong men. All were kind and > 'iien-hcarted. 

John H. Hollister 

The Hollister family has been ])r(iniiiienl in ranching interests in se\eral 
counties of the state. Hollister in San I'.cnito cnunty is named for the family. 
In 1866 John II. Ildllistcr, then ten years of age, came witli his parents to 
this county, and in time went to rancliing on the large [)riipcrtv ciwned by his 
father near Morro. A big adnlie still stands on the old llnllister ranch, 
"Morro Castle." April 12, 1880, he married Miss Mcira .M. Stocking of 



78 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

INIorro. In 187'', he was elected supervisor, being at the time only twenty- 
three years old; but he is said to have been the man for the place just the 
same. In 1882, he was elected to the assembly on the Republican ticket. He 
was sent to the legislature to get measures passed protecting the dairymen 
from competing with oleomargarine and other manufactured stufif being 
placed on the market as butter. He succeeded in' having the anti-oleomargarine 
law passed ; also laws to exterminate fruit pests and combat diseases of fruit 
trees. He lived on El Chorro ranch, and owned a ranch south of town for 
some years. Later, the family residence was in town. In 1906, Mr. Hollister 
was elected assessor, and again in 1910. He died on November 7, 1913, a man 
witli many friends. He was a member of the Masons, Knights of Pythias, 
Elks and Woodmen. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in the 
county. He is buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery of San Luis Obispo. His 
son, W. M. Hollister, finished out his father's term as assessor and was ap- 
pointed deputy assessor, which oftice the young man fills with the very best 
results to the county. 

Charles H. Johnson 

Coming to this county first as deputy collector of customs in 1852, Mr. 
Johnson came here to reside permanently in 1856, purchasing land on Stenner 
creek just west of town on the Morro road. He had visited China, India, 
the islands of the Pacific, and was on his way with a cargo of goods for the 
Orient when, learning of the discovery of gold, he turned about and entered 
the port of San Francisco. The goods were sold at a big profit and Mr. 
Johnson went into the mercantile business. lie was a heavy loser in each 
of three big fires that swept that town, one on May 4, 1850, another June 14, 
1850, and the third May 3, 1851. No insurance was collected and Mr. Johnson 
was financially "broke." He was appointed inspector of customs at Mon- 
tere)' and later at Port San Luis. He retained that oftice until 1860. when 
he gave it up to take his seat in the legislature as assemblyman. In 1859, 
when the town government of San Luis Obispo was organized, Mr. Johnson 
was elected president of the board of trustees, and up to the time of his. 
death was prominent in all business and social life. He acquired valuable 
property, but will go down in history as a man whose literary ability con- 
tributed many valuable lectures, and articles for publication, on the history of 
the county. From his w^ritings many interesting facts have been gleaned 
for this volume. C. H. Johnson was a member of the Vigilance Committee 
of 1858. He died on April 8, 1915. 

Myron Angel 

This man was a fluent speaker and writer, having lieen educated at 
AA'est Point. With his brother, Eugene, he came to California in the forty- 
nine rush, made and lost in the mines, and finally turned his talents to estab- 
lishing newspapers, in which he was successful. He once said : "I mine 
for a fortune, but w^rite for a living." He prepared many reports on mining 
and wrote several histories. The only previous history of this county, pub- 
lislied in 1883 by an Oakland firm, was prepared by ^lyron .\ngcl, and is a 
fine book for the period it covers. 

January 12, 1883, ]\lr. .\ngel purchased an interest in the San Luis 
Obispo Tribune, writing m;iny fine articles for publication. He took much 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 79 

interest in educational matters, and it was largely through his efforts that 
the State Polytechnic School was established here. He spent two entire 
winters in Washington presenting the claims of this county for an appro- 
priation for a breakwater at Port Harford, and paid his own expenses for 
the entire time, save for one hundred dollars which the citizens sent him 
during the second winter. A little money now and then was useless, for 
no firm would go to the expense of buying machinery to get out the rock 
from Morro Rock, and boats to convey it to the breakwater, on such uncer- 
tainties ; so Mr. Angel thought out the plan of getting a bill through Congress 
for a "continuous appropriation," which meant a certain sum year after year, 
so that a reliable firm could be secured to take the contract. Caminetti 
and Perkins were in Congress then from California. Of course the thing 
would have to be got through them. Caminetti applauded the idea and con- 
sented to work for it, but he said Oakland harbor had to get aid first, and then 
he would push it for our harbor ; so with that Mr. Angel had to be content. 
Our harbor got the second "continuous appropriation" and the breakwater 
was built. This year, however, Congress refused to make an appropriation 
for the harbor, and why? Because, Congress says, it will no longer make 
appropriations for a harbor that is of use only to a private corporation, the 
Pacific Coast Railway. Mr. Angel's scrap-books containing articles from 
his pen have been asked for by the state library and are now there. Mr. 
Angel died in June, 1911, but his name will live on in the history of this 
county and state. 

Henry M. Osgood 

A native of New York state, Henry M. Osgood was born September 21, 
1828. At the age of eighteen he joined Stevenson's regiment of volunteers, 
designed for service and settlement in California, arriving in the state during 
the spring of 1847. After the war between the Californians and the Ameri- 
cans, in which Fremont played such a prominent part, Henry M. Osgood 
entered the service of the state as an express rider, or mail carrier, and 
made trips through this section. In 1850, he settled in the county on the 
Arroyo Grande, later moving to San Luis Obispo, where he kept a jewelry 
store. He was elected assemblyman in 1857, was justice of the peace and 
associate judge, held many other ofSces, and was a member of the Vigilance 
Committee of 1858. He was a popular man and a member of the first tem- 
perance societies established in the county. He died in December, 1882, 
and the I. O. G. T. lodge passed resolutions of respect signed by C. H. Woods, 
H. P. Flood and D. M. Meredith, which shows where these three gentlemen 
stood on the "booze" question. 

C. H. Phillips 

A native of Ohio, born in ^Medina count}', July 5, 1837, C. II. Phillips 
came to California and taught school in Napa county. He studied law, was 
deputy county clerk of Napa county, and chief deputy collector of internal 
revenue of the fifth district for five years. Later, he was chief deputy for 
the second district, and when that was consolidated with the first, he remained 
chief, handling about $5,000,000 annually, without bonds. In 1871 he came 
to this county and, with PI. M. Warden, E. W. Steele, George Steele. P. W. 
Murphy, J. P. Andrews, Hugh Isom, D. W. James, M. Gilbert, John Harford, 



80 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

W. L. Beebee, James H. Goodman and I. G. Wickersham, organized the 
Bank of San Luis Obispo — the first bank in the county. H. AI. Warden was 
president and Mr. Phillips cashier. In August, 1875, came the great panic, 
and the Bank of California, the financial dictator of the coast, failed. The 
news was telegraphed to Mr. Phillips, but he posted a notice that his bank 
would meet all obligations, met the anxious callers with perfect calm, and 
so saved a run on the bank which would have spelled ruin. The Phillips 
residence was in the northern part of the town, set in large grounds. On 
the evening of April 1, 1878, Mr. Phillips answered a ring at the door. A 
suspicious character asked him to come outside. Mr. Phillips started to 
close the door, when the villain struck at his breast with a long knife. After 
a struggle he released himself and managed to slam the door shut. One of 
his little girls followed him into the hall and witnessed the affair. A bright 
light was burning in the hall, and Mr. Phillips and his daughter were able 
to describe two of the gang who were just outside the door. Four were 
arrested and convicted of robbery, as that was their business — two Mexicans, 
one Swiss and a Frenchman. In 1878, Mr. Phillips retired from the bank 
and entered the real estate business with P. H. Dallidet, Jr. In 1878 he 
purchased the Morro y Cayucos rancho of 8,100 acres, laid out the town of 
Cayucos and sold off the tract in smaller ranches. In 1882, he sold a large 
amount of land for the Steele brothers. In September of that year he bought 
the Corbett tract of 1,900 acres for $8,000, and in ninety days sold it for 
$16,000. Later he sold the San Miguelito rancho ; and when the Southern 
Pacific Railroad entered the county in 1886, the West Coast Land Company 
was organized, with C. H. Phillips as manager. He sold the Paso Robles 
rancho, laid out the town of Templeton, and built a fine home there, where 
his family ?ind he resided for several years. Later he sold the Chino ranch 
in the southern part of the state, and one of the Murphy ranches in Santa 
Clara county, laying out the towns of ^Morgan Hill and San Martin. In 
this county he also sold a tract of land about Shandon, but the town never 
got very far on the way to a big city. Air. Phillips finally went to San Jose 
to li^-e, after years of great successes and many failures. He made and lost 
money, but died just comfortably well off. No man ever had more to do 
Avith real estate transactions and general interests here than C. H. Phillips 
wiiile he lived in this county. 

J. J. Simmler 

A native of France, born July 18, 1826, J. J. Sinimler learned the painter's 
trade, and to perfect his business, traveled much in France, Germany, Swit- 
zerland and other countries, learning the craft as it was practiced in other 
places. His father was a pupil of the great school teacher and reformer, 
Pcstalozzi, and passed on to his son many of the views he received from 
the master teacher. In February, 1847, he started out for the New World 
and landed in Texas. In May, 1852, he started for the gold fields of Cali- 
fornia, crossing the plains of Mexico and taking passage on a sailing vessel 
for San Francisco. A period of calms held the ship at sea, and rations 
giving out, seven of the passengers died of starvation. At last, after two 
months, the ship made the Port of San Luis, and Mr. Simmler concluded 
to go no farther. He worked at his trade, was in charge of the St. Charles 
Hotel of San Luis Obispo for two years, was a member of the Pollard & 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 81 

Simmler firm, and in 1872 was appointed postmaster of San Luis 01)ispo, 
holding the office until 1890. There is a postoffice named for him over in 
the eastern section of the county, so named because he took great interest 
in getting it established. Mr. Simmler died in February, 1906, and is buried 
in San Luis Obispo. 

J. W. Slack 

The life story of J. W. Slack reads like one of Stevenson's tales, and 
confirms tlie statement, "Truth is stranger than fiction." ]Mr. Slack has the 
Iniild of a hero — tall, of commanding presence, fine-looking and with an eye 
that compels one to look straight at him. Kentucky never sent a braver son 
to California than when, in 1854, young Slack, then in his twenty-first year, 
said good-bye and started for El Dorado, the land of gold. He crossed the 
plains and reached Hangtown in October, 1854. He went to mining in 
Diamond Spring, struck it rich, and for a while took out from $2,000 to 
$4,000 a day. He mined about two months, and wdien he had cleaned up 
$200,000, he resolved to go back home. He sailed from San Francisco on 
the "Yankee Blade." This vessel carried an immense amount of gold and 
was bound for Panama. When ofif the coast of Point Concepcion tlie vessel 
was run ashore by the officers and wrecked on the rocks close to the shore. 
No doubt of this remains. The captain and first mate were seen in a boat 
together when boats were lowered for all hands to go ashore, but they 
never came ashore, at least not where the rest did. 

Much money was spent by tlie government to raise the treasure chest, 
but when it came up and was opened, no treasure was there. Slack's gold 
went with the rest, and all believed it went with the missing officers, wdio 
kept themselves well lost for years ; but Mr. Slack says he heard of one of 
them being seen in New York, very opulent, many years later. Young Slack 
"went wild" when he realized what had been done to him and the rest, and 
was almost a madman, flourishing his revolver and vowing vengeance on 
the scurvy officers. 

The day after the wreck another vessel called and took the passengers 
to Panama. Slack went from Panama back to the mines, but his big luck 
was gone, and he only made a modest sum at mining in his second venture. 
The second attempt was at a place known as Burns's Barley Field. Here 
his partner was William Morrell, a shoemaker from New Hampshire. 

In 1858, Mr. Slack married Miss Ellen Kamp at San Jose. He bought 
cattle and came to this county. His range was in what is now known as 
Slack's canon, northeast of San Miguel. Mrs. Slack's father and a brother 
were here in the county, and in 1862 J. W. Slack sold out his cattle and 
came to the town of San Luis Oljispo, then ;i little collection of adobe huts 
clustered about the Mission. 

The San Miguel Mission Indians had evidently planted an orchard years 
before near Slack's canon, for sojne old ])ear trees stotxl near by. Othar 
Kamp, a brother-in-law, set out an orchard on his ranch near town, and 
remnants of the old orchard still stood a few years ago. All about San Luis 
Obispo was government land, but unsurveyed. Mr. Slack settled on two 
hundred acres just north of town, lying in between where the Polytechnic 
School lands and George Andrews' home on Monterey street now are. Even- 
tually, :\Ir. Slack sold "the land to C. H. Phillips, and' part or all of it became 



82 SAN LUIS OBISrO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Slack's addition to San Luis Obispo. ^Ir. Slack plowed and sowed wheat, 
and as loose st(jck roamed all over the country, he found it necessary to drive 
off cattle and threaten to shoot them if they were not kept oft'. He was 
an offense to most of the inhabitants. His wife was, like himself, an Ameri- 
can. The Spanish, more properly the Mexicans, wanted this county for a 
cattle country and resented the wheat-raising and the call for fencing ; so, 
after sc\eral vain attempts to torment Slack into leaving, they set a price 
of $2.^0 on his life. "Any 'Mcx' who could get me was to get $250,'' said the 
old gentleman when talking to the writer. 

In those days gambling was as legitimate a Inisiness as raising cattle 
or Avheat. Alexander ]Murray had a gambling house in town, and he struck 
a bargain with the "big American," who was afraid of nothing on earth 
and could play "bagatelle" as well as he could do other things — shoot, if it 
came to a show-down, and never miss. So ]\Iurray agreed to pay Slack $20 
a night. He was to play for the house: if he won a big stake, he only got 
$20 : if he lost, he got $20. " 

The Mexicans had tried \-arious schemes to obtain that reward of $250, 
but so far had failed. Early one morning Slack was going home from 
Murray's "place.'' He says: "Something told me not to follow the trail at 
the foot of the hill. I called myself a coward and tried to go on, but I 
couldn't, so I took oft" my shoes and went around up above the trail and got 
behind a big rock. Looking over, I saw three Mexicans laj'ing for me, one 
abo\-e the trail lying behind a rock, and two down below behind rocks. I 
coxered them with my gun, then picked up little stones and began pelting 
them. They sprang up, and when they saw me (I was higher than the rock 
I stood l)ehind), they saw my gun, too, and they just tumbled down the 
hill. I knew them" — he gave the names here — "and that afternoon I got 

on my horse and rode to where I knew I would meet . He was on his 

horse, too. I said to him: "You meant to get me this morning; now one 
of us has got to be shot. I won't shoot you on your horse. Get off, and 
draw Aiiur gun.' He slid off his horse and held up his hands, gun and all. 
I told him to measure the ground and take his place, for we were going to 
shoot. At last he fell on his knees, fairly groveled, and said he'd leave the 
countr}'. I told him if he were here the next day I would shoot him, and 
I never saw him again. I corralled the other two and told them what I 

had told , and they agreed to go to Sonora, and did. At any rate, they 

left, and that ended the shooting business." This is just what another old- 
timer told me about Mr. Slack. In concluding, he said: "Slack was a 
powerful man, and not afraid of the devil himself." 

The next job was to accuse Slack of having shot a man named Sinoles 
up at San jose IMission. The Mexicans got word sent to the sheriff'. Moss, 
that here at San Luis Obispo lived John Wilson, alias Slack, the man who 
shot Sinoles. John \^^ilson took up government land that Sinoles claimed 
as his, but h;i(l no atom of title to. He harried Wilson in many ways, at 
last came to his cabin, tore off the door and with his reata dragged it off'. 
He came back, shot at Wilson, and then attempted to throw his reata over 
him — the old game, "dragged to death" at the end of a reata, while the 
fellow in the saddle sinirred his horse over rocks and brush. Sinoles missed 
in his intention, but wounded Wilson in the arm. Wilson went to a friend 
aiifl got the wound dressed; then went on and met Sinoles coming from 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 83 

his house on horseback. He shot Sinoles and disappeared. AIoss, the Ala- 
meda sheriff, came down to arrest Wilson, alias Slack, and lined up the 
sheriff of this county, de la Guerra, to go with him. Mr. Slack was goinj^ 
into town on horseback carrying some plowshares to be sharpened. Just 
about where the old "Pavilion" now stands in San Luis Obispo, Slack came 
face to face with the posse. Moss, the Alameda county sheriff, stepped out 
and said to Slack, "You are my prisoner." Slack demanded an explanation, 
and the local officials urged him "not to make a fuss." A "fuss" with 
Slack was no funny thing — especially when the "fuss" had no foundation. 

Slack at last agreed to talk things over, but refused to have "irons" put 
on him, and suggested that the Alameda man go with him to the jail and 
there tell him what he was arrested for. To cut the story short. Slack agreed 
to go to Oakland for trial. Othar Kamp warned the outfit that if they tried 
to take Slack away in "irons," handcuft'ed, he -would shoot them, ^\'hen the 
time came to go, they did put on the "irons." Slack said he wanted them 
to do all they could, for he knew his day was coming. True to his word, 
Kamp was on hand and ready to shoot, but his friends overpowered him 
and took his gun until the stage got oft". With Mr. Slack went Mr. Kamp, 
his father-in-law. The Cuesta grade was wet and slippery and all hands 
were ordered to get out and help push the stage uphill. Slack and Kamp 
refused to get out. Mr. Slack said to the officers: "You are taking me to 
Oakland on a false charge, and you know it; I'm going, but I ride," and ride 
he did, as well as did Kamp, while the officials pushed. 

At Gilroy a number of Slack's friends from in and about Slack's caiion 
had gathered, were armed and let him understand that they were there to 
take him from the officers if he would go, but ?vlr. Slack said he had no 
desire to go. He wanted to be entirely cleared of the Sinoles affair. The 
handcuffs were taken off while he ate dinner, and he refused to have them 
put on again. He told Moss not to interfere with him, for he would take 
no more indignities from him. In San Francisco, Moss refused to let Mr. 
Slack get a witness he wanted, William Morrell, wdio had mined with him. 
Twenty-one "greasers" were introduced as witnesses by Moss, and each 
swore that Slack was John Wilson. In the jail, when Moss brought one in 
to identify Slack as Wilson, he overheard Moss tell him in Spanish that he 
had got to swear that this man was Wilson. "But Wilson had lost a front 
tooth, and this man has all his teeth," said the greaser. Slack later told 
Moss that he thought it only fair to tell him that he both understood and 
spoke Spanish. Moss slunk off'; but $4,000 reward was offered for Wilson, 
and lie though he must have known it to be, he went on trying to turn Slack 
into Wilson. For three weeks the farce went on. Men of the best-known 
probity came voluntarily from San Jose, also in time came Morrell, and 
testified that Slack was Slack, and no one else. Also, it turned out that 
Mr. Slack was in St. Louis, just ready to start across the plains, thirteen 
years before, when Sinoles was killed. .\t last the judge addressed the 
court, saying: "This thing shall go uo farther. That man is not Wilson, 
and you all know it. I declare him a free man." Mr. Slack came back to 
San Luis Obispo, and thereafter was unmolested. 

Mis wife, Ellen Kamp Slack, died of pneumonia and her death is reported 
in the first issue of the Tribune, .August 7, 1869. There were five little 
children to be taken care of, and Mr. .Slack went with tlioin to their mother's 



84 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

people in San Jose. Later lie returned and went on ranching. Some time 
after this false arrest, the real John Wilson saw an account of the matter 
in a paper and wrote to Mr. Slack from Arizona, saying he was married, 
had children, and shot Sinoles in self-defense, but left, for he knew that 
among the greasers at San Jose Mission he stood no chance for fair play. 
Mr. Slack sent the letter on to Moss. 

On his ranch at San Luis Obispo he continued to farm. He says he 
always managed, during the awful drought, to keep salt on hand to use in 
seasoning the beans. Many others did without salt, and almost everything 
else. During the dry years, when no cultivated crops can be grown, the 
oak trees bear great crops of acorns, and many bushes yield abundance of 
berries. The bears were rolling fat during 1862-63-64, when cattle died of 
starvation ; and men hunted the bears for meat. When it became possible 
to raise wheat again, many sowed it, and it was threshed out by flails or 
trampled out by bands of horses, and then tossed in the air to be winnowed. 
It was ground, or pounded in a mortar ; or one stone was made to fit into an- 
other slightly hollowed, and was turned by hand to crush the wheat. Later 
the first mills were built. The Mexicans used a forked stick to scratch the 
ground, but the Americans, as soon as possible, introduced plows. The first 
reaper in the county was brought in by Mr. Slack, and he also ran the first 
threshing machine around San Luis Obispo. 

In 1875, Mr. Slack was farming near Morro bay, and from the Tribune 
we copy this item, dated October 11, 1875 : "J. W. Slack brought in a cabbage 
the other day grown at the head of Morro bay and tried to put it on our 
office table. It measured three feet nine inches in circumference, ten inches 
from top to stem, and weighed twenty-nine and one-half pounds. It was 
solid and fine, although of great size." There were no bridges in those 
davs, and Augustus Slack tells of going with his father and the family to 
attend a celebration held on Old creek, the Fourth of July celebration referred 
to in writing of Cambria, and of how his father had to take one of the horses 
and go across the mouth of the creek first on horseback to see if it would 
be possible to drive the wagon over, then come back and drive over. All 
went well until they tried driving up the canon to the picnic grounds. On 
the slanting grade the wagon upset and "Gus" went into the creek. He was 
just a little boy, his picnic clothes were sadly mussed, and the first part of 
his celebration was being set behind a bush while his clothes were dried out; 
but the rest of it was exciting, all that a Fourth of July should be, and it occu- 
pied at least three days' — one to go, one to celebrate and one to get back home. 

Mr. Slack not only farmed, btit worked in the Tribune office binding 
hooks, and his son, Augustus, worked there for years setting type and gather- 
ing up information which later' he worked up into interesting stories for 
publication. Some very good poems also came from his pen. 

In 1882, Mr. Slack married Miss Mary J. Dunning, and by this marriage 
there were three children, two daughters and one son. This son. David, 
was killed in an automobile accident near Stockton in July, 1911, when 
eighteen years of age. The other children are all living and are : Mrs. 
Maggie Oaks of Los Angeles, Mrs. Carrie Priest of Alameda, Mrs. Annie 
Pool of Arroyo Grande, Benjamin of San Jose, Augustus of San Ltiis Obispo, 
Mrs. Venona Englander of the Huer-Huero, and Miss Arley Slack, who 
resides with her parents on their pleasant ranch five miles south of Creston. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 85 

Mr. Slack was eighty-three on June 12, 1016. He is a hale, handsome old 
gentleman, drives his own team to San Luis Obispo or anywhere else he 
wishes to go, steps off as spry as his son, carries himself as straight and tall 
as ever. His splendid, big, dark eyes shadow forth a soul clean and brave. 
In looking at ^Ir. Slack, one is bound to apply to him Kipling's words, "A 
gentleman unafraid." 

Major William Jackson and Mrs. Mary Jackson 

Among the men and women who pioneered San Luis Obispo and arc 
well worth a place in its history, are Major William Jackson and his wife, 
Airs. Mary Francis Jackson. Major Jackson, of the Third ]\Iissouri Cavalry 
Volunteers, was born in Tennessee, June 5, 1828. He enlisted on the first 
call to arms for the Civil War and served two years. At the expiration 
of two years, broken health compelled him to retire from the service. In 
the fall of 1863 he married Mary Francis in Missouri, and in the spring of 
1864, they left from White Cloud, Kansas, just across the Missouri line, l^y 
wagon train, crossing the plains to California. 

Mrs. Jackson was even then a remarkable woman, and dro\'e a mule 
team the entire distance. The journey lasted four months, and in September 
the party reached Sebastopol, Sonoma county. With the party were George 
and \\'illiam Downing. Robert Coon, who had crossed the plains three 
times already, acted as guide, else the time would have been longer; but he 
knew just where the water holes and pastures were, and what Indians to 
avoid, and how; so the train made a quick, safe trip. 

Mrs. Jackson's father and three brothers had started across the plains 
for California in 1849, but the father and two brothers had died of cholera 
and were buried somewhere on the road. This much Mrs. Jackson and her 
mother knew, also that one brother had reached California. The party 
camped on a flat below Fort Laramie, and were told several men were buried 
there who had died while crossing. Arrived in California, Mrs. Jackson 
found her brother, and from him learned that her own father and two brothers 
were buried there on Laramie flat, where she had camped. All the way, 
she says, she wondered where they lay, and yet camped beside their graves 
without knowing it. 

Before telling the rest of iier story, this incident should l)e given : It 
is known to all students of the history of our Civil War that Missouri was 
the scene of a terrible struggle between the LTnion and Confederate forces, 
each trying to save the state for its own side. 

At Springfield, where Marj^ Francis was then a schoolgirl, the Union 
men were trying to keep "Old Glor}^" floating until General Sigcl and his 
ten thousand men, many of them Germans, should arrive. Several times the 
Confederate men tore down the flag and tramped it under foot. At last they 
shot the Union men who tried to guard it at night. Sigel was coming. 
Should the Stars and Stripes greet him or not? One day, the day before he 
was expected, the principal of the school said, "Will any one here volunteer to 
guard the flag tonight?" Mary Francis arose and said, "I will." Girl after 
girl arose until twelve girls had said, "I will." 

At home she told what she was going to do, and a brother. t!ie last one 
remaining, said, "If you do that, I will enlist in the Confederate army to- 



86 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

morrow morning." The twelve girls went to the public square and the flag 
was run up. There they stayed all night dancing, singing, but always circling 
the flag pole. About ten the next morning a glad shout went up from the 
Union men and women, who, at dawn, began to collect about the brave girls 
that had guarded the flag all night and whom no man had molested ; for listen, 
faint and far away, sounds of fife and drum ; and then as on a sea of glass, 
the sun flashed on ten thousand glistening bayonets. In a little while Gen- 
eral Sigel and his men swept around the square. The bands surrounded the 
girls and serenaded them and the flag, while General Sigel shook hands with 
each and thanked them for this service to their country. 

True to his word, the brother enlisted in the Southern Army, and 
^Irs. [acksoii recalls how her mother stood at the gate one evening while 
General Lyon, on his fine dappled gray charger, rode past on his evening 
ride. She questioned him, saying, "Do you think there will be a battle?" 
"Yes, Madam, there will be a battle, probably tomorrow." At break of day, 
the roll of artillery began. Five miles away a son and brother were fighting 
against the flag that the sister had guarded : but so it was all through those 
awful years — son against father, brother against brother, on the battlefield, 
while the women wept, worked and prayed at home with no drums, no fifes, 
no yelling hordes, to cheer them on ; and so it will ever be while the hell 
of war is allowed by so-called civilized nations. 

In the fall of 1863, Mary Francis married her soldier lover and, as stated, 
started for California the next spring. The husband and wife had brought 
little cash with them, but great store of pluck and energy. ■Mrs. Jackson 
says she grew tired of living without butter and milk, so urged ]\Iajor Jack- 
son to offer her fine gold watch and chain to a man who owned some good- 
looking cows, for one of them. At first the Alajor demurred, but she finally 
had her way, and in exchange for watch and chain, the man gave her two 
of his best cows. Each cow had a heifer calf; and when, in 1867, the family 
decided to remove to Santa Barbara county, those cows and young heifers 
came along, following the wagon in which the family rode. It took two 
weeks for the trip, but it was spring and feed was fine, so cows and folks 
arri\-ed in good condition. Mrs. Jackson says as long as they ranched, the 
cows were always hers, as she started the herd with her gold watch and chain. 
When they went to Lompoc valley, some years later, sixty head of fine cattle 
followed the wagons. With the Jacksons came the Downing boys, also. 
Mrs. Jackson says San Luis Obispo was just a little huddle of adobe huts. 
One luirrow dirty street ran past the Mission, and it was littered with old 
cast-iTf clothing, hats, shirts, etc. 

The ])arty had started for Santa Barbara county and passed through the 
town, camping across San Luis creek at the end of what is now Dana street, 
or rather across the creek from the end of it. The men in the party went 
back up town to see the sights. W^alter Murray, who without doubt was the 
most inlluential and gifted man of those days in San Luis Obispo, got into 
con\-ersatii>n with them. He urged them to stay there and not go on, saying, 
"All about town liere is rich government land. Stay here and I will locate 
you on some." After two days of talk and seeing the country, Major Jackson 
decided to stay, and Walter Murray located him on 160 acres where a big old 
adobe house stood, that h.-id been owned 1)V the Mission. Later he bought 



SAN LUIS OmSPO COUNTY AND ENVIROxN'S 87 

forty acres more. This land he sohl in 1875, to J. 11. Orcutt. and it was 
known for forty years as Laurel Ranch, or the J. H. Orcutt ranch. 

In the old adobe, Mrs. Jackson set up housekeeping. Its crumbling- 
walls still stand. All the great eucalyptus trees now on that ranch were set 
out by Mr. Orcutt, but in 1867 no tree obstructed the view down the valley; 
Mrs. Jackson says she stood at her kitchen door every morning and looked 
down the valley to an old adobe, once Mission property, on land now owned 
by Peter McMillan, and remembered the story told her of some ]\Iexicans 
who rode up to the cabin door of a family asking for a drink of water. 
The husband was away ; when the woman turned to go into the house, the 
Mexicans followed and attacked her, and she died as a result of her injuries. 
Mrs. Jackson says she shuddered as she looked, and wondered about her 
own future. Major Jackson started selling milk, using at first one horse 
and a light wagon. Later he put on a big wagon and a spirited team. One 
day the hired driver got too much "hot stufl^" and his team ran away. Mrs. 
Jackson says she saw them heading up the hill scattering milk cans as 
they came. 

On what is now the Goldtree place, adjoiningthe Orcutt ranch, a Spanish 
family li\ed. A brother was sick and died. One night at midnight, one of 
them came to Major Jackson's house and begged him to buy their two cows. 
They said they wanted the money to pay for a mass for the rei)ose of their 
brother's soul. The Major bought the cows. ]\frs. Jackson says the other 
brothers carried the coffin on their shoulders to the Mission. The priest said 
the mass, but would come no farther than the Mission door Avith them; hut 
she and the Major went with the bmthers still carrying the coffin on their 
shoulders to the cemetery. There was only one cemetery in those days. 

Well, the Steeles had just started up their big dairy at Corral de Piedra, 
and w^ere the nearest neighbors of the Jacksons on the south ; and the families 
visited back and forth. Also Major Jackson bought a number of fine cows 
from Steele Bros. Airs. Jackson showed the writer a little old album con- 
taining pictures of Judge Walter Murray, a \-ery handsome man ; his brother, 
Alexander Murray; Mr. and Mrs. Morris, who ran the old Cosmopolitan Hotel, 
the "Casa Grande" of pioneer days; and other (|uaint old jjhotographs. ^'ears 
after Mr. Orcutt bought the ranch, a Spaniard came and re(|uested permission 
to dig in one corner of the old adobe house. It was refused, but that night 
some one did "dig," and in the morning, in one corner of the deep adobe walls, 
was a hole showing where a vessel, a kettle-shaped one, had been removed. 
It had been embedded in the walls and plastered over. No doubt it con- 
tained valuables. It might have been a kettle full of Spanish coins, jewels, 
or treasures from the Mission, but it went as mysteriously as the Spaniard 
came, and no doubt went with him. Our county is plastered thick with 
romance that has never been written, and there are still hidden treasures to 
be dug up. 

In 1874, Major Jackson was one of a hundred men who bought sevent}'- 
two thousand acres of land in Lonipoc \alley, the Downing boys being mem- 
bers of the company, ilither the .Major and his family removed; and here 
they lived for about twenty-eight years. In l'X)2 .Major and Mrs. Jackson 
removed to Orange. 

Major Jackson was an officer and charter member of King David's 
Lodge of San Luis Obispo, which was instituted in Xo\ember, 1870. .Mrs. 



88 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Jackson was a charter member of the Mothers' and Daughters' Degree of 
Masonry, which later hccanie the Eastern Star of San Luis Obispo. Irvin 
McGuire installed the members. 

Major Jackson died, June 12, 1912, and is buried at Orange. I\Irs. 
Jackson, a very bright, interesting woman, active in social and benevo- 
lent duties, still resides in Orange. The children are : Judge Grant Jackson 
of Los Angeles ; Mrs. Hattie M. Ross of Santa Barbara ; ]\Irs. Louisa Meyers, 
deceased ; Mrs. Julia Stafford of Santa Barbara ; Fred Jackson, a conductor 
on the Southern Pacific, who lives at Santa Barbara ; Robert and Adeline, 
twins ; and Logan, the youngest son, who resides in Orange. Adeline died 
at the age of thirteen. Robert lives in Pomona. 



CHAPTER IX 
Products of the Soil, Dairying, Grazing and the Great Landholdings 

Wheat and Barley 

AVhile a few of the tlujusands who dug for gold won and kept fortunes, 
many who "lost out," and some who did not, saw in the great level floors 
of the valleys certain gold mines if sown to wheat. The Sacramento valley 
and the smaller valleys about San Francisco bay had produced bountiful 
crops, when in 1865, after the loss of the cattle, the men of this county had 
to seek other means of income than grazing. Surely some tales of the great 
crops of wheat harvested by the padres must have reached them. The means 
of transportation were so poor that they no doubt were a drawback even after 
these men began to think of cultivating the land. From 1850 to 1860 steamers 
anchored out from San Simeon and Port San Luis twice a month ; but the 
means for loading grain were so poor, much loss and expense would have been 
incurred had there been wheat to ship. After the Vigilantes had cleaned out 
the criminals and the drought had ruined many of the cattlemen, the people 
turned to agriculture, especially when, about 1867, Americans began coming 
in to settle on the government land. In 1868, Mr. Rome G. Vicars issued the 
first newspaper published in the county, the Pioneer. In it he published 
many articles advocating wheat-raising and urging the people to take advan- 
tage of the splendid opportunity the country offered. They must have lis- 
tened, for five years later the assessor's crop reports state that 5,000 acres 
had been sown to wheat and 100,000 bushels harvested; 30,000 acres were 
sown to barley and produced 750.000 bushels. In 1876 the report is: wheat 
120.000 bushels, barley 1,500,000 bushels. In 1879 there were 7,000 acres in 
wheat and 40,000 acres in barley. For 1881-82 the report is 36,384 acres in 
wheat, 8,454 acres in barley and 2,932 acres in oats. This is interesting, for 
wheat is on the increase and barley decreasing. By this time the Estrella 
had been settled and found to be a fine wheat-growing country; also wheat 
was being raised in some other sections of the countw as at Pozo, then called 
San jose valley. 

In 1886 the whistles of the Southern Pacific gladdened the waiting people 
of the coimtry as far south as Templeton. This meant better means of ship- 
ment as well as many other things. The Paso Roblcs ranch was subdivided 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 89 

and sold off in farming tracts by the West Coast Land Co. Over about 
Shandon, government land was rapidly taken up. Four brothers, D. C, 
James, Peter, and Alec ]\IcJ\Iillan, all took up land in what is now known 
as McMillan canon. They have all grown well-off raising wheat, even 
though it must still be hauled over twenty miles to a market. Others haul 
as far as forty miles to the same warehouses, yet they make money, especially 
in "good years." In McMillan canon, this year of 1916, there has been a fine 
crop of wheat, although in most other sections it has been light or a total 
failure. 

We have already mentioned that in 1873, 5,000 acres produced 100,000 
bushels of wheat. From the State Board of Agriculture report for 1915, we 
learn that this county seeded 33,608 acres to wheat and harvested 428,636 
bushels. By these figures the 1873 crop averaged twenty bushels to the 
acre, while the 1915 crop was not quite an average of fourteen bushels to 
the acre. The season of 1882-83 yielded a bumper crop in some sections. 
From an old crop report we learn that Frank McCoppin, on a farm of four 
hundred acres near San Luis Obispo, raised 20,000 bushels, or fifty bushels 
per acre. C. Fairbanks, near Morro, raised 1,000 centals from forty acres. 
Judge Steele of the Corral de Piedra reported an average of forty bushels to 
the acre. For the last thirty years the writer has resided in the county and 
knows that the wdieat crops have varied greatly. The yield depends so much 
upon the season, upon summer-fallowing, and good or bad preparation of 
the land and seed. Barley has decreased in acreage but the yield is the same. 
Almost invariably the quality is unsurpassed. 

Cultivation of the Wheat 

The first plowing in the county was with a sort of forked stick with, 
in some cases, a piece of iron fastened on one side, a sort of rude plowshare. 
A branch drawn by oxen harrowed in the wdieat scattered by hand. The first 
real plows used, and they were very crude, WilUam Dana had made in his 
blacksmith shop on his Nipomo rancho. The great "caterpillars," steam 
plows, and wonderful modern ranch machinery now in use in the county 
show we have progressed with the best. 

From a hand flail or trampling out the grain with horses, to an up-to-date 
combined harvester, is the story of the progress in threshing. After the 
wharves were built, steamers carried away the surplus wdieat and barley, 
which is now shipped mostly by rail to the various sca])orts and warehouses. 
England and other European countries, with China and India, are California 
markets. 

Mills 

The "molino," a rude contrivance with a wheel at one end and a mill- 
stone at the other run by either water or horse power, was the first mill 
used in the county. • In 1854-55, seed wheat was brought down from San 
Francisco and "smut" was introduced; proper care in preparing the seed 
does away with "smut" in most instances. 

In 1854, Branch built a grist-mill on the Arroyo Grande, run by water 
power, and ground wheat for the ranchers of that end of the county. Judge 
Bonilla had built a mill on San Luis creek, grinding grist from El Chorro, 
Potrero de San Luis Obispo, :Murni, Cayucos, Santa Rosa, San C.eronimo. 



90 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Santa Margarita, and Piedra Blanca ranches. Grists were also brought 
to Bonilla's mill from Paso Robles and the Estrella. 

In 1868, Messrs. Pollard, Childs and Sauer built the El Chorro mill. 
The building was 50x25 feet on the ground, four stories high. The machin- 
er}', consisting of three run of stone with all the latest improvements, was 
run l)y a water wheel forty feet in diameter. The water df El Chorro (the 
waterfall) was capable of driving one stone the entire year, and all three 
part of the time. With one set of stones running, four hundred and eighty 
bushels could be ground each twenty-four hours. 

In 1872, William Leffingwell, at a cost of $8,000, built a mill at Cambria. 
This was a steam grist-mill having two run of stone, and capable of making 
twenty-ti\-e barrels of flour per day. lM"om the assessor's report of 1874, we 
learn that Branch's mill produced thirty barrels per day; the Chorro, then 
owned by Pollard & James, fifty barrels per day; and the Cuesta or Bonilla's 
mdl, then owned by S. Sumner, twent\f-five barrels per day. Later still the 
Eagle mill was erected in San Luis Obispo by S. A. Pollard and D. \Y. James. 
This was a powerful steam mill, making flour and crushing barley. After the 
Southern Pacific Railroad came, the Sperry ^filling (_"o. built a fine grist-mill 
at Paso Robles. In the early nineties the "Ivirmers' Alliance" put up a mill 
at San Miguel and turned out fine flour. This mill later became the property 
of the Sperrv Milling Co. At San Luis < )l)ispo the Sperry I'dour Co. handles 
a big business. 

Irrigation 

Afuch ot the future prosperity of the countv is going to depend upon 
what use is made of the water in the streams and in the underground reser- 
voirs. Always it is too much or too little rain that causes the hard years, 
or it comes at the wrong time. When we conserve the millions of gallons 
now running into the sea or rampaging out of their usual confines and wash- 
ing away acres and acres of valuable soil, as on Old creek or Arroyo Grande 
creek; when \vells are sunk, as on the Henry ranch, now the Atascadero 
ccdony — ;ind wonderful wells, even artesian, have been suid-: in the Shandon 
secti(jn — w hen, in a word, we control the water instead of letting it control us, 
with irrigation we can choose our crops and arrange the "season" to suit 
our needs. \\'herever irrigation in any degree has l:)een used in the county, 
prosperity, in a like degree, has come to the landholder. \\'e will cite one 
instance. Xo better' man ever lived and worked hard in Templeton than 
"Charlie" .Steinbeck. He was, for many years, agent for the S. P. Milling 
Co. there. He bought a tract of land just across the Salinas from town, a 
nice le\el i)iece of alluvial land one would call it, set out a pear orchard, and 
year in and year out spent his salary in caring for it. One year the trees were 
l(.)aded with fruit — one year mind you, not every year — and Charlie hired all 
the help he could get, picked, packed and shipped his big pear crop East. He 
!)aid his help, paid for liis bo.xes and for loading the car, out of his salary, and 
waited for the return from his car load o! pears. It came — a bill for freight. 
They sold or took the pears and asked for more to defray freight charges. 
Alter years of this sort of tiling Mr. Steinbeck passed over his land to the 
man who held the mortgage, and left for Hollister, where he is now, a suc- 
cessful business man; but as the children say, "listen here." That land 
which was always a bill of expense to C. M. Steinbeck is now a little gold 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EX\'IROXS 91 

mine. The present owner just pumped some water up out of the Salinas 
and ran it out on the alfalfa that coN'ers those acres. It feeds sleek dairy 
cows and waddling porkers, and you couldn't buy that land today, for it is 
not for sale. 

In the dry year of 1898-99, the cattle on the P. W. Murphy ranch died 
\tv hundreds, for no way had been provided to feed the cattle if Nature lay 
duwn (in her job, as she quite often does all over California, as well as else- 
where. When Mr. Henry bought the ranch he put down wells, irrigated plots 
here and there, built great barns, stored them full of hay, and the "dry years" 
were robbed of their terror and destruction so far as that ranch was con- 
cerned. A book might be filled with these stories. Irrigation is coming into 
the county fast, and it brings peace of mind as well as a comfortable living. 
Fields of fragrant blue-blossomed, emerald-green alfalfa gladden the eyes 
of those who roll along in their automobiles over the great state highway 
that now runs clear through our county. Several years ago bleaching cattle 
bones lay beside the same roadway as it crossed the old .Mur])hy ranch, for 
then we waited for Nature to do the "job" we are learning it is wise and 
profitable to do for ourselves — irrigate. 

Vegetables 

Vegetables will grow anywhere in the county if soil is properly prepared 
and water supplied. The Arroyo Grande valley has long been famous for 
its fine vegetables, berries and mammoth pumpkins. Splendid gardens are 
cultivated b}' Japanese and Chinamen on plots around San Luis Obispo and 
along the Salinas river. 

Beans 

The "bean land" of the county is very valuable and lies mostly south 
of San Luis Obispo, in patches along the coast and the creeks ilowing into 
the sea. More and more land is being annually planted. Usually the returns 
are good, sometimes very profitable. The report of the State P.oard of Agri- 
culture for 1915 gives 11,169 acres planted to beans in this county, which 
i>roduced 207,674 bushels of dry beans. The crop of 1882, according to 
the assessor's report, was 123,570 bushels from 6,530 acres. If these statistics 
be true, the average per acre was twenty Inislicls in 1882, and eighteen and 
one-half bushels in 1915. Threshing then was with flails or trampling out 
by horses. Now there are bean threshers, cutters and all sorts of modern 
machinery for working the crop. Large acreages were planted in the year 
1916, but the season was rather late for planting, or some thought so, and 
the beans were mostly still in the field when the rain began failing on 
September 28, and continued, with but little let-up, to October 10. The 
official report from the town of San Luis Obis])o is 4.16 inches, and the 
fall was heavier south. The great bean crop was badly damaged. Some 
means of housing the beans after the_\- are ]Hilled would have saved thou- 
sands of dollars. Sheds with tiers of racks might solve the problem. One 
man. a Portuguese, was heard telling that he had 1,800 sacks of beans in the 
warehouse and was "going to quit and go to Europe." I'uyers offered 7.7 
cents per pound in the sack, and as high as lO'/i to 11 cents. The great 
European war is given as the cause of the high ])rice of l)eans as of every- 
thing else. 

(Dec. 28, 1916. — In spite of heavy rain and added e.\])ense the beans turned 



92 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

out much Ix'ttcr tlian was thought possible when the heavy September rain 
l)esan and continued on into October. Ten cents per pound meant big 
returns.) 

Orchards 

The settlers who came into the country during the late sixties and early 
seventies set out orchards and found that almost all deciduous fruits and 
berries did well in certain localities. Apples^ peaches, plums and apricots 
did well in the little canons or valleys opening to the sea. Over about 
Pozo peaches and plums throve, and in some places pears were excellent. 
On the old Blackburn ranch just south of Templeton was a fine orchard. 
The finest cherries grew on great trees near the house. Mrs. Blackburn was 
verA' kind and gracious to her new Templeton neighbors, who were often 
invited to come down and pick cherries. Such delicious fruit as those trees 
yielded willing pickers, and how good they were in winter, canned ! A for- 
tune in cherries awaits some one who will buy that old orchard tract and 
set it to cherries. Old "Uncle Misenheimer" used to bring in wagon loads 
of fruit raised on his hill ranch out in Summit district, and peddle it in Tem- 
pleton ; so when the real estate agents advised us to buy land and set out 
orchards we all took the bait and bought. A¥e had not then learned that 
the difference in soil and climate, between a little bench on a hillside of 
some valley in the mountains or hills, on the one hand, and the open 
Salinas valley on the other, meant all the difference between failure and 
success. Hundreds and hundreds of acres about Templeton and Paso 
Robles were set out to prunes, apples, olives, pears, peaches and plums. 
Thousands of dollars were spent caring for the orchards, but not one of the 
many who set out the orchards ever got back his investment. At Templeton, 
William Horstman, Hans Petersen, Mr. Aiken, H. W'essel, C. I\I. Steinbeck, 
King, Putnam, and scores of others, set out orchards ; and in the end, after 
years of trial, the orchards were left to die or were dug out. This is the truth, 
for the writer came there in 1887, got "stung" with the rest, and in the fall 
of 1898 did newspaper work to earn money to pay for pulling out and burn- 
ing up six acres of fine, big, fruitless prune trees. What was true of that or- 
chard was true of others. Witnesses can be found to corroborate this state- 
ment. .Some contend that since the great earthquake of 1906, the climate has 
changed and good peaches and apples are now being raised on some of the 
same ]jlaces where they were failures twentj'-five years ago. Across the river 
from Paso Robles, R. L. Shacke'lford set out a very large prune orchard. It 
never paid. We saw it when it was an abandoned wreck of dead, scraggly 
trees, and again when a booming chicken ranch was on the site of the old or- 
chard. Almonds have paid good returns in some localities about Paso Robles, 
and on the strength of that, large acreages have been set out. It is hoped that 
none of the jircsent owners of orchards will suft'er the losses the pioneers of 
that section did. The trees always grew. Those orchards as far as wood 
was concerned were howling successes, but alas for the fruit ! 

The Atascadero colony, on the old Atascadcro, Mur])li_\-, Henry ranch, 
has set out thousands of trees. They say experts told them just where and 
how to ])lani them. The trees grew fairly well — so did ours four miles north 
of there — but let us hojie that the "quake"' or the "experts." or old Dame 
Nature herself, will do a better job than ever any of us were able to do when 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 93 

it comes to making those trees bear fruit. This is history, not fiction, so we 
are sticking to the truth as it was demonstrated from 1887 up to 1900, a 
period of thirteen years. Since irrigation has been given a trial and alfalfa 
sown, the question of making a living from a small or great acreage has 
been changed. Feed the alfalfa to the cows, sell the cream, feed the separated 
milk to the calves, hogs and chickens, and use ordinary wit about the rest, 
and you can make a comfortable living now where, twenty-five or more years 
ago, we made nothing. 

^^'ahluts are very profita1)le when grown in tiie right section. D. J. 
Matthews set out walnuts and a profitable orchard resulted. Out in the 
Ascunsion district, the York, Anderson, Matthews and other families have 
raised quantities of wine grapes, and the York Winery has made money. 
San Luis Obispo County is all right, soil, climate and people ; but it is, as we 
have stated before, "a county where the pioneers made the mistakes and the 
people are now profiting, or can profit, l)y them, and reap fortunes where they 
lost them." 

Dairying: Its History and Growth 

The great drought of 1862-63-64 had destroyed the herds of Spanish cattle 
and the owners of the grants could not afford to restock them. Settlers 
were coming in demanding surveys and the government land for settlement. 
These new settlers began to cultivate the land and asked protection for their 
crops from the ranging cattle; this meant fencing. Endless fights and not a 
few deaths were the result of this war between the farmers and the cattlemen. 
John Slack, who came to San Luis Obispo in the early sixties, in addition to 
plowing land and sowing wheat, had an American wife, a double offense; so 
various schemes were tried to get rid of him. Three dift'erent times plans 
were laid for killing him. Once an old Mexican woman, some called her 
plain "Injun," warned him that his home was to be attacked that night; so he 
arranged not to be there. He "was gettin' reckless like" about that time, 
and the Mexicans concluded he was not a safe man to fool with. A few 
men. Slack with the others, had tried to tame native cows sufficiently to be 
milked Yankee fashion, that is, without tying up the hind legs and letting 
the calf suckle while the milker hustled to get a little of the drip. Possibly 
these men started the dairy business in the county, but by common consent 
the honor is given to the Steele brothers. These men, George and E. W. 
Steele, had been in the dairy business on a large scale in Marin county. Their 
leases were about to expire, so in June, 1866, K. W. Steele visited this county, 
rode over the Corral de Piedra, Pismo, Balsa de Chemisal and Arroyo 
Grande ranches, and declared "This is cow heaven." He arranged to pur- 
chase 45,000 acres of these lands at $1.10 per acre. Later, an heir to the 
Corral de Piedra brought suit against Steele Bros, on complaint of a flaw 
in the title. A trial in the United States district court, where Judge Hoffman 
presided, gave the land to Steele Bros., but the case was carried to the United 
States supreme court, where the decision was reversed and the Stceles had 
to pay $150,000; but even so they got the land cheap. They brought down 
six hundred good cows from Marin county, employed one hundred men and 
spent about $20,000 a year for five years in buildings, fences and improve- 
ments. They did not propo.se to let a dry year ruin them, so raised feed for 
their stock. Steele Bros, made cheese for manv vears, as that could be mar- 



94 SAX i.ris oiiisro county and environs 

kclcd at aiiv linu-. and steamers were the only means of shipment. Later 
they made huller, a> well as eheese. The great Steele dairy raneh was divided 
and' sold off tor small farms years jigo. M. ^\■. Steele, Jr., has just sold out 
his last hit of the Steele ranch and homestead, forty-seven acres Both of the 
men who started the dairy business in the county are dead, as are their wives. 
George Steele had no children, and E. W. only one son, who at present lives 
on hFs ranch near Edna. After Steele Mros. showed what a good dairy 
could do, peoiiie all along the coast went into the business. Steamers at 
San Simeon. Tort San Luis and Cayucos carried away the cheese and butter. 
In 187.\ the dairies produced 300,000 pounds of butter, and 500,000 
pounds of cheese: 8.342 cows and 9,609 calves were reported. In 1876, the 
reports were butter, .=;00,0(X) pounds: cheese, 600,000 pounds; cows, 19,000; 
calves, 18,000. In 1882, there were 1,331,160 ])ounds of butter, 872,362 pounds 
of cheese. In 1883, there were 1,567,100 pounds of butter and 985,420 pounds 

.V great many Swiss canie to the count)', for here was a business they 
knew in Switzerland. At first most of the young men were employed as 
milkers on the .American-owned ranches: but they had no intention of 
milking other people's cows always. They saved their earnings, until they 
had a few hundred dollars, or maybe less, rented a ranch and cows, and worked 
it for a sliare of the profits. Soon the Swiss lad could buy some cows, then 
some land, and today the majority of the fine coast ranches are owned by 
Swiss, while the rest are leased by them. One man told the writer of bor- 
rowing passage money from a friend and coming to California at the age 
of eighteen. lie must repay that money and send money home to his old 
])arents. lie said he used to declare to himself that some day he would own 
the ranch that he was then slaving on half the night, getting up at 3:30 A. AI. 
in the winter rain and milking shivering cows in the open wdiile his own 
garments \\ere sometimes frozen stiff. "He held the thought," and also 
woi'ked to\\ards that end. He has owned that ranch for years and tw-o 
others right in a string on Old creek. More than ten years ago he was 
offered SIOO.OOO for his land alone, but he did not feel like selling. His cows 
are well housed in winter; no one freezes while milking on that ranch now; 
acet_\-lene lights are used in all the buildings and the big corral, 

'I'his stor_\- would about fit most of the rich Swiss dairymen of the county. 
They build nice homes, have many comforts and are as automobile-mad as 
their American neighbors. Their fine driving teams were the admiration 
of all tliirty years ago, and now it is the l)est in automobiles for them. The 
Swiss for the dairies and the Portuguese for the beans. Now the dairy busi- 
ness is carried on differently. The cream is separated, and great truck loads 
of ii ari' hauled to the creameries in San Luis and at other points, while a 
string of w;igons and aulos bring in the cream from the local ranches. The 
milk goes to feed liogs and calves. The work on the ranch is lessened, and 
the profits are certainly good, judging by ap])earances. 

The d.airy ins])ectors went after dirty dairies in the countv, and from 
Dccemher, \'>\2. to November, 1<)14, thirteen dairymen were arrested for 
having unsanitary dairies; hut it is only fair to say the dairies were cleaned 
up; 8135 in fines was collected. 

The creameries in operation in 1910 were the Polytechnic School cream- 
cry, Cayucos creamery, Diamond creamery at Cayucos, Maple Grove and 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COL'XTY AND EXVIROXS 95 

San Luis creameries at San Luis Oliispo, and Santa Ysabel creamery near 
Paso Robles. In 1914, the Polytechnic, California Central, Los Angeles, 
and Swift & Co. creameries were in operation in San Luis Obispo, and the 
Santa Ysabel near Paso Robles. In 1905, the "county produced 1,309,831 
pounds of butter and 61,569 pounds of cheese; in 1906, 1,388,551 pounds of 
butter and 147,717 pounds of cheese; in 1913, 1,846,828 pounds of butter and 
156,380 pounds of cheese; in 1914, 1,909,176 pounds of butter and 246,090 
pounds of cheese; in 1915, 2,759,751 pounds of l)utter and 134,662 pounds of 
cheese. The creameries now operate as in 1914, and there is a fine cheese 
factory at Harmony owned by a company of dairymen. The O'Connors of 
Los Osos have a cheese factory, and there are two near San Miguel. For 
1914, butter averaged 27.61 cents ; for 1915, it averaged 28.70 cents, and cheese 
14.10 cents per pound. 

Major William Jackson, a sketch of wIkjui a|)])cars in Chapter VHI. was 
among those who very early engaged in dairj-ing. He settled on 160 acres 
of government land and later sold it to J. H. Orcutt. It became a part of 
Laurel ranch, for forty years the property of Mr. Orcutt. who set out hun- 
dreds of eucalyptus trees along the little creeks and gullies of his big ranch, 
built a nice home, planted an orange orchard, built a reservoir to impound 
the waters of a little stream, piped it all over tiie place, irrigated orchards 
and gardens, and eventually had a fine herd of Jersey cattle. From the 
Orcutt herd many other dairymen improved theirs. Mr. Orcutt also owned 
and raised some fine driving horses in the days when a swift team was a 
valuable asset to any man. Laurel ranch contained about five hundred acres 
and lies just southeast of the city limits. It was sold to ^Ir. Johnson recently. 
About five years ago the Orcutt family removed to Garden Grove, in Orange 
count3\ 

Grazing and the Great Landholdings 

(Jrazing is the main business on all the great landholdings. Most of 
them lie in the eastern and southeastern parts of the county, but the Hearst 
holding known as the Piedra Blanca ranch, containing 52,577 acres, lies in 
the northwest corner of the county, and controls fifteen miles of seacoast and 
the deep sea harbor of San Simeon bay. The Xacimionto, owned bv Isaias 
\V. Hellman, lies partly in this county and partly in Monterey, 24,198 acres 
in this county. 

Painted Rock ranch, 21,303 acres, is owned by Sarah lUakey. McDonald 
ranch, 41,125 acres, lies just west of the Chicote ranch of 23,400 acres owned 
by Miller & Lux. The Chimeneas ranch of 15,192 acres belongs to the Reis 
estate, as does also the Santa Margarita of 20,806 acres, a total of 35,998 
acres in this holding. The Spanish ranch of 9,080 acres belongs to the 
Orena estate and lies in the extreme southern part of the county. The 
Cuyama ranch belonging to George C. Perkins contains 9,878 acres. It is 
now on the market in subdivisions. Jt)hn W. Ulm owns the Godfrey ranch 
of 9,295 acres lying in the northern part of the county west of the Xacimiento 
ranch. The Biddle ranch of 8,253 acres lies along the north bank of Arroyo 
Grande creek. The X'ewhall ranch, Alamo, lies in the southern part and 
contains 24,015 acres. S. Koshland owns 11,946 acres. The Santa Rosa ranch 
I'f 2,530 acres also belonirs to the Hearsts. It is south of Cambria. The 



96 SA\ LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Estrella ranch of 42,643 acres lies cast of Paso Roblcs and belongs to the 
HeUmans of Los Angeles. 

The Sacramento ranch, 48.002 acres, lies south of the Estrella and 
belongs to C. W. Clark. The Kern Land Company owns 28,431 acres in the 
southeastern part of the county. La Panza ranch, 24,000 acres, belongs 
to Jacob and Rosie Schoenfeldt. San Juan ranch, 59,175 acres, lies in the 
eastern part of the county and belongs to Henry Wreden. The Sinsheimers 
own 30,000 acres or more; the Avenals, Spring ranch and Canyon ranch 
southeast of Pozo. Cholame ranch, 22,993 acres, is in the northeast corner 
of the county and belongs to the R. E. Jack Company. Camatti ranch, 
28,368 acres, is northwest of the San Juan ranch and belongs to Ogden Mills. 

Wheat is raised on portions of the Sacramento, Cholame, Estrella, San 
Juan and La Panza ranches, but cattle are the main dependence. Thousands 
of them are driven to stations on the Southern Pacific and shipped to the San 
Francisco market. The new valuation placed this year on these ranches 
may result in subdivision, but most of the owners are so rich already 
that they can choose to be land-barons and pay their taxes easily out of their 
cattle profits. The spring rodeos are still events, and the vaquero in all his 
cowboy dress, mounted on a flying pony swinging his reata, is just as pic- 
turesque and daring as ever he was. Less silver adorns his hat; more wiry, 
clean-cut Americans, and fewer Mexicans, now "vaquero," but nothing of efifi- 
ciency or bravery has been lost in the exchange. A first-class "Wild West 
Show" is easily put on by the "cowboys" of our county when they want 
to cut a few shines to please the people at their annual Admission Day 
celebrations at Cambria, or at the biennial fairs of Paso Robles. The state 
board reports for 1915 give these statistics: Dairy cows, 24,193; other cows, 
22,903; yearling heifers, 10,345; calves, 15,635; yearling steers and bulls, 
8,948; other steers and bulls, 33,180; total, 118,704; value, $2,789,415. 



CHAPTER X 

Mineral Productions 

GOLD 

Gold has been found in many sections of the county. It has been mined 
in the mountains of the northern part, has been washed out of the beach 
sands south of Port San Luis, but only over in the eastern part in the La 
Panza country has it ever really paid. Over in the San Jose range, between 
the head waters of the Salinas (salt) river and the San Juan, which both 
flow north or west and northwest, rises another stream, the La Panza, flowing 
northeastward, sometimes sinking into the sand, at other times reaching the 
.San Juan. Here in this mountain region of canons, as early as we have 
record, Indians and ^Mexicans mined for gold. In 1878 thei-e was quite a 
"rush" to these mines, and in De la Guerra gulch a few Americans and about 
two hundred fifty Spanish and Mexicans were busily working. Over ,$100,000 
is known to have been taken out. In 1882, Frank H. Reynolds prospected on 
the Navajo creek; one day he packed water on a burro and washed out 
$9 worth of gold. This creek flows through a narrow canon. He reported 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 97 

averaging $4 a day. Haystack cancm has a clear stream, its head waters 
falling over a perpendicular wall twenty feet high into a pool twelve feet 
deep. So clear is it that its pebbly bottom is plainly seen. Coarse gold was 
foimd all along the stream, which reaches the San Juan only during seasons 
of heavy rain. 

Reynolds visited the famous "Painted Rock," the ancient temple of a 
race of sun-worshipers on the Carissa plains, and found gold in crevices of 
the ridge west of the temple. He carried the dirt to water and washed it 
tiut. The rock was soft granite, and while digging he exhumed live scor- 
pions, small, colorless and blind ; as soon as exposed to the light they died. 
In the soft sandstone west of La Panza he found scallop shells nine inches 
in diameter, sharks' teeth, bones and other fossils. Petrified oyster shells 
of great size are found on the high mountain shelves, showing unmistakably 
that once the ocean covered our highest coast ranges far inland. An old 
miner prospected the La Panza country, and in 1879 published an article 
in the South Coast under date of February 5, 1879. In it he says: "Pros- 
pects of fine gold are found nearly everywhere in the streams. Evidently 
there are rich 'pockets' of gold which wash into the streams from the lower 
hills and flats. A belt of cement gravel six miles long exists similar tc) that 
of Forrest Hill and Yankee Jim in Placer county, of You Bet and Little 
York in Nevada county, and of Monte Cristo in Sierra county, but there is 
not enough water to use the hydraulic process." He believed rich deposits 
existed in all the gravel belt ; he also reported that in the lime belt was a 
lead of rich-looking silver ore. Tests showed as high as $36 per ton silver 
and gold. The Comanche claim made several pulverized-cjuartz pan-tests 
which yielded about $30 a ton gold and silver, mostly silver. John ^Llson 
and T. C. Still reported an aggregate of $10,000 a 3'ear from tiie claims 
worked. During 1878-79 the output amounted to $50,000. 

SALT 

Around the head waters of the Salinas are salt springs so strong that the 
brine was used to pickle meats. Out on the Carissa plains is a dry bed of a 
salt lake. The cattlemen haul blocks of salt for the cattle to lick on the 
ranges, and in pioneer days it was refined b\- them for home use. 

COAL 

Outcroppings of coal ha\e been located in the northern end of the 
county. At San Simeon the coal cropped out of the rocks along the bay, 
and in 1863, William Leffingwell used to mine it for use in his blacksmith 
shnp. A shaft was sunk one hundred feet, but the coal pinched out, showing 
it to 1)0 only a gash-vein. There is a peak north of Cambria called Coal 
Mountain, but so far coal in paying quantities and of sufficient hardness to 
be valuable has not been mined here. The vein has been worked in Stone 
canon, Monterey county, with success, and that vein may extend southward 
into this county as well. 

QUICKSILVER 

Josephine Mine 

The first ciuicksilver mining in this county that was really profitable 
was about 1862, when the loseijliine mine, al)out half-wav iietween Paso 



98 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Roljk-s and San Simeon bay, was worked. A party of Mexicans located 
the mine near the head waters of Santa Rosa creek. Barron & Co. of San 
Francisco, owners of the New Alniaden mines in Santa Clara county, bought 
the Josephine of ^^'alter Murray and C. B. Rutherford. They worked the 
mine three years and produced $280,000 worth of quicksilver, which was 
shipped from San Simeon. As the ore seemed to lie in "pockets" or "kid- 
neys" and was hard to handle, this company quit work, but retained their 
claim upon the property. The late John E. Childs of San Luis Obispo came 
down from New Almaden mine for Barron, Bolton & Bell in 1862 as superin- 
tendent, and for some years managed the mine. 

Klau Mine 

A young Spaniard named Felipe Villegas came to California when 
twenty-one years old, worked at various things, and finally went to raising 
sheep and goats on Santa Rosa creek. He married Helena Rochas, who bore 
him one son, Felipe, Jr. They lived on the banks of Huero creek and here 
the wife died, but the father kept the boy and raised him at his camp. On 
his return one day the father missed the little lad. Knowing he had strayed 
into the hills and was liable to meet death, the father searched through the 
canons and over the rugged mountainside for his boy, whom he at last 
found. W'hile climbing the hills he discovered a ledge of cinnabar. He lo- 
catetl a mine, opened it, put up a retort, and mined and retorted quicksilver. 
The mine was first called the Santa Cruz, then the Sunderland, later the 
Dubost and now the Klau. A company of rich Swiss organized the Klau 
Mining Co. and are now opening up new ledges, taking out ore and retorting 
quicksilver. Felipe Villegas lived in this section of country until he died 
at the' age of seventy, and his son Felipe was once a trusted foreman for the 
manager of the Klau company. 

Some maintain the Klau mine was worked before A'illegas discovered it ; 
but from all the historian has been able to learn, she sees no reason to dis- 
credit the Villegas story. When the present European war broke out and 
quicksilver jumped in price, A. Luchesa, William Bagby and Eugenio Bian- 
cliini jnn-chased the Klau mine and began operating it. A sixty-ton Scott 
furnace was erected, tracks and cars for hauling ore were put in, and the 
ouiinit averaged a flask a day when run full time. 

Pine Mountain Mine 

This claim, situated near the northeast corner of the Piedra Blanca 
ranch, \vas discovered by a Mexican in 1871. Eight claims were located near 
tlie summit of the range. Land & Brewster of San Francisco first bonded 
the Pine Mountain claims for $40,000, paying down $3,000. They let go and 
Senator J. P. Jones of Nevada bonded them for $30,000, paying down $1,500. 
.'Vfter spending $8,000 to incompetent management, he surrendered his claim. 
Later, ainjut 1890, G. W. Gillespie's father became owner and also ran a 
sawmill in the vicinity. Gillespie also bought the Ocean View claim, located 
l)y Giljson iK: Phillips. The Ocean View company spent about $200,000 pros- 
l)ecting. building furnaces, buying machinery and equipment, building roads 
and trying out theories. Quicksilver dropped from $1.50 to 40 cents per 
pound and made mining it unju-ofitable, so the work was abandoned by the 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 99 

company. The Ke\'Stone mine was discovered in December, 1871. In .May, 
1872, Cross & Co. of San Francisco bonded it for $36,000, but later they 
bought it for $20,000. After spending a great deal of money, they decided 
it was only a "slide" from Pine Mountain lode, and quit. 

Oceanic Mine 

These are the richest quicksilver mines ever located in this county. 
Three residents of Cambria discovered and located the claims in 1872. They are 
about three quarters of a mile from the north side of Santa Rosa creek and 
five miles from Cambria. The claims in 1874 were sold to a company 
of San Francisco capitalists among whom were A. C Peachy, Lafayette 
Maynard, T. F. Cronise, and M. Zellerbach. They organized the Oceanic 
Mining Co. The capital stock was $6,000,000 or 60,000 shares, and the 
shares were sold for twenty-five dollars each. The three men who located 
the mine sold out to the company for $36,000. At times three hundred 
men were employed; and three furnaces were built, wdiich, together with 
cost of operation, amounted to $90,000. Seven well-timbered tunnels were 
run and the quicksilver was easily produced, owing to the kind of ore. 
At $1.50 per pound it promised big returns, but quicksilver dropped and 
then the mines were closed down. They were kept in repair; and when 
prices warranted, work was again started. When in 1914 the cataclysm of 
war broke loose in Europe, prices soared. The Oceanic mine was quickly 
opened up and over three hundred men set to work. The output was very 
satisfactory and soon prices went up. Quoting from the state mining 
bureau under date of February 28, 1916, the report for 1915, quicksilver 
sold at $51.90 per flask of seventy-five pounds in January, 1915; steadily 
advanced to $123.00 in December, 1915; and during January, 1916, sold for 
from $275 to $316 per flask. The prices fell during the year 1916; and 
at this writing, January, 1917, quicksilver is selling for $80 a flask delivered 
from the mine to Paso Robles. The Oceanic has produced 25,000 flasks 
of seventy-five pounds each since development began. Murray Innis has 
owned the property for the last five years. Early in the year he sold out 
to a New York company for $400,000; and $200,000 was paid down. This 
company ran the mine about seven months, and then turned the property over 
to Mr. Innis. Pending this settlement the mine was not worked ; but after 
Mr. Innis was again in full possession he resumed work, and fifty men, with 
]•-. W. Carson as superintendent, are now operating the mine. 

COPPER 

Good Will Mine 

Copper exists in several parts of San Luis Obispo County. A peculiar 
ore called Cuban exists in large quantities along Santa Rosa creek. Many 
boulders of almost pure copper are found. One is estimated to weigh over 
1,000 tons. It is believed to be almost pure metal, being very hard to break 
or drill. The first copper mining in the county was in 1863, when Mr. Ruther- 
ford located and operated the Green Elephant and the North Mexican copper 
mines. The ore was smelted at the mines; also much was shipped to San 
Francisco. .^11 along the Chorro, copper exists and seems to run in a 
heavy vein nortlnvest from the Chorro. 



100 SAX LLMS OIUSPU COUNTY AND EX\-IRONS 

Mr. l>;iulu.Tl(ir(l sold out to an English syndicate. Good ore was taken out, 
hauled by ox-cart around the hill to Port Harford and shipped around 
the llorn'to Swansea, Wales. This shows that the ore was of high grade to 
warrant such e.\i)euse in shipping. About the close of the Civil War the 
mine was ahandcjued. In 1<898, IMr. Geeres, Attorney General of California, 
ojiencd up the old mine. At 210 feet a tunnel showed signs of good ore, but Mr. 
(ieercs was stricken with appendicitis and died in a hospital. His son, being 
a minor, could not force the estate to carry on the work, so the mine was 

[n l')04 Mr. Paulson attempted to operate the mine for inin ore and 
spent between $4000 and $5000 prospecting, but the time was not ripe for 
iron |)roduction, for coal and coke used in smelting iron ore could not be 
shi])])eil from Pennsylvania to use at a profitable figure. 

fn the fall of 1''15, W. H. Curcton and his associate leased seventy acres 
from Mr. Filipponi and Ale.\ Gibson with the intention of developing copper. 
In Tune, 1916, a new company was formed and the lease transferred to 
Maurice B. Ayars and Ernest L. Ouist. In July, by the joint efiforts of C. 
.A. Iversen, George F. Root and E. L. Quist, twelve hundred acres more were 
leased, all interested united, and the Goodwill Mining Syndicate was formed, 
Mr. Ouist as manager liaving charge of development. The property is 
seven miles west of San Luis Obispo, on the south side of Los Osos valley, 
four miles from Alorro bay, where the ore from the Green- Elephant mine 
was shipped in the early si.xties. A good wagon road, in no place over seven 
per cent, grade, leads to the mine. At present there is one tunnel three hun- 
dred feet long with a perpendicular cut of ninety feet, practically blocking 
out two million tons of ore, valued at ten dollars a ton in the ledge. Several 
cottages have been built for workmen and a temporary hotel or boarding 
house. .\ second tunnel has been run two hundred feet into the hill and a 
third one has reached seventy-five feet, showing a good ledge of iron and 
ciii)per. .\ fourth tunnel cross-cuts a thirty-foot ledge of fifty per cent, 
metallic iron. 

This ore runs so low in silica that it can only l)e reduced by fusing it 
with lower grades of iron ore. The company will at once install a system 
of mineral concentrators which will extract the gold, copper or iron in what- 
e\er quantities found. They will also install an electric generating system, 
Ijower drills and air pumps. Messrs. johe & ^^"eIch are also interested in the 
Goodwill Mining C<.., owning land leased l>y it. 

CHROMIUM 

Chromium or "chrome" ore probably ranks next to quicksilver in this 
county, so far as }-et lesti-d. I'Vom it dyes and paints are made, used in the 
arts, especially ])orcelain jiainting. It is here in large veins, the best-known 
one so far being a \ein twelve miles long extending northwesterly from 
San Luis ( )))ispo. very rich deposits being found on and near the head of 
Chorro creek. It has assayed as high as seventy per cent. During 1878-79 
the county was rated as jjroducing $60,000 w^orth of chrome. In 1882 a report 
stated that twenty thousand tons had been shipped and eight thousand tons 
were at the depot. This would mean at the Pacific Coast depot, for the 
Southern Pacific had not then been biiilt through the county. Ore was then 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 101 

sent o\-er the Pacific Coast Railway to Port Harford, now Port San Luis, and 
sliipped Ijy steamer. There is a rich deposit of chrome between San Luis 
Obispo and Avila. Usually the L'nited States buys abroad rather than 
bother to develop at home: but when the present European war interfered 
with that easy-going plan, we had to bestir ourselves and consequently- 
home products have been recognized. A good deal of chrome ore has been 
shipped during the last year and a half, and some day it and all the other great 
mineral wealth of San Luis Obispo County will be appreciated and yield up 
millions of dollars. 

OTHER MINERALS AND STONES 

Silica is here and has been made into a polish for metals ; iron abounds 
in almcist every form; lime is found in \ast beds; gypsum and alaliaster, 
both of the purest and best quality, are found in great abundance on the 
head waters of the Arroyo Grande creek and on Navajo creek. Onyx, capable 
of the finest polish, is also found at the head of Arroyo Grande creek. J. and 
V. Kessler, owners of a deposit in Solano county, owned the property at 
last accounts. 

ASPHALTUM 

Great beds of asphaltum are found on the Corral de Piedra, Pismo and 
Santa Manuela grants. The old Spanish families used it to cover the roofs 
of buildings, to lubricate the wheels of their carretas, and later it was used 
for walks and pavements. More than thirty-five j^ears ago McDougal, Neuval 
and others shipped' about one hundred tons monthly. In the Tribune for 
Alarch 30, 1883, is an account of the finding of the rich asphaltum beds below 
Edna. A vein from three to five feet in thickness was uncovered, but a 
few inches below the surface ; twenty-five tons refined left less than five 
hundred pounds of waste. One hundred tons a month were at once con- 
tracted for in San Francisco and taken there by steamer. The shipping of 
asphaltum continued for years to be a big industry, and there are beds of it 
all over the southern and western parts of the count)'. Out on the Iluasna 
on the J. P. Black ranch it oozes from the ground, and at times heavy 
rumblings of gas are heard; then it boils up like a spring, lietwecn .Arroyo 
Grande and the Huasna is Tar Springs ranch, the name signifying asphaltum 
in big beds and soft pools. 

THE OIL INDUSTRY 

.\bout fifteen years ago in Price's canon, where the asphaltum beds 
abiive described are located, derricks were erected and drilling for oil liegan. 
A g(jod many rigs were put up, but only the Tiber Oil Company brought in 
paying wells. The Tiber is now oijcrating si.x wells, producing 450 barrels 
a day, which is sent out b}' pipe line. All the territory below Price's cafion 
and Pismo has just been leased by Doheny and others. ^luch prospecting 
is being done with a reasonal)le hope of bringing in a rich oil field in our own 
county. Hadley is the name applied to a refining plant in Price's canon. 
The Baker Ensign Company ran it for some time, but eventually went under. 
The California Paint Company also ojierated at Hadley for a few years. They 
bought oil, and made li(|uid asphalt and many other products. The asjihalt 
was placed in barrels and thousands of t<ins shipped. The plant was in 



102 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

lili.^alion for a while, but was again operated this year, and 800 barrels are 
nijw at Tort San Luis awaiting shipment. 

The Producers Transportation Company 
This represents the largest oil interest in the county. The company 
owns five hundred miles of pipe line, one hundred thirty-eight of which 
is in this county. Oil from the Bakersfield, Taft, Midway, Sunset, 
Lost Hills, AicKittrick and Belridge fields is brought to Port San Luis, 
whence 10,000,000 barrels is sent out annually to points all the way from 
Alaska to Chile and to the Hawaiian islands, it handles oil for the Union 
Oil Company and the Independent Producers Agency. There are pumping 
stations at Shandon, Creston, Santa Margarita, Tank Farm, Avila and Port 
San Luis in this county. Great oil tanks are at each station, and houses 
for the men with families. The Tank Farm situated just south of San Luis 
Obispo contains two hundred fifty acres. This is where the oil is stored, 
whence it is pumped to Avila and the Port as called for. There are thirty-six 
tanks, each holding 55,000 barrels of oil; also five great reservoirs: three, 
each holding 1,000,000 barrels; and two, each holding 750,000 barrels— 
a ttjtal storage capacity of 6,480,000 barrels. Since war was declared, two 
coni])anies of soldiers have been guarding the Tank Farm. 

At Port San Luis the Pacific Coast Railway built a special wharf to 
handle the oil. A pipe line runs out and loads the great oil tankers as they 
lie alongside. The Producers own the following ships: "La Brea," "Los 
Angeles," "Lyman Stewart," "Coalinga," "Lansing," "Washtenaw," "Oleum," 
"Argyll," "Whittier," "Indlerton," "Phelps" and "Simla." The chartered ves- 
sels are "La Habra," "Cordelia," "Santa Maria," "Belridge" and "Lompoc." 
At A\-ila a refinery handles oil from the Union wells of the Santa Maria fields. 
The oil business of the company has made of Port San Luis the greatest oil 
shipping port in the world and furnishes employment to hundreds of men in 
the county. 'L'he I'roducers pay-roll enriches the merchants and helps many 
families to comfortable livings. The officers of the company at present are 
L. P. St. Clair, president; Stanley Morsehead, vice-president; E. W. Clark, 
general manager; O. B. Kibele, general superintendent; Lafe Todd, chief 
engineer; William ( Iroundwater, superintendent of affairs for this county 
arid the Santa Ai.aria oil field interests of the Union.* 

BUILDING STONE 

Near Arroyo Crande are quarries of beautiful yellow sandstone that 
chisels well. Many pretty buildings have been built out of it, and it makes 
fine mantels and ornamental facings. Old Bishop's Peak and San Luis 
Mountain are vast ]nles of green granite that would, if quarried and used, 
build many cities. The San Luis High School and Presbyterian Church, as 
well as a number of houses, are built of this beautiful stone. ■ Many retaining 
walls and coi)ings are also constructed of it. The so-called "chalk rock" 
was used for building chimneys, fire-places, and dwellings in pioneer days. 
P.oulders and stones, such as the millionaires delight to use in building their 
fire-places and walls, lie in heajis in fence corners or along the streams. Old 
Morro Rock has enough red granite in it to build a wall across the state, 

* In July, 1917, the Proihiccrs Transp,. nation Company sold out to the Union Oil 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 103 

and then some. Hundreds of tons of rock have been quarried and broken 
up at the rock-crushing plant on the Avila or Pismo road and used on the 
state highway. The man who wishes to build a home may get lumber from 
the Cambria pines, make adobe or brick walls, or have them of granite or sand- 
stone, and not go out of the county for material. Also he may make a table of 
onyx, polish his silver with silica, light and heat his home with natural gas, 
lay asphalt walks, and get all his material within the county lines. If he 
wishes, he may mine gohl for the wedding-ring for the mistress of the 
house. 

STATISTICAL DATA 

The following data we ol)tained thnnigli the State Alining Bureau, at 
least all given since 1909. In an old assessor's report we learn that 300 
flasks of quicksilver valued at $40 per flask were shipped over the San 
Simeon wharf in 1872. In 1909 the county produced 317 flasks of the mineral 
valued at $15,510; 4,000 gallons mineral water, $1,000; 2,731 tons bituminous 
rock, $6,369; 1,500 tons asphalt, $55,000; 30,000 barrels oil, value $15,000; 
2,245 M brick, value $19,605; 700 tons rubble, $400; total value of mineral 
products for the year 1909, , $112,884. The total value for 1908 was 
$78,379 ; total value for 1911, $75,556; for 1912, $31,564. For 1913 : Bituminous 
rock, 609 tons, value )$1,149; brick, 1,500 M, value $15,000; gold, $124; 
mineral water, 1,500 gallons, value $600; quicksilver, 1,160 flasks, value 
$46,667; silver, $1.00; stone industry, $134; total value, $63,675. For 1914: 
Bituminous rock, 579 tons, value $1,118; mineral water, 1,000 gallons, value 
$250; quicksilver, 1,266 flasks, value $62,097; total value, $63,465. 

By comparison, quicksilver is seen to be the most valuable mineral in the 
county so far. The oil production has greatly increased since the Tiber 
wells have been cleaned and deepened, and prices have risen during the last 
two years. The mining bureau was asked for data later than 1914, but 
failed to furnish it, and so no data for the county farther than that given was 
secured from the bureau ; but by personal inquiry we know that the mineral 
development and production are rapidly increasing. Very soon we shall be 
on the map, not only as one of the greatest "cow" counties, but as running 
close with some of the best mining counties. 



CHAPTER XI 

Roads, Wharves, Railroads, Stage Lines and Mail Routes, County 
Buildings and County Finances 

ROADS 

The trail and the saddle horse were the first means of "getting there." 
Then schooners, sailing vessels and steamers began calling at the "landings." 
Finally, wharves were built at San Simeon, near Cambria, Cayucos, Morro 
and Port Harford, now San Luis bay. Rowboats and ropes and tackle 
took passengers and freight ofT or on when tlie landings were in use. About 
1860, steamers began calling twice a month, and by 1875 a lively steamer 
trade had been established. 



104 SAX r.L'IS OBISIH) COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

AuLVUst 20, 1S50. tlie Court of Sessions resolved "tlKit there be formed 
a code by which the roads be put in repair, obliging all the inhabitants to 
assist in the repairs." JNIay 3, 1852, the legislature established boards of 
supervisors in several counties, this being one of them, the board to be 
Composed of live meml)ers, elected annually. The term has been lengthened, 
but the duties of supervisors are about the same as then. The Court of 
Sessions passed out, handing over the business to the supervisors, who were 
to have ciiarge of the count}^ finances, provide a courthouse, jail and other 
county buildings, and have control of all county roads, bridges, wharves and 
■■ferries." The county was divided into road districts, taxes were levied for 
building and rejjairing roads, and from cattle trails a road system has been 
l)uill u]) that conipares very favorably with those of the other counties. 

In 1S72, a poll ta.x of $2 was levied on all males between the ages of 
twenty-one and sixty, the net receipts to go int(j the njad fund. Later a 
portion of the poll tax went to the school fund. When sufifrage was granted 
to the women of California, the law had to be changed so as to include them 
or be abolished, for it is illegal to tax one part of the voters and not the 
rest; so the gallant lawmakers abolished it. Also, in 1872, bonds for $15,000 
were issued by the county to build and repair roads. In 1876, bonds for 
$20,000 were issued to build a better road over Cuesta Pass. A movement 
is being pushed to build an "east and west" road from the San Joaquin valley 
to the coast, like the highwaj', and to build a similar road from San Luis 
Obisi)o up the coast to San Simeon. For several years all the new county 
bridges have been made of either concrete or steel. Fine steel bridges span 
the Salinas at Templeton, Paso Robles, San Miguel and other points, and 
our concrete bridges are beautiful, especially the one at Atascadero Colony, 
with its electroliers. The apportionment for building and improving county 
roads for the year 1916-1917 is $86,717.51. 

The fine new state highway is now C(jm]deted through the county from 
.Arroyo (irande to Monterey county, including the new grade over Cuesta 
Pass, on Avhich the cement has now been laid. The supervisors have 
built a portion of the highway through San Luis Obispo out of the general 
county fund, and it is supposed they will build it the rest of the way through 
tlie cit\'. San Luis claimed it was onl}^ right, as the city pays a large pro- 
portion of tile county taxes. Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles, the other 
incorporated towns, have as yet built no highway through their city limits. 
The California Highway Ikilletin, July 1, 1916, states that San Luis Obispo 
County has i)urcliased $280,000 worth of bonds. Of this amount the county 
purcliased .SIOO.OOO the first time, the Colony Holding Corporation of Atasca- 
dero. .^lUO.OnO. and the lianks $.50,000. The remainder is either held by private 
parties or has i)een bought up by the county or banks. It was difficult to 
make the amounts bought in the county, and of i)ublic record, match with 
the bulletin's figures. l)iit the I'.ulletin is l)ound to he correct. The entire 



isl of the h 


iglnvay thn 


Ulgh 


the county is estima 
WHARVES 


ted at S750.000. 


A whan 
(me years. 
d a good 1 


and wareli 

At .Morro. 

jusiness bef 


ouse 
Riley 

ore t: 


built \<v b,hn M. P 
X: W illiams built a 
he bay so filled wit 


rice was used at Pismo for 
wii.arf and warehouse which 
h sand that it was imprac- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 105 

tical)le to get steamers in or out. The channel l:)y Morro Rock was always 
a serious proposition to face. 

San Simeon Wharf 

A wharf had e.xisted at San Simeon previously; hut in 1878, Georye 
Hearst, owner of the Hearst ranch ami water front on the bay, built a wharf 
one thousand feet long, ending in water twenty feet deep. The wharf is 
twenty feet wide for seven hundred fifty feet, with strong railings, then 
widens to fifty feet for the last two hundred fifty feet. A warehouse 48.xl00 
feet is provided, and the entire cost was $20,000. This wharf used to do a 
big business in its palmy days. A few statistics to prove the statement : 
For the first six months of 1869 the wharf's business included the handling 
of $30,000 worth of butter, wool $8,000, whale oil $8,000, Chinese products 
$3,000, eggs 88,000, beans $5,000, hides $250, cheese $300, terrainn $100, a 
total of $62,650. There were 2,500 live hogs shipped that year. In 1880, 
eleven years later, 3,934 boxes of butter were shipped, 930 firkins and barrels 
of butter, 250 boxes of eggs, 169 flasks of quicksilver, 94 coops of fowls, 374 
hides, 5,350 calf hides, 299 packages of whale oil, 72'h tons of grain, 14 barrels 
of tallow, 104 neats of seaweed, 169 sacks of abalones, 1,209 hogs. This is 
enough to show the kinds and amount of business in the northern end of 
the county during the periods named. Hearst has always had a big cattle 
business. The cattle used to be driven to market ; now they are shipped by 
rail from Goldtree, a stock station, just north of San Luis. After Captain 
Cass built a good wharf, the people of Cayucos section shipped from there. 

Cass's Wharf at Cayucos 

This wharf was 380 feet long until 187(>, when a partnership was formed 
including Beebee, Harford and Schwartz ; then the wharf was lengthened to 
940 feet, the seaward end forty feet wide for the last sixty feet. The total 
cost was $10,840.26, as stated in an old record. A warehouse, 92x50 feet, 
was put up and a portion of it, 50.\20 feet, partitioned off for a store. A 
railroad was built on the wharf to take goods out to the steamers. This 
wharf has been one of the greatest factors in building up the trade of the 
county, doing a big business for many years. Since the dairying business 
has changed so much in that section, most of the dairymen now shipping 
cream by auto truck to San Luis, where creameries make it into butter, the 
business of the wharf has decreased. At "Port Harford," as it used to be 
called, previous to 1872, two wharves were in operation. One was ?ilallah's 
wharf or the "Steamer Landing," and the other was called the People's 
Wharf; but surf boats and lighters had to be used. In February, 1873, Block- 
man & Cerf purchased the People's Wharf and extended it to deep water so 
vessels could lie alongside. John Harford then built the railroad wdiarf. A 
liorse-car line was built out from the wharf to the level land at .Avila, 
and freight could be easily hauled to or from this terminus. IMallah's wharf 
was abandoned. Now were lively times; the People's and the '"Railroad" 
wharf were in opposition. Rates and "tickets" went down, until anybody 
ri>ul(l travel or ship any old thing to market. Fares from San Francisco to 
San Diego went down to $5. Steamers arrived and departed several times 
each week. .\s many as ninety passengers and 200 tons of freight landed 



106 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

at one time from a single steamer. So great was the travel that even the 
ladies sometimes had to sleep on the floor of the ladies' cabins, while in the 
berths they were packed "thick as sardines." The l)usiness became so great 
that people l:)egan tn talk railroad, and a movement for one was soon on foot. 

County Wharves 

About six miles north of Cambria there used to l)e a small wharf owned 
by the Leffingwells, where schooners unloaded lumber and a few other things. 
About 1907, a hue and cry went up for county wharves; Cambria, Cayucos 
and Port San Luis each wanted to have one built ; so bonds for $90,000 were 
issued, $30,000 to be spent at each place. The one built for Cambria was to 
be where the old Leffingwell wharf was, but the sea wouldn't stand for it, 
and the storms of February and March, 1908, strewed the timbers of that 
wharf along the beach ; $30,000 gone to limlio. The wharf at Avila was built 
and a wharfinger, Payne, employed at a salary of $150 a month. No vessels 
came to it ; there was nothing to do but hang out a lantern at night and take 
it in in the morning; still the people had a county wharf, and $1,800 a year 
to ])ay besides. After a time the salary was reduced to $75 per month, but 
$900 a year is considerable to throw away. Of what earthly use is a wharf 
at Avila until an electric or auto truck line can be put on to compete with- 
the Pacific Coast Railway? When it came to Cayucos wharf, the people 
had begun to realize what a fool job they were trying to do, so the Cass 
wharf was paid a bonus and a county wharfinger was employed for a while. 
The $30,000 for the county wharf at Cayucos is stHl in pickle. It was voted 
to build a wharf there, and it will stay in pickle until a special election is 
called to vote it for something else. Meanwhile the taxpayers pay interest 
on county debts and incur more. 

RAILROADS 

Pacific Coast Railway Company 

In 1874, J. W. Graves introduced a bill in the legislature which became 
a law, forming a company for the construction of a railroad from San Luis 
1)ay to the .Santa Maria valley. The incorporators were John M. Price, 
H. M. Newhall, Juan V. Avila, N. Goldtree, F. M. Meisinger, C. Nelson, 
John O'Farrel and Charles Goodall. The previous year, January, 1873, the 
San Luis 01)ispo Railroad Co. was organized and filed articles of incorpora- 
tion. In I'ebruary, 1873, a company consisting of John Harford, W. S. Chap- 
man, \\ . 1^. Peebce, L. Schwartz and others was formed to build a wharf 
and construct a narrow-gauge railroad to San Luis Obispo. A survey was 
made and an estimate of $140,757 given. Ward was the engineer who laid 
out the route. In ^larch some grading was done and the line was started 
out, thus securing the right of way to this company. Now, two companies 
were aiming to build roads over about the same route. Some trouble ensued, 
but in 1875 the two roads consolidated under the name of the San Luis 
Obispo & Santa Maria \'alley Railroad Co., taking over the wharf and liorse- 
car line Iniilt Ijy Harford, paying him $30,000 for them. The right of way 
was given or sold fur very little. Avila Brothers gave depot grounds, and 
riglit of way on llie San Miguelito ranch. In December, 1875, the road had 
reached IMiles station, formerly called Root and Harford. Here things 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 107 

seemed to come to a standstill. The manai^er said San Luis Obispo must 
put up $25,000 before the road came any farther. C. H. Phillips and C. 11. 
Johnson, who were always boosting- for the public good, took the matter up 
and very soon had $28,500 subscribed. Things moved again, and in August, 
1876, the road was completed to San Luis Obispo. August 23, the opening 
for business was celebrated by a grand excursion and picnic. The road had 
cost $180,000, plus $30,000 paid to Harford for his wharf and road. The fare 
was eight cents per mile for passengers and fifteen cents a ton per mile for 
freight. Fare to and from Port Harford was ninety cents each way, or $1.25 
round trip. In 1881 the road was extended to Arroyo Grande ; in April, 1882, 
it reached Santa Maria, then called Central City ; and in October, 1882, it had 
reached Los Alamos. About a year later it was built to Los Olivos, and 
that remains the end of the road. The entire distance from the ])ort to Los 
Olivos is seventy-six miles. 

In September, 1882, the S. L. O. & S. M. Valley road was transferred 
to the Oregon Navigation Co. The road from Santa Maria to Los Olivos 
had been built by the Pacific Coast Railway Co., composed of the same stock- 
holders as built the first division. September 23, 1882, the companies con- 
solidated, taking the name of the Pacific Coast Railroad Co. The great land- 
holdings over which the road passed gave right of way ; Steele Bros, gave 
a strip of land several miles long and sixty feet wide ; the Dana estate gave 
a strip fourteen miles long of the same width, only asking that the mother, 
Doiia Carrillo Dana, be allowed to travel on the road free of charge as long 
as she lived. The road for years has been a very profitable line. The pas- 
senger traffic to steamers has greatly lessened since the Southern Pacific 
has a through line and excellent train service, but the lumber and freight 
traffic is still heavy. With our splendid harbor at Port San Luis, a port of 
entry where deep-sea vessels anchor safely or lie along the wharf, only a 
cross-country road to the San Joaquin valley is needed to make it one of 
the great harbors of the world. 

The Southern Pacific Railroad 

As early as 1855 a party of government surveyors, under Lieut. John G. 
Parke, passed through the county taking levels and estimating costs. In 
January, 1864, a railroad from San Francisco reached San Jose; by March, 
1869, it had reached Gilroy. In 1870 this road was transferred to the Central 
Pacific Co., which changed the name to Southern Pacific, and in 1873 ex- 
tended to Salinas, in 1874 to Soledad, one hundred seventy-four miles from 
San Francisco. Soledad remained the terminal until the middle of the 
eighties. In 1886, the Southern Pacific started building south, and on October 
18, 1886, reached San Miguel, trains bringing mail and passengers to that 
point. The first regular freight was delivered at Paso Robles, Noveml)er 15, 
1886. From then on, trains carried passengers and freight. November 15. 
1886, Lyman Brewer went down on a sort of "construction limited" to Tem- 
])lcton and opened up business in a box-car station. The box car was the 
depot and family residence until April, 1887, when the depot was built. 
Templeton was "the end of the line"' until January 31, 1889. In the summer 
of 1888, grading was begun for the road from Templeton to Santa Margarita, 
and the road reached the new townsitc January 31, 1889. 

Li April tlicre was an excursion train from San Francisco, and the usual 



108 SAX lA'lS Ol'.rSPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 

land sale took place. A platform was erected, some San I'rancisco and Paso 
Rohles "American I'eauties" in spring costumes sat in the chairs thereon, 
the band played and the auctioneer did his "darndest," as one "boomer" ex- 
pressed it, but somehow there was less enthusiasm than two years before 
when the big Templeton land sale was "pulled ofif." 

Santa Margarita was the terminus of the railroad from January 31, 1889, 
to Ma\- 5, 1894. The road from Santa Margarita to San Luis Obispo lay 
over the Santa Lucia mountains. The route called for seven tunnels, many 
great fills, the horseshoe curve, and a long steel trestle across Stenner creek 
canon. The creek is ninety feet below the rails of the trestle in one place. 
This piece of the Coast Division of the Southern Pacific is said to have been 
one of the costliest bits of railroad ever built. After resting and recuperating 
the finances, the company began work with an army of men. It took over 
two years to build this seventeen miles of road. The first tunnel on the 
.Santa iMargarita side is 3,616j/2 feet long and the bed of the tunnel at its 
highest point is 1,300 feet. Tunnel number seven, as it was called, was the 
last one before reaching San Luis Obispo. This tunnel caved in and was, 
after years of use, made into a deep "cut"; so now there are six tunnels to 
be kept in safe repair. The total cost of this seventeen miles was $1,774,000. 

May 5, 1894, was a tremendous event in the history of this county, for 
on that day the Southern Pacific ran its first passenger train into San Luis 
Obis])o. 'Vhe whole county came "down" or "up" to share in the glorifica- 
tion. An excursion train from San Francisco brought down many of the 
high officials and their wives. Every band in the county was there to make 
as much noise as possible, for all the whistles and bells in town insisted on 
ringing or tooting along with the bands. Everybody yelled, ladies no excep- 
tion, when the long, jubilant whistle of the incoming train was heard singing 
down the canon, and a stampede up the track to meet it was next in order. 
The fine big Hotel Ramona was new and in splendid order to entertain com- 
])an}-, ])ut every available room in the town as well was required to house 
the visitors, and many camped in the open. Twenty beeves were barbecued 
and a great feast enjoyed. A "grand ball" was given at Hotel Ramona. 
A. (". McLeod, mayor of the city, ex-sherift and one time prominent man in 
many lines, was here, there and everywhere attending to it all, along with 
the eflicient committees. AIcLeod was just one of the many "canny Scots" 
who took a hand in setting this county "on its feet," and "Here's to them a' 
and .Auld Lang S3nie." 

San Luis Obispo was the terminus for fourteen months; then the road 
was slowly built on south, first to Guadalupe, then to Surf. ^Meantime the 
road was coming north from Los Angeles. On March 31, 1901. the "gap" 
was closed and trains ran all the way from San l'"rancisco to Los Angeles. 

L'ntil the Southern Pacific came to our relief in 1886-1894, we were 
hardly on the maj). The county had remained an isolated spot in spite of 
the brave efforts on the pun of the men and women who "landed" in surf 
boats, or scaled rope ladders, as at Cave Landing, to settle in our beautiful 
county. Xow we are getting right up in front; and if thirty years has seen 
so much accomplished, what may we not expect of the next thirty? 

It was .Mrs. .\. M. Hardie who scaled the rope ladder up the clift" at 
Cave Landing in October, 1867, while Mr. Hardie went ahead carrying the 
two-nionths-Mld son, I'rank. Mrs. Hardie says she was h.M-rified on' looking 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 109 

up to see that Air. Hardie had grasped the baby by his long dress-skirt and 
was carrying him wrong end up. In spite of his entrance into the county 
"reversed," so to speak, Frank Hardie has gone ahead and is a prominent 
man of aflfairs. The plucky young mother climbed to the top of a big load 
of seed grain the next morning and, with her infant in her arms, rode all the 
way to her new home three miles beyond Cayucos ; that is, she got almost 
there, but when the bronchos began kicking over the traces, she leaped with 
her child to a high bank and walked the rest of the way. Some more Scotch 
pluck. No wonder that when, October 8, 1916, this couple celebrated their 
golden wedding at a daughter's home in Paso Robles, people of note from 
all over the county went to bestow their gifts of gold and, better still, lo\ing 
regard, upon the gray-haired but vigorous old pioneers of 1867. 

MAIL ROUTES AND STAGE LINES 

The first regular mail route established in California was mentioned 
in the California Star of San Francisco, May 13, 1847. It announced that 
Governor Kearny had established a regular semi-monthly mail route between 
San Francisco and San Diego, mail to be carried by two soldiers on horse- 
back, commencing May 19, 1847. Starting every Monday from San Fran- 
cisco and San Diego, the carriers were to meet the next Sunday at Captain 
Dana's rancho (Nipomo), exchange mails, start back the next morning and 
arrive at San Francisco and San Diego the next Saturday. Henry M. Osgood 
of Stevenson's regiment was one of the very first mail carriers, and in 1850 
settled in this county. In 1849 Osgood was succeeded by a man named 
Smith, who made his headquarters at Pollard's store. Here he obligingly 
let the people read all the papers, which they were careful to return to the 
mail sack. Smith disappeared, was last seen near .Santa ^'nez, and was in 
all likelihood murdered. 

The first real post office in the county was estaldished at San Luis Obispo 
in 18.S.5, with Alexander Murray as postmaster. l'"ur some years steamers and 
sailing vessels had touched semi-monthly, or when they got there, at the port, 
and had carried express and mail which from the ])ort was brought up in 
the stages or on horseback. When the post oflice was established at San 
Luis, Walter Murray was given the mail contract. .\ two-horse wagon made 
the trip to Monterey once a week, carrying mail and passengers. The roads 
were little better than trails ; so if need be, passengers not only paid a good 
round sum for the ride, but had to get out and jnish uphill or help pry the 
wagon out if it "bogged down." The mail from San Luis to Santa P>arbara 
was carried on horseback by a man Mr. Murray hired for the job. Passengers 
going north, stage and team, stayed over night at San Miguel. The next 
lap was to Jolon, and the third day all hands reached Monterey, if thi'ngs 
went well. Passengers not going Monterey way, but still north, remained 
at Hill's h'erry on the Salinas until the stage from Monterey, bound for San 
Jose, San Juan and San Francisco, came the next day. Both stages had to 
be ferried over the Salinas river at that point. Alexander Murray was post- 
master until 1870, or for fifteen years. In 1861, a tri-weekly stage and mail 
was put on from San I'rancisco to Los .Angeles. In 1862, this was made a 
daily four-horse stage. \V. L. i'.allaril was stage agent for this section, with 
lieadquarters at VA Alamo Pinladd, miw P.allard. Santa Barbara county. As 
has been told in writing of the Southern Pacific Railroad Co., the trains 



110 SAX LUIS OniSPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

reached Soledad in 1874. Here the Coast Line Stage Co. met passengers 
and mail sacks. When the road was built to points in this county, the mail, 
as well as passengers, was carried by train. For years Flint, Bixby & Co. 
owned the stage line. The stage fare from San Luis Obispo to Soledad was 
$17, and a one-night stop was made at the Salinas crossing. Hill's Ferry. 
Those stage rides were sometimes interrupted by hold-up men, and in winter 
by flooded streams. An upset in the creek or river was not unknown. 

l!ig, jolly Jim Alj-ers "handled the ribbons'' when, in 1887, the stage for 
San Luis ran from Templeton. To sit beside him, listen to his stories and 
go spinning around the down-grade curves, or swing upward over the pass 
on a keen, frosty morning, was an experience worth living for. Horses, 
harness and coach always shone on starting out, even if they were mud- 
bespattered or dusty on arrival. Jim was careful of his appearance. \\'ell- 
shaven, ruddy-faced, his cigar just right and gauntlets "up to snutt," Jim 
was the beau ideal of a stage driver. He never refused passage to a cus- 
tomer. In October, 1891, at teachers' institute time, he packed "seventeen 
schoolma'ams and six passengers" into and on top of his stage, took us all 
safely over Cuesta Pass and deposited us at Hotel Ramona. The stage then 
ran from Santa ^Margarita. The writer and a "little peach of a schoolma'am" 
sat with Jim going and returning, and it was on that trip he told of his hold-up 
the year before, just where the road makes a sharp curve and a little stream 
used to trickle out over on the north side of the pass. He called it his "masked 
ball," because the robbers threw bedticking masks to all hands. Jim "got his'' 
first. "They took my express box and the gents' wallets and 'jooles'; they 
just let the women make the fuss. I carried the lightest express box and 
the worst-scared load of passengers over the grade that night I ever traveled 
with," concluded Jim, flicking the ash from his cigar and touching up his 
shiny leaders. Shorter and shorter grew the stage line, and when at last 
the "gap" Avas closed, Jim doffed his hat and said, "]My occupation's gone." 
He has gone "to the other side," but the memory of him will live as long as 
any of us do who rode with him in the days when, full of hope, we came to 
the county to "grow up with the country." 

In February, 1883, Kester & Cass put on a line of stages running from 
Cayucos to San Miguel via Paso Robles. These stages carried mail to Ade- 
laida post ofticc and enabled passengers to take passage on the weekly 
steamers at Cayucos or connect with the Coast Line stages for the north. In 
1867 a weekly stage was run from San Luis to San Simeon, leaving e\-ery 
Saturday, fare three dollars. This line was owned b)'- J. P. Lewelling and 
carried the mail, \\'. S. ^^'hitaker was postmaster. In April, 1868, Miller 
bought the line and made semi-weekly trips. Miller sold out to Brown & 
Castro, who put on daily stages, Sunday excepted. The two-horse stage 
carried mail and passengers until 1910, when Miles Sanders got the mail 
contract and used automobiles. In 1914, J. C. Welch got the contract and 
uses automobiles, carrying mail and passengers. This stage line has carried 
mail to Morro, Cayucos, Cambria and San Simeon ever since they came into 
existence as towns. Orle ilayfield runs a private stage line of'autos from 
San Luis Obispo to Cambria. Soon after Templeton was on the map, F. G. 
Tillman was given a contract to carry mail from there to Cavucos : but 
when, in 1894, the trains reached San Luis, the mail was sent from there 
by the u])-coast stage line. Several stage lines, mostly autos, run from Paso 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 111 

Robles. One carries mail to Creston, another to Union and Shandon, another 
to Adelaida. From San Miguel, stage autos run to Coalinga and the oil 
fields of Kern county. From Santa Margarita a stage takes mail and pas- 
sengers to Pozo and Simmler. 

Post Offices 

The post offices in the county at present are San Miguel, Paso Robles, 
Templeton, Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo, Edna, Arroyo Grande, Berros, 
Nipomo, Oceano, Pismo, Morro, Cayucos, Cambria, San Simeon, Pozo, Simm- 
ler, Creston, Union, Shandon, Estrella, Adelaida, Avila, Atascadero, Bern, 
Carissa Plains, Cholame, Halcyon, Klau, La Panza, Linne, Musick, Port 
San Luis, Harmony. Rural delivery routes are numerous. 

Total receipts of the San Luis Obispo office for the past ten years are 
$201,072.37. There has been an increase of over $10,000 since 1905, for in 
that year the receipts were $14,421.71, and in 1915 the receipts were $24,597.06. 
George A. Barnett is postmaster and George E. Kirby assistant postmaster. 
The office employs five clerks, four city carriers and two rural carriers. The 
salary is $2,700 per year for the postmaster and $1,300 per year for the 
assistant postmaster. This office is now close to the first-class rank, when 
the salary will be $3,000 for postmaster and $1,500 for the assistant post- 
master. Quite a political plum ! 

COUNTY BUILDINGS 
Courthouse and Hall of Records 

We quote the following from the San Luis Obispo Tribune of November 
18, 1871 : "Financially, the county is in tolerable circumstances, but beyond 
a good jail we really have nothing to show for the large revenue annually 
drawn from the taxpayers. San Luis Obispo should be possessed of a 
decent courthouse, yet when the county and district court happen in session 
together, one or the other has to go gerrymandering about town to find a 
room to sit in. This was the case last month and doubtless will be again. 
The old adobe building called a courthouse is a marvel of repulsiveness, and 
that court room with its wretched appointments is a disgrace to the county." 
^\^-llter Murray was the editor of the Tribune when this article appeared, and 
no man in the county wielded a stronger influence than he. Mr. Murray was 
a lawyer and journalist, as well as a fearless man. He served in Stevenson's 
regiment in the Mexican War, and came with it to California when the regi- 
ment was sent here to maintain law and order after the American occupation. 
In 1853 he came to this county, where he held many offices, the highest being 
that of judge of the first judicial district. He died October 5, 1875, at the 
age of fifty years, and is buried in San Luis Obispo. 

The jail referred to was on what is now Palm street, and about opposite 
the present home of Paul M. Gregg. Such good effect had Mr. ^lurray's pen, 
backed by other progressive citizens, that the supervisors called for liids for 
a courthouse and jail, and on May 7, 1872, a contract was awarded to Beck 
& Walker to construct a courthouse and jail according to specifications, for 
the sum of $40,000. The courthouse bonds sold for 96>4 to 96^ per cent., 
and bore 10 per cent, interest. The building was completed early in 1873. 
Ornaments and a few changes lirouglit the cost up to $42,000. The super- 



11_> SAX LUIS OlilSPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

visors were D. \\'. James, J. C. McPherson and John M. Price. This makes 
the building- forty-three years old in 1916. The jail is in the basement, also 
the sheriff's offices. If ^^■alter Murray were alive, we should probably hear 
from him again on the subject of a courthouse. The late J. P. Andrews and 
Ernest C'erf ga\e the large plot of ground upon which the courthouse stands. 
.Mr. Andrews alone gave all the ground of the Court school. He was a man 
whose gifts to the town were never fully known or appreciated. 

A iiall of records, erected in 1888, stands in the southwest corner of the 
court park. 

County Hospital 

I'\)r some years after the organization of the county there was no call 
for charity, but after the great drought, when land was o])ened up for settle- 
ment, a new class of people entered, population increased rapidly, and there 
l^egan to be indigent sick to be cared for. Dr. W. AI. Hays, the pioneer 
jjhysician of San Luis Obispo, began caring for them, and under his direction 
a hospital was arranged for. The present building stands on a rise about 
a mile southeast of the center of town and was erected in 1878. The grounds 
cover thirteen acres. Water from the hills is supplied for all tises. In 1882, 
the records say, the cost was fifteen cents a day per patient, and the number of 
l)atients was fifteen. Andrew J. Green was steward. At present J- E. Lewis is 
superintendent. He reports forty patients, and the cost per capita for meals, 
eighteen cents a day, and the patients agree that they are well fed. In 1915 
a lirick building was erected as a detention ward for insane patients. Dr. 
C. J. .Mc(io\ern is now physician to the county hospital. 

COUNTY FINANCES 

in lc%7 the records show that assessed real estate values were $177,711.60; 
personal property, $311,121.25; total, $488,832.85. Tax rate, $3.85; total tax, 
$18.598.'X). State levy, $5,206.16; county levy, $13,222.74. In 1871 the state 
board of equalization reported that land in the county was assessed at 50 
per cent, of its value. About 1868 an cfYort was made by the county board 
of equalization to reject the assessor's valuation of the great landholdings 
and make the owners pay taxes on real value of land, hoping thereby to 
comiiel the owners to break up the great ranches and sell in small parcels 
to real settlers. Test cases resulted in failure. 

A county advisory board has been out during the summer of 1916 esti- 
mating the actual cash value of all the property in the county— one member 
frum each supervisoral district, five in all, three working together in each 
district. Deputy Assessor Will HoUister says this will result in at least 
5(1 per cent, increase on \aluation of the pro])erty as a whole. From the 
assessor we get this report for 1916-17: The county is in the twenty-seventh 
class. Land value as assessed, 2.528,275 acres; value, $9,907,381. Improve- 
ments. S3,678,,S01 : personal property, $5,663,994. Money and solvent credits, 
$1,100. \'alue of non-operative property, $19,249,276. Value of property 
assessed on operative roll, S75G.5i<3. Total value of property as returned by 
the audit, .r. $20,005,859. \^alue of railroads as assessed bv the board of equal- 
izati..n, $2,KH,218. Funded debt, $66,000, which is the total indebtedness. 
1 ax rate on city property, $l.(i9; on outside property, $2.25. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 113 

CHAPTER XII 
Schools, Churches and Lodges 

In g'athering data for this history, we heard that Edwin Markham had 
once taught school in the county. Then we followed the clue, finally learn- 
ing from his old friend, J. F. Beckett of Arroyo Grande, that Mr. Markham 
did teach school under a tree down on Berros Creek in 1872. Mr. Beckett 
was teaching the Arroyo Grande school and sent to the San Jose Normal for 
a teacher to come down and teach a band of children living too far away 
from Arroyo Grande to attend the school there. In 1872 Arroyo Grande was 
the only school south of San Luis Obispo district, so far as any available 
records show. There were seventeeh teachers employed in the county, and 
P. A. Forrester was county superintendent of schools. In reply to JMr. 
Beckett's recjuest, Edwin Markham came. If the now famous poet once 
taught in the county, what a fine thing it would be for our book if we 
could persuade him to tell us about it himself, in his own way. \Vc wrote 
to him, and his answer is given in full. With his letter and sketch came a 
picture of a white-haired, deep-eyed old gentleman. Not the stripling, sing- 
ing or talking poetry as he rode with his friend Beckett to San Luis Obispo 
on his galloping pony, the "mustang" he mentions in his letter. Two noted 
writers, the English novelist and dramatist, Horace Annesley Vachell, and 
America's beloved poet, Edwin Markham, whom Flerbert Bashford called 
"the chief poet of the English-speaking race," have lived in our county. 
Each has graciously responded when asked to do so, by giving a sketch of 
the days when he lived here ; each has recalled those days as among his 
happiest, and expressed a desire and intention of returning to visit the scenes 
he loved and still cherishes. Below we give Mr. Markham's reply in full. 

92 Waters Avenue, 
West New Brighton, N. Y. 
Dec. 14, 1916. 
Mrs. Annie L. IMorrison : 

I am sending you enclosed a brief account of my life in San Luis Obispo 
County. It may perhaps meet the needs of your history. I am also enclos- 
ing a little poem that is a reminiscence of my young manhood when I rode 
joyfully on the Californian hills. Many a time did I ride a mustang on the 
Los Berros ridges. This little poem is from my "Man with the Hoe and 
Other Poems." You may want to give credit to the volume. 

I should like to return to the county again and retrace my old footsteps. 
In fact, I expect to do this when I make my next visit to the Far West. I 
have not forgotten my friends of that early time, and I trust that they have 
not altogether forgotten mc. 

Faithfully yours, 

Edwin M.\rk]i.\m. 



114 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

92 Waters Avenue, 
\\'est New lirighton, N. Y. 
Mrs. Annie L. .Morrison: Dec. 16, 1916. 

1 have vivid nu-niorics of my days on Los Berros Creek in San Luis 
Obispo Countv; for it was there that I taught my iirst school, and had my 
first adventure in the duties of responsilile manhood. 

[ was o-raduatcd from the State Normal School at San Jose, California, 
in 1872, and forthwith I received a call to go south to teach the school in the 
highlands of Los Berros. 1 took train to Gilroy, and there I mounted the 
six-horse stage for San Luis Obispo. It seems now that the trip took three 
davs and nights of ceaseless riding. I shall never forget the rocking stage, 
and the owlish faces of my stage companions. All thru the night we 
heard the crack of the driver's whip, except for the hours when we caught 
a fitful sleep or paused for a meal at some wayside tavern. 

Reaching Arroyo Grande, I found a half-wrecked carriage waiting to 
take me up the winding canyons to Los Berros. It was a joyful ride in the 
carlv fall. Tt was the dry of the year, and the air was full of the scents of 
mints and sages; the hills were parched and tawny, patched in places by the 
wild oats fallen in yellow heaps in the hollows. Cottontails flickered under 
the rail fences; crowds gossiped in the boughs. 

.Arriving at Los Berros, I found a hearty welcome from the sunburnt 
mountaineers. l>ut, alas, no schoolhouse was read}'. "Well, this need not 
disturb you," I said to the crestfallen patrons. "Let me have an axe and 
I will remedy your deficiency." 

I went into the wood, selected a fine live-oak, one with broad, friendly 
branches, all woven so thick that no rain could penetrate the leafy roof. Now 
cutting down some young saplings, I built a rail fence around my chosen 
tree. Next I set up in the enclosure short sections of a tree-trunk, for seats 
and desks for my nine pupils. Finally I erected a high platform next the 
tree. It was a scat tall and commanding; a seat that had no parallel except 
that lofty seat on wliich Satan sat, as told in "Paradise Lost." This was 
my Oak-tree College. So you see that I was the pioneer in the Out-door 
School movement. Mere I led the children along the paths of wisdom. An 
inquisitive deer once wandered down to survey us \vith soft wondering eyes. 
Sometimes we saw the tracks of a fox that visited the college in the darkness. 
1 h.e wildcat sent up his cry of hate on some neighl)oring cliff in the deep 
night. The coyote, always at a safe distance, would come from the far cliffs 
to sciifY at the man on the earth and the man in the moon. 

Since those days in the first flush of manhood, I have ruled over many 
schools in Iniildings that were beautiful and ornate; but never have I else- 
where l.dt the deep satisfaction, felt the lyric happiness I knew in that green 
kingdom on the hills, iu my airy Live-oak College of San Luis Obispo. 

Edwim ]\I.\rkh.\m. 



SAN LUIS OBISrO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 115 

The Joy of the Hills 

I ride on the mountain tops, I ride ; 
I have found my Ufe and am satisfied. 
Onward I ride in the blowing oats. 
Checking the field-lark's rippling notes — 

Lightly I sweep 

From steep to steep : 
Over my head through the branches high 
Come glimpses of a rushing sky ; 
The tall oats brush my horse's flanks ; 
Wild poppies crowd on the sunny banks ; 
A bee booms out of the scented grass ; 
A jay laughs with me as I pass. 

I ride on the hills, I forgive, I forget 

Life's hoard of regret — 

All the terror and pain 

Of the chafing chain. 

Grind on, O cities, grind : 

I leave you a blur beliind. 
I am lifted elate — the skies expand : 
Here the world's heaped gold is a pile of sand. 
Let them weary and work in their narrow walls : 
I ride with the voices of waterfalls ! 

I swing on as one in a dream — I swing 

Down the airy hollows, I shout, I sing! 

The world is gone like an empty word: 

Aly body's a bough in the wind, my heart a bird! 

— Edwin Markh.-\m. 

SCHOOLS 

The first schools of the state were taught by the priests and were con- 
nected with the missions. The priests were well educated, but little was taught 
except reading, writing and the doctrines of the church. Few of the Indian 
neophytes ever learned to read ; their education was mostly "vocational," for 
they were taught, and compelled to do, the labor of the missions. They made 
the adobe bricks, cut and hauled the timbers needed in constructing the mis- 
sion buildings, tended the flocks and herds, were taught to make spikes, nails, 
chains, and do all sorts of rude blacksmithing. Also they put in the crops 
of wheat and harvested them, all with no machinery save the rudest; and 
after the grain was threshed out by flail or trampling horses, the Indians trans- 
ported it to the storerooms in great baskets and two-wheeled carts drawn 
sometimes by oxen, often by the Indians themselves. Some of the Indians 
who showed special musical talent were taught singing, and to play the 
violin. Often a woman's voice of thrilling sweetness, a man's clear tenor or 
deep-toned bass, was found among the Indians, and then it was trained to 
sing the sacred songs and was added to the mission choir. Among the wealthy 
Spanish families it was the custom to employ private teachers or send tlie 



116 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

sons to Spain, I'eru and Mexico to be educated in the colleges there. This 
helped to bring back to California the newer customs in dress and manners, 
and the returned college student was an authority on fashions eagerly sought. 
Such was the school system, or lack of it, until California became astate. 
Then the American citizens planned a public school system on a broad and 
liberal basis that has steadily improved until today no state in the Union 
has its equal. The writer speaks advisedly, having taught in three states 
ranking among the best in their school systems, and having kept well informed 
as to the others. In California there is a concerted effort to teach the same sub- 
jects in all the schools and along similar lines. The teacher who has nine or 
ten pupils in a secluded mountain district must be as well trained and as fit for 
the job as the teacher of the city or town, and is held as responsible for the 
work she does. Two great universities, eight state normal schools and 
countless other institutions prepare the teachers. Moral or physical defects 
are not tolerated. The state furnishes free and uniform text-books and abun- 
dant school supplies; and nowhere are there more fine, modern school build- 
ings, e(|uipped with the best of furniture and apparatus. Plenty of school 
ground, al^undance of sunshine and fresh air, well-trained, well-paid teachers 
at the head of every schoolroom. Is it any wonder the California school 
children are a happy, brainy lot of youngsters "making good" along all lines? 

Pioneer Schools of CaUfornia 

The first American school in California was a private school opened in 
San Francisco in 1847 by a Mr. Marston. This school was conducted for about 
a year. In February, 1848, a meeting of the citizens of San Francisco was 
called to organize a public school. A board of trustees was chosen, Thomas 
Douglas, a Yale graduate, was engaged as teacher, and the school opened 
April 3, 1848. The same month Rev. Albert \Mlliams of the Presbyterian 
Church opened a private school; and in the fall of 184S', J. C. Pelton opened a 
.school in the IJaptist Church. 

Provision for Funds of the Public Schools 

In the state constitution of 1849, ample provision was made for the 
support of the public schools. Each new state organized is allowed 500,000 
acres of the public land, to be sold, and the money realized forms a school 
fund to be invested ; and the interest only is used to defray running expenses 
of schools. In addition to this 500,000 acres, California law sets aside the 
si.xteenth and thirty-sixth sections of every township for public school lands. 
May 3, 1852, an act was passed providing' for the sale of these school lands 
at $2.00 per acre. The proceeds of the sales were converted into bonds of 
tlie civil funded debt of the state bearing seven per cent, interest. April 23, 
1«58, an act of the legislature provided for the selection of the unsold portion of 
the school lands and reduced the price to $1.25 an acre, cash. When the sales 
amounted to $10,000, state bonds were purchased and placed to the credit 
of the public schools. The interest is paid semi-annually. By Tanuary 1, 
18.58, 237,440 acres of the .=;00,000 had been sold. The proceeds'amounted to 
$4/4,880; and the annual interest, at seven per cent., was $33,241.60. The 
sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections amounted to 6,000,000 acres Later the 
legislature hxed the nrice of the land at $2.00 per acre. This, when all is 
.s..l(i, would yield a fund of 812,000,000 and provide, with interest a large 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 117 

total fund. \'ery little school land in the state remains unsold. Later an 
act provided that the funds realized from each sixteenth and thirty-si.xth 
section should be credited to the school funds of the township in which it 
was located. Also it was enacted that each county levy a special school 
tax, not to exceed ten cents on each $100. 

In 1858, a law provided that one-fourth of the poll tax money paid into 
the state treasury should be used as school funds. When suffrage was 
granted to women, the law was changed and the poll tax was abolished. 

Public School Systenii Established 

John G. Marvin was the first state superintendent of schools. In his 
report to the legislature, 1852, he recommended creating the office of county 
superintendent of schools, provision for school libraries, and that the funds 
realized from the sale of swamp and overflowed lands should go to swell the 
public school funds ; also that a tax of five cents on each $100 be levied for 
school purposes. He reported 6,000 children in the state of school age. 
In 1862, there were twenty public schools in the state, 17,821 children of 
school age and 3,314 were attending .school. He recommended that the 
county assessor should be county superdintendent of schools ex-officio. This 
was done in this county; and we find that in 1857 Charles Varian, Isy virtue 
of his office as assessor, was also county superintendent of schools. In 1859, 
we find F. Wickenden elected to the office of county superintendent of 
schools, and in 1860, P. Dunn— the redoubtable "Patsey" of Paso Robles, 
we suppose. 

First PubHc Schools in the County 

The first public school in the count}- was at San Luis Obispo and was 
held in a room of the old Mission building. Don Guillermo Series, a native of 
Chile, was the teacher. Spanish was the language taught, and the district com- 
prised the whole county. Don. Miguel Merchant, an "Irishman from Mex- 
ico," was teacher number two. Spanish continued to be the language and 
the teaching was by "rote" — the teacher repeated the lesson to the pupils 
and then they in concert repeated it to him. The records of the court of 
sessions show that Merchant occasionally received $100 for his services as 
teacher. August 22, 1853, we find the supervisors passing this order: "Or- 
dered that the salary paid out of the county fund to the teacher cease until 
funds be received, and that each scholar shall pay five dollars per month 
tuition." 

D. F. Newsom really organized the public schools of the county. He 
came in 1853 and was soon appointed county clerk, and by general consent 
took charge of school matters. Mr. Parker followed Merchant as teacher, 
but in 1854 Mr. Newsom became teacher and began to teach English, requir- 
ing the pupils to translate Spanish into English and English into Spanish. At 
this time there were only forty children in the county who could speak 
English at all. In 1853 there were in the whole state but fifty-three schools 
and fift3'-six teachers. Owing largely to the crimes in our cotinty, as previ- 
ously related, settlers did not come. In 1861 only two schools existed in the 
county. The one at San Luis Obispo was known as Mission district ; and up 
in the northern end of the county was San Simeon school district, where in 1859 
a little schoolhouse had been erected in a canon adjacent to Santa Rosa creek. 



118 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 

A small area of jfovcrninent land had been settled on by a few American 
families, and in 1859 Jerry Phelan is credited with having built the first 
schoolhouse in the county north of San Luis Obispo, which may or may 
not have built a schoolhouse by this time. We learn that after the room in 
the Mission was abandoned, school was held in a building across the road ; 
and later a two-room building was built on the lot where the Nipomo school 
now is. 

In 1861 the total number of children of school age was seven hundred 
and thirty-five. Of these, sixty-two attended Mission school and thirteen 
San Simeon school. E. A. Clark taught the former, and Miss S. M. Clark 
the latter; Mr. Clark's salary was $75 per month and Miss Clark received 
$30 per month. There are really no records of the schools until 1861. After 
1863 there is a lapse until 1866, after which the records are quite complete. A 
list of the early county superintendents of schools shows F. Wickenden, 1859; 
P. Dunn, 1860; Alexander ^Murray, 1861 to 1865, when P. A. Forrester was 
elected and served until 1868. James H. Gooch served until 1870; Forrester 
was re-elected and served until 1873. when J. ]\I. Felts got the job for four 
years. In 1878, F. E. Darke was elected and held the office two years. In 
1880 J. F. Beckett was elected and served two years ; in 1883 jXfr. Felts was 
again serving. Here we dig up an old record which says that D. F. Newsom 
was superintendent in 1853, W. C. Dana in 1857. Going back to the records, 
William Armstrong was elected and served eight years, ^Ir. Messer followed, 
serving four years, and then came !Mrs. Adelaide Woods for four years. In 
January, 1903, F. P. Johnson took the office; in January, 1907, F. E. Darke; 
and in January, 1911, W. S. Wight, who was again elected in 1914 and is 
serving at the present time. 

In 1882 there were fifty-three school districts and 2,795 pupils of school 
age, with an average daily attendance of 1.110. There were fifty-nine teachers 
employed ; and of these twenty-three were men and thirty-six, women. The 
county superintendent received a salary of $600 per year and could also teach 
school to help out his income. The average length of the school year (time 
school was taught) in 1882 was six and nine-tenths months. Total valuation 
of school property, $43,593. In 1881, the average monthly salary of the men 
teachers was $73 and of the women. $63. 

Pioneer Teachers 

From the list of teachers teaching in the county in 1883, of those who con- 
tinued for many years to teach in the county we find Miss Cynthia Kingery, 
now Mrs. Stringfield; Miss Cornelia Richards, now on the retired list; Miss 
M.iry L. .McKcnnnn, retired; Fred E. Darke, retired; Miss Clara B. Churchill, 
still teaching in Paso Robles ; J. M. Felts ; A. F. Parsons. Mr. Parsons is now 
county surveyor. J. M. Felts quit teaching and was in the real estate bushiess 
iVir some years, but has resumed teaching, being now employed in the Iron 
Springs school. Mr«. Stringfield has taught much of the time,'between whiles 
rearing a tamily of children ; at present she is teaching the Alamo school. In 
I.SS3 the county superintendent's salary was raised to $1000, and he could 
n-t teach school while holding office. In May, 1882, Superintendent J. F. 
I.eckett i-<ues a lengthy report from which we cull a few interesting items, 
ynthia kingory is then teaching Ascunsion school, and with the help of the 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 119 

boys has killed a big rattler with twelve buttons to his suit, all on the tail. 
In Oak Grove district Mr. E\ans is teaching and has taken his organ to 
school, where great delight prevails over the possession of so rare an instru- 
ment as an organ. The schoolhouse is of logs, but the view outside is 
beautiful; and inside, oh joy! there is an organ, and a teacher to play it! 
Canyon school, James A. Ford, teacher, closes with an entertainment and 
picnic where apples and candy are passed and three prizes given out. 
Miss Sallie Findley is teaching Cienega school, a new district. Corral de 
Piedra has been whitewashed, a fence built and on the walls is a "neatly 
framed motto card presented by Mrs. Patchett.'' Estrella school has twenty- 
nine pupils enrolled, Cornelia Richards, teacher. During the ten years the 
school has existed, with from twenty-five to seventy children attending, 
only one death has occurred among the pujjils. (Pretty healthy locality!) 
Fairview is a new school built by subscription. Franklin school has thirty 
pupils, order below par. This school will be moved to Cayucos if the citizens 
of "that thriving city" (Cayucos) will subscribe funds for a new schoolhouse. 
(They did, but the "order" has always been hard to keep, it is said.) Hes- 
perian school (now Cambria) has been ravaged by an epidemic of diphtheria ; 
F. E. Darke is teacher. At times one hundred and fifty children have at- 
tended the school, and for twelve years no pupil has died ; but when this 
scourge came, climate was not equal to it. Home school has forty pupils. 
Agnes M. Doud, teacher, ranks as one of the best in the county. The super- 
intendent tries to visit Huer-Huero school, gets lost, scans the roadside 
carefully for some trace of a road, goes two miles in the wrong direction, 
turns back, follows a wagon track, goes up a sandy canon, finally reaches 
Moody's place. Moody directs him to cross the ridge to another brancli 
of the llucr-Iiuero and go down to Donovan's place, where he is told to 
tie up his steed and walk a half mile. He arrives late in the day and finds 
jack L. Dunn, a practical printer, also a graduate of the Warrensburg, Mo., 
Normal, in charge; log schoolhouse "situated in a se(|ucstered glen." (.Quite 
so!) Los Osos school needs a fence and shade trees. 

In the fall of 1876 "Mission School," now known as the Court school, 
corner of Mill and Santa Rosa streets, was erected. It is described as "an 
imposing structure of two stories, 50.x88 feet on the ground, costing $14,000." 
J. P. Andrews gave the ground and in the deed it is stipulated that it can 
only be used for school purposes. If ever the trustees try to sell the 
ground or use it for other purposes, it reverts to the Andrews heirs. C. H. 
Woods was then principal of the school. Mountain View and Oak Flat were 
new schools. Paso Robles school had sixteen pupils. Miss Annie Osborn, 
teacher. 

Thirty-four \'ears have ])asscd since Superintendent I'.eeketl made his vol- 
uminous report of 1882, which was pul)lishetl in the Tribune. During those 
years the towns of San Miguel, Paso Robles, Templeton, Santa Margarita, 
Pismo, Oceano and Nipomo have come into existence. All the others have 
increased in population and the county has been well settled with thrifty, 
enterprising citizens. .\t present there arc ninety-one school districts, em- 
ploying one hundred sixty-four teachers. Of these, twenty-six are high- 
school teachers, four are special teachers, and one liundred thirty-four arc 
teaching in the graiumar-school grades. ( Irammar schools em|)loying more 
than one teacher are: .Atascadero, 4; Camliria, 2; j'isiuo. 2; Cayucos, 2; 



120 SAN LUIS Or.ISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Morro, 2; Nipomo, 2: Oceano, 2; San Miguel, 3; Santa Margarita, 4; Shan- 
don, 2 ; Templeton. 3 ; San 1 -uis Obispo, 20 ; Arroyo Grande, 6 ; Paso Robles, 17. 

School Funds 

For the year 1915-1916 the state appropriation for grammar schools in 
this county was $55,994.68; county funds, $49,373; special taxes, $19,622; 
bond sales,' $64,692. All the bonds sold at a good premium, llie total enroll- 
ment in grammar schools was 3,474; average daily attendance, 2,897. The 
high schiKil iiad 354 enrolled, and an average attendance of 299. High 
school funds were: State appropriation, $5,561.01; county fund, $15,480; 
district taxes, $15,826.70. 

A Much Misunderstood Law 

The first schools of the state and county were connected with the 
missions, and of course the doctrines of the church were zealously taught, 
a perfectly reasonable thing to expect and to do. When the public school 
system was being considered, a body of wise, far-seeing men looked beyond 
the present moment. So far all the schools had been really church schools 
under the control of the Roman Catholic Church, teaching the doctrines of 
that body. If the public school funds were apportioned to such schools, 
those teaching the Catholic faith, every other denomination on earth might 
eventually start up schools in California and demand support out of the 
public school funds. No one discredited the efforts at education so far made, 
but to safeguard the school funds and to prevent chaos in future years, the 
legislature in 1855 passed the law "No sectarian doctrines shall be taught in 
schools receiving public money, and no money shall be apportioned to any 
school not taught by a regularly examined and licensed teacher." 

This law, wise and good, has been distorted by overzealous, ignorant 
religionists; we do not say Christians, but religionists. "Back East" they 
will tell you with bulging eyes how the law forbids the reading of the Bible 
in the public schools. It forbids fools and zealots trying to expound it for 
their own or a sect's benefit. Nowhere in the school law of California is the 
Bible mentioned, and since it is impossible to study literature without a 
knowledge of P>ible stories and references, any teacher is at liberty, in order 
to enhance the value of the piece of literature being studied, to read that 
portion of the P.ible to her pupils and tell them all the history she or he 
knows connected with it ; but if the teacher attempted to expound her private 
opinion on religious views she would be told to seek another job or lose her 
credentials. The California school law makes it obligatory upon every teacher 
to "teach manners and morals" as a part of the daily routine, but she 
cannot try to make Presbyterians, Baptists, Scientists or Catholics out of 
them. Show us a higher, purer-minded, cleaner-living set of teachers any- 
where Ulan those reared and educated in California if you can. Some come 
from acnjss the Sierras and cry about not being al)le to use the Bible in 
school. What they need is first to use in their own lives the Bible principles 
of true Christianity and to back that up with the thorough preparation that 
real California teachers get who are reared and educated for the profession 
right here in thi.-^ state, where respect and obedience to law are considered a 
prime essential. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 121 

HIGH SCHOOLS 
San Luis Obispo High School 

The San Luis Obispo or Mission district high school employs nine 
regular and four special teacliers. A. H. Mabley is city superintendent and 
principal of the high school. The high school was first held in that dear, 
but awful old relic, the "Pavilion" ; then in the Court school ; and in August, 
1906, it was opened in the fine $40,000 stone building it now occupies on 
Marsh street. This school ranks well and sends many young men and women 
yearly to the universities and normal schools, while equipping many more 
for useful positions. It has a commercial course, and manual training and 
domestic science and arts courses. 

Paso Robles High School 

Paso Robles high school employs eight teachers, and has a good building 
and a large tract of land within the city limits for agricultural training. One 
or two large auto busses bring the students to and from San Miguel and 
other points. This school has an attendance of over one hundred pupils. 

Templeton Union High School 

This school began operations last August in the free reading room 
and a big canvas annex. It opened with three teachers and thirty pupils. 
A tract of nine acres sufficient for agriculture and all other purposes was 
bought, and bonds for $5,000 were issued for the building, which is of concrete, 
and so arranged that necessary additions can easily be made as required. At 
this writing, January 8, 1917, the new building is ready for occupancy. 

Arroyo Grande Union High School 

Arroyo Grande had what it called a high school away back in 1898. It 
was held in Good Samaritan Hall, presided over by James Stringfield. Next 
it was in the grammar-school building, and A. F. Parsons was in charge. 
Finally there was a movement to organize a union high school, with six or 
seven districts included. It was voted, but when it came to collecting the taxes 
for it the fur flew. There were lawsuits, much wrangling, and not a little 
bitterness. A modest wooden building went up on "Crown Hill," and three 
or four teachers were employed, but for some years it was not accredited to 
the university. At last it rose to that dignity, also let go some of the more 
disgruntled districts, but held on to enough to he a union high school. Last 
year it voted $12,000 for a new building, which is brick-faced and near the 
former wooden building. It now employs six teachers, has manual training 
and domestic science teachers, and is prospering. 

NEW GRAMMAR SCHOOLS 

Paso Robles voted bonds for $40,000, built one of the finest concrete 
grammar-school buildings in tlie state, furnished it beautifully, and had it 
ready for occupancy at the beginning of the school year, 1916-17. 

Santa Margarita voted bonds for $20,000, liuilt a beautiful concrete school- 
house with large assembly hall, and on May day, 1916, celebrated its opening 



122 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

with a picnic, barl)ccuc. a play by the pupils and speeches by various county 
orators. 

Atascadero voted $16,000 in its first school bond and a second bond for 
$3,000. The funds are now being used to erect a fine modern building. The 
New district l)onded itself for $1,700 to build with. Simmler voted a special 
tax of $3,000 for a new school. Sunderland voted bonds for $1,600. Lincoln 
is bonded for $2,700. Shandon sold a $4,000 bond and built a fine new 
schoolhousc; and after, lo! these many years, San Marcos has as pretty a 
new schoolhouse as one could wish — but thereby hangs a tale : 

In August, 1914, Miss Helen Morrison was engaged to teach San Alarcos 
school. .The tiny old shack stood on its wind-swept slope, cold in winter, 
zi])ping hut in summer, and the tramps camped within its gates or slept on 
its floor. "Campers" left their old tin cans and rags, gypsies hung their 
dazzling colored wash to dry on its fence, evil-minded vandals wrote vile 
words upon its doorposts. A'ea, San Marcos was in sore straits, and the 
inhabitants thereof indifferent to its plight. The children felt the demoraliz- 
ing effect and were rebellious to it all, the teacher included. This plucky 
young woman avoided the broken boards in the floor, thrashed one or two 
big boys, won their respect, and later their boyish devotion, mothered the little 
tots, taught the lessons well, saw that they were learned and finally was 
engaged for a second year. Towards the close of her second year and when 
things were running like clock-work, she was offered ninety dollars a month 
in a district that had a good schoolhouse. The trustees spoke to her about 
taking the school for a third year. She told them of her ninety-dollar offer 
and said, "If I decide to remain here it is only with your promise of a new 
schoolhouse for next 3-ear ; I will waive the ninety-dollar offer, will go on 
for the scventy-five-doUar salary, but a new schoolhouse has got to come." 
Result, those good people got busy right away ; they respected the teacher 
for her grit and self-respect. They respected themselves and their children 
when they got really waked up, so they voted $2,500 to build the pretty 
new Ijuilding and kept the teacher who was doing a good job for them when 
she made them see their duty. San jMarcos has a good board of trustees, a 
schoolhouse to i)e proud of, twenty bright and well-behaved pupils, an up-to- 
date teacher, and woe betide the tramp, camper or gypsy who dares deface 
or maltreat any of its property now. 

A ride over our county will soon convince the traveler that we are 
getting up b_v the band wagon when it comes to schoolhouses, all except 
our chief city — and of that we are ashamed. The two old grammar-school 
buildings in San Luis Obispo are a disgrace to the town. The Court school, 
forty years old, is an old fire-trap now, whatever it was at the beginning. The 
tiiree-rooni schoolhouse on Nipomo street was burned down in 1885, when 
D. M. Meredith was principal. In 1886 a fine four-room, two-story building 
was put up at a cost of $6,000. Later, about 1900, it was added to, and now 
contanis eiglu schoolrooms, but many regard it as a menace to those forced to 
attend or teach sch.x.l there. In the yard are two or three little shacks used 
f'lr scho...! rooms: one is the domestic-science plant. Time and again a 
strong etlori h;s been made to vote bonds for a new building, but always they 
are turned down. The last school-bond fight was early in 1916. F. E. Darke 
was prmcipal of the Xijiomo street school for fifteen years, and he it was who 
designed and vath the boy? laid out and itlanted the pretty grounds fronting 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUxNTY AND ENVIRONS 123 

the building;. The Mitchell block was b(night a few years ago for additional 
school grounds. Recently a plot back of the high school and adjoining it was 
also purchased. This was a wise move and one or two more pitched battles 
like that of 1916 will end in victory for better school buildings for San Luis 
Obispo. The town is rapidly improving along other lines, and it is the worst 
kind of bad business to refuse to Iniild modern up-to-date schoolhouses for 
the children. 

OTHER SCHOOLS 

Academy of the Immaculate Heart 

On Palm street, not far from the Mission, stands the "Convent School," 
as it is generally called. The group of buildings is upon ground once a 
part of the Mission lands, probably a part of the fifty-two acres set aside 
for the use of the church when John Wilson's claims to all the Mission build- 
ings and land were refuted and settled by state officials. This school is in 
charge of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was opened to 
students August 16, 1876, with eight Sisters as teachers, four of whom were 
natives of Spain and four natives of this country, all belonging to the order. 
Bishop Amat and Bishop Mora assisted at the opening of the school, and 
Bishop Mora presented the institution with a fine piano. It is both a day and 
boarding school, giving a course of instruction similar to or corresponding 
with the eight grammar-school grades. There is a sewing class for the 
girls, and the musical instruction is of a high order. A boys' school, for boys 
in the grammar grades, is connected with the Convent school for girls. There 
are now one hundred twenty pupils and eight Sisters in charge. In 1882 
a three-story wing, 90x28 feet, was added to the main building, also a separate 
building one hundred feet long. In one end is the chapel, 43x26 feet, ceiling 
22 feet high. A gallery extends across one end. The upper rooms are 
dormitories. In the chapel are beautiful stained-glass windows. The build- 
ing cost $5,000 when erected. These Sisters exert a great influence upon the 
children in their charge, and needless to sav the Convent school is highly 
\alued by l^an Luis Obispo citizens. 

The State Polytechnic School 

Just north of the city limits, facing the Southern Pacific Railroad, is a 
beautiful group of cream-colored buildings that excites the interest of many 
passing on the long trains. This is the State Polytechnic School, the realiza- 
tion of ]\Iyron Angel's vision and of Assemblyman Warren M. John's and 
Senator S. C. Smith's unceasing efforts in its behalf. December 25, 1896, 
Myron Angel published in the Breeze a letter urging all political parties to 
"bury the hatchet" and unite in an effort to get a state normal school estab- 
lished here. C. H. Phillips, president of the West Coast Land Co., had offered 
fifteen acres of ground as a gift to such a school. Budd was governor, a 
Democrat ; Smith, the senator, was a Republican, and our assemblyman at 
the time was J. K. Burnett, a Populist. Mr. Angel called attention to our 
fine, even climate and quoted the weather bureau. The Tribune joined in 
\vitli the Breeze, the people got busy and called a public meeting. A petition 
til the legislature was prepared and a collection taken to get it typed. A 
ccinmiittce on sites was ap])ointcd consisting of Benjamin II. Brooks, J. D. 



124 SAN LUIS omSPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Fowler and \\\ A. Henderson. Mr. Phillips' offer was either disregarded 
or withdrawn, one would suppose. 

In 1897 Smith introduced a bill to the legislature asking that a normal 
school be located here, very soon after San Diego put in a claim for a normal 
school. So a committee was sent to examine both places. February 20, 1897, 
the committee on its return from San Diego stopped to look over the ground 
here and of course they were royally entertained. A reception and banquet 
at Hotel Ramona was tendered, and the city council voted one hundred 
dollars towards it. Myron Angel was called upon to speak. In his remarks 
he told of how he arrived in San Francisco in December, 1849, after crossing 
the plains on foot from Fort Leavenworth to San Diego direct from school 
on the Atlantic coast. Passage on a brig to San Francisco had taken his last 
cent, and he walked the muddy streets in the winter rain penniless, ragged 
and hungry. He said a man hailed him with, "Say, boy, do you want a job?" 
"Yes," he eagerly replied. "Get up on that roof and nail on those shingles; 
I'll give you eight dollars a day." He blurted out, "Mister, I never drove a 
nail in my life." "To hell with you!" he called, and whistled for another boy. 
"I met other boys who could w^ork with their hands and earn good money ; 
I had plenty of book lore, but no one had a job for me. Gentlemen of the 
Committee : I have planned for a school here which shall teach the hand 
as well as the head ; so that no young man or woman attending it need be 
sent into the world as helpless to earn a living as I was when I landed in 
San Francisco in 1849." Hon. Sig Bettman from San Francisco arose and 
said : "I have been opposed to any more normal schools and came here deter- 
mined to oppose this one ; but I will return and vote for a Polytechnic, and do 
all in my power to carry it through." 

A l)ill was presented, passed both houses, but Budd vetoed it. Economy 
was the plea. The bill called for a school teaching trades and agriculture. 
In 1898 a governor was to be elected; so with zeal the friends of the pro- 
posed school "went to it." Gage ran on the Republican ticket ; Maguire, on the 
Democratic. A new party, the Silver Republicans, convened in Los Angeles, 
intending to endorse the Democratic nominee ; so Mr. Angel attended the 
convention and did some lobbying; at any rate the Breeze received and pub- 
lished this: "Alcatraz Landing, Cal., August 29, 1898. Breeze, San Luis 
Obispo. Our polytechnic school adopted in platform and approved by 
Maguire. Signed : .Angel and Kimball." December 8, 1898, at a public meeting 
held in San Luis Obispo, Angel read a letter from Smith promising that the 
first bill he introduced should be for the school. C. II. Johnson, D. Lowe, 
Thomas Barrett, J. P. Andrews, A. McAllister, IMyron Angel, A. F. Fitz- 
gerald were named a committee to bond and secure options from which a site 
could be selected. The Bakersfield Democratic paper "kicked" at the school, 
and is still periodically throwing out its heels; but "we should worry." In 
1S"9, a bill for the school was again presented, but the assemblymen were 
fighting over the payment of bounties on coyote scalps. Our assemblyman 
had favored the bill for scalps, so his enemies got his scalp and voted down 
the bill. 

In 1900, Warren M. John was sent to the assembly from this county. 
He and Smith at once presented a bill for the school. In January, 1901, a 
bill passed both houses and was signed by the governor. It was to take 
effect and be in force after January 1, 1902. Governor Gage appointed War- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 125 

ren AI. John, William Graves, of San Luis Obispo, Senator S. C. Smith of 
Bakersfield, F. A. Hihn of Santa Cruz and E. J. Wickson of San Francisco 
a board of trustees. An appropriation of $50,000 had been made. March 12, 
1902, the trustees met in San Luis Obispo. There were banquets, addresses, 
etc. It was said our young assemblyman, John, "wore a smile a mile wide" 
when the bill he fought so hard for was a law. He was only twenty-eight years 
old, and probably about the best-beloved young politician in the state. 

The commission had selected the site offered by Mr. Lowe. At the Palace 
Hotel, iVIay 26, 1902, the deeds were delivered to the commission charged 
with establishing the school, which consisted of Governor Gage, State Super- 
intendent of Schools Thomas J. Kirk, and the board of trustees. Prof. LeRoy 
Anderson of the state university was chosen director of the school at a 
salary of $200 per month. In September, 1902, Mr. Graves died and R. L. 
Shackelford of Paso Robles was selected to fill the vacancy. Early in 1903 
the corner stone of the main building was laid with due ceremony. October 
1, 1903, the school received its first pupils, fifteen in number — Laura and 
Irene Righetti, Lila Weaver, of San Luis Obispo ; Kent S. Knowlton, Port 
Harford ; Allen V. and Charles J. Emmet, Arroyo Grande ; Mary Bello, 
Morro ; Gustavus and Henry Wade, Francis D. Buck, Owen Hollister, of 
Goleta ; Paul L. Williams, Ventura ; \\'illiam H. Boswell, Soledad ; Herbert 
H. Cox, Morgan Hill; Frank L. Flinn, Descano, in San Diego county. The 
faculty was Director Anderson, S. S. Twombly, Gwendolin Stewart, O. L. 
Heald and Naomi Lake, stenographer. A minute history of the school was 
written and published by Myron Angel ; so for all data other than what is here 
given we refer you to his book, as it covers all points up to 1907-1908. 

Many fine teachers were added to the faculty, among them Miss May 
Secrest, domestic science. In November, 1907, -Mr. Anderson resigned and 
LeRoy B. Smith, a graduate of Cornell, was chosen director. In 1913 Smith 
resigned and Prof. Ryder became director, and is still at the head of the 
school. In 1913 the tenth anniversary of the school was celebrated with a 
beautiful pageant and three-day glorification. Many new shops and barns 
have been built, a beautiful domestic arts building, boys' dormitory, dining 
hall and electric plant. In December, 1907, there were one hundred thirty- 
four students attending. The enrolment for 1916-1917 is about two hun- 
dred. The school fills a great need, and to show what its future may be we 
append this from the Telegram of January 6, 1917. "After years of but 
little or no recognition by the state, the California Polytechnic School is to he 
considered at this year's session of the legislature for permanent improve- 
ments. 

"The State Board of Control has rcc|uestcd that the. state architectural 
department go over the ground plans of the Polytechnic and make plans for 
a permanent building plan similar to that of the University of California. 
In complance with the board's request, Charles F. Dean, assistant state 
architect; A. R. Widdowson, chief draftsman; and James Dean, chief de- 
signer, are now at the Polytechnic, and with Director Ryder are making a 
careful survey of the grounds. 

"The plans are for making the Polytechnic one of the state's influential, 
permanent institutions, sufficient for the instructing of one thousand stu- 
dents. 

"It is expected that this year's legislature will pass an approjiriation suf- 



126 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Ik-iciit for the erection of five permanent buildings: an armory, an administra- 
tion huildins;-, an agrictiltural building, a science hall, and a combined shops 
buildino-." 

OUR HONORED VETS 

In writing this history of the San Luis Obispo County schools, we feel 
it only right to pay a tribute to those who, for many years, have faithfully 
served as' teachers. Not only have they taught the curriculum required, but 
in hundreds of cases they have been as "a lamp unto the feet and a light unto 
the path'' of ihose struggling for an education under adverse circum- 
stances or, more pitiful yet, of those hampered by low moral surroundings. 
To help a child realize its possibilities, to give a helping hand at the right 
moment, to encourage in all noble endeavor and aspiration, to have the 
tlivine mother-instinct and use it for everybody's child, this is what makes 
so many teachers revered long years after they are dust. There are other 
names that belong among the "vets," but for various reasons we ha\e ob- 
tained no data other than what we could recall. Miss Mary McKennon was a 
highly prized teacher of this county for nearly thirty years. Mrs. String- 
field is mentioned elsewhere ; C. H. Woods wielded a good influence in our 
schools for many years ; and there are other names that will come to the 
minds of our mature readers, of well-beloved teachers — Mrs. Lesa Lane for 
one, and Aliss Lottie \\'ise for another. 

Mrs. Mary S. Spaulding 

Probably no l3etter-lo\ed nor more capable teacher ever taught in the 
county than Mrs. Spaulding. She was born at Killingly, Conn., was educated 
in the grammar and high schools of her native town, and taught nine years 
in the union graded schools of Danielson, Conn. She came to California in 
January, 1884, and her first teaching in the state was in the Home district. 
She then taught in San Luis Obispo, but a change caused her to go to 
Arroyo Grande. She taught there for a while, then took charge of the Laguna 
school, which position she held for fifteen years. Later she taught at Stowe, 
Avila and Santa l'"e. She taught almost continuously in this county for 
thirty years, only ceasing during a severe illness. In 1914 she retired on a 
$500-a-year annuity granted for thirty years' service by the Retirement Salary 
Board. Both of Mrs. Spaulding's parents were teachers. A brother, seventy 
years of age, is now principal of Brown School at Hartford. Conn. He has 
just completed fifty years of service, twenty-five of which have been in the 
"l.!rown School."' 

Miss Clara Belle Churchill 

l\Iiss Ciuirchill surely deserves a place among our "vets." She was 
born in Marysville in 185.S, was educated in San Jose, graduated from the 
higji school in 1873 and from the normal in 1876. She taught two years in 
the northern part of the state and in 1878 came to this county and taught in 
th'j Alission school of San Luis Obispo. Later she taught at Los Osos, West 
Santa Fc, East Santa Fe, then back to San Luis, Avhere she taught for five 
years in tiie grammar and primary grades. After teaching for five years in 
San Luis she taught at Excelsior, Lincoln and Cuesta. In 1888 she went to 
Paso Roliles when there v.^erc only three teachers in the town, taking charge 
of the primary work. There she has been for twenty-eight vears, constantly 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 127 

employed as teacher of the first grade. The little "beginners" go joyfully off to 
school, for there they can spend lovely hours with Miss Churchill, whom 
they all know and already love. She is "pretty" too, they say, and no one 
disputes it. She says that for some years now she has had pupils who are 
children of former pupils of hers ; and going to school to "papa's teacher"' is 
now their delight. She proudly says, "I've seen the schools grow from 
three teachers to ten in our new $40,000 grammar school and seven teachers 
in our fine high school." By the way, this new concrete grammar school is 
one of the finest in the state. A large plot of ground has just been bought 
for agricultural uses ; irrigation is taught, using sulphur water from the 
school's artesian well. A new barn with stalls for twenty horses and room 
for as many vehicles is also being built. It's good to go to school in Paso 
Robles. 

Flora E. Armstrong 

Mrs. Armstrong deserves mention among those who have had a strong- 
influence in our public schools. She came to California via Panama in 1860, 
was educated by private tutor in her uncle's home, as there were few good 
grammar schools at that date. She took a course at the University of the 
Pacific and at the San Jose normal. She taught in the San Jose city schools 
and was vice-principal of the San Jose high school. In October, 1876, she 
came to this county and taught several years in San Luis Obispo. She went 
to New Mexico, but in 1896 returned to this county and taught three and a 
half years at Sa.n Marcos. Next she was principal of the Templeton school 
for five years, then principal of Arroyo Grande school for six years, and vice- 
principal of the high school there for three years. She is now on the retired 
list. Mrs. Armstrong also was a member of the county board of education 
in Santa Clara county for two years, and was on the board of this county 
for some years. 

William M. Armstrong 

William M. Armstrong crossed the plains by ox team in 1864, going to 
]'<jrtland, Oregon. He was twenty years old and entered the Portland Com- 
mercial College, graduating the next year. He came to this county in 1878, 
taught many years, was twice elected county superintendent of schools, 
1886-1890. Before being elected he was principal of the Court school in 
San Luis Obispo. In 1896 he founded the Armstrong Business College in 
San Luis Obispo and trained many successful business men and women. 
He died, July 13, 1909. 

Clara E. Paulding 

Mrs. Paulding has been identified with the schools of the county since 
1883. She taught two years in Arroyo Grande, then in Cafion district, two 
years in San Luis Obispo town school, then taught the Spring school near 
Shandon, while homesteading a government claim. Later she taught five 
years in Arroyo Grande, a term in Stowe district, two years in Huasna, and 
is now teaching her fourth year in Brancli school. From 1900 to 1910, 
Mrs. Paulding was teaching music and acting as substitute in Arroyo Grande 
school. She says, "This is what might be called a checkered career." At any 
rate it has been a very useful, well-appreciated career. No woman in Arroyo 
Grande has ever lield or now holds a higher place in social and school life 



128 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

than this inuch-Io\-ed woman, who for years has served on the school board, 
and is sought as an authority on questions of the public or moral good. 
Clara Edwards Paulding is a descendant of the noted Jonathan Edwards of 
colonial days and sister of Professor Edwards, teacher of mathematics in the 
University at Berkeley. She married Dr. Edward Paulding, the pioneer 
physician of Arroyo Grande. They have one daughter, Ruth, now a teacher 
in the Arroyo Grande high school. 

F. E. Darke 
No man has been more active and efficient in the schools of the county 
for the last forty-seven years than F. E. Darke. Mr. Darke served four 
years in the Civil ^\'ar, and was in many hard-fought battles to save our 
country from disunion and ruin. He did not come to California to escape 
his duty, but continued to serve his country, for he went right to work 
helping boys and girls make men and women of themselves, teaching them 
the lessons in their books and the lessons of self-help, self-respect and hon- 
orable living. Mr. Darke came to the state from New York in 1868. In 
1869 he was employed to teach the San Simeon school. From 1870 to 1882, 
or for twelve years, he taught the Hesperian school, now called Cambria 
school. Each year when the funds were used up at Hesperian school, he 
would teach a summer term for Mammoth Rock, Santa Rosa, San Simeon, 
Salinas or Morro school. In 1882, Mr. Darke was elected county recorder, 
and from 1882 to 1889 he filled that office. In 1889 he was engaged as 
principal for the Nipomo street school in San Luis Obispo and taught there 
until he resigned in December, 1907, to take office as county superintendent 
of schools. He served four years, and did much to improve certain con- 
ditions. One thing was to compel trustees to pay the salary granted by law, 
not less than $70 per month for eight months ; also he saw to it that ladies 
looking for "a good time in a cow country" left for other fields, and teachers 
able and willing to teach school got the positions. Mr. Darke advocated 
teaching the essentials rather than the furbelows of education, and the schools 
of the county showed marked improvement under his rule as superin- 
tendent. In 1911 he again taught Cambria school, remaining there until 
1913. His last active schoolroom work was at Nipomo in 1914. He retired 
on the $5G0-a-year annuity in 1915, after having served in the ranks four years 
as a soldier of infantry, and forty years as captain in a schoolroom. ]Mr. 
Darke's wife died, leaving a family of small children. These children were all 
raised by the father, well looked after and every one sent to a university or 
college. Such a father deserves the respect of all, and few have it in larger 
measure than .Mr. Darke. 

CHURCHES 
Pioneer Churches 
The first religious services held in the county were those of San Luis 
and San Miguel missions. September 1, 1772, Junipero Serra hung a bell 
to a branch of a big sycamore tree on the bank of San Luis creek. After 
ringing it, hoping to attract the Indians, he blessed and raised the cross and 
said mass. 

The first Protestant clmrch built in the county was erected by the 
Methodist Episcopal congregation in December, 1869, at San Luis Obispo. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 129 

The first service in the building was held on the Sabbath, January 2, 1870, 
Rev. A. P. Hendon, pastor. The pastor inserted a notice in the Tribune 
announcing Sunday school at 9:30 A. M. and preaching at 11 A. M. He 
stated that the building was enclosed. -"We have ordered the windows and 
doors, which will cost not to exceed $50, and at our first service we hope to 
raise this amount by collection." It is hoped he got it, for going to church 
in winter without doors or floor or windows in the building would mean a 
surplus of fresh air, though now we are apt to have too little of it. If we 
had to take up a "collection" to pay for fresh air, we should likely have it in 
abundance. This building cost $1,400 cash. In 1874, Rev. D. H. Haskins 
pastor, the church lot on Garden street was bought, and the church build- 
ing moved onto it. There were repairs .and additions made ; and the new 
edifice was dedicated June 21, 1874, Rev. C. V. Anthony from Oakland preach- 
ing the sermon. The congregation was the largest ever seen in the town ; and 
when the minister stated that they had a debt of $900, and "passed the hat," 
the enthusiasm was so great that $1020 was dropped in. The ladies had 
raised enough to buy a bell weighing one thousand pounds, and this was 
placed in the new belfry. In 1911 the congregation erected the present 
commodious structure on the corner of Morro and Pacific streets, and built 
a pretty parsonage. This building cost $18,000, and was dedicated February 
19, 1911. Rev. H. F. Munger was pastor. Rev. Dr. Charles Edward Locke 
of. Los Angeles preached the dedicatory sermon. 

Rev. A. B. Spooner was the first Protestant minister in the county. He 
resided on Old creek, was chaplain of the San Simeon Lodge, F. and A. M., 
and preached wherever and whenever he was called upon to do so. He said 
words of comfort to the dying, preached the funeral sermons of those who 
died, and helped the living by his counsel. In time he moved to Morro, and 
being well acquainted with the bay, sometimes acted as pilot. On the 
evening of February 5, 1877, he heard the steamer "Alary Taylor" whistling 
for a pilot. He started out in a small boat, but the tide was racing out to 
sea and capsized the little boat. The current was sweeping through the 
channel by Morro Rock and his body was never recovered. Memorial ser- 
vices were iield in all the Protestant churches for this good man. 
Episcopal Church 

The first Protestant Episcopal church in the county was St. Stephen's 
in San Luis Obispo. It was organized in August, 1867. May 14, 1868, it 
elected vestrymen and officers: Dr. W. W. Hays, senior warden; J. B. 
Townsend, junior warden; G. F. Sauer, treasurer; John Flint, secretary; J. H. 
HoUister, O. Kemp, J. Jones, I. C. Smith, vestrymen. Rev. H. Chetwood 
was the first rector that we find on record. He was stationed at San Diego, 
but frequently came up here and held services. The first service was held in 
Odd Fellows Hall, July 28, 1872. In April, 1873, at a meeting held, plans 
for a church building were submitted, and it was decided to erect a building 
on the northeast corner of Nipunio and I'ismo streets. Tlie church cost $3,000 
and seats about one hundred persons. Rev. C. II. L. Chandler is now the rec- 
tor in charge. 

Presbyterian Churches 

The first Presbyterian Cliurch services in the county were held in San 
Luis Obispo by Rev. Frazicr oi Oakland, July 18, 1874. May 12. 1875, a 



130 SAX 1-flS oinSlH.) COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

numhcr of friends ni that denomination met at the residence of Judge 
Venal)lc and took the jircliminary steps towards organizing a church, which 
were completed the next Sunday, May 16, 1875. Rev. Alvin Ostrom was 
ens-aged as pastor, and the services were held in Little & Cochran's hall. 
Tliishall is now a part of the building occupied by the Golden State Hotel. 
About 1884 a church seating two hundred people was built on the corner 
of -Morro and Marsh streets. This building was moved to the lot adjoining, 
given to the church by Mr. Henry Bruhner, named Hersman Hall, and is now 
used for social meetings, Sunday school rooms, etc. In 1905 the fine edifice 
now occupied by the church was dedicated ; Rev. Harry Hillard was pastor 
and Rev. Hugh K. Walker of Los Angeles preached the dedication sermon. 
Rev. joim D. Habbick is now the pastor. After the influx of settlers that 
came with the Southern Pacific Railway, in 1886, Presbyterian churches were 
organized and built at Templeton, Estrella and Shandon. For years the , 
Estrella and Shandon churches were lively institutions, but at Estrella the 
church has been without a pastor for years, and at Shandon the services are 
only held irregularlv. 

LODGES 
Lodges are numerous and prosperous. The first lodge organized in 
the county was a Masonic lodge, San Luis Obispo Lodge, No. 148. Dr. Joseph 
M. Havens, "the father of Masonry" in the county, took the first steps and 
a charter dated May 16, 1861, was obtained from the Grand Lodge of Cali- 
fornia. There were nine charter members. Later in the year others joined. 
Governor Pacheco being one. The great drought of 1862-63-64 caused many 
changes in population, and the lodge surrendered its charter. Early in 1869, 
San Simeon Lodge, No. 169, of Cambria was organized, and a charter was 
granted October 14, 1869. On December 12, 1869, a public dedication of the 
lodge was held, and a grand ball concluded the ceremonies. Here O. K. Smith 
figures as one of the committee ; he was Senior Warden of the lodge. King 
David Lodge, No. 209, was organized ; a charter was obtained October 14, 1870; 
and on November 1, 1870, it was duly instituted in San Luis Obispo. The 
first I. O. O. F. lodge in the county was instituted ]\Iarch 3, 1870, at San 
Luis Obispo and named Chorro Lodge. The second lodge of this order in 
the county was organized at Cambria, Hesperian Lodge, No. 181. It was 
instituted on September 28, 1870. Many prominent Odd Fellows were 
present, District Deputy Grand Master M. Peppcrman, Past Grand 
L. Landeker of Chorro Lodge, and John B. Fitch, Past Grand of 
Healdsliurg Lodge, being among them. The charter members were 
D. P. Crawford,' Geo. S. Davis, O. S. Palmer, John H. Rader, Ed. M. 
Minott, C. H. Egbert and F. F. Letcher. Officers installed: N. G., C. PI. 
Egbert ; V. G., Geo. S. Davis ; Sec, O. S. Palmer ; Treas., J. H. Rader. Arroyo 
Grande Lodge, No. 278, I. O. O. F., was instituted January 12, 1878. The first 
officers were: X. ( ,., J. II. boston: V. G.. G. A. Robbins': P. S., P. J. Wash- 
ington; R. S., B. J. Woods; Treas., M. Hammerschlag. The last two lodges 
mentioned own halls and have always flourished. About 1902 the Arroj^o 
Grande lodge built a fine two-story building of the handsome yellow sand- 
stone quarried near there. The first Rebekah lodge in this county, Morse's 
Kebekali Degree. X.). 25. was instituted at Cambria, June 10, 1877. The second 
I'riendship Rebekah Degree, No. 36, was instituted at San Luis Obispo, Tulv 
12, 1877. Cayucos Lodge, No. 300. I. O; O. F., was organized about 1883. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 131 

This lodge owns it own hall. The 0(hl Fellows lodge at Paso Robles was 
organized soon after the town was started. In June, 1889, the Templeton 
lodge was instituted. It prospered for about ten years, and was then united 
with the Paso Robles lodge. Paso Robles has a Masonic lodge and a Rebekah 
Degree, as has also San Miguel. There arc Eastern Star lodges at San Luis 
Obispo, Paso Robles and San Miguel. 

The Knights of Pythias lodge was first introduced to San Luis Obispo 
when Park Lodge, No. 40, was instituted, December 21, 1876, with 
thirteen charter members, J. M. Wilcoxan, Chancellor Commander. Those 
who joined the lodge at its organization, or very soon thereafter, and have 
been faithful members since, are: J. ;\I. \'incent, Ben Sinsheimer, P. F. Ready, 
A. C. McLeod, J. E. Lewis, who all joined in 1887; A. H. Hicox, 1878; 
J. F. Branch and T- B. Weaver, 1881: Otto Tullman, 1884: Finnev, 1888; 
H. C. Fry, 1889. 

The Native Sons of the Golden West have had lodges at several places, 
as have also their sisters, the Native Daughters of the Golden West. At 
Cambria the parlor w'as organized on November 8, 1889, with nineteen 
members. There are sixty-four members at present. This lodge has six 
thousand dollars now in its treasury and is socially a strong factor. Each 
year it celebrates Admission Day, September 9, with great enthusiasm. A 
Wild West show has been the leading feature for years now. There are 
lodges of this order at San Miguel and San Luis Obispo, and a strong one 
formerly existed at Nipomo. The Native Daughters of San Miguel and San 
Luis Obispo are also lodges of influence. 

There are, in the county, lodges of the Woodmen of the World, Red Men, 
Women of W'oodcraft, Royal Neighbors, Knights of Columbus, and various 
other orders ; but space will not permit us to write of them all. We have 
endeavored to note those of greatest importance, and earliest in the county. 



CHAPTER XIII 
The Press, the Bench and Bar, Physicians and Others 

THE PRESS 

The first newspaper published in California was The Californian, at 
Monterey, August 15, 1846, by Rev. Walter Colton and Dr. Robert Semple. 
The latter was the printer and had come with FYemont's expedition. Colton 
had come into the country as chaplain of the frigate "Congress." He had been 
appointed alcalde of Monterey by Commodore Stockton. As there were no 
newspapers in this county to print public notices, the legislature passed a 
special act, April 27, 1837, for the benefit of this county and Santa Barbara, 
which was also without a paper. The act provided for the posting of notices 
"At the house of Jacob J. Simmler in the town of San Luis Obispo, and at 
the house of Felipe Gaxiola. At the house of Charles Varian in Arroyo 
Grande, and at the house of Joaquin Estrada in Santa Margarita." 

The first newspaper published in the county was The Pioneer of San 
Luis Obispo. The editor and owner was Rome G. Vickars, and his first 
issue was January 4, 1868. The price was $5.00 per annum, invariably in 



132 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

advance. The paper was printed on paper 22x28 inches, six columns to 
each one of the four pages. In the first number were professional cards of 
James Van Ness, James White, Wm. J. Graves, Chas. Lindley, P. A. For- 
rester, Walter Murray, attorneys; W. W. Hays, M. D. The ofificial directory 
was Pablo de la Guerra, judge of the first district; W. M. Beebee, county 
judge; j. A. de la Guerra, sherif?; Wm. J. Graves, district attorney; C. W. 
Dana, clerk and recorder; G. F. Sauer, treasurer; John Bains, assessor; 
George Deffner, surveyor ; P. A. Forrester, superintendent of schools ; J. J. 
Simmler, justice of the peace of San Luis Obispo and R. Rigdon of San 
Simeon. The Eagle Hotel of San Luis Obispo was run by S. H. Parsons. 

The Pioneer was a Democratic paper and the Republicans wanted an 
organ : so a rival, the San Luis Obispo Tribune, entered the field, August 
7, 1869, and came to stay, for it is here yet and still a stanch Republican. 
Here is the place to say that the authentic county history for every week 
and day since August 7, 1869, is to be found in the files of the Tribune kept 
in the public library of San Luis Obispo. Without those files of the Tribune, 
getting authentic history would be impossible. We say the Tribune, for it 
is the only paper that began with the pioneer days of the county and has 
continued publication up to the present day. It is doubtful if the people 
of the county realize the great value of those files of the paper. They 
should be carefully stored in an iron-proof safe ; for if a fire destroys them, 
away go the only authentic records of the county since August 7, 1869, 
save those found in the county records, and the county records contain 
nothing outside of county business. 

The Tribune began life under the ownership of H. S. Rembaugh & Co. 
The "company" was Walter Murray, who was also the brilliant editor. As 
there were so many people unable to read English, one or two columns were 
printed in Spanish. The paper was 28x36 inches, seven columns, four pages. 
One of the most interesting things in connection with the writing of this 
history lias been the taking of some event as told by a pioneer, and then get- 
ting fiction untangled from fact by going back to the old, reliable Tribune. All 
sorts of things — murders, births, deaths, marriages, public and private trans- 
actions — have been unraveled l)y that old standby, and the truth dug up. The 
Pioneer, in 1869, died, but in 1870 it was resurrected as the Standard, lived a 
few months and was bought by the Tribune. April 20, 1872, Judge Murray 
published his "Valedictory," saying that long ago he had wished to "hang 
his harp on a willow tree" and be rid of editorial duties that interfered with 
other business, but had continued editor imtil some reliable person could be 
found to take his place. O. F. Thornton took Mr. ^Murray's place on the 
paper. March 6, 1883, the Tribune began a daily issue. It now publishes a 
semi-weekly and daily paper. J. K. Tuley, George B. Staniford, George 
Maxwell, Myron Angel, Warren M. John, Benjamin Brooks, have all been 
identified with the Tribune. 

:\Iarch 20, 1878, appeared the first issue of The South Coast, published 
by Charles L. Wood. This paper was in existence about a year. August 2, 
1879. appeared a new paper calling itself The Southern California Advocate. 
No names appeared, but it was understood that C. H. Phillips and Geo. W. 
Mauk were behind the scenes. March 27, 1880, Phillips retired and W. M. 
Armstrong published the paper until its fifty-second number and then sold 
out to the Tribune. October 13, 1880, a Democratic paper. The Mirror, pub- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 133 

lished by H. H. Doyle, made its appearance. Its office was on Court street 
between Higuera and Monterey, where we think it later passed into the 
hands of The Breeze Publishing Co. In 1898, T. T. Crittenden was editor. 
The San Luis Obispo Breeze was a Democratic paper and a live wire for 
all news while it was in existence. It finally became involved with the affairs 
of the County Bank, and went under when that did. 

The Telegram was first published in 1905 by a stock company. March 
12, 1912, C. L. Day took over the paper. He has always conducted it as a 
purely independent paper regardless of politics. The paper is published 
semi-weekly and as an eight-page daily. It is brim-full of county, state, 
national and world news, and goes to a large number of well-satisfied sub- 
scribers. ^Ir. Day has a controlling interest and is editor-in-chief, ably as- 
sisted by a lively corps. The plant is the largest and best-equipped in 
the county. 

We have written rather fully of these papers, because each has been 
a paper going to all quarters of the county. Those published in other towns 
and more of a local nature will be mentioned in writing of the respective 
towns. Some very able men have been connected with our county papers- 
Walter Murray, Myron Angel, T. T. Crittenden, A\'ill Fischer, Warren M. 
John, Benjamin Brooks, C. L. Day, and others who have written under the 
editorship of these men. 

BENCH AND BAR 

Some notable men have presided over the courts of the county, and 
man}' really brilliant lawyers have pleaded for their clients. J. M. Bonilla 
occupied the first judicial bench, John M. Price followed Bonilla for about 
a year as county judge, then W. J. Graves was elected. In March, 1853, 
O. M. Brown became county judge, in 1854 Romualdo Pacheco was elected, 
in 1857 Jose Maria Munoz took Pacheco's place and was drowned when 
the steamer on which he had taken passage for San Francisco was wrecked. 
In 1861, Joseph M. Havens was elected. Judge Beebee was elected in 1863, and 
again in 1867. In October, 1871, Judge Venable was elected, and again in 
1875. In 1879 the new constitution was adopted, the county and district 
courts were abolished and each county held a superior court. In 1884 
Judge Gregory was elected ; his health became impaired, and by special act of 
the legislature Judge Gregg was appointed to serve also with Judge Gregory. 
In 1890 Gregg was elected superior judge, and in 1896 Judge Unangst was 
elected. He served continuously until 1914, when broken health compelled him 
to retire from the bench. For eighteen years this man presided over the su- 
perior court with unfailing fairness, a highly respected and well-liked oflScial. 
It may be interesting to recall that Miss Anita Murray, the daughter of the 
brilliant Judge JMurray, became the wife of Judge Unangst. The eldest son of 
this union is Edwin, who seems to have inherited his grandfather's ability to 
write, along with musical talent of a high order. The young gentleman is 
teaching music at present in a boys' school at Santa Barbara and is still in 
his early twenties. 

In 1914 Judge Norton was elected superior judge, and his term will not 
expire until 1920. He is a rather young man, but ably fills the position. 
"Arch" Campbell was district attorney, then an able criminal lawyer. He 
was elected to the state senate and is now identified with a state office con- 



LU SAX 1A"1S ()15JSPO COUXTY AXD EXVIRONS 

nected with the law. Chas. A. Palmer is now serving his third term as 
district attorney. S. \". W ri.^ht, Paul Gregg, Phil Kaetzel, Thos. Rhodes, 
W. A. Van \\'ormcr, W. K. Burnett, and Alex ^^^ebster are other well-known 
lawyers df the present time. 

PHYSICIANS 

Some of the men who have become well-known physicians or surgeons 
are: W. A\'. Plays, the pioneer doctor of the county, who came to San Luis 
Obispo in 1866. He was a native of Maryland, was a surgeon in the United 
States army and was connected with the Smithsonian Institute. Mrs. Hays 
was a daughter of Rev. Dr. Park, rector of Trinity church, New York. The 
family was highly cultured ; and two daughters, one of whom married E. B. 
Ballard, an English gentleman and friend of H. A. Vachell, were belles in 
early San Luis society. The old Hays home still stands, though sadly 
changed from its former beauty, on a sloping hillside just north of San Luis 
Obispo. Dr. Nichols of San Luis and Dr. J. H. Glass of Paso Robles were 
pioneer doctors. Dr. Clark and Dr. Paulding of Arroyo Grande are old- 
timers. For many years old Dr. Smiley practiced at Morro, and at present 
Dr. H. W. Jones, Dr. Paul Jackson, Dr. C. J. ?iIcGovern, Dr. W. M. Stover 
and Dr. Guilfoil are prominent in San Luis Obispo and are identified with 
the two well-equipped hospitals of the city. 

OTHER PROMINENT NAMES 

In this chapter we shall also mention a few men who in one way or 
another have become prominent. C. ^^■. Dana was county clerk for over 
twenty years, ^^'illiam Mallah, son of Captain Mallah, one time owner of 
the Huer-Iluero ranch and member of the \'igilance Committee, was born 
on the ranch in 186-1-. In 1889 he went into the county clerk's office, C. W. 
Dana clerk, and w^orked with Dana six years, then was deputy under Whicher 
for eight years, was elected tax collector in 1906, and served as deputy for 
four years under County Clerk Leland. In 1910 he was elected justice of 
the peace for San Luis Obispo and is still serving. His wife was formerly 
Miss Xellie Dana, daughter of C. W. Dana. F. J. Rodrigues went into the 
courthouse as a clerk in 1891. In 1899 he was deputy tax collector; January, 
190,5, deputy county clerk ; and in 191 1 he w^as elected to that office. He is now 
forty-four years of age and has been employed in the courthouse for twenty- 
five years. Mrs. Grace Kelshaw is county treasurer. For many years her 
husband, John Kelshaw, was treasurer. When he died, the supervisors ap- 
I)ointe(l .Mrs. Kelshaw to fill the vacancy. Having been in the office for some 
time, she was well qualified to fill the j.i.sition with satisfaction. 

County Officials 

Tile present county officials are: T. A. Norton, superior judge: C. A. 
Palmer, district attorney ; Frank J. Rodrigues. countv clerk ; D. F. IMahonev, 
reorder: Richard Leland, tax collector; P. J. McCaffrey, assessor; Mrs. 
Grace Kelshaw, treasurer; P. H. ?*furphy, auditor; W. S. Wight, countv 
superintendent of schools ; Charles J. Taylor, sheriff; C. W. Palmer, coroner; 
.\. h. P.-irsons, county survej-or; Thomas Fogarty, public administrator. 
Supervisors, E. W . Bhuk, Patrick Donovan, Peter Tognazzini, Mathias Iver- 
sen and lohn Xortoii. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 135 

Paderewski's Ranch 

A few years ago Ignace Paderewski, the great pianist, came to Paso 
Robles to rest and recuperate. At the time some fear was felt that his hands 
were becoming affected with muscular trouble arising from so much piano- 
playing. He recovered from his affliction, fell in love with the surroundings 
and bought several thousand acres of hill and valley land northwest of Paso 
Robles. Quite recently he purchased the T. M. Wear ranch of three hundred 
twenty acres, and will set it to nuts and fruits. He also has some fine stock, 
and no doubt will evolve one of the fine estates Europe set the pattern for 
long ago. September 16, 1916, the San Francisco Chronicle announced the 
most recent purchase and said the estate would be known as "Ignace Farms" 
and all stock branded Ignace, according to trade-mark letters issued. 

The Atascadero Colony 

This colon}^ is situated on the old Henry ranch, aboiit four miles south 
of Templeton. The ranch contained 23,150 acres. Later 849.21 acres were 
bought, Baron von Schroeder's beach property at Morro and other parcels, 
the colony holdings now totaling 24,062.31 acres. E. G. Lewis, who founded 
the Woman's Republic, was the originator of the plan. In a recent issue of 
the Review, published at Atascadero, these statements are made: "The 
colony is situated half-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the 
main line of the Southern Pacific, and the great concrete paved highway, the 
El Camino Real — The King's Highway — on the line of the old trail from 
mission to mission, passes through it. Three thousand people have pur- 
chased town lots or acreage tracts, 10,000 acres are planted or are to be 
planted to orchards, seventy miles of roads and streets are or are to be con- 
structed, twenty-one miles .of water mains are laid, and two hundred homes, 
some very fine ones, are already built or are in course of construction." 

A large department store is nearing completion, and a fine new school- 
house is going up at the present writing. The administration building, quite 
a pretentious affair, was well on the way when a new turn of affairs stopped 
the l)uilding of such things until the more necessary work on roads, bridges 
and orchards was done. A large printing plant is in operation, and the 
Re\ie\v says: "A special daylight rotar}- gravure printing plant, the finest 
in the world, is to be built especially for the Review." This paper states 
that more than $2,000,000 has been expended in the improvement of Atas- 
cadero Colony, and that the state of California has recently authorized a bond 
issue of $1,750,000 for the completion of the remaining improvements. 

This colony is a try-out. It started to become an old, established city in 
phenomenal time. People lost all sense of time, for many have told the 
writer — in fact, it was published at the inception of the colony three years 
ago — that orchards would be yielding good incomes in two years from time 
of planting. Let no one ever believe such marvelous stories, even of Cali- 
fornia, "the land of wonders." People from the East sufficiently able to play 
at farming may come right along to Atascadero or any part of the county 
and find lovely scenery and a climate without blizzards or extreme cold ; 
but in the Salinas valley there will be tliree or four months of dry, hot weather, 
and it is of no use to pretend otherwise. At the same time, the heat never 
debilitates like the summer heat of the East, and the nights are generally 



136 SAN LUIS ()l:!ISPO COUNTY AND EN\-IRONS 

cool. Along- the coast side of the county hot summer months do not occur, 
nor is it ever so cold as on the eastern side of the Santa Lucia range. There 
are no cyclones nor electrical storms. Occasionally in summer a slight 
play of lightning will be seen, but often years pass without the sight of light- 
ning or tile rollof thunder. Snow is so rare that most people (natives) have 
never seen it, save at a distance on the mountain tops. Once in many years 
a light, feathery fall occurs, melting almost as quickly as it touches earth. 
San Luis Obispo County is an empire in itself. It felt the foot of the first 
white man, Cabrillo, who sailed along its shores and landed at its bays. It 
saw the rise and fall of two great missions: then Spanish dons held sway 
until the Americans came in sufficient numbers to change the old regime. 
The county is developing rapidly. Its great resources will soon be utilized, 
and even now it is the best spot on earth, for within its borders everything 
worth having is to be f(.)und. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Cities, Towns, and Villages 

SAN LUIS OBISPO, THE CITY OF THE BISHOP 

When the county was organized in 1830, San Luis Obispo was the only 
settlement in it. Around the Mission clustered a few small adobe buildings. 
The main road passed through it from southwest to northeast, crossing San 
Luis creek about half a mile below the Mission, at the end of what is now 
Dana street. It followed up the right bank and a trail led ofif to the chorro 
that is now Chorro street. The main road has become Monterey street, but 
the "bend." after passing the Mission, has never been straightened. A year 
or so ago the city authorities compelled property owners to move back their 
buildings on the lower left side going north, after passing the Mission, so 
that the whole street should be of uniform width. On the southwest corner 
of Chorro and Monterey streets stood a two-story adobe with a dance hall 
and restaurant in it. This was considered quite a grand building. 

Farther north, and fronting on Monterey street, Captain W. G. Dana, 
in LS50, erected the first frame l)uilding in the county out of material brought 
from Chile. Captain John Wilson soon after erected a two-story frame 
building on the lot where the public library now stands, or in that block. 
The material came around the "Horn." Beebee & Pollard had an adobe 
store on the corner where the Sinsheimer store now is. In 1851 Captain 
Dana put u|) a large adobe building on the corner where the Carpenter building 
now stands, the northeast corner of Monterey and Court streets. The roof 
was of sheet iron, the walls adobe. The timber was drawn by oxen from Cam- 
bria, and the tk)oring and doors came from the Atlantic coast. This was known 
as Casa Crandc. was the first hotel in town, and the scene of many a festivity. 
In this building a room or so was used for a courthouse after the room in the 
old .Mission was abandoned, and it was, we believe, the courtroom up to the 
time of building the present courthouse, in 1872. 

l'.ig bands u\ Sonorans used to pass through the town on their wav to 
the mines in lS4'i-.-()-.q-.^2. One lesus Luna was alcalde in 1852. Some- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 137 

times two huiulred fifty (ir three luuKlred Sonorans would be in one band, 
tlie men on foot, the women and little ones on burros or horses. The men 
were called Calzones blancos (white breeches) and each carried a "machete," 
or long knife. This alcalde had his office in the adobe on the corner near 
the j\Iission. Usually the Sonorans stopped at the Mission to make the sign 
of the cross or to ask a blessing from the Virgin. Luna, in 1852, exacted a 
fee of fifty cents from each one of a large band as "toll" for passing through 
the town. Some in the rear, learning of his plan, tried to go another way 
through the town, but Luna sent his constables to compel them to pass the 
.Mission and pay the toll. One way to get graft, which is one of the oldest 
things under the sun. This Luna was the one who killed his partner, in the 
story of crimes, and later fled to New Mexico when the \*igilance Committee 
began to clean things up. 

The question came up, was San Luis Obispo a pueljlo and entitled to 
the puelilo lands? The claim was presented in 1853 to the land commission 
and rejected by them in 1854. A pueblo had the right to incorporate, elect 
officers and use in common four leagues, about twelve square miles. San 
Luis was a pueblo, but the rights of one were rejected on the grounds of 
insufficient proof. In 1867 the town acquired a right to six hundred forty 
acres by act of Congress. In 1871 the town authorities received from the 
United States Land Office a certificate of purchase to the town site containing 
552.65 acres. This was a great relief to all hands. 

In 1859 the town was organized under the laws of the state, with Charles 
II. Johnson president of the board of trustees and Thomas H. Bouton clerk. 
The board passed ordinances and tried to enforce them. Dr. W. W. Ilays 
and C. \V. Dana succeeded Johnson and Bouton. In 1868 the first bridge 
across San Luis creek was built. A. Blockman & Co. put up the first brick 
store. In 1874, by act of legislature, the town issued bonds for $10,000, 
interest eight per cent., payable in fifteen years. The bonds sold at ninety 
per cent., and the proceeds were used for repairing roads and streets and 
building bridges. In 1876 the city was incorporated, the city officials being : 
S. A. McDougall, mayor; councilmen, Racklift'e, Reed, Barger, Bayer and 
Harris ; clerk, Julius Krebs. The city limits were extended to their present 
confines. Bridges existed at Mill, Court, Morro, Chorro, Nipomo and Broad 
streets in 1876. Gas and water works had been installed and a fire company 
organized. March 20, 1876, the city was bonded for $15,000, payable in 
twenty years, eight per cent, interest, proceeds to pay the floating debt and 
erect town buildings; $8,400 worth were sold at ninety-three per cent, and 
the del)t liquidated. The first city marshal was A. C. McLcod. This man 
became prominent, w-as three times elected sheriiif, twice deputy sheriff, and 
was mayor in 1894 when the Southern Pacific Railway entered the city limits 
and "one big time" celebrated the event. 

In 1872, Dr. Hays, C. W. Dana and M. .\. Benrino obtained a franchise 
for water works; the next year A. M. Loomis and Alfred Walker bought the 
franchise and went to work. A small reservoir was built on Murray hill, about 
a mile and a half north of the town, and the water was brought in a flume from 
the upper San Luis creek. Cost, about $5,000. In 1874 the San Luis Obispo 
Water Co. was formed, capital stock $60,000. The men behind this were 
P. W. Murphy, A. M. Loomis, E. W. Steele, C. H. Phillips and Judge Venable. 
Sheet-iron pipes were laid in the streets and water carried through them in 



138 SAX l.llS OISISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIRONS 

Xovembcr, 1874. In 1876 a large reservoir was built up the canon, capacity 
1,250,000 gallons, in 1883 the sheet-iron pipe was replaced with cast-iron 
pipe seven inches in diameter, and seventeen fire-plugs were installed. Later 
anotluT reservoir was built, and a dam three hundred feet long, fifty feet wide, 
and line hundred fifty feet at the base, was placed across a little canon and fed 
by a small trout stream. This held 20,000,000 gallons, and later was the 
place where the tramps bathed and the boj'S and dogs went swimming. It 
was there, in 1906. that a boy of fifteen was drowned one Sunday morning- 
while taking a ride on a raft. In 1910 a new reservoir was built holding 
9,000,000 gallons. It is roofed and the jiublic health is a little better pro- 
tected. Mr. Burch, Ed. Branch and an assistant look after the water works 
at present. There is still much to be done before the city will have an ade- 
quate supply of pure water for all purposes ; but the matter is of such vital 
importance that it will soon be attended to, for San Luis Ol^ispo has moved 
forward in long strides during the last few years. St. Luis the Bishop is 
stirring in his sleep and will soon be wide awake. 

The centennial year, 1876, marked an epoch in the history of the whole 
county. Here are a few items culled from the Tribune of December 30, 1876,: 
The year had fulfilled its early promise by an abundant harvest. Cambria, 
Cayucos and Arroyo Grande showed improvement. The buildings noted in 
San Luis Obispo were L. Lasar's store of brick with iron front, two stories, at 
the foot of Monterey street: Ouintana's store, next to Goldtree's block; the 
Convent school ; a balcony to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, now the St. James : 
and the Court schoolhouse. The Pacific Coast Railway, and the "commodious" 
depot, still used, were also completed, and many private homes. A new road 
was opened over Cuesta pass, "so gigantic an undertaking that the county 
refused to build it until compelled to by an act of the legislature" ; and many 
new roads and bridges had been built throughout the county — one over Paso 
Robles creek that would ensure safe passage for the stage in winter time. 

In 1868 there were exactly six hundred people living within the one 
square mile of the town site. By 1880 the census showed 2,500 within the 
town limjts. In 1883 the city claimed 3,000 population. The first county 
vote, all at San Luis Obispo, polled forty-eight. 

Deceml)cr 13, 1871, the Bank of San Luis Obispo, with H. :\I. \\'ardcn 
president and C, H. Phillips cashier, opened for business, the first bank in the 
county. Tlie l)ank was in rooms on the west side of Monterey street be- 
tween .Mtirro and Chorro streets, in the l)uilding Avhere the California Clothing 
Store now is. In 1881 the bank put up a handsome two-story building on 
the northeast corner of Monterey and Court streets. This bank is fully 
written up in the sketch of C. H. Phillips in this book. 

The city hall was begun in October, 1879. Below, the fire apparatus is 
stored, a line clicniical wagon, engines, hook-and-ladder truck, etc.; and al>ove 
are the city ofiices. The city jail was also in the building until 1916, when 
it became utterly unlit and a new jail was built in the rear at a cost of $2,000. 
It i.s of concrete, and was put up by the E. Cole Co. 

'I he city now has a jiopulation of 6,500. There are many 1)eautiful homes, 
anrl a g.)od high school : l)ut tlie grammar schools are in need of new buildings 
an.l mnre of them. The Mitchell Idock was purchased a few years ago for 
scIkhiI grounds, .-uul early this year a hard fight wa.s put up for bonds for 
new school bnildin-s, The old luie and crv of "taxes" was heard, and the 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 139 

bonds lost out. The children are crowded into two ancient buildins^s; one, 
Court school, an old wooden fire-trap of two stories, was built in the fall 
of 1876. 

The present government (1916) is by Freeholders' Charter. The lioard of 
commissioners is composed of W. AI. Stover, mayor; Dick Saunders, finance 
and revenue; H. A. Cowman, public health and safety; L. F. Sinsheimer, 
public works ; George H. Andrews, supplies ; Mrs. Callie M. John, city clerk. 
The total assessed value is $3,079,060. 

The business houses have grown from a few old adobes to a city of 
finely constructed business blocks. The Union National Bank building, the 
Commercial Bank building, the Elks building. Masonic Temple, Wade build- 
ing. Warden blocks and Andrews Hotel are especially fine. To enumerate 
further would take too much space ; suffice it to say, the city is well supplied 
with good stores and shops of every kind. The business men are a fine class 
of up-to-date, progressive men. There are the Andrews, St. James, Golden 
State and Commercial hotels ; also a Swiss hotel called the Griitli. There are 
.many good rooming houses and private boarding houses. 

There are five fine garages in San Luis Obispo, each doing a good 
business, which speaks for the automobiles of the community. A horse and 
buggy will soon be a novelty on the streets, and it is already unsafe to try 
to drive a "rig" through town or along country roads. The automobiles 
claim all the rights to run down horses or foot passengers, and the super- 
visors have decided to put a "speed cop" on the force to prevent the wholesale 
killing that goes on between this city and Pismo on the state highway. 

The streets are wide and well laid out. Morro street is paved, as are 
Monterey and Higuera, and during the last year an immense amount of splen- 
did street work has been completed. A big steam roller has aided much in the 
street work. Fine concrete bridges now replace the old wooden ones in the 
town. San Luis creek has been walled along the sides where it runs through 
the business section of the city. The city owns a good sewer system and a 
sewer farm, where the waste is taken care of, A force of men keep the 
streets well swept and very clean. 

The Midlands Counties Electric Co. furnishes electricity for lighting 
the city, and a 60,000-volt line carries power through the county. This com- 
pany and the Santa Maria Gas Co. both furnish natural gas for lighting and 
heating purposes, the gas coming from the Santa Maria oil fields in iron 
pipe lines. 

There are two hospitals, Stover's Sanitarium and the Pacific Hospital, 
owned by Miss Ester Biaggini. Dr. H. W. Jones is the head surgeon of this 
hospital, assisted by Dr. Paul Jackson and Dr. C. H. McGovern, a very able 
corps indeed. Stover's Sanitarium is in charge of Dr. Stover and Dr. Guil- 
foil, and is the first institution of tlie kind ])ut up in the city. The medical 
staff of the city is a very able one, and ])coplc come from a distance to these 
hospitals for treatment. 

On a lot south of the Mission stands the public library, built by Carnegie 
in l'»(i4. There are 11,812 volumes; with the documents, there are over 
T 3,000. 'i'he building is of brick with stone facings, a very fine building with 
liigh cement basement rooms. The librarian is Mrs. E. L. Kellogg; Mrs. 
1'". E. I'lUtl is assistant librarian. Kav Mclntvre is caretaker. The board of 



140 SAX LUIS olUSrO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

trustees consists uf \\'. E. Sliipsey, president: A. H. Mabley. Airs. R. F. 
\\"ickenden, -Mrs. H. j. ANdchl and Mrs. Callie M. John. 

The city lacks a park. All it has to call one is a very small triangle near 
the Southern Pacific depot which the Civic Club of ladies has so far tried 
to care for. It is .called "El Triangulo," to be Spanish, and interesting to 
tourists. This little park is novi^ to be greatly improved Ijy the Civic Club. 

The police force numbers six, and keeps order day and night. 

Several big fires have destroyed much property. The big Ramona Hotel, 
built abt)ut 1889, and a fine hotel for the time, was burned down in 1905. April 
25, 1885, on Sunday, a devastating fire burned the Andrews Hotel that occupied 
the corner where later the Andrews Bank was built, southwest corner of 
Monterey and Osos streets. The hotel fronted one hundred forty feet on 
Alonterey street. The buildings across Monterey street were badly dam- 
aged, and the livery stable on the opposite corner, belonging to A. C. jMcLeod 
and Payne, was burned. The CTrvitli Hotel was burned out several times. 
Some years ago the entire block bounded by Broad, Nipomo, Higuera and 
Alarsh streets was burned, save the old Beebee mansion and one house facing 
on Marsh street. Fire also swept out all the old wooden and adobe buildings 
in the block between Monterey, Higuera, Chorro and Morro streets, all but 
the old Cosmopolitan, now the St. James, and Sinsheimer's store. The War- 
den, Jr., building, Wade building and Steinhart building are now in that 
block. Fire always cleans out the old wiMiden 1_>uildings. and this town was 
no exception. 

Churches 

Churches of many denominations are here. The Presbyterian, Methodist 
and Episcopal churches are written of elsewhere, as they were the pioneer 
churches of the county. A large Baptist Church, Lutheran Church and 
Christian Church are here, each with a good congregation. A Methodist 
Church .South once existed. J. P. Andrews gave the organ and the bell to 
that church, and supported it liberally ; but the times changed and the property 
was sold to the Congregational people. For many years that was a thriving 
church, but about seven years ago it began to die out and is now no more. 
The lot with the cliurch building adjoins the new Federal Building site on 
Marsh street, and the lot is now (|uitc valuable, for it is wide and deep, as 
lots go. 

New Federal Building 

On the SdUtiieast rrTner of Morni and Marsh streets a fine new Federal 
Building is to lie at once constructed. An appropriation of $7,500 was made 
for the lot and this corner was selected for the site. W'hen it came to buying, 
complications arose. To get the corner and enough more room for the 
building it was necessary to buy out a livery stable and two houses and lots. 
Real estate advanced so fast on that corner that to get it $12,600 had to be 
in sight. This left $5,100 to be raised by subscription. W. D. Adriance, 
A. F. l-'itzgerald and Jtilm Gibson were a committee to solicit. To date, 
November 14, 1916, $3,485 has been subscribed. The property has been 
deeded to the proper authority and the ground is being cleared. One house 
has been sold off for $1,200. On Morro street a lot 20><xll9 feet will be 
left to sell, and when sold the proceeds will go back pro rata to the men who 
have made up the deficit. The building will be two stories high, and will front 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 141 

one hundred forty-five feet on ]\Iorro street and one hundred nineteen feet on 
Marsh street. In it will be the post office and all federal offices. The director 
of the weather bureau, the collector of the port, and other officials will have 
offices there. The sum set aside for the building is $75,000. Diagonally 
across the street stands the beautiful Elks building, and across jMorro street 
is the fine stone Presbyterian Church. The building is as centrally located 
as possible, and will be of great public service. 

Banks 

Two large banks, each beautifully housed, take care of the people's money. 
The Commercial Bank was organized in March, 1888. Its first location was 
on Monterey street, near Latimer's drug store. It moved to its present loca- 
tion, at the southeast corner of Chorro and Higuera streets, in 1899. A few 
years ago the building was remodeled, and it is now one of the handsomest in 
town. In May, 1913, it absorbed the Andrews Bank. It has a capital stock of 
$300,000; its deposits, August 31, 1916, were $3,326,535. The Tribune, a few- 
days since, reported that this bank had loaned $150,000 to a Salinas firm, 
'ilie present officers are J- ^^'- Barneberg. president: E. W. Clark, vice- 
president; R. R. Muscio, vice-president; H. L. Kemper, cashier; Francis H. 
Throop and L. J- Defosset, assistant cashiers. The board of directors are J. W. 
Barneberg, L. J. Beckett, E. Biaggini, E. W. Clark, S. A. Dana, H. L. Kemper, 
R. R. ]\luscio, A. Muscio and A. Tognazzini. The L'nion National Bank is 
on the northeast corner of Higuera and Garden streets, in a fine cement 
building with marble staircase, and this building, erected in 1906, is one of 
the fine new buildings of which so many have been erected during the last 
decade. This bank opened for business August 23, 1905, in temporary quar- 
ters at 1133 Chorro street, in the Erickson building; capital stock, $100,000; 
W. T. Summers, president; J. W. Smith, vice-president; W. D. Dibblee, 
cashier. The board of directors were Mark Elberg, Lawrence Harris, Geo. 
J. Walters, C. A. Edwards, Wm. Sandercock, John R. \\'illiams, W. T. Sum- 
mers, J. W. Smith and T. W. Dibblee. The present officers are ; President, 
Wm. Sandercock ; vice-presidents, T. W. Dibblee and W. T. Summers ; 
cashier, Henry Dawe ; assistant cashier, Allan L. Bickell ; board of directors, 
Wm. Sandercock, A. T. Souza, Henry Dawe, T. W. Dibblee, John P. Wil- 
liams, Mark Elberg, Lawrence Harris, C. A. Edwards and W. T. Summers. 

San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce 

A chamber of commerce has long existed in San Luis Oljispo. I'or years 
a room has been rented and an "exhibit" kept on display. Sometimes the 
exhibit might have been more attractive in appearance ; l^ut through it, and the 
county fairs once held in the pavilion — which, with races at the old race 
track, drew crowds for a week at a time — and later through the Upper Salinas 
Valley fairs held at Paso Robles, the outsider has gradually learned about 
our mammoth vegetables, fine fruits, splendid dairies, grains, minerals and 
other products. In 1901 the writer described the sweet-pea festivals held at 
Arroyo Grande, in an article in Sunset, and from letters received 
knows a good many heard about the seed farms there. When the automobile 
came and people by thousands passed through our county, they were always 
much impressed by the climate and beautiful scenery, but they mostly got 
away before we could get around and induce them to stay in God"s country. 



142 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Thev got as far as Los Angeles; then some "live wire" of a real estate man, 
generally one who had been caught for a "sucker" himself, sold them an 
orange or lemon grove. Often and again they repented buying it; but San 
Luis Obispo was so comfortable, anyway, and had so good a living without 
chasing tourists for it, that we let "Sunny Southern California" get so well 
known that now, down there, all one has to do is to say "San Luis Obispo" 
and he is besieged with inquiries which, if he is "Truthful James," he answers 
as he should. 

Leigh H. Irvine was finally engaged to lead our county out of the wilder- 
ness, and he got us away out of the woods. He wrote and sent Ijroadcast 
a fine booklet, was in charge of the chamber of commerce when the Exposi- 
tion was being put into shape, and had something to do with the exhibits 
sent up to it when it finally opened ; but there were so many "commissioners" 
from the county, only five for a year before it opened and for the first six 
months or more thereafter, that Mr. Irvine's efforts were submerged by the 
"commission." This commission cost the county a pile of money, and a few 
lawsuits with judgment in favor of the very determined lady commissioner, 
but it is doubtful if the returns to the count}' in any measure whatever justi- 
fied the expense to the taxpayers. This county's exhibit at the P. P. I. 
Exposition was a mighty expensive and a very poor piece of advertising. 
The men of San Luis Obispo were forever giving money to the chamber of 
commerce and forever looking for the results of their giving, but generally 
they looked in vain. Not always, of course ; but without doubt thousands 
of dollars have been spent trying to keep alive a chamber that helped few 
other than the man drawing the salary. Finally, in 1913, Mr. Du Vaul was en- 
gaged as secretary of the chamber. He did good work for the year he was 
in charge. In 1914, Leigh H. Irvine came and, being a man of ideas and 
of literary ability as well, wrote much for publication and did well, consider- 
ing conditions ; for during his stay here the Exposition was taking all the 
money and all the interest of the people. In April, 1916, Charles H. Roberts 
succeeded Mr. Irvine, and at once the chamber began to take on new life. 
In April it opened a publicity campaign for the $15,000,000 bond issue for 
the state highway, and never ceased until the bonds were voted. The first 
Chautauqua held in the city was enthusiastically worked up b}- the chamber, 
and Mr. Roberts was secretary of the local committee which secured a very 
delightful week of high-class entertainment for the people. 

The next imiiortant move was in securing the presence of Max Thelan 
of the railroad commission at a conference held on street lighting, which 
resulted in plans and specifications for a system of street lighting by elec- 
troliers and other ujj-to-date means. These plans and specifications are now 
in the hands of the commission on street lighting. In July the horticultural 
commissioner, Carl Nichols, was invited to use the chamber of commerce 
rooms as iiis headquarters, and eventually a strong movement for a county 
farm bureau \\as launched. i'"ive hundred farmers signed up ; but when it 
came to getting $2,000 voted l)y the supervisors to help defray expenses, the 
bureau was lost, or at least not helped on its way. A farm bureau is the one 
great thing the county needs to develop and safeguard the agricultural, dairy- 
ing and stock-raising interests, and it will eventually have to come; but the 
county has not yet recovered from its P. P. I. E. commission's expenses, which 
were supposedly spent to help out those same interests. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 143 

In August the campaign for re-organizing- the chamber was started 
and actively pursued, until at the present writing two hundred members 
have been pledged to pay $25 per year for three years. This gives a sure 
amount of funds for a working basis. The methods used by other suc- 
cessful enterprises and chambers of commerce have been adopted, and things 
are moving now where once they only wobbled. A get-together luncheon 
is held monthly, where very often some noted man speaks along lines per- 
taining to the work of the chamber. All business men are requested to attend 
these midday meetings and to place before the members anything they 
think needs the attention of the chamber. When, early in the fall, a gigantic 
strike was threatened, the chamber of commerce petitioned the California 
Commission by telephone, urging that the differences be arbitrated and the 
strike be thus avoided. This was commented upon by many leading papers 
throughout the country, and about the same time Secretary Roberts wrote an 
article for the San Francisco Examiner that appeared in various other pub- 
lications, setting forth the advantages of the county. In November the 
secretary contributed to the Saturday Evening Post, the Los Angeles Times, 
and other Southern California papers, articles on good roads in which he had 
the opportunity to speak of the splendid road work of the county. Believ- 
ing that conventions do much to advertise a town, the chamber of com- 
merce lent its efforts towards securing the Letter Carriers' Convention, held 
here in September, 1916. On November 19, good-roads meetings were held 
all over the county, and the chamber secured automobiles and speakers for 
the meetings. Such is a brief outline of the work carried on since last April. 
W. D. Egilbert, secretary of the California Development Company, and C. F. 
Stern of the State Highway Commission, have recently written the cham- 
ber expressing approval of the work as carried on by it. The chamber aims 
to be an institution representative of the whole community, recognizing 
those fundamental truths that it must be and is non-sectarian, non-partisan, 
and non-sectional, that it must serve the city as a whole and accomplish the 
greatest good for the greatest number, and that it must have men, money, 
and interest — all of which it seems to have gotten and to be using for the 
development, not only of the city of San Luis Obispo, but of the entire county. 
The present board of directors includes Dr. W. M. Stover, president : R. W. 
Putnam, first vice-president; G. J. Walters, second vice-president; Fred 
Kluver, W. E. Lawrence, J. G. DriscoII, H. L. Kemper. P. A. H. Arata, F. D. 
Crossett, Rev. J. D. Habbick, Dr. H. B. Kirtland, T. A. Rcnctskv, C. 11. Kamm", 
W. M. Sandercock and J. D. Gilliland. 

The Woman's Civic Club of San Luis Obispo 

The Woman's Civic Club of San Luis Obispo was organized in Jan- 
uary, 1909, federated March, 1909, and incorporated under the laws of the 
State of California, November 2, 191.S. In the articles of incorporation it is 
stated : 

"That the purposes for which said Corporation is formed are to provide 
entertainment and civic education and training for its members, to foster 
and cultivate the interest of women in civic affairs, and to promote the gen- 
eral culture, welfare and education and comfort of the inhabitants of the 
community; also to acc|uire by gift, purchase or otherwise, ])roperty, both 
real and personal, required for the cfl'ecti\e carrying out of the above-named 



144 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

purposes, and to hold, mortgage, sell and otherwise legally convey, encumber 
or otherwise dispose of such property as required. 

"That the place where the principal business of said Corporation is to be 
transacted is San Luis Obispo, County of San Luis Obispo, State of Cali- 
fornia. 

■■■J'hal the term for which said Corporation is to exist is fifty (50) years 
from and after the date of its incorporation." 

The first board of directors under the articles of incorporation were 
Eliza Miller, Anna Shurragar, ]\Iary E. Ridle, Queenie Warden, ^larguerite 
Johnson. From its beginning the club has aided civic movements and per- 
formed many good deeds. The first thing it did for the improvement of the 
town was to take in charge the unsightly little triangle bounded by Santa 
Barbara avenue, Osos and Church streets, near the Southern Pacific sta- 
tion. Mrs. Ida G. Stowe owned considerable property in that locality. 
When she laid it out in town lots this little three-cornered piece was donated 
by her to the town for a plaza. Someone set out the palms that have since 
grown to such good size, and the pepper trees were set at the same time; 
but no systematic care was given the plot and it degenerated into a weed 
patch, where tramps camped and loose stock used the pepper trees for shade. 
Very soon after the Civic Club was organized, it assumed care of the place, 
calling it El Triangulo, Spanish for triangle. They put in walks and seats, 
planted geraniums and roses, had grass sown and spent considerable money 
upon it. The city for a time paid a caretaker part salary ; but at present it is 
only seven dollars per month, so of course the park got to looking seedy. 

The club is now determined to put the place in good shape and hopes 
to keep it so. New seats, a drinking fountain and better care are to be 
at once attended to. As it has been, under the care of the club, it has fur- 
nished a pleasant resting place for weary men, and on sunny days its seats 
are usually all occupied. A place of sufficient size and equipment to be a 
really worth-while municipal park has been the one continuous aim of the 
club, and they are still working for it. They aim also to purchase or build 
a Chamber of Commerce Building and Woman's Civic Club House, to aug- 
ment the city water supply and to maintain a beautiful plaza opposite the 
Mission. 

The past presidents of the club are Mrs. Ella Ridle, IMrs. C. E. Ferrel, 
Mrs. Jennie W. Johnson, Mrs. Eliza ]\Iiller, ]\Irs. Queenie Warden. ^Irs. 
Warden is serving her second term as president, and is a woman of great 
energy and executive ability, able and willing to spend generously both time 
and money to further the attainment of the club's aims. Under her able 
leadcrshij) the Civic Club has rapidly advanced along all lines. It now has one 
hundred and two life members, each of whom pays one dollar per month 
for three years. From the year-book we quote the following: 

"The object of this Club shall be to provide entertainment and civic 
education and training for its members, to foster and to cultivate the inter- 
ests of women in civic affairs, and to promote the general culture, welfare 
and education and comfort of the inhabitants of the community. 

"Our Motto: 'Rut screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not 
fail.' — -Shakespeare. 

"Club Flower: Marguerite. 

"Club Colors: Gold, \\'hite and Green. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 145 

"Branches of \\'ork : Alusic. History and Landmarks. Parliamentary 
study. Literature. Philanthropy. Civics. Household Economics. 

"Officers: President, iMrs. H. M. Warden, Sr. ; First Vice-President, Mrs. 
Eliza ]\Jiller; Second Vice-President, Mrs. Mary Ella Ridle ; Secretary, Mrs. 
Josephine Pratt Plughston ; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Pratt 
Hughston; Treasurer, Mrs. Alida Mclntyre. 

"Board of Directors: Mrs. Eliza D. Miller. Mrs. Jennie W. Johnson, Mrs. 
Paul M. Gregg, Mrs. R. R. Muscio, Mrs. Queenie Warden Norton." 

Thus far the club has held its meetings in the basement of the Carnegie 
..Library. The room, while comfortable enough for business purposes, admits 
of no social life, and the sooner the club can own a proper building the 
sooner will it become a large factor in the civic and social life of the com- 
munity. Since Mrs. Warden has been president she has freely offered the 
use of Warden Court in the Warden block for social meetings. During 
1915-16 the club gave a number of excellent entertainments; a musicale with 
Mr. Pratt, lyric tenor, as the leading attraction, a Shakespearian concert and 
a comic opera, "Oscar's Awful Uncle," were put on at Elmo theater. Under 
the department of philanthropy sixty dollars has been given to the Belgian 
relief fund and five dollars towards lifting the mortgage on the Longfellow 
birthplace. The treasurer's report at the close of the year shows life mem- 
berships payable, $3,672; receipts, $1,514.47; disbursements, $863.23. 

Climate 

The climate of San Luis Obispo is beyond compare. The writer has 
lived in many parts of the state, some famed for climate, and nowhere are 
there such beautiful sunny days in winter as here at the foot of the Santa 
Lucia mountains, ten miles from the balmy blue Pacific. Bishop's Peak and 
San Luis Mountain guard the town northwest ; at her back rises the Santa 
Lucia range ; opening south and west are wide valleys ; over all bends a sky 
of deepest azure, flecked with softly sailing, fleecy little clouds. Sometimes 
a fog rolls in, but it comes from the sea and its salty tang adds a zest to 
living. Sometimes the west wind romps in and bends low the heads of the 
tall eucalyptus trees, or a north wind comes over the range, bringing pure 
air from the mountains. The flowers, and palms, and pepper trees lend beauty 
to the landscape ; while blossoms of orange and lemon send out a fragrance 
sweet as dreams of heaven. 

PASO ROBLES 

The city of Paso Robles came into existence as a city when the election 
for incorporation was carried, February 25, 1889. A city government was at 
once organized, the board of trustees being D. W. James (president). Dr. 
J. H. Glass, W. E. Grant, John M. \'an Wormer, F. B. Jack (treasurer). 
W. R. Stokes was appointed city attorney. A little later the name of 
George R. Adams appears as a trustee also. The nucleus of the present 
beautiful little city of 2,000 population was the old wooden hotel, bath- 
hou.se, and group of cottages, not forgetting "Patsy Dunn's store," wherein 
mail, express and telegrams were handled, as well as a general supply of 
groceries, dry goods, and shoes ; nor was it impossible to get a "drink" 
in this very accommodating establishment. The old building is still stand- 
ing at the back of the present magnificent Hotel de Paso Robles. In a 



146 SAX LflS OIUSI'O COrXTY AND ENVIRONS 

former chapter in wliicli mention is made of the Blackburn brothers and D. W. 
lames, is told the story of the purchase of the Rancho Paso Robles, 25.000 
"acres of the San .Miguel .Mission lands, and the wonderful group of sulphur 
springs. In these springs the padres and the Indians bathed and found healing 
before the "Gringo" came. Also, it is vouched for in an old record that the 
wild animals, especially the bears, bathed in the waters and the warm mud. 
The Indians had rudely walled the main spring with logs. A big tree grew by 
the spring, and a stout branch grew out low over it. One old grizzly was 
in the habit of coming to the spring on moonlight nights. Grasping the 
branch with his fore paws, he would swing and souse himself up and down 
in the warm water and mud for an hour or more at a time. 

When D. W. James, as previously related, became the owner of that 
portion of the ranch, and the spring, he erected a hotel, cottages and bath- 
house and opened a resgrt to which people gladly came from all directions, 
even when getting here entailed a stage ride from Gilroy, Salinas or Soledad. 
Hundreds of people came by rail and stage or drove from San Francisco or 
Los Angeles in their own conveyances. Some few, as Banker Ralston of 
San Francisco, were allowed to put up private cottages, but the general pub- 
lic could not Iniy land here until after the Southern Pacific Railroad came, in 
the fall of 1886. Then Blackburn Bros, and James had a town site surveyed. 
The great auctioneer. Ferguson, was engaged, as also a brass band ; and in 
October or November of 1886 a land sale took place. (Right here we wish 
to say that getting data for this history of Paso Robles has been very difificult, 
as no files of the Leader, the first paper established in the town and still 
being issued, are avilable. We have set on foot a plan to get the files of the 
Leader placed in the public library, which, if carried out, will be of great 
value, not only to the historian, but also to the general public. ) 

People flocked to the new town and many ranches were also sold. H. G. 
\\'right, editor and owner of the Santa Clara Journal, sold out and came to 
the new town. He started the Paso Robles Leader, issuing his first paper 
November 15, 1886. Every Wednesday since the Leader has greeted the 
people. When the AA'ylie local option law was tried out by the people here, 
Mr. Wright stood with the "drys." The election was held August 29, 1911, 
and carried. Paso Robles was the first town to take advantage of the 
Wylie act. It has been difficult to enforce the law, but for five years the 
saloons have been closed and the majority of the business men agree that the 
law not only has greatly benefited the people who used to frequent the 
sal<:)ons, but also has increased the volume of business in the banks and stores. 

The first man to open a store in I'aso Robles, exclusive of the Honorable 
Patsy, whose Irish wit is still handed down to regale visitors, was George 
I', r.ell. He Iniilt a little room on I'ine, between Twelfth and Thirteenth 
streets. \'ery sonn he enlarged this, and later still he conducted business in a 
building facing the p;irk, between Pine and Park streets. Xathan Elliot erected 
a two-story brick l)uilding on the corner of Thirteenth and Pine. A company 
called the ( Irangers' rnion o])ened business in it on a large scale, but eventually 
went under. Pfister, l.add & Co. bought out the hardware department; 
^'iiung bought (lut the grocery department; and Bell, the dry goods; later 
i'.ell l)Mught nu{ all the others. Today the George F. Bell Co. has the 
i-ntire lower Hour and does .a tremendous business. They sell everything 
from a pin to an automobile. .Mr. I'.ell says he started business in Paso 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 147 

Robles, November 16, 1886, with a capital of $5,000. Now he is a wealthy 
inan, but one much Hked and trusted in the community where he has made 
his money. As he gained money for himself he lent a helping hand to hun- 
dreds of farmers struggling with a mortgage. He never refused credit to an 
honest man ; but carried accounts, loaned money, and so helped those who 
showed themselves honest and willing to help themselves. In the dry years 
of 1888-89, Claus Spreckels sent carloads of hay to Paso Robles and placed 
Air. Bell in charge of its distribution ; Spreckels also empowered Mr. Bell 
to furnish needed food to those in want, and bore the expense himself so 
far as we have ever been able to learn. It meant $25,000 to ease the suffering 
in this end of the county ; and the notes the self-respecting people gave in 
payment were never taken up. The beauty of this act was shown in first 
allowing the people to give their notes, and so avoiding the sting of charity, 
when they were burdened with so many other ills, and later announcing that 
the notes were canceled. 

Another pioneer was Will Lewis, whose little stock of tobacco, cigars 
and fruit came down on the first train that brought freight to Paso Robles. 
Later he went into the implement business, and, in 1911, erected a fine 
building on the corner of Pine and Thirteenth streets. His brother Dan 
joined in the business, and the}^ have a big stock of machinery which is sold 
ofif in satisfactory lots. We also noterl that they sold "Fords" faster than 
they could get them in. 

W. C. Henderson had the first blacksmith shop. He bought out the old 
stage stand where the stage horses were shod. This building stood on the 
southeast corner of Pine and Thirteenth streets. About 1904, he built the Pio- 
neer Garage on the same lot, and in 1912 built the fine garage on the southeast 
corner of Spring and Thirteenth streets, where . he still conducts business. 
P. Lundbeck was also one of the pioneer blacksmiths of the town. Tom 
Hood had the first harness shop on the corner of Pine and Twelfth streets. 
Mr. Booth had the first drug store, the "Eagle Pharmacy" starting business 
where it still is conducted at the corner of Spring and Twelfth. W. C. Ben- 
nett was also a pioneer druggist. 

Dr. J. H. Glass was the first physician to locate in the new town. He 
had his house and ofifice in a little four-room cottage on Spring street in 
the summer of 1887. He was a splendid doctor. His practice grew rapidly 
and he prospered accordingly. For many years Dr. Glass was the leading 
physician of the northern section of the county. He never refused to go any 
distance in any sort of weather. He saved many lives in those days; and 
though in the end trouble and misfortune broke this man, who in the beginning 
promised to become so much, the writer who saw him pull from "the jaws 
of death" the life of a beautiful little girl and shed tears when he said to the 
mother, "Your child will live," wishes in the history of Paso Robles to pay 
tribute to the memory of its pioneer physician, Dr. J. H. Glass. 

Among the doctors practicing their profession in the community arc 
Dr. \V. O. Dresser, Dr. Wilmer, and Dr. Soby. 

Alex Webster and Charles Putnam have represented the bar in Paso 
Robles for many years. 

E. M. Bennett was for four years in charge of the express ofiice in Patsy 
Dunn's store before the railroad came. He has always been identified with the 
town's interests and has handled a great deal of real estate. 



148 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

It is impossible to give space to all the pioneer business men of Paso 
Rubles. We have tried to write of a few who still do business in the town, 
but no doubt there are others whose names we have failed to notice. The 
town now has a fine array of well-kept stores and shops of every sort, pre- 
sided over by courteous owners and assistants. 

The Sperry Milling Co. has a large mill at Paso Robles, and the 
surrounding country is devoted largely to raising grains. The acreage set 
out to mixed fruits and nuts is said to be about 4,665, of which 1,000 acres 
are in bearing almond trees, while 1,500 acres are being set out this winter 
(1916), mainly to almonds. 

In 1899 the Hotel de Paso Robles was begun. It was two years in 
building. The Western Realty Co. built and owns the hotel. Later the archi- 
tect, Weeks, was engaged to plan th,e bath house. He was sent to Europe 
ftir a }-ear to study the finest bath houses of the famous spas there, and 
this w<jnderfully beautiful and splendidly equipped bath house is the resillt. 
Pre\-iuus to building the present bath house a large wooden structure was 
built across the street which later burned down. The grounds of the hotel 
are beautifully laid out and well kept. C. A. Cabb is the present manager. 

Churches 

The Methodist Church was the first church built in Paso Robles. There 
are now other churches of the following denominations : Congregational, 
Baptist, Christian, Catholic, and Episcopal ; and a new building where a sect 
calling themselves the "Church of God" worship. 

Banks 

The Citizens Bank of Paso Robles was organized and opened for busi- 
ness June 1, 1892; Adolph Horstman was cashier, and Lyman Brewer, assist- 
ant cashier. A few years later the business was in bad shape, but the bank 
w-as reorganized, every dollar of indebtedness paid and the bank placed on 
a firm, safe basis. The present board of directors is composed of W. C. 
Bennett. Alex Webster, :\I. Shimmin, W. O. Dresser, D. S. Lewis, Paul 
Pfister and A. Pfister. 

The First National Bank of Paso Robles took over the business of the 
old Paso Robles Bank, reorganized the management and in October, 1910, 
began doing business. The present board of directors includes George F. 
P-ell, W. S. Lewis and R. C. Heaton. 

Upper Salinas Valley Fair 

The Cpper Salinas Valley l-'air is held at Paso Robles about every two 
years, and is a revelation of the resources of the section that certainly prom- 
ises much for the future. The one held in October, 1816, was very good. 
Among the unique exhibits was a large American flag made of almonds on a 
wooden background. The wdiole was designed and executed by Miss Bernice 
Exline. She dyed the nuts for the red stripes and blue field. The stars and 
white stripes were of bleached almonds. She designed the wooden back- 
ground so that the flag seemed floating in the breeze. The almond growers, 
to show their appreciation, presented Miss Exline with a beautifully engraved 
silver cup. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 149 

Paso Robles was the first town in the county to secure a Chautauqua, 
and has held at least four successful ones. 

A beautiful park lends enchantment to the place. In its center stands 
the fine $10,000 Carnegie Library, presided over 1iy the efiicient librarian, 
]\Irs. Satira A. Gano. The shelves hold 2,500 volumes and more are con- 
stantly being added. The streets of the city are well-kept and shaded by 
rows of fine trees. It is well lighted by electricity, has a good water supply 
pumped from wells across the river and carried in an iron pipe across the 
fine iron bridge that here spans the Salinas river. The new $40,000 grammar 
school has been mentioned in the chapter on schools. Three newspapers are 
published in the town. The Leader, Paso Robles Record (started in 1907, 
into which the Aloon and Independent were merged, owned by a company), 
and the Paso Robles Press, owned and edited by INIrs. Dorothy Lawrence. 
This paper was started July 11, 1915. 

In April, 1905, the fine municipal bath house was opened, the citizens 
first boring for water and getting a great flow of hot sulphur water. There 
seems to be an underground lake of the water, for R. C. Heaton has an 
artesian well of hot sulphur water. He is a pioneer business man dealing in 
real estate and furniture, has been very successful and is still doing business. 

A fine new bath house at the mud springs was built three years ago. 
The business blocks of the city are mainly of brick and concrete. Every- 
where things show prosperity and up-to-date methods. Paso Robles, the 
little city built at the Pass of the Oaks, now just thirty years old, is one of 
the prettiest, busiest towns in the state. Long may she flourish, amid her 
almond-crowned hills and bubbling hot sulphur springs. 

TEMPLETON 

Templeton came into existence along with the Southern Pacific in the 
fall of 1886. The West Coast Land Co., with C. H. Phillips, manager, bought 
the Blackburn (Paso Robles) ranch, or most of it, laid out the town site, sur- 
veyed the rest into small ranches ; and things began moving. A. J. Hudson, 
wlio owned a fine ranch in the Oakdale district, became a real estate agent 
and for about a month a hotel man, running the first Templeton hotel that 
was under a roof. The first one was conducted under the great oak that 
stood just west of the big building the Land Company erected in the early 
part of 1887 and which burned down in the fall of 1897. This hotel was on 
the corner of Main and Fourth streets, facing east, a two-story building. 
It had a number of different managers, but Cook was in charge during the 
"boom" of 1887 and cared for the crowd of people seeking real estate or health ; 
for a number of Easterners were so charmed with the climate and lovely 
scenery that they just w^ent into winter quarters and stayed. Among them 
were a delightful old gentleman, Rev. ^'ork from New York, and his charm- 
ing daughter. 

There were a few men hovering around from tlie time tlie first stakes 
were driven down on the right of way ; but the first man to arrive and stay 
through all the vicissitudes of a "boom" and a "dead town," and be present at 
the awakening to a more healthful career, was Albert Crum, who still stays 
with Templeton. Early in October, 1886, the first construction trains reached 
the town site, and the "boom" was on and in full swing. IMr. Crum was on 



150 SAX LL'IS OI'.ISIM) COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

haiicl, and uii Octol.ier 16. 1886, bought a lot on the southeast corner of 
-Main and Sixth streets, and erected a two-story building. The lower floor 
was rented to Jacobowitz & Golliber for a store, and the upper story was used 
for a hall until July, 1888, when Mr. Crum married jMiss Eunice Wright and 
converted the upper story into living rooms for his family. Jacobowitz & 
Golliber got all the goods they could from the wholesale man, sold them, 
pocketed the money and "failed." They then went to Nipomo and "Central 
City," now Santa Maria, and failed some more. .Mrs. Wengren put in a stock 
(if g. KKJs in this store building, and was there for a while. In 1897 Mr. Crum 
jiut in a stock of goods and conducted a general store until 1900, when he 
sold out the stock to George F. Bell and retired from business. He took off 
the upper story, used the lumber in building a pretty home, and sold the 
lower story and the roof, we suppose to Joel Pate, who moved it up the street 
int.. the next block, where it is still used as a store. A\'e have followed up 
this building because it was the very first building erected in the town and, 
like the man who built it, has stayed with the town and escaped the fire 
that burned down all the other very early buildings. 

H. C. Whitney bought a lot on the northeast corner of Main and Fourth 
streets ; his deed antedated Crum's deed by a day or so, but Crum's building 
was up first. Mr. Whitney put up a building and conducted a meat market 
in front, while there were living rooms back. Later Mr. Whitney and son 
Frank had a store in the building. 11. C. Whitney was postmaster and had 
the office in his own building. Air. and Airs. Whitney and sons, Frank and 
Eugene, were very much liked in business and social life. Mr. Whitney 
was a sergeant in the Civil War and a suft'erer from a terrible wound in the 
side, but was always a pleasant, cheerful man. Frank died and was buried 
in Tenipleton about 1898. In 1900 the family left Templeton, .going to Pied- 
niunt. where they lived until moving to San Jose, where they now reside. 

Lyman Brewer, the first Southern Pacific agent in Templeton, came down 
on a "construction limited," November 15, 1886, and opened up the box-car sta- 
tion. In this he and his pretty bride lived until the depot was built with liv- 
ing moms above. Mr. Brewer was agent until June 1, 1892, when he left to 
go into the newly-opened Citizens Bank at Paso Robles as assistant cashier. 

I'"rank Hansen, and his wife and daughter Etta, came to Templeton, he in 
()ct()l)er, 1886, and Mrs. Hansen and Etta in December. Mrs. Hansen was the 
third woman to come to live in Templeton. Mrs. Whitney and Mrs. Harry 
Scheele were already there. Mr. Hansen built a hotel and livery stable; he 
ran the hotel and stable until 1904, then quit the business, but still lives in his 
building. A s<in. Grant, was born in Templeton soon after the family came. 

Air. and Airs. Harry Scheele and daughter ]\Iabel came to the town site 
bvfore ;iny buildings were up except Crum's, wdiich was under way. Mr. 
Scheele was a painter and decorator and did about all that sort of work in the 
new town. Later he clerked in Ouarnstrom's store, and about 1900 removed to 
-Manicda, where lie now has a good business and employs several men. Mr. 
Scheele and Aliss Al.abc! were very much missed when they left, as they were 
both g(.)od musicians. 

Will Lawlon had the lirst drug sttire in town in a building on the south- 
east corner of Alain and i'lfth streets, where Petersen's store now stands. 
He was also the first postmaster. 

Dr Pendleton was the first physician to settle in town, and Dr. Glass of 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 151 

Paso Robles was often called for consultation. Later, Dr. J. IL Heath came 
and was there until, in the 1900 exodus, he left and went to Oakland. 

Dr. S. Helgesen, who had been a medical missionary in China, came early 
in 1897. She was a splendid doctor, a remarkable woman in many ways, 
and was an angel of mercy to that town and community until August, 1915, 
when she was killed on Cuesta Grade. She loved animals almost as much as 
humanity. She was driving her car up the grade and. in trying not to run 
down some loose horses, she swung her car too far over, and was hurled to 
her death. She was buried in the Templeton cemetery, August 15, 1915. 

G. H. Fisher, wife and twin daughters, came to Teinpleton in the fall 
of 1886 or spring of 1887. They lived there until a few years ago, when the 
daughters were employed as teachers in the bay city and they removed to 
Berkeley. In December, 1915, Mr. Fisher died and his body was brought 
back to Templeton for burial. 

Eben Ward .had the first blacksmith shop in town. In January, 1887. 
H. B. Morrison bought a lot on South Jklain street and put up a shop ; later 
he added farm machinery, bought for cash but sold on credit. He managed 
to keep this system up until 1899, when in broken health and after a loss of 
five thousand dollars' worth of property, he left the town. In April, 1887, he 
was married to a young lady teacher at Winters. He built a four-room house 
on his lot in town, and Mrs. Miorrison bought eight acres west of town. In 
1893 they built a nice home on the land, set out a prune orchard and lived 
there until, in April, 1900, Mrs. Morrison and the four children left to join 
Mr. Morrison at Nipomo. This property, that cost $3000 all told, was sold for 
about $700. This alone tells the story of conditions there in 1900. The prop- 
erty now belongs to Mr. McVicar. Jean Donelson worked for Ward awhile ; 
and about 1889 Rainey and Donelson built a shop just north of the ^Morrison 
shop, on the lot south of the Reading Room, where Donelson ran a shop for 
years, until he went into the garage business. 

In the fall of 1886, William Horstman came, bringing about $40,000. He 
bought land, built a fine big home, set out orchards, built the first brick 
blocks in town and engaged in store-keeping. He lost heavily, as did other 
pioneers. One venture was a bank. His son Adolph, with A. P. Seeman. 
John Ouarnstrom and H. Wessel, engaged in the banking business. In the end 
the bank failed and H. Wessel's money was no more, for by some means, 
.Mrs. Wessel says, he was left to pay notes and other obligations. Maybe 
this was because he came there with over $50,000 and the other parties in the 
business had little cash at that time, for William Horstman had drawn out 
of the concern before the crash came. 

Hans Petersen, a brother-in-law of Mr. Ijurstnian. came in 1888 with 
about $30,000. He bought out Griffith, who had the first hardware store, 
and went into the iiardware business, buying the Lawton building. He 
also bought land and set out orchards, and met the same fate as the rest 
of the pioneers — lost money. In October, 1898, a fire started in a saloon 
next to Whitney's and swept the entire side of the block, which was all 
filled in with wooden buildings. As soon as possible Petersen rebuilt, using 
brick, and stocked up again, also adding groceries. In 1908 he turned the 
business over to his sons and went to reside in Pismo, where he kept a small 
store. In May, 1913, Mr. and i\frs. Petersen celebrated their golden wedding 
in Templeton at the home of a daughter. Mrs. Joseph Kddy, entertaining over 



152 SAX LUIS OlilSPO COUNTY AND EXMRONS 

three hundred guests. ^Ir. Petersen died January 1, 1916. and is buried in 
the Templeton cemetery. 

Others engaged in business in pioneer days were A. F. Stull, general 
store; H. Morton, jeweler; E. A. Spangenberg, books and drugs; Brown, 
who Ijought out Spangenberg; and John Ouarnstrom and A. P. Seeman, 
general merchandise. Gus Fredrickson bought out ]\Iuggler, who had a har- 
ness and shoe shop, and still conducts the business. Mrs. Tillman, IMiss 
Annie Petersen, and :\Irs. Culver had millinery shops at one time or another, 
as also Mrs. Hines, who became Mrs. Adolph Petersen. 

Among the pioneer families are the Wessels, who came in April, 1891— Air. 
and Airs. Wessel and four children, Pauline, Etta, Frank and Harry. Mr. 
W'essel bought the fine home C. H. Phillips had built, and here the family has 
resided since. Pauline is a trained nurse, spending most of her time in the 
bay cities. Harry is a druggist in Hdnolnlu. Frank married a daughter of 
Niels Johnson, and Etta remains with her nmther. This family lost heavily 
in pioneer days. Mr. Wessel died CJctober 0, 1915. Four pioneers were laid 
to rest within about 1. lur month.s— Dr. Helgesen, H. Wessel, G. H. Fisher and 
Hans Petersen. 

Another pioneer family was the Bierers. They came in March, 1887, 
bringing a fine herd of Jersey cattle. They lived on the Santa Ysabel ranch 
for a time, and then bought a ranch west of town. Captain Everett H. Bierer 
was a stafl:' officer under General Turney before he was twenty-one. He 
recruited a company of volunteers for the Civil A\'ar' at Rockford, 111. Cap- 
tain Bierer died about four years ago. A daughter, Helen Jessie Bierer, a 
beautiful, brilliant girl, was a well-known teacher and lecturer on physical 
culture. She married and enjoyed a brief life of happy wedlock, but died, in 
spite of care, a few years later. Airs. Amanda M. Bierer, the mother, still lives 
in Templeton and was ninety-two in Noxember, 1916. 

The James Alercer family, east of the river, and the Thomas family at 
Mt. Pleasant ranch, are old residents, who came with the earliest pioneers. 

"College Hill" still enjoys its name. The site was given by the West 
Coast Land Co. to Professor Summers, who purposed to have a college going 
full blast in short order. He built a small building, taught a private school 
in it for a few months, rented it for a public school before the schoolhouse 
was jnit up, and finally sold it to a w(jrthy Swede, who added blue trimmings 
to tlie yellow building, while the little Swedes frolicked over the whilom 
"campus" merry as crickets. The Professor always wore a slouch hat and a 
l)lack Prince Albert coat, and summer and winter carried a silk umbrella. He 
was "from Kentucky, Sub," and added a touch of dignity to the frivolous 
"b(i(im town," where all the inhabitants, ladies included, insisted on going 
down t(i meet the trains. Why not? It was all the excitement there was for the 
ladies. Tlie train men and male citizens could play cards and hold tarantula 
figlits. 'i'hat was some sport, too, let me tell you. A\'ater was poured tlnwn the 
tarantula's hole, a wide-mouthed bottle caught Mr. Tarantula when he swam 
out. and then the men placed l)els. Tlie "bugs" were turned loose and liter- 
ally the dust flew. 

The i'".ddy Iirothers. James. Joseph, and A\'illiam S., have done much to 
ini])rovc the Inisiness conditions of the town and county. They were bright 
young felliiws whu started in to make good, and they did. They went into the 
cattle business, l)uying and selling, established first-class meat markets in 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 153 

Templetoii and Paso Robles, boULilU up thousands of cords of wood and 
shipped it. and purchased real estate and s(jld when the rise came. James 
died April 11, I'Ul ; William resides in Paso Robles; and Joseph, in Temple- 
ton, where he is a leading man in all that goes for improvement and moral 
uplift. 

The Dupont Powder \\\)rks have had a Ijig charcoal concern near Temple- 
ton for some years. 

\\'ill Pludson is the owner of a gra\'el plant, where cars and wagons are 
loaded by an immense steam shovel. 

Among the present business men are Marker & Sharp, general merchan- 
dise; Petersen Bros., hardware and groceries; Albert Horstman, meat market; 
Clauson, general merchandise ; Charles Johnson, groceries. The first paper 
published in the town was the Templeton Times, edited by Captain Haley but 
financed by the West Coast Lumber Company. There are now two, the Ad- 
vance, edited and owned by Ben Bierer, and the Times, owned by Mr. Osgood. 
The grammar school of three rooms was built in 1887, and with the land 
valued at $10,000, more than it is worth now. A union high school is being 
built and is described in the chapter on schools. The town is "dry," but seems 
!o thri\e, as do others like it. 

Churches 

There is a large brick church belonging to the Swedish Lutheran society, 
who also own a hall for social gatherings. The Swedish residents of tlie 
vicinity have always been a most thrifty and desirable class. 

The Presbyterian church at Templeton was built in 1888, and dedicated 
late that year. Rev. F. H. Robinson was the first pastor, Rev. Wells followed 
him and in 1892 Rev. Isaac Baird became pastor, and served for six years 
Rev. Lowry, Rev. John H. AlcLennon, and Rev. Thompson followed in suc- 
cession, and there may have been others for short periods. 

In June, 1887, the first "entertainment" in the town of Templeton was 
given under the auspices of the Ladies' Aid of the Presbyterian Church. The 
writer was in charge of it. jMusic, tableaux, readings and "Mrs. Jarley's 
Wax Works" were on the program. It came oE in Knapp's hall, was a 
great success and netted nearly one hundred fifty dollars. The church 
nrgan was paid for and a surplus left. A young man who afterwards became 
fanmus as a novelist and playwright, Horace A. Vachell, was present. He 
was courting ]\liss Lydie Phillips, the beautiful daughter of C. H. Phillips, 
who a year or so later became his bride ; and as he has put most oi this 
county and a good many of its people into his books, we do not doubt he 
got "material" out of some of us and our efforts at "entertaining." 

A manse was built at Templeton, and for years the faithful women of 
the "Aid" toiled to get it clear of debt, which they finally did some eighteen 
years after it was built. The church has been the scene of many christenings 
and weddings, and from its door have been carried the bodies of the loved 
dead. Patriarchs, men and women in the prime of life, maidens and little 
children have all been carried from that little church among the oak trees to 
their last resting-place "beneath the sk\-, underneath the sod, but home to 
God." 

We can not forbear writing about the beautiful country about Teniple- 
tiin. Xdwhere on earth is there a nicire beautiful spot, with the distant blue 



154 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

mountains; the rounded hills covered in spring with wild oats, where not 
cultivated ; the wide, park-like valley dotted with immense oaks ; the Salinas 
river, with its tree-fringed banks — alders, willows, sycamores and oaks — and 
spicewood breathing its fragrance on the air. Wild roses in spring and 
waxen "snowberries" in winter beautify the wilderness of undergrowth 
along the streams. The climate is very salubrious. Templeton is now coming 
into its own. The little town, with its beautiful setting, will ever be dear 
to the writer and all the others who, during those lirst hopeful, happy days, 
picked flowers in the streets, shunned squirrel holes in the same, or brought 
land at the big sale in April, when the brass band played and the auctioneer 
made you feel that you had to have a lot in the ■"villa" tract or a ranch. We 
got the "'villa" lot, built a nice home, and lost out because others would not 
pay their debts, so we could cancel a $700 mortgage. 

During the last few years, real estate has sold at a good price ; the town 
is electric-lighted ; and in all respects Templeton is now a lively, thrifty com- 
munity. 

SAN MIGUEL 

San Miguel, our most northern town, is located north of the old Mission, 
and was begun when the Southern Pacific came in 1886. It has had its ups and 
downs along with the rest of the pioneers. It is the shipping point for the 
wheat grown in that section, and has a large S. P. ^lilling Co. warehouse. 
It was there the Farmers' Alliance built a fine grist-mill in the early nineties 
There have been the usual number of general stores and shops for all pur- 
poses. It has a pretty park, with its flag pole in the center, from which 
often float the Stars and Stripes. A big celebration was held there on the one 
hundredth anniversary of the Mission, when old, decrepit Indians came from 
San Juan and other places, w-ho, in their childhood and youth, lived at the 
San Miguel ^Mission. South of town stands an old two-story adobe that 
was once the Caledonian Hotel, and where balls were held to which the 
whole countryside came. This was quite a famous hostelry in the stage- 
line days, and was the scene of lively times when the Southern Pacific 
was building. There are a good three-room schoolhouse, a Methodist 
church, and good store buildings, some of brick. The town is on the state 
highway, as well as on the Southern Pacific ; and it presents a neat, 
thrifty appearance. Adjacent to the town are two cheese factories, one 
owned by J. M. Kalar and one by Clark & Marzorini. Mrs. E. Cole is a 
pioneer business woman who has a general store. Other stores are: C. E. 
.\<ier, confectionery, E. Bergeman, Gorham & Sonneberg, L. Lacefield, gen- 
eral merchandise, Thralls & Co. There are a garage, a blacksmith shop, 
and various repair shops. San ^Miguel has always had a local paper; at pres- 
ent it is the San Miguel Sentinel. Dr. AlcXaul and Dr. L. D. Murphy look 
after the health of the community. Lately San IMiguel has joined the ranks of 
the "drys," having voted to abolish the saloon. 

CRESTON 

Creston is a small village with a general store and post office, a black- 
smith shop, a few houses and a schoolhouse. It is about twelve miles south- 
east of Paso Robles, and is reached by daily stage carrying mail and pas- 
sengers between Paso Rol)les and Creston. 





AKIH IU)('K AXn SCKXE AT PISMO BEACH 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 155 

SANTA MARGARITA 

Santa Margarita is the next town south of Templeton, and was laid 
out and had a land sale in the spring of 1889, soon after the Southern 
Pacific reached there. It is built on a part of the Santa IXIargarita ranch. 
The state highway passes through it. The rich country arouncl and to the 
east of it makes Santa Margarita its shipping point. It is just at the foot 
of the Santa Lucia range, and there extra engines are "hooked on'' to all 
trains for the stiff pull to the summit. The S. P. Milling Co. has ware- 
houses there, and a lumber yard. There are general stores owned by T. W. 
Arnold, Lauritson Bros., and L. D. Weeks, a pioneer merchant. The 
Eureka Hotel is run by Henry Langreder. Harper & Kendrick own a garage. 
There are a meat market and shops of various kinds, a Catholic church, a 
number of pretty homes, and a very fine new schoolhouse described in the 
chapter on schools. 

NIPOMO 

This little town is on the Pacific Coast Railroad about half-way be- 
tween Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria. It is built on the Nipomo 
ranch, and the Dana families live on some of the surrounding ranches. All 
that section once belonged to the founder of the Dana family, W. G. Dana. 
There are the Methodist and Catholic churches, a modern schoolhouse of 
four or five rooms, and many substantial and pretty homes. It is a shipping 
point for beans and barley, the principal crops grown in that section. Grocery 
stores are owned by Burke Bros, and the Dana Mercantile Co. Mrs. Cameron 
has for years kept a supply of dry goods. There are shops to meet other 
needs, and \\'. M. Cotter runs a meat market. Two saloons still remain, one 
run by J. A. G. (Jag) Dana, and one by H. Knotts. 

PISMO 

'i'his town exists because of the beautiful I'ismo beach, which for twenty 
miles curves away to Point Sal in Santa Barbara county, and which is by 
all odds the finest in the state. Under right management it will soon 
come into its own. The hotel, bath house, etc., came into the possession of the 
J. P. Andrews heirs when a mortgage had to be foreclosed a few years ago. 
Saloons and things that go with them tend to draw a certain undesirable 
element, and the place suffers in consequence. There is a tent city, which in 
the summer season is full of tenants. The Pismo clam beds have long been 
famous for their delicious bivalves. Tlie beach is wide, the sand clean and 
white, and surf bathing safe and very enjoyable. There are hot and cold salt 
baths under cover. The view out over the i)lacid blue ocean or up the beach 
towards the bold rocky point north, or south to Point Sal, is one never to be 
forgotten. There are a two-room schoolhouse. a post office, a garage, and 
several shops and stores. Many people come to this beach from the hot San 
Joaquin valley during the summer and there arc some very pretty summer 
homes at Pismo. When the beach is known for what it is, it will be a winter 
resort as well ; for the soft, sunny winter days at Pismo are a rare delight. 

ARROYO GRANDE 

.\rroyn Grande is located on tlio I'acitlc Coast Railroad, about fifteen 
miles south cif San Luis Obispo, it is l)uilt .>n land granted to F. 7.. I'.ranch on 



156 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

the hanks of the Arrn_yo Grande ereek. Originally it was all one big 
"nionte." covered with willows and Inrush : in fact, the whole floor of the 
valley was a monte. E. Z. Branch gave the people the use, for five 
years, of every acre they would clear and cultivate. The land about the 
town and where it now is was sold in the monte state for eighty dollars per 
acre, but this same land has since sold for from, three hundred to six and 
eight hundred dollars per acre. The town in 1867 consisted of a small 
schoolhouse and a blacksmith shop, and was on the stage line to Santa 
I'.arbara. By 18/6 it had two hotels, one owned by W. H. Ryan, two stores, 
two saloons, a wheelwright and blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, a post ofifice, a 
li\-ery stable and a number of residences. 

In 1877 there \\-as quite a rush for land in the \-alk'y. and the school 
had an attendance of one hundred children. The early .settlers were God- 
fearing people, and regular religious services were held in the schoolhouse. 
The religious element has continued to predominate, and now there are 
Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist 
churches in the town. The Methodist people built a large tabernacle on the 
hill above the town, and every summer an Epworth League rally and camp 
meeting are held there. Hammerschlag and Meherin Bros, were the pioneer 
storekeepers. 

The Odd Fellows numbered sixteen members in 1877, meeting in a hall 
over Meherin Brothers' store. This lodge now owns a beautiful two-story 
building, built of the handsome yellow sandstone quarried near the town. 
The Good Samaritans, a temperance lodge, built a hall wdiich was used for a 
high school, or what passed for one, in 1899, and is now the city hall. The 
temperance element also throve, and the town is now saloonless. 

The Pismo wharf, built in 1881 by Meherin Bros, and a few others, was 
designed to do big things for Arroyo Grande valley. It was 1,600 feet long, 
twenty feet above low water, and the water was twenty-seven feet deep at 
its ocean end. The cost was $14,613. During 1882 thirty-eight vessels 
(sciiooners) were loaded at the wharf, and it was estimated that over $30,000 
was saved the farmers in freights. In 1881 the Pacific Coast Railway reached 
the town, and for the next two or three years there were lively times. The 
town claimed two hundred population. A warehouse 48x100 feet was put up ; 
\V. B. Carman opened a drug store; Phillips & Co. put up a store 40x80 feet: 
R. Orton & Co. had a flour and grist mill ; and in 1882 the Arroyo Grande 
Irrigating Co. had two ditches capable of watering three thousand acres. 

Dr. Paulding and Dr. Clark, both pioneer physicians, are still practicing 
in the community; and there is a third physician. Dr. Gallup. Dr. C. S. Noble 
is the dentist of the town, and W. A. Conrad has the drug store. About fifteen 
years ago, a company of theosophists bought the big Cofl^ee Rice house and 
named in "Halcyon"; and there, two miles down the valley, they have a sani- 
tarium. 

The town has grown slowly but surely. It was incorporated as a city 
of the sixth class, July 10, 1911, with a population of about twelve hundred. 
The first board of city trustees consisted of F. E. Bennett, president; S. 
Alexander, George Grieb, G. W. Gilliam, and A. A. Henry. B. E. Stewart was, 
and still is, city clerk. C. B. Doty was city marshal. The members of the 
board are elected every two years. The present board are: Bennett, president; 
Gilliam, (irieb, H. E. Cox, and C. S. Xoble. Cleon Kite is postmaster- George 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 137 

Ide, assistant. The town is lighted by electricity and there is a proposition 
before the city to install public water works. .About 1904, Russell Robinson 
put up an electric plant and barley crushing mill. He supplied light and 
water to all who would buy, until he sold out his plant to the Midland Coun- 
ties Light and Power Corporation. There is a fine grammar school on a two- 
acre campus, and a new $12,000 high school building, both more particularly 
mentioned in the chapter on schools. There are several general stores, two 
hardware firms, Lynam's harness and shoe shop, and shops of various kinds. 
There is a creamery depot, a branch of the Los Angeles Creamery, and a mil- 
linery store owned by Mrs. Ellen Adair. E. C. Loomis has a large warehouse 
and a barley crushing mill. 

The Bank of Arroyo Grande began as a branch of the Commercial Bank 
of San Luis Obispo, October 1, 1901 ; but on November 7, 1903, it was incor- 
porated, with D. D. Barnard, president; S. A. Dana, vice-president; A. L. 
Bickell, cashier. The directors were JMcD. Venable, L. C. Routzahn, M. R. 
Swall and P. Olohan. The officials at present are ]\I. R. Swall, president ; 
S. A. Dana, vice-president; J. S. Gibson, cashier; and J. B. Gibson, assistant 
cashier. The capital in 1903 was $25,000; now it is $50,000. 

The Arroyo Grande Herald was first published in 1885 by Steve Cleven- 
ger, owner and editor. He died in 1910, and his wife and son ran the 
paper for a year. In 1911, ^^^ H. Smith bought the Herald and another 
local paper, the Record, and consolidated them into the Record-Herald, 
which he still publishes. 

The large Routzahn seed farms and the Johansen seed farm are located 
near Arroyo Grande. For many years Mr. Routzahn supplied millions of 
sweet peas to church societies that gave sweet-pea festivals. These festivals 
were great affairs, and goodly sums were netted the societies giving them. 
Often most beautiful designs were worked out in the fragrant blossoms. 
Very fine horticultural and agricultural fairs used to be held also ; but 
for some reason both the festivals and the fairs have been discontinued. They 
did more to keep up an outside interest in the town and valley than anytiiing 
else has ever done. 

The state highway, when it is completed, will i)ass through Arroyo 
Grande. The scenery about Arroyo Grande is inviting, and the climate is all 
that could be desired. The llower-emlxnvercd Immes si)eak for themselves. 

The Valley 

.\rro\n Grande valley has a very deep, rich soil, r.erries, walnuts, many 
kinds of fruit trees, and all sorts of vegetables — potatoes, onions, squashes and 
pumpkins — grow to perfection. Apples do especially well, and large orchards 
once existed ; but carelessness resulted in the trees becoming badly diseased, 
and shipment of apples was prohibited. The last ship-load sent to Australia 
from the valley was refused at the port, it is said, and was dumped overboard. 

Two or three different times during the last decade the creek has "gone 
on a rampage," and each time carried away acres and acres of the richest soil. 
A few years ago the "lake" and a great volume of water tore through across 
Main street, to reach the creek, cutting out a gulch twenty feet in depth and 
far greater in width. The bridges were torn out or badly damaged. Thou- 
sands of dollars' damage was done to the Routzahn seed farms. The ware- 
house and tons of valuable seeds were destroyed or damaged, and many acres 



158 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

were swept awav or covered several feet deep with gravel and debris. The 
creek is at times a menace to the town and valley under existing conditions, 
thousrh its waters are very valuable for irrigating. 

Many fine homes dot the valley. The "Huasna," originally owned by 
Isaac Sparks, is about twelve miles from the town. Fine wheat and barley 
are grown there, and many cattle range over the "Upper Huasna." 

OCEANO 

This is a little village about halfway l>etween Arroyo Grande and Pismo 
on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is quite a freight station, much of the 
Arroyo Grande valley produce being shipped from there. It has a population 
of several hundred. "Le Grand Beach" is near by, and efTorts are being made 
to develop a seaside resort. The ^•i!lage has a ])ost office, shops, and general 
stores, and a school* employing twci teachers. 

NEWSOM'S SPRINGS 

.\I)Out two miles east of Arroyo ( irande. in a beautiful \alley, is the great 
warm white suliihur spring owned by the D. V. Ne\\-som heirs. There are a 
bath hou.se and several cottages. The springs used to be a favorite resort 
and camping place. Some years ago, when the winter rains did so much havoc, 
tlie Newsom valley was badly washed out. Before D. F. Newsom's death 
the hotel, cottages, and bath house were kept in good repair. Big oaks and 
sycamores grow beside the spring and the little stream. The air is balmy, 
and no finer camping spot exists. The water has a temperature of about 100 
degrees Fahrenheit and is of considerable medicinal value. 

BERROS 

This is a small station on the Pacific Coast Railroad five miles south 
of Arroyo Grande, and has a schoolhouse, store, blacksmith shop, and post 
office. A number of good-sized chicken ranches are in the locality. 

SAN SIMEON 

San Simeon was once a town of considerable importance. Its wharf is 
described along with the other wharves of the county. As it is on private 
property, the Hearst ranch, there is little hope for its growth while that 
estate remains one man's property. In the days when all that coast section 
dejiended ujion shipping from San Simeon it was quite a busy place. During 
the first six months of 1869, $62,650 worth of produce was shipped from 
there besides many live hogs. In 1876 two general stores did a good business. 
It was the end of the coastwise stage line, and Brown had put on a new stage 
which made daily trips to and from San Luis Obispo carrying mail and pas- 
sengers. .\ telegraph line was run to the county-seat. The Ocean ^'iew mine 
was shi])i)ing quicksilver, and chrome ore was also shipped. In 1878 Mr. 
I-rankl had tlie only store, which did a big business; he was also wharfinger. 
That year three hundred flasks of quicksilver worth S40 each were shipped, 
or $12,000 wortli. Flour and chrome ore cost $3.00 per ton for shipment. In 
1864 Captain Clark located a Avhaling station at San Simeon. He had five 
boats in 1878. two of them thirty feet long and six feet wide. He employed 
from ten to twenty men during the season, which lasted from November 
to Ai)nl. Tlie lowest catch for any year was three whales, and the largest 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 159 

catch for a season, twenty-three. After Cayucos became a town and hatl a 
good wharf, San Simeon had to divide the business, and now there is but little 
doing at San Simeon. A son of the Frankl spoken of was in charge of the 
wharf in 1908 and considerable business was carried on over the wharf. At 
present Roy Summers is wharfinger. Small steamers call once or twice 
a week for beans and other produce that is shipped in the fall. There is a 
schoolhouse, and the store and post office are run by Mr. Sebastian. If ever 
the Hearst ranch is subdivided, a lively town may spring up where now 
stands a little group of houses, a store and a hotel. 

Piedra Blanca Lighthouse 

About six miles up the coast from San Simeon on a rocky point stands 
the lighthouse. The tower is 100 feet high and the lantern 150 feet above sea 
level. It throws alternate rays and flashes fifteen miles out to sea. A 
keeper and two assistants are always in charge. An immense steam fog- 
horn and whistle are used in time of fog and storm. The old white cliffs 
were named Piedra Blanca (white stone) by Cabrillo in 1542, and no one 
has ever changed the name. When the winter storms rave along that 
rocky coast, Piedra Blanca lighthouse is a lonely place for the two or three 
families who live there; but when the soft summer winds just ripple the sea, 
and flowers and waving grass are all about, a visit to the lighthouse is a 
delight. 

CAMBRIA 

This town is located about ten miles south of San. Simeon, where once 
giant pines covered the earth. It is built on land that, with a large surround- 
ing tract, was held or used by Julian Estrada as a part of his grant, the Santa 
Rosa. After the dry year land was sold for very little, as witness the Steeles' 
great buy of 45,000 acres for one dollar and ten cents an acre. Surveyors 
were set to work to make a thorough government survey and throw open 
all land for settlement that rightly belonged to the government. A large 
tract along Santa Rosa creek and much in other sections, in Green Valley 
for instance, was thus opened up, and settlers flocked in. Early settlers about 
Cambria were De Nise, the Leffingwells, O. P. McFaddon, Jeffrey Phelan, 
John C. Hill, F. J. Peterson, J. M. Whitaker, Alexander Cook, the Olmsteads, 
Neil Stewart, A. C. Buffington, C. H. Evans, B. Short. S. JM. Davidson, J. R. 
Fletcher, G. O. Campbell, Mather and others. Letcher and Leffingwell each 
had a sawmill and from the great pines sawed lumber for the new settlers' 
homes, and for fences and posts. 

The first name applied to the settlement was Slabtown. Otiiers wanted 
it named Santa Rosa and Roseville. It remained, however, for a decided old 
Welshman to name it for all time. While others were squabbling over the 
name, he hung out his sign, "Cambria Carpenter Shop." This man from 
Wales, Llewellyn by name, persistently spoke of the town as "Cambria" 
(Wales) ; and when it came to a show-down with the postal authorities, "Cam- 
bria" stood the test and became the town's official name. 

In 1867 no travel took place between Cambria and San Luis except b}- 
private conveyance, mostly on horseback, and mail had to be got at San 
Luis Obispo, nearly forty miles away. In 1868 the government put on a 
weeklv mail service, in 1869 a tri-weeklv mail service. In lulv, 1866, G. W. 



160 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Lull had a store, the first one north of San Luis, at a point between Santa 
Rosa and San Simeon creeks. In 1867 the store was moved a half mile north 
of where the town now is ; and in 1868 it moved into town, and the firm of 
Lull, Grant & Co. began doing business. Lull and Leffingwell came to the 
county in 1859. M. J. Phelan came earlier than either of these men, and in 
18.^9 he built the first schoolhouse in that end of the county. It was in a 
little canon between Phelan's ranch and San Simeon creek, and was called San 
Simeon school. The first store built in the new town was put up by S. A. 
Pollard and George E. Long on a lot later occupied by Ramage & Conway's 
store. Dairying was the chief business about Cambria, as we learn that in 
1869 $30,000 worth of butter was shipped from the San Simeon wharf. 
In 1871 the Excelsior Cheese Factory, owned by Bowen, Baker & Co., was 
built about four miles south of Cambria, and from 400 to 500 cows furnished 
milk for it. The Tribune says as high as 1200 pounds of cheese were made 
daily and sold for seventeen or eighteen cents per pound. In 1872 the Farmers 
and Stockraisers' Co-operative Store was established, with $40,000 stock, 
2,000 shares at twenty dollars each. A Grange was next in order. 

From about 1862 a mining fever occurred at frequent intervals. Coal, 
copper and quicksilver were all said to exist in large quantities. Copper and 
chrome were mined and ore was shipped ; and in 1871 a rich lode of quicksilver 
was found. The mines of Cambria are mentioned in the chapter on mineral 
productions. Quicksilver mining, especially in the Oceanic mines, has meant 
much to Cambria business men. 

Dr. Frame was the first physician in Cambria. He died of diphtheria, 
February 23, 1869. This scourge swept the country about Cambria again in 
1882, and about Cayucos and on Old creek many children died. 

Cambria has always been patriotic. From an old Tribune we read, "Cam- 
bria led ofT in 1867 with the first real Fourth of July celebration." For many 
years Cambria has celebrated Admission Day with a barbecue, speeches, 
music and a Wild West show. The celebration site is up in the pines back 
of town. In 1870 Cambria celebrated with races of all sorts at Van Gordon's 
race track. 

Probal)ly Cambria's most palmy days were about 1880, for from old re- 
ports and newspapers we learn that Grant, Lull & Co., G. W. Ramage, Gans 
& Co. and S. Goss all ran general stores. There were two drug stores, owned 
by Manderscheid Bros, and Mr. Fisher, respectively. Geo. M. Cole had a 
harness shop; Fred Ott, a shoe shop; J. W. Stiles, a jewelry shop; Jennie 
Bright, a millinery shop. These were two wagon shops, one owned by Philip 
Kaetzel, the other by F. Sherman. John Hackney and P. H. Eubanks each 
had a blacksmith shop. James D. Campbell and Jerry Johnson each ran a 
livery stable. Manon & Davis had a large sawmill, and Baker & Marsh dealt 
hi luinlier. Jasi)er N. Turney practiced law. 

The town has never attained much size, but it is a pretty little village, 
with the ocean at its feet and the pine-clad bluffs at its Itack. The Santa Rosa 
creek Hows beside the town. There are two churches, Presbyterian and 
Catholic. A good schoolhouse with rooms for a hundred children is built 
on a hillside. The town has a newspaper, the Cambria Courier, run l)y 
C. A. Meacham. The Bank of Cambria is a solid institution and a great 
hcl]) to Inisincss in the northern half of the county. J. H. Bradhoff is presi- 
dent and Merle Jones cashier. The principal business houses are the Swiss 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 161 

American Supply ; George Dickie, hardware : Piancorini & Co., general mer- 
chandise. L. J. Renshaw has a drug store. Dr. Possum and Dr. H. 11. .Shaw- 
have offices in the town and attend to patients. E. Asebes has a meat market. 
The Cambria Hotel is in charge of Ad Cannozzi. Renshaw's auto livery and 
the Coast Truck Company, owned by Minetti & Villa, do business for the 
community. Years ago a railroad was actively discussed, but no more is 
said about it. A railroad or electric line all the way up the coast would lie 
of great value, and some day it will be l)uilt. 

CAYUCOS 

"Ca3'ucos" means "canoes"; and tlie name was first applied to the bay 
because in early days these small craft, made of skin, were used in visiting the 
steamers that came to anchor in the liay. The Indians probably made the 
first skin boats here, as in other places. In 1867, Captain James Cass came 
to Cayucos and engaged in landing merchandise and getting off produce. 
Later the wharf, described in the chapter on wharves and other means 
of transportation, was constructed. In 1875, Cass's dwelling, the ware- 
house containing the store, and a ranch house in the distance composed the 
town of Cayucos. Later a new firm, Dunn, McMillan & Co., built a store 
and conducted a general merchandise business. Grant, Lull & Co. of Cambria 
also had a store at Cayucos. In 1878, C. II. Phillips bought the Morro y 
Cayucos rancho, subdivided it, laid out the town of Cayucos and sold off 
many ranches. Ivlany Swiss settled about Cayucos and engaged in dairying, 
which has always been the principal business. All sorts of crops will grow on 
the level land, but as most of the country is rolling hills or steep enough 
to be nKJuntainous, dairy cattle are most profitable. Along the streams irri- 
gation now keeps alfalfa for green feed growing all the year. Morganti & 
Signorini kept the first hotel, and R. Cheda seems to have been next in line. 
Rev. A. B. Spooner was the first minister of the gospel in that end of the 
county. In 1881, Rev. J. H. Blitch preached in Stone's hall the first Sunday 
in the month, the second at San Luis Obispo, the third at the schoolhou.se 
in Green Valley and the fourth Sunday at the Cambria Presbyterian Church. 
A. Leroy kept a store in Cayucos for a while in 1881. Summers & Alurry 
were blacksmiths; De Rome bouglit out Summers and the firm liecame De 
Rome & Murry. B. F. Bidamon had a liarncss shop. Riordan's boot and 
shoe shop and Barnes" butcher shop completed the list. Dr. Lane was also 
located there. The town lots sold for seventy-five dollars and the ranch land 
for twenty-five dollars per acre, we are told. Fire at different times has 
swept the one main street, and now there are some good concrete stores in 
Cayucos. There are two churches, Presbyterian and Catholic. 

There is an abalone cannery at Cayucos that from May to November 
employs sixteen men and two boats gathering the abalones from the rocks. 
Divers pry the abalones off where the rocks are submerged. The cannery 
is supplied with modern machinery. Met cut the abalones from the shells ; 
then they are cut, packed in tin cans, cooked, sealed, and cooked again in big 
steam vats. Six thousand cases were prepared and shipped this season. 
Seven American girls or women and eight or nine men work in the cannery. 
This is a branch of the Point Lobos Canning Co., which owns all the abalone 
canneries in the state. Japanese do the catching, and Mr. .\oki. the superin- 



162 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 

tenclent of the cannen-, is a very polite, capable man. Everything about the 
cannery was spotless. Air. Roy Beebee was at the abalone plant buying 
the shells for C. C. Lord & Co. of Long Beach, who manufacture all sorts 
of ornaments and jewelry from them. He wanted thirty tons of shells, but 
could get only twenty tons. It is from these shells that the beautiful "blister 
pearls"' are obtained, wdiich sell for twenty cents each and up, and an enor- 
mous pile containing "blisters" had been set aside by the company and were 
not for sale with the others. Air. Aoki presented the writer with a very beau- 
tiful pearl, and several shells containing others. 

There are three firms doing a general merchandise business, Cass & Co., 
Tognini & Ghezzi, and Tomasini Bros. The Exchange Hotel is run by 
Minetti & Nicola, and the Cottage Hotel by Airs. L. Pedraita. James Pedrotta 
has a blacksmith shop. A. Canevascini has a meat market. E. J. Tomasini 
is postmaster. There are two cream stations, branches of Swift & Co. and the 
Los Angeles Creamery Co. The California Central Creamery makes butter. 
Only one small steamer, the "Homer," now calls once a week, bringing and 
taking away freight. The auto trucks and creameries, instead of the old-fash- 
ioned "dairy" where the butter was made on the ranch, have made a big 
difference in steamer traffic. 

One more O. K. Smith item. Air. James Cass, who lived in Cayucos 
when Smith disappeared, told the writer a few days ago that he fully be- 
lieved Smith was driving in the surf on the beach near Alorro Point and 
was drowned. Air. Cass said that not long after the tragedy he was riding 
along on horseback just about where Smith's papers were found, and all at once 
his horse was caught in a swirl of quicksand and its hind quarters sank so 
that the little boy riding behind Air. Cass would have slid off had he not 
reached back and caught the child. Air. Cass also said Smith had a strong 
premonition that evil lay in wait, for he tried hard to get Air: Cass to go 
with him to San Luis, and also asked Rudisill to go when he was leaving 
Stone's saloon. Several of the stories told the writer have previously been 
given. The mystery remains, and the reader may choose his own theory. 

The Cayucos Bank Robbery 

Early in August, 1892, a man named Dunn, living in Oak Park, stole a 
fine mare from Steele Bros, at Corral de Piedra and was known to have 
gone north. Peter Banks, a one-armed man, but without fear, was constable 
of San Luis Obispo and was over in Paso Robles on business. Word was 
sent to him to look out for the horse and Dunn. Banks arrested Dunn in a 
lumber yard at Paso Robles just as he was taking sixty-five dollars from a 
buyer for the animal, valued at two hundred dollars. The County Bank had 
a l)ranch bank in Cayucos and J. J. Simmler was the cashier. Banks started 
for San Luis with his prisoner. At Santa Alargarita they had supper. Be- 
fore leaving, Dunn demanded whiskey. He was already "ugly" from drink. 
Ranks said he thought, as he was one-armed and alone, he had better humor 
him, and so got a bottle of it. Dunn seemed to study for a while after leav- 
ing Santa Alargarita, and finally said, "Banks, I'm in a hell of a fix. ain't 
I?" Banks agreed. "Well, if I put you wise to something bigger than 
stealing a horse, will you help me out of this?'' "I will," said Banks, "if you 
prove that it is." Dunn then told Banks that he, a man named Isom, one 
named (joss, t)nc named liill Brown, and one other, had a series of robberies 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 163 

planned. Thoy were to n>]) Port ITarfonl, SaiUa ^rarg•arila and the Cayucos 
bank. P.anks took Dunn to Sheriff O'Neal and he repeated the tale. The 
officers then agreed to let him go if he kept "mum" and the story proved to 
be true. On the night of August 30, 1892, the Cayucos robbery was to 
come oft'. That would be "butter day," and $3,000 or more was sure to be 
in the bank's vault. For four weeks Dunn had to "play the game" with his 
pals. On August 30th, about six P. M., Sherift' O'Neal, Deputy Sheriff A. 
C. McLeod, Banks and his deputy, Kues, left San Luis for Cayucos. Mean- 
time the bank had been informed and Mrs. Simmler had that afternoon carried 
a big iron bucket full of gold over to Cass, who put it in his safe. The plot 
was, to go to Simmler's house, tell a story about a sick woman, gain admit- 
tance and then force Simmler to go to the bank and open the safe. Simmler 
weakened and refused to remain at the house ; so Banks got Will Waterman to 
go to the house and stay. Mrs. Simmler went to the hotel for the night. 
This aroused interest, and when the four officers drove into town the citizens 
were sure something was about to happen and at once got their "guns." 
The officers warned them to get to cover, as there was likely to be shooting. 
James Cass was in the secret and acting with the officers. About nine o'clock 
that evening one of the robbers got a livery team at Sarmento's stable and 
with others of the gang drove to Cayucos, arriving about midnight. They 
each donned a gunny sack with slits cut for arms and eyes. At the last 
minute O'Neal and Kues showed the white feather and refused to be in the 
bank when the robbers entered, so they stayed out in the back yard. Banks, 
with his one arm, and Deputy McLeod took their station in a little room 
back of the one the bank was conducted in. The fellows went to Simmler's 
house and asked for him. Waterman replied that he was out of town. "Are 
you in charge of the bank?" "Yes." "Well, then, you'll do. Come along." 
Waterman had been told to pretend to unlock the safe (it was off the com- 
bination), to throw open the large iron door and slip behind it, which he did. 
One of the fellows refused to enter the bank, "got cold feet" and skipped 
across the street. 

Cass was hiding in a lumber pile just Ijack of where he stood. When 
Waterman swung back the safe door, Banks and ]\lcLeod pushed open the 
door and INlcLeod said, "Hands up!" Bill Brown was on guard and the 
others down before the safe. Brown fired, his bullet splintering the door 
casing. McLeod was shocked by the glancing bullet and reeled against 
Banks, saying, "I'm shot !" Banks was covering the fellows before the safe, 
but he knew it was shoot or be shot ; so he fired. Brown fell, but fired after 
he fell, and McLeod carries the bullet in his back yet. 

A candle burning on the counter was blown out, and in the darkness 
Isom and Goss escaped, took horses tied at a hitching rack and fled to the 
hills, where they were in hiding for weeks, and finally got clear away. O'Neal 
and Kues ran ; it was too much for their nerves. The fellow who got "cold 
feet" sprinted also, and Cass fired at him, but a telegraph pole got the shot. 
I le took the team, drove it to within a mile of San Luis and turned it loose. 
He was arrested and jailed, but was let go on turning state's evidence at the 
trial. Poor Bill Brown was carried into the hall and died next day, realizing 
that the way of the transgressor is hard. Some years later, when Ballou 
was sheriff, Goss was caught near San Diego and Isom near Sacramento. 
I'.nlh were brought back for trial and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. 



164 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Goss died in prison. Most of these men were young, and it was a dare-devil 
game, probably their first real offense of the kind. It was a logical outcome 
of conditions that had previously existed in the county, and the blame goes 
beyond those who were in the robbery. Dunn had a wife and several chil- 
dren. Mr. Banks, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Cass and Mrs. Simmler all gave ac- 
counts of this affair to tlie writer, and it is no doubt correct in all respects. 

MORRO 

Morro Rock 

Standing on the gently sloping sand 
That rises back from IMorro's shining bay, 
I look along the glistening stretch of strand, 
And hear the roar of surf, and see the spray 
That rises white and pure as mountain snow, 
A\'ith showers of diamond drops flung far and wide. 

Flashing and gleaming in the rosy glow 
Of twilight's charming hour, the sea gulls glide 
On flapping wings at ease, high in the air. 
Or stand in rows all silent side by side, 
\\'atching and waiting for their evening-fare. 

Alone and grand from out the white sea-foam, 

Old Morro lifts his rugged form on high ; 

\\'here fierce, tempestuous winds in fury roam. 

Dauntless he lifts his head against the sky. 

He stands through storm and sunshine, night and day. 

The firm, grim guardian of the placid bay. 

Long may the storm king howl upon the deep 

And strew with helpless wrecks the sandy shore, 

Hurl his wild waves about old Morro's feet 

And fill the air with wild, incessant roar; 

But firm and staunch, through danger's deafening din, 

Stands the bold sentry of the bay within. 

— C. Elwood. 

This beautiful little poem by Elwood we copy from Angel's History, of 
1883. It is one of those stray bits of descriptive verse found in old newspapers, 
that never get saved in book form and whose authors are never duly appre- 
ciated. In the old files of the Tribune, when Murray was editor, are some 
gems of ])oetry, as fine literature as the first-class magazines ever published. 

Morro Rock was named by Cabrillo when, in 1542, he sailed tip the coast, 
the first white man to set foot upon the shore of our county. This great 
cone is the last of a chain of ])eculiar pyramidical peaks that, beginning with 
San Luis ^Mountain and Bishop Peak, run northwesterh^, ending with Morro 
Rock out in the sea. It is a grim, lonely pile of reddish granite rising five 
hundred eighty feet out of the sea and covering over fifty acres. A smaller 
rock rises a short distance beyond it on the northwest, and between the two 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 165 

rocks the sea rushes Hke a mill-race. A lono; sand-bar has formed between 
it and the mainland, and the bay is now very shallow. Once in a long while, 
the tide is so low one may walk almost to the Rock. There used to be a 
little hut on the land side of Morro Rock, and an old couple lived in it. A 
few half-wild goats and sheep found a scant living on the Rock. Thousands 
of tons of rock were blasted from its sides and taken in barges to build the 
breakwater at Port San Luis. 

Eighteen years ago hundreds of people camped on the "Point" just north 
of the little village. The writer was there and kept the "census" for the 
San Luis Breeze, and from two hundred fifty to three hundred campers were 
there for at least six weeks. Many came from the San Joac|uin valley and from 
the Salinas valley. We used to get up "shows" for evening entertainment 
and build a great bonfire. Spooner had a store on the Point, and Mrs. 
Stocking used to make the most delicious pies, cake and bread to sell to us. 
Old Dr. Smiley had a home in the town and another on his ranch north of 
town. He used to fix up all the little sick children who were brought over 
there. It was his personality as much as his little white pills (he was a 
homeopath) that saved the babies, for when he held out his old arms and 
said, "Come to doctor," the sickest, shyest little child would go to him, cud- 
dle down on his shoulder and begin to get well. It was a problem then for 
the doctor to get rid of his little patients, but he would let them swarm about 
him and hold the littlest ones two or three at a time in his kind old arms. 
Dr. Smiley came to Morro very early. He had lost his eyesight, almost, in 
an accident in the East. His wife and two little girls had died; and out in this 
stnte, in the little seaside hamlet, he finished his days. Harry Osgood — a son, 
we think, of Henry Osgood, the pioneer — had nursed the doctor when ill. and 
to him he willed his fine ranch at Morro. A little blue glass pitcher is 
treasured by the writer as a keepsake from this kindly old gentleman. 

We used to have dances on the Point, and a "'Inmch" of 3'oung Swedes 
put on a "circus." They did some wonderful athletic turns, and the clown 
wore his mother's gayly flowered calico "wrapper." Mrs. Thompson and 
Mrs. Kiler of Paso Robles used to recite, as did also the writer. We sang; 
and the "San Joaquin Band" — two guitars, a violin and a banjo — made the 
music. When the politicians were out campaigning, they all had an evening 
at the Point. Warren M. John, "Charlie" Palmer, Barlow, Spangenberg 
and all the ofifice-seekers in 1899, used to come to the Point, give the glad 
hand and kiss the "kids." As an old Irish lady said, "Thim were the happy 
days." One day, early in the morning, word went down the line that a dead 
man had been brought into camp who had died that night on his way over 
from Lemoore. A hush fell over the campers. Pretty soon it was reported 
he had "come to," and we heard a sigh of relief, for we were too lively a 
crowd for a dead man. By noon he was able to sit up, and by three P. M. 
he was playing cards. Talk about climate; beat that if you can ! 

The Legend of Morro Rock 

A Spaniard so loved the great Rock and beautiful bay that he built a 
splendid home, for the times, calling it Morro Castle. It was built about 
1830, was over two hundred feet long, two stories high, with walls three feet 
thick, iron-barred doors and windows, a court and corridors. The "Castle" 
cost ,$40,000. A "Passing Traveler" thus speaks of it : "The largest hall is 



166 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENATRONS 

eighty feet long, with six windows. The plastering, made of gypsum found 
near "by, has fallen off in places, but the great joists are as firm as ever. The 
stairway leading to the garret is on the outside of the house. A wall almost 
reaching the roof runs through the weird old garret. Moth-eaten costumes 
of silk and velvet, still showing gold-lace trimming, lay in heaps on the floor. 
Old saddles, bridles and spurs lay about." The Spaniard requested that when 
he died his body should be carried to the top of Morro Rock and be there 
left beneath a rocky cairn. His wishes were not executed, but his steed 
was said to be heard madly galloping down to the shore long after master 
and steed were dust. The "Castle" still stands about two and a half miles 
south of Morro on a little rise close to the road, iron bars and all. A Swiss 
family occupies it and a cow yard is close at hand. Alas for romance in a 
"cow country" ! 

i'Vanklin Riley owned one hundred sixty acres of land at Morro: and in 
the winter of 1870-71, Riley and "Cal" Mathers laid out a town. The wharf 
and warehouse were built and quite a good business resulted ; for then small 
steamers and schooners could enter the bay. Ezra Stocking had a store and 
was postmaster. July 4, 1870, Morro had a celebration on Toro creek. A. M. 
Hardie was marshal of the day. Revs. A. N. Spooner and A. P. Hendon took 
part, L. J, Beckett read the immortal Declaration, J. Grigsby "orated" and 
Miss Leonora Hazen sang. Two hundred people turned out to the celebra- 
tion. Growing right along was the Morro country then. During the year 
ending with May, 1873, fourteen new houses were built in Morro. In 1877 
there were two wharves at Morro, extending out to water fourteen feet deep. 

Morro now is quite a lively little town. Many summer tourists come each 
year, and the Atascadero Colony has bought the "Point" and is promising 
great things at Atascadero Beach. A good-sized tract of land on the bluft' 
facing the bay and Morro Rock has been purchased, and a temporary building 
has been put up. Here is to be an all-the-year-round resort, Morro Rock Inn. 
The winters are even finer than the summers at Morro ; for the warm, sunny 
days and sparkling blue ocean are seldom obscured by fog. Town lots are 
selling off rapidly, and many new houses and a hotel have recently been built. 
There is truck service for freight between Morro and San Luis Obispo ; also 
stage service by auto for passengers. Mr. Sewell is postmaster. There are two 
general stores, a church, a two-room schoolhouse, and shops of all sorts ; 
ami Morro seems to be coming into her own. No saloons are allowed, and 
naturally only a good class of people go to "Beautiful Morro by the Sea." 

AVILA 

.\vila was laid uut by the Avila brothers on the San iNIiguelito ranch 
granted to their father. A cluster of houses, a store, a post office, a fine new 
two-room schoolhouse, and several tanks and buildings owned by oil com- 
])anics comjirisc the town. There is a pretty little beach at Avila. The 
county wharf extends from tlu-re, and some day it may be another San Pedro. 

PORT SAN LUIS 

This is not a "town" ; but a post office is located here, and there are many 
oil tanks and little houses hanging to the rocky bluft's. The Pacific Coast Rail- 
way's wharf runs far out, and another wharf owned bv them is built to load 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 167 

the many big oil "tankers" that ply up and down the coast and to the "Islands" 
or Honolulu. Hotel ^larre is perched upon a shelf of rock at the landward 
end of the wharf. As has been said, here is the greatest oil port in the 
world, and it is a fine harbor for vessels of any size. Warships find here a good 
anchorage, and if ever a war involving the sea is waged. Port San Luis will 
be a vantage point, for troops could be landed here most easily. No fortifica- 
tions defend the harbor. A few miles out on the rocks is the Port San Luis 
lighthouse and its group of buildings. A pretty little schoolhouse is in a niche 
of the bluft', and a number of children attend school there. 

San Luis Hot Sulphur Springs 

These springs used to be called the oil wells, for it was in drilling for 
oil that a great flow of hot sulphur water was obtained. Gas is abundant 
and burns all the time over the main well. The springs are about a mile 
and a half this side of Avila, in a pretty, secluded glade beside San Luis creek. 
There are a hotel, cottages, a hall, bath house and plunge, all very good. 
Great sycamores and oaks grow about. The climate is lovely — soft, warm, 
and balmy. The ozone from the near-by ocean soothes the nerves, and the 
mountains shut out all harsh winds. A mile and a half distant there is surf 
bathing. This is a popular resort, and many ills are cured here. 

POZO 

About eighteen miles southeast of Santa ^Margarita is the village of Pozo 
(a deep depression, or "cup"), surrounded by mountains more or less distant. 
It has a schoolhouse, a store, a blacksmith shop, a sort of hotel, a saloon and 
a hall. The Salinas river is near by, and a rich fertile country surrounds it. 
This vicinity used to be called San Jose Valley. The situation is beautiful and 
the climate very fine, especially for those inclined to lung trouble. It is on 
the stage line to Simmler and La Panza, and has daily mail. The post office 
is in MacNeil's store. 

SHANDON 

Shandon town site was surveyed and the map filed in the Recorder's ofifice 
in July, 1890. "Sunset" was the name Mr. Charles E. Tobey .selected for the 
new town ; but when this was submitted to the postal authorities, they 
refused it, as there was already a post ofifice of that name. "Shandon Hells." 
a story published in Harper's in 1882-83, was a great favorite with Dr. John 
Hughes; so he suggested "Shandon" for the name of the new town. This was 
officially accepted in 1891, and the name was placed on the map. 

The West Coast Land Co. laid out the town and tried to "boom" it after 
their successful operations at Templeton. Years before that, all the land 
now known as the Shandon country had been taken up in government 
claims. It comprises the territory about the junction of the Cholame, San 
Juan and Estrella rivers. Wheat is the staple product, and each season, 
•^specially in the good years, long trains of mules and horses haul the grain 
to Paso Robles warehouses. Two wagons, sometimes three, are chained 
together, and from eight to sixteen mules or horses pull the heavy load. It 
takes the best part of three days to make the round trip to and from the 
farthest ranches. Men and teams are covered with sweat and gray with dust. 
Tmkling bells are worn by the leaders to warn others on the short turns and 
steep grades. The earliest settlers used to get mail from the Cholame post 



168 SAX LL'IS OBISPO COUNTY AND EWIROXS 

office. The men would take turns bringing^ the mail for the neighborhood. On 
a quarter section about three miles southwest of what is now Shandon, 
Rudolph Mayer had opened a saloon, and thinking it would be a good stroke 
of business, he decided to try to get a post office also. He circulated a petition 
and obtained the necessary signatures, with the understanding, however, that 
the petitioners should have a say about the name and location of the new post 
office. Alayer, however, unadvised, named the office Starkey, for a friend of 
his. and located it in the saloon. Starkey had tried to jump a claim; so it is 
needless to say neither name nor location was popular. But it served the 
purpose and was better than going to Cholame for mail. As this new office 
had not been included in the mail route, Alayer had to meet the mail 
.stage on the Paso Robles road and carry his mail bag three miles to the 
delivery station. Soon after Alayer got the office estal^lished in its saloon 
home, C. J. Shaw started a store on the quarter section owned by At. P. 
Hansen and adjoining the old Spring schoolhouse, the first store in the 
valley. Air. Shaw was a quaint little old gentleman, born in London. Canada, 
of English descent, who came to this country when only seventeen years 
old. Well educated, quite literary, a devout Episcopalian, he always worked 
in the church at Shandon, doing much for the uplift of the community. He 
was exceedingly polite and afi'able in manner, and the people insisted upon 
making him postmaster and moving the office to his store. Air. Shaw continued 
to be postmaster until his death in May. IQl'S. Before coming to Shandon he 
had lived many years at Santa Barbara, but his body was sent back to London. 
Canada, for burial. Cliff Barnes succeeded Air. Shaw as postmaster for a 
short time : then C. U. Alargetts received the appointment, and still holds it. 
^^'hen the town of Shandon was laid out. Air. Shaw moved the office over 
there, and Starkey became Shandon. 

Air. Worden put up the Shandon Hotel, the first building in the new 
town, and ran it until quite recently, when he turned the hotel over to his 
son, Guy T. A\'orden. Among the pioneer merchants were D. T. Smouse, 
Ba.xter Grainger and W. R. Post. The Alethodists built the church, but it 
has always been used as a union church. 

A fine class of people settled in and about Shandon. Orchards were early 
set out and now bear fine fruit. A few artesian wells have been sunk, and 
more probably could be. Considerable alfalfa is raised. The climate, though 
hot at times during the summer months, is exceedingly salubrious. The 
old Sjiring schoolhouse is now a thing of the past; for in 1915 a fine new 
modern and well-equipped building was completed, and two teachers are 
employed. Mrs. Clara T. Paulding taught the Spring school when she home- 
ste.-ided a (|uartcr section there many years ago. The writer has heard her 
descriije the nionn-white nights when the air was sweet with the scent of 
the dainty little gillias that covered the hillsides. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 169 

CHAPTER XV 
Presidential Visits, and the G. A. R. 

President McKinley's Visit 

On .May 11, 1901, President McKinley, on his trip to the Pacific Coast, 
paid San Luis Obispo a visit. The G. -A. R. of the county had charge of 
the arrangements, and were ably assisted by all patriotic citizens. F. E. 
Darke took an active part in the work of the committee. The Ramona Hotel's 
wide veranda was chosen for the speaker's stand, and it was decorated with 
flags and flowers. Seats were reserved for all members of the G. A. R. and 
^^■omen■s Relief Corps, and the President seemed pleased at the attention 
shown by all his old comrades in arms. His special train drew in from Los 
Angeles, and from the station to the hotel he was cheered and showered with 
flowers. Never shall we who saw him that day forget the glory of his 
countenance. A great soul shone from his eyes and seemed to radiate light. 
Mrs. ^VIcKinley was with him — so ill that all his later engagements, save two 
or three, were canceled. After his address he quietly slipped from the hotel 
to his train, which had been run up to the Ramona Hotel station, boarded it 
and was at once beside his beloved wife. There was the usual rush to say 
good-bye; and as the train pulled out, the President appeared on the rear 
platform smiling and waving his hand. Thus we saw the last of him, on 
May 11 ; for on September 6 of that year an assassin shot President McKinley 
at Buffalo, N. Y. September 14 news of his death plunged the nation into 
mourning. Memorial services were held for him in San Luis Obispo and in 
other towns in the county. 

President Roosevelt's Visit 

On May. 9, 1903, we were again honored by a visit from the nation's 
chief executive. President Roosevelt was making a campaign tou'- of the 
Pacific Coast. He had made fame with his Rough Riders, cowboy friends of 
his from Texas and elsewhere, in the Spanish-American War. Tie had risen 
from the governor's chair in the Empire State to Vice-President of the 
United States ; and now, through the act of an assassin's hand, the responsi- 
bilities of the nation's chief executive had fallen upon him. "Teddy" was a 
very popular man, and the population turned out to do him honor. As his 
special train pulled into the depot, the band played ; but the memory of 
September 6, 1901, was still fresh in the minds of all, and no one cheered as 
the secret-service men, who had preceded him, swung onto his carriage and 
the horses were put to a swift, trot down Osos street. There was a tense 
silence until one little woman sprang to the curb, waved her arm and cried, 
"Hurrah for Roosevelt! Three cheers for Roosevelt!" Then the President 
stood straight up in his carriage, doffed his hat, showed his teeth in a royal 
smile, and bowed low to the lady from the I luasna hills. That started it, and 
Roosevelt got plenty of cheers thereafter. 

A stand had been erected in the Mitchell block, covered with pepper 
boughs and flags, and there again the G. A. R. were seated upon the platform. 
We could not be proud of our city park — we had none — so borrowed the 
^fitclu'll ])lock ; but Roosevelt faced the mountains, bathed in their glowing 



170 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 

colors ; his face was fanned by the western breeze, and the fragrance of the 
pepper boughs and roses was distilled about him. He told us our duty, and 
drove it all home with both fists. Also he smiled ; and if McKinley's face is 
remembered as that of a saint and martyr, Theodore Roosevelt's will always 
remind us of a big, strong man, full of zeal and purpose, afraid of nothing, 
bound for high places and sure to reach them. 

G. A. R. of San Luis Obispo County 

Colunel Harper Post Xo. 126, G. A. R., was instituted at Arroyo Grande, 
June 25. 1880. Its roster contains the following names : 

Henry Bakeman, Co. F, 2nd Iowa Infantry; James G. Stevenson, Co. C, 
74th Ohio Infantry; John S. Rice, Co. F, 10th Minnesota Infantry: W. L. 
Carman, Co. A, 183rd Ohio Infantry; Thomas E. Hodges, Co. A, 45th Mis- 
souri Infantry; Edward S. Shaw, Co. B, 74th Illinois Infantry; Sergeant 
Xathan J. Keown, Co. B, 21st Missouri Infantry; John W. Spears, Co. M, 
3rd Xew York Cavalry; James Eddy, Co. E, 57th Illinois Infantry; Sergeant 
K. M. Jersey, Co. K, 2nd California Infantry; Thomas Whiteley, Co. G, 4th 
^Massachusetts Infantry; H. A. Sperry ; C. L. Turner. Co. D, 2nd U. S. In- 
fantry : S. H. Abbott, Co. E, 3rd Michigan Artillery ; Thomas J. Forkner, 
Co. I, 15th Kansas Cavalry; B. C. Ide, Co. C, 24th [Michigan Infantry; Gran- 
ville Shinn, Co. C, 118th Illinois Infantry; A. L. Turner, Co. D, 2nd U. S. 
Infantry; H. H. Adams, Co. K, 12th Massachusetts Infantry; Isaac Miller, 
Co. D, 24th Iowa Infantry; William Quimby, Co. B, 188th Xew York in- 
fantrv; Allen Colton, Co. B, 6th [Michigan Infantry; William J. Harr, Co. H, 
1st Xew York Artillery; E. L. \\'arner, Co. A, 193rd Xew York Infantry; 
B. F. Hilliker, Co. A, 8th Wisconsin Infantry; Jefferson Wright, Co. A, 55th 
Ohio Infantry; Fred Seaman, Co. E, 2nd California Infantry; R. Dodge, Co. 

B, 47th [Michigan Infantry; Edmond Waterman; William Lane, Co. C, 24th 
Iowa Infantry ; James Ferguson, 12th Illinois Regulars ; Erastus Fouch, Co. I, 
75th Ohio Infantry ; Elisha J. Lucas, Co. F, 10th Wisconsin Infantry ; Thomas 
J. Jinks, Co. F, 12th Kansas Infantry; Henry E. Hoskins, Co. K, 2nd Cali- 
fornia Cavalry; George Van Order, Co. D, 143rd Xew York Infantry; Charles 
Putnam, 1st Oregon Infantry; J. X. Moses, Co. E, Uth Ohio Cavalry; John 

C. Lyon, Co. A, 1st Ohio Cavalry; John Finch, Co. L, 9th Minnesota In- 
fantry; Paul Reil, Co. D, 6th U. S. Infantry; George A. John, Co. H, 73rd 
Indiana Infantry; J. B. Eakman, Co. E, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry; Ray S. 
Potter, C'o. D, 8th Minnesota Infantry; Thomas H. Keown, Co. F, 12th Mis- 
souri Infantiy; C. C. Arlle, Co. D, i07th Ohio Infantry; C. H. Lockwood, 
Xavy; A. Adams, Co. D, 12th .Maine Infantry; H. Bouchard, Co. A. 156th 
Illinois Infantry; Salathial Wheeler, Co. K, 27th Ohio; James A. Dowell, 
Co. M, 16th Kansas Cavalry; Charles X. Davis, Co. I, 66th Ohio Infantry; 
John .\lcott, Co. (i, 16th Wisconsin Infantry; Francis X. Belot, Co. K, 4th 
Minnesota Infantry; < )tis M. Keesey, Co. D, 98th Ohio Infantry; Timothy 
Ahinger, Co. C, 44th Ohio Infantry; F. R. Baumgartner, Co. D, 144th Ohio 
Infantry; S. D. Harding. Co. 1, 73rd Indiana Infantry ; ^^^ H. Hartwell, Co. I, 
9tli Xew l[ami)shire infantry; C. E. Bristol, Co. D, STth Ohio Infantry; 
Maurice Denham, Co. .\. 12th Wisconsin Infantry; S. H. Coomes, Co. C, 
27tli Illinois Infantry; Sylvester Ullom, Co. B, 25th Ohio Infantry; W. W. 
Swain, Co. .\, 1st Wisconsin Infantry: L. Wood. Co. I, 91st Indiana Infantry; 
V. S. Runnels, Co. D. 136th Ohio 'infantry ; Bradford Johnson, Co. I, 3rd 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COLWTY AND ENA'IROXS 171 

Xew York Infantry; William IT. Owen, Co. G, 42nd AILssonri Infantry; 
loseph S. Brewer, Co. G, 42nd New Jersey Infantry; .Adam Bair, Co. D, 86th 
Ohio Infantry; Joseph M. Loveland, Co. H, 32nd Iowa Infantry; C. C. Mar- 
tin, Co. G, 68th Illinois Infantry; John M. Gorham, Co. K, 7th Missouri 
Cavalry; Joseph Quinn, Co. F, 12th Missouri Cavalry; Herman lieyer, Co. !•"., 
8th N. Y. Infantry; William Brassfield, Co. M, 11th Illinois Cavalry. 

This shows the names of seventy-six veterans who have belonged to the 
Colonel Harper Post. Of these, sixteen were from Ohio, eight from Illinois, 
seven from New York, six from IMissouri, five from Wisconsin, four from 
Minnesota, four from Michigan, four from Iowa, three from Indiana, three 
from Kansas, three from California, three from the U. S. Regulars, two from 
Massachusetts, one from Maine, one from New Hampshire, one from New 
Jersey, one from Pennsylvania, and one from Oregon. Sergeant Nathan J. 
Keown, Co. B, 21st jMissouri, was a charter member and father of Thomas 
H. Keown, who served in Co. F, 12th Missouri. Father and son fought 
shoulder to shoulder to preserve intact their country and ours. Could we 
do less than give them brief notice in our history? Only a few old and 
bent gray-haired men survive of the seventy-six members of the post. Paul 
Reil, until his last Memorial Day, in spite of his ninety-one years, proudly 
carried the colors at the head of the little line of veterans who each year 
hold memorial services at Arroyo Grande. It was a sight to stir the heart 
to look upon this old man straighten his bent back, proudly lift his face and 
gaze upon Old Glory, then "fall in" and march the mile or more from head- 
quarters to the "bivouac of the dead." In homage we lift our hats and bow 
our heads in the presence of all members of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

The charter members of Colonel Harper Post were Henry Bateman, 
James G. Stevenson, John S. Rice, W. S. Carman, Thomas S. Rodgers, Nathan 
J. Keown, James S. Eddy, T. W. Spears, R. N. Jersey and Stewart Shaw. 
This post was instituted June 25, 1880. 

Fred Steele Post No. 70, G. A. R., named for Major General l-"rcd Steele, 
a brother of E. W. and George Steele, was first instituted probably in the 
late seventies, but the fire that destroyed the Andrews Hotel and other build- 
ings destroyed the first charter, and no exact date for the organization of 
the fir.st Fred Steele Post is available. The second post, bearing the same 
name as the first one. Department of California and Nevada, was organized 
July 1, 1886, with fourteen charter members, viz.: G. B. Staniford, R. B. 
Treat, J. E. Walker, W. G. Olmstead. George B. Woods, Charles Martin, 
N. R. Johnson, J. B. Seaton, Frank R. Dart, l-'rank Canncls, \\\ 1". Canon, 
Levi Rackliffe, Frederick E. Darke, John Hamlin. About one hundred fifty 
veterans have at various times Ijclonged to this post. At present there are 
only fifteen, for death is rapidly thinning their ranks. On January 11, 1917, 
James M. Brown answered the last roll call. The present officers are: 
David Thaler, commander; R. 11. Seebcr, senior vice; Charles Martin, 
junior vice; F. E. Darke, chaplain; S. L. Nichols, adjutant; B. F. East- 
man, officer of the day ; Martin Polin, inside guard ; David Hough, outside 
guard. The other members are Peter Banks, Blanchard Kirchner, Thomas 
Preston, R. N. Truesdale, Comrade Shindler and J. K. Truesdale. This post 
owns a i)lot of ground in the Odd I'^ellows cemetery at San Luis Obispo, 
where many old soldiers are buried. There is a soldiers' monument on the 
plot, and an old na\al cannon, on its carriage, presented to the post through 



172 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENX'IRONS 

the efforts of Senator George Perkins. Each year Memorial services are 
conducted there under the auspices of the post. There used to be a goodly 
number of the Boys in Blue marching to martial music as the procession 
moved to this one of God's acres. Now only a dozen or so white-haired men 
ride in automobiles to Memorial services, and the flags above the mounds are 
many. 

Too much honor cannot be shown this remnant of the gallant Union 
Army, and we are proud to embody in our history this brief review of Fred 
Steele Post No. 70 and C(.ilonel Harper Post No. 126 of San Luis Obispo 
county. 

A \-ery elticient Woman's Relief Corps is connected with each of these 
jxists. The one at Arroyo Grande was organized in 1883 with eighteen 
charter members, viz. : Eliza Bakeman, Hattie F. Turner, Lucy S. Spears, 
Harriet B. Abbott, Martha Eldridge, Hattie Lewis, Rilla Young, Mahelda 
Keown, Maira F. Peterson, Mary F. Meyers, .Sallie F. Findley, Georgia 
Eddy, Carrie Barker, Annie Shinn, Sarah Love, Nellie G. Abbott, Rosa 
Love, Missouri Eldridge. 

The Fred Steele Relief Corps was instituted July 9, 1910, with forty 
charter members. The roll call increased to seventj'-eight, but has now 
dropped to twenty-six in good standing. Two other corps had been organ- 
ized here in earlier years, but had ceased to be when the present corps was 
organized. This one takes an active part in charitable work and provides 
several socials each year for members of the G. A. R. This last year it 
helped pay the taxes on the soldiers' burial plot in San Luis Obispo, sent 
money to the Evergreen Home for old ladies, and assisted other worthy ob- 
jects. The past presidents are Mrs. Leonora Hardy, Mrs. Eastman, Mrs. 
Callie M. John, Mrs. Ethel Long, Mrs. Kitty Turney. Mrs. Corra Eastman 
is now president; Cora Evans, senior vice; Lily Smith, junior vice; Rachel 
Martin, chaplain; Charlotte Aliller, treasurer; Mrs. Annie Berry, secretary; 
Lena Spence, conductor ; Sadie Smith, guard ; Mrs. Eastman, patriotic in- 
structor ; Gertie Tilsley, press correspondent: jennette Taylor, assistant con- 
ductor ; Kitty Turney, assistant guard ; Mrs. Long, Catherine Taylor, Rosana 
Taylor and Ida Daugherty, color bearers. 

It has already been stated that Major General Steele was a brother of 
E. W. and George Steele, both very prominent pioneer men of the county; 
so when a post was to be organized at San Luis Obispo it seemed fitting to 
name it for their illustrious brother. He was graduated from \\'est Point 
in 1843, served in the Mexican War and through the Civil AVar, and was with 
his regiment at the battle of Vicksburg and with Sherman in his march to the 
sea. In 1912 a life-size bronze statue of Major General Steele was set up 
in \ ickshurg National F'ark. It was erected to his memory by his niece and 
oiher members of the Proctor family. In recognition of the honor shown 
their brother, the Steele Ijrothers presented the post with a fine silk flag. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 



CHAPTER XVI 
A Celebrated Land Case, and Old County Documents 

W'lieii in 1831 a land commission was estal)lishcd to settle the titles to 
the Spanish land tyrants, many of the Spanish and Mexican grantees scorned 
tiie "Gringo law,"' believing they could not be ousted from their lands. Those 
who complied fully with the law obtained patents, but those who refused 
became involved later in expensive litigation. Sometimes they lost the land 
entirely. Often they spent the price of it in lawsuits. As a sample case in 
thi.s count}^ we give the story of the Cuesta rancho. 

In 1841, Mariano Bonilla petitioned Governor Alvarado to grant him a 
tract of land which should be known as la Cuesta. He described it ciuite 
minutely. It is the land lying in Cuesta canon extending back along a little 
stream, the stream flowing into San Luis creek. The new city reservoir is 
near this stream, and the land is perhaps better known now as the Goldtree 
ranch. Bonilla's petition was referred to the priest in charge of the Alission, 
as la Cuesta was a part of the old Mis,sion lands. The priest reported favor- 
ably, and Governor Alvarado granted the land. April 16, 1842, Manuel 
Jimeno, member of the departmental junta, made an informal grant of the 
land, specifying that within one year a house be built and occupied, and 
that not over six or seven cows and horses, sufficient for family use, be 
pastured on the grazing lands which belonged to the Mission. The land 
granted Bonilla was to be for agricultural use and an orchard. Also, he was 
not to "divert or diminish" the water supply of San Luis creek, which fur- 
nished water for the [Mission. He might fence it, but the road must not be 
enclosed. 

March 14, 1846, judicial possession was given Bonilla by the alcalde of 
San Luis Obispo, Jose de Jesus Pico, who directed two plainsmen, Don 
Manuel Garcia and Don Vicente Bonilla, in default of a regular surveyor, 
to make a cord one hundred Castilian varas long and, "in company with 
witnesses and spectators," measure off the land. They promised to do it "fair 
and justly." The party proceeded to La Canada Honda, on the range of 
mountains, and, beginning there, measured off the land, setting suitable marks 
to indicate the bounds. After the land was legally surveyed by the plainsmen 
with their "cordel," Bonilla, to show that he was now sole "lord and owner," 
pulled up herbs and scattered them about ; also he "hurled stones" over his 
domain. The official witnesses were Vicente Garcia and Jose Ortega. Bonilla 
planted an orchard, built a house, which he lived in, and also put up a 
"molino," or grist-mill, and ground wheat for all who would bring it. This 
old mill, the first one at San Luis Obispo, is mentioned elsewhere. 

March 22, 1869, Bonilla sold to P. W. Murphy all his land, save the 
portion already sold to Sumner. Meantime a United States Government 
survey had been made; and Bonilla having refused to comply with "Gringo 
law," his land was surveyed with the rest and the sixteenth and thirty-sixth 
sections declared school lands. February 3, 1871, the United States Land 
Office issued to Leonardo Lopez a patent covering Bonilla's land, which Lope? 
got as school land or government land, and transferred to Isaac and Nathan 
Goldtree, who proceeded to take possession. Beyond question, this was an 
underhanded trick. Probably Goldtree instigated Lopez to take the land and 



174 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

furnished the funds, though this is only a supposition. Had Bonilla complied 
with the Mexican law. and later the •'Gringo" law, he would have been pro- 
tected, and so would Murphy; but now there was trouble. March 7, 1872, 
Murphy filed complaint for the recovery of his land and asked that defendant, 
Goldtree Bros., pay him $640 rent per year since the time they "forcibly, and 
without complainant's consent," took possession of la Cuesta. ]\Iay 6, 1873, 
the answer was filed ; and the suit was tried at the May term of court, 1874, 
without a jury. Walter Murray represented the defendants; C. W. Dana was 
clerk. The Goldtrees were given judgment, and Murphy had to pay costs 
of suit. 

^Vhen the suit was instituted, all the old records had to be hunted up. 
As they were recorded in Spanish, they were translated into English. Bonilla's 
petition, the priest's opinion and Alvarado's consent to it were found in 
the old custom-house at Monterey. As often as this land changes hands, the 
Bonilla heirs put in a claim for recognition and compensation, but so far 
to no avail. These old documents are so interesting that we give them in full, 
with peculiarities of style and punctuation retained. 

Copy of Old Documents Found in County Clerk's Office 

This cause came on to be tried at the jMay Term of this Court, 1874, 
and by consent of parties was tried to the Court without a Jury. The Court 
having heard the testimony and argument of Counsel now finds the facts 
to be : 

I 

On the 4th day of January, 1841, Jose Mariano Bonilla, a Mexican 
Citizen, and a resident of California, addressed to Juan B. Alvarado then Gov- 
ernor of California, the following petition: 

(Translation) 

"To His Excellency the Governor — 

I, Alariano Bonilla, a native of the Department of Mexico and a resi- 
dent of the Ex Mission of San Miguel before your Excellency respectfully 
and in the form of law, represent : That in the Canada known by the 
name of San Luis Obispo, there is a small plain, on which, with industry 
and labor, an orchard might be planted and mill built without disturbing 
the course of the water, and since the Mission of San Luis makes no use 
of said ]ilace, and does not need the same, and since the temperature of 
that ])lace is very beneficial to my health, I ask your Excellency to be 
pleased to grant me in said place, a solar of three hundred varas square, and 
to permit me to use the water of the Arroyo which runs to San Luis Obispo, 
without disturbing the course of the same or diminishing its quantity. I 
will place thereon a mill, plant an orchard and build a house, all of which will 
be for the pulilic benefit. The said place is well known, however, I furnish 
a map for your better information. 

Wherefore. 1 pray your Excellency to lie pleased to grant my petition, 
in which I will receive favor. 

San Miguel January 4th 1841. 

J. Mariano Bonilla." 

On the receipt of this petition, wliicli w:is acci miiianied by a diseno 
showing the location of the land asked for. the Governor referred the same 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 175 

for information to tlie Father ?ilinister of the Mission of San Luis Obispo, 
as follows : 

(Translation) 

"Monterey, January 16th 1841. 

Let the person in "charge of San Luis Obispo report on the foregoing 
petition after consulting with the Revd Father Minister as to whether or not 
the land petitioned for may be granted without prejudice to the Community. 

Alvarado." 

Thereupon Father Ramon Abella, the Priest in charge of the Mission 
of San Luis Obispo, made to the Governor the following report : 

"In relation to the foregoing petition dated on the 16th day of January 
1841, I say That I am of the opinion, that the said place may be granted for 
tlie uses set forth, but on condition, that the grantee, shall not put thereon 
more than six or eight cows for supplying the family with milk and some 
horses for his use, otherwise the establishment of San Luis Obispo cannot 
be maintained, since this place being surrounded by hills, it is a convenient 
place for the milch cows of the Establishment and the horses which are 
necessary for the use of the same, the greater part of which are kept there. 

God preserve you many years. 

San Luis Obispo, February 1st 1841. 

Fr Ramon Abella." 

This report was concurred in by Vicente Canet, the person ha\ing charge 
of the Mission establishment, who endorsed said report as follows : 

(Translation) 

"I agree in the above report, and not knowing how to write, I make the 
sign of the cross date as above 

Vicente Canet" 

On the 14th day of April, 1842, Governor .Vlvarado made the following 
decree : 

(Translation) 

"Monterey April 14th 1842 

In view of the petition with which these proceedings commence, the 
report of the Father Minister, and of the Majordomo of San Luis Obispo, 
with all other matters necessary to be considered in conformity with the 
laws and regulations on the subject, I declare Don Mariano Bonilla owner 
in property of one half a square league, from the Arroyo of tiie Encino 
towards the Cuesta of Santa Margarita as far as the mouth of the Cafiada 
on the principal road from San Luis Obispo. Let the corresponding title 
issue ; Let registry be made thereof in the respective book, and let the 
same be delivered to the interested party for his security and let this expi- 
diento be directed to the Most Excellent Departmental Junta for its ap- 
proval. Ilis Excellency, Senor Don Juan P.. .Mvarado, thus ordered decreed 
and signed." 

As another sample of old-time transactions, we give the following: Don 
Jose de Jesus Pico goes to Santa Barbara shopping. Perhaps the Doiia goes 
along. I'"roin the items one is almost sure she did. This old account was 
found in the office of the county clerk recently. The account is with Thomp- 



176 SAX LUIS Or.ISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

son's store. The debit items are: 1 wash basin, $2.00; three striped shirts, 
$7.40: 3 red shirts, $10.40: 1 doz. tin plates, $3.00; 6 pieces white dimity, 
$18.00; 1 piece blue flannel, $17.00; Yi doz. plates, $4.40; 4 tin pots, $3.00; 
2 pieces white sheeting, $36.00; 3 muslin dresses, $24.00; 6 axes and handles, 
$21.00. Credit items :^1 horse, $30.00; hides, $100.00; 6 bags tallow, $58.50; 
beef to other expedition, $10.00. 



CHAPTER XVII 

A Chapter of Political History, and Items from the Tribune 

It is not our purpose to go minutely into the political history of San Luis 
Obispo County, but rather to touch upon the more important political events 
that have had considerable influence on its general history. Since the settle- 
ment of the county, every political party, new and old, has found adherents 
among the growing populace. The first polling place was at San Luis Obispo. 

On .\ugust 1, 1849, the first election in the county was held at San , 
Luis Obispo to choose delegates to help draft the state constitution, and to 
elect local officials. Henry A. Tei¥t and Jose j\I. Covarrubias were elected 
delegates to the state convention, John M. Price and Esteban Quintana were 
elected alcaldes, and Joaquin Estrada, regidor. This election was called by 
General Riley, acting governor. When the constitution was voted upon and 
the election for governor was held, forty-five votes were cast, all for W. S. 
Sherwood. 

California as a state in those days was strongly Democratic ; but in our 
county the Whig doctrine was popular among the Spanish, a pastoral people. 
In 1851, party lines were drawn and San Luis Obispo County began to 
vote the Whig ticket. In November, 1851, Antonio de la Guerra of Santa 
liarbara was elected state senator from this district, and Mariano Pacheco, 
assemblyman. In 1852 California for the first time voted at a presidential 
election. Our county cast one hundred twelve ^-otes for Gen. \Vinfield Scott, 
Whig, and eleven votes for Franklin Pierce, Democrat. In 1853 the county vote 
was, for governor : William Waldo, Whig, one hundred thirty-seven ; Bigler, 
Democrat, nine. In 1854 the county cast an almost solid vote for George 
W. liuwie, \\ jiig candidate for Congress. That year William J. Graves 
was elected to the assembly. In 1855 the county cast one hundred eighteen 
\-otes for lligler, Democratic nominee for governor, and forty-five votes for 
J. Neely Johnson, running on the new American party ticket, whom the state 
elected. The vote in San Luis Obispo was the smallest county vote cast in 
tlie slate. Manuel Castro was sent to the assembly from San Luis Obispo 
County. 

In lS5i) a iiarly new to the State of California had to lie reckoned with; 
this was tlie Republican party, strong in the Eastern and Northern states, 
but new here. It was state policy to avoid sectional disputes, and the first 
s|fe;d<ers of this jiarty in California met with much abuse, mobbing being 
fre(|u<.-ntly resorted to. The first Republican state convention met at Sacra- 
memo on .\prd .SO, 185o, attended by representatives from thirteen counties. 
W lien the presiilential election of 18.=;6 was held, San Luis Obispo cast one 
iunidred seven votes for John C. Fremont, Reiniblican nominee. Our county 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 177 

in those days seemed always to vote on the losing side. In 1857 Kuniualdo 
Pacheco of San Luis Obispo was elected to the state senate and Henry M. 
Osgood was sent to the assembly. In 1858 Walter IMurray was elected assem- 
blyman. Up to August 3, 1859, all county voting had been at the county- 
seat, but now the supervisors divided tlie county into precincts as follows, 
viz. : San Miguel, Paso Robles, Estrella, San Luis Obispo, Costa and Arroyo 
Grande. The first judges, inspectors and places of election were Estrella: 
.Alfred Smith, inspector; James W'ayland and William James, judges; place, 
Smith's house. San Miguel: B. Palmer, inspector; AL (i. Noble and William 
McCrutchen, judges; place, San Miguel House. Paso Robles: G. Cruthers, 
inspector; B. J. Jones and J. Pruett, judges; place, Paso Robles Llouse. 
Costa : C. Mathers, inspector ; place, Santa Rosa House. San Luis Oliispo : 
F. Hillard, inspector; B. Lascano and J. Bunce, judges; place, county court- 
house. Arroyo Grande: E. Z. Branch, inspector; C. Dana and L. Martin, 
judges; place, F. Z. Branch's house. 

In 1859 San Luis Obispo County cast two hundred eighty-four votes for 
AFilton S. Latham, Democrat, for governor; later, January 9, 1860, Latham was 
elected United States Senator by the legislature and Lieutenant Governor 
John G. Downey became governor. Horace Greeley visited California on a 
campaign trip in 1859. On one occasion, the historic old stage driver with 
whom he was riding on a wild drive yelled to him : "Keep your seat, Horace; 
I'll get you there on time!" — and the mud Hew. 

In 1860 the first national presidential convention to meet in Chicago con- 
vened and nominated Abraham Lincoln on the Republican ticket. The doc- 
trines of both great parties were fully discussed. Great things were at stake; 
war loomed on the horizon, and San Luis Obispo County became stirred, as did 
the whole country. At the election held November 7, 1860, the vote of the 
county was: Lincoln, one hundred forty-eight; Breckinridge, one hundred 
fifty-five; Douglas, one hundred twenty; Bell, none. Charles H. Johnson 
received one hundred fifty-six votes for assemblyman, and \\'iliam L. Becbee, 
one hundred fifty-two. The state for the first time cast a plurality vote for a 
Republican president, Lincoln's vote being 38,734. 

The state election of 1861 was a hard-fought battle, ending in the election 
of Leland Stanford, Republican, for governor. In this county Stanford re- 
ceived one hundred seventy-six votes, and McConnell, the Democratic nomi- 
nee, two hundred votes. Romualdo Pacheco was elected Senator. C. W. 
Dana, representing San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, was sent 
to the assembly. In 1863 the county gave a Republican majority to F. F. 
Low, two hundred sixty votes against two hundred nineteen cast for 
J. G. Downey, Democratic nominee for governor. In 1864 San Luis Obispo 
County cast two hundred fifty-nine votes for Lincoln, against one hundred 
forty-nine for McClellan. In 1865 P. W. Murphy was elected to the state 
senate. Lie was a Democrat, but having friends in both parties, won the 
election. In 1867 the state went Democratic, but this county came out 
decidedly Republican. 

In 1869 the county seemed to "turn over." as most of the county officers 
elected ran on the Democratic ticket. In 1871 it went Democratic on the 
vote for governor, but was about e\enly divided on the county officers 
chosen. In 1872 the county cast four hundred fifty-five votes for Grant 
and three hundred twelve for Greeley. In 1873 the first Republican county 



178 SAX LUIS OI'.ISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

convention was held. A resolution was passed favoring re-election to office 
as a reward for faithful service. In 1875 the county went Democratic. In 
1876 the total nundier of votes cast in the county was 1,736, Tilden receiving 
944, Haves 772. in 1877 P. W. iMurphy, Democrat, was elected state senator, 
and L. M. Warden, Democrat, assemblyman, with 1,028 votes. In 1879 our 
county cast 1,038 votes for, and six hundred sixty against, the new con- 
stitution. There were many parties in the field, and in some cases two or 
more parties would unite on a candidate. Warren Chase was elected senator 
by the Workingmen's and New Constitution parties. H. Y. Stanley was 
chosen assemblyman on the Union ticket. In 1880 the county went Repub- 
lican, casting eight hundred twenty-eight votes for Garfield. In 1882 there 
were eighteen election precincts in the county. In that year the first official 
mention is made of a Prohibition vote. Forty-five votes were cast in the 
county for McDonald, Prohibition nominee for governor of the state. Some 
strides have been taken by prohibition since. 

In 1883 the state was divided into six Congressional districts, the sixth 
containing San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Benito, Los Angeles, Ven- 
tura, San Bernardino, San Diego, Kern, Tulare, Fresno, Inyo, Mono and 
Alpine counties, with a population of 127,136 and 22,860 voters — men over 
twenty-one years of age. In 1882 Judge Steele had been declared elected state 
senator on the Republican ticket ; but in the beginning of 1883, Brooks, the 
Democratic candidate, contested the election, and the result was thus 
expressed by Steele in a telegram to a friend : "Sacramento, Cal., Feb. 21, 
1883. The railroad got me. Brooks is seated. Steele." 

About 1873 the farmers of the county began to organize "Granges." the 
members being known as Patrons of Husbandry. The first Grange in the 
county was organized at Cambria, No. 25 ; and during the same year another 
was instituted at Arroyo Grande with twenty-three charter members. Other 
Granges were organized at San Luis Obispo, Old Creek, and Morro ; and one. 
Confidence Grange, was located, the writer thinks, in Green Valley. We find 
these Granges protesting, March 10, 1874. in a resolution sent to the repre- 
sentative in the assembly, against a bill pending "To build and equip a 
railroad from the Bay of San Luis Obispo to Santa 3.1aria valley." "We 
believe said bill unjustly discriminates in favor of said company and against 
this and Santa Barbara counties; we believe it would create an oppressive 
monoijoly and we request that bill be amended so as to fix similar rates of 
charge as all other railroads now being built or hereafter to be built in this 
county for moving freight and passengers." Signed, William Jackson, Master, 
and E. L. Reed, Secretary. The Grange, and later the Farmers' Alliance, 
became factors to be reckoned with in county politics. 

The "wet or dry" campaigns of these last few years were presaged, and 
the seed sown, when the "Order of Good Samaritans" was instituted in the 
cr.uiity. The first lodge of this order was organized at ]\Iorro, November 21, 
1878, Then followed one on the Los Osos in May, 1879; and Garden Street 
I.iuljre of San Luis Obispo was organized ]\Iay 3'. 1879. A strong lodge of 
this order was organized and built a hall in Arroyo Grande. These, with the 
Sons of Temperance and the Good Templars, did valiant work along tem- 
perance !mes. Prohibition has now become a vital political issue. 

_ From^ the_ account tlius far given, may be gathered some idea of the 
political situation dur^n- the first thirty years of the existence of our county. 



SAN LUIS OLilSPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 179 

The two powerful parties have been the Democrats and the Repulilicans. 
Other parties have usually, after a try-out alone, voted with one or the other, 
compromising on certain candidates. As between the two main parties, for 
many years it was pretty safe to run on the Republican ticket in San Luis 
Obispo County. 

Another question has entered into politics, one not to be downed, and 
that is, Shall the saloon go? They have gone from Paso Robles, Templeton, 
Santa Margarita, Arroyo Grande and several other old stands. Paso Robles 
and Arroyo Grande as incorporated cities voted them out. In the other 
localities they were closed when, as supervisoral districts, the people voted 
them dry. As a result of a vote taken in the county in 1907, the saloons 
were closed for about three months, but the saloon men contested the election 
on some technicality, and in July of that year the saloons were reopened. 
The Wylie local option law has Ijcen tal<en advantage of at other times. Sev- 
eral hard-fought anti-saloon elections have been held in the city of San Luis 
Obispo, each time coming a little closer towards winning, bvit so far the 
saloons have won. The last of these elections was held early in 1916. There 
is a large foreign-born element predominating, Swiss and Portuguese ; and 
these, men and women alike, usually favor the saloons. 

In 1890 a movement calling itself the Farmers' Alliance became prominent. 
E. S. Rigdon took an active part in organizing these bodies. At several 
elections the Farmers' Alliance people were able to hold the balance of power, 
and the Democrats and Republicans each sought to get the Alliance vote. In 
1892 E. A. Spangenberg, an Alliance man, ran for auditor, but was defeated. 
In 1894 he again ran, this time to win, and held the office for twelve years. 
The Alliance became identified with the Populist party, and they were able 
to elect several men. J. K. Burnett was sent to the assembly on that ticket. 
A. E. Campbell was sent to the state senate by the Democrats, and Warren 
AL John, a popular young Republican, was sent to the assembly for two or 
three terms. E. S. Rigdon is the present state senator from this district, and 
C. W. Green is assemblyman, both Republicans. 

"Wet or dry" has been the greatest issue at most of the county elections 
for the last few years. The law that admitted supervisoral districts to vote 
for or against saloons resulted in the first di.strict. Cliff supervisor, voting 
"dry" in 1911. This district comprises the northeastern part of the county, 
in which San Miguel, Shandon, Creston and Cholame are situated. In 1913 the 
fifth district voted dry. This closed saloons in Templeton, Santa Margarita, 
and Pozo, and shut up a few roadside deadfalls. Cambria, Cayucos, Avila, 
Pismo, Edna, Oceano, Nipomo, and San Luis Obispo still harbor saloons, 
but the "wet or dry" question comes up at cver\' state and county election 
in some shape. If it's nothing else, it is an amendment, or three or four, 
til the state laws. The strongest feeling prevails on both sides, but true it is 
that every party out for votes is anxious to conciliate the "dry" vote, and 
"wet or dry" has about as much significance now as "slavery or no slavery" 
had in 1860, and certainly bears a wider relation to humanity, as it aft'ccts all 
men, white or black. 

Items of Interest Taken from the Files of the Tribune 

Saturday, Aui;ust 7, 18()9, the first issue of the Tribune prints the Repub- 
lican ticket and ntlicr pi.litical news. Delegates to state convention: Walter 



180 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 



Murray, IT. B. Jones, W. L. Beebee. To district convention, J. C. McCollum, i 

(ieorge Steele, Ira \'an Gordon, Jose M. Munoz, James Lynch. Republican \ 

countv ticket: C. i\I. Dana, clerk; O. K. Smith, assessor; J. \[. Alunoz, j 

sheriff; John Bains, treasurer; J. C. McCollum, coroner; A. L. Cervantes, | 

surveyor; Jose Cantua, administrator. Supervisors, A. M. Hardie, J. M. | 

Price, Thomas Dickinson. Constables: J. G. Kester, George Davis of San I 

Simeon; J. J. Schiefferly, Zenobio Pico, Rafael Huera, San Luis Obispo; i 

Pablo Majica, Paso Robles. Justices of the peace : William Leffingwell, R. | 

S. Brown, of San Simeon; J. J. Findley, J. J. Simmler, of San Luis Obispo; | 

H(l Lester and J. R. Smith for Salinas valley. Central committee, C. L. i 

Reed, C. Mathers, George Stone, A. M. Hardie, J. F. Dana, B. Lazcano, W. | 

.Murray. William Jackson, J. Findley, F. Branch, (7ieorge Steele, James Lynch, j 

William Ogden. ; 

The first editorial says: "Our politics will be in accord with the party ' 

of the LTnion, that party to which under Pro\-idence we owe the preservation i 

oi the Republic through five years of war succeeded by three more of political i 

chaos. We seek peace rather than strife." j 

October 4, 1869. — Teachers' institute met at Cambria September 22, I 
1869. Present, County Superintendent of Schools J. H. Gooch and nine 

teachers (all in the county) : L. Rackliffe, Miss Campbell, Miss Cox, James i 

Beckett, J. G. Stewart, J. F. Beckett, Miss Balser, Mrs. Morris, F. E. Darke, i 

Among the topics discussed was whispering, and the band played at several j 

sessions. Institute lasted for several days. | 

October 18, 1869. — The supervisors at their last meeting let the contract ; 

for a bridge over the first creek north <if the Santa Margarita House to P. ] 

Dunn fipr $123.00, the county to deliver free the lumber on the banks of the I 

creek. Also $295.00 is allowed for repairs to courthouse. The iron roof is • 

to be removed and replaced with shingles. (This was the old adobe on \ 

?iIonterey street used as a courthouse.) ; 

December 9, 1869.— At Calaveras river, twenty miles from Stockton, | 

I'rank Medina, a storekeeper, and four others were murdered and the bodies j 

found in a gulch 400 yards back of the store, gagged and piled in a heap— j 

Medina, his clerk, two Mexicans and a negro. The store was in great dis- ' 

order. Some men had reported passing the store early in the day and hearing \ 

a gre:it commotion, but supposed it was just a riiw and passed on without : 

interfering. ; 

Married— In Santa Barbara, February 14, 1870, by Rev. F. G. Williams, 

Gen. I'hineas Banning of W'ilmington and Miss Marv Elizabeth Hollister of ; 
San Luis Oliispo. 

April 2, 1870.— We lately competed with the Standard for the county 
prnitmg and advertising:, and won it at a fair figure. 

April 2, 1870.— Notice. Capt. D. P. Mallah has received notice that the j 
steamer "Pelican" will carry merchandise at reduced rates, $5 per ton; wool, 

S8 per ton. Signed, C. H. Hewitt. Captain Mallah also states that he has i 

reduced the wharfage from $1.25 to $1.00. i 

August 6, 1870.— The assessment roll of San Luis Obispo Countv shows i 

that the total valuation is $2,108,307.77. ' I 

August 2, 1875.— Benjamin Cable, carpenter and builder. Particular ) 
attention paid to undertaking. Constantly on hand, zinc-lined coffins of all 
sizes. A new hearse. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 181 

A number of distinguished visitors have been in town this week : Senator 
Booth, Governor Pacheco, W. W. Dodge, Captain Archie Harloe, port war- 
den of San Francisco, Captain Marcus Harloe, Captain Engalls and Purser 
True to the steamer "Los Angeles," Don Juan Castro of Piedra Blanca, Alex- 
ander Forbes of San Francisco. 

The town and principal business houses were lighted with gas this week. 
The light is very fine, a great improvement on our old oil lamps. 

August 28, 1875. — Captain Jack, a Chinaman who kept a stock of goods 
for sale at his house, was found by two white men, his friends, murdered. 
These gentlemen hired a man to dig a grave and take the coffined body to the 
burying ground and set an hour when they would come to bury Jack. At 
the hour named they set out in a buggy for the burial place, but met the 
grave-digger coming into town. He told them they would find the body 
lowered into the grave. Thej^ went on and filled up the grave, then went 
for a ride into the country. Returning, they decided to go to Jack's house 
and put away his goods. They opened the door and there lay Jack in his 
coffin. Needless to tell how they felt. After an investigation it turned out 
that a drowned man had been sent up from Port Harford for burial ; and 
whether it was done for a "grave" joke or by mistake, his body had been 
placed in the grave instead of Jack's body. Today at eleven o'clock the 
gentlemen will themselves carry Jack to the burying ground, dig a grave 
and place him safely in it. The gentlemen are Colonel Harrison and Frank 
Grady. 

September 4, 1875. — Tuesday evening the up stage was robbed one mile 
from Lowe's station and three hundred feet below the foot of the grade. 
Two trees arch over the road here. Only one man was seen. The W'ells- 
Fargo box contained over $1,000. 

September 11, 1875. — The contract for the new I. O. O. F. hall has been 
let to R. T. Osgood. It will cost $8,355.60, and when done will be the most 
imposing building in town. The material is all to be brought down from 
San r^ancisco. 

Died— Murray. — At Cosmopolitan Hotel, October 5, 1875, Hon. Walter 
Murray, aged forty-nine years, one month. 

October 7, 1875. — The stage was robbed at the Lost Chance station on 
the up trip on Tuesday' night. A masked man covered the driver and ordered 
him to throw off the box, which he did. Two more masked men were seen 
standing back in the shadows. It occurred just wdiere a large tree droops 
its branches over the road. The sheriff of jMonterey county had just got 
off and was walking a short distance behind the stage. He shot at the robbers 
and caused them to drop the box, wdiich was speedily replaced. About a 
mile further on three shots were fired at the slieriff, who had mounted the 
seat beside the driver. 

October 9, 1875. — On the last trip, the steamer "Senator" landed fifty-five 
passengers for the county. We are now being recognized and are on the 
map. The stage fare has been reduced to $15.00 to Los Angeles, and $10.00 
to Santa Barbara. 

October 23, 1875. — In this issue is discussed the proposition to l)uihl a 
cross-country road to Bakersfield. 

December 4, 1875. — A large vein of coal has been discovered at Cholame 
valley in Peach Tree townsliip. .\ company to work it has been formed in 



182 SAX i.ris or.isi'o couxty and environs 



S ( ) 


•.ISl'O COrXTY 


lie is 


prcsi 


lent: I'. W. 


titcre 


sted. 


\A'eller will 



llollisler. 1-". II. Stmic is president: 1". W. IHake and C. L. Weller of San 
l-"raiK-isco also ar<? interested. \A'eller will be the general agent in San 
I'Vancisco. 

January 7, 1876. — Total rainfall to date for the season is 10.40 inches. 
A. ]. Hudson, a rancher on Old creek, visited our office this week and told 
of a narrow escape from death he and his family had while on a recent trip 
to San Francisco. Himself, wife and four children were all on the gang 
plank when some one on the boat tried to pull it in and all of them were 
thrown into the bay. ]\Ir. Hudson is a good swimmer, and with the aid of 
others all were rescued from a watery grave. 

January 29, 1876. — H. S. Rembaugh, editor of the Tribune, in this issue 
publishes a whole page describing a seance of Spiritualists at Central City — 
now Santa Maria — held in the house of Samuel Lockwood. The medium was 
Mrs. George Smith. She was tied and doubled-tied in a chair. A trumpet 
was "washed out" by the editor and set big end down on the floor. Franklin 
Mauk went with Rembaugh ; also Mr. and Mrs. John Thornburg, Mr. and Mrs. 
M. Thornburg, and Mrs. Jessie Thornburg. The lights are ordered out, trum- 
pet sails around in the air and stops at each one in the room, giving messages. 
Mauk's son through the medium and the trumpet tells his father he is glad 
he has quit swearing. Rembaugh says that Judge Murray's last words on 
earth were spoken to him and others, and were, 'T will come back and see 
you." The trumpet floats to Rembaugh, says it's Murray and proceeds to 
distinctly say, "I am glad to meet you." [Spiritualism was rather a new thing 
and its "rappings" were held in awe by many.] 

July 7, 1885. — A shooting af?ray on the Estrella near the old adobe church 
built in 1878. We condense the many items into one. A young man named 
Sanders was teaching school and said a heading gang of men insulted him 
and demanded that the headers should apologize to him. The header men 
had shot-guns with them and had been shooting the rabbits that were very 
plentiful in the grain fields. As Sanders and his friends carried guns, shots 
were soon being fired. Two men were killed outright and one left crippled 
for life. Long trials cost the county large sums of money. Two men were 
sent to prison but eventually pardoned, one from each side. The shooting 
resulted not only in needless death but caused a feud on the Estrella that 
lasted for years. 

May 20, 1892. — M. Lewin announces that at his shaving parlors on 
Higuera street he has fitted up a room especially for ladies, wdiere he will 
shampoo, curl and trim the hair in the very latest style, using his own famous 
shami)oo mixture. 



HISTORY OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY 

By J. H. Haydon 



SANTA MARIA 

The town of Santa ^faria was laid out and surveyed in 1875 by Isaac 
Fesler, John Thornburg, Isaac I\tiller and R. D. Cook, comprising the S.E. 
quarter of the S.E. quarter of section 10, the S.^^^ quarter of the S.W. 
quarter of section 11, the N.E. quarter of the X.E. quarter of section 15, and 
the "S.W. quarter of the N.W. quarter of section 14. The blocks were three 
hundred and fifty feet east and west, and three hundred feet north and south, 
with streets one hundred feet wide and alleys twelve feet wide extending 
east and west. Main street and Broadway are one hundred twenty feet wide. 
Many additions have since been made, and the original beauty marred In' 
streets of irregular width. 

As the town was located in the central part (jf the \-alley. it was named 
Central City. A few years later a post otifice was petitioned for, and as there 
was already an office of that name in the state, the name of the town and 
post office was changed to Santa Maria. \'ery little building was done 
the first year. A man named Johnston started a small store on the northwest 
corner of Main and Broadway, in 1876. This was bought out by Cridell 
& Fleisher one year later. A blacksmith shop, livery stable, and a few small 
business houses were erected, among them a hotel. In 1878, the First Meth- 
odist Church was erected. The Presbyterian Church was organized on 
Christmas day, 1881, but held their meetings in three places, Guadalupe, 
Santa Maria, and Pine Grove schoolhouse. The church was not specifi- 
cally located in Santa Maria until 1882. The old church building on Chapel 
street was erected in 1884. The Christian congregation erected their building 
in 1885. The Methodists and Presbyterians have erected new and more 
appropriate buildings ; and the Christian Church has, in the last few years, 
been altered and greatly improved. 

In 1880 two school districts were formed — Agricola, one and one-halt 
miles west of town; and Pleasant Valley, about the same distance southeast. 
A petition for a new district, named Central, was presented to the supervisors 
in October of 1881. On account of the districts already formed, the territory 
was very small. The petition was granted and the school was opened in the 
Methodist Church in February. Bonds were voted and a schoolhouse was 
erected that year, when seventy-eight pupils were enrolled. 

The Pacific Coast Railroad, starting from Port Harford, now Port San 
Luis, in San Luis Obispo County, with destination at some point in Santa 
Ynez valley, reached Santa Maria in 1882 and gave a wonderful impetus to 
the town. It at once became the receiving point for nearly everything pro- 



184 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 

diiced in the eiitiro valley and all things shipped in for farm culture and 
family cunsumiitinn. 

Santa Maria was never a "boom" town. Its growth from the start was 
sane and safe. Improvements came as they were needed; and when needed, 
someone was always ready to su])ply the want. John Crosby built the first 
hotel in 1875, a small frame structure which served all needs until 1882, when 
AIcEhan\- erected another and larger one on the south side of West ]\Iain 
street, called the American House. Like all new towns, the first buildings 
were small frame or board structures ; and fires are a necessary evil in all 
such towns. Such a fire occurred in 1883 on the west side of South Broad- 
way, destroying the furniture store of T. A. Jones & Son. This led to the 
erection of the first brick building in the town, now known as Hart's Hall, 
but erected by T. A. Jones. The next brick building was erected by Reuben 
Ilart on the southwest corner of Main and Broadway, in 1884. 

This histor}' is in no way intended as biographical, but a true history of 
the city could not be complete without a notice of one man w^ho has done 
much for Santa Maria. Reuben Hart, often called "The Father of Santa 
Maria." erected a blacksmith shop on the southeast corner of ]\Iain and 
Broadway,, in the year 1875. Energetic and economical, he saved money 
from the start. In 1884 he built the second brick building, and then started a 
small water system for the supply of water to the citizens on the south side 
of Main street, which he later enlarged by purchasing the rights of two rival 
companies until he supplied the entire town. The water system established 
and perfected by Mr. Hart was purchased by the city in 1915 for $72,000. 
Hotel accommodations being badly needed, in 1888 Mr. Hart removed the 
blacksmith shop and built in its stead the commodious hotel known as the 
Hart House: now. much enlarged, the Hotel Bradley. Still later, when more 
store rooms were needed, he erected a line of commodious brick buildings 
the entire Icngtli of block one on Broadway. He has prospered and amassed 
a competence, but he deserves the title he holds, "Father of Santa Maria." 

Several succeeding fires destroyed many of the wooden structures, which 
were replaced by larger buildings of brick, until very few of the original 
houses are left to tell the story of the early struggles to carry on small busi- 
ness. 

An Eye for the Beautiful 

Early in the settlement of the valley and town, the settlers began plant- 
mg trees for shade and ornament, first the eucalyptus, and then the pine and 
the beautiful pepper trees. The roads leading into the country were lined 
by the tall, graceful eucalyptus, which, being a tree of rapid growth, soon 
l)ecanie \aluable lor fire-wood as well as for its beauty. This remarkable tree 
will reach to fifty or eighty feet in five years, with a body of from six to 
ten inches in diameter. Cut down then, it will at once send forth from two 
to eight sprouts which, in another five years, will be as large as the parent 
tne w;!s when cut. I'.eing a tree of deep and wide-extending root, it draws 
the n..unshment from the soil for many feet around; and as the land has 
become very valuable for crops, many of the farmers, preferring value to 
lH-:inty. have destroyed thein. 'I'he approaches to the city are stiU beautiful 
shady drives, and tlie streets lined bv the jiepper trees 'are remarkable for 
Iheir In-auty at all times of the vear. 



SAN LUIS' OBISPO COUXTY AND ENVIRONS 185 

Efforts at Fruit Industry 

The attempts at fruit-raising began with the early settlers, and at first 
were considered a great success. Trees grew rapidly and came into l)earing 
at two years old. This led to extensive planting, largely of apricots, prunes, 
apples and pears. For six or seven years the trees grew thriftily and the 
fruit was good. Then the trees declined and the fruit grew smaller in size and 
poorer in quality, until fruit-raising was abandoned as unprofitable, and the 
large orchards were removed and the land used for better-paying crops. With 
irrigation and judicious fertilization all these fruits can be made to yield an 
income equal to, if not greater than, that realized from any other crop to 
which the land is planted. 

Banks 

The Bank of Santa Maria was chartered in May, 1890, with William 
L. Adam, president, and P. O. Tietzen, cashier and manager. Cash capital, 
$50,000. Today its capital and assets are $325,000. The First National Bank 
began business in 1905. Archibald McNeil is president and Ernest Gibson, 
cashier and manager. A few years later, the Valley Savings Bank was 
organized as a loaning institution. It does not receive deposits. William H. 
Rice is president, and Thomas Adam local manager. 

Homicide 

In 1890 occurred the most regrettable thing that has ever happened in 
Santa Maria. A man named Criswell was running a saloon on East i\lain 
street. He had started the red-light district, which caused him to be con- 
demned by the people of the town, in very harsh, ways. In revenge, he 
posted some very libelous statements in front of his saloon. They were torn 
down by the constable without a court order, but were replaced by Criswell 
the next day. "Doc" Southard, the constable, went to remove them again, 
without an order from the court. Criswell was standing in front of the 
saloon, when Southard approached ; both were "gun men" and dead shots. A 
few harsh words passed, and both drew guns and shot simultaneously. 
Southard fell dead; and Criswell, fearfully wounded, was placed in his bed- 
room back of the saloon. Dark threats were made against him by Southard's 
friends, and the sheriff placed what he thought was an ample guard in the 
ri)om. A mob of a dozen men, disguised, went to the saloon at midnight; the 
guard made no resistance and Criswell was hanged in the room, choked to 
death by the rope. It was one of the most cold-blooded, ghastly murders 
ever perpetrated by a mob, but the perpetrators were never apprehended. 
The best citizens thought that both men could well be spared, and no decided 
effort was made to bring the perpetrators to justice; but it must ever remain 
a dark stain on the history of the tnwn. 

Telephone 

In 18')2 the Sunset Tclcplione Cnnip;iny began operation in a very small 
way in the town. J. C. (Barney) Martin was manager. For two years very 
little progress was made; then J. II. Haydon was placed in control and he 
succeeded in getting telephones into the principal business houses and many 
dwellings. The people learned tlial the "plione" liad come to stay and that 
it was a necessity. Haydon remained manager until 1898, when L. L. Colvin 



186 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

was appointed to succeed him, and under his management telephone business 
rapidly increased. The system was not improved, and there was so much 
complaint that the Home Telephone Company started a plant of their own 
with a better system and improved phones. This forced the old company 
to make great improvements, and the telephone spread all over the district. 
Now very few houses in town or country are without a telephone. Both 
companies are merged under the name of the Santa Barbara Telephone Co. 

Incorporation 

In 1900 the first effort was made to incorporate the town. Two classes 
of people were violently opposed to incorporation. The first class were 
those who feared their taxes would be increased and would not vote for any 
improvement that might cost them something; unfortunately we have a 
few of that class still with us. The other and much larger class was the 
saloon element, who feared that incorporation would result in a dry town. 
The proposition was twice voted down. In April, 1905, another efi'ort was 
made, and this time a proposition was made to the saloon people that they 
might name the board of trustees. This was accepted, the town was incor- 
porated and the law went into effect, September 5, 1905. We still have the 
saloons, but under close restrictions: closing at 11 P. M. and all day Sundays, 
with clear windows and no gaml)ling. 

Temples and Halls 

The corner-stone of the Alasonic Temple was laid in 1906, and the build- 
ing completed and dedicated in May, 1907. This by far the best and costliest 
building in the city acted as an inspiration to others. The Jones buildings 
were erected immediately, completing the block on the east side. One year 
later the Odd Fellows building was erected on the southeast corner of Main 
and Lincoln streets. The Presbyterian Church on Chapel street was pur- 
chased and made over into Lisbon Hall. These, with the addition of Hart's 
Hall, furnish ample accommcidation for all lodges and associations in Santa 
Maria. 

Lodges in the City 

Almost every lodge or society is represented in the little city. The 
leading lodges arc the Masons, Knights of Pythias and Independent Order 
of (Jdd Fellows, together with their sister associations, the Eastern Star, 
Pythian Sisters and Rebekahs. Following is a list of the first otificers of the 
pioneer lodges, as chosen at their organization : 

Hesperian Lodge, F". iS: A. M.. of Santa Maria: A. H. Orr, Master; 
W illiam Ayres, Secretary. 

Santa .Maria Lodge. K. of I-.: H. C. F-agby. Chancellor Commander; 
George Brown, secretary. 

Santa Maria Lodge .>f Odd !• ellows : Benjamin F. Brock, Nolile Grand; 
.1. Triiilett. secretary. 

lidelity Chapter, R. A. At. : Koltert 'Fravers, High Priest; J. H. Havdon, 
secretary. 

Santa Maria High School 

A union higli school (H-trirt xvas formed in 1891, embracing at that time 
■ twenty -three ?'ranuT;ar scho,.! district*;. For two years the high school was 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 187 

connected with the district school. In 1894 an election for voting ten thou- 
sand dollars in bonds to erect a high school building was lost; but the voters 
expressed a willingness that a building be erected through direct taxes. This 
was done by the trustees, then consisting of the clerk of each school district, 
and the first part of the building was completed that year. The school was 
accredited by the State University in 1897, under the management of Prof. 
J. C. Russell, then principal, and from its first organization it has been the 
pride of the town and district. The building has been enlarged and the 
grounds beautified until today no high school of equal size in the state can 
boast of superiority. Under the superintendency of Prof. Nelson C. Smith, 
the school has a proficient staff of teachers, with one hundred and thirty-five 
pupils, and every study belonging to a first-grade high school is success- 
fully taught. 

Grammar Schools 

The growth of the town and the c(inse(|uent increase in tlie number of 
children had caused the erection of a four-room building in tlie northwest part 
of the town, but by the act of incorporation which extended the city to two 
miles square, so much additional territory was added to the school district 
that additional school room was required. This need was met for a few 
years by renting buildings ; but that plan having proven very unsatisfactory, 
bonds were voted in the sum of $24,000, and two new and splendid buildings 
were erected, which meet e^'ery demand. 

Hotels 

To meet the growing demand for hotel accommodations, Francis Joseph 
McCoy erected a hostelry, known as The Inn, one block north of the high 
school building on Broadway. This building has more than forty rooms, all 
outside, and each with a bath. There are ample garage accommodations for 
the traveling public, and everything is first-class. 

Traveling salesmen unite in saying that Santa Maria is the liveliest and 
best town of its size in the state. \\'ith its splendid line of commercial 
houses; its ample hotels and restaurants; its first-class lawyers, doctors and 
dentists ; its good churches and extraordinary school accommodations ; and its 
beautiful residences and intelligent, hospitable people, why should it not be 
the i)est? Added to this, it is the center of the largest and richest super- 
visoral district in Santa Barbara County. The city has about three thousand 
fi\e iiundred inhabitants, figuring from its children of school age, no census 
having been taken since 1910. It has three newspapers, two private hos- 
pitals, a good fire department, a perfect lighting and power system, natural 
gas, good telephone and telegraph facilities, and broad, well-paved streets. 
The city owns its own water system, the income from which pays the 
interest and will eventually pay the water lionds ; tlierefore it is not in debt. 
Homeseekers surely cannot find a better iilacc in wliich lo seek a linnic. 

Roads 

One of the great drawbacks tn the southern part of the valley and mesa 
of the La Graciosa country was the almost impassable roads, with an open, 
treeless plain to tlie ocean and sand dunes that had blown up over a great 
part of the mesa. Tlie sand was lilted and l)Iown about by tlie strong winds 



188 SAX LriS OlUSrO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

that prevailed during about six months of the year. Planting of trees greatly 
impeded the wind, but the roads were so very sandy that travel, even by 
light conveyance, was very slow and disagreeable. 

For many years the only method of working these sand roads was by 
placing straw on them. This was a temporary improvement only. In 1892 
Walter Elliott, then supervisor of the fifth district, conceived the idea of 
placing from si.x to ten inches of hard-pan on the sand and thoroughly drag- 
ging and rolling it smooth and hard. This proved to be a great success. 
The great number of trees planted and their rapid growth had so broken 
the force of the wind that sand to a C9nsiderable extent ceased to be blown 
onto the roads, and traveling was ver\- much improved. When oil became 
plentiful and cheap, it was worked into the hard-pan and the sandy roads 
became the best in the valley. 

Santa Maria Oil Fields 

From the time oil was found at Summerland, many people thought that 
it might be found in the hills south of Santa Maria. John Conway may be 
called the pioneer. He had faith enough to secure the opinion of some 
experts and began securing oil leases on lands supposed to be in the oil belt. 
These leases had time limits and he only secured the co-operation of one 
company, the Casmalia Oil Co. This company operated near Casmalia and 
succeeded in finding a grade of oil too heavy to be valuable. Conway had 
the lease of the Careaga ranch, but failing to interest capital, gave up the 
lease. A. H. McKay then secured the lease and succeeded in forming the 
Western Union Oil Co., of which he was manager. The company began 
drilling a well on the south part of the lease, with William P. Logan as 
drilling superintendent. Oil was struck in this well in August, 1901, at a 
depth of nearly two thousand feet. A slight earthquake a few days after 
this well came in, broke and disarranged the pipe and the well for a time 
was useless. 

Two oth'er wells were then begun, one of them about a half mile east of 
the first well. This well was completed in much shorter time and proved to 
be a gusher. Several new companies were quickly formed and oil leases 
were acquired. The most important of these companies were the Union Oil 
Co.. which bought the TTobbs tract of land and leased the Fox tract (the 
Al)ner Stui>blefield ranch), and the Pinal Company, composed of local 
capitalists, which secured an option on the Coleman Stubblefield tract of 
four Inmdred eighty acres. The Pinal No. 1 was a paying well, and 'No. 2 
was the first great gusher. This well threw the oil in great streams far over 
the to]) of the eighty-six-fool derrick and brought thousands of people to see 
it. .\bout the same time, the Union Oil Co. brought in their first well, 
l-"ox No. 1. The fact that tliese wells were two miles north from the West- 
ern L nion proved a wide Ijelt of oil territory, and excitement became intense. 
Oil companies were formed rapidly and everybody who had any ready 
uKjney l)ought stock in almost any kind of a companv. 

The Kice Ranch Oil (o., that h.id failed to sin'k a well in Cat canon, 
l«ouglu lerribjry on the Kaiser rancii ; and the New Pennsylvania, the Asso- 
ciated, the Graciosa, the lirookshire, tlu- Ib.pkins and manv other companies 
secured leases and began operations. S...in what had been an unexplored 
niouni,-Mn of jungle was covered bv derricks, and roads were constructed 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 189 

where horsemen had refused to ride. The Union, on account of its immense 
capital, took the lead, and the Pinal and the Pinal-Dome, both of local capital, 
acquired large tracts of oil territory. Many of the new and smaller com- 
panies, in which local citizens had in\-ested, failed to make good, and the 
small investors lost money; but usually the promoters came out all right, 
for the money spent was that paid in by the purchasers of stock. 

The Newlove ranch of over three thousand acres lying between the Pinal 
and Western Union was purchased by the Union Co. for three and one-half 
million dollars, and has yielded millions of barrels of oil and is only partly 
explored. In this oil belt deep drilling is required, some of the wells reach- 
ing a depth of nearly five thousand feet, and the cost of a well ranges from 
$20,000 to $60,000. The oil sand is from two hundred to one thousand feet 
deep, and the wells, when finished, are durable. Very few wells have failed 
to yield a paying cjuantity of oil, and the oil is of the highest grade found in 
the state. 

Early in the oil-prospecting stage, se\eral attempts were made to sink 
wells farther east in what is known as the Cat canon territory ; but owing to 
the formation of the soil, the prospectors failed to succeed. With improved 
facilities, later efiforts were successful, and fine paying wells were found. This 
region is generally called the Palmer, from the first and strongest company 
operating there. The oil operations there have been so great that the Santa 
Maria Valley Railroad was built from Betteravia to the Palmer Annex, and 
the Pacific Coast Railroad was extended to the Palmer. The town of Sisquoc 
was started for a shipping point for oil-well supplies, and has a good general 
mercantile store and the very unnecessary saloon. 



SANTA MARIA VALLEY AND ENVIRONS 

In writing of a country or place, the necessary starting ])oint is "Where 
is it?" Santa Maria Valley is the real and only entrance, on the north, from 
Northern California to Southern California. As we are implying that Santa 
Maria Valley is the northern boundary of Southern California, it may be that 
a few words of explanation are necessary. A straight line drawn from the 
eastern boundary of the state through the Tehachapi pass to the ocean has 
always been considered the dividing line between Northern and Southern 
California, and that line falls only a few miles north of this valley. 

The valley is almost a perfect ellipse, but widens at the western or 
ocean end, thence bending north and south in a northeasterly direction to 
the intersection of the mountains at the terminus of Eoxen canon. Nothing 
was known of this great valley until Fremont's expedition in 1846. Upon 
what small things do great events depend ! Through the reckless nerve of 
one little woman Fremont's great "pathfinding" expedition became possible. 
Fremont had married Jessie, daughter of Senator Thomas H. Benton of Mis- 
souri. Through the influence of Benton the expedition had been planned 
and Fremont had been selected to lead it. Leaving his wife in St. Louis, with 
instructions to forward by courier any mail of importance, Fremont started 
I in his long trip. In the meantime the government had forwarded orders 
recalling the expedition. The orders reached St. Louis four days after his 



100 SAX LUIS OIUSPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

(lei)aftiire, and Mrs. l-'rcinont suppressed them. Those were not days of tele- 
graph and railroads. The shortest time of mail from Washington to St. 
Louis was se\en davs : and as the troop of forty-two men had left Independ- 
ence four days before the letter reached St. Louis, the recall was impossible. 
This was J'Vemont's third trip across the continent, and during the interval 
the United States and Mexico had become engaged in war. On July 5, 1846, 
he defeated General Castro at Sonoma. He was elected governor of the ter- 
ritory I>y the Americans, after which he started to Los Angeles. 

JIc entered the Santa Maria valley July 21st near where the city of 
Santa ^laria now is, and stopped two days near La Graciosa, supposedly at 
the Brookshire Springs. Fremont had intended to go south by way of 
Gaviota pass; but finding the }*[exicans in control there, he secured the 
guidance of William Foxen, then the owner of Rancho Tinaquaic, who 
guided him through h'oxen canon up the Santa Ynez river, and over the 
mountains, reaching the valley near Goleta. Mr. Charles Buckner, formerly 
of St. Charles, Mo., who was with Fremont, says that Foxen 'was the only 
white man in the valley. Mexicans in those days were not considered white 
people. Mr. Buckner speaks of the valley as "broad, of very sandy soil and 
very little water," from which we infer that the western part of the valley 
was not traversed by Fremont, that the direct route to Gaviota was taken, 
and that the fastest time possible was being made. 

The early padres certainly passed through the valley, but it has not 
been found that it impressed them sufficiently to be recorded. The western 
part of the valley is covered by the Guadalu]ie, Laguna and Casmalia land 
grants. 

Guadalupe Rancho 

The Guadalupe grant starts from the (icean with an ocean line <jf ten miles 
and extends eastward eight miles. This grant was made by the Mexican gov- 
ernment, March 21, 1840, to Diego Olivera and Teodoro Arellanes, and covered 
originally 30,408 acres. In 1857, Congress confirmed the grant. In 1870 
a patent was issued for 43,680 acres. By what logic, or other considera- 
tion, the extra 13,000 acres got into this grant is unknown. As the addition 
covers the most valuable portion, the reasons therefor may be easily sur- 
mised. The western portion is largely covered by sand dunes. The eastern 
is l)lack adobe or heavy sandy soil and very productive. The rancho passed 
to the Kstudillo family before the time it was patented; and John Ward, who 
had married a daughter of Fstudillo, did the first farming, in 1867. Congress 
voted a triangular tract of land lying between Guadalupe rancho and Punta 
de la Laguna rancho to John Ward in consideration of the construction of 
a wagon road from Point Sal to Fort Tejon. He constructed nine miles of 
the road and claimed the land, as there was a natural pass-way from Fort 
Tcion to (;uadalui)e: and the patent was issued. The rancho house, now 
t)\vnefl by William Stokes, which used to be known as the "Old Adobe," was 
erected by Diego 01i^•era in 1843. 

Stock-raising was the only business followed by the Spanish owners, but 
vegetables ol ,-dl kinds have since been produced in great abundance. Efforts 
to jiropagatc Irnits were failures. The climate is cool and health-giving, but 
too l)leak for fruits unless protected liy wind-breaks, and is not a marked suc- 
cess even then. The lower part of the rancho has pr.iduced one hundred 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS I'H 

twenty bushels of barley to the acre, but wheat does not succeed well. In the 
upper end, grain of all kinds is raised in great abundance. 

In 1872, H. J. Laughlin started a store near the old adobe, and the town 
of Guadalupe was established. The Kaisers came two years later. In 1875, 
the first newspaper in the northern part of the county, entitled The Guadalupe 
Telegraph, was established, and was printed in the old adobe. Financial 
difficulties ensued, and the plant was purchased by H. J. Laughlin and con- 
veyed to the late De W'itte Hubble, who published the paper many years. 

Guadalupe was the starting-place of some men who have since become 
very prominent in their professions, among whom may be mentioned Judge 
B. F. Thomas of Santa Barbara and Dr. William T. Lucas of Santa Maria. 

The most unique character that was ever about the rancho was Jose 
Chisito Olivera, a relative of the patentee. He remembered and told of 
the great dances or fandangoes that were held at the old adobe before the 
coming of the Gringos. He also said that until 1847 there was only a small 
stream of water there, and that in that year an earthquake occurred and the 
lagoon was formed. He claimed that Fremont stopped three days at the 
old adobe, and that a beautiful senorita fell in love with one of the officers 
and went south with him.* Jose was heir to one-twelfth of the Todos Santos 
rancho, and traded his entire interest for a saddle and a gallon of whiskey. 
When his friends told him that the rancho would sometime be very valuable, 
his rejjly was : "Yes, maybe, but I need the saddle now, and whiskey is always 
good." 

The first Masonic lodge in northern Santa Barbara County was organ- 
i2ed in Guadalupe, on June 12, 1874, with the following officers: J. J. Eddie- 
man, W. M. ; Russell "Parkhurst, S. AV. ; John R. Norris, J. W. ; and B. F. 
Thomas, Sec. 

Dr. William T. Lucas, afterwards Master of this lodge, was elected 
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California in 1896. From this lodge, 
Hesperian Lodge No. 264 was largely formed, in 1882, and for the next 
twelve or fifteen years the lodge languished. Following the building of the 
sugar factory at Betteravia the lodge sprang into a new lease of life, and in 
the last few years they have erected a splendid hall, in which they hold their 
meetings. 

Guadalupe has two good hotels, a Catholic church, a school luiilding 
of six rooms, and two large dry goods and grocery stores, with many 
smaller lines of business of all kinds. The town has had a varied history. 
Prosperous from its founding until, in 1882, the building of the Pacific Coast 
Railway ten miles farther up the valley gave an impetus to the little town 
of Santa Maria, then called Central City, Guadalupe then lost many of its 
prominent resident.s, who moved to the new center of trade. Guadalupe de- 
clined until the building of the Southern Pacific Railway through the town 
gave it advantages in shipping facilities, since which time it has been very 
prosperous. The present population is largely Swiss, with quite a number of 
Japanese and Chinese in the southern part. There is a Chinese .Masonic lodge, 
but it is not recognized officially by the American lodges. 



' Fremont's notes do not indicate that he was in Guadalupe; neither docs Buekner s 
story. 



192 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Rancho Punta de la Laguna 

Lying east of Guadalupe ranehu is the RanclKj I'unta de la Laguna, ten 
by seven miles in extent, but of irregular shape. The grant was made to 
Luis Arellanes and E. jNI. Ortega, Dec. 24. 1844, and originally was for 
26,684 acres ; but when confirmed by Congress it had grown to 44,000. The 
name of this rancho was derived from the irregular, but beautiful lake lying 
within its territory and called the Laguna. The vast watershed or territory 
embracing parts of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern and Ventura coun- 
ties, drained by the Cuyama and Sisquoc rivers, has its outlet in the Santa 
Maria valle}'.* The territory drained by these rivers is almost as large as 
the state of A'crnnait. The lower ri\-er and the valley were named for an 
Indian named Mario, who ruamed over this country before the occupancy 
by Americans. He was one of the early converts to Christianity at the 
Santa Ynez iMission and was thereafter called Santa Maria, the masculine 
termination of his name being changed to the feminine. These rivers are 
rushing torrents during rainy seasons: but in the spring the water sinks 
into the ground when it reaches the valley, and rises twenty miles below to 
form the lake. 

The water in the valley is from thirty to one hundred twenty feet below 
the surface, and an abundance of water can be found by drilling or digging 
to those depths at almost any place. With the exception of the area cov- 
ered by the Laguna, all parts of the rancho are adapted to agriculture. In 
early days vast herds of cattle, horses and sheep grazed over the entire ranch. 
This was followed by dairying, which gave way to grain, and this, in turn, 
was superseded by beans and beets. Three large ranches, from the north- 
eastern portion of this rancho, were purchased prior to 1880 by W. S. Adam, 
John Shuman and John Rice, respectively. Grain was their principal crop; 
but each of them tried to develop fruit culture and walnuts. Fruits were a 
very poor success ; and walnuts, on account of the cool, bleak winds, were an 
entire failure. Mr. Shuman made a second trial in 1894 with walnuts and 
apricots ; but meeting a second failure, he abandoned all efforts to raise fruits 
except a little for home use. 

Land on any part of the rancho could have been purchased up to 1897 
for from $30 to $50 per acre. The Union Sugar Company purchased the 
southeastern portion of the rancho at that date, and began the erection of a 
sugar factory on the bank of the north prong of the Laguna. They made con- 
tracts with the farmers throughout the valley to raise and deliver beets in 
18''S: but the great drought of 1897-98 made it an impossibility to raise beets 
and all contracts were canceled. Believing it impossible to raise beets success- 
fully without irrigation, the company completed the plant in 1898 and began 
to erect a great irrigation system. This was begUn first by artesian wells; 
later they drilled wells where they were needed, and lifted the water by im- 
mense engines. This Avas the first real eff'ort at irrigation in Santa Maria 
valley. In 18')8, when it was so dry that virtually nothing was produced 
naturally, J. F. Goodwin erected a small plant on the bank of the Laguna 
and by irrigation raised a small crop of hay. 

From the advent of the sugar factory a marked improvement in farming 

* That part of lhc Santa I\1aria river above the junction with the Sisquoc always was, 
and shouhl now bo, called tin: Cuyama; and from the junction to the ocean, the Santa 
Maria. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 193 

began throughout the valley. The farmers had been using the Stockton 
gang-plow drawn by from four to eight horses, and only skimming the 
ground. The factory people introduced immense team or steam plows, and 
turned the earth from thirteen to twenty inches deep. The favorable result 
was quickly seen, shallow plowing became a thing of the past, and crops of 
all kinds were much increased. It has been found that the alkali land, that 
had been considered worthless, produced fair crops of beets when plowed 
deeply, and that the beets neutralized the alkali. J. W. Atkinson has had 
charge of the company from the time of first construction, and under his 
management it has been a success from the beginning. In 1908 the com- 
pany planted 11,116 acres in beets, besides what they purchased. The year 
1913 was the banner season for production, the yield reaching the enormous 
amount of one hundred fifteen thousand tons. It was claimed by many 
wise ones that beets exhausted the soil, and that after a few years beet 
planting would cease. But with a skilful plan of rotation of crops, the yield 
is at this date equal to that of the virgin soil. For the first decade Ellis 
I Nicholson was in charge of the agricultural department. He was succeeded 
j by M. M. Purkiss, and to their ability much of the productive success is due. 
! A line of the Pacific Coast Railway was built to the factory when con- 

struction began, and later the Southern Pacific Railway built a branch of 
their road to the same point. A beautiful row of cottages border the lake 
and extend one block north. The company erected a commodious school- 
house at its own cost, and a new school district was formed. The company 
1 has deeded the schoolhouse and the site to the district. A general mer- 
i chandise store, which contains almost everything, is operated by the com- 
, pany. They have a non-denominational church building and a splendid club- 
( house. Prior to the erection of the factory, vast swarms of 'geese and ducks 
I covered the Laguna; but since that time there has been a great decrease in 
j both ducks and geese. From the starting of improved culture, the land has 
rapidly advanced in value and is now held at from $150 to $300 per acre. 
The main crop is beans, on that part of the rancho not owned by the sugar 
' company. The majority of the farmers are Portuguese, who hailed from 
I the Azores. They ha\'e raised large and patriotic families in their adopted 

country. 
I ! Suey Rancho 

The Suey rancho was granted to Ramona Carrillo de Wilson. The pat- 
ent was issued in 1865, and conveyed 48,234 acres. As the larger part of the 
grant is in San Luis Obispo County, and less than 2,000 acres in the Santa 
Maria valley, we shall merely say that the survey of the line in the valley 
was a marvel of ingenuity : instead of a straight or curving line, it right angles 
a't every point where it was possible to include an extra piece of good land. 
The ranch is now owned by the Newhall family and is a great stock ranch ; 
but thousands of acres are culti\'atcd in grain and beans. 

Rancho Tepesquet 

This rancho was granted to ^^lanucl ( )li\ era in 1842. W. D. I'"oxen. who 
married a daughter of Olivera, used it as a stock ranch from 1843 to 1855, 
when Pacifico Ontiveros, wdio had also married a daughter of Olivera, came 
from Los Angeles and took possession by virtue of gift. The occupancy by 



194 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

the Foxens led to the erroneous lielief in their ownership. Tlie patent was 
issued to Pacifico Ontiveros in 1868, and was for 8,900 acres extending from 
the range of low hills on the south of the Sisquoc river to the approaches of 
the San Rafael mountains lying to the eastward. The valley land is a rich 
sandy loam and produces enormous crops of grain or vegetables. The mesa 
lying between the river and the hills, called the Santa Maria Mesa, was for 
many years famous for its abundant crops and high quality of wheat. Con- 
stant crops of wheat, with no rest or rotation, have had the inevitable result 
of lessening the yield, until wheat has ceased to be cultivated. The hill coun- 
try is rugged, and some of it very steep ; but it is a fine place for stock-raising. 
Tepesquet creek extends from the Sisquoc river through a narrow pass for 
about thirteen miles, a never-failing stream of pure, clear water, with abund- 
ant fall for irrigation or water power. The ranch passed into the possession 
of fnur sons of Pacifico: Patricio, Salvador, Juan D. and Abraham. Salvador 
died in 1890 and his interest was purchased by the others. Only a small 
portion of the original ranclKi is now owned by the Ontiveros family. 

Sisquoc Rancho 

The Sisquoc rancho, containing about thirty-five thousand five hundred 
acres lies just east of the valley of Santa Maria. For about two miles, it 
fronts on the valley, and then strikes north and east for ten miles. The 
Sisquoc river runs diagonally through it from east to west. Very little farm- 
ing is done, except for hay, stock-raising being the principal industry. The 
entire ranch is owned l)y the Sisquoc Land and Investment Co. 

Rancho Tinaquaic 

The grant of this rancho was made by the Mexican government to Victor 
Linares in 1837. The patent was issued to W'm. D. Foxen. who came into 
possession about 1840. It is rectangular in shape and is two and one-half 
miles by five and one-half, and contains 8,875 acres. The most of the land 
is hilly, and used for grazing; but both grain and beans are produced very 
successfully. Like the i < -t dI' I he Spanish or Mexican grants, it has passed 
into the hands of other,^ tli.ni ilic heirs of Foxen, and only a small portion now 
belongs to any of his descendants. 

Rancho Los Alamos 

This rancho is largely the southern boundary of that part of the Santa 
Maria valley where the public or government land is located. As very much 
of the great Santa Maria oil field is on this grant, it is entitled to be con- 
sidered in any history of the valley. The grant was made to Jose Antonio 
Carrillo in 1839, and it is said to be the only Mexican grant signed by Santa 
Anna. The grant was for 49,000 acres. It was patented by the United States 
government on September 12, 1872. The survey called for 48,803.38 acres, 
hive years before the patent was issued, Carrillo sold a large tract of land off 
the grant to Thomas Bell, who put John S. Bell in possession. When the 
rancho was sul)sequcntly patented to Carrillo, the title was clouded, and a 
series of lawsuits, almost rivaling the great Mira Clark Gains trials, ensued, 
the case keeping on intermittently for twenty-five years, until the Bell heirs 
finally won. In 1882 the rancho had 500 horses, 1,600 cattle and 60,000 sheep. 
Fully thirty thousand acres is adapted to agriculture: and when the Pacific 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COl'XTY AXD EX\'lROXS 195 

Coast Railway was built and a market for t,frain assured, the st(x-k Inisiness 
rapidly declined and today no part of it is a stock ranch. The t(jwn of Los 
Alamos was located in 1877, though a store and blacksmith sho]) were there 
several years before. Some other portions of this rancii will l)e named in 
the chapter devoted to oil production. 

Todos Santos Rancho 
This ranch, granted to Salvador (Jsio, originally contained twenty- 
two tiiousand acres. In 1844 the grant was confirmed by Mexico to 
W'ilHam Hartnell. The patent from the American government calls for only 
10.722 acres. This grant contained a large amount of good farming kind and 
all the remaining portion was splendid grazing land. .\t one time it con- 
tained one hundred head of horses, three hundred cattle and three thousand 
five hundred sheep. The widely known La Graciosa pass, which gave the 
name to all the district, is on this grant. The greatest oil gusher ever struck 
in the Santa Maria oil fields is also on it. This well, known as Hartnell 
Xo. 2, was the wonder of the country for weeks — a mighty stream of oil 
rising 150 feet into the air, spreading out and falling in torrents, starting a 
veritable flood of oil down the narrow valley. A strong smell of gas per- 
meating the air told what was the mighty power below that gave the won- 
derful pressure. Great pools were hastily constructed into which poured 
thousands of barrels of oil daily. That well was photographed from every 
conceivable angle, and the pictures were sent all over the United States and 
even to Europe. It was months before it was ])roperly cap])ed and brought 
under control. The Hartnell heirs still own an interest in part of the rancho. 

Town of Garey 

In 1887, Thomas A. Garej- organized a land company to operate in the 
eastern part of the valley. The large tract of land owned by Paul ISradley 
was nearly all bargained for, and the town of Garey located. Those were the 
days when fruit was thought to be the coming fortune-maker. Garey started 
a large nursery near the town, and orchards were planted by many people. 
The most extensive orchard was that of the Kaiser brothers, one hundred 
sixty acres, one mile east of Garey. It was proposed to impound the water- 
shed south of the town and thus secure water for the irrigation of the entire 
valley. .A hotel was built ; and a blacksmith shop, a store, and the inevitable 
saloon about completed the town. A school district was formed, and a post 
office secured with a route from Santa Maria. As with all other parts of 
the valley, the lack of irrigation and pro])er fertilization caused fruit to be 
a failure. The irrigation scheme was a delusion, and the great California 
hnom of 1885 having exploded, the Garey company collapsed and the land 
relurncd to its original owners. The orchards ha\e been destroyed, and that 
part of the valley is now devoted to the i)roduction of lieans, alfalfa and grain. 

Orcutt 

' Iwners of land in the near-oil regions nearly all wisely sold their land 
to oil companies instead of speculating in oil chances. The town of Orcutt 
was laid out by the Union Oil Co. on the Pacific Coast Railroad at the north- 
east corner of the Todos Santos rancho, and was named Orcutt in honor of its 
founder. It was provided in the charter that there was never to be a saloon 



196 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

in the town. lUit "ihc l)cst-laid schemes c>' mice an' men gang aft agley," 
and this scheme was thwarted by a man who owned land adjoining the town, 
wlio laid out an addition on the north side with no provision against the saloon. 
The result was that four saloons were started the first year. The founders 
of the town donated a lot for a church building, and ofifered two hundred dol- 
lars to the first denomination that would organize a church and erect a 
building. The Methodists quickly accepted the proposition, and established 
a churdi : and the Iniilding was erected. Oil-supply companies at once moved 
their headquarters from Santa Maria to Orcutt. Machine shops were also 
established, and the town made rapid growth for three or four years. Then 
the development of the Cat canon oil fields drew the operations to that field, 
and Orcutt ceased to improve. 

Orcutt has a good grammar school and a schoolhouse of two rooms, 
now in use, and another room is being built for the coming school year. 
There arc cement walks, and a cement tennis court. The enrollment of pupils 
is about ninety. There is one large general merchandise store, two machine 
shops, a post office, hotel and restaurant. The headquarters of the Standard 
Oil Co. for this district are located here. The oil development is returning 
to these fields, and Orcutt may take on a new start in improvement. The 
L'nion, Pinal-Dome and Pennsylvania companies are all large manufacturers 
of gasoline, and the natural gas for the supply of Santa Maria. Betteravia, 
Guadalupe, Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo is produced in this field. 
The gas plant is owned and managed by Santa ]\Iaria people and has proven 
a good pa\ing investment. 

CUYAMA VALLEY 

\\'e have sketched each of the grants lying in or bordering on the public 
domain, or government land lying in the valley of the Santa ^laria. This, 
the most interesting and important part of the valley, covers about ninety 
square miles or 75,600 acres. No history of this section of country can be 
complete without a description also of the great valley of the Cuyama — 
not so much because it is a part of it or connected with it, but because it is 
detached and has no direct connection with any place. This valley, while 
being almost entirely in Santa Barbara County, has its starting point near 
the joint corner of three counties, Ventura. Santa Barbara and San Luis 
Ol)ispo. Then it spreads down the Cuyama river fur thirty miles. Stretching 
south from the river to the Sierra Madrc del Sur, at one point forty miles, it 
embraces an area greater than many entire counties of the Eastern states. 
Many people, even in this county, think the Cuyama rancho is the entire 
valley. This false idea has been one of the deterrent reasons for the defeat 
of a bond issue to construct a good road from the Santa ]\Iaria valley to 
Cuyama. Until 1890 the only way to reach the valley was by traveling 
directly up the river. Eor many miles the river nms between bluft's on either 
side, furming \\hat was known as "The Narrows." Each concurrent flood in 
the river threw huge boulders into the roadway and obstructed travel. In 
l<S<i2, the sui>crvis()rs had a graded road built around the Narrows which 
m:ide travel at all times of the year possible. Even with this improvement, 
it is necessary to cross the river thirty-six times. 

In 1890 Calloway Heath made his way up the river and pre-empted a 
quarter section a few miles south of the Calicntc Spring. The Calicnte is a 
spring of warm water, about 130 degrees Fahrenheit, that gushes out of the 



SAiN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS V)7 

side of a hill and winds its way to the river. During the next few years 
(|uite a little setllenieiit had gathered, among whom were Jd. C Malory, C. 
Richards, C. W. Clarrton, Philip Kelly and two young school teachers, Min- 
nie Green and Sophia Fauntleroy. In 1894, a post office named W'asioja, 
with H. C. Malory as postmaster, was established, with a stage route from 
Santa Maria. The trip took two days each way, the carrier camping out at 
night. There was no dwelling at which to stop. The vehicle in wdiich the 
mail was carried was a cart, on the hind part of which w^as bound a bundle 
of hay. The postmaster at Santa Maria was requested by the postal de- 
partment to "Describe the stages and stock used on this route and principal 
products." A few days before this a rattlesnake had been killed in Cuyama 
that had eighteen rattles, and the rattles given to the deputy postmaster. The 
postmaster, who knew about as much about Cuyama as a high-school girl 
does of Sanskrit, had a picture of the cart and horse taken, and enclosing 
the picture and rattles, wrote: "Route 68 miles. No settlements. Picture 
shows stage and stock. Rattles show principal products." 

A school district called W'asioja was formed at this settlement in 18')5. 
Miss Minnie Green, teacher. James Good and some others had taken claims 
about six miles south of the Cuyama ranch house, and a school district was 
formed in 1895 called Cuyama. The terrible drought of 1897-98, which gave 
all of California a hard blow, was excessively bad for Cuyama. Nothing was 
raised, and .stock could not be sold. Several years of partial drought followed, 
and nearly all the settlers left the valley. Some sold their farms for a pit- 
tance, others left them unoccupied; and some who had not secured title aban- 
doned them. Both school districts lapsed for want of pupils. In 1908 some 
of the settlers returned. Some of the forsaken homes were purchased by 
new people and new claims were filed. In 1912-13-14, fairly good crops were 
obtained; but 1915 produced the banner wheat crop, the yield going in some 
cases to fifty bushels per acre. One school district was established in 1915, the 
old Cuyama; and this year, 1917, Wasioja is renewed and two new districts 
have been built. An abundant supply of water is furnished them by the 
county line down the Cuyama, intersecting the Santa Alaria \-allcv at the 
mouth of Tepesquet creek. All the travel tn and from the San Joaquin val- 
ley to the ocean would be by this route. 

Cuyama Rancho 

The grant of this immense tract of land was made to Gasper Orena and 
Jose Maria Rojo in 1843. It was patented by the United States to Maria 
Antonio de la (iuerra and Cesario Lataillade in 1868, and called for 71,620.75 
acres. The Cuyama river divides the rancho into two about equal parts, and 
about 40,000 acres are in Santa Barbara county. The rancho at one time sus- 
tained three thousand cattle and six hundred horses, with twenty-five hun- 
dred sheep ; but they ranged all the land to the Sierra Madre del Sur. Only a 
few horses and about one thousand cattle are now kept. The old ranch house is 
far up the valley on Ranch No. 2. This ])art of the rancho is being subdivided 
to be sold to settlers, and a few miles south of the ranch house a site for a 
town has been located. On the lower part, or Ranch No. 1, an immense 
irrigating plant is being completed. There lovely homes and great barns 
have been formed. A highway or good road should be built from the Kern 
beautiful Caliente spring. Santa liarbara people, go and see Cuyama and 
you will vote bonds for the highway to it. 



198 SAN r.riS OI'.ISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 

A TRAGEDY OF THE RANGE 

By Augustus Slack 

Fditor's Xote.— This sketch, iniljlishcd in the- Los Angeles Times Magazine. August 
7. 1910. so grai>hically describes a thnnderstorni in the Cuyama valley, and a not un- 
common tragedy in the days of the wild, long-horned Spanish cattle, that it is em- 
bodied in our history. Luigi Marre later became owner of a great tract of land near 
.Avila and continued in the cattle business until his death in 1903. His heirs still own 
large numbers of cattle and stay with the range. To gather two thousand head of 
I)cei steers in 1868 alter the awful drought meant a visit to many and many a ranch 
far south of the San Luis Obispo ranges, for the cattle were gone from our hills, and 
their bleaching bones whitened the floors of the valleys. Luigi Marre and other cattle- 
men reaped fortunes buying cattle from the southern ranches and driving them to 
the mines, where prices as high as a dollar per pound were paid for beef at retail and 
si.\ty cents at wholesale, .\bont thirty yea-s ago. .Augustus Slack took up a claim in 
the Cuyama. 

A Heroic Act of a Young Mexican of Long Ago 

On the 22nd of May. 1868. two thousand and more fat. sleek, but tired, 
footsore steers were quietl_\- resting". Some stood contentedly chewing their 
cuds, while many lay dozing in the rank alfilaria, on the great level mesa and 
down through the mouth of the Canada Verdi out onto the broad flats that 
lie along the river near the Cuyama valley. Only four days before they had 
been crowded into the mouth of the narrows of the Santa Maria river less 
than thirty-five miles below, with much urging had been forced through, 
and had climbed o\'er the rocks of that fearful gorge. 

These were beef steers, bought and owned by a noted btiyer and drover 
of early California days. Luigi ]\Iarre, then of San Francisco, and were gath- 
ered from the slightly replenished herds of many ranches, even below the 
pueblo of Los Angeles as far south as the mission, San Juan Capistrano. 
Trailing along the Camino Real, Luigi Marre and twenty trained vaqueros 
had come, driving and guarding more than half a hundred saddle horses 
in tlie caballada ahead, and two thousand steers, over the Conejo and 
through the famous Gaviota pass, into the head of the Santa Maria valley. 
Here they left the usual route that followed the old overland stage road, and 
laid their course for the mining towns on the Merced, Tvtolumne and .Stanis- 
laus ri\ers through the Coast range, by way of the Santa Maria river gorge 
known as llie .Narrows, through tlie Cuyama \alle}- atid on o\er the San 
Joaquin plains. 

(-)ld Antonio, who was chief cook \or this outfit, had made ramp beneath 
thv s'lade of a large white oak that still stands at the foot of the mesa bluff 
where the .\gua Caliente spring pours down from the rocks and rushes to the 
river iust below. It was near the noon hour, and over the coals broiled and 
baked the meat and the crisp tortillas. About lounged all but three of the 
va(|ueros. inhaling the jilcasant incense of the all-but-ready midday meal 
with tlie ptingent smoke of their cigarettes. Three stood guard over the 
quiet herd. One of these. Jose Calderon, a fair youth scarcely out of his 
teens — the pride and pet of the older vaqueros — stood beside his horse on 
the summit of a small knoll that rose to the height of probably thirty feet 
out of the smooth mesa, and commanded a perfect view of this characteristic 
Southern California pastoral scene. 

Off towards the eastern horizon, where the Sierr.a San Rafael meets the 
sky and crowds close in to the loftv Mt. I'inos of the Sierra Relona, there 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COfXTV AXD ENVIRONS IW 

rose U) \icw ill the otherwise clear sky a sniaU, <hirk chnul tiiat came mi 
down the cafuin of the upper Santa Maria ri\er, and in a few niinutes liad 
spread out into a great dark mass that filled the entire upper end of the 
Cuyama valley,. shutting from sight the mountains above. A breeze blowing 
in' from Kern valley over the low Paletta hills, drove the whole black mass 
to the south, where it Iniu',; low on the mountain ridge that forms the south 
wall of the Cuyama valley. A phenomenon of nature, peculiar to that section, 
then took place. The atmosphere became oppressively sultry, a wind came 
up from the south, and almost instantly the sky was filled with rolling, 
tumbling clouds. Tliere was a barely perceptible c|uivering reflection of dis- 
tant lightning. 

Jose, though young in years, had learned well the arts and ways of the 
range when a child watching the herds of his father down beyond the Colo- 
rado desert in old Sonora. Knowing well what was due to happen within 
the next few minutes, with a graceful swing he sat lightly but firmly in the 
saddle, his left hand grasping the bridle reins, his right instinctively feeling 
for the heavy rawhide quirt that hung at the pommel of his saddle, his bright 
eyes riveted on the great quiet herd below. There was a vivid flash of light. 
Some mighty power had sw-ung an unseen sword that cut a fearful zigzag 
gash through the semi-twilight and left a l)urning red scar, that remained 
in sight for an instant and then as instantly healed. 

Jose began nervously and rapidly counting, his eyes ever on that quiet 
herd. "Uno, dos, tr — ." With a crash the very heavens tore apart. .\ rum- 
bling roar swung oE to the south and the mountain clifTs there passed it 
back down the valley. Jose's heavy silver-mounted spurs raked the trembling 
flanks of his restless mount. He heard nothing, only saw those two thousand 
and more fear-crazed steers plunge forward and sweep out onto the level 
plain. 

Directl)^ across their course a short half-mile away, ran the small stream 
of the Cuyama river between ])erpendicular banks a hundred feet apart and 
forty feet down. Had that onrushing Ininch of crowding horns and hide 
reached there, a fortune would have vanished in an instant. A score of proud 
vaqueros would haw lost caste among their kind and been classed as (iringos, 
fit only to companion with dogs and guard sheep. 

At their front, crowding in closely, recklessly, rode young Jose. Me 
swung far out from his saddle, lashing and beating with his quirt at the 
head of a brindle longhorn giant that, as a yearling, had cropped swamp 
grass and tule in the cienagas down about the mouth of the Santa .-\na and 
had survived the drought of TA. Close up rode Luigi .Marre with the doubled 
loop of his reata desperately lashing the long-horned heads. Closely fol- 
lowing were twenty faithful, fearless vaqueros, yelling and slashing, in a 
hand-to-hand struggle to swing the crazed herd and circle it ere reaching 
the river bank. Within a rod of the bank Jose passed as he swung around 
the moiling band, leaning far out from the saddle right over those long 
pointed horns, beating and lashing more fiercely at the head of that brindle 
giant; but the battle was won. 

The feet of a near-winded mustang sank deejj into the soft mound that 
covered a family home of cute little valley chipmunks. A fallen horse .sprang 
quickly to his feet and carried an empty saddle on around with the wild 
swing of the moiling band. Jose's lithe body as he fell had met the upthrust 



200 SAX LUIS or;isP(j county axd exviroxs 

of a stffl-like puinl. where it hung- for a moment, and then with a toss of 
that brindie giant's head it was thrown heavil}- to the ground. Luigi Marre 
jerked his horse to a stand, and sprang to the side of the fallen hero. The 
others raced on around with the nearly conquered herd. 

Within an hour of the time of that fearful crash of thunder those two 
thousand and more steers were peacefully grazing among the scattered 
clumps of Indian arrowwood that grew along the river flats, and the sun 
shone bri.ghtly over the vast and magnificent Cuyama valley. Down near 
the river bank knelt Luigi Marre, with a silken scarf pressed tightly to the 
ragged wound across a dying lad's breast in a vain attempt to stanch the 
crimson flow. As the sun broke through the parting clouds and decked with 
glittering jewels the fair landscape freshly baptized from the heavens, Luigi 
Marre, bending low his head, heard from Jose's pallid lips these barely whis- 
l)ered words: "Yo le mandaria un mandaje a Anita, en Hermosillo, Adios, 
Adii'isI" ("I must send a message to Anita, in Hermosillo, Good-by, Good-by!") 
— and the faithful Sonoran lad was dead. 

The mellow Cuyama twilight slowly merged into night, while saddened 
toil-stained vaqueros carried from the river's bed the last of the boulders 
to form a stone cross. It lies alone, beneath the constant vigil of the moun- 
tains, amid the solitude of the Cuyama valley. On over the plains of the 
valley of the San Joaquin trailed the great drove to its destination and to 
its destiny, but the stone cross is there in Cuyama valley still. It lies on a 
beautiful flat near the center of the valley and marks the grave of young Jose. 
On the south side rises the mesa bluft'. On the other flows the river. 

WHAT WAS PUBLIC DOMAIN OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY 

Heretofore we ha\e spoken of Santa ^laria \-alley as a whole. The 
ranchcjs, or grants, having been duly considered, because they were first 
brought into use, we turn now to the body of land between the boundaries of 
these grants. This embraces about 80,000 acres. Until about 1869 the valley, 
at least this part of it, was considered of very small value. In 1866, a group 
of men, of whom the writer was one, living near Santa Rosa, having heard of 
the \alley, sent men to investigate with a view to securing homes. The inves- 
tigators reported the valley as a treeless, waterless plain of very poor soil, 
witli no possible outlet. All thought of coming to the valley was abandoned. 
Several years later a number of these men came to the valley and secured 
homes, but too late to get the choice locations. In 1867, B. F. Wiley located a 
quarter section of land just north of where the town of Santa Maria was after- 
ward laid out. He excavated a cave in the side of a small hill and lived in it 
two years. In 18f)S he dug a well fifty-four feet deep that lasted five years 
without casing. 

In the fall of 1868, John G. Prell and Hiram Sibley came to the valley and 
located three miles south of W'yley ; and l)oth of them erected houses, hauling 
the lumber from San Luis Obispo. The house built by Prell was torn down 
to make room for a better one; the Sibley house still stands and is now 
owned by P. W. Jones. In August of 1868, Thomas, James, and William 
ll«'ll>.\vay and their mother came to the valley and settled at Sand Spring, 
three miles south of where Santa Maria now is. In the fall of that year, 
James Holloway was married to Rebecca Miller; this was the first marriage 
ol .Xmericans in the valley. Maria, daughter of Thomas Flollowav. was born 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXXiROXS 201 

ill Afav, 1S69; and Thomas Miller, now of Goleta. a nephew of Mrs. James 
Holloway, was born in November, \Sf)9. These were the first American chil- 
dren born in the valley. In the great drouoht of 1897-98, the sand spring 
ceased to flow, and now is only a memory, as it has not flowed since that 
date. 

In February of 1869. Thomas Brookshire, Aimer Stubblefield and Col- 
man Stubblefield came into the valley and settled in the La Graciosa district. 
Theirs were the next houses built in the valley. Later on in 1869, W. C. 
Oakley and Wm. Adam settled near where Santa Maria now is. In Sep- 
tember of 1869, Benjamin Turman settled on a quarter section that is now 
entirely in the city of Santa Maria. These are the only settlers oi the '60's, 
and their descendants are still here. 

For a few years the southern part, or the La Graciosa country, took the 
lead. A store was started on that part of the Todos Santos owned by 
Hartnell, and a school district was established, taking in all the ter- 
ritory now occupied by Washington, Orcutt, Pine Grove, Newlove, Careaga 
and Martin districts. La Graciosa had the first store, the first school, the first 
post office and, incidentally, the first two homicides in the valley. Thomas 
Brookshire shot and killed F. Gregoria over some trouble they had in Brook- 
shire's saloon. Coleman Stubblefield killed J. A. Allen on account of Allen's 
corralling some of Stubblefield's stock for trespassing. Both men were tried 
for murder and both were acquitted. 

The abundance of water in this locality attracted the early settlers, and 
very soon all the land near the hills where the water was abundant was 
taken or squatted upon, and a voting precinct was established on the Hart- 
nell land with the name of La Graciosa. This name was originally applied 
to the summit of the pass, but gradually spread to the entire district. Stock- 
raising and small farming was for several years the chief occupation. Later 
on the people became obsessed with the idea that this was the great fruit 
center of the valley, and many orchards were planted, largely apricots and 
prunes. Prunes proved a miserable failure and apricots only a partial suc- 
cess. Fruit has been virtually abandoned, and the name "Fruitvale." which 
had been given to the district, has passed out of mind. But riches uiitnld 
slept in the hills, and a few of the pioneers were to realize them. 

Santa Maria City and Vicinity 

The early settlers of the valley met with many difficulties. The dry 
seasons of 1870-71 and the ravages of grasshoppers made things very dis- 
couraging, and the long distance that grain had to be hauled, requiring two 
days for one trip, cut profits very small. Added to these were lack of schools 
and mail facilities. The mail was carried by stage from San Luis through the 
eastern part of the valley, going by way of I-'oxen canon. There was no 
post office in the valley, but a place where mail could be left or picked up by 
the stage driver. The establishing of the post office at La Graciosa changed 
the stage route, but it still went through Foxen canon until 1873, when 
stock farms built at Los Alamos caused the route to be changed to pass that 
way. The stage was held up many times south of La Graciosa. and many 
people believed that the postmaster stood in with the bandits. The first store 
in the central part of the valley was established by William L. .'\dam aliout 
two miles northeast of where the citv of Santa Maria now stands. In 1874, 



202 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

a wharf was built in the old and rugged vicinity of Point Sal, and the 
giain raised in the valley was delivered to steamers there. This wharf 
was washed away two years later, and another was built. A stock company 
was formed in 1879, and a chute landing was constructed at the Point. This 
proved to be a great saving to the farmers, but the steamship Cdinpany 
wished to force the delivery of grain to another point and, by means unknown 
to the stockholders, induced the trustees to sell the chute to them, and it was 
demolished. The sale led to hard feelings for many years. 



A CHAPTER ON EDUCATION 

During the Mexican contml <if Santa Iiarbara County very little atten- 
tion was given to education. In the Historical and P,iographical Record of 
Southern California, by J. AJ. (iuinn, we find the only records, which are 
altered only in the phraseology. 

The first school taught in Santa Barbara was opened in the October, 
1795, by Jose Alanuel Yoco, a young Spanish sailor. This school was con- 
tinued periodically for two years. In December of 1798 the school was 
re-opened by Jose Medina, another Spanish sailor, who taught until June, 
1799, and was succeeded for a few months by Manuel de Vargas, an ex- 
Spanish soldier. No other record of schools can be found until 1829, when 
one was opened at the presidio; but that lasted only a short time. In 1844 
another effort was made, but failed ; the teacher's name is not given. 

In 1850 American influence caused the authorities of Santa Barbara 
to take over a private school that had been opened by Victor Vega, paying 
part of his salary. At a meeting of the council, November 8, 1851, Jose M. 
Covarrubias was appointed a committee to examine the school once a month. 
In November of 1852 three school commissioners were elected, one in each 
township — each township being a school district. In 1854, Joaquin Carrillo 
was elected school superintendent with a salary of six hundred dollars per 
year. lie refused to. qualify, and A. P. Hinchman was appointed to fill the 
vacancy. Plinchman was therefore the first county superintendent of schools 
in Santa Barbara County. On account of the low salary, Hinchman was not 
a candidate, and George Fisher was elected in 1855 ; he resigned, and John 
Kays was appointed in 1856. In 1857, J. S. Ord was elected, and he was 
succeeded by John Carlton in 1860. In 1863, Pablo de la Guerra was elected 
and served until 1867, when A. B. Thompson succeeded him. In 1871, J. P- 
i lamer was elected and filled the office until 1875. when, the salary having 
been increased to $1,000 a year, men with better qualifications sought the 
office. 

In 1865 there were two schools in Santa Barbara; one was taught 
in Spanish, and the other, in English. The English school was conducted 
by Owen Connolly. At the session of the legislature that year, a law was 
made jiroviding (hat only English should be taught in schools drawing funds 
from the staic. (lideon E. Thurmond was elected county superintendent in 
1875 and occupied the office for twenty-four years. In 1898, W. S. Edwards 
defeated Thurmond after a hotly contested election, and was re-elected in 
1902, bui was defeated hv Miss Af. \'. Lehner in 1906. Aliss Lehner was 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COL'NTY AND ENVIRONS 203 

re-elected in 1910, defeating her opponent, L. O. Fox, by more than two to 
one. In 1914. Miss Lehner was opposed by Mrs. Muriel Edwards, a very 
accomplished lady from Santa Ynez, but was again re-elected by a large 
majority. Short biographical sketches of both Professor Thurmond and Miss 
Lehner will be found in this history. 

The Schools of the Santa Maria Valley 

As soon as the first settlers of each part of the valley built their homes, 
they wanted schools for the children. The first district to be formed was 
La Graciosa. The schoolhouse was erected in 1869. about one mile north 
of the summit of the pass, and twenty years later a new building was built 
one mile north of the old one. Vhen the town of Orcutt was formed and 
more room needed, the present two-room building was erected about a quar- 
ter of a mile east and the name w-as changed to Orcutt. 

In 1870 the second district in the valley was organized and called Pine 
• Grove on account of the schoolhouse being located near the pine groves that 
I covered the hills. J. J. Holloway, who had been a petitioner for La Graciosa, 
■ was the first clerk of Pine Grove. In 1888 the site of the schoolhouse was 
' moved one mile north, and the present building was erected. Pine Grove was 
; for many years the strongest country district of the valley. 
j In June, 1873, two more districts were granted in the extreme west end 

of the valley. Guadalupe included the town of that name north to the river, 
; west to the ocean, south to Casmalia line and east two miles. The other 
I district was named Laguna, because it contained that beautiful and wonder- 
t fully formed lake. The schoolhouse was erected on the north side of the 
t district on the road leading to La Graciosa from Guadalupe. After a few 

i years, the greater number of people being much farther south, two of the 
trustees decided to move the house without legal formality. They made 
the necessary preparations, and on a Friday night moved the building one 
I and one-half miles further south and had all things ready for school on Mon- 
' day morning. The change of location was made in September, 1880. The 
house still stands on the place selected by them, and the only title to the land 
is forcible possession. 

Pleasant Valley district was established in 1875, but lapsed in 1S79. It 
was re-established in 1881 and continues at this time. 

The sixth district organized in the valley is located on the Siscpioc river 
and was established in June, 1884, and named the Santa Maria. In 1891 the 
name was changed to Olive, as the name of Santa Maria was misleading. 

Agricola district was organized in May, 1885 ; the late William L. Adam 
', was the first clerk and held the ofiSce twelve years. 

, In 1876, La Graciosa district was divided, and a new one was formed by 

I the north half, named Washington. 

Los Alamos school is misleading in name, as it is situated at Ilarris 
{ Station, seven miles from the town of Los .Mamos. The district was formed 
in February, 1877, largely by the Carcaga and Harris families, who owned 
■ nearly all the land in the district. 

' Suey district was organized in 1879, and included very little of the Suey 

> ranch and none of Suey creek. 

These ten schools were organized in ten years from the time the first 
settler came to the valley. 



204 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXMRONS 

The school district in the present city of Santa Maria was formed in 
June, 1881, and named Central. Prior to that time it belonged to Pleasant 
Valley and Agricola districts. In 1891 the name was changed to Santa Maria. 

In 1884 the Tepesquet was organized; and a district in Cat caiion 
named Oak Vale was also organized, although, after a series of years, it 
lapsed. In 1886 two new districts were granted, namely Casmalia and Martin. 
Garey district was formed in 1888; Bonita. in 1895, out of territory taken 
from Guadalupe, Agricola and Laguna districts. 

In 1898 a new district was made from parts of Agricola, Washington and 
Pleasant Valley, and was named Allott. This name was changed to Lake 
\"iew in 1900, and a new schoolhouse was erected al)out one mile south of the 
temporary building first used. 

In 1895 two districts w^ere formed in the Cuyama valley, but both of 
them lapsed in 190v^. Cuyama was reorganized in 1915, and \\'asioja in 1917. 

The first of the oil-field districts, named Careaga, was granted in April, 
1904, and now has two teachers. Betteravia district, on land owned by the 
Union Sugar Co., was formed in 1895. The Union Sugar Co. assumed all 
the cost of erecting the building and furnishing it. It is a \-ery commodious 
and substantial structure : and there have been no bonds or taxes of any 
kind on the district. 

In 1909 two more districts were formed in the oil belt : Blochman, in 
the Cat caiion fields: and Xewlove, in the. Santa INlaria. The latter has a 
good two-room building, and- the attendance has made such an increase 
that another room is needed. This is one of the most progressi\'e schools 
in the valley. 

Ramona district is situated in Foxen canon, and was formed in January, 
1915. 

Several other districts were made at difl:'erent times, but all lapsed after 
a few years. All these districts, except Careaga. are in the Santa ]\Iaria 
LTnion High School district. 

The high school district was formed in 1892 and has made steady but 
sure progress from the beginning, until it now ranks with the best in the 
entire state. The buildings are spacious and beautiful, and the grounds are 
kept in most excellent condition. 

The Bell district at the town of Los Alamos, while not properly -belong- 
ing geographically to the Santa Maria valley, should be included. The district 
was formed May 25, 1877, and received its name from the Bell ranch, which 
is a part of the Los Alamos grant. The district lapsed in 1879 and was 
re-established in 1881. It now has the best-arranged school building in the 
fifth supervisoral district. 




(Ti/Jicf/n^^v 



BIOGF 



MIN PINCKNEY ANDREWS.—Jii i very . 

- -osentative of the Andrev> - ' iin|.. i lam .a. 

al affairs, when Charles : the gfeat-gra 

; Pinckney Andrews, be^ . 'nl '-r 'Ti" ' 

for service in the War for ■.w 
: tion that framed the constitut 
■ lan, was minister to Franco i 
iTe tor President of the United S 
^t' of the most prominent citizt 
'!t.;uii ler of more than ordinary ability, i ii^ ii:ni< - 
Mont.L,'omery County, N. C, May 11, 1824. He r^' 
!he common schools there, and earl}' i '. li''- 'i~;i: 
^(rcetul character that was to be the 
During the years of bis }-oung manli 
looked upon as one of the leaders of ' 
rimong- the prominent people of Balti' 
rairchase goods for a brother who wa 
\ Count^^ In 1857, hearing- :!■ 
; in the West, he determined t. 
irrived in California that year, 
about, he located in San Luis Obisj 
.s^overnment claim afterwards known 
is now known as the St. Raimi; 
■luring; which time many change 
• jf lawle=sness. when often "mig • 
M- was a fearless ma i 

■' disposition. On oiu 

'• ' 1 v.v.'d was comii'.: 

!:ig himself .» 
nd thereaftc: 
<levoting his yf' ' 
•' was a dry year, 

irving and ci.iii'i 
led and bo;!, 
e for these. 



it V,-MS -tl 

•.ere killing 
so that th. 
an oflfer ot 



dcT^,- 



M(^f^'^:^\-^J^-V 



BIOGRAPHICAL 



JOHN PINCKNEY ANDREWS.— In a very early period of American 
history a representative oi the Andrews family l)ecame an important factor 
in governmental affairs, when Charles Colesvvorth Pinc.kney, the great-grand- 
father of John Pinckney Andrews, became a brigadier-general in the Con- 
tinental Army for service in the W'ar for Independence, and was a member 
of the convention that framed the constitution of the I'nited States. He 
was a statesman, was minister to France in 1796, and \\as the I'ederalist 
candidate for President of the United States in 1804. 

One of the most prominent citizens of San Luis ( )l)ispc) County and a 
financier of more than ordinary ability, John P^inckney Andrews was born in 
Montgomery County, N. C, May 11, 1824. He received his education in 
the common schools there, and earl}- in life displayed the evidences of a 
forceful character that was to l3e the foundation of his success in after life. 
During the years of his young manhood he was fond of society and was 
looked upon as one of the leaders of his section, and was well acquainted 
among the prominent people of Baltimore, where he visited frequently to 
purchase goc:)ds for a brother who was in the mercantile business in Mont- 
gomery County. In 1857, hearing the glowing tales of the opportunities 
offered in the West, he determined to avail himself of them, and accord- 
ingly arrived in California that year. After spending some time in looking 
about, he located in San Luis Obispo County in 1859, and settled on a 
government claim afterwards known as the Hasbrook place, and which 
is now known as the St. Raimie ranch. He remained there until 1869, 
during which time many changes were taking place. Those were the days 
of lawlessness, when often "might was right." and they were stirring times. 
Mr. Andrews was a fearless man, and many stories of him are told illus- 
trative of his disposition. On one occasion, after he had settled on his land, 
he heard that a crowd was coming to drive him off, settlers not being desired 
at that time. Arming himself and his one assistant, he successfully with- 
stood the inxasion aiid thereafter was not molested. 

In 1864 he was devoting his attention to the raising of cattle and hogs, 
and, although this was a dry year, he found it very profitable. Cattle 
everywhere were starving and could be Ixiught at almost any ])rice: so he 
purchased them, killed and l)(iile(l llicni anil fed tlieni to his hogs, later 
receiving a high price for these. At this time he had an arrangement with 
F. Z. Branch, who owned thousands of acres of land and a great number of 
cattle, to take the latter, give Air. Branch the hides as pay, and keei> the 
carcasses for feed. This arrangement was carried out, and Mr. Branch 
often remarked that it was "the only clean money" he received that year. 
His own vaf|ueros were killing and skinning the cattle as well ; l)ut they 
mutilated the hides so that they were almost worthless. .\t this period 
Mr. Branch received an offer of five dollars per head for all his stock, but 

13 



208 SAX LUIS OBISPO COL'XTY AND EXVIROXS 

refused it, although urged by Mr. Andrews to accept. Had he done so, he 
would have sa\-ed many thousands of dollars : for his cattle nearly all 
died, so that he \vas able to gather only about six hundred head out of 
his thousands. The only money he got out of them was from the sale of 
the hides. Mr. Andrews also purchased one hundred steers for two hun- 
dred dollars, fattened them, and disposed of them for over twenty-five dol- 
lars a head that saiue year, these Ijeing the only fat cattle to be had at that 
time. 

lie Later disposed of his ecpiity in this land, and purchased the home 
near San Luis (Jbispo called the "Andrews Place," where he lived until, 
a few vears before his death, he sold out and moved into town. 

yir. Andrews was a pioneer dairyman of this section, for he was the first 
man to devote any attention to this now most important industry. He was 
also the first man to devote any attention to the bee industry, paying fifty dol- 
lars each for the first stands, and continuing his interest and study until 1869. 
~\lr. Andrews later became one of the largest sheep men in the county, run- 
ning large bands on the Huasna for a time, later carrying on the business 
nearer San Luis Obispo on the .Santa Lucia range until he sold out. In 
1877, another dry year, he managed to bring about four thousand head 
through in good condition, his son, George H., remaining with them and 
caring for them during the entire year, with the aid of two helpers. Mr. 
Andrews ac(|uired a large stock ranch, starting with six hundred forty 
acres ]jurchase<l frcjm H. M. ^^■arden. and adding from time to time as he 
had o]iportunity until he owned twenty-three hundred acres where he ranged 
his sheep and which he sold in 1884. 

In 1873 Mr. Andrews, with C. II. Phillips. R. G. Mint, John Riddle, 
Phillip Riddle and H. M. Warden, organized the Rank of San Luis Obispo, 
and in 1877 he became its managing director and president, continuing until 
ISyO. l-"roiu 1890 to 1893 he Avas president of the County Bank. In the 
latter year he organized the Andrews Banking Company and was its con- 
trolling stockholder and dominating factor. In 1899, during the financial 
stringency, his institution was one of the few that took care of its clients 
and closed the year profitably. John Pinckney Andrews headed the banking 
house l)earing his name from the date of its organization until January 21, 
1913, when he was succeeded by his oldest son, George H. Andrews, who 
directed the bank's affairs in the same conservative channels that estab- 
lished the bank in the confidence of the entire community until its sale to 
the Commercial Rank that same year. In 1883, Mr. Andrews headed a 
slock company known as the San Luis Hotel Co., and erected a hotel called the 
Andrews Hotel, in his honor, on the corner of Monterey and Osos streets, 
which was oi^ened to the public under the management of Ned Morris, and 
was later conducted by Sharp Rros. This was a frame building, and one of 
the finest in the city at that time. In 1885 the building and contents were 
compk-tely destroyed by fire. bAentually Mr. Andrews acquired the inter- 
est- Ml the (ither stockholders in the lot, and then began a building era 
winch he alone managed and financed until the whole of the property he 
owned ni that block was ccjvered with brick buildings. 

.Mr. Andrews, while being recognized as a capable financier, was always 
known l)y his iriends to l)e charitably inclined, as well as public-spirited. He 
and h.rnest (erf were the donors to the county of the present courthouse 
sue, and .Mr. ,\ndrews gave the ground upon which the Court Grammar 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EXVIROXS 209 

School is located, with a clause that it could be used for no other purpose, 
or it must revert to the estate. He was a man of great force and iron will. 
Energy and tireless industry marked his career, and his whole life was 
one of pronounced effect upon the business history of San Luis Obispo. 
With the co-operation of the Steele Bros, and other public-spirited citizens, 
]\lr. Andrews organized the Sixteenth Agricultural District Association, and 
at once subscribed eight hundred dollars to start the fund to erect the 
pavilion. When the organization failed at a later date, he was one of the 
heaviest losers. Success usually followed all his undertakings and he was 
ever a willing supporter of all movements for progress. For many years he 
was the mainstay of the local Methodist Church South, to which he donated 
the lot; and it was mainly through his efforts that the building was erected 
after the organization of the congregation in San Luis Obispo. He was unos- 
tentatious with his benefactions and never let his right hand know what his 
left hand did. He was loyal to his friends ; and even his enemies (common 
to every man who makes a success of life) respected him, some of them in 
after years becoming his very warm friends. 

He was a great hunter in the earlier period of settlement of the county, 
when wild game of all kinds abounded ; and he was a sure shot as well. 

In 1860 he was united in marriage in Lake Coimty, California, with Miss 
Tennessee Amanda Cheney, a native of Arkansas, who passed away in 1900. 
Her parents were farming people, natives of Tennessee, who crossed the 
plains in the early fifties to California, stopped for a time in Solano, Lake and 
San Luis Obispo counties, where the father engaged in farming, and finally 
settled in Los Angeles county, where the parents both passed their last days. 
Thirteen children came to bless this union, seven of whom are now living: 
Mrs. Alice V. ^lorton, of San Gabriel; George H. Andrews and ^Irs. Mary E. 
Rideout, of San Luis Obispo ; David, of Pomona ; Mrs. Martha ^ilurphy, of 
San Luis Obispo; and Le Roy F. and Jerome P., both of Pismo. Another 
daughter, I\Irs. Carrie Brew, grew to maturity, married, had several chil- 
dren and passed away in 1900. They struggled side by side to gain a foot- 
hold during the pioneer days in the county, Mrs. Andrews doing her full 
share and bravely enduring the hardships and privations encountered in their 
efforts t(. win success, and to rear their children to useful lives. 

HORATIO MOORE WARDEN.— The late Horatio Moore Warden 
was regarded as one of the most influential and public-spirited citizens of San 
Luis Obispo County and is entitled to a prominent place in the annals of this 
section of the state. He was born near Granville, Licking county, O., in 
1828, a son of Gabriel and Mary (Seely) Warden, natives of Burlington, Vt., 
and the tenth child in a family of eleven children. He was descended from 
English ancestry. A member of the family emigrated to this country at an 
early period in its history, settling in Vermont ; and from that ancestor the 
family in this country have sprung. Members of the Warden family have 
been prominent in various branches of business and professional life for 
generations. Gabriel Warden served as a captain in the War of 1812. was 
a man of great valor and patriotism, and soon after the war was over settled 
in Ohio, where he cleared a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits until 
his death. Both he and his wife passed away in Licking county. 

In 1847, Horatio M. Warden became associated with his brother, L. M. 
Warden, in the buying and selling of cattle, which he drove in large numbers 
to Chicago, then a small settlement on the frontier, and the headquarters of 



210 S.W LL-JS OP.ISPO COUNTY AXD EXVIROXS 

a detachment of United States soldiers at Fort Sheridan. In 1850, the 
Warden brothers started across the plains for California. They drove a 
band of cattle and horses as far as Council Bluffs, la., where they exchanged 
them for mules, which they drove to Salt Lake. En route they met and 
traveled with Tom Williams, a prominent Mormon, carrying the Salt Lake 
mail ; and on arrival at Salt Lake, they were entertained and shown every 
courtesy, for the three weeks of their stay there, to recuperate and rest. They 
left Salt Lake with a train of pack mules, crossed the desert without dififi- 
cultv and in due time arrived in Hangtown — now Placerville — where they 
mined with the usual results. Later they went to Michigan Bluff on the 
American river and mined for a time; and there they struck it rich for 
a while. 

Mr. \\ arden and his brother ne.xt went to Sacramento, where he organ- 
ized a stage line between Sacramento and Marysville, operating it for some 
time very successfully. He next established the line between Auburn, Yankee 
Jim's, Michigan Bluff, Illinois Town and Iowa Hill in Placer county, carry- 
ing on the stage business until he and his brother went to Napa county in 
1856. Here they engaged in the stock business, meeting with a fair degree 
of success, although they had their reverses as well. 

In 1867, H. M. Warden came to San Luis Obispo Count}', settled in the 
Los Osos valley, and purchased about three thousand acres of land, part of 
the Los Osos grant. Here he raised sheep for several years, having as many 
as six thousand head. Later he worked into the cattle business ; and under 
the name of the Highland Rancho, his property became well-known through- 
out the entire coast section of. San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. 
The large dairy interests were the leading features for some years, and were 
conducted with much profit. As much as six thousand pounds of butter per 
month was made irom the three dairies maintained on his ranch. Grain and 
iia\- were raised in large ([uantities. Mr. W;ir(len belie\ed in high-grade 
stDck, and iiis Durliams and shdrtlmrns were mostly registered. He did 
much td elexate the grade of cattle throughout this section of the county: 
for lithers saw that it did not cost any more to keep good stock than poor, and 
in many cases followed his example. He was essentially a stockman, and 
his cattle, horses and hogs were his pride and profit. He .studied the dairy 
business and added many innovations as he succeeded with his enterprise. 

It must not be supposed that Mr. Warden devoted his time to the ranch- 
ing interests to the exclusion of other matters. He was a man of large busi- 
ness acumen, was much interested in the cause of education and in the estab- 
lishment of churches, and believed that these two factors fostered a better 
citizenship and a higher moral standard. He served as a trustee of schools 
for many years, and with two other trustees gave personal notes which 
rendered i)(issii)le the erection of one of the first schoolhouses in the county, 
and the establishment of a school, serving as its trustee for years. With 
C. H. Phillips and others, Mr. Warden organized and started the first bank 
in San Luis ( )i)ispn in 1872, under the name of Warden & Phillips, he serv- 
mg as president and Mr. Phillips as cashier : and for many years they carried 
on a very successful banking l)usiness. In 1898, Mr. Warden erected the War- 
den block in San Luis Obispo, then the most modern block in the town, and 
.still in the possession of his family. Resides this, he owned several parcels 
of valuable real estate in town. 




^y</ 



' ' - AD ENVIROXS 

He v,<is a stanch Republican. ■ ■ 

and a factor in the councils ^• 

.,->•;<,,, ir,.,n his district in 18^' 

the Assembly, I'^ 

' ' c was a Mason ar,<; 

. ~-.i:i Luis Obispo: and \va> .ui ( 'ci.! 
;r. He was very public-spirited, supp. 
' ij; of the county, and gave S1500 towa 

ii<uiity. Of his marriage in 1882 with Mis- ihit-e children 

iL-.born, Queenie M., Horatio M., Jr., and M.. iui died March 

'902. Mr. Warden died on P'ebruary 14, 19i_, ,..,1 • '- 

of a verv prominent citizen to the state and the i. 
LUIGI MARRE.—\V hoe ver. labors t- secure V 
country, striving- to bring out its latent r; 
general welfare of the people, and seek - 

and whoever, in the course of a long life, ;i 

commercial, educational aiUl agricultural growth : tee as a 

public benefactor, and is entitled to mention in - Such 

was the character and such is the record of luii;. m,.;! ..ly 

pioneers of California, and one to whose detcrminatitin, ;• d 

energy not a little of the- state's development may be attriln' 

The story of the life of Mr. Marre is one of inter, 
to narrate it, the scenes which he witnessed- during hi- 
fornia, the hardships that he endured and the obstacle 
would make a large volume. His career dates from 
he was born in Borzonasca, province of Genova, Ita. 

"irre, a hotel keeper, butcher and drover in that same |.r auicc. iti- iatii' r 

- a soldier under X'apoleon for eleven years, and of forty men in the 

•pany who enlisted for military service and took part in t'.ic l>aM" ' 

terloo, he was one of but three survivors who returned. 

Luigi Marre obtained a college education in Italy, after v : 

^■'. 1854, then a stalwart youth, of large, fine physique, alc^i. f^i,-. ..,.. 

unusually intelligent, he set out for far-off California to dig for gold. His 

principal ecjuipment consisted of a pick with which It'- tnther presented 

him (which pick is still in the possession of Cacsi' in San 

Andreas), with the instruction to rely upon it and. him, to 

apply to his consul for passage back to the old honi^ ■ nts were 

wealthy, and Mr. Marre obtained his father's permis.-.ioii to c<>nie to this 

country solely on the condition that he would never work for wages and 

that he would return home in three years. His father" having died before. the 

three years were up, Luigi never returned to his native land ; but the 

promise not t ■ work for wages he faithfully kept, and remained his own 

time he left his father until he died. He catne to California 

■^el, via New York and Panama, and landed in San Fran- 

. 1854. He nnd.r :iM.(l :'.■■ .tinr language than Italian: but 

Ills kt.cii sii lood him in g ■ . i^mi recounted with zest that 

his firs' t_;V. n a bettering hi- rse speculation, in which In- 

'■'■■'■' 1 for seventeen i.mk.i ..m.i -iiu ic for fifty-three. 

r his arrival in San Francisco, with his trusty 1 
t..r the mining camps in Penitta, Amador mir 
i''ii"^( V -.ith great perseverance, meeting with t' ■ 




''^^ 



'T^^ 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EN\'IRONS 211 

He was a stanch Republican, a member of the county central commit- 
tee and a factor in the councils of the party in the state. He served as 
supervisor from his district in 1880, and in 1886 was the unanimous choice 
of his party for the Assembly. He was also a delegate to county and state 
conventions. He was a Mason and member of King David Lodge No. 209, 
1". & A. M., San Luis Obispo: and was an Odd Fellow, passing all the chairs 
of the order. He was very public-spirited, supporting all movements for the 
upbuilding of the county, and gave $1500 towards bringing the railroad into 
the county. Of his marriage in 1882 with Miss Queenie Parr, three children 
were born, Queenie M., Horatio M.. Jr., and Alary Loraine, who died March 
17, 1902. Mr. Warden died on February 14, 1912, and his passing meant the 
loss of a very prominent citizen to the state and the county of his adoption. 

LUIGI MARRE. — Whoever labors to secure the development of his 
country, striving to bring out its latent resources ; whoever is devoted to the 
general welfare of the people, and seeks to promote the cause of justice ; 
and whoever, in the course of a long life, advances, directly or indirectly, our 
commercial, educational and agricultural growth : he it is who earns a place as a 
public benefactor, and is entitled to mention in the pages of history. Such 
was the character and such is the record of Luigi Marre, one of the early 
pioneers of California, and one to whose determination, perseverance and 
energy not a little of the state's development may be attributed. 

The story of the life of Mr. Marre is one of interest and, were he alive 
to narrate it, the scenes which he witnessed during his active career in Cali- 
fornia, the hardships that he endured and the obstacles that he surmounted, 
would make a large volume. His career dates from August 7, 1840, when 
he was born in Borzonasca, province of Geneva, Italy, a son of Lorenzo 
Marre, a hotel keeper, butcher and drover in that same province. His father 
was a soldier under Napoleon for eleven years, and of forty men in the 
company who enlisted for military service and took part in the battle of 
Waterloo, he was one of but three survivors who returned. 

Luigi Marre obtained a college education in Italy, after which, on .March 
26, 1854, then a stalwart youth, of large, fine physique, alert, active and 
unusually intelligent, he set out for far-off California to dig for gold. His 
principal equipment consisted of a pick with which his father presented 
him (which pick is still in the possession of Cacsineli Brothers, in San 
.\ndreas), with the instruction to rely upon it and, should it fail him, to 
apply to his consul for passage back to the old home. His parents were 
wealthy, and Mr. Marre obtained his father's permission to come to this 
country solely on the condition that he would never work for wages and 
that he would return home in three years. His father having died before the 
three years were up, Luigi never returned to his native land ; but the 
promise not to work for wages he faithfully kept, and remained hi> own 
master from the time he left his father until he died, lie came to California 
on a sailing vessel, via New York and Panama, and landed in San Fran- 
cisco on May 26, 1854. He understood no other language than Italian : but 
his keen wits stood him in good stead, and he often recounted with zest that 
iiis first effort at bettering his condition was a horse speculation, in which lie 
bought an animal for seventeen dollars and sold it for fifty-three. 

Shortly after his arrival in San hVancisco, with his trusty i)ick, Mr. 
Marre departed for the mining cam])s in Penitta, .Amador county. I"or 
three years he toiled with great perseverance, meeting with the m:iny hard- 



212 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EWIROXS 

ships tl:en endured Iiy miners : and at tlie end of the tliree }ears, somewhat dis- 
couraged witli the fruitless mining life, he decided to follow his commercial 
instincts. He went to Calaverites in Calaveras county, then a small village 
squatted on the desert at the very edge of a range of barren foothills. Its 
principal street was not much more than a bridle trail that led past a few 
cabins, derelicts of old mining days when that region knew gold. Immediately 
upon his arrival there he purchased a general merchandise store, and for the 
next year he devoted himself with more or less success to this business. 
He then sold out and went to Calaveras, where he bought a butcher shop. 
The man who sold to him at once went on the opposite side of the street 
from his place of business, contrary to their agreement, and opened an 
oppositiijn establishment, thereby cutting into liis trade: and during the three 
years he carried on the business it took almost all of his resources to keep 
above water, although his opponent failed six months before Mr. Marre 
sold out and went to El Dorado, where he continued in the butcher business, 
and at the same time engaged in handling cattle. 

In 1861 his affairs took him to Nevada, at that time a great field for 
enterprise: but the Indians were trou])lesome and dangerous, and that oli- 
stacle, followed by the dry season of 1864, made his losses heavy. However, 
that was only an incident. In 1870 he sold out his interests in El Dorado, 
but still continued in the cattle business. He drove cattle from the [Mexican 
border to San Francisco and Nevada, where his cattle were cared for, given 
pasture, and protected from the other tribes by a friendly Indian chief. Mr. 
Marre was almost continurmsly in the saddle, and owned some fine saddle 
horses. In cirly days, when he made his long trips, he would have his own 
mount and another horse, on which he packed his pro\isions, blankets and 
his faithful dog. His horses and dog were well trained, and he often said 
that they frequently saved his life, not making a sound when danger threat- 
ened, but in other ways, as by nudgings or caresses, warning him. He 
had many thrilling escapes from death at the hands of bandits and mur- 
derers, for he always had to carry large sums of gold about his person to 
pay f( >r the stock he bought ; and many a night he was only too glad to 
take off his belt, filled with twenty-dollar gold pieces, and throw it into the 
brush, after which he would lie down on his blanket and sleep. In dealing 
with the ignorant stockmen, he had only to drive out an animal and pass 
over a twenty-dollar gold piece, even if the beast was worth more than that 
price, for the natives could count in twenties and nothing else. He was a man 
of commanding appearance, over six feet tall and weighing over three hundred 
pounds, and was noted for his bravery and absolute fearlessness. 

I'rom El Dorado ]\Ir. !\Iarre went to Santa Clara county, where he leased 
the Los .-\gelos Rancho and stocked it with cattle. Three years before his 
lease in Santa Clara county expired, he rented the Le Roy property, which 
was formerly the Zaca grant of thirty thousand acres. He stocked that ranch 
witli fourteen thousand cattle and many sheep, having at one time as many 
as thirty thousand of the latter, and there continued successfully the business 
of buying and selling cattle and sheep. At one time, to diminish his stock 
during one (if the dry years, he sold a thousand head of cattle for $20,000. 
I his sacrifice had to Vie repeated several times during the dry seasons. 

Tn 1879 he leased the Pecho Rancho in San Luis Obispo county for 
eighteen years. In 1882 he bought, frrun John Harford, the San Miguelita 
ranch of several tl^usand acres. Later he purchased the Pecho Rancho of 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EX\TROXS 213 

thirty-eiglit hundred acres, and still later, twenty-five hundred acres of the 
Avila estate from the San Luis Lank, still retaining his property in Santa 
Barbara county. He became one of the largest stockmen of Central Califor- 
nia, as well as the wealthiest man in San Luis Obispo County. He was known, 
in fact, as the cattle king of the central coast section. He had extensive deal- 
ings with Miller & Lux, and with other large stockmen in the state, and was 
known as a man whose word, when once given, Avas as good as his bond. 

Mr. Marre opened the Fulton Market in San Luis Obispo, purchasing 
the property from the Steele brothers; and in 1893 he also started the Nevada 
Market.. In 1884 he erected the first hotel at Port Harford, now known as 
Port San Luis. He was one of the most public-spirited men the county ever 
had, was always an advocate of all progressive movements, gave land to 
widen Chorro, Marsh and Monterey streets, when those improvements were 
started, and spent almost a month of "his valuable time in convincing other 
owners of property on those streets of the benefits to be derived therefrom. 
When the Southern Pacific Railroad was prospected to San Luis Obispo, 
he donated $10,000 towards the cause ; and later he had the distinction of 
riding on the first train from San Luis Obispo to San Jose. Not a movement 
that had for its object the betterment of conditions of the people or county 
but receiA'ed his hearty support. He gave towards all churches, no matter 
what their creed ; was a stanch advocate of good schools and did what he 
could to maintain them and bring them to a high standard: and no one 
ever appealed to him in \ain for any worthy charity. Lie was active up to 
the time of his death, shortly before which he delivered a lot of cattle to Horn 
& Sons in San Francisco, when he caught cold, took sick, and died, Februar_\' 
8, 1903, mourned by rich and poor alike. 

On April 28, 1881, the marriage uniting Luigi ^larre with Miss Angela L. 
Alarre was celebrated. She was born in 1851, in the same part of Italy as was 
her husband ; and seven children blessed this union, only three of whom are 
now living: Gasper O., born iNlay 22, 1884, who married and has one son, 
Norman O. ; Louis J., born September 26. 1886: and Rosa J., born April 29, 
1896, the wife of S. Piuma and the mother of one son, ]\Iilton S. The widow 
lives at the old home, surrounded by her children and grandchildren ; and there 
she is enjoying every comfort possible. She is a most interesting conversa- 
tionalist, recounting the many stories of early pioneer days as depicted by her 
husband, and is one of the most generous women in the county, aiding every 
worthy movement and happy in the knowledge that her husband was one 
of the most popular and best-liked men in this part of the state, who left 
to his descendants not only riches, but the heritage of an untarnished name. 

In 1914 the holdings of the Luigi Marre estate were incorporated under 
the name of the Luigi Marre Land & Cattle Co. : and the water company, that 
he started in 1886 to supply with fresh water such ships as called at the port, 
was also incorporated, under the name of the Fay Water Company. The 
property owned by the corporation has a frontage on the ocean of twelve 
miles, and comprises thousands of acres : and as the years have passed, this 
property, under the able management of the sons. Gasper O. and Luis J-, 
has greatly increased in value. The oil tanks, where tank ships come to load 
oil, are located on the property, and the revenue derived from this enterprise 
represents a handsome sum in itself. On the San Miguelita ranch, where 
^fr. Marre settled years ago. he planted some chestnuts brought from his 
old home place in Itah' : and seven trees grew therefrom and are in fine con- 



214 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

(litidii, liein.i;- the i>nly niies (pf their kind in this part of the country. An 
olil lanchnark on the I 'echo Rancho is an old adnhe hnuse, the woodwork 
of which was brought around the Horn at an early day by Captain 
Wilson, then the owner of the place. It is said that Air. Alarre shipped from 
San Luis Obispo the largest consignment of stock e\er sent out at one time 
by one man, consisting of three solid train loads. 

The family are highly respected, hospitable and pul)lic-s])irited, and have 
an e\er-widcning circle <if friends throughout the entire central section of 
C'alifornia. 

MRS. QUEENIE WARDEN.— It gives a feeling of pride to know that 
one is a descendant of ancient and noble lineage, although Americans usually 
glory in their own ideals. However, the satisfaction of knowing the honorable 
achievements of our ancestors gives us something to live up to, and such is 
the case with Mrs. Oueenie Warden, one of the most prominent, charitable, 
public-spirited, energetic and i^rogressive women of San Luis Obispo, widow 
of the late Hon. Horatio M. Warden, and a daughter of Airs. Loraine (Page) 
Parr. Mrs. W^arden was born in Iowa, in which state her parents settled 
when that was the frontier, before railroads traversed the expanse of prairie 
in the Middle West. She is a descendant of English ancestry through the 
Page family. One John Page, a son of Richard Page, who had lived in Lon- 
don, left Yarmouth April 8, 1630, with his wife Phoebe and their three chil- 
dren on the "Jewell," arriving in Salem, Alass. He moved to Charlestown, 
and then to the peninsula now occupied by the city of Boston. He later 
moved to Watertown, about seven miles distant, where he died December 
18, 1676, aged about ninety. From this progenitor, the family in America 
have originated, and they have become prominent in agricultural, professional, 
financial, military, literary and social aiYairs. The motto of the Page family, 
]jrinted in Latin on their coat of arms, "Spe Labor Levis," meaning "Hope 
lightens labor," has been used by the family for centuries. 

Mrs. Oueenie Warden was educated in a convent in Davenport, Iowa, 
came to California first in 1876 as a tourist, and remained one year. In 1879 
she became a permanent resident of the state, spent a short time in Grass 
valley, and then came to San Luis Obispo County, where she has since 
lived, and which section has been the scene of her activities. Through her 
marriage in 1882 with Horatio M. Warden, she has been enabled to accom- 
plish much good for the community, and has entered heartily into every 
movement that has had for its object the building up of the county and 
city. She is a leader in social affairs, and through her membership in the 
Civic Club, as president of which she has served for two terms, she has 
wielded an influence for the betterment of local conditions in San Luis 
Obispo. She is also a member of the City Club in Los Angeles. In 1898 
the II. AI. Warden interests were incorporated, and she became president, 
a position she has held ever since, managing the company's affairs with 
splendid executive and business ability. In Alay, 1916, Mrs. Warden entered 
into the local business field by her purchase of the People's Pharmacy, located 
in the II. Al. Warden, Jr., building: and having increased the stock, she is 
gradually building up a large and successful business, which receives her 
personal attention. As the "Rexall Store," this establishment has become an 
important factor in the commercial life of San Luis Obispo County, and its 
owner is rated as a \erv successful business woman. 




^dz/u^. 




iBISPO C( 217 

r. and Mrs. Warden, three children were born : 
-U., Jr., and Mary Loraine, who passed away at tlie 
-■>. rhe first mentioned is the wife of the Hon. Thom;i< 
judge of San Luis Obispo County; and they have two 
•ma.s Warden and I'arr McCloud. M<)r:iii(« Ai.. Ir married 
■ Liily ; and they have three children. ,111.. 

Id, and Frank. Of Mrs. Warden, we :. she 

II., I • . , , . iiusband, children and friends an intelligent, utmh-i --Miiii'i.;, sym- 
patlieiii^ companion and guide; she has controlled with a strong, but tender 
hand ; ^'^i.• has been sympathetic without being weak, kind without conde- 
scension—an earnest, wise and unostentatious benefactor, whose benefactions 
have left no sting; and in all good works she has modestly taken an im- 
portant place. ~ 

RAMON F. CAREAGA.— For many generations the Careaga family 
has been distinguished in California not only for its participation in the grad- 
ual development of the state, but because it is one of the important historical 
links between Castilian Spain and the flourishing colonies which henprophetic 
vision and unbounded energ}' planted in ;!- ■ <:■■■-■■ \\..ii,l The earliest 
Careaga of whom we have record as a direct med family, 

was a Spanish nobleman born in medieval . Mexico as a 

military man by the King of Spain. A descoMar.t \\.i i i loiiel .Satornino 
Careaga, also a soldier, who came from Mexico to Northern Monterey when 
he was but seventeen years old. He was a member of Capvalii ^inn' .'s 
command, and with all the chivalry ever characteristic of the < 
risked his life and sacrificed his comfort to protect the d€pe!- 

posed San Jose Mission. His son, who died on February 7, 1914, <».'^ • 

F. Careaga, a handsome and splendidly preserved gentleman, wIk' or.-Ad 
look back to many stirring events in which he had participated, or of v.hicli 
his father, in the good old days when the Spanish Dons gathered their chil- 
dren about them, had told him as a part of the cherished family tradirion. 
There were personal anecdotes about Governor Portola, and the expedition 
to Monterey : there were recollections of Pio Pico, Echeandia, Micheltorena, 
Castro, Flores, Juan Handini, .-Vbel Stearns and finally of Fremont and Stock- 
ton, with all of whom -and their contemporaries the Careagas had had much 
to do, first in fighting for Spain and then for Mexico, and ultimately in helping 
to build 'ir •■ 'unL- .\merica on the Coast. 

^" r, Juan B. Careaga, also born in Monterey county, and 

Danii .lon bought about eighteen thousand acres of the old ranch 

''elon., ;uL i/e la Guerras (early Spaniards who, with thci'- ■■ ' • •-• 

tory. tii.Tt'i prominently in the state history); and later, in 
Harr'- ; ' -nr seven thou,sand five imndred acres, while 
■':■ than ten thousand. In the final subdi\- 
.ind nine hundred sevc i.;y .icrcs, :md this 
•i the Santa '.\l;n,:. -: i- -i . ,. .•■..'. ,..hi ..I v, ' 
L'nion Oil C" 
1 was first li' 
ry alone form a i n:,i ; . in,, 

■bing interest. 

■ tiic Careasja- v,a re wai: ,,ii> ,1 

;ere and tli. ' 



218 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

asphalt — an intruder on tiie surface of the rich soil which would have been 
most unwelcome had not the experience of the intelligen.t observer recognized 
in the dark substance just the coveted indications of rich oil deposits. It 
was not long- before that which was assumed and hoped to be true was proven 
a certainty, and then Ramon and Juan B. entered into the lease referred to, 
the Western Union being a corporation of Los Angeles capitalists. On 
March 14, 1900, the new promoters began to build the great rig for well 
No. 1, and soon struck oil; but some insurmountable difficulty was soon 
encountered, and the well had to be abandoned. A similar experience was met 
in the attempt to sink well No. 2; but nothing daunted, the riggers and drillers 
moved farther up the caiion and soon had, in well No. 3, such a flow of oil 
that at last the precious liquid was obtained in paying quantities. The long- 
waited-for event was duly celebrated by a big barbecue, for which the hos- 
pitable Careagas furnished four of their choicest beeves, the meat being par- 
taken of by hundreds of enthusiastic visitors. 

Amid all the festivities characteristic of the social life in a family of 
such ancient traditions, Ramon F. Careaga was married to Miss Maria A. 
Bonevantur, the daughter of Monsieur Bernardo Bonevantur. who had come 
from France and inarried Albina Boronda, a- charming member of one of the 
very early pure Castilian families of ]Monterey. After her husband's death, 
the wife moved to San Jose, where she is enjoying life at the comfortable age 
of sixty-three. The parents had eleven children; and having been blessed 
with enduring l)lood, all are still living and are useful members of the society 
in which they move. Luis S. Careaga is married and resides at Santa Bar- 
bara with his accomplished wife, Mercedes Orella. Ramon A. Careaga, the 
representative of the Panama Realty Co., of San Jose, and one of the well- 
known men on the San Jose Exchange, married INIiss Cora Riley, and resides 
with her and his two children, Ramon F. and Alberto J., in a cosy home at 
San Jose. John T. Careaga, who is in partnership in the real estate business 
with Ramon, also resides in that town,' having married IMiss Alberta Roe, by 
whom he had one child, Adelbert. i\Iiss Eleanor M. Careaga became the 
wife of John Carr and the mother of two .sons, John F. and Leland : and that 
happy family resides on the Careaga ranch. Another resident on the ranch 
is Bernardo F. Careaga, who married ]\Iiss Gussie Hawkins, and is the proud 
father of two children, William B. and Eugene F., each of whom tlisplays 
some of the characteristics of the Hawkins family. Antonio F. Careaga re- 
sides with his mother at San Jose ; James F. is a farmer and stockman, who 
lives on a ranch, and Charles M. resides on the Northwest oil lease of the 
Careaga ranch near Bicknell. and looks after the oil and gas interests of the 
estate. He married Miss J. Hawkins, one of the most popular daughters of 
Santa Barbara, and still one of the most beautiful women for miles around, 
and a liostcss who charms with her cordiality; and by her he has a child, 
named Durward. Three daughters, Rita I., Evangeline, and .\ngeline, are 
residing at San Jose with the mother, and attending the famous Notre Dame- 
Catholic School. 

Mr. Careaga was interested in educational affairs and gave land for two 
school sites on his ])roperty. He was generous, and allowed many of those 
who had worked for him, and grown old in the service, to settle on some of 
his land and live in comfort the remainder of their days. At this time there 
IS but one .if these employes still remaining, the others having passed away. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 219 

llesides the v;Teat royaltit-s \vhicli flow into llie coffers of the Careaga 
family, through the oil and the gas flowing in unlimited quantities from their 
subterranean sources, the Careagas enjoy an income from leasing out their 
other lands to tenants, and from other sources, such as would handsomeh' 
finance many a European nobleman. Many cattle are raised by them, and 
stock and farm products are supplied in large quantities to the market. In 
1916, the family realized over one hundred thousand dollars through the 
culti\ation and sale of beans alone. 

JOHN JAMES HOLLOWAY.— Probably the oldest and one of the 
best-posted settlers now living in Los Alamos, and one who enjoys a broad, 
liberal education, is John James Hollowaj', the son of the man who brought 
some of the first trotting horses and Durham cattle to California. His father, 
a native of Kentucky, was John Holloway, a farmer, who specialized in 
government contracts in connection with the improvement of rivers and 
harbors and the building of roads and bridges. His mother, whose maiden 
name was Nancy K. Foster, -was born in North Carolina. His parents 
were married near Winchester, Scott county. 111., after which they removed 
to Benton county, Alo., where the father improved a farm. About 1850, John 
Holloway fitted out two wagons, each having from three to six yoke of oxen, 
and, with about sixty head of cattle and a few horses, joined a train of 
twenty-five wagons setting out from \\'arsaw. Alissouri, and started for the 
Pacific Coast. 

Arriving at Hangtown, near Placerville, he soon after made a settlement 
near Wheatland, on the Bear river, in Sutter county, and there engaged in 
farming and stock-raising. He became noted as a trader, and was as popular 
as when he liad been made captain of Company E, of the IMissouri Mounted 
\'u!unteers. in the Alexican War. Soon after he had started farming at 
Wheatland, he went back to Missouri for horses and cattle; for, having been 
born a Kentuckian, he was a good stockman and horseman, brought up 
among the best types of shorthorn cattle and trotting horses, among which 
may be mentioned the celebrated trotter, Glencoe Chief, a well-known race- 
horse in California. Upon his return, his father was drowned in Green river, 
in Utah, none of the family being then with him. An assistant had become 
drunk, and the elder Holloway attempted to make a second trip across the 
river to bring back his cattle and horses. The boat on which the horses and 
cattle were loaded tipped over and the rancher was drawn under with his 
stock. A notable man in his day, John Holloway counted many early pioneers 
as his friends, among them Waldo, Hearst, Huntington, Fair and others. 

The mother managed to keep the little family together and to increase 
its herds and droves ; and in 1868 came with her son. John James Holloway 
(who had been born in Benton county. Mo., two miles west of Warsaw, 
January 26, 1839), to the Santa Maria valley, l^ringing the first full-blooded 
Durham cattle ever seen here. After a year, they removed to Cat Canyon, 
or the Canada Gato, where they pre-empted a hundred sixty acres and home- 
steaded a hundred sixty more, the whole tract now owned by Jacob Williams : 
and while living there they bought the La Brea ranch, which was later sold 
to G. W. Goodchild. In his early years John James attended a private school 
conducted by Professor Gow, an Eastern college graduate, who afterwards 
conducted the private academy at Indian Springs, Nevada county, reputed 
to be one of tlic best in the slate: and later he went to school at Sacra- 



220 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

mentu. A memory of liis early days is that of the t^rst railway running 
from Sacramento to h^olsom, which passed in front of the Holloways' door. 
In 1885, John James Holloway's mother died here at the age of seventy- 
five, the mother of four children. Resides John James, there was a daughter, 
.Millie Ann llolloway, who was born on Washington's birthday, 1833, and 
wlio married C. ( i. Heath, and died on the Blochman ranch, leaving seven 
children. .\ son was Thomas Jefferson Holloway, now living in Los Angeles, 
at the age of eighty ; and another son was William Houston Holloway, who 
resides at Bakersfield, having passed his three score and thirteenth year. 

John James was twice married. In 1870, at Santa Maria, he wedded Miss 
Rebecca T. Miller, the second stepdaughter of Joel Miller, who took up the 
first homestead in the Santa Maria valley; and of this union fi\e children 
were born. Lucy E. resides at Pomona, Los Angeles county, the wife 
of W. 1). McCroskey; Dora B. is the wife of John T. Glines, a teacher 
in the I'.ell school at Los .\lamos ; Albert Johnson is a rancher living at Los 
Alamos; Everett P. was drowned in an old, open well; and James W. is a 
large rancher residing at Lompoc. The second marriage of Mr. Holloway, in 
September, 1884, united him with Sarah, oldest daughter of Joel Miller, then 
the widow of James Linebaugh, of Santa Rosa, by whom she had three 
children, Eva Linebaugh, David and James. The latter married Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Mirely, and resides at Los Angeles, the father of one child, Dorothy, and 
the valued employee of the City Water Company. By her marriage with Mr. 
Holloway she had four children : Charlotte, who is at home ; Carl, who 
married Miss Alildred Wilson, and resides near Orcutt, on property occupied 
by the Pinal-Dome Oil Company, their home being blessed by two children, 
Keith and Doris; Cornell, who died when he was twelve years old; and 
Frank, who runs the farm. .Seven years after his second marriage, Mr. 
Holloway came to Los .Alamos and bought from S. T. Coiner, of Santa Maria, 
his present ranch of thirty-one acres. 

Knowing both his preparation for responsibility as a man of affairs, and 
his actual experience in disposing of important interests entrusted to his care, 
it is not surprising t<i find that Mr. Holloway has had considerable to do with 
public or oflicial life, h'or twelve years he was school trustee of the Oak 
\'ale school district, the sciiool having first been started in the front room 
of his home, and he was also trustee of the Bell school district of Los Alamos. 
He served as deputy asses.sor in 1876, under Assessor Garretson. A consistent 
Democrat, he was a member of the Democratic county central committee in 
1869, and on June 21 went as a delegate to the Democratic convention at Santa 
Barbara. Since that time he has been a familiar figure in Democratic coun- 
cils. To advance the State Highway and the cause of good roads, he went 
before the board ol" supervisors years ago and advocated a trunk road through 
(iaviot.-i Pass, a i)roject now being realized by the building of the State High- 
way over e.xactly that course. 

Notwithstanding advanced SLiciological views, Mr. Holloway is neverthe- 
less decidedly an advocate of Christianity, being a member of the Christian 
Cluirch. TJie first Protestant sermon preached north of Gaviota was deliv- 
ered in .Mr. Holloway's home, in November. 1869, the preacher being the 
Rev. .Mr. .Miller, a pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 




^^ac^o/x' 






ITS OBISPO cor XT'. ji,; 

:TNE JACK. — Just wliat a woman can do when she in- 
ihe Old World and Scotch energetic sturdiness is shown 
^tory of the life of Miss Christine Jack, particularly that- 
> with her contribution towards making California hi«tnrv. 
ai Creiff, Perthshire, Scotland, the daughter of \^ : 
\ the light of day at Strathallen. in the same shire 
■■■ ood, who died where he had lived, esteemed by a i 
hing, no doubt, to his daughter, some of those peiMmal ciiat- 
iiich have contributed to make her so popular in Paso Robl->. 
>s long been a resident. Her mother was Janet McCune. a untiv >- 
ish Highlands and a woman of rare attainments and worth. 
r; married twice, and had by his first wife five sons and a draiL,' i^.t^r 
his second wife a son, David, and two girls: Margaret, v. 
hildhood, and Christine, of this review. David was bofi 
.■■<l the public school in his village, and at the age of seveni 
the ocean to New York, where he secured a position as bookkeeper witn me 
firm of Flood, Mackay & O'Brien. Six years later he made for California via 
Panama, and at Monterey again took up bookkeeping. He acquired some 
land and became a farmer and stockman, and soon owned se\ eral large tracts 
in various parts of Monterey county. He settled in Monterey, where he died at 
the ripe age of eighty years. Mr. Jack married and was blessed with se\ en 
children, all of whom are living. In 18.57 he was able to revisit Sc"ti..iM: 
and see his boyhood home. As a Presbyterian and a Republican he ni;i'io 
his contribution to the bettering of both religious and political conditions in 
the country of his adoption. 

In 1866, her parents having both died. Miss Jack ji>' 
California, travelling by way of New \' irk, from wtiicli 
the steamer "Caledt^nia," bound for the Isthmus of Pan.n;: 
that strip of land took the steamer ■WnzDna " for -■?iic iivcd 

for a time with her brother at Monterey, when shi .ch at Jo.se- 

phine, in San Luis Obispo County, operatiiii;- it for twu.i.v \^,m-. She made a 
large stock ranch of her possessions, rriising shorthorn Durham cattle. 
She hn.-l :; dairy of forty-five cows, and churned three times a week, turning 
in a hundred pounds of butter at each churning. The milk was 
-kiinmed by hand, Miss Jack doing all the work herself. Such 
ality of her butter that it was rated as the best in the San Fran- 
cisco market; and such, too, was the care that she gave her cows that each 
knew hi ' VI lire and would come to her. A mile away from her nearest nei?h- 
bor. -' ^Tcred from loneliness; for she cooked an ' ■■ ' " •' •' 

re(|r; inch house, even to washing and scaM 

was iisy, undertaking, in addition, to raise 

; rheumatism, Miss Jack nine years a^' 
Rol ;s, and there she has remained, for 

■■' •<ing her ranch, some fourteen !i'- i- 

^. 'She discovered a quicksilver i; 
iinie Doon" ; and this mine ■'' r: 
v^' in a retort am! : 
lie one morning, ti: 

Wed into it and fell 

-seriously injured that iier trame was .shattered and m.v h ,! 



-^-ve^<5^ 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXVIROXS 223 

MISS CHRISTINE JACK.— Just what a woman can do when she in- 
herits the thrift of the Old W'orhi and Scotch energetic sturdiness is shown 
in the interesting- story of the life of Miss Christine Jack, particularly that 
part which has to do with her contribution ttiwards making California history. 
She was born at CreiiT, Perthshire, Scotland, the daughter of William Jack, 
who first saw the light of day at Strathallen. in the same shire — a plain man, 
a dealer in wood, who died where he had li\ed, esteemed by all who knew 
him, bequeathing, no doubt, to his daughter, some of those personal char- 
acteristics which have contril)uted to make her so popular in Paso Robles, 
where she has long been a resident. Her mother was Janet McCune, a native 
of the Scottish Highlands and a woman of rare attainments and worth. 
\\illiam Jack married twice, and had by his first wife five sons and a daughter, 
and by his second wife a son, David, and two girls : Margaret, who died in 
early childhood, and Christine, of this review. David was born in 1826. at- 
tended the public school in his village, and at the age of seventeen crossed 
the ocean to Xew York, where he secured a position as bookkeeper with the 
firm of Flood, Mackay & O'Brien. Six years later he made for California via 
Panama, and at Monterey again took up bookkeeping. He acquired some 
land and became a farmer and stockman, and soon owned several large tracts 
in various parts of Monterey county. He settled in Monterey, wdiere he died at 
the ripe age of eighty years. Mr. Jack married and was blessed with seven 
children, all of whom are living. In 1857 he was able to revisit Scotland 
and see his boyhood home. As a Presbyterian and a Republican he made 
his contribution to the bettering of both religious and political conditions in 
the country of his adoption. 

In 1866, her parents having both died. Miss Jack joined her brother in 
California, travelling by way of Xew York, from which city she set out on 
the steamer "Caledonia," bound for the Isthmus of Panama, and after crossing 
that strip of land took the steamer "Arizona" for San Francisco. She lived 
for a time with her brother at Monterey, when she bought a ranch at Jose- 
phine, in San Luis Obispo County, operating it for twenty years. She made a 
large stock ranch of her possessions, raising shorthorn Durham cattle. 
She had a dairy of forty-five cows, and churned three times a week, turning 
out more than a hundred pounds of butter at each churning. The milk was 
panned and skimmed by hand. Miss Jack doing all the work herself. Such 
was the quality of her butter that it was rated as the liest in the San Fran- 
cisco market; and such, too, was the care that she gave her cows that each 
knew her voice and would come to her. .\ mile away from her nearest neigh- 
bor, she never suffered from loneliness: for she cooked and did all the work 
required at the ranch house, even to washing and scalding the pans. She 
was in fact very busy, undertaking, in addition, to raise calves and hogs. 

On account of rheumatism. Miss Jack nine years ago came to the Paso 
Robles Hot Springs, and there she has remained, for the most part, ever 
since. While working her ranch, some fourteen hundred acres at the head 
of Santa Rosa creek, she discovered a quicksilver mine on the property which 
she named the "Bonnie Doon" : and this mine of cinnabar ore she worked for 
many years, putting in a retort and manufacturing quicksilver. Wliile she 
was visiting the mine one morning, the shaft of which had been left carelessly 
uncovered, she walked into it and fell a distance of three hundred feet to the 
bottnni. and was so seriouslv injured that her frame was shattered and se\eral 



224 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

boiios hnikeii. She was rescued and brought to her residence; and very 
fortunately, liy good surgical attention, she fully recovered. 

Miss jack once had a peculiar experience where a dog came to her assist- 
ance. She had made a tri]) to Cambria, and in the meantime a hard rain-storm 
had broken ; and, returning home on horseback — having declined an urgent 
invitation to stay all night with some friends, thinking she must get back 
home — she found Santa Rosa creek had become a raging torrent. On reaching 
a certain crossing her mare, Fannie, refused to swim the flood, though urged 
in every possible way : and finally, when Miss Jack was despairing of getting 
across, a mysterious dog came out of the storm, ^^'hen its intelligence 
grasped the situation, it looked up at Miss Jack, and then at the horse, and 
]dunged into the stream ; after which the mare, evidently inspired by the 
example, followed and carried her mistress safely over. 

In the old days on the ranch, when she used to get up at four, and some- 
limes at three o'clock in the morning, she kept things lively at the mine ; 
but finally she sold the ranch and leased out the bonanza. Now, in her years of 
leisure, she resides with her companion. Mrs. Mary Doling, taking a keen 
interest in her I'ark Street home and in the little social world about her, 
particularly in the works of charity undertaken by the Presbyterian Church ; 
and not failing to follow the devious ways of politics, she shows the keenest 
interest in Republican affairs. Miss Jack is a very liberal and generous- 
hearted woman, and she seems never to become weary of well-doing in spite 
of often being imposed upon ; she always has fed the hungry and weary 
travellers who come to her door, and still she is ever ready, so far as she 
is able, to assist those less fortunate than herself. She is well and favorably 
known, and ex'eryone speaks of her in the highest terms of appreciation. 

REUBEN HART. — One of the most prominent developers and the pio- 
neer of Santa ^laria. Reuben Hart was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1843. 
He received his education in England and learned the trade of carriage-maker 
in the Stubbs Manufacturing Company, at Derby, where he remained for 
sexeral _\^ears. He then went to Swansea, Wales, and was employed in a large 
manufactory for a time, after wdiich he came to America and was engaged, 
for about four years, in the Cummings Railway Contract shops in New 
Jersc}-. \\'hile there, he sent for his brother Thomas, who was a machinist; 
and tdL^ether, in 1866, they came to California. Mr. Hart first found employ- 
ment with 1). .S. Mills, at San Jose, as manager of his manufacturing plant 
fnr \vaL;i>ns and agricultural implements. 

I'rcim San Jose, the two brothers went to Castro\ille when that town was 
started, ;ind esiablished the firm of Hart Bros., doing general blacksmithing 
and machine \v(irk until 1872. They then moved their stock and machinery 
to the new town uf (iuadalupe. in Santa Barbara county. They practically 
>itaried the growth of the town by establishing a large blacksmith and machine 
sho]), and also bought lots and built a block of business houses ; and they 
also acted as agents for the (iuadalupe ranch. In 1875, the brothers extended 
their business. Reuben Hart, going to Santa Maria, then the center of a 
growing farming community, bought property at the corner of Main and 
liroadway, and erected a large building for an extensive blacksmith and 
machme shop. Me also jiut up a feed mill, run by steam power, and later 
built a store building and several residences, and carried on a large business 
with the ranchers by dealing in feed and barley. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COL'XTY AXD EXVIROXS 225 

In 1879, the firm of Hart Bros, dissolved : Reuben Hart retained the 
Santa Maria property, and his brother continued at Guadalupe. That same 
year "Sir. Hart started a lumber yard, and the next year established the 
water works, piping the town and pumping the water by steam power from 
an eighty-five-foot well to an elevated tank. He added to his business inter- 
ests in 1882 and 1883 by forming a partnership with M. P. Nicholson in farm- 
ing four thousand acres to wheat and operating a steam threshing outfit. In 
1884, he built a one-story brick store building 50.\88 feet, and continued his 
shop until 1888, when he sold out the business and buildings, which were 
removed from their location. It was here that Mr. Hart constructed the 
building now known as Hotel Bradley, then called "Hart's House" and 
known far and wide as the leading hostelry of the Santa Maria valley, and 
which, for seven years, was presided over in person by its owner, until he 
finally sold out. 

The water works system, begun in a small way in 1880, was enlarged 
from time to time. The mains were extended and the service improved b}- 
j\lr. Hart, and it was conducted as a private enterprise. He met and overcame 
strong competition, but succeeded in the long run in giving verj- satisfactory 
service. In 1912 he sold out to the Lewis Sloss Company, bond brokers of San 
Francisco, for sixty thousand dollars. This company entered into speculative 
enterprises in the northern part of the state, met reverses and failed. It was 
then that the "Father of Santa Maria" again came to the fore and was one of 
the prime movers in getting the city of Santa Maria to purchase and operate 
its own water works. This was accomplished in January, 1916, thus giving 
the city control of its most important public utility. 

For seven years, J\Ir. Hart served as a member of the board of education, 
and he has always taken an active interest in the maintenance of good schools. 
No movement has been advanced for the betterment of the community and 
the welfare of the citizens that has not had the co-operation and support of 
Reuben Hart. When it was proposed to build the broad-gauge railroad 
through the city, the company asked a bonus of eight thousand dollars. Mr. 
Hart came to the front; and to stimulate interest at the meeting held to dis- 
cuss the matter and to raise the money, started the list with five hundred 
dollars, and aided very materially in raising the balance. This road runs 
through Santa Maria, extending from Guadalupe to Leonhart in the East 
Santa Alaria oil fields. When it was proposed to build the state highway 
through the county, Mr. Hart spent of his time and money to secure the right 
of way, and he was one of the prime movers to call a general meeting. He 
also took a leading part in advocating the paving of the business streets and 
j was instrumental in getting a vote passed to levy assessments for paving the 
i highway in the city limits, and putting in curbs and gutters. It meant an 
' expense to him of over twenty-five hundred dollars, which goes t(j show that 
i his motives were not mercenary in any way. 

j After Mr. Hart had conducted the hotel for seven years, he decided 

j that the care of such an establishment was too much for him to attend to 
I with all his other interests ; so he traded the hotel property for some on the 
! opposite side of the street. This he still owns, as well as the post office block 
j and some valuable residence properties other than his home on South Broad- 
ji way. He owned the property at the southeast corner of the main Inisiness 
I block in the town recentlv sold to the Fir.-;t National Bank for their new 



226 SAX LUIS OBISPO COLWTY AND EXVIROXS 

home. Of this hank he is a stockholder and director. He served on the 
city board of trustees for many years, resigning in 1912. There has not been 
a church erected in this valley, no matter of what denomination, that has not 
recei\'ed his contribution. It would be hard to point to any worthy move- 
ment that has been promoted in the valley for the betterment of conditions 
generally that has not had his heartiest support, both moral and financial. 
He has met with success solely thmu.L^h his own efforts, loves his fellow 
men and a square deal, and nn one is more hit;iily respected by all classes of 
people than Reuben Hart. 

In 1879 Mr. Hart was united in marriage at Santa Maria with Mrs. 
Harriett Sharp, a native of Pennsylvania. She had two daughters Ijy a for- 
mer marriage, Mrs. K. T. Bryant and Mrs. \\'. A. Haslam. The only child 
of this union is Harriett, now the wife of George M. Scott, who, with her 
husband, resides at the Hart home on South Broadway. Mrs. Hart died in 
1896. Mr. Hart is a member of long standing in the Knights of Pythias lodge 
of Santa Maria. In politics he is a consistent Democrat in national affaijs, 
but in local matters supports men and measures best suited, according to his 
estimation, for the public good. In the evening of his days he can look back 
upon a life well spent, and look forward without fear; for he has lived up to 
the <liildcn Rule, and has done what he could for his fellow men. 

LEWIS D. AND CARRIE GIBBONS.— The late Lewis D. Gibbons, 
who passed away in 1910 at his home in Morro, was one of the well-known 
citizens of the county, and in the section about Adelaida was identified with 
the agricultural development of the land. He was born in Ohio and attended 
tlic ])ublic sch<Hils tiiere until he accompanied his parents to Bachelor Springs, I 
Kan., wlien he was a lad of si.xteen. Here he finished his public school course I 
and was graduated from the L'niversity of Kansas, after which he taught j 
school in Kansas for a time. On account of ill health he gave up teaching 
and, in 1884, came to California; and near Adelaida, in San Luis Obispo i 
County, located on government land. He also homesteaded and improved ' 
tile property, and finally retired to Morro, where he died. ; 

The marriage of Lewis D. Gibbons united him with Carrie Ingraham. a i 
native of Illinois who, at the age of ele\en years, accompanied her parents i 
to Kansas, where she completed her schooling. Coming to California she 
at once became identified with educational matters, and for thirty years was ' 
connected with the schools of San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. She ' 
served as principal of the grammar school in Taft for two years and held ! 
tlic same position in the school in Fellows for three j-ears. In San Luis 
( )bispo t'ounty she taught nine years in Cayucos and Morro, and for some | 
time was connected with the schools in Paso Robles. She is recognized as ' 
one of the pioneer teachers of the county, and none of them are more favor- ' 
ably known than Mrs. Gibbons. She has always entered into school work , 
with her whole heart, and man}- of the men and women who are active in the I 
affairs in the county today owe to her their start in educational training. ; 

Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons two children were born: Oscar,,' 
a graduate of Stanford, and a prominent attorney in San Luis Obispo, who j 
is married and the father of two children; and a married daughter, Mrs. Hor-] 
tense Rhyne. Mrs. Rhyne was graduated from the State Xormal and taught | 
in San Luis Obispo si.x years and in Riverside. Cal., one year. She is the' 
mother of two children. 



226 SAX LUIS ORISPO COUNTY AXD EXVIROXS 

home. ()i this bank he is a stockholder and director. He served on the 
city board of trustees for many years, resigning in 1912. There has not been 
a church erected in this valley, no matter of what denomination, that has not 
received his contribution. It would be hard to point to any worthy move- 
ment that has been promoted in the valley for the betterment of conditions 
generally that has not had his heartiest support, both moral and financial. 
He has met with success solely through his own efforts, loves his fellow 
men and a square deal, and no one is more highly respected by all classes of 
people than Reuben Hart. 

In 1879 ^Ir. Hart was united in marriage at Santa Maria with Mrs. 
Harriett Sharp, a native of Pennsylvania. She had two daughters by a for- 
mer marriage, -Mrs. E. T. Bryant and Mrs. W. A. Haslam. The only child 
(if this union is Harriett, now the wife of George M. Scott, who, with her 
husband, resides at the Hart home on South Broadway. Mrs. Hart died in 
1896. Mr. Hart is a member of long standing in the Knights of Pythias lodge 
of Santa ^laria. In politics he is a consistent Democrat in national affairs, 
but in local matters supports men and measures best suited, according to his 
estimation, for the public good. In the evening of his days he can look back 
upon a life well spent, and look forward without fear; for he has lived up to 
the (ioldcn Rule, and has done what he could for his fellow men. 

LEWIS D. AND CARRIE GIBBONS.— The late Lewis D. Gibbons, 
who passed away in 1910 at his home in ]\Iorro, was one of the well-known 
citizens of the county, and in the section about Adelaida was identified with 
the agricultural development of the land. He was born in Ohio and attended 
the public schools there until he accompanied his parents to Bachelor Springs, 
Kan., when he was a lad of sixteen. Here he finished his public school course 
and was graduated from the University of Kansas, after which he taught 
.school in Kansas for a time. On account of ill health he gave up teaching 
and, in 1884, came to California ; and near Adelaida, in San Luis Obispo 
County, located on government land. He also homesteaded and improved 
the i)roi)erty, and finally retired to ]^Iorro, where he died. 

The marriage of Lewis D. Gibbons united him with Carrie Ingraham, a 
nati\e of Illinois who, at the age of eleven years, accompanied her parents 
to Kansas, where she completed her schooling. Coming to California she 
at once became identified with educational matters, and for thirt}- years was 
connected with the schools of San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. She 
served as principal of the grammar school in Taft for two years and held 
the same position in the sciiool in Fellows for three years. In San Luis 
( )l)ispo County siie taught nine years in Cayucos and Morro, and for some 
time was connected with the schools in Paso Robles. She is recognized as 
one of the pioneer teachers of the county, and none of them are more favor- 
al)ly known than Mrs. Gibbons. She has always entered into school work 
with her whole heart, and many of the men and women who are active in the 
aft'airs in the county today owe to her their start in educational training. 

1)1 the union of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons two children were born: Oscar, 
a graduate of Stanford, and a prominent attorney in San Luis Obispo, w'ho 
is married and the father of two children : and a married daughter, Mrs. Hor- 
tense Rliyne. Mrs. Rhyne was graduated from the State Normal and taught 
in San Luis Obispo si.\ years and in Riverside. Cal., one vear. She is the 
mother of two children. 




^Z. JQrz/l^d^^ 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EWTROXS 229 

It is everywhere recognized that the educatiir is the most potent factor 
in building up the moral code in any community, and to the men and women 
who devote their life work to this end, great credit should be given. Mr 
Gibbons spent some years as a teacher, and the daughter also won recogni- 
tion in that field of endeavor; while }ilrs. Gibbons, during her long term of 
active service in the schools of the county, has seen them develop from their 
infancy to their present rank with the best in the state. That she has done 
her part is evidenced by the esteem in which she is held in the various parts 
of the county where she spent so many useful 3'ears. 

FREDERICK E. DARKE.— Xo man now living in San Luis Obispo 
County is more universally respected than the subject of this review. For 
over forty years he taught school in the county, and served efficiently as county 
superintendent of schools six years, and a like period as county recorder. 
Professor Darke is a Pennsylvanian, born at Carbondale, August 22, 1845, a 
son of John W. and Salina (Duncan) Darke, the former born in London, 
England, and the latter also a native of that country, but of Scotch descent. 
The education of Mr. Darke was obtained in the public schools of his county 
until, in his seventeenth year, he enlisted for service in the Civil War, be- 
coming a member of Company G, 57th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 
under Captain Peck, Colonel Charles Campbell in command, the regiment 
becoming a part of the Army of the Potomac. With his regiment Mr. Darke 
participated in the battles of Big Bethel, Yorktown, \Mlliamsburg, Richmond, 
and Malvern Hill, this being the last of the seven days' battle about Rich- 
mond, as well as in many other minor engagements and skirmishes in the 
.Army of the Potomac. He was taken prisoner at Chancellorsville, and re- 
turned to his regiment in December. After a service of a little over three 
years, he was honorably discharged, May 15, 1865. ( )n April 3 of that year 
he veteraned by re-enlisting in the Xinth Hancock's \'eteran Volunteer 
Regiment. He served till the close of the conflict, and was discharged, June 
25, 1866, at the end of the war. 

The great conflict over, ^Ir. Darke returned to complete his education, 
entering N^orwich Academy at X'orwich, X. Y., where he finished an elective 
course. In 1868 he decided to come to California ; and embarking on a vessel 
for the Isthmus of Panama, he crossed that stretch of land, re-embarking on 
a ship for San Francisco. He came at once to San Luis Obispo County, 
secured a school and began teaching in the spring of 1869, in the San Simeon 
district. He taught later in Cambria, after the organization of the district, and 
continued teaching for fourteen years. In 1878 Mr. Darke was elected county 
superintendent of schools, serving from 1878 to 1879, while at the same time 
he was allowed to teach. Fle was becoming interested in politics; and as 
he was very popular wherever he was known, he was elected county recorder 
and served three consecutive terms of two years each. 

He then taught school, for nineteen years, in the city of San Luis Obispo, 
soon becoming principal of the grammar schools. It was while in this posi- 
tion, and while teaching the Nipomo Street School, that Professor Darke 
drew up plans for additional room that was badly needed for the grammar 
grades. He laid out the grounds, marking spots where he wanted trees set 
out and flower beds planted, laid the plans before the proper persons and was 
assured that a tax would be voted for the improvements. The matter came 
before the people, the tax carried, and the good work began, the plans l)eing 



2M) SAX I. LIS oniSl'O CorXTY AND ENVIRONS 

carried lait almost to the kttcr as he had arranged. He himself set out nearly 
all the trees in the yard, and the lawn and flower beds were set out and 
planted under his supervision. It was declared by many that it would be 
impossible to keep the children from trespassing on the lawn and flower 
beds before thev got fairly started: but I\Ir. Darke organized the boys into 
squads, had a captain elected monthly to see that order was maintained, and 
soon the bovs became enthusiastic over the beauty of their school yard, and 
competed strongly for the honor of being captain. This plan for beautifymg 
the l)are school grounds was but the beginning of civic improvements in the 
county, many other schools falling into line. 

In 1906 he was again elected county superintendent of schools, serving 
four years. In 1911 he resumed teaching at Canil)ria, continuing three 
years, and then taught one year at Nipomo. At the end of the year he had 
taught over forty years, and in 1914 decided to retire. Many of the men and 
women engaged in the busy aiTairs of life owe their early educational training 
to Professor Darke. I\lany a discouraged teacher has received from him words 
of cheer that gave heart once more to make the effort to overcome what 
seemed almost insurmountable difficulties. 

Professor Darke is a charter member of, and helped to organize, Fred 
Steele Post, No 7(1, (i. A. K., of wdiich he is Past Commander. At the time of 
organization, there were about eighty members ; at this writing, in January. 
1917. there are fifteen. Professor Darke has twice been honored by his fellow 
townsmen, outside of the confidence and trust reposed in him in official ca- 
pacity. He was selected to provide protection for President McKinley and 
his party in May, 1901, when that distinguished gentleman stopped in San 
Luis Obispo on his tour of the Pacific coast; and an incident of the occasion 
worth recalling follows. As Mr. Darke was about to enter the President's pri- 
vate car to be introduced, Secretary Cortelyou, who was in charge of the Presi- 
dent and his party, asked Mr. Darke his title, which question, for the instant, 
took even the usually composed pedagogue unawares. But he replied, "Mister 
is good enough for me"; and President ]\IcKinley, who at that moment was 
near the door, immediately greeted him with "How do you do. Mister Darke?" 
Needless to say. Professor Darke carefully protected the President from 
any kind of annoyance during his stay in the city. Again, in May, 1903, when 
President Roo.sevelt and party stopped in San Luis Obispo on his cam- 
])aigning tour of the Coast, Mr. Darke was chosen to safeguard the popular 
statesman. He selected members of tlie Crand .-Krmy as guards, and detailed 
each for certain duly, again showing his careful attention to detail and having 
the satislacti.m as before of knowing that, tlimugh his management, nothing 
m.irred the event. 

In San Luis Obispo, on April IX, 1,X7(), occurred the marriage of Professor 
Darke with .\gnes Woods, a native of New York. She ])assed away on 
Jniic 2(k IS'iO, leaving eight children: ]-rederick K., Ir., who died aged twenty- 
seven years: Mrs. Clara C. Tilslev, of Tulare countv : |ohn W.."" of Nevada 
I ity, Cal.: .Mrs. I'.mily jane Cilbcrt, ..f Winters. Yolo'countv; Mrs. Sarah 
Mabel .^mitii, of Selma, [n<l. ; .Mrs. Mvra K. Conant, of the Hawaiian Islands; 
Koy I-,., minuig engineer: and .Miss Helen, teacher in the high school at Mc- 
Arthnr. Shasta county, who married Virgil A. Vinvard. Four of the daughters 
and n,K- son gra<luate<l from the I'niversitv of California at Berkelev. In the 



family circli 



tliere are nmc grandchildren to brighten the fireside of Mr. Darke. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EX NT RONS 231 

By virtue of the law enacted by the state legislature that teachers l)c 
"iven an annuity after a certain number of years of service, Professor Darke 
is enjoying the results of his many years as an educator. He likewise re- 
ceives a soldier's pension ; and through these sources and his savings of many 
years, he is enabled to live retired, free from the cares and tribulations of 
the busy world of strife. He enjoys good health, keeps abreast of the times, 
and retains the good will and res])ect of neighbc.rs and friends, among whom, 
by those who know him best, he is called ■•{•'ather" Darke. 

GEORGE T. GRAGG.— More than in any other state of the Union, Cali- 
fornia traces her vigorous prosperity to the sturdy character and perseverance 
of the hardy pioneers, many of whom risked their lives on the trackless. Indian- 
infested desert, the extremely dangerous trip across the Isthmus of Panama, 
where disease took its toll of human beings, or the journey, in any kind of 
a vessel, around Cape Horn, with danger besetting them on everv hand dur- 
ing the entire voyage, .\mong these men of sterling worth is numbered 
George T. Gragg. 

He was born in Milti)n, Mass., .April 29, 1820, a son of Moses and .Mary 
(Alden) Gragg, of English descent. The only education he received was in 
tlie common schools of his native place, and he was early set to learn the trade 
of carpenter. \\'hen twenty years of age, in the spring of 1849, George T. 
Gragg sailed from Boston, with a party of friends, on the ship •"Sweden," to 
round the Horn. 

On .August 4 of tliat year they arrived in San Francisco. Here Air. Gragg 
at once outfitted for the mines at Alokelumne Hill, where he mined for about 
two months, and then returned to San Francisco to spend the winter. The 
next spring he went back to the mines and followed the precarious occu- 
pation of miner for two years. During one of his exploring trips into the 
mountains, he camped on the spot where the Donner party split up. In 1852 
he located in Santa Cruz and worked, for a time, at his trade of cari)enter ; 
later he engaged in the tannery business for two years, and then he opened 
a planing mill which, for several years, he conducted with some success. 
During this time, he became a charter member of the Independent Order of 
Odd I'ellows in the lodge at .Santa Cruz, and he li;is ])assed all the chairs of 
the order. 

In 1880 he came to San Luis Obispo County and bought a ranch of 
seven hundred acres, which he improved and farmed until 1890. when he 
moved into -San Luis Obispo to give liis children the advantages of the 
schools of the county-seat. He still owns the ranch, and it is devoted to 
dairying and grain-raising, and is being conducted by his son. 

He served on the board of supervisors from 1886 to 1890, and during his 
term many needed improvements were pushed to completion in the county. 
Since moving to the city, he has lived retired, enjoying a well-earned rest. 
He married Ruth Root, a native of New England, and they became the 
parents of six children : Cauline, Mrs. Orton of Ventura ; Hazzard, on the 
home ranch; and George R., Ruth, Frances and .Alden, all of whom have 
received good practical training to fit them for the responsibilities of life. 
-Among the people of San Luis Obispo, Air. Gragg has a pleasant word for 
every one he meets; and well he may. for his life has been well spent, and the 
world has used him as he used the world. 



232 SAX rXlS OBISPO COUNTY AND E.WIROXS 

CHARLES BRADLEY.— The changing vicissitudes of life brought 
Charles I'.radley into intimate acquaintance with various localities before he 
established his perniancnt home in the Santa Maria valley in the fall of 
1868. He was born at South U'inofield. Derbyshire, England, in 1839, and 
had but little opportunity to secure an education ; for at the age of twelve he 
began work in the coal mines at Oakerthorpe, and when he was eighteen he 
commenced taking contracts in mining and breaking coal for market, con- 
tinuing until 1868. Then, through the influence of his uncle, Paul Bradley, 
he came to this state, to Monterey county, where his uncle was living. \\'ith 
the latter, for a time, he stopped, and in the fall of that year came with him 
to the Santa Maria valley, driving all their stock, and he began working for 
this uncle, who had purchased considerable land here and was beginning 
in the sheep business. He continued in liis employ four years, when he struck 
out for himself. 

In 1872 Mr. Bradley purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, 
adding to this from time to time, by pre-emption and purchase, until he 
became owner of about three thousand acres, one thousand of which was 
tillable and the balance suitable for pasturage. From this time on he devoted 
his energies to the sheep and cattle business with success. In the earlv 
period there was ample range-land, and stock roamed at will and was only 
gathered in at the annual rodeos : but as settlers came in and the large ranges 
were divided into smaller tracts, the stock business became unprofitable and 
Mr. Bradley, like the other stockmen, turned his attention to other lines of 
activity. 

The Bradley ranch was well improved, and in 1873 he erected a fine 
country home and suitable buildings to accommodate his farming opera- 
tions. In 1880, as an experiment, he set out an orchard of various kinds of 
fruit; but the business was never profitable in the valley and he went no 
further with the venture. His home property was not the extent of his 
interests, for he became interested in the town of Santa Maria bv the pur- 
chase of the Hart Hotel, which he remodeled and renamed the Bradley Hotel. 
This is favorably known by commercial men throughout the length and 
breadth of the state as one of the up-to-date hostelries frequented in their 
travels, and is now one of the valuable as.sets of the estate. 

In South \\-ingfield, England, on April 5, 18.=;7, Mr. Bradlev was united 
in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Booth, a lady of culture, bv whom he 
had eleven children— two sons and nine daughters. At their beautiful countrv 
home, erected in 1873. many happy reunions were held before Mrs. Bradlev's 
death, and there Mr. Bradley i)assed away. He was a member of Hesperian 
-|>dgc. \o. 264. 1-. & A. M., of Santa :\Iaria ; was interested in the cause of 
erlucati.:,!! : and lor many years served on the school board and did much to 
elevate the standard of tlie schools of the vallev. He was a stockholder and a 
'iireaor in tlie Santa Maria Rank, and in 1Q04 was elected president of the 

ev -r 1 '7r-"" "'' ^" *'"' '"'"^ °'' '"^ ''^^^'^ '" l'^^^- His was the largest funeral 
t K-KJ in Santa Maria, and his death was mourned bv rich and poor alike. 

,,.^ 'J'"" "*- - '''"'' charitable man, always readv to aid those deemed 

_ } "I a.Mstance by him, and he was a potent factor in the development 

I uitirc valley, and a man well and favorablv known wherever he had 

i>iiMiies> dcalines. 



( 




S^yr^ 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 235 

DAVID F. NEWSOM.— Fnim the year 1853 until liis death in l'»02. an 
unbroken periud of almost fifty years, David P^. Newsoni was an important 
factor in the history of San Luis Obispo County; and he left behind him the 
legacy of an untarnished name, more valuable and cherished more highly by 
his family than the riches he had accumulated during his busy life. 

Born in Petersburg, Va., September 5, 1832, a son of David and Mira 
(Robinson) Ne'wsom, he was educated in jniblic and private schools and took 
a two years' course at the Petersburg Classical Institute, a Presbyterian 
school at Forestville, N. C. In his fifteenth year, on account of the business 
failure of his father, he had to leave school and go to work to support himself. 
He studied the situation carefully and decided to learn a trade. Accordingly 
he went to New York City, where he apprenticed himself to Dietz 
I'.rothers & Company, to learn brass finishing. One of the Dietz brothers was 
the husband of his mother's sister, and he secured him the chance to learn 
the business. On March 15, 1849, young Newsom boarded the schooner 
"Ann," owned by Captain Bogart, who ofifered him free passage to New 
York; and arriving there after a voyage of eight days, he entered at once upon 
his duties at the brass works. 

'Sir. and Airs. Dietz were the editors of Hulden's Magazine, and were th<^ 
recipients of many complimentary tickets to operas, lectures and concerts : 
and these were frequently given to their nephew, who was glad to take ad- 
vantage of e\ery opportunity to educate himself. He also availed himself 
of his apprentice's right to draw books from the Mechanics' Library, as well 
as to attend lectures frequently given there ; and here he heard many noted 
men and women. He also gained much valuable information at Barnum's 
.American ^luseum. From a Mrs. Taylor, another friend, ^Ir. Newsom 
received invitations to attend Henry \\'ard Beecher's church, and heard that 
eminent divine from the Taylor pew. Lectures and entertainments, how- 
ever, were not his only form of instruction and medium of education. Be- 
lieving that bookkeeping would be of great assistance to him, he arranged 
to attend the Public Night School No. 5, on Duane street, where he also took 
lessons in vocal and instrumental music. 

Apprentices were paid $30.00 the first year, and .'^40.0<) the second: and 
when young Newsom's two years were up he had due him just $20.CX3. On 
March 29, 1851. David F. Newsom left New York a good mechanic, a fine 
l)(>okkeeper, and with an unusually large fund of general information. Re- 
turning to Petersburg, he accepted a position as clerk in a shoe store, the firm 
being the one that had bought his father's business. He remained with them 
two years, deciding then to come to California. 

On September 15, Mr. Newsom started for New York, where he secured 
passage to San Francisco via the Nicaragua route on the steamer "Star of 
the West," which left the harbor September 25. and landed the passengers ten 
days later in San Francisco. There ]\lr. Newsom met Oscar M. Browm. who 
owned two ranches in San Lttis Obispo County and was also county judge. 
He told Mr. Newsom there was a vacancy in the county clerk's office, and 
that he would appoint him to fill it if the salary of $2000 a year was sufficient 
inducement. He accepted the position, but the salary not being sufficient, 
he opened a feed stable (which business became very remunerative), mean- 
while continuing his position in the county office, and finding his task a 
<lifficult one, as the books were in a chaotic condition. .As cx-officio county 
superintendent of schools, Afr. Newsoni employed a teacher and opened the 



'3(. 



AX I.LJS OBISPO COUNTY AXD ENVIRONS 



tir>t i)iil)lic sclii"il ill llic ciiuiily. in a room in the nld missicui. Air. Newsom ' 
was al>n diilv elected to the office of county clerk and held the office until j 

1857. wiien he went to Washington to try his fortunes. j 

In the early fifties, Air. Newsom, with a partner, ran a hog ranch, part 
of the C'lirral de Piedra grant, leasing the land from the X'illa family. i 
The hogs were driven to the mining section in the vicinity of Washo, | 
New. and it took from six to eight weeks to make the trip. He also ran a | 

vegetable ami truck garden, and when he would go to San Luis to his <iffice in | 

the courthouse, he would haul all he could carry to the markets there. 

Rev. I'V. Gomez gave Air. Newsom, to whom he had taken a great liking, I 

one half of the \'an Gorden ranch and .stock, selling the other half to a Mr. i 

Leinos. l-"ather Gomez had to leave for San Bias, Mexico, before the papers I 

were made out for the transfer. Air. Newsom made out the papers, he being | 

county clerk at the time, and they were given to Lemos to have W. J. Graves I 

turn o\-er to Newsom his portion. In the meantime Lemos had sold the • 

stock and pocketed the money, and said about the transfer of the land, "Do | 

you thiidv 1 am a fool to turn <;i\er the land?" He held the deeds. When j 

leather (kimez came back to California to collect his $4,000 from Lemos he ! 

refused to pay, and holding the deeds, could not be made to do so. Thus i 

he and Air. Newsom got nothing. Father Gomez then came to Air. Newsom ■ 

and told him of the wonderful opportunities in mahogany timber in Alexico, '• 

and that lu- would see that Air. Newsom profited well if he would go down j 

there; hut he told the ]3riest that he had had enough of Alexico as it was, and ', 

coidd not agree to leave California. i 

He opened the first general store at (Jlympia, sold out, and in .\pril, 1858, i 

started the first general store in Bellingham, both successful ventures. He ; 

disposed of the latter store, and in December moved to Fort Hope, B. C, i 

opened a store on Eraser river, and remained there six months. Selling 
out at the end of that time, he started towards California once more. Ar- 
riving at San juan Island, Air. Newsom found General Pickett with a detach- 
ment, of United States soldiers trying to prevent his arrest by the British; 
when Air. Newsom organized a company of sharpshooters to assist him, a 
compromise was agreed upon, and Air. Newsom was chosen to represent 
the different factions. He remaineil on the island until 1861, having charge 
ol the sutler'-, store ;ind assisting in the establishment iif the San Juan lime 
works. 

Alter his return to .San Luis ( )liispo county. Air. Newsom again becanie 
|)rominent in local affairs. I U- was an ardent Democrat for rears, although 
later more indei^en.Ient in his \ lews, and filled various offices, including justice 
ol the peace and .leputy cuntx clerk. In 1864 he went to Arrovo Grande and 
taught lite first school there. In the fall of 18r.4, he moved onto the Santa 
Manuela ranch, where lie had ].urch;ised twelve hundred acres of land con- 
tannng the .\rroyo Grande Warm Springs. Here he improved a valuable 
ranch i)roperty. set out orchards of various kinds of fruits, raised Angora 
jjoais ni large numbers, and other stock. He was interested in the Newsom 
^.uinery, and l>ecanie better known, perhaps, in the development of New.som 
• pnntrs. lo demonstrate the curative powers of the water. Air. Newsom 
took- patients Inun the oumty hospitals to his resort and gave them free 
treatment tor the ailment, they were heir to, curing them, and thus giving 



le nniiroxeil the surroundings of his resort and 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD ENVIRONS 237 

efLCted suitable buildings for the baths and cottages for tourists, and to thusc 
who came and wished to camp, he furnished free camping grounds. He had 
fuurteen cottages, modern in appointments for the locality, and a good bath 
house with tubs and attendants. He would not allow au}^ kind of liquor sold on 
the grounds at any time ; and by his personal attention to the details of his 
resort, he built up a large patronage and derived a good revenue therefrom. 

In 1863 ]\Ir. Newsom and Anita Branch were united in marriage. Mrs. 
Newsom was a daughter of F. Z. Branch, of whom an extended mention 
is made in this history. For forty years this worthy couple prospered, mean- 
while rearing a family of twelve children: David Z. ; Edward F., who married 
Evelyn Cochran and, dying, left one son ; Mary M. ; Eliza, wife of J. E. Wier of 
Bakersfield and the mother of one son ; Anna ; Alexander D. ; Louisa, the 
wife of John Janette of Los Angeles : IMichael A., who married ]\Irs. Margie 
(Lingo)" Crag-hill; Ruth L. ; Belle Lee; William H. : and Robert P. David 
and Alexander are carrying on the ranch and Newsom Springs resort with 
success. The waters of these springs have great curative powers, and the 
place is equipped with a large plunge as well as with i)ri\ate Ijaths. There is 
a dairy of twenty-five cows on the ranch. 

David F. Newsom was made a Mason on his twenty-first birthday, Sep- 
tember 5, 1853, when he received the first and second degrees ; and on Septem- 
ber 10 he received the third degree, it being conferred upon him by the Lieu- 
tenant Governor, who was Grand ]^Iaster of the State of Virginia. With the 
exception of George Washington, Mr. Newsom was younger at the time of 
initiation than any other Master Mason that had then been received into the 
order in \'irginia. He was also a member of the Knights of Pythias. He 
died January 1, 1902. His wife passed away March 30, 1912. 

ANALYSIS OF THE WATERS OF NEWSOM SPRINGS 

(Temperature, 100.50 desi. 1" > 

Sodium Chloride 4.10 

Sodium Carbonate 1.75 

Sodium Sulphate - 3.92 

Silica 2.03 

Potassium Carbonate .15 

Potassium Sulphate 2.90 

Magnesium Carbonate 6.41 

Magnesium Sulphate 2.47 

Organic matter - .27 

Calcium Carbonate 3.25 

Calcium Sulphate -75 

Ferrous Carbonate 3.99 

.Alumina -33 

Total ..._ 32.32 

BERNARD EXLINE.— .\ pioneer of this state, I'.ernard Exline came 
across the plains with ox teams from Indiana to California and went to El- 
dorado county, where for some years he was engaged in mining. In 1868 he 
settled in San Luis Obispo County, locating on a ranch on the Salinas river, 
three miles north of what is now the city of I'aso Rol^les, a town not dreamed 
of at that time. Lie had tired of the iniccrtainties of mining and decided to 
take up farming; so he located a homestead of one hundred sixty acres, and 
his place was the first homestead proved up in this section. 

He succeeded in ranching and later moved in to San Luis Obispo when 
it was taking on new life, and engaged in contracting and building in the 



238 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EN\'IROXS 

nv tiiwn lie .-iImi Iii.u-ht nmrc land adjoining his homestead, and owned 
an entire seeliuii in mie liMdy. all under cuhivation to grain and stock. 

Mr l--xline was one of the early pioneer American settlers in the county 
and experienced many hardships. He owned eighty acres in Iowa that he 
never disixised of; and having leased his California ranch, he went back to 
Iowa, laid out his land as an addition to Newton, with building restrictions 
fixed at three thousand dollars, and rapidly sold off the property. 

He also owned lour hundred eighty acres at Rich Hill, -Mo.; and three 
years after leaving California, he moved to this farm and built a home and 
operated the place until his death, of cholera morbus, four years later. His 
wife was Elizabeth Huey, a native of Indiana. She died in San Luis Obispo. 
They had four children. 

After the death oi his first wife, Bernard Exline married a second time. 
His bride was Belle Johnson, who died at Newton, Iowa, leaving no issue. 
DAVID FINLEY STOCKDALE.— No object lesson could be presented 
by the student of history more striking than the transformation wrought in 
California during the past half century. David F. Stockdale well remembers 
the appearance of the country fifty-eight years ago wdien, after a tedious 
trip across the ])lains. he arri\efl in what is ntjw the greatest commonwealth 
in America. As proprietor of the I'ark \'iew Ranch, Mr. Stockdale has been 
a participant in the upbuilding of San Luis Obispo County since 1868. His 
father, Seneca Stockdale, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and his 
grandfather, John Stockdale, brought the family to Ohio and settled on 
Jones creek near Zanesville, where he cleared and improved a farm and 
where he died. They were members of the Society of Friends. The mother 
of !Mr. Stockdale was Elizabeth Barker, born in Delaware, and she became 
the mother of eight children, two of whom are living. 

David F. Stockdale was born in Zanesville, }iluskingum county, O., 
October 1.^, 1835, attended the subscription schools of that period, and was 
reared on the farm of his father until he was eighteen. In 1853, he went 
to Shelby, 111., and hired out for ten dollars per month as a farm hand, remain- 
ing one season. Witli the money he managed to save, he went to ^^■inneshiek 
county, la., located a tract uf land, and remained there engaging in farming 
two years. He next went to Minnesota, and in Freeborn county bought out 
a settler ; and when his father went to that state in 1857, he located him on 
the land, and the following year started for California. In 1856, Indians killed 
all tlie settlers at Spirit Lake, la., eighty miles from Mr. Stockdale"s home; 
and he helped bury the dead. It was bitter cold, forty below zero, and he 
froze his fingers, which still show the marks. In 1857 the same band of 
Indians came to Minnesota, but the settlers went after them and gave battle 
at Mud Lake. Mr. Stockdale was wounded in the left arm during the fight, 
m which David gave a good account of himself, for he was an expert with the 
rifle. During the battle the soldiers appeared and stopped the fight, and 
took the Indians to the reservation and fed them, and looked after them to 
keei) them from further <lepredations. 

In 18-18, Mr. Stcckd.ale started for California, joining a large train of 
nnmigrants, all having ,,x and horse teams. The party journeyed by easy 
stages to this state, where the settlers arrived in the fall after an uneventful 
trii>, there benig sutficient numbers to insure against Indians. Stopping in 
Eldorado couiuy, he began mining, meeting with the usual luck attending 






Mjt^^^kicdb^ 




y?h^, u^^Ce^Mvci. ^pfe:^v£^j^i2^ 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COL'.XTY AND EWIROXS 243 

that i)recarious occupation. In 1865. lor instance, he found a bar on the C"on- 
.sumnes river where the water broke: and after getting out tiu' wattT. lie put 
in sluice boxes and mined one hunth-ed doUars in half an liour; following 
which, he worked over tw(3 acres, Init did ncit make two dollars ami a half 
a day. 

In 1868 he located in San Luis 01)ispo County, tlicn a wihl country 
just being surveyed. I\Ir. Stockdale located a pre-emption i m ( me hundred 
sixty acres, built a cabin and began improving the land. Lumber was five 
cents a foot, and it was all hauled from Port Harford. Mr. Stockdale began 
raising cattle, his brand being DS with a half circle above. He later home- 
steaded eighty acres, thus adding to his original holdings. 

Mr. Stockdale was married here to ^Irs. Rebecca ( F-xline i Middleton, 
a native of Indiana and a sister of Levi Exline. She had come liere witii 
her brother, P)ernard Exline, in the fall of 1868. Before her marriage, Mrs. 
Stockdale had homesteaded one hundred sixty acres on what is now the 
state highway, three miles north of Paso Robles, proving up on the property, 
which added to his holdings and made, them four hundred acres in one body, 
where he continued stock- and grain-raising. He was one of the first to set out 
an orchard, having prunes, pears and various kinds of fruit, all producing large 
crops ; but there was no market for the fruit on account of lack of shipping 
facilities, and he grubbed out the trees and went back to grain, which is liis 
staple crop. On this place he has made all the improvements with tlic aid of 
his late wife, who did her share in enduring the hardships and rearing the 
family. 

Three children were born to them. Charles F. is in Lemoore : Wilham 
L. resides in the Adelaida district ; and Claude is carrying on the home i)lacc. 
By the first marriage of Mrs. Stockdale there was a daughter, now ^Irs. 
Catherine Linn, living on an adjoining ranch. Mr. Stockdale was one of the 
organizers of the Farmers' Alliance Business Association that erected the 
farmers' warehouse at Paso Robles, and which did so much to advance the 
grain-growers' interests and establish a higher price, as it encouraged com- 
petition ; and Mr. Stockdale was a member of the first board of directors. 

DWIGHT REYNOLDS.— More than any other state in the Union, Cali- 
fornia traces her vigorous prosperity directly to the sturdy characters and 
untiring perseverance of the pioneers, many of whom risked their lives on the 
trackless, Indian-infested plains, bringing hither eastern conservatism and 
practical experience to the aid of western chaos and impetuosity. Enrolled 
among these men is the name of Dwight Reynolds. He was born in Xew 
Auburn, Cayuga county, X. Y., March 8. 1837, a st>n of Robert and .\nnie 
(Draper) Reynolds, both of whom were born, lived ;ind died theri'. I'hey 
had eight sons and one daughter, only two of \vliom .ire living ,ii this tune. 
There were four of the Reynolds brothers in the Civil W ar. and two nf them 
were killed in battle. 

Dwight Reynolds was educated in the common schools of his native 
county and reared to manhood on his father's farm; and he there early 
learned the rudiments of farming and lessons of thrift. When he was 1)ut 
ten years old his father died, and he remained at home for a few years, after 
which, until he came to California, he went out to work for wages, for the 
farmers in that part of the county. He left Xew ^■^rk City. .May, 1860, on the 
■'Xorth Star," Ijound for .Vspinwall. and cmsscd the Isthnnis to Panama. 



2A4 SAX i.ris or.ispo corxTv axd exviroxs 

I'n.in tlicri.- he pmcec.lcd on l)oar<l the "jolui L. Stevens" to San Francisco, 
iirrivitii^ after an entire viiya.i;e of twenty-one days. He went to the Santa 
t lara vallev and foinid work at threshing on the farms of that section, and 
aK,, at riinnini,' slieej). in the San Joaquin and Santa Clara valleys. 

In 1X74. -Mr. Reynolds came to San I-uis Obispo County and engaged in 
raisinjj sheep for him.self. He was later superintendent of the Eureka ranch 
two vears and for a few years of the Santa Ysabel ranch. He purchased two 
ranches of one hundred si.xty acres each on the Huer-Huero river about 
three miles from I'aso Robles. and began improving them with good build- 
in,i;s and !,'etting the land under cultivation ; and from time to time he added 
t'l iheni until he owns about four hundred acres in one body. Here he en- 
};a!,'ed in the sheep business for a number of years and met with success. He 
also did general farming. He also owns one hiuidred sixty acres adjoining 
Paso Robles, where the golf links are located, a place that promises to becotne 
one of the finest residential sections of the city. 

Mr. Reynolds was united in marriage at San Luis Obispo in 1875, with 
Miss Mary Johnson, who was born in Guelph, Ontario. Can., where she was 
reared and attended the public schools. She came to this state in the sev- 
enties and from San Francisco came to San Luis Obispo. They have had 
five children: Isabel, Mrs. Walter Rhyne of this vicinity: Ross and Charles, 
who are farming on the Huntington ranch: William, of Alberta, Canada: and 
\'ine, .Mrs. Coates, who resides in San Francisco. 

Mr. Reynolds has served as trustee of schools for many years, was a 
member of the first board of the Dry creek district and helped build the 
schunlhouse. He is a Republican in politics, although he has never sought 
public office. With his wife he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Both Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds have a host of warm friends through- 
out the county, where he is recognized as one ni the nldest living settlers. 
Me has accumulated a competence, and is now li\ing in the quiet enjoyment 
of his home and its surroundings. 

CASSIUS H. GLINES. — Tliere is probably no better-known citizen in 
Sama i;;irl)ara cuunty. in particular, and the Santa .Maria valley, where he is a 
pioneer, than Cassius 11. Glines, now living retired in his comfortable home 
at (a? South Broadway, Santa Maria. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, 
Xoveniber 5. 18.50, while his parents were coming across the plains to Cali- 
lornia fn.m Missouri. His father, J,,hn H. (.lines, was born in the vicinitv 
<-l I hurchville. near Ouebec. Canada. February U>. 1S31, and was married in 
Missouri tn .Miss Mary Ann l-Aaiis. who was born September 2, 1832, in Rich- 
"I'-nd. ( )hi,,. lie started overland for California with his wife, and when they 
Uj't JM Sail Lake City they stopped for a time; and while there their eldest 
• hdd was born. In lS.s2 Mr. Glines came on to California and w^as engaged in 
iir.chlin- irom San I'.ernardino to Salt Lake City, and was also in the stock 
•ti-niess. He Kit his lamily in the latter city until thev finallv joined him in 
■•I'lorma. wiiere he was running a ranch near San Bernardino. W hile ranch- 
mi;, he r,ni ,. ]..„ k tram In,- ;. year into the Bear valley mines. 

.Mr <.lmrs „„,v,.,l about in this state considerably in pursuit of a fortune, 
ni » nil no driMuu- nncntion I,, make it his permanent home. In 1862 thev 
i\..i 1.1 \\..t>onMlie. and m ISo-l i„ Sacramento, where he was freighting to 
JiH ..lines ,„ X .ri^ui.a (_,ty. Xev.da. In 1876 he came to the Santa Maria val- 
"■ " """ '"^ ""■ "'"' ''-■' ^"'iH' douii hei-e the jirevious vear: but 1877 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COrXTV AND EX\IROXS 245 

being a dry year and the prospects iininvitin.t;, the family went down to what 
is now Orange county, then a part of Los Angeles count}-. There they made 
their home, and there he and his wife died — she in 1884 and he in 1897. 

They were the parents of twelve children. Five sons and five daughters 
grew to maturity : Cassius H. : I\Irs. Mary A. Johnson, of Covina ; David, who 
died in Santa Ana : Perry L., living in Santa Ana ; Joseph, of this state : Dow, 
in Arizona ; Mrs. Ella Boyd, in California ; Mrs. Olive King, deceased ; Anner, 
of this state; and Mrs. Etta \"eigley, deceased. The experiences of this 
worthy couple in pioneering in the great, unlimited West were full of hard- 
ships and privations, but rich in historical associations. 

Cassius H. Glines attended school in California in the \arous places where 
the family lived. He was but twenty years younger than his father, and was 
always associated with him in business affairs until the family moved to 
Santa Ana, when he remained in the Santa Maria valley. He looked upon 
his parent more as a companion than a father, and was always so treated by 
him. He grew up in the stock business, assisting on the farm, and doing a 
man's work from early manhood, and helped to settle up a new country and 
to make it a pleasant place in w^hich to live. He distinctly remembers that 
his father was otTered thirteen acres of land, now within the borders of the 
city of Sacramento, in exchange for a mule — which ofifer was refused, as he 
was freighting between that city and Virginia City, Xev., and a mule was 
valuable, for they were hard to get and he had to make his li\ing with them. 
He also relates that his uncle, Israel Evans, at one time worked for Tom 
.Marshall, the discoverer of gold in 1848, at Sutter's mill. He recalls the first 
public school, which he attended a short time, later finishing in the inter- 
mediate school at Sacramento. 

For a while Cassius lived on Sutter's creek in Amador countw mining 
for gold and quartz. When his parents came to the Santa ^laria valley, the 
outlook was discouraging; but father and son set to work, and by dint of hard 
labor developed a valuable property, doing a very successful business in gen- 
eral farming. After his father went to Santa Ana, the son remained on the 
ranch and has always been a valued resident of the Santa Maria valley. 

He has improved several'ranches in the intervening years, and ni)w owns 
one hundred twenty good acres near ( )rcutt. and also a tliirteen-hundredacre 
stock ranch; and is half owner, with his eldest son. in two hundred head of 
cattle. Besides this, he owns his comfortable home in .^ania .Maria, which 
he ])urchased in 1908. At one time he had a government claim of one hundred 
sixty acres right where oil is being ])roduced, and could ha\e ])ro\ed uj) 
on it 1)\- paying $2.50 per acre to the go\ernment : hut it was unsuilcd for 
agricidtural purposes and he let it go. 

When he first caxne to the valley in 1875. what is now Santa Maria was 
known as Central City and comprised four blocks at Main and Broadvva}'. 
There were only a few trees in the valley in the early days. A pepper tree 
planted in his yard is now forty-five 3^ears old and three feet in diameter, lie 
set out one of the first family orchards in the valley in the winter of 1883, and 
a vineyard of some two hundred vines: all grew and thrived, and about five 
years later he Inok a premium at a fair in Santa Barbara for his apples. ^Lr. 
(Ilines ser\ed as trustee in the I'ine ( ,rM\ e district for twenty years, part of 
the time being clerk of the board; he also assisted in organizing the \\'ash- 
inL;tun district, .-ind \\as clerk and trustee while he li\ed there. He was one 



24(1 SAX I.riS OBTSrO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

of the organizers, and is a Past Grand, of Santa Maria Lodge No. 302, 
I. O. O. F. Politically he is a Democrat. 

In 1872, at Summit Flat. Sha.sta county. Mr. Glines was united in mar- 
riage with ^liss Sarah B. Martin, a daughter of Thomas J. and Sarah Jane 
(Goatley) Martin. She was born in Missouri and died in Santa Maria, Feb. 
22. 1913. Of this union several children were born. Charles H. is a partner . 
with his father in the stock on Glines' ranch on the Alamo ; he married Annie 
Purvis and they have one child. John T. married Dora Holloway, whose 
parents were early settlers and were the first couple married here. He is a 
stockman and the father of five children. Robert, in business in Orcutt, mar- 
ried Cora ^ilcCroskey and has four children. Belle is the wife of William Mc- 
Donald of Santa Maria. Huldah, the wife of M. I\I. Purkiss, field manager for 
the Union Sugar Co. at Betteravia, is the mother of two children. Eva is at 
home. James L. married Ethel Dempster and has one son He is cashier of 
the First National Bank of Santa Maria, and is city treasurer of Santa Maria. 
Phoebe lives at home. Air. < ilines is highly respected by all with whom 
he is acquainted, and has always made his influence felt for the good of the 
ciimnumit}-. 

JOHN P. BLACK.— A worthy son of his father, John P. Black has taken 
an acti\'e part in the development of the agricultural interests of San Luis 
Obispo County, where the greater part of his life has been spent. He was 
born in British Columbia, Alarch 17, 1862, a son of Patrick J. and Maria 
(Morris) Black. His early schooling was obtained in the schools in San 
Francisco, where he also studied to become a civil engineer and surveyor, a 
profession that he has followed for many years, throughout .San Luis Obispo 
and adjoining counties. 

Air. Black assisted his father in the sheep business and proved up on a 
government claim near Huasna : and to this small beginning he has added, 
from time to time, until he now owns twelve hundred acres of good land on 
the Huasna plain which is devoted to the stock business. Besides the above 
ranch, he is also the owner of considerable land in other sections. Since 
1888 he has done surveying in almost every part of this county, and has 
become a very well-known man. 

Air. Black held an appointment as United .States De])uty Surveyor for a 
number of years, during which time every survey made was accepted. Like 
his father, he always enjoys a hunt ; and twent3"-five years after his father had 
hunted in the Tulares, he and a friend hunted antelope on the Cuyama, run- 
ning onto ahdUt three hundred head, of which they shot seven. He also shot 
hundreds of deer and California lions. 

Mr. Black was united in marriage with Alary Alahurin, who was born 
in California; and they have six children: William J., who owns a govern- 
ment claim in this county : Walter L., owner of a claim in Santa Barbara 
county: and Herbert F,., Lilli.-m A,, L.iura Al., and John R. Black. Since Mr. 
Black attained his majorit\-. In- has been self-supporting, and since becoming 
a resident of San Luis Obispo County he has been identified with every move- 
ment for the advancement of the welfare of the citizens and the improvement 
of the county. He is a friend of education and has done much to improve 
the standard of the schools. He is a member of the B. P. O. Elks and of 
the Catholic Church. 




U(^, 




€J^i-^ 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXVIRONS 249 

WILLIAM T. LUCAS, M. D. — Among professional men in the Santa 
Maria valley, none is more in touch with the general spirit of progress in the 
West than Dr. William T. Lucas, senior member of the firm of Lucas & 
Coblentz and widely known as a proficient expounder of the best principles 
of medical science. A native of Missouri, he was born near St. Joseph, 
Buchanan county, ^larch 18, 1850, a son of George J. and Sally (Thomas) 
Lucas. George J. Lucas was a farmer in Missouri, who emigrated with his 
family to Montana in 1864, crossing the plains by prairie schooner, his son, 
William T., riding a mule and assisting in driving the thousand or more 
head of cattle brought by the company, of which the Lucas family were 
members. Besides the stock, the company had several loads of freight. The 
Lucas family stopped in Deer Lodge valley, ]Mr. Lucas taking up land and 
engaging in dairying, making cheese and butter until 1868, when he sold out 
and again started westward with California as his goal. On arrival he settled 
in Yolo county near Woodland, where for several years he followed farming 
and stock-raising. Finally retiring to \\'oodland, he lived there until his 
death, at the age of seventy-seven years. His widow, now in her eighty- 
ninth year and in the full possession of all her mental faculties, still resides 
in that city. 

\\\ T. Lucas received his education by pri\"ate tutor in [Montana, and 
from the time he was old enough had to work hard to assist in the support 
of the family. Later he attended Hesperian College at Woodland, and also 
taught school, oft' and on, for six years in Yolo and Solano counties. His 
ambition after he had reached manhood's estate was to become a physician ; 
and accordingly, after he had saved enough money to defray his expenses, 
he entered the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, Dr. Lane being- 
professor of surgery and Dr. Plummer instructor on diseases of women and 
children. During three years of that time. Dr. Lucas was clerk of the Chil- 
dren's Clinic, and it was while he was instructor here that George Pardee, 
later governor of California, was a student. In November, 1876, Dr. Lucas 
was graduated, and the following February he opened an office in Wood- 
land, where he practiced medicine, became county physician and had charge of 
the Woodland hospital until 1879, when he came to Guadalupe, Santa Barbara 
county. There he practiced until June, 1884; and then he located permanently 
in Santa Maria, where he is the pioneer physician. In 1882 he obtained an 
honorary degree from Cooper ^Medical College, now the medical department 
of Stanford University. Locating in Santa Maria, he bought property in town 
and one hundred sixty acres of farming land. He leases out eighty acres of the 
latter, and is improving the balance with orchards, including deciduous fruits. 
He already has about twenty-two acres set out. Dr. Lucas, who is one of the 
owners and proprietors of the Lucas Sanitarium on South Broadway and was 
the first surgeon in charge, has an extensive and successful practice through- 
out the Santa Maria valley. He is a great reader, and has a large private 
library. 

Dr. Lucas was married in Sacramento to Miss Lulu Maupin, a lady of 
I-rench descent, although born in Missouri. Her father, a Southerner, was 
one of the "Midnight Raiders," and was assassinated during the Civil War. 
Her mother is also deceased. Mrs. Lucas came to California with an uncle, 
James M: Stephenson, who lived in Franklin, Sacramento county. To Dr. 
and Mrs. Lucas two children have been born: Lee P.. regimental quarter- 
master in the 5th Regiment, N. G. C. is married and lives in Berkeley : while 



250 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Ora is he wife of (I. B. Blankenburg. a prominent attorne}' witli tiffices in 
San Francisco. 

To Dr. Lucas, more than to any other citizen, is due the credit of organ- 
izing the Santa Maria High School, having the building erected in Santa 
Alaria, and making it one of the best schools in the state. He was the first 
president of the Agricultural Association of the Santa Maria Valley, and is 
fond of horses and a patron of the race-track, not for gambling purposes but for 
the pure love of the sport and of fine horses. He is a York rite Mason, a mem- 
ber of the Blue Lodge of Guadalupe, of which he was Master several years. 
He was elected Grand Master by the Grand Lodge of Masons of the state in ! 
1896. He is a member and Past High Priest of Fidelity Chapter, R. A. M., of I 
Santa Maria, and a member of San Luis Obispo Commandery, No. 17 , K. T. ' 
For eight years. Dr. Lucas was one of the most active workers on the griev- ' 
ance committee of the Grand Lodge of Masons, of which he was a member for ( 
about twelve years. He has the most complete Masonic library in Southern 
California. He has been a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge since May, ' 
1877, and is a member of the San Luis Obispo lodge of Elks. In line with his j 
profession, he belongs to the County Medical Society, and the State ^Medical \ 
Society, having served as its vice-president in 1904-03, and is a member of the | 
American Medical Association. j 

The Doctor is a consistent Democrat, and has taken an acti\-e part in ! 
campaigns ever since he was old enough to vote, and even before that time, i 
In 1884 he was defeated for the state legislature; in 1904 he was defeated for j 
Congress ; and in 1916 he refused to become a candidate for the last-named ] 
post. He is a member of the State Democratic Central Committee, and for i 
years has been a member of the Democratic County Central Committee. i 

Dr. Lucas is noted as an orator, and delivered the address at the laying j 
of the corner-stone of the Santa Maria Carnegie Library, as well as the | 
speech of the day at the laying of the corner-stone of the Masonic building i 
in Santa I\Iaria. Of his addresses may be mentioned the "Historical and , 
Philosophical" lecture on Masonry, delivered before various Masonic meetings ! 
throughout the state; "History of Masonry''; and "In Memoriam" — all elo- 
quent discourses. He is an enthusiastic booster for California and his section , 
of the state, a progressive citizen, a noted surgeon and a prominent Mason, j 
He is hale and hearty, comes from a long-lived family, is companionable and j 
popular and very highly respected. i 

ARCHER CATRON JESSEE.— There are but few persons whose j 
records arei obtainalde at this time who represent those men who were j 
members of that brave band of pioneer plainsmen, soldiers and farmers who | 
took part in the early movements that won California for the Union and there- ' 
after were active participants in the later-day movements that placed this ' 
glorious state in the front rank of all the commonwealths of our country. 
Such a man was the late Archer Catron Jessee, progenitor of the family in | 
California. He was a native of Virginia, born December 25, 1821, in Russell ; 
county, moved to Missouri with his parents, and remained with them until j 
1842, when he married, in Atchison county, Va., Miss Mary Ilarbin, a native j 
of Tennessee and a daughter of James M. Harbin, the discoverer of the j 
famous Harbin Springs in Lake county, California. She was likewise a sister i 
of Matt Harbin, pioneer of this state, who migrated to the West in 1842, and ; 
became California's first millionaire. ; 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 231 

A. C. Jessee was an own cousin of Gen. Robert E. Lee, of ancestry 
traceable back to English royalty. In England the Jessee family were 
militar}' men, and a ]Major Jessee became known in the history of Virginia 
and married a sister of Lord Tennyson. The expression frequently used by 
General Lee in the heat of an engagement, "Give them Jessee, boys," alludes 
to the prowess of that family. 

After the marriage of A. C. Jessee, he farmed in Arissouri until lS4(i, when 
with his wife he joined a party coming to California. Outfitting with sup- 
plies, oxen, mules and horses, the party set out under the leadership of Lil- 
burn H. Boggs, later governor of California ; and after an eventful journey of 
five months, arrived in California. \lr. Boggs had incurred the hatred of the 
Mormons on account of the part he took in expelling them from Missouri ; 
and when they heard he was guiding a party westward, they sent him word 
not to stop at Salt Lake or trouble would follow. He armed his company, 
secured two brass cannons which he had had cast in New Orleans, and with 
his band of fifty fearless men, among whom was Archer Catron Jessee, took 
up the long journey to the new Eldorado. The party had many skirmishes 
with Indians en route, and when they neared Salt Lake, took a circuitous 
route to avert trouble, and arrived safely at their destination. 

During all this time Air. Jessee was one of the most trusted and cour- 
ageous men in the company, and later figured prominently in the history of 
the state. He settled on the present site of Sacramento, soon after enlisted 
under John C. Fremont, and was made First Lieutenant under Captain John 
Grigsby, in Company E, 1st California Battalion. He took part in the battle 
on the Salinas plains, where Captain Byrns Foster and others were killed, 
and in the skirmish at San Fernando. He was a member of the Bear Flag 
party, served through the Mexican War, and was discharged in 1847 ; after 
which he returned to Sacramento county, and later went to Napa county, 
where he resided fourteen years and engaged in farming, stock-raising and 
; dealing in land and livestock. He was the first sherifif of Napa county, served 
i two terms and in 1864 moved wath his family to Lake county. There he con- 
tinued his chosen vocation until 1869, when he came south to San Luis Obispo 
County and took charge of the Alurphy ranch. In 1873 Mr. Jessee went to 
San Bernardino county and undertook the management of a large dairy ranch ; 
and while there he was induced to invest in a gold-mining proposition. He 
had been successful as a farmer and stockman and had accumulated land in 
various parts of the state where he had lived : these he sold, to invest in the 
mining enterprise at Florence, Arizona, in 1876. The following year he was 
taken ill and died on August 19, 1877. After much litigation over the mining 
property, all was lost and the family was left almost destitute ; but with the 
frontier spirit of determination, the widow, with her children, came back to 
Santa Barbara county and settled in the Santa Maria valley in 1878. 
■ To Mr. and Mrs. Archer Catron Jessee the following children were born : 

' Anna, who married F. M. Grady of Sebastopol and had one son. Jefferson, 
both she and her son being now deceased; James Lee, a rancher in Yolo 
' county; Parlee,'the wife of J. R. Wilkinson of Riverside county; John \ .. a 
civil engineer and surveyor in San Benito county; Archer Catron, who <Hed 
at the age of five years ; Willard, a rancher near Arroyo Grande ; Aurelia, who 
married C. B. Dutcher and lives at Sisquoc; and Madison, Perry D.. Francis 
I Marion, Henry Haight, and Virginia, all residents of Santa Maria. 



252 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXMROXS 

JOHN F. BECKETT. — Few names are more inseparably associated 
with the history of San Luis Obispo County during nearly a half century 
than that of John F. Beckett of Arroyo Grande, who, as a teacher, public 
official, farmer, business man and promoter of important enterprises for the 
betterment of general conditions, has proven the value of his citizenship and 
the integrity of his character. He was born in Polk county, Iowa, February 
19, 1847, and when five years old, in 1852, was brought across the plains by 
his parents, who located in Oregon, remained there seven years, and in 1859 
came to California. It was in Z^Iarch, 1869, that Mr. Beckett arrived in San 
Luis Obispo. He began teaching in the pubHc schools soon after, and about 
two years later established the first commercial nursery in the county. Later 
he moved it to Arroyo Grande, with which city he has ever since been closely 
identified. For fourteen years he taught school in various parts of the county; 
for seven years he taught in Arroyo Grande : and one term the gifted writer, 
Charles Edwin Markham, who was a personal friend of his, taught in an out- 
lying portion of the same district. In May, 1879, a new state constitution was 
adopted in San Luis Obispo County by over four hundred majority. This 
changed the school law in such form as to create a county instead of a state 
system. In the political campaign following its adoption, the four political par- 
ties favoring it went into convention and nominated a county ticket, saying 
that, as they had won the constitution, so they would control the politics of the 
county. The other two parties. Democrat and Republican, later did an un- 
heard-of thing for them : they convened the same day and nominated a joint 
ticket, i\Ir. Beckett being the candidate chosen for county superintendent of 
schools. In the campaign following. Beckett won in all the precincts except 
those two in which the opposing candidate and his sister held positions. 

For thirty-two years Mr. Beckett has been dealing in real estate in 
Arroyo Grande and other parts of San Luis Obispo County, and has handled 
over $3,000,000 worth of property in the county without a foreclosure of 
mortgage to a single settler, a most wonderful record. He has put on as 
many subdivisions as any other man in the county, is a large landowner, 
and has farmed more or less ever since he has been in the county. Among 
the large tracts handled have been the following ranches : Oso Flaco, Chi- 
meneas. Tar Springs and Tally-ho ; the Verde Colonies (One, Two and Three) : 
the Crown. Hill addition ; the Corbett tract ; E. W. Steele's re-subdivision of 
the Corral de Piedra ranch ; Beckett Park and Beckett Park subdivision 
tract, which he considers the crowning work of his career and which is 
deserving of inention. This tract is situated at Pismo Beach, and comprises 
1,500 acres (of which he now owns about 1,200 acres), with six avenues one 
hundred to one hundred twenty feet wide, running three miles east from 
the ocean, and with as many wide boulevards crossing north and south: 
the whole, with the beautiful setting of the beach, and with 4.000 feet of 
water frontage where the beach stretches away five hundred feet wide at 
lowest tide, being destined to become the heart of a most beautiful ocean 
beach city. He gave twenty-four acres for a park for Arroyo Grande and a 
site for the ]\Iethodist camp grounds. 

Mr. Beckett was a member of the Russian River Rifles of Healdsburs: 
while a resident of that city during the closing years of the Civil War, and 
later of the Woodland Guards, of which he was orderly sergeant and in line 
for i)rnmotion when he left there. He has been prominent, also, in fraternal 
circk'S. He is a member, and for lour vears was Chancellor Commander, of the 




l^X^ ^(Hz-^^ZiS^ 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EN\"IRONS 255 

Knights of Pythias; he helped organize the I'nifcirm Rank, was Captain three 
\cars, aiui later ^lajor of the battalion, and fiiUciwing this was Major on the 
staff of Brigadier General James Drififil, commanding the California P.rigadc. 
lie has taken a very active part in politics, is a pronounced Repui)lican, was 
elected and served in the state Assembly one term (1912-13), and was a 
member of the following legislative committees : \\'ays and means, baidvs 
and banking, labor and capital, live stock, dairies and dairy products, and 
roads and highways. He led the Progressive vote during the session, favored 
female suft'rage, and addressed the Assembly on that issue, having his speech 
printed in the Assembly Journal. His campaign for this state office was a 
memorable one in San Luis Obispo County. With fifteen other candidates 
for the Assembly, and eight candidates for the Senate, he had been black- 
listed by the Beer Bottlers' Association, acting for the State Brewers' Asso- 
ciation, the California Wine Growers' Association and the Royal Arch. The 
net result of the liquor campaign as waged by those forces was to defeat all 
iuit one candidate for the Senate, and five candidates for the Assembly. In 
his count}- the liquor forces spent three tlK.msand dollars to defeat liim, l.)ut 
lie won at the polls by a good majority. 

During the session of the legislature several interesting occurrences took 
])lace which won for Mr. Beckett especial mention. A bill was referred to 
the committee on labor and capital for the purpose of reforming abuses of 
telephone, telegraph and power line conditions ; and committees of linemen 
and representatives of the telephone, telegraph and power companies from all 
over the state met in conferences, adjourning from day to day, for three days. 
On the third day extended discussions took place in which it was shown that 
in many instances the companies had done much better work for the line- 
men than the bill called for. Changes were asked for that would mean an' 
immediate expense of $500,000 to the companies ; and when these were put 
to the linemen, they admitted that it would be unfair to make the expenditure 
all at once when it could be made by degrees. Air. Beckett thereupon 
offered the suggestion that, inasmuch as this was a bill affecting only 
private capital, the linemen and representatives of the power companies go 
into private conference, settle their own dift'erences and then submit a l)ill that 
would be suited to all. This was done, and the bill passed unanimously. 

Another bill provided that the City of Los Angeles take over the tide 
lands in the vicinity of San Pedro and administer them. After an hour's 
argument on the floor of the Assembly, Beckett said, "Inasmuch as the 
City of Los Angeles has been able to wrest the seeming title of these lands 
from the Southern Pacific Company and restore it to the state, it follows as 
a logical sequence that the City of Los Angeles is the proper custodian to 
take over and administer those tide lands in the interest and for the benefit 
of the whole people." This was carried. An amusing incident is nar- 
rated. The member from San Joaquin county introduced a l)ill to exter- 
minate mcadowlarks. A Miss Libby, secretary of the Audubon Society of 
Southern California, in the course of a lecturing tour arrived in Sacramento 
and did some work to prevent the destruction of the "meadowlark song- 
birds." In a closing address, before a vote was taken, the member from San 
Joaquin made this statement: "Two years ago the person who lied about 
mcadowlarks wore pantaloons; this year the person wears female clothes." 
Mr. Beckett arose and, after being recognized by the speaker, said: "Mr. 
Speaker. I arise to a question of ])rivilege.'" The Speaker replied. "Mr. 



256 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

Eeckett, you cannut arise to a question of privilege wlien a vdte is pending." 
Beckett knew that and sat down; he simply wanted to accentuate the situ- 
ation. ( )n roll call, he voiced a vigorous "No." The bill was defeated, its 
proponent \dting almost alone. After the vote was taken the Speaker called, 
•'.Mr. Beckett." He replied, "^Ir. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Assembly, 
I arfse to voice my indignation against the language used by the member of 
this Assembly who dares to call a woman a liar." Next morning the Sacra- 
mento papers complimented Beckett as a defender of women. On the desks 
of all members appeared cartoons by Hartman showing Beckett on one side 
of a picture pointing to the member from San Joaquin county; and under- 
neath Beckett's picture were the words, "A near Socialist." On the opposite 
side was a caricature in the form of a jay bird with a long beak, between the 
two a brook filled with lilies of the valley, the flower of each representing a 
woman's face, and under the jay bird was the legend "Stuck in the brook" 
(Stuckenbruk). Later Mr. Beckett received a note from the president of the 
Audubon Society, thanking him for his action in defending I\Iiss Libby. 

John F. Beckett was commissioner for San Luis Obispo county at the 
^lid-Winter Fair in San Francisco. He served as delegate to many state and 
Congressional conventions, and attended as a delegate a state mining con- 
vention in San Francisco. He is well informed on the geology of the oil 
fields, and is an authority on other mineral lands. He served a term of three 
years, from January 1, 1880, to January I. 1883, as county superintendent of 
schools of San Luis Obispo county, the first term under the new constitution; 
during which he, with the members of the cotmty board of education, drafted 
a new school manual including a course of study which was mentioned by 
the state superintendent of schools as one of the best in the state. Mr. 
Beckett was for many years a member of the county board of education. 
Although in part a self-educated man, he received his start in the public 
schools of Oregon and California, and at Sotyome Institute in Healdsburg. 
\\'hen he began teaching school at the age of twenty-two, he took up 
text-book study by himself, passed successful examinations, and finally re- 
ceived a diploma entitling him to teach as princi]:)al in any of the pul)lic schools 
of the state during life. 

Mr. Beckett was united in marriage with Miss Isouria Archer, a native 
of Iowa, and they have two sons, Clarence P.. and John A., both living at 
Oceano. Mrs. Beckett passed away in 1909 after a useful life, and her demise 
was mourned by a wide circle of friends. I\Ir. Beckett is as public-spirited 
as he is successful, and every movement for the upbuilding of the county 
has his hearty co-operation. He is a live correspondent for local papers, 
is well and favorably known throughout the county and state, and seems to 
have many years of usefulness yet before him. 

PATRICK JAMES BLACK.— A pioneer of California and a man of more 
than local prominence, Patrick James Black was born in Ireland, April 3, 
1830. He was reared and educated in a Catholic seminary in France and later 
attended St. Servan College. His studies were taken with the intention of 
entering the priesthood, but he never did so. In 1851, when he was twenty- 
one years of age, he came from England to the United States on a sailing ves- 
sel. He had a fine voyage, alhough he encountered severe storms which neces- 
sitated putting in at Talcahuaiio, Chile, for repairs, and remaining several 
week-. Arri\ ing in California in )ul\-, he came at once to the mines in Tuo- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 237 

lunine county: and after a time spent in minin;;-, lie went to San Francisco 
and tau,^ht one of the first schools, which was held in the Catholic IMission 
there. 

For two years ^Ir. Black was bookkeeper in the office of Allen. Lowe 
& Co., agents for the famous Hudson Bay Company. He likewise traveled 
all over the state in the interests of the Botanical Society of Scotland, gath- 
ering: data and studying trees, vines, shrubs and flowers. He made a trip into 
the Yosemite before the discovery of the big trees had attracted much atten- 
tion, making a collection of cones and seeds; and became well acquainted 
with Galen Clark, the pioneer of that valley. Nine years were spent in mining 
at Vancouver Island, in the Frazer river district, and in the Caribou district 
in British Columbia. 

Locating in San Luis Obispo County in September, 1868, Mr. Black 
engaged in the sheep business for many years, and for a time was manager of 
the Suey rancho, in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, which con- 
tained forty-five thousand acres. Patrick James Black was married in British 
Columbia to Maria Morris, a native of Australia, and they have eight sons : 
John P., James G., Edward W., Charles F., Albert F., Ernest C, William V. 
and George. These sons and their father are all members of the B. P. O. Elks. 

For a man of his years, Mr. Black is ver}^ well preserved and keeps abreast 
of the times by continued reading. He has been very active during his life, 
and in the early days was fond of hunting. At one time, with a party of 
friends, he spent six weeks on a hunting trip into the Kern river district and 
shot bears, antelopes (of which there were thousands), and deer on the 
present site of Bakersfield. He has been an interested witness of the mar- 
velous growth of California, and is familiar with almost every section of the 
state. He is now living, retired, wnth his son, John P., who is mentioned 
elsewhere in this volume. 

, HON. T. R. FINLEY.— The bench ami bar of Central California have 
many able representatives, men who stand liii^li in their profession because of 
their profound knowledge of the law, and men who stand high in their com- 
munities as leaders in forward movements for the best interests of their sec- 
tion of the country. None of these men are more elevated in the confidence of 
the people than is Hon. T. R. Finley of Santa ?*faria, whose twenty years of 
l)ractice at the bar in California have given him a wide knowledge of the needs 
of his constituents — a matter of the highest import reflected in the culmina- 
tion of a successful campaign wherein, in Xdxcniher, l''U), he was elected to 
the assembly from the fifty-ninth district. 

Mr. I'inley is a native son of the state, l)orn in Santa Rosa, June 3, 1854, 
a son of William H. and Ann J. (Maze) h'inley. The former was born in 
Kentucky and died in California, at the a.ge of seventy-two years ; the latter 
was a native of Tennessee and passed away at the same age. Her ancestry 
dates back to England, whence the first of the name to settle in the United 
States came to make their home in \'irginia, moving from there to Tennessee, 
and then to Missouri. The paternal side represent the sturdy Scotch whose 
settlement in this country was made in North Carolina, whence they moved 
into Kentucky .ind thence to Missouri. They were married in December, 
18.^_', and in April of 18.S3 they started on their wedding journey across 
the ])lains. with ox teams, for the new Eldorado of California, to hunt for 
fortune in the gold fields. On arrixal here. Mr. ImiiIcv mined for a time, and 



25H SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EXVIROXS 

then cml)arkc(l in tlie raising of cattle ; and later he followed farming with 
success, until he retired from active life. There were three children in the 
family. Charles Howard, a realty broker in Los Angeles; Alice, now Mrs. 
A. 11. Lewis, of Los Angeles: and T. R. Finley, the subject of this review. 

T. R. Finley was reared on a farm and early became familiar with the 
duties necessary to the conduct of a successful farming industr3^ He was 
sent to the public schools in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, later at- 
tended Christian College in Santa Rosa, and then took a course at Hastings 
Law .School, from which he graduated in 1884 with the degree of B. L. and 
l)cgan the practice of his profession in Modesto. \'ery soon after, he went to 
Redding. Shasta county, and successfully followed his chosen profession until 
1896, when he settled in Santa :\Iaria. where he felt that a wider field 
was open to him : and from the start he was successful in building up a large 
clientage. 

The comfortable home at 309 East Chapel street, Santa ^laria. is pre- 
sided o\-er by Mrs. Finley. who in maidenhood was Miss ^largaret ^learns, a 
native of Bowmanville, Canada, and a daughter of George and Eliza A. 
(Smart ) ^learns. Her father was a searcher of records for land titles for the 
old Clay Street Bank of San Francisco, and as such had a wide acquaintance 
among the pioneers of that city. She was united in marriage with Mr. Finley 
in San Francisco, in 1888. Of the union of ~\Ir. and ]Mrs. Finley, three chil- 
dren have been born ; William Howard, who is engaged with his father in 
the oil and gasoline business, is a graduate of Belmont College, and also took 
a special course at the University of California; George ]\Iearns, a graduate 
of Belmont and of the L'niversity of California, is now in charge of the gaso- 
line distributing station near Santa ]\Iaria ; and Theodore, who graduated from 
Belmont, is now a senior at the University of California. 

Mr. Finle}- has been keenly alive to the opportunities of this section oi 
the state, and has invested wisely in real estate and in the oil industry. He 
purchased the Hall and Hall lease and compressor plant in the Santa Maria 
oil fields in 1915. The retail plant is located one mile soutii of Santa Maria 
on the state highway, while the manufacturing plant, with a capacitv of five 
hundred gallons daily, is in the oil fields near Orcutt. 

In 1902 Mr. Finley was a candidate for district attorney of Santa Bar- 
bara CMunty. but was defeated by thirty-six votes. In 1916 he became a 
candidate for the assembly from the fifty-ninth district and made a very 
successful cam])aign, clean and free from the personalities that usually spring 
up in the heat of a campaign. Mr. Finle}- won by a good majority. Because of 
his experience in public affairs, he holds the confidence of the people of his 
district; for, since he is outspoken in all matters, and is an exponent of good 
mads and every improvement that will bring settlers to the count.v, they 
always know "where Finley stands." 

Mr. Finley is a Royal Arch ^lason and a member of the Knights of 
Pythias. \\'ith his wife, he favors the Christian Science belief. He is in 
every wiiy well qualified for the important office to which he has been 
elected by the people of his district, and will without doubt ably and wor- 
thily represent them in the legislature in its forty-second session. He is a 
member of the following important committees: agriculture, medical and 
dental laws, elections, oil industries, ways and means, and roads and high- 
ways, having been chosen chairman of the latter; and having made a partic- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 261 

ular study of the good roads question, he is the right man for that ini])ortant 
position. Early in the session. Air. Einley introduced a bill, carrying an ap- 
propriation of $250,000, which provides for a road from the western boundary 
line of Kern county near Maricopa, to a point on the state highway near 
Santa Maria, passing through the Cuyama valley. 

MARION SHIMMIN.— The possibilities of San Luis Obispo eCunty 
have called forth the most creditable ambitions of a few men who are destined 
to make their way in the commercial world, and whose strength of character 
and conservative judgment have been fundamental to the growth of the 
commonwealth. This has been emphatically true of Marion Shimmin, whose 
well-directed energies have placed him among men of standing in the city 
of Paso Robles and have invested him with an enviable reputation for busi- 
ness sagacity and integrity, tested during the passing of many years. Those 
who come in contact with him are in accord in believing that so long as the 
destjny of this great state is committed to such citizenship as he represents, 
no one need fear for the future of California. 

Mr. Shimmin's father was William Edward Shimmin, a native of the 
Isle of yinn who, in 1850, joined one of the great ox-team trains crossing the 
desert wastes, came to and mined in Nevada, and finally reached California. 
\\'hile he was in Esmeralda county, Nevada, he discovered, with Brawley, 
the Aurora mines, and was one of the men first to put a pick into the famous 
CTaribaldi. lie made and lost several fortunes, went back and forth between 
tlie West and the East, and in the end sent for his family, who arrived in San 
Francisco, via Panama, April 19, 1863. 

Marion Shimmin was then four years old, having been born in \\'isconsin 
-April 20, 1859. His father and his household resided in Nevada until the 
fall of 1864, when they removed to Grass Valley. Later they returned to 
Nevada, and still later, in 1868, settled in Alendocino county, California. .\ 
great stock of cattle, horses and wagons had to be transported overland, and 
Marion, not yet ten years old, rode horseback from Nevada to Mendocino 
county and assisted in driving and guiding the stock, so often inclined to stray 
away. They located in Sherwood valley, where Air. Shimmin became a large 
stock-raiser. In 1874, they again moved, this time to Tulare county, and in 
1881 he came to San Luis Obispo County, where the father, invalided through 
a sunstroke, died in 1882. The wife of William Edward Shimmin was ^\■ealthy 
Paul Farwell, a daughter of Isaac Farwell, a well-known resident of Wis- 
consin, where she was born. After a life filled with her share of frontier ex- 
periences, she died in Fresno county, aged eighty-five years and the mother 
of eight children. 

Fifth among these in the order of their birth. Alarion early became used 
to the rounding up of cattle, riding after stock in Sherwood valley and cov- 
ering the very ground w-here, so soon afterward, the terrible Little Lake 
tragedy occurred. His schooling was limited to frontier facilities, and in 
the middle seventies he was in charge of a band of horses, going from Mendo- 
cino to Tulare county. The next year or two he was with the family at 
Fresno; Init Alendocino and an uncle there drew him back in 1876, and for 
some time he again rode the open range. His uncle offered him a partnership 
in his great ranch : but owing to the condition of his father, young Shimmin 
felt that he ought to care for hi'^ parent's interest, and so continued farming 
and cattle-raisint;- in I'resno cnunt\-. 



2G2 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND E.WIROXS 

In 1.^81. he bought part of the Corral de Piedra Rancho at San Luis 
( )ljis])(i. and there he remained two years, conducting the farm in as advanced 
manner as his circumstances would permit. Then he sold out and went to 
Adelaida. and was there engaged in farming and stock-raising on the Ed. 
Smith ])lace, a tract of sixteen hundred acres. His next serious venture 
was in homesteading and pre-empting in the Eagle district, near Shandon. 
at the same time that his mother and brother, \\'illiam E., also homesteaded 
and |)re-empted. In the beginning they had some eight hundred acres ad- 
joining, and this they increased to sixteen hundred, when Mr. Shimniin and 
his relations divided their interests. The brother continued to farm in that 
vicinity, but on January 12, 1899, Alarion Shimmin came to Paso Roliles and 
for the next four years worked for George E. ?jell. 

He then formed a partnership with Thomas Stevens in a general mer- 
chandise business known as Shimmin & Stevens' Emporium, the proprietors 
commencing with a capital each of $2,500; and in that business he continued 
eleven and a half years, at 12th Street near Spring. So great was their 
prosperity that the business increased to over $100,000 a year, the firm at 
the same time, and for some years, having a branch at Shandon with a five 
thousand dollar stock, while the main store carried goods to the value of 
$35,000. When Mr. Stevens became paralyzed in June, 1914, the store was 
ofTered for sale, and in December of that year it was disposed of to the 
Eleisig brothers. Since that time Mr. Shimmin has given himself largely to 
settling up the business affairs and collecting the old accounts of the firm, as 
well as to managing his own business interests, lands and properties. He is, 
indeed, a man of afifairs, having become a large stockholder and a director of 
the Citizens Bank of Paso Robles, as also one of the organizers and a large 
stockholder of the First National Bank of King City and a stockholder in 
the States Consolidated Oil Co. He still owns an office building on Spring 
street, near the corner of 12th. 

In May, 1889, in the pretty town of W'illits. Mr. Shimmin had married 
Miss I'rankie Upp, a nati\'e of Little Lake \"alle_\-. a district in which her 
sister. Sarah, was the first white child born. She is the daughter of Phillip 
Upp, who was born March 21, 1827, in York county, Pennsylvania, where he 
learned the carpenter's trade. He removed to St. Louis in 1849. and followed 
car])entering there until 1856, when he returned to his old home. On March 
2.3, 1856, he was married at Lewistown, Mifflin county, to Susan Hawker, a 
native of Mercersburg, Pa., where she was born CJctolier 26. 1833; and soon 
after the festivities. the\- set dUt for California by way of the Nicaragua 
route. The_\- traveled from .\'e\v ^'ork to (ireytown on the steamer "Orizaba": 
but owing to the \\'alker tilil)ustering expedition, the jMoneers were delayed 
several weeks. Reaching the Pacific, they took the steamer "Sierra Nevada" 
to San I-rancisco ; and after s])ending two years in the Sierra region, Air. Upi> 
kicated, in June, 1858, in Afendocino count}', becoming one of the first settlers 
in Little Lake valley, where he homesteaded. He built a house, and began 
pioneering in true Western fashion. He also followed contracting and liuild- 
ing in \arious jilaces in California ; and as he was a good mechanic, his talent 
as a l)uil<ler was much sought after. As a farmer and stockman, too. he was 
successful, and accumulated a large tract of land. -At their old home near 
\\'illits. Mr. and Mrs. L'pj) lived in comfort; and there they finally died. They 
had had seven children, two of whom, besides Mrs. Shimmin, are still living: 
Mrs. Irja Smith, of Pas<. R.ibles, and C.eorge W". Upi). who resides at Willits. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 263 

Mrs. Shimmin was educated under Professor King at the Conservatory of 
Music, of the L'niversity of the Paciiic, San Jose, and her pronounced natural 
talent, together with her superior training, has made her one of the best- 
known musicians in this section. A son, Marion Francis, reflects most 
creditably upon his father, as a Standard Oil Co. representative here; while 
two other children, Cleora and IMildred Inez, are at home. 

A Republican in politics and a foremost worker in the Chamber of Com- 
merce, I\Ir. Shimmin was for nine years a trustee for the schools in Paso 
Robles, and for seven years a school trustee in the Eagle district. He is a 
member of Santa Lucia Lodge, No. 250, I. O. O. F., of Paso Robles, and is a 
Past Chief Ranger of the Independent ( )r<ler of I'oresters. He also takes an 
active interest in religious matters, being a trustee and dean of the Con- 
gregational Church. 

RICHARD M. SHACKELFORD.— Born in Washington county, near 
the town of Mackvillc. Ky., January 17, 1834, the late Richard AI. Shackelford 
of Paso Robles was the son of James and Sarah (Dickerson) Shackelford, 
who were natives of the Blue Grass State. \\'hen he was eight years old his 
parents took him to Missouri ; and as he was one of a family of eleven chil- 
dren, it became necessary for him to make an early start to support himself. 
His opportunities for attending school were limited, but later in life he made 
up for lost time by going to night school. At the age of eighteen he started 
across the plains, driving an ox team; and the journey that began March 14. 
1852, ended in Sacramento on September 23, of that year. 

Young Shackelford was variously employed until 1857, in which year he 
became identified with a milling enterprise in ^larysville. He later estab- 
lished the Merchants' Forwarding Company; but after sustaining severe 
losses during the floods of 1862, he began freighting across the country to 
Virginia City, Nev., and while in the latter state was elected to the Assembly 
whicli convened immediatelv after Nevada was admitted to statehood in the 
Union. 

In 1866 Mr. Shackelford located in Los Gatos, Cal., wliere he ct)uductcd 
a general merchandise store and a lumber yard ; and in 1869 he sold out and 
went to Salinas, purchased the Lorenzo ranch and farmed until 1873, when 
he sold and moved to Hollister, and engaged in the milling business. The 
mill he then owned is now one of the many belonging to the Sperry Flour 
Company. Since 1886, Mr. Shackelford has Ijeen identified with Paso Robles. 
I"or many years lie was connected with tlie Soutlu-rn P.-icific Milling Company 
as manager of their w;irehouses. and later was president of the Salinas \';illey 
Lumber Co. 

When he first landed in California. .Mr. Shackelford was a Democrat; but 
he was converted by reading Horace (ireeleyV articles in the New York 
Tribune, and he cast his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont. Two 
weeks after he arrived in Paso Robles, he was appointed a trustee of the 
school, and for thirty years served continuously on the school board. He 
was a friend of education and did much to raise the standard of the schools. 
Mr. Shackelford was often affectionately called the "Father of Paso Robles." 
He was a Mason and a man of splendid character. In 1880 he was united in 
marriage with Miss L. McQuestin, who was born in Galena, 111., and died 
about 1900, and four children were born of that union. In 1907 he was mar- 
ried the second lime, to -Mrs. .Mice luigenia I''ollansbee, a native of ( »gk- 



264 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXMROXS 

county. Illinois, who still survives him. j\lr. Shackelford passed away Jan- 
uary 12, 1915, and his death Avas a severe loss to both San Luis Obispo County 
and the state. 

JOHN G. PRELL.— The distinction uf liein- the (.hlest livin- American 
settler in the Santa .Maria valley is held by John G. I'rell. wlm now resides, 
retired, in Santa ;\laria. where he still takes an active interest in all move- 
ments tor the betterment of the community, being a director in the X'alley 
Savings Bank, a large landowner and, above all, a high-minded man. Of 
German birth and parentage, he was born in Leipsic, April 3, 1837, a son of 
(iottfried and Maria (A\'ittenbecher ) Prell. The father owned a small 
tract of nineteen acres of land, was a stone mason by trade and was about 
forty-three years old when his son John G. was born, the youngest of 
four ciiildren. The grandfather, also named Gottfried, was a stone mason 
by trade, lived and died in Saxony, and was an only son of another Gottfried 
Prell, also a stone mason, w-ho came from the ProAince of the Palatinate, on 
the west side of the Rhine. 

After the death <if the father, his widow, in 1S34. brought her four 
children to America and settled on a heavily timbered farm in Indiana, near 
South Bend. Only one and one half acre-- of this tract of land was cleared, 
and it was there that their log house was 1)uilt and the little farming opera- 
tions were begun. 

John G. Prell went to school in (iermany until he was fourteen, and 
was confirmed in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, .\fter the arrival of the 
little family in America, the young lad had to go to work for wages, receiving 
seven dollars per month in winter and fourteen in summer for work done 
in a brickyard. He never had an opportunity to go to school after coming 
to this country, but he has been a student nevertheless all his life, and is a 
well-informed man. For many years he has been a diligent reader of 
the newspapers, and has always kept alireast of the times. lie worked 
for wages until 1860, then went to Pikes Peak, Colo., at that time in Kansas, 
mined for gold there, and was in (iolden City from April 1 to June 12, 1860. 
His money was nearly gone, he having but thirty-five dollars to his name ; and 
gold at that time was uncertain. He was too proud to go back home and be 
counted a failure ; so he determined to go ^^'est. and was fortunate in meeting 
two brothers named Hull, from Iowa, who were on their way to California. 
He asked about coming with them, and when they said that they wanted 
seventy-five dollars to take him through, Mr. Prell replied, "I have only 
thirty-five dollars."' riiey then said, "You seem t(j be a good, honest boy, 
and you can work out the balance when you get to California" ; and after 
parting with his thirty-five dollars, he had but ten cents in his pocket. He 
worked <luring the passage to pay for his meals, but walked all the way 
from Denver, except al)out ten miles and when he was fording the streams and 
rivers, in order to save the horses. 

.\rri\-ing in California, Mr. Prell met a man wdio hired him to do some 
placer mini* g on shares, his share to be one third of the amount washed out. 
This he continued for six weeks, \vhen he drew his share, .'^144. He went to 
the Hull Ijrothcrs. who had gone lo the \'aca valley, in Solano county, and 
paid them the balance due; and then going to Santa Clara count\ . he worked 
on a farm, plowing with a three-mule team and a walking ph.w all winter, 
for thirtv riollars a month. 





/H- 



^, (^-e^^. 




I)/U^ O/all 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 269 

In 18(il .Mr. I'rell, with a cmnpany of six men, .started for Mexico to 
seek .some cheap land ; hut when they got to a point opposite Yuma, .\riz., 
on the Colorado river, they found that the water was very high ; and as there 
were no boats, these having been destroyed during war time, they could not 
cross the stream ; so they turned back to Los Angeles. Mr. Prell intended 
to return to San Jose, when he met a Frenchman who was looking for a man 
who could mould bricks. \Mien he was informed by Mr. Prell that he coulddo 
the work, he was hired on the spot for five dollars per day, and went to work. 

Saving the money he thus earned, after paying expenses, this energetic 
German-American went back to San Jose, bought a lease from a rancher and 
began for himself. 1 le put in his crop; but the winter was so wet, with sixty- 
six inches of rain, and the mustard so thick and high, that it pro\-ed too ex- 
pensive to harvest, and he gave the crop, good though it was, to the owner of 
the land to cancel his rent, losing $200 thereby. He was then that amount 
worse off than nothing; so he went to work in the brickyards again. The fol- 
lowing year he returned to farming and succeeded, continuing until 1866, 
when, in October, he sold out and, having $2,200 in gold, decided to go back to 
Indiana and visit his folks at South Bend. I\Ir. Prell, however, had had a taste 
of California climate, as a result of which he did not like the cold winters of the 
East. He also had become acquainted with his present w'ife, and they had 
arranged to get married when he should get some land of his own. So he 
went to southwestern Missouri, and in Jasper county bought three hundred 
twenty acres for six dollars an acre, a farm Incated aI)Out sixty miles west 
from Springfield. 

.\t Raleigh, Mo., therefore. Air. Prell was united in marriage with 
Miss ]-:iiza Bower, who was born September 16, 1846, at Massillon, O., a 
(laughter of Hugh and Mary (Shook) Bower, of Scotch and German descent. 
She had three brothers and two sisters ; but only herself and a brother, John J. 
of Michigan, are living. Mrs. Prell had come from her home in South Bend, 
Ind., to meet Air. Prell, and they were married on June 8, 1867. Her grand- 
father, David Shook, w^as an officer in the War of 1812, and settled in Ohio 
when there were but four houses in the town of Canton, Air. Shook was a 
cabinet-maker by trade, and was often called upon to make coffins in those 
early pioneer days, for which he received the sum of two dollars. Airs. Prell 
remembers when they were made for two dollars and a half. Then under- 
takers charged but fuc dnllars f(ir tlu-ir M,-rvices. Mrs. Prell left her home 
and friends, where siic was surnauKkil with ni.my comforts. u< join the 
man of her choice in tlie wilderness, and to her is due a great deal of credit f(5r 
the part taken by them in the development of the resources of the \\ est. 

During the Civil War, Jasper county as well as otiier sections had been 
devastated by the contending armies, and houses and buildings iiad In-en 
burned: Mr. Prell, tiierefore. ])lanted only seventy acres to grain, lie was 
taken sick with malaria, fe\er ami ague, and being discouraged, lie solil out, 
determining to get back to California, his land of opportunity. He and his 
wife went to .\ew York and took a steamer to Panama, crossed the isthmus 
and boarded the steamer "Golden Gate" for San {•"rancisco, going direct on 
their arrival to Santa Clara county and to the same farm he had worked ])cfi;ire. 
This land he leased and put in a croj) in 1868. He was still looking for a 
location where he might settle down and get .some land very cheap ; so he 
came down into the Santa Alaria \alley to prospect, and finally pre-empted one 



270 SAX LUIS OlilSPO COUNTY AND EW'IROXS 



liuiidred sixt\- acres, three miles soutlieast fnim what is now Santa Maria, j 
made his Incatiim, went l)aci< to Santa Clara count}", settled his affairs and I 
returned to his pre-emption about Xovember 1. 1868. He bought lumber for | 
his house in San Luis Obispo, hauled it to his ranch with a six-horse team, j 
mired down eight times, and had to unload three times before he finally got i 
to his destination, lie erected a house, this lieing the first house built in j 
the. settlement nutside of Guadalupe, \^"hat was often demanded of pioneers j 
nia\ he judged from the fact that Mr. Lrell, having one more year to go j 
with liis lease in the north, went back and put in twenty acres of barley for < 
the 18(j'> crop, harvested it, and then, with his wife and baby, came to the j 
valley in September, 1869, and moved into his house, which he had enlarged. j 
In this section he has lived and prospered ever since. j 

Ha^•ing■ saved some money, in 1882 he bought three hundred twenty | 
acres of school land, and later added eighty acres more. In the year 1880 Mr. | 
Prell raised over nineteen thousand centals of grain, two thirds wheat and j 
the rest liarley. He plowed and sowed the land all alone, averaging twelve ! 
acres per day. This was his first real financial success. He began leasing \ 
land and for years was a large farmer, succeeding, as the time passed, in ] 
getting together a snug fortune, so that now. in his old age, he has no ! 
worries to harass him, for he is independent. i 

The four children in the family are John S.. a ci\il engineer of San Fran- j 
CISCO ; Lillian, who married \\'. S. Cook and lives in Los Angeles with her | 
four children, John A., Harry, Dewey D., and Dorothy : I^Irs. Blanche \'incent, ! 
a widow. wdTo. with one son, Eric \ ., lives with her parents and assists her | 
mother in keeping house; and Laura, who died aged six }ears. I 

In ]'>10 Mr. Prell retired from the ranch, bought a lot and erected his , 
pre->cnt tine bungalow home at the corner of Mill and Thornburg streets in I 
.S.mta Maria, where he and his wife live, surrounded by every comfort. It ' 
was about this time that Mr. Prell made an extended trip back to Germany | 
to see the country, where he found many changes since he lived there as a j 
lad. He returned to California, more pleased than ever with the possibilities i 
of his adopted state, for here he made his success. 

Mr Prell cast his first vote at the election in Indiana when ."^chuyler ■ 
Lolfax was sent to Congress, thus having the satisfaction of seeing a man ; 
elected for whom he cast his first ballot, and who later became \'ice-President \ 
when U. S. Grant was first elected. ;\Ir. Prell joined the Odd Fellows in ■ 
Indiana at this time, the degrees being cunferred upon him by Mr. Colfax, and j 
he has been a member of the order fur fifty-nine _\ear>, nou- belonging to the 
-Santa ^laria Lodge, Xo. 302. which he helped to organize and of which he is a i 
charter member. He is also a charter member of Hesperian Lodge, Xo. 264, ', 
1'. & .\. -M. He has always been interested in the cause of education, and for ! 
many years served as a trustee of Pleasant N'alley district, of which he was ; 
one nf the organizers: and he did much by his influence to raise the standard ; 
of the schools in the valley. I 

Mr. Prell has accmnulated a com])etence through his oun efforts and by | 
strictly honest deaiinvs uitli everybody. He has ever had a kindlv word ; 
for tile discouraged and unfortunate, and has given towards all worthy causes 
for those in tiire distress. He is as bright and alert as a man of fifty, makes 
and retains friends, and with his wife, who has ever been a willing assistant, 
can look back upon |>ioneer davs in this state and trulv sav that thev have 



SAX I,UIS OBISPO COL'XTV AND l':X\l R( >\S 271 

(idiu- their (lutw as tlicy ha\-e seen it, and may now enjoy a well-earned leisure, 
surrounded hy a le^iim nf friends and well-wishers. 

MARIA ZORADA KING.— To the women who have taken an active 
interest in the upbuilding of the various interests nf the state, threat credit 
should he given, especially to those women who. through famih' lies, repre- 
sent the native Californian, and jjossess that grace- and ease of manner so 
characteristic of the true Castilian. Among these is numbered .Mrs. Maria 
Zorada King, a native of California, born in Santa liarbara, a daughter of Juan 
P. and Benina (Xeito) Olivera. The former was Ijorn in Los Angeles, was 
the owner of the Te])esquet rancho of nine thousand .acres, and died in Los 
.\ngeles, aged ninety-three y-ears. His father. Thonias ( Hivera, was a native 
(if Spain and was the first owner of the Tepesciuet rancho. which he afterwards 
sold to Pacifico Ontiveros. He died at an advanced age. 

Maria Z. Olivera, daughter of a proud Spanish family, receixed her edu- 
cation in the grammar school and in the Sisters' College at Santa Barbara. 
She was twice married, first in 1877, when she was wedded to Salvador 
Ontiveros, who was born in Los Angeles in 1842. a brother of .Abraham 
( )nti\eros, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. At one time he 
i)eeame owner of fourteen thousantl acres of the Tepesquet rancho. by in- 
heritance from his father and by purchase from his brothers and sisters. 
Through the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Ontiveros, five children were born: 
Sinicio L., who married, and died without children : Zorada G., wife of L. F. 
Ifuglies, of Santa iXIaria : Fulgincio S.. rancher on the Tepesquet: Mona Ero- 
linda, wife of Jack Portenstein of Los Angeles: and Ernest L., of Santa 
.Maria. Mr. Onti\eros died in 1891. The second marriage united Mrs. 
Onti\eros with Dr. .\rthur Morgan King, who w;is born in Missouri, prac- 
ticed medicine and osteopathv for some vears. and died in .Santa Maria, 
January 7. l''l.i. 

Mrs. King has been a lifelong resident of S.mt.i l'.arh;ir,-i county, and 
through her own family and by marriage with .Mr. ( )nti\ero^. reproents two 
of the very oldest Spanish families in California. She has dexoted her life to 
rearing her children and maintaining her home, is public-spirited t(j a marked 
degree, and has a wide circle of friends in the count_\-. ."she .sold her interest 
in the fourteen-thousanl-acre ranch and retired to a home in .Santa Maria at 
-M.T l'"ast Main street, where she dispenses that gracious hospitality so char- 
acteristic of the .Spanisli people. 

LEVI EXLINE.— Xot every man is so happy in tiie selection of his 
life-motto as Levi Exline, the ui)right, honest and reliable farmer and horli- 
cnltnrist. and oldest settler of Oak Plat, whose motto is, "Do right, and it 
will be right." Born in Coshocton county, not far from Zanesville, O., on 
January 15, 1844. he was the son ..f Adam iCxline. a native of Pennsylvania, 
born in the year 179.?, and a nienilur of an old \irginia family that removed 
to Pennsylvania, and then to Indi.ina in 1845. .-\dam Exline settled in 
a new and wild countr\ near w hcrt' Bloomfield, Greene county, Indiana, later 
was founded. There he took up heavy timber land and became a wagon 
maker, running a wagon and carriage shop: and in good, old-fashioned style 
he cut his material from the hickory forest on his place and so successfully 
seasoned the timber that his wagons seemed as if they never would wear out. 
^ et he remained a ])oor man and died in modest circumstances, in 1862. 
Levi's mother was Miss Christene Sauccrman, of Pennsvlvania German 



272 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EWIROXS 

parcntas-'c : she died in 1S78. She had nine children, but only two are living, 
and Le\i i£xline is the only one in California; a brother, \\'illiam. lives in 
Texas. The oldest brother, George A. Exline, served in the 85th Indiana 
Regiment during the Ci\'il War. He was taken prisoner, and was confined 
in Lil)by I 'rise m. He died at the did Hoosier home in (Irecne county, in 
December. l''l(i. 

Le\i Avas reared on the Indiana farm, from which in winters he attended 
the local school with its log house, slab benches, and similar crude furnish- 
ings, or lack of them. He was handy with tools, his father having a good set 
of the necessary implements, and got such a helpful start in life that in 
August, 1868, he left New York for California, then, as now, regarded by so 
many Easterners as the Land of Promise. From New York he took the boat 
to Aspinwall, and from there crossed the Isthmus by rail, proceeding north 
along the coast on the steamship "Golden Age'' and arriving in San Francisco 
in September, 1868, at the end of a twenty-five days' trip. He next went to 
Sacramento and then to Eldorado county, where he remained two months; 
and from there he journeyed to Paso Robles Hot Springs. After a year he 
returned to Eldorado county, and spent the summer in mining; but having 
a brother at Pasn Roldes, he came liack in 187.^ and pitched his tent along the 
Salinas river. 

Two years later he located on his present homestead, where he devel- 
oped water: in Gallinas (Chicken) creek there seemed to be a sort of clay that 
kept the water from ccmiing to the surface. When he located in this place it 
was railroad land : but as the railroad had not done its part in the development 
of the country, the land went back to the government. He was therefore eight 
years proving up on his place three miles west from Paso Robles, at Oak 
Plat. He made improvements on the one-hundred-sixty-acre claim, and then 
he purchased another one hundred sixty acres. He cleared the land and 
plowed it, raised hay and set out fruit, and now he has an orchard thirty- 
five years old, still 1 tearing. He has had gardens, and has been a leader in 
raising vcgetal)les and fruit, for his place is well adapted for apples, pears, 
peaches and figs, and so well adapted that he has produced excellent fruit 
without irrigatiiin. The. fig trees he once set out have grown to enormous 
size, and now make a complete bower in front of his residence. The grape 
vines, also, have grown to almost fabulous size, and he is now setting out 
P>artlett pears and an almond orchard of forty acres. 

In August. 1878, Levi Exline was married to Miss I'"ninia Stcme, who was 
born at Lake Gene\a, in Wisconsin, the daughter of Samuel and Addie 
(^larshall) Stone, natives of Long Island and Connecticut respectively, who 
had moved west. The father was a moulder by trade. Mrs. Exline attended 
school at X'isalia, and taught school, from fifteen until her marriage, ^^'ell- 
]iosted on soil ;ind climate, ;is well as on \alucs, she started in the real estate 
l>u-iiies-: and with her son-in-law, Mr. Woolm.in, she organized the Paso 
Kohles Realty Co. lioth partners are conservative and conscientious, buying, 
subdividing and selling lands, and doing an insurance business. They pur- 
cliased, lor examjile, a three-ihousand-acre ranch in Monterey, and they have 
also, aside fr(}ni the home ]ilace, a two-hundred-acre ranch at Paso Robles. 
r.esides. tlity ha\ e ni.ide some good real estate deals. In 1913. alone, INIrs. 
ICxline .sold lands to the value of $180,000. Four children bless this excellent 
coui)!e: X'erne, a farmer on land adjoining the old home: Clyde, now Mrs. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 2~h 

Louis Woolman, of Paso Robles ; Hazel, the pride of her husband, Mr. 
Young, the Southern Pacific agent at Templeton ; and Bernice, who lives 
at home. For twenty years Mr. ExHne has been a trustee of the school in 
the Oakfield district. 

WARREN C. BENNETT.— A man of wide business experience, with 
a well-stored mind, and an agreeable conversationalist who wins you more 
and more as you come to know him, is Warren C. Bennett, president of the 
Citizens Bank of Paso Robles, a native of Waverly, ]Mich., whose father, 
George H., was born in Devonshire, England, and came to the United States 
in 1855, first locating in Hillside county, Mich. He had been a wheelwright 
b\- trade, but on coming to Michigan began contracting and building flour 
mills, residing at Waverly, Van Buren county, and later in Allegan. At first 
he built the old buhr mills, but wdien the new roller process came into vogue, 
he became agent for the Nordyke and Marmian roller process, as well as 
for the La Felle water-wheel, and built the improved form of mill all over 
tlie Southern Peninsula of Michigan. On Washington's birthday, 1859, he 
was married at Jonesville, ]\Iich., to Miss Jane Brain, a native of Birming- 
liam. England, and the daughter of Richard Brain, a brick-mason, who was 
a noted builder of the very tall chimneys abounding in the manufacturing 
ci^'uters of England. He brought his family to Michigan and settled on a 
farm near Jonesville. Six of their seven children are still living. 

During the Civil War, Warren's father, with true patriotism, volun- 
teered to join a Alichigan regiment, but was rejected. He then volunteered 
his services for construction work, and was long engaged by the Federal 
Government to build liridges in the South. In 1886, he joined his son, War- 
ren, who had located in Tulare county, California, and a year later he came 
to Paso Robles, where he busied himself as a builder until he retired. In 
1916, he removed to San Jose, and there he and Mrs. Bennett now make their 
residence. 

The fourth eldest of the children born to this worthy couple, and one 
of five who have come to California, Warren Bennett was born July 7, 1864, 
and was reared in Allegan, where he received a high school education. 
He selected the moulder's trade, and completed an apprenticeship in the Alle- 
gan Foundry, where he became the foreman. A year later, however, desiring 
another field of activity, he began the study of pharmacy, taking a clerkship 
in a drug store of that town, where he continued until 1885. Then he located 
at Traver, Tulare county. The place at that time was a live city and an 
important shi]jping point with large warehouses; and ho soon enjoyed consid- 
erable prosperity as the manager of a drug store and as an assistant under 
Postmaster Rockwell. 

In the fall of 1888, he came to Paso Robles to engage in the apothecary 
line: and leasing the corner at Twelfth and Park streets, he erected there a 
handsume building. On January 1, 1889, he opened the drug store long so 
favorably identified with his name, and from the first met with exceptional 
success. Se\en years later, finding that he could not buy the lot, he moved 
the building andstore to the middle of the block on Twelfth street between 
Park and Pine, and there continued business. The People's Drug Store 
was popular, and his expert knowledge of medicine and drugs was fully 
appreciated by his fellow-townsmen, as a result of which Mr. Bennett hail a 
large and lucrative patronage. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXVIROXS 



In June, 1910. he completed a new brick block on the same site — a two- i 

story btiilding, 50x80 in size, with provision for stores and offices. The old \ 

store was moved again, this time to Pine street, between Twelfth and Thir- j 

teenth, and there, still a good strticture, it is used for business purposes. ] 

On December 14. 1914, ]\Ir. Bennett sold his drug trade and good-will— j 

and seldom did that old-fashioned phrase mean more to a successor — and i 

since then he has been devoting all of his time to his other varied interests, i 

Always a promoter of business enterprises, he was one of the organizers, i 

in 1S"2. (if the Citizens Bank of Paso Robles. in 1893 becoming a director I 
and still later vice-president. Since 1904 he has been popular as the bank's 

\ery progressive president, for under his wise supervision and that of the ' 

cashier, Al. Pfister, the bank has been made the strongest financial institu- I 

tion in northern San Luis Obispo County, as also one of the strongest in | 

the county. Alden Anderson had come to them when the Bank of Paso [ 

Roliles was in sore straits and implored them to take it over. Mr. Bennett I 

said that he did imt want his stockholders to lose twenty thousand dollars i 

or more, much as he desired to save them, and told him that he and his asso- ; 

ciates would liquidate the bank free of charge. Finally, through Anderson's j 

persuasion, the bank examiners took it over with a guarantee against a loss i 

not greater than ten thousand dollars. This was done, and in due time the I 

depositors of the liank of Paso Robles were paid one hundred cents on the i 

dollar. It is needless to say that the bank enjoys the confidence of the people j 

for its conservative policy and its consequent substantiality. For many years i 

the Citizens Bank has maintained a branch at San Miguel, and the increase | 

in business there has necessitated the erection of a new concrete mission- 1 

style bank building, which was begun early in 1''17. Air. Ijcnnett. with two ' 

or three others, organized the First Xational Bank of King City, with a • 

capital of sixty thousand dollars, he becoming a director and vice-president. ; 

So well has the bank been established that there are already over one hundred i 

thirty stockholders in southern ^^lonterey county, and a modern concrete ■ 

building has been erected at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. '■ 

For years ;\Ir. Bennett has been engaged in farming, and he is the owner i 

of several desirable tracts of land. One is a grain ranch near Estrella, and • 

two ranches near Paso Robles are devoted to raising fruit. He is subdividing ; 

two hundred sixty-seven acres adjoining the city and is setting out almond ' 

trees. A large ranch devoted to raising cattle, located fifty miles from ; 
Klamath Falls, Ore., and a farm near Aberdeen, Bingham county, Ida., are 
also owned by him. 

At r-'ort Klamath. Mr. Bennett was united in marriage with }ilrs. Anna ' 

Randolph (Wrightj Sillsliy, a native of Edwardsvillc, 111., and a daughter \ 
of Dr. J. S. Wright, who practiced his profession there and at Xewton, la., 

dying at the latter place. Her mother was ]\Iary Isabelle Randolph, a native '> 

of Illinois and a descendant of the \"irginia Randolphs. ^Irs. Bennett re- i 

ceived a liberal education, specializing in music under Professor Biichel, a , 

Leijisic graduate, after which she taught music. In 1889 she removed to ' 

Oregon, and in 1897 to California, still teaching voice and piano most of the ■ 
time. Becoming interested in library work, she accepted the position of 

librarian at the Carnegie library in Paso Robles and later in San Luis Obispo. ; 
Mr. I'.ennett lias served as trustee of Paso Robles and also as mayor, and 

durnig liis term ijic new lil)rarv building was erected. Fraternallv he is a , 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COLXTY VXD EXVIROXS 277 

:\Iason, and is a member of Paso Robles Lodge Xo. 2SS, F. & A. .\1., and 
has served as master two terms. Mrs. Bennett is a member of the Daughters 
of the American Revolution. 

CHRISTIAN KORTNER.— From the picturesque mountains of Xorway 
have come many of the best citizens of this section of California, and the 
Santa Maria \alley has its quota of these admirable Scandinavian men and 
women, whose special field has ever been the sea and soil. They have a 
native spirit of honesty, and love of home and fellow men, traits of character 
that enable them, when they are transplanted to America, to rank among the 
most desirable citizens. 

Such a man is Christian Kortner, now li\ing retired, with his son James, 
on a part of the Arellanes ranch, three miles west of Orcutt. He was born 
at Porsgrund, Xorway, January 14, 1845, and while a youth went to sea, as 
did his father before him. For seven years Christian Kortner w-as a sailor ; 
and having touched at the port of Xew York, he shipped on the "Twilight," 
an American vessel, around the Horn for San Francisco, arriving there in 
1868. Leaving the ship, he went to work in Alameda county on a ranch and 
remained there for two years; and then he mnvcd to the San Joaquin valley, 
where he stayed for a like period. 

Four years were spent in Monterey county, ranching, after which he i)Ut 
in the years 1877-78 in Colusa county. Nine more years were spent in San 
Luis Obispo County in the vicinity of Nipomo, where finally he located on the 
Tepesquet in the Santa !Maria valley, settling on a ranch in the fall of 1891. 
lie first farmed two hundred fifteen acres, then leased land wherever he could 
do so with profit, and soon became one of the largest grain ranchers in the 
valley, locating on his present ranch in 1913. 

In Alay, 1887, ^Ir. Kortner was united in marriage with Mrs. Maria 
(Hanson) Petersen, a native of Denmark who, by a former husband, had four 
children : Ellen, who is Mrs. George Tunnell of Santa ^laria ; Rasmus, who 
died in 1910; and Maria and James. (Jf tlie union with Mr. Kortner, the fol- 
lowing children were born: Olga, wife nf Walter I'.llinu of Hrcutt ; and 
Laura, Christian, and Henry. 

In politics, Mr. Kortner votes the Democratic ticket: in religion, he is a 
member of the Lutheran Church ; as a friend of education, he has always 
supported the iniblic schools ; and he is interested in exery movement for the 
uplift of humanity. 

JAMES KORTNER.— An up-to-date, aggressive, progressive rancher 
and a native son of the state, James Kortner was born on his father's ranch 
in San Luis Obispo County, near Nipomo, October 27, 1885, a son of Chris- 
tian Kortner (whose sketch appears on this page) and his wife, IMaria. 
He has under lease about sixteen hundred acres of the Arellanes ranch, 
tiiree hundred fifty acres of which he farms, while he sub-leases three hun- 
dred acres, and on the balance, which is hill and pasture land, he runs cattle, 
Mr. Kortner is a large bean and stock raiser, being very successful with both. 

-After leaving the pul)lic school, James Kortner at once went to work for 
his lather, and at an early age became familiar with the various branches of 
farm work. Being also naturally of a mechanical turn of mind, he acquired 
inucji skill in the running of farm machinery, which has come into good use 
111 the later years. 



278 SAX LUIS OlilSPO COUXTY AXI) EX\'IROXS 

Besides ranch interests, he runs a bean-threshing outfit consisting of a 
\'entura 26-32 separator, Mogul gasoline tractor engine of the 8-16 class, and 
six wagons with beds especially built for harvesting beans — the whole repre- 
senting an inxestnient of about $2,600. In the threshing season he employs 
twenty men. 

During the 3'ears Air. Kortner has been operating his threshing outfit 
and ranch, he has built up a reputation for square dealing and efficient service. 
He is a booster for Santa Maria valley and environs, supports all uplifting 
movements and has won a large circle of friends, who admire his many ad- 
mirable characteristics. 

SAMUEL GRAY. — Beginning life a poor boy, with but little to look for- 
ward to in the way of more than the ordinary comforts of life, Samuel Gray 
has grown rich far beyond his expectations when he settled on a ranch of 
one hundred sixty acres in the Santa Maria valley. He has also grown in the 
esteem of his fellow men, and with an untarnished record for integrity and 
square dealing is living in the enjoyment of a well-earned rest. Samuel Gray 
was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1861, a son of James and Alary Ann 
(Boyd) Gray, both of whom were born, lived and died in their native land, 
the father passing away in his sixty-fifth year. The grandfather, Robert 
Gray, a farmer, reached the age of four score ere he answered the final call. 
Besides Samuel, two brothers — Robert, a farmer near Belfast, Ireland, and 
Michael, in Xew York state — and a sister, Alary Jane Bryson, also in New 
A'ork state, comprised the household of James Gray and his wife. 

Samuel Gray attended the sub»iiption schools in Ireland, was reared on 
a farm, and at the age of t\\cnty-t\\. . w as united in marriage with Aliss Jennie 
McKeen. Soon after, the yming people sailed for America on their wedding 
journey, in search of a location where they might settle down and make a 
home and enjoy privileges that were not offered in their native land. Arrivin.s: 
in the United States, they settled in Allegheny, Penn., where Air. Gray got 
work in the harvest fields, binding wheat at a salary of nineteen dollars a 
month. His next place of employment was in the Allegheny rolling mills, 
and later he was employed in a pottery, and in 1881 in marble works. 

With the able assistance of his good wife, he saved some money from 
his earnings, antl in 1882 they started for California, the land of promise, in- 
tending td get a little farm and take up agriculture as a more satisfactory 
wa3' ol making a li\-ing and laying aside for a "rainy" day. Arriving in San 
Luis C)bisi)o County, Air. Gray worked for wages on various ranches in order 
to become familiar with the farm methods used by Californians ; and the pay 
being good and expenses only nominal, he was able in time to purchase one 
hundred sixty acres of cheap land where the town of Orcutt now stands, 
little (h-eaming that underneath the sml la}- wealth that in a few years would 
net him a fcirtune. 

Alter the discovery of dil, Air. Gray laid mit what is known as Gray's 
a<lditi(in, at ( )rcutt, an(i finally he snld out. This was but the beginning of his 
pros])erity. brum time to time he bought land, and now he owns two valuable 
ranches in SaiUa ilarliara county, and one large ranch of 2960 acres in San 
Luis 01)is])ii L'ouiUy. On one of the former, he has a fine artesian well which 
.greatly eiilianees the \alue of the iirojierty. Air. Gray has speculated in oil 
to some extent, and the proceeds from this source have netted him a small 
fortune. 




'^^^ ^ W B'^vd'f^' 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 281 

Notwithstanding- his activities in oil and real estate, he has given of his 
time and means to further the upbuilding of Santa Barbara and San Luis 
Obispo Counties. He is a friend of education ; and by his service as trustee 
of the Agricola district, he has done much to elevate the standard of the 
school, serving in 1916 as president of the board. I\Ir. and Mrs. Gray are 
members of tlie Presbyterian Church in Santa Maria and are liberal con- 
tributors towards all worthy charities. Mr. Gray is a firm believer in the 
future greatness of the state. He is a kindly, agreeable, large-hearted man ; 
and during his long residence in the county he has won a large circle of 
friends. 

From the union of Mr. and Mrs. Gray, several children have been born: 
Robert married Miss Marian Reed and is ranching in Santa Barbara county ; 
Annie married Jack Shannon and lives in Oakland ; David is at home, assist- 
ing his father on the ranch ; Sadie married Ale.x Fee, and lives in San Fran- 
cisco ; Thomas and John are on the hrmie ranch; and Jeanie, Airs. Merritt, 
lives in Santa Maria. 

MRS. HARRIET ESTHER EXLINE.— During the long association of 
the E.xline family with San Luis Obispo County no name has been more famil- 
iar in the section about Paso Robles than that of Mrs. Harriet Esther Exline. 
She was born in Will county. 111., a daughter of Elvin Kendrick W^arner, a 
native of Vermont, born at the foot of the Green Mountains, and descended 
from Col. Seth AVarner of Revolutionary fame. The father moved to ^\■is- 
consin and located in Fond du Lac, where he commanded a three-master on 
the Fox river. He served in the 5th Wisconsin Regiment during the Civil 
War, after which he removed to Iowa and farmed near Newton, Jasper 
county, until he died. His wife was Adeline Garrett, born in New York and 
descended from the Howlands, a prominent old York State family. She 
died in Newton, la., leaving four children, three now living. Milton C. 
makes his home with Mrs. Exline ; Harriet Esther is the subject of this 
review; Archibald G. is auditor for a railroad and resides in Des Aloines, la.; 
and Elvin died in Watsonville, Cal. 

Mrs. Exline was educated in the public schools and Hazeldell Academy, 
from which she was graduated; and soon after, September 27, 1881, she mar- 
ried William H. Exline. He was born in Eldorado county, Cal., in 1859, the 
son of Bernard Exline, also represented in this w<Trk. and was educated 
in the public schools of California and Iowa, later attending the ila/.eldell 
Academy. 

After their marriage the young ])eo])le came to California in 1882, and 
settled on the ranch that is now the home of Mrs. Exline, where they 
engaged in ranching, successfully raising stock and grain until .Mr. Exline 
died, June 7, 1886, near Paso Robles. Mr. Exline took an active interest in 
public matters, serving his community both as road overseer and as constable. 
Since the death of her husband, Mrs. Exline has carried on the ranch work 
herself, with business ability and tact, and lias been very successful. 
She has devoted her entire time and attention to the details of the 
ranch and to bringing up her four cliildren. l-"or many years she 
conducted a dairy and had a milk route in Paso Robles. but gave her 
attention chiefly to hay, grain and cattle. She has sold ofT some of the 
land and now retains one hundred sixty acres, devoted to farming, be- 
sides which she owns residence property in Paso Robles on Park street. 



282 SAX Ll'IS OniSPO COL'XTY AXD EXMROXS 

She is a Republican and much interested in the prosperity of the country. 
She has had to make her own way in the world since the death of her husband, 
and that she has succeeded financially is well evidenced. Her four children 
are Ada Belle, now Mrs. Riley of Long Beach ; William T., the cattle buyer 
in Paso Robles : Vesta lona, wife of Ray Benadon ; and Alice Henrietta, wife of 
Joseph Brown, the latter couple both residents of Paso Robles. 

Much credit should be given to women who, like Mrs. Exline, when 
the mantle of grave responsibility falls upon them, take up their task bravely 
and unflinchingly. She not only succeeded in keeping her property intact 
and making a success of her farming enterprise, but she also reared and 
educated her family of four children. She is liberal and charitable to a 
marked degree : and by her kindly ([ualities, coupled with her amiable manner, 
she has endeared herself to her many friends, who admire her for her sterling 
worth. 

An excellent idea of ]\Irs. Kxline's literary work, and evidence of her 
patriotic sentiment^, may be had from her poem entitled "California." 

CALIFORNIA. 

It may not be ringing through song and through story. 
What magic would hasten the world to our fold; 

But nature's own queen in her temple of glory 
Has written the secret on tablets of gold. 

She tells to the world of a land where December 

Is garish with flowers and dainty with ferns. 
Where summer dies not with the dying Sei^tember, 

But garlands with roses our holiday urns. 

^^■hen nature baptizes anew from her fountains, 

(lur summer is ended and springtime begun, 
While winter's white plumes lie asleep on the mountains, 

Unmarked 1)y a footstep, unmoved by the sun. 

The pink and white blossoms of springtime keep shifting, 
.\nd summer's soft smiles greater riches unfold, 

.And the languorous poppy, her yellow crown lifting. 
Sees all the green valleys changed slowly to gold. 

Tile air is so pure that a weary de Leon 

-Might dream that his fountain was spraying <^ur clime, 

\\'hile silver-voiced liirds trill a musical paeon. 
And nature re-echoes the chorus sublime. 

^ praises keep ringing. 

-torv shall tell, 

the font of the singing: 
-, and thou shalt be well. 

ly. their nature enchained them, 
he won fr(ini each breast; 
■n through love has proclaimed them 
, of the fair Golden West. 



And louder, stil 

Till ocean Ir, 

What new Me.-< 


1 Ion 


Drink thou ol 


its 


When gold calL 
And willini; a 
While pride in 


I'd til 
lle-i; 
her < 



SAX LL'IS UlJISro COL-.XTY AXU EX\'IROXS 283 

HIRAM TAYLOR. — It does not take some men long to move, especially 
when a matter of public welfare is up fur consideration, as was shown some 
years ago when Hiram Taylor concluded that the old street car line, which 
had been operated by horse-power from the Mud Baths at Paso Robles 
to the Hot Springs Hotel and on to the depot, two miles and more, had 
become an eye-sore which should be removed for the l)eauty of the town. 
The rails stood above or below the level of the street, as the case might be, 
and yet the citizens had tried in vain to get rid of the oljstruction. While 
performing civic duties, as a member of the town board, Mr. Taylor found that 
a quarter interest in the railway was owned by a man in Paso Robles, who 
would not consent to the rails being removed, as he hoped therel^y to keep the 
franchise alive and so to facilitate its sale to advantage. He also found that 
the other three-cjuarter interest was held in Los Angeles, but for the very 
small sum of five hundred dollars. Without delay or ado, Air. Taylor went 
south and purchased a majority of the stock, returned and announced his 
possession, at the same time declaring that he would refuse to operate the 
road; whereupon the holder of the minor interest agreed to let the city tear 
up the car tracks -and to place the rails and ties on a vacant lot. The pro- 
gressive citizen, through whose enterprise and generosity Paso Robles thus 
rid itself of a standing annoyance, was born in Santa Rosa, Sonoma county, 
on September 29, 1854, the son of Alexander Taylor, a native of Illinois, 
who had come to Kno.x county, ]\Io., and from there, al:)out 1849, had crossed 
the plains with ox teams to the gold diggings in California. Two years later 
.\lexander Taylor returned East, by way of Panama, to his wife, formerly 
Miss Keziah Snellon, a nati\e of Kentucky, and their three small children. 
In 1853, he once more traversed the plains, stopping only when he reached 
the new settlement of Santa Rosa, where he hauled rails for the first fence 
in the town. For four years he ranched there, and then moved on to Oat 
Valley, north of Cloverdale. The place had become a station for freighters, 
and Mr. Taylor saw his opportunity to start a hotel. .\ few years after- 
ward he went to Point Arena, in Mendocino county, where he engaged in 
getting out trees for posts, ties, shingles, shakes and lumber, much of which 
was shipped by boat to San Francisco. On his return to Cloverdale, he con- 
tinued farming until 1869, when he removed to San Miguel, where he pre- 
empted a hundred sixty acres of land and homesteaded another parcel of the 
same amount on the ^Monterey and San Luis Obispo County line, which he 
sold at the end of about ten years. His next location was in Slack's Canon, 
now Stone Canon, iii Monterey county, and there he took up the work of 
i stock-raising until he retired. His wife died at the age of sixty-seven : and 
1 thereafter he resided with his daughter, Mrs. R. S. Cruess, at Indian Valley, 
I until his death, at the age of seventy-one. Xine children were born to them, 
, and of this number two are living: the subject of our sketch and a l)rother. 
: James, who is serving his fifth term as county treasurer of Monterey counly. 
' Hiram Taylor, or "Hi'' Taylor, as he is familiarly called, was brought 

"P on a farm. His education was confined to six months in all, school ad- 
vantages in those days being limited. He still remembers the school near 
I his father's homestead, on the present site of McKay Station, and the 
[ description of it is full of interest today. It was the first school built there. 
and was constructed through the elevation of a top rail placed around in a 
■ circle in accordance with the size n( tiie room desired, and the stacking up 



284 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EXVIROXS 

against it of brush, (ni all sides, instead of a wooden or other wall. Boxes 
were used instead of benches and seats ; and there was no roof over the struc- 
ture. \\'hen the hastily improvised room was not wanted for school purposes, 
it was called into requisition as a meeting place for divine worship. Lucretia 
Morehouse, now jMrs. Finle}^ of Paso Robles, was the first teacher. 

His father having lost practically all he possessed, Hiram worked out to 
help the family along, mostly in the saddle, riding the range. In April, 1876, 
he drove a bunch of cattle through for J. C. Austin, from Parkfield to Arizona, 
and there ran them on the range on shares until he sold them in Septemljer, 
1877, and returned to his home. In the following year Hiram and his two 
brothers, James and W'iseman, started a cattle-raising enterprise, putting 
their stock out to graze in Stone Canon. There W'iseman was accidentally 
killed, and then Hiram and James continued the business until 1898, when 
they dissolved partnership. Until August 13, 1904, Hiram raised stock in 
Stone Canon. During this time he accumulated a ranch of eighteen hundred 
acres in one body in Stone Cafion, stocking it w^ith cattle, of which he some- 
times had as many as fifteen hundred head, and raising droves of hogs. He 
extended his range until it took in some three thousand acres. 

About 1890, he set up in the butcher business in Salinas. He chose the 
design of a window sash for his brand ; and under this unicpie symbol his 
cattle became famous. His place was known as the old Smith Ranch, because 
it had been bought from a man named Smith. In 1904 he leased out the 
ranch, and sold the stock ; and two years later he sold the ranch. In 1904, 
also, he located in Paso Robles and engaged in the liver}' and feed stable 
business. He built a large stable on Pine street l^etween Thirteenth and 
Fourteenth, and remained proprietor of the establishment until 1911, when 
he sold the investment. 

Since then he has been in the cattle business as raiser, dealer and shipper, 
in partnership with H. S. Cahill ; and together they leased the Sargent Ranch 
at Bradley, in ]\Ionterey county, conducting the same under the name of 
Taylor & Cahill. This ranch comprises fifteen thousand acres on the Salinas 
river ; and in order to secure sufficient stock for their range, they brought 
cattle from other parts of the county when drought or other conditions 
enabled them to buy to advantage. From Alexico, for example, they brought 
train load after train load, some trains containing fifty or more cars; and 
when they had fattened the cattle on the range, they sold them in the mar- 
kets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 1915. they brought a train load 
of cattle from Nevada, and again two shipments from that state in 1916. 

Air. Taylor has owned various properties in Paso Robles, but most of 
these he has finally disposed of. Several years ago he was one of the organ- 
izers of the Paso Robles Pharmacy, and the company erected a building 
for their drug store ; later they sold the business and in 1917 disposed of 
the building. He was a member of the board of trustees, for one term, of 
the cit}- of Paso Robles, and previously served as a school trustee in Slack's 
Canon. lie was a prime mover in building the Athletic Park in Paso Robles, 
which adds much to the attraction of the town. With three others, he laid 
out the grounds, built the grand stand and graded the diamond; and when 
the park was opened in 1911, as one of the finest in the state, it was dedicated 
with a genuine "Wild West" show, of which he was master of ceremonies. 
.•\ free barbecue, for which half a dozen sriant steers wore slaU2:htered, added 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUXTV AND EXAIROXS 287 

to the popularity of the occasion and completed the success. Four years 
later, wheil Mr. Taylor desired to retire from the management, the Chamber 
of Commerce was glad to assume responsibility for the pleasure grounds. 

In the old mission town of San Luis Obispo, March 8, 1895, Hiram Tay- 
lor was married to Miss Alicia Alay Azbell, who was born at San Emidio, 
Kern county. She was a daughter of Newton Azbell, a pioneer of California 
who crossed the plains with his parents in 1850. Grandfather Azbell died of 
cholera en route, and his widow brought the family through to California. 
Xewton Azbell was married at Cambria to Eliza Davis, a native of Oregon, 
a daughter of George and Alicia (Sumnerj Davis, who are represented else- 
where in this work. Xewton Azbell was a pioneer farmer in San Luis Obispo 
and later in Monterey county. He died in July, 1903, and his wife, Xovember 
11, 1912. .Mrs. Taylor was educated in the public schools of Indian Valley and 
at San Miguel. Two children, Grace Helen and Carl Hiram, have been born 
tLi Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, and have contributed to the proud parents' popu- 
larity both in the town with which he has been so long identified, and in the 
inner circles of the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, of which he is 
an honored and valued member. 

ALDEN BRADFORD SPOONER.— The sterling personal character- 
istics, accompanied by unquestioned executi\e ability, which have placed 
Alden Bradford Spooner among the foremost citizens of San Luis Obispo 
County, have been correspondingly exemplified in a worthy and enviable 
ancestry, variously represented among the history-makers of the world. He 
was born in Lorain, O., September 9, 1851, a son of Alden Bradford Spooner, 
Sr., who was a native of ^Maine, having been born at Bangor on June 6, 1824. 

The elder Spooner attended school but a short time, and at the age of 
fourteen joined the U. S. Xavy and sailed around the globe in the old ship 
"Constitution,'' taking three and one half years to make the trip. Upon his 
return to the home port, he left the salt water and sailed the Great Lakes ; 
and while engaged there, on July 11, 1848, he was united in marriage with 
Kuxanna Gilmore, who was born in the town of Lorain, November 29, 
1S31. She came from a distinguished family. Her oldest brother, Gen. 
Ouincy A. Gilmore, for example, a teacher at West Point, published a book 
on cement that is today a standard work. He also constructed the first 
ritled cannon invented, called the "Swamp Angel," which could carry a shell 
seven miles. ^Irs. Spooner died December 19, 1898. at an advanced age, and 
was mourned by her family and a wide circle of friends who esteemed her 
fur her fine character and her kindly acts. 

•After his marriage, Mr. Spooner left the sea and started business for 
himself at rigging up vessels. He also began, at Lorain, Ohio, to study fur 
tlie ministry of the ]\lethodist Church. After his ordination he came W est 
and landed in San Francisco, where he remained but a short time, after which 
he was sent to Crescent City, Del Norte county, where he preached the 
Gospel for a time. From there he went to Portland, Oregon, and thence to 
( >regon City, once more returning to Crescent City in California. His next 
charge was at Rohnerville. Humboldt county. I'rom there he came south to 
Chico, Butte county, and one year later, on account of the ill health of his 
youngest daughter, who was suffering with malaria, he came to San Luis 
Obispo County. He was the first preacher sent by tlie Metluulist Conference 
to preach in this countv, and held services in Cambria and in .\rroyo Grande 



288 SAX Ll'IS OlUSl'O COUNTY AXl) F.WIROXS 

fill- two years, lie had pre-empted land on 1'i)r<) creek, and here he began 
dexelopment tu make a lidme tor his family. During- the rest of his life he 
was a local preacher. 

He also assisted in ])ilotini^- \-essels into Aiorro Hay. and it was while he 
was thus engaged that he lost his life. He had gone out to meet a vessel, the 
"Alary Taylor," when a big swell upset the small boat he was in and he was 
drowned. T'ehruary 3, 1877. His death was a severe loss to the family and to 
the cnunty. where he had made his influence felt for the advancement of gen- 
eral conditiiins. lie was a charter member of Chorro Lodge, No. 168, I. O. 
( ). I-"., which he assisted in organizing. He and his wife had seven children 
horn til them, five of whom are now living. The oldest daughter, Roxanna. 
died at the age of five years in Ohio; Alden B., Jr., of this review, was the 
ne.xt in order of birth; X'ettie is the wife of James Jordan; David R. lives 
in San Jose: Elizabeth married (.'apt. Jdhn Ross of San Francisco; Cornelius 
(i. is of Aiorro; and Edmund L. died July 17, 1908, leaving three children. 
l"rom the date of his arrival in California in 1858 until the time of his death 
in 1877. Reverend Spooner was one of the best-known citizens of the coast 
section. He was unselfish in his zeal to help mankind and counted n(] jcjurney 
too long to visit and comfort the afiflicted. 

.■\lden B. Spooner, Jr., a worth}- son of his father, was iirought to Cali- 
fornia by his parents wdien a lad of se\en, and he attended the public 
schools in the various places where the family lived during the years his 
father preached the C.ospel under direction of the Conference. In 1868 
he accompanied them tn San Luis Obispo County and attended the first 
public schiiol held in the comity, in a log house built on San Simeon creek. 
At the age of nineteen, his school days over, he rented his father's ranch on 
Toro creek and for the following two years was engaged in farming. 

PVom the ranch, he went to San F"rancisco, where he hired out to A. H. 
Rockwell, the celebrated horse trainer of Xew York, and traveled o\"er the 
state with him, after which he was engaged with Rockwell & Hulbert to 
go to I'ortland. Oregon. He boarded the steamer "Pacific." but could not 
agree on the salary he was to receixe, and went ashore. It seemed that 
S(.ime kind Providence had intervened to save the young man. for on the 
trip the steamer was sunk with all on board. Air. Spooner went into the 
livery business in San Francisco on Alission street, near the Palace Hotel, 
remained a short time, and then sold out and came back to San Luis Obispo 
County and ti " ik up farming near Aiorro. whicii he folUiwed for several 
years with success. Wdiile he was living in that section he served six years 
as ro.-id master, his term expiring in \S')2. 

It was at that date that he leased sixty-five hundred acres of the Pecho 
ranch, lacing the ocean, and engaged in dairying and raising stock. So 
successful was he that in I'Oi he was able to buy the land; and he has added 
on from time tn time unid he w\\ owns eight thousand acres, with six miles 
of ocean frduta^e, which he c>iierates with the aid of liis three sons under the 
name of the I'echo Ranch and Stock C"o., an inc( irp<iration with himself as 
president. .Mden 11. . Jr.. vice-iiresident. and Ouincy (1.. secretary, h'or the 
])ast twent\-five years Air. Spooner has been raising, buying, selling and 
dealing in stock, running about five hundred head of cattle and large num- 
bers of hogs, lie began on a small scale, about fifteen years ago, to breed 
U]) tu a high sl.-mdard <<i llolsteins. and now has scime of the finest cattle 
to be seen in the counlx. W here he has led. others have foll,nved. and the 



SAX LUIS OlilSl'O CULXTV AXD EXVIROXS 289 

tirade of stock has been improving for years. He has been a horse fancier 
ami has raised some fine animals during the past years. The dairy house on 
the ranch is modern in equipment, the machinery is operated by steam power, 
and the most sanitary methods are in use. The building is of concrete and the 
dair\- includes about fifty high-grade Holstein cows. The two silos on the 
place ha\e demonstrated their worth and have a capacity of one hundred 
ei.uiity tons each. The ranch is nicely located in a cove where it is ])ro- 
tected from the winds off the ocean: and buihiinns and surroundings are Uejit 
in fine shape. 

Since becoming a permanent resident of San Luis Obispo County, Mr. 
Spooner has entered into the spirit of progress of the western country, has 
witnessed the development of the Pacific Coast country from Portland to 
San Diego, and has often had a part in the upward trend. He is a Re- 
publican in politics, a friend of education and a believer in a high standard 
of schools, and served as trustee of Morro district and as clerk of the board 
for years. He is a charter memi)er (jf Cayucos Lodge, 1. O. ( ). V., and has 
passed all the chairs. 

Mr. Spooner was united in marriage, .\|)ril LS, 1881, witii Miss Alary 
I'lnrcnce White, a native daughter; and they became parents of three sons: 
Quincy Gilmore, Carleton Ross, and Alden liradford, Jr. Mrs. Spooner died in 
February, 1898, mourned by all who knew her. Mr. Spooner is a man of 
l)road education, is an intelligent tra\eler. and is familiar with the state his- 
tory, in which he is much interested. He has been a lil)eral su])i)orter of .all 
moxements for the benefit of the iienplc and state, and is known as a man 
whose word is as good as his bond. 

FRED WICKENDEN.— One nf the .ddest men now living in the Santa 
Maria valley, both in point of years and in length of residence in this section 
of the state, is Fred \\'ickenden of Foxen cafuin in the vicinity of Los Ala- 
nins. He was born at Portsmouth, England, Xovemljer 18, 1825, and was 
reared at Chicliester, where he received hi>- sclumling. after which he was 
iiffered a pMsitiou a-- a draughtsman to assist in hnildiug the lir>i .South 
.\nierican railway running from Lima ti' Cill.io. IV-ru. lie u.is also offered 
a position as secretary to ..m' of tlic capCiin^ of ;i sailing \-essel that was 
going on an exploring expedition with Sir John I'ranklin — which expedition 
later came to grief when the vessels were wrecked, .\fter considering both 
propositions, Mr. W'ickenden decided that he did not have the (pialifications 
to hold the latter position, and so went to Peru. He left {•England, March 17, 
I8.1O, arri\ed at Ciorgona in due time, then took a canoe up the Chagres 
river as far as they could go and from there rode on the ])ack of a native to 
Panama. On reaching his destination he entered into the work with zest, and 
was made manager with five hundred nun inider him. l-"or a time he em- 
Iilnyed an inter])reter, but after a few months he could speak Spanish as well 
as the natives, and thereafter dispensed with his services. 

When, at the end of two years, the road was completed, Mr. W'ickenden 
left I'eru for California, induced to make the trip on account of the gold 
excitenieiu that had spread to all |)arts of tlie world: and he arrived in this 
state in 18.^2. 

' 'n his arri\al in San I'rancisco. he went at once to tiie mines along the 
^ "ha ri\er. but staved onh a short time, as the heavv rains had caused 



290 SAX LUIS DBISPO COLXTV AXD EXXIROXS 

floods that washed out the sluice l:)oxes. thereby renderini; niiniiiL;' impossible. 
He therefore found himself once more in San i-"rancisco, and some time later 
he came down to San Luis Obispo County, where he engaged in the sheep 
business. 

It was while at that place that he became acquainted with William 
Foxen, also an Englishman, who had settled in Santa Barbara county at an 
early date and was engaged in raising stock, and after whom Foxen canon 
was named. Mr. W'ickenden became interested in one of Mr. Foxen's 
daughters, Ramona, and on July 16, 1860, they were married, at the old 
mission at San Luis Obispo. It was her father, known after he had embraced 
the Catholic religion as A\ illiam Domingo, who came to California as master 
of a sailing vessel, and left his ship when he saw opportunities for trading 
with the natives. Building a sailing boat known as the "Goleta,'" at a place 
that now bears that name in Santa Barbara county, he did a coastwise business 
from San Diego to San Francisco, buving an<l exchanging goods for hides and 
tallow, which were stored until the -liip- from aero..-, the ocean called for 
them. Soon after his arrival, he married Senorita I'duarda Osuna, w^hose 
grandmother came from the city of that name in Spain. 'Mr. Foxen estab- 
lished a general inerchandise store on the rancho he had come to own. con- 
sisting of some eight thousand acres. He began the stock business, and in 
time his herds numbered thousands, and he became a wealthy man for his day. 
At the time of his death he left each of his children over eight hundred acres 
of land as their share of the estate. IMore complete mention of him is made 
in the sketch of T. F. Foxen on another page of this w'ork. 

In 1862 Fred W ickenden and his wife became residents of Santa Barbara 
county ; and since that time he has carried on an extensive stock-raising busi- 
ness with good financial success. Residing in Foxen caiion all these years, 
he has grown to be one of the best-known men in this part of the state. 
To Mr. and ]\Irs. AX'ickenden nine children were born. X\'. F. \\ ickenden, who 
died in 1915 at the age of fifty-four, was the oldest. He was engaged in the 
grocery business in San Luis Obispo, until his retirement to private life. 
He married Maggie Sauer, and with her six children she survives him at 
San Luis Obispo. The second son, James D., died in 1899, aged thirty-five. 
.\lbert I', married Emma Castro, and has four children. He is now president 
of the X\' ickenden Corporation, and resides in Los Alamos. Sarah married 
John H. Conway, a realty dealer of San Francisco and Santa Maria. They 
have four children and dwell in San Francisco. Ernest X\' ickenden is next in 
order of birth, and lives on part of the \Mckenden ranch with his wife, for- 
merly Josie Carteri, and their two children. Ida married P. .\. H. Arata 
of San Luis Obisjjo, and died in 1899, leaving two children. Robert .A. is 
connected with the C. H. Reed Company of San Luis Obispo. He married 
Ida Merritt of Santa Maria. Xellie is the wife of Howard Dill, who is con- 
nected with a large ])rinting establishment in San Francisco, and she is the 
mother of six children. The ninth, and youngest, is John R., superintendent of 
the ranch, where he resides with his wife, formerly I'lora Kriegel, and tlieir 
two children. 

I'red W'ickenden is now (1917) in his ninet\--second year and is seem- 
ingly hale and hearty, and as active physically and mentally as many men 
of sixty and less, lie and his good wife, now in her seventy-eighth year, 
live in peace and contentment at their old home place, honored and re- 



SAX LUIS OBISrO COL-XTY AND EXVTROXS 291 

si)i,'Ctc(l 1>\- all wlui know them, .Mr. W ickcnden \\as imc nf the prime movers 
in organizing the Wickenden Corporation, that now owns some five thousand 
acres of land devoted to the stock business, and has from four hundred to six 
hundred head of stock all the time. One thousand acres arc under the 
plow, and large cmps of beans, hay and grain each year make up much of the 
harvest. 

In l'>17 the corporation sold to the Associated Oil Company the oil rights 
on twenty-three hundred seventy-five acres tributary to the Los Alamos 
valley, and there is now one producing well and others in contemplation. 
Half the purchase price was paid in cash, and the l)alance is payable when 
oil is struck in such quantities as will warrant the transformation of the 
property into an immense oil field. The officers of the \\'ickenden Corpo- 
ration are .Albert P., president ; Robert .\., secretary and treasurer ; Fred, 
vice-president ; John R., superintendent. The directors are .Albert P.. Robert 
\., |i)lin R,, Fred, the father, and Ramona, the mother. 

MR. AND MRS. JOHN E. CHILDS.— Though a considerable period 
lia> il.ipsed since the death of John E. Childs. he is not forgotten by those 
with whimi the last years of his busy life were passed. Of English ancestry, 
he was born either on the ])lantation outside of Rockville, ^lontgomery 
county, Md., or in the mountains of Allegany county. His father was Enos 
Childs, born in England. .April 7, 1794, and a captain in the navy in the 
War of 1812. He married Eleanor \''irginia Goss in Charleston, S. C, De- 
cember 14. 1819. She was born on July 6, 1804, a daughter of Captain Goss, 
a native of \'ermont, and Jane van Ryerson, a native of New Jersey, who 
ran away from home, and was married in New York. This so enraged her 
father that he disinherited her, cutting her off with one shilling. The father 
of Enos Childs was William Childs. He was married in 1781 and died in 
August, 1818; and his wife died the following year in the month of May. 
William Childs lived on a plantation near Rockville, one hundred twenty acres 
of which later became the property of his son Enos. Enos Childs died in 
Baltimore, Xovembcr 23, 1852. Eleanor, his wife, died in 1865, in George- 
town, D. C. 

The progenitor of the name in the United States was Henry Child, as 
the name was then spelled. He and his wife, Jamima, lived at Portland 
Manor, on property known as \\'ickham and Pottenger's discovery, part 
of which was willed to their Sdu William Childs. There Flenry died, Decem- 
ber 12, 1767, and liis wife in 1784, in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, The 
maternal ancestors of John \i. Childs were of (lerman and Holland Dutch 
extraction. Enos Childs was a large planter in Maryland and at one time 
was the owner of over five hundred slaves, I^ach of his children had a per- 
sonal scr\;int. 

John i;. Childs was e.lucatcl in I '..illininrc. came across the plains in 18,^0, 
when a youu;; man, with Colonel I lolli>ter and twenty men, and on his .irriv.al 
here located near San Jose, and worked in tlie .Xew .\lmadcn (|uicksil\er 
mines, later becoming superintendent. In 1862 he was sent to San Luis 
Obispo county l)y the owners of the Josepliine mine, I'.arron and I'.ell, to take 
charge of that mine, and he carried on oi)erations until they closed down three 
years later. He then engaged in farming near Chorro for a time, and also, in 
partnership with S.iinuel Pollard, operated a flouring mill there, this l)cing 
one of tlie lirsi mills in the countx, lie was active in jjoliiics and served one 



292 SA\ lAlS OBISPO COL'XTV AND EWIROXS 

term as county tax ccJlector. When John E. Childs left Maryland, he deeded 
to his mother his share of the property there, so she would not he denied the 
comft^rts of life while she lived. 

On October 18, 1864. occurred the marriage of John E. Childs with Miss 
Refugio Esquer. who was born in Monterey, January 29, 1844, a daughter of 
Enos Esquer, a representative of the old Spanish regime in California, who 
served as judge under both Mexican and American rule. Her mother. Josefa 
Pico, was a daughter of Presentacion (Ruiz) Pico, and granddaughter of 
Maria Ignacio Lugo, wdio married Jose Ruiz She was also a niece of Pio 
Pico, the last go\'ernor of California under Me.xican rule, and an aunt of Gen. 
M. J. \'alleio. ( )f the union of 'Sir. and Mrs. Childs were born these children: 
Mrs. Richard Leland, Harry P.. John W., Charlotta P.. and Mrs. E. R. 
PVazier, all of San Luis Obispo. During his lifetime Mr. Childs was very 
public-spirited and supported all worthy projects. His widow, a talented 
lady, has her residence in San Luis ( )bispo. 

CHARLES O. KING.— l->.im the time when he settled in San Luis 
Obispo County, in 1877. until his death, which occurred February 4, 1916, 
Mr. King was associated with the development and progress of the coast 
country. He was born in Brooklyn, X. Y., February 5, 1847, a son of Charles 
M. and Frances (Briggs) King. The father came to California in 1860, via 
the Isthmus of Panama, and engaged in mining at Placerville and later in 
Aljiine county. 

Charles O. King lived in Placerville, lildorado county, Cal., until he was 
twenty years of age. Mining wa:3 the leading industry of that section, and 
after leaving school he took up that enterprise, working in the mines in 
X'irginia City. Xev.. and Alpine county with varie<l success until 1877, when 
he came tc i San Luis Obispo County. He found employment in the onyx 
mines here, working for George ^Mock for a number of years. He began his 
puldic-ser\ ice career as chief office deputy under A. M. Hardie, county as- 
sessor, filling that position for seven years, after which he became manager 
for four years of the San Luis Abstract & Title Bureau. In 1892 he was 
elected county assessor and served continuously for twelve years. In 1910, 
he moved to Palo Alto and the following year was appointed corporation 
expert in the office of the late L. .\. Spitzer. who was assessor of Santa Clara 
county. He was re-appointed by C. Y. I'itman. who succeeded Mr. Spitzer. 
and held the position until his death, in 1916. His thorough knowledge of 
the I)uilding and loan business made Mr. King an invaluable member of the 
committee on rehabilitation of the Palo Alto Building and Loan Association. 
He was considered to be the best-posted man on the land laws in the state, 
was an expert on taxation and land values, and well known all over Cali- 
fornia. He was an Odd F'ellow from the age of twenty-one, a member of the 
I'Oresters and formerly of the Elks. 

In 1873 ^Ir. King was united in marriage with Mrs. Emma A. (Smith) 
.Mcl'arlin. Her father, Edwin PL Smith, a native of Massachusetts, crossed 
the plains with ox teams in 1850, mined for a time and then returned to the 
h,ast : and with his wife and four children he came back to California, across 
tile plains, in 18.^2. settling in Placerville. where he mined. Then he came to 
San Luis ( 
count \' thr 





id eng 


iged i 


1 farmi 


ig. 


He was l)est 


kno\ 


vn 


in tliis 


ugh his assoc 


ation \ 


villi t 


le Met 


10( 


ist Church, ai 


d w 


IS 


a gen- 


\^ man. 



















SAX LUIS OP.ISPO COUXTV AND EXVIRONS 293 

To .Mr. and Mrs. King were born several children; Harlan C. is a con- 
tractor in Palo .Alto ; Mabel L. is a teacher in Berkeley ; Preston Wallace is 
a civil engineer in San Francisco; and .Alfred T. is an orchardist in Santa 
Clara county. By her first marriage with Mr. .Mcl-'arlin, .Mrs. King had a 
daughter, Mrs. Minnie J., wife of H. .M. Ront of San Luis ( )bis|H>. 'flic fol- 
lowing are the grandchildren: (luy. Ivirl and Lenore, children of Harlan C: 
John Bennett, son of Preston W .. and Mrs. luiima C Logwood, and i-'.dna I., 
(laughters of Mrs. Minnie j. Root. 

No name in San Luis Obispo and einirons commanded more hearty 
respect than the name of Charles O. King, whose honesty and square dealing 
were widely known and ap]ireciated : and his loss was more keenly felt in .^an 
Luis Obispo than in any other place, for it was here that he had endeared 
himself to his constituents and friends, who were legion. 

JERRY DONOVAN.— \o small place in the story of our country's 
progress must be accorded to the history of the Irish in -Americ;i, to which 
the life story of Jerry Dono\an, the extensive landowner near Santa .Maria, 
would pro\e an important contrilnition. He first saw the light of day at 
Skibhereen, County Cork, but is such an early settler of the Santa Maria 
\'alle\- that he might well be called a California pioneer, \\hen about nine- 
tei'u years of age he came to America, and -.oon after reached Watson- 
villc, where he worked l)y the month on a larm, milking onvs. He next 
started for himself in the dairy business, in a small \\;iy, his idea being 
to gel hold of some land; and this led him to in\e>.t in a hundred eighty 
acres, which he still owns and which he at once de\i)ted to the ])urposes of a 
dair\- farm. 

.As early as 1875 he came to Guadalupe, and there he bought six hundred 
acres of the Guadalupe rancho, iJaying twenty dollars an acre. Some of this 
acreage is lowland and some lies on the mesa. This jjroperty is still in the 
possession of .Mr. Donovan, lie next ]nn-chased .a ranch of three hundred 
acres of mesa land at .Xiponio, and ihi.s was followed by the ac(|uisilion 
of five hundred acres at Guadalui)e, also of the tiuadalui)e rancho. all o' 
it tirst-class bean land. .Another investment was three hundred twenty 
acres, one mile tn the northwest of Santa Maria — a town called Central Citv, 



when .Mr. l),,n..van fir^t came thet 


e: and although he was now carrying 


considerable land for a small invest 


ii'. he nevertheless greatly improved his 


last imrchasr. Me keeps ,ill his lai 


ds rented out, and has been more than 


successful in the dairy busines>. 




While at W .-itsomille. and whei 


.about forty-one. he married .Miss .Mary 


.MeC.irthv, by who,,, he had seven 


children, all strong, healthy and bright. 


Their names are: .\gnes, i lertie, ( oi 


nelius. M.iry. Leo, Gerald and Margaret. 


i'.ach has been properly trained in 


the Catliolic faith. lie himself enjoyed 


but few educational ad\antages : but 


he has afforded his children high .scliool 


and college training. 




for ;i m:in of his ve;irs, .Mr. Do 


lovan is still active and ixwverful. lie is 


keenly alixe to the polities of the day 


and especially to all that upholds Demo- 


cr.'itic standards, .\lways interested 


in the cause of educ;iiion. he served for 


> e;irs as a member of the school boar 


1 of Santa Maria, of which .Mrs. Donovan 


is now a member. 





294 SAX LUIS (JBISPO COUNTY AXD ENVIRONS 

ANTONIO J. SOUZA.— Enjoying the entire confidence of his fellow 
Portiiguesc-Aniericans. among whom he is regarded as a sviccessful leader, 
capable of guiding others to success, and both meriting and receiving the 
esteem and good-will of Californians generally, A. J. Souza occupies an 
enviable position among the developers^ of the Santa Maria valley. Born at 
Elores. in the delightful Azores, on June 10, 1862, the son of Manuel J. 
Souza. who reached his seventy-second year, and Alar}' (Urcela) Souza, who 
died w hen he was five years old — both father and mother having come orig- 
inally fr(im Portugal — young Souza was one of eight children, four of whom 
are living. He attended the public school at Elores, where he was brought up. 
There he laid the foundation, in good health and industrious habits, for his 
later career, in which he has advanced to such a prominent and influential 
place in the community. 

\\'hen seventeen years old he came to the United States and to California, 
and almost from the first day when he worked as a farm hand in or near Santa 
Maria, he showed commendable progress. After seven or eight years he 
had saved enough money to buy an attractive ranch of some two hundred 
seventy acres, and before long he was the owner of three hundred fifty acres 
farmed with the most up-to-date and labor-saving devices. Two hundred 
thirty-five acres are under cultivation ; one hundred seventy acres are in beans; 
seventy in hay. corn, and produce : and the lialance is pasture. Practicing econ- 
omy and wiirking steadily, Mr. ."^nuza in time took a very respectable place 
among his competitors, and is now li\ing retiretl in the enjoyment of a well- 
earned rest, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, in all of whom 
he is greatly interested. 

t )n November 29, 1888, the marriage of Antonio J. Souza and Aliss Maria 
Ciincicao, a native of the Azores and a devout member of the Catholic 
Church, was solemnized, and of this happy union nine children have been 
born. Mary is the wife of Erank L. Novo, a blacksmith in Santa Maria, and 
is the mother of a son, Angelo ; Joseph E. married Pearl Reel, and with their 
two children, Harriet and Albert, they live on part of the Souza home ranch, 
as does also Manuel E., who married Edith Tracy ; Annie became the wife of 
George Sargenti, a promising young rancher of the valley, and has a daughter. 
Amy; two daughters are Isabella and Ida; Anton and Angelo are at home; 
and Rutli. the youngest child, is deceased. 

As might be expected of one who has been interested in every movement 
for the good of. the community, Mr. Souza is prominent in fraternal circles, 
being a member of the Alasons. Guadalupe Lodge No. 237. Santa Maria 
Chapter, R. A. M., and the Eastern Star Chapter; the Odd Eellows and 
Rebekahs of Santa Maria; the Knights of Pythias and the Portuguese Lodge, 
I. D. E. S., of which he has served as master and secretary. Mrs. Souza is 
a prominent member of the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs. Progressive in 
his attitude toward pul)lic afi^airs, Mr. Souza has been active, as a Republican, 
in local politics. He served for fifteen years as a member and as secretary 
of the school board in his district, until he refused to accept the position any 
longer. ITc has been a resident on the ranch where he now lives for over 
twenty-two years, and has watched with interest the rapid growth of the 
county, and assisted many less fortunate than himself to get a start in life, 
lie is large-hearted, jovi.il in manner and an interesting conversationalist, 
and has a large circle of friends throughout this section of the state. 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 297 

HENRY HOLT.— The interest which attaches to the life story of Cali- 
fornia pioneers is a visible expression of the gratitude which all men feel 
towards the forerunners of civilization in the Far W'est. The life history of 
Henry Holt is one of unusual interest; it possesses, in fact, that fascination 
which attaches to all lives that present the spectacle of small beginnings and 
large achievements, and of success wrested from adverse circumstances. By 
birth and descent a German, he has yet spent so many years in the \\'est that 
he is a typical Westerner, a grand representative of' the pioneers of Cali- 
fornia. Henry Holt was born in Hanover, October 24, 1833, was educated 
in the common schools of his native land, and in 1852 came to the United 
States. Arriving at New Orleans, he traveled to Cincinnati, O., and thence 
to New York, where he went to work on a pilot boat in the harbor. Soon 
after, he began a seafaring life, sailing to Holland, where he learned naviga- 
tion, and then to the East Indies, final!)- coming again to Ne^\' York and in 
1858 around the Horn to San Francisco. 

His object in coming to California was to seek his fortune in the 
mines, and immediately on his arrival he went to Oroville and Marysville, 
where he engaged in mining; but not meeting with the success he anticipated, 
he went back to San Francisco and again became a sailor, sailing to the ports 
of China, the East Indies, Boston and Nova Scotia, and again coming around 
Cape Horn to California. In San Francisco he went to work in a livery 
stable, and then went to Point Reyes and became a cheese-maker on a dairy 
ranch. Once more in San Francisco, I\Ir. Holt was employed in road- 
building for a time, then journeyed to Alonterey county, and soon after 
arrived in San Luis Obispo County. Through his knowledge of cheese-making 
he secured a position with Steele Bros, as a cheese-maker on their Corral de 
Piedra ranch near San Luis Obispo, did his work well, and gave good satisfac- 
tion. Mr. Holt had a thorough knowledge of the dairy business and, realizing 
that money could be made by proper management, bought fifty cows, drove 
them to Guadalupe, leased land and started a dairy of his own. Later he 
increased his interests by leasing land on the Huasna and carrying on a dairy 
on shares with Mr. Porter, the owner of the land. 

In 1877 came the dry year, and his cattle suffered and I)egan to die; 
so he drove the balance across the mountains into Kern county. He leased 
three ranches near Bakersfield and held his cattle there for a time, and in that 
way saved about half of them. That fall he sold two hundred twenty two- 
and three-year-old steers for five dollars a head in San Francisco, but later 
got twelve dollars a head in Bakersfield. He once more returned to the 
Huasna, practically "broke," remained for a couple of years, and then located 
on the Todos Santos in Santa Barbara county, where he was dairying and 
raising cattle and hogs for the following six years, having about fifteen hun- 
dred head of the former and about two thousand of the latter, and making 
about $75,000 through his venture. One sale of stock alone netted him $20,000. 
From almost every venture in which Mr. Holt has been engaged he has 
netted good returns, and he has become an authority on live stock. 

In Guadalupe he has erected three l)rick residences, improving the prop- 
erty at a cost of $10,000, so that it will l)ring him an income. He also owns 
two business houses in Santa Maria. He Iselieves in improving the proper- 
ties in which he is interested, and in keeping them in repair. He now owns 
seven liundrcd acres near Guadaluiic. one Iiundred fiftv-five acres in liis lionie 



298 SAX LL'IS ULilSPO COUNTY AND EX\-IROXS 

place at Los Alamos, twenty-three hundred sixteen acres in Foxen Canon, 
three hundred twenty acres in Long Canon, and se\en hundred twenty-five 
acres at Santa Rita, near Lompoc. all of which property is leased to tenants 
and from which Air. Holt derives a handsome income. 

lie has retired from active work, although he still superintends the large 
interests he cnntrols, and keeps himself heartily in accord with every move- 
ment that has for its object the upbuilding of the state. He has made friends 
where\ er he has done business, for he believes in square dealing at all times; 
and he is numbered among the most progressive and prosperous citizens 
of Santa liarbara county. He is reliable and upright, and his integrity never 
has been (luestioned. He tries to li\e by the Golden Rule, and it is the con- 
sensus of opinion that his word is as good as his bond. He is generous and 
kind-hearted, a gentleman of the old scIukjI who dispenses his charities in an 
unostentatious manner. 

MICHAEL J. MEHERIN.— Ireland has contributed her quota of sons 
and daughters to help Iniild up the L'niteil .States, and none of those who have 
become citizens of this country are more loyal than M. J. Meherin, pioneer 
of San Luis Obispo County by reason of residence, and also by the ties 
of marriage that bind him to the famil}- of that prominent pioneer, John !\L 
Price, who is mentionccl elsewdiere in this \(ilume. Mr. ]\Ieherin was born 
in Ireland (in December 15, 1842, and was reared on the farm owned by his 
father, who was engaged in stock-raising in his native land. With four broth- 
ers, Michael came to the United States, having California as his objective 
point. He came by way of Panama and arrived at Cave Landing, in San 
Luis ( )bispo County, in 1868. He found work for five months on the dairy 
ranch of l\ (J'Connor : and later, for six years, with his brother, Dennis 
Meherin, he was engaged in sheep-raising. Then, with the same partner, he 
opened a store, the second one at Arroyo Grande, and for eight years carried 
on a general merchandise business, selling out at the end of that time. la 
1881. he and his brother built a wharf at Pismo costing $16,000, and they also 
had the steamer "Santa Maria,'" built in San Francisco in 1883, at a cost of 
$40,000, which was operated in the coast trade for a time. They also owned 
the lumijer yard at Pismo, managing that in connection with the wharf and 
steamer. Still later, in 1884, they built a wharf at Loinpoc, costing $23,000. 
Afterwards, Mr. .Meherin farmed on one hundred five acres of land, near 
Pisnio, owned by his wife, where he has lived for the past twenty-five years. 

lie was united in marriage with Mary Ann IVice, a daughter of John M. 
I'rice. and a native of Califurnia: and they have had four children to bless 
their hduie: .\ daughter, Mrs. Mary Manderscheld ; another daughter. Mrs. 
.\nn R.-imona iHiltmi; Mark F., the only son; and a third daughter. Andrea 
Margaret. 

-Mr Meherin has seen many changes take place in this county, and well 
reinemliers the tales tcld hy those earlier settlers who were here when there 
were l)ut few white men and the country was infested by Indians and crim- 
inals, and by wild animals of all kinds. He himself has had many thrilling 
adxentures, and recounts many experiences that were encountered b}' the 
jtioneer l)uilders of this commonwealth who have laid the foundation for 
future generations. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 299 

JOHN M. PRICE.— The life history of John M. Price is one of unusual 
interest. Full of incidents, stirring and adventurous, it possesses that fascina- 
tion which attaches to all lives presenting the spectacle of small beginnings 
and large achievements, and a success wrested from adverse circumstances. 
.\ native of England, born in the old seaport town of Bristol, September 29, 
1810, he was early taught the lessons of thrift and right li\-ing. His education 
was limited, for at the age of fifteen he went tn sea on a whaler in the 
Southern ocean. After a three years' cruise uii tlie "Cadmus." at the age of 
eighteen, he landed on the coast of California in the barque "Kent." a wiialer 
commanded by Captain Lawton. Mr. Price and a companion name<l I'.lack 
left the ship at Manzanillo, a Mexican port, where they had been treated with 
the utmost consideration and courtesy by the natives, who wanted them to 
remain. In order to get away, they boarded another whaler and were landed 
at Monterey, where they again deserted the ship; and with the aid of friendly 
Indians, they made their way into the timber in Monterey County. They 
cut timber with a whipsaw, and followed lumbering for a time ; and after- 
wards they worked as vaqueros about the Castrc>\illc section, hefnrc there was 
any place of tliat name. 

In 1836 Air. Price came to San Luis ( )I)ispo L'ounty, where he worked 
for W. G. Dana on the Nipomo ranch. L.iter he was employed on the 
Huasna ranch for Isaac Sparks, and in 1840 he was living in an old log 
cabin on a ranch about twenty miles from what is now Arro3'o Grande. He 
was surprised, one day, by the appearance of John C. Fremont and his troop- 
ers, who wanted him and his men — the Indians who were working for 
him — to surrender. He went as far as Santa Barbara and later returned to 
his place of abode. When gold was discovered Mr. Price and F. '/.. Branch 
went to the mines and were engaged in mining for a time, meeting with good 
success, but afterwards came back to San Luis (Obispo County. 

Mr. Price worked on the Pismo ranch with Mr. Sparks, and later he 
purchased seven thousand acres of land near the beach and engaged in raising 
cattle, sheep and horses on a •"."ge scale, meeting with prosperity for almost 
fifty years. 

He was one of the best-known men in the county, lie served as alcalde 
under Mexican rule, and later was justice of the peace, county judge, and super- 
visor of the county. Under the alcalde there was no defined justice, the 
official meting out justice as he saw fit and as it suited his humor; needless 
to say, Mr. Price was just in all his decisions, and held the respect of all. 
During the pioneer daj's in the county there were but few white men, and the 
country was overrun with Indians and bandits. Those were the days when 
ranching tried men's mettle ; they had to be on the watch continually to keep 
the cattle and horse thieves from running off their stock, and many were the 
trials endured by Mr. Price. 

In 1844, Mr. Price was united in marriage with Miss Dona .Andrea Carlon, 
a native of California, born in Santa Barbara County. They became the 
parents of fifteen children, eleven of whom are living: Mrs. M. Walker, Mrs. 
Victoria Thompson, John S., Mrs. Ellen Bushnell, George, Mrs. Carlotta \idal, 
Mrs. Mary Meherin, Sister Angelica Price, William B., Mrs. William Hamil- 
ton, and Michael. Two sons and two daughters are decea.sed. Mr. Price lived 
at his home in Pismo for many years, and died there June 4. 1902. at the age 
of ninetv-two years. 



300 SAX LUIS Or.ISI'O COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

MAT. IVERSEN.— It is an old saying, and une \vith almost kinder- 
garten simplicity, that if you do not succeed at first, you should try again; 
and how well Mat. Iversen, the progressive secretary of the Farmers' Alliance 
Business Association and the advocate of good roads, has applied the motto 
will be seen in his winning out for supervisor after he had been defeated in a 
candidacy for that honorable office. In fresh, green Ballum, Schleswig, Den- 
mark, ^lat. was born, on December 10, 1860, his father being none other than 
the esteemed pioneer, Hans Iversen, elsewhere described in this book. He 
was reared at Ballum, and was educated in the public schools ; but from 
his tenth year he was compelled to divide his time between the task of get- 
ting a book education and the equally formidable job of working on a farm. 
As a very young boy, indeed, he shouldered considerable responsibility, one 
commission being to drive his father's cattle all the way to the coast. 

When he reached his seventeenth year a crisis arose in iXIat.'s affairs, 
but he met it with a brave heart, and with much of the foresight which has 
characterized his operations ever since. About that time his native country 
came under the rule of Germany; and the Iversens objecting to what they 
looked upon as little short of military oppression, Mat. concluded to come to 
the United States. The first of April, therefore, in the j^ear 1878, we find the 
lad as far west as ^lonmouth, 111. ; and there he tarried for half a year work- 
ing for the first time on an American farm. His next stage on the journey 
toward his western goal was Omaha, where he secured work with the Union 
Pacific Railroad, and for a while at tilling the soil ; but in 1882 he had reached 
San Francisco and had taken up an altogether new occupation, as a con- 
ductor on the Third and Montgomery street car line, which at that time 
was propelled by horse-power. It was not a very inviting occupation, but 
it gave ^lat. a considerable boost, and, for the time being, such assistance 
was all that was desired by the youth, who was fleeing from Old World 
autocracy. 

In March. 1883, Mat. Iversen came to San Luis Osbispo County, and 
homesteaded in the Union district, harvesting his first crop the following 
year. At that time he had to haul all the water that was needed in barrels 
for a distance of three or four miles ; and taking some of this, he mixed it with 
the clay about him and made adobe bricks, which were dried in the sun. 
With these he built tw^o houses, the one for his father and the other for him- 
self; and having somewhat comfortably fixed himself up, he set to work in 
dead earnest to see what he could get from the soil. In 1886, a well-rig came 
in and sunk wells in the neighborhood, and as soon as he was able to make 
arrangements, ^lat., too, had a four-inch bore running to the depth of three 
iuindred seventy-two feet. On a still larger scale he engaged in grain-raising, 
buying a header and all the other equipment, and in the same year began to 
haul his wheat, first to San Luis Obispo, then to San Miguel, and afterwards 
to Paso Robles. 

On account, however, of the methods employed by the S. P. IM. Co. of 
Paso Robles. who at that time had no opposition and seemed to discourage 
rather than help the ranch folks, some of the farmers, in 1891, organ- 
ized the I'"armers' Alliance Business Association, which was incorporated 
with ^lat. as secretary: and in that influential capacity our friend has 
served ever since. In the beginning they used part of a large warehouse 
built in Pas<i Rubles, and this has been so enlarged and added to that today 




\ 



JIR 



^ : 



/i(d^. SsxAA^e^iA. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EWIRONS 303 

it boasts of a very pretentious viilume of Itusiness. in T'ld dniuL;- an ag<>Tcgate 
business of $200,000. But iMat. has not only been secretary: he has been a 
director in the Association, as also in the Paso Robles Mercantile Co.. bis 
up-to-date tendencies having been everywhere quickly recognized, and tbi^ 
recognition has served as an encouragement to him in the introduction of the 
most modern appliances and tlie most efficient means for the transaction of 
tlie day's business. 

Besides participating in this venture of the Farmers' AUiance and pur- 
ciiasing lands. Mat. has also leased certain tracts and engaged in grain-raising 
cm a large scale elsewhere, managing these holdings until lately, when he 
sold most of his lands, retaining only the two-hundred-eighty-acrc ranch 
upon wliich he li\es. His decision to do this was made with no little regret, 
since he is fond of agriculture: but he found the operation of a thousand or 
more acres a little too strenuous, and decided to quit in order to dexote his 
surplus time and energy to the care of his own home place. 

Mr. Iversen has been twice married. By his first marriage he was 
joined to Miss Jensine Christensen, a native of Schleswig, Germany, who 
died in the Union district. His second wife was Mrs. Alma Hager, a native 
of Sweden. By her first marriage she had had one son, (ieorge Hager, whom 
Mr. Iversen adopted. The young man is a graduate of the Paso Robles High 
School, and is now attending the College of Agriculture in the I'nixersity of 
California, as a member of the class of 1917. 

Mr. Iversen took a very active part in the organization of the San Luis 
Obispo County Farm Bureau, and is a meml)er of the Union Center. In 1917 
he was elected a delegate to the Farm Bureau Conference held at the College 
of Agriculture, University of California : and with other delegates he trav- 
eled more than a thousand miles through fourteen difl'erent counties, to 
study, see and report what farm bureaus and farm advisors can accomplish. 
A trustee of the Union school district for fifteen years, Mr. Iversen has 
always responded to the calls for public service. In one instance, however, 
he did so with a slight embarrassment for his pains. This was in 1912, when 
he consented to become a candidate ior supervi.sor, and lost out by only five 
votes. Four years later he was again a candidate — of the h'irst Supervisoral 
District — and at the primary election he received a majority over his two 
opponents. No election result could have been more satisfactory to his 
constituents; for having come to this district when there were no well-built 
thoroughfares, and no fences to separate one proj^erty from another, and when 
many of the conveniences of life, including the means of intercommuni- 
cation, were lacking. Supervisor Iversen is well known to favor the construc- 
tion of good roads, and in his hands that most imporiant feature of California's 
development may well be regarded as absolutely safe. 

THOMAS F. ABBEY.— .\mong the old-time families of Oak hlat. San 
Luis ()l)is]io County, mention may be made of the Al)bey family, whose head, 
on their arrival iiere, was Thomas F. Abl)ey. He was a native of Driffield. 
F.ngland, who married Eleanor .Xichelson, also a native of that place. He 
was a miller by trade, and had the management of a large mill in England 
until March, 1874, when he came to America, bringing with him his wife and 
four children and settling in Sullivan, Ind.. where for si.K years he engaged in 
farming. Going then to Kansas City, he was head miller in a large flouring 
mill: and there lie remained until lie came to California, in July. 18SC). Local- 



MM SAX Ll'IS OIIISI'O COl'XTY AND ENVIRONS 

ing in San I.nis ( )l)is|HJ L'ounty. he luimesteaded sixty-eight acres oi land, two 
miles from I'aso ivuhles, inijM-cjved it and farmed until his death. Ilis wife 
also died in this locality. All four of the children came to California. These 
are Thomas I'Tancis, employed by the Globe Mills in San Francisco; Eleanor, 
Mrs. John Jardine of Estrella Plains; Mary E., Mrs. John F. Botts of Oak 
I'lat ; and ]"".lizal)Cth M., who was born at Stockton-on-Tees, England, came 
with her iiarents tn America, and accompanied them in their removals from 
place Im i)lare, recei\ing her education in the public schools of Kansas City 
and Oak Mat, t ';dif. irnia. i )n September 23. 1900, at Morgan Hill, she mar- 
ried William Jardine, a nati\e of Kentucky, who died in :\Iarch, 1912. She 
is the mother of four children, Eleanor, William, John and Grace, She owns 
the old Al)bey ranch, where she is engaged in general farming and horticul- 
ture, successful!}' rai>ing fruits and nuts; and while enjoying repute as a 
successful woman, she takes an active interest in all that tends to build up 
the county. 

ALVA PAUL. — It is possible that there is no better-known man through- 
eiut the greater part oi .San Luis ( )bispo County than Alva Paul, now living 
retired in San Luis (Jbispo after many 3'ears of activity in ranching and 
running a threshing outfit, and after serving in some official capacity or other 
for several years. He was Ijorn in Croydon, Sullivan county, N. H., October 
26. 18.^6. As his father died when he was quite young, he had to make his 
own way in the world fmm the early age of nine. 

He left his home county when he was but fifteen, with only twenty-five 
cents in his pocket, went to Iowa and for six months worked on a farm near 
Cedar i'iapids ; then, in 1,S72, he came to California and, locating in San Luis 
Obispo, found work in the harness shop owned l)y his uncle. S. B. Call. Later 
he was in the employ of John Slack, on the Los Osos. ^ileanwhile, he was 
learning how to get on. Me rented land of H. J. Beck, and from 1876 until 
IS/'J farmed on his own account. Lie made several moves during the next 
few years, farming rented land, and in 1880 we find him on a ranch of five 
hundred fifty acres owned l)y S. P. Stowe at Chorro. On this ranch he 
remained tor six years, ;in<I he was the first man to turn a furn.iw in that 
virgin soil. 

He next went to .Morn., Ixmght three hundred fifty acres of land, and 
began to imjjrove it; and for the next twenty-three years he was engaged 
ni general farm work and in ruiuiing a threshing outfit. Through the latter 
enterprise he became well known, for he carried it on successfully for many 
years, and was l)rought in touch with the leading men of the county. His was 
the best machine in the county; and with his partner, A. F. Bagley, he pros- 
I'cred accordingly. He retired from business and built a comfortable home in 
^lorro. where he lived until September 22, 1911. Then he came to San Luis 
'i^]|". and has smce resided here, in the quiet enjoyment of a well-earned 
rpt,^ lie liel]H-(l to tear down the idd stone wall through wdiich was hauled 
tlie lirst load of lumber that came to San Luis Obispo for the first frame 
'""I'l'ng on the east side of the creek. 

^^ <•" April 20. 18S0, ..ccurred the marriage of Alva Paul with Miss Ella 

■•il; .-y. wh., was^born ami raised in Mis.souri, and came to California with 

•niVTl'l''' ^^\^^"- "'■'' '^"'it''', Alason Bagley, died soon after in San Jose. 

H'^< 11 (iren of Mr. and Mrs. Paul are: Stephen A,, who was in the employ of 

'<• ■ "niliern < alif.,rnia lulism, C,,.. and is now deceased; Geortre W. ; Archie 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 305 

B., who is secretary of the Corralitos Apple Growers' Association at \\'atsoii- 
ville; Ray A., a rancher of Lemoore, Kings county; and Nedom A. 

While actively engaged in the numerous enterprises that have given J\Ir. 
Paul the necessary means to live retired from all business pursuits, he was 
always interested in every movement that was promoted for the upbuilding 
of the county, and furthered those movements as his means would permit. 
He is a self-made man in every sense of the word, and has a host of friends 
throughout the county. He has seen many changes, as from stock to grain, 
and from grain to dairying and beans, when it was predicted that agricultural 
products could not possibly be grown in the country. He also recalls the road 
conditions in early days, when he got stuck between San Luis and Alorro with 
six horses and an empty wagon, with but two sacks of flour. In contrast to 
such trying experiences. ^Ir. and ^Irs. Paul last year traveled over seven thou- 
sand miles in a Ford, and have seen a great deal of the country throughout 
California. 

Mr. Paul is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the En- 
campment and the Rebekahs. He has passed all the chairs of the lodge, has 
served as district deputy three terms, and has been ]irominently identified with 
the order. He served as deputy sheriff in the Morro district for a numljcr of 
years while residing there, and was trusfee of the iMorro school for several 
terms. 

SWAN PETERSON.— Noteworthy am.-ng the citizens of California 
who came from the thrifty little country of S\veden, is Swan Peterson. He 
was born, August 24. 1866, in Alvestad, Kroneborslan, Sweden, was brought 
up on the home farm, and attended the public schools. Remaining at home 
and helping his parents until April, 1890. he then came to the United States 
and located in Denver, Colorado, where he obtained employment at the Grant 
smelter, working there until 1894. Then he came to California, where his 
brother, John A. Peterson, was living, and finally settled at Templeton, en- 
gaging in farm work. 

In 1896, at Templeton, Mr. Peterson was united in marriage with Mrs. 
Mathilda C. (Sjogren) Peterson, a native of Oland, Sweden, who came to 
Chicago in 1872, where her father, Gustav Sjogren, had located two years 
before. He was a carpenter: and after the great fire of 1871 he helped in the 
rebuilding of that metropolitan city. Mrs. Peterson was educated in the 
Franklin school in Chicago. The family remo\ed to Minneapolis in 1883. and 
there she was married to Andrew W. Peterson, a jihotographer. On account 
of his ill health they came still further west, to California, in 1887, and she 
has the distinction of being the first woman of her nationality to locate in the 
town of Templeton. They purchased a farm at Willow Creek, where her 
husband died in 1893, and where she continued to reside until her second 
marriage, which united her with Swan Peterson. 

Mr. and Mrs. Peterson engaged in grain-raising on the Willow Creek 
place, which they sold after a time. Then they bought the present home place 
of one hundred twelve acres, two and one half miles west of Templeton, 
where Mr. Peterson devotes his time to grain and stock-raising, having cleared 
the land for cultivation himself. He has made good improvements, among 
them a pumping plant ; and he intends to put some of the land in to alfalfa. 
Four acres of it are in apple orchards. He also leases land and farms it. 
Having been reared a farmer's boy at home, he brought the knowledge thus 



MX > 



or.lSI'O COUNTY AND EX\TROXS 



• '■aiiiccl Id l>i-ar <>u lii> work in his adopted country, and ha? met with deserved 

Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Peterson four children were born. 
Mildred was graduated from the Mission High School of San P'rancisco and 
now attends the State Normal School of that city: Christene attends the 
Mission High Sc1kh)1 of San Francisco, class of 1917: and Elsie and Edith, 
twins, are in attendance at the Templeton High School. By her first mar- 
ria"-e. Mrs. Peterson lia<l two children: Esther. ]\Irs. Wolf, residing in Sau 
Francisco: and h'.lmer. who married Bertie Donelson and is residing in Santa 
Barbara. 

r.oth Mr. i'eterson and his wife are much respected by their many friends, 
and thev and their a.^reeable family are highly esteemed in the community. 
Mr. i'eterson is a school trustee of Bethel district and is serving his seventh 
year as clerk of tlie board. In politics he is a Republican. The family are 
members of the Swedish Lutheran Church : and he is a deacon, and vice-presi- 
dent of the Sund.iy sciiool. He was a delegate to the California Conference in 
N'ineland in 1'*!.^. .Mrs. Peterson was one of the charter members at the 
organization of the Swedish Lutheran Church at Templeton, and has been an 
active member e\er since. 

HORACE G. WRIGHT.— rhe editor and owner of the Paso Robles 
Leader has been a resident of Paso Robles since 1886. He w-as born in 
Preemption. .Mercer county. 111.. January .il, 1848. a son of George W. and 
.Maria (.Moreyi Wri.ght, natives' respectively of New York and Ohio. The 
father, a farmer in Illinois for a time, embarked in the mercantile business in 
Preemption and later was in the wholesale grocery business in Rock Island, 
111. In isro. he came witli members of his family to California and settled in 
Santa Clara, and tlierc he ami his wife died. 

The eldest of two children, Horace G. \\right received his education in 
the inddic schools in Preem])tion and grew to manhood there and in Rock 
Island. 111. In 1870 he came to California, settled in Santa Clara and estab- 
lished the Santa Clara Messenger: and later he purchased the Santa Clara 
.journal and edited and published it until he sold out to the present owners. 

He purposed to retire fnnn newspaper work, but inside of two weeks he 
had bought a new press and fonts of type and brought the outfit to the new 
town of Paso Robles, then being laid out. There he started the Paso Robles 
Leader, issuing tiie first edition two days before the sale of lots took place in 
the town: and ever since he has published the paper as a weekly, without 
nu<<ui- a single issue. The news])a])er is a six-column folio and a very newsy 
siuet. lie built the corner now occui)ied by his plant at the corner of Park 
and Thirteenth streets. 

Mr Wright was married in Sacramento, .August 15, 1872, to :\Iiss Chris- 
tm.i .\luirson. a native of St. L,)uis. Mo.: and she ably assists her husband as 
Mil eduori.il and descriptive writer for the Leader. They have had four chil- 
dren: t >liv,-. .Mrs. Clark S. Smith: Lillie. .Mrs. Tom Henry; Harry, deceased; 
••md Mal.le. who was married to William Street, but is nmv deceased. 

Mr. W rigiit is a member of the Fraternal Brotherhood. He was one of 

I be iMinidcrs of the local Methodist Church, has been on its official board 

•-nice \>ix, . and was for twenty years superintendent of the Sunday school. 

L 1- ;i member oi the Cliaiuber of Commerce. In politics, he aligns him- 

^'•b unii tile kepnldicrni n-irtv 




'oL^^^I^'Ut.'l"'-''"''^ 



<axa)^^^Y--T-t--<- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COl'XTY AND ENVIRONS 309 

ERCOLE BIAGGINI.— Great credit is due those sturdy sons of Switz- 
erland wliu enilured privations and hardships to win positions of trust and 
honor in the various communities where they have become an integral factor 
in the liusiness and social life. Such a man is Ercole Biaggini, who was 
i)orn in (liubiasco. canton Ticino, Switzerland, on April 25, 1857. He at- 
tended the public schools there until he was fourteen years old, worked for 
his father on the farm, learned the trade of butcher, and lived at home until 
he was twenty-one. 

In 1877 he served two months in the army, and the same year decided 
to come to the L'nited States. W itii California as his objective point, he 
l)orrowed one hundred forty dollars of his father and embarked for the 
.\'ew ^^'orld, arriving in San Francisco on December 23, 1878. He had no 
friends or relatives to look to for any advice, nor could he speak the English 
language. It was necessary for him to find employment, and he set out with 
that object in view and soon found someone -who told him that a man iii 
San Luis Obispo County wanted a man to milk cows : and although he had 
had no previous experience in that line of work, he decided he could quickly 
learn, and on Januar}- 10, 1879, he arrived in the county and went to the 
ranch of .\. Tognazzini, where he was to receive twenty-five, and later thirty, 
dollars per month if he would remain one year. This was agreed upon and 
during the first eight months he paid his father two hundred dollars, the 
extra amount being an evidence of his appreciation. He gradually became 
acquainted with the English language, and learned how business was car- 
ried on in this countr}-. .\t the end of the year he had sa\-ed a small sum 
of money, and then he decided to start a butcher business in Cayucos. There 
was competition, but during twenty-three years there were fifty-three different 
men in the other shop. His fair dealing and courteous manner won him cus- 
tomers and friends, and he carried on the business with profit until 1903. 
' 'In 1883, after he had acj:|uired capital, he rented four hundred eighty 

acres of land, stocked it witli se\enty-five cows, and started in the dairy 
' business. He retained the lease on this land for eleven years and met with 
,L,'ratifying results from his dairy, wdiich he soon increased so that he had one 
Inuuired twenty-five cows, mostly Durhams. In 1884, he began buying and 
selling cattle and hogs, and he continued that line of business until 1913. 
In 1888 he bought 1,000 acres of land near Cayucos, and from time to time has 
. added to his holdings until he now owns 7,400 acres in three different ranches, 
I all lying near Cayucos, and divided into six dairy ranches, on two of which 
I he owns the stock. In all, they maintain over 700 milch cow.s. 
: During these years Mr. Biaggini has devoted his time and attention to 

, the improvement of his properties, keeping abreast of the times in the dairy- 
; ing industry, besides taking an active part in building up the community. 
] He has always favored good schools and has served iwenty-one years as trus- 
I tee of Cayucos district, most of that time as clerk of ihe board. He is a stock- 
. holder in the Anglo-California Bank and Trust Co. in San Francisco, and also 
in the Swiss-.\merican Bank in Locarno, Switzerland. In 1909 he built his 
. beautiful httme in Cayucos, and five l)ig liarns: and not being able to get the 
I rate on lumber he thouglit he ought to ha\e. Mr. liiaggini went to San Fran- 
! Cisco and purchased what he needed, shiiiped it to his place, and thereby 



saved $.^,ti)0. 



310 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EWTROXS 

In San Luis Obispo. January 3, 1885, Mr. Bia^.L^ini was united in marriage [ 
\\-ith Josephine IMozzini, a native of Giubiasco. canton Ticino. who was born i 
January 28, 1866, into the home of Charles and Antonia (Biaggini) Mozzini. i 
She arrived in San Luis Obispo County on December 2L 1884. They have i 
had twelve children born to them : and of these seven are living. To his ; 
children Mr. Biaggini has given the best possible educational advantages, j 
assisting them to become self-supporting men and women. They are : Esther, | 
a graduate of California Hospital in Los Angeles, and proprietor of the Pacific : 
Llospital in San Luis Obispo ; Lena, a graduate from King's Conservatory of | 
Music in San Jose, who is teaching music in Cayucos ; Eddie, a graduate from ' 
Heald's Business College in San Jose, who runs a dairy on one of his father's j 
ranches ; Laura, a graduate of the San Luis Obispo High School ; Charles, i 
who graduated at the State Polytechnic School, and who is employed by his I 
brother: Mar\-, wlm is attending the San Luis Obispo High School; and | 
Meda. ' ' I 

In 1889 ]Mr. Biaggini took a trip back to Switzerland to visit his parents, | 
whcj were both living at that time, though they have .since died, his father 1 
in 1891, and his mother in 1900. ^M^en he returned to California he was 
more than satisfied that he had cast in his lot with this state of "golden oppor- 
tunity." In 1910, with his wife, he made a second trip back to his native 
country, spending four months traveling through Switzerland, Italy, France. - 
Germany and England ; and on their return to this country, they took an | 
extensive trip through the Xorthwest, enjoying e\'ery minute of it, both agree- j 
ing it was the best time of their lives. ' 

Mr. Biaggini is an example of what can be accomplished by a young i 
man who has ambition and perseverance. He began in this country with a 
debt hanging over him. The first thing he did was to pay his debts, and he ij 
then started in to accumulate. He w-as handicapped by not being able to talk 1 
English ; and to learn, he bought a Swiss-English lexicon, which he studied j 
into the late hours of night after his day's work was done, so that in time | 
he became proficient, and was able to read and write and transact business in , 
the English tongue. It is needless to say that the old lexicon is a prized 
relic in the family, who look upon it as a priceless heirloom. He gives ; 
due credit to his wife, who has l)een his aide helpmate; for through their | 
C(_inil)ineil management and sacrifices thev ha\e reaped their reward of wealth. 
Young ])e()ple of today would do well t<i emulate their example. 

THORNTON 'WASHINGTON CARR.— One might write volumes , 
about many of the men who ha\"e made names for themselves in various 
places where they may ha\e lived for various periods of time, and finall}' 
settled in California to make a financial success, and there would l)e no vari- ^ 
;itiiin in the story of Thornton Washington Carr of this review except to sum | 
up, in a few words, and call it "Sixty Years of Hustling." 

lie was Ijorn in the Buckeye State, near Columbus, on June 30, 1840, the ' 
tiiird chihl in a family of six; his parents were Jonathan and Jane (Weather- j 
ingtnn) Carr, the former born in Virginia and the latter in Ohio. From Vir- j 
g-inia Jonathan Carr moved to r)hio, and then to a farm near .\lton. 111., , 
where he died. In tlie year following the death of her husband, Mrs. Carr 
took her children and returned to Ohio, and there she lived until the death ■ 
of her father. Then she removed to \"an lUiren countv. la., in 1833, and ' 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 311 

bought a farm: and there she died at a ripe old age. Of the children, four 
are living, two of them in California. These are Thornton W. Carr and 
Mrs. Elizabeth Briggs, the latter of Fulton, Sonoma county. 

Reared on a farm in Iowa from the age of thirteen, in 1853, and used to 
hard, manual labor with but little opportunity to get an education, young 
Carr early learned the lessons of thrift and strict integrity, and became ac- 
quainted with many privations, for he had to help his mother in the support 
and care of the younger children. At the breaking out of the Civil War, he 
volunteered to fight for the preservation of his country ; but he was rejected 
on account of his physical condition, and so he remained on the home farm 
until he was twenty-two years old. Then, when the mother died and the 
children scattered, he bought a farm and began for himself, raising grain and 
stock with a fair degree of success. 

He was married to Miss Helen AlcCloskey, a native of Pennsylvania, on 
December 15, 1863, and they trod the pathway of life together until the Grim 
Reaper called her to her last home in February, 1906, while they were living 
on a ranch near Dinuba, Tulare county. The little farm in Iowa was carried 
on until 1876, when Mr. Carr sold out and came to this state; and locating 
near Fresno, he was among the pioneers of Selma where he assisted in 
building the first Kings river irrigation ditches, continuing in that location 
until 1884, when he sold out. 

Then he tried another venture by purchasing an old burr flouring mill in 
Selma, but it was not a success and he lost all he had made up ti> tliis time 
and had to begin over again. Nothing daunted he stuck to California, the 
land of opporunity, homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres near Terra 
Bella, Tulare county, proved up on it and later traded it for stock : after 
which, in 1897, he came to Cholame. San I.uis ( )l)isp(i County, and raised 
wheat on the Cholame grant, running three l)ig teams and tilling fifteen 
hundred acres of land. The last crop, raised in 1901. yielded fifteen thousand 
sacks of wheat. He hauled grain for months and hired others to haul to get 
it to the warehouse in Paso Robles. The i)rice was low, only seventy-six cents ; 
so he sold his outfit and removed to Dinulia. I Ic Iniught thirty-five acres and 
set out a vineyard and raised grapes until he traded for some fifteen hundred 
twenty acres in Echo or Hog canon. Alcmurcy county. This he devoted 
to raising stock, cattle and horses, until I'lll. when lie leased the property 
and located in San Miguel, where he purchased his present residence and lives 
retired in the enjoyment of his accumulations nf "sixty years cf Inisiling." 

Mr. Carr was married a second time at Milton, la.. .Mi-- Xina W eather- 
ington, a native of that state, becoming his bride. I'.y the union with liis first 
wife, he had eight children— Robert, in Dinuba: Sojihia. Mrs. Salladay, of 
Terra Bella: lambie, Mrs. Russell, of Sanger: Oscar, in ^fonterey county: 
Benjamin, a farmer in Cholame valley: Maggie. Mrs. Reese of Kermaii. 
Fresno county; Bertha, I\lrs. Gilstrap of Gridley : and John, of Or.ixille. 

Always an advocate of the Democratic party's principles. Mr. L'arr was 
active politically in his earlier life, in the sections of country where he was a 
resident, serving as a school trustee for many years, doing all he could to 
maintain good schools. Fie is highly resjiected in Selma, Dinuba and San 
i^Iiguel, the sections of this state where he lias resided, and where he is looked 
upon as a sturdy pioneer. 



312 SAX LL"1S OIIISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

THOMAS ALLEN JONES AND MRS. SOPHIE BUTLER JONES.— 

That a munupuly, nv e\cn the greater part, nf the credit for the pioneer devel- 
M])nient of California is due the male part of the population has never been con- 
ceded bv even the most prejudiced. That women were the abiding inspiration 
of those upnxjtcd from their original surroundings, and practically cast 
adrift amid new .■iml untried conditions, is a glory which must forever over- 
shadow .inything that man may have accomplished. .Xniong these noble and 
self-sacriticing wnnien the name of Mrs. Sophie I',. Jones is entitled to more 
than passing mention, and now, in the evening of her life, her friends, and 
all who are familiar with her career, insist that she is entitled to unstinted 
praise and all possil)le honor. 

A nati\-e of Indiana, .Mrs. Jc.mes was born in Wayne county, January 24, 
1.S42, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hunt) Thornlnirg. She attended 
the public schools ,,i Indiana and joined her parents in Iowa in 1862, they 
having settled in Redfield, where she was united in marriage, in March, 1865, 
with Thomas Allen Jones. Mr. Jones was born in Crawfordsville, Alont- 
gomery count \, hid.. ]'ebru;iry 12. 1831, resided there until he was twenty- 
two, fidlowing the carpenter trade, and there married his first wife. Miss Mary 
iiunt. wiio passed away in 18.^'', leaving one son, Jeff Jones, n(.)w a member 
of the Sant.i .Maria firm of T. .\. Jones & Son. 

In 1S71, -Mr. and .Mrs. Jones came to California, settled in Santa Cruz 
county at So(piel, where he worked in the redwoods one year, and then came 
down to the Santa .Maria \alley, in which Mrs. Jones' father had settled. 
Here -Mr. Jones farmed a claim of one hundred si.xty acres two seasons, and 
then went back t(.i Iowa and remained two years. Mis health failing him, he 
moved back to California: and in Santa Maria he started a carpenter slinp 
on the site of the ilurdette building. By good management and fair dealins.;, 
this little shop grew year by year : and as necessity demanded he began 
making furniture. Later, caskets and cot¥ins, and still more furniture, were 
manufactured at his place until the sJio]) grew into a l.)usiness <if considerable 
proportions. 

In 1883 the building <ind most of the contents were destroyed by fire, but, 
nothing daunted, .Mr. Jones at once Ijegan to rebuild better than ever, and 
once again started his business, lie branched out, and each year saw him 
more ])nisperous and gaining in prestige; and thus that little carpenter shop 
was the f<iundation of the present large store doing business under the name 
<if T. .\. Jones & .Son, which is now one of the largest establishments of its 
kind in the central coast counties. Mr. Jones died in 1902, since which time 
the business has been carried on by Mrs. Jones and her sons. 

.Mrs. Jones became the mother of three children : Emma, wife of William 
Abels of Santa .Maria; ( leorge Washington, who died at the age of four years; 
an.l ,\lbert K.. of the firm of T. A. Jones & Son. 

Mrs. Jones is ;i member of the Christian Church, is a Rejiublican, and 
one of the most liberal and most beloved women of the city. She was the 
<irganizer of the Minerva Literary Club, named by her in honor of her step- 
mother, .Mrs. .\liiier\a Thornburg, who was one of the noblest women that 
e\er li\ed in S,int,-i .M;iria valley. Mrs. Jones donated two lots for the club 
building .Mid is a life member. She is hospitable, charitable, progressive and 
ever willing to lend aid to all worthy projects for the u])building of her city 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND KN\]R()NS 317 

and U) uplift humanity in general. In the evenint; of her days she kioks haek 
upon a life well spent and forward withnut fear, for she has been a strict 
follower of the Golden Rule. 

MR. AND MRS. JOHN D. BIGGS.— The pioneers of the early fifties are 
fast passinj^- away, and l)ut few of them are left to recount the experiences 
of tlic early time, that to the present generation seem so mxthical. One of the 
pioneers of San Luis Obispo County associated with the romantic past is 
John Biggs, who was born near Little Rock, Ark., January 17 . 1841, a son of 
David Biggs, a descendant of an old Southern family, a pioneer of Texas and 
(.'alifornia, and a prominent Mason of the early period. When John was a 
baby his parents moved to Texas ; and after remaining there a few years 
started overland for California with ox teams, coming over the southern route 
I)y way of San Antonio, El Paso and Rio Grande, and landing in 18.^4 in Cali- 
fornia-. They settled for a time at El Monte, then one of the first sto|)ping- 
l)laces for emigrants this side of the mountains. In 1856 the family moved to 
Tulare county, where, for the next five years, the father was engaged in the 
stock business. Father and son drove a band of live hundred cattle over the 
mountains into San Luis Obispo Count}- in ISol, when they settled here, 
and were the first white men to run cattle in this county. Those were stirring- 
times: Indians were numerous and not any too friendly, and would steal 
cattle at the first opportunity; grizzly bears were plentiful, and .Mr. Biggs, 
then a young man of eighteen, killed many of them. He passed through 
the trying times of frontier life ; and while he had many narrow escapes 
from bears and Indians, was fortunate in not meeting with any accidents. 
After remaining with his father a few years, he struck out on his own account. 
He engaged in farming in the Creston district, took up a government claim 
and bought two others, engaged in dairying and the raising of cattle, and 
for sixteen years was in the grain business. He became owner of five hun- 
<lred fifty acres of land which he improved with buildings and fences, and 
made productive. In 1910 Mr. Biggs sold his ranch and moved into San Luis 
Obispo, where he has since lived retired. 

CJn August 2, 1864, ;\Ir. Biggs was united in marriage with Miss Louisa 
See. who was born on August 12, 184.i, in M(pnroe count\. hid., a daughter 
of Joseph See, a native of Kentuckx , who uimmM to Indiana ami from there 
to Texas, and thence to California, coming with ox teams o\er the southern 
route, and settling first in San Bernardino county. In 1860, he came with his 
family to San Luis Obispo county and bought land, which was named See 
Canon after him. He farmed here for many years. Me lived to be eighty- 
eisrht years of age, and was .i very inlluential and ])ul)lic-spirited man. Mr. 
and Mrs. Biggs became the parents of the following children : Josejih. of I'aso 
Robles: Mrs. Pernicia Duffy, of .San Luis Obis)!..: .Mrs. .Martha .\ich..|son. 
at home; John C. in Los .Angeles: Mrs. Ida Sinikins, ..i Colusa; .Mrs. I.ilii;in 
Kinny, residing in San I'rancisco; Mrs. Caroline Snyder, of ();ikland : :nid 
Mrv Leah l'err\. ..f S.alinas. There are eiglit grandciiil.lren to l)righten the 
i;nnily circle. 

in the early days in this county thousands of head ..f cattle could he 
counted from the tops of the hills, grazing in the valleys below. Thousands 
<|f sheep were herded on the plains and wild horses roamed the deserts and 
mesas. P.ull tights were of frequent occurrence in the streets of San Luis 
Obispo, and many Indians were shot.- Those pioneer times were indeed stir- 



31S SAX LUIS (JJ'.ISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 

rin.L;-. Mrs. l''iggs slept with her husliand's six-shooter at the head of her bed 
wlieii lie was away on business ; and she tells of once walking a desperate 
cliaracter ahead of her horse fur three miles, his hands in the air. She was 
known as a good shot; and Ijeing ileaill}" in earnest, she succeeded in deliv- 
ering her prisoner over to others. 

.\t the time of the settlement of Mr. Biggs on his ranch there were no 
scIiiMils outside of San Luis Obispo. So the few families that lived in that 
sci-iii>n gi)t together and hired an Englishman for a teacher; and Mrs. Biggs 
gave up her kitchen, that had been built as a lean-to on their log house, for 
a schuol-ruom until a suitable building could be erected. Mr. Biggs was a 
friend of education, and served al)out twenty-h\e years as a director of the old 
Santa Fe district. 

HERMAN BUDAN. — .\mong the prominent German-Americans who 
contributed to the development of San Luis Obispo County, Herman Budan 
occu|)ie(l a conspicuous place, for he possessed to a large degree the traits of 
character upon which material success is founded. He was born in 1842, in 
Germany, and died December 7, 1907, in San Luis Obispo County. He at- 
tended school in his native coimtr\-, where he remained for a short time there- 
after. He then came to the United States, when he was (luite a _\(iung man, 
and drifted westward. 

lie stopped for a time in Ctali, and happening tc discuxer the Ontario 
mine, he finllowed prospecting and niinin;.; in Utah and .Xevada for many 
years. Mr. Budan was associated with the late L'nited States Senator George 
Hearst in his mining interests in those two states, and after severing his 
relations with Mr. Hearst, lie took a trip back to visit his old home in Ger- 
many. At the conclusion of a pleasant stay there, he again came to California, 
ami settleil in Sonoma county, near Santa Rosa, where he engaged in ranching 
and the dairy business until 1886, when he came to San Luis Obispo County, 



an 


1, ]nirchasing two hundred acres nt 


Ian 


1 in the .V\ila district, began farming 


an 


1 dairying, continuing that occupa 


til 111 


until his death. 




He married Hanna Christensen. 


a n; 


tive of Denmark, wlm died in lOlO, 


an 


1 they became parents of six chi 


drei 


; Mrs. Annie Gorh;ini, in .\laska: 


M 


s. Lnlu Jeffreys, residing in Lns 
ith .and Herman. 


.\i 


geles; Mary, Clara, deceased; and 




Mr. Iludan hecaiue a \ery proinii 


ent 


citizen, was a Republican in pedities, 




1 served f..r years as a memlter (.1 


the 


C'lunty central coiumittee. He was 


a ; 


riend of education, and sup]H>rted 


and 


adxiicated the maintenance of good 



Scll..nls. 

EDITH B. BUDAN, the y..nngest daughter of Herman lUi.lan. is fol- 
lowiiiL; ill the femtsteps lit her father in trying to benefit mankind wherever 
it is possible. She is conducting and is the owner of Ontario Hot Springs, 
located on the state highway between San Luis Obispo and Pismo, on a part 
of the ranch owned by her father. These springs have been tested and show 
many \alualile mediein.-il (|ualilies. The temperature of the water as it comes 
Iroiii the spring is I2.S . The water is impregnated with sulphur, and is a 
cure lor rhenmaiism. Here Miss I'.udan has erected suitable buildings, and a 
bath house with v\<^\\i tubs. The accommodations are modern, and suitable 
attendants :ire pro\ ide<l t'< >r lier ]i,itrons. She has built up a fine Inisiness and 
a !.;reat in;in\ ]ieople h;i\e been benefited bv treatment at the Ontario Hot 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 319 

MANUEL J. SOUZA, SR.— One of the well-to-do Portuguese citizens of 
the Santa Maria valley is Manuel J. Souza, Sr.. now the owner of four valuable 
ranches. His home place is well impro^'ed with a modern bungalow, and with 
b;irns and outbuildings, all kept in good repair. He is a veteran bean grower, 
and has made money by personal supervision of his ranch operations and 
careful attention to details. 

Manual J. Souza was born January I?, 1850. in the Azores islands, from 
which, at the age of twenty, he went to sea and fur four years was on a 
whaler, out of New Bedford, Mass., returning home in 1874. The next year 
he came to California and began working as a farm hand for small wages. 
He soon became acquainted with the methods of doing l)usiness, and with 
the English language, and when he had saved money, he was united in mar- 
riage, in 1878, with Miss Maria Lawrence Bello. Soon after this Mr. Souza 
began leasing land and working for himself, year by year strengthening his 
position in the community. His first purchase of land was of eighty acres, 
and from time to time he has added to that nucleus until now he is the owner 
of four hundred acres of valuable land. He has never cared for politics, 
although he votes the Republican ticket. Mr. Souza and his family attend 
the Catholic Church ; and he is a member of the I. .D. E. S. Lodge of 
Santa Maria. 

Mr. and Mrs. Souza are the parents of eight children : ;\Iary L., Joe J., 
Manuel J., Frank E., Annie J., Antone J., John L., and Maria de Gloria, the 
wife of Manuel C. Grace. Joe and Frank are ranchers in the valley, Antone 
conducts a store in Guadalupe, and John is employed in a bank at Santa 
Maria. 

Manuel T. Souza. Jr., was born on the Oso Flaco, attended the public 
school, and commenced work on the ranch for his father after he was twelve 
years of age. He is now a successful rancher and one of the progressive 
Portuguese in the valley. He was united in marriage with Rosa Garcia, who 
was born at Arroyo Grande ; and they have three children, Alice, Bernice and 
Henry. In 1916 Mr. Souza erected his present home, where he and his family 
are comfortably located. He and his wife are Socialists. He is a member 
of the I. D. E. S., of Santa :Maria, and is one of the trustees of the lodge. 

ALBERT PFISTER.— In the life of this successful banker of Paso Roliles 
are illustrated the results of perseverance and energy. He is a citizen of 
whom any community might well feel proud, and the people of San Luis 
Obispo County, fully appreciating his ability, accord him a place in the 
foremost ranks of representative business men. Identified with the history 
of Paso Robles since 1887, he has witnessed its gradual growth and the 
development of its commercial interests as well as the gradual increase of 
its population by the removal hither of men of enterprise, intelligence and 
high standing. His parents. Joseph and Margaret (Stable) Pfister, l)oth 
natives of Germany, were living in Colusa County. California, at the time 
he was born, November 6, 1859. His father was born in W'urttemberg, came 
to Pittsburg, Penn., when a mere lad and was emiihiyed in the steel mills 
until 1852. when he outfitted with provisions and nuile learns, and crossed 
the plains to California from St. Joseph, .M<'. I'lie tir.-^l two years were 
spent in mining: then he returned to I'ittsliurg and married, the newly 
wedded couple soon coming to California, via Nicaragua. There were some 
three hundred in the party that landed at Xicaragua, but it was at the time 



320 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXVIROXS 

of the \\'alker filibuster expedition and they were held six weeks before being 
allowed to cross. In the meantime yellow^ fever broke out among the immi- 
Lirants and all died but eighty, a sister of Mrs. Pfister being among the 
numlxT who perished. 

\rri\-ing in San I'rancisco. Joseph Pfister engaged in teaming to the 
mines in Washoe, Xevada, his wife residing on land entered from the govern- 
ment, in Colusa County. On account of dry years, they abandoned the land 
and moved to Napa county, near Suscol, and farmed there until 1868, when 
he removed to Contra Costa County, and bought a tract of land at Pinole, and 
improved it with a house and suitable outbuildings. This property of two 
hundred twenty-seven acres adjoining Pinole is still in possession of the 
family. There .Mr. Pfister died in 1892, aged sixty-eight years; and his wife 
died in 1885. They were parents of seven children: Albert; Rose, of Suisun ; 
Minnie, Mrs. Xudd of Dixon; Paul, of Paso Robles ; John, in Los Angeles 
Count}- : Joseph, a dentist in San Francisco: and Augusta. Mrs. Harper, of 
."^uisun. 

Albert Pfister accompanied his parents to Contra Costa County when 
nine years old, attended the public schools in Pinole and later in San Fran- 
cisco, at South Cosmopolitan grammar school and the old high school on 
Clay street, and graduated in 1876. lie then learned the trade of machinist 
and mechanical engineer and followed it ten years, part of the time being 
employed in the powder works at Pinole as a machinist. He then went to 
Dixon and engaged in ranching for two years; and again going back to his 
trade, he spent one year as master mechanic at the Mahoney mine in Amador 
County. 

In 1887 he came to Paso Robles, bought land nearby, and followed grain- 
and stock-raising on part of the Santa Ysabel ranch. Latec he purchased 
nine hundred sixty acres, continuing the grain and stock business until selling 
out. In the meantime he had formed other interests in the growing city 
of Paso Robles. in 1893 being elected a director of the Citizens Bank, of 
which institution he was chosen cashier in 1899, a position he has since 
occupied. In 1909, the Bank of Paso Robles met with reverses and was closed; 
the Citizens Bank took over the afifairs of the defunct institution ; and in due 
time all depositors were paid one hundred cents on the dollar. The Citizens 
Bank was organized in 1892 with 8100,000 capital, of which $60,000 was 
paid up. The deposits now exceed $700,000. This bank has made an excep- 
tional record and is one of the leading financial institutions in the county. 
As manager and cashier, Mr. Pfister has the confidence of the people through- 
out the northern part of San Luis Obispo County ; and it is the consensus 
of opinion that the success of the Citizens Bank is due largely to Mr. Pfister's 
excellent judgment and careful and conservative management, and under his 
wise supervision the depositors of the bank know that the money they have 
intrusted to its care is in safe keeping. 

Another enterprise of Mr. Pfister's was the organization of the firm of 
Pfister, Ladd & Co., dealers in hardware and farm implements, at the corner 
of Twelfth and Pine streets. In 1912 this was incorporated by Albert and 
Paul I'fister as the Paso Robles Mercantile Company, and at that time they 
branched out and established the present large department store. Albert 
Pfister is the manager and gives it. his close supervision; and it is remarkable 
to note his physical and mental capacity for work, which seemingly ne\er 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EXMROXS 323 

tires him. A Republican, he has served as a member of the county central 
committee, and as city trustee, and is a member and active worker in the 
Chamber of Commerce. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of 
Pythias. He is prominent among the bankers of the county, very conservative 
and successful, and is an excellent judge of land values as well as of securities. 
The Citizens Bank enjoys the largest business in this section of the state, and 
its cashier is recognized as a leader in financial circles. 

WILLIAM C. STOKES.— The state of California has among its citizen- 
ship the representatives of almost every nation of the globe. Alany of those 
who played a most important part have been of Spanish blood, and their 
descendants have exemplified true western spirit and have entered heartily 
into every branch of industry, and the professions, and are today among 
the most highly respected men and women of the state. In Guadalupe, 
William C. Stokes is a worthy representative of an English and Spanish 
family. He was born in old ^lonterey, August 1, 1846. His father, Dr. James 
Stokes, was a native of England, who came to California in 1839, on a sailing 
\essel via Cape Horn. He practiced medicine in San Jose, kept a general 
merchandise store and owned about one thousand acres of land in various 
places. He later lived in Monterey, where he had large landholdings, raised 
sheep and cattle, served as postmaster and was a very prominent citizen 
of the early period. By his marriage with ^liss Josephine Soto he allied 
himself with an old Spanish family of San Jose and Monterey, also a family 
of large landowners and stock-raisers. Five children were born of this 
union: William C, Airs. Josephine W'interburn, Mrs. Louisa Gonzales, Airs. 

1 Kate Sherwood, and Henry. 

j William C. Stokes, the eldest of the family, was educated in the schools 

of San Jose, assisted his father in the care of his sheep and cattle, and when 
still quite young, with assistants, drove stock from the ranch into X'evada, 
where he sold them. In 1867, when twenty-one, with seventeen other men, 
he drove eleven hundred head of horses across the plains to Omaha, Xeb. 

• Disposing of them, he returned to California \ ia Panama, and engaged in 
dairying in Monterey county two years. 

In 1870 he came to Santa Barbara count}', and bought property on Main 
street, Guadalupe, which included an old adobe ranch house, one of the 
historic landmarks of the county, in which Mr. Stokes now resides. Here 
he ran a dair}' of one hundred cows, making cheese and butter until 1877, when 
the dry season caused the loss of all his cattle. Mr. Stokes then took up a 

. government claim of one hundred sixty acres near town, proved u]) on it. 
added to the same from time to time, and now has three hundred thirty acres 
which he is farming to grain and beans, with some stock. Since the dis- 
covery of oil in this section of the state, this land has become very valuable 

i and is now leased to an oil company, from which Mr. Stokes derives a good 

j revenue. 

1 William Stokes was married to Mis.s .Matilda \'. iMshcr, a native of 

Ohio, near Zanesville. She was the daughter of Abraham and Rhoda 
( Rogers) Fisher, both born in Ohio and merchants till they removed to 
Illinois about 1857, locating near Rochelle. Ogle county. The father engaged 

: in farming until he died. The mother afterwards married J. fl. ( Ircutt and 

^ came tu San Luis Obispo County. California: she now makes her home with 

i Air. and .Mrs. Stokes. She is eighty-tivo ye;irs old. Of iicr l,)ur children. Mrs. 



324 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS ! 

I 

Stokes is the only one now living. After coming to California, Miss Fisher I 
was educated in a private scliool near (iuadalupe : and here she resided I 
till her marriage, April 25, 1874, to Judge Stokes. Mr. and IMrs. Stokes have j 
nine children : Mrs. Josephine Colbath, Ronald, Walter, Mrs. Evelyn Ber- I 
trand, Alfred, Leland, Mrs. Elouise Livingston, Paul, and Carl. There are ', 
fi lur grandchildren to brighten the life of their fond grandparents. I 

Mr. Stokes has been a faithful servant of the people ; and having been • 
elected to the office of Justice of the Peace of his township, he is now serving j 
his fourth consecutive term. There is no man in the Santa Maria valley who ' 
believes more strongly in progression, or advocates more heartily all meas- j 
ures til uplift humanity, than does Judge Stokes. His success has been the I 
result of his own efforts, and he is now living practically retired with the ] 
exception of his judicial duties. He is une of the oldest native sons living | 
in Santa Barbara county today, and wherever he is known he is highly j 
esteemed and respected. ; 

CHRESTEN A. IVERSEN.— California's rapid strides an<l improvement ' 
are in large measure due to the countries of the Old World, among them ' 
the minor kingdom of Denmark, whose naturally capable sons and daughters 
have gone forth into other lands to influence modern civilization. An illus- '■ 
tration of Denmark's friendly and highly appreciated contribution to the de- ! 
velopment of the Golden State is found in such a career as that of Chresten ] 
A. h-ersen, the picmeer of Union district, who located there when there was | 
neither a country road nor a windmill east of the Salinas river. Mr. Iversen ' 
was born near Ballum, Denmark, on Christmas Day, 1861. His father was 1 
Hans Iversen, an interesting sketch of whose life is given on a separate page I 
in this work. Chresten was the third eldest child and was given every educa- | 
tional advantage that the public schools could afford. | 

When he was seventeen years of age, however, he broke away from the j 
schools and determined to leave for America and California, two brothers, i 
I\er and Mat., having preceded him to the New World. Having crossed | 
the American continent, Chresten was the first of the family to reach the \ 
Pacific coast. He arrived in San Francisco with three dollars in his purse, 
engaged himself for a year at ten dollars a month, and faithfully carried out ' 
his part of the agreement. Later he ran a restaurant on East street in San : 
Francisco, but hearing of government lands in San Luis Obispo County, and 
of their distribution to the public, he came with his father and his brother 
Mat. and three friends, and located a homestead of one hundred sixty acres ' 
on Dry Creek in Union district, after which, for a short time, he returned 
to San Francisco, to work. 

In San Francisco, June 21, 1884, he married Miss Annie Lena Christensen, 
who was also born near Ballum. Her father was Andreas Christensen, a ! 
veteran of the Wars of 1848 and 1864, in which he fought, against Germany, r 
and he now lives in California, aged ninety-two, with his daughter. Her j 
mother was Louise Christensen, who is now deceased. In 1908, Mr. and Mrs. i 
Christensen celebrated their golden wedding at Union. After their marriage, j 
Mr. and Mrs. Iversen located on their homestead, and continued the improve- i 
men Is already begun there. They built an adobe house and cleared and broke 
the land ; and just what agriculture in those days and in that section meant 
may be gathered from a tact or two in the development of this steadily pro- 
gressing ranchman. In 188,\ his father had sown some wheat on their three 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 325 

homesteads, which he harvested with a scythe in 1884; and from his portion 
he obtained three hundred twelve sacks of first-class grain, a sample of which, 
sent to the immigration offices in San Francisco, was pronounced the best 
among a hundred or more varieties. In 1885, too, the Iversens harvested 
with a header, but in 1901 they bought and operated a combined harvester. 
Mr. Iversen then rented some adjoining land, and bought other acreage, and 
engaged in raising" wheat, moving about, also, onto dilTerent places which he 
farmed. In one year he raised five thousand five hundred sacks, and for three 
years he farmed near San jMiguel. 

In 1904, he bought a part of his present place, moving onto it in 1906, and 
later purchased more land adjoining; so that today he has eight hundred 
acres in a body. He also still owns the old homestead of one hundred sixty 
acres. With his son, Andrew, and a brother, C. F., he owns one hundred 
sixty acres near Union, forty-five acres of which he has set out to almonds. 
He superintends the operations of the farm himself, which he accomplishes 
with the latest and most improved machinery. A result of his indefatigable 
labor is that he has wrung a fortune from Mother Earth. Mr. Iversen hauled 
his first three crops to San Luis Obispo, taking three days for the round trip. 
The fourth crop was delivered in Paso Robles, the railroad, then completed, 
having provided a much more rapid means of transit. Already a leader among 
ranchers, it was natural that, in 1891, he should become one of the organizers 
of the Farmers' Alliance Business Association, that built the large ware- 
houses of Paso Robles, of which he is a director. He was also one of the 
organizers of the Good-Will mining syndicate, engaged in operating and de- 
veloping a copper and iron mine in Los Osos valley near Morro Bay. It has 
already made a valuable showing, and he has thus established a precedent for 
which he deserves much credit. He is liberal and enterprising, and believes 
that a man who has been successful should be willing to devote a percentage 
(if his profits to the development of the natural resources of the county in 
which he lives. 

-Mr. and -Nfrs. Iversen have had seven children: Mary, the wife of Mr. 
H. Lund, who farms in the Union District : Andrew, who married Margaret 
Paulus, and is a farmer on the Estrella ranch : Louise, who died at the age of 
seventeen ; Jenny, Mrs. Chris Jespersen, who lives on the Estrella ranch ; 
Hetty, who died at two years of age : Alice, a clerk in the Emporium at Paso 
Robles; and Harry, who attends the local high school. Inspired with the 
socially helpful spirit, Air. Iversen is a member of the Free and Accepted 
Masons, being affiliated with Paso Robles Lodge No. 286; while in matters 
of religion he prefers both the theological tenets and the form of government 
of the Lutherans. In every respect Mr. Ivcrscm is enterprising and pro- 
gressive, a man of native ability and acquired knowledge, and a citizen 
esteemed and well liked. 

LAURA WHITE WOLF. — The influence wielded by women in business 
affairs is dcnidnstrated by the success achieved by Mrs. Laura White Wolf 
of San Luis Obispo, lessee of the Elks Theater for the past two years, and a 
resident of the city for twenty years. She was born in Salt Lake City, June 
2, 1866. a daughter of Richard Cullen White, of English birth and ancestry. 
He was a descendant of the "House of White," and a man of superior intelli- 
gence and education. He migrated to Canada with an uncle when a very 
young man. Soon leaving his uncle, he came to the United States, where he 



326 SAX LL'IS (JBISPC) COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 

engaged in newspaper work, fought in the Civil War, followed a literary 
career and became a playwright of prominence. As an author and a linguist, 
he was equalled by few. On his arrival in California, he embarked in the 
theatrical business, writing and producing his own plays. He went to yion- 
tana for a time, but finally came back to this state. He was the first one to 
dramatize "She," as well as many of the very best dramas and operas; and 
none of his productions were failures. He made and expended several for- 
tunes, lived his life to its full, and spent his last years at the home of his 
daughter in San Luis Obispo. When he was about eighty-five years old, he 
decided to master Spanish, and one winter spent in study enabled him to 
speak the language fluently. He died in 1916 at the age of eighty-nine Axars. 
His was a wonderful life, blessed with the rewards that come to those whose 
lives are directed in the right channels. His good wife, INlary Lash, was born 
in Richmond, \'a., a daughter of Elizabeth Bryan, a member of the same 
family as the "Peerless Orator." She was highly educated, a leader in society, 
and besides her daughter Laura, had one son, Richard Cullen White, and 
another daughter, Lenor \\'hite Barnett, both of whom became famous. 

When she was three months old, Laura \Miite was brought to California 
by her parents. Her education was obtained in a convent in Portland, 
Oregon. She became her father's companion, and it was but natural that 
she should participate in his theatrical ventures, later taking a prominent 
])art in his productions; and from that time she followed the profession until 
she came to San Luis Obispo. Through her professional career she met the 
man she later married, and in Paterson, New Jersey. Daniel Woli and Laura 
White were made husband and wife. Later they had their own company 
on the road, consisting of eighty persons. Arriving in San Luis Obispo, ^Ir. 
and Mrs. \\'o\i located for a time, and here her daughter, Violet Alerc)' Wolf, 
was born ; she also had a son named after her father, that died in infancy. 
Mrs. Wi>lf ga\e to her baby girl her entire time and loving care, intending, 
when the latter was old enough, once more to take up her profession ; hut this 
resolution was never carried out, for her whole life was bound up in her child. 
She saw her pass through the grammar school and graduate from the high 
school in this city, and finally take a finishing course in Notre Dame convent 
in San Jose. This daughter is now living with her mother, at home. 

]\lr. \\'olf was born in New York City, of German-Jewish extraction, was 
educated in the public schools and later became associated as a master elec- 
trician in the theatrical business. After his marriage, he traveled together 
with his wife in their own company. Since locating in San Luis Obispo, he 
has engaged in various theatrical ventures. For a time he had a show house 
in the old pa^■ilion, then >for five years was superintendent of the county 
iiosi)ita1, and then ran the Elks Theater for about two years. He is public- 
spirited, well liked by all, and is familiarly known as "Dan" W'oU by those 

l*'iir the past twenty years Mrs. Wolf has been a valued citizen of San 
Luis Obispo. She has always willingly given of her time and talents to help 
church and charity, and has liberally given of her means to promote the wel- 
fare of the city, which she has grown to love for its early associations. She 
has a wide acquaintance among theatrical people throughout the country, has 
enjoyed her life to its full capacity, and is living in the quiet contentment of 
her luiine and the enjoyment of an ever widening circle of friends. 




O'^n/^ y?c 



yy^eyi<^ 



^^U4^1^ 



'z:^^ 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND EXATROXS 320 

JAMES H. RUCKER. — In improving the western opportunities that 
have come his way, James H. Rucker, one of the substantial citizens of Paso 
Robles, has displayed characteristic enterprise. He was born in Blooming-- 
ton. 111., December 24, 1849, a son of Ambrose Rucker, who was a natix'e 
of Virginia, from the Rappahannock, and of Scotch descent. He was married 
near ^^'oodstock, \'a., to Catherine Ruth Carran. a native of that vicinity. 
After their marriage, Mr. Rucker migrated to (.)hio, thence to illMoni- 
ingtun. 111., and thence to Mt. Pleasant, la., where he worked at his trade 
of blacksmith, opening a shop and doing a good business until 1849, when he 
was seized with the gold fever and came across the plains in the spring of 
that year. He mined at Placerville, then known as Hangtown. with success, 
and then returned home via Panama. During his trip to California, his wife 
had gone to the home of her parents in Illinois, and it was while tliere tliat her 
son, James H., was born. After the return of Mr. Rucker. they located again 
near Mt. Pleasant, Henry county, la., and here he engaged in farming and 
blacksmithing, six miles from town. 

He continued to farm and work at his trade with success until 1864, 
when he determined to come again to California to live. He outfitted with 
four big wagons, each having four yoke of o.xen, and a carryall drawn by 
horses. He loaded in a complete blacksmith outfit and goods, intending to 
stop at East Bannock, Idaho, but on arrival there, he decided to continue his 
journey. He therefore took the Landers cut-oiT and, acting as captain of the 
train, went from the North Platte to Oregon. They spent that winter at 
Albany, Mr. Rucker working in the logging camps until spring, when they 
continued over the mountains to California, and arrived at San Jose in 
August, 1865. He leased a ranch at Los Gatos for two years and engaged 
in ranching : then he bought a place on New Almaden road in Union district, 
cleared the land, erected buildings and set out a vineyard of sixty acres, 
opened a blacksmith shop and lived there until 1878. when he moved into 
San Jose and retired. He died in August, 1880, aged seventy-three. His 
wife passed her last days in San Jose and died in 1898 at the age of .seventy- 
seven. They had twelve children, nine of whom grew up and five of whom 
are living. 

The oldest of the living children, James H. Rucker, was bn night uj) on 
the Iowa farm until he was fourteen, and then came across the plains with his 
parents, who made the trip without incident. He and a brother drove one 
team all the way, taking six months for the journey to Oregon. He attended 
school in the L'nion district, Santa Clara county, and remained at home until 
he was eighteen : then he worked for wages on the ranches about Santa 
Clara, being in the employ of "Old Joe" Rucker for many years, and attend- 
ing, for a short time, the Cambria school of that county. 

Five years were spent in railroad work on the San Joa(|uin valley 
division for the Southern Pacific, when he quit and went to Monterey county, 
and in April, 1875, bought a farm of one hundred sixty acres and began 
raising stock and grain. During 1888 he came to this county, and at San 
Miguel leased twelve hundred eighty acres of the Corriente Land Company, 
on which he raised grain on an extensive scale. First he had a header, and 
tlien a combined harvester; and he al.so cut on contract until 1908. In the 
meantime, he had bought several ranches, one of four hundred eighty acres 
in Slack's canvon. another of two hundred fortv acres in Ranchita canvon. 



330 SAX LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 

and another of one hundred sixty acres in \'ine\'ard canyon ; and on these he 
engaged in stock-raising until I'308, when he leased the properties and located 
in Paso Robles. Here he purchased his residence at 2005 Oak street, where 
he is very comfortably located with his family. Since moving to the city 
he has sold his ranches and purchased a fruit farm of nine and one half 
acres adjoining Paso Kobles. He has peaches, almonds, cherries and pears, 
and is engaged biitli in the cultivation of this land and in the loaning of 
money. 

Mr. Kucker has been twice married. (Jn the first occasion, in San Luis 
Obisjio, his bride was Mrs. Alice (Brock) Wren, who was Ijorn in Texas and 
died in San Miguel, leaving one daughter, Alta IMay, now Mrs. Bates of Paso 
Robles. The second marriage united him with Mrs. Martha (Gillespie) 
Cushing, who was born near Petaluma, Sonoma county. Her father William 
crossed the plains in 1849, and was married in Sonoma county to Caroline 
Leffingwell, and in 1862 they came to San Luis Obispo County. Mrs. Rucker 
was educated in the Cambria schools of this county and is Past Noble 
Grand of Natalia Lodge, No. 216, Rebekahs, of San Miguel. Politically, Mr. 
Rucker is a Democrat. 

SAMUEL T. COINER. — Prominent among the Southern States that 
long contributed both to the number and to the cjuality of the pioneers 
who transformed California from a wilderness to the Golden State, is Virginia, 
the birthplace of Samuel T. Coiner, land contractor for the Union Sugar Co. 
Mr. Coiner was born on December 23, 1857, the son of Daniel Coiner, one 
of the first white men (excepting, of course, the early Spaniards) to take 
up residence in the Santa Maria valley. His great-great-grandfather was 
born in Germany, and came to Virginia as the master of a merchant ship. 
He traded with New Orleans, and in Pennsylvania he won the heart and 
hand of Margaret Diller. They reared a large family; and so numerous 
were the descendants of this sturdy old seafarer that when a reunion of the 
Coiners was held in Augusta county, A'irginia, in 1881, not less than two 
thousand two hundred persons were present, and among these were a hun- 
dred thirty-six voters in that county. 

Daniel Coiner came to Salinas in 1867. \Mien he t(X)k up his residence 
in the valley he bought a quarter interest in the Punta de la Laguna Rancho, 
near Guadalupe ; but owing to a dispute as to boundary lines and unfortunate 
litigation, he lost all of his equity, and had to begin over again. A year after 
his arrival in Salinas, he sent for his family; and it was then that SamUel 
Coiner came across the Isthmus with his mother, whose maiden name was 
Isabelle .\nderson, and who was of Scotch descent. While the Coiners 
originally belonged to the Pennsylvania Germans, her family was numbered 
among the early \'irginia farmers. Twelve children were born to Daniel 
Coiner and his devoted helpmeet. The oldest, Mary Fann}% died when she 
was thirteen years old at Salinas; and only two, Samuel Coiner and Mrs. 
W. H. Rice, of Santa Maria, remained in the Santa Maria valley. 

From 1868 to 1872, Samuel resided with his family in IMonterey county, 
where he continued the public school course begun in Virginia, and event- 
ually finished in the first public school of Guadalupe. In 1875, or a year 
after he came into the Santa Maria valley, Samuel Coiner was married in 
Los Alamos to Miss Catherine Fields, a daughter of Edmund and Lucy 
Fields, the latter a charming lady still residing Avith the subject of this 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENVIRONS 331 

sketch at Betteravia; and six children blessed the union. Arthur married 
Birdie ^IcCann, and lived at Los Alamos, dying in 1915. Lucy became 
the wife of George P. Merritt, secretary and auditor for the Pinal-Dome 
Oil Co. at Santa Alaria. Lulu is the wife of Arthur Froom, a prominent 
business man of Santa Alaria. Frances married J. P. de I'Eau. the civil engi- 
neer of the Union .Sugar Co. Nora was joined in wedlock to Ralph Dyer, a 
city salesman for Chanslor-Lyon in Los Angeles. Ethel is a trained nurse in 
the first-aid department of the hospital at Betteravia. 

A strong, manly man with forceful character, and a good judge of 
human nature, cordial and liked by ever3'body, Samuel Coiner was able to 
take up the responsibilities of a land contractor for the Union Sugar Co., and 
successfully to lease about ten thousand acres devoted to sugar beet culture 
and supplying the factory with over one hundred thousand tons of beets per 
annum. He owns a residence at Santa Maria, but lives at Betteravia. He is a 
Presbyterian in his church affiliations, and a Democrat by political convic- 
tion. Fraternally, he is associated with the ]\Iasons. the Elks of San Luis 
(Jbispo, and the Knights of Pythias of Santa Maria. 

JOHN CALHOUN PREWITT.— As migh.t he surmised from the illus- 
trious given name borne by John Calhoun Prewitt, the popular leader of 
Santa Margarita, he is an offspring from a Southern family proud of its social 
and political affiliations, although he himself is a native son, Paraiso Springs, 
Monterey county, claiming his birth. J lis father, ( ireen Lemuel Prewitt, was 
a Southern gentleman of the old schdi.I. in whom California so appealed 
that he was willing, as a young man, in 1849, to travel on the laborious 
and tedious journey across the great plains with no better motor service than 
that of a yoke or two of oxen. This sturdy pioneer settled near Salinas, and 
farmed there, after which he removed to Paraiso Springs and eventually died 
at Soledad. He married Theresa Ripley, a noble native daughter, and attrac- 
tive from her childhood. She was born in Monterey, a daughter of Captain 
Ripley, one of those early navigators who were educated especially in sur- 
veying, and who were bound to become, once they abandoned the sea, promi- 
nent as men of affairs. He was sheriff' and later treasurer of Monterey 
county, and left behind him an enviable record both as a private citizen and as 
a public official. Theresa (Ripley) Prewitt died at Soledad, and was buried 
there beside her honored husband. 

John was the second youngest of four children, brougiit up on a farm ; 
and having attended the public school, he went to work at the early age of 
fourteen on one ranch or another, putting in two summers of hard work with 
an uncle. An agreeable change came when, for three years, he clerked in a 
store in King City, obtaining there a most valuable insight into human 
nature and invalualjle preparation for the responsibilities of later years. In 
that same town, in 1902, he was in the employ of the Southern Pacific Milling 
Co. ; and there, as elsewhere, both before and since, he proved his efficiency. 
Particularly was he valuable as foreman of the warehouse and lumber yard. 
Near King City he married ]\Iiss .Sally M. Mansfield, a native of Gorda, and 
now the mother of two beautiful chiklren, Dorothy and Herschel. After 
serving as foreman cjf the warehouse, he went to Metz, Monterey county, as 
the agent of the same company, and in 1911 he came to Santa Margarita 
still as agent for the company, having charge n\ their warehouse and lumber 
vard. 



332 SAX LllS (JBISPO COUNTY AND EXMROXS 

Mr. Pre\\itt is prominent politically, as a Republican. In religious circles, 
lie is an active member of the Presbyterian Church. He is serving as clerk, 
for the second term, of the board of school trustees of the Santa Margarita 
school district. Just what the value of public services by private citizens 
with business experience and common sense may mean is shown from the 
work accomplished by this board, which in January, 1916, began to build 
the new schoolhouse, whose completion was celebrated on May 13. For such 
a district as this the school building is large, being one hundred twenty-three 
l)y one hundred twenty-four feet in size. The whole structure is of mission 
style with reinforced concrete, and cost fully $15,000 — an outlay attesting 
the generous and advanced spirit of the people of Santa Margarita. 

A Mason and a Senior A\'arden in Lodge X'o. 302, F. & A. M.. at King 
City, and a member of San Luis Obispo Lodge X'o. 322. B. P. O. E., Mr. 
I'rewitt is able to communicate his kindly spirit of good-fellowship to many 
others in the local circles in which he moves : and few persons in modest 
position in this neighborhood enjoy a greater influence for good and for the 
general uplift of the community. 

MRS. LULU TERRILL GARKEE.— A native daughter of the golden 
West, and one who has been very much interested in the preservation of the 
landmarks of historical interest left by the forerunners of civilization, is 
Mrs. Lulu Terrill Garkee, whose father was Richard Terrill, born in Mexico, 
where his parents had gone to look after the numerous mining interests of 
his father. Dr. Able Terrill, in the vicinity of Guadalupe. Dr. Terrill was 
born in Pennsylvania of Scotch-Irish descent, and soon after Richard was 
1)1 irn the family went back to Pennsylvania and, in 1849, crossed the plains 
with horse teams to California and settled in the mining region in Calaveras 
county, where the father passed away. 

Richard Terrill was reared in this state. In San Francisco, he was united 
in marriage with Miss Ramona Botellio. a native of Spain. -She had come 
to this country with her parents and here met and married Mr. Terrill ; and 
after the happy event, they moved to Half Moon Bay, San Mateo covmty, and 
engaged in the raising of fine horses for market, receiving good prices for 
them. He became a large landowner at Half Moon Bay, eventually selling 
out and retiring to Los Angeles, where he died. His wife passed away in 
San Luis Obispo. 

Of the five children born to this worthy couple, three are living. Mrs. 
Lulu Garkee being the second in order of birth. She was born in lialf Moon 
Bay. and attended the public schools there, and also the San Mateo Academy. 
The marriage uniting her with Charles Garkee, who was a native of Mil- 
waukee, "Wis., of French descent, w^as solemnized in San Luis Obispo. Mr. 
Garkee came to California a young man. He was a civil engineer and sur- 
veyor. After marriage they settled in San Francisco, where, with different 
companies, he followed his profession until his death, after which his widow 
remained in that city until 1907. On account of ill health, she came to Paso 
Robles and has since made it her home. 

She is a member of San INliguel Parlor. X. D. G. W. In pulitics she is a 
Republican. She is public-spirited and supports all public movements for 
the benefit of the community. Since taking up her residence here she has 
surrounded herself with a host of friends, who respect her for her strength 
of character and integritv. 




(^/^^^ 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AXD EXMROXS 535 

S. CAMPODONICO.— A prominent business man of Cuadalniie and 
one of its leadini;" citizens, S. Campodonico was born at Carasco. Circuit of 
Chiavari, Italy, January 10, 1840. His father, John Campodonico, was a 
cobbler by trade, a handy man with all kinds of tools ; and being' a man of 
intelligence and considerable learning, he attained to some prominence in 
ofificial circles in his native circuit, filling various petty offices and clerkships, 
such as assistant tax collector, and clerk of the board of supervisors. He 
was a man of good, hard common sense, who attained an age of more than 
seventy, when he was injured by an accidental fall, from which he died. His 
entire life was passed in Italy. His wife was also a person of great vitality, 
living to be over ninety. 

S. Campodonico's early life was passed in the home of his parents in 
Italy, where his father, being a man of scholarly attainments, taught his son 
the common branches in the Italian language. A lad of precocious mind, 
he was sent to a boys' seminary, .\pril 4. 18.^,\ where he immediately went 
into the class of the second grade, and at the end ijf the first month stood 
second in a class of more than ninety ; at the end of the second month 
he held first rank, and maintained this supremacy until the end of the semester. 
His ambition was to take a classical course and to enter one of the learned 
professions ; but his father's financial circumstances precluded this, and he 
made up his mind that he would go to America to seek a business career. 
He was considering Buenos Ayres, but his father influenced him to come 
to the United States, particularly as he had a few relatives here. 

At the age of seventeen, Alay 14, 1857, he took passage in a sailing \essel 
from Genoa to Xew York; and on July 18 of that year he landed, after a 
journey of about sixty days. He found work in a toy factory at 123 \\'liite 
street. New York City, at $l.?0 per week, and there worked steadily and 
with an ambition to rise : but the panic of 1857, one of the most severe America 
has ever seen, came on. and the factory had to close down. It looked gloomy 
for the young man, but he finally went to the owner of the factory and was 
trusted for five or six dollars' worth of toys : and it being holiday time, he 
sold the toys on the streets, and to his own and everyone else's surprise, he 
cleared up twenty-five dollars on his week's Inisiness. This was his first 
comniercial \enture. 

After that he apprenticed himself to the proprietor of certain marble 
works, and served his apprenticeship of two and one half years, securing com- 
pensation of board, lodging and twenty-five dollars per year. During all this 
time he practiced the strictest economy, confining himself to the barest neces- 
sities. One purchase he did make, however, during this time was an Italian- 
English and English-Italian dictionary, which he bought from a second-hand 
store for fifty cents. This he studied, and it is still in his possession. The 
Civil War then broke out, putting business everywhere in strained con- 
dition; and inasmuch as Mr. Cam])odonico's em])loyer, a memlicr of the 
National Guard, who later took part in the I'-attle of Hull Run, was requisi- 
tioned into service, he was once more out of employment. About this time 
ho wrote his father, in Italy, that he would like to go to California; and his 
f;ither answered that he had his iicrmission to do so. To this the young man 
replied with some sarcasm, "The fare to San l-'rancisco will cost .$100, and if 
you will advance that sum, your permission may be sent right along with the 
money; otherwise, if I must pay it myself. I'll take the permission." 



336 SAX r.l'IS OlilSPO COL'XTV AXD RXNTROXS 

A family ])\- the name of Dacit^alupi was living at the mines in California, 
and young Lampodonico made up his mind to come out and join them. 
Leaving Xew Yori< City, September 2, li%l, Ijy steamer "North Star" for 
Panama, he came across the Isthmus and arrived in San Francisco, by the 
"Uncle Sam." September 26. There he found a job at his trade, and became 
a marble engraver and an artist in his line, which is attested by some of the 
work from his hands still standing in Lone Mountain cemetery in San Fran- 
cisco — notably the bust of Senator Broderick. chiseled in white marble and 
mounted on a high shaft in a prominent place in the cemetery; as well as the 
capitals on the marble columns of the Nicolas Lunning colonnade. In 1868, 
after having worked as a journeyman for several years, and accumulated some 
money, with another young man he started in the marble business for himself 
at 1130 Market street, near the junction of Sixth and Taylor streets, in San 
Francisco, under the firm name of Campodonico & Co. This business was 
conducted successfully from 1868 until 1881. when he sold out. Owing to the 
hard times caused by the Dennis Kearney agitation, business in San Francisco 
came to a practical standstill, and the years 1877 to 1881 were anything l)ut 
satisfactory in the marble line. 

Having .sold out in 1881, he next engaged with Mark J. l-'ontana & Co., 
now the As.sociated Canneries ; and there -Mr. Campodonico rose to the posi- 
tion of su])erintendent in the extensive fish and fruit canneries, holding 
his position there until 1884. Mark J. Fontana & Co., as creditors of an 
insolvent business in (;uadalui)e. had to take over a small stock of merchan- 
dise : and they having offered this business to their superintendent, he came 
down in July. 1884. to look over the situation, and in November made arrange- 
ments to buy the stock. On December 3, of that year, he brought his family 
to Guadalupe to live, and has been in business here ever since. As a business 
man and merchant he has l)een eminently successful, through square dealing, 
wide-awake business methods, strict attention to business and al)ility to 
accommodate his customers, and has built up one of the largest general mer- 
chandising establishments in the Santa Maria valley. 

l"c>r two years, from 1864 to 1866. Mr. Campodonico was in Rear \'alley. 
Mariposa county, and there became acquainted with Miss Elizabeth Biglar, 
born in .'^t. Louis. Mo., who crossed the plains to California with her 
parents, as a child, in 18.^2. They were married in San Francisco in 1869. 
Of this union fourteen children have been l)orn. five dying in infancy. The 
nine who grew to maturity are Lottie, wife of J. B. Acquistapace of Guada- 
lupe : Silvia, who married Martin Luther Smith of Santa Cruz; Frank, who 
runs his father's ranch at Los Berros in San Luis Obispo County: Stephen, 
who married Florence Baumgartner. and is his father's chief assistant in 
running the merchandise store in Guadalupe: Joseph, who is with his brother 
Frank, on the ranch : !\Iargarite. clerk and bookkeeper in the store : Charles, 
proprietor of the Commercial Hotel in Guadalupe : Alma, who married Harry 
Anderson, secretary of the Union Sugar Company at Betteravia : and \'ic- 
toria. who is the wife of Richard Maretti of Guadalupe, ^fr. and ^frs. Cam- 
podonico have nine grandchildren and one great-grandcliild. 

^Ir. Campodonico cast his first vote for U. S. Grant in 1868. and has 
l)een a Republican ever since. He is a member of the County Central Com- 
mittee of Santa Barbara county, and although adhering closely to party 
principles, lie has found it consistent to vote a mixed ticket at times. He 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COUXTY AXD EXVIROXS 337 

helped to organize the Bank of Santa Maria, and is still a stockholder. For 
years he has been the U. S. correspondent of statistics from this section, and 
for many years, including the time of the building of the two-story frame 
high school building here in 1896, he has been identified with the school 
board, but has declined to become a candidate for county office. He has 
done more for Guadalupe than an}' other person alive. When Mr. Campo- 
donico came here in 1884, he had for his active competitor H. J. Laughlin, 
formerly a prominent merchant of the place; now Mr. Campodonico is the 
veteran business man of the town, and the Campodonico Block, a substantial 
two-story and basement structure, stands as a monument to its owner. This 
was the first brick business block erected in the town : and from the clay dug 
out of the basement were made the bricks of which the walls are constructed. 
A beautiful residence has also been erected Ijy Mr. Campodonico, and it is 
complete in all appointments. He is a member of (juadalupe Lodge, X^o. 2i7 . 
F. & A. M., is Past iMaster and the treasurer of the lodge, and served on the 
building committee during the erection of the ■Masonic and Odd Fellows 
hall, a brick structure erected in 1913-14 at a cost of 815,000. 

The career of this veneral)le merchant is linked inseparably, in fact, with 
the building up of Guadalupe. During the time he has lived here he has 
prospered, and besides his town properties he is the owner of a ranch near 
Orcutt and one near Los Berros in San Luis Obispo County. The new Com- 
mercial Hotel building was erected by four of his sons on land donated by 
their father. During his residence here the railroad has been constructed 
through from San Francisco to Los Angeles, reaching this town in 18'>4 : 
the permanent bridge was built in 1895 and the road completed to Santa 
Barbara in 1898. Prior to that, all supplies were hauled from Port Harford. 

Today a gentleman of seventy-seven, looking back dver a busy life, Mr. 
Campodonico is happy in good health, and in the conscii aisness of a life well 
spent, and might easily be taken for a man ten years younger. His numerous 
friends are of one accord in wisliing liim many additional years in which to 
enjoy the fruits of a useful life. 

SPENCER C- RECORDS.— One of the representative citizens and an 
"old-timer" hi the Arroyo (Grande valley, Spencer I'. Records is a worthy 
son of his parents, Thomas B. and ?^Iary (Short) Records, of whom extended 
mention is made on another page of this volume. He was born in Hender- 
son county, 111., on December 21, 1864, and came west with his parents to 
this state, settling in the then wilderness along Arroyo Grande creek. He at- 
tended the public schools, supplementing this with an elective course in the 
University of the Pacific and a business course at the Garden City Business 
College, both in San Jose. 

He worked with his father until he was eighteen, and then started out 
for himself, although he practically lived at home until his parents died. 
They always encouraged him in every way to get ahead and do for him- 
self, and he has been self-supporting ever since he was a young man. He 
was reared to the stock business and has followed that line of farming until 
the present time. He farmed, raised stock, bought and sold cattle, horses 
and mules, and has prospered. 

He made his first purchase of land of one hundred sixty acres, and with 
that as a nucleus he has added from time to time until he now is the owner 



338 SAX Ll'IS oniSPO COl'XTV AXll F.X\1R()XS 

of three thousand acres in the Iluasna country, principally grazing land on 
which he runs beef cattle. He lived on the ranch until 1905, when he bought 
])r(ipertv in .Vrroyo (irande and erected a very cnmfortalile residence, where 
he li\i-s idgether with his family, althmigh he is still managing his stock inter- 
ests himself. 

I lis wife, whom he married in March, 1904, was M'ss Lucy Jones, a 
native dangliter born and educated in San Luis Obispo County. Her parents, 
\\ , .S. and l-'duarda ( I'.ranch) Jc)nes, were farmers, and Mrs. Records is the 
next to the oldest in a family of ten children. Mr. and Mrs. Records have 
three danglUers, Mary I-:.. VAna L.. and .\gnes C. Like his father. Mr. Rec- 
nrds is a developer and a i^romoler of the best interests of the county, and 
takes an acti\ e ])art in the advancement of his section of the county, wdiicli 
he h.is seen grew from a sparsely settled region tn one of great ])ro(hictiveness 
and wealth. 

MR. AND MRS. ELIAS P. BRUBAKER. .\lmost unbelievable is the 
romance, when one sto])s to consider it, of many such lives as that of Klias 
I'. Ilrubaker, spanning, as they do, the marvelous transition periods in the 
nation when society emerged from the cruder and well-nigh primeval state 
into adsanced conditions of comfort and even lu.xury. His father was George 
Ilrubaker. a native of rennsylvania. who removed with his family to .Ash- 
land. (),. built a log house there, and pursued farming until his death, in his 
si.xty-fifth year. EVuis lirubaker was born on I'ebruary 21, 1830, in Pennsyl- 
\ania, came with his ]iarents, in 1833, to Ohio, and grew up on an Ohio farm, 
attending scho(d in a pi(ineer log schoolhouse, with rough slab benclu- 
Mrs. ("icorge Ilrubaker was Miss Elizabeth llurkhardt before her marriaL;i 
She was also a native of I'ennsylvania and, like her husband, passed away in 
Ohio. Ten children were born to this hardy cou|)le : but tjnly one. the fifth 
eldest — tiie subject of our sketch — has survived until the present. 

Ma\ ing finished with the local school. Elias went to the Hayesville 
Academy, and later attended the State L'niversity at Delaware, O., after 
which he began to teach. He belonged, however, to just that adventurous 
class to whom the great California gold excitement made its strongest appeal, 
and it was not long, therefore, before he was traveling to the Coast, by way 
of Panama. He reached the Isthmus in .April, 1856, during the "I'anama 
Riots,'" and landed from the "lohn L. Stevens" at San I^rancisco in May of 
that year, .\rrived in California, he made his way to Placerville and the 
Indian Diggings: but perceiving the demand for other than miners, he soon 
ga\ e u]) his search for .gold, and commenced teaching school instead. 

Three years later, on .\pril 2, 1859. Elias Brubaker was married at the 
Indian Diggings to .Miss Diantha Rodgers, and was thereby connected with 
a i)ioneer family of more than ordinary interest. Miss Rodgers was born 
on Pictou Island. .\ova Scotia, the daughter of Benjamin and Jessie (Cam;)- 
l»ell I l\o<lgers. the former a native of Wales, and the latter of the Island 
of Mull, ott' the coast of Scotland. Her father was originally a blacksmith 
who emigrated to .\merica and Xova Scotia, where he married, and then re- 
moved to (ialena. 111. — destined to be famous as the town in which Ulysses S. 
(irant clerked in a ccjuntry store — where he Iniilt and for three years ran a 
horse ferry across the .Mississijiiji. In 1852 he sold out his business, and the 
following year, with his wife and four children, crossed the plains to Cali- 
forni.i in ,i train of oxen and wagons. The party traveled by way of Des 




^BA^Oy^Jtv^O^ /L,ny\^^*^'U~oyKfy^- 



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY AND ENMRONS 343 

Moines, at that time a very small place; and here was a rope ferry that had 
become broken, thus causing great inconvenience. Being a clever mechanic, 
Benjamin Rodgers quickly repaired the damage by splicing the cable. Up 
the River I'latte and on to Laramie and Salt Lake the pioneers proceeded; 
and from there they traveled over the Sierras to California, arriving in Hang- 
town, October 15, 18.53, just six months tu a day from the time when tliey 
set out. 

On the way, an accident occurred which threatened for a while dire 
disaster to ISenjamin Rodgers and his family. He was of a ner\ous tem- 
perament, and when crossing a ford or similar place, was always inclined to 
rush ahead. Once he drove into a river, intending to make for the other side ; 
but owing to the heavy current, his wagon upset, and all the hard-tack and 
most of the flour loaded upon the vehicle were washed away. The family, 
therefore, ran short, a situation the more serious because the emigrants were 
without much cash ; but a stranger passing that way tendered the unfortu- 
nates twenty dollars, suggesting that the money could be returned when 
the borrower had reached his destination and had begun to earn. Needless 
to say, the promise thus evoked, through an incident that well shows how 
generally men trusted each other in those days, was sacredly kept. 

For two years Benjamin Rodgers mined at Hangtown, and then In- and 
his family moved to Indian Diggings, and in 1858 located near l*'irebaugh, 
Merced county. He found the district too sparsely settled, however, and 
so removed to a ranch near Stockton, where he lost his wife. Finally, in 1862, 
on account of the big flood, he left that swampy country for Redwood City, 
where he died. 

To return to the fortunes of \dung Miss Rodgers, we find her attending 
school in various places, and finally re-opening her books, with probably 
more interest and liking for study, in the school at Indian Diggings, kept 
by Air. Brubaker; and there, after a year's acquaintance, the friendship be- 
tween her and the schoolmaster ripened into love and — "so they were mar- 
ried." This did not prex'cnt Mr. llrubaker from teaching another eight years- 
at the diggings, and in Fiddletown, now Coleta, after which he went to 
Walnut Grove, where he taught si.\ years more. During the time of his 
pedagogical work he bought acreage on Staten Island, where he attem])ted, 
with others, to reclaim land ; but the same flood, that of 1862, washed away 
all levees, and the work of the enterprising settlers was lost. 

In 1867, Mr. and .Mrs. llruliakcr remo\ed to Lower Lake. Lake county. 
where he engaged for five years in cattle-raising; and then he left the state 
to farm in Washingt<in Territory, from which he returned to California at 
his first opportunitx' to sell. A winter was passed at Pleasanton, then a 
sojourn was made in Sonoma county and the great forests of Mendocino, 
and after that Mr. f'.rubaker bought a ranch near C'loverdale, which he so 
improved that the Swiss-Italian colony was glad to secure it lor their head- 
.quarters at a handsome figure. iMuancially reinf.irced, .Mr. and Mrs. I'.ru- 
baker and family made a trip to Florida, looked in at the .Vew ( )rlcans l-'.xixi- 
sition, and visited many other points of interest in the South: and on their 
return to California they spent a year at Santa Clara, and then, in 1887. 
came to San Luis Obispo County, where they located on the ranch they at 
present own, being among the first settlers in the district now known as 
Shandon. They liked the place s<i well that the\- paid two thousand dollars 



3-U SAX l.riS Ol'.ISPO COl'XTV AXl) KXNIROXS 

for (Hie lumdred lucniy acres of school land, later i)re-empting one hundred 
sixty acres a mile and a half away, and taking a hundred sixty acres of 
timber culture at the hack of their ranch. As a result, they now own four 
hundred forty acres of splendid land, on which they have made all needed im- 
l^rovemcnts, building Iiarns, sinking wells, and (Jtiierwise equi])ping every- 
thing in a tirst-class manner. Their holdings include one hundred twenty 
acres of bottom land, suita1)le for alfalfa cultivation, and a fine family orcliaril. 
'They raise grain and stock: and having accomi)lished all by means of their 
own labor and sacrifice, they owe no man a dollar. They have two children: 
Lloyd, a blacksmith, but now f.irming in llumboldt county; and Ray P., a 
merchant at Uollister. 

.\ stockiiolder, from its organization, in the I'armers' Alliance Business 
-Association, which has done so much for grain-raisers in this vicinity, Mr. 
Brubaker, with true public-si)iritedness. also helped build the mill at San 
Miguel; but as it later did not ])rovc a financial success, he surrendered his 
stock to the company. Once a de\oted Republican, antl still ha\ ing a lively 
interest in all pulitical affairs, he is now an ecpially Inyal adherent of the 
Democratic ])arty. 

.Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker are (lc\t)tedly interested in religious activities. 
They helped to establish and build the Methodist Kpiscopal Church at Shan- 
don, and Mr. lirubaker has been a trustee (if the congregation ever since; 
while at ditierent times both husband and wife have been superintendent of 
the Sunday school. In fraternal circles, .Mr. Brubaker has long been popular 
as a member of the ( )dd I'ellows. 

TAYLOR S. MELCHIOR.— W hat tJK.se >>\ a previous generation in 
.\merica ha\e sulfered in order that we might enjoy the good things of today 
in the most glorious country u])on the earth, is told again in the annals of the 
family of Taylor S. .Melchior, one of the substantial farmers living near Paso 
Koliles. The second eldest of three children born tci Mr. and Mrs. Jacob 
-Melchior near l)e Kali), Crawford county, ( )hio, he came to California in the 
late nineties, ilis father was l)orn in Pcnnsyhania, and had settled in Ohio 
as a cari)enter and builder wlien the Civil War and the defense of his countr}- 
called him from his ])eaceful vocation. 

.\t the first tap in 1861, Jacob .Melchior joined Company H, ()4th Ohio 
X'olunleer Infantry, and served with honor for three years until, in 1864, he 
was cajitured and sent to .\nderson\ille, where he died. A souvenir of this 
heart-sickening experience Taylor Melchior possesses in that precious legac\ . 
his father's h(jnorable discharge. His mother, who, before her marriage, wa> 
Miss Margaret Pensinger, was born in Pennsylvania and died in 1<S86 in Ohio. 
( )ne of the sons, named Charles, is at Toledo, Ohio, where he is proprietor of 
the Tri-State I'.usiness College; another son. Jacob, is a horticulturist at Red- 
lands. 

After attending the pul)lic school, Tayl"i- .Melchior took a course of 
stuil\- at the I'osioria .Xormal. He learned drain-tile making and built a 
factory near Tiro. ( )hio. From 1883 to 1899 he was engaged in the manu- 
facture ()f drain-tile in sizes from 2^ to 12 inches, and for his necessary output 
he l)uilt a large factory. .\t Shelby, Ohio, he married an Ohioan, Miss Emma 
Champion. Three children — A'inton, who is in the automobile business at 
Paso Robles: Hazel, nov/ .Mrs. Crove, residing at Seattle; and Orville. living 
at home— came to liless their union. 



SAX LUIS OBISPO COL'XTV AND F.WIROXS 345 

In IS9'J. Mr. Melchior sold out. and. like su many others, turned his face 
westward; nor did he stop until he had reached Santa Paula, California. 
Afterwards, ^Ir. Melchior was at Oxnard for a year, employed in the beet 
sugar factory ; and then he went into the service of the \'entura County Power 
Co. as foreman of the gas and water department of the O.xnard district. This 
engagement lasted cle\en years and encouraged Mr. Melchior to build a resi- 
dence there. Another fair e'alifdniia town, however, was to make a still 
stronger appeal, and in l'>12 he sold c\erythiiig and nio\ed to Paso Robles. 
Here he bought forty acres, splendidly situated on the state highway, three 
and a half miles north of Paso Robles ; and these he has since devoted to 
horticulture and the raising of poultry. Incubators, brooders and other scien- 
tific and modern apparatus needed in the conduct nf the business lia\e been 
installed on his ranch by Mr. Melchior. In this enterprise he h.is been suc- 
cessful, and ships large quantities of eggs. 

Mr. Melchior has served for three years as a schdcd trustee in San Marcos 
district. Politicallv, he is a Republican : fraternalh', he is a member of the 
Knights of Pythias. 

JAMES LERTORA.— James Lertora is one of the sons of Italy who has 
made good in the New World, and who has the confidence and respect of 
lousiness men both in San Francisco and in San Jose, where he worked at his 
trade from 1876 to 1880, and in the Santa Alaria valley, where he has been 
engaged in business ever since. He first came to Guadalupe, as the manager 
of a mercantile establishment for ]\i. J. Fontana. He remained in this position 
three and one-half years, resigning his position, in 1884, for the purpose of 
coming to Santa Maria and engaging in business for himself. He has met 
with well-merited success here, has accumulated a competency and has given 
support to all matters pertaining to the improvement and adxancenicnt of his 
home city. 

But it is as a man and fellow citizen that Mr. Lertora has ingratiated 
himself with the community, and he numbers among his friends hundreds of 
the best citizens of the Santa Maria valley. His pride in the upbuilding of 
the community is very real, while his broad and sympathetic humanitarian 
instincts cannot fail to cement strong friendships among his fellow citizens. 
He was born in Italy, December 15, 1850, and came from an old Genoese 
family. Owing to the prolonged illness which finally resulted in the death 
of the father, the family was left in very straitened circumstances. The 
mother, witk five children, of whom James was the youngest, then a child of 
but three years, nobly set about to make the best of what to those less 
determined might ha\e seemed an imjjossible situation. She determined to 
come to .America. The three oldest children were left liehiiid in Italy, while 
the mother, with her youngest girl and boy, set sail for .\'ew York, where 
they landed in 1854. 

Through self-denial and hard work, they managed to live, and in about 
three years were joined by the three older brothers and sisters. They all 
struggled together for an existence. Tiie mother's frugality and wise manage- 
ment served to keep the family together, while James laid the foundation for 
his subsequent successful business career by selling newspapers and peddling 
on the streets of New York City. This bitter experience has no doubt served to 
broaden his sympathies for mankind. As he grew older, he entered upon 
life's work with a zest, and he was soon a hopeful and self-respecting young 



346 SAX I.LIS OBISPO COUXTY AXD EXMROXS 

man. ITc tried his hand at various occupations, but tor sixteen years put in 
most of his time in ^un and chair factories, in 187(i. he came to California, 
where he has made a success. 

Mr. l.ertora is the father of two children, both of whom reside in Xew 
\ork. I lis wife died se\eral years ago. Socially, .Mr. Lertora is prominent, 
being a member of several lodges in Santa Maria. He enjoys the friendship 
of a large number of citizens of the Santa Maria valley, as well as of San 
I'rancisco. and is regarded as a man of strict business integrity. 

JOHN THORNBURG.— The record of the Thornburg family in Santa 
.Maria \alley is typical of the county's growth and development, lieftjre any 
attempt had been made to cultivate the la'.ul or build up villages, this family 
settled here. John 'riiornburg and a twin brother, llenry. were natives of 
Xew Market, jetVerson county. Tenn.. born in 180'', sons of Henry Thorn- 
burgh, of Scotch-Irish birth. John received his education in the public schools 
and at L'nion College in Randolph county, Ind., and was married there to 
I'.lizabeth Hunt, a native of Ohio. He was a saddler by trade and built 
a tannerv on his farm in Indiana, blis wife died at the age of thirty-two, the 
mother of ten children. Wilson, a merchant, lived and died in Hagerstown, 
Ind.: James Madison, a \eteran of the Civil War. jjioneer citizen of the Santa 
.Maria valley and a director of the Santa Maria Hank, died July 22, 1*J16. aged 
eighty-one years, having been married three times: Henry, a saddler by trade, 
was a m