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Full text of "History of San Mateo County, California, including its geography, topography, geology, climatography, and description, together with an historical sketch of California; a record of the Mexican grants; the early history and settlement, compiled from the most authentic sources; some of the names of Spanish and American pioneers; legislative history; a record of its cities and towns; biographical sketches of representative men; etc., etc"

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An Historical Sketch of California ; A Record of the Mexican Grants ; 

The Early History and Settlement, Compiled from the most 

Authentic Sources ; Some of the Names of Spanish 

and American Pioneers ; Legislative History ; 

A Record of its Cities and Towns; 

Biographical Sketches of 

Representative Men ; 

etc., etc. 


San Francisco, Cal. 

1 8 83 


Office <>v rHE Librarian of Congress, at' Washington, D. C. 

C. W. Gordon, 

Sttam Book and Job Printer, 

San Francisco, Cal. 



The history of San Mateo county was undertaken nearly twelve months 
since; the result of our labors will be found in the following pages. We 
claim no literary merit for the work. Our aim is to please the majority, by 
presenting a volume wherein will be found in convenient shape, the principal 
events that have transpired within the county limits. 

To the old settler, to the pioneer citizen, the events recorded in these pages, 
many of them in which he has figured, and which have been gradually and 
surely fading from the mind, will he as a revival of by-gone associations. The 
ground that he rescued from the wilderness will be made holy, while the 
infant will be taught to look with reverence upon the book which holds the 
annals of his parent's wanderings, and the rise and progress <>t' hj^ native 

Through unredeemed promises, much in respect to prominent matters lias 
been per force omitted — this through no fault of ours; notwithstanding these, 
we venture to predict for the history of San Mateo county, a full recognition 
from those gentlemen who have done us the honor to place their names on our 
subscription list. 

To compile such a volume has been a task requiring mueh patience, a 
certain amount of skill, and a very great deal of application, yet happily our 
labors have been gladdened by many a cheering word and much information, 
pleasantly obtained from many of the residents of the county. To all thws L - 
gentlemen we tender our most sincere acknowledgments. 

In conclusion, we offer our heartiest thanks to the members of the press in 
San Mateo county, while to Alex. Moore, of Pescadero; A. S. Easton, James 
Whitehead and D. S. Cook, of San Mateo; G. H. Rice, H. B. Thompson, of 
Redwood City; Dr. Tripp, of Woodside, and I. C. Steele, of New Year's Point, 
is due a thorough appreciation of their kindly offices. 




History or San Mateo County 87 

Climate 88 

Scenery 88 

Streams 89 

Roads 90 

Geology of San Mateo County- 91 

General History and Settlement 9(i 

Sketches oe Pioneers 100 

The Organization of the County 155 
Early Proceedings of Board of _ 

Supervisors 167 

County Seat contests 169 

Mexican Grants 173 

Canada del Corte de Madera __211 

San Antonio 211 

Buri Buri 211 

Las Pulgas 211 

Butano 211 

Purissima 211 

San Pedro 211 

San Gregorio 21 2 

Corral de Tierra 212 

Canada de Raymundo 212 

Arroyo de las Pilarcitos 212 


Canada de Guadalupe 212 

Punta del Ano Nuevo 212 

FelizRancho 213 

San Mateo 213 

History of Townships 214 

Pescadero 214 

Pigeon Point 220 

Pigeon Point Light House 221 

Redwood City 223 

Searsville 227 

Woodside 228 

Ravenswood 229 

Clark's Landing 229 

Belmont 230 

Menlo Park 231 

San Mateo 231 

St. Mathews Episcopal Church 234 

Laurel Hall 236 

Millbrae 237 

Millbrae Oyster Beds 237 

San Bruno 238 

Colma 238 

Uncle Tom's Cabin 238 

Half Moon Bay 239 


Dairy Farms 244 

Milbrae Dairy 244 

Willow Side Dairy Farm 244 

Dairy Farm of I. G. Knowles_245 
Baden Dairy Farm 245 

James Reed's Dairy Farm 245 

Steele Bro's. Dairy Farm 246 

Jersey Farm of R. G. Sneath__246 
Knowles' Trout & Carp Pond __ 248 
Gradv and Co's Tannery 249 


Biographical 251 

Ashburner, Robert 272 

Alt, William C 278 

Ames, Hon. J. P 296 

Beeger, Henry 264 

Botsch, Frederick 265 

Brown, R. H 271 

Burch, E. C 274 

Baldwin, G. W 282 

Bickford, J. R. S 284 

Beebe, Thomas H 286 

Brown, Jacob W 290 

Brown, Michael 291 

Barrows, H. F 306 



Bicknell, Judge J. W 307 

Christ, John 2(56 

Casey, P. B 271 

Chandler, L 272 

Casey, Peter 274 

Coburn, Loren =._280 

Church, Thomas 286 

Cunningham, R 290 

Cooney, Bryan 292 

Clark, W. H 298 

Downing W. S 276 

Durham, T. G 286 

Durham, W. W 287 

Donald, John 290 

Doyle, M. K 291 

Deeney , Patrick 298 

Downing, Jacob 299 

Easton, A. S 259 

Edgar, John C 270 

Eikerenkotter, A 288 

Frisbie, Will 263 

Fox, Geo. W 1 264 

Fay, Alfred 273 

Fisher, Geo. H 284 

Fabbri, Madam Inez 293 

Fox, Hon. C. N 312 

Felton, Hon. C. N 313 

Garretson, Hon. John 256 

Green, Hon. A. F 267 

Goodhue, S. G 275 

Gardner, W. H 283 

Garnot, Hiliar 290 

Gargan, Murty 299 

Goodspeed, I. R 301 

Husing, John D 255 

Head, Judge E. F 256 

Hatch, J. H 261 

Hanley, John 265 

Hanson, Albert 265 

Hartsough, C. W 266 

Hansen, Peter 267 

Hawes, Horace (deceased) 267 

Hawes, Horace 269 

Hayward, B 275 

Harsha, J. B 276 

Honsinger, A 281 

Hollinsead, J. B 281 

Hadler, John 289 

Hallett, Capt. J. H 291 

Jenevein, August 288 

Johnston, John 275 

Johnson, Edwin L 277 

J ohnston , Thomas 297 

Jackson, William 305 

Kuck, Martin 264 

Keiffer, G. F 276 

Knowles, I. G 285 

Kelly, Lawrence 288 

Kerr, Alex 298 

Leary, D. G 287 

LeCornec. J 290 

Lloyd, William 292 

Lathrop, B. G 315 

Moore, Alexander 251 

Maloney, P. J 265 

McMahon, O 277 

McCormack, James 279 

McDermott, Hugb 283 

Midler, Herr. Jacob 293 

Miramontez, R 298 

Miramontez, Antonio 301 

Murray, L. T 302 

Moore, John G 305 

Morse, Hon. L. D 307 

Pharis, S. P 258 

Pinkham, H. H 282 

Pratt, J. H 282 

Perry, Thos. H 283 

Prior, Charles 289 

Rice, Geo. H 263 

Robson, Edward 278 

Reed, James 279 

Rawls, Robert 281 

Reed, Thomas 293 

Saeath, R. G 253 

Steele, Isaac 257 

Swanton, Charles W 278 

Sears, John H 279 

Snively, D. S 289 

Shine, 1 Thomas 301 

Thompson, H. B 262 

Teague, Andrew 266 

Thompson, W. G 273 

Taylor, W. M 282 

Taylor, Thomas 289 

Taft, Andrew 305 

Taylor, Edward 308 

Thompson, A. P 309 

Weeks, B. V 255 

Walker, H. W 261 • 

Welch, Judge R. C 262 

Weeks, Braddock 277 

Wurr, Henry 282 

Walker, Eugene 284 

Whitehead, James 285 

Wilson , James 285 

Wymau, Geo. F 299 

Winkler, John K. G 303 

Winter, Geo 303 


Spanish Period. — The history of San Mateo county dates back to the time 
when California was first visited by the white race. Point Ano Nuevo, its 
southwestern extremity, derives its name from having been sighted by Don 
Sebastian Vizcayno, on January 1, 1603. The discovery of the bay of San 
Francisco, which bathes the eastern shore of the county, was long a subject of 
dispute. Some have claimed the honor for Sir Francis Drake, who, in his 
famous marauding expedition of 1577-78-79, put into what was then and 
long after called the " Port of San Francisco," and remained some weeks, 
refitting his ships. He called the country " New Albion," and took formal 
possession of it in the name of his sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and as her 
representative accepted the allegiance of some of the native chiefs. In 
perpetual memory of this act of possession, the old chronicle relates that a 
wooden pillar was erected, to which was affixed a silver plate, containing an 
engraved likeness of her majesty, with the date. It was probably a redwood 
post, with an English crown piece, or perhaps a shilling nailed fast to it, bear- 
ing her royal image and authenticated by the stamp of her mint. But that 
this Spanish port of San Francisco, entered by Drake in 1578, wherein the 
Philipine galleon, San Augustin, was wrecked in 1595, and which Vizcayno 
also \isited in 1603, is not the same as that which now bears the name, has 
been fairly established from ancient records recently brought to light by the 
California Historical Society, and has been definitely accepted by an authority 
no less distinguished than Professor George Davidson, of the United States 
coast survey. A description of it is to be found in an old Pacific coast pilot, 
written by Admiral Jose Gonsales Cabrera Bueno, and published in Manila in 
1734. It is there located immediately under the lea of Point Eeyes, and cor- 
responds perfectly with that now termed Sir Francis Drake's bay. The pres- 
ent bay of San Francisco remained unknown, down to the year 1709, when 
Jose Galvez, the visitor general of New Spain, determined on the occupation of 
Upper California. For this purpose two expeditions were simultaneously des- 
patched from Lower California; the one by land, the other by sea. The over- 
land one, under the command of Don Caspar de Portola, the first governor 
of California, reached San Diego on the first of July, in the year named, and 
after a short rest there resumed its northward march on the fourteenth of the 


same month. Two schooners, the San Jose and the Principe had been directed 
to follow up the coast, and a rendezvous appointed at the Bay of Monterey, 
described by Vizcayno as a magnificent port, and which Galvez designed to 
occupy as the base of his new colony. After numerous vicissitudes, Portola's 
expedition descending the valley of the Salinas river, reached its mouth October 
1st. Unable on a hasty reconnoisance to find the " magnificent port " described 
by Vizcayno, and misled by a fog bank into the belief of another headland imme- 
diately north of Point Alio Nuevo, the adventurers continued their journey, 
and on the 30th of the month, reached point Corral de Tierra, and camped 
on the site of the present town of Half Moon Bay. The headland to the west 
of them Father Crespi, the chaplain of the expedition, called "Point Guardian 
Angel," but the more worldly minded soldiers, from the abundance of mussels 
found there, gave it the name of " Punta de Almejas," or " Mussel Point." 
When or how it got that of Point Corral de Tierra is unknown to us. In 
attempting to go further up the coast, the ascent of the first ridge revealed to 
the observers of the expedition, far to the N. N. W., Point Reyes, with the bay 
of San Francisco under its lea, and the Farallones to seaward, and confirmed 
the suspicion which had for the past month distracted the leaders of the party , 
that they had long since passed by the famous port of Monterey, without fiud- 
ing it. A halt was called and a countermarch decided on. But preliminary to 
returning from their unsuccessful search, Sergeant Ortega, with a party of 
soldiers, was despatched over the hills to the northeast, to explore and report 
on the character of the country to be found there. Three days were allowed 
for this examination, and in the meantime the men were allowed to hunt at 
discretion through the neighboring hills. On the evening of November 2d, 
some of the hunters returned, announcing the discovery of an immense arm of 
the sea, stretching from the ocean far inland. This was confirmed on the 
following day by the return of Ortega's party, who announced these glad 
tidings in advance by discharges of musketry, waving flags, etc. Animated 
by their unlooked-for intelligence, Portola broke up his camp on the fol- 
lowing day, and struck out over the hills to the northeastward. From the 
summit of these, the party looked down on our noble bay, which in their 
admiration they termed another Mediterranean Sea! They turned southward, 
following the Canada Raymundo with the idea of getting around the head of 
the bay, and so reaching Point Reyes and the port of San Francisco, lost for 
one hundred and sixty-six years! On the 6th of November they encamped on 
the northerly bank of the San Francisquito creek, not far from where Governor 
Stanford's house now stands. Explorers were again sent out, but as these re- 
ported that the bay again became wider beyond the point we now call Ravens- 
wood, and extended to an unknow T n distance southward, alarm at the rashness 
of their undertaking began to prevail, and they arrested their march. In fact 
their powers were spent, and it was well they decided to attempt no more, for 


to have pursued their journey further, in their exhausted condition, might 
have resulted in the loss of the whole party. The discoveries they had made, 
it was important to preserve. Their provisions were almost exhausted, several 
of their number had died, and more than half the remainder were down with 
the scurvy. The native inhabitants showed signs of hostility, and the winter 
of an unknown region was at hand. A council was again called, and it was 
voted unanimously to retrace their steps. Governor Portola would indeed 
still have pushed on, but yielded to the unanimous voice of his companions, 
and on the 11th of November, 1709, they sadly commenced their homeward 

All their meat and vegetables had long been consumed, and their ammuni- 
tion was nearly exhausted. Their allowance of food was reduced to five small 
tortillas a day. These with shell-fish obtained from the sea-shore, acorns and 
pine nuts gathered on their march, or furnished by friendly Indians, and an 
occasional wild goose killed with a stick, furnished the staple of their poor 
food, as they toiled over their weary, homeward march. They reached Point 
Pinos again on the 27th of. November, and notwithstanding their distressed 
condition, remained there till the 9th of December, searching in vain, up and 
down the coast, for that "famous harbor of Monterey," which Vizcayno had 
described in such glowing terms. Point Pinos," indeed, they recognized from 
its description, and the latitude assigned to it; but nothing else could they 
find corresponding to the description of the bay they were in search of. In 
despair they at last concluded that the harbor must have been tilled up by sand, 
or obliterated by some convulsion of nature. All hopes of meeting the 
schooners, from whose stores they might have obtained succor was abandoned, 
and on the 9th of December they sadly prepared to renew their toilsome and 
dreary march towards San Diego. Before starting, they erected on the south 
side of Point Pinos, at what is now called Cypress Point, a large wooden cross, 
on which was rudely carved the words, " dig at the foot of this, and you will 
find a writing," and at its foot accordingly they buried a brief account of 
their journey. Its text, as set forth in Father Crespi's diary, was as follows: 

" The overland expedition which left San Diego on the 14th of July, 1769, 
" under the command of Don Gaspar de Portola, governor of California, 
" reached the channel of Santa Barbara on the 9th of August, and passed Point 
" Conception on the 27th of the same month. It reached the Sierra de Santa 
" Lucia on September 13th, entered that range of mountains on the 17th, and 
" emerged from them on the 1st of October; on the same day caught sight of 
" Point Pinos and the harbors on its north and south sides, without discover- 
" ing any indications of the bay of Monterey. Determined to push on further 
" in search of it, on the 30th of October we got sight of Point Reyes and the 
" Fatallones at the bay of San Francisco, which are seven in number. The 
" expedition strove to reach Point Reyes, but was hindered by an immense arm 


" of the sea. which extending to a great distance inland, compelled them to 
" make an enormous circuit for that purpose. In consequence of this and 
" other difficulties, the greatest being the absolute want of food, the expedi- 
" tion was compelled to turn back, believing that they must have passed the 
" harbor of Monterey without discovering it. They started in return from the 
" bay of San Francisco on November 11th, passed Point Ano Nuevo on the 
" 10th, and reached this point and harbor of Pinos on the 27th of the same 
"month. From that date until the present 9th of December, we have used 
" every effort to find the bay of Monterey, searching the coast, notwithstanding 
" its ruggedness, far and wide, but in vain. At last, undeceived and despair- 
" ing of finding it after so many efforts, sufferings and labors, and having 
' left, of all our stock of provisions but fourteen small sacks of flour, we leave 
" this place to-day for San Diego. I beg of the Almighty God to guide us, 
' and as to you, traveler, who may read this, that he may guide you also, to 
" the harbor of eternal salvation. 

" Dated at the harbor of Pinos, the 9th of December, 1769. 

" Note that Don Michael Constanzo, our engineer, observed the latitude of 
" various places on the coast, and the same are as follows: 

" San Diego, at the camp of the overland expedition, 32°, 47'. 

" Indian village, at the east end of the channel of Santa Barbara, 34°, 13'. 

" Point Conception, 34°, 30'. 

•« The southern foot of the Sierra de Santa Lucia, 35°, 45% 

" Its northern extremity, at the harbor and point of Pinos, 36°, 36'. 

" Point Ano Nuevo, which has low reefs of rocks,* 36°, 04'. 

'The land, near the harbor of San Francisco, the Farrallones bearing W. I 
"N, 37", 35'. 

' Point Reyes, which we discovered on the W. N. W. from the same place, 
" supposed to be 37°, 44'. 

' If the commanders of the schooners, either the San Jose or the Principe, 
" should reach this place within a few days of this date, on learning the con- 
sents of this writing and the distressed condition of this expedition, we 
' beseech them to follow the coast down closely towards San Diego, so that if 
' we should be happy enough to catch sight of them, we may be able to apprise 
« them by signals, flags and fire-arms, of the place at which succor and pro- 
" visions may reach us. 

' Glory be to God," says the pious old chronicler, " the cross was erected on 
' a little hillock close to the beach of the small harbor on the south side of 
Point Pinos, and at its foot we buried the letter." 

On the other side of the point they erected another cross, and carved on the 
arms, with a razor, the words "the overland expedition from San Diego 
returned from this place on the 9 th of December, 1769, starving." 

'Probably an error in transcribing; the other latitudes are very nearly correct. 


Their prayer for succor was, however, in vain. It never reached those to 
whom it was addressed. The schooners after beating up to the latitude of 
Monterey, were compelled to turn back to the Santa Barbara channel, for 
want of water, and never reached the coveted port. They ultimately put back 
to San Diego, which they reached just in season to relieve that colony from 
starvation. The land expedition meanwhile prosecuted its weary march down 
the coast, encountering sickness, privation and occasionally death, until on 
the 24th of January, 1770, it reached San Diego, whence it had started six 
months and ten days before. 

Other exploring expeditions followed in succeeding years, but it is unneces- 
sary to follow their steps; they belong rather to the history of Santa Clara and 
Alameda counties, than to that of San Mateo. The mission of San Francisco 
was founded in October, 1776, and from that time forth our county began to 
be inhabited by civilized men. The next notice of it to be found among the 
records of early travelers, occurs in Vancouver's account of his voyage in 1792. 
He brought his vessel into San Francisco, and came to an anchor in the little 
cove at the presidio, between Point San Jose and Fort Point, to take in wood 
and water and to refresh his crew. The cordial hospitality of Senor Sal, the 
ensign in command of the presidio, and the Franciscan friars at the mission, 
he acknowledges very heartily. "The happiness " says he "they seemed to 
" anticipate, did not appear to arise so much from any pleasure they might 
" derive in our society, as from the comforts and assistance which it was in 
" their power to administer; this was manifest by all their actions." Hospi- 
tality seems to have been an early if not an indigenous virtue in California, 
and we may not without flattery congratulate ourselves that it still retains a 
vigorous growth here. The tribute which Vancouver pays to that of the 
early inhabitants, might with trifling changes be repeated by almost every 
sub, j juent visitor. After visiting the presidio, where a single brass three 
pounder mounted on a rotten stock, and another lashed to a log of wood, 
constituted the whole defensive armament of the port, and the mission, which 
was then in its infancy, and appears to have been surrounded by a village of 
basketwork huts of the uncivilized and still pagan natives, Captain Vancouver, 
with some of his officers, started for Santa Clara. Their journey was on horse- 
back, over a country familiar to most of our readers, and is full of interest. 
He describes the little knoll near which stands the entrance to the Howard 
estate, the murmuring stream hard by, and the little belt of timber at San 
Mateo, in a way perfectly recognizable at the present day. Advancing further 
he reaches what is now called Menlo Park, and says, "here we entered a 
"country I little expected to find in these regions, for about twenty miles it 
" could only be compared to a park, which had originally been closely planted 
" with true old English oak. The underwood that had probably attended its 
" early growth, had the appearance of having been cleared away, and had left 


" the stately lords of the forest in complete possession of the soil, which was 
" covered with luxuriant herbage, and beautifully diversified with pleasing 
" eminences and valleys, which with the range of lofty, rugged mountains that 
" bounded the prospect, required only to be adorned with the neat habitations 
" of an industrious people, to produce a scene not inferior to the most studied 
" effects ofr|taste in the disposal of grounds, especially when seen from the 
" port or its confines, the waters of which extended some distance by the side 
" of this country, and though they were not visible to us, I was induced to 
" believe they approached within a league of the road we pursued." 

Of the twenty miles of natural park so admired by him, but about three or 
four remain. The titles beyond the San Francisquito creek being in dispute, 
squatters got early possession, and stripped the county side of the magnifi- 
cent timber that adorned it, to sell for cord wood and charcoal. But from 
Fair Oaks, well deserving the name, to the banks of the creek beyond Menlo 
Park, the country still retains the same striking features he so graphically 
describes. Tradition still points out the clump of wide spreading oaks, which 
the old sea-dog found "so well adapted for taking the refreshments which our 
" provident friend had supplied, and where, with some grog we had brought 
" from the ship, we all made an excellent meal." It stands in a field fronting 
on the Middlefield road, just west of J. C. Flood's park like domain, about 
eighteen hundred feet north of the road. A vineyard has been planted in front 
of it, and some of the smaller trees cleared away, but the " ancient lords of the 
forest " are still there; a stately group of encinos, intermingled with bays, 
madrones and'red-berried laurels, and we trust they will long be spared by the 
woodman's axe, which has removed so many of their congeners in the 


J. Fennimore Cooper, in one of his most able works, says: "On the 
human imagination events produce the effects of time. Thus, he who has 
traveled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long ; and the 
history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect 
of antiquity. In no other way can we account for the venerable air that is 
already gathering around American annals. When the mind reverts to the 
earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure, the 
thousand changes that thicken along the links of recollections, throwing back 
the origin of the nation to a day so distant as seemingly to reach the mists of 
time; and yet four lives of ordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from 
mouth to mouth, hi the form of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved 
within the limits of the republic." The gifted author here speaks of the 
many changes which the comparatively few short years have worked upon 
the banks of the noble Hudson. He remarks: "Other similar memorials of 
the infancy of the country are to be found scattered through what is now 
deemed the very centre of American civilization, affording the plainest proofs 
that all we possess of security from invasion and hostile violence, is the growth 
of but little more than the time that is frequently filled by a single human life. 1 ' 
If such may be deemed remarkable on the shores of that stream, how much 
more closely do they apply to the giant strides effected by the indomitable will 
of man on the Pacific coast. 

America was discovered by Columbus on the twelfth day of October, 1492, 
and what a feat was this ! Not so much a marvel is it that he came upon 
the vast continent, as that, in those so-called dark ages there were found men 
of such great courage and knowledge, unscientific though that may be, to 
sail away into the darkness, as it were, and sustain themselves against peril 
on every hand to eventually give, not only to their country, but to mankind 
the rarest continent of a beatific creation. As the veriest schoolboy knows and 
utters in a sing-song drawl, America was discovered as stated above, and 
became the territory of Spain. The Pacific ocean was given to the world by 
Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who looked down from the heights of Panama upon 
its placid bosom on the twenty -fifth day of September, 1513. In 1519 Mexico 
was conquered by Hernando Cortez, and sixteen years thereafter, in 1537, 

In historical sketch of California. 

his pilot, Zimenez, discovered Lower California. In 1542 a voyage of discovery 
was made along the Californian coast by the famous Captain Juan Rodriguez 
Cabrillo, on the 5th July of which year, he landed at Cape St. Lucas, in 
Lower California, and following the coast he finally entered the delightful 
harbor of San Diego, in Upper California, on September 28th. This place 
he named San Miguel, which was afterwards changed by Viscaino to that 
which it now bears. 

The noted English voyager, Sir Francis Drake, sailed along the coast in 
1579, but historians are doubtful as to whether he discovered the San Fran- 
cisco bay. It would appear that this voyage was made from Oregon, where 
it is said his Spanish pilot, Morera, left him, and thence found his way over- 
land to Mexico, a distance of three thousand five hundred miles. The name 
of New Albion was given to the country by Drake, with the evident intention 
of securing it for the British crown. 

It was not until 1602, however, that the Spaniards took any actual 
steps to possess and colonize the continent. In that year Don Sebastian Vis- 
caino was dispatched by the Viceroy of Mexico, acting under the instructions 
of his royal master, King Philip III, on a voyage of search in three small 
vessels. He visited various points on the coast, among them San Diego ; was 
well pleased with the appearance of the country, and on December 10th 
discovered and entered a harbor, which he named in honor of Count de 
Monterey, the Viceroy who had dispatched him on the cruise. We are told 
that part of this expedition reached as high as the Columbia river, and that 
the whole subsequently returned to Acapulco. Its efforts were pronounced 
satisfactory, a glowing description of the landscape was given, but whether 
they discovered the San Francisco bay is as much a matter of conjecture and 
doubt as Drake's visit. 

For some unexplained cause not much use had been made of the informa- 
tion gained from these trips, which were of frequent occurrence, and it was not 
for one hundred and sixty -eight years that any steps towards the permanent 
settlement of Upper California were undertaken. Under the joint manage- 
ment of Church and State a plan with this end in view was commenced in 
the year 1683, but it failed, the State being there represented by Admiral 
Otondo, and the Church by a Jesuit Father named Kino, La Paz being 
their point of operation; but we believe we are correct in stating that they 
did not all visit Upper California. The settlement of the peninsula was finally 
undertaken fourteen years later, when sixteen missionary establishments were 
founded by Father Salva Tierra. The order which he represented faLling 
into disgrace in Europe, however, was banished from the dominions of Spain 
and Lower California in 1768, after laboring for seventy years. They were 
in turn succeeded by the Franciscans and Dominicans, the former of whom, 
under the guidance of Father Junipera Serra, proceeded to the conquest and 
conversion of this part of the country. This Reverend Father is recognized 


by the Catholic Church as the apostle of Upper California, and acknowledged 
in history as its founder. 

The first permanent settlement was made in San Diego in 1769, when was 
also established the first mission, whence further operations were directed and 
new missions founded. On July 14, 1769, Gaspar de Portala, who com- 
manded the expedition that called a halt at San Diego, left that place for 
Monterey, and there erected a cross. 

"Pious Portala, journeying by land, 
Reared high a cross upon the heathen strand, 

Then far away, 
Dragged his slow caravan to Monterey." 

With Father Junipera Serra, he continued his northward journey and, by 
the merest accident, came upon the world-renowned bay of San Francisco. 

Finding it a place answering every requirement he named it after San 
Francisco de Asis, and seven years later, June 27, 1776, possesion was taken 
of the spot and a presidio established, the mission being located on the site of 
the present church. There may be a doubt as to whether the bay was ever 
discovered by Drake or Viscaino, but there is none of the visit of Gaspar de 
Portala, then Governor of the Calif ornias. Henceforward the establishment 
of missions was rapid, as will be gathered from the accompanying list : 

Mission San Diego, in San Diego county, founded under Carlos III, July 16, 

1769; containing 22.24 acres. 
Mission San Luis Rey, in San Diego county, founded under Carlos IV, June 

13, 1798; containing 53.39 acres. 
Mission San Juan Capistrano, in Los Angeles county, founded under Carlos 

III, November 10, 1776; containing 44.40 acres. 
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, in Los Angeles county, founded under Carlos 

III, September8, 1771; containing 190.69 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Buenaventura, in Santa Barbara county, founded under Carlos 

III. March 31, 1782; containing 36.27 acres. 
Mission San Fernando, in Los Angeles county, founded under Carlos IV. 

September 8, 1797; containing 76.94 acres. 
Mission Santa Barbara, in Santa Barbara county, founded under Carlos III. 

December 4, 1786; containing 37.83 acres. 
Mission Santa Inez, in Santa Barbara county, founded under Carlos IV. 

September 17, 1804; containing 17.35 acres. 
Mission La Purisima Concepcion, in Santa Barbara county, founded under 

Carlos III, December 8, 1787. 
Mission San Luis Obispo, in San Luis Obispo county, founded under Carlos 

III, September 1, 1772, containing 52.72 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Miguel Arcangel, in San Luis Obispo county, founded under 

Carlos IV, July 25, 1797; containing 33. 97 acres. Patented. 


Mission San Antonio de Padua, in San Luis Obispo county, founded under 

Carlos III, July 14, 1771; containing 33.19 acres. Patented. 
Mission La Soledad, in Monterey county, founded under Carlos TV, October 

9,1791; containing 34.47 acres. Patented. 
Mission El Carme, or San Carlos de Monterey, in Monterey county, founded 

under Carlos III, June 3, 1770; containing 9 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Juan Bautista, in Monterey county, founded under Carlos IV, 

June 24, 1797; containing 55.33 acres. Patented. 
Mission Santa Cruz, in Santa Cruz county, founded under Carlos IV, August 

28, 1791; containing 16.94 acres. Patented. 
Mission Santa Clara, in Santa Clara county, founded under Carlos III, 

January 18, 1777; containing 13.13 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Jose, in Alameda county, founded under Carlos IV, June 11, 

1797; containing 28.33 acres. Patented. 
Mission Dolores, or San Francisco de Asis, in San Francisco county, founded 

under Carlos III, October 9, 1776; two lots, one containing 4.3 acres, 

and the other 4.51 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Rafael Areangel, in Marin county, founded under Fernando VII, 

December 18, 1817; containing 6.48 acres. Patented. 
Mission San Francisco Solano, in Sonoma county, founded under Fernando 

VII, August 25, 1823; containing 14.20 acres. 
If Sir Francis Drake did not actually enter the broad sheet of water now 
known as the Bay of San Francisco, in 1579, he must have tarried in its 
vicinity, for the historian of that famous voyage wrote: "They here discov- 
ered a bay, which, entering with a favorable gale, they found several huts by 
the water side, well defended from the severity of the weather. Going on 
shore they found a fire in the middle of each house, and the people lying round 
it upon rushes. The men go quite naked, but the women have a deer skin 
over their shoulders, and around their waists a covering of bulrushes, after 
the manner of hemp. These people, bringing the Admiral a present of feathers, 
and cauls of net-work, he entertained them so kindly and generously, that 
they were extremely pleased, and soon afterwards they sent him a present of 
feathers and bags of tobacco. A number of them coming to deliver it, gath- 
ered themselves together on the top of a small hill, from the highest point of 
which one of them harangued the Admiral, whose tent was placed at the 
bottom. When the speech was ended they laid down their arms and came 
down, offering their presents; at the same time returning what the Admiral 
had given them. The women remaining on the hill, tearing their hair and 
making dreadful howlings. The Admiral supposed them engaged in making 
sacrifices, and thereupon ordered divine service to be performed in his tent, at 
which these people attended with astonishment. 

" The arrival of the English in California being soon known through the 
country, two persons in the character of ambassadors, came to the Admiral 


and informed him in the best manner they were able, that the King would 
assist him if he might be assured of coming in safety. Being satisfied on this 
point, a numerous company soon appeared, in front of which was a very comely 
person bearing a kind of sceptre, on which hung two crowns and three chains 
of great length ; the chains were of bones and the crowns of net- work curi- 
ously wrought with feathers of many colors. 

"Next to the sceptre-bearer, came the King, a handsome, majestic person, 
surrounded by a number of tall men, dressed in skins, who were followed by 
the common people, who, to make the grander appearance, had painted their 
faces of various colors, and all of them, even the children, being, loaded with 
presents. The men being drawn up in line of battle, the Admiral stood ready 
to receive the King within the entrance of his tent. The company having 
halted at a distance, the sceptre-bearer made a speech, half an hour long, at 
the end of which he began singing and dancing, in which he was followed by 
the King and all his people — who, continuing to sing and dance, came quite 
up to the tent : when, sitting down, the King taking off his crown of feathers, 
placed it on the Admiral's head, and put upon him the other ensigns of 
rovalt v : and it is said he made him a solemn tender of his whole kino-dom. 
All of which the Admiral accepted in the name of the Queen, his sovereign, in 
hope these proceedings might, one time or other, contribute to the advantage 
of England. 

"The common people, dispersing themselves among the Admiral's tents, 
professed the utmost admiration and esteem for the English, whom they con- 
sidered as more than mortal — and accordingly prepared to offer sacrifices to 
them ; but they were told, by signs, that then* religious worship was alone due to 
the Supreme Maker and Preserver of all things. The Admiral and some of 
his people, traveling to a distance in the country, saw such a quantity of 
rabbits that it appeared an entire warren ; they also saw deer in such plenty 
as to inn a thousand in a herd. The earth of the country seemed to promise 
rich veins of gold and silver, some of the ore being constantly found on digging. 
The Admiral, at his departure, set up a pillar with a large plate on it, on 
which was engraved her Majesty's, (Queen Elizabeth) name, picture, arms, 
and title to the country, together with the Admiral's name, and the time of his 
arrival there." 

Such is the extraordinary pen-picture of the aboriginal Californians when 
visited by Drake and his historian. That the clap-trap description of the King 
proffering his regalia to the Admiral was written with an evident purpose, is 
fully carried out in the subsequent showering of honors upon Di-ake by Eliza- 
beth, who, on knighting him, said "that his actions did him more honor than 
his title." 

The following extract from a letter written by Father Junipero to his friend 
Father Palou, shows from another stand point what the general situation of 
affairs was at that date, Julv 3, 1709: — 


" The tract through which we passed is generally very good land, with plenty 
of water, and there, as well as here, the country is neither rocky nor overrun 
with brushwood. There are, however, many hills, but they are composed of 
earth. The road has been in some places good, but the greater part bad. 
About half-way, the valleys and banks of rivulets began to be delightful. We 
found vines of a large size, and in some cases quite loaded with grapes ; we also 
found an abundance of roses, which appeared to be like those of Castile. In 
line, it is a good country, and very different from old California. 

"We have seen Indians in immense numbers, and all those on this coast of 
the Pacific contrive to make a good subsistence on various seeds, and by fish- 
ing. The latter they carry on by means of rafts or canoes, made of tule, 
(bulrushes), with which they go a great way to sea. They are very civil. All 
the males, old and young, go naked; the women, however, and the female 
children, are decently covered from their breasts downwards. We found on 
our journey, as well as the place where we stopped, that they treated us with 
as much confidence and good will as if they had known us all then lives. But 
when we offered them any of our victuals, they always refused them. All 
they cared for was cloth, and only for something of this sort would they 
exchange their fish or whatever else they had. During the whole march we 
found hares, rabbits, some deer, and a multitude of berendos, a kind of wild 

In the establishment of missions the three agencies brought to bear were the 
military, the civil and the religious, being each represented by the Presidio, or 
garrison; the Puebl-o, the town or civic community, and the Mission, the 
church, which played the most prominent part. Says one writer : "The Span- 
iards had then, what we are lacking to-day — a complete municipal system. 
Theirs was derived from the Romans. Under the civil Roman law, and the 
Gothic, Spanish and Mexican laws, municipal communities were never incor- 
porated into artificial persons, with a common seal and perpetual succession, 
as with us under English and American laws; consequent^, under the former, 
communities in towns held their lands in common ; when thirty families had 
located on a spot, the pueblo or town was a fact. They were not incorporated, 
because the law did not make it a necessity, a general law or custom having 
established the system. The right to organize a local government, by the 
election of an alcalde or mayor, and a town council, which was known as 
an Ayuntamiento, was patent. The instant the poblacion was formed, it 
became thereby entitled to four leagues of land, and the pobladors, citizens, 
held it in pro indivisa. The title was a natural right. 

"The missions were designed for the civilization and conversion of the 
Indians. The latter were instructed in the mysteries of religion (so far as they 
could comprehend them) and the arts of peace. Instruction of the savage in 
agriculture and manufactures, as well as in prayers and elementary education, 
•was the padre's business. The soldiers protected them from the hostility of 


the intractable natives, hunted down the latter, and brought them within the 
confines of the mission, to labor and salvation." 

Father Gleeson* tells us in his able History of the Catholic Church in Cali- 
fornia, that the missions were usually quadrilateral buildings, two stories high, 
enclosing a court yard ornamented with fountains and trees. The whole con- 
sisting of the church, father's apartments, store-houses, barracks, etc. The 
quadrilateral sides were each about six hundred feet in length, one of which 
was partly ocsupied by the church. Within the quadrangle and correspond- 
ing with the seconi I story, was a gallery running round the entire structure, 
and opening upon the workshops, store rooms and other apartments. 

The entire management of each establishment was under the care of two 
Religious: the elder attended to the interior and the votinger to the exterior 
administration. One portion of the building, which was called the monastery, 
was inhabited by the young Indian girls. There, under the care of approved 
matrons, they were carefully trained and instructed in those branches necessary 
for their condition in life. They were not permitted to leave till of an age to 
be married, and this with the view of preserving their morality. In the schools, 
those who exhibited more talent than their companions, were taught vocal and 
instrumental music, the latter consisting of the flute, horn and violin. In the 
mechanical departments, too, the most apt were promoted to the position of 
foremen. The better to preserve the morals of all, none of the whites, except 
those absolutely necessary, were employed at the mission. 

The daily routine at each establishment was almost the same as that fol- 
lowed by the Jesuits in Lower California. At sunrise they arose and pro- 
ceeded, to church, where, after morning prayer, they assisted at the holy sacri- 
fice of the mass. Breakfast next followed, when they proceeded to their re- 
spective employments. Toward noon they returned to the mission, and spent 
the time from then till two o'clock between dinner and repose; after which 
they again repaired to their work, and remained engaged till the evening an- 
gelus. about an hour before sundown. All then betook themselves to the 
church for evening devotions, which consisted of the ordinary family prayers 
and the rosary, except on special occasions, when other devotional exercises 
were added. After supper, which immediately followed, they amused them- 
selves in divers sports, games and dancing, till the hour for repose. Their 
diet, of which the poor of any country might be justly envious, consisted of 
an abundance of excellent beef and mutton, with vegetables in the season. 
Wheaten cakes and puddings, or porridges, called "atole and pinole," also 
formed a portion of the repast. The dress was, for the males, linen shirts, 
pants, and a blanket to be used as an overcoat. The women received each, 
annually, two undergarments, a gown, and a blanket. In years of plenty, 

* History of the Catholic Church in California, by W. Gleeson, M. A., Professor St. Mary's 
College, San Francisco, Cal., in two volumes, illustrated. Printed for the author by A. L. Ban- 
croft and Company, San Francisco, 1872. 


after the missions became rich, the fathers distributed all the surplus moneys 
among them in clothing and trinkets. Such was the general character of the 
early missions established in Upper California. 

Let us now briefly consider what was the character and condition of the 
California Indian on the arrival of the Spanish Fathers. We have already 
given the experience of Sir Francis Drake and Father Junipero. We shall now 
endeavor to outline more closely the principal features of their manners and 

For veracity's sake we must aver that the California Indian was anything 
but an easy subject for civilization. Knowledge he had none; his religion or 
morals were of the crudest form, while all in all he was the most degraded of 
mortals. He lived without labor, and existed for naught save his ease and 
pleasure. In physique he was unprepossessing; being possessed of much 
endurance and strength ; his features were unattractive, his hair in texture 
like the mane of the horse, and his complexion as dark as the Ethiop's skin. 
His chief delight was the satisfying of his appetite and lust, while he lacked 
courage enough to be warlike, and was devoid of that spirit of independence 
usually the principal characteristic of his race. The best portion of his life 
was passed in sleeping and dancing, while in the temperate California climate' 
the fertile valleys and hillsides grew an abundance of edible seeds ami wild 
fruits, which were garnered, and by them held in great store. Such 
means of existence being so easily obtained is perhaps a reason for the 
wonderful disinclination of Indians to perforin any kind of labor. Indeed, 
what need was there that they should toil, when beneficent Nature had, with 
a generosity that knew no stint, placed within their grasp an unlimited supply 
of health-giving food. 

The aboriginal Californian's life was a roving one, for they had no fixed hab- 
itation, but roamed about from place to place, fishing, hunting, and gathering 
supplies. In every stream were fish, and on every mountain-side and valley, 
game; acorns and pine nuts, roots ^and wild oats were included in the category 
of their edibles, while it is said that their tastes precluded them not from eat- 
ing vermin. Their remains consist of earth and shell mounds, which were 
used as places of sepulture, their dead being interred in a sitting posture, while 
ultra-civilized cremation was a common practice among them. Their dialects 
were as various as are those of China to-day, and the natives of San Diego 
could not understand those of Los Angeles or Monterey. 

These Indians had as dwellings the meanest of huts, built of willows and 
thatched with tules or rushes. They were fashioned by taking a few poles and 
placing them in a circle ; which were woven together to a conical point, giving 
them, when completed, the appearance of inverted baskets. They were small 
and easily warmed in winter, and when swarming with vermin could readily 
be reduced to ashes and others built in their places. Their cabins or "wickeup" 
were usually constructed on the banks of streams, or in the dells of mountains 


but always near some running water-course. Here, without a vestige of cov- 
ering, they slept like "'sardines in a tin," those on the outer edge quarrelling, 
as in more civilized circles, for an inside place. On rising from then litters, be 
it summer or winter, the first performance would be a plunge into the river, 
after which they would dance and play around a large fire, when witl a healthy 
appetite they would relish a hearty meal. This was their custom in the cold 
mountain regions as well as in the more temperate valleys. The skins of wild 
beasts made them a covering comfortable enough, but the males generally wore 
absolutely nothing upon their persons save an arrow passed through the hair as a 
skiver, something like the mode of hair ornament in vogue with fashionable belles 
some years ago. One of these warriors thus clad, on one occasion paid General Val- 
lejo a visit at Sonoma. As the day was cold the General asked his guest if he 
was not cold. "No," was the answer, "Is your face cold ?" " Not at all," 
replied the veteran commandante, "1 never wear anything on my face." 
"Then," rejoined the Indian, triumphantly pointing to his body, "lam all 
face !" The toilet of the women was more pretentious, consisting only of a 
scanty apron of fancy skins or feathers, extending to the knees. Those of 
them who were unmarried wore also a bracelet around the ancle or arm, near 
the shoulder. This ornament was generally made of bone or fancy wood. 
Polygamy was a recognized institution. Chiefs generally possessed eleven 
wives, sub-chiefs nine, and ordinary warriors, two or more, according to their 
wealth or property. But Indian-like, they would fight among themselves, and 
bloody fights they often were. Their weapons were bows and arrows, clubs 
and spears, with which they were very adroit. They wore a kind of helmet 
made of skins. They were remarkable athletes, and as swimmers and run- 
ners were unexcelled. In times of peace they kept up their martial 
spirit, little though it was, by sham fights and tournaments, their women par- 
ticipating in their battles, not as actual belligerents, but as a sanitary brigade ; 
they followed their warriors and supplied them with provisions and attended 
them when wounded, carrying their pappooses on their backs at the same 

In a descriptive sketch of Napa and the adjacent counties* C. A. Menefee, 
the author, says of the Indian of Upper California : 

" Of navigation they were almost wholly ignorant. Their only method of 
crossing streams was by means of rafts constructed of bundles of tide bound 
together, somewhat similar, but far inferior to the balsas used by the Peruvian 
Indians upon Lake Titicaca, far up among the Andes. 

" Their knowledge of the proper treatment of disease was on a level with 
their attainments in all the arts of life. Roots and herbs were sometimes used 
as remedies, but the ' sweat-house ' was the principal reliance in desperate 

* Historical and descriptive sketch-book of Napa, Sonoma, Lske and Mendocino, comprising 
Bketclies of their topjgraphy, productions, history, scenery, and peculiar attractions, by C. A. 
Menefee, Napa City, Reporter Publishing House, 1873. 


cases. This great sanitary institution, found in every rancheria, was a large 
circular excavation, covered with a roof of boughs, plastered with mud, hav- 
ing a hole on one side for an entrance, and another in the roof to serve as a 
chimney. A fire having been lighted in the centre, the sick were placed there 
to undergo a sweat -bath for many hours, to be succeeded by a plunge in cold 
water. This treatment was their cure-all, and whether it killed or relieved the 
patient depended upon the nature of his disease and the vigor of his constitu- 
tion. A gentleman who was tempted, some years ago, to enter one of the san- 
itary institutions, gives the following story of his experience: — 

" 'A sweat-house is of the shape of an inverted bowl. It is generally about 
forty feet in diameter at the bottom, and is built of strong poles and branches 
of trees, covered with earth to prevent the escape of heat. There is a small 
hole near the ground, large enough for the Diggers to creep in one at a time; 
and another at the top of the house, to give vent to the smoke. When a dance 
is to occur, a large fire is kindled in the centre of the edifice, the crowd assem- 
bles, the white spectators crawl in and seat themselves anywhere out of the 
way. The apertures, both above and below, are then closed, and the dancers 
take their position. 

" 'Four-and-twenty squaws, en dishabille, one side of the fire, and as many 
hombres in puris naturalibus on the other. Simultaneous with the com- 
mencement of the dancing, which is a kind of shuffling hobble-de-hoy, the 
music bursts forth. Yes, music fit to raise the dead. A whole legion of 
devils broke loose ! Such screaming, shrieking, yelling and roaring was never 
before heard since the foundation of the world. A thousand cross-cut saws, 
filed by steam power — a multitude of tom-cats lashed together and flung over 
a clothes-line — innumerable pigs under the gate, all combined, would produce 
a heavenly melody compared with it. Yet this uproar, deafening as it is, 
might possibly be endured ; but another sense soon comes to be saluted. Talk 
of the thousand stinks of the city of Cologne! Here are at least forty thousand 
combined in one grand overwhelming stench, and yet every particular odor 
distinctly definable. Round about the roaring fire the Indians go capering, 
jumping and screaming, with the perspiration starting from every pore. The 
spectators look on until the air grows thick and heavy, and a sense of oppress- 
ing suffocation overcomes them, when they make a simultaneous rush at the 
door, for self-protection. Judge of their astonishment, terror and dismay to 
find it fastened securely ; bolted and barred on the outside. They rush frantic- 
ally around the walls in hope to discover some weak point through which they 
may find egress; but the house seems to have been constructed purposely to 
frustrate such attempts. More furious than caged lions, they rush bodily 
against the sides, but the stout poles resist every onset. Our army swore 
terribly in Flanders, but even my uncle Toby himself would stand aghast were 
he here now. 

" ' There is no alternative but to sit down in hopes that the troop of naked 


fiends will soon cease from sheer exhaustion. Vain expectation ! The uproar I lut 
increases in fury, the fire waxes hotter and hotter, and they seem to be prepar- 
ing for fresh exhibitions of their powers. The combat deepens, on, ye bra\ e! 3 
that wild Indian, a newly-elected captain, as with glaring eyes, blazing face, 
and complexion like that of a boiled lobster, he tosses his arms wildly aloft, as 
in pursuit of imaginary devils, while rivers of perspiration roll down his naked 
frame. Was ever the human body thrown into such contortions before? 
Another effort of that kind and the whole vertebral column must certainly come 
down with a crash. Another such convulsion, and his limbs will assuredly be 
torn asunder, and the disjointed members fly to the four parts of the compass. 
Can the human frame endure this much longer? The heat is equal to that of 
a bake-oven. Temperature five hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Pressure of 
steam one thousand pounds to the square inch. The reeking atmosphere has 
become almost palpable, and the victimized audience are absolutely gasping for 
life. Millions for a cubic inch of fresh air, worlds for a drop of water to cool 
the parched tongue ! This is terrible! To meet one's fate among the white- 
caps of the Lake, in a swamped canoe, or to sink down on the bald mountain's 
brow, worn out by famine, fatigue and exposure, were glorious; but to die 
here, suffocating in a solution of human perspiration, carbonic acid gas and 
charcoal smoke, is horrible. The idea is absolutely appalling. But there is no 
avail. Assistance might as well be sought from a legion of unchain.."! imps 
from a troop of Indians maddened by excitement. 

" 'Death shows his visage, not more than five minutes distant. The fire glim- 
mers away, leagues off. The uproar dies into the subdued rumble of a 
remote cataract, and respiration becomes lower and more labored. The whole 
system is sinking into utter insensibility, and all hope of relief has departed, 
when suddenly a grand triumphal crash, similar to that witb which the ghosts 
closed their orgies, when they doused the lights and started in pursuit of Tam 
O'Shanter and his old gray mare, the uproar ceases and the Indians vanish 
through an aperture, opened for the purpose. The half-dead victims to theii 
own curiosity dash through it like an arrow, and in a moment more are draw- 
ing in whole bucketsfull of the cold, frosty air, every inhalation of which cuts 
the lungs like a knife, and thrills the system like an electric shock. They are 
in time to see the Indians plunge headlong into the ice-cold waters of a neigh- 
boring stream, and crawl out and sink down on the banks, utterly exhausted. 
This is the last act of the drama, the grand climax, and the fandango is over.' 

"The sweat-house also served as a council chamber and banquet hall. In it 
the bodies of the dead were sometimes burned, amid the howlings of the sur- 
vivors. Generally, however, the cremation of the dead took place in the open 
air. The body, before burning, was bound closely together, the legs and arms 
folded, and forced, by binding, into as small a compass as possible. It was 
then placed upon a funeral pile of wood, which was set on fire by the mother, 
wife, or some near relative of the deceased, and the mourners, with then faces 


daubed with pitch, set up a fearful howling and weeping, accompanied with 
the most frantic gesticulations. The body being consumed, the ashes were 
carefully collected. 

" A portion of these were mingled with pitch, with which they daubed their 
feces and went into mourning. During the progress of the cremation, the 
friends arid relatives of the deceased thrust sharp sticks into the burning corpse, 
and cast into the tire the ornaments, feather head-dresses, weapons, and every- 
thing known to have belonged to the departed. They had a superstitious 
dread of the consequences of keeping back any article pertaining to the 
defunct. An old Indian woman, whose husband was sick, was recently asked 
what ailed him. Her reply was, ' he had kept some feathers belonging to a 
dead Indian that should have been burned with his body, and that he would be 
sick till he died. ' 

' The id»*a of a future state was universal among the California Indians, and 
they had a vague idea of rewards and punishments. As one expressed it, 
' Good Indian go big hill ; bad Indian go bad place.' Others thought if the 
deceased had been good in his life-time, his spirit would travel west to where 
the earth and sky meet, and become a star; if bad, he would be changed into 
a grizzly, or his spirit- wanderings would continue for an indefinite period. 
They expressed the idea of the change from this life to another by saying that 
' as the moon died and came to life again, so man came to life after death ;' 
and they believed that ' the hearts of good chiefs went up to the sky, and were 
changed into stars to keep watch over their tribes on earth.' Although 
exceedingly superstitious, they were evidently not destitute of some religious 
conceptions. Certain rocks and mountains were regarded as sacred. Uncle 
Sam, in Lake county, was one of these sacred mountains, and no one, except 
the priest or wizard of his tribe, dared to ascend it. Two huge bowlders, 
between Napa City and Capel Valley, were also sacred, and no Indian would 
approach them. They also held the grizzly in superstitious awe, and nothing 
could induce them to eat its flesh. 

The Diggers too had their sorcerers, male and female, who had great influence 
over them. They pretended to foresee future events, and to exercise super- 
natural control over their bodies, and to cure diseases by curious incantations 
and ceremonies. They likewise believed in a Cucusuy, or mischief-maker, who 
took delight in their annoyance, and to him and his agent they attributed much 
of their sickness and other misfortunes. It may not be out of place here to 
relate the following: legend: — 

When the Spaniards were crossing the mountain called Bolgones, where 
an Indian spirit was supposed to dwell, having a cave for his haunt, he was 
disturbed by the approach of the soldiers, and, emerging from the gloom, 
arrayed in all his feathers and war-paint, and very little else by way of costume, 
motioned to them to depart, threatening, by gesticulation, to weave a spell 
around them ; but the sturdy warriors were not to be thus easily awed. They 


Ixckoned him to approach; this invitation, however, the wizard declined, when 
one of the men secured him with a lasso to see if he were ' goblin damn'd' or 
ordinary mortal. Even now he would not speak, but continued his mumblings, 
when an extra tug caused him to shout and pray to be released. On the 
relation of this adventure the Indians pointed to Bolgones, calling it the 
mountain of the Cucusuy, which the Spaniards translated into Monte Diablo. 
Hence the name of the mountain which is the meridian of scientific exploration 
in California. 

Four times a year each tribe united in a great dance, having some religious 
purpose and signification. One of these was held by night in Napa county in 
1841, about the time of the vernal equinox, and was terminated by a strange 
inexplicable pantomime, accompanied with wild gestures and screams, the 
object of which the Indians said was ' to scare the devil away from their 
raneherias. ' An old gentleman who witnessed the performance says he has 
no doubt that their object must have been attained, if the devil had the slightest 
ear for music. Superstition wrapped these savages like a cloud, from which 
they never emerged. The phenomena of nature on every hand, indeed, taught 
them that there was some unseen cause for all things — some power which they 
could neither comprehend nor resist. The volcano and the earthquake taught 
them this, and many accounts of these in past ages are preserved in their tradi- 
tions, but farther than this their minds could not penetrate. 

It will readily be acknowledged that to catch, subdue and educate a race 
like this was a task of no mean difficulty, while to perfect it, even remotely, 
demanded all the elements of success. It was necessary to comingle both 
force and persuasion. The former was represented by the soldiers at the pre- 
sidio, and the latter by the Fathers at the mission. To keep them together 
was a task which required the most perfect skill, in short nothing but the at- 
tractiveness of new objects and strange ways, with the pleasant accessories of 
good diet and kind conduct, could have ever kept these roving spirits, even for 
a time, from straying to their original haunts. 

Let us for a moment glance at the state of the missions in the early part of 
the present century. In the year 1767 the property possessed by the Jesuits, 
then known as the Pious Fund, was taken charge of by the government, and 
used for the benefit of the missions. At that time this possession yielded an 
annual revenue of fifty thousand dollars, twenty -four thousand of which were 
expended in the stipends of the Franciscan and Dominican missionaries, and the 
balance for the maintenance of the missions generally. Father Gleeson says: 
" The first inroad made on these pious donations was about the year 1806, 
when, to relieve the national wants of the parent country, caused by the wars 
of 1801 and 1804, between Portugal in the one instance and Great Britain in 
the other, his majesty's fiscal at Mexico scrupled not to confiscate and remit to 
the authorities in Spain as much as two hundred thousand dollars of the Pious 
Fund." By this means the missions were deprived of most substantial aid, 



and the fathers left upon their own resources; add to these difficulties the 
unsettled state of the country between the years 1811 and 1831, and still their 
work of civilization was never stayed. 

To demonstrate this we reproduce the following tabular statement, which 
will at a glance show the state of the missions of Upper California, from 1802 
to 1822:— 

THE YEARS 1802 AND 1822: 

Name of Mh-sion. 





Name of Mission. 




Existing 1 

3,6 is 




33 i 



1,052 - 
1 ,593 











7 IS 







San Luis Rev 

San Ant »nio de Padua 
Our Lady of Soledad. . 

San Juan Hautista.... 
Santa < !ruz 


San Juan Capiatrano . 






Purissima Conception. 

San Jose 


Totals.— Baptized, 74,621 ; Married, 20,112 ; Died, 47,925 ; Existing', 20,958. 

It will thus be observed that by this, out of the seventy-four thousand six 
hundred and twenty-one converts received into the missions, the large number 
of twenty thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight had succumbed to disease. 
Of what nature was this plague it is hard to establish ; the missionaries them- 
selves could assign no cause. Syphilis, measles and small-pox carried off num- 
bers, and these diseases were generated, in all probability, by a sudden change 
in their lives from a free, wandering existence, to a state of settled quietude. 

Father Gleeson, in his valuable work, says : "In 1813, when the contest 
for national independence was being waged on Mexican territory, the cortes of 
Spain resolved upon dispensing with the services of the Fathers, by placing 
the missions in the hands of the secular clergy. The professed object of this 
secularization scheme was, indeed, the welfare of the Indians and colonists; 
but how little this accorded with the real intentions of the government, is 
seen from the seventh section of the decree passed by the cortes, wherein it is 
stated that one-half of the land was to be hypothecated for the payment of the 
the national debt. The decree ordering this commences as follows: 'The 
cortes general and extraordinary, considering that the reduction of common 
land to private property is one of the measures most imperiously demanded for 
the welfare of the pueblos, and the improvement of agriculture and industry, 
and wishing at the same time to derive from this class of land aid to, relieve 
the public necessities, a reward to the worthy defenders of the country and 
relief to the citizens not proprietors, decree, etc.,* without prejudice to the fore- 
going provisions one-half of the vacant land and lands belonging to the royal 

•iliatory of California — Dwinelle. 


patrimony of the monarchy, except the suburbs of the pueblos, is hereby 
reserved, to be in whole or in part, as may be deemed necessary, hypothecated 
for the iHi u mi nt of the. national debt,' etc. 

' This decree of the Government was not earned out at the time, yet it had 
its effect on the state and well-being of the missions in general. It could 
nut be expected that with such a resolution under then eyes, the fathers would 
1m- a- zealous in developing the natural resources of the country as before, see- 
ing that the result of their labors was at any moment liable to be seized on by 
government, and handed over to strangers. The insecurity thus created 
naturally acted upou the converts in turn, for when it became apparent that the 
authority of the missionaries was more nominal than real, a spirit of opposition 
and independence on the part of some of the people was the natural result. Even 
before this determination had been come to on the part of the government, there 
were not wanting evidences of an evil disposition on the part of the peo- 
ple: for as early as 1803 one of the missions had become the scene of a revolt; 
and earlier still, as we learn from an unpublished correspondence of the fathers, 
it was not unusual for some of the converts to abandon the missions and return 
to their former wandering life. It was customary on those occasions to pursue 
the deserters, and compel them to return. * * * * 

"Meantime, the internal state of the missions was becoming more and more 
complex and disordered. The desertion-, were more frequent and numerous, 
the hostility of the unconverted more daring, and the general disposition of the 
people inclined to revolt. American traders and freebooters had entered the 
country, spread themselves all over the province, and sowed the seeds of dis- 
cord and revolt among the inhabitants. Many of the more reckless and evil 
minded readily listened to their suggestions, adopted their counsels, and broke 
out into open hostilities. Their hostile attack was first directed against the 
mission of Santa Cruz, which they captured and plundered, when they 
direct :d their course to Monterey, and, in common with their American friends, 
attacked and plundered that place. From these and other like occurrences, it 
was clear that the conditions of the missions was one of the greatest peril. 
The spirit of discord had spread among the people, hostility to the authority 
of the Fathers had become common, while desertion from the villages was of 
frequent and almost constant occurrence. To remedy this unpleasant state 
of affairs, the military then in the country was entirely inadequate, and so 
matters continued, with little or no difference, till 1824, when by the action 
of the Mexican government, the missions began rapidly to decline. 

"Two years after Mexico had been formed into a republic, the government 
authorities began to interfere with the rights of the Fathers and the existing 
state of affairs. In 1826 instructions were forwarded by the federal govern- 
ment to the authorities of California for the liberation of the Indians. This 
was followed a few years later by another act of the Legislature, ordering the 
whole of the miRilons to !»«• secularized and the Keligious to withdraw. The 


ostensible object assigned by the authors of this measure, was the execution of 
the original plan formed by government. The missions, it was alleged, were 
never intended to be permanent establishments; they were to give way in the 
course of some years to the regular ecclesiastical system, when the people 
would be formed into parishes, attended by a secular clergy. ***** 

"Beneath these specious pretexts," says Dwindle in his Colonial History, 
" was, undoubtedly, a perfect understanding between the government at Mexico 
and the leading men in California, and in such a condition of things the 
.supreme government might absorb the pious fund, under the pretence that it 
was no longer necessary for missionary purposes, and thus had reverted to the 
State as a quasi escheat, while the co-actors in California should appropriate 
the local wealth of the missions, by the rapid and sure process of administering 
their temporalities." And again: "These laws (the secularization laws), 
whose ostensible purpose was to convert the missionary establishments into 
Indian pueblos, their churches into parish churches, and to elevate the chris- 
tianized Indians to the rank of citizens, were, after all, executed in such a 
manner that the so-called secularization of the missions resulted only in their 
plunder and complete ruin, and in the demoralization and dispersion of the 
christianized Indians." 

Immediately on the receipt of the decree, the then acting Governor of Cali- 
fornia, Don Jose Figueroa, commenced the carrying out of its provisions, to 
which end he prepared certain provisional rules, and in accordance therewith 
the alteration in the missionary system was begun, to be immediately followed 
by the absolute ruin of both missions and country. Within a very few years 
the exertions of the Fathers were entirely destroyed ; the lands which had 
hitherto teemed with abundance, were handed over to the Indians, to be by 
them neglected and permitted to return to their primitive wildness, and the 
thousands of cattle were divided among the people and the administrators for 
the personal benefit of either. 

Let us now briefly follow Father Gleeson in his contrast of the state of the 
people before and after secularization. He says: "It has been stated already 
that in 1822 the entire number of Indians then inhabiting the different missions, 
amounted to twenty thousand and upwards. To these others were being 
constantly added, even during these years of political strife which immediately 
preceded the independence of Mexico, until, in 1836, the numbers amounted to 
thirty thousand and more. Provided with all the necessaries and comforts of 
life, instructed in everything requisite for their state in society, and devoutly 
trained in the duties and requirements of religion, these thirty thousand Cali- 
fornian converts led a peaceful, happy, contented life, strangers to those cares, 
troubles and anxieties common to higher and more civilized conditions of life. 
At the same time that their religious condition was one of thankfulness and 
grateful satisfaction to the Fathers, their worldly position was one of unri- 
valed abundance and prosperity. Divided between the different missions from 


San Lucas to San Francisco, close upon one million of live stock belonged to 
the people. Of these four hundred thousand were horned cattle, sixty thou- 
sand horses and more than three hundred thousand sheep, goats and swine. 
The united annual return of the cereals, c< insisting of wheat, maize, beans and 
the like, was upwards of one hundred and twenty thousand bushels; while at 
the same time throughout the different missions, the preparation and manufac- 
ture of soap, leather, wine, brandy, hides, wool, oil, cotton, hemp, linen, tobacco, 
salt and soda, was largely and extensively cultivated. And to such perfection 
were these articles brought, that some of them were eagerly sought for and 
purchased in the principal cities of Europe. 

"The material prosperity of the country was furthei increased by an annual 
revenue of about one million of dollars, the net proceeds of the hides and tallow 
of one hundred thousand oxen slaughtered annually at the different missions. 
Another hundred thousand were slaughtered by the settlers for their own 
private advantage. The revenues on the articles of which there are no specific 
returns, is also supposed to have averaged another million dollars, which, when 
added to the foregoing, makes the annual revenue of the California Catholic 
missions, at the time of their supremacy, between two and three million dollars. 
Independent of these, there were the rich and extensive gardens and orchards 
attached to the missions, exquisitely ornamented and enriched, in many 
instances, with, a great variety of European and tropical fruit trees, plums, 
bananas, oranges, olives and figs; added to which were the numerous and 
fertile vineyards, rivaling in the quantity and quality of the grape those of the 
old countries of Europe, and all used for the comfort and maintenance of the 
natives. In a word, the happy results, both spiritual and temporal, produced 
in Upper California by the spiritual children of St. Francis, during the sixty 
years of then missionary career, were such as have rarely been equaled and 
never surpassed in modern times. In a country naturally salubrious, and it 
must be admitted fertile beyond many parts of the world, yet presenting at 
the outset numerous obstacles to the labors of the missionary, the Fathers 
succeeded in establishing at regular distances along the coast as many as one- 
and-twenty missionary establishments. Into these holy retreats their zeal 
and ability enabled them to gather the whole of the indigenous race, with the 
exception of a few wandering tribes who, it is only reasonable to suppose 
would also have followed the example of their brethren, had not the labors of 
the Fathers been dispensed with by the civil authorities. There, in those 
peaceful, happy abodes, abounding in more than the ordinary enjoyment of 
things, spiritual and temporal, thirty thousand faithful, simple-hearted Indians 
passed their days in the practice of virtue and the improvement of the country. 
From a wandering, savage, uncultivated race, unconscious as well of the God 
who created them as the end for which they were made, they became, after the 
advent of the Fathers, a civilized, dom istic, Christian people, whose morals 
were as pure as their lives were simple. Daily attendance at the holy sacrifice 


of the mass, morning ami night prayer, confession and communion at state 1 
times — the true worship, in a word, of the Deity, succeeded the listless, aimless 
life, the rude pagan games and the illicit amours. The plains and valleys, 
which for centuries lay uncultivated and unproductive, now teemed under an 
abundance of every species of corn; the hills and plains were covered with 
stock: the fig tree, the olive and the vine yielded their rich abundance, while 
lying in the harbors, waiting to carry to foreign markets the rich products of 
the country, might be seen numerous vessels from different parts of the world. 
Such was the happy and prosperous condition of tli ■ country under the mission- 
ary rule; and with this the rea ler is requested to contrast the condition of the 
people after the removal of the Religious, and the transfer of power to the 
s< ■cular authorities. 

"In 1833, the decree for the liberation of the Indians was passed by the 
Mexican Congress, and put in force in the following year. The dispersion and 
demoralization of the people was the immediate result. Within eight years 
after the execution of the decree, the number of Christians diminished from 
thirty thousand six hundre 1 and fifty to four thousand four hundred and fifty! 
Some of the missions, which in 1834 had as many as one thousand five hundred 
souls, numbered only a few hundred in 1842. The two missions of San Rafael 
and San Francisco Solano decrease 1 respectively within this period from one 
thousand two hundred and fifty and one thousand three hundred, to twenty 
and seventy! A like diminution was observed in the cattle and general 
products of the country. Of the eight hundred and eight thousand head of 
live stock belonging to the missions at tin- date above mentioned, only sixty- 
three thousand and twenty remained in 1842. The diminution in the cereals 
was equally striking ; it fell from seventy to four thousand hectolitres. * * * 
By descending to particular instances, this (the advantage of the Religious 
over the civil administration) will become even more manifest still. At one 
period during the supremacy of the Fathers, the principal mission of the country 
(San Diego), produced as much as six thousand fanegas of wheat, and an equal 
quantity of maize, but in 1842 the return for this mission was only eighteen 
hundred fanegas in all." 



But why prolong these instances which are adduced by the learned and 
Reverend Father? Better will it be to let the reader judge for himself. 
Figures are incontrovertible facts; let them speak: 




San Diego 

San Louis Rey 

San Juan Capistrano 

San Gabriel 

San Fernando 

San Buenaventura 

Santa Barbara ... 

Santa Inez 

La Purissima Conception.. . 

San Luis Obispo 

San Miguel 

San Antonio 

Nostra Senora de la So'ei'ad 

Mission del Carmel 

San Juan Bautista 

Santa Cruz 

Santa Clara 

San Jose 

Dolores de San Francisco. . . 

San Rafael 

San Francisco Solano 

Time of 

June 16, 1769. 
June 13, 1798. 
Nov. 1, 1776. . 
Sept. 8, 1771 . . 
Sept. 8, 1797 . . 
March 31, 1782 
Dec. 4, 1786. . . 
Sept. 17,1804. 
Dec. 8, 17S7. . . 
Sept, 1, 1771.. 
Julv 25, 1797.. 
July 14, 1771.. 
Oct. 9, 1791. . . 
June 3, 1770. . 
June 24, 1799. 
Aug. 28, 1791 . 
Jan. 18, 1777. . 
June 18, 1797. 
Oct. 9, 1776. . . 
Dec. 18, 1817. . 
Aug. 25, 1823 . 










Number Number 

of of Horned 

Indians. Cattle. 


•_>,;,( .0 







1842. 1834. 



























































396,400 29,020 



1834. 1842 

I,. N II I 

20,000 ' 
;,. 100 
2,000 ! 










No. of Shee*, 


and Swine 

1834. 1842. 

100,000 ! 




6,000 ! 


500 12,000 

300 ! 14. 

14, i 

7.0 10 

7. 000 1 


1 5,000 ! 




















3,820 321,500 31,60(1 123,000 

S a 

< a 



in, noil 


Being twenty-one missions in all distributed over a distance of two hundred 
and eighty-nine leagues. 

We have thus far dwelt principally upon the establishment of the missions, 
and the manner of life pursued by the native Indians; let us now retrace our 
steps, and briefly take into consideration the attempt made by yet another nation 
to get a foothold on the coast of California, but which would appear not to ha> • 
heretofore received the attention which the subject would demand. 

The Russians, to whom then belonged all that territory now known as 
Alaska, had found their country of almost perpetual cold, without facilities for 
the cultivation of those fruits and cereals which are necessary to the mainte- 
nance of life; of game there was an inexhaustible supply; still, a variety was 
wanted. Thus, ships were dispatched along the coast in quest of a spot where 
a station might be established and those wants supplied, at the same time bear- 
ing in mind the necessity of choosing a location easy of access to the heai 1 - 
quarters of their fur-hunters in Russian America. In a voyage of this nature 
the port of Bodega in Sonoma county, which nad been discovered in the year 
1775 by its sponsor, Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadi*a, was 
visited in January, 1811, by Alexander Koskoflf, who took possession of the 
place on the fragile pleas that he had been refused a supply of water at Yerba 


Buena. and that he had obtained, by right of purchase from the Indians, all 
the land lying between Point Reyes and Point Arena, and for a distance of 
three leagues inland. Heie he remained for awhile, and to Bodega gave the 
name of RomanzofT, calling the stream now known as Russian river, 

The King of Spain, it should be remembered, claimed all territory north to 
the Fuca straits. Therefore, on Governor Arguello receiving the intelligence 
of the Russian occupation of Bodega, he reported the circumstance to the 
Viceroy. Revilla Gigedo, who returned dispatches ordering the Muscovite intru- 
der to depart. The only answer received to this communication was a verbal 
message, saying that the orders of the viceroy of Spain had been received and 
transmitted to St. Petersburg for the action of the Czar. Here, however, the 
matter did not rest. There arrived in the harbor of San Francisco, in 1816, 
in the Russian brig " Rmick," a scientific expedition, under the command of 
Otto von Kotzebue. In accordance with instructions received from the 
Spanish authorities, Governor Sola proceeded to San Francisco, visited Kotze- 
bue. and, as directed by his government, offered his aid in furtherance of the 
endeavors to advance scientific research on the coast. At the same time he 
complained of Koskoff ; informed him of the action taken on either side, and 
laid particular emphasis on the fact that the Russians had been occupiers of 
Spanish territory for five years. Upon this complaint Don Gervasio Arguello 
was dispatched to Bodega as the bearer of a message from Kotzebue to Kos- 
koff. requiring his presence in San Francisco. This messenger was the first to 
bring a definite report of the Russian settlement there, which then consisted of 
twenty -five Russians and eighty Kodiac Indians. On the twenty-eighth day 
of October, a conference was held on board the : ' Rurick " in the harbor of San 
Francisco, between Arguello, Kotzebue and Koskoff; there being also present 
Jose Maria Estudillo, Luis Antonio Arguello and a naturalist named Cham- 
isso, who acted as interpreter. No new developement was made at this inter- 
view, for Koskoff claimed he was acting in strict conformity with instructions 
from the Governor of Sitka, therefore Kotzebue declined to to take any action 
in the matter, contenting himself with the simple promise that the entire affair 
should be submitted to St. Petersburg to await the instructions of the Emperor 
of Russia. Thus the matter then rested. Communications subsequently 
made produced a like unsatisfactory result, and the Russians were permitted 
to remain for a lengthened period possessors of the land they had so arbitrarily 

In Bodega, the Russians, however, went to work with a will, whether they 
had a right to the soil or not. They proceeded into the country about six 
miles and there established a settlement, houses being built, fields fenced, and 
agricultural pursuits vigorously engaged in. As soon as the first crop had 
matured and was ready for shipment, it became necessary for them to have a 
warehouse at the bay, where their vessels could be loaded, which was done, it 


being used for the storage of grain or furs as necessity called for. It was not 
long before they found there was a sti'ong opposition to them and that it would 
be necessary to build a fort for their protection if they would keep possession 
of thef aewly acquired domain. Open warfare was threatened, and the Rus- 
sians had reason to believe that the threats would be carried out. Besides 
the Spaniards, there was another enemy to ward against — the Indians — over 
whom the former, through the missions, had absolute control, and the Rus- 
sians apprehended that this power would be used against them. Several 
expeditions were organized by the Spanish to march against the Russians, 
and while thev all came to naught, vet thev served to cause them to seek for 
some place of refuge in case of attack. This they did not care to look for at 
any point nearer the Bay of San Francisco, for thus they would be brought in 
closer proximity to the enemy, hence they went in an opposite direction. 
Doubtless the Muscovite would have been glad to have adopted a laissezfaire 
policy towards the Spanish, and would have been well satisfied to have let 
them alone if they w< uM only have n taliated in like manner; fearing, however, 
to trust the Spaniards, they proceeded to search for such a location as would 
afford them natural protection from their enemies. 

In passing up the coast to the northward, they came to Fort Ross, where 
they found everything thev desired. Vast meadows stretched to the east- 
ward, affording pasture to flocks without number. 

" This is the forest primeval; the murmuring pines and the hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, 
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. 
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep voiced neighboring ocean 
Speaks and in accents disconsolate, answers the wail of the forest." 

There was a beautiful little cove in which vessels might lie in safety from 
the fury of northern storms : near at hand was an ample stretch of beach, on 
which their rude yet staunch ai'gosies could be constructed and easily launched 
upon the mighty deep ; no more propitious place could have been found for 
the establishment of the Russian headquarters. The location once chosen 
they set to work to prepare their new homes. A site was chosen for the 
stockade near the shore of the ocean, and in such a position as to protect all 
their ships lying in the little cove, and prevent any vessel inimical to them 
from landing. The plat of ground inclosed in this stockade was a parallelo- 
gram, two hundred and eightv feet wide and three hundred and twelve feet 
long, and containing about two acres. Its angles were placed very nearly 
upon the cardinal points of the compass. At the north and south angle there 
was constructed an octagonal bastion, two stories high, and furnished with 
six pieces of artillery. These bastions were built exactly alike, and were 
about twenty-four feet in diameter. The walls were formed of hewed logs, 
mortised together at the corners, and were about eight inches in thickness. 


The roof was conical shaped, having a small flag-staff at the apex. The 
stockade approached these towers in such a way that one-half of them was 
within the inclosure and the other half on the outside, the entrance to them 
being through small doors on the inside, while there were embrasures both on 
the inside and outside. They were thus arranged so as to protect those within 
from an outside enemy, and to also have all within, under the range of the 
cannon, so that in case of an internal eruption the officers could readily quell the 
emute. The stockade was constructed as follows : A trench was excavated two 
feet deep, while every ten feet along the bottom of the trench a hole was dug 
one foot deep. In these holes posts about six by ten inches were inserted, and 
between the posts and on the bottom of the trenches there was a strong girder 
firmly mortised into the posts, and fastened with a strong wooden pin. Slabs 
of varying widths, but all being about six inches thick, were then placed in 
an upright position between the first posts and resting on the girder in the 
trench, being firmly fastened to them. At a distance up the posts of twelve 
feet from the lower girder, there was run another girder, which was also m< >r- 
tised into the posts and made fast with pins. These girders rested on the tops 
of the slabs mentioned as being placed between the posts. The slabs were 
slotted at the top, and a piece of timber passed into the slots, then huge wooden 
pins were passed down through the girders and the piece in the slots, and well 
into the body of the slab. The main posts extended about three feet higher, 
and near the top a lighter girder was run along, and between the last two 
mentioned there was a row of light slabs, two inches thick and four inches 
wide, pointed at the top like pickets. It may well be imagined that when the 
trench was filled up with tamped rock and dirt, that this stockade was almost 
invulnerable, when we remember the implements of war likely to be brought 
against it in those days of rude weapons. All around the stockade there 
were embrasures suitable for the use of muskets or carronades, of which latter, 
it is said, there were several in the fortress. 

On the northern side of the eastern angle there was erected a chapel which 
it is said was used by the officers of the garrison, alone. It was twenty-five 
by thirty-one feet in dimensions, and strongly built, the outer wall forming a 
part of the stockade, and the round port-holes for the use of carronades, are 
peculiar looking openings in a house of worship. The entrance was on the 
inside of the fort, and consisted of a rude, heavy wooden door, held upon 
wooden hinges. There was a vestibule about ten by twenty-five feet in size, 
thus leaving the auditorium twenty-one by twenty-five feet. From the 
vestibule a narrow stairway led to a low loft, while the building was sur- 
mounted with two domes, one of which was round, and the other pentagonal in 
shape, in which it is said the muscovites had hung a chime of bells. The roof 
was made of long planks, either sawed or rove from redwood, likewise the side 
of the chapel in the fort. Some degree of carpenter's skill was displayed in 
the construction of the building, for a faint attempt at getting out mouldings 


for the inner door and window casings was made, a bead being worked around 
the outer edge of the easing, and mitered at the corners. 

On the west side of the northern angle there was a two-story building, 
twenty-eight by eighty feet in dimensions, which was roughly constructed and 
doubtless used as the barracks for the men of the garrison. On the northern 
side of the western angle there was a one-story building, twenty-nine by fifty 
feet. & flastructed in a better style of workmanship and evidently used as officers' 
quarters. On the southern side of the western angle was a one-story building 
twenty-five by seventy-five feet, which was probably used for a working 
house, as various branches of industry were prosecuted within its walls, and 
on the eastern side of the southern angle there was a row of low shed build- 
ings used, it is presumed, for the stabling of stock and storing of feed. The 
frame work of all the buildings was made of very large, heavy timbers, many 
of them being twelve inches square. The rafters were all great, ponderous, 
round pine logs, a considerable number of them being six inches in diameter. 
The above includes the stockade and all its interior buildings. 

We will now draw attention. to the exterior buildings, for be it known tl at 
there was at one time a colony numberingtwo hundred and fifty souls at Fort 
Ross. In 1845, there were the remains of a village of about twenty-five small 
dwelling houses on the north side of the stockade, all of which were in keeping 
with those at Bodega. They were probably not over twelve by fourteen feet 
in dimensions, and constructed from rough slabs riven from redwood. These 
hardy muscovites were so rugged and inured to the cold of the higher latitudes 
that they cared not for the few cracks that might admit the fresh, balmy air 
of the California winter mornings. Also, to the northward of and near this 
village, situated on an eminence, was a windmill, which was the motor for 
driving a single run of burrs, and also for a stamping machine used for grind- 
ing tan-bark. The wind-mill produced all the flour used in that and the 
Bodega settlements, and probably a considerable amount was also sent with 
the annual shipment to Sitka. To the south of the stockade, and in a deep 
gulch at the debouchure of a small stream into the ocean, there stood a very 
large building, probably eighty by a hundred feet in size, the rear half of 
which was used for the purpose of tanning leather. There were six vats in 
all. constructed of heavy, rough redwood slabs, and each with a capacity of fifty 
barrels; there were also the usual appliances necessary to conduct a tannery, 
but these implements were large and rough in their make, still with those, they 
were able to manufacture a good quality of leather in large quantities. The 
front half of the building, or that fronting on the ocean, was used as a work- 
shop for the construction of ships. Ways were constructed on a sand beach 
at this point leading into dee]) water, and upon them were built a number of 
staunch vessels, and from here was launched the very first sea-going craft 
constructed in California. Still further to the south, and near the ocean 
shore, stood a building eighty bv a hundred feet, which bore all the marks of 


having been used as a store-house; it was, however, unfortunately blown down 
by a storm on July 16, 1878, and soon there will be nothing to mark its site. 
Tradition says that to the eastward of the fort and across the galch, there 
once stood a very large building, which was used as a church for th<; common 
people of the settlement, near which the cemetery was located. A French 
tourist once paid Fort Ross a visit, and arriving after dark asked permission 
to remain over night with the parties, who at that time owned that portion of 
the grant on which the settlement was located. During the evening the 
conversation naturally drifted upon the old history of the place. The tourist 
displayed a familiarity with all the surroundings, which surprised the resi- 
dents, and caused them to ask if he had ever lived there with the Russians. 
He answered that he had not, but that he had a very warm friend in 
St. Petersburg, who had spent thirty j'ears at Fort Ross as a Muscovite priest, 
and that he had made him a promise, upon his departure for California, about 
a year before, to pay a visit to the scenes of the holy labors of the priest, and 
it was in compliance with this promise that he was there at the time. Among 
the other things inquired about was the church close to the cemetery mentioned 
above. All traces of this building had long since disappeared, and the settlers 
were surprised to hear that it ever stood there. The tourist assured them that 
the priest had stated distinctly that such a building once occupied that site, an 1 
also that a number of other buil< lings stood near it, used by the peasants for horn. *> 
Ernest Rufus, of Sonoma, who went to Fort Ross in 1845, tells us that when 
the land went into disuse after the Russians had left, that wild oats grew very 
rank, often reaching a height of ten feet, and that the Indians were accus- 
tomed to set it on fire, and that during these conflagrations the fences and 
many of the smaller houses of the Russians were consumed, and that he well 
remembers that there were a number of small houses near the cemetery, and 
that the blackened ruins of a very Large building also remained, which the 
half-breed Russo-Indians told him had been used for a church. The tourist 
mentioned above stated that his friend, the priest, was greatly attached to the 
place, as had been all who had lived in the settlement. They found the climate 
genial, the soil productive, and the resources of the country great, and, all in 
all, it w T as a most desirable place to live in. 

The Russians had farmed very extensively at this place, having at least 
two thousand acres under fence, besides a great deal that was not fenced. 
These fences, which were chiefly of that kind known as rail and post, 
as stated before, nearly all perished in the wild fires. Their agricultural 
processes were as crude as any of their other work. Their plow was very 
similar to the old Spanish implement, so common in this country at that time 
and still extant in Mexico, with the exception that the Muscovite instrument 
possessed a mold-board. They employed oxen and cows as draft animals, 
using the old Spanish yoke adj listed to their horns instead of to their necks. 
We have no account of any attempt of constructing either cart or wagon, but 


it is probable that they had vehicles the same as those described as being in 
use among the Californians at that time., while it is supposed they used to a 
great extent sleds for transporting their produce when cut to the threshing- 
floor, which was constructed differently from those then common in the country. 
Jt was simply a floor composed of heavy puncheons, circular in shape, and 
elevated somewhat above the ground. Between the puncheons were inter- 
stices through which the grain fell under the floor as it was released 
from the head. The threshing was done in this wise: A layer of grain, 
in the straw, of a foot or two in thickness, was placed upon the floor. 
Oxen were then driven over it, hitched to a log with rows of wooden pegs 
inserted into it. As the log revolved, these pegs acted well the part of a flail, 
and the straw was expeditiously relieved of its burden of grain. It was, 
doubtless, no hard job to winnow the grain after it was threshed, as the wind 
blows a stiff blast at that point during all the Summer months. 

The Russians constructed a wharf at the northern side of the little cove, 
and graded a road down the steep ocean shore to it. Its line is still to be 
seen, as it passed much of the way through solid rock. This wharf was made 
fast to the rocks on which it was constructed, with long iron bolts, of which 
only a few that were driven into the hard surface now remain; the wharf 
itself is gone, hence we are unable to give its dimensions, or further details 
concerning it. 

These old Muscovites, doubtless, produced the first lumber with a saw ever 
made north of the San Francisco bay, for they had both a pit and whip- 
saw, the former of which can be seen to this day. Judging from the number of 
stumps still standing, and the extent of territory over which they extended 
their logging operations, they evidently consumed large quantities of lumber. 
The timber was only about one mile distant from the ship-yard and landing, 
while the stumps of trees cut by them are still standing, and beside them 
from one to six shoots have sprung up, many of whicii have now reached a 
size sufficient for lumber purposes. This growth has been remarkable, and 
goes to show that if proper care were taken, each half century would see a 
new crop of redwoods, sufficiently large for all practical purposes, while ten 
decades would see gigantic trees. 

As stated above, the cemetery lay to the eastward of the fort, about one- 
fourth of a mile, and across a very deep gulch, and was near the church for 
the peasants. There were never more than fifty graves in it, though all traces 
are obliterated now of more than a dozen; most of them still remaining had 
some sort of a wooden structure built over them. One manner of construct- 
ing these mausoleums was to make a series of rectangular frames of square 
timbers, about six inches in diameter, each frame a certain degree smaller than 
the one below it, which were placed one above another, until an apex was 
reached, which was surmounted with a cross. Another method was to con- 
struct a rectangular frame of heavy planking about one foot high and cover 


the top with two heavy planks, placed so as to be roof -shaped : others had simply 
a rude cross ; others, a cross on which some mechanical skill was displayed, and 
one has a large round post, standing high above the adjacent crosses. They 
are all buried in graves dug- due east and west, and, presumably, with heads 
to the west. There are now no inscriptions to be seen upon any of the graves, 
and it is not likely that there ever were any, while from their size some of 
them must have contained children. Silently are these sleeping in their far- 
away graves, where the eyes of those who knew and loved them in their 
earthlv life can never rest on their tombs ag-ain, and while the eternal roar of 
the Pacific makes music in the midnight watches will they await the great 
day that shall restore them to their long-lost friends. Sleep on, brave hearts, 
and peaceful be thy slumber ! 

In an easterly direction, and about one mile distant from the fort, there was 
an enclosure containing about five acres, which was enclosed by a fence about 
eight feet high, made of redwood slabs about two inches in thickness, these 
being driven into the ground, while the tops were nailed firmly to girders 
extending from post to post, set about ten feet apart. Within the enclosure 
there was an orchard, consisting of apple, prune and cherry trees. Of these 
fifty of the first and nine of the last-named, moss-grown and gray with age, 
still remain, while it is said that all the old stock of German prunes in Cali- 
fornia came from seed produced there. 

The Russians had a small settlement at a place now known as Russian 
Gulch, where they evidently grew wheat, for the remains of a warehouse are 
still to be seen. 

There were several commanders who had charge of the Russian interests on 
the Pacific coast, but the names of all save the first, Alexander Koskoff, and 
the last, RotschefF, have been lost to tradition. General William T. Sherman 
relates a pleasing incident in his "Memoirs," which is called to mind by the 
mention of the name of RotschefF : While lying at anchor in a Mediterranean 
port, the vessel on which Sherman was traveling was visited by the officers of 
a Russian naval vessel. During the exchange of courtesies and in the course 
of conversation, one of the Russian officers took occasion to remark to Sher- 
man that he was an American by birth, having been born in the Russian col- 
ony in California, and that he was the son of one of the Colonial rulers. He 
was doubtless the son of RotschefF and his beautiful bride, the Princess de 
Gargarin, in whose honor Mount St. Helena was named. The beauty of this 
lady excited so ardent a passion in the breast of Solano, chief of the Indians 
in that part of the country, that he formed a plan to capture, by force or 
strategy, the object of his love, and he might have succeeded had his design 
not been frustrated by General M. G. Vallejo. 

We have thus set forth all the facts concerning the Russian occupancy, and 
their habits, manners, buildings, occupations, etc. ; we will now trace the 
causes which led to their departure from the genial shores of California: 


It is stated that the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine caused them to 
leave ; but that is hardly the fact, for they remained seventeen years after 
this policy was announced and accepted by the nations of Europe ; it is, how- 
ever, probably true that European nations had something to do with it. f< >v 
both France and England had an eye upon this territory, and both hoped some 
day to possess it. As long as the Russians maintained a colon)' here, they 
had a prior claim to the territory; hence they must be got rid of. The Rus- 
sians also recognized the fact that the Americans were beginning to come into 
the country in considerable numbers and that it was inevitable that they 
would soon overrun and possess it. The subsequent train of events proved 
that their surmises were correct; one thing, however, is evident, and that is, 
that they did not depart at the request or behest of either the Spanish or Mex- 
ican governments. It is almost certain that the Russians contemplated a per- 
manent settlement at this point when they located here, as this section would 
provide them with wheat, an article much needed for the supply of their sta- 
tions in the far north. Of course as soon as the Spanish authorities came to 
know of their permanent location, word was sent of the fact to Madrid. In 
due course of time reply came from the seat of government ordering the Mus- 
covite intruders to depart, but to this peremptory order, their only answer 
was that the matter had been referred to St. Petersburg. 

We have shown above that an interview had taken place between Koskoff 
and the Spanish authorities on board the "Rurick," when anchored in the Bay 
of San Francisco, to consult on the complaints of the latter, but that nothing 
came of it. The commandants under the Mexican regime, in later years, 
organized several military expeditions for the purpose of marching against the 
intruders, but none in that direction was ever made. For more than a quar- 
ter of a century they continued to hold undisturbed possession of the disputed 
territory, and prosecuted their farming, stock-raising, hunting, trapping and 
ship-building enterprises, and, whatever may have been the causes which led 
to it, there finally came a time when the Russian authorities had decided to 
withdraw the California colony. The proposition was made first by them to 
the government authorities at Monterey, to dispose of their interest at Bodega 
and Fort Ross, including their title to the land, but, as the authorities had 
never recognized their right or title, and did not wish to do so at that 
late date, they refused to purchase. Application was next made to Gen 
M. G. Vallejo, but on the same grounds he refused to purchase. They then 
applied to Captain John A. Sutter, a gentleman at that time residing near 
where Sacramento city now stands, and who had made a journey from Sitka, 
some years before, in one of their vessels. They persuaded Sutter into the 
belief that their title was good, and could be maintained; so, after making out 
a full invoice of the articles they had for disposal, including all the land lying 
between Point Reyes and Point Mendocino, and one league inland, as well as 
cattle, farming and mechanical implements; also, a schooner of one hundred 


and eighty tons burthen, some arms, a four-pound brass field piece, etc., a 
price was decided upon, the sum being thirty thousand dollars, which, how- 
ever, was not paid at one time, but in cash instalments of a few thousand 
dollars, the last payment being made through ex-Governor Burnett in 
1849. All the stipulations of the sale having been arranged satisfactorily to 
both parties, the transfer was duly made, and Sutter became, as he thought, 
the greatest land-holder in California — the grants given by the Mexican gov- 
ernment seemed mere bagatelle* when compai'ed with his almost provincial 
possessions; but, alas for human hopes and aspirations; for in reality he had 
paid an enormous price for a very paltry compensation of personal and chattel 
property. It is apropos to remark here that in 1859 Sutter disposed of his 
Russian claim, which was a six-eighths interest in the lands mentioned above, 
to William Muldrew, George R. Moore and Daniel W. Welty, but they only 
succeeded in getting six thousand dollars out of one settler, and the remainder 
refusing to pay, the claim was dropped. Some of the settlers were inclined to 
consider the Muldrew claim, as it is calJed, a blackmailing affair, and to cen- 
sure General Sutter for disposing of it to them, charging that he sanctioned the 
blackmailing process, and was to share in its profits, but we will say in justice 
to the General, that so far as he was concerned, there was no idea of black- 
mail on his part. He supposed that he did purchase a bona fide claim and 
title to the land in question, of the Russians, and has always considered the 
grants given by the Mexican government as bogus, hence on giving this quit- 
claim deed to Muldrew et al., he sincerely thought that he was deeding that 
to which he alone had any just or legal claim. 

Orders were sent to the settlers at Fort Ross to repair at once to San 
Francisco bay, and ships were dispatched to bring them there, where whaling 
vessels, which were bound for the north-west whaling grounds, had been 
chartered to convey them to Sitka. The vessels arrived at an early hour in the 
day. and the orders Jiiown to the commander, Rotscheff, who immediately 
caused the bells in the chapel towers to be rung, and the cannon to be dis- 
charged, this being the usual method of convocating the people at an unusual 
hour, or for some special purpose, so everything was suspended just there — 
the husbandman left his plow standing in the half -turned furrow, and unloosed 
his oxen, never again to yoke them, leaving them to wander at will over the 
fields; the mechanic dropped his planes and saws on the bench, leaving the 
half-smoothed board still in the vise; the tanner left his tools where he was 
using them, and doffed his apron to don it no more in California. As soon as. 
the entire population had assembled, Rotscheff arose and read the orders. 
Very sad and unwelcome, indeed, was this intelligence, but the edict had 
emanated from a source which could not be gainsaid, and the only alternative 
was a speedy and complete compliance, however reluctant it might be — and 
thus four hundred people were made homeless by the fiat of a single word. 
Time was only given to gather up a few household effects, with some of the 


choicest mementoes, and they were hurried on board the ships. Scarcely time 
■was given to those whose loved ones were sleeping in the grave yard near by, 
t<« pay a last sad visit to their resting place. Em barcation was commenced 
at <>nce. 

" And with the ebb of the tide the ships sailed out of the harbor 
Leaving behind them the dead on the shore." 

And all the happy scenes of their lives, which had glided smoothly along, 
on the beautiful shores of the Pacific, and in the garden spot of the world. 
Sad and heavy must have been their hearts, as they gazed for the last time 
upon the receding landscape which their eyes had learned to love, because it 
v a<l been that best of places — Home. 

" This is the forest primeval ; but where are the hearts that beneath it 
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman? 
Waste are the pleasant farms, all the farmers forever departed ! 
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October 
Seize them and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far over the ocean, 
Xaught but tradition remains. 

Still stands the forest primeval ; but under the shade of its branches 
Dwells another race, with other customs and language, 
While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced neighboring ocean 
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate, answers the wail of the forest." 

It may be asked how did the population having an European origin come to 
be located in California? The reply is simple; the sources from which they 
sprung were the presidio and pueblo. 

In its rarly day the whole military force in upper California did not number 
more than from two to three hundred men, divided between the four presidios 
of San Diego, Santa Barbara. Monterey and San Francisco, while there were 
but two towns or pueblos, Los Angeles and San Jose. Another was subse- 
quently started in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, which was named Bran- 
ciforte, after a Spanish Viceroy. It may be conjectured that the garrisons 
were not maintained in a very effective condition: such a supposition would 
be correct, for every where betokened the disuse of arms and the long absence 
of an enemy. The cannon of the presidio at San Francisco were grey with 
mould, and women and children were to be seen snugly located within the 
military lines. The soldiers of the San Francisco district were divided into 
three cantonments — one at the Presidio, one at Santa Clara Mission, and one 
at the Mission of San Jose. We here append a list of the soldiers connected 
with the Presidio in the year 1790, which has been copied from the Spanish 
archives in San Francisco. Here will be found the names, positions, nath ity, 
color, race, age, etc., of the soldiers, as well as those of their wives, when 
married : 

Don Josef Arguello, Commandant, age 39. 
Don Ramon Laro de la Neda, Alferez de Campo, age 34. 

Pedro Amador, Sergeant, Spaniard, from Guadalaxara, age 51 j wife, Ramona 
Noreiga, Spanish, aged 30; 7 children. 


Nicolas Galinda, mestizo, Durango, 42. 

Majio Chavoya, City of Mexico, 34: wife, a Bernal. 

Miguel Pacheco, 36 ; wife, a Sanches. 

Luis Maria Pevalta, Spaniard, Sonora, 32; wife, Maria Loretta Alvisa, 19. 

Justa Altamarino, mulatto, Sonora, 45. 

Ygnacio Limaxes, Sonora, 40 ; wife, Maria Gerfcruda Rivas, Spaniard, 38. 

Ygnacio Soto, 41 ; wife, Barbara Espinoza. 

Juan Bernal, mestizo, Sonora, 53:wife, Maxima I de Soto. 

Jph Maria Mavtinez, Sonora, 35 ; wife, Maria Garcia, mulatto, 18. 

SaWado Iguera, L. C, 38; wife, Alexa Marinda, Sonora, 38. 

Nicoias, Berryessa, mestizo, 25 : wife, Maria Gertrudis Peralta, 24. 

Pedro Peralta, Sonora, 26; wife, Maria Carmen Grisalva, 19. 

Ygnacio Pacheco, Sonora, 30; wife, Maria Dolares Cantua, mestizo, age 16. 

Francisco Bernal, wife, Sinaloa, 27; Maria Petrona, Indian, 29. 

Bartolo Pacheco, Sonora, 25 ; wife, Maria Francisco Soto, 18. 

Apolinario Bernal, Sonora, 25. 

Joaquin Bernal Sonora, 28; wife, Joscfa Sanchez, 21. 

Josef Aceva, Durango, 26. 

Manuel Boranda, Guadalaxara. 40; wife. Gertrudis H iguera, 13. 

Francisco Valencia, Sonora, 22: wife. Maria Victoria Higuera. 15. 

Josef Antonio Sanr-hez, Guadalaxara, 39; wife, Maria Dolora Moxales, 34. 

Jo>ef Ortiz. Guadalaxara, 23. 

Josef Aguila, Guadalaxara, 22: wife, Conellaria Remixa, 14. 

Alexandro Avisto, Durango, 23. 

Juan Josef Higuera, Sonora, 20. 

Francisco Flores, Guadalaxara. 20. 

Josef Maria Castilla, Guadalaxara, 19. 

Ygnacio Higuera, Sonora, 23; wife, Maria Micaelo Bojorques, 28. 

Ramon Linare, Sonora, 19. 

Josef Miguel Saens, Sonora, 18. 

Carto Serviente, San Diego, Indian, 60. 

Augustin Xirviento, L. C. 20. 

Nicolas Presidairo, Indian, 40. 

Gabriel Peralta, invalid, Sonora. 

Manuel Vutron, invalid, Indian. 

Ramon Bojorques, invalid, 98. 

Francisco Remero, invalid, 52. 

A recapitulation shows that the inmates of the Presidio consisted altogether 
of one hundred and forty -four persons, including men, women and children, 
soldiers and civilians. There were thirty -eight soldiers and three laborers. Of 
these one was a European, other than Spanish, seventy-eight Spaniards, five 
Indians, two mulattos, and forty-four of other castes. 

An inventory of the rich men of the Presidio, bearing date 1793, was dis- 


covered some years since, showing that Pedro Amador was the proprietor of 
thirteen head of stock and fifty-two sheep ; Nicolas Galinda, ten head of stock; 
Luis Peralta, two head of stock ; Manuel Boranda, three head of stock ; Juan 
Bernal twenty -three head of stock and two hundred and forty-six sheep 
Salvador Youere, three head of stock: Aleso Miranda, fifteen head of stock 
Pedro Peralta, two head of stock: Francisco Bernal sixteen head of stock 
Barthol Pacheco, seven head of stock: Joaquin Bernal, eight head of stock 
Francisco Valencia, two head of stock: Berancia Galindo, six head of stock 
Hermenes Sal. who appears to have been a Secretary, or something besides a 
soldier), five head of stock and three mares. Computing these we find the 
t< ital amount of stock owned by these men were one hundred and fifteen cattle, 
two hundred and ninety-eight sheep and seventeen mares. 

These are the men who laid the foundation of these immense hordes of cattle 
which were wont to roam about the entire State, and who were the fathers 
of those whom we now term native Californians. As year succeeded year so 
did their stock increase. They received tracts of land " almost for the asking- ;" 
let us, however, see what was their style of life. Mr. William Halley says of 
them: From 1833 to 1850 may be set down as the golden age of the native 
Californians. Not till then did the settlement of the rancheros become general. 
The missions were breaking up. the presidios deserted, the population dispersed, 
and land could be had almost for the asking. Never before, and never since, 
did a people settle down under the blessings of more diverse advantages. The 
country was lovely, the climate delightful; the valleys were filled with horses 
and cattle ; wants were few. and no one dreaded dearth. There was meat for 
the pot and wine for the cup, and wild game in abundance. No one was in 
a hurry. " Bills payable " nor the state of the stocks troubled no one, and 
Arcadia seems to have temporarily made this her seat. The people did not, 
necessarily, even have to stir the soil for a livelihood, because the abundance 
of their stock furnished them with food and enough hides and tallow to pro- 
cure money for every purpose. They had also the advantage of cheap and 
docile labor in the Indians, already trained to work at the missions. And had 
they looked in the earth for gold, they could have found it in abundance. 

They were exceedingly hospitable and sociable. Every guest was wel- 
comed. The sparsity of the population made them rely on each other, and 
they had many occasions to bring them together. Church days, bull-fights, 
rodeos, were all occasions of festivity. Horsemanship was practiced as it was 
never before out of Arabia ; dancing found a ball-room in every house, and 
music was not unknown. For a caballero to pick up a silver coin from the 
ground, at full gallop, was not considered a feat, and any native youth could 
perform the mustang riding which was lately accomplished with such credit 
by young Peralta in New York. To fasten down a mad bull with the lariat, 
or even subdue him single-handed in a corral, were every-day performances. 
The branding and selecting of cattle in rodeos was always a gala occasion. 


Gambling was a passion, and love-making was ever betokened in the 
tender glances of the dark-eyed serioritas. Monte was the common amuse- 
ment of every household. Its public practice was against the law, but in the 
privacy of the family it went on unhindered. 

What farming they did was of a very rude description ; their plow was a 
primitive contrivance, their vehicles unwieldy. Such articles of husbandry 
as reapers, mowers and headers had not entered their dreams, and they were 
perfectly independent of their advantages. Grain was cut with a short, 
stumpy, smooth-edged sickle; it was threshed by the tramping of horses. 
One of their few evils was the depredations of the wild Indians, who would 
sometimes steal their stock, and then the cattle would have to perforin the 
work of separation. The cleaning of grain was performed by throwing it in 
the air with wooden shovels and allowing the wind to carry off the chaff. 

While the young men found means to gratify their tastes for highly 
wrought saddles and elegant bridles, the women had their fill of finery, furnished 
by the Yankee vessels that visited them regularly for trade every year. Few 
schools were established, but the rudiments of education were given at home. 

There was a strict code of laws in force for maintaining order, and crime 
seldom went unpunished. Chastity was guarded, and trouble about females 
was not as frequent as might be supposed. Women, unfaithful to their vows, 
were confined in convents or compelled to periods of servitude. Men, guilty of 
adultery, were sent to the presidios and compelled to serve as soldiers. The 
law was administered by Alcaldes, Prefects and Governor. Murder was very 
rare, suicide unknown, and San Francisco was without a jail. Wine was 
plentiful, and so was brandy. There was a native liquor in use that was 
very intoxicating. It was a sort of cognac, which was very agreeable and 
very volatile, and went like a flash to the brain. It was expensive, and those 
selling it made a large profit. This liquor was known as aguardiente, and 
was the favorite tipple until supplanted by the whisky of the Americanos. 
It was mostly made in Los Angeles, where the better part of the grapes raised 
were used for it. When any considerable crime was ever committed, it was 
under its influence. Its evil effects, however, might possibly be attributed to a 
counterfeit, which is yet in use in the southern part of the State, and which 
is one of the vilest of concoctions. Those who are acquainted with its evil 
effects say that it is "too unutterably villainous for words,, and the wretch 
who has swallowed three fingers of it may bid adieu to all hope of days passed 
without headaches and nights put in without unsufferable agony, for a week 
at least." The beverage most in use, however, was the mission wine, and a 
major domo has informed the writer that he made fifty barrels a year of it at 
Mission San Jose'. Milk and cheese, beef, mutton, vegetables, bread, tortilla, 
beans and fruit constituted the daily diet. Potatoes were unknown, but 
pinole was plentiful, Wild strawberries were numerous about the coast, an I 
honey was procured from wild bees. 


The Caiifornians were not without their native manufactures, and they did 
not, as is generally supposed, rely altogether upon the slaughter of cattle and the 
sale of hides and tallow. The missionaries had taught them the cultivation 
of the grape and manufacture of wine. Hemp, flax, cotton and tobacco weie 
grown in small quantities. Soap, leather, oil, brandy, wool, salt, soda, har- 
ness, saddles, wagons, blankets, etc., were manufactured. Wheat even then 
was an article of export and sold to Russian vessels. 

There were occasional political troubles, but these did not much interfere 
with the profound quiet into which the people had settled. The change from 
a monarchy into a republic scarcely produced a ripple. The invasions of the 
Americans did not stir them very profoundly; and if their domains had not 
been invaded, their lands seized, their cattle stolen, their wood cut and carried 
oft" and their taxes increased, no doubt they would have continued in their 
once self-satisfied state to the present day. But they received such a shock 
in their slumbers that they too, like their predecessors the Indians, are rapidly 
passing away. 

Whether the rude and unjust treatment they have received at the hands of 
the new-comers, or that the band of Mexican cut-throats imported by Michel- 
torena in 1842 as soldiers, have bred a race of thieves and vagabonds, will not 
here be determined ; but certainly the Mexican population of California has 
produced, since the American occupation, a large number of dangerous and 
rery troublesome criminals. Happily, owing to the exertions of intrepid offi- 
cers they have been exterpated. Horse and cattle stealing was their great 

Let us now briefly outline that remarkable march of events, the rapidity 
Df which is a wonder of the world. 

War between the United States and Mexico broke out in the year 1846, at 
which time it is estimated there were fifteen thousand people in Upp t Cali- 
fornia, exclusive of Indians. Of these, nearly two thousand were from the 
United States. In the month of March of that year, there came over tin • 
plains and across the mountains to California, on his way to Oregon, Colonel 
John C. Fremont. He suddenly appeared at Monterey, and there requests 1 
permission of Governor Castro to proceed on his errand, via the San Joaquin 
valley, which was granted, but almost immediately after revoked, and lie and 
his party of forty-two men ordered to leave the country, but not being of the 
same way of thinking as the Governor, he did not leave, but proceeded on his 
journey, choosing his route by way of the Mission San Jose, Stockton, and 
finally entered the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys, but on reaching the 
Great Klamath Lakes, he received dispatches notifying him of hostile demon- 
strations in his rear, whereupon he determined to retrace his steps. In the 
meantime the "Bear Flag" had been raised at Sonoma, the Mexican forces 
driven out of that part of the province north of the Sacramento river, the 
guns of the old fort near the Presidio of San Francisco spiked, and the inde- 


pendence of California declared. This was not all. War had been declared 
between the United States and Mexico, and Commodore Sloat had taken pos- 
session of Monterey, the capital of California, and there hoisted the American 
flag. With a greatly increased force Fremont was in pursuit of the hostile 
Mexican bands, levying supplies as he went along, and when asked by what 
right he thus deprived people of their stock and other property, his character- 
istic reply was, "by the right of my rifles." Before long the country was soon 
q tiered. Fremont's corps disbanded, and many of his men became permanent 
settlers in the county. 

With the year 1846 more emigrants mounted the Sierras, and descended 
into the California valleys, some to remain; but there were those who never 
arrived, as the following interesting relation of the sufferings of the ill-fated 
Donner party will exemplify: 

Tuthills' History of California tells us: "Of the overland emigration to 
California, in 1846, about eighty wagons took a new route, from fort Bridger, 
around the south end of Great Salt Lake. The pioneers of the party arrived 
in good season over the mountains; but Mr. Reed's and Mr. Donner 's com- 
panies opened a now route through the desert, lost a month's time by their 
explorations, and reached the foot of the Truckee pass, in the Sierra Nevada, 
on the 31st of October, instead of the 1st, as they had intended. The snow 
began to fall on the mountains two or three weeks earlier than usual that 
year, and was already piled up in the Pass that they could not proceed. They 
attempted it repeatedly, but were as often forced to return. One party built 
then cabins near the Truckee Lake, killed their cattle, and went into winter 
quarters. The other (Donner's) party, still believed that they could thread 
the pass, and so failed to build their cabins before more snow came and buried 
their cattle alive. Of course these were soon utterly destitute of food, for they 
could not tell where the cattle were buried, and there was no hope of game on 
a desert so piled with snow that nothing without wings could move. The 
number of those who were thus storm -stayed, at the very threshold of the 
land whose winters are one long spring, was eighty, of whom thirty were 
females, and several children. The Mr. Donner who had charge of one com- 
pany, was an Illinoisian, sixty years of age, a man of high respectability and 
abundant means. His wife was a woman of education and refinement, and 
much younger than he. 

During November it snowed thirteen days; during December and January, 
eight days in each. Much of the time the tops of the cabins were below the 
snow level. 

It was six weeks after the halt was made that a party of fifteen, including 
five women and two Indians who acted as guides, set out on snow-shoes to 
cross the mountains, and give notice to the people of the California settlements 
of the condition of their friends. At first the snow was so light and feathery 
that even in snow-shoes they sank nearly a foot at every step. On the 


second day they crossed the 'divide,' finding the snow at the summit twelve 
feet deep. Pushing forward with the courage of despair, they made from 
four to eight miles a day. 

Within a week they got entirely out of provisions; and three of them, 
succumbing to cold, weariness, and starvation, had died. Then a heavy 
snow-storm came on, which compelled them to he still, buried between their 
blankets under the snow, for thirty-six hours. By the evening of the tenth 
day three more had died, and the living had been four days without food. 
The horrid alternative was accepted — they took the flesh from the bones of 
their dead, remained in camp two days to dry it, and then pushed on. 

On New Years, the sixteenth day since leaving Truckee Lake, they were 
toiling up a steep mountain. Their feet were frozen. Every step was marked 
with blood. On the second of January, their food again gave out. On the 
third, they had nothing to eat but the strings of their snow-shoes. On the 
fourth, the Indians eloped, justly suspicious that they might be sacrificed for 
food. On the fifth, they shot a deer, and that day one of their number died. 
Soon after three others died, and every death now eked out the existence of 
the survivors. On the seventeenth, all gave oat, and concluded then wander- 
ings useless, except one. He, guided by two stray friendly Indians, dragged 
himself on till he reached a settlement on Bear river. By midnight the 
settlers had found and were treating with all Christian kindness what 
remained of the little company that, after more than a month of the most 
terrible sufferings, had that morning halted to die. 

The story that there were emigrants perishing on the other side of the 
snowy barrier ran swiftly down the Sacramento valley to New Helvetia, and 
Captain Sutter, at his own expense, fitted out an expedition of men and of 
mules laden with provisions, to cross the mountains and relieve them. It ran 
on to San Francisco, and the people, rallying in public meeting, raised fifteen 
hundred dollars, and with it fitted out another expedition. The naval com- 
mandant of the port fitted out still others. 

The first of the relief parties reached Truckee lake on the nineteenth of 
February. Ten of the people in the nearest camp were dead. For four 
wjeks those who were still alive had fed only on bullocks' hides. At Donner's 
camp they had but one hide remaining. The visitors left a small supply of 
provisions with the twenty-nine whom they could not take with them, and 
started back with the remainder. Four of the children they carried on their 

Another of the relief pirfcies reached Truckee lake on the first of March. 
They immediately started back with seventeen of the sufferers; but, a heavy 
snow storm overtaking them, they left all, except three of the children, on the 
road. Another party went after those who were left on the way ; found three 
of them dead, and the rest sustaining life by feeding on the flesh of the dead. 

The last relief party reached Donner's camp late in April, when the snows 


had melted so much that the earth appeared in spots. The main cabin was 
empty, but some miles distant they found the last survivor of all lying on the 
cabin floor smoking his pipe. He was ferocious in aspect, savage and repulsive 
in manner. His camp-kettie was over the fire and in it his meal of human 
flesh preparing. The stripped bones of his fellow -sufferers lay around him. 
He refused to return with the party, and only consented when he saw there 
was no escape. 

Mrs. Donner was the last to die. Her husband's body, carefully laid out 
and wrapped in a sheet, was found at his tent. Circumstances led to the 
suspicion that the survivor had killed Mrs. Donner for her flesh and her 
money, and when he was threatened with hanging, and the rope tightened 
around his neck, he produced over five hundred dollars in gold, which, prob- 
ably, he had appropriated from her store." 

In relation to this dreary story of suffering, this portion of our history will 
be concluded by the narration of the prophetic dream of George Yount, 
attended, as it was, with such marvelous results. 

At this time (the winter of 1846), while residing in Napa county, of which 
he was the pioneer settler, he dreamt that a party of emigrants were snow- 
bound in the Sierra Nevadas, high up in the mountains, where they were 
suffering the most distressing privations from cold and want of food. The 
locality where his dream had placed these unhappy mortals, he had never 
visited, yet so clear was his vision that he described the sheet of water sur- 
rounded by lofty peaks, deep-covered with snow, while on every hand tow- 
ering pine trees reared their heads far above the limitless waste. In his sleep 
he saw the hungry human beings ravenously tear the flesh from the bones of 
their fellow -creatures, slain to satisfy their craving appetites, in the midst of 
a gloomy desolation. He dreamed his dream on three successive nights, after 
which he related it to others, among whom were a few who had been on 
hunting expeditions in the Sierras. These wished for a precise description 
of the scene foreshadowed to him. They recognized the Truckee, now the 
Donner lake. On the strength of this recognition Mr. Yount fitted out a 
search expedition, and, with these men as guides, went to the place indicated, 
and, prodigious to relate, was one of the successful relieving parties to reach 
the ill-fated Donner party. 

Who does not think of 1848 with feelings almost akin to inspiration? 

The year 1848 is one wherein reached the nearest attainment of the discov- 
ery of the Philosopher's stone, which it has been the lot of Christendom to 
witness: On January 19th gold was discovered at Coloma, on the American 
River, and the most unbelieving and coldblooded were, by the middle of 
spring, irretrievably bound in its fascinating meshes. The wonder is that the 
discovery was not made earlier. Emigrants, settlers, hunters, practical 
miners, scientific exploring parties had camped on, settled in, hunted through, 
dug in and ransacked the region, yet never found it; the discovery was 


entirely accidental. Franklin Tuthill, in his History of California, tells the 
story in these words: "Captain Sutter had contracted with James W. Mar- 
shall, in September, 1847, for the construction of a sawmill, in Coloma. Id 
the course of the winter a dam and race were made, but. when the water was 
let on, the tail-race was too narrow. To widen and deepen it, Marshall let in 
a strong current of water directly to the race, which bore a large body of 
mud and gravel to the foot. 

On the 19th of January, 1848, Marshall observed some glittering particles 
in the race, which he was curious enough to examine. He called five car- 
penters on the mill to see them ; but though they talked over the possibility 
of its being gold, the vision did not inflame them. Peter L. Weimar claims 
that he was with Marshall when the first piece of "yellow stuff" was picked 
up. It was a pebble, weighing six pennyweights and eleven grains. Mar- 
shall gave it to Mrs. Wiemar, and asked her to boil it in saleratus water and 
see what came of it. As she was making soap at the time, she pitched it into 
the soap kettle. About twenty-four hours afterwards it was fished out and 
found all the brighter for its boiling. 

Marshall, two or three weeks later, took the specimens below, and gave 
them to Sutter to have them tested. Before Sutter had quite satisfied him- 
self as to their nature, he went up to the mill, and, with Marshall, made a 
treaty with the Indians, buying of them then titles to the region round about, 
for a certain amount of goods. There was an eflbrt made to keep the secret inside 
the little circle that knew it, but it soon leaked out. They had many mis- 
givings and much discussion whether they were not making themselves ridicu- 
lous ; yet by common consent all began to hunt, though with no great spirit, 
for the '•'yellow stuff" that might prove such a prize. 

In February, one of the party went to Yerba Btfena, taking some of the 
dust with him. Fortunately he stumbled upon Isaac Humphrey, an old 
Georgian gold-miner, who at the first look at the specimens, said they were 
gold, and that the diggings must be rich. Humphrey tried to induce son e 
of his friends to go up with him to the mill, but they thought it a era; y 
expedition, and left him to go alone. He reached there on the 7th of March. A 
few were hunting for gold, bat rather lazily, and the work on the mill went 
on as usual. Next day he began "prospecting," and soon satisfied himself 
that he had struck a rich placer. He made a rocker, and then commenced 
work in earnest. 

A few days later, a Frenchman, Baptiste. formerly a miner in Mexico, left 
the lumber he was sawing for Sutter at Weber's, ten miles east of Coloma, 
and came to the mill. He agreed with Humphrey that the region was rich, 
and, like him, took to the pan and the rocker. These two men were the com- 
petent practical teachers of the crowd that flocked in to see how they did it. 
The lesson was easy, the process simple. An hour's observation fitted the 
l>ast experienced for working to advantage." 


Slowly and surely, however, did these discoveries creep into the minds of 
those at home and abroad; the whole civilized world was set agog with the 
startling news from the shores of the Pacific. Young and old were seized 
with the California fever ; high and low, rich and poor were infected by it ; 
the prospect was altogether too gorgeous to contemplate. Why, they could 
actually pick up a fortune for the seeking it ! Positive affluence was within 
the grasp of the weakest; the very coast was shining with the bright metal, 
which could be obtained by picking it out with a knife. 

Says Tuthill: Before such considerations as these, the conservatism of the 
most stable bent. Men of small means, whose tastes inclined them to keep 
out of all hazardous schemes and uncertain enterprises, thought they saw 
duty beckoning them around the Horn, or across the Plains. In many a 
family circle, where nothing but the strictest economy could make the two 
ends of the year meet, there were long and anxious consultations, which 
resulted in selling off* a piece of the homestead or the woodland, or the choicest 
of the stock, to fit out one sturdy representative to make a fortune for the 
family. Hundreds of farms were mortgaged to buy tickets for the land of 
gold. Some insured their lives and pledged their policies for an outfit. The 
wild boy was packed off hopefully. The black sheep of the flock was dis- 
missed with a blessing, and the forlorn hope that, with a change of skies, 
there might be a change of manners. The stay of the happy household said, 
"Good-bye, but only for a year or two," to his charge. Unhappy husbands 
availed themselves cheerfully of this cheap and reputable method of divorce, 
trusting Time to mend or mar matters in their absence. Here was a chance 
to begin life anew. Whoever had begun it badly, or made slow headway on 
the right course, might start again in a region where Fortune had not learned 
to coquette with and dupe her wooers. 

The adventurers generally formed companies, expecting to go overland or 
by sea to the mines, and to dissolve partnership only after a first trial of luck, 
together in the "diggings." In the Eastern and Middle States they would 
buy up an old whaling ship, just ready to be condemned to the wreckers, 
put in a cargo of such stuff as they must need themselves, and provisions, 
tools, or goods, that must be sure to bring returns enough to make the venture 
profitable. Of course, the whole fleet rushing together through the Golden 
Gate, made most of these ventures profitless, even when the guess was happy 
as to the kind of supplies needed by the Calif ornians. It can hardly be 
believed what sieves of ships started, and how many of them actually made 
the voyage. Little river-steamers, that had scarcely tasted salt water before, 
were fitted out to thread the Straits of Magellan, and these were welcomed to 
the bays and rivers of California, whose waters some of them ploughed and 
vexed busily for years afterwards. 

Then steamers, as well as all manner of sailing vessels, began to be adver- 
tised to run to the Isthmus; and they generally went crowded to excess with 


passengers, some of whom were fortunate enough, after the toilsome ascent 
of the Chagres river, and the descent either on mules or on foot to Panama, 
not to be detained more than a month waiting for the craft that had rounded 
the Horn, and by which they were ticketed to proceed to San Francisco. 
But hundreds broke down under the horrors of the voyage in the steerage; 
contracted on the Isthmus the low typhoid fevers incident to tropical marshy 
regions, and died. 

The Overland emigrants, unless they came too late in the season to the 
Sierras, seldom suffered as much, as thev had no great variation of climate 
on their route. They had this advantage too, that the mines lay at the end 
of their long road ; while the sea-faring, when they landed, had still a weary 
journey before them. Few tarried longer at San Francisco than was neces- 
sary to learn how utterly useless were the curious patent mining contrivances 
they had brought, and to replace them with the pick and shovel, pan and 
cradle. If any one found himself destitute of funds to go farther, there was 
work enough to raise them by. Labor was honorable; and the daintiest 
dandy, if he were honest, could not resist the temptation to work where wages 
were so high, pay so prompt, and employers so flush. 

There were not lacking in San Francisco, grumblers who had tried the 
mines and satisfied themselves that it cost a dollar's worth of sweat and time, 
and living exclusively on bacon, beans, and "slap-jacks," to pick a dollar's 
worth of gold out of rock, or river bed, or dry ground ; but they confessed 
that the good luck which they never enjoyed abode with others. Then the 
display of dust, slugs, and bars of gold in the public gambling places; the 
sight of men arriving every day freighted with belts full, which they parted 
with so freely, as men only can when they have got it easily; the testimony 
of the miniature rocks ; the solid nuggets brought down from above every 
few days, whose size and value rumor multiplied according to the number of 
her tongues. The talk, day and night, unceasingly and exclusively of 
"gold, easy to get and hard to hold," inflamed all new comers with the desire 
to hurry on and share the chances. They chafed at the necessary deten- 
tions. They nervously feared that all would be gone before they should 

The prevalent impression was that the placers would give out in a year or 
two. Then it behooved him who expected to gain much, to be among the 
earliest on the ground. When experiment was so fresh in the field, one 
theory was about as good as another. An hypothesis that lured men perpet- 
ually further up the gorges of the foot-hills, and to explore the canons of the 
mountains, was this: — that the gold which had been found in the beds of 
rivers, or in gulches through which streams once ran, must have been washed 
down from the places of original deposit further up the mountains. The 
higher up the gold-hunter went, then, the nearer he approached the source 
of supply. 


To reach the mines from San Francisco, the course lay up San Pablo and 

Suisun bays, and the Sacramento — not then, as now, a yellow, muddy stream, 

but a river pellucid and deep — to the landing for Sutter's Fort; and they 

who made the voyage in sailing vessels, thought Mount Diablo significantly 

named, so long it kept them company and swung its shadow over their 

path. From Sutter's the most common route was across the broad, fertile 

valley to the foot-hills, and up the American or some one of its tributaries ; on, 

ascending the Sacramento to the Feather and the Yuba, the company staked 

off a claim, pitched its tent or constructed a cabin, and set up its rocker, or 

began to oust the river from a portion of its bed. Good luck might hold the 

impatient adventurers for a whole season on one bar; bad luck scattered 

them always further up. 

Roads sought the mining camps, which did not s^op to study roads. 
Traders came in to supply the camps, and not very fast, but still to some 
extent; mechanics and farmers to supply both traders and miners. So, as if 
by magic, within a year or two after the rush began, the map of the country 
was written thick with the names of settlements. 

Some of these were the nuclei of towns that now flourish and promise to 
continue as long as the State is peopled. Others, in districts where the placers 
were soon exhausted, were deserted almost as hastily as they were begun, and 
now no traces remain of them except the short chimney-stack, the broken 
surface of the ground, heaps of cobble-stones.' rotting, half -buried sluice-boxes, 
empty whisky bottles, scattered playing cards and rusty cans. 

The " Fall of '49 and Spring of '50 " is the era of California history which 
the pioneer always speaks of with warmth. It was the free and easy age 
when everybody was flush, and fortune, if not in the palm, was only just 
bej^ond the grasp of all. Men lived chiefly in tents, or in cabins scarcely 
more durable, and behaved themselves like a generation of bachelors. The 
family was beyond the mountains; the restraints of society had not yet 
arrived. Men threw off the masks they had lived behind, and appeared out 
in their true character. A few did not discharge the consciences and con vie- 
tions they had brought with them. More rollicked in a perfect freedom from 
those bonds which good men cheerfully assume in settled society for the good 
of the greater number. Some afterwards resumed their temperate and steady 
habits, but hosts were wrecked before the period of their license expired. 

Very rarely did men, on their arrival in the country, begin to work at their 
old trade or profession. To the mines first. If fortune favored, they soon 
quit for more congenial employments. If she frowned, they might depart 
disgusted, if they were able ; but oftener, from sheer inability to leave the 
business, they kept on, drifting from bar to bar, living fast, reckless, improv- 
ident, half-civilized lives; comparatively rich to-day, poor to-morrow; tor- 
mented with rheumatisms and agues, remembering dimly the joys of the old 


homestead ; nearly weaned from the friends at home, who, because they were 
never heard from, soon became like dead men in their memory; seeing little 
of women and nothing of churches; self-reliant, yet satisfied that there was 
nowhere any "show" for them; full of enterprise in the direct line of their 
business, and utterly lost in the threshold of any other; genial companions, 
morbidly craving after newspapers; good fellows, but short-lived." 

Such was the maelstrom which dragged all into its vortex thirty years ago ! 
Now, almost the entire generation of pioneer miners, who remained in that 
business has passed away, and the survivors feel like men who are lost and 
old before their time, among the new comers, who may be just as old, but 
lack their long, strange chapter of adventures. 

In the Spring of 1848 the treaty of peace was signed by which California 
was annexed to the United States, and on the first day of September, 1849, 
the first Constitutional Convention was commenced at Monterey. The first 
Legislature met at San Jose, December 13, 1849, and thereafter the welfare 
of the State became a part of the Union. 

Thus far we have brought the reader. The events which have occurred 
since the admission of California is a matter of general knowledge. These 
items on which we have dwelt are those Avhich come under the category of 
things not generally known, therefore they have been given a place in this 
work. It is for the reader to decide if it enhances the historic value of the 




In the early part of this century California would appear to have found 
extreme favor in the jealous eyes of three great powers. We have elsewhere 
shown what the Russians did on the coast, and how they actually gained a 
foothold at Bodega and Fort Ross, Sonoma county. In the year 1818, Gov- 
ernor Sola received a communication from Friar Marquinez, of Guadalajara, 
in Old Spain, wherein he informs His Excellency of the rumors of war 
between the United States and Spain, while, in February of the following 
year, Father Jose Sanchez, writes to the same official that there is a report 
abroad of the fitting out of an American expedition in New Mexico. Both 
of these epistles remark that California is the coveted prize. Great Britain 
wanted it, it is said, for several reasons, the chief of which was, that in the 
possession of so extended a coast line she would have the finest harbors in the 
world for her fleets. This desire would appear to have been still manifested 
in 1840, for we find in February of that year, in the New York Express, the 
following: " The Call] vrnias. — The rumor has reached New Orleans from 
Mexico of the cession to England of the Californias. The cession of the two 
provinces would give to Great Britain an extensive and valuable territory in 
a part of the world where she has long been anxious to gain a foothold, 
besides securing an object still more desirable — a spacious range of sea-coast 
on the Pacific, stretching more than a thousand miles from the forty-second 
degree of latitude south, sweeping the peninsula of California, and embracing 
the harbors of that gulf, the finest in North America." 

These rumors, so rife between the years 1842 and 1846, necessitated the 
maintenance of a large and powerful fleet by both the Americans and 
British on the Pacific Ocean, each closely observing the other. The first 
move in the deep game was made for the United States in September, 1842, 
by Commodore Ap Catesby Jones. He became possessed of two newspapers 
which would appear to have caused him to take immediate action. One of 
these, published in New Orleans, stated that California had been ceded by 
Mexico to Great Britain in consideration of the sum of seven millions of 
dollars ; the other, a Mexican publication, caused him to believe that war had 
been declared between the two countries. The sudden departure of two of 
the British vessels strengthened him in this belief, and, that they were en 
route for Panama to embark soldiers from the West Indies for the occupa- 
tion of California. To forestall this move of "perfidious Albion." Commo- 
dore Jones left Callao, Peru, on September 7, 1812, and crowded all sail 


ostensibly for the port of Monterey; but when two days out, his squadron 
hove to. a council of the Oaptams of the Flag-ship, " Cyans" and " Dale" was 
held, when the decision was come to that possession should be taken of Cali- 
fornia at all hazards, and abide by the consequences, whatever thev m'^ht 
be. The accompanying letter from an officer of the "Dale," dated Panama, 
September 23, 1842. tells it own story: "We sailed from Callao on the 7th 
of September in company with the "United States" and "Cyane" sloop, but 
on the 10th day out, the 17th, separated, and bore up for this port. Just 
previous to our departure, two British ships-of-war, the razee "Dublin," 
fifty guns, and the sloop-of-war "Champion," eighteen guns, sailed thence on 
secret service. This mysterious movement of Admiral Thomas elicited a 
hundred comments and conjectures as to his destination, the most probable 
of which seemed to be that he was bound for the northwest coast of Mexico, 
where it is surmised that a British settlement (station) is to be located in 
accordance with a secret convention between the Mexican and En dish Gov- 
ernments, and it is among the on dits in the squadron that the frigate 
"Unite! States," "Cyane" and "Dale" are to rendezvous as ^>)n as p issible 
at Monterey, to keep an eye on John Bull's movements in that quarter." 
These rumors were all strengthened by .the fact that eight hundred troops 
had been embarked at Mazatlan in February, 1842, by Genera! Mi jheltorena, 
to assist the English, it was apprehended, to carry out the secret treaty 
whereby California was to be handed over to Great Britain. Of these 
troops, who were mostly convicts, Micheltorena lost a great number by deser- 
tion ; and after much delay and vexation, marched out of Mazatlan on July 
25, 1842, with only four hundred and fifty men, arriving at San Diego on 
August 25th. Between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, with his army 
reduced to but three hundred from desertion, at 11 o'clock on the night of 
October 24th, he received the astounding intelligence that Commodore Jones 
had entered the port of Monterey, with the frigate "United States" and 
corvette " Cyane," landed an armed force, hauled down the Mexican flag, 
hoisted the American in its place, and issued a proclamation declaring Cali- 
fornia to be henceforth belonging to the United States. These startling 
occurrences took place on October 19, 1842. On the 28th, the Commodore 
reflected on his latest achievement, and becoming convinced that an error 
had been committed, he lowered the American ensign, replaced it with that 
of Mexico, and on the following day saluted it, sailed for Mazatlan, and 
reported his proceedings to Washington. 

On hearing of the capture of Monterey, the Mexican General withdrew to 
the Mission of San Fernando, and there remained for some time, when he 
finally, on the horizon being cleared, transferred his staff to Los Angeles, and 
there entertained Commodore Jones on January 19, 1843. 

The recall of Jones was demanded by the Mexican Minister at Washing- 
ton, which was complied with, and Captain Alexander J. Dallas instructed 


to relieve him of the command of the Pacific squadron. Dallas at once pro- 
ceed to Callao, via Panama, to assume his new functions, and on arrival 
took the "Erie," an old store-ship, and proceeded in search of the Commodore, 
who had in the meantime received intelligence of the turn affairs had taken, 
aid kept steering from port to port, and finally touching at Valpai'aiso, 
Chili, he sailed for home around Cape Horn. The reign of Captain Dallas 
was short; he died on board the frigate " Savannah," at Callao, June 3, 1844, 
and was succeeded by Commodore John Drake Sloat. 

Between the years 1844 and 1846, the American and British fleets keenly 
watched each other, and anxiously awaited the declaration of war between 
Mexico and the United States. During this time the revolution which drove 
General Michel to rena and his army from California, had broken out and been 
quelled; while the Oregon boundary and the annexation of Texa> were ques- 
tions which kept the naval authorities at fever heat. 

Let us now leave these American and British sailors with their mighty 
ships jealously watching the movements of each other, to consider the doings 
of one who before long was to take a prominent part in the affairs of Cali- 

In the month of March, 1845, Brevet Captain John Charles Fremont 
departed from Washington for the purpose of organizing a third expedition 
for the topographical survey of Oregon and California, which having done, 
he left Bont's fort, on or about the lb'th of April, his command consisting of 
sixtv-two men, six of whom were Dalaware Indians. It is not our wish 
here, nor indeed have we the space, to tell of the hardships endured, and the 
perilous journeys made by Fremont, Kit Carson, Theodore Talbot, and others 
of that band, whose wanderings have formed the theme of many a ravishing 
tale; our duty will only permit of defining the part taken by them in regard 
to our especial subject. 

About June 1, 1846, General Jose Castro, with Lieutenant Francisco de 
Arci, his Secretary, left the Santa Clara Mission, where they had ensconced 
themselves after pursuing Fremont from that district, and passing through 
Yerba Buena (San Francisco) crossed the bay to the Mission of San Rafael, 
and there collected a number of horses which he directed Arci to take to 
Sonoma, with as many more as he could capture on the way, and from there 
proceed with all haste to the Santa Clara Mission by way of Knight's Land- 
ing and Sutter's Fort. These horses were intended to be used against Fre- 
mont and Governor Pio Pico by Castro, both of whom had defied his 
authority. On June 5th, Castro moved from Santa Clara to Monterey, and 
on the 12th, while on his return, was met by a courier b3aring the intelli- 
gence that Lieutenant Arci had been surprised and taken prisoner on the 
10th by a band of adventurers, who had also seized a larg* number of the 
horses which he had in charge for the headquarters at Santa Clara. Here 
was a dilemma. Castro's education in writing had been sadly neglected — 


it is said he could only paint his signature — and being without his aum i 
ensis, he at once turned back to Monterey, and on June 12th dictated a letter, 
through ex-Governor Don Juan B. Alvarado, to the Prefect Manuel Castro, 
saying that the time had come when their differences should be laid aside, 
and conjoint action taken for the defence and protection of their common 
country, at the same time asking that he should collect all the men and 
horses possible and send them to Santa Clara. He then returned to his head- 
quarters, and on the 17th promulgated a soul-stirring proclamation to the 

When Lieutenant Arci left Sonoma with the caballada of horses and 
mares, crossing the dividing ridge, he passed up the Sacramento valley to 
Knight's Landing, on the left bank of the Sacramento river about fifteen 
miles north of the present city of Sacramento. [This ferry was kept by 
William Knight, who had left Missouri May 6, 1841, arrived in California 
November 10, 1841, received a grant of land and settled at Knight's Land- 
ing, Yolo county of to-day. He died at the mines on the Stanislaus river, in 
November 1849.1 When Lieutenant Arci reached the ferry or crossing, he 
met Mrs. Knight, to whom, on account of her being a New Mexican by birth, 
and therefore thought to be trustworthy, he confided the secret of the expedi- 
tion. Such knowledge was too much for any ordinary feminine bosom to con- 
tain. She told her husband, who, in assisting the officer to cross his horses, 
gave him fair words so that suspicion might be lulled, and then bestriding his 
fleetest horse, he made direct for Captain Fremont's camp at the confluence 
of the Feather and Yuba rivers, where he arrived early in the morning 
of June 9 th. Here Knight, who found some twenty settlers that had 
arrived earlier than he, discussing matters, communicated to Captain Fremont 
and the settlers that Lieutenant Arci had, the evening before, the 8th, crossed 
at his landing, bound to Santa Clara via the Cosumne river; that Arci had 
told Mrs. Knight, in confidence, that the animals were intended to be used 
by Castro in expelling the American settlers from the country, and that it 
was also the intention to fortify the Bear river pass above the rancho of 
William Johnson, thereby putting a stop to all immigration; a move of 
Castro's which was strengthened by the return to Sutter's Fort, on June 
7th, of a force that had gone out to chastise the Mokelumne Indians, who 
had threatened to burn the settlers' crops, incited thereto, presumably, by 

Fremont, while encamped at the Buttes, was visited by nearly all the 
settlers, and from them gleaned vast stores of fresh information hitherto 
unknown to him. Among these were, that the greater proportion of foreign- 
ers in the country had become Mexican citizens, and married ladies of the 
country, for the sake of procuring land, and through them had become pos- 
sessed of deep secrets supposed to be known only to the prominent Califor- 
aians. Another was that a convention had been held at the San Juan Mis- 


sion to decide which one of the two nations, America or Great Britain, should 
guarantee protection to California against all others for certain priveleges 
and considerations. ' 

Lieutenant Revere says: " I have been favored by an intelligent member 
of the Junta with the following authentic report of the substance of Pico's 
speech to that- illustrious body of statesmen: — 

" Excellent Sirs: To what a deplorable condition is ou r country reduced ! 
Mexico, professing to be our mother and our protectress, has given us 
neither arms nor money, nor the material of war for our defense. She is 
not likely to do anything in our behalf, although she is quite willing to afflict 
us with her extortionate minions, who come hither in the guise of soldiers 
and civil officers, to harass and oppress our people. We possess a glorious 
country, capable of attaining a physical and moral greatness corresponding 
with the grandeur and beauty which an Almighty hand has stamped on the 
face of our beloved California. But although nature has been prodigal, it 
cannot be denied that we are not in a position to avail ourselves of her bounty. 
Our population is not large, and it is sparsely scattered over valley and moun- 
tain, covering an immense area of virgin soil, destitute of roads and travt :-sed 
with difficulty; hence it is hardly possible to collect an army of any consider- 
able force. Our people are poor, as well as few, and cannot well govern 
themselves and maintain a decent show of sovereign power. Although we 
live in the midst of plenty, we lay up nothing; but, tilling the earth in an 
imperfect manner, all our time is required to provide subsistence for ourselves 
and our families. Thus circumstanced, we find ourselves suddenly threatened 
by hordes of Yankee emigrants, who have already begun to flock into our 
country, and whose progress we cannot arrest. Already have the wagons of 
that perfidious people scaled the almost inaccessible summits of the Sierra 
Nevada, crossed the entire continent, and penetrated the fruitful valley of 
the Sacramento. What that astonishing people will next undertake I cannot 
say ; but in whatever enterprise they embark they will be sure to prove 
successful. Already are these adventurous land-voyagers spreading them- 
selves far and wicjp over a country which seems suited to their tastes. They 
are cultivating farms, establishing vineyards, erecting mills, sawing up lum- 
ber, building workshops, and doing a thousand other things which seem 
natural to them, but which Californians neglect or despise. What then are 
we to do? Shall we remain supine while these daring strangers are over- 
runnino- our fertile plains and gradually outnumbering and displacing us? 
Shall these incursions go on unchecked, until we shall become strangers in 
our own land? We cannot successfully oppose them by our own unaided 
power; and the swelling tide of immigration renders the odds against us more 
formidable -every day. We cannot stand alone against them, nor can we 
creditably maintain our independence even against Mexico; but there is 
something we can do which will elevate our country, strengthen her at all 


points, and yet enable us to preserve our identity and remain masters of our 
own soil. Perhaps what I am about to suggest may seem to some, faint- 
hearted and dishonorable. But to me it does not seem so. It is the last 
hope of a feeble people, struggling against a tyrannical government which 
claims their submission at home, and threatened by bands of avaricious 
strangers from without, voluntarily to connect themselves with a power 
able and willing to defend and preserve them. It is the right and the duty 
of the weak to demand support from the strong, provided the demand be 
made upon terms just to both parties, I see no dishonor in this last refuge 
of the oppressed and powerless, and I boldly avow that such is the step that 
I would have California take. There are two great powers in Europe, which 
seem destined to divide between them the unappropriated countries of the 
world. They have large fleets and armies not unpractised in the art of war. 
Is it not better to connect ourselves with one of those powerful nations, 
than to struggle on without hope, as we are doing now? Is it not better that 
one of them should be invited to send a fleet and an army, to defend and pro- 
tect California, rather than we should fall an easy prey to the lawless advent- 
urers who are overrunning our beautiful country? I pronounce for annexa- 
tion to France or England, and the people of California will never regret 
having taken my advice. They will no longer be subjected to the trouble 
and grievous expense of governing themselves; and their beef and their grain, 
which they produce in such abundance, would find a ready market among 
the new comers. But I hear some one say : ' No monarchy ! ' But is not 
monarchy better than anarchy? Is not existence in some shape, better than 
annihilation? No monarch! and what is there so terrible in a monarchy? 
Have not we all lived under a monarchy far more despotic than that of 
France or England, and were not our people happy under it? Have not the 
leading men among our agriculturists been bred beneath the royal rule of 
Spain, and have they been happier since the mock republic of Mexico has 
supplied its place? Nay, does not every man abhor the miserable abortion 
christened the republic of Mexico, and look back with regret to the golden 
days of the Spanish monarchy? Let us restore that glorious era. Then may 
our people go quietly to their ranchos, and live there as of yore, leading a 
thoughtless and merry life, untroubled by politics or cares of State, sure of 
what is their own, and safe from the incursions of the Yankees, who would 
soon be forced to retreat into their own country."^ 

It was a happy thing for California, and, as the sequel proved, for the views 
of the government of the United States, a man was found at this juncture 
whose ideas were more enlightened and consonant with the times than those 
of the rulers of his country, both civil and military. Patriotism was half 
his soul; he therefore could not silently witness the land of his birth sold to 
any monarchy, however old; and he rightly judged that although foreign pro- 
tection might postpone, it could not avert that assumption of power which 


was beginning to make itself felt. Possessed at the time of no political power, 
and having had few early advantages, still his position was so exalted, and 
his character so highly respected by both the foreign and native population, 
that he had been invited to participate in the deliberations of the Junta. 
This man was Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Born in California, he com- 
menced his career in the army as an al feres, or ensign, and in this humble 
grade, he volunteered, at the suggestion of the Mexican government, with a 
command of fifty soldiers,' to establish a colony on the north side of the bay 
of San Francisco, for the protection of the frontier. He effectually subdued 
the hostile Indians inhabiting that then remote region, and laid the founda- 
tion of a reputation for integrity, judgment, and ability, unequaled by any 
of his countrymen. Although quite a young man, he had already filled the 
highest offices in the province, and had at this time retired to private life 
near his estates in the vicinity of the town of Sonoma. He did not hesitate 
to oppose with all his strength the views advanced by Pico and Castro. He 
spoke nearly as follows: — - 

"I cannot, gentlemen, coincide in opinion with the military and civil 
functionaries who have advocated the cession of our country to France or 
England. It is most true, that to rely any longer upon Mexico to govern 
and defend us, would be idle and absurd. To this extent I fully agree with 
my distinguished colleagues. It is also true that we possess a noble country, 
every way calculated from position and resources to become great and 
powerful. For that very reason I would not have her a mere dependency 
upon a foreign monarchy, naturally alien, or at least indifferent, to our 
interests and our welfare. It is not to be denied that feeble nations have in 
former times thrown themselves upon the protection of their powerful neigh- 
bors. The Britons invoked the aid of the warlike Saxons, and fell an easy 
prey to their protectors, who seized their lands, and treated them like slaves. 
Long before that time, feeble and distracted provinces had appealed for aid 
to the all-conquering arms of imperial Rome; and they were at the same time 
protected and subjugated by their grasping ally. Even could we tolerate 
the idea of dependence, ought we to go to distant Europe for a master? 
What possible sympathy could exist between us and a nation separated from 
us by two vast oceans? But waiving this insuperable objection, how could 
we endure to come under the dominion of a monarchy? For, although 
others speak lightly of a form of Government, as a freeman. I cannot do so. 
We are republicans — badly governed and badly situated as we are — still we 
are all, in sentiment, republicans. So far as we are governed at all, we at 
least profess to be self-governed. Who, then, that possesses true patriotism 
will consent to subject himself and his children to the caprices of a foreign 
King and his official minions? But it is asked, if we do not throw ourselves 
upon the protection of France or England, what shall Ave do? I do not come 
here" to support the existing order of things, but I come prepared to propose 


instant and effective action to extricate our country from her present forlorn 
condition. My opinion is made up that we must persevere in throwing off 
the galling yoke of Mexico, and proclaim our independence of her forever. 
We have endured her official coromants and her villainous soldiery until we 
can endure no longer. All will probably agree with me that we ouo-ht at 
once to rid ourselves of what may remain of Mexican domination. But some 
profess to doubt our ability to maintain our position. To my mind there 
conies no doubt. Look at Texas, and see how long she withstood the power 
of united Mexico. The resources of Texas were not to be compared with 
ours, and she was much nearer to her enemy than we are. Our position is ^o 
remote, either b} r land or sea, that we are in no danger from Mexican inva- 
sion. Why, then, should we hesitate still to assert our independence' We 
have indeed taken the first step, by electing our own Governor, but another 
remains to be taken. I will mention it plainly and distinctly — it is annex- 
ation to the United States. In contemplating this consummation of our 
destiny, I feel nothing but pleasure, and I ask you to share it. Discard old 
prejudices, disregard old customs, and prepare for the glorious change which 
awaits our country. Why should we shrink from incorporating ourselves 
with the happiest and freest nation in the world, destined soon to be the 
most wealthy and powerful? Why should we go abroad for protection when 
this great nation is our adjoining neighbor? When we join our fortunes to 
hers, we shall not become subjects, but fellow-citizens, possessing all the rights 
of the people of the United States, and choosing our own federal and local 
rulers. We shall have a stable government and just laws. California will 
^row strong and flourish, and her people will be prosperous, happy and free. 
Look not, therefore, with jealousy upon the hardy pioneers, who scale our 
mountains and cultivate our unoccupied plains; but rather welcome them as 
brothers, who come to share with us a common destiny." 

Such was the substance of General Vallejo's observations; those who 
listened to him, however, were far behind in general knowledge and intelli- 
gence. His arguments failed to carry conviction to the greater number of 
his auditors, but the bold position taken by him was the cause of an imme- 
diate adjournment of the Junta, no result having been arrived at concerning 
the weighty affairs on which they had met to deliberate. On his retiring from 
the Junta he embodied the views he had expressed in a letter to Don Pio 
Pico, and reiterated his refusal to participate in any action having for its end 
the adoption of any protection other than that of the United States. In this 
communication he also declared that he would never serve under any Gov- 
ernment which was prepared to surrender California to an European power; 
he then returned to his estates, there to await the issue of events. 

We left William Knight at Fremont's camp, where he had arrived on the 
morning of June 9, 1846, imparting his information to that officer and the 
twenty settlers who had there assembled. At 10 a. m., of that day, a party 


of eleven men, under the oldest member, Ezekiel Merritt, started in pursuit 
of Lieutenant Arci and his horses. On arrival at Hock farm the^y were 
joined by two more, and having crossed the American River at Sinclair's, 
reached the rancho of Allen Montgomery, sixty miles from Fremont's camp 
at the Buttes, towards evening, and there supped. Here they received the 
intelligence that Lieutenant Arci had reachod Sutter's Fort on the 8th, an 1 
had that morning resumed his march, inten ling to camp that night at the 
rancho of Martin Murphy, twenty miles south, on the Cosumne river. 
Supper finished and a short rest indulged in, the party were once more in the 
saddle, beino- strengthened by the addition of Montgomery and another man, 
makino- the total force fifteen. They proceeded to within about live miles 
of Murphy's, and there lay concealed till daylight, when they were agaiu 
on the move, and proceeded to within half a mile of the camp. Unperceived, 
they cautiously advanced to within a short distance, and then suddenly 
charging secured the Lieutenant and his party, as well as the horses. 
Lieutenant Arci was permitted to retain his sword, each of his party was 
o-iven a horse wherewith to reach Santa Clara, and a per-son traveling with 
him was permitted to take six of the animals which he claimed as private 
property ; the Lieutenant was then instructed to depart, and say to his chief, 
General Castro, that the remainder of the horses were at his disposal when- 
ever he should wish to come and take them. The Americans at once 
returned to Montgomery's, with the horses, and there breakfasted ; that night, 
the 10th, they camped twenty-seven miles above Sutter's, on the rancho of 
Nicolas Allgier, a German, not far from the mouth of Bear river, and, in the 
morning, ascertaining that Fremont had moved his camp thither from the 
Buttes, they joined him on the 11th, at 10 A. M., having traveled about one 
hundred and fifty miles in forty-eight hours. 

On arriving at Fremont's camp it was found that the garrison had been 
cmsiderablv augmented by the arrival of more settlers who were all 
ardently discussing the events of the past two da}'S, and its probable results. 
After a full hearing it was determined by them that, haying gone so far, 
their only chance of safety was in a rapid march to the town of Sonoma, to 
effect its capture, and to accomplish this before the news of the stoppage of 
Lieutenant Arci and his horses could have time to reach that garrison. It 
was felt that should this design prove successful all further obstacles to the 
eventual capture of the country would have vanished. The daring band 
then reoi'ganized, still retaining in his position of Captain, Ezekiel Merritt. 
At 3 P. M., June 12th, under their leader they left Fremont's camp for 
Sonoma, one hundred and twenty miles distant, and traveling all that night, 
passed the rancho of William Gordon, about ten miles from the present town 
of Woodland, Yolo county, whom they desired to inform all Americans that 
could be trusted, of their intention. At 9 A. M., on the 13th, they reached 
Captain John Grigsby's, at the head of Napa valley, and were joined by 


William L. Todd, William Scott and others. Here the company, which 
now mustered thirty-three men, was reorganize!, and addressed by Doctor 
Robert Semple. Not desiring, however, to reach Sonoma till daylight, they 
halted here till midnight, when they once more resumed their march, and 
before it was yet the dawn of June 14, 1846, surprised and captured the 
garrison of Sonoma, consisting of six soldiers, nine pieces of artillery, and 
some small arms, etc., "all private property being religiously respected; and 
in generations yet to come their children's children may look back with, 
pride and pleasure upon the commencement of a revolution which was carried 
on by their fathers' fathers upon principles as high and holy as the laws of 
eternal justice." 

Their distinguished prisoners were General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Prudon, Captain Don Salvador Mundo Vallejo, 
brother to the general, and Mr. Jacob Primer Leese, brother-in-law to the 

We would now lay before the reader the account of this episode, as 
described by General Vallejo, at the Centennial exercises, held at Santa Rosa, 
July 4, 1876:— 

" I have now to say something of the epoch which inaugurated a new era 
for this country. A little before dawn on June 14, 1846, a party of hunters 
and trappers, with some foreign settlers, under command of Captain Merritt 
Doctor Semple, and William B. Ide, surrounded my residence at Sonoma, and 
without firing a shot, made prisoners of myself, then Commander of the 
northern frontier; of Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Prudon, Captain Salvador 
Vallejo, and Jacob P. Leese. I should here state that down to October. 1845, 
I had maintained at my own expense a respectable garrison at Sonoma, 
which often, in union with the settlers, did good service in campaigns against 
the Indians; but at last, tired of spending money which the Mexican Govern- 
ment never refunded, I disbanded the force, and most of the soldiers who 
had constituted it left Sonoma. Thus in June, 1846, the Plaza was entirely 
unprotected, although there were ten pieces of artillery, with other arms and 
munitions of war. The parties who unfurled the Bear Flag were well 
aware that Sonoma was without defense, and lost no time in taking advan- 
tage of this fact, and carrying out their plans. Years before, I had 
urgently represented to the Government of Mexico the necessity of stationing 
a sufficient force on the frontier, else Sonoma would be lost, which would be 
equivalent to leaving the rest of the country an easy prey to the invader. 
What think you, my friends, were the instructions sent me in reply to my 
repeated demands for means to fortify the country? These instructions were 
that I should at once force the emigrants to recross the Sierra Nevada, and 
depart from the territory of the Republic. To say nothing of the inhuman- 
ity of these orders, their execution was physically impossible — first, because 
the immigrants came in Autumn, when snow covered the Sierras so quickly 


as to make a return impracticable. Under the circumstances, not only I, 
but Commandante General Castro, resolved to provide the immigrants with 
letters of security, that they might remain temporarily in the country. We 
always made a show of authority, but well convinced all the time that we 
had no power to resist the invasion which was coming upon us. With the 
frankness of a s ddier I can assure you that the American immigrants never 
had cause to complain of the treatment they received at the hands of either 
authorities 01 cil us. They carried us as prisoner,; to Sacramento, and kept 
us in a calaboose for sixty days or more, until the authority of the United 
States made itself respected, an 1 the honorable and humane Commodore 
Stockton returned us to our hearths." 

On the seizure of their prisoners the revolutionists at once took steps to 
appoint a captain, who was found in the person of John Grigsbv, for Ezekiel 
Men-itt wished not to retain the permanent command; a meeting was then 
called at the barracks, situated at the north-east corner of the Plaza, under 
the presidency of William B. lie, Doctor Robert Semple being secretary. 
At this conference Semple urged the independence of the country, stating 
that having once commenced they must proceed, for to turn back was certain 
death. Before the dissolution of the convention, however, rumors were rife 
that secret emissaries were being dispatched to the Mexican rancheros, to 
inform them of the recent occurrences, therefore to prevent any attempt at a 
rescue it was deemed best to transfer their prisoners to Sutter's Fort, where 
the danger of such would be less. 

Before transferring their prisoners, however, a treaty, or agreement was 
entered into between the captives and captors, which will appeal u tb' 
annexed documents kindly furnished to us by General Vallejo, and which have 
never before been given to the public. The first is in English, signed by the 
principal actors in the revolution and reads: — 

"We, the undersigned, having resolved to establish a government upon 
Republican principals in connection with others of our fellow-citizens, and 
having taken up arms to support it, we have taken three Mexican officers as 
prisoners; General M. G. Vallejo, Lieut. Col. Victor Prudon, and Captain D. 
Salvador Vallejo, having formed and published to the world no regular plan 
of government, feel it our duty to say that it is not our intention to take or 
injure any person who is not found in oppsition to the cause, nor will we take 
or destroy the property of private individuals further than is necessary for 
our immediate support. Ezekiel Merritt, 

R. Semple, 
William Fallon, 
Samuel Kelsey." 

The second is in the Spanish language and reads as follows : — 

" Conste pr. la preste. qe. habiendo sido sorprendido pr. una numeros a fuerza 
armada qe. me tomo prisionero y £ los gefes y officiates que. estaban de 


guarnicion en esta plaza de la qe. se apodero la espresada fuerza, habiendola 
encontrado absolutainte. indefensa. tan to yo, como los S. S. Officiates qe. 
suscribero eomprometemos nue stra palabra de honor, de qe. estando bajo las 
garantias de prisionero da guerra, no tomaremos las arm as ni a favor ni contra 
repetida fuerza armada de quion hemos recibiro la intimacion del momto. y un 
escrito fuinado qe. garantiza nuestras vidas, familias de - intereses, y los de 
toto el vecindario de esta jurisdn. mientras no hagamos oposicion. Sonoma, 
Junio, 14 de 1846, M. G. Vallejo. 

Vcr. Prudon. Salvador Vallejo." 

But to proceed with our narrative of the removal of the general,, his brother 
and Prudon to Sutter's Fort. A guard consisting of William B. Ide, as 
captain, Captain Grigsby. Captain Merritt, Kit Carson, William Hargrave, 
and five others left Sonoma for Sutter's Fort with their prisoners upon horses 
actually supplied by General Vallejo himself. We are told that on the first 
night after leaving Sonoma with their prisoners, the revolutionists, with sin- 
gular inconsistency, encamped and went to sleep without setting sentinel or 
guard ; that during the night they were surrounded by a party under the 
command of Juan de Padilla, who crept up stealthily and awoke one of the 
prisoners, telling him that there was with him close at hand a strong and 
well-armed force of rancheros, who, if need be, could surprise and slay the 
Americans before there was time for them to fly to arms, but that he. Padilla, 
before giving such instructions awaited the orders of General Vallejo, whose 
rank entitled him to the command of any such demonstration. The general 
was cautiously aroused and the scheme divulged to him, but with a self-sac- 
rifice which cannot be too highly commended, answered that he should go 
voluntarily with his guardians, that he anticipated a speedy and satisfactory 
settlement of the whole matter, advised Padilla to return to his rancho and 
disperse his band, and positively refused to permit any violence to the guard, 
as he was convinced tha j such would lead to disastrous consequences, and 
probably involve the rancheros and their families in ruin, without accom- 
plishing any good result. Lieutenant Revere says of this episode: — 

" This was not told to me by Vallejo, but by a person who was present, 
and it tallies well with the account given by the revolutionists themselves, 
several of whom informed me that no guard was kept by them that night, 
and that the prisoners might have easily escaped had they felt so inclined. 
The same person also told me that when Vallejo was called out of bed and 
made a prisoner in his own house, he requested to be informed as to the 
plans and objects of the revolutionists, signifying his readiness to collect and 
take command of a force of his countrymen in the cause of independence." 

Having traveled about two-thirds of the way from Sutter's Fort, Captain 
Merritt and Kit Carson rode on ahead with the news of the capture of 
Sonoma, desiring that arrangements be made for the reception of the pris- 
oners. They entered the fort early in the morning of June ICth. That 


evening the rest of the party, with their prisoners came and were handed 
over to the safe-keeping of Captain Sutter, who, it is said, was severely cen- 
sured by Captain Fremont for his indulgence to them. 

Mr. Thomas C. Lancey, the author of several interesting letters on this 
subject, which appeared in The Pioneer during the year 1878, remarks: — 

'There have been so many questions raised during this year (1878) in rela- 
tion to the date of the hoisting of the 'Bear Flag,' who made it and what 
material it was manufactured from, as well as the date of the capture of 
Sonoma, and the number of men who marched that morning, that I shall 
give the statements of several who are entitled to a hearing, as they were 
actors in that drama. 

"The writer of this (Mr. Lancey) was here in 1846, and served during the 
war. and has never left the country since, but was not one of the ' Bear Flag 
party,' but claims from his acquaintance with those who were, to be able to 
form a correct opinion as to ihe correctness of these dates. Dr. Robert Semple, 
who was one '»f that party from the first, says, in his diary, that they entered 
Sonoma at early dawn on the 14th of June, 1846, thirty-three men, rank and 
file. William B. Ide, who was chosen their commander, says in his diary the 
same. Captain Henry L. Ford, another of this number, says, or rather his 
historian, S. H. W., of Santa Cruz, who I take to be the Rev. S. H. Willey, 
makes him say they captured Sonoma on the 12th of June, with thirty-three 
men. Lieutenant Wm. Baldridge, one of the party, makes the date the 14th 
of June, and number of men twenty-three. Lieutenant Joseph Warren 
Revere, of the United States Ship 'Portsmouth,' who hauled down the 'Bear 
Flag' and hoisted the American flag, on the 9th of July, and at a later date 
commanded the garrison, says, the place was captured on the 14th of June." 
To this list is now added the documentary evidence produced above, fixing 
the date of the capture of General Vallejo and his officers, and therefore the 
taking of Sonoma, as June 14, 1846. 

On the seizure of the citadel of Sonoma, the Independents found floating 
from the flagstaff-head the flag of Mexico, a fact which had escaped notice 
during the bustle of the morning. It was at once lowered, and they set to 
work to devise a banner which they should claim as their own. They were 
as one on the subject of there being a star on the groundwork, but they taxed 
their ingenuity to have some other device, for the "lone star" had been already 
appropriated by Texas. 

So many accounts of the manufacture of this insignia have been published, 
that we give the reader those quoted by the writer in The Pioneer: — 

"A piece of cotton cloth," says Mr. Lancey, "was obtained, and a man by 
the name of Todd proceeded to paint from a pot of red paint a star in the 
corner. Before he was finished Henry L. Ford, one of the party, proposes to 
paint on the center, facing the star, a grizzly bear. This was unanimously 
agreed to, and the grizzly bear was painted accordingly. When it was done, 


the flag was taken to the flag-staff, and hoisted among the hurrahs of the 
little party, who swore to defend it with their lives." 

Of this matter Lieutenant Revere says: "A flag was also hoisted bearing 
a grizzly bear rampant, with one stripe below, and the words. 'Republic of 
California,' above the bear, and a single star in the Union." This is the evi- 
dence of the officer who hauled down the Bear flag and replaced it with the 
Stains and Stripes on July 9, 1846. 

The Western Shore Gazetteer has the following version: "On the 14th of 
June, 1846, this little handful of men proclaijiecP California a free and inde- 
pendent republic, and on that day hoisted their flag, known as the 'Bear 
flag;' this consisted of a strip of worn-out cotton domestic, furnished by Mrs. 
Kelley, bordered with red flannel, furnished by Mrs. John Sears, who had 
fled from some distant part to Sonoma for safety upon hearing that war had 
been thus commenced. In the center of the flag was a representation of a 
bear, en passant, painted with Venetian red, and in one corner was painted a 
star of the same color. Under the bear were inscribed the words 'Republic 
of California,' put on with common writing ink. This flag is preserved by 
the California Pioneer Association, and may be seen at their rooms in San 
Francisco. It was designed and executed by W. L. Todd." 

The Sonoma Democrat under the caption, A True History of the Bear 
Flag, tells its story: "The rest of the revolutionary party remained in pos- 
session of the town. Among them were three young men, Todd, Benjamin 
Duell and Thomas Cowie. A few days after the capture, in a casual conver- 
sation between these young men, the matter of a flag came up. They had 
no authority to raise the American flag, and they determined to make one. 
Their general idea w as to imitate without following too closely their national 
ensign. Mrs. W. B. Elliott had been brought to the town of Sonoma by her 
husband from his ranch on Mark West creek for safety. The old Elliott 
cabin may be seen to this day on Mark West creek, about a mile above the 
Springs. From Mrs. Elliott, Ben Duell got a piece of new red flannel, some 
w^hite domestic, needles and thread. A piece of blue drilling was obtained 
elsewhere. From this material, without consultation with any one else, these 
three voung men made the Bear Flag. Cowie had been a saddler. Dm 11 
had also served a short time at the same trade. To form the flag Duel! and 
Cowie sewed together alternate strips of red, white, and blue. Todd drew 
in the upper corner a star and painted on the lower a rude picture of a grizzly 
bear, which w 7 as not standing as has been sometimes represented, but was 
drawn w T ith head down. The bear was afterwards adopted as the design of 
the great seal of the State of California. On the original flag it was so 
rudely executed that two of those who saw it raised have told us that it 
looked more like a hog than a bear. Be that as it may, its meaning was 
plain— that the revolutionary party would, if necessary, fight then- way 
through at all hazards. In the language of our informant, it meant that 


there was no back out; they intended to fight it out. There were no 
halyards on the flag-staff which stood in front of the barracks. It was 
again reared, and the flag which was soon to be replaced by that of the 
Republic for the first time floated on the breeze." 

Besides the above quoted authorities, John S. Hitteli, historian of the 
Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco, and H. H. Bancroft, the Pacific 
Coast historian, fixed the dates of the raising of the Bear flag as June 12th 
and June 15th, respectively. William Winter, Secretary of the Association 
of Territorial Pioneers of California, and Mr. Lancey, questioned the correct- 
ness of these dates, and entered into correspondence with all the men known 
to be alive who were of that party, and others who were likely to throw any 
light on the subject. Among many answers received, we quote the following 
portion of a letter from James G. Bleak : — 

" St. George, Utaii, 16th of April, 1878. 

"To William Winter, Esq., Secretary of Association 'Territorial Pioneers 
of California — 

"Dear Sir: — Your communication of 3d instant is placed in my hands by 
the widow of a departed friend — James M. Ide, son of William B. — as I have 
at present in my charge some of his papers. In reply to your question ask- 
ing for ' the correct date' of raising the ' Bear Flag' at Sonoma, in 1846, I will 
quote from the writing of William B. Ide, deceased: 'The ar flag 

(wa>) in i le of plane (plain) cotton cloth, and ornamented with the red flan- 
nel of a shirt from the back of one of the men, and christened by the 'Cali- 
fornia Republic,' in red paint letters on both sides; (it) was raised upon the 
standard where had floated on the breezes the Mexican flag aforetime; it was 
the 14th June, '46. Our whole number was twenty -four, all told. The 
mechanism of the flag was performed by William L. Todd, of Illinois. The 
grizzly bear was chosen as an emblem of strength and unyielding resistance.' : 

The following testimony conveyed to the Los Angeles Express from the 
artist of the flag, we now produce as possibly the best that can be found: — ■ 

"Los Angeles, January 11, 1878. 
" Your letter of the 9th inst. came duly to hand, and in answer I have to 
say in regard to the making of the original Bear flag of California, at Sonoma, 
in 1846, that when the Americans, who had take^n up arms against the Span- 
ish regime, had determined what kind of a flag should be adopted, the follow- 
ing persons performed the work: Granville P. Swift, Peter Storm, Henry L. 
Ford and myself ; we procured in the house where we made our headquarters, 
a piece of new unbleached cotton domestic, not quite a yard wide, with strips 
of red flannel about four inches wide, furnished by Mrs. John Sears, on the 
lower side of the canvas. On the upper left hand corner was a star, and in the 
center was the image made to represent a grizzly bear passant, so common in 
this country at the time. The bear and star were painted with paint made 


of linseed oil and Venetian red or Spanish brown. Underneath the bear were 
the words 'California Republic' The other persons engaged with me got the 
materials together, while I acted as artist. The forms of the Ijear and star 
and the letters were first lined out with pen and ink by myself, and the two 
forms were filled in with the red paint, but the letters with ink. The flag 
mentioned by Mr. Hittell w r ith the bear rampant, was made, as I always 
understood, at Santa Barbara, and was painted black. Allow me to say, that 
at that time there was not a wheelwright shop in California. The flag I 
painted, I saw in the rooms of the California Pioneers in San Francisco, in 
1870, and the secretary will show it to any person who will call on him, at 
any time. If it is the one that I painted, it will be known by a mistake in 
tinting out the words ' California Republic' The letters were first lined out 
with a pen, and I left oat the letter ' [,' and lined out the letter 'C in its 
place. But afterwards I lined out the letter 'I' over the 'C,' so that the last 
syllable of 'Republic' looks as if the two last letters were blended. 

"Yours respectfully, Wm. L. Todd." 

The San Francisco Evening Post of April 20, 1874, has the following: 
"General Sherman has just forwarded to the Society of California Pioneers 
the guidon which the Bear Company bore at the time of the conquest of 
California. The relic is of white silk, with a two-inch wide red stripe at the 
bottom, and a bear in the center, over which is the inscription: 'Republic 
of California.' It is accompanied by the following letter from the donor: — 

" Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco, California— Gentlemen: 
At the suggestion of General Sherman I beg leave to send to your Society 
herewith a guidon formerly belonging to the Sonoma troop of the California 
Battaiion of 1846 for preservation. This guidon I found among the effects 
of that troop when I hauled down the Bear Flag and substituted the flag of 
the United States at Sonoma, on the 9th of July, 1846, and have preserved 
it ever since. Very respectfully, etc. 

"'Jos. W. Revere, Brigadier- General. 

"Morristown, N. J., February 20, 1874.'" 

The garrison being now in possession, it was necessary to elect officers, 
therefore, Henry L. Ford was elected First Lieutenant; Granville P. Swift. 
First Sergeant; and Samuel Gibson, Second Sergeant. Sentries were posted, 
and a system of military routine inaugurated. In the forenoon, while on 
parade, Lieutenant Ford addressed the company in these words: " My coun- 
tr} T men: We have taken upon ourselves a very responsible duty. We have 
entered into a war with the Mexican nation. We are bound to defend each 
other or be shot! There's no half-way place about it. To defend ourselves, 
we must have discipline. Each of you has had a voice in choosing your offi- 
cers. Now they are chosen they must be obeyed ! " To which the entire band 
responded that the authority of the officers should be supported. The words 


of William B. Ide, in con tin nation of the letter quoted above, throw further 
light upon the machinery of the civil-military force: " The men were divided 
into two companies of ten men each. The First Artillery were busily engaged 
in putting the cannons in order, which were charged doubly with grape and 
canister. The First Rifle Company were busied in cleaning, repairing and 
loading the small arms. The Commander, after setting a guard and posting 
a sentinel on one of the highest buildings to watch the approach of any per- 
sons who might feel a curiosity to inspect our operations, directed his leisure 
to the establishment of some system of finance, whereby all the defenders' 
families might be brought within the lines of our garrison and supported. Ten 
thousand pounds of flour were purchased on the credit of the government, 
and deposited with the garrison. And an account was opened, on terms 
agreed upon, for a supply of beef, and a few barrels of salt, constituted our 
main supplies. « Whisky was contrabanded all together. After the first round 
of duties was performed, as many as could be spared off guard were called 
together and our situation fully explained to the men by the commanders of 
the garrison. 

"It was fully represented that our success — nay, our very life depended on 
the magnanimity and justice of our course of conduct, coupled with sleepless 
vigilance and care. (But ere this we had gathered as many of the surround- 
ing citizens as was possible, and placed them out of harm's way, between 
four strong walls. They were more than twice our number.) The commander 
chose from these strangers the most intelligent, and by the use of an interpre- 
ter went on to explain the cause of our coming together. Our determination 
to offer equal protection and equal justice to all good and virtuous citizens; 
that we had not called them there to rob them of any portion of their prop- 
erty, or to disturb them in their social relations one with another; nor yet to 
desecrate their religion." 

As will be learned from the foregoing the number of those who were under 
the protection of the Bear flag within Sonoma, had been considerably increased. 
A messenger had been dispatched to San Francisco to inform Captain Mont- 
gomery, of the United States ship " Portsmouth," of the action taken by 
them, he further stating that it was the intention of the insurgents never to 
lay down their arms until the independence of their adopted country had been 
established. Another message was dispatched about this time but in a differ- 
ent direction. Lieutenant Ford, finding that the magazine was short of powder, 
sent two men named Cowie and Fowler, to the Sotoyome rancho, owned by H. 
D. Fitch, for a bag of rifle powder. The former messenger returned, the latter, 
never. Before starting, they were cautioned against proceeding by traveled 
ways; good advice, which, however, they only followed for the first ten miles 
of their journey, when they struck into the main thoroughfare to Santa Rosa. 
At about two miles from that place they were attacked and slaughtered by a 
party of Californians. Two others were dispatched on special duty, they, 


tro, were captured, but were treated better. Receiving no intelligence from 
< li r of the parties, foul play was suspected, therefore, on the morning of the 
i<Uh of June, Sergeant Gibson was ordered with four men, to proceed to the 
SnVyome rancho, learn, if possible, the whereabouts of the missino- men, and 
procure the powder. They went as directed, secured the ammunition, but o-ot 
no news of the missing men. As they were passing Santa Rosa, on their 
return, they were attacked at daylight by a few Calif ornians, and turning 
upon their assailants, captured two of them, Bias Angelina, and Bernadino 
Garcia, alias Three-fingered Jack, and took them to Sonoma. They told of 
the taking and slaying of Cowie and Fowler, and that their captors were 
Ramon Mesa Domingo, Mesa Juan Padilla, Ramon Carrillo, Barnardino Garcir., 
Bias Angelina, Francisco Tibran, Ygnacio Balensuella, Juan Peralta, Juan 
Soleto, Inaguan Carrello, Marieno Merando, Francisco Garcia, Ygnacio Stig- 
ger. The story of their death is a sad one. After Cowie and Fowler had 
been seized by the Californians, they encamped for the night, and the follow- 
ing morning determined in council what should be the fate of their captives. 
A swarthy New Mexican, named Mesa Juan Padilla, and Three-fingered 
Jack, the Calif ornian. were loudest in their denunciation of the prisoners as 
deserving of death, and unhappily their counsels prevailed. The unfortunate 
3 7 oung men were then led out, stripped naked, bound to a tree with a lariat, 
while, for a time, the inhuman monsters practised knife-throwing at their 
naked bodies, the victims the while praying to be shot. They then com- 
menced throwing stones at them, one of which broke the jaw of Fowler. 
The fiend, Three-fingered Jack, then advancing, thrust the end of his lariat 
(a rawhide rope) through the mouth, cut an incision in the throat, and then 
made a tie, by which the jaw was dragged out. They next proceeded to 
kill them slowly with their knives. Cowie, who had fainted, had the flesh 
stripped from his arms and shoulders, and pieces of flesh were cut from their 
bodies and crammed into their mouths, they being finally disemboweled 
Their mutilated remains were afterwards found and buried where they fell, 
upon the farm now owned by George Moore, two miles north of Santa Rosa. 
No stone marks the grave of these pioneers, one of whom took so con- 
spicuous a part in the events which gave to the Union the great State of Cali- 

Three-fingered Jack was killed by Captain Harry Love's Rangers. July 
27, 1853, at Pinola Pass, near the Merced river, with the bandit, Joaquin 
Murietta; while Ramon Carrillo met his death at the hands of the Vigi- 
lantes, between Los Angeles and San Diego, May 21, 1864. At the time 
of his death, the above murder, in which it was said he was implicated, 
became the subject of newspaper comment, indeed, so bitter were the 
remarks made, that on June 4, 1864, the Sonoma Democrat published a letter 
from Julio Carrillo, a respected citizen of Santa Rosa, an extract from which 
we reproduce: — 


" But I wish more particularly to call attention to an old charge, which I 
presume owes its revival to the same source, to wit: That my brother, Kamon 
Carrillo, was connected with the murder of two Americans, who had been 
taken prisoners by a company commanded by Juan Padilla in 1846. 

"I presume this charge first originated from the fact that my brother had 
been active in raising the company which was commanded by Padilla, and 
from the further fact that the murder occurred near the Santa Rosa farm, 
then occupied by my mother's family. 

"Notwithstanding these appearances, 1 have proof which is incontestable, 
that my brother was not connected with this affair, and was not even aware 
that these men had been taken prisoners until after they had been killed. 
The act was disapproved of by all the native Californians at the time, except- 
ing those implicated in the killing, and caused a difference which was never 
entirely healed. 

"There are, as I believe, many Americans now living in this vicinity, who 
were here at the time, and who know the facts I have mentioned. I am 
ready to furnish proof of what I have said to any who may desire it." 

The messenger despatched to the U. S. ship " Portsmouth " returned on the 
17th in company with the First Lieutenant of that ship, John Storny Miss- 
room and John E. Montgomery, son and clerk of Captain Montgomery, who 
despatched by express, letters from that officer to Fremont and Sutter. These 
amved the following day, the 18th, and the day after, the 19th, Fremont 
came to Sutter's with twenty-two men and Jose Noriega of San Jose and 
Vicente Peralta as prisoners. 

At Sonoma on this day, June 18th, Captain William B. Ide, with the con- 
sent of the garrison, issued the following: — 

" A proclamation to all persons and citizens of the District of Sonoma, 
requesting them to remain at peace and follow their rightful occupations with- 
out fear of molestation. 

" The commander-in-chief of the troops assembled at the fortress of Sonoma 
gives his inviolable pledge to all persons in California, not found under arms, 
that they shall not be disturbed in their persons, their property, or social rela- 
tion, one with another, by men under his command. 

"He also solemnly declares his object to be: — first, to defend himself and 
companions in arms, who were invited to this country by a promise of lands 
on which to settle themselves and families; who were also promised a Repub- 
lican Government; when, having arrived in California, they were denied the 
privilege of buying or renting lands of then friends, who, instead of being 
allowed to participate in or being protected by a Republican Government, 
were oppressed by a military despotism ; who were even threatened by proc- 
lamation by the chief officers of the aforesaid despotism with extermination 
if they should not depart out of the country, leaving all their property, arms 
and beasts of burden ; and thus deprived of their means of flight or defense, 


were to be driven through deserts inhabited by hostile Indians, to certain 

" To overthrow a government which has siezed upon the property of the 
missions for its individual aggrandizement; which has ruined and shamefully 
oppressed the laboring people of California by enormous exactions on goods 
imported into the country, is the determined purpose of the brave men who 
are associated under my command. 

" I also solemnly declare my object, in the second place, to be to invite all 
peaceable and good citizens of California who are friendly to the maintenance 
of good order and equal rights, and I do hereby invite them to repair to my 
camp at Sonoma without delay to assist us in establishing and perpetuating a 
Republican Government, which shall secure to all, civil and religious liberty; 
which shall encourage virtue and literature; which shall leave unshackled by 
fetters, agriculture, commerce and manufactures. 

"I further declare that I rely upon the rectitude of our intentions, the favor 
of heaven and the bravery of those who are bound and associated with me by 
the principles of self-preservation, by the love of truth and the hatred of 
tyranny, for my hopes of success. 

" I furthermore declare that I believe that a government to be prosperous 
and happy must originate with the people who are friendly to its existence; 
that the citizens are its guardians, the officers its servants, its glory its 
reward. " William B. Ide. 

"Headquarters, Sonoma, June 18, 1846." 

The Pioneer says Captain William B. Ide was born in Ohio, came over- 
land, reaching Sutter's Fort in October, 1845. June 7, 1847, Governor Mason 
appointed him land surveyor for the northern district of California, and same 
month was Justice of the Peace at Cache Creek. At an early day he got a 
grant of land which was called the rancho Barranca Colorado, just below Red 
Creek in Colusa county, as it was then organized. In 1851 he was elected 
county treasurer, with an assessment roll of three hundred and seventy-three 
thousand two hundred and six dollars. Moved with the county seat to Mon- 
roe ville, at the mouth of Stoney Creek, September 3, 1851, he was elected 
County Judge of Colusa county, and practiced law, having a license. Judge 
Ide died of small-pox at Monroeville on Saturday, December 18, 1852, aged 
fifty years. 

Let us for a moment turn to the doings of Castro. On June 17th, he issued 
two proclamations, one to the new, the other to the old citizens and foreign- 
ers. Appended are translations: — 

" The citizen Jose Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of Cavalry in the Mexican 
Army, and acting General Commandant of the Department of California. 

"Fellow Citizens: — The contemptible policy of the agents of the United 
States of North America in this Department has induced a number of 
adventurers, who, regardless of the rights of men, have designedly commenced 


an invasion, possessing themselves of the town of Sonoma, taking by surprise 
all the place, the military commander of that border, Col. Don Mariano Guad- 
alupe Vallejo, Lieutenant-Colonel Don Victor Prudon, Captain Don Salvador 
Yallejo and Mr. Jacob P. Leese. 

"Fellow countrymen, the defense of our liberty, the true religion which 
our fathers possessed, and our independence call upon us to sacrifice our- 
selves rather than lose those inestimable blessings. Banish from your hearts 
all petty resentments. Turn you and behold yourselves, these families, these 
innocent little ones, which have unfortunately fallen into the hands of our 
enemies, dragged from the bosoms of their fathers, who are prisoners among 
foreigners and are calling upon us to succor them. There is still time for 
us to rise en masse, as irresistible as retrihution. You need not doubt but 
that divine Providence will direct us in the way to glory. You should not 
vacillate because of the smallness of the garrison of the general head- 
quarters, for he who will first sacrifice himself will be your friend and fellow- 
citizen. Jose Castro. 

"Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17, 1840." 

" The citizen Jose' Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of Cavalry in the Mexican 
Army and Acting Commandant of the Department of California. 

"All foreigners residing among us, occupied with their business, may rest 
assured of the protection of all the authorities of the Department while they 
refrain entirely fron all revolutionary movements. 

" The general comandancia under my charge will never proceed with vigor 
against any persons; neither will its authority result in mere words, wanting 
proof to support it. Declarations shall be taken, proofs executed, and the 
liberty and rights of the laborious, which is ever commendable, shall be pro- 

"Let the fortunes of war take its chance with those ungrateful men, who, 
with arms in their hands, have attacked the country, without recollecting 
that they were treated by the undersigned Avith all the indulgence of which 
he is so characteristic. The imperative inhabitants of the department are 
witness to the truth of this. I have nothing to fear; my duty leads me to 
death or victory. I am a Mexican Soldier, and I will be free and independ- 
ent, or I will gladly die for those inestimable blessings. 

"Jose Castro. 

"Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17, 1846." 

On June 20th, a body of about seventy Californians, under Captain Jose 
Joaquin de la Torre, crossed the bay of San Francisco, and being joined by 
Correo and Padea, marched to the vicinity of San Rafael, while General 
Castro had, by the utmost pressure, raised his forces to two hundred and 
fifty men, most of them being forced volunteers. Of this system of recruit- 
ing Lieutenant Revere says: "1 heard that on a feast day, when the 


rancheros came to the mission in their 'go-to-meeting' clothes, with their wives 
and children, Castro seized their horses, and forced the men to volunteer in 
defense of their homes, against los Salvages Americanos." Castro, at i«he 
head of his army, on the evening of the 27th of June, marched out of Santa 
Clara, and proceeding around tbe head of the Bay of San Francisco, as far as 
the San Leandro creek, halted on the rancho of Estudillo, where we shall 
leave them for the present. 

Captain J. C. Fremont having concluded that it had become his duty to 
take a personal part in the revolution which he had fostered, on June 21st 
transferred his impedimenta to the safe keeping of Captain Sutter at the fort, 
and recrossing the American river, encamped on the Sinclair rancho, where 
he was joined by Pearson B. Redding and all the trappers about Sutter's 
Fort, and there awaited orders. On the afternoon of the 23d. Harrison 
Pierce, who had settled in the Napa valley in 1843, came into their camp, 
having ridden the eighty miles with but one change of horses, which he 
pi-ocured from John R. Wolfskill, on Putah creek, now Solano county, and 
conveyed to Fremont the intelligence that the little garrison at Sonoma was 
greatly excited, consequent on news received that General Castro, with a 
considerable force, was advancing on the town and hurling threats of recap- 
ture and hanging of the rebels. On receiving the promise of Fremont to 
come to their rescue as soon as he could put ninety men into the saddle, - 
Pierce obtained a fresh mount, and returned without drawing rein to the 
anxious garrison, who received him and his message with every demonstration 
of joy. Fremont having found horses for his ninety mounted rifles left the 
Sinclair rancho on June 23d — a curious looking cavalcade, truly. One of the 
party writes of them: — 

"There were Americans, French, English, Swiss, Poles, Russians, Prussians, 
Chileans, Germans. Greeks, Austrians, Pawnees, native Indians, etc., all riding 
side by side and talking a polyglot lingual hash never exceeded in diversibility 
since the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. 

"Some wore the relics of their home-spun garments, some relied upon the 
antelope and the bear for their wardrobe, some lightly habited in buck- 
skin leggings and a coat of war-paint, and their weapons were equally 

" There was the grim old hunter with his long heavy rifle, the farmer with 
his double-barreled shot-gun, the Indian with his bow and arrows ; and others 
with horse-pistols, revolvers, sabres, ships' cutlasses, bowie-knives and 'pepper- 
boxes' (Allen's revolvers)." 

Though the Bear Flag army was incongruous in personnel, as a body it 
was composed of the best fighting material. Each of them was inured to 
hardship and privation, self-reliant, fertile in resources, versed in woodcraft 
and In lian fighting, accustomed to handle firearms, and full of energy an D 
daring. It was a band of hardy adventurers, such as in an earlier age wrested 


this land from the feebler aborigines. With this band Fremont arrived at 
Sonoma at two o'ck>3k on the morning of June 25, 1846, having made forced 

The reader may not have forgotten the capture and horrible butchery of 
Cowie and Fowler by the Padilla party. A few days thereafter, while 
William L. Todd (the artist of the Bsar flag) was trying to catch a horse at a 
little distance from the barracks at Sonoma, he was captured by the same 
eran<r, and afterwards falling in with another man, he too was taken prisoner. 
The party several times signified their intention of slaying Todd, but he for- 
tunately knowing something of the Spanish tongue was enabled to make them 
understand that his death would seal General Vallejo's doom, which saved 
him. He and his companion in misfortune, with whom he had no opportun- 
ity to converse, but who appeared like an Englishman — a half fool and com- 
mon loafer — were conveyed to the Indian rancherie called Olompali, some eight 
rubles from Petaluma. 

For the purpose of liberating the prisoners and keeping the enemy in check, 
until the arrival of Captain Fremont, Lieutenant Ford mustered a squad, 
variously stated at from twenty to twenty-three men, among whom were 
Granville P. Swift, Samuel Kelsey, William Baldridge, and Frank Bedwell, 
and on June 23d, taking with them the two prisoners, Bias Angelina and 
Three-fingered Jack from Sonoma, marched for where it was thought the Cal- 
ifornians had established their headquarters. Here they learned from some 
Indians, under considerable military pressure, that the Californian troops had 
left three hours before. They now partook of a hasty meal, and with one of 
the Indians as guide, proceeded towards the Laguna de San Antonio, and that 
night halted within half a mile of the enemy's camp. At dawn they charged 
the place, took the only men they found there prisoners; their number was 
four, the remainder having left for San Rafael. 

Four men were left here to guard their prisoners and horses, Ford, with four- 
teen others starting in pursuit of the enemy. Leaving the lagoon of San Anto- 
nio, and having struck into the road leading into San Rafael, after a quick 
ride of four miles, they came in sight of the house where the Californians had 
passed the night with their two prisoners, Todd and his companion, and were 
then within its walls enjoying themselves. Ford's men were as ignorant of 
their proximity, as the Californians were of theirs. However, when the 
advanced guard arrived in sight of the corral, and perceiving it to be full of 
horses, with a number of Indian vacqueros around it, they made a brilliant 
• lash to prevent the animals from being turned loose. While exulting over 
their good fortune at this unlooked for addition to their cavalry arm, they 
were surprised to see the Californians rush out of the house and mount th Av 
already saddled quadrupeds. It should be said that the house was situated 
on the edge of a plain, some sixty yards from a grove of brushwood. In a 
moment Ford formed his men into two half companies and charged the enemy, 


who, perceiving the movement, retreated behind the grove of trees. From 
his position Ford counted them and found that there were eighty-five. Not- 
withstanding he had but fourteen in his ranks, nothing daunted, he dismounted 
his men, and taking advantage of the protection offered by the brushwood, 
prepared for action. The Californians observing this evolution became 
emboldened and prepared for a charge; on this. Ford calmly awaited the 
attack, giving stringent orders that his rear rank should hold their tire until 
the enemy were well up. On they came with shouts, the brandishing of 
swords and the flash of pistols, until within thirty yards of the Americans, 
whose front rank then opened a withering fire and emptied the saddles of 
eight of the Mexican soldiery. On receiving this volley the enemy wheeled to 
the right-about and made a break for the hills, while Ford's rear rank played 
upon them at long range, causing three more to bite the earth, and wounding 
two others. The remainder retreated helter-skelter to a hill in the direction 
of San Rafael, leaving the two prisoners in the house. Ford's little force hav- 
ing now attained the object of their expedition, secured their prisoners-of-war, 
and going to the corral where the enem} 7 " had a large drove of horses, changed 
their jaded nags for fresh ones, took the balance, some four hundred, and 
retraced their victorious steps to Sonoma, where they were heartily welcomed 
by their anxious countrymen, who had feared for their safety. 

We last left Captain Fremont at Sonoma, where he had arrived at 2 A. M. 
of the 25th June After giving his men and horses a short rest, and receiv- 
ing a small addition to his force, he wai once more in the saddle and started 
for San Rafael, where it was said that Castro had joined de la Torre with two 
hundred and fifty men. At four o'clock in the afternoon they came in sight 
of the position thought to be occupied by the enemy. This they approached cau- 
tiously until quite close, then charged, the three first to enter being Fremont. 
Kit Carson, and J. W. • Marshall, (the future discoverer of gold), but they 
found the lines occupied by only four men, Captain Torre having left some 
three hours previously. Fremont camped on the ground that night, and on 
the following morning, the 26th, dispatched scouting parties, while the main 
body remained at San Rafael for three days. Captain Torre had departed, 
no one knew whither ; he left not a trace ; but General Castro was seen from 
the commanding hills behind, approaching on the other side of the bay. 
One evening a scout brought in an Indian on whom was found a letter 
from Torre to Castro, purporting to inform the latter that he would, that, 
night, concentrate his forces and march upon Sonoma and attack it in the 

Captain Gillespie and Lieutenant Ford held that the letter was a ruse 
designed for the purpose of drawing the American forces back to Sonoma, and 
thus leave an avenue of escape open for the Californians. Opinions on the 
subject were divided: however, by midnight every man of them was in 
Sonoma. Jt was afterwards known that they had passed the night within a 


mile of Captain de la Torre's camp, who, on ascertaining the departure of the 
revolutionists effected his escape to Santa Clara via Saucelito. 

On or about the 26th of June, Lieutenant Joseph W. Revere, of the sloop- 
of- war "Portsmouth," in company with Dr. Andrew A. Henderson, and a 
boat load of supplies, arrived at Sutter's Fort; there arriving also on the same 
day a number of men from Oregon, who at once cast their lot with the " Bear 
Flag " party, while on the 28th, another boat with Lieutenants Washington 
and Bartlett put in an appearance. 

Of this visit of Lieutenant Revere to what afterwards became Sacramento 
city, he says: — 

"On arriving at the ' Embarcadero ' (landing) we were not surprised to find 
a mounted guard of ' patriots,' who had long been apprised by the Indians 
that a boat was ascending the river. These Indians were indeed important 
auxiliaries to the revolutionists during the short period of strife between the 
parties contending for the sovereignty of California. Having been most cru- 
elly treated by the Spanish race, murdered even, on the slightest provocation, 
when their oppressors made marauding expeditions for servants, and when 
captured compelled to labor for their unsparing task-masters, the Indians 
throughout the country hailed the day when the hardy strangers from beyond 
the Sierra Nevada rose up in arms against the hijos de pais (sons of the 
country). Entertaining an exalted opinion of the skill and prowess of the 
Americans, and knowing from experience that they were of a milder and less 
sanguinary character than the rancheros, they anticipated a complete deliver- 
ance from their burdens, and assisted the revolutionists to the full extent of 
their humble abilities. 

" Emerging from the woods lining the river, we stood upon a plain of 
immense extent, bounded on the west by the heavy timber which marks the 
course of the Sacramento, the dim outline of the Sierra Nevada appearing in 
the distance. We now came to some extensive fields of wheat in full bear- 
ing, waving gracefully in the gentle breeze, like the billows of the sea, and 
saw the white-washed walls of the fort, situated on a small eminence com- 
manding the approaches on all sides. 

" We were met and welcomed by Captain Sutter and the officer in com- 
mand of the garrison; but the appearance of things indicated that our recep- 
tion would have been very different had we come on a hostile errand. 

" The appearance of the fort, with its crenated walls, fortified gate-way 
and bastioned angles; the heavily-bearded, fierce-looking hunters and trap- 
pers, armed with rifles, bowie-knives and pistols; their ornamented hunting 
shirts and gartered leggings; their ioug hair turbaned with colored handker- 
chiefs; their wild and almost savage looks and dauntless and independent 
bearing ; the wagons filled with golden grain ; the arid, yet fertile plains ; 
the caoallados driven across it by wild, shouting Indians, enveloped in clouds 
of dust, and the dashing horsemen scouring the fields in every direction; all 


these accessories conspired to carry me back to the Romantic East, and 1 
could almost fancy again that 1 was once more the guest of some powerful 
Arab chieftain, in his desert stronghold. Everything bore the impress of vig- 
ilance and preparation of defense, and not without reason, for Castro, then at 
the Pueblo de San Jose', with a force of several hundred men, well provided 
with horses and artillery, had threatened to march upon the valley of the 

" The fort consists of a parellelogram, enclosed by adobe walls fifteen feet 
high and two thick, with bastions or towers at the angles, the walls of which 
are four feet thick, and their embrasures so arranged as to flank the curtain 
on all sides. A good house occupies the center of the interior area, serving 
for officers' quarters, armories, guard and state rooms, and also for a kind of 
citadel. There is a second wall on the inner face, the space between it and 
the outer wall being rooL I and divided into workshops, quarters, etc., and 
the usual offices arc provided, and also a well of good water. Corrals for the 
cattle and horses of the garrison are conveniently placed where they can be 
under the eye of the guard. Cannon frown from the various embrasures, 
and the ensemble presents the very ideal of a border fortress. It must have 
'astonished the natives' when this monument of the white man's skill arose 
from the plain and showed its dreadful teeth in the midst of those peaceful 

" 1 found during this visit that General Vallejo and his companions were 
rigorously guarded by the 'patriots, but I saw him and had some conversa- 
tion with him, which it was easy to see excited a very ridiculous amount of 
suspicion on the part of his vigilant jailors, whose position, however, as revo- 
lutionists was a little ticklish and excited in them that distrust which in dan- 
gerous times is inseparable from low and ignorant minds. Indeed, they car- 
ried their doubts so far as to threaten to shoot Sutter for being polite to his 

Fremont having with his men partaken of the early meal, on the morning 
of the 27th June returned to San Rafael, after being absent only twenty- 
four hours. 

Castro, who had been for three days watching the movements of Fremont 
from the other side of the bay, sent three men, Don Jose' Reyes Berryesa, (a 
retired Sergeant of the Presidio Company of San Francisco), and Ramon and 
Francisco de Haro (twin sons of Don Francisco de Haro, Alcalde of San 
Francisco in 1838-39), to reconnoiter, who landed on what is now known as 
Point San Quentin. On landing they were seized with their arms, and on 
them were found written orders from Castro to Captain de la Torre, (who it 
was not known had made his escaps to Santa Clara) to kill every foreign man, 
woman anil child. These men were shot on the spot; first as spies, second in 
retaliation for the Americans so cruelly butchered by the Californians. ^Gen- 
eral Castro, f aring that he might, if caught, share the fate of his spies, left 


the vancho of the Estudillos, and after a hasty march arrived at the Santa 
Clara Mission on June 29, 1846. 

Captain William D. Phelps, of Lexington, Massachusetts, who was lying 
at Saucelito with his bark, the "Moscow," remarks, says Mr. Lancey: — 

"When Fremont passed San Rafael in pursuit of Captain de la Torre's 
party, I had just left them, and he sent me word that he would drive them 
to Saucelito that night, when they could not escape unless they got my boats. 
I hastened back to the ship and made all safe. There was a large launch 
lying near the beach ; this was anchored further oft', and I put provisions on 
board to be ready for Fremont should he need her. At night there was not 
a boat on the shore. Torre's party must shortly arrive and show fight or 
surrender. Towards morning we heard them arrive, and to our surprise they 
were seen passing with a small boat from the shore to the launch ; (a small 
boat had arrived from Yerba Buena during the night which had proved their 
salvation). I dispatched a note to the commander of the 'Portsmouth,' 
sloop-of-war, then lying at Yerba Buena, a cove (now San Francisco), inform- 
ing him of their movements, and intimating that a couple of his boats could 
easily intercept and capture them. Captain Montgomery replied that not 
having received any official notice of war existing he could not act in the 

"It was thus the poor scamps escaped. They pulled clear of the ship and 
thus escaped supping on grape and canister which we had prepared for them. 

"Fremont arrived and encamped opposite my vessel, the bark, 'Moscow,' 
the following night. They were early astir the next morning when I land d 
to visit Captain Fremont, and were all variously employed in taking care of 
their horses, mending saddles, cleaning their arms, etc. I had not up to this 
time seen Fremont, but from reports of his character and exploits my imag- 
ination had painted him as a large sized, martial looking man or personage, 
towering above his companions, whiskered and ferocious looking. 

" I took a survey of the party, but could not discovery any one who looked, 
as I thought the captain to look. Seeing a tall, lank, Kentucky-looking 
chap (Doctor R. Semple), dressed in a greasy deer-skin hunting shirt, with 
trowsers to match, and which terminated just below the knees, his head sur- 
mounted by a coon-skin cap, tail in front, who, I supposed, was an officer, as 
he was given orders to the men. I approached and asked him if the captain 
was in camp. He looked and pointed out a slender-made, well-proportioned 
man sitting in front of a tent. His dress was a blue woolen shirt of some- 
what novel style, open at the neck, trimmed with white, and with a star on 
each point of the collar (a man-of-war's man's shirt), over this a deer-skin 
hunting shirt, trimmed and fringed, which had evidently seen hard times or 
service, his head unencumbered by hat or cap, but had a light cotton hand- 
kerchief bound around it. and deer-skin moccasins completed the suit, which 
if nut fashionable for Broadway, or for a presentation dress at court, struck 


me as being an excellent rig to scud under or fight in. A few minutes' con- 
versation convinced me that I stood in the presence of the King of the Rocky 

Captain Fremont and his men remained at Saucelito until July 2d, when 
they left for Sonoma, and there prepared for a more perfect organization, their 
plan being to keep the Californians to the southern part of the State until the 
immigrants then on their way had time to cross the Sierra Nevada into Cal- 
ifornia. On the 4th the National Holiday was celebrated with due poinp ; 
while on the 5th, the California Battalion of Mounted Riflemen, two hundred 
and fifty strong, was organized. Brevet-Captain John C. Fremont, Second 
Lieutenant of Topographical Engineers, was chosen Commandant; First 
Lieutenant of Marines, Archibald H. Gillespie, Adjutant and Inspector, with 
the rank of Captain. Says Fremont: — 

"In concert and in co-operation with the American settlei-s, and in the 
brief space of thirty days, all was accomplished north of the Bay of San 
Francisco, and independence declared on the 5th of July. This was done at 
Sonoma where the American settlers had assembled. I was called by mv 
position and by the general voice to the chief direction of affairs, ami on the 
6th of July, at the head of the mounted riflemen, set out to find Castro. 

" We had to make the circuit of the head of the bay. crossing the Sacra- 
mento river (at Knight's Landing). On the 10th of July, when within ten 
miles of Sutter's Fort, we received (by the hands of William Scott) the joyful 
intelligence that Commodore John Drake Sloat was at Monterey and had 
taken it on the 7th of July, and that war existed between the United States 
and Mexico. Instantly we pull down the flag of Independence (Bear Flag) 
and ran up that of the United States amid general rejoicing and a national 
salute of twenty-one guns on the morning of the 11th, from Sutter's Fort, 
from a brass four-pounder called "Sutter." 

We find that at two o'clock on the morning of July 9th, Lieutenant Joseph 
Warren Revere, of the " Portsmouth," left that ship in one of her boats, and 
reaching the garrison at Sonoma, did at noon of that day haul down the 
Bear Flag and raise in its place the stars and stripes ; and at the same time 
forwarded one to Sutter's Fort by the hands of William Scott, and another to 
Captain Stephen Smith at Bodega. Thus ended what was called the Bear 
Flag War. 

The following is the Mexican account of the Bear Flag war: — 

"About a year before the commencement of the war a band of adventurers, 
proceeding from the United States, and scattering over the vast territory of 
California, awaited only the signal of their Government to take the first step 

Note. — We find that it is still a moot question as to who actually brought the first news of 
the war to Fremont. The honor is claimed by Harry Bee and John Daubenbiss, who are stated 
to have gone by Livermore and there met the gallant colonel; but the above quoted observa- 
tions purport to be Colonel Fremont's own. 


in the contest for usurpation. Various acts committed by these adventurers 
in violation of the laws of the country indicated their intentions. But unfor- 
tunately the authorities then existing, divided among themselves, neither 
desired nor knew how to arrest the tempest. In the month of July, 1846, 
Captain Fremont, an engineer of the U. S. A., entered the Mexican territory 
with a few mounted riflemen under the pretext of a scientific commission, and 
solicited and obtained from the Commandant-General, D. Jose* Castro, per- 
mission to traverse the country. Three months afterwards, on the 19th of 
May (June 14th), that same force and their commander took possession by 
armed force, and surprised the important town of Sonoma, seizing all the 
artillery, ammunition, armaments, etc., which it contained. 

"The adventurers scattered along the Sacramento river, amounting to 
about four hundred, one hundred and sixty men having joined their force. 
They proclaimed for themselves and on their own authority the independence 
of California, raising a rose-colored flag with a bear and a star. The result of 
this scandalous proceeding was the plundering of the property of some Mexi- 
cans and the assassination of others — three men shot as spies by Fremont, 
who, faithful to their duty to the country, wished to make resistance. The 
Commandant-General demanded explanations on the subject of the Comman- 
der of an American ship-of-war, the "Portsmouth." anchored in the Bay of 
San Francisco; and although it was positively known that munitions of war, 
arms and clothing were sent on shore to the adventurers, the Commander, 
J. B. Montgomery, replied that "neither the Government of the United States 
nor the subalterns had any part in the insurrection, and that the Mexican 
authorities ought, therefore, to punish its authors in conformity with the 







San Mateo County is bounded on the north by San Francisco; east by the 
bay and Santa Clara; south by Santa Cruz, and west by the ocean. The 
county comprises a peninsula, having the Pacific Ocean upon the west and the 
Bay of San Francisco upon the east. Following the sinuosities of the shore 
lines upon the ocean and the bay, the county has a frontage upon navigable 
waters of about ninety miles. Upon the bay side are numerous navigable 
estuaries or sloughs traversing the salt marsh, which are of great commercial 
value for shipping purposes. 

It is six miles in width on the northern boundary line, with a very irregular 
southern and eastern boundary line separating it from Santa Clara and Santa 
Cruz counties of about sixty -five miles. Its greatest width is twenty-four 
miles, and the superficial area contained within its limits comprises 292,320 
acres. The original area of the county was much less than the above, but in 
March, 1868, was passed " An Act to fix and define the boundary line between 
the counties of San Mateo and Santa Cruz," by the provisions of which San 
Mateo acquired about 90,000 acres formerly belonging to Santa Cruz, includ- 
ing Pescadero and Pigeon Point. 

Much the larger portion of the county is mountainous and broken; the 
principal exceptions being on the bay front, where a highly fertile and beautiful 
valley of varying width extends along nearly the entire eastern side of the 
county, and on the ocean front in the vicinity of Half Moon Bay. 

A range of mountains known as the Santa Moreno extends the entire length 
of the county, and attain their greatest elevation at a point back of Searsville, 
where the altitude is about 2, 500 feet. Running parallel with these mountains 
and inside of a range of foot-hills to the east, is the most extensive of the inte- 
rior valleys, viz. : the Canada Raymundo. 


Smaller valleys are numerous throughout the range, and owing to their 
productiveness are cultivated with profit. In the southern portion of the 
county the mountains were formerly covered with a dense forest of redwood 
timber, and on the western slope large tracts in their virgin state still remain. 
Following the range to the northward the elevation decreases, and the hills are 
covered with manzauita chapparal. Owing to climatic influences the hills, 
where cultivation is impossible, wear a perrennial green, thus rendering the 
grazing of stock profitable where agriculture is impracticable. 

Climate. — The climate is quite as varied and diversified as the surface. It 
has been truly said that in California one may find every variety of climate ; 
from frigid to torrid, from Sahara's dryness to perpetual humidity. This as- 
sertion is well illustrated in San Mateo county, except that the extremes are not 
so great as above expressed. In the northern portion it bears some resem- 
blance to San Francisco's fogs and cold winds. In the central and southern 
parts the winds diminish and the climate becomes mild and delightful. On 
the ocean side the fogs roll in from the Pacific, and keep vegetation green the 
greater part of the year. But the climate of the whole is characterized by an 
equability of temperature that renders it as healthful and enjoyable as that of 
any part of the State. 

This equability of temperature is attributable to the ocean current flowing 
from the Gulf of Japan and setting against our coast, with an average tempera- 
ture of 53°. The variety of climate in this county is not caused so much by 
the difference of degrees as by prevailing winds and fogs. 

The rainfall of the coast side of the county exceeds that of the bay side, but 
a greater range of tempei'ature is observable on the eastern than on the western 
slope of the mountains. 

At Pigeon Point, in 1877, rain commenced falling in October and continued 
until the following June. 

The total rainfall for the season at that place was 36** inches, an amount 
considerably above the yearly average. 

At San Mateo the average rain-fall from November, 1877, to June, 1878, 
was 28$, inches. 

Scenery. — The scenery of San Mateo county is the most beautiful and 
varied of any county in the State. Here can be found the fertile valley west 
of the bay, extending to the foot-hills, dotted with the live and drooping oaks, 
in contrast with the many fields of grain. Still further towards the summit 
are the redwood forests and the mountain oaks; and now the western slope of 
the mountains, covered with chaparral, are fast disappearing before the plow 
and reaper. 

The ocean now comes into view. The marine views, in contrast with the 
redwood forests and lower hills, form some of the best scenery to be found. 


Aside from the many beautiful and varied scenes of mountain, hill, plain, 
ocean and bay that abound in this county, there is one almost unknown 
secluded gem, of rare beauty and picturesque form, and also a geological 
curiosity. Situated three miles south and west of the Summit Springs House, 
on the side of a canon known as the head of Deer Gulch, nearly 2,300 feet 
above sea level, there stand two enormous sand rocks, like lone sentinels of 
the forest. They are covered with nature's hieroglyphics, consisting of several 
large alcoves and arches winding through and down among boulder-like forma- 
tions, studded with columns of curious designs. Along the sides of the rocks 
is a perforated mass of different sizes and depths, from one inch to over a foot, 
no two alike, all varying in form; some resembling the shape of a diamond, 
the square, the ellipse, the egg, and numerous other irregular shapes. Among 
these perforations may be seen several column-shaped formations, free from 
perforations, and resembling somewhat the masonry of man. The oak, the 
pine, the redwood and madrone cling to the sides and top of these rocks. 

Many have gazed in wonder upon the granite walls of the Yosemite Valley, 
but with all of its varied scenery and massive combination of rock, tree and 
waterfall, none will surpass this little gem in beauty at our own doors. 

Streams. — Few counties of the State have a better water supply than San 
Mateo. Commencing at the southern extremity on the bay side is the San 
Francisquito Creek, which for a long distance is the dividing line between 
this and Santa Clara County, and one of the most important in the county. 
Northward from this are streams of considerable volume in the rainy season, 
but dry in summer, until the San Mateo Creek is reached, which flows through 
the town of San Mateo, and constitutes the second in size on the bay side of 
the county. 

On the western slope of the mountains, and emptying into the ocean, are 
the Pillarcitos, Purissima, Lobitas, Tunitas, San Gregorio, Pomponio, Pesca- 
dero, Butano, and the Gazos. In the interior are numerous smaller streams 
which, in the northern half of the county, are owned by the Spring Valley 
Water Company, and afford the water supply of the metropolis. This com- 
pany control the water-shed of thirty-nine square miles, which supplies three 
reservoirs, namely: the Pillarcitos, the San Andreas, and the Crystal Springs. 
These three reservoirs together have a storage capacity of about fifteen billion 
gallons. The elevation of the first above tide is six hundred and ninety-six 
feet; the second four hundred and fifty-three feet; the third three hundred 
and five feet. These waters are conducted by means of two thirty-inch plate- 
iron pipes to receiving reservoirs in the city of San Francisco, and extensive 
as the works now are, the company are projecting vastly increased storage 
facilities in the mountains. 


Roads. — With a mountain range dividing the most thickly settled portions 
of the county for its entire length, it is evident that the question of roads 
early engrossed the attention of the inhabitants. Such was the case, and it 
is safe to say that no subject in the county has received more attention at the 
hands of the Board of Supervisors and of the Legislature than the public 
highways. In the local politics, too, the soundness of a candidate on any 
road measures that were being agitated has been regarded as of more import- 
ance than his fidelity to any of the great political parties. 

Owing to the character of the business that first drew settlers to this county, 
good roads were indispensable. At the same time, owing to the broken sur- 
face of the country, roads were difficult to make, and with much trouble and 
expense kept in repair. With the heavy teaming between the redwoods and 
the valleys during the dry season, the roads were ground to dust, and in 
winter the mountain streams, swollen by heavy rains, played sad havoc with 

What the Board of Supervisoi-s of San Francisco county did in the matter 
of highways we are not able to state. It is certain, however, that much was 
not done, and this was one of the principal reasons for the people desiring a 
separate county organization. 

When San Mateo was erected into a county, the principal thoroughfare 
through the valley between San Francisco and San Jose was not even located, 
and one of the first acts of the board of the new county was in reference to 
the location of this road. 

From that time to the present, scarcely a regular meeting of the board has 
been held that some action has not been taken in the matter of roads, until, 
considering the topography of the country, no county can boast of better. 

There are three toll roads in the county : one leading from San Francisco, 
by way of the bay shore, and striking the main county road at San Bruno ; 
one leading from San Mateo up the San Andreas Valley and crossing the 
mountains to Spanishtown; the third being the Summit Springs turnpike, 
leading from Woodside into the mountains. 

There is but one line of railroad — the Southern Pacific — operated in the 
county. This was constructed in 1852-3, and the county extended its aid by 
subscribing for $100,000 of the capital stock. Prior to the session of the 
Legislature of 1880, and while the county boundaries included Dumbarton 
Point, San Mateo county embraced something over a mile of the South Pacific 
Coast, or Narrow Gauge Railroad, but Assemblyman Ames procured the passage 
of an act making the center of the channel the dividing line between this and 
Alameda county. 

In 1850, although for a portion of the year the route was almost impassable, 
two lines of stages were run between San Francisco and San Jose, one by 


Ackerly & Morrison, and the other by John W. Whistman. The fare at that 
time, according to the orthodox financial expression of the day, was " two 
ounces," or thirty -two dollars. 

Geology of San Mateo County. — "As the coast ranges in the vicinity of 
the Bay of San Francisco have been more carefully studied by the survey than 
any other portion of the State, and especially more so than the continuations 
of the same ranges north and south, it will be proper to take up the description 
of this region first, since its geological structure can be made out in a more 
detailed manner than that of other districts where of necessity less labor has 
been expended. 

Two difficulties beset us constantly in the study of the coast ranges; one ia 
the similarity in lithological character of rocks of different geological ages; 
the other, the comparative paucity of fossils by which the different sets of strata 
might be identified and traced over the wide extent of territory they occupy, 
where lithological characters were insufficient for this purpose It may also be 
noticed that the prevalence of metamorphic or chemical changes in the rocks 
has often obliterated all the evidences of stratification, while the thorough 
mechanical crushing which the beds have undergone over many extensive 
districts, has often rendered the deciphering of their stratigraphical position a 
task of extreme difficulty. In consequence of these conditions, while our 
general conclusions may be fairly accepted as making a reasonable approach 
to correctness, and as furnishing a sound basis for future explorations, we 
cannot avoid great deficiencies in the details, which only the patient labor of 
many years on the part of future students in this region will be able to 

Having gone over tbe geology of Monte Diablo Range as completely as our 
observations permit us to do, it will be convenient next to take up the region 
on the west side of the Bay of San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley. 

In doing this we shall start at the north end of the Bay of Monterey, and 
trace the formation along the coast from the southeast to the northwest, thus 
following a geographical order, and necessarily a somewhat artificial one, as it 
is impossible to avoid doing at the present stage of our work. 

As on the east side of the bay, so on the peninsula bordering its western 
shore and separating it from the Pacific Ocean, the hills and mountainous 
portions of the surface predominate greatly over the plains. Mountains cover 
the whole region north of the Bay of Monterey, with the exception of a strip 
along the Bay of San Francisco, which widens out as we go south, commencing 
at Point San Bruno, and which joins with the Valley of Santa Clara or San 
Jose at the southern extremity of the bay. 

Along the Pacific Coast the mountains come close down to the ocean, or, at 
least, are separated from it only by a narrow strip of table-land. Portions of 


this mountain region, with the very narrow valleys which it includes, and 
especially the lands along the base of the hills on the bay side, are among the 
most delightful and desirable sights in California, both on account of soil and 
climate, and, it may be added, for picturesque beauty of situation. San 
Francisco, the metropolis of the Pacific Coast, comprising fully one-quarter of 
the population of the State, and a much larger proportion of its wealth, 
stretches her arm down the peninsula, and the numerous fine country-seats 
along the foot-hills, far beyond San Mateo, tell of the prosperity of the 
commercial capital. 

What has been said of the geology of the Contra Costa hills will in a 
considerable degree apply to the ranges on the west side of the bay. There 
are on this side as well as that, a number of parallel ranges, which extend for 
a certain distance and then come together into great masses of mountains, in 
which no definite trend of the subordinate parts can be traced. For these 
ranges there are no particular designations in general use, and it is very 
difficult to give them satisfactory and appropriate names. Beginning at the 
north, however, we find the name " San Bruno Mountains" given to the short 
range which extends in a direction diagonal to the peninsula, from Sierra 
Point nearly across to the Pacific, being separated by a low divide from the 
group of hills on the San Miguel Ranch, to which the name of " San Miguel 
Hills" may be given. The ranges extending through San Mateo county and 
their continuations through Santa Cruz, may conveniently be designated by 
the names of the counties through which they pass, since there is no general 
well-known name for them. 

In these hills and mountains of the peninsula we have in many respects the 
counterpart of those on the opposite side of the bay. They belong to the 
same tertiary and cretaceous systems, and exhibit the same general lithological 
characters, yet with many local peculiarities. Fossils are much less abundant 
in these ranges than in those on the Monte Diablo side, and the geology is 
rendered more complicated by the intrusive granite rocks, which appear in 
several places on the peninsula. 

The entire system of elevations between the Bay of Monterey and the 
Golden Gate is sometimes included under one name, and called the Santa 
Cruz Range, which is, however, properly the term for the southern and middle 
portion of the hills in question, or those included in Santa Cruz County. 
Here, in fact, are the highest mountains and broadest belt of elevated country, 
the chain diminishing in height and breadth as it runs north until it sinks 
beneath the ocean at the Golden Gate. The entire range, from the Bay of 
Monterey to the end of the peninsula, is about sixty-five miles in length, and 
its greatest breadth is about twenty-five miles. The eastern ridges are highly 
metamorphic, and constitute the main portion or back-bone of the range, 
Mount Bache being the highest point; this has an elevation of 3,780 feet, 


being less than 100 feet lower than Monte Diablo; this mountain mass, to 
which Mounts Choual (3,530 feet) and Umunhum (3,430 feet) belong, is the 
dominating one of the range, although there are points farther north which 
rise to over 3000 feet. 

Taking up the description of these mountains which are collectively 
designated as the " Santa Cruz Range," we commence near the town of that 
name, and proceed in a northerly direction, grouping the subdivisions of the 
range in as natural a manner as possible. 

At Pigeon Point, a bluish-gray, very compact sandstone Avas found, con- 
taining Natica Matra and Mijlilus, and belonging to the great miocene tertiary 
of this portion of the peninsula. The coast for nearly the whole distance 
between Pescadero and Santa Cruz shows two well-marked terraces of varia- 
ble heights, and often interrupted by the coming down of the hills quite to 
the shore. The whole region traversed by the trail from Pescadero to Sears- 
ville, as far as the metamorphic on the eastern edge of the range, is bituminous 
shale of the miocene age, with occasional bsds of interstratifiod smdstone, of 
which the dip is irregular, but not high. 

From Lambert's, along the ridge north of Pescadero creek, the rock is of a 
shale or slate, of a light cream -color, passing into gray. It contains, toward 
the coast, occasional seams of sandstone, which disappear within four miles of 
Lambert's. The general strike of these strata is nearly northwest and southeast; 
they have a dip which indicates that the surface has been thrown into a series 
of low arches since the deposition of this bituminous shale. No other fossils 
were found than a few small splinters of opalized wood and an impression of 
a fish-scale; but from bithological characters and general position, it can hardly 
be anything else than the miocene bituminous slate of the coast ranges. 

The same rock is seen in the high hills between Pescadero and Butano 
creeks, and near the beach west of Pescadero; going north from the last- 
named place, it continues as far as three miles northeast of Spanishtown, 
where it caps a mass of granite which forms the body of the ridge. Another 
line of section across the peninsula was examined, viz.: from San Mateo to 
Half Moon Bay, at Spanishtown. 

Near San Mateo, and a little north of the road to Crystal Springs, there is a 
good exposure of the metamorphic rock which forms the eastern edge of the 
mountain belt of the peninsula. The rock here is a red jaspery mass, quite 
resembling that of Monte Diablo, distinctly stratified and passing into brown 
argillaceous sandstone; it dips east, at an angle of 35°. As we proceed west 
along the Crystal Springs road, the ground rises, and finally assumes the form 
of a rolling plateau, of which the summit is about 1,200 feet high. In thus 
passing west, the rocks become more and more metamorphic, and serpentine 
makes its appearance. On the ridge fronting San Andreas Creek, to the north 
of Crystal Springs, there is a serpentine intermixed with white quartz, and 
red and green jaspers. 


In the canon of the San Andreas, on the west side, there is a heavy mass of 
limestone, which may be traced high up in the side gorges coming down from 
the west. It dips to the northeast, at a varying angle, usually not less than 
35°, but in some places stands nearly vertical. The upper layers are thin- 
bedded, and some strata are light colored, others dark; below, the stratifica- 
tion is less distinct, the layers heavier, and the rock more crystalline. The 
thickness of this belt of limestone must be over 1,000 feet; but it was not seen 
in its full width. A little distance south of Crystal Springs, this rock was 
formerly quarried and burned for lime. 

Between the limestone mass and the head of Pillarcitos Creek there is a 
series of heavy-bedded sandstones, brown in color, but so much broken and 
so irregular that their position could not be made out, although they appeared 
in some places to be conformable with the limestone belt, which dips to the 
east. This sandstone forms a ridge which rises to about 2,500 feet above the 
sea, and is the backbone of the peninsula in this region, occupying a belt of 
high rolling country for two or three miles in width. No fossils could be 
found in this rock. West of this is a range of granite hills, to which the 
Cumbre de las Auras belongs, and which runs northwest, and dies out just 
before reaching Point San Pedro. This granitic mass occupies an elliptical 
area, and consists of high rounded, almost bare ridges, rising in their highest 
peaks from 2,500 to 3,000 feet above the sea. The granite decomposes readily, 
and the sides of the hills are in places covered by heavy masses of disinte- 
grated rock. The region is dry and uncultivated. 

Beyond this, to the west, is a low ridge of heavy-bedded friable sandstone, 
with a dip of 40°, away from the granite, or to the west; proceeding a little 
farther west, however, the same strata are seen again with an easterly dip of 
50°, and this continues to be the direction of the dip all the way to the sandy 
plain on which Spanishtown is built. The strata, however, have a less and 
less decided inclination as we recede from the granite, and finally, before 
reaching the coast become nearly horizontal; they also pass gradually from 
sandstones to shales, very thinly bedded, and a good deal broken. 

The fossils found in these strata show that they belong to the miocene 
tertiary. They are the continuation of the bituminous slate series which 
extends all along the coast from Santa Cruz to Spanishtown, forming a gradu- 
ally narrowing belt of rock, which is slightly disturbed near the granite, but 
at a little distance from it, retains its original position. 

The belt of limestone noticed above, as occurring between San Andreas and 
San Mateo creeks, runs out to the sea-shore about one and a-quarter miles 
north of Point San Pedro, forming a low ridge of headland. Here it has to 
the south of it a red and green jaspery rock, distinctly stratified, and having 
the same northeasterly dip as the limestone. 



The granite range of the Cumbre de las Auras disappears beneath the ocean, 
but rises again to the north of the Golden Gate, in the promontory of Punta 
de los Reyes. The great regular ranges of mountains which form the penin- 
sula appear to run out to the north of San Pedro, and no more granite is seen 
on its northern end after passing the mass of the Cumbre de las Auras. The 
extremity of the peninsula is occupied by short and broken ranges, or low 
hills, in which the regular trend to the northwest can be no longer detected, 
but where the influence of the east and west line of depression, by which the 
Golden Gate has been opened and access given to the interior, is manifested 
in the most chaotic jumble of strata which it is possible to find in the State. 




The native tribe which roamed the then valley of San Bernardino, now 
known as Santa Clara, were the Olhones, sometimes called the Costanes, who 
were worshipers of the sun, and believed in an evil spirit wko took cognizance 
of their actions, whom they were wont to propitiate. They had some very 
crude ideas of a future state, while their traditions, if they had any, were of 
the most meager kind. 

Superstition wrapped these savages like a cloud, from which they never 
emerged. The phenomena of nature on every hand, indeed, taught them 
that there was some unseen cause for all things — some power which they could 
neither comprehend nor resist. The volcano and the earthquake taught them 
this, and many accounts of these in past ages are preserved in their legends; 
but farther than this, their minds could not penetrate. 

Mr. Hall says: "Nearly all the Indians in this region, and those of Santa 
Cruz, were in the habit of visiting the hill in which the New Almaden Mine 
was first opened and worked, to obtain red paint to adorn their faces and 
bodies. The cinnabar is of a reddish hue, and when moistened and rubbed, 
easily produces a red pigment, highly esteemed by the savages in the arrange- 
ment of their toilet. While the color of their decoration was pleasing to their 
eyes, its effect on their system was by no means agreeable. It salivated them — 
a result as mysterious and unexplained to them as the setting of the sun. 
Although a little painful, they seemingly forgot their illness as they witnessed 
the lustre of their skin, and were as resolute in their pride of dress as the 
proud damsel groaning in tight corset's and tight shoes." 

Whatever may have been their appearance and character in the sixteenth 
century, it is certain that the Indians of this part of the coast of California, 
as they have ever been known to the American pioneer, are no fit subjects for 

The tribes inhabiting the shores of the Bay of San Francisco did not essen- 
tially differ from those found in middle and southern California. They were 
perhaps less warlike than their neighbors upon the north, and certainly less so 


than the mountain tribes. They were small of stature, compactly built, and 
possessed of considerable strength and endurance. For the most part they 
were beardless, but had long, coarse hair. Their complexion was not of the 
traditional copper color, being much darker; in fact, not much lighter than 
the African. The formation of their heads and the contour of their features 
indicated a very low rank in the intellectual scale. It may well be supposed 
that climatic influences played an important part in the formation of their 
character. The curse pronounced on Adam extended to these natives with 
but limited application, and it is doubtful if they sweat much, except in their 
sanitariums, constructed to effect that object. 

The salubrity of the climate rendered unnecessary those protections that 
tribes inhabiting less propitious climates were forced to provide. The rudest 
possible architecture sufficed, and they deemed the clothing of their bodies 
unnecessary. Nature provided the means of subsistence. Of marine pro- 
ductions, oysters, mussels and fish were abundant and easily obtained. By 
his intimate acquaintance with the traits and habits of bird and beast, the 
Indian was enabled to capture a sufficient supply, although employing the 
rudest contrivances, while roots and herbs, nuts and insects filled up the 
measure of his wants. The tule huts and the caves of the rocks afforded 
sufficient shelter to a people that for the most part disdained any covering but 
the canopy of heaven. Generation after generation passed under conditions 
so inviting to inaction and repose, and, without the spur of necessity, had so 
wrought upon the character of these natives, that they were well-nigh incapable 
of improvement. 

At the missions the Digger Indian could be forced to wear clothing; could 
be forced to cleanliness by the use of water, and be taught to go through the 
forms of religious observances; but first, last, and all the time he was a Digger, 
and next to worthless. His inclinations ever prompted him to renounce the 
badge of his advancement, and return to the manners and customs of his 
people. That the race has suffered physical deterioration by contact with 
civilized men has never been questioned. In the year 1837, it is reported that 
no less than sixty thousand died of small-pox in the territory embraced by 
Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties. How numerous they were in this county 
can never be definitely known; but that a large population was at some period 
gathered on the shores of the ocean and the bay is certain. A few pitiable 
remnants can still be found in the county, but in the presence of a superior 
race the Indian has slunk away and perished. It has been a much-debated 
question whether the mission system was a benefit to the Indians; but whether 
it was or not, it is certain that upon the breaking up of that system, the race 
rapidly decreased in numbers, and in less than half a century became almost 
whollv extinct in these vallevs where formerly they were so numerous. 


At the advent of the foreign settlers in this county, a mere handful only was 
found, and that chiefly at the Seventeen Mile House and Spanish town. When 
lumbering began in the redwoods near Searsville, there were less than half a 
dozen inhabiting that part of the county. " Indian Jim," who has not yet 
made his journey to the "happy hunting-grounds," was there, and he still 
lives on or about the Dennis Martin ranch. "Antoine" was living at the 
Mountain Home ranch; and a boy, afterwards killed, was living at Capt. John 
Greer's. On the foothills near San Mateo, an Indian blacksmith, who was 
sufficiently adept in his trade to make Mexican spurs and bridle-bits, was 
living after American settlers began arriving. 

As long as the old-fashioned Mexican manners and habits of living were 
continued, a few were always to be found at the ranches of all the landed 
proprietors, especially at the Sanchez, Vasquez, Merimentez and Martinez 

Although not so numerous here as on the opposite side of the bay, yet the 
accumulation in many distinct localities of camp debris — called Indian mounds — 
testify to long occupation, and great numbers within the limits of San Mateo 
county. These mounds were simply camping-grounds, and acquired the uni- 
formly circular and elevated outlines by receiving the refuse of the camp and 
the bodies of the dead. Mound street, in Redwood City, traverses one of these 
and from that circumstance derives its name. Near the grounds of the Union 
Cemetery Association is another of considerable size. The sites were always 
selected with reference to their convenience to water and fuel. The only 
structure approaching the dignity of a building was the universal "sweat- 
house," or council chamber. Its location is indicated by a saucer-shaped 
depression in the ground. Above these depressions was constructed a covering 
of poles thatched with twigs of trees, and covered on the outside with mud, to 
prevent the escape of heat. When completed it had the appearance of an 
inverted bowl, with a small aperture at the ground for ingress, and an opening 
in the top to allow the escape of smoke. The circumference at the base was 
usually from ninety to one hundred and thirty feet. This structure was deemed 
essential by all the tribes upon the coast, at least, and constituted the hospital 
and council house. 

When sanitary considerations demanded a sweating (for this was the cure- 
all), the Indians assembled here, built a fire in the center, closed the aperture 
by which they entered, and commenced the most laborious and fantastic kind 
of dance, accompanied by vocal music suited to barbaric tastes. When the 
dancing, howling, and artificial heat had reduced them to the desired degree 
of fluidity, the door was opened, and the Indians rushed out of the sweat- 
house and into the nearest water. This was the universal remedy, and must 
have been regarded as highly beneficial. 


At these mounds, or rancherias, are to be found almost all the evidences of 
Indian life, such as stone cooking utensils, and the contrivances for capturing 
game and fish, their ornaments of shell and stone, their weapons of warfare, 
and the ashes of their dead. The most elaborate pieces of workmanship to 
be found are the mortars, which vary in size from a capacity of a quart to 
several gallons. 

The Indians of this part of the country apparently observed no particular 
form of burial, but disposed of the body in the easiest and most expeditious 
manner. Before burial, the body was put into as small compass as possible, 
and buried in a sitting posture in a shallow grave, which was covered with dirt 
and rubbish, as was most convenient. Cremation was undoubtedly practiced 
to some extent. The corpse was sometimes burned within the sweat -house, 
but generally in the open air. It was bound closely together and placed upon 
a funeral pile of wood, which was set on fire by some near relative of the 
.deceased. The mourners, with their faces bedaubed with pitch, set up a fearful 
howling and weeping, accompanied with the wildest gesticulations. During 
the progress of the cremation the weapons and ornaments of the departed 
were cast into the flames. The body being consumed, the ashes were carefully 
collected, and a portion of them being mixed with pitch and daubed upon the 
faces of the mourners, the funeral rites were completed. 

These people were superstitious in the extreme, but, like the human race 
everywhere and in whatever depth of degradation, they had a vague idea of a 
future state of rewards and punishments, and believed in the existence of good 
and evil spirits. They paid their devotion to the former with offerings, while 
the latter was driven away with such devices as they imagined the devil stood 
in fear of. 




The Mission Dolores, in San Francisco, was founded October 9fch, 1776, 
and the next in order of date — the Mission Santa Clara — was founded in the 
year following, January 18th, 1777, under the political auspices of Carlos III, 
the then reigning monarch of Spain. Its site was four or five miles southwest 
of the southern extremity of the Bay of San Francisco. Around it, in later 
years, has grown up the pretty town of 'Santa Clara, in what is now known as 
Santa Clara county. The route between these two missions lay through the 
uninhabited peninusula, the intermediate region being mostly included within 
San Mateo county. The country was occupied by Indians, who had not yet 
been taught, either by force or the gentler methods of the missionaries, sub- 
mission to the Europeans. To guard in some measure against their hostile 
attacks, a small mission or station was established on the banks of San Mateo 
Creek, a little north of west of the village of San Mateo, and on the lands 
now owned by Wm. H. Howard. Here, in 1778, an adobe building was con- 
structed, the homely but substantial walls of which remained standing for 
many years, a monument of the zeal, and bold, adventurous spirit of the 
devoted little band of Franciscans. Some of our old settlers can remember 
when those walls, and even the red-tiled roof, were in a fair state of preserva- 
tion. A little, doubtful tumulus, alone, now marks the spot where they stood; 
all else is obliterated, save the ineradicable memory revived by a contempla- 
tion of this little mound of earth, that on this spot, over one hundred years 
ago, Catholic missionaries taught the aborigines the ways of civilization. It 
was Mr. Howard's desire to preserve the time-honored building, and to this 
end he kept it patched up, until the earthquake of 1868 wrecked its walls 
beyond repair, and some months afterward it was leveled with the earth. 

The establishing of the missions in California was the forerunner of a large 
immigration from Spain and Mexico, and soon the peninsula had its quota of 
representatives from those two countries, and their herds began to multiply on 
the hills and bottom lands that now constitute San Mateo county. The names 
alone of those early settlers would form an interesting page in the history of 
the country. In the list would doubtless be recognized some, probably many, 


of the prominent native families of more modern times. But they have only 
been catalogued on tombstones that have long, long since perished and been 

Prior to considering the American occupation of California, it will be as well 
to introduce the reader to a few of the characteristics, manners, customs, and 
mode of living pursued by the native Calif ornians. 

These were a half-caste race, between the white Castilian and the native 
Indian, very few of the families retaining the pure blood of old Castile; they 
were consequently of all shades of color, and developed, the women especially, 
into a handsome and comely race. Their wants were few and easily supplied; 
they were contented and happy; the women were virtuous, and great devotees 
to their church and religion; while the men in their normal condition were 
kind and hospitable, but when excited they became rash, fearless, yet cruel, 
with no dread for knife nor pistol. Their generosity was great, everything 
they had being at the disposal of a friend, or even a stranger, while socially 
they loved pleasure, spending most of their time in music and dancing; indeed, 
such was their passion for the latter, that their horses have been trained to 
curvet in time to the tones of the guitar. When not sleeping, eating, or 
dancing, the men passed most of their time in the saddle, and naturally were 
very expert equestrians; horse-racing was with them a daily occurrence, not 
for the gain it might bring, but for the amusement to be derived therefrom, 
and to throw a dollar upon the ground, ride by at full galop and pick it up, 
was a feat that almost any of them could perform. 

Horses and cattle gave them their chief occupation. They could use the 
riata or lasso with the utmost dexterity; whenever thrown at a bullock, horse- 
man, or bear, it rarely missed its mark. The riata in the hands of a Calif ornian 
was a more dangerous weapon than gun or pistol, while to catch a wild cow 
with it, throw her and tie her, without dismounting, was most common, and 
to go through the same performance with a bear was not considered extra- 
ordinary. Their only articles of export were hides and tallow, the value of the 
former being one dollar and a half in cash, and two in goods, and the latter 
three cents per pound in barter. Young heifers of two years old, for breeding 
purposes, were worth three dollars; a fat steer, delivered in the Pueblo of 
San Jose, brought fifty cents more, while it was considered neither trespass 
nor larceny to kill a beef, use the flesh, and hang the hide and tallow on a 
tree, secure from coyotes, where it could be found by the owner. 

Lands outside of the towns were only valuable for grazing purposes. For 
this use every citizen of good character, having cattle, could, for the asking, and 
by paying a fee to the officials, and a tax upon the paper on which it was 
written, get a grant for a grazing tract of from one to eleven square leagues of 
land. These domains were called ranchos, the only improvements on them 


being usually a house and corral. They were never inclosed; they were never 
surveyed, but extended from one well-defined landmark to another, and 
whether they contained two or three leagues, more or less, was regarded as a 
matter of no consequence, for the land itself was of no value to the government. 

It was not necessary for a man to keep his cattle on his own land. They 
were ear-marked and branded when young, and these established their owner- 
ship. The stock roamed withersoever they wished, the ranchero sometimes 
finding his animals fifty or sixty miles away from his grounds. About the 
middle of March commenced the "Rodeo" season, which was fixed in 
advance by the ranchero, who would send notice to his neighbors, for leagues 
around, when all, with their vaqueros, would attend and participate. The 
rodeo was the gathering in one locality of all the cattle on the rancho. When 
this was accomplished, the next operation was for each ranchero present to 
part out from the general herd all animals bearing his brand and ear-mark, 
and take them off to his own rancho. In doing this they were allowed to 
take all calves that followed their mothers, what was left in the rodeo belong- 
ing to the owner of the ranch, who had them marked as his property. 
On some of the ranchos the number of calves branded and marked each 
year appears to us at this date to have been enormous. Joaquin Bernal, who 
owned the Santa Teresa Rancho, eight miles south of San Jose, 'having been 
in the habit of branding not less than five thousand head yearly. In this work 
a great many horses were employed. Fifty head was a small number for a 
ranchero to own, while they frequently had from five to six hundred trained 
animals, principally geldings, for the mares were kept exclusively for breeding 
purposes. The latter were worth a dollar and a half per head; the price of 
saddle horses was from two dollars and fifty cents to twelve dollars each. 

In the month of December, 1865, a writer under the caption of "Yadnus," 
thus writes to the San Jose Mercury: 

Until the heavy floods and severe weather of the memorable winter of 1861 
had more than decimated their herds, it was the practice (in accordance with 
law, I believe), for the wealthy rancheros — men who counted their cattle, 
when they counted them at all— by the thousands, to hold, twice a year, a 
rodeo (rodere) to which all who owned stock within a circuit of fifty miles 
repaired, with their friends, and often their families. At the appointed time, 
the cattle for many leagues around were gathered up by the horsemen, or 
vaqueros (buckaros), of the different stockmen, and driven into a large corral, 
where the marking, branding, and claiming of stock oc'cupied sometimes a 
week. At the largest rodeo I ever witnessed, there were gathered together 
some thirty thousand head of cattle, and at least three hundred human beings, 
among whom were many of the gentler sex. These rodeos were usually pre- 
sided over by a "Judge of the Plains," an officer appointed by the Board of 
Supervisors, and whose duty it was to arbitrate between owners in all disputes 


that might arise as to cattle-property, overhaul and inspect all brands of stock 
being driven from or through the county, and to steal as many " hoobs" as he 
possibly could, without detection. In fact, the "perquisites" constituted 
pretty nearly the entire pay of this valuable officer, and if they all understood 
their business as well as the one it was my fortune to cabin with for a number 
of months, they made the office pay pretty well. 

By the time the rodeo season was over, about the middle of May, the 
" Matanza," or killing season commenced. The number of cattle slaughtered 
each year was commensurate with the number of calves marked, and the 
amount of herbage for the year, for no more should be kept alive than the 
pasture on the rancho could support. After the butchering, the hides were 
taken off and dried; the tallow, fit for market, was put into bags made from 
hides; the fattest portions of the meat were made into soap; while some of 
the best was cut, pulled into thin shreds, dried in the sun, and the remainder 
thrown to the buzzards and the dogs, a number of which were kept — young 
dogs were never destroyed — to clean up after a matanza. Three or four hun- 
dred of these curs were to be found on a rancho, and it was no infrequent 
occurrence to see a ranchero come into town with a string of them at his 
horse's heels. 

Let us consider one of the habitations of these people. Its construction 
was beautiful in its extreme simplicity. The walls were fashioned of large 
sun-dried bricks, made of that black loam known to settlers in the Golden 
State as adobe soil, mixed with straw, measuring about eighteen inches square 
and three in thickness; these being cemented with mud, plastered within with 
the same substance, and whitewashed when finished. The rafters and joists 
were of rough timber, with the bark simply peeled off, and placed in the 
requisite position, the thatch being of rushes or chaparral fastened down with 
thongs of bullock's hide. When completed, these dwellings stand the brunt 
and wear and tear of many decades, as can be evidenced by the number which 
are still occupied through the county. The furniture consisted of a few cook- 
ing utensils, a rude bench or two, sometimes a table, and the never-failing red 
camphor-wood trunk. This chest contained the extra clothes of the women — 
the men wore theirs on their backs — and when a visit of more than a day's 
duration was made, the box was taken along. They were cleanly in their per- 
sons and clothing; the general dress being, for females, a common calico gown 
of plain colors, blue gowns with small figures being those most fancied. The 
fashionable ball-dress of the young ladies was a scarlet flannel petticoat cov- 
ered with a white lawn skirt, a combination of tone in color which is not sur- 
passed by the modern gala costume. Bonnets there were none, the head-dress 
consisting of a long, narrow shawl or scarf. So graceful was their dancing 
that it was the admiration of all strangers; but as much cannot be said for 
that of the men, for the more noise they made, the better it suited them. 


The dress of the men was a cotton shirt, cotton drawers, ealzonazos, sash, 
serape, and hat. The ealzonazos took the place of pantaloons in the modern 
costume, and differed from these by being open down the side, or, rather, the 
seams on the sides were not sewed as in pantaloons, but were laced together 
from the waistband to the hips by means of a ribbon run through eyelets, 
thence they were fastened with large silver bell-buttons; in wearing them they 
were left open from the knee down . The best of these garments were made 
of broadcloth, the inside and outside seams being faced with cotton velvet. 
The serape was a blanket with a hole through its center, through which the 
head was inserted, the remainder hanging to the knees before and behind. 
These cloaks were invariably of brilliant colors, and varied in price from four 
to one hundred and fifty dollars. The ealzonazos were held in their place by 
a pink sash worn around the waist, while the serape served as a coat by day 
and a covering by night. 

Their courtship was to the western mind peculiar, no flirting or love-making 
being permitted. When a young man of marriageable age saw a young lady 
whom he thought would make a happy help-mate, he had first to make his 
wishes known to his own father, in whose household the eligibility of the 
connection was primarily canvassed, when, if the desire was regarded with 
favor, the father of the enamored swain addressed a letter to the father of the 
young lady, asking for his daughter in marriage for his son. The matter was 
then freely discussed between the parents of the girl, and, if an adverse 
decision was arrived at, the father of the young man was by letter so informed, 
and the matter was at an end; but, if the decision of her parents was favorable 
to him, then the young lady's inclinations were consulted, aud her decision 
communicated in the same manner, when they were affianced, and the affair 
became a matter of common notoriety. Phillis might then visit Chloe, was 
then received as a member of her family, and when the time came the marriage 
was celebrated by feasting and dancing, which usually lasted from three to four 
days. It may be mentioned here that when a refusal of marriage was made 
the lady was said to have given her lover the pumpkin — si dio la cabala. 

The principal articles of food were beef and beans, in the cooking and pre- 
paring of which they were unsurpassed; while they cultivated to a certain 
extent, maize, melons, and pumpkins. The bread used was the tortilla, a 
wafer in the shape of the Jewish unleavened bread, which was, when not 
made of wheaten flour, baked from corn. When prepared of the last-named 
meal, it was first boiled in weak lye made of wood ashes, and then by hand 
ground into a paste between two stones; this process completed, a small por- 
tion of the dough was taken out, and by dextrously throwing it up from the 
back of one hand to that of the other the shape was formed, when it was 
placed upon a flat iron and baked over the fire. 



The mill in which their grain was ground was made of two stones as nearly 
round as possible, of about thirty inches in diameter, and each being dressed 
on one side to a smooth surface. One was set upon a frame some two feet 
high, with the smooth face upwards; the other was placed on this with the 
even face downwards, while through an inch hole in the center was the wheat 
fed by hand. Two holes drilled partly through each admitted an iron bolt, by^ 
means of which a long pole was attached; to its end was harnessed a horse, mule 
or donkey, and the animal being driven around in a circle, caused the stone to 
revolve. We are informed that these mills were capable of grinding a bushel 
of wheat in about twelve hours ! Their vehicles and agricultural implements 
were quite as primitive, the cart in common use being formed in the following 
manner: The two wheels were sections of a log with a hole drilled or bored 
through the center, the axle being a pole sharpened at each extremity for 
spindles, with a hole and pin at either end to prevent the wheels from slipping 
off. Another pole fastened to the middle of the axle served the purpose of a 
tongue. Upon this framework was set or fastened a species of wicker-work, 
framed of sticks bound together with strips of hide. The beasts of burden were 
oxen, which were yoked with a stick across the forehead, notched and crooked 
so as to fit the head closely, and the whole tied with rawhide. The plow was 
a still more quaint affair. It consisted of a long piece of timber which served 
the purpose of a beam, to the end of which a bundle was fastened; a mortise 
was next chiseled, in order to admit the plow, which was a short stick with a 
natural crook, having a small piece of iron fastened on one end of it. With 
this crude implement was the ground upturned, while the branch of a conve- 
nient tree served the purposes of a harrow. Fences there were none, so that 
crops might be protected; ditches were therefore dug, and the crests of the 
sod covered with the branches of trees, to warn away the numerous bands of 
cattle and horses, and prevent their intrusion upon the newly sown grain. 
When the crops were ripe, they were cut with a sickle, or any other convenient 
weapon, and then it became necessary to thresh it. Now for the modus 
operandi. The floor of the corral into which it was customary to drive the 
horses and cattle to lasso them, from constant use had become hardened. Into 
this inclosure the grain would be piled, and upon it the manatha, or band of 
mares, would be turned loose to tramp out the seed. The wildest horses, or 
mayhap the colts that had only been driven but once, and then to be branded, 
would be turned adrift upon the straw, when would ensue a scene of the wild- 
est confusion, the excited animals being urged, amidst the yelling of vaqueros 
and the cracking of whips, here, there, and everywhere, around, across, and 
lengthwise, until the whole was trampled, and naught left but the grain and 
chaff. The most difficult part, however, was the separating these two articles. 
Owing to the length of the dry season, there was no urgent haste to effect 
this; therefore, when the wind was high enough, the trampled mass would be 


tossed into the air with huge wooden forks cut from the adjacent oaks, and 
the wind carry away the lighter chaff, leaving the heavier grain. With a favor- 
able breeze, several bushels of wheat could thus be winnowed in the course of a 
day; while, strange as it may appear, it is declared that grain so sifted was 
much cleaner than it is now. 

The government of the native Calif ornian was as primitive as the people. 
There were neither law-books nor lawyers, while laws were mostly to be found 
in the traditions of the people. The head officer in each village was the Alcalde, 
in whom was vested the judicial function, who received on the enactment of a 
new law a manuscript copy, called a bando, upon the obtaining of which a 
person was sent round beating a snare-drum, which was a signal for the assem- 
blage of the people at the Alcalde's office, where the Act was read, thus pro- 
mulgated, and forthwith had the force of law. When a citizen had cause of 
action against another requiring the aid of court, he went to the Alcalde and 
verbally stated his complaint in his own way, and asked that the defendant be 
sent for, who was at once summoned by an officer, who simply said that he 
was wanted by the Alcalde. The defendant made his appearance without loss 
of time, where, if in the same village, the plaintiff was generally in waiting. 
The Alcalde commenced by stating the complaint against him, and asked what 
he had to say about it. This brought about an altercation between the parties, 
and nine times out of ten the justice could get at the facts in this wise, and 
announce judgment immediately, the whole suit not occupying two hours from 
its beginning. In more important cases, three "good men" would be called 
in to act as co-justices, while the testimony of witnesses had seldom to be 
resorted to. A learned American judge has said that "the native Calif ornians 
were, in the presence of their courts, generally truthful. What they knew of 
false-swearing, or perjury, they have learned from their associations with 
Americans. It was truthfully said by the late Edmund Randolph, that the 
United States Board of Commissioners to settle private land claims in Califor- 
nia had been the graves of their reputations." 

They were all Roman Catholics, and their priests of the Franciscan order. 
They were great church-goers, yet Sunday was not the only day set apart for 
their devotions. Nearly every day in the calendar was devoted to the memory 
of some saint, while those dedicated to the principal ones were observed as 
holidays; so that Sunday did not constitute more than half the time which 
they consecrated to religious exercises, many of which were so much in con- 
trast to those of the present day, that they deserve a short description. 

The front doors of their churches were always open, and every person pass- 
ing, whether on foot or on horseback, did so hat in hand; any forgetfulness 
on this head caused the unceremonious removal of the sombrero. During the 
holding of services within, it was customary to station a,number of men with- 


out, who at appointed intervals interrupted the proceedings with the ringing 
of bells, the firing of pistols, and the shooting of muskets, sustaining a noise 
resembling the irregular fire of a company of infantry. 

In every church was kept a number of pictures of their saints, and a tri- 
umphal arch, profusely decorated with artificial flowers, while, on a holiday 
devoted to any particular saint, after the performance of mass, a picture of the 
saint, deposited in the arch, would be carried out of the church on the shoul- 
ders of four men, followed by the whole congregation in double file, with the 
priest at the head, book in hand. The procession would march all round the 
town, and at every few rods would kneel on the ground while the priest read 
a prayer or performed some religious ceremony. After the circuit of the town 
had been made, the train returned to the church, entering it in the same order 
as that in which they had departed. With the termination of these exercises, 
horse-racing, cock-fighting, gambling, dancing, and a general merry-making 
completed the work of the day. A favorite amusement of these festivals was 
for thirty or forty men on horseback, generally two, but sometimes three on 
one horse, with their guitars, to parade the town, their horses capering and 
keeping time to the music, accompanied with songs by the whole company, in 
this manner visiting, playing, and singing at all the places of business and 
principal residences; and it was considered no breach of decorum for men 
on horses to enter stores and dwellings. 

Some of their religious ceremonies were very grotesque and amusing, the 
personification of "the wise men of the east" being of this character. At 
the supposed anniversary of the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem, seven or 
eight men would be found dressed in the most fantastic styles, going in com- 
pany from house to house looking for the infant Savior. They were invariably 
accompanied by one representing the devil in the garb of a Franciscan friar, 
with his rosary of beads and the cross, carrying a long rawhide whip, and woe 
to the man who came within reach of that whip — it was far from fun to him, 
though extremely amusing to the rest of the party. The chief of these ceremo- 
nies, however, was the punishment of Judas Iscariot for the betray al of his Master. 
On the supposed periodicity of this event, after nightfall and the people had 
retired to rest, a company would go out and prepare for the forthcoming cere- 
monies. A cart was procured and placed in the public square in front of the 
church, against which was set up an effigy made to represent Judas, by stuffing 
an old suit of clothes with straw. The houses were then visited, and a col- 
lection of pots, kettles, dishes, agricultural implements — in fact, almost every 
conceivable article of personal property was scraped together and piled up 
around Judas, to represent his effects, until in appearance he was the wealthiest 
man in the whole country. Then the last will and testament of Judas had to 
be prepared, a work which was accorded to the best scribe and the greatest wit 


of the community. Every article of property had to be disposed of, and 
something like an equal distribution among all the people be made, each 
bequest being accompanied by some very pointed and witty reason for its 
donation. Among a more sensitive people, some of these reasons would be 
regarded as libelous. The will, when completed and properly attested, was 
posted on a bulletin board near the effigy, and the night's work was performed. 
As soon as sufficiently light, the entire population, men, women and children, 
congregated to see Judas and his wealth, and to hear read, and discuss the 
merits of his will, and appropriateness of its provisions. Nothing else was 
talked of ; nothing else was thought of until the church bell summoned them 
to mass, after which a wild, unbroken mare was procured, on the back of 
which Judas was firmly strapped; a string of fire-crackers was then tied to 
her tail, they were lighted, she was turned loose, and the ultimate fate of the 
figurative Judas was not unlike that which we are told occurred to his per- 
fidious prototype. 

The native Californians were a temperate people, intoxication being almost 
unknown. Wines and liquors existed in the country, but were sparingly used. 
In a saloon, when a "bit's worth" was called for, the decanter was not handed 
to the customer, as is now the case, but was invariably measured out, and if 
the liquor was a potent spirit, in a very small dose; while a "bit's worth" was 
a treat for a considerable company, the glass being passed around from one to 
the other, each taking a sip. The following amusing episode in this regard, 
which occurred in 1847, may find a place in this chapter. Juan Soto, an old, 
gray-headed man, and a great friend to the Americans — for every one who 
spoke English was an American to him — had come into possession of a "bit," 
and being a generous, whole-souled man, he desired to treat five or six of his 
friends and neighbors. To this end he got them together, marched them to 

Weber's store in the Pueblo de San Jose, and there meeting , who, though 

hailing from the Emerald Isle, passed for an American, invited him to join in 
the symposium. The old Spaniard placed his "bit" upon the counter with 
considerable eclat, and called for its value in wine, which was duly measured 

out. As a mark of superior respect he first handed it to , who, wag that 

he was, swallowed the entire contents, and waited the denotement with keen 
relish. Soto and his friends looked at each other in blank amazement, when 
there burst out a tirade in their native tongue, the choice expressions in which 
may be more readily imagined than described. 

There was one vice that was common to nearly all of these people, and 
which eventually caused their ruin, namely, a love of gambling. Their favorite 
game was monte, probably the first of all banking games. So passionately were 
they addicted to this, that on Sunday, around the church, while the women 
were inside and the priest at the altar, crowds of men would have their blank- 
ets spread upon the ground with their cards and money, playing their favorite 


game of monte. They entertained no idea that it was a sin, nor that there 
was anything in it derogatory to their character as good Christians. This pre- 
dilection was early discovered and turned to account by the Americans, who 
soon established banks, and carried on games for their amusement especially. 
The passion soon became so developed that they would bet and lose their horses 
and cattle, while, to procure money to gratify this disposition, they would bor- 
row from Americans at the rate of twelve and a half per cent, per day; mort- 
gaging and selliDg their lands and stock, yea, even their wives' clothing, so 
that their purpose should be gratified, and many unprincipled Westerns of 
those days enriched themselves in this manner at the expense of those poor 

Before leaving this people, mention should be made of their bull and bear 
fights. Sunday, or some prominent holiday, was invariably the day chosen 
for holding these, to prepare for which a large corral was erected in the plaza 
in front of the church, for they were witnessed by priest and layman alike. 
In the afternoon, after Divine service, two or three good bulls (if a bull-fight 
only) would be caught and put into the inclosure, when the combat com- 
menced. If there is anything that will make a wild bull furious, it is the 
sight of a red blanket. Surrounded by the entire population, the fighters 
entered the arena, each with one of these in one hand and a knife in the 
other, the first of which they would flaunt before the furious beast, but guard- 
edly keeping it between the animal and himself. Infuriated beyond degree, 
with flashing eye and head held down, the bull would dash at his enemy, who 
with a dextrous side spring would evade the onslaught, leaving the animal to 
strike the blanket, and as he passed would inflict a slash with his knife. 
Whenever by his quickness he could stick his knife into the bull's neck just 
behind the horns, thereby wounding the spinal cord, the bull fell a corpse, 
and the victor received the plaudits of the admiring throng. The interest 
taken in these exhibitions was intense; and, what though a man was killed, 
had his ribs broken, was thrown over the fence, or tossed on to the roof of a 
house; it only added zest to the sport — it was of no moment, the play went on. 
It was a national amusement. 

When a grizzly bear could be procured, then the fight instead of being 
between man and bull, was between bull and bear. Both were taken into 
the corral, each being made fast to either end of a rope of sufficient length to 
permit of free action, and left alone until they chose to open the ball. The 
first motion was usually made by the bull endeavoring to part company from 
the bear, who thus received the first " knock down." On finding that he 
could not get clear of Bruin, he then charged him, but was met half way. If 
the bear could catch the bull by the nose, he held him at a disadvantage; but 
he more frequently found that he had literally taken the bull by the horns, 
when the fight became intensely interesting, and was kept up until one or the 


other was killed, or both refused to renew the combat. The bull, unless his 
horns were clipped, was generally victorious. 

This custom of bull and bear fighting was kept up by the native Califor- 
nians, as a money-making institution from the Americans, until the year 1854, 
when the Legislature interposed by an " An Act to prevent noisy and bar- 
barous amusements on the Sabbath." 

Judge E. F. Peckham tells the following incident in regard to this Act, 
which, though not occurring in this county, still took place in the Santa Clara 
valley. Shortly after the foregoing enactment became a law, great prepa- 
rations were made for having a bull-fight, on the Sabbath, as usual, at 
the old Mission of San Juan Bautista. They were notified by the officers of 
the existence of the new law, and that they must desist from the undertaking. 
Dr. Wiggins, a mission pioneer in California since 1842, was then residing at 
San Juan; he spoke Spanish fluently, and was looked upon as a great friend 
by the native Californians. He never smiled, nor appeared to jest, yet he was 
the greatest tale-teller, jester and punster on the Pacific coast. In sallies of 
genuine wit he stood unequaled. In their perplexity about the new law, the 
Californians took counsel with the doctor; he examined the title of the Act 
with much seriousness and great wisdom. "Go on with your bull-fights," 
was the doctor's advice; "they can do nothing with you. This is an Act to 
prevent noisy and barbarous amusements on the Sabbath. If they arrest'you, 
you will be entitled to trial by jury; the jury will be Americans; they will, 
before they can convict you, have to find three things: first, that a bull-fight 
is noisy; this they will find against you; second, that it is barbarous; this they 
will find against you; bat an American jury ivill never find that it is an amuse- 
ment in Christ's time. Go on with your bull-fights." They did go on, and 
were arrested, to find that the doctor had been practicing a cruel joke on this 
long-cherished institution. They were sentenced to pay a fine, and it was the 
last of the bull-fights. Thus passed away the only surviving custom of a for- 
mer civilization. 

The history of the settlement of any county of California follows as sequen- 
tially, and is so closely allied with the history of the Pacific coast in general, 
and this State in particular, that to commence the chronicling of events from 
the beginning naturally and properly takes us back to the first discoveries in 
this portion of the globe made by the bold old voyageurs, who left the known 
world and charted seas behind them and sailed out into an unknown, untrav- 
ersed, unmapped and trackless main, whose mysteries were to them as great 
as those of that "undiscovered country" of which the Prince of Denmark 

In the year 1728, a Dane named Vitus Behring was employed by Catherine 
of Russia to proceed on an exploring expedition to the northwest coast of 


America and Asia, to find, if possible, an undiscovered connection between the 
Atlantic and Pacific oceans. On this voyage he solved the riddle, and gave to 
the world the straits which now bear his name. On his return he tendered to 
the Empress the handsome skins which he had pi*ocured on his cruise, and so 
delighted was she, and so excited was the cupidity of capitalists from other 
countries, that soon settlements were established on the coast, and the col- 
lection of furs commenced. In 1799, the Russian American Fur Company was 
organized and located in what is now known as Alaska; Sitka was founded in 
1805; and for many years the neighbors of the Russ were the Austrians and 
Danes. Now came the British. An association known as the King George's 
Sound Company was organized in London in 17S4, for the purpose of making 
a settlement on the Pacific coast, whither many of their vessels found their 
way until 1790. Between the years 1784 and 1790 the coast was visited by 
ships of the East India Company; and about the last-named year, craft of the 
United States were first seen in these waters. 

The ship Columbia, Robert Cray, Captain, arrived at the Straits of Fuca 
June 5th, 1791, and traded along the coast, discovering the Columbia river, 
which he named after his vessel, May 7th, 1792. In 1810 a number of hunters 
and trappers arrived in the ship Albatross, Captain Smith, and established the 
first American settlement on the Pacific coast. In the same year, under the 
leadership of John Jacob Astor, the Pacific Fur Company was organized in 
New York; and in 1811 they founded the present town of Astoria, at the 
mouth of the Columbia river. The British, however, soon after wrested it from 
their hands, and drove all the Americans out of the country, many of whom 
found their way into California. Between the years 1813 and 1822, save 
deserters from vessels, and those connected with trading-posts, there were no 
Americans on the coast. 

In his "Natural Wealth of California," Titus Fey Cronise informs us that 
from 1825 until 1834 the whole of the California trade was in the hands of a 
few Boston merchants. A voyage to this coast and back, during that time, 
was an enterprise of very uncertain duration, generally occupying two or three 
years. The outward cargo, which usually consisted of groceries and coarse 
cotton goods, had to be retailed to the missionaries and settlers, as there were 
no "jobbers" in those times, and neither newspapers, telegraphs, nor stages 
through which to inform customers of the ship's arrival. The crew had to 
travel all over the country to convey the news, which occupied considerable time. 
It was this portion of their duties that caused so many of them to desert their 
ships. They saw so much of the country, became so charmed with the free- 
dom, ease, and plenty that prevailed everywhere, that they preferred to remain 
on shore. Each of these vessels generally brought several young men as 
adventurers, who worked their passage out for the privilege of remaining. 


Many of the early settlers, whose children are now among the wealthiest 
citizens of the State, came to California in this manner. 

The outward cargo being disposed of, the homeward one had to be procured. 
Sometimes, when the season had been too dry, or too wet for the lazy vaqueros 
to drive the cattle into the missions to kill, there were no hides or tallow to 
be had. On such occasions the vessel was obliged to remain till the next 
season, when a sufficient number of cattle would be slaughtered to pay for 
the goods purchased, as there was no " currency" in the country except hides 
and tallow. 

The first white man, other than the Spaniards, who made what might be 
considered a permanent settlement in this part of the country, was William 
Smith, more commonly known as "Bill the Sawyer." He planted his domi- 
cile near where the town of Woodside now stands. At precisely what time he 
arrived on this coast, or what particular inducement brought him into the red- 
woods, no one now living can tell. The best authority on the subject, and 
the most definite statement, is his own story, to the effect that he came out to 
Astoria on one of the Pacific Fur Company's ships, and that when the British 
in 1816 supplanted the Americans there and drove them from the country, he 
came to California. Smith was an American, from one of the Eastern States, 
but from which one is not known. One fact is certain, he was a resident of 
the Pueblo de San Jose before the year 1833. He had married a Spanish lady, 
and when he was in the redwoods his eldest child was about a year old. He 
afterwards moved to a place north of the bay, where he died. His last resi- 
dence was in what is now Marin county. His children are now elderly people, 
and know comparatively little about the history of the old pioneer. 

The next white settler after Smith, within the present county limits, was 
James Peace, who is now living, and still a resident of San Mateo county. 
Here his home has been continuously, ever since he drove the first nail in his 
original cabin. Peace is a descendant, on his father's side, from a native of 
bonnie Scotland. His father was Stewart Peace, and his mother's maiden 
name was Ellen Essen. She was a native of Denmark. James was born on 
one of the Orkney Islands, in 1798, consequently he is now about eighty-five 
years of age. His father was a fisherman, and owned a little fleet of small 
fishing craft. When about eleven years of age, James was seized with an irre- 
sistible desire to go to sea, but failing to get the permission of his parents, and 
meeting with only strenuous opposition in that direction, he determined to 
run away from home, and not a great while elapsed before he had an oppor- 
tunity afforded him for carrying out this design. A whaling vessel was 
about to sail from a neighboring port on a cruise to the northern ocean, for 
oil and whalebone. Young Peace left the parental roof without waiting to 
receive a blessing from father or mother, and hid himself away on board of 
the vessel the day before she was to sail. When she weighed anchor he was 


snugly stowed away in the locker, where he remained until the ship was one 
day out to sea. Then he erawled from his hiding place and exhibited himself 
to the captain , who had no alternative but to take the little fellow with him 
on the voj'age. While they were on the whaling coast the ship was wrecked, 
and the whole crew lay on the ice for fourteen days before they were rescued. 
" Jimmy," as he is even now best known, was absent from home about nine 
months on this voyage. Shortly after his return he bound himself to a ship- 
owner named Popelwell, of North Shields, for a period of four years, and was 
a sailor on a vessel that was employed in trade between North Shields and 
London, England. After the expiration of his term of apprenticeship, he 
indentured himself for another period of four years on board of the ship 
Mountaineer, of Glascow, sailing from London to Calcutta. When his time 
was out, he was discharged at Liverpool, but shipped almost immediately, 
before the mast, for a ten month's voyage to the West Indies. 

The roving disposition which had impelled him at the tender age of eleven 
years to leave home, father and mother, and all that was dear to him in child- 
hood, and choose the hard life of a seaman, now that he had nearly reached the 
age of twenty, filled him with a desire to see the new world. He, therefore, 
upon returning from the West Indies, signed articles for a voyage on the 
Hudson Bay Fur Company "s ship Neriad for the Columbia river, Oregon, and 
left Liverpool in 1818. Nothing except what is usually incident to the passage 
around Cape Horn occurred until the ship arrived at Monterey on the coast of 
California. Here she put in for repairs. The next port she made was San 
Francisco, which was then but an embarcadero of the missions. The Neriad 
came to anchor under the brow of Telegraph Hill, almost where the sea-wall is 
built, in early days a considerable distance out in the stream. At that time 
there was not a habitation or a living soul about, except the Spaniards who 
lived around the Mission Dolores. During the passage up the coast, Peace had 
a difficulty with the captain and one of the mates of the ship, and he deter- 
mined to leave their service. One night, being on the first watch, he quietly 
lowered a boat at the fore of the vessel, and soon had let down into it all his 
earthly possessions. The relief watch came in due time, and the sailor who took 
Jimmy's place, luckily for him, fell asleep. Peace improved his opportunity, 
and dropping himself down into the small boat, rowed to the shore without 
having disturbed the slumbers of the watch on the deck. He got his things 
safely landed, and carried them to the highest point on Telegraph Hill — a 
designation given in later years to the then nameless little mountain— where he 
hid himself in the dense and tangled undergrowth. His hiding place was 
discovered by an old Spanish woman named Juanita Byeronlys, and although 
Peace could not understand a word of her language, he made her understand 
by signs that he had fled from the ship that was moored out in the stream, 
and that his chief anxiety then was not to be seen by any one who might be 


interested in getting him on board again. The woman regarded his wishes 
with prudent care, but supplied him with food and water. Jimmy's retreat 
gradually became known to others, who were in the habit of climbing to the 
hill-top to look out for vessels, or to enjoy the scenery, and among those who 
visited him were relatives of William Smith's wife. Some of these could speak 
a few words of English, and they gave Peace to understand that Smith was 
residing at the redwoods. The hiding place on Telegraph Hill was becoming 
too generally known for security so long as the Neriad remained in the harbor. 
He had been there now about six days, and he began to feel an apprehension 
that at any moment he might be surprised by his old officers and taken back 
to the ship as a deserter. In view of this possibility, he enlisted the good 
offices of his faithful friend, the Spanish woman who first discovered his hiding 
place, and through her traded some broadcloth for a pony. At his request, 
she took charge of his effects, and he set out in the direction that had been 
indicated to him to find Smith, a man who at least spoke his own language. 
The route was not an easy one to follow; roads, there were none; trails ran in 
every direction, and at the close of the first day's travel, Peace found himself 
among the timber on the coast range. The forests were full of grizzly bears 
and other wild animals, and it required no little amount of courage for one 
unaccustomed to the wilds of a new country to face the dangers that existed 
all around him here, with no companion save his little Mexican pony. Peace 
wandered for four days through the mountains — sometimes scaling a ridge, 
sometimes threading through a wild and almost inaccessible canon — making 
a zig-zag journey, back and forth, between the ocean and bay, before he found 
Smith's camp. The principal edifice here was Smith's residence — a shake 
shanty which stood near where Mr. Copinger afterward built his adobe house. 
Jimmy took up his abode with Smith, and worked a year with him; then he 
put up a shake house for himself near that of Smith. When Peace first came 
to the redwoods, there was no white man, save Smith, in the vicinity. He 
distinctly remembers John Gilroy, then living at San Ysidro, and Robert 
Livermore, who lived at San Jose from 1816 to 1820. 

Here, then, among the Indians, this sailor made his home, and being skillful 
with tools, the Fathers at Santa Clara Mission placed under his charge a large 
number of the native tribe that occupied this part of the country. He 
instructed them in the use of such tools as they had, and taught them the art 
of squaring timber before placing it over the pit to be sawed. The plows used 
in those days were modeled as described in the first part of this chapter, and 
the improvements Peace made in this important implement of agriculture so 
pleased the Fathers, that they employed him to superintend the construction of 
several of their primitive wagons. Although retaining most of the anatomical 
components, so to speak, of the Spanish carreta, the wheels being sawed off 
the end of a redwood log, and bored through the middle for the axletree to 


enter, these vehicles produced by Peace were considerably lighter than those 
the Fathers had before, though equally strong. Peace continued his home 
here for years without experiencing anything to seriously disturb the peaceful 
flow of events that made up the daily history of his life. At length, an event 
occurred which for the time made it a serious question with him as to whether 
his enjoyment of personal liberty and even his life itself was not about to be 
terminated. In the year 1840, he, with some other foreigners, and about forty 
Americans, were seized by the Mexican authorities, put in irons, and sent on 
the bark Gobernadm- Gurpuzcoama, Captain Snooks, to San Bias, as prisoners. 
From San Bias they were taken to Tepic, where, through some instrumentality, 
they were released, and Jimmy found his way back to his old home and wards 
in the redwoods. In 1847, about the close of the Mexican war, he removed to 
Half Moon Bay, and on an election day in 1849 he raised the first American 
flag at that settlement. He obtained the flag from Dr. Tripp, at Woodside, and 
still has it in his possession, but like all other relics of its kind, it bears strongly 
the marks of having seen its best days. Naturally and properly, Peace cher- 
ishes it as a sacred memento of the past. In 1835 he married Guadalupe, 
daughter of Pedro Valencia, and by her has two sons now living — lames 
and Antonio — the elder of whom is now over forty -three years old. 

Many years ago Peace possessed a considerable amount of property, but it 
has all passed out of his hands, and his only wealth now consists of a fishing- 
boat and its unimportant equipment. The boat was built at San Mateo, on 
Mr. Howard's land, a fact that has no significance except that the only piece 
of property he can now call his own was constructed so near the spot where 
sixty years ago he erected his cabin and started to work, with his spirits buoy- 
ant in the prospect of being some day the proprietor of a lordly manor, where 
he could end his days in ease and peace. His little boat cruises the bay, and 
his experienced hand guides the helm. He sets his nets for fish, and digs 
clams from the mud flats, and thus in the sere and yellow leaf, he earns a sub- 
sistence. Jimmy is a slight-built man of medium height, light complexion, 
and like most bold, adventurous and honest spirits, he has grey eyes. But 
his form is bent with age, and it is altogether likely that before the sun shall 
have completed many more cycles, the now oldest surviving pioneer of San 
Mateo county will have gone to his rest. 

The next to come and make a home for himself and those who follow him, 
was John Copinger, an Englishman, whose ancestors had done their country 
eminent service, both on the battle-fields and in the councils of the nation. 
He himself was a man of ability and learning. The date of his birth is not 
known, and of his earlv historv but little is said. The following facts, how- 
ever, may be considered authentic : When young Copinger attained his majority, 
his mother secured for him by purchase — a method of obtaining military hon- 
ors not unknown in the old countries — a lieutenant's commission in the British 


naval service. Shortly after, while at the dinner-table on board of his vessel, 
a warm dispute arose between him and the commander, which culminated in 
Copinger throwing a glass tumbler at his superior officer. For this offense he 
was reduced to the ranks. The degradation was more than he could endure, 
and when a vessel to which he had been assigned as a private sailor came to 
this coast, he found and improved an opportunity for deserting her at Yerba 
Buena — now San Francisco — and made his way to the redwoods, where he 
joined James Peace and William Smith. Peace says Copinger came to their 
place in 1821, and there is still documentary evidence existing which shows 
that he was residing in the redwoods several years before 1831. It was here 
that he first became acquainted with his future wife, in 1827. In 1837 he tilled 
the soil for Sefiora Maria Antonia Mesa, widow of Rafael Soto, near the pres- 
ent site of Mayfield. The ground is now owned by Henry W. Seals. It was 
in this year that he married Maria Louisa Soto, who was the late Mrs. John 
Greer, and who died May 7th, 1883. 

This lady was the daughter of Rafael Soto, the original owner of the Rin- 
conada del Arroyo de San Francisquito, and one of the very earliest settlers in 
the Pueblo de San Jose, where she was born in the year 1817. About the year 
1827 she accompanied her father to the Martinez Rancho, in San Mateo county, 
and resided with him until he obtained the San Francisquito grant, in the year 
1835. As this was the first marriage connected with this county, let us glance 
back at the merry-makings that then occurred. At an early hour of that bright 
and beautiful day two equestrians, mounted on a single horse, might have been 
seen threading their way through the mazes of brushwood en route to the Santa 
Clara Mission. These were a man and woman; he in the prime of life, she in 
the first blush of maidenhood. The sacred edifice attained, the two are joined 
in accordance with the holy Catholic faith; the ceremony ended, the faithful 
steed is once more mounted, and the newly-made man and wife, alone with 
their happiness, their love, their hopes and their fears, commence the journey 
of life. Arriving at the homestead, it is found that every preparation has been 
made for a wedding feast of more than ordinary grandeur; congratulations are 
showered in from every side; the guests bidden to the file give way to joy and 
gayety unrestrained; to regale the inner man, a weighty beef has been roasted 
whole among the bright embers, which still smoulder at the bottom of the 
trench; viands are spread in prodigious profusion; the fiesta gives way to the 
dance, the dance to more feasting; day succeeds night, and still the joyousness 
continues until the third day is ended, when each returns to his home, carry- 
ing in his mind recollections which many years of the ' ' whips and scorns of 
time" will leave unimpaired. 

In the fall of 1837, Copinger and his wife moved in a small shake house at 
Woodside. In October, 1840, this primitive building gave way to an adobe 


dwelling, now standing, where the couple happily lived until the death of the 

Some years later, Mrs. Copinger married Captain J. Greer, and they moved 
within about a mile and a-half of May field. 

Let us go back forty -seven years, when this good lady lived with her first 
husband at what is now Woodside. Those residing there at that time were 
William Smith and wife, James Peace, and Charles Brown. The country was 
wild in the extreme; hill and valley were alike impenetrable; the lower grounds 
bore a crop of naught save chaparral and tangled undergrowth; trails were 
numerous, but ran in perplexing confusion; traveling was dangerous, for 
beasts of prey were plentiful, while all around bore evidence of impossible 
fertility. What, then, must have been thought of Mrs. Greer, who mounted 
her pony and alone rode to her father's ranch, made a visit, and on her return 
recounted to that little band of pioneers her narrow escape from some wild 
animals, or still wilder cattle, together with all the latest news from the Pueblo 
de San Jose. She lived, however, to see this howling wilderness reduced to a 
garden of beauty; to see the once sparsely settled country populated by thou- 
sands, and all but one of that little band laid in their graves. 

Early in life she espoused the Catholic religion, and lived in accordance 
with its precepts, while her hospitality is still gratefully remembered by many 
a pioneer, and her memory is perpetuated in good deeds and kindly offices. 

There is no doubt that Copinger determined that his people in England 
should always be ignorant of the exact place of his residence. About the year 
1831 he wrote to his mother, stating that he had been employed at Monterey, 
California, and thereafter all letters from home were addressed to him at that 
place. The letter above referred to, however, was the last one he ever wrote 
to any of his family back there. His mother, still clinging to a shred of hope 
that she might one day again see her son, continued writing for several years, 
but receiving no reply, at last gave up hope of ever hearing any tidings of 
him. In the letters she wrote to her far, far-off son, this sorrowing mother 
poured out the anguish of her soul, her anxiety for his welfare. She implored 
him to write her a letter. The letters were received by Copinger, but he never 
replied to any of them. After the mother had ceased to hope, his brother 
Henry commenced to make diligent inquiiw by letter. 

The few facts above given are stated upon a perusal of the letters from Cop- 
inger's mother. The letters in themselves, in their entirety, would doubtless 
be interesting to the readers of these pages, but there is something in the out- 
pouring of a mother's grief -burdened soul, the welling up of sorrow from her 
broken heart, still clinging to a faint, lingering hope, with a tenacity stronger 
than the instinct to cling to life itself — something in all this too sacred to 
expose to the scrutiny of public curiosity. However, to give the reader an 
idea of the anxietv with which the mother and brother watched and waited to 


get even the slightest intelligence of him, one or two of his brother's letters 
are here reproduced: 

"Portsmouth, September 15th, 1842. 
"My Dear John: It has been a subject of great regret to me that I have 
never, since the year 1831, at Chatham, either heard from you, or seen any one 
who could give me the slightest information relative to your movements. I 
have since then been to India, and stayed there some time. I got on very well 
in health, and had good pay and a desirable situation there. I managed to 
acquire the language of the country, and by that means I attained the office 
of interpreter. I have now been at home one year, and during that time have 
made frequent application to different houses with a view of obtaining some 
information about you, but I have as yet learned nothing conclusive. The 
last time my mother heard from you, you stated that you had been employed 
in Monterey, in California. I send this to a friend in Liverpool, who says that 
he has sometimes opportunities of transmitting letters to those countries. I 
sincerely hope that it may reach you. 

"I do not know that you are informed of all that has taken place in our 
family since my uncle Thomas' death. My aunt Mary is married to a Mr. Joy. 
My aunt Sarah is dead. My sister has now three children. I am a captain in 
the Sixteenth, the same regiment I was in when I saw you last at Chatham. It 
cost me money getting the promotion, but the situation and its emoluments 
amply repay me for the disbursement. If you write a letter and address it to 
me, Sixteenth Regiment, Portsmouth — if the letter arrives at any place in, 
England it will be sure to reach me, although I may have left Portsmouth — 
and I am sure I shall rejoice to hear from you, and if I can manage to find out 
any medium for our communciation together, I will write to you at length. 

"In the meantime, believe me ever, your affectionate brother, 

"Henry Copinger." 

This letter was sealed in the old-fashioned way, with sealing wax, and directed 
to "John Copinger, Esq., Monterey, California." On the back is written: 
"Taken from the Monterey P. O. Oct. 12, '43," and signed with the initials 
"P. O. L." 

"Portsmouth, February 2d, 1843. 
1 ' My Dear John : Many years have elapsed since we met, but I have never, 
during my long residence in India, for which country I started in 1831, and 
returned in 1842, or since my arrival at home, neglected any opportunity of 
making any inquiries which I could think of, to procure intelligence about 
you. We have now heard, through the medium of some influential people at 
the Foreign Office, that you are at San Francisco, Monterey, and I am rejoiced 
to hear that you are well and in comfortable circumstances. I have also to 
send my love to a new connection, Mrs. Copinger, your wife. I wrote about 




>rfi-' «.- 





three months ago to you, but fear the communication returned to Liverpool, 
to which place I sent my letter, and Monterey is very slow; so, perhaps, you 
may not as yet have received it. My mother, who was very well, thank God, 
when I saw her last, and I am happy to say yet continues so, writes to you, 
also, by this conveyance, and tells you of most of the events which have hap- 
pened in our family — some, alas, very sad ones. Do, my dear brother, write 
to her; let her know everything that relates to you. My sister Annie is also 
very well, and William Burgh and all his children. When I was at Paris, 
some months ago, my uncle and aunt Major, William Major, and his wife, 
spoke of you most affectionately. My other relations, Henry Major and his 
family, were all well when I was in Ireland last. His daughter Annie is mar- 
ried to a Dr. Moore; Jane to Mr. Halbert, a clergyman, and Isabella to Mr. 
Madden, a clergyman. Henry is at Liverpool, intending to be a merchant. 
Robert is in Trinity College. Poor Fanny Major, who was married to Captain 
Pajet, of the Seventh Regiment, died last year. She left one son. My dear 
John, I hope you are happy, and trust that such is the case from all that we 
hear. I am now much more comfortably situated than when -I saw you last, 
being a captain in the Sixteenth Foot. If you will write to my mother, or to 
me, direct to Sir John Kirkland, 80 Pall Mall, London, and then the letters 
will be safe. I do very much wish to hear from you, and am extremely sorry 
that our situations have precluded our holding any communication by way of 
letter, as I do suppose that it was only from the circumstance of our not know- 
ing how to send letters to each other, that a cessation of all correspondence 
was created so long. 

"When I was in India, indeed, I could scarcely hope to hear from you, 
for the very great difficulty there is of sending letters from such long distances, 
but now that I am in England, and that I can hear from London in about four 
houis by the post, which comes by the railroad, I do not despair of getting 
some intelligence of you. But, most of all, I think you will see that it will 
be well to write to my mother. Whatever you have to say will, I assure you, 
be most acceptable to me when you write. I have not been in Ireland since 
November, 1842, which was the month after I arrived overland from India, and 
do not think that you know any one in this place, Portsmouth, of whom I can 
make mention so as to interest you. I met Lady Gray the other day, and 
she, as usual, spoke of you with interest. She was, when I saw her, on a 
visit to a gentleman in this neighborhood, Sir H. Thompson, and I met ber 
there at dinner. 

"I believe that my aunt Mary's children were quite little ones when you 
were last at home, but George is grown up now and gone out to India as a 
cadet. The girls were at school in London. 

"I have been, myself, thank God, cpuite well since I saw you, and have 
never suffered from my long residence in India. I trust that I may hear the 


same account of you. I understand that the climate of California is good. 
One thing I am most rejoiced to hear, which is that you were given a grant of 
land, on account of your good services as captain of a rifle company. 
"Do, my dear brother, let us hear from you. 

"Your affectionate brother, 

" Henry Copinqer." 

In the year 1836 a revolution broke out in Mexico, and while this was going 
on, Alvarado was appointed Governor of California, an office which he held 
until 1842. In the meantime, the differences between the Government and 
the revolutionists were arranged, but out of the adjustment grew misunder- 
standings between the civil and military authorities in California. The Gen- 
eral Government dispatched General Micheltorena to assume the two-fold 
power of civil and military governor in place of Alvarado and General Vallejo. 
On seeing the turn which affairs had taken against them, these two officers 
resolved to lay aside their disagreements and make common cause against 
Micheltorena, whom they looked upon as a usurper, and, with the aid of Gen- 
eral Castro, to drive him from the country. The triumvirate declared Califor- 
nia an independent State, and at once opened hostilities against the representa- 
tive of the Mexican Government. During the struggle, Lieutenant Copinger 
espoused the cause of the Calif ornians, and was made captain of a rifle com- 
pany. In recognition of his services, Governor Alvarado, on the 3d of August, 
1840, gave him the Rancho Can ado de Raymundo, embracing twelve thousand 
five hundred and forty -five acres. 

In 1840 Copinger erected an adobe building at the place where Woodside 
now stands. This old dwelling-house is still standing, but would not be 
recognized now by those who knew it in its pristine simplicity. The old walls 
are hidden by an outside dress of weather-boarding, while within the house is 
ceiled in accordance with the more modern suggestions of taste and home 

When war broke out between the United States and Mexico, Copinger identi- 
fied himself at once with the side of the former, and enlisted for active service 
under the stars and stripes. He was taken prisoner and sent to Mexico, but 
was afterwards released, when he returned to California, and remained at his 
ranch until his death, which occurred on the 23d of February, 1847. His 
remains were interred at the mission burying ground at San Jose. His daugh- 
ter Manuela is the only one of his children now living. She was born May 
20th, 1847, and still resides, with her husband, Antonio Miramontes, on the 
land she inherited from her father. 

The next pioneer in the order of arrival was Charles Brown, whose name is 
well remembered. He was born in the State of New York, in 1814. In 1828 
he sailed out of New York harbor on the whaling ship Alvins, Captain Brews- 


ter, and arrived in San Francisco bay in the spring of 1829. While the vessel 
lay in this harbor, Brown found means to escape from her, and he hid himself 
in the house of Juana Briones, where he remained until the search for him was 
given up and the vessel had departed. He then went to San Jose, and made 
that his home for several years. Harry Bee says that Brown was living at the 
Pueblo in 1883, and that two years thereafter — in 1835 — he removed and settled 
near Copinger. Subsequently, he purchased of Mr. Copioger a piece of the 
Canada de Raymundo grant, and erected there his domicile, which has ever 
since been known as the Mountain Home Ranch. 

Soon after 1835 Brown married Francesca Garcia, but had no children by 
this union. He put up on his ranch an adobe house near the present site of 
Searsville. Brown sold the ranch to Col. John Coffey Hayes, in 1852, having 
in 1850 moved his residence to San Francisco. His first wife had been dead 
for some years, and in 1850, after his removal to San Francisco, he married 
the widow of Augustus Andrews, by whom he had live children. He died at 
his home on Dolores street, San Francisco, December 10th, 1882. 

Another name in the list of old pioneers is that of John Cooper, a native of 
Suffolk, Ekgland, who came to Yerba Buena in the capacity of steward on 
board of a British man-of-war, in 1833. He also deserted and sought a retreat 
in the redwoods, south on the peninsula. He lived in the old adobe at San 
Mateo, or in its immediate vicinity, and died there at the age of 68 years. His 
remains were laid away in the burying plat at the Mission de San Jose, in 
Alameda county. 

Augustus Andrews, still another of the early settlers of San Mateo county, 
came to San Francisco in 1837. He was a carpenter by trade, born in Salem, 
Massachusetts. In 1844 he married Rosalia De Haro, present widow of Charles 
Brown. In 1846 he went, with his wife, to Woodside, where they rented land 
of John Copinger, and after two years' residence there, they returned to San 
Francisco, where Andrews died in 1849. 

Dennis Martin, a pioneer of 1844, in which year he came to this coast with 
the Murphy s, settled at Woodside shortly after his arrival. He lived in that 
immediate vicinity until about one year ago, when he removed from San Mateo 
county to San Francisco, his present home. 

At this point in the notices of early adventurers of San Mateo county, a 
sketch of one whose name is associated with scenes and events of a less peace- 
ful nature, may not be amiss. The reader of the early reminiscences of Cali- 
fornia is not altogether unfamiliar with the name of Francisco Sanchez, once 
the owner of the Rancho San Pedro, and known in history as Colonel Sanchez. 
In order that the part he took in the stirring episodes of his time may be clearly 
understood, a narrative of what preceded his debut and brought him into his- 
torical prominence, will be in place. 

When the present century had but come of age, Mexico ceased to be a 


portion of the Spanish realm, and plunged, by itself, into the undiscovered 
mysteries of statecraft. Iturbide, under the title of August I, was elected 
constitutional emperor, May 19th, 1822, and after reigning for a brief period, 
was forced to abdicate; he, however, returned to the government of his empire, 
and lost both his head and his crown. 

About this time California would appear to have found extreme favor in the 
jealous eyes of three great powers, namely: France, the United States, and 
Great Britain. In the year 1818, Governor Sola received a communication 
from Friar Marquinez, of Guadalaxara, in Old Spain, wherein he informs Hia 
Excellency of the rumors of war between the United States and Spain, while, 
in February of the following year, Father Jose Sanchez writes to the same 
official that there is a report abroad of the fitting out of an American expedi- 
tion in New Mexico. Both of these epistles remark that California is the 
coveted prize. Great Britain wanted it, it is said, for several reasons, the 
chief of which was, that in the possession of so extended a coast line she 
would have the first harbors in the world for her fleets. This desire would 
appear to have been still manifested in 1840, for we find in February of that 
year, in the Nero York Express, the following: 

"The Californias. — The rumor has reached New Orleans from Mexico of 
the cession to England of the Californias. The cession of the two provinces 
would give to Great Britain an extensive and valuable territory in a part of 
the world where she has long been anxious to gain a foothold, besides securing 
an object still more desh'able— a spacious range of sea-coast on the Pacific, 
stretching more than a thousand miles from the forty-second degree of latitude 
south, sweeping the peninsula of California, and still embracing the harbors 
of that gulf, the finest in North America." 

In the meantime that epidemic, so chronic to Mexico, a revolution, had 
broken out in the year 1836, but nothing of interest occurred in respect to the 
portion of California of which we write save the departure from San Jose of a 
few of the settlers to join the opposing factions. While this strife was going 
on, Governor Alvarado was appointed to rule California, an office he held until 
December, 1842, before which time the differences between the government 
and the revolutionists had been arranged. 

This adjustment, however, left misunderstandings rife between the two 
highest functionaries in the department of California; the civil and military 
authorities could not agree; each therefore complained of the other to the 
central government, who secretly dispatched General Micheltorena to assume 
the two-fold power of civil and military governor in place of Governor Alva- 
rado and General Vallejo. On seeing the turn which affairs had taken against 
them, the two officials agreed to lay aside their bickerings and make common 
cause against Micheltorena, whom they designated an usurper, and, aided by 



General Castro, drive him from the soil they deemed he tainted. The trium- 
virate declared California independent, and proclaimed war against the repre- 
sentative of Mexico. Genera] Micheltorena having seen the gauge of battle 
thrown in his teeth, took the field to bring to a speedy end the insurrection; he 
advanced to within twelve miles of San Jose, but discovering that this portion 
of the country was up in arms, he beat a retreat, and halted not until he 
reached San Juan Bautista, which the insurgents carried in spite of Michel - 
torena's defense, in November, 1844. From this blow he never rallied, and at 
last, in February, 1845, he paid eleven thousand dollars for a passage on board 
the bark Don Quixote, Captain Paty, to be taken to San Bias. He joined this 
craft at San Pedro with about a hundred of his officers and men, and then 
proceeding to Monterey, took the general's lady and several others, and sailed 
for a more propitious shore. On the termination of strife, Pio Pico was 
immediately voted to the gubernatorial chair, and Jose Castro appointed 

In tlie month of March, 1845, Brevet-Captain John Charles Fremont departed 
from Washington for the purpose of organizing a third expedition for the 
topographical survey of Oregon and California, which having concluded, he 
left Bent's Fort on or about April 16th, his command consisting of sixty-two 
men, among them being Kit Carson and six Delaware Indians. Passing 
through the Sierra Nevada in December, they arrived at Sutter's Fort on the 
10th of that month, which, after a stay of only two days, they left, for Fre- 
mont was in search for a missing party of his explorers. It is not possible 
here to follow him in his long tramps over mountain and through valley, on 
this humane undertaking. Not being able to discover the whereabouts of 
Talbot and Walker, and having lost and consumed most of his horses and 
cattle (forty head of the latter he had procured from Captain Sutter), he 
determined to retrace his steps to that hospitable haven, which he reached 
January 15th, 1846. On the 17th, Fremont left Sutter's Fort in a lauuch for 
Yerba Buena, where they arrived on the 20th; the 2Jst saw him and Captain 
Hinckley sailing up the Bay of San Francisco in a whaleboat to the embarca- 
dero at Alviso, and on the 22d they proceeded to San Jose, where they received 
intelligence of the lost expedition being encamped on the San Joaquin, 
whither he at once dispatched two companies under Kit Carson to guide them 
into Santa Clara valley. Fremont and Hinckley then visited the New Almaden 
mines, and returned to San Francisco. On the 24th, Captain Fremont was on 
the move. He started from Yerba Buena, and that evening halted at the 
rancho of Francisco Sanchez; the following evening he passed near the San 
Jose Mission; the next night at the home of Don Jose Joaquin Gomez, in the 
Canada of San Juan, and on the morning of January 27th, 1846, reached 


Captain Fremont, in company with Thomas O. Larkin, United States Consul, 
then called upon General Castro, and stated the cause of his journey; he was 
in want of provisions, and requested that his party might pass unmolested 
through the country. The request was granted verbally, but when asked for 
the necessary passport in writing, the General excused himself on the plea of 
being ailing, but hinted that no other assurance was needed than his word. 
A visit of a like nature was then made to the Prefect of the district, Don 
Manuel Castro, and the same statement made, which he, too, verbally declared 
all right. He then received funds and provisions from the Consul, and made 
all haste to San Jose, where he was joined by his band, safely led from the 
San Joaquin by Kit Carson, but not finding here such stores as were needed by 
him, he determined to retrace his steps to Monterey, and after some fifteen or 
twenty days, camped in the Santa Clara valley, on the rancho of Captain 
William Fisher, known as the Laguna Seco. While here, a Mexican made his 
appearance and laid claim to certain of his horses, on the bold plea that they 
had been stolen . Now observe how from a little great things spring ! On 
February 20th, Captain Fremont received a summons to appear before the 
Alcalde of San Jose, to answer to a charge of horse-stealing, an action which 
brought forth, the next day, the following communication from the gallant 
Captain : 

"Camp near Road to Santa Cruz, February 21, -1846. 

"Sir: I received your communication of the 20th, informing me that a 
complaint had been lodged against me in your office for refusing to deliver up 
certain animals of my band, which are claimed as having been stolen from 
this vicinity about two months since, and that the plaintiff further complains 
of having been insulted in my camp. It can be proven on oath by thirty men 
here present that the animals pointed out by the plaintiff have been brought 
in my band from the United States of North America. The insult of which 
he complains, and which was authorized by myself, consisted in his being 
driven or ordered to immediately leave the camp. After having been detected 
in endeavoring to obtain animals under false pretenses, he should have been 
well satisfied to escape without a severe horse-whipping. There are four ani- 
mals in my band which were bartered from the Tulare Indians by a division 
of my party which descended the San Joaquin valley. I was not then present, 
and if any more legal owners present themselves, these shall be immediately 
given or delivered upon proving property. It may save you trouble to inform 
you that, with this exception, all the animals in my band have been purchased 
and paid for. You will readily understand that my duties will not permit me 
to appear before the magistrates in your towns on the complaint of every 
straggling vagabond who may chance to visit my camp. You inform me that 
unless satisfaction be immediately made by the delivery of the animals in ques- 


tion, the complaint will be forwarded to the Governor. I beg you will at the 
same time inclose to His Excellency a copy of this note. 

"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"J. C. Fremont, U. S. Army. 

"To Sr. Don Dolores Pacheco, Alcalde of San Jose." 

Hence the intrepid Pathfinder moved, by easy marches, in the direction of 
the Santa Cruz mountains, which he crossed about ten miles from San Jose, 
at the gap where the Los Gatos creek enters the plains; he then made his way 
towards the coast, and on March 1st encamped on the ranch of Edward Petty 
Hartnell. While here he received, late in the afternoon of the 5th, at the hands 
of a Mexican officer, protected by an armed escort, a dispatch from Don Manuel 
Castro, Prefect of the District, charging him (Fremont) with having entered 
the towns and villages under his (the Prefect's) jurisdiction, in contempt of 
the laws of the Mexican Government, and ordering him out of the country, 
else compulsory measures would be taken to compel him to do so. On the 
receipt of this, Fremont did not display much hesitancy in arriving at a con- 
clusion. That evening he struck his camp, and ascending " Hawks Peak," a 
rough looking mountain on the Salinas range, about thirty miles from Monte- 
rey, and two thousand feet above the sea level, commenced the construction of 
a rude fort, protected by felled trees, and stripping one of its branches nailed 
the "stars and stripes" to its highest point, full forty feet above their heads, 
and the morning of the 6th of March found him waiting further developments. 

Let us now take a glance at the movements of the Mexican General. On 
the day that Fremont had fairly established himself on " Hawks Peak," Castro 
communicated the accompanying letter to the Minister of Marine, in Mexico: 

"In my communication of the 5th ultimo, I announced to you the arrival 
of a Captain, at the head of fifty men, who came, as he said, by order of the 
Government of the United States, to survey the limits of Oregon. This per- 
son presented himself at my headquarters some days ago, accompanied by two 
individuals (Thomas O. Larkin, Consul, and Captain William A. Leidesdorff, 
Vice Consul), with the object of asking permission to procure provisions for 
his men that he had left in the mountains, which were given to him, but two 
days ago, March 4th, I was much surprised at being informed that this person 
was only two days' journey from this place (Monterey). In consequence, I 
immediately sent him a communication, ordering him, on the instant of its 
receipt, to put himself on the march and leave the department, but I have not 
received an answer, and in order to make him obey, in case of resistance, I 
sent out a force to observe their operations, and to-day, the Gth, I march in 
person to join it and see that the object is attained. The hurry with which I 
undertake my march does not permit me to be more diffuse, and I beg that 
you will inform His Excellency, the President, assuring him that not only shall 


the national integrity of this party be defended with the enthusiasm of good 
Mexicans, but those who attempt to violate it will find an impregnable barrier 
in the valor and patriotism of every one of the Californians. Receive the 
assurances of my respect, etc. God and Liberty." 

We left Captain Fremont in his hastily constructed fort, every avenue to 
which was commanded by the trusty rifles of his men, calmly awaiting the 
speedy vengeance promised in the communication of the Prefect. To carry it 
out, Don Jos- had summoned a force of two hundred men to the field, strength- 
ened by one or two cannon of small calibre, but nothing beyond a demonstra- 
tion was attained. In the language of the late General Revere (then Lieu- 
tenant), " Don Jose was rather in the humor of that renowned King of France, 
who, with twenty thousand men, marched up the hill and then marched down 
again." Castro's next move was the concocting of an epistle to Fremont, 
desiring a cessation of hostilities, and making the proposition that they should 
join forces, declare the country independent, and with their allied armies march 
against Governor Pio Pico, at that time at Los Angeles. To John Gilroy, an 
old Scotch settler, was intrusted the delivery of this exquisite piece of treachery. 
He reached "Hawks Peak" on the night of the 10th, but found the fort 
untenanted. Fremont had wearied, after three days' waiting for General 
Castro's attack, which, not being made, he struck his camp, threw away all 
useless articles that might impede a forced march, and the morning of the 
11th found him in the valley of the San Joaquin. Gilroy, on his return, 
related his story of the camp-fires still alight, the discarded pack-saddles, and 
no Fremont, which so elated the brave Castro, that he at once resolved on 
attacking the fort, which he was the first to enter; after performing prodigies 
of valor, and sacking the inclosure, he sat down on one of Fremont's left-off 
pack-saddles, and penned a dispatch to Monterey, descriptive of the glorious 
victory he had gained, and that his return need not be looked for until his 
promise, long ago given, should be fulfilled. 

And so matters for a time rested. The American settlers began to feel far 
from safe, and should the necessity for defense arise, no time should be lost in 
preparing for the emergency. Rumors were rife. The Governor, Pio Pico, 
looked upon them with deep hatred; their arrival and settlement was to him 
a source of poignant jealousy, while his feeling inclined him, in case the 
country should ever change hands, towards England rather than the United 
States. At a convention held at the San Juan Mission, to decide which one 
of the two nations, Great Britain or America, should guarantee protection to 
California against all others, for certain privileges and considerations, Gover- 
nor Pico is reported to have spoken in these terms: 

" Excellent Sirs: To what a deplorable condition is our country reduced ! 
Mexico, professing to be our mother and our protectress, has given us neither 
arms nor money, nor the material of war for our defense. She is not likely to 


do anything in our behalf, although she is quite willing to afflict us with her 
extortionate minions, who come hither in the guise of soldiers and civil officers, 
to harass and oppress our people. We possess a glorious countr}', capable of 
attaining a physical and moral greatness corresponding with the grandeur and 
beauty which an Almighty hand has stamped on the face of our beloved 
California. But although nature has been prodigal, it cannot be denied that 
we are not in a position to avail ourselves of her bounty. 

"Our population is not large, and it is sparsely scattered over valley and 
mountain, covering an immense area of virgin soil, destitute of roads, and 
traversed with difficulty; hence it is hardly possible to collect an army of any 
considerable force. Our people are poor, as well as few, and cannot well 
govern themselves and maintain a decent show of sovereign power. Although 
we live in the midst of plenty, we lay up nothing; but, tilling the earth in an 
imperfect manner, all our time is required to provide subsistence for our 
families. Thus circumstanced, Ave find ourselves suddenly threatened by 
hordes of Yankee emigrants, who have already begun to flock into our country, 
and whose progress we cannot arrest. Already have the wagons of that per- 
fidious people scaled the almost inaccessible summits of the Sierra Nevada, 
crossed the entire continent, and penetrated the fruitful valley of the Sacra- 
mento. What that astonishing people will next undertake I cannot say; but 
in whatever enterprise they embark they will be sure to prove successful. 
Already are these adventurous land-voyagers spreading themselves far and 
wide over a country which seems suited to their tastes. They are cultivating 
farms, establishing vineyards, erecting mills, sawing up lumber, building 
workshops, and doing a thousand other things which seem natural to them, 
but which Californians neglect or despise. What then are we to do ? Shall 
we remain supine while these daring strangers are overrunning our fertile plains 
and gradually outnumbering and displacing us ? Shall these incursions go 
on unchecked, until we shall become strangers in our own land? We cannot 
successfully oppose them by our own unaided power; and the swelling tide of 
immigration renders the odds against us more formidable every day. We 
cannot stand alone against them, nor can we creditably maintain our indepen- 
dence even against Mexico; but there is something we can do which will 
elevate our country, strengthen her at all points, and yet enable us to preserve 
our identity and remain masters of our own soil. Perhaps what I am about to 
suggest may seem to some faint-hearted and dishonorable. But to me it does 
not seem so. It is the last hope of a feeble people, struggling against a tyran- 
nical government, which claims their submission at home, and threatened by 
bands of avaricious strangers from without, voluntarily to connect themselves 
with a power able and willing to defend and preserve them. It is the right 
and the duty of the weak to demand support from the strong, provided the 
demand be made upon terms just to both parties. I see no dishonor in this 


last refuge of the oppressed and powerless, and I boldly avow that such is the 
step that I would have California take. There are two great powers in Europe, 
which seem destined to divide between them the unappropriated 'countries of 
the world. They have large fleets and armies not unpracticed in the art of 
war. Is it not better to connect ourselves with one of those powerful nations, 
than to struggle on without hope, as we are doing now ? Is it not better that 
one of them should be invited to send a fleet and an army to defend and protect 
California, rather than that we should fall an easy prey to the lawless adven- 
turers who are overrunning our beautiful country ? I pronounce for annexation 
to France or England, and the people of California will never regret having 
taken my advice. They will no longer be subjected to the trouble and grievous 
expense of governing themselves; and their beef and their grain, which they 
produce in such abundance, would find a ready market among the new- comers. 
But I hear some one say : ' No monarchy ! ' But is not monarchy better 
than anarchy ? Is not existence in some shape, better than annihilation ? No 
monarch ! and what is there so terrible in a monarchy ? Have not we all 
lived under a monarchy far more despotic than that of France or England, 
and were not our people happy under it? Have not the leading men among 
our agriculturists been bred beneath the royal rule of Spain, and have they 
been happier since the mock republic of Mexico has supplied its place? Nay, 
does not every man abhor the miserable abortion christened the republic of 
Mexico, and look back with regret to the golden days of the Spanish monarchy? 
Let us restore that glorious era. Then may our people go quietly to their 
ranchos, and live there, as of yore, leading a thoughtless and merry life, un- 
troubled by politics or cares of State, sure of what is their own, and safe from 
the incursions of the Yankees, who would soon be forced to retreat into their 
own country." 

It was a happy thing for California, and, as the sequel proved, for the views 
of the Government of the United States, a man was found at this juncture 
whose ideas were more enlightened and consonant with the times than those 
of the rulers of his country, both civil and military. Patriotism was half his 
soul; he, therefore, could not silently witness the land of his birth sold to any 
monarchy, however old; and he rightly judged that, although foreign pro- 
tection might postpone, it could not avert that assumption of power which 
was beginning to make itself felt. Possessed at the time of no political power, 
and having had few early advantages, still his position was so exalted, and his 
character so highly respected by both the foreign and native population, that 
he had been invited to participate in the deliberations of the Junta. This 
man was Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Born in California, he commenced 
his career in the army as an alferes, or ensign, and in this humble grade, he 
volunteered, at the suggestion of the Mexican Government, with a command 
of fifty soldiers, to establish a colony on the north side of the Bay of San 


Francisco for the protection of the frontier. He effectually subdued the hos- 
tile Indians inhabiting that then remote region, and laid the foundation of a 
reputation for integrity, judgment, and ability, unequaled by any of his coun- 
trymen. Although quite a young man, he had already filled the highest offices 
in the province, and had at this time retired to private life, near his estates in 
the vicinity of the town of Sonoma. He did not hesitate to oppose with all 
his strength the views advanced by Pico and Castro. He spoke nearly aa 

"I cannot, gentlemen, coincide in opinion with the military and civil func- 
tionaries who have advocated the cession of our country to France or England. 
It is most true, that to rely any longer upon Mexico to govern and defend us, 
would be idle and absurd. To this extent I fully agree with my distinguished 
colleagues. It is also true that we possess a noble country, every way calcu- 
lated, from position and resources, to become great and powerful. For that 
very reason, I would not have her a mere dependency upon a foreign monarchy, 
naturally alien, or at least indifferent to our interests and our welfare. It is 
not to be denied that feeble nations have in former times thrown themselves 
upon the protection of their powerful neighbors. The Britons invoked the 
aid of the warlike Saxons, and fell an easy prey to their protectors, who seized 
their lands, and treated them like slaves. Long before that time, feeble and 
distracted provinces had appealed for aid to the all-conquering arms of imperial 
Rome; and they were at the same time protected and subjugated by their 
grasping ally. Even could we tolerate the idea of dependence, ought we 
to go to distant Europe for a master ? What possible sympathy could exist 
between us and a nation separated from us by two vast oceans? But waiving 
this insuperable objection, how could we endure to come under the dominion 
of a monarchy? For, although others speak lightly of a form of government, 
as a Leeman, I cannot do so. We are republicans — badly governed and badly 
situated as we are — still, we are all, in sentiment, republicans. So far as we 
are governed at all, we at least profess to be self-governed. Who, then, that 
possesses true patriotism will consent to subject himself and children to the 
caprices of a foreign king and his official minions? But it is asked, if we do 
not throw ourselves upon the protection of France or England, what shall we 
do ? I do not come here to support the existing order of things, but I come 
prepared to propose instant and effective action to extricate our country from 
her present forlorn condition. My opinion is made up that we must persevere 
in throwing off the galling yoke of Mexico, and proclaim our independence 
of her forever. We have endured her official cormorants and her villainous 
soldiery until we can endure no longer. All will probably agree with me that 
we ought at once to rid ourselves of what may remain of Mexican domination. 
But some profess to doubt our ability to maintain our position. To my mind 
there comes no doubt. Look at Texas, and see how long she withstood the 



power of united Mexico. The resources of Texas were not to be compared 
with ours, and she was much nearer to her enemy than we are. Our position 
is so remote, either by land or sea, that we are in no danger from Mexican 
invasion. Why, then, should we hesitate still to assert our independence? We 
have indeed taken the first step, by electing our own governor, but another 
remains to be taken. I will mention it plainly and distinctly — it is annexation 
to the United States. In contemplating this consummation of our destiny, I 
feel nothing but pleasure, and I ask you to share it. Discard old prejudices, 
disregard old customs, and prepare for the glorious change which awaits our 
country. Why should we shrink from incorporating ourselves with the happi- 
est and freest nation in the world, destined soon to be the most wealthy and 
powerful? Why should we go abroad for protection, when this great nation 
is our adjoining neighbor? When we join our fortunes to hers, we shall not 
become subjects, but fellow citizens, possessing all the rights of the people of 
the United States, and choosing our own federal and local rulers. We shall 
have a stable government, and just laws. California will grow strong and 
nourish, and her people will be prosperous, happy, and free. Look not, there- 
fore, with jealousy upon the hardy pioneers, who scale our mountains, and 
cultivate our unoccupied plains; but rather welcome them as brothers, who 
come to share with us a common destiny." 

Such was the substance of General Vallejo's observations; those who listened 
to him, however, were far behind in general knowledge and intelligence. His 
arguments failed to carry conviction to the greater number of his auditors, but 
the bold position taken by him was the cause of an immediate adjournment of 
the Junta, no result having been arrived at concerning the weighty affairs on 
which they had met to deliberate. On his retiring from the Junta he embodied 
the views he had expressed in a letter to Don Pio Pico, and reiterated his 
refusal to participate in any action having for its end the adoption of any pi*o- 
tection other than that of the United States. In this communication he also 
declared that he would never serve under any Government which was prepared 
to surrender California to European power; he then returned to his estates, 
there to await the issue of events. 

In the meantime, circumstances tended to keep General Castro moving. 
The Americans, finding themselves numerically too weak to contend against 
the bitter feelings engendered by such speeches as that of Pio Pico in the 
Junta, and such actions as those of Castro against Fremont, but relying upon 
the certain accession to their strength which would arrive in the spring with 
more emigrants, and a full conviction of their own courage and endurance, 
determined to declare California independent and free, and raise a flag of their 
own, which they did. The famous ' • Bear Flag " was given to the breeze, June 
14th, 1846, in Sonoma, on the pole where before had floated the Mexican 
standard, and after the capture of the town, with its commanding officer, 


General Vallejo, Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Prudon, Captain Don Salvador 
Vallejo, and Mr. Jacob P. Leese, an American, and brother-in-law to the 
General. The intelligence of the declaration and establishment of the Cali- 
fornia Republic spread like wild-fire; both parties labored arduously and inces- 
santly for the conflict, and while the Bear Flag party guided their affairs from 
the citadel of Sonoma, General Castro established his headquarters at the 
Santa Clara Mission, whence, June 17th, after learning of the success at 
Sonoma, he issued the following proclamations: 

' ' The citizen Jose Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of cavalry in the Mexican army, 
and acting General Commander of the Department of California : Fellow-citizens : 
The contemptible policy of the agents of the United States of North America, in 
this Department, has induced a portion of adventurers, who, regardless of the 
rights of men, have daringly commenced an invasion, possessing themselves 
of the town of Sonoma, taking by surprise all at that place, the military com- 
mander of that border, Colonel Don Mai-iano Guadalupe Vallejo, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Don Victor Prudon, Captain Salvador Vallejo, and Mr. Jacob P. Leese. 
Fellow-countrymen! the defense of our liberty, the true religion which our 
fathers possessed, and our independence, call upon us to sacrifice ourselves 
rather than lose these inestimable blessings; banish from our hearts all petty 
resentments, turn you and behold yourselves, these families, these innocent 
little ones which have unfortunately fallen into the hands of our enemies, 
dragged from the bosoms of their fathers, who are prisoners among foreign- 
ers, and are calling upon us to succor them. There is still time for us to rise 
en masse, as irresistible as retributive. You need not doubt that Divine Provi- 
dence will direct us in. the way to glory. You should not vacillate because of 
the smallness of the garrison of the general headquarters, for he who will first 
sacrifice himself will be your friend and fellow-citizen, 

" Jose Castro. 
Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17, 1846." 

"Citizen Jose Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of artillery in the Mexican army, 
and acting General Commander of the Department: All foreigners residing 
among us, occupied with their business, may rest assured of the protection of 
all the authorities of the Department whilst they refrain entirely from all revo- 
lutionary movements. The General Commandancia under my charge will 
never proceed with vigor against any persons, neither will its authority result 
in mere words wanting proof to support it; declaration shall be taken, proofs 
executed, and the liberty and rights of the laborious, which are ever commend- 
able, shall be protected. Let the ..fortune of war take its chance with those 
ungrateful men, who, with arms in their hands, have attacked the country, 
without recollecting that they were treated by the undersigned with all the 
indulgence of which he is so characteristic. The inhabitants of the Depart- 


ment are witnesses to the truth of this. I have nothing to fear; my duty leads 
me to death or victory. I am a Mexican soldier, and I will be free and inde- 
pendent, or I will gladly die for these inestimable blessings. 

» " Jose Castro. 

"Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17th, 1846." 

Fremont, who had held communication with the leaders of the Bear Flag 
faction, now concluded that it had become his duty to take a personal part in 
the revolution which he had fostered; therefore, on June 21st he transferred 
his impedimenta to the safe keeping of Captain Sutter, at the fort, re-crossed 
the American river, encamped on the Sinclair rancho, where he was joined by 
Pearson B. Redding and all the trappers about Sutter's Fort, and there awaited 
orders. On the afternoon of the 23d, Harrison Pierce, who had settled in 
Napa Valley in 1S43, came into their camp, having ridden the eighty interven- 
ing miles with but one change of horses, and conveyed to Fremont the intelli- 
gence that the little garrison of Sonoma was greatly excited, consequent on 
news received that General Castro, with a considerable force, was advancing 
on the town and hurling threats of recapture and hanging of the rebels. To 
promise to come to their rescue as soon as he could place ninety men in the 
saddle, was to Fremont the work of a moment, and on June 23d, he made as 
forward movement with his mounted rifles, who formed a curious looking caval- 
cade. One of the party writes of them : — 

" There were Americans, French, English, Swiss, Poles, Russians, Prussians, 
Chilenians, Germans, Greeks, Austrians, Pawnees, native Indians, etc., all 
riding side by side and talking a polyglot lingual hash never exceeded in 
diversibility since the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. 

" Some wore the relics of their homespun garments, some relied upon the 
antelope and the bear for their wardrobe, some lightly habited in buckskin 
leggins and a coat of war-paint, and their weapons were equally various. 
There was the grim old hunter with his long heavy rifle, the farmer with his 
double-barreled shot-gun, the Indian with his bow and arrows, and others 
with horse-pistols, revolvers, sabers, ships' cutlasses, bowie-knives and 'pepper- 
boxes' (Allen's Revolvers)." 

Though the Bear Flag army was incongruous in personnel, as a body it 
was composed of the best fighting material. Each of them was inured to 
hardship and privation, self-reliant, fertile in resources, versed in woodcraft 
and Indian fighting, accustomed to handle fire-arms, and full of energy and 
daring. It was a band of hardy adventurers, such as in an early age wrested 
this land from the feeble aborigines. With this party Fremont arrived in 
Sonoma at two o'clock on the morning of June 25th, having made forced 
marches. Castro, however, had not carried out his threat, but placidly 
remained in the San Jose valley, the valiant captain being carefully guarded 
by his equally valiant soldiers. 


About this time a small party, intended for service under the Bear Flag, had 
been recruited by Captain Thomas Fallon, then of Santa Cruz, but afterwards, 
for many years, a resident of San Jose. This company, which consisted of 
only twenty -two men, crossed the Santa Cruz mountains, entered the Santa 
Clara valley at night, and called a halt about three miles south of San Jose, 
near the rancho of Grove C. Cook. Here Fallon learned that Castro was close 
at hand with a force of some two hundred men; therefore, acting on the princi- 
ple of discretion being the better part of valor, he fell back into the mountains 
and there encamped. It will thus be seen that Castro still had command of 
this portion of the country. At sunset of the 27th of June, placing himself at 
the head of his army, he marched out of Santa Clara to chastise the Sonoma 
insurgents. Passing around the head of San Francisco bay he attained the 
San Leandro creek, whence he dispatched three men to cross the bay in boats 
to reconnoitre, who being captured, were shot. The eldest of these was Don 
Jose Reyes Berryessa, a retired sergeant of the Presidio of San Francisco. 
In 1834 he took up his residence on the Rancho de la Canada de los Capitan- 
cillos, which was granted him by Governor Alvarado in 1837, and upon which 
is situated the New Almaden mine, Castro, on finding that his men did not 
return, feared the like fate for himself; he therefore retraced his steps to Santa 
Clara Mission, where he arrived on the 29th, after a pi'odigious expedition of 
two days' duration. 

In the meantime, great events had been occurring without. War had been 
declared by the United States against Mexico; General Scott had carried on a 
series of brilliant exploits, \*hich resulted in the capture of the Mexican -capital, 
and Commodore John Drake Sloat had hoisted the American ensign at Monte- 
rey, July 7, 1846. 

Two days later than the last-mentioned date, there might have been observed 
a solitary horseman urging his animal, as if for bare life, through the then 
almost impassable gorges of the Santa Cruz mountains, and across the wide 
expanse of the Santa Clara valley. From his pre-occupied air, it could be 
remarked that he bore a weighty burden upon his shoulders, and still he 
pressed his jaded steed, whose gored sides and dilated nostrils gave evidence 
of being pushed to his utmost. Ere long, both came to a halt within the open 
space fronting the Justice Hall, in San Jose. With a wave of his cap, our 
traveler announces to his compatriots the welcome intelligence of the glory of 
the American arms; he hastily asks for the whereabouts of the General, whom 
he at once seeks; he finds him enjoying his otium cum dignitate in the seclusion 
of his well-appointed quarters, and here the dusty voyager, Henry Pitts, 
delivers into the hand of the redoubtable soldier, Jose Castro, the dispatch 
which tells him of the defeat of the Mexican arms, and the ascendancy of the 
United States forces. With moody brow, he breaks the seal; he calls forth his 
men, mounts at their head, forms line in front of the Juzgado, on Market 


street, and then exclaiming, "Monterey is taken by the Americans!" pro- 
ceeded to read, in Spanish, the proclamation of Commodore Sloat, of which 
the annexed is a translation : 

" To the Inhabitants of California: The central troops of Mexico having 
commenced hostilities against the United States of America, by invading its 
territory, and attacking the troops of the United States, stationed on the north 
side of the Rio Grande, and with a force of seven thousand men, under the 
command of General Arista, which army was totally destroyed, and all their 
artillery, baggage, etc., captured on the eighth and ninth of May last, by a 
force of twenty -three hundred men, under the command of General Taylor, 
and the city of Matamoras taken and occupied by the forces of the United 
States, and the two nations being actually at war by this ti-ansaction , I shall 
hoist the standard of the United States at Monterey, immediately, and shall 
carry it through California. 

"I declare to the inhabitants of California that, although I come in arms with 
a powerful force, I do not come among them as an enemy to California; on the 
contrary, I come as their best friend, as henceforth California will be a portion 
of the United States, and its peaceable inhabitants will enjoy the same rights 
and privileges they now enjoy, together with the privilege of choosing their 
own magistrates and other officers for the administration of justice among 
themselves, and the same protection will be extended to them as to any other 
State in the Union. They will also enjoy a permanent government under which 
life and property, and the constitutional right and lawful security to worship the 
Creator in the way most congenial to each one's sense of duty will be secured, 
which, unfortunately, the Central Government of Mexico cannot afford them, 
destroyed ' as her resources are by internal factions and corrupt officers, who 
create constant revolutions to promote their own interests and oppress the 
people. Under the Hag of the United States, California will be free from all 
such troubles and expenses; consequently, the country will rapidly advance 
and improve, both in agriculture and commerce; as, of course, the revenue 
laws will be the same in California as in all other parts of the United States, 
affording them all manufactures and produce of the United States free of any 
duty, and for all foreign goods at one L quarter the duty they now pay. A 
great increase in the value of real estate and the products of California may 
be anticipated. 

"With the great interest and kind feelings I know the Government and 
people of the United States possess toward the citizens of California, the 
country cannot but improve more rapidly than any other on the continent of 

" Such of the inhabitants, whether natives or foreigners, as may not be dis- 
posed to accept the high privileges of citizenship, and live peaceably under 
the Government of the United States, will be allowed to dispose of their 


property, and remove out of the country, if they choose, without any restric- 
tion; or remain in it, observing strict neutrality. 

" With full confidence in the honor and integrity of the inhabitants of the 
country, I invite the judges, alcaldes, and other civil officers to execute their 
functions as heretofore, that the public tranquility may not be disturbed, at 
least until the government of the territory can be definitely arranged. 

"All persons holding titles to real estate, or in tpiiet possession of lands 
under color of right, shall have these titles guaranteed to them. 

"All churches, and the property they contain, in possession of the clergy of 
California, shall continue in the same right and possession they now enjoy. 

"All provisions and supplies of every kind furnished by the inhabitants for 
the use of the United States ships and soldiers, will be paid for at fair rates; 
and no private property will be taken for public use without just compensation 
at the moment. "John D. Si.oat, 

"Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. naval force in the Pacific ocean." 

The reading of the foregoing concluded, Castro is said to have exclaimed, 
"What can I do with a handful of men against the United States? lam 
going to Mexico! All you who wish to follow me, right-about-face! All that 
wish to remain can go to their homes!" Only a very very few chose to follow 
the Don into Mexico, whither he proceeded on that same day, first taking 
prisoner Captain Charles M. Weber, out of his store in San Jose, and uot 
releasing him until they arrived at Los Angeles. 

Upon hearing of Castro's departure, Captain Fallon, who, the reader may 
remember, we saw encamped in the Santa Cruz mountains, left his rendezvous, 
marched into the town of San Jose, seized the Juzgado, and arrested Dolores 
Pacheco, the alcalde, whom he caused to surrender the keys and pueblo archives 
as well, and appointed James Stokes justice of the peace. On the 13th, he 
hoisted an American ensign on the flagstaff' in front of the Court House, when, 
for the first time, did the star spangled banner wave in the county. While in 
San Jose, Fallon had the following correspondence with Captain Montgomery, 
stationed at Yerba Buena (San Francisco): 

"U.S. Ship Portsmouth, 
"Yerba Buena, July 13, 1846. 

"Sir: I have just received your letter, with a copy of Mr. James Stokes' 
appointment as justice of the peace at the pueblo; also, a dispatch from the 
Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. naval forces, at Monterey, for which I 
thank you. By the bearer of them, I return a dispatch for Commodore Sloat, 
which I hope you will have an opportunity of forwarding to Monterey. 

"I received your letter of July 12th, and wrote to you, by the bearer of it, 
on the 13th, in answer, advising you by all means to hoist the flag of the 
United States at the Pueblo of St. Joseph, as you expressed to do, if you 


had sufficient force to maintain it there; of course you will understand that it 
is not again to be hauled down. * * * * 

" Agreeable to your request, I send you a proclamation of the Commander- 
in-Chief, in both languages, which I shall be glad to have distributed as far 
and generally as possible; and be pleased to assure all persons of the most per- 
fect security from injuries to their persons and property, and endeavor, by 
every means in your power, to inspire them with confidence in the existing 
authorities and government of the United States. 

"I am, sir, respectfully, your ob't servant, 

"Jno. B. Montgomery, 
"Commanding U. S. Ship Portsmouth. 
"To Capt. Thos. Fallon, Pueblo of St. Joseph, Upper California." 

" U. S. Ship Portsmouth, i 
"Yerba Buena, July 18, 1846. j 
" Sir: I have just received your letter with the official dispatch from Com- 
modore Sloat, which has been accidentally delayed one day in its transmission 
from pueblo, and am much obliged to you for sending it to me. 

" I am gratified to hear that you have hoisted the flag of our country, and 
cannot but feel assured, as I certainly hope, that your zealous regard for its 
honor and glory will lead you nobly to defend it there. 

"I am, sir, your ob't servant, 

"Jno. B. Montgomery, 

" To Capt. Thos. Fallon, at the Pueblo San Jos£, Upper California." 

Let us now make a slight retrograde movement, so that the relative positions 
of the parties may be ascertained. 

We last left Captain Fremont at Sonoma, where he had arrived at 2 a. m. of 
the 25th of June. After giving his men and horses a short rest, and receiving 
a small addition to his force, he was once more in the saddle, and started for 
San Rafael, where it was said that Castro had joined de la Torre with two hun- 
dred and fifty men. At four o'clock in the afternoon they came in sight of the 
position thought to be occupied by the enemy. This they approached cau- 
tiously until quite close, then charged, the three first to enter being Fremont, 
Kit Carson, and J. W. Marshall (the future discoverer of gold), but they found 
the lines occupied by only four men, Captain Torre having left some three 
hours previously. Fremont camped on the ground that night, and on the 
following morning, the 26th, dispatched scouting parties, while the main 
body remained at San Rafael for three days. Captain Torre had departed, 
no one knew whither; he left not a trace; but General Castro was seen from 
the commanding hills behind, approaching on the other side of the day. One 
evening a scout brought in an Indian, on whom was found a letter from Torre 


to Castro, purporting to inform the latter that he would, that night, concen- 
trate his forces and march upon Sonoma, and attack it in the morning. 

Captain Gillespie and Lieutenant Ford held that the letter was a ruse 
designed for the purpose of drawing the American forces back to Sonoma, and 
thus leave an avenue of escape open for the Californians. Opinions on the 
subject were divided; however, by midnight every man of them was in Sonoma; 
it was afterwards known that they had passed the night within a mile of 
Captain de la Torre's camp, who, on ascertaining the departure of the revolu- 
tionists effected his escape to Santa Clara via Saucelito. 

Fremont having, with his men, partaken of an early meal, on the morning 
of the 27 th of June returned to San Rafael, after being absent only twenty -four 
hours, proceeded to Saucelito, there remained untilJuly 2d, when he returned 
to Sonoma, and here prepared a more perfect organization. On the 4th, 
the national holiday was celebrated with becoming pomp, and on the 5th, the 
California battalion of mounted riflemen, two hundred and fifty strong, 
was formed; Brevet-Captain John C. Fremont, Second Lieutenant of Topo- 
graphical Engineers, was chosen commandant; First Lieutenant of Marines, 
Archibald A. Gillespie, Adjutant and Inspector, with the rank of Captain. 
Says Fremont: — 

" In concert and co-operation with the American settlers, and in the brief 
space of thirty days, all was accomplished north of the Bay of San Francisco, 
and independence declared on the 5th of July. This was done at Sonoma, 
where the American settlers had assembled. I was called by my position, and 
by the general voice, to the chief direction of affairs, and on the (Jth of July, 
at the head of the mounted riflemen, set out to find Castro." 

Their route caused them to make circuit of the head of the Bay of San Fran- 
cisco, crossing the Sacramento river at Knight's Landing, and thence proceed- 
ing down the valley of the San Joaquin, found themselves at the San Juan 
Mission, where Fremont was joined by Captain Fallon, whose company had 
been disbanded in Monterey, and sailed at once in the U.S. ship Gyane for 
San Diego, to cut off Castro's retreat, who had united with Pio Pico, giving 
them a combined force of six hundred. 

The Indians of the San Joaquin valley had, during the year 1846, com- 
menced to be such a source of annoyance to the residents in the district, that 
in the month of April complaint had been made to the departmental assembly, 
but up to July nothing had been done. On the 9th of that month, wishing 
to intercept Captain Fremont, Captain Montgomery penned the following let- 
ter to that officer: 

"U. S. Ship Portsmouth, 
"Yerba Buena, July 9, 1846. 
"Sir: Last evening I was officially notified of the existence of war between 



the United States and the central government of Mexico, and have this morn- 
ing taken formal possession of this place, and hoisted the flag in town. Com- 
modore Sloat, who took possession of Monterey on the 7th instant, has directed 
me to notify you of this change in the political condition of things in California, 
and to request your presence at Monterey, with a view to future arrangements 
and co-operations, at as early a period as possible. 

" I forwarded at two o'clock this morning a dispatch from Commodore Sloat 
to the commandant at Sonoma, with an American flag for their use, should 
they stand in need of one. Mr. Watmough, who will hand you this, will give 

you all the news. 

" Very respectfully, etc., 

"Jno. B. Montgomery. 

"To Captain .1. O. Fremont, Top. Engineers, Santa Clara." 

On the same day the following order was given to Purser James H. Watmough, 
by Captain Montgomery: 

" Sir: You will proceed to Santa Clara, and to the pueblo, if necessary, in 
order to intercept Captain Fremont, now on his march from the Sacramento; 
and on meeting, please hand him the accompanying communication, after 
which you will return to this place, without delay, and report to me." 

Whether he delivered his dispatch to Fremont then is uncertain; the pre- 
sumption is that he did, and that on reporting such to Captain Montgomery, 
also the state of affairs in regard to the Indians in the valley of the San 
Joaquin, he was instructed to occupy San Jose with the thirty-five marines 
who had accompanied him as an escort, for we find that the gallant Purser 
established his headquarters in the Juzgado, added some volunteers to his forces, 
and. in the month of August, with thirty marines and about the same number 
of volunteers, crossed the mountains and met a party of a hundred Indians, 
which he drove back into their own valley. After doing much to allay the 
excitement which then existed, his command was withdrawn in the month of 

Such was the military enthusiasm of the period, that it was not as difficult 
as it might be to-day to recruit an armed force. In October, Charles M. Weber 
and John M. Murphy were commissioned by Commander Hull, of the U. S. 
Sloop-of-war Warren, in command of the Northern District of California, as 
captain and lieutenant, respectively, in the land forces. They quickly raised 
a company of scouts, which had their headquarters in the adobe building to 
the rear of Frank Lightson's residence. And this recruiting spirit was not 
confined to the settler, for as soon as immigrants arrived at Sutter's Fort, they 
were visited at once by Captain Granville Swift, of Fremont's battalion, and 
asked to volunteer, which several of them did. Among these was Joseph 
Aram, familiarly known in San Jos<\ He was commissioned by Fremont as 
captain, and told to proceed with some of the immigrant families to the Santa 


Clara Mission, rather tliuu to San Jose, for there were more houses there, but 
such was their state, and owing to the inclement winter, the unfortunate 
women and children suffered terribly, and no less than fourteen of them died. 
Captain Aram had managed to form a company of thirty-two men, whose 
headquarters he established at Santa Clara, for the purpose of protecting- the 
families there; he thereupon essayed to place the mission in a tolerable state 
of defense, by constructing barricades, built principally of wagons, and the 
branches of trees, for he had learned that Colonel Sanchez and a body of 
mounted Californians were hovering in the vicinity. In the month of Novem- 
ber, San Jose was formed into a military post, and sixty men, with Messrs. 
Watmough and Griffin, under Lieutenant Pinkney, of the U. S; Ship Savan- 
nah, sent to protect the inhabitants in the district. This force left Yerba Buena 
early on the morning of the 1st, and proceeding by the ship's boats up the 
bay, about sunset made fast to the shore, and that night camped on the 
present site of the town of Alviso. Dawn of the next day found Lieutenant 
Pinkney and his command on the route, and after a weary march, for muskets, 
bayonets, cartridges, provisions, and blankets had to be transported on the 
men's backs, arrived that afternoon at San Josp, when he immediately took 
possession of the Juzgado, converted it into a barrack, placed a sentry on the 
Guadalupe bridge, and ordered a guard to patrol the streets throughout the 
night. He dug a ditch around the Juzgado of two feet in depth and one in 
width, at about sixty feet therefrom, in which he drove pickets seven or eight 
feet long. On the outside thereof he dug a trench five feet wide and four feet 
deep, the dirt from which he threw against the pickets, thus forming a breast- 
work. At each corner he made a gate, and on each side mounted a guard, 
and otherwise made himself free from surprise and attack. 

The military freebooter, Sanchez, was at this time creating a reign of terror 
in the district conterminous to San Jos<>, neither man, horse, nor stock of any 
kind being free from his predatory band. Concealing themselves in thicket or 
ravine, they were wont to fall upon the unsuspecting traveler, who, after being 
robbed, was too often most foully murdered. In the month of December, 1846, 
about the 8th day, a party under W. A. Bartlett, of the sloop-of-war Warren, 
and five men, among these being Martin Corcoran, afterwards and still a resi- 
dent of San Jose, started from Yerba Buena to purchase beef for the United 
States forces. When arrived in the vicinage of that locality where now stands 
the Seventeen Mile House, and when in the act of driving together some cattle, 
thirty of Sanchez' men rushed from an ambuscade, captured them and carried 
them off to their camp in the redwoods in the coast range of mountains; but 
after a space, removing to another portion of the same chain in San Mateo 
county, he increased his corps to a hundred men and one piece of artillery — a 
six-pounder — and commenced a series of marauding expeditions in the country 
between San Jose and San Francisco. Intelligence reaching the former place 


of these depredations of Colonel Sanchez, Captain Weber, without delay, 
sounded the "call" to boot and saddle, and about Christmas day was in full 
pursuit. Learning, however, of the recent addition to the enemy's strength, 
he avoided an encounter with a force so much his superior in numbers, and 
pushed on to San Francisco, where he reported to the commandant. 

Still retaining his six prisoners under close guard, Sanchez advanced into the 
valley, by way of the head of the bay of San Francisco, and called a halt 
about ten miles from San Jose, which place he came to after a rest of forty- 
eight hours. Aware full well that Weber and his company were not in the 
town, and nothing remaining for its defense save a few marines, he thought it 
would fall before his mighty presence, even without firing a shot; he therefore 
dispatched a note to Lieutenant Pinkney, calling upon him to surrender and 
withdraw his men, in which event the Americans would be permitted to retire 
unmolested; should he refuse, an attack would be forthwith made, and all put 
to the sword. But Pinkney was not to be intimidated by such shallow bra- 
vado. As the sun sank into the west on that day, he formed his men in line 
and read to them the arrogant communication of the robber chief, which being 
ended, he said if there were any there who did not wish to fight, they had full 
liberty to rejoin the ship at San Francisco. Such, however, happily is not the 
spirit of the American people, or their forces, else the glorious Union would 
not be in the lead of nations as it is to-day. Pinkney's men raised their voices 
as one man, and elected to stay and let Sanchez do his worst, while their gal- 
lant commander vehemently asserted, "Then, by G — d, Sanchez shall never 
drive me out of here alive ! " and then there burst forth from the throats of 
that handful of heroes one hoarse cheer that made the welkin ring. Like a 
true soldier, the Lieutenant gave not an order the carrying out of which he 
did not personally superintend. He divided his force into four squads, who 
were, on the alarm being sounded, each to press for a particular side of the 
breastwork, already arranged upon; if, however, the enemy should be found 
in a body trying to effect an entrance at any one side, then were the four 
divisions to rush en masse to that spot. That night Pinkney doubled the 
guard, and his men slept on their arms. It was his expectation to be attacked 
by a force immeasurably superior to him in numbers, but at dead of night, 
Sanchez rode around the pueblo, reflected deeply, and wisely determined that 
to be valorous was to be discreet; therefore, he withdrew his men, leaving our 
forces in full possession. Mr. Hall says of Lieutenant Pinkney, that he was a 
tall, well-proportioned man, over six feet high, with sandy whiskers and hair. 
He was straight as an arrow, and looked the soldier all over. His very appear- 
ance showed where he would be in a hot contest. There was not a man among 
his little band that did not have the utmost confidence in him. 

Let us now return and see how fared it with the prisoners captured near the 
Seventeen Mile House. To try and effect their release, the British Consul, 


J. A. Forbes, visited Sanchez' band, where his brother-in-law was serving, 
and strove to obtain the liberation of the captives, but with no success. After 
a good" deal of palaver, however, Sanchez consented to Lieutenant Bartlett 
being permitted to accompany Forbes to his residence in Santa Clara, but on 
no account was he to be handed over to the American authorities, while, as to 
the other five, he was willing that they should be surrendered to their nationals, 
but Captain Weber, who had, before the commencement of hostilities between 
the United States and Mexico, been in the service of the latter government, 
must be given up to him. Consul Forbes transmitted the result of his diplo- 
matic mission to the commanding officer at San Francisco, who replied that 
he unconditionally refused such terms, and Bartlett could be returned to 

A day of reckoning was now fast drawing nigh, for a little army, with the 
destruction of Sanchez and his band in view, was being formed in San 
Francisco under command of Captain Ward Marston, of the Marine Corps 
attached to the United States Ship Savannah. The force was composed as 
follows: Assistant Surgeon J. Duvall, aid-de-Camp; detaehment of marines, 
under Lieutenant Robert Tansil, thirty -four men; artillery, one field-piece, 
six-pounder, under charge of Master William F. D. Gough, assisted by mid- 
shipman John Kell, ten men; interpreter, John Pray; mounted company of 
San Jose volunteers, under command of Captain Charles M. Weber, Lieutenant 
John M. Murphy, and acting Lieutenant John Reed, thirty -three men; 
mounted company of Yerba Buena volunteers, under command of William 
M. Smith and Lieutenant John Rose; with a small detachment of twelve men, 
under Captain J. Martin— the whole being in the neighborhood of one hundred 
men of all arms. 

The little army marched out of San Francisco on the 29th of December, 
their course being southward, and through the Santa Clara valley. On the 
morning of January 2d, 1847, they came in sight of the enemy, who upon 
learning of their approach, had dispatched their six prisoners, on foot, for 
no horses for them to ride could be provided, into the mountains in charge of 
an escort of twelve men, who having proceeded a couple of miles, halted. 

Upon the force of Americans coming up with the enemy, at ten o'clock in 
the morning, orders were given to open fire at two hundred yards' range, which 
was done with telling effect, the first one or two volleys entirely breaking the 
line in which Sanchez chose to fight. Finding his alignment cut in twain, 
Sanchez wheeled his men so as to bring each of his sections on either flank of 
Captain Marston 's corps, but still making a retrograde movement, while the 
latter advanced. Ever and anon would the desperate Colonel rally his already 
demoralized troops in front, and again wheel them on the flanks of his oppo- 
nents, thus alternately fighting on front and on flank, but still keeping up th« 
order of his retreat, for two or three hours. 


Lieutenant ^Pinkney, from his fortified position in San Jose, hearing the 
firing, gave orders^for the making of hundreds of cartridges, and placed every- 
thing in a state of defense, in case Sanchez should be victorious and come down 
on the pueblo, while he waited anxiously for news of the battle, for he believed 
the Americans were outnumbered, and had some doubt as to how the fortune 
of the day^might turn; while, at the Santa Clara Mission, people crowded the 
roof-tops and there witnessed the engagement, to which place the retreat tended. 
Here Sanchez was met by Captain Aram, who sallied out to check his falling 
upon the settlements. Finding this new force to contend against, he drew off, 
unwilling to renew a tight of which he had already had too much, and found 
his way to to the Santa Cruz mountains, whence he dispatched a flag of truce 
and a communication, stating the terms on which he would surrender. The 
reply was, his surrender must be absolute, and notwithstanding that he said 
he would die first, an armistice was agreed upon and dispatches sent to the 
commandant at San Francisco, asking for instructions. 

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Pinkney's suspense was put to an end by the receipt 
of a message as to the out-turn of the action, while Marston marched his men 
to the Santa Clara Mission, where they were received with demonstrative joy 
by the American ladies and children there assembled. Captain Aram now 
received permission to proceed in quest of certain horses which had been 
stolen from the American settlers in the valley, some of which he knew to be 
in the cavalcade of the enemy, and while engaged in this duty, he was informed 
by Sanchez that another body of United States troops was on its way from 
Monterey. This information could scarcely be credited by the Captain, who, 
ascending to a commanding point, perceived the intelligence to be correct. 
This accession to the fighting strength of the Americans made Sanchez h'emble 
lest he should be attacked by them; he therefore begged Aram to advance and 
inform them of the situation of affairs, which he did, much to the chagrin of 
the new-comers, who were longing to have a brush with the enemy. This 
force was under the command of Captain Maddox, of the United States Navy, 
and consisted of fifty-nine mounted sailors and marines. 

The courier, sent to San Francisco, returned on the Gth with instructions to- 
Captain Marston that the surrender of Sanchez must be unconditional, a copy 
of which he transmitted to the Colonel, whereupon the terms of capitulation 
were agreed upon. Another reinforcement arrived under Lieutenant Grayson 
on the 7th, and on the 8th Sanchez and his whole force laid down their arms, 
and the six anxious prisoners were returned to the hands of their countrymen. 
The Mexican Colonel was taken to San Francisco and held as a prisoner, for a. 
time, on board the United States Ship Savannah, while his men were permitted 
to return to their respective homes, and thus the curtain is dropped upon the 
closing act in the war-like drama, as enacted in the northern part of Upper 
California during the hostilities between the United States and Mexico. 


The last chapter brings the reader up to the close of the war with Mexico 
in 1847; then followed a period ^with a marvelous record — a period yet to be 
duplicated in the world's history. In 1848 gold was discovered in Califor- 
nia in fabulous quantities; the news went abroad, and then came a tidal wave 
of humanity, as heterogeneous as the diversity of nations could make it, a 
tidal wave of adventure, of cupidity, of business, of giant energies, of hopes 
never to be realized, of souls loyal to the best principles of moral and social 
government, of vice, of — everything in the economy of mortal man, surging 
and centering upon the borders of the embryo state. Everything that the 
country produced commanded extraordinary prices. The San Mateo country 
being a region where the industries unallied to mining interests were most 
advanced, it reaped a harvest of prosperity, at once splendid and substantial. 
Lumber was the great commodity, and to this fact mainly is attributable the 
impetus given to the occupancy and settlement of the county. A forest of red- 
wood timber, hardly yet profaned by the woodman's axe, covered both sides of 
the coast range, extending from the Santa Cruz mountains on the south, for 
miles northward. It was accessible for the markets, and had a convenient 
embarcadero. To the woodman and lumberman, who reduced its great trees 
to material for building, it brought the most remunerative returns. Some 
idea may be formed of the extent of this belt of timber before the process of 
denudition commenced, from some of the tracts on the western slope of the 
mountains, which still remain intact. But from the bay side, where the pio- 
neer first commenced operations, the redwood giants have almost wholly dis- 
appeared. Formerly, the groves of "big trees" in San Mateo county rivaled 
those of the coast range regions, some of which are still preserved in their 
original grandeur as resorts for pleasure, or remain undestroyed because their 
inaccessible situations protect them from the inroads of the lumberman. 

A few years ago there was standing on the Dennis Martin ranch gulch, near 
Searsville, twelve miles from Redwood City, a tree which measured seventy-five 
feet in circumference. It had been burned out hollow at the butt, and had an 
opening one side. Six men had made bunks inside of this cavity, and used it 
as a lodging-house. There was another giant at Grizzly Gulch, on the Pescadero 
road, through the butt of which an arch-way, or passage-way, had been burned. 
A man on horseback could easily ride through the opening. Its foundation, 
however, was so weakened by the burning-out process, that it fell during a 
high wind. 

On the home farm of S. P. Pharis, a tree was cut which turned out four 
hundred and twenty thousand shingles. Mr. Nutting tells a story of two 
men, in Bear Gulch, who were engaged in sawing a tree up into lengths for 
the mill. They used a cross-cut saw, and on one occasion, after getting so far 
down through the log that they were out of sight of each other, one became 
convinced that he was doing all the work. He climbed up on the log, and, 


looking- over to the other side, found his assistant lying out on the ground fast 

William Smith, or "Bill the Sawyer," was the first Anglo-Saxon lumberman 
in the redwoods. He was an expert in pit-sawing. This was a primitive 
method, but very common before steam usurped the domain of industry; a 
long, deep pit was dug in the ground, and over it was placed the log, resting 
on cross pieces, arranged so that the saw could pass them. The sawyer stood 
on top of the log, and ripped it up into boards with a long rip-saw. Some- 
times two men worked at the same saw — one on, and the other under, the log. 

In 1835, when Rafael Soto moved from his Martinez rancho to his grant in 
Santa Clara county, he erected a dwelling near the site of the present residence 
of Dr. Newell. Soto's house, says Mr. Greer, was built of redwood boards 
made with a whip-saw, by Indians on the Martinez ranch. The work was 
superintended by James Peace and "Bill the Sawyer," and the lumber was 
conveyed thence on the primitive wagons, and along the still more primitive 
roads of the period. 

It is a disputed question as to whom the honor of being the first to build a 
mill in this county belongs. Some claim it for Dennis Martin, and others 
award it to Charles Brown. Probably the honor should properly be divided 
between them, for in the same year — 1847 — Brown put up a mill on the 
Mountain Home Ranch, and Martin built one on San Francisquito Creek. The 
first products of these mills were disposed of at San Jose, and to the residents 
in Santa Clara valley. After the acquisition of the territory by the United 
States, and especially after the discovery of gold, every available site was soon 
occupied, and in 1853 there were fifteen mills in operation within five miles 
of Woodside, with a cutting capacity of about twenty-four million feet per 
annum. From 1847 to the present time, the manufacture of lumber and 
shingles has been one of the prime industries of this region of our country. 
Along the northern part of the Moreno range are vast redwood forests, into 
which for three decades, sturdy men have plunged to utilize the stately trees. 
Steadily with the growth of the country, this business has increased, until it 
stands to-day a marvel on the commercial catalogue. Millions of feet of lum- 
ber are annually cut, yet the source seems practically inexhaustible. The 
mountains are teeming with industry, and cities and marts are growing up 
along their borders, drawing their very existence from these remarkable reposi- 
tories of a commodity which is so absolutely essential in the economy of men. 
Mills have been established along the canons, and the ocean and the bay 
are dotted with fleets bearing their manufactured products to market. The 
great staple of the forests rolls like an endless tide along the thoroughfares 
leading to the cities and to the timberless regions of the State. Day and night 
the hum of this industry continues in an unceasing round, and the ring of 


steel cleaving the mighty bolts is mellow music to the ear of him whose home 
is among the redwoods. 

Contrary to the expectation of the lumbermen who were early in the business 
on the eastern slope of the mountains, the timber land was eventually found 
to be covered by Mexican grants, and it is estimated that a half-million dollars' 
worth of timber had been cut on the Canada Raymundo alone before the grant 
had been confirmed by the Commissioners. In 1853, there were fourteen mills 
located on this grant on government land. 

The volume of this trade, which at first poured towards Santa Clara valley, 
soon became greater than the wants of that section of the country demanded, 
and increasing greatly also in importance as a factor in the prosperity of the 
State, it naturally turned toward the great commercial centre of the coast — 
San Francisco, from whence it was distributed to Sacramento and the mines. 
There was an abundance of timber in the Sierras, but much of it was yet 
practically inaccessible, and besides, the coast range was the home of the red- 

In 1850, Dr. Tripp sent the first lumber from these woods to the San Fran- 
cisco market, having constructed a raft for that purpose. 

As the supply on the eastern slope diminished, the mills were, one by one, 
removed further up toward the summit of the range, and from thence to the 
western slope, where most of them now in operation are to be found. 

A large proportion of the lumbermen were squatters, who, upon the con- 
firmation of the grants, either purchased the timber lands, or peacefully retired, 
and, taking into consideration all the circumstances, comparatively but little 
litigation resulted. In those days the woodsmen were almost a law unto them- 
selves, owing to their remoteness from the seat of the county government, 
which was then at San Francisco, and tax-collectors and other officers of the 
law were infrequent visitors among them. 

One of the most important suits which occupied the courts in the settlement 
of property rights in the redwoods was an injunction case, which, on account 
of some ludicrous incidents in connection with it, is worthy of notice. In 
1855, Baker & Burnham, owners of the Bear Gulch mill, were cutting timber 
on land claimed by Colonel Jack Hayes, the noted Texan ranger. A writ of 
injunction had been served upon the parties in charge of the mill, and Dr. 
S. S. Stambaugh was appointed custodian, or sheriff's keeper. The doctor 
assumed the functions of his appointment, and being acquainted with the 
men, the afternoon and evening of the first day was pleasantly passed in the 
games most in vogue in those camps. On the following morning, the legal 
custodian announced to the men that he was perfectly well satisfied that there 
was no disposition on the part of any of them to disobey the order of the 
court, and that as his presence was much needed at the Mountain Home mill, 
he would leave them on their parol of honor, which he accordingly did. Soon 


after his departure, Captain John Greer, of whom the timber cut had been 
leased, came to the mill, and advised the owners to continue sawing, assuring 
them that he would be responsible for the consequences. The captain's advice 
was accepted; a good head of steam was raised, and when everything was 
ready, the engineer turned the throttle valve, but not a rod nor awheel moved." 
The steam hissed and roared in the cylinder and through the escapement pipe 
with such terrific energy that the men, apprehending that some disaster was 
about to take place, incontinently fled beyond the reach of harm. After wait- 
ing awhile for the grand catastrophe, the engineer ventured back, and shut off 
the steam. An investigation disclosed the fact that Dr. Stambaugh had quietly 
expressed the measure of his faith in human nature, during the night before 
his departure, by removing the cap, or "bonnet," of the steam chest, and 
carrying the steam valve away to parts unknown. This little piece of strategy 
on the | tart of the doctor gave more force and effect to the injunction than the 
majesty of the law and the wrath of the courts would have assured, and the 
mill-men finding the engine more obedient to the injunction than they were 
inclined to be, agreed that probably after all it would be as well for them to 
abide by the order of the court — at least so far as running the engine was 
concerned. Their verdict was that Dr. Stambaugh had made a marvelously 
correct estimate in fixing the bounds of his confidence in mankind. Shortly 
afterwards tbe woods got on fire and made the injunction perpetual, by burn- 
ing up the mill with all its machinery, except the valve, which the Doctor had 
carried away. 

The following brief summary will show approximately the extent of the mill- 
ing interests in this part of the redwoods in 1853 and subsequent thereto. In 
1853, or about that year, Dennis Martin had two mills; one with two sash saws, 
and a steam gang mill with a run of twenty -six saws. Then there were Baker 
& Burnham's gang mills, running twenty-six saws, Oakley's water mill, 
Whipple's two West Union Mills, Smith's mill, Pinkney's mill, Richardson's, 
the Mountain Home, Templeton's, Smith &Tuttle's, Mastic's, W. C. R. Smith's, 
and the Gardner & Spaulding mills. Eight of these were located on the 
Canada Ramundo, six on the El Corte de Madera, and the Gardner & Spauld- 
ing mill on government land; of the foregoing, the Mountain Home Mill was 
the first erected. Shortly afterward Dennis Martin's water power mill was built. 

The fate of some of the old mills, and the starting into existence of new ones 
after 1853, make a brief record in this connection. In 1854 the Smith mill, 
situated one mile north of the West Union, was destroyed by fire. In 1855 the 
boiler of the lower West Union exploded, killing the engineer and badly scald- 
ing the fireman; then the machinery was taken out, and some years afterwards 
the frame was used for a shingle mill. In the same year, Horace Templeton's 
mill, situated on the summit of the mountains, near Searsville, was burned. 
It was never rebuilt at that place, but the repaired machinery was put into a 


new single sash mill in the Harding Gulch. In 185(5 the machinery of the 
Baker & Burnham mill was removed to Squatter Gulch, about one mile from 
Woodside, and a gang mill, known as Gibbs' mill, was built there. It con- 
tinued to run until the timber gave out in 1859. In 1855 the West Union was 
burned. In the following year, however, it was rebuilt by Capt. John Greer, 
who two years later removed it to a side gulch about one mile from its original 
location, and there it continued in operation until 1862. In 185(5 Messrs. 
Jones, Mills and Franklin purchased the Dennis Martin gang mill, and removed 
it to the head waters of the La Honda, on the western slope of the mountains, 
placing it in the midst of a fine body of timber. It worked here until 18(50, 
when it was replaced by a circular-saw mill. In 1859, French & Carter built a 
mill having water for the motive power, on San Gregorio creek, just below 
the junction. It was purchased in 18(51 by Johnson & Rounds, who sub- 
stituted steam for its water power, and afterwards sold it to Horace Temple. 
The latter owner made extensions and improvements, and eventually disposed 
of it to A. Hanson & Co., the present owners, who transferred it to a point 
further up the creek. In 1859, S. B. & F. C. Gilbert and Milton Irish built a 
shingle mill on the Arroyo Honda. It was driven by water power. About the 
year 18(55 P. C. Gilbert became the sole owner, and converted it into a lumber 
mill, and it has been an important factor in the lumber interests of this market. 
In 18(50 Wm. P. Morrison built a sawmill in Bear Gulch, about one mile above 
the crossing of the road from Woodside to Searsville. It was purchased by 
Hanson & Co., who in 1865 removed it to a point on La Honda creek, near 
the summit of the coast range, and just above Weeks' ranch, where it remained 
until 1872. In 1862 and '63, Saunders & Plummer built a sawmill in Deer 
Gulch, at the head of Arroyo Honda. It was also afterwards purchased by 
Hanson & Co., who in 1865 built still another mill on the same creek, known 
as thu Mountain Mill. 

' In the erection of shingle mills, John G. and George Moore, now residents 
of San Mateo, were the pioneers. In 1856 they put up a steam mill at Wood- 
side, near Dr. Tripp's store. In 1857 Daniel Jaggers built the lower West 
Union mill, which was second in the order of date. In 1861 H. S. Huntington 
built one on the Arroyo Honda, on the western slope of the mountains, and 
shortly afterwards, and near the last mentioned, Buckley & Taylor erected 

While dwelling on the subject of shingle mills, it would be a grave fault to 
omit the mention of one who is widely known and esteemed. S. P. Pharis, 
who in some way had got to be almost universally called " Purdy," was one of 
the most noted shingle-millmen in San Mateo county, or in California. He has 
built and owned seven shingle mills, and his brands can be found in every 
market on the coast, and in the islands. Mr. Pharis arrived in California in 
1853, and has ever since been engaged in manufacturing shingles. 


The Borden & Hatch sawmill, on the Purissima creek, was originally a water 
power mill, built by Doolittle & Crumpecker, in 1854. It subsequently passed 
into the hands of N. C. Lane, who sold it to the present owners. B. Hey- 
wood's sawmill, on Pescadero creek, was originally a water power mill, built in 
185(5 by John TunTy, who run it until 1859, and then sold it to Jacob N. Varis, 
who, in turn sold it to Heywood, the present proprietor, in 1868. During the 
latter proprietorship, it has been remodeled and fitted up with new steam 
power, giving it a capacity for cutting twelve thousand feet of lumber per day. 
Hey wood's shingle mill is located one mile distant from the sawmill, and can 
turn out forty thousand shingles per diem. In 1867 Stein & Burch built u, 
steam shingle mill on Gazos creek. It was afterwards purchased by Horace 
Templeton, from whom it passed into the hands of the Pacific Wood and 
Lumber Company, who converted it into a sawmill. In the same region of 
country, but on Butano creek, the James Taylor shingle mill was built in 1873. 
It is now the property of S. P. Pilaris. 

In 18G3 James Anderson built a shingle mill on Pescadero creek, about 
eight miles above the town. It was worked by water power, and in 1874 the 
mill-dam was washed away. It was never rebuilt. 

On the same creek, between the mills of Heywood and Anderson, another 
was erected by John Tuffly. It was afterwards purchased by Henry Wurr and 
removed to some other locality. In 1875 Mr. Wurr put up a shingle mill on 
Butano creek. 

The Fremont mill, on Tunitas creek, now the property of the San Jose Mill 
and Lumber Company, was built in 1868. 

In 1867, William Page built a steam sawmill on tbe head waters of Pescadero 
creek, in which Hanson & Co. bought an interest. Later, the entire mill was 
sold to Alexander Peers. 

In 1875, H. S. Huntington erected a sawmill near the head of Bear Gulch. 

The average run of the above mills, upon the same site, has been about five 
years, and the average amount of lumber cut by them can be safely set down 
at fifteen millions feet. 

Lumber cutting and the manufacture of shingles at and near the place where 
the pioneer fathers of San Mateo county settled, and where the initial steps in 
this industry were taken, will soon be a thing of the past. There is a grave 
significance to the country in the rapid denudation of the mountains of their 
great forests. 

The firm of Hanson & Co. has been frequently mentioned in the foregoing 
sketches. This firm has been prominently identified with the lumber interests 
on this coast. The copartnership was formed in 1865, and consisted of Chas. 
Hanson, J. W. Ackerson, W. P. Wallace, and J. Russ. Mr. Ackerson came to 
California in 1 849, and is especially remembered by old residents for the promi- 
nent part he took in the troubles growing out of the attempt to organize the 


<ounty in 1856, as well as for his faithful services as its first sheriff. The firm 
name is now A. Hanson & Co., and there have doubtless been some material 
changes in its constituents since its organization. Albert Hanson looks after the 
business interests in San Mateo county. Extensive as are their operations in 
this part of the country, they are but trifling compared with what they are doing 
at Puget Sound, where their mills turn out thousands of feet of lumber every 
hour, while their own ships and tugs are constantly carrying cargoes of the 
products of their mills to San Francisco and other markets. Although their 
business has far outgrown the resources of San Mateo county, yet here, the 
field of their first operations, has remained the home of the proprietors, and 
San Mateo, with a warranted local pride, claims them as her own enterprising 

This concludes the cursory sketch of the lumber interests of the county, 
and events of another character which marked the early history of the State 
will be recalled. 

Who does not think of '4K with feelings almost akin to inspiration ? 

The year 184K is one wherein was reached the nearest attainment of the dis- 
covery of the philosopher's stone, which it has been the lot of Christendom to 
witness. On January 19th, gold was discovered at Coloma, on the American 
river, and the most unbelieving and cold-blooded were, by the middle of 
spring, irretrievably bound in its fascinating meshes. The wonder is, that the 
discovery was not made earlier. Emigrants, settlers, hunters, practical miners, 
scientific exploring parties had camped on, settled in, hunted through, dug in, 
and ransacked the region, yet never found it; the discovery was entirely acci- 
dental. Franklin Tu thill, in his History of California, tells the story in these 
words : 

"Captain Sutter had contracted with James W. Marshall, in September, 
1847, for the construction of a sawmill in Coloma. In the course of the win- 
ter a dam and race were made, but, when the water was let on, the tail-race 
was too narrow. To widen and deepen it, Marshall let in a strong current of 
water directly to the race, which bore a large body of mud and gravel to the 

" On the 19th of January, 1848, Marshall observed some glittering particles 
in the race, which he was curious enough to examine. He called five carpen- 
ters on the mill to see them, but though they talked over the possibility of its 
being gold, the vision did not inflame them. Peter L. Weimar claims that he 
was with Marshall when the first piece of 'yellow stuff' was picked up. It 
was a pebble weighing six pennyweights and eleven grains. Marshall gave it 
to Mrs. Weimar, and asked her to boil it in saleratus water and see what came 
of it. As she was making soap at the time, she pitched it into the soap kettle. 
About twenty-four hours afterward it was fished out and found all the brighter 
for its boiling. 


"Marshall, two or three weeks later, took the specimens below, and gave 
them to Sutter to have them tested. Before Sutter had quite satisfied himself 
as to their nature, he went up to the mill, and, with Marshall, made a treaty 
with the Indians, buying of them their titles to the region round about, for 
a certain amount of goods. There was an effort made to keep the secret inside 
the little circle that knew it, but it soon leaked out. They had many misgiv- 
ings, and much discussion whether they were not making themselves ridiculous; 
yet, by common consent, all began to hunt, though with no great spirit, for 
the 'yellow stuff' that might prove such a prize. 

"In February, one of the party went to Yerba Buena, taking some of the dust 
with him. Fortunately he stumbled upon Isaac Humphrey, an old Georgian 
gold-miner, who, at the first look at the specimens, said they were gold, and 
that the diggings must be rich. Humphrey tried to induce some of his friends 
to go up with him to the mill, but they thought it a crazy expedition, and let him 
go alone. He reached there on the 7th of Marcii. A few were hunting for 
gold, but rather lazily, and the work on the mill went on as usual. Next day 
he began 'prospecting,' and soon satisfied himself that he had struck a rich 
placer. He made a rocker, and then commenced work in earnest. 

"A few days later, a Frenchman, Baptiste, formerly a miner in Mexico, left 
the lumber he was sawing for Sutter at Weber's, ten miles east of Coloma, and 
came to the mill. He agreed with Humphrey that the region was rich, and, 
like him, took to the pan and the rocker. These two men were the competent 
practical teachers of the crowd that flocked in to see how they did it. The 
lesson was easy, the process simple. An hour's observation fitted the least 
experienced for working to advantage." 

Slowly and surely, however, did these discoveries creep into the minds of 
those at home and abroad; the whole civilized world was set agog with the 
startling news from the shores of the Pacific. Young and old were seized with 
the California fever; high and low, l'ich and poor were infected by it; the 
prospect was altogether too gorgeous to contemplate. Why, they could actu- 
ally pick up a fortune for the seeking it! Positive affluence was within the 
grasp of the weakest; the very coast was shining with the bright metal, which 
could be obtained by picking it out with a knife. 

Says Tuthill: "Before such considerations as these, the conservatism of the 
most stable bent. Men of small means, whose tastes inclined them to keep 
out of all hazardous schemes and uncertain enterprizes, thought they saw duty 
beckoning them around the Horn, or across the plains. In many a family 
circle, where nothing but ihe strictest economy could make the two ends of 
the year meet, there were long and anxious consultations, which resulted in 
Belling off a piece of the homestead, or the woodland, or the choicest of the stock, 
to fit out one sturdy representative to make a fortune for the family. Hundreds 
of farms were mortgaged to buy tickets for the land of gold. Some insured 





their lives, and pledged their policies for an outfit. The wild boy was packed 
off hopefully. The black sheep of the flock was dismissed with a blessing, 
and the forlorn hope that, with a change of skies, there might be a change of 
manners. The stay of the happy household said, ' Good-bye, but only for a year 
or two,' to his charge. Unhappy husbands availed themselves cheerfully of this 
cheap and reputable method of divorce, trusting time to mend or mar matters 
in their absence. Here was a chance to begin life anew. Whoever had begun 
it badly, or made slow headway on the right course, might start again in a 
region where fortune had not learned to coquette with and dupe her wooers. 

" The adventurers generally formed companies, expecting to go overland or 
by sea to the mines, and to dissolve partnership only after a first trial of luck 
together in the ' diggings.' In the Eastern and Middle States they would buy 
up an old whaling ship, just ready to be condemned to the wreckers, put in a 
cargo of such stuff as they must need themselves, and provisions, tools, or 
goods, that must be sure to bring returns enough to make the venture profitable. 
Of course, the whole fleet rushing together through the Golden Gate, made 
most of these ventures profitless, even when the guess was happy as to the 
kind of supplies needed by the Californians. It can hardly be believed what 
sieves of ships started, and how many of them actually made the voyage. 
Little river-steamers, that had scarcely tasted salt water before, were fitted out 
to thread the Straits of Magellan, and these were welcomed to the bays and 
rivers of California, whose waters some of them ploughed and vexed busily for 
years afterwards. 

" Then steamers, as well as all manner of sailing vessels, began to be adver- 
tised to run to the isthmus; and they generally went crowded to excess with 
passengers, some of whom were fortunate enough, after the toilsome ascent of 
the Chagres river, and the descent either on mules or on foot to Panama, not 
to be detained more than a month waiting for the craft that had rounded the 
Horn, and by which they were ticketed to proceed to San Francisco. But 
hundreds broke down under the horrors of the voyage in the steerage; con- 
tracted on the isthmus the low typhoid fevers incident to tropical marshy 
regions, and died. 

"The overland emigrants, unless they came too late in the season to the 
Sierras, seldom suffered as much, as they had no great variation of climate on 
their route. They had this advautage, too, that the mines lay at the end of 
their long road; while the sea-faring, when they landed, had still a weary 
journey before them. Few tarried longer at San Francisco than was necessary 
to learn how utterly useless were the curious patent mining contrivances they 
had brought, and to replace them with the pick and shovel, pan and cradle. If 
any one found himself destitute of funds to go further, there was work enough 
to raise them by. Labor was honorable; and the daintiest dandy, if he were 


honest, could not resist the temptation to work where wages were so high, pay 
so prompt, and employers so flush. 

"There were not lacking in San Francisco grumblers who had tried the 
mines, and satisfied themselves that it cost a dollars' worth of sweat and time, 
and living exclusively on bacon, beans, and 'slap-jacks,' to pick a dollars' 
worth of gold out of rock, or river bed, or dry ground; but they confessed 
that the good luck which they never enjoyed abode with others. Then the 
display of dust, slugs, and bars of gold in the public gambling places; the 
sight of men arriving every day freighted with belts full, which they parted 
with so freely, as men only can when they have got it easily; the testimony of 
the miniature rocks: the solid nuggets brought down from above every few 
days, whose size and value rumor multiplied according to the number of her 
tongues. The talk, day and night, unceasingly and exclusively of ' gold easy to 
get and hard to hold,' inflamed all new-comers with the desire to hurry on 
and share the chances. They chafed at the necessary detentions. They 
nervously feared that all would be gone before they should arrive. 

' ' The prevalent impression was that the placers would give out in a year or 
two. Then it behooved him who expected to gain much, to be among the 
earliest on the ground. When experiment was so fresh in the field, one theory 
was about as good as another. An hypothesis that lured men perpetually fur- 
ther up the gorges of the foot-hills, and to explore the canons of the moun- 
tains, was this: that the gold which had been found in the beds of the rivers, 
or in gulches through which streams once ran, must have been washed down 
from the places of original deposit further up the mountains. The higher up 
the gold-hunter went, then, the nearer he approached the source of supply. 

" To reach the mines from San Francisco, the course lay up San Pablo and 
Suisun bays, and the Sacramento — not then, as now, a yellow, muddy stream, 
but a river pellucid and deep — to the landing for Sutter's Fort; and they who 
made the voyage in sailing vessels, thought Mount Diablo significantly named, 
so long it kept them company and swung its shadow over their path. From 
Sutter's, the most common route was across the broad, fertile valley to the 
foot-hills, and up the American, or some one of its tributaries; on ascending 
the Sacramento to the Feather and the Yuba, the company staked off a claim, 
pitched its tent, or constructed a cabin, and set up its rocker, or began to oust 
a river for a portion of its bed. Good luck might hold the impatient adven- 
turers for a whole season on one bar; bad luck scattered them always further 
■m- >i ********* 

"Roads sought the mining camps, which did not stop to study roads. 
Traders came in to supply the camps, and not very fast, but still to some 
extent; mechanics and farmers to supply both traders and miners. So, as if 
by magic, within a year or two after the rush began, the map of the country 
was written thick with the names of settlements. 


"Some of these were the nuclei of towns that now nourish and promise to 
continue as long as the State is peopled. Others, in districts where the placers 
were soon exhausted, were deserted almost as hastily as they were begun, and 
now no traces remain of them except the short chimney-stack, the broken sur- 
face of the ground, heaps of cobble-stones, rotting, half-buried sluice-boxes, 
empty whisky bottles, scattered playing cards, and rusty cans. 

" The 'Fall of '49 and Spring of '50,' is the era of California history which 
the pioneer always speaks of with warmth . It was the free and easy age when 
everybody was flush, and fortune, if not in the palm, was only just beyond the 
grasp of all. Men lived chiefly in tents, or in cabins scarcely more durable, 
and behaved themselves like a generation of bachelors. The family was 
beyond the mountains; the restraints of society had not yet arrived. Men 
threw off the masks they had lived behind, and appeared out in their true 
character. A few did not discharge the consciences and convictions they had 
brought with them. More rollicked in a perfect freedom from those bonds 
which good men cheerfully assume in settled society for the good of the 
greater number. Some afterwards resumed their temperate and steady habits, 
but hosts were wrecked before the period of their license expired. 

" Very rarely did men, on their arrival in the country, begin to work at their 
old trade or profession. To the mines first. If fortune favored, they soon 
quit for more congenial employments. If she frowned, they might depart 
disgusted, if they were able; but oftener, from sheer inability to leave the 
business, they kept on, drifting from bar to bar, living fast, reckless, improvi- 
dent, half-civilized lives; comparatively rich to-day, poor to-morrow; tormented 
with rheumatisms and agues, remembering dimly the joys of the old homestead; 
nearly weaned from the friends at home, who, because they were never heard 
from, soon became like dead men in their memory; seeing little of women and 
nothing of churches; self-reliant, yet satisfied that there was nowhere any 
'show 'for them; full of enterprise in the direct line of their business, and 
utterly lost in the threshold of any other; genial companions, morbidly craving 
after newspapers; good fellows, but short-lived." 

Such was the mselstrom which dragged all into its vortex - thirty years ago! 
Now, almost the entire generation of pioneer miners, who remained in that 
business, has passed away, and the survivors feel like men who are lost and old 
before their time, among the new comers, who may be just as old, but lack 
their long, strange chapter of adventures. 

In the spring of 1848 the treaty of peace was signed by which California was 
annexed to the United States, and on the first day of September, 1849, the first 
constitutional convention was commenced at Monterey. The first legislature 
met at San Jose, December 13th, 1849, a3 we have elsewhere shown, while settlers 
commenced to arrive in that year in such numbers, and have since so steadily 
increased, that it has been an utter impossibility to follow them. 


With the establishment of American rule, courts of justice were inaugurated 
and the machinery of government set in motion; with the offices came the 
proper officials, since when San Mateo county has flourished in a wonderful 

Some time during the early part of the fall of 1849, M. A. Parkhurst and 
Mr. Ellis arrived at Woodside, and, after looking over the ground, concluded 
to commence the manufacture of shingles at that place. They returned to the 
city, and bought their provisions and the necessary implements. On the even- 
ing before starting back to Woodside, a conversation between them, in which 
they were canvassing the prospects of their undertaking, and the advantages 
of the location they had selected, was attentively listened to by Dr. R. O. 
Tripp. He asked the privilege of accompanying them to their new camp. It 
was granted, and, although the doctor was sick at the time, he took passage 
on the boat that was to carry their goods. From the landing, at San Mateo 
county, he engaged a teamster to take him to the camp, where he arrived on 
the 29th of October in the same year. Parkhurst and Ellis carried on the 
business until December, 1849, when they closed it up, and opened a store in 
the same locality, taking Dr. Tripp into partnership. The merchandising 
venture was a success, and still survives in the hands of Dr. Tripp. 

1850. — It was during this year that uncle John Otterson, who is still living, 
and well known in San Mateo county, settled in the redwoods. Otterson was 
born at Truro, Nova Scotia, May 5th, 1805. During the spring of 1850 there 
followed him: David S.Cook, Lloyd Ryder, John Franklin, Nicholas Dupoister, 
and Perry Jones. In order to preserve the roll of honor as complete as possible, 
and to assist in perpetuating the memory of those whose courage and energy 
contributed toward subduing the wilds of California, and transforming it into 
a garden of beauty — at least so far as San Mateo county is concerned — their 
names, as far as it has been possible to collect them, are here presented, and 
in the order of the date of their arrival: In 1851, Dr. Post. There were 
doubtless others; he seems to have been best remembered. In 1852, George 
Williamson, David Haver, A. S. Easton, John Donald, John G. and George 
Moore, and A. E. Eikerenkotter. In 1853, Andrew Teague, James Stalter, 
Jacob Downing, L. Chandler, John H. Sears, S. P. Pharis, Michael Commer- 
ford, Alexander Moore, T. W. Moore, Richard Vestal, Henry Ryan, G. R. 
Borden, John Rader, Joshua Pool, T. W. Macondray, and Thomas Johnson. 
In 1854, B. V. Weeks, Jeff. Keiffer, W. W. Durham, Thos. H. Beebe, W. S. 
Downing, Thos. Knight, H. Garnot, and William Hughes. In 1855, Gabriel 
Bell, George W. Fox, E. P. Mullin, L. G. Durham, John Tully, and Jo. 
Tompkins. In 1856, Daniel Ford, John Hanley, Braddock Weeks, L. B. 
Casey, J. P. Ames, Henry Wurr, James Wilson, Thomas Shine, and William 
Lloyd. In 1857, Martin Kuck, E. C. Burch, J. Quentin, Peter Casey, Jamea 
Dempsey, Eugene Walker, and E. L. Johnson. In 1858, William McNulty 


and Edward Robson. In 1859, H. B. Thompson, W. H. Gardner, Otto Dur- 
ham, A. F. Green, and John Garretson. In 1860, George H. Rice, Wm. Jack- 
eon, -J. B. Hollinsead, George W. Morrell, John Ralston, Lawrence Kelly, 
Bryan Cooney, Robert Ashmore, I. R. Goodspeed, Wm. Prindle, and James 
Hatch. In 1861, John Christ, Loren Coburn, M. Woodham, R. M. Mattingly, 
and George W. Green. In 1862, D. G. Leary, L. Murray, R. E. Steele, J. B. 
Harsba, Isaac Steele, Richard Cunningham, A. H. Halliburton, Jason Wright, 
and S. G. Goodhue. In 1863, Albert Hanson, H. W. Walker, G. W. Baldwin, 
M. H. Pinkham, Alfred Fay, Thomas Coleman, and D. Murphy. In 1864, A. 
Melrose, B. Hay ward, Thos. H. Perry, John Johnston, M. K. Doyle, Wm. B. 
Hartley, and John S. Colgrove. In 1865, R. C. Welch, John McCormack, 
George Winter, and Hugh McDermott. 

During the period in which San Mateo county formed a part of San Fran- 
cisco county, nothing of special importance occurred, except the boiler explosion 
of the steamer Jenny Lind, in the bay, opposite Pulga Rancho, while on the 
trip from San Francisco to Alviso, resulting in the death of thirty -one persons. 
This happened in 1853. It was during this year, also, that the Carrier Pigeon 
met her sad fate, on the coast, near the place that has ever since been called 
Pigeon Point. 

We now leave the history of the early settlement of San Mateo county, with 
the hope that readers may find something in what has been presented to recall 
in some, cherished recollections of a fading past, and to afford to others at 
least a passing entertainment, and something that will be interesting to all. 

The Organization of the County. — The first organization of counties in the 
United States originated in Virginia, her early settlers becoming proprietors of 
vast amounts of land, living apart in patrician splendor, imperious in de- 
meauor, aristocratic in feeling, and being in a measure dictators to the labor- 
ing portion of the population. It will thus be remarked that the materials for 
the creation of towns were not at hand, voters being but sparsely distributed 
over a great area. The county organization was, moreover, in perfect accord 
with the traditions and memories of the judicial and social dignities of Great 
Britain, in descent from which they felt so much glory. In 1634 eight 
counties were established in Virginia, a lead which was followed by the South- 
ern and several of the Northern States, save in those of South Carolina and 
Louisiana, where districts were outlined in the former, and parishes, after the 
manner of the French, in the latter. 

In New England, towns were formed before counties, while counties were 
organized before States. Originally, the towns, or townships, exercised all 
the powers of government swayed by a State. The powers afterwards assumed 
by the State governments were from surrender or delegation on the part of 
towns. Counties were created to define the jurisdiction of courts of justice. 


The formation of States was a union of towns, wherein arose the representative 
system; each town being represented in the State legislature, or general 
court, by delegates chosen by the freemen of the towns at their stated meet- 
ings. The first town meeting of which we can find any direct evidence, was 
held by the congregation of the Plymouth Colony, on March 23d, 1621, for the 
purpose of perfecting military arrangements. At that meeting a Governor was 
elected for the ensuing year; and it is noticed as a coincidence, whether from 
that source or otherwise, that the annual town meetings in New England, and 
nearly all the other States, have ever since been held in the spring of the 
year. It was not, however, until 1635, that the township system was adopted 
as a quasi corporation in Massachusetts. 

The first legal enactment concerning this system provided that, whereas, 
" particular towns have many things which concern only themselves, and the 
ordering of their own affairs, and disposing of business in their own towns; 
therefore the freemen of every town, or the major part of them, shall only have 
power to dispose of their own lands and woods, with all the appurtenances of 
said towns; to grant lots and to make such orders as may concern the well 
ordering of their own towns, not repugnant to the laws and orders established 
by the general court. They might also impose fines of not more than twenty 
shillings, and choose their own particular officers, as constables, surveyors for 
the highways, and the like." Evidently this enactment relieved the general 
court of a mass of municipal details, without any danger to the powers of that 
body in controlling general measures of public policy. Probably, also, a 
demand from the freemen cf the towns was felt for the control of their own 
home concerns. 

The New England colonies were first governed by a "general court," or 
legislature, composed of Governor and small council, which court Consisted 
of the most influential inhabitants, and possessed and exercised both legislative 
and judicial powers, which was limited only by the wisdom of the holders. 
They made laws, ordered their execution, elected their own officers, tried and 
decided civil and criminal causes, enacted all manner of municipal regulations; 
and, in fact, transacted all the business of the colony. This system, which was 
found to be eminently successful, became general, as territory was added to 
the republic, and States formed. Smaller divisions were in turn inaugurated 
and placed under the jurisdiction of special officers, whose numbers were 
increased as time developed a demand, until the system of township organiza- 
tion in the United States is a matter of just pride to the people. 

Let us now consider this topic in regard to the especial subject under 
review : 

On the acquisition of California by the Government of the United States, 
under a ti'eaty of peace, friendship, limits, and settlement with the Mexican re- 
public, dated Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2d, 1848, the boundaries of the State 


were defined. This treaty was ratified by the President of the United States on 
March 16th, 1848; exchanged at Queretaro, May 30th, and finally promulgated 
July 4th, of the same year, by President Polk, and attested by Secretary of 
State, James Buchanan. In 1849, a constitutional convention was assembled 
in Monterey, and at the close of the session on October 12th, a proclamation 
calling upon the people to form a government was issued, "to designate such 
officers as they desire to make and execute the laws; that their choice may be 
wisely made, and the government so organized may secure the permanent wel- 
fare and happiness of the people of the new State, is the sincere and earnest 
wish of the present executive, who, if the constitution be ratified, will, with 
pleasure, surrender his powers to whomsoever the people may designate as his 
successor.' This historical document bore the signatures of "B. Riley, Bvt.- 
Brig. General, U. S. A., and Governor of California," and "official — H. W. 
Halleck, Bvt.-Capt., and Secretary of State." 

In accordance with section fourteen of article twelve of the constitution, it 
was provided that the State be divided into counties, and senatorial and assem- 
bly distiicts, while the first session of the legislature, which began at San 
Jos<S on December 15th, 1849, passed, on February 18th, 1850, " An Act sub- 
dividing the State into counties and establishing seats of justice therein." 

Although our territory constituted a part of San Francisco county, owing to 
the preponderance of population and influence in the city, the southern and 
rural portion of the county played an unimportant part in its^politics and 

Our sole representation was in the board of supervisors. The county was 
so districted that what is now San Mateo county (excepting, of course, the 
territory accpaired from Santa Cruz in 1868), comprised three districts, and the 
members of the San Francisco board coming from these during the six years 
of our common government were as follows: 

1850 — John Treat from the 1st district, Francisco Sanchez from the 2d, and 
R. O. Tripp from the 3d. 

1852— William McLane from the 1st district, — Musgrove from the 2d, and 
— Hill from the 3d. 

1854 — James P. Casey from the 1st district, — Musgrove from the 2d, and 
Andrew Teague from the 3d. 

The courts of record were of course held in San Francisco, but it would be 
a mistake to suppose that the majesty of the law was without fit representatives 
in this locality. 

Owing to the distance to, and difficulty of easily reaching the county seat, it 
was all the more important that the justices of the peace here should "magnify 
their office " and stretch their jurisdiction to the utmost bounds. This they 
unquestionably did, and some ludicrous incidents are related of these early 
justices, who, in their zeal to afford the residents of this part of the county 


speedy and inexpensive justice and redress for infraction of rights to all man- 
ner of property, occasionally granted divorces, tried title to real estate, and 
gravely passed upon questions of constitutional law. 

San Mateo county was born out of troublous times. The excitement conse- 
quent upon the discovery of gold had brought to our shores people of almost 
every kindred and tongue under the heavens, and organization of society with 
more heterogeneous elements than were here represented was never attempted. 

San Francisco county was well-nigh overcome by the cormorants of society. 
There were not enough offices in existence to afford them the spoils they 
desired, and increased opportunities for plunder were eagerly sought. 

With the design of affording the well-disposed citizens of San Francisco 
more adequate safeguards for person and property, the Hon. Horace Hawes, 
in the spring of 1856, introduced into the State senate a bill entitled " An Act to 
repeal the several charters of the City of San Francisco, to establish the bound- 
aries of the City and County of San Francisco, and to consolidate the govern- 
ment thereof." This is commonly known as the "Consolidation Act," and, 
although drafted by a lawyer famous for his astuteness, omits in the title and 
in the enacting clause a very important subject of legislation — namely, the 
creation of a new county. The above bill was enacted a law and received the 
Governor's approval April 19th, 185G, and, inasmuch as a portion of it consti- 
tutes what was intended to be the organic Act of the county, that portion is 
herewith given. 

' ' Section 9 — Subdivision 1 . There shall be formed out of the southern 
portion of the county of San Francisco a new county, to be called San Mateo. 

Sub. 2. The boundaries of the county of San Mateo on all sides, except 
the north, shall be identical with those of the county of San Francisco, as 
they existed on the 18th day of March, 1856. The said County of San Mateo 
shall be bounded on the north by the City and County of San Francisco. 

Sub. 3. The seat of justice shall be at such place as may be determined by 
the qualified electors of the county at the election for county officers as pro- 
vided by this Act. 

Sub. 4. There shall be an election held for county officers and to determine 
the county seat in said county of San Mateo, on the second Monday in May of 
the present year (1856). 

Sub. 5. At the election mentioned in the preceding subdivision of this 
section, there shall be chosen a board of supervisors, consisting of three per- 
sons; one county judge, one county attorney, one county clerk, who shall be 
ex-ojficio county recorder; one sheriff, one county surveyor, one assessor, one 
treasurer, one coroner, and one public administrator; also a place to be the 
seat of justice. 

Sub. 6. John Johnston, R.O.Tripp, and Charles Clark are hereby appointed 


as a board of commissioners, to act without compensation, in the organization 
of said county of San Mateo, with powers and duties as hereinafter provided. 

Sub. 7. The laws of a general nature now in force, regulating elections in 
this State, shall apply to the election ordered by this section, except that the 
above board of commissioners, in the preceding subdivision of this section 
appointed, shall designate the election precincts, appoint the inspectors and 
judges of election, issue the several certificates to the persons elected, and 
declare what place receives the highest number of votes for count}' seat. 

Sub. 8. Said board of commissioners shall hold their first session for the 
transaction of business at the house of Edward Hancock, Redwood City, in 
said county. 

Sub. 9. The said board of commissioners shall meet on the Monday two 
weeks previous to election. At such meeting said board shall appoint one of 
their number president, and one as clerk. A record of their proceedings shall 
be kept. The attendance of a majority of the members of the board shall be 
necessary for the transaction of business. At said meeting the board shall 
designate the precincts of the county, and appoint inspectors and judges of 
such precincts, and give notice at each of the said precincts. 

Sub. 10. Sealed returns from the officers of election may be delivered to 
any member of said board. The said board shall meet on the second day 
subsequent to the election at the house of Edward Hancock, Redwood City, 
and the returns shall then be opened and^read; and under their direction, and 
in their presence, a tabular statement shall be made out, showing the vote 
given at each precinct of the county for each person, and for each of the 
offices to be filled at the election, and also the entire vote given for each person, 
and in the county for county seat, and for what place, or places, cast. The 
statement made out by such board shall be signed by its president and clerk. The 
place for which the highest number of legal votes shall be found to have been cast 
shall be the county seat. The persons having the highest number of legal 
votes for the several offices to be filled shall be declared elected; and the presi- 
dent shall immediately make out and send or deliver to each person chosen a 
certificate of election, signed by him as president of the commissioners, and 
attested by the clerk. 

Sub. 11. The county judge shall qualify before the president of the board, 
and enter upon the discharge of the duties of his office on the day succeeding 
the meeting of the board, as provided in the preceding subdivision. The 
persons elected as county officers, as provided in this section, shall qualify 
before the county judge, within ten days thereafter, and enter upon the dis- 
charge of their duties. 

Sub. 12. The president of the board shall transmit, without delay, a copy 
of the tabular statement, prepared as provided for in the tenth subdivision of 
this section, to the Secretary of State. The election returns of the county and 


a duplicate tabular statement shall be furnished to, and retained by, the county 
judge of the county until the person elect as clerk of said county has qualified 
and entered upon his duties, after which they shall be riled in his office. 

Sub. 13. The county judge chosen under the provisions of this section 
shall hold office for four years from the next annual election for members of 
the assembly, and until his successor is elected and qualified. The other 
officers elected under the provisions of this section shall hold their respective 
offices for the term fixed by law, commencing from the next annual election 
for members of the assembly. 

Sub. 14. The county judge shall receive for his services one thousand 
dollars per annum. 

Sub. 15. The county of San Mateo shall be and form a part of the twelfth 
judicial district of this state. 

Sub. 16. The board of supervisors of San Mateo county shall have power 
to levy a special tax, not to exceed fifty cents on each one hundred dollars of 
valuation of taxable property of said county, to be assessed and collected as 
other taxes, and the fund arising from said special tax shall be applied solely 
to the erection of a jail and court house for said county of San Mateo. The 
board of supervisors shall also have power to levy and collect, each year, in 
the mode prescribed by law for assessment and collection of State and county 
taxes, upon all the taxable property therein, such amount as they may deem 
sufficient to provide for the current expenses of the county, provided that the 
amount so levied, exclusive of State and school tax, shall not in any one year 
exceed the rate of fifty cents on the one hundred dollars upon all taxable 
property, real and personal, upon the assessment roll. But neither the board 
of supervisors, nor any officer or officers of the said county of San Mateo, shall 
have power to contract any debt or liability, in any form, against the said 
county, nor shall the said county nor any person or property therein ever be 
liable for any debt or liability contracted or attempted to be contracted. This 
prohibition, however, shall not be construed to prevent the said board or 
officers from appropriating and paying out moneys actually existing in the 
treasury to the various objects as authorized by law. 

Sub. 17. All township officers chosen at the general election for San Fran- 
cisco county, whose districts, by the provisions of this section, may be included 
in the present limits of San Mateo county, shall continue to hold their respec- 
tive offices for said county of San Mateo during the term for which they were 
elected, and until their successors are elected and qualified. 

Sub, 18. The clerk and recorder of San Francisco county, upon applica- 
tion of any person and payment of the fees, shall furnish certified copies of all 
deeds or other papers recorded in their, offices, wherein the subject matter of 
such deeds or other papers are situated in San Mateo county. 

Sub. 19. All actions or proceedings in the nature of actions, whether 


original or on appeal, civil or criminal, that were commenced by a party or 
parties now residing within the limits of San Mateo county, shall be disposed 
of by the tribunals and officers having jurisdiction of the same in San Fran- 
cisco county; and nothing in this section contained shall be so construed as to 
affect any such action. 

Sub. "20. It shall be the duty of the county surveyor, under the instruction 
and direction of the board of supervisors, to mark the boundary line between 
the city and countyof San Francisco and county of San Mateo, and for such 
services he shall receive such compensation as may be allowed by law. The 
said county of San Mateo shall remain connected with the city and county of 
San Francisco, as heretofore, for all purposes connected with representation in 
the Legislature and the election *oi members thereof, which shall remain as 
heretofore established by law. 

Section 10. This Act, excepting this section and section live of article lirst 
only, shall take effect on and after the first day of July next, and in the mean- 
time the existing municipal government or officers of the city and county of 
San Francisco, or the board of supervisors, or other officers of the city and 
county of San Francisco, shall not have power to contract any debt or liability 
against the said city or against the said county. But this prohibition, or any- 
thing contained in the existing charter of said city, shall not be construed to 
prevent the appropriation or payment out of the treasury of any moneys 
actually existing therein to the various objects and purposes, as authorized by 
law, or the drawing of any warrant or order therefor. This section and 
section five of article first of this Act shall take effect immediately after its 

Here was another golden opportunity. The viciously disposed — those whose 
conduct had called into existence the famous vigilance committee — saw a list 
of offices to be filled and a county to be plundered. The opportunity whfth 
the second Monday in May afforded was not to be lost. The election was held, 
and the result was astonishing. No one had conceived of the voting capacity 
the little county possessed. More than two thousand votes were cast for a 
total population of less than five thousand. This vote, which has never since 
been equaled in the county, although the population and material resources 
have very largely increased, was swelled to the above proportions by the north- 
ern precincts, and those under the dominant influence of the rabble that wel- 
comed the election as the means of plundering the people's treasury under the 
form and guise of law and authority. 

With the most shameless disregard of the citizens' right to a fair election, in 
certain precincts the polls were taken possession of by crowds of men whose 
residence in the county had not exceeded twenty-four hours, and ballot-boxes 
were stuffed with unblushing effrontery. In short, the first election held in 


San Mateo county was a mere farce, involving serious, almost tragic, conse- 
quences. At the polls the rabble was victorious, so far as polling a majority 
of votes for its favorite candidates wsa] concerned, but the fruits of victory 
were reserved for future distribution. The organic Act provided that the 
commissioners should meet at the house of Edward Hancock, in Redwood City, 
on the second day after the election and canvass the returns. R. O. Tripp, 
one of the commissioners, had from the first refused to participate in 
this attempted organization of the county, but his colleagues, Clark and John- 
ston, on the day specified, appeared in the parlors of the American House, and 
proceeded to ascertain and declare the result of the election. 

The men who had stood at the polls and pei'petrated the most outrageous 
frauds, came now before the commissioners, and, with brandished weapons, 
demanded a fair roan/, or, in other words, demanded that their nominees be 
counted in. The names of many of these men were familiar to the vigilance 
committee of San Francisco, and their presence everywhere was the harbinger 
of disorder and lawlessness. 

The offices in which they were especially interested were those of sheriff and 
supervisors. Their candidate for the former was Barney Mulligan, brother of 
the notorious Billy Mulligan, and their candidates were of the same unsavory 
class, although there were some honorable exceptions. At this canvassing the 
Mulligans, Chris. Lilly, and McDougall, were conspicuous by their violent and 
riotous demonstrations. The commissioners attempted to canvass the returns 
with closed doors; but they were forced open by a crowd of as villainous-look- 
ing men as ever contemplated the loss of personal liberty from behind prison 
bars. Papers were seized and proceedings arrested, with a probability that the 
commissioners would be unable to complete their duties. The occasion of this 
violent interruption was the rumor that the gang's candidate for sheriff was 
being "counted out," but, upon representations that the contrary was the 
truth, the deliberations of the board were permitted to proceed. 

As an incident of this day's lawlessness maybe mentioned the fact that Billy 
Mulligan, seeing what he supposed to be a package of ballots in favor of his 
brother's adversary, seized it and was about tearing it in pieces, when, some 
one suggesting that they were in favor of Barney, he quietly returned them. 

As it was, a good many ballots were lost and destroyed, but out of the 
number polled the loss of a few hundred was of no material consequence. 
Lilly's headquarters, for instance, gave five hundred votes, when there were 
less than fifty male adults residing in the precinct, and two hundred and ninety- 
seven names were upon the list from Crystal Springs to represent less than twenty- 
five qualified voters. It was afterwards discovered that some of the lists were 
nearly identical with lists of the mail passengers on the Panama steamers that 
had arrived in San Francisco about tbat time. 


This memorable day's proceedings were finally terminated, and the commis- 
sioners announced that Belmont had been chosen as the future seat of justice; 
Ben. F. Fox, county judge; W. T. Gough, district attorney; Barney Mulligan, 
sheriff; Kobert Gray (Lilly's bar-keeper), county clerk; Wm. Rogers, treasurer; 
John Johnston, Chas. Clark, and Benj. Fenwick, supervisors; Chas. Fair, 
assessor; and A. T. McClure, coroner. 

Gf course the respectable citizens of the new county regarded this election 
as a high-handed outrage, and such men as Benj. G. Lathrop and John W. 
Ackerson were present at the commissioners' meeting, and were not at all back- 
ward in expressing their opinion of the ballot-box stuff ers and the result of the 
election. Accordingly, when the vote was announced, steps were immediately 
taken by Lathrop, Ackerson, and others to contest the election, and when the 
county court convened at Belmont, on June 10th, 1856, the case of Ackerson 
vs. Mulligan was taken up, as a test generally of the validity of the election. 
Messrs. Lake and Duer appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Richards for de- 
fendant. After a full hearing of the case, the returns from three precincts were 
rejected, which so changed the aspect of affairs that Redwood City was declared 
the county seat; J. W. Ackerson, sheriff; B. G. Lathrop, clerk; Curtis Baird, 
treasurer; S. B. Gordon, assessor; and James Berry, supervisor, in place of 
Benj. Fenwick. These officers immediately qualified, and the archives of the 
county were removed to Redwood City. 

But the example of appealing to the judiciary was imitated by the opposition, 
and soon after the above decision a countershot was fired by John McDougall, 
who brought suit in the Twelfth District Court against John Johnston, to try 
the right of the defendant to the office of supervisor . The District Court gave 
judgment for defendant, but on appeal to the Supreme Court the judgment 
was reversed. -Justice Heydenfeldt delivered this brief but important decision : 

" The Act of April 19th, 1856, to repeal the several charters of the city of San 
Francisco, etc., did not go into effect until the first day of Jul;/, 185(5. Sec. 4 of 
the schedule of that Act which provides for an election in the county of San 
Mateo, to take place on the second Monday of May, 1856, was not law until 
the succeeding July, and therefore was no warrant for holding the election 
which took place, and the election consequently conferred no rigid*. The 
judgment is reversed, and the District Court is directed to enter judgment for 
the plaintiff, ousting the defendant of his office." 

This decision was rendered at the Gctober term, 1856, but in the meantime 
the machinery of the county government had been put in full operation; courts 
had been held and judgments rendered, assessments had been made and taxes 
collected. The consequences, however, of abandoning the offices and allowing 
the complete disorganization of the government was felt to be more hazardous 
than to continue the de facto government until the offices could be filled at the 
next general election in November. Without proclamation, and consequently 


again without law, the election for county officers was held and resulted in 
retaining the former incumbents in office. No votes were cast, however, for 
supervisor in the first and second townships, and thereupon the clerk, believ- 
ing that a vacancy existed in these two offices, called a special election, at 
which David S. Cook and D. W. Connelly were elected and immediately there- 
after took their seats in the board. 

It will be observed that a series of blunders had been committed —some of 
them almost inexcusable — and nothing less than the sovereign power of the 
legislature could now cure the errors and extricate the county from the com- 
plications into which it had fallen. Accordingly when the legislature assem- 
bled in 1857, it promptly passed an act that was designed as a panacea for all 
the ills of administration the young county had suffered. The bill was entitled : 
" An Act relating to the official acts of the officers of San Mateo county, and 
prescribing certain dues," and provided as follows: 

" Section 1 . All the official acts and proceedings of all officers elected in and 
for the county of San Mateo, who are now holding offices therein, and of their 
predecessors in office, are hereby declared and made legal and valid in all 
respects up to and until the next election of county officers in and for said 
county as though their election had been in all respects legal and valid, and 
until the election and qualification of their successors in office; provided, 
such officers have severally taken the oath of office, and shall, within fifteen 
days after the passage of this act, give the official bonds required by law. It 
being, however, expressly provided and intended that neither the county 
judge, nor any other officer of said county whomsoever, shall be authorized or 
permitted to continue in office or perform any official duty under authority of 
this Act, for a longer term than until the next general election, or until a 
special election for county officers in said county; provided, such special elec- 
tion shall be authorized by law prior to next general election, and until their 
successors shall be elected and qualified." 

This received the governor's approval March (5th, 1857. 
Soon after this, the Hon. T. G. Phelps, senator from the fifth senatorial 
district, and resident of San Mateo county, introduced the bill that effected 
the proper organization of the county. It was entitled, " An Act to reorganize 
and establish the county of San Mateo," and was passed to a law April 18th, 
1857. This act defined the southern boundary, and provided for an election 
to be held in the following May, as follows: 

" Beginning at a point in the Pacific ocean three miles from shore, and on a 
line with the line of the United States survey separating townships two and 
three south (Mt. Diablo mountain), thence running east along said line sepa- 
rating said townships, to the eastern boundary line of the county of San 
Francisco, thence in a direct line to the middle of the bay of San Francisco 
opposite the mouth of San Francisquito creek; thence to and up the middle of 


said creek, following the middle of the south branch thereof to its source in 
the Santa Cruz mountains; thence due west to the Pacific ocean, and three 
miles therein ; thence in a northwesterly direction parallel with the coast to the 
place of beginning. 

" Sec. 6. There shall be an election held for all the county officers of the 
said county, and to ascertain the place preferred by its electors for their county 
seat, to be hereafter fixed by act of the legislature, on the second Monday of 
May next, and the officers elected at such election shall hold their respective 
offices until the next general election, the same in all respects as if elected at 
the next general election and until their successors are respectively elected and 
qualified as provided by law. 

" Sec 7. Redwood City shall be and remain the county seat of said county 
until otherwise provided by law." 

In pursuance of this act, the election was held, and resulted in retaining 
all the former incumbents in office except Mr. Gordon, who was succeeded by 
C. E. Kelly, as assessor. The validity of this election was unquestionable, 
and the act of April 18th, 1857, properly marks the legal organization of the 

Some doubts, however, were entertained for a time as to the duration of the 
terms of the officers elected, and particularly as to the office of county judge. 
For the purpose of removing these doubts, the governor ordered that an 
election be held in September, 1858, to allow the people once more to express 
a choice for officers. 

At this election about six hundred votes were cast, but only thirty-eight for 
county judge. Of this number Horace Templeton received a majority, and the 
courts were again appealed to. A decision was not had in the Supreme Court 
until the January term, 1859, when it was rendered adversely to Templeton 
and in favor of Judge Fox. 

During this litigation the rival contestants were each holding courts of the 
same jurisdiction, and some amusing incidents are told of these antagonistic 

This case, however, closed the series of contests in and out of court that 
grew out of the Act of 1856, and thenceforward the machinery of the county 
government moved as smoothly as could be desired. 

Court of Sessions. — The records state that the Court of Sessions was organ- 
ized August 4th, 1856. These courts were formerly held in nearly all the 
counties of the State, and were composed of the county judge, assisted by 
two associate justices of the peace of the entire county. 

The composition of the above court, as organized in Redwood City, August 
4th, 1856, was as follows: Presiding judge, Benj. F. Fox; associate justices, 
James McCrea and Martin W. Lamb; clerk, B. G. Lathrop; sheriff, J. W. 


This court took cognizance of criminal cases, and its first grand jury was 
composed as follows: T. G. Phelps, John S. Colgrove, A. W. Chew, Daniel 
Ross, H. S. Loveland, John P. Edinger, Jos. Cooley, D. S. Cook, G. F. 
Wyman, Alex. Bailey, H. S. Austin, M. A. Judson, Andrew Martin, Austin 
Howard, Wm. Page, F. Z. Boynton, and Chas. Underwood. 

When the court convened on August 5th, an application for license to prac- 
tice law was made by Horace Templeton, Esq., afterwards for a long term of 
years county judge, and widely known as an able, though eccentric man. The 
court appointed a committee, consisting of W. F. Gough and James McCabe, 
to examine him as to qualifications, and the committee reporting favorably, he 
was, on the following day, admitted to practice. 

The first case tried was that of the People against Joseph Gray, in which 
the respondent was found guilty of " common assault," fined fifty dollars, and 
compelled to give bonds in the sum of five hundred dollars to keep the peace. 
The same day another person — Geo. W. Gaffney — was made to realize the 
majesty of the law by receiving a sentence to the penitentiary for one year. 

The second term of the Court commenced Oct. (5, 185(5, when the following 
persons appeard as grand jurors: W. Whitlock, S. H. Towns, J. P. Ross, C. 
Bollinger, R. O. Tripp, T. H. Beebe, W. Prewett, R. S.Jenkins, Jacob Down- 
ing, James Barmore, R. W. Tallant, A. Bentley, A. W. Rice, T. Finger, C. 
Prior, M. L. Brittan, W. R. Fenner, S.-H. Snyder, and A. Little. 

The first person in San Mateo county to receive this court's permission to 
become an American citizen, was Hugh Kelly, who afterwards returned the 
favor by serving the county as one of its supervisors. 

In December a convention of justices was held for the purpose of electing 
two of their number members of the court. Considerable partisan feeling pre- 
vailed at this meeting, and five ballotings were had without making choice. 
J. W. Titcomb was appointed associate justice until a choice could be made, 
which was on the 6th of December, when John Gumming and G. R. Borden 
were declared members of this court. 

In the following July Mr. Borden resigned, and Wm. Languedoc was 
appointed to fill the vacancy. 

In October, 1857, the magistrates again assembled and elected James McCrea 
and John Cumming, associate justices. In the following October, W. C. Cook 
and W. B. Maxson were chosen associates, with Horace Templeton, judge. 
An explanation of the appearance of Templeton's name in this connection, 
while B. F. Fox was Judge, will be found in another place. 

In October, 1859, J. P. Ames and Wm. A. Clark were elected members of 
the court. At the November term of that year the grand jury found an indict- 
ment against David S. Terry for the killing of David C. Broderick, in a duel 
fought at Davis' Ranch, on the 13th day of September, 1859. On motion of 


the district attorney, a bench warrant was ordered for Terry, to be sent to the 
sheriff of San Joaquin county. 

At this term J. P. Ames and J. W. Turner were associates. At the spring 
term, 1861, S. T. Tilton and J. W. Turner. From this time forth to the dis- 
continuance of the Court of Sessions, Horace Templeton was the presiding 
judge, and the associates thereafter, in the order of their appointment or elec- 
tion, were as follows: John Greer, L. Whittingham, Wm. Durham, J. John- 
ston, O. Parshall, and H. A. Scofield. 

Early Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors. — The first meeting of the 
board of supervisors of San Mateo county was beld at Redwood City, on the 
7th day of July, 1856 — present, James Berry and Charles Clark, they consti- 
tuting, as the record states, a majority of said board. The member not then 
present was John Johnston. 

The first official act of this board was the appointment of James McCrea to 
fill a vacancy in the office of justice of the peace, caused by the resignation of 
Horace Templeton; and the appointment of David Marvin to fill a vacancy in 
the same office, caused by the refusal of John V. Reid to perform its duties. 

The board then proceeded to consider ' ' the condition of the principal road 
through the county," and the record states that they "unanimously " (there 
were two of them) decided that "said road leading from San Francisco to 
Santa Clara must be repaired," and, on motion of supervisor Berry, Charles 
Clark was authorized to contract for repairs on said road at a cost not to exceed 
fifty dollar*. At this meeting the county clerk was instructed to purchase an 
iron safe for the safe-keeping of books and papers — cost not to exceed three 
hundred dollars. 

The necessity was now considered for providing a court-room and suitable 
offices for the county officers, and the proposition of J. V. Diller to rent the 
county the necessary rooms at forty dollars per month was received and 
accepted. The law at that time requiring the publication of official acts of 
the board, the True Calif or nian was selected as the official organ of the county. 

The second meeting of the board was held July 26th, 1856 — same members 
present as before. Further difficulty was experienced in bestowing the judicial 
ermine in the first district. David Marvin refusing to qualify as justice of the 
peace, Martin W. Lamb was appointed. The board then proceeded to levy a 
tax for county purposes, and fixed it at fifty cents on the one hundred dollars, 
with a special tax of fifty cents for the purpose of building a court-house and 

August 4th, a full board met, when a tax of seventy cents for State pur- 
poses, ten cents for school purposes, and five cents for road purposes, was 
levied on each one hundred dollars. The board at this meeting resolved that 


S. B. Gordon, county assessor, was entitled to act as superintendent of schools, 
and he was authorized to enter upon the duties of that office. 

At this time the first report of the county treasurer, Curtis Baird, was received 
and filed. It showed total receipts to that date to be six hundred and thirty- 
eight dollars, and liabilities of the county amounting to eight hundred and 
seventy-three dollars and ninety -two cents. During this period, and for years 
thereafter, the matter of roads was a question of paramount importance. 
Indeed, for the first ten years of the history of this board, it received more 
attention than all other matters combined. 

The first applicant for enlarged road privileges was Emanuel Fox, who 
petitioned for a "cart road " to lead from his house to the public road. The 
board becoming satisfied that said Fox should have the road as prayed for, it 
was ordered that notice be given to James Clark " and the McManns" that the 
petition would be granted, unless said Clark and the McManns appeared and 
satisfied the board that it would do them an injustice to have the road laid. 
At this meeting a petition was presented praying for the permanent location 
of the main road from San Francisco to Santa Clara, and J. E. King, H. K. 
Dean and Jos. S. Cooley were appointed viewers. 

October 13th, 185G, the board became convinced that a physician to attend 
the indigent sick was a necessity, and A. T. McClure was appointed county 
physician. The board at this session indicated the following places and the 
officers of the election to be held in the following November. As this was the 
first general election held in the county, the voting precincts and the officers 
of election are herewith given : • 

Polling place in District No. 1, at the house of Charles Clark. Judge, Mar- 
tin W. Lamb; inspectors, George Smith and John Cumming. 

Polling place in District No. 2, at the San Mateo school-house. Judge, B. 
F. Fox; inspectors, J. B. Morton and John Donald. 

Polling place in District No. 3, at Miramontez'. Judge, G. B. Borden; 
inspectors, Wm. Johnson and J. W. Bell. 

Polling place in District No. 4, at Purissima school-house. Judge, J. E. 
Selleck; inspectors, Nelson Martin and Eben. Ford. 

Polling place in District No. 5, at Woodside school-house. Judge, John 
Greer; inspectors, Daniel Ross and John H. Sears. 

Polling place in District No. G, at the court-house. Judge, Joseph S. Cooley; 
inspectors, H. O. Little and A. W. Chew. 

It appears that the Act of 1857, reorganizing San Mateo county, materially 
changed the southern boundary, for, on the 12th day of June, the board held 
a meeting to take action on the matter, when the following resolution was 
passed : 

" Whereas, The authorities of Santa Cruz county are claiming and holding 
jurisdiction over a portion of the territory of San Mateo county, and enforcing 


the collection of revenue which rightfully belongs to this county; it is, there- 
fore, ordered that the surveyor-general be notified to survey and establish said 
boundary at his earliest convenience." 

At the meeting of February 27th, 1858, the board accepted the offer of S. M. 
Mezes, donating any block of land in Redwood City that the board might 
select for the site of a court-house and jail. Block 3, in range B, was selected, 
and public notice was immediately given that proposals for erecting the build- 
ings would be received. April 3d, the contract was awarded to H. P. Petit. 
The available funds being insufficient, the San Mateo county assemblyman 
was requested to procure a special enactment to enable the authorities to raise 
the desired amount ($3000). 

The next official business of public importance was the bonding of the 
county for the purpose of aiding the construction of the San Francisco and 
San Jose railroad. A proclamation was issued calling for an election on the 
third Tuesday of May, 18(51, at which the proposition to authorize the board 
of supervisors to subscribe $100,000 for the above purpose was submitted. At 
the election held on said date, 660 votes were cast, of which 420 were cast in 
fevor of the proposition, and 240 against. 

The principal acts of the board for the first seven years of its existence 
having been given, its further proceedings are omitted. 

The political divisions of the county at the present time consist of five town- 
ships, designated first, second, third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, and 
each constitutes a supervisor district. The number of the townships have at 
different times varied, and have also been known by different names. Con- 
tained within these townships are twenty-seven school districts. 

There are only two incorporated towns in the county — Redwood City and 
Menlo Park — and the latter of these has practically ceased to be a separate 

The county, jointly with the City and County of San Francisco, comprises 
one senatorial district, with a vote in the election of one senator. It com- 
prises one assembly district, and elects one assemblyman. 

County Seat Contests. — If that county could be discovered where no contest 
had ever occurred over its seat of justice, its name ought to be changed to 
Arcadia, the home of the happy. Unfortunately, a county -seat contest was 
twin-born with San Mateo, and its existence of nearly twenty years afforded a 
subject of animosity and litigation with few parallels in the annals of those 
seemingly necessary evils. 

By subdivision 3, section 9, of the "consolidation act," it was provided that 
"the seat of justice shall be at such place as may be determined by the 
qualified electors of the county." 

In pursuance of that act, at that unprecedented election held in May, 


1856, Belmont was declared the county seat, and the government of the 
county — such as it was — was organized at that place. The county court, 
Judge Fox presiding, and Jos. Porter acting as clerk, was there convened, 
and contest number one of the series was opened, when the case of Ackerson 
vs. Mulligan was called. This case was brought to test the legality of the 
May election by impeaching the returns of several precincts. After a full 
hearing of the case, and after discarding the returns from three precincts, 
Redwood City was declared the county seat, and the archives of the county 
government were removed from Belmont to that place. 

At the first meeting of the board of supervisors, held July 7th, 1856, the 
records state that ' ' the necessity of providing suitable rooms for the county 
officers and a court-room was considered, and that a proposition being made 
to the board by J. V. Diller to rent the county the necessary rooms at forty 
dollars per month for six months, with the privilege of twelve, it was ordered 
that the clerk procure said rooms, and fit them up to suit the convenience of 
the officers and courts." Accordingly, Diller's store building became the 
court-house in Redwood City. At the next meeting of the board, July 26th, 
a special tax of fifty cents on the hundred dollars was levied for the purpose 
of building a jail and court-house. 

In February, 1858, the records state that S. M. Mezes having offered to give 
any block in Redwood that the board might select, his proposal was accepted, 
and he was requested to convey block 3, in range 13, to Gov. J. B. Weller, in 
trust for the use of the county. After the acquisition of the land in the above 
manner, the board, on the 3d day of April, 1858, awarded to H. P. Petit the 
contract for building the court-house and jail, which were pushed forward to 
completion and accepted by the county. 

During these early years the subject of removal had merely slumbered, and 
in May, 1861, a bill passed the legislature entitled, " An Act submitting to 
the qualified electors of San Mateo county at the next general election the 
question of the removal of the county seat of said county." 

In pursuance of this act the election took place, and resulted in favor of Red- 
wood City, by a vote of six hundred and fifty-six against three hundred and 
sixty-four for San Mateo Villa, eleven for San Mateo, and one for Belmont. 

For twelve years the vexed question was apparently settled, when Alvinza 
Hay ward, on the 4th day of November, 1873, conveyed to the board of super- 
visors by conditional deed, lots 5 and 6 in block 2 of the Oak Lawn Villa lots 
of San Mateo, conditioned upon the erection thereon within the period of two 
years of the court-house and jail. 

On the 15th day of November, the board of supervisors gave notice of an 
election to be held December 9th, 1873, to determine the question of the 
removal of the county seat. At this contest money was freely expended, and 
herculean efforts put forth by the respective partisans of the rival towns. 


The board of supervisors on the 15th of December, canvassed the returns 
and announced the following result: 

Redwood City, seven hundred and three votes, and San Mateo, six hundred 
and ninety-three, leaving a majority in favor of Redwood City of ten votes. 

Instead of determining the question, this election had the effect to stimulate 
the partisans of San Mateo to renew the contest. Within five months from 
the date of the last election, and on May 4th, 1874, J. E. Butler, of San Mateo, 
presented a petition to the board of supervisors asking that another election 
be ordered. A majority of the board were favorable to this movement, and the 
prayer of the petitioners was granted, the reason for granting it being found 
in one of a series of resolutions offered by supervisor Ames, in the following 
language: Whereas, the election heretofore held in this county to decide this 
question was and is void and of no effect, by reason of a failure to give notice 
thereof, as required by law," &c. The day of election was fixed on June 13th, 
1874. But while the board was in session, May 11th, sheriff Edgar served 
upon them a writ of certiorari from the supreme court, directing a stay of all 
proceedings in the matter, and ordering a transcript of the papers in the case, 
with the records of the board relating thereto, to be sent up for review. 

The case in the supreme court was entitled, "Atherton vs. the board of 
supervisors of San Mateo County," and was an application for a writ of review 
based upon the affidavit of Faxon D. Atherton, alleging, among other things, 
that the board had exceeded their jurisdiction in ordering the election for 
June 13th, in that but five months had elapsed since an election was had to 
determine the same question, and that the sufficiency and genuineness of the 
petition of May 4th were never verified nor proved. Campbell, Fox & Camp- 
bell appeared for the relator, and W. H. L. Barnes for the respondents. The 
case was argued on the 25th of May and taken under advisement by the court, 
but Li a few days they rendered their decision, which was adverse to the peti- 
tioner, and the writ was dismissed. 

Subsequently, C. N. Fox, sued out a writ of prohibition from the twelfth 
district court, based upon what were claimed to be irregularities in the peti- 
tion, apparent on its face, and not involving the question of law presented 
in the supreme court before the writ was served. Upon the hearing of this 
case in the district court, the writ was dismissed, on the ground that it was res 
adjudicala from Atherton's case. An appeal was taken, and a rehearing obtained 
in the supreme court on the 11th of June, wheu Mr. Barnes appeared for the 
board and moved the court to dismiss the writ. The motion was based on 
various technical grounds, but finally counsel agreed upon a square issue of 
facts as to the validity of the petition, and thereupon the order staying pro- 
ceedings was so far modified as to permit the election to be held, and the result 
ascertained, but no official result to be declared until the further order of the 



The election was held, and resulted in an overwhelming majority in favor 
of San Mateo, she^having a majority of two hundred and sixty votes. 

July 14th, an order was made in the ease allowing some fourteen issues of 
fact to be tried, and appointing ex-Governor H. H. Haight referee to try the same, 
with directions to'take and report to the court, in writing, the evidence, together 
with his conclusions thereon. Afterwards Col. J. P. Hoge was, by order of 
the court, substituted in place of Governor Haight. He commenced hearing 
testimony on the 24th of September, and on the 24th of February, 1875, the 
case was decided, and the writ of prohibition ordered. Thus again was decided 
in favor of Redwood City another victory in this memorable series of contests. 


The subject of the tenure of land in California is one which is so little 
understood, that it has been deemed best to quote at length the following 
report on the subject of land titles in California, made in pursuance of instruc- 
tions from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Interior, by William 
Carey Jones, published in Washington in the Year 1850, — a more exhaustive 
document it would be difficult to find: 

On Juty 12, 1849. Mr. Jones had been appointed a "confidential agent of 
the Government, to proceed to Mexico and California, for the purpose of pro- 
curing information as to the condition of land titles in California." Pursuant 
to these instructions, he embarked from New York on the 17th July; arriv- 
ing at Chagres on the 29th, he at once proceeded to Panama, but got no op- 
portunity, until that day month, of proceeding on his journey to this State. 
At length, on September 19th, he arrived at Monterey, the then capital of Cali- 
fornia. After visiting San Jose' and San Francisco, he returned to Monterey, 
and there made arrangements for going by land to Los Angeles and San 
Diego, but finding this scheme impracticable on account of the rainy season, 
he made the voyage by steamer. On December 7th he left San Diego for 
Acapuleo in Mexico, where he arrived on the 24th; on the 11th he left that 
city, and on the 18th embarked from Vera Cruz for Mobile. 

We now commence his report, believing that so able a document will prove 
of interest to the reader: — 


All the grants of land made in California (except pueblo or village lots, and 
except, perhaps, some grants north of the Bay of San Francisco, as will be 
hereafter noticed), subsequent to the independence of Mexico, and after the 
establishment of that government in California, were made by the different 
political governors. The great majority of them were made subsequent to 
January, 1832, and consequently under the Mexican Colonization Law of 
August 18, 1824, and the government regulations, adopted in pursuance of 
the law dated November 21, 1828. In January. 1832 General Jose 


Figueroa became Governor of the then territory of California, under a con - 
mission from the government at Mexico, replacing Victoria, who, after having 
the year before displaced Echandrea, was himself driven out by a revolution. 
The installation of Figueroa restored quiet, after ten years of civil commotion, 
and was at a time when Mexico was making vigorous efforts to reduce and 
populate her distant territories, and consequently granting lands on a liberal 
scale. In the act of 1824, a league square (being 4,428.402-1000 acres) is 
the smallest measurement of rural property spoken of ; and of these leagues 
square, eleven (or nearly fifty thousand acres) might be conceded in a grant to one 
individual. By this law, the States composing the federation, were authorized 
to make special provision for colonization within their respective limits, and 
the colonization of the territories, " conformably to the principlas of law " 
charged upon the Central Government. California was of the latter descrip- 
tion, beinsf designated a Territory in the Acta Constitutiva of the Mexican 
Federation, adopted January 31, 1824, and by the Constitution adopted 4th 
October of the same year.* 

The colonization of California and granting lands therein, was, there- 
fore, subsequent to the law of August 18, 1824, under the direction and 
control of the Central Government. That government, as already stated, 
gave regulations for the same November 21, 1828. 

The directions were very simple. They gave the governors of the terri- 
tories the exclusive faculty of making grants within the terms of the law — 
that is, to the extent of eleven leagues, or sitios, to individuals; and coloniza- 
tion giants (more properly contiacts) — that is, grants of larger tracts to 
emprcsarios, or persons who should undertake, for a consideration in land, to 
bring families to the country for the purpose of colonization. Grants of the 
first description, that is, to families or single persons, and not exceeding eleven 
sitios, were "not to be held definitely valid," until sanctioned by the Terri- 
torial Deputation. These of the second class, that is, empresario or coloniza- 
tion grants (or contracts) required a like sanction by the Supreme Govern- 
ment. In case the concurrence of the Deputation was refused to a grant of 
the first mentioned class, the Governor should appeal, in favor of the grantee, 
from the Assembly to the Supreme Government. 

The "first inception " of the claim, pursuant to the regulat : ons, and as 
practiced in California, was a petition to the Governor, praying for the grant, 
specifying usually the quantity of land asked, and designating its position, 
with some descriptive object or boundary, and also stating the age, country 
and vocation of the petitioner. Sometimes, also, (generally at the commence- 
ment of this system) a rude map or plan of the required grant, showing its 

*The political condition of California was changed by the Constitution of 29th December, and 
act for the division of the Republic into Departments of December 30, 1836. The two Califor. 
nias then became a Department, the confederation being broken up and the States reduced to 
Departments. The same colonization system, however, seems to have continued in California. 


shape and position, with reference to other tracts, or to natural objects, was 
presented with the petition. This practice, however, was gradually disused, 
and few of the grants made in late years have any other than a verbal 

The next step was usually a reference of the petition, made on the margin 
by the governor, to the prefect of the district, or other near local officer where 
the land petitioned for was situated, to know if it was vacant, and could be 
granted without injury to third persons or the public, and sometimes to know 
if the petitioner's account of himself was true. The reply (informe) of the 
prefect, or other officer, was written upon or attached to the petition, and the 
whole returned to the governor. The reply being satisfactory, the governor 
then issued the grant in form. On its receipt, or before, (often before the 
petition, even.) the party went into possession. It was not unfrequent, of late 
years, to omit the formality of sending the petition to the local authorities, and 
it was never requisite, if the governor already possessed the necessary infor- 
mation concerning the land and the parties. In that case the grant followed 
immediately on the petition. Again, it sometimes happened that the reply of 
the local authority was not explicit, or that third persons intervened, and the 
grant was thus for some time delayed. With these qualifications, and cover- 
ing the great majority of cases, the practice may be said to have been: 
1. The petition; 2. The reference to the prefect or alcalde; 3. His report, or 
informe ; 4. The grant from the governor. 

" When filed, and how, and by whom, recorded." 

The originals of the petition and informe, and any other preliminary 
papers in the case, were filed, by the secretary, in the government archives, 
and with them a copy (the original being delivered to the grantee) of the 
grant ; the whole attached together so as to form one document, entitled, col- 
lectively, an expediente. During the governorship of Figueroa, and some of 
his successors, that is, from May 22, 1833, to May 9, 1836, the grants were 
likewise recorded in a book kept for that purpose (as prescribed in the "regu- 
lations" above referred to) in the archives. Subsequent to that time, there 
was no record, but a brief memorandum of the grant ; the expediente, how- 
ever, being still filed. Grants were also sometimes registered in the office of the 
prefect of the district where the lands lay ; but the practice was not constant, 
nor the record generally in permanent form. 

The next, and final step in the title was the approval of the grant by the 
Territorial Deputation (that is, the local legislature, afterward, when the terri- 
tory was created into a Department, called the " Departmental Assembly.") 
For this purpose, it was the governor's office to communicate the fact of the 
grant, and all information concerning it, to the assembly. It was here referred 
to a committee (sometimes called a committee on vacant lands, sometimes on 


agriculture), who reported at a subsequent sitting. The approval was seldom 
refused ; but there are many instances where the governor omitted to commu- 
nicate the gi'ant to the assembly, and it consequently remained unacted on. 
The approval of the assembly obtained, it was usual for the secretary to 
deliver to the grantee, on application, a certificate of the fact; but no other 
record or registration of it was kept than the written proceedings of the assem- 
bly There are no doubt instances, therefore, where the approval was in fact 
obi ned, but a certificate not applied for, and as the journals of the assembly, 
now remaining in the archives, are very imperfect, it can hardly be doubted 
that many grants have received the approval of the assembly, and no record 
of the fact now exists. Many grants were passed upon and approved by the 
assembly in the Winter and Spring of 1846, as I discovered by loose memo- 
randa, apparently made by the clerk of the assembly for future entry, and 
referring to the grants by their numbers — sometimes a dozen or more on a 
single small piece of paper, but of which I could find no other record. 

"So, also with the subsequent steps, embracing the proceedings as to sur- 
vey, up to the perfecting of the title." 

There were not, as far as I could learn, any regular surveys made of grants 
in California, up to the time of the cessation of the former government. 
There was no public or authorized surveyor in the country. The grants 
usually contained a direction that the grantee should receive judicial posses- 
sion of the land from the proper magistrate (usually the nearest alcalde), in 
virtue of the grant, and that the boundaries of the tract should then be desig- 
nated by that functionary with "suitable land marks." But this injunction 
was usually complied with, only by procuring the attendance of the magis- 
trate, to give judicial possession according to the verbal description contained 
in the grant. Some of the old grants have been subsequently surveyed, an 1 
was informed, by a surveyor under appointment, of Col. Mason, acting a,s 
Governor of California. I did not see any official record of such surveys, or 
understand that there was any. The "perfecting of the title " I suppose to 
have been accomplished when the grant received the concurrence of the 
assembly; all provisions of the law, and of the colonization regulations of the 
supreme government, pre-requisites to the title being "definitely valid," hav- 
ing been then fulfilled. These, I think, must be counted complete titles. 

"And if there be any more boohs, files or archives of any kind wkatso- 
ever, showing the nature, character and extent of these grants." 

The following list comprises the books of record and memoranda of grants, 
which I found existing in the government archives at Monterey: 

1. " 1828. Cuaderno del registro de los sitios, fierras y sefiales que posean 
los habitantes del territorio de la Nueva California." [Book of registration 


of the farms, brands, and marks (for marking cattle), possessed by the inhabi- 
tants of the territory of New California.] 

This book contains information of the situation, boundaries and appurte- 
nances of several of the missions, as hereafter noticed ; of two pueblos, San Josu 
and Branciforte, and the records of about twenty grants, made by various Span- 
ish, Mexican and local authorities, at different times, between 1784 and 1825, 
and two dated 1829. This book appears to have been arranged upon infor- 
mation obtained in an endeavor of the government to procure a registration 
of all the occupied lands of the territory. 

2. Book marked " Titulos." 

This book contains records of grants, numbered from one to one hundred 
and eight, of various dates, from May 22, 1833 to May 9, 1836, by the suc- 
cessive governors, Figueroa, Jose' Castro, Nicholas Gutierrez and Mariano 
Chico. A part of these grants, (probably all) are included in a file of expe- 
dien tes of grants, hereafter described, marked from number one to number 
five hundred and seventy-nine ; but the numbers in the bonk do not corres- 
pond with the numbers of the same grants in the expedientes. 

3. " Libro donde se asciertan los despaehos de terrenos adjudicados en los . 
anos de 1839 and 1840." — (Book denoting the concessions of land adjudicated 
in the years 1839 and 1840.) 

This book contains a brief entry, by the secretary of the department of 
grants, including their numbers, dates, names of the grantees and of the 
grants, quantity granted, and situation of the land, usually entered in the 
book in the order they were conceded. This book contains the grants made 
from January 18, 1839, to December 8, 1843, inclusive. 

4. A book similar to the above, and containing like entries of grants 
issued between January 8, 1844 and December 23, 1845. 

5. File of expedientes of grants — that is, all the proceedings (except of 
the Assembly) relating to the respective grants, secured, those of each grant in 
a separate parcel, and marked and labeled with its number and name. This 
file is marked from No. 1 to No. 579 inclusive, and embraces the space of 
time between May 13, 1833, to July 1846. The numbers, however, bear 
little relation to the dates. Some numbers are missing, of some there are 
duplicates — that is, two distinct grants with the same number. The expedi- 
entes are not all complete ; in some cases the final grant appears to have been 
refused; in others it was wanting. The collection, however, is evidently 
intended to represent estates which have been granted, and it is probable that 
in many, or most instances, the omission apparent in the archives is supplied 
by original documents in the hands of the parties, or by long permitted occu- 
pation. These embrace all the record books and files belonging to the territo- 
rial, or departmental archives, which I was able to discover. 

I am assured, however, by Mr. J. C. Fremont, that according to the best of 


his recollection, a book for the year 184b', corresponding to those noticed above, 
extending from 1839, to the end of 1845, existed in the archives while he was 
Governor of California, and was with them when he delivered them in May, 
1847, to the officer appointed by General Kearny to receive them from him 
at Monterey. 


1 took much pains both in California and Mexico, to assure myself of the 
situation, in a legal and proprietary point of view, of the former great 
establishments known as the Missions of California. It had been supposed 
that the lands they occupied were grants, held as the property of the church, 
or of the mission establishments as corporations. Such, however, was not the 
case. All the missions in Upper California were established under the direc- 
tion and mainly at the expense of the Government, and the missionaries there 
had never any other rights than the occupation and use of the lands for the 
purpose of the missions, and at the pleasure of the Government. This is 
shown by the history and principles of their foundation, by the laws in rela- 
tion to them, by the constant practice of the Government toward them, and, 
in fact, by the rules of the Franciscan order, which forbids its members to 
possess property. 

The establishment of missions in remote provinces was a part of the colo- 
nial system of Spain. The Jesuits, by a license from the Viceroy of New 
Spain, commenced in this manner the reduction of Lower California in the 
year 1697. They continued in the spiritual charge, and in a considerable 
degree of the temporal government of that province until 1767, when the 
royal decree abolishing the Jesuit order throughout New Spain was there 
enforced, and the missions taken out of their hands. They had then founded 
fifteen missions, extending from Cape St. Lucas nearly to the head of the sea of 
Cortez, or Calif ornian gulf. Three of the establishments had been suppressed by 
order of the Viceroy; the remainder were now put in charge of the Fran- 
ciscan monks of the college of San Fernando, in Mexico, hence sometimes 
called " Fernandinos." The prefect of that college, the Rev. Father Junipero 
Serra, proceeded in person to his new charge, and arrived with a number of 
monks at Loreto, the capital of the peninsula, the following year (1768). He 
was there, soon after, joined b}^ Don Jose" Galvez, inspector general (visitador) 
of New Spain, who brought an order from the King, directing the founding 
of one or more settlements in Upper California. It was therefore agreed that 
Father Junipero should extend the mission establishments into Upper Cali- 
fornia, under the protection of presidios (armed posts) which the government 
would establish at San Diego and Monterey. Two expeditions, both accom- 
panied by missionaries, were consequently fitted out, one to proceed by sea. 




the other by land, to the new territory. In Juno, 17G9, they had arrived, 
and in that jionth founded the first mission about two leagues from the port 
of San Diego. A presidio was established at the same time near the port. 
The same year a presidio was established at Monterey, and a mission estab- 
lishment begun. Subsequently, the Dominican friars obtained leave from the 
King to take charge of a part of the missions of California, which led to an 
arrangement between the two societies, wherebv the missions of Lower Cali- 
fornia were committed to the Dominicans, and the entire field of the upper 
province remained to the Franciscans. This arrangement was sanctioned by 
the political authority, and continues to the present time. The new estab- 
lishments flourished and rapidly augmented their numbers, occupying first 
the space between San Diego and Monterey, and subsequently extending to 
the northward. A report from the Viceroy to the King, dated Mexico, 
December 27. 1793, gives the following account of the number, time of estab- 
lishment, and locality of the missions existing in New California at that 
period : 












San Diego de Alcala 

San Carlos de Monterey 

San Antonio de Padua 

San Gabriel de los Temblores. 

San Luis Obispo 

San Fi ancisco (Dolores) 

San Juan Capistrano 

Santa Clara 

San Buenaventura 

1 anta Barbara 

J'urisima Conception 

Santa Cruz 

La Soledad 






32° 42' 
36° 33' 
36° 34' 
34° 10' 
31° 38' 
37° 5C 
33° 30' 
37° 00' 
34° 36' 
34° 28' 
35° 32' 
36° 58' 
36° 38' 


July 16, 1769. 
June 3, 1770. 
July 14, 1771. 
September 8, 1771. 
September 1, 1772. 
October 9, 1776. 
November 1, 1776. 
January 18, 1777. 
March 31, 1782. 
October 4, 1786. 
January 8, 1787. 
August 28, 1791. 
October 9, 1791. 

At first the missions nominally occupied the whole territory, except the four 
small military posts of San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Fran- 
cisco ; that is, the limits of one mission were said to cover the intervening space 
to the limits of the next; and there were no other occupants except the wild 
Indians, whose reduction and conversion were the objects of the establishments. 
The Indians, as fast as they were reduced, were trained to labor in the mis- 
sions, and lived either within its walls, or in small villages near by, under the 
spiritual and temporal direction of the priests, but the whole under the politi- 
cal control of the Governor of the province, who decided contested questions 
of right or policy, whether between different missions, between missions and 



individuals, or concerning the Indians. Soon, however, grants of land began 
to be made to individuals, especially to retired soldiers, who received special 
favor in the distant colonies of Spain, and became the settlers and the founders 
of the country they had reduced and protected. Some settlers were also 
brought from the neighboring provinces of Sonora and Sinaloa. and the towns 
of San Jose", at the head of the Bay of San Francisco, and of Los Angeles, 
eight leagues from the port of San Pedro, were early founded. The governor 
exercised the privilege of making concessions of large tracts, and the captains 
of the presidios were authorized to grant building lots, and small tracts for 
gardens and farms, within the distance of two leagues from the presidios. By 
these means, the mission tracts began respectively to have something like 
known boundaries; though the lands they thus occupied were still not viewed 
in any light as the property of the missionaries, but as the domain of the 
crown, appropriated to the use of the missions while the state of the country 
should require it, and at the pleasure of the political authority. 

It was the custom throughout New Spain (and other parts of the Spanish 
colonies, also,) to secularize, or to subvert the mission establishments, at the 
discretion of the ruling political functionary ; and this not as an act of arbi- 
trary power, but in the exercise of an acknowledged ownership and author- 
ity. The great establishments of Sonora, I have been told, were divided 
between white settlements and settlements of the Indian pupils, or neophytes, 
of the establishments. In Texas, the missions were broken up, the Indians 
were dispersed, and the lands have been granted to wdiite settlers. In New 
Mexico, I am led to suppose the Indian pupils of the missions, or their 
descendants, still, in great part, occupy the old establishments; and other 
parts are occupied by white settlers, in virtue of grants and sales.* The 
undisputed exercise of this authority over all the mission establishments, and 
whatever property was pertinent to them, is certain. 

The liability of the missions of Upper California, however, to be thus dealt 
with at the pleasure of the government, does not rest only on the argument 
to be drawn from this constant and uniform practice. It was inherent in 
their foundation — a condition of their establishment. A belief has prevailed, 
and it is so stated in all the works I have examined which treat historically 
of the missions of that country, that the first act which looked to their secu- 
larization, and especially the first act by which any authority was conferred 

* Since writing the above, I have learned from the Hon. Mr. Smith, Delegate from the Ter- 
ritory of New Mexico, that the portion of each of the former mission establishments which 
has been allotted to the Indians is one league square. They hold the land, as a general rule, in 
community, and on condit on of supporting a priest and maintaining divine worship. Tins 
portion and these conditions are conformable to the principles of the Spanish laws concerning 
the allotments of Indian villages. Some interesting particulars of the foundation, progress, 
and plan of the missions of New Mexico are contained in the report, or information, before 
quoted, of 1793, from the Viceroy to the King of Spain, and in extracts from it given in the 
papers accompanying this report. 


on the local government for that purpose, or over their temporalities, Avas an 
act of the Mexican Congress of August 17, 1833. Such, however, was not 
the case. Their secularization — their subversion — was looked for in their 
foundation : and I do not perceive that the local authority (certainly not the 
supreme authority) has ever been without that lawful jurisdiction over them, 
unless subsequent to the colonization regulations of November 21, 1828, 
which temporarily exempted mission lands from colonization. T quote from 
a letter of "Instructions to the commandant of the new establishments of San 
Diego and Monterey," given by Viceroy Bucareli, August 17, 1773: 

"Art. 15. When it shall happen that a mission is to be formed into a 
pueblo (or village) the commandant will proceed to reduce it to the civil and 
economical government, which, according to the laws ; is observed by other 
villages of this kingdom ; then giving it a name, and declaring for its patron 
the saint under whose memory and protection the mission was founded." 
(Cuando llegue el caso de que haya de formarse en el pueblo una mision, pro- 
cedera el commandante a reducirlo al gobiemo civil y economico que obser- 
van, segun las leyes, los demas de este reyno; poniendole noinbre entonces, y 
declarandole por su titular el santo bajo cuya memoriay venerable proteccion 
so fundo la mision.) 

The right, then, to remodel these establishments at pleasure, and convert 
them into towns and villages, subject to the known policy and laws which 
governed settlements of that description,* we see was a principal of their 
foundation. Articles 7 and 10 of the same letter of instructions, show 
us also that it was a part of the plan of the missions that their 
condition should thus be changed; that they were regarded only as 
the nucleus and basis of communities to be thereafter emancipated, 
acquire proprietary rights, and administer their own affairs; and that it was 
the fluty of the governor to choose their sites, and direct the construction and 
arrangement of then- edifices, with a view to their convenient expansion into 
towns and cities. And not only was this general revolution of the establish- 
ments thus early contemplated and provided for, but meantime the governor 
had authority to reduce their possessions by grants within and without, and 
to change their condition by detail. The same series of instructions author- 
ized the governor to grant lands, either in community or individually, to the 
Indians of the missions, in and about their settlements on the mission lands, 
and also to make grants to settlements of white persons. The governor was 

*A revolution more than equal to the modern secularization, since the latter only necessarily 
implies the turning over of the temporal" concerns of the mission to secular administration. 
Their conversion into pueblos would take from the missions all semblance in organization to 
their originals, and include the reduction of the missionary priests f rem the heads of great 
establishments and administrators of large temporalities, to parish curates; a change quite 
inconsistent with the existence in the priests or the church of any proprietary interest or ri -lit 
over the establishment. 


likewise authorized at an early day to make grants to soldiers who should 
marry Indian women trained in the missions; and the first grant (and only 
one I found of record) under this authorization, was of a tract near the mis- 
sion edifice of Carmel, near Monterey. The authorization given to the cap- 
tains of presidios to grant lands within two leagues of their posts, expressly 
restrains them within that distance, so as to leave the territory beyond — though 
all beyond was nominally attached to one or other of the missions — at the 
disposition of the superior guardians of the royal property. In brief, every fact, 
every act of government and principle of law applicable to the case, which 1 have 
met in this investigation, go to show that the missions of Upper California, were 
never, from the first, reckoned other than government establishments, or the 
founding of them to work any change in the ownership of the soil, which 
continued in and at the disposal of the crown, or its representatives. This 
position was also confirmed, if had it needed any confirmation, by the 
opinions of high legal and official authorities in Mexico. The missions — ■ 
speaking collectively of priests and pupils — had the usufruct; the priests the 
administration of it ; the whole resumable, or otherwise disposable, at the will 
of the crown or its representatives. 

The object of the missions was to aid in the settlement and pacification of 
the country, and to convert the natives to Christianity. This accomplished, 
settlements of white people established, and the Indians domiciliated in villages, 
so as to subject them to the ordinary magistrates, and the spiritual care of 
the ordinary clergy, the missionary labor was considered fulfilled, and the 
establishment subject to be dissolved or removed. This view of their pur- 
poses and destiny fully appears in the tenor of the decree of the Spanish 
Cortes of September 13, 1813* 

The provision's of that act. and the reason given for it, develop in fact the 
whole theory of the mission establishments. It was passed <: in consequence 
of a complaint by the Bishop elect of Guiana of the evils that afflicted that 
province, on account of the Indian settlements in charge of missions not being 
delivered to the ecclesiastical ordinary, though thirty, forty and fifty years 
had passed since the reduction and conversion of the Indians." The Cortes 
therefore decreed: — 

1. That all the new reducciones y doctrinas (that is, settlements of 
Indians newly converted, and not yet formed into parishes), of the provinces 
beyond the sea, which were in charge of missionary monks, and had been ten 
years subjected, should be delivered immediately to the respective ecclesiastical 
ordinaries (bishops), "without resort to any excuse or pretext, conformably to 
the laws and cedulas in that respect." 

2. That as well these missions, {doctrinas) as all others which should be 

*" Collection of Decrees of the Spanish Cortes, reputed in force in Mexico." Mexico, 1S"2!>. 
Ta^e 1015. 



erected into curacies, should be canonically provided by the said ordinaries 
(observing the laws and ccdulasof the royal right of patronage), with lit min- 
isters of the secular clergy. 

3. That the missionary monks, relieved from the converted settlements, 
which should be delivered to the ordinary, should apply themselves to the 
extension of religion in benefit of the inhabitants of other wilderness parts, 
proceeding in the exercise of their missions conformably to the directions of 
paragraph 10, article 335, of the Constitution.* 

4. That the missionary monks should discontinue immediately the govern- 
ment and administration of the property of the Indians, who should choose 
by means of their ayuntamientos, with intervention of the superior political 
authority, persons among themselves competent to administer it; the lands 
being distributed and reduced to private ownership, in accordance with the 
decree of January 4, 1813, on reducing vacant and other lands to private 
property, "-f- 

Jt has also been supposed that the act above alluded to of the Mexican Con- 
gress, (Act of August 17, 1833), was the first assertion by the Mexican gov- 
ernment of property in the missions, or that they by that Act first became (or 
came to be considered) national domain. But this is likewise an error. The 
Mexican government has always asserted the right of property over all the 
missions of the country, and I do not think that t! supposition has ever been 
raised in Mexico, that they were the property of the missionaries or the 

The General Congress of Mexico, in a decree of August 14, 1824, concern- 

* The following is the clause referred to, namely, paragraph 10, article 335, Constitution of 
the Spanish Monarchy, 1812. 

"The provincial councils of the provinces beyond sea shall attend to the order, economy, and 
progress of the missions for the conversion of intidel Indians, and to the prevention of abuses in 
that branch of administration. The commissioners of such missions shall render their accounts 
to them, which accounts they shall in their turn forward to the government. " 

This clause of itself settles the character of these establishments, as a branch of the public 

+ " Collection of decrees of the Spanish Cortes," etc., p. 56. This decree provides: 

1. That "all the vacant or royal lands, and town reservations {propios y arbitrios, lands 
reserved in and about towns and cities for the municipal revenue), both in the peninsula and 
islands adjacent, and in the provinces beyond sea, except such comni ■ is as in ly be necessary for 
the villages, shall be converted into private property; provided, that in regard to town reserva- 
tions, some annual rents shall be reserved." 

2. That "in whatever mode these lands were distributed, it should be in full and exclusive 
ownership, so that their owners may enclose them, (without prejudice of paths, crossings, 
watering places, and servitudes), to enjoy them freely and exclusively, and destine them to such 
use or cultivation as they may be best adapted to; but without the owners ever being able to 
entail them, or to transfer them, at any time or by any title, in mortmain." 

3. " In the transfer of these lands shall be preferred the inhabitants of the villages, (or settle- 
mo its) in the neighborhood where they exist, and who enjoyed the same in common whilst they 
were vacant." 


ing the public revenue, declares the estates of the inquisition, as well as all 
temporalities, to he the property of the nation (that is, no doubt, in contra- 
distinction from property of the States — making no question of their being 
public property). This term would include not only the mission establish- 
ments, but all rents, profits and income, the monks received from them. A 
like Act of July 7, 1831, again embraces the estates of the inquisition an 1 
temporalities as national property, and places them with "other rural and 
suburban estates" under charge of a director-general. The executive regula- 
tions for colonizing the territories, may raise an idea of territorial and native 
property in them, but it puts out of the question any proprietary rights in 
the missionaries. 

The seventeenth article of these regulations (executive regulations for col- 
onization of the territories, adopted November 21, 1828) relates to the mis- 
sions, and directs that "In those territories where there are missions, the lands 
which they occupy shall not at present be colonized, nor until it be determined 
if they ought to be considered as property of the settlements of the neophyte 
catechumens and Mexican settlers." 

The subsequent acts and measures of the general government of Mexico, in 
direct reference to missions and affecting those of California, are briefly as 

A decree of the Mexican Congress of November 20, 1833, in part analogous 
to the decree before quoted of the Spanish Cortes of Sep tern ber, 1813, direct- 
ing their general secularization, and containing these provisions: 

1. The government shall proceed to secularize the missions of Upper and 
Lower California. 

2. In each of said missions shall be established a parish, served by a curate 
of the secular clergy, with a dotation of two thousand to two thousand five 
hundred dollars, at the discretion of the government. 

4. The mission churches with the sacred vessels and ornaments, shall be 
devoted to the use of the parish. 

5. For each parish, the government shall direct the construction of a cem- 
etery outside of the village. 

7. Of the buildings belonging to each mission, the most fitting shall be 
selected for the dwelling of the curate, with a lot of ground not exceeding 
two hundred varas square, and the others appropriated for a municipal house 
and schools. 

On December 2, 1833, a decree was published to the following effect: 
' The government is authorized to take all measures that may assure the 
colonization, and make effective the secularization of the missions of Upper 
and Lower California, being empowered to this effect, to use, in the manner 
most expedient, the fincas de obras pias (property of the piety fund) of those 
territories, to aid the transportation of the commission and families who are 
now in this capital destined thither." 


The commission and emigrants, spoken of in this circular, were a colony 
under the charge of Don Jose Maria Hijar, who was sent out the following 
Spring (of 1834) as director of colonization, with instructions to the following 
effect: That he should "make beginning by occupying all the property per- 
tinent to the missions of both Californias ;" that in the settlements he 
formed, special care should be taken to include the indigenous (Indian) popu- 
lation, mixing them with the other inhabitants, and not permitting any settle- 
ment of Indians alone; that topographical plans should be made of the squares 
which were to compose the villages, and in each square building lots to be 
distributed to the colonist families; that outside the villages there should be 
distributed to each family of colonists, in full dominion and ownership, four 
caballerias* of irrigable land, or eight, if dependent on the seasons, or sixteen, 
if adapted to stock raising, and also live stock and agricultural implements ; 
that this distribution made, (out of the moveable property of the mission) one- 
half the remainder of said property should be sold, and the other half reserved 
on account of government, and applied to the expenses of worship, mainte- 
nance of the missionaries, support of schools, and the purchase of agricultural 
implements for gratuitous distribution to the colonists. 

On April 16, 1834, the Mexican Congress passed an act to the following 

1. That all the missions in the Republic shall be .secularized. 

2. That the missions shall be converted into curacies, whose limits shall be 
demarked by the governors of the States where said missions exist. 

3. This decree shall take effect within four months from the day of its 

November 7, 1835, an act of the Mexican Congress directed that "the 
curates mentioned in the second article of the law of August 17, 1833 (above 
quoted), should take possession, the government should suspend the execution 
of the other articles, and maintain things in" the condition they were before 
said law." 

I have, so far, referred to these various legislative and governmental acts in 
relation to the missions, only to show, beyond equivocation or doubt, the rela- 
tion in which the government stood toward thern, and the rights of owner- 
ship which it exercised over them. My attention was next directed to the 
changes that had taken place in the condition of those establishments, under 
the various provisions for their secularization and conversion into private 

Under the act of the Spanish Cortes of September, 1813, all the missions in 
New Spain were liable to be secularized; that is, their temporalities delivered 
to lay administration ; their character as missions taken away by their con- 
version into parishes under charge of the secular clergy; and the lands perti- 

•A cabattcria of laud is a rectangular parallelogram of 552 varas by 1,104 vara*. 


nent to them to be disposed of as other public domain. The question of put- 
ting this law in operation with regard to the missions in California, was at 
various times agitated in that province, and in 1880 the then governor, 
Echandrea, published a project for the purpose, but which was defeated by 
the arrival of a new governor, Victoria, almost at the instant the plan wa<J 
made public. Victoria revoked the decree of his predecessor, and restored the 
missionaries to the charge of the establishments, and in then authority over 
the Indians. 

Subsequent to that time, and previous to the act of secularization of August 
1838. nothing further to that end appears to have been done in California. 
Under that act, the first step taken by the Central Government was the expe- 
dition of Hijar, above noticed. But the instructions delivered to him were 
not fulfilled. Hijar had been appointed Governor of California, as well an 
Director of Colonization, with directions to relieve Governor Figueroa. After 
Hijar's departure from Mexico, however, a revolution in the Supreme Govern- 
ment induced Hijar's appointment as political governor to be revoked; and an 
express was sent to California to announce this change, and with directions to 
Figueroa to continue in the discharge of the governorship. The courier 
arrived in advance of Hijar, who found himself on landing (in September, 
1834) deprived of the principal authority he had expected to exercise. Before 
consenting to cooperate with Hijar in the latter 's instructions concerning the 
missions. Figueroa consulted the Territorial Deputation. That body protested 
against the delivery of the vast property included in the mission estates — and 
to a settlement in which the Indian pupils had undoubtedly an equitable 
claim — into Hijar's possession, and contested that his authority in the matter 
of the missions depended on his commission as Governor, which had been 
revoked, and not on his appointment (unknown to the law) as Director of CoV 
onization. As a conclusion to the contestation which followed, the Governor 
and Assembly suspended Hijar from the last mentioned appointment, and 
returned him to Mexico.* 

Figueroa, however, had already adopted (in August. 1834) a project of sec- 
ularization, which he denominates a ''Provisional Regulation." It provided 
that the missions should be converted partially into pueblos, or villages, with 
a distribution of lands and moveable property as follows: To each individual 
head of a family, over twenty-five years of age, a lot of ground, not exceeding 
four hundred nor less than one hundred varas square, in the common lands of 
the mission, with a sufficient quantity in common for pasturage of the cattle 
of the village, and also commons and lands for municipal uses; likewise, 
among the same individuals, one-half of the live stock, grain, and agricultural 
implements of the mission ; that the remainder of the lands, unmoveable prop- 

*Manifesto a la UepuMica Mejicana, que hace el General Joso Figueroa, coniraandante general 
y gefe politico de la Alta California. Monterey, 1S35. 


erty, stock, and other effects, should be in charge of mayor domos, or other 
persons appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the general 
Government; that from this common mass should be provided the mainte- 
nance of the priest, and expenses of religious service, and the temporal expenses 
of the mission; that the minister should choose a place in the mission fur 
his dwelling; that the emancipated Indians should unite in common labors 
for the cultivation of the vineyards, gardens and field lands, which should 
remain undivided until the determination of the Supreme Government; that 
the donees, under the regulation, should not sell, burthen, or transfer their 
grants, either of land or cattle, under any pretext; and any contracts to this 
effect should be null, the property reverting to the nation, the purchaser los- 
ing his money; that lands, the donee of which might die without leaving 
heirs, should revert to the nation ; that rancherias (hamlets of Indians) situa- 
ted at a distance from the missions, and which exceeded twenty-five families, 
might form separate pueblos, under the same rules as the principal one. This 
regulation was to begin with ten of the missions (without specifying them) 
and successively to be applied to the remaining ones. 

The Deputation, in session of the 3d of November of the same year (1834), 
made provision for dividing the missions and other settlements into parishes or 
curacies, according to the law of August, 1833, authorized the missionary 
priests to exercise the functions of curates, until curates of the secular clergy 
should arrive, and provided for their salaries and expenses of worship. No 
change was made in this act, in the regulations established by Gov. Figueroa, 
for the distribution and management of the property. 

Accordingly, for most or all of the missions, administrators were appointed 
by the governor ; and in some, but not all, partial distributions of the lands 
and movable property were made, according to the tenor of the regulation. 
From this time, however, all tracts of lands pertinent to the missions, but not 
dire:L!y attached to the mission buildings, were granted as any other lands 
of the territory, to the Mexican inhabitants, and to colonists, for stock farms 
and tillage. 

The act of the Mexican Congress of 1835, directing the execution of the 
decree of 1833 to be suspended until the arrival of curates, did not. as far as 
I could ascertain, induce any change in the policy already adopted by the 
territorial authorities. 

On January 17, 1839, Governor Alvarado issued regulations for the gov- 
ernment of the administrators of the missions. These regulations prohibited 
the administrators from contracting debts on account of the missions; from 
slaughtering cattle of the missions, except for consumption, and from trading 
the mission horses or mules for clothing for the Indians; and likewise provided 
.for the appointment of an inspector of the missions, to supervise the accounts 
of the administrators, and their fulfillment of their trusts. Art. 11 prohibited 
the settlement of white persons in the establishments, "whilst the Indians 


should remain in community." The establishments of San Carlos, San Juan 
Bautista and Sonoma were excepted from these regulations, and to be governed 
by special rules. 

On March 1, 1840, the same Governor Alvarado suppressed the office of 
administrators, and replaced them by mayor clomos, with new and more 
stringent rules for the management of the establishments; but not making 
cny change in the rulc3 of Governor Figueroa regarding the lands or other 

By a proclamation of March 29, 1843, Governor Micheltorena, "in pursu- 
ance (as he states) of an arrangement between the Governor and the prelate 
of the missions," directed the following-named missions to be restored to the 
priests "as tutors to the Indians, and in the same manner as they formerly 
held them," namely, the missions of San Diego, San Luis Rey, San Juan Cap- 
istrano, San Gabriel, San Fernando, San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara, 
Santa Ynes, La Pnrisima, San Antonio, Santa Clara and San Jose. The 
same act set forth that "as policy made irrevocable what was already done," 
the missions should not reclaim any lands thitherto granted, but should collect 
the cattle and movable property which had been lent out either by the 
priests or administrators, and settle in a friendly way with the creditors ; and 
likewise regather the dispersed Indians, except such as had been legally emanci- 
pated, or were at private service. That the priests might provide out of the 
products of the missions for the necessary expenses of converting, subsist inl- 
and clothing the Indians, for a moderate allowance to themselves, economical 
salaries to the mayor clomos, an: I the maintenance of divine worship, under 
the condition that the priests should bind themselves in honor and conscience 
to deliver to the public treasury one-eighth part of all the annual products of 
the establishments. That the Departmental government would exert all its 
power for the protection of the missions, and the same in respect to individuals 
and to private property, securing to the owners the possession and preserva- 
tion of the lands they now hold, but promising not to make any new grants 
without consultation with the priests, unless where the lands were notoriously 
unoccupied, or lacked cultivation, or in case of necessity. 

Micheltorena's governorship was shortly after concluded. There had been 
sent into the Department with him a considerable body of persons called pres- 
idarios, that is, criminals condemned to service — usually, as in this case, mili- 
tary service on the frontier — and their presence and conduct gave such offense 
to the inhabitants that they revolted, and expelled him and the presidarios 
from the country. He was succeeded by Don Pio Pico, in virtue of his being 
the "first vocal " of the Departmental Assembly,* and also by choice of the 
inhabitants, afterward confirmed by the Central Government, which at the 

•According to act of the Mexican Congress of May 6, 1822, to provide for supplying the place 
of provincial governors, in default of an incumbent. 


same time gave additional privileges to the Department in respect to the man- 
agement of its domestic affairs. 

The next public act which 1 find in relation to the missions, is an act of the 
Departmental Assembly, published in a prolamation of Governor Pico, June 5, 
1845. This act provides: 1. "That the governor should call together the 
neophytes of the following named missions: San Rafael, Dolores. Soledad, San 
Miguel and La Purisima; and in case those missions were abandoned by their 
neophytes, that he should give them one month's notice, by proclamation, to 
return and cultivate said missions, which if they did not do, the missions 
should be declared abandoned, and the Assembly and governor dispose of them 
for the good of the Department. 2. That the missions of Carmel, San Juan 
Bautista, San Juan Capistrano and San Francisco Solano, should be 
considered as pueblos, or villages, which was their present condition; and that 
the property which remained to them, the governor, after separating sufficient 
for the curate's house, for churches and their pertinencies, and for a municipal 
house, should sell at public auction, the product to be applied, first to paying 
the debts of the establishments, and the remainder, if any, to the benefit of 
divine worship. 3. That the remainder of the missions to San Diego, inclu- 
sive, should be rented, at the discretion of the governor, with the proviso, that 
the neophytes should be at liberty to employ themselves at their option on 
their own grounds, which the governor should designate for them, in the ser- 
vice of the rentee, or of any other person. 4. That the principal edifice of the 
mission of Santa Barbara should be excepted from the proposed renting, and 
in it the governor should designate the parts most suitable for the residence of 
the bishop and his attendants, and of the missionary priests then living there; 
moreover, that the rents arising from the remainder of the property of said 
mission should be disbursed, one-half for the benefit of the church and its min- 
istry, the other for that of its Indians. 5. That the rents arising from the 
other missions should be divided, one-third to the maintenance of the minister, 
one third to the Indians, one-third to the government." 

On the 28th October, of the same year (1845), Governor Pico gave public 
notice for the sale to the highest bidder of five missions, to wit: San Rafael, 
Dolores, Soledad, San Miguel and La Purisima; likewise for the sale of the 
remaining buildings in the pueblos (formerly missions) of San Luis Obispo, 
Carmel, San Juan Bautista, and San Juan Capistrano, after separating the 
churches and their appurtenances, and a curate's, municipal and school-houses. 
The auctions were appointed to take place, those of San Luis Obispo, 
Purisima and San Juan Capistrano, the first four days of December follow- 
ing (1845); those of San Rafael, Dolores, San Juan Bautista, Carmel, Soledad 
and San Miguel, the 23rd and 24th of January, 1846; meanwhile, the govern- 
ment would receive and take into consideration proposals in relation to said 


In the same proclamation Pico proposed to rent to the best bidder for a 
period of nine years, and under conditions for the return of the property in 
good order and without waste, the missions of San Fernando, San Buena- 
ventura, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynes; the rentings to include all the lands, 
stock, agricultural tools, vineyards, gardens, offices and whatever in virtue of 
the inventories should be appurtenant to said missions, with " the exception 
only of those small pieces of ground which have always been occupied by 
some Indians of the missions ; " likewise to include the buildings, saving the 
churches and their appurtenances, and the curate's, municipal and school 
houses, and except in the mission of Santa Barbara, where the whole of the 
principal edifice should be reserved for the bishop and the priests residing 
there. The renting of the missions of San Diego, San Luis Rey, San Gabriel, 
San Antonio, Santa Clara and San Jose', it was further announced should 
take place as soon as some arrangement was made concerning their debts. It 
was also provided that the neophytes should be free from their pupilage, and 
might establish themselves on convenient parts of the missions, with liberty to 
serve the rentee, or any other person; that the Indians who possessed pieces 
of land, in which they had made their houses and gardens, should apply to 
the government for titles, in order that their lands might be adjudicated to 
them in ownership, "it being understood that they would not have power to 
sell their lands, but that they should descend by inheritance." 

On March 30. 1846, the Assembly passed an Act — 

1. Authorizing the governor in order to make effective the object of the 
decree of 28th May previous, to operate, as he should believe most expedient, to 
prevent the total ruin of the missions of San Gabriel, San Luis Rey, San 
Diego and others found in like circumstances. 

2. That as the remains of said establishments had large debts against 
them, if the existing property was not sufficient to cover the same, they might 
be put into bankruptcy. 

3. That if, from this authorization, the governor, in order to avoid the 
destruction to which the said missions were approaching, should determine to 
sell them to private persons, the sale should be by public auction. 

4. That when sold, if, after the debts were satisfied, there should be any 
remainder, it should be distributed to the Indians of the respective establishments. 

5. That in view of the expenses necessary in the maintenance of the priest, 
and of Divine worship, the governor might determine a portion of the whole 
property, whether of cultivable lands, houses, or of any other description, 
according to his discretion, and by consultation with the respective priests. 

6. The property thus determined should be delivered as by sale, but sub- 
ject to a perpetual interest of four per cent, for the uses above indicated. 

7. That the present Act should not affect anything already done, or con- 
t facts made in pursuance of the decree of 28th May last, nor prevent au T - 
thing being done conformable to that decree. 


8. That the g ivornor should provide against all impediments that might 
not be foreseen by the Act, and in six months at farthest, give an account to 
the Assembly of the results of its fulfilment. 

Previous to several of the last mentioned acts, that is on August 24, 1844, 
the Departmental Assembly, in anticipation of a war breaking out. passed a 
law authorizing the governor, on the happening of that contingency, either 
" to sell, hypothecate, or rent, the houses, landed property and field lands of 
the missions, comprehended in the whole extent of the country from San 
Diego to Sonoma," except that of Santa Barbara, "reserved for the residence 
of the bishop." 

These comprise all the general acts of the authorities of California which I 
was able to meet with on the subject of missions. Of the extent or manner 
in which they were carried into execution, so far as the missions proper — that 
is, the mission buildings and lands appurtenant — are concerned, but little 
information is afforded by what I could find in the archives. A very consid- 
erable part, however, of the grant-, made since the secularization of 1833, 
(comprising the bulk of all the grants in the country) are lands previously 
recognized as appurtenances of the missions, and so used as grazing farms, or 
for other purposes. In some cases the petitions for such grants were referred 
to the principal priest at the mission to which the land petitioned for was 
attached, and his opinion taken whether the grant could be made without 
prejudice to the mission. In other cases, and generally this formality was 
not observed. This remark relates to the farms and grazing grounds (ranckos) 
occupied by the missions, and some titles to Indians, pursuant to the regula- 
tion of Governor Figueroa, and the proclamation of Governor Pico, on record 
in the file of expedientes of grants before noticed. 

What I have been able to gather from the meagre records and memoranda 
in the archives, and from private information and examination of the actual 
state of the missions, is given below. It is necessary to explain, however, 
still farther than I have, that in speaking of the missions now. we cannot 
understand the great establishments which they were. Since 1833, and even 
before, farms of great (man}' - leagues) extent, and many of them, have 
reduced the limits they enjoyed, in all cases very greatly, and in some 
instances into a narrow compass ; and while their borders have been thus cut 
off, their planting an 1 other grounds inside are dotted to a greater or less 
extent by private grants. The extent to which this has been the case can only 
be ascertained by the same process that is necessary everywhere in Cali- 
fornia, to separate public from private lands — namely, authorized surveys of 
the grants according to their calls, which though not definite, will almost 
always furnish some distinguishable natural object to guide the surveyor.* 

*I was told by Major J. R. Snyder, the gentleman appointed Territorial Surveyor, by Col. 
Mason, and who made surveys of a number of grants in the csutral part of the country, that 
ho had little dillieulty in following the calls and ascertaining the bounds of the grants. 



The actual condition of the establishments, understanding their in the reduced 
sense above shown, was, at the time the Mexican government ceased in Cali- 
fornia, and according to the best information I could obtain, as follows: — 


San Diego .... 

San Luis Rey ...'... 
San Juan Capistrano 

San Gabriel 

San Fernando 

San Buenaventura.. . 

Santa Bib ra 

Santa Ynes 

La Purisima 

San Luis Obispo. . . . 

San Mi;uel 

San Antonio 



San Juan Bautista. . . 

Santa Cruz 

Santa Ciara 

San Jose 


San Rafael 

San Francisco Solano 















































Sold to Santiago Arguello, June 8, 1846. 

Sold to Antonio Cot and Andres Pico, May 13, 1846. 

Pueblo, and remainder sold to John Foster and James 

McKinley, December 6, 1845. 
Sold to Julian Workman and Hugo Reid, Tune 18, IS 16. 
Rented to Andres Pico, for nine years from December, 1845, 

and sold to Juan Celis, June, 1S46. 
Sold to Joseph Arnaz. 

Rented for nine years, from June 8, 1846, to Nicholas Den. 
Rented to Joaquin Carrillo. 
Sold to John Temple, December 6, 1845. 

House and garden sold to Sobranes, January 4, 1846. 

In charge of priest. 
In charge of priest. 

Mission in charge of priest. 
Mission in charge of priest. 

The information above given concerning the condition of the missions at 
the time of the cessation of the former Government, is partly obtained from 
documents in the archives, and partly from private sources. What is to 
be traced in the archives is on loose sheets of paper, liable to be lost, 
and parts quite likely have been lost; there may be some papers concerning 
them which in the mass of documents, escaped my examination. I have no 
doubt, however, of the exactness of the statement above given as far as it goes. 

It will be seen, then, that the missions — the principal part of their lands 
cut off by private grants, but still, no doubt, each embracing a considerable 
tract — perhaps from one to ten leagues — have, some of them, been sold or 
granted under the former Government, and become private property; some 
converted into villages and consequently granted in the usual form in lots to 
individuals and heads of families; a part are in the hands of rentees, and 
at the disposal of the Government when these contracts expire, and the 
remainder at its present disposal. 

If it were within my province to suggest what would be an equitable dis- 
position of such of the missions as remain the property of the Government, I 
should say that the churches with all the church property and ornaments, a 


portion of the principal building for the residence of the priest, with a piece 
of land equal to that designated in the original Act of the Mexican Congress 
for their secularization (to wit, two hundred varas square), with another piece 
for a cemetery, should be granted to the respective Catholic parishes for the 
uses specified, and the remainder of the buildings with portions of land 
attached, for schools and municipal or county purposes, and for the residence 
of the bishop ; the same allotment at the mission of Santa Barbara that was 
made in the last proclamation of Governor Pico. The churches, certainly, 
ought not to be appropriated to any other use, and less than the inhabitants 
have always considered and enjoyed as their right. 

To conclude the inquiry in the last portion of your letter of instructions, 
namely, concerning "large grants" other than the supposed ecclesiastical 

I did not find in the archives of California any record of large grants in 
the sense I suppose the term to be here used. There are a number of grants 
to the full extent of the privilege accorded by law to individual conces- 
sions and of the authority of the local government to make independent of 
the Central Government — to wit, of eleven sitios, or leagues square. 

There are understood in the country however, to be large claims reputed to 
be founded on grants direct from the Mexican Government — one held by Cap- 
tain Sutter; another by General Vallejo. The archives (as far as I could dis- 
cover) only show that Captain Sutter received July 18, 1841, from Governor 
Alvarado, the usual grant of eleven sitios on the Sacramento river, and this 
is all I ascertained. The archives likewise show that General Vallejo received 
from Governor Micheltorena, October 22, 1823, a grant of ten sitios called 
"Petaluma," in the district of Sonoma; and I was informed by a respectable 
gentleman in California, that General Vallejo had likewise a grant from the 
Mexican Government given for valuable consideration, of a large tract known 
by the same of " Suscol," and including the site of the present town of 
Benicia, founded by Messrs. Vallejo and Semple, on the Straits of Carquinez. 
It is also reputed that the same gentleman has extensive claims in the valley 
of Sonoma and on Suisun bay. It appears from documents which General 
Vallejo caused to be published in the newspapers of California in 1847, that 
he was deputed in the year 1835, by General Figueroa, to found a settlement 
in the valley of Sonoma, "with the object of arresting the progress of the 
Russian settlements of Bodega and Ross." General Vallejo was at that time 
(1835), military commander of the northern frontier. He afterwards (in 
1836), by virtue of a revolution which occurred in that year in California, 
became military commandant of the department — the civil and military gov- 
ernment being by the same act divided — to which office he was confirmed in 
1838 by the Supreme Government. 

The following extract from Governor Figueroa's instructions to him, will 
show the extent of General Vallejo's powers as agent for colonizing the north: 


"You are empowered to solicit families in all the territory and other States 
of the Mexican Republic, in order to colonize the northern frontiers, granting 
lands to all persons who may wish to establish themselves there, and those 
grants shall be confirmed to them by the Territorial Government, whenever 
the grantees shall apply therefor; the title which they obtain from you serv- 
ing them in the meantime as a sufficient guarantee, as you are the only indi- 
vidual authorized by the superior authority to concede lands in the frontier 
under your charge. The Supreme Government of the territory is convinced 
that you are the only officer to whom so great an enterprise can be entrusted; 
and in order that it may be accomplished in a certain manner, it is willing to 
defray the necessary expenses to that end." 

An official letter to General Vallejo from the Department of War and 
.Marine, dated Mexico, August 5, 1839, expresses approbation of what had 
thitherto been done in establishing the colony, and -the desire that the settle- 
ments should continue to increase, '"until they should be so strong as to be 
respected not only by the Indian tribes, but also by the establishments of the 
foreigners who should attempt to invade that valuable region." 

I did not find any trace of these documents, or of anything concerning 
General Vallejo's appointment or operations in the government archives. But 
there is no reason to doubt the genuineness of the papers. They do not. 
however, convey any title to lands beyond authority to grant dimng the 
time his appointment continued to actual colonizers. The appointment of 
General -Vallejo seems to have been made by direction of the Supreme 
National) Government. I had no means of ascertaining how long the 
appointment lasted, nor to what extent its powers were used; but infer from 
Vallejo, himself, taking a grant of his rancho of Petaluma, in 1843. that his 
own authority in that respect had then ceased. As there are other grants 
also of considerable extent in the same neighborhood embraced in the gov- 
ernment archives, I apprehend that most, if not all of the grants made by 
him exclusive of what may be embraced in the town privileges of Sonoma, 
and which will be noticed hereafter) were confirmed, or regranted to the par- 
ties by the departmental government. In this view, however, I may be mis- 
taken. And I desire to be distinctly understood as not intending to throw 
any doubt or discredit on the titles or claims of either of the gentlemen I 
have mentioned. I had no opportunity of inspecting any grants they may 
possess, beyond what I have stated, and I imagine their lands can only bo 
si 'parated from, the domain by. the process universally requisite- — the registra- 
tion of outstanding grants and their survey. 


The only points of special public importance which I learned were granted 
prior, to the cessation of the former government, are the site of the old fort of 


San Joaquin, near the outlet of the Bay of San Franeisco, and Alcatraz (or 
Bird) Island, commanding its entrance, the Key of the Golden Gate. The 
date of the first named grant is June 25, 1S46: it was made to Benito Diaz, 
and by him transferred to Mr. T. O. Larkin, of Monterey. I understand a 
portion of the land embraced in the grant is in occupation of the United 
States troops, or has property of the United States, upon it, and a part in pos- 
session of Mr. Larkin. 

Alcatraz Island was granted in June, 1846, to Mr. Francis P. Temple, of 
Los Angeles. The indispensableness of this point to the Government, both for 
the purpose of fortification, and as a proper position for a light-house, induced 
Lieut-Col. Fremont, when Governor of California, to contract for the purchase 
of it on behalf of the United States. The Government, it is believed, has 
never confirmed the purchase, or paid the consideration, This island is a solid 
rock, of about half-a-mile in circumference, rising out of the sea just in front 
of the inner extremity of the throat or narrows which forms the entrance to 
the bay, and perfectly commands both front and sides. It is also in the line 
of the sailing directions for entering the bay,* and consequently a light-house 
upon it is indispensable. 

The local government had special authority and instructions from the gen- 
eral government, under date July 12, 1838, to grant and distribute lands in 
"the desert islands adjacent to that department." 

Whether the grants "purport to he inchoate or perfect?" The grants 
made in that department under the Mexican law, all, 1 believe, purport to be 
perfect, except in the respect of requiring "confirmation by the departmental 
assembly." The difficulties of determining what grants have not received this 
confirmation have been above explained. 


There is but one grant that I could learn of which covers any portion of the 
gold mines. Previous to the occupation of the country by the Americans, the 
parts now known as The Gold Region, were infested with the wild Indians, 
and no attempts made to settle there. The grant that I refer to was made 
by Governor Micheltorena, to Don Juan B. Alvarado, in February, 1844, and 
is called the Mariposas, being situated on the Mariposas creek, and between 
the Sierra Nevadas and the river Joaquin, and comprises ten sitios, or leagues 
square, conceded, as the grant expresses, " in consideration of the public ser- 

*Ceechy's Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific; London, 1831; appendix p. 562. 


vices " of the grantee. It was purchased from the grantee (Alvarado) in Feb- 
ruary, 1847, by Thomas O. Larkin, Esq., for Mr. J. C. Fremont, and is now 
owned by that gentleman. 

The only " conditions or limitations " contained in the grants in California 
which could afVect the validity of the title, are, that in the grants made by 
some of the governors, a period of time (one year) was fixed, within which the 
grantees should commence improvements on the grant. In case of failure, 
however, the grant was not thereby void, but open to denouncement by other 
persons. This limitation was not contained in such of the grants made in the 
time of Micheltorena, as 1 have examined, nor is it prescribed by law. No 
doubt, however, the condition was fulfilled in most instances where it was 
inserted, unless in a few cases where the lands conceded were in parts of the 
country infested by the wild Indians, and its fulfillment consequently impossi- 
ble. In fact, as far as I understood, it was more customary to occupy the 
land in anticipation of the grant. The grants were generally for actual 
(immediate) occupation and use. 

I cannot find in the Mexican laws or regulations for colonization, or the 
granting of lands, anything that looks to a reservation of the mines of gold 
or silver, quicksilver or other metal or mineral ; and there is not any such 
thing expressed in any of the many grants that came under my inspection. 
1 inquired and examined also, while in Mexico, to this point, and could not 
learn that such reservations were the practice, either in general or in Califor- 
nia in particular. 

V. "In all large grants, or grants of important or valuable sites, 


The first part of this inquiry is already answered, in the statement that, as 
far as I am aware, there were never any surveys made in the country during 
its occupation by either of the former governments. Most of the grants, 
however, were occupied before, or shortly after they were made, and all, as 
far as I am informed, except where the hostile Indian occupation prevented. 
In respect of the grants to which I have made any reference, I did not learn 
that there had been any delay in giving publicity to them. 

Having met, sir, as far as in my power, the several inquiries set forth in 
the letter of instructions you were pleased to honor me with, my attention 
was turned, as far as they were not already answered, to the more detailed 
points of examination furnished me, with your approbation, by the Commis- 
sioner of Public Lands. The very minute information contemplated by those 
instructions, it would have been impossible, as you justly anticipated, to 
obtain in the brief time proposed for my absence, even had it been accessible 
in systematic archives and records. My examination, moreover, was snffi- 


cient to show me that such minute and exact information on many of the 
various heads proposed, is not attainable at all ; and that the only mode of 
approximating it must be through such measures as will produce a general 
registration of written titles, and verbal proof of possession where written 
titles are wanting, followed or accompanied by a general survey. By such 
means only can an approximation be made to the minute information souo-ht 
of the character, extent, position and date, particularly of the old grants in 

The first branch of the inquiries proposed by the instructions from the 
Land Office, relate to " grants or claims derived from the Government of 

The chief local authority to grant lands in the province of California was, 
ex officio, the military commandant, who was likewise governor of the prov- 
ince; and the principal recipients of grants, officers and soldiers as they 
retired from service. The grants to the soldiers were principally of lots in 
and about the presidios (military posts) or the pueblos (villages); to the 
officers, farms and grazing lands, in addition to such lots. 

There were also, at different times, settlers brought from Sonora, and other 
provinces of New Spain (single men and families), and grants made to them ; 
usually of village lots, and to the principal men, ranchos in addition. The 
first settlement at San Francisco was thus made ; that is, settlers accompanied 
the expeditions thither, and combined with the military post. The pueblos of 
San Jose and Los Angeles were thus formed. The governor made grants to 
the retired officers under the general colonization laws of Spain, but, as in all 
the remote provinces, much at his own discretion. He had likewise special 
authority to encourage the population of the country, by making grants of 
farming lots to soldiers who should marry the native bred women at the mis- 
sions. The captains of the presidios were likewise authorized to make grants 
within the distance of two leagues, measuring to the cardinal points from 
their respective posts. Hence, the presidios became in fact villages. The 
Viceroy of New Spain had also of course authority to make grants in Cali- 
fornia, and sometimes exercised it. It was pursuant to his order that presi- 
dios, missions, and pueblos, were severally established, and the places for them 
indicated by the local authority. Under all these authorities, grants were 
made ; strictness of written law required that they should have been made by 
exact measurements, with written titles, and a record of them kept. In the 
rude and uncultivated state of the country that then existed, and lands pos- 
sessing so little value, these formalities were to a great extent disregarded, and 
if not then altogether disregarded, the evidence of their observance in many 
cases were lost. It is certain that the measurements even of the grants of 
village lots, were very unexact and imperfect ; and of larger tracts, such as 
were granted to the principal men, no measurement at all attempted, and even 
the quantity not always expressed, the sole description often being by a name 


descriptive, in fact or by repute, of the place granted. The law of custom, 
with the acquiescence of the highest authorities, overcame in these respects, the 
written law. Written permits and grants were no doubt usually given, but 
if any systematic records or memoranda of them were kept, they have now 
disappeared, or I was not able to meet with them. In some cases, but not in 
all, the originals no doubt still exist in the possession of the descendants of the 
grantees; indeed, I have been assured there are many old written titles in the 
country, of which the archives do not contain any trace. But in other cases, 
no doubt, the titles rested originally only on verbal permits. It was very 
customary in the Spanish colonies for the principal neighborhood authorities 
to °ive permission to occupy and cultivate lands, with the understanding that 
the party interested would afterward at a convenient occasion obtain his 
o-rant from the functionary above. Under these circumstances the grant was 
seldom refused, but the application for it was very often neglected; the title 
by permission being entirely good for the purposes of occupation and use. and 
never questioned by the neighbors. All these titles, whatever their original 
character, have been respected during the twenty-six or twenty-seven years 
of Mexican and local government. And whether evidenced now or ever by 
any written title, they constitute as meritorious and just claims as property 
is held by in any part of the world. They were, in the first place, the meagre 
rewards for expatriation, and arduous and hazardous public service in a 
remote and savage country ; they are now the inheritance of the descendants 
of the first settlers of the country, and who redeemed it from (almost the 
lowest stage of) barbarism. Abstractly considered, there cannot be any higher 
title to the soil. 

Many of the holders of old grants have taken the precaution to have them 
renewed with a designation of boundary and quantity, under the forms of 
the Mexican law ; and of these the proper records exist in the archives. To 
what extent old titles have been thus renewed, could not be ascertained, for 
the reason that there is no record of the old titles by which to make the com- 

The principal difficulty that must attend the separation of the old grants 
from the public lands, or rather, to ascertain what is public domain and what 
private property, in the parts where those old grants are situate, is in the 
loose designation of their limits and extent. The only way that presents 
itself of avoiding this difficulty, and of doing justice both to the claimant 
and the government, would seem to be in receiving with respect to the old 
grants, verbal. testimony of occupation and of commonly reputed boundaries, 
and thereby, with due consideration of the laws and principles on which the 
grants were made, governing the surveys. 

The military commandant or governor had authority, by virtue of his office, 
to make grants. He had, also, especial authority and direction to do so, in a 
letter of instructions from the Viceroy, August 17, 1773 and entitled 


"Instructions to be observed by the commandant appointed to the new estab- 
lishments or San DIcgo and Monterey." These instructions authorized (as 
already noticed) the allotment of lands to Indians, either in community or 
individually; but it is to be understood only of Indians who should be in 
charge of the missions, and of the parcels of land within the mission settle- 
ments. Article thirteen, gave the commandant "equal authority, likewise, 
to distribute lands to other settlers, according to their merit and conformably 
to the compilation of laws concerning new conquests and settlements." That 
is, according to the compilation of the "Laws of the Indias," which we 
know make certain provisions of the most liberal character for the founding 
and encouragement of new populations. 

Subsequently, without abrogating the general colonial laws, a special Reg- 
ulation was adopted, with the royal assent, for the government of the Cali- 
fornias, and making special provision for the settlement of that province, and 
the encouragement of colonizers. This regulation was drawn in Monte- 
rey, by Governor Don Felipe Neve, in 1779, and confirmed by a Royal 
cedula of October 14, 1781. Its character and objects are shown in its 
title, namely: "Rules and directions for the Presidios of the Peninsula 
of California, erection of new Missions, and encouragement of the Popula- 
tion, and extension of the establishments of Monterey." The first thirteen 
articles relate to the presidios and military. Title fourteen relates to the 
"Political Government and directions for Peopling." After providing liberal 
bonuses to new settlers in respect of money, cattle, and exemptions from 
various duties and burthens, this Regulation prescribes: That the solares 
(house lots) which shall be granted to the new settlers, shall be designated by 
the governor in the places, and with the extent that the tract chosen for the 
new settlement will allow, and in such manner that they shall form a square, 
with streets conformably to the laws of the kingdom; and by the same rule 
shall be designated common lands for the pueblos, with pasturage and fields 
for municipal purposes (propios). That each suerte (out-lot), both of irriga- 
ble and unirrigable land, shall be two hundred varas square; and of these 
suertes, four (two watered and two dry) shall be given with the solar, or 
house lot, in the name of the King, to each settler. 

These rules relate to the formation of villages and farming settlements, and 
are exclusive of the extensive ranchos — farms and grazing lands — allotted to 
persons of larger claims or means; sometimes direct from the viceroy, usually 
by the local governor. 

The acts of the Spanish Cortes, in 1813, heretofore quoted, may also be 
referred to as a part of the authority under which grants might be made in 
California, during the continuance of the Spanish government, and prior to 
the colonization laws of Mexico, and afterwards, indeed, as far as not super- 
ceded by those laws. 

The second point of inquiry in the instructions furnished me from the Land 


Office, relating to grants made under the Mexican Government, is already 
met in most respects, as far as was in my power to meet it, in the early part 
of this report. The "authority of the granting officers, and their powers for 
alienating the national domain," were derived from appointment by the Cen- 
tral Government, and from the general colonization laws and regulations of 
the Republic. There is litttle room for discrimination between such as are 
perfect titles, and such as are inceptive and inchoate." A grant by the terri- 
torial (or departmental) governors within the extent of eleven sitios constituted, 
a valid title, and with the approbation of the Departmental Assembly, a per- 
fect one. After the governor's concession, however, it could not with pro- 
priety be termed merely inceptive; for, in fact, it was complete until the 
legislature should refuse its approbation, and then it would be the duty of the 
governor to appeal for the claimant to the Supreme Government. 1 am not 
aware that a case of this kind arose. The difficulties, already explained, of 
ascertaining to what grants the legislative approbation was accorded, and 
from what it was withheld ; the impossibility, in fact, of ascertaining in many 
cases, coupled with the fact that that approbation was so seldom refused, anil 
that the party had still an appeal in case of refusal, would seem to render 
that provision of the law of those grants nugatory as a test of their merits. 

The third inquiry, touching "'grants made about the time of the revolution- 
ary movements in California, say hi the months of June and July, 1846," is 
chiefly answered in what is said concerning the actual condition of the mis- 
sions, and the grants of Fort Joaquin at the mouth, and Alcatras Island 
inside the entrance of the Bay of San Francisco. In addition to these, the 
large island of San Clemente, I understood, was granted about that time, say 
in May, 1846. I found nothing in the archives concerning it. I do not 
think there were other grants to attract particular attention, except the pro- 
posed great Macnamara grant or contract, of which the principal papers are 
on file in the State Department, and have been printed in the Congressional 

In the second branch of the last-mentioned inquiry, namely, concerning 
any "grants made subsequent to the war" I suppose the intent is, giants, if 
any, made after the reduction of the country by the arms of the United 
States. There are, of course, no Mexican grants by the Mexican authorities, 
which purport to have been issued subsequent to that time. The inquiry 
must relate, therefore, either to supposed simulated grants, by persons for- 
merly in authority there, or to whatever may have been done, in respect of 
the domain, by or under the American authorities. It is believed in the 
country that there are some simulated grants in existence; that is, some papers 
purporting to be grants which have been issued since the cessation of the 
Mexican Government, by persons who formerly, at different times, had the 
faculty of making grants in that country. It would be impossible, however, 
to make a list of them, with the particulars enumerated in the instructions; 


for, if there be any such, they would of course not be submitted for public 
inspection, or in any way seek the light. But I believe it would not be diffi- 
cult for a person skilled in the grants in that country, and acquainted with 
the archives, and the facts to be gathered from them, to detect any simulated 
paper that might be thus issued after the person issuing it had ceased from 
his office. The test, however, would necessarily have to be applied to each 
case as it arose. No general rule, I believe, can be laid down. 

Kecurring, then, to the other point which I suppose the inquiry to relate 
to. The most considerable act, affecting the domain, had subsequent to the 
accession of the American authorities in California, was a "decree" made by 
Gen. Kearney, as governor, under date March 10, 1847, as follows: — 

"I, Brigadier-General S. W. Kearny, Governor of California, by virtue of 
authority in me vested, by the President of the United States of America, do 
hereby grant, convey and release unto the town of San Francisco, the people, 
or corporate authorities thereof, all the right, title, and interest of the Govern- 
ment of the United States, and of the territory of California, in and to the 
beach and water lots on the east front of said town of San Francisco, included 
between the points known as Rincon and Fort Montgomery, excepting such 
lots as may be selected for the use of the United States Government by the 
senior officers of the army and navy now there; provided the said ground 
hereby ceded shall be divided into lots, and sold by public auction to the 
highest bidder, after three months notice previously given; the proceeds of 
said sale to be for the benefit of the town of San Francisco." 

Pursuant to the terms of this paper, what are termed "government reser- 
vations" were made, both within and outside the limits specified, and the 
remainder of the lots designated have been since in great part sold b}^ the 
town of San Francisco. These lots extend into the shallow water along the 
beach of San Francisco, and are very suitable and requisite for the business 
purposes of that growing city. The number of four hundred and forty-four 
of them were sold in the Summer ensuing the " decree" and in December last, 
I have learned since my return, the remainder, or a large portion of them, 
were disposed of by the corporation. But little public use has been made of 
what are denominated the " government reservations." Portions of them are 
reputed to be covered by old grants ; portions have been settled on and occu- 
pied by way of pre-emption, and other portions, particularly "Rincon Point," 
have been rented out, as I am informed, to individuals, by the late military 

Under the above decree of General Kearny, and the consequent acts of the 
authorities of San Francisco, such multiplied, diversified and important pri- 
vate interests have arisen, that, at this late day, no good, but immense mis- 
chief would result from disturbing them. The city has derived a large 
amount of revenue from the sale of the lots; the Jots have been re-sold, and 
transferred in every variety of way, and passed through many hands, amd on 


many of them costly an I p3rmanent improvements have been made; improve- 
ments required by the business and wants of the community, and which ought 
to o-ive the makers of them an equitable interest in the land, even without the 
faith of the Government implied by leaving the act of its agent so long 
unquestioned. An act of Congress, relinquishing thus in the lawful mode the 
interest of the United States in those beach and water lots, would seem to be 
only an act of justice to the city and to lot-holders, and to be necessary to 
give that validity and confidence that ought to attach to property of such 
great value and commercial importance. 

In regard to the " government reservations," so called where they may be 
in private hands, whether under a former grant, or by occupancy and 
improvement, the same equity would seem to call for at least a pre-emption 
right to be allowed the holders, except for such small parts as may be actually 
required for public uses. In regard to the places known as "Clark's Point," 
and "Rincon Point," which are outside of the land embraced in General Kear- 
ney's decree, and portions of which it is understood have been put in the 
hands of rentees ; perhaps the most equitable use that could be made of them 
(except, as before, the parts needed for public uses), would be to relinquish 
them to the city, to be sold as the beach and water lots have been; with due 
regard, at the same time, to rights accruing from valuable improvements that 
may have been made upon them, but repressing a monopoly of property so 
extensive and valuable, and so necessary to the improvement, business and 
growth of the city. 

Other operations in lands which had not been reduced to private property 
at the time of the cessation of the former government, have taken place in 
and about different towns and villages, by the alcaldes and other municipal 
authorities continuing to make grants of lots and out-lots, more or less accord- 
ing to the mode of the former government. This. I understand, has been 
done, under the supposition of a right to the lands granted, existing in the 
respective towns and corporations. Transactions of this nature have been to 
a very large extent at San Francisco ; several hundred in-lots of fifty varas 
square, and out-lots of one hundred varas square, have been thus disposed of 
by the successive alcaldes of the place since the occupation of it by the Amer- 
ican forces, both those appointed by the naval and military commanders, and 
those subsequently chosen by the inhabitants. 

It is undoubtedly conformable to the Spanish colonial laws, that when vil- 
lages were to be established, there should be liberal allotments to the first set- 
tlers, with commons for general use, and municipal lands (propios) for the 
support and extension of the place — that is, to be rented, or otherwise trans- 
ferred, subject to a tax; and that the principal magistrate, in conjunction 
with the ayuntamiento, or town council, should have the disposal of those 
town liberties, under the restrictions of law, for the benefit of the place, and 
the same was the practice in California, under the Mexican government. It 


is not always so easy to determine within what limits this authority might be 
exercised : but in new communities, whether the settlement was founded by 
an empresario (contractor) or by the government, the allotments were always 
on a liberal scale, both for the individuals and the village. A very early law 
(law 6, tit, 3, lib. 4, Recop. de Indias) fixes "four leagues of limits and land 
(<l> termino y t&rritorio) in square or prolonged, according to the nature of 
the tract/' for a settlement of thirty families; and I suppose this is as small a 
tract as has usually been set apart for village uses and liberties, under the 
Spanish or Mexican government in New Spain ; sometimes much more exten- 
sive privileges have no doubt been granted. The instructions of 1773 to the 
commandant of the new posts, authorizes pueblos to be formed, without spe- 
cifying their limits, which would of course bring them under the general law 
of four leagues. 

The Royal Regulation of 1781, for the Californias, directs suitable munici- 
pal allotments to be made, "conformable to the law;" and this likewise must 
refer to the law specifying four leagues square. 

The letter of instructions of 1791, authorizing the captains of presidios to 
make grants, in the neighborhood of their respective posts, specifies the same 
quantity, to wit: "the extent of four common leagues, measured from the 
center of the Presidio square, two leagues in each direction, as sufficient for 
the mw pueblos to be formed under the pi'otection of the presidios." 

The Mexican laws, as far as I am aware, make no change in this rule ; and 
the colonization regulations of 1828, provide (Art. 13,) that the reunion of 
many families into a town shall follow in its formation policy, etc., the rule 
established by the existing laws for the other towns of the Republic." 

From all these, and other acts which might be quoted, it would seem that 
where no special grant has been made, or limits assigned to a village, the com- 
mon extent of four leagues would apply to it; it being understood, however, 
as the same law expresses, that the allotment should not interf ere with the 
rights of other parties. The Presidio settlements, under the order of 1791, 
were certainly entitled to their four leagues; the right of making grants within 
the same only transferred from the presidio captains to the municipal author- 
ities who succeeded him, as is conformable to Spanish and Mexican law and cus- 
tom. This was the case under the Spanish government ; and I am not aware that 
the principle has been changed, though no doubt grants have been made to indi- 
viduals which infringed on such village limits. The Territorial Deputation 
of California, however, by an act of August 6, 1834, directed that the ayunta- 
mi( ntos of the pueblos should "make application for common and municipal 
lands (ejidos y propios) to be assigned them." Wherever it shall appear that 
this was done, the town, I suppose, could only now claim what was then set 
apart for it. Where it was omitted or neglected, custom, reputed limits, and 
the old law, would seem to be a safe rule. 

As to the point now under con- d ration, that of San Francisco, I.fmd 


that in the acts of the Departmental authorities the settlements in and about 
the presidio were styled "the pueblo of San Francisco," and the particular 
place where the village principally was and the city now is, "the point of 
Yerba Buena." The local authorities, as its alcalde, or justice of the peace, 
were termed those of the pueblo of San Francisco. Its privileges were not, 
therefore, at any time limited to the point of Yerba Buena. Originally, 
probably, it had boundaries in common with the mission of Dolores, which 
would restrict it in its four leagues ; but after the conversion of the mission 
into a pueblo, the jurisdiction of the authorities of San Francisco was 
extended, and special license given to its principal magistrate to grant lots at 
the mission. San Francisco is situated on a tongue or neck of land lying 
between the bay and the sea, increasing in breadth in a southerly direction. 
A measurement of four leagues south from the presidios would give the city, 
in the present advanced value of property, a magnificent corporate domain, but 
not so much as was fairly assignable to the precincts of the presidio under the 
order of 1791. nor so much as all new pueblos are entitled to under the gen- 
eral laws of the Indias. There are private rights, however, existing within 
those limits, apart from any grants of the village authorities, which ought to 
be respected; some through grants from the former government ; some by loca- 
tion and improvement, a claim both under our own law and custom and under 
the Spanish law, entitled to respect. To avoid the confusion — the destruction 
— that would grow out of the disturbing of the multiplied and vast interests 
that have arisen under the acts of the American authorities at San Francisco ; 
to give the city what she would certainly have been entitled to by the terras 
of the old law, what she will need for the public improvements and adorn- 
ments that her future population will require, and what is well due to the 
enterprise which has founded in so brief a space a great metropolis in that 
remote region, perhaps no better or juster measure could be suggested, than a 
confirmation of past acts, a release of government claims to the extent of 
four leagues, measuring south from the presidio, and including all between sea 
and bay, with suitable provision for protecting private rights, w hether under 
old grants or by recent improvements, and reserving such sites as the govern- 
ment uses may require. 

By the authorities of the village of San Jose', there have been still larger 
operations in the lands belonging or supposed to belong to the liberties of that 
town. The outlands there, as I learned, have been distributed in tracts of 
three to five hundred acres. 

The pueblo of San Jose was founded November 7, 1777, by order of Felipe 
de Neve, then military commandant and governor. The first settlers were 
nine soldiers and five laboring men or farmers, who went thither with cattle, 
tools, etc., from San Francisco where had been established the year before, by 
order of the Viceroy, the presidio and the mission of Dolores. These persons 
took possession, and made their settW^nt ''in the name of his Majesty, mak- 


ing out the square for the erection of the houses, distributing the solares 
(house lots) and measuring to each settler a piece of ground for the sowing of 
a fanega of maize (two hunndred varas by four hundred,) and for beans and 
other vegetables.* Subsequently, the Regulation of 1781, allowing to the 
neAV settlers each four lots of two hundred varas square, beside their house 
lots, was no doubt applied to this village. It was designed for an agricultu- 
ral settlement, and, together with the pueblo of the south (Los Angeles) 
received constantly the favor and encouragement of the government, with the 
view of having sufficient agricultural produce raised for the supply of the mil- 
itary posts. Both villages are situated in fertile plains, selected for their sites 
with that object. In a report, or information, made by the Governor, Don 
Pedro Fages, in February, 1791, to his successor, Governor Romeu, the 
encouragement of the two pueblos is the first topic referred to : — 

1. "Being (says Governor Fages) one of the objects of greatest considera- 
tion, the encouragement of the two pueblos of civilized people, which have 
been established, the superior government has determined to encourage them 
with all possible aids, domiciliating in them soldiers who retire from the pre- 
sidios, and by this means enlarging the settlement. 

"2. By the superior order of April 27, 1784, it is ordered that the grains 
and other produce, which the presidios receive from the inhabitants of 
the two pueblos, shall be paid for in money, or such goods and effects as the 
inhabitants have need of. 

''3. The distribution of lots of land, and house lots, made with all possible 
requisite formalities, with designation of town liberties, and other lands for 
the common advantage, as likewise titles of ownership given to the inhabit- 
ants, were approved by the Senor Commandante General, the 6th February 
of the present year of 1784." 

There are also records of families being brought at the government expense, 
from the province of Sonora, specially to people the two pueblos. Both these 
villages — being thus objects of government favor and encouragement — claim 
to have been founded with more extensive privileges than the ordinary vil- 
lage limits ; and 1 have no doubt, from the information I received, that such 
was the case. 

The village of San Jose had a dispute of boundary as early as the }^ear 
1800, with the adjoining mission of Santa Clara, and which was referred the 
following year to the government at Mexico. The fact is noted in the index 
to California papers in the Mexican archives, but I did not find the corre- 
sponding record. There is likewise in the book of records marked " 1828," in 
the archives at Monterey, an outline of the boundaries claimed by the pueblo 
at that time. But at a later period (in 1834, I believe), there was a legisla- 
tive action upon the subject, in which, as I understand, the boundaries were 
fully agreed upon. Some documents relating to this settlement are in the 

Noticias de Nueva California, by the Rev. Father Palou; MSS., Archives of Mexico. 


archives at San Jose\ and also in the territorial archives. My time did not 
permit me to make a full investigation of the question of those boundaries, 
nor did I think it necessary, because, at all events, they can only be definitely 
settled by a survey, the same as private estates. My instructions, however, 
call for a discrimination between acts done "with legal formalities," and such 
as are "without legal sanction." It is therefore proper for me to say, that I 
do not know of any law which would authorize the distribution of town 
property in California in lots measured by hundreds of acres; such distribu- 
tion, in fact, would seem rather to defeat the ends for which town grants are 
authorized by the Spanish law. Perhaps an act to authorize the limits of the 
town to be ascertained by survey, and to leave the question of the validity of 
those recent large grants within the limits of the same, to be determined 
between the holders, and the town in its corporate capacity, would be as just 
and expedient as any other mode. 

In and about the town of Monterey, likewise, there were large concessions, as 
1 understood, and some including the sites of forts and public places, made by 
the magistrate appointed there after the accession of the American authority. 
The limits of this town, also, I think, depend on an act of the territorial legis- 
lature, and may be ascertained by an authorized survey. 

The city of Los Angeles is one of the oldest establishments of California, 
and its prosperity was in the same manner as that of San Jose, an object of 
Government interest and encouragement. An Act of the Mexican Congress 
of May 23, 1835, erected it into a city, and established it as the capital of 
the territory. The limits which, I understood, are claimed as its town privi- 
leges, are quite large, but probably no more than it has enjoyed for sixty 
years, or ever since its foundation. The grants made by this corporation 
since the cessation of the former Government, have been, as far as I learned, 
quite in conformity with the Spanish law, in tracts such as were always 
granted for house lots in the village, and vineyards and gardens without, and 
in no greater number than the increase of population and the municipal 
wants required. 

J The only provision that seems to be wanting for the pueblo of Los Angeles, 
is for the survey and definition of its extent, according to its ancient recog- 
nized limits. The same remark, as far as I have learned, will apply to the 
remaining towns of the country established under either of the former Gov- 

The remarks made in a previous part of this report in relation to the mis- 
sions, cover to a good degree the substance of that branch of the inquiries 
proposed by the Commissioner of the Land Bureau. I have already stated 
that originally the "mission lands" may be said to have been coextensive 
with the province, since, nominally, at least, they occupied the whole extent, 
except the small localities of the presidios, and the part inhabited by the wild 


Indians, whom and whose territory it was their privilege to enter and reduce. 
Among the papers accompanying this report, is included a transcript of their 
recorded boundaries, as stated in a record book heretofore noticed. It will be 
seen from the fact first mentioned of their original occupation of the whole 
province, and from the vast territories accorded to their occupation, as late as 
the year 1828, how inconsistent with any considerable peopling of the 
country would have been any notion of proprietorship in the missionaries. 

I am also instructed to " make an inquiry into the nature of the Indian 
Rights [in the soil], under the Spanish and Mexican governments." 

It is a principle constantly laid down in the Spanish colonial laws, that the 
Indians shall have a right to as much land as they need for their habitations, 
for tillage, and for pasturage. Where they were already partially settled in 
communities, sufficient of the land which they occupied was secured them for 
those purposes.* If they were wild and scattered in the mountains and wil- 
dernesses, the policy of the law, and of the instructions impressed on the author- 
ities of the distant provinces, was to reduce them, establish them in villages, 
convert them to Christianity, and instruct them in useful employments, -f- 
The province of California was not excepted from the operation of this rule. 
It was for this purpose especially, that the missions were founded and encour- 
aged. The instructions heretofore quoted, given to the commandant of Upper 
California in August, 1773, enjoin on that functionary, that "the reduction 
of the Indians in proportion as the spiritual conquests advance, shall be one of 
his principal cares; " that the reduction made, " and as rapidly as it proceeds 
it is important for their preservation and augmentation, to congregate them 
in mission settlements, in order that they may be civilized and led to a rational 
life;" which (adds the instructions) "is impossible, if they be left to live dis- 
persed in the mountains." 

The early laws were so tender of these rights of the Indians, that they for- 
bade the allotment of lands to the Spaniards, and especially the rearing of 
stock, where it might interfere with the tillage of the Indians. Special 
directions were also given for the selection of lands for the Indian villages, in 
places suitable for agriculture and having the necessary wood and water.J 
The lands set apart to them were likewise inalienable, except by the advice 
and consent of officers of the government, whose duty it was to protect the 
natives as minors or pupils. § 

Agreeably to the theory and spirit of these laws, the Indians in California 
were always supposed to have a certain property or interest in the missions. 
The instructions of 1773 authorized, as we have alread}- seen, the command- 

* Recopilacion de Indias: laws 7 to 20, tit. 12, book 4. 
t lb., laws 1 and 9, tit. 3, book 6. 

X Law 7, tit. 12 Recop. Indias; ib., laws 8 and 20 tit. 3, book 6. 

§ lb., law 27, tit. 6, book 1. Pena y Pena, 1 Practica Forense Mejicana, 248, etc. Alaman, 1 
Historia de Mejico, 23-25. 


ant of the province to make grants to the mission Indians of lands of the 
missions, either in communit}' or individually. But apart from any direct 
orant, they have been always reckoned to have a right of settlement ; and we 
shall find that all the plans that have been adopted for the secularization of 
the missions, have contemplated, recognized, and provided for this right. That 
the plan of Hijar did not recognize or provide for the settlements of Indians, 
was one of the main objections to it, urged by Governor Figueroa and the 
territorial deputation. That plan was entirely discomfited; all the successive 
ones that were carried into partial execution, placed the Indian right of 
settlement amongst the first objects to be provided for. We ma} r say, there- 
fore, that, however mal-administration of the law may have destroyed its 
intent, the law itself has constantly asserted the rights of the Indians to hab- 
itations and sufficient fields for their support. The law always intended the 
Indians of the missions — all of them who remained there — to have homes 
upon the mission grounds. The same, I think, may be said of the large 
ranchos — most, or all of which, were formerly mission ranchos — and of the 
Indian settlements or rancherias upon them. 1 understand the law to be, 
that wherever Indian settlements are established, and they till the ground, 
they have a right of occupancy in the land. This right of occupancy, how- 
ever — at least when on private estates — is not transferable ; but whenever the 
Indians abandon it, the title of the owner becomes perfect. Where there is 
no private ownership over the settlement, as where the land it occupies have 
been assigned it by a functionary of the country thereto authorized, there is 
a process, as before shown, by which the natives may alien their title. I 
believe these remarks cover the principles of the Spanish law in regard to 
Indian settlements, as far as they have been applied in California, and are 
conformable to the customary law that has prevailed there.* 

The continued observance of this law, and the exercise of the public 
authority to protect the Indians in their rights under it, cannot, I think, pro- 
duce any great inconvenience; while a proper regard for long recognized 
lights, and a proper sympathy for an unfortunate and unhappy race, would 
seem to forbid that it should be abrogated, unless for a better. The number 
of subjugated Indians is now too small, and the lands they occupy too insig- 
nificant in amount, for their protection, to the extent of the law, to cause any 
considerable molestation. Besides there are causes at work by which even 
the present small number is rapidly diminishing; so that any question con- 
cerning them can be but temporary. In 1834, there were employed in the 
mission establishments alone the number of thirty thousand six hundred and 


* Of course, what is here said of the nature of Indian rights, does not refer to titles to lots 
and farming tracts, which have been granted in ownership to individual Indians by the govern- 
ment. These, I suppose to be entitled to the same protection as other private property. 

T This is not an est imate, it is an exact statement. The records of the missions were kept 


In 1842, only about eight years after the restraining and compelling hand, 
of the missionaries had been taken off, their number on the missions had 
dwindled to four thousand four hundred and fifty, and the process of reduc- 
tion has been going on as rapidly since. 

In the wild and wandering tribes, the Spanish law does not recognize any 
title whatever to the soil. 

It is a common opinion that nearly all of what may be called the coast 
country — that is, the country west of the Sacramento and San Joaquin val- 
leys — which lies south of, and including the Sonoma district, has been ceded, 
and is covered with private grants. If this were the case, it would still leave 
the extensive valleys of these large rivers and their lateral tributaries, almost 
intact, and a large extent of territory — from three to four degrees of latitude — 
at the north, attached to the public domain within the State of California, 
beside the gold region of unknown extent, along the foot-hills of the Sierra 
Nevada. But while it may be nominally the case, that the greater part of 
the coast country referred to is covered with grants, my observation and 
information convince me that when the country shall be surveyed, after leav- 
ing to every grantee all that his grant calls for, there will be extensive and 
valuable tracts remaining. This is explained by the fact that the grants were 
not made by measurement, but by a loose designation of boundaries, often 
including a considerably greater extent of land than the quantity expressed 
in the title; but the grant usually provides that the overplus shall remain to 
the government. Although, therefore, the surveys, cutting off' all above the 
quantity expressed in the grant, would often interfere with nominal occupa- 
tion. I think justice would generally be done by that mode to all the inter- 
ests concerned — the holders of the grants, the Government, and the wants of 
the population crowding thither. To avoid the possibility of an injustice, 
however, and to provide for cases where long occupation or peculiar circum- 
stances may have given parties a title to the extent of their nominal bounda- 
ries, and above the quantity expressed in their grants, it would be proper to 
authorize any one who should feel himself aggrieved by this operation of tin- 
survey, to bring a suit for the remaindee. 

The grants in California, 1 am bound to say, are mostly perfect titles; that 
is, the holders possess their property by titles that, under the law which cre- 
ated them, were equivalent to patents from our Government; and those which 
are not perfect — that is, which lack some formality, or some evidence of com- 
pleteness — have the same equity, as those which are perfect, and were and 
would have been equally respected under the government which has passed 
away. Of course, I allude to grants made in good faith, and not to simulated 

with system and exactness; every birth, marriage, and death was recorded, and the name of 
every pupil or neophyte, which is the name by which the mission Indians were known; and 
from this record, an annual return was made to the government of the precise number of 
Indians connected with the establishment. 


grants, if there be any such, issued since the persons who made them ceased 
from their functions in that respect. 

I think the state of land titles in that country will allow the public lands 
to be ascertained, and the private lands set apart by judicious measures, with 
little difficulty. Any measure calculated to discredit, or cause to be distrusted 
the general character of the titles there, besides the alarm and anxiety which 
it would create among the ancient population, and among all present holders 
of property, would, I believe, also retard the substantial improvement of the 
country: a title discredited is not destroyed, but every one is afraid to touch 
it. or at all events to invest labor and money in improvements that rest on a 
suspected tenure. The holder is afraid to improve ; others are afraid to pur- 
chase, or if they do purchase at its discredited value, willing only to make 
inconsiderable investments upon it. The titles not called in question (as they 
certainly for any reason that I could discover do not deserve to be), the 
pressure of population and the force of circumstances will soon oper- 
ate to break up the existing large tracts into farms of such extent as the 
nature of the country will allow of, and the wants of the community require ; 
and this under circumstances and with such assurance of tenure, as will war- 
rant those substantial improvements that the thrift and prosperity of the 
country in other respects invite. 

I think the rights of the Government will be fully secured, and the inter- 
ests and permanent prosperity of all classes in that country best consulted, by 
no other general measure in relation to private property than an authorized 
survey according to the grants, where the grants are modern, or since the 
accession of the Mexican government, reserving the overplus; or, according 
to ancient possession, where it dates from the time of the Spanish govern- 
ment, and the written evidence of the grant is lost, or does not afford data 
for the survey. But providing that in any case where, from the opinion of 
the proper law officer or agent of the Government in the State, or from 
information in any way received, there may be reason to suppose a grant 
invalid, the Government (or proper officer of it) may direct a suit to be insti- 
tuted for its annulment." 

In glancing at the head of this chapter, we must ask the reader not to 
indulge in the vain hope that a full history of the grants comprised within the 
boundaries of what is known as San Mateo county will be found; such, indeed, 
would be beyond the limits of this work, even had we at hand the infinity of 
resources to be found in the many cases which have arisen out of them. Our 
compilation must of necessity be accepted in its crude form. We have striven 
to our utmost capacity to procure some information which would combine both 
usefulness and correctness, and to this end have relied on the knowledge 
contained in a legal work on whose title page is the legend: " Reports of Land 
Cases determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District 
of California. June Term, 1853, to June Term, 1858, inclusive, by Ogden 


Hoffman, District Judge; San Francisco; Nuina Hubert, 1862." The first 
case we find is as follows: 

Canada del Corte de Madera. — Santa Clara county (a portion of which is 
located in San Mateo county), granted in 1833 by Jose Figueroa to D. Peralta 
and Maximo Martinez; claim filed August 14, 1852; rejected by the commis- 
sion October 2, 1855, and confirmed by the District Court April 6, 1858. 

San Antonio, or El Pescadero.— Juan Jose Gonzales, claimant for San 
Antonio, or El Pescadero, three-fourth square league, in Santa Cruz county, 
granted December 24, 1833, by Jose Figueroa to J.J. Gonzales; claim filed 
September 11, 1852, confirmed by the commissioD January 31, 1854, by the 
District Court October 29, 1855, and decree affirmed by the United States 
Supreme Court in 22 Howard, 101; containing 3,282.22 acres. 

Buri Burl— Jose de la Cruz Sanchez el al., claimant for Buri Buri, iu San 
Mateo county, granted September 18, 1835, by Jose Castro to Jose Sanchez; 
claim filed March 9, 1852, confirmed by the commission January 31, 1854, by 
the District Court October 16, 1855, and appeal dismissed May 11, 1858; 
containing 15,739.14 acres. 

Las Pulgas. — Maria delaSoledad, Ortega de Arguello, el al., claimants for 
four square leagues, in San Mateo county, granted December 10, 1835, to 
Louis Arguello; claim filed January 21, 1852, confirmed by the commission 
October 2, 1853, by the District Court January 20, 1855, and by the United 
States Supreme Court in 18 Howard, 539; containing 35,240.47 acres. Pat- 

Butano. — Manuel Rodriguez, claimant for Butano, one square league in 
Santa Cruz county, informal grant February 19, 1838, by Juan B. Alvarado, 
and ratified November 13, 1844, by Manuel Micheltorena to Romana Sanchez; 
claim filed February 24, 1853, confirmed by the commissioner February 8, 1855, 
by the District Court November 19, 1850, and appeal dismissed June 12, 1857; 
containing 3,025.05 acres. 

Canada de Verde y Arroyo de la Purissima. — Jose Antonio Alvisu, claim- 
ant for Canada de Verde y Arroyo de la Purissima, two square leagues in 
Santa Cruz county, granted April, 25, 1838, by Juan B. Alvarado to Jose 
Maria Alvisu; claim filed September 22, 1852, confirmed by the commission 
July 10, 1855, by the District Court March 9, 1857, and decree of confirma- 
tion affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, 23 Howard, 318; contain- 
ing 8,905.58 acres. 

San Pedro. — Francisco Sanchez, claimant for San Pedro, two square leagues 
in San Mateo county, granted January 20, 1839, by Juan B. Alvarado to 


Francisco Sanchez; claim filed September 22, 1852, confirmed by the com- 
mission December 13, 1853, and appeal dismissed March 20, 1857; containing 
8,926.46 acres. 

San Gbegorio. — Salvador Castro, claimant for part of San Gregorio, one 
square league in Santa Cruz county, granted April 6, 1839, by Juan B. 
Alvarado to Antonio Buelna; claim filed September 22, 1852, rejected by the 
commission December 27, 1853, confirmed by the District Court January 14, 
1856, and appeal dismissed July 23, 1857; containing 4,439.31 acres. 

Corral de Tierra. — Tiburcio Vasquez, claimant for Corral de Tierra, one 
square league in San Mateo county, granted October 5, 1839, by Manuel 
Jimeno to T. Vasquez; claim filed February 17, 1853, confirmed by the com- 
missioner August 15, 1854, by the District Court April 18, 1859, and appeal 
dismissed June 29, 1859; containing 4,436.18 acres. 

Canada de Raymundo. — Maria Louisa Greer, et al., claimants for Canada de 
Raymundo, two and a -half by three-quarter leagues, in San Mateo County, 
granted August 3, 1840, by Juan B. Alvarado to John Copinger; claim filed 
February 3, 1852, confirmed by the commission November 29, 1853, by the 
District Court, January 14, 1856, and appeal dismissed November 11, 1856; 
containing 12,545.01 acres, patented. 

Arroyo de los Pilarcitos. — Candelario Miramontes, claimant for Arroyo de 
los Pilarcitos, one square league in Santa Clara County, granted January 2, 
1841, by Juan B. Alvarado to C. Miramontes; claim filed September 22, 1852, 
confirmed by the commission February 6, 1855, by the District Court Feb- 
ruary 16, 1857, and appeal dismissed March 31, 1857; containing 4,424.12 

Canada de Guadalupe and Visitacio n y Rodeo Viego. — Henry R. Payson, claim- 
antjf or Canada de Guadalupe and Visitacion y Rodeo Viego, two square leagues 
in San Mateo county, granted July 31, 1841, Juan B. Alvarado to Jacob P. 
Leese; claim filed March 2, 1853, confirmed by the commission January 30, 
1855, by the District Court June 18, 1856, and appeal dismissed April 1, 1857; 
containing 9,594.90 acres. 

Punta del Ano Nuevo.' — Maria Antonio Pico, et al., heirs of Simon Castro 
claimants for Punta del Ano Nuevo, four square leagues in Santa Cruz county, 
granted May 27, 1842, by Juan B. Alvarado to Simon Castro; claim filed 
August 31, 1852, confirmed by the commission December 13, 1853, by the 
District Court December 4, 1856. Appeal dissmissed April 2, 1856; containing 
17,763.15 acres. Patented. 



Feliz Rancho. — Domingo Feliz, claimant for Feliz Rancho, one square 
league in San Mateo county, granted May 1, 1844, by Manuel Micheltorena to 
D. Feliz; claim filed February 17, 1852, confirmed by the commission Jan- 
uary 27, 1854, by the District Court October 29, 1855, and appeal dismissed 
November 18, 1856; containing 4,448.27 acres. 

The Rancho de San Mateo. — W. D. M. Howard, claimant for San Mateo, 
two square leagues in San Mateo county, granted May 5th or 6th, 1846, by 
Pio Pico to Cayetano Arenas; claim filed February 7, 1853, confirmed by the 
commission September 18, 1855, and appeal dismissed April 6, 1857 ; con- 
taining 6,538.80 acres. Patented. 



Pescadebo. — This name suggests —not only to the inhabitants of San Mateo 
county, but the thousands of tourists who have sought out the romantic and 
picturesque scenery of the Pacific coast — a spot where nature seemed loth to 
expose her charms, and slyly hid Pescadero away among the mountains. Here 
a recess in the coast hills widens into a perfectly level plain of several hundred 
acres, into which two perennial streams drop down from their weird sources in 
the dark forests of redwood, and rush out of the narrow gateway to the sea. 

Of civilized men, this little valley first attracted the attention of one Gon- 
zales, a Spaniard, who obtained a grant of it from the Mexican government, 
called the Rancho de San Antonio, or Pescadero. Perhaps the hundreds of 
anglers who have decoyed the speckled trout from the Butano and Pescadero 
creeks have never reflected that the great abundance with which these streams 
were filled gave rise to the name of the grant and the town. Gonzales came 
upon the grant with the intention of erecting a permanent residence, but soon 
after died. 

Pescadero is an unincorporated town of about four hundred inhabitants, 
and surrounded by a farming country of great fertility, which has generally 
been devoted to dairying and the cultivation of potatoes. Its geographical 
location is upon the Pescadero creek, about two miles from the sea, and distant 
thirty-two miles from the county seat, with which it is connected by an excel- 
lent road via Woodside, Searsville, Weeks', La Honda, and San Gregorio. 
This route is traversed by daily stages. 

The town is also connected by stage lines with San Mateo and Santa Cruz, 
from which points it is distant respectively thirty and thirty -five miles. 

The attractions that have rendered Pescadero a favorite summer resort are 
numerous and varied. The village itself is a model of neatness, and there are 
several beautiful residences. 

The climate is of that happy mean between the heat that parches and the 
cold that chills. Mineral springs abound; trout streams make it a paradise 
for fishermen; the dense forests of redwood afford magnificent picnic and 
camping grounds, of which Camps Spaulding, Butano, and Roaring Camp are 
examples. The pebble, moss and shell beach has for years been the resort of 
tourists and pleasure-seekers, and Pescadero pebbles can be found in many 
of the Eastern States and Europe. 

^m m 



The first white settlers who came to Pescadero township to make it their 
permanent residence, and cultivate the soil, were Richard Vestal, Henry Ryan, 
John Rader, and Joshua Pool. They arrived in January, 1853. Prior to this 
time, Eli Moore had purchased a portion of the Pescadero Rancho, and had 
given a portion of it to his son Alexander. Ryan and Vestal leased part of 
the land that Eli Moore retained, while Rader rented part of Alexander 
Moore's portion, and Pool rented a piece of Gonzales. In May of the same 
year, George F. Wyman, who had moved into the county, also took up his 
residence at Pescadero. and remained here until 1868, when he transferred his 
domicile to Spanishtown, at which place he now resides. 

In 1853, Alexander Moore came to Pescadero to live, arriving here March 
15th. John Tufny drove a yoke of cattle into the county for Moore, but did 
not permanently reside here until several years later. In the same year (1853), 
Lafayette Chandler came to Pescadero, and is still a resident of the place. 
With Alexander Moore came also a man named John Daly, an Irishman, whom 
he employed to drive swine from Santa Cruz to the ranch. Daly remained 
here until early in the year 1855. The bent of his genius is illustrated in the 
following circumstance, which also explains the cause of his afterwards seeking 
a more congenial neighborhood: In 1855, the sloop Sea Bird was at Pigeon 
Point with a party of men engaged in recovering what was to be got from the 
wreck of the Carrier Pigeon, previously lost at the Point. The Sea Bird 
sprung a leak and was beached on the south side of New Year's Point. Some 
of the coal she had on board washed ashore. Before this, the discovery of 
indications of the existence of coal in this vicinity had created considerable 
excitement. Daly found tm the beach some lumps that had come from the 
Sea Bird's cargo, and a brilliant project struck him. To him money was valu- 
able mainly as a medium for obtaining whisky. To secure his grog was the 
grand ultimatum of every enterprise. Here was coal; coal was cash, and cash 
was always convertible at any bar. Collecting a few lumps, he proceeded to 
Santa Cruz, where he exhibited to Bill Butler, Eli Moore, Sam. Drannau, and 
Captain Brannan, representing to them that he had discovered a coal mine on 
Gazos creek, and that these were specimens of the coal. He proposed to sell 
his lucky strike to them, provided that they would advance him a small amount 
of money on the spot. This they agreed to, and the coin was duly paid over 
to. Daly, with the understanding that he was to conduct them to the place and 
point out the mine to them at once. Daly took them to the creek, and arriving 
at a point on the banks, told Drannan, Moore and Butler to remain there 
while he and Captain Brannan followed the bed of the creek a little further 
up, to find the place where the coal had cropped out. Brannan was a fleshy 
man, and Daly counted on his ability to get away from him as soon as they 
were out of sight of the rest of the party. He made the essay, endeavoring 
by some ruse to beguile the Captain entirely away from a suspicion of his 



design, and at the same time to place such a distance between them as would 
give him a start that would ensure escape. Caj^tain Brannan had just enough 
confidence in Daly to forbid his trusting him one inch, so he kept close to the 
Irishman's heels, and at length being fully satisfied that his guide was trying 
to get away from him, brought him to a halt, and made him confess the whole 
trick. Brannan was armed — Daly was not. This gave the Captain an advan- 
tage in the argument, which his antagonist recognized the force of, and the 
latter obediently marched back to the place where the other men had been left 
to wait; a brief council was held — a sort of drum-head court-martial —and it 
was decided that Daly should be summarily punished for his rascality. The 
sentence was that he should be tied, face down, to four stakes driven into the 
ground, and that he should be whipped on the bare back. Captain Brannan 
was appointed executioner, and Daly having been secured in position, accord- 
ing to the sentence, the lash was laid on with an earnestness that left no room 
in his mind for a doubt that he had made a grievous mistake. Upon being 
released, Daly skulked away and left the country. 

The first house erected at Pescadero by either white men or Spanish native 
was built by Gonzales, in 1852, on the north side of the creek above the old- 
crossing, and on the property of B. V. Weeks, where it still stands. 

In 1854, John Beeding, Norval Stevenson, John Scudder and John Pence, 
came together to Pescadero. Beeding settled on the creek below B. Hayward's 
mill, where he continued to live until his death by suicide, which occurred. 
Norval Stevenson remained here until 1859. After the death of Eli Moore, he 
leased the latter's- house at Santa Cruz, and lived there two years. He then 
returned to Illinois, and afterwards went to Kansas', where he died in 1881. 
Scudder remained at Pescadero only one year and then went east. Pence 
died the same year of his arrival, and his was the first death of a white man 
recorded at Pescadero. His grave is on a mound at the end of San Gregorio 
street, and a fence placed around it by the hands of strangers. B. V. Weeks 
has continued to reside at Pescadero every since he first came in 1854. 

Isaac Beeson is the only settler of 1855 of whom any record has been 
obtained for this history. He rented from Gonzales the land which Pool had 
previously occupied. The first store where goods were sold to any extent in 
Pescadero, was established this year by a man named Downes, in a little shake 
building situated just below Swanton's hotel. In 1856 Samuel Besse, Brad. 
Weeks and John Rader were its proprietors, and in 1858 Rader, who had 
become the sole owner, moved the store to the north side of the creek. H. C. 
Bidwell bought Rader out, and afterwards took Nelson as a partner. In 1860 
the firm style was again changed, becoming Besse & Garretson, and four years 
later Besse became the exclusive proprietor. Garretson again became interested 
with Besse; the latter, however, afterward sold his interest in the concern to 
P. G. Striker, and the firm was Garretson & Striker until January, 1873, when 


Garretson sold to James McCorcnack. In 1877, Garretson bought the entire 
store and is its present proprietor. 

Braddock Weeks and Henry Wurr are recorded as settlers in 1856. This year 
a justice of the peace was elected, and it is said that during his whole official 
term, he was called upon but once to exercise his magisterial functions, and 
that was in the preliminary examination of a man charged with murder. The 
circumstances of the case were as follows: On the night of Februaiw 2, 1857, 
a man named Richard Jones, but better known as " Little Dick," in company 
with others, was gambling at the store of Rader, Besse & Weeks. Sometime 
during the night Jones left, but returned again about daylight and knocked at 
the door for admission. The parties inside refused to let him in, and in his 
rage he kicked a hole through the side of the store, which was an old shake 
building and the first of its kind built at Pescadero. Rader picked up a shot- 
gun, and going to the door killed " Little Dick " in his tracks. Another one of 
the party in the store at the time, named Long, was arrested for the shooting, 
and it was his preliminary examination on this charge that required the judi- 
cial offices of the august functionary before referred to. The justice held Long 
to answer. Rader, however, appeared before the grand jury and confessed that 
it was he who killed " Little Dick." Long, of course, was discharged, and 
Rader was tried and acquitted, his counsel being Judge R. F. Peckham, now 
a prominent resident of San Jose. 

In 1857, the first school-house in Pescadero was erected just north of Alex- 
ander Moore's residence, and at the corner of his orchard. The size of the 
building was 14 by 16 feet. For a teacher, Mr. Mooi-e employed Mrs. Shield 
Knight, who was a governess in the family of Captain Graham of Santa Cruz. 
Her salary of §100 per year was paid by Mr. Moore himself. She had but 
seven scholars, four of whom were from Mr. Moore's house, and the other three 
were Spanish children. In 1859, Sam Merit took charge of the school. A stove 
was needed, and Mr. Garretson agreed to contribute one on condition that Merit 
should carry it on his back from the store to the school-house (a distance of 
one mile), without once putting it down. The teacher accepted the banter, and 
shouldering his burden started with it for the school-house. Mr. Garretson 
kept along with him to see that the conditions were faithfully complied with. 
Merit fairly won the stove for the school, and it did good service in the little 
building, and also subsequently in the public school building that was erected 
on the opposite side of the creek. 

In 1859, a long, lean young man might have been seen wending his way on 
foot into Pescadero. He was a physician, whose entire cash capital amounted 
to twenty-five cents. Early in I860 he was employed to teach, as Merit's suc- 
cessor. He was also elected justice of the peace, and he divided his time 
between meting out justice to sinners, healing the sick, and instilling knowl- 
edge into the young mind. The young man was no other than I. R. Good- 
speed, M. D., now a prominent resident of San Mateo. 



In the spring of 1861 a man named Myers came to Pescadero and announced 
himself as a horse doctor. Pescadero horses were, however, distressingly 
healthy — either that, or else horse doctor Myers failed to draw confidence ; in 
some way, at all events, in order to keep the spiritual and material parts of his 
being harnessed together, he found it expedient to do odd jobs of any sort of 
work, whenever he could find them to be done. His true inwardness was 
eventually disclosed by an enterprise that made him for a while more sought 
after than he was before. It appears that while ostensibly engaged in the 
pursuit of an honest livelihood, he was quietly observing the ins and outs of 
Besse & Garretson's store, and one evening while, the proprietors were at 
supper, having left the store to take care of itself for a brief moment, be pried 
open a window with a chisel, took fifteen hundred dollars from an old shoe, 
which was used as the safe of the establishment, and retired in good order and 
without having been discovered. With his ill-gotten booty Myers crossed Pes- 
cadero creek, into which he dropped his chisel, and buried the money some- 
where in the neighborhood. He was arrested on suspicion, the chisel was 
found, and Alexander Moore discovered on the prisoner's boots a peculiar 
mark which corresponded exactly with certain peculiarities in the tracks under- 
neath the store window and elsewhere. He was examined before the justice, 
who held him to answer to a charge of grand larceny, and committed him to 
the jail at Santa Cruz for safe keeping. He, however, broke jail, passed 
through Pescadero, where he secured the buried treasure, and then went to 
San Francisco. He kept himself so completely disguised that when T. W. 
Moore and Dr. LP. Goodspeed were sent to the city to find him, they were 
completely baffled. Mr. Moore employed a Spaniard to assist in the still hunt, 
and the latter afterwards recognized his man in a low dance house. He was 
arrested and taken back to Santa Cruz, where he was tried, convicted, and sent 
to San Quentin for a term of years. The stolen money, which he had deposited 
in a bank in San Francisco, was recovered and restored to its rightful owners. 

Samuel Bean had the honor of being the first to keep a hotel at Pescadero. 
The building was erected by Besse, Rader & Weeks, in the fall of 1856, for a 
store; Rader however occupied it as a dwelling house until 1859, when Bean 
took a lease of it for hotel purposes. In 1861, Loren Coburn became its pro- 
prietor, and he was succeeded by C. W. Swanton, who purchased the property 
and still keeps a hotel there. 

In 1862, a Mexican named Soto and an Indian were living together in a 
shanty on the land of Brad. Weeks, below the present residence of L. Chand- 
ler. Another character, known as "English Tom," was a near neighbor, and 
they were all employed in digging potatoes for Mr. Weeks. One night Soto 
enticed Tom to his cabin, and there with the assistance of the Indian, killed 
him with an axe. The body was stripped of its clothing and thrown into 
Pescadero creek, the murderers doubtless supposing that as the water was 


backed up to a high stage by the tide, it would be carried out by the ebb to 
the ocean, and all chances of its appearing as a mute witness against them 
forever gone. But here again was an exemplification of the trueism, " murder 
will out." On the following day, Henry Turpin found the body nearly at the 
mouth of the creek. The sudden disappearance also, of the Mexican, turned 
suspicion toward him as the murderer. The sum of ninety dollars was raised, 
and Henry Dougherty and H. R. Smith, two veterans of the Mexican War, 
were sent out in search of the fugitive. They tracked him across the fields tow- 
ards Redwood City, and going to that place they found, upon inquiry, that he 
had not been there; they then turned back again towards the mountains, and 
met him at Davis's ranch, on the summit. On the third day after the murder, 
the culprit was brought back to Pescadero, tried by a committee of citizens, 
and swung up by the neck to a beam in Laf e Chandler's barn . The body was 
secretly buried, where or by whom was never known outside of those who 
were parties to the affair; all that has escaped the pale of secrecy with regard 
to this part of it is, that the person who acted as undertaker received ten dol- 
lars for his services. The Indian who was Soto's accomplice saw in this swift 
and terrible act of retribution a foreshadowing of his own fate, so in order to 
avoid any unpleasantness of the sort, he bought a bottle of whiskey at Striker's 
store and drank it to the dregs at one draught. He then crawled into Brad. 
Weeks' barn, below Swanton's hotel, and died. The body was discovered 
while it was barely yet cold, and arrangements were made for putting it away 
out of sight without much ceremony. A rough box was knocked together, but 
on putting the dead Indian into it, was found to be too short by several 
inches. This difficulty was got over by simply cutting off the head of the 
corpse and packing it along with the body as could best be done, and the lid 
of the rude coffin having been pressed down and nailed, it was taken across 
the creek and buried. 

About the year I860, Alexander Rey was in charge of the chute at Pigeon 
Point, having been sent there by Goodall, Perkins & Co. A dispute arose 
between the firm and Loren Coburn, about the right of possession. A 
decision was rendered in favor of Coburn, notwithstanding which Goodall, 
Perkins & Co. still kept possession. Coburn's attorney advised him to 
make a peaceable entry, and the law would protect him in holding the property. 
Acting on this advice, Coburn went to San Francisco and got a posse of men, 
took them to the point, and while Rey, or " Scotty " as he was usually called, 
was at his supper, went upon the land and placed a man named Wolfe in 
charge. When "Scotty" returned, he found the men in possession, and 
ordered them off; they replied by commanding him not to come on the chute. 
Both parties were armed, and in the altercation which followed, shots were 
exchanged, resulting in the killing of "Scotty" by Wolfe. Coburn and his 
entire party were arrested, but at the trial it was proved that Rey fired the first 


shot, and they were acquitted. Even at this day statements concerning the 
affair are very conflicting, and the foregoing facts are given as the gist of the 
testimony adduced at the trial. 

The fast freight line between San Francisco and Pescadero was established 
in 1867, by Thomas Johnston, of Spanishtown. Afterwards it passed into the 
hands of Wellington & Son, who were succeeded by Maynard & Fleming, who 
afterwards sold to Cooper. The present owners, James McCormack and 
James A. Hamilton, bought Cooper out, and they now own the line to 
San Mateo, connecting there with the railroad, and making the trip as often as 
the business requires. 

The following are now doing business in Pescadero : General Merchandise — 
John Garretson, Albion P. Thompson, J. H. Hughes. Blacksmiths — John 
Goulson, Frederick Koster. Butcher shop — Roe & Peterson. Shoemakers — 
I. Van Allen, James Wonford. 

Pigeon Point, distant about five miles southward from Pescadero, is the 
landing for the latter town. This place has a tragic and melancholy history, 
having been the scene of a watery grave for many a luckless voyager. The 
first startling disaster occurred on the 6th day of May, 1853, when the clipper 
ship Carrier Pigeon, of 1,100 tons, from Boston, was totally wrecked here and 
a large number of passengers drowned. From this event the place received the 
name it now bears. But this disaster was afterwards repeated in the vicinity 
of the point on three different occasions. About the year 1857, the Sir John 
Franklin, from Baltimore, was wrecked, with a loss of the captain and eleven 
men; and, two years later, the British iron bark Coya, with coals from New- 
castle, went to pieces between New Year and Pigeon Points, with a loss of 
twenty-seven men. The last disaster was the wrecking of the British ship 
Hellespont, with a loss of seven men. 

The name of the point during the Spanish-Mexican regime, was Punia Ballena, 
or " Whale Point," which designation it received from the numbers of whale 
frequenting the waters of the Pacific in this vicinity. For a long time it has 
been the whale station of a company of Portuguese, who have constructed the 
necessary appliances for obtaining the oil, of which the company has, in a 
single year, produced as high as one thousand barrels. 

This point is situated in the immense grant called Rancho Punta del Aiio 
Nueva, or New Year Point. The rancho takes its name from the point of land 
a few miles southward from Pigeon Point, and this was named by a company 
of Mission priests, who, journeying along the coast from Monterey to the 
Mission Dolores, arrived at this place on the first day of the year. 

About 1833, the grant was made to one Simon Castro, and afterwards came 
into the hands of Maj. Graham, thence to the possession of Messrs. Clark and 
Coburn, in 1861. The latter named gentlemen still own an immense tract, 


extending from the Butano to the Gazos creek, and from the ocean to the 
mountains, the whole comprising ahout ten thousand acres, upon which there 
are between seventy-five and one hundred tenants, engaged in farming and 
dairying. The same gentlemen are the owners of the Pigeon Point Landing, 
over which there has been an amount of litigation that would inspire any 
ordinary man with a wholesome dread of the " law's delay." 

Pigeon Point Light House and Fog Whistle. — The light house was estab- 
lished in 1872, and is located on the extremity of the point, and about thirty- 
eight miles south of the Golden Gate, and twenty -five miles north of Monterey 
bay. The light is a first order Funk's Hydraulic Float. There are four circu- 
lar wicks in the lamp, whose diameters are as follows: Three and one-half 
inches, two and one-half inches, one and three-fourths of an inch, and seven- 
eighths of an inch. The lamp consists of two chambers fci oil, one above the 
light and one below. The oil is pumped from the lower into the upper, whence 
it passes thi'ough a chamber in which there is a regulating float which governs 
the flow of oil to the lamp. The flow of oil is in excess of the amount con- 
sumed to the extent of one hundred and twenty drops each minute. The 
object of this is to prevent the charring of the wick; this overflow is conducted 
to the 'lower chamber and pumped again into the upper. In this way there is 
no wastage. The upper chamber is pumped full of oil every two hours. This 
is what is known as a "flash light," i. e., the lenses revolve around the light in 
such a manner that the focus of each lens appears as a flash. The entire revo- 
lution is made in four minutes, and the interval between flashes is ten seconds. 
A very complete reflecting arrangement is constructed about the light, so that 
every ray is brought to the focal plane, and passes thence across the surging 
billows, to warn the mariner of dangers, and guide him safely past the point. 
These reflectors consist of a series of large glass prisms, divided into segments 
varying in length as they approach the apex of the cone. Of these prisms their 
are eight horizontal series above the lenses, and the same number below them. 
Then there are eighteen series on the concave surface above the light, and 
eight series on the concave surface below, making a total of forty -two series of 
reflecting prisms, and the height of the reflecting apparatus, including the 
lenses, is eight feet and ten inches, and it is five feet and six inches in diameter. 
Viewed from the outside the outlines are ver} r similar to a mammoth pineapple. 

The reflector is revolved by a clock-work arrangement, and requires weights 
of about two hundred pounds to drive the machinery. There is a governor 
attached to the gearing for the purpose of regulating the motion and speed of 
the revolving reflector. This weight requires to be wound up every two hours 
and twenty minutes. The lenses are of the La Pute patent, and the gearing 
was made by Barbier & Fenestre, in Paris. This light is on a conical brick 
tower one hundred feet high, painted white, with black lantern and red dome. 


It is one hundred and fifty feet above the sea level. There is one hundred and 
thirty-nine steps from the landing to the front dome. A flashing white light 
visible eighteen and one-half miles, with intervals between flashes of ten 
seconds. It illuminates the entire circle, and is visible to mariners from south- 
east by southward and westward to northwest. The oil used is refined lard oil. 

The fog whistle is located one hundred feet westward from the tower, and 
the fog signal house is painted a light buff color. There are two boilers and 
two whistles, one twelve and the other ten inches in diameter. The latter is 
seldom used. During thick or foggy weather one whistle is sounded, giving 
blasts of four seconds duration, with alternate intervals of seven and forty-five 
seconds. The arrangement is automatic, and governed by a small engine. 

Everything is duplicated, so that if any piece of machinery should give way 
no loss of time would be sustained. Fuel saturated with petroleum is kept in 
the furnace all the time, so that steam may be gotten up at a moment's notice, 
night or day, and the whistle set going in a very short time. 

The force of men employed at this station consists of one keeper and two 
assistants. The lamp in the tower is lighted at sundown and kept burning till 
sunrise. There is telegraphic communication from the light house and the 
fog whistle with the keeper's house. This dwelling is northwestward from the 
tower, and painted light buff, with red roof. It is large, roomy and comfort- 
able, and quite well furnished. This is not a ration station, and the employes 
have to furnish their own supplies. 

A very penny wise, pound foolish, policy of economy has been adopted by 
the government, by which the salaries of these men have been cut down to a 
mere pittance, these now varying from eight hundred dollars for the keej>er, to 
about five hundred dollars for the second assistant, per annum. When it is 
considered how these men have to live, far removed from society, subject to 
the dangers and fatigues incident to their vocation, and the great responsibility 
which rests upon their shoulders, it would seem that the government could 
well afford to be far more liberal in remunerating their services. The fate and 
destiny of valuable property and precious lives are in their hands. When the 
winds of ocean sweep with fiercest fury across the trackless main, lashing the 
water into seething billows almost mountain high, when the black pall of night 
has been cast over the face of the deep and ships are scudding along, close 
reefed and with storm sails set, not knowing where they are or how soon they 
may be cast upon the rocks or stranded upon the beach, when the storm king 
seems to hold full sway over all the world, suddenly a flash of light is seen 
piercing the darkness, like a ray of hope from the bosom of God. Again and 
again is it seen, and the sailors rejoice, for they know they can pass in safety 
the dangerous point. But whence that ray of light that cheers the heart of 
the lonely mariner ? In the lonely watches of the dreary, stormy night, with 


the fury of the wind about him, and with the roar and rush of the breakers 
dashing against the l'ocks below him, sounding in his ears, with no human 
soul near him, sits the keeper, true to his trust, faithful to his charge, doing 
well and honestly his duty, keeping his lamp trimmed and burning, sending 
forth the ray to guide and make glad the storm-encircled sailor. Then let 
honor be given to whom honor is due, and to these brave, sacrificing men let 
us render a just tribute. 

Redwood City. — Redwood City, the county seat of San Mateo county, is 
located at the head of navigation, or Embarcadero, which is more generally 
known as Redwood Creek, and inland about four miles from the open waters 
of the bay. It is a station on the Southern Pacific railroad, and the distance 
from San Francisco is twenty-eight miles. The site of this town is on the 
Rancho de las Pulgas, and during the Spanish-Mexican regime, was known 
throughout the valley as the Embarcadero. The landing was on the creek or 
slough, near the point where Bridge street crosses it, and for nearly a genera- 
tion prior to the advent of American settlers, the few commodities with which 
the native families kept up an appearance of trade were shipped from this 

The place owes its growth and present importance to two causes — its natural 
advantages as a shipping point, and its proximity to the vast forests of red- 
wood timber that formerly covered the slopes of the mountains. In 1851 the 
settlement of Redwood City began with the erection of a small house by 
Captain A. Smith, on the south side of Bridge street, near the creek. The 
first local industry offering inducements to settlers was ship-building, which 
was inaugurated in 1851, by G. M. Burnham, who built the schooner Redivood, a 
craft that for many years made trips into the port where she first took water. 
Following her were the Mary Martin, Caroline Whipple, Harriet, and the 
Dashaway. Several other boats were built in the yards of William Bell, which 
were in the rear of and near the present shop of Hilton & Titus — a draw- 
bridge across the creek at that time allowing their passage. 

A third consideration in the causes that gave an impetus to the settlement of 
Redwood was the squatter movement, that began in the year 1852. Under 
the belief that the Pulgas Rancho would be declared government land, not 
less than two hundred squatters took possession of it during that year. This 
made some central trading post a necessity, and William Shaw, in September, 
1852, foreseeing the wants of a rapidly increasing population, erected a rough 
board structure, sixteen by twenty -four feet, near the site of the post office. 
This pioneer merchant traded without competition, but we are told that the 
press of customers was seldom so great that he could not find time for a 
friendly game at cards around a table that always stood in the center of the 
store-room for that purpose; that he was not wholly engrossed in thoughts 


of trade, may be gathered from a conversation reported between Shaw and a 
customer, while the former was engaged in his favorite pastime: The custo- 
mer enquired the price of bacon, and Shaw informed him that if he got it for 
him it would be twenty -five cents; but if he helped himself, twenty cents a 
pound. The above mercantile house continued in trade from September 
until the following January, when George Thacher & Co. bought out Mr. 
Shaw and commenced a prosperous business. Charles Livingston, one of the 
few pioneers of Redwood, was connected with this house. After this firm 
came J. V. Diller, who erected a commodious store-house from the timbers of 
a mill that had done good service in the redwoods at the base of the mountains. 

Twenty -five years ago hospitality was publicly dispensed here in a shake 
shanty, the proprietors of which were Balch and Harry Morse — the latter has 
since been sheriff for twelve years of Alameda county. This establishment, at 
that time, even scarcely attained the dignity of a hotel, as lodgings were not 
afforded. Prior to this there had been a little low building on the Horace 
Hawes farm, called the Pulgas House. It was ten by fifteen feet, and kept by 
Ben Bailey, where travelers found lodgings for themselves and feed for their 
horses. In 1853, a Mr. Harris completed the original American House, which 
occupied the site of the hotel by that name lately burned. Although this 
house was accounted at that day a very creditable institution, it was lacking in 
a good many modern improvements. Its apartments consisted of "up stairs " 
and " down stairs " simply, and in the former were arranged in barracks fashion 
(all in one room) the sleeping bunks. This house was the scene of many 
pleasurable occasions to the inhabitants of the new town, and sometimes was 
the theatre of riotous demonstrations, at that period not very infrequent in 
California; of the latter, the occasion of canvassing the returns of the May 
election in 1856, is distinctly remembered by those who were witnesses of it. 

The business of wagon-making and blacksmithing, owing to the immense 
amount of teaming between this point and the mills in the redwoods, became 
an important industry at an early day, and has continued such to the present 
writing. The business was started by one George Dyzert, in 1851. He was 
followed by Smith & Chew and Chew & Hilton. In 1853, J. M. Allen located 
at the corner of Main street and the county road. Shipsmithing was a part of 
the business of some of these concerns, until that industry was abandoned. 

In the professions, applicants for patronage made their appearance with 
characteristic promptness. Of physicians, the "Dutch Doctor " was first in 
the field, and he was soon followed by A. T. McClure, M. D. The disciples of 
Blackstone, licensed and unlicensed, were quite numerous. Justices' courts 
were the only ones held at that time in what is now San Mateo county, and 
the practitioners, as occasions required, came from the mills, farms and work- 
shops. Mother wit and fluent speech were the chief requisites of the lawyer of 


that day. There was scarcely a law volume in this part of the county. 
Charles Livingston was the possessor of a book of forms, and a few legal 
propositions entitled " Every Man his own Lawyer," which was always in 
demand in Redwood when exact justice was sought. 

Of clergymen there were none settled here before Rev. J. S. Zelie, in 1861, 
although religious services were held long before that time. 

The first school-house was a small board shanty, erected at the embarcadero 
through the liberality of a few citizens. Ten pupils were only found to occupy 
it, but a short time afterwards a better house was built on the triangular lot at 
the junction of A street with the railroad; and in a few years the attendance 
had so increased that two teachers were required, and an extra room was 
fitted up in the basement of the court house. 

In January, 1854, J. M. Mezes, one of the proprietors of the Pulgas rancho, 
laid out and platted the town of Mezesville. The survey was made by W. W. 
O'Dwyer, and the plat filed for record in San Mateo county, August 1, 1856. 
By the above name Redwood was known for a number of years, and title deeds 
to land in the original plat still designate the place as Mezesville. 

Although business had been active and a good many private improvements 
had been made, Redwood City, at the time of the organization of San Mateo 
county in 1856, did not contain above one hundred and fifty inhabitants. The 
pioneers of the purely native population of the town were twin sisters, Mary 
and Caroline Tyler, children of Peter Tyler, one of the first ship-carpenters 

The first post-office was kept at the Steinburger house, on what is commonly 
known as the John Hayes property, and Jesse D. Carr was postmaster until the 
office was removed to Redwood City, in the year 1853, when George Thacher 
was appointed postmaster. Besides this, there were no post offices in this part 
of the county, with the exception of one at Woodside, where the initial settle- 
ment of the county was begun, and where the polling place for Redwood 
continued until 1853. 

With the organization of the county in 1856, and the establishment of the 
county seat at this place, Redwood, by force of the latter circumstance, if for 
no other reason, began to increase more rapidly in population and importance. 
The courts were held in the upper story of J. V. Diller's warehouse till 1858, 
when the court house and jail were erected at a cost of about ten thousand 
dollars. Redwood became the place of residence of men of learning and cul- 
ture, the schools were well maintained and prosperous, societies were formed, 
a newspaper started, and in 1862 the First Congregational Church was 

On October 16th, 1863, the first passenger train of cars passed through Red- 
wood city on an excursion trip over what was then called the San Francisco 
and San Jose railroad. Although this was the first opportunity for railroad 


communication with San Francisco, .yet other means had for several years 
supplied the people of Redwood with adequate facilities. A part of the time 
two lines of stages had been run between the above points, while the means 
were ample for transportation and freighting by water. 
• Until 1867, very little attention had been given to the matter of street 
improvements, at which time the population became such as to warrant and 
demand improved roads and streets, and a municipal government clothed with 
authority to effect this object. Accordingly a petition was that year presented 
to the county court praying that the town of Redwood city might become 
incorporated under the general laws for the incorporation of towns. The 
petition was granted, andan election ordered for May 11th, 1867, at which date 
the following officers were elected: Trustees, J. V. Diller, S. S. Merrill, 
J. W. Ackerson, John Titus and L. A. Parsons; Marshal, J. C. Edgar; 
Assessor, Andrew Teague; Treasurer, S. H. Snyder. 

The first meeting of the board was held May 18th, 1867, and John Ames was 
elected clerk. The initiatory steps in the matter of improved streets was taken 
on the 3d day of October of that year, when a contract for the construction of 
one thousand feet of street, between the railroad crossing and the county 
road, was let to Owen McGarvey at one dollar and fifty cents per lineal foot 
of broken rock, twenty feet wide by one foot in depth. In March, 1868, 
Harvey Kincaid, then Senator from this district, introduced and procured the 
passage of a special Act of corporation, under which the town continued to 
be governed until the amended and revised Act of 1874. Under this charter 
of 1868 an election was held on May 4th, when the following officers were 
elected: Trustees — J. V. Diller, John W. Ackerson, Andrew Teague, John 
Crawley and James Hilton; Marshal, J. C. Edgar; Treasurer, S. H. Snyder; 
Assessor, Wilson Whitlock. 

On the 4th day of August of that year the board ordered an election for the 
purpose of submitting to the people the proposition to borrow five thousand 
dollars for street improvements. The election was held on the 29th of August, 
and resulted in an affirmative response to the proposition. A loan was nego- 
tiated of William C. Ralston, with interest at the rate of ten per cent, per 
annum, principal payable in five annual installments. This loan, together 
with the taxes of that year, put the trustees in possession of about eight 
thousand dollars, and with it they commenced work by letting to Peter Con- 
nally, on September 2d, 1868, a contract to curb and macadamize Mound, Main 
and Bridge streets, at two dollars and eighteen cents per lineal foot. The 
contract called for rock from the McGarvey ranch, but difficulty being encoun- 
tered in obtaining it from that source, Hon. T. G. Phelps, without compensa- 
tion, furnished the town with material from his premises. 

In March, 1869, Heller and Phelps streets were ordered graded and turn- 
piked, and in August of that year a contract was awarded to Mr. Phelps for 


curbing and macadamizing A street to the railroad crossing, at one dollar and 
sixty cents per foot. In November, Second and Third streets were ordered to 
be tnrnpiked, on the petition of property owners. In 1870, the macadamizing 
of A street was completed by Peter Early. In 1872, Heller and Phelps streets 
were macadamized, and Redwood City, which, in early days, had an unenviable 
reputation for the character of its roads, could now take commendable pride 
in them. Their present excellent condition is especially observable by those 
who remember that in 1852, pedestrians were obliged to cross the creek on 
Bridge street by wading, in a pair of high-topped rubber boots that were keptin 
Thacher's store for the accommodation of tbe public. 

For public means of conveyance and communication between Redwood City 
and the coast, the Redwood City and Pescadero stage line affords the facilities 
by means of a stage, making trips between the above points. The distance is 
thirty-two miles, and is made in eight hours, including stops at the way 
stations. Stages on this route commenced running in 1872. The proprietor 
is S. L. Knight, an early settler of the county and an early stager. 

Petroleum is to be found in the mountains beyond Redwood City. It is a 
question, however, whether oil wells will ever prove as productive in Califor- 
nia as they are in Pennsylvania, for the reason that the horizontal wheels of the 
palaeozoic age confines the oil beneath the surface of the latter state, while the 
tertiary rocks of California, turned up on edge, allow it to be forced to the 
surface by hydrostatic pressure, and capillary attraction, and thus wasted. 
Hence large quantities of oil on the surface is an unfavorable indication for 
well-boring. It is for this reason, and not because oil in quantities does not 
exist, that the oil business has not a promising out-look on the Pacific coast. 

In the year 1881, indications of petroleum were discovered on the Tunitas 
creek and on the farm of Mrs. Ryan. A well was bored to a depth of seventy 
feet, when the flow commenced, and after going down four hundred feet, from 
nine to ten barrels were taken from the well daily. 

On the ranch of Thomas Durham there has also been a well sunk to the 
depth of two hundred and fifty feet, but on account of not having a sufficient 
amount of money to carry on this enterprise, work has not been pushed as 
rapidly as it might have been. Many are of the opinion that when the proper 
depth is reached, a good flow of crude petroleum will be had, and in paying 

Seaesville. — This place is situated on the Copinger grant, and its early 
history is so inseparably connected with the early history of the county, 
that we refer our readers to that portion of our work for a full description 
of its early settlers and of its lumbering interests. There is but little 
left to remind one that this was the home of some of California's earliest 
pioneers, and where hundreds of men were engaged in business at or near 


this place. There is one specimen of the native forest that once made this a 
scene of activity still left, spared from the woodman's ax. It is a large red- 
wood tree, standing by the ranch of Mr. Jones, and is a fair sample of what 
the virgin timber once was, in this locality. 

William Brown was the first settler. He purchased of Copinger a portion 
of the Canada Raymundo grant, and gave it the name of Mountain Home 
ranch. John Smith, better known as " Bap." Smith, came here on July 11th, 
1852, and has since continuously resided here. In the fall of that year, A. 
Eikerenkotter arrived with his family, and he now keeps the only store and 
hotel in the place. In the year 1853, John H. Sears, now resident of La 
Honda, located near the Mountain Home ranch, at that time owned by Col. 
Jack Hayes. He remained here until the following January, when he built a 
house on the site of what is now Searsville, and the name of the town was 
applied by a representative of the Alia, who visited the place in the spring or 
summer of 1854, and in a series of papers descriptive of the location, referred 
to the settlement by this designation. The building erected by Mr. Sears was 
occupied as a hotel, and knowD as the Sears House. 

It was in this year, also, that William and Lem Page came here and opened 
the first store in the place on the banks of Alumbique creek. Sometime 
during the year 1854, a dwelling house was purchased and moved on the site 
of the present school-house, in which the first school was taught. In 1859 
this building gave way to the present commodious school building. 

It was not till the year 1856, that the old and respected settler, Willian 
Lloyd, arrived, when he opened a blacksmith shop, which is now one of the 
two business places in Searsville. 

Woodside. — This was the home of the first settlers of San Mateo county, and 
it is the most beautiful spot within her boundaries. The scenery in and 
around this place embraces the characteristic groves of redwood and other 
woods on the hills and in the canyons, which are to be found in this part of 
the country; walks and drives of rare beauty, excelling those which might be 
devised by man's handiwork, intersect the low-lying grounds and mountain 
slopes, while through it passes the road from Redwood City leading to Pesca- 
dero, along which is combined all the beauty of scenery and grandeur of hill 
and dale. 

Dr. R. O. Tripp is the oldest American settler in the county now living, and 
he resides at Woodside. He came to California from the east, in 1849, and the 
same year came to Woodside with A. Parkhurst and Mr. Ellis. The latter gen- 
tlemen were engaged in the manufacture of shingles, carrying on the business- 
in partnership. On January 1st, 1850, Mr. Ellis left the firm, and Dr. Tripp 
was taken in as a partner, and the firm commenced merchandising, and the 
business has continued until the present time. From the beginning, Dr. Tripp 


has been owner and part owner of the business, thus making a longer period 
in continuous trade than any merchant of San Mateo county. In 1854, the 
present store of Dr. Tripp was built, and the same year a post office was estab- 
lished, with A. Parkhurst as postmaster. In 1851, a school house was erected 
on land donated from the Copinger ranch, and it filled the office of school, 
church and public hall. In the year 1856 a library association was formed here, 
as well as the first temperance society of the county, and the history of it, 
although a little mythical, is deserving of mention. The story goes that a 
widow lady, wuth a marriageable daughter, was keeping boarding house near 
the town. Mother and daughter threw their combined weight of influence in 
favor of the good cause, which had not then many advocates in the redwoods. 
The gallant young men of the neighborhood were never so fully persuaded of 
the evils of intemperance as when listening to the arguments of the pretty 
daughter. The consequence was that a flourishing organization was effected 
that doubtless accomplished much good. Of course, the man is no friend to 
the cause who reports, that, as soon as a certain stranger came and married 
the daughter, the organization became less popular. 

Ravenswood. — This is a duplicate of Goldsmith's "deserted village." It 
exists only in the memory of the pioneer, although it started into life with 
every prospect of success, and during the period when the question of the 
western terminus of the Central Pacific railroad was raising the hopes of so 
many towns, Ravenswood was threatened with being made the western ter- 
minus of a railroad bridge across the bay of San Francisco. Had this event 
occurred its history could not be so briefly told. 

In 1853, when much attention was being directed to the lumber interests in 
this part of the country, and mills were being erected, it was evident that 
sonic point on the bay would attain importance as a lumber-shipping town. 
With that idea in view, I. C. Woods, Hackett & Judah, and William Roe, in 
1853, purchased what was known as the Steinberger property, and platted the 
town called Ravenswood. An extensive and costly wharf was built to deep 
water; lots were sold and houses erected; a store was opened by William Paul, 
and altogether a good deal of activity was displayed here. But the town not 
proving available as a lumber-shipping point, soon subsided. The property 
ultimately came into the hands of L. P. Cooley, and it has since been widely 
known as the location of Hunter, Shackelford & Co's brick manufactory. This 
industry was commenced in 1874. The long wharf, built in the early days, is 
disused and gone to decay, but a landing is still maintained on the old site. 

Clark's Landing, is below Ravenswood, and at the mouth of the San Fran- 
cisquito creek, and was established in 1873, since which time there has been 
erected a commodious warehouse. 


Belmont. — The name signifies beautiful mountain, and was given the place 
by Steinburger & Beard, and any one who has seen the symmetrically rounded 
eminence that stands near the town, must confess to the appropriateness of the 
name. The town was started in 1850, and for California, Belmont is an old 
town. It was the first county seat of San Mateo county, and before the com- 
ing of the Southern Pacific railroad, had considerable commercial importance. 

The beautiful valley, at the entrance to which Belmont is located, is called 
Canada Diabolo. It is difficult to conceive how this charming little valley 
received the above designation, unless it was on the assumption that his 
satanic majesty, having an intimate acquaintance with all parts of the globe, 
fixed upon this as the most desirable. At all events, his taste in making this 
selection would be universally approved. The fact is, it has been. There are 
evidences that the aborigines appreciated the soft atmosphere of this storm - 
locked retreat. 

At a very early day, Col. Cipriani, a man considerably devoted to the quiet 
pleasures of this world, made his home here, and later the proprietor of the 
Pulgas rancho, out of this immense grant, selected the Canada Diabolo for his 
residence. At a more recent date, William C. Ralston, with better taste than 
any of San Mateo's millionaires, made his country residence in this valley, and 
with his characteristic enterprise, not only built for himself a princely home, 
but projected and made improvements generally that added much to the pros- 
perity of the neighborhood. Among the earliest settlers here was Michael 

The initial step in the settlement of Belmont, was the building of a hotel 
by a Mr. Angelo, on what is now known as the Robinson property. This was 
in the year 1850. A short time prior to that, Angelo had entertained travel- 
ers in a canvass tent, a little distance below Redwood City. His hotel in 
Belmont, in those early days, became widely known, especially by the sporting 
fraternity, whose wants were carefully catered to by the proprietor. A Mr. 
Flashner succeeded Angelo in the hotel business at this place, and it was at 
his house, then called the Belmont hotel, that the first county court of San 
Mateo county convened, in 1856. 

The business of merchandising was begun by Adam Castor, and as a trading 
point, Belmont at one time was of more than ordinary importance. After W. 
C. Ralston settled here, he constructed a wharf upon the slough that makes in 
toward the town, and donated the privileges of it to the public. 

Belmont is extensively and popularly known as a famous picnic ground. 
In the course of the past year it is estimated that over one hundred and fifty 
thousand people visited the delightful park at the base of the beautiful hill 
that gave the town its name. 


Menlo Park. — Locally the name has become suggestive of wealth, with all 
its princely accompaniments. There are but few spots in California that offer 
a more enticing retreat than the oak groves in the vicinity of Menlo Park. 
But beautiful as the site is, art has here supplemented nature to such an extent, 
that nothing is left to be desired in the way of magnificent residences, of 
which there are many with notable points of excellence. 

As a town, Menlo Park dates its existence back to March 23d, 1874, when an 
act of incorporation was passed, authorizing the Governor to commission five 
citizens as trustees of the town. Prior to the passage of the Southern Pacific 
railroad in 18G3, there was not the nucleus even of a village; but with that 
event, the place slowly grew into the proportions of a small town. The incor- 
poration at the date named was procured for the purpose of enabling the 
inhabitants to carry out a uniform system of street improvements; and with 
this object accomplished, the town government has been allowed to lapse, and 
for a long time the board of trustees has not been in session. The citizens 
commissioned by the Governor to act as trustees, were L. P. Cooley, John T. 
Doyle, George C. Boardman, Charles N. Felton and W. J. Adams. Their first 
meeting was held April 25th, 1874, when John T. Doyle was elected president, 
and Robert L. Behre, clerk; George C. Boardman resigning, E. P. Rowe was 
commissioned to fill the vacancy, and he shortly after became clerk, in place 
of Mr. Behre. 

On July 6th, 1874, an election was held for the purpose of choosing a new 
board, which resulted in returning L. P. Cooley, Charles N. Felton, W. J. 
Adams, D. Kuck and R. G. Sneath. Of this second and last board, L. P. 
Cooley was chosen president, and D. Kuck, clerk. As above stated, about 
the only action taken by the town council was in fixing the town limits, and 
in improving the streets. 

San Mateo. — The growth of the town of San Mateo has been very similar to 
that of other places in California, outside of the mining regions. It did not 
spring up in a night at the rubbing of some Aladdin's lamp. It is a sort of 
spontaneous growth of a rich agricultural and pasturing district, in contiguity 
with the great mart of the coast. The same charms and advantages that 
attracted the first settlers there, have drawn each succeeding one, until now 
we see a beautiful flourishing town, claiming no small degree of importance as 
a tributary to the San Francisco market, and as an appurtenant to the great 
messuage (so to speak) of the city. 

The first to make a lodgment upon the site of the town was John B. Cooper, 
who had been previously living at and around the old Mission. In 1851, he 
came to the site of the present village, and made a brush booth around a large 
oak tree, which served him for a habitation while he was erecting a more sub- 
stantial dwelling on the bank of the creek, where the residence of Mr. Rice 
now stands. 



In 1850, Nicholas Dupoister put up a frame building a little west of the 
village, on the property now owned by Captain Taylor. 

In 1851, Dr. Post came and erected a domicile where William H. Howard at 
present lives. 

In 1852, David S. Cook arrived and formed a business connection with Du- 
poister, in the hotel business at the Taylor place, above referred to. In 1853, 
they enlarged their hostelry by the addition of a large frame building, which 
was brought from the east in nine different vessels, framed and ready to be put 
together. They purchased it of Captain Shaw, and attached it to the original 
hotel structure, and with these enlarged accommodations, continued the busi- 
ness together until 1856, when Mr. Cook bought out his partner's interest, 
and became the sole proprietor; he eventually sold out to Stockton & Shafter, 
who in turn sold to " Tony " Oakes, Captain Edward Taylor subsequently 
purchased the property of Oakes, and a portion of the old hotel that in early 
days sheltered so many weary travelers under its hospitable roof, and spread 
before them its generous reflection, now forms a part of his residence. 

In 1852, David Haver, the pioneer carpenter, put up a barn for Mr. Cook. 
Haver is still alive and a resident of San Mateo. 

C. B. Polhemus, in September, 1863, laid out and platted the town of San 
Mateo. Here it may be mentioned that the name of this town, the county and 
the creek, is the Spanish for Saint Mattheio,ihe name being given the creek by 
the Mission fathers. 

Prior to the passage of the railroad and the platting of the town, what 
business there was here was carried on near the county road. There Henry 
Husing began trade in 1859, and after him came Skidmore & Purcell. In 
1861, Charles and William Remington became the first blacksmiths of the 
place, with the exception of an old Indian on the hills near by, who was ac- 
customed to make spurs and bridle bits for the Mexicans. 

Following the completion of the Southern Pacific railroad, the town, owing 
to its magnificent site among the native oaks, and to its unequaled soil and 
climate for healthful residences, began to attract the attention of men of 
fortune, who have made here their princely homes, and added to the charms 
nature has so lavishly bestowed, all that wealth and refined taste could suggest. 

Though the business of the place is by no means unimportant, its distin- 
guishing characteristic is that of a delightful place of residence. 

By referring to the article on "county seat contests," it will be seen that 
the people of the county, at an election once held for the purpose of locating 
the county seat, by a large majority declared in favor of San Mateo, but owing 
to some legal technicalities, were deprived of the fruits of their victory. In 
any event San Mateo is destined to continued growth and prosperity. 


A Disastrous Fire. — At a few minutes to nine o'clock, on June 15th, 1883, a 
fire was discovered in a shed in the rear of Hugh McKernan's saloon, in 
Central block, just across the street from the railroad depot. The fire rapidly 
spread until eleven o'clock, when the entire block was in flames,. 

The town has splendid water works, and pipes are laid everywhere, and the 
supply of water would have been amply sufficient to extinguish the blaze, had 
there been sufficient hydrants. Some months ago the town was presented 
with a steam fire engine by capitalists who reside within its limits, but the 
trustees neglected to increase the number of hydrants, of which there were but 
two. The citizens also failed to organize an engine company, and hence there 
was the greatest confusion when the blaze was discovered. Before the engine 
could be brought into use the fire had gained such a headway that it could not 
be checked. An effort was made to save Dr. Goodspeed's brick store by moving 
out a butcher shop adjoining. The citizens succeeded in rolling the shop out 
on the street, but not in time to prevent its destruction . The entire town 
turned out to fight the flames, and several bucket brigades worked with a will, 
but without effect. Every team in town was called into recpaisition to save 
goods, which were carried across the track to a place of safety. 

The places burned out are the post office and vacant building'adjoining, and 
Winter's paint shop, owned by I. R. Goodspeed; loss, $2,000. Wisnom Hall, 
Plouff's saloon, and a building occupied by Flynn, the plumber, and all owned 
by A. Borel; loss, 85,000. Saloon owned by Casey &McKernan; loss, $2,000. 
San Mateo Hotel, stable, and Whitehead's saloon, all owned by E. Walker; 
loss, $8,000. Nearly all the movable articles were saved from the post office, 
Plouff's and McKernan's, Flynn's and Winter's. The hotel lost all but a 
piano. The block was swept clean by the flames. 

The only hotel in the place is the Union House, a large brick building, 
owned and controlled by the Hon. James Byrnes. The general merchandise 
business is represented by two concerns, E. A. Husing and James Bickford. 
There are two drug stores, the respective proprietors of which are Dr. I. R 
Goodspeed and Dr. Morse. The harness shop of A. T. Bartlett, meat market 
of Price & Jennings; one livery stable, by James Byrnes; a lumber yard, by 
Wisnom & Doyle; two blacksmiths, Thomas Coleman and Michael Brown; 
two shoemakers, William C. Alt and Thomas H. Perry; one painter and 
upholsterer, George Winter; one carpenter and upholsterers' shop, by Daniel 
Haver; one barber shop, by John Vallado; and one real estate office, by Hugh 

This town is the northern terminus of the San Mateo, Pescadero and Santa 
Cruz stage company, the proprietors of which are Taft & Garretson. The 
line runs its Concord coaches daily to Pescadero and Santa Cruz, carrying the 
mails. The stations of this route are San Mateo, Crystal Springs, San Felix, 
Byrnes' Store, Eureka Gardens, Half Moon Bay or Spanishtown, Purissima, 


Lobitas, San Gregorio, Pescadero, Pigeon Point, Seaside, Davenport and 
Santa Cruz. Distance 78 miles. 

One of the natural attractions of San Mateo is a piece of picturesque and 
romantic scenery, seldom excelled anywhere — the valley of the San Mateo 
(through which the road to Spanishtown leads,) and the San Andreas valley. 
Owing to the beautiful scenery that characterizes this place, at an early day a 
public house was erected at a place called Crystal Springs, where thousands 
resorted for pleasure, and around which a little settlement grew up. 

In this part of the valley, Domingo Felix, the original proprietor of the 
rancho San Felix, lived, and among the earlier foreign settlers were Maynard, 
Bollinger, Condon and M. Wolf. Mr. M. C. Casey located on the ranch 
where he now lives about 1857, and about that time James Byrnes began trade 
at the place then and since known as Byrnes' Store, where formerly consider- 
able business was done. 

Evergreen Cemetery. — Until recently the town was unprovided with suitable 
accommodations for the burial of the dead. That it now has a field that will 
soon be made one of the most fit and becoming for that purpose, is due to the 
enterprise of Mrs. Agnes Tilton, who has, at great expense, caused some 
twenty acres on the northern bank of the creek to be surveyed into lots taste- 
fully improved. Every sanitary requisite of a suitable burying place is here to 
be found, and Evergreen Cemetery will yet become populous with those who 
will join " that innumerable caravan that moves to the pale realms of shade, 
where each must take his silent chamber in the halls of death." 

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, San Mateo.— The services of the Episcopal 
Church were first held in this town by Bev. G. A. Easton, from San Francisco, 
while temporarily residing here in the spring and summer of 1864. They were 
held in the reception room of San Mateo Young Ladies' Institute, Miss Buck- 
master, principal, now known as Laurel Hall, which was built that year. 
Mr. Easton left that fall, and was succeeded by Bev. A. L. Brewer, from 
Detroit, Michigan, who came out under the auspices of the Episcopal Board 
of Domestic Missions. He began with the mission stations of this place and 
Bedwood combined, in February, 1865. Services were held in the public 
school house, where both Congregational and Methodist services were also 
held, each Sunday, there being no protestant house of worship in the town. 

In July of that year, Mr. George H. Howard's family donated from their 
rancho a lot of two acres for a church, on the north side of San Mateo creek 
and east of the county road, at the same time opening a subscription for the 
church building with a liberal donation. In October, a church organiza- 
tion was effected, Messrs. George H. Howard and Edward Taylor being chosen 
wardens, and Mr. A. H. Jordan, clerk and treasurer. The corner stone of 


the church was laid October 12th, by Rev. C. B. Wyatt, of Trinity Church, 
San Francisco, in the absence of Bishop Kip, who was then in Europe. The 
stone for the building w T as taken from a quarry on the Crystal Spring road, on 
the Howard estate. It was the first American stone church in the State, and 
still, after a lapse of thirteen years, remains, I believe, the only one. But one 
other that I am aware of was built previously, and that, the Franciscan 
Mission Church at Carmel valley, west of Monterey, which is now a ruin. 

The church was finished and consecrated on May 23d, 1866, the Rt. Rev. W. 
I. Kip, D. D., officiating and preaching, being aided by the Rt. Rev. T. F. 
Scott, D. D., of Oregon. Many clergymen of this State, and some of Oregon, 
were also present. 

The rector of the church had begun a parish school, which is now known as 
St. Matthew's Hall; and in August, a clergyman and his wife having been 
called from the east to assist him in the care of this school, and in his mission 
work (as the beginning of a proposed associate mission,) services were sus- 
tained by them conjointly at Belmont, Redwood and May field, as well as at 
San Mateo. In October, a school building was donated by Horace Hawes, 
for a boarding and day school at Redwood, in consequence of which this 
clergyman removed there and took charge of that school, of the church there, 
and cf the mission at Mayfield; Belmont mission remaining connected with the 
church at San Mateo, in charge of Mr. Brewer. It has continued thus ever 
since, being ministered to successively by clergymen or lay readers teaching at 
St. Matthew's Hall. In the spring of 1876, the mission was regularly organ- 
ized under the canons of the Episcopal church, as the " Mission of the Good 
Shepherd," and a church building was erected through the earnest labors and 
zeal of Rev. E. C. Cowan, who officiated there for a year while teaching at St. 
Matthew's Hall. 

In the summer of 1867, the rectory of the church of 'San Mateo was built, 
mainly through the generous interest of William F. Babcock, then residing 
here, furthered by A. H. Jordan, to whom very much was due in building 
both church and rectory, for plans and superintendence as architect, and for 
general interest and aid . Part of this rectory was used for school purposes for 
several years, as well as for the rector's home, and in 1868, an additional school 
building was erected in the rear of the rectory, for the exclusive use of the 
school, by the private contributions of its friends and patrons, and members 
of the vestry. 

Its acknowledged beginning and earnest growth dates from this time. It 
soon outgrew these buildings, and in 1873, the present large and commodious 
building was erected by Mr. Brewer, aided generously by the vestrymen of 
the church and by personal friends. And now, in point of neatness, home- 
like character and picturesque beauty, the group of buildings of which it is 


the center, is hardly excelled by any similar institution in the State. The 
three foundation institutions for educating and training youth for life, here 
and hereafter — the home, the school and the church — seem happily and har- 
moniously combined. 

The church, since its building, has become ivy -grown, giving it a look of 
age and a touch of rustic beauty refreshing amid the bare newness of public 
buildings in the State; and within it has been enriched by monumental sculp- 
ture and rich stained glass, and other accessories of a place of sacred worship, 
which add to its associations, and make it worthy of a passing visit. 

Laurel Hall. — This school for " young ladies and little girls," is situated 
one mile south of the town of San Mateo, and one-half mile west of the 
county road. Mrs. L. A. Buckmaster-Manson, its present proprietress, engaged 
in this enterprise in 1862. Miss Buckmaster, who had been teaching for some 
years in public schools and seminaries in Vermont (her native State), and in 
New York, arrived in California in December, 1856. In the spring of 1857 
she was engaged to take the highest department for girls in the public school 
of Marysville, and remained in that charge until the fall of 1860. In Jan- 
uary, 1861, she opened a private school in Sacramento. Commencing with 
eleven pupils, the number increased to sixty-five, but in December the school 
was closed and not re-opened, on account of the well remembered floods of 
1861-2. Miss Buckmaster then (in the spring of 1862) removed to Oakland, 
taking a few of her pupils with her, intending to locate there, but not being 
able to purchase a place that was satisfactory, as titles were unsettled, she 
looked elsewhere for a permanent location. After consultation with C. 
B. Polhemus, manager of the San Jose and San Francisco railroad, and other 
residents of San Mateo, Miss Buckmaster visited several sections of the county, 
and finally, having decided in favor of San Mateo, on account of "high lands 
and open views," purchased, in 1863, of D. S. Cook, twenty-seven acres of 
farm land, a part of which was well wooded with live oak and laurel, at one 
hundred dollars per acre. Subscriptions were then secured for a loan (without 
interest for a term) to the amount of $10,525.00. The main portion of the 
present building was then erected (S. C. Bugbee, architect), at a cost of about 
nine thousand dollars. 

In May, 1864, the school was opened with eleven pupils. The number 
gradually increased, until 1870 there were forty pupils in attendance. In the 
summer of 1868 a gymnasium, 30x50 feet, was erected, and during the fall of 
the same year the barn and stables. 

In 1871, the term of the subscription loan having expired, and it being con- 
sidered advisable to increase the facilities and conveniences of the building, 
the proprietor procured a loan from the San Francisco Savings Union for the 
purpose of refunding the amounts due and making the desired improvements. 


The following named gentlemen then donated the sums specified, being one- 
half their subscriptions for the benefit of the school, viz: Geo. H. Howard, 
$500; Thos. H. Selby, $375; T.G.Phelps, $125; A. J. Easton (by Mrs. 
Easton), $500; J. R. Bolton, $375; H. M. Newhall, $100; D. O. Mills, $375; 
John Parrott, $500; J. Strahle, $50; S. M. Mezes, $250; Wm. K. Garrison, 
$200. Total, $3,350. This amount is registered in the books of the Institute, 
with the names of the donors, as the Founders' Fund. Messrs. A. Hay ward, 
Robert Watt, B. Hinckley, R. G. Sneath, John Donald, S. B. Whipple, C. B. 
Polhemus, and A. H. Houston, who had kindly given aid to the school by 
their subscriptions to the loan, were paid either in tuition (previously), or in 

In June, 1875, Rev. E. B. Church assumed the management of the school, 
remaining two years, until June, 1877, when Rev. Geo. H. Watson and Mrs. 
Watson, of Freehold, New Jersey, became his successors and held the charge 
until June 1st, 1878. In July, Mrs. Buckmaster-Manson, who had been absent 
from the State two years (1876 and 1877) again resumed the responsible charge 
of the Institute. 

In the fall of 1876 a two-story cottage was built at a short distance from the 
main house, which will accommodate some fifteen pupils, and this completes 
the present collection of buildings. 

The situation is all that can be desired as to beauty of location and healthi- 
ness of climate. The adjacent foothills protect the place from the heavy sea 
fogs and cold winds which prevail in more exposed locations near the coast. 
It is easily accessible, being but an hour's ride via the Southern Pacific rail- 
road from San Francisco. A large and experienced corps of teachers stand 
ready to meet every requirement for a substantial and refined education. 

Northward from San Mateo to the county line, no towns of any considerable 
importance are to be found. Through this part of the territory, grazing and 
dairying may be said to constitute the chief industry, and owing to the prox- 
imity to the San Francisco market, for the purpose of shipping milk, it has 
advantages superior to places more remote. 

Millbrae. — The first who made a lodgement at what is now known as Millbrae 
station, was Perry Jones, a farmer, who located here in 1850. He afterwards 
built the Millbrae Hotel, and kept it for several years as a public house. Its 
present proprietor, J. Cunningham, of San Bruno, took possession in 1882. 

In 1854 H. Garnot established himself at Millbrae as the pioneer of that 
place, in the merchandising business. His stock was of a general and compre- 
hensive character, and Garnot still holds the field there without local compe- 
tition, in fact it is the only store at Millbrae. 

Millbrae Oyster Beds. — In the connection with Millbrae, the oyster beds in 
the bay, opposite the station, claim notice. The first plant was made by John 


Morgan & Co. in 1872. It consisted simply of a champagne basket full of 
oysters, which were brought from the east as an experiment. It would seem 
that the firm found encouragement in the results of this small beginning, for 
they afterwards brought out two car loads of ten tons each, and still later, in 
April, 1882, anotherjconsignment of ten car loads of ten tons each. An idea 
of the growth of this industry can be formed from the fact that there are now 
four firms engaged in it at this point, namely: John Morgan & Co., Doane & 
Co., Swanberg, West & Co., and B. Morgan. The first named firm sends to 
the San Francisco market during the oyster season, about eighty-two thousand 
oysters per week; Doane & Co., forty-one thousand; Swanberg, West & Co., 
sixty-five thousand, and R. Morgan, twenty-five thousand, — making a grand 
total of two million and three thousand oysters supplied to San Francisco 
every week during the season, from the eastern stock. 

San Bruno. — This is a station in township one. Its existence dates back no 
further than 1862, when J. Cunningham located there and erected a hotel 
building which he called the San Bruno House. It is still a well-known land- 
mark on the old San Bruno road, and continues under the management of its 
original proprietor. Directly opposite the hotel is the rifle range, and south 
of it is the grounds where pigeons are shot from the trap. Both of these 
localities are well known to marksmen in this part of the State, and the latter 
is especially popular with the department of sportsmanship that is devoted to 
the " trap and trigger." 

Colma is near the northern boundary of the county, and being much nearer 
San Francisco than our county seat, has its business relations mainly with the 
former. Colma, notwithstanding it 'is a small place, is an exception to most 
towns in the county, in that it has some manufacturing interests, the tanning 
of hides being carried on here quite extensively. Aside from the tannery, two 
stores, one by J. D. Husing, the other by A. Paslaqua (who is postmaster of 
the place,) the blacksmith shop of Jacob Bryan, and the saloon of Geo. M. 
Collopy, complete the business enterprises in the town. 

The Fourteen Mile House, or Uncle Tom's Cabin. — This historic old relic, 
as the name by which it is usually designated, marks a distance of fourteen 
miles from the old limits of San Francisco. Early in 1849, a man named 
Thorp erected a cabin-like structure about twelve feet square, on the mission 
road from San Francisco to San Jose and at the spot where the Fourteen Mile 
House now stands. The little cabin still remains, and forms the bar-room of 
the more commodious hotel building that has been welded to it. It was origin- 
ally known simply as "Thorp's place." Here the proprietor entertained the 
wayfarer who needed rest and reflection. In those days a man's hospitality 
was not measured by the metes and bounds of his cabin. Nearly every traveller 


carried his own blankets, and when night came on the nearest cabin was per- 
functory a hostelry, and its proprietor a boniface. If the pilgrim preferred, or 
if the contingency of inadequate room within the cabin made it a necessity, he 
spread his couch under a tree near by, or seized upon a hay -rick as his bed of 
state, unless, indeed, it happened to be in the rainy season, when the stable or 
some out-shed was taken for a dormitory. No one thought this a hardship; it 
was the manner of the times, and wherever one slept, he was constructively 
in the "hotel." It was around its generous board, and in the enjoyment of 
its creature comforts, that he was happy. Thorp's cabin increased in propor- 
tions as the surrounding country increased in population. Piece by piece was 
added until finally it became one of the popular resorts of the county. 

About the year 1871, J. Gamble came into possession of the property, and 
christened it " Star and Garter." In 1878, Thomas Rolls, a colored man, pre- 
sided over its economy, and gave it the name of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," which 
clings to it to this day. During that year, August Jenevein came to this local- 
ity, and about eighteen months afterwards assumed the proprietorship of 
the establishment, which he has ever since conducted under the name of the 
" Fourteen Mile House." 

The building is surrounded by a beautiful flower garden, with an orchard 
close by, and it is to-day one of the most attractive hotels in the county, both 
for comfort and the beauty of its surroundings. 

Half Moon Bay, or Spanishtown. — In one of the finest agricultural districts 
of San Mateo county, or of the State of California even, located upon what 
was formerly one of the largest and prettiest streams of the county, is a village 
of five or six hundred inhabitants, that, more than any other in the county, 
has the air of age and ante-American times about it, commonly called Spanish- 
town. At this point, unlike many others on the coast, the mountains have not 
crowded the valley into the sea, and a highly fertile plain of several thousand 
acres stretches around the shores of a bay that, on account of its configura- 
tion, has long been known as Half Moon Bay. Through this plain the Pilar- 
citos creek, before its sources were tapped by the Spring Valley Water Works, 
poured a considerable volume of water, which, together with the unequaled 
pasture lands through which it ran, became sought after by the native families, 
whose establishment in this vicinity was the occasion of the name, Spanishtown. 

Although the days of prosperity and power of the Spanish-Mexican families 
have long since departed, some of the first settlers and numerous descendants 
still cling to the beautiful valley, where their herds of cattle and bands of 
horses once roamed at will, and where the rodeos and gala-days brought the 
festive caballeros from far and near. The Miramontez and Vasquez families, 
owing to their possessions, were of most importance in this vicinity, and were 
located near each other, on opposite banks of the Pilarcitos. A number of the 


descendants of these families are still here; and of the former, the old dame 
Miramontez, who has seen the light of a whole century, still lives and is grate- 
fully remembered, not only by the people of her own race, but by the early 
American families that came into the valley, and in sickness received the 
nursing and attention to which the old lady devoted a part of her time. 

Here, too, in addition to the living representatives of a past and distinct 
period in the history of the country, are to be found about the only existing 
relics in the county of those quaint adobe structures of the native families. No 
Spanish settlement amounting to the proportions of a town or village was 
made here before American occupation of the country. San Francisco and the 
Mission Dolores were the only places to which the native families here resorted 
for business or the rites of religion. Even those who by accident died here 
were carried to the Mission Dolores for interment, and not until 1857 had they 
consecrated ground at Half Moon Bay. An embarcadero, or landing, was kept 
for the very limited commerce of the valley, and some grain was raised that 
found a market with the Russian traders. 

As an American settlement, Spanishtown is of comparatively recent origin. 
Not until the early part of 1853 did foreign settlers begin to seek the coast side 
of the county for agricultural purposes. Of these, G. R. Borden, B. F. Webb 
and Armstead Goadley (constituting one party,) came with teams over the as 
yet untracked mountains, and in the month of February, 1853, located on the 
Rancho Canada de Verde. About the same time one of the Johnston brothers 
(of whom there were four — James, Thomas, William and John) came and 
settled, and was afterward followed by the other three. This family introduced 
the eastern or domesticated cattle into this part of the county, began making 
good improvements and cultivating the soil, and have, from the date of their 
arrival, been prominently identified with the interests of the Half Moon Bay 
country, where two of the brothers, Thomas and William, still reside. 

Perhaps nothing would illustrate the wild condition of the coast country at 
the above date better than a statement of the fact that the tame cattle intro- 
duced by the Johnstons, being unfamiliar with the rude habits of California 
"grizzlies," fared very roughly in this new country, and in the first season a 
large part of the calves were killed by the bears. 

The majority of the early settlers located further to the south and in the 
vicinity of the Purissima creek, and not until about 1860 did foreign settlers 
begin to gather about Spanishtown. In the early part of that year, Mr. 
William Pringle, the harness-maker and justice of the peace at Spanishtown, 
came and located. Then came Joseph Denny, the blacksmith, although in his 
trade there had been a native blacksmith at the place long before, and another 
called "Old Jake." Edward Rockafellow, a blacksmith from the Purissima, 
came about the same time, and was one of the very first to locate with a family 
at this place. Of merchants, Estanislaus Zaballa, who had married into the 


Miramontez family, was perhaps the first. Then came one Bifano, an Italian, 
who was afterwards foully murdered by two Manilla men. 

The first house of public entertainment was built by Henry Bidwell, nephew 
of Gen. John Bidwell, and, a post office being established about the same time, 
Mr. Bidwell was appointed postmaster. The earliest manufacturing- industry 
in the town w T as that of M. A. Halsted, who began the erection of a grist-mill 
in the Spring of I860. Of professional men, Dr. Huggard, who ministered to 
the spiritual and temporal welfare of the scattering population in the capacity 
of preacher or physician, as occasion required, is remembered as the first in 
this part of the valley. At Spanishtown, Dr. W. D. Church may be mentioned 
as the earliest to settle. 

In October, 1863, a decree of partition was entered in the district court in 
a friendly suit between some of the owners of the Rancho Miramontez, brought 
for that purpose, and thereafter the plat of Spanishtown was made. E. 
Zaballa was especially prominent in the matter of platting the town, and to 
him is due much credit for advancing its interests. The site of the town is 
well chosen, being high and dry, and commanding an extended view of the 
ocean, from which it is distant about one mile. It is approached from the bay 
side of the county by a turnpike leading up the San Andreas valley and tra- 
versing the coast range through some of the most romantic and picturesque 
scenery in the county. Entering the town by this road, one crosses the Pilar- 
citos creek, upon probably the finest wagon-road bridge in San Mateo county. 
It was constructed about eight years ago at a cost of nearly $3,800, being built 
upon piles of preserved wood. In the matter of roads and bridges generally, 
the Half Moon Bay country has been well provided for, owing largely to the 
interest Supervisor Ames of this township has always taken in those matters. 

Spanishtown has a mixed population of five or six hundred inhabitants, 
which supports two churches and one excellent graded school, the edifice of 
the latter being one that would do credit to a town of much larger population. 
The water supply of the place is mainly derived from the San Benito water 
works, a private enterprise projected by J. P. Ames. 

The landing and shipping point for Spanishtown and the Half Moon Bay 
country is Amesport, of which Ames, Byrnes and Harlow were the projectors. 

The various industrial interests of the town at present are represented as 
follows: One grist-mill, the property of James Hatch; the plow manufactory 
of R. I. Knapp, which is the only one in the county. Three years ago Mr. 
Knapp obtained a patent for a side- hill plow (which, however, is equally well 
adapted to valley plowing) and began manufacturing on a small scale. Owing 
to the intrinsic worth of this invention of Mr. Knapp, the demand for the plow 
has steadily increased, and it is probable that in a short time the business of 
manufacturing will increase to such an extent as to render it profitable to the 
proprietor and creditable to the town. In 1873, Edward Schubert began the 


brewing- of beer at Spanishtown. Mr. Schubert's business has steadily increased 
until it has become one of the features of the town. 

There is one large, first-class hotel here, the Schuyler House, kept by Mr. 
James Schuyler, who has been its proprietor for the past six years. Of parties 
engaged in merchandising there are quite a number, among whom are Levy 
Bros., and Thomas Johnston, the latter one of the first settlers of the valley, 
and a man universally respected. 

The mails are carried by the San Mateo, Pescadero and Santa Cruz stage 
company, and Henry Pitcher is the postmaster of the office, which is known 
by the Post Office Department as Half Moon Bay. The town has telegraphic 
facilities, and an agency of Wells, Fargo & Go's express. 

Following the stage-road south about four miles, and the Purissima creek 
is reached, where the early settlers in this part of the county first gathered. 
Although there was no settlement deserving the name of a town, yet here were 
the first schools, the first religious services, and the first tradesmen and me- 
chanics. Those who journeyed hence " to that undiscovered country," found 
here, upon a gravelly knoll by the banks of the creek, a resting-place, and 
protestant burials have continued to be made here to the present time. 

The little valley of the Purissima was highly fertile, and, besides that, was 
a gem of beauty. In addition to its being early sought after for agricultural 
purposes, it afforded, as the mountains were neared, a profitable field for 
lumbering, and here was built the first mill (the old mill of Borden & Hatch) 
devoted exclusively to the trade on the coast side of the county. Owing to the 
delightful climate and scenery, and to the excellent hunting and fishing advan- 
tages the place afforded, it was somewhat of a resort for pleasure-seekers, and 
formerly a good hotel was kept here by Richard Dougherty. This was des- 
troyed by fire, and now about the only business of Purissima is represented 
by Mr. Henry Dobbel. The business of the place, consists of Mr. Dobbel's 
store, a harness and blacksmith shop, and the hotel of Richard Dougherty. 

A notice of the place would be incomplete without mention of the very fine 
public school building erected, than which there are few finer in the county. 

Southward from Purissima, the next point worthy of mention is Gordon's 
Landing, near the Tunitas creek. This is one of the finest landings or chutes 
to be found anywhere on the coast, and was constructed a few years ago at a 
great expense by the late Hon. Horace Templeton and Alexander Gordon. It 
is the shipping point for a large area of country, of which Mr. Gordon is owner 
of several thousand acres. 

The first settler in the Tunitas valley was Major Jacob Downing, who, many 
years ago, purchased a large tract of land there and began sharing the posses- 
sion of the territory with the bears and coyotes that before that date had a 
monopoly of the valley. 


San Gregorio, on the creek of the same name, is the next place of any note 
after passing Lobitas creek. This is the junction of the stage roads from 
San Mateo by way of Spanishtown, and the road crossing from Redwood City 
by way of Woodside, Weeks' and La Honda. It is a small town, and its busi- 
ness interests comprise one hotel and general goods store, blacksmith shop, 
meat market and boot and shoe shop. Here is a good public school, a post 
office, and, further up the valley, is a little church. 

The valley of the San Gregorio is highly productive, and contains some of the 
finest farms on the coast side of the county. It began receiving foreign settlers 
about the year 1854, and among the first to settle here were Hugh Hamilton, 
G. F. Keifter and James Smith. The farm improvements here are equal to any 
on this side of the county . 

Crossing the mountains from San Gregorio, the first place dignified with the 
name of "town"' is old La Honda, in the redwood forest. Here one of the 
county's pioneers, John H. Sears, keeps a store and hotel. He has erected a 
costly and commodious house for the accommodation of pleasure seekers in 
this forest, which has become quite famous as a camping ground. At this new 
town, which is called La Honda, there is a post office, a store and a blacksmith 

The next station is Weeks' Ranch, the property of one of the first settlers on 
the western slope of the mountains, Mr. R. J. Weeks, who settled on his 
extensive ranch in 1853, where he has continued to reside to the present time, 
making some of the finest farm improvements in the county. In addition to 
his extensive farming operations, Mr. Weeks has erected a fine hotel for the 
accommodation of the traveling public. 



Millbrae Dairy. — Millbrae dairy, at Millbrae, the property of A. F. Green, 
is one among the largest dairies in the county. The barn and dairy house are 
commensurate in size with the business of the establishment, and are in every 
respect well appointed while on the ample domain, herds of the best breeds 
of milk cattle luxuriate in rich pasturage. 

The shipments of milk from this dairy to San Francisco average daily two 
hundred and fifty cans, each can containing three gallons, or a total daily 
average of seven hundred and fifty gallons of milk, being a yearly average of 
two hundred and seventy -three thousand, seven hundred and fifty gallons. 

Willow Side Dairy Farm. — North of Pescadero, and at the head of the val- 
ley of that name, is situated R. H. Brown's Willow Side dairy farm, em- 
bracing a tract of twelve hundred acres of fine arable and pasture land. The 
capacious barn — a two story structure, covering an area of sixty -four by one 
hundred and twenty feet, is built on an elevated piece of ground a few hundred 
yards from the main road from Pescadero to Spanishtown. The cattle are 
stanchioned in four rows of stalls. A system of water-tight gutters, skirting 
along the row of stalls, receives all the manure from them, both liquid and 
solid. The floor is traversed by four tramways, on which a box car travels, 
following along by the manure troughs, and collecting from them the offal. 
When the car is filled, it is run to the rear end of the building, where it goes 
on a platform car, which, running on a track. of its own, carries the loaded 
box car to the dumping place, to be utilized in enriching the soil of the farm. 
The barn has stalls for one hundred and twenty -eight head of cattle. 

The upper floor is the hay floor, having a capacity for storing twenty-two 
tons of hay. Here also are two feed cutters, one for cutting roots, and the 
other for hay. The latter is driven by horse power, and the hay, as it is cut, 
falls into a receptacle below, where it is mixed with grain, and in this shape 
fed to the stock. 

There is another barn close by, in which seventy-five head of cattle and 
young stock can be sheltered, and the hay and feed for them stored. 

A short distance down the hill from the first mentioned barn is the dairy 
house, three stories high, and twenty-four by forty feet square. It is built 


over an excavation in the hill-side, the face of the excavation fronting the rear 
wall of the first story; this first or basement story is divided into two com- 
partments, in one of which is kept the tubs and everything used for packing 
butter. The size of this room is sixteen by twenty-four feet; the other is the 
butter room, twenty-four feet square. Its walls, as well as the walls of the room 
directly above it, are packed with saw dust, by which means an even tempera- 
ture is preserved through all seasons of the year. The second floor is divided 
into rooms corresponding in size with those on the floor below. The smaller 
one contains a large iron boiler, always full of hot water, which is conducted 
by distributing pipes to every part of the building where its use is required. 
The larger apartment on this floor is the milk-room. In the center of it is an 
elevator for raising or lowering milk from one floor to the other. Outside of 
the building and close by the milk-room, is a one hundred and twenty -five- 
gallon tank, into which the pails of milk are emptied as it comes from the cow, 
and from which it passes through a pipe into the milk room. The top floor is 
used exclusively for making and curing cheese. Cleanliness is a cardinal fea- 
ture in the entire building. Evervthing has an air of freshness and neatness, 
nothing whatever of an offensive nature being allowed to accumulate; all the 
refuse is carried away through pipes to the hog-pens. 

There is also on the premises a stable and barn for horses, complete in all 
its details. Mr. Brown has now one hundred and sixty-five head of cattle on 
the farm, but when the improvements already begun are completed, he will be 
able to maintain two hundred and fifty cows, and take care of their products. 

Dairy Farm of I. G. Knowles. — Near Colma is situated I. G. Knowles' 
dairy farm, of township No. 1. The business of this farm was founded in 
1853, audit was probably the first regular dairy establishment in San Mateo 
county that supplied milk to the residents of San Francisco. 

Baden Dairy Farm, at Baden. -In 1871, Robert Ashbury, the present pro- 
prietor of the Baden Farm, commenced the dairy and stock raising business on 
the fine tract which he has ever since occupied. The farm is located in town- 
ship No.l, between San Bruno and Colma. Unlike most dairymen, he has 
confined himself to thoroughbred and high-graded cows. He started business 
on a comparatively small scale, and has gradually increased his stock until now 
he has ninety head of thoroughbreds and ninety of other high grades of cattle. 
He milks every day over sixty cows, a large portion of the product of which 
finds a market in San Francisco. 

James Reed's Dairy Farm. — In 1879, James Reed erected a barn at Pesca- 
dero, one hundred and forty by seventy-three feet in dimensions, and capable 
of stalling one hundred cows. He commenced the business of making butter 


for the San Francisco market in 1881. In 1882 he erected a milk house, with 
all the necessary appurtenances, and when his plans are entirely carried out, 
he will have a model, if not a large dairy farm. 

Steele Brothers' Dairy Farm. — R. E. and Isaac Steele are the pioneer 
dairymen of California. They came from Ohio, and made their first location 
on this coast at Point Reyes, Marin county, July 4, 1857. There they remained 
until 1862, when they came to San Mateo county and rented a large tract of 
land from Clark & Coburn, in Pescadero township. They had as partners 
Horace Gushee and Charles Wilson, the latter of whom is now a prominent 
lumber dealer in New York City. The Steele brothers bought out their part- 
ners and carried on business on their own account until a division of the prop- 
erty was made. 

On their arrival here they established five dairies, with one hundred and sixty 
cows on each dairy farm. Some years later they bought a portion of the land 
they had leased from Clark & Coburn, rented out a part of it, and on a portion 
they still reside. In 1864, they made an enormous cheese, weighing nearly 
two tons, which they gave to the Sanitary Commission at San Francisco, for 
the benefit of the soldiers' fund. It was exhibited that year at the Mechanics' 
Institute fair, in the latter city, and was afterwards cut up, pieces being sent 
to President Lincoln, General Grant and General Steele, a brother of the 
manufacturers. Isaac Steele has now in his possession a receipt from the 
California Branch of the United States Sanitary Commission, stating that two 
thousand, eight hundred and twenty dollars was the net proceeds from the 
sale of the cheese. The receipt is dated January 11, 1864, and signed by F. 
F. Low, president. The Steele brothers are still engaged in the dairy business 
but on separate accounts. 

R. G. Sneath's " Jersey Farm." — Near San Bruno, on the old Mission 
road, about thirteen miles from San Francisco, is the famous " Jersey Farm," 
celebrated wherever the dairy products of California are known. It extends 
from the Mission road, which forms its eastern boundary, westward nearly to 
the ocean, having an area of four miles in length, by three and a-half miles 
wide, and embracing twenty-six hundred acres of highly cultivable land or 
splendid pasture. From the eastern boundary, the ground rises with a grad- 
ual slope toward the west, to the mountains that divide the bay lands from those 
bordering on the ocean. The waters, sweet and limpid, from the fine streams 
and springs that abound on the mountain's flank, are conducted by pipes and 
conduits to distributing reservoirs, from which the power for all the machinery 
on the ranch, and the water for irrigating and domestic purposes, is sup- 
plied. So numerous are these springs, that in every field there is a trough 
into which pours constantly, throughout the year, a stream of pure cold water, 

; ,-r*;- 




from a pipe connecting with a contiguous spring — a benison that is vastly 
appreciated by the herds that roll in luxury on Mr. Sneath's broad acres. 
About a quarter of a mile from the Mission road is situated the neat dwelling 
of the proprietor, surrounded with everything to give it an air of comfort, and 
of being the home of happiness and contentment. A short distance west from 
the house is the blacksmith shop, where all the smith-work of the ranch is 
done. It might also be called the hospital, where all the wounded and battered 
of the regiments of milk cans are repaired. Near by is the mill for grinding 
feed for the stock. It is both a wind-mill and a water-mill, either motive 
power being used. It is also supplied with a steam engine, which however, is 
only employed in very rare instances when from any cause the other motion 
is not for the time being available. To the west of this, at a convenient dis- 
tance is the barn, a brief description of which may give an idea of the scale 
on which business on the great dairy farm is done. The barn completely 
covers an area of two hundred and forty-eight by forty -eight feet; the mid- 
dle or main part faces north and south, and is three stories high, while the east 
and west wings are two stories. On the lower floor, two hundred and eighty- 
eight cows are stalled separately every night, while the upper floors of the 
wings are filled with hay. 

Milking is commenced at eight o'clock in the morning and eight o'clock in 
the evening. The milk is carried by the milkers to the center of the barn 
where it is poured into a large, double cooler. This is made of tin, having an 
inside and an outside wall; and there are two sections, one placed above the 
other. The central part or basin of each cooler is filled with cold spring water, 
which is constantly running in fresh at one place and out at another. The 
milk is poured through a strainer fixed to the upper section, around which it 
is made to flow in a current, following a svstem of wires until it reaches the 
bottom, wherj it passes through a faucet into the lower section, continuing its 
motion along the wire guides until its temperature is reduced almost to that of 
the body of cool spring water in the center of the coolers. From the lower 
section it passes into a tank from which the cans in which it is taken to market 
are filled. This cooling apparatus occupies the ground floor of the central 
part of the barn. On the second floor is the hay cutter, and also a large tank 
for soaking the ground grain on which the cattle are fed. The grain is elevated 
to the third floor and is poured into the tank below as it is needed, through 
spouts, the flow being started or shut off at will, by means of little gates or 
slides at the bottom of each spout. Adjacent to the barn is a building where 
the cans are daily put through a process which keeps them clean and perfectly 
sweet. The plan is original with Mr. Sneath, and is entitled to more than a 
passing notice. Near the center of the building is a long iron tank, with a 
furnace underneath. The tank is divided into three sections, one of which con- 
tains boiling hot water; the second, water moderately hot; and the third, 


warm water made into strong soap-suds. Over the suds are two brushes, one 
large and long and the other short and small, on vertical spindles, to which 
are imparted by a simple water-power contrivance, a rapidly revolving motion. 
The cans are dipped in the suds, then held to the brushes, which polish them 
to a silvery brightness, leaving no spot untouched. They are then placed in 
the hot water, after which they are washed outwardly in the medium tank, 
then rinsed in pure, cold spring water, and put away for use. The covers of 
the cans are cleaned in like manner, except that the short brush only is used. 
To the westward of this group of buildings is another residence, with barns 
and appurtenances like those above described, except that they are of more 
recent date, better built, and fitted with valuable improvements suggested by 
the proprietor's long experience. 

The product of these dairies is taken to San Francisco in a large wagon 
drawn by six mules, there being relay teams, one of which goes in the day 
time, taking the milk for evening delivery, and the other making the night 
trip, with the milk for morning delivery. It is all consigned to the city office, 
No. 835 Howard street, where, upon arrival, it is taken by the route wagons 
and delivered to customers. This dairy is one of the bright jewels in Cali- 
fornia's industrial coronet. To it she points with pride, and challenges the 
Union to show its rival as a source of pure milk supply. It furnishes twice in 
the twenty-four hours, to ten thousand people, five hundred and fifty cans of 
pure milk, from six hundred head of the best breeds of milch-cows. The daily 
average of milk supplied from the Jersey farm to San Francisco is eleven 
thousand gallons, amounting in a year to the enormous quantity of four 
millions, fifteen thousand gallons, and not adulterated with one drop of water. 
The dairy is under the superintendence of George E. Sneath, while the busi- 
ness department in San Francisco is in charge of his father. 

Knowles' Trout and Carp Ponds. — In addition to his dairy business, Mr. 
I. G. Knowles has in latter years given his attention to breeding game fish. 
His first essay in this department was in 1878. He prepared a pond, and on 
the 4th of April of that year stocked it with fourteen carp; in the following 
year he added sixteen more of the same species of fish, and since that time 
he has increased the number of his ponds, which are now teeming with over 
thirty thousand carp. His trout ponds rank among the finest in the state, 
affording sportsmen from the city, who appreciate so rare a privilege, an 
opportunity for indulging in the exhilarating and remunerative pleasure of 
angling for trout. 

We have only given in the foregoing chapter a history of a few of the leading 
dairy farms in San Mateo county. There are others, and their histories can be 
found in other portions of this work. Dairying, especially along the coast, 


is one of the prime industries of this county. It has steadily grown with its 
growth, until to-day its proportions have become a matter of which every resi- 
dent of San Mateo county may feel proud. When the projected railroad is com- 
pleted along the ocean shore, thus bringing quick shipping facilities to that 
locality, then it will be that San Francisco will have a supply of milk which 
will equal, if not exceed that which is now sent to her market on the Southern 
Pacific railroad. 

It is well to state in this connection, that butter and cheese are the products 
from the dairy farms on the coast side of the mountains, while on the bay side, 
the milk in cans is immediately shipped to San Francisco. 

Grady & Co's Tannery, Colma. — In 1871, the tannery business of J. J. 
Grady & Co., at Colma, San Mateo county, was first established. From time 
to time the premises have been enlarged and improvements added, until to-day 
the firm have all the necessary appliances and machinery for carrying on a 
general tanning business. Their specialty, however, is in leather for book- 
binding. These volumes are bound with the manufacture of this establish- 
ment, and from this circumstance we were reminded that unwittingly mention 
in the proper place of this concern and its meritorious products had been 


Alexander Moore. This gentleman is one of California's earliest pioneers. 
His portrait will be found among the first in the history of San Mateo county. 
He was born December 17, 1826, in Cock county, Tennessee. In 1835 his 
father, Eli Moore, moved to Jackson county, Missouri, where the subject of 
this sketch resided until he came to California. It was in Jackson county that 
he married Adeline Spainhower, February 2, 1847. She was born in Stokes 
county, North Carolina, July 28, 1822. This amiable wife and most excellent 
lady has been a faithful companion and helpmate to her husband, and still 
shares the blessings that the world and a course of unflinching rectitude have 
brought to them and their children, in their declining years. On the 9th of 
May, 1847, Mr. Moore, accompanied by his father, his brothers, Thomas and 
William, and his sisters, Emeline and Elizabeth, started from home in Missouri 
for Oregon. A company of about fifteen families was formed for the long and 
tedious journey; John Hopper, of Sonoma county, and Mr. Easton, of this 
county, being among the number. Soon after reaching Fort Hall they met 
Fremont and his party, who informed them that peace had been declared 
between the United States and Mexico, and a portion of the company, includ- 
ing Mr. Moore's family, took the route for California. They arrived at John- 
son's ranch on Bear river, October 2, 1847. Captain Weber, hearing of the 
party's arrival in California, sent to San Francisco for provisions, brought 
cattle to Stockton, where he was then living, had the town surveyed and plat- 
ted, and then went forward to meet the emigrants. He met them near Sutter's 
Fort, and offered Mr. Moore a tract of land one mile square and two village 
lots if he would settle at Stockton. Mr. Moore accepted this generous offer, as 
did others of the party. Mr. Moore's father, however, was determined to pro- 
ceed to the lower country, and used his utmost endeavors to induce Alexander 
to accompany him, but without avail. When the father left Stockton, his son 
went with him as far as the San Joaquin river to assist him in crossing the 
stream. Here the father again tried to induce his son to go with him to the 
lower country and being again refused, finally agreed to return to Stockton, 
ostensibly for the purpose of inducing his daughter-in-law to go with his party 
on their southward journey. This proposition was accepted by Alexander as 
an easy method of pleasing his father, for he verily believed that his wife 


would remain in Stockton. The father's arguments, however, were successful, 
for he returned southward, accompanied not only by his daughter-in-law but 
by all the company they had left behind . They proceeded to Mission San 
Jose, in Alameda county, where they camped over night on Coyote creek. 
The following day they reached San Jose and camped on the old Santa Clara 
road, near the bridge. Here the party divided, the Moore family, Hopper 
family, George Hobson and Nick Gann, crossing the mountains to where 
Lexington is now located. They erected cabins with the intention of remain- 
ing during the winter, Mr. Moore and his father expecting to erect a mill for 
Isaac Branham. This was in the latter part of October, 1847, and about the 
first of November, Alexander went to Santa Cruz, On his return he induced 
his father to take a look at the locality he had just visited, with a view to mak- 
ing a permanent settlement if the country suited him. When Mr. Moore, Sr., 
arrived at Santa Cruz, he was so well pleased with the prospect and climate 
that he bought a ranch, the first ever conveyed to an American in that section. 
The family was brought over and canned on the Plaza by the old Mission 
Church, dating their arrival on the 15th of November, 1847. They soon after 
moved into an old adobe building owned by Jose Balcoff, the man from whom 
they had purchased the land. Sometime during the fall the alcalde gave Mr. 
Moore, Sr., a piece of land on a portion of which the present court house of 
Santa Cruz now stands, and directly east of where this building now stands 
they built the first frame dwelling house in that section, moving into it in 
January, 1848. Here Eli Moore resided continuously until he died, June 6, 
1859. While Alexander Moore was living in the adobe building at Santa Cruz, 
his eldest son, Eli D., was born, December 12, 1847, being the oldest Califor- 
nia boy born of American parents of whom we have any record. The first 
child born in California of white parents was Elizabeth Murphy, a daughter of 
Martin Murphy, born at Sutter's Fort in the spring of 1844. She afterwards 
became the wife of Wm. P. Taffe. In the fall of 1848, Mr. Moore went to the 
mines on the American river, and in the spring of 1849 he mined on the 
Tuolumne river, in Tuolumne county, where he remained until June of that 
year. On his return from the mines, he, in company with John Daubenbis, 
John Ames and Harry Speel, accepted the contract for supplying the timber 
that was afterwards used in constructing long wharf, at San Francisco. 
August 5, 1849, assisted by his father, he commenced the building of a saw- 
mill on the Balcoff ranch, where he remained until 1852, at which time he 
purchased the land at Santa Cruz where the light house has since been erected. 
He lived here until he came to Pescadero, March 15, 1853. Northeast from 
the village of Pescadero and on the east side of Pescadero creek, is located the 
home where he first settled and where he has since lived, happy in the posses- 
sion of a lovable and intelligent family, and respected by his neighbors. Thus 
far have we followed the footsteps of this adventurous and hardy pioneer 


across the boundless prairies, over the snow clad peaks of the Sierras, into the 
fertile valleys of California. His wagons were among the first to make a track 
over these unknown wastes, his cattle were among the first to be driven across 
the trackless expanse of an almost unexplored and virgin country, and it is 
with no small degree of pride that we are able to give so full and complete a 
narrative of Mr. Moore's career, for it is not often that we have it in our power 
to observe the movements, from boyhood to maturity, of one so worthy to have 
his actions and the grand results of those actions recorded. Alexander Moore 
is to-day what he has always been, a man true to himself, true to nature and 
true to his friends. We leave him and his most worthy wife, with earnest and 
heartfelt desire that they may both be spared long years of health, peace and 
happiness. His children are Eli D., born in Santa Cruz, December 12, 1847; 
Joseph L. M., born at the same place, March 27, 1849; William A., also born 
at Santa Cruz, July 19, 1851. The following were born at Pescadero: Ida 
Jane, May 28, 1856; David Eugene, March 26, 1858; Walter Henry, June 14, 

Richard George Sneath. Though not a pioneer, in that more limited and 
perhaps cp^estionable sense which gives the title only to those who arrived in 
California before the year 1849, Mr. Sneath came so early in 1850, and has 
contributed so actively to all the best interests of the young State, that the 
just record of his career will place him foremost among its honored sons and 
energetic founders. His father, Richard Sneath, was a native of Maryland, 
and his mother, Catharine Bangher, was born in the adjoining town of Chani- 
bersburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Sneath was born on March 23, 1826, and soon 
after his family moved to the State of Ohio, where his father laid out an addi- 
tion to the town of Tiffin. Richard was the oldest of three brothers, and 
received his education in the common schools of Tiffin. Assisting his father 
during the summer months, he attended the winter sessions of the school, 
and when he attained his seventeenth year, the first great trial of his life came 
in the death of his father, on August 2, 1842. Thus thrown upon his own 
resources, he at once assumed the business conducted by his father, that of 
manufacturing agricultural implements, and by his energy and industry 
carried it on with increasing success until the year 1850, when his brother 
succeeded him in the manufactory. R. G. Sneath left Tiffin, Ohio, on new- 
year day, 1850, and after a detention of six weeks on the Isthmus of Panama, 
during which he suffered an attack of the Panama fever, he safely landed in 
San Francisco. 

In a few days he went, first to Sacramento, and then to Mormon island, 
where a number of his Tiffin friends were engaged in mining. Here he 
secured a contract for the erection of a house. Confident of his success in 
the pursuits of legitimate business, he now returned to Sacramento and became 


the guest of the Buckeye House, in that city. The hostelry was in a dilapi- 
dated condition, and he took a contract for making necessary repairs. Though 
not a carpenter, he purchased lumber, hired workmen and finished the con- 
tract, and netted a handsome profit, which he at once invested in a hay yard. 
Hiring a lot, he laid in a full supply of hay, to which owners were allowed to 
admit their animals at two dollars per night. He soon commenced the pur- 
chase and sale of horses, mules, etc., and the Buckeye hay yard become one of 
the features of the young city of Sacramento. Despite his failing health, he 
continued this enterprise, and added to it the industry of painting signs, 
until he found himself fast becoming a confirmed invalid. Then he disposed 
of the business, and going to Amador county in September, 1850, he assisted 
in founding the well known village of Drytown. He soon regained his health, 
and the following year he bought a quartz mine, and erected, probably, the 
first stamp mill ever put up in that part of the State. This, however, did not 
prove a success; and he returned to Sacramento and there established the 
wholesale grocery house of Sneath, Arnold & Co. In 1852, as the business 
had extended largely and embraced several branch stores in the various mining 
districts, Mr. Sneath took up his residence in San Francisco, to conduct the 
purchases for the firm. The Sacramento fire of November, 1852, brought a 
heavy loss, and the store had been rebuilt but ten days, and success to again 
smile upon his efforts, when the floods occasioned a new and serious loss. He 
then established himself at a place called Hoboken, some miles above Sacra- 
mento. He returned to Sacramento, re-established himself in the grocery 
business, and during ten years reaped an abundant harvest of his industry and 
business ability. In 1862, in connection with his various stores in the interior, 
he opened a wholesale house on Front street, in San Francisco. During six or 
seven years he also held a branch house at Portland, Oregon, and while his 
business received his fullest attention, he soon identified himself with various 
public enterprises in San Francisco. He became a leading member of the San 
Francisco Chamber of Commerce, was elected its president during two years, 
and as a member of the building committee, actively promoted the work of 
erecting the magnificent structure belonging to the organization, and located 
at California and Leidesdorff streets. In 1869 he disposed of his business 
interests on Front street and in the interior, and purchased an ample estate in 
Fair Oaks, San Mateo county. In October, 1854, at Tiffin, Ohio, he married 
Miss Catharine, daughter of John A. Myers, and has a family of three sons 
and one daughter. After spending a few years in travel, Mr. Sneath became 
one of the managers of the Anglo Californian bank, but resigned in October, 
1876, and became manager of the Merchants Exchange bank. On July 1, 
1875, after disposing of his Fair Oaks estate, he purchased about two thousand 
five hundred acres of grazing land near San Bruno, and it is well known as the 
Jersey Farm. Mr. Sneath was a member of the San Francisco board of super- 


visors from 1856 to 1860. He was a member of the special finance committee, 
and the chairman of the judiciary committee, and his success in office is best 
attested by the fact of his repeated re-election. He was among the founders of 
the Industrial school; and during the civil war was elected treasurer of the 
United States Sanitary Commission. In every position of life his record has 
been such as to merit the warm esteem and regard now given to him by his 
fellow men. 

B. V. Weeks. This gentleman, one of the early comers to California, and 
one of the pioneers of San Mateo county, whose portrait appears in this history, 
was born in Kennebec county, Maine, October 31, 1832. He received his 
education in the common schools of his native county. California, with all its 
wealth of gold and salubrity of climate, induced Mr. Weeks to come to this 
coast in 1851. He came by the Nicaragua route, and landed in San Francisco 
January 28th, of that year, locating first in Santa Cruz, where he remained 
only five or six months, when he came to Searsville, in this county, living here 
until he took up his permanent residence at Pescadero, in 1858. His home is 
on the north side of Pescadero creek, near the old ford or crossing. His farm 
is an historical spot, for it was here, years ago, that Gonzales erected an adobe 
dwelling, the first building of any kind constructed in Pescadero. This has 
been the home of Mr. Weeks and family since 1860, and during these years he 
has become so well known that it would be a work of supererogation on our 
part as well as presumption, were we to lay before the reader his unblemished 
character and sterling worth. He married Annie J. Washburn, and they have 
two children, Edward and George. 

John D. Husillg. John D. Husing is one of the first early settlers of San 
Mateo county, and one of its pioneer business men. He was born in Hanover, 
Germany, February 17, 1833. Emigrating to the United States, he landed in 
New York May 22, 1847. He was then fourteen years of age, but at once sought 
and obtained employment as a clerk in a grocery store. He held this position 
until he left for the East Indies in 1852. We next find him in England, on his 
return to New York. In the year 1854 he came to California via the Isthmus 
of Panama, arriving in San Francisco on the John L. Stephens February 
16th. He remained in San Francisco until he came to San Mateo, in 1862. 
He had previously had business interests in this county, in partnership with 
his brother, as early as 1859. He disposed of his interest in his San Mateo 
store to his brother, in 1865. He has visited Germany three times. On his 
return from the last of these visits in 1867, he opened his present mercantile 
house at Colma, May 5th, of the same year, and has conducted this business 
ever since. 


Hon. John Garretson. The subject of this sketch was among the argo- 
nauts of this section of the State.. His portrait will be found in this volume. 
He was born in Boundbrook, Somerset county, New Jersey, November 
10, 1838, and reared on a farm until he became of age. Most of this time, 
however, was spent at school. He left home and went to New Brunswick, 
New Jersey, and was engaged as a clei'k in a dry goods store during a period 
of four years, laying the foundation of a mercantile education, which has since 
stood him in good stead. After the completion of his engagement in New 
Brunswick he went to New York City, and followed the same occupation until 
he came to this State, in 1859. He left New York City in the early spring, 
crossed the isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco in May of that year. He 
remained in that city but a few days, coming to Pescadero and assuming the 
position of clerk in a general merchandising store, owned at that time by 
Bidwell & Besse. At the end of nine months he purchased Bidwell's interest, 
the firm name being changed to Besse & Garretson. In 1864 he sold his 
interest to Besse, and took a trip to the Sandwich Islands to recuperate his 
health. On his return he re-purchased an interest in Besse's stock, and this 
partnership continued four or five years, when Mr. Stryker bought Besse's 
interest, and the firm was changed to Garretson & Stryker. In January, 1873, 
Mr. Garretson disposed of his interest to James McCormack, and took a trip 
to the eastern states for his health. When he returned in 1877, he bought out 
the entire business, and has since been the sole proprietor. Mr. Garretson's 
business interests are not wholly confined to his store at Pescadero. He is 
identified with the stage line from San Mateo to Santa Cruz, and owns an equal 
interest with Andrew Taft, of the former place. To draw a comparison is at all 
times an odious task, but to say that Mr. Garretson is one of the most highly 
respected and distinguished citizens of Pescadero or of San Mateo county is 
but to assert what is acknowledged on every hand. If further proof of this 
assertion were necessary, it would be sufficient to point out the fact that in 
1867, before this township became a part of San Mateo county, he was elec- 
ted county recorder of Santa Cruz county, and that in 1871, he was 
elected one of the supervisors of this county, being re-elected in 1873. The 
people, not content with the honors they had already conferred upon him, 
selected him to represent them in the state assembly of 1875-6. In 1881, he 
was appointed a member of the board of supervisors, and November 7, 1882, 
he was again elected to that office. Mr. Garretson married Ella Durand, June 
29, 1866, and they have five children, Alice E., Aletta Marie, John Durand, 
Ella C, and William Albert. 

Judge Edward Francis Head. Judge Head was born in Boston, Massa- 
chusetts, December 3, 1818. He was educated in his native State, and then 


studied law with Sprague & Gray, of Boston, graduating from the law depart- 
ment of Harvard College. He began the practice of law in Boston, and came 
to this State in 1862, around the Horn, arriving here during March of that 
year. He practiced law in San Francisco until 1879, when he came to this 
county. He was elected superior judge, and took his seat January 1, 1880. 
He has been twice married, his present wife's maiden name being Eliza Clement. 
His children by his first marriage are Mary, Charles and Arthur P. The issue 
of his second marriage being Anna and Catharine. 

Isaac Steele. The name of Isaac Steele is prominent in the annals of this 
county, and the State. He has lived in San Mateo for many years as a mem- 
ber of the well known firm of Steele Bros., the most prominent cheese manu- 
facturers on the coast. He is now one of the large land owners of the State, 
and is identified with the Grangers' Bank and the Grangers' Business Asso- 
ciation, in San Francisco. We deem it a privilege to place his portrait among 
the representative men of San Mateo county. He was born in Delhi, Dela- 
ware county, New York, August 14, 1819. He left the Empire state, with his 
parents, in 1836, and settled at North Amherst, Lorraine county, Ohio. Here 
he was reared on a farm, mastered the details of the business, and with a prac- 
tical knowledge of these matters came to California, in 1857, across the Isth- 
mus of Panama, locating at Two Rocks, Sonoma county. On the 4th of July, 
1857, he went to Point Reyes, Marin county, where Steele Bros, commenced 
the manufacture of butter and cheese, shipping the first consignment of this 
character to San Francisco ever manufactured on the immediate coast, and which 
was sold for the first price in that market. He remained at Point Reyes until 
1862, at which time he rented the ranch of Messrs. Clark & Coburn, in con- 
junction with his brothers and Horace Gushee and Charles Wilson. Here was 
started the extensive business which the Steele Bros, are at present conducting, 
a full account of which will be found in another part of this work. In the 
year 1864, they manufactured a cheese for the sanitary fund which weighed 
two tons, and which was exhibited at the Mechanics' Pavilion in San Francisco. 
One slice of this famous cheese was sent to President Lincoln, another to Gen- 
eral Grant, and a third sample to General Steele, a brother of the subject of 
this sketch. A receipt bearing the date of January 11, 1864, signed by F. F, 
Low, President of the California Branch of the United States Sanitary Com- 
mission, now in the possession of Mr Steele, is authority for the statement that 
the net proceeds from the sale of this monstrous cheese amounted to $2,820. 
Mr. Steele was one of the founders of the Grangers' Bank, in San Francisco, 
and at the second election of directors he was chosen a member of the board. 
He was elected Master of the State Grange, in October, 1877, and held the 
position one term. He was appointed supervisor, and acted in this capacity 
until he resigned. He was one of the first directors of the Grangers' Busi- 


ness Association, holding the office up to the year 1883. His present residence 
is on the coast near New Years Point, where he originally located about twenty- 
three years ago. He owns an extensive ranch at this point, comprising well 
cultivated fields and large herds of choice cattle. His barns and dairy houses 
are large and commodious. Standing in front of his residence, one looks out 
over a broad plateau of pasture land to the flashing waters of the Pacific, 
while behind tower the sun-crowned mountains. There is no more pictur- 
esquely situated home in ^California, or one where happiness and content is so 
plainly apparent. Mr. Steele is married, and has three children, F. N., Effie 
and George H. 

Sheldon Pnrdy Pilaris. The subject of this sketch, whose portrait appears 
in another portion of this volume, is a native of Onondaga county, New 
York, and was born March 22, 1828. He was educated at Syracuse, and was 
reared on a farm. He came to California via Panama, arriving in San Fran- 
cisco February 22, 1853. He went to Dry creek, where he mined a short time, 
but the prospects were so poor that he left the diggings and came to this county 
in October, 1853. He located in the mountains near the summit, beyond 
Woodside. This portion of the county at that time was wild in the extreme, 
covered as it was by tangled undergrowth and stately redwood trees. Eoads, 
there were none, but trails were numerous. Traveling was dangerous, for 
beasts of prey were plentiful, and the risk of losing one's self in the moun- 
tains imminent. Mr. Pharis ventured, and his first day's experience resulted 
in his losing his way, compelling him to camp in the open air all night. 
The following morning he found his way to a camp, the owner of a pair of 
blankets and a draw shave, and from this time forward he remained in the red- 
woods felling the trees, cutting the bolts, riving shakes and shaving shingles. 
These shingles, when manufactured, were packed on mules from the deep 
canons to the top of the mountain, from where they were hauled to what is 
now Eedwood City, by eight and ten ox teams, and from there they were 
shipped to San Francisco. 

Mr. Pharis introduced this mode of transportation on mules in the county, 
and successfully prosecuted it for several years, much to his own advantage, as 
well as of the many shingle makers located throughout this timber belt in 
those early days. 

From this beginning, he is at the date of this history the largest indi- 
vidual land owner in San Mateo county. In 1860, he went to his present 
ranch,'in section nineteen, township six south, range four west. From the 
residence of Mr. Pharis a grand picture opens out. The house is erected 
on an elevated piece of ground, and to the west the ground sinks away 
into a deep canon, on the slope of which is erected a cottage for pleasure 
seekers. The under brush in this canon is sparse, but the large redwood and 


other trees grow in luxuriant profusion. Descending the canon by the wind- 
ing trails, the traveler is struck with admiration as he gazes upon the pictur- 
esque beauty of the ever varying scene. It was here that a famous eastern artist 
found material for a celebrated picture which was sold for a large sum. One 
of the most striking features of this picture are two large redwoods, which 
are pointed out to the visitor as one of the beauties of the landscape. But the 
full grandeur of the magnificent panorama can only be observed from an 
elevated spot near Mr. Pharis's residence. About five miles distant the mighty 
Pacific flashes into view, and the hills and valleys between, covered with waving 
grain, constitute a landscape picture which cannot be surpassed anywhere in 
the world. Neat, tasty residences, comfortable and happy homes, with here 
and there a schoolhouse or church, combine to lend an added charm to the 
scene. It is indeed a grand picture, and one of the fairest ever painted by the 
hand of the Creator. In 1863 Mr. Pharis built his first shingle mill in Deer 
Gulch. It was a single mill, and when run to its full capacity, turned out 
about thirty thousand per day. In 1870 he moved the mill to Purissima creek, 
where it is now doing service, and enlarged to a double mill. The mill can 
turn out an average of one hundred thousand shingles per day. Mr. Pharis 
is also the owner of another shingle mill south from Pigeon Point. He has 
given slight attention to farming, but nearly all his time during his thirty 
years' residence in this county has been devoted to mill business. During 
this time he has owned and constructed six different mills. Making a fair esti- 
mate of his work from the time he commenced in October, 1853, to the present 
time, it is safe to say that he has manufactured and sold three hundred millions 
of shingles. 

He has also been noted for his public spirit, always identifying himself with 
public enterprises, and responding to calls of charity. 

The public school house in his district, and which bears his name, is but a 
poor recognition of the esteem and good will the people of his neighborhood 
feel for him, having erected the same at his own expense. He is well and 
favorably known throughout the state. 

Asahel Samuel Eastoil, whose portrait appears in this work, was born in 
Columbia county, New York, August 21, 1821. His father, Samuel Easton, 
died in 1835, and his mother, Fanny Ives Easton, in 1836. Asahel was the 
sixth, of eleven children. In 1829 the family moved to West Martinsburg, 
Lewis county, New York. After the death of his parents, he resided with the 
Hon. Edwin Dodge, at Gouverneur, St. Lawrence county, New York, where 
he received an academic education. He afterward read law with the firm of 
Dodge & Parker, at Gouverneur, but was obliged to discontinue it on account 
of ill health. He then accepted the position of surveyor in the office of Mr. 
Dodge, who then owned and controlled large landed interest in the then wil- 


derness of northern New York. He continued in this business, and as tutor of 
the oldest son of his employer, and as teacher of mathematics at Lowville and 
West Martinsburgh, Lewis county, New York, for a number of years. Was 
elected, and served two terms as town superintendent of schools, at Gouver- 
neur and Lowville. During this time he also assisted in the education of 
members of his father's family, of whom five were younger than himself. In 
1848 he received the appointment of draughtsman, under the direction of the 
United States general land office at Washington, D. C, and was employed 
in the compilation of maps of the public lands of the United States, during a 
portion of the administration of Presidents Polk and Taylor. In 1850 and 
1852, was engaged in surveying and selling real estate on Long Island. Came 
to California in 1852, arriving in San Francisco May 10th, by steamer Ten- 
nessee. In 1852 and 1853, was employed by the United States surveyor gene- 
ral in making preliminary surveys of several land grants, viz: Bodega, San 
Ramon, Santa Rosa, etc., and was also employed by Captain C. P. Stone, of 
the ordnance department, in locating government buildings, and surveys on 
the Suscol rancho. Was appointed city surveyor of Benicia, and elected 
county surveyor of Solano county, which positions he filled until the removal 
of the capital of the state from Benicia to Sacramento City. He then returned 
to San Francisco, and was appointed city engineer in October, 1854, in which 
he served acceptably until the office was merged in that of city and county 
surveyor. He was then appointed, by J. W. Mandeville, United States sur- 
veyor general, deputy surveyor and clerk in the surveyor general's office. 
While holding this position he made the final survey of the noted Salsipsiedes 
grant, which survey was opposed by the office, but after an extended litigation 
was confirmed. In 1857 Mr. Easton was elected county surveyor of San 
Mateo county, and was elected to, and held said position for eight or nine 
terms of two years each. In this position his labors have been extensive and 
varied, and their record form a large chapter in the history of the county. He 
inaugurated here a system of graded roads of the county, which are now 
recognized as among the finest in the State. He compiled and published the 
first reliable map of the county, including the city and county of San Fran- 
cisco, compiled from actual surveys, and at the time of publication more 
accurate and minute [in detail than any other map of the same extent before 
published in the state. This map embodies the labors of fourteen years, in 
surveying and collecting reliable information for a good map, with an addi- 
tional-expense in publishing, etc., of about three thousand dollars, and by 
resolution of the board of supervisors was declared the official map of the 
county. Mr. Easton while county surveyor also acted as surveyor or com- 
missioner, in a number of suits for partition of large land grants in this county, 
notably the partition of the Buri Buri, San Mateo, San Pedro, Miramontes, 
Canada de Raymundo; also the San Lorenzo rancho in Monterey county. 


He was appointed by the court sole commissioner and surveyor, by the parties 
in interest through their eminent counsel, Judge Curry. This rancho was 
partitioned by Mr. Easton in less than three months, receiving the approval 
of the court and all of the owners of the land, at an expense, including the 
fee of the attorney, of about $2,500. The Buri Buri portion extended over a 
period of ten years, with three commissioners, surveyor and noted attorneys, 
costing over $75,000. The surveys and plats of these extensive grants, made 
by Mr. Easton, are of the most thorough and complete character and received 
universal encomium. In politics Mr. Easton was first a whig, then a thorough 
and zealous republican, from the inception of the party, and was prominent 
among its earliest organizers in San Mateo county, and has always been true 
to its principles. He was engaged from 1868 to 1876, exclusively in the pur- 
chase and selling of lands in San Mateo and San Francisco counties. In 1862 
he married Georgietta, daughter of the Hon. Stephen Tilton, who died in 1878, 
and since the death of bis wife Mr. Eaton has resided at San Mateo. He has 
held the office of justice of the peace for one term, but declined re-election, 
and is now quietly enjoying the evening of a busy, well spent, and useful life. 

J. H. Hatch. The present incumbent of the sheriff's office, was born in 
Canada November 7, 1854, and came to this state with his parents in May, 
1860, the family settling at San Jose. They remained at San Jose a short 
time, and then came to Searsville, in this county. In 1864 they moved to 
Half Moon Bay, which has since been their home. Mr. Hatch was 
nominated for sheriff of this county by the democratic party in 1882, and on 
the 7th of November of that year was elected. No higher tribute to the ster- 
ling qualities of this gentleman could be given than the large vote he received 
from his constituents in his own township, among whom he had been reared. 
There are but few men as young as Mr. Hatch who are elected to a position as 
responsible as that which he holds. We only repeat what all believe, that his 
administration will be honestly carried out, and his whole duty performed. 

Henry Warren Walker. Was born in Portland, Maine, March 5, 1837. 
He was educated in Portland and adopted brickmaking as a trade. In 1860 
he came to'California and settled on the Corte Madera del Presidio, or Reed's 
ranch, in Sausalito township, Marin county, where he followed his trade. He 
came to San Mateo county and located at Belmont in 1863. After a lapse of 
three years he moved to San Mateo, and while a resident of this place was 
elected supervisor, which office he held for thirteen years, resigning in 1880 to 
accept the position of manager of the brick yards of San Quentin. He also 
for a time supervised the sale of brick in San Francisco. He resigned these 
positions in 1881 to take charge of the office of the sheriff of this county, 
under appointment of the board of supervisors, filling the unexpired term of 


Mr. Green, deceased. He attended to the duties of this office until the end of 
his term, when he opened the Grand Hotel, March 1, 1883, the business of 
which he is conducting at the present time. It will not be out of place to 
state that he is well known throughout the county and bears the highest repu- 
tation for unimpeachable integrity. He is familarly designated "Brick" Walk- 
er, to distinguish him from others of the same name. He married Mary 
Frances Minott, and Henry Warren, Jane M., Mary Frances, and Lilian are 
his children. 

H. B. Thompson. Mr. Thompson was born in Portland, Maine, January 
9, 1826, and at the age of sixteen emigrated to Mississippi, where he was 
engaged as a clerk in a drug store. In 1846 he enlisted in company C, 1st 
Mississippi infantry, a regiment commanded by Jefferson Davis. He was 
discharged after the battle of Monterey and returned to Mississippi. In the 
spring of 1849 he took passage on the ship Argonaut for California, rounding 
the Horn, and landing in San Francisco, March 13, 1850. He remained in 
San Francisco employed in the capacity of a clerk, and afterwards doing busi- 
ness for himself, until 1856, when he settled on a ranch near Mayfield, in Santa 
Clara county. He came to this county in 1859, locating on a ranch near the 
coast, which is his home, although he has been living in Redwood City since 
1870, for the most part of which time he filled the position of deputy county 
clerk; during the remainder of this period he has been deputy county asses- 
sor. Thirty-one years ago Mr. Thompson left his native town with forty dol- 
lars in his possession. During these thirty years he has paid his debts at the 
rate of one hundred cents on the dollar, kept himself in comfortable circum- 
stances, and on the day that he gave us the material for this sketch, he had 
eleven dollars in his pocket. We will not venture to say that he has boarded 
and clothed himself, and paid other necessary expenses with the balance of 
twenty-nine dollars during that time, but if this should happen to be the fact, 
the citizens of San Mateo could not do better than elect Mr. Thompson to all 
the offices within their gift, from supervisor down, thus enriching the county, 
as is, no doubt, the case with Mr. Thompson. 

Judge B». C. Welch. Is a native of Dutchess county, New York, where he 
was born in 1832. He accompanied his parents to Montgomery county, in 
that State, and sailed from New York City in the bark Henry Rarbeck, Capt. 
T. G. Merwin, commanding, February 8, 1849, for California. He was a 
member of the Mohawk Mining Association, and among others of this company 
now living in San Mateo county who accompanied Judge Welch on this expedi- 
tion are J. G. and George Moore. The Harbeck rounded Cape Horn and 
landed its passengers safely in San Francisco October 15, 1849. It was a very 
adventurous voyage. Before leaving New York they made an agreement with 


Captain Merwin that they should be furnished with certain specified provis- 
ions, but the captain failed to fulfil his part of the agreement, and as a natural 
consequence the passengers began to object to the fare they were receiving. 
The captain paid no attention to these objections, and some of the younger 
men, Mr. Welch among the number, made such rebellious demonstrations that 
an order was made to place the latter in irons. A six shooter presented at the 
head of the captain, however, pursuaded that worthy that the attempt to carry 
out the order would prove disastrous, and Mr. Welch was allowed to complete 
his voyage in peace. He remained in San Francisco only a few days, during 
which time he ascertained that the Mohawk Mining Association was as dead 
as the old chief himself, He began operations on his own account at Wood's 
Creek, Tuolumne county, and shortly after mined on Sullivan's creek in the 
same county, subsequently drifting about among the other camps of the south- 
ern mines until two of his companions died, when he returned to San Francisco. 
In the spring of 1850 he went to Downieville, where he remained six months, 
when he purchased a mule and returned to San Francisco, riding through 
San Mateo county. Mr. Welch was taken sick in San Francisco and deter- 
mined to go to sea. He bought an interest in a ship, but as the voyage did 
not seem to benefit his health, he left the vessel at Acapulco. Here he bought 
a horse and traveled through Mexico to Santa Cruz, and thence to the eastern 
states, returning to California in 1852. He again went east in 1853, and 
returned to this State in 1855. In 1863 he settled at Olema, Marin county, 
and came to San Mateo county in 1865, where he was engaged as the superin- 
tendent of the Horace Hawes ranch. He afterwards moved to the coast, but 
returned to Redwood where he has since lived. He is the incumbent police 
judge of that place. He married H. A. Bartlett, and they have two children, 
Walter R. and Lillie Florence. 

George H. Rice. Mr. Rice was born in Herkimer county, New York, 
March 27, 1835, where he was educated. He resided in New York City about 
four years, and came to California via the Panama route in 1857, arriving in 
May of that year. He settled near Haywards, in Alameda county, where he 
lived about three years, when he came to this county and located in the red- 
woods, where he engaged in the manufacture of shingles. He moved to Pes- 
cadero where he resided from 1864 to 1866, returning to the redwoods and 
settling on his farm near Woodside. He has since located at Redwood City, 
where he is the searcher of records. In 1873 he was elected county clerk and 
held the office until 1878. He married Mary L. Teague, April 17, 1872. 
Mary L. is their only child. 

Will Frisbie, was born in Guilford, New Haven county, Connecticut, 
October 19, 1830, receiving his primary education in the district schools, and 


graduating at the academy. When sixteen years of age, he went to Fulton 
county, Illinois, remaining in that state, Wisconsin and Iowa until 1862, when 
he enlisted in the 19th Iowa infantry, Company C, He was elected orderly 
sergeant, and soon after entering the field was promoted to second and then 
first lieutenant. He was detailed as the personal aide-de-camp on the staff of 
General Charles Devens, afterwards attorney general in President Hayes 5 
cabinet. He- returned home about January, 1865, and settled in Kenosha, 
Wisconsin, where he was engaged in the drug business. He came to Califor- 
nia in 1871, and then went to Oregon, where he lived one year. He then came 
to Redwood City and went into the shoe factory. In 1873 he opened a drug 
store, which is now the leading house in that line in the city. In 1875 he was 
elected coroner and held the office two terms. He has also acted as deputy 
coroner. He married Angie P. Howard, who died November 25, 1882. His 
only child is Will Howard. 

Henry Beeger. Mr. Beeger was born in Stuttgart, Germany, June 17, 
1848. He mastered the trade of a tanner in his native city, and in 1873 came 
to this coast, direct from Germany. He worked in San Francisco about four 
years, and then rented a tannery at Oakland, which he conducted for three 
years. In 1880 he came to Redwood City and purchased the Kregg Tannery, 
which is now known as Beeger's Tannery. He married Mary Wahl, and has 
three children, Charley, Julia, and a babe not yet named. 

George W. Fox, is a well known attorney residing in Redwood City, was 
born in Wayne county, Michigan, May 13, 1838. His parents removed- with 
him to Jackson county and thence to Livingston county, in the same state, 
where he received his primary education. In 1853 they brought him overland 
to this state, settling in San Francisco. In 1855 he located at San Mateo, 
studying law with his brother, Charles N. Fox, being afterward admitted to 
practice in the superior court. In April, 1860, he removed to Redwood City, and 
has continuously practiced his profession there ever since. He married Sarah, 
the eldest daughter of John Donald, and they have two children, Claude Zoe 
and Ethel Belle. 

Martin Kuck. Was born in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, March 4, 
1832. He came to the United States in 1850, and settled at Charleston, South 
Carolina. He arrived in California in 1853, and went to Placer county, where 
he was engaged in mining for about one year. He then located at Gold 
Hill, where he kept a store until the Fraser river excitement broke out. He 
started for the diggings and returned before he reached them, settling at Sono- 
ma. In 1857 he drove a band of cattle to San Mateo county, settling on a 
ranch on the coast. Here he lived until 1860, when he came to Redwood City 



and opened a store. He has, however, since retired from that business * He 
opened the Menlo Park Hotel at Menlo Park, and in 1873 erected Germania 
Hall, of which he is the present proprietor. He married Elizabeth Gosch, and 
their children are Bertha M. E., Mathilde C. and Martha D. Two of his 
nieces, Carl M. and Luisse M. are living with the family. 

Frederick Botsck. Was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, December 23, 
1830. He came to the United States in June, 1854, and first resided in Phila- 
delphia. Here he worked at his trade of shoeinaking until 1859, when he came 
to this state, living in San Francisco until March 3, I860, when he located at 
Redwood City where he was employed by Edgar & Donnelly for fifteen months. 
At the end of this time he bought out his employers, and has been the propri- 
etor ever since. He married Frederika Say bold, and they have two children, 
Frederick A and George A. 

John Hailley. The subject of this sketch was born in Limerick, Ireland, 
in 1824. In 1812 he came to the United States via Quebec, landing in New 
York City, and then locating for a time in Rhode Island. After a short 
sojourn in Louisiana he came to California, via the Isthmus, landing in San 
Francisco in December, 1850. He first engaged in mining in the northern 
and southern mines, and then returned to San Francisco. He came to this 
county in 1856, and is now a resident of Redwood City. He is at present one 
of the deputy county assessors, and is a highly respected and honorable citizen 
of the community. 

Albert Hanson. Mr. Hanson was born in Denmark, December 18, 1848, 
and came direct from his native country to this coast in 1863, working his pas- 
sage on a clipper ship to New York, and then taking passage on the steamer 
via Panama, to San Francisco, where he arrived in December of that year. He 
came immediately to Redwood, and during the past fifteen years has been 
engaged with Hanson & Co., lumber dealers, directing and managing the mill, 
the lumber trade, and office work of that firm in San Mateo county. He is a 
well known and respected citizen of the county, and is the present master of 
the Masonic lodge of Redwood, in which position he is a very able and efficient 
officer, ever guarding with the utmost care the best interests of the order, and 
regarding the noble principles of the organization in the light of grand and 
beneficent truths. He married Elizabeth Hilton, a native of Redwood, and 
they have two children, Pauline and Alice Laura. 

P. J. Maloney. Mr. Maloney is the present incumbent of the county 
assessor's office. He is a native of Ireland, where he was born March 9, 1840. 
He came direct to this State in 1861, landing in San Francisco April 14th of 


that year. After a trial of the mines, he traveled through various portions of 
the state until 1863, when he came to this county, and settled at Half Moon 
Bay. In 1870, he moved to Menlo Park, and is now a resident of that place. 
During the fall of 1882, he was nominated for assessor, and elected November 
7th, following, assuming the duties of the office January 1, 1883. He mar- 
ried Honora O'Connor, and their children are Katie, Mamie, Maggie, Charley, 
Thomas, Willie, Nora, Cornelius and James. 

C. W. Hartsough. Was born in Branch county, Michigan, July 20, 1847. 
He accompanied his parents to Carroll county, Illinois, when quite young, and 
there received his education. He came to this State overland in 1854, and 
settled at Georgetown, El Dorado county, where he was engaged in teaming. 
He removed to Sacramento county, but only remained there a short time, locat- 
ing in Amador county, where he kept the Mountain Spring House, on the 
Sacramento and Jackson road. He returned to Sacramento and again engaged 
in his old occupation of teaming. On October 1, 1862, he was married to 
Mary Louisa Wheeler, and they lived at Georgetown, El Dorado county, until 
1864, when they moved to Forest Hill, and afterwards to San Francisco. 
They came to this county in 1868, settling at Bedwood City, where they have 
since lived. Mr. Hartsough was elected county assessor by the workingmen's 
and new constitution parties, and held the office three years. In December, 
1882, he opened the Hartsough Livery Stable, in which business he is still 
engaged. He has six children, David, Mary L., Christopher W., Esther May, 
Clarence and Eleanor. 

John Christ. Was born in Germany June 8, 1838, and received his educa- 
tion in his native country. He came direct to this coast in 1861, and to San 
Mateo county during the same year. He ran a boat on the bay from the 
embarcadero to San Francisco until 1868, when he engaged in the wood, coal 
and grain trade, which he still follows. Mr. Christ, before going to California, 
was a tailor, having left home at the age of sixteen to follow that occupation, 
his voyages carrying him to many countries . He married Theresa Putner, and 
they have seven children, Cornelius, Julia, George, Charlotte, Olive, John and 

Andrew Teague. Mr. Teague was born in Boone county, Missouri, August 
1, 1822. He was reared and educated in Jackson county, in that state, his 
parents having moved to that section when he was but three years of age. At 
the age of twenty -three he removed to Springfield, where he lived until he 
came to this state in 1850, via Fort Scott and Salt Lake, crossing the Humboldt 
and Carson rivers. He mined in various portions of the State until 1852, 
when he returned to Missouri. In the spring of 1853 he brought his family to 


this coast, settling at Woodside, where he resided seven years, engaged in the 
lumbering business. He then located at Redwood City, and began the practice 
of the law to which he had been educated. He was elected district attorney 
in 1869. He married Parmelia Morgan, and they have three children, Telitha 
Jane, now Mrs. James O. Shaw; Sarah Ann, now Mrs. George Wentworth; 
and Martha Ellen, now Mrs. Ott Durham. 

Peter Hansen. Was born in Denmark, November 18, 1837, and at fifteen 
years of age embarked as a sailor, visiting nearly every part of the world. He 
came to San Francisco in 1862, where heabandoned the sea, comingto Redwood 
City in the following year. For seventeen years he has been engaged in the 
buying and selling of wood, disposing of his purchases in San Francisco. He is 
the owner of a wood and shingle yard. He married Anna Maria Blardt, and 
their children are Christiana, Hans, Peter, William and Ellen. 

Hon. A. F. Green. This gentleman, who is one of the supervisors of 
this county, was born in Stockbridge, Windsor county, Vermont, January 
5, 1831. Here he received a liberal education. In 1845 he removed to Boston, 
Massachusetts, where he was employed for three years, after which Messrs. 
Killburn & Co. employed him in their chair manufacturing establishment, 
where he remained three years longer. His first year's work with this com- 
pany netted him ten dollars per month, laboring from seven o'clock in the 
morning until nine in the evening. We note this fact that it may be seen how 
humble in life one may start, and with industry and a right application of their 
abilities eventually rise to high and responsible positions in life. The day 
following his withdrawal from the employ of Killburn & Co., he started for 
this State via Nicaragua, and arriving in San Francisco on the 6th day of 
March, 1853, on the steamer Pacific. He remained in San Francisco, working 
for various firms, about four months, when he purchased a dairy, and, with 
the exception of two years, followed this business continuously while a resi- 
dent of that city. In 1859 he moved to this county and settled at Millbrae, 
where he engaged in dairying -on his own account until 1862, when he went 
into partnership with D. O. Mills, in that business, on the ranch of that 
gentleman. The business was carried on by them until 1872, when Mr. Green 
purchased Mr. Mills' interest in the dairy, and has since been the sole pro- 
prietor. He married Mary Tilton, and Fred. H., Carrie, Charles, Edward, 
Sarah, A. F., Jr., and Minnie M., are their children. Mr. Green was elected 
to the assembly, and served his constituents faithfully, honestly and 

Horace Hawes, (deceased). On the tenth day of July, 1813, at Danby, 
in the State of New York, was born Horace Hawes. While an infant, his 


father moved with his family to the town of Warsaw, in the county of Wyoming, 
but at that time it was Genesee county. There, with his father and mother 
and on a small farm of fifty acres, he lived in poverty, inured to agricultural 
labors, until the death of his mother, in the year 1824., 

Soon after that, he was placed in the family of one of the neighbors, Bela 
Bartlett by name, to learn the trade of a house carpenter and cabinet maker, 
together with house painting, and farming on a small scale as well, to fill, in 
the leisure hours. There he remained and toiled for four years, barely obtain- 
ing a miserable subsistence, with most industrious, temperate, moral and frugal 
habits. At the end of the four years, however, he purchased his time of the 
person too whom he was articled, for the full sum of fifty dollars, obtaining 
credit for the same, which he afterwards fully and faithfully paid with interest. 

Then sixteen years old, with none to hinder him from following any pursuit 
and in his own way, he left his old employer and neighborhood, to seek his 
fortune in some more promising employment, with a view to acquire a good 
education, and ultimately enter upon a professional career. He had already 
advanced sufficiently to pass an examination as a school master for a public 
school. Mr. Hawes now applied himself assiduously to acquiring knowledge, 
pursuing his studies sometimes at an academy, but mostly under the instruc- 
tion of the lawyer in whose office, his classical and scientific studies were 
acquired, in connection with his study of law. Until he was admitted to 
practice before the courts, he supported himself by his own exertions in teach- 
ing or working at his trade. He was regularly admitted to the supreme court 
at an early age, and pursued his profession with entire success. 

In the year 1835, at Utica, New York, a state convention was held, composed 
of those who were endeavoring to accomplish the abolition of slavery by 
peaceable measures. On that memorable occasion Horace Hawes was present, 
and took a conspicuous part in the defence of the right of free discussion, 
although he was not a member of the abolition party. He also wrote a book 
in vindication of that most precious constitutional privilege, but his position 
was at that time unpopular. In the year 1837 he left Utica, and spent several 
years in teaching, and subsequently located at Erie, Pennsylvania, where he 
married, and practiced his profession, and held the office of deputy attorney- 
general, prosecuting attorney for the county, and commissioner of deeds for 
New York and several other states. His wife died in the year 1846, eight 
months and one-half after his marriage, and was buried in Erie cemetery, 
in a lot handsomely laid out, inclosed with an iron fence, and planted with 
shrubbery, where now may be seen a beautiful monument of Italian marble 
with appropriate inscriptions, which he erected to her memory. 

Early in the year 1847, under the administration of president Polk, Mr. 
Hawes received the appointment of United States consul for the Society and 
other South Sea islands, which was unanimously confirmed by the senate of 



the United States. His commission was dated March 3, 1847. On the 15th day 
of June of that year, he sailed from Boston for the place of his consular resi- 
dence, via Cape Horn and Hawaiian islands. He arrived at Honolulu about the 
middle of October, 1817, and there was obliged to take passage in another 
vessel named Angola, Varney, master, which after sailing changed the place of 
destination to San Francisco and Monterey, with a view to dispose of the 
cargo, and after an absence of four months returned to Honolulu. There he 
remained for a few months, and then by the first vessel sailing thence for 
Tahiti, he proceeded on his voyage to that island, where he arrived on the 27th 
of September, 1818. On his arrival he learned that the French were in pos- 
session of both Tahiti and Eino islands, and for that reason Mr. Hawes was 
not recognized as consul until the 19th of June, 1819. During this time he 
had a great deal of correspondence with the department of state at Washing- 
ton, and was at San Francisco a part of the time. In the month of Septem- 
ber, 1819, Mr. Hawes was made prefect of the district of San Francisco, 
which office he held about one year. From 1850 to the time of his death on 
March 12, 1871, Mr. Hawes resided at San Francisco and on his farm near 
Eedwood City, this county. During this time he served two terms in the 
state assembly and one in the senate. As a legislator for the best interests of 
the people, California has not had his equal; and as a lawyer, few desired to 
meet him on equal grounds. On the 21th of May, 1858, Mr. Hawes married 
Miss Caroline Combs, a native of Kentucky, and there was born to them two 
children, Horace and Caroline. On the commencement of the civil war, Mr. 
Hawes took a decided stand in favor of the Union, and frequently spoke 
in severe terms of any person who was in sympathy with the confederate 
cause. In the fall of 1867, he ran as an independent candidate for joint 
senator of the counties of San Francisco and San Mateo, and although he was 
defied, yet he received more votes than any other of the many independent 
candidates who ran that year. From that time his health failed more and 
more rapidly, and his mind was proportionately weakened, so as to render him 
unfit for legal business for the last two or' three years of his life. He was by 
nature a very suspicious and eccentric man, and when weakened by disease 
this eccentricity took the form of insanity, for without any foundation he sus- 
pected his best friends of bad motives, and his wife 'even of laying plans to 
destroy his life by poison or assassination . 

Horace Hawes. A little way from Eedwood City, and close to the foot- 
hills, is the country residence of Horace Hawes. His father purchased the 
place many years ago, and at his death the subject of our sketch came into 
possession of the property. 

When Mr. Hawes was about nine years old, his father took him to Germany, 
where he received his early scholastic training, after which he graduated at 


one of her colleges. After the completion of his education, he returned to his 
home, and to better fit himself for the practical affairs of life, he took up those 
studies which are not generally taught in our colleges, among which was that 
of law. He does not practice the profession, however, for other duties engage 
his entire attention. 

There is scarcely a man in San Mateo county who did not know Horace 
Hawes, the father of the subject of this sketch. Ever since the foundation of 
the county, and even previous to that time, he took an active part in the affairs 
of the community where he lived. His only son, who bears the exact name of 
his father, and of whom we are now writing, is also well known, not only in 
this county but in San Francisco as well. His is one of those aggressive, go- 
ahead dispositions that believe in themselves. Hope or ambition as a purely 
sentimental attribute does not enter into his composition, but are replaced by 
the sterner qualities of self-reliance and courage, both moral and physical. 
He is an exemplar of the time honored adage that ' ' God helps those who help 
themselves," and his whole life has bristled with instances of this belief. He 
is a man of strong convictions and honest prejudices, scorning the hypocrisy 
of policy, and dealing by his friends as his friends, while openly opposing and 
defying his enemies. In fact, he possesses one virtue above all others, in deal- 
ing with the world — everybody, whether friend or foe, knows where he may be 
found when he is wanted. His nature is positive in its character, and when 
he has once settled in his mind that he is right, nothing short of utter annihila- 
tion can swerve him from his course. Such a character must succeed. Social- 
ly, none are more genial, open-hearted, or courteous, and the native humor 
permeating his being renders him popular in every circle, and a welcome guest 
in every company. He first saw the light in Santa Clara, Santa Clara county, 
California, March 22, 1859. He married Eugenia McLean, a niece of Hon. T. 
G. Phelps, and their wedding tour was in the Old World, where they visited 
the time-honored places which so interest lovers of antiquity. On his return 
to this country, Mr. Hawes commenced business with a straight-forwardness 
which characterizes all his acts in life, and in the year 1881 he was elected 
president of the Warren and Tuttle Water Company, and at the present writ- 
ing is the incumbent of that office. He has one son, whose name is Horace. 

John C. Edgar. It is a pleasure to write of men whose public spirited 
generosity, and acknowledged manliness, recommend them to our favorable 
consideration; but, personally, it would be far more preferable if we enjoyed 
a longer acquaintance with the gentleman whose interesting history we are 
now transmitting in brief to posterity. California is prolific of that class of 
men, who with ordinary ambition, fair pluck, and a proper degree of persever- 
ance and industry, reach the top of the ladder. A man endowed with these 
simple attributes has no cause to complain if he meets with reverses when he 


first starts out in life. These little discomfitures always have a tendency 
to sharpen the intellect, and urge their possessor on to renewed exertion, 
and when once he obeys the dictates of his better judgment, success 
is bound to crown his efforts. Fifty years ago, away back in the old 
country, near the city of Belfast, on the 21st of November, 1833, the subject 
of this sketch, whose portrait appears in this work, was born. His father 
brought him to Canada in June, 1842, and in February, 1852, he came to the 
United States and settled in New York. Mr. Edgar was sent to school early 
in life, and being blessed by nature with a well balanced head, a good consti- 
tution, and an aptitude for learning, he soon acquired a fair education. 
Characteristic of his race, he started for California in February, came by the 
way of Panama, and landed in San Francisco on April 1, 1854: Full of 
energy and urged on by a disposition to win, he proceeded to Sacramento, 
where he remained until July, thence to Marysville, where he commenced the 
battle of life in this state. In January, 1858, he moved to Redwood City, San 
Mateo county, where he has since permanently lived. After he had fairly 
established himself in Eedwood, he made many warm friends, and he was 
first honored by being elected city marshal. As he became better known 
throughout the county, his popularity proportionately increased, and when in 
the year 1871 the republican party placed him in nomination for sheriff, 
he was duly elected to that office, being the first republican sheriff of San 
Mateo county. In the discharge of the responsible duties of that position, he 
won golden opinions from men of every party, and was regarded by all as 
an able and efficient officer. His party having implicit confidence in his integ- 
rity, continued him in office until 1878. At the commencement of Governor 
George C. Perkins' administration, he was selected as deputy warden of the 
San Quentin State Prison, and is the present incumbent. He married Mary 
J. McLeod, and they have one child whose name is Joseph S. 

R. H. Brown. This gentleman, who is one of the prominent dairymen of 
the coast, was born in Pointe Caupee Parish, Louisiana, November 25, 1839, 
and received a thorough education in his native state. In 1860 he left his 
southern home and came to California, via New York and the Isthmus of 
Panama. His first settlement was in Klamath county, where he mined until 
1862, afterward migrating to Idaho, where he remained engaged in mining, 
sawmilling, etc., until 1872, when he returned to San Francisco. During a 
period of seven years Mr. Brown acted as secretary for various mining com- 
panies, finally removing in 1879 to this county, where he purchased an exten- 
sive dairy ranch, a full description of which is given in another portion of 
this work. 

P. B. Casey. Was born in Langford, Ireland, May 30, 1823, and came to 
the United States in 1845, arriving in the country May 26th of that year. He 


lived in Brooklyn until the May following, when he went to New Hampshire 
and was employed by the Franklin and White river railroad. In December, 
1846, he returned to Boston and remained there until he came to this state, via 
Panama, landing in San Francisco May 26, 1852. Ke lived in San Francisco 
where he was engaged in teaming until January 5, 1856, and then settled in 
San Mateo county on his present farm, which is situated nearly due west from 
San Mateo. He married Mary Farrell in Brooklyn, New York, and they have 
six children; Kate, William B., John J., Minnie A., Addie and Peter. 

Robert Ashbnrner. Mr. Ashburner is a native of England,, where he was 
born in 1834. He was reared and educated in his native country, and came 
to California, landing on February 11, 1861, when twenty-six years old, 
settling on the Twelve Mile Farm, in this county. Mr. Ashburner's father was 
a breeder of short-horn cattle, and the former having had an early and large 
experience in the methods pursued, and having observed the advantages of 
raising this class of cattle, brought with him from England five short-horns and 
three Devons for Mr. Parrott, the San Francisco banker. Shortly after his 
arrival here, Mr. Ashburner began the purchase and breeding of short-horn 
cattle, making his first purchase at the State Fair in 1867. He then bought a 
herd from Egbert Judson in 1871, and in 1875 went to England, returning 
with five pure bred short-horn heifers and two bulls, which cost him, when 
landed on this coast, over $5000. The first thoroughbred cow, now living, 
raised by Mr. Ashburner, was " Sarah," calved August 24, 1869; and " Gar- 
land," one of the finest specimens of the short-horn breed in the State, also 
the property of Mr. Ashburner, was born September 2, 1872. He has now 
about ninety head of thoroughbred cattle, and the same number graded with 
four or five crosses of pure short-horn blood. His place is known as the Baden 
Stock Farm, and is near the railroad station of that name. 

Lafayette Chandler. Is a a native of Kennebec county, Maine, and was 
born May 23, 1836. He was reared and educated in his native State, leaving 
his home when sixteen years of age for California, arriving in San Francisco, 
via the Nicaragua route, on the steamship S. S. Lewis. His arrival off 
the Golden Gate was the prelude to a startling adventure, the ship going 
ashore on a reef of rocks, during a prevailing fog. Fortunately all the pas- 
sengers were safely landed in the small boats. The date of Mr. Chandler's 
arrival in San Francisco was April, 1853. He shortly after proceeded by 
steamer to Santa Cruz, where he lived until the fall of the same year, when he 
came to Pescadero, remaining about two months and returning to Santa Cruz. 
He again visited San Mateo county, locating at Searsville, and afterwards, in 
partnership with his cousin, purchasing his present ranch at Pescadero. This 
has been his permanent home ever since, with the exception of three years 


which he spent in Idaho and Washington territories, and a visit of six months 
to the eastern states, in 1867. He is engaged in dairying, and owns a dairy 
farm east of R. H. Brown's ranch, where he keeps about sixty head of cows, 
manufacturing a fine quality of butter and cheese. His first wife was Lizzie 
Garagus, who bore him one child, Elma. The maiden name of his present 
wife was Maggie A. Stokes. 

W. (j. Thompson. This gentleman, who for four years was principal of 
the public school at Pescadero, was born in the north of Ireland, near 
Londonderry, November 4, 1827. He received a thorough education, and is 
a graduate of the normal school of the Irish board of education at Dublin. 
He came to the United States in January, 1850, and resided in Stephenson 
county, Illinois, twenty -four years, teaching school at Freeport a portion of 
this time, and afterwards discharging the duties of county clerk of Stephenson 
county, to which office he was elected by a handsome majority. He was sub- 
sequently entrusted with the responsibilities of other important positions, 
discharging his duties with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of the com- 
munity who thus honored him. In 1871 he came to California and settled at 
Pescadero. Mr. Thompson has earned for himself an enviable reputation as a 
writer, and is an able correspondent of the newspapers. He married Elizabeth 
Brown, the result of the union being seven children living, and three deceased. 
The living children are named respectively, Robert E., William J., Joseph B., 
Samuel B., Eliza J., Mattie and George. 

Alfred Fay. Honesty, integrity and an upright character among his fellow 
men, by whom he is thoroughly respected, are the prevailing traits which dis- 
tinguish this worthy citizen. Mr. Fay is a native of the empire state, having 
been born in Tully, Onondaga county, May 13, 1827. When four years of age 
his parents removed to Collins, Erie county, where he received his primary 
education. In 1843 his family emigrated to McHenry county, Illinois, where 
he lived until 1851, when he moved to Darlington, Wisconsin. Here he mar- 
ried Elsie Paddock, January 1, 1852. Prior to this time Mr. Fay hf d been 
engaged in agricultural pursuits, but he now turned his attention to merchan- 
dising, in a small way, which he continued until he was the proprietor of a 
store and a thriving trade. In 1860 he came to California with his wife, and 
resided near Napa City until March 1, 1863, when they removed to this county 
and settled on the farm where they now live. This beautiful home is situ- 
ated among the mountains at the head of Tunitos creek, surrounded by 
scenery unsurpassed for its loveliness, in a climate superior at every season to 
that of boasted Italy itself. He is engaged in the eminently pastoral pursuits 
of farming and dairying. 


E. C. Burch. Mr. Burch was born in Chatauqua county, New York, April 
22, 1839. When fifteen years of age he went to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he 
finished his education at the academy of that place. During the four years 
succeeding he was employed in the store of his uncle and cousin, in Erie, 
attending to his duties so satisfactorily that he was dispatched to Chicago, 
Illinois, with a stock of goods, and entrusted with the sole management of the 
branch establishment in that city. He conducted this business until he came 
to this State, via the Isthmus, in 1850, arriving in San Francisco in August, 
of that year. He was for a time engaged in a carrying trade on the Sacra- 
mento river, and in a partnership with Ered. Burdsell, conducting a merchan- 
dising business. He afterwards opened a store at Bidwell's Bar. Erom Bid- 
well's Bar he went to Rich Bar, on the north fork of the Feather river, where 
he engaged in mining, and at the same time kept a store, while running pack 
trains into the more distant mining districts. Disposing of these interests he 
returned to the East, where he married Mary Bond, sister of Lieutenant 
Adolphus Bond, of West Point. Accompanied by his wife he again started 
for California, this time overland, but Mrs. Burch was never destined to see 
the land of gold, and sunshine, and flowers. She died at Little Blue river, 
and her bereaved husband went upon his sorrowing way alone. He resided 
for a short time in Yolo county, near Woodland, afterwards removing to the 
Tassajara valley, in Contra Costa county. He also lived a short time in San 
Joaquin county, but in October, 1857, located permanently on the ranch he 
now occupies, near San Gregorio. In 1867 he erected the sawmill at Gazos, 
afterwards building the Mill Creek Mills and the Scott Creek Mills, in Santa 
Cruz county. In November, 1872, he began the active prosecution of his 
farming and dairying projects, and is at the present time milking about fifty- 
five cows. He married Ellen Cummings, and they have five children; Charles 
E. S., M. Angie, S. Etta, Lewis A., and Frederick R. 

Peter Casey. This old settler was born in the county Langford, Ireland, 
June, 1831. He arrived in New York City January, 1850, and went to Sum- 
mersville, Massachusetts, remaining there until he came to this state, via Nic- 
araugua, arriving in San Francisco September, 1853. He resided on O'Farrell 
street until he went to the mines, near Placerville. Soon after he returned to 
the city, and in 1857 came to San Mateo county, settling on his present farm, 
about two miles south from San Mateo. Here he has continuously lived until 
the present time. Mr. Casey's brother and two of his cousins came to this 
county prior to his arrival and purchased the land, and the subject of our 
sketch received his title from them. Too much credit cannot be given to this 
gentleman, who has always been an honest and honorable citizen, true to 
friends, and respected by his acquaintances. He married Elizabeth O'Farrell, 
a native of Ireland. Elizabeth B. (deceased), Katie A., and Mary F. are the 
names of his children. 


S. G. Goodhue. The subject of this sketch was born in Deerfield, Rock- 
ingham county, New Hampshire, August 10, 183G. Here he received his 
primary education in the public schools, afterwards pursuing an academic 
course at Plainfield and Mendon village, in that state. He left the place of his 
birth and came to California in 1858, via the Isthmus, and arrived in San 
Francisco in September. He first settled in Marysville, where he remained 
about eighteen months, afterwards removing to Butte county, where he lived 
until he came to this county, in 1862. Mr. Goodhue has made San Mateo 
county his permanent home ever since, and he is now a resident of San Mateo, 
and conducts a large dairy on a ranch near the village. He is married, and 
Julia, Georgietta, Olive and Carrie E., are his children. 

John Johnston. Mr. Johnston was born in the county Tyrone, north of 
Ireland, December 16, 1816. He arrived in the United States on June 1, 1836, 
and located at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He moved to New York City in 
1842, where he was extensively engaged in bottling and selling ale, porter, 
cider, sarsapaiilla, etc. In 1857 he engaged in the coal trade. He came to this 
state by the way of Panama, landing in San Francisco February 12, 1864. 
He went to Santa Clara, and was agent for Lyons' brewery for a short time, 
but, during the same year, 1864, he came to this county, settling at Searsville, 
where he has since lived. He has a comfortable home, where he is surrounded 
by many of the comforts of life. He married on September 4, 1838, Catharine 
B. Young, of Philadelphia; Thomas Abbott and William Archibald, are their 
children. Their sons are both engineers, one employed in the Sandwich 
islands, and the other on a railroad in Arizona. The two old people live alone, 
and Mr. Johnston loves to greet his friends at his home, where the most gener- 
ous hospitality is extended, and where the latch string is always found outside 
the uoor. Mr. Johnston is an honored and respected citizen of the commu- 
nity in which he resides, and both he and his amiable wife deserve the enviable 
reputation which they have made for themselves. 

B. Hayward. The subject of this sketch is one of the oldest settlers of this 
coast, and is at the present time a prominent millman of this county. He was 
born in Sullivan county, New Hampshire, October 30, 1831, and with his 
parents moved to Ohio. He came from New Hampshire to California, via the 
Isthmus, landing in San Francisco November 18, 1851. He was a resident of 
that city until he came to San Mateo county, with the exception of two years 
spent in mining, in Placer county. While a resident of San Francisco, he 
was, for six years, foreman of the steam excavator which graded Market, 
Powell and other contiguous streets. He came to this county in 1864, and 
located on the Honsinger ranch, where he was engaged in dairying and farm- 
ing for three years. He then purchased what is now known as Hayward's 


sawmill, and is its present proprietor. He married Cornelia S. Rublee, and 
has four children; Clarence Decatur, Mary S., George Norman and Jessie 

W. S. Downing. Was born in Harlemville, Columbia county, New York, 
July 15,1831. He was reared and educated in Dutchess county, and came 
direct to San Mateo county in 1854, via the Isthmus. He settled in the red- 
woods, and was at first engaged in teaming. In connection with his brother, 
Maj. Downing, they for a season stocked a lumber mill; afterwards, with G. R. 
Borden, he operated a farm opposite the ranch of Mr. Metzgar, near Spanish- 
town. On this farm they planted five acres of barley, by surveyor's chain 
measure, and when the grain ripened it had to be harvested with a sickle. It 
yielded, when threshed, one hundred and sixty-three bushels to the acre, or a 
total of eight hundred and fifteen bushels from the five acres. This fact is 
mentioned to give an idea of the great fertility of the soil in this section. Mr. 
Downing maintained this farm one year, and then purchased a ranch pleasantly 
located on Tunitos creek, where he is now residing. He returned to the east 
in 1869, and in 1871 married A. E. Davis, returning with his wife in the fall 
of that year. They have seven children; William S., Mary C, J. Davis, Lilla 
F., Charles P., George B. and Helen B. 

G. F. Keitf'er. Is an old settler of San Mateo county, and was born in 
Rockingham county, Vermont, June 11, 1836. When eight years of age, his 
parents moved to Saline county, Missouri, where he was educated. In 1853 
the family came to California, crossing the plains in ox teams. Their first 
stopping place was Martinez, Contra Costa county, but in 1854 they took up a 
permanent residence on San Gregorio creek, in this county, where the family, 
consisting of his father, Joseph Keiffer, his mother, four sisters, and himself, 
conducted a prosperous farming enterprise. Mr. Keiffer married Mary Rhodes, 
daughter of Daniel Rhodes, of Visalia, Tulare county, and they have seven 
children; Sarah J., Ruth A., Daniel M., Annie, Dora E., Hugh H., and 
Alice A. 

J. B. Harslia. At present residing on San Gregoria creek, was born in 
Butler county, Ohio, August 3, 1830. At the age of seven years he accom- 
panied his parents to Lafayette, Indiana, and thence to Missouri, where he 
remained until coming to this State. Leaving Grundy county he crossed the 
plains with ox teams, and settled at Mud Springs, near Hangtown, where he 
mined until 1853, in the fall of which year he took up his residence at Peta- 
luma, Sonoma county, where he remained until 1860. After a short residence 
at Point Reyes, Marin county, he came to this county in the fall of 1863, and 
settled near where Mr. Quentin now lives, at San Gregoria. He soon after 


located permanently on the ranch he now occupies, on Sin Gregoria creek. 
He married Josephine Keiffer, but they have no children. 

Edwin L. Johnson. Was born in Pomfret, Windham county, Connecti- 
cut, September 15, 1835. He was reared and educated in his native town, 
and February 20, 1853, he left New York City on the steamer Ohio, crossed 
the Isthmus of Panama, and arrived in San Francisco on the steamer Nor- 
thern, March 30th of the same year. His first settlement was the old Mis- 
sion Dolores, where he lived about three years, when he removed to Turk street, 
San Francisco, where he engaged in the dairy business. In 1857 he came to 
this county, and in company with his half brother, John S. Colgrove, and Ansel 
S. Easton, located on the Black Hawk ranch, which they farmed in partnership 
until 1860. About this time Mr. Colgrove bought the Laurel creek farm, and 
Mr. Johnson, in 1864, was engaged by S. B. Whipple to superintend his 
ranch at San Mateo. He held this position until 1870, when he returned to 
the eastern states. On December 11, 1873, his half brother was killed by a 
Southern Pacific railroad train, and in the spring of 1874 Mr. Johnson 
returned to California, settling up his brother's estate. He went east again 
in April, 1875, and returned again in 1878, but did not remain long. In 1881 
he once more came to California, this time to remain permanently, and since 
that time he has made San Mateo county his home. Mr. Johnson is well 
known both in this county and San Francisco, and has a wide circle of warm 
and devoted friends. 

John S. Colgrove, his half brother, came to California in 1850, settling in 
San Mateo county in 1854, when he took charge of the business of I. C- 
Woods. As has been stated, he purchased the Laurel Creek farm, where he 
resided until his death. Mr. Colgrove was a gentleman highly respected by 
all who knew him, and his death removed from the community a citizen whose 
place it would be difficult to fill. 

Braddock Weeks. Was born in Wayne, Kennebec county, Maine, Decem- 
ber 6, 1812, and emigrated to Ohio in 1846, where he remained until he came 
to this coast via Panama in 1852, landing in San Francisco in January of that 
year. He lived in Santa Cruz until he came to this county, in 1856, where he 
has since resided. He married Clarissa A. White. They have one child liv- 
ing, Albion, and one dead, Frank. 

0. McMahon. Was born in Ireland, December 23, 1825, and landed in 
New York City April 1, 1848. He went to Fall river, Massachusetts, where 
he was in the employ of Adams & McKinsey, afterwards living in Newport, 
Rhode Island, still in the employ of the same firm, with whom he remained 
until he came to this State, via the Isthmus, in 1851. He mined on Weaver 


creek, El Dorado county, about one year, and then returned to Sacramento, 
where he remained until 1853, when he came to this county and became con- 
nected with the stage line running between San Francisco and San Jose. He 
was engaged in this business until he settled on the farm where he is now 
residing. He is the proprietor of the well known and popular McMahon 
House. He married Elizabeth Flournoy, and Ellen Marrat, Margaret Ann and 
Elizabeth, are the names of their children. 

Edward Robson. Is a native of Manchester, England, where he was born 
December 20, 1830. He arrived in the United States in 1840, with his parents, 
who settled at Kenosha, Wisconsin, afterwards locating in Lake county, Illi- 
nois, where they only remained a few years, when they returned to Kenosha 
and resided there until coming to this State, via the Isthmus, in 1858, landing 
in San Francisco in July of that year. Mr. Robson first settled near Colma, 
and then located on his present farm in 1859. He was dispossessed by David 
Mahoney in 18G3, but regained possession by law in I860, and has lived here 
ever since. He is one of the old settlers of township No. 1, and bears the 
highest reputation in the community where he resides. He married Elizabeth 
Burlly, a native of England, and their children are Minnie, Josephine and 
Ellen Mercer. 

William C. Alt. The subject of this biography was born in Germany, 
February 15, 1838. He landed in New York City in 1852, and remained there 
three years, when he removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he 
lived seven years. He afterwards resided in Newark in the same state, until 
1868, when he came to California, via Panama, arriving in San Francisco Sep- 
tember 28th of the same year. He remained in San Francisco until the fol- 
lowing March, when he came to San Mateo where he has since lived, following 
the trade of shoemaking, which he learned while a resident of New York City. 
He is married, and his children are William C, Henry E. and Anna G. 

Charles W. Swantoil. Was born in Bath, Maine, August 22, 1823, and 
when he was about six or seven years of age, his parents moved to Bangor, in 
the same State, where they resided five or six years, afterwards settling at 
Augusta. They lived here three years and then moved to Portland. Mr. 
Swan ton came to California in 1858 via Panama, landing in San Francisco in 
August of that year. He went to Mariposa county and took charge of a quartz 
mill for General J. C. Fremont, remaining there four months, when he located 
for a time in Bear valley, in the same county, afterwards returning to San 
Francisco. He came to Pescadero in 1861, and purchased the hotel now 
known as the Swanton House, of which he is still the proprietor. He is mar- 
ried,- and has two children. 




' -: " 

£c^/ / /^z/' 


James Reed. Mr. Reed was born in Oneida county, New York, June 11, 
1834. He was reared on a farm, and with his parents moved to Oswego county, 
in the same state. They lived here two years and then settled at Utica. Mr. 
Reed lived in New York until he came to California in 1863, via the Isthmus, 
landing in San Francisco August 2d of that year. He remained in that city 
about one year, and then located at Searsville in this county, in 1864. In the 
fall of 1865 he located at Pescadero, working on various ranches in that sec- 
tion until 1870 when he settled permanently on his present farm. He visited 
the eastern states in 1873 and remained there four months. All the buildings 
on his ranch were erected by himself, and he combines dairying with his ordi- 
nary farming operations. In 1879 he erected a commodious barn which is 
one hundred and forty by seventy -three, and capable of sheltering about one 
hundred cows. His dairy house was erected in 1882, at which time he also 
built a windmill, from which pipes are laid to all the buildings on the ranch, 
thus supplying the entire premises with fine spring water, fresh from the cool 
reservoirs of the neighboring hills. Mr. Reed married Elizabeth Patterson. 

John H. Sears. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born 
in Sullivan county, New York, February 3, 1823. When eighteen years of 
age he located in Wayne county, Pennsylvania, where he resided until he 
came to this state. Sailing from New York on the Nancy E. Mayhevi, he 
crossed the Isthmus and arrived in San Francisco on the Powhaltan, August 1, 
1850. Like the majority of the early argonauts to this coast, he proceeded 
direct to the mines. After a short residence at Downieville he returned, in 
the winter of 1850, to San Francisco, and in the following spring visited the 
southern mines, where he remained during the summer and fall of 1851. 
Leaving Mariposa county he went to Monterey, and thence up the coast to 
San Francisco again. In January, 1853, Mr. Sears came to this county, 
locating near the Mountain House, at that time kept by Jack Hayes. He 
remained here until the following January, when he built a house on the site 
of what is now known as Searsville, a name applied by a representative of the 
Alia who visited the place in the spring or summer of 1854, and in a series of 
papers descriptive of the section referred to the settlement by that designation. 
The building erected by Mr. Sears was occupied as a hotel and known as the 
Sears House. Mr. Sears moved to La Honda in the winter of 1861-2, and 
gave the place its name. He is married, and their children are named respec- 
tively William M., Ida J., and Anna L. A little grandson, Leonard M., 
also lives with them. 

James McCormack. Mr. McCormack was born in Ireland in 1841, and 
when seven years of age came to the United States with his parents, who settled 
at Carthage, Jefferson county, New York, and afterwards at Rutland. He left 


New York City in December, 1863, for San Francisco, where he arrived Janu- 
ary 15, 1864. He located at Santa Cruz, where he lived until October of that 
year, when he came to Pescadero, where he has since resided, engaged princi- 
pally in the business of farming and dairying. In 1873, in company with P. 
G. Stryker, he bought the store of John Garretson, the business of which they 
conducted until 1877, when they re-sold to Garretson. While in partnership 
with Mr. Stryker he did not give the business his personal attention, being at 
that time deputy assessor and road overseer, and one of the agents of the Fast 
Freight Line from Pescadero to San Francisco. He married Julia S. Shaffrey 
January 12, 1866, their children being Alice A., Frances, Ella M., Florence A., 
James, Lilian E. and Julia. 

Loren Coburil. Brookfield, Orange county, Vermont, was the birthplace of 
Mr. Coburn, the date being January 11, 1836. When eighteen years of age 
he removed to Massachusetts where he remained until he started for California, 
in 1851. Leaving New York on the steamer Falcon for Cuba, he crossed the 
Isthmus, taking passage at Panama on the steamer Panama, arriving in San 
Francisco June 1, 1851. Mr. Coburn at once proceeded to the northern mines, 
via Sacramento and Greenwood valley, remaining four months at the placers of 
the Middle Fork of the American river. Returning to San Francisco with the 
intention of again visiting the eastern states, he was induced to embark in the 
livery business at Oakland where he remained four years, finally disposing of 
his business and purchasing another of similar character in San Francisco 
which he conducted for about eleven years. In the meantime he had pur- 
chased the Butano ranch, containing four thousand four hundred and forty- 
four acres, and afterwards added the adjoining Punto del Ano Nuevo ranch, con- 
taining four leagues, to his estate, by purchase. He then sold his business in 
San Francisco, leased his ranch to the Steele brothers in 1862, and in 1866 
went east, where he remained until 1868, when he returned to San Francisco. 
In 1872 the lease of the Steele brothers having expired, he removed to Pigeon 
Point and assumed charge of his property, and has resided there ever since. 
When Mr. Coburn returned from his eastern trip, he bought ten thousand 
acres of land on the Salinas river, in Monterey county, and has since pur- 
chased large tracts of timber land near the home ranch at Pigeon Point. His 
business at this place is dairying, stock raising and shipping. Mr. Coburn is 
eminently a self made man. His entire career has displayed a force of char- 
acter and indomitable energy, which, in the long run, never fails to land the 
possessor of these qualities on the top round of the ladder. He has amassed 
quite a fortune, but one would not observe that from his conduct, for he is a 
plain, every-day man. He is married to an estimable woman, who has in the 
past, and is now contributing her share towards leading a contented and 
happy life. 


A. Hoiisinger, proprietor of the Greenwood Dairy farm, is a New Yorker 
by birth, his native place being Schenectady. He was born June 15, 1825, 
and when five years of age his parents moved to Lorain county, Ohio, where 
young Honsinger was early instructed thoroughly in the farming industry and 
the dairy busiaess. He left Lorain county for California in 1866, and located 
at first on one of the Steele ranches, where he maintained a dairy until he took 
possession of the ranch where he is at present residing, in 1870. The Green- 
wood Dairy farm is situated at the head of Greenwood creek, and contains 
three hundred and fifty acres. He stocked the ranch with two hundred 
and thirty head of cattle, but by reason of a temporary, partial suspen- 
sion of business on his part, reduced this number to about twenty head. 
The milk house is located north of his residence, and beyond this building in 
the same direction are the barns. Mr. Honsinger has every appliance for 
making butter of a very superior quality, and his long experience in the busi- 
ness renders the product of the dairy a very desirable article in the market. 
He married Harriet Williams, and has three children, Frederick, Hattie, and 

Joseph B. Hollinsead. Among the pioneers who crossed the plains to 
this state in 1819, was Joseph B. Hollinsead, who arrived in San Francisco in 
December of that year. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, December 7, 
1832. On his arrival in San Francisco he worked at his trade of carpenter 
until the gold excitement drew him to the mines. He continued to make San 
Francisco his home, until he removed to this county, in 1860, locating on the 
ranch now owned by Mr. Pinkham. After a short residence on this place he 
returned to San Francisco, and when he returned to San Mateo, settled on 
the farm where he is at present located. He married Mary A. Camring, and 
they have five children, named respectively Jeremiah, Joseph, Ella, Alice and 
Sarah E. 

Robert Bawls. There are few residents of San Mateo county who are 
unacquainted with Bob Bawls, the stage driver. His bright smile, his hearty 
laugh, his ready wit, his keen repartee, are the delight of all who know him, 
and he is a prime favorite all along the route from San Mateo to Pescadero. 
True to the traditions and manners of his guild, of which he is a bright type, 
his affability, especially with the ladies, has gained for him many devoted 
friends. He was born in .Chester county, Illinois, May 16, 1835. He resided 
in Fairfield, Jefferson county, Iowa, from 1857 until 1860, when he removed 
to Arkansas, where he remained until the following year, when he crossed the 
plains to this state, settling at San Luis Obispo, and driving the stage to San 
Jose, a position he held for six years. He then came to this county, and has 
been driving between Spanishtown to Pescadero ever since. There is no 


more popular or competent driver in the state, and Messrs. Taft & Garretson 
simply further their own interests in employing him on their line. He is mar- 
ried and has three children; Edward, Mary, and Ellen Elizabeth. 

0. W. Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin was born in Newark, New Jersey, May 30, 
1833, and served an apprenticeship in a machine shop in that state. He left 
Newark in 1855, and arrived in San Francisco November 28th, of that year, 
working at his trade in that city until 1863, when he came to San Mateo 
county, settling at La Honda for a time, and afterwards removing to Pesca- 
dero, where he has ever since resided, engaged in the occupation of farming. 
He married Harriet M. Simpson, and has one child, Mary E. 

William M. Taylor. Mr. Taylor was born in Chester county, Penn- 
sylvania, August 10, 1844. While still young his parents moved to Phila- 
delphia, where he learned the trade of a machinist. For some time he followed 
his trade in connection with mercantile pursuits, finally emigrating to Cali- 
fornia, and settling in Pescadero township, in this county, where he now 
resides on a beautiful farm in the mountains, surrounded by charming 
scenery and environed by a climate unsurpassed in the world. He married 
Mary Mullen, and one child, Lillie, is the offspring. 

H. H. Pinkham. Born in Somerset county, Maine, September 1, 1836, 
Mr. Pinkham left his native state in 1859, and crossing the Isthmus arrived in 
San Francisco during that year. Remaining there only ten days, he went 
to Oregon, returning June 17, 1863, and settling near Pescadero in 1866, 
where he engaged in farming in connection with the dairy business, receiving 
his milk supply from a herd of about fifty cows. 

Henry Wurr, a pioneer of 1852, was born in Germany February 26, 1824, 
where he spent his boyhood days, and received his education. He emi- 
grated to the United States and settled at Davenport, Iowa, in 1846.. He left 
Davenport in 1852 and crossed the plains with ox teams, settling near Red- 
wood City in the fall of the same year. In 1856 he removed to Pescadero, 
where he is at present residing. He has, for many years, been interested in 
the milling industry. His children are Hedvig, Blomquist, Ora, Elen and 

J. H. Pratt. The subject of this sketch was born in Otsego county, New 
York, June 10, 1826. He was reared on a dairy farm, and thus became con- 
versant with every department of that industry. Reports which he received 
of the soil and climate of California impressed him so favorably that in 1869 
he came to this coast intending to locate permanently. He secured a lease of 


the Miller & Lux ranch, at Gilroy, where he remained until 1870, when he 
removed to the Steele ranch, in this county. In the course of fifteen months 
he went to San Luis Obispo, and afterwards to Stockton, and Dixon, Solano 
county. He lived in the latter place until his return to San Mateo county in 
1881. He is at present located on R. K. Brown's White House ranch, which 
he has leased, and where he is principally engaged in the manufacture of 
cheese. He was married to Caroline E. Fitch, June 5, 1856, and had two 
children, Clayton and Frank, both of whom were drowned off Nuevo Island 
in the spring of 1883. 

W. H. Gardner. Mr. Gardner was born near Fall river, Massachusetts. 
In 1852 he shipped as a sailor, and came to this coast in 1858, having in his 
voyages visited many foreign countries. Soon after his arrival in this state he 
embarked on a voyage to Tahiti and Hongkong, China, and was absent eight 
months. On his return in June, 1859, he settled at Pescadero, on the ranch 
where he has, since that time, resided continuously. 

Hugh McDermott, is the present incumbent of the office of justice of the 
peace for San Mateo township. He was born in Ireland in March, 1829, and 
came to the United States in 1847, settling in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, 
where he lived about five years, when he located in Orange county, New York. 
He came to California via the Isthmus, in 1857, landing in San Francisco 
March 27th of that year. He was for a time engaged in mining in El Dorado 
county, afterwards pursuing the same occupation in Grass Valley and Sierra 
county. Crossing the mountains into Idaho territory, he prospected for a 
time, and was afterwards employed by the government in assisting to construct 
Fort Boise. He returned to California in 1865, and settled in this county, 
where he has since lived. Prior to the last election, Mr. McDermott had held 
his present office for two terms. He is married but has no children. 

Thomas H. Perry. Thomas H. Perry was born in Ireland, May 2, 1822. 
He came to the United States in 1852, landing in New York City in March of 
that year. His residence in that city continued, with the exception of two 
years at Lake George, until he came to this state via the Isthmus in 1863, 
arriving here January 31st. He settled at San Jose where he remained until 
1864, when he came to San Mateo and here opened a boot and shoe shop, 
December 11, 1866, conducting this business continuously ever since. He 
married Sarah McDonald, his second wife, March 8, 1853. She was born in 
the county Tyrone, Ireland, January 12, 1828. He had two children by his 
first marriage, one of whom, James, born July 10, 1843, enlisted in the war of 
the rebellion and served with distinction, being engaged in many battles, until 
he was stricken with a fever contracted in the swamps of Virginia. He was 


sent to the hospital, from which he was discharged by President Lincoln, 
returning home, where he died June 28, 1863. John C, another son, was 
born February 4, 1847, and is now residing in San Francisco. Mr. Perry's 
first wife was Sarah Finnegan, who was born in the city of Louth, Ireland, 
March 3, 1840. 

J. R. S. Bickford. Was born May 20, 1842, in Biddeford, Maine. He 
went with his parents to Somerset, in that state, and thence to Bangor, where 
he received his education. He came to this state across the Isthmus, landing 
in -San Francisco in January, 18(54. He remained in San Francisco until the 
4th of April following, and then came to San Mateo, where he was engaged in 
the lumber trade for a period of nearly seven years, afterwards residing at 
Laurel Hall three years. After working at the carpenter's trade for four years 
he opened a general merchandising store in Byrne's building. He was burned 
out, and then moved to his present location, near the corner of Second Avenue 
and D street. 

George H. Fisher. Mr. Fisher was born in Burks county, Pennsylvania, 
on the 25th of December, 1838, and was reared on a farm. He came to Cali- 
fornia in 1861, via the Isthmus, arriving in San Francisco March 30th of that 
year. His first venture was as a miner at Chinese Camp, Tuolumne county, 
where he was married to Leonora James, March 5, 1865. They resided at Chi- 
nese Camp until they came to this county, in 1868, settling at Spring Valley, 
where Mr. Fisher had charge of the Spring Valley Water Company's lake at 
that place for six years. He then moved to San Mateo, where he now resides. 
He was elected justice of the peace for township No. 2, which office he held 
for a length of time. 

Eugene Walker. Mr. Walker, who is one of the pioneers of San Mateo 
county, was born in Chatauque county, New York, April 13, 1829. At the 
age of sixteen years he moved to the state of Pennsylvania, where he was 
engaged in boating on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, remaining Until he came 
to California via the Isthmus, in 1857. He settled first at West Union, in this 
county, and resided there until 1858, when he moved to Pescadero. His wife 
died here. Mrs. Walker was one of those devoted women who, leaving home, 
relatives, friends, and all that was dear to happy childhood, followed her hus- 
band to a far off and almost unknown country. She rests from the toil, care 
and sorrow of this world, beneath a little mound of earth, a short distance 
from the village of Pescadero. Mr. Walker lived in Pescadero until 1861, 
when he engaged in the business of freighting, in Nevada, for James G. Fair, 
Whipple and Treadwell. He followed this business eight months, and then 
accepted a position with the Southern Pacific railroad company, where he 


remained for three years. He was afterwards employed on the ranch of 
George H. Howard, and October 6, 1864, he settled in San Mateo, where he 
has since lived, being the first proprietor of the San Mateo Hotel. He has 
held the position of deputy sheriff, and is well known throughout the county . 
The name of his first wife was Mary Whipple, a native of Vermont, and the 
issue of this marriage was a son, John H. His second wife was Margaret 
Smith, and they have one daughter, Clara Agnes. 

James Whitehead. Was born in Prince Edward's Isle, June 4, 1841, and 
conies of that sturdy race of civilizers who left the healthy moor and romantic 
glens of Scotland to populate other lands with a people whose energy, genius 
and patriotism have ever been a bulwark for the countries where they may 
settle. Mr. Whitehead went to Texas in 1859 and remained there about three 
years, returning at the end of that time to his native land. A year later 
he came to California, and after sojourning in Solano and other interior 
counties finally came to San Mateo and settled at Half Moon Bay, where he 
lived until he came to the town of San Mateo, in 1874. This has been his 
home since that time. He married Margaret L. Nash in 1875. 

James Wilson. Mr. Wilson was born in Ireland in 1833, and came to the 
United States in 1839. He was reared in Stephenson county, Illinois, and 
became a farmer. Leaving the prairies of Illinois, he came to California by 
the Nicaragua route early in the year 1850. He mined in Amador county for 
a time, but in 1856, tiring of the precarious pursuit of wealth by this means, 
he came to San Mateo county, locating originally at Redwood City, and 
worked at chopping, shingle-making, teaming and farming until 1865. That 
year he leased a dairy farm of Steele Bros., near the coast. He remained here 
seven years, and attributes his success, in a great measure, to the Steele Bro's. 
After this he leased a similar ranch of Mr. Coburn, stocked it, whereupon 
which he remained eight years. He is now located on a ranch near La Honda, 
where he is conducting a dairy of about one hundred cows, from which he 
manufactures both cheese and butter, which is shipped regularly from Red- 
wood City to San Francisco, where it is rated Al in the market. The average 
yield in cheese alone from this ranch, is thirty thousand pounds per year. He 
married Susan M. Jones, and they have four children; Ulysses L., Albert A., 
Mary J. and Nellie O. 

J. Gr. KllOwles. This old pioneer was born in Meiggs county, Ohio, Sep- 
tember 23, 1828, and was reared in his native county on a farm, receiving his 
education in the common schools. He left home in 1849 with a company of 
nine persons, for California, by the Isthmus route, being compelled to remain 
three months at Panama because no passage to San Francisco could be obtained. 


Four of his party were attacked with Panama fever and two died on the pas- 
sage. Another died on their arrival at San Francisco, and the fourth at the 
mines. Mr. Knowles landed in San Francisco July 26, 1850, and stai'ted for 
the mines, paying eight dollars for his passage on a sailing vessel to Sacra- 
mento. At Sacramento he boarded a small steamer and was conveyed to 
Marysville, thence up the Feather river to the Oregon Gulch diggings, where he 
remained during the fall and winter of 1850. Early in the spring of 1851 he 
located nt Rich Bar, on the Feather river, making the trip over snow which in 
places reached a depth of fifty feet, and paying the " moderate " sum of fifty cents 
per pound for barley with which to feed his mules. He left Rich Bar in June 
and went to Long Bar, on the Yuba. During September following, he returned 
to Sacramento county, where he engaged to work for a dairyman for two 
months, at the expiration of which time he purchased the business and man- 
aged it until the spring of 1853. At various times he has sold milk in Sacra- 
mento at one dollar per quart. When he disposed of his dairy he moved to 
San Francisco, and settled on the Miguel Noe ranch, where he remained until 
November, when he located on his present farm in township one of this 
county, where he has lived ever since. Thirty years have elapsed since this 
pioneer established himself in this county, during which time he identified 
himself with all that pertains to her growth, prosperity and best interests. 
He married Mary Sanderson, a native of Washington county, New York, No- 
vember 14, 1856. Mrs. Knowles was born March 26, 1832. She accompanied 
her parents to Ohio in 1845, where she received a liberal education. She came 
to this state in 1856. Their children are Frank, Walter, Evadne, Albert, Hat- 
tie, Harvey and Dudley. 

Thomas H. Beebee. Thomas H. Beebee was born in Courtland county, 
New York, February 16, 1831. His parents afterwards removed to Huron 
county, Ohio, where he resided until 1852, when he came to this state via the 
Isthmus. Following the example of the early settlers Mr. Beebee became a 
miner, seeking the golden treasure in the placers of El Dorado county. In 
April, 1854, he came to this county, settling near the ranch of Mr. Durham, 
where he has resided ever since, with the exception of two years, from 1859 to 
1861, when his home was in Plumas county, and an absence of four months in 
1880, on a visit to his eastern home. He married Mary Durham, and is the 
father of two children; Catherine S., and Edward Smith. 

T. Gr. Durham. Born in New Jersey, March 5, 1833. Mr. Durham when 
about one year old was taken by his parents to Attica, Seneca county, Ohio, 
where he lived until he was fourteen years of age, when they moved to Hamil- 
ton county, in that state. He came to California via the Nicaragua route, and 
after remaining a year in San Francisco came to this county, settling in 1855 


near Redwood City. In 1857 Mr. Durham and his brother, W. W.Durham, 
opened a wagon road over the mountains to their present place of residence 
beyond Woodside. Their teams were the first vehicles of any kind to cross the 
mountains at this point. Mr. Durham is held in high esteem by all who know 
him, not only for his strict integrity in matters of business, but for his energy, 
enterprise and industry as well. 

W. W. Durham. Mr. Durham was born in New Jersey, May 8, 1831. 
In 1834 his parents moved to Attica, Seneca county, Ohio, and in 1817 to 
Hamilton county in the same state, where young Durham was educated. He 
adopted the trade of a tinner as an occupation, and for a time pursued this 
calling. He came to California overland, with ox teams, arriving in July, 
1853. He was, for a few months, a resident of the vicinity of Oakland, com- 
ing to this county and settling near Redwood City, in January, 1851. In 1857 
his brother, T. G. Durham, and himself, cut a wagon road across the moun- 
tains to their place of residence, bringing with them their teams and wagons, 
the first to cross the mountains at this point. In 1858 he returned to Ohio, 
and in 1859 returned, accompanied by his mother, his brother Ott, and his 
sister Mary. He married Josephine Ralston, and they have three childi-en; 
Charles, Catherine and Frederick. 

D. G. Leary. Was born in Ireland in 1840, and came to the United States 
in 1848, settling at Waltham, Massachusetts. He came to this coast via 
Panama in 1861, landing in San Francisco on November 27th of that year. 
In 1862 he came to Redwood City for the purpose of painting the American 
House, and was so well pleased with the surroundings that he concluded to 
settle here. He has since remained, pursuing the occupation of a painter. 
He married Kate Kelley. Their children are George H., William and Ella 

Thomas Church. The subject of this sketch was born in Londonderry, 
Ireland, September 13, 1836. He accompanied his mother to Canada East in 
1847, his father having previously died. He came to the United States in 
1851, and settled in Franklin county, New York, where he engaged in the 
lumber business. In June, 1861, he removed to Massachusetts, where he 
followed the same business, in connection with farming. He came to Cali- 
fornia overland in 1875, locating' in this county. He was engaged in the 
manufacture of lumber with Borden & Hatch, during a period of one year. 
He was then employed in the same business for three years with Froment 
& Co., when he returned to Borden & Hatch, where he remained seven months. 
In the meantime the Bank of San Jose came into possession of the Froment 
property, and Mr. Church was engaged in lumbering on that claim until 1880, 


when he opened the Summit Spring House, which he has conducted, as its 
proprietor, ever since. The Summit Spring House is located on the road 
between Redwood City and San Gregorio. Mr. Church married Susan Ledden, 
a native of the county Tyrone, Ireland, and their children are Sarah, Wallace, 
Andrew and William. 

Lawrence Kelly, an old and highly respected settler in this county, born in 
Ireland, December 3, 1829. He came to the United States in December, 1851, 
and settled in the State of New York, soon after emigrating to Wisconsin, 
where he remained six years. He came to this coast via Panama in 1860, and 
a few weeks after his arrival settled in San Mateo county, where he is now 
living on his farm at the summit, on the road between Searsville and La Honda. 
He bought this place in partnership with B. Cooney, in 1870, and subsequently 
purchased that gentleman's interest. He has no family. Mr. Kelly is univer- 
sally regarded as a good citizen, a worthy neighbor, and an upright, honest 

August Jeuesein. Is a native of France, born February 15, 1851. He 
came to the United States in 1867 and settled at New Orleans, Louisiana. He 
regarded this place as his home till 1874, notwithstanding he was traveling a 
portion of the time. During the interval he was engaged in business in that 
city. He came to San Francisco in 1875, and remained there, with the 
exception of a short stay at Calistoga and other places, until he came to this 
county in 1878, when he took charge of the Fourteen Mile House. After con- 
ducting the business eighteen months for other parties, he became the owner, 
and is now the proprietor. The Fourteen Mile House, or " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin," is a well known resort, and a history of it can be found in another 
portion of this work. 

A. Eikerenkotter. Mr. Eikerenkotter was born in Prussia, June 30, 1817. 
He was reared and educated in his native country, and came to the United 
States in 1834. He settled at Charleston, S. C. , where he lived eleven years, after- 
wards locating in New Orleans. He came to this state around the Horn, and 
arrived in San Francisco January 6, 1850, on the bark Tarleton, Captain 
Hale commanding. After a stay of one week in the city with Mr. Russ, he 
went to Sacramento, and then moved to Coloma, El Dorado county, locating at 
Sutter's mill, where he was engaged in mining. He then moved to the middle 
fork of the American river and thence to Dry Diggings, Placer county, where 
he engaged in a mercantile business and hotel keeping. In the fall of 1850 
he returned to San Francisco, and kept the Paradise Hotel at the corner of 
Pine and Kearny streets. In 1852 he came to Searsville, where he has erected a 
hotel, and keeps a store, in connection with the postoffice. He married Helena 
Lesemann, and Charles F., Edward, Tilla, Julius, Albert, and George, are his 


David S. Snively. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 29, 1824. 
Mr. Snively was raised and educated in the vicinity of his native place. He 
came to this state in 1852 via the Panama route, arriving at San Francisco in 
March of that year, on the brig Douglass. He lived in San Francisco until the 
spring of 1855, when he went to El Dorado county where he mined two years. 
Returning to San Francisco he worked at his trade, that of a carpenter, until 
the fall of 1872, when he came to this county, settling on a farm on Bear Gulch 
creek, and on a portion of the Mountain Home Ranch. He married Virginia 
L. Stephenson, a native of Illinois. Virginia, Louisa and Frederick are their 

John Hadler. Mr. Hadler was born in Germany, March 16, 1846. When 
seventeen years old he came to the United States, and settled in New York City 
where he resided until he came to California, via Panama, arriving in San 
Francisco in 1866. He located at the corner of Clay and Mason streets in 
that city, where he remained until he came to this county, in 1876. He lived 
at Woodside for three years and then removed to Dry Creek Hill, where he 
opened a saloon, and where he has since lived. He married Mai-y Curtis, and 
Gussie, Diedrich and Claus, are the names of his children. 

Charles Prior. Mr. Prior, who is now deceased, was born in the county 
Cork, Ireland, and came to the United States when very young, settling for a 
time at New Orleans. From that city he came to California in 1852, working 
at the mason's trade until 1856, when he came to Redwood City. In 1862 he 
went to Oregon, but returned in 1879, and erected in 1882 the St. Charles 
Hotel, which he retained until his death, which occured November 7, 1882. 
He married Catharine Guinee, in San Francisco. 

Thomas Taylor. Is one of the promising young men of this county, and 
one who through life has had to. work his way to the position he holds in the 
society of honorable men. By dint of perseverance, integrity and honesty, he 
has achieved an enviable reputation as an upright citizen . He has gained all 
that he possesses by manly toil, and is now the owner of a farm a short distance 
from Woodside. He was born in Huron county, Ohio, August 15, 1856. Here he 
was reared until fifteen years old, when he emigrated to Noble county, Indiana. 
After a residence of two years in this state, he returned to Ohio, and then 
came to California, arriving in November, 1875. He came at once to this 
county, working on a ranch in the mountains. He afterwards located at Pesca- 
dero and San Gregorio, and was then employed in a sawmill in the Santa Cruz 
mountains, returning to San Gregorio, and there settled on his present ranch 
near Woodside. 


John Donald. This old pioneer was born in Cumberland county, England, 
March 21, 1811. He came to the United States in 1835, and settled in Phila- 
delphia. In 1838 he went to Boston, and on June 1, 1849, started for 
California around Cape Horn, landing in San Francisco January 7, 1850. He 
went to the mines, where he remained one year, and then returned to Boston, 
where he landed in February, 1851. In October of that year he again came to 
California, arriving on January 12, 1852. He lived in San Francisco until 
December of that year, when he came to San Mateo county, and settled at the 
place where John Parrott now lives. Here he remained three years, and then 
bought and moved to his present farm, situated on the road from San Mateo 
to Redwood City. He married Ann Thornton, and has three children. 

J. Le Cornec. Was born iii France, January 28, 1852. He was educated 
in that country, and came to California in 1875, settling at Millbrae, where he 
is engaged as a clerk in the store of H. Garnot, which place he has held for 
four years. 

Hi liar Garnot. Was born in France, September 12, 1820. He was educated 
and raised in his native country, and came direct to this state in 1851 via Cape 
Horn, landing in San Francisco on December 20th, of that year. After a 
two month's stay in the city, he went to San Juan, near Monterey, and in 
1853 settled at Mayfield, Santa Clara county, where he lived until 1854. He 
then settled at Millbrae, in this county, and opened a general merchandising 
store, which he now keeps. This store was the second established in the place. 
Mr. Garnot was elected justice of the peace, November 7, 1872. 

Richard Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham was born in Ireland, in 1829, and 
came to the United States in 1847, settling in New York City. Here he 
resided until he came to this state in 1852, around the Horn, in a clipper ship 
commanded by Captain Kingsley. He landed in San Francisco on the 7th of 
August of that year, having been five monthsand eight days on the journey. 
He remained in San Francisco until he came to San Bruno, with the exception 
of six months spent in mining in Butte county. He erected the San Bruno 
Hotel, and opened it in 1802, and has been its proprietor to the present time. 
He is the Southern Pacific R. R. company's ticket agent, telegraph agent, and 
post master at San Bruno. He married Mary Braman, a native of Ireland, 
and their children are John J., Alice, Mary, Lizzie, Richard, Robert, Agnes 
and George. 

Jacob W. Brown. Was born July 23, 1842. He enlisted in the army in 
his native country, and served in the war in Denmark in 1804, afterwards ser- 
ving in the Austrian war in 1800. He arrived in New York City May 2, 1808, 


and during the same year came to this state, arriving in San Francisco Novem- 
ber 25th. He followed the sea for two years, and then went into the oyster 
business, being at the present time the trusted foreman of M. B. Moraghan. 
He resides at Millbrae. 

M. K. Doyle. This gentleman was born in Plattsburgh, New York, October 
16, 1830. His parents took him to the State of Maine when he was very 
young, and he was raised to manhood in that section. He came to California 
via Panama in 1855, landing in San Francisco in the fall of that year. His 
first venture was in the mines, where he remained until 1864, when became to 
San Mateo county, settling near Searsville. He married Ellen Lynch, and 
Mary, Frances and John J., are his children. Mr. Doyle now resides on his 
ranch, located a short distance from Searsville, where he has been successfully 
engaged in farming enterprises. 

Captain Joseph Hamlin Hallett. Was born in Yarmouth, Barnstable 
couDty, Massachusetts, August 3, 1824, and is a sea captain by occupation. 
At the age of fifteen he went to sea, his first voyage beingon the schooner Erie. 
He sailed to all parts of the world in various ships, and rose from the lowest 
position to the master of some of the finest vessels that left the eastern ports. 
He continued in the merchant service twenty -two years, or until the breaking 
out of the rebellion, when he was commissioned first lieutenant of the sloop 
of war Kingfisher, under Captain Self ridge. The sloop was sent to the Gulf 
of Mexico, and did blockade duty at the mouth of the Mississippi river. The 
captain first visited this coast in 1850, as master of the schooner Avon. After 
the war he returned to this coast, and was induced to go to China as master of 
one of the Pacific Mail Company's ships, and from 1867 to 1879 he was first 
officer on one of their vessels. In 1871 he came to this county and settled on his 
present farm near Searsville. He married Annie L. Snively, and they have six 

Michael Brown. This old settler was born in Ireland, and came to the Uni- 
ted States in 1849, settling at Litchfield, Connecticut. He remained in Litch- 
field until he came to this state, via Panama, landing in San Francisco Sunday, 
April 2, 1854. He went to Moore's Flat, Nevada county, where he was 
engaged in mining and blacksmithing until 1869, when he came to Santa 
Clara, Santa Clara county, where he opened a blacksmith shop, which he con- 
ducted until 1870. He then moved to San Mateo, arriving December 18, 1870. 
Here Mr. Brown has continuously worked at his trade, being the proprietor of 
a shop in the village of San Mateo. He was taught his trade by his father, 
and Mr. Brown's sons are also engaged in the same occupation. The business 


is conducted under the firm name of Brown & Sons. He is married, 
and his children are John J., William, Mary, Sylvester, Dennis, Michael, 
Joseph and Henry. 

Thomas Reed. The subject of this sketch is a native of Oneida county, 
New York, and was born August 16, 1828. He remained in his native place 
until 1852, when he came to California via Panama, arriving in San Francisco 
in the spring of that year. He located in the mines at Dogtown, and after- 
wards in Plumas county, on the north fork of the Feather river, where he was 
engaged in packing to the different mining camps. He left Plumas county 
and came to San Mateo county in 1856, settling on the ranch of T. G. Phelps. 
He afterwards assisted in building the San Bruno toll road, and when this 
work was finished, he lived in different localities in this county until 1870, 
when he returned to the Phelps ranch, where he is now the proprietor of a 
large dairy. He married Ellen Donaldson, and James R. (a child by a former 
marriage,) Rebecca H., Ella, William H., John and Christopher C, are his 

Bryan Cooney. Among the many worthy, honorable and respected citizens 
of San Mateo county, none bears a better reputation than the subject of this 
sketch. He was born in Ireland, April 13, 1832. In 1848 he left his native 
country and c ime to the United States, settling in the town of Franklin, Mil- 
waukee county, Wisconsin. He resided here until 1850, when he emigrated 
to Missouri, from which state he came to California via the Nicaragua route, 
landing in San Francisco April 2, 1854, from the steamer Sierra Nevada. His 
first venture was in the mines at Butte creek, Butte county, where he remained 
two years, after which he was employed on a steamer plying on the Sacramento 
river. In 1860 he came to this county, and first settled at Summit Springs, 
where he remained until 1870, when he bought a ranch in partnership with 
Lawrence Kelley. The latter gentleman purchased Mr. Cooney 's interest in 
the ranch in 1873, and Mr. Cooney bought a ranch near by on the summit of 
the mountain, adjoining the road from Searsville to La Honda. He married 
Bridget Byrne, in 1860; Lucy and Edward are their children, and at present his 
brother, P. J. Cooney, of St. Louis, Mo., is visiting him for the first time after 
a lapse of thirty years. 

William Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was born in Wales, April 25, 1824, and came 
to the United States in 1837. He settled at Utica, New York, and served his 
time as a blacksmith, in that city. In 1845 he visited Albany, Troy and Rome, 
in that state, and then came to this state via Panama in 1851, arriving on the 
steamer Columbus in June of that year. He worked at his trade in San Fran- 
cisco at the Vulcan Foundry, of which Gordon & Stern were proprietors, until 



the fall of 1851, when he went to the mines and established a blacksmith shop 
on the divide, between the north and middle forks of the American river. In 
1852 he worked in the placers on the north fork of that river, after which he 
returned to San Francisco, working at his trade. Here he married Jane Rob- 
erts, a native of Wales; they came to this county in February, 1856, settling at 
Searsville. In the spring of 1857 he opened his blacksmith shop, which he 
has since conducted, together with a farming interest, to the present time. 
Mary, Jane, Elizabeth, John and Ella are his children. 

Herr Jacob Mllller. One of the most distinguished artists who has made 
California his home, is the subject of this sketch. He was born in Frankfort 
on the Main, November 12, 1845. When about fifteen years old he went to 
Liverpool, England, where his uncle, a commission merchant, lived. Mr. 
Miiller remained with his uncle four years, during which time he received his 
primary musical education, taking lessons of the best musicians in that city. 
He perfected himself in voice culture and musical training under the most 
noted and talented teachers of other places, and in other lands, principally 
from Richard Mulder. The first piece of note in which Mr. Midler appeared, 
was the Huntsman, in the Nachtlager von Kreutzer. He at once achieved 
great popularity, and remained on the stage, singing the principal parts in the 
large cities of England, France and Germany, for several years, where he was 
decorated by different courts, and created Royal Imperial Court Singer. 

To follow Mr. Miiller through all his wanderings, would require a volume, 
but enough has been said to show the reader that his musical talent, and rich, 
well trained voice, was highly appreciated and admired in the old world. In 
1871 Rudlman brought him to America, and he appeared in all the large cities 
of the United States, singing with Inez Fabbri, the world renowned prima 
donna. His success was no less marked in this country than in Europe. The 
press throughout the United States spoke of his voice as something wonderful 
in power, yet possessing a sympathy and sweetness that invariably charmed 
the listener. He traveled in this country nearly a year, and then returned to 
Europe, where he again appeared in opera and sang throughout the united king- 
dom. In 1876 he came to San Francisco, where he has since lived, and for 
some years was singing at the Grand Opera House in that city. He now has a 
beautiful country residence near San Mateo. We cannot do better at this 
juncture than to quote from one of our best American critics, where in a few 
words that writer deservedly compliments the wonderful talent of this famous 
artist. He says: " Herr Jacob Midler has been regarded by some of the very 
best critics in the world as the best baritone that ever lived." 

Madam Inez Fabbri. The subject of this sketch, so favorably known to 
lovers of artistic music, at ten years of age had developed such wonderful 


musical faculties, that her local tutor advised a thorough course of training. 
Her father, Herr Schmid, a manufacturer of velvets, who had suffered finan- 
cially from a decline of the market, could not afford the means. At sixteen, when 
taking part in a rehearsal of a difficult passage, her talents commanded the atten- 
tion of the director, and she was offered an engagement for two months, with 
an advance payment. Two weeks later she made her debut at.Kashau, Hungary, 
in Lucrezia Borgia, with such success that her manager was induced to repeat 
it a third time. Subsequently she studied " Antonina," in Belisario, and at a 
performance where she was the beneficiary, reaped most flattering financial and 
professional results. 

For four years Fraulein Schmid sang in country towns, and finally in Ham- 
burg, supporting herself as well as her father's family. Though gifted with 
many natural advantages in voice, figure and youthfulness, she had yet to 
attain the technique, or full artistic development. Otto Ruppins, a writer of an 
article entitled " matter for a romance," tells how the obscure Agnes Schmid 
was transformed into the Italian diva, Inez Fabbri, and we have only space to 
admit a synopsis of its leading features . 

Fraulein Schmid found in the refined and accomplished professor Mulder, 
an impresario; and six months later, a husband, who advanced her position to 
one of celebrity, leading her onward in a succession of triumphs. In May, 
1858, the sixth year of her theatrical career, Madame Fabbri made her debut as 
a prima donna assoluta, in the Italian opera, as " Abigal," in the opera Nebu- 
cadlnosor, causing a decided furore. At the close of the opera season, Madame 
Fabbri, in company with her husband, undertook a journey quite remarkable 
for an artiste. Having arrived in Chile, via Cape Horn, from Europe, and won 
laurels in Santiago and other cities, she went overland to the Ai'gentine Repub- 
lic. The crossing of the Cordilleras necessitated the service of twenty persons 
and forty mules and horses. The various adventures, the serious and often 
comic occurrences of the trip, the sublime scenery viewed during this wild 
pilgrimage, made lasting impressions upon the susceptible mind of the young 
artiste. In ten days they reached Mendoza, and after several day's rest they 
continued their journey through the Pampas to Buenos Ayres. Here travel- 
ing costumes were laid aside for theatrical robes, and for thirty nights the 
Teatro Colon had not space to admit the crowds who flocked to hear the new 
operatic star. This success was particularly flattering, as her arrival was 
shortly after that of De La Grange and Lagrua, who had the prestige of con- 
tinental reputation. Montevideo, Rio Janeiro and Pernambuco vied with each 
other in ovations to Madame Fabbri, and, by express request of the royal 
family of Brazil, she sang at the royal gala at Pernambuco. 

The artiste and her company next sailed for New York, where she appeared 
in Italian opera. Without an exception, the New York journals conceded that 
no prima donna ever visited the United States, who so prominently combined 


the musical and dramatic art as Madame Fabbri. As an instance, we quote 
the musical critic of the New York Times, of April 13, 18(50. " Signora Inez 
Fabbri, the celebrated prima donna, made her first appearance last evening in 
the opera La Traviata, surpassing the highest expectations of the most san- 
guine imagination. Madame Fabbri is the best Violetta we have had here so 
far. This truth we must acknowledge without being unjust towards her distin- 
guished predecessors. De La Grange was musically accomplished, but cold; 
Gazzaniga was passionate, though not always rounded. Each one illustrated 
some part of the role, but Fabbri 's genius radiated over the whole, illumining 
a creation in all its details, carrying us away with frenzied enthusiasm and 
admiration. One who was delighted with her pert and fiery singing in the 
first act, and listened again to the deeply affecting dying sounds in the last, 
whence the solution of a human life has approached, rendered in a]l the truth 
of agony and terror, could hardly believe those notes emerged from one and 
the same throat. The artiste created a furore in the literal sense of the word." 
But often when fortune smiles most blandly, reverses are not distant. Ten 
days after these fair moments of an artiste's life, Madame Fabbri lost all her 
effects, at a conflagration which laid in ashes half the city of Mayaquez. This 
loss estimated at $10,000, was felt all the more keenly on account of a previous 
loss, nearly equal in amount, occurring through the failure of a bank in the 
United States. 

The youthful artiste again set her foot on European soil in 1862. The celebra- 
ted society " Felix Meritis " engaged her, and for twenty evenings she sang 
in Amsterdam, Hague and Utrecht. Madame Fabrinext made her appearance 
on the royal stage in Berlin, then visited Posen and Riga, and in March, 
18G3, arrived in her native city, Vienna, and was installed as prima donna in 
the Royal Opera House. What exultant emotions must have thrilled the soul 
of the Vienna child, when on her first night she received thirteen recalls! The 
joy of this magnificent reception was however mingled with sad reflections; 
for her beloved parents, who would have most highly prized her success, had 
passed to a higher life while she was far away; and her sole consolation was in 
the consciousness that she had placed their latter years beyond the reach of 
pecuniary care. 

Her leading parts were then, " Valentine," in Les Huguenots, " Leonora," in 
// Trovatore, "Elvira," in Ernani, " Anna," in Don Juan, " Bertha," in Le 
Prophete, " Alice," in Robert le Diable, and " Agatha," in Der Freischutz. 

A Leipsig correspondent for the Theatre Cronick, speaking of her " Eliza- 
beth " in Tannhauser, says: "Madame Fabbri gave a true impersonation of 
Elizabeth. Her voice seems to be made for the modern musical drama, in 
which passion, activity and dramatic refinement are necessary; and she does 
equal justice to Meyerbeer, Halevy, Verdi and Wagner. Among the special- 



ities are the varied " Leonoras," in Fidelio, La Favorita and // Trovatore, and 
especially her " Selika" in U Africaine. Through her extensive travels in 
foreign countries and close studies of the customs and habits of different 
races, Madame Fabbri has been enabled to delineate her Selika true to the 
Ethiopian nature. Passionate, dramatic vocalism has at present the best effect 
upon the public, and through it Madame Fabbri has attained her exalted ideal. 

In March, 1871, the illustrious artiste, accompanied by her husband, R. 
Mulder (since deceased), Anna Elzer (now in Italy), and Jacob Midler, the 
baritone, famed in both hemispheres, accepted an engagement in Italian Opera 
in Covent Garden, London, and was received with the highest honors, 
although Patti and Titiens were then singing in that city. At last the ambi- 
tious lady yielded to her longing for the fields of her earliest successes, and 
with her company, a second time crossed the Atlantic. Her arrival in New 
York inspired a still more marked enthusiasm than her appearance ten years 
before. During her stay in the metropolis, new laurels were added to her 
renown: and her tour west through the prominent cities was the triumphal 
march of a queen of song. 

In September, 1872, she arrived in San Francisco. Who has forgotten the 
unparalleled excitement in this city during her first three months performance 
at the California Theatre ? It was the first time we had heard a refined and 
artistic blending of the Italian and German schools of vocalization. Oursduls 
were filled with sadness as she depicted the mad scene in Lucia, and the death 
scene in Traviata; and we w r ere alive with merriment in her inimitable delinea- 
tions of the Merry Wives of Windsor. In conclusion, we can truly say that 
Madame Inez Fabbri is distinguished no less for her kind heart and genial 
sympathies than for her dramatic genius and artistic culture, and during the 
five years of her residence in San Francisco, she won the highest esteem and 
admiration of the citizens there. This appreciation is shared by her husband, 
Mr. Jacob Midler, whose reputation as a baritone is unequaled on this coast. 

AVe are happy to state, that Madame Fabbri will remain permanently among 
us, having purchased a beautiful home in the town of San Mateo, and we may 
reasonably hope that the artistic charms of the distinguished prima donna may 
not be hidden by her local seclusion, but that again her voice may delight us 
as it was wont in the years that have gone. 

Hon. J. P. Ames. The following narrative of the life of one of Califor- 
nia's earliest pioneers will be found worthy of perusal, replete as it is with 
incidents of a busy life. Mr. Ames was born in England, on January 23, 1829. 
He came to the United States with his parents when but six months old, and 
the family settled in New York City. They moved to Hartford, Connecticut, 
and in Dutchess county, New York, the subject of our memoir received his 
primary education at the common schools, and his academic learning at a 


seminary in that county. After finishing his education, he went to New York 
City, and was one of the men who came to this coast in the historic Stephen- 
son's regiment in 1847. To give the reader a better knowledge of the move- 
ments of Mr. Ames while with this regiment, we refer them to its history. 
Suffice it to say, that he was honorably discharged at Monterey, in September 
1848. We next find him in the mines at Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras county, 
and in this place, and other mining regions of California, he remained until 
185G, when he went to Half Moon Bay, San Mateo county. We believe of all 
the men that we have had the privilege of writing about in California, those 
who came in Stephenson's regiment possess the most interest. They were all 
bold, resolute men, men who let no trifles hinder them from achievino- the 
purposes and aims of life which they had mapped out. At the very ouset of 
Mr. Ames' coming to Half Moon Bay, his public career commenced. He was 
first elected supervisor, in 1860, and this office, with the exception of a few 
years, he continuously held until 1881. In 1875 he was appointed by Gover- 
nor Booth to settle the Yosemite claims, and so faithfully and well did he 
perform this duty, that he was selected by the republican party and elected to 
represent the people of his county in the legislature, in the winter of 187(5-7. 
He was appointed warden of the State Prison at San Quentin by Governor 
Perkins. We believe, therefore we say, that no man has ever had charge of 
this institution that has' managed it with more economy, and we know no one 
has made the improvements, which will result in so great a profit to the state, 
as those made by Mr, Ames. The jute factory has in the past year saved to 
the farmers of this state money enough to endow Judge Ames with a princely 
fortune. In 1867 he erected a landing, the first on the coast in this county, 
which for all time to come will bear his name. 

Thomas Joklistoil. The subject of this sketch was born in Scotland, in 
the year 1816. His parents emigrated to America two years later and settled 
at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where his father died. In 1832 he, in company 
with his mother, removed to Gallia county, Ohio, where he resided until 184'.), 
when he concluded to try his fortune with the hundreds of others rushing to 
the Pacific coast in quest of gold. Crossing the plains, he arrived in Cali- 
fornia in the autumn of the same year. After meeting with good success, he 
returned to his old home in Ohio in 1852, where he spent the winter. The 
following spring he again set his face westward, taking a drove of eight 
hundred head of cattle from the " states," which he drove through to Half 
Moon Bay, where he settled in October, 1853. In 1868 he opened a grocery 
store, where he still does business. Mr. Johnston was married at Half Moon 
Bay, in 1863, to Glorian Griffing, by whom he has two children, a son and 


Alexander Kerr. Was born in Australia in 1845. In 1850, his parents 
emigrated to California, bringing him into California life at the early age of 
five years, and at a time when everything was at the hightest pitch of excite- 
ment. His parents settled at San Jose, Santa Clara county, where they still 
reside. Mr. Kerr was educated in San Jose, where he resided until 18(59, 
when he removed to San Mateo county, settling at Half Moon Bay. He has 
served as constable in township No. 4 for the past five years, which position 
he now holds. He was married in 1876 to Miss Miramontez, only daugh- 
ter of Rudolpho Miramontez. 

Patrick Deeney. Born in Ireland in 1831. He came to America in 1851, 
landing at New York, where he remained one year. Coming to California in 
1852, he engaged in mining near Sonora, Tuolumne county, following that 
occupation eleven years, during which time he made trips to Fraser river, Vir- 
ginia City and Aurora, while the excitement was at its height in those places. 
He was interested in mining property at Table Mountain, which became 
involved in litigation, and becoming disgusted with the business sold out his 
interest and removed to San Mateo county in 1863, where he now resides, 
owning a good farm of one hundred and ten acres in township No. 4, being 
part of the Denniston ranch, situated four miles north of the town of Half 
Moon Bay. 

Rudolpho Miramontez. Was born at the old Presidio (now a part of 
San Francisco), in the year 1820. At the age of fourteen years he joined the 
army, where he served under the then existing government of Mexico for a 
number of years. In 1840, he took up his residence at Half Moon Bay, sur- 
rounded by wild animals, and still wilder men, who made it extremely dangerous 
for a lone man, though he still continued to reside there, on the grant of land 
which had been made to his father by Governor Alvarado. The rest of the fami- 
ly afterwards settled on the grant, which has been divided into many pieces, and 
the town of Half Moon Bay is located on a part of it. Mr. Miramontez still 
owns his portion, consisting of two hundred and seventy-seven acres, where 
he has fitted up a home in which plenty seems to abound. He was married 
while comparatively a young man, and has one son and one daughter now 
living. The father of Mr. Miramontez was born in Spain, and his mother, 
who is still living, was born of Mexican parents at the San Antonio Mission, 
nearly a century ago. 

W. H. Clark. The subject of this sketch was born June 8, 1840, in tbe 
state of Massachusetts, where he was educated. At the age of seventeen, 
with the aspirations of youth, he came west, settled in Nevada county, Cali- 
fornia, and engaged in mining there for two years. In 1859 he removed to 


Sierra county, where he became interested in the mines and also in the hotel 
business. In 18(50 he came to San Mateo county, and turned his attention to 
farming a short time, then went into the employ of the Spring Valley Water 
Company. Obtaining control of the San Mateo and Half Moon Bay toll road, 
he opened a public house on the road in a pleasant and picturesque spot, 
where he ministers to the wants of the traveling public as only a genial and 
hospitable host can. 

Jacob Downing. Better known as " Major Downing," was born in Colum- 
bia county, New York, in 1823. Left there in December, 1851, and came to 
California by way of the Isthmus, landing at San Francisco during the 
following spring. His first business undertaking was making shingles in the 
redwoods of San Antonio. In 1853 he came to Half Moon Bay, and began 
the manufacture of wagons and carriages, being the first attempt at that indus- 
try in the western portion of San Mateo county. Two years after he sold his 
shop and purchased one thousand three hundred and twenty-five acres of land 
on Tunitos creek, and turned his attention to stock raising and agriculture. 
In 1871, he divided the ranch, letting his brother have six hundred acres, or 
the western part, retaining seven hundred and twenty -five acres, on which he 
has made comfortable improvements. Mr. Downing has demonstrated the fact 
that fruit will grow and mature to perfection on the western slope of the 
county, as the writer was shown some very fine apples, plums, quinces and 
crab apples. The apples were ripe, and were of as fine flavor as can be pro- 
duced in the state. Mr. Downing was married in January, 1868, to Miss S. 
E. Clapp, who was a native of Poughkeepsie; New York. 

Mlirty Gsirgail. Was born in county Cavan, Ireland, .in the year 1825. 
He came to America in 1851,. landing at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he 
remained three years, then removed to California, and settled at Shaw's Flat, 
Tuolumne county, where he was for some time superintendent of the Northern 
Light Placer Mine and Flume Company. After quite an extensive experience 
in mining operations, Mr. Gargan concluded to try farming, and in 1867 he 
moved to San Mateo county, where he purchased a farm of 250 acres in town- 
ship No. 4, where he now resides. He was married, in 1858, to Catharine 
Cahill, and has a family of five children, one son and four daughters. 

George F. Wyman. Was born in the State of New York in the year 1818, 
and resided there until 1835, when he shipped on the Commodore Rodgers foi" 
a whaling voyage bound for the Pacific. After experiencing a rough voyage, 
the vessel was wrecked off the coast at Monterey, having on board twelve thou- 
sand pounds of oil, that being the amount of their captures on the trip. 
After landing at Monterey, Mr. Wyman made his way to the interior, where 


he spent his time alternately between the town of Monterey, and as a vaquero 
among the Mexicans until 1840, when the Americans were driven out of the 
Spanish possessions. He then went north to Sutter's settlement, near where 
Sacramento now stands, and entered Sutter's employ as hunter and trapper, 
also helping to build the fort at that place, which was erected in 1842. In 
1844, he, in company with E. Merritt, Swift and Ford, organized a party to go 
to Sonoma, electing Ford as captain, with the intention of capturing the 
country around Sonoma and having the whole of it to themselves. Prior to 
this time Fremont had gone north towards Oregon, and Major Gillespie 
afterward arrived from the southern country with orders for Fremont in regard 
to future movements. Mr. Wyman was detailed to act as guide for Gillespie, 
which he did as far north as where Chico now stands. He then returned to 
the fort and waited until Fremont's command came back. In the meantime 
Captain Ford had moved into Sonoma and captured the Mission and its gar- 
rison, including General Vallejo. The " bear flag "was floating over the place 
when Fremont arrived, nearly a week after. The capture of San Rafael followed 
soon after, and Captain Ford's company being disbanded, Mr. Wyman went to 
Sutter's fort again. He says from the time he first went to that country their 
troubles with the Indians were of frequent occurrence, and many were killed 
or captured, after which peace would be declared, which generally proved 
lasting with that particular tribe, but other tribes would not profit by the exam- 
ple of their neighbors, and a lesson of the same kind had to be administered 
to each tribe. Mr. Wyman saw the first gold discovered in 1848, which was 
found by the little children of Peter Weimar, though they gave the specimens 
to Marshall who received the honor of the discovery. The subject of our 
sketch was mrrried in 1846, to America Kelsey, who had arrived in California 
two years previous. Mr. Wyman took up his residence in San Jose in 1848, 
removed to Santa Cruz in 1850, where he resided until 1853, thence to San 
Mateo county, settling at Pescadero, and remaining there until 1808, when he 
removed to Half Moon Bay. Mrs. Wyman is a lady with a remarkable history. 
Born in Morgan county, Mo., in 1832, her parents emigrated to Oregon in 
1843, in company with many others, composing a train of one hundred and 
twenty -five wagons, which had to be deserted three hundred miles east of their 
destination, the rest of their journey being accomplished with pack animals. 
The following year they continued their journey to California in the same man- 
ner, arriving at Sutter's Fort in August, 1844. Mrs. Wyman and her mother 
were the first white women at Stockton, where the family were all taken with 
small pox, of which her father died. The complete history of this lady would 
be quite interesting. She is now a member of the San Joaquin Pioneer Society. 
The writer was shown a clock which was brought to California in 1848 by 
Captain Fisher, and presented to Mrs. Wyman; being the first clock known in 
the state. She is not favorably impressed with the present state of things, and 


would like to see the old times of thirty-five years ago, when beans and beef 
alone made the bill of fare. 

Antonio Miramontez. Mr. Miramontez was born near Searsville in this 
county, in 1847, and has resided in and around this place ever since. His 
father was a native of Spain and came to this coast many years ago. The 
subject of our sketch married Manuella, the only living child of that old 
pioneer, John Copinger. They now reside in Woodside, and are possessed of 
a beautiful home. Clara, Christopher, Charlotte, Louisa and Charley are their 
children . 

Thomas Shine. Is an Irishman, and was born December 11, 1845. He 
landed in the United States in 1852, settling in Brooklyn, New York. He left 
Brooklyn and went to New York City, from which place he sailed for this state, 
January 5, 1856, via Nicaragua, arriving in San Francisco in February of that 
year, and went direct to the mines, locating at Oroville, where he remained 
about five weeks, returning to San Francisco about March 1st, following. He 
then came to Searsville, where he began the manufacture of shingles on the 
Mountain Home ranch. He has spent one winter in the mines and one in San 
Francisco since he first located here, and the balance of the time he has resided 
in this county. He is now road overseer, and a large portion of his time is 
occupied in attending to the duties of that position. He also owns a farm. 
He married Mary Boyd, and Annie E., Mary E., William H., Emma M., 
Edward V., Laura F., George E., are their children. 

I. R. Goodsneed, M. D. The reminiscences of the early pioneers on the 
Pacific coast must ever possess a peculiar interest for the Calif ornian. Green 
in their memory will ever remain the trials and incidents of early life in this land 
of golden promise. These pioneers of civilization constitute no ordinary class 
of adventurers. Kesolute, ambitious and enduring, looking into the great and 
possible future of this western slope, and possessing the sagacious mind to 
grasp true conclusions, and the indomitable will to execute just means to 
attain desired ends, these heroic pioneers, by their subsequent .career, have 
proved that they were equal to the great mission assigned them, that of carry- 
ing the real essence of American civilization from their eastern homes, and 
planting it upon the shores of another ocean. Among the many who have 
shown their fitness for the tasks assigned them, none merit this tribute more 
fully than the subject of this sketch. He was born in China, Maine, on May 
30, 1831. His parents, during the same year, moved to Pittston, in the same 
state, where they now reside. He received his education at the public schools 
and academies of that state, and, during his minority, he made teaching his 
profession. At the age of twenty years he commenced the study of medicine 


under the celebrated Dr. C. N. Whitinore, of Gardiner, Maine, and graduated 
from Bowdoin Medical College in 1854, where he received his degree of M. D. 
He then went to Wisconsin, where he practiced his profession some three 
years, when he returned east, and remained until 1859, when he came to Cali- 
fornia via the Isthmus of Panama. On arriving in San Francisco he adopted 
the usual custom of going to the mines. After trying his fortune there for 
a time, he concluded that mining was a too uncertain business, and went, in 
the spring of I860, to Pescadero, at that time in Santa Cruz county, but since 
set off to San Mateo county. At that time Pescadero and the surrounding 
country was sparsely settled, so iu connection with the practice of medicine he 
taught the public school there some two years. In 1862 he went into the 
mercantile business at Pescadero, and followed the same most of the time until 
1872, at which time he sold out his business there and moved to San Mateo, in 
the same county, where he made the practice of medicine his business. When 
the county of San Mateo built a county hospital, he was appointed physician 
to take charge of the same, which position he held for four years. In 1875 he 
was appointed post master at San Mateo, which office he now holds. In 1882 
the republican party selected him from atnong his compeers, and nominated him 
to represent San Francisco and San Mateo counties, as joint state senator. 
But like all other candidates of that party that year, he was defeated. In 1883 
he was appointed surgeon of the Pacific Mad Steamship Company, which posi- 
tion he now holds. He was married in Gardiner, Maine, to L. P. Woodcock, 
and by the union he has two children; Edward and Ella. 

Lemuel T. Murray. Who resides near San Mateo, is one of California's 
pioneers, having arrived in this state early in 1852. He was born Sep- 
tember 18, 1829, in Chittenden county, Vermont, where he was educated, 
and where he lived until he came to this state via the Panama route, landing 
in San Francisco, April 29, 1852. On May 1, 1852, he passed through Sacra- 
mento on his way to the mines at Auburn, Placer county, where he remained 
until the following year, mining and cutting timber, engaging in the latter 
work during the winter of 1852-3. In the spring of 1853 he worked a farm 
on the Cosumnes river. A year afterwards he returned to San Francisco and 
engaged in the dairy business. In 1856 he returned to the east, and in com- 
pany with his brother, bought a band of cattle and sheep in Missouri, which 
they drove across the plains in 1857. They purchased land south of San 
Mateo in 1862, and started a dairy ranch. His ranch is furnished with fine 
barns and sheds for storing hay, the main barn being one hundred and twenty- 
eight by sixty feet, capable of holding one hundred head of cattle and five 
hundred tons of hay. Besides this he has all the other necessary buildings and 
the latest improved appliances for carrying on this business. His herd of cows 
number one hundred and eighty head, the product of which is shipped to San 


Francisco. He married Miranda Chase, of Chittenden county, Vermont, and 
their children are Burleigh C. and Carrie A. 

John K. G. WillWer. The subject of this sketch was born in Prussia, 
December 21, 1829. In 1855, he emigrated to Australia. Having learned the 
trade of coachmaker in his native country, he followed that occupation while 
in Australia. He came to this state in 18G9, arriving on the 5th day of May 
in that year. After a stay of three weeks in San Francisco, he came to Wood- 
side, where he opened a shop a short distance below where his present place 
of business is located. In 1882, he erected a frame building sufficiently large 
to accommodate a wagon and blacksmith trades, manufacturing wagons and 
carriages, besides carrying on a general wood and iron repairing for the far- 
mers and teamsters of the surrounding country. He married Maria Hoehne, 
a native of Prussia, and they have five children; John T. C, Louis E. H., 
Earnest, Bertha and Ferdinand. 

George Winter. Mr. Winter first saw the light at Logansport, Indiana, 
June 22, 1811. In 1852, his parents moved to La Fayette, in the same state, 
where he was educated. Here he also learned the painter's trade. His father, 
and cousins Robert and William, being portrait and landscape painters, Mr. 
Winter was induced to study that art; but finding that it took years of toil and 
application to become proficient enough to gain a livelihood, he abandoned it 
for the more lucrative trade of house, sign and carriage painting, which he has 
since followed, except one year, which was spent in the postoffice department 
at La Fayette. In 1858, he joined a Georgia company en route for Pike's Peak, 
where arriving, they prospected for gold down Cherry creek, to its junction 
with Platte river. Prospected the Spanish diggings — took up some claims, and 
returned during the same year to Leavenworth City. On the 17th of March, 
1859, he again crossed the plains, taking the famous Smoky Hill and Fremont 
mail route, on which route there was so much suffering, and was one of the 
rescuing party of the Blue brothers, that got lost, and killed each other, by lot, 
for the others to subsist on until rescued; when the last of the brothers 
was found, he had a part of the leg of his brother, last killed , hung over his 
shoulder, wandering near the plains, crazy. Arrived at the mouth of Cherry 
creek, he with several of his companions laid the foundation of Denver City 
and Aurora; each town on opposite banks of Cherry creek, and at its junction 
with Platte river. Went into the mountains and worked in the mines at Greg- 
ory diggings, meeting with good success; but being taken down with mountain 
fever, was brought out of the mountains down to Clear creek, where he was 
taken charge of by the same parties that he had crossed the plains with. They 
shortly starting for California, and not wishing to leave Mr. Winter sick 
amongst strangers, they placed him in the wagons and brought him on to 


California, where he arrived during the same year. He stopped at Anderson 
valley, Mendocino county, where he stayed a few weeks, when he came to San 
Francisco. He went to Fraser river in 1860, visiting all the gold regions in 
that section, and taking an active part in the Indian war. Was one of the 
pioneers in the Nez Perces mines. Helped to build Lewiston, at the junction 
of Clear Water and Snake rivers; done well in the mines in and around Elk 
City, on the American creek, to the Clear Water river. He sold out, crossed the 
mountains with a band of Nez Perces Indians, over into the Bitter Root valley, 
crossing the now famous Camas prairie. The taking of it from the Indians by 
interloping white men, was the real cause of the bloody war of Nez Perces 
against whites, in which General Howard had a hand, and thus made bitter 
enemies of a once fine and peaceable tribe of Indians. On the trip over the 
mountains was the guest of chiefs Cue-cue-sna-nie, Tu-i-tu-e and Ela-sco-lie. 
In the twenty -five days travel with them, was treated like a little god, receiv- 
ing from all some mark of attention. And on special occasions, when invited 
to a feast (high toned), was expected to eat stewed dog, jerked horse, camas, 
fat buffalo and choke cherries and pits, all mashed together and served on pieces 
of dried buffalo chips. Looked like blackberry jam, sugared with fine sand. 
For dessert, a squaw .would produce a fine tooth comb, give a pull through 
her hair, fetching out a dozen or so of fine large fat lice, that were passed 
around on the comb for inspection and criticism. It was a special mark of 
appreciation of the squaw, by the guest cracking a louse between their teeth 
and eating them; the more they ate, the more the appreciation. Mr. Winter's 
teeth being dull, he took his whole. At this place, the very head of the Bitter 
Root valley and river, there was a week's gathering of Indians from all parts; 
grand pow wows, dances, and a final break-up, the Indians going over the 
Rocky mountains to Milk river, to hunt buffalo. Mr. Winter then went down 
the valley to Fort Owens, thence to Hell Gate, then to Walla Walla, where he 
wintered. Starting in the early spring for Salmon river, located at Florence 
City, in Babboon Gulch. Done well in these mines, returned to Walla Walla, 
and then pioneered it over into Idaho mines, and was one of the builders of 
the town of Bannock, now named Idaho City. From there went to San Fran- 
cisco, thence on a trip to Mexico; being in the city of Colima at the time the 
French and Austrians were there at war with the Mexicans, and Maximillian 
was taken. He took passage on the steamer Golden City for San Francisco, 
and on his arrival there worked at his trade. At the solicitation of Mr. 
Frank Gilman, a leading painter of San Francisco, he went down to San 
Mateo on the 18th of December, 1865, to paint the Episcopal church. He 
married Maggie Berry in 1866. Liking the place and people, concluded to 
cast his lot with them; did so, and opened out in the chicken business. In 
1872, he moved to Knight's Ferry, Stanislaus county, but returned to San 
Mateo September 3, 1875, where he has since lived, working at his trade, and 


is also engaged in raising thoroughbred poultry. His children are Henry, 
Nattie, Arthur, George, Lillie, Charlie, Robert and Willie. 

William Jackson. The early career of Mr. Jackson, one of California's 
pioneers, was unusually checkered and fraught with adventure. Born in the 
county of Wexford, Ireland, August 25, 1828, he at an early age adopted 
the sea as his profession. In 1846, he joined an American vessel, and came to 
the United States. Still in pursuit of adventure, he shipped on board the 
Baltic, captain Elbridge, commanding, bound for San Francisco, where he 
arrived in 1849. After remaining in that city five years, he began the culti- 
vation of a ranch near San Antonio, Alameda county, which he continued 
until February 20, 1860, when he came to San Mateo county and settled on 
the farm where he ;s at present residing. This farm comprises four hundred 
acres. Here, amidst the timber and the everlasting hills, this old pioneer, after 
years of toil and restless adventure, has made his home for nearly twenty-three 
years, steadily subduing the wilderness and making it to blossom as the rose. 
Mr. Jackson married Isabella Johnson, and they have four children living: 
Mary, William, Fannie and Thomas. A little granddaughter, Lizzie, is also 
with them, to remind them of the years that are passing, and the changes they 

John (j. Moore. The name of Mr. Moore will be recognized as one among 
the pioneer shingle millmen of San Mateo county. He is a native of Rocking- 
ham county, New Hampshire, and born April 19, 1829. His parents took him 
to Lowell, Massachusetts, when seven years old, where he was educated. 
Here he was engaged in staging and teaming until he came to this coast round 
the Horn, and landed in San Francisco, March 13, 1850. He went to the 
mines, first at Angels' Camp, then to Mokelumne Hill and San Andreas, 
where he remained until 1852, when he returned to San Francisco. In May 
of that year he settled at Woodside and run a stage line from that place to San 
Francisco. He erected the pioneer shingle mill at Woodside, and followed 
the business of shingle making until his settlement at San Mateo in 1861. 
About the time of his arrival here, he operated a stage line running to Pesca- 
dero. He married Mary Jane Spencer, and Mary E., Malinda A., Libbie and 
John G. are the names of their children. 

Andrew Taft. This well known stage proprietor was born in Ontario 
county, New York, July 7, 1828. He, with his father, emigrated to Macomb 
county, Michigan, in May, 1830. Mr. Taft came to California via the Nica- 
ragua route, and arrived on November 16, 1852. He proceeded to the mines, 
first locating at Placerville, El Dorado county; thence, in the spring of 1854, 
to Mokelumne Hill, where he followed the occupation of a miner until 1857. 


He next engaged in the livery business for one year, after which he purchased 
a stage line, and has continuously followed the business to the present time. 
He came to this county July 5, 1872, and now owns an interest in the stage 
line from San Mateo to Santa Cruz. He is married, and Andrew Adon and 
Hannah Ada are the names of their children . 

Henry Frazef Barrows. The year 1861 will be ever memorable as the 
period when a great dissention between two vast sections of the country threat- 
ened the dismemberment of the nation. Joint resolutions had passed both 
houses of the California legislature, pledging the state to respond to any call 
from the President for assistance in putting down the rebellious foes of the 
government. The consequence was, that in many towns and villages through- 
out the coast, military companies were immediately organized and equipped 
for the emergency that was expected to arise at any moment. Among other 
organizations of this character, company H was fitted out in Trinity county, 
and became a part of the Fourth California volunteer infantry. Men were 
being called for to fill the ranks of this regiment, and the subject of this sketch 
was one of the first to respond. The regiment was divided, a portion being- 
ordered to the north and a portion to the south. Mr. Barrows was among 
those who went into the southern country, camping for a short time, for drill, 
about nine miles from Los Angeles. They were then ordered to Arizona, 
Company H, to which Mr. Barrows was attached, performing forced marches 
of fifty miles, at times, over the burning sands of a glaring desert, beneath the 
torrid heat of a tropical sun, burdened with the weight of knapsack, cartridge 
box, and gun. It was indeed a patriotic motive that imbued these men with 
the strength and energy sufficient to enable them to endure the privations of 
that terrible march. They remained at Fort Yuma a short time and then 
resumed their march across the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, finally 
reaching the Kio Grande and establishing headquarters at El Paso, Texas. 
He then re-crossed the desert to the city of Los Angeles, and was honorably 
discharged at Drum barracks, Los Angeles county, after a service of three years, 
his record being that of a thorough soldier. We are not surprised that 
Mr. Barrows should have been found among those who loved their country 
better than life, and who resolved that the honor and integrity of the whole 
Union should be maintained, and that the stars and stripes should wave above 
every section of the United States as long as a single dollar or a drop of blood 
remained in the north, for he came from a family of patriots, and first saw the 
light in a state, the people of which love the grand old principles embodied in 
the motto: " The Union forever, and liberty to all men." Mr. Barrows was 
born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 29, 1839. At the age of twelve years he 
went to New Orleans, where he was employed as a cabin boy on the steamer 
Susquehanna, plying on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Having followed this 


occupation two years, lie returned to his native city, and remained there until 
he came to California, in the spring of 1854. He proceeded to Oregon and 
thence to Puget Sound, where he was in the employ of the government until 
1860, when he returned to San Francisco, and in the following year enlisted 
as has already been described. At the close of the war he was employed in a 
general merchandise store in Los Angeles. In 18G7 he came to Pescadero and 
afterwards to San Mateo, where he is at present the manager of Hon. James 
Byrnes' livery stable. Mr. Barrows is not, in any sense of the phrase, a policy 
man. He is either a friend or a foe, and he makes no concealment of his posi- 
tion towards those whom he likes or dislikes. He is, however, always kind 
and courteous, and generous to a fault, and bears an enviable reputation for 
honesty and sterling integrity in the community where he lives. As we close 
this brief sketch of this old settler and patriotic soldier, we cannot help 
expressing the heartfelt wish that many years may pass away before the bugle 
call of death shall summon him to the bivouac of eternity. 

Judge James W. Bicknell. Was born in Green county, Tennessee, Octo- 
ber 21, 1813. Here he was raised and educated. In the year 1849, he left for 
California, crossing the plains with ox teams, and arrived in the same year. 
He engaged in mining in Amador and El Dorado counties, and subsequently 
on the south fork of the Yuba river. We next find him in Nevada City, 
where he lived till 1852. He then settled in Placer county, and from there 
returned to his home in Tennessee, where he remained about six months. He 
again came to this state, settling in San Francisco, where he engaged in business 
with his brother-in-law, T. D. Heiskell. In the fall of 1853 he sold out and 
again went to the mines in Amador county. Here, in 1860, he was elected 
county clerk. In 1864 he came to San Mateo county, and took up his resi- 
dence with A. Hay ward. He was appointed county judge to fill an unexpired 
term of Horace Templeton, and in 1874 was elected to that office, which he 
held until the adoption of the new constitution. In the year 1869 he went to 
Los Angeles, where he was employed in the banking house of A. Hay ward & 
Co. Here he remained three years, He moved to Redwood City in 1874, and 
has resided there till the present time. He was placed in nomination for 
county clerk in the fall of 1882, and elected to that office, which he now holds. 
In the year 1844 he married Elizabeth Heiskell, sister of T. D. Heiskell. She 
died in 1848. 

Hoil. L. D. Morse. The subject of our memoir was born in East Poultney, 
Rutland county, Vermont, December 25, 1821. He was educated at Union 
Academy of Wayne creek, Wayne county, New York, and at the state Univer- 
sity in New York City. In the medical department of that university he gradu- 
ated in 1846. He commenced the practice of medicine in the city of Perth 


Amboy, New Jersey. Here he remained about twelve years, then emigrated to 
Missouri, and settled a few miles west of St. Louis. At the breaking out of 
the war of the rebellion, he went into the military service as surgeon of the 
first regiment enrolled Missouri Militia, of St. Louis county, receiving his 
commission from Hamilton R. Gamble, governor of Missouri. At the time of 
General Price's raid near Springfield, Missouri, the doctor accompanied the 
regiment to that place, but was soon after ordered back to be examining physi- 
cian of recruits. He was honorably discharged from the service at the close of 
the war, after which he was corresponding secretary of the Missouri state board 
of Agriculture. At the time of his holding this position, he was also appointed 
state commissioner of statistics, and the six annual reports which he made 
while he occupied these positions, were remarkably exhaustive. The manner 
in which he filled the offices, and the high regard by which he was held by the 
educated men with whom he was associated, was the reason for his being 
selected by the board of curators of the university of Missouri, to examine, 
classify, and appraise the college lands of that state. These lands were chiefly 
located in mineral regions, and consisted of three hundred and thirty thousand 
acres. Dr. Morse was engaged in this work about three years. His reports on 
the agricultural capacities, botany, geology, mineralogy and extent of the dis- 
trict, was afterwards accepted as authority. A meritorious and high compliment 
was recently paid the doctor by the college law commission of Missouri, which 
we quote : "It gives me pleasure to state that Dr. Morse's qualifications pecu- 
liarly fitted him for this work, and that he performed it to the entire satisfaction 
of the board of curators. That he did it well, subsequent examinations have 
confirmed." Dr. Morse came to this state in the fall of 1874, and the follow- 
ing winter settled at San Mateo, where he now resides. He has mainly 
devoted his time to the practice of his profession. On June 3, 1878, he was 
elected to the constitutional convention which met in Sacramento, where he 
performed the functions of his office worthy a man of learning and ability. 
He married Rebecca Daggett, a native of Jordan, New York, and Charles 
M., Mary E., Lucius D. and William H. are their children. 

Edward Taylor. The subject of this sketch was born in Middletown, 
Monmouth county, New Jersey, January 26, 1819, where he lived until he was 
seventeen years of age. From this place he moved to New York, where he 
remained three years. About this time a relative of his, who was interested in 
a ship about to make a voyage to China, via Sydney, New South Wales, offered 
him a passage around the world. This proposition afforded the subject of our 
sketch an opportunity, to carry out a long cherished wish to become a sea- 
faring man, and he at once accepted the offer, and they set sail for their 
destination in March, 1840. This trip proved to be replete with incidents and 
adventures, and we record one of them. While on their way from Sydney to 


Manila, and when they arrived at the Sooloo group of islands, they spied a 
vessel coming from the north, and being anxious to obtain news of the opium 
war which was then progressing in China, and to while away a few tedious 
hours, some of the ship's crew, including Mr. Taylor and the captain, went 
ashore on an island, in a small boat. This craft was left in charge of one of 
the boys, while the rest of the party wandered along the shore sight-seeing. 
Suddenly they were attacked by a large party of Malays, and their retreat being 
cut off to the boat, they ran over the reefs, plunged into the water, and Mr. 
Taylor, not knowing how to swim, saved his life by remaining under water until 
after the natives, who had become frightened in some way, had secreted them- 
selves in the adjacent bushes. The boy left with the boat, seeing the danger 
of his comrades, pulled out into the stream, and rescued all but two, who were 
killed by the Malays. Soon after this the ship proceeded on her way until she 
arrived at her destination. In May, 1841, while the battle of Canton was in 
progress, Mr. Taylor, together with other employees of the mercantile house to 
which they were attached, endeavored to escape to Whampoo in a small boat, 
and take with them the books and records belonging to the house. They were 
captured by the Chinese, beaten and cut in a frightful manner, and then taken 
to a building in the city. From this place Mr. Taylor was placed in a sedan, 
carried along a labyrinth of streets, out of the back gates of the city, where he 
was guarded in a camp of soldiers. He was, undoubtedly, about to be taken 
to a place for trial or execution, but on showing the commanding officer a star 
pricked in his arm with india ink, thus conveying to the heathen mind the fact 
that he was an American, he was allowed to remain. A short time thereafter, 
however, he was taken within the gates of the city, tried, and sent to prison. 
He was released after three days, went to Whampoo, and in due time returned 
to Canton, where he resided three years. In 1846 Mr. Taylor took another 
ocean voyage to Shanghai, and then came to California, arriving June 12, 1849. 
Shortly after bis arrival he accepted a situation in the office of C. B. Post; but 
on January 1, 1850, he went into the employ of the Pacific Mail Steamship 
Company, and is now holding the responsible position as their cashier. His 
home is at San Mateo, to which place he moved in 1863. 

A. P. Thompson. Mr. Thompson was born near Portland, Cumberland 
county, Maine, July 9, 1821. When nine years of age he went and worked on 
a farm in Oxford county, Maine, until he was twelve years old, when he went 
to Boston and learned the trade of painter. He afterwards studied at West 
Point in 1846, when the Mexican war broke out. He was assigned to company 
" A," corps of engineers, and on September 25th embarked with his company 
at New York for the seat of war. On October 12th, he landed at Brazos, St. 
Jago, Texas, from which place he marched thirteen miles to the Rio Grande, 
where a steamer conveyed him to Matamoras, arriving October 28th, and visiting 


Fort Brown on the 29th. December 2d they marched to Camargo and thence 
to Tampico. On the 6th, orders were received to return to Matamoras to join 
General Patterson's division. The march was begun on the 8th, and on the 
22d they camped at Elmo creek; on the 25th they camped at Pederios, and on 
the 26th at San Fernando. They remained here until the 28th, camping that 
night on Boncous creek. On the 31st they reached San Leandro creek, where 
they were mustered by Lieutenant G. W. Smith, in command, and who became 
a general during the late civil war. January 2, 1847, they camped at St. 
Astoras, and on the 3d, on Lacorma creek. On the 4th they arrived at Victoria, 
where they joined Gen. Taylor's command. Taylor returned to the Rio 
Grande. They left Victoria under Patterson and Pillow on the 13th, and on 
the 23d arrived within two miles of Tampico, marching into the city on the 24th. 
On February 25th they sailed for Vera Cruz, arriving at Lobos island on the 27th. 
Here their force consisted of twenty vessels, with which they sailed, the sloop of 
war St. Mary taking the lead; the fleet, when under full sail, presenting a picture 
at once imposing and beautiful. On March 4th, they arrived at Antone Lizardo, 
where the vessel upon which Mr. Thompson had embarked from Tampico, ran 
aground. They floated off the next morning, and on March 9th, at five o'clock 
in the afternoon, they landed within three miles of Vera Cruz without opposi- 
tion from the enemy. On March 10th other troops were landed, and the work 
of surrounding the city began. On the 17th batteries were placed in position, 
and on the 22d they opened fire on the city, which surrendered on the 23d. 
April 11th, they left Vera Cruz and arrived at Del Rio that night about ten 
o'clock, joining General Twiggs' division at this point. On the 18th of April 
they fought the battle of Cerro Gordo, following the enemy after the victory ns 
far as Eucerro. On the 19th they marched on Jalapa, arriving at ten o'clock on 
the afternoon of the 20th. Here they were joined by Worth's command, and 
started for Lahoys and the Castle of Perote, arriving at the former place on the 
21st. They found the place abandoned, the enemy havingleft sixpiecesof artil- 
lery behind them in their flight. On the 22d they arrived at Perote Castle, which 
had also been abandoned, and left in charge of a first lieutenant of Mexican 
infantry to turn over. Mr. Thompson found this place a very formidable 
stronghold, built of stone, and used by the Mexicans as a military prison, as 
well as a fortification. On the 28th they arrived at Tepe Ialco, and May 9th 
camped at Amezoque. On the 13th following, the long roll sounded to arms, 
and Santa Ana with a force of Mexican lancers charged the American forces, 
but was repulsed. The army then marched to Pueblo, where they arrived on 
the 13th. August 7th they left Pueblo with Twiggs' division for the city of 
Mexico, camping on the Rio Priesto. On the 8th they bivouacked at San 
Martin, and on the 9th pitched their tents at Tesmeluca. On the 10th they 
reached Cadoba, and on the 11th arrived at Agotla. On the 12th they recon- 
noitered and found the enemy fortified at El Pinon, holding a position which 


swept the approaches for three miles. Worth's division came up on the 16th, 
but the attack at this point was abandoned, Twiggs' division being left to 
mask the movements of Worth's troops, to which Mr. Thompson was attached, 
and who by a rapid countermarch over a road deemed by the enemy impassa- 
ble, on account of the numerous obstructions rolled down from the mountain 
side. On the 19th of August appeared before General Valencia's position, 
which was strongly fortified and defended by twenty-two pieces* of artillery. 
As soon as the Americans came within range, fire was opened by the enemy, 
which was returned from a light battery. This fire diverted the attention of 
the Mexicans until the attacking force could cross the ravines; the intention 
being to carry General Valencia's works by storm. This maneuver, however, 
was not executed until late in the evening, and the attack was postponed until 
morning, the grand final charge being successfully made at daylight. Seven 
hundred of the enemy were killed, several generals taken prisoners, and 
twenty -two brass pieces captured. The Americans pursued the Mexicans as far 
as San Ancel. A reconnoitering party was sent out to investigate the enemy's 
position at Cherubusco, and the result was the discovery of a battery command- 
ing the road leading to the convent, preventing a direct attack at that point. 
The party observed, however, that an eligible position could be secured on the 
left, and the troops being ordered forward to that point the battle commenced. 
The strife continued during three hours and a-half, with inconceivable fury on 
either side, resulting in the capture of the convent, but at a loss of 1000 of the 
American army. August 20, 1847, an armistice was signed, and the American 
troops went into quarters at San Ancel. On the 5th of September the negotia- 
tions were unsatisfactorily concluded, and the • army was ordered to move on 
Tacubya, and within cannon range of the castle of Chapultepec. On Septem- 
ber 8th the Americans attacked El Molino del Bey, which they supposed to be 
only a cannon foundry garrisoned by a few troops. They found, however, a 
strong fort garrisoned by ten times the attacking force. After an obstinate 
fight of three hours, the Mexicans were driven from their stronghold. 
Batteries were erected on the night of the 11th of September, and the bombard- 
ment immediately following rendered the castle vulnerable to the storming par- 
ties which were thrown against it on the 13th, and resulting in the final capture 
of the fortification. Mr. Thompson's company then joined General Worth's 
division and pursued the enemy toward the city of Mexico, which they 
captured on the 14th of September, 1847, ending the war. After the war Mr. 
Thompson returned to West Point, where he remained about three months, 
when he resigned from the service and returned to Boston. He afterwards 
went to Moosehead lake, remaining in that section during the winter of 
1849-50, returning in the spring of the latter year to Boston. He came to 
California via the Isthmus, arriving in San Francisco in March, 1853. He 
lived in that city two years, and then located on a ranch at Mountain View, 


Santa Clara county. In 1S65 he came to Pescadero township, and in 1872 he 
moved to Pescadero, where he has since resided, being engaged in a mercantile 


Hon. Charles X. Fox. A prominent member of the bar of California, was 
born in the township of Bedford, Wayne county, Michigan, March 9, 1829. 
His father, Benjamin F. Fox, was born in Whitesborough, Oneida county, 
New York, April 3, 1805. His mother, Betsey Crane, a native of Mentz, 
Cayuga county, New York, was born July 12, 1807. Both of his parents' 
ancestry are of English origin, and were among the earliest colonial pioneers 
of New England. His paternal grandparents on both sides were active patriots 
during the American revolution, and participated in that memorable struggle 
for freedom and independence. In early childhood the subject of this sketch, 
during the short summer seasons, attended school in a log house, a mile from 
the parental residence. Subsequently he likewise attended the winter terms, 
Until childhood ripened into youth, when his services were required on the 
farm. At the age of sixteen, the family having previously moved to Washte- 
naw county, Michigan, young Fox left the parental roof and went to Ann 
Arbor intending to work his way through the university in that locality. 
Here he pursued a course of study preparatory to admission to the university 
proper, supporting himself, in the meantime, at any kind of manual labor that 
could be obtained. Unfortunately, however, as he was about to enter the 
university as freshman, his health failed, compelling him to relinquish, for the 
present at least, the further pursuit of a collegiate course of study. Having 
recovered his health, he entered a printing office, and after serving an appren- 
ticeship in the office of the Michigan Argus, had, at the age of twenty-one, 
become an expert country printer, and acquired some reputation as a news- 
paper writer. In this business he acquired the habit of putting his original 
matter into type without the aid of manuscript, a habit of much value to him 
in the subsequent practice of his profession. In 1852, having previously pur- 
sued a legal course of study in the office of Judge Morgan, at Ann Arbor, 
Michigan, he was admitted to the bar of that state, where he practiced with 
some distinction until 1856, when he removed to California. After a brief 
term of practice in San Mateo county, he opened an office in San Francisco, 
where he has continued to enjoy a large practice during the past fifteen years. 
His reputation as an able lawyer has likewise given him an extensive practice 
throughout the state. As a legislator, he is distinguished for his attainments 
in the preparation of laws, clearness of conception, conciseness of construction, 
power of analysis, and great capacity for work in committee, or elsewhere. 
Upon attaining his majority, Mr. Fox united himself with the democratic 
party, and participated in all its campaigns until after the first election of Mr. 
Lincoln. In tbat campaign he supported Mr. Douglass. Upon the breaking 


out of the rebellion he ardently espoused the Union cause, and became zealous 
in the support of the republican party, with which he has ever since continued. 
He has participated in every canvass as a speaker of prominence and influence. 
He was chairman of the republican state convention of California, and was 
nominated for presidential elector, and made a thorough canvass of the state, 
but was defeated, with his ticket. He represented Alameda county in the 
Assembly in the session of the legislature of 1880, was chairman of the 
judiciary, and a member of several other important committees. Mr. Fox was 
district attorney of San Mateo county from ls.>7 to 1861, and town trustee of 
Redwood City two years, and has since served four years in the board of 
education of the city of Oakland, of which for two years he was the president. 
In 1864-5 -6 Mr. Fox was the senior member of the law firm of Charles N. and 
George W. Fox, with offices at San Francisco and Redwood City; subsequently 
of the law firm of Campbell, Fox & Campbell, of San Francisco, composed of 
Alexander Campbell, senior, Charles X. Fox and H. C. Campbell; and is now 
senior member of the firm of Fox & Kellogg, composed of Charles N. Fox and 
M. B. Kellogg. Mr. Fox has always been prominent in benevolent and 
fraternal societies. He is a,member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 
in which he has been particularly active. He has passed all the chairs, and 
received all the honors of the subordinate and state grand bodies; and three 
times has represented California in the sovereign grand body of the world. By 
his advice and influence he has contributed largely to the introduction of 
American Odd Fellowship into Australia, and was the author of the legislation 
which placed it there on an equal plane with the Manchester Unity in those 
colonies. Mr. Fox has extensive acquaintance with the eminent men of the 
United States; but little with those of foreign countries. In social life he is 
neither averse nor particularly attached to society. His extensive professional 
duties require his entire attention, and leave him but little time for social 
enjoyment. He finds his greatest happiness in the society of his family, and 
in the pleasant intercourse with a few genial and familiar friends. Mr. Fox 
has a wife, a lady of French extraction, descended from one of the brave men 
who volunteered with Lafayette to aid in the struggle for American independ- 
ance. Such, in brief, is the sketch of Hon. Chas. N. Fox, truthfully expressed; 
being one of the best types of the self-made men of America. His courage in 
the hour of adversity, his determination to succeed in the face of repeated 
reverses, and above all, his sublime confidence and hope in himself and the 
future are characteristics that stamp their possessor with true greatness. 

Hon. Charles X. Feltoii, who represented San Mateo county in the assem- 
bly, to use the language of Professor Huxley, is " a man so trained in youth 
that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with ease and pleasure 
all the work that as a mechanism it is capable of, whose intellect is a clear, 


cold, logical engine, with all its parts of equal strength, and in smooth work- 
ing order, ready, like a steam engine, to be turned to any kind of work, and 
spin the gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind." And this indeed 
is the man so familiarly called " Charlie Felton." He was born in New York, 
and received a good education. He is a middle aged man, one of those solid, 
compact men that are neither large nor small physically, but of the Napoleonic 
type. A kind of medium between the genius and the commonplace man. He 
is, so to speak, one of those men whose brain is well proportioned to his body. 
There is a sort of equilibrium in the entire make up of the man. He never stops 
to consider trifles, and never reaches after the impossible or impracticable. He 
gives proper attention to the details of his business, but would not like to be 
detailed to do so. He has a powerful mind, and what adds to its strength is 
the fact that it is his own. It will not brook insult nor be dictated to. It 
abhors presumption and hates flattery. It is business, morning, noon and 
evening, but it desires, and always secures, rest at night. When he turns the 
key in his office door he has dismissed the cares of business from his mind, and 
resolved to reap some pleasant recreation from his hard fought battle of the day 
gone by. He could not, he dare not if he tried, devote his time to the trivial 
things which sometimes turn other men's minds. He believes in quick, 
effective, and comprehensive work; work which brings profit when it is com- 
pleted, and not empty pockets, and that vain bauble of the unthinking, miss- 
named praise. He deals with fact and reality. The "fictitious, ephemeral, 
imaginative," he says himself, "belong to the dreamers, poets, novelists of life, 
but not to the man of business." When you have anything to say he wants 
you to " spit it out," not mumble it. Hence, he is looked upon as a conscien- 
tious, able man. Not because he makes speeches, but just to the contrary. 
When he rises to speak he says all in a few brief words, and is thoroughly 
understood by his listeners. Then he sits down, and don't bob up and down 
like a jumping-jack. If there are those who oppose him on a proposition, he 
listens to their arguments; if they convince him, he acquiesces, but he does it 
at once and completely. His character is a strange one. He arrived on this 
coast in '49, and therefore is one of the argonauts. He has followed farming 
and trading for years, and as was said of Hercules: " Whether he stood, or 
walked, or sat, or whatever thing he did, he conquered." He amassed consid- 
erable of a fortune, and then he speculated in mines and mining stocks, and 
he won. He is wealthy to-day, but you could not observe that from his 
conduct. He wants for nothing, there is nothing he desires that money can 
secure, but he can have. But his wants are few and his inclinations temperate; 
his habits are sober and regular, and his demeanor one of plainness itself. He 
is not like many men of means, supercilious. He knows himself, and that is 
half the battle of life. He is not married, and possibly never will be. He is 
na PPy> contented, good natured, and fond of his friends. He tries to do no 


man wrong - , having lived up to this golden rule all his life. He resides in a 
magnificent mansion at Menlo Park, the prettiest spot in California, where he 
often regales his associates and friends in a sumptuous and regal manner. 
He has made many warm friends and keeps them, and often says with Sydney 
Smith: "Let every man be occupied, and occupied in the highest employment 
of which his nature is capable, and die with the consciousness that he has 
done his best." It were well if our young state had many such generous and 
enterprising men as Charles N. Felton. 

Benjamin Gordon Lathrop. Direct descendant of Walter de Lawthrope, 
sheriff of Yorkshire, England, in 1216, was born July 6, 1815, in Canaan, 
New Hampshire, emigrated with his parents to Spartan burgh district, South 
Carolina, where his father became part owner and principal manager of the 
iron works known as the Cowpen Furnace Forges, Rolling Mills and Nail Fac- 
tories. He received a common school education, but as he preferred the mer- 
cantile business he was sent to Columbia in the same State, where he was em- 
ployed as a clerk in the store of Miller & Poole. In 1832, he went with them 
to Montgomery, Alabama, then a small country town within a few miles of the 
Creek Indians, where they established a general merchandise store. The Indian 
trade being very profitable, Lathrop was for several years detailed to attend 
exclusively to it. The nation occupied a strip of country about three hundred 
miles long by one hundred in width, and was thoroughly canvassed by him. 
During this period he became acquainted with the principal chiefs, and acquired 
the Indian language ; he knew the trails to every Indian town, visited their 
Council houses, saw them in their religious services, which consisted princi- 
pally in passing around a black drink, that almost instantly acted as an 
emetic, and enabled them to throw up all their sins. This rite was performed 
once a year. After each ceremony they seemed to feel that they were 
relieved of a heavy load. The United States government had made a treaty 
with these Indians, which gave each head of a family a tract of land. The 
Georgians violated this treaty, and the Indians declared war, about the year 
1836. The main stage and mail route from New Orleans to Washington 
City, called the "Piedmont Line" ran through this reservation, and the first 
hostile movement of the Indians was to murder two stage loads of passen- 
gers, kill the horses, pile the passengers, horses and stages together, and burn 
them. Lathrop about this time had been made a partner in the firm he was 
clerking for, and was in New York purchasing goods. On his return he found 
General Winfield Scott stationed at Columbus, Georgia, waiting for reinforce- 
ments, and all communication closed with Alabama. Lathrop persuaded a 
French merchant from Mobile to join him and hazard the trip through. With 
this companion, he went up the river on the Georgia side, about 30 miles, so 
as to strike the country governed by Opothleholo, a chief he knew well, and 


thought he could trust. The venture was successful. On arriving at Mont- 
gomery, Alabama, he found Captain George Whitman organizing a company 
of mounted scouts, to go into the Indian war, and he became inspired to join 
it. He already held the position of Lieut. Colonel and division inspector, on 
the staff of Major General Taliaferro, of the Alabama militia, but as it was not 
called into active service, he asked and obtained permission to join Captain 
Whitmore's company, which was composed of frontier men well acquainted 
with the Indians and their country. They were regularly mustered into the 
United States service, and given a roving commission, with Indians as prime . 
object. The hostiles had gathered in the swamps, down near the Florida line. 
Several companies of Georgians were daily skirmishing, and generally getting 
the worst of it. Inside of three months the Alabama Company had gathered 
all the Indian women and children in the different towns, and taken them to 
camp. In a few days the bucks came in and surrendered, amounting in all to 
about eight thousand, which virtually ended the war, and General Scott was 
recalled without rinding it necessary to move his troops. The Indians were 
immediately removed to the Indian territory, west of the Mississippi. About 
the year 1837, at the close of the Creek war, land speculations began to attract 
general attention in Georgia and Alabama. The Chickasaw and Choctaw In- 
dians, who owned the north half of the State of Mississippi, sold it to the 
United States, and the government proceeded to have it surveyed, and adver- 
tised a public sale of the whole. It was the rule, in that era of our govern- 
ment to make surveys of large tracts, advertise and offer it all at public auction, 
in quarter section lots. No bid taken for less than $1.25 per acre, the unsold 
portions being left for entry at that price. This plan gave speculators a chance to 
buy all the best lands. As soon as the notice of this sale appeared, speculators 
made their preparations to attend. It became the leading topic in Georgia and 
Alabama. Lathrop became enthused, and spent six weeks examining the lands, 
not seeing a white settlement during the time, as the Indians had not yet left 
the country. The only companion he had was a boy about 15 years old. They 
camped out for the most part, but sometimes stopped with the Indians, who 
were generally friendly and very hospitable. At the time this sale took place, 
General Jackson's specie circular had gone into effect; little or no gold was in 
circulation, and each man attending the sale had to pack silver from the banks 
in Georgia and Alabama. John A. Murrell, the notorious land pirate, was then 
the terror of the whole country; consequently land purchasers had to band 
together and go well armed, to this sale. On arriving at Pontetoc, Lathrop 
formed a combination with several others and bought all the best of the land. 
Then they put it up among themselves and divided. Much of it was bid off at 
higher prices than at the original sale, consequently a considerable surplus was 
divided pro rata among the company. Lathrop bid in all the land he wanted, 
at low prices, at this division sale, and made a handsome profit in this way on 


the shares he took in the combination, but this was all he ever made on the 
investment. The lands sold in those days by the government were not taxable 
for five years after the sale. When that time rolled round there was no demand 
for this land, nine-tenths of his old partners had failed, and their lands had 
been forced into market. This state of affairs had a depressing effect on him, 
and induced him to accept $1.25 per acre for all he owned. Farmers 
moved in rapidly after this, and inside of ten years this same land was con- 
sidered cheap at 850 per acre. Lathrop, however, after receiving his $1.25 
per acre, closed up his mercantile business and bought a controlling interest 
in the Western Bank of Georgia, located at Rome, in the western part of the 
State, with a branch at Columbus, where the business was mostly transacted. 
In the meantime, Montgomery, Alabama, had increased in population so as 
to justify beino- made a city. In the organization of the City Government, 
Lathrop was elected one of its first Aldermen, and about the same time he 
was electctl Captain of a company, of what was called minute men, raised in 
consequence of general rumors throughout the southern states of negro insur- 
rections, supposed to be incited by John A. Murrell, the leader of an exten- 
sive band of robbers and murderers, scattered through Georgia, Alabama, 
Mississippi. Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and the Mississippi river swamps. 
One portion of the business of this gang was to induce negroes to run away 
from their masters, go with them to another place, and be sold for from eight 
to twelve hundred dollars ; this money would be divided equally with the negro, 
who would run away and be sold to some one else. After repeating this several 
times, until the negro had as much money as they dared trust him with, they 
would take him into the swamp and murder him, then hunt others to play the 
same game. The great increase in crime growing out of this organization, and 
the difficulty in convicting the perpetrators, owing to their emissaries residing 
in every town, made the public mind very feverish. The minute men slept 
with their arms and ammunition within reach, and were to assemble at the 
court house at night if a certain church bell were rung. It happened that 
Isaac Ticknor, a citizen of Montgomery, had just organized a company to go to 
Texas. They were camped in the court house square, which occupied the junc- 
tion of the main business street, and the street that led to the steamboat land- 
ing, on the Alabama river. Three large steamers were at the landing, and at 
night some of the boat hands met with rather rough treatment from Ticknor's 
volunteers, at a house of ill fame. So about 12 o'clock the crews of all the 
boats, amounting to between sixty and seventy marched to the Texas camp, where 
a general row ensued. The alarm bell was rung, calling out Lathrop's company 
of minute men, who thought as they marched towards the court house that the 
insurrection had started in very lively— bullets were flying in every direction - 
and the wounded were crying out for help. As soon as the military understood 
what was the matter, they attacked the rioters, and drove them back to their 


boats, but as they attempted to follow them across the gang-plank the leader 
of the crew stepped forward with a pistol, saying the first man who attempts 
to cross this plank is a dead man. Lathrop quickly brought his men to a ready 
and aim, when the steamboat captain sung out, " hold on, gentlemen, come 
aboard and meet me at the bar, you all look thirsty;" the boat hands were 
then placed under arrest and marched to the jail, but released in the morning, 
as it appeared upon examination they had gotten the worst of the skirmish. The 
Texas boys not having any complaints to make, and being ready to embark, 
engaged passage with one of these boats, and within a week after their arrival 
in Texas, every one of them was slain in the Alamo, where David Crockett's 
dead body was found, in the midst of a pile of slain Mexicans. Lathrop's bank 
venture resulted disastrously ; the cashier gathered up all the available assets 
and emigrated to Cuba, but sometime afterwards ventured over to New Orleans 
and being recognized, was safely deposited in the penitentiary, but none of 
the money was ever recovered. Lathrop, finding it necessary to make a new 
beginning, concluded to try another new country, and moved to Grand Lake, 
in Arkansas, where possessing unbounded credit in New York and New Orleans, 
he soon built up a splendid business. In 1849 he was attacked by the Califor- 
nia gold fever, and gathering together fifteen men (white and black), he, with his 
wife and child crossed the plains. Thinking to return in a year or two, he did 
not wind up any of his business, only resigning his judicial office of county 
judge of Chicot county. In passing through the Pawnee country, the Indians 
stole one of his oxen; the next morning they were pursued, overtaken and 
routed, and compelled to give up all their plunder, consisting of provisions, 
stolen from emigrants, buffalo robes, moccasins, etc. One white man was 
wounded and one horse killed on Lathrop's side ; several Indians were killed, 
and one unfortunate ox was found in their camp slaughtered. This occurred 
about one hundred miles from Fort Laramie, and it was thought advisable to 
hurry on,, as the Indians might want satisfaction. Before half the distance 
had been gone over, the U. S. mail carrier overtook the party and stated that 
they were being pursued by six hundred Indians. He promised to send relief 
on his arrival at the Fort, which he did. But before the soldiers reached them, 
they had passed a Pawnee village, which had just been captured by the Sioux; 
this tribe being then at war with the Pawnees, they felt safe after passing that 
point. In October, 1849, they arrived at Long's bar, on Feather river. Spent 
a short time there in mining, and as this did not prove remunerative, he finally 
discharged the most of his white men, made a boat of one of his wagons, and 
passed down the river to Sacramento, where he purchased the Southern Hotel 
property, on J street; there he made money very fast, but absorbed it in 
enlarging and furnishing it. In 1851, he rented the hotel and went to New 
Orleans, where he had a mill made for crushing quartz on a new model of his 
own invention. This he brought out with a 20 horse-power engine and set up 


near Auburn, in Placer county. The mill was a success, crushing fifty tons 
of rock per day as fine as flour, but after a few days work it was found that 
the rock was too poor to pay for the working. He shut down the mill, and 
before a satisfactory mine could be found to put it on, it was destroyed by fire. 
The hotel property in the great fire of 1852 went the same way — no insurance. 
These heavy losses left him with only some remnants of capital in Arkansas, 
which he gathered up and invested in a cargo of flour. Shipping it from 
New York to San Francisco, after a long voyage round the horn, it landed 
when the market was glutted, and did not bring enough to pay the freight. 
He now left Sacramento, and engaged in the auction business in San 
Francisco; this he followed one year without success. In 1854 he moved 
into San Mateo county, then a part of San Francisco county, and located 
some mineral springs, commencing extensive improvements to start a fashion- 
able watering place, but the following year he abandoned his project, and 
ran for supervisor, as the county outside the city was entitled to elect one. 
There did not appear to be any opposition. Still, when the votes were counted 
one Musgrove was declared elected, and Lathrop did not appear to have but 
three votes. He concluded to contest the election, and after finding that he 
could procure a majority in the county to swear they had voted for him, he went 
to San Francisco and consulted with an attornej', who told him to go home and 
give it up ; that good evidence made no difference, the roughs ruled in such 
cases, and he would have no show. In the legislature of 1856, Horace Hawes> 
famous consolidation act was passed, but before it could be put through 
Hawes had to make terms with the thieves, by adding a clause to his act cut- 
ting off about nine-tenths of the county of San Francisco, establishing what is 
now the county of San Mateo. Chris. Lilly and Billy Mulligan, two leading 
chiefs of the roughs, agreed to accept that much of the county provided it could 
be arranged to organize a county government within one week after the passage 
of the act. A clause to that effect was inserted and the bill passed. R. O. 
Tripp, John Johnston, and Charles Clark, were appointed a commission to can- 
vass the election returns. Thirteen precincts were established. The total 
legitimate vote of the county was but a few hundred. Lathrop was a candi- 
date for clerk and recorder, and received nearly all the votes from ten of the most 
populous precincts, but the returns from the remaining three showed that his 
two opponents were thousands of votes ahead of him. One of the three pre- 
cincts was run by Chris. Lilly, who elected his barkeeper, Robert Gray, clerk ; 
another was run by Pat Hickey, who got himself a large number of votes, but 
not quite enough to beat Gray. The other precinct was controlled by ex-Gov- 
ernor John McDougal, who wanted the county seat established at Belmont, and 
Mulligan's brother elected sheriff. The commissioners met at the old American 
Hotel in Redwood City to canvass the vote and made Lathrop their secretary. 
The decision hinged on the heavy returns from the three precincts above named, 


which the commissioners were satisfied were forgeries. But after mature delib- 
eration they concluded to admit them, and allow the matter to be settled by the 
courts. During the conference Lilly and Mulligan were outside with a large 
force of roughs from San Francisco, awaiting the result, but while the secretary 
was preparing the tabular statement, it was whispered to Mulligan that his 
brother was defeated. He immediately burst in the door and entered with a 
number of his men, swearing that he would break up the election, which in- 
tention he proceeded to carry out, by tearing up the papers on the table. But 
when the doors wei'e broken Lathrop gathered all the important papers to- 
gether and backed into a corner of the room with his hands behind him. One 
of the commissioners, surmising what the trouble was, quietly remarked that 
Billy Mulligan's brother was elected. This satisfied Billy, and he said to his 
men, "Come, boys, get out of here."' By this time Chris. Lilly and his men 
commenced crowding in and demanded to know what the matter was. No 
weapons were in sight, but all the roughs had on box coats with large outside 
pockets, and the click of many a pistol could be heard. When told nothing 
was wrong only a little mistake, which had been corrected, they all left. 

The officers named in the forged returns were all declared elected, and certifi- 
cates issued to that effect (as the law 7 provided). This was so criminally out- 
rageous,, that Lathrop determined to contest, and employed Peyton, Lake & 
Duer, who thought it very strange for a man to expect to get an office with two 
opponents several thousand votes ahead of him. Before the case came up for 
trial, James King of William w r as murdered, and the vigilance committee were 
ruling San Francisco. At the trial none of the bogus officers appeared with coun- 
sel, except Billy Bodgers, the'treasurer. The evidence was so overwhelming that 
his lawyer withdrew, remarking that he was satisfied a great fraud had been 
perpetrated, and that his client did not want the office under such a mom/rous 
violation of the law. The decision of the court ousted all the bogus officers, 
and located the county seat at Redw r ood City. This decision was made on the 
10th of June, 1S56. The election took place on the 12th of May, rather more 
expeditiously than the wheels of justice turn at the present time. Much had 
to be done to start the machinery of the various offices into active operation. 
The county clerk, being also recorder, auditor, clerk of the 12th district court, 
county court, probate court, court of sessions, and clerk of the board of super- 
visors, was expected to provide the office with books and stationery, for all 
the different departments of the government. This he did principally on his 
own responsibility, the county having no funds or credit. About the first of 
July everything was in working order. On the 7th the first deed in book 1, 
page 1 , was recorded by Lathrop. During the summer some taxpayers contested 
the collections, claiming that the county had no legal government, and assign- 
ing as a reason, that in H.a.wes patch on his consolidation act, which was all 
the law enacted in relation to San Mateo county, he provided that an election 


should be held on the 12th of May, but that the law should not take effect 
until July. The supreme court decided that the law was a nullity, but that the 
county government was de facto one, and that the officers could carry on the 
government until their successors were elected, and that the taxes must be paid. 
The officers feeling a little uncertain ran at the next general election in November, 
and were all elected without opposition. The legislature met soon after and 
reorganized the county, calling an election of officers for the 11th of the fol- 
lowing May, when Lathrop was again elected, and continued to be elected in 
September, 1859, and September, 1861. A special act having been passed con- 
tinuing him in the office until March 4th, 1864, having served eight years, he 
declined to run again. Before the close of the last term Horace Hawes per- 
suaded George C. Johnson, John W. Brittan, and a few other wealthy men of 
the county, to subscribe a considerable amount, and employ an expert to 
thoroughly investigate the clerk and auditor's affairs, stating publicly that he 
believed Christ and some of his apostles were honest, but since their day he 
did not believe an honest man had lived. The expert was brought from San 
Francisco, and after spending several weeks in thorough investigation found 
nothing wrong. This Hawes so repeated in a public speech, and showed his 
appreciation of Lathrop's honesty in a judicious management of public money 
by appointing him one of his trustees on his grand institution of learning, 
which he proposed to endow with the bulk of his wealth. The fact was that 
San Mateo county had built a court house and jail, and with all other expen- 
ses incident to a county government, had been run with less burden to her 
citizens than any other county in the State. She had been peculiarly blessed 
with honest supervisors, who were mostly farmers, and never put up any steal- 
ing jobs. On retiring from the clerk's office Lathrop was elected supervisor, 
and made chairman of the board. At the expiration of his term he left the 
county with some capital, that he had principally made on Menlo Park prop- 
erty. He purchased between two and three hundred acres, at a little over 
twenty dollars per acre, and sold it out in villa lots at from two to five hundred 
dollars per acre. Being a little worn out in business, he concluded to visit 
Europe. After a couple of years he returned with renewed vigor, and engaged 
in hydraulic mining in Shasta county. The mine was incorporated with a 
capital of five million dollars, with patents covering over 1,800 acres, and the 
control of all the water for twenty miles around. After working this claim for 
several years, he disposed of his entire interest to Alvinza Hay ward. In 1876, 
he purchased a farm in Sonoma county, where he spent six years, living virtually 
under his own vine and fig tree. Finding farming not congenial, he traded 
his farm for Oakland city property, and returned to San Francisco the latter 
part of 1882. Having arrived at about the age allotted to men, he does not 
propose to run for any more offices, or to seek adventures which require any 
labor of mind or body. Wherever he has resided he has made no enemies 



except of that class who arc the general enemies of law and order. Through- 
out all his life he has been prominent in all public affairs, and has assisted in 
organizing many extensive enterprises. He was while visiting New York made 
one of the charter members of the New York Mining Stock Exchange, was at 
the first meeting and assisted in its organization. He was one of the original 
incorporators of the Southern Pacific Railroad company. During his connec- 
tion with that company he was one of its directors, acted as its treasurer and 
secretary, and accompanied the engineer to locate the track from San Jose to 
Gilroy. Was a director of the San Francisco and San Jose Eailroad for a 
number of years, and became part owner when that road was purchased by 
the Southern Pacific. He was a large owner, and managed the construction of 
the Corte Madera Water Company, which at that time was intended to supply 
his Menlo Park villa lots with pure mountain water. His enterprises gave 
employment to a great number of men. In fact, at one time in his mining 
operations he employed as many as seven hundred. He is a life member of the 
California Pioneers, of whom few have undertaken more or greater enterprises, 
and held as many offices of honor and responsibility. With as clear a record 
as the subject of this narrative, considering his early settlement in Alabama, 
Arkansas, and California, he is certainly entitled to be called thrice a pioneer.