History of San Diego, 1542-1908

PART TWO: CHAPTER 6: Prominent Spanish Families

The names and annals of Spanish families, con­spicuous in the social, commercial, religious, and political life of Old San Diego, will al­ways be treasured as an interesting and vital part of local history. It would be quite invidious to attempt to present them in the order of their importance. Hence, the alphabetical plan is adopted in this arrangement of facts obtained from a great variety of sources:

AGUILAR, Blas, son of Corporal Rosario, born at San Diego, 1811, outside the Presidio walls. Was majordomo at Temecula in 1834. Settled at San Juan Capistrano and was a petitioner for land in 1841. Was alcalde there in 1848. Married Antonia Guiterrez.

AGUILAR, Rosario. Corporal of the mission guard at San Diego soon after the year 1800. Had a house on site of the pres­ent town, in 1821. Majordomo of San Diego Mission, 1838. Juez de paz in 1841. Removed to San Juan Capistrano soon after and obtained land there. Died there in 1847 leaving several children, of whom Blas Aguilar, mentioned above, was one. His daughter Rafaela was married to José Antonio Serrano.

AGUIRRE, José Antonio. A native of Basque, Spain, born about 1793. At the time of the Mexican revolution he was a merchant at Guaymas. Remaining loyal to Spain, he was driven out of Mexico and settled in Upper California. Owned brigs Leonidas and Joven Guipitzoana, and engaged in coast, Island, and China trade. On arrival of the Híjar colony at San Diego in 1834, gave a ball in Híjar’s honor. It was at this ball that certain modern dances are said to have been first introduced into California. He divided his residence between San Diego and Santa Barbara, at which latter place he owned the finest residence in 1842. In 1843, he was grantee of the Tejon rancho. In 1848 and 1849, engaged in trade with William Heath Davis, and in 1850 he and Davis, with four others, founded new San Diego. He was at San Diego April 1, 1850, and appears in a list of the voters at Old Town. In Sep­tember of the latter year he served on the first grand jury in San Diego county under American rule. He married Fran­cisca, daughter of Prefect José Antonio Estudillo, of San Diego, and after her death married her sister, María del Rosario Estudillo. He was a large man and on that account was some­times called “Aguirron” (big Aguirre). He was a fine type of the old Spanish merchant and left a large estate to his widow and four children. A son, Miguel Aguirre, lives in the neighbor­hood of the San Jacinto rancho. A daughter was married to Francisco Pico and lives in the same vicinity. His widow married Colonel Manuel A. Ferrer, of San Diego.

ALIPÁS, Damasio and Gervasio; mentioned by Juan Bandini as members of the revolutionary junta of fourteen which began the revolt against Governor Victoria in November, 1831. A third brother, Santos Alipás, was one of the men killed in the Pauma massacre, in December, 1846.

Damasio Alipás married Juana Machado, daughter of José Manuel Machado, and had three daughters: Ramona , whose first husband was William Curley and her second William Williams (“Cockney- Bill”), and who is still living, in Los Angeles; Josefa, who married John Peters, and left San Diego in 1854 or 1855; and María Arcadia, who became the wife of Captain Robert D. Israel and lives in Coronado. Damasio Alipás went to Sonora before the Civil War, and was killed there. His widow then married Thomas Wrightington.

ALTAMIRANO, José Antonio, was the son of Tomás Altamirano and Dolores Carrillo, and was born at La Paz, Lower California, May 31, 1835. His mother was a sister of Joaquin Carrillo, the father of Mrs. Henry D. Fitch; another of her brothers was Pedro C. Carrillo, who once owned the San Diego (Coronado) peninsula and sold it for $3000. José Ant. Altamirano came to California in 1849 and was first engaged in mining. In 1859 he went into stock raising on a large scale near San Jacinto. He owned the Valle de las Palmas rancho, near Tia Juana, in Lower California, which is still in the family, and was at one time the owner of the Algodones grant, on the Colorado river, near Yuma. In the Mexican War, he served on the American side. He lived at Old Town, where he married Ysabel de Pedrorena, daughter of Miguel de Pedrorena, and had a large family.

Miguel is unmarried, and lives on Las Flores rancho; Antonio is married, and lives at Paris, France, was formerly a San Diego councilman; José is unmarried, and lives in San Francisco; Robert, died at the age of twenty; Dolores, married, first Harry Neale, of San Diego, and had three children, second, Robert Burns, of Sacramento; Ysabel, married E. W. Ackerman and lives in Old Town; Tula, Victoria, and Mary, unmarried; and Maria Antoinette, who died.

ALVARADO, Francisco María. First regidor of San Diego, 1837. Treasurer, 1840-1. Juez de paz, 1845. Grantee of Peñasquitas rancho in 1823, 1834, and 1836, on which he lived; and grantee of Soledad rancho in 1838. Was an elector at San Diego, April 1, 1850.

ALVARADO, Juan Bautista. First regidor of San Diego, 1835; comisario de policia, 1836. Daughter María Antonia was married to Captain Joseph F. Snook.

ARGÜELLO, José Ramon, son of Santiago Argüdello. Second alcalde (juez de paz) in 1845. Davis related that on a trip into Lower California with Don Ramon as guide, he found that gentleman addicted to eating rattlesnakes.

ARGÜELLO, Santiago. Son of José D. Argüello, born at Monterey 1791. Paymaster at San Diego in 1818, and in 1821 had a garden in Mission Valley. His part in the Bouchard invasion has been related. In 1827-31 he was lieutenant of the San Diego Company, and commandant from 1830 to 1835. From 1831-5 was captain of the company and took part in the revolt against Victoria. In 1833-4 he was revenue officer at San Diego. In 1836 he was alcalde, and held several other offices. During the Mexican war he was friendly to the Americans and gave them considerable aid. Soldiers were quartered at his house and he held a commission as captain in the California battalion. Was a member of the Legislative council in 1847 and made collector of the port.

In 1829 he was granted the Tia Juana rancho, in 1841 the Trabujo, and in 1846 the San Diego Mission lands. He married Pilar Ortega, daughter of Francisco Ortega, of Santa Barbara, by whom he had 22 children. Among the children who lived and had issue were: Francisco, Ignacio, José Antonio, José Ramon, Santiago E, Refugio who was married to Juan Bandini, Teresa who was married to José M. Bandini, María Louisa, who was married to A. V. Zamorano, and Concepcion, wife of Agustin Olvera.

He died on his Tia Juana ranch in 1862, and his widow in 1878. The ranch is still owned by the family. Davis takes pains to state that his sons were finely-formed, well proportioned men. He was a man of ability and left an honorable record. His disposition was somewhat reserved and he was not universally personally popular.

ARGÜELLO, Santiago E. Son of Santiago, was born August 18, 1813. Collector of revenue at San Diego, 1833-4. Took part against Alvarado in 1836-7. Deputy in assembly and juez de paz in 1845-6. Aided the Americans in Mexican War and had a claim for $11,548 for damages to his property. Was in charge of the Otay and San Antonio Abad ranchos in 1836-7, and majordomo and landowner at San Juan Capistrano in 1841. He was an elector at Old San Diego, April 1, 1850. He married Guadalupe Estudillo, daughter of José Antonio Estudillo. He died at the Rancho de la Punta, October 20, 1857, and left two sons and a number of daughters. One daughter, María Antonia, was married to A. H. Wilcox and another, Refugia, to William B. Couts. One son, Francisco, lives at Tia Juana and has a family.

BANDINI, Juan. Any sketch of this interesting figure in the early life of San Diego must necessarily fail to do him entire justice. For nearly forty years he was an honored citizen of California, saw it pass from Spanish into Mexican hands, and lived to take a prominent part in wresting it from the control of the Californians and making it an American State. Through all the intervening days of struggle, he took an important part, and narrowly missed the highest political honors of his time. Esti­mates of his character and services vary somewhat and have been influenced by the financial misfortunes which pursued him. But it seems clear that his long residence and eminent public services in San Diego entitled him to be considered the first Spanish citizen of his day.

The name of Bandini is not originally Spanish, but Italian, the family originating in Italy and there being a family of Bandinis of princely rank now in existence in Italy.

He was the son of José Bandini, who was a native of Anda­lusia. He was born at Lima in 1800, and received his education there. His father came to California as master of a Spanish trading vessel in 1819 and 1821, and it is possible Juan was with him. The father took an active part in the Mexican revolution and was made a captain. Soon after peace came, the father and son came to San Diego and built a house. His public services began in 1827-8 as a member of the assembly, and from 1828 to ’31 he was sub-comisario of revenues. His house at San Diego, which is still standing in a good state of preservation, was erected in 1829. In 1830 he was chosen substitute congressman. In 1831 he took a leading part in the revolt against Governor Victoria, as related elsewhere. In 1832, he was appointed comi­sario principal ad interim, but Victoria refused to recognize his authority outside San Diego, and he soon resigned. In 1833 he went to Mexico as congressman and returned the following year as Vice-President of the Híjar colonization company and in­spector of customs for California. His elaborate entertainment of Híjar has been alluded to. The colonization scheme was a failure, however. The California officials also refused to rec­ognize his authority over the customs and brought a counter charge of smuggling which they succeeded in substantiating, technically, at least. These failures of his hopes were a severe blow to Bandini, from which he never fully recovered. In 1836-7-8 he was the leading spirit in the opposition to Governor Alvarado, and on one occasion, at least, had the satisfaction of a great public reception when the whole population of San Diego turned out to meet him on his return from the capture of Los Angeles, in 1837, His return at this time was due to Indian troubles. He was the owner of the Tecate rancho on the Mexican border, which was pillaged by the hostiles and the family re­duced to want. But peace having been made, Alvarado made him administrator of the San Gabriel Mission, and he was also granted the Jurupa, Rincon, and Cajon de Muscapiabe ranchos, besides land at San Juan Capistrano. He held other offices, but continued to oppose Alvarado and was present with troops at the battle of Las Flores, in 1838. On Christmas night, 1838, while the Pastorela was being performed at his house, all the prominent citizens of San Diego being present, the house was surrounded by General Castro, acting under Alvarado’s orders, and the two Picos and Juan Ortega taken prisoners. Bandini was absent at this time, and thus escaped arrest.

In 1845-6 he was Governor Pico’s secretary and supported his administration. After the Mexican War began, however, he adhered to the American cause and rendered valuable services. He furnished supplies for the troops, and did everything in his power to aid them.

In 1847 he was a member of the legislative council, and in 1848, alcalde. On April 1, 1850, he appears as an elector at San Diego, and was elected treasurer, but declined to serve. In this year he was keeping a store at San Diego, and also erected a large building for a hotel, the Gila House, which is said to have cost $25,000. Soon after this he removed to a rancho which had been granted him in Mexico and resumed his Mexican citizenship. Here he took some part in politics, and was a supporter of Melendres, and had to quit the country with his belongings, in 1855. He died at Los Angeles, whither he had gone for treat­ment, in November, 1859.

His first wife was Dolores, daughter of Captain José M. Estudillo, and their children were: Arcadia, who married Abel Stearns and afterward Colonel Robert L. Baker. She lives at Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Ysidora, who was born Septem­ber 23, 1829, was married to Cave J. Couts, died May 24, 1897, and is buried at San Diego. Josefa, who was married to Pedro C. Carrillo, who was alcalde and a member of California’s first legislature in 1847. José María, who married Teresa; daughter of Santiago Argüello ; and Juanito. His second wife was Refugia, daughter of Santiago Argüello (a sister of his son José María,s wife). They had: Juan de la Cruz, Alfredo, Arturo, and two daughters, one of whom, Dolores, was married to Charles R. Johnson, and the other, Victoria (Chata), to Dr. James B. Winston and lives in Los Angeles. Bandini’s daughters were famous for their beauty. All his family are in comfortable circumstances, and several are wealthy. They live principally in Southern Cal­ifornia, have married well, and are much respected citizens.

Perhaps the story of Bandini’s personal appearance and char­acteristics can best be told by a few extracts from writers who knew him. Dana, whose opinion of Californians was intelligent, if not always sympathetic, saw him on a voyage from Monterey to Santa Barbara in January, 1836, and writes thus:

“Among our passengers was a young man who was the best representation of a decayed gentleman I had ever seen. He was of the aristocracy of the country, his family being of pure Spanish blood, and once of great importance in Mexico. His father had been governor of the province [this is an error] and having amassed a large property settled at San Diego. His son was sent to Mexico where he received the best education, and went into the first society of the capital. Misfortune, extravagance, and the want of funds soon ate the estate up, and Don Juan Bandini returned from Mexico accomplished, poor, and proud, and without any office or occupation, to lead the life of most young men of the better families—dissolute and extravagant when the means were at hand. He had a slight and elegant figure, moved gracefully, danced and waltzed beautifully, spoke the best of Castilian, with a pleasant and re­fined voice and accent, and had throughout the bearing of a man of high birth and figure.”

Upon the arrival at Santa Barbara, Bandini danced at the wed­ding of Alfred Robinson and Señorita de la Guerra y Noriega, concerning which Dana says: “A great deal has been said about our friend Don Juan Bandini; and when he did appear, which was toward the close of the evening, he certainly gave us the most graceful dancing that I had ever seen. He was dressed in white pantaloons, neatly made, a short jacket of dark silk gaily figured, white stockings and thin morocco slippers upon his very small feet. ”

Lieutenant Derby was well acquainted with the name and fame of Don Juan, and in his first letter from San Diego, in 1853, he pauses in his fooling long enough to write: “San Diego is the residence of Don Juan Bandini, whose mansion fronts on one side of the plaza. He is well known to the early settlers of California as a gentleman of distinguished politeness and hospitality. His wife and daughters are among the most beautiful and accom­plished ladies of our State.”

Davis bears testimony to Bandini’s worth. ” He was, ” he says, “a man of decided ability and fine character.”

Bancroft admits that he was one of the most prominent men of his time in California, of fair abilities and education, a charm­ing public speaker, a fluent writer, and personally much beloved. He thinks, however, that in the larger fields of statesmanship he fell somewhat short—an estimate which is one of the penalties paid by those who, whatever their ability or deserts, fail of the largest success.

There is also contemporary testimony to the fact that Don Juan possessed a gift of sardonic humor and was somewhat given to sarcasm.

CARRILLO, Domingo Antonio Ignacio, son of José Rai­mundo Carrillo. Born at San Diego, 1791. Gentleman soldier in the San Diego company from 1807, cadet from 1809, etc. Left service in 1818, but afterward restored and at San Diego in 1821. Was revenue collector, 1825-8, promoted to lieuten­ant, 1827. Transferred to Santa Barbara in 1830, and later in political troubles. Married Concepcion Pico, sister of Pio and Andrés Pico, in 1810. Their sons were Joaquin, José Antonio Francisco, Alejandro, and Felipe. Daughters: María, wife of José M. Covarrubias; Angela, wife of Ignacio del Valle; and Antonia.

CARRILLO, José Antonio Ezequiel. Son of José Raimundo, and brother of Domingo Antonio Ignacio, above. Born at San Francisco in 1796. Was a teacher at San Diego in 1813 anal afterward. At Los Angeles, 1827-31. Having been exiled by Victoria, became a leader in movement against the governor at San Diego in 1831. Was deeply implicated in trouble of the time at Santa Barbara, where he lived, and where he died in 1862. His first wife was Estefana Pico, and his second Jacinta Pico, both sisters of Pio and Andrés Pico, of San Diego. A daughter was married to Lewis T. Burton. Don José Antonio was a man of natural ability, but was dissipated.

CARRILLO, José Raimundo. Founder of the Carrillo family in California. A native of Loreto, born in 1749. Son of Hilario Carrillo. Came to California as a soldier, probably with the first expedition in 1769, and rose to rank of captain. Was command­ant at San Diego, 1807-9. He married Tomása Ignacia, daugh­ter of the soldier Francisco Lugo, the ceremony being per­formed by Junípero Serra at San Carlos, on April 23, 1781. His early services in California were at Santa Barbara and Mon­terey, coming to San Diego in 1806. He was buried in the chapel on Presidio Hill, on November 10, 1809. His only daughter, María Antonia, became the wife of José de la Guerra y Noriega. His sons, Carlos Antonio de Jesus, José Antonio Ezequiel, Anastasio, and Domingo Antonio Ignacio, were all prominent in the early history of California.

CARRILLO, Joaquin. Native of Lower California and a rel­ative (probably a cousin) of José Raimundo. Was living as a retired soldier at San Diego in 1827. He is said to have been a good performer on the violin, and was once put in the stocks by Capt. Ruiz because the latter thought him too slow in tun­ing up to play his favorite tune. He died before 1840. His widow was María Ignacia Lopez, and their sons were Joaquin, Julio, and José Ramon. The daughters, Josefa, whose elope­ment with Henry D. Fitch has been narrated; Francisca Benicia, wife of M. G. Vallejo; María de la Luz, wife of Sal­vador Vallejo; Ramona, wife of Romualdo Pacheco and later of John Wilson, who lived in San Francisco; Mabel Pacheco, who was married to Will. Tevis; Juana, and Felecidad, wife of Victor Castro.

DOMINGUEZ, Cristobal. Soldier at San Diego before 1800. Died in 1825. Rose to rank of sergeant, and was grantee of San Pedro ranch in 1822. His wife was María de los Reyes Hares, at whose house Alfred Robinson resided while in San Diego, in 1829, and to whom he refers as “old lady Dominguez.” Part of the American troops were quartered at her house in the Mexican War. Their children were María Victoria, who was married to José Antonio Estudillo; Luis Gonzaga; Manuel, who is mentioned by Robinson as Gale’s brother-in-law at San Diego in 1829; María Francisca Marcelina, who was married to Wil­liam A. Gale and went to Boston to live; María Elena Ramona; José Nasario; and Pedro Juan Agapito.

ECHEANDÍA, José María. Quite a little has been said about this, the only governor of California who made his res­idence in San Diego. A few more personal details will be given at this place.

Before coming to California, he was a Lieutenant-Colonel connected with a college of engineers in Mexico. Besides Rob­inson’s statement that he was “a tall, gaunt personage,” who received him “with true Spanish dignity and politeness,” we learn from Bancroft that he was “tall, slight and well formed, with fair complexion, hair not quite black, scanty beard and a pleasing face and expression. His health was very delicate. In his speech he affected the Castilian pronun­ciation, noticeably in giving the `ll,’ `c’ and `z’ their proper sounds.” He was somewhat absent-minded at times. Some of his contemporaries regarded him as a capricious despot, who would carry out a whim without regard to results; others thought he lacked energy; and still others say he was popular, but overindulgent and careless. Pio Pico found him affable, but apathetic. Alfred Robinson, the son-in-law of Captain de la Guerra y Noriega, who strongly opposed Echeandía in the mat­ter of the secularization of the missions, calls him “the scourge of California, and instigator of vice, who sowed seeds of dis­honor not to be extirpated while a mission remains to be robbed.” Wm. A. Gale found him a man of undecided char­acter, trying to please everybody.

After leaving California he was very, poor until 1835, when, an earthquake having damaged a number of buildings, his ser­vices as engineer were in demand and he became prosperous. In 1855 he was arrested by Santa Ana for some political cause, but released. Two step-daughters took care of him in his old age, and he died before 1871.

ESTUDILLO, José Antonio. Son of José María, born at Mon­terey, 1805. Grantee of house-lot at San Diego, 1827. In 1828-30 was revenue collector and treasurer. Grantee of Otay rancho, in 1829. Member of the assembly in 1833-5. Received a grant of the Temecula rancho in 1835. In 1836-8alcalde and juez. Administrador and majordomo at San Luis Rey in 1840-3 and owner of land at San Juan Capistrano in 1841. Treasurer in 1840. Juez de paz in 1845-6. Collector in 1845. Neutral in Mexican War. First county assessor, 1850. He died in 1852. He was a man of excellent character and large influence. His wife was María Victoria, daughter of Sergeant Cristobal and María de los Reyes Dominguez, whom he married in 1825. Their children were: José María, who married a daughter, Luz, of Juan María Marron; Salvador, married Piedad Altámírano, sister of José Ant.; José Guadalupe; José Antonio, who is a rancher at San Jacinto; and Francisco, who lives at San Jacinto. He married first, Car­men Roubidoux, daughter of the celebrated trapper; second, a daughter of Don Jesus Machado. They had two daughters, both of whom were married to José Antonio Aguirre; Francisca being his first wife, and María del Rosaria his second, and afterward marrying Col. Manuel A. Ferrer. Another daughter, María Antonia, was married to Miguel de Pedrorena, and another, Concepcion, was the first wife of George A. Pendleton.

ESTUDILLO, José Guadalupe. Son of José Antonio one of the most prominent citizens of San Diego in earlier Amer­ican days. County Treasurer from 1864 to 1875. City Councilman of San Diego. Treasurer of the State one term. Cash­ier of the Consolidated Bank, etc. He now lives in Los Angeles. He married Adelaide Mulholland.

ESTUDILLO, José María, Lieutenant of the Monterey Com­pany in 1806-27, and captain of the San Diego Company from 1827 till his death in 1830. He may be said to have been the founder of the Estudillo family in California. His wife was Gertrudis Horcasitas. José Antonio, mentioned above, was the best known of his children. He also had José Joaquin, who lived on the San Leandro rancho, near San Francisco bay, whose three daughters all married Americans—María de Jesus becoming the wife of Wm. Heath Davis. He also had a daughter, Magdalena, who was grantee of part of the Otay ranch 1829,. and a daugh­ter who married Lieutenant Manuel Gomez.

GUERRA y NORIEGA, José Antonio de la. Native of Spain, born March 6, 1779. Became lieutenant of the Monterey Company and came to California 1801. Here he married, in 1804, María Antonia, daughter of Captain José Raimundo Car­rillo. In 1806 came to San Diego, and was acting commandant for a short time in 1806-7. Had difficulty with Capt. Ruiz. Acted as agent for sale of his uncle’s goods, shipped from Mex­ico, in 1808, and profited largely. After 1817, resided at Santa Barbara, where he was commandant and took a prominent part in public affairs. He was congressman from California in 1827, and the following year named by Echeandía in a list of those who had taken the oath of allegiance. Candidate for position of political chief, in 1837. In Mexican War was unfriendly to U. S. but remained quiet. Died in 1858.

Of his daughters, María de las Angustias, born 1815, was married to Manuel Jimeno Casarin, and later to Dr. J. D. Ord. Her first marriage is described by Robinson in his Life in California, page 142. Ana María, born 1820, was married to Alfred Robinson, and died in 1855. María Antonia, born 1827, mar­ried Cesario Lataillade, and later Caspar Oreña. He had at least seven sons; Antonio María, born 1825, never married ; Francisco, born 1818, died in 1878; Joaquin, born 1822, died before 1870; José Antonio born 1805; Juan J., born 1810, died unmarried; Miguel, born 1823; Pablo, born 1819.

Captain de la Guerra y Noriega left a large estate, which Ban­croft says his sons dissipated. He was a man of very great influ­ence to the day of his death. His opinions on California polit­ical affairs strongly color the views expressed in the book of his son-in-law, Alfred Robinson.

LOPEZ, Bonifacio. Son of Ignacio. Juez de cameo at San Diego, 1835. In charge of the Mission, 1848. Grand juror, Sep­tember, 1850. His daughter, Josefa, married Philip Crosthwaite.

LOPEZ, Ignacio. Soldier, living in Mission Valley, 1821. Father of Bonifacio and probably others. First district elector of San Diego, 1822, and elected to legislature. Took part in revolution of 1831. José and Juan Lopez, involved in same, probably his sons. Juez de cameo, 1836.

LORENZANA, Apolinaria. Was one of the foundling chil­dren sent to California from Mexico in 1800, and lived in San Diego. The name, Lorenzana, was that of the archbishop of Mexico, given to all foundlings. She never married, but was very charitable and known as La Beata [the sister of charity]. She claimed the Jamacha rancho, but lost it. She was in San Luis Rey in 1821-30, and later assisted Father Vicente at the San Diego Mission. In later life she lived at Santa Barbara, was poor and blind and supported by charity. She dictated for Bancroft her memoirs.

MACHADO, José Manuel. Corporal of the San Diego Com­pany. Had quite a family of children, among them daughters­—Guadalupe, whose first husband was Peter Wilder, and her second Albert B. Smith; and Juana, who was first married to Damasio Alipás and second to Thomas Wrightington; Rosa, who was the wife of John C. Stewart; and Antonia, who was mar­ried to Enos A. Wall.

MARRON , Juan María. Had a house at San Diego, 1821. Took part in revolution of 1831. Secondregidor 1835; first regidor 1836, and owner of the Cueros de Venado rancho, which was attacked by Indians. Juez, 1839-40-44. Owner of land at San Juan Capistrano, 1841. Grantee of the Agua Hediona Rancho, 1842. Died, September 19, 1853. Married Felipa, daughter of Juan María Osuna and Juliana Lopez. Daughter, María Luz, married José María Estudillo. Had a son, Sylvester.

MARRON, Sylvester. Son of Juan María and Felipa Osuna Marron, married Leonora Osuna. They had children: Felipa, who was married to J. Chauncey Hayes, now of Oceanside; and another daughter became the wife of John S. Barker. He mar­ried a second time and lives at Buena Vista, Cal.

MENENDEZ, Father Antonio. Was a Dominican friar who came from Mexico with Echeandía in 1825 and was chaplain and cure at the Presidio until 1829 at an irregular salary of $15 a month. His part in the Fitch-Carrillo elopement has been related. In December, 1828, his name appears in a list of Span­iards who had taken the oath of allegiance. >From August to December of this year he taught a school in San Diego, had 18 pupils enrolled, and was paid the same munificent salary. He was chaplain of the assembly which met at Santa Barbara from July to October, 1830.

His character seems to put him in the class with the coarser Mexican priests who followed the Spanish mis­sionaries. In fact he illustrated the old saying of “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” in an unusual degree. “Men’s souls for heaven,” says Bancroft, “but women for himself he loved, and wine and cards.” Pio Pico, who was then a young man engaged in trading with Lower California, played cards with him, with varying fortune. On one occasion in San Diego, after Menendez had, in a game of cards, despoiled Pico of all his stock of sugar, he added insult to injury by hurling at him a couplet which may be translated:

“Christ came to ransom man of woman born;
He sought his sheep, himself departed shorn.”

OSUNA, Juan María. Born in California before 1800. A soldier and corporal of the San Diego Company, and later a set­tler. District elector in 1830, and took part in revolution of 1831. Was the first alcalde of San Diego, 1835, juez de paz in 1839-40 and 1846. Grantee of San Dieguito in 1836-45. Died about 1847. Daughter Felipe married to Juan María Marron. Had sons Leandro and Ramon.

OSUNA, Leandro. Son of Juan María; took part in fight at San Pasuual, December, 1846. He committed suicide by shoot­ing himself through heart, April 3, 1859. His son Julio married Chipita Crosthwaite.

OSUNA, Ramon. Comisario de policia, 1839: Collector of tithes, 1839. Grantee of Valle de los Viejas, 1846. Member of first grand jury at San Diego, September, 1850.

PEDRORENA, Miguel de. The best biographical sketch of this much respected citizen is that contained in Wm. Heath Davis’s Sixty Years in California. He says:

“In 1838 Don Miguel de Pedrorena, a resident of Peru, ar­rived here, being at the time part owner and supercargo of the Delmira . . . . Don Miguel was a native of Spain, and belonged to one of the best families of Madrid. After receiv­ing an education in his own country he was sent to London, where he was educated in English, becoming a complete schol­ar. Most of the Castilian race of the upper class are proud and aristocratic; but Don Miguel, though of high birth, was exceedingly affable, polite, gracious in manner and bearing, and, in every respect, a true gentleman. He married a daugh­ter of prefect Estudillo and resided in San Diego until the time of his death in 1850, leaving one son, Miguel, and two daughters, Elena and Ysabel. He was a member of the con­vention at Monterey in 1849, for the formation of the state constitution. He owned the Cajon Rancho and the San Jacinto Nuevo Rancho, each containing eleven leagues, with some cat­tle and horses. Notwithstanding these large holdings of lands he was in rather straitened circumstances in his later years, and so much in need of money that when I visited San Diego in the early part of 1850 he offered to sell me thirt-two quarter­blocks (102 lots) in San Diego at a low figure. He had ac­quired the property in the winter of 1849-50, at the alcalde’s sale. I did not care for the land but being flush and having a large income from my business, I took the land, paying him thirteen or fourteen hundred dollars for it.

“In Madrid he had several brothers and other relatives, one of his brothers being, at that time a Minister in the cabinet of the reigning monarch. During the last two or three years of his life those relatives became aware of his unfortunate circum­stances and wrote to him repeatedly, urging him to come home to Spain and bring his family with him. They sent him means and assured him that he would be welcomed. Though poor, his proud disposition led him to decline all these offers. Popu­lar with everybody in the department, the recollections of him by those who knew him were exceedingly pleasant.”

He settled at San Diego in 1845, having married María Anto­nia Estudillo, daughter of José Antonio Estudillo. He strongly favored the American side in the war of 1846, and had a cav­alry command with the rank of captain. He built one of the first frame houses in Old Town, which is still standing near the parsonage. In the late 60’s it was used as the office of the Union. He was collector of customs in 1847-8. In 1850, with Wm. Heath Davis and others he was one of the founders of new San Diego. He died March 21, 1850. His only son was Miguel de Pedro­rena, born at Old Town in 1844, and died at his ranch in Jamul Valley, December 25, 1882. He married Nellie Burton, daugh­ter of General H. S. Burton of the U. S. Army, at the Horton House in New San Diego, Dec. 25, 1875. His sister Ysabel was married to José Antonio Altamirano. She was born at the very moment when the American flag was raised at Old Town (July 29, 1846), a circumstance of which the family is very proud. Victoria was married to Henry Magee, an army, officer from the state of New York, of excellent family. Elena married José Wolfskill and lives at Los Angeles.

PICO, Andrés. Son of José María, born at San Diego, 1810. In 1836-8, was elector and receptor of customs, and in charge of Jamul rancho. Took an active part in the uprisings against the Monterey government and was several times a prisoner. In 1839-42 was lieutenant of the San Diego Company, served as elector, was in charge of San Luis Rey, and obtained lands at Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, and Temécula. Was in command at the battle of San Pasqual and in subsequent oper­ations. Made treaty with Frémont at Cahuenga which ended the war. Did not return to San Diego, but engaged in mining and land litigation. Represented the counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego in the State Senate, in 1860-1. Was a Democratic presidential elector from California, 1852. He never married. He was a brave and popular man, but coarse and unscrupulous. Died in 1876.

PICO, José Antonio Bernardo. Son of José María. Born at San Diego about 1794. Member of the San Diego Company, and clerk in 1817. Sergeant, 1828, lieutenant, 1834, and com­missioner to secularize San Juan Capistrano, 1834-6. Went to Monterey, 1838. Grantee of Agua Caliente Rancho in 1840 and left the military service. Grantee of San Luis Rey, 1846. Mar­ried Soledad Ybarra, 1828; died at San Diego, 1871. He was a lively old man, full of jokes, and nicknamed Picito [Little Pico] by reason of his small stature. Wilkes ridicules him in his ac­count, 1841. He was a soldier in the Mexican War and second in command under his brother Andrés, during the operations around San Diego.

PICO, José María. Founder of the Pico family of Southern California. Son of Santiago Pico of Sinaloa. Soldier of the San Diego Company from 1782, also at San Luis Rey. Died at San Gabriel in 1819. His wife was María Estaquia Lopez, a native of Sonora, whom he married in 1789. Their three sons were Andrés, José Antonio Bernardo, and Pio. They had seven daughters: Concepcion, who was married to Domingo A. I. Car­rillo; Estéfana and Jacinta, who were married to José A. E. Carrillo, the brother of Domingo; Ysadora, who became the wife of John Forster; Tomasa, who married an Alvarado; and Feliciana.

PICO, Pio. As a resident of San Diego who became gov­ernor, Pio Pico is a figure of much interest. He was born at San Gabriel in 1801, and removed to San Diego after his father’s death, in 1819. He kept a small shop there. Gambled with Father Menendez with varying fortune; lost all he had at San Vicente, Lower California, and later won twelve mules and stripped the padre, at San Diego. Built a house at old San Diego in 1824. Once on going to Los Angeles for a visit, he was ordered by Alcalde Avila, described as an ignorant fellow who ruled by the sword, to go to work on an aqueduct; but being on horseback and armed with a musket, he escaped and returned to San Diego. In 1821 he put up a hide hut at Los Angeles and opened a dram shop, the price of a drink being “two-bits.” Introduced the use of an ox-horn to drink from, with a false wooden bottom to reduce the quantity of liquor.

Mrs. Carson once met him going to the races; he had his mule panniers loaded down with silver which he was taking to bet on the horse.

Was clerk in a trial at San Diego, 1826. Senior vocal of assem­bly, 1832, and chosen political chief after expulsion of Victoria same year, but only acted twenty days. Majordomo San Luis Rey Mission, 1834. Candidate for alcalde, December, 1834, but defeated. Elector, 1836. 1837-9, active against Alvarado’s government and more than once a prisoner. Played an active and not always creditable part in troubles of this time. Became governor in 1845, and was the last Mexican governor.

In 1841, grantee of Santa Margarita and Las Flores Ranchos. Conveyed the former to his brother-in-law, John Forster, and there was a noted contest for it in later years in the courts, but Forster won and retained the valuable propery. He married María Ignacia Alvarado in 1834. He spent his later years in Los Angeles and wrote quite a little concerning California his­tory. His character has been variously estimated and he has been much abused for various causes. It is not possible to discuss these matters here. He seems to have been a man of little edu­cation and only moderate intelligence; fairly honest but with­out any gifts of statesmanship which would have qualified him for important achievements in the difficult times in which he lived. Nearly all the magazines have contained, at various times, “write-ups” of the Pico family, and attacks or defenses of his administration.

ROCHA, Juan José. Mexican lieutenant who came with Echeandía in 1825, under sentence of banishment from Mexico for two years. Held different commands, at Monterey and else­where. Gave a ball in honor of the Híjar colony, 1834. Mar­ried Elena Dominguez. Spent his last years in San Diego. Father of Manuel Rocha, who was a member of the first grand jury at San Diego, in September, 1850.

RUIZ, Francisco María. Native of Lower California. At Santa Barbara from 1795, and from 1806 commandant at San Diego. Made captain in 1820 and retired in 1827. Grantee of the Peñasquitas Rancho, and died in 1839, at age of about 85. Never married.

He was the son of Juan María Ruiz and Isabel Carrillo, both of distinguished families. His father was killed by a lion. His brother, José Manuel, was governor of Lower California. He was a man of violent temper and quarrelsome disposition, and had serious difficulty with his relative, Captain de la Guerra y Noriega, whom he knocked down. He was also somewhat dis­sipated. He seems to have been well liked locally, notwithstand­ing his many faults.

SERRANO, José Antonio, son of Leandro Serrano. Married Rafaela, daughter of Rosario Aguilar. Their children were Jesus, who is about seventy-five years of age and lives at Ven­tura; Luis, born March 12, 1846 married Serafina Stewart, daughter of John C. Stewart, and lives in San Diego; Rosa, who was married to Andrew Cassidy; and Adelaide, who was the first wife of Sam Ames, of Old Town.

José Antonio Serrano was a horse and cattle man. He served under Pico in the Mexican War, and was engaged at the battle of San Pasqual.

UBACH, Father Antonio D. Native of Catalonia. Edu­cated for a missionary priest at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and had traveled thousands of miles as a missionary among the Indi­ans. He came to San Diego in 1866, and had been in charge of the Catholic parish here ever since. Had a dispensation which allowed him to wear a beard. He had Moorish blood in his veins. He brought the first organ to San Diego. In early days after the morning services were over, he would bring out a football which he brought with him here, and play with the boys on the plaza. He had the dagger of the celebrated bandit, Joaquin Murietta. He had also had charge of a large number of valuable relics of early Spanish days, including vestments, books of record, etc., from the old mission.

He was the “Father Gaspara” of Mrs. Jackson’s Ramona, a circumstance which gave him wide fame and made him an object of extraordinary interest to all strangers. For many years he refused to discuss the truth of the incidents of the story, but in the San Diego Union of June 25, 1905, he spoke of the marriage of Ramona as follows:

“Although it took place forty years ago, I remember it very well—how the couple came to me and asked me to marry them and how I was impressed with them. But it was not in the long adobe building which everybody points out as the place—that is the Estudillo place—but it took place in the little church which stands not far away, near the old cemetery where the old mission bells are. Why, I would not marry them out­side of the church; Catholics know that. Mrs. Jackson herself says that the wedding took place in the chapel, and I can’t imagine why the other building is the one that is usually pointed out.

“Do I know who Alessandro and Ramona were? Yes, but those were not their real names. I know what their right names were, but I do not care to tell. Mrs. Jackson suppressed them because she did not care to subject the families to the notoriety that they would be sure to get from the publication of the book. They were native families who lived in the coun­try, and I was well acquainted with them. I have never men­tioned their names to anyone and of course I don’t want to do so now.”

In 1874 he laid out the present Catholic cemetery on the hill back of old San Diego. In 1878-80, he went home and visited his people in Catalonia. A large part of his work here has been among the Indians, with whom he has had great influ­ence. The corner stone of the unfinished church at Old Town was laid in July, 1869, but he was destined to be unable to finish it. Three years later, a movement for a new building in new San Diego was commenced, and in 1875 he had the satis­faction of occupying a comfortable building on what was then mesa lands west of the new town. The present brick church was completed and occupied in 1894.

Father Ubach died at St. Joseph’s Hospital on the afternoon of Saturday, March 27, 1907. He had been in failing health for several months, but insisted upon pursuing his accustomed tasks until he could no longer appear in public. His death, though not unexpected impressed the community profoundly. It was the sundering of the last link which connected the new day with the olden time, for Father Ubach was in truth “the last of the padres.” His funeral, which occurred in his church on the forenoon of Wednesday, April 2d, was exceedingly impressive. Bishop Conaty conducted the elaborate cer­emonies and pronounced the eulogy. The church was filled to overflowing, while thousands of mourners remained outside the building. Among the mass of floral emblems nothing was more touching than the wild flowers sent by the Indians from the mountains. The historic priest sleeps in the Catholic cemetery on the mesa, which overlooks the scene of his labors.

ZAMORANO, Augustin Vicente. Was a native of Florida, his parents being Spaniards. He received a good education and entered the army May 1, 1821, as a cadet. After service in Mexico he came to California in 1825 with Echeandía, and served as the governor’s secretary for five years. In February, 1827, he married María Luisa, daughter of Santiago Argüello. In 1831, he was made captain of the Monterey company. He left California in 1838, but returned in 1842 and died the same year in San Diego. His children were: Dolores, born 1827, married to J. M. Flores; Luis, born in 1829 and now lives in San Diego; Gonzalo, born in 1832; Guadalupe, born in 1833, married to Henry Dalton; Josefa, born in 1834; Augustin, 1836; Eulalia, married to Vicente Estudillo.

His political career was an active and stormy one. In 1827-8 he was a district elector for San Diego; candidate for congress 1830; secretary to Figueroa in 1833-5. Proclaimed commander general and governor ad interim in 1837, and divided the juris­diction of the territory with Echeandía for a time. He left Cali­fornia at the fall of Guiterez, but returned to take part in the campaign against Alvarado, without achieving anything of consequence.

Return to Books.


Main Page
Author’s Foreword
Introduction: The Historical Pre-Eminence of San Diego

PART ONE:   Period of Discovery and Mission Rule

  1. The Spanish Explorers
  2. Beginning of the Mission Epoch
  3. The Taming of the Indian
  4. The Day of Mission Greatness
  5. The End of Franciscan Rule
    Priests of San Diego Mission

PART TWO:   When Old Town Was San Diego

  1. Life on Presidio Hill Under the Spanish Flag
    List of Spanish and Mexican commandants
  2. Beginnings of Agriculture and Commerce
    List of Ranchos in San Diego County
  3. Political Life in Mexican Days
  4. Early Homes, Visitors and Families
  5. Pleasant Memories of Social Life
  6. Prominent Spanish Families
  7. The Indians’ Relations With the Settlers
    List of Mission Indian Lands
  8. San Diego in the Mexican War
  9. Public Affairs After the War
  10. Accounts of Early Visitors and Settlers
  11. Annals of the Close of Old San Diego
  12. American Families of the Early Time
  13. The Journalism of Old San Diego
  14. Abortive Attempt to Establish New San Diego

PART THREE:   The Horton Period

  1. The Founder of the Modern City
  2. Horton’s Own Story
  3. Early Railroad Efforts, Including the Texas and Pacific
  4. San Diego’s First Boom
  5. Some Aspects of Social Life

PART FOUR:   Period of “The Great Boom”

  1. Coming of the Santa Fe
  2. Phenomena of the The Great Boom
  3. Growth of Public Utilities
  4. Water Development

PART FIVE:   The Last Two Decades

  1. Local Annals, After the Boom
  2. Political Affairs and Municipal Campaigns
  3. Later Journalism and Literature [new material in second edition]
  4. The Disaster to the Bennington
  5. The Twentieth Century Days
  6. John D. Spreckels Solves the Railroad Problem

PART SIX:   Institutions of Civic Life

  1. Churches and Religious Life
  2. Schools and Education
  3. Records of the Bench and Bar
  4. Growth of the Medical Profession
  5. The Public Library
  6. Story of the City Parks
  7. The Chamber of Commerce
  8. Banks and Banking
  9. Secret, Fraternal and Other Societies
  10. Account of the Fire Department

PART SEVEN:   Miscellaneous Topics

  1. History of the San Diego Climate
  2. San Diego Bay, Harbor and River
  3. Governmental Activities
  4. The Suburbs of San Diego

Political Roster, City of San Diego
Political Roster, San Diego County