In early spring of 1849, a twenty-seven-year-old army lieutenant, Cave Johnson Couts, arrived in southern California. As part of a detachment of American soldiers, he had been ordered to serve occupation duty following the recent war with Mexico.1 At first detailed to Los Angeles, Couts later traveled to San Diego to assist joint Mexican and American efforts to survey a new boundary line between Upper and Lower California.2 Unlike a fellow newcomer, who referred to the settlement as a “miserable Mexican town,”3 Couts liked what he saw in San Diego and decided to remain. In 1851 he resigned his commission from the army and married Ysidora Bandini, the daughter of a prosperous local businessman. He established himself on a large rancho4 and took up the life of a family man, ranchero and civic leader.5 In short, like many other Americans who came to California, Couts saw an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to realize his ambitions.
Cave Couts is well known to San Diego historians as a result of his meticulous care in recording and preserving nearly every aspect of his life in voluminous diaries, notebooks, and letters. At present the greatest portion of this resource material is housed at the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Together with the papers of his son, Cave Jr., these make up a collection of manuscripts of some 16,000 pieces. Out of this number two diaries are perhaps best recognized.
Couts completed the first diary within a six month span between 1848 and 1849. This was a narrative of his overland march under the command of Major Lawrence P. Graham6 from Monterrey, Mexico, to Los Angeles, where he began his tour of occupation duty in southern California. Published by the Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society in 1961 as Hepah California! The Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico to Los Angeles, California, During the Years 1848-1849, it has become a minor classic in the realm of southwest travel memoirs. The second diary covered Couts’ involvement with the boundary survey and his escorting of an army survey party to the Colorado River from September, 1849, to December of that year. It was published in 1932 by the Zamorano Club as From San Diego to the Colorado in 1849: The Journal and Maps of Cave J. Couts.7 In the interval between these two events, Couts spent several months in San Diego—initially at Mission San Luis Rey and then in Old Town. For whatever reason, the three and a half pages of intermittent entries which he wrote describing this period were not published in either of the two diaries. These are the pages printed here for the first time.
The significance of this portion of Couts’ diary to San Diego history can be appreciated when it is compared to the other primary accounts written in 1849. After the news of James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Coloma in 1848, the tide of emigrants to California began to swell enormously. As San Diego had become a favorite spot for those traveling by southern routes to catch steamships north or a place to stop and take on supplies, these gold seekers often found time to record their impressions of the former colonial Mexican outpost.8 Fortunately some of their diaries and journals survive today—for example, that of an obscure artist, H. M. T. Powell,9 who remained in Old Town for a short while, made sketches “of San Diego from Fort Stockton,”10 and sold them to a variety of persons including Couts.11 Men like John W. Audubon,12 youngest son of the well-known ornithologist, however, were in a greater hurry to reach the gold fields and stayed only long enough “to get provisions ready for the company” and chronicle a few brief remarks on the “beautiful” bay and the “once evidently beautiful and comfortable” Mission San Diego.13
As a military man, Couts was not in California to look for gold. His descriptions, therefore, of occurrences in San Diego during the spring and summer of 1849 offer a unique contrast to those of his civilian contemporaries. Being a somewhat “permanent” resident he could in addition provide a fairly complete report on local affairs. Of even further importance, Couts’ sojourn in San Diego obviously left him with a feeling of personal contentment as is evidenced by his decision to make the community his home and marry into a Californio family.
Along with the military and forty-niners, a third contingent of individuals found their way to San Diego in the summer of 1849. A negotiated conclusion to the Mexican War in early spring of the previous year had resulted in surrender of most of Mexico’s northern provinces to the United States. To separate the two countries, a new boundary line was now needed.14 A combined Mexican and American Boundary Commission formed to handle the situation held its preliminary meeting in San Diego on July 6.15 A rash of petty bickering and personality clashes in the American Commission—caused mainly by travel delays in Panama—found a vehicle for escape when the day after the Mexican Commission’s ship Caroline entered port a grand Fourth of July celebration was held in Old Town. Couts too enjoyed the chance for merrymaking as a divergence from his usual soldierly functions. His notes on the festivities complement those of other participants whose accounts subsequently found publication in large eastern newspapers.16
An examination of Couts’ writings reveals differing facets of his character. Most evident is his forthright sincerity and frankness. A man of action, he found it beneficial to deal with life on a practical basis.17 Nevertheless, Couts maintained individual prejudices as well. At Mission San Luis Rey, knowing little of the actual circumstances, he unquestioningly placed blame for the decline of the old mission on the “villanious Mexicans” and the “cunningness and deception” of the Catholic padres. When an election was held to elect a delegate from San Diego to California’s State Constitutional Convention, Couts became alarmed at the “dirty and odoriferous tricks” used by the “filthy politicans” to win acceptance. Presumably his own humility kept him from stating that he had won the contest. Born and reared in Tennessee, Couts seems to have also acquired the stereotyped traits of the “southern gentleman”—notably placing personal integrity above all else and a willingness to chastise those opponents threatening his honor. This became evident after an army officer, Major Justus McKinstry, verbally maligned Couts’ new-found sweetheart, Ysidora Bandini. Incensed, Couts sent a friend, Lieutenant George Evans, with a note challenging McKinstry to a fight. Declining the summons, McKinstry chose instead to thrash it out with Evans in Old Town Plaza, much to the ire of Couts.
In preparing Couts’ diary pages for publication as little as possible has been changed. Most abbreviations are spelled out for clarity, and capitalization of nouns is retained as written. Even though Couts attended West Point College and consequently had an educational level well above average for his day, his sentences are sometimes confusing and unclear. This is no doubt due to hurried or unusual circumstances at the time of writing. Despite their seeming vagueness, these sentences have likewise been unaltered in keeping with the flavor of the original document.
San Luis Rey, California, April 10, 1849. Our Squadron (Companies A and E) marched from Los Angeles18 on 26th ult., arriving here on 1st inst. The distance is about ninety miles. Ordered to this place to repair the quarters and make all preparations for the Regiment of 2nd Infantry, which is to land at San Diego sometime during the present, or coming month. But if they should land at Monterey first, which appears to be the understanding, it admits of a great doubt whether Our Company even will come down. Apropos the Regiment. The Mission has been a magnificent place in its day, but now only a splendid ruin. The doors and window facings have been torn out to use for firewood (by volunteers and Indians together) and it was with difficulty that we could quarter our squadron, small as it is. To repair it, would be to build a new San Luis Rey.19 The Church, now, would pass in any of the states for a rich and magnificent structure. So well did the old Padres operate on the Indians’ supersition, that every Sunday they come and, kneeling, go through the ordinary Catholic forms; and to touch anything connected with the Church with fancy fingers, they think would be followed by an instant stroke of death, dealt by one of the old fellows whose bones now lie under its altar. An Indian even reproached me for entering the church with my hat on. This was at one time the largest and much the wealthiest mission in California—owning horses, cattle and stock of all kinds, countless. But the heavy tax of the villanious Mexicans, notwithstanding all the cunningness and deception of the old Padres, destroyed them in a few years leaving a remnant of magnificence; a source of wonder to the yankees—wonder that any people could so far degenerate as to let such wealth and stupendous structures go to ruin.20 During the fabrication of this grand work, fifteen hundred Indians were constantly employed as laborers. The buildings are on the sides of a square, six hundred feet, forming a large and handsome court on the inside, to which there are but two grand entrances, and from the center of which once played a handsome fountain. Through the beautiful little church yard, water was conducted in all directions, and is yet full of the most choice and select flowers and shrubbery. Connected with the mission are several very large and elegant gardens, and a grand vineyard. These are yet in a good state, and highly valuable. The celery grows wild all over them and higher than a man’s head. This, it was Governor Pio Pico’s21 last effort as Governor of California, to try and make over to one of relating, dating his papers years back. But was wanting in that cunningness with which his people generally are so abundantly possessed of.22 The Bells, which were made in Boston in 1828, are of the most elegant style. Water is aboundant and good. Several springs meet the creek, which runs into the Pacific about four and a half miles from the mission. The valley is separated from the valley of Santa Margarita23 by a chain or ridge of mountains, now covered with wild oats. In this valley, which is almost unsurpassed by any other in the country, lives old Pio Pico, the ex-Governor, whose ranch is called Santa Margarita Ranch,24 and is three or four miles distant from San Luis Rey.
The old Indian Captain—General Lemuel,25 as he calls himself—who fought so bravely under General Kearny,26 receiving many severe wounds, is a very worthy old fellow indeed. Called on us so often as to make himself almost a nuisance (loves whiskey!) invariably exhibiting his presents from General Kearny—the pair of pistols are very highly valuable.
San Diego, June 10, 1849. Lieutenant Wilson27 and myself left San Luis Rey on 12th of May for San Diego—remained here a couple of days with Don Miguel Pedrorena,28 a Spaniard, and with whom we passed a very pleasant time. On 17th went to Los Angeles, and returning to San Luis Rey on 27th found an order detailing my company to proceed to San Diego to assist the commission in surveying the boundary line. The next morning, 28th, we found ourselves on the road. Truly glad to get rid of Marshal Rucker.29
Arrived at San Diego, distance 38 miles, on 29th and mustered next morning by Major Heintzelman30 We had scarcely arrived in the town before the Infantry men were after the Dragoons for cartridges. They were leaving nightly in squads of from 2 to 22—Captain Hayden31 arrived a few days after us, and his company has nearly all gone—he being detailed as the Infantry company to go with the escort. Our commission, a part of it, Colonel Weller,32 Major Emory,33 and Hardcastle,34 and others arrived on 1st inst.—Whipple35 and others today. They came quarreling-all out with the Honorable Commissioner.36
San Diego, July 10, 1849. The Mexican Commissioner arrived on 3rd inst. I called on him, officially, to know when he wished to leave the “Caroline” and come to San Diego, that we might escort him up. Captain Dangerfield, commander of the Caroline, conducted me to General Conde,37 who received me very handsomely, and who we have found very much of a gentleman. They were escorted that evening to town by the dragoons, but the General returned before night to the vessel. On 4th all were invited to attend the celebration and ball. The General, his son, young Iturbide (the interpreter), and one or two others came, but upon inquiring of the General why the officers of the escort did not come? he replied “because he would not let them—they not being gentlemen!” The celebration was truly a handsome one—commencing on night of 3rd with the firing of platoons of small arms and songs. The old cannon standing at the foot of the flag staff cracked a honey comb, made to tell lowdly during the whole night etc.: And on 4th, at noon, the command was paraded, and a national salute fired by platoons—Captain Hayden with the Infantry and myself the dragoons alternating—Then a procession around the plaza, winding in at the platform around the flag staff, heard the Declaration read in English by Major Emory, and in Spanish by Mr. Ghagan38 and a very handsome oration by Colonel J. B. Weller, when all adjourned to a sumptuous barbecue prepared in the southern vicinity of the town. Here a barrel of whiskey was opened, cups supplied, and the Indians, who had been called in from the surrounding country, told to help themselves. In a few hours the ground was strewn as thick with the helpless, as a battlefield after a severe and bloody battle—many having fallen before gratifying their ravenous appetites. Before leaving the town, they called on the officers to know when 4th of July came again? The whole concluding with an elegant Ball and supper, in the Casa of our friend Don Juan Bandini.39 Then Mr. Iturbide, son of the old Ex-Emperor, thought he did not receive the attention due the son of such highness, and wanted to fight the whole American Republic. Conde, after choking him awhile, had him led out of the ring.
San Diego, August 12, 1849. Had an election on 1st inst. for members of the convention. Colonel Weller, the great, was exceedingly anxious for the township of San Diego to honor him, but feared the result too much. He ran his mouthpiece, Mr. A. H. Robinson, and Justus McKinstry,40 who he likewise made a tool of, but it was all no go. The dirty and odoriferous tricks of filthy politicians were played out to full extent, but it availed nothing, their ticket was handsomely and badly beaten.
The emigrants are pouring in from all directions, and many from the coast below, suffering much. Our gorgeous little harbor is now seen riding four, five and six of the oceans pride, daily, and not infrequently two steamboats. The place promises to be of much importance. I have been busily engaged surveying it for the Council, for sometime and nothing but their avariciousness will keep it from growing like a weed.41
San Diego, September 3, 1849. In consequence of a difficulty which Evans42 and myself unfortunately found ourselves in, with the dirty and cowardly J. McKinstry, Evans has been ordered to Washington, in arrest, and me to take command of the expedition for the Gila.43 The cowardice of this dirty beast, McKinstry is too well known, for me to say a word about him; and Evans and myself, being on the other side on secure footing precisely.44 I of course think we only played the part of honorable and brave men. At any rate, we wished and did our best for a fight, which we could not get. The whole resulted from the dirty rascal’s slandering a young lady, who would not permit the free use of his vulgar tongue in her presence; and in his endeavors to implicate me in his foul slander, Evans carried him a note, containing a challenge which his friends would not permit him to accept!45
I have been living in the house of Don Juan Bandini since we came to San Diego, and can not forget the unbounded kindness of his wife, Doña Refugia and Señorita Ysidora, Dolores, Chata etc46
1. For an account of Couts’ trip to southern California see the Journal of Cave Johnson Couts From Mexico to California, 1848-1849, MS, Huntington Library. The greater portion of this manuscript has been published as Cave Johnson Couts, Hepah California! The Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico to Los Angeles, California, During the Years 1848-1849, ed. by Henry F. Dobyns (Tucson: Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society, 1961).
2. Couts’ work on the boundary survey is contained in the Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from San Diego to the Colorado, 1849, MS, Huntington Library. This has been published as Cave Johnson Couts, From San Diego to the Colorado in 1849: The Journal and Maps of Cave J. Couts, ed by. William McPherson (Los Angeles: Zamorano Club, 1932).
3. John Woodhouse Audubon, Audubon’s Western Journal, 1849-1850 (Glorieta, New Mexico: Rio Grande Press, Inc., 1969), p. 174.
4. See Iris Wilson Engstrand and Thomas L. Scharf, “Rancho Guajome: A California Legacy Preserved,” The Journal of San Diego History, XX (Winter, 1974).
5. See Lyle C. Annable, The Life and Times of Cave Johnson Couts, San Diego County Pioneer, Unpublished Masters Thesis, San Diego State University, 1965.
6. While under Graham’s command Couts grew impatient with the major’s constant drinking and often referred to him as “Whiskey.” A native of Virginia, Graham fought gallantly in several battles in the Mexican War. Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from Mexico to California, 1848-1849, MS, passim; and Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), Vol. I, p. 468.
7. The officer in charge of this survey party, Amiel Weeks Whipple, also kept a journal which can be compared to Couts’. It has been published as A. W. Whipple, The Whipple Report: Journal of an Expedition from San Diego, California to the Rio Colorado, from September 11 to December 11, 1849, ed. by E. I. Edwards (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1961).
8. For descriptions of some of these southern routes see Ralph P. Bieber, Southern Trails to California in 1849 (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1937); and Ferol Egan, The El Dorado Trail: The Story of the Gold Rush Routes Across Mexico (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1970).
9. Facts on Powell’s life are few. It seems likely his father was an Englishman who made his living selling books and prints. H. M. T. Powell, The Santa Fe Trail to California 1849-1852: The Journal and Drawings of H. M. T. Powell, ed. by Douglas S. Watson (San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1931), Foreword.
10.Ibid., p. 189.
11. Couts paid eight dollars for his sketch. Ibid., p. 193. Couts had Powell do two other sketches, one of San Diego and another of Mission San Diego, in an album of poetry and verse he presented to Ysidora Bandini. See Album Inscribed to Isidora Bandini Couts, MS, Cave Couts Collection, Huntington Library.
12. Traveling in the company of some eighty other persons, Audubon’s route to California took him along the Rio Grande and Gila rivers. See Audubon, Western Journal.
13.Ibid., pp. 170-172.
14. The new boundary line was to follow the Rio Grande and Gila rivers. At the confluence of the Gila with the Colorado River it would run in a straight line across California to the Pacific Ocean and terminate there at a point one maritime league due south of the southernmost extent of the port of San Diego. “The Treaty between the United States and Mexico,” House of Representatives Ex. Doc. No. 52, 30th Congress, 1st Session, Washington D. C., 1848, Article V.
15. Lewis B. Lesley, “The International Boundary Survey from San Diego to The Gila River, 1849-1850” California Historical Society Quarterly, IX (March, 1930), p. 6.
16. Newspapers publishing the story of this event included the New York Tribune, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Philadelphia Public Ledger. See John B. Goodman, “Forty-Niners’ Independence Day,” San Diego Historical Society Quarterly, I (July, 1955), pp. 29-31.
17. For a good discussion of Couts’ personality see Annable, The Life and Times of Cave Johnson Couts, pp. 163-186.
18. Couts noted when he arrived in Los Angeles that: “The reports, stories etc. which we have long heard of California are far from any exaggeration. True it rains but once a year, December and January, but the little valleys seem all to have a constant running stream. Many admit of irrigation. The timber is very scarce, remarkably so. None can be found save in the mountains, and along the gorges of the hills. Some small, quite small timber is generally found along the streams, though often for miles not a bush is to be seen.” Journal of Cave Johnson Couts from Mexico to California, 1848-1849, MS, entry for January 8, 1849, p. 67.
19. San Luis Rey Mission was founded on June 13, 1789 by Fr. Fermin Lasuen, and named for Louis IX, King of France. Established number eighteen in an eventual chain of twenty-one missions located up and down the Alta California coast, San Luis Rey became one of the most extensive in size and in the scope of its activities. Following secularization of the missions it was sold in 1846 and used for a time to quarter troops of the United States Army. An excellent summary of the mission’s history is Rev. Maynard Geiger, O. F. M., PhD., Mission San Luis Rey de Francia: The King of the Missions, An Historical Sketch (n.p., n.d.).
20. Sadly enough, after the missions and their lands were secularized, the physical condition of the churches and attached structures did “go to ruin.” A panorama of paintings showing the missions as they appeared in this rundown state is presented in Ruth I. Mahood, ed., A Gallery of California Mission Paintings by Edwin Deakin (Los Angeles: The Ward Ritchie Press, 1966).
21. Born in May 1801, at the San Gabriel Mission, Pico led a tumultuous life. His father, José María Pico, served as company corporal of the San Diego garrison. It was here, together with his two brothers and seven sisters, that Pío Pico spent much of his early life. A politician and revolutionary, Pico became governor of Mexican California in 1832. In the early 1840s he and his brother Andrés served as administrators for Mission San Luis Rey. Governor again in 1845-46, he left California after the American take over and did not return until 1848. Heavily in debt much of the time due to gambling, Pico died a poor man in 1894. For Pico’s own account of his life see Pío Pico, Don Pío Pico’s Historical Narrative, trans. by Arthur P. Botello, and ed. by Martin Cole and Henry Welcome (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1973).
22. Couts probably is referring to Pico’s unlawful sale of Mission San Luis Rey on May 18, 1846. Against orders from the Mexican government, he sold the property to José A. Cote and José A. Pico for $2,000 in silver and $437.50 in grain. As administrator for San Luis Rey, Pico gave as his reason for the transaction the need to pay off urgent mission debts. Actually, it appears that Pico was the one being pressed by creditors and hoped to pay them off from the proceeds of the mission sale. The sale of San Luis Rey was later declared illegal by the United States government. Geiger, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, p. 23; and Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt, The Missions and Missionaries of California (San Francisco: The James Barry company, 1915), Vol. IV, Part III, pp. 502-503.
23. The valley of Santa Margarita takes its name from the 1769 expedition of Don Gaspár de Portolá, who named it in honor of the “holy virgin and martyr” Saint Margaret. Erwin G. Gudde, California Place Names (Berkeley; University of California Press, 1969), p. 296.
24. Rancho Santa Margarita was granted to Pío Pico and his brother Andrés in 1841. Fronting the Pacific Ocean with thirty-five miles of coastline, the rancho originally contained 89,642 acres and extended from present day Oceanside into Orange and Riverside counties. Further land added in 1844 made a total of 133,440 acres. In 1862 Andrés sold his share of Santa Margarita to his brother. Two years later, Pío Pico was forced to sell the rancho to his brother-in-law, Don Juan Forster, to pay off gambling debts. Today the greater portion of Santa Margarita makes up Camp Pendleton, a training base for the United States Marine Corps. Cecil Moyer, Historic Ranchos of San Diego (San Diego: Union-Tribune Publishing Company, 1969), pp. 25-30.
25. Present research has failed to adequately identify this Indian. If, as Couts states, he “fought so bravely” under General Stephen Watts Kearny, and was held in such high esteem that Kearny presented him with a pair of pistols, it seems puzzling that no other known sources record the incident. Dwight L. Clarke, perhaps Kearny’s best biographer, does not mention anyone specifically matching General Lemuel’s description. To have fought with Kearny, the Indian would have most likely participated in the encounter between Kearny’s Army of the West and local Californios at the Battle of San Pasqual on December 6, 1846. An examination of several journals kept by individuals present at the engagement nowhere cites the exploits of such an Indian warrior. The only Indian known to have aided the American army is the so-called “mystery” Indian who accompanied Lt. Edward Beale and scout Kit Carson to San Diego to inform the army there of the action at San Pasqual and request assistance. Either General Lemuel was this Indian, or a second native who did in fact serve with Kearny’s forces. The entire story could also be a falsehood perpetrated by what Couts noticed as the “General’s” fondness for alcoholic spirits.
26. Stephen Watts Kearny was born in 1794 in Newark, New Jersey. After joining the army he fought in the War of 1812 and steadily worked his way up in rank becoming a colonel in 1836. In 1846, at the start of the Mexican-American War, he commanded the Army of the West on its famous march across the southwest, from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to Santa Fe, New Mexico and California. Kearny later served as governor of California in 1847. He died in 1848 at the age of fifty-four. A comprehensive biography is Dwight L. Clarke, Stephen Watts Kearny: Soldier of the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961).
27. Lieutenant Clarendon J. L. Wilson was born in Virginia and entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842. On February 4, 1847 he was breveted a First Lieutenant for his gallant conduct in the Mexican War at the battles of Embudo and Taos, New Mexico. He died in 1853. Heitman Historical Register, Vol. 1, p. 1045.
28. Pedrorena came to California in 1837 as a merchant on a trading vessel. He was originally from Spain, but had lived for awhile in Peru. Couts, From San Diego to the Colorado, pp. 64-65.
29. “Marshal Rucker,” as Couts called him, was Daniel Henry Rucker a native of New Jersey. He had achieved the rank of army captain on February 7, 1847. Couts evidently disliked Rucker as a superior officer and was pleased to see him relinquish his command to Lt. Clarendon Wilson on May 1, 1849. Heitman, Historical Register, Vol. 1, p. 849; and Returns from United States Military Posts, 1800-1916, San Luis Rey, April, 1849, National Archives Microfilm Publication, Washington D.C.
30. Major Samuel P. Heintzelman led a long and active career in the United States Army. He graduated from West Point on July 1, 1826 and served at a variety of military posts from Florida to Michigan between 1827 and 1846. In the Mexican War he received the brevet of major for his meritorious action at the conflict of Huamantla, Mexico. From 1848 to 1854, Heintzelman performed frontier duty at San Diego and Fort Yuma, Arizona. George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy (New York: Van Nostrand, 1868), Vol. 1, pp. 295-296.
31. Born in New York, Julius Hayden acquired the rank of army captain for courageous performance of duty at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco in the Mexican War. Artist H. M. T. Powell, however, thought his behavior towards emigrant gold seekers in San Diego was “reprehensible.” Heitman, Historical Register, Vol. 1, p. 514; and Powell, The Santa Fe Trail, p. 191.
32. Previous to accepting his post as United States Boundary Commissioner, John B. Weller had been a three-term Democratic congressman from Ohio. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of that state. Weller later became governor of California in 1858. Theodore H. Hittel, History of California (San Francisco: N. J. Slone and Company, 1898), pp. 232-233; and Brett H. Melendy and Benjamin F. Gilbert, The Governors of California (Georgetown, California: The Talisman Press, 1965), pp. 81-90.
33. Lieutenant William Emory graduated from West Point in 1831 and was a member of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. He first came to California in 1846 as a part of General Stephen Watts Kearny’s Army of the West. While working on the boundary survey Emory and Couts would become good friends. Cullum, Biographical Register, Vol. I, pp. 386-388.
34. A member of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, Lieutenant Edmund Hardcastle graduated from West Point on July 1, 1846. In the Mexican War he participated in the battles of Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and the capture of Mexico City. Ibid., Vol. II, p. 144.
35. Amiel Weeks Whipple headed up the group of army surveyors that Couts would escort to the Colorado and Gila rivers. Born in Greenwich, Massachusetts in 1817, Whipple graduated from West Point in 1841. See Thomas L. Scharf, “Amiel Weeks Whipple and the Boundary Survey in Southern California,” The Journal of San Diego History, XIX (Summer, 1973), pp. 18-3 1.
36. Weller angered fellow members of the Boundary Commission by failing to book advance through passage for all of them to San Diego. With the large influx of forty-niners seeking transportation to California, many commission personnel were left stranded in Panama. Lesley, California Historical Quarterly, p. S.
37. In addition to being Mexican Boundary Commissioner, General Pedro García Conde had served his country as a senator from Sonora, Secretary of War, and Director of the Military College. During the Mexican-American War he was in command at Chihuahua when American forces under the leadership of Colonel A. W. Doniphan marched through that state. Couts named a street for Conde in Old Town which still exists today. San Diego Herald, February 14, 1852.
38. The artist, H. M. T. Powell, who spelled Ghagan’s name as Geheegan, became annoyed when the gentleman took an inordinate amount of time to repay him a ten dollar loan. Powell, The Santa Fé Trail, pp. 195-197.
39. Don Juan Bandini, soon to become Couts’ father-in-law, came to California in the 1820s from Peru. A business, political and social leader in early San Diego, Bandini maintained a spacious house near the center of Old Town. Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco: The History Company, Publishers, 1886), Vol. II, pp. 709-710; and William E. Smythe, History of San Diego (San Diego: The History Company, 1908), Vol. 1, pp. 164-166.
40. Major Justus McKinstry attended West Point and finished number forty in a class of forty-five. He served as quartermaster for the American Boundary Commission. Cullum, Biographical Register, pp. 568-569.
41. Couts surveyed much of Old Town and gave the streets their present historic names. He also plotted and laid out town lots close to the beach at La Playa. In a letter to Emory, dated August 28, 1849, Couts reported: “The Beach lots are to be sold next Saturday at auction—10 o’clk—a notice will be sent to the Punta. The others, are now open for sale. I will want your Compass, Chain etc, to run a few lines more, (for primary) and not thinking you are in haste for it, will wait for the next opportunity of sending it.” In actuality, this land sale was held up until December of 1849. Letter from Cave Couts to William Emory, August 28, 1849, contemporary copy, San Diego Historical Society, Couts Letter File; and Cave Couts, Plan of La Playa of the Port of San Diego, Surveyed and Drawn for the Ayuntamiento or Town Council, 1849 (San Diego: Copied by M. G. Wheeler, Co. Sur. of San Diego, June, 1871).
42. Born in Maine, Lieutenant George F. Evans graduated number thirty-six in his class at West Point. In the Mexican War he received the rank of brevet First Lieutenant for his military action at the battle of Buena Vista. He died on March 29, 1859. Heitman, Historical Register, Vol. 1, p. 409.
43. The order placing Couts in charge of the escort for the Gila expedition is found in: Letter from William Emory to Cave Couts, September 1, 1849, contemporary copy, San Diego History Center, Couts Letter File.
44. Couts’ loathing for McKinstry went back to an incident that had transpired three months before in June. In the course of a card game, McKinstry borrowed seven hundred dollars from Couts of which he would only repay four hundred. As Couts later stated: “… being in want of the money I sent a polite note requesting the difference between us. It was denied me.” Letter from Cave Couts to Thomas Sidney Jesup, Statement Against Justus McKinstry, September 10, 1849, Cave Couts Collection, Huntington Library. In subsequent years McKinstry’s behavior showed little improvement. After a scandal involving fraudulent administration of his command, he was court-martialed from the army on January 28, 1863, for “neglect and violation of duty, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.” Thomas W. Sweeney, The Journal of Lt. Thomas W. Sweeney, 1849-1853, ed. by Arthur Woodward (Los Angeles: The Westernlore Press, 1956), p. 260.
45. McKinstry and Evans were both brought to trial for their actions. Couts was displeased that McKinstry got off with only “Three months suspension of rank, pay and involvements and to be reprimanded by the General Command.” Letter from Cave Couts to William Emory, January 1, 1851, contemporary copy, San Diego Historical Society, Couts Letter File. Other primary and secondary sources for the Couts-McKinstry feud include: a letter published in the Missouri Republican, December 1, 1849, p. 2; William H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, 1803-1863 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), p. 161; and Grant Foreman, Marcy and The Gold Seekers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939), pp. 320-321.
46. For general information concerning the Bandini family see Merle Clayton, “The Bandinis, Grandees in an Era of Grandeur,” San Diego Magazine, XXI (May, 1969), pp. 52-56, 104, 106; and Patricia Baker, “The Bandini Family,” The Journal of San Diego History, XV (Winter, 1969), pp. 23-27.
Thomas L. Scharf, who received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of San Diego, has been a regular contributor to The Journal of San Diego History. His article on the Cave Couts rancho entitled “Rancho Guajome: A California Legacy Preserved,” appeared in the Winter 1974 issue. Most recently Mr. Scharf co-compiled a Twenty-Year Index to the San Diego History Center Quarterly and The Journal of San Diego History.