The Journal of San Diego History
Fall 1997, Volume 43, Number 4
Richard W. Crawford, Editor

by Ruth Collings
[Winner of the Fintzelberg Award for Native, Spanish and Mexican
Periods in the 1998 San Diego History Center Institute of History]

I marvel at how they stood it, sailing from one port to another, constantly on the move in those relatively small boats, from 100 to 400 tons.1

Adele Ogden, author of The California Sea Otter Trade: 1784-1848 and numerous articles about California’s early maritime history, was talking about the men who traveled from one Pacific port to another during the first half of the 19th century, trading their goods for furs, hides, horns, and tallow.

Joseph Snook as a young man One of those who ‘stood it’ was Joseph Snook, an English mariner who came to California in 1830. Indeed, Captain Snook served as master of a succession of merchant vessels for the next seventeen years. During those years, he made frequent voyages from Callao to San Francisco and most ports in between. But he was not always at sea. He made his home in San Diego, married there, acquired property, and participated in the community. It is these less nautical activities that will be considered here.

Joseph Snook was born in 1798 in the Dorsetshire town of Weymouth, a seaside resort on the southern coast of England. He was the third son and fifth child in Joseph and Frances Snook’s family of nine. Although there are indications that earlier generations of Snooks were landowners in the Dorset area, Joseph’s immediate ancestors were cottars and agricultural laborers in Dorset County hamlets and villages.2 It should perhaps be noted that, despite current claims that Sevenoaks was the family name, there is nothing in Dorset County parish records to indicate they ever used anything other than Snook or Snooke.

In 1841, the year of England’s first official census, only four members of Joseph’s family were still living: his brother John, who would join him on his San Diego ranch; Ann, who married farm laborer John Guy; and brothers Thomas and Charles, who were agricultural laborers in the Weymouth village of Broadway. This at a time when one observer was prompted to write, “An English agricultural labourer and an English pauper, these words are synonymous.3 Little wonder that Joseph sought something better.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to show what led Joseph away from his agricultural roots and into the life of a mariner, but it seems likely that, at an early age, he was apprenticed to the captain of a merchant ship. In those days, shipping lines often trained their own officers, and it was probably under such tutelage that Joseph learned to read and write (accomplishments lacking in his younger brothers) and learned his seamanship and navigation skills.

Nor do we know the circumstances of Captain Snook’s arrival on the Pacific coast.4 We do know, however that on his first trip to California he was master of the Ayacucho, a 232 ton brig belonging to Stephen Anderson of the James Goldie Co., and it may be that this Scottish commercial house was the British connection that brought him to South America. With a twelve-man crew and James Scott as supercargo, the Ayacucho left the Peruvian department of La Libertad on 11 September 1830, arrived in Monterey 42 days later, and sailed for Callao after just three months.5

When Captain Snook returned to California, he was working for Henry Virmond, a German merchant who owned several merchant vessels and mercantile houses in Acapulco and Mexico City. Snook served as master of Virmond’s brig Catalina from 1832 to 1839. During this time the Catalina brought manufactured items to California ports; delivered dispatches, letters, and newspapers to the isolated territory; carried local produce up and down the coast; conveyed passengers from one port to another; and collected thousands of hides and large quantities of tallow for delivery to Mexico and Callao.

When in port, everything concerning the ship was attended to by the first mate. Unless he was also the supercargo, the captain had little to do and was usually ashore much of the time. Hospitable Californians welcomed ships’ officers into their homes and entertained them with dinners, dances, and picnics.

Captain Snook liked what he saw as he visited California’s ports and pueblos and decided this was where his future lay. In making this decision he was thinking not only of himself but also of his impoverished family back in England. Here, with land for the asking, his brothers could have a prosperity impossible in Weymouth.

To ‘ask’ for land, however, Snook had to become a Catholic and a Mexican citizen. On 29 April 1833, he petitioned for a letter of naturalization (unfortunately lost in the San Francisco earthquake and fire),6 and at Mission Santa Clara on 3 November 1835, he was baptized by Fr. Garcia Diego. Named Joseph for his father, he now took the name Francisco de Sales, no doubt honoring the memory of his mother, Frances (Fanny) Beal Snook.7

The first property that Captain Snook acquired was Rancho des Tomales, an 8,877-acre rancho north of San Francisco. In 1836 James Berry had been granted Rancho Punta de los Reyes in recognition of his service in the Mexican army. Berry stocked his grant with cattle and horses, but unable to utilize the entire eleven leagues, he allowed Snook to denounce two leagues.8

That Snook thought of settling in the San Francisco area is not surprising. The high coastal bluffs and the frequent mists and rain must have seemed much like home to him. He immediately set laborers to work building a 12′ by 15′ cabin of logs “as thick as a man’s thigh and plastered over with clay.”9 To stock the ranch, Snook purchased fifty-six head of livestock from Rafael Garcia who owned nearby Rancho des Tomales y Baulenes.

In making the decision to stay in California, Captain Snook was, undoubtedly, also thinking of María Antonia Alvarado Maria Antonia Alvarado, ca. 1845the San Diego senorita he hoped to marry. Just when he met María Antonia is not known, but it was probably during one of the Catalina’s frequent trips to Virmond’s La Playa hide house.

María Antonia was the eldest daughter of Juan Bautista Alvarado (cousin to the governor of the same name) and María Raimunda Yorba, both of whom could trace their ancestry back to the Sacred Expeditions of 1769. María Antonia was born 7 February 1811 at San Diego’s royal presidio where her father served as corporal and corporal de la plaza.10 Other children born to Juan Bautista and María Raimunda while they lived in San Diego were: José María, 1813; Juan María, 1816; María Ysabel Gabriela, 1818; and Francisco María de los Reyes, 1820.11 After a decade in San Diego, Corporal Alvarado was posted to Los Angeles. Here another daughter, María Guadalupe, was born in 1821.12

The Alvarados returned to San Diego, and when the presidio fell into disrepair and was abandoned, they moved to Rancho de la Nacion, the presidio rancho, where they lived “on the other side of the creek” from Victoria Estudillo and her family.13 They also owned the San Diego casa that in later years would be called the “house or store known as the General Store” on Block 44 (Couts survey) on Juan Street.14

On 2 December 1837, “Don José Francisco Snook and Doñ María Antonia Alvarado” were married in San Diego’s presidio chapel, Fr. Vicente Pasqual Oliva officiating. “Witnesses were Don Juan Bandini and Henry Fitch and others who were present.”15

The newlyweds made their home in an adobe casa next door to the Fitch house at the west end of the plaza. It stood on property later designated as Lots 1 and 2 of Block 46 on Fitch Street and a corner of Block 32.16

Snook was, no doubt, eager to show Rancho des Tomales to his bride, but work for Virmond prevented him from taking her north until 1839. Unfortunately, from the time they left San Diego, they “had nothing but rains and dirty weather,” and María Antonia was seasick the whole time. When the Catalina reached Monterey, Snook took her to stay with the David Spence family until she was well enough to continue.17

We have no way of knowing how María Antonia felt about the rancho, but subsequent events seem to indicate that she was not taken with the idea of living on California’s northern frontier. Snook took her home, and when he returned to San Francisco, he mortgaged Rancho des Tomales to Mr. G.W. Bird for $3,000.18 Then when the Catalina stopped in Monterey on her way leeward, he deeded the ranch–with mortgage–to Antonio María Osio in return for a house and six-acre vineyard in Los Angeles.

This Los Angeles property was located about a mile south of the plaza on the east side of Calle Principal. A story-and-a- half, white-washed adobe house stood at the northwest corner of the acreage which had a frontage of 210 varas and a depth of 51 varas. Water from zanjas 5 and 11 flowed along the east and north property lines, and a Moorish style water wheel dipped tin cans into the stream and deposited the water into homemade reservoirs for irrigation of the vineyard on the lowlands and the orchard and corn field on the higher ground along the Calle.19 In later years Osio would recall that he had “four thousand vines already yielding excellent fruit and three thousand more which were just beginning to produce.”20

Captain Snook used his $3,000 to purchase the English schooner, El Ayacucho. Not to be confused with the brig that first brought him to California, this was a 97-ton schooner owned by Scot mariner James McKinlay. On 2 October 1839 Snook took possession of the ship and applied to juez de paz Henry Fitch for “a document that in some way legalizes the sale.”21

But McKinlay retained ownership when Snook changed his mind–perhaps because he was thinking of “stopping on shore” and opening a shop in San Diego. Henry Fitch owned a store there and wanted the captain to become a partner, but Snook had misgivings:

If I take your shop, I have no capital to pay you my half of the first cost of the goods, and I shall be in your debt and perhaps the half gains that I shall get will not pay.22

Instead, as he wrote in a letter to Abel Stearns, “Since I came down I have taken into my head to see if I cannot sell a lettle groge.23 As a result, in November of 1839, Henry Fitch took over as captain of the Catalina, and Snook became the proprietor of a “small shop taken from 6 to 7 $ a day poco a poco.”24

For a seafaring man, however, this must have seemed a tame occupation, indeed, and in 1840 Captain Snook agreed to take command of the Joven Guipuzcoana, a bark owned by José Antonio Aguirre. He worked for this wealthy Spanish merchant until 1843. At that time, he again retired so he could devote more time to his various properties which now included a 17,763-acre “farm.”

Two years earlier, he had presented his petition for a vacant San Diego mission rancho to sub-prefect Santiago Arguello:

I, José Francisco Snook, a Mexican by naturalization and married in this department, before your Honor, respectfully represent that having some stock which I desire to increase . . . I pray your Honor to be pleased to grant me the place named San Bernardo, as I show on the accompanying map.25

Governor Alvarado approved the grant 16 February 1842, and in September of that year, Snook took his title to juez de paz José Gongora. The juez contacted the owners of adjoining properties: Francisco María Alvarado of Rancho de los Penasquitos to the south; Juan María Osuna of Rancho San Dieguito to the west; Juan Lugo, alcalde of the Indian pueblo of San Pascual to the east; and Lorenzo Soto who had leased a piece of land from Panto, chief of the San Pascual tribe. Receiving no complaints, Gongora then oversaw the measuring and marking of the ranch boundaries and on 4 September 1842 gave Snook the document that allowed him to take possession of Rancho San Bernardo. The grant came to Snook with a few strings attached:

He may enclose it without prejudice to the crossings, roads and servitudes; he shall enjoy it freely and exclusively devoting it to the use or cultivation that may be most convenient, but within one year he shall build a house upon the land which shall be inhabited.26

The road that Snook could not ‘prejudice’ was the one long used by mission fathers to travel from San Diego to the Indian pueblo of San Pascual and beyond. After entering the rancho from the south, the road crossed the San Bernardo River, then forked. One branch turned northwest toward Rancho San Marcos and Mission San Luis Rey; the other led east to San Pascual.

From the very beginning, Snook planned to devote the San Bernardo to the required good ‘use or cultivation.’ As stated in his petition, he had some stock he wanted to increase, and within a few years, hundreds of wild cattle, tame cows, horses, mules, oxen, and sheep dotted the hills and valleys of his farm. In fact, if we can believe the words of John Russell Bartlett who visited the ranch in 1852, the San Bernardo became “one of the largest stock-raising establishments in the country.”27

To ‘build a house upon the land’ was also part of Snook’s plan. Although the precise location of his hacienda is not known, the field notes and map made by surveyor James Freeman in 1853 and the recent discovery of 19th century horseshoes and ceramic shards have identified the location with a high degree of reliability.28 A constant, easily accessible source of water was the first consideration in deciding where to build, but as there were several year-round springs on the San Bernardo, it seems likely that the Snooks made their choice based on its proximity to Camino de San Marcos as well as on its spectacular vistas. Perched on an east-facing hillside, their adobe home overlooked an oak-lined stream, and in the distance a grand range of rocky peaks–some more than 2000 feet high–stretched north and south.

A spring and the road to Rancho San Marcos lay to the north as did Rancho Rincon del Diablo (also known as Rancho Escondido), the ranch belonging to María Antonia’s father. To the south, the sometimes dry San Bernardo River flowed west from San Pascual; beyond were the acres of wild oats and other native grasses where herds bearing the Snook J-S brand grazed and multiplied.

It seems clear that, upon his retirement, Captain Snook choose to become a California ranchero, a role not unlike that of an English landed squire. Under his supervision, his tenants and Indian servants built his house and corrals, dug wells, managed flocks and herds, and planted kitchen gardens and the required huerto de frutales.

It was probably at this time that Snook encouraged his brother to join him. Although no record of John’s arrival has come to light, it is known that he was in California by 1847.

In addition to his work at the ranch, Snook found time for family activities. There were, undoubtedly, visits to Jose María Alvarado and his wife María Lugarda Osuna. José María had been granted nearby Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos in 1840, but less than a year after taking possession, he sold that ranch to Lorenzo Soto “for forty young cows and ten young bulls.”29 Now, he and Lugarda lived on the San Geronimo, two thousand varas of land lying within the western boundary of Rancho Rincon del Diablo. Juan Bautista Alvarado deeded this land, its house, and its huerta to his son in 1846.30

And there may also have been fiestas and entertainments to attend at Rancho Guejito y Canada de Palomia which Gov. Pio Pico granted to José María Orosco in 1845. Guadalupe Alvarado, María Antonia’s youngest sister, had married José Orosco in 1841. Snook served as padrino for three of the Orosco children, an especially meaningful relationship since he and María Antonia had no children of their own.

May of 1845 found Snook in Los Angeles, and it was then he decided to do something about what he saw as an error in his title to Rancho San Bernardo. As he pointed out in a petition to Gov. Pico, “the title corresponds to the map in its calls of boundaries but not as to the number of leagues.” Pico issued an additional title giving Snook ownership of the full four sitios.31

In the past, Snook’s frequent voyages had often prevented his participation in civic activities, but in August of 1845 he joined with Jesus and Juan Machado, Francisco María Alvarado, Henry Fitch and others in surveying the boundaries of the four square leagues to which the pueblo of San Diego was entitled.32

Then early in 1846, Captain Snook went to sea again as master of the Juanita, a schooner owned by James Scott and John Wilson. He took the ship to Mazatlan in February, embarked a cargo worth $40,000, and was back in Santa Barbara by the middle of July. At that time Snook and supercargo James McKinlay must have learned of the Bear Flag revolt and the arrival of the U.S. Pacific fleet in Monterey. Instead of sailing north to enter their cargo, they sailed leeward to San Pedro and San Diego.

Despite this precaution, Captain Snook and the Juanita were soon caught up in the events of the American conquest of California. The Juanita had been in San Diego for about ten days when the U.S. sloop-of-war Cyane (Samuel F. DuPont) arrived. When DuPont learned the Juanita was a Mexican vessel, he put a prize crew aboard and confiscated 40,000 percussion caps–“an opportune and acceptable seizure.”33 Two weeks later, DuPont delivered his prize to Commodore Stockton in San Pedro.

Owner James Scott asked U.S. Consul Thomas Larkin to use his influence to procure the Juanita’s release and pledged her neutrality. Snook and the crew gave their parole, and after receiving a safe conduct license, the Captain took the schooner back to San Diego.

We have no clear picture of the Juanita’s itinerary during the American occupation of San Diego, but we know that Captain Snook was there in October of 1846. Toward the end of the month, he was a witness as Capt. Bezer Simmons of the Magnolia appeared before alcalde Henry Fitch to legalize his purchase of Rancho Peninsula de San Diego from Pedro Carrillo.34 Abel Stearns would later recall that Snook was still in San Diego during the first week of November.35 And Midshipman Robert Duvall wrote about the “treachery” of the paroled Englishman who warned the Californians when Gillespie’s men foraged for cattle.36

Toward the middle of November, however, the Juanita sailed windward. San Luis Obispo was, apparently, her first port of call. George Nidever, an American hunter and trapper watching from the bluff above the bay noted that “there seemed to be some- thing unusual going on.”37 His observation may have been related to the fact that San Luis Obispo had become the Californians’ northern military headquarters. Thomas Larkin would later testify that he was sure that McKinlay was delivering munitions there.38 The Juanita continued on to San Francisco where U.S. Vice Consul William Leidesdorff bought her for $4,800.39

While Captain Snook was away, the battle between the Californians and Americans took place at San Pascual and Rancho San Bernardo. It was followed by the Pauma massacre. María Antonia’s brother Juan was wounded during the battle, and her brother José María was killed during the massacre. The battles of San Gabriel and the Mesa took place a month later, and Los Angeles surrendered to Stockton 10 January 1847. María Antonia’s father died and was buried there that same day. With the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga, California’s war with the United States had come to an end.

During the difficult period that followed, Snook devoted himself to his family and properties. Perhaps mindful of the recent deaths in his family, he wrote his will, and on 2 April 1847 it was witnessed by John Warner, Henry Fitch, and Pedro Poncia.40 During the first week of July, he took 55 lambs to market and then traveled to Los Angeles to see to his vineyard. Displeased with what he found, he petitioned for–and received– permission to build a wall around his orchard to protect it from “the animals which do so much injury to the vineyards of this city.”41 By the end of the year, he was back in San Diego.

On 2 February 1848 the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe, and their three year war was over. Twenty-one days later Joseph Snook’s dream of building a landed estate for his family was also over. He died 23 February 1848. The only reference to his death are the words of Robert Clift. To Henry Fitch, Clift wrote, “I was astonished to hear of the sudden death of Capt. Snook. It must from accounts have been a distressing affair.”42

In little more than a year, María Antonia had lost her father, her brother, and now her husband. She arranged for Joseph to be laid to rest in a lined, wooden coffin with his initials spelled out in tacks on the lid. He was buried in the nave of the presidio chapel where they had been married eleven years before. The last entries for the Snooks in Henry Fitch’s accounts tell the poignant story: “$2 for 400 metal tacks” and “$10 to the carpenter for the coffin.”43



In his will Joseph left his library, arms, instruments and wearing apparel to his brother. John also received 100 head of cattle and other stock with the privilege of keeping them on the San Bernardo. In 1848 John registered his C-S brand and by 1850 had built a house and corral worth $500. In addition to ranching, John was active in San Diego politics; in the election of 1849, he ran for the office of prefect but lost to Santiago Arguello by a large margin.44 He failed to prosper, however, and when he died in 1852, “he died very poor and what property he had was not near sufficient to satisfy his creditors.”45

Joseph left to his “beloved wife” his house and lot in San Diego, his house and vineyard in Los Angeles, and the use and occupancy of his farm of San Bernardo during her natural life. María Antonia continued to live in the Fitch Street house until her death from smallpox in 1862. Four years later the property was sold to Sheriff James McCoy for $250. It is now the parking lot behind the visitors center in Old Town State Park.

In 1855 María Antonia rented her Los Angeles property to J.J. Warner, and in 1865 the Colonel purchased the house and vineyard for $700. He lived there until it was sold in 1887. By that time, developers owned most of the “Warner Tract” and Sixth Street cut across the acreage. Dr. David Burbank purchased the house and lot for $24,000 and built the Burbank Theater there.

Although Joseph had left the “real estate and tenements of San Bernardo” to the children of his brothers and sister, María Antonia exercised her right to use the property. She added a fleur-de-lis to Snook’s brand and in 1850 registered it as her own. Lured by the high prices for beef in San Francisco, she sent cattle north for several years.

In 1853 María Antonia married Henry Clayton, a surveyor with the Boundary Commission. They lived, at least part time, in the San Bernardo hacienda, and “Clayton” is the name given to it on James Freeman’s 1853 survey.

When the terms of Joseph’s will reached the Snook/Guy families in England, their attorney inquired about the prospects for selling the ranch. “Whether it is [for] little or much, it will be very acceptable for these poor people to have,” he wrote to attorney William Ferrell.46 But not until 1867 was a buyer found. Thomas Fox, acting for James McCoy, purchased the San Bernardo for $4,020 from Snook’s six nieces and nephews. McCoy, in turn, sold to Charles Wetmore, Sylvestor Lyman and Omar Oaks.

Both Lyman and Wetmore subdivided their property into smaller ranches; Oaks and his sons planted wheat and citrus on their undivided one-fourth interest and built a large adobe house where the sports complex now stands in Escondido’s Kit Carson Park. By 1887, the settlement–called Bernardo–had a post office, “a population of 700, a public schoolhouse, fine farms, wheat and cattle ranches and several apiaries.”47

On 31 December 1886, Charles Snook of England filed a lawsuit against Omar Oaks, James McCoy and twenty-four others to recover a two-ninths interest in Rancho San Bernardo.48 In addition to Bernardo landowners, the list of defendants included María Antonia’s heirs; Charles’ own sons, Frederick and Edwin; and the children of his brother and sister. It was Charles’ contention that Joseph had died intestate because his will had been improperly drawn and filed and had never been admitted for probate. According to Mexican law, he said, one-third of Joseph’s estate should have gone to his wife and two-thirds to his siblings. Further, since the claim of his nieces and nephews to the ranch was defective, their sale of the property to James McCoy–and his subsequent subdivision of the ranch–was invalid.

The defendants answered these charges in various ways. Frederick Snook–by that time living in San Diego–denied that his uncle had died intestate and claimed that he and his brother were each entitled to a one-sixth interest in the property. Through their attorney, Ann’s three sons claimed her two-ninth’s interest. And attorney John Fitch answering for María Antonia’s heirs, averred that under Mexico’s community property law, her one-half interest descended to them. He also made an interesting accusation. He said that James McCoy had obtained and “for a long time had fraudently concealed” the U.S. patent for Rancho San Bernardo from María Antonia’s legal representative.

The case–celebrated at the time–came to trial 12 January 1887. Because of the “great value of the property,” the San Diego Union predicted that it would “be taken to the Supreme Court.” But after just three days of testimony and arguments, Charles’ attorney moved to dismiss the case. “It appeared evident,” said the Union, “that the plaintiff got a large compromise.”49

During the 1968 archaeological excavation of the San Diego presidio, Dr. Paul Ezell and anthropology students from San Diego State University uncovered Joseph Snook’s grave in the presidio chapel nave. [see 56k map of chapel excavation] Cranial material, coffin nails, buttons, glass fragments and tacks were recovered from the site. After excavation and study, the remains were reinterred.50 The chapel is now a marked site in San Diego’s Presidio Park.



1. Adele Ogden, interview by Robert Wright, 6 August 1978, (typed transcript), San Diego History Center, Research Archives.

2. John Gundrey, a Broadway yeoman, inherited land through his wife Mary, daughter and heir of John Snooke. Property Record, 1 May 1666, Dorset County Record Office. “Snook’s Hill” was a site on one of the enclosures belonging to the Broadway manor and farm. Notice of Broadway Manor and Estate Auction, 1841, Weymouth Reference Library.

3. George Macaulay Trevelyan, British History in the 19th Century (N.Y.: Longmans Green and Co., 1934), 249n.2.

4. In his Pioneer Register and Index, H. H. Bancroft says that Snook had been in Henry Virmond’s employ since 1824, information that could not be verified.

5. Archivo de California, Departmental State Papers, Benicia Military, 72:18, The Bancroft Library (TBL).

6. Archivo de California, Departmental State Papers, Juzgados & Naturalizacion, 19:30, TBL.

7. Mission Santa Clara Register of Baptisms, Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library.

8. Spanish land grant application, trans., 3:159-161, Expediente #178, California State Archives (CSA).

9. G.W. Hendry & J.N. Bowman, The Spanish and Mexican Adobes and Other Buildings in the Nine San Francisco Bay Counties, 1776 to about 1850 (San Rafael: Marin County Historical Society, 1940), 97.

10. Registry of Baptisms, #3807, Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

11. Registry of Baptisms, #4066, #4281, #4388, #4889, Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

12. Mission San Gabriel, Book II, Registry of Baptisms.

13. Agustin Janssens, The Life and Adventures of Don Agustin Janssens, 1834-1846, eds. William H. Ellison and Francis Price (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1953), 96.

14. Deed Book D, 252, County Recorders Office, San Diego. After her mother’s death in 1851, María Antonia purchased 4/6ths of this property from her siblings. María Lugarda Machado, as administratrix for José María Alvarado’s estate, continued to pay taxes on 1/6th. Assessment Roll, 1854, San Diego Historical Society, Research Archives (SDHCRA).

15. #1958 Libro de Matrimonias, Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

16. Assessment Roll, 1851, SDHCRA.

17. Jose Francisco Snook to Henry D. Fitch, Brig Catalina, 26 April 1839, Henry Delano Fitch, Documentos pare la historia de California, TBL (copy SDHCRA), 64.

18. Jack Mason, Point Reyes, the Solemn Land (San Rafael: Marin County Historical Society), 23n.4.

19. Lillian A. Williamson, “New Light on J. J. Warner,” Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly 15 (Spring, 1931): 25.

20. Antonio María Osio, The History of Alta California, A Memoir of Mexican California, trans. & eds. Rose Marie Beebe & Robert M. Senkewicz (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), 176.

21. Court of the Port of San Diego, Record book A, 19-22, trans. Federal Writers Project, SDHCRA.

22. Jose Francisco Snook to Henry D. Fitch, Brig Catalina, 26 April 1839, Fitch Documentos, TBL (SDHCRA), 64.

23. Jose F. Snook to Able Stearns, Brig Catalina, San Pedro, 10 Oct. 1839, Abel Stearns Collection, The Huntington Library (THL).

24. Jose F. Snook to Able Stearns, San Diego, 5 Nov. 1839, Abel Stearns Collection, THL.

25. Spanish land grant application, trans. 3:631-640; Map, Rancho San Bernardo MF4:1 (978898), Expediente 267, 1:698, CSA.

26. Ibid.

27. John Russell Bartlett, Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora and Chihuahua (Chicago: The Rio Grande Press Inc., 1965), 2:114-116.

28. Interview with Mrs. Elwood M. Smith, March, 1993. James E. Freeman, Field Notes, 1853-54, Public Works Dept., San Diego County. Leland E. Bibb, “Search for a Lost Adobe,” San Diego County Association of Surveyors Newsletter (Sept./Oct., 1990).

29. Spanish land grant application, Expediente 205, CSA.

30. Deed, Juan Bautista Alvarado to José María Alvarado, Escondido Land and Town Company, Abstract of Title, Pioneer Room, Escondido City Library. As administratrix of José María’s estate, Lugarda continued to pay taxes on this property until it was sold to Oliver Witherby.

31. Expediente 267, CSA.

32. Calif. private land claim docket #110 for the San Diego pueblo lands, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (copy SDHCRA).

33. Samuel F. DuPont, Extracts from the Private Journal-Letters of Captain S.F. DuPont (Wilmington, Del.: Ferris Bros., 1885),2

34. San Diego Book of Deeds, Book A:7, SDHCRA.

35. Abel Stearns to J. J. Warner, 2 Sept. 1849, Southern Vineyard, reprinted in Lances at San Pasqual by Arthur Woodward (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1948), 17.

36. Robert Carson Duvall, “Extracts from the Log of the U.S. Frigate Savannah kept by Robert Carson Duvall,” California Historical Society Quarterly 3 (July, 1924): 120.

37. George Nidever, The Life and Adventures of George Nidever, ed. William Henry Ellison (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1937), 63.

38. Thomas Oliver Larkin, Official Correspondence, 1:246, TBL.

39. Promissory note, 20 January 1847, William A. Leidesdorff Collection, THL.

40. Deed Book A, 1, County Recorders Office, San Diego,

41. Williamson, 25.

42. Robert Clift to Henry Fitch, Los Angeles, 15 April 1848, Fitch Documentos, 496, TBL (SDHCRA). Clift served in San Diego with the Mormon Battalion.

43. Ibid, 575.

44. John L. White, “Founder of Ft. Yuma: Excerpts from the Diary of Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, U.S.A., 1849-1852,” (Masters thesis, University of San Diego, 1975), 75.

45. Henry Clayton to Thomas and Charles Snook, San Diego, 1 August 1852, Snook Documents, SDHCRA.

46. John Tizard to William Ferrell, 8 October 1882 Snook Documents, SDHCRA.

47. Douglas Gunn, Picturesque San Diego (Chicago: Knight & Leonard Co., 1887), 75.

48. Charles Snook against Omar Oaks et al, 31 Dec. 1886, Superior Court, San Diego County, SDHCRA. Charles was the only sibling still living. He erred in thinking John predeceased Joseph.

49. San Diego Union, 1 January 1887, 14 January 1887, 20 January 1887.

50. Jeffrey Alan Howard, “Description of Human Remains from San Diego Presidio” (Masters thesis: California State University, San Diego, 1975), 92.



Ruth Collings is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pioneer Room Friends, a support group for the Escondido City Library, Pioneer Room. Born and raised in Ontario, California, she earned a B.A. degree in biology form Occidental College and did graduate work at California State College, Los Angeles. She received a General Secondary Credential from San Diego State University and taught in Escondido schools for eighteen years. Ms. Collings has served on the Escondido Historical Society’s Board of Directors and as chair of the Research Committee in charge of the Society’s archival collections.