With the exception of a little legitimate shooting affair last Saturday night, by which some fellow had well-nigh the top of his head knocked off, and one or two knock-downs and drag-outs, we have had a very peaceful week indeed. Nothing has occurred to disturb the even tenor of our way, and our good people seem to be given up to the quiet enjoyment of delicious fruits and our unequalled climate,—each one literally under his own vine and fig tree, revelling in fancy's flights, or luxuriating among the good things which he finds temptingly at hand.

The demand for better lighting facilities led the Common Council to make a contract, toward the end of March, with Tiffany & Wethered, who were given a franchise to lay pipes through the streets and to establish gas-works here; but the attempt proved abortive.

In this same year, the trip east by the Overland Stage Route, which had formerly required nearly a month, was accomplished in eighteen or nineteen days; and toward the end of March, the Overland Company replaced the "mud-wagons" they had been using between Los Angeles and San Francisco with brightly-painted and better-upholstered Concord coaches. Then the Los Angeles office was on Spring Street, between First and Second—on the lot later bought by Louis Roeder for a wagon-shop, and now the site of the Roeder Block; and there, for the price of two hundred dollars, tickets could be obtained for the entire journey to St. Louis.

Foreign coin circulated in Los Angeles, as I have said, for many years, and even up to the early sixties Mexican money was accepted at par with our own. Improved facilities for intercourse with the outside world, however, affected the markets here, and in the spring of that year several merchants refused to receive the specie of our southern neighbor at more than its actual value as silver. As a result, these dealers, though perhaps but following the trend elsewhere, were charged openly with a combination to obtain an illegitimate profit.

In 1860, while Dr. T. J. White was Postmaster, a regulation was made ordering all mail not called for to be sent to the Dead Letter Office in Washington, within a week after such mail had been advertised; but it was not until the fall of 1871 that this order was really put into operation in our neighborhood. For some time this worked great hardship on many people living in the suburbs who found it impossible to call promptly for their mail, and who learned too late that letters intended for them had been returned to the sender or destroyed.

Political enthusiasm was keen in early days, as is usual in small towns, and victorious candidates, at least, knew how to celebrate. On Monday, May 7th, 1860, Henry Mellus was elected Mayor; and next day, he and the other City officers paraded our streets in a four-horse stagecoach with a brass band. The Mayor-elect and his confrères were stuffed inside the hot, decorated vehicle, while the puffing musicians bounced up and down on the swaying top outside, like pop-corn in a frying-pan.

More than a ripple of excitement was produced in Los Angeles about the middle of May, when Jack Martin, Billy Holcomb and Jim Ware, in from Bear Valley, ordered provisions and paid for the same in shining gold dust. It was previously known that they had gone out to hunt for bear, and their sudden return with this precious metal, together with their desire to pick up a few appliances such as are not ordinarily used in trapping, made some of the hangers-on about the store suspicious. The hunters were secretly followed, and were found to return to what is now Holcomb Valley; and then it was learned that gold had been discovered there about the first of the month. For a year or two, many mining camps were formed in Holcomb and Upper Holcomb valleys, and in that district the town of Belleville was founded; but the gold, at first apparently so plentiful, soon gave out, and the excitement incidental to the discovery subsided.

While some men were thus digging for treasure, others sought fortune in the deep. Spearing sharks, as well as whales, was an exciting industry at this period; sharks running in large numbers along the coast, and in the waters of San Pedro Bay. In May, Orin Smith of Los Angeles, with the aid of his son, in one day caught one hundred and three sharks, from which he took only the livers; these, when boiled, yielding oil which, burned fairly well, even in its crude state. During the next year, shark-hunting near Rattlesnake Island continued moderately remunerative.

Sometime in the spring, another effort was made to establish a tannery here and hopes were entertained that an important trade might thus be founded. But the experiment came to naught, and even to-day Los Angeles can boast of no tannery such as exists in several other California cities.

With the approach of summer, Elijah and William H. Workman built a brick dwelling on Main Street, next to Tom Rowan's bakery, and set around it trees of several varieties. The residence, then one of the prettiest in town, was built for the boys' mother; and there, with her, they dwelt.

That sectarian activity regarding public schools is nothing new in Los Angeles may be shown from an incident, not without its humorous side, of the year 1860. T. J. Harvey appeared with a broadside in the press, protesting against the reading of the Bible in schoolrooms, and saying that he, for one, would "never stand it, come what may." Some may still remember his invective and his pyrotechnical conclusion: "Revolution! War!! Blood!!!"

During Downey's incumbency as Governor, the Legislature passed a law, popularly known as the Bulkhead Bill, authorizing the San Francisco Dock and Wharf Company to build a stone bulkhead around the water-front of the Northern city, in return for which the company was to have the exclusive privilege of collecting tolls and wharfage for the long period of fifty years, a franchise the stupendous value of which even the projectors of that date could scarcely have anticipated. Downey, when the measure came before him for final action, vetoed the bill and thus performed a judicious act—perhaps the most meritorious of his administration.

Whether Downey, who on January 9th had become Governor, was really popular for any length of time, even in the vicinity of his home, may be a question; but his high office and the fact that he was the first Governor from the Southland assured him a hearty welcome whenever he came down here from the capital. In June Downey returned to Los Angeles, accompanied by his wife, and took rooms at the Bella Union hotel, and besides the usual committee visits, receptions and speeches from the balcony, arranged in honor of the distinguished guests, there was a salute of thirteen guns, fired with all ceremony, which echoed and re-echoed from the hillsides.

In 1860, a number of delegates, including Casper Behrendt and myself, were sent to San Francisco to attend the laying of the corner-stone, on the twenty-fifth of June, of the Masonic Temple at the corner of Post and Montgomery streets. We made the trip when the weather was not only excessively hot, but the sand was a foot deep and headway very slow; so that, although we were young men and enjoyed the excursion, we could not laugh down all of the disagreeable features of the journey. It was no wonder, therefore, that when we arrived at Visalia, where we were to change horses, Behrendt wanted a shave. While he was in the midst of this tonsorial refreshment, the stage started on its way to San Francisco; and as Behrendt heard it passing the shop, he ran out—with one side of his face smooth and clean, while the other side was whiskered and grimy—and tried to stop the disappearing vehicle. Despite all of his yelling and running, however, the stage did not stop; and finally, Behrendt fired his pistol several times into the air. This attracted the attention of the sleepy driver, who took the puffing passenger on board; whereupon the rest of us chaffed him about his singular appearance. Behrendt[19] did not have much peace of mind until we reached the Plaza Hotel at San Juan Bautista ("a relic," as someone has said, "of the distant past, where men and women played billiards on horseback, and trees bore human fruit"), situated in a sweet little valley, mountain-girdled and well watered; where he was able to complete his shave and thus restore his countenance to its normal condition.

In connection with this anecdote of the trip to San Francisco, I may add another story. On board the stage was Frederick J. McCrellish, editor of the Alta California—the principal Coast paper, bought by McCrellish & Company in 1858—and also Secretary of the telegraph company at that time building its line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. When we reached a point between Gilroy and Visalia, which was the temporary terminus of the telegraph from San Francisco, McCrellish spoke with some enthusiasm of the Morse invention and invited everybody on the stage to send telegrams, at his expense, to his friends. I wrote out a message to my brother in San Francisco, telling him about the trip as far as I had completed it, and passed the copy to the operator at the clicking instrument. It may be hard for the reader to conceive that this would be an exciting episode in a man's life; but since my first arrival in the Southland there had been no telegraphic communication between Los Angeles and the outside world, and the remembrance of this experience at the little wayside station was never to be blotted from my mind. I may also add that of that committee sent to the Masonic festivities in San Francisco, Behrendt and I are now the only surviving members.

It has been stated that the population of Los Angeles in 1850 was but sixteen hundred and ten. How true that is I cannot tell. When I came to the city in 1853, there were some twenty-six hundred people. In the summer of 1860 a fairly accurate census was made, and it was found that our little town had four thousand three hundred and ninety-nine inhabitants.

Two distinguished military men visited Los Angeles in the midsummer of 1860. The first was General James Shields who, in search of health, arrived by the Overland Route on the twenty-fourth of July, having just finished his term in the Senate. The effect of wounds received at the battle of Cerro Gordo, years before, and reports as to the climate of California started the General westward; and quietly he alighted from the stage at the door of the Bella Union. After a while, General Shields undertook the superintending of a Mexican mine; but at the outbreak of the Civil War, although not entirely recovered, he hastened back to Washington and was at once appointed a Brigadier-General of volunteers. The rest of his career is known.

A week later, General, or as he was then entitled, Colonel John C. Frémont drew up at the Plaza. His coming to this locality in connection with the Temescal tin mine and Mariposa forestry interests had been heralded from Godey's ranch some days before; and when he arrived on Tuesday, July 31st, in company with Leonidas Haskell and Joseph C. Palmer, the Republicans were out in full force and fired a salute of twenty-five guns. In the evening, Colonel Frémont was waited upon in the parlors of the Bella Union by a goodly company, under the leadership of the Republican Committee, although all classes, irrespective of politics, united to pay the celebrated California pioneer the honors due him.

Alexander Godey, to whose rancho I have just referred, was a man of importance, with a very extensive cattle-range in Kern County not far from Bakersfield, where he later lived. He occasionally came to town, and was an invariable visitor at my store, purchasing many supplies from me. These and other provisions, which Godey and his neighbors sent for, were transported by burro- or mule-train to the ranches in care of Miguel Ortiz, who had his headquarters in Los Angeles. Loading these so-called pack-trains was an art: by means of ropes and slats of wood, merchandise was strapped to the animal's sides and back in such a fashion that it could not slip, and thus a heavy, well-balanced load was conveyed over the plain and the mountain trails.

By 1860, the Germans were well-organized and active here in many ways, a German Benevolent Society, called the Eintracht, which met Tuesday and Friday evenings in the Arcadia Block for music drill under Director Heinsch, affording stimulating entertainment and accomplishing much good. The Turnverein, on the other hand, took an interest in the success of the Round House, and on March 12th put up a liberty pole on top of the oddly-shaped building. Lager beer and other things deemed by the Teutonic brethren essential to a Garden of Paradise and to such an occasion were freely dispensed; and on that day Lehman was in all his glory.

A particular feature of this Garden of Paradise was a cabbage, about which have grown up some traditions of the Brobdingnagian sort that the reader may accept in toto or with a grain of salt. It was planted when the place was opened, and is said to have attained, by December, 1859, a height of twelve feet, "with a circumference" (so averred an ambiguous chronicler of the period, referring doubtless to crinolines) "equal to that of any fashionably-attired city belle measuring eight or ten feet." By July, 1860, the cabbage attained a growth, so the story goes, of fourteen feet four inches although, George always claimed, it had been cropped twenty or more times and its leaves used for Kohlslau, Sauerkraut and goodness knows what. I can afford the modern reader no better idea of Lehman's personality and resort than by quoting the following contemporaneous, if not very scholarly, account:

The Garden of Paradise. Our friend George of the Round House, who there keeps a garden with the above captivating name, was one of the few who done honor to the Fourth. He kept the National Ensign at the fore, showed his fifteen-foot cabbage, and dealt Lager to admiring crowds all day.

Among the popular pleasure-resorts of 1860 was the Tivoli Garden on the Wolfskill Road, conducted by Charles Kaiser, who called his friends together by placarding the legend, "Hurrah for the Tivoli!" Music and other amusements were provided every Sunday, from two o'clock, and dancing could be enjoyed until late in the night; and as there was no charge for admission, the place was well patronized.

When the Fourth of July, 1859, approached and no preparation had been made to observe the holiday, some children who were being instructed in calisthenics by A. F. Tilden began to solicit money, their childish enthusiasm resulting in the appointing of a committee, the collecting of four hundred dollars, and a picnic in Don Luis Sainsevain's enclosed garden. A year later, Tilden announced that he would open a place for gymnastic exercises in "Temple's New Block;" charging men three dollars for the use of the apparatus and the privilege of a shower-bath, and training boys at half rates. This was the origin of systematic physical culture in Los Angeles.


Early in 1860, Phineas Banning and J. J. Tomlinson, the energetic rivals in lighterage and freighting at San Pedro, embarked as lumber merchants, thereby anticipating the enormous trade that has flowed for years past from the North through Los Angeles to Southern California and Arizona. Having many teams, they hauled lumber, when traffic was not sufficient to keep their wagon-trains busy, from the harbor to the city or even, when there was need, to the ranchos. It must have been in the same year that F. P. F. Temple, at a cost of about forty thousand dollars for lumber alone, fenced in a wide acreage, at the same time building large and substantial barns for his stock. By the summer of that year, Banning was advertising lumber, delivered in Los Angeles; and from October 1st, Banning & Hinchman had an office near the northern junction of Main and Spring streets. A couple of years before, Banning in person had directed the driving of seventeen mule teams, from San Pedro to Fort Yuma, covering, in twelve or thirteen days, the two hundred and thirty miles of barely passable road. The following March, Banning and Tomlinson, who had so often opposed each other even in the courts, came to an understanding and buried the hatchet for good.

At this time, Joseph Everhardt, who, with Frederick W. Koll, had conducted the Lafayette Hotel, sold out and moved to San Francisco, marrying Miss R. Mayer, now John Lang's widow, sister-in-law of Kiln Messer. Later, Everhardt went to Sonoma and then to Victoria, B. C., in each place making his mark; and in the latter city he died.

Like both Messer and Lang, Everhardt had passed through varied and trying experiences. The owner of the Russ Garden restaurant in 1849, in lively San Francisco, he came to Los Angeles and took hold of the hotel Lafayette. With him was a partner named Fucht; but a free fight and display of shooting irons, such as often enlivened a California hotel, having sent the guests and hangers-on scurrying to quarters, induced Fucht to sell out his interests in very short order, whereupon Everhardt took in with him Frederick W. Koll, who lived on a site now the southeast corner of Seventh and Spring streets where he had an orange-grove.

Pursuing Indians was dangerous in the extreme, as Robert Wilburn found when he went after some twenty head of cattle stolen from Felix Bachman by Pi-Ute or Paiute Indians in January, 1860, during one of their marauding expeditions into California. Wilburn chased the red men but he never came back; and when his body was found, it was pierced with three or four arrows, probably shot at him simultaneously by as many of the cattle-thieves.

Don Tomás A. Sanchez, Sheriff from 1860 to 1867, had a record for physical courage and prowess, having previously been an officer under Pico in the Mexican War days, and having later aided Pico in his efforts to punish Barton's murderers. Sanchez had property; and in 1887 a patent was granted his estate for four thousand or more acres in the ranch known as Ciénega ó Paso de la Tijera.

Destructive fires in the open country, if not as common as now, still occasionally stirred our citizens. Such a fire broke out in the San Fernando Valley in the middle of July, and spread so rapidly that a square mile and a half of territory was denuded and charred. Not only were there no organized means to fight such fires, but men were compelled to sound the alarm through couriers on horseback; and if the wind happened to be blowing across the plains, even the fleetest horseman had all he could do to avoid the flames and reach in time the widely-separated rancheros. Here I may add that as late as the sixties all of the uninhabited parts of Los Angeles, especially to the of Main Street, were known as plains, and "crossing the plains" was an expression commonly used with a peculiarly local significance.

So wretched were the roads in the early decades after my arrival, and so many were the plans proposed for increasing the rapidity of travel, that great curiosity was excited in 1860 when it was announced that Phineas Banning had bought a "steam-wagon" and would soon introduce a kind of vehicle such as Los Angeles, at least, had never before seen. This steam-wagon was a traction engine built by J. Whitman & Sons, at Leeds, England, and was already on its way across the ocean. It had been ordered by Richard A. Ogden, of San Francisco, for the Patagonia Copper Mining Company, a trial before shipping having proved that, with a load of thirty-eight tons, the engine could attain a speed of five miles an hour; and Banning paid handsomely for the option of purchasing the vehicle, on condition that it would ultimately prove a success.

The announcement was made in April, and by early June the engine had reached San Francisco where it made the run to Mission Dolores in three-quarters of an hour. All the San Francisco papers told of "the truly wonderful machine," one reporter averring that "the engineer had so perfect control that a visit was made to various parts of the city, to the astonishment and gratification of the multitude;" and since these accounts were immediately copied by the Los Angeles papers (which added the official announcement that Captain Hughes had loaded the engine on board his schooner, the Lewis Perry, and was bringing it south as fast as he could), popular excitement rose like the mercury in summer, and but one more report was needed to make it the absorbing talk of the hour. That came on the twenty-eighth of July, when the Star announced: "The steam-wagon has arrived at San Pedro;" and it was not long before many persons went down to the port to get a sight of the wonderful object.

And wait they did. Although the Star said that "all our citizens were anxiously, hourly, expecting to see Major Banning heave in sight at the foot of Main Street," no Banning hove! Instead, on the fourth of August, the same Star broke forth with this lament: "The steam-wagon is at San Pedro, and we regret to learn that it is likely to remain there. So far, all attempts to reach this city with freight have failed." And that was the end of the steam-wagon experiment here.

In every community there are characters who, for one reason or another, develop among their fellows a reputation for oddity. We have all seen the good-natured, rather stout old gentleman, whose claim to dignity is his old-fashioned Prince Albert and rather battered-looking silk hat, but who, although he boasts many friends, is never successful in the acquisition of this world's goods. We have seen, too, the vender of ice-cream, tamales or similar commodity, who in his youth had been an opera singer or actor, but whose too intensive thirst rendered him impossible in his profession and brought him far down in the world. Some were dangerous criminals; some were harmless, but obnoxious; others still were harmless and amusing. Many such characters I have met during my sixty years in Los Angeles; and each filled a certain niche, even those whose only mission was to furnish their fellows with humor or amusement having thus contributed to the charm of life.

Viejo Cholo, or Old Half-breed, a Mexican over sixty years of age who was never known by any other name, was such an eccentric character. He was half blind; wore a pair of white linen pantaloons, and for a mantle used an old sheet. This he threw over his shoulders; and thus accoutered, he strutted about the streets like a Spanish cavalier. His cane was a broom-handle; his lunch-counter, the swill-bucket; and when times were particularly bad, Viejo begged. The youngsters of the pueblo were the bane of Cholo's existence and the torment of his infirmity and old age.

Cholo was succeeded by Pinikahti, who was half Indian and half Mexican. He was not over four feet in height and had a flat nose, a stubby beard and a face badly pockmarked; and he presented, altogether, as unkempt and obnoxious an appearance as one might imagine. Pinikahti was generally attired in a well-worn straw hat, the top of which was missing, and his long, hair stuck out in clumps and snarls. A woolen undershirt and a pair of overalls completed his costume, while his toes, as a rule, protruded from his enormous boots. Unlike Viejo Cholo, Pinikahti was permitted to go unmolested by the juvenile portion of the population, inasmuch as, though half-witted, he was somewhat of an entertainer; for it was natural for him to play the flute and—what was really interesting—he made his own instruments out of the reed that grew along the river banks. Pinikahti cut just the holes, I suppose, that produced what seemed to him proper harmony, and on these home-made flutes performed such airs as his wandering fancy suggested. He always played weird tunes and danced strange Indian dances; and through these crude gifts he became, as I have said, sufficiently popular to enjoy some immunity. Nevertheless, he was a professional beggar; and whatever he did to afford amusement, was done, after all, for money. This was easily explained, for money alone would buy aguardiente, and Pinikahti had little use for anything else. Aguardiente, as the word was commonly used in Southern California, was a native brandy, full of hell fire; and so the poor half-breed was always drunk. One day Pinikahti drank a glass too much, and this brought about such a severance of his ties with beautiful Los Angeles that his absorption of one spirit released, at last, the other.

Sometime in the eventful sixties, a tall, angular, muscular-looking woman was here, who went by the singular sobriquet of Captain Jinks, a title which she received from a song then very popular, the first couplet of which ran something like this:

I'm Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines,

I feed my horse on pork and beans!

She half strode, half jerked her way along the street, as though scanning the lines of that ditty with her feet. She was strong for woman's rights, she said; and she certainly looked it.

Chinamen were not only more numerous by 1860, but they had begun to vary their occupations, many working as servants, laundrymen or farm hands. In March, a Chinese company was also organized to compete for local fish trade.

In 1860, Émile Bordenave & Company opened the Louisiana Coffee Saloon as a French restaurant. Roast duck and oysters were their specialty, and they charged fifty cents a meal. But they also served "a plate at one bit."[20] Some years later, there was a two-bit restaurant known as Brown's on Main Street, near the United States Hotel, where a good, substantial meal was served.

James, often called Santiago Johnson, who, for a short time prior to his death about 1860 or 1861, was a forwarder of freight at San Pedro, came to Los Angeles in 1833 with a cargo of Mexican and Chinese goods, and after that owned considerable ranch property. In addition to ranching, he also engaged extensively in cattle-raising.

Peter, popularly known as Pete or Bully Wilson, a native of Sweden, came to Los Angeles about 1860. He ran a one horse dray; and as soon as he had accumulated sufficient money, he bought, for twelve hundred dollars, the southeast corner of Spring and First streets, where he had his stable. He continued to prosper; and his family still enjoy the fruits of his industry.

The same year, George Smith started to haul freight and baggage. He had four horses hitched to a sombre-looking vehicle nicknamed the Black Swan.

J. D. Yates was a grocer and provision-dealer of 1860, with a store on the Plaza.

I have referred to Bishop Amat as presiding over the Diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles; but Los Angeles was linked with Monterey, for a while, even in judicial matters. Beginning with 1860 or 1861 (when Fletcher M. Haight, father of Governor H. H. Haight, was the first Judge to preside), the United States Court for the Southern District of California was held alternately in the two towns mentioned, Colonel J. O. Wheeler serving as Clerk and the Court for the Southern term occupying seven rooms of the second story of John Temple's Block. These alternate sessions continued to be held until about 1866 when the tribunal for the Southern District ceased to exist and Angeleños were compelled to apply to the court in San Francisco.

For years, such was the neglect of the Protestant burial ground that in 1860 caustic criticism was made by each newspaper discussing the condition of the cemetery: there was no fence, headstones were disfigured or demolished, and there was little or no protection to the graves. As a matter of fact, when the cemetery on Fort Hill was abandoned, but few of the bodies were removed.

By 1860, the New England Fire Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, was advertising here through its local agent, H. Hamilton—our friend of the Los Angeles Star. Hamilton used to survey the applicants' premises, forward the data to William Faulkner, the San Francisco representative, who executed the policy and mailed the document back to Los Angeles. After a while, Samuel Briggs, with Wells Fargo & Co., represented the Phœnix Insurance Company.

H. Newmark & Company also sold insurance somewhat later, representing the Commercial Union Insurance Company. About 1880, however, they disposed of their insurance interests to Maurice Kremer, whose main competitor was W. J. Brodrick; and from this transaction developed the firm of Kremer, Campbell & Company, still in that business. Not only in this connection but elsewhere in these memoirs it may be noted how little specialization there was in earlier days in Los Angeles; in fact it was not until about 1880 that this process, distinctive of economic progress, began to appear in Los Angeles. I myself have handled practically every staple that makes up the very great proportion of merchandising activity, whereas my successors of to-day, as well as their competitors, deal only in groceries and kindred lines.

Two brothers, Émile and Théophile Vaché, in the fall of 1860, started what has become the oldest firm—Vaché Frères—in the local wine business, at first utilizing the Bernard residence at Alameda and Third streets, in time used by the Government as a bonded warehouse. Later, they removed to the building on Aliso Street once occupied by the Medical College, where the cellars proved serviceable for a winery. There they attempted the manufacture of cream of tartar from wine-crystals, but the venture was not remunerative. In 1881, the Vachés, joined by their brother Adolphe, began to grow grapes in the Barton Vineyard in San Bernardino County, and some time afterward they bought near-by land and started the famous Brookside Vineyard. Émile is now dead; while Théophile, who retired and returned to Europe in 1892, retaining an interest in the firm of T. Vaché & Company, passes his hours pleasantly on the picturesque island of St. George d'Oléron, in the Charente Inférieure, in his native France.

On September 21st, Captain W. S. Hancock, who first came to Los Angeles in connection with the expedition against the Mojave Indians in 1858, sought to establish a new kind of express between Los Angeles and Fort Mojave, and sent out a camel in charge of Greek George to make the trial trip. When they had been gone two and a half days, the regular express messenger bound for Los Angeles met them at Lane's Crossing, apparently in none too promising a condition; which later gave rise to a report that the camel had died on the desert. This occasioned numerous newspaper squibs à propos of both the speed and the staying powers of the camel as contrasted with those of the burro; and finally, in October, the following announcement appeared placarded throughout the town:

By Poulterer, De Ro &. Eldridge

Office and Salesroom, Corner California &
Front Streets, San Francisco.

Peremptory Sale
Bactrian Camels
Imported from the Amoor River
Ex Caroline E. Foote.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, 1860,
We will Sell at Public Auction
In Lots to Suit Purchasers,
for Cash,
13 Bactrian Camels,

From a cold and mountainous country, comprising 6 males and 7 females, (5 being with young,) all in fine health and condition.

* * * For further particulars, inquire of the Auctioneers.

In 1858, Richard Garvey came to Los Angeles and entered the Government service as a messenger, between this city and New Mexico, for Captain W. S. Hancock. Later, he went to the Holcomb Valley mines, where he first met Lucky Baldwin; and by 1872 he had disposed of some San Bernardino mine properties at a figure which seemed to permit his retirement and ease for the rest of his life. For the next twenty years, he was variously employed, at times operating for Baldwin. Garvey is at present living in Los Angeles.

What was one of the last bullfights here, toward the end of September, when a little child was trodden upon in the ring, reminds me not only of the succeeding sports, including horse-racing, but as well that Francis Temple should be credited with encouraging the importation and breeding of good horses. In 1860 he paid seven thousand dollars, then considered an enormous sum, for Black Warrior; and not long afterward he bought Billy Blossom at a fancy figure.

A political gathering or two enlivened the year 1860. In July, when the local sentiment was, to all appearances, strongly in favor of Breckenridge and Lane, the Democratic candidates for President and Vice-President, one hundred guns were fired in their honor; and great was the jubilation of the Democratic hosts. A later meeting, under the auspices of the Breckenridge Club, was held in front of the Montgomery saloon on Main Street. Judge Dryden presided, and Senator Milton S. Latham was the chief speaker. A number of ladies graced the occasion, some seated in chairs near by and others remaining in their vehicles drawn up in a semicircle before the speaker's stand. As a result of all this effort, the candidates in question did lead in the race here, but only by four votes. On counting the ballots the day after election, it was found that Breckenridge had two hundred and sixty-seven votes, while Douglas, the Independent Democratic nominee, had polled two hundred and sixty-three. Of permanent interest, perhaps, as showing the local sentiment on other questions of the time, is that Lincoln received in Los Angeles only one hundred and seventy-nine votes.

Generally, a candidate persuaded his friends to nominate and endorse him, but now and then one came forward and addressed the public directly. In the fall of 1860, the following announcement appeared in the Southern News:

To the Voters of Los Angeles Township:

I am a candidate for the office of Justice of the Peace, and I desire to say to you, frankly, that I want you all to vote for me on the 6th of November next. I aspire to the office for two reasons,—first, because I am vain enough to believe that I am capable of performing the duties required, with credit to myself and to the satisfaction of all good citizens; second, because I am poor, and am desiring of making an honest living thereby.

William G. Still.

During my first visit to San Francisco, in the fall of 1853, and while en route to Los Angeles, my attention was called to a line of electric telegraph, then just installed between the Golden Gate and the town, for use in reporting the arrival of vessels. About a month later a line was built from San Francisco to Sacramento, Stockton and around to San José. Nothing further, however, was done toward reaching Southern California with the electric wire until the end of May or the beginning of June, 1860, when President R. E. Raimond and Secretary Fred. J. McCrellish (promoters of the Pacific & Atlantic Telegraph Company, organized in 1858 to reach San António, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee) came to Los Angeles to lay the matter before our citizens. Stock was soon subscribed for a line through the city and as far as Fort Yuma, and in a few days Banning had fifty teams ready to haul the telegraph poles, which were deposited in time along the proposed route. In the beginning, interest was stimulated by the promise that the telegraph would be in operation by the Fourth of July; but Independence Day came and went, and the best that the telegraph company could do was to make the ambiguous report that there were so and so many "holes in the ground." Worse than that, it was announced, toward the end of July, that the stock of wire had given out; and still worse, that no more could be had this side of the Atlantic States! That news was indeed discouraging; but by the middle of August, twenty tons of wire were known to be on a clipper bound for San Francisco, around the Horn, and five tons were being hurried here by steamer. The wire arrived, in due season, and the most energetic efforts were made to establish telegraphic communication between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was while McCrellish was slowly returning to the North, in June, that I met him as narrated in a previous chapter.

Finally, at eight o'clock on October 8th, 1860, a few magic words from the North were ticked out in the Los Angeles office of the telegraph company. Two hours later, as those familiar with our local history know, Mayor Henry Mellus sent the following memorable message to H. F. Teschemacher, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors:

Allow me, on behalf of the citizens of Los Angeles, to send you greeting of fellowship and good-feeling on the completion of the line of telegraph which now binds the two cities together.

Whereupon, the next day, President Teschemacher (who, by the way, was a well-known importer, having brought the first almond seed from the Mediterranean in the early fifties) replied to Mayor Mellus:

Your despatch has just been received. On behalf of the citizens of San Francisco, I congratulate Los Angeles, trusting that the benefit may be mutual.

A ball in Los Angeles fittingly celebrated the event, as will be seen from the following despatch, penned by Henry D. Barrows, who was then Southern California correspondent of the Bulletin:

Los Angeles, October 9, 1860,
10.45 A. M.

Here is the maiden salutation of Los Angeles to San Francisco by lightning! This despatch—the first to the press from this point—the correspondent of the Bulletin takes pleasure in communicating in behalf of his fellow-citizens. The first intelligible communication by the electric wire was received here last night at about eight o'clock, and a few hours later, at a grand and brilliant ball, given in honor of the occasion, despatches were received from San Francisco announcing the complete working of the entire line. Speeches were made in the crowded ball-room by E. J. C. Kewen and J. McCrellish. News of Colonel Baker's election in Oregon to the United States Senate electrified the Republicans, but the Breckenridges doubted it at first. Just before leaving yesterday, Senator Latham planted the first telegraph pole from this point east, assisted by a concourse of citizens.

Barrows' telegram concluded with the statement, highly suggestive of the future commercial possibilities of the telegraph, that the steamer Senator would leave San Pedro that evening with three thousand or more boxes of grapes.

On October 16th, the steamer J. T. Wright, named after the boat-owner and widely advertised as "new, elegant, and fast," arrived at San Pedro, in charge of Captain Robert Haley; and many persons professed to see in her appearance on the scene new hope for beneficial coastwise competition. After three or four trips, however, the steamer was withdrawn.

Leonard John Rose, a German by birth, and brother-in-law of H. K. S. O'Melveny, arrived with his family by the Butterfield Stage Route in November, having fought and conquered, so to speak, every step of his way from Illinois, from which State, two years before, he had set out. Rose and other pioneers tried to reach California along the Thirty-fifth parallel, a route surveyed by Lieutenant Beale but presenting terrific hardships; on the sides of mountains, at times, they had to let down their wagons by ropes, and again they almost died of thirst. The Mojave Indians, too, set upon them and did not desist until seventeen Indians had been killed and nine whites were slain or wounded, Rose himself not escaping injury. With the help of other emigrants, Rose and his family managed to reach Albuquerque, where within two years in the hotel business he acquired fourteen thousand dollars. Then, coming to Los Angeles, he bought from William Wolfskill one hundred and sixty acres near the old Mission of San Gabriel, and so prospered that he was soon able to enlarge his domain to over two thousand acres. He laid out a splendid vineyard and orange grove, and being full of ambition, enterprise and taste, it was not long before he had the show-place of the county.

Apparently, Temple really inaugurated his new theater with the coming to Los Angeles in November of that year of "the Great Star Company of Stark & Ryer," as well as with the announcement made at the time by their management: "This is the first advent of a theatrical company here." Stark & Ryer were in Los Angeles for a week or two; and though I should not vouch for them as stars, the little hall was crowded each night, and almost to suffocation. There were no fire ordinances then as to filling even the aisles and the window-sills, nor am I sure that the conventional fire-pail, more often empty than filled with water, stood anywhere about; but just as many tickets were sold, regardless of the seating capacity. Tragedy gave way, alternately, to comedy, one of the evenings being devoted to The Honeymoon; and as this was not quite long enough to satisfy the onlookers, who had neither trains nor boats to catch, there was an after-piece. In those days, when Los Angeles was entirely dependent on the North for theatrical and similar talent, it sometimes happened that the steamer was delayed or that the "star" failed to catch the ship and so could not arrive when expected; as a result of which patrons, who had journeyed in from the ranches, had to journey home again with their curiosity and appetite for the histrionic unsatisfied.

Prisoners, especially Indians, were employed on public works. As late as November, 1860, the Water Overseer was empowered to take out any Indians who might be in the calaboose, and to use them for repairing the highways and bridges.

About 1860, Nathan Jacoby came to Los Angeles, on my invitation, as I had known him in Europe; and he was with me about a year. When I sold out, he entered the employ of M. Kremer and later went into business for himself. As the senior partner of Jacoby Brothers, he died suddenly in 1911. Associated with Nathan at different periods were his brothers, Herman, Abraham, Morris, Charles and Lesser Jacoby, all of them early arrivals. Of this group, Charles and Lesser, both active in business circles in their day, are also dead.

Toward the end of 1860, Solomon Lazard returned to France, to visit his mother; but no sooner had he arrived at his old home and registered, according to law, with the police, than he was arrested, charged with having left his fatherland at the age of seventeen, without having performed military duty. In spite of his American citizenship, he was tried by court-martial and sentenced to a short imprisonment; but through the intervention of the United States Minister, Charles J. Faulkner—the author of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850—and the clemency of the Emperor Napoleon III., he was finally released. He had to furnish a substitute, however, or pay a fine of fifteen hundred francs; and he paid the fine. At length, notwithstanding his unpleasant experience, Lazard arrived in Los Angeles about the middle of March, 1861.

Tired of the wretched sidewalks, John Temple, in December, 1860, set to work to introduce an improvement in front of his Main Street block, an experiment that was watched with interest. Bricks were covered with a thick coating of asphalt brought from La Brea Ranch, which was smoothed while still warm and then sprinkled with sand; the combination promising great durability. In the summer season, however, the coating became soft and gluey, and was not comfortable to walk upon.

I have already spoken of the effect of heat and age on foodstuffs such as eggs and butter, when brought over the hot desert between San Bernardino and Los Angeles. This disadvantage continued for years; nor was the succeeding plan of bringing provisions from San Francisco and the North by way of the ocean without its obstacles. A. Ulyard, the baker, realized the situation, and in December advertised "fresh crackers, baked in Los Angeles, and superior to those half spoiled by the sea voyage."

Previous to the days of warehouses, and much before the advent of railroads, the public hay-scale was an institution, having been constructed by Francis Mellus in the dim past. Exposed to the elements, it stood alone out in the center of Los Angeles Street, somewhat south of Aliso; and in the lawless times of the young town was a silent witness to the numerous crimes perpetrated in the adjacent Calle de Los Negros. Onto its rough platform the neighboring farmers drove their heavy loads, often waiting an hour or two for the arrival of the owner, who alone had the key to its mysterious mechanism. Speaking of this lack of a warehouse brings to my mind the pioneer of 1850, Edouard Naud, who first attracted attention as a clever pastryman with a little shop on Commercial Street where he made a specialty of lady-fingers—selling them at fifty cents a dozen. Engaging in the wool industry, he later become interested in wool and this led him in 1878 to erect Naud's warehouse on Alameda Street, at present known as the Union Warehouse.[21] Naud died in 1881. His son, Edward, born in Los Angeles, is famous as an amateur chef who can prepare a French dinner that even a professional might be proud of.

In May, as elsewhere stated, Henry Mellus was elected Mayor of Los Angeles; and on the twenty-sixth of December he died—the first to yield that office to the inexorable demands of Death. The news of his demise called forth unfeigned expressions of regret; for Mellus was not only a man of marked ability, but he was of genial temperament and the soul of honor.


The year 1861 dawned dark and foreboding. On the twentieth of the preceding December, South Carolina had seceded, and along the Pacific, as elsewhere, men were anxiously wondering what would happen next. Threats and counter-threats clearly indicated the disturbed state of the public mind; and when, near Charleston Harbor, a hostile shot was fired at the Star of the West, the certainty of further trouble, particularly with the coming inauguration of Lincoln, was everywhere felt.

Aside, however, from these disturbing events so much affecting commercial life, the year, sandwiched between two wet seasons, was in general a prosperous one. There were evil effects of the heavy rains, and business in the spring was rather dull; but cattlemen, upon whose success so many other people depended, took advantage of the favoring conditions and profited accordingly.

During the period of the flood in 1859-60, the river, as we have seen, was impassable, and for months there was so much water in the bed, ordinarily dry, that foot-passage was interrupted. In January, 1861, therefore, the Common Council, under the influence of one of its members, E. Moulton, whose dairy was in East Los Angeles, provided a flimsy foot-bridge in his neighborhood. If my memory serves me, construction was delayed, and so the bridge escaped the next winter's flood, though it went down years later.

On January 9th, the schooner Lewis Perry arrived at anchorage, to be towed across the bar and to the wharf by the little steamer[22] Comet. This was the first sea-going vessel that had ever visited New San Pedro with a full cargo, and demonstrated, it was thought by many, that the port was easily navigable by vessels drawing eleven feet of water or less! Comments of all kinds were made upon this event, one scribe writing: