Louis Robidoux

Julius G. Weyse

John Behn

Louis Breer

William J. Broderick

Isaac R. Dunkelberger

Frank J. Carpenter

Augustus Ulyard

Louis Robidoux, a French-American of superior ability who, like many others, had gone through much that was exciting and unpleasant to establish himself in this wild, open country, eventually had an immense estate known as the Jurupa rancho, from which on September 26th, 1846, during the Mexican War, B. D. Wilson and others rode forth to be neatly trapped and captured at the Chino; and where the outlaw Irving later encamped. Riverside occupies a site on this land; and the famous Robidoux hill, usually spoken of as the Robidoux mountain, once a part of Louis's ranch and to-day a Mecca for thousands of tourists, was named after him.

Many of the rancheros kept little ranch stores, from which they sold to their employees. This was rather for convenience than for profit. When their help came to Los Angeles, they generally got drunk and stayed away from work longer than the allotted time; and it was to prevent this, as far as possible, that these outlying stores were conducted.

Louis Robidoux maintained such a store for the accommodation of his hands, and often came to town, sometimes for several days, on which occasions he would buy very liberally anything that happened to take his fancy. In this respect he occasionally acted without good judgment, and if opposed would become all the more determined. Not infrequently he called for so large a supply of some article that I was constrained to remark that he could not possibly need so much; whereupon he would repeat the order with angry emphasis. I sometimes visited his ranch and recall, in particular, one stay of two or three days there in 1857 when, after an unusually large purchase, Robidoux asked me to assist him in checking up the invoices. The cases were unpacked in his ranchhouse; and I have never forgotten the amusing picture of the numerous little Robidoux, digging and delving among the assorted goods for all the prizes they could find, and thus rendering the process of listing the goods much more difficult. When the delivery had been found correct, Robidoux turned to his Mexican wife and asked her to bring the money. She went to the side of the room, opened a Chinese trunk such as every well-to-do Mexican family had (and sometimes as many as half a dozen), and drew therefrom the customary buckskin, from which she extracted the required and rather large amount. These trunks were made of cedar, were gaudily painted, and had the quality of keeping out moths. They were, therefore, displayed with pride by the owners. Recently on turning the pages of some ledgers in which Newmark, Kremer & Company carried the account of this famous ranchero, I was interested to find there full confirmation of what I have elsewhere claimed—that the now renowned Frenchman spelled the first syllable of his name Ro-, and not Ru-, nor yet Rou-, as it is generally recorded in books and newspapers.

I should refrain from mentioning a circumstance or two in Robidoux's life with which I am familiar but for the fact that I believe posterity is ever curious to know the little failings as well as the pronounced virtues of men who, through exceptional personality or association, have become historic characters; and that some knowledge of their foibles should not tarnish their reputation. Robidoux, as I have remarked, came to town very frequently, and when again he found himself amid livelier scenes and congenial fellows, as in the late fifties, he always celebrated the occasion with a few intimates, winding up his befuddling bouts in the arms of Chris Fluhr, who winked at his weakness and good-naturedly tucked him away in one of the old-fashioned beds of the Lafayette Hotel, there to remain until he was able to transact business. After all, such celebrating was then not at all uncommon among the best of Southern California people, nor, if gossip may be credited, is it entirely unknown to-day. Robert Hornbeck, of Redlands, by the way, has sought to perpetuate this pioneer's fame in an illustrated volume, Roubidoux's Ranch in the 70's, published as I am closing my story.

Robidoux's name leads me to recur to early judges and to his identification with the first Court of Sessions here, when there was such a sparseness even of rancherías. Robidoux then lived on his Jurupa domain, and not having been at the meeting of township justices which selected himself and Judge Scott to sit on the bench, and enjoying but infrequent communication with the more peopled districts of Southern California, he knew nothing of the outcome of the election until sometime after it had been called. More than this, Judge Robidoux never actually participated in a sitting of the Court of Sessions until four or five weeks after it had been almost daily transacting business!

Speaking of ranches, and of the Jurupa in particular, I may here reprint an advertisement—a miniature tree and a house heading the following announcement in the Southern Californian of June 20th, 1855:

The Subscriber, being anxious to get away from Swindlers, offers for sale one of the very finest ranchos, or tracts of land, that is to be found in California, known as the Rancho de Jurupa, Santa Ana River, in the County of San Bernardino.

Bernardo Yorba was another great landowner; and I am sure that, in the day of his glory, he might have traveled fifty to sixty miles in a straight line, touching none but his own possessions. His ranches, on one of which Pio Pico hid from Santiago Arguello, were delightfully located where now stand such places as Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Westminster, Garden Grove and other towns in Orange County—then a part of Los Angeles County.

This leads me to describe a shrewd trick. Schlesinger & Sherwinsky, traders in general merchandise in 1853, when they bought a wagon in San Francisco, brought it here by steamer, loaded it with various attractive wares, took it out to good-natured and easy-going Bernardo Yorba, and wheedled the well-known ranchero into purchasing not only the contents, but the wagon, horses and harness as well. Indeed, their ingenuity was so well rewarded, that soon after this first lucky hit, they repeated their success, to the discomfiture of their competitors; and if I am not mistaken, they performed the same operation on the old don several times.

The Verdugo family had an extensive acreage where such towns as Glendale now enjoy the benefit of recent suburban development, Governor Pedro Fages having granted, as early as 1784, some thirty-six thousand acres to Don José María Verdugo, which grant was reaffirmed in 1798, thereby affording the basis of a patent issued in 1882, to Julio Verdugo et al, although Verdugo died in 1858. To this Verdugo rancho, Frémont sent Jesus Pico—the Mexican guide whose life he had spared, as he was about to be executed at San Luis Obispo—to talk with the Californians and to persuade them to deal with Frémont instead of Stockton; and there on February 21st, 1845, Micheltorena and Castro met. Near there also, still later, the celebrated Casa Verdugo entertained for many years the epicures of Southern California, becoming one of the best-known restaurants for Spanish dishes in the State. Little by little, the Verdugo family lost all their property, partly through their refusal or inability to pay taxes; so that by the second decade of the Twentieth Century the surviving representatives, including Victoriano and Guillermo Verdugo, were reduced to poverty.[15]

Recalling Verdugo and his San Rafael Ranch let me add that he had thirteen sons, all of whom frequently accompanied their father to town, especially on election day. On those occasions, J. Lancaster Brent, whose political influence with the old man was supreme, took the Verdugo party in hand and distributed, through the father, fourteen election tickets, on which were impressed the names of Brent's candidates.

Manuel Garfias, County Treasurer a couple of years before I came, was another land-baron, owning in his own name some thirteen or fourteen thousand acres of the San Pasqual Ranch. There, among the picturesque hills and valleys where both Pico and Flores had military camps, now flourish the cities of Pasadena and South Pasadena, which include the land where stood the first house erected on the ranch. It is my impression that beautiful Altadena is also on this land.

Ricardo Vejar, another magnate, had an interest in a wide area of rich territory known as the San José Ranch. Not less than twenty-two thousand acres made up this rancho which, as early as 1837, had been granted by Governor Alvarado to Vejar and Ygnácio Palomares who died on November 25th, 1864. Two or three years later, Luis Arenas joined the two, and Alvarado renewed his grant, tacking on a league or two of San José land lying to the West and nearer the San Gabriel mountains. Arenas, in time, disposed of his interest to Henry Dalton; and Dalton joined Vejar in applying to the courts for a partitioning of the estate. This division was ordered by the Spanish Alcalde six or seven years before my arrival; but Palomares still objected to the decision, and the matter dragged along in the tribunals many years, the decree finally being set aside by the Court. Vejar, who had been assessed in 1851 for thirty-four thousand dollars' worth of personal property, sold his share of the estate for twenty-nine thousand dollars, in the spring of 1874. It is a curious fact that not until the San José rancho had been so cut up that it was not easy to trace it back to the original grantees, did the authorities at Washington finally issue a patent to Dalton, Palomares and Vejar for the twenty-two thousand acres which originally made up the ranch.

The Machados, of whom there were several brothers—Don Agustin, who died on May 17th, 1865, being the head of the family—had title to nearly fourteen thousand acres. Their ranch, originally granted to Don Ygnácio Machado in 1839 and patented in 1873, was known as La Ballona and extended from the city limits to the ocean; and there, among other stock, in 1860, were more than two thousand head of cattle.

The Picos acquired much territory. There were two brothers—Pio, who as Mexican Governor had had wide supervision over land, and Andrés, who had fought throughout the San Pasqual campaigns until the capitulation at Cahuenga, and still later had dashed with spirit across country in pursuit of the murderers of Sheriff Barton. Pio Pico alone, in 1851, was assessed for twenty-two thousand acres as well as twenty-one thousand dollars in personal property. Besides controlling various San Fernando ranches (once under B. H. Lancaro's management), Andrés Pico possessed La Habra, a ranch of over six thousand acres, for which a patent was granted in 1872, and the ranch Los Coyotes, including over forty-eight thousand acres, patented three years later; while Pio Pico at one time owned the Santa Margarita and Las Flores ranchos, and had, in addition, some nine thousand acres known as Paso de Bartolo. In his old age the Governor—who, as long as I knew him, had been strangely loose in his business methods, and had borrowed from everybody—found himself under the necessity of obtaining some thirty or forty thousand dollars, even at the expense of giving to B. Cohn, W. J. Brodrick and Charles Prager, a blanket mortgage covering all of his properties. These included the Pico House, the Pico Ranch on the other side of the San Gabriel River—the homestead on which has for some time been preserved by the ladies of Whittier—and property on Main Street, north of Commercial, besides some other holdings. When his note fell due Pico was unable to meet it; and the mortgage was foreclosed. The old man was then left practically penniless, a suit at law concerning the interpretation of the loan-agreement being decided against him.

Henry C. Wiley must have arrived very early, as he had been in Los Angeles some years before I came. He married a daughter of Andrés Pico and for a while had charge of his San Fernando Ranch. Wiley served, at one time, as Sheriff of the County. He died in 1898.

The rancho Los Nietos or, more properly speaking, perhaps, the Santa Gertrudis, than whose soil (watered, as it is, by the San Gabriel River) none more fertile can be found in the world, included indeed a wide area extending between the Santa Ana and San Gabriel rivers, and embracing the ford known as Pico Crossing. It was then in possession of the Carpenter family, Lemuel Carpenter having bought it from the heirs of Manuel Nieto, to whom it had been granted in 1784. Carpenter came from Missouri to this vicinity as early as 1833, when he was but twenty-two years old. For a while, he had a small soap-factory on the right bank of the San Gabriel River, after which he settled on the ranch; and there he remained until November 6th, 1859, when he committed suicide. Within the borders of this ranch to-day lie such places as Downey and Rivera.

Francisco Sanchez was another early ranchero—probably the same who figured so prominently in early San Francisco; and it is possible that J. M. Sanchez, to whom, in 1859, was re-granted the forty-four hundred acres of the Potrero Grande, was his heir.

There were two large and important landowners, second cousins, known as José Sepúlveda; the one, Don José Andrés, and the other, Don José Loreto. The father of José Andrés was Don Francisco Sepúlveda, a Spanish officer to whom the San Vicente Ranch had been granted; and José Andrés, born in San Diego in 1804, was the oldest of eleven children. His brothers were Fernando, José del Carmen, Dolores and Juan María; and he also had six sisters. To José Andrés, or José as he was called, the San Joaquín Ranch was given, an enormous tract of land lying between the present Tustin, earlier known as Tustin City, and San Juan Capistrano, and running from the hills to the sea; while, on the death of Don Francisco, the San Vicente Ranch, later bought by Jones and Baker, was left to José del Carmen, Dolores and Juan María. José, in addition, bought eighteen hundred acres from José António Yorba, and on this newly-acquired property he built his ranchhouse, although he and his family may be said to have been more or less permanent residents of Los Angeles. Fernando Sepúlveda married a Verdugo, and through her became proprietor of much of the Verdugo rancho. The fact that José was so well provided for, and that Fernando had come into control of the Verdugo acres, made it mutually satisfactory that the San Vicente Ranch should have been willed to the other sons. The children of José Andrés included Miguel, Maurício, Bernabé, Joaquín, Andrónico and Ygnácio, and Francisca, wife of James Thompson, Tomása, wife of Frank Rico, Ramona, wife of Captain Salisbury Haley of the Sea Bird, Ascención, wife of Tom Mott, and Tranquilina. The latter, with Mrs. Mott and Judge Ygnácio, are still living here.

Don José Loreto, brother of Juan and Diego Sepúlveda, father of Mrs. John T. Lanfranco, and a well-known resident of Los Angeles County in early days, presided over the destinies of thirty-one thousand acres in the Palos Verdes rancho, where Flores had stationed his soldiers to watch the American ship Savannah. Full patent to this land was granted in 1880.

There being no fences to separate the great ranches, cattle roamed at will; nor were the owners seriously concerned, for every man had his distinct, registered brand and in proper season the various herds were segregated by means of rodeos, or round-ups of strayed or mixed cattle. On such occasions, all of the rancheros within a certain radius drove their herds little by little into a corral designated for the purpose, and each selected his own cattle according to brand. After segregation had thus been effected, they were driven from the corral, followed by the calves, which were also branded, in anticipation of the next rodeo.

Such round-ups were great events, for they brought all the rancheros and vaqueros together. They became the raison d'être of elaborate celebrations, sometimes including horse-races, bull-fights and other amusements; and this was the case particularly in 1861, because of the rains and consequent excellent season.

The enormous herds of cattle gathered at rodeos remind me, in fact, of a danger that the rancheros were obliged to contend with, especially when driving their stock from place to place: Indians stampeded the cattle, whenever possible, so that in the confusion those escaping the vaqueros and straggling behind might the more easily be driven to the Indian camps; and sometimes covetous ranchmen caused a similar commotion among the stock in order to make thieving easier.

While writing of ranches, one bordering on the other, unfenced and open, and the enormous number of horses and cattle, as well as men required to take care of such an amount of stock, I must not forget to mention an institution that had flourished, as a branch of the judiciary, in palmier Mexican days, though it was on the wane when I arrived here. This was the Judgeship of the Plains, an office charged directly with the interests of the ranchman. Judges of the Plains were officials delegated to arrange for the rodeos, and to hold informal court, in the saddle or on the open hillside, in order to settle disputes among, and dispense justice to, those living and working beyond the pales of the towns. Under Mexican rule, a Judge of the Plains, who was more or less a law unto himself, served for glory and dignity (much as does an English Justice of the Peace); and the latter factor was an important part of the stipulation, as we may gather from a story told by early Angeleños of the impeachment of Don António María Lugo. Don António was then a Judge of the Plains, and as such was charged with having, while on horseback, nearly trampled upon Pedro Sanchez, for no other reason than that poor Pedro had refused to "uncover" while the Judge rode by, and to keep his hat off until his Honor was unmistakably out of sight! When, at length, Americans took possession of Southern California, Judges of the Plains were given less power, and provision was made, for the first time, for a modest honorarium in return for their travel and work.

For nearly a couple of decades after the organization of Los Angeles under the incoming white pioneers, not very much was known of the vast districts inland and adjacent to Southern California; and one can well understand the interest felt by our citizens on July 17th, 1855, when Colonel Washington, of the United States Surveying Expedition to the Rio Colorado, put up at the Bella Union on his way to San Francisco. He was bombarded with questions about the region lying between the San Bernardino Mountain range and the Colorado, hitherto unexplored; and being a good talker, readily responded with much entertaining information.

In July, 1855, I attained my majority and, having by this time a fair command of English, I took a more active part in social affairs. Before he married Margarita, daughter of Juan Bandini, Dr. J. B. Winston, then interested in the Bella Union, organized most of the dances, and I was one of his committee of arrangements. We would collect from the young men of our acquaintance money enough to pay for candles and music; for each musician—playing either a harp, a guitar or a flute—charged from a dollar to a dollar and a half for his services. Formal social events occurred in the evening of almost any day of the week. Whenever Dr. Winston or the young gallants of that period thought it was time to have a dance, they just passed around the hat for the necessary funds, and announced the affair. Ladies were escorted to functions, although we did not take them in carriages or other vehicles but tramped through the dust or mud. Young ladies, however, did not go out with gentlemen unless they were accompanied by a chaperon, generally some antiquated female member of the family.

These hops usually took place at the residence of Widow Blair, opposite the Bella Union and north of the present Post Office. There we could have a sitting-room, possibly eighteen by thirty feet square; and while this was larger than any other room in a private house in town, it will be realized that, after all, the space for dancing was very limited. We made the best, however, of what we had; the refreshments, at these improvised affairs, were rarely more than lemonade and olla water.

Many times such dances followed as a natural termination to another social observance, transmitted to us, I have no doubt, by the romantic Spanish settlers here, and very popular for some time after I came. This good old custom was serenading. We would collect money, as if for dancing; and in the evening a company of young men and chaperoned young ladies would proceed in a body to some popular girl's home where, with innocent gallantry, the little band would serenade her. After that, of course, we were always glad to accept an invitation to come into the house, when the ladies of the household sometimes regaled us with a bit of cake and wine.

Speaking of the social life of those early days, when warm, stimulating friendships and the lack of all foolish caste distinctions rendered the occasions delightfully pleasant, may it not be well to ask whether the contrast between those simple, inexpensive pleasures, and the elaborate and extravagant demands of modern society, is not worth sober thought? To be sure, Los Angeles then was exceedingly small, and pioneers here were much like a large family in plain, unpretentious circumstances. There were no such ceremonies as now; there were no four hundred, no three hundred, nor even one hundred. There was, for example, no flunky at the door to receive the visitor's card; and for the very good reason that visiting cards were unknown. In those pastoral, pueblo days it was no indiscretion for a friend to walk into another friend's house without knocking. Society of the early days could be divided, I suppose, into two classes: the respectable and the evil element; and people who were honorable came together because they esteemed each other and liked one another's company. The "gold fish" of the present age had not yet developed. We enjoyed ourselves together, and without distinction were ready to fight to the last ditch for the protection of our families and the preservation of our homes.

In the fall of 1855, Dr. Thomas J. White, a native of St. Louis and Speaker of the Assembly in the first California Legislature convened at San José, in December, 1849, arrived from San Francisco with his wife and two daughters, and bought a vineyard next to Dr. Hoover's ten-acre place where, in three or four years, he became one of the leading wine-producers. Their advent created quite a stir, and the house, which was a fine and rather commodious one for the times, soon became the scene of extensive entertainments. The addition of this highly-accomplished family was indeed quite an accession to our social ranks. Their hospitality compared favorably even with California's open-handed and open-hearted spirit, and soon became notable. Their evening parties and other receptions were both frequent and lavish, so that the Whites quickly took rank as leaders in Los Angeles. While yet in Sacramento, one of the daughters, who had fallen in love with E. J. C. Kewen when the latter was a member of the White party in crossing the great Plains, married the Colonel; and in 1862, another daughter, Miss Jennie, married Judge Murray Morrison. A son was T. Jeff White, who named his place Casalinda. In the late fifties, Dr. White had a drug-store in the Temple Building on Main Street.

It was long before Los Angeles had anything like a regular theater, or even enjoyed such shows as were provided by itinerant companies, some of which, when they did begin to come, stayed here for weeks; although I remember having heard of one ambitious group of players styling themselves The Rough and Ready Theater, who appeared here very early and gave sufficient satisfaction to elicit the testimony from a local scribe, that "when Richmond was conquered and laid off for dead, the enthusiastic auditors gave the King a smile of decided approval!" Minstrels and circuses were occasionally presented, a minstrel performance taking place sometime in the fifties, in an empty store on Aliso Street, near Los Angeles. About the only feature of this event that is now clear in my memory is that Bob Carsley played the bones; he remained in Los Angeles and married, later taking charge of the foundry which Stearns established when he built his Arcadia Block on Los Angeles Street. An Albino also was once brought to Los Angeles and publicly exhibited; and since anything out of the ordinary challenged attention, everybody went to see a curiosity that to-day would attract but little notice. Speaking of theatrical performances and the applause bestowed upon favorites, I must not forget to mention the reckless use of money and the custom, at first quite astounding to me, of throwing coins—often large, shining slugs—upon the stage or floor, if an actor or actress particularly pleased the spendthrift patron.

In October, 1855, William Abbott, who was one of the many to come to Los Angeles in 1853, and who had brought with him a small stock of furniture, started a store in a little wooden house he had acquired on a lot next to that which later became the site of the Pico House. Abbott married Doña Merced Garcia; and good fortune favoring him, he not only gradually enlarged his stock of goods, but built a more commodious building, in the upper story of which was the Merced Theater, named after Abbott's wife, and opened in the late sixties. The vanity of things mundane is well illustrated in the degeneration of this center of early histrionic effort, which entered a period of decay in the beginning of the eighties and, as the scene of disreputable dances, before 1890 had been pronounced a nuisance.

During the first decade under the American régime, Los Angeles gradually learned the value of reaching toward the outside world and welcoming all who responded. In 1855, as I have said, a brisk trade was begun with Salt Lake, through the opening up of a route—leading along the old Spanish trail to Santa Fé. Banning & Alexander, with their usual enterprise, together with W. T. B. Sanford, made the first shipment in a heavily-freighted train of fifteen wagons drawn by one hundred and fifty mules. The train, which carried thirty tons, was gone four months; having left Los Angeles in May, it returned in September. In every respect the experiment was a success, and naturally the new route had a beneficial effect on Southern California trade. It also contributed to the development of San Bernardino, through which town it passed. Before the year was out, one or two express companies were placarding the stores here with announcements of rates "To Great Salt Lake City." Banning, by the way, then purchased in Salt Lake the best wagons he had, and brought here some of the first vehicles with spokes to be seen in Los Angeles.

The school authorities of the past sometimes sailed on waters as troubled as those rocking the Educational Boards to-day. I recall an amusing incident of the middle fifties, when a new set of Trustees, having succeeded to the control of affairs, were scandalized, or at least pretended to be, by an action of their predecessors, and immediately adopted the following resolution:

Resolved, that page seven of the School Commissioners' Record be pasted down on page eight, so that the indecorous language written therein by the School Commissioners of 1855, can never again be read or seen, said language being couched in such terms that the present School Commissioners are not willing to read such record.

Richard Laughlin died at his vineyard, on the east side of Alameda Street, in or soon after 1855. Like William Wolfskill, Ewing Young—who fitted out the Wolfskill party—and Moses Carson, brother of the better-known Kit and at one time a trader at San Pedro, Laughlin was a trapper who made his way to Los Angeles along the Gila River. This was a waterway of the savage Apache country traversed even in 1854—according to the lone ferryman's statistics—by nearly ten thousand persons. In middle life, Laughlin supported himself by carpentry and hunting.

With the increase in the number and activity of the Chinese in California, the prejudice of the masses was stirred up violently. This feeling found expression particularly in 1855, when a law was passed by the Legislature, imposing a fine of fifty dollars on each owner or master of a vessel bringing to California anyone incapable of becoming a citizen; but when suit was instituted, to test the act's validity, it was declared unconstitutional. At that time, most of the opposition to the Chinese came from San Franciscans, there being but few coolies here.

Certain members of the same Legislature led a movement to form a new State, to be called Colorado and to include all the territory south of San Luis Obispo; and the matter was repeatedly discussed in several subsequent sessions. Nothing came of it, however; but Kern County was formed, in 1866, partly from Los Angeles County and partly from Tulare. About five thousand square miles, formerly under our County banner, were thus legislated away; and because the mountainous and desert area seemed of little prospective value, we submitted willingly. In this manner, unenlightened by modern science and ignorant of future possibilities, Southern California, guided by no clear and certain vision, drifted and stumbled along to its destiny.

Los Angeles in the Late Fifties
From a contemporary sketch

Myer J. Newmark

Dr. John S. Griffin

Edward J. C. Kewen

William C. Warren


During 1856, I dissolved with my partners, Rich and Laventhal, and went into business with my uncle, Joseph Newmark, J. P. Newmark and Maurice Kremer, under the title of Newmark, Kremer & Company. Instead of a quasi wholesale business, we now had a larger assortment and did more of a retail business. We occupied a room, about forty by eighty feet in size, in the Mascarel and Barri block on the south side of Commercial Street (then known as Commercial Row), between Main and Los Angeles streets, our modest establishment being almost directly opposite the contracted quarters of my first store and having the largest single storeroom then in the city; and there we continued with moderate success, until 1858.

To make this new partnership possible, Kremer had sold out his interest in the firm of Lazard & Kremer, dry goods merchants, the readjustment providing an amusing illustration of the manner in which business, with its almost entire lack of specialization, was then conducted. When the stock was taken, a large part of it consisted, not of dry goods, as one might well suppose, but of—cigars and tobacco!

About the beginning of 1856, Sisters of Charity made their first appearance in Los Angeles, following a meeting called by Bishop Amat during the preceding month, to provide for their coming, when Abel Stearns presided and John G. Downey acted as Secretary. Benjamin Hayes, Thomas Foster, Ezra Drown, Louis Vignes, Ygnácio del Valle and António Coronel coöperated, while Manuel Requena collected the necessary funds. On January 5th, Sisters María Scholastica, María Corzina, Ana, Clara, Francisca and Angela arrived—three of them coming almost directly from Spain; and immediately they formed an important adjunct to the Church in matters pertaining to religion, charity and education. It was to them that B. D. Wilson sold his Los Angeles home, including ten acres of fine orchard, at the corner of Alameda and Macy streets, for eight thousand dollars; and there for many years they conducted their school, the Institute and Orphan Asylum, until they sold the property to J. M. Griffith, who used the site for a lumber-yard. Griffith, in turn, disposed of it to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. Sister Scholastica, who celebrated in 1889 her fiftieth anniversary as a sister, was long the Mother Superior.

The so-called First Public School having met with popular approval, the Board of Education in 1856 opened another school on Bath Street. The building, two stories in height, was of brick and had two rooms.

On January 9th, John P. Brodie assumed charge of the Southern Californian. Andrés Pico was then proprietor; and before the newspaper died, in 1857, Pico lost, it is said, ten thousand dollars in the venture.

The first regular course of public lectures here was given in 1856 under the auspices of a society known as the Mechanics' Institute, and in one of Henry Dalton's corrugated iron buildings.

George T. Burrill, first County Sheriff, died on February 2d, his demise bringing to mind an interesting story. He was Sheriff, in the summer of 1850, when certain members of the infamous Irving party were arraigned for murder, and during that time received private word that many of the prisoners' friends would pack the little court room and attempt a rescue. Burrill, however, who used to wear a sword and had a rather soldierly bearing, was equal to the emergency. He quickly sent to Major E. H. Fitzgerald and had the latter come post-haste to town and court with a detachment of soldiers; and with this superior, disciplined force he overawed the bandits' compañeros who, sure enough, were there and fully armed to make a demonstration.

Thomas E. Rowan arrived here with his father, James Rowan, in 1856, and together they opened a bakery. Tom delivered the bread for a short time, but soon abandoned that pursuit for politics, being frequently elected to office, serving in turn as Supervisor, City and County Treasurer and even, from 1893 to 1894, as Mayor of Los Angeles. Shortly before Tom married Miss Josephine Mayerhofer in San Francisco in 1862—and a handsome couple they made—the Rowans bought from Louis Mesmer the American Bakery, located at the southwest corner of Main and First streets and originally established by August Ulyard. When James Rowan died about forty years ago, Tom fell heir to the bakery; but as he was otherwise engaged, he employed Maurice Maurício as manager, and P. Galta, afterward a prosperous business man of Bakersfield, as driver. Tom, who died in 1899, was also associated as cashier with I. W. Hellman and F. P. F. Temple in their bank. Rowan Avenue and Rowan Street were both named after this early comer.

The time for the return of my brother and his European bride now approached, and I felt a natural desire to meet them. Almost coincident, therefore, with their arrival in San Francisco, I was again in that growing city in 1856, although I had been there but the year previous.

On April 9th, occurred the marriage of Matilda, daughter of Joseph Newmark, to Maurice Kremer. The ceremony was performed by the bride's father. For the subsequent festivities, ice, from which ice cream was made, was brought from San Bernardino; both luxuries on this occasion being used in Los Angeles, as far as I can remember, for the first time.

To return to the Los Angeles Star. When J. S. Waite became Postmaster, in 1855, he found it no sinecure to continue even such an unpretentious and, in all likelihood, unprofitable news-sheet and at the same time attend to Uncle Sam's mail-bags; and early in 1856 he offered "the entire establishment at one thousand dollars less than cost." Business was so slow at that time, in fact, that Waite—after, perhaps, ruefully looking over his unpaid subscriptions—announced that he would "take wood, butter, eggs, flour, wheat or corn" in payment of bills due. He soon found a ready customer in William A. Wallace, the Principal of the boys' school who, on the twelfth of April, bought the paper; but Waite's disgust was nothing to that of the schoolteacher who, after two short months' trial with the editorial quill, scribbled a last doleful adiós. "The flush times of the pueblo, the day of large prices and pocket-books, are past," Wallace declared; and before him the editor saw "only picayunes, bad liquor, rags and universal dullness, when neither pistol-shots nor dying groans" could have any effect, and "when earthquakes would hardly turn men in their beds!" Nothing was left for such a destitute and discouraged quillman "but to wait for a carreta and get out of town." Wallace sold the paper, therefore, in June, 1856, to Henry Hamilton, a native of Ireland who had come to California in 1848 an apprenticed printer, and was for some years in newspaper work in San Francisco; and Hamilton soon put new life into the journal.

In 1856, the many-sided Dr. William B. Osburn organized a company to bore an artesian well west of the city; but when it reached a depth of over seven hundred feet, the prospectors went into bankruptcy.

George Lehman, early known as George the Baker (whose shop at one time was on the site of the Hayward Hotel), was a somewhat original and very popular character who, in 1856, took over the Round House on Main Street, between Third and Fourth, and there opened a pleasure-resort extending to Spring Street and known as the Garden of Paradise. The grounds really occupied on the one hand what are now the sites of the Pridham, the Pinney and the Turnverein, and on the other the Henne, the Breed and the Lankershim blocks. There was an entrance on Main Street and one, with two picket gates, on Spring. From the general shape and appearance of the building, it was always one of the first objects in town to attract attention; and Lehman (who, when he appeared on the street, had a crooked cane hanging on his arm and a lemon in his hand), came to be known as "Round House George." The house had been erected in the late forties by Raimundo, generally called Ramón, or Raymond Alexander, a sailor, who asserted that the design was a copy of a structure he had once seen on the coast of Africa; and there Ramón and his native California wife had lived for many years. Partly because he wished to cover the exterior with vines and flowers, Lehman nailed boards over the outer adobe walls and thus changed the cylinder form into that of an octagon. An ingenious arrangement of the parterre and a peculiar distribution of some trees, together with a profusion of plants and flowers—affording cool and shady bowers, somewhat similar to those of a typical beer or wine garden of the Fatherland—gave the place great popularity; while two heroic statues—one of Adam and the other of Eve—with a conglomeration of other curiosities, including the Apple Tree and the Serpent—all illustrating the world-old story of Eden—and a moving panorama made the Garden unique and rather famous. The balcony of the house provided accommodation for the playing of such music, perhaps discordant, as Los Angeles could then produce, and nearby was a framework containing a kind of swing then popular and known as "flying horses." The bar was in the Garden, near a well-sweep; and at the Main Street entrance stood a majestic and noted cactus tree which was cut down in 1886. The Garden of Paradise was opened toward the end of September, 1858, and so large were the grounds that when they were used, in 1876, for the Fourth of July celebration, twenty-six hundred people were seated there.

This leads me to say that Arthur McKenzie Dodson, who established a coal- and wood-yard at what was later the corner of Spring and Sixth streets, started there a little community which he called Georgetown—as a compliment, it was said, to the famous Round House George whose bakery, I have remarked, was located on that corner.

On June 7th, Dr. John S. Griffin, who had an old fashioned, classical education, and was a graduate, in medicine, of the University of Pennsylvania, succeeded Dr. William B. Osburn as Superintendent of the Los Angeles City Schools.

In these times of modern irrigation and scientific methods, it is hard to realize how disastrous were climatic extremes in an earlier day: in 1856, a single electric disturbance, accompanied by intense heat and sandstorms, left tens of thousands of dead cattle to tell the story of drought and destruction.

During the summer, I had occasion to go to Fort Tejón to see George C. Alexander, a customer, and I again asked Sam Meyer if he would accompany me. Such a proposition was always agreeable to Sam; and, having procured horses, we started, the distance being about one hundred and fifteen miles.

We left Los Angeles early one afternoon, and made our first stop at Lyons's Station, where we put up for the night. One of the brothers, after whom the place was named, prepared supper. Having to draw some thick blackstrap from a keg, he used a pitcher to catch the treacle; and as the liquid ran very slowly, our sociable host sat down to talk a bit, and soon forgot all about what he had started to do. The molasses, however, although it ran pretty slowly, ran steadily, and finally, like the mush in the fairy-tale of the enchanted bowl, overflowed the top of the receptacle and spread itself over the dirt floor. When Lyons had finished his chat, he saw, to his intense chagrin, a new job upon his hands, and one likely to busy him for some time.

Departing next morning at five o'clock we met Cy Lyons, who had come to Los Angeles in 1849 and was then engaged with his brother Sanford in raising sheep in that neighborhood. Cy was on horseback and had two pack animals, loaded with provisions. "Hello, boys! where are you bound?" he asked; and when we told him that we were on our way to Fort Tejón, he said that he was also going there, and volunteered to save us forty miles by guiding us over the trail. Such a shortening of our journey appealed to us as a good prospect, and we fell in behind the mounted guide.

It was one of those red-hot summer days characteristic of that region and season, and in a couple of hours we began to get very thirsty. Noticing this, Cy told us that no water would be found until we got to the Rancho de la Liebre, and that we could not possibly reach there until evening. Having no bota de agua handy, I took an onion from Lyons's pack and ate it, and that afforded me some relief; but Sam, whose decisions were always as lasting as the fragrance of that aromatic bulb, would not try the experiment. To make a long story short, when we at last reached the ranch, Sam, completely fagged out, and unable to alight from his horse, toppled off into our arms. The chewing of the onion had refreshed me to some extent, but just the same the day's journey proved one of the most miserable experiences through which I have ever passed.

The night was so hot at the ranch that we decided to sleep outdoors in one of the wagons; and being worn out with the day's exposure and fatigue, we soon fell asleep. The soundness of our slumbers did not prevent us from hearing, in the middle of the night, a snarling bear, scratching in the immediate neighborhood. A bear generally means business; and you may depend upon it that neither Sam, myself nor even Cy were very long in bundling out of the wagon and making a dash for the more protecting house. Early next morning, we recommenced our journey toward Fort Tejón, and reached there without any further adventures worth relating.

Coming back, we stopped for the night at Gordon's Station, and the next day rode fully seventy miles—not so inconsiderable an accomplishment, perhaps, for those not accustomed to regular saddle exercise.

A few months later, I met Cy on the street. "Harris," said he, "do you know that once, on that hot day going to Fort Tejón, we were within three hundred feet of a fine, cool spring?" "Then why in the devil," I retorted, "didn't you take us to it?" To which Cy, with a chuckle, answered: "Well, I just wanted to see what would happen to you!"

My first experience with camp meetings was in the year 1856, when I attended one in company with Miss Sarah Newmark, to whom I was then engaged, and Miss Harriet, her sister—later Mrs. Eugene Meyer. I engaged a buggy from George Carson's livery stable on Main Street; and we rode to Ira Thompson's grove at El Monte, in which the meeting was held. These camp meetings supplied a certain amount of social attraction to residents, in that good-hearted period when creeds formed a bond rather than a hindrance.

It was in 1856 that, in connection with our regular business, we began buying hides. One day a Mexican customer came into the store and, looking around, said: "¿Compra cueros?" (Do you buy hides?) "Sí, señor," I replied, to which he then said: "Tengo muchos en mi rancho" (I have many at my ranch). "Where do you live?" I asked. "Between Cahuenga and San Fernando Mission," he answered. He had come to town in his carreta, and added that he would conduct me to his place, if I wished to go there.

I obtained a wagon and, accompanied by Samuel Cohn, went with the Mexican. The native jogged on, carreta-fashion, the oxen lazily plodding along, while the driver with his ubiquitous pole kept them in the road by means of continual and effective prods, delivered first on one side, then on the other. It was dark when we reached the ranch; and the night being balmy, we wrapped ourselves up in blankets, and slept under the adobe veranda.

Early in the morning, I awoke and took a survey of the premises. To my amazement, I saw but one little kipskin hanging up to dry! When at length my Mexican friend appeared on the scene, I asked him where he kept his hides? (¿Donde tiene usted los cueros?) At which he pointed to the lone kip and, with a characteristic and perfectly indifferent shrug of the shoulders, said: "¡No tengo más!" (I have no more!)

I then deliberated with Sam as to what we should do; and having proceeded to San Fernando Mission to collect there, if possible, a load of hides, we were soon fortunate in obtaining enough to compensate us for our previous trouble and disappointment. On the way home, we came to a rather deep ditch preventing further progress. Being obliged, however, to get to the other side, we decided to throw the hides into the ditch, placing one on top of the other, until the obstructing gap was filled to a level with the road; and then we drove across, if not on dry land, at least on dry hides, which we reloaded onto the wagon. Finally, we reached town at a late hour.

In this connection, I may remind the reader of Dana's statement, in his celebrated Two Years before the Mast, that San Pedro once furnished more hides than any other port on the Coast; and may add that from the same port, more than forty years afterward, consignments of this valuable commodity were still being made, I myself being engaged more and more extensively in the hide trade.

Colonel Isaac Williams died on September 13th, having been a resident of Los Angeles and vicinity nearly a quarter of a century. A Pennsylvanian by birth, he had with him in the West a brother, Hiram, later of San Bernardino County. Happy as was most of Colonel Williams' life, tragedy entered his family circle, as I shall show, when both of his sons-in-law, John Rains and Robert Carlisle, met violent deaths at the hands of others.

Jean Louis Vignes came to Los Angeles in 1829, and set out the Aliso Vineyard of one hundred and four acres which derived its name, as did the street, from a previous and incorrect application of the Castilian aliso, meaning alder, to the sycamore tree, a big specimen of which stood on the place. This tree, possibly a couple of hundred years old, long shaded Vignes' wine-cellars, and was finally cut down a few years ago to make room for the Philadelphia Brew House. From a spot about fifty feet away from the Vignes adobe extended a grape arbor perhaps ten feet in width and fully a quarter of a mile long, thus reaching to the river; and this arbor was associated with many of the early celebrations in Los Angeles. The northern boundary of the property was Aliso Street; its western boundary was Alameda; and part of it was surrounded by a high adobe wall, inside of which, during the troubles of the Mexican War, Don Louis enjoyed a far safer seclusion than many others. On June 7th, 1851, Vignes advertised El Aliso for sale, but it was not subdivided until much later, when Eugene Meyer and his associates bought it for this purpose. Vignes Street recalls the veteran viticulturist.

While upon the subject of this substantial old pioneer family, I may give a rather interesting reminiscence as to the state of Aliso Street at this time. I have said that this street was the main road from Los Angeles to the San Bernardino country; and so it was. But in the fifties, Aliso Street stopped very abruptly at the Sainsevain Vineyard, where it narrowed down to one of the willow-bordered, picturesque little lanes so frequently found here, and paralleled the noted grape-arbor as far as the river-bank. At this point, Andrew Boyle and other residents of the Heights and beyond were wont to cross the stream on their way to and from town. The more important travel was by means of another lane known as the Aliso Road, turning at a corner occupied by the old Aliso Mill and winding along the Hoover Vineyard to the river. Along this route the San Bernardino stage rolled noisily, traversing in summer or during a poor season what was an almost dry wash, but encountering in wet winter raging torrents so impassable that all intercourse with the settlements to the east was disturbed. For a whole week, on several occasions, the San Bernardino stage was tied up, and once at least Andrew Boyle, before he had become conversant with the vagaries of the Los Angeles River, found it impossible for the better part of a fortnight to come to town for the replenishment of a badly-depleted larder. Lovers' Lane, willowed and deep with dust, was a narrow road now variously located in the minds of pioneers; my impression being that it followed the line of the present Date Street, although some insist that it was Macy.

Pierre Sainsevain, a nephew of Vignes, came in 1839 and for a while worked for his uncle. Jean Louis Sainsevain, another nephew, arrived in Los Angeles in 1849 or soon after, and on April 14th, 1855, purchased for forty-two thousand dollars the vineyard, cellars and other property of his uncle. This was the same year in which he returned to France for his son Michel and remarried, leaving another son, Paul, in school there. Pierre joined his brother; and in 1857 Sainsevain Brothers made the first California champagne, first shipping their wine to San Francisco. Paul, now a resident of San Diego, came to Los Angeles in 1861. The name endures in Sainsevain Street.

The activity of these Frenchmen reminds me that much usually characteristic of country life was present in what was called the city of Los Angeles, when I first saw it, as may be gathered from the fact that, in 1853, there were a hundred or more vineyards hereabouts, seventy-five or eighty of which were within the city precincts. These did not include the once famous "mother vineyard" of San Gabriel Mission, which the padres used to claim had about fifty thousand vines, but which had fallen into somewhat picturesque decay. Near San Gabriel, however, in 1855, William M. Stockton had a large vineyard nursery. William Wolfskill was one of the leading vineyardists, having set out his first vine, so it was said, in 1838, when he affirmed his belief that the plant, if well cared for, would flourish a hundred years! Don José Serrano, from whom Dr. Leonce Hoover bought many of the grapes he needed, did have vines, it was declared, that were nearly a century old. When I first passed through San Francisco, en route to Los Angeles, I saw grapes from this section in the markets of that city bringing twenty cents a pound; and to such an extent for a while did San Francisco continue to draw on Los Angeles for grapes, that Banning shipped thither from San Pedro, in 1857, no less than twenty-one thousand crates, averaging forty-five pounds each. It was not long, however, before ranches nearer San Francisco began to interfere with this monopoly of the South, and, as, a consequence, the shipment of grapes from Los Angeles fell off. This reminds me that William Wolfskill sent to San Francisco some of the first Northern grapes sold there; they were grown in a Napa Valley vineyard that he owned in the middle of the fifties, and when unloaded on the Long Wharf, three or four weeks in advance of Los Angeles grapes, brought at wholesale twenty-five dollars per hundred weight!

With the decline in the fresh fruit trade, however, the making and exportation of wine increased, and several who had not ventured into vineyarding before, now did so, acquiring their own land or an interest in the establishments of others. By 1857, Jean Louis Vignes boasted of possessing some white wine twenty years old—possibly of the same vintage about which Dr. Griffin often talked, in his reminiscences of the days when he had been an army surgeon; and Louis Wilhart occasionally sold wine which was little inferior to that of Jean Louis. Dr. Hoover was one of the first to make wine for the general market, having, for a while, a pretty and well-situated place called the Clayton Vineyard; and old Joseph Huber, who had come to California from Kentucky for his health, began in 1855 to make wine with considerable success. He owned the Foster Vineyard, where he died in July, 1866. B. D. Wilson was also soon shipping wine to San Francisco. L. J. Rose, who first entered the field in January, 1861, at Sunny Slope, not far from San Gabriel Mission, was another producer, and had a vineyard famous for brandy and wine. He made a departure in going to the foothills, and introduced many varieties of foreign grapes. By the same year, or somewhat previously, Matthew Keller, Stearns & Bell, Dr. Thomas J. White, Dr. Parrott, Kiln Messer, Henry Dalton, H. D. Barrows, Juan Bernard and Ricardo Vejar had wineries, and John Schumacher had a vineyard opposite the site of the City Gardens in the late seventies. L. H. Titus, in time, had a vineyard, known as the Dewdrop, near that of Rose. Still another wine producer was António María Lugo, who set out his vines on San Pedro Street, near the present Second, and often dwelt in the long adobe house where both Steve Foster, Lugo's son-in-law, and Mrs. Wallace Woodworth lived, and where I have been many times pleasantly entertained.

Dr. Leonce Hoover, who died on October 8th, 1862, was a native of Switzerland and formerly a surgeon in the army of Napoleon, when his name—later changed at the time of naturalization—had been Huber. Dr. Hoover in 1849 came to Los Angeles with his wife, his son, Vincent A. Hoover, then a young man, and two daughters, the whole family traveling by ox-team and prairie schooner. They soon discovered rich placer gold-beds, but were driven away by hostile Indians. A daughter, Mary A., became the wife of Samuel Briggs, a New Hampshire Yankee, who was for years Wells Fargo's agent here. For a while the Hoovers lived on the Wolfskill Ranch, after which they had a vineyard in the neighborhood of what is now the property of the Cudahy Packing Company. Vincent Hoover was a man of prominence in his time; he died in 1883. Mrs. Briggs, whose daughter married the well-known physician, Dr. Granville MacGowan, sold her home, on Broadway between Third and Fourth streets, to Homer Laughlin when he erected the Laughlin Building. Hoover Street is named for this family.

Accompanied by his son William, Joseph Huber, Sr., in 1855 came to Los Angeles from Kentucky, hoping to improve his health; and when the other members of his family, consisting of his wife and children, Caroline, Emeline, Edward and Joseph, followed him here, in 1859, by way of New York and the Isthmus, they found him settled as a vineyardist, occupying the Foster property running from Alameda Street to the river, in a section between Second and Sixth streets. The advent of a group of young people, so well qualified to add to what has truthfully been described by old-time Angeleños as our family circle, was hailed with a great deal of interest and satisfaction. In time, Miss Emeline Huber was married to O. W. Childs, and Miss Caroline was wedded to Dr. Frederick Preston Howard, a druggist who, more than forty years ago, bought out Theodore Wollweber, selling the business back to the latter a few years later. The prominence of this family made it comparatively easy for Joseph Huber, Jr., in 1865, to secure the nomination and be elected County Treasurer, succeeding M. Kremer, who had served six years. Huber, Sr., died about the middle sixties. Mrs. Huber lived to be eighty-three years old.

José de Rúbio had at least two vineyards when I came—one on Alameda Street, south of Wolfskill's and not far from Coronel's, and one on the east side of the river. Rúbio came here very early in the century, after having married Juana, a daughter of Juan María Miron, a well-known sea captain, and built three adobe houses. The first of these was on the site of the present home of William H. Workman, on Boyle Heights; the second was near what was later the corner of Alameda and Eighth streets, and the third was on Alameda Street near the present Vernon Avenue. One of his ranches was known as "Rúbio's," and there many a barbecue was celebrated. In 1859, Rúbio leased the Sepúlveda Landing, at San Pedro, and commenced to haul freight, to and fro. Señor and Señora Rúbio[16] had twenty-five children, of whom five are now living. Another Los Angeles vineyardist who lived near the river when I came was a Frenchman named Clemente.

Julius Weyse also had a vineyard, living on what is now Eighth Street near San Pedro. A son, H. G. Weyse, has distinguished himself as an attorney and has served in the Legislature; another, Otto G., married the widow of Edward Naud, while a third son, Rudolf G., married a daughter of H. D. Barrows.

The Reyes family was prominent here; a daughter married William Nordholt. Ysidro had a vineyard on Washington Street; and during one of the epidemics, he died of smallpox. His brother, Pablo, was a rancher.

While on the subject of vineyards, I may describe the method by which wine was made here in the early days and the part taken in the industry by the Indians, who always interested and astounded me. Stripped to the skin, and wearing only loin-cloths, they tramped with ceaseless tread from morn till night, pressing from the luscious fruit of the vineyard the juice so soon to ferment into wine. The grapes were placed in elevated vats from which the liquid ran into other connecting vessels; and the process exhaled a stale acidity, scenting the surrounding air. These Indians were employed in the early fall, the season of the year when wine is made and when the thermometer as a rule, in Southern California, reaches its highest point; and this temperature coupled with incessant toil caused the perspiration to drip from their swarthy bodies into the wine product, the sight of which in no wise increased my appetite for California wine.

A staple article of food for the Indians in 1856, by the way, was the acorn. The crop that year, however, was very short; and streams having also failed, in many instances, to yield the food usually taken from them, the tribes were in a distressed condition. Such were the aborigines' straits, in fact, that rancheros were warned of the danger, then greater than ever, from Indian depredations on stock.

In telling of the Sisters of Charity, I have forgotten to add that, after settling here, they sent to New York for a portable house, which they shipped to Los Angeles by way of Cape Horn. In due time, the house arrived; but imagine their vexation on discovering that, although the parts were supposed to have been marked so that they might easily be joined together, no one here could do the work. In the end, the Sisters were compelled to send East for a carpenter who, after a long interval, arrived and finished the house.

Soon after the organization of a Masonic lodge here, in 1854, many of my friends joined, and among them my brother, J. P. Newmark, who was admitted on February 26th, 1855, on which occasion J. H. Stuart was the Secretary; and through their participation in the celebration of St. John's Day (the twenty-fourth of June,) I was seized with a desire to join the order. This I did at the end of 1856, becoming a member of Los Angeles Lodge No. 42, whose meetings were held over Potter's store on Main Street. Worshipful Master Thomas Foster initiated me, and on January 22d, 1857, Worshipful Master Jacob Elias officiating, I took the third degree. I am, therefore, in all probability, the oldest living member of this now venerable Masonic organization.