Instructions for Essay Test – History 114
The essay test will consist of 5 short essays and 5 Identifications (IDs). You will need to use at
least five (5) quotes from the book for the short essays, and at least three (3) quotes for the IDs.
Each quote must be underlinedand in boldtype and in quotation marks and must be followed
with the page number in parentheses, as in the following imaginary (not a real) example, which
shows how much of a sentence you might use for the quote. DO NOT USE WHOLE
SENTENCES OR WHOLE PARAGRAPHS FOR QUOTES. Here is an example on Lincoln:
Lincoln is an interesting case in point. He was an excellent politician, but also “a
great storyteller.” (15) As the author notes, “He often told funny anecdotes in his
speeches.” (20) Beyond his politics and storytelling, Lincoln “also believed in the
occult, actually holding séances in the White House”in an attempt to reach his
son who died during the Civil War. (11)
Note that the bolded and underlined quotes(bolded, underlined andwith quotation marks) are
the facts gleaned from the book
OTHER REQUIREMENTS (and checklist for submission into Canvas):
A. Use a 12-point readable font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.
B. Underline and use boldon quotes and alsoput quotation marks around them,
followed by the page number of the quote in parentheses.
C. Essays without underlined, bolded quotations and page references will lose
60 of the 100 points, before any additional deductions. You must use Rolle and
Verge, California: A History, 8thedition. DO NOT USE OTHER SOURCES.
D. EACH of the first five items must have a minimum of five (5) quotes from
the book, and EACH of the last five items (IDs) must have at least three (3)
E. Be as comprehensive as possible in discussing each subject.
F. IDs must include who, what, when, where and why (significance).
G. Your short essays/IDs should not be more than 200 words each, and you
must place the word count (excluding “a,” “an,” and “the”) at the end of each
H. Put your essay in your own words. Do not plagiarize.
I. PROOFREADyour items after cutting and pasting them into the answer
blocks, because sometimes underliningand other features will not translate
directly into the block and you will have to manually make the changes.
The five short-essay items followed by the five ID items are as follows:
1. California’s Mexican Governors, and the most effective ones (and why).
2. Explain the divergent views about what the role of California should be during the
3. Discuss the countries that were interested in possibly acquiring California.
4. Discuss the reasons why the Gold Rush was significant in California history. (Don’t
discuss the Gold Rush itself.
5. California’s Spanish Governors, and the most effective ones (and why).
These are the IDs
6. Mark Twain
8. California Missions, presidios, and pueblos
9. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
10. San Francisco Vigilantes
BECAUSE WE ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO USE THE BOOK FOR QUOTES AND
REFERENCES I HAVE ATTACHED THE PARTS OF THE BOOK BELOW YOU WILL
NEED TO COMPLETE THESE SHORT ESSAYS AND IDS. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO USE
5 QUOTES FOR THE FIRST 5 ESSAYS AND 3 QUOTES FOR EACH OF THE IDS. IT IS
ALSO IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BOLD AND UNDERLINE THOSE PARTS AS WELL
AS PUT THE PAGE NUMBER AT THE END.
Lincoln is an interesting case in point. He was an excellent politician, but also “a
great storyteller.” (15) As the author notes, “He often told funny anecdotes in his
speeches.” (20) Beyond his politics and storytelling, Lincoln “also believed in the
occult, actually holding séances in the White House”in an attempt to reach his
son who died during the Civil War. (11)
Vigilantes question 10- pages 126 and 129
At San Francisco, because law enforcement was so weak, a group of vigilantes took it upon
themselves to stamp out crime. As municipal corruption had become entrenched, they
enforced their own morality. Mob justice was condoned due to frustration over the failings
of law and order. Naive amateurs with no legal background devised random punishments
against drifters who had filtered back into the city from abandoned mining camps. In the
camps also, vigilance committees, animated by passion, were set up as “popular tribunals,”
acting as “champions of justice and right.”After the discovery of gold, a glut of criminals
seemed to paralyze municipal justice in San Francisco. In 1849 a band of toughs, who
called themselves the “Hounds” or the “Regulators,” terrorized the city. The members of a
similar group of hoodlums, known as the “Sydney Ducks,” had arrived from Great Britain’s
prison colony in Australia. They greatly flouted law and order at the Golden Gate. Honest
residents noted their troublesome presence by saying: “The Sydney Ducks are
cackling.”Nativism, a form of racial hatred, became entwined with the sordid activities of
antiforeign gangs. On Sunday, July 15, 1849, a rowdy crowd of Regulators held a
“patriotic” parade. After touring various saloons, where they demanded liquor and smashed
windows, they began to assault Chilean families who lived in makeshift tents on San
Francisco’s sand dunes. Although a citizens’ court ultimately disciplined the Regulators,
murderers and thieves continued to roam the city’s streets. Indignant city elders arrested
and sought to try offenders, supposedly in order to stop a kind of criminal delirium. By
May of 1851, after a prominent merchant was assaulted and his safe burglarized, more
formal charges were brought against such marauders.That year, 200 members of a
“Committee of Vigilance of San Francisco” organized to eradicate public disorder. At the
head of the committee to purge the city of vice was William Tell Coleman, a wealthy
young merchant and importer who came to be called the “Lion of the Vigilantes.” This
new-found status made him one of San Francisco’s future nabobs. Scarcely had the
Committee of Vigilance formed when the city’s fire bell rang out, beckoning its members
to the Monumental Fire Engine House to consider the case of John Jenkins, a convict from
Sydney, Australia, who had robbed a shipping office, making off with its strongbox.
Jenkins boldly defied anyone to stop him. When several vigilantes sought to do so, he
threw the box into San Francisco Bay. Within a few hours the vigilantes took Jenkins to
Portsmouth Square. There, on a scaffold, a noose was draped round his neck and he was
hanged until his eyes bulged out. San Francisco’s “best citizens” heartily approved the
guilty sentence. Sam Brannan and other vigilantes were charged by the coroner with too
hasty an execution. But most San Franciscans approved of their harsh justice.Only five
years after San Franciscans dissolved their first vigilance brigades, another vigilance
committee formed there. This became the most reputable and orderly of all such groups. It
actually regularized its proceedings, having regrouped only because crime had again
increased. Indeed, the hangman’s noose had faded from memory. About 1,000 unpunished
murders had shocked San Franciscans from 1849 to 1856 alone.By stuffing ballot boxes
and using toughs at polling places, corrupt officials had also become entrenched in San
Francisco’s municipal posts. Political lawlessness was related to the murder of James King
of William, the gadfly editor of the Daily Evening Bulletin. In his editorials, King had
openly attacked prominent politicians, including James P. Casey, an unsavory and
opportunistic local office holder. When Casey demanded an apology, he was ordered out of
the newspaper’s editorial room. He then vowed he would kill King, who scoffed at this
threat in his column of May 14, 1856. That evening, Casey approached the newspaperman
on the street, drew a revolver, and pulled the trigger. As King breathed his last, Casey was
locked up in the city jail. Three days later several thousand vigilantes, enraged over this
latest homicide, stormed the jail, seizing Casey and another accused murderer, Charles
Cora. Both men were then sentenced to death before a vigilante tribunal. On May 22, 1856,
as King’s funeral cortege moved through the city streets, the vigilantes hanged both Casey
and Cora.Within a fortnight, nearly 10,000 outraged men had rejoined the vigilantes. This
reactivated San Francisco Vigilance Committee of 1856 appointed its own chief of police
and 25 policemen to supplement local law enforcement. But its roster remained secret, each
member identified only by a number. Their leader once again was William Coleman, who
organized them into squads of 100 men. Mass meetings at Sacramento, Stockton, and San
Francisco showed how determined Coleman was to stamp out municipal crime.A new state
“Law and Order” party, however, objected to the harsh verdicts of this latest vigilance
committee. California’s Supreme Court Justice, David S. Terry, lent his support to the Law
and Order faction. Unfortunately for Terry, he became involved in a knifing fracas with
one of the vigilantes and was indicted by the vigilance committee. Fortunately, the man he
had stabbed did not die from the injury. After almost a month of embarrassing hearings,
Judge Terry was acquitted.Meanwhile, Governor John Neely Johnson asked William
Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the second division of the California militia, to aid him
in the regularizing of the state’s criminal punishments. The governor did not trust the
vigilantes. But Sherman, who later became a prominent Civil War general, could hardly
cope with the volunteer forces he now faced. Some 6,000 of the vigilantes had personally
taken up arms. Their headquarters, called “Fort Gunnybags,” was fortified by bags of sand
piled ten feet high and six feet thick. Strongly armed, the vigilantes holed up in the building
and produced a “black list” of offenders whom they wished to deport. Beginning on June 5,
1856, the committee sent three men off to Hawaii and three others to Panama. Only on
August 18, 1856 did the avenging group dissolve itself, ending three months of virtual
control over San Francisco.
GUADALUPE HIDALGO QUESTION 9 -PAGE 151
In 1846, the last year of the Mexican era, 87 rancho grants were made by Governor Pico
alone, mostly to personal friends. Although the U.S. and Mexican Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo guaranteed protection and security to landowners, invading American land seekers
were appalled at the sheer size of such grants. Two different legal traditions, the Spanish
and the American, were about to collide. Old-time Californios suddenly came under
extreme pressure to change their languid way of life. Rancheros had, perhaps for too long,
clung to their silver-trimmed saddles and horsemanship. The times were changing, and
swiftly.After 1850, rancheros were stuck with herds of stunted cattle on overgrazed
pastures. These animals had to be sold at prohibitively low prices because of rising costs.
The rancheros also faced fierce competition from American cattle drovers who herded
stronger Texas Longhorns into the new state. Land-hungry American squatters also
challenged virtually any ranchero’s right to hold huge grants intact. These avaricious
newcomers, oblivious to personal property rights, roamed about the countryside, moving
their covered wagons onto rancho tracts, using up scarce water, as well as grazing areas as
they pleased. They even rounded up unbranded stray calves and cattle and claimed
ownership thereof.Ranchos located near a creek or on a lake frontage were especially
targeted by poachers. Overland cattle drovers stopped at such places to water their stock.
These invading American homesteaders simply became permanent squatters. They asked
what right had the Vallejos, the Argüellos, or the Swiss Captain Sutter to their seemingly
regal estates of 11 or more square leagues? This, despite the fact that both Commodore
Sloat’s Proclamation and the subsequent Treaty of GuadalupeHidalgo guaranteed the
Californios their existing grantee rights.
FILIBUSTERS QUESTION 7 – PAGE 131
The term filibuster, today’s prolonged speech-making to delay legislation, once had a
far different connotation. In the late nineteenth century, rootless filibusterers took it
upon themselves to go abroad ostensibly to “free” unprotected territory from foreign
control. Filibustering was the product of a restless and youthful America, one
convinced of its “manifest destiny” to expand toward the country’s “natural
frontiers.” Southerners, in particular, were attracted to filibustering as a way of
spreading their cherished institution of slavery beyond the American South.
Apologists for filibustering professed admiration for the courage of adventurers
willing to shoulder rifles in foreign fields, seeing them as patriotic soldiers of
fortune.Unsettled conditions in California in the 1850s stimulated filibustering as
disillusioned gold seekers looked covetously beyond American territory for adventure.
However, the filibustering expeditions that originated from California after its
admission to statehood were uniformly unsuccessful. The first one, in 1851 under the
leadership of Alexander Bell, was foolishly undertaken to reinstate a deposed
president of Ecuador. That same year Sam Brannan, the apostate from Mormonism
who had by now become a prominent Californian, led a party of adventurers to
Hawaii. In his crazy attempt to capture those islands, Brannan was lucky to escape
incensed Hawaiian pikemen who threatened to run their spears through him. Other
adventurers used San Francisco as a base to raise small groups of filibusters who
mostly feuded among themselves. In 1851, Joseph Morehead’s plan to take the spiny
peninsula of Baja California proved equally futile. Most of his men deserted him in
the field, and he was lucky to escape Mexican imprisonment.California’s foreign
population included other footloose adventurers. Among these were various
Frenchmen who had fled their country as a result of the revolutionary movements of
1848. These failed aristocrats were captivated by plans to colonize Mexico. Three
independent freebooters left their mark upon the history of both California and
northern Mexico: the Marquis Charles de Pindray, Lepine de Sigondis, and Count
Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon, known as “Little Wolf.” During the 1850s all three men
led hopeless expeditions from California into Mexico, having been promised land
there.In 1852, at the head of 260 men, Raousset-Boulbon sailed to Mexico to foment
the independence of the state of Sonora. He unfortunately ignored warnings that he
must placate local rivals. After 17 of his men were killed and 23 others were wounded,
he left Mexico. In 1854, he courageously returned, this time with 500 recruits. After
some of them were killed, he was tried on conspiracy charges and, at his own request,
faced a firing squad without a blindfold.De Pindray, also a French noble, was skilled
at handling weapons. He accepted an offer from the Mexican government to raise
volunteers in California to protect the Sonora mines from Apache Indian raids. But,
after his party landed at Guaymas on the west coast of Mexico, de Pindray was
suddenly shot in the head, murdered by Indians or perhaps by one of his own
renegades. The survivors hastily departed for San Francisco, where most of them had
been recruited.The best known of all California filibusters, however, was William
Walker. A restless native of Tennessee, Walker arrived at San Francisco in June 1850.
Following a short venture into journalism, during which his caustic pen landed him in
jail, he entered into law practice at Marysville. Called “the gray-eyed man of destiny,”
Walker wanted to bring about the independence of the Mexican states of Sonora and
Baja California, where he also hoped to extend slavery. In 1854, Walker left the
Golden Gate by ship with 48 followers and landed at La Paz. There he met another
200 seemingly sympathetic Mexicans. He then recklessly proclaimed the independent
“Republic of Lower California.” He quickly abolished the short-lived “government”
in order to launch the “Republic of Sonora,” with himself as its president. Even local
Mexicans resented Walker’s harsh punishment of deserters. By May of 1854, his
group had been reduced to a paltry 35 adherents. When they finally returned to the
United States via San Diego, they surrendered to American authorities. Although
tried for violating U.S. neutrality laws, Walker was acquitted by a sympathetic jury.
Mark Twain question 6 – page 135
One obscure writer, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known later as Mark Twain, took
up mining in Nevada. When bad weather kept him from work in the diggings, he amused
himself by writing burlesque sketches. Signed “Josh,” he sent these vignettes to the
Territorial Enterprise, a newspaper at Virginia City in today’s Nevada. In 1862, Twain
walked 130 miles from a bleak mining site to take a job on the Enterprise for $25 per week.
Two years later Twain drifted into San Francisco, where he became a reporter for its
Morning Call. Among his friends in the city was a heroic firefighter named Tom Sawyer.
In California, in a cabin near Angel’s Camp, Twain wrote “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of
Calaveras County.” The short story made him famous almost overnight, and he went on to
write an entire book of mining tales, Roughing It. His piercing satire of human failings out
West remained at the heart of his almost instant success. Twain’s later books applied what
he had learned in California. His light touch, combined with fast-paced narration,
captivated readers. After writing Innocents Abroad (1869), he lost touch with California
and became an internationally famous figure.
5 Missions, Presidios, and Pueblos- for question 8
As it did in other sparsely settled parts of its far northern frontera (frontier) in its North
American empire, the Spanish crown used three institutions to colonize California. These were
its missions, presidios(garrisoned frontier forts), and pueblos (small settlements or towns). The
missions played the central role, as the other two agencies defended and supported the missions’
padres, whose purpose was the “saving” of the souls of “pagan” natives. Eventually, however,
Spain transformed its converted peoples into a labor force. Future missionization would thereby
become economically viable and further the expansion of the Spanish empire.
By 1776, Father Serra hoped for an increase in the population of Alta California as well as
expansion of its agricultural possibilities. He also wanted to build more missions. Eventually 21
of these formed a chain from San Diego to Sonoma. Each mission, some 30 miles apart, was
separated by a day’s travel on horseback along the so-called King’s Highway, El Camino Real of
the tourist literature, which in truth was little more than a dusty dirt road.
Three requisites determined the choice of each mission site – arable soil for crops, an ample
water supply, and a substantial local native population. By the time the 21 missions were
established, the friars had in their possession much of the choicest land in the province.
Eventually this lead to resentment by civilian leaders and settlers.
The first mission buildings were mere huts of thatch and sticks, plastered with mud or clay, and
roofed over with tile – not the adobe-brick or cut-stone buildings of today. The stone walls at
Mission San Carlos Borroméo, near today’s Carmel, were never seen by Father Serra, though he
is buried there. The California padres, in their isolation, modified Moorish and Roman
architectural styles to render structures appropriate to the environment. Thus “California mission
architecture” is characterized by open courts, long colonnades, arches, and corridors. The typical
red-tiled mission roofs were one way to avoid fires in wooden structures. Destruction of earlier
buildings by earthquakes led to the use of thick adobe walls reinforced with occasional
At the missions, the padres assumed a paternal attitude toward the Indians, treating them as
wards. Typically, two friars ran each establishment, the elder of whom had charge of interior
matters and religious instruction, while the younger attended to agricultural and outside work.
Each mission was subject to the authority of a father-president for all of California. He in turn
bowed to the orders of the College of San Fernando, headquarters of the Franciscans in Mexico.
Except in the punishment of capital crimes, the friars had control of their native charges.
Floggings and other corporal punishments were administered for unacceptable offenses. The
missionaries defended their use of discipline on the ground that it was the only effective means
of controlling unruly natives, the souls of whom they were trying to “save.”
Some clerical scholars have countered accusations of harshness by the Franciscans toward
California’s aboriginal peoples. Flagellation, or use of rope disciplina, as well as that of whips
and the forced wearing of hairshirts, formed part of the clerical mortification of the flesh.
Although delinquent natives were whipped, sometimes excessively, and some lost their lives due
to poor sanitary conditions in and around the missions, one needs to place both the punishment
and high mortality rates of those living at the missions within the context of eighteenth-century
medical standards on a distant frontier. Nevertheless, most historians continue to consider
treatment of the natives by the Spanish clergy and military as harsh, even inhumane. Those who
were missionized did, indeed, suffer high casualty rates from a variety of causes.
The missions were not devoted entirely to religious instruction. Each was also a school in which
natives did daily work and were taught trades. Guided by the missionaries, some of whom were
also musicians, weavers, carpenters, masons, architects, and physicians, the native peoples
proved to be remarkably good students. The friars also put their own hands to the plow, raising
enough food for mission use, and occasionally a surplus of cornmeal, wine, oil, hemp, hides, or
tallow. These extra products were then exchanged in New Spain for scarce clothing, furniture,
and tools. The missionaries also transplanted traditional Spanish crops to California. Orange,
lemon, fig, date, and olive trees flourished in mission gardens, as did grape vineyards. Even
cotton was grown at several of the missions alongside livestock.
Among those who helped assure progress at the missions was the new viceroy, Antonio María
Bucareli. He placed great faith in the leadership of Father Serra as well as Fathers Francisco
Palóu and Fermín de Lasuén. Palóu had been among the last of the Franciscans to turn over their
Lower California missions to the Dominican order. In 1773 he joined Serra in Upper California.
Palóu was also the author of the first book ever written in California, Noticias de la Nueva
California; this and his Vida de Junípero Serra remain seminal works in California history.
Figure 5.1 Mission San Luis Rey, founded in 1798, from
Robinson’s “Life in California Before the Conquest,” 1846.
C. C. Pierce Collection, courtesy of the Huntington Library,
San Marino, CA.
Upon Serra’s death, in 1784, the Franciscans had been in California nearly 16 years. At Santa
Barbara, repeated attempts continued to anoint Serra to sainthood. The missions he founded
eventually numbered 5,800 native converts. His successor, Lasuén, served as president of the
order in California with distinction. He wanted California’s presidios strengthened to protect the
missions against native uprisings. To guard against foreign interlopers, each presidio was located
at a strategic position, generally at the entrance of ports. Eventually small dwellings, inhabited
principally by settlers, traders, and the families of garrisoned soldiers, grew up around the
presidios. These were the pueblos.
The presidial pueblos came to include San Diego, founded July 16, 1769; Monterey, June 3,
1770; San Francisco, September 17, 1776; and Santa Barbara, April 21, 1782. At first they were
under military rule. The presidios themselves consisted of a square enclosure, surrounded by a
ditch and rampart of earth or brick, within which were located a small church, quarters for
officers and soldiers, civilian housing, storehouses, workshops, and cisterns.
With only a few bronze cannons mounted on ramparts, and often without sufficient powder to
discharge the weapons, not one of the coastal presidios could have stood up against an attack by
a well-equipped ship of war. Indeed, they were maintained more as a symbolic warning against
possible enemies, with little expectation of their serving well in a fight. In time the cannon rusted
and the presidios took on an air of dilapidation.
The duties of soldiers who manned the presidios included the care of outlying herds and flocks.
They also cultivated the soil of nearby fields, utilizing native laborers, who for their hard work
received such occasional rewards as a string of beads, an extra dish of porridge, a pair of shoes,
or a piece of cloth.
San Francisco’s presidio was established largely through the efforts of Juan Bautista de Anza. He
had a reputation as one of the significant trailbreakers and toughest Indian fighters of the West.
Anza had long planned to explore and establish a route northwestward from Sonora to the
northern California coast. Such a land passage would reduce the delay and perils of sea voyages,
on which California still relied for contact with the outside world.
Viceroy Bucareli, wishing to strengthen California’s settlements, saw in Anza’s proposal an
opportunity not only to open a new land route, but also to send colonists north under the
protection of a capable leader. Women settlers, as well as provisions and domestic animals,
remained in great demand in the new province. Anza, in January of 1774, with the trails-priest
Francisco Garcés as his guide, and a band of 34 men, set out westward from Tubac in northern
Mexico. Theirs was the first sizeable crossing by Caucasians into California from the Colorado
basin through the San Jacinto Mountains.
A key to the success of this party was Father Garcés. Three years before, he had penetrated into
California beyond the junction of the Colorado and Gila rivers, to the walls of the southern Sierra
range. Utilizing his expertise, Anza’s party, on March 22, 1774, reached Mission San Gabriel in
the Los Angeles basin, which had been founded three years before.
Anza had opened up a new overland route some 2,200 miles long. In 1775, Viceroy Bucareli sent
Anza with another party to Alta California. This group consisted of colonists recruited
throughout Sinaloa and Sonora. On October 23, Anza again left Tubac, leading a group of 240
men, women, and children, along with a herd of 800 cattle, beyond the Colorado River to
Mission San Gabriel, and then on to Monterey.
A few colonists accompanied him farther north. They settled near the shore of a great bay which
they named San Francisco. On September 17, 1776 – a little more than two months after the
American Declaration of Independence was signed – Anza dedicated the Presidio of San
Francisco de Asís. On October 9, Mission Dolores was founded by Father Palóu.
The viceroy had also sent Captain Juan Manuel Ayala, in command of the vessel San Carlos, to
explore the area’s vast bay, which as yet still had no name. No ship had yet passed through the
entrance to the bay, known even then as Golden Gate, and Ayala feared danger along its narrow,
rocky shoreline. At nightfall on August 5, 1775, the San Carlos moved into the bay, cautiously
dropping her lead line until she reached today’s North Beach. Ayala named San Francisco Bay’s
two islands Nuestra Señora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels) shortened later to Angel
Island, and Alcatraz (Pelican), because of the large number of those birds flying over it.
6 California and Its Spanish Governors- for question 5
California: A History, Eighth Edition. Andrew Rolle and Arthur C. Verge.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Gaspar de Portolá was followed by two brief interim governors. Then in 1775, Felipe de Neve
became Spain’s main authority until 1782. Like Portolá, he was also a military commander who
became an innovator. After his arrival at Monterey, he drew up regulations to guide the
province’s civic and military affairs as well as his newly founded pueblos.
These remote settlements desperately needed colonists. In 1781 Captain Rivera y Moncada
received orders to lead a party of settlers bound for Los Angeles and San José. On their way
northward, beyond Sonora and Sinaloa, tragedy struck this forlorn group. At the Colorado River,
Rivera fortunately sent some of the colonists ahead, while he and his soldiers stopped to rest. On
July 17, 1781, a group of Yuma Indians, having seen Rivera’s men marching clumsily through
their cornfields and pumpkin patches, suddenly attacked near the Missions Purísima Concepción
and San Pedro y San Pablo. Both missions had been established as way stations near the river
crossing. In the event that became known as the Yuma Massacre, all the mission friars, some
male settlers in the area, and Rivera as well as the trails-priest Father Garcés, were shot or
clubbed to death. While the Yumas spared some women and children execution, others they
herded off into slavery.
The natives resented all whites, holding them as their mortal enemies. Yet, the Spanish had
previously promised them supplies and good treatment by soldiers and settlers alike. The Yuma
Massacre led to the abandonment of this dangerous route to California, originally opened up by
Anza. Henceforth, neither pueblos nor missions were established along the Colorado River. As a
result, the province of Alta California continued in its isolation from the rest of New Spain.
Later, on August 28, 1784, the province suffered a heavy loss following the death of Father
Serra. During his 71 years, he had spent 34 as a missionary. His successor, Palóu, was President
of the California missions for only one year, during which time he prepared several volumes
describing local conditions. He was followed by Father Lasuén, who labored on for 18 years,
carrying out Father Serra’s planned extension of the mission system.
From 1782 to 1791, Pedro Fages served as the governor of California. Fages, a sturdy officer,
had also been an Indian fighter and an explorer who (in 1770 and 1772) had led expeditions to
San Francisco Bay. He personally had helped keep the Alta California colonists alive during a
period when supply ships were delayed. This he did by providing bear meat from Cañada de los
Osos (Bear Canyon) near San Luis Obispo. Nevertheless, the governor’s brusque manner soon
landed him in the middle of disagreements between the missionaries and his young wife, Doña
Eulalia Fages, all of which the missionaries recorded in their journals in entertaining detail.
Because Doña Eulalia (who had caught her husband sexually involved with an Indian girl) so
hated the frontier, the padres eventually solicited Spanish officials for the couple’s removal from
Monterey, where, the padres asserted, they disturbed mission life.
In 1794, after two interim appointments, another governor arrived. This was a Spanish Basque
named Diego de Borica. Like Fages, Borica was a good soldier and administrator. The new
governor established a more harmonious relationship with the friars, encouraging Father Lasuén
to seek new mission sites. Together they decided that five more such establishments could be
founded. Borica believed that conversion of more natives would make it possible to reduce the
necessary number of provincial guards. The missions had been isolated units; Borica proposed to
link them into one chain, nearer together so that they served the area from San Diego northward
to San Francisco and between the Coast Ranges and the ocean. Eventually one could travel
safely over a distance of 500 miles and enjoy the hospitality of the missions each night without
having to carry along provisions.
Governor Borica also instituted new irrigation works and guarded the provincial revenues. He
proved to be a steadfast friend of the local natives. He established California’s first education
system, however primitive. He also saw to it that Indians were not despoiled of their lands. He
also believed that they should never face capital punishment, even for the crime of murder.
Upon Borica’s retirement in 1800, José Joaquín de Arrillaga served as governor, during which
time he tried to mediate between military and religious officials. Meanwhile, back in Mexico
City, the viceroy of New Spain was losing interest in the California missions and stopped
sending them financial support. He also allowed the presidios and civic establishments of the
province to fall into a deplorable state. Buildings deteriorated while cannons rusted from
exposure to the weather. Spiritless frontier troops remained poorly equipped and went without
pay for long periods of time. As for mission expansion, this enterprise came to a halt with the
death of Father Lasuén in 1803. During his administration, one of Governor Arrillaga’s principal
worries concerned the founding of a Russian settlement in California. The Russians initially had
arrived in 1806 to examine fur-trading opportunities. But after they established Fort Ross, north
of Bodega Bay, the threat posed by the Russians had become all too real.
California’s last Spanish governor was Pablo Vicente Solá. His arrival at Monterey in 1815 was
marked by days of feasting and dancing, exhibitions of expert horsemanship, and gory bull and
bear fights in the capital’s muddy plaza. The vain royalist governor wrongly considered this
welcome as an expression of California’s loyalty to Spain. Actually, local allegiance was
growing ever weaker.
Solá was proud of his Spanish birth and inclined to look with contempt upon colonials whom he
considered incompetent whelps. He especially objected to the widespread smuggling that had
grown up between the Californians and foreigners. Each year increasing numbers of foreign
ships arrived offshore. Particularly alarming were vessels sailing under the flag of the new
American Union. When these ships casually landed illegally in California to take on wood and
water, the governor realized the sorry state of his shore fortifications. Yet, when he personally
faced scarcities of clothing, furniture, and household necessities, the haughty governor always
managed to ignore the widespread smuggling.
But Solá’s stormy tenure in office would soon be of little consequence. Spain’s New World
empire was about to crumble. California, though only an appendage of its far-flung colonies,
could not escape the revolutionary fervor felt by colonials throughout Latin America.
9 Mexican California – for question #1
California: A History, Eighth Edition. Andrew Rolle and Arthur C. Verge.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
After three centuries of neglect by the homeland, the Spanish colonies in the New World grew
increasingly restive. Discontent kindled the flame of revolution, which spread throughout Spain’s
New World provinces between 1808 and the mid-1820s. California remained loyal to Spain
partly because so little news reached the province regarding the revolutionary fervor throughout
the rest of Latin America. An aristocrat, Governor Solá looked upon revolutionary activities
south of his capital at Monterey as the work of misguided fanatics.
After 1808, severe discontent arose in California when vessels from San Blas failed to arrive in
sufficient number to supply the local populace. Revolutionary attacks against Spanish ships had
aggravated the situation, so that fewer and fewer relief vessels made it into California ports.
Along with American trading ships that helped fill the supply gap, foreign privateers began to
appear in the Pacific, some fitted out in the United States. These vagabond pirates roamed the
high seas, menacing shipping lanes as well as the shorelines of Spain’s colonies. News of the
blockade of the South American Pacific colonial ports of Valparaíso, Callao, and Guayaquil by
revolutionists and privateers so worried Governor Solá that he ordered a stricter shore watch for
suspicious vessels. Although the Californios registered complaints against the viceroy in Mexico
City for his failure to send them sufficient supplies and back pay to the soldiers, they originally
had no thought of resisting his authority or that of Governor Solá. They were more concerned
In November of 1818, a sentinel at Point Pinos near Monterey sighted two mysterious ships. The
larger of the two vessels, the Argentina, was commanded by a Frenchman, Hippolyte de
Bouchard, who had served in the patriot navy of the new “Republic of Buenos Aires.” He was a
big, brutal man of fiery temper, a captain who exercised an iron rule over his men. The other
vessel was the Santa Rosa under the command of an English soldier of fortune named Peter
Corney. The Englishman had fallen in with Bouchard in Hawaii, where the latter was trading
gold chalices and silver crucifixes looted from churches in Peru and Ecuador. Their crews
comprised a motley lot of cutthroats and thieves, but also revolutionists. Among them were
Malays, Portuguese, Spaniards, Englishmen, and Australians – all of whom aimed to profit from
the unraveling of the Spanish empire.
The Santa Rosa dropped anchor in front of the presidio of Monterey and opened fire. Captain
Corney and his crew, expecting little resistance from the dilapidated fort, were surprised at a
brisk return of cannon balls from a battery hastily established on the beach by the presidio’s 40
soldiers. At this point, Bouchard moved in with the Argentina and sent ashore, under a flag of
truce, a demand for the immediate surrender of Monterey.
Bouchard received a defiant reply from Governor Solá, although the Californians had little
means of resisting. The pirate landed several hundred men and a number of field pieces near
Point Pinos. Greatly outnumbered, Solá retreated, taking a supply of munitions and the
provincial archives with him to the Rancho del Rey, near the present site of Salinas. Back at
Monterey, its townspeople fled. Some took refuge at Missions San Antonio and San Juan
Bautista. In the meantime, the invaders sacked and burned both the presidio and town of
Monterey. Few buildings escaped undamaged. The vandals even destroyed the mission orchards
Concerning the conduct of his crew during this pillage, Corney later wrote of them: “The
Sandwich Islanders, who were quite naked when they landed, were soon dressed in the Spanish
fashion; and all the sailors were employed in searching the houses for money and breaking and
ruining everything.” The attackers spent something over a week in burying their dead, caring for
their wounded, and repairing the Santa Rosa. The revolutionaries among them also made efforts
to win over to their cause those of the inhabitants who had the courage to remain in the pueblo;
but such propaganda, ostensibly promoting the cause of liberty, failed to impress the group of
Californians whose homes had just been despoiled.
Their larders replenished, the Argentina and the Santa Rosa set sail, and Governor Solá returned
to Monterey. The privateers next moved down the coast, stopping at points on the way to burn
and pillage. Rancho del Refugio was burned in revenge for the loss of three pirates who had been
lassoed and ignominiously dragged off by a party of local vaqueros. San Juan Capistrano was
another of the places sacked and robbed of its store of wines and spirits, much of which
immediately went down the throats of the pillagers. After taking two Indian girls aboard, the
pirates sailed south from that mission, and California was finally relieved of their presence. This
attack constitutes California’s only contact with outside revolutionists during the wars of
Once Bouchard left the province, life resumed its calmness. Not long thereafter, however, events
of great importance to Spain’s colonies took place. In February of 1821, Agustín Iturbide, a
colonel in the Spanish army in New Spain, raised a revolutionary flag, and on September 27
entered Mexico City. He ordered that thereafter New Spain should be called Mexico, an
independent nation. Iturbide, who named himself emperor on May 19, 1822, began to use
California as a dumping ground for potential rivals.
When news reached California of the seizure of political control in Mexico, Governor Solá
convened a junta (or political caucus), consisting of officers from the presidios and padres from
the missions. These took an oath of allegiance to Iturbide’s insurgent government. The friars,
however, correctly sensed that without Spain’s jurisdiction, their mission system was in peril.
The California junta chose Solá as its delegate to the new Mexican Cortés (or congress). But
before the governor could depart for Mexico City, Iturbide sent an official to preside over the
transfer of authority from Spain to Mexico. Aware of lingering royalist sympathies, this agent of
the new regime sailed into Monterey on a ship boldly flying a green, white, and red flag from its
masthead. The eagle in the flag’s center, the symbol of the new nation of Mexico, indicated that
Spain’s sovereignty over California had ended.
Succeeding Solá as governor was the native-born and popularly elected Luís Antonio Argüello.
Thereafter, officials in Mexico City would impose their own governors on the province. Most
proved to be unpopular. Argüello, a Californian who had, as noted, served as comandante of the
port at San Francisco, announced that all decrees of the Mexican government would be followed.
After the collapse of Iturbide’s rule in 1823, he also agreed that such designated titles as nacional
would replace imperial in official documents. Even public and private letters would thereafter
conclude with the words: “God and Liberty.” The old aristocratic title “Don” was to be changed
to Ciudadano (Citizen). All such Spanish dignities were to give way to an imposed Mexican
California, far from the vortex of the revolutionary struggle, luckily became part of an
independent Mexico without blood-letting. Yet, the province failed to escape the eruption of
personal rivalries. Indeed, scarcely a governor during the entire Mexican period would serve his
term in office without facing a disturbing local outbreak against him.
In his election, Governor Argüello, who came from northern California, had been favored by
northerners and won out over a prominent southerner, José de la Guerra. Thus began a rift
between northern and southern California that has continued – the issues changing with the years
– to this day. Argüello established his own diputación, or junta. Because of a severe money
crunch, he ordered the unprecedented taxation of local crops as well as branded cattle. The
padres protested that crops raised by the missions were untaxable, but such claims only earned
their establishments increased governmental surveillance. While no direct steps toward mission
secularization occurred under Argüello, missionary power was nearing its end. So was the
province’s willingness to take orders from Mexico City.
During Argüello’s governorship, still more foreign traders and settlers arrived in California. He
personally had been friendly with the Russians since the days when Rezanov had courted his
sister. And the Russians had long desired to enter into a partnership for sea otter-hunting and
trading with the Californians. Now Governor Argüello signed a contract with Fort Ross that
furnished him with his own contingent of Aleut hunters, who in return were to be fed and
supplied by the Californians.
Meanwhile, the changing political situation lessened the willingness of the missionaries to
cooperate with the governor. In defiance of regulations, the padres signed an agreement with
McCulloch & Hartnell, a subsidiary of the English trading firm of John Begg and Company. The
Scotsman Hugh McCulloch and the Englishman William E. P. Hartnell, who later became a local
school teacher, had arrived in California from Lima in 1822. Known locally to the Californians
as “Macala y Arnel,” they were allowed to bring one ship cargo a year to the province. They
were also authorized to take out all the hides the missions had for sale at the price of $1 apiece,
as well as suet, lard, tallow, wheat, wine, furs, and pickled beef. This launched California into its
lucrative “hide-and-tallow” era.
Though illegal, “warm-water Yankee” traders reaped rewards from marketing their sorely
needed goods. Some of them settled permanently, including Nathan Spear, William Heath Davis
Jr., John R. Cooper, and Alfred Robinson. Shipmasters eventually were allowed to load and
unload their vessels at designated collecting points, rather than engaging in smuggling at secret
landfalls. Both the traders and the Californios profited from these activities. Such was not the
case for the Mexican customs collectors, whom the Yankees grew expert at avoiding.
One Boston firm, Bryant, Sturgis & Company, maintained a steady chain of ships plying the sea
lanes between California, Hawaii, and China. The company’s fleet imported hundreds of
thousands of California hides for New England’s shoe industry. Other Boston shippers included
Marshall & Wildes as well as William Appleton & Company. The holds of their ships swelled
with hundreds of commodities, from silk stockings to needles and tobacco. The crews of these
floating commissaries processed great quantities of hides purchased from interior ranchos. First
the skins were soaked in seawater. Then they were stretched on the ground and pegged fast with
wooden stakes. Once dried, the hides were sprinkled with salt and scraped. Floated out to ships
beyond the breaking surf, the hides were stored alongside cowhide bags filled with tallow.
Some Yankee traders married “daughters of the country” and founded families in California. One
of them, John R. Cooper, arrived in 1823 as captain of the American ship Rover and settled at
Monterey. Along with Cooper came Daniel Hill and Thomas Robbins of Massachusetts, both of
whom decided to make their home at Santa Barbara. At Yerba Buena, William A. Richardson,
who defected from the ship Orion, married the daughter of its comandante. After he was
baptized in the Catholic Church, Richardson started a trading post. Thus, a generation of these
early American settlers established close relations with the Californios long before the first
overland party pushed west across the Great Plains.
California was an appealing place to settle before its Indians learned how to use firearms. In
February of 1824, a series of revolts started among the neophytes of Missions Purísima
Concepción, Santa Inés, and Santa Barbara. Feeling ill-treated because of forced labor, they
attacked at Santa Inés, setting fire to its buildings. At La Purísima, 400 armed assailants fought a
contingent of outnumbered soldiers. Both Indians and whites died in the violent uprising. The
natives maintained possession of that mission for nearly a month. By erecting crude dirt
fortifications, cutting loopholes in the church walls, and mounting two rusty cannons, they
warded off attackers. However, due to their inexperience in handling guns and powder, the
occupiers were eventually defeated by Lieutenant José Mariano Estrada and a force of 100 men.
The discontented Indians at Santa Barbara also entrenched themselves in mission buildings.
After Comandante de la Guerra attacked them, they fled into the hills, taking all the church
property they could carry. In mid-1825, Governor Argüello reported to the Mexican government
regarding the miserable state of the mission Indians, calling attention to the injustice of keeping
these people any longer in virtual slavery.
Under Argüello the change to Mexican rule had been quietly accepted by most Californians, and
progress was made toward the foundation of a representative government. The sleepy province
had, somehow, managed to substitute the paternalistic regime of Spain for the unsettled
sovereignty of Mexico. As a result, subsequent governmental instability would fuel further
José María Echeandía, Governor Argüello’s successor, was a tall, thin, juiceless man possessing
little force of character. He was, however, much concerned about the effect of the California
climate upon his less-than-robust health. At first Echeandía so feared the foggy weather in chilly
Monterey that he came no farther into California than San Diego. Echeandía claimed that Alta
California’s southernmost town was more conveniently located for transacting official business
with Mexico City. As nothing in his instructions required this hypochondriac to reside at
Monterey, he was acting within his rights in conducting California affairs from the city of his
choice. Yet, his move to San Diego made the new governor unpopular from the start, especially
In 1826, a contest flared up between Echeandía and a young Massachusetts sea captain named
Henry Delano Fitch for the hand of Señorita Josefa Carrillo of San Diego. This event suggests
that a romantic motive as well as health concerns may have had something to do with the new
governor’s decision to stay in the south. In fact, lovesick over the 16-year-old beauty, Echeandía
halted her plans to marry Fitch. At this point Captain Fitch, in command of the U.S. barque
Maria Ester, sailed his intended to Chile, where the couple wed. Yet their ordeal was far from
over. Upon their return to Monterey, the governor charged the captain with abduction and other
heinous crimes. Henry and Josefa were jailed, separately, for more than six months. Upon their
release, the couple returned to San Diego, where they started a family of 10 children (ancestors
of the future 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt). In 1840, another
Mexican governor granted Fitch the 48,000-acre Rancho Sotoyome near Healdsburg. Ten years
later Fitch, by this time a prominent ranchero and merchant, died at the age of 48. Josefa lived on
until 1893, dying at the age of 82.
A much more pressing question had faced Governor Echeandía. It concerned providing supplies
for California’s unpaid soldiers and their families. He also had to contend with two northern
political rivals. Expressing the discontent of the province’s frustrated soldiers and suspicious
padres, Joaquín Solís, a former convict, and José María Herrera, who had been sent to the
province from Mexico as financial agent of the government, issued a pronunciamiento accusing
the governor of tyrannical behavior toward the populace. In 1828, Solís and Herrera led a local
revolt against the governor that began at Monterey and extended as far south as Santa Barbara.
Ultimately both dissidents were arrested and shipped off to San Blas. So ended the first of a
series of minor uprisings against Mexican authority in the province. These were largely wars of
words, not guns.
The practice of sending criminals to the province also had much to do with the antagonistic
feeling between Californians and Mexicans. About the same time as the collapse of the Solís
rebellion, Mexican officials sent 80 convicts north to California. They were put ashore at Santa
Cruz Island with a few cattle and some fishhooks to sustain themselves. In time, these men made
it back to the mainland on rafts of their own construction. In July 1830, another ship from
Mexico arrived with 50 more criminals, who were distributed throughout the province.
Echeandía was blamed for their arrival. Although Californians asked Mexico not to send any
more such reprobates, other convicts entered the province as enlisted soldiers.
In the summer of 1829, Echeandía faced another Indian revolt, this one under Chief Estanislao, a
former alcalde of San José. Estanislao and a band of angry natives fortified themselves in some
dense woods. From there they issued defiant challenges. Forty of the governor’s soldiers, armed
with muskets and a swivel gun, soon engaged these rebels. The Indians killed two of the soldiers
and wounded eight others. The rest of the force abandoned the siege when their ammunition ran
out. Echeandía feared that the uprising might become more widespread. So he sent in cavalry,
infantry, and some artillery under Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, commander of California’s
military. This force ousted the Indians from their entrenchment. Estanislao then fled, taking
refuge with Father Narciso Durán, president of the missions, who concealed him until a pardon
could be obtained from the governor.
Still, Echeandía’s troubles had not ended. His governorship saw the arrival of a new wave of
foreign expeditions. On November 6, 1826, the British ship Blossom sailed into San Francisco
Bay under the command of Captain F. W. Beechey. He, like Vancouver, was struck by the
contrast between the natural beauty of the country and Mexico’s neglect of its colonists. He
commented, for example, on the discontent among all classes and predicted that the Mexicans
could not permanently hold onto the land. Many of the friars dreaded the worst, he noted, and
would have quit the country. “Some of them were ingenious and clever men,” wrote Beechey,
“but they had been so long excluded from the civilized world that their ideas and their politics,
like the maps pinned against the wall, bore the date of 1772, as near as I could read for fly
specks.” Beechey’s visit is important for the detailed description of the country and its
inhabitants. In addition, some remarkable watercolors of California were painted by artists in his
In January of 1827, yet another foreign visitor arrived in California waters: Auguste Bernard
Duhaut-Cilly, in command of the French ship Le Héros. A close observer and entertaining
writer, this Frenchman was accompanied by Dr. Paolo Emilio Botta, an Italian archaeologist who
described the peoples and wildlife they encountered. Like almost all such foreign visitors to
California, Duhaut-Cilly was critical of both the government and the powerful missionaries.
At this point Mexican officials, still struggling to create a bona fide nation, planned to convert all
of the missions into civic pueblos. In California, however, this process of secularization had to be
approached cautiously. For one thing, the padres were the only ones who could induce mission
neophytes to work. If these priests should ever leave, the province would suddenly be at a loss
for sufficient laborers as well as exposed to even more raids by hostile natives from the interior.
Because the “missionized” Indians were not generally a threat, on January 6, 1831, Governor
Echeandía secularized a number of missions. These were now to become civilian pueblos. As the
friars were reduced to the role of mere curates, their power dwindled. No longer would church
and state rule California. From now on, local civic leaders would try to dominate political affairs.
Furthermore, an interfering Mexico was about to lose control over its most distant province.
Chapter 20- question #2
Meanwhile pro-South sympathizers tried to kindle the fires of secession. Among
southern residents of California was Kentucky-born General Albert Sidney Johnston,
U.S. Army commandant at the presidio of San Francisco. To him, the “coercion” of
California into a state of war by the North was flagrantly unconstitutional. When General
Johnston’s loyalty came into question, he gave up his California command to join the
Confederate Army. Various southern officers from the state’s Sixth Army Regiment
followed him into the Confederacy. There was other opposition to the Union. Before
Lincoln’s inauguration there was talk of a “Pacific Republic” by Representative John C.
Burch. This fiery legislator urged Californians, in case of a fratricidal war, to “call upon
the enlightened nations of the earth to acknowledge our independence, and to protect
us.” John B. Weller, who became governor in 1858, also advocated that California,
instead of siding with North or South, should establish on the shores of the Pacific “a
mighty republic, which may in the end prove the greatest of all.” In January of 1861, a
resident of Stockton hoisted a flag to represent a Pacific Republic. This touched off the
raising of the Stars and Stripes throughout the city. It was clear that Union feeling
remained strong. Later in 1861, once hostilities had begun, California’s legislature
debated whether it would support President Lincoln. That year, the lawmakers resolved
that “the people of California are devoted to the Constitution and the Union now in the
hour of trial and peril.” They allocated funds to train volunteers for the Union Army at
Drum Barracks in San Pedro. Paradoxically, nearby Los Angeles became a hotbed for
secessionists. The Los Angeles Star was banned from the mails for its seditious
editorials. Its Bella Union Hotel on Main Street was out of bounds for Union troops
because the hotel’s bar was a gathering place for Southern sympathizers. They toasted
Robert E. Lee with tumblers of bourbon and referred to Abraham Lincoln as “that
baboon in the White House.” The Los Angeles News, a pro-Union paper, editorialized:
“Los Angeles County is disloyal, double-eyed in treason, and the inhabitants break out in
broad grins upon hearing the news of a Confederate victory.” Secretive supporters of
the Confederacy included the Knights of the Golden Circle, Knights of the Columbian
Star, and the Committee of Thirty. The members of these organizations avoided
meeting in large groups, seeking not to draw attention to themselves. During the war,
advocacy of secession sometimes broke out in public speeches, sermons and prayers
from the pulpit, and at covert celebrations of Confederate victories. Newspapers that
urged independence for California included the San Francisco Herald, Sacramento
Standard, Alameda County Gazette, Marysville Gazette, and Sonora Democrat. The
Visalia Equal Rights Expositor, which repeatedly printed inflammatory editorials, saw its
printing press smashed by the state militia. The operation of five other “disloyal”
newspapers were wrecked by mob violence. To counteract secessionist sentiment, the
California legislature enacted severe emergency measures. One such law made it a
misdemeanor “to display rebel flags or devices.” Illegal behavior also came to include
“adherence to the enemy” by “endorsing, defending, or cheering” the subversion of
United States authority. Other state laws were enacted “to exclude traitors and alien
enemies from the courts of justice in civil cases.” Secessionist dissension at El Monte,
Visalia, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles was
discouraged by the presence of federal troops. During the great conflict, Californians
were spared actual warfare at home. Pro-Union demonstrations took place in all parts
of the state, with resolutions of loyalty adopted at mass meetings in various towns and
counties. San Francisco Home Guards promoted enlistments in the Union Army, kept an
eye out for conspiracy, and worked vigorously for the election of a pro-Union war
governor. Californians, having cast their vote for Lincoln in 1860, chose Leland Stanford,
one of the builders of the Central Pacific Railroad, as their wartime governor.
Meanwhile, Lincoln’s popularity remained so great that in 1864 he would again receive
the state’s vote for the presidency. California provided indispensable financial strength
for the Union cause. As a “hard-money” state, it did not at first gracefully accept national
laws making paper greenbacks legal tender. Californians, accustomed to trading in real
gold and silver, did not trust greenbacks as a stable currency. Yet California gold flowed
into the federal treasury, bolstering the nation’s economy during the stressful wartime
period. The state also helped to supply the Union armies with wool, wheat, and other
raw materials. The war hastened California’s integration into national life in other ways
as well. Passage of the Pacific Railroad Bill of 1862 by Congress was facilitated by the
absence of Southern legislators who previously had blocked adoption of a northern
railroad route. During 1863, work on the Central Pacific Railroad began at Sacramento.
As that project’s principal advocate, Governor Stanford joined national party leaders in
temporarily abandoning the name “Republican.” They sought the support of all citizens
under a Union party label. Nevertheless, anyone who deviated from expressions of
Northern loyalty was apt to feel the whip of public censure. Californians were moved to
new heights of sentiment for the Union cause by Thomas Starr King, a popular Unitarian
preacher. As many as 40,000 persons came to hear him speak at mass meetings.
Although King lived in California less than four years, he was an extraordinary figure in
the history of the state. After his arrival from Boston in 1860, he became a major
spokesman for the Union cause and raised funds for the Sanitary Commission,
forerunner of the Red Cross. Over one-fourth of its donations came from California.
King’s eloquence was so great that his supporters claimed he “saved California for the
Union.” Relatively few of the state’s residents saw active service. Conscription was never
enforced. Only some 15,000 Californians enlisted in the Union Army. Some of these
volunteers spent the war years pacifying Indians in Arizona and New Mexico. The
“California Column,” under the command of Colonel James H. Carleton, marched to
Yuma, then into New Mexico. But they were too late to forestall a Confederate invasion
there. Stranded amid whirling winds and itchy desert sands, their only enemy seemed to
be what derisively came to be called “the battle of the fleas.” Because Massachusetts
paid large bounties for volunteers out of a special fund earmarked for recruiting, a
company consisting mainly of native-born Californians was organized at San Jose. They
were actually equipped with lassoes, which they used expertly. Another unit, the
“California Hundred,” sailed through the Golden Gate on December 11, 1862, leaving
cheering crowds behind at dockside. Five weeks later, after a trip around Cape Horn,
these troops reached Boston for service in the Union Army. Finally, during 1865,
Californians rode with General Philip H. Sheridan in the defeat of Robert E. Lee’s Army of
Northern Virginia. Some were even present for Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at
Appomattox Court House. Once the war ended, Governor Stanford went on to serve in
the U.S. Senate from 1885 to 1893. A railroad builder and skillful politician, Stanford
created one of the largest personal fortunes in the West. Also repeatedly reelected to
the Senate was George Hearst, father of the well-known publisher. Another senator was
a geriatric wonder. Cornelius Cole, during his 102 years from 1822 to 1924, lived within
the life spans of every U.S. president from John Adams through John F. Kennedy –
already born when Cole died. In the years after the Civil War, both of the major political
parties remained relatively conservative, in California and nationally. Not until the
Progressive Era would voters move toward embracing substantial political and
4 Colonizers of the Frontier- question #3
California: A History, Eighth Edition. Andrew Rolle and Arthur C. Verge.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
New Spain’s northern border extended in an arc from present-day Louisiana to a remote
chain of Jesuit missions. These desolate adobe edifices were spread throughout
northern Mexico as well as in Upper and Lower California. Mining camps, cattle ranches,
and crude forts also dotted the vast frontier.
Three Jesuit clerics contributed to the Spanish colonization of Upper California.
Foremost among these was Eusebio Francesco Kino (sometimes spelled Chino or
Chini), a native of Trento in what is now northern Italy. As an explorer, cartographer, and
mission builder, Father Kino was responsible in the years 1678–1712 for the founding
of missions on New Spain’s northern frontiers. It was Father Kino, also an astronomer,
who proved in 1702 that California was not an island. Aiding him in his work was
another Italian Jesuit, the flinty and square-jawed Juan Maria de Salvatierra, who in
1697 founded the first of what would become a chain of missions in Lower (Baja)
California. A third major “black robe,” a term used by Indians to refer to the Jesuit
missionaries, was Father Juan de Ugarte. He labored for years among Indians newly
converted to Christianity.
In 1763, after the defeat in North America of France by the British in the Seven Years’
War, Spain feared more than ever that England might attempt to extend its New England
colonization farther west, possibly into Spanish territory. To prepare for any such
incursions, in 1765 Charles III, one of Europe’s enlightened monarchs, appointed José
de Gálvez visitador-general, or inspector general, of New Spain. In 1768 Gálvez,
commissioned to reform colonization procedures, sailed to Lower California on an
inspection tour of the peninsula’s scraggly frontier missions.
While in Baja California, Gálvez, an avid expansionist, was ordered by King Charles to
expel the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies. All over Europe a keen distrust of that
order’s political power had spread. Fearing that the Jesuits might eventually control
Spain’s colonial settlements, the king ordered the Jesuits replaced, even in distant Baja
California. Thereafter, gray-robed Franciscan friars arrived at La Paz to continue the
work begun earlier by Father Kino and his fellow Jesuits. These Franciscan priests
would, in time, become the key colonizers for Gálvez in Alta California.
In the meantime, the Russians began to encroach upon California from the north. The
voyages of Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikof in 1741 deeply disturbed officials in New
Spain. Furthermore, Russian sea otter-hunting ships were extending their poaching
farther southward each year. Gálvez, therefore, felt a pressing need for Spaniards to
occupy Alta California, although he personally would never see an outpost in the
In his capacity as inspector general, Gálvez next arranged a vital four-pronged
expedition into Alta California. Two divisions were to go by sea and two more by land; if
one party of either set should fail, the other might succeed. If all went well, however, all
four groups would convene at San Diego before pressing onward to Monterey, the place
so highly praised long ago by Vizcaíno. Religious supervision of the expeditions into
Alta California was entrusted to the Franciscan missionaries. The peninsular (Baja)
missions contributed to the exploring parties all the horses, mules, dried meat, grain,
cornmeal, and dry biscuits they could spare.
Gálvez took great care to select a strong cleric to lead the Franciscans northward into
the new land. His choice was the 55-year-old Fray Junípero Serra. The selection of
Gaspar de Portolá to head the military branch of the expedition proved equally shrewd.
Serra, the religious zealot, and Portolá, the dutiful soldier, were to become the first
colonizers of Alta California. Father Serra, originally from the Mediterranean island of
Majorca, had come to the New World in 1749 to labor among its natives. Before he was
called to take charge of the missions of both Californias, he served for nine years
among the Pamé Indians in the Sierra Gorda mountains of Mexico.
Serra brushed aside obstacles that would have stopped lesser men. These included a
lame leg, from which he suffered pain nearly all his life. Unbelievably, he applied manure
to it as a poultice. When Serra set out on the 1769 expedition to Upper California, he
was in such poor shape that two men had to lift him onto the saddle of his mule. Yet,
when his friend and fellow cleric, Fray Francisco Palóu, bade him a sad farewell, Serra
insisted that, with the aid of a merciful God, he would make it to Alta California.
Serra’s military companion, Portolá, had served the king as a captain of dragoons. In
addition to occupying San Diego and Monterey, Portolá and Serra hoped to establish
five missions. Church ornaments and sacred vessels did not constitute all of Serra’s
cargo. He also brought along seeds and farm tools with which to plant future mission
gardens. The two land parties also herded along 200 head of cattle, the descendants of
whom would roam the hills and valleys of Alta California and become the chief source
of the province’s pastoral wealth for several generations.
POST GOLD RUSH- QUESTION #4
Banking was another enterprise related to communication. Some frontier bankers
began as saloon keepers or stage coach operators who kept strong safes on their
premises. On their visits to town, miners entrusted their hard-earned treasure to these
men for safekeeping. In contrast with modern banks, which pay interest to their
depositors, western merchants charged depositors interest for storing their money.
Indeed, early western bankers considered safeguarding a miner’s doeskin bag of
nuggets or “poke” of gold dust as a risky venture. Only the large national express
companies possessed the facilities for the safe transportation of money.
By the mid-1850s, travel by water had entered a new era. Upon finally arriving at the
Golden Gate, river boats took passengers to interior ports. These included Marysville,
Sacramento, and Stockton. The fastest steamboats, among them the Senator, Cornelia,
and New World, sometimes engaged in foolish, indeed dangerous, races. On several
occasions passengers on riverboats moving under high steam felt the explosion of iron
boilers as decks literally buckled beneath them.
Steamboats and barges along California’s inland rivers irregularly serviced outlying
ranches. The smaller vessels continued up the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers,
trading supplies en route. The smaller vessels were able to reach shallow bodies of
water, including the Mokelumne River and Lake Tulare, which was once linked to the
turbulent lower Kern River and the new town of Bakersfield.
After the Civil War, San Francisco remained California’s major port. By 1870, an
increasing number of ships entered its waterfront, sometimes in ballast, to load grain,
lumber, wool, quicksilver, and flour. In and around the city, nearly 100 flour mills were in
operation, as were scores of lumber and textile mills and foundries. Among these were
the Risdon and Pacific Iron Works, the San Francisco chocolate factory of Domenico
Ghirardelli, the sugar-beet refineries of the Oxnard Brothers and Claus Spreckels, several
cigar and boot factories, tanneries, ship-repair yards, and even gunpowder works. San
Jose, Stockton, Sacramento, Marysville, and Merced each started woolen mills.
California also needed more blacksmiths, harness and saddle makers, wheelwrights,
and carpenters. Almost every sizable town acquired a brewery or distillery and a metal
or iron shop; soon canneries would also make their appearance. John Studebaker at
Placerville and Phineas Banning at Wilmington began to build excellent wagons and
carriages. After 1867, Banning operated a stage line into Los Angeles and eventually a
railroad that reached San Pedro’s harbor.
As the state’s population grew, fishing and whaling became important industries. In
1855 alone, 500 whaling vessels visited the California coast. That same year, firms as
far north as Sacramento were smoking and salting salmon. As canned salmon
production increased, Monterey emerged as a terminus for anchovy and sardine fleets
while San Pedro became a tuna-packing center. San Diego too was processing tons of
mackerel, sole, sand dabs, skipjack, albacore, rockfish, and barracuda. In order to meet
the demand for shellfish, clams, crabs, and abalone were increasingly harvested all
along the California coast.
The building of a transcontinental railroad would greatly expand manufacturing,
commercial fishing, and produce marketing. The state was on its way to becoming a
provider of what would become nationally known products. In the meantime, California
sorely needed steel rails over which to ship its agricultural products and merchandise.