San Francisco History

Seventy-five Years in San Francisco


In midwinter all animals on haciendas become thin and poor in flesh. This was the dull season of the year among the merchants and but little business was transacted; but the fleet of small vessels owned in Yerba Buena was kept busy going to the different estuaries of the bay to collect hides that had accumulated during the winter months from cattle slaughtered for use of the haciendas.

One morning in March, 1840, at the breakfast table, Nathan Spear remarked that, this being the quiet part of the year around the bay, the crews of the Isabella and Nicolás were not at work sufficiently long at a time to keep them from getting rusty. “I think,” he decided, “that it would be well to send the Isabella over to Yerba Buena Island with a crew of four men to cut and load her with wood for cooking purposes.”

The eastern part of the island at that time was almost covered with scrub oak trees, the wood of which was very hard and made a strong fire. I replied that I would accompany the woodcutters and consider it my vacation, and would take my gun and fishing tackle along so I could supply the camp with fish and game. “I will go to the Mission Dolores after our breakfast to obtain permission from the subprefect or alcalde to cut wood on Yerba Buena Island,” I said, and Spear agreed.

Spear had a good stable of rough redwood boards on the premises next to the store which contained several very fine horses, and I saddled the old man’s favorite buckskin. He was long in body and well put together, with a head and ears as if carved by a sculptor, with a neck which looked as if his dam had been sired by a deer. I was young, but eighteen years old, full of fun and frolic, a good fast rider, and away we went through the sand hills to Mission Dolores. The spirited and speedy horse seemed inspired with my errand to interview the dignitaries of the District of San Francisco.

Preparations for visiting the island were soon made, and as an absence of eight or ten days was contemplated a goodly supply of eatables had to be provided. Nathan Spear, being an epicure of no ordinary taste, was liberal and supplied us with the best his store afforded.

We camped on a piece of level ground or mesa just above the beach and west of the cove. We had two tents, the men occupying one, the author the other. The little schooner was moored east of the camp but in full view. I arranged my time methodically: to read a little, to fish a little and to shoot a little at the wild game that flew over our white tents in great numbers. My first morning as a resident of the solitary isle was devoted to fishing, selecting a spot northwest of the camp near a spring of soft water which bubbled over the rocks. My success as an angler was beyond expectation and a surprise to me. In less than no time I had a pailful of several varieties of fish, which made the sport quite exhilarating. For dinner we had fish fresh from the water cooked with California bacon cured by that historic personage Nathan Spear. One of the men who proved to be a good cocinero prepared our first midday meal on Yerba Buena Island, and all relished it greatly. I soon became ambitious as an angler and rose at the peep of day, though I had my doubt if the fish would take the bait at such an early hour; but to my joy they did so with eagerness. I soon returned with a fine mess of live and fluttering fish for breakfast. This time I had fished from what is now known as Torpedo Point. Probably I was the first fisherman who ever threw a line and hook into the clear waters of San Francisco Bay from Yerba Buena or, as it is popularly known, Goat Island. I caught so many fish from day to day that the men dried them, and in all probability this curing gave San Francisco its first shipment of dried fish.

I also devoted much time to shooting ducks. They were plentiful and fat and of many varieties: mallard, canvasback, widgeon and teal. My favorite spot for shooting was the top of the hill overlooking the village of Yerba Buena. The ducks would appear in flocks, darkening the air, and so great was their number that it required no skill to kill them on the wing. As they fell to the ground they often burst open, being so fat and heavy. After I had discharged the two barrels I would be surrounded with dead and wounded birds, and the flock would wheel about to share the fate of the first victims. I hastened to reload so as to take them on the wing again, and the stupid birds would fall to the ground as thick as hailstones. I am sure I was the first hunter on the island.

I killed so many of this savory game that we preserved them like the fish to swell the first export from the island. I became so interested and excited over my success as angler and hunter that the reading matter in my tent went undisturbed.

On my return to town I presented Nathan Spear with several dozens of ducks and plenty of fish for the table. He was more than delighted at the sight of “so many good things to eat,” as he expressed it, and remarked that I looked sleek from the good living I had enjoyed while on the island.


Besides indulgence in music and dancing, the men found their recreation, as they did their occupation, chiefly on horseback.

Horse racing was one of their favorite amusements, which they occasionally enjoyed; especially on the saints’ feast days, which were general holidays. The vaqueros were then relieved from duty, wore their best clothes, and were allowed to mount the best horses and to have their sport. These races were usually from two to four hundred yards and participated in by only two horses at a time. Bets were made in cattle and horses, and large numbers of animals were lost and won on these occasions; at times one hundred up to several hundred head of cattle were bet on the result of a single short race. They generally put up their vaquillas (heifers). They had no money to wager, but plenty of cattle. Sometimes horses were also bet, but not often.

There was on one occasion a famous race at Los Angeles of nine miles, between the horses of two wealthy rancheros, and an immense amount of property changed hands on the result of the race, cattle and horses, mostly the former. This race attracted quite a large crowd of people, and was considered a great affair for that day. Don José Ramón Carrillo, of the Santa Rosa ranch, was extremely fond of horses, a very expert and accomplished horseman himself, and a brave and good fellow. On his rancho he had a number of fine caponeras, I think as many as ten or twelve, all of the best horses. In 1844 I bought a fine horse of him for which I paid fifty dollars, which at that day was a large price; he was a splendid animal, a dark yellow, darker than buckskin. I bought another, equally as good, a dapple gray, for twenty dollars, all he asked for him. Either of them today would be worth two hundred. Don José was passionately fond of bear hunting, and talked of this sport and of his love of horses with the greatest enthusiasm, and never seemed to be at ease unless he was on a horse.

On several occasions when I was visiting him in the summer season, when the bears were plenty, he was always engaged in hunting them, and tried to persuade me to join him in the sport, urging me to become a bear hunter saying he would teach me to lasso bears and make me as good as himself in that line. But my experience with bears (as related a few pages further on) had satisfied me, and I always declined absolutely to become a participant.

In 1844 Don José Ramón ran a race with the first horse he had sold me, at the Mission Dolores, against a horse owned by Francisco Sánchez, named “Palomino,” and was barely beaten, the distance being three hundred yards. Thereupon, William Rae, of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post, put up a mouse-colored horse named “Grullo” for a race of six hundred yards against mine, and the bets were doubled, and Don José Ramón, with my horse, won by a long distance. He was much pleased with his success, and Rae was much chagrined with the failure of his horse. At this occurrence, James Alexander Forbes, then and for several years previous British vice-consul, was the judge of the race.

The bullfighting was usually held on one of the saints’ days. The bull was turned into an enclosure, and the horsemen would come in, mounted on their best animals, and fight the bull for the entertainment of the spectators, killing him finally. Sometimes a bear-and-bull fight would take place, another amusement they had at the killing season at the matanza spot.

When cattle were slaughtered, bears came to the place at night to feast on the meat that was left after the hides and tallow were taken. The bears coming, the rancheros, with vaqueros, would go there for the purpose of lassoing them. This was one of their greatest sports, highly exciting and dangerous, but the bear always got the worst of it. One would lasso a bear by the neck, and another lasso the same beast by the hind foot, and then pulling in different directions the poor bear was soon strained and strangled to death. Sometimes half a dozen or more would be taken in a single night in this way.

At one time I was encamped at the embarcadero of Temescal, a place south of the creek of that name about a half mile, not far from the depot at Sixteenth Street, Oakland, in order to receive hides and tallow from the cattle that were slaughtered on the bank of the stream, which articles I was collecting for my employer, Nathan Spear. I was there for several days with one man, the boats meantime taking down loads of the hides and tallow to Yerba Buena and returning empty. One night I sent my man Holly Gray up to Don Vicente Peralta’s house on an errand and remained in my tent alone all night, to my great peril, as I soon discovered.

The matanza ground was about half a mile from my tent, and Peralta and his vaqueros came down in the night to lasso the bears for sport. Some of them got away from their enemies and made for my tent, probably being attracted to it as a strange object looming up white in the darkness; with the curiosity which such animals are known to possess, they proceeded to investigate it. I sat in the tent and heard these animals circling round and round outside for several hours, going off at times and returning. I was in constant fear that they might push their noses under the canvas, work themselves into the tent and devour me, and had they not been full from feasting on the matanza meat I should probably have fallen a victim to their hunger.

As I sat there quietly arid listened to their deep breathing and movements outside, I was filled with fear and anxiety, and it may easily be imagined how much I was relieved when finally the beasts went off for good and left me alone. I attribute my prematurely gray hairs to the alarm I felt on that occasion.

On giving Don Vicente Peralta a narrative of my narrow escape from being devoured by the bears which he and his vaqueros had stampeded to my tent, he laughed heartily, but became serious when he realized the gravity of my situation, and remarked that there were not enough men at the place that night to lasso all the bears, and three of them had escaped, as he supposed to the mountains. He said they were not hungry, having made a hearty supper from the slaughtered cattle, but he thought it was best to be on the safe side; that they were not to be trusted at any time, and a youth of my fine appearance might be tempting to them.

After this occurrence whenever I had occasion to stop overnight there, he would send a vaquero with a horse, and kind messages from himself and wife to be their guest for the night, which invitations I gladly accepted. He asked me once or twice to accompany him on his bear-hunting expeditions, but I always declined, preferring the company of his handsome wife for the evening to the possible danger of being devoured by the osos, taking warning from my past critical experience.

Don Vicente was about six feet tall, finely proportioned, straight as an arrow, weighing about 240 pounds, hospitable, kind, and full of native dignity. His surroundings were in keeping with his appearance, manners and tastes. I have ridden in company with him going to the Feast of San José, when he was attired in a costly suit trimmed with gold and silver lace, sitting with ease and grace on his horse, which was equally well equipped, followed by two mounted and well-dressed mozos twenty feet in the rear and his wife about two or three hundred yards distant with her splendidly mounted cavalcade, the whole forming a picture worthy of admiration.

On one occasion in 1840 I stopped at his house during one of my trading expeditions, remaining over night. In the morning, when about ready to depart, he said to me, “No se apure.” (“Don’t be in a hurry.”) “Let’s take a ride out this beautiful April morning. You see how handsome the hills are; it is the pleasantest part of the year. Just now the cattle and horses are beginning to change their coats, and everything is fresh and new. Let’s take a ride and enjoy the day.”

Don Vicente being one of our best customers, with whom I was anxious to keep on good terms, I accepted the invitation, being also pleased to enjoy the day as he proposed. He mounted me on a splendid horse and, taking another himself we went along enjoying the freshness and beauty of everything about us exceedingly. Presently Don Vicente said, “We will now have a little fun and I want you to assist me. You see among those cattle there a three-year-old cow. I select her because she is the fleetest. Your horse is well trained and will follow the movements of the game. You must take care that he does not unsaddle you by his quick movements. Now let us go for her!”

We let the horses out and they immediately rushed away, and in a few moments we lapped the cow, one on either side. He leaned over and caught the creature by the tail, and instantly she was turned over and over toward me, and my horse, at the right moment, leaped to one side to allow room for the animal’s movements. It was very exciting, and I shall never forget the exhilaration of the chase and the leap made by the horse to get out of her way when the creature was thrown. During this exciting chase Señor Peralta was as light and active in all his movements as I was. He was a master of the art of horsemanship.

The native Californians were not naturally gamblers. I have seen some of the lower classes gamble for small sums with cards, but have never known the wealthy rancheros, or the higher class in towns, to indulge in gambling, except on special occasions like feast days of the saints or at a horse race. At those times they would bet heavily, not for the gains but simply for the pleasure.

The merchants sold to the rancheros and other Californians whatever goods they wanted, to any reasonable amount, and gave them credit from one killing season to another. I have never known of a single instance in which a note or other written obligation was required of them. At the time of purchasing they were furnished with bills of the goods, which were charged in the account books, and in all my intercourse and experience in trade with them, extending over many years, I seldom knew of a case of dishonesty on their part. The exceptions were so rare as not to be worthy of mention. They always kept their business engagements, paid their bills promptly at the proper time in hides and tallow, which were the currency of the country, and sometimes, though seldom, in money. They regarded their verbal promise as binding and sacred, relied upon their honor and were always faithful. This may be said of all their relations with others; they were faithful in their promises and engagements of every kind. They were too proud to condescend to do anything mean or disgraceful. This honesty and integrity were eminently characteristic of these early Californians. As much cannot be said of some of their descendants, who have become demoralized, and are not like their ancestors in this regard. There is a good reason for this—the confiscation of their estates.


At the head of the government of the department of California was, of course, the governor, who resided at Monterey, then the seat of government. The next officer in rank was the prefect, whose position was somewhat similar in rank to that of lieutenant-governor at the present day, only he was much more of an executive officer. He resided at Monterey also. Through him all orders emanating from the governor were issued to officers of lower rank—the subprefects—who presided over districts of considerable extent; for instance, that in the vicinity of Yerba Buena comprised San Francisco and Contra Costa, the latter being the name of all the country on the east side of the bay.

The alcaldes presided over the towns, and were supervised by the subprefects. There was also a secretary of state at Monterey, who was the immediate counselor of the governor, generally a man of education and of more than ordinary ability. The commander-in-chief of the forces of the department also usually resided at Monterey, although in the case of General Vallejo there was an exception, he residing at Sonoma by permission of the supreme government of Mexico.

The governor’s cabinet consisted of the prefect, the secretary of state and the commander-in-chief. The government was both civil and military in character. The office of the prefect was of great importance. The whole civil administration of affairs went through his hands. His orders were issued to the various subprefects of the department, and they in turn issued them to the alcaldes. In matters of doubt concerning the titles to pueblo lands and other questions which the alcaldes were called to pass upon, the subprefects were often consulted, and questions of importance referred from the alcaldes to the prefect, through the subprefects, and by him laid before the governor and cabinet for final decisions.

There was also the junta departamental, comprising seven members, which assembled at the seat of government once a year. The members were elected from different sections of the department, and remained in session each year from one to three months, according to the business to be disposed of. The oldest of their number was made chairman or president of this assembly, and held his office during its existence. The governor of the department could also preside over the assembly.

This body was largely occupied in passing upon titles to lands which had been conveyed by the governor to different persons, these grants being certified by the secretary of state. The grants were generally bestowed as a reward for services rendered the country in a military capacity, though there were some exceptions where grants were given to other persons at the option of the governor. He had full power to issue these grants, subject to approval or disapproval by the assembly. If they were approved, the title was considered perfect; if not approved, the title was considered inchoate, subject to further consideration and action by the junta.

In case of death of the governor, or other vacancy of his office, the president of the junta departamental became governor pro tem. until a new appointment was made by the supreme authority in Mexico. I recollect of only one instance where the president of the assembly became governor pro tem., and that was on the occasion of the revolution against Governor Micheltorena, when he was displaced, and Don Pío Pico, who was then president of the junta departamental, was made provisional governor.

In 1834 or ‘35 an ayuntamiento, or town council, was formed for San Francisco, consisting of one alcalde, two regidores and a síndico, which body resided first at the presidio, afterwards at the mission. There were no regularly established courts in the department at that time. The alcalde exercised the office of judge, jury, lawyers and all, inasmuch as no lawyers were employed; in fact there were none in the department. The plaintiff and defendant simply appeared before the alcalde, and stated their case on either side, produced their witnesses, if they had any, and the alcalde decided the case speedily; generally on the spot, without delay. I believe that more substantial justice was done in this way than in the courts of the present day, with all their elaborate machinery and prolonged course of proceedings.

The alcalde decided all cases of minor importance, and the penalty for lesser crimes was fine or imprisonment. Cases of more magnitude, like those of murder and other high crimes, were brought before the governor and cabinet at Monterey, and their decision in the matter was final. The governor had full power to condemn or discharge a prisoner, or to pardon him after sentence. The fate of the prisoner rested entirely in his hands. There was no hanging in those days, but when a prisoner was convicted of a capital offense and condemned to death he was shot by the military. Criminals, such as burglars, horse thieves, cattle thieves, perpetrators of assaults, were arrested by the síndico, and turned over to the military commander of the post, if within convenient distance, otherwise to an alcalde’s posse, and imprisoned in the calaboose, and guarded by citizens specially appointed by the alcalde for the occasion until the time for examination or trial.

These alcaldes as a class were men of good, strong common sense, and many of them had a fair education. As a rule they were honest in their administration of justice and sought to give every man his dues. I had occasion to appear before them frequently in my business transactions, with reference to hides that were not branded according to law, and other matters. I always found them ready upon a proper representation of the case to do what was just to all concerned.

The alcalde was an important personage in the town. His insignia of office consisted of a cane of light-colored wood, handsomely finished, and ornamented at the top with silver or gold. Below the knob were holes in the cane, through which was drawn black silk cord attached to tassels of the same material hanging below. The alcaldes carried this staff on all occasions, and especially when about to perform any official act, such as ordering an arrest. Great respect and deference were paid to the cane and its bearer by the people at large. He was treated with great courtesy and politeness and looked up to as a person of undisputed authority. The administration of the governor and his cabinet, and of the various subprefects, was just and satisfactory to the people, and I have never known any instance to the contrary.

Juan B. Alvarado, who was governor of California when I came to this coast, was a native Californian. His mother was a sister of General Vallejo. He was educated at Monterey by an English instructor, W. E. P. Hartnell, and the missionary fathers. When quite a young man, he was clerk to Nathan Spear, then a merchant at Monterey. I have frequently heard Spear speak in terms of the warmest admiration of his honesty and great ability. Spear himself was well-read and intelligent, and I have heard him say that he took such an interest in young Alvarado, as he called him, that he was in the habit of imparting to him when in his employ a good deal of information about other counties and governments. Alvarado, who had a thirst for knowledge, was an eager listener and received it gratefully; for a considerable portion of his acquirements he was indebted to Spear. In his early life he was more or less connected with the governing officials at Monterey and then showed his talent in that direction.

It was in 1836 or ‘37, I think, that Alvarado wrote a letter to President Bustamante, then at the head of the Republic of Mexico, about some governmental matters connected with the department of California, in which his ability was recognized by the president; for, shortly after this, he appointed Alvarado governor of the department, which position he held until he was superseded by Micheltorena in the latter part of ‘42. In his administration of affairs he showed talent, and was friendly to all foreigners. Spear and other well-informed Americans often spoke highly of Alvarado’s military tact. Although not educated with a view to military life at all, he seemed to have a natural aptitude for military tactics and remarkable ability for planning military movements.

José Castro, the second in command in the army, was an educated military man. Living at the headquarters of the government, he frequently consulted Alvarado on important military matters and relied largely upon his opinions and advice. General Castro was a man of fair military ability, of excellent character, very popular, and much liked by his countrymen.

General Vallejo was a more reserved man than Alvarado. He was a native of California and lived continuously in Sonoma with his family, attending to his immense herds of cattle and horses, and did not participate in active movements in the field. He occasionally visited Monterey, where his mother and nephew, the governor, resided. He was hospitable, and received the merchant traders on the coast at his fine mansion at Sonoma and entertained them handsomely. He was courteous to the higher class of foreigners, but had no taste for the companionship of the rougher class, miners, trappers and other adventurers whom he denominated “white Indians.”

In the month of December, 1839, Jacob P. Leese, who was a brother-in-law of General Vallejo, Thomas Shaw, supercargo of the ship Monsoon, of Boston, and myself crossed the bay to Sonoma Landing in the schooner Isabella and appeared at General Vallejo’s house in the evening. We were very cordially received, handsomely entertained at dinner, and invited to pass the night, which we did. On retiring we were shown to our several apartments; I found an elegant bed with beautifully trimmed and embroidered sheets and coverlid and pillows; but on getting into it I discovered there were no blankets, an oversight of the servant, and as the whole house had retired I could not arouse anybody to secure them, but lay there shivering and shaking through the night, wishing there were a little less elegance and a little more comfort.

I saw General Vallejo in Sonoma many times. His selection of horses for his own use was one of the finest in the country, comprising a large number of beautiful animals, well trained. I have seen him taking his morning and evening ride on horseback (there were no carriages in Sonoma at that time) and sitting on his fine horse in the most natural and graceful manner. He was considered skillful in the use of the lasso, and also expert in the coleo, or catching the bull by the tail and overturning him when going at full speed, as before described. This was a favorite amusement amongst the rancheros, and any one of them, though he might be the possessor of many thousands of cattle and horses, who was not fully up to the mark in the skillful and daring maneuvers of using the lasso and in the coleo and other feats of that kind, was looked upon as lacking in those accomplishments which were befitting a genuine Californian.

General Vallejo received a school education under the instruction of W. E. P. Hartnell and the father instructors at Monterey. Being naturally fond of study, and appreciating the advantages of education of a higher order, and having great ambition for learning, he has continued his studious habits during his whole life, gathering books here and there whenever opportunity offered, sometimes from vessels coming to the coast, and if there were any special books he wanted he would send to Mexico, to Spain, to France, to England, to the United States, or to any part of the world to procure them. Having accumulated large wealth in his younger days, he has always gratified his tastes in that direction. In visiting him in the earlier days I would find him in his library surrounded by his books, in which he took the greatest delight and pride. He illustrates in the best manner the oft-quoted phrase, “a gentleman and a scholar.”

Don Pablo de la Guerra was a native Californian, and a pupil and brother-in-law of Hartnell, the latter having married one of the De la Guerra sisters. He was a man fond of reading, an accomplished scholar, speaking his own language in the best manner, and also the English fluently and correctly. He was in the government service, and in 1845 became collector of the port. His father was Don José de la Guerra, a native of Spain, who always resided at Santa Barbara, and who married one of the Carrillo family there. The four brothers of the lady—Don Carlos, Anastasio, Domingo and José Antonio Carrillo—were each of them at least six feet in height, weighing over two hundred pounds, and finely proportioned. Don Carlos was the leader in the revolution against Governor Alvarado to displace him in 1838.

Don José Antonio resided at Los Angeles, and was considered a leading man of talent in that part of the country, being surpassed only by Alvarado in intellect. During this revolution he was a most proficient worker in the movement to place his brother Don Carlos in the position of governor.

Don Pablo de la Guerra was a member of the first Constitutional Convention in ‘49, and assisted greatly in the formation of the constitution. He was several times elected to the state senate, representing Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. He often presided over the senate in the absence of the regular officer, and was frequently asked to become a candidate for governor of the state, but declined.

Early in the ‘fifties the American Theatre was located on the east side of Sansome Street between Sacramento and California. One bright starry evening there was a performance and the theater was full to hear and see a popular play. Many of the élite of the city were present. Among the guests were a few native Californians of Spanish extraction who were on a visit to the metropolis from southern California. Pablo de la Guerra was one of the number. They were all handsome men and attracted the universal admiration of the fair sex. There was a group of well-dressed fine-looking American women of culture and refinement. One lady remarked to the others. “Those Spanish gentlemen are handsome,” to which another replied, “Yes, but Don Pablo is the handsomest of them all.”

Mr. Alfred Robinson, sometimes known as Don Alfredo Robinson, who still (1889) lives in San Francisco, married a sister of Don Pablo de la Guerra and of Doña Angustias Jimeno. I never saw the lady, but she must have been fine-looking, coming as she did from a handsome family. This wedding is described in Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast.

Don Manuel Jimeno, who was secretary of state under Alvarado, was a native of Mexico, and emigrated to California when very young. He married one of Don Pablo de la Guerra’s sisters, Doña Angustias. He was considered a man of learning and a statesman. I think he held also the position of secretary of state under Micheltorena. He was familiar with the laws of Mexico which were in force in the department of California, and filled the office with credit to himself and the department. His wife was an accomplished lady, very entertaining in her conversation, overflowing with wit and vivacity. I have frequently heard her, after the change of the government to that of the United States, express her utter disapprobation in the most sarcastic language; but she was so intelligent and her manner so captivating that the listener was overcome with admiration of her brightness and the pungency and appropriateness of her speech.

In a patriotic outburst, Señora Doña Angustias Jimeno exclaimed one day that she would delight to have the ears of the officers of the United States squadron for a necklace, such was her hatred of the new rulers of her country. But, with all this, it was well known in Monterey that whenever an officer of the Army or Navy was taken sick Mrs. Jimeno was the first to visit the patient and bestow on him the known kindness so characteristic of the native California ladies, with encouraging words, and delicacies suitable to his condition. This would show that she disliked them as conquerors of her country, but respected them as individuals. Some years after Mrs. Jimeno became a widow, she married Dr. Ord of the U. S. Army.

Mariano Pacheco, the brother of the governor, was with me for two years as clerk in Yerba Buena, in 1843 and  ‘44.

Doña Ramona, the mother of Governor Pacheco, when I first knew her in 1838, at Santa Barbara, was a handsome woman, queenly in her walk and bearing, and among her countrywomen, who were noted for their beauty, she was one of the most attractive. Her first husband, Don Francisco Pacheco, was an accomplished musician, playing the violin with great skill and taste.

After the death of her first husband Mrs. Pacheco married Captain John Wilson, an old Scotchman, and lived at Santa Barbara. She was kind to all the merchants who visited that port. In 1842 and ‘43 I was at Santa Barbara as supercargo of the Don Quixote, and often dined with her. Frequently when the hour arrived, and I was not there, she would send a servant round the town to find me, with the message, “Doña Ramona está esperando a usted para la comida.” (“Doña Ramona is waiting dinner for you.”) I would sometimes tell her not to wait for me, that my business might prevent me coming, and I could not be prompt at her fine dinner, but she would always send for me. Her kindness to me is among my pleasantest recollections.

Source: Davis, William Heath. Seventy-five Years in San Francisco. 1929: San Francisco.

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