San Francisco History

Seventy-five Years in San Francisco


When Frémont’s battalion was passing down to Los Angeles from the north, near San Luis Obispo, Jesús “Totoi” Pico was arrested as a spy and charged with the design of conveying to the Californians information of Frémont’s approach. Brought before Frémont and tried by court martial, he was found guilty and condemned to be shot. The arrest took place near the man’s own home at San Luis Obispo, and it was deemed improbable that he had designed acting as charged, especially in view of the fact that the Californians were well posted as to Frémont’s movements during the whole progress of the march. If the prisoner had been found any considerable distance from his home, between Yerba Buena and Los Angeles, the ease would have looked more suspicious against him. He declared his innocence. As the time for the execution approached, Pico’s wife and family were much alarmed. Mrs. Pico, accompanied by her children, appeared before Frémont to intercede for her husband. She knelt before him and pleaded eloquently for her husband. The commander relented and gave Pico a pardon. They afterward became friends, and the latter went with Frémont on his march south.

In my visits to the camp at Santa Barbara I saw “Totoi” Pico two or three times and conversed with him. He spoke of Frémont’s great kindness to him after he had been pardoned, and of the attentions that had been shown him.

In conversation with many of the prominent Californians at various times after their defeat in the battle of San Gabriel, they expressed themselves freely against the Mexicans, saying that they considered the Mexican government had appeared badly in the war between that country and the United States; that the fact that General Scott had been allowed to march from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico with hardly a show of resistance by the Mexicans seemed to indicate there was a concerted plan between Santa Anna and the United States government to permit the success of the latter’s army in Mexico. They seemed to think also that Mexico was very delinquent in its duty to California in not sending an army to resist the capture of the territory by the United States, and remarked that the Mexican government had sold them like so many sheep. They said their own effort against the United States forces was in part to show that they were not Mexicans and cowards, but had some patriotism and love for their country. Although they could not successfully hope to resist so powerful a nation as the United States, yet they had proved their devotion to California in not quietly submitting to be conquered without a sign of resistance.

On leaving San Pedro I sailed for Santa Barbara with Louis McLane and Josiah Belden on board as passengers; also José Ramón Estudillo, who had been impressed into the service by the Californians in Contra Costa (San Leandro) and taken south by them. He was in the fight of San Gabriel. McLane was a passed midshipman in the navy aboard one of the United States vessels, and held a position on shore as captain (with other officers), for the protection of the flag, and had accompanied Frémont’s battalion. McLane was permitted to return and take his old position at Monterey. He came on my vessel for this purpose. We touched at Santa Barbara and were four days beating up from there to Point Conception, against a strong head wind. Seeing that we had before us a tedious voyage, the captain at my request anchored under the lee of the point and Belden, McLane and myself left our vessel and went ashore determined to come up to Monterey by land. At the Cojo rancho Don Anastasio Carrillo’s mayordomo brought us a caponera, and we took three good horses and a vaquero and proceeded inland to the Rancho Nipomo owned by William G. Dana. When we arrived, we found there H. F. Teschemacher and Dr. Nicholas A. Den, the former having left his vessel at Santa Barbara to come up by land. The next morning I ordered the vaquero back to the Rancho Cojo, with Carrillo’s horses and a note to the owner explaining the liberty I had taken in borrowing them.

Belden, McLane and myself each bought two horses from Dana to continue our journey. Den and Teschemacher had brought their horses from Santa Barbara, with a vaquero, and a tent on a pack animal. We joined in one party, all sleeping in the tent, camping out and cooking our own food. We spent several days on the journey. The weather was delightful, cool and clear, the country fresh and beautiful, with grass and wildflowers growing luxuriantly all the way from the Cojo to Monterey; and we enjoyed ourselves exceedingly.

On reaching Monterey, the Tasso and the Euphemia were already there, they having got a favorable slant of wind after leaving Point Conception. I continued my trip by land to Yerba Buena, ordering my vessel to proceed there, and, on arriving, found that my friend and employee, R. M. Sherman, had done a good business during my absence. When the Euphemia came into the bay (March, 1847) I had on board over $20,000 in coin (Mexican dollars and doubloons) and purser’s bills, the result of sales during the trip south and back, besides what was trusted out.

I also had aboard a large quantity of California wine and aguardiente, which were just as good as gold, and better, because there was a sure sale for both at a profit. Some of the original cargo also remained.

I was greeted by Captain Grimes, who reported that my mother was very ill at Honolulu. I therefore made preparations to go home. On giving Captain Grimes an account of my business trip down south and the result, he was greatly pleased. His face broke out in a smile all over, and he said, “William you have done wonders.”

On the 31st of March I sailed for Honolulu on the Euphemia with Pickett aboard, he having requested me to take him down to visit the Islands. I had about $30,000, including what Sherman had collected during my absence south, a portion of which was in Mexican dollars, twenty bags of $1,000 each. We left in a southeast storm, but after a day or two it abated, and with gentle trade winds the ocean was as smooth as glass. A whitehall boat could have made the passage. On arriving at Honolulu after a voyage of twenty days, I was met by the pilot in the outer harbor, Stephen Reynolds, a Boston merchant at Honolulu, who had been previously United States vice-consul there. He had lived at Honolulu many years and had become wealthy, importing goods from Boston; and yet he acted as pilot. The pilotage was very lucrative. He immediately gave the sailors their orders and we were shortly anchored in the harbor. I was met on the wharf by Alexander G. Abell. He was then United States consul at Honolulu, and was of the firm of Abell, McClure & Cheevers, engaged in the trade between the Islands and California. The two latter had taken a large cargo in the brig Francisca to the Pacific coast, leaving Mr. Abell to manage the business at Honolulu. He asked if I had any remittance for him, and when informed I had not, he seemed disappointed; he could not imagine what his partners were doing in California, not to have disposed of the goods, or a part of them, and remitted the proceeds. I knew that they had mismanaged the business and were too fond of drinking and enjoying themselves to make a success of it.

Mr. Reynolds, who was a special friend of my mother, accompanied me to her house and on the way asked me what amount I had brought for Grimes; on my replying, about $30,000, he stared in amazement and could hardly believe it. He said he was overjoyed, for the house had got into trouble financially; this amount would save them from a great disaster; and it did, when I turned the money over to the concern.

The presence of so large a fleet of vessels on the coast, as well as the increasing immigration to California, had stimulated business, and money was plentiful at Honolulu. The Sandwich Islands, then being our nearest neighbors, were greatly benefited.

I found my mother very ill. Her death occurred four days after my arrival.

I reached Honolulu on Sunday. While I was at my mother’s house with Reynolds, I was sent for by Hiram Grimes from his residence, the stores and other business places being all closed on that day. Honolulu seemed very much like a thriving New England town, both in the business and residence portions. A person could easily imagine himself in one of the suburbs of Boston, in passing through its streets.

I spent most of my time with my mother until her death. After the funeral, I commenced loading my vessel for the return voyage.


Shortly after the missions were first instituted in California, the rancheros, in a small way, commenced to establish their ranchos, getting grants from the government beyond the mission lands and obtaining a few cattle from the fathers. Many of them were ignorant, uncultivated, and quite unused to the luxuries of life. A man of this kind one day visited the mission of San Luis Obispo, and was kindly received by the good father.

During the visit a servant was directed to bring in some refreshments. A lunch was served and among other things a steaming pot of tea. A cup was set before the ranchero and he was invited to help himself. Never having drunk any tea, he was puzzled how to proceed, but presently, lifting off the lid of the teapot, he dipped the spoon in and, taking out some of the leaves, placed them in his cup, added sugar, and began to eat the new dish; whereupon the good father kindly and politely explained that the tea was to be drunk and not to be eaten.

In 1842 the Don Quixote arrived at Honolulu and found there the beautiful clipper-built ship Congress from New York. The vessel was engaged in the China trade, plying regularly between New York and China. On that trip she had brought supplies for the missionaries, of whom there were a good many at the Sandwich Islands and at other islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The missions in New York and Boston, in those days, sent out large quantities of supplies, including books and papers, from their headquarters to Honolulu, that being a distributing point. I have known vessels to come there with goods for the missionaries exclusively. The Congress, after discharging, waited at Honolulu some time before sailing for China, partly by reason of the typhoons which prevailed in the China seas at that season of the year, and which her captain wished to avoid, and partly to receive expected advices from the owners in New York by the way of Mexico.

The speediest mode of communication between the United States and the Pacific islands was by vessel from New York or other Atlantic ports to Vera Cruz, thence across by mule conveyance to Mazatlán or San Blas, letters being addressed to the care of the United States consuls at those seaports.

Vessels were constantly going and coming between the Mexican coast and Honolulu, being owned in the latter place and employed in the China trade. They brought cargoes of goods to the Islands, disposed of a portion of them there, and went thence to San Blas or Mazatlán with the remainder. The cargoes were purchased with special reference to the Mexican trade of the interior, whither they were sent from the coast. The consuls forwarded by these vessels such letters and dispatches as they had received from the Atlantic side, and frequent communication was thus had. In 1834 or 1835 the brig Griffin, Captain William C. Little, originally a Boston vessel, was engaged in trade between China, Honolulu and the coast of Mexico. She was on a voyage from Honolulu to Mazatlán with a partial cargo of China goods, but did not reach Mexico. She was never heard of more. All the hides shipped from California to the Islands were reshipped to Boston.

The captain of the ship Congress, having heard of the feats of the Don Quixote as a fast sailer, was anxious to have a trial of speed, as he prided himself upon the sailing qualities of his own vessel. Therefore, when he was ready for sea, he waited a few days for the bark to discharge and take return cargo of miscellaneous goods for California. The two vessels came out of the harbor of Honolulu together. Great interest was manifested in this race. When we left the town the houses and every little elevation were covered with people who had gathered to witness the contest. The Don Quixote being well known, and having a history as a fast vessel, was the favorite.

Our bark passed out first, and after we had got fairly clear of the harbor we lay to, to allow the pilot to go ashore. He and his crew exchanged parting salutations with us, standing up in the boat, taking off their hats and cheering. Just then the Congress came up with us. We loosened and spread out our studding sails, and the Congress did the same, until both vessels had all their canvas to the breeze, sailing gaily away. Looking back we saw the crowds on shore, waving us farewell, until they were lost to view in the distance.

The two vessels kept pretty near for some time, but the Don Quixote gained little by little upon her rival until, when twenty or thirty miles out to sea, she was fairly ahead. As night came on, the vessels parted, each on its own course. Captain Paty kept everything about the bark in the neatest condition. It may be said in general that the captains who came to the California coast in those days were gentlemanly, intelligent and well read. Each took pride and delight in his own vessel, thinking her the finest that sailed the ocean and was always ready, when opportunity offered, for a trial of speed. The Euphemia was an exception; we never boasted of her sailing qualities.

In 1842 the Alert and the Don Quixote happened to be in Monterey and were ready to leave at the same time. When this was noticed, much interest was manifested in the circumstance. They had to make many tacks to get out of the bay, and Captain Phelps of the Alert did his best to crowd the bark, but the former was really no match for the latter, which easily took the lead. During this trial Captain Paty ordered the chain cable moved from the bow to midships, and the sailors shifted it with great alacrity, entering into the spirit of the occasion as sailors always do when their own vessel is put to a test. I have witnessed several ocean races; the great enthusiasm of the crews at such times was noticeable, the sailors being proud of their vessel, which was their home. They were as much attached to it as landsmen to their domiciles and surroundings.

In the summer of 1844 the Admittance and Don Quixote were both trading on the coast and were at Santa Barbara together. They were ready to leave on the same day, both bound to Monterey. The captains and supercargoes of the vessels, and their friends, arranged that there should be a trial of speed between them. The Admittance was a good sailer and a beautiful ship. Captain Peterson, her master, being a first-class navigator, the vessels were evenly matched. They were obliged to beat all the way up against the prevailing head winds. The Don Quixote anchored at Monterey twenty-four hours in advance of the other. Captain Paty as a bold navigator with good judgment had no superior. He took chances which a more cautious captain would not have dared to take. His plan was to sleep in the daytime, allowing his mates to sail the vessel when everything was clear, and at night to take charge himself.

As he understood the coast thoroughly, he kept inshore as much as possible after sunset to get the advantage of the land breeze, which prevailed nearly all night but extended only a few miles from shore. He took short tacks to get the breeze, while Captain Peterson kept much further out to sea and lost the advantage. Before the vessels left Santa Barbara there were numerous bets made by the officers and their friends on shore as to the result of the trial, mostly of wines, cigars and small articles, no money being wagered.

All the early vessels that came out from Boston to trade on the coast had on board small quantities of choice wine casked, belonging to their owners, usually sherry and madeira, put under the special charge of the captain, simply to make the voyage to California and back and not to be touched on the way, it being sent for the improvement it received on the voyage through continuous agitation.

In 1842, Mrs. Paty was presented by Don Luis Vignes with a cask of California wine, while the captain’s bark was at San Pedro, and she had it put on board for the benefit of the sea travel until such time as the vessel should reach Honolulu, when the intention was to have it bottled. Captain Paty and his officers were accustomed to a little wine at dinner and, after tasting the Vignes wine, they found it so agreeable that they could not resist drinking of it while on the voyage. The good lady, who was aboard, never suspected it was her wine that was disappearing day by day, she herself being a participant in the abstraction. Captain Paty and I presented Commodore Jones at Monterey some of this identical wine as being superior to anything else that could be procured for the purpose. The vessel reaching Honolulu, Mrs. Paty inquired for the cask and was much chagrined to find that the contents had wholly disappeared.


Soon after the United States flag was hoisted on shore at the port of San Francisco, July 9, 1846, Captain Montgomery selected Lieutenant Bartlett of the Portsmouth to act as first alcalde of Yerba Buena. He was capable, speaking the Spanish language, which was a great advantage. George Hyde was appointed at the same time as second alcalde, he having arrived here as secretary to Commodore Stockton, in the frigate Congress. He had joined that vessel for the purpose of coming to California. Mr. Hyde was a Pennsylvanian, of wealthy family and of the highest respectability. Commodore Riddle was from the same State, and their families were intimate. When the commodore visited Yerba Buena in 1847 he remembered Hyde at once and they were on very friendly terms. George Hyde retained the office of second alcalde only two days and then resigned.

When Bartlett was made prisoner by the Californians, Hyde was appointed in his place by Captain Hull, in December, 1846, and held that position until Bartlett’s release and return, when the latter again resumed the alcaldeship.

There was an election for alcalde in October, 1846, in which Bartlett, who still held the office, was a candidate, with Rob Ridley the opposing aspirant. The latter was badly beaten by Bartlett, who was elected by a handsome majority. The popular voice of the people was then expressed for the first time, under the American system, since the change of flag in the department.

Prior to 1841, Jacob P. Leese obtained a grant of two leagues of land from the government of California, known as Cañada Guadalupe, y Visitación, y Rodeo Viejo, bounded as follows: on the east by the bay of San Francisco, on the south by the San Bruno Mountains or Buri-buri rancho, on the west by the rancho of San Miguel, owned by Don José Jesús Noé, and on the north by the rancho of Doña Carmel Cibrián. In 1841 Robert Ridley was granted by Governor Alvarado four or six leagues of land on the north side of the bay of San Francisco in Sonoma District (now Sonoma County). In 1841, Leese deeded to Ridley his two-league grant. In return, Ridley conveyed to Leese his four or six leagues of land, in consideration of the other conveyance to him. It was a barter trade between the parties and the only transaction of the character—exchanging land grants—that ever occurred to my knowledge in California under the Mexican regime. Duboce Avenue in San Francisco was at one time called Ridley Street after Robert Ridley.

In 1847, when George Hyde was alcalde of San Francisco, much jealousy existed and there were many bickerings between rival landowners, which caused an idle charge, that was subsequently proved entirely unfounded, to be made against Mr. Hyde, of having in his official capacity tampered with the map and survey of the city. The alcalde demanded an investigation, and by order of Colonel Mason, then acting as military governor of the department, the town council was directed to take evidence and report on the subject.

The commission met on the 1st or 2nd of November, 1847, and organized by appointing R. A. Parker chairman. On motion of E. P. Jones, Mr. Harrison, a clerk in the customhouse and commissary’s office, was appointed to take down the evidence. The first and only witness called was one Grayson, also a clerk in the commissary department. He was sworn, and testified that he knew who had made the defacement on the map, and that it was the alcalde, Mr. Hyde. On cross-examination he stated that he did not see the alcalde do it, but presumed that he must have done it because the map belonged to the alcalde’s office. This was all the testimony taken on the charge. The clerk was directed to make and keep a fair copy, or report, of the proceedings.

On the following evening the commission met again, when the committee preferring the charge admitted that it had no further evidence. Mr. Hyde then demanded that the evidence, as taken, be read over before closing the proceedings. The clerk objected to this as unnecessary. He was required to do so, however, when it was discovered that he omitted the entire cross-examination. When asked his reason for the omission, he alleged that he did not think it was of any consequence. Significantly requested to step down and out, he did so promptly. Alcalde Hyde proposed to introduce testimony from the records of the court the object of which would develop itself, as the evidence was read, and which would probably aid in showing who did tamper with the map and surveys.

The hearing occupied three evenings, when it became apparent who the interested parties were and what the motive was for making a change in the lots and survey—that it was work which originated in Mr. Alcalde Bryant’s office to accommodate certain individuals and for whose benefit it was done, and that Mr. Hyde had nothing whatever to do with the business. The exposure resulted in a row among the parties concerned which was ended by the commission’s adjourning until the next evening.

The committee making the charge failed to again appear. It could not be prevailed on to meet and it did not meet the commission until the 4th day of December, a month afterwards. At that date it met to accommodate Mr. Sam Brannan, who was the author of a second and different charge, to wit: that the alcalde had granted to other persons a lot which had been promised by his predecessor, Bryant, to Mr. Brannan’s mother-in-law. Alcalde Hyde denied any knowledge of such promise. He asserted that this was the first he had heard of it, and, if true, the act of conferring the grant by him was unintentional. Mr. Hyde’s clerk, who had also been clerk under Mr. Bryant, testified that he had recorded the grant referred to and had brought to Alcalde Hyde for his signature both the grant and record, which were signed. He had not informed Mr. Hyde of the fact of Alcalde Bryant’s promise, because he had forgotten it. He could not say whether Alcalde Hyde knew of it or not. Mr. Brannan was satisfied and declared that Alcalde Hyde had been entirely vindicated.

The last proceedings occupied but one evening, and the commission adjourned. The committee that had preferred the first charges never appeared again, notwithstanding frequent calls and solicitations of Mr. Hyde and of the board of commissioners.

Affairs ran along from December 4th, 1847, to the 1st day of March, I 848, when a horse race occurred. Under the excitement of the occasion, some of the citizens, deeply interested by heavy betting on the result, fell into personal altercation which terminated in two of them, Leidesdorff and McDougal, being bound over by Alcalde Hyde to keep the peace. Therefrom grew subsequent proceedings, embracing the application to Governor Mason for the removal of Mr. Hyde from office. It was a secretly concocted affair, not heard of until the reply of the governor reached San Francisco, a couple of weeks later. Leidesdorff swore vengeance against Hyde, and took that method of effecting it. He and E. P. Jones, an unscrupulous person, secretly addressed a letter to Governor Mason, wording it in a deceptive manner, which influenced Mr. W. D. M. Howard and Mr. Robert A. Parker to sign it. The latter were under the impression that it merely asked for the removal of Alcalde Hyde, on account of the alleged arbitrary act of placing Mr. Leidesdorff under arrest. Mr. Hyde, considering himself injured by these secret assaults, sent in his resignation, to take effect April 1st, and at the same time apprised the governor of the facts relative to the horse-race altercation and the meeting of the town council, adding that it had held no session as a board of commissioners since December 4th, 1847.

The governor asked the four gentlemen who had signed the communication for a report of the evidence before the commissioners as to the charges, taken In accordance with his previous directions. Messrs. Howard and Parker, finding themselves seriously entrapped, declined to associate further with Jones and Leidesdorff. The two last-named gentlemen, concluding it would be better for them also to withdraw from their compromising position, asked the governor to consider their letter as private correspondence instead of relating to official matters. Thus, so far as the council was concerned, the entire affair had an insignificant ending. C. L. Ross, a member of the self-appointed citizens’ committee, represented a ring composed of several persons who coached the entire proceedings under the charges. As matters developed, it was soon known that malice was at the bottom of the whole business.

Mr. Hyde, at the time he sought to influence the governor to postpone the sale of the beach and water lots, also pointed out to him the necessity of reconstructing the ayuntamiento, or town council, to which the district of San Francisco was entitled. In view of the sale leaving a large balance of funds on hand, ample security ought to be provided for its safety, and the employment of these moneys for various improvements ought not to be left to the disposal of the alcalde alone. A safe and commodious jail was a necessity urgently demanded; also the erection of a schoolhouse. Various other suggestions were offered by Mr. Hyde. He secured the appointment of T. M. Leavenworth as second alcalde, and obtained a promise that a court of first instance should be provided for the district as soon as practicable.

Bartlett continued in office until the arrival of Commodore Biddle, in June, 1847, when he was ordered on board his vessel for duty as lieutenant. Mr. Hyde was then appointed alcalde by General Kearny and held the office until April 3rd, 1848.

When General Kearny became military governor here in 1847, he approved the change of name from Yerba Buena to San Francisco, as already in use by Alcalde Bartlett. The latter was in reality the legal name of the town, including the mission of Dolores and the presidio, which comprised the district of San Francisco.

Don José Ramón Carrillo was a son of Señora María Ignacia López de Carrillo, former owner of the Rancho Santa Rosa, on which the present town of that name stands. He was a brother-in-law of Mariano G. Vallejo. He was distinguished as a bear hunter, but, notwithstanding his fondness for the exciting sport, was himself as gentle as a lamb. There always appeared on his face, whether in conversation or not, a peculiar smile, which indicated his good nature. On one occasion he was out in the woods of the Rancho Santa Rosa, with his companions, in Sonoma County where he lived, and they saw a bear a little distance off. He proposed to the others to go on foot and fight the animal alone, to which they assented.

He had a large sharp knife, and taking the mochila from his saddle he held it in his left hand as a shield and, thus accoutered, approached the bear, which immediately showed fight. The combat began. Carrillo, as the bear charged upon him and attempted to seize him, held up his shield to repel the assault, and with his knife in the other hand made skillful thrusts at the animal, with telling effect. Before long the creature lay dead before him.

On another occasion he was riding alone through the woods when, seeing a bear a little distance away, he went after him on his horse, prepared to throw his reata and lasso him. That part of the country was overgrown with chamiza, or undergrowth, so that the ground was a good deal hidden. The chase had hardly commenced when the bear plunged suddenly into a ditch perhaps five or six feet deep. Before Carrillo could check his horse, the animal and himself plunged headlong into it also. He immediately disentangled himself from his horse, and, while doing so, the bear showed signs of retreating. Under circumstances of the kind a bear is apt to lose all his courage and is not inclined to fight, and in this instance the suddenness of the shock seemed to have knocked all the savageness out of him.

Don José Ramón instantly took in the situation and saw that in such close quarters with the animal, with no room to move about to use his reata or otherwise defend himself, his situation would be a dangerous one should the courage of the bear revive, and that his safety was in allowing him to get away. The bear commenced to climb up the steep sides of the pit, where it was very difficult to get any kind of hold, and Carrillo, with wonderful presence of mind, placed his strong arms under the brute’s hind quarters and, exerting all his strength, gave him a good lift. The bear, having the good sense to rightly appreciate this friendly assistance, struggled forward, got out, and scampered away, leaving the horse and his master to climb out as best they could. Both the rider and the animal were badly bruised in the fall.

In 1850, Don José Ramón Carrillo married the widow of Don Tomás Yorba, and in 1851, as I was about leaving San Diego, I sold to him my furniture there, which he added to the establishment at Santa Ana where he lived with his wife. In 1861, as he was riding towards his home one night, someone waylaid him on the road and shot him dead. He was found there as he fell. The perpetrator of the crime was never discovered.

In 1836 or ‘37, Don José Martínez started from the mansion at Pinole to go out for a little sport at bear hunting with several companions. This rancho is situated in a deep valley with high hills on either side. When they had got some little distance from the house they fancied they heard a bear not far away, and Don José rode off ahead of the others, up the side of the hill, and suddenly came close upon a bear, himself unprepared for an attack. The bear made a dash at him and with his claw raked him down the leg, ripping his trousers, tearing off the shoe and stocking and just giving the foot a scratch. As the horse pressed forward, the Don held on to his saddle with all his might to save himself from being torn to pieces. The strength of the bear’s stroke having been spent upon the clothing, which gave way, the rider passed on and escaped. His companions soon coming up, the creature was speedily lassoed and killed.

Doña Encarnación, the widow of Vicente Peralta, the present wife of Don Manuel Ayala, resided at Temescal, where she had a beautiful home, one of the handsomest in the country. In 1840, while she was Mrs. Peralta, she lived a quarter of a mile from her later residence in a northeasterly direction. About where her home was she had a large vegetable garden, or milpa, and cultivated watermelons. One day in the month of August she walked down from her house at midday to look at her garden and see how her melons and vegetables were getting on. As she was about to return to the house, just as she had left the garden, she saw a short distance off five or six horsemen, among them her husband, gathered about an immense bear which they had just lassoed. It was the matanza season, and the animal had been attracted to the spot by the smell of the meat. He had come down from the mountains to feast upon the carcasses of the slaughtered cattle, but, contrary to the usual custom, had boldly approached in the broad light of day instead of at night. He was a monster, the largest that had ever been seen there, strong and savage, having broken one of the reatas. It required the strength of all the men to manage and hold him. Doña Encarnación was a good deal startled at the sight of the struggling beast. Her husband made a motion to her to go back to the milpa, which she did, staying until the bear was fully secured and subdued. This was in the open country, with no concealment of woods or shrubbery.

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

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