Juan José Warner.

An historical sketch of Los Angeles county, California. From the Spanish occupancy, by the founding of the mission San Gabriel Archangel, September 8, 1771, to July 4, 1876 online

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1843, by Gov. Juan B. Alvarado to Jose del Carmen Lugo, Jose M;u-ia Lugo,
Vicente Lugo, and Diego Sepulveda, containing eight leagues, or 35,510 acres.
In November, 1851, Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich, Mormon Apostles,
having completed their first payment of -$13,000, entered into possession, and
it was deeded to them February 15, 1853. That county includes former
ranchos of Los Angeles county, as Chino, Chcamongo, Jurupa and others.
The child has grown up to a vigorous manhood. The people liave always
been remarkable for industrj', enterprise, and good financial management in
l)ublic allairs. The separation was not injurious to the city of Los Angeles.
Until within five or six years past, a brisk and valuable ti-ade Avas carried on
betAveen the two places, "in lumber, general ag."icultural produce, hides and
wool— three-fourths on cash; and still there is some trade. San Bernardino
county possesses vast resources, mineral and agricultural, that remain to be
developed. There is no real antagonism of interests bet^\'■een these two coun-
ties, and the kindly sympathy of the past deserves to be fostered and pre-
served in future.


The policy of sub-divisiou of the Mexican grants, which has so much
aided agricultural progress in Los Angeles county, commenced in earnest in
the year 1865, although earlier efibrts were made in that direction. May 21,
1851, Henry Dalton, of Azusa, published a project for dividing two leagues,
near 9,000 acres, into small farm lots, to suit purchasers, on the most favora-
ble terms, with "a beautiful site for a town," which he intended laying out
as soon as the wants of trade and settlers might require ; and also to have a
merchant flouring mill near by. Long since the promising settlement of
Duarte has grownup in his neighborhood. October 23, 1852, John O.
Wheeler ofiered in small farms of fiftj^ acres, his rancho San Francisquito,
near San Gabriel Mission. These proposals may have been premature, al-
though there are some reasons to think that settlers might have taken them
up more profitably than by wasting time, in some instances, upon supposed
public land, the title to .which is even now undetermined. In 1855, Don An-
tonio Maria Lugo, owner of San Antonio rancho, nearly 30,000 acres, lying
between Los Angeles city and San Gabriel river, and finally granted to him
in 1838,partitioned the same — reserving a homestead for himself — among his
sons, Jose Maria, Felipe, Jose del' Carmen, Vicente, Jose Antonio, and
daughters. Dona Vicenta Perez, Dona Maria Antonia Yorba, and Dona Mer-
ced Foster. In 1860, Dona Merced Foster and Don Vicente Lugo sold their
respective portions to parties who immediately resorted to sub-division and
sales in small lots. The first deed is from Isaac Heiman, dated June 21, 1865,
to David Ward ; followed by several other sales in 1865 and 1866 to Jameson
and others. But before this, Gov John G. Downey had commenced the sub-
division of Santa Gertrudes rancho, lying along San Gabriel river and con-
taining near 22,000 acres. His first deed is of date April 22, 1865, to J. H.
Burke. Others followed to Neighbors and Hutchinson, and many after-
w^ard. This last is the locality known as Los Nietos. It had a settlement of
over two hundred persons in 1836, broken up subsequently. Here is Down-
ey City, twelve miles south-east from Los Angeles — a newspaper, business
houses, a happy circle of farmers, with good title, upon a soil as rich as can
be found on the face of the earth. This, with all the river land, and into El
Monte, is our "corn county," emphatically. It deserves to be mentioned
that Mr. Dalton did complete his promised flouring mill at Azusa, Oct. 19,
1855, and from wheat raised on his own rancho made an excellent quality of

From 1850 to 1860, and thereabouts, the cattle trade and shipment of
grapes were the main reliance for money. The cattle sold to go out of the
county, in the former year, were estimated at 15,000 head, at $15 per head.
Subsequent years, until 1856, show a constant demand for stock, if not so
great ; in this year it was considered that $500,000 had been invested in cattle
and sheep, to be taken away. In 1860, there were still 78,000 head of cattle,
three-fifths of which belonged to native Californians, and, in part, distributed
as follows :

Abel Stearns, 12,000 ; Juan Abila, 7,200 ; John Rolaud, 5,000 ; William
Workman, 5,000; Williams' estate, 5,000; John Temple, 4,000; Ricardo
Vejar, 3,500; Bernardo Yorba, 3,500: Ignacio del Valle, 3,500; Teodosio
Yorba, 3,500 ; Leonardo Cota, 2,500 ; Vicente Lugo, 2,500 ; Pio and Andres
Pico, 2,000; Agustin Machado, 2,000; Nasario Dominguez's estate, 2,000;
Felipe Lugo, 1,000; Valdez family, 1,000; Enrique Abila, 1,000; Fernando
Sepulveda, 1,000.

Making just allowance for defective assessments, the amount was prob-
ably considerably — one third — beyond this estimate. The drought of the
years 1863 and 1864, was more or less destructive throughout California. In
Los Angeles County, 1865 began with 90,450 head ol cattle, 15,529 horses,
282,000 sheep. In earlier times, sheep made little figure in the annual calcu-
lations of gain. In 1875, the total of flocks was counted at 508,757. From
1860 onward, wool became a staple, added to wine and brandy, orange and
other fruits, wheat and corn. According to the Report ot the County Sur-
veyor, January 15th, 1876, the product of the wool was 2,034,828 pounds.
Horned cattle were reduced to 13,000 ; horses, 10,000.

All the oranges in 1850 were from the Mission orchard of San Gabriel,
and the gardens of Louis Vignes and William Wolfskill. June 7th, 1851,


Mr. Vigaes offered for sale his "desirable property, El Alizo " — so called
from the superb sycamore tree, many centuries old, that shaded his cellars.
He says : " There are two orange gardens that yield from five to six thousand
oranges in the season." It is credibly stated that he was the first to plant
the orange in this city, bringing young trees from San Gabriel, in tlie year
1834. He had 400 peach trees, together with apricots, pear, apple, fig and
walnut, and adds: "The vineyard, with 40,000 vines, 32,000 now bearing
grapes, and will yield 1,000 barrels of wine per annum, the quality of which
is well known to be superior." Don Louis came to Los Angeles, by way of
tiie Sandwich Islands, in 1831— he was a native of France. One orange cul-
tivator added after another, January 1st, 1876, there were in this county
36,700 bearing orange trees, and 6,900 bearing lime and lemon trees. The
shipment of this fruit rapidly grew into a regular business. In 1851 there
were 104 vineyards, exclusive of that of San Gabriel— all but 20 within the
limits of the city. The San Gabriel vineyard, neglected since 1834, was now
in decaj'. In Spanish and Mexican times, it had been called " mother vine-
yard," from the fact that it supplied all the original cuttings; it is said to
have once had 50,000 vines. In 1875, the grape vines of this county were

In 1851 grapes, in crates or boxes, brought 20 cents per pound at San
Francisco, 80 cents at Stockton. Through 1852 the price was the same.
Thi.sshipmentcontinuedseveralyears, in general with profit. Very little wine
was then shipped; in 1851, not over a thousand gallons. Soon the northern
counties began to forestall the market with grapes nearlj^ as good as our
own. Gradually the manufacture of wine was established. Wolfskill indeed
had, at an early date, shipped a little wine, but his aim was to turn his grapes
into brandy. Louis Wilhart, in 1849 and 1850, made white wine considered,
in flavor and quality, next to that of Vignes, who could produce from his
cellars a brand perhaps unexcelled through the world. He had some in 1857
then over 20 years old — perhaps the same the army relished so well in 1847,
as before intimated. Among the first manufacturers for the general market
was Vincent Hoover, with his father. Dr. Juan Leonce Hoover, first at the
' Clayton Vineyard," which, owing to its situation on the bench, produced a
superior grape ; then from the vineyard known as that of Don Jose Serrano.
Some of the vines in this last named, are stated to be 95 years old. This was
from 1850 to about 1855. The cultivation of the grape too, about this time,
took a new impulse. At San Gabriel, Wm. M. Stockton, in 1855, had an ex-
tensive nurseiy of grape vines and choice fruit trees. Dr. Hoover was an
emigrant of 1849, by the Salt Lake route. He died October 8th, 1862, after a
life somewhat eventful. He was born February 11th, 1792, in Canton Argau,
Switzerland ; graduated as a physician at Lyons, France ; was surgeon in the
army of Napoleon, and was at the burning of Moscow. Mrs. Eve Hoover,
his wife, died September 11th, 1853, at the age of forty-one, a lady held in
high esteem, and at whose death by an accident, the whole community was
deeply aflected. Joseph Iluber, senior, came to Los Angeles for health from
Kentucky. In the year 1855, he entered successfully into wine-making at
the 'Foster vineyard.' He died aged 54 years, July 7, 1866 ; leaving a widow
and six children, who reside at Los Angeles. Louis Wilhart died November
6th, 1871. April 14, 1855, Jean Louis Sansevaine purchased the vineyard
property, cellars, etc., of his uncle, Louis Vignes, for $42,000 (by the by the
first large land sale within the city). Mr. Sansevaine had resided here since
1853. In 1855 he shipped his first wine to San Francisco. In 1856 he made
the first shipment from this county to New York, thereby becoming the
pioneer of this business. Mr. Matthew Keller says: "According to the
books of the great forwarding house of P. Banning at San Pedro, the
amount shipped to San Francisco in 1857, was 21,000 boxes of grapes, aver-
aging 45 pounds each, and 250,000 gallons of wine." In 1856 Los Angeles
yielded only 7,200 cases of wine ; in 1860 it had increased to 66,000 cases.
in 1861 shipments ot wine were made to New York and Boston by Benj. D.
Wilson and J. L. Sansevaine ; they are the fathers of the wine interest,
Sunny Slope, unexcelled for its vmtage — and the orange, almond and wal-
nut — was commenced by L. J. Rose in Januaiy, 1861. December, 1859, the
wine producers were : Matthew Keller, Sansevaine Bros., Frohling & Co.,


B. I). Wilson, Stevons & Bell, Dr. Parrott, Dr. TIios. J.. White, Laborie,
Messcr, BaniluircU, Delong, 8aula Ana pi'ccinct, Heury Daiton, P. Serres,
,rosci>h Ilubrr Sr., Ricardo Vcjar, Barrovrs, Balleriuo, Dr. Hoover, Louis
Williart, Tr.ilmc, Clement, Jose Perrano. The total manufacture of wiue
was ahnut •:.-,0.i;()0 .gallons ; in 187.""i, 1,:!'?8,n00 gallons, according to tlie ofli

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