Carlyle Channing Davis.

The true story of Ramona, its facts and fictions, inspiration and purpose online

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ney, Mr. Henry Sandham and Mr. N. H.
Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell has contributed this
statement of his association with Mrs. Jack-

"I first met Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson at
Anaheim, near Los Angeles, in April, 1883.
She came there in company with Mr. Ab-
bot Kinney and Mr. Henry Sandham, the

" Mrs. Jackson was seeking someone who
was familiar with the country and could guide
her and her companions through Southern Cali-
fornia, and especially to the several Indian

" I understood that she was in California as
a representative of the U. S. Interior Depart-
ment, especially authorized to visit the Mis-
sion Indians and report upon their condition,


Owner and driver of the carriage in which Helen Hunt Jackson
made the first part of her journey through Southern California.





and recommend action to be taken by the Gov-
ernment in their behalf. She seemed intensely
interested in the Indians at Temecula and
Warner's Ranch.

" Our first stop was at San Juan Capistrano,
where we remained two days. From there we
visited the Santa Margarita Rancho, where we
were guests at the palatial home of Don Juan
Forster for two days.

" Our journey from place to place was at-
tended by many exciting and interesting inci-
dents. Mrs. Jackson accepted every inconveni-
ence and hardship without complaint. She
seemed wholly absorbed by the Indian subject:
to hear, to see all concerning them. No detail
escaped her. She was ever smiling, good-
natured and witty, but always earnest and

"We encountered many trying conditions,
especially for a woman, and one of Mrs. Jack-
son's refinement. We often camped at night.
Pala Mission, on the San Luis Rey River, was
reached late at night, and there we were forced
to camp. We found an American there, who
was trading with the Indians, and prevailed
upon him to give us some supper. Something
about him particularly amused and interested
Mr. Sandham, who named the fellow ' Gari-


baldi.' No beds could be had, and we had to
sleep in a haystack.

" Mrs. Jackson made friends with all whom
she met, both white people and Indians. She
was attentive, kind and courteous to everyone.

"I kept the carriage in which we rode until
a few years ago. I offered to give it to the
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, that it
might be preserved in connection with the
Coronel Collection, but the offer was refused
on the ground of lack of space. I finally sold
it to a carriage dealer in Pasadena, who dis-
sembled it and used its parts for various pur-

"I know of many of the incidents of our
travel to be the same as related in 'Ramona.'
Mrs. Hartsel, whom Mrs. Jackson met at
Temecula, was Mrs. Ramona Wolfe, the wife
of the storekeeper there. Mrs. Jackson was
greatly interested in Mrs. Wolfe, and from her
learned many things concerning the Temecula
Indians and their ejectment from their lands.
Mrs. Wolfe was in sympathy with the Indians,
and, therefore, Mrs. Jackson gave her special

" Because Mrs. Wolfe's name was Ramona,
and Mrs. Jackson seemed so particularly im-
pressed by her, I have always thought she was


the original of Mrs. Jackson's heroine in ' Ra-
mona.' Mrs. Wolfe never lived at Camulos
ranch, and never had, so far as I know, any
of the experiences related in the novel as having
attended Ramona."


THE constant companion of Helen Hunt
Jackson when in California on her In-
dian mission was the late Mr. Henry
Sandham. He was one of the artists of the
" Century Magazine," had established a repu-
tation in his work and was selected and sent
by the Century Company with Mrs. Jackson on
her California journey.

Mrs. Jackson was to contribute articles to
the magazine named, and Mr. Sandham to
illustrate them, not with camera, but with
pencil and brush.

Henry Sandham was born at Montreal,
Canada, in 1842. It has been said that north-
ern climes are too cold to nourish artistic
temperament and talent; but out of the Cana-
dian wintry blasts came Mr. Sandham, destined
to rise to success and fame in the world of art.

The wild life of Canada was his special work,
and his introduction in the United States was
through the " Century Magazine," in which
were published his sketches depicting the out-
door life of his native land.



Who accompanied Mrs. Jackson to and on her journeys in Cali-
fornia, and who illustrated her writings and painted the " Ra-
mona" pictures. As he appeared in 1883, while in California.

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Mr. Sandham has declared that, when a
youth, every available minute, night and day,
he pursued diligently and earnestly drawing,
sketching and painting. Even the opposition
of his parents to an artistic career did not dis-
courage him.

In 1880 he was selected as one of the original
members of the Royal Canadian Academy,
which was founded by H. R. H., the Princess
Louise. He then went to Europe, where, with
the money he had made and saved, he pursued
his studies. He soon returned to America and
located at Boston, and it was while he was re-
siding there that he was commissioned by the
" Century Magazine " to accompany Mrs. Jack-
son to California. In later years he went to
London, where he continued his work, and
where he died, June 21, 1910.

The Century Company is entitled to the
credit for the coming of Mrs. Jackson to Cali-
fornia; she was its paid contributor. The
Mission Indians were to be her principal
theme; but the Franciscan Missions and South-
ern California were within the sphere of her

The wisdom and business sagacity of the
Century Company in securing the services of
Mrs. Jackson for the work resulted in enrich-


ing the columns of its magazine with articles
from Mrs. Jackson's pen, the best known and
most generally read being, " Father Junipero
and His Work," "The Present Condition of
the Mission Indians in Southern California,"
and "Echoes in the City of Angels." These
beautiful and historical compositions have been
republished in two different forms: "Glimpses
of Three Coasts," and " Glimpses of California
and the Missions." The first two, "Father
Junipero and His Work," and "The Present
Condition of the Mission Indians in Southern
California," are a part of the reading series in
the public schools of California; credit for
which is to be given to the thoughtfulness and
persistency of Miss Annie B. Picher, of Pasa-
dena, California, who has done much to popu-
larize the works of Mrs. Jackson and honor her

Mrs. Jackson's magazine contributions were
elaborately and realistically illustrated by Mr.
Sandham. He went everywhere with his prin-
cipal. He visited every Mission, studied Indian
character, and sketched from life. He himself
has said that his sketches " were always made
on the spot, with Mrs. Jackson close at hand
suggesting emphasis to this object or promi-
nence to that." This statement includes the



drawings which embellish the " Pasadena Edi-
tion" of "Ramona"; was indeed uttered in
direct reference to the novel.

" Glimpses of Three Coasts " and " Glimpses
of California and the Missions" are valuable
and worthy of space in every library because
of the illustrations they contain alone.

It was not until 1900 that Mr. Sandham gave
to the public the "Ramona" paintings from
which were taken the illustrations contained in
the " Pasadena Edition." This was seventeen
years after making the sketches for them in

The illustrations proper number fifteen, every
one being especially pertinent to the text.
They make real and living things of their sub-
jects. In addition there are twenty-six deco-
rative chapter headings; all the work of Mr.

This work alone places Mr. Sandham in the
front rank of the world's artists. All are most
beautiful and interesting, but to the authors
the most appealing of these paintings is the
one of the meeting of Ramona and Father Sal-
vierderra in the wild mustard. The Father
was expected at Camulos ranch on his annual
pilgrimage, and Ramona went forth to greet
him. The text thus pictures the scene: "The



wild mustard in Southern California is like
that spoken of in the New Testament, in the
branches of which the birds of the air may rest.
. . . The cloud of blossom seems floating in
the air; at times it looks like golden dust.
With a clear blue sky behind it, as it is often
seen, it looks like a golden snow-storm. . . .
Father Salvierderra soon found himself in a
veritable thicket. . . . Suddenly he heard faint
notes of singing. He paused, listened. It was
the voice of a woman. . . . The notes grew
clearer, though still low and sweet as the twi-
light notes of the thrush. . . . Father Salvier-
derra stood still as one in a dream. ... In a
moment more came, distinct and clear to his
ear, the beautiful words of the second stanza of
Saint Francis' inimitable lyric, 'The Canticle
of the Sun.' . . . ' Ramona ! ' exclaimed the
Father. . . . And as he spoke her face came
into sight, set in a swaying frame of the blos-

What more inspiring subject could there be
to the artist? Mr. Sandham's genius poured
into the picture he created, and the scene lives.

No less dramatic, however, are the other
paintings, each a pictured climax in the sorrow-
ful and stirring story of " Ramona." Every de-
tail of fact was carefully and correctly sketched



and colored by the artist. In the picture of the
Senora Moreno reprimanding Juan Canito, the
head shepherd, for denouncing Luigo, the lazy
shepherd boy, the veranda on the west side
of the court at Camulos ranch is readily recog-
nizedeven as it is at this time. The Senora
had said to Juan, " I fear the Father will give
you penance when he hears what you have
said," and then turned her back, while he
" stood watching her as she walked away, at
her usual slow pace, her head slightly bent
forward, her rosary lifted in her left hand, and
the fingers of the right hand mechanically
slipping the beads." The painting is in every
detail true to the text.

The portraits of Ramona and Alessandro are
idealized ones. In their faces are plainly de-
picted the intensity of their natures, their strong
characters, their sufferings and their sorrows.
These pictures are so strikingly true to the de-
scriptions of the heroine and hero in the story
as to be readily recognized. They reveal an
undercurrent of woe that is the pathos of the

Another of the paintings is a portrait of Fa-
ther Salvierderra, in cowl and cassock, a cross
with the Savior pendent from the neck. It
was, as before stated, seventeen years after


* >

Mr. Sandham had seen the original of Father
Salvierderra at Santa Barbara Mission, Father
Francisco de Jesus Sanchez, O.F.M., that he
produced the painting of Father Salvierderra
for " Ramona." It would seem that the artist
desired to idealize the priestly character. The
face is uplifted, the eyes turned toward heaven.
All eyes are beautiful when looking heaven-
ward. In the portrait are strongly portrayed
those intensely devout, unselfish and saintly
virtues attributed to Father Salvierderra in the
romance, and actually possessed by his pro-
totype, Father Sanchez.

In the description of Father Salvierderra,
when journeying from Santa Barbara Mis-
sion to Camulos ranch, pausing many times to
gaze at the beautiful flowers that lined his
pathway, Mr. Sandham found inspiration for
the painting of the Father standing, leaning
on his staff, viewing the scene about him.
" Flowers were always dear to the Francis-
cans," is the quotation from the story that
designates this painting. This picture brings
realization to this text of the story: "It was
melancholy to see how, after each one of these
pauses, each fresh drinking in of the beauty
of the landscape and the balmy air, the old man
resumed his slow pace, with a long sigh and



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his eyes cast down. The fairer this beautiful
land, the sadder to know it lost to the Church
alien hands reaping its fullness, establish-
ing new customs, new laws. All the way down
the coast from Santa Barbara he had seen, at
every stopping place, new tokens of the set-
tling up of the country farms opening, towns
growing; the Americans pouring in at all points
to reap the advantage of their new possession.
It was this which had made his journey heavy-
hearted, and made him feel, in approaching the
Senora Moreno's, as if he were coming to one
of the last sure strongholds of the Catholic
faith left in the country."

When Felipe, not yet recovered from a recent
fever, undertook to assist at the sheep-shearing,
he fainted on the top of the shed where he was
at work packing the wool. There was con-
fusion and anxiety because of the difficulty
incident to removing him to the ground. It
was Alessandro who sprang up the cleated
post, seized Felipe and carried him along a
plank to a place of safety. It was a tragic mo-
ment, and the scene is vividly delineated by
Mr. Sandham in another of the paintings.

During Felipe's illness nearly every day Ales-
sandro was sent for to play his violin or sing
to him. One of the paintings is of Felipe's


bedroom, the Seriora Moreno sitting by her
stricken son, and Alessandro, with violin and
bow at ease, singing. " It seemed to be the
only thing that roused him from his half
lethargic state." Felipe would say to Alessan-
dro, "I am going to sleep now, sing." The
artist impressively presents the sick-room scene,
the anxious watching of the devoted mother,
the ardor and seriousness of the Indian singer.

A thrilling scene is presented by the paint-
ing portraying Senora Moreno enraged at the
discovery of Ramona locked in the arms of
Alessandro under the willows at the washing
stones in the twilight. With the stamping
of her foot, and directing with outstretched
arm, she ordered Alessandro out of her sight;
but " Alessandro did not stir, except to turn
toward Ramona with an inquiring look."
Senora Moreno is pictured in extreme coldness,
hatred and anger, Alessandro in despair, Ra-
mona in dignified protest; the whole eliciting
sympathy for the lovers, disdain for the

A pathetic part of the " Ramona " story is
the journeying of Alessandro and the heroine
on horseback from Camulos ranch to Temec-
ula and thence on to their place of marriage,
San Diego. " Baba and Benito," the respective




(l) Grcvcja Pa, the oldest woman of the Temccula Indians.
(2) A band of Mission Indian shearers. " It was sheep-shearing
time in Southern California. * * * Forms, dusky black against
the fiery sky, were coming down the valley. It was the band of
Indian shearers." " Ramona."


names of Ramona's horse and Alessandro's,
" were now such friends they liked to pac^
closely side by side; and Baba and Benito were
by no means without instinctive recognitions of
the sympathy between their riders . . . Baba
had long ago learned to stop when his mistress
laid her hand on Alessandro's shoulder. He
stopped now, and it was long minutes before
he had the signal to go on again." And here
was a demonstration of the love that inflamed
Alessandro and compelled him to despair be-
cause of his abject poverty in worldly goods,
causing him to cry out to Ramona, " * Majella !
Majella! . . . What can Alessandro do now?
What, oh, what? Majella gives all; Alessandro
gives nothing ! ' ; and he bowed his forehead
on her hands before he put them back gently on
Baba's neck." Mr. Sandham's temperament
was in accord with this touching episode, which
is the subject of one of the most interesting of
his " Ramona " paintings.

A demonstration of implicit trust of woman
in man and of religious fidelity of the latter in
reciprocation is the experience of Ramona and
Alessandro in the mountains the first night
after their elopement from Sefiora Moreno's.
" Before nightfall of this, their first day in the
wilderness, Alessandro had prepared for Ra-


mona a bed of finely broken twigs of the
manzanita and ceanothus. . . . Above these
he spread layers of glossy ferns, five and six
feet long." Ramona laid down to rest. Ales-
sandro made no bed for himself. He was to
watch the night through, that no harm should
come to his Majella. " Ramona was very tired
and she was very happy. All night long she
slept like a child. She did not hear Alessan-
dro's steps. . . . Hour after hour Alessandro
sat leaning against a huge sycamore trunk, and
watched her. . . . She looked like a saint, he
thought." The artist fully grasped this sweet
and peaceful scene. He made the canvas record
and retell the implicit trust of Ramona, the
gallant chivalry of Alessandro.

In the graveyard at Temecula Alessandro
and Ramona met Carmena, an Indian woman,
crazed with grief, who was passing her days at
her baby's grave in Pachanga and her nights
by her husband's at Temecula; all the result
of American aggression in the Indians' coun-
try. Carmena watched with Ramona while
Alessandro went to Hartsel's in Temecula to
secure his father's violin. The reproduction of
this incident on canvas by Mr. Sandham is in
illustration of the lines of the story reading:
" Dismounting, and taking Baba's bridle over


her arm, she bowed her head assentingly, and
still keeping firm hold of Carmena's hand,
followed her." It is a touching scene, and a
test of the artistic ability of the painter.

The day after their marriage Alessandro and
Ramona arrived at San Pasquale, where had
located some of Alessandro's Temecula people,
who wondered " how it had come about that
she, so beautiful, and nurtured in the Moreno
house, of which they all knew, should be Ales-
sandro's loving wife. . . . Toward night they
came, bringing in a hand-barrow the most
aged woman in the village, to look at her. She
wished to see the beautiful stranger. . . .
Those who had borne her withdrew and seated
themselves a few paces off. Alessandro spoke
first. In a few words he told the old woman of
Ramona's birth, of their marriage, and of her
new name of adoption." Then followed words
from Ramona, interpreted by Alessandro; and
the old woman, lifting up her arms like a sibyl,
said: "It is well; I am your mother. The
winds of the valley shall love you, and the grass
shall dance when you come." The painting of
Mr. Sandham shows the old woman and other
Indians seated, Ramona kneeling and Ales-
sandro standing, bending, with his left hand
on Ramona's right shoulder. It presents an



affecting climax, and evidences the genius of
the artist.

When Felipe, in his first search for Ramona
and Alessandro, arrived at Santa Barbara Mis-
sion, " the first figure he saw was the venerable
Father Salvierderra sitting in the corridor.
As Felipe approached, the old man's face
beamed with pleasure, and he came forward
tottering, leaning on a staff in each hand.
' Welcome, my son,' was the Father's greeting,
and he asked, ' Are all well? ' Felipe knew
then the Father had not seen Ramona, and
dismay seized him. And when Felipe told him
he was seeking Ramona, the Father cried, * Ra-
mona! . . . Seeking Ramona! What has be-
fallen the blessed child?'" The painting is
emotional and enlivens the text of the story to

The portrait of Felipe, the eldest son of
Sefiora Moreno, presents a Mexican gentleman
of culture and character. The sombrero and
cigarette of the Mexican are in evidence. In-
stead of a front there is a side view of the
subject. The picture is an interesting study
of a young man who adored and wished to
please his mother, who loved Ramona ardently,
but rationally and unselfishly, and who was

scorched by the fire that raged between the cold



and haughty Senora and the lovable and inno-
cent Ramona; and who, at the end of the
tragedy, sought Ramona, discovered her as
Alessandro's widow, took her and her child to
Camulos, and afterward went with them to
Mexico City, where the two were married.
" Sons and daughters came to bear his name.
The daughters were all beautiful; but the most
beautiful of them all, and, it was said, the
most beloved by both father and mother, was
the oldest one; the one who bore the mother's
name, and was only stepdaughter to the Senor
Ramona Ramona, daughter of Alessandro,
the Indian."

The canvas story of the brutal and tragic
murder of Alessandro by Jim Farrar is a paint-
ing of distressing horror. It shows Jim Farrar
on horseback and Alessandro stepping out of
his dwelling, his hands pleadingly lifted, Ra-
mona leaning against the open door, her hands
to her face, the picture of grief and despair.
Capitan, the faithful collie, is at Ramona's side.
The painting is true to the story of Alessan-
dro's death.

The decorative chapter headings from Mr.
Sandham's sketches are an interesting feature
of the illustrated edition of " Ramona." They
have for their subjects the Camulos chapel,



the torn altar cloth, different Mission buildings,
Indian baskets, Temecula village, Mission bells,
and other objects described in " Ramona." All
these sketches are faithfully correct.

The portrait of Father Salvierderra painted
for the " Pasadena Edition " of " Ramona/' is
not to be confused with the original portrait
of that character produced by . Mr. Sandham
from life while he was at Santa Barbara with
Mrs. Jackson in 1883. Of this original por-
trait Mr. Sandham's daughter, Miss Gwendo-
line Sandham, residing in London, has thus
written the authors: "It is a very fine water-
color, and perhaps the best picture my father
ever painted, and has been * hung on the line '
in most of the world's big exhibitions; and
though, for form's sake, it has been catalogued
with a price, it has always been exhibited with
the red star, ' sold,' on it, as it was my mother's
property. It is now mine. It is a portrait
study of the original of Father Salvierderra,
and was painted, I believe, in the cloister of
Santa Barbara Mission."

When Mr. Sandham was making the " Ra-
mona " sketches at Santa Barbara Mission,
including the original portrait of Father Sal-
vierderra, the prototype of this character, Fa-
ther Sanchez, gave to the artist his cassock,



(i) The home of Tcmecula Indians, who, having been driven
from that village by the whites, took up their abode at Pechanga.
three miles away. Mrs. Jackson passed a night in this Indian
abode. (2) Interior of chapel at San Diego Mission, where
Alessandro and Ramona were married. " In a neglected weedy
open stood his (Father Gaspara's) chapel, * * * the most pro-
foundly melancholy in all Southern California/' " Ramona. '


cowl, sandals and the hempen girdle with its
symbolical five knots. The sandals were well
worn, and, to quote from Mr. Sandham's note
to the "Pasadena Edition" of " Ramona,"
"the cowl bleached and faded with the sun
marks of the endless round of toils and duties
so faithfully described by Mrs. Jackson."

From a letter received from Miss Gwendoline
Sandham by the authors the following is of
special interest: " It might interest you to know
that the Franciscan robe my father mentions
in his little note to * Ramona,' is still in my
possession. The father gave it to him him-
self on the condition that it should never be
used for masquerading, theatrical displays, etc.
Unfortunately the sandals and girdle are miss-
ing, and I fear the moths have played sad
havoc with the robe itself, but it is a very real
memento of the original of Father Salvierderra,
and as such my father always held it in sacred
regard. If you care to have the remains of the
robe to be presented to the City of Los An-
geles I will be very glad to send it on to you."

The authors have accepted the offer of Miss
Sandham, and the robe of Father Salvierderra

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Online LibraryCarlyle Channing DavisThe true story of Ramona, its facts and fictions, inspiration and purpose → online text (page 13 of 14)