Historical Society of Southern California.

Annual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) online

. (page 1 of 29)
Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) → online text (page 1 of 29)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook






3 1833 01744 5641 H624D

Organized November 1, 1883 Incorporated February 13, 1891




Historical Society


Southern California




Los Angeles County



Geo. Rice & Sons

Organized November 1, 1883 Incorporated February 13, 1891




Historical Society


Southern California




Los Angeles County



Geo. Rice & Sons



Officers of the Historical Society, 1902-1903 214

Early Art in California W. L. Judson 215

Poetry of the Argonauts J. M. Guinn. . 217

Ethical Value of Social Organizations

Mrs. M. Burton Williamson. . 228

Some Medicinal and Edible Plants of Southern California

Laura Evertsen King 237

Andrew A. Boyle H. D. Barrows . . 241

El Canon Perdido J. M. Guinn . . 245

Some Old Letters : 25 1

Dr. John Marsh to Don Abel Stearns, 1837 251

Hon Stephen C. Foster to Gen. B. Riley, 1849 252

The Palomares Family of California H. D. Barrows. . 254

Sister Scholastica Wm. H. Workman . . 256


Officers and Committees of the Society of Pioneers of Los

Angeles County, 1902-1903 259

Constitution and By-Laws 260

Order of Business 264

My First Procession in Los Angeles — March 16, 1847. . . .

Stephen C. Foster . . 265

Some Eccentric Characters of Early Los Angeles

J. M. Guinn . . 273

Angel Pioneers Jesse Yarnell . . 282

Trip to California via Nicaragua J. M. Stewart. . 283

Wm. Wolfskin, The Pioneer H. D. Barrows. . 287

Pioneer Ads and Advertisers J. M. Guinn. . 295


Daniel Desmond Committee Report . . 300

Jessie Benton Fremont Committee Report . . 300

Caleb E. White Committee Report . . 301

John Caleb Salisbury Committee Report . . 303

Henry Kirke White Bent Committee Report . . 304

John Charles Dotter Committee Report . . 306

Anderson Rose Committee Report. . 307

John C. Anderson A. H. Johnson . . 308

Jerry Illich Los Angeles Daily Times . , 309

In Memoriam 310

Roll of Members, Complete to January, 1903 311



Walter R. Bacon President

J. D. Moody First Vice-President

Mrs. M. Burton Williamson Second Vice-President

Edwin Baxter Treasurer

J. M. Guinn Secretary and Curator

board of directors.

Walter R. Bacon, H. D. Barrows,

J. D. Moody, Edwin Baxter,

J. M. Guinn, George W. Hazard,

Mrs. M. Burton Williamson.


officers (elect).

Walter R. Bacon President

A. C. Vroman First Vice-President

Mrs. M. Burton Williamson Second Vice-President

Edwin Baxter Treasurer

J. M. Guinn Secretary and Curator

board of directors.

A. C. Vroman, . Walter R. Bacon,

H. D. Barrows, J. M. Guinn,

J. D, Moody, Edwin Baxter,

Mrs. M. Burton Williamson.

Historical Society


Southern California




In the early art of California, when carefully examined, we
find evidences of a crude and primitive yet genuine art impulse
which must have been a measurable factor in the happiness of
bygone generations.

It is not necessary to go back to the barbaric hieroglyphs
of the Santa Catalina caves, or to retrace the theoretic voyages
of ancient South American peoples, whose frequent rock pic-
tures repeat the familiar outlines of Sugar Loaf rock in Avalon
bay. Theories point to an early international commerce and
an Aztec or Peruvian origin of the latent art talent of the coast
tribes. In the Santa Barbara cave pictures there is unmistak-
able evidence that a certain graphic talent did exist, whatever
its origin may have been. And in some of the native tribes
of today, notably with the Pimas, this pictorial and artistic in-
stinct is well illustrated in their basketry, which displays a degree
of aesthetic discernment far above that of the ordinary savage.

The crude work of some Indians of early mission times, both
in carving and painting, is very interesting. They strove with
inadequate materials, poor tools and awkward hands to imitate
what had doubtless impressed them deeply in the paintings and
architectural designs which had been brought out from Spain
by the mission fathers.

In the lumber room of the old Plaza church lie fourteen pic-
tures covered with dust and broken furniture. They are evi-
dently considered of no value, for they receive no care, except


the shelter of a roof, and yet they bear the potential of a very
great value in the future.

Considered as fine art, from the modern standpoint, they
are worthless, but as relics of the most interesting period in the
development of Southern California they become endowed with
great interest.

Who painted them? An Indian evidently. What was his
name? No one remembers it. When were they painted?
Probably in the days of mission building, when it was impos-
sible to obtain originals or even decent copies of originals with-
out delays of many months, perhaps years. They are painted
on a coarse linen cloth similar to that we know as butcher's
linen, glued in the orthodox way to preserve the fiber of the
cloth, heavily covered with oil paint as a ground and executed
with common earth pigments, probably ground by hand and
with a base of common white house paint.

There is something intensely pathetic in the work, which was
surely a labor of love. The sweetness and sincerity which are
evident, coupled with the unconscious simplicity, makes even
such crude and imperfect work worth while.

There is no attempt at shading and very little at perspective
in these pictures, the drawing is childish and the execution as
rough and crude as can be imagined, and yet they tell the story
of the via crucis in a vivid and startling manner.

There are some remains of primitive frescoes at Pala mis-
sion and in the remaining half dome at San Juan Capistrano,
which ten years ago had some charm of color and story, but
they are rapidly fading out of existence.

There are also some evidences remaining that the pastoral
period of California life had its art. There were wandering
artists, portrait painters, who seem to have wandered from one
great estate to another, painting the dons and their ladies and
an occasional altar piece for the private chapel. In the Coronel
collection of relics of this picturesque period there is shown the
work of at least twto of these early artists, but their names have
been lost. Primitive as the work may be, it still shows an ad-
mirable sense of both beauty and character.



Never before in the world history has there been a migration
similar to that which peopled California after the discovery of
gold. There have been greater outflows of population but they
have been slow-moving. The Aryan migration into Europe
went on for centuries. The Children of Israel wandered forty
years in the wilderness before they reached the promised land.
An Argonaut of '49 would have made the journey in forty days
with an ox team.

In the year 1849, it is estimated that 100,000 people found
their way into the land of gold. They came from almost every
country on the globe — from Europe, Asia, Africa, America and
the islands of the sea — all grades, castes and conditions of men
came — the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious — the
industrious, the idle and the profligate. Australia and Tasmania
sent their ex-convicts and ticket-of-leave men ; Mexico its vicious
peones ; Polynesia its reckless gamblers and the Flowery Kingdorn
its "Heathen Chinee." They came by every known means of
conveyance and by every possible route — ^^around Cape Horn
storm tossed and scurvy racked in floating charnel houses —
across the isthmus of Panama scourged by miasmatic fevers and
decimated by cholera — by the isthmus of Tehauntepec — around
the Cape of Good Hope and across the broad Pacific. Those
who came by land traveled the unpeopled and almost unknown
expanse between the Missouri and the Sierras by a dozen routes
unheard of before. They lost themselves by taking mythical
cut-offs and in their wanderings they penetrated mountain fast-
nesses and floated down unknown rivers. Ignorant of their
danger, they strayed into waterless deserts and perished alone,
uncofifined and unknelled. Lured by the treacherous mirage they
entered valleys of death and lay down to die on their burning
sands haunted by visions of green fields and babbling brooks.
They climbed up into the eternal snows of the Sierras seeking a
gateway into the land of sunshine and perished of cold and
hunger on the very verge of warmth and plenty. Stricken by
that dread plague cholera, five thousand graves by the wzyr
side marked the line of their march from the Missouri to the


The one bait that lured them all was Gold! Gold! Gold!
Their pilgrimage in the land of gold brought out the noblest
qualities and the meanest. It made and unmade men. There
they wore no masks. The inherent character of the man came
to the surface. The accretions that social standing at home had
thrown around a nature base born and sordid, gilding it into
respectability and high standing were often rudely torn away
by the rough life of the mines and the individual was shown up
in all his inherent baseness. The wild free life of the mines was
the crucible of character, separating the dross from the pure

There was enough of the heroic, enough of adventure in
the search of these modern Argonauts for the "Golden Fleece"
to have furnished material for an epic grander and more fasci-
nating than the Odessy of Homer but it has never been written.
There were poets among the Argonauts, but it was seldom they
sang. Life was too strenuous and the battle for existence too
fierce for them to tune the lyre. Their occupation was not con-
ducive to wooing the muses. Gold digging, in early days, was
a socialistic leveler. The standard of merit was a man's capacity
to perform so much physical labor. The unlettered hind mi,c'ht
surpass the finished scholar. The ex-convict might labor beside
the judge who had sentenced him and be classed as the better
man. It was an anomolous condition of society. Under such
conditions and amid such surroundings it was not strange that
the bards but rarely tuned their harps, and when they did sing
it was not of CaHfornia in

"The days of old,
The days of gold,
The days of '49."

"They sang of love and not of fame.

Forgot was Britain's glory :
Each heart recalled a different name.

But all sang Annie Laurie."

Unlike the soldiers of the Crimea on the eve of battle it
was not "Annie Laurie" the miners sang, but when they did sing
of home, like the soldiers before the "dark Redan,"

"Each heart recalled a different name."

There was one song of purely Argonautic composition that
has been sung around miners' camp fires from the Arctic circle
to the jungles of Panama; sung amid the eternal snows of the


Sierras and on the burning sands of the Colorado. Although in
composition it was somewhat crude and homely, and its theme
an oft-told story, there was a sentiment in it that touched a re-
sponsive chord in the breast of many a miner. The ballad I
refer to bore the inexpressive title, "]\oe Bowers of Pike." The
sentiment that made it popular among the Argonauts in the
early '50's you may possibly detect in the stanzas I quote:

"My name is Joe Bowers, I've got a brother Ike,
I came from Old Missouri, yes all the way from Pike.
I'll tell you why I left thar, and how I came to roam.
And leave my poor old mammy so far away from home.

I used to court a girl thar, her name was Sally Black.
I axed her if she'd marry me, she said it was a whack.
But then says she, "Joe Bowers, before we hitch for life
You ought to get a little home to keep yer little wife."

Oh Sally, dearest Sally! Oh Sally for your sake
I'll go to California and try to raise a stake.
Says she to me, "Joe Bowers, you'r the man to win ;
Here's a kiss to bind the bargain," and she hove a dozen in.

Right soon I went to the mines, put in my biggest licks,
Came down on the boulders jest like a thousand o' bricks.
I worked both late and early, in sun, in rain, in snow.
I was workin' for my Sally — 'twas all the same to Joe."

Joe continues to work in the mines, but he doesn't raise a
stake. Time passes and the denoument comes to Joe's little
romance in a letter from brother Ike which said "Sally has wed a
butcher whose hair is red." The bell rings, the curtain drops,
Joe's life drama is played out. From this point in the song the
singer was at liberty to improvise any continuation to the story
he pleased or rather that would please his auditors. One, that
I recollect, was that the auburn haired vendor of steaks and
prime roasts dies, Joe makes a raise in California, returns and
marries the widow and they live happily ever afterward. Who
was the author of the ballad? I do not know. It may not
have had an author, but, like Topsy, "just growed."

The Argonauts of California, and particularly those who
crossed the plains, were nearly all young men. Many of these,
like Mr. Joseph Bowers, had left girls behind them, whom they
had promised to marry. Each hoped to pick up gold enough
in a few months, or a year at most, to get "a little home to keep
his little wife." In the language of a song popular in the days
of '49,


"I soon shall be in Frisco

And then I'll look all round.
And when I see the gold lumps there

I'll pick 'em off the ground;
I'll scrape the mountains clean, my boys,

I'll drain the rivers dry,
A pocket full of rocks bring home;

O! Susanna, don't you cry."

But the miner soon found gold was not be picked up in lumps.
Like Joe, he put in his biggest licks, he dammed creeks and turned
rivers, tunneled into mountains and ground-sluiced hills away,
joined in a wild rush to Gold Lake, to Silver Mountain, searched
for the Lost Cabin, the Padres Mine, the Wagon Tire Diggings
and other ignes fatui that have deluded honest miners, and came
back from his chase after phantoms rich in experience but poor
in gold. Meanwhile time was passing, and it kept doing so
with great regularity. He was growing old and Susanna, who
had ceased to cry, was growing impatient. Then the denoue-
ment comes in a letter from home — Susanna has wed a man who
had not learned to roam but who had a little home. Another
romance is ended. The miner curses his luck — ^perhaps he gets
drunk. He ceases to write home, he becomes driftwood on the
current of fate. In the homely ballad of Joe Bowers many a
miner has beheld his own life drama portrayed. Hence its olden
time popularity in the mines.

The earliest poem printed in a California periodical appeared
in the issue of the Calif ornian of October 3, 1846, and is en-
titled "On Leaving the United States for California." This was
followed in the next issue of the paper by a poetical effusion en-
titled "On Leaving California for the United States." Both are
anonymous. They were probably written by the same author.
In the Californian of October 31st, 1846, is a poem bearing the
title, "To My Mother." It is signed A. D. F. R. All these
mentioned are sentimental and have but little local coloring. In
the Californian of November 14, 1846, is a poem on the con-
quest of Los Angeles. Commodore Stockton and Captain John
C. Fremont, with their united forces^ — Stockton advancing from
San Pedro and Fremont from San Diego — entered Los Angeles,
August 13, 1846. Governor Pio Pico and General Jose Castro
had fled to Mexico at the approach of the American troops, and
the Californian soldiers disbanded and returned to their homes.
The gringo army under Stockton took possession of the ^ity
without firing a shot. The "sounds of woe," "the blood-stained
earth," "the murd'rous arms" and "haggard eyes" in the poem


are figments of the poet's imagination. Evidently his muse was
fooled with a fake report of the conquest.

In the first conquest of Los Angeles nobody was hurt, not
a hostile shot was fired. It was during the second, in January,
1847, that the battles of Paso de Bartolo and La Mesa were
fought. The poem is entitled "Angeles," and is signed W. G.
I give it in full.


Soft o'er the vale of Angeles

The gale of peace was wont to blow
Till discord raised her direful horn

And filled the vale with sounds of woe.

The blood stained earth, the warlike bands,

The trembling natives saw with dread,
Dejected labor left her toil,

And summer's blithe enjoyments fled.

But soon the avenging sword was sheathed.
And mercy's voice by "Stockton" heard

How pleasant were the days which saw
Security and peace restored.

Ah think not yet your trials o'er;

From yonder mountain's hollow side,
The fierce banditti issue forth.

When darkness spreads her curtains wide.

With murd'rous arms, and haggard eyes,

The social joys away they fright;
Sad expectation clouds the day.

And sleep forsakes the fearful night.

Now martial troops protect the robbed.

At distance prowl the ruffian band;
Oh confidence ! that dearer guard,

Why hast thou left this luckless land.

We droop and mourn o'er many a joy,

O'er some dear friend to dust consigned.

But every comfort is not fled,
Behold another friend we find.

Lo "Stockton" comes to grace the plan,
And friendship claims the precious prize ;

He grants the claims nor does his heart
The children of the vale despise.

W. G.

In my researches, the earliest poem that I have found which
has a local coloring, is one entitled "Blowing Up the Wind." It
was written by Edward C. Kemble, editor of the California
Star, and published in that paper April 24, 1847. Kemble came
to the coast in 1846 and became editor of Sam Brannan's paper,


the California Star, in April, 1847. The Star was the first paper
published in San Francisco, or Yerba Buena, as the town was
then called. (The Calif ornian was established at Monterey and
afterwards removed to San Francisco.) Kemble was an Ar-
gonaut of the Argonauts. He visited the gold diggings shortly
after their discovery in 1848 — pronounced them a fake and ad-
vised people to stay at home. His subscribers all went to the
mines. He followed them, made a hundred dollars a day for
a few weeks, then came back and resurrected his newspaper.
Any one who, in early times before the streets of San Francisco
were paved, has wandered over its sand hills and had his face
rasped and his eyes blinded by the flying sand will appreciate the
blowing up that Kemble gives the winds of 'Frisco.


"Ever blowing, colder growing, sweeping madly through the town,
Never ceasing, ever teasing, never pleasing, never down;

Day or night, dark or light,
Sand a-flying, clapboards sighing.
Groaning, moaning, whistling shrill,

Shrieking wild and never still.

In September, in November, or December, ever so.

Even in August, will the raw gust, flying fine dust, roughly blow.

Doors are slamming, gates a-banging.
Shingles shivering, casements quivering,
Roaring, pouring, madly yelling.

Tales of storm and shipwreck telling.

In our bay, too, vessels lay to, but find

No shelter from the blast,

Whitecaps clashing, bright spray splashing.

Light foam flashing, dashing past.
Yards are creaking, blocks a squeaking.
Rudder rattling, ropes all clattering.
Lugging, tugging at the anchor.

Groaning spars and restless spanker.

Now the sun gleams, bright the day seems.

Hark ! he comes is heard the roar ;
Haste to dwelling, dread impelling, heap the fire.

Close the door.
Onward coming, humming, drumming.
Groaning, moaning, sighing, crying,
Shrieking, squeaking, (reader, 'tis so).
Thus bloweth the wind at 'Frisco."

Kemble's "Crow," a parody on Foe's "Raven," is another
pioneer poem antedating the discovery of gold. The city coun-
cil of San Francisco had passed an ordinance forbidding any-
one from killing the carrion fowl that frequented the streets of


the city. The crows were the scavengers that removed the
garbage. One of these birds of ill omen flies into Kemble's
house and perched beneath the ceiling proceeds to help himself
from a side of bacon. The poet raises his gun to shoot, when
his eyes fall on the ordinance. I quote the closing stanzas :

"Then the thrilling and revealing of that crow still neath my ceiling,
Perching, pecking on that bacon which never may he devour
And that paper open spreading and that flashing Pica heading
Of that ordinance forbidding, ah I must deplore.
And my eyes from off that ordinance frowning, rustling on the floor
Shall be lifted nevermore.

And I reached me down my gun, charged with slugs half a score;
Croaked he hoarsely, No, Sefior."

The following poem, which Samuel C. Upham in his "Scenes
in El Dorado — 1849-50," says w^as the earliest poem written
and published in California, appeared in the Pacific News of
March 22, 1850. Mr. Upham, although good authority on the
days of '49, is in error when he claims that it was the earliest.
I have shown that there were several published over three years
before this one. The poem in the News is anonymous. It is
entitled "A Rallying Song for the Gold Diggers." It consists
of eight stanzas and a repeat of the first. I omit two which
seem to be defective:

To the mines ! to the mines ! away to the mines.
Where the virgin gold in the crevice shines !
Where the shale and the slate and the quartz enfold,
In their stony arms the glittering gold.

'Tis in vain that ye seek any longer to hide
Your treasures of gold in your rivers so wide.
In your gulches so deep, or your wild canon home,
For the Anglo-American race is come.

And the noise that ye hear is the sound of the spade,
The pick, the bar, and the bright shining spade.
Of the knife and the shovel, the cradle and pan.
Brave adjuncts of toil to the laboring man!

Far up in the mountains, all rugged and steep.
Far down in the canon, all foaming and deep,
In the bars of the river, the small mountain plains.
Lies the wealth that ye seek for, in numberless grains.

Turn the stream from its bed — search the bottom with care.
The largest, the richest, the finest is there;
Dig deep in the gulches, nor stop till the stone
Reveals there it's treasures, or tell there's none.


Nor be thou disheartened, dismayed nor cast down,
If success should decline thy first efforts to crown;
Go ahead ! Go ahead ! Since Creation began,
"No wealth without toil" is the record to man.

To the mines ! to the mines ! away to the mines !
Where the virgin gold in the crevice shines !
Where the shale and the slate and the quartz enfold,
In their stony arms the glittering gold.

Of the anonymous poetical gems of Argonautic days this
one describing the inflowing human tide to the golden shores of
California is among the best :

From the sunny Southern Islands, from the Asiatic coast,
The Orient and the Occident are mingled in the host.
The glowing star of Empire has forever stayed its way,
And its western limb is resting o'er San Francisco Bay.

A hundred sails already swell to catch the willing breeze,
A hundred keels are cleaving through the blue Atlantic seas,
Full many a thousand leagues behind 'their tardy courses borne
For a hundred masts already strain beyond the stormy Horn.

Soon from the channel of St. George and from the Levant shore.
To swell the emigrating tide, anotner host shall pour
To that far land beyond the west where labor lords the soil.
And thankless tasks shall ne'er be done by unrequieted toil.

To banks of distant rivers whose flashing waves have rolled
For long and countless centuries above neglected gold,
Where nature holds a double gift within her lavish hand.
And teeming fields of yellow grain strike root in golden sand.

No state in its infancy could boast of so many talented men
as California. Among these there were none more gifted than
Col. Edward D. Baker. As an orator he had no superior; as a
statesman he towered above his compeers; as a warrior he won
fame on the bloody fields of Cerro Gordo and Buena Vista. He
was killed at the battle of Ball's Bluff. After his death the fol-

Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) → online text (page 1 of 29)