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tal of $50,000, buy the lot and the old house and erect a Fremont
memorial building, preserving intact the historic headquarters.
The company would promise to donate to the Historical So-
ciety commodious quarters in the proposed building on condi-
tion that it (the society) would lend its name and influence to
furthering the scheme. When told the society would not lend
itself to the perpetuation of a fake, he was very much disgusted
at the "finicky notions of certain persons." People generally
believed that the old building was Fremont's headquarters and
what was the use in undeceiving them — an excuse that has kept
the life in many another historical fake.

This is the very commonplace history of the old house. In
1856 or 1857 it was built by Henry Hancock for a residence.
Hancock was the surveyor who made in 1853 what is known as
the Hancock's survey of Los Angeles city. The house stands
on Lot I, Block A, of that survey. Hancock planted a vineyard
on the lot, which contained thirty-five acres. This lot and the


house passed into the possession of Moritz Morris on the fore-
closure of a mortgage and is still known as the Morris vineyard
tract. Several acres from the northeastern portion of it con-
taining the house were sold to Jphn S. Carr, and is still known as
the Carr tract. Both tracts long ago were divided into city lots
and are compactly built up with residences and business blocks.
The old house has had many different owners and has been put
to a variety of uses.

How did it come to be known as Fremont's head-
quarters? There is a tradition (whether founded on
fact or pure fiction deponent saith not) that away back in the
later '50s a German resident of Los Angeles opened a saloon in
it and to give his enterprise a good send off named the build-
ing Fremont's Headquarters. All travel then to and from Los
Angeles came and went by way of San Pedro. From the
embarcadero to the city was a long distance between drinks. So
this enterprising dispenser of the ambrosia of the gods moved
out two and a half miles on the San Pedro road to greet the
coming stranger and to speed as well the departing citizen. It
was a first and last chance saloon. The memory of the nectar
there quaffed lingering in the mind of some old-time patron
caused him to become garrulous over the good times spent at
Fremont's headquarter's, and a reporter catching a fragment of
the tale, conjured from it a fake that twenty years has not

This historic building without a history is doomed to de-
struction. The march of improvement will soon, if it has not
already, trample it into dust. Only a few weeks since a reporter
sent by the editor of an enterprising morning journal inter-
viewed me in regard to taking steps to avert its impending
doom. If the Historical Society would procure a site the enter-
prising journal would aid in removing this historic building in-
tact to a new site where it could be preserved for all time. It is
needless to say that the society did not respond to the appeal and
the narration of the facts in the history of the old building
knocked into pie columns of sensational reports. There are
several other historical fakes to which I had intended paying my
respects, but time and space forbid. Briefly in closing, to point
a moral:

The headquarters fake is a good illustration of how much
that passes for history has been manufactured. Some one con-
cocted a plausible story about a certain historical event. The
story may have been an adulteration of a fact and fiction, or it


may have been pure fiction, but it was palmed off for the truth.
It was repeated by others and re-repeated. As it passed down
the corridors of time it gathered to itself the sanctity of age and
became currently believed.

Then some antiquarian dry-as-dust delving in musty archives
of the past discovers that the story has no foundation on fact —
that it is a fabrication, a fake, and publishes abroad his dis-
covery. Then the credulous — the heresy hunters — who have
a monopoly of belief, rise up in judgment against the icono-
clast, rail at him, abuse him and deplore the irreverence of the
age. But the fake has received its death blow. It dies slowly —
it dies hard — but it dies.


By J. W. Gillette.

A narrative of personal experience involves frequent men-
tion of the narrator. In my journey overland in 1858 I had ex-
pected frequent contact with the aborigine, but it was left to
San Bernardino county, where I lived from May, 1862, to
March, 1867, to give that. At Cucamonga I was clerk of the
vineyard, storekeper, and was also postmaster, for which I yet
have my parchment bearing the original signature of the then
Postmaster-General' — Montgomery Blair. Beside the Superin-
tendent, his assistant, myself, the foreman, blacksmith, carpen-
ter, two Kanaka cooks, and a few Californians, were Valley In-
dians from Temecula, San Luis Rey and the desert; few at times,
but at vintage I have known seventy, from papoose to old age.
All who could work were employed. They were furnished ample
rations, and but for the love of drink, fostered by the products
of such a place, they might have been as happy as possible for
their kind to be. Every Saturday evening was settlement con-
ducted in Spanish. The foreman reported the work done by
each, the amount due each was soon calculated and then the
question was, "What will you have?" Money was scarce. Pay-
ment was made in merchandise from simple dry goods to pro-
visions, etc. Now, each known name was so entered, but each
week some new buck would show up, and in answer to my ques-
tion in some instances the real name would be given; but often
amid jabber, and explosion of laughter one would say ''they
call me Francisco Palomares, Teodocio Yorba, Jim Waters, An-
tonio Maria Lugo," or other well-known ranchero. I knew the
giggHng rascals were lying, but I took their word, and such
honored names went into the book on behalf of the scamp who
gave it. So it would come to pass that Waters would be charged
for calico for his squaw, Palomares' for *a half -gallon of aguar-
diente, and Lugo, who owned land equal to >the area of an east-
ern state, a pair of overalls, fine comb and mouth organ. Some
chap would take mostly wine or grape brandy, and you knew
he was going to entertain, which was verified by sounds eman-
ating from the rancheria far into the night. The Sabbath was
a day of debauchery with many, and it was a woeful file that


lined up for work Monday morning. A few were wise, and went
away to their tribal homes fat, well clothed and contented.

Other Indians there were, roaming, almost naked, bravos,
who never worked, but stole horses, cattle, sheep, provisions,
saddles, riatas, etc. For such the rancheros offered ample re-
ward, poportioned to the individual wanted. One such, occa-
sionally, gave Cucamonga a jolt.

Three times a week we killed a beef ; and what was not dealt
to Indians, or kept fresh for our two Kanaka cooks, was jerked
and dried in the sun on lines near the house in the vineyard,
where dwelt the superintendent and family, and in a wing where-
of all employes ate save Indians. One day this untamed savage
stripped the line, running away with full serape. The next
month he came, reconnoitered, saw no men, but did see two
women. As he rushed at them, yelling and with large stones in
either hand they fled into the house, and he and the beef were
ofif again. A watch was set. A man came to the store and re-
ported him as not over 200 feet away in the orchard. I soon had
him under my shot gun ten feet away, with his serape full of
apricots, of which there were then few trees, and their fruit
precious. My yell brought help. Mr. Indian was left so tied
that his feet wer in the fork of the tree, his head and shoulders
on the ground, where he should have remained, while we pre-
pared a team to take him to the nearest justice at San Ber-
nardino. Very soon I was at the spot, Mr. Indian
had gone, the apricots also, but the rope was coiled in the
fork of the tree. I felt then like I was the cheapest thing on
what we now call a bargain counter. The two men gleefully
drove up in front of the store, and soon learned he had tricked us.,
then they took drinks, making the while such forcible remarks as
such men do under such surroundings, and unhitched the team.
Months later this buck planned a beef raid. The superintendent
and I learned he was near, but the wary fellow saw us at fair
pistol range and was off like a deer, with several good line
shots, to dodge in which he outcrooked the famous Virginia worm
fence. I have always hoped we did not so seriously wound him
that he died, because we had usurped the red man's valleys, scat-
tered his game, debauched his people. The brief period he cowered
before my shot gun, I looked upon the most perfect individual
of his race. Thereafter he left Cucamonga off his circuit.

Troubles with Mexican desperadoes, culminating in trage-
dies (one far reaching) made life exciting, and had I not there
found that health for which I came south, I should have counted


as lost the years I was there employed.

The arrival of stage and mail under Lance Toffilmier or Billy
Passmore was the chief daily event. Old time freighters as
Horace Clark, Chuck Warren, etc., would camp there; also
miners like Nat Lewis, Gus Spear and Biedeman of Amargoza
(whose mill was burned by Indians) ; Hi Jolly, Greek, mail car-
rier to Camp Cady and Fort Mohave; Dr. Wozencraft about to
make the Colorado desert an inland sea; John Brown, a noted
pioneer; Billy Rubottom, who kept a near-by staiton, all these
and more of their ilk made the balrny evenings delightful in
detailing experiences, with more in store for each. Of the lit-
tle coterie gathering there, J. B. Kipp was killed in this city
some twenty years ago, and J. Turner was killed by Indians
near Death Valley about 1866.

After a disastrous trading expedition in Lower California,
where I lost heavily and meeting Celestin-e Alipaz and others
who had been run out of this country, nearly lost my life, for
lack of other adventure, I engaged with an outfit (Billy Mar-
getson leader) to take cattle collected for John Reid, James Wa-
ters, Ed Parrish and E. K. Dunlap to Stinking Water river, a
source of the Missouri in Montana. Much of the stock was on
the rancho of Parrish and Dunlap (later owned by Burcham),
in the valley over the Sierra Madre from Arrowhead Springs,
and through which flows a fork of the Mojave joining a mile or
so below that from Holcombe valley. About March 12, 1866,
Dunlap, Parrish, a driver, myself and a vaquero, Antonio (we
two last on horseback) left Cucamonga for that ranch. Arriving
at that point on the road where David N. Smith, keper of Sum-
mit Station, was marvelously recovering from being twice shot
the previous year by Indians, all of whom were believed to have
left never to return, we watered, and the leader instructed Anton
and me to make a detour northv/esterly through a fine bunch
grass region, and bring such stock as we met to the valley, where
ranch houses were, the wagon proceeding there direct. Meet-
ing no cattle, the first object attracting our attention was the
soft trail full of moccasin tracks. Antonio, being a native of
San Bernardino valley, I asked him what make and how many.
He examined closely and laconically replied Chimahueva,
twelve, very bad Indians, and from Rock Creek heading for the
Mojave Forks (as he then supposed). At supper we reported
all this, but Parrish, long on the frontier for one so young, ridi-
culed the idea of danger to life or stock. Citing from his own
experience with Indians, he argued that while they might not


relish the stock being removed, he would simply kill a beef,
give them all they could eat and carry, if they showed up, which
he doubted.

A shiftless fellow (one Anderson ( had lately been in charge.
He was an arrant boaster, and finding the skulls of two Indians
killed in one of the encounters thereabouts, he fastened them
on the posts of the big gates. He gave out that better than any
one else, he knew the why and wherefore of those skulls, and that
any Indians prowling near him would meet the same fate.

To return to Parrish, he declared carrying of revolvers to be
inconvenient in the close undergrowth abounding there, and
wherein cattle hid in gathering time.

Next morning all were out early, save Mr. Dunlap, who was
sick, an old man (Strickland) the cook; a discharged soldier
(Porter), a boy of 12 (Reeves), all of whom found plenty to do
preparing for the long drive. East of the stream a herd was started
to which was brought in, all stock as found. The forenoon passed
satisfactorily save that at noon Pratt Whiteside (who, with
Nephi Bemis had come as helpers the previous evening), de-
clared he must carry his revolver because of a vicious cow dan-
gerous to man and horse, that prevented the removal of stock
with her. He was allowed to do so. After the noon meal the
same force was out. That day I was riding a mule (as I was
saving my faithful Tamole for the Montana journey), and ac-
companying Parrish and Bemis. Finding some ten head I was
instructed to take them to the herd, take Whiteside's place there
and send him with his well-trained horse to join them. All
which was done, and as the herd was fat and quiet, I laid lov; to
the ground to avoid the granite particles borne on the strong cold
wind from the north, by a hair rope retaining my hold on my
mule. Very soon Anton came loping round to say he and the
other herder had heard a peculiar discharge, too loud for a dis-
tant revolver, and asked if he should investigate, he having
the Chimahueva band in mind. I referred to Whiteside being
armed, and he was about to reply. My mule suddenly tightened
the hair rope and following her gaze we saw a riderless horse
speeding for the ranch. Anton was instantly in pursuit and
caught him before the ranch was reached, an ounce ball in the
hip and saddle bloody. While yet I hesitated whether to leave
the herd we had collected to one man, from the trees studding
the skirt of the valley fied as the wind another riderless horse.
Him I caught at the ranch gates. This saddle, too, was bloody,
and the terror of the poor beast was infectious from its intensity:


for I knew now that Parrish and Bemis were slaughtered. And
Whiteside — what of him. His horse we never again saw. Dun-
lap, still sick, rose to meet the emergency, enfeebled in body,
stunned by the tragedy (Parrish being his brother-in-law), arms
were collected, prepared, and a wagon went forth ; myself. Anton
and the remaining man at the herd on horseback, we started
for the bloody ground, Dunlap issuing orders from the wagon
over a total of five, Strickland, defective of sight, being left, with
the boy, at the ranch. Carrying a long rifie I was ordered to
ride up a ridge that promised a commanding view, and followed
it until I found the trial of the hostiles leading toward mountain
fastnesses, where it was folly to go. I gazed eagerly for Indians,
but could see none. Then signalling by waving my hat down-
ward that I had discovered something, I was signalled to re-
turn. I was glad, for I was too prominent among those brushy
hills just then. Returning, I learned that by following a queer
acting coyote the naked body of Bemis had been found, with an
ounce ball through the neck. Later was found the nude body
of Whiteside. All signs indicated that as Parrish, Bemis and
Whiteside were threading a small ravine, the Indians, from the
left, in ambush, had poured in the volley that had sounded to
Anton as one shot, sending an ounce ball into the neck of
each victim, not differing in location over three inches, so de-
liberate and perfect was their aim. The first two evidently clung
instinctively but for moments only to their reddening saddles. The
shock of his wound knocked Whiteside from his horse, then he
scaled the ridge and died among his foes, receiving in addition
a pistol shot possibly from his own weapon, but not till he had
put a ball into the groin of one of the savages, as evidenced by
the drag of a limb shown in their trail. They had thrown a
great stone upon the poor fellow's face, crushing the frontal
bone. As we found him lying nude on his back, with the
cold, rigid arms up as a guard against more barbarity, broken
arrows lying around, we mutely looked the sentiment, "See
how a brave man dies."

Not till nightfall did we give over the search for Parrish and
reverently, tearfully bear the two bodies to the ranch. Arriving
there a messenger was dispatched over the mountain trail eight-
een miles to San Bernardino asking aid of the sheriff and de-
tailing the tragedy. Forthwith we put out two guards for, while
the foe might have gone into the mountains, they might be al-
ready doubling their trail, and as we had sacrificed three men
to lack of prudence, an ounce of lead ready for every Indian was


the course for that night. The excited condition of the ranch
dogs was ominous, and we were now few. The ranch buildings
were two log cabins on the north side of the drive, the stables
and great hay stacks on the other, or south side, and danger-
ously close to the houses, if fired by our foe, who, from the sur-
rounding darkness could pick off each as he ran from the flames.
Only thorough vigilance prevented it that night. About lo
o'clock after the ample meal we sorely neded, Dunlap, Porter
and Strickland were in the smaller cabin of one large room, somt-
preparing the bodies for the morrow's journey to San Ber-
nardino (that of Bemis most prominently in sight) when a
heavy knocking at the only door startled us. Each looked the
question, "What is it? Who shall open that door?" Only an
instant and one of the others threw it open (in the same move
jumping aside) and disclosed to us Harrison Bemis; and to
him the bodies of his brother, Nephi, and Whiteside, whom he
last saw in full health, and told he was coming over to stop at
the ranch and hunt near by. What could we do but go out into
the darkness, leaving him with the dead till his mingled grief
and rage could run their course. Fatal valley; in it a man was
killed by a grizzly about two years later.

Night passed sleeplessly. Before dawn, well fed, armed as
best we could, we were off for the bloody ground. Rain had
fallen and the fork was swollen, but through it we went, feeling
we must find Parrish that forenoon if men could do it, and
fear of the Indians somehow eliminated. About noon, despair-
ing, the signal to collect was given; but one saw the white
foot of Parrish, whose body was otherwise covered with masses
of twigs gathered by wood rats, lying between the three trunks
of a scrub oak. Suspense relieved we were thankful. He had
been stripped and dragged. A thirty-five mile wagon ride must
be encompassed before three widows and their orphans could
receive their dead, and the rest of the day was consumed in
mournful preparations. At evening a messenger arrived who
reported the sheriff and a large force to leave next morning.
These later caught up with the raiders, but the best I have
heard of their efforts was that two Indians were killed ana a
trinket or two recovered identifying them as the band who struck
us. Early the following morning our sad cortege set forth and
reached San Bernardino in the early evening, met by grief-
stricken families and angered people. I knew strong drink to be the
first resort of a weak one and a last resort of the strong, but I
had to take my forty winks to keep awake that night. When


we left, Porter and Strickland were instructed to hold the
ranch until part of the sheriff's force arrived, unless it was plain
they could not, in which event the two men should steal up
through the willows to Cajon Pass summit, and come in with
some teamster, but first the boy was to be mounted on a swift
horse kept ready therefor, and dispatched by the same route to
San Bernardino. Our departure was evidently noted by our
dusky foes, for that evening, hardly had darkness settled before
the dogs heralded their approach. In the brief interval the boy
was dispatched, being shot at by the Indians as he rounded
the exterior enclosure, and the two men waiting till they saw
it was the same foe and too numerous, hustled for the pass
The yelp of the faithful dogs told the fate awaiting man and
beast till this band was driven away. About midnight or later,
the boy delivered the latest news from the ranch in a modest
way that showed the true hero. There was a joint funeral the
next day yet remembered by many San Bernardino pioneers.
When a posse reached the ranch next morning word was sent
that they found all the improvements smoking ruins. I never
visited the place afterward, though I did go as planned to Mon-
tana with that outfit, and till we got to Bridgeport we had
charge of the widow and children of Parrish.

As we traversed Owens river valley and saw the ruins of sta-
tions attacked in the Indian war of 1864 and learned some of its
incidents, it seemed Mr. Indian was to us a continued story,
of which I, at least, pined for the last chapter, which came in the
Shoshone county. Diamond Spring Valley, where, while on
day guard I shot an Indian dog that persisted in running
through the herd of 750 Spanish cattle. This was in sight of a
dozen bucks, and I realized that maybe it was in this lone land
I was to die; for the buck chosen to visit the camp came to me,
and touching his forefinger on my breast said I, having killed
his dog, he would kill me. He ran the scale of demands, first
blood, then money; then I had the cook fill him on table rem-
nants. Then he wanted tobacco; I gave him that and he left.
We moved across the valley and killed a beef. I felt pokey
till my guard was over, but they had eaten to their fill of the
meaner parts of the beef, and rage was stifled through the stom-
ach. In February, 1867, I reached San Bernardino with Carlos
Shepherd of Beaver, Utah, and now I believe I have ended all my-
Indian experience worth relating.

wm. h. workman



in Commemoration of the Fiftietii Anniversary of His Arrival

in Los Angeles.

Turn Verein Hall, January 21, 1905.

(Compiled from the L. A. Herald and other papers.)

Ex-Mayor and present City Treasurer W. H. Workman cele-
brated the fiftieth anniversary of his arrival in Los Angeles last
night. "Uncle Billy," as everybody calls him and as he lovcb
to be called, did not celebrate the occasion in solitary grandeur.
At his table in Turn Verein hall 500 of his friends were as-


No man in California has so many nephews and nieces as
"Uncle Billy" and no uncle ever loved his brother's offspring
half so well. One phrase of his last night indicated the com-
pass of his hospitality. "I only wish," he said, "that I could
have entertained all of the 14,000 friends I had on the fifth of
December." ( Number of votes he received at the city election for
Treasurer on that day.

The speeches were a mirror of the growth of Los Angeles
from a straggling Mexican Pueblo to its present commanding po-
sition as the queen city of the southland. The gathering was one
distinguished by a larger namber of the men and women who
builded the state than has been seen in this city for a long time.
It was indeed a notable gathering of those who have been in-
si rumental in making Los Angeles,

Among the 'old boys," as a jocular pioneer phrased it, were
noticed: Commodore R. R. Haines, ex-Chief of Police Burns,
Lugene Germain, H. Z. Osborne, Oscar Macy, Judge B. S. Ea-
lon, William Dodson, John Young, Dr. Nadeau, ex-Mayor John
Bryson, Victor Ponet, William Furgeson ex-United States Sena-
tor Cole, C. H. White, J. M. Guinn, H. D. Barrows, H. T. Haz-
ard, M. F. Quinn, Louis Roeder, H. W. Hellman, E. H. Work-
man. J. G. Newell, J. W. Gillette, A. G. Mappa, Ben C. Truman,
Ed. Nittenger, J. W. Davis, J. L. Slaughter, Will A. Harri.s,
Join Brown, Jr., of San Bernardino; Dr. H. S. Onne, A. J. King,
Fied Alles and many others.

Among the pioneer women present were noticed Mrs. Laura
E/ertsen King, Mrs. Virginia Whisler Davis, Mrs. Mary Frank-
lin, Mrs. J. G. Newell, Mrs. J. W. Gillette, Mrs. Dora Bilderbeck,

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 25 of 29)