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revolution in its incipient stages and determined to crush it in
its infancy. He sent post haste, at a cost of $400 to the govern-
ment, couriers bearing dispatches to Governor Mason at Mon-
terey, informing him of the prospective uprising of the natives
and the possible destruction of the troops at Santa Barbara by the
terrible gun that the enemy had stolen.

it was Lippitt's duty to have reported the theft to Col.
Stevenson at Los Angeles, to whose regiment he belonged. But
he hoped by reporting direct to the military governor of the
territory to obtain greater credit for his display of military
genius and promptitude in suppressing insurrections.

Col. Mason, relying on Captain Lippitt's report, and deter-
mining to give the natives a lesson that would teach them not
to meddle with guns or revolutions, issued the following order :

Order No. 36.

Headquarters of the lOth Military Department,

Monterey, California, May 31, 1848.
A gun belonging to the wreck of the Elisabeth has been
stolen from the beach at Santa Barbara, and ample time having
been allowed for its citizens to discover and produce said gun,
it is ordered that the town be laid under a contribution of $500.
assessed in the following manner :


First, a capitation tax of $2.00 on all males over 20 years of
age ; the balance to be paid by the heads of families and property
holders in the proportion of the value of their respective real
and personal estate in the town of Santa Barbara and vicinity.

Second, Col. J. D. Stevenson, commander of the Southern
Military District, will direct the appraisement of property and
the assessment of the contribution, and will repair to Santa Bar-
bara on or before the 25th of June next, when, if the missing
gun is not produced, he will cause said contribution to be paid
before July ist. When the whole is collected he will turn it over
to the acting Assistant Quartermaster of the post to be held for
further orders.

Third, Should any person fail to pay his capitation, enough
of his property will be seized and sold at public auction to realize
the amount of the contribution due by him and the cost of sale.
By order of Colonel R. B. Mason.

Wm. T. Sherman,
First. Lieut. 3rd Art. & A. A. Adjt.-General.

The order was translated into Spanish and promulgated in
Santa Barbara.

Then there was indignation in the old pueblo, and curses,
not loud, but deep and withering in their bitterness, against the
perfidious gringos. To be taxed for a cannon used in their
own subjugation was bad enough, but to be charged with
stealing it was an insult too grievous to be borne, and the loudest
in their wail were the old-time American born residents of the
town. Had not their New England ancestors gone to war with
the mother country because of "taxation without representa-
tion?" and put British tea to steep in Boston harbor without the
consent of its owners? And here on the western side of the con-
tinent they were confronted with that odious principle. Why
should they be taxed? They had not a single representative
among the cannon thieves.

Col. Stevenson ordered Lippitt to make out a roll of those
subject to assessment. This order was issued June 15, and the
Colonel left Los Angeles for Santa Barbara, arrivftig there June
23d. Immediately on his arrival he held an interview with
Don Pablo de La Guerra, one of the most distinguished citizens
of Santa Barbara, and a man highly respected by both the na-
tives and the Americans.

Colonel Stevenson expressed his regret at the ridiculous
course of Captain Lippitt. Don Pablo was very indignant at


the treatment of the citizens and expressed his fear that the en-
forcement of the assessment might result in an outbreak. After
talking the matter over with Col. Stevenson, he became some-
what mollified, and asked the Colonel to make Santa Barbara his
headquarters. He inquired about the brass band at Colonel Ste-
venson's headquarters and suggested that the Californians were
very fond of music. Stevenson took the hint and sent for his
band. The band arrived at Carpinteria on the afternoon of the
3d of July. The 4th had been fixed upon as the day for the pay-
ment of the fines, doubtless with the idea of giving the Cali-
fornians a lesson in American patriotism and fair dealing.
Colonel Stevenson met the leader of the band and arranged with
him to serenade Don Pablo and his family with all the Spanish
airs in the band's repertoire. The musicians stole quietly into
town after night, reached the de La Guerra house and broke
the stillness of the night with their best Spanish airs. The
effect was magical. The family, who were at supper, rushed out
as if a temblor had broken loose. Don Pablo was so delighted
that he shed tears and hugged Colonel Stevenson in the most
approved California style. The band serenaded all the dons of
note in the old pueblo and tooted until long after midnight.
Then started in next morning and kept it up until 10 o'clock, the
hour set for each man to contribute his dos pesos to the com-
mon fund. By that time every hombre on the list was so filled
with patriotism, wine and music that the greater portion of the
fine was handed over without protest.

Don Pablo insisted that Colonel Stevenson should deliver a
Fourth of July oration, all the same as they do in the United
States of the North. So Stevenson orated and Stephen C.
Foster translated it into Spanish. The day closed with a grand
ball. The beauty and chivalry of Santa Barbara danced to the
music of a gringo brass band and the brass cannon was for-
gotten for a time. But the memory of the city's ransom rankled
and although an American band played Spanish airs, American
injustice was still remembered. When the city's survey was
made in 1850 the nomenclature of three streets kept the cafion
episode green in the memory of the Barbarefios, — Canon Per-
dido (Lost Cannon street), Qu-inientos (Five Hundred street),
and Mason street. It is needless to say that this last was not a
favorite thoroughfare nor a very prominent one.

When the pueblo by legislative act blossomed into a ciudad,
it became necessary to have a city seal. The municipal fathers
pondered long over a design, and finally evolved this strange


device. In the center a cannon emblazoned, encircled with these
word "Vale Qui-ni-entos Pesos" — "worth five hundred dollars."
Or if you choose to give a Latin twist to the vale on the seal,
it might mean, "Good-bye; five hundred dollars," which is the
better interpretation, as the sequal to the story will show.

This seal was used from the incorporation of the city in 1850
to i860, when another design was chosen.

After peace was declared, Colonel Mason sent the five hun-
dred dollars to the Prefect of Santa Barbara, with instruc-
tions to use it in building a city jail. And although there was
pressing need for a jail, no jail was built. The Prefect's needs
were pressing, too. The City Council, after a lapse of four or
five years, demanded that he should turn the money into the
city treasury, but he replied that the money had been entrusted
to him for a specific purpose, and he would trust no city treasury
with it. Then the City Council instructed the District Attorney
to begin legal proceedings against the ex-Prefect to recover
the money. As the Judge of Santa Barbara was a relative of
the ex-Prefect, the suit was transferred to San Francisco. The
papers in the case were unaccountably lost and the trustee of
the fund died insolvent. No new suit was ever begun, so it
was indeed, Vale (farewell), five hundred dollars.

Ten years passed and the episode of the lost cannon was
but the dimly remembered story of the olden time. The old gun
reposed peacefully in its grave of sand, and those who had
buried it there had forgotten the place of its interment. They
had not dared to reveal the place where it was hid at the time
when Mason stood up the city and compelled it to deliver, lest
the gringo comandante in his wrath should stand them up be-
fore an adobe wall and shoot them full of holes. When peace
came and the constitution had arrived to keep company with
the flag, the shifting of the sands had so changed the contour
of the beach that they could not locate the hidden gun.

One stormy night in December, 1858, the estero cut a new
channel to the ocean. In the morning as some Barbarefios were
surveying the changes caused by the flood they saw the muzzle
of a large gun protruding from the cut in the bank. They
unearthed it, cleaned ofif the sand and discovered that it was El
Cafion Perdido — the lost cannon. They loaded it on a cart and
hauled it up State street to de La Guerra, where they mounted
it on an improvised gun carriage and held a jubilation over it.
But the sight of it was a reminder to the Barbarefios of an un-
pleasant incident, and as the finders, claiming to be keepers, de-


manded the gun, it was adjudged to belong to them. They
sold it to a merchant for $80. He shipped it to San Francisco
and sold it at a handsome profit for old brass. And then it was
Vale (farewell) Cafion Perdido!

The names of the five men who buried the gun were Jose
Garcia, Jose Antonio de La Guerra, Jose Lugo, Jose Dolores
Garcia and Pacific© Cota.

It was currently reported that the Prefect, believing that
Santa Barbara deserved a handsomer and more commodious
jail than $500 would build, risked the whole amount of the mili-
tary contribution on a card in a game of monte, hoping to
double it and thus benefit the city, but luck was against him, and
the dealer, with no patriotism in his soul, refusing to return it,
raked the coin into his coffers ; and the municipality had to worry
along several years without a jail.

Such is the true story of how Calle del Cafion Perdido — the
Street of the Lost Cannon — came by its queer name.


The first letter published below was written by Dr. John
Marsh, a native of Massachusetts, the first American physician to
locate in Los Angeles. Dr. Marsh was a graduate of Harvard
College and also of its medical school. He came to California
in 1835 from Santa Fe, where he had lived several years. He
petitioned the Ayuntamiento to be allowed to practice medicine.
He was given permission. The proceedings of the Illustrious
Ayuntamiento for February 25, 1836, read: "The Illustrious
Body decided to give Juan Marchet (Marsh) permission to prac-
tice medicine, as he has submitted for inspection his diploma,
which was found to be correct; and also for the reason that he
would be very useful to^ the community."

He entered upon the practice of his profession, but as money
was an almost unknown quantity in the old pueblo, he had to
take his fees in horses, cattle and hides, a currency exceedingly
inconvenient to carry around. So early in 1837 he abandoned
the practice of medicine, quitted Los Angeles and went up north
to find a cattle range. Yerba Buena, now San Francisco, at the
time the letter was writen contained two houses. He located
on the Rancho Los Medanos, near Monte Diablo, where he lived
until he was murdered by a Mexican in 1856. A letter written
by him descriptive of California, and published in a Missouri
paper in 1840, was instrumental in causing the organization in
the spring of 1841 of the first immigrant train that crossed the
plains to California. J. M. Guinn.

Yerba Buena, March 27, 1837.
Dear Sir: — I have been wandering about the country for
several weeks and gradually becoming acquainted both with it
and its inhabitants. This is the best part of the country, as you
very well know, and is in fact the only part that is at all adapted
to agriculturists from our country. Nothing more is wanted but
just and equal laws and a government — yes, any government that
can be permanent and combine the confidence and good will of
those who think. I have good hope, but not unmixed with doubt
and apprehension. Newls has just arrived that an army from
Sonora is on its march for the conquest and plunder of Cali-
fornia. Its force is variously stated from two to 600 men. This,
of course, keeps everything in a foment.


I have had a choice of two districts of land offered to me,
and in a few days I shall take one or the other. A brig of the H.
B. Co. (Hudson Bay Co.) is here from the Columbia with Capt.
Young (who has come to buy cattle) and other gentlemen of the
company. I have been at the head waters of the Sacramento and
met with near a hundred people from the Columbia; in fact,
they and the people here regard each other as neighbors. In-
deed, a kinder spirit exists here and less of prejudice and dis-
trust to foreigners than in the purlieus of the City of Angels.

It is my intention to undergo the ceremony of baptism in a
few days, and shall shortly need the certificate of my applica-
tion for letters of naturalization. My application was made to
the Most Illustrious Council of the City of Angeles, I think in
the month of January last year (1836). I wish you would do
me the favor to obtain a certificate in the requisite form and
direct it to me at Monterey to the care of Mr. Spence. Mr.
Spear is about to remove to this place. Capt. Steele's ship has
been damaged and is undergoing repairs which will soon be
completed. His barque is also here. I expect to be in the An-
gelic City some time in May.

Please give my respects to Messrs. Warner and William M.
Prior and all "enquiring friends."

Very respectfully.

Your ob't. servant,

John Marsh.

A. Stearns, Esq., Angeles.

Los Angeles, September 29, 1849.

To His Excellency, B. Riley, Brig.-Gen., U. S. A., Governor of
California, Monterey —

Sir: — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
appointment of myself as Prefect of the District of Los Angeles,
dated Sept. i, 1849. While thankful for confidence reposed in
me, I trust my poor services may prove acceptable to all con-

As Prefect of said District of Los Angeles I beg leave to
state that this district is particularly exposed to the depredations
of Indian horse thieves — and other evil disposed persons, and at
present the inhabitants are badly armed and powder cannot be
obtained at any price. Under these cricumstances I would re-
spectfully request that you place at my disposal for the defense
of the lives and property of the citizens of said district, subject


to such conditions as you may deem proper, the following arms
and ammunition, viz. :

One hundred flint lock muskets with corresponding accoutre-
ments; ten thousand flint lock ball and buckshot cartridges; five
hundred musket flints.

Respectfully your ob't, serv't.,

Stephen C. Foster,
Prefect, Los Angeles.



The ancestor of all the Palomares of Alta California was
Cristobal Palomares, a native of Spain, who came to Alamo,
Mexico, with his father. From there Cristobal came as a sol-
dier to Monterey in the early part of this century.

A daughter of this patriarch, the venerable Dofia Josefa Palo-
mares de Arenas, now 85 years of age, is still (March, 1900)
a resident of this city. From her I have lately obtained inter-
esting data relating to the family, which is numerous, under the
same and other names, both here and in Santa Clara county ; and
also concerning her somewhat romantic life.

Cristobal Palomares was married in Monterey to Benedita
Sainz. Afterwards he moved to Santa Barbara, and later to
Los Angeles, where he resided till his death.

The following is a list of the children of Cristobal Palomares,
and of the persons to whom they were married, as given me by
Dofia Josefa: (i)Barbara, married P. Alvarado; (2) Concepcion
married Antonio Lopez; (3) Rosaria, married Bernardo Hig-
uera; (4) Dolores, married Jose Ramirez; (5) Estefana, mar-
ried Yg. Machado; (6) Josefa (still living), married first to Jose
M. Abila, and second to Luis Arenas; (7) Pilar, died young;
(8) Maria de Jesus, married F. Figueroa; (9) Ygnacio, mar-
ried Concepcion Lopes ; ( 10) Francisco, married Margarita Pa-
checo; (11) Luis; (12) Cristobal, born 1836.

Ygnacio, who lived many years on his rancho, San Jose,
which included the site of the present town of Pomona, and who
died there in '82, was one of Dofia Josefa's brothers. He was
also grantee of Azusa rancho.

Dofia Josefa, who is a native of Los Angeles, was born in
18 1 5. She was married when 15 years of age to Jose Maria
Abila (who in 1825 was Alcalde of Los Angeles), the chivalrous
young Californian whom Prof. Policy has not inaptly called a
modern "Alcibiades," and who was killed in the encounter be-
tween the forces of San Diego and Los Angeles with Gov. Vic-
toria at Cahuenga in 183 1, when, at the same time. Captain Ro-
mualdo Pacheco (father of Gov, Romualdo Pacheco), was also


killed, both good and valuable citizens. The people of this part
of the territory, feeling that they had abundant cause to resist
the oppressive acts of Victoria, had risen in rebellion; and, as a
result of the hostile meeting at Cahuenga, Gov. Victoria was
driven out of the country.

Sefiora Palomares de Arenas retains a very vivid remem-
brance of the exciting events of that day, nearly 70 years ago,
when she, then only 16 years of age, lost within a few hours,
both her dashing, chivalrous husband, and her aged father; for
her father was at the time very ill, and the shock he received
from hearing, of the tragic end of his son-in-law, caused his
own death the same day.

Shortly, or two or three months after their death, the be-
reaved young widow gave birth to a posthumous child.

Gov. Victoria was seriously wounded at Cahuenga and he
retired to San Gabriel, where he voluntarily resigned his office
and left the country, and his tyranical administration of the af-
fairs of the territory came to an end; and thus, the revolution
was successful, Pio Pico becoming Victoria's successor.

Four years after the death of Sefiora Abila's first husband,
she married Luis Arenas.

The children of this second marriage are : Josefa, married
to J. M. Miller ; Amparo, married to L. Schiappa Pietra ; Luisa,
married to L. Stanchfield ; Amelia, married to Charles Ross.

Although Mrs. Abila-Arenas from advanced age is quite
infirm, as is natural, she is still a fine looking woman. She re-
tains the clear use of her mental faculties; her reminiscences of
the olden times of fifty, sixty and seventy years ago are exceed-
ingly interesting.



I am to speak you tonight of Sister Scholastica Logsdon, a
pioneer of Los Angeles, who, at the age of 88, died, at the Los
Angeles Orphan Asylum, on September 3rd of this year. Of
her long life, Sister Scholastica had spent 47 years in the city of
Los Angeles.

The life of Sister Scholastica was a retired one, but her days
and nights were filled with a noble devotion to the cause of hu-
manity. Her name did not appear in public periodicals, her
fJeeds were unrecorded, she cared not for worldly fame, but the
good work she did, so quietly and unostentatiously is living to-
day in the lives of countless women of Southern California and
radiating from their lives to the lives of their children and their
children's children. It is just, and it is good, that some one who
knew her, speak of her now that she is gone, for the lives of
noble men and women have a mighty influence on the lives of all.
In our age of selfishness it is good to dwell upon the life of one
who labored always for others, who, without material recompense
or even a desire for such reward, gave freely and lovingly of her
best effort for the cause of the orphan and the helpless, and for
the education of the young.

Sister Scholastica was born in Maryland in the March of
1814. In her girlhood she was associated with the family of our
late honored Pioneer, Hon. J. De Barth Shorb. In August of
1839, she became a member of the great order of Sisters of
Charity, who in every part of the civilized and uncivilized world,
carry on the work of devotion to the helpless, so characteristic
of their society. Well did Sister Scholastica exemplify in her
life the ideals of her order. She labored first in Mississippi, was
called thence to important offices of trust in the Mother House
of the Sisters of Charity at Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was in
1855 named leader of a band of six Sisters who were appointed
to carry their gentle ministrations to far distant and newly in-
habited California.

It required a brave and faithful spirit to undertake this work,
and Sister Scholastica, Sister Ann and their associates were well


chosen. Every Pioneer knows how far away California seemed
in those days when no railway stretched connecting bands of
steel across the great American continent; when one heard
strange and vague reports of the primitive life of the far West;
when "Prairie Schooners" led one through the terrors of Indian
attack "across the plains," or a long voyage by steamer brought
one a wearisome journey via the Isthmus of Panama. I repeat,
it required a staunch heart to venture into this unknown world,
and, above all, it required a courage inspired by the faith of
Sister Scholastica, for women to undertake this journey that
they might minister to those in need. All honor to the noble
women Pioneers of California!

Sister Scholastica and her companions reached San Fran-
cisco on the steamer Sea Bird in January, 1856. By January
6th, they had arrived at San Pedro. General Banning's cele-
brated stage conveyed them to Los Angeles, the scene of their
future life work. Don Ignacio Del Valle, father of our Senator
Del Valle, with characteristic hospitality, gave the Sisters shel-
ter until a home had been secured for them at the corner of
Alameda and Macy streets. In this home the Sisters lived for
many years. The property, on which was a small frame house,
was bought from Hon. B. D. Wilson. The house, familiar to
all of you, had been brought in sections from New York via
Cape Horn. The sections were all marked to facilitate recon-
struction, but alas! there was no one in Los Angeles who could
be engaged by Mr. Wilson to join together that which had been
put asunder, for in those days, adobes were more popular than
frame buildings. A carpenter was brought from the East and
the house at last completed. As I said, it was this house which
afterward became the home of the Sisters. Soon the Sisters
gathered about them the orphans who have always been their
special care. In connection with their Asylum, they had a school
for children and young ladies and in this school it was that so
many of the prominent and worthy mothers and grandmothers
of Southern California received their education.

The people of Los Angeles welcomed the Sisters, and, re-
gardless of religious, differences, gave them cordial assistance.
Gentle Sister Scholastica and genial Sister Ann were everybody's
friends and to this day are not forgotten, even by those who
have not seen them for many years. To need their help was
the only ticket of admission to their sympathy; color, race, or
creed did not enter at all into the consideration.


They always delighted to tell of how generous the people
were when they held their Fairs in the old Perry and Wood-
worth building or in the old Stearns' hall in the Arcadia block,
and how they received most valuable aid from Jewish and
Protestant, as well as from Catholic women. There were im-
portant considerations to decide the date of a Fair. It could not
be held except on "Steamer day," as there was no ice save that
which came from San Francisco, and it could not be held except
at the right time of moon as no one cared to grope about the
streets in Egyptian darkness. In spite of all, the generous wo-
men of Los Angeles aided the Sisters in their work, and the
Sisters of Charity do not forget their friends.

In 1889, on the 50th anniversary of Sister Scholastica's life
as a Sister of Charity, many of her friends gave her, as a sub-
stantial tribute of their esteem and love, the gift of a purse of
$3,000, which she at once devoted to the building fund for the
erection of a new and more commodious home for the rapidly in-
creasing number of orphans. On the 9th of February, 1890, was
laid the corner stone of the magnificent Orphanage now overlook-
ing the city. When the home was completed, the Sisters moved

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 4 of 29)