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showing the snow-white linen beneath. I noticed they looked
with most interest at the dragoons, so many of whose comrades
had fallen before their lances at San Pascual that cold Decem-
ber morning, and lay buried in that long grave, or lay groaning
in the hospital at San Diego. We had no wavng flags, but
waving rags, and many a one; nor brass bands, only a solitary
snare drum and fife, played by a tall Vermont fifer, and a stout,
rosy-cheeked English drummer; and they struck up the "Star
Spangled Banner" as we passed the Government House, and
kept it up until orders were given to break ranks and stack
arms. And then came a loud hurrah from all that ragged sol-
diery. Their long and weary march over mountains, plain and
■desert, of 2,200 miles, was over.

I will now describe two indviduals who marched in that
procession. One is the writer. 'Tis nearly forty years ago,
and I was a younger and a better-looking man than I am now.
I had left Santa Fe with only the cjothes on my back, and a
single change of under-clothing. I had been paid of¥ at San
Lus Rey, and had $200 in my pocket, and I tried to find some
clothing in Los Angeles on my first visit, but could find none.
So, I rode to San Diego, and through the kindness of a friendly
man-of-war's man I got a sailor's blue blouse, a pair of marine's
pants and brogans, for which I paid $20. My place in the col-
umn, as interpreter, was with the colonel, at the head, and I
rode with my rifie slung across the saddle, powder-horn and
bullet-pouch slung about my shoulders. My beard rivaled in
length that of the old colonel by wihose side I rode, but mine
was as black as the raven's wing, and his was as grey as mine
is now. But if I was not the best-looking, nor the best-dressed
man, I was the best-mounted man on Main street that day.


When the horses were delivered for the dragoons, a young
man named Ortega, a nephew of Don Pio Pico, rode an iron
grey horse, with flowing mane and tail, and splendid action.
I tried to buy him for the colonel, but he would not sell him.
The day we left San Luis, I had mounted my mule, and was
chatting with Ortega, admiring his horse, when he offered to
sell him, and I could fix the price. I gave him $25. The
dragoon horses cost $20 each. A few days after my arrival in
this city, Lieut. Stoneman was ordered to scout with a party of
dragoons towards San Bernardino, to look out for Indian horse
thieves, and I sold the horse to him; and well the Governor
remembers the gallant grey that bore him on many a long and
weary scout.

I have thus described my appearance at my first public
entry into this city, from no spirit of egotism, but only to give
my fellow-citizens some idea of the appearance of the former
Alcalde, Prefect, Mayor and Senator of Los Angeles.

But the most conspicuous man on Main street that day was
of a different type. (Dn our march, December, 1846, we were
moving from the Black Water, just south of the present Mexi-
can line, towards the San Pedro River. The snow Vi^as falling
steadily, but it was not very cold. Our order of march was,
with an advance guard of twenty men, and twenty pioneers with
pick-axe and shovel, commanded by Capt. A. J. Smith, to re-
move any obstruction to our wagons. I was riding that day,
with the colonel and surgeon, when we overtook the advance
guard. The pioneers had been cutting down some mesquite
trees that obstructed our way. and had just finished as we over-
took them. Their officer gave the order "fall in, shoulder
arms," and they formed in ranks of four, so that for about fifty
yards we could not turn out to pass them. The right-hand
man in the rear rank was at least six and a quarter feet tall.
The crown of his hat was gone, and a shock of sandy hair, pow-
dered by the falling snow, stuck out above the dilapidated rim,
while a huge beard of the same color swept his breast. His
upper garment had been a citizen's swallow-tailed coat, but-
toned by a single button over his naked chest, but one of the
tails had been cut off and sttched to his waistband, where it
would do the most good, for decency's sake, and an old pair
of No. 12 brogans, encased with rawhide, protected his feet.
The right sleeve of the coat wlas gone, and his arm was bare
from wrist to elbow, and, by way of uniform, the left leg of the
pants was gone, leaving the leg bare from knee to ankle. His


underclothing had long since disappeared. But the way he
marched and shouldered his musket, showed the drilled and vet-
eran soldier. That ragged scarecrow had seen fifteen years'
service in the British army, from the snows of Canada to the
jungles of Burmah. The contrast between the soldierly bear-
ing of the man and his dilapidated dress brought a smile to
every face. After we had passed, the colonel pulled his long
grey mustache, and said, 'T never thought, when I left West
Point, that I should ever command such a set of ragamuffins
as these. But, poor fellows, it is not their fault; and better
material for soldiers I never commanded." And that day, when
I sat on my horse, where Ducommun's Block now rears its tall
front, to see my old comrades march by, in the front rank of
Company A, with cadenced step and martial mien, as he had
marched in his younger days to the martial music of the regi-
mental band, dressed in the scarlet uniform of a British grena-
dier, strode the old ragged veteran.



The early years in the history of the new towns of the West
were productive of eccentric characters — men who drifted in
from older civiHzations and made a name for themselvse or
rather, as it frequently happened, had a name made for them by
their fellow men.

These local celebrities gained notoriety in their new homes
by their oddities, by their fads, their crankiness, or some other
characteristic that made them the subject of remark. With
some the eccentricity was natural; with others it was cultivated,
and yet again with others force of circumstances or some event
not of their own choosing made them cranks or oddities, and
gave them nick-names that stuck to them closer than a brother.

No country in the world was more productive of quaint
characters and odd geniuses than the mining camps of early
CaHfornia. A man's history began with his advent in the
camp. His past was wiped out — was ancient history, not
worth making a note of. What is he now? What is he good
for? were the vital questions. Even his name was sometimes
wiped out, and he was re-christened — given some cognomen
entirely foreign to his well-known characteristics. It was the
Irony of Fate that stood sponsor at his baptism. "Pious Pete"
was the most profane man in the camp, and Pete was not his
front name. His profanity was so profuse, so impressive, that
it seemed an invocation, almost a prayer.

Deacon Sturgis was a professional gambler of malodorous
reputation, but of such a solemn face and dignified mien that
he often deceived the very elect. Sometimes these nick-names
were utilized in advertising. I recollect a sign over a livery
stable in the early mining days of Idaho, which informed the
public that the Pioneer Stables were kept by Jjews Harp Jack
and Web-Foot Haley. On one corner of the sign was painted
an immense jews-harp ; on another corner was a massive foot
with webs between the toes. Haley came from Oregon, and


as the legend goes, on account of the incessant rains in the big
Willamette Valley the inhabitants there, from, paddhng around
in the water, grow webs between their toes. Haley brought
his nick-name and his webs with him. How Jews Harp
Jack picked up his name I do not know. In a residence of
several years there I never heard any other name for the man.

My first mining partner was known as Friday, Not one
in fifty of his acquaintance knew that his real name was William
Geddes. Years before in California he had owned in a claim
with a man named Robinson. Robinson was a man of many
expedients and make-shifts. Geddes was an imitator or echo
of his partner. The miners dubbed the first "Robinson Crusoe'*
and the other "My Man Friday," a name that followed him
through a dozen mining camps, and over two thousand miles
of territory. If he is still living I doubt whether he has outhved
that nick-name.

Bret Harte, in his "Outcasts of Poker Flat," has, in John
Oakhurst, pictured the refined and intelligent gambler. There
were very few of that class in the mines, and none that carried
around such an elegant and aristocratic name as Oakhurst. In
the Idaho mines, where I was initiated into placer mining, the
professionals of the pasteboard fraternity, who were mostly old
Californians, had all been re-christened by their constituents
or patrons, and the new cognomen given each was usually more
expressive than elegant. Vinegar Bill, Cross Roads Jack,
Snapping Andy and Short-Card Pete are short-cut names of
real characters, who passed in their checks years ago; i. e., died
with their boots on. Each nick-name recalls some eccentricity
not complimentary to the bearer, but which Tie had to bear with-
out wincing. It was one way in which their victimized patrons
tried to get even on the deal.

There was another class of eccentricities in the cities and
towns of California where life was less strenuous than in the
mining camps. These were men with whims or fads sometimes
sensible, sometimes half-insane, to which they devoted them-
selves until they became noted as notorious cranks.

San Francisco had its Philosopher Pickett, its Emperor
Norton and a host of others of like ilk. Los Angeles had
representatives of this class in its early days, but unfortunately
the memory of but few of them has been salted down in the
brine of history.

In delving recently among the rubbish of the past for scraps
of history, I came across a review of the first book printed in


Los Angeles — the name of the book, its author and its pub-
lisher. But for that review, these would have been lost to

It is not probable that a copy of the book exists, and pos-
sibly no reader of that book is alive today — not that the book
was fatal to its readers; it had very few — but the readers were
fatal to the book; they did not preserve it. That book was the
product of an eccentric character. Some of you knew him.
His name was William Money, but he preferred to have the
accent placed on the last syllable, and was known as Money'.
Bancroft says of him : "A Scotchman, the date and manner of
whose coming are not known, was at Los Angeles in 1843."
I find from the old archives he was here as early as 1841. In
the winter of 1841-42 he made repairs on the Plaza Church
to the amount of $126.00. Bancroft, in his Pioneer Register,
states : "He is said to have come as the servant of a scientific
man, whose methods and ideas he adopted. His wife was a
handsome Sonoreha. In '46 the couple started for Sonora
with Coronel, and were captured by Kearny's force. They
returned from the Colorado with the Mormon battalion. Mo-
ney became an eccentric doctor, artist and philosopher at San
Gabriel, where his house, in 1880, was filled with ponderous
tomes of his writings, and on the simple condition of buying
$1,000 worth of these I was offered his pioneer reminiscences.
He died a few years later. His wife, long divorced from him,
married a Frenchman. She was also living at Los Angeles
in '80. It was her daughter who killed Chico Forster."

Bancroft fails to enumerate all of Money's titles. He was
variously called Professor Money, Dr. Money and Bishop
Money. He was a self-constituted doctor, and a self-anointed
bishop. He aspired to found a great religious sect. He made
his own creed and ordained himself Bishop, Deacon and De-
fender of the Reformed New Testament Church of the Faith
of Jesus Christ. Dr. Money had the inherent love of a Scotch-
man for theological discussion. He was always ready to attack
a religious dogma or assail a creed. When not discussing the-
ological questions or practicing medicines, he dabbled in science
and made discoveries.

In Book II of Miscellaneous Records of Los Angeles
County, is a map or picture of a globe labeled, Wm. Money's
Discovery of the Ocean. Around the North Pole are a number
of convolving lines which purport to represent a "whirling
ocean." Passing down from the north pole to the south, like


the vertebrae of a great fish, is a subterranean ocean. Beyond
this on each side are the exhaustless fiery regions, and outside
of this a rocky mountain chain that evidently keeps the earth
from bursting. At the South Pole gush out two currents a
mile wide marked the Kuro Siwo. There is no explanation
of the discovery and no statement of which ocean, the whirhng
or the subterranean, that Dr. Money claimed to have discov-
ered. The record was made no doubt on the principle of pro-
tecting his discovery by a sort of patent right on the ocean he
found swirling around in the interior of the earth. The theory
of his discovery can only be inferred from the drawing. Evi-
dently a hole at the North Pole sucks in the waters of the whirl-
ing ocean, which pass down through the subterranean ocean and
are heated by the exhaustless fiery regions which border that
ocean; then these heated waters are spurted out into space at
the South Pole. What becomes of them afterwards the records
do not show. From some cause Dr. Money disliked the people
of San Francisco. In his scientific researches he made the dis-
covery that that part of the earth's crust on whicji that city
stands was almost burnt through, and he prophesied that the
crust would soon break and the City of the Bay would drop down
into the exhaustless fiery regions and be wiped out like Sodom
and Gomorrah of old.

The review of Dr. Money's book, which I have mentioned,
was written by the genial Col. John O. Wheeler, then editor
of the Southern Californian, a paper that died and was buried
in the journalistic graveyard of unfelt wants, forty-eight years
ago. Colonel Wheeler was a walking library of local history.
He could tell a story well and had a fund of humorous ones,
but I could never persuade him to write out his reminiscences
for publication. He died, and his stories of the olden times
died with him, just as so many of the old pioneers will do, die
and leave no record behind them.

Dr. Money's book vv^as written and published in 1854. Colo-
nel Wheeler's review is quite lengthy, filling nearly two columns
of the Californian. I omit a considerable portion of it. The
review says : "We are in luck this week, having been the recip-
ients of a very interesting literary production entitled, Reform
of the New Testament Church, by Wm. Money, Bishop, Dea-
con and Defender of the Faith of Jesus Christ.

"The volume by Professor Money comes to us bound in the
beautiful coloring so much admired bv the Woman in Scarlet


v^^ho sits upon seven hills, and is finely gotten up and executed
at the Star office in this city. Its title denotes the general ob-
jects of the work which have been followed out in the peculiar
style of the well-known author, and in the emphatic language
of the Council General, Upper California, City of Los 'Angeles.
"We pronounce it a work worthy of all dignified admiration, a
reform which ecclesiastics and civil authorities have not been
able to comply with yet."

The work opens with an original letter from the aforesaid
Council General, which met August the 7th, 1854, near the
main zanja in this city; said letter was indited, signed, sealed
"by supplication of the small flock of Jjesus Christ" represented
by Ramon Tirado, president, and Francis Contreras, secretary,
and directed with many tears to the great defender of the new
faith, who, amid the quiet retreats with which the rural dis-
tricts abound, had pensively dwelt on the noble objects of his
mission, and, in fastings and prayer, concocted, this great work
of his life."

"The venerable prelate, in an elaborate prefix to his work,
informs the public that he was born, to the best of his recollec-
tion, about the year 1807, from which time up to the anniver-
sary of his seventh year, his mother brought him up by hand.
He says, by a singular circumstance (the particular circum-
stance is not mentioned), I was born with four teeth, and with
the likeness of a rainbow in my right eye."

It would seem that his early youth was marked by more
than ordinary capacity, as we find him at seven entering upon
the study of natural history; how far he proceeded, or if he
proceeded at all, is left for his readers to determine. At the
age of twtelve, poverty compelled him to "bind himself to a
paper factory." Next year, being then thirteen years of age,
having made a raise, he commenced the studies of philosophy,
civil law, medicine, relation of cause and effect, philosophy of
sound in a conch shell, peculiar habits of the muskrat, and the
component parts of Swain's vermifuge. Thirsting for still fur-
ther knowledge, four years afterwards we find him entering
upon the study of theology; and as he says, "In this year (1829)
I commenced my travels in foreign countries," and the succeed-
ing year found him upon the shores of the United States, inde-
fatigable in body and mind; the closing of the same year found
him in Mexico, still following the sciences above mentioned,
but theology in particular.


About this time he commenced those powerful discussions
with the Romish clergy in which our author launched forth
against the Old Church those terrible denunciations as effect-
ive as they were unanswerable, and which for thirty years he
has been hurling against her.

Perhaps the most memorable of all his efforts was the occa-
sion of the last arguments had with the Roman clergy concern-
ing abuses which came ofif in the Council of Pitaquitos, a small
town in Sonora, commencing on the 20th of October, 1835, and
which continued to May ist, 1840, a period of five years. This
convocation had consumed much time in its preparation, and
the clergy, aware of the powerful foe with whom they had to
deal, and probable great length of time which would elapse,
selected their most mighty champions; men, who in addition
to a glib tongue and subtle imagination, were celebrated for
their wonderful powers of endurance. There wiere seven skilled
disputants arrayed against Money, but he vanquished them

"The discussion opened on the following propositions : The
Bishop of Culiacan and he of Durango disputed that Wm. Mo-
ney believed that the Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus,
but not the mother of Christ. WilHam Money makes his ap-
plication to God, but not to the Virgin Mary."

These and other learned propositions were discussed and
le-discussed constantly for five years, during which writing
paper arose tO' such an enormous price that special enactments
were made, withdrawing the duties thereon. Time would not
admit of detailing the shadow of what transpired during the

Suffice -it to say that through the indomitable faith and
energy of Mr. Money, his seven opponents Were entirely over-
come; one sickened early in the second year and was constrained
to take a voyage by sea; two others died of hemorrhage of the
lungs; one went crazy; two became converted and left the coun-
cil in the year 1838 and were found by Mr. Money on the break-
ing up of the council to have entered into connubial bonds, and
were in the enjoyment of perfect happiness. The other two
strenuously held out to the year 1840, when, exhausted, sick
and dismayed, the council, in the language of the author, was
broken up by offering me money to give up my sword, the Word
of God, but I protested, saying, "God keep me from such treach-
erous men. and from becommg a traitor to my God."


"Thus ended this famous disputation of which history fur-
nishes no parallel. From the foreg'oing our readers can form
an idea of this great work. It forms a volume of twenty-two
pages, printed in English and Spanish, with notes, etc.; price
not yet determined. We would advise all to procure a copy,
as there being no stereotype edition, the present few numbers
will end the supply."

This strenuous review brought forth a vigorous protest
from Dr. Money, and in the Star, over his many titles — Bishop,
Deacon and Defender of the Faith — he challenged the editor
to a discussion, but, warned by the fate of the friars at Pitaqui-
tos, the genial Colonel declined the combat.

Dr. Money seems to have considered his call to preach para-
mount to his call to practice. In a card to the public, published
in the Star of November 3, 1855, he says: "I am sorry to in-
form the public that since the Reformed New Testament church
has unanimously conferred on me the office of Bishop, Deacon
and Defender of the Faith of said apostolic church, it is at
present inconvenient for me any longer to practice my physical
system. My California Family Medical Instructor is now ready
for the press, containing my three physical systems, in about
200 pages and 50 plates of the human body. It will likewise
contain a list of about five thousand patients that I have had
under my physical treatment in the course of fifteen years'
practice, from the port of San Diego to that of San Francisco.
Out of this large number only four, to my knowledge, have died
while under my treatment. I do not pubHsh this for the pur-
pose of getting into practice, but only to get out of it."

His Family Medical Instructor was probably the second
book written in Los Angeles, but whether it was ever published
I cannot say. Some twenty-five years ago, when the Public
Library was in the old Downey Block, he had on file in it a
set of plates of the human body. They long since have dis-
appeared. He removed to San Gabriel, where he lived in a
curiously constructed adobe house. He died in 1890, at San
Gabriel. His books and papers were lost.

Another eccentric character of early days was Professor
Cain. Cain was a gentleman of color, aged and white-haired.
He towered up in the air at least six and a half feet, and by
taking thought had added at least half a cubit to his height in
the shape of a tall narrow-brimmed stove-pipe hat of the vintage
of the fall of '49 or spring of '50.


Cain was a philosopher, and had original and rather start-
ling theories which he propounded from the steps of the old
Court House whenever he could get an audience.

A colored preacher, the Rev. John Jasper, of Richmond,
Va., made himself famous by a sermon that he was accustomed
to deliver from the text, "The sun do move." In that sermon
he demolished the theory that the earth moved around the
sun., "The sun does the movin', not the yearth. The good
book says that once, when Joshuar had a big killing of Anak-
elites on hand; he says 'sun stand still' till I get through with
the kilHn', and she stopped and stood still." Now, said the
Rev. Jasper, how could a thing stop if it wasn't going? How,
indeed! And the Rev. Jasper removed that theological stum-
bling block that has tripped over theologians for centuries.

Professor Cain's theory was more original and more start-
ling than Jasper's. It wlas that the original color of the human
race was black. Adam was the first Sambo, and Eve the primi-
tive Dinah. The white race were bleached-out blacks.

Cain's proof was conclusive, if you admit his premises. "The
good book, says Adam, was created out of the dust of the
yearth. Whar did the Lord get that dust? Cain was accus-
tomed to ask. "In the Garden of Eden. The soil of the garden
was a black soil, because it was rich and produced all manner
of yarbs and trees. Now, if Adam was made from black dust
his color was black, wa'n't it? And Eve being made from Ad-
am's rib, the rib wiere black, and consequently Eve was black,

As long as Adam's descendants remained in warm countries
they retained their primitive color, but after a time some of
them wandered off to cold countries and lived in the shade of
the woods, where the sun could not get at them. Then they
began to fade, just as a plant grown in the shade loses its orig-
inal color and turns white. Consequently, the Professor would
say, as he clinched his argument, "The white man is only a
faded-out niggah."

Some practical jokers induced the old philosopher to deliver
a lecture on his favorite theme. He secured the old Merced

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 6 of 29)