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Up and Down California in 1860-1864;
The Journal of William H. Brewer:
Book 1, Chapter 2
LOS ANGELES AND ENVIRONS

By Steamer to San Pedro—Los Angeles—Benito Wilson’s—Santa Monica Mountains—Personnel—San Gabriel.

Los Angeles, California.
Sunday, December 2, 1860.

Professor Whitney returned from Sacramento Wednesday, November 21, with the “sinews of war,” and with orders to get off immediately. The next two days were spent in the greatest activity, buying blankets, getting tents made, getting harness, saddles, some groceries, tea and coffee, etc., and Saturday, November 24, we were on board a steamer for San Pedro, 380 miles southwest of San Francisco. Four of us started. Professor Whitney went to Mariposa with Colonel Frémont, intending to come down by the next steamer, about three weeks later. As first assistant, the company was placed in my charge, a heavy responsibility I would like to have had placed on someone else. We were to come down here, buy mules, provision and equip fully, and go into camp and await Professor Whitney.

Well, we sailed on Saturday, a most lovely morning, and took our course down the coast to the southeast. There are two small rocky islands just at the Golden Gate and they were completely covered with sea lions, a kind of large seal, apparently nearly as large as a walrus. They barked at us as we passed and many tumbled into the sea, but hundreds were basking in the sun or moving about with awkward motions.

The next morning we arrived at San Luis Obispo. The port is but a single house, and the village is about four miles distant. As we lay there all day, I went ashore with a friend, a doctor from the United States Army, and spent several hours, saw the country and collected some plants, all strange to me. The steamer was anchored a mile from the shore, and the freight, some seventy or eighty tons, had to be landed in yawls or rowboats. There is no dock, so it is landed on a rock.

The land was very dry, the rains had hardly begun, so the vegetation looked very scanty and the land desolate. Scrub oaks, crabbed sycamores, and scrubby undershrubs composed the scanty vegetation. We wandered along the beach and picked up a few shells, some of great beauty. The sea has worn the rocks in fantastic shapes; there are several natural arches, one of great size.

On our return to the ship, we found the passengers playing cards, singing songs, drinking whiskey, etc.—a Californian sabbath. The Boundary Commission,1 to run the line between California and countries east, were aboard, a hard set, who were making much noise and drinking much whiskey. They are now encamped near here. One of their men died this morning, killed most probably with bad whiskey. He was out yesterday, walked to camp last evening, and died this morning.

Well, we started that evening. The next morning, after stopping a few hours at Santa Barbara, we arrived at San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles, about twenty-five miles from here. We got in about sundown, rode six miles up the river on a small steamer, then disembarked for this place by stage. It was a most lovely night, but there were more than three times as many passengers as there was stage room, so two of us came up and left two other men with the baggage. They came up the next day. We have been here since, looking at mules, harness, bacon, stores, etc. We hope to be in camp in two days more. I have been to church once today, we had a congregation of about thirty or forty, I should think.

In Camp at Los Angeles.
December 7.

Well, we are in camp. It is a cold rainy night, but I can hardly realize the fact that you at home are blowing your fingers in the cold, and possibly sleighing, while I am sitting here in a tent, without fire, and sleeping on the ground in blankets, in this month. We are camped on a hill near the town, perhaps a mile distant, a pretty place.

Los Angeles is a city of some 3,500 or 4,000 inhabitants, nearly a century old, a regular old Spanish-Mexican town, built by the old padres, Catholic Spanish missionaries, before the American independence. The houses are but one story, mostly built of adobe or sun-burnt brick, with very thick walls and flat roofs. They are so low because of earthquakes, and the style is Mexican. The inhabitants are a mixture of old Spanish, Indian, American, and German Jews; the last two have come in lately.2 The language of the natives is Spanish, and I have commenced learning it. The only thing they appear to excel in is riding, and certainly I have never seen such riders.

Here is a great plain, or rather a gentle slope, from the Pacific to the mountains. We are on this plain about twenty miles from the sea and fifteen from the mountains, a most lovely locality; all that is wanted naturally to make it a paradise is water, more water. Apples, pears, plums, figs, olives, lemons, oranges, and “the finest grapes in the world,” so the books say, pears of two and a half pounds each, and such things in proportion. The weather is soft and balmy—no winter, but a perpetual spring and summer. Such is Los Angeles, a place where “every prospect pleases and only man is vile.”

As we stand on a hill over the town, which lies at our feet, one of the loveliest views I ever saw is spread out. Over the level plain to the southwest lies the Pacific, blue in the distance; to the north are the mountains of the Sierra Santa Monica; to the south, beneath us, lies the picturesque town with its flat roofs, the fertile plain and vineyards stretching away to a great distance; to the east, in the distance, are some mountains without name, their sides abrupt and broken, while still above them stand the snow covered peaks of San Bernardino. The effect of the pepper, fig, olive, and palm trees in the foreground, with the snow in the distance, is very unusual.

This is a most peculiar climate, a mingling of the temperate with the tropical. The date palm and another palm grow here, but do not fruit, while the olive, fig, orange, and lemon flourish well. The grapes are famous, and the wine of Los Angeles begins to be known even in Europe.

We got in camp on Tuesday, December 4. We had been invited to a ranch and vineyard about nine miles east, and went with a friend on Tuesday evening. It lies near San Gabriel Mission, on a most beautiful spot, I think even finer than this. Mr. Wilson,3 our host, uneducated, but a man of great force of character, is now worth a hundred or more thousand dollars and lives like a prince, only with less luxury. His wife is finely educated and refined, and his home to the visitor a little paradise. We were received with the greatest cordiality and were entertained with the greatest hospitality. A touch of the country and times was indicated by our rig—I was dressed in colored woolen shirt, with heavy navy revolver (loaded) and huge eight-inch bowie knife at my belt; my friend the same; and the clergyman who took us out in his carriage carried along his rifle, he said for game, yet owned that it was “best to have arms after dark.”

Here let me digress. This southern California is still unsettled. We all continually wear arms—each wears both bowie knife and pistol (navy revolver), while we have always for game or otherwise, a Sharp’s rifle, Sharp’s carbine, and two double-barrel shotguns. Fifty to sixty murders per year have been common here in Los Angeles, and some think it odd that there has been no violent death during the two weeks that we have been here. Yet with our care there is no considerable danger, for as I write this there are at least six heavy loaded revolvers in the tent, besides bowie knives and other arms, so we anticipate no danger. I have been practicing with my revolver and am becoming expert.

Well, to return to my story, and to Mr. Wilson’s. We found a fine family, with two lovely young ladies. The next day, Wednesday, December 5, we went up into the mountain, followed up a canyon (gorges are called cańons or canyons), and then separated. I climbed a hill 2,500 or more feet, very steep and rocky, gathered some plants, and had one of the most magnificent views of my life—the plain, and the ocean beyond. The girls went with us into the canyon, but did not climb higher. After our climb and a lunch, a ride of eight miles over the fields (for no fences obstruct the land) brought us back; then dinner and return here. We had a delightful time—I ought to say “we” were the field assistant Mr. Ashburner and I. We will try to visit them again when Professor Whitney comes.

It is cold, wet, and cheerless, so good night! Rain patters on the tent and dribbles within.

Sunday Evening, December 9.

Yesterday was rainy and cheerless enough in our tents—cold, damp, wet—but it cleared up by noon, and today is most lovely, yet cool, thirty-nine degrees in our tent this morning.

I like camp life thus far. I had expected to take cold and all that, but not so. I have slept well and have eaten well, and am well, only have more responsibility than I wish. By tomorrow night I shall have paid out over nine hundred dollars in the last two weeks—but Professor Whitney will be here Tuesday.

Camp No. 2, Sierra Santa Monica.
Monday Evening, December 17.

Monday, December 10, I sent a wagon and two men to San Pedro, on the coast, for instruments, and that night Professor Whitney arrived. He stayed in town; we kept in camp. The next day (Tuesday) it rained very heavily all day. It began before daylight and drowned us out at dawn. Soon the water was ankle deep in the tent. Oh, the comforts of camp in these tropical rains, when it doesn’t rain but pours! Ditches were dug, but were insufficient, stakes were freshly driven to keep the tents from blowing down in the wind, then blankets, instruments, books, maps, etc., were transported to the driest tent—lucky that we had but four in camp! We breakfasted on raw bacon and dry bread. An unoccupied hut was found, where we built a fire and spent a part of the day, and two spent the night there. I stuck to the tent, along with the cook.

At ten at night the men arrived with the wagon, but I sent them into town to sleep. They brought me some papers and two letters from San Francisco, the first and only ones I have yet received. I sat up in bed—that is, in my blankets—and read them. But how the rain came! It poured, it battered through the canvas until I was wet; yet I slept well that night, although between the letters and the novel situation, my dreams carried me back to other scenes with other friends around me.

On Wednesday and Thursday, December 12 and 13, we explored the region round about and completed our equipment. We have nine fine mules, saddles, harness, spurs, and all. The morning of the fourteenth we raised our camp and came here to explore this range—a small range north of Los Angeles.

We had some most amusing incidents on this trip. A four-mule team drew our wagon, in which two rode; the remaining five were mounted on similar brave animals, some of them scarcely half broken, just half wild from the ranches, with these queer Mexican saddles, still queerer Mexican bridles, and most queer of all Mexican spurs. By a grand streak of good luck, no one was thrown. But there was kicking and jumping, and mules persisting in going the wrong way, and whipping and spurring, then fresh kicking and some swearing. We were in camp by dark. A gentleman from Los Angeles had come out with us, but his horses ran away that night and he is after them still.

Saturday morning four of us started, muleback, for the center of the Sierra. The gentlest mule carried the Professor, with a barometer to measure heights; I went to botanize; another to guide; another (Spaniard) to hunt. With no little trepidation, which I was ashamed to show, I mounted my mule. He is one of the most spirited in the crowd—our driver says the best in the lot—and quite wild. I expected a scene when I took my botanical box (tin) on him, but managed him better than I anticipated or even hoped for; but, cunning brute, he knows I am both awkward and green, and takes advantage accordingly.

Well, we rode up the canyon a few miles, rugged (but not high) mountains on either side, with here and there a crabbed tree and a stunted, shrubby vegetation. We at last tied our mules, ascended a ridge, took some observations (but did not reach the highest peak), found some fossils, or rather, found where to get them, then returned.

Tuesday Evening, December 18.

On our return in the trip mentioned, we came near having an accident. It was necessary to jump our mules over a log. The first two mules required much urging, but when mine came he not only jumped the log but sailed over a steep bank, the steepness and depth of which were concealed by bushes. Visions of his rolling over me popped into my head as I caught a glimpse of where I was and of the distance below me, but thanks to his wisdom and strength we got out, I don’t know how even yet. No horse could have saved himself as that mule did. He was hurt some, and I have not ridden him since, nor will I for a week to come, except just to move our camp.

Sunday, December 16, it rained all day and a part of the night. Monday, it was clear, and after getting nine o’clock observations for longitude, I started again with Ashburner to the peaks. Professor Whitney remained to get more observations for latitude, and to watch the station barometer. We carried the other along to measure the heights. This time we went on foot—went up the canyon a few miles, then climbed again

Josiah Dwight Whitney
Josiah Dwight Whitney
  William H. Brewer
William H. Brewer (1864)

 

Chester Averill
Chester Averill
  William Ashburner
William Ashburner
the peak visited on Saturday. Ashburner almost gave out on the steep ascent, but he rested while watching the barometer. Another peak a few hundred feet higher was near. We climbed to that, but only to see one still higher an hour’s climb farther on. I was for going to it. Ashburner objected, so we set up the barometer and watched its height for an hour. A most grand and magnificent view was beneath us, unlike anything I have seen before. We got a load of fossils, and, tired enough, returned after dark.

This morning we sent four men, with wagon and one tent, to find another camping place near the end of the ridge at the sea, while Professor Whitney and I remained here, with our cook. After the morning observations, a cloudy sky coming up, we followed. He walks much better than Ashburner, so we did much more, but a fog came on and so enveloped the peaks that nothing was to be seen. However, we found some new fossils, traced up the granite core of the mountains, the backbone as it were, then returned this evening. We leave here tomorrow.

And now, of our company—I believe I have not yet told you of them.

First, Professor Whitney, a capital fellow—I think the best man in the United States for this gigantic work. I like him better each day.

Second, the botanist, etc., of the Survey, your humble servant will not describe.

Third, Mr. Ashburner,4 of Stockbridge, Mass., a good fellow, graduate of the School of Mines, in France, about my age, or younger. He is field assistant.

Fourth, Averill,5 a young man, a graduate of Union College; then spent a year and a half on a voyage around the world, visited South America, East India, China, etc., and is now here seeking his fortune. He is a capital fellow. He keeps accounts and assists in general at whatever he can do.

Fifth, Guirado, a Spanish-Mexican-Californian, about twenty, a brother-in-law of the Governor,6 a regular Spaniard, a good fellow, just the one to ride a wild mule and to shoot our game, yet by far the least valuable of our crew.

Sixth, Mike, a jolly young Irishman, our cook, just getting broken into the harness, and I think with practice will do well.

Seventh, last, but by no means least, Pete,7 our jolly mule driver—a capital fellow in his line—young, game, posted as to mules, can tell a story, sing a song, shoot rabbits (and dress, cook, and eat them)—a most valuable man. Has been over the plains, was with Colonel Lander on his wagon-road expedition, etc. I pride myself on choosing him out of the host of applicants.

Oh, how still it is! No sound but the hooting of owls, or the sound of other night birds. No house near, and but few signs of civilization. Good night!

Camp 3.
Sunday Evening, December 23.

Another rainy Sunday, or at least it rained all the morning, but has cleared up tonight, most lovely. We came to this camp on Thursday. It is to the west of our last, on the seacoast, or rather, within a mile and a half of it. We hear the surf continually; it is the last sound at night, breaking the stillness of the night, but not the solitude, for it seems more solitary than ever. This effect is increased by the doleful hooting of numerous owls all night long, and the occasional bark of the coyote, or California wolf, a small, sneaking but not dangerous animal.

Friday two of us went several miles along the seashore to observe the outcropping of rocks there. On Saturday we took mules, rode up the canyon about eight miles, rising a thousand feet in that distance, then leaving our animals and climbing to a peak about eight hundred feet higher. It was the hardest climbing I have done yet. It was very steep, many precipices obstructed us, and when there were no rocks there was an almost impenetrable thicket, or chaparral, as it is here called. We carried up a barometer, which increased the labor, and got back at dark, tired enough.

Today we have loafed around tent, cleaned pistols, etc., but it bids fair for a good day tomorrow.

Los Angeles.
December 26.

We came in here the twenty-fourth and stopped over night at ahotel. It commenced raining and has rained until this afternoon. It has now stopped and we shall probably go on in a day or two, certainly as soon as the weather and streams will allow.

As I had lost my mule (he is since found), I walked in from Camp 3, about twenty miles, over the plain—a most lovely rolling plain, only wanting water to make it of the greatest fertility. Now, during the rainy season it is most green and lovely, thousands (probably thirty thousand to fifty thousand) of horses and cattle are grazing there. One of our mules is among them still, or else stolen. One of our men has been hunting him a week. We hope to get him, however.

Rain interfered with Christmas festivities, but it was still quite lively. I stepped in a fandango a little while in the evening and looked on to see the dancing, which did not come up to my expectations. In the next room they were playing monte for large piles of silver—the stakes not large, but the silver accumulated.

The rain has been the severest for eleven years. Probably as much as six or seven inches fell in about forty hours. You can imagine the effect. It is very hard on these adobe houses. Several have fallen, one row of stores, among the rest, involving a loss of many thousand dollars. It has been the rainiest season since ’49—lucky we were not in camp during this siege, it is decidedly better at the hotel. As a sample of how damp the air is, when I am writing, fine as my writing is, the first line of the page is not yet dry when the last is written.

Camp No. 6, mouth of San Gabriel Canyon.
January 3, 1861.

I sent my last letter from Los Angeles a week ago and have been too busy to write any since. The rain ceased, and we sent an advance camp out on Friday, December 28. Professor Whitney and I followed on Saturday. We camped on the ranch of Mr. Wilson, and only left there this morning. His ranch is in a beautiful plain, hemmed in on all sides by hills or mountains, except for one narrow opening to the sea, like a bay filled up. The hills on the west, toward Los Angeles, are not high. This valley plain is perhaps fifty or sixty thousand acres; his ranch is four leagues, about fourteen thousand acres. He also owns very extensive vineyards, the “Lake Vineyards,” which have as fine a reputation as any in the state.

When this part of the state belonged to Mexico, it was settled by the old Spanish missionaries, or padres as they are here called, who converted the Indians and formed great missions, wealthy and powerful. One was near Mr. Wilson’s, the Mission of San Gabriel. Thousands of natives were the voluntary slaves of these priests, vineyards of great extent were planted, and at the time of the confiscation of their property by the Mexican Government they had twenty thousand horses, eighty thousand cattle, etc. All now is in ruins.8

Sunday morning I rode over to the Mission, about three miles from camp, with Guirado, who went to Mass. The old church and a few houses still stand—the church bells are by far the sweetest I have heard in California—six are left in the old tower, two are gone. Extensive ruins of adobe buildings, now the abode of myriads of ground squirrels, told how large the town once had been. Long lines of tuna, or prickly-pear hedges, now all ruined, told of ancient enclosures and vineyards, but now a waste. Immense labor had once wrought this lovely valley into a veritable paradise, but now it is desolate again. A few tall date palm trees are there, but the fruit does not ripen. We went into a garden owned by the priests, still enclosed. It was still kept up, the finest orange trees were laden with golden fruit, so that the trees were propped up to keep them from breaking under the load. They were most beautiful —the graceful form of the tree, the intense dark green of the foliage contrasting with the rich golden fruit, produced a beautiful effect. We bought some oranges, also lemons and limes. Olives abound—many of the trees are large—and English walnuts grow as fine as in Europe. Water was brought for irrigating from a neighboring stream in a long ditch from the San Gabriel River, over twenty miles distant from the remotest part. Such was San Gabriel Mission—now it is a ruin and cut up into ranches.

To the east of us lay a very precipitous chain of mountains.9 I had before been in a canyon in them and had climbed a few hundred feet. We now determined to ascend. We four, chief men of the Survey, drew cuts to see who should stay in camp to observe the station barometer, as one must stay, and all were anxious to go. The lot fell on me, but Averill most generously yielded his right, and I went in his place. No one had been on the highest peak, but a native agreed to pilot us to the second highest point.

We arose on Monday and breakfasted before dawn, then waited over an hour for our guide. We rode to the base, and into a canyon about five or six miles from camp, tied our mules, and after a barometrical observation, commenced to climb. It was the steepest and hardest climb I have ever had by far. We carried up barometer, compass, and botanical box. The chaparral became almost impenetrable. It was terribly hard to climb. As we crossed from one peak to another on a very narrow ridge, the third hour, Ashburner gave out. I took his load and we left him behind. In four and a half hours’ climbing we found it impossible to make the highest peak, so we planted our tripod and put up compass and barometer. We had risen 4,200 feet above camp and 5,000 feet above the sea. Another peak rose 1,500 feet, at least, above us yet. The view was magnificent. I will attempt no lengthy description. All the lower hills to the west sank into the plain that was spread out beneath us to the very sea, and we could see a great distance, probably fifty or sixty miles, out to sea. Los Angeles, with its vineyards and all, was a mere speck on the landscape.

A little snow lay around us, and the summits above were very white. We built a fire, melted snow in my botanical box for drinking, ate our lunch, took the bearings of the most important points, and descended. All the region to the north and east was very mountainous, yet it was hard to realize that I was nearly as high as Mount Washington, and higher than the celebrated Rigi. We carried down my box full of snow for the ladies at the ranch. It was a great curiosity—the younger ones had never seen it before. One man went off in ecstasies on tasting it; he had not had snow in his hand since leaving Europe fifteen years ago.

It was long after dark when we got back. A hearty supper so much refreshed me that I spent the evening, New Year’s Eve, at Mr. Wilson’s, and spent it very pleasantly. He has a large family; there are several ladies there.

Tuesday (New Year’s), we sent the wagon to town (Los Angeles), nine miles distant, for supplies. Professor Whitney and I, along with Mr. Wilson, rode a few miles to visit some old quarries and see some other things of interest. It was a lovely day. We dined at five at Mr. Wilson’s—a most sumptuous dinner. A small party was there and we spent a pleasant and lively evening, notwithstanding that our “rig,” just from camp, was hardly fashionable. The evening was lovely, as was the last. The midnight bells at the old Mission the night before, tolling out the old year and in the new, were sweet, but no sweeter than the nine o’clock bells of that New Year’s night.

Yesterday, January 2, we sent our men to another camp, while Professor Whitney and I stopped for observations on latitude and longitude. It so happens that I can observe time on the chronometers much closer than the assistant who was brought along for that purpose, so I stay in camp some days to do it. The day was lovely—thermometer 67° F.—spring weather. Think of such weather for the holidays! Today we raised our camp, and rode on here, about twelve miles; the other camp will be here tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5.

Yesterday Professor Whitney and I went a few miles up the San Gabriel Canyon. Silver and gold are worked. A silver mine is being opened, and the stockholders desired to go up with us. Some came along and we went up to their mine, about six or seven miles. It is a wild canyon, granite rocks from two to four thousand feet high on each side, very steep but nowhere perpendicular. Many side ravines come in, and many small streams swell the San Gabriel to a river. We had to cross it twelve times each way, twenty-four in all, very easy to those who had horses, but not quite so easy with our short-legged mules as the water often came up to their sides. The mine has been commenced by running a tunnel into the mountain, but we found it caved in by the recent heavy rains, and as we could not get in we returned.

On our way we met four more of the stockholders—they urged us to go back, as they had the “materials” for a jolly night coming. We, however, kept on our way. Soon we met some men with pack-mules. One carried blankets; another a basket of champagne and other wine; another, a Spaniard, a guitar. So I imagine that they are having a jolly time in their cabin this rainy morning.

The path was up a mere mule path, over rocks, logs, among bowlders, where you would think no horse or mule could get. All provisions, etc., must be packed, that is, carried on the backs of mules. It was a wild scene all the way. Yet one I had never heard of before, nor is the canyon laid down on any map, although it is forty miles long.

This want of maps, as well as incorrect maps, is a very serious evil which we feel much. We have to make observations all the way. Professor Whitney does work splendidly. Two sets of observations at the last camp, where he used the sextant and I the chronometer, agreed to within the one-tenth of a second, while our last barometrical observations, for altitude, two sets, agreed to within an inch and a half, although the camps were eight or nine miles apart. We have very fine barometers, reading to the thousandth of an inch, and we carry them with care, hence the precision. When we measure any height we use two barometers, one at the camp, the other carried with us.

Sunday, January 6.

It rained most of the day yesterday, all last night, and thus far today without any prospect of a cessation. Yesterday I fixed plants, wrote up descriptions, mended shirts, drawers, etc., made oilcloth cases for compasses, etc. My cheap woolen shirts don’t prove well made—have had to sew on buttons and work all the buttonholes over again; the work is now securely done even if it is not ornamental.

Monday, January 7.

It has now rained about seventy hours without cessation—for forty hours of that time, over twenty consecutive, it has rained like the hardest thundershower at home. No signs of clearing up yet—fire out by the rains, provisions getting rather scarce—one meal per day now. But our tent is dry—we have it well pitched, and in a dry place.

I have been studying Spanish, writing up letters, notes, etc. I have written thirteen letters, or about eighty pages, during this rain, to be mailed when we can get to town, but it will be a number of days, for the streams will be impassable. Lucky we did not stay up in the canyon Friday night as they wanted us to, we could not have got down yet. I never saw such rains before, and it has not rained so much before of a winter since 1848, so the people say.

Tuesday, January 8.

Rain has stopped—the San Gabriel River is impassable, so we can neither get to town for supplies, nor visit up the canyon, nor move camp toward Temescal. The stream is high and swift. An empty stage was carried off night before last, and a man was drowned about a mile from our camp yesterday while attempting to swim the river. We shall get letters when we can get to Los Angeles again. It is a fine evening.

Wednesday Evening, January 9.

We have had lovely day. Three of us climbed a ridge about two thousand feet above our camp to measure height and get the bearings of the various points around. We got a most magnificent view. The rain here had been snow on the peaks behind; they lay in their silent grandeur, so white and massive, while on the opposite side were the lovely plains of San Gabriel, El Monte, and Los Angeles. But I am too tired to write. Possibly a team can get to town tomorrow to mail this as the river has fallen some.

NOTES

1. The records of this commission are obscure. It appears to have had some connection with work done by Lieut. Joseph C. Ives on the Colorado River in 1861, but the group mentioned here by Brewer was probably not under Ives’s command. Contemporary newspapers mention a party of fourteen men, with transport, including three camels, engaged in the eastern boundary survey, traveling from Los Angeles, via Mohave Desert, to Owens Valley.

2. Harris Newark, in Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913 (2d ed., revised, 1926), gives a picture of Los Angeles life at this period.

3. Benjamin Davis Wilson, familiarly known as “Benito” (1811-78), a native of Tennessee, came to Los Angeles in 1841 after a career as trapper and trader in New Mexico. In 1852 he purchased the Lake Vineyard property and made his home there. In 1864 he built a burro path to the top of the mountain which bears his name.

4. William Ashburner (1831-87) became a prominent citizen of California. After leaving the Geological Survey he entered the practice of mining engineering in San Francisco and was for a time Honorary Professor of Mining Engineering in the University of California. In 1880 he was appointed a Regent of the University. He was also a trustee of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University. During his later years he was active in banking. His wife, Emilia Field, whom he had married in Stockbridge in 1856, was a niece of Justice Stephen J. Field of California, who had been most influential in causing the State Geological Survey to be established. Mrs. Ashburner is now (1930) living in San Francisco.

5. Chester Averill, also from Stockbridge.

6. John G. Downey married, in 1852, Maria Jesús Guirado, daughter of Don Rafael Guirado, who had come from Sonora to Los Angeles in 1853.

7. His full name was John Peter Gabriel.

8. Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was founded in 1771 by the Franciscan missionaries, Fray Angel Somera and Fray Benito Cambón. Secularization took place from 1832 to 1840.

9. The San Gabriel Range, which includes Mount Lowe (5,650 feet), Mount Wilson (5,700 feet), San Gabriel Peak (6,152 feet); and farther east, Mount San Antonio (10,080 feet), and others. The climb appears to have been upon one of the lesser peaks near Mount Lowe or Mount Wilson.


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