Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

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Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (4 July 1807 – 18 January 1890) was a Californio general, statesman, and public figure. He was born a subject of Spain, performed his military duties as an officer of the Republic of Mexico, and shaped the transition of Alta California from a territory of Mexico to the U.S. state of California. He served in the first session of the California State Senate. The city of Vallejo, California is named after him, and the nearby city of Benicia is named after his wife (née Francisca Benicia Carrillo).


  • Now, therefore, I Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, in consideration of the premises, do hereby release the State of California, from any and all claims for relief or damages against said State, founded upon or growing out of anything connected with the location or removal of the Seat of Government at or from the city of Vallejo. hey world
  • I compare that old relic with myself... ruins and dilapidation. What a difference between then and now. Then, youth, strength and riches; now age, weakness and poverty.

Historical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Alta California (1875)[edit]

Recuerdos Historicos y Personales Tocante a la Alta California (1875) by Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo
  • The running up of this queer flag caused much fear to the families of the Californians established in the neighborhood of Sonoma, Petaluma, and San Rafael, for they realized that the instigators of the uprising that had disturbed the tranquility of the frontier had made up their minds to rule, come what might, and, as the rumor had been spread far and wide that Ide and his associates had raised the bear flag in order to enjoy complete liberty and not be obliged to any civilized governments, the ranchers, who would have remained unperturbed should the American flag have been run up in Sonoma and who would have considered it as the harbinger of a period of progress and enlightenment, seized their machetes and guns and fled to the woods, determined to await a propitious moment for getting rid of the disturbers of the peace. Strange to relate, the first victim that the ranchers sacrificed was the painter of the "Bear Flag," young Thomas Cowie...
    • As quoted in The Literature of California: Native American beginnings to 1945 (2000) ed., Jack Hicks
  • Some years ago (in 1868) when I was in Monterey, my friend, David Spence, showed me a book entitled “History of California,” written by an author of recognized merit by the name of Franklin Tuthill, and called my attention to that part of the gentlemans narrative where he expresses the assurance that the guerrilla men whom Captain Fremont sent in pursuit of the Californian, Joaquin de la Torre, took nine field pieces from the latter. I could not help but be surprised when I read such a story, for I know for a fact that Captain de la Torre had only thirty cavalrymen under his command who as their only weapons carried a lance, carbine, saber and pistol. I think that Mr. Tuthill would have done better if, instead of inventing the capture of nine cannon, he had devoted a few lines to describing the vandal-like manner in which the “Bear” soldiers sacked the Olompalí Rancho and maltreated the eighty year old Damaso Rodriguez... whom they beat so badly as to cause his death in the presence of his daughters and granddaughters. Filled with dismay, they gathered into their arms the body of the venerable old man who had fallen as a victim of the thirst for blood that was the prime mover of the guerrilla men headed by Mr. Ford.
    • As quoted by George Mason University's History Matters: “More Like A Pig Than a Bear”: Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo Is Taken Prisoner During the Bear Flag Revolt, 1846
  • I have spared no effort to establish upon a solid and enduring basis those sentiments of union and concord which are so indispensible for the progress and advancement of all those who dwell in my native land, and, so long as I live, I propose to use all the means at my command to see to it that both races cast a stigma upon the disagreeable events that took place on the Sonoma frontier in 1846. If before I pass on to render an account of my acts to the Supreme Creator, I succeed in being a witness to a reconciliation between victor and vanquished, conquerors and conquered, I shall die with the conviction of not having striven in vain. In bringing this chapter to a close, I will remark that, if the men who hoisted the “Bear Flag” had raised the flag that Washington sanctified by his abnegation and patriotism, there would have been no war on the Sonoma frontier, for all our minds were prepared to give a brotherly embrace to the sons of the Great Republic, whose enterprising spirit had filled us with admiration. Ill-advisedly, however, as some say, or dominated by a desire to rule without let or hindrance, as others say, they placed themselves under the shelter of a flag that pictured a bear, an animal that we took as the emblem of rapine and force. This mistake was the cause of all the trouble, for when the Californians saw parties of men running over their plains and forests under the “Bear Flag,” they thought that they were dealing with robbers and took the steps they thought most effective for the protection of their lives and property.
    • As quoted by George Mason University's History Matters: “More Like A Pig Than a Bear”: Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo Is Taken Prisoner During the Bear Flag Revolt, 1846

History of the Solano and Napa Counties, California (1912)[edit]

  • I cannot, gentlemen, coincide with the military and civil functionaries who have advocated the cession of our country to France or England. It is most true that to rely longer upon Mexico to govern and defend us would be idle and absurd. To this extent I fully agree with my colleagues. It is also true that we possess a noble country, every way calculated, from position and resources, to become great and powerful. For that very reason I would not have her a mere dependency on a foreign monarchy, naturally alien, or at least indifferent to our interests and our welfare. It is not to be denied that feeble nations have in former times thrown themselves upon the protection of their powerful neighbors. The Britons invoked the aid of the warlike Saxons and fell an easy prey to their protectors, who seized their lands and treated them like slaves. Long before that time, feeble and distracted provinces had appealed for aid to the all-conquering arms of imperial Rome, and they were at the time protected and subjugated by their grasping ally. Even could we tolerate the idea of dependence, ought we to go to distant Europe for a master? What possible sympathy could exist between us and a nation separated from us by two vast oceans? But waiving this insuperable objection, how could we endure to come under the dominion of a monarchy? For although others speak lightly of a form of government, as a freeman I cannot do so. We are republicans—badly governed and badly situated as we are—still we are all, in sentiment, republicans. So far as we are governed at all, we at least do profess to be self-governed. Who, then, that possesses true patriotism will consent to subject himself and his children to the caprices of a foreign king and his official minions? But, it is asked, if we do not throw ourselves upon the protection of France and England, what shall we do? I do not come here to support the existing order of things, but I come prepared to propose instant and effective action to extricate our country from her present forlorn condition. My opinion is made up that we must persevere in throwing off the galling yoke of Mexico, and proclaim our independence of her forever. We have endured her official cormorants and her villainous soldiery until we can endure no longer. All will probably agree with me that we ought at once to rid ourselves of what may remain of Mexican domination. But some profess to doubt our ability to maintain our position. To my mind there comes no doubt. Look at Texas and see how long she withstood the power of united Mexico. The resources of Texas were not to be compared with ours, and she was much nearer to her enemy than we are. Our position is so remote, either by land or sea, that we are in no danger from Mexican invasion. Why then should we hesitate to assert our independence? We have indeed taken the first step by electing our own governor, but another remains to be taken. I will mention it plainly and distinctly—it is annexation to the United States. In contemplating this consummation of our destiny, I feel nothing but pleasure, and I ask you to share it. Discard old prejudices, discard old customs, and prepare for the glorious change that awaits our country. Why should we shrink from incorporating ourselves with the happiest and freest nation in the world, destined soon to be the most wealthy and powerful? Why should we go abroad for protection when this great nation is our adjoining neighbor? When we join our fortunes to hers, we shall not become subjects, but fellow citizens possessing all the rights of the people of the United States, and choosing our own federal and local rulers. We shall have a stable government and just laws. California will grow strong and flourish, and her people will be prosperous, happy and free. Look not, therefore, with jealousy upon the hardy pioneers who scale our mountains and cultivate our unoccupied plains, but rather welcome them as brothers, who come to share with us a common destiny.
    • Before the junta at Monterey in (April, 1846) when governor Pío Pico advocated annexation to France or England to escape that "mock republic, Mexico. hello world

Quotes about Vallejo[edit]

  • [December, 1839:] We had now finished all our business at this port, and it being Sunday, we unmoored ship and got under way, firing a salute to the Russian brig, and another to the presidio, which were both answered. The commandante of the presidio, Don Guadalupe Vallejo, a young man, and the most popular, among the Americans and English, of any man in California, was on board when we got under way. He spoke English very well, and was suspected of being favorably inclined to foreigners.
  • [December, 1859:] On board the steamer, found Mr. Edward Stanley, formerly member of Congress from North Carolina, who became my companion for the greater part of my trip. I also met—a revival on the spot of an acquaintance of twenty years ago—Don Guadalupe Vallejo; I may say acquaintance, for although I was then before the mast, he knew my story, and, as he spoke English well, used to hold many conversations with me, when in the boat or on shore. He received me with true earnestness, and would not hear of my passing his estate without visiting him. He reminded me of a remark I made to him once, when pulling him ashore in the boat, when he was commandante at the Presidio. I learned that the two Vallejos, Guadalupe and Salvador, owned, at an early time, nearly all Napa and Sonoma, having princely estates. But they have not much left. They were nearly ruined by their bargain with the State, that they would put up the public buildings if the Capital should be placed at Vallejo, then a town of some promise. They spent $l00,000, the Capital was moved there, and in two years removed to San José on another contract. The town fell to pieces, and the houses, chiefly wooden, were taken down and removed. I accepted the old gentleman's invitation so far as to stop at Vallejo to breakfast.
  • By the mid-1840s... 3,000 American settlers had filed... into California's Sacramento Valley. The commander of all Mexican troops in northern California, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, begged Mexico City for the soldiers he knew would be necessary to keep the Americans out.
  • No one had been more accommodating to the Americans than Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.
    • Dayton Duncan, Geoffrey C. Ward "This Land of Gold and Hope," The West, Episode Three (1996)
  • Even Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was betrayed by his American friends: law suits and an invasion of squatters reduced his sprawling estate from a quarter of a million acres to fewer than 300.
    • Dayton Duncan, Geoffrey C. Ward "This Land of Gold and Hope," The West, Episode Three (1996)
  • During his long life, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo had fought California Indians on behalf of Spain, commanded Californio troops for Mexico, and welcomed the Americans to the Pacific Coast.
  • During the 1830s. Vallejo was a leader in the movement to break from Mexico and make California a separate republic. ...Ironically, he was the first man arrested during the semi-staged Bear Flag Revolt. Vallejo's account of that escapade comes from a massive history he began to compose during the 1860s.... completing his Historical and Personal Memories Relating to Alta California in 1875.
    • Jack Hicks, The Literature of California: Native American beginnings to 1945 (2000)
  • On June 14, 1846 when the California Republic was created, the Mexican military fort at Sonoma was taken by surprise. Among those secured as prisoners were three of the highest officers in the Mexican army,—General Guadalupe Mariano Vallejo, Colonel Victor Prudon (Prudhomme), and Captain Salvador Vallejo. Others taken prisoners were Jacob P. Leese, an American then acting private secretary to General Vallejo, all the lesser military officers, and a few soldiers. The military supplies captured included eight field pieces, two hundred stands of arms, a great quantity of grapeshot, and less than one hundred pounds of powder. General Vallejo requested to be taken into the presence of Colonel John C. Frémont, of the American Army, but the latter declined to receive the prisoners, there being no suitable accommodations, so they were taken to Sutter Fort at Sacramento. General Manuel Castro, of the Mexican army, who was a conspicuous character, was appreciably affected by the loss of General Vallejo, Colonel Prudon and Captain Vallejo, as well as the arms and ammunition taken at Sonoma.
    • Charley Prudhomme, "Leon Victor Prudon (Prudhomme) Being the Record of one of California's Earliest Pioneers," The Grizzly Bear, Volumes 26-27 (November, 1919) Note: Manuel Castro may actually refer to José Castro, Salvador Vallejo was G. M. Vallejo's brother.
  • Mexico, rent with internal strife, with a navy worthy of the name, was impotent to defend its distant provinces from foreign seizure. Therefore, it became evident to clear-thinking Californians that it was wise to forestall a possible conquest to some formidable maritime power. For this purpose a meeting was held at Monterey just before the Mexican War, to consider the problem. Most Californians present favored an alliance with England, two or three advocated Russia, while General Vallejo spoke eloquently in favor of union with the United States.
    • Dr. Platon M. G. Vallejos (son of M. G. Vallejos), Memoirs of the Vallejos (1914)
  • Whereas, the Legislature of the State of California, on the 4th of February, 1853, passed an Act to remove the Seat of Government from the city of Vallejo to the city of Benicia, by the second section whereof, the said Mariano G. Vallejo was released from the performance of his said bond, upon condition of his releasing, by good and sufficient release, to be approved by the Attorney General of said State, any and all claims for relief and damages against the State of California, founded upon or growing out of anything connected with the location or removal of the Seat of Government at or from Vallejo.

The Annals of San Francisco (1855)[edit]

Containing a Summary of the History of the First Discovery, Settlement, Progress, and Present Condition of California, and a Complete History of all the Important Events Connected with Its Great City: to which are Added, Biographical Memoirs of Some Prominent Citizens. by Frank Soulé, John H. Gihon, M.D., and James Nisbet. Illustrated with One Hundred and Fifty Fine Engravings

  • In 1835, the party at whose head was Santa Anna determined to remodel the Mexican republic, and centralize the government, thereby destroying, in a great measure, the federal constitution of 1824. But no time was allowed him to make the necessary changes and their exact nature therefore was never known; for in the following year, 1836, by one of the usual coups d' état, and while he himself had been defeated and taken prisoner by the Texans, another party opposed to his general views of policy came into power. This party, however, agreed with the previous administration on the necessity or propriety of remodelling the federal system. The old constitution was therefore abolished, and a new one adopted. By this change, the separate states were deprived of many of their former prerogatives, and nearly the whole rights and duties of government were confined to the general Congress and executive. This sweeping alteration of the federal constitution was opposed in many parts of the republic, and in no quarter more vigorously than in California. The people of Monterey rose en masse, and at once declared themselves independent until the federal constitution was re-adopted... Those of the nothern districts were determined henceforward, and for ever, to sever the connection with the other States and to stand alone free and independent of Mexican domination. ...California and Mexico—the local and general governments—each party appealed to the patriotism of the people in support of their cause. Señor Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo... was appointed commandante-general on the part of the Californians, and forthwith the whole train of congressional officials was forcibly expelled from office and the government troops disbanded, and before long transported to the Mexican territories. The Mexicans threatened an expedition to chastise the rebels, and recall them to repentance and duty; while the Californians defied their menaces, and resolved to abide the consequences of their first steps to freedom. ... the rebels were so far away, and the opposite factions in Mexico had so many more pressing matters to settle among themselves at home, somehow all about California appeared to be forgotten, and it was left, for a time, to any constitution, or none at all, and anarchy, just as its people pleased. About the end of July, 1837, the excitement among the Californians had subsided so far, that they then quietly accepted the new Mexican constitution without a murmur, and voluntarily swore allegience to it.
  • On the 6th of November, 1836, the Californians, assisted by foreigners under Captain Graham, an American, and Captain [John] Coppinger, an Englishman, revolted against Gutierrez; and the latter was forced to leave the country, with all his officers, except those who took part in favor of the natives, and wished to remain. Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo played an important rôle in this revolution, and became commander of the forces; while his nephew, Don Juan Bautista Alvarado, was made civil governor. These positions they held until the arrival of Micheltorena in 1842. Early in 1845, Micheltorena was sent away by the Californians, after forming a sort of treaty with them (he being desirous to proceed to Mexico), leaving José Castro with the military command. Pío Pico, who was again the senior member of the Junta department, then became governor. These two continued in power, as military and civil heads respectively, until the Americans took possession of the country.
  • The undersigned, Constitutional Governor of the Department of the Californias, has the deep mortification to make known to Mr. Thomas 0. Larkin, Consul of the United States of North America, that he has been greatly surprised in being notified by official communications of the General Commandancia of this Department and the Prefecture of the Second District, that a multitude of foreigners of the United States of America have invaded that frontier, taken possession of the fortified town of Sonoma, treacherously making prisoners of the military Commandante, Don Mariano G. Vallejo. Lieut. Colonel Victor Pruden, Captain Salvador Vallejo, and Mr. Jacob P. Leese, and likewise have stolen the property of these individuals. ...So base management as observed on this occasion highly compromises the honor of the United States, and if it shall have such a stain upon itself, there is no doubt that it will be graven eternally in the remembrance of all nations, and will cause it to be despised.
    • Pío Pico, Letter to United States Consul at Monterey, Thomas 0. Larkin (Jun29, 1846)

Representative and leading men of the Pacific (1870)[edit]

Oscar T. Schuck (ed.)
  • General M.G. Vallejo was born in Monterey upper California, July, 1808, being the eighth of thirteen children. He was educated at the college there, and entered the military service at the age of sixteen, as a cadet and private secretary to Governor Arguello. Being rapidly promoted, he reached the rank of Brigadier-General in 1840.
  • In 1829, as Lieutenant commanding, he was placed in charge of the Northern Department, which included all the country to the north of Santa Cruz, having his headquarters at the Presidio of San Francisco; in which capacity he remained until 1837, exercising until 1835, both civil and military functions for the section north of San José.
  • In 1838, the supreme government of Mexico confirmed these revolutionary acts of the jealous, belligerant, and semi-independant Californians; and sent out as Governor, Micheltoreno, clothed with extraordinary prerogatives—being invested with the full powers of the central government. In the exercise of these, he appointed Vallejo military commander of all the territory lying north of the Santa Inez mountain, who now had fixed his headquarters at Sonoma, where he has ever since resided.
  • Under the new regime, and especially after the beginning of the great influx of gold-seekers to the Pacific shore, in 1849, Vallejo... was appointed by Commodore Stockton, in January, 1847, a member of a civil body titled the Assembly, designed to frame a code of laws for the temporary governance of the territory. But the grand imbroglio between Commodores Stockton and Shubrick, General Kearney, and Colonels Mason and Fremont... prevented the meeting of such body.
  • Vallejo received three communications dated upon the same day, from Stockton, Kearney, and Fremont, respectively, each signing himself Governor and Commander in Chief of California.
  • Vallejo... acted for a time as Indian Agent north of the Bay, by appointment of General Kearney.
  • Early in the year 1849 were inaugurated those "District Legislatures" for affording... temporary civil governments for the country. Ex-Governor Boggs from Missouri and General Vallejo took the leading part in organizing this movement for the Sonoma section, when... the Missouri statutes were adopted entire, so far as applicable... But Governor-General Riley's proclamation soon upset these independent movements, and called a general convention for the territory. Vallejo was elected a member of the body, which... resolved to form a State Constitution. The following year, he was elected a State Senator, and whilst a member, his magnificently liberal propositions with reference to locating the permanent seat of government upon his Suscol Rancho, at the site of the present city of Vallejo, were accepted by the Legislature and confirmed by a vote of the people. In compliance with the terms of the agreement, he erected a State House or Capitol and various other public buildings, as well as expending large sums otherwise in connection therewith... The Legislature twice met there, but... certain very strong influences being brought to bear to induce adjournment to Sacramento, the place was finally abandoned as a capital, and Vallejo induced to cancel... the contract made with the State, at a loss, as he alleges, of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. And to this heavy damage and the unexpected rejection by the Supreme Court of the United States of his title to that most valuable rancho, may be chiefly ascribed the downfall of his fortunes.
  • The General possesses a handsome residence—"Lachrymœ Montis"—situated in the edge of the town of Sonoma, built after the plan of Bonaparte's villa at Bordentown N.J., but is unable to preserve it in proper repair for the lack of sufficient income.
  • Sonoma being selected as the headquarters of the United States army in the fall of 1849, his commodious mansion upon the Plaza, fashioned in the old Hispano-Mexican style, was long the almost homelike resort of all its officers, and where many, besides, met with that open-hearted and frank entertainment characteristic of its hospitable proprietor. Being, during that period, a gentleman of ample fortune—possessing near thirty leagues of choice land lying immediately around the northern border of the bay of San Francisco, and many thousands of horses and horned cattle—he dispensed his hospitality, as well as rendered much assistance to the newcomers, with a prodigal and generous hand.
  • In 1865, he made his first visit to the East, and was received with great consideration in Washington by his old army and navy acquaintances, whom he met there, as also by the leading officials of the government.
  • As Mayor and also a Councilman of his home-town, he sought to have its public grounds properly ornamented and improved, proffering to bear the larger portion of the expense; but such not being responded to by the new citizens, his plan was only partially carried out. He expended, however, large sums in setting out vineyards and fruit-trees in the immediate vicinity, being the first to start vine-culture and wine-making on the north side of the bay. For several years, his wines and brandies took the first premium at the State Fairs, and at the Mechanics' Fairs in San Francisco.
  • The General (now over sixty) preserves in a remarkable manner his youthful appearance and activity. This may be attributed, in part, to a well developed physique, and active, outdoor exercise all his days, and to the strictly temperate habits he has constantly adhered to, rarely partaking of wine or spirits, and being a moderate and fastidious eater.
  • In character he is not alone a pure-blooded Spaniard of the Hidalgo class, but true to many of the leading traits and likenesses of that grandly historic race; being generous, hospitable, high-spirited, of courtly address and distinguished presence, and possessed with a happy admixture mixture of dignified pride and condescending affability. Like them, in general, his mind dwells much in the regions of romance; is somewhat addicted to idealistic fancies—air- castle building, or the concoction of magnificent schemes and projects, difficult of being, or never to be, realized. ...And to these amiable qualities, and the more materialistic natures of that throng of "practically minded," greedy, grabbing gold-seekers flocking to the Pacific shore, who have so greatly wronged the larger portion of the unsophisticated stock found here, by despoiling them of their heritage, may be attributed the passing away from his possession of that vast estate once held by him.
  • Proud of the past glories by past glories and still prominent position of the Spanish race, the General—who is a fine scholar, especially as an historian—loves to dwell upon their close relationship with ancient Rome, and the undeniable fact that Spain, more than any nation of Europe, transmitted the wisdom and the virtues of that august civilization down to and connects herself with the modern.

The Federal Cases, Book 30 (1897)[edit]

Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Federal Reporter, Arranged Alphabetically by the Titles of the Cases, and Numbered Consecutively
  • 237, 423, N. D. Mayor and common of Sonoma, claimants for Pueblo of Sonoma, 4 square leagues, granted June 24th, 1835, by M. G. Vallejo to Pueblo of Sonoma; claim May 21st, 1852 and confirmed by the commission January 22d. 1856.
  • 249, 140, N. D. Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, claimant for Yulupa, 3 square leagues, in Sonoma county, granted November 23d, 1844, by Manuel Micheltorena to Miguel Alvarado; claim filed May 31st, 1852, rejected by the commission May 10th, 1854, confirmed by the district court January 21st, 1857, decree reversed by the U. S. supreme court and cause remanded for further evidence, in 22 Howard [63 U. S.] 416.
  • 250, 321, N. D., 306. Mariano Vallejo, claimant for Petaluma, 10 square leagues, in Sonoma county, granted October 22d, 1843, by Manuel Micheltorena to M. G. Vallejo, (grant) and 5 square leagues, June 22d, 1844, Manuel Micheltorena to M. G. Vallejo (sale the government); claim filed May 31st, 1852, confirmed by the commission May 22d, 1855, by the district court March I6th, 1857, and dismissed July 3d, 1857; containing 66,622.17 acres.

History of the Solano and Napa Counties, California (1912)[edit]

With Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women of the Counties who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
  • Though a Californian, and sharing with other Spanish-born natives a natural distrust of strangers, Vallejo possessed an admiration and sincere friendship for the Americans, and received them kindly, even when his superiors demanded the expulsion of the dangerous foreigners.
  • Though his patriotism was never doubted, he counseled annexation to the United States when he saw that Mexico had no government nor protection for California.
  • His appointment in 1835 as military comandante and civil commissionado of the northern district proved to be a selection so wise that it stands out in relief from among the official errors of early California history, and during his ten years of almost autocratic rule at Sonoma, it is seen that he governed with rare justice and practical common sense.
  • During his youth he was a cadet in the territorial army and a friend and comrade of General Castro and Governor Arguello. He was an earnest student and early acquired a fund of knowledge that fitted him to take a prominent part in and to a considerable extent shape political affairs of the territory, especially during the critical times just prior to the American occupation.
  • When the red, white and blue of America took the place of the red, white and green of Mexico, he was still of the best of the California citizenry. Tall and erect, with a distinguished military bearing, and with grace of gesture and manner inherent from birth and breeding, an easy and fluent speaker in English, though learned late in life, charming with the strength of purpose and the seriousness of diction, filled with the chivalry of the past day when Spanish knighthood was in flower was General Vallejo.
  • While at Sonoma 1840 and 1845 large companies of American immigrants came through the country, and though he was constantly "nagged" by his government to drive the foreigners out of the country, the comandante disobeyed orders and humanely treated the strangers.
  • There is no doubt that Vallejo's gentle methods in dealing with the... Indians surrounding him, his rare discretion in the management of his military affairs and his practical statesmanship making for the much-needed change of flags, proved him to be a greater man, a man more deserving of appreciation than any other within the limits of the territory, and it may be said in truth, deserving of more appreciation than he received.
  • Three times he took part in revolution against Mexico, in 1832-36-45, and the revolutionists won each time, but the successive governors they recognized always managed to get themselves in turn recognized by the Mexican government, in consequence of which matters would drop back into the old rut.There is little wonder that Vallejo at Sonoma found his grandiloquent title of Military Comandante and Director of Colonization on the Northern Frontier burdensome, and occasionally asked to be relieved. And when the Bear Flag people did relieve him of further participancy in Mexican affairs, it was likely to him a relief indeed.
  • Sutter and Vallejo were Mexican citizens—one native and the other naturalized—but they failed in their first duty to the southern republic when they failed to keep the gringos out of the territory.
  • Sem-Yeto's capital city, seat of government, was a populous rancheria in what is now Suisun valley, though the tribes of his dominion were scattered over the great plain from Sonoma eastward to the Sacramento. The chief seems to have been an amiable aborigine and early fell in love with the mission fare and faith. After the padre had baptized him into the bosom of the church, Vallejo suggested for the convert the name of the Mission, so he was christened Francisco Solano. The comandante found the new churchman quite useful and quite faithful to the white settlers. "Solano was a king among the Indians," writes Vallejo in his annals. "All the tribes of Solano, Napa and Sonoma valleys were under tribute to him," and through this the comandante was enabled to keep peace in his great territory, covering much of what is now Napa, Solano and Yolo. As Solano fell into the ways of the palefaces—became more civilized—he lost much of the saintly character received at his mission christening, and frequently Vallejo would have to take his red friend in hand. But a night in the guard house away from the wine-cup would prepare the chief for the headache and repentance of the morrow.
  • Three families and Vallejo early owned all of what is now Solano, but now, of those big ranchos, only the memories remain. Even the names have dwindled. Vallejo is used to designate a city; Vaca (the gringos called it Barker) marks the limits of a valley; Armijo is a schoolhouse, and Peña was changed to a creek, as enchanted persons in classic days were turned to fountains. Others of the early settlers have passed quite away, bag and baggage, date and name, leaving nothing for remembrance. But these improvident Españols lived well during their short residence in Las Californias, and in their big adobes a rugged splendor was maintained.

External links[edit]

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  • The West PBS documentary film (1996) Ken Burns, executive producer; written by Dayton Duncan & Geoffrey Ward