LOUIS ROBIDOUX

by Hugh M. Lewis

Born on July 7th (31st?), 1796, Louis Robidoux was the fifth son of Joseph Robidoux II. Little is known of him during the early years of St. Louis, Blacksnake Hills and Council Bluffs. He was, in later years, a fairly literate person, and probably spent the first 12 years of his life in schooling in St. Louis. It is supposed by his biographers that he was pretty well educated as a lad in St. Louis, and that he possessed throughout his lifetime a not inconsiderable linguistic ability, apparently having mastered in the course of his years Spanish, French, English, possibly German, as well as any number of Indian dialects, including Ute, California Indian dialects, and possibly Navajo. Letters and personal descriptions reveal that he was a quite literate, intelligent and knowledgeable man, with the command of the finest English. It is reported that in California, he kept in his home one of the largest library collections in the region. Nelson, his principal biographer, notes the multicultural context of St. Louis at the time of his early youth--first a Spanish territory, then French, then American (not to mention the family's chronic dealings with numerous tribes of Indians)--a framework for socialization which goes some distance in helping us to understand the events and actions of his later years.

There is little doubt that he early on followed in the foot steps of his older brothers, and was a part of the early Robidoux fur trade complex that embraced Council Bluffs, the mouth of the Kaw River and early Blacksnake Hills.

There appears a petition dated July 16, 1823 for Antonio and Luis Robidoux for naturalization at Santa Fe, a petition which was apparently rejected. He first appears in the record books in Taos, New Mexico, in late 1823.

He may have traveled back to Missouri in the summer of 1823. It is apparent that he came to Taos in 1823 or 1822, possibly with the first or second Beckwith caravan, in the company of one or more of his brothers--probably Antoine, Francois and Michel. He and Pierre Isadore appear to have had licenses issued to enter Indian country, and he set out with a group of trappers from Council Bluffs on August 1st, 1823 that was headed "for the Mountains." He remained in New Mexico during the winter of 1823-4.

On one Robidoux expedition in about 1824, it was reported that three men died en route and five may have returned (Glanville). It was also reported that "eight of Nolidoux men were killed by Comanches" in 1824, though this report may have confused the facts somewhat. No doubt, passage on the Santa Fe Trail--a two to three month venture--was hazardous and unpredictable to say the least.

By 1824, when a new caravan of Missouri merchants arrived in Santa Fe, the Mexican officials accepted Louis Robidoux as a bondsman for the caravan. After the captain of the expedition, Alexander Le Grande, left New Mexico in 1825, Louis had to pay a 15 peso debt in kind. On May 19th, 1825, Louis again served as bondsman for another group. He traveled back to St. Louis in the summer of 1825, apparently to attend the weddings of his brothers Francois and Michel, and returned with them and Antoine to Santa Fe in the late fall of that year. On December 9th of 1825, Louis testified before a court in regard to the confiscation of trade goods. In January of 1826, he headed south towards Sonora and Chihuahua, but got as far as El Paso. At the time, according to Messmore, El Paso was the gateway to trade with Chihuahua and old Mexico. By May, he ordered a shipment of goods to be sent there. Narbonna's report of February, 1826, on which Michel, Antonio and Francois all appear without passports, gives the following:

The Americans Colmoore, John Gregg, Tomas Abeciaon, Luis Rubidu and Francisco Siore are not included in this report because they have passed to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora. (Weber, 22)

On May 19, 1826, one Luis Rubidoux con Manuel Martin appears on a "guia" issued at the Custom House in Santa Fe to pass to El Paso.

In 1827, he returned to Missouri from Taos with another trading party. His name appears on a list of departures of foreigners for April 6, 1827, for Missouri. (Weber, 37):

In the party which left on the sixth day of the current month (April 6th, 1827), destined for the Missouri, are the following:

Jose Tomas Boggs Samuel Perry

Paul Baillio Francis Samuel

Pohn Tharp Pohn Brown

William Anderson Jean Pierre

Richare L. Sontt Louis Dethiers

Thomas Soutt Louis Roubidoux

Samuel Nelson Jervain Nollan

Samuel D. Lamma Francis Broun

Alvin Reed Manuel de Alvarez

Jean Lusyan

By July 1827, he was preparing to return once again to New Mexico, accompanied by many of the same people as on this list. On July 23, 1827, William Clark issued a permit giving permission to several men, including Louis Robidoux, to enter and make passage through Indian country. No other Robidoux name appears on this document at the time, but most of the names are Spanish. His name appears on an account with the American Fur Company between August 24th and 28th of 1827, suggesting that he briefly dealt with agents of this company before setting off across the Santa Fe trail--perhaps buying his goods. He returned to Taos, arriving there on November 12th, 1827. (Cleland:202). Manuel Alvarez appears to have returned to Taos on the 12th of November of 1827. Presumably Louis was with this large party, though his name is not with them on the list.

In the late 1820's, according to John Nelson, Antoine and probably Louis set up a trading agency in Taos, for the centrality of its location and as a means of circumventing the customs office a hundred miles away in Santa Fe. Levies imposed were quite severe--averaging one hundred percent of the cost of an ordinary "Santa Fe assortment."

After 1824, and for a period of about six years, the trade, though fluctuating, continued to increase. However, in the year 1830 a recession set in. The import tax steadily increased, while the price of trade goods dropped off. (John Nelson, 1950:27)

From the 1830's onward, the fur trade steadily declined, and with this decline, the Robidoux's shifted the focus of their activities and interests away from Santa Fe/Taos and more towards the Robidoux posts in the intermontaine corridor.

After this date, he appears to have taken up a more permanent residence in Santa Fe, and to not have continued his sojourning in trapping and trading expeditions.

Louis appears in the account books of Manuel Alvarez buying supplies in 1829. In 1829, he also applied along with his brother Antoine for Mexican citizenship and was granted naturalization by the Mexican authorities a day later, on July 17th, 1829. He became Don Luis Robidoux. They are credited with this act in order to circumvent the customs taxes levied on foreign traders--marriage also gave them other distinct advantages in local society. In 1831, he complained to Mexican officials that an American, one Ewing Young, was illegally trapping furs in Mexican territory. Nevertheless, there is little evidence during this period which directly links Louis with trapping activities. Undoubtedly, he was affiliated with his other brothers, especially Antoine, in their vast trade network, and he probably served as the Santa Fe linkage in this framework, since the northern outposts of Antoine depended upon trade goods via Santa Fe.

He must have always been a heavy drinker, as remarked by both is biographers Weber and Nelson. In 1830 he spent several days in jail after a drunken spree during which he insulted friends and the Alcalde of Santa Fe. In jail he wrote an apology to the Alcalde, "only inspired by the influence of aguardiente" as he had been that night. (Weber, 328) In 1830, he served as fourth secretary of his election district. By 1834 he was elected alderman on the Santa Fe town council.

Louis Robidoux's name appears along with that of his wife, Guadalupe Garcia, on a legal deed dated December 8th, 1837. The deed was the sale of a claimed land in the estate of his father, on behalf of the four brothers, Francois, Louis, Antoine and Isidore, who are all resident in Santa Fe. Among other things, this document serves to locate both Isidore and Francois in this year in the Southwestern Fur trade nexus. The deed is interesting also because it identifies holdings of the senior Joseph III in Wisconsin and on the Des Moine River:

Know all men by these presents, the Ms. Francois robidoux and______his Wife, Louis Robedoux and Guadalupe Garcia his Wife, Antoine Robidoux and _____his Wife, Isidor robedoux and _____his Wife, all heirs of Joseph Robedoux, and Catharine Rotel his Wife, deceased, late of St. Louis in the now State of Missouri, residing at preent at Santa Fe in Mexico, do hereby for and in consideration of the sum of Three hundred dollars to us in hand paid by John Darnielle & George Meade, of St. Louis in the State of Missouri, the payment of which sum is hereby acknowledge, ___ grant, bargain, and sell unto the said Darnielle & Meade all our estate, right, title claim and interest which we have or can have as heirs or devises of our father and mother, or either of them, situated anywhere in the State of Missouri & in the State of Illinois or in the territory of Wisconson or Either of them, saving and reserving from this conveyance the lot in the City of St. Louis, now in the possession of our brother, Joseph, at the corner of Main & Myrtle Streets, and the lot occupied by Messrs. Laveille & Morton at the Corner of Market & Church Streets, in said City. The lands intended to be conveyed so far as known at prsent are the South half of Block No. six and the East half of Block No Thirty six in the City of St. Louis and four by forty arpens being one hundred and sixty arpens of Land in the Prarriere Des noyers Common field near St. Louis, all of said Lands in the State of Missouri. Also, one hundred and twenty Eight acres and seventy six perches of Land situated in what is called the American Bottoms in the County of St. Clair and State of Illinois. Also a tract of land situated at what is called the head of the Rapids of the Des Moines on the West side of the Mississippie, purchased by Joseph Robidoux deceased of one Tesson called Honori: These lands are claimed adverse to us by sales which were made under such circumstancs as in our opinion make them void. To have and to hold said Lands unto said Darnielle & Meade, their heirs and assigns forever, without any Warranty or recourse to us, and for the consideration aforesaid, we hereby authorize and empower said Darnielle & Meade to sue for and recover & apply to their own use any claim or demand which we may have against the Estate or the representations of Auguste Chouteau, deceased, for the Mal administration of the Estate of Joseph Robidoux deceased, it being well understood that siad Darnielle & meade are to save us harmless from all costs & charges which may occur in any such suit. Witness our hands and seals this Eight day of December in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and thirty seven

Signed Stated and delivered Louis Robidoux

in presence of Guadalupe Garcia

Witnesses to the signature of Louis

Robidoux

Manuel Alvares

Tournier

Wm. Humphrey

S. B. Hobbs.

Alex. rose

David Waldo

Patrick Ryder

John Scolby

A. Brauch

On December 9th, 1837, the signatories Louis Robidoux and Gaudalupe Garcia were witnessed by the first Alcalde of Santa Fe, Francisco Ortiz This instrument was apparently carried to St. Louis where Samuel B. Hobbs signed as witness to it on July 28th, 1828. This instrument was translated by Julius De Mun and was apparently decided in the St. Louis Circuit court on Wednesday, Apritl 21st, 1841. It is evident that the signatures of Antoine, Francois or Isidore do not appear in the document, though their names are mentioned in it, and that this was a case that had been going on for years in relation to the estate of their father which was first managed by August Chouteau in 1809-10.

By 1839 he was to become the first alcalde of Santa Fe, following his brother Antoine's footsteps. "In this position, Louis dispensed justice regarding a myriad of local problems, as evidenced by numerous documents preserved in the New Mexico archives bearing the signature "L. Rubidu'." Matt Field, a reporter from the New Orleans Picayune wrote that Louis "shares the rule over the people almost equally with the Governor and the priests." (Weber, 319)

From 1833 until 1841, Louis lived with his growing family at 31 Calle Principal, the main street of Old Santa Fe. Louis operated an iron works next door. During this time, he met and married his first wife, Guadalupe Garcie of twenty-two years of age, in 1834, the daughter of one Pedro Garcie'. Guadalupe was born in 1812. The family historian Orral Messmore claims that Guadalupe was of a prominent Spanish family of Santa Fe, but the later biographer David Weber suggests otherwise.

The first of Louis's childern, Catarina, was born on August 12, 1835 in Santa Fe;, his second child Jose' Luis on December 17, 1837. Pasqual Baillon was born in 1840 in Santa Fe, and Carmel B. in 1842, also in Santa Fe. The story of his passage on the trail indicates that one son, named Mariano, supposedly died on the journey. If this story is true, then it is likely that he was a newborn, and had been born just before or on the trail. He had four more children born in

Riverside: Adelaide in 1844, Abundo, date of birth unknown, Maria del Carmen, date of birth unknown and Benina Maria, born in 1850.

It is apparent that at least from 1835 on ward, Louis Robidoux maintained pretty stable ties in the Santa Fe trade nexus, and probably from a much earlier date of at least 1828. His first children were all born there, and it appears that living in old-time Santa Fe suited him more than trapping adventures in the wild west. It is known that he must have traveled occasionally across the Santa Fe trail, and that he must have joined caravans in the crossing with his wife.

His name appears only on a few documents from the Saint Louis archives, suggesting that the bulk of his activities and involvements was no longer in the Saint Louis/Saint Joseph nexus, but had been shifted over to the area of Santa Fe at a fairly early time.

From June 6th to Oct. 18th, 1839, Louis Robidoux's name appears along with that of Levi Keithly and Antonio Martinez attesting to truth of statement by Charles Bent concerning an inventory of goods turned over by Robert W. Morris to P. W. Thompson, agent for Powell, Lamont and Company of Saint Louis. This indicates that he may have been in Saint Louis sometime during the summer of 1839

During this time, Louis apparently established a store, a grist mill and established trading networks through Colorado, New Mexico, through the Grand Canyon and even to California. On April 19, 1839, Louis received permission from the Ayuntamiento to build a grist mill along the Rio Santa Fe. Though a neighbor complained of the Grist mill interfering with his business, a special commission to investigate the charges determined that Robidoux's mill was more modern, efficient and beneficial to the community than any of the others, and that the plaintiff in the case had harbored grudges against Louis.

In April of 1840 (39?), Louis, serving as the Alcalde of Santa Fe, received a visit from Mathew Field, a writer with the New Orleans Picayune. He first describes what must be taken as the interior of the Robidoux household:

To the house of Don Lous Rubideau, an American and first Alcalde' of Santa Fe', we were duly escorted; and after a delicious meal of roasted sheep ribs, eggs, wheaten cakes and coffee, we spent the evening in satisfying the enquiries of the Alcalde' about St. Louis and all the old friends he had left there; receiving from him in return all the information we deired about Mexican Spaniards, Mexican Indians, Santa Fe' and the surrounding neighborhood.

The interior of one of these mud built houses, particularly when arranged with the assistance of American taste, forms a very comfortable and by no means inelegant dwelling. In winter it is warm, in summer cool; and in these respects indeed a Santa Fe' dwelling is even prefereable to an American brick or frame residence. In some of the better houses you will find an apartment set apart as a parlor, this invariably being also the sleeping room; during the day the beds are folded close up to the walls, and covered with the handsome (sometimes really beautiful) Spanish blankets, forming a succession of sofas all around the room. The walls are well whitewashed, and papered only high enough tokeep the wash from rubbing off upon your clothes, while mats and sometimes blankets are made to serve the use of carpets as well as table clothes and bed covers. These blankets are the chief sign of wealth among the people, and their elegance and number forms the pride of every housekeeper; the best of them are so closely woven that they can be used for holding water, and the bright colors that never fade are mingled through them generally with very tasteful and ingenious dispostion.

The fashion of making sofas of the beds, and covering floors and tables with the rich blankets (in the city of Mexico where these blankets are manufactured they are sold as high as seventy-five dollars,) has not merely an agreeable but really an elegant effect, but an American eye can never reconcile itself to the wall decorations of a Santa Fe' drawing room. Coarsely engraved and colored pictures; rude images of saints; religious charms; broken looking glasses (every bit of looking glass is a treasure); broken flower vases; any little shattered ornament brought from the States; such things are arranged about the walls with ostentatious display, and only where some resident American prevails over the tast of his Spanish wife are they removed. (203-5)

The next evening, Sunday, after dinner, they went strolling about the streets of Santa Fe' "with our cicerone, the Alcalde"

a light and somewhat gaudy four wheeled vehicle dashed past us, drawn in tandem style by three well fed and spirited mules with a driver seated upon the leader. Out of this vehicle the Alcalde received a bow from a middle aged lady and a smile from a young dark eyed beauty by her side; he told us that the former was the celebrated Senora Toulous, and the latter her beautiful niece, and adventurous belle lately arrived from the City of Chihuahua; adding that we might appropriate the bow and smile to ourselves, as he was not in the habit of receiving such courtesies. He proposed to conduct us to the house of the great Senora, considering the condescention just received as an invitation to that effect, and we of course at once acceded to his proposition. (206)

They proceeded to this ladies home and met the Governor Armijo with several officers and "young bucks of Santa Fe', admirers of the Senora's beautiful niece." They set the party politely to laughter by their blundering in Spanish. They were served wine and showed the Spaniards how to toast American style by touching their glasses.

Alcalde Rubideau had told us that not a solitary word of English would be understood by our Spanish friends, so that we culd make what remarkes we pleased in our own language; and being a set of very wilful youths, we exercised this license to its fullest extent, with little regard to t he rules of American or Spanish good breeding. Thus we kept our interpreter, the polite Alcalde, in an absolute torture of laughter by requesting him to put to the Governor and ladies whimsical questions which he could well understand but which sadly puzzled him to express in the Castilian, and when successful in an attempt to interpret our odd conceits, the side-splitting merriment of the good natured Governor and the dark eyed ladies bounded back to us again, causing the tears to start from our eyes with a novel and singular delight. (207)

Matt Field mentions Louis Robidoux in a biographical sketch, emphasizing his linguistic skills:

The Americans, who trade in the country, acquire the Spanish language very speedily, but the Spaniards seldom learn a word of English, and when an American remains long in the place, and obatins a facility in the language, he becomes a man of great importance. The first alcalde of Santa Fe', at this time, Don Louis Rubideau, was born in St. Louis, of a French family, and has spent fourteen years in the country. He shares the rule over the people almost equally with the Governor and priests. He was appealed to one day by a store keeper, who accused a Spaniard of defrauding him of five dollar in the trade of a wach. The Spaniard was indignant, and the parties grew into high words, upon which the alcalde, whose principal was

Though justice is blind, she is not deaf,

told them to look somewhere else for redress, for if they dared come to him again, and talk loud in this presence, he'd put them both in jail. (213-4)

On the other hand, Matt Field describes an incident in which young Americans, high spirited from a dance, provoked Mexican soldiers into a fight, at which they shot of their side-arms, frightening the Mexicans away.

....It was perhaps well that we lost no time, for we had scarecly been admitted inside the gate of the first Alcalde (whose hospitality we were enjoying, he being a Frenchman, from St. Louis,) when a crowd of soldiers rushed down the street with loud and furious threats of vengeance, and we knew, too, by the rattling they made as they passed that they had now their excope'tas along with them, as well as the short swords which they usually carried.

At breakfast the next morning we told the Alcalde of our adventure, and he laughed over it with as much glee as though he himself was one of the rowdy

peace breakers. He was a jolly old fellow, and he remembered when he was a St. Louis boy, foremost in nocturnal mischief, and doubtless he was chuckling over many a midnight row, called up again to memory by this incident. (243-4)

It is about this time that another story comes out of Santa Fe in relation to "La Tules" or Dona Gertrude Barcelo who became the Madame of the most famous "monte'" parlour in Santa Fe and who through her abilities amassed considerable wealth and connections with the most important persons of the town. A more renowned Mexican trader of the period, named Senor Cortez, was a good friend of the first alcalde of Santa Fe in 1839--Louis Robidoux. "The mayor made many contacts between his influential friends and the trader, Cortez, thus bring much lucrative business. Another wealthy friend of the two traders was La Tules." La Tules asked Cortez if he would freight her fortune of gold to Independence, whence it could be shipped via New Orleans to New York where it could be kept securely in a bank.

Cortez, and his partner, De Grazzi, told Dona Barcelo that they would take the gold, but that they could not guarantee it against attacks by the Indians or bandits.

La Tules had the gold packed in twenty buckskin bags whicht he traders loaded on ten mules. They had agreed not to hire extra guards for the treasure. To have done so would have advertised the fact that they were carrying valuable cargo. The traders used mules rather than wagons as they had to go through a pass in the mountains where the terrain was so rough that it would slow a wagon down.

It was not long before the small mule-train was being followed by eight men on horses. Making camp that night, they noticed they were still being followed. Cortez, while standing guard, noticed in the moonlight eight horsemen pass by and move ahead in an attempt to lay an ambush for the mule-train. They attacked them the next day at noon, near three large rocks. The rocks protected the traders until nightfall. A mule broke loose and one of the Mexican packers attempted to retake it when he was killed with a knife. The bandits repositioned themselves during the night, so that by morning, De Grazi was killed by a sniper before he could take cover. The others managed to keep low, but the second night the mules broke loose, though the gold had already been taken off their backs. During the night they buried their two fallen comrades in shallow graves, and then buried the gold in a trench nearby. They built a fire over the trench to disguise it.

The next day one of the Mexican packers when high with a white flag, being shot down on sight. By the third night, the bandits raised a white flag and agreed to spare the remaining two men's lives if they would reveal the gold. Cortez denied there was gold, and after searching the camp, none was found. The mexican packer tried to run away but was gunned down. The bandits believed Cortez's bluff and gave up the search, leaving the rocks with Cortez as a prisoner. Cortez again bluffed them that he was the son of a priest, thus they were reluctant to kill him. After a few days, as they were headed to Mexico, Cortez managed to escape, arriving in Santa Fe after almost two months, almost dead from starvation.

In fact he was dying when taken in by a man who found him on the outskirts of the city. He sent Mayor Robidoux and told him what had happened. He even made a crude map of the treasure spot. Two days after he reached Santa Fe, he died.

The major contacted Dona Tules and told her what had happend to the mule train bearing her gold. She sent six men out to look for the gold and gave them Cortez' map. Dona Tules waited a week for the men to return and then sent out a search party. They found Madame Barcelo's men massacred in the desert. The map was gone.

Dona Tules made no more efforts to recover her lost gold but the story got out in Santa Fe and searchers from time to time wehn out to look for it without success.

In all probably Dona Tules' fortune still lies buried int he trench beside t he three huge rocks in the desert. (Golden West, Louise Cheney 63-4)

By 1840, there appeared to be a change of direction for the Robidoux brothers. Manuel Alvarez was appointed first Alcalde of Santa Fe on January 1st, 1840. Louis Robidoux's signature appears in a petition to Manuel Alvarez, December 8th, 1840, commending him for his defense of American citizen-residents rights, especially in relation to rivalry with Governor Armijo's own trade interests in Santa Fe. Armijo set exorbitant tariffs targeted against the foreign traders. It appears that year that American traders were beginningto pull up stakes in Santa Fe.

By the late 1830's, bitter animosity between Americans and Mexicans had arisen in Santa Fe/Taos. Typhoid and small pox ravaged the region between 1837-40, and this was largely blamed on the Americans (Nelson, 29). In 1839 the Mexican Governor levied the whole tax burden of the state upon foreign residents, including those who had been naturalized. From this period onward, foreigners were treated as such regardless of their citizenship status--a category which included both Antoine and Louis who both became Mexican citizens in the late 1820's.

Trade between Mexicans and Americans began diminishing to almost nothing, coinciding with th e rise of strong anti-American sentiment. By 1842, importation of foreign items were restricted to fifty enumerated articles, while exportation of silver or gold was prohibited. In 1843, the custom house in Taos was closed to all foreign commerce. In such an increasingly hostile and restrictive environment, it is little wonder that Don Luis and Don Antonio Robidu' began making alternative plans.

In December of 1840, Louis signed a letter as "citizen" of the United States praising the actions of the American Consul of Santa Fe. Robidoux may have visited the Intermontane corridor on more than one occasion. It is known for a fact that he visited Ft. Uinta in the Spring of 1841. In April, before his departure north, he provisioned himself from Manual Alvarez's store "with a fusil, two pistols, two mules and a pair of spurs." According to Weber, Louis even took the time to inscribe his name in May on the cliffs of the Willow Creek drainage. This inscription was photographed with a polaroid by George E. Stewart in 1968. It reads:

Louis Robidoux

Passed here the fifth day of

May of 1841

Antoine may have journeyed with Louis, for he had visited Missouri in the fall of 1840. Louis stayed until November of 1841, returning to Santa Fe. He owed the government 50 pesos, and the governor was anxious to receive the payment.

While Louis was away, a trading expedition from Texas was arrested and "marched off to Mexico City."

It is apparent that Antoine and Louis were making preparations for abandoning their enterprise in the Santa Fe nexus. Already they were promoting migration to California among pioneers, and it is almost certainly that they had a clear sense of the prospects to be gained there. Louis remained in Santa Fe through the summer of 1842. "In March he presided over an election in his district; in May he won twenty-five pounds of beaver fur from Tomas Ortiz in a billiard game; and in August, Lieutenant Escuipulas Caballero sued him for twenty pesos. He was in Santa Fe in February of 1843, serving as a counsel for Antonio Montero in a suit against Charles Bent, which according to a letter by Manuel Alvarez to Daniel Webster, was "most outrageous and unjust."

"The hearing took place on February 16, 1843, so Bent himself stated, at "the Rancho" (probably Ranchos de Taos, a few miles below Taos proper). Montero's counsel was Louis Robidoux, who succedded in winning his client's case. A few days later, February 29th, Bent confided to Alvarez that he had paid "the money I was centenced to pay" in order that he might avoid 'more difficulty'." (Hafen. Vo. 11, 262).

Orral Messmore Robidoux makes an unequivocal reference to the first expedition of John C. Fremont, which began at the mouth of the Kansas river in June of 1842, made its way to Santa Fe and the Rockies, and returned in on September 30 of the same year to Missouri. According to her, she states that Louis was in St. Joseph in 1842

"on a business trip as well as a visit with his families and informing them of his intetions to leave Santa Fe and make his home in Santa Ana vally in San Bernardino County, California.

While in St. Joseph he joined the Fremont party as guide and interpreter, going to Santa Fe."(200)

She states that Louis Robidoux joined this expeditionary party of 22 Frenchmen, and served as guide and interpretor on the road to Santa Fe. No reference to Louis exists in the published version of Kearneys report of the expedition, which appeared a year later on March 1st, 1843. Kearny had a remarkable gift for detail. He does mention picking up an extra member for his expeditionary force on June 28th, from an American Fur Company expedition on foot that had lost its furs on their boats near Scott's Bluffs, which he calls an old acquaintance and whom he, unfortunately, fails to identify by name except as "La Tulipe."

Among them, I had found an old companion on the northern prairie, a hardened and hardly served veteran of the mountains, who had been as much hacked and scarred as an old moustache of Napoleon's "old guard." He flourished in the sobriquet of La Tulipe, and his real name I never knew. finding that he was going to the States only because his company was bound in that direction, and that he was rather more willing to return with me, I took him again into my service. We traveled this day but seventeen miles. (18)

This description hardly fits an intellectual and rather refined Louis Robidoux, but it may just as well fit one of the other brothers like Michel. Not being mentioned directly by Fremont does not absolutely equal Louis's absence--it only renders his historical presence more dubitable than it might otherwise have been.

Louis' other principal biographers, namely David Weber and John Nelson, make no reference whatsoever to this claim. Both accounts do provide solid documentary evidence of his whereabouts for most of the year of 1842, which suggests that he was at first visiting Antoine at Ft. Uintah, and then returned to Santa Fe. It can only be speculated whether he might have made a quick journey to St. Joseph as well, perhaps quickly returning with the Fremont party to Santa Fe.

Unfortunately, Orral Messmore does not cite her sources or explain her information, so the validity of her claims cannot be fully determined. It is possible that she had gained some information through familial sources which might relate to this and many other instances, but this she fails to explain. Lacking supporting evidence, we can only doubt the accuracy of her account.

A lot of things have been lost between the pages of history, and the time it takes to reach Santa Fe from Missouri makes Louis's accompaniment not an impossibility. But attention has been paid to this account in Louis's biography for the potential of misinformation it may present, a problem no uncommon to the study of the Robidouxs.

Louis then soon he made his first trip to California, having left New Mexico before the decree of August 7th, 1843. He left his wife and family behind in Santa Fe. Of this first trip to California, we have the following reference by Herbert Auerbach:

In 1843 a party of settlers from New Mexico, led by Don Jose Salajar, had come to La Politano, in the San Bernardino Valley, California, and some two years later they started a village which they called Agua Mansa. Louis Robidoux was one of the leaders and founders of this village. Robidoux built a number of houses and a grist mill. He planted vineyards and orchards, and this was the beginning of a vast rancho by Louis Robiodux, who was a brother of Antoine Robidoux. Louis later became alcalde and juez de paz at San Bernardino. (59)

This passage does not say specifically that Louis passed the deserts to California in 1843 with the Don Jose Salajar party, but it is very likely that he did first come to California on a reconnaissance before relocating his holdings and family there a year later. 1841 was the year given by Bancroft that Don Juan Bandini gave a grant of half a league, called Agua Mansa, to Lorenzo Trujillo's group of New Mexican settlers in San Bernardino, known as S. Salvador. It was called "Bandini's Grant", or "Trujillo Town" or "Spanishtown" by the Americans. Bancroft lists the rancherias established between the years 1841 and 1845. In 1843, he says, San Jacinto and San Gregoria were granted to Santiago Johnson, with Louis Robidoux who was the claimant.

In Bancroft's brief footnoted biographical description of Louis it describes him thus: 1844, brothr of Antoine, who came from N. Mexico in '44, having possibly visited the country before....He purchased the Jurupa rancho, where he settled with his family, a man of considerable wealth. In the troubles of '46-7, being juez de paz at S. Bernardino, he favored the Americans, was one of the chino prisoners and served in the Cal. Bat. He was cl. for Jururpa and S. Jacinto...'was a prosperous ranchero down to about '62; and died in '68 at the age of 77." (698, Pioneer Register and Index)

A deposition given by one Jose' Lugo on January 2nd, 1855, a Californio who was part of the assault on the California Battalion at Chino in 1846, is cited by Nelson:

A friend was to swear in court, during the land litigation cases, ten years later:

Q. When did you first know Louis Roubideau?

A. In the year 1843.

Q. Do you know whether or not Roubideau left California for New

Mexico, and if so, in what year and for what prupose?

A. I know that he left California I think in the year 1843 for New Mexico

for the purpose of bringing his family here.

Q. ....For what length of time was he absent?

A. He left here in the year 1843 or 1844. I saw him in the year 1843 and do not recollect how long a time he was absent... (31-2)

Bancroft mentions Louis Robdioux on a list of a hundred which he considered to be "pioneer residents" of California in 1844, out of more than two hundred foreigners who entered California that year. He also lists Louis Robidoux as a claimant to the land of San Jacinto and San Gregorio, granted to Santiago Johnson in 1843.

Louis is next found in California on March 16, 1844, on which day he had purchased for the sum of $1,500 two leagues of land east of Los Angeles- from James Johnson--half of what was known as Rancho de Jurupa and rancho San Timoteo of San Gorgonio, which was about a league in size. The deed, recorded by Nelson, is as follows:

On the sixteenth day of the month of March one thousand eight hundred and forty four...Don Santiago Johnson and Don Luis Rubidu....the first said....sellss....in actual sale....to the second the right which he holds in the premises called Jurupa, which is the half thereof, the other half belonging to Don Benito Wilson, with the house, corral, field of wheat, etc...and the right which belongs to him in the tract San Gorgonio....The whole for the sum of one thousand and five dollars. (Nelson 36)

On April 2nd, 1844, Louis also bought rancho San Jacinto from Johnson, totalling about 11,189 acres. Benjamin Wilson owned the other half rancho de Jurupa until Louis bought him out in 1848, which he had acquired from Don Bandini. The Jurupa grant was originally a San Gabriel mission rancho until, under a secularization act of 1833, it came into the possession of Juan Bandini in 1838.

According to court testimony of one acquaintance of Louis during this time, Jose' Carman Lugo, ten years after, Louis had been in California in 1843 and then "he left California I think in the year 1843 for New Mexico for the purpose of bringing his family here....He left here in the year 1843 or 1844, I saw him in the year 1843, and do not recollect how long a time he was absent..."

It appears that Louis returned in the Spring of 1844 to Santa Fe, after closing the deals on his vast estates, in order to move his family to California. In November of 1844 he began his return to California with a pack caravan of traders. On Oct. 8th, 1844, he received a passport from Governor Martinez to go to California with a caravan scheduled to leave on Nov. 10th. The "Luis Lopez settlement is the meeting place designated, from where the caravan shall depart to the province of California on the tenth of next November. A commander shall be appointed from the same caravan and from the same individuals that compose same so that they may travel in perfect order."(Hafen & Hafen, 189).

Louis Robdioux's name appears on a document dated November 10th, 1844, listing all outbound traders from Santa Fe. His destination is listed as California, and his goods carried included serapes and linen. Unfortunately, a part of this document was destroyed, rendering the rest illegible.

Louis probably arrived back in California late in winter or early Spring of 1844-5. His son Mariano is purported to have died during the trip, though no "Mariano" appears in the geneaological records of his family. It is likely that they first took up residence in Agua Mansa--for they did not immediately gain the Jurupa rancho until 1847 at which time they settled into an adobe dwelling on the northwest side of the Santa Ana river at the Jurupa Rancho.

The Jurupa (Indian name for "peace" or "friendship") Rancho was a Spanish land grant given to native Peruvian Don Juan Bandini on September 28th, 1838 by the Mexican Governor of California, Juan Alvarado. It consisted originally of more than leagues, or about 31,000 acres, extending twenty miles on each side of the Santa Ana river. In 1843 Bandini gave Mexican settlers some land on the upper end of the Jurupa grant across the Santa Ana River, and which became known as Trujillo's Town (Woodward, 1936) They defended the local stock of the ranchos, acting both as vacqueros and soldados against the Indians. In 1844 Bandini sold part of his grant to Benjamin Wilson for 25 cents an acre. Later, both Bandini and Wilson sold parts of their ranchos to James Johnson and Isaac Williams, of Chino. Louis Robidoux bought an extensive portion of this Rancho in 1847, including Johnson's property.

It is not clear when Louis Robidoux first purchased Rancho Jurupa. Though most historical accounts claim that he bought it in 1847, this leaves a three year hiatus between his first migration to California and his first ranch. It is apparent that he brought with him from New Mexico what became the first grist-mill of California--one of the stones of which is still preserved. It was the only one which supplied the American soldiers garrisoned there in 1846 during the Mexican War. If at this time he did not possess the large cattle and sheep ranch, he at least apparently had a surplus of wheat grain, beans, and other vegetables with which he was able to supplie these soldiers.

Louis Robidoux became on of the biggest and most propserous stock raisers of Southern California. He also planted fine orchards and vineyards, and raised quantities of grain. One of his first projects was a winery, which was famous for its products. He built the first grist mill in his neighborhood. (Woodward, 1936: 5)

He built a larger casa on the west side, at the base of what became known as "Mt. Rubidoux." It was a single storied adobe structure with three rooms, "each containing a fireplace." (Nelson, 40). The structure was built in Santa Fe style, with cottonwood lodge-poles for support beams, tied together with raw hide thongs, and covered with willow and straw and tar.

The site of the old Robidoux home is about a mile west of the Santa Ana River bridge, near the western entrance to Riverside. Only a few ruins remain of the old ranch house, a one-story adobe with broad verandas, typical of early California ranch houses. A few of the many old trees which sheltered the house still stand. The State D. A. R. has placed a Robidoux memorial tablet on the bridge which spans the Santa Ana River near the ranch house site. (Woodward, 13)

His ranch was self-sustaining. Grazing land supported cattle, sheep and horses. He kept about one hundred acres under cultivation, where he grew corn, wheat, barley, cotton and vegetables. He had ten or twelve peach trees as well.

He set up a small store for his vacqueros and laborers, mostly in order to prevent them from going to Los Angeles. Louis mostly shopped in Los Angeles for supplies, where he frequently stayed several days.

"Robidoux never saw New Mexico again" (Weber, 324). By 1846, Louis had already constructed the second grist-mill in Southern California, after "El Molino" of the San Gabriel mission that had been constructed some thirty years previously. John Nelson provides an apt description of life as a new ranchero:

The homaage paid a California Don, both by members of his family and by his retainers, was not unlike that once accorded a feudal lord in medieval Europe. Even from a social point of view the large ranchos had much in common with the manorial holdings of medieval times. The Don provided a home for a host of poor relations and entertained stranger as well as friend. Labor was recrutied chiefly from the large number of Indians in the area. The help lived either in small huts clustered around the main adobe casa or dwelt in little villages, called rancherias, widely scattered over the estate. The ranchos supported enormous herdsof cattle on their pasture lands. The main value of the stock was in hides and tallow, there being little or no market for the beef. (38)

Los Angeles was occupied in August of 1846, and many local citizens were recruited into the "California Battalion" of the U.S. Army. The quartermaster's roster book of the battalion notes "....Louis Robidoux has one saddle in the service of the California Battalion, United States Forces, valued fifteen dollars." (Nelson, 43) On August 20th, of 1846, Louis was appointed the juez de paz in place of B. D. Wilson of the separate district of the Ranchos of San Bernadino, Yucaipa, Napolitan, Jurupa, Huapa and Cucamonga by Stockton.

In September of 1846, Californios under Flores rebelled and retook Los Angeles from the Marine Captain Gillespie who commanded a small garrison at Los Angeles. They issued a proclamation on September 24th against the new American regime. Gillespie beat a retreat to reorganize his forces, being allowed to march out of Los Angeles with his small garrison. Louis had joined a group of rancheros who had escorted a "renegade Spaniard" across the desert, and they had taken their time on the return to hunt bear, using up most of their ammunition. On the arrival back at Jurupa, they heard the news of the uprising, to their complete surprise. Not hearing of Gillespies retreat, 18 of them organized in the evening of September 25th, 1846, at the Jurupa ranch to defend themselves. "The rumor was that the insurrection would not spare the life of any foreigner." This group moved to Chino on the following day, believing there to be arms and ammunition there and hoping to join up with a larger force under Gillespie's command in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the small group, a spanish officer had just made off with what ammunition there was. "The 'ex-Americans' felt the loss acutely; but several knew that they could hold off any group, for they held the Californians in contempt." (Nelson, 45)

The first 'battle' of this rebellion--or the second if we count Varela's demonstration against Gillespie--was fought at the Chino rancho of Isaac Williams, about twenty-five miles east of Los Angeles, on September 26th-27th. Benito Wilson had been put by Stockton in command of some twenty foreigners to protect the San Bernardino frontier, both against the Indians and against hostile parties that Castro might send from Sonora, if he had crossed the Colorado at all, which was at first doubted. Wilson went to his own rancho of Jurupa, whence he visited the different rancherias of Indians, satisfied himself that Castro had really departed, and made a hunting tour. On his return to Jurupa he was met by David Alexander and John Rowland, who brought news of the rising in town, and also an invitation for the company to go to Chino. This invitation was accepted the more readily because they had used up nearly all their ammunition in hunting, but on reaching Chino, contrary to their expectations, they found that Williams had no powder. By sme it was thought best to leave the rancho for the mountains, whence an attempt might be made to join the garrison in town; but most declared that their ammunition was sufficient for the few shots needed to defeat a Californian foe, and it ws decided to withstand a siege. That same afternoon the Californians approached; and Isacc Callaghan, who was sent out to reconnoitre, came back with a bullet in his arm.

This occurred on the 26th. On the 27th two hundred Californios attacked the group. After an hour, Louis's group was "obliged to succumb to discretion" for the Californios had set the roof of the Chino ranch house on fire:

Serbulo Varela, Diego Sepulveda, and Ramon Carillo had been despatched from the Paredon Blanco with fifty men or more against Wilson. Jose' del Carmen Lugo, already in commandof fiteen or twenty men in the San Bernardino frontier, with instructions to watch the foreigners, also marched to Chino. Lugo claims to have arrived first, and to have been joined by Varela late in the night, which was probably true. The Americans were summoned to surrender, and perhaps a few shots were exchanged that evening, the 26th, though witnesses do not agree on that point. There was but little ammunition on either side; and the Californians lacked weapons also. The rancho house was of adobe, surrounding a large interior court-yard, having but few windows or other openings in the thick walls, and roofed with asphaltum. The whole was nearly enclosed with a ditch and adobe fence. About dawn on the 27th, the Californians, many of them on horseback, made a rush for the house, the movement being accompanied and followed by a discharge of fire-arms on both sides. Several horses fellin leaping the ditch or fence, throwing their riders, two or three of whom were wounded, and one, Carlos Ballesteros, killed by a rifle-ball. Insid the house, three were wounded, Perdue, Skene, and Harbin, the two first-named somewhat seriously. There was time but for few shots, for the assailants reached a position close under the walls of the building, where they could not be seen. Their next step was to fire the roof. The owner of the rancho presented himself with his small children, whose uncles, the Lugos, were among the assailants, and begged that their lives might be spared. Varela appeared at the main entrance, and called upon the Americans to surrender, promising them protection as prisoners of war. The terms were accepted; Wilson's men gave themselves up; Varela's force set to work to extinguish the fire and secure the plunder; and soon all were on the road to Los Angeles. Sepulveda and his men in the advance party, and in charge of most of the prisoners, proposed to shoot the latter in revenge for the death of Ballestros; but Varela interposed his authority, and by the utmost efforts saved their lives. They were turned over to Flores, and eight or ten of the most prominent at least were kept in captivity until January 1847. (313-4)

Bancroft gives this list of prisoners as B. D. Wilson, Isaac Williams, David W. Alexander, John Rowland, Louis Robidoux, Joseph Perdue, William Skeen, Isaac Callaghan, Evan Callaghan, Michale White, Matthew Harbin and George Walters." (314, footnote)

A famous letter of Louis Robidoux to Manuel Alvarez recounts in detail this little known episode, known as the "Battle of Chino" of the Mexican War.

California, May 1st, 1848

Sr. D. Manuel Alvarez:

My dear sir and friend, whom I esteem:--I received the two letters you wrote me. In the first you relatethe insurrection of New Mexico, and, as it appears, it has been terrible on account of the many murders that were committed by those natives and Indians. But in the end those who were the cause will receive condign punishment. From the beginning of hostilities between the two nations I was a prisoner of war. On the 25th of September, 1846, we met in my house and my neighbor's, Don Benjamin Wilson's (18 strangers),

to defend ourselves at anycost, because the shout of insurrection had already resounded everywhere, and rumor was that they would spare not the life of any stranger. The day after our meeting we went to the ranch of Chino, which is 6

leagues distant from my house; Don Juan Rowland was one of our warriors, and also four or five other additional strangers whom we met at said ranch. Our intention was to continue as far as the town of Los Angeles, if possible, in order to join the small American force which was stationed there, but the enemy did not relish this reunion; we were attacked the next day, that is on the 27th of September, by a force surperior to ours, to which we had to surrender at discretions after a struggle of an hour.

The enemy assaulted the house, in which we were fortified with so much furor and valor that, in the twinkling of an eye, as they say, set it on fire on every side with so much celerity that we had no alternative but to surrender or be burned alive. We did that to our regret. From that moment I lost my liberty.

The enemy numbered 200 men; we, with little ammunition and victuals, our opponents with plenty of war material, and the camp was theirs. We were then presented to the general, D. Jose Ma. Fores, a military officer of the Mexican army, a many of superior attainments and courage, although many say he is a coward and a tyrant; but, according to my own way of seeing, I believe in good faith, that he has during the whole period of the insurrection, acted with prudence, and that he has behaved as a good soldier. It seems to me that every man who embraces the military calling seeks after a name and riches, etc., etc.

This same Flores whom I have just praised had made up his mind to send us as far as the Capital of Mexico fo rthe purpose of giving more weight to his exploits, or still better, to the drafts he had issued upon the government. But everything was frustrated, as you will see further on. There was at the time a party which always spied him, embarrassed his plans, and opposed, when necessary, his individual views. This same party, realizing that our departure was against the general interest of the Californias and for fear also of reprisals from the Americans, formed an opposition against him and continued the plan, with the aid of us, the prisoners, that is, with our money, of turning him down when we were about to start for the Capitol. This intriuge relieved us from a very long walk, and perhaps saved our lives. Sometime after he was allowed to again assume the command, but on condition that the prisoners would not have to go out of California. Before this happened, we had received orders to prepare to go out of the Territory and that we should make some determination of our property as well as of our families. (O.M. 219-20)

They were marched off to Los Angeles as prisoners, in fear execution. "This command fell upon us like a bolt of lightning from heaven. A very great sorrow took hold of us all, so much so that Don Juan Rowland frequently said, 'cut off a leg from me and let me stay with my family.' But his clamor was useless, no heart was softened in our behalf; it was the same as if we had spoken tot he rocks...(220)" In Benito Wilson's memoirs, he describes their being taken to a small adobe building on the mesa south of town, that is now known as Boyle's Height...

....without any further occurrence, except the suffering and groans of my poor wounded men....The only names beside my own that I can remember as belonging to our party are: D. W. Alexander, John Rowland, Isaac Callagahn, and Louis Robidoux...In "Boyle's Height' were were all placed in a small adobe room...

a priest came in bearing a large cross, and after salutations, asked if any amongst us wished to confess. Robidoux...answered 'Yes, I do," adding, My God men they are going to shoot us, the priest's coming is a sure sign.' (110-114)

They were brought to the city of Los Angeles once Gillespie had evacuated his garrison and were treated with more respect, the wounded finally being shown a doctor by the name of Den. All received a great deal of attention by Eulogio Celis. Flores offered to release them if they took an oath of allegiance not to bear arms or to assist the American cause, but the prisoners declined the offer. Once they were taken to the mission of San Gabriel for a few days. Upon their return to the prison they were granted more concessions, even being allowed to leave the prison during the day to return to sleep there at night. They were sent for a time to Temples rancho at Los Cerritos, and a plan had been formed to escort them to Mexico, but was aborted by a revolt.

In the meantime, General Kearny marched toward San Diego with a rag-tag force of Dragoons and volunteers, and engaged the Mexicans, which, according to Louis, were "doubtless the best in all the Mexican Republic, since they perform wonders on horseback" at the battle of San Pasqual on Dec. 6th. Though a small engagement, it was quite bloody. Kearny was wounded, along with Louis's brother, Antoine, but the American forces were able to force their way to San Diego, accompanied by a group of sailors and marines from the garrison there. Then Kearny's forces, now 600 strong and mostly of the navy, marched north and engaged the Mexicans near Los Angeles on the 8th and 9th of January. On the 10th, Commodore Stockton entered Los Angeles, and Louis Robidoux was then released from captivity. He was appointed Alcalde of Los Angeles, which then incorporated the entire region including Jurupa, by Commodore Stockton in 1846, and was reappointed the Alcalde of Jurupa on June 1st, 1847, by the new Governor Mason. In 1850, he srved as a township justice of Los Angeles.

The responsibility for the Alcalde at this time was setting the example, settling out of court local disputes, drawing contracts and the"promulgation and enforcement" of the laws (Nelson, 48).

In 1846, the Mexican War began, and California was soon "liberated" by American forces under Kearny and Fremont. The Mormon Battalion of five companies of one hundred men each, reached San Diego, where they were ordered on the 31st of January to march northward to the Mission of San Luis Rey to take up quarters. After a long and grueling march without adequate supplies. It was one of the longest marches of an American military unit on the North American continent.

On the tenth (February, 1847) the Colonel sent Lieutenant (George W.) Omen and ten men (of Compay A) and fourteen mules up towards Los Angeles to meet some Spaniards and help them in with a load of flour for the Battalion.

On the nineteenth the Lieutenant returned with 2100 lbs of unbolted flour, and reported that we culd be furnished in a few days with 5000 more. (Bigler's Chronicle of the West: 50)

The historian of the Mormon Battalion wrote "Up to February 19th, 1847, our fare continued to be about the same--fresh beef. On that date, however, Lieutenant Oman returned from Roubidoux's, whither he had been sent five days previously, with a quantity of unbolted flour and some beans--an agreeable change of diet." (Roubidoux's Ranch, 82)

Stephen C. Foster, later the first Mayor of Los Angeles, was the interpreter for the Mormon Battalion, wrote about the Roubidoux mill:

The commissary and myself were ordered to Los Angeles to try and get some flour. We found the town garrisoned by Fremont's Battalion, about four hundred stron. They, too, had nothing but beef served to them. Here we met Louis Roubidoux of the Jurupa Ranch who said he couls spare us ome two or three thousand pounds of wheat which we could grind at a little mill he had on the Santa Ana river. So, on our return, two wagons were sent to Jurupa and they brought seventeen hundred pounds of flour and two sacks of beans--a small supply forfour hundred men. I then messed with one of the captains and all agreed that it was the sweetest bread we ever tasted." (Roubidoux's Ranch, 83-4)

Other accounts of the Mormon Battalion consistently give February 14th, for the date that Omen was sent to retrieve supplies, nevertheless, it was Louis Robidoux who sent them the flour, and apparently Omen returned with much vegetables and wine as well.

By 1847, many of the larger grants had been broken up into smaller estates. Part of the Jurupa grant of Bandini and Wilson, a famous local early pioneer, were subsequently owned by Isaac Williams and Colonel Johnson, and were afterward bought by Louis Robidoux in 1847

The grant was purchased from Senor Bandini and Mr. Willson by Isaac Williams and Colonel Johnson, who in 1847 sold a part of it to Louis Robidoux, a Frenchman of means who had come from New Mexico....Louis Robidoux became wealthy and prominent, showed his progressiveness by building fences, putting in a large acreage of grain and in other ways, and built a grist mill, which had a turbine wheel and two sets of stones, the only grist mill in Southern California at that time, 1846-7. The grain was washed and dried in the sun and was shoveled into the hopper with a rawhide scoop. Mr. Robidoux, a man of genial and kindly disposition, served as Juez de Paz, and was one of the first board of supervisors of the county. His death occurred in 1867. (San Ber. and Riverside: 28)

Louis enjoyed increasing prosperity on his ranch during this time. In 1848, he remarks in a letter to Manuel Alvarez that "the progress that has been made in the commercial arts in California in the short time that it has been in possession of the Americans is a thing of admiration." He was apparently well regarded for his congeniality and his home became a gathering place of many people. "The spacious adobe ranch house was always the center of hospitality" (Woodward, 1936).

One of Roubidoux's first industries was a winery and wine making, as was susual with all the missionaries and early settlers. One of his retainers built a house at the north end of Mt. Roubidoux on the edge of the mesa. His name was Antonio Prieto; was the first white man to live on what is now the site of Riverside. (Roubidoux's Ranch, 84-5)

During this time, Louis is quite happy and, in another letter to Manuel Alvarez sent via Kit Carson, praises California highly compared to New Mexico--he mentions the abundance of food and water on his ranch, regretting only that schools were too far to send his children. His wife did not like the loneliness and monotony of her new California home.

That Louis Robidoux was a well-read and literate man is evidenced by his library. "It was but natural that a people who travelled so far to build up a city and settlement of homes and engaged in pursuits that required some mental effort would also be a reading people. Even Louis Rubidoux, the first real setler who brought his family to settle on the Jurupa ranch brought a large collection of books." (527, Vol. 1)

An account holds that the family hired an English Tutor for their children, and thus they learned to speak English well. "The tutor wished to marry one of the daughters but was opposed by the mother, who did not wish her to be taken away to Australia, where the teacher finally went, as in those days Australia or New Zealand were very far-away countries and difficult of access." (SBR, 320)

Mr. Rubidoux brought quite a library of books with him, as during the Mexican domination books were very scarce and the early missions discouraged the importation of books. He also built the first flour mill in these parts and possibly in Southern California, for during the war with Mexico about all the soldiers had to eat was beef, and a small supply of flour and beans from Rubidoux was greatly enjoyed. He was able to talk four langauges himself and probably had a partial knowledge of some of the Indian dialects.

The tenure of his land-holding under Mexican rule was short, but in Southern California there was a lesser influx of Americans to disturb the peaceful pastoral relations soon to pass away. There were the Mormons who came to San Bernardino a few years later than the cession of California from Mexico to the United States. Previous to that time Jurupa was a central place and just south of the Rubidoux homestead there was a fort occupied by the United States troops to protect the settlers from raids by Indians on the hores and cattle for the rancheros, who run them off into the Mohave and Colorado deserts and on to Utah, where there was a market. The Rubidoux homestead itself was in the nature of a fort with loopholes for musketry. The settlement of Agua Mansa just above and adjoining the Jurupa grant was formed by Mexicans from Santa Fe, New Mexico, on lands given by Bandini as a protextion against these Indian raiders, some of whom were aided by renegade whites. After the Mormons came, the Indians burned the sawmills in the San Bernardino Mountains, but it ultimately became a costly pursuit for all kinds of raiders for they finally got wiped out and at the time of the settlement of Riverside all was peace.

During the Civil war and at the time of the great flood of 1862 there was still a company of soldiers at the fort at Jurupa on account of the disloyalty of some of the Mormons and also some Southern people who were settled and, as it afterward happened, members of the military company fought in the South on different sides and San Bernardino County was always in the democratic ranks until outnumbered by the influx of colonists in Riverside and elsewhere.

Mr. Rubidoux, not having lived under Spanish and Mexican rule for but a short time after the purchase of the Jurupa, was always loayla to the United States and took and active part during the war with Mexico and was wounded and captured at the battle of Chino, where rabid ones on the Mexican side were for executing the whole of the prisoners, but wiser counsels prevailed and they were all imprisoned for a considerable time. During the gold excitement in the upper part of the State in 1849 and the early '50's Mr. Rubidoux made money by driving stock up north to supply the miners with meat.

The great flood of 1862 washed away much of the best land of the Rubidoux ranch in the lowlands, leaving nothing but barren sand. The homestead was also more or less endangered by the high water. The extreme drought immediately following the flood decimated the cattle, further impairing the Rubidoux fortunes, to be followedlater by an accident incapacitating Mr. Rubidoux from active labor and his death in 1868, and the division, distribution and sale of part of the property with the final sale of the remainde to the Silk Center Association and finally to the Southern California Colony Association removed the family from the scene of their former greatness. At that time there was quite a settlement along the river of white men and Mexicans on Rubidoux grant lands and all down the river to Juapa for eight miles, where Don Juan Bandini had his headquarters while he owned the Jurupa grant, and a school was also maintained there on the easterly side of the river where Mr. Hyatt, who finally became state superintendant of public schools, first taught. The school finally lapsed and was moved to the newer Riverside School District. But for his untimely accident and death at a comparatively youthful age, Mr. Rubidoux would have taken an active part in the establishment of the new era on the settlement of Riverside. As it was, he served as a local judge and was one of the first members of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County. (320-1)

On January 15th, 1849, the emigrant Hamelin recorded visiting Louis Robidoux's ranch and left a description:

Jan. 15. Tuesday. Mounted one of the celebrated caballos of the country & started in company with Croxall to purchase or hire stock to return to the relief of the train. Reached the rancho of Senor Robdioux, where we did nothing. R. has a fine farm, vineyard, peach orchard & a very handsome daughter. Our grub was plain but in our present fix we relish anything in the eating line. Slept soundly on the floor, thinking in dreams what the moroow would bring forth.

Wednesday (Jany 16.). started in a hi Scotch mist to see what cd be done at the neighboring farms. could not buy, hire or steal ox or horse, but got a good dinner served up by a buxom Irish girl, washed down by a bottle of aguardiente

from Senor Lugo. Don't know which improved the appetite most. Retd to Robidoux's.

Jany. 18. Thursday. Every place we go in the country we find more or less emigrants stopping; working for their food, no trouble to balance their cash acs and no way of proceeding to the mines. It is better to remain here at present than go up the country, as all business is suspended in the mining region on account of wet weather. Reached our quarters after dinner.

In 1850, California became a part of the United States, after which a court of sessions was set up for the administration of the laws in the area. Louis Robidoux was elected as justice of the peace for the San Bernardino township, and then as a member of the County Court of Los Angeles. According to Nelson, he was associated with this group until the County of San Bernardino was formed in 1853. The County Court of Sessions for San Bernardino met on August 1st, 1853, dividing the country into three townships and these into voting precinct. Louis's Jurupa home was selected as the headquarters of the Jurupa voting precinct.

On June 4th, 1851, a mormon mission including Parley Parker Pratt visited Louis Robidoux's ranch and left the following account:

Rode upwards of 13 m. s. and arrived at a farm house, Inhabited by a frenchman (Louis Robidoux) and his Spanish Wife, Children and Indian Servants. Here we obtained a breakfast of Bread, Wine, etc, for 50 cts each.

From this man we learned of the Burning of Francisco city, and Stockton, with the Loss of many Lives, and many Milions of Merchadise. Also a Great Earthquake in Chile, and the Blockade by the french of the Sandwich Islands, and that the Indinas in the naborehood where we were then were had feel upon and killed a Band of American Robbers Who were Infesting the Country and Commiting depredations, Openly boasting of the same, and biding defiance to the officers of the Law. The Band consisted of about a dozen, Well armed, and were attacked and all Killed by Bows and arrows, Lances, etc. the Loss on the part of the Indians was, one Killed and 2 or 3 wounded. The whole Country seemed in a State of Commotion, Robery Murder, and other Crimes were frequent, and it is said that Bribery and Corruption on the part of those who Stood to administer the Law was So freequent Occurrence that there was no prospect of Justice or protection of the citizens. All hearts were fearful and no one felt safe in person or property.

Such in substance ws the Outlines of the first news, as we reached the settlements after being 7 Months with out news from the world, and near 2 months in the desart, without Seeing any human abode, or Cultivation. O how we then appreciated Our Own quiet Mountain home, the Beahive, the incomparably quiet and peacable deseret.

After Breakfast we rode on 12 m. s. and arrived at the Residence, of Colonel Williams. Here we found a fine farm which had wheat and Other grain, Gardens, and even bearing fruit trees, etc. We also found a Member of Our Society by the name of Chrisman who with his family resided on the place. We were kindly Received, and after resting a day, obtained a team and Br Wood went to Los Angeles 30 m. s. to obtain supplies to send back.

On Saturday, June 7th, Pratt notes: Started Back with a load of Supplies at noon. Found our Waggons at the french farm, 12 m.

In the fall of 1853, Louis Robidoux was elected as the only non-Mormon, outside candidate to the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. He was selected as the chairman of the board as a courtesy. "The Mormons felt safe in following this policy as the board consisted of but three members: two Mormons could thus outvote the third party if necessary." (Nelson, 52) Louis was identified as a member of an independent or "Apostate" party that consisted of some ex-mormons and miners and other "gentiles" who had come from the Northern gold fields, but Louis conformed with the Mormons until he brought suit against three Mormons of this community 1856. In the church records, the case appears on April 6th, in reference to the previous Saturday. "This may be termed one of the first acts of persecution against us in this land, as we were perfectly willing to pay without being sued."

Later in the fall of that year, the Independents held a political rally. At midnight, Louis Robidoux, and Dr. Saint Clair were both drunk, and Dr. St. Clair fired a revolver at a crowd as they were leaving in a carriage. '"The records fail to state how the affair ended, but an entry in a friends diary may give a hint: "(October 19, 1856...Don Luis Robidoux is under guard; two men politely escorting him wheresoever he may wish to go; (hell) fire (?) upon Dr. St. Clair; the difficulty on this subject, which party is to blame?" (Nelson, 53-4) Tension increased between the Independent and Mormon groups until the Mormon community withdrew from San Bernardino in 1857-8. Louis remained a member of this board until 1861, when he retired.

"Sixty Years in California" leaves an interesting description of Louis and his way of life on the Jurupa rancho.

Louis Robidoux, a French-American of superior ability who, like many others, had gone through much that was exciting and unpleasant to establish himself in this wild, open country, eventually had an immense estate known as the Jurupa rancho, from which on September 26th, 1846, during the Mexican War, B. D. Wilson and others rode forth to be neatly trapped and captured at the Chino; and where the outlaw Irving later encamped. Riverside occupies a site on this land; and the famous Robidoux hill, usually spoken of as the Roubidoux mountain, once a part of Louis's ranch and to-day a Mecca for thousands of tourists, was named after him.

Many of the rancheros kept little ranch stores, from which they sold to their employees. This was rather for convenience than for profit. When their help came to Los Angeles, they generally got drunk and stayed away from work longer than the allotted time; and it was to prevent this, as far as possible, that these outlying stores were conducted.

Louis Robdioux maintained such a store for the accommodation of his hands, and often came to town, sometimes for several days, on which occasions he would buy very liberally anything that happened to take his fancy. In this respect he occasionally acted without good judgment, and if opposed would become all the more determined. Not infrequently he called for so large a supply of some article that I was constrained to remark that he could not possibly need so much; whereupon he would repeat the order with angry emphasis. I sometimes visited his ranch and recall, in particular, one stay of two or three days there in 1857 when, after an unusually large purchase, Robidoux asked me to assist him in checking up on invoices. The cases were unpacked in his ranchhouse; and I have never forgotten the amusing picture of the numerous little Robidoux, digging and delving among the assorted goods for all the prizes they could find, and thus renderg the process of listing the goods much more difficult. When the delivery had been found correct, Robidoux turned to his Mexican wife and asked her to bring the money. She went to the side of the room, opened a Chinese trunk such as every well-to-do Mexican family had (and sometimes as many as half a dozen), and drew therefrom the customary buckskin, from which she extracted the required and rather large amount. These trunks were made of cedar, were gaudily painted, and had the quality of keeping out moths. They were, therefore, displayed with pride by the owners. Recently on turning the pages of some ledgers in which Newmark, Kremer & Company carried the account of this famous ranchero, I was interested to find there full confirmation of what I have elsewhere claimed--that the now renowned Frenchman spelled the first syllable of his name Ro-, and not Ru-, nor yet Rou-, as it is generally recorded in books and newspapers.

I should refrain from mentioning a circumstance or two in Robidoux's life with which I am familiar but for the fact that I believe posterity is ever curious to know the little failings as well as the pronounced virtues of men who, through exceptional personality or association, have become historic characters; and that some knowledge of their foibles should not tarnish their reputation. Robidoux, as I have remarked, came to town very frequently, and when again he found himself amid livelier scenes and congenial fellows, as in the late fifties, he always celebrated the occasion with a few intimates, winding up his befuddling bouts in the arms of Chris Fluhr, who winked at his weakness and good naturedly tucked him away in one of the old-fashioned beds of the Lafayette Hotel, there to remain until he was able to transact business. After all, such celebrating was then not at all uncommon among the best of Southern California people, nor, if gossip may be credited, is it entirely unknown to-day. Robert Hornbeck, of Redlands, by the way, has sought to perpetuate this pioneer's fame in an illustrated volume, Roubidoux's Ranch in the 70's, published as I am closing my story.

Robidoux's name leads me to recur to early judges and to his identification with the first Court of Sessions here, when there was such a sparseness even of rancherias. Robidoux then lived on his Jurupa domain, and not having been at the meeting of township justices which selected himself and Judge Scott to sit on the bench, and enjoying but infrequent communication with the more peopled districts of Southern California, he knew nothing of the outcome of the election until sometime after it had been called. More than this, Judge Robidoux never actually participated in a sitting of the Court of Sessions until four or five weeks after it had been almost daily transacting business!

Speaking of ranches, and of the Jurupa in particular, I may here reprint an advertisement--a minature tree and a house heading the following announcement in the Southern Californian of June 20th, 1855:

The subscriber, being anxious to get away from Swindlers, offers for sale one of the very finest ranchos, or tracts of land, that is to be found in California, known as the Rancho de Jurupa, Santa Ana River, in the County of San Bernardino. (Harris Newmark: 175-7)

Due to increased settlement during the 1850's, life on the Jurupa rancho became less lonesome, and his daughter Adelaide remeembered "lively house parties--lasting for days at a time." By the late 1850's, an English tutor was living on the ranch, and a priest visited there once a month to say mass. By the late 1850's, Louis had more than 300 acres under cultivation, and had enlarged his orchards and had a thirty acre vineyard. "Among the by-products of this enterprise was a yearly production of two thousand gallons of wine and five hundred gallons of peach brandy, a good portion of which must have been slated for Robidoux's personal use." (Weber, 327)

He was also drinking heavily at this time, as he had previously. In 1856 he was again jailed "when his drinking led to a fracas with some Mormons who owed him money." (Weber, 328) According to Nelson's account:

On July 4th, 1856, the two opposing parties did their best to outdo each other in celebrating the holiday. This particular day the rivalry ended without bloodshed. But later in the fall the Independents held a political rally which brok up unsatisfactorily for some unknown reason. After this gathering, about midnight, Louis Robidoux and a minion by the name of Dr. St. Clair, both very drunk, tried to provoke a fight. As the pair were leaving by carriage, St. Clair pulled a revolver and fired into the crowd, luckily hitting no one. The records fail to state how the affair ended, but an entry in a friends diary gave me a hint:

"(October 19, 1856)....Don Luis Robidoux is under guard; two men politely escorting him wheresoever he may wish to go; (hell) fire (?) upon Dr. St.Calir; the difficulty on this subject, which party is to blame?" This entry undoubtedly refers to the shooting, and gives an approximate date of the incident.

 

Tension between Mormon and non-Mormon settlers subsided only after the final withdrawla of the Mormon community in 1857-8.

During the late 1840's and 50's, Louis's ranch suffered chronic depradations by raiding Indians, telling Juan Bandini that the Indians had stolen over a thousand animals within a three month period. In 1847, the Cajon Pass became garrisoned by a Colonel A.J. Smith and forty dragoons. In 1851, a fort in San Bernardino was erected, and the following year a post was established at Jurupa under Captain Lovell. This fort was garrisoned through the Civil war. The garrison of troops did little to stem the Indian raids, which continued until 1867. A small post in the Mojave desert was maintained until 1870.

In order to protect the settlers of Jurupa and San Bernardino from the incursions of the Mojave and Piute Indians, Colonel a. J. Smith of the United States infantry was sent in 1847 to the Cajon Pass with forty dragoons. In April of the same year a part of the Mormon Battalion was sent to establish a post at Chino, westward of Jurupa. In 1852 a post was established on the Jurupa grant by Captain Lovell and Colonel Smith. Both these officers were afterwards Major-Generals in the civil war, Lovell a Confederate and Smith on the Union side, and they were opposed to each other in Louisiana. A small body of troops was kept at Jurupa for two years, when they were withdrawn in 1854.

In the winter of 1851, there was a severe flood of the Santa Anna River. On July 10th, 1855, a large earthquake hit San Bernardino. A two-year draught then followed, and then a plague of grasshoppers in 1856-7. Cattle died in large numbers, and were butchered for their hides. Nevertheless, Louis was quite prosperous during this period. The Benchlands that were later the site of Riverside city were only partly used for range land for cattle and were at first classified as worthless and not assessed for taxes--nevertheless it is apparent that many thousands of sheep grazed there.

An interesting account is given by Major Horace Bell of Louis's political involvements in 1852:

In the presidential canvass of 1852, the two parties Whig and Democrat were warmly arrayed one against the other. The Democratic outlook was good, except in that one particulr precinct, that of Jurupa...Old Louis Roubideaux was the lord of the Jurupa...and he was a Whig, and could not be won over in any way. The case seemed hopeless and the doctor was sent out with his saddlebags full of Democratic tickets to act as a forlorn hope in the cause of the General...Then and there was where the embryo politician cropped out. About half-way from Jurupa...to San Bernardino, was situated....Agua Mansa...numbering some two hundred souls...owing allegiance to none save the simple, kind heareted priest who looked after their spiritual welfare....

There must have been at least fifty voters at Agua mansa...and to this place hied the nobel doctor as the avant courier of American civilization, to give his primitive people their first lesson in the mysteries of American citizenship.

....Arriving at Agua Mansa.....dismounted, tied his hungry mustang, divested himself of his leather Mexican leggins and jingling spurs, and with the sacred saddle-bags in his arm, with solemn step and downcast eyes, he piously uncovered, reverently crossed himself, entered and prostrated himself in frot of the humble altar, and was then and there discovered by the simple old priest, who sprinkled him with holy water and offered him sweet words of consolation. Within the next hour the doctor informed the priest that his piety had a world wide fame, that in the distant land of New York the sacrd name of Friar Juan, of Agua Mansa, was a household word among good Catholics, and he, the doctor had made a pilgrimmage hither to invoke the prayers of the saintly Juan for the repose of the soul of his mother, at which period the doctor slipped a slug into the palm of the astonished Juan.

Suffice it to say that prayers and masses were the order of the day...The following morning....the doctor informed the priest that an election would be held that day for the President of the United States; that one candidate, General Scott, was a heretic, and was a tyrant who made war on the Catholics of Mexico; and that it would be a great calamity of the Catholic world should Scott be elected; that Pierce, the other candidate was a good Catholic, and if elected, would build Catholic churches all over the world, and that it therefore behooved them, as good Catholics, to see that Agua Mansa cast its vote for Pierce.

And Agua Mansa did, under the pious instructions of the saintly Juan, subject to the satanic doctor, vote early and all day for the Democratic candidate, to the great chagrin of old Louis Roubideaux who felt for the first time that he had lost his influence with the gentle people of Agua Mansa. (Bell, 62-3; Nelson, 50-51)

During this era, Louis Robidoux is claimed by O.M. Robidoux to have pioneered the subdivision of land in Southern California to encourage settlement. Though no mention of this is made in other, more scholarly biographies, it opens the suggestion that Louis may have helped to instigate and kick off a process of settlement and immigration to California, that would later prove to be a downfall to his "small empire" of Jurupa.

Robidoux was the first in California to subdivide the large tracts of land bought by him and invited small farmers to buy on liberal terms. The opposite course had held back the settlement in California for years and even after annexation.

No matter what motives may have actuated Robidoux, this plan he began was kept up and finally led to the breaking up of the large land grant holdings and brought in emigration. The renter or vassal has not that interest in his country that had the man who owns the land upon which is his home. So it was that Louis Robidoux, the California boomer, who set the fashion to subdivide.

(O.M., 217-8)

This account appears to have been taken from Roubidoux's Ranch in the '70's, the first history of Riverside. It reads:

If not the first, Roubidoux was at least among the first in California to subdivide the large tract of land bought by him and invite small farmers to buy on liberal terms. The opposite course held back the settlement of California for years, even after American annexation. No matter what motives may have actuated Roubidoux, the plan he began was kept up and infally led to the breaking up of large land grants into small farms. The renter or vassal has not that interest in his country that has the man who owns the land upon which is hishome. A monument should be erected to Louis Roubidoux, the California boomer who set the fashion to "subdivide." (88-9).

In 1854, taxes began to be levied on land. Louis refused to list all his land for taxation, but he was assessed that year with property amounting to $20,200.00, including twelve hundred sheep, two hundred cattle, fifty mares, one hundred and thirty five wild cattle, "ten gentle work horses," 3640 acres of land, house, wagon and harness and several bank notes worth about $4,000.00.

In 1855, Louis's Rancho was visited by another Mormon emigrant, one George Washington Bean:

In September of 1855...while in California, visited with many good friends of early days in Utah....We stopped....by the old Robidoux ranch on the Santa Ana River. He once lived in Uintah Valley....

In 1857, the Jurupa grant was resurveyed, and Louis Robidoux was dispossessed of a larger part of his borderlands. The land had been surveyed under the military administration following the Mexican War, but a lot of the rancheros failed to validate their old grant titles, becoming deprived later on of their holdings by newcomers. The American courts neglected the appeals made on behalf of Mexican made titles: "Louis Robidoux lost a great deal of land in the litigation; he was unable to prove clear title to much of the San Jacinto and San Timoteo land.

After the American occupation of California, all private claimants under Mexican laws were compelled to prove their titles in the United States Court of Private Land Claims. The first thing done was an official survey by the Surveyor-General of California. The survey of the Jurupa Grant was not made until 1857, ten years after the purchase by Louis Roubidoux and twenty years after the original grant to Don Juan Bandini. Roubidoux had purchased only a small part of the Jurupa Grant, and the lines of his purchase did not extend to the outsideboundaries of the grant anywhere. His eastern boundary was about Main street, Riverside. Elsewhere has been noted the gift to New Mexican families by Don Juan Bandini of half a league of land at the upper end of Jurupa in exchange for which the colonists were to act as "vaqueros" for Bandini's stock and fight Indians. No surveys were made of this land, which was known as the "Bandini Donation." Each man took as much as he wished, and no records were made; there was no place or provision for records.

The survey of 1857 established the boundaries of the Jurupa, but the land court did not confirm it for years afterwards. A patent was finally issuedby the Present, General U. S. Grant, in 1876. (Roubidoux's Ranch in the '70's; 224-5)

In 1860 Louis also became involved in land litigation cases and water rights cases as well. That year, he also fell off his horse and fractured his hip. He did not heal, and was forced to bed, from which he conducted most of his business in his remaining years. The remainder of his wealth was lost primarily in the land litigation and water-rights cases. "Misfortune dogged Louis' footsteps for the remaining years of his life."(Nelson, 61)

In 1862, there was another terrible flood of the Santa Ana river, following a severe winter of very heavy snows in the San Bernardino mountains. The settlement of Agua Mansa was almost completely washed away, though no lives were lost thanks to the swift actions of the local Priest who rang the bell in warning. The flood wiped out some of Louis's best bottom lands, his grain fields and vegetable plots. It wiped out his grist-mill, and other buildings which he had used for stables.

There followed another three-year draught from 1863-5--said to have been the severest in California history. It wiped out herds of cattle and destroyed the orchards. During this time, Louis sold off his remaining sheep.

Thus fared Louis Robidoux in the last days of his life: his herds gone, because of the dry period; his rancho almost worthless because of the flood; litigation over water rights and land causing loss of money and much worry; his health broken by a fall from a horse; and last, but not to be ignored, his land practically depopulated. This latter condition came about because of a small-pox epidemic which struck after the flood of 1862. Louis was broken by man, nature and beast. It is little wonder that he imbibed quite freely, drink being his only escape from his many worries. (Nelson, 63-4)

Louis Robidoux died on September 24th, 1868, at the age of seventy-two years old. "Louis Robidoux, who had continued to prosper as a ranchero, died in 1868 at the age of seventy-seven years." (374) He was laid to rest in a small cemetry of Agua Mansa, with a small wooden cross marking his simple grave. Shortly afterwards, fires razed the cemetery and obliterated "all traces of the spot."

Clearly, Louis Robidoux's career does not fit the standard image of the Mountain Man as a semi-barbaric, inarticulate, social misfit. Robidoux, instead, was an aggressive, public-spirited entrepreneur who seems to have valued family, friends and fireside over wilderness. After the fur trade had brought him onto a foreign frontier where he could use his skills profitably, Robidoux quickly traded the life of a Mountain Man for that of a merchant, a politician, a miller, and finally a rancher. Yet, Robidoux continued to relive the adventures of his younger days. One visitor to Jurupa, in 1852, remembered falling asleep while "Old Louis," with bottle and pipe in hand, lectured "on his Anglo-Norman ancestry, their domiciliation in the Rocky Mountains, the exploits of mountain men in Indian fighting, of Bridger, of Carson, Godey, Sublett, of Jim Beckworth and of Pegleg Smith." Most contemporaries in California, however, saw Robidoux only as "Don Luis," a "gentleman of fine education, and much extended information." Within his own family, Robidoux's beginnings as a Mountain Man became so forgotten that one of his daughters boasted that he had been born in France and educated in Paris: "Besides being a scholar--he spoke seven languages and he understood law--my father was a man of great enterprise." Only the latter part of her recollection was correct" (Weber, 328-9)

On the site of the old Jurupa rancho, grew the modern city of Riverside, one of the principal cities of the "Inland Empire" Southern California.

The year of his death, a silk producing association was planned in the context of his ranch. A mulberry tree nursery was planted and a large cocoonery for rearing the silk-worms. In 1869, the creation of a silk-worm colony was planned and the "California Silk Center Association of Los Angeles" was formed.

This organization bought in June or July four thousand acres from the Bandini rancho, fourteen hundred acres from the Hartshorn Tract, and three thousand one hundred and sixty-nine from the Jurupa on the ast side of the Santa Ana river. By mid-August, the main driving force of this organization, Louis Prevost, suddenly died. The demand for silk-worm eggs fell sharply, "while finally, to give the enterprise its death-blow, the Legislators, fearful that the State Treasury would be depleted through the payment of bounties, withdrew all State aid." (391)

The Silk Center Association, therefore, failed; but the Southern California Colony Association bought all the land, paying for it something like three dollars and a half an acre. To many persons, the price was quite enough; Old Louis Robidoux had long refused to list his portion for taxes, and some one had described much of the acreage as so dry that even coyotes, in crossing, took along their canteens for safety! A town at first called Jurupa, and later Riverside, was laid out; a fifty thousand-dollar ditch diverted the Santa Ana River to a place where Nature had failed to arrange for its flowing; and in a few months a number of families had settled beside the artificial waterway. Riversiders long had to travel back and forth to Los Angeles for most of their supplies (a stage, still in existence, being used for ordinary passengers), and this made a friendly as well as profitable business relation with the older and larger town; but experiments soon showing that oranges could grow in the arid soil, Riverside in course of time had something to sell as well as to buy. (391)

The town site, first called Jurupa, was laid out in 1870, but was soon changed to Riverside.

It is perhaps a fitting memorial to Louis and his brothers that Juan Bandini had thus named Mt. Robidoux standing behind rancho Jurupa, after he sold the rancho to Louis. "When there was need of a name for the little mountain that sheltered Riverside on the west, Robidoux's association with the district as its first white settler was forever commemmorated by giving his name to the little mountain" (SB RC, 329) It's summit is 1,3337 feet above sea level, and it rises steeply 4-500 feet above the Santa Ana River bed. On its summit has been erected the Father Serra Cross, that was unveiled in 1909 by President William Taft. and the World Peace Tower, and at the western base is the St. Francis Fountain, where an aritificial waterfall had been constructed from water coming off Mount Rubidoux. The curving, one way road to its summit, is greeted by a tablet on a curve with the words of John Muir: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms of their energy; while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." (California: An Intimate Guide, 123)

Among the beauty spots about the city, the most famous is Mount Rubidoux, which stands within the western boundary, named after Louis Rubidoux, or Robidoux, dauntless pioneer. Near its base camped Juan Bautista de Anza when in 1774 he made the first land journey to the Pacific ever made within the boundaries of the United States. In later years, padres and Spanish dons, American pioneers, overland stages, blue-clad troppers, passed this way. (California: An Intimate Guide, 122-3)

When President Taft came to the unveiling ceremony in 1909, a large chair afterward known as the 'Taft Chair" was dedicated to him at a banquet after the services on Mount Rubidoux. Taft is said to have remarked "you didn't need to make it so big." The "Taft Chair" occupied a prominent position in the lobby of the Mission Inn.

The culimination of this project was the dedication of the Father Serra Cross on the mountain. This service was conducted by Bishop Conaty and fourteen of his clergy. The inscription on the tablet on the mountain reads:

"Fray Junipero Serra, 1713-1784. Dedicated April 26, 1907, by Rt. Rev. Thomas James Conaty, Bishop of Monterey and Lost Angelese, in the presence of many people" On this occasion it is said more distinguished men of the state were assembed than at any other time. Besides the Catholic dignitaries there were bishops of the Episcopal and Methodist churchs, the governor of California and private trains with the parties of Henry E. Huntington, E. P. Ripley of the Santa Fe and United States Senator William A. Clark. (827)

Mission Inn, at the foot of Mount Rubidoux, became a world-renowned hotel, known for its mission-style decor and peace.

The institution of which the city is most proud is an inn, built in the mission style. It is more than a hotel--it is a veritable shrine to California's Hispanic past. Its architecture presents an admirable adaptation of high bell-towers, arched cloisters with flagged floors and low-beamed roofs. Details have been carried out with great care and skill; much of the woodwork and furnishings of the rooms are reproductions of Spanish designs, and genuine antique iron, wood-carvings, and historic objects decorate the establishment throughout.

In plan, the inn follows closely thelines of the old Spanish missions, being built around a spacious central patio filled with trees and flowers; and you may dine under the stars in a smaler patio, where a fountain from Cordova splashes ceaselessly, cooling the blossom-scented air. When wandering in this Spanish patio, amid vines, flowers, orange trees, palms, one might imagine oneself in an old mission garden indeed. A remarkable collection of eight hundred bells, perhaps the most extensive of its kind in the world, is in a roof garden; and room after room is crowded with antiques and objects of art. The cloister music-room, with its sweet-toned organ, is quiet and inspiring, and here is displayed a matchless collection of crosses. Without leads a cloister walk, adorned with paintings of the missions and lighted niches holding images of saints.

The Spanish art-gallery is filled with early Spanish and Mexican paintings. The Rotunda, an addition of recent years, opens from two courts on the second floor, one Spanish and the other Oriental, and within it are the Galeria, an art-gallery and ballroom, the St. Francis Chapel, with famous old Tiffany windows and a great altar, carved and gilded, and rooms filled with wars from the glamorous Orient

Before the doorway of the inn stands an orange tree budded directly from a remarkable old tree which long grew here--one of the two from which sprang, by a process of grafting their buds on other stock, all the millions of navel orange trees in California. This original tree was brought from Bahia, Brazil, in 1870; was planted in Riverside three years later and transplanted to this spot by President Roosevelt in 1903. The other original Bhaia orange tree still bears fruit, in its park at the head of Magnolia Avenue, Riverside. (California: An Intimate Guide, 121-2)

The anecdote of the Orange trees first planted in Riverside is in itself highly interesting:

Within a few years after the creation of the new settlement, the old Robidoux ranch became the setting for California's orange gowing development. Among the first settlers of Riverside were Mr. and Mrs. Luther C. (Eliza) Tibbets, who went there from the East. Before she started for California, Mrs. Tibbets visited the propagation gardens of the Department of Agriculture at Washington where she secured several fruit trees to plant at her new home. Among the trees she received were two of the Washington navel orange, which had, shortly before that time, been introduced into the United States from Bahia, Brazil. Mrs. Tibbets planted the two orange trees by the door of her small cottage in Riverside, California. She cared for them faithfully. It is said that she carried her dish-water out to them every day because of the scarcity of water. Within a couple of years the two trees bore fruit of such a superior quality that they attracted attention throughout Southern California. Growers of the State budded their seedling orange groves with buds from the Tibbets navel orange. The entire navel orange industry of California grew up from those two trees. It was an unexpected boom for riverside, which became one of the world's famous citrus regions. today the site of riverside, once, as the bench lands of the Robidoux rancho considered a worthless arid waste, is among the wealthiest regions of the State." (Woodward, 12)

The Robidoux name has been commemorated each Easter by the sunrise ceremony held atop the mountain, graced by the white cross and bells at its summit, when many make the pilgrimmage bearing torches in the morning twilight to the top to sing in harmony with the morning. This ceremony has "served as a model for many others throughout the world."

This sun rise service began on April 4th, 1909, when the keeper of Mission Inn, Frank Augustus Miller, at the base of the mountain, got his guests out in the pre-dawn morning to make a pilgrimmage up the hill.

While the Inn may have surpassed the town in growth and fame, it never surpassed the man, Frank Augustus Miller. From the early age of 19, he was Master of the Inn; for it grew as he dictated; it took on the atmosphere he desired--that of langorous leisure and sedate cordiality amidst impeccable service.

But on this particular April Sunday morn, with the hour of dawn still approaching, Frank Miller and his aides broke all the rules of hostelry by insistently banging on doors and calling the hour. Even though the guests had been forewarned and had half-heartedly agreed to the plan, there was a good deal of grumbling. After all, few of them ever saw the rising sun and, for the most part, there was little desire to change that time-worn habit for any reason, especially to climb a nonsensically unimportant mountain at this ungodly hour.

They didn't know they were making history nor did they care. Nimbly, and with many a mindful threat that they would never again grace the Inn with their presence--a threat that was soon forgotten, for this dawn adventure was to become an annual "mst" in the lives of many of them--they were hustled out into the chill of the somber-skied morning and commenced the strange trek up Mt. Rubidoux. (Don Miller, February-March, 1970, Modern Maturity 26)

Frank Miller was known for many accomplishments in the development of Riverside. He almost single handled got Riverside incorporated as a separate county. He helped to organize the Sherman Insitute, an Indian school, started the first horse-car lines in the City of Riverside, which was later consolidated into the Pacific Electric System of Southern California. He built the Loring Opera House and later the Rubidoux Business Block on the opposite corner of the Opera House--the first three-story business block in Riverside. It was he who also initiated the construction of the Rubidoux Mountain Drive by Brigadier General Chittenden of the Government service, who built the Yellowstone Park roads, and the establishment of Huntington Park. Jacob Riis, a friend of Miller, made the dedication at a flag raising ceremony once the road was completed. Jacob Riis would return every year to the mountain until his death, and he was the one who originally suggested the ideaof a community religous occasion on the mountain.

In a talk with Mr. Miller he pointed out that an Easter sunrise was the greatest Christian religious movement. He drew attention tot he fact that if people saw a sunrise in connection with religious thought the two things would effect a great spiritual stimulus for the community. It was agreed that the pilgrimmage would be tried. (331)

The sunrise service on Mount Rubidoux was said to have relived the experience of Christ's resurrection of Golgotha hill. An organ played, and a sermon was given, and at that moment an annual pilgrimmage and ceremony took shape. In 1911, Dr. Henry Van Dyke allowed Miller to use his poem "The God of the Open Air" at the service. In 1913 Dr. Van Dyke came himself to read the poem at the service, adding four lines to the poem.

The idea of the Easter Sunrise service caught on in the southland, and other communities began immitating it. By 1914, the service had 6,000 attendants.

Carrie Jacobs Bond came to the first service. According to the story, She was driving up Mount Rubidoux when her car stalled on the mountain grade. She walked back down the mountain to the Inn, arriving as the Chimes were playing at the end of the day. "The cross on the mountain, the Riverside environment and the chimes, were the inspiration for the words and the music which she composed." (826). Returning to the Mission Inn, she wrote her song "End of a Perfect Day." "Written while sitting in a swing, in the court of the Mission Inn, after returning from a pilgrimmage to Father Serra's cross on Rubidoux Mountain in 1909." (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, 291) The words of the song are thus:

"When you come to the end of a perfect day,

And you sit alone with your thought,

While the chimes ring out with a carol gay,

For the joy that the day has brought,

Do you think what the end of a perfect day

Can mean to a tired heart,

When the sun does down with a flaming ray,

And the dear friends have to part.

"Well, this is the end of a perfect day,

Near the end of a journey, too;

But it leaves a thought that is big and strong,

With a wish that is kind and true.

For mem'ry has painted this perfect day

With colors that never fade,

And we find, at the end of a perfect day,

The sould of a friend we've made."

 

Carrie Jacobs-Bond returned to the services each year after that, and in 1915, wrote an anthem for the occasion "To the Easter Dawn" which was performed by a world class opera singer, Marcella Craft, from Riverside.

Van Dyke's poem was red, and when it was over, representatives of fourteen nations, amongthem the contending nations of Europe, unfurled their countries' flags at the foot of the cross and above these a large American peace flage was flown....Conservative estimates place the number of people at the 1915 Rubidoux Easter service as upwards of 12,000. Eleven hundred automobiles were counted ascending the mountain, a vivid contrast to the seventy automobiles of the 1912 service. Miss Craft has been a feature of every meeting since. (332)

By 1921, service attendance was estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 persons. "The mountain and its beauties is free to all at all times without any conditions." (333).

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

OLD LOUIS ROBIDOUX

Mountain Man, First Alcalde of Santa Fe

and Don of the Jurupa

 

Born on July 7th (31st?), 1796, Louis Robidoux was the fifth son of Joseph Robidoux II. Little is known of him during the early years of St. Louis, Blacksnake Hills and Council Bluffs. He was, in later years, a fairly literate person, and probably spent the first 12 years of his life in schooling in St. Louis. It is supposed by his biographers that he was pretty well educated as a lad in St. Louis, and that he possessed throughout his lifetime a not inconsiderable linguistic ability, apparently having mastered in the course of his years Spanish, French, English, as well as any number of Indian dialects, includng Ute and California Indian dialects.

Letters and personal descriptions reveal that he was a quite literate, intelligent and knowledgeable man, with the command of the finest English. It is reported that in California, he kept in his home one of the largest library collections in the region. Nelson, his principal biographer, notes the multicultural context of St. Louis at the time of his early youth--first a Spanish territory, then French, then American (not to mention the family's chronic dealings with numerous tribes of Indians)--a framework for socialization which goes some distance in helping us to understand the events and actions of his later years.

There is little doubt that he early on followed in the foot steps of his older brothers, and was a part of the early Robidoux fur trade complex that embraced Council Bluffs, the mouth of the Kaw River and early Blacksnake Hills.

There appears a petition dated July 16, 1823 for Antonio and Luis Robidoux for naturalization at Santa Fe, a petition which was apparently rejected. He first appears in the record books in Taos, New Mexico, in late 1823.

He may have traveled back to Missouri in the summer of 1823. It is apparent that he came to Taos in 1823 or 1822, possibly with the first or second Beckwith caravan, in the company of one or more of his brothers--probably Antoine, Francois and Michel. He and Pierre Isadore appear to have had licenses issued to enter Indian country, and he set out with a group of trappers from Council Bluffs on August 1st, 1823 that was headed "for the Mountains." He remained in New Mexico during the winter of 1823-4.

On one Robidoux expedition in about 1824, it was reported that three men died en route and five may have returned (Glanville). It was also reported that "eight of Nolidoux men were killed by Comanches" in 1824, though this report may have confused the facts somewhat. No doubt, passage on the Santa Fe Trail--a two to three month venture--was hazardous and unpredictable to say the least.

By 1824, when a new caravan of Missouri merchants arrived in Santa Fe, the Mexican officials accepted Louis Robidoux as a bondsman for the caravan. After the captain of the expedition, Alexander Le Grande, left New Mexico in 1825, Louis had to pay a 15 peso debt in kind. On May 19th, 1825, Louis again served as bondsman for another group. He traveled back to St. Louis in the summer of 1825, apparently to attend the weddings of his brothers Francois and Michel, and returned with them and Antoine to Santa Fe in the late fall of that year. On December 9th of 1825, Louis testified before a court in regard to the confiscation of trade goods. In January of 1826, he headed south towards Sonora and Chihuahua, but got as far as El Paso. At the time, according to Messmore, El Paso was the gateway to trade with Chihuahua and old Mexico. By May, he ordered a shipment of goods to be sent there. Narbonna's report of February, 1826, on which Michel, Antonio and Francois all appear without passports, gives the following:

The Americans Colmoore, John Gregg, Tomas Abeciaon, Luis Rubidu and Francisco Siore are not included in this report because they have passed to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora. (Weber, 22)

On May 19, 1826, one Luis Rubidoux con Manuel Martin appears on a "guia" issued at the Custom House in Santa Fe to pass to El Paso.

In 1827, he returned to Missouri from Taos with another trading party. His name appears on a list of departures of foreigners for April 6, 1827, for Missouri. (Weber, 37):

In the party which left on the sixth day of the current month (April 6th, 1827), destined for the Missouri, are the followng:

Jose Tomas Boggs Samuel Perry

Paul Baillio Francis Samuel

Pohn Tharp Pohn Brown

William Anderson Jean Pierre

Richare L. Sontt Louis Dethiers

Thomas Soutt Louis Roubidoux

Samuel Nelson Jervain Nollan

Samuel D. Lamma Francis Broun

Alvin Reed Manuel de Alvarez

Jean Lusyan

By July 1827, he was preparing to return once again to New Mexico, accompanied by many of the same people as on this list. On July 23, 1827, William Clark issued a permit giving permission to several men, including Louis Robidoux, to enter and make passage through Indian country. No other Robidoux name appears on this document at the time, but most of the names are Spanish. His name appears on an account with the American Fur Company between August 24th and 28th of 1827, suggesting that he briefly dealt with agents of this company before setting off across the Santa Fe trail--perhaps buying his goods. On August 25th, 1827, he sold a mule to the American Fur Company at St. Louis:

St. Louis 25 Augt. 1827

The American Fur Company

Bought of Louis Robidoux

1 Dun Mule___________________________________$45.00

Received payment in full

Louis Robidoux (signed)

He returned to Taos, arriving there on November 12th, 1827. (Cleland: 202). Manuel Alvarez appears to have returned to Taos on the 12th of November of 1827. Presumably Louis was with this large party, though his name is not with them on the list.

In the late 1820's, according to John Nelson, Antoine and probably Louis set up a trading agency in Taos, for the centrality of its location and as a means of circumventing the customs office a hundred miles away in Santa Fe. Levies imposed were quite severe--averaging one hundred percent of the cost of an ordinary "Santa Fe assortment."

After 1824, and for a period of about six years, the trade, though fluctuating, continued to increase. However, in the year 1830 a recession set in. The import tax steadily increased, while the price of trade goods dropped off. (Nelson, 1950:27)

From the 1830's onward, the fur trade steadily declined, and with this decline, the Robidoux's shifted the focus of their activities and interests away from Santa Fe/Taos and more towards the Robidoux posts in the Intermontane corridor.

After this date, he appears to have taken up a more permanent residence in Santa Fe, and to not have continued his sojourning in trapping and trading expeditions.

Louis appears in the account books of Manuel Alvarez buying supplies in 1829. In 1829, he also applied along with his brother Antoine for Mexican citizenship and was granted naturalization by the Mexican authorities a day later, on July 17th, 1829. He became Don Luis Robidoux. They are credited with this act in order to circumvent the customs taxes levied on foreign traders--marriage also gave them other distinct advantages in local society. In 1831, he complained to Mexican officials that an American, one Ewing Young, was illegally trapping furs in Mexican territory. Nevertheless, there is little evidence during this period which directly links Louis with trapping activities. Undoubtedly, he was affiliated with his other brothers, especially Antoine, in their vast trade network, and he probably served as the Santa Fe linkage in this framework, since the northern outposts of Antoine depended upon trade goods via Santa Fe.

He must have always been a heavy drinker, as remarked by both is biographers Weber and Nelson. In 1830 he spent several days in jail after a drunken spree during which he insulted friends and the Alcalde of Santa Fe. In jail he wrote an apology to the Alcalde, "only inspired by the influence of aguardiente" as he had been that night. (Weber, 328) In 1830, he served as fourth secretary of his election district. By 1834 he was elected alderman on the Santa Fe town council.

Louis Robidoux's name appears along with that of his wife, Guadalupe Garcia, on a legal deed dated December 8th, 1837. The deed was the sale of a claimed land in the estate of his father, on behalf of the four brothers, Francois, Louis, Antoine and Isidore, who are all resident in Santa Fe. Among other things, this document serves to locate both Isidore and Francois in this year in the Southwestern Fur trade nexus. The deed is interesting also because it identifies holdings of the senior Joseph III in Wisconsin and on the Des Moines River:

Know all men by these presents, the Ms. Francois Robidoux and______his Wife, Louis Robedoux and Guadalupe Garcia his Wife, Antoine Robidoux and _____his Wife, Isidor Robedoux and _____his Wife, all heirs of Joseph Robedoux, and Catharine Rotel his Wife, deceased, late of St. Louis in the now State of Missouri, residing at present at Santa Fe in Mexico, do hereby for and in consideration of the sum of Three hundred dollars to us in hand paid by John Darnielle & George Meade, of St. Louis in the State of Missouri, the payment of which sum is hereby acknowledge, ___ grant, bargain, and sell unto the said Darnielle & Meade all our estate, right, title claim and interest which we have or can have as heirs or devises of our father and mother, or either of them, situated anywhere in the State of Missouri & in the State of Illinois or in the territory of Wisconsin or Either of them, saving and reserving from this conveyance the lot in the City of St. Louis, now in the possession of our brother, Joseph, at the corner of Main & Myrtle Streets, and the lot occupied by Messrs. Laveille & Morton at the Corner of Market & Church Streets, in said City. The lands intended to be conveyed so far as known at present are the South half of Block No. six and the East half of Block No Thirty six in the City of St. Louis and four by forty arpens being one hundred and sixty arpens of Land in the Prariere Des noyers Common field near St. Louis, all of said Lands in the State of Missouri. Also, one hundred and twenty Eight acres and seventy six perches of Land situated in what is called the American Bottoms in the County of St. Clair and State of Illinois. Also a tract of land situated at what is called the head of the Rapids of the Des Moines on the West side of the Mississippi, purchased by Joseph Robidoux deceased of one Tesson called Honori: These lands are claimed adverse to us by sales which were made under such circumstances as in our opinion make them void. To have and to hold said Lands unto said Darnielle & Meade, their heirs and assigns forever, without any Warranty or recourse to us, and for the consideration aforesaid, we hereby authorize and empower said Darnielle & Meade to sue for and recover & apply to their own use any claim or demand which we may have against the Estate or the representations of Auguste Chouteau, deceased, for the Mal administration of the Estate of Joseph Robidoux deceased, it being well understood that said Darnielle & Meade are to save us harmless from all costs & charges which may occur in any such suit. Witness our hands and seals this Eight day of December in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and thirty seven

Signed Stated and delivered Louis Robidoux

in presence of Guadalupe Garcia

Witnesses to the signature of Louis

Robidoux

Manuel Alvares

Tournier

Wm. Humphrey

S. B. Hobbs.

Alex. rose

David Waldo

Patrick Ryder

John Scolby

A. Brauch

On December 9th, 1837, the signatories Louis Robidoux and Gaudalupe Garcia were witnessed by the first Alcalde of Santa Fe, Francisco Ortiz This instrument was apparently carried to St. Louis where Samuel B. Hobbs signed as witness to it on July 28th, 1828. This instrument was translated by Julius De Mun and was apparently decided in the St. Louis Circuit court on Wednesday, April 21st, 1841. It is evident that the signatures of Antoine, Francois or Isidore do not appear in the document, though their names are mentioned in it, and that this was a case that had been going on for years in relation to the estate of their father which was first managed by August Chouteau in 1809-10.

In 1839, Louis Robidoux's name appears in connection to another document.

This certifies that in the Spring of the year 1837, being then in Santa Fe province of New Mexico, having previously been requested by letter from Messers. Powell Lamont & Co., Merchants of St. Louis Missouri to pay attention to a large debt then at that time owing to them by Robert W. Morris, since diceased but at that time doing business in Santa Fe. I visited said Morris on the subject, found him in bad health, and anxious to leave for Missouri with a Company then about setting out, he stated to me that he was desirous of placing the stock of goods then in his possession into the hands of some competent person to sell and the proceeds to go to said Powell Lamont & Co. from whom they were purchased. He desired that I myself would take them under my charge, but my business not permitting I recommended to him David Waldo to which he accede, but who also declined owing to having other engagements, some short time afterwards I learned that Morris had set out for the United States. I had left Meser Thompson & Baillig in charge of all his business.

On again visiting Santa Fe during the summer of 1837, to the end of securing the debt owing to the said Powell Lamont & Co. by the said R. N. Morris I in Company with Mr. John N. Carr their agent more properly in the matter, visited the principal Alcalde of Santa Fe, Don Francisco Ortis, to consult with him in the premises, before however taking any legal steps in the business. Mr. Paul Baillig told me explicitly that it may not necessary as all of the goods of said Morris to the amount of about five thousand Dollars at St. Louis Cost had been placed by said R. N. Morris into the possession of the said Baillio & P. M. Thompson to be taken to Chihuahua & there to be disposed of to the best advantage, and that the proceeds of said goods were to be paid over to Powell Lamont & Co. after paying them the said Baillio & Thompson two per cent for their trouble on the amount of the sales and that said Baillio there upon shewed me the Invoice of said stock, and that to the best of my recollection it was in (to) heading as follows "Invoices of goods belonging to R. N. Morris & by him turned over to Thompson & Baillio to be by them disposed of and the proceeds to be by them paid over to Powell Lamont Co of St. Louis" and that the sum total at St. Louis cost was in & about five thousand dollars. I am also confident that the import duty had been paid by said Morris to the Mexican authorities previous to said Transfer.

Upon Mr. Baillio shewing me the Invoices and the way in which the business was left by Mr. Morris, I felt satisfied that every thing would be conducted to the satisfaction of those concerned. I therefore done nothing more in the Premises.

Given under my hand on the Arkansas River, Santa Fe, Mex., this 6th day of June 1839.

Chas. Bent

Santa Fe Oct. 28th, 1839

This day personally appeared before me the undersigned first Alcalde of Santa Fe, the above named Chas. Bent, who is (same?) known to me, & made oath that the facts set forth in the foregoing subjects are true to the best of his belief & knowledge.

Given my hand day & date aforesaid.

Leon Keithly L. Robidoux (signed)

Antonio Martinez

By 1839 he was to become the first Alcalde of Santa Fe, following his brother Antoine's footsteps. "In this position, Louis dispensed justice regarding a myriad of local problems, as evidenced by numerous documents preserved in the New Mexico archives bearing the signature "L. Rubidu'." Matt Field, a reporter from the New Orleans Picayune wrote that Louis "shares the rule over the people almost equally with the Governor and the priests." (Weber, 319)

From 1833 until 1841, Louis lived with his growing family at 31 Calle Principal, the main street of Old Santa Fe. Louis operated an iron works next door. During this time, he met and married his first wife, Guadalupe Garcie of twenty-two years of age, in 1834, the daughter of one Pedro Garcie'. Guadalupe was born in 1812. The family historian Orral Messmore claims that Guadalupe was of a prominent Spanish family of Santa Fe, but the later biographer David Weber suggests otherwise.

The first of Louis's children, Catarina, was born on August 12, 1835 in Santa Fe;, his second child Jose' Luis on December 17, 1837. Pasqual Baillon was born in 1840 in Santa Fe, and Carmel B. in 1842, also in Santa Fe. The story of his passage on the trail indicates that one son, named Mariano, supposedly died on the journey. If this story is true, then it is likely that he was a newborn, and had been born just before or on the trail. He had four more children born in Riverside: Adelaide in 1844, Abundo, date of birth unknown, Maria del Carmen, date of birth unknown and Benina Maria, born in 1850.

It is apparent that at least from 1835 on ward, Louis Robidoux maintained pretty stable ties in the Santa Fe trade nexus, and probably from a much earlier date of at least 1828. His first children were all born there, and it appears that living in old-time Santa Fe suited him more than trapping adventures in the wild west. It is known that he must have traveled occasionally across the Santa Fe trail, and that he must have joined caravans in the crossing with his wife.

His name appears only on a few documents from the Saint Louis archives, suggesting that the bulk of his activities and involvements was no longer in the Saint Louis/Saint Joseph nexus, but had been shifted over to the area of Santa Fe at a fairly early time.

From June 6th to Oct. 18th, 1839, Louis Robidoux's name appears along with that of Levi Keithly and Antonio Martinez attesting to truth of statement by Charles Bent concerning an inventory of goods turned over by Robert W. Morris to P. W. Thompson, agent for Powell, Lamont and Company of Saint Louis. This indicates that he may have been in Saint Louis sometime during the summer of 1839

During this time, Louis apparently established a store, a grist mill and established trading networks through Colorado, New Mexico, through the Grand Canyon and even to California. On April 19, 1839, Louis received permission from the Ayuntamiento to build a grist mill along the Rio Santa Fe. Though a neighbor complained of the Grist mill interfering with his business, a special commission to investigate the charges determined that Robidoux's mill was more modern, efficient and beneficial to the community than any of the others, and that the plaintiff in the case had harbored grudges against Louis.

In April of 1840 (39?), Louis, serving as the Alcalde of Santa Fe, received a visit from Mathew Field, a writer with the New Orleans Picayune. He first describes what must be taken as the interior of the Robidoux household:

To the house of Don Louis Rubideau, an American and first Alcalde' of Santa Fe', we were duly escorted; and after a delicious meal of roasted sheep ribs, eggs, wheaten cakes and coffee, we spent the evening in satisfying the enquiries of the Alcalde' about St. Louis and all the old friends he had left there; receiving from him in return all the information we desired about Mexican Spaniards, Mexican Indians, Santa Fe' and the surrounding neighborhood.

The interior of one of these mud built houses, particularly when arranged with the assistance of American taste, forms a very comfortable and by no means inelegant dwelling. In winter it is warm, in summer cool; and in these respects indeed a Santa Fe' dwelling is even preferable to an American brick or frame residence. In some of the better houses you will find an apartment set apart as a parlor, this invariably being also the sleeping room; during the day the beds are folded close up to the walls, and covered with the handsome (sometimes really beautiful) Spanish blankets, forming a succession of sofas all around the room. The walls are well whitewashed, and papered only high enough to keep the wash from rubbing off upon your clothes, while mats and sometimes blankets are made to serve the use of carpets as well as table clothes and bed covers. These blankets are the chief sign of wealth among the people, and their elegance and number forms the pride of every housekeeper; the best of them are so closely woven that they can be used for holding water, and the bright colors that never fade are mingled through them generally with very tasteful and ingenious disposition.

The fashion of making sofas of the beds, and covering floors and tables with the rich blankets (in the city of Mexico where these blankets are manufactured they are sold as high as seventy-five dollars) has not merely an agreeable but really an elegant effect, but an American eye can never reconcile itself to the wall decorations of a Santa Fe' drawing room. Coarsely engraved and colored pictures; rude images of saints; religious charms; broken looking glasses (every bit of looking glass is a treasure); broken flower vases; any little shattered ornament brought from the States; such things are arranged about the walls with ostentatious display, and only where some resident American prevails over the taste of his Spanish wife are they removed. (203-5)

The next evening, Sunday, after dinner, they went strolling about the streets of Santa Fe' "with our cicerone, the Alcalde:"

a light and somewhat gaudy four wheeled vehicle dashed past us, drawn in tandem style by three well fed and spirited mules with a driver seated upon the leader. Out of this vehicle the Alcalde received a bow from a middle aged lady and a smile from a young dark eyed beauty by her side; he told us that the former was the celebrated Senora Toulous, and the latter her beautiful niece, and adventurous belle lately arrived from the City of Chihuahua; adding that we might appropriate the bow and smile to ourselves, as he was not in the habit of receiving such courtesies. He proposed to conduct us to the house of the great Senora, considering the condescension just received as an invitation to that effect, and we of course at once acceded to his proposition. (206)

They proceeded to this ladies home and met the Governor Armijo with several officers and "young bucks of Santa Fe', admirers of the Senora's beautiful niece." They set the party politely to laughter by their blundering in Spanish. They were served wine and showed the Spaniards how to toast American style by touching their glasses.

Alcalde Rubideau had told us that not a solitary word of English would be understood by our Spanish friends, so that we culd make what remarkes we pleased in our own language; and being a set of very wilful youths, we exercised this license to its fullest extent, with little regard to the rules of American or Spanish good breeding. Thus we kept our interpreter, the polite Alcalde, in an absolute torture of laughter by requesting him to put to the Governor and ladies whimsical questions which he could well understand but which sadly puzzled him to express in the Castilian, and when successful in an attempt to interpret our odd conceits, the side-splitting merriment of the good natured Governor and the dark eyed ladies bounded back to us again, causing the tears to start from our eyes with a novel and singular delight. (207)

Matt Field mentions Louis Robidoux in a biographical sketch, emphasizing his linguistic skills:

The Americans, who trade in the country, acquire the Spanish language very speedily, but the Spaniards seldom learn a word of English, and when an American remains long in the place, and obtains a facility in the language, he becomes a man of great importance. The first Alcalde of Santa Fe', at this time, Don Louis Rubideau, was born in St. Louis, of a French family, and has spent fourteen years in the country. He shares the rule over the people almost equally with the Governor and priests. He was appealed to one day by a store keeper, who accused a Spaniard of defrauding him of five dollar in the trade of a watch. The Spaniard was indignant, and the parties grew into high words, upon which the alcalde, whose principal was

Though justice is blind, she is not deaf,

told them to look somewhere else for redress, for if they dared come to him again, and talk loud in this presence, he'd put them both in jail. (213-4)

On the other hand, Matt Field describes an incident in which young Americans, high spirited from a dance, provoked Mexican soldiers into a fight, at which they shot of their side-arms, frightening the Mexicans away.

....It was perhaps well that we lost no time, for we had scarcely been admitted inside the gate of the first Alcalde (whose hospitality we were enjoying, he being a Frenchman, from St. Louis,) when a crowd of soldiers rushed down the street with loud and furious threats of vengeance, and we knew, too, by the rattling they made as they passed that they had now their excope'tas along with them, as well as the short swords which they usually carried.

At breakfast the next morning we told the Alcalde of our adventure, and he laughed over it with as much glee as though he himself was one of the rowdy

peace breakers. He was a jolly old fellow, and he remembered when he was a St. Louis boy, foremost in nocturnal mischief, and doubtless he was chuckling over many a midnight row, called up again to memory by this incident. (243-4)

It is about this time that another story comes out of Santa Fe in relation to "La Tules" or Dona Gertrude Barcelo who became the Madame of the most famous "monte'" parlour in Santa Fe and who through her abilities amassed considerable wealth and connections with the most important persons of the town. A more renowned Mexican trader of the period, named Senor Cortez, was a good friend of the first alcalde of Santa Fe in 1839--Louis Robidoux. "The mayor made many contacts between his influential friends and the trader, Cortez, thus bring much lucrative business. Another wealthy friend of the two traders was La Tules." La Tules asked Cortez if he would freight her fortune of gold to Independence, whence it could be shipped via New Orleans to New York where it could be kept securely in a bank.

Cortez, and his partner, De Grazzi, told Dona Barcelo that they would take the gold, but that they could not guarantee it against attacks by the Indians or bandits.

La Tules had the gold packed in twenty buckskin bags which the traders loaded on ten mules. They had agreed not to hire extra guards for the treasure. To have done so would have advertised the fact that they were carrying valuable cargo. The traders used mules rather than wagons as they had to go through a pass in the mountains where the terrain was so rough that it would slow a wagon down.

It was not long before the small mule-train was being followed by eight men on horses. Making camp that night, they noticed they were still being followed. Cortez, while standing guard, noticed in the moonlight eight horsemen pass by and move ahead in an attempt to lay an ambush for the mule-train. They attacked them the next day at noon, near three large rocks. The rocks protected the traders until nightfall. A mule broke loose and one of the Mexican packers attempted to retake it when he was killed with a knife. The bandits repositioned themselves during the night, so that by morning, De Grazi was killed by a sniper before he could take cover. The others managed to keep low, but the second night the mules broke loose, though the gold had already been taken off their backs. During the night they buried their two fallen comrades in shallow graves, and then buried the gold in a trench nearby. They built a fire over the trench to disguise it.

The next day one of the Mexican packers when high with a white flag, being shot down on sight. By the third night, the bandits raised a white flag and agreed to spare the remaining two men's lives if they would reveal the gold. Cortez denied there was gold, and after searching the camp, none was found. The Mexican packer tried to run away but was gunned down. The bandits believed Cortez's bluff and gave up the search, leaving the rocks with Cortez as a prisoner. Cortez again bluffed them that he was the son of a priest, thus they were reluctant to kill him. After a few days, as they were headed to Mexico, Cortez managed to escape, arriving in Santa Fe after almost two months, almost dead from starvation.

In fact he was dying when taken in by a man who found him on the outskirts of the city. He sent Mayor Robidoux and told him what had happened. He even made a crude map of the treasure spot. Two days after he reached Santa Fe, he died.

The major contacted Dona Tules and told her what had happened to the mule train bearing her gold. She sent six men out to look for the gold and gave them Cortez' map. Dona Tules waited a week for the men to return and then sent out a search party. They found Madame Barcelo's men massacred in the desert. The map was gone.

Dona Tules made no more efforts to recover her lost gold but the story got out in Santa Fe and searchers from time to time when out to look for it without success.

In all probably Dona Tules' fortune still lies buried in the trench beside the three huge rocks in the desert. (Golden West, Louise Cheney 63-4)

By 1840, there appeared to be a change of direction for the Robidoux brothers. Manuel Alvarez was appointed first Alcalde of Santa Fe on January 1st, 1840. Louis Robidoux's signature appears in a petition to Manuel Alvarez, December 8th, 1840, commending him for his defense of American citizen-residents rights, especially in relation to rivalry with Governor Armijo's own trade interests in Santa Fe. Armijo set exorbitant tariffs targeted against the foreign traders. It appears that year that American traders were beginning to pull up stakes in Santa Fe.

By the late 1830's, bitter animosity between Americans and Mexicans had arisen in Santa Fe/Taos. Typhoid and small pox ravaged the region between 1837-40, and this was largely blamed on the Americans (Nelson, 29). In 1839 the Mexican Governor levied the whole tax burden of the state upon foreign residents, including those who had been naturalized. From this period onward, foreigners were treated as such regardless of their citizenship status--a category which included both Antoine and Louis who both became Mexican citizens in the late 1820's.

Trade between Mexicans and Americans began diminishing to almost nothing, coinciding with the rise of strong anti-American sentiment. By 1842, importation of foreign items were restricted to fifty enumerated articles, while exportation of silver or gold was prohibited. In 1843, the custom house in Taos was closed to all foreign commerce. In such an increasingly hostile and restrictive environment, it is little wonder that Don Luis and Don Antonio Robidu' began making alternative plans.

In December of 1840, Louis signed a letter as "citizen" of the United States praising the actions of the American Consul of Santa Fe. Robidoux may have visited the Intermontane corridor on more than one occasion. It is known for a fact that he visited Ft. Uinta in the Spring of 1841. In April, before his departure north, he provisioned himself from Manual Alvarez's store "with a fusil, two pistols, two mules and a pair of spurs." According to Weber, Louis even took the time to inscribe his name in May on the cliffs of the Willow Creek drainage. This inscription was photographed with a polaroid by George E. Stewart in 1968. It reads:

Louis Robidoux

Passed here the fifth day of

May of 1841

Antoine may have journeyed with Louis, for he had visited Missouri in the fall of 1840. It is evident that Louis was in St. Louis by a deed he and his wife signed, dated August 30th, 1841:

To all to whom these Presents shall come Louis Robidoux of the county of Louisiana State of Missouri sendeth Greeting. Know ye that the said Louis Robidoux for deed in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars to him in hand paid by Joseph C. Lavielle and George Morton at and before the ensealing and delivering hereof, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have remised, released (and by these presents do remise, release and quit claim) and forever Quit Claim unto the Said Joseph C. Lavielle and George Morton of the city of St. Louis and country aforesaid and to their heirs and assigns forever, all the estate, right title interest and demand whatsoever of the said....Robidoux of in or to all that certain lot, piece or parcel of ground,, situate lying and being in the said city of St. Louis containing one hundred and twenty feet french measure fronting Eastwardly on Second Street, or Church Street and running Westwardly one hundred and fifty feet like Measure, bounded as follows To wit, on the East by said second street which separates it from the lots of Antoine Chenibaud and Lavielle and Morton, on the North by lot of the Dumaulines in the West by the lot of the Alvarezes, and on the South by Market Street which Separates the same from the Roman Catholic ground being the Southeast corner of Block No. (60) Sixty on the plat of he said city of St. Louis and being the same lot piece or parcel of ground which the said Joseph C. Lavielle and George Morton purchased from Taylor Berry and Fannity M. his wife by deed bearing date the first day of July in the year eighteen hundred and twenty three as will more fully and at (taye) appear reference being had to the record of said Deed in the recorders office of said county of St. Louis Book (E?) & ( Ego?) (338) page three hundred and thirty eight. To have and to hold the said lot piece or parcel of ground and premise as above mentioned together with all and singular the privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any wise appertaining unto them the said Joseph C. Lavielle and George Morton, their heirs and assigns forever. So that the said Louis Robidoux nor his heirs nor any other person or persons for him in his name or right, shall or may by any way or means whatsoever, at any time hereafter, claim challenge, or demand any estate, right title or interest of in or to the said lot, piece or parcel of Ground and premises, or any part or parcel thereof, but from all and way action or actions, estate, right, title interest claim and demand of, in or to the said premises, or any part thereof to the said Louis Robidoux shall be forever barred by these presents; In Witness Whereof the parties of these presents has hereunto set his hand and seal this eighth day of July, A. D. eighteen hundred and forty one. _____L. Robidoux (seal) State of Missouri County of Saint Louis (Js?) Be it remembered that on this eighth day of July A. D. eighteen hundred and forty one before me Frederick Rhetschman, a Justice of the peace for and within the county aforesaid, cause Louis Robidoux who is personally known to me to be the same person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument of writing as a party thereto, and acknowledges the same to be his action deed for the purposes therein mentioned. Taken and certified the day and year aforesaid....(Fren) Rhetschman Justice of the Peace St. Louis County, M. O.

Filed for Record August 30, 1841, and Recorded October 22nd, 1941

Henry Chouteau, Recorder.

 

Louis stayed until November of 1841, returning to Santa Fe. He owed the government 50 pesos, and the governor was anxious to receive the payment.

While Louis was away, a trading expedition from Texas was arrested and "marched off to Mexico City."

It is apparent that Antoine and Louis were making preparations for abandoning their enterprise in the Santa Fe nexus. Already they were promoting migration to California among pioneers, and it is almost certainly that they had a clear sense of the prospects to be gained there. Louis remained in Santa Fe through the summer of 1842. "In March he presided over an election in his district; in May he won twenty-five pounds of beaver fur from Tomas Ortiz in a billiard game; and in August, Lieutenant Escuipulas Caballero sued him for twenty pesos. He was in Santa Fe in February of 1843, serving as a counsel for Antonio Montero in a suit against Charles Bent, which according to a letter by Manuel Alvarez to Daniel Webster, was "most outrageous and unjust."

"The hearing took place on February 16, 1843, so Bent himself stated, at "the Rancho" (probably Ranchos de Taos, a few miles below Taos proper). Montero's counsel was Louis Robidoux, who succeeded in winning his client's case. A few days later, February 29th, Bent confided to Alvarez that he had paid "the money I was centenced to pay" in order that he might avoid 'more difficulty'." (Hafen. Vol.. 11, 262).

 

Taos February 15th, 1843

Mr. Alvarase

Sir

I send you by Mr. T Roland a Sword for Capt. Antonio Sena, you will please hand it to him if it sutes him it is the best I have the price is $22.00.

My sute will comence tomorrow at the Rancho. L. Robadaux. I am told is his Montanos, Atorny. Beauben will not be able to go to Santafe untill next week. I have nothing new heare I presume you have receaved your letter sent from the fort by our express, Beauben forwarded them on Sunday morning. our people are making a greate many Robes

Youres Respectfully,

C. Bent. (166)

Rio Ariba February 28th 1843

Mr. Alvarase

Sir

I have paid the mone I was centenced to pay. I found that If I did not doe so, I should get into more dificulty, the thing was prepaired I am satisfyed. from Taos I will give you farther notice on this subject.

I have let Ramerize have my Riding mule which he is to deliver to you, you will ceape her for your untill I se you I have drawn on you for $100 Dollars. I could have paid him heare but to secure the delivery of the mule I have drawn on you. When Lee reached heare I found myself with $1800 mony sent from Taos and Santafe.

Youres Respectfully

C. Bent. (167)

In a post script to another letter to Manuel Alvarez from Charles Bent dated November 12th, 1844, from Taos, he wrote:

P. S. I have written to Eugen to get Juan Vigil, to send an order heare for Montano, to be called to Santafe, for the purpos of having his trial. I am informed he is preparing to leave, and it is absolutely necessary, that this sute should commence. You will pleas attend to this for me if Eugen dare not the barrer will wate for the order.

CB. (167)

Orral Messmore Robidoux makes an unequivocal reference to the first expedition of John C. Fremont, which began at the mouth of the Kansas river in June of 1842, made its way to Santa Fe and the Rockies, and returned in on September 30 of the same year to Missouri. According to her, she states that Louis was in St. Joseph in 1842:

"on a business trip as well as a visit with his families and informing them of his intentions to leave Santa Fe and make his home in Santa Ana vally in San Bernardino County, California.

While in St. Joseph he joined the Fremont party as guide and interpreter, going to Santa Fe."(200)

She states that Louis Robidoux joined this expeditionary party of 22 Frenchmen, and served as guide and interpreter on the road to Santa Fe. No reference to Louis exists in the published version of Kearny's report of the expedition, which appeared a year later on March 1st, 1843. Kearny had a remarkable gift for detail. He does mention picking up an extra member for his expeditionary force on June 28th, from an American Fur Company expedition on foot that had lost its furs on their boats near Scott's Bluffs, which he calls an old acquaintance and whom he, unfortunately, fails to identify by name except as "La Tulipe."

Among them, I had found an old companion on the northern prairie, a hardened and hardly served veteran of the mountains, who had been as much hacked and scarred as an old moustache of Napoleon's "old guard." He flourished in the sobriquet of La Tulipe, and his real name I never knew. finding that he was going to the States only because his company was bound in that direction, and that he was rather more willing to return with me, I took him again into my service. We traveled this day but seventeen miles. (18)

This description hardly fits an intellectual and rather refined Louis Robidoux, but it may just as well fit one of the other brothers like Michel. Not being mentioned directly by Fremont does not absolutely equal Louis's absence--it only renders his historical presence more dubious than it might otherwise have been.

Louis' other principal biographers, namely David Weber and John Nelson, make no reference whatsoever to this claim. Both accounts do provide solid documentary evidence of his whereabouts for most of the year of 1842, which suggests that he was at first visiting Antoine at Ft. Uintah, and then returned to Santa Fe. It can only be speculated whether he might have made a quick journey to St. Joseph as well, perhaps quickly returning with the Fremont party to Santa Fe.

Unfortunately, Orral Messmore does not cite her sources or explain her information, so the validity of her claims cannot be fully determined. It is possible that she had gained some information through familial sources which might relate to this and many other instances, but this she fails to explain. Lacking supporting evidence, we can only doubt the accuracy of her account.

A lot of things have been lost between the pages of history, and the time it takes to reach Santa Fe from Missouri makes Louis's accompaniment not an impossibility. But attention has been paid to this account in Louis's biography for the potential of misinformation it may present, a problem no uncommon to the study of the Robidouxs.

Louis then soon he made his first trip to California, having left New Mexico before the decree of August 7th, 1843. He left his wife and family behind in Santa Fe. Of this first trip to California, we have the following reference by Herbert Auerbach:

In 1843 a party of settlers from New Mexico, led by Don Jose Salajar, had come to La Politano, in the San Bernardino Valley, California, and some two years later they started a village which they called Agua Mansa. Louis Robidoux was one of the leaders and founders of this village. Robidoux built a number of houses and a grist mill. He planted vineyards and orchards, and this was the beginning of a vast rancho by Louis Robidoux, who was a brother of Antoine Robidoux. Louis later became alcalde and juez de paz at San Bernardino. (59)

The previous passage from Herbert Auerbach does not say specifically that Louis passed the deserts to California in 1843 with the Don Jose Salajar party, but it is very likely that he did first come to California on a reconnaissance before relocating his holdings and family there a year later. 1841 was the year given by Bancroft that Don Juan Bandini gave a grant of half a league to Lorenzo Trujillo's group of New Mexican settlers in San Bernardino, known as S. Salvador. It was called "Bandini's Grant", or "Trujillo Town" or "Spanish town" by the Americans.

After some hesitation and discussion, their leader, Lorenzo Trujillo, decided to accept this proposition and consequently five families moved to a location several miles south of Politana and established a new settlement which was known as Trujillo's, or Bandini's Donation, as referred to on the records. This was as first composed of five families, but others soon came in. They were on the flat where they could irrigate their lands and soon had vineyards, orchards and grain fields. They began the erection of an adobe church but it was washed down before it was completed by the heavy rains of 1852. (ibid., 97).

In fact Politana was a way station established between missions on the route that led from Southern California, through the Cajon Pass, and to the Colorado River, a part of the old Spanish trail system. San Gabriel was the first stop from crossing the stark deserts of Southern California from the Colorado river, and traffic along this route, which had long been in use since the 1700's, was increasing. On the 20th day of May, 1810, a party of neophyte (Indian) soldiers under the direction of Padre Dumetz were sent from the San Gabriel mission in order to select a site for such a station. They came upon what was known as the "Valle de San Jose" and because it was the feast day of San Bernardino of Sienna, they renamed this valley San Bernardino and found there a suitable site for their station, which was at the Guachama Rancheria between Urbita Springs and Colton, later to be known as Bunker Hill. There they built a chapel, a store house and a station, leaving it in charge of an Indian soldier named Hipolito. The settlement took the name of this Indian and became known later as Politana. An earthquake in 1812 led to an Indian revolt and massacre of the settlement, but it was subsequently rebuilt (History of San Bernardino County, 81)

The place established by the Trujillos was referred to as "La Placita de Trujillo". It is apparent that by 1841 the Lugos, another prominent ranch owning family who had just moved into the area and was plagued by Indians attacking and stealing his cattle, enticed a group of families from New Mexico, who had experience in trapping and fighting Indians, to settle near Politana, granting them half a league or about 2,200 acres (ibid. 97), so that they could be vacqueros and fight the Indians.

The Lugos lost much stock by the raids of the desert Indians and about 1843 they offered to give half a league of land just south of the Rancheria, or Politana, near what is now known as Bunker Hill, to Lorenzo Trujillo and several other families of New Mexicans, who had lately come into the country. In exchange, the newcomers were to help protect the stock and when necessary join the Lugos in fighting the Indians. Several interesting skirmishes were engaged in by these New Mexicans under this arrangement. They were armed with their own guns and were used to Indian warfare, having had many battles with the Utes and other Indians in their expeditions before settling here. On one occasion three of the Trujillos were wounded by arrows, while pursuing a band of marauders through the mountains near the present site of Riverside. (History of San Bernardino County, 110)

In 1843, Don Juan Bandini, lord of the Jurupa and the Rincon, offered these families a superior location across the Santa River on the Jurupa Grant, with more land.

Bancroft lists the rancherias established between the years 1841 and 1845. In 1843, he says, San Jacinto and San Gregoria were granted to Santiago Johnson, with Louis Robidoux who was the claimant. It is apparent at this early time Louis Robidoux had purchased parts of what were known as the Jurupa, San Jacinto and San Gregoria. His early connections with the Trujillo settlement is not clear, though it is possible that he was a part of this emigrant party that crossed the deserts to the Colorado River.

In Bancroft's brief footnoted biographical description of Louis it describes him thus: 1844, brother of Antoine, who came from N. Mexico in '44, having possibly visited the country before....He purchased the Jurupa rancho, where he settled with his family, a man of considerable wealth. In the troubles of '46-7, being juez de paz at S. Bernardino, he favored the Americans, was one of the chino prisoners and served in the Cal. Bat. He was cl. for Jururpa and S. Jacinto...'was a prosperous ranchero down to about '62; and died in '68 at the age of 77." (698, Pioneer Register and Index)

A deposition given by one Jose' Lugo on January 2nd, 1855, a Californio who was part of the assault on the California Battalion at Chino in 1846, is cited by Nelson:

A friend was to swear in court, during the land litigation cases, ten years later:

Q. When did you first know Louis Roubideau?

A. In the year 1843.

Q. Do you know whether or not Roubideau left California for New

Mexico, and if so, in what year and for what purpose?

A. I know that he left California I think in the year 1843 for New Mexico

for the purpose of bringing his family here.

Q. ....For what length of time was he absent?

A. He left here in the year 1843 or 1844. I saw him in the year 1843 and do not recollect how long a time he was absent... (31-2)

It appears that Louis returned in the Spring of 1844 to Santa Fe, after closing the deals on his vast estates, in order to move his family to California. In November of 1844 he began his return to California with a pack caravan of traders. On Oct. 8th, 1844, he received a passport from Governor Martinez to go to California with a caravan scheduled to leave on Nov. 10th. The "Luis Lopez settlement is the meeting place designated, from where the caravan shall depart to the province of California on the tenth of next November. A commander shall be appointed from the same caravan and from the same individuals that compose same so that they may travel in perfect order."(Hafen & Hafen, 189).

Louis Robidoux's name appears on a document dated November 10th, 1844, listing all outbound traders from Santa Fe. His destination is listed as California, and his goods carried included serapes and linen. Unfortunately, a part of this document was destroyed, rendering the rest illegible.

Louis probably arrived back in California late in winter or early Spring of 1844-5. His son Mariano is purported to have died during the trip, though no "Mariano" appears in the genealogical records of his family. It is likely that they first took up residence in Agua Mansa--for they did not immediately gain the Jurupa rancho until 1847 at which time they settled into an adobe dwelling on the northwest side of the Santa Ana river at the Jurupa Rancho.

Bancroft mentions Louis Robidoux on a list of a hundred which he considered to be "pioneer residents" of California in 1844, out of more than two hundred foreigners who entered California that year. He also lists Louis Robidoux as a claimant to the land of San Jacinto and San Gregorio, granted to Santiago Johnson in 1843.

Louis is next found in California on March 16, 1844, on which day he had purchased for the sum of $1,500 two leagues of land east of Los Angeles-from James Johnson--half of what was known as Rancho de Jurupa and rancho San Timoteo of San Gorgonio, which was about a league in size. San Timoteo, according to the Beatties, "included the site of what is now El Casco station on the Southern Pacific railway." (1939:68) The deed, recorded by Nelson, is as follows:

On the sixteenth day of the month of March one thousand eight hundred and forty four...Don Santiago Johnson and Don Luis Rubidu....the first said....sells....in actual sale....to the second the right which he holds in the premises called Jurupa, which is the half thereof, the other half belonging to Don Benito Wilson, with the house, corral, field of wheat, etc....and the right which belongs to him in the tract San Gorgonio....The whole for the sum of one thousand and five dollars. (Nelson 36)

On April 2nd, 1844, Louis also bought rancho San Jacinto from Johnson, totaling about 11,189 acres. Benjamin Wilson owned the other half rancho de Jurupa until Louis bought him out in 1848, which he had acquired from Don Bandini. The Jurupa grant was originally a San Gabriel mission rancho until, under a secularization act of 1833, it came into the possession of Juan Bandini in 1838.

The Jurupa (Indian name for "peace" or "friendship") Rancho was a Spanish land grant given to native Peruvian Don Juan Bandini on September 28th, 1838 by the Mexican Governor of California, Juan Alvarado. It consisted originally of more than leagues, or about 31,000 acres, extending twenty miles on each side of the Santa Ana river. In 1843 Bandini gave Mexican settlers some land on the upper end of the Jurupa grant across the Santa Ana River, and which became known as Trujillo's Town (Woodward, 1936) They defended the local stock of the ranchos, acting both as vacqueros and soldados against the Indians. In 1844 Bandini sold part of his grant to Benjamin Wilson for 25 cents an acre. Later, both Bandini and Wilson sold parts of their ranchos to James Johnson and Isaac Williams, of Chino. Louis Robidoux bought an extensive portion of this Rancho in 1847, including Johnson's property.

The colony of the Bandini Donation increased in size as additional families arrived from New Mexico; and Benjamin Wilson, as agent for Bandini, apportioned land both to the original settlers and to those who came during the next two years. Wilson was always a friend to them and was affectionately dubbed "Don Benito." In 1846 he was appointed alcalde, or Justice of the Peace, of the San Bernardino Judicial District, which, according to a Los Angeles County court order, included Yucaipa, Old San Bernardino, Napolitan, Jurupa, Juapa, and Cucamonga. He held this office as long as he lived on Jurupa. He moved to Los Angeles in 1847, and Louis Robidoux bought his holdings and was appointed alcalde in his stead. But Robidoux was never the friend to the New Mexicans that Wilson had been. (Beatie & Beatie, 1939: 61)

It is not clear when Louis Robidoux first purchased Rancho Jurupa. Though most historical accounts claim that he bought it in 1847, this leaves a three year hiatus between his first migration to California and his first ranch. The account given in the History of San Bernardino County is given as follows:

Colonel Johnson and Isaac Williams purchased the grant from Bandini and Wilson, and in 1847 they sold a part of it to Louis Robidoux, a Frenchman, possessing considerable property who had come from New Mexico.

Louis Robidoux was born in St. Louis, the son of one of the pioneer merchants of that city. The family were prominent in the early history of Missouri and one of the brothers, Joseph Robidoux, was the founder of St. Joseph. Louis went to New Mexico in the thirties, where he accumulated considerable property hunting and trapping. He married a New Mexican and in 1844 came to California with a party of New Mexicans. He purchased the Jurupa rancho and became one of the largest and most progressive rancheros of the day.

He served as Juez de Paz, and was one of the first board of supervisors. He was genial and kindly in disposition and honorable in all his dealings. He died in 1867. (100)

 

According to George and Helen Beattie (Heritage of the Valley 1939:46) Louis Robidoux probably used lumber milled at Bandini's concession in the San Bernardino or San Gabriel mountains to the north of Jurupa:

The next year (1841?) he (Bandini) acquired the adjacent land known as the Rincon and, deciding upon a more pretentions dwelling, he petitioned for the right--the exclusive right--to cut timber on a tract of land near the summit of the mountains to the north and haul it down over a road which he proposed to construct along the line of the Mojave trail. The petition was granted, and Bandini worked the trail sufficiently to enable him to transport logs over it. The logs were placed in the crotch of great tree limbs called "lizards," and hauled down the trail by oxen. On reaching the steep pitch near the bottom of the trail, the logs were taken from the lizards and allowed to slide down to the point where they could be loaded on carretas. Discarded lizards lay at the head of this pitch for years. Timber thus secured went into the home Bandini built on the Rincon, in 1840-1. The building, known in later years as the Leonardo Cota house, is still standing although in a distressingly ruined condition--one of the few two-story adobes in this part of the country.

Bandini continued his lumbering until 1843, when he moved from the Rincon to San Diego. Timber cutting under his concession was then carried on for him by Bernardo Yorba and others until 1848. Material for the dwellings of Benjamin Wilson and Louis Robidoux, on Jurupa, was undoubtedly obtained from Bandini's Corte de Madera (46)

Like his ranch owning neighbors, Louis Robidoux suffered the depredations of horse thefts on his ranch:

Wak, known to Americans generally as Walker, was a chief of great executive ability whose cleverly planned raids on ranchos were most harassing in the forties and early fifties. On this, his first trip into the San Bernardino Valley, he cunningly adopted the guise of a peaceful trader and spied out the land that was to be the scene of later operations. For years he and his followers had levied tribute on the Santa Fe caravans, and now they were crossing the desert to steal stock in California.

Don Antonio Maria had been sadly deceived by the amiable-appearing Utah chief and his women folk, for on their departure they drove whole herds of horses before them and slew cattle to their heart's content. Louis Robidoux said in one of his letters to Juan Bandini that more than a thousand animals were taken within three months. The rancheros grew desperate. For years thereafter, Wak was a veritable scourge, his marauding bands coming both by Cajon Pass and by the Mojave trail over the mountains. The latter road came to be known by early American pioneers as "Walker's Trail," because of this dreaded savage. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 66)

Louis Robidoux brought with him his parts of his primitive grist mill, which he erected along the Santa Ana, building the first grist mill known in Southern California--one of the stones of which is still preserved:

The first grist mills in the county were very primitive affairs erected at Chino and on the Santa Ana at Jurupa, known as Robidoux's mill. (History of San Bernardino County, 159)

 

Robidoux improved the rancho by building fences and putting in a large acreage of grain. He built a grist mill which is described as of the most primitive type, having a turbine wheel and two sets of stones. The grain was washed and dried in the sun and shoveled into the hopper with a rawhide scoop. This was at the time --1846-7-- the only grist mill in Southern California. (100)

It was the only one which supplied the American soldiers garrisoned there in 1846 during the Mexican War. If at this time he did not possess the large cattle and sheep ranch, he at least apparently had a surplus of wheat grain, beans, and other vegetables with which he was able to supply these soldiers.

Louis Robidoux became on of the biggest and most prosperous stock raisers of Southern California. He also planted fine orchards and vineyards, and raised quantities of grain. One of his first projects was a winery, which was famous for its products. He built the first grist mill in his neighborhood. (Woodward, 1936: 5)

He built a larger house on the west side, at the base of what became known as "Mt. Rubidoux." It was a single storied adobe structure with three rooms, "each containing a fireplace." (Nelson, 40).

The adobe which he constructed was thatched with willows and straw which were coated with brea. Timbers for the home came from Bandini's saw mill in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Upon his land Robidoux grazed his horses, cattle and sheep. He devoted about 100 acres to the growing of corn, grain and vegetables, and set out a small peach tree orchard. For some time he grew roses for the perfume market. In addition, he operated a store principally for the benefit of his employees. (William Rubidoux)

The structure was built in Santa Fe style, with cottonwood lodge-poles for support beams, tied together with raw hide thongs, and covered with willow and straw and tar.

The site of the old Robidoux home is about a mile west of the Santa Ana River bridge, near the western entrance to Riverside. Only a few ruins remain of the old ranch house, a one-story adobe with broad verandas, typical of early California ranch houses. A few of the many old trees which sheltered the house still stand. The State D. A. R. has placed a Robidoux memorial tablet on the bridge which spans the Santa Ana River near the ranch house site. (Woodward, 13)

His ranch was self-sustaining. Grazing land supported cattle, sheep and horses. He kept about one hundred acres under cultivation, where he grew corn, wheat, barley, cotton and vegetables. He had ten or twelve peach trees as well.

He set up a small store for his vacqueros and laborers, mostly in order to prevent them from going to Los Angeles. Louis mostly shopped in Los Angeles for supplies, where he frequently stayed several days.

"Robidoux never saw New Mexico again" (Weber, 324). By 1846, Louis had already constructed the second grist-mill in Southern California, after "El Molino" of the San Gabriel mission that had been constructed some thirty years previously. John Nelson provides an apt description of life as a new ranchero:

The homage paid a California Don, both by members of his family and by his retainers, was not unlike that once accorded a feudal lord in medieval Europe. Even from a social point of view the large ranchos had much in common with the manorial holdings of medieval times. The Don provided a home for a host of poor relations and entertained stranger as well as friend. Labor was recruited chiefly from the large number of Indians in the area. The help lived either in small huts clustered around the main adobe casa or dwelt in little villages, called rancherias, widely scattered over the estate. The ranchos supported enormous herds of cattle on their pasture lands. The main value of the stock was in hides and tallow, there being little or no market for the beef. (38)

Los Angeles was occupied in August of 1846 by the troops under Commodore Stockton, and many local citizens were recruited into the "California Battalion" of the U.S. Army. The quartermaster's roster book of the battalion notes "....Louis Robidoux has one saddle in the service of the California Battalion, United States Forces, valued fifteen dollars." (Nelson, 43) On August 20th, of 1846, Louis was appointed the juez de paz or alcalde in place of B. D. Wilson of the separate district of the Ranchos of San Bernardino, Yucaipa, Napolitan, Jurupa, Huapa and Cucamonga by Stockton.

In September of 1846, Californios under Flores rebelled and retook Los Angeles from the Marine Captain Gillespie who commanded a small garrison at Los Angeles. They issued a proclamation on September 24th against the new American regime. Gillespie beat a retreat to reorganize his forces, being allowed to march out of Los Angeles with his small garrison. Louis had joined a group of rancheros who had escorted a "renegade Spaniard" across the desert, and they had taken their time on the return to hunt bear, using up most of their ammunition. On the arrival back at Jurupa, they heard the news of the uprising, to their complete surprise. Not hearing of Gillespie's retreat, 18 of them organized in the evening of September 25th, 1846, at the Jurupa ranch to defend themselves. "The rumor was that the insurrection would not spare the life of any foreigner." This group moved to Chino on the following day, believing there to be arms and ammunition there and hoping to join up with a larger force under Gillespie's command in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the small group, a Spanish officer had just made off with what ammunition there was. "The 'ex-Americans' felt the loss acutely; but several knew that they could hold off any group, for they held the Californians in contempt." (Nelson, 45)

The first 'battle' of this rebellion--or the second if we count Varela's demonstration against Gillespie--was fought at the Chino rancho of Isaac Williams, about twenty-five miles east of Los Angeles, on September 26th-27th. Benito Wilson had been put by Stockton in command of some twenty foreigners to protect the San Bernardino frontier, both against the Indians and against hostile parties that Castro might send from Sonora, if he had crossed the Colorado at all, which was at first doubted. Wilson went to his own rancho of Jurupa, whence he visited the different rancherias of Indians, satisfied himself that Castro had really departed, and made a hunting tour. On his return to Jurupa he was met by David Alexander and John Rowland, who brought news of the rising in town, and also an invitation for the company to go to Chino. This invitation was accepted the more readily because they had used up nearly all their ammunition in hunting, but on reaching Chino, contrary to their expectations, they found that Williams had no powder. By some it was thought best to leave the rancho for the mountains, whence an attempt might be made to join the garrison in town; but most declared that their ammunition was sufficient for the few shots needed to defeat a Californian foe, and it was decided to withstand a siege. That same afternoon the Californians approached; and Isaac Callaghan, who was sent out to reconnoitre, came back with a bullet in his arm.

This occurred on the 26th. On the 27th two hundred Californios attacked the group. After an hour, Louis's group was "obliged to succumb to discretion" for the Californios had set the roof of the Chino ranch house on fire:

Serbulo Varela, Diego Sepulveda, and Ramon Carillo had been despatched from the Paredon Blanco with fifty men or more against Wilson. Jose' del Carmen Lugo, already in command of fifteen or twenty men in the San Bernardino frontier, with instructions to watch the foreigners, also marched to Chino. Lugo claims to have arrived first, and to have been joined by Varela late in the night, which was probably true. The Americans were summoned to surrender, and perhaps a few shots were exchanged that evening, the 26th, though witnesses do not agree on that point. There was but little ammunition on either side; and the Californians lacked weapons also. The rancho house was of adobe, surrounding a large interior court-yard, having but few windows or other openings in the thick walls, and roofed with asphaltum. The whole was nearly enclosed with a ditch and adobe fence. About dawn on the 27th, the Californians, many of them on horseback, made a rush for the house, the movement being accompanied and followed by a discharge of fire-arms on both sides. Several horses fell in leaping the ditch or fence, throwing their riders, two or three of whom were wounded, and one, Carlos Ballesteros, killed by a rifle-ball. Inside the house, three were wounded, Perdue, Skene, and Harbin, the two first-named somewhat seriously. There was time but for few shots, for the assailants reached a position close under the walls of the building, where they could not be seen. Their next step was to fire the roof. The owner of the rancho presented himself with his small children, whose uncles, the Lugos, were among the assailants, and begged that their lives might be spared. Varela appeared at the main entrance, and called upon the Americans to surrender, promising them protection as prisoners of war. The terms were accepted; Wilson's men gave themselves up; Varela's force set to work to extinguish the fire and secure the plunder; and soon all were on the road to Los Angeles. Sepulveda and his men in the advance party, and in charge of most of the prisoners, proposed to shoot the latter in revenge for the death of Ballestros; but Varela interposed his authority, and by the utmost efforts saved their lives. They were turned over to Flores, and eight or ten of the most prominent at least were kept in captivity until January 1847. (313-4)

Bancroft gives this list of prisoners as B. D. Wilson, Isaac Williams, David W. Alexander, John Rowland, Louis Robidoux, Joseph Perdue, William Skeen, Isaac Callaghan, Evan Callaghan, Michael White, Matthew Harbin and George Walters." (314, footnote)

The History of San Bernardino County provides another account of this battle:

In September, 1846, Chino rancho house was besieged by a body of Californians under Barelas, the leader of the revolt that resulted in the evacuation of Los Angeles by Gillespie. B. D. Wilson had been sent out with about twenty Americans to protect the San Bernardino frontier. He was at Jurupa, but when Williams learned of the proposed attack, he asked Wilson to come to his aid. Wilson complied, but they found on joining forces that they were very short of ammunition. Barelas, with about fifty Californians, was joined by the Lugos from San Bernardino with twenty men. They surrounded the house in the evening and a few shots were exchanged. The next morning the attack was renewed and a sharp fusillade followed. Several horses fell, one Californian was killed and two or three Americans were wounded. Then Williams, taking his children with him, went out and appealed to their uncles, the Lugos. Barelas demanded the surrender of the party and promised protection as prisoners of war. The terms were finally accepted and Wilson and his party, Williams, D. W. Alexander, John Rowland, Louis Robidoux, Joseph Perdue, William Skene, Isaac and Evan Callaghan, Michael White, Mat Hardin and George Walters, were taken to Los Angeles. It is said that some of the capturers wished to attack the prisoners in revenge for the Mexican who had been slain, but Barelas, at some risk, insisted upon the party being turned over to the authorities unharmed. Later they were exchanged and released. Colonel Williams, after California had become one of the United States, put in a claim for damages sustained to his property through this affair and was awarded some $80,000. (107)

Don Jose' del Carmen Lugo left in his life history (Life of a Rancher, 1877) a detailed account of the battle of Chino from the Mexican perspective in September of 1846:

A few days later it was announced at San Bernardino by some youths who came from Los Angeles that preparations were being made for an uprising of the youths of the country against the Americans. At this time Don Benito Wilson, with a small detachment of foreigners and some from this country, was occupying himself in the mountains. It was said that word came from Los Angeles summoning him to that point at the earliest possible moment.

Wilson reached his ranch, situated between Jurupa and Guapa--a tract of land belonging to the Guapa Rancho which Don Juan Bandini had sold him. Immediately upon arriving home he sent a New Mexican named Rafael Blea to advise me to enlist what force I could, because he was coming to my home to take me prisoner. Midway between his ranch and mine lived my older brother, Jose Maria Lugo, to whom Blea repeated the message he was carrying to me. Together the two proceeded to my home.

Before Blea gave me the message, my brother spoke to me in alarm, saying that he was uneasy over the threat Senor Wilson had made toward me. He asked what I had done to arouse the enmity of Wilson. I replied that I had done absolutely nothing--that I had done no harm to anyone, directly or indirectly. Blea then delivered the message he had shown my brother earlier, who could say that he was there representing our father.

I told Blea to tell Don Benito Wilson that he could come when he wished, but that it would be best for him to come alone to take me and not compromise others. I promised to meet him without calling anyone to my assistance.

I should explain here that no ill will had ever existed between us before this day.

Late in the afternoon of this day Blea returned with the same message, and said that Wilson and his men were ready to start for my house when he (Blea) left. My brother returned with Blea, and he advised me not to remain on the ranch, but to hide myself somewhere in the hills. I refused to do this, because it did not seem fitting to hide myself without cause.

I saddled my horse and went with them along the highway toward my brother's house. There I said "You take care of your affairs, and I will do the same with mine." I told Blea to notify Don Benito that he could come with all confidence.

I returned home and prepared myself with men and arms to go meet Wilson. The night was pretty well advanced when I left for Jurupa, a village inhabited by people from New Mexico. The rest of the night was spent in enlisting what Mexicans I could. With this force that I had collected, numbering about twenty-one men, I proceeded to the home of Wilson. I found no one there except his family and one or two men of the country. I took one of them and proceeded to question him as to the place toward or the direction in which Wilson had gone. I learned that he had left for the Rancho Chino, and I accordingly started for that point also. About three leagues before reaching Chino I met a small party of wild Indians who were going to their homes. some of them were carrying arrows, and took them for use of the men I had with me.

The Indians told me that Wilson was at Chino. In the meantime a scouting party of five of my men went forward, and in a short time encountered an American and two Californians. The first was acting very courageous, carrying a rifle of eighteen shots and threatening my five men. As soon as he aimed it the men were upon him, and then without firing a single shot he took to flight. My people managed to overtake him, and the head of the party struck him a blow because on attempting to discharge his pistol it failed to go off. He then struck the man on the head, and knocked him off his horse. The head of the party was Diego Sepulveda, and the foreigner was named Callaghan.

When the man fell he was still aiming menacingly with his rifle. He to up, and ran a short distance to an enclosed cornfield, stretching almost to the Chino ranch house. He managed to climb into the field, protecting himself with his gun from being taken. In this way Callaghan managed to escape.

My scouts came back to join me, bringing the two Californians they met with Callaghan. One of them was named Jose Maria Bermudez, and the other Morales, a son of Lower California. I made them prisoners, but they offered to serve in my force, and I accepted their services.

In this locality there was a willow thicket, and here I encamped, very near the Chino house. An officer came to me, ordering me to the Commanding General, Don Jose Maria Flores, in Los Angeles to join him with the force I had.

Until this moment all that I had done had been the results of threats made by Senor Wilson. But now, I was taking orders from a recognized military authority.

Within an hour I sent a request to Los Angeles for aid, since Wilson was in the Chino home strengthened by about fifty men. Evening came on and I started for Chino. (This was the end of September or the beginning of October in 1846). A message came to me from my brother-in-law, Julian (Isaac) Williams, (an American who had married my sister, Maria de Jesus, now dead) saying that he wished to speak to me, at a point a hundred varas in front of his house. I sent word that I had no business to transact with him, but that if he wished to meet me he should come where I was. He was the master at Chino, which my father had given to his daughter with four thousand head of stock. He did not come to the place he had suggested, nor did he come to where he would meet me.

At about this time there arose a violent north wind, just as I was moving around the Williams house at a distance of three hundred yards or more. The wind blew the hat from one of my boys, who had become soldiers just as I had become a captain. The hat went flying toward the Chino house. The boy ran after it, and from the house there came a shot. My people responded with three or four shots--but I ordered them not to waste the little ammunition we had.

We were beside the road to Los Angeles all afternoon, watching to see if those inside the house would come out to fight us. If this had been done, they would have finished us since we had no more than four or five guns and a few pistols--plus one or two lances and a few Indian arrows.

All afternoon we were under fire from the house. We walked about separately and only now and then responded with a shot. It grew dark, and I put my men on horseback about the house; that is, at places where it was possible. We remained mounted and alert during the night. Next morning the aid I had asked from Flores came. It consisted of some thirty men commanded by Servulo Varela and Ramon Carrillo, the first being the head.

I concealed them, so that the foreigners would not suspect that this reinforcement had arrived. I united all my men. While we were debating whether it would be better to wait till they came out to attack us or whether we should move against the house, a boy sallied from the house on horseback, heading down or toward the South. Those of us in the conference numbered eight or ten. We saw the boy leave, and I directed two of my associates, Vicente Lugo and Ricardo Vejar, to go catch him. They started to ride after him. When the men who were hidden heard the shouted order to catch the boy, they were alarmed and sallied from their hiding place to come to me. I made signs to stop, but they did not understand the signals and came with even greater haste.

Seeing that I could not stop them, we approached the house and surroundings, firing shots at the four sides of the building. Before reaching the house there was a ring of palings, against which those of us who were nearest made a rush. In this rush two horses leaped over the circle. Nearer the house was another circle of palings, and within it an open moat. We knocked down the circle by driving our horses against it, Carlos Ballesteros and I leading. On jumping our horses over the moat, Ballestros' horse did not make it, and fell, throwing the rider. On recovering his mount, Ballestros was struck in the right temple by a bullet and fell dead.

Ten boys who were behind us reached the house, because, fearing the moat, they had left their horses before reaching it. I was beside the house, on horseback, when they arrived. Some of the ones who were unarmed, at my orders set themselves to the gathering grass, and those who had arms pointed them at the doors and windows of the house. I ordered the grass thrown on the roof of the house and set on fire. They answered that they had nothing with which to start the fire. There was an Indian village near at hand, and they had a fire outside it. I went at full speed amid the bullets that were coming from all directions. I rode hugging the sides of the horse and crouching low to keep a bullet from hitting me. During this onrush of the horse, stretched alongside as I was, I reached down and seized a blazing stick, with which I returned at full speed to the house. I set fire to a corner of it, and ordered that the same be done to the others.

I then went at full gallop to make the circuit of the house and enter it by the main door. I reached it stretched along my horse, knocked at the door, and no one cared to open it.

I should say that before reaching this main entrance, I had heard the cries of my brother-in-law's children, who were calling for me. I saw the children, a boy and two girls, on the wall above the place behind the corral. I called them and one of my soldiers lifted them down, telling them that I was waiting for them. I put the three children and two Indian women who were servants in the house in charge of Jose Maria Avila and Ramon Carrillo until I could return.

While I was at the entrance of the house, the great door was opened by Don Diego Sepulveda who had entered by the other door. At this entrance all the foreigners were gathered. They surrendered their arms and were made prisoners. I made them come out, and named a guard to look after them while I occupied myself with my men in putting out the fire and removing furniture and other effects from the house. I set a guard to watch these things, and then proceeded to inspect the house, which had escaped the fire almost entirely. I searched the hidden places, and found some individuals who had hidden themselves, and these I summoned forth.

I now called the children, my nieces and my nephew, and delivered them over to their father (my sister had died in 1842). I told him that he should thank me for saving his children, but neither he nor they gave me any sign of thanks afterward. The little boy, who then was eight years old, died soon after. The girls are still living, and care nothing about their uncle.

An hour after finishing the arrest of the prisoners, the house was left to cool, the furniture to be returned, etc. We left for Los Angeles with our prisoners, arms, ammunition, fighting equipment, saddle horses, and so on. We reached Don Julian Workman's Rancho de la Puente, where we all rested, although the main object was to give this benefit to the prisoners.

I changed my horse here for one loaned me by Senor Workman. He told me that Ramon Carrillo and Servulo Varela were not willing that John Rowland should be permitted to talk there with his wife. Don Julian and I betook ourselves to where the prisoners were, and called Mr. Rowland out so that he could talk with his wife. He conversed as long as he wished, and we then continued the journey to Los Angeles. On reaching the "Paredon Blanco" (the camp of the Californians), the Commander, General Flores came, I said, "Senor, esta ud. servido. Aqi tiene esa presa." In the affray they had killed one man for me (Ballestros) and had wounded two or three men--they were people from Sonora or New Mexico, whose names I do not recall. They were not men I had known before.

It was already dark, and I informed Sr. Flores that I wished to betake myself to a small ranch near by that belonged to my brother, Felipe Lugo, since I was very tired, hungry and sleepy. He gave me permission to go and I went.

In the affair at Chino we took forty or fifty prisoners, but without lending any aid to the taking of the plaza. They made their arrangements with Gillespie, and he retired with his men to San Pedro to embark. After this I returned to my ranch with eight men. I left all my arms behind for use by my compatriots. (11-13)

According to the Beatties (1939: 71): "Subconsciously perhaps, Lugo may have regarded Wilson, White, Robidoux, Williams and the other foreigners as representatives of a supplanting race destined sooner or later to destroy the economic prosperity of his own people. At any rate he now displayed an active dislike for them."

Isaac Williams had sent a note to the Americans at the Jurupa saying that he had plenty of ammunition, believing that they would secure safety for his family and large rancho. In fact Williams hadn't much ammunition at all as he declared to the Wilson party when they arrived that "an officer of the Californians had just taken it from him." Wilson then wrote a note beseeching Captain Gillespie for assistance, but Williams, interpreting that the Californians actually had by then the upper hand in the situation, redirected the messenger to General Flores. Williams became distrusted by both the Americans and the Californians, and his cowardice at the Battle of Chino would haunt him the rest of his life.

A famous letter of Louis Robidoux to Manuel Alvarez recounts in detail this little known episode, known as the "Battle of Chino" of the Mexican War.

California, May 1st, 1848

Sr. D. Manuel Alvarez:

My dear sir and friend, whom I esteem:--I received the two letters you wrote me. In the first you relate the insurrection of New Mexico, and, as it appears, it has been terrible on account of the many murders that were committed by those natives and Indians. But in the end those who were the cause will receive condign punishment. From the beginning of hostilities between the two nations I was a prisoner of war. On the 25th of September, 1846, we met in my house and my neighbor's, Don Benjamin Wilson's (18 strangers), to defend ourselves at any cost, because the shout of insurrection had already resounded everywhere, and rumor was that they would spare not the life of any stranger. The day after our meeting we went to the ranch of Chino, which is 6 leagues distant from my house; Don Juan Rowland was one of our warriors, and also four or five other additional strangers whom we met at said ranch. Our intention was to continue as far as the town of Los Angeles, if possible, in order to join the small American force which was stationed there, but the enemy did not relish this reunion; we were attacked the next day, that is on the 27th of September, by a force superior to ours, to which we had to surrender at discretion's after a struggle of an hour.

The enemy assaulted the house, in which we were fortified with so much furor and valor that, in the twinkling of an eye, as they say, set it on fire on every side with so much celerity that we had no alternative but to surrender or be burned alive. We did that to our regret. From that moment I lost my liberty.

The enemy numbered 200 men; we, with little ammunition and victuals, our opponents with plenty of war material, and the camp was theirs. We were then presented to the general, D. Jose Ma. Flores, a military officer of the Mexican army, a many of superior attainments and courage, although many say he is a coward and a tyrant; but, according to my own way of seeing, I believe in good faith, that he has during the whole period of the insurrection, acted with prudence, and that he has behaved as a good soldier. It seems to me that every man who embraces the military calling seeks after a name and riches, etc., etc.

This same Flores whom I have just praised had made up his mind to send us as far as the Capital of Mexico for the purpose of giving more weight to his exploits, or still better, to the drafts he had issued upon the government. But everything was frustrated, as you will see further on. There was at the time a party which always spied him, embarrassed his plans, and opposed, when necessary, his individual views. This same party, realizing that our departure was against the general interest of the Californians and for fear also of reprisals from the Americans, formed an opposition against him and continued the plan, with the aid of us, the prisoners, that is, with our money, of turning him down when we were about to start for the Capitol. This intrigue relieved us from a very long walk, and perhaps saved our lives. Sometime after he was allowed to again assume the command, but on condition that the prisoners would not have to go out of California. Before this happened, we had received orders to prepare to go out of the Territory and that we should make some determination of our property as well as of our families. (O. M. Robidoux. 219-20)

They were marched off to Los Angeles as prisoners, in fear execution. "This command fell upon us like a bolt of lightning from heaven. A very great sorrow took hold of us all, so much so that Don Juan Rowland frequently said, 'cut off a leg from me and let me stay with my family.' But his clamor was useless, no heart was softened in our behalf; it was the same as if we had spoken tot he rocks...(220)" In Benito Wilson's memoirs, he describes their being taken to a small adobe building on the mesa south of town, that is now known as Boyle's Height...

....without any further occurrence, except the suffering and groans of my poor wounded men....The only names beside my own that I can remember as belonging to our party are: D. W. Alexander, John Rowland, Isaac Callaghan, and Louis Robidoux...In "Boyle's Height' were all placed in a small adobe room...

a priest came in bearing a large cross, and after salutations, asked if any amongst us wished to confess. Robidoux...answered 'Yes, I do," adding, My God men they are going to shoot us, the priest's coming is a sure sign.' (110-114)

They were brought to the city of Los Angeles once Gillespie had evacuated his garrison and were treated with more respect, the wounded finally being shown a doctor by the name of Den. All received a great deal of attention by Eulogio Celis. Flores offered to release them if they took an oath of allegiance not to bear arms or to assist the American cause, but the prisoners declined the offer. Once they were taken to the mission of San Gabriel for a few days. Upon their return to the prison they were granted more concessions, even being allowed to leave the prison during the day to return to sleep there at night. They were sent for a time to Temples rancho at Los Cerritos, and a plan had been formed to escort them to Mexico, but was aborted by a revolt.

According to the account of Don Jose' del Carmen Lugo, he was placed in charge of the prisoners, whom he escorted back to Chino.

In San Jose came another message during the night, ordering me to remain there with fifteen men, and send the rest on with Sepulveda. Also that I should take charge of the foreign prisoners who had left under guard, and take them to the Rancho Chino, guarding them until further orders. He cautioned me that if I noted any movement either of revolt or flight, I should stop it by force of arms.

Among the prisoners I gathered in and whose names I remember were John Rowland, Louis Rubidoux, Michael White, three Callaghan brothers, (Joseph L.) Perdue, and my brother-in-law, Julian (Isaac) Williams.

We he made all these foreigners prisoners at Chino, my father, shortly afterward, assumed responsibility for a part of them and these were given their liberty on their word of honor to engage in not acts unfavorable to the country while the war was in progress.

I continued in charge of the prisoners until January 8, 1847, when I was ordered to set them free and remain there with all the men of the country I could enlist, since Flores and his forces would come to Chino within a few days. I did as he ordered, and gathered in some twenty-three men in addition to the fifteen I already had, forming a force of thirty-eight or forty men.

On January 11 I heard that Flores was in Cucamonga with a goodly force, heading for Chino. I then dissolved the force I had and ordered them to their homes, since I knew that Flores and the men with him were on their way to Sonora. (17-18)

According to the Beattie's (1939: 73), Don Antonio Maria Lugo, the father of Jose Carmen, exhibited a great deal of humanity towards the prisoners. While they were at Los Angeles, he furnished the Mexican authorities bail for them all, but this was refused. Later he requested that the sick and wounded ones be entrusted to his care, and he himself, without a doctor's assistance, dressed their wounds and cared for them during their convalescence "denouncing his sons vigorously for having been party to such an assault. This is an incident in the career of Don Antonio that has not been publicized."

Several accounts of the so-called Battle of Chino are in existence, some by Americans and some by Californians. As might be expected, they vary widely. Each writer held the numbers of his own side well within bounds, while augmenting those of the opposition. Michael White, the ex-Englishman who had sided with Wilson, thereby laying himself liable to be shot as a traitor, evidently possessed some military ability. While at Chino, he had suggested to Wilson and Williams that two block houses be built, each to command two sides of the house. Had his suggestion been followed, it might have saved the day for the Americans by preventing the firing of the roof. As it was, the walls of the house, after the Californians managed to get near to them, protected the besiegers fully as well as they did the besieged. (Beattie & Beatie, 1939: 74)

During the captivity of the Chino prisoners, about three months after the battle, another battle was fought at Aguanga "midway between Temecula and Warner's Ranch" (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 74-5) between the Luiseno Indians and the Californian's under Jose Carmen Lugo and the Cahuilla Indians under their chief Juan Antonio. This battle arose after the Luisenos rebelled and massacred eleven Californian troopers under Andre Pico, after these sought refuge at a stock ranch in Pauma Valley after the Battle of San Pasqual. The Luisenos saw Kearney's troops, witnessed their rescue by the Marines and Sailors, and watched Pico's forces disperse. The Luisenos decided to join the side of the Americans, and captured the eleven men, taking them to Warner's ranch where council was held about their fate. William Marshall, a renegade American sailor, told the Indians that the Americans would be happy if the prisoners were disposed of permanently. "This advice was quite in harmony with Indian practice in inter-tribal wars, and the Californians were accordingly done to death, in horrible fashion." (75)

General Flores was heading the revolting Californians in Los Angeles at this time, and when the news of the killing of Pico's troopers reached him, he delegated Jose del Carmen Lugo to go in pursuit of the assassins. Lugo left Los Angeles with fifteen men, and recruited along the way until he had twenty-one, five from San Bernardino. Juan Antonio went with fifty of his fighting men. By a ruse, Lugo succeeded in catching the Luisenos in an ambush, killed many of them, and captured others. The captives were placed in charge of Juan Antonio, who promptly put them to death. When reproached by Lugo for his needless cruelty, he remarked coolly that if they had caught him they would have roasted him alive. He added that Lugo was captain of white men, while he was captain of Indians, and there was a difference. This wreaking of vengeance on the Luisenos by Lugo's party was regarded as a noteworthy exploit. (75)

In the meantime, General Kearny marched toward San Diego with a rag-tag force of Dragoons and volunteers, and engaged the Mexicans, which, according to Louis, were "doubtless the best in all the Mexican Republic, since they perform wonders on horseback" at the battle of San Pasqual on Dec. 6th. Though a small engagement, it was quite bloody. Kearny was wounded, along with Louis's brother, Antoine, but the American forces were able to force their way to San Diego, accompanied by a group of sailors and marines from the garrison there. Then Kearny's forces, now 600 strong and mostly of the navy, marched north and engaged the Mexicans near Los Angeles on the 8th and 9th of January. On the 10th, Commodore Stockton entered Los Angeles, and Louis Robidoux was then released from captivity. He was appointed Alcalde of Los Angeles, which then incorporated the entire region including Jurupa, by Commodore Stockton in 1846, and was reappointed the Alcalde of Jurupa on June 1st, 1847, by the new Governor Mason. In 1850, he served as a township justice of Los Angeles county, for the township of San Bernardino.

The responsibility for the Alcalde at this time was setting the example, settling out of court local disputes, drawing contracts and the "promulgation and enforcement" of the laws (Nelson, 48).

The appointment of alcaldes was in accordance with the policy of army officials to continue the operation of the Mexican law as much as possible during military occupation. Under the Mexican regime the alcalde was an important magistrate having much more prestige and power than that possessed by the ordinary American inferior court judge. Unfortunately few of the new alcaldes had any legal training. Virtually none of the were acquainted with Mexican law so they tired their cases on the principles of "common sense." (William Rubidoux)

In 1846, the Mexican War began, and California was soon "liberated" by American forces under Kearny and Fremont. The Mormon Battalion of five companies of one hundred men each, reached San Diego, where they were ordered on the 31st of January to march northward to the Mission of San Luis Rey to take up quarters. After a long and grueling march without adequate supplies. It was one of the longest marches of an American military unit on the North American continent.

On the tenth (February, 1847) the Colonel sent Lieutenant (George W.) Omen and ten men (of Company A) and fourteen mules up towards Los Angeles to meet some Spaniards and help them in with a load of flour for the Battalion.

On the nineteenth the Lieutenant returned with 2100 lbs of unbolted flour, and reported that we culd be furnished in a few days with 5000 more. (Bigler's Chronicle of the West: 50)

The historian of the Mormon Battalion wrote "Up to February 19th, 1847, our fare continued to be about the same--fresh beef. Upon that date, however, Lieutenant Oman returned from Roubidoux's, whither he had been sent five days previously, with a quantity of unbolted flour and some beans--a most agreeable change of diet." (Roubidoux's Ranch, 82, History of San Bernardino County 128, "Tyler's History of the Mormon Battalion")

Stephen C. Foster, later the first Mayor of Los Angeles, was the interpreter for the Mormon Battalion, wrote about the Roubidoux mill:

The commissary and myself were ordered to Los Angeles to try and get some flour. We found the town garrisoned by Fremont's Battalion, about four hundred strong. They, too, had nothing but beef served to them. Here we met Louis Roubidoux of the Jurupa Ranch who said he could spare us some two or three thousand pounds of wheat which we could grind at a little mill he had on the Santa Ana river. So, on our return, two wagons were sent to Jurupa and they brought seventeen hundred pounds of flour and two sacks of beans--a small supply for four hundred men. I then messed with one of the captains and all agreed that it was the sweetest bread we ever tasted." (Roubidoux's Ranch, 83-4)

Other accounts of the Mormon Battalion consistently give February 14th, for the date that Omen was sent to retrieve supplies, nevertheless, it was Louis Robidoux who sent them the flour, and apparently Omen returned with much vegetables and wine as well.

By 1847, many of the larger grants had been broken up into smaller estates. Part of the Jurupa grant of Bandini and Wilson, a famous local early pioneer, were subsequently owned by Isaac Williams and Colonel Johnson, and were afterward bought by Louis Robidoux in 1847

The grant was purchased from Senor Bandini and Mr. Wilson by Isaac Williams and Colonel Johnson, who in 1847 sold a part of it to Louis Robidoux, a Frenchman of means who had come from New Mexico....Louis Robidoux became wealthy and prominent, showed his progressiveness by building fences, putting in a large acreage of grain and in other ways, and built a grist mill, which had a turbine wheel and two sets of stones, the only grist mill in Southern California at that time, 1846-7. The grain was washed and dried in the sun and was shoveled into the hopper with a rawhide scoop. Mr. Robidoux, a man of genial and kindly disposition, served as Juez de Paz, and was one of the first board of supervisors of the county. His death occurred in 1867. (San Bernardino. and Riverside: 28)

Louis enjoyed increasing prosperity on his ranch during this time. In 1848, he remarks in a letter to Manuel Alvarez that "the progress that has been made in the commercial arts in California in the short time that it has been in possession of the Americans is a thing of admiration." He was apparently well regarded for his congeniality and his home became a gathering place of many people. "The spacious adobe ranch house was always the center of hospitality" (Woodward, 1936).

One of Roubidoux's first industries was a winery and wine making, as was usual with all the missionaries and early settlers. One of his retainers built a house at the north end of Mt. Roubidoux on the edge of the mesa. His name was Antonio Prieto; was the first white man to live on what is now the site of Riverside. (Roubidoux's Ranch, 84-5)

During this time, Louis is quite happy and, in another letter to Manuel Alvarez sent via Kit Carson, praises California highly compared to New Mexico--he mentions the abundance of food and water on his ranch, regretting only that schools were too far to send his children. His wife did not like the loneliness and monotony of her new California home.

That Louis Robidoux was a well-read and literate man is evidenced by his library. "It was but natural that a people who traveled so far to build up a city and settlement of homes and engaged in pursuits that required some mental effort would also be a reading people. Even Louis Rubidoux, the first real settler who brought his family to settle on the Jurupa ranch brought a large collection of books." (527, Vol. 1)

Mr. Rubidoux brought quite a library of books with him, as during the Mexican domination books were very scarce and the early missions discouraged the importation of books. He also built the first flour mill in these parts and possibly in Southern California, for during the war with Mexico about all the soldiers had to eat was beef, and a small supply of flour and beans from Rubidoux was greatly enjoyed. He was able to talk four languages himself and probably had a partial knowledge of some of the Indian dialects.

The tenure of his land-holding under Mexican rule was short, but in Southern California there was a lesser influx of Americans to disturb the peaceful pastoral relations soon to pass away. There were the Mormons who came to San Bernardino a few years later than the cession of California from Mexico to the United States. Previous to that time Jurupa was a central place and just south of the Rubidoux homestead there was a fort occupied by the United States troops to protect the settlers from raids by Indians on the horse and cattle for the rancheros, who run them off into the Mohave and Colorado deserts and on to Utah, where there was a market. The Rubidoux homestead itself was in the nature of a fort with loopholes for musketry. The settlement of Agua Mansa just above and adjoining the Jurupa grant was formed by Mexicans from Santa Fe, New Mexico, on lands given by Bandini as a protection against these Indian raiders, some of whom were aided by renegade whites. After the Mormons came, the Indians burned the sawmills in the San Bernardino Mountains, but it ultimately became a costly pursuit for all kinds of raiders for they finally got wiped out and at the time of the settlement of Riverside all was peace.

During the Civil war and at the time of the great flood of 1862 there was still a company of soldiers at the fort at Jurupa on account of the disloyalty of some of the Mormons and also some Southern people who were settled and, as it afterward happened, members of the military company fought in the South on different sides and San Bernardino County was always in the democratic ranks until outnumbered by the influx of colonists in Riverside and elsewhere.

Mr. Rubidoux, not having lived under Spanish and Mexican rule for but a short time after the purchase of the Jurupa, was always loyal to the United States and took and active part during the war with Mexico and was wounded and captured at the battle of Chino, where rabid ones on the Mexican side were for executing the whole of the prisoners, but wiser counsels prevailed and they were all imprisoned for a considerable time. During the gold excitement in the upper part of the State in 1849 and the early '50's Mr. Rubidoux made money by driving stock up north to supply the miners with meat.

The great flood of 1862 washed away much of the best land of the Rubidoux ranch in the lowlands, leaving nothing but barren sand. The homestead was also more or less endangered by the high water. The extreme drought immediately following the flood decimated the cattle, further impairing the Rubidoux fortunes, to be followed later by an accident incapacitating Mr. Rubidoux from active labor and his death in 1868, and the division, distribution and sale of part of the property with the final sale of the remainder to the Silk Center Association and finally to the Southern California Colony Association removed the family from the scene of their former greatness. At that time there was quite a settlement along the river of white men and Mexicans on Rubidoux grant lands and all down the river to Juapa for eight miles, where Don Juan Bandini had his headquarters while he owned the Jurupa grant, and a school was also maintained there on the easterly side of the river where Mr. Hyatt, who finally became state superintendant of public schools, first taught. The school finally lapsed and was moved to the newer Riverside School District. But for his untimely accident and death at a comparatively youthful age, Mr. Rubidoux would have taken an active part in the establishment of the new era on the settlement of Riverside. As it was, he served as a local judge and was one of the first members of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County. (320-1)

On January 15th, 1849, the emigrant Hamelin recorded visiting Louis Robidoux's ranch and left a description:

Jan. 15. Tuesday. Mounted one of the celebrated caballos of the country & started in company with Croxall to purchase or hire stock to return to the relief of the train. Reached the rancho of Senor Robidoux, where we did nothing. R. has a fine farm, vineyard, peach orchard & a very handsome daughter. Our grub was plain but in our present fix we relish anything in the eating line. Slept soundly on the floor, thinking in dreams what the morrow would bring forth.

Wednesday (Jany 16.). started in a hi Scotch mist to see what cd be done at the neighboring farms. could not buy, hire or steal ox or horse, but got a good dinner served up by a buxom Irish girl, washed down by a bottle of aguardiente from Senor Lugo. Don't know which improved the appetite most. Retd to Robidoux's.

Jany. 18. Thursday. Every place we go in the country we find more or less emigrants stopping; working for their food, no trouble to balance their cash acs and no way of proceeding to the mines. It is better to remain here at present than go up the country, as all business is suspended in the mining region on account of wet weather. Reached our quarters after dinner.

In 1850, California became a part of the United States, after which a court of sessions was set up for the administration of the laws in the area. Louis Robidoux was elected as justice of the peace for the San Bernardino township, and then as a member of the County Court of Los Angeles. According to Nelson, he was associated with this group until the County of San Bernardino was formed in 1853. The County Court of Sessions for San Bernardino met on August 1st, 1853, dividing the country into three townships and these into voting precinct. Louis's Jurupa home was selected as the headquarters of the Jurupa voting precinct.

It was the Trujillos who were implicated, as far as the History of San Bernardino County, with the horse-stealing incident at San Bernardino by Indians in early 1851:

Early in 1851, a party of Utes made a raid into the San Bernardino valley and stole a number of horses, including a large band of the Lugos' horses. A party of twenty followed them and in an ambuscade on the Mojave one of them was killed. (History of San Bernardino County, 110)

This incident of 1851 is corroborated by Horace Bell's account of the incident:

Sometime early in 1851, the Indians raided the San Bernardino rancho, then the property of the Lugo family, a branch of which occupied the ranch.

The successful raiders drove off a herd of gentle horses, and went out through the Cajon Pass. Two of the Lugos, with half a dozen of their dependents, followed on the fresh trail of the desert Indians, and in the Cajon they found some four or five Americans, and one half-breed Cherokee Indian. The Cherokee being the only one of the party who either spoke or understood Spanish, in response to inquiries, informed the Lugos that there were only three Indians engaged in driving off the herd, and that they (the party) never suspected that they were other than vaqueros legitimately engaged. The Lugo party pressed on, overtook the raiders at the Point of Rocks on the Mojave, and at once, and without counting noses, charged them, and to their intense chagrin and astonishment found the party to consist of some twenty warriors, instead of three. A fierce conflict ensued, hand to hand, in which three of the Lugo party were killed, and several Indians were made to kiss the desert sands. Fortunately the Lugos, armed with Colt revolvers, achieved a splendid victory over the Indians and recovered the entire herd. On their triumphal return with the gory scalps of their enemies dangling at their saddle-bows, they found the same small party yet in the same camp, when the chief Lugo demanded of the Cherokee why he had deceived them about the number of the Indians. The Cherokee replied that he was anxious to see them recover their stock, and was afraid to tell the truth, knowing that they would be too cowardly to follow a party of Indians respectable in numbers. This brought on words, which ended in Lugo shooting the Cherokee dead on the spot. A short, sharp and decisive conflict then ensued, which resulted in the Americans being entirely wiped out, and hence the prosecution against the Lugos and the attempted assassination of the district attorney, Benjamin Hayes. The Lugos were finally tried and acquitted, the pioneer lawyer (Brent) who defended them receiving, as the writer has been informed, $20,000 for his fee--surely a fair legal starter in a small frontier town. (196-7)

According to Horace Bell, it was affiliates of the Lugos while they were being tried who had attempted to assassinate Benjamin Hayes, the prosecuting attorney at this trial in November, 1851, by shooting at his head as he stood in the doorway of his office on Main street.

In May, 1851, Jose de Carmen Lugo gives the testimony that a band of Texan robbers attacked the Robidoux rancho:

In May, 1851, I received word at my ranch at San Bernardino that some Texans were coming up along the river from Jurupa, heading for my place. According to the report, they were murderers and thieves who had come from the placer mines, robbing and killing people along the way.

I learned that they had been at the home of Don Luis Rubidoux, and he had begged them to spare him because he was a poor man; but that farther on they would find me, a rich man, who had received $13,000. at my home. They left him and proceeded toward my ranch. On this day I was conducting a stock roundup with the word came. I went to a military camp that was on my ranch in search of the captain to have him aid me in withstanding these evildoers. I found no one but his lieutenant.

This troop was stationed on my ranch to guard against the Indian Chaguanosos and other thieves who were entering the valley of the Cajon. All I could get from the lieutenant was that if I wished to remain in his camp I might do so, but that he was not authorized to take the troops away from there. As I needed help for the protection of my home and belongings, as well as my gentle horses and so on, his offer was of no value to me, so I set out to hunt assistance elsewhere.

I then ordered the Indian Captain, Juan Antonio, with his men and four servants of my own to guard my house, while I and three boys went to hide the horses. I hid them in a thicket and returned home. On arriving there my people were already fighting the highwaymen who had entered the house, having broken down the doors, and were looking for chests and so on. Everything that could be carried away was stolen, that is my riding saddles and such things, my ropes and so on--to the value of $1500 or $2000.

The evildoers had arrived and committed their outrages before Juan Antonio and his people had reached the place. These latter went in chase of the robbers, but they succeeded in escaping with their booty. However, they were overtaken and surrounded on a logging road near Yucaipa which they mistook for the real road. There was a skirmish there in which Juan Antonio's lieutenant was killed. The Indians climbed the slopes of the canyon and from there killed with their arrows the thieves, who numbered twelve or thirteen.

Shortly after they came to my house. I was there then, and they reported what had happened to these villains. Of my effects, I recovered only a pair of pantaloons I found tossed down on the hillside. Everything else had been taken by the Indians who had come at the call of Juan Antonio from the three villages, to a number of a hundred or more. (19-20)

On June 4th, 1851, a Mormon mission including Parley Parker Pratt visited Louis Robidoux's ranch and left the following account:

Rode upwards of 13 m. s. and arrived at a farm house, Inhabited by a frenchman (Louis Robidoux) and his Spanish Wife, Children and Indian Servants. Here we obtained a breakfast of Bread, Wine, etc, for 50 cts each.

From this man we learned of the Burning of Francisco city, and Stockton, with the Loss of many Lives, and many Millions of Merchandise. Also a Great Earthquake in Chile, and the Blockade by the french of the Sandwich Islands, and that the Indians in the naborehood where we were then were had feel upon and killed a Band of American Robbers Who were Infesting the Country and Commiting depredations, Openly boasting of the same, and biding defiance to the officers of the Law. The Band consisted of about a dozen, Well armed, and were attacked and all Killed by Bows and arrows, Lances, etc. the Loss on the part of the Indians was, one Killed and 2 or 3 wounded. The whole Country seemed in a State of Commotion, Robery Murder, and other Crimes were frequent, and it is said that Bribery and Corruption on the part of those who Stood to administer the Law was So frequent Occurrence that there was no prospect of Justice or protection of the citizens. All hearts were fearful and no one felt safe in person or property.

Such in substance was the Outlines of the first news, as we reached the settlements after being 7 Months with out news from the world, and near 2 months in the desart, without Seeing any human abode, or Cultivation. O how we then appreciated Our Own quiet Mountain home, the Beahive, the incomparably quiet and peacable deseret.

After Breakfast we rode on 12 m. s. and arrived at the Residence, of Colonel Williams. Here we found a fine farm which had wheat and Other grain, Gardens, and even bearing fruit trees, etc. We also found a Member of Our Society by the name of Chrisman who with his family resided on the place. We were kindly Received, and after resting a day, obtained a team and Br Wood went to Los Angeles 30 m. s. to obtain supplies to send back.

On Saturday, June 7th, Pratt notes: Started Back with a load of Supplies at noon. Found our Waggons at the french farm, 12 m.

The History of San Bernardino County provides a background to this incident of the Texas bandits, referring to it as the "Irving Affair."

On the return of the party of Californians from pursuit of this band of Indians (Utes horse raiders in early 1851), they passed two men with a camping outfit. These men had given some directions as to the whereabouts of the Indian marauders, which the Lugo party believed were intentionally false and which had led them into the ambuscade in which they lost a comrade. Four men, including two of the Lugos, lingered behind the rest of the party. When the two men were found murdered, suspicion fell on these; they were arrested, and one of them confessed that he had done the deed. The other three were held in jail in Los Angeles, charged with murder.

In April, 1851, a band of some thirty outlaws under the leadership of one Irving appeared in Los Angeles, coming from the north. Irving made a proposal to Don Maria Lugo, offering to deliver his grandsons from jail on the payment of $5000. Senor Lugo declined. Irving swore then that if the court admitted the Lugos to bail, he and his party would seize the boys and hang them. The sheriff, getting wind of threatened trouble, secured the presence in court of a troop of United States dragoons which had just arrived in the vicinity. Irving and his men, armed to the teeth, were present when the court opened, but when the dragoons, also armed, appeared, the trial was permitted to proceed without disturbance, and after the young men were released they were escorted out of town by the troops and returned to San Bernardino.

About the last of May, Irving left Los Angeles with a party ostensibly for Mexico. It soon became known that he proposed to go to San Bernardino, raid the Lugo's stock and seize one or more of the Lugos--to be held for ransom. Only sixteen of his men were willing to undertake this affair. The Lugos were warned of his coming and a party accompanied by some of the New Mexicans and Juan Antonio's band of Coahuillas prepared to resist. Irving, after breaking into one of the Lugo houses, found that the stock was guarded and started for the San Jacinto mountains. His party was pursued by the Indians and after a long skirmish was driven into the "canada of Dona Maria Armenta," on the south side of San Timoteo canon. Here the party of twelve were surrounded and all but one of them killed. The one who escaped told the story. A posse from Los Angeles arrived just at the fight was over. The officials went to San Bernardino where an investigation and inquest was held. The testimony given before Coroner A. P. Hodges and County Attorney Benjamin Hayes, resulted in a verdict that Edward Irving and ten other white men, names unknown, came to their death at the hands of the Coahuilla Indians and that the killing was justifiable. The Indians had divided among themselves the spoils of the dead men, but out of twelve horses and saddles, nine were claimed by their owners, having been stolen by the band of Irving. B. D. Wilson states that Juan Antonio was voted a hundred dollars' worth of supplies by the County Supervisor as a reward for the part he and his tribe took in this affair. (110-111)

Horace Bell in his Reminiscences of a Ranger, provided another description of this incident:

It was in 1851 that Jim Irvin, with a gain of desperadoes to the number of twenty-five or thirty, stopped at Los Angeles on their way to Mexico, in search of ladies fair and pastures green. Some of the gang found some friends in jail, and soon to be tried in the District Court, then sitting in the old Bella Union. Jim concluded to take the prisoners out of the hands of the sheriff, and take them along with him, and waited for them to be brought out for trial with that object in view. It happened that a party of United Sates troops were temporarily camped near the city, and it was arranged that they should put in an appearance

just at the time the prisoners were to be brought in. The court opened. Jim Ivin marched in with his gang and grimly awaited the arrival of the prisoners, who were presently at hand, and at the same instant a platoon of troops drew up before the door, and an officer came into court with the sheriff. Jim and his gang were given permission to leave the country, otherwise they would be arrested.

"There was mounting 'mong greames of the Netherby clan;

Fosters, Fenwicks and Musgraves, they rode and they ran."

The above lines can well be applied to Irvin's gang, who were ready and willing to override the civil officers, but were quite loath to an encounter with the United States dragoons. They went directly to the Coyotes Ranch, thirty miles from the city, on the road to Mexico. On their arrival in the evening, they surprised the ranch and made a hostage of Ricardo, whom they tied up and threatened to shoot unless he had the best horses the ranch could afford driven up, ready for their inspection, by daylight in the morning. All of their demands were complied with to the very letter. Supper was prepared for them, wine set out, and they were permitted without objection to appropriate what articles they chose, such as saddles, blankets, provisions, etc., and the ranch at the time was one of the richest and best supplied in the county. Senor Ocampo and his wife were then in the city, and Ricardo was major-domo, and in charge of the estate.

In the morning, after appropriating what they wanted of the most valuable horses, the gang packed up and left, immediately after which Ricardo was released. Without saying a word, or leaving an order, he mounted a horse. He had understood enough of the conversation between the robbers to know that they were going to the Colorado river, and would go through San Gorgonio Pass.

He started in hot haste across the Chino hills to get in ahead of the party, whom he had doomed to destruction. Long before the glorious orb of day ceased to cast his beaming rays on the hoary head of grim old Mount San Bernardino, Ricardo lay in silent ambush with a chosen band of Cahuilla Indians, who, at the time, were numerous in the vicinity of San Gorgonio. They had not long to wait. About sunset the devoted party came in sight, hilarious, as only men can be who have no thought beyond the immediate present. They rode quietly into the ambush and were slaughtered to a man. The Indians, who thought it to be a perfectly legitimate transaction, gave a minute account of the affair, and said that Ricardo fought like a fiend incarnate; and while they, the Indians, fought from their place of concealment, Ricardo rushed forth on horseback, and, meeting his foes face to face, let them know that he was the avenger of his own wrongs.

Agua Mansa (Gentle Water) was a new colony of New Mexicans which formed in 1852 about a mile northeast of Trujillo town. These were farmers who developed the land, and the settlement increased in size. Both towns got together to rebuild the church that had been washed away by the 1852 flood. The built the church on high ground, upon the hill of San Salvador. All the colonists got together to construct it with their hands, making the adobe bricks and cement, and hauling in lumber from a local mill. It took a year to complete. (History of San Bernardino County, 99)

In 1852, at Louis Robidoux's insistence, the army established a military fort on the Jurupa grant, under the command of Col. (or Lieutenant?) Smith and Capt. Lovell. A garrison of about a dozen troops were stationed here until 1854. Smith became a Union major general during the Civil war, and Lovell a major general of the Confederacy, and they commanded opposing troops in Louisiana. Horace Bell, who had personal acquaintance with this post, wrote the following description:

There was but one military post within the limits of Los Angeles county at the time referred to in the previous chapters, and the domain of Los Angeles was very great, including San Bernardino and the greater part of Kern counties, as heretofore stated. The post of Jurupa was established, I believe, in 1850, and was continued until 1857. Fort Tejon was not established until 1854. Jurupa, being an infantry post, could lend little or no assistance in breaking up the robber bands that so occupied the Ranger company and kept them so constantly going. Captain Lovell commanded at Jurupa--a sedate, methodical, sober kind of officers, who seemed perfectly content to sit in his elegant quarters, issue orders to his little army of a dozen or so of well-fed, clean-shaved, white-cotton-gloved, nicely dressed, lazy, fat fellows, who were seemingly happy and content on their $8 per month, while even a Digger Indian would naturally expect to earn even more than that sum in a day at the mines. They all, from Captain to Corporal, seemed resigned to a life of well-fed indolence. (163)

In the fall of 1853, Louis Robidoux was elected as the only non-Mormon, outside candidate to the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. San Bernardino was settled by a colony of Mormons who purchased the San Bernardino Rancho from the Lugos in 1851, and who then built Fort San Bernardino in the form of a stockaded town where later Fourth and Third streets were crossed by "C" Street. He was selected as the chairman of the board as a courtesy. "The Mormons felt safe in following this policy as the board consisted of but three members: two Mormons could thus outvote the third party if necessary." (Nelson, 52)

The period of the Gold rush and the 1850's was a time of transition, with an influx of settlers into the country, especially Mormons, and with prosperity for the large Cattle ranchers who sold their beef.

As the Missions decayed and the land was granted under Mexican laws to private individuals, there grew up a class who might well be called "cattle barons." The Lugos, Sepulvedas, Yorbas, and Isaac Williams, Michael White and Louis Robidoux were the chief men of this class in San Bernardino county. After the discovery of gold, from 1850 to '60, there was a large demand for beef and mutton to supply the northern mining camps. Stock was sold by the thousands and at good prices. The stock owners of the south were as "flush" as the miners of the north and fifty dollar gold slugs were spent as freely as Mexican dollars had been a few years previously.

But the civil war and the decay of the mining "boom" ended the "golden days;" the great stock ranges began to be divided and the small farm and the fruit orchard took the place of the herds. The stock business, now is but one of many resources, and the day of the "California cattle barons" is long past. (History of San Bernardino County, 125)

Due to increased settlement during the 1850's, life on the Jurupa rancho became less lonesome, and his daughter Adelaide remembered "lively house parties--lasting for days at a time." By the late 1850's, an English tutor was living on the ranch, and a priest visited there once a month to say mass. An account holds that the family hired an English Tutor for their children, and thus they learned to speak English well. "The tutor wished to marry one of the daughters but was opposed by the mother, who did not wish her to be taken away to Australia, where the teacher finally went, as in those days Australia or New Zealand were very far-away countries and difficult of access." (SBR, 320) From a letter from a man named Hardy to Senator Estudillo, a grandson of Louis Robidoux, is taken the following account:

He (Hardy) had been a close companion of Don Louis and a teacher for him, receiving for latter fifteen dollars per month and his board and room., the state also giving him fifty dollars per month. He wanted to marry one of Don Louis's daughters, and while the Don was willing, her mother was not, as, being English, he would take her away from her home and country. She later married a rancher. Mr. Hardy had money when he came to California, but lost it in mining for gold. He went to Australia later, having been with Don Louis from 1856 to 1862. The Robidoux name, as everyone knows, is a part of the history of California. (History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Vol. II: 742)

During the late 1840's and 50's, Louis's ranch suffered chronic depredations by raiding Indians, telling Juan Bandini that the Indians had stolen over a thousand animals within a three month period. In 1847, the Cajon Pass became garrisoned by a Colonel A. J. Smith and forty dragoons. In Judge Haye's Emigrant Notes, the following incident was related:

In the fall of 1850 or the spring of 1851, an Indian killed another of this (Cahuilla) tribe near Jurupa. Don Louis Robidoux was then the Justice of the Peace of that township. After digging a grave and depositing the body of the murdered man, Juan Antonio appeared in force before the hall of justice, demanded the prisoner, took him without resistance, carried him to the grave, threw him into it alive on top of the corpse, and instantly filled it with the earth. this is one of the many undoubted circumstances told of him, showing his fierce character and his firmness of will in all matters concerning the management of his people. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 406)

In 1851, a fort in San Bernardino was erected, and the following year a post was established at Jurupa under Captain Lovell, being moved from Chino where it had been posted since 1850. "This post was maintained for two years, when it was removed to the Robidoux Rancho on the Jurupa Grant."(Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 134) This fort was garrisoned through the Civil war. The garrison of troops did little to stem the Indian raids, which continued until 1867. A small post in the Mojave desert was maintained until 1870.

In order to protect the settlers of Jurupa and San Bernardino from the incursions of the Mojave and Piute Indians, Colonel A. J. Smith of the United States infantry was sent in 1847 to the Cajon Pass with forty dragoons. In April of the same year a part of the Mormon Battalion was sent to establish a post at Chino, westward of Jurupa. In 1852 a post was established on the Jurupa grant by Captain Lovell and Colonel Smith. Both these officers were afterwards Major-Generals in the civil war, Lovell a Confederate and Smith on the Union side, and they were opposed to each other in Louisiana. A small body of troops was kept at Jurupa for two years, when they were withdrawn in 1854.

In the winter of 1851, there was a severe flood of the Santa Anna River. On July 10th, 1855, a large earthquake hit San Bernardino. A two-year draught then followed, and then a plague of grasshoppers in 1856-7. Cattle died in large numbers, and were butchered for their hides. Nevertheless, Louis was quite prosperous during this period. The Bench lands that were later the site of Riverside city were only partly used for range land for cattle and were at first classified as worthless and not assessed for taxes--nevertheless it is apparent that many thousands of sheep grazed there.

In 1851, the Mormons bought from the Lugo's their San Bernardino grant. It is possible that the note held by Louis Robidoux in the name of Lyman Rich and Company was for the purchase of this Grant. Soon after this purchase, a court hearing was convened to decide the confirmation and boundaries of the Lugo grant, which eventually decided that eight square leagues, nearly half their original purchase, belonged to the Mormons. The Mormon company was depending on the extra land to sell off in order to pay off their debt, ostensibly to Louis Robidoux. The exact boundaries of their land was not yet decided, and other settlers who wanted it determined as public land began contesting them. Finally, in about 1852-3, the land was acquired and a square mile was laid off for the township that was named San Bernardino--the plat for the town was laid in the grid pattern after Salt Lake City.

In order to have a justice's court for the settlement, an authorization was secured from the court of Los Angeles County for two justices in the township where Louis Robidoux, of Jurupa, had been the sole incumbent. In accordance with this authorization, an election was held in November (1852?), in which J. D. Hunter was chosen for the second justice of the peace, and Abner Blackburn for constable. Both were from San Bernardino. Hunter, the former Indian agent, had moved from his home beyond Temecula to join the Mormon brethren. (184)

Louis Robidoux was selected as the first head of the board of Supervisors for San Bernardino county in the first general election for county officers after the formation of the county: "none but Mormons had been chosen; but a board of supervisors came into being in time, and one of them was always elected from a district outside the Mormon settlement. The Mormon members of the first board showed Louis Robidoux, the outsider, the courtesy of making him their chairman. They were entirely safe in doing this, as the board consisted of but three members, and the other two could outvote him if desirable."(Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 229-30). Louis remained a member of this board until 1861, when he retired, outlasting his Mormon competitors.

Louis was identified as a member of an independent or "Apostate" party that consisted of some ex-Mormons and miners and other "gentiles" who had come from the Northern gold fields. Settlement of non-Mormons into the area increased in the mid-1850's, tending to loosing the monopolistic control which the Mormon Church exercised in Stan Bernardino. Tension increased between the Independent and Mormon groups until the Mormon community withdrew from San Bernardino in 1857-8.

An interesting account is given by Major Horace Bell of Louis's political involvements in 1852:

In the presidential canvass of 1852, the two parties Whig and Democrat were warmly arrayed one against the other. The Democratic outlook was good, except in that one particular precinct, that of Jurupa--and it is here proper to say that Los Angeles County at that time embraced all the territory of San Bernardino, the division having been made in 1854. Old Louis Roubideaux was the lord of the Jurupa, that is, he owned and occupied the Jurupa Rancho, and he was a Whig, and could not be won over in any way. The case seemed hopeless and the doctor was sent out with his saddlebags full of Democratic tickets to act as a forlorn hope in the cause of the General who threw his horse over his head. Then and there was where the transcendent genius of the embryo politician cropped out. About half-way from Jurupa, which was then a military post, to San Bernardino, was situated the most beautiful little settlement I ever saw. It was called Agua Mansa, meaning gentle water, and was composed entirely of immigrants from New Mexico, numbering some two hundred souls--simple, good souls they were, too, primitive in their style of living, kind and hospitable to strangers, rich in all that went to make people happy and content, never having been, up to that time, vexed by the unceremonious calls of the tax collector, owing allegiance to none save the simple, kind hearted priest who looked after their spiritual welfare, with peace and plenty surrounding them, the good people of Agua Mansa went to make as contented and happy a people as could be found in the universe. In the winter of 1862 a flood in the Santa Ana river swept away their houses, gardens, orchards, vineyards, in fact all of their splendid agricultural lands, leaving nothing save a hideous plain of black boulders and cobble-stones to mark the place where once stood this modern, miniature Eden, which I would fain describe.

There must have been at least fifty voters at Agua Mansa, which had been designated as the voting place for the Jurupa precinct, and to this place hied the noble doctor as the avant courier of American civilization, to give his primitive people their first lesson in the mysteries of American citizenship.

The doctor was a New Yorker, and may have had past experience in the management of elections. In this instance, he not only proved himself an adept, but a perfect master of the business. Arriving at Agua Mansa, h dismounted, tied his hungry mustang, divested himself of his leather Mexican leggins and jingling spurs, and with the sacred saddle-bags on his arm, with solemn step and downcast eyes, he bent his way to the little adobe church that stood on a mound in the center of the quiet village. Arriving at the door he piously uncovered, reverently crossed himself, entered and prostrated himself in front of the humble altar, and was then and there discovered by the simple old priest, who sprinkled him with holy water and offered him sweet words of consolation. Within the next hour the doctor informed the priest that his piety, the priest's, not the doctor's, had a world-wide fame, that in the distant land of New York the sacred name of Friar Juan, of Agua Mansa, was a household word among all good Catholics, and he, the doctor had made a pilgrimage hither to invoke the prayers of the saintly Juan for the repose of the soul of his mother, the doctor's mother, not the priest's, at which period the doctor slipped a slug into the palm of the astonished Juan.

Suffice it to say that prayers and masses were the order of the day, and on the following morning, at the breakfast table, the doctor informed the priest that an election would be held that day for the President of the United States; that one candidate, General Scott, was a great heretic, and was a tyrant who made war on the Catholics of Mexico; and that it would be a great calamity of the Catholic world should Scott be elected; that Pierce, the other candidate was a good Catholic, and if elected, would build Catholic churches all over the world, and that it therefore behooved them, as good Catholics, to see that Agua Mansa cast its vote for Pierce. And Agua Mansa did, under the pious instructions of the saintly Juan, subject to the satanic doctor, vote early and all day for the Democratic candidate, to the great chagrin of old Louis Roubideaux who felt for the first time that he had lost his influence with the gentle people of Agua Mansa. (Bell, 62-3; Nelson, 50-51)

In 1853, the San Bernardino County Court of Sessions divided the county into three townships for the voting of justices. At the San Salvador township, one of the three, this was subdivided into San Salvadore, constituted by New Mexican settlers on the Bandini Donation, and the Jurupa of Louis Robidoux's rancho. The home of the Jurupa rancho thus became the polling place of the Jurupa sub-district for the election of September, 1853. Major Horace Bell also mentions Louis Robidoux in connection to the election of 1853.

In '53, when Mac was a candidate, and when Los Angeles county included San Bernardino, he invited the author to accompany him to Jurupa, Agua Mansa, and San Bernardino on an electioneering tour, which said invitation being duly accepted the two of us, well mounted, set out, making the hospitable house of Col. Williams, at Chino, our first stopping-place. From thence we proceeded to Jurupa, where we arrived the day preceding the election. Then it was that Mac informed me that he had a little precinct staked out that required his personal attendance; that the most useful man, having so admirably succeeded at the presidential election the previous year, he felt the precinct well worthy of his individual attention, and that he had conciliated old Louis Rubideaux, and depended on me to enlist Lieut. Smith, of the Jurupa military post, to go with me to look out for his interests in the then Mormon stockade camp at San Bernardino. With these dispositions we retired for the night, and went to sleep listening to a lecture from Rubideaux on his Anglo-Norman ancestry, their domiciliation in the Rocky Mountains, the exploits of mountain men in Indian fighting, and of Bridger, of Carson, Godey, Sublettes, of Jim Beckworth, and of Pegleg Smith. I may, in the course of this history, repeat what I remember of the Anglo-Norman-Rocky-Mountain-American lecture, and the part of it referring to old Pegleg in particular, for the reason that I had three years theretofore the distinguished honor of enjoying the hospitality of the renowned Pegleg in his Rocky Mountain camp. When old Louis finished his lecture, his bottle and pipe I never knew, but morning came, and with it election day, and in due time the senatorial aspirant, Lieut. Smith, and myself, with prancing steeds and jingling spurs, clattered into the plaza of Agua Mansa, where the polls had already been opened, but as yet voting had not commenced. Mac's opponent was alive as to the Agua Mansa vote, and had his emissaries in the field, and the level-headed McFarland saw at a glance that whatever vantage he gained would be at the price of hard fighting. Friar Juan, learning wisdom from his experience with the most useful man, declined expressing his preference for either Bigler, the Democratic candidate for governor, or for Waldo, his Whig opponent. Neither would he favor my senatorial friend; in fact, like the shoemaker when called on to become a candidate for a seat in the House of Commons, said he thought he had better let politics alone, and "stick to his last." So hastily dispatching a courier to hurry up Don Luis, McFarland and his henchmen commenced skirmishing for votes, his opponents in like manner being out in full force, horse, foot and quartermaster's men. The skirmish lines soon became engaged, and such a scramble for votes, or of anything else, was never before known in that veritable Arcadia. (282-4)

Horace Bell goes on to relate a few pages later, a story as told him by Louis Robidoux, about Peg-leg Smith:

Pegleg Smith was a Rocky Moutain man of great renown in his time, and ranked high as a leader, not of that high type of mountain honor and chivalry as pertained to the Sublettes, Carson, Bridger, and others of that standard of excellence, but rather of the Indian freebooting class, as Jim Beckworth and others of that ilk of whom I have heard, but whose names I cannot now recall. Pegleg was not a trader, neither was he in the strict sense of the word a trapper, but was a trafficker among the Indians in horses, generally having a large supply on hand, and would at any time join a war party of one tribe to war upon another, with an agreement to take a certain pro-rata of the captured horses in payment for his valuable services. It was on one of these Rocky Mountain Indian forays that he lost his leg, which was amputated below the knee by an Indian surgeon, under the direction of Pegleg himself, the only surgical instruments used being a hunting knife and a small Indian or key-hole saw. The loss of his ambulatory member did not, however, incapacitate this hardy hero for war and raiding, and it was, I think, as related to me by Colonel Williams, Rubideaux and others, in 1839 or '40, that he planned and carried into operation the grandest and most successful horse-stealing expedition that ever crossed the Sierra Nevada and raided our angel land. In 1850 the chronicler hereof in crossing the continent halted at Pegleg's camp, at Soda and Steamboat Springs on Bear River, and found the old fellow in the zenith of happiness and prosperity. He was in the undisputed ownership of hundreds of most beautiful Spanish horses, so called at the time--in this history designated as mustangs, and by the gringos commonly called broncos. Now the truth is that a bottle of whiskey or a pound of powder was the price of a horse in Pegleg's camp, and notwithstanding whisky was scarce, and powder reasonably plenty among westward bound gold-hunters, Pegleg found ready sale for as many horses as he could spare, and himself, his squaws and his Indian retainers kept gloriously drunk, and were as happy as braves are supposed to be when they reach the happy hunting ground.

In answer to the question as to how he came to have so many horses, he said, "Oh! I went down into Spanish country and got them." "What did they cost you?" we inquired. "They cost me very dearly," said he. "Three of my squaws lost brothers, and one of them a father, on that trip, and I came near going under myself. I lost several other braves, and you can depend on it that I paid for all the horses I drove away. Them Spaniards followed us and fought us in a way Spaniards were never known to do." "How many did you get.?" we again queried. "Only about 3000; the rascals got about half of what we started with away from us, d---n them. I made up my mind to try it over, but then our own people taking the country broke up my plans. I never make war on my own people, and in driving off Spanish horses I might be brought in contact with my own country-men, and you know that would not by any manner of means do."

According to Rubideaux, a half-dozen white men and about a hundred and fifty Indians took the war-path on this grand expedition to the Spanish country, Jim Beckworth having preceded the party as a spy. According to Colonel Williams, Jim, who was a mulatto, came in and made his headquarters at his Chino ranch, and pretending that he was going to remain in the country and try his hand at killing sea otter, then a most profitable business, Jim spied out the land, and when Pegleg appeared in the Cajon Pass was ready at hand to counsel, guide and assist him. The raid was rapid and successful. Every ranch south of the Santa Ana to San Juan was visited, and the best horses and mares driven away, and before the rancheros could collect in sufficient force to pursue, the raiders had reentered the Cajon. The pursuit was, however, made, and so vigorously that the raiders were overtaken, roughly handled, and with the result as above stated by the renowned Pegleg himself. This foray was undoubtedly well planned, and was only preliminary to others to follow of a still more formidable character, which were prevented by the country falling into the hands of the great gringo nation. Pegleg, however, had made a previous grand haul of horses in Los Angeles Valley, in 1835. (288-291)

During this era, Louis Robidoux is claimed by O. M. Robidoux to have pioneered the subdivision of land in Southern California to encourage settlement. Though no mention of this is made in other, more scholarly biographies, it opens the suggestion that Louis may have helped to instigate and kick off a process of settlement and immigration to California, probably through the loaning of money to the Mormons to build their new agricultural community at San Bernardino, that would later prove to be a downfall to his "small empire" of Jurupa. It was apparent that the Mormon Company of Lyman Rich & Co was a kind of business set up by the Mormons to promote settlement in San Bernardino. As reported by a Mormon Newspaper in San Francisco:

The Rancho of San Bernardino is laid off in lots of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 acres. The property is held by Lyman, Rich, and others, in trust, we believe for the benefit of the Church. The condition of the mortgage is such now, that a warranty deed is given to the purchaser for his land, which is fully released from all liabilities, thus giving encouragement to emigration. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 261)

This Company had borrowed money heavily, and in 1853, when ranches were taking severe losses and were beginning to be taxed, the firm became hard-pressed for funds to repay their creditors. In the latter part of 1853, Lyman noted "Went to Mr. Robidoux, of whom we borrowed $1000. for one month, at three per cent per month."

The Robidoux loan gave temporary relief, but led later to unpleasant consequences, as will be seen. Evidently it was not the first loan that Robidoux made to the Mormons. his assessment for 1854 contains the item, "Lyman, Rich, & Hopkins note, $3000." (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 215-6)

In 1854, taxes began to be levied on land. Louis refused to list all his land for taxation, but he was assessed that year with property amounting to $20,200.00, including twelve hundred sheep, two hundred cattle, fifty mares, one hundred and thirty five wild cattle, "ten gentle work horses," 3640 acres of land, house, wagon and harness and several bank notes worth about $4,000.00. As this assessment was republished in the History of San Bernardino County, it reads:

ASSESSMENT OF LOUIS ROBIDOUX FOR 1854

Jurupa Rancho, supped to be three thousand acres of land at $1.25 per acre.............................................................................................................$3750.00

San Timoteo Rancho, supposed to be six hundred and forty acres of

land at $1.25..................................................................................................800.00

PERSONAL PROPERTY

Ten gentle work horses, Cal. $30 each.................................................................300.00

Fifty mares, wild, Cal. $20.....................................................................................1000.00

Twenty milk cows and calves, $25.00...................................................................500.00

One Hundred and thirty-five cows and calves, wild.......................................2700.00

Fifty Beef cattle at $20 each...................................................................................1000.00

Two hundred young cattle, $20 each..................................................................1600.00

Twelve hundred sheep at $2.50 each..................................................................3000.00

Houses and improvements...................................................................................1500.00

One wagon and harness, old...................................................................................50.00

Lyman, Rich & Hopkins note..............................................................................3000.00

Small notes amounting to....................................................................................1000.00

Total.......................................................................................................$20,200.00

(signed) L. Robidoux.

Duly executed before me according to law, this 2nd June, 1854

V. J. Herring,

County Assessor.

In September of 1855, George Washington Bean with a delegation of Mormons, visited Southern California, where he notes Louis Robidoux rancho, and makes again the association with Fort Uintah which he had visited in early 1852.

In September, 1855, President Wm. Bringhurst, myself and George G. Snider, W. A. Follett and one or two more made a trip to San Bernardino, California, taking some oxen and cows of our country to sell, as prices for American cattle were then rather high. We sold our cattle and bought wild mares and mules. George Crisman of San Bernardino was Interpreter. I believe we did well in the transaction. We were absent about six weeks from the Mission. While in California I visited with many good friends of early days in Utah and took a trip via the old ranches of Cucamunga, San Luis Recardo and El Monte to Los Angeles and San Pedro of the great Pacific shore. Also San Gabriel Mission with its large Church Bells, its pepper trees, olives and other fruits; its prickly pear fence, a mile or more long and ten feet high, alive and growing; and the largest corn (16 feet tall) I ever saw. At the Monte, one large onion would cover a large dinner plate. We ate Spanish tortillas, and frijoles and chili at the Dominguez Ranch, cooked by a squaw, a native cook. We stopped at William's Ranch and came up by old Roubidoux ranch on the Santa Ana River. He once lived in Uintah Valley and talked good Ute. While at San Bernardino I visited with several of my friends--the Hunts, the Daleys, the Stoddards, the Downeys and some others. They treated me well everywhere. I extended acquaintance at homes and ranches where we stopped for meals, music and even dances, which made our company feel important. I shall always remember the names of Don Diego Sepulveda, Senor Dominguez, Yerber, Thompson, Williams and Roubidoux, with pleasure. I visited the Roubidoux Fort, or trading post, in Uintah in 1852 with Major Rose, the Indian Agent.

It was in November, 1855, that Louis Robidoux's name appears as a Judge in the case of counseling the Cahuilla Indians who had been committing depredations at San Gorgonio:

Nov. 24. The Company continued their journey early in the morning, and arrived at or near the residence of Duff Weaver [east of the present El Cascon station in San Timoteo Canyon], where they met Juan Antonio and the chief of the San Jacinto band, with a number of their warriors. General Rich, General Hunt, and Judge Robidoux addressed the Indians at some length, Judge Robidoux acting as interpreter. The Indians denied on their part there being any hostile demonstrations, and said that their desire was to be at peace with the white men. General Rich gave some good advice, with a sketch of the Indian forefathers. A general good feeling prevailed. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 233)

Louis Robidoux was also drinking heavily at this time, as he had previously. There were increasing tensions between the Mormon Community, who combined monopolistic business tendencies with their Church affairs, and the other settlers of the area, who came to compose what was known as the "Independent party:"

So far as those stirred primarily by land or water difficulties were concerned, the line of cleavage was neither political nor religious. The Independent party contained not only the disappointed seekers of government land and their sympathizers, but other dissatisfied residents of the Valley as well. With them were allied persons living outside any possible bounds of the San Bernardino Rancho, such as Pauline Weaver, of San Gorgonio; his brother, Duff, of San Timoteo Canyon; and Louis Robidoux and his associates of the Jurupa Rancho. These men could hardly be blamed for resenting the way in which they were ignored in county affairs through the controlled vote of the Mormons. They must have indulged frequently in ironic comments on the propriety of combining the business of church and state. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 243)

The theme of Louis Robidoux as the first "California Boomer" to discover the principle of sub-division which led the way to the settlement of California, has been reiterated in early histories. O. M. Robidoux gives the following account:

Robidoux was the first in California to subdivide the large tracts of land bought by him and invited small farmers to buy on liberal terms. The opposite course had held back the settlement in California for years and even after annexation.

No matter what motives may have actuated Robidoux, this plan he began was kept up and finally led to the breaking up of the large land grant holdings and brought in emigration. The renter or vassal has not that interest in his country that had the man who owns the land upon which is his home. So it was that Louis Robidoux, the California boomer, who set the fashion to subdivide.

(O. M. Robidoux, 217-8)

This account appears to have been taken from Roubidoux's Ranch in the '70's, the first history of Riverside. It reads:

If not the first, Roubidoux was at least among the first in California to subdivide the large tract of land bought by him and invite small farmers to buy on liberal terms. The opposite course held back the settlement of California for years, even after American annexation. No matter what motives may have actuated Roubidoux, the plan he began was kept up and finally led to the breaking up of large land grants into small farms. The renter or vassal has not that interest in his country that has the man who owns the land upon which is his home. A monument should be erected to Louis Roubidoux, the California boomer who set the fashion to "subdivide." (88-9).

It was about this time, in 1856, that Louis Robidoux brought suit against the Mormon company Lyman & Rich for money owed to him. The Church journal notes for May of 1856: "For the first time our place was the scene of one of those legal robberies that so often characterize civilized nations. A lawsuit was instituted by the owner of the Jurupa Rancho against one of his neighbors, and the parties appeared before the justices of the peace here and called for a jury of our people....It is to be hoped that this is the last time our Gentile neighbors will bring difficulties to us to settle." (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 199-200)

It will be remembered that Louis Robidoux, the owner of the Jurupa, was justice of the peace for that locality, and would be disqualified for hearing a case in which he himself was interested. Hence it was that he had brought this particular suit in the San Bernardino court. (ibid. 1939: 200)

The tension between Mormons and "Gentiles" increased, expressed in terms of the rivalries between the competing Church and Independent parties. In regard to Louis Robidoux especially, by 1856, this conflict took financial dimensions:

Louis Robidoux, who had made loans aggregating $4,000. to the purchasers of the Rancho, began pressing for payment. Although he lived on Jurupa, he had been a member of the Board of County Supervisors from the time that body was established. The district he represented and which elected him had but few Mormon voters, and he had identified himself with the Independents from the start, although he had been timid about opposing the dominating Mormons. In 1856, however, he came out squarely against them, the feeling aroused over the money due him doubtless serving to increase his courage. The Church reference to the matter was, "April 6, We were notified on Saturday that Mr. Robidoux, who held a note against Bros. Lyman, Rich, and Hopkins, had placed the same in the hands of an attorney for collection. This may be termed one of the first acts of persecution against us in this land, as we were perfectly willing to pay without being sued."

On April 22, the clerk wrote, "Thank the Lord, we have paid the note that Louis Robidoux held against us. We have turned over the cattle which we collected to drive up the country, and taking them to Robidoux stopped his lawsuit against us. This was quite a relief to us, notwithstanding we sold the cattle at a loss."

But this was not the end of the matter. A few months later Robidoux found himself under arrest. The Church clerk wrote, "The opposition party held a ratification meeting which broke up unsatisfactorily to them, and about midnight Louis Robidoux and a minion of his by the name of Dr. St. Clair were drunk and tried to provoke a fight. they got into a carriage to leave, and as they started, St. Clair drew his revolver and fired into the crowd, though without hitting anyone. Both were arrested and held to answer before the law." (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 259-60)

In 1856 Louis Robidoux was again jailed "when his drinking led to a fracas with some Mormons who owed him money." (Weber, 328) According to Nelson's account:

On July 4th, 1856, the two opposing parties did their best to outdo each other in celebrating the holiday. This particular day the rivalry ended without bloodshed. But later in the fall the Independents held a political rally which broke up unsatisfactorily for some unknown reason. After this gathering, about midnight, Louis Robidoux and a minion by the name of Dr. St. Clair, both very drunk, tried to provoke a fight. As the pair were leaving by carriage, St. Clair pulled a revolver and fired into the crowd, luckily hitting no one.

Judge Benjamin Hayes left the following notices of the affair in his diary:

17th, 18th (October, 1856)

Clear, beautiful weather. Spent in inquiring into Mormon affairs; the two parties; crops; Gen. Rich; Amasa Lyman; Don Luis Robidoux; Q. J. Sparks; polygamy; prosperity of the people this year; their resources.

Stopping an hour or two at Mrs. Jackson's. She is a Mormon lady of much sprightliness. My attention was attracted to what seemed to me a poetical license, not allowable, in the Mormon hymn entitled "The Seer"; commencing "The Seer, the Seer, the Holy Seer," and sung with considerable effect, (particularly by a large congregation), to a well-known popular air. The rhyme is attempted to be made by mobs in one line to Gods in the other; mobs, I contended, is a bad rhyme. She left the poetry, and continuing still very sweetly to play the melodeon, gave me with her voice a lively touch of the Mormon doctrin as to the Gods of the Spirit-World.

19th:

Cloudy; considerable rain. The pleasure party not yet returned. It is 25 miles to the mill whither they have gone; a mill belonging to the estate of the bride's father. Don Luis Robidoux is under guard--two men politely escort him wheresoever he may wish to go; (and) a fine (is) imposed upon Dr. St. Clair; All resulted from the 'Mormon' and "Anti-Mormon' party spirit. Don Louis, as well he may, strongly denounces the unnecessary restraint...the difficulty, on this subject, which party is to blame? (147-8)

The conflict between the Independents and Church parties took clearest expression during the celebrations of the Fourth of July, which occurred without real violence or other incident besides that of overt demonstration of chauvinistic rivalries, until after the celebrations when the symbolic elements of each party, a flag pole and a bower, were destroyed by the opposing party. The History of San Bernardino County makes extensive reference to this 1856 Fourth of July celebration.

In 1856, the "Independents," as the party which was coming into opposition to the church party was called, decided to have a regular old-fashioned "back-east" Fourth of July celebration. Accordingly, a committee was appointed to make the arrangements for the affair, which was to be open to all--without regard to party lines. But the church party at once announced their intention to celebrate the day without paying any attention to the move already under way. Naturally a rivalry between the two parties followed. The Independents procured a flagpole sixty feet high and erected it on the south side of Third street directly opposite the present location of McDonald & Son's furniture establishment. The other party procured a pole a hundred feet high and put it up on the public Plaza. The Independents procured a neat new flag and ran it up--the church people got a larger flag and hoisted it; the Independents erected a bowery covered with green brush and placed seats for an audience; their rivals set up a larger bowery with seats for a larger audience. On the great day, the Third street patriots organized an impromptu chorus which sang the patriotic songs, but the Mormons had secured a band of musical instruments which made more noise. The church party had also gotten together a mounted squad of some twenty-five or thirty young men uniformed in red flannel shirts, black pantaloons and hats, who acted as escorts for the officers of the day. Here they got the better of their competitors, who had no guard and no procession. But the church party fired salutes with a little brass cannon which the other party named the "pop gun," while the Independents had a real cannon which made the mountains echo with its deep reports. This cannon was obtained for the occasion in Los Angeles, and was hauled over on a carreta drawn by two yokes of oxen driven by William McDonald. It was undoubtedly one of the weapons brought from Mexico in early days. Four of these cannon have recently been gathered up in Los Angeles, and are to be restored as far as possible and preserved as valuable historical relics in the Chamber of Commerce. Professor J. M. Guinn has looked up their history and states that they were brought to California from Mexico in 1818 for defense against privateers-men coasting up from South America who had already made some attacks on the California shore. The cannon were first planted at San Diego, but were later brought to Los Angeles and used at the battle of Cahuenga and turned against the American invaders under Commodore Stockton and General Fremont. Afterwards they were left scattered about the town. The gun brought to San Bernardino has been used many times since to remind her citizens of the day we celebrate. It has been dismounted and out of use for years, with one trunnion broken off, and it is now set in the ground as a protecting post to a hydrant in McDonald's Place, which opens off Fourth Street, between C and D.

At the plaza an ration was delivered, which while fairly patriotic, still took occasion to score the government for its degeneracy--according to the ideas of Brigham Young's followers. At Third Street, Q. S. Sparks, then well known as a brilliant speaker, delivered an oration picturing in glowing terms the past and present glory of our nation--with a good natured fling at those who drew off to observe the day by themselves. Although the Independents had the smaller following, they enjoyed their celebration and their dinner, and felt that they had succeeded in carrying out their intentions. There was no disturbance or hard feelings, the people went back and forth between the two centers of interest, and the church squad visited Third street in a body and saluted their flag. (144-6)

In 1856, there occurred another drought. On December 13th of that year, Judge Benjamin Hayes wrote:

Cattle are rapidly dying off for want of pasture. Much apprehension, a feverish uneasiness, is felt among the people on this subject, already last year having suffered considerable losses."

Cattle were slaughtered for hides to prevent their starvation and death from thirst. Locusts swarmed the grain fields.

Tension between Mormon and non-Mormon settlers subsided only after the final withdrawal of the Mormon community in 1857-8, under the orders of Brigham Young. An Anti-Mormon group crystallized in the area and they began to hold meetings and make plans for the next Fourth of July. Louis Robidoux apparently participated in this movement, according to the Mormon Church Journal:

March 25. The apostates at San Bernardino were endeavoring to stir up strife. V. J. Herring, an apostate, married to a Spanish woman....had for some time been trying to stir up Californians against the Mormons. Louis Robidoux, a wealthy ranchman, whose ranch is situated ten miles southwest of San Bernardino, was on their side, being violent against the Mormons. Reports of all kinds reached San Bernardino in regard to the operations of Mr. Benson and his party who were fortifying to resist the officers. Also that they had induced the Indians in the neighborhood to join them, promising to divide the plunder between the Indians and the Spaniards, which would be left when the Mormons were driven from San Bernardino. It was further reported that the Indians and Spaniards were advised to plunder the stores and divide their contents between them." (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 264)

Thus was constructed "Fort Benson" on Benson's land. Benson claimed he had located on Government land in 1854, though the Mormon elders did not want to sell to him the land. It was found that he was on the Grant bought by the Mormons, and the sheriff ordered him to vacate the property. He and a party of Independents threw up earthworks and armed themselves. A cannon that had been used in the previous fourth of July celebration was mounted in the fort with a broad field of fire and the flag pole raised with the American flag. According to the History of San Bernardino County (pages 146-7) "The party had powder, but no balls for the cannon, so it was loaded with small rocks as ammunition. There is no authentic record of any fight here, although it is stated by some of the old settlers that the Sheriff, accompanied by a party of men, did come out, but one explosion of the cannon full of rocks decided them to withdraw. At any rate Benson was left in possession of the land and was subsequently able to give a clear title to it." The fort was kept up for about a year, until the recall of the Mormon community came.

In 1857, the Jurupa grant was resurveyed, and Louis Robidoux was dispossessed of a larger part of his borderlands. The land had been surveyed under the military administration following the Mexican War, but a lot of the rancheros failed to validate their old grant titles, becoming deprived later on of their holdings by newcomers. The American courts neglected the appeals made on behalf of Mexican made titles: "Louis Robidoux lost a great deal of land in the litigation; he was unable to prove clear title to much of the San Jacinto and San Timoteo land.

After the American occupation of California, all private claimants under Mexican laws were compelled to prove their titles in the United States Court of Private Land Claims. The first thing done was an official survey by the Surveyor-General of California. The survey of the Jurupa Grant was not made until 1857, ten years after the purchase by Louis Roubidoux and twenty years after the original grant to Don Juan Bandini. Roubidoux had purchased only a small part of the Jurupa Grant, and the lines of his purchase did not extend to the outside boundaries of the grant anywhere. His eastern boundary was about Main street, Riverside. Elsewhere has been noted the gift to New Mexican families by Don Juan Bandini of half a league of land at the upper end of Jurupa in exchange for which the colonists were to act as "vaqueros" for Bandini's stock and fight Indians. No surveys were made of this land, which was known as the "Bandini Donation." Each man took as much as he wished, and no records were made; there was no place or provision for records.

The survey of 1857 established the boundaries of the Jurupa, but the land court did not confirm it for years afterwards. A patent was finally issued by the Present, General U. S. Grant, in 1876. (Roubidoux's Ranch in the '70's; 224-5)

By the late 1850's, Louis had more than 300 acres under cultivation, and had enlarged his orchards and had a thirty acre vineyard. "Among the by-products of this enterprise was a yearly production of two thousand gallons of wine and five hundred gallons of peach brandy, a good portion of which must have been slated for Robidoux's personal use." (Weber, 327)

"Sixty Years in California" leaves an interesting description of Louis and his way of life on the Jurupa rancho.

Louis Robidoux, a French-American of superior ability who, like many others, had gone through much that was exciting and unpleasant to establish himself in this wild, open country, eventually had an immense estate known as the Jurupa rancho, from which on September 26th, 1846, during the Mexican War, B. D. Wilson and others rode forth to be neatly trapped and captured at the Chino; and where the outlaw Irving later encamped. Riverside occupies a site on this land; and the famous Robidoux hill, usually spoken of as the Roubidoux mountain, once a part of Louis's ranch and to-day a Mecca for thousands of tourists, was named after him.

Many of the rancheros kept little ranch stores, from which they sold to their employees. This was rather for convenience than for profit. When their help came to Los Angeles, they generally got drunk and stayed away from work longer than the allotted time; and it was to prevent this, as far as possible, that these outlying stores were conducted.

Louis Robidoux maintained such a store for the accommodation of his hands, and often came to town, sometimes for several days, on which occasions he would buy very liberally anything that happened to take his fancy. In this respect he occasionally acted without good judgment, and if opposed would become all the more determined. Not infrequently he called for so large a supply of some article that I was constrained to remark that he could not possibly need so much; whereupon he would repeat the order with angry emphasis. I sometimes visited his ranch and recall, in particular, one stay of two or three days there in 1857 when, after an unusually large purchase, Robidoux asked me to assist him in checking up on invoices. The cases were unpacked in his ranchhouse; and I have never forgotten the amusing picture of the numerous little Robidoux, digging and delving among the assorted goods for all the prizes they could find, and thus rendered the process of listing the goods much more difficult. When the delivery had been found correct, Robidoux turned to his Mexican wife and asked her to bring the money. She went to the side of the room, opened a Chinese trunk such as every well-to-do Mexican family had (and sometimes as many as half a dozen), and drew therefrom the customary buckskin, from which she extracted the required and rather large amount. These trunks were made of cedar, were gaudily painted, and had the quality of keeping out moths. They were, therefore, displayed with pride by the owners. Recently on turning the pages of some ledgers in which Newmark, Kremer & Company carried the account of this famous ranchero, I was interested to find there full confirmation of what I have elsewhere claimed--that the now renowned Frenchman spelled the first syllable of his name Ro-, and not Ru-, nor yet Rou-, as it is generally recorded in books and newspapers.

I should refrain from mentioning a circumstance or two in Robidoux's life with which I am familiar but for the fact that I believe posterity is ever curious to know the little failings as well as the pronounced virtues of men who, through exceptional personality or association, have become historic characters; and that some knowledge of their foibles should not tarnish their reputation. Robidoux, as I have remarked, came to town very frequently, and when again he found himself amid livelier scenes and congenial fellows, as in the late fifties, he always celebrated the occasion with a few intimates, winding up his befuddling bouts in the arms of Chris Fluhr, who winked at his weakness and good naturedly tucked him away in one of the old-fashioned beds of the Lafayette Hotel, there to remain until he was able to transact business. After all, such celebrating was then not at all uncommon among the best of Southern California people, nor, if gossip may be credited, is it entirely unknown to-day. Robert Hornbeck, of Redlands, by the way, has sought to perpetuate this pioneer's fame in an illustrated volume, Roubidoux's Ranch in the 70's, published as I am closing my story.

Robidoux's name leads me to recur to early judges and to his identification with the first Court of Sessions here, when there was such a sparseness even of rancherias. Robidoux then lived on his Jurupa domain, and not having been at the meeting of township justices which selected himself and Judge Scott to sit on the bench, and enjoying but infrequent communication with the more peopled districts of Southern California, he knew nothing of the outcome of the election until sometime after it had been called. More than this, Judge Robidoux never actually participated in a sitting of the Court of Sessions until four or five weeks after it had been almost daily transacting business!

Speaking of ranches, and of the Jurupa in particular, I may here reprint an advertisement--a miniature tree and a house heading the following announcement in the Southern Californian of June 20th, 1855:

The subscriber, being anxious to get away from Swindlers, offers for sale one of the very finest ranchos, or tracts of land, that is to be found in California, known as the Rancho de Jurupa, Santa Ana River, in the County of San Bernardino. (Harris Newmark: 175-7)

From the Los Angeles Southern Vineyard, June, 1858 is the following reference: "Bishop Amat preached to a full and attentive house Sunday, 6th instant, at San Bernardino...This was the first Catholic service ever held in the city of San Bernardino. A large meeting of the citizens was held immediately after the religious services....The meeting resolved to proceed at once and erect a Church. A committee to take charge of the matter consisting of Messrs. John Brown, Don Pio Pico, and Louis Robidoux, was appointed." (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 423).

In 1860 Louis also became involved in land litigation cases and water rights cases as well. He brought sought against the Trujillos of "Trujillo town" or the Bandini Donation "over the location of the line" separating the Jurupa from the concession to the New Mexican settlement. Bandini had only made a verbal agreement with these settlers, and the line separating the holdings of the Jurupa from the Donation was to become for many years after a bone of contention between the otherwise peaceful settlers and the wealthy land owners, including Bandini himself who brought suit against forty five particular colonists in 1845. Bandini specified the boundaries of the donation verbally in rather vague terms, the name of the starting point for the boundary line, Protezuela del Chamisal designating two different points nearly two miles apart. The outcome of this suit Robidoux vs. Trujillo was inconclusive. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 109-110

In 1860 Louis Robidoux also fell off his horse and fractured his hip. He did not heal, and was forced to bed, from which he conducted most of his business in his remaining years. The remainder of his wealth was lost primarily in the land litigation and water-rights cases. "Misfortune dogged Louis' footsteps for the remaining years of his life."(Nelson, 61)

Benjamin Hayes again makes reference to Robidoux's ranch on February 7th, 1861, stating in relation to Agua Mansa:

Agua Mansa is, or rather was, a valley about six miles in length and from one-half to three-fourths of a mile in width, the river winding about midway through it, the soil a light, sandy loam, very rich. It was one continued farm, divided into a hundred or more fields, each having its separate owner. At the lower end began the cottonwood forest of Rubidoux, much of this filled by the flood. At the upper end you came out into a sandy plain extending tot he edge of San Bernardino, at the low rise of ground on which stood Apolitano. (268-9)

In 1862, there was another terrible flood of the Santa Ana river, following a severe winter of very heavy snows in the San Bernardino mountains. The settlement of Agua Mansa was almost completely washed away, though no lives were lost thanks to the swift actions of the local Priest who rang the bell in warning. The flood wiped out some of Louis's best bottom lands, his grain fields and vegetable plots. It wiped out his grist-mill, and other buildings which he had used for stables.

As told by Benjamin Hayes in his diary:

No lives were lost at Agua Mansa--was it a special grace of Providence?

Father Borgatta told me he heard the roar of the waters far up the valley, some considerable length of time before the flood reached Agua Mansa. So he cold ring the bells for warning. Still, several had to swim out.

Mr. Conn says: "The Santa Ana river broke over its banks, ran into City Creek, and the united torrent into Warm Creek, long before reaching the City; and this new river, as it were, afterward reunited itself below the City with the main stream. The river broke over its bank above the fields of Carpenter and others." (267)

Later in his entry for the same day, February 6th, 1862 he wrote:

Jurupa is the name of the whole tract of land, according to the Mexican grant, but it is also in common parlance applied to Agua Mansa, and the latter name is in more common use than that of San Salvador.

I visited Agua Mansa on the 6th. A dreary desolation presented itself to my eye, familiar dwellings overturned, or washed away; here only a chimney, there a mere door-post or a few scattered stakes of a fence, lofty and stout trees torn up, a mass of drifted branches from the mountain canons, and a universal waste of sand on both banks of the river, where a few months before all was green and beautiful with orchard and vineyard and garden, the live willow fence enclosing every field and giving a grateful shade of the pleasant lanes and roads.

(270-1)

Father Peter was appointed pastor of the church of San Salvador de Agua Mansa in May 1863, where he found it without a belfry or a bell. He found the bell hanging in some trees. " I was curious to know why the bell had been hung in such a odd place and was told that when the bell was brought to Agua Mansa, there being no belfry, the people got two large poles, put a cross piece on them and there hung the bell. But as the poles were green they soon began to grow, and in time became large trees. After some years one of these died; the other continued to grow, so the bell hung in a rather curious and dangerous position. It was then that the bell was taken from the pole and hung in a living tree." (353)

But now the old bell was broken and it was absolutely necessary to have another. But how? It was impossible to collect fifty or sixty dollars--the price of even the smallest bell. I heard that an old Mexican in the neighborhood could make a bell. I went to see him and he agreed that should I give him two horses and twelve dollars, with the material necessary, he would make a good bell. I wished a larger bell than the old one, hence it was necessary to have more material. I went to the Robidoux rancho, to Rincon, Temescal, and Santa Ana, and I got the twelve dollars and had no difficulty in getting the horses, and I got all the material I needed, also. The man went to work at once at the foot of the small hill where Mr. Jansen's house stood; he made the oven and the and soon the bell was made. Hundreds of people were present when the Mexican broke the mould, and when the bell was seen there was a shouting which resounded from hill to hill. But, alas, the joy was soon changed to sorrow, because on one side at the top two small holes, which not only disfigured the bell, but were the cause that its sound was not as pleasant as we expected. (355)

There followed another three-year draught from 1863-5--said to have been the severest in California history. It wiped out herds of cattle and destroyed the orchards. During this time, Louis sold off his remaining sheep.

Thus fared Louis Robidoux in the last days of his life: his herds gone, because of the dry period; his rancho almost worthless because of the flood; litigation over water rights and land causing loss of money and much worry; his health broken by a fall from a horse; and last, but not to be ignored, his land practically depopulated. This latter condition came about because of a small-pox epidemic which struck after the flood of 1862. Louis was broken by man, nature and beast. It is little wonder that he imbibed quite freely, drink being his only escape from his many worries. (Nelson, 63-4)

Another flood of the Santa Ana river occurred in the winter of 1867, the "Sunday before Christmas" but apparently, though swelling the local streams, did not lead to a great deal of damage.

Louis Robidoux died on September 24th, 1868, at the age of seventy-two years old. "Louis Robidoux, who had continued to prosper as a ranchero, died in 1868 at the age of seventy-seven years." (374) He was laid to rest in a small cemetery of Agua Mansa, with a small wooden cross marking his simple grave. Shortly afterwards, fires razed the cemetery and obliterated "all traces of the spot."

In the west end of the cemetery on the hill overlooking the Jurupa Valley lie the settlers and their children, the Trujillos, the Bustamentes, Salazars, Mollas, Espinosas, Belardes, Atencios, Alvarados, and the rest. Old Louis Robidoux and some of his children lie there also. Only a few of these graves can be identified today, since a grass fire sweeping over the hillside destroyed the wooden markers that served most of them in lieu of gravestones, and no maps or records were kept to show their location--but the spirit of the past hovers over them. (Beattie & Beattie, 1939: 119)

According to a personal account as retold over the phone by a Great Grandson of Louis Robidoux, an elderly woman, who was caretaker at the cemetery, knew when interrogated that the site of Louis's grave was under a large old willow tree. There were four willows near one another, and it was not known which was the right one. Near the four trees, a spot of friable, sandy soil was found, and when dug down, it was discovered that the four trees were in fact one, as offshoots from a much older tree that had been destroyed previously. There they dug to uncover a well made coffin covered in pitch.

On the site of the old Jurupa rancho, grew the modern city of Riverside, one of the principal cities of the "Inland Empire" Southern California.

The year of his death, a silk producing association was planned in the context of his ranch. A mulberry tree nursery was planted and a large cocoonery for rearing the silk-worms. In 1869, the creation of a silk-worm colony was planned and the "California Silk Center Association of Los Angeles" was formed.

This organization bought in June or July four thousand acres from the Bandini rancho, fourteen hundred acres from the Hartshorn Tract, and three thousand one hundred and sixty-nine from the Jurupa on the east side of the Santa Ana river. By mid-August, the main driving force of this organization, Louis Prevost, suddenly died. The demand for silk-worm eggs fell sharply, "while finally, to give the enterprise its death-blow, the Legislators, fearful that the State Treasury would be depleted through the payment of bounties, withdrew all State aid." (391)

The Silk Center Association, therefore, failed; but the Southern California Colony Association bought all the land, paying for it something like three dollars and a half an acre. To many persons, the price was quite enough; Old Louis Robidoux had long refused to list his portion for taxes, and some one had described much of the acreage as so dry that even coyotes, in crossing, took along their canteens for safety! A town at first called Jurupa, and later Riverside, was laid out; a fifty thousand-dollar ditch diverted the Santa Ana River to a place where Nature had failed to arrange for its flowing; and in a few months a number of families had settled beside the artificial waterway. Riversiders long had to travel back and forth to Los Angeles for most of their supplies (a stage, still in existence, being used for ordinary passengers), and this made a friendly as well as profitable business relation with the older and larger town; but experiments soon showing that oranges could grow in the arid soil, Riverside in course of time had something to sell as well as to buy. (391)

The town site, first called Jurupa, was laid out in 1870, but was soon changed to Riverside.

It is perhaps a fitting memorial to Louis and his brothers that Juan Bandini had thus named Mt. Robidoux standing behind rancho Jurupa, after he sold the rancho to Louis. "When there was need of a name for the little mountain that sheltered Riverside on the west, Robidoux's association with the district as its first white settler was forever commemorated by giving his name to the little mountain" (SB RC, 329) It's summit is 1,3337 feet above sea level, and it rises steeply 4-500 feet above the Santa Ana River bed. On its summit has been erected the Father Serra Cross, that was unveiled in 1909 by President William Taft. and the World Peace Tower, and at the western base is the St. Francis Fountain, where an artificial waterfall had been constructed from water coming off Mount Rubidoux. The curving, one way road to its summit, is greeted by a tablet on a curve with the words of John Muir: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms of their energy; while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." (California: An Intimate Guide, 123)

Among the beauty spots about the city, the most famous is Mount Rubidoux, which stands within the western boundary, named after Louis Rubidoux, or Robidoux, dauntless pioneer. Near its base camped Juan Bautista de Anza when in 1774 he made the first land journey to the Pacific ever made within the boundaries of the United States. In later years, padres and Spanish dons, American pioneers, overland stages, blue-clad troopers, passed this way. (California: An Intimate Guide, 122-3)

When President Taft came to the unveiling ceremony in 1909, a large chair afterward known as the 'Taft Chair" was dedicated to him at a banquet after the services on Mount Rubidoux. Taft is said to have remarked "you didn't need to make it so big." The "Taft Chair" occupied a prominent position in the lobby of the Mission Inn.

The culmination of this project was the dedication of the Father Serra Cross on the mountain. This service was conducted by Bishop Conaty and fourteen of his clergy. The inscription on the tablet on the mountain reads: "Fray Junipero Serra, 1713-1784. Dedicated April 26, 1907, by Rt. Rev. Thomas James Conaty, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles, in the presence of many people" On this occasion it is said more distinguished men of the state were assembled than at any other time. Besides the Catholic dignitaries there were bishops of the Episcopal and Methodist churches, the governor of California and private trains with the parties of Henry E. Huntington, E. P. Ripley of the Santa Fe and United States Senator William A. Clark. (827)

Mission Inn, at the foot of Mount Rubidoux, became a world-renowned hotel, known for its mission-style decor and peace.

The institution of which the city is most proud is an inn, built in the mission style. It is more than a hotel--it is a veritable shrine to California's Hispanic past. Its architecture presents an admirable adaptation of high bell-towers, arched cloisters with flagged floors and low-beamed roofs. Details have been carried out with great care and skill; much of the woodwork and furnishings of the rooms are reproductions of Spanish designs, and genuine antique iron, wood-carvings, and historic objects decorate the establishment throughout.

In plan, the inn follows closely the lines of the old Spanish missions, being built around a spacious central patio filled with trees and flowers; and you may dine under the stars in a smaller patio, where a fountain from Cordova splashes ceaselessly, cooling the blossom-scented air. When wandering in this Spanish patio, amid vines, flowers, orange trees, palms, one might imagine oneself in an old mission garden indeed. A remarkable collection of eight hundred bells, perhaps the most extensive of its kind in the world, is in a roof garden; and room after room is crowded with antiques and objects of art. The cloister music-room, with its sweet-toned organ, is quiet and inspiring, and here is displayed a matchless collection of crosses. Without leads a cloister walk, adorned with paintings of the missions and lighted niches holding images of saints.

The Spanish art-gallery is filled with early Spanish and Mexican paintings. The Rotunda, an addition of recent years, opens from two courts on the second floor, one Spanish and the other Oriental, and within it are the Galeria, an art-gallery and ballroom, the St. Francis Chapel, with famous old Tiffany windows and a great altar, carved and gilded, and rooms filled with wars from the glamorous Orient

Before the doorway of the inn stands an orange tree budded directly from a remarkable old tree which long grew here--one of the two from which sprang, by a process of grafting their buds on other stock, all the millions of navel orange trees in California. This original tree was brought from Bahia, Brazil, in 1870; was planted in Riverside three years later and transplanted to this spot by President Roosevelt in 1903. The other original Bahia orange tree still bears fruit, in its park at the head of Magnolia Avenue, Riverside. (California: An Intimate Guide, 121-2)

The anecdote of the Orange trees first planted in Riverside is in itself highly interesting:

Within a few years after the creation of the new settlement, the old Robidoux ranch became the setting for California's orange growing development. Among the first settlers of Riverside were Mr. and Mrs. Luther C. (Eliza) Tibbets, who went there from the East. Before she started for California, Mrs. Tibbets visited the propagation gardens of the Department of Agriculture at Washington where she secured several fruit trees to plant at her new home. Among the trees she received were two of the Washington navel orange, which had, shortly before that time, been introduced into the United States from Bahia, Brazil. Mrs. Tibbets planted the two orange trees by the door of her small cottage in Riverside, California. She cared for them faithfully. It is said that she carried her dish-water out to them every day because of the scarcity of water. Within a couple of years the two trees bore fruit of such a superior quality that they attracted attention throughout Southern California. Growers of the State budded their seedling orange groves with buds from the Tibbets navel orange. The entire navel orange industry of California grew up from those two trees. It was an unexpected boom for riverside, which became one of the world's famous citrus regions. today the site of riverside, once, as the bench lands of the Robidoux rancho considered a worthless arid waste, is among the wealthiest regions of the State." (Woodward, 12)

The Robidoux name has been commemorated each Easter by the sunrise ceremony held atop the mountain, graced by the white cross and bells at its summit, when many make the pilgrimage bearing torches in the morning twilight to the top to sing in harmony with the morning. This ceremony has "served as a model for many others throughout the world."

This sun rise service began on April 4th, 1909, when the keeper of Mission Inn, Frank Augustus Miller, at the base of the mountain, got his guests out in the pre-dawn morning to make a pilgrimage up the hill.

While the Inn may have surpassed the town in growth and fame, it never surpassed the man, Frank Augustus Miller. From the early age of 19, he was Master of the Inn; for it grew as he dictated; it took on the atmosphere he desired--that of languorous leisure and sedate cordiality amidst impeccable service.

But on this particular April Sunday morn, with the hour of dawn still approaching, Frank Miller and his aides broke all the rules of hostelry by insistently banging on doors and calling the hour. Even though the guests had been forewarned and had half-heartedly agreed to the plan, there was a good deal of grumbling. After all, few of them ever saw the rising sun and, for the most part, there was little desire to change that time-worn habit for any reason, especially to climb a nonsensically unimportant mountain at this ungodly hour.

They didn't know they were making history nor did they care. Nimbly, and with many a mindful threat that they would never again grace the Inn with their presence--a threat that was soon forgotten, for this dawn adventure was to become an annual "must" in the lives of many of them--they were hustled out into the chill of the somber-skied morning and commenced the strange trek up Mt. Rubidoux. (Don Miller, February-March, 1970, Modern Maturity 26)

Frank Miller was known for many accomplishments in the development of Riverside. He almost single handled got Riverside incorporated as a separate county. He helped to organize the Sherman Institute, an Indian school, started the first horse-car lines in the City of Riverside, which was later consolidated into the Pacific Electric System of Southern California. He built the Loring Opera House and later the Rubidoux Business Block on the opposite corner of the Opera House--the first three-story business block in Riverside. It was he who also initiated the construction of the Rubidoux Mountain Drive by Brigadier General Chittenden of the Government service, who built the Yellowstone Park roads, and the establishment of Huntington Park. Jacob Riis, a friend of Miller, made the dedication at a flag raising ceremony once the road was completed. Jacob Riis would return every year to the mountain until his death, and he was the one who originally suggested the idea of a community religious occasion on the mountain.

In a talk with Mr. Miller he pointed out that an Easter sunrise was the greatest Christian religious movement. He drew attention tot he fact that if people saw a sunrise in connection with religious thought the two things would effect a great spiritual stimulus for the community. It was agreed that the pilgrimage would be tried. (331)

The sunrise service on Mount Rubidoux was said to have relived the experience of Christ's resurrection of Golgotha hill. An organ played, and a sermon was given, and at that moment an annual pilgrimage and ceremony took shape. In 1911, Dr. Henry Van Dyke allowed Miller to use his poem "The God of the Open Air" at the service. In 1913 Dr. Van Dyke came himself to read the poem at the service, adding four lines to the poem.

The idea of the Easter Sunrise service caught on in the southland, and other communities began imitating it. By 1914, the service had 6,000 attendants.

Carrie Jacobs Bond came to the first service. According to the story, She was driving up Mount Rubidoux when her car stalled on the mountain grade. She walked back down the mountain to the Inn, arriving as the Chimes were playing at the end of the day. "The cross on the mountain, the Riverside environment and the chimes, were the inspiration for the words and the music which she composed." (826). Returning to the Mission Inn, she wrote her song "End of a Perfect Day." "Written while sitting in a swing, in the court of the Mission Inn, after returning from a pilgrimage to Father Serra's cross on Rubidoux Mountain in 1909." (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, 291) The words of the song are thus:

"When you come to the end of a perfect day,

And you sit alone with your thought,

While the chimes ring out with a carol gay,

For the joy that the day has brought,

Do you think what the end of a perfect day

Can mean to a tired heart,

When the sun does down with a flaming ray,

And the dear friends have to part.

"Well, this is the end of a perfect day,

Near the end of a journey, too;

But it leaves a thought that is big and strong,

With a wish that is kind and true.

For mem'ry has painted this perfect day

With colors that never fade,

And we find, at the end of a perfect day,

The soul of a friend we've made."

Carrie Jacobs-Bond returned to the services each year after that, and in 1915, wrote an anthem for the occasion "To the Easter Dawn" which was performed by a world class opera singer, Marcella Craft, from Riverside.

Van Dyke's poem was red, and when it was over, representatives of fourteen nations, among them the contending nations of Europe, unfurled their countries' flags at the foot of the cross and above these a large American peace flag was flown....Conservative estimates place the number of people at the 1915 Rubidoux Easter service as upwards of 12,000. Eleven hundred automobiles were counted ascending the mountain, a vivid contrast to the seventy automobiles of the 1912 service. Miss Craft has been a feature of every meeting since. (332)

By 1921, service attendance was estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 persons. "The mountain and its beauties is free to all at all times without any conditions." (333)

Thus concludes the story of Old Louis Robidoux, the fifth surviving son of Joseph III. Of all the brothers, he found his own way and identity in the world largely apart from the Indian trade nexus, especially as this was focused in Missouri. It is evident that he was involved during the mid to late 1820's as a trapper and trader, and that he probably continued in this capacity until the mid-1830's when he appears to have settled down somewhat as a prestigious trader and merchant of Santa Fe to raise a large family. Not much is known of his activities between the late 1820's and the mid 1830's--it can only be surmised that he was trapping and Indian trading in connection with his brother Antoine at his outposts in the Rocky Mountains and Santa Fe and Taos. Most of the story of Louis Robidoux comes after the 1840's when he relocated his family and his wealth to Southern California. After his settlement in California, he adopted the life of a Ranchero and a "Don"--he became a politician as well as a rancher and farmer. Like oldest brother Joseph IV, and unlike any of the other brothers, he was able to successfully transfer and translate the profits he gained from trading and trapping to secure for himself and his family a position of prestige and privilege within the American system. Like all his brothers, he died in relative obscurity, having seen a great deal of his wealth lost in the last decade of his life.

Clearly, Louis Robidoux's career does not fit the standard image of the Mountain Man as a semi-barbaric, inarticulate, social misfit. Robidoux, instead, was an aggressive, public-spirited entrepreneur who seems to have valued family, friends and fireside over wilderness. After the fur trade had brought him onto a foreign frontier where he could use his skills profitably, Robidoux quickly traded the life of a Mountain Man for that of a merchant, a politician, a miller, and finally a rancher. Yet, Robidoux continued to relive the adventures of his younger days. One visitor to Jurupa, in 1852, remembered falling asleep while "Old Louis," with bottle and pipe in hand, lectured "on his Anglo-Norman ancestry, their domiciliation in the Rocky Mountains, the exploits of mountain men in Indian fighting, of Bridger, of Carson, Godey, Sublette, of Jim Beckworth and of Pegleg Smith." Most contemporaries in California, however, saw Robidoux only as "Don Luis," a "gentleman of fine education, and much extended information." Within his own family, Robidoux's beginnings as a Mountain Man became so forgotten that one of his daughters boasted that he had been born in France and educated in Paris: "Besides being a scholar--he spoke seven languages and he understood law--my father was a man of great enterprise." Only the latter part of her recollection was correct" (Weber, 328-9)

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

LATIN RUBIDOUX

 

The story of the Latin Robidoux is that of the Spanish-American descendants of the Robidoux brothers that had taken Mexican wives while residing in Taos and Santa Fe between the years 1825 and 1844. It is known that Francois, Antoine and Louis had left Mexican offspring, and it would not be surprising if Isadore and Michel also have Mexican progeny. Unfortunately, very little of record is known about these descendants, but their existence and biographies present an interesting study in contrast between the white branches and the alternative Indian branches. As much as has been found thus far about Latin Robidoux descendants is included in this account:

THE UNSOLVED CASE OF CHARLES ROBIDOUX

The youngest son of Joseph IV was baptized in St. Louis in 1831 and his name was Charles. Though his life was tragically cut short at nineteen years of age, it was already clear that he had begun to follow the footsteps of this Mountain men uncles, and the mark he left on history, no matter how feint and forgotten, has surfaced as a testimonial to the spirit of the Robidoux family.

The story reconstructed here is based upon references to one Charles who is only presumed to be the son of Joseph IV. The 1850 census of the City of Santa Fe that lists Charles Robidoux as a resident tailor from Canada and who is 26 years-old conflicts with what we know of Joseph IV's youngest son. There appears also to be one Francisca Robidoux who is also 26-years-old and who was born in New Mexico. There is also a MarenΘ Robidoux listed as a 27-year-old female also born in New Mexico. This Charles and possibly Francisca and Marene may actually have been siblings of another Robidoux who may have migrated to Santa Fe in about 1824-5. Possibly, Francisca or Marene may have been Charles bride. It is interesting that this date is the first known date of entry of the Robidoux brothers into the area of Santa Fe and Taos. No other Robidoux's occur in the census of Santa Fe of this year, nor in the census of Taos and the surrounding area for the same year. Charles, Francisca and Marene are noticeably absent in the 1860 Census rolls. Mysteriously, only one Robidoux shows up for this year in the City of Santa Fe, one "Josefa Robid·," a twenty-two-year-old female who was born in New Mexico. Since there would have been a fourteen year difference in age between Josefa and Charles, it is unlikely, though possibly, that Josefa was a younger sister. Josefa would have been born in 1838 and Charles would have been 14 years-old at the time of her birth. It is unlikely he was her father.

It is possible that Charles, Robidoux's son, for whatever reason, misrepresented himself to the census-takers, lying about his age and his affiliations or occupation. Whoever this Charles was, there is no other clear evidence from genealogical records thus far found which would locate him as someone other than Joseph IV's son. It is possible that he was a son by another brother. The man met by Garrard carrying the government express may not even have been named Charles, and the Charles who was part of the action with St. Vrain's battalion or who sat for a session or two on the infamous "Traders and Trappers" court may not have been the same one who was later shot in St. Joseph. This story represents only a theory, based on sketchy evidence, of who this Charles may have been, and the brief, but eventful, life that he had led.

It is supposed that Charles, Joseph's son, was educated in St. Louis after the manner of his brothers, and that by adolescence, he was apprenticed into some aspect or other to the far-flung family business. It appears that he may have made his way to Santa Fe by 1846, possibly having joined with his uncle Antoine in the Kearny Expedition. Perhaps there was a mutual expectation that they would eventually meet up with their successful uncle Louis in California by that time. It appears that the "pull" to California among some of the nephews was quite strong at the time. According to Cheetham:

"Charles Roubideaux was also a noted scout and guide to General Kearney and others, and afterwards led the Sitgreaves Expedition. He belonged to the noted family of our traders who founded St. Joseph, Mo. and Riverside, Cal., and who maintained two forts in the mountain country."

No record of this remains, but it is probable that he was the Robidoux who was met by the St. Vrain expedition to Santa Fe from Missouri on October 23rd. that was noted by Garrard:

The River, at the "crossing" was wide but a few inches in depth--a good ford. Seeing some men on the opposite side, I crossed on Paint to learn the news--something seldom found and eagerly sought for on the plains. Captain Murphy (volunteer service), Roubideau, and two others composed the party. They were the government express to the States. Roubideau wished to buy Paint, offering me a fine bay horse, and, finally, ten dollars "to boot"; but I felt, or fancied that I felt, like the Arabian, and I thought of the long weary miles I had been carried--

the exciting buffalo chases, with the accompanying feeling of true liberty, while coursing over the bare plains on his back; so, grasping my rifle, I turned his head without a reply, and, with a shout, urged him away in a gallop, loving him more than ever. (Garrard, 32)

Young Charles would only have been fifteen years of age during this meeting. It is possible that this government express was one that had been sent out of the Kearny camp after their meeting with Kit Carson on the 6th of October, near Socorro during their trek to California, and that was led by Thomas "Broken hand" Fitzpatrick. Parkhill mentions young Charles as "one of Kearny's guides and brother of Antoine Robidoux" (109) though he was not a brother but his nephew. Colonel Doniphan gave an account of this famous meeting and the express:

Thence having progressed, on the 6th, about three miles, this column was met by Lieutenant Kit. Carson with a party of fifteen men (among them, six Delaware Indians) direct, on express, from Monterey, with sealed dispatches for Washington. He represented California as being in quiet possession of the Americans. The General then said--"Lieutenant! you have just passed over the country we intend to traverse, and you are well acquainted with it: we want you to go back with us as our guide, and pilot us through the mountains and deserts." Carson replied--"I have pledged myself to go to Washington, and I cannot think of neglecting to fulfill that promise." The General then said--"I will relieve you of all responsibility, and entrust the mail in the hands of a safe person, who will carry it on speedily." Carson finally consenting, "turned his face to the westward again, just as he was on the eve of entering the settlements after his arduous trip, and when he had st his hopes on seeing his family. It requires a brave man to give up his private feelings thus for the public good; Carson is one such." (Doniphan, 209)

That evening, "Fitzpatrick was dispatched to Santa Fe', and thence to Fort Leavenworth, with the mail from California." (210)

Whatever dispatch they were carrying, it is doubtful that Charles Robidoux took it all the way to Washington, for he was apparently back in Santa Fe within a couple of months, in time to have become a member of the little known New Mexican company of mounted volunteers that was known as St. Vrain's Company, one which saw action in the Mexican uprising of Santa Fe that began on January 18th, 1847.

Colonel Price was put in command of Santa Fe when Colonel Doniphan departed on the Chihuahua Campaign. By December of 1846, rebel leaders began holding secret meetings, from which arose a scheme to massacre the Americans and to establish a new government, in which Don Tomas Ortiz was to be the governor, Don Diego Archuleta the commanding general: "all the men involved in the conspiracy were of great and restless ambition, and expectations of office after the favorable issue of their plans for which they confidently hoped." (Burton, 177).

The revolt was originally planned for December 19th at midnight, and was to occur simultaneously over the entire province. It was apparent that the conspirators, some of whom were leaders in the Catholic church, were being aided and abetted by the clergy over the province. They held a final meeting on December 15th, to seal their plans and elect their officers. The church bell was to be the signal for the assault to begin by forces hidden inside the church. But at the last moment the attack was postponed until Christmas Eve, when the guard of the Americans would be down. It was agreed to massacre all the Americans, and their New Mexican accomplices, or else drive them from the country. At the last moment, one of the wives of the conspirators, fearing the impending blood bath, informed Colonel Price of the planned revolt. A few of the leaders were arrested and the revolt suppressed.

Those leaders not arrested began to incite the people and to plot again their move. The priests aided and helped to arm a growing number of people who enlisted their support in the rebellion. On January 19th, the rebellion broke out early in the morning in several places, with people still quiet in their beds. Charles Bent, governor under the American tribunal, was unalarmed of reports, and miscalculated the temper of the populace at Taos.

At Taos Indians demanded of Bent that they release some of their friends from jail and he refused. The rebel leader Montoya mobilized Mexicans and Indians of Taos and in neighboring villages that night, and they "poured into Taos, inflamed by liquor and angry speeches."

At dawn, they attacked the jail, demanding the release of their friends. They dragged the sheriff, youthful Stephen Luis Lee, out of bed. He broke free momentarily and sought to hide on a rooftop, where the mob discovered and killed him.

The prefect, Cornelio Vigil, ordered the mob to disperse. The aroused rebels cut him to pieces, and surged toward the homes of the Americans and those known to be American sympathizers.

Circuit attorney Leal was marched naked through the streets, riddle with arrows, and scalped while still alive. Narciso Beaubien and Pablo Jaramillo were discovered hiding in a stable and were stabbed and lanced to death.

The howling mob surrounded the Bent home. The governor refused to use his pistols and sought to reason with the rebels, while, in a back room, his womenfolk used a spoon and a poker to dig a hole through the adobe wall. Just as they crawled through the hole, the assailants smashed down the door and riddle the unarmed governor with bullets and arrows.

As the wounded man attempted to crawl through the hole in the wall, the Indians scalped him and began mutilating his body. They nailed his scalp to a board and paraded the streets with it after warning the women to remain in the house as prisoners. For two days they stayed in the dwelling with the mutilated body of Governor Bent.

Antoine Leroux's friend, Charlie Autobees, returning from Santa Fe after delivering a pack train shipment of whiskey, skirted Taos while the mob was looting the stores and homes of the Americans, hurried north and warned his employer, Simeon Turley, the distiller at Arroyo Hondo, then headed north toward Pueblo with news of the massacre.

Close on his heels came some five hundred rebels, who besieged the distillery for two days, finally killing Turley and all but three of his employees. On the Arroyo Hondo they were uncomfortably close tot he home of Antoine Leroux, known to be on the side of the hated gringos.

Bent was massacred by the Mexicans and Indians under Montoya and Tomasito. "...while engaging him in conversation through the closed door, fired, striking him in the chin and stomach. the door was then broken in and the Indians filled the body of the fallen man with arrows, three of which he pulled from his head and face as he lay prostrate. As the Indians were slashing his wrists and hands with their knives and axes, a Mexican named Buenaventura Lobato entered the room and seeing what they were doing, cried: "I did not tell you to kill him, only to take him prisoner!""(Burton, 182) The Indians finally scalped Bent.

Mrs. Boggs, Carson and Bent had begun digging through the adobe wall with an iron spoon, making their way into the adjoining house, with the assailants in pursuit. Mrs. Carson and Mrs. Boggs begged them to spare the lives of Mrs. Bent and her children, and they assented. The women and children escaped to the home of Mrs. Juana Catalina Valdez-Lobato and remained their fifteen days until the troops from Santa Fe retook the town. Pablo Jaramillo, the brother of Bent's wife, and Narciso Beaubien, son of Charles Beaubien, hid under some straw in the back of the house, but were discovered and lanced through and through, with the house being set fire and razed. Louis Lee, the sheriff, Cornelio Vigil, prefect and probate judge of Taos County, and J. W. Leal, a lawyer, were also massacred. Garrard leaves an apt description of the murder of Narciso Beaubien:

Narcisee Beaubien, son of the presiding judge of this district--the same young man in our company last fall--with his Indian slave, hid in an outhouse at the commencement of the massacre, under a straw-covered trough. The insurgents, on the search, but thinking they had escaped, were leaving, but a woman--servant to the family--going to the housetop, called them, with the words--"Kill the young ones, and they will never be men to trouble us." They swarmed back and cruelly putting to death and scalping him and his slave, thus added two more to the unfortunate victims of unbounded passion and long-cherished revenge.

Narcisse had been to Cape Girardeau college, below St. Louis, for five years; and, when he left, was a proficient in the French, Spanish and English languages, as well as versed in the usual college studies. During the route he often dwelt, with delight, on his return home, and of the different duties and pleasures to be performed and enjoyed. When we parted at Bent's Fort--he for the Valley of Taos, I for the village--his last words were warm and pressing invitations to pay him a lengthy visit; but two short months had scarcely passed ere he was numbered among the slain. (177)

From here, the insurgent's went to Turley's Mill, the distiller of Taos Lightning, where, according to Ruxton, there were eight Americans who were fairly well armed. Taking heed, Turley and the others locked the gates to the compound of the mill and distillery, and when the rebels came to demand their surrender, he refused. There were about 500 rebels, who were daily being augmented by Indians and other Mexicans from the surrounding pueblos. The assailants spread out over the surrounding area and began firing into the compound. The defenders fired back with effect and killed a number of the assailants. During the night, a fire was built in the compound which was then reinforced in its defenses. At the same time, the rebels gained possession of the corral in back of the compound, and were attempting to break through the heavy adobe-timber wall, which they failed to do. The assailants at the stable sought to cross the space to the wall, and the first, an Indian chief was immediately killed by the defenders. Seven more Indians attempted to retrieve the body, and were all killed. At the death of the last man, all the assailant poured in a sudden volley into the compound and killed two defenders.

At mid-day the assailants renewed their attack even more fiercely in their frustration. The defenders' ammunition was running low, and the assailants torched the mill which threatened to destroy the whole compound. Twice the defenders attempted to quell the flames, when the assailants would gain entrance to the corral, killing the sheep and hogs there. The flames continued and increased, and the defenders held council to try their escape, each on their own, as best they could when night fell. Just at dusk, two defenders rushed the wicker gate where many assailants were, but were cut-down in the heat of the moment. Albert crawled under the gate, being pierced repeatedly, but lay still as if dead. Later he crept over the logs and ran up the mountain, traveling all night and the next day until he reached the Greenhorn, almost dead from exhaustion and hunger. Turley also succeeded in escaping and going into the mountains, and met a Mexican he had known for a long time. This Mexican would not loan him his horse, but hid him and promised him aid, thence going to the Mill and informing the rebels of his whereabouts, they sent out after him and shot him to death. Two others escaped and reached Santa Fe safely. The mill and house were destroyed and plundered of its gold, which Turley had long hidden away inside of it.

Rebellion was occurring in other parts as well. Several prominent American Santa Fe traders were killed in Mora, including Lawrence Waldo. He was entering the pueblo with a caravan in the midst of the uprising, when he was suddenly set upon and the entire train massacred. News carried to Las Vegas, where there were troops, and these rushed to Mora and recovered the bodies.

Stephen Lee, brother of the man killed at Bent's house, walked all the way to Santa Fe with a bullet wound in his heel to inform them of the uprising, reaching there the next day on the 20th. Colonel Price immediately set out for Taos on the morning of the 23rd. Colonel Sterling price organized three hundred and fifty-three infantry soldiers, mostly "Missouri Mounted Volunteers" from Albuquerque under Major Edmundson, and Captain Burgwin with a company of Dragoons, leaving another company behind to protect Santa Fe, and Ceran St. Vrain raised a company of mounted volunteers, among whom was Jim Beckwourth, Carlos Beaubien, one Papin and Charles Robidoux.

Steps were taken at once by General Price to put an end to the revolution and to punish the insurgents. An emergency company was organized in Santa Fe, with Ceran St. Vrain as captain, with the following officers and men: Lieutenants, Charles Metcalf, Geroge Peacock; sergeants, Hugh N. Smith, Robert Cary, J. W. Folger, Richard B. Dallam; corporals, Edward Chadwich, James H. Quinn, J. R.Tulles, Preston Beck; privates, Charles Autibees, Thomas Autibees, Lorenzo Atkins, P. Anaya, Julio Armenta, Tom Biggs, Vital Vergeeron, Henry J.Cuniff, Manuel Chavez, Batiste Charefoux, Andrew Constance, Antonion Conoyer, Richard Campbell, George H. Crosby, Wm. Deering, Lorenzo DeForrest, Julio Esquibel, Rafael Esquibel, Geo. H. Fuller, H. Grolman, James M. Giddings, Lewis Gold, O.H. Hovey, John J. Harper, Caleb J. Hamilton, F. K. Howlett, Peter Joseph, Charles Le Roux, B. LeRoux, J. W. McClure, John A. Mitchell, W. G. Morgan, Jas. Nangler, Henry Nangler, Nicolas Pino, A. J. Papin, J. Pomeroy, Joseph Pley, J. Powers, J. W. Randall, O. B. Rohman, R. Robbins, W. Rankins, C. Roubidoux, E. Rollins, A. Sandoval, B. Salomain, M. Sanford, Anthony Thomas, Charles Town. Chaves was offered a commission in this battalion by St. Vrain, but declined, and, having taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, marched in the ranks to Taos, an enlisted man. Don Nicolas Pino also enlisted and both took an active part in the battle of Taos. (282)

This small force then marched northward towards Taos. The force totaled 480 men, mostly volunteers of Missouri Militia and old Mountain men, accompanied by four mountain howitzers. The ground was covered with snow and it was extremely cold.

They were met at La Canada on January 24th at about 1:30 p.m. by a force of rebels under Generals Ortiz, Tafoya, Chavez and Montoya who were on the march for Santa Fe. Captain St. Vrain's Santa Fe Volunteers were the only American forces mounted, and they rode in advance to discover the enemy force approaching. The Americans, though vastly outnumbered, were better organized and armed. The main body of Americans were rushed forward ahead of their provisions, in the hope of catching the enemy unprepared. "As I entered the valley, I discovered them beyond the creek on which the town is situated, and in full possession of the heights commanding the road to Canada, and of three strong houses at the bases of the hills. My line of battle was immediately formed--the artillery, consisting of four 12-pound mountain howitzers, being thrown forward on the left flank and beyond the creek, the dismounted men occupying a position where they would be, in some degree, protected by the high bluff bank of the stream from the fire of the enemy." (Prices Report, 188-9)

The canons opened up on the houses, and the infantry infiladed the heights with their rifles. The enemy sent a large body of forces to the rear to cut off the suppy trains, and St. Vrain's company was immediately dispatched to intercept them. "This service was rendered in the most satisfactory manner." Then Price ordered a charge on the house opposite the right flank from which a hot fire was being poured on the Americans. "This was done in the most gallant manner. A charge was then ordered to be made upon all the points occupied by the enemy in any force." One company charged up a hill, while St. Vrain's mounted volunteers went around the backside of it to cut off any retreat. The artillery and supporting companies took the remaining houses with their stockaded compounds, and charged the heights beyond them. "In a few minutes my troops had dislodged the enemy at all points, and they were flying in every direction." Being now near dusk, pursuit was broken off, and the Americans took possession of the town during the night.

The Americans charged, led by the mounted volunteers, and repulsed the advancing rebels, killing thirty-six. The number of enemy wounded were unknown. The Americans lost two men and six wounded. Colonel Doniphan's account of the action is as follows:

The insurgents had assembled in strong force at La Canada, under command of General Ortiz, Lafoya, Chavez and Montoya, with the view of making a descent upon Santa Fe'. Col. Price having ordered Major Edmondson and Capt. Burgwin, with their respective commands from the Rio Abajo, on the morning of the 23d, at the head of three hundred and fifty-three men, which number was afterwards augmented to four hundred and eighty, and four mountain howitzers, marched against the insurgents, leaving Lieutenant-colonel Willock, with a strong garrison, in command of the capital. The weather was extremely inclement, and the earth covered with snow.

"On the evening of the 24th, Col. Price encountered the enemy at Canada, numbering about two thousand men, under the command of Gens. Tofaya, Chavez and Montoya. The enemy were posted on the hills commanding each side of the road. About two o'clock, P. M. a brisk fire from the artillery under the command of Lieuts. Dyer (of the regular army) and Harsentiver, was opened upon them, but from their being so much scattered, it had but little effect.

The artillery were within such short distance as to be exposed to a hot fire, which either wounded or penetrated the clothes of nineteen or twenty men who served the guns. Col. Price, seeing the slight effect which the artillery had upon them, ordered Captain Angney with his battalion to charge the hill, which was gallantly done, being supported by Captain St. Vrain, of the citizens, and Lieut. White of the Carroll companies. The charge lasted until sundown.--Our loss was two killed, and seven wounded. The Mexicans acknowledged a loss of thirty-six killed, and forty-five taken prisoners. The enemy retreated towards Taos, their strong-hold. (Doniphan, 393-4)

They remained in La Canada several days, consolidating their forces. Horses were brought in for the troops. On the 27th, Colonel Price resumed his march on Taos, reinforced by two companies of Dragoons and another 6 pound howitzer. "My whole force now comprised 479 rank and file." On the 29th they marched to La Joya, where they heard reports of a force of 60 or 80 rebels on the slopes leading to Embudo. Price dispatched Captain Burgwin's Company, Captain St. Vrain's and the company commanded by Lieutenant White, comprising "180 rank and file." This force encountered the Mexicans once again at El Embudo "to the number of between six and seven hundred, posted on the sides of the mountains, just where the gorge becomes so contracted as scarcely to admit the passage of three men marching abreast" (190):

They were discovered in the thick brush on each side of the road, at the entrance of a defile, by a party of spies, who immediately fired upon them. Capt. Burgwin, who had that morning joined Colonel Price with his company of dragoons, hearing the firing, came up, together with Captain St. Vrain's and Lieutenant White's companies. A charge was made by the three companies, resulting in the total rout of the Mexicans and Indians. The battle lasted half an hour; but the pursuit was kept up for two hours. (Doniphan, 394-5)

"The action was commenced by Captain St. Vrain, who, dismounting his men, ascended the mountain on the left, doing much execution." The Americans ascended the heights rapidly, and the enemy retreated to Embudo. The Americans were soon reinforced and relieved from the main body, who had heard the fire, and they quickly marched through the pass and occupied the town. "Our loss in this action was one man killed, and one severely wounded, both belonging to Captain St. Vrain's company. The loss of the enemy was about twenty killed and sixty wounded."(192)

The Americans resumed their march the next day, January 30th, to Trampas, where the main body and the provisions caught up by a more southerly route, and the Americans regrouped their forces, before marching on the 1st of February, toward Taos, and arriving there without further opposition on the 3rd of February.

...On the 3d, I marched through Don Fernando de Taos, and finding that the enemy had fortified themselves in the Pueblo de Taos, proceeded to that place. I found it a place of great strength, being surrounded by adobe walls and strong pickets. Within the enclosure and near the northern and southern walls, arose two large buildings of irregular pyramidal form to the height of seven or eight stories. Each of these buildings was capable of sheltering five or six hundred men. Besides these, there were many smaller buildings, and a large church of the town was situated in the northwestern angle, a small pasage being left between it and the outer wall. The exterior wall and all the enclosed buildings were pierced for rifles. The town was admirably calculated for defense, every point of the exterior walls and pickets being flanked by some projecting building, as will be seen by the enclosed drawing. (192)

Price reconnoitred and chose the Church as the point of the attack. At 2:00 P. M. the battery opened up at 250 yards distance, which fire was maintained for two and a half hours at which point Price retired his troops to Don Fernando to await the provision train and to rest his forces. The next day, early on the 4th, the Americans again advanced. He posted one company on the flanks of the church, and sent St. Vrain's company and another around the other side of the town to intercept any rebels trying to flea. The rest of the troops were lined some 300 yards from the north wall, along with several howitzers. The batteries opened fire at 9 A. M., but failing to breach the walls, at 11 A. M., the main forces stormed the Church walls at the same time. Gaining the walls, they fired the roof and attempted to cut through the walls with axes. Captain Burgwin gained the corral and attempted to force the church door, being mortally wounded in the process. Holes were broken in the walls, and the Americans poured fire into these "to good effect." A howitzer was brought up to within 200 yards and poured grapeshot into the town. "About half-past three o'clock the 6-pounder was run up within sixty yards of the church, and after ten rounds, one of the holes which had been cut with the axes was widened into a practicable breach. the gun was now run up within ten yards of the wall-- a shell was thrown in--three rounds of grape were poured into the breach." The Americans gained possession of the Church without further opposition.

The Americans then charged the northern side of the town, and the enemy abandoned the western side. Many sought to hide in houses on the eastern side of the town, others took flight to the hills, where they were hunted down by St. Vrain's company, which killed fifty-one rebels and allowed only a couple to escape. "The number of the enemy at the battle of Pueblo de Taos was between six and seven hundred. Of these, about one hundred and fifty were killed--wounded not known. Our own loss was seven killed and forty-five wounded. Many of the wounded have since died." (95)

Some six hundred Mexicans and Indians held the town, which was "dominated by a thick-walled adobe church." Their first attack that day was repulsed.

A few rounds were fired by the artillery that evening, but it was deemed advisable not to make a general attack then, but wait until morning. The attack was commenced in the morning by two batteries under the command of Lieuts. Dyer and Wilson, of the regular army, and Lieut. Harsentiver of the light artillery, by throwing shells into the town. About meridian, a charge was ordered and gallantly executed by Capt. Burgwin's company, supported by Capt. McMillan's company and Capt. Angney's battalion of infantry, supported by Capt. Burbee's company. The church, which had been used as part of the fortifications, was taken by this charge. The fight was hotly contested until night, when two white flags were hoisted, but were immediately shot down. In the morning the fort was surrounded. The old men, the priests and matrons, bringing their children and their sacred household gods in their hands, besought the clemency and mercy of their conquerors. Pardon was granted. In this battle fell Capt. Burgwin, than whom a braver soldier, or better man, never poured out his blood in his country's cause. (Doniphan, 395)

The defenders of the fortifications fled, only to be run down and slaughtered by St. Vrain's mounted volunteers.

While the battle was in progress Chaves and St. Vrain were fighting side by side, when two Indians came running toward them on horseback, evidently looking for a hand to hand conflict. As they approached, Chaves raised his rifle and fired; St. Vrain expected to shoot the other Indian, but, at the very moment of taking aim, a big Apache Indian jumped from behind some cedars and grabbed St. Vrain's rifle; a fierce stubble followed; St. Vrain called to Chaves to kill the Indian who was coming on horseback, as he would handle the Apache. Chaves had killed the Indian at whom he had fired his first shot and his companion turned and fled. Chaves then ran to the assistance of St. Vrain and struck the Apache a terrific blow on the head with his "Hawkins" rifle. The Indian fell dead across the legs of St. Vrain, who was completely exhausted and in another moment the Indian would have taken his life with an immense knife which he had been trying to use...(Twitchel, 282-3)

The Mexicans lost an estimated 282 men killed, and an unknown number wounded. The Americans lost 15 killed and 47 wounded. Among the killed were one "private Papin" of the St. Vrain's company. Another engagement had been fought at the village of Mora on the 24th of January, with the Mexicans losing 25 killed and 17 prisoners, and the Americans losing one killed and three wounded. Dick Wooton, who was a member of St. Vrain's company at the battle of Taos, left a first hand account of the action of this company that day:

Colonel Ceran St. Vrain, Governor Bent's partner, accompanied Captain Burgwin with about sixty volunteers, picked up in Santa Fe. They reached Taos late on the third of February. (Wooton, with four companions, joined these volunteers at Taos.) The fight commenced early the next morning, and the battle which followed was a bloody one, considering the number of men engaged in it...It lasted until sundown, and I think we were resisted as stoutly as were the American soldiers upon any battle field of the Mexican war...The last stand made by the insurgents was at the old church. When they were driven out of there, they fled in every direction. Of course we pursued them, and not much quarter was asked or given. There was considerable hand-to-hand fighting, Colonel St. Vrain himself, I remember, engaging in a contest which in spite of the peril of the situation, was amusing. The colonel was riding along with myself and two or three others, who were about to join in a pursuit of one party of fugitives, when he observed an Indian whom he had seen a great many times, and knew very well, lying stretched out on the ground, apparently dead. Knowing that this Indian had taken a prominent part in the massacre, Colonel St. Vrain dismounted, and walked a few feet from where we were, to see whether the red skin was really dead or only shamming. That the latter, and not the former, was the proper diagnosis of the Indian's case, the colonel was soon very thoroughly convinced. He had scarcely reached the side of the apparently dead Indian, when the latter sprang up, and grappling with him, undertook to thrust into his body a long, steel-pointed arrow. Both the Indian and the colonel were large, powerful men, and as each managed to keep the other from using a weapon, a wrestling match followed the Indian's attack, which, it seemed to me, lasted several minutes before outside help terminated it in the colonel's favor. I sprang to his assistance as soon as I saw the struggle commence, but the Indian managed to keep the colonel between him and me, and was so active in his movements, that I found it difficult to strike a lick which would be sure to hit the right head. I managed after little, however, to deal him a blow with my tomahawk which had the effect of causing him to relax his hold upon the colonel, and when he stretched out on the ground again, there was no doubt about his being a dead Indian.

Price accepted the surrender of Taos on condition that the ring-leaders also be surrendered.

The principal leaders in this insurrection were Tafoya, Pablo Chaves, Pablo Montoya, Cortez, and Tomas, a Pueblo Indian. Of these, Tafoya was killed at Canada; Chaves was killed at Pueblo; Montoya was hanged at Don Fernando on the 7th instant, and Tomas was shot by a private while in the guard-room at the latter town. Cortez is still at large. This person was at the head of the rebels at the valley of the Mora. (195)

Pablo Montoya was court-martialed on the 6th of February and was hung the next day "in the presence of the army". Fifteen ringleaders were jailed at Taos. "Fourteen others, who were concerned in the murder of Governor Bent, were tried, convicted, and executed in a similar manner, in the neighborhood of Taos." (Doniphan, 398) Thirty insurgents at Santa Fe were court-martialed and put to death. "but many prisoner's were discharged, since it was impossible to charge them with treason against a government under which they were not citizens." (Parkhill, 107-8)

Warfare continued over the next several months with both Mexican and Indian forces at large harassing the outlying pueblos. The American forces in left to garrison these areas were harassed, and largely undermanned and ill-equipped to effectively bring all these rebels under control. Several engagements took place which proved indecisive.

St. Vrain's company of mounted volunteers was disbanded within a month, but we find Charles Robidoux as a member of the jury of the court of April 5th that met to try the rebels. Compared to the "Nuremberg trials, the legal status of both the defendants and many of the jurors was in some critical doubt, leading to a Supreme Court decision a couple of years later. It has become known as the "Trappers and Traders" court, and many members of the jury were friends of the victims of the rebellion.

Three of the defendants had been indicted on a charge of treason; the rest were tried for murder. The first six were hanged April 9. Polo Salazar and one other charged with treason were found guilty; the remaining treason defendant was discharged. One murder defendant was found not guilty. The remaining defendants, found guilty of murder, were hanged on April 30. (Parkhill, 109)

That he served on the Trader's and Trapper's court is evident in the court records of the proceedings. It is evident also that he did not serve consistently in the trial of all the men, but appears in only the trial of one or two men. On April 16th, 1847, the court met in the case of the Territory of New Mexico versus Jose Fabian Baca in an indictment for Horse Stealing.

The defendant appears with his counsel and pleads not guilty. Whereupon a Jury is called, empaneled sworn, to-wit: Jos. Paly, Louis Sheets, Chas. Roubideaux, C. L. Corrier, Jos. Paulding, Benj. Day, Peter Joseph and Blass Trujillo. The evidence being submitted to the Jury they return the following verdict. We the Jury find Jose Fabian Baca Guilty as charged and condem him to receive twenty five lashes on his bare back, Edmund Chadwick Foreman. It is therefore considered by the Court that the said defendant be punished in accordance with the verdict, and that at Six of the afternoon on this day he receive upon his bare back and that said defendant satisfy the costs in this behalf expended. (Cheetham, 37)

That this Charles Robidoux was still in Santa Fe by 1850 is given by the U.S. Census. He is listed as a Canadian, 26 years of age, and a tailor. That this may have been another Charles Robidoux, who might have come from Canada, is a possibility, although no other Charles of that age is found in the genealogy as constructed by Clyde Rabideau. It is possible that a young Charles, barely 19 years old, had lied about his age to authorities. That he was connected with St. Vrain and others suggests that he had become part of the old network that had been established by his uncles in the area.

Cheetham claims that Charles Roubideaux guided the Lorenzo Sitgreaves Expedition to Zuni country in 1851, one which was accompanied by the artist Richard Kern. This was primarily a scientific expedition which recorded a great deal of zoological, botanical and cultural data from a hitherto unexplored region. The published account of this expedition reveals that Antoine Leroux was the principal guide, but also there are listed four unnamed Americans and four unnamed Mexicans who were part of this survey. Antoine Leroux was wounded by indians, which incapacitated him in the course of his duties. It is entirely possible that a young Charles had accompanied Antoine Leroux, known to have been connected intimately with the Robidoux since childhood days in Florissant.

Clearer, more detailed evidence needs to be found regarding this expedition before Charles identity in connection to it can be ascertained.

The next set of references to young Charles Robidoux is given in the tragic anecdote told by Rudolph Kurz about his fatal murder in St. Joseph:

In the summer of 1848 the youngest son of old Robidoux met his death in a tragic manner. When he had finished his course at a college in St. Louis he came direct to St. Joseph. As too frequently happens, his entrance into the world of affairs was a protracted "spree." In his father's town he thought he might give himself up to the convivial life without restraint. Now it happened that just at this time the citizens of St. Joseph were in a state of great excitement over the hooded bands of thieves that took away their horses and cattle. A number were caught and, to avoid legal procedure, the inhabitants let them be lynched. In consequence of these occurrences, anyone who gave rise to the slightest suspicion after dark had to be prepared for any fate. One night young Robidoux, in exuberant spirits, heightened still more by many a "pop," was leaving the grocery in the dark, at midnight, to go home, when he conceived the desire to play a poor joke on a counting-house clerk, left in charge of the store, by frightening him up with noise. MacD., having not idea who was beating on the storehouse door so late, and having only thieves in mind, opened the window and called, again and again, "Who's there?" Young Robidoux, instead of answering him, pressed close against the lintel to avoid being seen, for neither was MacD. his friend nor Mac's employer one of his father's; both of them were competitors of old Robidoux in trade with the Indians. Recognizing neither the young gentleman nor his companion, in the darkness, but regarding their movements as questionable, he shot young Robidoux from above, directly in the head, and killed him as dead as a rat. Then Robidoux's comrad criedout whothey were, but it was too late. I remember perfectly well the scene that followed. Notwithstanding the late hour, everybody on Main Street was waked up; a crowd gathered about the dead body. Old Robidoux was furious. He declared the murder of his son to be the base act of his competitor in trade and wished to lynch MacD.--in fact he himself brought a rope for the purpose. With much difficulty he and his adherents were restrained from committing that deed of violence. MacD., protected by his own friends, gave himself up to the constable. The fellow who was with the unfortunate young Robidoux at the time of his death was required to tell the facts and his statement prevented further bloodshed. MacD.'s employer stood bail for him, so that during the legal proceedings he need not remain in St. Joseph. As was just, he was later acquitted, and then he returned to the town. (Kurz, 68-9)

This statement appears to be either a first hand account "I remember perfectly well the scene that followed" or else it was an account derived from some first hand source, or else, a concatenation of sources. The date given for Charle's death in the "official genealogy" is 1851. O. M. Robidoux does not provide a date for the incident but says that he was "nineteen years old" when he was killed, which would put it at about 1850. Her genealogy gives the birth date of Charles at 1831 and his death-date in 1851--he must have died just shy of his twentieth birthday if this is correct. Her account of the accident is as follows:

At nineteen years of age he was killed on Main Street in St. Joseph, opposite the Edgar house.

On this fatal night, Sunday, Charles Robidoux, in company with others, was out sky larking around and visiting several places in town, amusing themselves. Charles Robidoux, about eleven o'clock at night on Main Street, was standing in front of Summerville store room in company with his friends, Charles Summerville and one of the Edgar boys, son of the proprietor of the Edgar House. Mr. Charles Robidoux was pulling at a post in front of Duncan McDonald, merchant of St. Joseph, next door to Henry Summerville's store. This post belonged to Duncan McDonald and was used for hitching horses.

Charles was playing and pulling at the post and finally pulled it up and put it on his shoulder and was carrying it in the direction of the Edgar House right across the way and immediately, the window of the store of Duncan McDonald was hoisted and a gun fired, which shot Charles Robidoux in the back of the head. Immediately Edgar and Summerville went to him and found him breathing. He spoke on a few words before he died, saying, "I'm shot."

That same night they took his corpse to his brother's residence on Main

Street. He was a clerk in the store of his brother, Julius.

At the time of the occurrence, Julius, his brother, and wife were in St. Louis buying the fall stock of goods. The next morning, when the news spread through the town that a man had been killed, the whole town was in great excitement. The news was sent immediately to his father, Joseph Robidoux, and he was told of the killing of Charles Robidoux in front of Duncan McDonald's store on Main Street. He could hardly believe it and was panic-stricken, and started immediately to the place and residence of his son.

When he arrived at the store of Duncan McDonald there was a large crowd of people around the building waiting for the opening of the store and the arresting of those who should be found there. Mr. Joseph Robidoux was very much excited and was determined to burst open the front door of the store, with a rope in his hand as he wanted to get hold of the murderer and hang him on the spot and he was calling on the people to help him. It was with great difficulty that his friends could keep him from breaking into the store. The parties were all well guarded. Duncan McDonald, and his brother and T. A. Beaubre were the only parties in the store at the time of the shooting.

Mr. Duncan McDonald came out and told the people that he acknowledged the shooting and that his brother and Beaubre had nothing to do with it, and he gave himself up. The inquest was held on the body of Charles Robidoux and Duncan McDonald was held to bail and was guarded by his friends for fear of violence from the people.

Mr. Robidoux employed the best counselors and attorneys in the country to prosecute the case against the murderer. The trial continued from court to court and finally change of venue taken to Savannah, Andrew County, Missouri. Duncan McDonald was finally freed, after the main witnesses in the case had left the country, and was acquitted by the jury.

The rascal went unpunished for the rime he had committed. He always admitted that he never meant to shoot anyone but shot at random and accidentally shot Charles Robidoux, and previous to this sad fate, he was an intimate friend of Joseph Robidoux and all the family, and he was extremely sorry and willing to make all reparations that the family might desire. The expense of the trial and lawyers broke him and he sold out his goods and left the town and took to hard drinking and finally died a miserable drunkard. (123-6)

Again, there are numerous discrepancies in the reconstruction of one Charles Robidoux's biography. Is the C. Robidoux found in Santa Fe the same as the son of Joseph killed in St. Joseph? The most definite way to decide is to find a reference to Charles Robidoux in Santa Fe after 1850, such as a census--but if this is not found, it proves nothing. It is hard to determine who is the most unreliable source, Rudolph Kurz, claiming to have been an eye-witness in 1848, and yet known for his raconteurship, or O. M. Robidoux, possibly deriving a newspaper account or eye-witness testimony, or else relying on non-first hand family memory of the incident, and yet known for her unreliability and prejudice. The closest Canadian Charles Robidoux was born in 1829, which would have made him twenty-one at the time of the Santa Fe census--this is a five year discrepancy between the age given in the 1850 census, and only a one or two year discrepancy with Robidoux's last son. It does not seem unlikely that the Santa Fe Robidoux who took part in the battles of La Canada and the siege of Taos, who may have been met as a government courier, and was affiliated with St. Vrain and the other mountain-men, was probably the nephew of Antoine and Louis. It is known that the Robidoux brothers and sons were inducted into the family trade at about adolescence. His being a young man would account for the possibility of his lying about his age to some census official knocking at his door. The dates do not conflict that much to suggest that it may well have been the same Charles who turned up in the summertime of 1851 in St. Joseph to carouse with his old chums. On the other hand, we are left with another possibility, that this Charles may also have been a half-breed son of one of the brothers.

 

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA ROBIDOUX

The final note of scholarly attention to the field of lesser lights among the Robidouxs are to highlight the biographies and biographical anecdotes of some of the descendants of Louis Robidoux, who settled in California from Santa Fe' as early as 1844, and had a fairly large progeny there. They are included in this synopsis of the Robidoux because they show a special, latinized, side of the Robidoux lineage.

Louis Robidoux had eight surviving children by his wife Guadalupe. Of these, the oldest daughter, Catalina, was born in 1835. She married her paternal cousin, Louis Robidoux, the son of Pierre Isidore, in 1850. This is a highly unusual occurrence of surname endogamy, which appears to have been uncommon, and possibly sanctioned, in French culture. It is evident that young nephew Louis, who was the senior Louis's namesake, was following lines of greatest opportunity in coming out to California to be with his uncle on his Jurupa Rancho. Uncle Louis had made a name for himself--he was a family success story, unlike his own father. It is likely that the younger Louis may have returned to California in 1849-5 in company with his Uncle Antoine via the Scott's Bluff post, and that Louis, who was at the time thirty-years-old, was operating within this nexus previous to his California sojourn.

It is evident that Catalina was only fifteen when she married her cousin Louis, who was twice her age. It is probable that she had become pregnant by him, and that they had a shot-gun marriage by uncle Louis and aunt Guadalupe's insistence, regardless of what anyone would say. It must be understood that the Jurupa Rancho at that time was relatively isolated and probably extremely lonely and dull, during those early years. Uncle Louis could escape the hot-dry monotony on his business trips to Los Angeles, where he would become ten sheets to the wind, but his children and wife probably did not have a similar opportunity except in church or in the local Spanishtown (Agua Mansa) which consisted of but a handful of poor Mexican families, or possibly visiting the other local ranches which were proximate to the Jurupa.

Whatever the extenuating circumstances, which can only be guessed at one hundred and fifty years later, it is evident that they had at least six or seven children. The date of the first born child is unknown--though I would guess that it was in 1850. Louis Robidoux the nephew died on July 23rd, 1866, a year after

their last set of twins were born, and Catalina remarried on "Peralta". The genealogy of their family as it has been reconstructed, is as show before.

The Senior Robidoux's own consanguineal son Jose Luis Robidoux, better known as Louis Robidoux II, who was born in 1837 in Santa Fe, married Flavia Castillo on Jurupa on April 22nd, 1861, and they had nine children, most of whom dates of birth are unknown. Their genealogy is as follows.

Because the dates of births of the children have not been sufficiently researched, they are unknown, and their birth order is conjectural. What little evidence there is suggests that Jose Luis and Flavia had 10 boys, an unusual accomplishment. Only evidence for birth dates of two boys has been found--it is possible that one is a baptismal date, or else that the two boys, Peter Rubidoux and Joseph Rubidoux, were twins. Whatever the actual case, it is apparent that there is quite a "Latin" progeny of Robidoux's descended from Jose Luis and Flavia in California, whose genealogies have not been reconstructed at all. It is possible that the penultimate son "George" was actually the adopted son from Jose Luis's older sister's second marriage after her husband Louis Robidoux passed away. This suggests also that perhaps some of the other boys of the family were adopted also.

Jose Luis is noteworthy for their involvement in what was once a famous land-grant scandal, known as the Peralta-Reavis story, in the land sessions court organized on July 1st, 1891, in Denver, Colorado, and soon moved to Santa Fe, in order to clear up all claims of earlier Spanish Grants in the Southwest. One James Addison Peralta-Reavis and his wife claimed 12, 467, 456 acres of land given in an early grant, covering most of the state of Arizona and about half of New Mexico. Before this claim was proven fraudulent and thrown out, it proved to be one of the greatest frauds in history. Peralta-Reavis was born in Missouri, and was a confederate veteran, afterward settling in St. Louis. Here he claimed to be in possession of documents supposedly the granted title to the land made by the King of Spain to one Don Miguel de Peralta de la Cordoba in 1749. Before the court was convened, James Peralta-Reavis involved the support of numerous wealthy and influential persons in his claims, including "the Southern Pacific Company, Robert G. Ingersoll, Roscoe Conkling, Collis P. Huntington, William S. Wood, Reuben H. Lloyd, John E. Mackay, Ed. S. Stokes, Charles Crocker and others. The Southern Pacific Company, according to Reavis' confession, advanced some two hundred thousand dollars and all together there must have

been half a million dollars put up to cheat the United States out of one hundred leagues of government land in Arizona and New Mexico. (Bell, 213)

Shortly after the organization of the court he filed his claim, not the original which he had been promoting for many years, but an entirely new one, in which it was alleged that his wife, Dona Sofia Loreto Micaela de Peralta-Reavis, nee Maso y Silva de la Cordoba, was the great-granddaughter of Don Miguel Nemecio Silva de Peralta de La Cordoba and Garcia de Carillo de las Falces, a Spanish gentleman of noble birth and lineage, holding, under the royal authority of Spain, the titles of grandee of Spain, Sir Knight of the Redlands, Baron of Arizonaca, gentleman of the King's Chamber with privileged entrance, captain of dragoons, aide-de-campe and ensign of the royal house, Sir Knight of the Military Orders of the Golden Fleece, of St. Mary of Montesa, and of the royal and distinguished order of Carlos III, and of the insignia and fellowship of the royal college of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and other titles too numerous to mention. (Twitchell, Old Santa Fe, 421)

It was alleged by James Peralta-Reavis that the titles were inherited through his wife's line, in the following partial account:

...on February 1, 1824, the first baron died in Guadalajara, leaving his wife and son, Jesus Miguel, the latter being his only heir, and that his will and codicil were admitted to probate in the city of Guadalajara, after which the executors administered the estate, including the barony of Arizonaca; that the second baron, Don Jesus Miguel, married and was survived by a daughter, Dona Sofia Laura Micaela Silva de Peralta de la Cordoba de Sanchez y Ybarra de Escobeda; that she married Don Jose' Ramon Carmen Maso y Castillo, of Cadiz, Spain in 1860, and that, March 4, 1862, there were born to them twins, a girl and a boy, the girl later becoming the wife of Reavis; that these children were born while the Masos were in route to San Francisco from southern California. It was also alleged that the birth of this female descendant of the first baron of Arizonaca occurred at a rancho at Agua Mansa, near San Bernardino, California, while Don Jose', known as Jose' Maso, with his wife and mother and father-in-law and an American, named Treadway, were on the journey to San Francisco. It was declared that these children were baptized at the old church at San Salvador, the god-parents being the maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother and Louis Robidoux and his wife, Flavia Castillo, and that the mother and the boy twin died a few days later. It was declared that the church records contained the entries of baptism and burial. (ibid., 423)

James Peralta-Reavis provided a mass of documents, all appearing authentic, from Mexico. He secured depositions in California which appeared to establish his wife's identity as the legitimate heiress. Lawyers representing the U.S. government were sent out--in Spain it was found that will of the baron of Arizonaca was a forgery--it was found that James Peralta-Reavis was discovered in Spain in 1886 attempting to introduce forged papers into the archives. Internal and external inconsistencies in the documents in Guadalajara, along with the use of poor Spanish, cast doubt on their authenticity. In California, Levi A. Hughes discovered that the manuscript records of the church of San Salvador had been tampered with and entire leaves removed and replaced with forged documents regarding the baptism of the Maso twins and the death of the mother and son. Depositions were obtained from Louis Roubidoux and Flavia denying all awareness of the baptism. "He ascertained that the wife was the daughter of John A. Treadway by an Indian woman with whom he had lived in Sherwood valley, California. He found the man who had buried the remains of Treadway on November 2, 1861, more than six months before the time it was alleged that he had brought the infant daughter of Maso to Sherwood valley.

The claim was heard in June of 1895 and promptly thrown out, but not before James Peralta-Reavis, a man from a poor and obscure background, rose to fame and affluence among the wealthy with whom he had promoted his claim. He sold fraudulent quit-claims to railroads and settlers in Arizona. "The Reavis claim looked so plausible that the holders of lots and ranches within the disputed territory, to safeguard valuable improvements they had made, thought it safer to get deeds from the Peralta interests then and there rather than await the decision of the courts. So they put up the price the grant claimants were willing to take to quiet their titles in advance. It has been stated that some three hundred thousand dollars were collected in this way." (Bell, 214-5)

By the time of the trial, he had exhausted all his financial resources, and his lawyer withdrew from the case. He was convicted and sent to the penitentiary. "He was discharged from the penitentiary in 1898 and went to Los Angeles, California, where he died some ten years later. What became of the Indian woman and her two very attractive children is unknown to the writer." (428)

According to Major Horace Bell, in his second history of Southern California On the Old West Coast: Reminiscences of a Ranger, James Peralta-Reavis had conceived his idea from a novel written by his friend, Major William P. Reynolds, who, according to Bell, had a keen romantic imagination, and to whom in 1876 Bell suggested that he should take up novel writing. So Reynolds wrote a novel:

The plot of the novel centered around the Casa Grande, a famous and monumental ruin, like the ruin of some great baronial stronghold, in Arizona. There have been many differences of opinion among scientists and historians as to its possible origin, but it is generally believed to have come down from times prehistoric. Bill Reynolds, however, in his capacity of author brought there in the early days of the Spanish conquest of the Southwest a great Spanish nobleman, a conquistador, called him Miguel Peralta and designated him Baron of Arizona. Then he mixed up a lot of highfalutin' Spanish names as followers of the Baron, had them all get together in the wilderness where the Baron had taken up a tremendous land grant, a domain of a hundred square leagues or so, and had them all build a baronial stronghold. The ruins to-day known as Casa Grande were no more nor less than the ruins of the palace of Miguel Peralta, Baron of Arizona, according to this fiction. (211)

According to Bell, when he asked Reynolds when he was going to publish his Casa Grande romance in 1881, Reynolds told him that it became lost.

"Well," began Bill, "you remember that old school teacher from Downey named Reavis? He was employed by you once as a writer in your paper The New Constitution. You know when he lost his job he went out to live on Bill Jerkins' ranch. Bill Jenkins, the fellow you call 'Baron of Alcatraz y Casteca.' Well, I used to go out to Jenkin's ranch to rusticate every now and then and once I had my manuscript out there with me. Reavis wanted to read it. He was supposed to be a man of literary education, a good critic, so I loaned it to him. Left it out there with him. Afterward, when I saw him in town and asked for it, he put on a terrible long face and said that he hadn't had time to read it, that he had brought it back to town to give to me, but had lost it."

Now let us outline as briefly as possible the long and intricate string of events that resulted from the "loss" of the Reynolds manuscript. Reavis, the itinerant school teacher and writer, read it thoroughly, got a great idea from it, drew Bill Jenkins into his scheme, the latter probably not realizing its fraudulent nature, and with the fictitious details of the novel as a basis, laid claim to the Barony of Arizona! (212-3)

The case was proven as fraudulent, but not before costing the government a great deal of expense. According to Bell, the Government never realized the truth in the matter in how James Peralta-Reavis built his story:

Reavis was finally convicted of fraud and sent to the penitentiary in New Mexico. He wrote a confession in which he claims that the government, though it spent a hundred thousand dollars in defending its interests against his conspiracy, never hit upon the true facts of how he built his case. He tells how he conceived and executed the fraud, how he supposedly met and married an Andaluza (girl of Andalucia), parentage unknown, and built up for her a mythical lineage proving that she was the descendant of one of the noblest families of Spain, sole heir to the Peralta grant in Arizona. For it is a fact that the Peralta name is prominent in the early annals of California and the Southwest. He tells how he took his wife to Spain, where they were received into the noblest families and where he searched the ancient archives, stealing some documents, forging others. Document by document, by twisting them to fit his needs and getting them falsely certified, he built an apparently perfect title to millions of wealth. Not only large financial interests took stock in his claim but a great many individuals here in Los Angeles County contributed small sums each, expecting to draw great dividends when the claim was proven.

The Andaluza he said he married and took to Spain was no other than the Mendocino squaw.

I have before me as I write several great volumes of transcripts and briefs all neatly printed and published, supporting the claims of James Addison Peralta Reavis to that Arizona land, through marriage and through consanguinity with his wife's family. They contain a great array of pictures of Spanish grandees, supposed forebears of himself and wife. One of these is of a Peralta I knew in Los Angeles in early times. He is all rigged up and pictured as the heir should-have-been immediately preceding Senora de Reavis, but who died, alas, unconscious of his noble heritage. When I knew the little scrub he was a hanger-on of the gambling tables. A squatty, black--well, I might as well say greaser. He was not a genteel Mexican nor was he a Spaniard, nor an Indian nor a Negro, but all mixed together. He was known around the Pueblo simply by the name "El Espanol," why, I don't know, for, as I have intimated, he was anything but pure bred. (214-5)

Exactly what the connection Jose Luis Robidoux and his wife Flavia had in this case is unknown today. It is apparent that James Reavis, who assumed the name Peralta in his original claims in St. Louis, must have known the Robidoux family while residing in Southern California. This region was small enough in population at the time, perhaps no more than a few thousand, that knowledge of the Robidoux family was likely. It is possible that he was engaged for a while as a tutor to the children out on the Jurupa Rancho. Perhaps he conceived the idea of his own consanguinity to his wife's purported family through his knowledge of Louis and Catalina's marriage. It is evident that Catalina subsequently married a Peralta after Louis died in 1867. It is possible that James Reavis used this connection in his construction also.

It appears that no other people had direct complicity or complete insider knowledge in his elaborate scheme, and that he concocted the entire thing by himself, though many people were taken in by it and shared unknowingly in the duplicity of its promotion. That he must have visited the Church of San Salvador and been in the Agua Mansa vicinity to forge the necessary documents is certain. How he came to use Luis Robidoux's and Flavias names, above all others, is uncertain. One must wonder if the birth and baptismal dates of their sons were not part of those documents which were "mutilated" in the church records at San Salvador.

Fortunately, local historians picked up the story of the Robidoux family in a biographical sketch of Peter T. Rubidoux, the son of Jose Luis and grandson of Louis:

Peter T. Rubidoux was born January 25, 1867, in the old adobe building that was the original residence of his grandfather at Riverside. his parents were Luis and Castillo (Flavia) Rubidoux, the former of whom is a resident of San Jacinto, California. The latter was born and died at Riverside. During boyhood Peter T. Rubidoux attended the public schools at Riverside and early gave his father assistance in starting a livery stable, which enterprise was the first of its kind here and was later sold to a Mr. Hayt, after which Peter T. engaged in various occupations until he accompanied his father to San Jacinto, where he followed teaming and freighting for a time. When twenty years old he returned to Riverside and entered the employ of George W. Dickson and afterward Edward Miller.

In the meanwhile Riverside began to assume the appearance and offer the advantages of a growing city, and naturally Mr. Rubidoux took a deep interest in every improving condition. When the Riverside Water Company became a fact here he entered the employ of this public utility company and continued with it for the next seventeen years. He next worked for five years at the blacksmith trade for Mr. Difani, all his life having been able to turn his hand usefully in one calling or another. Since 1915 he has practically given all his effort and attention to city work, and the municipality has no more honest or faithful employee.

At Riverside, on May 25, 1890, Mr. Rubidoux married Adelina Silvas, who was born at San Diego, California. Her father was Esidro Silvas, a native of California and a member of an old Spanish family of the state. He was a man of influence and importance, a prosperous cattleman and owner of the San Pasqual ranch near San Diego and also had extensive estates near Sonora, Mexico. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rubidoux: Mack J., Lucy Smith, Richard, Sadie, Albert and Clarence, all of whom survive except the eldest. (997-8)

It is interesting that Peter married the daughter of the owner of the Rancho San Pasqual, where his great-uncle had fallen wounded in battle at the famous Battle of San Pasqual some forty-four years before. It is evident that the

freighting business that his father had been involved in out of San Jacinto may have put him in contact with these distant Rancheros in Southern California, and it is likely that he knew full well the circumstances of his Uncles wounding at that battle.

Briefly, the known genealogy of Peter T. is given, though, it has never been published before. The few dates of birth and birth order are conjectural, and the entire reconstruction is sketchy, to say the least. Mack T. Robidoux was a graduate of Riverside High in the class of 1911. He went to college to become an electrical engineer while working at night packing oranges. He entered the military in the Great War, becoming a corporal in Company E, 364 Infantry in the 91st Division. He was a part of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, and was killed in the battle of Argonne Forest. "He was a notable athlete, well known in football and basket ball, and an enthusiastic gymnasium worker in the Y. M. C. A. at Riverside, where his memory will long be kept green. His remains were brought from France and interred in American Legion plot in Evergreen Cemetery in Riverside on September 17, 1921, with full military honors by the American Legion, Riverside Post No. 79. His funeral was attended very largely by Riverside men in their desire to pay fitting tribute to the memory of the dead hero." (Riverside, 1922: 998)

Before quitting the California story, it is worthwhile to reiterate the remainder of the known genealogical descendants of Louis Robidoux, comprising as they do the principal branch of the Latin Robidouxs. Louis's second surviving son, Pasqual Baillon, born in 1840 in Santa Fe, married Mascelina Quintana at Jurupa on February 23rd, 1859, at nineteen years of age, and from this union they had at least one known son, one Frederico Rubidoux, who was born on Oct. 15th, 1864 in Pomona, California. Frederico and his wife, Pillar Trujillo, "a descendant of the Trujillo of Placitas del Trujillos, California." (Messmore, 282), were married on Oct. 23, 1883, in San Bernardino, Calif., and had four known children, one older boy and three younger daughters. Orral Messmore claimed that there were seven children from this marriage, though she fails to list them (282). Further descendants from this branch have not been traced. A reconstruction of the known descendants of this family are as before.

Of the other children of Louis Robidoux, Carmel married Francisco Estudillo, and Adelaide, Carmel's next youngest sister, first married Inocente Valdez on Sept. 22nd, 1862 at eighteen years of age on the Jurupa Rancho, and afterward married Jose Antonio Estudillo on Jan. 3rd, 1875. Abundo married Rosario Trujillo on Aug. 17th, 1871, in San Bernardino, and Maria del Carmen married one Manuel Palomares on June 5th, 1862. The youngest daughter, Benina Maria, married Juan Trujillo at Riverside on Jan. 30, 1877.

Though the genealogical information on the children of Adlaide and Jose Antonio Estudillo is incomplete, they are also noteworthy for having achieved prominence in the state of California. One of their sons was Michel Estudillo, who became a senator of California. One daughter, Adelaide, married Arthur Write, a successful lawyer in Los Angeles, and another daughter, Henrietta, married Hugh Boyd, a professor at Portland, Oregon. Orral Messmore Robidoux cites an article from the Riverside Enterprise on Monday, July 19, 1915, about the visit of she and her husband, Louis Robidoux of Kansas, to Riverside as the guests of "Attorney and Mrs. Estudillo. They were entertained at luncheon at the Mission Inn."

"Mr. Robidoux is a nephew of Louis Robidoux, former owner of Riverside and the Jurupa rancho. This was his first visit to Riverside. He was delighted with the Inn and declared: 'This is the finest ever.' Mr. Robidoux is a man of means and has traveled extensively in Europe and South America. He was equally delighted with all of Riverside. He was given an automobile ride, shown the orange groves and then taken up Rubidoux Mountain by Senator Estudillo. As he viewed the surrounding country from the mountain top he exclaimed, 'Grand, a grand view. This beats the best we got in Kansas City.'

"One of Mr. Robidoux's cousins, a native of Montreal, Canada, is now fighting in the trenches in France with the Canadian contingent that went from the Dominion in the early days of the present war. Mr. Robidoux says: 'I have only one criticism to make, and that is the way the name 'Robidoux' is spelled here. 'Rubidoux' is not the proper way. The correct way is Robidoux. An investigation of your records in the former county seat, San Bernardino, will show that the old gentleman himself signed the name 'Robidoux.'

Michel Estudillo, a grandson of Louis, achieved a reputation as a lawyer and politician in the state of California. He was born in San Bernardino on Sept. 20th, 1870. He graduated from Santa Clara College in 1890. He briefly resided in San Diego, and then returned to his family in San Bernardino. He became deputy county clerk of San Diego County until 1893, when he was appointed clerk of the Board of County Supervisors until 1895. He was admitted to the bar and opened an office in the City of Los Angeles. "In 1899 an important case which had to be fought in the courts of Mexico took him to the City of Mexico, and there he remained for nearly three years, when he returned to Riverside and his profession, to neither of which had his devotion ever lessened." (1922: 740)

On February 22, 1903, Mr. Estudillo wedded Miss Minerva Cook, who is a direct descendant of James Cook, who came over in the Mayflower and settled in Winchester, New Hampshire, where she was born. Mr. and Mrs. Estudillo have two sons, Reginald and Francis. (743)

On November 8th, 1904, he was elected Assemblyman of the state for the 78th District. In 1905 he secured an appropriation of $35,000 for the construction of an agricultural experiment station at the base of Mt. Roubidoux, and was partially responsible for having Yosemite passed to the Federal Government for protection as a National Park. This won him favor with John Muir, who gave him copies of his two books Mountains of California and Our National Parks. He was an ardent supporter of the Roosevelt-Pinchot Conservation Policies, and through his support, made possible its passage and endorsement in California.

On November 3rd, 1908, he was elected to the State Senate of California, during which session he fought through the "local option bill". In 1909 he was chairman of the committee on election laws of the Senate, recommending a direct primary law designed to overturn the control of elections by party machinery, which passed in 1911. In 1911 he secured another appropriation for improvements of the Mt. Rubidoux Experimental Station. He was admitted to practice in the United States Supreme court and became a member of the National Bar Association of the United States.

Miguel Estudillo had had a great deal of military experience in State military affairs as captain of Company M, Seventh Regiment, California National Guards, so when the World War broke out he organized the Home Guards. Of this he was elected captain and received his commission from the governor of the state. He also organized the Riverside Rifle Club, which is still in existence. He was appointed by President Wilson a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the Selective Service System, his associates being W. A. Purington (now deceased) and Judge Hugh H. Craig. Before the United States entered the war Mr. Estudillo organized the Riverside Red Cross Ambulance Corps, collected $1,600 from the citizens and, at a largely attended public meeting held in the park, he presented the money to Hewitt Roblee, a son of Dr. Roblee, for the purpose of buying an ambulance for service in France. An up-to-the-minute vehicle was secured and did much service overseas. As a mark of appreciation for the part he had played in securing the ambulance, a picture of it in service, together with the ambulance plate, was sent to Mr. Estudillo after the signing of the armistice. During the war Mr. Estudillo spared neither his time nor his finances and energies to be of service. He was at work early and late on the various war activities, without financial consideration, eager to do any service required of him, exemplifying in its truest, finest form that which we know under the name of "true patriotism."

(742-3)

 


Blanket Copyright, Hugh M. Lewis, © 2005. Use of this text governed by fair use policy--permission to make copies of this text is granted for purposes of research and non-profit instruction only.

Last Updated: 09/16/06