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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County



GEN. M. G. VALLEJO. January 18, 18980, was the date of the death of Gen. Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, in Sonoma, and marks the close of one of the most brilliant careers in the history of the commonwealth of California. His hands did much in shaping the destiny of this magnificent state, and the great heart of the man was constantly manifested in his benefactions and acts of kindness to those less favored.

Of Spanish origin, the first of the family of whom we have any authentic knowledge is Don Geronimo Vallejo, a native of Spain, who with his wife, before her marriage Dona Antonia Gomez, came as an official of the Spanish government and settled in Mexico, where passing the remainder of his days. Among the children of this marriage was Don Ignacio Vicente Ferrer Vallejo, who was born in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, near Guadalajara, in 1748 and died in Monterey, Cal., in 1832. He was destined to be a leader among his people, and as judge of the country, was sent by the king up the coast to make a report of the Spanish expeditions to the north. The commission executed satisfactorily, he returned to Monterey, Cal., where he located permanently. In the meantime he became interested in the various missions along the coast and gave invaluable assistance to the missionaries. His marriage united hi with the young and beautiful Spanish senorita, Marie Antonia Lugo, between whose ages there was a great disparity, he being twenty-one years her senior, but nevertheless their union was one of continued bliss and happiness. Both lived to good old ages, and after his death she survived only a few years, passing away at the age of seventy-nine.

Thirteen children were born to this couple of whom the eighth child was Mariano G. Vallejo, the subject of this sketch, who was born July 7, 18808 in the old town of Monterey, Cal. During his boyhood the facilities for obtaining an education were exceedingly meager, and after complaint had been made to the Mexican governor, Professor Azpiroz was sent from Mexico to become public instructor at Monterey. It was due to the invaluable assistance of the latter that Mariano Vallejo was able to lay the good foundation for the broad deep knowledge that he later acquired. Not only was his mind capable of acquiring knowledge quickly, but once acquired it was never forgotten, his mind to the last being a perfect store-house of facts and had been utterly forgotten by his contemporaries. Far from being a recluse, he yet had a most tender affection for his books, and was never so happy as when poring over one of his beloved volumes. All of his reading was along practical lines, and he sought to put into practice the lessons which he learned thereby. Even more than was his father, he was destined to come into prominence as a man of power in his community, and he bravely and courageously accepted the duties as they came to him, and handled them with a master hand. At the age of sixteen years he took his place in the ranks of the standing army of Mexico, and at the same time held the responsible position of private secretary to the governor. It was while filling this position that he had the honor of drawing up the articles of capitulation that acknowledged the surrender of Spanish forces to the Mexican government. Military leadership was strongly marked in the make-up of the young soldier, and upon attaining his majority he was put in command of the presidio of San Francisco. Upon the deposition of Governor Chico in 1836 Vallejo's popularity with the people placed him in the gubernatorial chair. He accepted the appointment, but immediately turned the reins of civil authority over to Alvarado, president of the territorial deputation, he himself retaining control of the military forces.

The first town laid out in California north of the bay of San Francisco was Sonoma, and General Vallejo established the lines and boundaries alone with the aid of a pocket compass. As early as 1838 he had brought from the city of Mexico a complete printing outfit, by means of which he reached his people through published addresses. He was an indefatigable worker, and it is said that he himself set the type, worked the press, bound the pamphlets and distributed them with his own hands.

His control as director of colonization extended over a great area of country that has since become one of the post productive agricultural districts in the state. This was known as the Petaluma rancho, including Petaluma, Vallejo, Vacaville and Santa Rosa, and here he inaugurated an agricultural industry that he little dreamed would assume the magnificent proportions that prevail today. The young settlement flourished under the leadership of Vallejo, who though born to military life, took gracefully to agriculture and stock-raising, and at considerable expense brought horses and cattle from the southern country, from which grew the large herds which he owned.

In 1852 after his vineyard was well established, General Vallejo began the erection of the house in which he was to spend his last days. The lumber for this mansion was hauled by teams from Vallejo; the brick was brought from the Sandwich Islands, and the marble mantle-pieces were purchased in Honolulu. Even at $17 a day it was difficult to get carpenters to carry forward the work. It is estimated that the house cost $50,000. The grounds were I keeping with the residence, orange, lemon and evergreen trees being planted, and two magnificent marble fountains added further beauty to the lawns. In gratification of an extravagant whim he sent to Germany for a large pavilion made of bamboo, iron and glass. This he erected at Lachryma Montis as a summer house for his children, entailing an expenditure of $80,000. All that now remains of this beautiful piece of architecture are the pillars, in the form of battle-axes, which now serve as posts for the fence that surrounds the private property. Here in the midst of luxurious surroundings the later years of General Vallejo were passed quietly, although he was constantly sought to take part in public and upbuilding measures. For several years he was treasurer of the State Horticultural Society and for many years was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, of which he was the oldest representative.

Although at one time a man of vast wealth, General Vallejo died a poor man. He owned the homestead at Sonoma and the Pajaro ranch in Monterey county, inherited from his father, but aside from these he had noting. Incidents of his great generosity were numerous and were the cause of the great lessening in his fortunes.

General Vallejo’s marriage united him with Francisca Benicia Carrillo, who was born in San Diego, Cal., of Spanish ancestry, and died January 30, 1891. Sixteen children were born of their union. Andronico died in infancy; the second child to bear the name of Andronico died after reaching maturity; Epifania G. became the wife of Gen. John B. Frisbie; Adela R., deceased, became the wife of L. C. Frisbie, M. D.; Natalia became the wife of Attila Haraszthy; Plutarco died in infancy; Platon was a physician of Vallejo; Guadalupe died in infancy; Jovita married Arpad Haraszthy; Uladislao E. was the next in order of birth; Benicia died in infancy; Plutarco, the second of that name, also died in infancy; Napoleon P. was the next child; Benicia, the second of that name, died young; Louisa is the widow of R. Eparan; and Maria is the wife of Harry Cutter.

One of General Vallejo’s younger children, Mrs. Louisa Emparan, was born at her present home, Lachryma Montis, in the town of Sonoma, where she now owns about three hundred acres of her father’s old homestead. She is the widow of Ricardo R. de Emparan, a native of Mexico, and at one time consul to San Diego, and later holding this appointment at San Francisco. He died in Mexico in June, 19-02, leaving besides his wife three children, Anita, the wife of A. M. Thomson, M. D., of Sonoma Carlos and Raoul.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (4 July 1807 – 18 January 1890) was a Californian military commander, politician, and rancher. He was born a subject of Spain, performed his military duties as an officer of Mexico, and shaped the transition of California from a Mexican district to an American state. Vallejo, a city in California that he founded, is named for him, and the nearby city of Benicia is named for his wife (née Francisca Benicia Carrillo).

 Early career

Mariano Vallejo was born in Monterey, California, the eighth of thirteen children and third son of Ignacio Vicente Ferrer Vallejo (July 29, 1748 – May 10, 1832) and María Antonia Lugo (September 1, 1776 – May 7, 1855).

There is controversy over Vallejo's exact date of birth. According to Vallejo himself, and his family bible, he was born on 7 July 1807.[1] His baptismal certificate, however, signed by Fr. Baltasar Carnicer states that he was baptized on 5 July 1807, and born the previous night (4 July 1807).[2][3] Other sources state a birthdate of 7 July 1808.[4] Of these, the baptismal record seems the most reliable[  according to whom?], but the question should be further researched.

M.G. Vallejo's parents wed at Santa Barbara Mission February 18, 1791. His paternal grandparents, Gerónimo Vallejo and Antonia Gómez; maternal grandparents, Francisco Lugo and Juana María Rita Martínez. His father's great grandfather, Pedro Vallejo, was said to have served as viceroy of New Spain, although his name does not appear on the list of viceroys. Earlier Vallejo ancestors were said to include a captain who served under Hernan Cortés and an admiral, Alonso Vallejo, said to be the commander of the ship which brought Columbus back to Spain as a prisoner in 1500. However, these ancestors were probably only a family mythology. Ignacio himself had been a well considered sergeant (sargento distinguido) at the Presidio of Monterey, who eventually served as Alcalde of San José.

As a teenager, Mariano, his nephew Juan Bautista Alvarado (1809–1882), and José Castro (1808–1860) received special instruction from Governor Pablo Vicente de Solá. The boys received government documents and newspapers from Mexico City, as well as access to the governor's personal library. Vallejo then worked as a clerk for English merchant William Hartnell, who taught Vallejo English, French, and Latin.

Vallejo was serving as the personal secretary to the new Governor of California, Luis Argüello, when news of Mexico's independence reached Monterey. Argüello enrolled Vallejo as a cadet in the Presidio company in 1824. After being promoted to corporal, Argüello appointed Vallejo to the diputación, the territorial legislature. He was promoted to alférez (equal to a modern army second lieutenant), and in 1829, Vallejo led a group of soldiers against the Miwoks, under chief Estanislao. After a three-day battle, Vallejo's troops forced the Miwok to flee to Mission San José, seeking refuge with the padres.

Rise to power

In 1831 Vallejo participated in the "emergency installation" of Pío Pico as acting Governor. Vallejo became the Commander of the Presidio of San Francisco in 1833, oversaw the secularization of Mission San Francisco Solano, founded the town of Sonoma, and was granted Rancho Petaluma by Governor José Figueroa in 1834. In 1835 he was appointed Comandante of the Fourth Military District and Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier, the highest military command in Northern California.

Vallejo began construction of the Presidio of Sonoma to counter the Russian presence at Fort Ross. Vallejo transferred most of the soldiers from San Francisco to Sonoma, and began construction of his two-story Casa Grande adobe on the town plaza. He formed an alliance with Sem-Yeto, also known as Chief Solano of the Suisunes tribe, providing Vallejo with over a thousand Suisunes allies during his conflicts with other tribes.

Governor Figueroa died in September 1835, and was replaced by Nicolás Gutiérrez, who was unpopular with the Californio population, resulting in an uprising headed by Juan Alvarado the next year. Alvarado tried to persuade Vallejo to join the uprising, but he declined to become involved. One hundred-seventy Californios led by José Castro and fifty Americans led by Isaac Graham marched on Monterey. After the rebels fired a single cannon shot into the Presidio, Governor Gutiérrez surrendered on November 5, 1836. On November 7, Alvarado wrote to his uncle Mariano, informing Vallejo he had claimed to be acting under Vallejo's orders and asking him to come to Monterey to take part in the government. Vallejo came to Monterey as a hero, and on November 29, the diputación promoted Vallejo from alférez to colonel and named him Comandante General of the "Free State of Alta California", while Alvarado was named Governor. The Federal Government in Mexico City would later endorse Vallejo and Alvarado's actions and confirm their new positions.


In 1840, Graham allegedly began agitating for a Texas-style revolution in California, in March issuing a notice for a planned horse race that was loosely construed into being a plot for revolt. Alvarado notified Vallejo of the situation, and in April the Californian military began arresting American and English immigrants, eventually detaining about 100 in the Presidio of Monterey. At the time, there were fewer than 400 foreigners from all nations in the department. Vallejo returned to Monterey and ordered Castro to take 47 of the prisoners to San Blas by ship, to be deported to their home countries. Under pressure from British and American diplomats, President Anastasio Bustamante released the remaining prisoners and began a court martial against Castro. Also assisting in the release of those caught up in the Graham Affair was American traveler Thomas J. Farnham.[5] In 1841, Graham and 18 of his associates returned to Monterey, with new passports issued by the Mexican Federal Government.

Also in 1841, the Russians at Fort Ross offered to sell the post to Vallejo. After several months of negotiations and delays by the Mexican authorities and Governor Alvarado (who feared his uncle was plotting to overthrow him), John Sutter purchased the fort. This economic and military setback confirmed Vallejo's belief that it would be better if California was no longer ruled from Mexico City. Although both France and the United Kingdom expressed interest in acquiring Alta California, Vallejo believed the best hope for economic and cultural development lay with the United States.

In November 1841, Vallejo was meeting with José Castro at Mission San José when he was informed of the arrival in California of an immigrant party led by John Bidwell and John Bartleson. Half of the group was staying with Dr. John Marsh north of Mount Diablo, while the rest had continued on to San José. They were arrested before reaching the pueblo for illegally entering Mexico and brought to Vallejo at the mission. Vallejo's orders from Mexico City were clear. Americans entering Mexico without valid passports were to be sent back to the United States. However, after the Graham affair, Vallejo was reluctant to deport another group of Americans, especially those with skills useful for colonizing the northern frontier. These reasons, coupled with his disillusionment with the Mexican government, led Vallejo to grant passports to the immigrants detained in the mission and to give Marsh passports for those camped on his rancho.

In 1842, the Federal Government replaced Vallejo and his nephew Alvarado with Manuel Micheltorena as both civil and military Governor of Alta California. Micheltorena arrived with the batallón fijo, a force of 300 pardoned criminals, who out of desperation at not being paid began to loot the population.

Bear Flag Revolt

In the early morning of June 14, 1846,[6] Vallejo was taken prisoner by a ragtag band of Americans, led by William B. Ide, who had decided to emulate the Texans by revolting against California's Mexican government. Instead of fighting back, he let the rebels inside his quarters in the Casa Grande for a meal and drinks. From there, he acquiesced and unopposedly signed a letter of surrender. The Americans proceeded to get drunk and raise an improvised flag featuring a grizzly bear that some viewers mistook for a pig. Although Vallejo was sympathetic to the advent of American rule, he deemed the perpetrators of the Bear Flag Revolt to be mere lowlife rabble. As he wrote in his five-volume history,

if the men who hoisted the 'Bear Flag' had raised the flag that Washington sanctified by his abnegation and patriotism, there would have been no war on the Sonoma frontier, for all our minds were prepared to give a brotherly embrace to the sons of the Great Republic, whose enterprising spirit had filled us with admiration. Ill-advisedly, however, as some say, or dominated by a desire to rule without let or hindrance, as others say, they placed themselves under the shelter of a flag that pictured a bear, an animal that we took as the emblem of rapine and force. This mistake was the cause of all the trouble, for when the Californians saw parties of men running over their plains and forests under the 'Bear Flag,' they thought that they were dealing with robbers and took the steps they thought most effective for the protection of their lives and property.

Vallejo, his French secretary Victor Prudon, his brother Salvador Vallejo, and their brother-in-law Jacob P. Leese were taken as prisoners to John C. Frémont's camp in the Central Valley. Frémont ordered they be kept prisoners in Sutter's Fort. Conditions for the prisoners were good, until Frémont discovered they were well fed and allowed to walk around the fort several times a day. He replaced the jailer, instructing the replacement to treat them "no better than any other prisoner". Mariano contracted malaria while being held at the fort. After agreeing to remain neutral during the remainder of the war with Mexico, Mariano was released on August 2, 1846, after "John Murphy had arrived at Sutter's Fort with Stockton's new orders on August 1,"[7] and arrived at Casa Grande a day or two later, weighing only 96 pounds. Salvador Vallejo and Jacob P. Leese were released about a week later. By the time of his release, Mariano was still uncertain about his stance in the war. Because of his belief that California would thrive better with the United States, and that at this time, the Americans were in complete control of the northern area of California, he eventually sided with them. At his home, he showed his allegiance by burning his Mexican uniform in a dignified manner.

State politics

Once the United States defeated Mexico in the war, Vallejo proved his allegiance to his new country by persuading wealthy Californios to accept American rule. An influential member of the state's Constitutional Convention, he was elected as a member of the first session of the State Senate in 1850. In 1843, he had been deeded title to Rancho Suscol. In 1850, he offered to donate 156 acres (0.6 km2) of that land to the new state government on which to build a capitol away from its cramped quarters in San Jose and also offered to pay for a considerable amount of the construction. The offer was accepted by the new state legislature and signed into law by Governor John McDougall, convening in Vallejo, as the new city was named, for the first time in 1851. However, construction lagged, and state bureaucrats were confronted with inadequate, leaky buildings and a soggy location. Within three years, the state legislature and newly elected Governor John Bigler had authorized the capital's relocation three more times, to Sacramento, Benicia and finally a permanent return to Sacramento.


Although the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally protected the legal rights of Mexicans now part of the United States, a long legal challenge to Vallejo's land title cost him thousands of dollars in legal fees and finally deprived him of almost all his land and farm animals.[8][9][10] Most Californios could not afford the legal expenses to claim their lands, which were thus lost to wealthy Americans and the flood of immigrants, beginning with the Gold Rush, which left the Californios outnumbered and unable to protect their political power. At some time prior to 1869, Vallejo gave the Mexican land grant Rancho Suscol to his daughter, Epifania Guadalupe Vallejo, April 3, 1851, as a wedding present, when she married General John H. Frisbie.

Family life

Manuel Salvador Vallejo (1813–1876), the General's younger brother, received his commission in the Mexican army in 1835, and was appointed Captain of militia at Sonoma in 1836.[11] In 1838 he was grantee of Rancho Napa; in 1839 of Salvador's Ranch, and in 1844 he and his brother Antonio Juan Vallejo (1816–1857) were grantees of Rancho Lupyomi. Salvador Vallejo also claimed Rancho Yajome. In 1863 he was commissioned a Major in the Union Army by Governor Stanford. Major Vallejo organized the First Battalion of Native Cavalry, and he served as far east as Arizona, but did not have a battlefield role in the Civil War. He resigned in 1865 after the war and returned to his ranch in Napa.

Encarnacion Vallejo (1809 - ), the General's sister, married John B.R. Cooper, who was the grantee of Rancho Nicasio and other properties. María Paula Rosalia Vallejo (1811–1889), the General's sister, married Jacob P. Leese grantee of Rancho Huichica and other properties. Jose de Jesus Vallejo (1798–1882), the General's elder brother, was the grantee of Rancho Arroyo de la Alameda. María Isidora Vallejo (1792–1830), the General's sister, married Mariano de Jesús Soberanes. Their daughter María Ygnacia Soberanes married Dr. Edward Turner Bale grantee of Rancho Carne Humana.

On March 6, 1832, Mariano Vallejo married Francisca Benicia Carrillo (1815–1891) in the Chapel of the Presidio of San Diego. Francisca, born August 23, 1815 in San Diego, was one of twelve children of Joaquin Carrillo and María Ygnacia López. Her maternal grandparents were José Francisco López and Feliciana Arballo, the widow of José Gutiérrez. The Carrillos were one of the leading families in San Diego. When Vallejo settled in Sonoma, his widowed mother-in-law, María Ygnacia López de Carrillo, was granted the nearby Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa in what is now Santa Rosa, California, and settled there with her children.[12]

By the time of his death, January 18, 1890, Vallejo led a modest lifestyle on the last vestige of his once vast landholdings at his Lachryma Montis home in Sonoma, California.[13][14] A few days past the first anniversary of the death of her husband, Francisca Benicia Carrillo de Vallejo died on January 30, 1891. The General and Francisca, his wife are interred at the Mountain Cemetery in Sonoma.[15]


The city of Vallejo, California, founded by his son-in-law, and the U.S. Navy submarine USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) were named in his honor. Vallejo's Rancho Petaluma Adobe is now preserved in the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park as a National Historic Landmark.


The children of Mariano G. Vallejo and Francisca B. Vallejo (1815–1891)





Andonico Antonio Vallejo

March 14, 1833 - January 21, 1834


Andonico Antonio Vallejo

April 28, 1834 - February 11, 1897

Never Married


Epifania de Guadalupe Vallejo

August 4, 1835 - February 14, 1905

April 3, 1851
John B. Frisbie (1823–1909) [17]


Adelayda Vallejo

January 3, 1837 - April 2, 1895

July 26, 1858
Levi Cornell Frisbie (1821–1892)


Natalia Veneranda Vallejo

February 12, 1838 - July 30, 1913

June 1, 1863
Attila Haraszthy (1834–1886)


Plutarco Vallejo

Died: Age Two


Platon Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

February 5, 1841 - June 1, 1925

June 5, 1885
Lily Wiley (1849–1867)


Guadalupe Vallejo

Died: Age Four


Jovita Francisca Vallejo

February 23, 1844 - May 5, 1878

June 1, 1863
Arpad Haraszthy (1840–1900)


Uladislao Vallejo

November 6, 1845 - Unknown

c. 1890
Maria ?


Plutarco Vallejo

Died: Three Months


Benicia Vallejo



Napoleon Primo Vallejo

December 8, 1850 - October 5, 1912

Married: October 20, 1875
Divorced: December 2, 1890
Remarried: June 1911

Martha Brown (1854–1917)
Married: January 12, 1891
Kate Leigh Stokes (?-1911)


Benicia Vallejo



Luisa Eugenia Vallejo

January 27, 1856 - July 23, 1943

August 23, 1882
Ricardo de Emparan (1852–1902)


María Ignacia Vallejo

May 8, 1857 - May 10, 1932

May 12, 1878
James Harry Cutter (?-1925)