The early history of California is made up of many remarkable women. Fortunately, some of them left behind stories that give us important glimpses into life in frontier times.
“The Americanos Played for Keeps”
In his memoirs about life in rancho era California, José Jesús López describes how his father joined the “California Army.”
Bad for the Lungs but Wonderful for Memories
If doors and windows were primitive in Californio homes, you can also imagine that furniture was not much better.
Life in Rancho Era Los Angeles: Hardships and Joys
José Jesús López grew up in the Pueblo of Los Angeles in the 1850s, in the neighborhood of *El Paredón Blanco* (today’s Boyle Heights).
Origins of Mexican Independence Part 3: Breaking Away
With a foreign occupier in control of Spain, and the royal family in exile in France, people in the Spanish territories in the Americas found themselves at a crossroads.
The Castro Adobe: A Californio Landmark Restored
If you want to see a precious California landmark in the process of being saved for future generations, mark your calendar to visit the Joaquín Castro Adobe near Watsonville.
Settlers on the California Frontier (Part 2): The Californios
What type of culture developed among settlers in Alta California? What did they call themselves? How did they live under Mexico and Spain? And how did they respond to American rule?
Settlers on the California Frontier (Part 1)
Who settled California? What was their life like? What were the first towns?
Researching the Early Days: The Sylveria Pacheco Project, Part 2
An update on an ongoing research project into the life of a Hispanic woman on the California frontier. In May, I told you about my research into the life of Sylveria Pacheco, a Californiana who had lived through Spanish, Mexican and American periods. I came across Sylveria as I was working on another project, and […]
Podcast Episode 002 — “You Have to Carry This On”: What it Means to Be a Californio
In this episode, I speak with Greg Bernal-Mendoza Smestad, a direct descendant of the families who settled Alta California over 200 years ago. Greg talks to us about their journey, the character of those people who risked their lives to come to come north, and the legacy they passed on.
Recently I began recording a series of interviews for a new podcast I will be launching as part of California Frontier. For one of the first interviews, I had the pleasure of visiting Greg Bernal Smestad. Greg has made it his mission to preserve and maintain the heritage his ancestors, who came to California […]
Happy Birthday San José
San José, California is the oldest city on the West Coast. In November it celebrates its birthday.