Friday, August 21, 2009

Los Angeles River to Mission San Buenaventura

This is a continuation of my retracing George Q. Cannon’s 1849 journey.

On Thursday, January 17, 1850, the combined Rich and Hunt companies were camped near the Los Angeles River outside Pueblo de Los Angeles. Henry Bigler noted, that as they “had all been buying and living together”, a “general settlement was made” among themselves. They got moving at 9:00 a.m. and traveled nine miles and camped again on the Los Angeles River, near “a deserted ranch.” Bigler noted that this was the same spot he’d camped the “first night after” he “was discharged from service” in the Mormon Battalion, “with Captain Everett and Company.”

The next morning, Friday, January 18th, a cow was purchased from a “Spaniard” for $10.00 and it was “dressed and divided” among the “camp.” Charles Rich, Jefferson Hunt and 10 to 15 other men who had mules, prepared “to pack and go ahead of the wagons. The brethren were called together who were to remain with the wagons,” which included George Q. Cannon, and elected Howard Egan “captain by a unanimous vote of the company.” They traveled 10 to 12 miles “and stopped near a spring” where “a family” of “Spaniards or Indians” lived.

Saturday morning, January 19th, Rich, Hunt and the others on mules left to go ahead. However, by the end of the day, after traveling 12 miles, the company headed by Howard Egan caught up and camped with them “near a warm spring” in “the timber”.

Sunday morning, January 20, 1850, Rich and Hunt's pack company and Egan’s wagon company “set off together[,] but the pack company will go ahead and see Amasa [Lyman] and learn where the best [gold] diggings” are. The pack company will get there more quickly by shaving off “2 or 300 miles”. Egan’s company traveled 12 miles and “camped under some live oak trees.” It was “beautiful camping.”

Monday morning, January 21st, “Some of the cattle [were] missing” and everyone “except the cooks turned out to hunt for them[.]” The cattle were “soon found[.]” The Egan company traveled 20 miles on a good road “except for one hill which was very steep” to ascend. On top they had a “full view of the ocean.” They camped “near where a Spaniard” lived, “in the timber” near a river which emptied into the ocean. They heard the “rustling of the sea…all night.”

It rained during the night. In the morning, Tuesday, January 22nd, Addison “Pratt’s old ox” was missing. The entire company searched for the ox for awhile, then James Brown and a few others remained to look for the ox while the rest of the company moved on. The ox was found and sold “to a Spaniard for $10”. The Egan company traveled six or eight miles to Mission San Buenaventura and “called a halt” until Brown and the others arrived. Below, the Mission is at appeared in about 1900.
A picture I took when we visited last year.
The Egan company then traveled another two miles and camped on a beach near the sea.

The Mission San Buenaventura is located at 211 East Main Street in Ventura, California. In 1845, 11 years after the missions were secularized, the Mission San Buenaventura was rented to Don Jose Arnaz and Narciso Botello. This is how it was when the Egan company arrived. It was later illegally sold to Arnaz. The Mission was returned to the Catholic Church by the U.S. government in 1862.

The Egan company is now following El Camino Real, the "King's Highway." 21 missions, from San Diego de Alcala to San Francisco de Solano, two pueblos, including El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles, and four presidios were established about a days travel apart.

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