Conquering California, Part 16 of 17: The Conquered After Conquest
This is Part 16 of a 17-part series. Have you bumped your head since the last part, and developed amnesia? Then you can follow this link, and get yourself up-to-date.
To start at the beginning, follow this link.
General Mariano Vallejo
While in prison in Sutter’s Fort, Vallejo contracted malaria and his weight dropped to 96 lbs. He was released on August 2, 1846, and returned to his Casa Grande home in Sonoma, where he recovered.
Vallejo had long believed that California would be better off under United States rule, and believed the Bear Flaggers had made a mistake by declaring an independent republic. He felt embittered toward the Bear Flaggers for taking him prisoner. But after the United States defeated Mexico, he persuaded wealthy Californios to accept American rule.
He became an influential delegate to the state’s Constitutional Convention in 1849, and was elected as a State Senator in 1850. He also donated land for the construction of a new capitol building, which was built in the eponymously named city of Vallejo. The state capitol was later moved three more times, to Sacramento, then Benicia (which neighbors Vallejo and is named after Vallejo’s wife), and then permanently back to Sacramento.
Mariano Vallejo died on January 18, 1890, at age 82.
Commandante General Jose Castro
Jose Castro returned briefly to California, where he sold his adobe house at Mission San Juan Bautista to a surviving member of the Donner Party. In 1853 he left for Mexico again, and was appointed governor and military commander of Baja California.
In February 1860, Castro was assassinated by a bandit. He was 52 years old.
Governor Pio Pico
Pio Pico returned to California as a full-fledged American citizen, after the end of the Mexican-American War. He became one of the wealthiest cattlemen in California. But he had a bad addiction to gambling, and this and other factors led him to lose most of his wealth. Pio Pico died in 1894, at the age of 93.
General Andres Pico
General Andres Pico, the brother of Pio Pico, was pardoned by the Treaty of Cahuenga. He later became a California Assemblyman and State Senator.
As an Assemblyman, he authored a bill to partition California into two states, north and south. In 1859, the bill passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed by the governor.
However the U.S. Congress never voted on the bill. The majority in Congress feared that a state of Southern California would be a slave state, and might secede, should Civil War break out. This was due to a strong presence of settlers from the South in southern California, who favored slavery and secession. And there were many discontented Californios in southern California, who also favored secession.
There have been dozens of subsequent attempts to partition the state, but Pico’s was the closest any came to succeeding.
Andres Pico died in 1876, at age 65.
Come on back in a few days for the final part of this 17-part series, Part 17: The Conquerors After Conquest.