Title: Watertown, Massachusetts Genealogies and History
Page: Page 489
Publication: BOSTON: Little, Brown and Company, 1855
Author: Henry Bond
Title: A Yankee in Mexican California, Abel Stearns: 1798-1848
Publication: Santa Barbara: W. Hebbard, 1977
Author: Doris M. Wright
Title: "Abel Stearns in Transitional California, 1848-1871"
Publication: Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri, 1970
Author: Philip Fedewa
Title: Arcadia Bandini-Stearns de Baker
Publication: www.socialhistory.org, 1999
Author: Jon Wilkman
Title: STEARNS--Dispatch from San Francisco, Aug. 27--ABEL STEARNS
Publication: Stockton, California: "Stockton Daily Independent", 28 Aug 1871
Title: STEARNS--Abel STEARNS
Publication: Healdsburg, California: "Russian River Flag", 31 Aug 1871
Title: Los Angeles Sunday Times
Publication: Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Sunday Times, 1902
Title: Abel & Arcadia Stearns
Note: Beverly Miller is a docent at Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach,
Publication: Email, 2 Mar 2008
Author: Beverly Miller
Note continued: California.
Note: OCCUPATION: He was a seafarer,trader and a rancher. BIOGRAPHY: According to the sources, Abel Stearns went to Mexico about 1826, where he became a naturalized citizen. He then moved to Los Angeles when it was still a Mexican pueblo, about 1829. He understood the importance of a port to the town, and obtained a concession to build a warehouse in San Pedro. Soon, he was writing letters urging the annexation of the port by the town of Los Angeles. Later, he established a stagecoach route connecting San Pedro with Los Angeles. In 1831, he built a three-story flour mill, just north of what is today part of Los Angeles. It was the first commercial building in the city. Bricks were imported from Philadelphia and the millstones from France. It is still in use today as the Capitol Milling Company. One year after his marriage, he purchased the 28,000-acre Rancho Los Alamitos, near present day Long Beach and Seal Beach, to use as a summer home. As a trader who settled in Los Angeles, Stearns had become one of the area's wealthiest citizens and the largest landowner in Southern California. He served as the first mayor during the Mexican period and president of Los Angeles during American rule. He was instrumental in California's becoming a part of the Union and served as a member of the convention that formed the state's original constitution. Today, Rancho Los Alamitos (Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods) is maintained by the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation and is operated as a public/private venture between the Foundation and the City of Long Beach. The ranch was given to the city in 1968 by the children of Fred and Florence Bixby, the last individuals who owned it. Jon Wilkman wrote of Stearns, "He became "Don Abel Stearns" after adopting Mexican citizenship and converting ... to Catholicism. Stearns was an imposing, if controversial figure, nicknamed "Cara de Caballo" (Horse Face) because of his long-jawed countenance. Once accused of being a smuggler, (he) was amassing the largest fortune of his day when he married..." According to researcher Carol Stearns Judd, he sent the first sample of California gold to the U.S. Mint. Comments: His household in the 1860 census: Abel Stearns, 62, Ranchero, Stock Raiser, Personal property valued at $104,000, b. Massachusetts Arcadia B., 34, b. California Charles R. Johnston, 33, Massachusetts Dolores, 22, California (Daughter of Juan Bandini) Charles A., 8, Mexico Charles H. Brinley, 33, clerk, Massachusetts (?) Cortes, 50, cook, Peru James Hewson, 26, painter, New Jersey Mary Hewson, 29, servant Pasqual Espinosa, 23, servant, Mexico Maria Arguello, 24, California Refugio A. Bandini, 45, California (Second wife of Juan Bandini who d. 1859?) Margarita Bandini, 21, California (Daughter of Juan Bandini) Alfredo, 12, California Arturo, 6, California Juan B. Bandini, 25, farmer, California (Could be Arcadia's brother Juanito) Juan (No Surname), 33, laborer Antonio (No Surname), 22, laborer Miguel Gonzales, 38, laborer OBITUARY: "STEARNS--Abel STEARNS of Los Angeles, died in San Francisco, he came to America in 1828." Source: "Russian River Flag" (Healdsburg, California) 31 Aug 1871." Transcribed by Jeanne Taylor, forwarded by Doreen Pellissier. OBITUARY: "STEARNS--Dispatch from San Francisco, Aug. 27 -- ABEL STEARNS -- The 'Alta' of Friday has the following concerning this gentleman, well known throughout the State: The funeral of Don Abel Stearns, who died at the Grand Hotel on Wednesday afternoon, will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. from the St. Mary's Cathedral. The Pioneers will take due steps to show honor to one of the foremost of their number. While yet a young man he left his home in Massachusetts and passed some time in Mexico, from thence coming to California, then a Mexican State, in 1828. He was 82 at the time of his death. He settled in Los Angeles, where he since resided. He was largely engaged in trading, stock and land speculations, and when gold was discovered in 1848 he was owner of several hundred thousand acres of land and about 50,000 head of fine cattle. In 1842 he made the first shipment of California gold on record. At that time a few Mexicans from Sonora were working the placers at San Francisquita, about 35 miles NW from Los Angeles, which were worked until 1846, yielding $6,000 or $8,000 a year. Mr. Stearns sent 18 3/4 ounces of this gold to the United States Mint, at Philadelphia, on the 22d of November, 1842; and the certificate of assay which he received Aug. 6, 1843, is now in the archives of the San Francisco Society of Pioneers, of which body Mr. Stearns was a member. Since the settlement of the State by Americans, following the large gold discovery at Sutter's Mill in 1848, he was not by any means always fortunate in his speculations, and his estate became reduced. In Los Angeles his loss will be specially felt" Source: "Stockton Daily Independent", 28 Aug 1871. Transcribed by Dee, forwarded by Doreen Pellissier.
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