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December 4, 1860: Los Angeles; San Gabriel

December 4, 2010

Lacy Park Rose Garden

Lacy Park Rose Garden (site of the Wilson Ranch); by ostermayer, on Flickr

We got in camp [today]. We had been invited to a ranch and vineyard about nine miles east, and went with a friend [this] evening. It lies near San Gabriel Mission, on a most beautiful spot1Mr. Wilson, our host, uneducated, but a man of great force of character, is now worth a hundred or more thousand dollars and lives like a prince, only with less luxury. His wife is finely educated and refined, and his home to the visitor a little paradise. We found a fine family, with two lovely young ladies. We were received with the greatest cordiality and were entertained with the greatest hospitality. A touch of the country and times was indicated by our rig—I was dressed in colored woolen shirt, with heavy navy revolver (loaded) and huge eight-inch bowie knife at my belt; my friend the same; and the clergyman who took us out in his carriage carried along his rifle, he said for game, yet owned that it was “best to have arms after dark.”

Los Angeles 2010

by Martin & Julia, on Flickr

Here let me digress. This southern California is still unsettled. We all continually wear arms—each wears both bowie knife and pistol (navy revolver), while we have always for game or otherwise, a Sharp’s rifle, Sharp’s carbine, and two double-barrel shotguns. Fifty to sixty murders per year have been common here in Los Angeles, and some think it odd that there has been no violent death during the two weeks that we have been here. Yet with our care there is no considerable danger, for as I write this there are at least six heavy loaded revolvers in the tent, besides bowie knives and other arms, so we anticipate no danger. I have been practicing with my revolver and am becoming expert.

1Current location of Lacy Park in San Marino

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