Santa Ana SP-2869 - History

Santa Ana SP-2869 - History


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Santa Ana

(SP-2869: t. 4,869, 1. 373'9"; b. 51'2", dr. 22'9" s. 12 k.; cpl. 204)

Santa Ana ( SP-2869) was built during 1918 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa., for W. R. Grace and Co. of New York, ordered delivered to the United States Shipping Board upon completion, and commissioned on 11 February 1919 at Hoboken, N.J. Lt. Comdr. Charles H. Lawrence, USNRF, in command.

Santa Ana was assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force and subsequently returned American troops from Europe. She made four round-trip voyages from New York to the Bordeaux area of France between 27 February 1919 and 7 July 1919. In this short time, she embarked thousands of Army passengers from Bassens, Bordeaux, Verdon, and Pauillac, France, seldom spending more than 24 hours in port before again steaming westward to the United States.

Santa Ana was decommissioned at Hoboken, N.J., on 21 July 1919, and simultaneously transferred to the Shipping Board for eventual return to her owner. She subsequently operated under United States registry under the names Santa Ana, Guatemala, Santa Cecilia Irwin, and John C. Clem, until finally scrapped during 1948.


General Santa Anna dies in Mexico City

Embittered and impoverished, the once mighty Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna dies in Mexico City.

Born in 1792 at Jalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Santa Anna was the son of middle-class parents. As a teen, he won a commission in the Spanish army and might have been expected to live out an unspectacular career as a middle-level army officer. However, the young Santa Anna quickly distinguished himself as a capable fighter and leader, and after 1821, he gained national prominence in the successful Mexican war for independence from Spain. In 1833, he won election to the presidency of the independent republic of Mexico by an overwhelming popular majority. His dedication to the ideal of a democratic role proved weak, though, and he proclaimed himself dictator in 1835.

Santa Anna’s assumption of dictatorial power over Mexico brought him into direct conflict with a growing movement for independence in the Mexican state of Texas. During the 1820s and 1830s, large numbers of Euro-Americans had settled in the area of Texas, and many of them remained more loyal to the United States than to their distant rulers in Mexico City. Some viewed Santa Anna’s overthrow of the Mexican Republic as an opportunity to break away and form an independent Republic of Texas that might one day become an American state.

Determined to crush the Texas rebels, Santa Anna took command of the Mexican army that invaded Texas in 1836. His forces successfully defeated the Texas rebels at the Alamo, and he personally ordered the execution of 400 Texan prisoners after the Battle of Goliad. However, these two victories planted the seeds for Santa Anna’s defeat. “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” became the rallying cries for a reinvigorated Texan army. Lulled into overconfidence by his initial easy victories, Santa Anna was taken by surprise at San Jacinto, and his army was annihilated on April 21, 1836. The captured Santa Anna, fearing execution, willingly signed an order calling for all Mexican troops to withdraw. Texas became an independent republic.

Deposed during his captivity with the Texan rebels, Santa Anna returned to Mexico a powerless man. During the next two decades, however, the highly unstable political situation in Mexico provided him with several opportunities to regain-and again lose-his dictatorial power. All told, he became the head of the Mexican government 11 times. Overthrown for the last time in 1855, he spent the remaining two decades of his life scheming with elements in Mexico, the United States and France to stage a comeback.

Although he was clearly a brilliant political opportunist, Santa Anna was ultimately loyal only to himself and he had an insatiable lust for power. While Santa Anna played an important role in achieving Mexican independence, his subsequent governments were also at least partially responsible for the loss of the Southwest to the United States. He died in poverty and squalor in Mexico City at the age of 82, no doubt still dreaming of a return to power.


VIDEO: Hollywood's Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story

F loral Park began to blossom in the early 1920s, soon after World War I. As the weary soldiers returned home, many married their sweethearts and made plans to settle down, buy a house, and have a family. They brought with them visions of quaint French Norman and English Tudor cottages, colorful Spanish Colonial villas, and dignified Italianate homes.

During the prosperous years of the 1920s, it was said that &ldquoevery man could have his castle and he could have it in any style he wanted.&rdquo Floral Park, with its rich cornucopia of architectural styles, is particularly representative of that trend.

The streetscapes of Floral Park grew from an occasional large farm house among the orange, avocado and walnut groves to sections of single-family homes in a variety of romantic styles. Spanish Colonial Revival houses, with their red tile roofs and softly colored stucco exteriors, were particularly popular. Shaded by palm trees, they became a symbol of Southern California living.

English Tudor Revival homes, exhibiting lots of charm and character, were built in many versions. Early American designs, such as Federal, Cape Cod and Georgian, added to the rich variety. Architects enjoyed mixing features, taking what they liked from each style and creating one-of-a-kind homes.

In the 1930s and early 1940s, there were still several orange groves in Floral Park. After World War II, the remaining groves disappeared as a new building boom resulted in the construction of new custom ranch-style homes with large light-filled rooms, sliding glass doors to back yards, and open horizontal floor plans. Garages, now attached to the house, became necessary as more families had two cars.

The Floral Park Neighborhood Association works actively to preserve the character and beauty of the neighborhood and to provide a sense of friendliness and helpfulness to its residents. Over 100 individual homes in the neighborhood are currently listed on the Santa Ana Historic Register. The FPNA board of directors, local architectural historians, and the City of Santa Ana believe historic district designation is a good, logical step in preserving and enhancing the charm and desirable nature of our neighborhood. Therefore, the Floral Park Neighborhood Association is in the process of pursuing that national historic designation.


Santa Ana SP-2869 - History

In March 1941 the U.S. Army purchased the 5211 gross-ton passenger liner Irwin , which had been built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1918 and served in 1919 as USS Santa Ana . Renamed John L. Clem , she was converted to a troopship at New York City, and operated between the United States East and Gulf Coasts and ports in the Caribbean and Central America from June 1941 and September 1943. She was then sent to Mobile, Alabama, where she was converted to a hospital ship. Upon completion of this work in June 1944, John L. Clem steamed across the Atlantic to begin duty in the western Mediterranean. She returned to the U.S. in June 1945 to begin preparations for service in the Pacific. However, when Japan surrendered in September she was reconverted to a transport and used to carry workers between Jamaica and Florida. John L. Clem was turned over to the War Shiping Administration early in 1946 and later assigned to the U.S. Public Health Service. In December of that year she was laid up in the Maritime Commission's reserve fleet at Brunswick, Georgia, under the name Irwin . The ship was sold for scrapping in January 1948.

This page features all the views we have concerning the U.S. Army Transport and Hospital Ship John L. Clem, and provides links to photos of her as USS Santa Ana (ID # 2869).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

USAT John L. Clem (U.S. Army Hospital Ship)

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken circa 1941.
Built in 1918, this ship served as USS Santa Ana (ID # 2869) in 1919, then had more than two decades of commercial employment. She became the U.S. Army Transport John L. Clem in 1941, serving in that role until September 1943, when she began conversion to an Army hospital ship. She returned to transport service between September 1945 and January 1946.

Copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 68KB 740 x 405 pixels

USAHS John L. Clem (U.S. Army Hospital Ship)

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1944-1945.
Built in 1918, this ship served as USS Santa Ana (ID # 2869) in 1919. While in commercial service between the World Wars she was named Santa Ana , Guatamala , Santa Cecilia and Irwin . In 1941 she was purchased by the War Department. After two years as the U.S. Army Transport John L. Clem , she was converted to a hospital ship, serving in that role from June 1944 until September 1945.

Copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles.


The Capture of Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna fell prisoner to the Texans on April 22, 1836. The day before , the leader of Mexico and commander of its army operating in Texas had mounted a horse and had ridden away, thereby escaping the wrath of Texans and American volunteers who sought vengeance for victims of the infamous Tornel Decree that called for the execution of the “pirates” waging war against the Centralist government. Had Santa Anna been captured in the heat of battle at San Jacinto, the odds of his survival would have been slim to none. But luck, and fate, were kind to him.

The men who captured Santa Anna were Sergeant James A. Sylvester and Privates A. H. Miles, Sion R. Bostic, Joseph Vermillion, Joel W. Robinson [Robison], and Charles P. Thompson. Several of his captors left accounts, some of which can be found online at the Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas web site, http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/dewitt.htm. While not all accounts agree on specific points, the basic story appears as follows.

Late on the afternoon of April 21, the Texans commanded the field and had either killed or captured nearly all of the troops with Santa Anna, but the general and possibly other high-ranking officers were nowhere to be found. Scouts rode across the prairie searching for fugitives but darkness ended their efforts. The next morning, the search resumed directed by Colonel Edward Burleson. Sergeant James A. Sylvester and his squad joined the hunt, riding out as far as Vince’s Bayou before stopping. Sylvester and his companions received permission to split off from the main group of searchers and look for game on the way back to camp. The squad skirted a stretch of woods near the bayou hoping to kill a few deer when a movement in the prairie grass drew their attention. The movement quickly stopped at the approach of the Texans’ horses but it was too late for the person hiding in the grass — Antonio López de Santa Anna.[1]

According to his captors, the man they spotted almost appeared relieved at having been captured. Sylvester related that the prisoner reached for and kissed the sergeant’s hand. One of the Texans, Robinson, spoke Spanish and interpreted for the group. The prisoner inquired about Houston and asked to be taken to him. When asked if he were Santa Anna, he stated “no” but that he was one of the general’s aides, pulling official paperwork out of his pockets to strengthen his claim. His clothing was cause for discussion among his captors. Although his coat and pants were plain (sometimes described as a private’s uniform and others civilian garb), his shirt was distinctly not that of an enlisted man. Pleading too fatigued to walk, Miles allowed him to ride his horse for about a mile or more before demanding it back. Robison allowed the prisoner to ride double with him. Sylvester then allowed the prisoner to climb up behind him and ride the rest of the way to camp. It was only when the squad arrived at camp and saw the reaction of the other Mexican prisoners shouting Viva Santa Anna! and El Presidente! that they realized who they had brought in.[2]

Santa Anna recalled his treatment by Sam Houston once under his protection: “[He] treated [me] in a way that could hardly have been hoped for. . . . Recognizing me, he addressed me courteously and offered his hand. Despite the wounds he had received in the assault on my camp, he showed deep concern for me and ordered my cot and tent placed near his own.”[3] As many Texans feared, Santa Anna would live to fight again another day.

In retrospect, it is surprising that Santa Anna survived the battle and his subsequent capture. Many in the Texan camp called for his death. However, political concerns dictated that his life be spared by the officials of the Republic of Texas so they could use his influence as Mexico’s president to force concessions from him. Even though the Treaty of Velasco would be denounced by the Central government in Mexico City, Santa Anna alive served the Texans better than Santa Anna dead. Six months would pass before he would finally be released to return to Mexico.

[1] Stephen L. Moore, Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign. (Dallas: Republic of Texas Press, 2004), 375–77.

[3] Ann Fears Crawford, ed. The Eagle: The Autobiography of Santa Anna. (Austin: State House Press, 1988), 55.


Interactive Historic Timeline of the California Missions

This interactive timeline features, by year, the important events in the founding and development of the region the Spanish called Alta California between 1768 and 1853.

You can also view these events in a summary by period.

For a more detailed, more extensive printed version our California Missions Timeline is available

  • 1768
  • 1769
  • 1770
  • 1771
  • 1772
  • 1773
  • 1774
  • 1775
  • 1776
  • 1777
  • 1781
  • 1782
  • 1784
  • 1785
  • 1786
  • 1787
  • 1791
  • 1792
  • 1795
  • 1796
  • 1797
  • 1798
  • 1803
  • 1804
  • 1805
  • 1806
  • 1810
  • 1812
  • 1813
  • 1815
  • 1816
  • 1817
  • 1818
  • 1821
  • 1822
  • 1823
  • 1825
  • 1826
  • 1827
  • 1828
  • 1829
  • 1831
  • 1833
  • 1834
  • 1835
  • 1836
  • 1839
  • 1841
  • 1842
  • 1845
  • 1846
  • 1847
  • 1848
  • 1850
  • 1851
  • 1853

San Blas is founded as a naval base and supply depot. Alta California will be supplied from here.

José de Gálvez, Visitor General of New Spain, plans a land-based and sea-based expedition to settle Alta California May 5, 1768.

Unknown to Portolá and Serra the expedition is imperiled. The main supply ship, the San José, left Loreto carrying urgently needed supplies, but the ship and it’s crew are lost at sea.

The San Carlos, a sixty-four-foot packet boat with 62 persons aboard, sets sail from San Blas bound for San Diego on January 9, 1769. A second ship, the San Antonio, leaves San Blas five weeks later.

The San Antonio arrives in San Diego with nearly everyone on board incapacitated on April 11, 1769. Driven far out to sea, the San Carlos takes almost four months to reach San Diego and Arrives on April 29. Twenty-four of the crew die of scurvy.

The expedition leader, Gaspar de Portolá, and the first FatherPresident, Junípero Serra, arrive in San Diego after an arduous six-week journey. Over two-thirds of the expedition’s Indians desert en route.

The undermanned expedition establishes a garrison on San Diego’s Mission Hill. The compound as such consisted of little more than brush-covered enramadas and several grass huts.

With many sick and dying, and supplies already low, plans to proceed to Monterey by ship are scrapped. Portolá leaves San Diego to journey up the coast in July of 1769.

Shortly after Portolá departs, Fr. Junípero Serra founds Mission San Diego de Alcalá on Presidio Hill.

The Kumeyaay attack the San Diego compound occurs, killing José Vergerano, the servant of Fr. Serra. A wooden stockade is hastily erected.

Portolá is unsuccessful in finding Monterey but discovers the Bay of San Francisco.

Presidio of Monterey is established.

Portolá returns to San Diego in November of 1770. The new colony is in desperate straits and may have to be abandoned.

The San Antonio returns to San Diego and the struggling new colony is saved.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo (known in the mission era as San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey) is founded. A provisional pole and thatch chapel is erected at the presidio.

Mission San Antonio de Padua is founded in the land of the Salinan people at the native site of Telhaya in the Santa Lucía Mountains, southeast of Monterey.

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is founded along the slopes of the Montebello hills, overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo is relocated to the Carmel Valley near the Indian village of Ekheya.

The first mission in the land of the Chumash people, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, is founded at the village of Tilhini.

The Dominicans agree to a take over responsibility for the Baja California missions through a decree, freeing up the Franciscans to concentrate on Alta California.

Fr. Serra travels to Mexico City to clarify his authority and bolster support for the Alta California missions from 1772 to 1773.

The first Christian wedding in Alta California takes place at San Antonio de Padua.

Conversions begin to increase. The Chumash and Salinan people are more receptive to the Spanish.

Fr. Francisco Palóu and five other missionaries leave Baja for San Diego, setting the boundary between Alta and Baja California en route.

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is relocated from the slopes of the Montebello hills to the native site of Lisanchanga, three miles to the northwest.

Juan Bautista de Anza departs the Arizona presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac on January 8, 1774. The expedition discovers the first overland route to California, arriving at Mission San Gabriel on 03/22/1774.

San Diego Mission is relocated five and a half miles inland to the native village of Nipaquay in August of 1774.

The military outpost at San Diego is formally granted Presidio status.

Sergeant José Ortega escorts colonists from Baja California to San Diego Presidio.

The San Carlos is the first ship to enter San Francisco Bay. Captain Juan de Ayala names Angel Island (Isla de los Ángeles) and Alcatraz (Isla de los Alcatraces - Pelicans in Spanish).

A group of 240 colonists and over 1000 animals arrive at San Gabriel, destined for Monterey and the San Francisco presidio. Eight babies are born on the trail.

California is transferred from direct control by the Viceroy in Mexico City to the northern military command of the Interior Provinces, headed by Teodoro de Croix.

Presidio of San Francisco is established under the direction of Lieutenant José Joaquín Moraga.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá is rebuilt in October 1776.

Mission San Francisco de Asís, popularly known as Mission Dolores, is founded.

The seventh mission, San Juan Capistrano, is founded.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís is founded in the land of the Ohlone people. The neophytes ultimately include the Bay Miwok, Tamyen, and Yokuts.

The seat of government for Baja and Alta California is moved to Monterey in February of 1777.

Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe is established with 68 men, women and children. A central purpose of the civil settlements is to provide food for the army.

Felipe de Neve becomes first Civil Governor of California from 1777 to 1782. He reorganizes the administration of finances, streamlines regulations, and takes steps to grant the neophytes a greater role in mission management.

Quechans Indians destroy the two Spanish missions in the Yuma area, severing Spain’s tenuous overland route from central México to California.

Another group of settlers arrives in Alta California. Thirty-two men and women settle the pueblo of Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula.

Presidio of Santa Bárbara is established. This is the only California presidio that is partially restored.

The Serra Chapel at San Juan Capistrano is completed. This is the only church that remains in which Fr. Serra held mass.

Mission San Buenaventura is founded near the sizeable Chumash Indian village of Mitsqanaqa’n.

Fr. Junípero Serra dies at age 71.

Fr. Francisco Palóu is appointed interim Father-President from 08/28/1784 to 02/06/1785.

Juan José Domínguez, a retired soldier, receives the first land grant in Alta California, Rancho San Pedro.

Fr. Fermín Francisco de Lasuén becomes second Father-President of Alta California missions.

A rebellion led by a native woman, Toypurina, and the Alcalde, Nicholás José, occurs at San Gabriel over suppression of Indian ceremonies and other grievances.

Mission Santa Bárbara is founded at the Chumash village of Xana’yan.

Mission La Purísima Concepción is founded at the Chumash Indian village of Algsacupi.

Fr. Francisco Palóu publishes Life and Apostolic Labors of the Venerable Father Junípero Serra.

The remote mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is founded.

The Malaspina Expedition stops in Monterey in 1791. The drawings by Expedition artist José Cardero increase interest in this unique land.

Mission Santa Cruz is relocated to the native site of Uypi, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River and Monterey Bay.

California is returned to direct control by the Viceroy in Mexico City in 1792. The military focus shifts to defend against foreign invaders. Tension between the army and church leaders largely disappears.

The magnificent Royal Presidio Chapel at Monterey is completed in 1794 and dedicated on 01/25/1795.

An epidemic at San Francisco de Asís decimates the population.

In the 1790s foreigners arrive by ship in increasing numbers to trade for sea otter pelts, cattle hides, and tallow.

Mission San José is founded in the land of the Ohlone people.

Mission San Juan Bautista is founded on June 24, 1797. The mission sits on the only original Spanish square left in California.

Villa de Branciforte (present-day Santa Cruz) is established.

Mission San Miguel Arcángel is founded at a site the local Salinan Indians call Valica.

Mission San Fernando Rey de España is founded on Rancho Los Encinos, held by Don Francisco Reyes.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is founded at the native village of Tacayme in the region known as Quechia.

Upon the death of Father Lasuén, Estevan Tapis is appointed the Father-President from 06/26/1803 to 12/08/1812.

Mission Santa Inés Virgen y Mártir is founded near the ranchería of Alajulapu in the Santa Inez Valley.

The unique San Gabriel church, which features a Moorish “fortresslike” appearance, is completed.

A devastating smallpox and measles epidemic kills over 150 neophytes at San José from 1805 to 1806.

Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov arrives in San Francisco in April of 1806, seeking supplies for the Russian settlement in Alaska.

The Mexican War of Independence closes the port of San Blas and disrupts the flow of goods and missionaries to Alta California over the next decade from 1810 to 1821.

The first California autopsy was performed at Santa Cruz on Fr. Andrés Quintana. Period accounts indicate that the friar was poisoned.

The Great Stone Church at San Juan Capistrano is destroyed in a massive earthquake, killing 40 neophytes.

Fr. Narciso Durán develops a choir and band of some 30 musicians at San José, using teaching methods documented in his 1813 book Prólogo.

Recruiting and taking of Miwoks, Yokuts, and Chuillas Indians from the interior bolsters neophyte population from the 1810s to the 1820s.

The Asistencia of San Antonio de Pala is established at a mission rancho about 25 miles to the east of San Luis Rey.

San Rafael Arcángel is founded as a medical asistencia (sub-mission) for San Francisco de Asís.

The Russian-American Company operates a hunting station on Farallon Islands starting from 1819 to 1834.

Hippolyte de Bouchard, a Frenchman with a privateer’s license from the Republic of Río de la Plata (Argentina), attacks the coast of California, burning both the Monterey Presidio and Mission San Juan Capistrano in December of 1818.

One of the first American settlers in California, Thomas Doak, constructs and paints the main altar reredos at San Juan Bautista.

México achieves full independence from Spain and takes control of Alta California.

San Rafael Arcángel is given full mission status.

The impressive 210-foot long San Fernando Rey Convento (padre’s quarters and a guest house) is built.

Mission San Francisco Solano is founded, becoming the last of the California missions, and the only one established during Mexican rule.

México becomes a Republic.

Narciso Durán becomes Father President of the Alta California missions.

The population of San Luis Rey de Francia reaches 2,869, the highest achieved by any mission. Much of the population lives at outlying settlements such as Las Flores and San Antonio de Pala.

Jedediah Strong Smith, legendary American Mountain Man, reaches California by land and visits the Spanish settlements.

Gov. Col. José María Echeandía issues a provisional emancipation decree allowing a small number of neophytes born in the missions (or living there for at least fifteen years) to leave with permission of Franciscans and the presidio Comandante.

A major measles epidemic erupts in Alta California and 951 adults and 751 children die from 1827 to 1828. This represents over 10% of the mission population.

Estanislao, a San José mission neophyte, leads a large-scale Indian uprising that requires several military expeditions to quell from 1828 to 1829.

Soldiers of the Monterey Presidio launch a revolt in 1829. Fr. Luis Antonio Martínez, of San Luis Obispo, is accused of complicity in the affair but is ultimately exonerated on February 3, 1830.

Mission San Rafael Arcángel is badly damaged in an Indian attack led by Chiefs Marin and Quintín.

Fr. Narciso Durán is appointed as the last Father-President of Alta California on June 16, 1831. Santa Bárbara becomes headquarters of the mission chain from 1833 to 1846.

Missions are secularized from 1833 to 1836. Administrators are appointed. Many emancipated neophytes leave. Tradesmen, vaqueros and some others prosper but most become field hands or servants. Some neophytes join other Indian people in the interior.

A pueblo de Indios (a special town for former mission Indians) was established near San Juan Capistrano Mission in 1833. However, there were too few Indians to sustain a viable town and this experiment was subsequently dissolved and the land distributed to the remaining Indians and settlers.

One of many schemes to manage former mission land includes the Hijar-Padres Colony, under which some 300 liberal, educated individuals (teachers, artisans, medical attendants, etc.) would receive large grants of mission land and twenty-one Administrators from their ranks would oversee the Indians. Most of the colonists make it to Alta California [1834-1835] but the scheme is never implemented.

Richard Henry Dana serves as a crewmember of the Pilgrim, collecting hide and tallow, and visiting the missions and presidios [1834-1835].

Most of the neophytes leave Mission Soledad after it is secularized and the last priest, Fr. Vicente Francisco de Sarría dies May 24, 1835. The former mission is used as a ranch house for a number of years, and then falls into ruin, and is abandoned for over a century.

Santa Clara is the last mission secularized in December of 1836.

Mariano Vallejo is named Comandante General of California and Director of the Northern Frontier.

Mexican Administrators begin to move friends and relatives into former mission buildings.

John Augustus Sutter arrives in Yerba Buena and becomes a Mexican citizen.

Illegal immigrants from the United States move into Northern California in large numbers over the Oregon Trail in the late 1830's.

Richard Henry Dana publishes Two Years Before the Mast, his first-hand account of life in California. After gold is discovered in California, his book becomes a best seller.

John Sutter receives a land grant of 48,827 acres in June of 1841. That same year he purchases the Russian settlement of Fort Ross, unsuccessful as a source of food.

A small deposit of gold is discovered near San Fernando Rey and for years after treasure-seekers dig up the walls and floors of the abandoned church seeking gold.

What is left of the Pious Fund of the Missions of California is confiscated by Mexican President Antonio López María de Santa Ana.

The last Franciscan missionary to arrive in California in the 18th century, José Ramón Abella, dies at Santa Inés.

The former missions of San Gabriel and San Miguel become the first two parishes in California [1842]. San Buenaventura follows in 1843.

The last Mexican governor of Alta California, Pío de Jesús Pico grants his brother Andrés a very favorable nine-year lease on San Fernando Rey.

The Republic of Texas becomes part of the United States.

A former missionary of British Guiana, Fr. Eugene MacNamara, promotes a scheme under which 3,000 Irishmen and their families would immigrate to Alta California. Events overtake the implausible scheme when Americans sweep into California [1845-1846].

The U.S. notifies Lt. John Charles Fremont, who has been surveying the west, to “watch over U.S. interests in California.” By the time the message reaches Fremont in May of 1846 the U.S. Congress has already declared war on México.

American warships under the command of Commodore John D. Sloat of the frigate USS Savannah, and two sloops, including the USS Cyane and the USS Levant, capture Monterey and claim California for the United States.

The Californios resist American occupation and fighting continues into 1847.

Missions San Luis Rey and San Diego are occupied by the U.S. Army during the MexicanAmerican War [1846-1847].

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo cedes California (and parts of what today comprise the states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico) to the United States [concluded 02/02/1848].

Gold is discovered at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento [01/24/1848].

The Gold Rush had a devastating impact on the remaining California Indians. Disease, starvation and genocidal attacks reduce the Native population to an estimated 31,000 by the 1870 census.

California becomes the 31st state of the Union [09/09/1850]. It ultimately becomes the 3rd largest state in land mass (after Texas and Alaska), and by 1960 has the largest population.

Congress passes the Land Act of 1851, creating a commission to review land titles in California [1851].


The Santa Ana River: How It Shaped Orange County

On the banks of the Santa Ana River -- at nearly 100 miles, the longest in Southern California -- the interplay between nature and culture becomes visible. Since the first humans arrived in Southern California several millennia ago, people have maintained a complicated relationship with the Santa Ana River, accepting its life-giving water but fearing its wrath. The Santa Ana shaped settlement patterns and land use at the same time that people drastically reshaped the river.

Today, like the region's other watercourses, the Santa Ana River bears little resemblance to its wilder, historical self. But -- despite being tamed by two massive dams and confined for much of its course to a concrete flood control channel -- the river remains one of the most important natural features of the Southern California landscape.

Rising in Southern California's Transverse Ranges, the Santa Ana is an ancient river geologists suspect that the river's course predates the uplift of the Santa Ana Mountains, which the river cuts straight through at Santa Ana Canyon. Over millions of years, fed by infrequent but reliably intense storms, the river has carried sediment from the mountains and deposited on the shore, slowly forming a coastal plain that today is home to millions of suburbanites.

The Tongva (Gabrielino) people were among the first to live with the river they called Wanaawna, establishing several villages within sight of the willows and sycamores that lined the riverbed. The reliable water source fed the trees that grew nearby and provided shade. Several Tongva villages lined the river in the area of present-day Orange County, including the village of Hotuuknga near Anaheim and across the river from Olive. Downstream was Pasbegna near present-day Santa Ana.

Roughly once a generation, the Tongva witnessed a flood that mingled the waters of the Santa Ana with those of the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers and turned the coastal plain into a giant, ephemeral lake. According to an oral tradition circulated by the Luiseño people of southern Orange County, a great flood (described as a rising ocean) once covered the entire countryside, wiping out the villages on the lowlands and sparing only those camped atop the high ground of Red Hill.

The river was tame on July 28, 1769, when the first Europeans crossed it near Hotuuknga. Juan Crespí, diarist for Gaspar de Portolà's Spanish expedition, described the scene:

But when a Spanish party returned two years later with plans to establish Alta California's fourth mission on the site, the Tongva greeted their arrival with hostility. The missionaries retreated several miles to the northwest and instead established their mission -- Mission San Gabriel Arcangel -- in the San Gabriel Valley.

Eventually, the newcomers dispossessed the Tongva of nearly all their land,
and the river water that once sustained villages of hunter-gatherers came to support a series of increasingly intensive economic regimes, each one leaving a bigger environmental footprint and making more demands on the river as a natural resource.

First was the light agricultural economy of the Spanish ranchos, which introduced irrigation to the fruitful plains surrounding the Santa Ana River. As grantees of the 48,000-acre Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, the Yorba and Peralta families were pioneers in this respect, digging canals to irrigate their fields and vineyards. The ditches -- or zanjas, as they were known in Spanish -- also provided water for the pueblo of Santa Ana Abajo (now known as Old Santa Ana) and several other adobe settlements along the river.

After the Mexican-American War, another wave of newcomers drew even more water from the river as the Mexican ranchos disintegrated in the face of new political and economic realities. In place of the sprawling cattle ranches, towns began to sprout from the Santa Ana's flood plains, nourished by the river's water and its rich soil deposits.

A group of German immigrants founded Anaheim (the name roughly means "home on the Santa Ana") as an agricultural colony in 1857. Under the supervision of their superintendent, civil engineer George Hansen, the colonists built a seven-mile canal to irrigate what some claimed was then the world's largest vineyard. The vines thrived in Anaheim's loamy soil.

River water also sustained the Mormon colony of San Bernardino (founded 1851) and the towns of Santa Ana (1869) and Riverside (1870), among others.

Agriculture became more intensive with the arrival of an important new crop: the orange. By the end of the nineteenth century, the river connected Southern California's two great orange belts, winding its way from the vast expanse of navel orange groves situated at the base of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains to the Valencia groves that flourished in Orange County's lower elevations.

The Santa Ana River watershed became one of the nation's most productive agricultural regions, but with each town start, grove planting, or capital investment, the river came to be seen as more of a threat. Orange County was especially vulnerable a swollen river rushing out of Santa Ana Canyon had the potential to jump its banks where the river turns south near Anaheim. If that happened, it would spread out in a sheet over the entire coastal plain.

In 1862, that worst-case scenario came to pass.

A weather phenomenon now known as an ARkStorm had brought 40 days of nearly uninterrupted rain to Southern California, submerging much of Orange County in several feet of water. Floodwaters drowned crops and killed herds of cattle. Upstream, intensive logging in the San Bernardino Mountains magnified the flood's impact as destructive debris flows buried productive fields and wiped out entire towns. Among the towns destroyed was the ironically named Agua Mansa ("smooth water"), then the largest settlement between Los Angeles and New Mexico.

Farms recovered, and many communities rebuilt, but after another major flood devastated the watershed in 1916, residents started clamoring for protection from the river's rare but deadly fury. Noting that Orange County's population had more than quadrupled in the thirty years between 1890 and 1920, engineer J. B. Lippincott recommended sweeping flood control measures, including dams on tributaries, a widened river channel, and reinforced levees. The centerpiece of Lippincott's plan was a 70-foot dam capable of holding a reservoir of 174,000 acre-feet of water.

That structure -- Prado Dam -- would eventually get built just east of the Santa Ana Canyon, but not before one more devastating flood.

On March 3, 1938, following days of heavy rain, the Santa Ana River again flooded much of Orange County. An eight-foot wall of water roared out of Santa Ana Canyon and destroyed the Mexican communities of Atwood and La Jolla, killing 43. The violent river smashed through railroad bridges and carried houses off their foundations and into orange groves. Much of Anaheim lay underwater.

The human story of the 1938 flood is richly documented in the collections of the Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton.

In one oral history, Eddie Castro recalls how he and his family escaped the rising floodwaters in the local schoolhouse: "The sound of breaking homes could now be heard. I remember this very well. It sounded like real large squeaks and scratches, cracks, and booms. All was very quiet. It seemed like we were just waiting to hear the next crash."

Frances Ramirez, who lived in Atwood when the floodwaters came, remembers taking refuge on high ground: "We parked on the little hill, and then we stayed in the car. Just the three boys got down [to] check and see if his dad was coming. they told us that they could see dogs and cows and pigs--and at that time they could have anything--and, houses breaking up in the water. Oh, it was ugly, ugly."

In all, the flood left more than 50 people dead and thousands homeless. Just five months later, work began on Prado Dam.

The dam's completion in 1941 would mark the beginning of a decades-long, multi-billion-dollar effort by local agencies as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect Orange County and upstream riverside communities from the Santa Ana River. The river's course through San Bernardino and Riverside counties preserves many wild aspects, but in Orange County work crews replaced the river's braided channel and meandering course with a straight, concrete channel and broad, sandy retarding basins.

By curbing the river's capacity to flood, the engineers' work opened up more areas to development and helped make possible Orange County's rapid postwar suburbanization--ironically magnifying the risk posed by a surging river that somehow manages to escape its shackles.

The government's long campaign to manage the Santa Ana River culminated in the massive Seven Oaks Dam, which stands 550 feet high in the river's canyon through the lower San Bernardino Mountains. When the dam opened in 2000, engineers declared Orange County safe from a 100-year flood.

Today, many who live near the once-feared river are rediscovering it as a recreational site. A paved pathway accompanies much of the river on its course, and activists hope soon to link various segments to form one continuous 110-mile trail from the mountains to the sea, allowing joggers, bikers, and equestrians to enjoy the river's surviving charms where the Tongva once strolled.


Part 5: History of police unions: Time to change

Barbara Thornton, a Precinct 16 Town Meeting member and former Capital Planning Committee member for 30-plus years, has written the fifth in a series calling for dialogue around police reform and racial justice in Arlington. Contact arlingtonma.voices at gmail.com.

By the late 1960s, the new ideal of “professionalism” built on the historic quasi-military tradition of policing. Police were seeing their wages decline relative to other jobs in the economy. They saw other Civil Service jobs unionize to increase pay and working conditions.

Lawmakers, municipal managers and police chiefs nationwide fought the attempts by local “rank-and-file” police to organize unions. Members of the military were not allowed to unionize. Police, with a quasi-military role, should not either. Instead, local police began to organize as “benevolent associations”, a precursor to today’s police unions.

Union impact

During the 1970s many cities, including Boston, signed agreements making work conditions, as well as police department policies, negotiable with police unions. This abrogation of municipalities’ managerial prerogatives opened the door to weaken municipal control over police behavior. City officials paid more attention to the immediate goal of budget management and ceded their control, accountability and right to discipline bad police behavior. This imbalance in negotiation happens when an employee has a career job expectation of 35 years in the and the municipal side is an elected official with a job expectation of maybe eight years. Municipal officials across the USA “let the horse out of the barn” by short term thinking and inadequate negotiating skills.

Police benevolent associations “rode that horse” to develop strong police unions, building on their effective negotiation strategies against their locally elected officials to build a stronger power base with elected officials at all levels. Police unions have become more adept at rewarding elected officials with contributions and intimidating them with political opposition.

For decades, municipal officials complained they cannot remove the “bad apples” in a police department because they would lose the legal battle with the union. Over time, this has become true. If a municipality attempts to discipline a police officer, the union becomes involved. The case is referred to arbitration. The companies in the arbitration-industry depend on referrals. Police unions have the upper hand in picking an arbitrator. That gives the arbitrator an incentive to find on behalf of the police over the interests of the individual municipal government, which lacks the statewide organizational strength to benefit the arbitrator’s future business.

Adept at defending members

Police unions have become adept in fighting for their membership, in donating to elected officials and in manipulating the arbitration process. They also have consolidated political strength by implicit and explicit threats against elected public officials. Last November, a City Council member in Santa Ana, Calif., was forced out of office on a “recall petition” initiated by the local police union in response to the city councilor’s effort to cut the police department budget by $25 million. This is in a city where the police budget is already about 45 percent of the total city budget. The campaign was led by the union’s professional staff, who are not members of any police department. Unions are a separate organization from the police officers they serve. The police union was successful in eliminating this opposition, and in intimidating other elected officials that may not agree with the union’s wishes.

Police unions have also become adept at manipulating the public’s understanding of the police function in society. Police are portrayed as risking their lives and being the “thin blue line” between chaos and safety. In fact, studies show that less than 5 percent of the service calls to police are related to violent crime.

In each of the last five years, police in the U.S. have killed about 1000 people per year. During the same period, about 100 police officers nationwide were killed in the line of duty. There is a huge imbalance here. We mourn the police officers who have died in the line of duty. We mourn the citizens who have been wrongly killed by police officers. We must acknowledge both. Police unions do their membership no favors by attempting to distort this truth.Police do suffer from a disproportionate amount of stress. It is not easy to go out on a job with a gun on your hip in the most heavily armed country in the world. White male police officers in Buffalo, N.Y., for example, have a life expectancy 22 years shorter than the average American male.

The people of Arlington do not want their police officers to feel unappreciated. They want to see these officers acknowledge that bad behavior happens and there is a need to reexamine what police do. This needs to be a conversation between police and the people they serve. Our police officers need to step out from behind the police unions, now sowing dissonance and misinformation, and talk honestly with the community about how to rebuild this relationship.

Sept. 23, 2020: Part 4: Building a coalition for change

This viewpoint was published Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

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Santa Anita Park

Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, cash in hand, opens the original Santa Anita Park racetrack, a few blocks east of its current location, in what is now Arcadia Park. At the time owns much of Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Arcadia. The inaugural running of the Santa Anita Handicap is won by Azucar. The race’s build up and running, with its purse being an unheard of at the time $100,000, makes front page news of the Los Angeles times. From March 27 through October 27, 1942 the United States government used Santa Anita Park during World War II. This regrettable time in our nation's history has been remembered with a Memorial located near the Kingsbury Fountain. (Source of image & more information) Affirmed and Laffit Pincay Jr. win the Santa Anita Derby to set them on their run towards the 1978 Triple Crown title. Affirmed would go on to claim all three Triple Crown races that year and win Horse of the Year. John Henry wins his second Santa Anita Handicap, and is hailed as a modern-day Seabiscuit. Both horses are now immortalized in the Santa Anita Park statuary. Santa Anita Park plays host to equestrian events at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay Jr. wins seven races in one day. Legendary hornblower, Jay Cohen, joins Santa Anita Park and persists as its iconic trumpeter today. The opening of the FrontRunner restaurant. The FrontRunner sits atop the Grandstands on the 5th floor featuring a 215 ft long bar and a seasonally revolving menu. Introduction of the Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita, a celebration of its sister track in Japan, Ohi Racetrack. Zenyatta becomes one of three horses to be honored with a statue in the Santa Anita paddock gardens, joining 1930's star Seabiscuit and 1980's fan favorite John Henry. Hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships an unprecedented three years in a row. The two day event set a record in attendance and would be the eighth time Santa Anita played host to this world class event. Two tremendous battles unfolded in the 2016 Breeders' Cup World Championship hosted for a record ninth time at Santa Anita Park. Beholder wins the Distaff in a thrilling stretch battle over the undefeated Songbird. The Breeders' Cup Classic followed with an epic battle as Arrogate chased down heavy favorite California Chrome, surpassing his rival at the wire. After the legalization of pari-mutuel gambling in 1933, San Francisco dentist Dr. Charles H. Strub and movie mogul, Hal Roach, create a new Santa Anita Park in its current location at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and find success despite being in the midst of the Great Depression. Seabiscuit wins the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap after two previous attempts the magnetic starting gate is first introduced into the Santa Anita Park meet. Tuesdee Testa becomes the first female jockey to win a race at Santa Anita Park. Spectacular Bid, with Bill Shoemaker aboard, has a perfect 1980 season. Santa Anita Park’s legendary announcer, Trevor Denman, joins Santa Anita and remained as its voice for 33 years before calling it quits at the end of 2015. Santa Anita Park hosts its first Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This spectacular event features the world's greatest horses, jockeys and trainers on one stage competing for millions of dollars. It would be the first of many that Santa Anita Park would host. Bill Shoemaker’s last ride and farewell speech at Santa Anita Park. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1958 and had one of the most memorable careers in Thoroughbred racing. Filming of the movie “Seabiscuit” takes place at Santa Anita Park with jockey Gary Stevens playing the role of George Woolf. “Seabiscuit” in the film is played by Fighting Furrari, who still entertains fans at Santa Anita Park today. Zenyatta becomes the first female to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic hosted at Santa Anita Park, helping her remain undefeated. With that win she also became the first to ever win two different Breeders' Cup races and her victory is remembered by many as the greatest moment in Breeders' Cup history. The Great Race Place went through a makeover of over $15 million in renovations including a brand new Club House Mezzanine featuring new eateries and state of the art HD television screens. The iconic Chandelier Room was also redesigned along with the inclusion of the new Eddie Logan Suite. Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah returns to Santa Anita Park to parade in front of over 28,000 fans in attendance. American Pharoah became the first horse in over 37 years to capture the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Justify wins the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby en route to capturing the elusive Triple Crown, joining Seattle Slew as only the second undefeated three year old to do so.

Watch the video: I drove through the worst parts of Orange County, California. This is what I saw.