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Title: Spanish and Indian place names of California: Their Meaning and Their Romance
Author: Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift
Language: English
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“His memory still rests like a benediction over the noble State which he
rescued from savagery.”]

                           SPANISH AND INDIAN
                             PLACE NAMES OF


                       NELLIE VAN DE GRIFT SANCHEZ


                             A. M. ROBERTSON
                        SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

                             COPYRIGHT, 1914
                             A. M. ROBERTSON

             [Illustration: Philopolis Press San Francisco]



The author wishes to express grateful appreciation of generous aid given
in the preparation of this book by Herbert E. Bolton, Ph.D., Professor of
American History in the University of California.

Acknowledgment is also due to Dr. A. L. Kroeber, Assistant Professor of
Anthropology, Dr. Harvey M. Hall, Assistant Professor of Economic Botany,
Dr. John C. Merriam, Professor of Palaeontology, Dr. Andrew C. Lawson,
Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, all of the University of California;
Mr. John Muir, Father Zephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., Mr. Charles B.
Turrill, of San Francisco, and many other persons in various parts of the
state for their courtesy in furnishing points of information.

For the sources used in the work, the author is indebted, in great
measure, to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, and to
the many writers from whose works quotations have been freely used.


                                            ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.




                                CHAPTER I

    INTRODUCTION                                               3

                               CHAPTER II

    CALIFORNIA                                                13

                               CHAPTER III

    IN AND ABOUT SAN DIEGO                                    21

                               CHAPTER IV

    LOS ÁNGELES AND HER NEIGHBORS                             51

                                CHAPTER V

    IN THE VICINITY OF SANTA BÁRBARA                          89

                               CHAPTER VI

    THE SAN LUÍS OBISPO GROUP                                117

                               CHAPTER VII

    IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF MONTEREY                          133

                              CHAPTER VIII

    THE SANTA CLARA VALLEY                                   167

                               CHAPTER IX

    AROUND SAN FRANCISCO BAY                                 185

                                CHAPTER X

    NORTH OF SAN FRANCISCO                                   241

                               CHAPTER XI

    THE CENTRAL VALLEY                                       265

                               CHAPTER XII

    IN THE SIERRAS                                           235

    PRONUNCIATION OF SPANISH NAMES                           335

                              CHAPTER XIII

    FINAL LIST AND INDEX                                 347-444

    ADDENDA                                                  445





    ARCHWAY AT CAPISTRANO                                     37


    MISSION OF SANTA BÁRBARA                                  91

    MISSION OF SANTA INEZ, FOUNDED IN 1804                   111

    MISSION OF SAN LUÍS OBISPO, FOUNDED IN 1772              119

    MISSION OF SAN MIGUEL, FOUNDED IN 1797                   125

    MONTEREY IN 1850                                         135



    LA PUNTA DE LOS CIPRESES                                 149


    MISSION OF SANTA CLARA, FOUNDED IN 1777                  169

    THE PALO COLORADO (REDWOOD TREE)                         175


       MISSION DOLORES                                       195

    THE GOLDEN GATE                                          201

    THE FARALLONES                                           209

    TAMALPAIS                                                215

    THE MISSION OF SAN RAFAEL, FOUNDED IN 1817               221

    NAPA VALLEY                                              243

    MOUNT SHASTA                                             253


    IN THE SIERRA NEVADAS                                    284

    IN THE HIGH SIERRAS                                      295

    EL RÍO DE LAS PLUMAS (FEATHER RIVER)                     301


    SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE                                      313

    MARIPOSA SEQUOIAS                                        319

    VERNAL FALLS IN THE YOSEMITE VALLEY                      325

    MAP OF THE MISSIONS                                      343

    KAWEAH MOUNTAINS                                         383


    THE TALLAC TRAIL TO TAHOE                                437

[Illustration: INTRODUCTION]



This volume has been prepared in the hope that it may serve, not only
as a source of entertainment to our own people, but also as a useful
handbook for the schools, and as a sort of tourist’s guide for those who
visit the state in such numbers, and who almost invariably exhibit a
lively interest in our Spanish and Indian place names.

We of California are doubly rich in the matter of names, since, in
addition to the Indian nomenclature common to all the states, we possess
the splendid heritage left us by those bold adventurers from Castile
who first set foot upon our shores. In these names the spirit of our
romantic past still lives and breathes, and their sound is like an echo
coming down the years to tell of that other day when the savage built his
bee-hive huts on the river-banks, and the Spanish caballero jingled his
spurs along the Camino Real.

And in what manner, it may well be asked, have we been caring for
this priceless heritage,—to keep it pure, to preserve its inspiring
history, to present it in proper and authentic form for the instruction
and entertainment of “the stranger within our gates,” as well as for
the education of our own youth? As the most convincing answer to this
question, some of the numerous errors in works purporting to deal with
this subject, many of which have even crept into histories and books for
the use of schools, will be corrected in these pages.

In the belief that the Spanish and Indian names possess the greatest
interest for the public, both “tenderfoot” and native, they will be
dealt with here almost exclusively, excepting a very few of American
origin, whose stories are so involved with the others that they can
scarcely be omitted. In addition, there are a number that appear to be of
Anglo-Saxon parentage, but are in reality to be counted among those that
have suffered the regrettable fate of translation into English from the
original Spanish. Of such are Kings County and River, which took their
names from _El Río de los Santos Reyes_ (the River of the Holy Kings),
and the Feather River, originally _El Río de las Plumas_ (the River of
the Feathers).

While searching for the beginnings of these names through the diaries
of the early Spanish explorers and other sources, a number of curious
stories have been encountered, which are shared with the reader in the
belief that he will be glad to know something of the romance lying behind
the nomenclature of our “songful, tuneful” land.

It is a matter of deep regret that the work must of necessity be
incomplete, the sources of information being so scattered, and so often
unreliable, that it has been found impossible to trace all the names to
their origin.

Indian words are especially difficult; in fact, as soon as we enter that
field we step into the misty land of legend, where all becomes doubt
and uncertainty. That such should be the case is inevitable. Scientific
study of the native Californian languages, of which there were so many as
to constitute a veritable Babel of tongues among the multitude of small
tribes inhabiting this region, was begun in such recent times that but
few aborigines were left to tell the story of their names, and those few
retained but a dim memory of the old days. In view of the unsatisfactory
nature of this information, stories of Indian origin will be told here
with the express qualification that their authenticity is not vouched
for, except in cases based upon scientific evidence. Some of the most
romantic among them, when put to the “acid test” of such investigation,
melt into thin air. In a general way, it may be said that Indian names
were usually derived from villages, rather than tribes, and that, in most
cases, their meaning has been lost.

In the case of Spanish names, we have a rich mine in the documents left
behind by the methodical Spaniards, who maintained the praiseworthy
custom of keeping minute accounts of their travels and all circumstances
connected therewith. From these sources the true stories of the origin
of some of our place names have been collected, and are retold in
these pages, as far as possible, in the language of their founders.
Unfortunately, the story can not always be run to earth, and in such
cases, the names, with their translation, and sometimes an explanatory
paragraph, will appear in a supplementary list at the end of the volume.
The stories have been arranged in a series of groups, according to their
geographical location, beginning with San Diego as the most logical
point, since it was there that the first mission was established by the
illustrious Junípero Serra, and there that the history of California
practically began. The arrangement of these groups is not arbitrary, but,
in a general way, follows the course of Spanish Empire, as it took its
way, first up the coast, then branching out into the interior valley, and
climbing the Sierras.

Some of the stories may appear as “twice-told tales” to scholars and
other persons to whom they have long been familiar, but are included here
for the benefit of the stranger and the many “native sons” who have had
no opportunity to become acquainted with them.

A few words in regard to the method of naming places customary among
the Spanish explorers may help the reader to a better understanding of
results. The military and religious members of the parties were naturally
influenced by opposite ideas, and so they went at it in two different
ways. The padres, as a matter of course, almost invariably chose names of
a religious character, very often the name of the saint upon whose “day”
the party happened to arrive at a given spot. This tendency resulted in
the multitude of _Sans_ and _Santas_ with which the map of our state is
so generously sprinkled, and which are the cause of a certain monotony.
Fortunately for variety’s sake, the soldiers possessed more imagination,
if less religion, than the padres, and were generally influenced by
some striking circumstance, perhaps trivial or humorous, but always
characteristic, and often picturesque. In many cases the choice of the
soldiers has out-lived that of the fathers.

Broadly speaking, it may be said that names were first applied to rivers,
creeks or mountains, as being those natural features of the country most
important to the welfare, or even the very existence, of the exploring
parties. For instance, the _Merced_ (Mercy), River was so-called because
it was the first drinking water encountered by the party after having
traversed forty miles of the hot, dry valley. Then, as time passed and
the country developed, towns were built upon the banks of these streams,
frequently receiving the same names, and these were often finally adopted
to designate the counties established later in the regions through which
their waters flow. In this way Plumas County derived its name from the
Feather River, originally _El Río de las Plumas_, and Kings County from
_El Río de los Reyes_ (the River of the Kings). This way of naming was,
however, not invariable.

It sometimes happens that the name has disappeared from the map, while
the story remains, and some such stories will be told, partly for their
own interest, and partly for the light they throw upon a past age.

Among our Spanish names there is a certain class given to places in
modern times by Americans in a praiseworthy attempt to preserve the
romantic flavor of the old days. Unfortunately, an insufficient knowledge
of the syntax and etymology of the Spanish language has resulted in
some improper combinations. Such names, for instance, as _Monte Vista_
(Mountain or Forest View), _Loma Vista_ (Hill View), _Río Vista_ (River
View), etc., grate upon the ears of a Spaniard, who would never combine
two nouns in this way. The correct forms for these names would be _Vista
del Monte_ (View of the Mountain), _Vista de la Loma_ (View of the Hill),
_Vista del Río_ (View of the River), etc. Between this class of modern
Spanish names, more or less faulty in construction, given by “Spaniards
from Kansas,” as has been humorously said, and the real old names of the
Spanish epoch about which a genuine halo of romance still clings, there
is an immense gulf.

In the numerous quotations used in this book, the language of the
original has generally been retained, with no attempt to change the form
of expression. In spite of the most conscientious efforts to avoid them,
unreliability of sources may cause some errors to find their way into
these pages; for these the author hopes not to be held responsible.

[Illustration: CALIFORNIA]



First comes the name of _California_ herself, the _sin par_ (peerless
one), as Don Quixote says of his Dulcinea. This name, strange to say,
was a matter of confusion and conjecture for many years, until, in 1862,
Edward Everett Hale accidentally hit upon the explanation since accepted
by historians.

Several theories, all more or less fanciful and far-fetched, were based
upon the supposed construction of the word from the Latin _calida
fornax_ (hot oven), in reference either to the hot, dry climate of Lower
California, or to the “sweathouses” in use among the Indians. Such
theories not only presuppose a knowledge of Latin not likely to exist
among the hardy men who first landed upon our western shores but also
indicate a labored method of naming places quite contrary to their custom
of seizing upon some direct and obvious circumstance upon which to base
their choice. In all the length and breadth of California few, if any,
instances exist where the Spaniards invented a name produced from the
Latin or Greek in this far-fetched way. They saw a big bird, so they
named the river where they saw it _El Río del Pájaro_ (the River of the
Bird), or they suffered from starvation in a certain canyon, so they
called it _La Cañada del Hambre_ (the Canyon of Hunger), or they reached
a place on a certain saint’s day, and so they named it for that saint.
They were practical men and their methods were simple.

In any case, since Mr. Hale has provided us with a more reasonable
explanation, all such theories may be passed over as unworthy of
consideration. While engaged in the study of Spanish literature, he was
fortunate enough to run across a copy of an old novel, published in
Toledo sometime between 1510 and 1521, in which the word _California_
occurred as the name of a fabulous island, rich in minerals and precious
stones, and said to be the home of a tribe of Amazons. This novel,
entitled _Las Sergas de Esplandián_ (The Adventures of Esplandián),
was written by the author, García Ordonez de Montalvo, as a sequel to
the famous novel of chivalry, _Amadís of Gaul_, of which he was the
translator. The two works were printed in the same volume. Montalvo’s
romance, although of small literary value, had a considerable vogue among
Spanish readers of the day, and that its pages were probably familiar to
the early explorers in America is proved by the fact that Bernal Díaz,
one of the companions of Cortés, often mentions the Amadís, to which the
story of Esplandián was attached. The passage containing the name that
has since become famous in all the high-ways and by-ways of the world
runs as follows: “Know that on the right hand of the Indies there is an
island called _California_, very near to the terrestrial paradise, which
was peopled by black women, without any men among them, for they were
accustomed to live after the manner of Amazons. They were of strong and
hardened bodies, of ardent courage and of great force. The island was the
strongest in the world, from its steep rocks and great cliffs. Their arms
were all of gold and so were the caparisons of the wild beasts they rode.”

It was during the period when this novel was at the height of its
popularity that Cortés wrote to the King of Spain concerning information
he had of “an island of Amazons, or women only, abounding in pearls
and gold, lying ten days journey from Colima.” After having sent one
expedition to explore the unknown waters in that direction, in 1535 or
thereabout, an expedition that ended in disaster, he went himself and
planted a colony at a point, probably La Paz, on the coast of Lower
California. In his diary of this expedition, Bernal Díaz speaks of
California as a “bay,” and it is probable that the name was first applied
to some definite point on the coast, afterward becoming the designation
of the whole region. The name also occurs in Preciado’s diary of Ulloa’s
voyage down the coast in 1539, making it reasonable to suppose that it
was adopted in the period between 1535 and 1539, whether by Cortés or
some other person can not be ascertained.

Bancroft expresses the opinion that the followers of Cortés may have
used the name in derision, to express their disappointment in finding a
desert, barren land in lieu of the rich country of their expectations,
but it seems far more in keeping with the sanguine nature of the
Spaniards that their imaginations should lead them to draw a parallel
between the rich island of the novel, with its treasures of gold and
silver, and the new land, of whose wealth in pearls and precious metals
some positive proof, as well as many exaggerated tales, had reached them.

An argument that seems to clinch the matter of the origin of the name is
the extreme improbability that two different persons, on opposite sides
of the world, should have invented exactly the same word, at about the
same period, especially such an unusual one as _California_.

As for the etymology of the word itself, it is as yet an unsolved
problem. The suggestion that it is compounded of the Greek root _kali_
(beautiful), and the Latin _fornix_ (vaulted arch), thus making its
definition “beautiful sky,” may be the true explanation, but even if that
be so, Cortés or his followers took it at second hand from Montalvo and
were not its original inventors.

Professor George Davidson, in a monograph on the _Origin and the Meaning
of the Name California_, states that incidental mention had been made
as early as 1849 of the name as occurring in Montalvo’s novel by George
Ticknor, in his _History of Spanish Literature_, but Mr. Ticknor refers
to it simply as literature, without any thought of connecting it with
the name of the state. This connection was undoubtedly first thought of
by Mr. Hale and was discussed in his paper read before the Historical
Society of Massachusetts in 1862; therefore the honor of the discovery
of the origin of the state’s name must in justice be awarded to him.
Professor Davidson, in an elaborate discussion of the possible etymology
of the word, expresses the opinion that it may be a combination of two
Greek words, _kallos_ (beauty), and _ornis_ (bird), in reference to the
following passage in the book: “In this island are many griffins, which
can be found in no other part of the world.” Its etymology, however, is a
matter for further investigation. The one fact that seems certain is its
origin in the name of the fabulous island of the novel.

It may well suffice for the fortunate heritors of the splendid
principality now known as _California_ that this charming name became
affixed to it permanently, rather than the less “tuneful” one of _New
Albion_, which Sir Francis Drake applied to it, and under which cognomen
it appears on some English maps of the date.

[Illustration: IN AND ABOUT SAN DIEGO]



Like many other places in California, _San Diego_ (St. James), has had
more than one christening. The first was at the hands of Juan Rodríguez
Cabrillo, who discovered the harbor in 1542, and named it _San Miguel_
(St. Michael). Cabrillo was a Portuguese in the Spanish service, who was
sent to explore the coast in 1542 by Viceroy Mendoza. “He sailed from
Natividad with two vessels, made a careful survey, applied names that for
the most part have not been retained, and described the coast somewhat
accurately as far as Monterey. He discovered ‘a land-locked and very good
harbor,’ probably San Diego, which he named San Miguel. ‘The next day he
sent a boat farther into the port, which was large. A very great gale
blew from the west-southwest, and south-southwest, but the port being
good, they felt nothing.’ On the return from the north the party stopped
at La Posesión, where Cabrillo died on January third, from the effects
of a fall and exposure. No traces of his last resting-place, almost
certainly on San Miguel near Cuyler’s harbor, have been found; and the
drifting sands have perhaps made such a discovery doubtful. To this bold
mariner, the first to discover her coasts, if to any one, California may
with propriety erect a monument.”—(Bancroft’s _History of California_.)


“The first one of the chain of missions founded by the illustrious
Junípero Serra.”]

Then, in 1602, came Sebastián Vizcaíno, who changed the name from San
Miguel to San Diego. He was “sent to make the discovery and demarcation
of the ports and bays of the Southern Sea (Pacific Ocean),” and to occupy
for Spain the California isles, as they were then thought to be. From the
diary of Vizcaíno’s voyage we get the following account of his arrival at
San Diego: “The next day, Sunday, the tenth of the said month (November),
we arrived at a port, the best that there can be in all the Southern Sea,
for, besides being guarded from all winds, and having a good bottom, it
is in latitude 33½. It has very good water and wood, many fish of all
sorts, of which we caught a great many with the net and hooks. There is
good hunting of rabbits, hares, deer, and many large quail, ducks and
other birds. On the twelfth of the said month, which was the day of the
glorious San Diego, the admiral, the priests, the officers, and almost
all the people, went on shore. A hut was built, thus enabling the feast
of the Señor San Diego to be celebrated.”

A party sent out to get wood “saw upon a hill a band of 100 Indians, with
bows and arrows, and many feathers upon their heads, and with a great
shouting they called out to us.” By a bestowal of presents, friendly
relations were established. The account continues: “They had pots in
which they cooked their food, and the Indian women were dressed in the
skins of animals. The name of _San Diego_ was given to this port.” Thus,
it was the bay that first received the name, years afterwards given to
the mission, then to the town. During the stay of Vizcaíno’s party the
Indians came often to their camp with marten skins and other articles.
On November 20, having taken on food and water, the party set sail, the
Indians shouting a vociferous farewell from the beach (_quedaban en la
playa, dando boces_.)

A long period of neglect of more than 160 years then ensued. The Indians
continued to carry on their wretched hand-to-mouth existence, trapping
wild beasts for their food and scanty clothing, fishing in the teeming
streams, and keeping up their constant inter-tribal quarrels unmolested
by the white man. Several generations grew up and passed away without a
reminder of the strange people who had once been seen upon their shores,
except perhaps an occasional white sail of some Philippine galleon seen
flitting like a ghost on its southward trip along the coast.

Then the Spaniards, alarmed by reports of the encroachments of the
Russians on the north, waked up from their long sleep, and determined
to establish a chain of missions along the California coast. Father
Junípero Serra was appointed president of these missions, and the first
one of the chain was founded by him at San Diego in 1769. The name was
originally applied to the “Old Town,” some distance from the present
city. The founding party encountered great difficulties, partly through
their fearful sufferings from scurvy, and partly from the turbulent and
thievish nature of the Indians in that vicinity, with whom they had
several lively fights, and who stole everything they could lay their
hands on, even to the sheets from the beds of the sick. During one of
these attacks, the mission buildings were burned and one of the padres,
Fray Luís Jaime, suffered a cruel death, but all difficulties were
finally overcome by the strong hand of Father Serra, and the mission was
placed on a firm basis. Its partially ruined buildings still remain at a
place about six miles from the present city.

To return to the matter of the name, San Diego is doubly rich in
possessing two titular saints, the bay having been undoubtedly named by
Vizcaíno in honor of St. James, the patron saint of Spain, whereas the
town takes its name from the mission, which perpetuates the memory of
a canonized Spanish monk, San Diego de Alcalá. The story of St. James,
the patron of Spain, runs as follows: “As one of Christ’s disciples, a
nobleman’s son who chose to abandon his wealth and follow Jesus, he was
persecuted by the Jews, and finally beheaded. When dragged before Herod
Agrippa, his gentleness touched the soul of one of his tormentors, who
begged to die with him. James gave him a kiss, saying ‘_Pax Vobiscum_’
(peace be with you), and from this arose the kiss of peace which has been
used in the church since that time. The legend has it that his body was
conducted by angels to Spain, where a magnificent church was built for
its reception, and that his spirit returned to earth and took an active
part in the military affairs of the country. He was said to have appeared
at the head of the Spanish armies on thirty-eight different occasions,
most notably in 939, when King Ramírez determined not to submit longer
to the tribute of one hundred virgins annually paid to the Moors, and
defied them to a battle. After the Spaniards had suffered one repulse,
the spirit of St. James appeared at their head on a milk-white charger,
and led them to a victory in which sixty thousand Moors were left dead on
the field. From that day ‘Santiago!’ has been the Spanish war-cry.”—(From
Clara Erskine Clement’s _Stories of the Saints_.)

It happens, rather curiously, that in the Spanish language St. James
appears under several different forms, _Santiago_, _San Diego_ and _San
Tiago_. The immediate patron of our southernmost city, _San Diego de
Alcalá_, was a humble Capuchin brother in a monastery of Alcalá. It is
said that the _infante_ Don Carlos was healed of a severe wound through
the intercession of this saint, and that on this account Philip II
promoted his canonization.

May the spirit of the “glorious San Diego” shed some of his tender
humanity upon the city of which he is the protector!


_Coronado Beach_, the long spit of land forming the outer shore of the
harbor of San Diego, “derived its name from the Coronado Islands near
it. These islands were originally named by the Spaniards in honor of
Coronado. When the improvement of the sand spit opposite San Diego City
and facing the Coronado Islands was made in 1885, the name of Coronado
Beach was bestowed upon it.”—(Charles B. Turrill, San Francisco.)

In all the history of Spain in western America there is nothing more
romantic than the story of the famous explorer, Francisco Vásquez
de Coronado, who, with the delightful childlike faith of his race,
marched through Texas and Kansas in search of the fabulous city of _Gran
Quivira_, “where every one had his dishes made of wrought plate, and the
jugs and bowls were of gold,” and then marched back again! Imagine our
hard-headed Puritan ancestors setting forth on such a quest!


“Many a romantic tale has been told about the ‘bells of Pala’!”]


_San Luís Rey de Francia_ (St. Louis King of France), is the name of the
mission situated in a charming little valley about forty miles north of
San Diego and three miles from the sea. It was founded June 13, 1798, by
Padres Lasuén, Santiago and Peyri, and its ruins may still be seen upon
the spot. A partial restoration has been made of these buildings and they
are now used by the Franciscans. The exact circumstances of its naming
have not come to light, but we know of its patron saint that his holiness
was such that even Voltaire said of him: “It is scarcely given to man to
push virtue further.” Born at Poissy in 1215, the son of Louis VIII and
Blanche of Castile, he became noted for his saintliness, and twice led
an army of Crusaders in the “holy war.”


_Pala_, often misspelled _palo_, through an accidental resemblance to the
Spanish word _palo_ (stick or tree), is situated some fifteen miles or
more to the northeast of San Luís Rey, and is the site of the sub-mission
of San Antonio de Pala, founded in 1816 by Padre Peyri as a branch of San
Luís Rey. This mission was unique in having a bell-tower built apart from
the church, and many romantic stories have been told about the “bells of
Pala.” It was located in the center of a populous Indian community, and
it happens, rather curiously, that the word itself has a significance
both in Spanish and Indian, meaning in Spanish “spade” and in Indian
“water.” The Reverend George Doyle, pastor at the mission of San Antonio
de Pala, writes the following in regard to this name: “The word ‘Pala’
is an Indian word, meaning, in the Cupanian Mission Indian language,
‘water,’ probably due to the fact that the San Luís Rey River passes
through it. The proper title of the mission chapel here is San Antonio de
Padua, but as there is another San Antonio de Padua mission chapel in the
north, to distinguish between the two some one in the misty past changed
the proper title of the Saint, and so we have ‘de Pala’ instead of ‘de
Padua.’ Some writers say Pala is Spanish, but this is not true, for the
little valley in no way resembles a spade, and the Palanian Indians were
here long before the Franciscan padres brought civilization, Christianity
and the Spanish language.”

_Pala_, in this case, is almost certainly Indian, and originates in a
legend of the Luiseños. According to this legend, one of the natives of
the Temécula tribe went forth on his travels, stopping at many places
and giving names to them. One of these places was a canyon, “where he
drank water and called it _pala_, water.”—(_The Religion of the Luiseño
Indians_, by Constance Goddard Dubois, in the Univ. of Cal. Publ. of
Arch. and Tech.)


_San Juan Capistrano_ (St. John Capistrano), was at one time sadly
mutilated by having its first part clipped off, appearing on the map as
_Capistrano_, but upon representations made by Zoeth S. Eldredge it was
restored to its full form by the Post Office Department. A mission was
founded at this place, which is near the coast about half-way between San
Diego and Los Ángeles, by Padres Serra and Amurrio, November 1, 1776, the
year of our own glorious memory. While on the other side of the continent
bloody war raged, under the sunny skies of California the gentle padres
were raising altars to the “Man of Peace.”

The buildings at this place were badly wrecked by an earthquake on
December 8, 1812, yet the ruins still remain to attest to the fact that
this was at one time regarded as the finest of all the mission structures.

Its patron saint, St. John Capistrano, was a Franciscan friar who lived
at the time of the crusades, and took part in them. A colossal statue of
him adorns the exterior of the Cathedral at Vienna. It represents him as
having a Turk under his feet, a standard in one hand, and a cross in the


There remain some names in the San Diego group of less importance,
yet possessing many points of interest, which will be included in the
following list, with an explanation of their meanings, and their history
wherever it has been possible to ascertain it.


“At one time regarded as the finest of all the mission structures.”]

_Agua Tibia_ (warm water, warm springs), is in San Diego County. For
some reason difficult to divine, this perfectly simple name has been the
cause of great confusion in the minds of a number of writers. In one
case the almost incredibly absurd translation “shinbone water” has been
given. It may be thought that this was intended as a bit of humor, but
it is greatly to be feared that the writer mixed up the Spanish word
_tibia_, which simply means “tepid, warm,” with the Latin name of one
of the bones of the lower leg, the _tibia_. In another case the equally
absurd translation “flute water” has been given. Where such a meaning
could have been obtained is beyond comprehension to any person possessing
even a slight knowledge of the Spanish language. _Agua Tibia_ is no more
nor less than “warm water,” applied in this case to warm springs existing
at that place. This extreme case is enlarged upon here as an example of
the gross errors that have been freely handed out to an unsuspecting
public in the matter of our place names. There are many more of the
same sort, and the authors of this inexcusable stuff have been accepted
and even quoted as authorities on the subject. Those of us who love our
California, in other words all of us, can not fail to be pained by such a
degradation of her romantic history.

_Ballena_ (whale), is in San Diego County at the west end of Ballena
Valley, and as it is a good many miles inland its name seems incongruous,
until we learn from one of its residents that it was so-called in
reference to a mountain in the valley whose outline along the top is
exactly the shape of a humpbacked whale.

“This place has probably no connection with Ballenas, a name applied to
a bay in Lower California on account of its being a favorite resort of
the Humpback whale.”—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Berenda_, in Merced County, is a misspelling of Berrendo or Berrenda.

_Berrendo_ (antelope). A writer whose knowledge of Spanish seems to
be wholly a matter of the dictionary, confused by the fact that the
definition given for _berrendo_ is “having two colors,” has offered the
fantastic translation of _El Río de los Berrendos_ as “The River of two
Colors.” Although the idea of such a river, like a piece of changeable
silk, may be picturesque, the simple truth is that the word _berrendo_,
although not so-defined in the dictionaries, is used in Spanish America
to signify a deer of the antelope variety and frequently occurs in that
sense in the diaries. Miguel Costansó, an engineer accompanying the
Portolá expedition of 1769, says: “_Hay en la tierra venados, verrendos_
(also spelled _berrendos_), _muchos liebres, conejos, gatos monteses
y ratas_ (there are in the land deer, antelope, many hares, rabbits,
wild-cats and rats).” On August 4 this party reached a place forty
leagues from San Diego which they called _Berrendo_ because they caught
alive a deer which had been shot the day before by the soldiers and had
a broken leg. Antelope Creek, in Tehama County, was originally named _El
Río de los Berrendos_ (The River of the Antelopes), undoubtedly because
it was a drinking place frequented by those graceful creatures, and
Antelope Valley, in the central part of the state, must have received its
name in the same way.

_El Cajón_ (the box), about twelve miles northeast of San Diego, perhaps
received its name from a custom the Spaniards had of calling a deep
canyon with high, box-like walls, _un cajón_ (a box).

_Caliente Creek_ (hot creek), is in the northern part of San Diego County.

_Campo_ (a level field), also sometimes used in the sense of a camp,
is the name of a place about forty miles east-southeast of San Diego,
just above the Mexican border. _Campo_ was an Indian settlement, and may
have been so-called by the Spaniards simply in reference to the camp of

_Cañada del Bautismo_ (glen of the baptism), so-called from the
circumstance that two dying native children were there baptized by
the padres, as told in the diary of Miguel Costansó, of the Portolá
expedition of 1769. Death, when it came to the children of the natives,
was often regarded as cause for rejoicing by the missionaries, not, of
course, through any lack of humanity on their part, but because the
Indian parents more readily consented to baptism at such a time, and the
padres regarded these as so many souls “snatched from the burning.”

_Carriso_ (reed grass), is the name of a village and creek in San Diego

_Chula Vista_ (pretty view), is the name of a town near the coast, a
few miles southeast of San Diego. _Chula_ is a word of Mexican origin,
meaning pretty, graceful, attractive. “This name was probably first used
by the promoters during the boom of 1887.”—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_La Costa_ (the coast), a place on the shore north of San Diego.

_Coyote Valley_, situated just below the southern border of the San
Jacinto Forest Reservation. _Coyote_, the name of the wolf of Western
America, is an Aztec word, originally _coyotl_.

_Cuyamaca_ is probably derived from the land grant of that name, which in
turn took its name from the Cuyamaca Mountain, which, according to the
scientists, was so-called in reference to the clouds and rain gathering
around its summit. Mr. T. T. Waterman, instructor in Anthropology at the
University of California, says the word is derived from two Indian words,
_kwe_ (rain), and _amak_ (yonder), and consequently means “rain yonder.”
The popular translation of it as “woman’s breast” is probably not based
on fact. There was an Indian village of that name some miles northwest of
San Diego.

_Descanso_ (rest), is the name of a place northeast of San Diego,
so-called by a government surveying party for the reason that they
stopped here each day for rest.

_Dulzura_ (sweetness), is the name of a place but a few miles north of
the Mexican border line. What there was of “sweetness” in the history of
this desolate mining camp can not be discovered.

_Encinitas_ (little oaks), is a place on the coast about twenty miles
northwest of San Diego.

_Escondido_ (hidden), a place lying about fifteen miles from the coast,
to the northeast of San Diego. It is said to have been so-named on
account of its location in the valley. A place at another point was
called _Escondido_ by the Spaniards because of the difficulty they
experienced in finding the water for which they were anxiously searching,
and it may be that in this case the origin of the name was the same.

_La Jolla_, a word of doubtful origin, said by some persons to mean a
“pool,” by others to be from _hoya_, a hollow surrounded by hills, and
by still others to be a possible corruption of _joya_, a “jewel.” The
suggestion has been made that La Jolla was named from caves situated
there which contain pools, but until some further information turns up
this name must remain among the unsolved problems. There is always the
possibility also that _La Jolla_ means none of these things but is a
corruption of some Indian word with a totally different meaning. More
than one place in the state masquerades under an apparently Spanish name
which is in reality an Indian word corrupted into some Spanish word to
which it bore an accidental resemblance in sound. _Cortina_ (curtain) is
an example of this sort of corruption, it being derived from the Indian

_Laguna del Corral_ (lagoon of the yard). _Corral_ is a word much in
use to signify a space of ground enclosed by a fence, often for the
detention of animals. In one of the diaries an Indian corral is thus
spoken of: “Near the place in which we camped there was a populous Indian
village; the inhabitants lived without other protection than a light
shelter of branches in the form of an enclosure; for this reason the
soldiers gave to the whole place the name of the _Ranchería del Corral_
(the village of the yard).” There are other _corrals_ and _corralitos_
(little yards) in the state.

_Linda Vista_ (charming or pretty view), is the name of a place ten or
twelve miles due north of San Diego.

_Point Loma_ (hill point). _Loma_ means “hill,” hence Point Loma, the
very end of the little peninsula enclosing San Diego bay, is a high

_De Luz_ (a surname), that of a pioneer family. The literal meaning of
the word _luz_ is “light.”

_Del Mar_ (of or on the sea), the name of a place on the shore about
eighteen miles north of San Diego.

_La Mesa_ (literally “the table”), used very commonly to mean “a high,
flat table-land.” _La Mesa_, incorrectly printed on some of the maps as
one word, _Lamesa_, lies a few miles to the northeast of San Diego.

_Mesa Grande_ (literally “big table”), big table-land, is some distance
to the northeast of San Diego.

_El Nido_ (the nest), is southeast of San Diego, near the border.

_Potrero_ (pasture ground), is just above the border line. There are many
_Potreros_ scattered over the state.

_La Presa_ (the dam or dike). _La Presa_ is a few miles east of San
Diego, on the Sweetwater River, no doubt called _Agua Dulce_ by the

_Los Rosales_ (the rose-bushes), a spot located in the narratives of the
Spaniards at about seventeen leagues from San Diego, and two leagues from
Santa Margarita. Nothing in the new land brought to the explorers sweeter
memories of their distant home than “the roses of Castile” which grew so
luxuriantly along their pathway as to bring forth frequent expressions of
delight from the padres. This particular place we find mentioned in the
diary of Miguel Costansó, as follows: “We gave it the name of _Cañada de
los Rosales_ (glen of the rose-bushes), on account of the great number
of rose-bushes we saw.”—(Translation edited by Frederick J. Teggart,
Curator of the Academy of Pacific Coast History.)

_Temécula_, the name of a once important Indian village in the Temécula
Valley, about thirty-five miles south of Riverside. Its inhabitants
suffered the usual fate of the native when the white man discovers the
value of the land, and were compelled to leave their valley in 1875, and
remove to Pichanga Canyon, in a desert region.

_Tía Juana_ (literally Aunt Jane). Travelers on the way to Mexico who
stop for customs examination at this border town are no doubt surprised
by its peculiar name. This is an example of the corruption, through its
resemblance in sound, of an Indian word, _Tiwana_, into _Tía Juana_,
Spanish for “Aunt Jane.” _Tiwana_ is said to mean “by the sea,” which may
or may not be the correct translation.




_Los Ángeles_ (the angels). In the diary of Miguel Costansó, date of
August 2, 1769, we read: “To the north-northeast one could see another
water-course or river bed, which formed a wide ravine, but it was dry.
This water-course joined that of the river, and gave clear indications
of heavy floods during the rainy season, as it had many branches of
trees and debris on its sides. We halted at this place, which was named
_La Porciúncula_. Here we felt three successive earthquakes during the
afternoon and night.”—(Translation edited by Frederick J. Teggart.)

This was the stream upon which the city of Los Ángeles was subsequently
built and whose name became a part of her title. Porciúncula was the name
of a town and parish near Assisi which became the abode of St. Francis de
Assisi after the Benedictine monks had presented him, about 1211, with
the little chapel which he called, in a jocular way, _La Porciúncula_
(the small portion). By order of Pius V, in 1556 the erection of a new
edifice over the Porciúncula chapel was begun. Under the bay of the choir
is still preserved the cell in which St. Francis died, while a little
behind the sacristy is the spot where the saint, during a temptation,
is said to have rolled in a brier-bush, which was then changed into
thornless roses.—(Catholic Encyclopedia.) In this story there is a
curious interweaving of the history of the names of our two rival cities,
St. Francis in the north and Los Ángeles de Porciúncula in the south.

Continuing their journey on the following day, the Portolá party reached
the Indian ranchería (village) of _Yangna_, the site chosen for the
pueblo established at a later date. Father Crespi writes of it thus: “We
followed the road to the west, and the good pasture land followed us; at
about half a league of travel we encountered the village of this part; on
seeing us they came out on the road, and when we drew near they began to
howl, as though they were wolves; we saluted them, they wished to give us
some seeds, and as we had nothing at hand in which to carry them, we did
not accept them; seeing this, they threw some handfuls on the ground and
the rest in the air.”

August 2 being the feast day of _Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles_, as the
Virgin Mary is often called by the Spaniards, this name was given to the

The actual founding of the pueblo did not occur until September 4, 1781,
when Governor Neve issued the order for its establishment upon the site
of the Indian village Yangna. It is said that the Porciúncula River,
henceforth to be known as the Los Ángeles, at that time ran to the east
of its present course. The name of the little stream was added to that of
the pueblo, so that the true, complete title of the splendid city which
has grown up on the spot where the Indian once raised his wolf-like howl
is _Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula_ (Our Lady the
Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula).

The social beginnings of Los Ángeles were humble indeed, the first
settlers being persons of mixed race, and the first houses mere hovels,
made of adobe, with flat roofs covered with asphalt from the springs west
of the town.


_La Brea_ (the asphalt), has been retained as the appropriate designation
of the ranch containing the famous asphaltum beds near Los Ángeles. Ever
since the days of the Tertiary Age, the quaking, sticky surface of these
beds has acted as a “death trap” for unwary animals, and the remains of
the unfortunate creatures have been securely preserved down to our times,
furnishing indisputable evidence of the strange life that once existed on
our shores. Fossils of a large number of pre-historic and later animals
have been taken out, aggregating nearly a million specimens of bird and
animal life, many of them hitherto unknown to science. Among them are
the saber-tooth tiger, gigantic wolves, bears, horses, bison, deer, an
extinct species of coyote, camels, elephants, and giant sloths. Remains
are also found of mice, rabbits, squirrels, several species of insects,
and a large number of birds, such as ducks, geese, pelicans, eagles and

Among the most remarkable of these fossils are the saber-tooth tiger
and the great wolf. Specimens of the wolf have been found which are
among the largest known in either living or extinct species. This wolf
differs from existing species in having a larger and heavier skull and
jaws, and in its massive teeth, a conformation that must have given it
great crushing power. The structure of the skeleton shows it to have
been probably less swift, but more powerful than the modern wolf, and
the great number of bones found indicate that it was exceedingly common
in that age. One bed of bones was uncovered in which the number of
saber-tooth and wolf skulls together averaged twenty per cubic yard.
Altogether, the disappearance of these great, ferocious beasts from the
California forests need cause no keen regret.

Next to the large wolf the most common is the saber-tooth tiger, of
which one complete skeleton and a large number of bones have been
found. The skeleton shows the animal to have been of about the size of
a large African lion, and its most remarkable characteristic was the
extraordinary length of the upper canine teeth, which were like long,
thin sabers, with finely serrated edges. These teeth were awkwardly
placed for ordinary use, and it is thought by scientists that they were
used for a downward stab through the thick necks of bulky creatures,
such as the giant sloth. There is also an unusual development of the
claws, possibly to make up for the loss of grasping power in the jaws,
resulting from the interference of the long saber teeth. It appears from
the state of many of the fossils that these teeth were peculiarly liable
to fracture, and accidents of this sort may have led to the extinction of
the species, the animal thus perishing through the over-development of
one of its characteristics.

Fossils of the extinct horse and bison are common, and a smaller number
are found of camels, deer, goats, and the mammoth. The bison were
heavy-horned and somewhat larger than the existing species of buffalo.
The camel, of which an almost complete specimen has very recently been
taken out by Professor R. C. Stoner, of the University of California,
was much larger than the present day species. Since the above was put
in type, a human skeleton has been taken from the vicinity of the La
Brea bed. Whether this skeleton belongs with the La Brea deposits, and
what its comparative age in relation to other human remains may be, are
matters now being investigated by scientists.

The preponderance of meat-eating animals in the La Brea beds has
attracted the attention of scientists, who believe that these creatures
were lured to the spot in large numbers by the struggles and cries of
their unfortunate prey caught in the sticky mass of the tar. In this way,
a single sloth, or other creature, may have been the means of bringing
retribution upon a whole pack of wolves.—(Notes taken from an article in
the Sunset Magazine of October, 1908, entitled _The Death Trap of the
Ages_, by John C. Merriam, Professor of Paleontology in the University of

The manner in which this great aggregation of animals came to a tragic
end in that long-past age is exemplified in the way that birds and other
small animals are still occasionally caught in the treacherous asphalt
and there perish miserably, adding their bones to those of their unhappy

The La Brea beds furnish one of the richest fields for paleontological
research to be found anywhere in the world; and it may be said, that
with her great Sequoias in the north, and her reservoir of pre-historic
remains in the south, California stands as a link between a past age and
the present.

The tarry deposit itself has its own place in history, for it appears
that the first settlers of Los Ángeles were alive to the practical value
of this supply of asphaltum lying ready to their hands, and used it in
roofing their houses. Even the Indians, little as is the credit usually
given them for skill in the arts and crafts, recognized the possibilities
of this peculiar substance, and used it in calking their canoes.


The story of _Los Ojitos_ (literally “little eyes”), but here used in the
sense of “little springs,” situated about two leagues from Santa Ana,
indicates that the pleasures of social intercourse were not altogether
lacking among the California Indians. In the diary of Miguel Costansó, of
the date of their arrival at this place, he writes: “We found no water
for the animals, but there was sufficient for the people in some little
springs or small pools, in a narrow canyon close to a native village.
The Indians of this village were holding a feast and dance, to which
they had invited their relatives of the _Río de los Temblores_ (River
of the Earthquakes, or Santa Ana).”—(Translation edited by Frederick
J. Teggart.) During this time the travelers experienced a series of
earthquakes lasting several days.

_Ojo de agua_ was commonly used by the Spaniards to mean a spring, but
during the eighteenth century it was frequently used in America in the
sense of a small stream of water rather than a spring.


On the day, Friday, July 28, 1769, of the arrival of the Portolá
expedition at the stream now called the _Santa Ana_, which takes its
rise in the San Bernardino Mountains, and empties into the ocean at
a point southeast of Los Ángeles, four severe earthquakes occurred.
Speaking of this circumstance in his diary, Father Crespi says: “To
this spot was given _El Dulce Nombre de Jesús de los Temblores_ (The
Sweet Name of Jesus of the Earthquakes), because of having experienced
here a frightful earthquake, which was repeated four times during the
day. The first, which was the most violent, happened at one o’clock of
the afternoon, and the last about four o’clock. One of the _gentiles_
(unbaptized Indians), who happened to be in the camp, and who, without
doubt, exercised among them the office of priest, no less terrified at
the event than we, began, with horrible cries and great demonstrations,
to entreat Heaven, turning to all points of the compass. This river is
known to the soldiers as the _Santa Ana_.” This was one of the rare cases
where the usual method of naming was reversed, and the soldiers chose the
name of the saint. St. Anna was the mother of the Virgin and her name
signifies “gracious.”

In the account of Captain Pedro Fages, of the same expedition, the
natives on this stream are described as having light complexions and
hair, and a good appearance, differing in these particulars from the
other inhabitants of that region, who were said to be dark, dirty,
under-sized and slovenly. This is not the only occasion when the
Spaniards reported finding Indians of light complexions and hair in
California. One account speaks of a red-haired tribe not far north of
San Francisco, and still another of “white Indians” at Monterey, but,
judging by the light of our subsequent knowledge of these aborigines, the
writers of these reports must have indulged in exaggeration.

On the southern bank of the Santa Ana, not far from the coast, is the
town of the same name, and further inland its waters have made to bloom
in the desert the famous orange orchards of Riverside.


_Santa Mónica_, situated at the innermost point of the great curve in the
coast line just west of Los Ángeles, was named in honor of a saintly lady
whose story is here quoted from Clara Erskine Clement’s _Stories of the
Saints_: “She was the mother of St. Augustine, and was a Christian, while
his father was a heathen. Mónica was sorely troubled at the dissipated
life of her young son; she wept and prayed for him, and at last sought
the advice and aid of the Bishop of Carthage, who dismissed her with
these words. ‘Go in peace; the son of so many tears will not perish.’ At
length she had the joy of beholding the baptism of St. Augustine by the
Bishop of Milan.”

Santa Mónica is venerated as the great patroness of the Augustinian nuns,
and might well be placed at the head of the world-wide order of “Anxious


_Santa Catalina_, the beautiful island off the coast of Southern
California, was named by Vizcaíno in honor of St. Catherine, because its
discovery occurred on the eve of her feast day, November 24, 1602. In the
diary of the voyage we get an interesting description of the island and
its aboriginal inhabitants: “We continued our journey along the coast
until November 24, when, on the eve of the glorious Santa Catalina, we
discovered three large islands; we took the one in the middle, which
is more than twenty-five leagues in circumference, on November 27, and
before dropping anchor in a good cove which was found, a great number
of Indians came out in canoes of cedar-wood and pine, made of planking
well-joined and calked, and with eight oars each, and fourteen or fifteen
Indians, who looked like galley-slaves. They drew near and came on board
our vessels without any fear whatever. We dropped anchor and went on
shore. There were on the beach a great number of Indians, and the women
received us with roasted sardines and a fruit cooked in the manner of
sweet potatoes.”

Mass was celebrated there in the presence of 150 Indians. The people were
very friendly and the women led the white men by the hand into their
houses. The diary continues: “These people go dressed in the skins of
seals; the women are modest but thievish. The Indians received us with
embraces and brought water in some very well-made jars, and in others
like flasks, that were highly varnished on the outside. They have acorns
and some very large skins, with long wool, apparently of bears, which
serve them for blankets.”

The travelers found here an idol, “in the manner of the devil, without a
head, but with two horns, a dog at the feet, and many children painted
around it.” The Indians readily gave up this idol and accepted the cross
in its stead.

St. Catherine, patroness of this island, was one of the most notable
female martyrs of the Roman Catholic church. We are told that she was
of royal blood, being the daughter of a half-brother of Constantine
the Great. She was converted to Christianity, and became noted for her
unusual sanctity. She was both beautiful and intellectual, and possessed
the gift of eloquence in such a high degree that she was able to confound
fifty of the most learned men appointed by Maximin to dispute matters of
religion with her. The same Maximin, enraged by her refusal of his offers
of love, ordered that she be tortured “by wheels flying in different
directions, to tear her to pieces. When they had bound her to these, an
angel came and consumed the wheels in fire, and the fragments flew around
and killed the executioners and 3000 people. Maximin finally caused
her to be beheaded, when angels came and bore her body to the top of
Mt. Sinai. In the eighth century a monastery was built over her burial
place.”—(_Stories of the Saints._) Santa Catalina is the patroness of
education, science, philosophy, eloquence, and of all colleges, and her
island has good reason to be satisfied with the name chosen by Vizcaíno.


Of _Las Ánimas_ (the souls), which lay between San Gabriel and the
country of the Amajaba (Mojave) Indians, we find the story in Fray
Joaquín Pasqual Nuez’s diary of the expedition made in 1819 by Lieutenant
Gabriel Moraga, to punish the marauding Amajabas, who had murdered a
number of Christian natives. This name was also used as the title of a
land grant just south of Gilroy.

The Moraga party arrived at a point “about a league and a half from Our
Lady of Guadalupe of Guapiabit. We found the place where the Amajabas
killed four Christians of this mission (San Gabriel), three from San
Fernando, and some _gentiles_ (unbaptized Indians). We found the
skeletons and skulls roasted, and, at about a gun-shot from there we
pitched camp. The next day, after mass, we caused the bones to be carried
in procession, the cross in front, Padre Nuez chanting funeral services,
to the spot where they had been burned. There we erected a cross, at the
foot of which we caused the bones to be buried in a deep hole, and then
we blessed the sepulchre. We named the spot _Las Ánimas Benditas_ (The
Blessed Souls).” May they rest in peace!


_San Gabriel_, the quaint little town lying nine miles east of Los
Ángeles, is the site of the Mission _San Gabriel Arcángel_ (St. Gabriel
Archangel), founded September 8, 1771, by Padres Cambón and Somera. This
mission was placed in a fertile, well-wooded spot, in the midst of a
large Indian population, who, under the instruction of the padres, became
experts in many arts, such as sewing, weaving, soap-making, cobbling,
etc. Their flocks and herds increased to such an extent that they covered
the country for many miles around.

The patron saint, San Gabriel, was the second in rank of the archangels
who stand before the Lord. Whenever he is mentioned in the Bible, it is
as a messenger bearing important tidings, and he is especially venerated
as having carried to the Virgin the message that she was to become the
mother of Christ.


“Its flocks and herds once covered the country for many miles around.”]


It was in the valley of _San Fernando_ (St. Ferdinand), a short distance
northwest of Los Ángeles, that the mission pertaining to the latter
place was established, September 8, 1797, by Padres Lasuén and Dumetz.
The Camulos Rancho, the home of Ramona, the heroine of Mrs. Helen Hunt
Jackson’s romance, was once included in the lands of this mission.

St. Ferdinand, King of Spain, in whose honor this place was named, was a
notable warrior, as well as a saint, and he succeeded in expelling the
Moors from Toledo, Córdova and Seville. He is said also to have been a
patron of the arts, and to have been the founder of the cathedral at
Burgos, celebrated for the beauty of its architecture. But more than for
such attainments, he is remembered for his tenderness toward the poor
and lowly of his people. When urged to put a tax upon them in order to
recruit his army, he replied: “God, in whose cause I fight, will supply
my need. I fear more the curse of one poor old woman than a whole army of
Moors.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)


_Temescal_ (sweathouse), in Riverside County, although a place of no
great importance in itself, is interesting in that its name recalls
one of the curious customs widely prevalent among the natives of the
Southwest. The word itself is of Aztec origin, and was brought to
California by the Franciscans.

The _temescal_ is thus described by Dr. A. L. Kroeber, in the University
of California Publications in Archaeology and Ethnology: “At the Banning
Reservation a sweathouse is still in use. From the outside its appearance
is that of a small mound. The ground has been excavated to the depth of a
foot or a foot and a half, over a space of about twelve by seven or eight
feet. In the center of this area two heavy posts are set up three or four
feet apart. These are connected at the top by a log laid in their forks.
Upon this log, and in the two forks, are laid some fifty or more logs and
sticks of various dimensions, their ends sloping down to the edge of the
excavation. It is probable that brush covers these timbers. The whole
is thoroughly covered with earth. There is no smoke hole. The entrance
is on one of the long sides, directly facing the space between the two
center posts, and only a few feet from them. The fireplace is between
the entrance and the posts. It is just possible to stand upright in the
center of the house. In Northern California, the so-called sweathouse
is of larger dimensions, and was preëminently a ceremonial or assembly

Dr. L. H. Bunnell, in his history of the discovery of the Yosemite
valley, gives us some interesting details of the use of the sweathouse
among the Indians of that region: “The remains of these structures were
sometimes mistaken for _tumuli_, being constructed of bark, reeds or
grass, covered with mud. It (the sweathouse), was used as a curative for
disease, and as a convenience for cleansing the skin, when necessity
demands it, although the Indian race is not noted for cleanliness. I
have seen a half-dozen or more enter one of these rudely constructed
sweathouses through the small aperture left for the purpose. Hot stones
are taken in, the aperture is closed until suffocation would seem
impending, when they would crawl out, reeking with perspiration, and
with a shout, spring like acrobats into the cold waters of the stream. As
a remedial agent for disease, the same course is pursued, though varied
at times by the burning and inhalation of resinous boughs and herbs.
In the process of cleansing the skin from impurities, hot air alone is
generally used. If an Indian had passed the usual period of mourning for
a relative, and the adhesive pitch too tenaciously clung to his no longer
sorrowful countenance, he would enter and re-enter the heated house until
the cleansing had become complete. The mourning pitch is composed of the
charred bones and ashes of the dead relative or friend. These remains of
the funeral pyre, with the charcoal, are pulverized and mixed with the
resin of the pine; this hideous mixture is usually retained upon the face
of the mourner until it wears off. If it has been well-compounded, it may
last nearly a year; although the young, either from a super-abundance
of vitality, excessive reparative powers of the skin, or from powers of
will, seldom mourn so long. When the bare surface exceeds that covered by
the pitch, it is not a scandalous disrespect in the young to remove it
entirely, but a mother will seldom remove pitch or garment until both are
nearly worn out.”

This heroic treatment, while possibly efficacious in the simple ailments
by which the Indians were most often afflicted, usually resulted in a
great increase of mortality in the epidemics of smallpox following upon
the footsteps of the white man. One traveler speaks of a severe sort of
intermittent fever, to which the natives were subject, and of which so
many died that hundreds of bodies were found strewn about the country.
Having observed that the whites, even when attacked by this fever, rarely
died of it, he was inclined to ascribe the mortality among the natives to
their great cure-all, the _temescal_.

A number of places in the state bore this name, among them a small town
lying between the sites now occupied by the flourishing cities of Oakland
and Berkeley. Its citizens became discontented with the undignified
character of the name, and changed it to Alden.


_San Bernardino_ is the name of a county in the southeastern part of
California, whose broad expanse is mainly made up of volcanic mountains,
desert plains, and valleys without timber or water.

The name was first given to the snow-capped peak, 11,600 feet high, lying
about twenty miles east of the city of San Bernardino, which is situated
sixty miles east of Los Ángeles, in the fruit and alfalfa region. The
name of this town is one of the most regrettable examples of corruption
that have occurred in the state, having passed from its original sweetly
flowing syllables through the successive stages of _San Berdino_,
_Berdino_, until finally reaching the acme of vulgarity as _Berdoo_, by
which appellation it is known to its immediate neighbors. If ideas of
romance, of pleasant-sounding words, and of fidelity to history make no
appeal to our fellow-Californians, let them read again the quotation
from Stevenson given above, and learn that a romantic nomenclature may
sometimes be a valuable financial asset.

_San Bernardino_ (St. Bernardinus), the patron saint of the places
bearing his name, is particularly remembered as the founder of the
charitable institution known in Spanish as _Monte de Piedad_ (hill of
pity), and in French as _Mont de Piété_, municipal pawnshops where money
was loaned on pledges to the poor. These pawnshops are still conducted in
many Spanish towns, in America as well as in Europe.


_Abalone Point_, some miles to the southeast of San Pedro bay, was
no doubt so-named from the abundance of the great sea snails called
_abalone_, whose iridescent shells, the abandoned dwellings of the
dead animals, almost comparable in beauty to the mother-of-pearl, once
covered the beaches of the California coast with a glittering carpet. The
word “once” is used advisedly, for, with our usual easy-going American
negligence we have permitted these creatures of the sea, valuable for
their edible meat as well as for their exquisitely colored shells, to
be nearly destroyed by Chinese and Japanese fisheries. That the flesh
of the abalone formed a useful part of the food supply of the Indians
is evidenced by the large number of shells to be found in the mounds
along the shore. In the living state the abalone clings to the rocks on
the shore, and its grip is so tenacious that more than one unfortunate
person, caught by the foot or hand between the shell and the rock, has
been held there while death crept slowly upon him in the shape of the
rising tide. There is another Abalone Point on the northern coast.

_Agua Caliente_ (literally “hot water”), generally used in reference to
hot springs. Of these there are many in the state, one on the Indian
Reservation southeast of Riverside. Agua Caliente was originally a land

_Alamitos_ (little cottonwoods), from _álamo_, a tree of the poplar
family indigenous to California. There are several places bearing this
name in the state, one a short distance northeast of Santa Ana.

_Aliso_ (alder tree), is the name of a place on the Santa Fé Railroad,
south of Los Ángeles, near the shore, and was probably named for the
_Rancho Cañada de los Alisos_. It is probably modern.

_Azusa_ is the name of a place in Los Ángeles County, twenty miles east
of Los Ángeles, and was originally applied to the land grant there. It is
an Indian place name of a lodge, or ranchería, the original form being
_Asuksa-gna_, the _gna_ an ending which indicates place.

_Bandini_ (a surname), is the name of a place a short distance southeast
of Los Ángeles, on the Santa Fé Railroad. The founder of this family was
José Bandini, a mariner of Spanish birth, who came to California with
war supplies, and finally settled at San Diego. His son, Juan Bandini,
was a notable character in the history of the state. He held several
public offices, took part in revolutions and colonization schemes, and
finally espoused the cause of the United States. Bancroft gives the
following resumé of his character: “Juan Bandini must be regarded as one
of the most prominent men of his time in California. He was a man of fair
abilities and education, of generous impulses, of jovial temperament, a
most interesting man socially, famous for his gentlemanly manners, of
good courage in the midst of personal misfortunes, and always well-liked
and respected; indeed his record as a citizen was an excellent one.
In his struggles against fate and the stupidity of his compatriots he
became absurdly diplomatic and tricky as a politician. He was an eloquent
speaker and fluent writer.” Members of the Bandini family still occupy
positions of respect and influence in the state and have made some
important additions to its historical literature.

_Bolsa_ (pocket), a term much in use with the Spaniards to signify a
shut-in place. Bolsa is in Orange County, twelve miles north by west of
Tres Pinos, and was probably named from the land grant, _Rancho de las

_Cabezón_ (big head), is the name of a place southeast of Colton. It
was probably named for a large-headed Indian chief who lived there at
one time and who received this name in pursuance of an Indian custom of
fitting names to physical peculiarities. This name is improperly spelled
on some maps as Cabazon.

_Cahuilla_, the name of an Indian tribe, probably “Spanishized” in its
spelling from Ka-we-a. The valley and village of this name are situated
in the San Jacinto Forest Reserve, southeast of Riverside, and received
their name from a tribe who lived, in 1776, on the northern slopes of the
San Jacinto Mountains. The word _Cahuilla_ is of uncertain derivation.

_Calabazas_ (pumpkins), is northwest of Los Ángeles. This is possibly a
corruption of an Indian word, _Calahuasa_, the name of a former Chumash
village near the mission of Santa Inez. There is another possibility that
this name may have been given to the place by the Spaniards in reference
to the wild gourd which grows abundantly there and whose fruit may have
been considered by them to bear some resemblance to pumpkins, but this is
of course mere conjecture.

_Casa Blanca_ (white house), is a short distance west of Riverside, on
the Santa Fé Railroad, so-called from a large white ranch house once in
conspicuous view from the railroad station.

_Casco_ (skull), shell or outside part of anything. El Casco is situated
about twelve miles east of Riverside. Its application here has not been

_Conejo_ (rabbit), is the name of a number of places in the state, one of
them in the Santa Mónica Mountains, another in the Central Valley, on
the Santa Fé road.

_Cucamonga_, is an Indian name, derived from a village in San Bernardino
County, forty-two miles by rail east of Los Ángeles. It was originally
applied to the land grant at that place.

_Duarte_, a surname.

_Las Flores_ (the flowers). At this place there was once a large Indian
village, called in the native language _ushmai_, the place of roses, from
_ushla_, rose.

_Garvanza_ (chick-pea).

_Hermosa_ (beautiful), is the name of a town in San Bernardino County,
and of a beach in Los Ángeles County.

_Indio_, the Spanish word for “Indian,” is the name of a place in
Riverside County, near Colton.

_La Joya_ (the jewel).

_Laguna_ (lagoon).

_León_ (lion).

_La Mirada_ (the view).

_Los Molinos_ (the mills, or mill-stones), a name applied to a place
east of San Gabriel by the Moraga party of 1819, who went out from the
mission on a punitive expedition against the Amajaba (Mojave) Indians.
Padre Nuez, who accompanied the party, says: “On the return we passed by
a place where there was plenty of water, below a hill of red stone, very
suitable for mill-stones.” The same name, probably for similar reasons,
was applied to other places in the state, among them one in Sonoma
County, and Mill Creek in Tehama County, originally called _El Río de los
Molinos_ (The River of the Mill-stones).

_Montalvo_ (a surname), the name of a place in Ventura County, near
Ventura. This name is interesting as being the same as that borne by the
author of _Las Sergas de Esplandián_, in which the fabulous island of
_California_ plays a leading part.

_Murietta_ (a surname), the same as that of the noted bandit, Joaquín
Murietta, who once terrorized California with his depredations. The
town of Murietta, however, was not named in honor of this gentleman of
unsavory memory, but for Mr. J. Murietta, who is still living in Southern

_Los Nietos_ (literally “the grandchildren”), but in this case a surname,
that of the Nieto family. _Los Nietos_ was a land grant taken up by
Manuel Nieto and José María Verdugo in 1784.

_Pasadena_, said to be derived from the Chippewa Indian language. The
full name is said to be _Weoquan Pasadena_, and the meaning to be “Crown
of the Valley.” Let no man believe in the absurd story that it means
“Pass of Eden.”

_Prado_ (meadow). “The Prado” is also the name of a famous promenade in
the city of Madrid.

_Puente_ (bridge), in Los Ángeles County, was taken from the name of the
land grant, _Rancho de la Puente_.

_Pulgas Creek_ (fleas creek).

_Redondo Beach_ (round beach), a well-known seaside resort near Los
Ángeles, is usually supposed to have received its name from the curved
line of the shore there, but the fact that a land grant occupying that
identical spot was called _Sausal Redondo_ (round willow-grove), from a
clump of willows growing there accounts for its name.

_Rivera_ (river, stream). Rivera was also the name of a pioneer family.

_Rodéo de las Aguas_ (gathering of the waters), a name once given to the
present site of La Brea Rancho, near Los Ángeles, perhaps because there
is at that point a natural amphitheatre which receives the greater
portion of the waters flowing from the neighboring mountains and the
Cahuenga Pass.

_San Clemente_ (St. Clement), the name of the island fifteen miles
south of Santa Catalina. The saint for whom this island was named “was
condemned to be cast into the sea bound to an anchor. But when the
Christians prayed, the waters were driven back for three miles, and
they saw a ruined temple which the sea had covered, and in it was found
the body of the saint, with the anchor round his neck. For many years,
at the anniversary of his death, the sea retreated for seven days, and
pilgrimages were made to this submarine tomb.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)

_San Jacinto_ (St. Hyacinth), was a Silesian nobleman who became a monk,
and was noted for his intellectual superiority, as well as for his
piety. San Jacinto is the name of a town in Riverside County, thirty
miles southeast of Riverside, in the fruit region, and of the range of
mountains in the same county.

_San Juan Point_ (St. John Point).

_San Matéo Point_ (St. Matthew Point).

_San Onofre_ (St. Onophrius), was a hermit saint whose chief claim to
sanctity seems to have been that he deprived himself of all the comforts
of life and lived for sixty years in the desert, “during which time he
never uttered a word except in prayer, nor saw a human face.”

_San Pedro_ (St. Peter), is on San Pedro bay, twenty-six miles south of
Los Ángeles. St. Peter, the fisherman apostle and companion of St. Paul,
is usually represented as the custodian of the keys of Heaven and Hell,
one key being of gold and the other of iron. “There is a legend that the
Gentiles shaved his head in mockery, and that from this originated the
tonsure of the priests.” Peter suffered martyrdom by crucifixion, “but
traditions disagree in regard to the place where he suffered.” The name
Peter is said to signify “a rock.” “Thou art Peter, on this rock have I
founded My church.”—(Matthew, 16, 18.)

_Saticoy_ was the name of a former Chumash Indian village on the lower
part of Santa Paula River, in Ventura County, about eight miles from the
sea. The present town of Saticoy is on the Santa Clara River, in Ventura
County, near Ventura.

_Serra_ (a surname), probably given in honor of the celebrated founder of
the California missions.

_El Toro_ (the bull).

_Trabuco Canyon_ (literally blunderbuss canyon), from _trabuco_, a short,
wide-mouthed gun formerly used by the Spaniards, although this may not be
the true derivation of the name in this case. One writer has translated
this name as “land much tumbled about,” but where he obtained such a
meaning remains an impenetrable mystery. Trabuco may be a surname here.

_Valle Verde_ (green valley), incorrectly spelled on the map as _Val

_Valle Vista_ (valley view), is in Riverside County, five miles northwest
of San Jacinto. This name is modern and incorrect in construction.

_Verdugo_ was named for the Verdugo family, the owners of the _Rancho
San Rafael_, northeast of Los Ángeles and near the base of the Verdugo
mountains. José María Verdugo was one of the grantees of the Nietos grant
in 1784.

_Vicente Point_ (Point Vincent). This point was named in 1793 by George
Vancouver, the English explorer, in honor of Friar Vicente Santa María,
“one of the reverend fathers of the mission of Buena Ventura.”




_Santa Bárbara_, the charming little town that dreams away its existence
among the flowers of its old gardens, on the shore of the sheltered
stretch of water formed by the islands lying to the seaward, was named
for a noble lady of Heliopolis, the daughter of Dioscorus. She became
converted to Christianity, and was in consequence cruelly persecuted
and finally beheaded by her own father. “The legend that her father was
struck by lightning in punishment for this crime probably caused her to
be regarded by the common people as the guardian saint against tempest
and fire, and later, by analogy, as the protectress of artillery-men
and miners.” (Catholic Encyclopedia.) For this reason her image was
placed over the doors of powder magazines, and her name came at last to
be applied to the magazines themselves, which are known to the Spanish
people as _santabárbaras_. Thus is explained the apparent incongruity
between the name of the gentle saint and the places for storage of the
instruments of savage war.

At the time of the arrival of the Spaniards the shores of the Santa
Bárbara channel probably supported a denser native population than any
other part of the state. The gracious climate and never-failing food
supply furnished by the generous waters of the ocean, enabled the Indians
to live at ease.

When Cabrillo entered the channel in 1542, he reported that: “A great
number of Indians issued from the bushes, yelling and dancing, and making
signs, inviting us to come on shore. They laid down their bows and arrows
and came to the vessel in a good canoe. They possessed boats, large
enough to carry twelve or fourteen men, well-constructed of bent planks
and cemented with bitumen.”


“ ... its broad steps are deeply worn by the feet of many generations of

These Indians were of a higher order of intelligence than those further
north, and were skilled in some of the arts, including the making of
excellent pottery. They were expert fishermen, using nets for the
purpose, and often eating the fish raw. They wore their hair long, tied
up with long cords, to which many small daggers of flint, wood and bone
were attached. They had some notion of music, using a primitive sort
of flute, or whistle, made of the hollow bones of birds. They lived in
conical houses, which were covered well down to the ground.

When Father Serra passed that way, more than two centuries later, he
found the same conditions of population, counting as many as twenty
populous villages along the channel. He was moved to bitter tears of
grief over the delay in establishing a mission where so rich a harvest
of souls lay ready to his hand. He died before this dearest wish of his
heart was accomplished, yet Santa Bárbara may justly claim the honor of
his presence at her birth, for he took part in the establishment of the
presidio, which occurred in 1783, three years before the building of the
mission. In Palou’s _Life of Serra_ he describes that occasion thus: “The
party traveled along the coast of the channel, in sight of the islands
which form it, and when they judged it to be about half-way, about nine
leagues from San Buenaventura, they stopped and selected a site for
the presidio, in sight of the beach, which there forms a sort of bay,
furnishing anchorage for ships. On this beach there was a large village
of _Gentiles_. Here the cross was raised, Father Serra blessed it and the
land, and held mass. The following day they began to cut wood for the
building of the chapel, the priest’s house, officials’ houses, cuartel,
_almacenes_ (storehouses), houses for families of married soldiers and
the stockade.”

The mission, which is still in an excellent state of preservation, was
not established until December 4, 1786, although Serra looked upon that
location as the most desirable in California, and spent the last years
of his life in constant efforts to urge on the authorities to the work.
That his hopes were realized to the full after his death, and that large
numbers of natives, as well as the succeeding white parishioners, knelt
before the altar dedicated to the gentle Santa Bárbara, is evidenced by
the deeply worn marks of several generations of feet to be seen in the
wide flight of steps at the entrance.

A circumstance that makes Santa Bárbara unique among the missions is that
within her gardens, hidden behind their secluding walls, there is a “holy
of holies” where no woman’s foot is permitted to desecrate the sacred
ground. It is quite likely that this rule is kept up by the brothers
now in charge of the mission, rather through a desire to preserve the
traditions of the old church than through any unwarranted prejudice
against the fair sex.


_San Buenaventura Mission_, at the town now called Ventura, stands near
the southeastern end of the Santa Bárbara channel. It was the last work
of the great Serra, and was founded March 31, 1782, by the venerable
president himself and Father Cambón. Palou gives us a detailed account
of this event in his _Life of Serra_: “March 26, the whole party, the
largest ever engaged in the founding of a mission, soldiers, settlers,
and their families, muleteers, etc., but only two priests, Padres Serra
and Cambón, set out.... They went on to the head of the channel, a site
near the beach, on whose edge there was a large town of _Gentiles_,
(unbaptized Indians), well built of pyramidal houses made of straw. They
raised the cross, erected an arbor to serve as chapel, made an altar
and adorned it. On the last day of March they took possession and held
the first mass. The natives assisted willingly in building the chapel,
and continued friendly, helping to build a house for the padre,—all of
wood. The soldiers began to cut timbers for their houses, and for the
stockade. They also went to work at once to conduct water by ditches
from a neighboring stream, to bring it conveniently near the houses, and
to serve to irrigate crops. By means of a neophyte, brought from San
Gabriel, they were able to communicate with the natives, and to let them
know that their only purpose in coming here was to direct their souls to

The patron of this mission was originally named Giovanni Fidanga. When a
child he fell very ill, and was taken by his mother to St. Francis to be
healed. When the saint saw him recovered he exclaimed: “O buena ventura!”
whereupon his mother dedicated him to God by the name of _Buenaventura_
(good fortune). It is a pity that a name of such happy augury should be
mutilated by the amputation of its first part, the town and county now
appearing as _Ventura_.


In the diaries of the Spanish pioneers, a distinct impression is conveyed
that the California Indians, so far from being morose and taciturn, as
their brothers in other parts of the United States are often portrayed,
were rather a merry lot, and received the white men everywhere in their
long journey up the coast, with music, feasting and the dance. In fact,
we run across a complaint now and then that their hospitality was
sometimes so insistent that their guests suffered from loss of sleep, the
serenading being kept up during the entire night.

Their music, no doubt of the most primitive sort, was produced by means
of “a small whistle, sometimes double, sometimes single, about the size
and length of a common fife. It was held in the mouth by one end, without
the aid of the fingers, and only about two notes could be sounded on
it.”—(Bancroft, from Cal. Farmer.)

Along the Santa Bárbara channel the festivities in honor of the strangers
were especially lively. At _Asunción_ (Ascension), a point on the coast
five leagues below Carpintería, they received a reception of which we
read in Costansó’s diary of the Portolá expedition of 1769, date of
August 14: “We reached the coast, and came in sight of a real town,
situated on a tongue or point of land, right on the shore, which it
dominated, seeming to command the waters. We counted as many as thirty
large and capacious houses, spherical in form, well built and thatched
with grass. We judged there could not be less than four hundred souls
in the town. These natives are well built and of a good disposition,
very agile and alert, diligent and skillful. Their handiness and ability
were at their best in the construction of their canoes, made of good
pine boards, well joined and calked, and of a pleasing form. They handle
these with equal skill, and three or four men go out to sea in them to
fish, for they will hold eight or ten men. They use long, double-bladed
paddles, and row with indescribable agility and swiftness. All their work
is neat and well finished, and what is most worthy of surprise is that
to work the wood and stone they have no other tools than those made of
flint.... We saw, and obtained in exchange for strings of glass beads,
and other trinkets, some baskets or trays made of reeds, with different
designs; wooden plates, and bowls of different forms and sizes, made of
one piece, so that not even those turned out in a lathe could be more
successful. They presented us with a quantity of fish, particularly the
kind known as _bonito_; it had as good a flavor as that caught in the
tunny-fisheries of Cartegena de Levante, and on the coasts of Granada. We
gave it the name of _La Asunción de Nuestra Señora_ (the Ascension of Our
Lady), because we reached it on the eve of that festival.”—(Translation
edited by Frederick T. Teggart.)


_El Bailarín_ (the dancer). This spot, one league from Carpintería, was
named in honor of a nimble-footed Indian, who cheered the weary travelers
on their way, as thus told by Father Crespi, in his diary of the Portolá
expedition: “This place was named through the notable fact of an Indian
having feasted us extraordinarily two leagues beyond (always coasting the
sea-shore), where there is a large town on a point of land on the same
shore; which Indian was a robust man of good form, and a great dancer;
through respect for him we called this town, of which our friend was a
resident, _El Pueblo del Bailarín_ (the Town of the Dancer).”

_Ranchería del Baile de las Indias_ (Village of the Dance of the Indian
Women). As a rule, the women seemed to take no part in the dances, but
Costansó tells of one occasion when they joined in the festivities:
“They honored us with a dance, and it was the first place where we saw
the women dance. Two of these excelled the others; they had a bunch of
flowers in their hands, and accompanied the dance with various graceful
gestures and movements, without getting out of time in their songs. We
called the place the _Ranchería del Baile de las Indias_.”

This place was about five leagues from Point Pedernales.


_Carpintería_ is the name of a little cluster of houses near the shore
about ten miles east of Santa Bárbara. It lies in a region once densely
populated with natives of very “gentle and mild disposition.” The story
of its naming is told by Father Crespi, of the Portolá party: “Not very
far from the town we saw some springs of asphaltum. These Indians have
many canoes, and at that time were constructing one, for which reason the
soldiers named this town Carpintería (carpenter shop), but I baptized it
with the name of _San Roque_.”


_Montecito_ (little hill or little wood), is the name of a small village
about six miles from Santa Bárbara. The country in this vicinity, through
its extraordinary charm of climate and scenery, has attracted a large
number of very rich people, whose splendid country houses, in bizarre
contrast, now occupy the self-same spots where the Indians once raised
their flimsy huts of straw.


While traversing the shore of Santa Bárbara channel, the Portolá
expedition of 1769 took time to make trips to the islands and bestow
names upon them. The island of Santa Cruz received its name from a
rather trivial circumstance. By some chance the padres lost there a staff
which bore a cross on the end. They gave it up as irretrievably lost,
so were the more pleased when the Indians appeared the following day to
restore it. From this they gave the island the name of _Santa Cruz_ (Holy


Of the _Ranchería de la Espada_ (village of the sword), Captain Fages, of
the Portolá expedition says: “Two and a half leagues northwest of Point
Conception, another glen is found with a population of twenty hearths,
with 250 Indians, more or less. The natives of the settlement here are
extremely poor and starved, so that they can scarcely live, being without
canoes, in rugged land, and short of firewood. While here a soldier lost
his sword, leaving it carelessly fastened, so that they took it from his
belt. But the Indians who saw this theft themselves ran in pursuit of
the thief, and deprived him of the article in order that its owner might
recover it.” From this the place received the name of the _Ranchería de
la Espada_, and the little story is still commemorated in the name of
Espada Landing.


_Matilija Creek_ and _Matilija Springs_, in Ventura County, derive their
name from an Indian village, one of those mentioned in the mission
archives. The name is best known as applied to the Matilija poppy, that
flower of the gods which has its native habitat along the banks of the
creek. This giant poppy, by reason of its extraordinary size and delicate
beauty, has a just claim to be called “queen of all California’s wild
flowers,” as the Sequoia is king of her trees. It is a perennial plant,
of shrubby character, and grows wild in the southern part of the state,
from the Santa María River southward, extending into Lower California,
where it spreads over large areas. It flourishes in particular luxuriance
in the Matilija canyon, but the popular idea that that spot was its only
habitat is erroneous. The shrub reaches a height of eight or ten feet,
has gray-green foliage, and bears splendid, six-petaled white flowers,
often six or seven inches in diameter, “of a crepe-like texture, pure
glistening white, with bright yellow centers.” “It not only grows in
fertile valleys, but seeks the seclusion of remote canyons, and nothing
more magnificent could be imagined than a steep canyon-side covered
with the great bushy plants, thickly covered with the enormous white
flowers.”—(Miss Parsons, quoted by J. Burt Davy, in _Bailey’s Cyclopedia
of American Horticulture_.)


Captain Fages, of the Portolá party, says of this place: “Going
two leagues through high land, and with a good outlook over the
sea-coast, a flowing stream appears, with very good water, and near it
a poor settlement of only ten houses, probably numbering about sixty
inhabitants, crowded together. We stopped at the place near where a strip
or point of land extends to the sea. There we gathered a multitude of
flints, good for fire-arms, and so this place is called _Los Pedernales_
(the flints).”

Point Pedernales still remains as the name of “that point of land
extending into the sea,” a few miles north of Point Conception.


_Camulos_, also spelled _Kamulas_, was the name of an Indian village near
San Buenaventura. This village is among those mentioned in the mission
archives, and is noted as the home of Ramona, the heroine of Mrs. Helen
Hunt Jackson’s romance. The meaning of the word _Camulos_, according to
Professor A. L. Kroeber, is “my fruit.”


_Los Álamos_ (the cottonwoods), is in Santa Bárbara County, northwest
of Santa Bárbara. The _álamo_ is a species of poplar tree indigenous to
California and widely spread throughout the state.

_Argüello Point_ is on the coast of Santa Bárbara County, just south
of Point Pedernales. Argüello is a surname, that of a pioneer family,
of which José Darío Argüello was the founder. “For many years
Don José was the most prominent, influential and respected man in

_Argüello Point_ was named by Vancouver in honor of the Spanish
governor.—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_El Cojo_ (the lame one). This place, near Point Conception, was so-named
by the Spaniards because they saw here an Indian chief who was lame.

_Point Concepción_, the point at the southwestern extremity of Santa
Bárbara County, was so-named in reference to the “immaculate conception”
of the Virgin.

_Los Dos Pueblos_ (the two towns), is on the coast a few miles west of
Santa Bárbara. On October 16, 1542, the Cabrillo expedition anchored
opposite two Indian villages here, and named the place _Los Dos Pueblos_.
“Although these villages were separated only by a small stream, their
inhabitants were of a different race and language, those on one side
being short, thick and swarthy, and on the other tall, slender and not
so dark. The depth of the kitchen refuse at the site of these two towns
indicates that these Indians had lived here since the Christian era and
were contemporary with the mound builders.”—(_History of Santa Bárbara

_Gaviota_ (sea-gull), is on the shore a few miles west of Santa Bárbara.
Father Crespi mentions having given this name to another place further
down the coast: “We reached an estuary, on whose border stood a ranchería
of fifty-two huts, with three hundred people. For having killed a
sea-gull here, the soldiers called this place _La Gaviota_, but I named
it _San Luís Rey de Francia_.” As _San Luís Rey_ it has remained upon the

_Gaviota Pass_ is an important gap in the Santa Inez range.

Every one who has crossed the bay of San Francisco in the winter season
must have rejoiced in the sight of the flying convoy of those beautiful
creatures, the _gaviotas_, by which each ferry-boat is accompanied.

_Goleta_ (schooner), is the name of a village in Santa Bárbara County,
seven miles west of Santa Bárbara.

_Guadalupe_ (a Christian name). The town is near the northern border of
Santa Bárbara County.

_Lompoc_ is one of the names of Indian villages taken from the mission
archives. It is situated fifty miles northwest of Santa Bárbara, on the
Southern Pacific Railroad.

_Nojoqui_, in Santa Bárbara County, was presumably the name of an Indian

_Los Olivos_ (the olives), is in Santa Bárbara County, on the Coast Line

_La Piedra Pintada_ (the painted rock), is about eighty miles from Santa
Bárbara. Here there was a stone wigwam, forty or fifty yards in diameter,
whose walls were covered with paintings in the form of halos and circles,
with radiations from the center.—(_History of Santa Bárbara County._)

_Punta Gorda_ (fat or broad point), is one of the points of land running
into the sea from the Santa Bárbara Coast. Its name indicates its shape.

_Punta de las Ritas_ (point of the rites), perhaps refers to some
religious ceremony held upon that spot.

_Rincón Point_ (corner point), is one of the many points of land running
out from the Santa Bárbara Coast.

_Point Sal_, was named for Hermenegi do Sal, who was one of the prominent
figures in the early history of Southern California. He was a Spanish
soldier who came to this coast in 1776 with Anza and his party of
colonists. Sal filled many important military offices. This point was
named by Vancouver for this official, who was at one time commandante of
the presidio of San Francisco, in return for signal courtesies shown by
him in 1792, when he permitted Vancouver to go to the mission of Santa
Clara, this being the first occasion when this part of Spanish America
was penetrated by any foreigner.

_Sal Si Puedes_ (get out if you can). Several places in the state, one in
the Santa Cruz Mountains, another in Santa Bárbara County, received this
name, so eloquent of the rough road that the Spaniards sometimes had to
travel. Captain Argüello, in his diary of the expedition of 1821, refers
to his struggles in getting out of a certain canyon in these terms: “On
account of its difficult situation it was named _Montaña de Maltrato y
Arroyo de Sal si Puedes_” (mountain of ill-treatment and creek of get out
if you can).

_Santa Inez_ (St. Agnes), is the name of a river in Santa Bárbara
County which rises in the coast range and falls into the Pacific Ocean
about ten miles north of Cape Conception. The town of the same name is
situated on this river. The Mission Santa Inez was founded September 17,
1804, by Padres Tapis, Calzada and Gutierrez. It flourished for a time,
but was greatly damaged by an earthquake in 1812, was rebuilt and damaged
again by the Indians in the revolt of 1824, and its partially ruined
buildings still remain to tell of a vanished past. Its patroness, St.
Agnes, was one of the four great virgin martyrs of the Latin Church. She
was a Roman maiden of great beauty, and was condemned to death by the
sword, by the Prefect Sempronius, in revenge for her refusal to marry
his son, on the ground that she was “already affianced to a husband whom
she loved, meaning Jesus.” Before causing her death Sempronius attempted
to procure her dishonor by having her conveyed to a house of infamy,
“but when she prayed to Christ that she might not be dishonored, she saw
before her a shining white garment which she put on with joy, and the
room was filled with great light.”

_Santa María_ (St. Mary), so-named in honor of the mother of Christ, is
in Santa Bárbara County, near the Santa María River.


“Its patron saint is St. Agnes, one of the four great virgin martyrs of
the Latin Church.”]

_Santa Paula_ (St. Paula), is in Ventura County, thirty-five miles west
of San Fernando, on the Southern Pacific Railroad. “St. Paula was a noble
Roman matron, a pupil and disciple of St. Jerome. Though descended from
the Scipios and the Gracchi, and accustomed to luxurious self-indulgence,
she preferred to follow her saintly teacher to Bethlehem and devote
herself to a religious life. She built a monastery, a hospital, and three
nunneries at Bethlehem.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)

_Sereno_ (serene), a place on the shore near Santa Bárbara, whose placid
charm well befits its name.

_Ventura_ (fortune), a town near the southeastern end of the Santa
Bárbara channel.




_San Luís Obispo_ (St. Louis the Bishop). Travelers on the Coast Line,
whose attention is attracted to the smiling vale where the pretty town
of _San Luís Obispo_ nestles in the hollow of the hills, about eight
miles from the ocean and ninety to the northwest of Santa Bárbara, will
doubtless be pleased to learn something of its history. So peaceful is
the aspect of the valley at this time that it comes rather as a surprise
to read, in the diaries of the Portolá expedition of 1769, stories of
fierce fights with bears, which then haunted this place in such numbers
that the explorers gave it the name of _La Cañada de los Osos_ (the glen
of the bears). From Father Crespi we get some account of the numbers
and ferocity of these animals: “In this glen we saw troops of bears,
which have the ground ploughed up and full of scratches which they make
in search of the roots that form their food. Upon these roots, of which
there are many of a good savor and taste, the _Gentiles_ (unbaptized
Indians), also live. The soldiers, who went out to hunt, succeeded in
killing one bear with gun-shots, and experienced the ferocity of these
animals. Upon feeling themselves wounded they attack the hunter at full
speed, and he can only escape by using the greatest dexterity. They do
not yield except when the shot succeeds in reaching the head or heart.
The one that the soldiers killed received nine balls before falling, and
did not fall until one struck him in the head.”

Captain Fages, of the same expedition, gives a similar account “....a
spacious glen with a rivulet of very good water.... In said glen they saw
whole herds of bears, which have ploughed up all the ground, where they
dug to seek their livelihood from the roots that it produces. They are
ferocious brutes, and of very difficult hunting, throwing themselves with
incredible speed and anger upon the hunter, who only escapes by means of
a swift horse. They do not yield to the shot unless it be in the head or


“ ... in a smiling vale, which was once the haunt of great troops of

Miguel Costansó, of the same party, says: “In the afternoon, as they had
seen many tracks of bears, six soldiers went out hunting on horseback,
and succeeded in shooting one bear. It was an enormous animal; it
measured fourteen palms from the sole of the feet to the top of its head;
its feet were more than a foot long; and it must have weighed over 375
pounds. We ate the flesh and found it savory and good.”—(Translation
edited by Frederick J. Teggart.)

At a later date, when the mission at Monterey was in serious danger of
a famine, Captain Fages called to mind the experiences in the _Cañada
de los Osos_, and headed a hunting expedition to that region for the
purpose of securing a supply of bear meat. The party succeeded in killing
a considerable number of the animals, and were thus able to relieve
the scarcity at Monterey. The name of _Los Osos_ (the bears), is still
applied to a valley in the vicinity of San Luís Obispo.

Finding this spot highly suitable for a settlement, in the matters of
climate, arable land and water, points always carefully considered by the
padres, the mission of _San Luís Obispo de Tolosa_ (St. Louis the Bishop
of Toulouse), was established by Padre Serra, September 1, 1772, in _La
Cañada de los Osos_. In the usual course of events, the name of the
mission was extended to the town and finally to the county.

The story of the patron saint of this mission runs as follows: “St. Louis
of Toulouse was the nephew of St. Louis King of France, and son of the
King of Naples and Sicily. Like his kingly uncle-saint, he was piously
reared by his mother. When he was but fourteen, his father, being made
prisoner by the King of Aragón, gave Louis and his brother as hostages.
He became wearied of everything but religion, and in 1294, when he was
made free, he gave all his royal rights to his brother Robert, and became
a monk of the Order of St. Francis. He was then twenty-two years old.
Soon he was made Bishop of Toulouse; and he set out, bare-footed and
clothed as a friar, to take his new office. He went into Provence on a
charitable mission, and died at the castle of Brignolles, where he was
born. He was first buried at Marseilles, then removed to Valencia, where
he was enshrined. His pictures represent him as young, beardless, and of
gentle face. He has the fleur-de-lys embroidered on his cope, or on some
part of his dress. The crown which he gave away lies at his feet, while
he wears the mitre of a bishop.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)


_San Miguel_ (St. Michael), situated about forty-seven miles northeast
of San Luís Obispo, is the site of Mission San Miguel, founded July 25,
1797, by Padres Lasuén and Sitjar. It is said that “the lands of this
mission extended from the Tulares on the east to the sea on the west, and
from the north boundary of the San Luís Obispo district to the south line
of San Antonio. It had its work-shops and little factories where the good
padres taught the Indians the useful arts. Its property was confiscated
in 1836, and sold at auction in 1846.”

St. Michael, in whose honor this mission was named, “is regarded as
the first and mightiest of all created spirits. He it was whom God
commissioned to expel Satan and the rebellious angels from Heaven. His
office now is believed to be two-fold, including that of patron saint
of the Church on earth, and Lord of the souls of the dead; presenting
the good to God and sending the evil and wicked away to torment.” In
pictures St. Michael is always represented as young and beautiful,
sometimes as the Lord of souls in pictures of death, sometimes in armor
as the conqueror of Satan.


_Paso de Robles_ (pass of the oaks), known far and wide for its hot
sulphur springs, where the sick of many lands find surcease from their
pain, is situated twenty-nine miles north of San Luís Obispo. It was
named for the reason indicated by Father Crespi, who says: “....in a
valley in the hollow of the Santa Lucía Mountains, called _Los Robles_,
for the great abundance of these trees with which it is populated.”

It should be explained that the _roble_ is not the evergreen, or
live-oak, which is called _encino_. At Leland Stanford Jr. University the
names of these two species of oaks have been rather poetically used for
the students’ dormitories,—Encina Hall for the men, and Roble Hall for
the women.


“It once had its work-shops and little factories where good padres taught
the Indians useful arts.”]


_Arroyo Grande_ (big creek), a village in San Luís Obispo County, fifteen
miles southeast of San Luís Obispo.

_Atascadero_ (boggy ground, quagmire).

_Avenal_ (a field sown with oats).

_Buchón_ (big craw), is the name of the point on the coast directly
opposite the town of San Luís Obispo, and has a significance not
altogether agreeable. The Spanish soldiers called the place _Buchón_ from
an Indian in the neighborhood who was the unfortunate possessor of an
enormous goitre, which was so large that it hung down upon his breast.

_Cañada del Osito_ (glen of the little bear), so-called because some
Indians from the mountains offered the Spaniards a present of a bear cub.

_Cayucos_ is the name of a village in San Luís Obispo County, eighteen
miles northwest of San Luís Obispo. The word _cayuco_ is probably Indian
in origin, and is used in different senses in different parts of America.
In Venezuela it means a small fishing boat, built to hold only one
person, while in Cuba it means “head.” As this place is on the shore, it
was probably named in reference to Indian fishing skiffs.

_Cholame_ (the name of an Indian tribe).

_Cuesta_ (hill, mount, ridge, also family name).

_Esteros_ (estuaries, creeks into which the tide flows at flood time).

_Estero Point_ (estuary point).

_Estrella_ (star).

_López_ (a surname).

_Morro_ (headland, bluff). Morro is the name of a hamlet in San Luís
Obispo County, on the shore, twelve miles northwest of San Luís Obispo.

_Nacimiento_ (birth). This word is generally used by the Spaniards in the
sense of the birth of Christ.

_Los Osos_ (the bears).

_Piedras Blancas_ (white stones, or rocks), the name of a point on the

_Pismo_, an Indian word said to mean “place of fish”, but this definition
is not based upon scientific authority.

_Pozo_ (well, or pool), is the name of a village in San Luís Obispo

_San Simeón_ (St. Simeon), is the name of a village in San Luís Obispo
County, on the shore twenty miles south of Jolón. It has a good harbor.
St. Simeon, the patron saint of this place, was one of the apostles, and
is called “the Prophet” because he was the translator of the book of
Isaiah in which is made the prophecy “Behold a virgin shall conceive.”

St. Simeon Stylites, who set the fashion of the pillar-hermits, spent
almost half of the fifth century on the summit of a column sixty feet in
height, drawing up his meager food and water in a pail which he lowered
for the purpose. This peculiar and apparently senseless mode of life has
been partially justified by the reflection that the notoriety he thus
gained brought curious crowds of pagans about his pillar, to whom he was
enabled to preach the Christian doctrine. It is said that he converted
many thousands of the nomadic Saracen tribes to Christianity.

_Santa Lucía_ (St. Lucy), is the name of a section of the coast range of
mountains in the central part of the state. St. Lucy is the protectress
against all diseases of the eye, and is the patroness of the laboring

_Santa Margarita_ (St. Margaret), is the name of a town in San Luís
Obispo County, on the Southern Pacific Railroad. St. Margaret is the
patroness who presides over births.




_Monterey_. “_Llegamos á este puerto de Monterey á 16 de Diciembre, 1602
á las siete de la noche_” (We arrived at this port of Monterey on the
sixteenth of December, 1602, at seven o’clock in the evening).—(From the
diary of Sebastián Vizcaíno.)

When Vizcaíno sailed into the beautiful blue bay of Monterey, and looked
about him at the ring of hills, dark with the dense growth of pines
covering them from summit to base, he became at once enamored with the
place, and wrote enthusiastically to his Spanish Majesty concerning
it. In a letter of the date of May 23, 1603, he says: “Among the ports
of most importance which I found was one in latitude 37, which I named
Monterrey. As I wrote to your majesty from there on the twenty-eighth
of September of the said year, it is all that can be desired for the
convenience and sea-port of the ships of the Philippine line, whence they
come to explore this coast. The port is sheltered from all winds, and
has on the shore many pines to supply the ships with masts of any size
that they may wish, and also live-oaks, oaks, rosemary, rock-roses, roses
of Alexandria, good hunting of rabbits, hares, partridges and flying
birds of different sorts. The land is of mild temperature, and of good
waters, and very fertile, judging by the luxuriant growth of the trees
and plants, for I saw some fruits from them, particularly of chestnuts
and acorns, larger than those of Spain; and it is well-populated with
people, whose disposition I saw to be soft, gentle, docile, and very fit
to be reduced to the Holy Church. Their food is of many and various seeds
that they have and also wild game, such as deer, some of which are larger
than cows, also bears, and cattle and buffalo, and many others. The
Indians are of good body, white of countenance, and the women somewhat
smaller, and well-favored. Their dress is of the people of the beach, of
the skins of seals, of which there are an abundance, which they tan and
prepare better than in Spain.”

[Illustration: MONTEREY IN 1850.

“We arrived at this port of Monterey on the sixteenth of December, 1602,
at seven o’clock in the evening.”—(Sebastián Vizcaíno)]

At first thought it would seem that Vizcaíno must have been in error
about finding buffalo at Monterey, but investigation shows that in 1530
those animals “ranged through what is now New Mexico, Utah, Oregon,
Washington, and British Columbia.”—(_Handbook of American Indians._)
Oregon is not so far away but that scattering herds may have wandered as
far as Monterey, and that Vizcaíno actually saw them there. It has been
suggested, also, that he may have mistaken the tracks of the great elk
for those of buffalo. In calling the Indians “white,” he was, no doubt,
speaking comparatively. According to the diaries of the Spaniards, the
natives of different sections varied considerably in complexion. What
he meant by “chestnuts” can only be conjectured, since that tree is not
indigenous to Monterey, but it is possible that the nut of the wild
buck-eye, which resembles the chestnut in size and shape, may have been
mistaken for it by the Spaniards.

Vizcaíno named the port in honor of Gaspar de Zúñiga, Count of Monterey,
at that time Viceroy of Mexico. The word itself, whose literal meaning is
“the King’s wood,” or “the King’s mountain,” since _monte_ may be used in
either sense, was formerly spelled Monterrey, Monterey, or Monte Rey.

When Father Serra arrived at Monterey in 1770, he decided to make it the
headquarters of all the California missions, and it was there that the
rest of his life was spent, excepting the periods of absence required in
visiting the other missions, and in one visit to Mexico. Very shortly
after the landing of the party in a little cove at the edge of the
present town, it was decided that not enough arable land existed at that
point for the support of the mission, so the religious establishment was
removed to Carmel Bay, while the Presidio and its chapel remained at

The Mission _San Carlos Borroméo_ (St. Charles Borroméo), was founded
June 3, 1770, near the shore of the charming little bay of Carmel,
about seven miles from Monterey. This church, now in an excellent state
of repair, through the efforts of the late Father Ángelo Casanova, is
distinguished above all the others, “for under its altar lies buried all
that is mortal of the remains of its venerable founder, Junípero Serra.”


“Under its altar lies buried all that is mortal of its venerable founder,
Junípero Serra.”]

Its patron saint, St. Charles Borroméo, belonged to a noble family of
Lombardy. Being a second son, he was dedicated to the church at a very
early age, and soon rose to distinction, receiving the cardinal’s hat at
twenty-three. The death of his elder brother placed the family fortune at
his disposal, but he gave it all in charity, reserving for himself merely
enough for bread and water, and straw on which to sleep. In public he
gave feasts, but never partook of them himself. At the time of the plague
in Milan, when all others fled from the city, he remained to attend the
sick. His remains repose in a rich shrine in that city.


At _San Antonio_ (St. Anthony), in Monterey County, between Kings City
and Jolón, Father Serra established the mission of San Antonio de Padua,
July 14, 1771. In connection with its establishment, Palou tells a story
that brings out one of the most marked characteristics of the venerable
founder, his ardent enthusiasm: “They [the founding party] departed
for the Santa Lucía Mountains, taking priests for the new mission, the
required escort of soldiers, and all necessaries. Twenty-five leagues
south-southeast from Monterey, they arrived at the hollow of this ridge,
where they found a great _cañada_, which they called _Robles_ (oaks),
from the great number of those trees. Finding a level plain in the same
_cañada_, bordering on a river which they called _San Antonio_, and
which they thought to be a good site, for the good flow of water, even
in the dry month of July, which could be conducted to the lands without
difficulty, all agreed upon the choice of this spot. Serra ordered the
mules to be unloaded, and the bells to be hung up on the branch of a
tree. As soon as they were hung up, he began to ring them, crying out,
‘Ho! Gentiles, come, come to the Holy Church, come to receive the faith
of Jesus Christ!’” One of the other priests remonstrated with him, saying
it was idle to ring the bells in the absence of the gentiles, but Serra
said, “Let me ring, let me relieve my heart, so that all the wild people
in this mountain range may hear!” It happened that some natives were
attracted by the ringing of the bells, and came to witness the first
mass, which Serra regarded as a good augury.


“Here the daily life of the mission was carried on.”]

St. Anthony of Padua, the patron of this place, was a Portuguese by
birth, who entered the Franciscan Order. He went as a missionary to the
Moors, but was compelled by illness to return to Europe, where he had
great success in Italy and France as a preacher. Among many miracles
accredited to him is the one thus related: “When preaching at the
funeral of a very rich man, St. Anthony denounced his love of money, and
exclaimed, ‘His heart is buried in his treasure chest; go seek it there
and you will find it.’ The friends of the man broke open the chest, and
to their surprise, found the heart; they then examined his body and found
that his heart was indeed wanting.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)


_La Punta de los Cipreses_ (Point Cypress), is the home of those
wonderful trees, twisted and gnarled into a thousand fantastic shapes
by their age-long struggle against the ocean winds, which furnish yet
another proof of the part played by California in the preservation of the
rare and the unique, for this species of coniferous tree is said to be
confined to that region, not occurring in any other part of the world.

The following interesting paragraph on these trees is quoted from
_The Trees of California_, by Willis Linn Jepsen, Asst. Professor of
Dendrology in the University of California: “_Cupressus Macrocarpa_ is
limited to two localities on the ocean shore at the mouth of the Carmel
river near Monterey. The Cypress Point grove extends along the cliffs
and low bluffs from Pescadero Point to Cypress Point, a distance of
two miles, reaching inland about one-eighth of a mile. The Point Lobos
grove is much smaller. The trees are scattered over the summits of two
headlands, and cling to the edges of the cliffs, where on account of the
erosive action of the ocean, they are occasionally under-mined and fall
into the sea. Monterey Cypress is most interesting for its remarkably
restricted natural range and the exceedingly picturesque outlines
characteristic of the trees growing on the ocean shore. As a result of
their struggle with violent storms from the Pacific Ocean which break
on the unprotected cliffs and headlands of Cypress Point and Point
Lobos, they present a variety and singularity of form which is obviously
connected with their exposed habitat, and lends a never-failing interest
to these two narrow localities. Of the highly picturesque trees, the
most common type is that with long irregular arms. Such trees recall most
strikingly the classical pictures of the Cedars of Lebanon. Monterey
Cypress is of course a genuine cypress and Lebanon Cedar a genuine cedar;
the two do not even belong to the same family of conifers. Yet the
popular story that the two are the same makes so strong an appeal to the
imagination of the tourist at Monterey that the guides and promoters in
the region will doubtless never cease to disseminate it. As a consequence
the error goes into the daily press and the magazines, and is evidently
destined to flourish in perennial greenness under the guise of fact.
The wide dissemination of this fiction is all the more remarkable in
that in the case of all other unique features of the state, such as the
Sequoias and the Yosemite, our Californians have evinced a remarkable
pride in their possession, without thought of inventing a duplication of
them elsewhere.... The matter of the age of these trees has been much
exaggerated. It is a tree of rapid growth, and the older specimens are
probably not more than 200 or 300 years old.”

The above paragraph, quoted from a writer acknowledged to be one of the
best authorities on the trees of California, is given here in full, in
the hope of correcting these two common errors concerning the Monterey
Cypress,—the one that it is identical with the Cedar of Lebanon, the
other, an exaggerated notion of the great age of some of the trees. As
Professor Jepsen justly remarks, the truth in this case is a greater
matter for pride than the fiction.


_La Punta de Pinos_ (the point of pines), is situated a few miles from
Monterey, just beyond Pacific Grove. It is one of the most picturesque
points on the coast, and is the location of one of the government


“The home of those wonderful trees, twisted into a thousand fantastic
shapes by their age long struggle with the ocean winds.”]


When the Portolá expedition of 1769 arrived at the Salinas River, they
made the first of the series of errors which caused them to pass by the
bay of Monterey without recognizing it, for they mistook this stream
for the Carmel. The _Salinas_ (salt marshes), so-called for the chain
of salt-water ponds lying along its course, was known by various names
before a permanent one became attached to it, appearing at different
times as _El Río Elzeario_, _Santa Delfina_, and _El Río de Monterey_.

The town of Salinas is the county-seat of Monterey County and is situated
about eighteen miles east of Monterey, in the heart of an important
agricultural, dairying, and sugar-beet district.


_Soledad_ (solitude), in Monterey County, 143 miles southeast of San
Francisco, is described as “a very dry plain, with few trees, swept
by fierce winds and dust storms in summer.” No wonder they called it

Yet those same dry plains proved to be of sufficient fertility to warrant
the establishment, in 1791, of the mission of _Nuestra Señora de la
Soledad_, freely translated as “Our Lady of Sorrows,” which became the
center of a large and prosperous Indian community. The buildings of the
mission have now fallen into almost complete decay.


_Pájaro_ (bird), a town in Monterey County, on the Pájaro River, which
rises on the slope of the Coast Range, and flows westerly, falling into
Monterey Bay, derives its name from a circumstance told in the diary
of the faithful Father Crespi: “We saw in this place a bird, which the
_Gentiles_ (unbaptized Indians), had killed and stuffed with straw,
and which appeared to some [of the party] to be a royal eagle; it was
measured from tip to tip of the wings, and was found to measure eleven
palms (nine feet and three inches), for which reason the soldiers called
the place _El Río del Pájaro_.” The scream of the eagle may still be
heard in the more remote parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where the
great birds are occasionally seen circling far over-head, or perched in
the tops of the tallest trees.


_Santa Cruz_ (holy cross), the well-known seaside resort lying at the
northern hook of the great curve that forms Monterey Bay, was named by
the Portolá expedition, as thus described by Father Crespi: “We camped
on the north side of the river [San Lorenzo], and we had a great deal of
work to cut down trees to open a little passage for our beasts.... Not
far from the river we saw a fertile spot where the grass was not burnt,
and it was a pleasure to see the pasture and the variety of herbs and
rose-bushes of Castile.” The next day they moved on again, and the diary
continues: “After proceeding about five hundred steps, we passed a large
stream of running water, which has its source among some high hills and
passes through some great table-lands of good soil, that may easily be
irrigated by the waters of the said creek. This creek was named _Santa

A mission was established at this place by Padres Salazar and López,
September 25, 1791, but the buildings finally fell into a ruinous
condition, and were removed to give place to the modern church which now
stands upon the original site.


_San Juan Bautista_ (St. John the Baptist), has suffered mutilation by
the dropping of its last part, and usually appears as _San Juan_. San
Juan is a small town in San Benito County, in a fertile valley on the San
Benito River, forty-four miles southeast of San José. At this place the
mission of San Juan Bautista was founded, June 24, 1797. Although this
mission passed through some strenuous experiences, and was twice attacked
by the Indians, and somewhat damaged by repeated earthquakes in 1800, it
is still moderately well preserved.


“Although twice attacked by Indians and damaged by earthquakes in 1800,
it is still moderately well preserved.”]


_Agua Amargosa_ (bitter water), a place in San Benito County now known
by its English translation, “Bitter Water,” and so-called from mineral

_Año Neuvo_ (new year), is the name of a prominent cape running out from
the shore of Santa Cruz County, where one of the coast light-houses is
situated. It received its name from the day of its discovery.

_Arroyo Seco_ (dry creek). The Arroyo Seco, rising in the Santa Lucía
Range and flowing northeasterly into the Salinas River, is probably
the most remarkable example of terrace formation to be found among the
streams of the state.

There are other Arroyo Secos in the state, one near Los Ángeles which is
very striking in its color effects.

_Blanco_ (white), is a town in Monterey County which may have received
its name from Thomas B. Blanco, a pioneer and grantee of land in that

_Cañada Segunda_ (second valley).

_Cerro del Venado_ (hill of the deer).

_Chualar_ is a village in Monterey County, in the Salinas valley,
128 miles southeast of San Francisco. The _chual_ is a wild plant of
California,—pig-weed or goose-foot, and _chualar_ is a spot abounding in
chual plants.

_Corral_ (yard, enclosed place). On October 11, 1769, the Portolá party
stopped at a place about a league from the Pájaro River, where they
constructed a fence between a lake and a low hill, in order to keep
the animals secure at night without the need of many watchmen. Palou,
in his _Life of Serra_, says: “The first expedition called this place
the _Corral_, on account of having built there, with some sticks nailed
together, a pasture in the manner of a yard, in order to keep the animals
safe at night. This was of great assistance, for there were so many sick
that there were not enough [people] to guard the animals.” In different
parts of the state there were many _Corrals_ and _Corralitos_ (little
yards). Sometimes the enclosing fence was made of stones, when more
convenient, and the enclosure was then called _Corral de Piedra_ (stone
corral); sometimes a barricade of earth was thrown up, and it was then
called _Corral de Tierra_ (earth corral). _Corral de Tierra_ is the name
of a well-known ranch near Monterey. In the days of old, many a joyous
_merienda_ (picnic) and barbecue was held at the Corral de Tierra Rancho.
_Corralitos_ (little corrals), is in Santa Cruz County, fourteen miles
east of Santa Cruz.

_Gabilán_, also spelled _Gavilán_ (hawk), is the name of the long
mountain ridge, a branch of the Coast Range, which extends through the
counties of San Matéo and Santa Cruz.

_Gonzales_ (a surname). This place is in Monterey County, in the Salinas
valley, seventeen miles southeast of Salinas.

_Gorda_ (fat, thick).

_Las Grullas_ (the cranes). In the diaries of the Portolá expedition,
date of October 7, 1769, we read: “We pitched our camp between some low
hills near a pond, where we saw a great number of cranes, the first we
had seen on this journey.” This was about four leagues from the Pájaro

_Jolón_, a word of doubtful origin, which has been variously explained.
It is thought by some persons to be a corruption of Jalón, a proper name,
but old Spanish residents say it is an Indian word, meaning “valley of
dead oaks.”

_Llanada_ (a plain, level ground). This place is in San Benito County.

_Laureles_ (laurels). _Los Laureles_ is the name of a ranch near
Monterey. The wild laurel is a shrub common to many parts of the state.

_Lobos_ (wolves), generally used on this coast in the sense of _lobo
marino_, (sea-wolf, or seal). There is a _Punta de Lobos_ (seal point),
near Monterey which is noted for the bold grandeur of its ocean scenery,
as well as for its seals.

_Loma Prieta_ (dark hill), is the name of a peak in the Santa Cruz

_Moro Cojo_ (literally “lame Moor”), is the name of a well-known ranch in
Monterey County. The Spaniards were in the habit of using _moro_ to mean
anything black, and in this case, according to old residents, the ranch
was named for a lame black horse that ran wild there.

_Natividad_ (nativity of Christ), is the name of a town in Monterey
County, about one hundred miles southeast of San Francisco.

_Paicines_ is in San Benito County. This is a word of doubtful origin,
and many theories have been advanced to account for it. The most probable
is that given by an Indian woman, a resident of the place, who says it
was the name of an Indian tribe. The word is also sometimes spelled
_Pajines_. See _Tres Pinos_, page 98.

_Panocha_ is in San Benito County. This is a word applied to crude
sugar, or syrup, somewhat resembling sorghum. Probably modern.

_Paraíso Springs_ (paradise springs), is a health resort in Monterey

_Pleito_ (quarrel, argument, lawsuit). This place is in Monterey County.
It has not been possible to ascertain the application of its name.

_Potrero_ (pasture). There were many _potreros_ scattered about the state.

_Puentes_ (bridges). This place, two leagues from the San Lorenzo River,
was reached by the Portolá, party October 18, 1769, and the reason for
its naming is explained by Miguel Costansó: “These canyons contained
running water in very deep ditches, over which it was necessary to lay
bridges of logs, covered with earth and bundles of sticks, so that the
pack animals could cross. The place was called _Las Puentes_.”

_San Benito_ (St. Benedict), was named in honor of the founder of the
great order of Benedictines. San Benito Creek was named in 1772 by Father
Crespi, and the name was eventually applied to the county. The town of
San Benito is on the Salinas River, sixty miles southeast of Monterey. It
is said of St. Benedict that he became a hermit at the age of fifteen
and fled to the wilderness, where he lived on bread and water. While
there he was tempted by the remembrance of a beautiful woman he had seen
in Rome, and to overcome his wish to see her again “he flung himself into
a thicket of briers and thorns, and rolled himself therein until he was
torn and bleeding. At the monastery of Subiaco they show roses, said to
have been propagated from these briers.”

_San Lucas_ (St. Luke), is in Monterey County, sixty miles southeast of
Salinas. St. Luke was the disciple of Paul, who speaks of him as “Luke,
the beloved physician,” but tradition reports him to have been an artist,
and that he always carried with him two portraits, one of the Saviour and
the other of Mary. Doubtless for this reason he is regarded as the patron
of artists and academies of art.

_Sur_ (south). Point Sur (south point), on the coast south of Monterey,
is a bold promontory where a light-house was placed by the government, in
consequence of the frequent occurrence of shipwrecks there. The Sur River
runs through a region remarkable for the wild picturesqueness of its
scenery, and for the strange tales told of happenings among its early

_Toro_ (bull), is the name of a ranch near Monterey, said to have been
so-called after a wild bull.

_Tres Pinos_ (three pines), a place in San Benito County, one hundred
miles southeast of San Francisco. Postmaster Black, of Tres Pinos,
gives us the following history of the naming of this place: “The name
was originally applied to what is now known as _Paicines_, but when the
railroad came to this place they appropriated the name of Tres Pinos,
hence it has no significance as applied to this town. The name was given
the stopping-place now known as Paicines because of three pines alleged
to have grown on the banks of the Tres Pinos creek near that place.
Paicines, then Tres Pinos, was the scene of the Vásquez raid and murders
in the early ’70’s.”

_Uvas_ (grapes), the name of a town and creek in the Santa Cruz
Mountains, no doubt so-called from the abundance of wild grapes found in
that locality.




_Santa Clara._ When the Spaniards passed through this valley, they were
not slow to recognize in it one of those favored spots on the earth’s
surface where climate and soil unite to produce the highest results. So
here they founded two missions, one at Santa Clara, and one at San José.

_Santa Clara_ (St. Clara), stands in one of the most fertile valleys in
California, which is equivalent to saying in the whole world, and is
about forty-six miles south-southeast of San Francisco. The mission was
founded by Padres Peña and Murguia, January 12, 1777. The buildings now
standing are mainly modern, but a small portion of the original structure
being incorporated in them. The ceiling over the sanctuary is original,
and a small part of the adobe buildings.

Clara de Asís, the sweet saint for whom this mission was named, was the
daughter of a nobleman. Her beauty and wealth brought her many offers
of marriage, all of which she refused, preferring to devote herself
to a religious life. She became the founder of the order of Franciscan
nuns, known as the “Poor Clares,” to which many noble ladies attached
themselves. The rules of the order were so strict that St. Clara’s health
finally became under-mined, and she died in an ecstatic trance, believing
herself called to Heaven by angelic voices. Her special symbol is the
lily, peculiarly appropriate for the patroness of the ever-blooming Santa
Clara Valley.


_San José_ (St. Joseph), enjoys the distinction of having been the first
white colony planted in the state by the Spaniards, although when we read
the complaints of the padres concerning the highly undesirable character
of its first settlers, recruited mainly from the criminal classes of
Sonora, the distinction would seem to be of rather a doubtful sort.


“The special symbol of the sweet St. Clara is the lily, peculiarly
appropriate for the ever-blooming Santa Clara Valley.”]

Spurred on by the old bogie of their fear of foreign invasion, the
Spanish government decided to establish colonies of white settlers,
believing that their hold upon the country would be rendered more secure
by this means. The pueblo of San José de Guadalupe, founded November
29, 1777, by Lieutenant José Moraga, then in command at San Francisco,
under orders from Governor Neve, was originally located on a site about
a mile and a quarter distant from the present city, but was removed in
1797, in consequence of the discovery that the low-lying ground of its
first location was often submerged during the winter rains. The people of
the pueblo were compelled to travel a distance of three miles to attend
mass at the Santa Clara Mission, and in order to make this journey more
agreeable, Father Maguín de Catala laid out the _alameda_ between the
two places, planting a fine avenue of willow trees which once comforted
the wayfarer with their grateful shade. The original trees have now
practically all disappeared and others have taken their places in part.
The old alameda has vanished.

Not until 1797 was the mission of San José founded, on a spot some
fourteen miles distant from the pueblo. The padres had no keen desire
to place the missions in close proximity to the pueblos, fearing the
evil influence on the Indians of a bad class of white men, besides
other inevitable complications, such as the mixing up of cattle. Father
Engelhardt, in his _History of the California Missions_, tells the story
of the founding of the Mission San José thus: “Here, on Trinity Sunday,
June 11, 1797, Father Lasuén raised and blessed the cross. In a shelter
of boughs he celebrated Holy Mass, and thus dedicated the mission in
honor of the foster-father of Christ, St. Joseph.”

The old church was unfortunately so shattered by an earthquake in 1868
that it was torn down and replaced by a wooden edifice.

It should be made clear that two missions were established here, Santa
Clara and San José, and that the latter was not at San José, as some maps
represent it, but some fourteen miles distant from the town.


_Palo Alto_ (high stick, or tree), in Santa Clara County, sixteen
miles northwest of San José, once a stock farm where blooded horses
were raised, now best known as the site of the Leland Stanford Junior
University, is said to have received its name from a tall redwood tree
on the _San Francisquito_ (little St. Francis) creek. This tree stands
just a few feet from the railroad bridge near Palo Alto station, and is
said by old residents to have originally been in the form of a twin tree,
one of the twins having been cut down. The trees of this species received
the name _Palo Colorado_ (red stick, or tree), from the Portolá party,
whose attention was attracted by their uncommon size and the peculiar
reddish color of the wood, and the honor of their discovery may justly be
awarded to Gaspar de Portolá, since he seems to have been the first white
man to make report of having seen them.

This place was named by the Anza expedition of 1775-1776, and it seems
rather strange that no mention is made in the diaries of the fact that
the tree was a twin. Father Pedro Font, who accompanied the expedition,
says: “From a slight eminence I here observed the lay of the port from
this point and saw that its extremity lay to the east-southeast. I
also noticed that a very high spruce tree, which is to be seen at a
great distance, rising up like a great tower, from the _Llano de los
Robles_,—it stands on the banks of the _Arroyo de San Francisco_, later
on I measured its height—lay to the southeast.” Further on in the diary
he says: “Beside this stream is the redwood tree I spoke of yesterday:
I measured its height with the graphometer which they lent me at the
mission of San Carlos, and, according to my reckoning, found it to be
some fifty yards high, more or less; the trunk was five yards and a half
in circumference at the base, and the soldiers said that there were
still larger ones in the mountains.”—(Translation edited by Frederick
J. Teggart.) This description of Father Font’s gives rise to a strong
suspicion that the tree now so highly venerated is not the original Palo
Alto from which the place takes its name. The name was first applied to a
land grant.


“First observed and named by Gaspar de Portolá.”]


_La Salud_ (health). In the name of this place, not far from the San
Lorenzo River, reached by the Portolá party on October 22, there is
a reference to one of the heaviest of the afflictions from which the
Spaniards suffered during their journey up the state,—serious sickness
and many deaths from scurvy. To their great surprise, after a wetting
received during a heavy storm at this place, all the sick began to
recover. Costansó, in his diary, date of October 22, says: “The day
dawned overcast and gloomy. The men were wet. What excited our wonder
was that all the sick, for whom we greatly feared that the wetting might
prove harmful, suddenly found their pains very much relieved. This was
the reason for giving the canyon the name of _La Salud_.”—(Translation
edited by Frederick J. Teggart.)


_Los Gatos_ (the cats), is the rather unpoetic name of a very pretty
town in Santa Clara County, ten miles southwest of San José. From its
location at the mouth of a canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the
inference may be drawn that it was named in reference to the wild-cats
which even at this day infest that region. John Charles Fremont, in his
_Memoirs_, says: “The valley is openly wooded with groves of oak, free
from under-brush, and after the spring rains covered with grass. On the
west it is protected from the chilling influence of the northwest winds
by the _Cuesta de los Gatos_ (wild-cat ridge), which separates it from
the coast.”

“It seems to have been known as early as 1831 as _La Cuesta de los
Gatos_. That there were troublous times about there in other matters
besides wild-cats is evidenced by the story of a lively fight that took
place in 1831 against a band of Indians under a chief named Yoscol.
This chief was eventually captured by the Santa Clara authorities and
beheaded, his head being exposed in front of the mission as a warning to
others.”—(W. Drummond Norie, of Los Gatos.)


_Almadén_ (mine, mineral), a word of Moorish origin. New Álmadén, in
Santa Clara County, where there is a quicksilver mine, is named after the
famous _Almadén_ quicksilver mines of Spain.

_Alviso_ (a surname). Alviso is in Santa Clara County, eight miles
northwest of San José, and received its name from Ignacio Alviso, a
native of Sonora, born in 1772, who was a member of Anza’s party of
colonists in 1775-6. He was the original Alviso of California, and was
the grantee of _Rincón de los Esteros Rancho_.

_Arroyo Hondo_ (deep creek).

_Coyote_, the native wolf of California. Coyote is an Aztec word,
originally _coyotl_. The town of this name is situated thirteen miles
southeast of San José.

_Las Llagas_ (the wounds or stigmata of St. Francis),—in reference to
the legend that St. Francis was supposed to have received, after a fast
of fifty days, the miraculous imprint of the wounds of the Savior in his
hands, feet and side. _Las Llagas_ was the name of a place near Gilroy,
and was also given by the padres to Alameda Creek.

_Madroño_, often misspelled _madrone_, is the name given by the
Spaniards to a very beautiful tree indigenous to California, which is
thus described by Fremont in his _Memoirs_: “Another remarkable tree of
these woods is called in the language of the country _Madroña_. It is a
beautiful evergreen, with large, thick and glossy digitated leaves; the
trunk and branches reddish-colored, and having a smooth and singularly
naked appearance, as if the bark had been stripped off. In its green
state the wood is brittle, very heavy, hard and close-grained; it is said
to assume a red color when dry, sometimes variegated, and susceptible of
a high polish. Some measured nearly four feet in diameter, and were about
sixty feet high.”

_Milpitas_, see page 232.

_San Felipe_ (St. Philip), is the name of a village in Santa Clara
County. There were four saints of this name, perhaps the most
distinguished being St. Philip Neri, a Florentine, born in 1515. He
was the intimate friend of St. Charles Borroméo, patron of the mission
at Monterey, and was the founder of the order of the Oratorians, “who
were bound by no vows, and were not secluded from the world, but went
about reading and praying with the sick and needy, founding and visiting
hospitals and doing various charities.” Then there was St. Philip of
Bethsaida, who, going to Hieropolis, “found the people worshipping a
huge serpent, or dragon, which they thought to be a personification of
Mars. Then Philip took pity on their ignorance. He held up the cross and
commanded the serpent to disappear. Immediately it glided from beneath
the altar, and as it moved it sent forth so dreadful an odor that many
died, and among them the son of the King; but Philip restored him to
life. Then the priests of the serpent were so wroth with the apostle that
they crucified him, and when he was fastened to the cross they stoned
him.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)

_San Martín_ (St. Martin), is a town in Santa Clara County, six miles
north of Gilroy. St. Martin has many legends connected with his history.
Before he became a Christian, he was a soldier and was noted for his
kindness and charity to his comrades. “The winter of 332 was so severely
cold that large numbers perished in the streets of Amiens, where the
regiment of St. Martin was quartered. One day he met at the gate a naked
man, and taking pity on him, he divided his cloak, for it was all he had,
and gave half to the beggar. That night in a dream Jesus stood before
him, and on his shoulders he wore the half of the cloak that Martin had
given the beggar. And he said to the angels who attended him, ‘Know ye
who hath thus arrayed me? My servant Martin, though yet unbaptized,
hath done this.’ Then Martin was immediately baptized.” Again it is
told of him that being invited to sup with the emperor, “the cup was
passed to Martin, before his Majesty drank, with the expectation that he
would touch it to his lips, as was the custom. But a poor priest stood
behind Martin, and to the surprise and admiration of all, the saint
presented the full goblet to him, thus signifying that a servant of God
deserved more honor, however humble his station, than any merely earthly
potentate; from this legend he has been chosen the patron of all innocent
conviviality.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)




_San Francisco._ Many persons, misled by an incorrect translation of a
certain passage in Palou’s _Life of Serra_, have ascribed the naming of
the bay of San Francisco (St. Francis), to the Portolá expedition of
1769, but, as a matter of fact, the outer bay, the great indentation in
the coast outside of the Golden Gate, between Point Reyes and Mussel
Point, had received this name many years before. In remonstrating with
the _Visitador General_ because no mission had been provided for St.
Francis in Upper California, Serra remarked, “And is there no mission
for our Father St. Francis?” Señor Galvez replied, “_Si San Francisco
quiere misión, que haga se halla su puerto y se le pondrá_ (If St.
Francis wants a mission, let him cause his port to be found and one
will be placed there for him).” By “his port” Galvez referred to a port
already discovered and named, but which had been lost sight of during
the intervening years, and which he wished to have re-discovered. This
is further carried out by the succeeding statements of Palou, in which
he says that after failing to recognize the port of Monterey, “they came
to the port of St. Francis, our father, and they all knew it immediately
by the agreement of the descriptions which they carried,” referring to
descriptions obtained from the papers of the first discoverers. Father
Crespi, who accompanied the expedition, says: “All the descriptions
which we found here we read in the log-book of the pilot Cabrera Bueno,
in order to form a judgment that this is the port of San Francisco. To
make it all clear, the _Señor Commandante_ ordered that during the day
Sergeant Ortega should go out with a party of soldiers to explore.”
Further on in the same diary we read: “From the top of a hill we made out
the great estuary, or arm of the sea, which probably has a width of four
or five leagues.” This is undoubtedly the first occasion when the eye of
a white man rested upon “the great arm of the sea,” that is, the inner
harbor of San Francisco as we now know it.


“ ... so-called in reference to the profuse growth of that charming
little vine about the locality.”]

It must be remembered that until the arrival of Portolá, the Spaniards
only knew this part of the coast from the sea side, having no knowledge
of that great inland sea known to us as the bay of San Francisco. When
the party came up by land on their futile search for Monterey, they
reached Fort Point, and there recognized the marks of the outer bay as
given by early navigators and called by them _San Francisco_. Then they
climbed a hill, and looking to the landward saw the “great arm of the
sea,” the inner harbor, to which the name of San Francisco was finally

Palou ascribed the failure of the party to recognize the port of
Monterey, and the consequent continuance of their journey as far as San
Francisco, to a direct interposition of the divine hand, so that Galvez’s
promise of a mission for St. Francis might be carried out.

The honor of the christening of our world-famous bay probably belongs
to Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeñón, a Portuguese navigator, who was
commissioned in the year 1595 by Philip II to search for safe harbors
along the coast for vessels in the Philippine trade. These ships usually
shaped their return course so as to touch first at about the latitude of
Cape Mendocino, making a knowledge of the harbors south of that point a
matter of great importance, especially in stormy weather. Cermeñón had
the misfortune to lose his vessel, the San Agustín, on Point Reyes, and
was compelled to make his way home, with great peril and suffering, in
a small boat. In his _Derrotero y Relación_ (Itinerary and Narrative),
under date of April 24, 1596, he says: “We sighted New Spain at Cape
Mendocino on November 4, 1595.... We left the bay and port of San
Francisco, which is called by another name, a large bay, in 38⅔ degrees,
and the islets [Farallones] in the mouth are in 38½ degrees, the distance
between the two points of the bay being twenty-five leagues.” It is
clear from this description that he referred to that great indentation
in the coast between Point Reyes and one of the points to the south,
possibly Mussel Point, and that he gave the name of San Francisco to it,
displacing some other name by which it had been previously known. At any
rate, if this is not the origin, it is likely to remain lost in the mists
of the Pacific. Bancroft says: “There can be little doubt that Cermeñón
named the port of his disaster _San Francisco_.”

An absurd theory advanced by certain persons that the name was derived
from that of Sir Francis Drake is wholly unworthy of consideration.
The resemblance between the two names must be regarded as purely a
co-incidence, and any connection between “_El Pirata_” (the pirate)
Drake, as the Spaniards usually called him, and the name of the gentle
St. Francis must be taken in the light of a jest.

Portolá, then, although he was indubitably the discoverer of the bay as
we know it,—the inner harbor,—found the name already applied to the outer
_ensenada_ by his predecessor, Cermeñón.

It is held by some persons that Portolá cannot in all fairness be
considered the actual discoverer of the bay, since it is most probable
that Lieutenant Ortega or perhaps some member of a hunting party which
was sent out actually laid physical eyes upon it first, and it is even
thought possible that Portolá never saw it at all, but remained in camp
all the time during their stay on its shores. Even granting these facts,
the question remains whether he, as the commander of the party making the
expedition which resulted in the discovery, is not still entitled to the
fame which has generally been granted to him.

A parallel might be drawn between the case of Portolá and that of
Columbus. When the famous expedition of 1492 drew near to the shores of
the new world, it was not the great admiral, but a common sailor, Rodrigo
de Triana by name, who first raised the thrilling cry of “land! land!”;
yet, nevertheless, the world justly awards the honor and glory of the
discovery to Christopher Columbus, the leader and the soul of the party,
whose splendid imagination and unconquerable resolution made it possible.

Although the Portolá party made a partial examination at this time of the
shores of what they called the “great arm of the sea,” and Captain Fages
returned for further explorations in 1770, and again in 1772, when he
stood on the present site of Berkeley and looked out through the Golden
Gate, the mission was not established until 1776. Father Palou was its
founder, and he states in his _Life of Serra_ that the presidio was
established with solemn religious services, September 17, 1776, on the
day of the “impressions of the stigmata of St. Francis,” but on account
of a delay in receiving orders, the founding of the mission did not take
place until October 9. On that day a procession was held with the image
of St. Francis, and mass was celebrated by Father Palou himself.

So they prayed and sang their hymns, in the year of ’76, while their
hearts beat high with the zeal of the missionary, and, happily, no
echo of the roll of drums and boom of minute guns came to them across
the untrodden miles of mountain and plain, of forest and prairie, that
separated them from the alien race on the other rim of the continent, for
whom they were all unconsciously preparing the way to the possession of a
great principality.

No natives were present at this mass, for the reason that in the month
of August they had been driven on their tule rafts to the islands of the
bay and the opposite shores, by their enemies, the Salsonas, who lived
about seven leagues to the southeast, and who had set fire to their
_rancherías_ and killed and wounded many of their people, the Spaniards
not being able to prevent it.

The first settlement was three-fold, including the mission of _San
Francisco de Asís_, on the _Laguna de los Dolores_ (the lagoon of
sorrows), the presidio, and the pueblo, separated from one another by
about a league. The Pueblo was at first known as _Yerba Buena_, in
reference to the profuse growth of that vine about the locality. The
change of the name is ascribed by General Sherman, in his _Memoirs_, to
jealousy of the town of Benicia, which was at first called _Francisca_,
in honor of General Vallejo’s wife, and was thought to bear too
marked a resemblance to the name of the great patron, San Francisco.
General Vallejo himself states that the change was made as a matter of
convenience, to bring the three points of the triangle, church, town,
and presidio, all under one name. Whatever the reason for the change,
it is a matter of congratulation that it occurred, for the name of the
venerable saint carries a dignity more commensurate to a noble city than
the poetic, but less impressive _Yerba Buena_.


“It stood unharmed through the earthquake and fire of 1906 which laid low
all its proud modern neighbors.”]

The church of _San Francisco de Asís_, popularly known as _Mission
Dolores_, still stands in a good state of preservation, having almost
miraculously withstood the earthquake and fire of 1906, which laid low
all its proud modern neighbors. Of its patron, the gentle St. Francis,
it may be said that he was the son of a rich merchant, but that he
abandoned his riches, adopted vows of poverty, and founded the order of
Franciscans. “While in a trance, or vision, after having fasted for fifty
days, he received the miraculous imprint of the wounds of the Savior on
his hands, feet, and side.” His chief attributes were humility, poverty,
and love for animals. In pictures he is always represented as accompanied
by a pet lamb.


Although this name, not being of Spanish or Indian origin, is not
properly included in these pages, its close relationship to San
Francisco, and its position as the gate-way to the entire state, will not
permit it to be passed by.

In view of the comparatively recent origin of the name, 1844, and the
accessibility of the story, it seems strange indeed that any writer
should have advanced the theory that the Golden Gate received its name
from Sir Francis Drake, yet this wholly unfounded explanation has found
its way into print. In the first place, it has been pretty thoroughly
established by historians that Drake never saw the inner harbor, and
knew nothing of the narrow strait leading to it. In the report of his
voyage, written by one of his companions, we read: “At 38 degrees toward
the line, it pleased God to send us into a faire and good harborow, with
a good wind to enter the same. Our General called this country _Nova
Albion_, and that for two causes;—the one in respect of the white bankes
and cliffes, which ly toward the sea; and the other that it might have
some affinity with our country in name, which sometime was so-called.”
The white cliffs under Point Reyes answer so well to this description
that there can be little doubt that Drake’s anchorage was in the small
outer bay under that point, now known as Drake’s Bay; to say nothing
of the fact that the account of the voyage has no word concerning the
great land-locked harbor, with a narrow strait as its only entrance, a
circumstance so novel that, as Bancroft justly observes, Drake could not
have failed to mention it had he known aught of it.

All discussion of the name _Golden Gate_ is, moreover, brought to an
end by the fact that its real author, John Charles Fremont, gives
a circumstantial account of it in his _Memoirs_. After an elaborate
description of the bay, and its surroundings, he says: “Between these
points is the strait,—about one mile broad in its narrowest part, and
five miles long from the sea to the bay. To this gate I gave the name
of _Chrysopylae_, or Golden Gate; for the same reasons that the harbor
of Byzantium (Constantinople afterwards), was called _Chrysoceras_, or
Golden Horn. The form of the harbor and its advantages for commerce,
and that before it became an _entrepot_ of eastern commerce, suggested
the name to the Greek founders of Byzantium. The form of the entrance
into the bay of San Francisco, and its advantages for commerce, Asiatic
inclusive, suggested to me the name which I gave to this entrance, and
which I put upon the map that accompanied a geographical memoir addressed
to the senate of the United States, in June, 1848.”

Here we have, told in the somewhat pedantic language of its author, the
true story of the first appearance of the famous name _Golden Gate_ upon
the map of the world, and instead of its having been “named by Colonel
Fremont because of the brilliant effect of the setting sun on the cliffs
and hills,” as one writer has fondly imagined, or from any idea connected
with the shining metal, which still lay buried deep from the sight of
man beneath the mountains of the land, it was born in a sordid dream of
commerce. Yet, for so wonderfully apt a name, whatever may have been
Fremont’s motive in selecting it, we owe him a debt of gratitude.

There is some disposition to doubt this explanation of the name _Golden
Gate_, partly on the ground of a distrust of Fremont’s trustworthiness,
and partly because of its far-fetched nature. As to the latter objection
it should be remembered that he was that kind of a man. He was possessed
of a certain amount of erudition which he was fond of showing off, and
this labored method of seeking for a name in the old Greek was quite in
keeping with his character. As to his reliability, although it is quite
possible that he colored events of a political character to suit his own
purposes, in ordinary matters there seems to be no reason to doubt his
statements. At all events, the name Golden Gate does in fact appear upon
his map of 1848 as he says.

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN GATE.

“ ... called by the Indians _Yulupa_, (the place where the sun plunges
into the sea.)”]

According to Dr. Vallejo, the Golden Gate was called by the Indians
_Yulupa_, pronounced _ee-oo-loo-pa_, which means “near the sea plunge,”
that is, the plunge of the sun into the sea, and may be freely translated
as the “Sunset Strait.” The suffix _pa_ is said by Dr. Vallejo to signify
“near.”—(_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited by James H. Wilkins, San
Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)


_Alcatraz_ (pelican), the fortress-like island in the bay, just inside
the channel, performs the triple duty of a fortified military post,
prison, and light-house. Although but 1650 feet in length, it rises to
a height of 130 feet above the water, and in the shadowy light just
after sunset, its high, rocky walls, topped by the buildings of the
fortifications and prison, make a silhouette against the sky strikingly
like a great dreadnaught, standing guard at the harbor’s entrance.

The story of its naming can not be run to earth, but it probably
originated in some circumstance connected with the great sea-birds whose
ungainly forms may still be seen heavily flapping over the bay, or
resting on the island.


_Angel Island_, the Americanization of _La Isla de los Ángeles_ (the isle
of the angels), belies its name, since it has been devoted to the quite
un-angelic business of quarantine station of San Francisco.

Palou, in speaking of the expedition of 1776, says: “They moved to the
island which is in front of the mouth, which they called _Nuestra Señora
de los Ángeles_ [Our Lady of the Angels], on which they found good
anchorage, and going on land, they found plenty of wood and water.”

A story has found its way into print that the island was named “from a
miner who once settled there,” the writer probably mixing it up with the
name of Angel’s Camp, in the Sierras. What a desecration for our island,
with its romantic name of “Our Lady of the Angels,” piously given to it
by the Spaniards in honor of the Virgin!


_Yerba Buena_ (the good herb), is the name of a dainty little vine native
to the California woods, which has an agreeable aromatic odor, and was
much in use among the Spanish as a medicinal herb, and to add a pleasant
aroma to their tea. Fremont, who, whatever else may be said of him, had
enough poetry in his soul to feel an expansive joy over the plant life of
this flowery land, describes it as follows: “A vine with a small white
flower, called here _la yerba buena_, which, from its abundance, gives
its name to an island and town in the bay, was to-day very frequent on
our road, sometimes running on the ground, or climbing the trees.” It is
said that the Hupa Indians were in the habit of weaving the tendrils of
this vine in their hair for the sake of the perfume.

Some talk has arisen of late that this poetic and historic name is to be
taken away from our island. Commuters, when you pass it on your daily
journey, let your minds carry you back to the day when the delicate
tendrils of the little vine waved on the island’s steep slopes, and its
sweet scent was wafted on the breeze from the Golden Gate, and do not, I
pray you, consent to call it _Goat_!


_Mare Island_, in San Pablo Bay, separated from Vallejo by a strait
one-half mile wide, a charming spot with an unpoetic name,—is another
example of writers attempting to make difficulties where none exist,
and so they would have us believe that the name of this isle arose,
like Venus, from _mare_, the sea. Apart from the fact that this labored
method of naming places, by seeking in the Latin, was quite foreign to
the custom of the Spaniards, it happens that the true story in this
case is at hand, and can scarcely be doubted, since it occurred in the
immediate family of Dr. Vallejo, who tells it thus: “In early days, the
only ferry-boat on the waters near Vallejo and Benicia was a rude one,
made chiefly of oil barrels obtained from whaling ships, and propelled
by sails. These barrels were secured together by beams and planking, and
it was divided into compartments for the accommodation of cattle, to the
transportation of which it was chiefly devoted. One day, while this boat
was coming from Martínez to Benicia, a sudden squall overtook it, and the
craft pitched fearfully; the animals, chiefly horses, became restive, and
some of them broke through it. The boat was upset, and the living cargo
thrown into the bay. Some of the livestock were drowned, and some managed
to reach either shore by swimming. One of the horses, an old white
mare, owned and much prized by General Vallejo, succeeded in effecting
a landing on the island, and was rescued there a few days after by the
General, who thereupon called the place _La Isla de la Yegua_ (the island
of the mare).”

An interesting corroboration of this story is found on page 574 of
Fremont’s _Memoirs_, where he refers to the island as _La Isla de la

A statue of a white horse would perpetuate the history of this isle in
a manner both appropriate and beautiful, in the same way that upon the
heights of Angel Island a colossal figure of an angel, or of the Virgin,
and upon Alcatraz a great pelican with outspread wings, might be placed
to tell their stories. In the old world, many legends of the past are
perpetuated in this way, and there is no reason why the equally romantic
episodes in California’s history should not be so commemorated, at least
in those cases that lend themselves readily to purposes of art.


It has been thought that this name may have been derived from the
resemblance between Alameda creek, at one time thickly shaded along
its banks by willows and silver-barked sycamores, and an _alameda_ (an
avenue shaded by trees), but since the primary meaning of the word is “a
place where poplar trees grow,” from _álamo_ (poplar or cottonwood), it
requires less stretching of the imagination to believe that some such
grove of cottonwoods near the creek gave it the name. Fray Dantí, in his
diary of the exploration of “the Alameda” in 1795, says: “We came to the
river of the Alameda, which has many large boulders, brought down by
floods, and is well populated with willows, alders, and here and there a
laurel. At a little distance from where the river runs, the tides of the
Estuary come.”

[Illustration: THE FARALLONES.

“ ... standing like watch-dogs at our outer gate.”]

From the name of an insignificant little stream, _Alameda_ has come to be
the designation of one of the most important counties in the state, and
of the flourishing city on the east side of San Francisco Bay, nine miles
east-southeast of San Francisco. This city was once known as _Encinal_
(place of oaks), on account of the groves of beautiful live-oaks there,
nearly all of which have, most unfortunately, been sacrificed to
so-called “improvements.” Yet, some fine specimens still remain in the
county, perhaps the best being those on the campus of the University of
California, at Berkeley, Alameda County. The _encino_ (live-oak), is thus
described by Professor Jepsen: “It is a low, broad-headed tree, commonly
twenty to forty feet, but sometimes seventy feet high. The trunk is from
one to four feet in diameter, usually short, and parting into wide-spread
limbs, which often touch or trail along the ground.” This tree has
little commercial value, but is highly regarded for its hardy nature,
which permits it to flourish in exposed localities along the coast,
where no other tree thrives, and for the perennial green with which it
adorns an otherwise often bleak landscape.—(Notes taken from _The Trees
of California_, by Professor Willis Linn Jepsen, of the University of


_Los Farallones_, the three small islands standing like watch-dogs at our
outer gate, about thirty-two miles due west of the entrance to the bay,
derive their name from _farallon_, a word meaning “a small pointed island
in the sea.” Although this word is commonly employed by the Spanish to
designate such islands, and its use in this case is perfectly obvious,
the statement has been made that our isles were named for a certain
Ferolla, one of the early navigators, a theory entirely without value.

The Farallones are frequented by multitudes of sea-fowl, which breed
there and at one time supplied great quantities of eggs for the San
Francisco market. For some twenty years or more the United States
Government, owing to the contentions of rival egg companies, has
prohibited the gathering and sale of these eggs.


      “To see the sun set over Tamalpais,
    Whose tented peak, suffused with rosy mist,
    Blended the colors of the sea and sky
    And made the mountain one great amethyst
      Hanging against the sunset.”

                         (_Edward Rowland Sill._)

_Tamalpais_ (bay mountain), is in Marin County, five miles southwest
of San Rafael; it rises to a height of 2606 feet above sea level, and
dominates San Francisco Bay and the surrounding country, offering one of
the most magnificent panoramas of sea and land to be seen anywhere on
the earth’s surface. Its name is a compound of two Indian words, _tamal_
(bay), and _pais_ (mountain). The resemblance of the latter word to
the Spanish _pais_ (country), is thought by ethnologists to be purely

Dr. Vallejo has an explanation of the meaning of this word which differs
somewhat from the one given by ethnologists. He says it was originally
called _Temel-pa_ (near the sea), and was corrupted into its present form
by the Spaniards. According to Dr. Vallejo, the suffix _pa_ signifies
nearness. (_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited by James H. Wilkins, San
Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)

A very remarkable circumstance in the history of this mountain is the
fact that it underwent a change of position at the time of the great
earthquake of 1906, of course in conjunction with the entire sheet
of the earth’s surface upon which it stands. On that occasion, the
northeast and southwest sides of the rift slipped upon each other, first
carrying the sheet of land upon which Tamalpais rests to the north,
then the “springback” carried it back toward the south again. According
to the report of the State Earthquake Investigation Commission, “As
a consequence of the movement, it is probable that the latitudes and
longitudes of all points in the Coast Ranges have been permanently
changed a few feet.”

So the old mountain, sitting in Indian stoicism, indifferent to the
storms that sometimes lash its sturdy sides, the fogs that roll in a
white, billowy sea around its foot, and earthquakes that shift its
latitude and longitude some feet, has very appropriately received its
name from the language of the aborigines who once dwelt at its base.

[Illustration: TAMALPAIS.

“ ... like one great amethyst hanging against the sunset.”]


_Mount Diablo_ (devil mountain), is an isolated, conical peak of the
Coast Range, in Contra Costa County, about thirty-eight miles northeast
of San Francisco. It rises 3849 feet above the level of the sea, and is
the most conspicuous land-mark in the central part of the state. General
M. G. Vallejo tells the following story to account for the name: “In
1806, a military expedition from San Francisco marched against a tribe
called the Bolgones, who were encamped at the foot of the mountain.
There was a hot fight, which was won by the Indians. Near the end of the
fight, a person, decorated with remarkable plumage, and making strange
movements, suddenly appeared. After the victory, the person, called _Puy_
(evil spirit), in the Indian tongue, departed toward the mountain. The
soldiers heard that this spirit often appeared thus, and they named the
mountain _Diablo_ (devil). These appearances continued until the tribe
was subdued by Lieutenant Moraga, in the same year.”

If this be the true story of the naming of Mount Diablo, and there seems
to be no good reason to doubt it, it is quite likely that the _Puy_, or
devil, was one of the “medicine men” who played upon the superstitions of
the Indians by pretending to be the “spirit of the mountain.”

It is said by Dr. Vallejo that this mountain was regarded by the Indians
as the home of the Devil, called in their language _Pui_, and that the
medicine men claimed to be his agents. (_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited
by James H. Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)


_Sausalito_ (little willow grove), the diminutive of _sausal_ (willow
grove), or, as formerly and officially written, _Saucelito_ (little
willow, from _sauce_), is on the west shore of the bay, in Marin County,
six miles northwest of San Francisco. This is one of the delightful
suburban towns around the bay, where business men of San Francisco have
their homes.


Of Marin County, separated from San Francisco by the Golden Gate, and
noted for the beauty of its scenery, we get the story from General M.
G. Vallejo. It appears that in 1815 or ’16, an exploring party from San
Francisco had a fight with the Licatiut tribe, so-called from a certain
root used by them as food, especially in the Petaluma Valley. During this
fight the chief was captured and carried to San Francisco, but afterwards
escaped, and kept up constant hostilities in Petaluma Valley. He was
finally converted to Christianity, and did good service for the whites
as ferryman on the bay, and on account of his skill in navigating these
waters, they called him _El Marinero_ (the sailor); it is thought that
the name of Marin County is a corruption of this word. _El Marinero_ died
at the mission of San Rafael in 1834.


_Tiburón_ (shark), is on the Marin County shore, opposite San Francisco.
It has been facetiously suggested that this name may have been derived
from “sharks” of the land variety, but it probably came from some story
connected with those of the sea.


Even in this land, so prodigal with its flowers from its northern to its
southern borders, San Rafael, the county-seat of Marin County, fifteen
miles north of San Francisco, is notable for the exceeding beauty of its
gardens, where the lily and the rose bloom from year’s end to year’s end.


“ ... where the lily and the rose bloom from year’s end to year’s end.”]

Its patron, St. Raphael, “is considered the guardian angel of humanity.
He was the herald who bore to the shepherds the ‘good tidings of great
joy which shall be for all people’, and is especially the protector of
the young, the pilgrim and the traveler.” The “herald of great joy”
seems peculiarly fitting as the protector of a place where nature has
done so much for the “joy of living.”

The mission of _San Rafael Arcángel_ (St. Raphael the Archangel), founded
in 1817, has now disappeared, not a vestige remaining of it.

A spur of the Coast Range in Southern California bears the name of the
_San Rafael Mountains_.


_Benicia_ (a surname), is the name of a town in Solano County, on the
north side of Carquínez Strait, twenty-eight miles northeast of San
Francisco. Its story may best be told in the words of General Sherman, in
the following quotation from his _Memoirs_: “We found a solitary adobe
house, occupied by Mr. Hastings and his family, embracing Dr. Semple, the
proprietor of the ferry. The ferry was a ship’s boat, with a lateen sail,
which could carry six or eight horses. It took us several days to cross
over, and during that time we got well acquainted with the doctor, who
was quite a character. He was about seven feet high. Foreseeing, as he
thought, a great city on the bay somewhere, he selected Carquínez Straits
as its location, and obtained from General Vallejo title to a league
of land, on condition of building a city to bear the name of General
Vallejo’s wife, Francisca Benicia. Accordingly, the city was first called
_Francisca_. At this time, where San Francisco now is was known as _Yerba
Buena_; now some of the chief men of that place, knowing the importance
of a name, saw their danger, and so changed the name to _San Francisco_.
Dr. Semple was so outraged at their changing the name to one so nearly
like his town that he, in turn, changed his town’s name to the other name
of Mrs. Vallejo, and _Benicia_ it has been to this day.”


_Las Pulgas Rancho_ (the fleas ranch), is near Redwood City. The story
of this place, with its unpleasantly suggestive name, although of
little importance in itself, is told here for the light it throws upon
the manners and customs of the original dwellers in the land. Father
Engelhardt, in his _History of the California Missions_, describes
their way of living thus: “Their habitations were primitive, in summer
often but a shady spot, or mere shelter of brush. Their winter quarters
consisted of a flimsy structure of poles fixed in the ground, and drawn
together at the top, at a height of ten or twelve feet. The poles were
interwoven with small twigs, and the structure then covered with tules,
or tufts of dried grass. In some places these dwellings were conical
in shape, in others oblong, and their size ranged according to the
number of people. At a distance they resembled large bee-hives, or small
hay-stacks. On one side there was an opening for a door, at the top
another for smoke. Here the family, including relatives and friends,
huddled around the fire, without privacy, beds or other furniture. A few
baskets, a stone mortar or two, weapons, some scanty rags of clothing,
food obtained from the hunt, or seeds, were kept here. All refuse food
and bones were left where they were dropped, giving the earth floor the
appearance of a dog-kennel. Fleas and other vermin abounded in this mass
of filth, which soon became too offensive even for savages, and they
adopted the very simple method of setting fire to the hut and erecting

After reading this description, we are not surprised when Father Crespi
tells us that, having arrived at a deserted Indian village, and some of
the soldiers having rashly taken refuge in the huts for the night, they
soon rushed out with cries of “_las pulgas! las pulgas!_” (the fleas! the
fleas!). He goes on to say, “for this reason, the soldiers called it the
_Ranchería de las Pulgas_” (the village of the fleas), a name borne by
the ranch to this day.

La Perouse, in his _Voyage Autour du Monde_, says the padres were never
able to change this form of architecture common to the two Californias.
The Indians said they liked open air, and that it was convenient, when
the fleas became too numerous, to burn the house and construct a new one,
an argument not without merit.


_Point Lobos_ (seal point, from _lobo marino_, sea-wolf), is just outside
of the Golden Gate, on the south side, near the spot where the seals
crawling about on the rocks have long been one of the chief attractions
of the famous Cliff House.


_Álamo_ (cottonwood tree), is the name of a place in Contra Costa County,
twenty-four miles northeast of San Francisco.

_Alvarado_ (a surname), that of one of the first governors of the state.
Alvarado is a village in Alameda County, on Alameda Creek, twenty-four
miles southeast of San Francisco. Juan Bautista Alvarado was a central
figure in California history. He was born at Monterey, February 14, 1809,
and from ’27 on occupied various official positions, including that of
governor of the state. Bancroft says of his character and appearance:
“In physique Don Juan Bautista was of medium stature, stout build, fair
complexion, and light hair; of genial temperament, courteous manners,
and rare powers of winning friends. There was much in his character to
praise, much to condemn. He was a man of dissipated habits, and engaged
in intrigues, but in his favor it may be said that he had more brains,
energy and executive ability than any three of his contemporaries
combined; he was patriotic and with good intentions toward his country,
honorable in private dealings, and never enriched himself by his
intrigues. He was not personally guilty of having plundered the missions,
only responsible through being governor at that time. The accusations
made against him of an unjust policy towards foreigners were entirely

_Bolinas_, the name of a town in Marin County, delightfully situated
on Bolinas Bay, eighteen miles northwest of San Francisco. Bolinas is
probably a corruption of _Baulines_, an Indian word of unknown meaning. A
land grant called _Los Baulines_ was located at the same place, and was
probably the name of an Indian village.

_Point Bonito_ (pretty point), is the southern extremity of Marin County,
on the north side of the Golden Gate.

_Carquínez_ is the name of the strait flowing between the counties of
Contra Costa and Solano, and connects San Pablo Bay with Suisún Bay. The
strait is eight miles long, and at its narrowest part nearly a mile
wide. All the waters flowing through the great central valley of the
state from the Sierra Nevada pass through this strait. According to the
scientists the name _Carquínez_ is derived from Karkin, the name of an
Indian village in that region, but Dr. Vallejo has another story. He says
the commandant at Monterey, who was a man with some classical education,
named it from the Greek word _karkin_, crab, because of the report made
by the Lieutenant Vallejo expedition of having found a great number
of little crabs there. (_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited by James H.
Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)

_Contra Costa_ (opposite coast), so-called on account of its original
position directly opposite San Francisco. It should be explained that
the name Contra Costa, which scarcely seems appropriate in its present
application, was originally applied to the whole of the coast opposite
San Francisco. Afterwards the part directly facing San Francisco was cut
off to form Alameda County, thus destroying the significance of the name
Contra Costa.

_Martínez_ (a surname), is the name of the county-seat of Contra Costa
County, and is on the south shore of Suisún Bay, thirty-six miles
northeast of San Francisco. Ignacio Martínez was a native of the city
of Mexico, born in 1771. He was a military officer under the Mexican
government in California, and was _commandante_ at San Francisco from
1822 to ’27. Bancroft says of him: “He was not popular as an officer,
being haughty and despotic, but as a rancher he is spoken of as a very
courteous and hospitable man. The town of Martínez takes its name from
him or his family.”

_Montara Point_ and Montara Mountains are in the western part of San
Matéo County. Montara is a surname.

_Olema_, said to be an Indian word meaning “coyote,” is the name of
a town in Marin County, one mile from the head of Tomales Bay, and
thirty-five miles northwest of San Francisco.

_Pacheco_ (a surname), that of a pioneer family of California. The town
of Pacheco is in Contra Costa County, thirty miles northeast of San
Francisco. Although Governor Romualdo Pacheco, of whom Bancroft says that
“his record as a citizen, in respect of character, attainments and social
standing was a good one,” was the most prominent member of the family,
the town was not named in his honor, but for Salvio Pacheco, a man who
served in many military and civil offices. “He spent his life on Mount
Diablo Rancho, on which is the town bearing his name.”

_Pescadero_ (fishing place), is in a fertile valley of San Matéo County,
on the coast about forty-four miles south of San Francisco. There are a
number of _Pescaderos_ in the state.

_Pinole_ is said to be an Aztec word, applied to any kind of grain or
seeds, parched and ground. Of this flour a very appetizing sort of gruel
was made. The town of Pinole is in Contra Costa County, twelve miles west
of Martínez. It is the site of extensive powder works. See page 239.

_Portolá_ (a surname), is the name of a town in San Matéo County, and was
named in honor of the celebrated discoverer of San Francisco Bay.

_Potrero_ (pasture ground), is one of the districts of San Francisco.
This is only one of the many _Potreros_ in the state.

_Presidio_ is a word used by the Spaniards in the double meaning of
prison or military post. It may be that the custom of using convicts
as soldiers, prevalent with the Spanish, had something to do with
this double usage of the word. The Presidio of San Francisco, now a
regular military post of the United States, although still retaining its
Castilian name, is picturesquely and delightfully situated on the north
end of the peninsula. There is also a government presidio at Monterey.

_Point Reyes_ (kings point), was named by Vizcaíno in honor of the “three
wise men,” or “holy kings,” because it was discovered on the day of their
devotion. This point is in Marin County and is the outer point of Drake’s
Bay, where the noted adventurer is supposed to have made his anchorage,
and where Cermeñón was wrecked.

_Rodéo_ (round-up of cattle). Rodéos were held, and in some parts of
the state still take place, for the purpose of separating and branding
the cattle belonging to individual owners, an operation decidedly
necessary when pastures were unfenced, and in early days one of the most
picturesque features of California life. The village of Rodéo is in
Contra Costa County.

_San Anselmo_ (St. Anselm), is in Marin County.

_San Bruno_, a village near San Francisco, was named for St. Bruno, the
founder and first abbot of the Carthusian Order. This order of monks is
among the most severe in its rules, requiring almost perpetual silence
of its members. Its devotees are only permitted to speak together once a
week. They never eat flesh, and are compelled to labor constantly.

_San Gerónimo_ (St. Jerome), is the saint usually pictured as accompanied
by a lion, in commemoration of the well-known story of the removal of a
thorn from the foot of one of those beasts by Jerome, and the devotion of
the lion to him afterwards. San Gerónimo is the name of a small stream in
Marin County, noted for its salmon fisheries.

_San Gregorio_ (St. Gregory), is in San Matéo County, twenty-four miles
southwest of Redwood City. St. Gregory was a noble Roman who devoted his
wealth to charity, and turned his home into a hospital and monastery. He
was elected to the high office of Pope, and became the composer of what
is called from him the “Gregorian Chant.”

_San Leandro_ (St. Leander), is in Alameda County, on San Leandro Creek,
sixteen miles southeast of San Francisco. St. Leander was at one time
Bishop of Seville, and is one of the patron saints of that city.

_San Lorenzo_ (St. Lawrence), was a saint who suffered martyrdom by being
roasted on a gridiron. The legend relates that he said to his tormentors,
“I am now sufficiently cooked on this side, turn me over and roast me on
the other.” San Lorenzo is in Alameda County, twenty miles southeast of
San Francisco.

_San Matéo_ (St. Matthew), is the name of a county bordering on San
Francisco Bay, and of a town on the west shore of the bay, twenty-one
miles south of San Francisco. St. Matthew was a Hebrew by birth, and the
author of the book of the Scriptures that bears his name.

_San Pablo_ (St. Paul), is in Contra Costa County, on San Pablo Bay,
fifteen miles northeast of San Francisco. One of the legends concerning
St. Paul is that “the church called ‘San Paolo delle Tre Fontane,’ near
Rome, is built over three fountains which are said to have sprung up at
the three places where the head of St. Paul fell and bounded, after being
cut off by the executioner. It is said that the fountains vary in the
warmth of the water,—the first, or the one where the head fell, being
the hottest; the next, or that of the first bound, cooler; and the third
still cooler.”

_San Quentin_ (properly San Quintín) is a village in Marin County, on the
west shore of San Francisco Bay, eleven miles north of San Francisco.
This place, where the forbidding walls of the State’s Prison shut out the
light of California’s glorious sun from the unfortunates enclosed there,
very fittingly bears the name of a saint whose gloomy story runs thus:
“San Quintín was the son of Zeno. He became converted and gave up a high
command which he held in the Roman army, in order to preach. He labored
especially in Belgium, and suffered death by being impaled on an iron
spit.”—(_Stories of the Saints._) It is probable, however, that the town
was not directly named for this saint, but received the name indirectly
from Point Quintín, on the Marin coast, which was so-called from an
Indian chief of that region who had been thus christened by the Spaniards.

_San Ramón_ (St. Raymond), is in Contra Costa County, nine miles east of
Haywood. “St. Raymond belonged to the Order of Mercy, and labored for the
captives among the Moors. By the Mahometans, among whom he was long a
captive, for the ransom of his Christian brethren, his lips were bored
through with a red-hot iron, and fastened with a padlock,” an effective,
if cruel method of preventing him from preaching the Christian faith.

_Suñol_ (a surname). Suñol is a town in Alameda County, thirty-six miles
southeast of San Francisco. In Fremont’s _Memoirs_ he refers to Don
Antonio Suñol, probably a member of the same family for whom this town is

_Tocaloma_ is a delightful secluded glen and creek in Marin County, not
far north of San Francisco, where a hunting and fishing preserve is
maintained. The word is Indian, but its meaning has not been ascertained.

_Tomales Bay_ is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, extending southeastward
into Marin County. It is fourteen miles long. The village of Tomales is
on the bay of the same name, fifty-five miles northwest of San Francisco.
The name _Tomales_ is a Spanish corruption of the Indian _tamal_ (bay), a
word which came to be applied to the natives in the neighborhood of San
Francisco Bay.

_Vallejo_ (a surname), is the name of a place in Solano County. The
Vallejos were among the most prominent of the California pioneer
families. “The founder of the family was Ignacio Vicente Ferrer Vallejo,
born at Jalisco, Mexico, in 1748. He came of a family of pure Spanish
blood, and of superior education. The most distinguished of his large
family was Mariano Guadalupe, born at Monterey in 1808. Don Mariano
served with great ability in various capacities under the Mexican
government, and was at one time _Commandante General_ of California.
He was the founder of Sonoma, and it was to his untiring efforts that
the development of the north was largely due. He foresaw the fate of
his country, and finally cast in his lot with the United States, for
which he seems to have been but ill-repaid. I have found none among
the Californians whose public record in respect of honorable conduct,
patriotic zeal, executive ability, and freedom from petty prejudices of
race or religion or sectional politics is more evenly favorable than





_Sonoma_, the name of the northern county, and of the town in the
beautiful Sonoma Valley, forty-five miles north of San Francisco, is
of doubtful origin. It is probable that it comes from Indian, rather
than Spanish sources. In the native dialect of that region there is the
constantly recurring ending _tso-noma_, from _tso_ (the earth), and
_noma_ (village), hence, _tsonoma_ (earth village or earth place). The
name was given by missionaries to a chief of the Indians there, and later
applied to all the Indians at the mission. From Indian sources it seems
there was a captain among them who was commonly called _Sonoma_, but
who was known by a different name among his own people.—(University of
California Publications in American Archaeology and Technology.)

The name Sonoma is explained in a different way by Dr. Vallejo, who
says it was named for an Indian chief called _Sono_, a word signifying
“nose,” given to the chief as his appellation because of the very large
development of that feature of his face. The suffix _ma_ is said by
Dr. Vallejo to mean “valley” or “land,” and thus Sonoma would bear the
meaning of “nose valley,” or “nose land,”—(_Memoirs of the Vallejos_,
edited by James H. Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)

It has been said that Sonoma means “valley of the moon,” in reference to
the shape of the valley, but there is probably more of poetry than of
truth in this story.

At this place, _San Francisco de Solano_, the last of the great chain of
missions, was founded July 4, 1823. The mission buildings have been put
in a fair state of preservation and the church has been restored by the

[Illustration: NAPA VALLEY

“ ... said to have been the cradle of the Suisún race.”]


_Napa_ is the name of a county, river and city, the county adjacent to
San Pablo Bay, into which the river falls. The town is the county-seat
of Napa County, and is on the river of the same name, about thirty-nine
miles northeast of San Francisco. The Napa Soda Springs are an
interesting natural feature of this place.

_Napa_, accented in some of the old documents as _Napá_, was the name
of an Indian tribe who occupied that valley, said to have been one of
the bravest of the California tribes, and who constantly harassed the
frontier posts. The entire tribe was practically wiped out by smallpox in

According to S. A. Barrett, in the University of California Publications
in American Archaeology and Technology, there is a Pomo Indian word,
_napa_, meaning “harpoon point,” between which and the name of the town
of Napa there may be some connection.

Dr. Vallejo says the suffix _pa_ signifies proximity, and that Napa means
“near mother,” or “near home,” or “mother-land,” and that according to
tradition Napa Valley was the cradle of the Suysun race.—(_Memoirs of the
Vallejos_, edited by James H. Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin, January,


Among the names of the old Spanish land grants are many that hold a
suggestion of interesting and sometimes tragic tales, now lost in the dim
shadows of the past. Of such is _Carne Humana_ (human flesh), the name
of a grant in Napa County, near St. Helena. This spot may have been the
scene of one of those horrible acts of cannibalism to which the Indians
of the entire Southwest were quite generally addicted. Captain Fages, in
his diary of one of the expeditions to San Francisco Bay, mentions that
this practice prevailed among the Indians of that region to a certain
extent, but seems to have been confined to the eating of the bodies
of enemies slain in battle, and only the relatives of the slayer were
permitted to take part in the abhorrent feast.


_Santa Rosa_ (St. Rose), the county-seat of Sonoma County, is fifty-seven
miles northwest of San Francisco.

An interesting story is told of Santa Rosa de Lima, said to be the only
canonized female saint of the New World. She was born at Lima, in Peru,
and was distinguished for her hatred of vanity, and her great austerity,
carrying these characteristics to such an extreme that she destroyed her
beautiful complexion with a compound of pepper and quicklime. When her
mother commanded her to wear a wreath of roses, she so arranged it that
it was in truth a crown of thorns. Her food consisted principally of
bitter herbs, and she maintained her parents by her labor, working all
day in her garden and all night with her needle. The legend relates that
when Pope Clement X was asked to canonize her, he refused, exclaiming:
“_India y Santa! Asi como llueven rosas!_” (An Indian woman a saint! That
may happen when it rains roses!) Instantly a shower of roses began to
fall in the Vatican, and did not cease until the Pope was convinced of
his error. This saint is the patroness of America, and is represented as
wearing a thorny crown, and holding in her hand the figure of the infant
Jesus, which rests on full-blown roses.—(_Stories of the Saints._)


_Mendocino County_, in the northwestern part of the state, is
distinguished for its extensive forests of redwoods. The main belt of
these trees extends through this county, and they may here be seen in
their highest development. They vary in height from 100 to 340 feet,
and reach a diameter of from two to sixteen feet, having a red, fibrous
bark sometimes a foot in thickness. Notwithstanding their great size,
the delicacy of their foliage, which takes the form of flat sprays,
gives them a graceful, fern-like appearance. The age of mature redwoods
is said to range from 500 to 1300 years. The special characteristics of
the wood of these trees are, its durability when buried in the soil, and
its resistance to fire. Commercially it is valuable for many purposes,
being preferred to steel for water supply conduits, and, in the form of
saw-dust, found to be better than cork for packing fresh grapes.—(Notes
from _The Trees of California_, by Professor Willis Linn Jepsen, of the
University of California.)

Probably the first written mention of these trees occurs in the diary of
Gaspar de Portolá, the discoverer of San Francisco Bay, whose attention
was attracted to them while on his way up the coast, and from whom they
received the name of _palo colorado_ (redwood). Altogether, the credit of
their discovery seems to belong to Portolá, although it has been given by
some persons to Archibald Menzies, who wrote a description of the trees
in 1795.

The village of Mendocino is on the coast, about 130 miles northwest
of San Francisco. The name was first applied to the cape, which was
discovered by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542, and named by him for Don
Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain.


_Klamath_ is the name of a village in Humboldt County, but is
particularly known as applied to the Klamath River, which flows in a deep
and narrow canyon through the counties of Siskiyou and Humboldt.

The word, in its different forms of _Klamath_, _Tlametl_, and _Clamet_,
is the name by which these Indians were known to the Chinooks, and
through them to the whites, their proper designation in their own
language being _Lutuami_.—(Bancroft’s _Native Races_, Vol. 1, page 444.)

The meaning of the word has not been positively ascertained, although
it is thought by ethnologists to be a possible corruption of _Maklaks_
(people, community,—literally, the encamped). The Klamaths were a hardy
people, who had many slaves captured from other tribes. The slave trade
seems to have been carried on quite extensively among the California


_Modoc_, the county in the northeastern corner of the state, is notable
as having been the home of the only California tribe that ever caused
serious trouble to the United States Government. The Modoc wars are a
matter of history.

The Modocs were a fierce tribe of Indians who lived at the head-waters
of Pit River, and the name is thought by some persons to mean “head of
the river,” or “people, community,” but ethnologists are of the opinion
that it means “south people,” probably used by tribes living north of the
Modocs. Bancroft, quoting from Steele, in Indian Affairs Report of 1864,
page 121, says: “The word _Modoc_ is a Shasta Indian word, and means all
distant, stranger, or hostile Indians, and became applied to this tribe
by white men in early days from hearing the Shastas refer to them by
this term.” It does not appear that Bancroft had any genuine scientific
authority for this statement.

Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, states that some persons derive
this name from _Mo-dok-us_, the name of a former chief of the tribe under
whose leadership they seceded from the Klamath Lake Indians and became an
independent tribe. As it was common for seceding bands to assume the name
of their leader, Powers is inclined to accept this explanation of the


To account for the name _Shasta_, a number of theories have been
advanced, no one of which seems to be positively established. According
to the Bureau of Ethnology, “Shasta may be a corruption of _Sus-tí-ka_,
apparently the name of a well-known Indian living about 1840 near the
site of Yreka. The name was applied to a group of small tribes in
Northern California, extending into Oregon, who were soon extinguished by
the development of mining operations.”

[Illustration: MOUNT SHASTA.

“ ... its summit glistening with snow and visible at a distance of 140
miles down the valley.”]

Bancroft, in his _Native Races_, says, “Shasta was apparently the name of
a tribe living about 1840 near Yreka, a tribe made up of several groups.
They were a sedentary people, living in small houses, similar to those
in use by the Indians on the coast immediately to the west. Their food
was made up of acorns, seeds, roots, and fish, particularly salmon. The
salmon was caught by net, weir, trap, and spear. Their arts were few.
They had dug-out canoes of a rather broad, clumsy type. The bow was their
chief weapon, and their carving was limited to rude spoons of wood and
bone. Painting was little used, and basketry was limited to basket caps
for the women, and small food baskets of simple form. The tribe soon
succumbed to the unfavorable environment of the mining camp, and is now
almost extinct.... The Shasta Indians were known in their own language
as _Weohow_, a word meaning ‘stone house,’ from the large cave in their

“_Shas-ti-ka_ was probably the tribal name of the Shasta Indians.
_Wai-re-ka_ (mountain) was their name for Mt. Shasta.”—(Powers’ _Tribes
of California_.)

Another theory advanced is that Shasta is a corruption of the Russian
word _tchastal_, (white, or pure mountain), and still another that
it comes from the French _chaste_, (pure), but it is likely that its
resemblance to these words is purely accidental, and that its origin is

Whatever may be the derivation of its name, there is no question that
Mount Shasta, with its snow-capped summit, has but few rivals for scenic
beauty among its mountain sisterhood. It is an extinct volcano, with
a double peak, and rises to a height of 14380 feet. There are minor
glaciers on the northern slope. Fremont says of it: “The Shastl peak
stands at the head of the lower valley, rising from a base of about
one thousand feet, out of a forest of heavy timber. It ascends like an
immense column upwards of 14000 feet (nearly the height of Mont Blanc),
the summit glistening with snow, and visible, from favorable points of
view, at a distance of 140 miles down the valley.”

On a United States map of date of 1848, drawn by Charles Preuss from
surveys made by Fremont and other persons, the name appears spelled as

Mount Shasta is in Siskiyou County, and is the most conspicuous natural
feature in that part of the state.


Except that it is of Indian origin, nothing authentic has been obtained
concerning _Siskiyou_, the name of the county in the extreme north of the
state. Several popular theories have been advanced, one to the effect
that Siskiyou means “lame horse.” If that be true the word must have been
introduced into the Indian language after the coming of the Spaniards,
since horses were unknown to the Indians before that period. Another
story, perhaps more pleasing than true, runs as follows: “On the summit
of a mountain in Oregon, just over the divide, there is a beautiful,
level spot, watered by cool springs, which overlooks the country for
miles around. Here the powerful Shasta, Rogue River, and Klamath tribes
used to meet to smoke and indulge in dancing and games. They called the
place _Sis-ki-you_, the ‘council ground’.”

Siskiyou County is notable for its mountain scenery, and includes within
its borders the famous Mount Shasta.


_Trinity County_ received its name from Trinidad Bay, which was
discovered and named by Captain Bruno Ezeta, on Trinity Sunday, in the
year 1775. Trinidad is the Spanish word meaning Trinity.

Trinity River was so-named through the mistaken belief that it emptied
into Trinidad Bay.

Trinidad is also the name of a village in Humboldt County, on the ocean
shore, twenty miles north of Eureka.


_Yreka_, the name of the county-seat of Siskiyou County, is an Indian
word, of which the spelling has probably been corrupted, perhaps in a
spirit of facetiousness, from the original _Wai-ri-ka_ to its present
eccentric form. Various theories have been offered in explanation of
the word, but the only one apparently based on scientific data seems
to be that it means “north place.” One writer advances the whimsical
explanation that the word was formed by the transposition of the letters
in “bakery,” but fails to explain what becomes of the letter “b.” This
is, of course, but an idle invention.

_Yreka_ is said by Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, to be the
Indian word for “mountain,” especially applied to Mt. Shasta. Its former
spelling was _Wai-ri-ka_. Here is a contradiction between scientists.


_Agua Caliente_ (hot water, hot springs), a village in Sonoma County,
forty-five miles north of San Francisco.

_Altúras_ (heights), the county-seat of Modoc County, 110 miles north of

_Point Arena_ (sandy point), is the name of the cape on the Mendocino
coast, and of the village in that county, 110 miles northwest of San

_Bodega_ (a surname), that of its discoverer, Don Juan de la Bodega
y Quadra, Captain of the schooner Sonora, who sailed into Bodega Bay
October 3, 1775. This bay, and the town of Bodega Roads are in Sonoma
County, about sixty-four miles northwest of San Francisco.

_Point Cabrillo_ (a surname), that of the celebrated Spanish explorer,
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.

_Calistoga_, one of those hybrid words of which California has too many.
This word was the invention of Samuel Brannan, an early settler, and is
compounded of the first syllable of California and the last of Saratoga.
It is given here lest it be mistaken for Indian or Spanish.

_Cazadero_ (hunting-place).

_Chileno_ (Chilean, native of Chile).

_Punta Delgada_ (thin or narrow point). See _Punta Gorda_.

_Cape Fortunas_ (cape fortunes). Fortuna is a village in Humboldt County,
twelve miles south of Eureka.

_Del Norte_ (of the north), is the name of the county in the extreme
northwestern corner of the state.

_García_ (a surname), the name of a creek in Mendocino County.

_Punta Gorda_ (thick or broad point). Punta Gorda and Punta Delgada
are adjacent points on the northern coast whose contrast in shape is
indicated by their names. See _Punta Delgada_.

_Gualala_, a village in Mendocino County, forty miles west of Cloverdale.
This is an Indian word, “probably from _walali_, a generic term of
the Pomo language, signifying the meeting-place of the waters of any
in-flowing stream with those of the stream into which it flows, or
with the ocean. The present spelling is probably influenced by the
Spanish.”—(S. A. Barrett, in California Publications of Archaeology and

_Hoopa_, a village in Humboldt County, on the Trinity River, was named
for the Hupa Indians, a tribe on the lower Trinity River. Hoopa Mountain
was named in the same way.

_Point Laguna_ (lagoon point).

_Oro Fino_ (fine gold), is the name of a village in Siskiyou County,
twenty-five miles southwest of Yreka. This name is in contrast to the
place called _Oro Grande_ (coarse gold), in the southern part of the

_Petaluma_, the name of a town in Sonoma County, forty-two miles
northwest of San Francisco. Petaluma was the name of an Indian village
situated near the site of the present town on a low hill, and according
to S. A. Barrett the word is compounded of _peta_ (flat), and _luma_
(back), making _Petaluma_ (flat back), but Dr. Vallejo has another
explanation of its meaning. He holds that the suffix _ma_ means “valley”
or “land,” and that Petaluma is a combination of three Suysun words,
_Pe-talu-ma_, signifying “Oh! fair valley,” or “Oh! fair land.”—(_Memoirs
of the Vallejos_, edited by James H. Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin,
January, 1914.)

_Pomo_ is northeast of Ukiah. “Pomo was an Indian village on the east
bank of the Russian River, in the southern end of Potter Valley, a short
distance south of the post-office at Pomo. The word is an ending, meaning
‘people of, village of’.”—(S. A. Barrett.)

_Tomales Bay_ is just north of Drake’s Bay, in Marin County. The word is
a Spanish corruption of the Indian _tamal_ (bay).

_Ukiah_ is the county-seat of Mendocino County, and is on the Russian
River, 110 miles northwest of San Francisco. “The word is said to be
derived from the Indian _yokaia_, _yo_ (south), and _ka-ia_ (valley),
the name of a village about six miles southeast of the present town of

[Illustration: THE CENTRAL VALLEY]




_Tehama County_ lies at the extreme northern end of the great Central
Valley of the state. There is a village of the same name in the county,
on the Sacramento River, twelve miles southeast of Red Bluff.

The name _Tehama_ was derived from an Indian tribe, but the meaning of
it has not been ascertained. Two definitions have been offered,—“high
water,” in reference to the overflowing of the Sacramento River, and “low
land,” but these may be among those attempts to account for our names by
making the name fit the circumstances, a method which has resulted in
many errors. All that can be positively stated is that the word is of
Indian origin.


_Colusa_ is a county in the northern part of the Central Valley, and
has a county-seat of the same name, situated on the west bank of the
Sacramento River, sixty-five miles northwest of Sacramento.

This name appears as _Colus_ on the land grant located at that place, and
is said by Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, to be a corruption of
_Ko-ru-si_, a tribal name, a more reasonable explanation than any other
that has been offered. General Will Green, said to have known the tribe
well, was of the opinion that Colusa meant “the scratchers,” in allusion
to a strange custom among these people of scratching one another’s faces.
While it is true that the prevalence of this custom is mentioned by the
Spaniards, Captain Fages referring to it in terms of great distaste,
there is no scientific corroboration of that definition for the word


_Yuba_ is the name of a county in the Central Valley, of Yuba City, the
county-seat of Sutter County, and of the Yuba River, which is formed by
the union of three branches rising in the Sierra Nevada.

The name _Yuba_ was first applied to the river, the chief tributary of
the Feather. The theory has been advanced that it received the name of
_Uba_, or _Uva_, the Spanish word for grapes, from an exploring party in
1824, in reference to the immense quantities of vines loaded with wild
grapes growing along its banks, _Uba_, becoming corrupted into _Yuba_,
but Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, says Yuba is derived from a
tribe of Maidu Indians named _Yu-ba_, who lived on the Feather River.
This is probably the true explanation of the name. It is to be noted that
Fremont, in his _Memoirs_, speaks of it as Indian: “We traveled across
the valley plain, and in about sixteen miles reached Feather River, at
twenty miles from its junction with the Sacramento, near the mouth of the
Yuba, so-called from a village of Indians who live on it. The Indians
aided us across the river with canoes and small rafts. Extending along
the bank in front of the village was a range of wicker cribs, about
twelve feet high, partly filled with what is there the Indians’ staff of
life, acorns. A collection of huts, shaped like bee-hives, with naked
Indians sunning themselves on the tops, and these acorn cribs, are the
prominent objects in an Indian village.”


_Yolo_ is the name of a county in the northern part of the Central
Valley, and of a village near Woodland.

_Yolo_, or _Yoloy_, was the name of a Patwin tribe, and the word is said
by the Bureau of Ethnology to mean “a place abounding with rushes.”

In 1884 there were still forty-five of the tribe living in Yolo County.


This county, situated in the Central Valley, immediately northeast of San
Francisco, was named, at the request of General Mariano Vallejo, in honor
of an Indian chief of the Suisunes who had aided him in war against the
other natives. The name of this chief in his own tongue is said to have
been _Sem Yeto_, “the Fierce one of the Brave Hand,” or _Sum-yet-ho_,
“the Mighty Arm,” and, judging by the description given of him by Dr.
Vallejo, he must have been a living refutation of the common belief that
the California Indians were invariably squat and ill-formed, for he was
a splendid figure of a man, six feet, seven inches in height and large
in proportion. He was converted to Christianity and received the name of
the celebrated missionary, Francisco Solano, as well as a grant of land
containing 17752 acres, known as the Suisún Grant.


_Suisún Bay_ is a body of navigable water connected with San Pablo Bay by
the Carquínez Strait, and is the outlet of the San Joaquín and Sacramento
Rivers. Suisún City is in Solano County, on a slough, about fifty miles
northeast of San Francisco. Suisún was the name of an Indian village on
that bay, and the word is said by some persons to mean a “big expanse.”
The name was probably first given to the land grant.

This region was the home of an important tribe of Indians who had an
interesting and tragic history. Their religious capital, if such it
could be called, was at Napa, near which place there was a certain
stone from which they believed one of their gods had ascended into upper
air, leaving the impress of his foot upon the stone. General Vallejo
says that in 1817 a military expedition under command of Lieutenant José
Sánchez crossed the straits of Carquínez on rafts, for the double purpose
of exploring the country and reducing it to Christianity. “On crossing
the river they were attacked by the Suisún tribe, headed by their chief
Malaca, and the Spaniards suffered considerable loss; the Indians fought
bravely, but were forced to retire to their _ranchería_, where, being
hotly pursued, and believing their fate sealed, these unfortunate people,
incited by their chief, set fire to their own rush-built huts, and
perished in the flames with their families. The soldiers endeavored to
stay their desperate resolution, in order to save the women and children,
but they preferred this doom to that which they believed to await them at
the hands of their enemies.” The Suisún tribe is now entirely extinct,
a large number having been carried off by a frightful epidemic of
smallpox. Dr. Vallejo states that this tribe, a people described by him
as possessing many attractive qualities, was estimated by his father
to number at least 40,000 persons in 1835. After the great epidemic,
which was brought down by the Russians from the north, and which lasted
during the three consecutive years of 1837-38-39, there were barely
two hundred left. Thus the disappearance of the California Indians was
occasioned, not by the white man’s bullets or fire-water, nor even by
the deteriorating influence of a changed mode of living, nor by the loss
of native sturdiness through an acquired dependence upon the church, but
suddenly and fearfully by the introduction of the hideous diseases of


_Sacramento County_ and the city of the same name, the state capital,
situated near the center of the Great Valley, received their names from
the river, which, following the usual custom of the Spaniards, was
christened first, being named in honor of the Holy Sacrament.

Captain Moraga first gave the name of _Jesús María_ to the main river,
calling the branch _Sacramento_, but later the main stream became known
as _Sacramento_, and the branch as _El Río de las Plumas_ (the river of
the feathers).


_Cosumne_ is the name of a village in Sacramento County, about
twenty-two miles southeast of Sacramento. The Cosumne river rises in El
Dorado County, near the Sierra Nevada, and enters the Mokelumne about
twenty-five miles south of the city of Sacramento.

_Cosumne_ is an Indian word, said to mean “salmon,” and was taken from
the tribe who lived upon the river. The frequent occurrence of the ending
_amni_, or _umne_, in the names of rivers in the Sierras has led to
the mistaken conclusion that the suffix actually means “river,” but we
have the statement of A. L. Kroeber, Professor of Anthropology in the
University of California, that, “The supposition may be hazarded that the
ending _amni_, or _umne_, is originally a Miwok ending, with the meaning
‘people of’.” Thus the meaning of Cosumne may be “people of the village
of Coso,” and of Mokelumne, “people of the village of Mukkel,” and so on
through all the names having this ending.

Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, says _Kos-sum-mi_ was the Indian
word for “salmon,” and that this is the probable origin of the name

The Bureau of Ethnology has an interesting paragraph on the manners and
customs of these Indians: “They went almost naked; their houses were of
bark, sometimes thatched with grass, and covered with earth; the bark was
loosened from the trees by repeated blows with stone hatchets, the latter
having the head fastened to the handle with deer sinews. Their ordinary
weapons were bows and stone-tipped arrows. The women made finely-woven
conical baskets of grass, the smaller ones of which held water. Their
amusements were chiefly dancing and foot-ball; the dances, however,
were in some degree ceremonial. Their principal deity was the sun, and
the women had a ceremony which resembled the ‘sun dance’ of the tribes
of the upper Missouri. Their dead were buried in graves in the earth.
The tribe is now practically extinct.”—(quoted from Rice, in _American
Anthropology_, III, 259, 1890.)


_San Joaquín County_, famous for its vast fields of wheat, is a part of
the great Central Valley, and the river of the same name rises in the
Sierras, flows north-northwest through the valley and unites with the
Sacramento River near its mouth.

The river was named in honor of St. Joachim, the father of the Virgin.
Lieutenant Moraga first gave the name to a rivulet which springs from the
Sierra Nevada, and empties into Lake Buena Vista. The river derived its
name from this rivulet.

The rich valley of the San Joaquín, two hundred miles long and thirty
miles wide, with its wide, treeless expanses where the wild grasses grew
rankly, was once a paradise for game. Fremont says: “Descending the
valley we traveled among multitudinous herds of elk, antelope, and wild
horses. Several of the latter which we killed for food were found to be
very fat.” Herds of wild horses still range in California and Nevada, and
are sometimes captured for sale, fine specimens bringing high prices.


_Stanislaus_ is the name of the county just south of San Joaquín, and of
one of the tributaries of the San Joaquín River.

The word _Stanislaus_ is said to be derived from an Indian chief of that
region, who became Christianized and was baptized under the Spanish
name of _Estanislao_. He was educated at Mission San José, but became a
renegade, and incited his tribe against the Spaniards. In 1826 he was
defeated in a fierce battle on the banks of the river now bearing his

Fremont thus describes the scenery along the Stanislaus: “Issuing from
the woods, we rode about sixteen miles over open prairie partly covered
with bunch grass, the timber re-appearing on the rolling hills of the
River Stanislaus, in the usual belt of evergreen oaks. The level valley
was about forty feet below the upland, and the stream seventy yards
broad, with the usual fertile bottom land which was covered with green
grass among large oaks. We encamped in one of these bottoms, in a grove
of the large white oaks previously mentioned.”


_Merced_ (mercy), is the name of the county south of Stanislaus, of its
own principal stream, and of its county-seat. The river was named by
the Spaniards, in honor of the Virgin, _El Río de Nuestra Señora de la
Merced_ (the river of our Lady of Mercy). This name was given to the
stream by the Moraga party as an expression of their joy and gratitude at
the sight of its sparkling waters, after an exhausting journey of forty
miles through a water-less country.

According to Fremont, this stream was called _Auxumne_ by the Indians:
“In about seventeen miles we reached the Auxumne River, called by the
Mexicans _Merced_.... We encamped on the southern side of the river,
where broken hills made a steep bluff, with a narrow bottom. On the
northern side was a low undulating wood and prairie land, over which a
band of about three hundred elk was slowly coming to water, feeding as
they approached.”

The Merced River is notable in that it flows along the floor of the
Yosemite Valley. Like all the other streams that have their rise in
the Sierras, its character in its upper and lower reaches is vastly
dissimilar. In the days of its turbulent youth it is a wild and
boisterous stream, and in the voice of its hissing, roaring waters the
wayfarer hears no sound of “mercy,” but after it makes its tremendous
plunge down the western slope of the Sierras, and debouches upon the
floor of the valley, it takes on a serene air of maturity, and widens
into a placid river, its current flowing sluggishly between low, level


_Madera_ (wood, timber), is the name of the county to the southwest
of Stanislaus. It occupies a stretch of fertile land, and was called
_Madera_ by the Spaniards on account of its heavy growth of timber.


_Fresno_ (ash-tree), so-called in reference to the abundance of those
trees in that region, is the name of a county in the San Joaquín Valley,
in the heart of the grain and fruit country. Raisins and wine are its
especial products. Its capital city and principal stream also bear the
name of Fresno.


This county, now appearing under its English form, originally received
its name from the river, which was discovered by a Spanish exploring
party in 1805, and called by them _El Río de los Santos Reyes_ (the river
of the Holy Kings), in honor of the “three wise men.”

A considerable part of the area of this county was at one time covered
by Tulare Lake, but the shrinkage of that body of water through the
withdrawal of its sources of supply have added nearly the whole of the
territory occupied by its waters to the arable land of the county. This
subject is further discussed under the head of Tulare.


“ ... named in honor of the three wise men.”]

The river seems to have been known at one time as the _Lake Fork_, by
which name Fremont mentions it in the following paragraph: “We crossed
an open plain still in a southeasterly direction, reaching in about
twenty miles the Tulare Lake river. This is the Lake Fork, one of the
largest and handsomest streams in the valley, being about one hundred
yards broad, and having perhaps a larger body of fertile lands than any
of the others. It is called by the Mexicans _El Río de los Reyes_. The
broad alluvial bottoms were well wooded with several species of oaks.
This is the principal affluent of the Tulare Lake, a strip of water which
receives all the rivers in the upper or southern end of the valley.”


_Tulare_ (place of tules, or rushes), is the name of a county in the
south-central part of the state, of Tulare Lake in Kings County, and of
a town in the San Joaquín Valley. The county is remarkable for the high
mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada, on its northeast border. Among these
is Mount Whitney, about 14500 feet in height.

_Tulare Lake_, in Kings County, at one time filled a shallow depression
about thirty miles in length, and received through a number of small
streams the drainage from the southern part of the Sierra Nevada,
soon losing the greater part of this water by evaporation. It is now
practically dry, as a result of the withdrawal for irrigation purposes of
Kings and Kern Rivers, and the territory formerly covered by it has been
to a great extent placed under cultivation. The lake was discovered in
1773 by Commandant Fages, while hunting for deserters from the presidio
at Monterey, and called by him _Los Tules_ (the rushes), from the great
number of those plants with which it was filled. In 1813 Captain Moraga
passed through the valley of this lake, and named it _Valle de los Tules_
(valley of the rushes).


_Acampo_ (common pasture), is the name of a village in San Joaquín
County. See Final Index.

_Arroyo Buenos Aires_ (creek of the good airs), is in San Joaquín County.

_Caliente_ (hot), is the name of a town in Kern County.

_Chico_ (little), is the name of a town in Butte County, ninety-six
miles north of Sacramento. This place derives its name from the Rancho
Chico (the little ranch), of which General John Bidwell was the original
grantee. The Arroyo Chico and the town both took their names from the
ranch.—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Chowchilla_, a large ranch in the San Joaquín Valley, takes its name
from the Chowchilla Indians, a branch of the Moquelumnan family. Fremont
refers to this name under a somewhat different spelling: “The springs and
streams hereabout were waters of the _Chauchiles_ and _Mariposas_ Rivers,
and the Indians of this village belonged to the _Chauchiles_ tribe.”

_Dos Palos_ (two sticks, or trees), is in Merced County, twenty miles
southwest of Merced.

_Esparto_ (feather-grass), is a town in Yolo County.

_Esperanza_ (hope), is in Kings County, west of Lake Tulare.

_Hornitos_ (little ovens), is in Mariposa County, sixteen miles northwest
of Mariposa. An attempt has been made to account for this name as a
reference to the intense heat sometimes prevalent in that region, but
the probable origin of the name is that given by Mr. J. P. Gagliardo,
a resident of the place, who says it was derived “from a number of
_hornitos_ built here by the first settlers, who located here about the
early fifties.” _Hornos_ (ovens), of brick and adobe, built out-of-doors,
and used to bake the bread for several families, were in very common use
among the first Spanish settlers of California. Ovens were also used
by the Indians, for, instead of eating their food raw or imperfectly
cooked, they used quite elaborate methods in its preparation. Their ovens
are thus described in the _Handbook of American Indians_, by Dr. Pliny
E. Goddard, of the American Museum of Natural History: “The pit oven,
consisting of a hole excavated in the ground, heated with fire, and
then filled with food, which was covered over and allowed to cook, was
general in America, though as a rule it was employed only occasionally,
and principally for cooking vegetal substances. This method of cooking
was found necessary to render acrid or poisonous foods harmless, and
starchy foods saccharine, and as a preliminary in drying and preserving
food for winter use. Most of the acorn-consuming Indians of California
cooked acorn mush in small sand-pits. The soap-root was made palatable
by cooking it in an earth-covered heap. The Hupa cook the same plant for
about two days in a large pit lined with stones, in which a hot fire is
maintained until the stones and surrounding earth are well heated; the
fire is then drawn, the pit lined with leaves of wild grape and wood
sorrel to improve the flavor of the bulbs, and a quantity of the bulbs
thrown in; leaves are then placed on top, the whole is covered with
earth, and a big fire built on top.” Mr. Charles B. Turrill states that
“the meal of the ground acorns was placed in shallow hollows in the sand
and water poured on it, by which means the bitter principle was leached
out. Then the meal was placed in baskets and cooked by putting hot stones
therein. The cooking was done in the basket, not in the sand.” Other
Indians used pit ovens for baking clams, and the Panamints of California
roasted cactus joints and mescal in pits. The Pueblo Indians used
dome-shaped ovens of stone plastered with clay, a form that may have been
imitated by the Spaniards, since their ovens were of that character.


“East Vidette, the Alps of the King-Kern divide.”]

_Modesto_ (modest), is the county-seat of Stanislaus County, and is
thirty miles south of Stockton. According to residents of this town, “The
place was first named Ralston in the year 1870, in honor of Mr. Ralston,
who was then a very prominent resident of San Francisco, and president
of the Bank of California. He was so modest that he preferred that some
other name be adopted, so the name was changed to _Modesto_.” If this be
the true story, it was surely a unique reason for the naming of a town.

_Oroville_ (gold-town), is a hybrid word made up of the Spanish _oro_
(gold), and the French _ville_ (town). Oroville is the county-seat of
Butte County, and is on the Feather River, in the heart of a mining and
fruit region.

_Río Vista_ (river view), is in Solano County, on the Sacramento River.
Modern. Incorrect construction. It should be _Vista del Río_.

_Tehachapi_, an Indian word of which the meaning has not been
ascertained, is the name of the mountain pass in Kern County across the
Sierra Nevada, of which it approximately marks the southern limit, and of
a town in the same county, thirty-five miles southeast of Bakersfield.

“In the famous Tahichapah Pass was a tribe called by themselves
_Ta-hi-cha-pa-han-na_, and by the Kern Indians _Ta-hich_. This tribe is
now extinct.”—(Powers’ _Tribes of California_.)

_Vacaville_ is situated in a beautiful and fertile valley in Solano
County. It received its name from a family named _Vaca_, who were at one
time prominent in that region. Manuel Vaca, the founder of the family,
was a native of New Mexico, and came to California in 1841. “He was a
hospitable man of good repute.”

[Illustration: IN THE SIERRAS]




_The Sierra Nevada Mountains_, California’s wonder-land, derive their
name from _sierra_ (saw), and _nevada_ (snowy),—descriptive of the
saw-toothed outlines of the summits of the range, and the mantle of
perpetual snow that covers the highest tops.

The term _Sierra Madre_, absurdly translated by some persons as “Mother
of Christ,” means, of course, “Mother Sierra,” that is, the largest
mountain range personified as the mother of the smaller ranges.

“The Sierra Nevada is generally considered to extend from Tehachapi
Pass in the south to Lassen Peak in the north, and constitutes the
dividing ridge between the great basin on the east, to which it falls
abruptly, and the San Joaquín and Sacramento Valleys on the west. It is
characterized by deep and narrow valleys, with almost vertical walls
of rock thousands of feet in height, and its scenery is of surpassing
grandeur, much more imposing than that of the Rockies. Many of its higher
summits are covered with perpetual snow.”—(Lippincott’s _Gazetteer_.)


Among the many tributary streams that carry the waters of the Sierra
Nevada down the western slope into the Sacramento, the _Pit_, often
incorrectly spelled _Pitt_, is one of the most important, and, although
not properly belonging in these pages, is included for the sake of the
information to be gained concerning Indian customs.

[Illustration: IN THE HIGH SIERRAS.

“Above the snow line, south from Mount Brewer.”]

The natives along this river were in the habit of digging pits near
the banks to catch bear and deer, and, on occasion, even their human
enemies. The pits were dug in the regular trails of animals, twelve to
fourteen feet deep, conical in shape, with a small opening at the top,
covered with brush and earth. Signs, such as broken twigs, were placed
as a warning to their own people, and sharp stakes were placed in the
bottom to impale any creature that might fall in. Another account of
this custom is given in Miller’s _Life Among the Modocs_: “Pits from ten
to fifteen feet deep were dug, in which natives caught man and beast.
These man-traps, for such was their primary use, were small at the mouth,
widening toward the bottom, so that exit was impossible, even were the
victim to escape impalement upon sharpened elk and deer horns, which were
favorably placed for his reception. The opening was craftily concealed by
means of light sticks, over which earth was scattered, and the better to
deceive the unwary, travelers’ footprints were frequently stamped with a
moccasin in the loose soil.” It was from these Indian pits that the river
received its name.


_Plumas_ (feathers), is the name of a county in the northeastern part of
the state. It is drained by the Feather River, which flows through one
of the deepest and most picturesque canyons in California. The county
is characterized by its wild and rugged scenery, its deep canyons and
extensive forests of evergreen trees. In the northwest corner Lassen
Peak, now an active volcano, rises to a height of 10437 feet.

The county derives its name from its principal stream, which now appears
under its English form of _The Feather_, but which was originally named
_El Río de las Plumas_ (the river of the feathers), by Captain Luís A.
Argüello, who led an exploring party up the valley in 1820, and whose
attention was attracted by the great number of feathers of wild fowl
floating on the surface of the river. Even to this day the valley of
the Feather has remained a favorite haunt of the wild ducks and geese,
as will be attested by the many hunters who seek sport there during
the season. By an inconsistency, the county has retained the original
Spanish name, _Plumas_, while that of the river has been Americanized.
An erroneous and extremely far-fetched explanation of the name has often
appeared in print to the effect that it was derived from a fancied
resemblance between the spray of the river and a feather.


The _American River_, another of the names which have been translated
from the original Spanish, is formed by three forks rising in the Sierra
Nevada, and empties into the Sacramento at the site of the city of that
name. The three branches forming it run in deep canyons, sometimes two
thousand feet in depth, and the scenery along its course is of a rugged
and striking character.

The river was originally called _El Río de los Americanos_ (the river of
the Americans), probably from the presence on its banks of a company of
western trappers, who lived there from 1822 to 1830, and _not_ “because
it was the usual route of travel by which Americans entered the state,”
as is stated by Bancroft and others.

In Fremont’s time it was still known by its Spanish name, by which he
refers to it in the following paragraph: “Just then a well-dressed
Indian came up, and made his salutations in very well-spoken Spanish.
In answer to our inquiries he informed us that we were upon the _Río de
los Americanos_, and that it joined the Sacramento River about ten miles
below. Never did a name sound more sweetly! We felt ourselves among our
countrymen, for the name of American, in these distant parts, is applied
to the citizens of the United States.”


“To this day the valley of the Feather is a favorite haunt for wild ducks
and geese.”]


_El Dorado_ (the gilded man). Although it is known to most people, in a
vague, general way, that the name _El Dorado_ was given to this county on
account of the discovery of gold there, the romantic tales connected with
the name are probably not so well known. The Indians of Peru, Venezuela,
and New Granada, perhaps in the hope of inducing their oppressors to
move on, were constantly pointing out to the Spaniards, first in one
direction, then in another, a land of fabulous riches. This land was
said to have a king, who caused his body to be covered every morning
with gold dust, by means of an odorous resin. Each evening he washed
it off, as it incommoded his sleep, and each morning had the gilding
process repeated. From this fable the white men were led to believe
that the country must be rich in gold, and long, costly, and fruitless
expeditions were undertaken in pursuit of this phantom of _El Dorado_. In
time the phrase _El Dorado_ came to be applied to regions where gold and
other precious metals were thought to be plentiful. According to General
Vallejo, one Francisco Orellana, a companion of the adventurer Pizarro,
wrote a fictitious account of an _El Dorado_ in South America, “a region
of genial clime and never-fading verdure, abounding in gold and precious
stones, where wine gushed forth from never-ceasing springs, wheat fields
grew ready-baked loaves of bread, birds already roasted flew among the
trees, and nature was filled with harmony and sweetness.” Although old
Mother Nature has not yet provided us with “bread ready-baked” or “birds
ready-roasted” in California, her gifts to her children have been so
bountiful that they may almost be compared to the fabulous tales of _El
Dorado_, the gilded man.


_Placer_, the county in the Sierras famous for its surface gold-mining,
has a puzzling name for which no satisfactory explanation has yet been
found. Although it has been used in Spanish countries for centuries in
the sense of surface mining, dictionaries remain silent upon the subject.
The theory often advanced that the word is a contraction of _plaza de
oro_ (place of gold), bears none of the marks of probability, and another
that it means “a river where gold is found” is not supported by adequate
authority. One old Spanish dictionary gives the meaning of _placer_ as
“a sea bottom, level and of slight depth, of sand, mud, or stone,” and
states also that the word is sometimes used to designate places where
pearl diving is carried on. It may be that the word was extended from
this usage to include placer mining, since in that case the gold is found
in shallow pockets near the surface. This theory is offered here as a
mere suggestion.

Placer County has some of the most striking mountain scenery in the
state, and has been the theatre of many remarkable events in its
history, particularly those connected with the “days of ’49.” In the town
of Placerville, the county-seat of El Dorado County, there is an instance
of a change of name from English to Spanish for the better, for this
place was originally called _Hangtown_, in commemoration of the hanging
of certain “bad men” on a tree there.


The _Truckee River_ rises on the borders of El Dorado and Placer
Counties, and is the outlet of Lake Tahoe, discharging its waters into
Pyramid Lake in Nevada. This mountain stream is justly celebrated for the
wild charm of its scenery. There is a village bearing the same name, in
Nevada County, well-known to travelers through being on the regular route
to Tahoe. At this place winter sports, tobogganing, skiing, skating,
etc., are provided for San Franciscans, who need to travel but a few
hours to exchange their clime of eternal spring for the deep snows of the

The explanation generally accepted for the name of _Truckee_ is that it
was so-called for an Indian, by some accounts described as a Canadian
trapper, who guided a party of explorers in 1844 to its lower crossing,
where the town of Wadsworth now stands. The party, who were suffering
from thirst, felt themselves to be under such obligations to the Indian
for having guided them to this lovely mountain stream, with its crystal
waters and abundance of fish, that they gave it his name. Of this Indian
it is said that “he joined Fremont’s battalion, and was afterwards known
as Captain Truckee; he became a great favorite with Fremont, who gave him
a Bible. When he died he asked to be buried by white men in their style.
The miners dug a grave near Como, in the croppings of the old Goliah
ledge. Here he was laid to rest, with the Bible by his side.”—(_History
of Nevada County._)


“It runs in deep canyons and the scenery along its course is rugged and


_Tahoe_ is another of the Indian names whose meaning can not be
ascertained with any degree of certainty. The definition “Big Water,”
the one usually given, is considered doubtful by ethnologists. The
statement has been made by intelligent Indians now living on the banks
of the lake that the word, pronounced _Dá-o_ by them, means “deep” and
“blue.” Yet it is much to know that this pearl among all lakes has at
least been fortunate enough to receive an indigenous name, escaping by
a narrow margin the ignominious fate of being called Lake Bigler, for a
former governor of the state. It appears that Fremont was the first to
give to this body of water a name, and it is shown upon his map under
the rather indefinite title of Mountain Lake. Afterward it was known for
a short time as Lake Bigler. The story goes that in 1859 Dr. Henry de
Groot, while exploring the mountains, learned that _tah-oo-ee_ meant “a
great deal of water,” and from this Tahoe was evolved as an appropriate
name, but did not become attached to the lake until the period of the
Civil War. During that time the Reverend Thomas Starr King, the famous
“war” clergyman of San Francisco, visited the lake, and inspired by
indignation against the Democratic Governor Bigler, whom he regarded as
a secessionist, he definitely christened it _Tahoe_, for which we may
be grateful to his memory, regardless of the motives by which he was

Tahoe is partly in Placer, and partly in El Dorado, at the eastern base
of the Sierra Nevada, a portion of its waters also extending into the
state of Nevada. It is twenty-two miles long and ten wide, and has an
elevation of 6225 feet above sea level. It is especially remarkable for
its great depth, being over 1500 feet deep.


_Amador_ (literally “lover”), but in this case a surname. Amador is
the long, narrow county lying between Calaveras and El Dorado, and was
probably named in honor of the Amador family, either Don Pedro Amador,
or his son, José María. Pedro Amador is said to have been a “soldier of
fortune” in the Spanish army, who came to California in 1771. His son,
José María, was also a soldier and a renowned Indian fighter, and was
known to be living as late as 1883.


_Calaveras_ (skulls), is the name of a county in the central part of the
Sierra Nevada, on the eastern border. This county is famous for its gold
and copper mines, and its Giant Sequoias. The river, to which the name of
Calaveras was first given, rises in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada
and flows southwest, emptying into the San Joaquín about fifteen miles
below Stockton.

The river received its rather lugubrious name at the hands of Captain
Moraga, who led the first expedition up the Sacramento and San Joaquín
rivers. In his diary, Moraga says that the river tribes fought against
those of the Sierra for possession of the salmon in the stream, and
that in one battle as many as three thousand were said to have been
killed and left on the field. A great number of skulls, relics of this
bloody conflict, were found by Moraga scattered along the creek bed, and
caused him to give it the name of _Las Calaveras_. We find in Fremont a
corroborating reference to the salmon as a cause of dissension among the
Indians of that region: “This fish had a large share in supporting the
Indians, who raised nothing, but lived on what nature gave. A ‘salmon
water,’ as they named it, was a valuable possession to a tribe or
village, and jealously preserved as an inheritance.”

[Illustration: SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE.

“ ... pearl among all lakes.”]

Particular interest was aroused in the Indian relics of this county some
years ago by the finding of the celebrated “Calaveras skull,” purporting
to have been taken from the Tertiary deposit, a stratum in which no human
remains had ever before been discovered. A close examination into the
circumstances, however, caused scientists to look with great doubt upon
the assertion that the skull had been taken from the Tertiary deposit.
In the _Handbook of American Indians_, published by the Smithsonian
Institute, the following reference appears: “Remains of aborigines are
plentiful in this county, embedded in ancient river gravels, from which
gold was washed. By some scientists these remains were thought to belong
to the Tertiary Age, but their resemblance to the modern Indian makes
this doubtful. The Calaveras skull, still preserved in the Peabody Museum
of Archaeology and Ethnology, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, was said to
have come from the gravels of Bald Mountain, at a depth of 130 feet, but
there are good reasons for suspecting that it was derived from one of the
limestone caves so numerous in that region.”


_Tuolumne_ is the name of the county in the Sierras just east of
Calaveras, and of the river which rises at the base of the Sierra
Nevadas, and flows into the San Joaquín, twenty-five miles south of
Stockton, a part of its course running through a deep canyon.

Here we have another of the river names ending in _umne_, already
discussed under the heading of _Cosumne_. As stated before, _umne_
probably means “people of,” and it is held by some authorities that
the meaning of _Tuolumne_ is “people of the stone houses, or caves.”
Bancroft maintains this theory, holding that the name is a corruption of
_talmalamne_, “a group of stone huts or caves, or collection of wigwams.”
Objection has been raised to this theory on the ground that the Indians
of California were not cave-dwellers, but universally lived in flimsy
huts made of sticks and grass. This objection is cleared away in some
measure by a very interesting paragraph in the diary of Padre Pedro
Muñoz, who accompanied the Gabriel Moraga expedition of 1806 into that
region. The passage in question relates: “On the morning of this day, the
expedition went toward the east along the banks of the river, and having
traveled about six leagues, we came upon a village called _Tautamne_.
This village is situated on some steep precipices, inaccessible on
account of their rough rocks. The Indians live in their _sótanos_
(cellars or caves); they go up and come down by means of a weak stick,
held up by one of themselves while the one who descends slips down. They
did not wish to come down from their hiding-places, and for me the ascent
was too difficult. This village probably has about two hundred souls,
judging by the considerable mass which we repeatedly made out among the
rocks and corridors [or ledges], in the manner of balconies, which the
precipice made.” This meeting with the cave-dwellers occurred at a spot
about six leagues from the Guadalupe River, after the expedition had left
the Merced. It is not, of course, to be inferred from this circumstance
that the California Indians were genuine “cliff dwellers,” but rather
that, at least in the mountainous parts of the state, they may have had
the habit of taking refuge in natural caves from inclement weather or
attacks of enemies.

As to the pronunciation of the word, it is said that the Indians called
it _Tu-ah-lúm-ne_, rather than _Tuólumne_, which is the general usage.


_Mariposa_ (butterfly), is famous as the county that holds within its
borders two of the wonders of the earth, the Yosemite Valley and the
Giant Sequoias. Some of these trees are three hundred feet high, thirty
feet in diameter, and 2400 years old, having unfolded their feathery
fronds before Christ came upon the earth. According to Professor Jepsen,
“they are the direct descendants of the species dominant in the Tertiary
Period,” and thus are a living reminder of the plant life of that dim and
distant past of which the animal life is pictured for us in the fossil
remains of the mammoth and saber-tooth tiger of the La Brea asphalt


“ ... some of these unfolded their feathery fronds before Christ came
upon the earth.”]

Nearly every writer who has attempted to account for the name _Mariposa_
has fallen into the error of ascribing it to the charming little flower
called the Mariposa lily. Fremont, with his intense appreciation of the
beauty of the wild flowers covering the whole country with a carpet of
many hues at the time of his passage over the Sierra, says: “On some of
the higher ridges were fields of a poppy which, fluttering and tremulous
on its long thin stalk, suggests the idea of a butterfly settling on a
flower, and gives to this flower its name of Mariposa (butterflies),
and the flower extends its name to the stream.” It is almost a pity
to demolish such a pretty story, yet it is unavoidable, for the true
explanation is at hand in the diary of Padre Muñoz, who accompanied
the Gabriel Moraga expedition of 1806 into the Sierra. He says: “This
spot [not far from the Merced river], was called _Las Mariposas_ (the
butterflies), on account of their great multitude, especially at night
and in the morning, so much so that they became excessively annoying,
carrying their desire to hide from the rays of the sun so far that they
followed us everywhere, and one even entered into the ear of one of the
leaders of the expedition, causing him a great deal of annoyance, and
not a little trouble in getting it out.” This story is corroborated by
the fact that at the present day equally great numbers of butterflies,
equally annoying, swarm through the mountain forests during a certain
part of the autumn.


_Yosemite_ (grizzly bear, not _large_ grizzly bear, according to the
scientists), said to have been called _Yohamite_ by the natives, is
one of the few Indian names whose meaning has been ascertained with a
reasonable degree of certainty. It must be remembered that Yosemite,
like most Indian words, has been greatly corrupted from its original
form, which was _u-zú-mai-ti_, _o-só-mai-ti_ or _uh-zú-mai-ti_, according
to the tribe using it, and the valley was never known by this name to
the Indians, but always as _A-wa-ni_, from the name of their principal
village. Considering the great alteration of the name from its native
form, it does not seem to be a matter of vital importance whether it
shall now be used as one word, Yosemite, or in two words, Yo Semite,
although the latter form was at one time the more general usage, and is
greatly preferred by some persons. The valley was discovered in 1851
by Major James D. Savage of the United States army, while chasing the
Indians, who had a bad habit of sallying forth from their hiding-place
in the valley to commit depredations. The name was chosen by Dr. L. H.
Bunnell, surgeon of the expedition, who tells the story in his _Discovery
of the Yosemite_. He gave it the name of an Indian tribe living there and
to whom this name had been given by other tribes, they calling themselves
_Ah-wah-nee_. Their chief, Ten-ei-ya, said that when he was a young man
the name _Yosemite_, or _Yohamite_, had been chosen because the tribe
lived in the mountains and valleys which were the favorite resorts of
the bears, and because his people were expert in killing them. He also
said, perhaps in a spirit of boasting, that the name was bestowed upon
his tribe to express the idea that they were held in as much fear as the
bears. This band of Indians was said to have been originally composed of
outlaws or refugees from other tribes, and may have well deserved their
evil reputation.

Indian names, few of which can be scientifically defined, have been given
to many peaks and waterfalls in the valley. In the folder printed by the
Southern Pacific Railroad Company more or less fanciful definitions are
given for these names, for which there is no foundation in fact except in
the case of Yosemite itself and _Hunto_, which really does mean “eye,”
though not “_watching_ eye.” Tenaya Peak was probably named for the
Yosemite chief, Ten-ei-ya. The definition of _Pi-wa-ack_ as “cataract of
diamonds” is absurd on its face, for a moment’s thought will remind any
one that diamonds were wholly unknown to the Indians of that time and

“_Ma-ta_ (the canyon), a generic word, in explaining which the Indians
held up both hands to denote perpendicular walls.”—(Powers’ _Tribes of

“_Tis-se-yak_ is the name of an Indian woman who figured in a legend.
The Indian woman cuts her hair straight across the forehead and allows
the sides to drop along her cheeks, presenting a square face, which the
Indians account the acme of female beauty, and they think they discover
this square face in the vast front of South Dome.”—(Powers’ _Tribes of

_Cho-ko-nip-o-deh_, translated as “baby basket” in the Southern Pacific
folder, means literally “dog-place” or “dog-house.”—(Powers’ _Tribes of


_Mono_ is the name of a county on the eastern border of the state, and
of the lake near the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada. This lake is
fourteen miles long and nine miles wide, and is peculiar in having no
outlet, its waters being strongly saline and alkaline. It lies 6730 feet
above sea-level and is almost completely destitute of animal life.


“The valley was called by the Indians _A-wa-ni_, from the name of their
principal village.”]

This name, corrupted from _Monache_, the name of the Indians of this
region, through its resemblance to the Spanish word _mono_ (monkey), has
been the cause of considerable confusion, and of a number of extravagant
theories, such as the supposed existence of monkeys in that country,
or the resemblance of the natives to those animals, but the similarity
between the two words is regarded by ethnologists as purely accidental.
The meaning is obscure, but it is said that the name was applied to some
Shoshonean tribes of southeastern California by their neighbors on the


_Inyo_, a word of unknown meaning, was the name of a tribe of Indians in
the Sierra. Inyo County is on the eastern border of the state, adjacent
to Nevada. Its largest stream is the Owens River, which flows into Owens
Lake, another body of saline water having no outlet. This county has the
unenviable distinction of containing within its borders the terrible
“Death Valley,” where the bones of so many unfortunates have been left
to whiten under the desert sun, and which still claims a victim now and
then. This desolate valley is forty miles long, lying far below the
level of the sea, is destitute of all vegetation, totally without water,
subject to terrific heat, and in all respects well deserves its funereal
name. Inyo is unique in containing the highest and lowest points in the
United States, Mount Whitney and Death Valley, within sight of each
other. In other parts of the county the mountain scenery is of remarkable
grandeur, and the gold mines in which it is unusually rich are still
worked with profit.


_Amargosa_ (bitter), is the very appropriate name of a river of Nevada
and southeastern California which flows into Death Valley, sometimes
known also as the Amargosa Desert. The mountains lying northeast of the
river’s upper course are sometimes called the Amargosa Mountains. Fremont
gives a characteristic picture of this dreary country in the following
paragraph: “We traveled through a barren district, where a heavy gale was
blowing about the loose sand, and, after a ride of eight miles, reached
a large creek of salt and bitter water, running in a westerly direction,
to meet the stream bed we had left. It is called by the Spaniards
_Amargosa_, the bitter water of the desert.”


_Alta_ (high), is a village in Placer County, sixty-eight miles northeast
of Sacramento, two miles from the great American Canyon. The altitude of
this place is 3607 feet above sea level. The name is modern and was only
given to the place after the building of the Central Pacific Railroad.

_Cerro Gordo_ (large, thick hill), is the name of a famous mining camp in
Inyo County.

_Cisco_ is a town in Placer County, situated at an altitude of 5934 feet
above sea level. Cisco is a word of disputed origin. It has been said to
be derived from the Algonquin word _cisco_, meaning a fish, a sort of
oily herring found in the Great Lakes, but it seems unlikely that such
a name should be transported all the way from the Great Lakes to the
Sierras, especially as no fish of that kind is to be found there. Other
persons believe the word to be derived from the Spanish _cisco_ (broken
pieces of coal), but for this there appears to be no legitimate reason.
In the _History of Placer County_ the statement is made that the town was
named for John J. Cisco, at one time connected with the United States
Government, an explanation which is probably the true one.

_Esmeralda_ (emerald), a village in Calaveras County.

_Hetch Hetchy_ is the Indian name of a deep valley in the Sierra,
lying north of the Yosemite, which will some day cease to be a valley
and become a lake, as the people of San Francisco have succeeded in
obtaining the permission of the United States Government to turn it into
a reservoir for the city’s water supply. An explanation of the meaning
of the word Hetch Hetchy has been obtained through the kindness of John
Muir, who says: “I have been informed by mountaineers who know something
of the Indian language that Hetch Hetchy is the name of a species of
grass that the Tuolumne Indians used for food, and which grows on the
meadow at the lower end of the valley. The grain, when ripe, was gathered
and beaten out and pounded into meal in mortars.” The word was originally
spelled _Hatchatchie_.

_Lancha Plana_ (flat-boat), is in Amador County, and its story is thus
told by Mr. Junius Farnsworth, an old resident of Stockton: “This town
is located across the Mokelumne River from Poverty Bar, a name given to
a gravel bar in the river which was exceedingly rich in placer gold, and
to which thousands of early day miners were attracted. Those who came
from the north side of the Mokelumne centered in Lancha Plana and reached
Poverty Bar by means of a flat-boat, or flat ferry. The Spanish soon
designated the settlement on the north bank of the river as Lancha Plana,
as it was the point at which the flat-boat tied up.”

_Moquelumne_ is the name of a river which rises in the high Sierra in
Alpine County, flows southwesterly and empties into the San Joaquín.
The word is a corruption of the Miwok _Wakalumitoh_, the Indian name
of the river. The Moquelumne family was made up of an aggregation of
tribes which occupied three sections, one lying between the Cosumnes and
Fresno Rivers, another in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties, and a third
occupying a small area in the south end of Lake County. (A. L. Kroeber,
in _American Anthrop._ VIII, no. 4, 1906.) The Miwoks constituted the
great body of this family, the different branches of which were connected
by a similarity of languages. The Miwoks are described as being quite
low in the scale of civilization, and “it has been asserted that this
tribe of Indians ate every variety of living creature indigenous to their
territory except the skunk. The skins of jack-rabbits were rudely woven
into robes, and they bought bows and arrows from the mountain Indians
for shell money. Cremation of the dead was usual, and all possessions
of the departed were burned with them. Their names were never afterward
mentioned and those who bore the same names changed them for others.
Widows covered their faces with pitch, and the younger women singed their
hair short as a sign of widowhood.”—(_Handbook of American Indians._)
_Muk-kel_ was the name of the principal village of this tribe, and if
_umne_ does in fact mean “people of”, Moquelumne may be “people of the
village of Muk-kel.”

_Panamint Range_ of mountains was named for the Panamint tribe, who
belonged to the Shoshonean family, and lived around the Panamint Valley,
in Inyo County, southeastern California. Many unfortunate seekers after
gold have lost their lives in this desolate mountain range.

_Pinto Range_ (painted or spotted range), so-called because of the
variegated colors of the rocks. This range is in Inyo County.

_San Andreas_ (St. Andrew), is the county-seat of Calaveras County,
and is situated near the Calaveras River, fifty-six miles southeast of
Sacramento. Placer gold mining was at one time extensively carried on
here. St. Andrew, the patron saint of this place, was the brother of
Simon Peter, and was the first called to be an apostle. He suffered
martyrdom by being crucified, supposedly on a cross shaped like the one
that bears his name. He is the patron of the Order of the Golden Fleece,
and of the great Order of the Cross of St. Andrew.—(_Stories of the
Saints._) San Andreas is anomalous in being almost the only Spanish name
in the mining district. The circumstances of its naming have not been

_Sonora_, named for the province of Sonora in Mexico, is the capital of
Tuolumne County, and is situated ninety miles southeast of Sacramento.
It received its name from the large number of Sonorans from the Mexican
province who mined there in the very early days. This is a mining period
name and has no real connection with Spanish names.

_Tenaya Peak_ in Yosemite Valley is named for Ten-ei-ya, chief of the
Yosemite Indians.

_Vallecito_ (little valley), is in Calaveras County, fifty-five miles
northeast of Stockton.

_Wawona_, in Mariposa County, is said by some authorities to be a
Moquelumnan word meaning “big tree,” but this definition is regarded by
ethnologists with doubt.


_Camino Real_ (royal road, or the King’s highway). The Camino Real was
the road connecting the missions, and was the chief means of intercourse
between the different settlements during the early years of the state’s
history. After American occupation the road fell into disuse, but at
present is being reconstructed along the old route, with many extensions
and branches, and will, when finished, be one of the finest roads in the
United States.


While it scarcely falls within the province of this book to enter into
an elaborate discussion of the matter of pronunciation of Spanish names,
it is thought desirable to present a few of the simplest rules, with
some examples, so that persons unacquainted with the language may avoid
at least the worst of those pit-falls set for their inexperienced feet
by our nomenclature. It should be mentioned that in California the
Spanish-American usage, rather than the Castilian, is followed in the
pronunciation of the c and z. The rules of pronunciation quoted here
are those given in Ramsey’s text books, generally regarded as excellent


_A_ sounds like _a_ in _ah_, midway between the English _a_ in _father_
and that in _fat_. Example, _Pala_, pronounced _Pah´lah_.

_E_ sounds like _a_ in _hay_, its sound being slightly varied according
to situation. Example, _Rode´o_, pronounced _Ro-day´o_.

_I_ sounds like _ee_ in _bee_. Example, _Vista_, pronounced _Vees´tah_.

_O_ sounds like _o_ in _hope_. Example, _Contra Costa_, pronounced
_Cone´trah Coast´ah_. This name is frequently mispronounced by using the
short sound of _o_, as in _not_.

_U_ sounds like _u_ in _rule_. Example, _La Punta_, pronounced _La

_Y_, when a vowel, is equivalent to _i_. _Y_ is considered a vowel only
when standing alone, as in _y_ (the conjunction _and_), or at the end of
a word, as in _ley_ (law), but is sometimes used interchangeably with
_I_ at the beginning of a word, as in _San Ysidro_, pronounced _San
Ee-see´dro_, and sometimes spelled _Isidro_. In other cases it is a
consonant and is pronounced like the _y_ in the English _yard_.


Only those consonant sounds differing from English usage need be
mentioned here.

_C_ has two sounds. Before _e_ and _i_ it is pronounced like _s_ in
_seat_, that is, in Spanish-American usage; examples, _Cerro_, pronounced
_Ser´ro_, and _Cima_, pronounced _See´mah_. In all other cases _c_ has
the sound of _k_; examples, _Carlos_, pronounced _Kar´loce_, _Colorado_,
pronounced _Ko-lo-rah´do_ (each _o_ long, as in _hope_), _Cuesta_,
pronounced _Kwes´tah_, and _Cruz_, pronounced _Kroos_.

_Ch_ has the sound of _ch_ in _church_. Example, _Chico_, pronounced

_D_ is slightly softened, and when occurring between vowels and at the
end of words it is almost like _th_ in _then_. Examples, _Andrade_,
pronounced _Ahn-drah´-dthay_, and _Soledad_, pronounced _Sole-ay-dadth_.

_G_ has two sounds. Before _e_ and _i_ it has the sound of strongly
aspirated _h_. Examples, _German´_, pronounced _Hare-mahn´_, and _giro_,
pronounced _hee´ro_. In all other cases it sounds like _g_ in _go_.
Examples, _Gaviota_, _Goleta_, _Guadalupe_, _Granada_. In _gue_ and
_gui_ the _u_ is regularly silent; exceptions to this rule are marked
by the diaeresis, as in _Argüello_, pronounced _Ar-gwayl´yo_, or in
Spanish-American, _Ar-gway´yo_.

_H_ is silent except in the combined character _ch_. Example, _La Honda_,
pronounced _La On´dah_, with long _o_, as in _hope_.

_J_ has the sound of strongly aspirated _h_. Examples, _Pájaro_,
pronounced _Pah´hah-ro_, and _San José_, pronounced _San Ho-say´_. This
letter is one of the worst stumbling-blocks in the pronunciation of
Spanish names.

_Ll_ has the sound of the letters _lli_ in the English _million_, but in
many parts of Spanish-America it is pronounced like _y_ in _beyond_. The
latter is not considered an elegant pronunciation. Example, _Vallejo_,
properly pronounced _Val-yay´ho_, but in Spanish-American, _Va-yay´ho_.

_N_ has the sound of the letters _ni_ in the English _pinion_. Example,
_Cañada_, pronounced _Can-yah´dthah_.

_Q_ only occurs before _ue_ and _ui_, and sounds like _k_, the following
_u_ being always silent. Example, _San Quintín_, pronounced _San

_S_ has the hissing sound of _s_ in _say_, _base_, and is never
pronounced like _sh_ as in _mansion_, or _z_ as in _rose_. Thus in _Santa
Rosa_ the _s_ is sharply hissed and is not pronounced as _Santa Roza_.

_Z_ is sounded in Spanish-America like sharply hissed _s_, as in _say_ or
_base_. Example, _Zamora_, pronounced _Sah-mo´rah_.

A peculiarity of pronunciation common to almost all Spaniards is the
confusion of the _b_ and the _v_ so that one can hardly be distinguished
from the other. Vowel sounds are pronounced shortly and crisply, never
with the drawling circumflex sound sometimes heard in English. Without
going into the complications of the division of syllables, it may be
stated that the fundamental principle is to make syllables end in a vowel
as far as possible; examples, _Do-lo-res_ (not _Do-lor-es_), _Sa-li-nas_
(not _Sal-in-as_).


All words ending in _n_ or _s_ or a vowel are regularly accented on the
next to the last syllable; examples, _Sausalíto_, _Altúras_, _cómen_.
All others are accented on the last syllable; examples, _San Rafael´_,
_Avenal´_. In words following the above rules no mark is used, but in the
exceptions, which are many, the stress must be indicated by the written
accent. Examples, _Portolá_, _Jolón_, _Álamo_, _Los Ángeles_.


In the Spanish language articles agree with their nouns in gender and
number. The forms of the definite article are _el_ (singular) and _los_
(plural) for the masculine, _la_ (singular) and _las_ (plural) for the
feminine. Examples, _El Portal_ (the portal, or gate), _Los Gatos_ (the
cats), _La Paz_ (the peace), _Las Vírgenes_ (the virgins).


  _Agua_             pronounced _Ah´gwah_. Spanish Americans often
                                  mispronounce this word by leaving out
                                  the _g_, calling it _ah´wa_.

  _Aguajito_             ”      _Ah-gwah-hee´to_.

  _Alameda_              ”      _Ah-lah-may´dthah_.

  _Los Ángeles_          ”      _Loce Ahng´hell-ess_.

  _Asunción_             ”      _Ah-soon-see-on´_, with the _o_ long, as
                                  in _hope_.

  _El Cajón_             ”      _El Kah-hon´_, with the _o_ long, as in

  _Camino Real_          ”      _Kah-mee´no Ray-ahl_´.

  _Cañada_               ”      _Kahn-yah´dtha_, with the _d_ slightly
                                    softened like _th_ in _then_.

  _Carpintería_          ”      _Kar-peen-tay-ree´ah_.

  _Carquínez_            ”      _Kar-kee´ness_.

  _Conejo_               ”      _Ko-nay´ho_.

  _Corral_               ”      _Kore-rahl´_.

  _Dolores_              ”      _Do-lo´ress_.

  _Farallones_           ”      _Fah-rahl-yo´ness_, in Spanish-American,

  _Los Gatos_            ”      _Loce Gah´tos_, the _o_ long, as
                                  in _hope_.

  _Guadalupe_            ”      _Gwa-dah-loo´pay_.

  _La Jolla_             ”      _La Hole´yah_, or in Spanish-American,

  _La Joya_              ”      _La Ho´yah_.

  _La Junta_             ”      _La Hoon´tah_.

  _Laguna Seca_          ”      _Lah-goo´nah Say´cah_.

  _Lagunitas_            ”      _Lah-goo-nee´tas_.

  _Matilija_             ”      _Mah-tee-lee´hah_.

  _Merced_               ”      _Mare-sedth´_, with the _d_ slightly
                                  softened like _th_ in _then_.

  _Mesa_                 ”      _May´sah_.

  _Ojo_                  ”      _O´ho_, with the _j_ strongly aspirated.

  _Pájaro_               ”      _Pah´hah-ro_.

  _Paso Robles_          ”      _Pah´so Ro´blace_.

  _Portolá_              ”      _Por-to-lah´_.

  _Punta Arenas_         ”      _Poon´tah Ah-ray´nas_.

  _Rodéo_                ”      _Ro-day´o_.

  _Salinas_              ”      _Sah-lee´nas_.

  _San Gerónimo_         ”      _Sahn Hay-ro´nee-mo_.

  _San Jacinto_          ”      _Sahn Hah-seen´to_.

  _San Joaquín_          ”      _Sahn Wha-keen´_.

  _San José_             ”      _Sahn Ho-say´_.

  _San Juan Bautista_    ”      _Sahn Whan Bau-tees´ta_.

  _San Julián_           ”      _Sahn Hoo-lee-ahn´_.

  _San Luís Obispo_      ”      _Sahn Loo-ees´ O-bees´po_.

  _San Martín_           ”      _Sahn Mar-teen´_.

  _San Quintín_          ”      _Sahn Keen-teen´_, colloquially spelled

  _Santa Fé_             ”      _Sahnta Fay´_.

  _Santa Inez_           ”      _Sahnta Ee-ness´_.

  _San Ysidro_           ”      _Sahn Ee-see´dro_, also spelled _Isidro_.

  _Suñol_                ”      _Soon-yole´_.

  _Vallejo_              ”      _Val-yay´ho_, in Spanish-American

  _Las Vírgenes_         ”      _Las Veer´hen-ess_.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE MISSIONS.

Used by the courtesy of Father Engelhardt.]

[Illustration: FINAL LIST AND INDEX]


_Abalone_ (the great sea-snail of the Pacific Coast). See page 75.

_Acampo_ (common pasture). See page 282. This name is used here in the
sense of “camp,” and was given by the Southern Pacific Railroad years
ago, in reference to a camp of wood choppers and Chinese which was
located there.

_Acolito_ (acolyte), is in Imperial County.

_Adelante_ (onward, forward), now changed to Napa Junction, is in Napa
County. This place was called _Adelante_ in the hope that its location on
Napa River would cause it to become the principal city of the valley.

_Adobe_ (sun-dried brick).

_Agua_ (water), is in very common use in referring to springs, usually
accompanied by a qualifying adjective. See page 339. This word is usually
mispronounced by Spanish Americans.

_Agua Amargosa_ (bitter water). See page 154.

_Agua Caliente_ (hot water, hot spring). See pages 76 and 259.

_Agua Cayendo_ (falling water).

_Agua Dulce_ (sweet water, fresh water).

_Agua Fria_ (cold water, cold spring).

_Agua Hedionda_ (stinking water, sulphur spring).

_Aguaje del Centinela_ (water hole, or watering place of the sentinel),
the title of a land grant.

_Agua del Medio_ (middle spring).

_Aguajito_ (little water hole). Near Monterey, in a delightful little
glen, there were a number of these springs, or water holes, where the
women were in the habit of doing the town washing, kneeling upon the
ground and washing the clothing directly in the springs. This place was
called _Los Aguajitos_ (the water holes), by the Spanish residents,
and “washerwoman’s canyon” by the Americans. In the pastoral days of
California, entire families climbed into their ox-carts, made with solid
wooden wheels, and, provided with a liberal lunch basket, made a picnic
of “blue Monday” under the green trees of _Los Aguajitos_ canyon. See
page 339.

_Agua Mansa_ (still water, smooth-running current). One writer, for what
reason does not appear, defines this as “house water.” This place is in
Southern California, near Colton.

_Agua Puerca_ (dirty or muddy water).

_Agua Puerca y las Trancas_ (muddy water and the bars, or stiles). This
was the peculiar title of a land grant, based, no doubt, upon some
trivial circumstance now forgotten. One writer has translated it as
“water fit for pigs and Frenchmen,” a gratuitous insult to the French
people of which the Spaniards were not guilty. This writer evidently
mistook the word _puerca_ (muddy or dirty) for _puerca_ (sow), and by
some strange twist of the imagination, seems to have taken _trancas_ to
mean Frenchmen!

_Agua Tibia_ (tepid or warm water, warm spring). See page 36.

_Agua de Vida_ (water of life).

_Aguilar_ (the place of eagles).

_Las Águilas_ (the eagles). _Real de las Águilas_ means the “camp of the

_Ahwanee_ (an Indian place name), popularly but not authentically
translated as “a deep or grassy valley,” is the name of a place in Madera

“_A-wa-ni_ was the name of a large village standing directly at the foot
of Yosemite Fall.”—(Powers’ _Tribes of California_.)

_Alameda_ (an avenue shaded by trees, or a cottonwood grove). This word
is derived from _álamo_, a poplar tree known in the West as cottonwood.
See pages 208 and 339.

_Los Alamitos_ (the little cottonwoods). See page 76.

_Álamo_ (cottonwood). See page 227.

_Los Álamos_ (the cottonwoods). See page 105.

_Los Álamos y Agua Caliente_ (the cottonwoods and hot spring), the title
of a land grant.

_Alcalde_ (mayor, justice of the peace). This place is in the southern
part of Fresno County.

_Alcatraz_ (pelican), see page 203.

_Alessandro_ (Alexander). This place is in Riverside County.

_Alhambra_, near Los Ángeles, was named for the famous Alhambra of
Spain. The Alhambra was an ancient palace and fortress of the Moorish
monarchs of Granada in Southern Spain, probably built between 1248 and
1354. The word signifies in Arabic “the red,” and was perhaps given to
this building in allusion to the color of the bricks of which the outer
walls are constructed. “The marvelous beauty of the architecture of this
structure has been greatly injured by alterations, earthquakes, etc., yet
it still remains the most perfect example of Moorish art in its final
European development.”

_El Alisal_ (alder grove).

_Aliso_ (alder), see page 76.

_Los Alisos_ (the alders).

_Almadén_ (mine, mineral). See page 178.

_Alta_ (high). See page 329.

_Alto_ (high), is near San Francisco.

_Los Altos_ (the heights), is about fifteen miles from Los Gatos.

_Altúras_ (heights). See page 259.

_Alvarado_ (a surname). See page 227.

_Alviso_ (a surname). See page 178.

_Amador_ (a surname). See page 310.

_Amargosa_ (bitter). See page 328.

_American River._ See page 299.

_Anacapa Island._ This name is Indian, but the popular story that it
means “vanishing island, disappearing island,” is probably not authentic.
“_Anacapa_ is a corruption of Vancouver’s Indian name of the island,
_Enneeapah_; the engraver spelled it _Enecapah_ on the chart, and
subsequent compilers have endeavored to give it a Spanish form.”—(Geo.
Davidson in _United States Coast and Geodetic Survey_.)

_Andrade_ (a surname). This place is near Calexico.

_Los Ángeles_ (the angels). See pages 51 and 339.

_Angel Island._ See page 204.

_Las Ánimas_ (the souls). See page 65.

_Año Nuevo_ (new year). See page 157.

_Aptos_ is said to be an Indian name, meaning “the meeting of two
streams,” in reference to Valencia and Aptos Creeks. As this was a method
of naming very much in vogue among the Indians, it is likely that this is
the true explanation of Aptos.

_Arena_ (sand). See page 259.

_Las Arenas_ (the sands).

_Punta de Arenas_ (sandy point), a cape on the coast of Mendocino County.

_Argüello_ (a surname). See page 106.

_Armada_ (fleet, squadron). The Armada was the name of the great fleet
sent against England by Philip II in 1588. Whether the name of this town,
situated in Riverside County, has this origin has not been ascertained.

_Las Aromitas y Agua Caliente_ (the little perfumes and hot spring),
title of a land grant.

_Aromas_ (the odors, perfumes), is in San Benito County.

_Arroyo_ (a creek or small stream). The designation _arroyo_ is
sometimes applied to the dry bed of a former stream. It does not, as is
sometimes thought, refer only to a bed with steep sides, but is applied
as well to shallow streams flowing through level country.

_Arroyo de la Alameda_ (creek of the cottonwood grove).

_Arroyo Buenos Aires_ (creek of the good airs). See page 282.

_Arroyo del Burro_ (jackass creek).

_Arroyo Chico_ (little creek). See page 283.

_Arroyo de los Dolores_ (creek of the sorrows). Dolores Creek in San
Francisco was so-named “because this was the Friday of Sorrows.”

_Arroyo de los Gatos_ (creek of the cats—wild-cats).

_Arroyo Grande_ (big creek). See page 127.

_Arroyo Hondo_ (deep creek). See page 179.

_Arroyo de la Laguna_ (creek of the lagoon).

_Arroyo Medio_ (middle creek).

_Arroyo de las Nueces y Bolbones_ (creek of the walnuts and Bolbones).
The meaning of Bolbones has not been ascertained, but it may have been
the name of an Indian tribe.

_Arroyo del Norte_ (creek of the north).

_Arroyo Real de las Águilas_ (creek of the camp of the eagles).

_Arroyo del Rodéo_ (creek of the cattle round-up).

_Arroyo Seco_ (dry creek). See page 157.

_Asfalto_ (asphalt), incorrectly spelled _asphalto_, is in southwestern
Kern County.

_Asunción_ (ascension). See pages 97 and 339.

_Atascadero_ (bog-mire). See page 127. The Atascadero is one of the
largest ranches in the state, comprising 22000 acres.

_Avena_ (oats), is in Inyo County.

_Avenal_ (a field sown with oats). See page 127.

_Avenales_ (wild oats).

_Avila_ (a surname), eight miles from San Luís Obispo, was probably named
for a pioneer family of Los Ángeles.

_Azusa._ See page 77. This is the name of a place in Los Ángeles County.

_El Bailarín_ (the dancer). See page 99.

_Ballena_ (whale). See page 39.

_Bandini_ (a surname). See page 77.

_Los Baños_ (the baths), is in Merced County, thirty-five miles southwest
of Merced. This place was so-called from the creek, which has large,
deep pools of clear water that were used by the early inhabitants as a
bathing place.

_Barranca_ (ravine).

_La Barranca Colorada_ (the red ravine).

_Barril_ (barrel).

_Barro_ (clay).

_Batata_ (sweet potato), is in Merced County, and is so-called because it
lies in the best sweet potato growing district in California.

_Baulines_, see page 228.

_Bella Vista_ (beautiful view).

_Bellota_ (acorn), is in San Joaquín County.

_Benicia_ (a surname). See page 223.

_Berenda_, probably a misspelling of _berrenda_ (female antelope), is in
Madera County.

_Berrendo_ (antelope). See page 40.

_Berrendos_ (antelopes). See page 40.

_Berros_ (water-cresses), is in San Luís Obispo County.

_Berryessa_ (a surname).

_Blanco_ (white). See page 157. In early days an American named Thomas
White lived near the present town of Blanco. His name was translated into
the Spanish form for white, _blanco_, by the native residents, and the
place became known by that name.

_Boca_ (mouth), in this case refers to the mouth of the Truckee River, in
Nevada County.

_La Boca de la Cañada del Pinole_ (the mouth of the valley of the cereal
meal). This was a land grant, which received its peculiar name from the
fact of the Spaniards having been compelled to live on pinole while they
awaited the return of a party with supplies from Monterey. See _Pinole_,
page 231.

_Boca de la Playa_ (mouth of the beach).

_Boca de Santa Mónica_ (mouth of Santa Mónica).

_Bodega_ (a surname). See page 259.

_Bolinas_, probably a corruption of _Baulines_, an Indian word. See page

_Bolsa_ (pocket), often used to mean a “shut-in place.” See page 78.

_La Bolsa_ (the pocket), is near Newport Beach.

_Las Bolsas_ (the pockets).

_Bolsa de Chamisal_ (pocket of the wild cane, or reeds). The chamisal,
sometimes incorrectly spelled chemisal, is defined in the dictionaries
as wild cane, or reed, but in California, at least, it is applied to a
“shrub attaining a height of six or eight feet. Its thickets are almost
impassable except by bears or similar animals, as the branches are low
and very stiff and tough. In some places men are only able to penetrate
it by crawling.”—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Bolsa Chica_ (little pocket).

_Bolsa de las Escorpinas_ (pocket of the perch.)

_Bolsa Nueva y Moro Cojo_ (new pocket and lame Moor). The word _Moro_ was
often used to mean anything black, as, for instance, a lame black horse,
for which the Moro Cojo Rancho, near Monterey, is said to have been named.

_Bolsa del Pájaro_ (pocket of the bird).

_Bolsa del Potrero_, _y_ _Moro Cojo ó la Sagrada Familia_ (pocket of the
pasture, and the lame Moor or the Holy Family). This is the combined name
of several land grants.

_Bolsa de San Felipe_ (pocket of St. Philip).

_Bonito_ (pretty). See page 228.

_La Brea_ (the asphalt). See page 54.

_El Buchón_ (the big craw). See page 127.

_Buena Vista_ (good view).

_Bueyes_ (oxen).

_Los Burros_ (the donkeys, or jackasses), is in San Luís Obispo County.

_Cabeza_ (head).

_Dos Cabezas_ (two heads).

_Cabeza de Santa Rosa_ (head of St. Rose).

_Cabezón_ (big head). See page 78.

_Cabrillo_ (a surname), the name of a cape on the coast of Mendocino
County. See page 259.

_Cádiz_, between Needles and Barstow, was probably named for the
well-known Spanish city of the same name. “In naming the stations on
the Southern Pacific Railroad from Mojave to Needles going east, an
alphabetical order was used, Barstow, Cádiz, Daggett, etc., until Needles
was reached.”—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Cahto_, Mendocino County, Indian, probable meaning “lake.”

_Cahuenga_, near Los Ángeles, is an Indian name, that of a former village.

_Cahuilla_, is said to be a corruption of the Indian word Ka-wia. See
page 78.

_El Cajón_ (the box, or canyon). The name of _El Cajón_ was first given
to a valley lying about fifteen miles east of San Diego. The valley
comprises about 16,000 acres of level land entirely surrounded by hills
several hundred feet high, thus presenting a box-like appearance that
gave rise to its name. See pages 41 and 339.

_Cajón Pass_ is in San Bernardino County.

_Calabazas_ (pumpkins), see page 79.

_Calaveras_ (skulls). See page 311.

_Calexico_, on the border of Lower California, is a hybrid word made up
of the first part of California and the last of Mexico. Its counterpart
on the Mexican side is _Mexicali_, in which the process is reversed.

_Caliente_ (hot). See page 282.

_Caliente Creek._ See page 41. This creek was so-named because its water
is warm.

_California_, see page 13.

_Calistoga_, see page 259.

_Calneva_ and _Calvada_ are two more hybrids, made up of syllables from
California and Nevada.

_Calor_, near the Oregon line, is likely to cause confusion by its
resemblance to the Spanish word _calor_, (heat); this Calor is one of
those composite words to which Californians are so regrettably addicted,
and is made up of the first syllables of California and Oregon.

_Calpella_ was named for the chief of a village situated just south of
the present town, near Pomo, in Mendocino County. The chief’s name was

_Calzona_ is another trap for the unwary, through its resemblance to the
Spanish word _calzones_ (breeches); it is one more of those border towns
bearing names made up of the syllables of two state names, in this case,
California and Arizona.

_Camanche_, a post town in Calaveras County, was so-named in honor of the
great Camanche, or Comanche tribe, whose remarkable qualities are thus
described by Father Morfi in his _Memorias de Texas_, a document written
about the year 1778: “The Comanche nation is composed of five thousand
fighting men, divided into five tribes, each with a different name. They
are very superior to all the others in number of people, extent of the
territory that they occupy, modesty of their dress, hospitality to all
who visit them, humanity towards all captives except Apaches, and their
bravery, which is remarkable even in the women. They live by hunting
and war, and this wandering disposition is the worst obstacle to their
reduction, for it induces them to steal. Nevertheless, they are very
generous with what they have, and so proud that one alone is capable of
facing a whole camp of enemies if he cannot escape without witnesses to
his flight.” Both spellings are used in the original records.

_Camaritas_ (small cabins or rooms). The application of this name has not
been ascertained. It may refer to Indian huts seen by the Spaniards, or
may have a totally different meaning.

_Camino Real_ (royal road, or the King’s highway). See page 339.

_Campo_ (a level field, a camp, the country). See page 41.

_El Campo_ (the field or camp), places in Marin and San Diego Counties.

_Campo de los Franceses_ (field or camp of the Frenchmen).

_Campo seco_ (dry field or camp), in Calaveras County.

_Camulos_, or _Kamulas_. See page 105.

_Cañada_ (valley or dale between mountains). See page 339.

_Cañada de los Alisos_ (valley of the alders).

_Cañada del Bautismo_ (valley of the baptism). See page 41.

_Cañada de los Capitancillos_ (valley of the little captains).

_Cañada de la Carpintería_ (valley of the carpenter-shop). See page 100.

_Cañada de los Coches_ (valley of the pigs). _Coche_, used in the sense
of “pig”, is a Mexicanism, said to have originated in the state of Sonora.

_Cañada del Corte de Madera_ (valley of the wood-cutting place).

_Cañada del Hambre y las Bolsas_ (valley of hunger and the pockets), a
name said to have been given to this canyon because some Spanish soldiers
nearly perished of starvation there. A _bolsa_ is a pocket, or shut-in

_Cañada Larga_ (long valley).

_Cañada de los Muertos_ (valley of the dead).

_Cañada de los Nogales_ (valley of the walnut-trees).

_Cañada de los Noques_ (valley of the tan-pits).

_Cañada del Osito_ (valley of the little bear). See page 127.

_Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay_, valley of the bears and breast
(perhaps referring to Pecho Mountain in San Luís Obispo County), and
wild cherry. _Islay_ is said to be a California Indian word meaning wild
cherry. Islais Creek, San Francisco, may take its name from the wild

_Cañada de los Pinos_ (valley of the pines).

_Cañada de Raymundo_ (valley of Raymond).

_Cañada del Rincón en el Río San Lorenzo de Santa Cruz_ (valley of the
corner section on the river San Lorenzo of Santa Cruz).

_Cañada de Sal si Puedes_ (valley of “get out if you can”). See page 109.

_Cañada de San Felipe y las Ánimas_ (valley of St. Philip and the souls).

_Cañada Segunda_ (second valley).

_Cañada de los Vaqueros_ (valley of the cow-boys).

_Cañada Verde, y Arroyo de la Purísima Concepción_ (green valley and
creek of the immaculate conception).

_Capay_, in Yolo County, is Indian, but its meaning has not been

_Capistrano_, see page 35.

_El Capitán_ (the captain), the name of a precipice in the Yosemite

_Capitán_ (captain), the name of a flag station in Santa Bárbara County.
It was named for a ranch owned by Captain Ortega, which was called
_Capitán_, in reference to his title.

_Capitán Grande_ (big captain). The origin of this name has not been

_La Carbonera_ (the charcoal pit).

_Carnadero_, a corrupt word used to mean “butchering-place.”

_Carne Humana_ (human flesh). See page 246.

_Carneros_ (sheep). _Carnero_ is especially applied to sheep used for
mutton, rather than wool.

_Carpintería_ (carpenter-shop). See pages 100 and 339.

_Carquínez._ See pages 228 and 339.

_Carriso_ (large water bunch grass or reed-grass). See page 42.

_Casa Blanca_ (white house). See page 79.

_Casa Grande_ (big house). This place was so-called by the Spanish
explorers on account of an unusually large Indian house they saw here.
They speak of finding a “large village of many houses, and among them one
extremely large.” This place is not to be confused with the famous _Casa
Grande_ in Arizona.

_El Casco_ (the skull, or outside shell of anything). See page 79. As
_casco_ also has the meaning of potsherd, or fragment of a broken vessel,
a theory has been deduced that it was so-called because of a resemblance
between the hollow in the hills where the place is located and a
potsherd. This is one of those extremely far-fetched theories which are
not likely to have any basis in fact.

_Castac_, an Indian word. The Castake was one of several tribes
occupying the country from Buena Vista and Kern Lakes to the Sierra
Nevada and Coast Range. Castake Lake in the Tejón Pass region derives
its name from this tribe. According to Professor A. L. Kroeber, _castac_
means “my eyes.”

_Castroville_, a composite word made up of Castro, a surname, and the
French _ville_ (town). The Castro family was perhaps the most numerous in
California. Its most prominent member was General José Castro, of whom
Bancroft says: “The charges against him of mal-treatment of settlers were
unfounded. His conduct was more honorable, dignified, and consistent than
that of Fremont, and he treated immigrants with uniform kindness. He was
not a very able man, but energetic, popular, true to his friends, and in
public office fairly honest. An injustice has been done him in painting
him as a cowardly, incompetent braggart. He was at one time Commandante
General of California.” The town of Castroville, named for this prominent
family, is near Monterey.

_Catalina_, see page 62.

_Cayeguas_ was named for a former Indian village near San Buenaventura.
This village was among those mentioned in the mission archives.

The meaning of the word _Cayeguas_ is “my head.”—(A. L. Kroeber.)

_Cayucos._ See page 127.

_Cazadero_ (hunting-place). See page 260.

_Centinela_ (sentinel).

_El Centro_ (the center), three miles from Imperial and so-named because
it is practically the center of the valley. This name is recent.

_Cerro_ (hill), near Sacramento.

_Cerro Chico_ (little hill).

_Cerro Gordo_ (fat, thick hill). See page 329.

_Los Cerritos_ (the little hills), in Los Ángeles County.

_Los Cerros_ (the hills).

_Cerro de las Posas_ (hill of the pools or wells). The translation “hill
of the seat” has been given to this by one writer, apparently without any
justification. _Posa_, or _poso_, was in constant use among the Spaniards
in the sense of “pool” or “well.”

_Cerro del Venado_ (hill of the deer).

_El Chamisal_ (thicket of wild cane or reed).

_Chico_ (little). See page 282.

_Chileno_ (Chilean, native of Chile). See page 260.

_Las chimeneas_ (the chimneys), old volcanic rock shaped like chimneys.
This place is in San Luís Obispo County.

_Chino_, a word which may mean a Chinese, or a person with curly hair.
The town of Chino, in San Bernardino County, took its name from the land
grant called _Santa Ana del Chino_, but why the grant was so-called has
not been ascertained.

_Chiquita_ (little).

_Chiquito Peak_ (little peak), is in Fresno County.

_Cholame_ was the name of an Indian tribe. See page 128.

_El Chorro_ (a gushing stream of water). This place is in San Luís Obispo

_Chowchilla_ was the name of a Yokuts tribe of the Central Valley. See
page 283.

_Chualar._ See page 157.

_Chula Vista_ (pretty view). See page 42.

_Ciénega_ (swamp), is in Los Ángeles County.

_Las Ciénegas_ (the swamps).

_Las Cienegitas_ (the little swamps).

_Ciénega del Gabilán_ (the swamp of the hawk).

_Ciénega de los Paicines_, swamp of the Paicines (Indian tribe).

_Cima_ (summit), between San Bernardino and Las Vegas.

_Cimarrón_ (wild, unruly). The Spaniards applied this word to plants
or animals indiscriminately, sometimes using it in reference to the
wild grapes which they found growing in such profusion in California,
sometimes in reference to wild Indians. The writer who translated it as
“lost river” must have drawn upon his imagination for that definition.

_Cisco._ See page 329.

_Los Coches_ (the pigs).

_Codornices Creek_ (quail creek).

_Cojo_ (lame). See page 106.

_Ranchería del Cojo_ (village of the lame one), so-called from a lame
Indian seen there.

_Coloma_, a town in El Dorado County, so-named from the Koloma tribe, a
division of the Nishinam family. It was at this place that Sutter’s Mill,
where gold was discovered in 1848, was situated, and it is also there
that the native sons erected a monument to John W. Marshall.

_Colorado_ (red).

_Colusa_, an Indian word, meaning not ascertained. See page 265.

_Concepción._ See page 106.

_Conejo_ (rabbit), is the name of several places. See pages 79 and 339.

_Conejo Peak_ (rabbit peak), is in Ventura County.

_Contra Costa_ (opposite coast). See page 229.

_Cordero_ (literally “lamb”), but probably a surname here.

_Córdova_, near Sacramento. Córdova or Córdoba is the name of a province
of the Argentine Republic, in South America. Cattle raising is its chief
industry. The California town may have been directly named for the city
of Córdova in Mexico.

_Corona_ (crown).

_Coronado Beach_, see page 29.

_Corral_ (yard, enclosed piece of ground). See pages 157 and 339.

_Los Corralitos_ (the little yards).

_Corral de Piedra_ (yard enclosed by a stone fence). See page 158.

_Corral de Tierra_ (earth corral). See page 158.

_Cortina_, a town in Colusa County. _Cortina_, the Spanish word for
“curtain,” is a corruption of _Kotina_, the name of the chief of a former
village near the east bank of Cortina Creek.

_Coso Mountains_, in Inyo County, were named for the Coso or Cosho

_La Costa_ (the coast). See page 42.

_Cosumne_, a word of Indian derivation, said to mean “fish, salmon.”
See page 272. If the theory that the suffix _umne_ means “place of” be
correct, then it may be that the meaning of Cosumne is “place of fish,”
probably referring to salmon fisheries.

_Cotate_, in Sonoma County, derived its name from a former Indian
village. Mr. George Page, whose family have been in possession of the
Cotate ranch since 1849, states that he has never been able to ascertain
the meaning of the word.

_Coyote_ (western wolf). See pages 42 and 179.

_Los Coyotes_ (the wolves).

_Crucero_, a word having several meanings, possibly in this case

_Las Cruces_ (the crosses), is in Santa Bárbara County.

_Cruz_ (cross). _Santa Cruz_ (holy cross). See page 153.

_Cucamonga_, in San Bernardino County, derived its name from an Indian
village. See page 80.

_Cueros de Venado_ (hides of deer), the name of a land grant.

_Cuesta_ (hill, ridge, slope of a hill). Cuesta is the name of the old
stage road leading from Santa Margarita to San Luís Obispo. It was so
named because the road came over the crest of the Santa Lucía range. See
page 128.

_Cuyamaca._ See page 42.

_Cypress Point._ See page 145.

_Dehesa_ (pasture ground), is in San Diego County.

_Delgada Point_ (thin, or narrow point). See page 260.

_De Luz_ (literally “of light”), but in this case a surname.

_Del Mar_ (of the sea). Modern.

_Del Monte_ (of the wood or hill). The Hotel del Monte, near Monterey,
was so called from the grove of magnificent live-oaks in which it stands.

_Del Norte_ (of the north), is the name of the county in the extreme
northwestern corner of the state.

_Del Paso_ (of the pass).

_Del Rey_ (of the king).

_Del Río_ (of the river).

_Del Rosa_ (of the rose). Unless this is a surname, the construction is
incorrect, and should be _De la Rosa_.

_Descanso_ (rest). See page 43.

_Diablo_ (devil). See page 217.

_Dolores_ (sorrows, pains). For Mission Dolores See pages 194 and 339.

_El Dorado_ (the gilded man). See page 300.

_Dos_ (two).

_Dos Cabezas_ (two heads).

_Dos Palmas_ (two palms).

_Dos Palos_ (two sticks, or trees). See page 283.

_Dos Pueblos_ (two towns). See page 106.

_Dos Valles_ (two valleys).

_Duarte_ (a surname). See page 80.

_Dulzura_ (sweetness). See page 43.

_Point Duma_, on the coast north of San Pedro, was named by Vancouver for
“the reverend friar Father Francisco Duma, priest at Buena Ventura,” as
an expression of his gratitude for the father’s courtesy in furnishing
the explorers with abundant supplies of vegetables from the mission
gardens.—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Eliseo_ (Elisha).

_Embarcadero_ (landing-place). There were a number of _embarcaderos_ in
the state, in Sonoma, Santa Clara and other places. The street skirting
the San Francisco water front is now called the _Embarcadero_, having
been recently changed from East Street.

_Encanto_ (enchantment, charm), is in San Diego County. Encanto “was so
named on account of its especially pleasant climate, being frostless,
and always cool in the summer, with beautiful views of the ocean and bay
and the city of San Diego. It was named by Miss Alice Klauber.”—(W. A.

_Encinal_ (oak woods), is in Santa Clara County.

_Encinal y Buena Esperanza_ (oak woods and good hope), the combined name
of two land grants.

_Las Encinitas_ (the little live-oaks). See page 43.

_El Encino_ (the live-oak). See page 211.

_Ensenada_ (bay), used often by the Spaniards in referring to a large,
wide-open bay.

_Entre Napa_ (between Napa), the name of a land grant referring to the
land between Napa Creek and Napa River.

_Entre Napa ó Rincón de los Carneros_, combined name of two land grants
(between Napa or corner of the sheep).

_Escalón_ (step), is the name of a place twenty miles from Stockton, on
the Santa Fé Road. According to Mr. Romane Moll, a resident of Escalón,
the word is used in the sense of “stepping-stone,” and was taken from a
city in Mexico, where an important battle was fought during the recent

_Escondido_ (hidden). See page 43.

_El Escorpión_ (the scorpion).

_Esmeralda_ (emerald). See page 330.

_Espada_ (sword). See page 102.

_Esparto_ (a sort of tough feather grass). See page 283.

_Esperanza_ (hope). See page 283.

_Espinosa_ (a surname). This place is in Monterey County.

_Espíritu Santo_ (holy ghost).

_Esquón_ (a surname).

_Estero_ (an estuary or creek into which the tide flows at flood time).

_Los Esteros_ (the estuaries). See page 128.

_Estero Americano_ (American Estuary).

_Estrada_ (a surname). This place is in Monterey County.

_Estrella_ (a star). See page 128.

_Estudillo_ (a surname). Near San Leandro.

_Etiwanda_, in San Bernardino County, is a transplanted Indian name,
given in honor of an Indian chief of Michigan, by Mr. George Chaffey,
founder of the California colony.

_Falda_ (skirt, slope of a hill). In San Diego County.

_Famoso_ (famous), is in Kern County. The origin of this name has not
been ascertained.

_Fandango Peak_ is in Modoc County. The _fandango_ is a Spanish dance.
Its application in this case has not been ascertained.

_Farallones_ (small pointed islands in the sea). See pages 212 and 339.

_Feather River_, see page 297.

_Felipe_ (Philip).

_Feliz_ (happy, fortunate), also a surname.

_Fernández_ (a surname).

_Fernando_ (Ferdinand).

_Point Firmin_, north of San Pedro, was named by Vancouver for the father
president of the Franciscan Order.—(Mr. Charles B. Turrill.)

_Las Flores_ (the flowers). See page 80.

_Fortunas_ (fortunes). Cape Fortunas is on the coast of Humboldt County,
north of Cape Mendocino. See page 260.

_Fresno_ (ash tree). See page 277.

_Gabilán_, or _Gavilán_ (hawk). See page 159.

_Las Gallinas_ (the chickens), in Marin County. A tribe called
_Gallinomero_ occupied Dry Creek and Russian River below Healdsburg, and
there may be some connection between this name and Las Gallinas Rancho in
Marin County. Las Gallinas may be a mere corruption of Gallinomero.

_Gamboa Point_, on the coast of Monterey County. _Gamboa_ is a surname.

_García_ (a surname). See page 260.

_Garvanza_ (chick-pea). See page 80.

_Los Gatos_ (the cats). See pages 177 and 339.

_Gaviota_ (sea gull). Probably so called from the large number of these
birds which frequent the mouth of the little creek that flows into the
sea at this point. See page 107.

_Germán_ (a surname of a pioneer family).

_Golden Gate._ See page 197.

_La Goleta_ (the schooner). This place is said to have been so called
because a schooner was stranded there in early days. See page 107.

_Gonzales_ (a surname). See page 159.

_Gorda_ (fat). See page 159.

_Graciosa_ (graceful, witty).

_Granada_ is twenty-seven miles from San Francisco, on the Ocean Shore
Line, and was probably named for the province in Spain of the same name.
Granada also means pomegranate.

_Las Grullas_ (the cranes). See page 159.

_Guadalupe_ (a Christian name). See pages 107 and 340.

_Guadalupe y Llanitos de los Corréos_ (Guadalupe and the plains of the
mails), combined name of two land grants. _Corréos_ (mails), may have
been used in reference to mails brought by messenger to the Spaniards
while they were encamped upon these plains.

_Gualala._ See page 260.

_Guenoc_, an Indian word, meaning not ascertained.

_Los Guilicos_, in Sonoma County, named for a former Indian tribe living
in Napa County, near Santa Rosa.

_Guinda_ (fruit of the wild cherry). This place is in Yolo County, near

_La Habra_ (the opening, or pass), here refers to an opening in the
hills, and is situated a short distance southeast of Whittier, in Orange

_Hermosa_ (beautiful). See page 80.

_Hermosillo_, probably named for the town of Hermosillo in Mexico.

_Hernández_ (a surname), is in San Benito County.

_Hetch Hetchy._ A deep valley in the Sierra. See page 330.

_Honcut_, a place south of Oroville, in Butte County, named from a tribe
of Maidu Indians who formerly lived near the mouth of Honkut creek.

_Honda_ (deep). Honda is in Santa Bárbara County, and there is also _La
Honda_, referring to a deep canyon, in San Matéo County. The name is
incomplete in this form, and probably in its original form was _La Cañada

_Hoopa._ See page 261.

_Hornitos_ (little ovens). See page 283.

_Huasna_, in San Luís Obispo County, received its name from a former
Indian village near Purísima Mission in Santa Bárbara County. The
signification of the word has not been ascertained.

_Hueneme_, the name of a former Chumash Indian village on the coast, a
few miles south of Saticoy, in Ventura County.

_Los Huecos_ (the hollows).

_Huerhuero Creek._ Huerhuero is said to be a corruption of _güergüero_,
a stream of water which makes a gurgling noise. An attempt is made to
imitate the sound by the word. Huerhuero Creek is in San Luís Obispo
County, near Paso de Robles.

_Huerta de Romualdo ó el Chorro_ (orchard of Romualdo, a Christian name,
or the gushing stream). This is the combined name of two land grants.

_Huichica_, the name of a land grant derived from an Indian village
called _Hutchi_, formerly situated near the plaza in the town of Sonoma.

_Huililic_, the name of a former Indian ranchería near Santa Bárbara.
Mentioned in the mission archives.

_Hunto_ (eye), is the Indian name of a mountain in the Yosemite.

_Hyampom_, in Trinity County, is an Indian name, meaning not ascertained.

_Iaquá_, the name of a place in Humboldt County, was a sort of familiar
salutation, something like our “hello,” with which the Indians of
Humboldt and adjacent counties greeted each other when they met. From
hearing the word so often the whites finally adopted it as the name of
this place.

_Ignacio_ (Ignatius).

_Inaja_, or _Inoje_, was the name of a former Indian village near San
Diego. Mentioned in the mission archives. The meaning of the word _Inaja_
is “my water.”

_Indio_ (Indian). See page 80.

_Inyo._ See page 327.

_Isleta_ (small island).

_Jacinto_ (hyacinth), also used as a Christian name.

_Jamacha_ was a former Indian village near San Diego.

_Jamón_ (ham). The application of this peculiar name has not been
ascertained, and there is always the possibility that it is a corrupted
word and has no such meaning.

_Jamul_, in San Diego County, is a place name of the Diegueño Indians.

_Jarame_, the name of a tribe thought to have been natives of the region
around San Antonio, Texas.

_Jesús María_ (Jesus Mary).

_Jimeno_, a surname of a pioneer family.

_La Jolla._ See pages 44 and 340.

_Jolón._ See page 159.

_La Joya_ (the jewel). This name is comparatively modern, and has
its origin in the fact that the residents, like those of every other
California town, thought their place the bright particular “jewel” of the
locality. La Joya Peak is in Los Ángeles County. See pages 80 and 340.

_Juan_ (John). _Juana_ (Jane).

_Juárez_ (a surname). The name of Benito Juárez, the Mexican patriot who
led the national armies to victory against Maximilian, is one of which
every native of that country must be proud. This man was a brilliant
example of the triumph of natural genius over tremendous obstacles. He
was of pure native blood, and had so few advantages in his youth that at
the age of twelve he was still unable to read or write, or even to speak
the Spanish language. Yet, his ambition once aroused, he succeeded in
acquiring a collegiate education, graduating with the degree of Bachiller
(bachelor in science or art), and later became President of the Mexican
Republic. Among the early settlers of California is the name of Cayetano
Juárez, who was at one time an official at Solano, and who took part in
many Indian expeditions.

_La Junta_ (union, junction, meeting of persons for consultation). See
page 340.

_Las Juntas_ (the junctions, or meetings).

_Kawia_, the name of an Indian tribe near Fresno.

_Kings County and River._ See page 278.

_Klamath._ See page 249.

_Laguna_ (lake or lagoon), in Sonoma and Orange Counties. There were many
_lagunas_ in the state. See page 80.

_Laguna del Corral_ (lake or lagoon of the yard). See page 44.

_Point Laguna_ (lake or lagoon point). See page 261.

_Laguna de las Calabasas_ (lagoon of the pumpkins). _Calabasas_ in this
case may be a corruption of the name of an Indian tribe, _Calahuasa_. See
page 79.

_Laguna de la Merced_ (lagoon or lake of mercy). Lake Merced.

_Laguna de los Palos Colorados_ (lagoon of the redwoods).

[Illustration: KAWEAH MOUNTAINS.

“Kaweah, or Kawia, was the name of an Indian tribe near Fresno.”]

_Laguna Puerca_ (muddy lagoon), in the San Francisco district. This name
does not mean “Hog Lake,” as has been stated.

_Laguna del Rey_ (lagoon of the king).

_Laguna de San Antonio_ (lagoon of St. Anthony).

_Laguna Seca_ (dry lagoon). See page 340.

_Lagunitas_ (little lagoons or lakes), one in Inyo County and one in
Marin County. See page 340.

_Lancha Plana_ (flat-boat). See page 330.

_Largo_ (long). This place is in Mendocino County. The name of this
station represents an inversion of the usual order of naming, since it is
a translation into Spanish of the name of Mr. L. F. Long, a pioneer of
Mendocino County.

_Laureles_ (laurels). See page 159.

_León_ (lion). See page 80. This name turns out not to be Spanish in
origin, but merely the name of an American who first had charge of the
post-office there.

_Lerdo_ (a surname), is in Kern County.

_La Liebre_ (the hare, or jack-rabbit).

_Linda Rosa_ (lovely rose), is forty-eight miles from San Bernardino.

_Linda Vista_ (lovely view). See page 45.

_Llagas_ (wounds, or stigmata). See page 179.

_Llanada_ (a wide, level plain). See page 159.

_Llanitos de los Corréos_ (plains of the mails). _Corréo_ was used to
mean a King’s messenger, mail or bag of letters, and it is possible that
at this point a messenger or mail carrier caught up with the exploring

_Llano_ (a flat, level field). There are places bearing this name in Los
Ángeles and Sonoma Counties.

_Llano de Buena Vista_ (plain of the good view).

_Llano de Santa Rosa_ (plain of St. Rose).

_Llano Seco_ (dry plain).

_Llano de Tequisquite_ (plain of saltpetre). _Tequisquite_ is an Aztec

_Llorones_ (the weepers), a name given to a place in the vicinity of San
Francisco Bay, for the reason given in Palou’s account of the expedition
to that region in 1776, as follows: “The launch went out again with the
pilot Bautista Aguiray to examine the arm of the sea that runs to the
southeast; they saw nothing more than two or three Indians who made no
other demonstration than to weep, for which reason the place was called
_La Ensenada de los Llorones_ (the bay of the weepers).”

_Lobitos_ (little seals), is on the Ocean Shore Line, near San Francisco.

_Lobos_ (wolves, also sea-wolves, or seals). See pages 160 and 226.

_Loma_ (hill).

_Point Loma_ (hill point). See page 45.

_Loma Linda_ (beautiful hill), is in San Bernardino County.

_Loma Prieta_ (dark hill). See page 160.

_Lomas de la Purificación_ (hills of the purification).

_Lomas de Santiago_ (hills of St. James).

_Loma Vista_ (hill view), near Los Ángeles. Modern and improper in
construction. It should be _Vista de la Loma_.

_Lomerías Muertas_ (dead hills), possibly should be _Lomerías de los
Muertos_ (hills of the dead).

_Lomitas_ (little hills), north of San Francisco.

_Lompoc_, an Indian name. See page 108.

_López_ (a surname). See page 128.

_Lorenzo_ (Lawrence).

_Lugo_ (a surname), that of a family of early settlers. This place is
thirty miles from San Bernardino.

_De Luz_ (a surname). See page 45.

_Madera_ (wood). See page 277.

_Madrone_, properly spelled Madroño, a native tree of California. See
page 179.

_Málaga_, the name of a province in Southern Spain celebrated for its
exports of grapes, raisins, oranges, lemons, figs and almonds. As raisins
are among the chief products of this part of Fresno County, the town of
Málaga was so named from the Spanish province.

_Manca_, or _Manka_. To prevent the unwary from falling into the
erroneous belief that this name is Spanish or Indian, the rather humorous
story of Manka is told here. The story goes that it was named for a
German who came there in ’67, built a little sixteen by twenty-four foot
shanty and sold whiskey. It was his proud boast that in the fifteen years
he ran this business he never renewed his stock. The inference may be

_Manteca_ (lard, butter), is near Modesto. This place was so called
by the railroad company in reference to a creamery existing there. In
Spanish America butter is called _mantequilla_.

_Manzana_ (apple), is in Los Ángeles County.

_Manzanita_ (little apple), a native shrub that is one of the most
striking objects in the California woods. Fremont says of it: “A new and
singular shrub was very frequent to-day. It branched out near the ground,
forming a clump eight to ten feet high, with pale green leaves of an oval
form, and the body and branches had a naked appearance as if stripped
of the bark, which is very smooth and thin, of a chocolate color,
contrasting well with the pale green of the leaves.” Towns in Marin, San
Diego, and Tehama Counties bear the name of _Manzanita_.

Powers, in his _Tribes of California_, describes the method of making
manzanita cider practiced by the Indians, as follows: “After reducing the
berries to flour by pounding, they carefully remove all the seeds and
skins, then soak the flour in water for a considerable length of time. A
squaw then heaps it up in a little mound, with a crater in the center,
into which she pours a minute stream of water, allowing it to percolate
through. In this way she gets about a gallon an hour of a really
delicious beverage, clear, cool, clean and richer than most California
apple cider. As the Indians always drink it up before it has time to
ferment, it is never intoxicating.” Fremont also mentions this as a very
delicious drink that he had tasted when among the Indians.

_Manzanita Knob_, in Tulare County, is near the summit of the Sierras.

_Mapache Peak_ (raccoon peak).

_Mar_ (the sea).

_Del Mar_ (of the sea).

_Mare Island._ See page 206.

_Maricopa_ is the name of an Arizona tribe. The word is said to mean
“bean people,” which is probably the correct definition.—(A. L. Kroeber.)

_Marin._ See page 219.

_Mariposa_ (butterfly). See page 317.

_Martínez_ (a surname). See page 229.

_Matilija._ See pages 103 and 340.

_Médanos_, also spelled _Méganos_ (sand-banks, or dunes). This place is
in Contra Costa County.

_Media_ (middle), is in Madera County.

_Mendocino._ See page 248.

_Mendota_ (a surname), is in Fresno County.

_Merced_ (mercy). See pages 276 and 340.

_Mesa_ (table, table-land). See pages 45 and 340.

_La Mesa_ (the table or table-land), is in San Diego County.

_Mesa Grande_ (big table-land). See page 46.

_Mesa de Ojo de Agua_ (table-land of the spring).

_Mesquite_ (a native shrub of the locust variety).

_Milpitas_ (little patches of corn). This word is said to be the
diminutive of _milpa_ (a patch of maize or corn), but in that case must
have referred to corn cultivated by Mexicans, since the California
Indians raised no cultivated crops, but subsisted entirely on the natural
products of the land. _Milpitas_ is a village in Santa Clara County,
which for some unexplained reason, has come to be used as a term of
derision, the “jumping off place of creation.” It was probably the name
of a land grant.

_La Mirada_ (the view). See page 80.

_Miramar_ (sea-view), is the name of a post town in San Diego County and
of a summer resort near Santa Bárbara.

_Miramontes_ (a surname). Candelario Miramontes, a native of Mexico, was
the grantee of the Pilarcitos Rancho in ’41.

_Misión Vieja_, or _La Paz_ (old mission or the peace). Land grant.

_Misión Vieja de la Purísima_ (old mission of the Immaculate Conception).

_Mocho Peak_, in Santa Clara County. _Mocho_ means “cropped, cut off.”

_Modesto_ (modest). See page 288.

_Modoc_ (people of the south). See page 250.

_Mojave_, or _Mohave_. Mojave, also spelled Mohave, is an Indian
tribal name of disputed meaning. It has been stated that it comes from
_hamucklihabi_ (three hills), but this view is positively contradicted
by scientists. In the documents of the Spanish explorers the Mojaves are
referred to as Amajabas. The Mojave River is remarkable in that it has
no true outlet, but sinks into the alkaline soil of the desert near the
middle of San Bernardino County.

_Mokelumne._ See Moquelumne.

_Molino_ (mill, or mill-stone). See page 80.

_Los Molinos_ (the mills, or mill-stones). See page 80.

_El Río de los Molinos_ (the river of the mill-stones), now called Mill
Creek, in Tehama County. See page 80.

_Mono._ See page 324.

_Montalvo_ (a surname), in Ventura County. See page 81.

_Monte_ (hill or wood). _Monte_ was generally used in the sense of
“wood” or “forest” by the Spanish-Americans of the eighteenth century.

_El Monte_ (the hill or the wood).

_Del Monte_ (of the wood or hill). In the case of the Hotel del Monte,
near Monterey, the name refers to the grove of fine live-oaks in the
center of which the hotel stands.

_Montecito_ (little hill or wood). See page 101.

_Monterey_ (hill or wood of the king). See page 133.

_Monte Vista_ (mountain view). Modern and improper in construction. It
should be _Vista del Monte_.

_Moquelumne_, or _Mokelumne_. See page 331.

_Moreno_ (a surname). One of the leading members of this numerous family
was Antonio Moreno, a native of Lower California.

_Moro Cojo_ (lame Moor). See page 160.

_Morón_ (hillock, mound). This place is near Bakersfield.

_Morro_ (a round headland, bluff). It is upon such a rock that the
well-known Morro Castle at Havana is situated. See page 128. This place
receives its name from Morro Rock, a remarkable round rock, 600 feet
high, situated at the entrance to the bay. The name has no reference to
its grey color, as some people imagine, but refers to its shape—round
like a head.

_Mugu Point_, on the coast of Ventura County. The Mugus were a tribe of
Indians. The word _mugu_ means “beach.”

_Muñiz_ (a surname).

_Murietta_ (a surname). See page 81.

_Nacimiento_ (birth), referring in this case to the birth of Christ. See
page 128.

_La Nación_ (the nation). See Del Rey, page 371.

_Napa_, formerly pronounced Napá. See page 242.

_Naranjo_ (orange-tree), in Tulare County.

_La Natividad_ (the nativity). See page 160.

_Natoma_, is a name about which the romanticists have concocted some
pleasing theories upon very slender foundation. According to scientists
it is a tribal name, indicating direction, a favorite method of naming
among the Indians. It may mean “north people,” or “up-stream,” or
“down-stream,” or some such term of direction. By a severe wrench of the
imagination, as has been suggested, it may be considered that “up-stream”
would eventually lead to the mountains, and that in the mountains there
were people, among whom there were undoubtedly girls, and in this
“long-distance” manner Mr. Joseph Redding’s definition of Natoma as the
“girl from the mountains” might be evolved, but the imagination is likely
to suffer from such a violent strain. In the same way, the persons who
believe it to mean “clear water” may have acquired this idea from the
simple fact that the word contains an indirect reference to the stream in
pointing out the direction of its current. It is disappointing perhaps,
but nevertheless true, that Californian Indian nomenclature has little of
romance behind it. The Indians usually chose names based upon practical
ideas, most often ideas of direction, such as “north people,” “south
people,” etc.

_Navajo_, also spelled _lavajo_ (a pool where cattle go to drink).

_Navarro_ (a surname). In Mendocino County, west of Ukiah.

_Nevada_ (snowy). See page 293.

_El Nido_ (the nest). See page 46. It is thought that this place was so
named because of its location in the hills and mountains suggesting the
idea of a nest in the landscape, but there is no definite information
about it.

_Los Nietos_ (literally “the grandchildren,” but in this case a surname).
See page 81.

_Nimshew_, in Butte County. This is an Indian word, from _Nimsewi_ (big
river), a division of Maidu Indians living on upper Butte Creek, in Butte
County, near the edge of the timber.

_Nipomo_, in San Luís Obispo County, is probably Indian, but its meaning
has not been ascertained.

_Los Nogales_ (the walnut-trees).

_Del Norte_ (of the north). See page 260.

_Novato_ (new, beginning anything, but possibly in this case a surname).
The exact origin of the name of this California town has not been
ascertained. The place is in Marin County and as there was a land grant
there called _El Rancho de Novato_, the probabilities are that it is a
surname of some family of early settlers.

_Noyo_, is in Mendocino County. It was the Indian name of a creek, not
the one now bearing the name of Noyo, but of another one in the vicinity.

_Nuestra Señora del Refugio_ (our lady of refuge).

_Nuevo_ (new). In San Diego County.

_Oakland_ was originally called _Las Encinas_ (the oaks), having been
named by the commandante at Monterey as a result of the report of
Lieutenant Vallejo of the great number of those trees growing upon
the spot.—(_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited by James H. Wilkins, San
Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)

_Océano_ (ocean), near San Luís Obispo.

_Ojai_, the name of a former Indian village in Ventura County, popularly
translated as “nest” or “big tree,” neither of which can be looked upon
as authentic. According to Professor A. L. Kroeber, the meaning of the
word _Ojai_ is “moon.”

_Los Ojitos_ (little springs). See page 58.

_Ojo de Agua_ (spring of water). See pages 59 and 340.

_Ojo de Agua de Figueroa_ (spring of Figueroa), the last word being a
surname. The Figueroa family were among the earliest settlers.

_Ojo Caliente_ (hot spring).

_Ojo de Agua del Coche_ (spring of the pig).

_Olancha_, in Inyo County, just below Owens Lake, was named for the
Olanches Indians of southeastern California.

_Olema._ See page 230.

_Oliveras_ (olive-trees), in San Luís Obispo County. Olivera is also a

_Los Olivos_ (the olives). See page 108.

_Olla_ (a round earthen pot, also a whirlpool in a river or sea). Its
application here has not been ascertained.

_Olompali_, was named for a former large Moquelumnan village in Marin
County, about six miles south of Petaluma.

_Omo_, in El Dorado County, is the name of a Moquel village.

_Oro Fino_ (fine gold), in Siskiyou County. See page 261.

_Oro Grande_ (large or coarse gold), forty-nine miles north of San
Bernardino. Also in Madera County.

_Oroville_ (gold-town). See page 288.

_Oso Flaco_ (thin bear). In San Luís Obispo County.

_Los Osos_ (the bears). See page 128.

_Otay_, or _Otai_, was the name of a former Indian village near San
Diego. It may have first been applied to the Otey or Otay land grant.

_Otero_ (literally a “hill, or eminence,” but probably a surname here).

_Pachappa_, near Riverside, Indian name, meaning not ascertained.

_Pacheco_ (a surname). See page 230.

_Pacoima_, near Los Ángeles, an Indian word, meaning not ascertained.

_Paicines_, also spelled _Pajines_. See page 160.

_Pájaro_ (bird). See pages 152 and 340.

_Pala._ See page 33.

_Palmas_ (palms).

_Dos Palmas_ (two palms), in Riverside County, so called from two giant
palms near a spring.

_Palo_, literally “stick,” was used by the Spaniards in the sense of

_Palo Alto_ (high tree). See page 172.

_Palo Blanco_ (white stick, or tree).

_Palo Cedro_ (cedar tree), in Shasta County.

_Palo Colorado_ (redwood tree). These trees were first observed and named
by Gaspar de Portolá, the discoverer of San Francisco Bay.

_Dos Palos_ (two sticks, or trees). See page 283.

_Paloma_ (dove, pigeon).

_Palo Verde_ (green tree).

_Panamint Range._ See page 332.

_Panocha._ See page 160.

_La Panza_ (the paunch), in San Luís Obispo County, so named by some
hunters who placed the paunch of a beef to catch bear. _La Paleta_
(shoulder-blade) and _El Carnaso_ (loin) were put out in other places,
and the names still remain.

_Las Papas_ (potatoes) Hill, is in the San Francisco district. _Papa_
(potato), is provincial and American.

_Paraíso_ (paradise). See page 161.

_Paraje de Sánchez_ (place or station of Sánchez).

_Pasadena_ (crown of the valley). See page 82.

_Paskenta_, in Tehama County, is Indian and means “under the bank.”

_Paso_ (pass).

_El Paso_ (the pass), of the Truckee River.

_El Paso Peak_ (the pass peak), in Kern County.

_Del Paso_ (of the pass), near Sacramento.

_Paso de Bartolo_ (pass of Bartolo), the last a Christian name.

_Paso de Robles_ (pass of the oaks). See pages 124 and 340.

_Pastoría de las Borregas_ (pasture of the ewe-lambs).

_La Patera_ (a place where ducks congregate). In early days the fresh
water swamps near here abounded with ducks. La Patera is a flag station
in Santa Bárbara County.

_La Paz_ (the peace). Probably a peace arranged with the Indians, or it
may have been named for La Paz in Lower California.

_Pecho Rock_, near San Luís Obispo. The reason for this name has not been
discovered, but it may be a reference to the shape of the rock. _Pecho_
means “breast.”

_Pedernales_ (flints). See page 104.

_Los Peñasquitos_ (the little cliffs), in San Diego County.

_Peralta_ (a surname), that of a pioneer family.

_Peras_ (pears) Creek, in Los Ángeles County.

_Los Perros_ (the dogs), possibly Indian dogs.

_Pescadero Point_ (fishing-place point). See page 231.

_Petaluma._ See page 261.

_Picachos Mountains_, a ridge east of San Francisco Bay. _Pichacos_ are
frequent, isolated, conical peaks.

_Picacho_ (top, sharp-pointed summit), is the name of a post village in
Imperial County.

_Pico_ (a surname), ten miles from Los Ángeles. José María Pico of
Sinaloa was the founder of this family, and its most notable member was
his son, Pío Pico, at one time governor of California. According to
Bancroft, the character of Pío Pico was a mixture of good and bad, in
which the good predominated. “He was abused beyond his deserts; he was a
man of ordinary intelligence and limited education; of a generous, jovial
disposition, reckless and indolent, fond of cards and women; disposed to
be fair and honorable in transactions, but not strong enough to avoid
being made the tool of knaves. He did not run away with large sums of
money obtained by sales of missions, as has been charged.”

_Piedra_ (stone, rock), near Fresno.

_Piedras Blancas_ (white rocks). See page 128.

_Piedras Grandes_ (big rocks).

_La Piedra Pintada_ (the painted rock). See page 108.

_Pilar_ (literally “pillar of stone”). Point Pilar may have been named
for _Nuestra Señora del Pilar_, (Our Lady of the pillar), from a church
at Saragossa, Spain, where there is an image of the Virgin on a marble
pillar. Pilar is also a surname, that of a pioneer family, for whom this
point may have been named.

_Pilarcitos_ (little pillars, or little Pilar Ranch).

_Pilitas_ (basins or water-holes in rock).

_El Pinal_ (the pine grove), in San Joaquín County.

_Pino Blanco_ (white pine), in Mariposa County.

_Pino Grande_ (big pine), in El Dorado County, near Placerville.

_Pinole_ (parched corn ground into meal). Point Pinole was so named
because the expedition under Lieutenant Vallejo had nothing to eat but
pinole while they waited at that spot for the return of the _cargadores_
with provisions from Monterey.—(_Memoirs of the Vallejos_, edited by
James H. Wilkins, San Francisco Bulletin, January, 1914.)

_Piñón_ (pine kernel, also the scrub pine, a very picturesque tree
bearing a delicious nut).

_Point Pinos_ (point of pines). See page 148.

_Tres Pinos_ (three pines). See page 163.

_Pintado_ (painted, mottled).

_Pinto Range_ (painted or mottled range). See page 332.

_El Piojo_ (the louse), in Monterey County, a short distance south of

_Piru_, near Camulos, the name of a former Indian village.

_Pismo._ See page 128.

_Pit River._ See page 294.

_La Pita_, in San Diego County. _Pita haya_ is the fruit of the cactus
called “prickly pear.”

_Placer._ See page 304.

_Placerville._ See page 305.

_Planada_ (a plain, level ground), seventy-four miles from Stockton.

_Plano_ (a level surface), in Tulare County.

_La Playa_ (the beach), in Santa Bárbara County.

_Pleito_ (quarrel, lawsuit, bargain). See page 161.

_Plumas_ (feathers). See page 297.

_Las Plumas_ (the feathers), near Oroville.

_Pomo._ See page 261.

_Poncho_ (cloak, blanket).

_Poonkiny_ (wormwood). Poonkiny, sometimes misspelled Pookiny, is from
the Yuki Indian language.

_El Portal_ (the gate), the entrance to the Yosemite Valley.

_Portolá_ (a surname). See pages 231 and 340.

_Posa_ (well, pool, also spelled by the Spaniards _pozo_, _poso_). The
fact that _posa_ also has the meaning of “passing bell for the dead” has
caused some rather ludicrous mistakes. For instance, _La Posa de los
Ositos_ (the pool of the little bears), evidently refers to a place where
some bears were seen drinking, and certainly would be absurd translated
as “the passing bell of the little bears.” When used as names of places
the connection makes it quite clear that they were so called in reference
to pools of water present on the spot.

_Las Positas_ (the little pools).

_Las Positas y la Calera_ (the little wells, or pools, and the lime-kiln).

_Poso_ (pool, or well), in Kern County, and _Poso_ in San Luís Obispo

_Los Posos_ (the pools, or wells), in Ventura County.

_La Posta_ (person who rides or travels post, post-house, military post,
etc.). In the case of La Posta, 170 miles from the Mission Tule River
Agency, it probably means post-station.

_Potrero_ (pasture, generally for horses). See pages 46, 161 and 231.

_Potrero de los Cerritos_ (pasture of the little hills).

_Potrero Chico_ (little pasture).

_Potrero Grande_ (big pasture).

_Potrero y Rincón de San Pedro de Reglado_ (pasture and corner of St.
Peter Regalato). St. Peter Regalato was a Franciscan, and was “especially
distinguished for his sublime gift of prayer.” This was the name of a
land grant.

_El Potrero de San Carlos_ (the pasture of St. Charles).

_Potrero de San Francisco_ (pasture of St. Francis). This district still
goes by the name of “the potrero” in the city of San Francisco.

_Potrero de San Luís Obispo_ (pasture of St. Louis the Bishop).

_El Potrero de Santa Clara_ (the pasture of St. Clara).

_Poway_, in San Diego County, is an Indian place name.

_Pozo_ (pool, well). See page 128.

_Prado_ (meadow), in Riverside County. See page 82. This place was so
named on account of its resemblance to a prairie.

_La Presa_ (dam, dike). See page 46. This place is so called from the
Sweetwater irrigation dam located there.

_Presidio_ (garrison, prison). See page 231.

_Prieta_ (dark), a place north of San Francisco.

_Los Prietos_ (the dark ones).

_Providencia_ (providence).

_Pueblo_ (town).

_Los Dos Pueblos_ (the two towns). See page 106.

_Puente_ (bridge), near Los Ángeles. See page 82.

_Las Puentes_ (the bridges). See page 161.

_El Puerto_ (the port), of San Diego.

_Pulgas_ (fleas). See pages 82 and 224.

_La Punta_ (the point), in San Diego County.

_Punta Almejas_ (mussel point).

_Punta Año Nuevo_ (point New Year). See page 157.

_Punta Arenas_ (sandy point). See page 340.

_Punta de la Concepción_ (point of the immaculate conception).

_Punta Delgada_ (thin or narrow point). See page 260.

_Punta Gorda_ (fat or thick point). See pages 108 and 260.

_Punta Guijarros_ (pebble or boulder point).

_Punta de la Laguna_ (point of the lagoon). See page 261.

_Punta Loma_ (hill point), near San Diego. See page 45. It should be
_Punta de la Loma_.

_Punta de Pinos_ (point of pines). Near Monterey. Page 148.

_Punta de los Reyes_ (point of the kings). See page 232.

_Punta de las Ritas_ (point of the rites). See page 108.

_Purísima Point_ (point of the most pure conception). On the Santa
Bárbara Coast.

_Purísima_ (most pure), in San Matéo County.

_Point Sal_ (a surname). See page 108.

_Point Sur_ (south point). See page 162.

_La Quemada_ (the burned place), from the verb _quemar_ (to burn). This
name refers to a custom prevalent among the Indians of burning over large
tracts of land for the purpose of killing the under-brush and encouraging
the growth of grass, which resulted in attracting game. The diaries of
the Spaniards refer frequently to this custom, and speak of finding a
great deal of country burned over in this way. One writer has offered to
his astonished readers the translation of _La Quemada_ as “the over-full,
having enough to eat.”

_Quién Sabe_ (who knows), a familiar expression among the Spaniards.

_Quintín._ See page 235.

_Quinto_ (a surname). Simón Tadéo Quinto was one of the members of this
pioneer family.

_Raimundo_ (Raymond).

_Ramírez_ (a surname), near Marysville.

_Ramona_ (a Christian name), well known as that of the heroine of Mrs.
Helen Hunt Jackson’s romance.


_Ranchería_, a word meaning “settlement,” but generally used by the
Spaniards to mean an Indian village.

_Ranchería del Baile de las Indias_ (village of the dance of the Indian
women). See page 100.

_Ranchería del Corral_ (village of the yard).

_Ranchería de la Espada_ (village of the sword). See page 102.

_Ranchería del Río Estanislao_ (village of the river Stanislaus).

_Ranchita de Santa Fé_ (little ranch of holy faith).

_Rancho del Puerto_ (ranch of the pass).

_Ratón_ (mouse).

_Real de las Águilas_ (camp of the eagles).

_Redondo_ (round). See page 82.

_Refugio_ (refuge), is in Santa Bárbara County. Refugio is also a
Christian name.

_Represa_ (dam), so called on account of a dam at that point, west of the
state prison at Folsom.

_Del Rey_ (of the king), also known as _El Rancho Nacional_ because it
was used to provide meat and horses for the military. This ranch was in
Fresno County.

_Reyes_ (kings). See page 232.

_Ricardo_ (Richard), is in Kern County.

_Rincón_ is the interior angle formed by the junction of two walls or
lines, and is one of the terms used in the apportionment of land grants.

_Rincón_ (corner), is in San Bernardino County.

_El Rincón_ (the corner), is in Los Ángeles County, and comprises rich
agricultural land on either side of the Santa Ana River.

_Rinconada_ is the corner formed by two houses, streets, roads, or
between two mountains.

_Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito_ (corner of the creek of little
St. Francis). Land grant.

_Rincón de los Carneros_ (corner of the sheep). Land grant.

_Rinconada de los Gatos_ (corner of the cats—wild-cats). Land grant.

_Rincón de la Brea_ (corner of the asphalt). Land grant.

_Rincón de los Bueyes_ (corner of the oxen). Land grant.

_Rincón del Diablo_ (corner of the devil). Land grant.

_Rincón de los Esteros_ (corner of the estuaries). Land grant.

_Rincón Point_ (corner point). See page 108.

_Rincón de la Puente del Monte_ (corner of the bridge of the wood, or
hill). Land grant.

_Rincón de las Salinas_ (corner of the salt marshes). Land grant.

_Rincón de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo_ (corner of the salt marshes and
the old pasture). Land grant.

_Rincón de San Francisquito_ (corner of little San Francisco). Land grant.

_Rincón del Sanjón_ (corner of the slough). Land grant.

_Río_ (river).

_El Río de los Berrendos_ (the river of the antelopes). See page 40.

_Río Grande_ (big river).

_Río Jesús María_ (River Jesus Mary). Land grant.

_El Río de los Molinos_ (the river of the mill-stones). See page 80.

_El Río del Nido_ (the river of the nest), referring to the nest of an
eagle once seen in a tree on the banks of this stream. The name is now
shortened into Río Nido, or Rionido.

_El Río de Santa Clara_ (the river of St. Clara). Land grant.

_El Río de los Santos Reyes_ (the river of the holy kings). See page 278.

_Río Seco_ (dry river).

_Río Vista_ (river view). See page 289. Improper construction. It should
be _Vista del Río_.

_El Rito_ (the rite, ceremony).

_Rivera_, literally “brook, creek,” but also a surname. The Rivera family
were among the pioneers. See page 82.

_Roblar de la Miseria_, (oak grove of poverty, wretchedness). It is
likely that in this grove the Spaniards suffered from a shortage of food
supplies, and named it in memory of their sufferings. Land grant.

_Los Robles_ (the oaks), ten miles from Los Ángeles.

_Rodéo_ (cattle round-up). See pages 232 and 340. The town of Rodéo was
first laid out to maintain a large packing-house for meat, but this was
abandoned, and it has become an oil-refining town.

_Rodéo de las Aguas_ (gathering of the waters). See page 82.

_Del Rosa_ (of the rose), in San Bernardino County. If this is not a
surname it is improper in construction, and should be _De la Rosa_.

_Los Rosales_ (the rose-bushes).

_Rosario_ (rosary), procession of persons who recite the rosary. Also a
Christian name.

_Sacate_ (grass, hay).

_Sacramento_ (sacrament). See page 271.

_Sal_, in the case of Point Sal a surname. See page 108.

_Salada_ (salted, salty, saline land). Near San Francisco.

_Salazar_ (a surname), that of a pioneer family.

_Salida_ (exit, out-gate), village in Stanislaus County, seven miles
northwest of Modesto.

_Salinas_ (salt-marshes). See pages 148 and 340.

_Sal si Puedes_ (“get out if you can”). See page 109.

_La Salud_ (health). See page 174.

_San Andreas_ (St. Andrew). See page 333.

_San Andrés_ (St. Andrew). See page 333.

_San Anselmo_ (St. Anselm). See page 232.

_San Antonio_ (St. Anthony).

_San Antonio de Padua_ (St. Anthony of Padua). See page 141.

_San Ardo_ (St. Ardo), is in Monterey County. St. Ardo, in Latin
_Smaragdus_, was a Benedictine monk who wrote a life of St. Benedict
which is considered reliable. He died in 843.

_San Augustine_ (properly Agustín), born in Numidia, was the son of Santa
Mónica. “In his youth he was so devoted to pleasure that his mother
feared the destruction of his character,” but he became converted by
the preaching of St. Ambrose, and it is thought that the _Te Deum_ was
composed in honor of the occasion of his baptism. It is told of him that
“while walking on the sea-shore, lost in meditation on his great theme,
the _Discourse on the Trinity_, he saw a little child bringing water and
endeavoring to fill a hole which he had dug in the sand. Augustine asked
him the motive of his labors. The child said he intended to empty all the
water of the sea into this cavity. ‘Impossible!’ exclaimed St. Augustine.
‘Not more impossible,’ answered the child, ‘than for thee, O Augustine,
to explain the mystery on which thou art now meditating.’ St. Augustine
is the patron of theologians and learned men.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)

_San Benito_ (St. Benedict). See page 161.

_San Bernabé_ (St. Barnabas, or Barnaby). This saint was a native of
Cyprus, and a cousin of St. Mark. “He labored with Paul at Antioch, and
tradition says he preached from the gospel of St. Matthew, written by the
Evangelist himself, which he carried always with him, and that it had
power to heal the sick when laid upon their bosoms. He was seized by the
Jews and cruelly martyred, while preaching in Judea.”—(_Stories of the

_San Bernardino_ (St. Bernardinus). See page 74.

_San Bernardo_ (St. Bernard). There were two saints of this name, one
born in 1190 at Fontaine, and the other in Savoy. The latter, St. Bernard
of Menthon, is famous as the founder of the St. Bernard hospitals in the
Alps, where “the monks, assisted by their dogs, search out and care for
travelers who are lost in the passes of the mountains, where the storms
are severe, and the cold intense.”

_San Bruno_ (St. Bruno). See page 232.

_San Buenaventura_ (St. Bonaventure). See page 95.

_San Carlos_ (St. Charles). See page 138.

_San Clemente_ (St. Clement). See page 83.

_San Diegito_ (little St. James).

_San Diego_ (St. James). See page 21.

_San Dimas_ “probably St. Dismas, is popularly supposed to have been the
good or converted robber on the right side of Christ on Good Friday. In
places he is celebrated by the Latins on March 25. The Greeks have him on
a much later date.”—(Fray Zephyrin Engelhardt, O. F. M). _San Dimas_ is
the name of a post-village in Los Ángeles County.

_San Domingo_ (St. Dominick). St. Dominick was a Castilian of noble
descent, and was the originator of the Dominican Order of barefoot
priests, and of the use of the rosary.

_Sanel_, the name of a former Indian village called variously Se-nel,
Sah-nel, Sai-nel and Sanel. “Sanel is derived from _cané_ (sweathouse),
and was the name of a very large village situated south of the town of
Sanel, on the eastern side of Hopland Valley.”—(Barrett, in Univ. Publ.
in Arch. and Tech.)

_San Emygdio_, “English or Latin _St. Emygdius_, Bishop and Martyr,
feast August 5. The Roman Martyrology has this on him: ‘St. Emygdius,
Bishop and Martyr, was consecrated Bishop by Pope St. Marcellus and
sent to preach the Gospel at Ascoli. He received the crown of Martyrdom
for confessing Christ, under Diocletian.’ He is invoked against
earthquakes.”—(Fray Zephyrin Engelhardt).

_San Felipe_ (St. Philip). See page 180.

_San Fernando_ (St. Ferdinand). See page 69.

_San Francisco_ (St. Francis). See page 185.

_San Francisco de las Llagas_ (St. Francis of the “stigmata”). See page

_San Francisquito_ (little St. Francis). Land grant.

_San Gabriel_ (St. Gabriel). See page 66.

_San Gerónimo_ (St. Jerome). See pages 233 and 340.

_San Gorgonio_ Mountains and Pass are in the Coast Range in Southern
California. Their patron saint, Gorgonius, suffered martyrdom in 304 at
Nicomedia during the persecution of Diocletian. Gorgonius, who had held a
high position in the Emperor’s household, was subjected to most frightful
torments, and was finally strangled and his body thrown into the sea. It
was, nevertheless, secured by the Christians and was afterwards carried
to Rome.

_San Gregorio_ (St. Gregory). See page 233.

_San Ignacio_ (St. Ignatius). St. Ignatius Loyola was the founder of
the order of the Jesuits. “In his youth he was a page in the court of
Ferdinand the Catholic, and later a brave and gay soldier.” He became
a permanent cripple through being severely wounded in both legs. While
confined by these sufferings, he devoted himself to reading the life of
Christ, and was thus induced to take up religious work. After some years
of study, he induced five men to join him in forming a community under
the title of the “Company of Jesus,” whose especial duties are “first,
preaching; second, the guidance of souls in confession; third, the
teaching of the young.”

_San Isidro_, also spelled _Ysidro_ (St. Isidore). There were two saints
bearing this name. St. Isidore the ploughman could neither read nor
write, but performed many miracles. His master objected to the time
wasted by Isidore in prayer, but his objections were silenced when he
found, upon entering the field one day, the plough being drawn by two
angels, while St. Isidore knelt at his devotions. The other St. Isidore
was Bishop of Seville, and in the church in that city bearing his name,
there is a “magnificent picture which represents him dying on the steps
of the altar, having given all his property to the poor.” See page 341.

_San Jacinto_ (St. Hyacinth). See pages 83 and 340.

_San Jacinto Viejo_ (St. Hyacinth the Old).

_San Joaquín_ (St. Joachim). See pages 274 and 340.

_Sanjón_ (deep ditch or slough). Also spelled _zanjon_.

_Sanjón de los Moquelumnes_ (Moquelumne slough).

_San José_ (St. Joseph). See pages 168 and 340.

_San José de Buenos Aires_ (St. Joseph of good airs).

_San José y Sur Chiquito_ (St. Joseph and little south). These are the
names of two creeks near Monterey.

_San Juan Bautista_ (St. John the Baptist). See pages 154 and 340.

_San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana_ (St. John canyon, literally “box,” of St.
Anne). Deep canyons were often called _cajones_ (boxes).

_San Juan Capistrano._ See page 35.

_San Juan Point_ (St. John Point). See page 83.

_San Julián_ (St. Julian). This seems to have been a favorite name for
saints, since there were twelve who bore it. Only two, however, are of
special importance, St. Julian Hospitator, and St. Julian of Rimini.
The first had the fearful misfortune to kill his own father and mother
through an error, and to make reparation, he built a hospital on the
bank of a turbulent stream in which many persons had been drowned. “He
constantly ferried travelers over the river without reward, and, one
stormy night in winter, when it seemed that no boat could cross the
stream, he heard a sad cry from the opposite bank. He went over, and
found a youth, who was a leper, dying from cold and weariness. In spite
of his disease the saint carried him over, and bore him in his arms to
his own bed, and he and his wife tended him till morning, when the leper
rose up, and his face was transformed into that of an angel, and he said:
‘Julian, the Lord hath sent me to thee; for thy penitence is accepted,
and thy rest is near at hand’.... St. Julian is patron saint of ferrymen
and boatmen, of travelers and of wandering minstrels.” Little is known of
St. Julian of Rimini except that he “endured a prolonged martyrdom with
unfailing courage.”—(_Stories of the Saints._) See page 340.

_San Justo_ (St. Justus). Little authentic is known of this saint, except
that he was the fourth archbishop of Canterbury, and died there about

_San Leandro_ (St. Leander). See page 233.

_San Lorenzo_ (St. Lawrence). See page 234.

_San Lucas_ (St. Luke). See page 162.

_San Luís Gonzaga_ (St. Louis Gonzaga). This saint, also known as
St. Aloysius, was the son of a noble Italian lady, the Marchesa di
Castiglione. “He entered the Society of Jesus when not yet eighteen years
old, and became eminently distinguished for his learning, piety and
good works. He died at Rome in 1591 of fever, which he contracted while
nursing the sick.”—(_Stories of the Saints._)

_San Luís Obispo_ (St. Louis the Bishop). See pages 117 and 340.

_San Luís Rey_ (St. Louis the king). See page 30.

_San Marcial_ (St. Martial) was the Bishop of Limoges, and is especially
noted for the conversions he accomplished, in particular that of the
beautiful virgin St. Valerie, who suffered martyrdom for her faith.

_San Marcos_ (St. Mark). “This evangelist was a disciple of St. Peter.
He founded the church at Alexandria, and on account of his miracles the
heathen accused him of being a magician; and at length, while celebrating
the feast of their god Serapis, they seized St. Mark and dragged him
through the streets until he died. Then immediately there fell a storm
of hail, and a tempest of lightning came with it which destroyed his
murderers.” His remains were removed in A. D. 815 to Venice, where the
splendid cathedral of St. Mark was erected over them. Many legends are
told of this saint, among them the story of his having saved the city of
Venice from destruction by demons, who raised a great storm and came in a
boat for that purpose, but were driven away by St. Mark, who went to meet
them and held up a cross.

_San Marino_, near Los Ángeles, was named for a saint who was born in
Dalmatia in the fourth century. He was a poor laborer and was employed
in the reconstruction of the bridge of Rimini. His piety attracted the
attention of the Bishop of Brescia, who ordained him as a deacon. Marino
retired to Mount Titano, and gave himself up entirely to religious
practices. His cell attracted others, and this was the origin of the city
and republic of San Marino, the smallest republic in the world.

_San Martín_ (St. Martin). See pages 181 and 340.

_San Matéo_ (St. Matthew). See pages 234 and 340.

_San Matéo Point_ (St. Matthew Point). See page 83.

_San Miguel_ (St. Michael). See page 123.

_San Miguelito_ (little St. Michael).

_San Nicolás_ (St. Nicholas). Little that is authentic can be obtained
concerning the history of this saint, but there are numerous legends
of miracles performed by him, several of them connected with raising
children from the dead, and similar stories. St. Nicholas is the chief
patron of Russia and of many sea-port towns, and is the protector against
robbers and violence. He is also the patron of children and schoolboys in
particular, and of poor maidens, sailors, travelers, and merchants.

_San Onofre_ (St. Onophrius). See page 83.

_San Pablo_ (St. Paul). See page 234.

_San Pasqual_ (St. Pascal). This saint was a Spanish peasant, born
in Aragón in 1540. He was a member of the Franciscan order, and was
remarkable for his unfailing courtesy and charity to the poor.

_San Pedro_ (St. Peter). See page 84.

_San Pedro_, _Santa Margarita_, _y las Gallinas_ (St. Peter, St.
Margaret, and the chickens), combined names of three land grants.

_San Quentín_ (St. Quentin). See pages 235 and 341.

_San Rafael_ (St. Raphael). See page 220.

_San Ramón_ (St. Raymond). See page 235.

_San Simeón_ (St. Simeon). See page 128.

_Santa Ana_ (St. Anne). See page 59.

_Santa Ana y Quién Sabe_ (St. Anne and “who knows”), combined names of
two land grants.

_Santa Anita_ (St. Annie, or little St. Anne).

_Santa Bárbara._ See page 89.

_Santa Catalina_ (St. Catherine). See page 62.

_Santa Clara_ (St. Clara). See page 167.

_Santa Clara del Norte_ (St. Clara of the north).

_Santa Cruz_ (holy cross). See page 153.

_Santa Fé_ (holy faith), near Los Ángeles. See page 341.

_Santa Cruz Island._ See page 101.

_Santa Gertrudis_ (St. Gertrude). St. Gertrude the Great was a
benedictine nun and mystic writer, born in Germany in 1256. She is
especially noted for her learning and religious writings, all of which
were written in Latin. She was charitable to the poor and had the gift of

_Santa Inez_, also spelled _Ynez_ (St. Agnes). See pages 109 and 341.

_Santa Lucía_ (St. Lucy). See page 129.

_Santa Margarita_ (St. Margaret). See page 129.

_Santa Margarita y las Flores_ (St. Margaret and the flowers), combined
names of two land grants.

_Santa María_ (St. Mary). See page 110.

_Santa Mónica_ (St. Monica). See page 61.

_Santa Paula_ (St. Paula). See page 113.

_Santa Rita_ is the name of a village in Monterey County, near Salinas.
The patron saint of this place was born at Rocca Porena in 1386 and died
in 1456. Her feast day is May 22, and she is represented as holding
roses, or roses and figs. When but twelve years of age Santa Rita was
compelled by her parents to marry a cruel, ill-tempered man. This man was
murdered, and after his death, his widow desired to enter the convent at
Cascia, but was at first refused admission on account of her widowhood.
She was finally received, however, and so many miracles were reported to
have been performed at her intercession that she was given in Spain the
title of _La Santa de los Imposibles_ (the saint of the impossibilities).

_Santa Rosa_ (St. Rose). See page 246.

_Santa Susana_ (St. Susanna). This saint, who was remarkable for her
beauty and learning, was a relative of the Emperor Diocletian, who
desired her as a wife for his adopted son Maximus. St. Susanna, having
made a vow of chastity, refused this offer, and Diocletian, angered by
her refusal, sent an executioner to kill her in her own house.

_Santa Teresa_, was born at Avila in Castile, March 28, 1515. During her
earliest youth, through reading the lives of the saints and martyrs,
she formed a desire to take up religious work. In accordance with
this desire, at the age of twenty years, she entered the convent of
Carmelites, and chose as her life work the reforming of the order of
Mount Carmel, as well as the establishment of a number of convents for
men. It was she who made the Carmelites go barefoot, or sandalled. Santa
Teresa had distinct literary gifts, and her history of her life is a
work of absorbing interest, which is still read with genuine pleasure
by students of the literature of Spain. She attained a position of such
authority in that country that Philip III chose her for its second
patron saint, ranking her next to Santiago (St. James).

_Santa Ynez._ See Santa Inez. See pages 109 and 341.

_Santa Ysabel_, also spelled _Isabel_ (St. Isabella of France), who
founded the convent at Longchamps, was sister to the saintly King Louis.
She was educated with her brother by their mother, Blanche of Castile.
St. Isabel dedicated her convent to the “humility of the Blessed Virgin,”
and gave to it all her dowry. As long as the convent existed the festival
of this saint was celebrated with great splendor. (_Stories of the

_Santiago de Santa Ana_ (St. James of St. Anne). Land grant.

_San Timotéo_ (St. Timothy). St. Timothy was the beloved disciple of St.
Paul, whom he accompanied on many journeys. It is said that he was Bishop
of Ephesus, until at the age of eighty years he suffered the cruel fate
of being beaten to death by pagans.

_San Tomaso_ (St. Thomas), was a Galilean fisherman and one of the
apostles. “So great was his incredulity that he has always been
remembered for that rather than for his other characteristics,” and
it was in this way that the familiar expression “a doubting Thomas”
arose. At the time of the ascension of the Virgin, Thomas refused to
believe in the event, and the legend relates that in order to convince
him the Virgin dropped her girdle to him from the heavens. Three other
saints also bear this name, St. Thomas á Becket, the celebrated English
historical character; St. Thomas Aquinas, a grandnephew of Frederick
I and a man of great learning; and St. Thomas the Almoner, who was so
charitable that “as a child he would take off his own clothes to give
away to children in the street.” It is related of the last named that he
wore the same hat for twenty-six years, and that his whole life was “but
a grand series of beneficent deeds. When the hour of his death came he
had given away everything except the pallet on which he lay, and this was
to be given to a jailer who had assisted him in executing his benevolent
designs.” There is a remarkably beautiful picture of him by Murillo,
representing him as a child, dividing his clothing among four ragged
little ones.

_San Vicente_ (St. Vincent). Three saints bear this name. St. Vincent
of Saragosa was martyred during the persecution of the Christians by
Diocletian. Legend has it that his remains were guarded by crows or
ravens, and when in the year 1147 Alonzo I removed them to Lisbon, two
crows accompanied the vessel, one at the prow and one at the stern. In
pictures St. Vincent is always represented as accompanied by a crow
or raven. St. Vincent Ferraris was born at Valencia in 1357. He was a
celebrated preacher and missionary, and “so moved the hearts of his
hearers that he was often obliged to pause that the sobbing and weeping
might subside.” The third of this name, St. Vincent de Paul, was the
son of a Gascon farmer, and his charities were so various and so many
as to cause his name to be revered by all, irrespective of religious
differences. He established the Hospital La Madeleine for the Magdalens
of Paris, a foundling hospital, and numerous other charities. In truth,
the practical good done by this man during his life makes him well worthy
of the title of “saint.”

_San Ysidro._ See San Isidro. See page 341.

_Saticoy._ See page 84.

_Saucito_ (little alder).

_Saucos_ (alder-trees).

_Sausal_ (willow-grove).

_Sausalito_ (little willow-grove). See page 218.

_Sausal Redondo_ (round willow-grove). See Redondo Beach, page 82.

_El Segundo_ (the second), so called because at that place the Standard
Oil Company’s second refinery on the Pacific Coast is located. Modern.

_Sequoia_, the giant tree of California, was named for the Cherokee,
Sequoyah, who invented an alphabet for his tribe. Sequoyah, also known as
George Gist, or Guess, was the son of a white man and a Cherokee woman
of mixed blood, and was, after all, more white man than Indian. He had
a natural genius for mechanical invention, and, having been crippled
for life in a hunting accident, he occupied his time in devising the
alphabet, which was accepted with such enthusiasm by his people that
every Cherokee, of whatever age, had learned to read and write in a
few months. Sequoia, although not a place name, is given here for the
interest it may have for tourists and other persons unacquainted with the
origin of the name of the famous “big trees.”

_Serena_ (serene). See page 113. This name is spelled on some maps as
_Sereno_, but is called _Serena_ by the people of the neighborhood.

_Serra_ (a surname). See page 84.

_Sespe_, named for a former Chumash Indian village said by Indians to
have been on Sespe Creek, in Ventura County.

_Shasta._ See page 251.

_Sierra_ (saw, saw-toothed mountains). See page 293.

_Sierra Madre_ (mother sierra). See page 293.

_Sierra Morena_ (brown range) is the name of a spur of the Coast Range
commencing about ten miles south of San Francisco and running through
San Francisco County into Santa Clara County. This mountain range, which
contains some very charming scenery, may have been so named on account of
its color, or it may be the namesake of the _Sierra Morena_ of Spain. The
name is sometimes spelled _Moreno_, and one of the possibilities is that
it was named for the pioneer Moreno family.

_Sierra Nevada_ (snowy sierra). See page 293.

_Simi_, in Ventura County, is an Indian place name.

_Siskiyou._ See page 256.

_Sis Quoc_, a town and river in Santa Bárbara County, named from
_Souscoc_, a former Chumash village near the Santa Inez Mission.

_Sobrante_ (residue, surplus), a term applied to a piece of land left
over after measuring off land grants.

_Sobrante de San Jacinto_, residue of the grant called St. Hyacinth.

_Solano._ See page 268.

_Soledad_ (solitude). See page 151.

_Somis_, in Ventura County, is an Indian place name.

_Sonoma._ See page 241.

_Sonora._ See page 333.

_Soquel_, or _Souquel_, was probably derived from Usacalis, a Costanoan
Indian village situated in 1819 within ten miles of the Santa Cruz

_Soscol._ See Suscol.

_Sotoyome_, a former Chumash Indian village near Santa Inez Mission, in
Santa Bárbara County.

_Stanislaus._ See page 275.

_Suerte_, a word of many meanings (luck, chance, lot of ground). In the
apportionment of land by the Spaniards a _suerte_ was a cultivable lot of
land granted to colonists near the pueblos and within the four leagues
assigned to the pueblo. Each suerte consisted of two hundred varas
of length and two hundred of breadth, a vara being about thirty-three
inches. Thus one _suerte_ is one lot (of land), and not, as one writer
has translated it, “one chance.” _Dos suertes_ is two lots.

_Suisún._ See page 269.

_Suñol_ (a surname). See pages 236 and 341.

_Sur_ (south). For Point Sur see page 162. In this vicinity the scenery
is remarkably picturesque.

_Del Sur_ (of the south), is in Los Ángeles County.

_Suscol_ was the name of a Moquelumnan tribe who lived in a village on
the east bank of Napa River. See Soscol.

_Tahoe._ See page 306.

_Tallac_, an Indian word, meaning not ascertained.

_Tamalpais._ See page 213.

_Tambo_, South American for inn, or hotel, so called because in early
days there was a stopping place in this vicinity for travelers crossing
the continent. Near Marysville.

_Tenaya Peak_, in Yosemite Valley, named for Ten-ei-ya, chief of the
Yosemite Indians.

_Tasajara_, the name of a resort near Monterey, is probably a corruption
of _tasajera_, a place where jerked meat is hung up to cure. Tassajara
in Contra Costa County, and Tasajero creek in Contra Costa and Alameda
Counties are probably different spellings of the same word.

_Tecolote_ (owl).

_Tehachapi._ See page 289.

_Tehama._ See page 265.

_El Tejón_ (the badger), is in Kern County. Tejón Pass is badger pass.

_Temécula._ See page 47. Temécula is in the southern part of Riverside

_Temescal_ (sweathouse). See page 70.

_Tequisquite_ is an Aztec word, probable meaning saltpetre.

_Tía Juana._ See page 47.

_Tiburón_ (shark). See page 220.

_Tierra Seca_ (dry land).

_Tocaloma._ See page 236.

_Todos Santos_ (all saints).

_Todos Santos y San Antonio_ (all saints and St. Anthony).

_Tolenos_, in Yolo County, is probably a misspelling of Yolenos, from the
Indian _Yolo_. See page 268.


_Toluca_, near Los Ángeles, is probably derived from _Tolujaa_, or
_Tilijaes_, a tribe among the original ones at San Juan Capistrano in
1731, although there is also a place named Toluca in Mexico.

_Tomales._ See page 236.

_Topo Creek_ (gopher creek).

_Toro_ (bull). See pages 85 and 163.

_Toros_ (bulls).

_Tortuga_ (turtle, tortoise).

_Trabuco_ (blunderbuss, a sort of wide-mouthed gun), but it may not be
used in that sense in this case. See page 85. Trabuco Canyon is in Orange

_Trampa del Oso_ (bear trap).

_Trampas_ (traps, snares), perhaps named in reference to traps which were
in common use among the Indians to catch game, as well as their human
enemies. In Contra Costa County.

_Tranquillón Mountain_ is in Santa Bárbara County. _Tranquillón_ is a
mixture of two kinds of grain, such as wheat and rye, called in English
“mastlin,” or “maslin.”

_Tres Ojos de Agua_ (three springs of water).

_Tres Pinos._ See page 163.

_Trigo_ (wheat), is 128 miles from Stockton.

_Trinity County._ See page 257.

_Trinidad Bay_ and town. See page 257.

_Triunfo_ (triumph), is in Los Ángeles County.

_Trópico_ (tropical), near Los Ángeles.

_Truckee._ See page 305.

_Tulare_ (place of rushes). See page 281.

_Tularcitos_ (little rushes, little Tulare ranch).

_Tulucay Rancho_, near Napa State Hospital, is derived from the Indian
word _tuluka_ (red).

_Tunitas_ is a place near San Francisco on the Ocean Shore Road. The
tunita is a beach plant sometimes called the “beach apple.” _Tuna_ is the
Spanish name for the common cactus known as “prickly pear.”

_Tuolumne._ See page 315.

_Tustín_ (a surname), a place in Orange County, near Santa Ana. Fernando
Tustín was one of the early settlers, and came to California in 1845.

_Ukiah._ See page 262.

_Usal_, in Mendocino County. This is an Indian word, derived from
_yosal_, or _yusal_, the name of a tribe of Pomos, living on the coast
from Usal northward.

_Las Uvas_ (the grapes). See page 163.

_Vacaville._ See page 289.

_Valencia Peak_, near San Luís Obispo. Valencia is a surname.

_Valle_ (valley).

_Vallecito_ (little valley) is the name of places in Calaveras and San
Diego Counties. See page 334.

_Los Vallecitos de San Marcos_ (the little valleys of St. Mark).

_Vallejo_ (a surname). See pages 236 and 341.

_Valle Mar_ (sea valley), on the Ocean Shore, near San Francisco.
Improper construction. It should be _Valle del Mar_ (valley of the sea).

_Valle de San Felipe_ (valley of St. Philip).

_Dos Valles_ (two valleys).

_Valle de San José_ (valley of St. Joseph).

_Valle Verde_ (green valley). See page 85.

_Valle Vista_ (valley view). See page 85. Improper construction. It
should be _Vista del Valle_ (view of the valley).

_Vega_, an open plain, or tract of level land. Vega is also a surname.

_Las Vegas_ (the meadows). Fremont refers to the _vegas_ of the Southern
Central Valley in these terms: “We encamped in the midst of another very
large basin, at a camping ground called _Las Vegas_, a term which the
Spaniards use to signify fertile or marshy plains, in contradistinction
to _llanos_, which they apply to dry and sterile plains.”

_Vega del Río del Pájaro_ (plain of the river of the bird).

_Venado_ (deer), is in Colusa County.

_Ventura_ (fortune). See page 113.

_Verano_ (summer), is west of Napa.

_Verde_ (green), twelve miles from San Luís Obispo.

_Verdugo_ (a surname in this case). See page 85.

_Los Vergeles_ (flower gardens, beautiful orchards).

_Vicente Point_ (Point Vincent). See page 85.

_Viento_ (wind), is in San Bernardino County.

_Las Vírgenes_ (the virgins). See page 341.

_Vista_ (view), in San Diego County.

_Bella Vista_ (beautiful view).

_Buena Vista_ (good view).

_Chula Vista_ (charming view). See page 42.

_Vista Grande_ (large view), is in San Matéo County.

_Monte Vista_ (mountain view). Improper construction. It should be _Vista
del Monte_ (view of the mountain).

_Río Vista_ (river view). See page 289. Improper construction. It should
be _Vista del Río_ (view of the river).

_Vizcaíno Cape_, named for the celebrated Spanish explorer Sebastián
Vizcaíno, who touched at various points on the California coast in the
year 1602.

_Volcán_ (volcano).

_Wahtoque_ is an Indian word meaning “pine nut,” the name of a place near

_Wawona_, an Indian word of disputed meaning. See page 334.

_Weitchpec_, near Hoopa valley, Humboldt County. “The Weitspekan family
consisted of the Yurok tribe alone, inhabiting the lower Klamath River
and adjacent coast. The name is adapted from Weitspekw, the name of
a spring in the village. At the site of the present post-office of
Weitchpec was one of the most populous Yurok villages, and one of only
two or three at which both the Deerskin dance and the Jumping dance were
held.”—(A. L. Kroeber in _Handbook of American Indians_.)

_Las Yeguas_ (the mares), referring to a pasture where mares were kept.

_Yerba Buena_ (good herb). See page 205.

_Yokohl_, in Tulare County. This was the name of a Yokuts tribe formerly
living on the Kaweah River, Tulare County.

_Yolo._ See page 268.

_Yorba_ (a surname). This was the name of one of Captain Fages’ original
Catalán volunteers. Yorba is near Los Ángeles.

_Yosemite_ (grizzly bear). See page 321.

_Yreka._ See page 258.

_Yuba._ See page 266.

_Yucaipe_, in San Bernardino County, is an Indian place name.

_Zamora_, probably named for the province of the same name in the ancient
kingdom of León, in Spain. There is an old proverb about this place which
says: “No se ganó Zamora en una hora” (Zamora was not taken in an hour),
the same idea as expressed in “Rome was not built in a day.”

_Zapatero Creek_ (shoemaker creek).


_Las Calabazas_ means “the squashes” or “the gourds,” particularly with
reference to the wild gourds that grow in that locality.—(Mr. Charles F.

_El Chorro_ (the gushing stream), is the name of a creek near San Luís
Obispo, and was so named from a waterfall on its course.

_Garvanza_ is a corrupt word, possibly corrupted from _garbanzo_
(chick-pea). The town name is a modern one, not given by Spaniards but
by tenderfeet, and there is no known reason for its application.—(Mr.
Charles F. Lummis.)

_León_ turns out not to be of Spanish origin.

In a recent publication on a California subject the definition of _Palo
Alto_ is given as “high hill,” and of _Palo Verde_ as “green hill,” both
of which are, of course, incorrect. Anyone who will take the trouble
to consult an ordinary Spanish dictionary will find that _palo_ means
“stick.” As stated elsewhere in this book, the Spaniards used this word
in the sense of “tree,” and _Palo Alto_ consequently means “high tree,”
as is fully set forth under the heading of this name in these pages. The
meaning of _Palo Verde_ is, of course, “green tree.”

_Pecho_ (breast) Rock is so named from the shape of the rock.

_Prado_ (meadow) is a modern name applied without much regard for its
fitness.—(Mr. Charles F. Lummis.)

_Rivera_ should be spelled with a “b” instead of a “v.” It means “banks
of a stream,” and the name is given for this reason.—(Mr. Charles F.

_Serena_ (serene) is incomplete in this form, as Spaniards do not use an
adjective standing alone as a place name. It may have been originally _La
Ensenada Serena_ (the serene bay) in reference to the charming little
cove situated there.

_Triunfo_ (triumph) is a modern real estate name, and has no historical
significance that can be discovered.—(Mr. Charles F. Lummis.)


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