The Biography of Francisco Estevan Quintana (1801--1880) and Maria de Guadalupe Lujan (1809--1884)
by Donald Rivara

Copyright January 2, 2009 by Don Rivara
contact Don at


Francisco Estevan Quintana was born to aging parents in the Chama River Valley near the village of Abiquiú, Río Arriba County, New Mexico, on 3 August 1801, at a time when that area was under Spanish rule. The boy would be known by his second name, Estevan. The king of Spain at the time of Estevan's birth was Carlos IV [1748-1808]. His parents were Gregorio Anselmo Quintana [1748-after 1822] and María Concepción Valdéz [1759-after 1822]. He was baptized 5 August at Santo Tomás Apostól Roman Catholic Church in the village of Abiquiú with Manuel Martín as his padrino [godfather] and Ana María Larrañaga as his madrina [godmother].

Estevan's great grandparents, Miguel de Quintana [1677-1748] and Gertrudis Moreno Trujillo [1675-after 1757] had been among the 1693 colonists who resettled New Mexico after the 1680 Pueblo Indian revolt had driven the Spanish completely out of New Mexico. They were also among the original settlers of Santa Cruz, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, in 1695. [Santa Cruz today is conjoined with the town of Española.] They had come from Mexico City. With the immigration were the parents of Gertrudis, Nicolás Trujillo [1653-after 1705] and María Águilar [c.1659-after 1705], but, because the Trujillos had not been given a government stipend to settle in the colony, they were permitted to return to Mexico in 1705 when the new colonists were under heavy Indian attack and near starvation. Three of their married daughters remained in New Mexico. Miguel’s parents, José de Quintana and Nicolasa Valdéz de Cervantes, remained in Mexico City, never joining the emigrant group. Miguel’s brother, José de Quintana, served as a soldier assigned to the colonization and later settled near present-day Albuquerque.

Nicolás Quintana, Estevan’s grandfather, was born in Santa Cruz and was baptized in the church there on 14 May 1712, and appears to have lived out his life in Santa Cruz. He married María Antonia Herrera and had a large family. Their son, Gregorio Anselmo Quintana, was baptized 14 May 1748, in Santa Cruz, and, appears to have moved to the Chama Valley after marrying Estevan’s mother, Concepción, 27 March 1781, at the church in Abiquiú. In the marriage record of Santo Tomás Apostól Church, it states that Gregorio was “de otra villa” [from another town]. Estevan, who appears to have been their youngest child, was born twenty years later.

Estevan’s childhood would have been lived in fear of Indian attack The Navajos and Apaches, were continually raiding to acquire the New Mexicans’ livestock and, equally valuable, their women and children, who would be kept or traded as slaves. The men and adolescent boys were killed. One Navajo chief facetiously referred to the Hispanic New Mexicans as “my shepherds” because they raised the livestock for him to reap. These practices were not one sided. The New Mexicans raided Indian villages, killing the men and capturing adolescent girls and children of both sexes for slaves. In addition, merchants who frequented the trails leading from New Mexico to California, Missouri, Texas, and the interior of Mexico would buy captured Indian children from Indians who would meet them for trading purposes. The Catholic Church and the Spanish government officially prohibited slavery of the Indians, but the people of New Mexico were allowed to keep the young Indians as “servants” to Christianize and Hispanicize until they became adults. Complicating matters was when the servant girls would become pregnant by “unknown” fathers. Babies born to these servants usually remained with Hispanic families to rear as servants. The relationship between the Indians and the Hispanics of what later became the Southwestern United States was extremely bitter.

Liberated adult Hispanicized Indians and their offspring were called Genízaros. Abiquiú had been founded as a Genízaro village, a buffer from Indian attacks on the more settled areas along the Rio Grande River. In time, mestizos and some persons of pure Spanish backgrounds settled in the town also.

The Quintanas were ricos, the Spanish term for the upper crust. Because there were no schools in New Mexico, only the sons of the wealthier gente de razon received an education. They had to be sent to far-off places to be educated, usually at Durango, Mexico. Daughters were not afforded this opportunity. Estevan’s education would serve him well throughout his life.

On 22 September 1822, Estevan and his mother, María Concepción Valdés, were listed as godparents for Nicolás Quintana, a five-year old Comanche boy bought from the Utes by Estevan’s father, Don Gregorio Quintana, resident of La Plaza Colorada in Abiquiu. This is the last record we have of his parents.

Estevan was widely traveled in his efforts to market his livestock, and that may be how he met his wife, but it is also possible that he was visiting relatives. The young aristocrat was a literate, ambitious, twenty-one-year-old man when he married María de Guadalupe Luján, 3 April 1823, in San Ildefonso, Santa Fe County, New Mexico. Guadalupe was the daughter of José Joaquín Luján and María Ygnacia Martín [aka Martín Serrano]. She probably lived in Jacona, a village near San Ildefonso.

She was thirteen years old at the time of the marriage, having been born near San Ildefonso on December 9, 1809, and baptized at the Catholic church there on December 12, 1809. Her godparents were Juan Antonio Quintana and María Josefa Quintana.

Whereas Estevan was the youngest of his family, Guadalupe was the eldest of hers. In the years to come this would make a great difference in maintaining family ties. While most of Estevan’s close relatives had died or would die soon after his and Guadalupe’s emigration to California, some of Guadalupe’s younger siblings survived both Estevan and Guadalupe. Soon after their marriage, Estevan took his bride home to Abiquiú. They are shown as godparents there 16 November 1823 for Diego Martín Vigil.

The Quintana’s first child, José María Quintana, was born in December of 1824, but no record has been found of his baptism at either San Ildefonso or Abiquiú. The Quintanas may have lived somewhere else at the time of the child’s birth.

Probably it was our Estevan who appears in the records of the Bexar Archives in San Antonio, Texas. One entry is a receipt for horses sold by Estevan Quintana to S. Lopez on 12 September 1825, at the Rancho de Agua Nueva. An entry from Lampazos, Texas, in the archives states that Andrés Cárdenas and Estevan Quintana on 22 November 1826, deserted a licensed trade caravan with property of the caravan [probably their share of the food]. At that time travelers had to carry a license to be on the road. Without this, they were presumed to be bandits and subject to immediate execution. What probably occurred was disharmony among the members of the caravan, and Cárdenas and Estevan decided to risk traveling alone. That late in the season, they probably had already sold their livestock in Texas and were anxious to return home quickly, unhampered by the slow-moving caretas of the merchants. It was likely his experience with these merchants that led him to a dual vocation of being a stockman and a trader.

It was in the mid-1820’s that the Quintanas moved from the Chama Valley to the Taos Valley, northeast of Abiquiú. This was probably due to the opening of the Santa Fe Trail connecting the merchants of Missouri with the markets of New Mexico. Estevan may have journeyed to Missouri to trade, but we have no evidence of this. The Quintanas’ eldest daughter, María Prudencia Quintana, was born 12 November 1827 and was baptized at the San Fernando de Taos Church. After Prudencia’s birth there is an eight year hiatus before another child of theirs was baptized there. On 2 February 1833, a son, Pedro de Jesús María, was baptized at the church in San Ildefonso, where Guadalupe’s family resided. Because there is a five-year gap between children, it is possible that the Quintanas lived somewhere else other than Taos, Abiquiú, or San Ildefonso, during that time, but any children born during that gap died as children because they do not show up in later records. Not long after Pedro’s birth, however, the family appears to have returned to the Taos Valley.

. After Prudencia, three more children were baptized at the San Fernando de Taos Church: María Manuela Quintana, born 12 May 1835; Manuel de Jesús Quintana, born 27 September 1837; and Gregorio Trinidad Quintana, born 20 February 1840. At Gregorio’s baptism, his parents were said to be residents of San Francisco del Rancho. The godparents were José Martín and María Dolores Córdova.

In 1829 the “Old Spanish Trail” was opened between New Mexico and Los Angeles, California. Traders began annual caravans, traveling in groups for safety from Indian attacks. About the same time, the California missions were decommissioned and the vast mission lands were opened to private ownership. Antonio María Lugo obtained the large Rancho San Bernardino and its estancia buildings, formerly part of the Mission San Gabriel. Juan Bandini was granted the nearby Rancho Jurupa from the former San Gabriel lands. Bandini and Lugo were eager to attract settlers. Both needed men skilled in fighting Indians to protect their ranchos from marauding. Lugo offered 2,200 acres to would-be settlers, the land to be settled in common with ownership still residing with Lugo, a common practice on the Mexican frontier. In 1838 a man from Abiquiú, Santiago Martínez, became the first Abiqueño to settle there, between present-day San Bernardino and Colton. Over the next few years, other Abiqueño families began arriving.

Estevan continued to combine his stock raising with a career as a merchant. On September 24, 1839, Francisco Esteban Quintana was issued guia #185, a permit to conduct business and a basis of taxing merchants. His guía permitted him to take six bundles of domestic merchandise to California for sale. He traveled with the caravan of 1839, arriving in Los Angeles about the first of December. [Santa Fe National Historic Trail: Special History Study, Appendix 1, taken from Roll 21, #334]. His journey took him over the Old Spanish Trail through Central Utah, through what is now Las Vegas, Nevada, and thence to Los Angeles.

In California, Estevan sold his merchandise and then left to explore what lay north up the El Camino Real. In San Luis Obispo County he came across Petronilo Rios in the Salinas Valley. From Rios he purchased two leagues of land in early 1840. This land included the present-day site of Paso Robles. It was called the Ranch of the Hot Waters [Rancho de las Aguas Calientes]. This land had formerly belonged to the Mission San Miguel. [In Deed Book A, page 28, San Luis Obispo County, CA, it states that Estevan had purchased the land in 1840][In 1852 he would sell this land back to Rios].

Estevan returned to New Mexico in the spring of 1840 and reunited with his family. He would not have been home when Guadalupe gave birth to a son, Gregorio, on February 20, 1840 in the Taos Valley. He would meet his new son upon his arrival home.

Now making more money as a merchant than as a stock-raiser, Estevan moved his family back to Abiquiu, which lay on the trail to California from Santa Fe. The threat from the Republic of Texas, which was committed to annexing New Mexico, probably influenced Estevan’s decisions over the next couple of years. We first find Estevan and Guadalupe back in the Chama Valley, on 20 October, 1840, as godparents at the baptism in Abiquiú of five-day-old Antonio José Quintana, a Ute Indian slave/servant of theirs. A child newly-born was not a captive, but was probably born to one of their young female slave/servants. As usual in these births to slave girls, the father is listed as “unknown.” Usually one of the men of the family was the unmentioned father. The Quintanas were shown as residents of the village of El Rito, but the baptism took place at Santo Tomás Apostól Church in Abiquiú, the nearest church.

The Quintanas must have been prospering because Santo Tomás Apostól Church record shows that on 3 March 1841, they baptized yet another slave/servant that they no doubt had purchased from her captors or a trader. She was named María Antonia Quintana and was twelve years old. Estevan and Guadalupe served as her godparents.

That fall Estevan prepared to leave El Rito for California with Santiago Martinez and other Abiquiú families headed for the Rancho San Bernardino. Estevan seems to have been resolved to request a grant of land for himself and to set himself up as an hacendado with peones residing on his land in the Lugo fashion.

Estevan apparently had become enamoured of Calfornia during his 1839 trip. There were several good reasons for moving to California. One was the perennial raids by Indians in New Mexico, which threatened the Quintanas’ lives and their prosperity. In California Indian attacks would be fewer and less vicious. Also, the rich grasslands in California could greatly increase the Quintana’s livestock herds. Another factor making New Mexico life less tolerable was the tyrannical rule of Governor Manuel Armijo, the most corrupt governor in New Mexico’s history. Perhaps more pressing was Texas’ claim to New Mexico and the threat of an invasion.

At San Francisco del Rancho, the village south of Taos where the Quintanas had attended church, two Anglos, who would one day become prominent in Southern California, operated a trading post. They were William Workman [1799-1876] and John Rowland. Both were married to native women and were naturalized Mexican citizens. Workman and Roland seem to have prospered in Taos, but politics soon made life difficult. In 1840 the Republic of Texas named Workman and Rowland agents, perhaps without their prior knowledge, to represent Texas’ interests in annexing New Mexico. Although they did not apparently accept this role, Workman and Rowland’s identification with the Texans was tantamount to treason.

As tensions increased, Mirabeau Lamar, the President of Texas, without congressional approval, sent an expedition of volunteers, military, and merchants carrying 21 wagons of trade goods to Santa Fe to persuade the people of Santa Fe to abandon their Mexican citizenship and join the Republic of Texas. The expedition was poorly planned and suffered many hardships. When the soldiers finally arrived in Santa Fe, they were promptly taken prisoner, stripped naked, and marched down the Jornada de Muerto to Chihuahua. They were not released until 1842, after Lamar had left office.

Meanwhile Rowland and Workman formed a party of some forty whites that left New Mexico in September 1841. Arriving in Abiquiú, the group was joined by Santiago Martinez and his group, which included Francisco Estevan Quintana. The party traveled the Old Spanish Trail, arriving in Los Angeles on 5 November 1841. The Rowland and Workman expedition left its legacy as the first American emigrant party to enter Southern California from an eastern-based land route. The Bartleson-Bidwell party arrived in Northern California from Missouri at the same time.

The San Bernardino Valley apparently appealed to Estevan because he traveled to Monterey, the capital of Mexican California, in January of 1842, to request a land grant there on land that did not belong to Antonio María Lugo. He passed through San Luis Obispo, traveling the El Camino Real. In the book The Old Spanish Trail, by LeRoy and Anne Hafen, pp. 219-222 there is mention that twelve pages of applications to settle in the San Bernardino Valley were charred beyond reading in the San Francisco fire of 1906. The index book survived, however, as did the petition of Francisco Estevan Quintana presented to Governor Alvarado. The petition was prefaced with a statement that the Justice of the Peace of Los Angeles on February 12, 1842, had given permission to Quintana to “separate from the assembling company of New Mexican traders and return to his province in due time and to transact such business as is agreeable to him. The same permission is given to the others who wish to follow said Quintana.” The petition was expressed as follows:

Most Excellent Señor [Governor Alvarado],

I, Francisco Estevan Quintana, Mexican by birth, appear before you in the form provided by law and say: that for myself and in the name of my companions and their families, being desirous soon of settling down, we would like to establish ourselves in this country, so fertile and advantageous. That we have not done so already is due to our uncertainty about obtaining lands; but finding vacant a tract of land bearing the name “San Bernardino,” somewhat east of San Gabriel, we have decided to bring hither our families; and in order to do so, we pray Your Excellency to grant us the land existing there to form a colony, subjecting ourselves to all of the laws of colonization, and it being understood that we solicit land in San Bernardino that is unoccupied. What we ask for is two leagues of grazing land.

Praying Your Excellency will decide in my favor, I am, Most Excellent Governor, Francisco Estevan Quintana.

Monterey, January 18, 1842

Governor Juan Alvarado responded with

Whenever the petitioner brings to San Bernardino a sufficient number of families to occupy it, I will grant this petition with the understanding that he will be required to take such lands as remain vacant after a portion of it has been granted to various individuals of the city of Los Angeles whose petitions are now pending…..Alvarado

Probably accompanied by several associates, Estevan returned to Los Angeles, Records show that he left for New Mexico on February 12, 1842. [Records of the Old Spanish Trail Association][]

While their father was enroute home, on March 18, 1841, José María Quintana and his sister María Prudencia Quintana were godparents in Abiquiú at the baptism of José Melitón Ocaña, son of Ramón Ocaña and María Serafina Ortíz.

With permission to select a land grant in the San Bernardino Valley in California, Estevan and his family began making preparations for the difficult move. They probably had to sell land and some of their stock. They would have to wait until the spring of 1843 so there would be enough grass along the trail to feed their large herd of livestock.

Meanwhile, José María Quintana and his mother, Guadalupe Luján, were godparents on September 13, 1841, in Abiquiú for José Rafael Casados, age 7 days, son of José Julián Casados and María Ysabel Montoya. While the family was preparing to leave for California, they took time to baptize Pascual Quintana, an Indian with no age given, on February 6, 1843, in Abiquiú with Francisco Estevan Quintana as godfather and María Guadalupe Luján as godmother. Presumably this was another of their slaves. Still living in the Jacona-San Ildefonso area were Guadalupe’s father, Joaquín Luján, and her maternal grandmother, Francisca Atencio, then eighty- two. Her mother may have still been alive also at that time, but by the time of the 1850 Census, she had died. The father and grandmother, however, were still living in 1850.

In the spring of 1843 the Quintana family crossed the Old Spanish Trail to make their new life in California. They brought at least some of their Indian wards with them. The Quintanas and nine other Abiquiu families who accompanied the trade caravan left Abiquiu and headed toward the Four Corners area, following the San Juan River. From there they headed northwest deep into central Utah, crossing the Grand River and then Green River north of where they flow together. They then turned southwest through the heart of the Wasatch Mountains and crossed into Nevada below Sevier Lake. Las Vegas, Nevada, history shows that Estevan’s party stopped there on their way to California. The area was called “Las Vegas de Quintana” for many years, possibly named for Estevan’s party. From Las Vegas, the party crossed the Mojave Desert below Death Valley in what is now San Bernardino County, California. The end of the trail for the group was at Agua Mansa, the settlement near present-day Colton, California, that had been established a couple of years earlier by former Abiquiú, New Mexico residents.

Along the trail, Estevan’s grown children, Jose Maria, 19, and Prudencia, 15, herded the livestock. Pedro, who was ten, probably assumed some of the burden as well. It was probably in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, that tragedy struck. A landslide of rocks disgorged and tumbled down a mountain killing young Manuel Quintana, who was almost six years old. He was buried there along the trail, and with great grief the family was forced to leave behind his lonely grave in the middle of the wilderness.

Arriving in the San Bernardino Valley, the family probably stopped briefly at Agua Mansa. They would have attended church at the San Gabriel Mission. The Quintanas were unsatisfied with the situation in San Bernardino, probably due to reneging on the part of the Lugo family to favorable land arrangements they had made with the New Mexican immigrants. The Quintanas were there only a short time. Estevan continued northward with his family and livestock to his land in San Luis Obispo County.

On March 6, 1846, Estevan and Guadalupe Quintana were godparents for Juan Antonio, “nino de casa,” [a house boy] age three. Clearly the Quintanas were continuing the Mexican system of Indian child slavery. Whether this was a Chumash boy or the son of an Indian girl they had brought with them from New Mexico is unknown.

The Quintanas had lived on their rancho for two or three years when the Mexican War broke out and John C. Fremont arrived in the fall with his conquering host. Jose María Quintana and Tomás Herrera led the “army” of thirty Californios who marched out to meet him and surrender. Herrera, also a New Mexican, had a very close relationship with the Quintana family. He and Estevan’s son José María obtained together a land grant east of Paso Robles called San Juan Capistrano del Camote.

Fremont tried to reassure the group that their lives could continue without disruption. The California government before the Americans came had been chaotic, and the government of Mexico unresponsive to the needs of its remote province. The ties with Mexico would not be missed, but certainly there was an uneasiness about what life would be like under these aggressive new masters.

Just as life was beginning to settle down from the war in 1848, there was a massacre at the nearby former Mission San Miguel in which ten members of the Reed household were killed by a gang of thugs. It is likely that some of Rancho de la Agua Caliente men were in the posse to hunt down the murderers.

Right on top of this, the report of the gold discovery began an invasion from all the places near to California. A flood of Sonoreños from the Mexican province of Sonora came up the El Camino Real and by ship hundreds of Chilenos. The territory of Oregon was drained of its manpower. It appears that Estevan took advantage of the gold rush to sell his livestock and merchandise. The family does not appear in the 1850 Census. The likely reason being that they were at the mines.

The Quintanas maintained a town home in San Luis Obispo. It was one of the row of adobe homes about 25 square feet in size that lined what would become Chorro Street next to the mission. They had been the dwellings of soldiers who guarded the mission in the earlier days.

In 1849, after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican War, a constitutional convention was called in Monterey. A transitional form of government was created. An alcalde [mayor] of San Luis Obispo in 1845 in the last years of the Mexican period, Estevan was voted in again to the post on August 1, 1849, The total number of votes was twenty-nine---there were few people in San Luis to vote at the time. Estevan decided few issues of any import. Many of the records, written in Spanish, survive of this period. He was articulate, and his son-in-law, Miguel Serrano, was mentioned frequently. Miguel managed the rancho operations while Estevan tended to his business.

Wallace V. Ohles, in his The Lands of Mission San Miguel, Word Dancer Press, Fresno, CA, 1997, page 74, states:

Esteban Quintana was a prominent citizen of San Luis Obispo; he served as an alcalde in 1845 and 1849. The assessment roll of real estate and personal property for 1851 lists lots and improvements in San Luis Obispo at $275, and personal property at $2,836. During the 1850’s the San Luis Obispo post office was moved from a small adobe building on the corner of Monterey and Chorro streets to the Murray adobe opposite the mission. In 1860 it was moved into an adobe, owned by Quintana, on the northwest side of Monterey Street above Chorro...

On 20 August 1851, Estevan was the high bidder at the sale of Lot No. 6 in Block No. 14 of San Luis Obispo. This lot was twenty-one yards wide and twenty-six yards deep. [Deed Book A, page 8] Block 14 is the Block bordered by Monterey, Chorro, Palm, and Morro. Apparently this was his lot on the northeast corner of Chorro and Monterey, where he later built the Quintana Building. This early investing in town lots and later building on them was probably how Estevan was able to survive the terrible two-year drought of the 1860’s when nine tenths of the livestock on the Central Coast died.

On the 23 of November of the same year, 1851, Estevan purchased land bounded by the Arroyo de los Alisos, the Cerro de Islay, the lands of José María Villa, those of Henry A. Tefft [who would drown in the ocean soon afterwards] and those of Estevan himself. It was sold to him by Francisco Salgado and Miguel Trujillo. [Deed Book A, page 9] This greatly expanded the land Estevan owned. This was probably before the above purchase.

The 1852 California State Census was taken with the Quintanas still on the Paso Robles site. Their daughter Prudencia and her husband Miguel Serrano are shown living with them with no children:

Estevan Quintana, 57, farmer, born Mexico [Should be New Mexico][He was 51]

Guadalupe Quintana, 40, female, born Mexico [New Mexico]

Jose M. Quintana, 28, farmer, born Mexico [New Mexico]

Pedro Quintana, 18, farmer, born Mexico [New Mexico]

Maria Jesus Quintana, 5, female, born CA

Jesus Maria Quintana, 7/12, male, born CA

Miguel Serrano, 35, farmer, born Mexico [New Mexico]

Prudencia Serrano, 25, born Mexico [New Mexico]

[There was a language problem with the census taker and the Quintanas.]

On 3 October 1852, Estevan sold for $300 to Petronilo Ríos the “Rancho de La Agua Caliente,” [Ranch of the hot water] two leagues of land or two “sitios de ganado mayor” [about 8,656 acres]. This was the same land that Rios had sold him in 1840.

On 11 December of 1852, Baptiste García of San Luís Obispo sold to Estevan Quintana all the land and buildings designated as “The Vineyard” [La Viña]. This lay adjacent to Mission San Luis Obispo. The land probably had been the site of a mission vineyard; thus the name. This land today encompasses all of the eastern part of San Luis Obispo. It included an adobe home called “La Loma de la Nopalera,” [Hill of the Nopales Cactus Orchard]. Behind the adobe was acreage planted to the nopales cactus, which Hispanics ate and still eat as a vegetable. It is unknown how large this ranch was, but it had to have been large enough to graze the substantial herd of livestock Estevan had brought with him. [La Vista, V1 N4, Jan. 1970, by Alonzo Dana;][San Luis Obispo County Deed Book “A,” pages 77-79] Some of these nopales are still there in 2005, although the area behind the adobe is being subdivided. The La Loma Adobe is located at 1590 Lizzie Street. It is the oldest house still in existence in San Luis Obispo County, although it is in poor condition. According to the Dana article, the house was built in 1782 by Indian servants of a Spanish supervisor, and it once served as a trading post. If the date of the building is correct at 1782, it was built ten years after the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The elevated location of La Loma provided an excellent view in the direction of the mission, the cluster of adobes that surrounded it, and the valley.

The agreement shows that there was a stone fence or corral on the property. This land was apparently adjacent to the land Estevan already owned. [Both transactions are on San Luis Obispo County Deed Book A, page 28][A sitio de ganado mayor was a square league that measured 5,000 varas on each side, which equaled 4,338.68 acres. A criadero de ganado mayor was one quarter of the sitio, or 1,109.67 acres. A sitio de ganado menor was two thirds of a sitio de ganado mayor, or 2,959.12 acres. A criadero de ganado menor was one third of a sitio de ganado mayor, or 1,479.56 acres. Sometimes called “a Spanish yard,” the vara was equal to thirty-three inches in California and New Mexico, but varied a bit elsewhere.]

There were two buildings on the La Loma adobe site, one being the adobe. In the other, Estevan may have operated a general merchandise store. In the file of county civil litigation now housed in the county museum, there is an undated lawsuit in the 1851-1853 file entitled Estefan Quintana vs. Urbano Cárdenas. Estevan alleged that in 1847 he had given Cárdenas considerable merchandise to sell for a commission, presumably at the more distant ranchos, and that Cardenas had sold the merchandise but refused an accounting or to pay Quintana. Written by Cárdenas is a list of the following merchandise he claimed to have received from Estevan, for which Estevan was suing him.

List of the goods that I had on commission from Don Esteban Quintana

[Lista de los efectos que tuve en comission de Don Estevan Quintana]

14 [illegible], value $7

2[pairs?] curtains, value $2 [pares? telón]

6 notebooks of paper, value $3 [cuadernos de papel]

8 pounds of nuts, value $4 [libras de nueces]

3 large coats, value $12 [chaquetones]

2 jackets, value $8 [chaquetas]

3 vests, value$6 [chalecos]

3 pounds of rice, value $.60 [libras de arroz]

6 skeins of thread, value $3 [madejas de hilo]

10 handerchiefs, value $3.50 [pañuelos]

11 sombreros, value $33

10 pairs of shoes, value $30 [pares de zapatos]

1 [pasadon?], value $3

1[illegible], value $3.50

1[illegible...papel], value $11

2 vests of [illegible], value $10 [chalecos]

1 shirt, value $4 [camisa]

4[illegible]skeins of thread, value $.40 [hilo de madeja]

4 handkerchiefs, value $1.40 [panuelos]

3 [lassos?de illegible], value $1.10

32 skeins of silk [thread?] $4 [madejas de seda]

10 wooden pencils, $1.20 [lapis de palo]

4 bottles of honey, $2.00 [botejas de miel]

3 blue [illegible], value $27

The outcome of the case is unknown, but since Cardenas said he owed Estevan this much, he likely had to pay at least that amount.

In 1853 at a hearing of the U. S. Land Grant Commission, Estevan’s claim that La Viña had been granted to him by the Mexican government was denied for lack of evidence that it had ever been granted. He had petitioned January 15, 1853, to ascertain his claim to La Viña. His petition stated that on January 4, 1842, Juan B. Alvarado, Constitutional Governor of the Californias, granted to him a tract of land containing one square league of land situated near the ex-mission of San Luis Obispo. He asserted that the grant was made in accordance with the Law of Colonization of August 18, 1824 and the Mexican Executive Regulations of 1828. G.B. Farwell stated the opinion of the commissioners that, in short, that the claim was rejected for lack of evidence that the land was granted. Other commissioners were R. August Thompson and Alphons Felch. George Fisher, Secretary of the Commission, transcribed the proceedings. [Grant 863 Viña 292 SD; BD.513 in the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. This archive item is a “Summary of the Transcript of Case No. 513 of the Land Grant Cases. Francisco Estevan Quintana, Claimant vs. The United States, Defendant”] There is no existing evidence that the Mexican governor allowed Estevan to switch the location of the land upon which he was to settle. Apparently the person from whom Estevan had purchased La Viña did not have a legal title and this petition was a ruse to keep the land he had paid for.

In 1854 Estevan was assessed for “a number of small lots in and about San Luis Obispo,” value $2,260; personal property $10,180. No mention is made of his ranch land. His tax bill was $186.60.

It was probably problems with the Land Commission that encouraged Estevan in 1854 to exchange a portion of La Viña rancho for 3,166 acres of the 3,506.33 acre Rancho Potrero de San Luís Obispo, which lay on Stenner Creek about five miles northeast of the old mission. The exchange was made with Doña María Concepción Boronda de Muñoz, one of the prominent Boronda family of Monterey County, CA. On 4 September 1837, she had married a French ship captain, Olivier Deleissigues, at the Mission San Juan Batista. In 1842, probably because he was not yet a Mexican citizen, the couple petitioned for a land grant in San Luis Obispo County in Chona’s name. They were granted the Rancho Potrero de San Luis Obispo. Olivier Deleissigues died in 1849. She then married a younger man, José María Muñoz, who had immigrated from Mexico. Muñoz, an attorney, later became a judge and was prominent in San Luis Obispo affairs until he was reportedly lost at sea in 1874 when the ship on which he was traveling sank. The son of José María and Concepción Muñoz, Benjamin Muñoz, was the policeman in San Luis Obispo for many years before moving to Oakland. He was married in 1883 to Antonia Serrano, a granddaughter of Francisco Estevan Quintana. Doña Chona’s grant of the Potrero was well documented. Estevan would have no trouble securing title to it. Muñoz, being an attorney, could better navigate through the Land Commission channels to secure title to La Viña. Estevan paid Dona Chona “Sien bacas descosidas en su ganado...y quinientos voragas” [a herd of one hundred cows and 500 varagas] The meaning of “varagas” isn’t clear. The land was to include the site of the La Loma de la Nopalera. In turn, the Quintanas received the Boronda-Muñoz home on Potrero. [San Luis Obispo County Deed Book A, pages 78-79, 87]

The San Luis Obispo Register of Brands shows that Estevan Quintana registered his brand in 1851. His wife, Guadalupe Luján, had her brand registered on April 23, 1857. Pedro Quintana’s was registered on May 22, 1854. José María Quintana registered his on May 7, 1855. Both María Jesús and Jesús María Quintana registered brands on November 10, 1857. In the year 2000, a man in San Luis Obispo owned many of the family branding irons. He collected branding irons of the area.

The California gold rush brought many unsavory characters to the state. In the 1850’s San Francisco resorted to a vigilance committee to rid itself of a troublesome criminal element. It cleaned out San Francisco, but the criminals took to the El Camino Real and waylaid travelers and committed various other crimes. By 1858 the situation was so bad in San Luis Obispo County that the citizens got together and formed a vigilance committee themselves. Among the members of the committee were Estevan’s friend Tomás Herrera, Dolores Herrera [son of Tomás Herrera and Estevan’s son-in-law]; Miguel Serrano [also Estevan’s son-in-law]; Manuel Serrano, [Miguel’s brother]; G. F. Sauer [whose brother would later wed Estevan’s granddaughter, Guadalupe Herrera], and Estevan Quintana himself. This committee was very active in bringing local criminals to justice. Stories can be read in the History of San Luis Obispo, by Myron Angel.

Although Estevan was respected by most American people, an element of racism can be detected in the newspapers and early histories. The Californios deeply resented their conquerors and were not quick to inform on or help capture outlaw Californios.

Besides their home on the Portrero, the Quintanas maintained a home in town. An 1855 deed on page 105 of Book A of the San Luis Obispo County deeds makes reference to Estevan owning a home on Chorro Street north of the Mission. The deed isssued to Nicolas Carbio was described as being on “the western side of Choro St.; fronting thereon 10 varas and running back 5 varas more or less to the graveyard of the Church and lying between the house of Augustin Garcia on the south, called the Lafaette house, and the house of Estevan Quintana on the north. The houses of García and Carbio separated his home from an adobe that Estevan later owned on the northwest corner of Monterey and Chorro streets, the site where the Plaza fountain and the statue of Father Serra sit today in front of the Mission.

Myron Angel says in his 1883 History of San Luis Obispo

The pastoral era of Southern California was brought to a close by two disastrous seasons called “The Great Drought,” which affected the state in 1863 and 1864. During the preceding year there had been such unprecedented floods that the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys were turned into an inland sea 250-300 miles long and 20-60 miles wide. Thousands of cattle and other livestock perished and possibly a fourth of the state’s taxable wealth was destroyed.”

“On the southern ranges, the damage done by the rains was inconsequential compared to the appalling losses caused by the two succeeding years of drought, when the grasslands reverted to the desert, the earth became iron, and the sky turned to brass. Livestock died by the thousands on the sun-baked ranges; carcasses lay in heaps about the dry water holes and sand-choked springs; and the whole country from north to south was almost depopulated of cattle.”

Most of the great ranchos were destroyed by the drought, but Estevan survived the catastrophe still a rich man due to his business and real estate interests.

The winter following the two years of the Great Drought, the Quintanas were working hard at increasing their livestock herds once again on the Rancho Potrero, when Estevan went to town and pressed charges against some cattle rustlers for stealing fourteen head of cattle. He accused Hipitacio García, John Doe, and Richard Roe [two unknowns] of the deed perpetrated three days earlier. He signed the court document on 18 February 1865. He stated that the cattle were believed to be hidden on Garcia’s farm at the Cañada del Corral adjoining the Rancho San Bernardo, which Estevan would buy in 1874. Unfortunately the files of the San Luis Obispo Historical Society have only the preliminary charges on file. The results of the charges are unknown. With his herds greatly diminished, Estevan could only react with gravity at the loss of cattle that could rebuild his herd.

Less than a month later, two Chinese, at least one of whom was a household servant of the Quintanas at their city home near the southwest corner of Palm and Chorro streets in San Luis Obispo, were accused by one Adolf Rouien of having, on 9 March 1865, stolen a knife and its leather sheath from him. The court papers show that Rouien accused two “Chinamen” called “Chino Quintana” and “Chino Pecho” of the crime. He also said he had “reason to believe” that they had done this act and then hidden the knife in the home of Estevan Quintana. Apparently this was already the gathering place for Chinese before Ah Louis’ appearance on the scene in San Luis Obispo. It is interesting that the Chinese man in the employ of Quintana was called “Chino.” This is likely what Estevan called him. It means “Chinese man” in Spanish. That the Quintana surname should be affixed to him in the mind of the community is not unlike the habit in the antebellum South of referring to slaves by their owner’s surname, such as “Reynolds’ Toby.” “Pecho” is a Hispanic term for “chest.” One wonders to what extent bigotry had to do with the accusation.

It was about this time that the Quintanas’ youngest daughter, María Jesús, decided to take the vows as a Sister of Charity. She was thereafter known as “Sister Agatha” and probably saw little of her family after that. Sister Agatha was later left a third of Estevan’s portion of the Rancho San Bernardo, with the stipulation that she give her brother Pedro first right of purchase if she should decide to sell. María had probably been sent away to a convent school, probably the one in Santa Barbara, which led her to this decision.

On March 17, 1869, the youngest son of the Quintanas, Jesús María, died at the age of seventeen. He was buried in the new Catholic Cemetery on South Higuera Street. His tombstone incorrectly gives his year of birth as 1852. Baptismal records of the church show that Jesús was born in 1851.

The 1871 Great Register of Voters of San Luis Obispo County listed Estevan Quintana, 66, a farmer in San Luis Obispo Precinct, registered to vote on August 4, 1866. His commercial activities were probably unknown by the census-taker, and there would have been a language barrier to prevent his finding out.

Two years later, the Quintanas buried another of their children, their daughter María Manuela. Manuela had married Dolores Herrera, the son of Tomás and Refugio Herrera. She and Dolores had a ranch in the San Jose Valley near Pozo, but Manuela died at the Rancho Potrero on 5 December 1871, at the age of thirty-six and was buried at the Old Mission Cemetery in the Quintana plot. Apparently she had gone home to have her mother and sister, Prudencia de Serrano, look after her in her final illness. Manuela’s heirs would later inherit one half of Estevan’s interest in the Rancho Portrero de San Luis Obispo. On December 9, 1871, an obituary appeared in the San Luis Obispo Tribune: Died: near San Luis Obispo at the residence of Don Quintana, December 6, Maria Manuela Herrera, age 35, wife of Dolores Herrera of Rancho San Jose.

On 2 April 1873, Estevan acquired 68/100 acres from Miguel Borgues, Lot 3, Block 45 in San Luis. It was recorded on 19 November 1873 upon the request of José María Quintana. [Deed Book “E,” pages 302-303] On the same day Estevan deeded the lot to his son José María. This lot today is in the block of Palm Street adjacent to the Southern Pacific tracks bordered by Mill Street on the north, Palm Street on the south, Ida Street on the east and the tracks on the west. This lot is the second lot to the east of the tracks. Presumably this is where José María lived while in town. The railroad would not come for another twenty years.

In 1874 Estevan purchased most of the 4,379.43 acre Rancho San Bernardo from the Canet family of nearby Morro Bay. He paid $3,000 cash, 300 heifers, and 100 mares. This ranch was for his son Pedro. It was willed to Pedro, but Pedro’s family lived on it immediately after its purchase. Estevan is not known to have lived on the ranch at all.

Besides the new rancho, Estevan had been acquiring lots and building on them in the town of San Luis Obispo. The 1874 Assessor’s List shows that Estevan was assessed for a total of 6,997 acres of ranch land; 3 houses & lots in SLO, value $3,500; 1 house [actually the Quintana Building] under construction by Blás Castro, value $100; 1 lot in SLO, value $25; Rancho Potrero, 3,166 acres, value $1,266.40; part of Rancho San Bernardo, 2,438 acres, value; $1,219; improvements on the Rancho Potrero, value $800; improvements on San Bernardo, value $50; 500 Spanish cattle, 400 Spanish sheep, 10 tame horses, 15 manada [herd] animals [probably untamed horses]; 1 wagon and harness, value $100; furniture, value, $50; total assessed value [not market value], $8,620.40; tax assigned, $280.15, marked “paid.”

In 1874 Estevan constructed a new brick building on the northeast corner of Monterey and Chorro Streets. It was called the “Quintana Block,” but now it is generally referred to as the “Quintana Building.” There he operated a general merchandise store that Pedro ran for him and later inherited. In the 1890’s Pedro remodeled the building, removing the sections that jutted out into Chorro and Monterey streets. After Pedro’s death in 1921, his son Thomas Quintana inherited the building. He hired a cheap but inept contractor to remodel the building and to add a third story to the structure. He then opened it as the “Blackstone Hotel.” Thomas later acknowledged that his remodeling of the building was one of two worst blunders he committed in his life. It was due to be demolished in 2009.

Later that year, the Quintanas’ granddaughter, María de Guadalupe Herrera, named for her grandmother, married a prospering German immigrant, Andrew Sauer, on 21 October 1874, at the Old Mission Church. “Lupe” was twenty-one, quite old for a girl to marry in those days.

In May of 1875 Estevan contracted with the California Bridge and Building Company to build a new two-story brick building on the site of the old adobe on the northwest corner Monterey and Chorro streets. The building had 52 ½ feet of frontage on Monterey Street and 117 ½ feet of frontage on Chorro Street. The new building would house a new residence for Estevan and Guadalupe on the second floor. They could then look out of their windows onto the front of the Mission. The construction was completed in November of that year. The builders, however, gave Estevan a bill for $501.50 more than the contracted price. He paid them the agreed-upon price only. In turn, the company refused to pay one of their subcontractors, Root, Nieson & Company. This company sued Estevan for the money and the case was found in their favor in the District Court of the First Judicial District of San Luis Obispo. The court decision was appealed to the California Supreme Court. Estevan’s grandson-in-law, Andrew Sauer, and businessman Morris Goldtree signed as sureties that Estevan would pay the $501.50 if the decision was decided in the plaintiff’s favor. Estevan’s lawyer was from the firm of Graves, Wilcoxon, and Graves. Case, #5502, was decided on appeal in favor of the subcontractors. A summary of the case, prepared for the Supreme Court, is housed in the Special Collections Department of the Kennedy Library at California State Polytechnic University. Estevan lost the case on appeal.

Now ensconced in his upstairs apartment in his new building, Estevan donated his old home on Chorro Street to Tadeo Amat, Bishop of Monterey, by deed in the middle 1870’s [Deed Book “F,” pages 353-354], presumably for the proposed eastern extension of the mission church.

On January 11, 1877, the Quintanas lost their granddaughter, Guadalupe Herrera de Sauer, age twenty-three. Her death was probably caused by childbirth, but, if so, the child did not survive. Guadalupe was buried in the increasingly populated Quintana Plot at the cemetery.

In March of 1878 Estevan’s foot had become ulcerated. He was told that amputation was necessary. At least half of amputations of younger, healthier persons resulted in death in that era, so Estevan made out his will carefully and then underwent the operation. These deeds, executed at the time of Estevan’s crisis were recorded with the county clerk:

Deed Book “J,” page 539, Estevan Quintana to Luis Gardello, 5 November 1878

Deed Book “J,” page 316, Pedro Quintana to Luis Gardello, 5 November 1878

Deed Book “L” or “J,” page 539, Guadalupe Quintana to Estevan Quintana,

22 March 1878

Deed Book “L,” page 54, Estevan Quintana to Guadalupe Quintana, 22 March


Among these deeds was the sale of Estevan’s new brick building on the northwest corner of Monterey and Chorro streets, no doubt because he could not navigate the stairs to his upstairs residence. It is unknown where in San Luis Obispo Estevan lived during the last two years of his life. It is known that he was seen walking around town on his wooden leg conducting his business. That is stated in his obituary.

At age seventy-seven he surprised everyone and probably himself by surviving the operation. He proudly sat for a photograph prominently displaying the healed leg stump about a year after the surgery. But the bout had severely weakened him; he was an old man, and death came the following year. He died August 4, 1880, the day before his seventy-ninth birthday. His obituary appeared in the Saturday, August 7, 1880 issue on page 1, column 3 of the San Luis Obispo Tribune:

On Wednesday lastMr. Francisco E. Quintana died at his residence in this city at the advanced age of eighty years less one day[sic]. Mr. Quintana has resided in SLO nearly, if not quite half a century. He was a native of New Mexico. He came to this country poor, but by industry and frugality acquired a competency. For a number of his later years Mr. Quintana was afflicted with a diseased leg which incapacitated him from active business, and two years ago he had the limb amputated. His strong constitution and nerve enabled him to undergo the operation, and during the past year he has been able to get about. The funeral took place from the Catholic church, and the remains were followed to the grave by a large number of surviving relatives and sympathizing friends.

Don Estevan’s funeral Mass was held at the Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo. From there his body was taken to the Old Mission Cemetery. After his burial, the Quintana family adorned the large family plot. Black and white marble tile walkways lead to Estevan’s white marble sarcophagus and the tall obelisks of family members. Although the site has been vandalized and is showing its age, it still is elegant after these many years.

Estevan’s widow, Guadalupe, was enumerated twice in the 1880 Census. The first time she was recorded living alone with Jesús, an Indian servant. Both were listed as seventy-five years old. [She was only seventy.] Perhaps Jesús, too, died in 1880 because we also find Guadalupe listed living with her three Herrera granddaughters, probably on the portion of the Rancho Potrero that Estevan’s will bequeathed to them. The will was published in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, on August 7, 1880, on page 1. Here is a portion of the will

…To his daughter Prudencia Serrano, and to the children of his deceased daughter, Manuella [sic] de Herrera the remainder of the Rancho Potrero, which he directs to be divided equally. To his son Pedro he wills 2/3 of the Rancho Bernardo upon the express condition that he pay to Jose Maria Quintana, son of the testator, the sum of $50 per month during the lifetime of the said Jose. To his daughter, Maria, a Sister of Charity, deceased leaves the remaining one third of the Rancho San Bernardo, and directs that should she wish to sell her interest in the ranch, she shall give preference to Pedro Quintana. To Father Sanchez he wills $100 and directs that alms be distributed to the poor at the discretion of his wife. The wife of the deceased and Pedro Quintana are appointed executors without bonds. The will is dated March 20, 1878. It is estimated that the estate is worth upward of $100,000.

To his wife Estevan willed all of his brick buildings in San Luis Obispo free of all liens and encumbrances and also the ranch house and surrounding farm lands on the Rancho Potrero. In addition the proceeds of ranches leased to their son Pedro were to go to Mrs. Quintana

Guadalupe survived her husband by four years. Already having outlived her husband and five of her nine children, she had to endure yet another death when, in April of 1884, her daughter Prudencia dropped dead while cooking at the Rancho Potrero at the age of fifty-six. Guadalupe and her eldest child, Prudencia, had been very close. Now she had lost all of her children except Pedro, José María, and a daughter who was a nun in Virginia City, Nevada. Estevan’s widow did not survive Prudencia by long. In the June 4, 1884 issue of the San Luis Obispo Tribune, on page 5, her death was noted——Died: Quintana, at her residence, Mrs. Guadalupe Lujan de Quintana, age 74 years.

After the deaths of Estevan and Guadalupe, it wasn’t long before most of their grandchildren dissipated their estates. The grandsons had to learn how to make a living. Their upbringing in the ancient Spanish mode that “gentlemen do not work” handicapped them in the world of the aggressive American conquerors. Pedro, who had divested much of his estate to his sons earlier, lived elegantly to an advanced age, dying in 1921, during Harding’s presidency, an anachronism from the earlier days of the Californios. Don Pedro was the last of the family to be addressed with the Hispanic title of respect,“Don.”

Children of Francisco Estevan Quintana and

María de Guadalupe Luján

[1] José María Quintana was the eldest child of Francisco Estevan Quintana and his wife María de Guadalupe Luján. He was born in December of 1824 somewhere in New Mexico according to the 1900 U.S. Census. Also known as Gerónime [pronounced hay-ROH-nee-may], José María was a young man of twenty-one, when he and Tomás Herrera, probably his godfather, petitioned the Mexican governor of California for a land grant, and, on July 11, 1846, they were given the San Juan Capistrano del Camote Rancho in eastern San Luis Obispo County. [A camote is Spanish for a variety of sweet potato, but some books state that it was the name of an Indian village] That December John C. Fremont’s army of 430 arrived in San Luis Obispo. José María Quintana and Tomás Herrera led the small army of thirty Californios in their surrender to Fremont. [Hubert Howe Bancroft’s Bancroft’s Works, Volume XXXIV, p .

In 1854 José María and Tomás deeded away six tenths of the rancho. In these transactions, recorded in Deed Book A, pages 87,100-101, the partners deeded six of their ten “ganado mayores” to a William Carey Jones of San Francisco, who immediately deeded half of his interest to Albert Packard “in consideration of his taking charge of the cause during my absence, and assisting in the cause as may be necessary.” Signing as a witness to the transactions were John C. Fremont and José de Jesus Pico, whom Fremont almost executed in 1846. This appears to be the case of an attorney [William Carey Jones] using an agent [Albert Packard] to win portions of ranchos for representing cash-poor Californios at the U.S. Land Commission hearings. Fremont’s role in this is suspicious. Perhaps he received kickbacks for persuading rancheros to agree to these arrangements. Suspecting this to be true, I plugged in the name “William Carey Jones” into the Internet. On the Internet is reference to a document written by Jones in 1851 entitled “Subject of Land Titles in California” written in 1851 with William M. Eddy. The full title of the work was “Report to the Secretary of the Interior, Communicating a copy of the report, Carey Jones, special agent to examine the subject of land titles in California.” A special agent of the government gaining title to ranchos through mediaries smacks of corruption. Yet later I discovered that Jones was also a son-in-law of U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, which means that he was Fremont’s brother-in-law.

After the above transaction, José María was listed in the 1854 tax assessment as owning no land, only $500 of personal property. His tax was $7.50.

The 1860 Census shows José María living alone near his brother Pedro’s family. He was listed as age thirty-six and as a farmer. Again in the Great Register of Voters of 1871, he is listed as a farmer. In the 1874 Assessor’s List, José María was assessed on improvements on public land, value $75 [a homestead being processed ?]; 3 tame horses & 2 tame mares; total value $140; tax assigned: $3.55. Apparently the city assessed separately because he was shown to own Lot 3 in Block 45 in San Luis Obispo.

The following is probably an account of José María. From: Protected Valley—The Story of Santa Margarita, by Virginia Williams, 1966, page 25:

...Mr. Quintana had a stable behind Mr. J. W. Smith’s “Blacksmith Shop and Watch Repair.” At these stables Mr. Quintana auctioned horses at various times. One day a fellow brought in twenty-four horses and mules with harnesses to be auctioned. As advertised, it promised to be a great day for bargains. It probably would have been but for the fact that one of the would-be buyers discovered it was his own stock he had come to bid on. Fortunately, for the seller, the days of being hanged for horse stealing had passed a few years previous. Mr. Quintana was out of pocket for feed and care, but possibly a little wiser.

About 1875 José Maria left his family in San Luis Obispo and returned to New Mexico, settling at Pojoaque, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, the general area where his mother had been born and where he had probably been born. He is stated as living there in 1880 when his father’s estate was filed for probate. He married a young widow named Benigna E. Garcia in 1884. Benigna, born in February of 1859, was thirty-five years younger than her husband. At the time of their marriage, he was fifty-nine and she, twenty four. Together they had a daughter Sarafina, born October 1888, when José María was sixty-three.

When his father died in 1880, José María did not receive any land in his father’s will. He was given a pension, $50 per month, to be paid by Pedro Quintana since Pedro was given the share of land that would have gone to José María.

In the census of 1900, enumerated on June 19, 1900, Jose María was living in Precinct #7 of Española, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He was listed as age seventy-six, married 16 years, and able to read and write but was not able to speak English. Benigna was listed as age forty-one, born Feb. 1859 in New Mexico, having given birth to seven children with two living. Since she had married José María when she was just twenty-four, some of the deceased children were likely his. Also living with the couple were their daughter Sarafina, age 11, born October 1888 in New Mexico; José María Sánchez, grandson, born August 1897, age 2; Ramona Gomez, age 8, servant, born April 1892 in New Mexico.

José María died at the age of eighty-four on 5 April 1909, at Ranchitos de San Juan, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico Territory. The following year in the 1910 Census taken on April 28, his wife Begnina was listed in the household of her son, Doloritos Garcia, in Precinct 1, Pojoaque Pueblo. Doloritos lived with his wife and seven children.

Sarafina, age 21, was living in the household of Juan [Bevude?].

In 1919 his estate in San Luis Obispo was entered for probate with Refugio Herrera, Carlos Serrano, and Pedro Quintana as executors. This was done because José María’s home in San Luis Obispo needed to be legally dealt with. They no doubt did this as a favor to Benigna and Sarafina.

[2] María Prudencia Quintana, born November 12, 1827. [Source: Taos Baptisms 1701-1848 by Thomas D. Martinez, p.452] Prudencia married Miguel Serrano [c.1816-1899] in San Luis Obispo on 8 January 1847, but the marriage was recorded in the marriage book of the Mission San Miguel because the priest was covering both missions. She died in San Luis Obispo in April of 1884. Her biography is elsewhere.

[3] Pedro de Jesús Quintana was born on January 31, 1833 near his mother’s birthplace in the parish of San Ildefonso, Santa Fe County, New Mexico. His biography is listed separately at the end of this work due to its length.

[4] María Manuela Quintana, born May 12, 1835. [Source: Taos Baptisms 1701-1848 by Thomas D. Martinez, p.452] Manuela married Dolores Herrera [1834-1910] in San Luis Obispo on 10 September 1850, when she was fifteen. The marriage was performed by Father José Miguel Gomez. Witnesses were Nicolás Carpio and José María Quintana. She and Dolores lived on the Rancho San Jose in the San Jose Valley of San Luis Obispo County. Manuela probably helped to promote the marriage of Dolores’s sister Luz to her brother Pedro Quintana in 1856.

In 1857 Manuela and Dolores donated the land upon which Mission Preparatory High School and Mission Elementary School now stand in San Luis Obispo, but a school was not built on the property until 1873, after Manuela’s death.

Manuela’s children were [1] Maria Guadalupe Herrera, bap. Nov. 14, 1851, godparents Estevan Quintana and Refugio Martinez, married Andrew Sauer, a San Luis Obispo businessman, died 11 January 1877, in childbirth, age 25; the child didn’t survive [2] María Virginia, baptized August 13, 1854, godparents Pedro Quintana and María Guadalupe Luján de Quintana, died unmarried July 29, 1881 [3] María de la Luz Delfina Herrera, bap. November 5, 1856, godparents Nicolas [Ames?] and María Gonzales, communion sponsor in 1869: María Guadalupe Luján, died unmarried May 11, 1880 [4] Nicolás Francisco Herrera, bap. January 27, 1859, godparents Nicolas [Risbello?] and María Concepción Boronda [5] María Adelaida Herrera, bap. July 17, 1862, godparents Alejandro Deleisségues and Adela Deleisségues, died before 1884 [6] María Isabél de Jesús Herrera [“Dolores”] bap. July 28, 1865, married F. Williams before 1884, died after 1884 [7] Estevan Teodosio Herrera, bap. Dec. 25, 1866; confirmed 9 July 1879, godfather Bernardo Lazcano, died after 1884 [8] José Benito Herrera, bap. April 15, 1869 [9] María Elena Herrera, bap. February 5, 1871, godmother María Concepción Boronda.

The U.S. Census of 1870 shows the Herreras living in Salinas Township on July 27. Dolores was listed as age 38, a farmer, born in Mexico [was New Mexico]; Manuela was listed as Maria, age 34, keeping house, born Mexico [New Mexico]; María G., age 17, at home, born CA; Venita, 15, female, at home, born CA [This should be Virginia]; Delmonia [Delfina], female, age 12, at home, born CA; Frank, 10, male, at home, born CA;Anita, age 8, female, born CA; Dolores, female, age 6, born CA; Estevan, 4, male, born CA; David, 1, male, born CA [has to be Benito].

Manuela died at the Rancho Potrero on 5 December 1871, at the age of thirty-six, and was buried at the Old Mission Cemetery in the Quintana plot. Her youngest child was less than a year old.

Dolores remarried on May 20, 1878 to Quirina Horabuena. He lived until 1910, dying at age seventy-nine. By the terms of their grandfather’s will, Manuela’s surviving children inherited half of the 3,166 acres of the Rancho Potrero that he had owned. In the 1884 estate papers of Guadalupe Luján de Quintana, they were listed as Dolores [Mrs. F. Williams], age 19; Francisco Herrera, age 25; Estevan Herrera, age 18; Benito Herrera, age 14; and Hellena Herrera [Elena], age 12. This was in 1884.

[5] Manuel de Jesús Quintana II, born September 27, 1837. [Source: Taos Baptisms 1701-1848 by Thomas D. Martinez, p.452] Manuel was the son of Estevan’s who was killed in a landslide in the 1843 crossing of the Old Spanish Trail. He was buried along the trail. [family story told in California and Californians]

[6] Gregorio Trinidad Quintana, born February 20, 1840. [Source: Taos Baptisms 1701-1848 by Thomas D. Martinez, p.452] Gregorio died at a young age, probably in New Mexico. We have no other record of him.

[7] María Jesús Quintana, born 1847 in San Luis Obispo, CA, became a nun, a Sister of Charity. She was still alive at the time of the settlement of Estevan’s estate in 1887. She was known as “Sister Agatha.” Alice Serrano Stephens [1889-1985] said that she had an aunt who was a nun by that name. At the time of Estevan Quintana’s death, in his estate papers, she was identified as María Quintana, known as Sister Agatha, living in Virginia City, Nevada. María Jesús is not buried in San Luis Obispo.

[8] Jesús María Quintana, born December 10, 1851, who died at age seventeen on March 17, 1869. His tombstone incorrectly gives his year of birth as 1852. His baptismal records show it to have been 1851. He is buried at the Catholic cemetery in San Luis Obispo.

[9] María de Guadalupe Quintana, born 1853 in San Luis Obispo; married Andrew Sauer on 21 October 1874, in San Luis Obispo; died January 11, 1877, age twenty-three; buried in Mission Catholic Cemetery. The Sauer family is prominent in San Luis Obispo history. The Sauer Adobe is a San Luis landmark. It was built by Andrew and his brother in 1860. Andrew registered to vote on August 26, 1869, listing his age as 26 and his occupation as a baker. He was listed as a naturalized citizen. He was from Bavaria, Germany. For many years until his death, he operated a grocery store a few buildings east of his former brother-in-law, Pedro Quintana, on Monterey Street. In 1904 he was listed as a merchant in San Luis Obispo with a store at 852 Monterey and his residence at 1205 Chorro. Probably a son, a Fred Sauer, clerk, was listed as living at the same address. Guadalupe had no surviving childen. Andrew died in 1909, age sixty-six.

Don Pedro Quintana 1833-1921

Pedro de Jesús María Quintana was born January 31, 1833, near San Ildefonso, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, where his mother had been born. He was baptized at the Catholic church at San Ildefonso on 2 February 1833 at three days old. His godparents were José de Jesús Luján and María Josefa Ortíz. He was the son of Francisco Estevan Quintana [1801-1880] and María de Guadalupe Luján [1809-1884]. New Mexico was then part of the newly-independent country of Mexico.

When Pedro was six, the family returned to what is now Abiquiú, Río Arriba County, New Mexico, where Pedro’s father had been born. For the next four years Pedro lived in Abiquiú. During this time, his father went to California in 1839 and 1841 to trade and explore the opportunities there. He returned in 1842 and prepared the family for the emigration over the Old Spanish Trail to California the following spring.

Pedro was ten during the crossing, which took the life of his younger brother in a landslide. The family settled briefly in San Bernardino County at first, but shortly moved northwest to San Luis Obispo County. There his father had purchased land in 1840.

When Pedro was thirteen, in 1846, the Americans conquered California during the Mexican War, and thereafter he was a citizen of the United States.

In 1856, at the age of twenty-three, he married María Pía de la Luz Herrera, thirteen, a daughter of Don Tomás Herrera and Doña Refugio Martinez. His sister Manuela was already married to Luz’s brother Dolores. The witnesses to the marriages were Rosa Herrera and Federico Wickenden.. There were to be other family intermarriages with the Herreras. In Hispanic America, girls commonly married at thirteen. Men were usually in their mid-twenties when they married.

The U.S. Census of 1860 shows Pedro Quintana, 27, a farmer, living alone with his wife “Lucia,” 16. They did not have any children during the first six years of their marriage, but had eight children thereafter. Their first child, Joaquín Quintana, was born in 1862, six years after their marriage.

On 13 February 1868, Pedro purchased from José Marcial Romo 320 acres for $100 in gold coin. It was the northeast ¼ and the northwest ¼ of Section 26, Township 29 South, Range 11 East. Witnesses for the transaction were Walter Murray, and John Bains. The County Recorder was Charles W. Dana, his deputy Julius Krebs.

The following year, on 8 March 1869, Pedro purchased from George C. Ashurst for $91.50 in gold and silver coin the south ½ of the southwest ¼ of Section 13 and the north ½ of the northwest ¼ of Section 24, Township 29 South, Range 11 East also the west ½ of the southwest ¼ of Section 24, and the southwest ¼ of the same section and the south ½ of the northwest ¼ of Section 24. This was a total of 480 acres. Witness for the transaction was Walter Murray.

In the 1871 Great Register of Voters of San Luis Obispo County, Pedro was listed as Pedro Quintana, 33, farmer, Morro Precinct, registered April 20, 1867. [His age was from the time of registration.] This shows that he was living already in the Morro Bay area before his father purchased the Rancho San Bernardo for him.

Pedro had the Hispanic light olive skin, but had light-colored eyes. He was square-jawed and stocky. As he aged, he grew a white beard and moustache, giving him a dignified look. He dressed and lived well, which added to the dignified impression. By the late 1890’s, he was reputed to be a millionaire.

Land records show that on July 30, 1872, 160 acres were granted to Pedro Quintana and Simeon M. Loyd as a military scrip warrant. This land was Section 23 of Range 29 South, 11 East, Mt. Diablo Meridian. [Grant #80329].

In 1869 Pedro had begun a series of purchases of land from the Ortega family. In Deed Book “E,” pages 410-411, dated 27 September 1869, is the purchase of 111 acres of state school land in San Luis Obispo County from Pedro Ortega, described as Lots 2 and 3 of state school land of the San Francisco Land District. Its legal description was the east ¼ of the northeast ¼ of Section 36 in Township 29 South, Range 11 East. This purchase was not recorded until 3 February 1874.

Recorded the same day was 150.2 acres Pedro purchased from José Pablo Ortega for $100 in gold coin. It was Lot 1 and the south ½ of the southwest ¼ of Section 25 and the southeast ¼ of the southwest ¼ of Section 25, Township 29 South, Range 11 East.

Yet another purchase was recorded the same day. From Juan de Diós Ortega, Pedro purchased 160 acres on 3 February 1874. It was described as the southeast ¼ of Section 25, Township 29 South, Range 11 East.

The following day, 4 February 1874, Pedro sold 160 acres to Pedro Ortega for $100 in coin, it being the southwest ¼ of Section 30, Township 29 South, Range 12E. On the same day he purchased 160 acres from Gerónimo Ortega, but it was not recorded until 22 August 1874. It was the northeast ¼ of Section 25, Township 26 South, Range 11 East. From these transactions with four different members of the Ortega family, Pedro netted 421.2 acres.

The 1874 Assessor’s List shows Pedro assessed for improvements on public land, value $250; 1 tame horse & 1 stallion, value $100; 15 manada [herd or untamed] animals & furniture, $25; total value $450; tax assigned: $14.63. Clearly Pedro was not yet a wealthy man. It also shows him to have been the owner of land in San Simeon, Section 36, Township 29, Range 11, and other acreage, total value $2,581

It was in 1874 that Pedro’s father, Francisco Estevan Quintana, purchased from the Canet family the Rancho San Bernardo that abuts the town of Morro Bay. The father then leased to Pedro the land he would one day inherit. At first the Quintanas lived in an adobe that was acquired with the property, but later they built a stately frame home. Like the Rancho Potrero, it was soon covered with cattle, dairy cattle, horses, and sheep, guarded by Indian herders. Among the many specialties practiced on the rancho was cheese-making from the dairy herds the family kept. Pedro hired tutors to teach his children on the rancho, but later sent them to convent schools in Oakland, Los Angeles, Santa Ynez, and San Luis Obispo itself when the convent there was established. In the 1875 San Luis Obispo County Directory: P. Quintana, stockraiser, Business Location: Cambria Road, Residence 8 miles northwest of San Luis Obispo.

In 1883 the county history, San Luis Obispo County, California, Thompson and West; Oakland, California; 1883, on page 362 it featured Don Pedro:

Pedro Quintana, the son of Don Francisco Estevan Quintana, was born in New Mexico, January 29, 1833, and when ten years of age came with his parents to California, since which time he has lived in San Luis Obispo. He is the owner of 6,000 acres of land in the county besides valuable property in the city of San Luis Obispo and carries on the business of farming and stock raising extensively. Mr. Quintana resides on one of his farms, situated nine miles northwest of the city, a view of it being published in this volume. He was married September 4, 1856, to Miss Luz Herrera de Quintana, and six children, five sons and one daughter, have been born to them.

The Quintanas appear in various records during their later years. The 1890 San Luis Obispo County Great Register of Voters shows Pedro, age fifty-three at the time of his registration on 30 August 1887, living in Morro Bay. About this time, Pedro hired the prominent Chinese leader, Ah Louis of San Luis Obispo, to bring a crew of Chinese laborers to build fences to separate the Rancho San Bernardo into the various subdivided ranches that he allowed his children to use for their benefit during his lifetime. He then moved into the city of San Luis Obispo to an Italianate home at 1166 Palm Street. The Quintanas lived well in their city home with elegant furnishings, china, and glassware. On January 23, 1891, Refugio Martinez Herrera, Pedro’s mother-in-law, who had been living with the Quintanas, died in the Quintanas’ Palm Street home. She was eighty years old. An article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune in July 12-18 weekly issue in 1892 states that Pedro Quintana had bought a self-winding clock, the twentieth in the city. The next month in the August 16-22 issue, it stated that Pedro was sinking a well at his Palm Street home. The editor criticized the San Luis Obispo water company, stating that there shouldn’t be a need for citizens to have to sink their own wells. On page 93 in 100 Years Ago—1893, Wilmar Tognazzini has transcribed a SLO Tribune article about Monterey Street

....It is again reported that Mr. Quintana intends to remodel his block [the Quintana Building/Block] on the corner of Chorro street, giving it a new and modern front and it is to be hoped, getting the building back on the new line of the street. It is unfortunate that the owners all along the line of that side of the street cannot set back their buildings. It would seem that the expense would be more than compensated for in the added attractiveness, increased business, and convenience and desirability.

From Wilmar Tognazzini’s One Hundred Years Ago—1896, March 8-March 14, 1896, p.23


Messrs. Joaquin and Juan Pedro Quintana have bought out the interest of their father, Mr. Pedro Quintana, in the White House and will conduct the business in the future. Both of them are young men of great enterprise and will no doubt be accorded a liberal patronage by the public. Their store contains all of the latest and best grades of goods.

From Wilmar Tognazzini’s One Hundred Years Ago1896, Oct. 11-Oct. 17, 1896, p.100:


Through the kindness of Benito Sierras it is learned that Quintana Bros. store at Pozo was burned Sunday night about 12 o’clock. It is supposed that the store was robbed and then set on fire. The stock valued at $200 was all destroyed. An insurance of $300 in the Northwestern National and the same amount in the Liverpool & London was carried. Ben Herrera, who managed the store for Quintana Bros. was in San Luis at the time of the conflagration.

My note: Considering that the firm was near bankruptcy, I suspect arson for the insurance money.

From Wilmar Tognazzini’s One Hundred Years Ago—1896, Sept. 13-Sept. 19, 1896, p. 91:



Thursday evening, September 24th, Hon. Romualdo Pacheco will address the people of this city in Spanish. The ex-governor is a man of great popularity among the older residents of this state and county. He enjoys the distinction of a personal acquaintance with a great many of them and his name is honored and respected by Californians everywhere.

In this campaign Mr. Pacheco is deeply interested in seeing a victory for the Republican party and he comes to bring the glad tidings of bright prospects in other sections of California and to urge upon his old friends and a thousand new ones in the county the absolute necessity of getting out and working for the success of Republicanism. Every Spanish resident of this county should not fail to hear him. He will address the people of this city Sept. 24, and his other dates in this county are: Nipomo, Sept. 29; Santa Margarita, Sept. 26; and Pozo, Sept. 28.

Arrangements for his reception in this city are now being made. The county central committee has arranged that the following gentleman shall meet this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the place of business of George W. Robbins on the corner of Osos and Monterey streets for the purpose of considering plans to give the ex-governor a reception such as he shall long remember.

G.W. Robbins, J. N. Quintana, J. B. Blake, C. Cordova, W.F. Sauer, J. B. Carlon, J. B. Careaga, P. Quintana, J.B. Munoz, R. W. Branch, E. W. Howe, Santana Avila, Edward Price, J. R. Villa, Juan Hernandez, Vicente Feliz, Jesus Peralta, Louis Budar, A. Deleissegues, Walter Murray, Arza Porter, Antonio M. Villa, Wm. Mallagh, B Gutierrez,

J.C. Ortega, John M. Price Sr., Jose Narvais, J. Fred Branch, Joaquin Estudillo, Jacob Schiefferly, Louis M. Carlon, and P. J. Rodriguez.

On the evening of Sept. 24, there will be a big torchlight procession. One of the peatures will be a Spanish cavalcade. The McKinley and Hobart guards will turn out will full ranks.


From Wilmar Tognazzini’s One Hundred Years Ago—1897, Feb. 9-15, 1897, p.16:



Said to Have Obtained a Large Bill of Goods Under False Pretenses

By the Associated Press.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 11.—Joaquin P. Quintana, a merchant of San Luis Obispo, has been arrested on an indictment found by the grand jury of this city for obtaining goods under false representation.

Quintana is charged with having made false statements of his financial condition when about to purchase merchandise at many of the leading local wholesale houses.

Pedro Quintana of San Luis Obispo, is a wealthy man, a reputed millionaire, and two years ago his sons Joaquin P. and J.N. [sic] [should be Joaquin N. and Juan Pedro], opened a general merchandise store. They recently failed, and filed a petition in insolvency just a short time after Joaquin had secured $5,000 worth of goods from local merchants.

Same source as above, p.79, July 27-Aug. 2, 1897:


John Ghigliotti and Vicente Estudillo Kill Two Deer

There is no doubt about the ability of Vicente Estudillo and John Ghigliotti to slaughter deer. They arrived in town yesterday morning from the Huasna having two big bucks in their wagon and the head of a third, the body of which they had left behind with a friend. One of the deer weighed 108 pounds. In killing them Estudillo had a struggle with one which was badly wounded, but which did not promptly shuffle off its mortal coil. The deer finally died, but not before it had almost torn Estudillo’s clothes from his body...John Hanna and Joaquin and Pedro Quintana were about town yesterday telling their friends of the capture of fourteen deer in the southern part of Monterey county.

The following year Pedro voted in the Republican primary election and afterwards met with some of his friends at the Cienega Saloon east of Morro Bay. It was a night that nearly ended with his death. The San Luis Obispo Semi-Weekly Breeze in its August 19, 1898 issue told the story:

Stabbed in the Back

“Pete” Quintana Assaulted Last Night

The Murderous Blade Struck a Rib and Glanced Downward

From Tuesday’s Daily

Pedro Quintana, well known to his friends as “Pete” Quintana, was struck in the back with a dagger or knife last night, and the wonder is that he lived to tell about it.

Quintana accuses Joe Feliz of striking the blow, and has sworn to a complaint in Justice Egan’s court, upon which complaint a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Feliz and placed in the hands of Constable Frank Cook.

Marshal J. W. Cook gives the following account of the cutting:

“The cutting took place at the Cienega Saloon a short distance this side of Morro. It was after dark Monday night.”

“After the Republican primaries in that precinct some men gathered in the Cienega Saloon and were drinking. Joe Feliz was there. He became very much intoxicated and was in a most quarrelsome mood.”

“Feliz endeavored to raise a row in the house and wanted to break all the bar fixtures. He was called to a halt by the bar tender who sent him outside.”

“Among those at the saloon was Pete Quintana. He had a team hitched outside. Feliz was about to untie the horses when Pete walked up and ordered him to desist. Feliz did so, and Quintana turned to go away.”

“Just then he felt a sharp blade lunged into his back, just beneath the left shoulder. He turned to see Feliz run away and disappear.”

Quintana was brought to San Luis Obispo, where Dr. Thos. Norton dressed the wound. Dr. Norton says it was an incised wound on the left side, just behind the heart. The blade, which must have been that of a knife, ran in and struck upon a rib, and glanced downward along the ribs for a distance of five inches. The mouth of the wound was about two inches wide.

Quintana’s was a very narrow escape. Had the blade missed his rib, it would have penetrated into the heart. As it is, however, he is able to walk around upon the street and seems but little disconcerted. Constable Cook left early this morning to look for Feliz.

Constable Cook arrived in town with Feliz whom he found at his home about 8 miles from Morro, at about 3 o’clock this afternoon. The man was arraigned before Justice Egan upon a charge of assault with intent to commit murder. He was placed under $500 bonds.

According to the best information Constable Cook was able to gather while away, he believes that the two men, Feliz and Quintana, quarreled in the saloon, Feliz following and striking the blow.


In the 1906 San Luis Obispo telephone directory, P. Quintana’s residence telephone was listed as Red 252

The Census of 1910 shows the Palm Street house of Pedro and Luz Quintana in San Luis Obispo was burgeoning with family members. His son, Frank, and Frank’s children had recently been abandoned by Justina Minoli Quintana, who had gone to live with her lover, a man named Gaxiola.

Pedro Quintana, 75, married 54 years

Luz Quintana, 67, gave birth to 8 children, 6 living

Frank Quintana, 45, son, divorced

Daniel Quintana, 32, son, single [He was really 42]

Tom Quintana, 28, son, single

Louis Quintana, 20, grandson, single

Steven Quintana, 18, grandson, single

Fred Quintana, 8, single

Refugio Herrera, 36, niece, single [daughter of Basilio Herrera, brother of Luz

Herrera de Quintana, and his wife Beatriz]

Victoria Quintana,12, granddaughter

Marie Quintana, 11, granddaughter

That same year Pedro brought telephone lines into the Rancho San Bernardo for his descendants. Estate records show that he granted a right-of-way to Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Soon after the census was taken, the family disintegrated. Luz Quintana, now an invalid in a wheelchair, after quarreling with her husband, moved out of the family home as did all of her children and grandchildren. After the rupture, Refugio alone remained living with her aunt’s husband, so Pedro invited her sisters to come and live there as well to assure the propriety of his relationship with his niece by marriage. Refugio apparently still went to where her aunt lived to care for her. When Luz died in 1919, she named Refugio as executrix of her will and left her $6,000 in Liberty bonds, whereas her sons only received $1,000 in bonds, as did Refugio’s sister Lorena Herrera. Luz refused to be buried in the Quintana plot with her husband and was buried instead in the adjacent Herrera plot. In Don Pedro’s 1921 will, Refugio, again executrix, inherited the Palm Street house, which later passed down to her surviving sisters.

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune, December 5, 1919:


Mrs. Quintana Passes Away

At home in this city

Mrs. Luz H. Quintana, wife of Don Pedro Quintana, one of the old residents of this section of the country, passed away at her home yesterday at the age of 75 years. [Really 76]. She is survived by her husband and the children: Joaquin, Frank, Adolph, Thomas, and Edward and a brother, Basilio Herrera, of this city.

For the past sixteen years Mrs. Quintana has been an invalid, but was well enough last summer for a long-wished-for trip to the Yosemite with members of the family. During the many years of her residence here, Mrs. Quintana made many firm friends who will miss her.

The funeral services will be held at the Old Mission at 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, where a requiem high Mass will be celebrated for the repose of her soul. The remains are at the family residence at the corner of Toro and Palm streets.

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune, April 5, 1921

Passing of Pioneer

Don Pedro Quintana Answers Final Call

Don Pedro Quintana passed away at his home, 1166 Palm Street, yesterday morning at the age of 88. Don Pedro Quintana was born in New Mexico, January 29, 1833 and when 12 years of age [sic] came with his parents to California, since which time he has lived in San Luis Obispo. He was a large landholder of the county as well as the owner of valuable city property.

Mr. Quintana played an important role in the development of this section of the state. During his years of residence in this city he occupied a respected position and took a leading part in the commercial and political life of the country. His charities were many and the generous hospitalities of his home were proverbial. He was married in 1856 to Luz Herrera, who passed away only recently. Mr. Quintana leaves six sons and a large number of friends to mourn him.

Almost fifty years after the death of Don Pedro Quintana, in 1970, the author was invited to see the contents of his Palm Street home. The house had passed into the hands of Refugio Herrera [1874-1954] after the death of Don Pedro and then to her sister Victoria Herrera. After Victoria’s death, the home passed to yet another sister, Lorena. Frances Serrano Bressi was entrusted with the key to the home in her role as Lorena’s conservator. The home was still like a museum to the Quintana family. Lorena was in a rest home at the time of my 1970 visit. In the home hung two large paintings of Pedro and Luz. Inside a lawyer’s bookcase sat an open box of funeral cards from the funeral of Luz Quintana in 1919. They were still sitting there in 1970 more than fifty years after the funeral. Yellowed clippings about the family still were stuffed in desk drawers. A mountain of unlabeled photographs of Hispanics lay heaped on the large dining room table. I was told Lorena Herrera had been selling off the opulent glassware from the home, but there was still some depression glass and other collectibles in the cupboards.

I don’t know what became of all these things. I expect most were destroyed or sold off somewhere along the line, but I do know that Frances Serrano Bressi had in her possession giant bone china tea cups emblazoned with gilt letter “Q’s” that had belonged to Pedro and Luz, his being larger than hers. Also, she had twin colored- crystal decanters in a silver holder that had belonged to Pedro. There was also a small colored lantern that had belonged to Victoria, the daughter of Pedro and Luz who had died in childhood. Frances had probably purchased these things from Lorena Herrera.

Children of Don Pedro Quintana and Doña Luz

[Because we are entering a more Americanized period of the family, most accents will be omitted, but tildes [~] will be inserted]

These were their children:

[1] Joaquin Quintana, born December 19, 1862 nr. San Luis Obispo, CA, the eldest child of Don Pedro Quintana and Doña Luz Herrera de Quintana. At his first communion on October 20, 1872, his godfather was his grandfather Francisco Estevan Quintana. Joaquin grew up on the Rancho San Bernardo, attending schools in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura, California, page 658, Lewis Publishing Company, 1891]

Joaquin married Nimfa Chaves [1870-?] in 1884. He obtained 80 acres of government land in San Luis Obispo County on October 22, 1891.

On 19th February 1893, Joaquin and his cousin, Ben Herrera, launched a boat called Neptune. They had dreams of establishing a 32 foot pleasure yacht on Morro Bay. Apparently they had few customers because the project seems to have dissolved quickly. [100 Years Ago—1893, articles from the SLO Tribune compiled by Wilmar Tognazzini, pages29-30]

In the middle 1890’s Don Pedro brought Joaquin and his brother Juan Pedro into partnership with him in his general merchandise business named White Hall, which they operated in their father’s Quintana Building on the corner of Chorro and Monterey streets in San Luis Obispo. Wishing to retire entirely, Pedro sold his interest to his two sons in 1896. Within two years they were bankrupt and Joaquin was indicted for fraudulent dealings. A fire just before the declaration of bankruptcy may have been arson: From Wilmar Tognazzini’s One Hundred Years Ago1896, Oct. 11-Oct. 17, 1896, p.100


Through the kindness of Benito Sierras it is learned that Quintana Bros. store at Pozo was burned Sunday night about 12 o’clock. It is supposed that the store was robbed and then set on fire. The stock valued at $200 was all destroyed. An insurance of $300 in the Northwestern National and the same amount in the Liverpool & London was carried. Ben Herrera, who managed the store for Quintana Bros. was in San Luis at the time of the conflagration.

It is unknown how these charges were settled. Joaquin was still living in the Morro Bay vicinity when he was listed in the 1900 Great Register of Voters, presumably living on income earned from the section of partitioned land his father had set aside for his later inheritance. In 1921 Don Pedro died and Joaquin came into his inheritance. At that time he was listed as living in Morro Bay. In 1926 he left San Luis Obispo County to live in Los Banos. He died there in 1935 at age seventy-three and was buried in the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery with his family. His children were [1] Adolfo Quintana, who had a hair lip and never married; [2] Luis Quintana, Nov. 1885-died young unmarried; [3] Lena Quintana, born January 1888, married Manuel Rosa II, and lived near Fresno; [4] Luisa Guadalupe “Lupe” Quintana, born February 1893, married Frank DeCoito, brother of Serafin; [5] Flora Quintana, born 1897, married Serafin DeCoito on 3 January 1920 and died in the 1920’s giving birth to a stillborn child; Thomas J. Quintana, born 5 April 1899, died 7 September 1955, buried SLO Old Mission Cemetery; who married Marie Georgia Budar [1904-1999] on 19 Dec. 1921; and Carrie Quintana, who married a Mr. Marsh. Joaquin’s grandchildren were [1] Lena Quintana who married Manuel Joaquin Rosa III, on 21 Jan. 1911; he was discharged from the navy and killed the same day; Diane Rosa, who married and lived in the Fresno area; Eugene Rosa, who accidentally killed his brother Franklin Rosa as a child and is living in the Fresno area; and Robert Rosa [2] Lupe had no children [3] Adolfo had no children; one of his wives was Lela Buck married 26 March 1953 [4] Flora had no surviving children [5] Thomas’ ten children were Thomas J. Quintana II, born 1922, killed 2004 in an automobile accident, had two adopted children; Lorraine LaVerne Quintana had five children and married a Mr. Hicks, and lived in Tulare, CA; Milton Quintana,1924-about 1996, lived near Tulare, married Dorothy Unknown, and had three children; Ralph Joseph Quintana, 1925-about 1998; Lloyd Quintana, born Nov. 1927, had two children and was living in Fresno in 2005; Laverne Louise Quintana died in infancy; Lenore Laverne Quintana, who died in infancy; Edwin Roy Quintana, born 24 Sept. 1931, living in Los Osos, CA, in 2005 after a military career, has three children; Patricia Cleofas Quintana, born 1933, named for her godmother Cleofas Serrano, married a Mr. Bradshaw and lives in Bakersfield in 2005, has five children; Lenore Laverne Quintana, named for her deceased elder sister, born 1939, married Henry Falkenberry, has one child, and lives in Bakersfield. Some dates are not exact; provided by Eddie Quintana of Los Osos]

[2] Francisco Estevan “Frank” Quintana was born February 11, 1865, nr. San Luis Obispo, CA, the son of Don Pedro and Doña Luz Quintana. He was baptized March 4, 1865. His godparents were Tomás Herrera and Refugio Martinez, his maternal grandparents. He was named after his Quintana grandfather. He married Justina Minoli [1875-abt. 1938], age fourteen, on January 28, 1890. Taking advantage of the Homestead Act, Frank acquired 160 acres of government land on January 13, 1894 in San Luis Obispo County. In addition to this, Frank was allowed the income from of a portion of the Rancho San Bernardo during his father’s lifetime, which he inherited in 1921. He was listed as living in the Morro Bay voting precinct in the 1900 Great Register of Voters. In the 1904 SLO City Directory, Frank was listed as “retired” and living at 213 Story Street. About 1908, Justina deserted her husband and children to marry Barney Gaxiola on 29 April 1909. At first Frank moved his family to live with his parents at 1166 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo. He and his children are shown living there in the 1910 Census. There three of his children died of tuberculosis. At the time of his father’s death in 1921, Frank was listed as living in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County, in estate papers. He later returned to live in Morro Bay. Walking with two canes due to arthritis in his later years, Frank died September 20, 1937, at age seventy-two. He was buried at the Old Mission Catholic Cemetery in the Quintana plot. His children: [1] Luis Quintana, born May 1890, died young of tuberculosis, not married; [2] Madeline Quintana, born August 1892, died young of tuberculosis; [3] Stephen Quintana, born Sept. 1894; lived in Los Alamos, Santa Barbara County for fifty years, killed in an automobile wreck there at age seventy-three; [4] Victoria Lenore, born May 1897, living at 176 Santa Rosa St. in San Luis Obispo in 1914, married first a Mr. Fields and then a Mr. Austin; died in Campbell, CA; had a daughter Wilhelmina Fields, who had two daughters; [5] Maria Ramona “Marie” Quintana was born in 1900. She married first to Unknown Colvin, but they divorced. Her second husband was Louis A. Enos, an attorney who died after several years of marriage. She later married a Mr. Diehl, living out her life in the Morro Bay area. She had daughter Yvonne “Bonnie” Colvin Beze, born about 1924, who lives near Morro Bay in 2005. Bonnie has two children: Victor Quintana Beze of Fullerton, CA, and Yvonne Marie Rice of Redondo Beach, CA. [6] Ernest Quintana, who died young prior to 1917 of tuberculosis; Frederick Quintana, died 23 November 1917 in Los Gatos, CA, aged 18 years,of tuberculosis, unmarried. Justina Minoli, born Feb. 23, 1875, married second a Mr. Gaxiola; died age 63 in 1938.

[Oct. 2005 interview with Bonnie Beze; 1910 U.S. Census; obituary of Stephen Quintana; 1904 SLO City Directory; On-line government land records; clippings of obituaries in the possession of Bonnie Beze of Morro Bay]

[3] Daniel Quintana, born February 21, 1867, near San Luis Obispo, CA. He was baptized April 22, 1867 at the Old Mission Church. His godparents were his grandparents, Francisco Estevan Quintana and María de Guadalupe Luján. Daniel had a deformed leg and walked with a pronounced heavy limp. He never married. In 1910 he was shown living with his parents at their home at 1166 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo. He died December 24, 1918, of influenza in the great post-World War I epidemic. Refugio Herrera, his cousin, served as administrator of his estate. [Interview of Frances Serrano Bressi in 1965; baptismal record at Old Mission Church; 1910 U.S. Census]

[4] Adolfo Quintana, born December 2, 1868, nr. San Luis Obispo, CA; married Nellie Sweet [1870-1943] on 22 January 1894; In 1895 Adolfo was operating a dairy on the portion of the Rancho San Bernardo partitioned for and later bequeathed to him by his father. In October of 1897 the Tribune stated that Adolfo had filed claim with the county for a bounty on 153 squirrels, whose tails he submitted. He was shown living in the Morro Bay precinct in the 1900 Great Register of Voters. In the 1914 San Luis Obispo City Directory he was listed as a farmer living at 1354 First Street. At the time of his father’s death in 1921, he was listed in estate papers as living in Los Angeles. Adolfo died in 1933 and was buried at the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery. He had daughters Ernestine [1894-1935] and Ida born January 1, 1896. Ida was married to a Mr. Keveney. She lived in Hollywood for many years and then retired in Santa Margarita in San Luis Obispo County. Neither sister had any children; so Adolfo’s line is extinct. [Sweet family genealogy; SLO Catholic Cemetery records; 1895 photo of Adolfo’s dairy in possession of Bonnie Beze in 2005]

[5] Juan Pedro Quintana was born December of 1870, nr. San Luis Obispo, CA. During a visit to his uncle José María Quintana in New Mexico in 1896, he married his distant cousin, Cleofas Quintana of Pojoaque, New Mexico. That year he and his brother Joaquin bought out their father’s interest in White Hall, his general merchandise store located on the first floor of the Quintana Building in San Luis Obispo. The brothers went bankrupt within two years. Juan Pedro then operated a dairy on his portion of the Rancho Potrero that had been given to him by his father to use. He is shown as living in the Morro Bay precinct in the 1900 Great Register of Voters. His son Juan Pedro II, also know as Peter Quintana III, was born in 1905. Juan Pedro died 3 June of that year. It is unknown whether or not the birth of his son was posthumous. Juan Pedro left personal property valued at $1,335. He had not yet come into his portion of the rancho on which his father maintained a life estate. Young Peter was the pride of his grandparents, Don Pedro and Dona Luz, but he died in 1919 of typhoid at the age of thirteen. Cleofas remarried to Juan Pedro’s first cousin, Carlos Serrano, in 1909. They had a daughter, Frances Serrano, in 1912. In 1919 Cleofas sold some of her interest in the Rancho San Bernardo to Joaquin Quintana, Thomas Quintana, and Refugio Herrera. This was a portion of Juan Pedro’s portion of the Rancho San Bernardo that had been sectioned off for him to inherit. She and Carlos operated a dairy there for several years. The remaining San Bernardo land was inherited by Frances Serrano Bressi, and she sold it sometime after 1960. Cleofas died 25 March 1959, at the age of eighty-two.

[6] Victoria Quintana, born January 20, 1873, nr. San Luis Obispo, CA; died August 25, 1879. She was the Quintanas’ only daughter and the only child of Pedro’s to die before maturity. Frances Serrano Bressi [1912-2003] had a tiny, brightly-painted kerosene lamp that had belong to “Dona Vitoria,” as Frances called her. She kept it on a knick-knack shelf in her kitchen.

[7] Manuel Tomás “Tom” Quintana, born June 7, 1882, on the Rancho San Bernardo. He married Philomena Miller at Eureka, CA, on April 18, 1922. He operated the Mission Garage in San Luis Obispo and a foundry business for several years. He inherited the Quintana Block, which his grandfather had built in 1874. He appears in the 1904 SLO City Directory as living with his parents at 1166 Palm Street and having a machine shop at 1351 Morro. In 1914 Tom was listed as the president of Cosmopolitan Garage & Machine Company residing at 1166 Palm Street. During World War I, Tom was hired by a munitions factory in Erie, Pennsylvania. There he met Philomena Miller, whom he later married in Eureka, California. When his father died in 1921, Tom was bequeathed the Quintana Building. Hiring an inept contractor, he had a third shoddy story added to the building and converted the building into the Blackstone Hotel. He later sold it. From 1938 until his death, Tom lived at Creston in San Luis Obispo County, CA. His wife died in 1968, but her niece, Helen Illig, who came to live with the Quintanas in 1957, took care of Tom in his last years. He died in 1975 at age ninety-three, long after his seven siblings had all died. Tom had one son, George Manuel Quintana, born August 26, 1924, who was killed in World War II without having been married. [California and Californians, Vol. III, p510-512, edited by Rockwell Hunt, Lewis Publishing Company, 1932; Creston 1884-1974, pp. 70-71]

[8] Edward Quintana, the youngest of the eight children of Don Pedro and Doña Luz, was born November 10, 1885, on the Rancho San Bernardo near Morro Bay, CA. While a teenager he began to exhibit signs of insanity and was committed to a state asylum. He was never mentioned in public thereafter. In obituaries of his siblings, his name was always omitted. Edward was never married, and he died in the asylum in 1941 at the age of fifty-five. His body was brought back to San Luis Obispo by his brother Thomas and buried in the San Luis Obispo Catholic Cemetery. Edward’s first cousin, Refugio Serrano Williams [1873-1953], the youngest of the large Serrano family, had become insane in the late 1890’s shortly after the birth of a daughter. She lived nearly fifty years in the Stockton State Hospital, while Edward was said to be housed in the Agnew State Hospital [Testimony of Frances Serrano Bressi, Edward’s first cousin, in an interview about 1965]

Of the eight children of Pedro and Luz Quintana, only two of them, Joaquin and Frank, have any living descendants.