Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hugo Reid Adobe

Los Angeles County, May 25, 1995 and still at the Arboretum

As mentioned in a previous dispatch, the better half’s ancestors are tied into the history of this part of Los Angeles County in a big way. Though her direct ancestor, George Dalton gravitated to LA proper and owned 160 acres (mostly vineyards) at what is now the Farmer’s Market area, it is his older brother Henry that is of interest. 

Henry Dalton

Henry Dalton was born in England in 1803, and in 1820 sailed to Lima Peru and became a merchant eventually commanding a small fleet of merchant vessels. By 1841 he had become a prominent figure in California coastal trade. Dalton chose Rancho El Susa as his home renaming it Azusa de Dalton. Dalton built a house here on a place known as Dalton Hill, near 6th Street and Cerritos Avenue in Azusa. The Rancho Azusa Dalton lay east across San Gabriel River from the Rancho Azusa De Duarte. The first was often called El Susa, and the latter Susita. Dalton further increased his holdings to include the Rancho San Francisquito and Rancho Sant Anita. In the end Dalton owned an unbroken expanse of land from the present day San Dimas to the eastern edge of Pasadena.

With California in the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. After filing his claim for Rancho Azusa de Dalton with the Public Land Commission, as required by the Land Act of 1851, Dalton disagreed with the 1860 US survey by Henry Hancock, and borrowed money from J.S. Slauson to fight the case through the courts. The courts decided against him after 24 years of litigation. Consequently in 1885, Dalton turned Rancho Azusa over to Slauson, who deeded a 55-acre homestead to Dalton. Henry Dalton received a US patent for Rancho Azusa in 1876. When he died in 1884, Dalton had lost most of his property and was living in poverty. As mentioned earlier, in the 1880 census he gives his occupation as ‘Fighting for his rights’.

Though Henry Dalton owned this land that is the site of Queen Anne Cottage, and the Hugo Reid Adobe, it is likely Lucky Baldwin acquired it through the public land commission after the Hancock survey took the land from Henry, who ultimately lost his claim in a U.S. Supreme Court decision.   

It’s interesting to note Henry Dalton is a great great  grandfather of singer Linda Ronstadt. 

So who was Hugo Reid? According to the 1953 book “Arcadia, City of the Santa Anita,” by Gordon S. Eberly, he was a tall, good-looking fellow with keen blue eyes. After an unhappy love affair he left Scotland and his family at the age of 18 and sailed to the port of San Pedro and made a trip to Mission San Gabriel. He was so taken with the beauty of the San Gabriel Valley that he moved permanently to Los Angeles in the summer of 1834. Two years later the woman’s husband died of small pox. Reid, by then called Don Perfecto Hugo Reid at the age of 27, converted to the Catholic church to appease and marry the 29-year-old widow, then called Dona Victoria and now the mother of four children.

The Reids became widely known for entertaining with lavish meals and relaxing ranch life at the Rancho Santa Anita. But by 1842 Reid is said to already have grown restless and tired of ranch life and spent the next few years traveling to foreign countries on his new trading vessel.

In the meantime, Victoria could not keep up with the needs of the rancho and maintenance was becoming a financial burden. Only two years after obtaining full title on the Rancho Santa Anita property in 1845, they sold it to Reid’s former business associate Henry Dalton in 1847 for $2,700 (about 20-cents per acre!).

Reid then devoted his time to the San Gabriel Mission (he was appointed administrator by Governor Pio Pico  and wrote a series of notable stories about Indians for the Los Angeles Star before he died at the age of 42 on December 12, 1852.

The adobe was constructed in 1840 with the help of Gabrielino laborers. It was built of sun-dried adobe blocks made by mixing clay soil, water and a straw binder. The roof was made of rawhide-lashed cane. As protection from the elements, the roof was smeared with brea (tar) and the walls were white-washed.

The Hugo Reid Adobe has been reconstructed using original methods and materials whenever possible. Inside you’ll found primitive handmade furniture such as the cowhide beds and rough-hewn chairs.

NO. 368 HUGO REID ADOBE - Hugo Reid, a Scotsman, petitioned the government of Mexico to grant him Rancho Santa Anita. His claim strengthened by his marriage to Victoria, a native Indian of the San Gabriel Mission, he received the grant on April 16, 1841. Immediately upon filing his petition, Reid took possession of the land, started to farm and plant vineyards, and built the first house-the Hugo Reid Adobe-in 1839. In 1875, E. J. Baldwin purchased the rancho and in 1879 added a wooden wing to the old adobe.
Location: Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: PASADENA
Google 34.140580,-118.053444

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