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Vallejo Family Papers MSA.Vallejo
MSA.Vallejo  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical note
  • Custodial history
  • Scope and contents
  • Preferred citation
  • Arrangement
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition
  • Processing history

  • Title: The Vallejo Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSA.Vallejo
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Autry Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 3.75 Linear feet
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1875-1915
    Date (inclusive): 1748-1996
    Abstract: The Vallejo family has deep roots in the New World, and in California particularly. General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s ancestors came to the New World with the first conquistadors in the late fifteenth century. Several held prominent positions: Don PedroVallejo, for example, was viceroy of New Spain. General Vallejo’s father, Don Ignacio Vallejo, was a member of Father Junipero Serra’s military guard and was with him when he came to California in 1769 to begin missionizing among the California Indians. General Vallejo’s wife, Francisca Carrillo, also came from a prominent California family. Her great-grandmother came to California from Sinaloa as a young widow with the second Anza Expedition of 1775-1776. The collection includes material from 1748 to 1996 and best represents the life and interests of General Vallejo’s seventh child, Platon. Much of the legal and financial papers, the correspondence, and personal papers located in the Vallejo Family Documents reflect Platon’s legal and financial dealings, his interest in California history and the history of his own family in California, Vallejo genealogy, and the Suisun Indians.
    creator: Vallejo Family

    Biographical note

    The Vallejo family has deep roots in the New World, and in California particularly. General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s ancestors came to the New World with the first conquistadors in the late fifteenth century. Several held prominent positions: Don PedroVallejo, for example, was viceroy of New Spain. General Vallejo’s father, Don Ignacio Vallejo, was a member of Father Junipero Serra’s military guard and was with him when he came to California in 1769 to begin missionizing among the California Indians. General Vallejo’s wife, Francisca Carrillo, also came from a prominent California family. Her great-grandmother came to California from Sinaloa as a young widow with the second Anza Expedition of 1775-1776.
    General Vallejo was born in Monterey in 1808, the eighth of thirteen children. He was groomed for leadership from a young age by several Alta Californian governors. After training as a cadet in the Mexican Army, the Governor of Mexico appointed him the head of the San Francisco garrison (1833), and then the military commander of the northern part of the state. In 1836, he supported a short-lived revolt that sought independence for California from Mexico. Vallejo was critical of Mexican government, and consistently identified with those Mexican liberals who argued for the separation of civil and religious authority in government. For this reason, he supported both the 1836 revolt and the US takeover of California in 1848.
    Despite his support of the takeover, Vallejo’s treatment at the hands of US forces was not always kind. He was imprisoned for a short while during the Bear Flag Rebellion (1846). During his imprisonment, much of his estate was looted. He sued the US government for damages caused to his personal property and land during the war with Mexico. He recovered only a fraction of what his claims were worth. He also lost land and property to squatters, lawsuits, drought and financial mismanagement by his son-in-law and power-of-attorney John Frisbie. In his later years, his landholdings were reduced to a two hundred acre ranch called Lachryma Montis. In short, Vallejo’s financial status was never stable after the US takeover.
    Despite these difficulties, Vallejo was elected to the state senate in 1849, and in 1850 donated the land for a state capitol at Vallejo. He had a deep interest in the history of his state, and accumulated a great amount of official documentation as a result of his holding various positions within California government during the Spanish, Mexican and American periods. He wrote a five-volume manuscript entitled History of California which was unfortunately lost when one of his homes burned down. Eventually, he donated all of his records to Hubert Bancroft, who employed them in his own historical writings. Several of Vallejo’s children became prominent in their own right. His son Platon Vallejo became a well-respected doctor. Epifania Vallejo became California’s first woman daguerrotypist. Many of his children married into locally prominent Anglo families. General Vallejo died on January 18, 1890. Francisca Vallejo died soon after, on 1891 January 30. Judie A. Williams is the granddaughter of Francesco Vallejo McGettigan (great-granddaughter of M.G. Vallejo). For further reference see: Myrtle M. McKittrick, Vallejo, Son of California. Oregon: Binfords and Mort, 1944. Alan Rosenus, General M. G. Vallejo and the Advent of the Americas. Albuquerque: UNM Press, 1995.

    Custodial history

    The collection was under the stewardship of Francesca Vallejo McGettigan, great granddaughter of General Vallejo. Ms. Judie A. Williams donated the collection to the Autry from 2001 to 2004.

    Scope and contents

    This collection best represents the life and interests of General Vallejo’s seventh child, Platon. Much of the legal and financial papers, the correspondence, and personal papers located in the Vallejo Family Documents reflect Platon’s legal and financial dealings, his interest in California history and the history of his own family in California, Vallejo genealogy, and the Suisun Indians. The correspondence, for example, is mostly comprised of letters written to or from Platon Vallejo. The Personal Papers are, in fact, almost entirely comprised of materials that he generated or collected including his own hand-written accounts of dramatic past events (the elopement of Josefa Carrillo and Captain Henry Fitch or narrative of the life of Ramona Carrillo Pacheco, Platon’s aunt) and Vallejo genealogies. The Legal and Financial Papers contain receipts for purchases he made and for taxes he paid, as well as one version of his will written on the back of an envelope.
    Also included in the Legal and Financial Papers are land titles to property within the city of Vallejo – including several copies of the original grant of land made to General Vallejo by the Mexican government in 1844. General Vallejo founded the city of Vallejo in 1850, but soon gave his son-in-law John B. Frisbie power of attorney over the land. Frisbie was the person responsible for encouraging development of the town and is considered its true founder. The land grant papers reflect Frisbie’s considerable involvement in the development of the city of Vallejo (see www.visitvallejo.com).
    The California Mission Documents, which were clearly collected by General Vallejo, were eventually Platon’s. Several of the documents, such as the account of Junipero Serra’s burial or the Alta California patentes, have letters attached to them indicating that the General had passed them on to Platon. Also included is a set of Edward Vischer photographs of California missions, which Vischer presented to General Vallejo as a gift. While at least four generations of the Vallejo family are represented in the Vallejo Family Photographs, Platon, his wife Lily Wiley, and their four children are among the most substantially represented (along with M.G. Vallejo and several of Platon’s brothers and sisters). The photograph collection is comprised mainly of cabinet cards and carte de visites from the late nineteenth century; but also included is a rare salt print of Leo Cornell Frisbie (grandson of the General) as well as several tintypes.
    Finally, the Suisun Documents are a collection of English-Suisun or Suisun-English vocabularies that Platon Vallejo created for the most part in the nineteenth century. Chief Solano, head of the Suisuns, was a strong ally of General Vallejo’s and assisted him in putting down several Indian uprisings in northern California in the mid-nineteenth century. Solano spoke Spanish fluently, and converted to Christianity. Platon Vallejo was able to develop close friendships with Suisun individuals during his childhood and early adolescence as a result of the General’s close collaboration with Chief Solano. Platon, in fact, learned to speak the Suisun language fluently. The collection contains several of Platon’s hand-written personal recollections of the daily life of the Suisun. The vocabularies themselves reflect Platon’s interest in teaching the Suisun about Christianity, since they contain translation of bible verse and prayers into Suisun. There are few, if any, extant Suisun vocabularies, catechisms or descriptions of Suisun life. As such, the Suisun Documents represent a rare and important set of materials for the history and linguistics of northern California Indians.
    Despite the fact that a good portion of the material appears to have been collected by Platon Vallejo, the papers as a whole provide an intimate look at the Vallejo family during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Letters between General Vallejo and Platon Vallejo reveal the close bonds that linked the family. The California mission materials reflect the deep interest that the General and Platon Vallejo had in documenting the religious life of the time period. The production of genealogies, personal recollections and the meticulous collection of photographs of over 60 family members from four generations shows a deep commitment to keeping track of the life and growth of the Vallejo family itself. And the legal and financial papers illustrate the daily financial management of Vallejo households in the nineteenth century as well as the running of some of the business interests of the Vallejo family.

    Preferred citation

    Autry National Center; [Object id #].

    Arrangement

    • Series 1: Vallejo Family Documents, 1767-1979
    • Series 2: Suisun Documents, 1860-1996 (Bulk, 1976-1996)
    • Series 3: Vallejo Family Photographs, 1827-1902, undated

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org.

    Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Acquisition

    Donated by Ms. Judie A. Williams, 2001-2004.

    Processing history

    Processed by Tracey Brown, 2002 December 26. Finding aid revised by Anna Liza Posas, 2012. Final processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Vallejo, Lily Wiley
    Vallejo, Mariano Guadalupe, 1808-1890
    Vallejo, Platon
    Albumen prints
    Books
    Cabinet photographs
    California -- History -- 19th century
    California, Northern -- History
    Correspondence
    Indians of North America -- California
    Miwok Indians -- History
    Miwok Indians -- Missions -- California
    Miwok languages
    Patwin Indians
    Photograph albums
    Photographs
    Spanish mission buildings -- California
    Suisun Indians
    Suisun language
    Tintypes
    Visiting cards