Abel Stearns Papers: Addenda 2

Finding aid prepared by Brooke M. Black in 1998.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2014
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Abel Stearns Papers: Addenda 2
Dates: 1817-1878
Collection Call Number: mssHM 57166-57209
Creator: Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871
Extent: 44 items in 1 box
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains personal and business correspondence of Southern California businessman and politician Abel Stearns (1798-1871) from Stearns' early years in California. The collection primarily deals with the history of Spanish California, as well as early commerce and trading in the region.
Language of Material: The records are in English and Spanish.

Access

Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Abel Stearns Papers: Addenda 2, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Purchased from Dawson's Book Shop, January, 1991.

Biographical Note

Abel Stearns was a pioneer ranch owner and businessman of Los Angeles, California. Orphaned in 1810, he left his native Massachusetts and went to sea, making trips to China, the East Indies, and Latin America. By the early 1820s he was back in the United States trying to establish himself as a businessman, dealing mainly in shoes. In 1826 he left for Mexico, settling in Mexico City. As partner in a colonization enterprise for Upper California, he became a naturalized citizen and moved to Monterey in 1829. While awaiting approval of a land grant, he turned to merchandising. In about 1833 Stearns settled in Los Angeles, joined Juan Bandini in the trading business, and married Bandini's daughter Arcadia. Stearns became involved in almost every type of business, held minor political offices, and was sent as a representative of the Los Angeles district to the state constitutional convention in Monterey in 1849. He began acquiring rancho property and by 1858 was the owner of vast landholdings and cattle herds and the wealthiest man in Los Angeles county. As a member of the state assembly in 1861, he took an active part in promoting the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad. Stearns was forced to sell a great deal of his property when he became bankrupt after the drought of 1863-1864, which caused the decline of the cattle industry in California. He died in San Francisco in 1871.

Related Materials in the Huntington Library

Scope and Content

This collection, which is arranged alphabetically by author, is made up of correspondence and documents from Stearns' early years in California. The collection primarily deals with the history of Spanish California, as well as early commerce and trading in the region. It also contains a few items prior to Stearns' move to California, concerning his business on the East Coast. Also included in this collection is a letter to Robert S. Baker, second husband of Arcadia (Bandini) Stearns Baker, from Edward Fitzgerald Beale of the Department of the Interior.
Correspondence: The letters deal with personal and business matters, including Stearns' plan for obtaining land in Upper California and creating a colony for Americans. Included are letters from Jose Maria de Echeandia, Governor of California under Mexico, Friar Narciso Duran, Friar Luis Gil y Taboada, and several business partners, both Mexican and American.
Documents: These include bills of lading, contracts regarding a land grant with the official seals of Mexico on them, and several receipts for goods sold and purchased, including cost of merchandise. The collection also contains the constitution and articles of association for the Philadelphia Cordwainer's Company.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by author.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Personal Names

Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871

Corporate Names

Hudson's Bay Company

Subjects

Fur trade--California
California--Commerce--History--Sources
California--History--19th century--Sources
California--History--1850-1950--Sources

Genre

Business records--California--19th century
Letters (correspondence)--California--19th century
Invoices
Personal papers--California--19th century
Professional papers--California--19th century


Collection Contents

Box 1

Papers of Abel Stearns: Addenda 2. 1817-1878

Physical Description: 1 box
 

HM 57166-57167 Abella, Ramon 2 letters to Abel Stearns 1830

 

HM 57168 Cardenas, Jose Ignacio de 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830

 

HM 57169 Clark, Ferdinand 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1822, May 9

Note: Preceding the letter is an agreement signed by Clark and Peter Valdes
 

HM 57170-57171 Duran, Narciso 2 letters to Abel Stearns 1829-1830

 

HM 57172 Echeandia, Jose Maria de 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1829, October 22

 

HM 57173 Elwell, Robert J. 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830, April 14

 

HM 57174 Escobar, Marcelino 1 receipt for amounts paid 1830, October 6

 

HM 57175 Estenega, Tomas Eleuterio 1 letter to Abel Stearns post 1829 and pre 1847

 

HM 57176 Fernandez, Juan 1 letter to Ignacio Rodriguez 1829, February 21

 

HM 57177 Forbes, Alexander 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830, June 14

 

HM 57178 Fortuny, Buenaventura 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830, December 25

 

HM 57179 Gil y Taboada, Luis 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1831, April 5

Note: Name used in endorsement on cover sheet, Fr. Luis Gil Abella, is incorrect
 

HM 57180 Guerra y Noriega, Jose de la 1 receipt for amount received for passage on ship 1829, May 23

 

HM 57181 Hartnell, William Edward Petty 1 receipt for items purchased by "Mr. Hook" 1830, October 8

 

HM 57182-57184 Martinez, Ignacio 3 letters to Abel Stearns 1830-1831

 

HM 57185-57186 Padres, Jose Maria 2 letters to Abel Stearns 1829-1831

Note: Also "letters" wrapper
 

HM 57187 Peck, Sherman 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1828, December 5

 

HM 57188 Peralta, Antonio Maria 1 receipt for items purchased by Abel Stearns 1830, September 15

 

HM 57189 Philadelphia Cordwainer's Company. Constitution and Articles of Association [1825]

 

HM 57190 Rodriguez, Francisco 1 document allowing Timothy Murphy to ship goods post 1828 and pre 1853

 

HM 57191-57193 Rodriguez, Ignacio 3 letters to Abel Stearns, 1828-1829

Note: Following is a letter by Laura Andino
 

HM 57194 Sanches, Jose 1 receipt for payment by Abel Stearns 1830, September 25

 

HM 57195 Schurz, Carl 1 letter to Edward Fitzgerald Beale 1878, January 5

Note: Following is a letter by Beale to Robert S. Baker, second husband of Arcadia (Bandini) Stearns Baker
 

HM 57196 Scott, James 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830, April 28

 

HM 57197 Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871, and George Washington Eayrs 1 document, articles of agreement pertaining to use of land grant 1829, February 10

Note: Signed by Abel Stearns, George Washington Eayrs, Leocadio Ortega, Alexandro Guinchard and Amos S. Tomkins
 

HM 57198 Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871, and George Washington Eayrs 1 document, articles of agreement to transfer land to Amos S. Tomkins 1829, February 10

Note: Signed by Abel Stearns, George Washington Eayrs, Leocadio Ortega, Alexandro Guinchard and Amos S. Tomkins.
 

HM 57199 Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871, and George Washington Eayrs 1 document, articles of agreement to transfer land to Alexandro Guinchard 1829, February 11

Note: Signed by Abel Stearns, George Washington Eayrs, Leocadio Ortega, Alexandro Guinchard and Amos S. Tomkins
 

HM 57200 Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871 1 letter to Jose Maria de Echeandia 1829, August 20

 

HM 57201 Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871 1 letter to Sherman Peck 1829, October 17

 

HM 57202 Stevenson, William 1 certificate verifying identity of George Washington Eayrs 1817, June 16-21

Note: Witnessed by Francis Tufts, Benjamin Homer, John D. Williams, Jonathan Hunewell, Henry Purket, Benjamin Lamb, William Parsons, and William Eayrs
 

HM 57203 Sunol, Antonio 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1830, September 2

 

HM 57204-57205 Taber, Thomas 2 letters to Abel Stearns 1825

Note: Preceding is bill of lading for shoe materials
 

HM 57206 Vallejo, Mariano Guadalupe 1 letter to Abel Stearns 1831, July 4

 

HM 57207-57208 Viader, Jose 2 letters to Abel Stearns 1830

 

HM 57209 ----- 1 receipt for goods purchased 1830, September 15-16

Note: Two names listed: Capt. Moon and Peralta