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Inventory of the Henry Dalton Collection, 1819-1942, bulk 1840-1883
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Background
Henry Dalton was born in London on October 8, 1804. On July 7, 1819, at age 14, he was apprenticed to Winnall Thomas Dalton as merchant tailor for a period of seven years. In 1827 he was in Peru, where he purchased for $3000.00 certain articles in corner Public House in Callao, apparently for commercial purposes. He engaged in coastal trade and commerce in Peru and Mexico, extending his interests in Mexico when he contracted for the purchase of the estate of the Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo. Through 1842 Dalton's business correspondence, although including Peruvian interests, was written from cities on the Pacific coast of Mexico, while his coastal trade was extended northward to San Diego, San Pedro and Los Angeles. He acquired property in both San Pedro and Los Angeles as early as 1843, from which time he appears to have been definitely established in California. In 1844 he purchased Rancho Azusa from its original grantee Luis Arenas; thereafter interested himself more in ranching than in shipping, although he maintained his commercial establishment in Los Angeles as an outlet for the surplus production of his various ranches. After 1846, when he charted a cargo vessel between Callao, Peru and California, he seems to have diminished his trading relations with Peru, but he never abandoned his Mexican contacts.
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