Michael White on Manuel Victoria and the Revolt of 1831

This is another of one of Michael White’s surprisingly brief but heavy anecdotes. It’s pretty clear that he cared nothing at all for politics or the government, and may not have ever realized how “hooked up” he was.

“I forgot to mention that when I was in San Diego in the latter part of 1831, on the point of going to sea, I received a letter from Father José Sanchez, missionary of San Gabriel, informing me of the events connected with the revolution against Commandante General Victoria.”

Presumably, White was down at San Pedro at this point and ready to debark with the Guadalupe. Manuel Victoria, who was half-Indian, was Governor of Alta California from 1 February, 1831 to 9 December 1831. After the fiasco with Commandante General Echeandia and the Solis revolt, the central government in Mexico split California into the “Alta” and “Baja” sections for governance. Victoria was put in to “lay down the law” made some pretty heavy-duty enemies and had a

doomed 10-month career. Some of the guys who wanted him out are pictured at right: Juan Bandini, Abel Sterns and Pio Pico.

His first act in office prevented Mexican citizens from using foreign otter boats and that probably has everything to do with the Guadalupe being built under the auspices of the mission fathers, and the strictures against foreign trade generally made life difficult for everybody. Another account lays the blame here “The revolt leading to his twelve month abbreviated tenure and subsequent exile were due to his nullifying the order of his predecessor, José María de Echeandía, to secularize the missions of California. Secularization resumed with the new Governor Pío Pico.”

White continued “that Captain Romualdo Pacheco had been killed in a fight between Los Angeles and Cahuenga, [remember that White knew Pacheco from Santa Barbara] and Victoria severely wounded, and that my mother in law, Mrs. Eulalia Perez de Guillen, was

nursing him.

Victoria brought me letters from home and delivered them to me at San Blas [White did not hear from his family in England until eighteen years after he left home, according to H.D. Barrows]. He [Victoria] was taken there by American ship, [the] California, [by] Captain Bradshaw from San Diego. [Another account said that Victoria sailed on American ship Pocahontas and on January 17 1832 set sail for San Blas.] By the bye the old lady married, during my absence, an old Spanish artilleryman named Juan Mariné, a Catalan.”

And that’s it!

It must be nice when the ex-governor brings you letters from home! Eulalia must’ve been one heck of a nurse. Her second marriage, which we’ll be getting to in a bit, was arranged by Father Sanchez to increase her chances of getting a land grant approved. Widows didn’t usually get land, so they often had to take a husband they didn’t want as part of the deal. Remember poor Dona Casilda Soto de Lobo and all the trouble she had as the first owner of Rancho La Merced.


Strangely enough, Victoria won the battle (sort of) but knew it was over and had the sense to get out. As soon as he could go anywhere, he was on the next boat to San Blas.


Here’s a list of the Mexican governors. The main problem is that the governors were appointed by the “Supreme Government” in Mexico. There wasn’t any voting in California, which made the administration even more out of touch, and the central government in Mexico was pretty unstable itself. Into this whole mix, the Mexican government wanted to undercut the power of the missions by secularizing them. The Californians, anticipating the biggest real estate grab in human history, were all for it. Needless to say, it was a complete nightmare to administrate and this is where the great fortune and the terrible losses of the Michael White saga begin to make themselves felt.


1822-1825: Luis Antonio Argüello (born in San Francisco, he was the first native-born Californian to govern Alta California)

1825-1831: José María de Echeandía

1831-1832: Manuel Victoria

1832: Pío Pico

1832-1833: Agustín V. Zamorano (north) and José María de Echeandía (south)

1833-1835: José Figueroa

1835: José Castro (acting)

1836: Nicolas Gutierrez (acting)

1836: Mariano Chico

1836: Nicolas Gutierrez (acting)

1836-1837: Juan Bautista Alvarado

1837-1838: Carlos Antonio Carrillo

1838-1842: Juan Bautista Alvarado

1842-1845: Manuel Micheltorena

1845-1846: Pío Pico

1846-1847: José Mariá Flores (in opposition to the United States in Los Angeles)

1847: Andrés Pico (in opposition to the United States in Los Angeles)

1848: Pio Pico

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~ by ravenjake on January 3, 2010.

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