Michael White on the Revolution Against Micheltorena

Michael White's oral history starts up again:

Nothing more happened in which I had the slightest participation until the revolution against Micheltorena in 1844-5.

In the meantime [1843] I had moved to the place I now have at the Mission San Gabriel, called rancho San Isidro, and was Alcalde.

In Feb. 1845 I was sent for by the Juez de Paz Juan Sepúlveda (now living in San Pedro) of Los Angeles. I remember the words of his letter that if I did not present myself in Los Angeles by 10 o'clock on the day following the date, I was to be adjudged “traidor a la patria” [traitor to the country]. I went in there and asked the Judge what he wanted me for.

Just at this moment a fellow came and took my hat away, and then brought it back to me with a red ribbon around it. Then Mr. William Workman came out of the office to where I was standing, and asked me to what party I belonged. I answered, "To the party of myself." "Then," says he, "you are one of my soldiers." I told him I didn't see it, and he pointed at my hat, saying I had his ribbon on.

I didn't want to have anything to do with the revolution, but Workman took me against my will to Cahuenga. That night we passed in the house of Cahuenga, lying around, singing songs, eating and drinking. Next day went as far as the Alamos. There the Micheltorena forces fired cannon at us, but at a great distance. They kept up the firing the whole day, and we lost one horse whose head was shot off. That was the only casualty we had. The firing was returned. The enemy's balls were picked up and returned to him.

The next day came down about two miles to the east of Cahuenga, where the springs begin to rise in the river Los Angeles. We there were all the time under a bank. Our captain was William Workman, the Lieutenant, John Rowland. Don't remember who were the other officers.

Our company was of about 100 men. I can't remember the names of all, but among our number were: Daniel Sexton, P. Mace (American), James Beckwith (American mulatto), John Reed (American), Benjamin Davis Wilson, James Barton, the three brothers Callahan (American), John the Baker (Irish), Cooper (English)

When we wanted to shoot we had to lift our arms to shoot over the bank which was higher than our heads.

I know that there were negotiations between our Captain and the Captain of the foreign camp on the Micheltorena side, but what they were about I never knew, and very soon Micheltorena surrendered at Cahuenga, binding himself to leave the country with his officers and troops that he had brought from Mexico.

Those troops were a pack of thieves. Nothing could be left within reach of them that they didn't steal; shirts, cooking utensils and everything, and in many instances attempted to ravish women. It was understood that they were men taken out of the presidio on Lake Chapala, and of the jails, and many of the officers were no better or even worse than their men, for in many instances to screen their men they didn't hesitate to tell lies. Several of the soldiers would not hesitate to commit murder to possess themselves of articles of even trifling value.

One night I met in Los Angeles in the street where the Temple Bank now is, one of those fellows with a knife pointed at me who demanded my sarape in these words: “Daca mi sarape, hace tiempo que lo has usado, y estoy careciendo de él ." [Give me the sarape; you have had it a long time, and I need it.]

I pulled out a pistol and said to him, "Ven a cogerlo" [Come and get it], and he ran like a son of a gun, didn't stop to get the blanket.

Micheltorena, as I said, surrendered with his troops and went to San Pedro and embarked, and I went home the same evening. Pio Pico became Governor, and my old friend Jose´ Castro, Comandante General. Pico has also been always a good friend to me.

And that’s the end of that – for now.

Thanks to H. H. Bancroft for another informative list with some help from A Study of Anglo-American Settlers in Los Angeles County Previous to the Admission of California to the Union (1927) pps. 72-78. The following men are named by one witness or another as having served in this campaign As you will see there is nothing random about this list. Virtually everybody knew everybody else, mostly though New Mexico.


James Beckwourth (American mulatto –  mountain man and a mamber of the Peg-leg Smith/Walkara gang)

James Barton (Lieutenant in California Battalion. Resident in Los Angeles)

Alexander Bell (American – Trader at Los Angeles, 1844-54)

Callaghan Brothers (One in charge of the San Buenaventura Mission; another had some petty position at San Pedro.

                             No record of a third).

Sain Carpenter (Doubtful record!)

Henry Dalton (English – eventually acquired Santa Anita and Azusa)

William Fallon

William Garner

Richard Laughlin (American from New Mexico. Carpenter in L.A., Vineyard owner.)

P Mace

“Santiago” James McKinley (Scottish, ex-whaler, occasional surgeon and merchant)

Nathaniel Pryor (American – Silversmith. Clockmaker. Otter hunter. Married a Sepulveda)

Alex Sales – (American from New Mexico – Hunter at L.A. Micheltorena campaign '45.)

Abel Stearns (American – Merchant. Politician, Trader, Property owner. Married a Bandini.)

Michael White (English – also of the Rowland-Workman Party)

Benjamin Davis Wilson (American – also of the Rowland-Workman Party)

William Workman (English – also of the Rowland-Workman Party)

John Rowland (American – also of the Rowland-Workman Party)

Cornelius Perry

John Reed (American – whether he was of the Rowland-Workman Party is debated)

Daniel Sexton (American – also of the Rowland-Workman Party)

William Smith

Jean Louis Vignes (French – winemaker, made first California sparkling wine)

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~ by ravenjake on January 18, 2010.

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