This collection consists mainly of the
original correspondence (1839-1869) to and from José Matías Moreno (born ca. 1818), with the bulk of
it dating from 1850s and 1860s when Moreno was an important agent, merchant, and
political figure in San Diego and Baja, California. There is also some later material
dealing with the subsequent history of his Rancho Guadalupe in northern Baja,
José Matías Moreno was born about 1818 in Baja, California, the son of a Scottish
whaler and a Mexican mother. As a youth he participated in various revolutionary
movements, and eventually became the secretary to Governor Pío Pico in Alta
California in 1845. A strong supporter of Mexico all his life, he fled to Baja
California with Pico in 1846 in the face of American forces to continue the fight
there against the U.S. After the war he came to San Diego, where he married the
natural daughter of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, thereby becoming related to many of
the major californio families. He was vocal in his opposition to the californios who
had backed the U.S. in the war, and defended the interests of his fellow Hispanics
in their dealings with American Anglo businessmen. At the same time he acted as an
agent, promoting the development of Baja California and soliciting American capital.
He was also long active in Mexican internal politics in Baja and served in 1861-1862
as political chief of the border region of the territory for the Mexican government.
His frequent extended absences from home resulted in an extensive correspondence
with his wife which lasted throughout their marriage until his death in 1869.
Approximately 1,500 items in 26 boxes
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