This manuscript contains copies of correspondence from cattleman Abel Stearns, dated 1861 to 1865. Stearns, an American who
married into a Californio family, had a unique perspective on the relationship between Mexico and the United States. The letters
relate to his personal, political and commercial life, and the lives of his relatives, the Bandinis.
Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was born in Lunenberg, Massachusetts. As a young man he spent some years at sea, taking part in the
trade with South America and China. About 1826 he arrived in Mexico, and during his residence there, he became a naturalized
citizen. Stearns moved to Los Angeles in 1829, and became a central figure in commerce and the political life of the pueblo.
Stearns expanded his trading and merchandizing activities into cattle ranching, mining, and politics, and became a wealthy
and influential landholder. Stearns became known for his efforts to annex San Pedro to Los Angeles, and connecting a stage
route between the two areas. Highlights of his political career include his service as the first alcalde, or mayor, of Los
Angeles during the Mexican period, and President of Los Angeles under American rule. Stearns's commercial and social interests
were enhanced by his marriage to Arcadia Bandini, a member of the land-rich Bandini family of California. However, the severe
drought of 1862-1864 dehabilited his ranching enterprises. By 1868, Stearns had suffered such financial losses that he was
forced to sell most of his land holdings to the trust controlling the Stearns Ranchos Company. Stearns died in 1871.
, 484 leaves : paper ; 27.5 x 22 cm
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