Andrés Pico

Andrés Pico (November 18, 1810 – February 14, 1876) was a Californio who became a successful rancher, fought in the contested Battle of San Pascual during the Mexican–American War, and negotiated promises of post-war protections for Californios in the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga. After California became one of the United States, Pico was elected to the state Assembly and Senate. He was appointed as the commanding brigadier general of the state militia during the U.S. Civil War.

Andrés Pico
  California Adjutant General
In office
ca 1861  ca 1864
California State Assemblyman
In office
California State Senator
In office
Personal details
Born(1810-11-18)November 18, 1810
San Diego, Alta California, Viceroyalty of New Spain
DiedFebruary 14, 1876(1876-02-14) (aged 65)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyChivalry Democrat
RelationsPío Pico
ProfessionRancher, soldier, politician
AwardsRancho Ex-Mission San Fernando
Pico Canyon Oilfield named for him
Rancho Pico Junior High School named after him
Military service
Allegiance Alta California
 United States
Branch/service Mexican Cavalry
California Cavalry
Rank General
(Mexico – until 1847)
Brigadier General (California State Militia – after 1858)
CommandsCalifornia Lancers
Battles/warsMexican–American War
Battle of San Pascual

Early life

Andrés Pico was born in San Diego in 1810 as a first-generation Californio. He was one of several sons of José María Pico and María Eustaquia López. An older brother was Pío Pico, who twice served as governor of Alta California.[1]


In 1845 under the law for secularization of former Church properties, his older brother Governor Pío Pico granted Andrés Pico and his associate Juan Manso a nine-year lease for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España lands, which encompassed nearly the entire San Fernando Valley. At that time a 35-year-old rancher, Andrés Pico lived in Pueblo de Los Angeles. He ran cattle on the ranch and used the mission complex as his hacienda. He gave Rómulo Pico Adobe to his son.

In 1846, to raise funds for the Mexican–American War, the Pío Pico government sold secularized mission lands. The Mission San Fernando was sold to Eulogio de Celis, who established Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. Celis returned to Spain, but his descendants stayed in California. Under the terms of secularization, the sale excluded the Mission compound and its immediate surroundings, which were reserved for Don Andrés.[2]

In the Mexican–American War

During the Mexican–American War, Andrés Pico commanded the native forces, the California Lancers, in Alta California. In 1846 Pico led an attack on forces commanded by U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny at the fierce but inconclusive Battle of San Pasqual. He is sometimes confused with his older brother Pío Pico, who in 1847, was elected as the last Governor of Alta California.[3]

On January 13, 1847, as the acting governor of Mexican Alta California (while his brother was in Mexico raising additional money for the fight against the United States), Andrés signed the Treaty of Cahuenga with the American commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont, with whom he became friends.[4]

On January 13, 1847, Andrés Pico approached the U.S. commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont, man to man and alone. Without firing a shot, Don Andrés and Frémont agreed to the terms of the Ceasefire of Cahuenga, an informal agreement that ended the war in California, in exchange for promises of protection of California from abuses by Fremont's forces; this was confirmed by the Treaty of San Fernando, formalized at the mission.[5] Frémont agreed to stop burning Californian ranches, stop stealing horses and cattle, and to obey the positive laws of the country. Kearny, the commanding U.S. general, heard of the Treaty, he gave his consent. Peace reigned.

Post-statehood activity

In 1853, Don Andrés acquired a half interest in Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando from Eulogio de Celis; it was split along present-day Roscoe Boulevard, with his brother Pio Pico's land being the southern half of the San Fernando Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains.[2]

After statehood, in 1851, Don Andrés was elected to the California State Assembly from Los Angeles.[2] Because of perceived anti-Californio sentiments in San Francisco, Don Andrés authored what was known as the Pico Bill in February 1859, to partition California into two states—north and south. The bill proposed to create the "Territory of Colorado" from the southern counties of the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed by the Governor John B. Weller on April 18, 1859. But the U.S. Congress never voted on the bill because of the outbreak of the Civil War.[6] U.S. Congress approval was required before the proposed partition could be put to a vote of the people.

In 1858, Pico was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the California Militia. In 1860, he was elected by the state legislature as a California State Senator from Los Angeles. Andrés Pico's Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando was confiscated by federal decree in 1864, which said that he "did not own and never did own" it. Reduced to a pauper, he retired as a Californio ranchero in Los Angeles.[2] Ex-Mission San Fernando fell into ruins until the mid-20th century, when the Roman Catholic Church conserved about one fourth of the old mission quadrangle.

Since Don Andrés' death, the bulk of the old mission has never been restored. The site of the main mission buildings are now occupied by a parochial high school, including the old, monumental front facing east toward the former Fort Tejon Road. The sites of the Butterfield stagecoach stables, and the outbuildings and storage buildings of Don Andrés' ranch and hacienda, have been lost under development of the modern urban community of Mission Hills.

Pico married Catarina Moreno, grand daughter of Jose Cesario Moreno, Los Angeles pobladore in San Diego. Had one son Romulo, and adopted a daughter, also named Catarina.


Representation in other media


  1. "Soldiers of the 1775 Anza Expedition", 1912, California Spanish Genealogy. Retrieved on 2008-08-05
  2. "Andreas Pico Adobe" Archived 2010-07-01 at the Wayback Machine, The Branding Iron, December 1976, Number 124; reprinted by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, 1977; accessed 11 October 2011
  3. Andrés Pico was never governor of the state.
  5. Pitt, Leonard; Pitt, Dale (1997). Los Angeles A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and County. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 392. ISBN 0-520-20274-0.
  6. William Henry Ellison, "The Movement for State Division in California, 1849-1860," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly XVII, no. 2 (October, 1913), 139.
  7. Kielbasa, John R. (1998), "Andres Pico Adobe", Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County, Pittsburg: Dorrance Publishing Co., ISBN 0-8059-4172-X.
  8. "Andres Pico Adobe" Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Parks
  9. ""The Firebrand" on Death Valley Days". March 24, 1966. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
    This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.