The First California Legislature, by Themselves

Noodling around the Internet Archive and I found this, a collection of brief autobiographies of the members of the California legislature.

The first legislature consisted of 36 Assemblymen and 16 Senators. They began their deliberations on Monday, December 17, 1849. At some point during the first session, Assemblyman John S. Bradford asked his fellow legislators to write down some particulars about themselves and 30 members complied. Here are three selections:

Born Chautauqua Co. N.Y. 5 Aug. A.D. 1819 — emigrated to Penn. – thence to Ohio — thence to Missouri — thence in 1841 to California — Single — term in Senate one year — Democrat — etc. etc. J. Bidwell

Here is Elisha O. Crosby, whom I have written about before. Not all the men indicated their party affiliation, but he did, with emphasis:

Elisha O. Crosby. Senator from Sacramento District. Native of New York State. Emigrated from New York Decr. 25, 1848. Age 34. Married. Democrat all the time.

Since all but two of the legislators were born in other states, it was important for them to indicate their home state. Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee — nearly every state in the Union was represented.

Two Senators, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Pablo de la Guerra, were native-born Californios. Here is Vallejo’s statement:

M. G. Vallejo born in Monterey of Alta California on the 7 of July, 1807. . . .

If anyone would like to translate the rest of his statement, I would be happy to post it. I am pretty good at reading old handwriting, but unfortunately I do not read Spanish.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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