CHAPTER XVII: ABBOT KINNEY, CO-COMMISSIONER WITH MRS. JACKSON
Now known as ‘‘The Doge of Venice,’’ his present abode, the beautiful and popular seaside resort near Los Angeles which he founded, Mr. Abbot Kinney is enjoying the fruits of a long and successful life.
The vivacity, wit, culture and genius of the woman attracted Mr. Kinney. He was a friend to the Mission Indians, was in deep sympathy with the purpose of Mrs. Jackson's trip to California, and soon a close friendship was created between them, which resulted in Mr. Kinney being selected by Mrs. Jackson as co-commissioner to aid in her struggling effort to protect the various Indian tribes in Southern California.
In their wanderings over the San Jacinto Mountains it became necessary to visit localities that could not be reached in any sort of vehicle. Mr. Kinney naturally relieved Mrs. Jackson in so far as he could from these arduous tasks. In doing so he met with some incidents not witnessed by his chief. Some of these were related by Mr. Kinney to the authors of this volume. One instance is of peculiar human interest. A man named Fayne had wrongfully dispossessed an Indian of his home, and was holding possession when Mr. Kinney was in the neighborhood. It was a singularly aggravating outrage, and Commissioner Kinney
MR. ABBOT KINNEY,
SAN GABRIEL MISSION
As he approached the house on horseback he observed a man leaning over the front gate with a rifle in his hand and a set look of wicked determination in his eyes. Mr. Kinney affected not to observe the bellicose attitude of the villain, and although the weapon was pointed at him, rode directly up to the fence.
With this Fayne lowered his rifle and invited Mr. Kinney into the house. His story was long and rambling, but wholly without merit, and Mr. Kinney and Mrs. Jackson, before leaving the locality, had the satisfaction of restoring the little ranch to its rightful owner,
Upon another occasion it became necessary for Mr. Kinney to go on foot to a little ranch on the edge of the desert, where he found the owner, an aged Indian, in great distress over the complete destruction of his crop--sole reliance for the sustenance of himself and family until another could be grown--by a white man named Lugo, who had driven a herd of cattle and a band of sheep over it, breaking down the fences on either side, and leaving not a vestige of vegetation upon the place. The act was one of pure malevolence, since there was an abundance of room on either side of the ranch to have driven his stock without damage to anyone.
Mr. Kinney burned with indignation when he viewed the wreck and heard the pitiful story from the lips of the sufferer. Seeking out the perpetrator he introduced himself as an agent of the Government, told him he had appraised the damage, and warned him that, unless he should appear at a certain place in San Diego within ten days and deposit the sum named for the benefit of the outraged Indian, he would send an officer after him. There was no parleying, nor was there any subsequent
Particularly interesting was Mr. Kinney's relation of the visit of Mrs. Jackson to Temecula. He was with her on that momentous occasion. The scenes of desolation, mute but irrefutable evidence of the outrage of the whites upon the Indians, seemed to wrack the heart and mind of Mrs. Jackson. The interview between her and Mrs. Wolfe, Mrs. Hartsel of Ramona, was fervent and dramatic. Mrs. Wolfe had witnessed the ejectment of the Indians from Temecula. Her sympathies were with the maltreated red men, and naturally she elicited the confidence and admiration of Mrs. Jackson.
At the Temecula graveyard Mrs. Jackson observed an Indian woman weeping over the grave of her husband. The incident gave birth to the character of Carmena in Ramona. ‘‘As they entered the enclosure a dark figure arose from one of the graves. . . . It was Carmena. The poor creature, nearly crazed with grief, was spending her days by her baby's grave in Pachanga, and her nights by her husband's in Temecula. She dared not come to
When in a reminiscent mood Mr. Kinney relates many interesting incidents associated with the historical journey over the San Jacinto Mountains, originally suggested to Mrs. Jackson by the Coronels, and which gave birth to the great American romance, Ramona. He asserts that nearly if not quite all of the characters and incidents in Ramona were suggested by persons seen and episodes encountered during the journey and Mrs. Jackson's visit to Camulos ranch, and that the author's description of places, relation of incidents and portrayal of characters are astonishingly correct and faithful.
While Mr. Kinney, with his accustomed courtesy, talked willingly and at length with the authors concerning Mrs. Jackson and Ramona, to the request that he contribute something to this volume over his own signature he answered: ‘‘I could not write anything on the subject that would not be either dull or colorless, or violate my views on the sacred character of the relations of personal friendship.’’
When I arrived here on Nov. 20 and found that you had left on November 19, ‘‘a madder man than Mr. Mears you would not wish to see.’’--You surely could not have got my note saying I would start on the 16th--I took cold on the journey. . . .
Feby. 2. Whether from the horrible weather or from overwork I don't know, I collapsed for a week, and had an ugly sore throat and did no work. Now I am all right again and back at my table, but shall go slower. I am leading a life as quiet as if I were at Mrs. Kimball's--I go nowhere--am never out after 5 P.M. I am resolved to run no risks whatever till after I get this story done. I hope it is good. It is over one-third done. Am pretty sure the 1st of March will see it done. Then I will play.
But in the house I have been comfortable--have not once seen the mercury below 60 in my rooms. The apartment is sunny and light--6th floor--east windows--all my ‘‘traps,’’ as Mr. Jackson calls them, came in well, and the room looks as if I had lived in it all my life.
Now, for yourself--What have you done? How are you running your home?--Who is at the Villa? Is Mrs. Carr well? My regards to her. Don't you wish you had carried home a wife? I am exceedingly disappointed that you didn't.
Miss Sheriff writes me that a suit is brought for the ejectment of the Saboba Indians. Let me know if you have heard of it--what Brunson & Wells say. I wrote to Wells a long time ago asking for information about the suit by which the Temecula Indians were ejected--but he has not replied.
I have just sent a list of 200 names to Com. Price to mail our report to. Of course you had copies. I feel well satisfied with it. Do not you? I wish they'd send us again somewhere. They never will. I've had my last trip as a ‘‘Junketing Female Commissioner.’’
Do write soon;--and answer all my questions--and don't wait for me to reply, but write again. I am writing from 1,000 to 2,000 words a day on the story and letters are impossible, except to Mr. Jackson. Whether I write or not you know I am always the same affectionate old General.
INTERIOR OF SAN GABRIEL MISSION
SAN DIEGO MISSION
I sent you one of the reports. You can get all you want, I think, by writing to Commissioner Price. I sent him a long list of names to mail it to. They said I could have all I wanted. Of course you can too. There is a bill of some sort, prepared and before Congress. I have written to Teller asking for it, or sum and substance. He does not reply. None of
PAGE OF OLD RECORD AND BELL, SAN GABRIEL
INDIAN MISSION SCHOOL, SAN DIEGO
I am thinking of coming to So. California as soon as I can hobble. I must fly from here before November, but I do not feel quite up to shutting myself in for the winter as I must in New York. So I propose to run across to your snug seashore--for two or three months of sunshine and outdoors--before going to New York. Do you not think that wise?
I wrote to Mrs. W--- in San Diego--the only place I know in all California where there was real comfort. Also I like the San Diego climate best. But I learned to my great disappointment that she had gone to Los Angeles. The N's urge my coming to a new hotel in San Diego--but I have a mortal dread of California hotels. Do you know anything of it?--And do you know where Mrs. W's house in Los Angeles is? If it is on high ground? . . .
I had a letter from Mrs. C--- the other day. Strange, that disorderly chaotic woman writes a precise, methodical hand, clear as type, characterless in its precision; and I, who am a martinet of ardent system, write--well--as you see! What nonsense to say handwriting shows character.
I have ordered a copy of The Hunter Cats of Connorloa sent to you. You will laugh to see yourself saddled with an orphan niece and nephew. I hope you won't dislike the story. I propose in the next to make you travel all through Southern California with Susy and Rea--and tell the Indian story over again. I only hope that scalawag C---, of Los Angeles, will come across the story,
As you recollect the situation of lands at Saboba was there good land enough in that neighborhood for those Indians to get homes? The Indian appropriation bill passed in July has a clause enabling Indians to take land under homestead laws, with no fees.
P. S. Can't you do something to get Rust appointed Indian agent? I have heard quite directly that Lamar is full of warm sympathy for the Indians. Do try, Co., and accomplish something for them. You might, if you would determine to.
The carriage in which Mrs. Jackson commenced her journey through Southern California was owned and driven by Mr. N. H. Mitchell, who now resides in Los Angeles. The start was made from Anaheim, twenty-six miles from Los Angeles. The occupants of the carriage were Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Abbot Kinney, Mr. Henry Sandham and Mr. N. H. Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell has contributed this statement of his association with Mrs. Jackson:
MR. N. H. MITCHELL,
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO MISSION
"Our journey from place to place was attended by many exciting and interesting incidents. Mrs. Jackson accepted every inconvenience and hardship without complaint. She seemed wholly absorbed by the Indian subject: to hear, to see all concerning them. No detail escaped her. She was ever smiling, good-natured and witty, but always earnest and determined.
"We encountered many trying conditions, especially for a woman, and one of Mrs. Jackson's refinement. We often camped at night. Pala Mission, on the San Luis Rey River, was reached late at night, and there we were forced to camp. We found an American there, who was trading with the Indians, and prevailed upon him to give us some supper. Something about him particularly amused and interested Mr. Sandham, who named the fellow 'Garibaldi.'
"I kept the carriage in which we rode until a few years ago. I offered to give it to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, that it might be preserved in connection with the Coronel Collection, but the offer was refused on the ground of lack of space. I finally sold it to a carriage dealer in Pasadena, who dissembled it and used its parts for various purposes.
"I know of many of the incidents of our travel to be the same as related in Ramona. Mrs. Hartsel, whom Mrs. Jackson met at Temecula, was Mrs. Ramona Wolfe, the wife of the storekeeper there. Mrs. Jackson was greatly interested in Mrs. Wolfe, and from her learned many things concerning the Temecula Indians and their ejectment from their lands. Mrs. Wolfe was in sympathy with the Indians, and, therefore, Mrs. Jackson gave her special attention.