CHAPTER V: WHERE RAMONA WAS WRITTEN
Mrs. Jackson returned to Colorado from California in the early summer of 1883. From her home on November 8th of that year she wrote to the Coronels, a part of the letter reading: ‘‘I am going to write a novel, in which will be set forth some Indian experiences in a way to move people's hearts. . . . The thing I want most in the way of help from you is this: I would like an account, written in as much detail as you remember of the time when you, dear Mr. Coronel, went to Temecula and marked off the boundaries of the Indians' land there . . . and I have written to Father Ubach and to Mr. Morse of San Diego for other reminiscences. You and they are the only persons to whom I have spoken of my purpose of writing the novel, and I do not wish anything said about it. I shall keep it a secret until the book is done. . . . I wish I
VERANDA ON INNER COURT, CAMULOS
SOUTH VERANDA, CAMULOS DWELLING
It is to be conceded that the novel was completed in New York. Señora de Coronel declares positively that Mrs. Jackson talked to her about the story, expressed a desire to locate the scene at the Coronel hacienda and told her she would name the novel Ramona, all before her departure for the East in 1883.
Mr. Henry Sandham, the ‘‘Century's’’ artist, has declared: ‘‘At the time of the California sojourn I knew neither the name nor the exact details of the proposed book; but I did know that the general plan was a defense of the Mission Indians, together with a plea for the preservation of the Mission buildings, and so on; the whole to be enveloped in the mystery and poetry of romance. I had thus sufficient
To the authors Señora de Coronel has declared that at her home Mrs. Jackson even selected the name Ramona for her intended romance, and relates this incident: ‘‘On a visit of Mrs. Jackson to the home of Dr. J. De Barth Shorb, near Pasadena, a child of the family was addressed as 'Ramona.' The liquid sound caught Mrs. Jackson's ear, and she remarked: 'That is a pretty name. Please say it again.' On her way home she continually repeated the name, evidencing she was impressed by its rhythmic sound. At my first meeting with Mrs. Jackson thereafter she exclaimed: 'Oh, I have heard such a beautiful name, Ramona, and I am going to use it as the title of my book.'’’
DOñA MARIANA DE CORONEL IN HER NEW HOME, LOS ANGELES, 1889
RAMONA LUBO, CAHUILLA INDIAN,
She learned of the unrighteous treatment of the Temecula Indians by the white man and of the brutal murder of Juan Diego by Sam Temple. Her very soul was aflame. She was writing magazine articles and recording facts for the joint report rendered by her and Mr. Abbot Kinney to the Department of the Interior. All the pitiful story she was to give to the public. She so asserted repeatedly. It may have been that while in California she did not wish her plan to write a novel to be known, but before her departure she did announce and discuss giving the Mission Indian situation to the public. At one time she intended to tell the story in an appendix to a new edition of her A Century of Dishonor.
The statements of Señora de Coronel, Mrs. Jackson's most intimate friend in California, and of Mr. Sandham, her artist companion, must be accepted as conclusive proof that Mrs. Jackson did, before departing from California in 1883, conceive and announce the writing of a book which would contain the facts of the inhuman treatment of the Mission Indians by the white man, and to clothe the story with romance.
Mrs. Jackson desired to write the story of the Mission Indians while in Southern California, in the atmosphere of the Coronel home, and within easy reach of reinforcing material; but fate forbade it. The work was scarcely begun when events dictated a different plan, and a temporary suspension of the writing. She realized that unless the Government could be prevailed upon to extend speedy relief to the Indians great suffering would ensue, and she hastened to Washington to lay the whole matter before the President and Congress. She was fortified with reports of officials and civilians, with statements of influential people of all stations, the material facts verified under oath, and was in every way equipped for an effective campaign. She successfully appealed to some of the most prominent men in public
RAMONA LUBO WEEPING AT THE GRAVE OF HER HUSBAND, JUAN DIEGO, CAHUILLA
THE BELLS AND CROSS AT CAMULOS, NEAR THE CHAPEL
Reforms in the policy of the Indian bureau soon followed, and within a twelvemonth she had the satisfaction of securing the passage of a law granting land in severalty, together with implements for its cultivation, to such Indians as would give up their tribal relations. The Indian Rights Association seconded her every effort, also sending a commission to Southern California and doing effective work at Washington.
Before leaving Los Angeles, Mrs. Jackson, in conjunction with the Coronels, devised a somewhat ambitious plan for the institution at some place in Southern California of an industrial school for the Indians, with the idea that many of those who had lost their homes might, with proper instruction, become self-sustaining. It was hoped that the Government would provide a suitable home for such an institution, vesting the title in the Indians, and this achieved, it was her purpose to raise the necessary funds for equipping it by private subscription and otherwise. Personally she contemplated devoting the
Her mission to Washington accomplished, she went to New York, finished Ramona, and arranged for its publication. She then began the preparation of five additional books, which she seems to have carried forward simultaneously; but, on account of the fatal illness that attacked her, never completed any of them.
In the midst of this labor of love she was forced to lay down her pen and return to California, her physician hoping but scarcely believing that the change would prolong her life. She survived but a few months, passing away peacefully at San Francisco on the 12th of August, 1885.
In California of the South it is related that in June, 1887, an agent from Washington and several members of the Indian Rights Association from Los Angeles and Pasadena, had a conference with the Indian chiefs, or captains, as they were then called, at Pala Mission, to explain the provisions of the bill,
OLD MISSION INDIANS AND DON ANTONIO
DON ANTONIO DE CORONEL AND MARIANA, HIS WIFE, ON THE LEFT; LOUISA AND GUITAR PLAYER
The meeting is thus described: "At the date of this conference, the apricots and peaches were just ripe, and the orchards were radiant with luscious fruit, that bent many of the boughs almost to the ground. Early on the morning of the conference the Indian chiefs began coming in from the various reservations, the majority on horseback, others in spring-wagons, but all well dressed in the American style. There were captains and generals, quite a number of whom spoke English, Spanish and three or four Indian dialects fluently.
There were among them several who might have been Alessandros, but no Ramonas. The agent mounted a step of the old Mission, and the Indians gathered anxiously around. Each one had hat in hand, and they all stood there in the hot sun, with bared heads, watching the agent closely as he spoke, and then listening attentively to the Hon. A. F. Coronel, of Los Angeles, as he interpreted the agent's remarks.
"One noticeable feature was their serious earnestness. They all remembered Mrs. Jackson, who made prolonged visits among them; and when the agent told them that he had promised Mrs. Jackson on her death-bed that he would go on with her work, they were visibly affected.
"Mrs. Jackson's name is familiar to almost every human being in Southern California, from the little three-year-old tot, who has her choice juvenile stories read to him, to the aged grandmother who sheds tears of sympathy for Ramona.’’