RESIDENTS OF PUEBLO DE LAS JUNTAS
[About 1810 – 1879]
Stanley A. Lucero, Madera, CA
Updated September 14, 2010
Figure 1: A fresno [ash] tree
For more information about Pueblo de Las Juntas, refer to my powerpoint “Pueblo Las Juntas [Fresno City].”
The Pueblo de Las Juntas was established about 1810 and the residents evicted by Miller & Lux in 1879. Las Juntas was situated in current day western Fresno County [California] where the Fresno Slough and the San Joaquin River meet and some “fresnos” [ash trees] were growing. Sometimes Pueblo de Las Juntas was called Fresno or Fresno City. Pueblo Las Juntas was the terminal point for California river boats. In 1862 the steamboat Alta was mired in the dry San Jose slough. The Butterfield Overland Stage stopped at Las Juntas between 1857-1860.
Current day Fresno, California was settled much later at a different location by the “fresnos” near the east side the San Joaquin River. Fresno was established after 1867 and laid claim to the name of Fresno.
The original pioneers of Las Juntas followed el Camino del Diablo in carts and on horseback. Many of the pioneers were involved in capturing wild horses and then driving them to Mexico for sale. By 1879 many of the Las Juntas men were employees of Miller & Lux at his cattle ranches. In 1879 many of the families moved to Firebaugh. Some of the occupations of the residents of Pueblo de Las Juntas include: merchant, butcher, blacksmith, vaquero, packer of supplies, saddle maker, and cook,
Some of the residents of Las Juntas were involved with some of the five Murrieta Gangs led by Joaquin Murrieta [El Famoso], Joaquin Valenzuela, Joaquin Manuel Carrillo Murrieta or Joaquin Juan Murrieta around the dates of 1849-1853. Following the Battle at the Cantúa , the Murrieta gang members disappeared throughout California, Arizona, Sonora and other unknown places. The original settlers of Las Juntas probably remained in Las Juntas after 1853.
The residents of Las Juntas automatically became US citizens following the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo unless they chose to move to Mexico within one year.
Pueblo de las Juntas was "north of present Mendota." [Hoover 1958, p. 89] “Today all that is left of Pueblo Las Juntas is a solitary grave marker for a little girl.” [Clough 1984] Las Juntas is under the water canal between Firebaugh and Mendota.
The following is a list of some of the families who have been identified by either Clough & Secrest or Frank Latta as living in Pueblo de Las Juntas sometime between 1810 and 1879. The ones marked with an asterisk [*] were buried in the old cemetery of Las Juntas. About 1930, Frank Lopez moved the burials with markers in the old Las Juntas cemetery to a location about a mile and a half south of Firebaugh.
List of residents of Pueblo de Las Juntas
Acevedo, Claudio [Acebedo] - born near Las Trincheras, Sonora, Mexico. Claudio came to Alta California with Joaquin Murrieta and joined him in hunting down the mining mob that killed Joaquin’s half brother Jesus Carrillo Murrieta and raped Joaquin’s wife Rosa Feliz. Claudio returned to Las Trincheras. (Latta, 1980)
Aguirre, Pedro – Pedro was born about 1837 in Mexico and became a naturalized USA citizen on Sept. 4, 1865 [Mariposa, CA records]. On July 2, 1879 Pedro registered to vote as a merchant in Borden, CA. 1880 Borden Census: Pedro Aguirre age 44 Butcher; wife Audelia age 25 born in California; Children – Narcisa age 4, Victor age 2, and Audelia ½ month old. Possibly the owner of the Aguirre store at Rancho de los Californios [see picture on p 94 Latta, 1980]
Arredondo, Jose S – José was from Chile and the 2nd husband of Teodora Martinez. They lived in Borden in 1880 and in Madera in 1900. Jose was still registered to vote in Madera at the age of 75.
Gonzalez, Pedro – probably from San Ysidro [old Gilroy]. Pedro was “a fearless and expert rider of wild horses, a peerless vaquero, leader of the Horse Guards, and custodian of the Gang branding iron.” “He was killed at the Cantúa in the battle with Love’s Rangers by having gone with Joaquin Valenzuela to visit Tres Dedo’s Camp.”
Guisaldo, Gregorio – Gregorio died in Firebaugh under the care of Frank and Albert Lopez. He was a “lookout for likely prospects” for the Gangs.
Gutierrez, Pablo – Pablo was from Sonora, Mexico. He was a member of Tres Dedo’s gang and killed during a robbery about February 1853 near Jackson.
Herrera, Antonio – Antonio was from San Ysidro [old Gilroy]. He was the herrero [blacksmith] with Pedro Gonzalez and Joaquin Valenzuela. He was shot by the Vasquez Gang and died at a the Blacklock “home east of Los Banos Creek, South Fork.”
*Higuera, Julio Ramon [Juliano] – Juliano was from San Ysidro. He and Antonio Herrera helped re-bury the dead following the Battle at the Cantúa. He later worked as a “vaquero on Ranchos New and Old Columbia, and on Pozo Ranch.”
*Indian Joe [Jose, El Indio] – Indian Joe was known to the Murrieta Gangs as José or El Indio. He helped drive the horses to Sonora. He lived in Caborca, Mexico from 1854-1857. Teodora Arredondo “cared for Indian Joe during his last sickness and conducted his graveside funeral services at the old cementerio at Las Juntas.”
Lopez, Antonio – Married with 2 sons [Antonio & Jesus]. Antonio was hunting rabbits near the Cantúa Creek when he was captured by the California Rangers. He drowned in 1853 in Sanjon de San Jose [north east of Coalinga - east of the Cantua Creek] with his feet tied under his horse by the Love California Rangers. He ran horses and “sold his catch to the Murrieta Gangs.” Antonio was a cousin to Juan Lopez [Orejas], Juan Maria Lopez [Ojo de Aguila], and to José Jesus Lopez. He was buried on the west side of the Sanjon by Juan Mendez and others.
Lopez, Juan [Orejas] – Juan was from Los Angeles area and was a “short, stocky, crude, coarse mestizo who cut off the left ear of the corpse of each person he killed.” Orejas was a member of the Tres Dedo’s Gang. He helped deliver horses to Sonora.
*Lopez, Juan [Ojo de Aguila] - Indian wife and son Wacho. Juan was a regular member of Joaquin Murrieta’s Gang. He used his spyglass from the top of the points to serve as a lookout. He also worked at Rancho El Tejon and La Liebre under José Jesús López. He was buried at Las Juntas.
Martinez, Antonio – Antonio was a member of Tres Dedo’s Gang and came from the area of Caborca. Teodora Arredondo “conducted his funeral rites in the old cementerio at Las Juntas.”
Martinez, Cholo –Cholo was from Caborca and related to Antonio Martinez. He was a member of Joaquin Valenzuela’s Gang and died at the Battle at the Cantúa.
Martinez, Teodora – Teodora was one of Frank Latta’s primary sources of information. Page 28: “Teodora Arredondo at the age of 101 years and entirely blind. She rode horseback from Caborca to California in 1847, back to Caborca [on] horseback in 1854 and back to California again in 1857. On this trip she also rode horseback and carried a two-month-old baby in her arms – each time traveling over the dreaded Camino del Diablo. Her first husband, Yñigo, packed for the Murrieta Gang for more than three years and she accompanied him much of the time.” Gregorio & Teodora had a daughter, Matilde, who was born in Caborca. Teodora remarried in Caborca to Jose S. Arredondo from Chile. Jose & Teodora were living in Borden in 1880. In 1900 they were living in Madera. The 1910 Census still has Jose & Matilde living on N Street in Madera with Jose’s occupation listed as Tamale manufacturing. After Jose’s deathTeodora lived with her son-in-law [Ambrosio Ribera] and her daughter Matilde in Madera [1920 Census].
Melendez, Lorenzo - Lorenzo worked with Gregorio Yñigo packing supplies. He and Gregorio were coming from Stockton with supplies when they arrived at Las Juntas and learned about the Battle at the Cantúa. They stored the supplies at the homes of Juan Mendez and Gregorio Yñigo “and then divided [the supplies] among members of the Gang who came back to Las Juntas.”
Mendez, Juan – Juan often served with the Horse Guards. Juan Mendez was at the Battle at the Cantúa and escaped. He helped re-bury the Cantúa dead.
Quiroz, Manuel [El huero] – He was a member of Joaquin Murrieta’s Gang or Joaquin Juan Murrieta’s Gang and was “decidedly blond with light blue eyes.” His descendants live in San Bernardino.
Ribera, Jose – He was the second husband for Matilde Yñigo and became son-in-law to Teodora Arredondo. He was part-time cook for El Famoso. He was a cook and vaquero for J.J.Lopez at Rancho El Tejon and La Liebre. He also cooked at Rancho San Emigdio.
Salazar, Juan – He was “a maker and repairer of riding rigs for all of the Murrieta Gangs. He escaped in the Battle at the Cantúa.” After Murrieta he returned to his “trade of saddle maker.” His younger brother, Jesús Salazar, “became famous as the maker of the Salazar Saddle.” He was seen in San Francisco by Carlos S. Morgan and he “was of the opinion that he [Juan] died there.”
Salgado, Juan – He was a packer with Yñigo at the time of the Battle at the Cantúa. Juan worked for Henry Miller on the ranchos around Las Juntas - the Pozo, New and Old Columbia.” “He was described as a fine vaquero and particularly as an expert rider and breaker of bronco horses; also as an honest man.”
*Urrias [Arias], Ambrosio - Ambrosio married Matilde Yñigo. He was born in Sonora, Mexico and “was a resident at Las Juntas at the time of his death.” “Urrias was a vaquero for many years for Henry Miller on the New and Old Columbia and Poso Ranchos. When he died, his widow married Jose Rivera from Cumpas, Sonora, Mexico.” Ambrosio was buried at the old Las Juntas cementerio. [Latta, 1980, 132-133]
Villegas [Billegas], Antonio
Yñigo, Gregorio – 1st husband of Teodora Martinez. From Caborca, Sonora. Lived in southern California 1842-1959. Lived in Pueblo de Las Juntas with his wife Teodora from 1847-1849. He was a supply packer for Joaquin Murietta. He was delivering supplies from Stockton at the time of the Battle at the Cantu and stored the supplies at his home and the home of Juan Mendez in Pueblo de Las Juntas. In 1854 he took his wife to Caborca. In 1857 "just after their daughter, Matilde, was born Yñigo was killed in a quarrel over the ownership of horses taken by the Horse Gang to Rancho La Berruga." [Latta, 1980. pp 141-142]
Yñigo, Matilde – daughter of Gregorio and Teodora Yñigo, married to 1. Ambrosio Urrias and 2. Jose Ribera. Matidle Yñigo and Ambrosio Urrias lived in Borden in 1880. Matilde Yñigo and Jose Ribera lived in Madera City in 1920. Her mother, Teodora Arredondo [Martinez] was a widow in 1920 living with them in Madera City. [Latta 1980, 1880 Census Borden, 1920 Census Madera City]
Primary Sources of Information:
California’s Geographic Names. Durham, David l. Word Dancer Press, Clovis, California,.
El Camino Viejo a Los Angeles. Latta, Frank Forest. Kern County Historical Society, Bakersfield, California, May 1836.
Fresno Centennial 1885-1995. City of Fresno. Centennial Prelude Committee, 1984.
Fresno County – The Pioneer Years from the beginning to 1900. Clough, Charles W. and Secrest, William B. Jr. Fresno Panorama West Books, 1984.
Joaquin Murrieta and His Horse Gangs. Latta, Frank Forest. Bear State Books, Santa Cruz, 1980.
Joaquin Murrieta: Literary Fiction or Historical Fact? Mero, William. http://www.cocohistory.com/essays-murrieta.html
Historic Spots in California. Hoover, Mildred Brooke: Rensch, Hero Eugene: Rensch, Ethel Grace: and Abeloe, William N. Stanford University Press, 1958.
Industrial Cowboys. Ingler, David. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2001.
Mendota. A city in the central San Joaquin Valley. Hernandez, Robert. Mendota 1-5 Program, 2000.
Ranchos of California. Cowan, Robert G. Historical Society of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1977.
Saga of Rancho El Tejon. Latta, Frank Forest. Bear State Books, Santa Cruz, 1976.
Tiburcio Vasquez in Southern California. The Bandit’s Last Hurrah. Robinson, John W. The California Territorial Quarterly. http://www.californiahistory.com/sample.html
For comments and corrections contact Stanley A. Lucero
Page updated September 14, 2010