Eulialia Perez de Guillen Marine

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Eulalia Perez de Guillen Marine was my great-great-great-great grandmother.  I descend from her as follows:  David Chambers, son of Patricia Murray Chambers, daughter of Alexander Howison Murray, Jr., son of Katherine Kevane Murray, daughter of Constancia de la Ossa Kevane, daughter of Maria Rita de Guillen de la Ossa, daughter of Eulalia Perez de Guillen Marine.

(The handwritten notes “Una vieja y sus recuerdos dictados” (San Gabriel: UC Berkeley, 1877) is available online.)

(A genealogy for her appears on Geni.com: relatives are welcome to add their lineage.)

According to the history passed down through my mother and her father:

  • Eulalia (1766-1878) was born in Loreto, Baja California, and died in the Los Angeles area of (Alta) California at the age of 112.
  • Her father taught her to read and write, which was highly unusual in those days.
  • She married a foot soldier, Antonio Guillen, and in 1799 she followed him on foot up to the founding of the presidio in San Diego, where he was stationed.  He died there (date unknown), leaving her a widow with several children.
  • To earn a living, she got herself as a cook and midwife at the San Gabriel Mission (date unknown).  Over the years, she became mayor doma or Keeper of the Keys of the mission.  She was in charge of industry at the mission (such as leather-tanning) and of education for Native Americans.
  • She served as midwife to most of the prominent early families of the area, including the Picos and Sepulvedas.  She delivered Pio Pico (1801-1894), later governor of Alta California.
  • Eulalia was in the cathedral at San Juan Capistrano during the earthquake of 1812. Unlike most of the people inside killed in the nave, she ran outside with the priests.
  • After many years of service, the padres of San Gabriel Mission gave her a “corner ranch” called Rancho del Rincon de San Pacual.  This land encompassed most of all of the modern cities of Pasadena, South Pasadeno, and San Marino.
  • When Mexico took over California from Spain, Eulalia was unable to keep land in her own name.  She married a Mexican soldier named Juan Marine, so she could keep her land as his wife.  Marine and his sons lost most or all of the land by gambling at cards.
  • Eulalia lived her later years mostly in the homes of her many daughters:
  • In her last years, all of Eulalia’s hair grew back on her head, and a third set of teeth grew in.
  • Eulia spent some of her last years at Adobe Flores, one of the oldes homes in the Los Angeles area.
  • In 1876, Eulalia received an invitation to appear at the Centennial exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  She was too old to travel so far, however, and did not go.
  • In 1877, shortly before she died, Thomas Savage of the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley interviewed her: her memoir is available as part of Three Memoirs of Mexican California (Berkeley: Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1988).
  • The courthouse of Santa Ana, CA, records her death in 1878 at the age of “140 years” of age.
  • My mother’s cousin Pamela Raffetto (daughter of Constancia Murray Raffetto, who was one of my grandfather’s sisters) searched in the archives of Loreto and the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain: she could find no records about Capitan Diego Perez of Salamanca, Eulalia’s father. Archivists attributed this to the numerous hurricanes that have hit Loreto over the century, destroying records.

These notes represent all that I can remember that my mother and grandfather told me about our ancestress Eulalia.

9 Comments

  • Jeffery Cavallaro

    Hi, David. I just listened to an episode of “Romance of the Ranchos” on the XM classic radio channel about your G-G… Grandmother. What an interesting lady! Thanks for posting this info.

    Jeff

  • Thank you so much.

    Archive.org makes the series available online, including “Christmas at San Gabriel”: Romance of the Ranchos (1941-1946, sponsored by the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles, and narrated by Frank Graham as the “Wandering Vaquero”).

    The theme of this episode (and perhaps the series) is the goodness of Western civilization and how San Gabriel Mission was “one of the greatest civilizing forces” of the California “Southlands.”

    It is very patronizing, particularly when one remembers that Mission San Gabriel helped wipe out the culture of the San Gabriel natives — “Gabrieleños” to the Spanish but “Tongva” (see Wikipedia “Tongva“) to themselves. Today, only a few words of Tongva language itself survives, while the nation itself has no “nation” status according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (q.v., two Tongva petitioning nations in PDF document).

    Then again, how well have any Native American fared vis-a-vis the United States of America?

    Just the other day, I happened to look up the Seneca people, to find them recipients to this day of “The Six Nations in New York still receive calico cloth as payment under the treaty” as provided by the Treaty of Canandaigua. How can that treaty remain unrevised?

  • Nicolas Guillen Perez

    Hey David, was looking up family history and came accross this page. I am a direct decendent of Eulalia, 7 greats back and a registered Gabrielino Indian. My Father is one of the tribla elders. This is a great page, thanks for the post. Hit me back familia!

  • Michele Churchill

    Thanks for sharing this history. I grew up on Garfield Ave. Just up the street from the Flores Adobe, and several others. I loved those old homes and the cactus gardens that surrounded them. I always wondered about those that had lived in them years before.

  • alice

    Fascinating lineage, David. And, lo’, I see Pamela Raffetto’s name appears. PLEASE send me her contact address. I’m a very old friend, now in Vermont.

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