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.
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:
- Her daughter Maria del Rosario de Guillen married Englishman Michael C. White (AKA Miguel Blanco, 1801-1885), whose memoirs (California All the Way Back to 1828) talk about his mother-in-law. (His house, the Michael White Adobe or Adobe de Miguel Blanco, is also one of the oldest homes in the Los Angeles area.)
- Her daughter Maria Rita de Guillen married Don Jose Vicente de la Ossa. Their home, Casa de la Ossa or Casa de los Encinos, forms the basis of the Los Encinos State Historic Park in Encino, CA.
- 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.