The Story of Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara under Mexican Rule

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Carlos Antonio de Jesus Carrillo (1783-1852) was born into one of Santa Barbara's most distinguished families. At age fourteen, he was a soldier stationed at Monterey. Upon his return to Santa Barbara, Carrillo was in charge of a platoon that took captives from privateer Hipólito Bouchard's raiding party at Refugio Bay in 1818. Later, he involved himself in Mexico's plan to sell mission lands, and was elected to the California Mexican Congress. In 1837, Carrillo was involved in an armed dispute over the California governorship, a claim he eventually surrendered.

Carlos Antonio de Jesus Carrillo, 1852
Leonardo Barbieri (Italian, 1810 - c.1872)
Oil on canvas
34 x 25 inches
Gift of Antoinette Carrillo Delpy
x.2.78.50

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Political and social turmoil ensued following California statehood in 1850. Bandidos, or outlaws, robbed and murdered in regions of weak law enforcement. Joaquin Murietta (1830-1853) made his reputation by robbing and killing in the gold camps of northern California between 1851 and 1853. Serious doubt remains whether he was killed in a gunfight with authorities or escaped to Mexico. In legend he is known as the Robin Hood of El Dorado.

Portrait of Joaquin Murietta, 1853
Attributed to a priest at Mission Carmel
Oil on panel
12 x 8 inches
Gift of Overton Phillips
1991.176.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

To some, bandidos were folk heroes, fighting oppression by the invading Anglo-Americans. To others, they were common criminals. Tiburcio Vasquez (1835-1875) first escaped justice following the murder of a lawman at age seventeen. By 1856, he and his gang were robbing stagecoaches and stealing horses. Arrested following a shootout near Los Angeles, he was found guilty of murder and hanged.

Tiburcio Vasquez's Sombrero (hat), Mexican, c. 1870
Straw, leather, fabric, and metallic thread
Gift of Lucille (Mrs. Edward) Borein
x.54.4.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Tiburcio Vasquez's Olla (jar), c.1870
Gourd and leather
Gift of Litti Paulding
x.66.10.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

During the waning years of Mexican rule, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (1808-1890) was appointed commander general of Alta California in 1836. Born and raised in Monterey, he founded the settlement of Sonoma as military director of colonization, and distinguished himself after the American takeover as a delegate to the California Constitutional Convention in 1849. He was elected to serve in the first state senate in 1850. The city of Vallejo is named in his honor.

General Vallejo's Chair
Maker unknown, Italian Renaissance, c. 17th Century
Gilded leather, walnut, and thread
Gift of Elizabeth Hughey
In Memory of J. Benedict Hughey
10.83.66.1

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

General Vallejo's Sahumador (perfumer)
Maker unknown, Mexican, c. 1823-43
Pure silver
Gift of Pearl Chase
50.60.10.2

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