671 South Oakglen Avenue, Nipomo, CA 93444 dana@danaadobe.org 805.929.5679

Mi Casa Es Su Casa:Being extended Dana/Carrilo Family, Friends, and famous Visitors to the Rancho Nipomo

They lived at the Adobe or on the Rancho:

Maria Isabel Ayala (bapt. 19 Nov 1836—May 1918): Isabel’s parents were Juan Jose Gervasio Ayala and Maria Rafaela de Jesus Arellanes (or Arrellanos).  Her father was married to another woman at the time.  This couple also had another child, Juan de los Dolores Ayala, born in 1839 and died in April 1841 on the Rancho Nipomo.  Isabel’s family stories (and her obituary) have her becoming a ward of the Robbins and Dana families.  She was taken into the Dana Family after age 11 “as a daughter.”  She reportedly had “several conversations with Capt. John Fremont,” which places her at the rancho in December 1846.  She was listed on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census with the Dana family in Nipomo.  We have a photograph of Isabel and five small children identified as the Dana children, including a young Adelina Elisa (age about 2 years), placing the photograph about 1850.  In 1855, Isabel Ayala was married to Felipe Grajada (abt 1812—1889).  Her uncle, Francisco Arrellanos, took her to be married from the rancho to the Mission Santa Barbara on horseback over San Marcos pass.  The couple made their home in Santa Barbara, where Mr. Grajada worked on the Mission aqueduct system. The Grajada family settled later in El Rio area of Ventura County. [Sources: correspondence from Isabel Ayala’s descendants, Isabel Ayala Grajada’s obituary, and research by Barbara Watson, Susan Gray, & Colleen Beck]

Josefa O’Brien (abt 1845–?): Josefa was listed as part of the Dana family after Isabel Ayala’s name on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, dated Oct. 6, 1850.  Was she another “adopted” Dana child?  There was also Augusta (?) Ortega, age 21, female and born in California listed before the girls.  Both girls would be topics for further research.

Maria de la Encarnacion Carrillo de Robbins (March 24, 1814–June, 1876): Encarnacion was born just after her sister, Maria Josefa, and they were likely very close as young girls in Santa Barbara.  She married Thomas M. Robbins on February 3, 1834 in Santa Barbara.   Between 1823 and 1829 Robbins had been involved in the sea otter trade and served as a mate on the Waverly between 1826 and 1828.  Unfortunately, Robbins passed away July 15, 1857 in Santa Barbara leaving his widow Encarnacion with 10 children to support.  About 1861, Encarnacion was forced to sell their various properties in the Santa Barbara area to support her family.  During the same year, Encarnacion and several of her children moved to the Nipomo Rancho and remained there until about 1864 when their house burned down.   She later moved to Arroyo Grande with several of her remaining unmarried children. [The Middle of Nowhere, p. 20-21, 36]

According to an article written by Doris Olsen for the South County Tribune, “…Mrs. Robbins brought her younger children to the Nipomo ranch of her widowed sister, Mrs. William Goodwin Dana, in 1861.  The family remained there until after the marriage of Isabelle Robbins to Ramon Branch [1863] and Maria Antonio Robbins to Leandro Roman Branch [Oct. 1864] and then moved to a new adobe home situated in what is now the village of Arroyo Grande.  After the move another daughter, Concepcion Robbins, married Frank Branch [1867].”

William Rich Hutton (1826—1901):  Surveyor Hutton was 21 years old when he arrived in California in 1847.  Hutton was a friend of Capt. Henry W. Halleck, with whom Henry Tefft had stayed while serving as delegates to the California Constitutional Convention.  Early in 1850 while in Monterey, we speculate that he made the acquaintance of Henry A. Tefft, the future son-in-law of William G. Dana.  In May 1850, Hutton writes his mother about his trip south to San Luis Obispo with Tefft.  Hutton accepted a commission to survey the 38,000 acres Rancho Nipomo for Capt. Dana.  “…I found Capt. Dana an excellent, good natured old gentleman, and his daughter is a favorite with all who know her.…Since I have been here they have treated me kindly, and they live comfortably.  I sent up to San Luis for my things, and have commenced on this farm, as I cannot well do anything in San Luis until Capt. Wilson comes down.  The farm is about 10 miles long and, I believe, nearly as many broad, though a third of it is hilly and good for nothing.  The air is filled with the fragrance of the different species of clover, and in some places the oats are 4 feet high.”  Hutton served as Henry Tefft’s best man for his marriage to Maria Josefa Dana in July 1850 and in his later years wrote a description of the wedding.  Hutton was confirmed as the San Luis Obispo County surveyor in Sept. 1850, which he served until August of 1851.  He left California in 1853. [Research by Barbara Watson]

Henry Amos Tefft (1825-1852): Henry was a young lawyer recently arrived from Wisconsin, who settled in the San Luis Obispo area in 1849.  Tefft became acquainted with William G. Dana, and lived at Dana’s home in Nipomo for a four-month stretch.  During this time, Henry Tefft practiced law and became known and respected in the area.

Due to his blossoming reputation and Dana’s support, Tefft was elected as San Luis Obispo’s delegate to the state’s Constitutional Convention in Monterey.  This convention was seated in August 1849 with the Constitution of California completed on October 12, 1849.  Tefft was a vocal participant in the convention, arguing in favor of the right of Native Americans to vote, property rights for women, the establishment of county schools, and a “Homestead Exemption” clause enabling a homeowner to have his home declared exempt from seizure for the payment of debts.  After October, Tefft rode south, taking responsibility of distributing copies of the Constitution to the southern part of the state.

After the convention, Tefft was elected as San Luis Obispo County’s first assemblyman.  Later when the state legislature divided the state into judicial districts, Tefft was elected as the first district judge of the Second Judicial District (comprised of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties).  In July 1850, Henry married Maria Josefa Dana in a wedding ceremony conducted at Rancho Nipomo.

Henry and Maria Josefa settled into the Casa de Dana in Nipomo.  Tragically, Tefft died just a year and a half after his wedding.  On February 6, 1852 (the dates vary by accounts), he was aboard the coastal steamer Ohio when it entered the harbor of Port San Luis amid high waves, heavy surf, and inclement weather.  Tefft reportedly was planning to pick up Maria Josefa and then head on to San Francisco to take the train back to Wisconsin for a visit with his parents, and insisted on going ashore.  The captain sent Tefft and five sailors on a boat headed to shore.  Within 100 yards of the sand…the boat suddenly turned over, dumping everyone into the pounding surf.  Tefft and four of the sailors drowned. By all accounts, his wife was expecting their first child, Henry Tefft Jr., who was born after his death.  There are stories that Maria Josefa Tefft was not told of her husband’s death for a while.  Henry Tefft’s body was not recovered for burial.

Samuel Adams Pollard (1824-1904):  A Virginia native, Sam Pollard served in the Mexican-American War sometime between 1846 and 1847.  After the war, he was working as a clerk in New Orleans when news reached him of the discovery of gold in California.  He briefly settled into clerking San Francisco, but…“The city was then wild with dissipation, and I got very tired of it.  Having a chance to open a store on the shares down the coast, I accepted it and did very well,” recalled Samuel Pollard.  About May 1849, S. A. Pollard and his partner, William L. Beebe began building an adobe store in San Luis Obispo at the corner of Monterey and Chorro streets.

After finishing the store, the partners found nearly all their money was sunk in adobe, and they had little left for purchasing stock.  In order to get stock from San Francisco, it was a lonely 300-mile mule ride.  “Our first district judge was Judge Tefft, who had accumulated a back salary of $3,000, but had no way to collect it without the bother of a land journey.”  Pollard agreed to collect the salary if Tefft would give the partners use of it for six months without interest.  “So, we got our stock,” remembered Pollard.  When the SLO Post Office established on 28 July 1851, Samuel A. Pollard was appointed its 1st postmaster and operated out of his store under 1853.

Besides operating the store in San Luis Obispo, S.A. Pollard was very active in early city and county government.  On 14 April 1850, he was appointed the County Recorder.  During this period, William G. Dana was also serving as the San Luis Obispo county Treasurer.  Having been acquainted with and having done business with both her father, William G. Dana, and her late husband, Judge Henry Tefft, it is no surprise that Samuel A. Pollard became acquainted with the widowed Maria Josefa de Tefft .  He courted her and they were married on 20 December 1854 in the Mission San Luis Obispo.  The couple lived at the Dana Adobe on the Rancho Nipomo for a time after they married.  The couple eventually raised five children together.  Reportedly, Samuel ran the store at the Rancho for a time. Sometime after Captain Dana passed away in 1858, the Pollards settled in the San Luis Obispo area as noted in Maria Josefa Pollard’s letter to her family in the early 1860s.

Manuela Antonia Carrillo Jones de Kettle (1820—1900):  Maria Josefa Carrillo Dana’s younger sister, Manuela was born in June, 1820.  She married John Coffin Jones, Jr. (1796—1861), a Massachusetts trader, who had served as the U.S. Consular Agent for Commerce and Seamen in Oahu, Sandwich Islands.  Jones and Alpheus B. Thompson went into partnership, mainly in commerce trading in Santa Barbara.  Unlike his brothers-in-law (Dana, Thompson, Robbins and Burton), Jones had no formal residence for his family, no Mexican citizenship, and bitterly disliked California.  In 1846, Jones, Manuela, and two children sailed for Boston leaving Thompson to manage their Santa Rosa Island stock ventures and keep the books. The Jones family settled in West Newton, Massachusetts where Jones “farmed” until this death in 1861.  After five years, widowed Manuela remarried to George Nelson Kettle, an Englishman and widower with three children.  While he had investments in Massachusetts, the Kettles spent most of their time in Europe.  The San Luis Obispo Tribune of May 18, 1883 included a personal notice of the Kettles “stopping with the Danas in this county…After an absence of thirty-eight years she has returned to the scenes of her youth to find all her sisters, excepting Mrs. [William] Dana, dead.  The meeting between the two sisters is said to have been very affecting.”  This meeting was most likely at the Casa Grande in Nipomo where Maria Josefa Dana lived. Manuela Kettle died in Nice, France at eighty years of age.  [Ynez Durnford Haase, The Middle of Nowhere: the Carlos Carrillo Adobe, The Carrillo Family & Their Rancho Sespe, p. 22-24; History of San Luis Obispo County,p. 106]

Hubbard C. M. Ely (c. 1818-1889):  Hubbard C. M. Ely was born and named Elihu Ely, junior, in Binghamton, New York.  Elihu Ely Jr. was the great nephew of William Ely, who married Clarissa May Davis and was thus a relative of William Goodwin Dana.  Based on the date of his passport, Ely traveled most likely to California for the first time at the beginning of the Gold Rush.  Elihu Ely Jr. is noted as a bookkeeper at the Custom House in San Francisco in 1850.  In March 1851, Elihu Ely petitioned the California government to officially change his name from Elihu Ely to Hubbard C M Ely.  This was approved 28 Mar 1851.

About the 17th Apr 1853 H C M Ely set sail from (possibly) San Francisco for New York via Panama and arrived in New York about 16 May 1853 [NYT].  On board were the Dana brothers, Henry Camilo Dana (Enrique), noted as age 19, and Charles William Dana (Carlos), noted as age 17, perhaps traveling with Ely, who they knew from home.   The Dana boys are on their way to school in New York to stay near their aunt, Adelina Eliza (nee Dana) Darling.  Ely wrote a letter to Carlos Dana from San Francisco in 1854 reporting happenings on the rancho.

H C M Ely, Esq. conducted a number of business transactions for Capt. Dana in 1853 and 1854.  He aided William Goodwin and Maria Petra Josefa Dana when they deeded to Maria Josefa (their daughter) a large chunk of property in SLO (including the Dana Hotel) on 12 Nov 1853 and some Rancho property on 6 Dec 1853.  The other signature, either serving as law clerk or district attorney on these deeds, was Hubbard C M Ely. [SLO County Deed Book #A]

In August 1854, he handled the scrip and other documents for Wm. G. Dana in his controversy with the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in regard to the rent of the courtroom. [Angel, 171]  Ely was possibly living in San Francisco later in 1858.  Ely returned east sometime afterwards and died in Wilmington, Delaware on the 25th of Nov 1889.

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