She was the daughter of José Darío Argüello, the Spanish governor of Alta California and Presidio Commandante. She was born at the Presidio of San Francisco and at 15 she fell in love with Nikolai Rezanov, the visiting head of a Russian expedition to Alaska. His expedition had hard times in California and his involvement with Argüello was at first motivated by practical considerations, since the Spanish Crown did not permit giving aid to Russians. But the pair fell in love, and Nikolai returned to Russia to ask the tsar for permission to marry Concepción. During his trip across Siberia in 1807 he fell from horseback, became sick and died in Krasnoyarsk, where he is buried.
According to a traditional account, Argüello never learned his fate and continued to wait for him till the end of her life, rejecting all other men. Later she became a nun in Monterey, California and remained in the sisterhood until her death.
According to another source, Argüello was waiting for the pope's permission to get married. She learned of Rezanov's death a year later in 1808, when the head of the Russian American Company, Alexander Baranov, wrote to her brother. Although freed from her engagement, she chose to stay celibate and became a nun.
Argüello died in 1857 and is now buried in Saint Dominic's Cemetery, Benicia, where her remains were moved from St. Catherine Convent's cemetery in 1894. A monument marks her grave.
- Francis Bret Harte wrote a ballad describing her fate, in which Rezanov is referred to as Count von Resanoff, the Russian, envoy of the mighty Czar.
- Novel Concha: My Dancing Saint by Rebecca Lawrence Lee
- Soviet rock opera Juno and Avos describes Concepción Argüello's love story.
- Istomin, Alexei; Gibson, James R.; Tishkov, Valery (2005). Россия в Калифорнии: русские документы о колонии Росс и российско-калифорнийских связях 1803-1850 : в двух томах 1. Nauka. p. 752. ISBN 978-5-02-008901-3.
- Gibson, James R. (2010). "Russian America: Company Sources on a Company Colony" (PDF). International Conference on Russian America.
- "Records Of The Russian-American Company, 1802-1867". Atlanta: National Archives. Microfilm Number M-11.
- Haycox, Stephen (2006). Alaska: An American colony. Seattle [Wash.]: University of Washington Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780295986296.
- Istomin, Gibson & Tishkov 2005, p. 183
- "Кончита и Николай". Северная Америка. Век девятнадцатый. Archived from the original on 2009-04-23.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1900 Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography article about Concepción Argüello.|
- Concepción Argüello on The California Museum's California Legacy Trails
- Mast, Sister M. Jane, S.H.F. "Concepción Argüello in the California story : fact versus fiction." M.A. thesis, University of San Francisco, 1962.
- Portrait of Concepción Argüello
- Concepción Argüello at Find a Grave Original burial site.
- Concepción Argüello at Find a Grave 2nd burial site.