Hugo Reid

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Hugo Reid at Rancho Santa Anita.

Hugo Reid (April 18, 1811 – December 12, 1852) was a Scottish-born resident of Los Angeles, who became a naturalized citizen of Mexico,[1] and who wrote a series of newspaper letters that described the culture, language, and modern circumstances of the local Gabrieliño Indians, and criticizing their treatment by Franciscan friars who administered the Spanish missions in California.


Born to Charles Reid and Essex Milliken, at Cardross, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, on 18 April 1811,[2] Reid established a trading house in Hermosillo, Mexico in the late-1820s with a business partner, William Keith, and first visited Los Angeles, then a part of Alta California, Mexico, in 1832.[3] He married a Gabrieliña woman named Victoria and adopted her children, María and Felipe.

Reid was given the 13,319-acre (53.90 km2) Rancho Santa Anita as a land grant by Mexican Governor Pio Pico in 1845. His reconstructed rancho home, known as the Hugo Reid Adobe, is located on the former estate of Lucky Baldwin at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, in what is now the town of Arcadia. Reid was nicknamed the Scotch Paisano during his days as a Scottish settler in Mexican Southern California.[4]

Reid wrote a series of 22 letters which were published in the Los Angeles Star during 1852, and which provide an important ethnographic picture of the little–known Gabrieliño and were republished in book form several times. He died in Los Angeles on December 12, 1852. His funeral was held at the old Our Lady Queen of Angels church, on Main Street in Los Angeles, and was buried in the adjacent cemetery. His body was later moved to the Campo Santo (cemetery) on North Broadway (now the site of Cathedral High School), and then disinterred again and placed in the new Calvary Cemetery in the East Los Angeles section of the city.[5]

Arcadia's Hugo Reid Elementary School is named after Reid. Hugo Reid Elementary School originally provided for the third through sixth grades. The original construction contained 9 classrooms with 3 additional classrooms added in 1949. In 1951 a lunch pavilion and kitchen provided eating facilities were built. An additional cafetorium and administration structures completed in 1955. Kindergarten, first, and second grades attended Hugo Reid Primary School (a part of the elementary school complex), which was built in 1951. With 6 additional classrooms built in 1953, the total cost of the school amounted to $195,731.


  1. ^ "Historic Structures: Hugo Reid Adobe". Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950, index, FamilySearch (;: accessed 12 December 2012), Hugo Reid, 1811; citing Scotland Registrar General, Registers of births, marriages and deaths, FHL microfilm 0102138, 1041983, The New Register House, Edinburg, Scotland.
  3. ^ Casas, Maria Raquel (2005). "Victoria Reid and the Politics of Identity". In Ruiz, Vicki L.; Sanchez-Korrol, Virginia. Latina Legacies : Identity, Biography, and Community: Identity, Biography and Community. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515398-7. 
  4. ^ Dakin, Susanna Bryant. (1939). A Scotch Paisano: Hugo Reid's Life in California, 1832-1851, Derived from His Correspondence. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  5. ^ Kielbasa, John R. (1997). Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County. Pittsburg, PA: Dorrance Publishing.


See also[edit]