José de los Santos Berreyesa

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José de los Santos Berreyesa
Born April 28, 1817
San Francisco
Died October 30, 1864
Martinez, California
Parent(s) José de los Reyes Berreyesa

José de los Santos Berreyesa (April 28, 1817 – October 30, 1864), a member of the Berreyesa family, was the last alcalde of Alta California. Fluent to a high degree in both English and Spanish, he served as a witness on many land grant cases before the Public Land Commission in the 1850s and 1860s.


José de los Santos Berreyesa was born in San Francisco, the sixth child and fourth son of José de los Reyes Berreyesa.[1]

Berreyesa served as alcalde at the Presidio of Sonoma, but was jailed with two of his brothers by John C. Frémont in 1846 during the Bear Flag Revolt. When his father traveled up to see how his three sons were being treated in jail, the father and two cousins, twin sons of Francisco de Haro, were shot and killed in San Rafael by a group of three men, including Kit Carson, assigned the task by Frémont. The dead were stripped of their belongings, and left for mission Indians to bury.[2] When Berreyesa asked whether his father had been killed, Frémont said it might have been a man named Castro. A soldier of Frémont's was seen wearing the father's serape, and Frémont refused to assist Berreyesa in retrieving it as a final token of his father to give to his mother. The three Berreyesa brothers resorted to buying the serape from the soldier for the extortionate price of $25.[2] Later, Carson told Jasper O'Farrell that he regretted killing the Californios, but that the act was only one such that Frémont ordered him to commit.[2]

Berreyesa married Francisca Ignacis Martínez (1824–1907), a twin daughter of Ygnacio Martínez.[3] The couple produced four sons and two daughters during 1848–1856.[3]

Berreyesa claimed Rancho Mallacomes in Napa County, California, and was granted the patent for it. He died in Martinez, California on October 30, 1864.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Descendants of Luis Cayetano (Berrelleza) Berreyesa. Generation No. 3. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Eldredge, Zoeth Skinner. The Beginnings of San Francisco, 1912. "Appendix D: The Murder of Berreyesa and the De Haros." Hosted at SFGenealogy. Retrieved on August 16, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Descendants of Luis Cayetano (Berrelleza) Berreyesa. Generation No. 4. Retrieved on August 17, 2009.

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