Andrés Pico

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Andrés Pico
Andres Pico c1850.jpg
Flag of California.svg  California Adjutant General
In office
ca 1861 – ca 1864
California State Assemblyman
In office
California State Senator
In office
Personal details
Born (1810-11-18)November 18, 1810
San Diego, Alta California
Died February 14, 1876(1876-02-14) (aged 65)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Chivalry Democrat
Relations Pío Pico
Profession Rancher, soldier, politician
Religion Roman Catholic
Awards Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando
Pico Canyon Oilfield named for him
Rancho Pico Junior High School named after him
Military service
Allegiance California Lone Star Flag 1836.svg Alta California
 United States
Service/branch Mexico-branch-colour Cavalry(blue).gif Mexican Cavalry
CavalryBC.png California Cavalry
Rank Gral bgdr.gif General
(Mexico - until 1847)
Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General (California State Militia - after 1858)
Commands California Lancers
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
Battle of San Pascual

Andrés Pico (November 18, 1810 – February 14, 1876) was a Californio who became a successful rancher, fought in the contested Battle of San Pascual during the Mexican-American War, and secured full U.S. citizenship for Californians in the 1847 Treaty of Cahuenga. After California became one of the United States, Pico was elected to the state Assembly and Senate. He was appointed as the commanding brigadier general of the state militia during the U.S. Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Andrés Pico was born in San Diego in 1810 as a first-generation Californio. He was one of several sons of José María Pico and María Eustaquia López. An older brother was Pío Pico, who twice served as governor of Alta California. [1]


In 1845 under the law for secularization of former Church properties, his older brother Governor Pío Pico granted Andrés Pico and his associate Juan Manso a nine-year lease for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España lands, which encompassed nearly the entire San Fernando Valley. At that time a 35-year-old rancher, Andrés Pico lived in Pueblo de Los Angeles. He ran cattle on the ranch and used the mission complex as his hacienda. He gave Rómulo Pico Adobe to his son.

In 1846, to raise funds for the Mexican-American War, the Pío Pico government sold secularized mission lands. The Mission San Fernando was sold to Eulogio de Celis, who established Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. Celis returned to Spain, but his descendants stayed in California. Under the terms of secularization, the sale excluded the Mission compound and its immediate surroundings, which were reserved for Don Andrés.[2]

In the Mexican-American War[edit]

During the Mexican-American War, Andrés Pico commanded the native forces, the California Lancers, in Alta California. In 1846 Pico led an attack on forces commanded by U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny at the Battle of San Pasqual, where Kearny conceded defeat to California. In 1847, Andrés Pico was appointed as the acting Governor of Alta California,[citation needed] serving for his term in the civilian government while the U.S. military protectorate was being established since 1846.

On January 13, 1847, fresh from his defeating Kearny at the Battle of San Pasqual, Andrés Pico approached the U.S. commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont, man to man and alone. Without firing a shot, Don Andrés frightened Frémont into signing the Capitulation of Cahuenga. This formal agreement granted full U.S. citizenship to all Californians, instantly ending all hostilities in California.[3] Frémont agreed to stop burning Californian ranches, stop stealing horses and cattle, and to obey the positive laws of the country. When Kearny, in Los Angeles, heard of the Capitulation, he acquiesced. Peace reigned.

Andrés' brother Pío Pico was the last Mexican governor of the state. General Andrés Pico was one of the signatories of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,[citation needed] in 1848, which formally federated all the sovereign and free state of Alta California with the United States.

Pico and his band of cavalry left Cahuenga victorious with all their weapons, horses, and cannon, and with the spoils of war won from Kearny at San Pasqual. Kearny and his remaining command were allowed to leave and continue fighting the war against Mexico. The Californians had maintained their freedom and became United States citizens, too, with all associated rights.

Post-statehood activity[edit]

Four years before California became an American state in 1850, Andrés Pico and other residents became United States citizens with full legal and voting rights. In 1853, Don Andrés acquired a half interest in Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando from Eulogio de Celis; it was split along present-day Roscoe Boulevard, with his brother Pio Pico's land being the southern half of the San Fernando Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains.[2]

After statehood, in 1851 Don Andrés was elected to the California State Assembly from Los Angeles.[2] In the wake of the Yankee insurrection in San Francisco, Don Andrés authored what was known as the Pico Bill in February 1859, to let southern California secede from the north. The bill proposed to create the "Territory of Colorado" from the southern counties of the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed by the Governor John B. Weller on April 18, 1859. But, the secession was never implemented because the U.S. Congress would not vote on the bill in the wake of the outbreak of the Civil War.[4]

In 1858 Pico was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the California Militia. In 1860 he was elected by the state legislature as a California State Senator from Los Angeles. Andrés Pico's Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando was confiscated by federal decree in 1864, which said that he "did not own and never did own" it. Reduced to a pauper, he retired as a Californio ranchero in Los Angeles.[2] Ex-Mission San Fernando fell into ruins until the mid-20th century, when the Roman Catholic Church conserved about one fourth of the old mission quadrangle.

Since Don Andrés' death, the bulk of the old mission has never been restored. The site of the main mission buildings are now occupied by a parochial high school, including the old, monumental front facing east toward the former Fort Tejon Road. The sites of the Butterfield stagecoach stables, and the outbuildings and storage buildings of Don Andrés' ranch and hacienda, have been lost under development of the modern urban community of Mission Hills.

Pico never married, but adopted several children. Don Andrés Pico died in Los Angeles in 1876.


Representation in other media[edit]


  1. ^ "Soldiers of the 1775 Anza Expedition", 1912, California Spanish Genealogy. Retrieved on 2008-08-05
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Andreas Pico Adobe", The Branding Iron, December 1976, Number 124; reprinted by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, 1977; accessed 11 October 2011
  3. ^ Pitt, Leonard; Pitt, Dale (1997). Los Angeles A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and County. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 392. ISBN 0-520-20274-0. 
  4. ^ William Henry Ellison, "The Movement for State Division in California, 1849-1860," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly XVII, no. 2 (October, 1913), 139.
  5. ^ Kielbasa, John R. (1998), "Andres Pico Adobe", Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County, Pittsburg: Dorrance Publishing Co., ISBN 0-8059-4172-X .
  6. ^ "Andres Pico Adobe" Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Los Angeles Parks
  7. ^ ""The Firebrand" on Death Valley Days". March 24, 1966. Retrieved September 10, 2015.