|California Adjutant General|
ca 1861 – ca 1864
|California State Assemblyman|
|California State Senator|
November 18, 1810|
San Diego, Alta California
|Died||February 14, 1876
Los Angeles, California
|Political party||Chivalry Democrat|
|Profession||Rancher, soldier, politician|
|Awards||Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando
Pico Canyon Oilfield named for him
Rancho Pico Junior High School named after him
|Allegiance|| Alta California
|Service/branch|| Mexican Cavalry
(Mexico - until 1847)
Brigadier General (California State Militia - after 1858)
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 negotiated promises of post-war protections for Californios 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.
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.
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.
In the Mexican-American War
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 fierce but inconclusive Battle of San Pasqual. In 1847, Andrés Pico was appointed by the Mexican government as the acting Governor of Alta California. That proved to be an empty honor, since Mexican forces were unable to regain control.
On January 13, 1847, Andrés Pico approached the U.S. commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont, man to man and alone. Without firing a shot, Don Andrés and Frémont agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Cahuenga. This informal agreement ended Californio resistance in California, in exchange for promises of protection from abuses by U.S. miltary forces. Frémont agreed to stop burning Californian ranches, stop stealing horses and cattle, and to obey the positive laws of the country. Kearny, the overall U.S. commander, heard of the Treaty, he acquiesced. Peace reigned.
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.
After statehood, in 1851 Don Andrés was elected to the California State Assembly from Los Angeles. Because of perceived anti-Californio sentiments in San Francisco, Don Andrés authored what was known as the Pico Bill in February 1859, to partition California into two states - north and south. 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 U.S. Congress never voted on the bill because of the outbreak of the Civil War. U.S. Congress approval was required before the proposed partition could be put to a vote of the people, so we'll never know how that vote might have turned out.
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. 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.
- His son's home, the Andrés Pico Adobe, is the oldest residence in the San Fernando Valley. Having deteriorated when empty, it was restored by new owners in the early 1930s, who also extended it with an addition. Now operated as a house museum, it holds the archives of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society. Identified as a significant property in the 1935 Historic American Buildings Survey, Andrés Pico Adobe is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
- Pico Boulevard, running from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, is named for Pío Pico, the former governor, but also honors the entire Pico family.
Representation in other media
- The actor Gerald Mohr played Andrés Pico, with Will Kuluva as his brother, Pío, in the 1966 episode "The Firebrand" of the syndicated western television series, Death Valley Days. Robert Anderson (1920-1996) was cast as General Philip Kearny, with Gregg Barton as Commodore Robert F. Stockton. The episode is set in 1848 with the establishment of California Territory and the tensions between the outgoing Mexican government and the incoming American governor.
- Giancarlo Esposito played Andrés Pico in the 2015 episode "Los Angeles" of the television series, Drunk History.
- "Soldiers of the 1775 Anza Expedition", 1912, California Spanish Genealogy. Retrieved on 2008-08-05
- "Andreas Pico Adobe", The Branding Iron, December 1976, Number 124; reprinted by the San Fernando Valley Historical Society, 1977; accessed 11 October 2011
- 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.
- William Henry Ellison, "The Movement for State Division in California, 1849-1860," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly XVII, no. 2 (October, 1913), 139.
- Kielbasa, John R. (1998), "Andres Pico Adobe", Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County, Pittsburg: Dorrance Publishing Co., ISBN 0-8059-4172-X.
- "Andres Pico Adobe" Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Los Angeles Parks
- ""The Firebrand" on Death Valley Days". March 24, 1966. Retrieved September 10, 2015.