Romualdo Pacheco

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Romualdo Pacheco
Romualdo Pacheco - Brady-Handy.jpg
12th Governor of California
In office
February 27, 1875 – December 9, 1875
LieutenantWilliam Irwin (Acting)
Preceded byNewton Booth
Succeeded byWilliam Irwin
9th Lieutenant Governor of California
In office
December 8, 1871 – February 27, 1875
GovernorNewton Booth
Preceded byWilliam Holden
Succeeded byWilliam Irwin (Acting)
7th California State Treasurer
In office
October 10, 1863 – December 7, 1867
GovernorLeland Stanford
Frederick Low
Preceded byDelos R. Ashley
Succeeded byAntonio F. Coronel
United States Minister to Nicaragua
In office
May 21, 1891 – October 13, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Costa Rica
In office
May 7, 1891 – October 31, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Honduras
In office
April 17, 1891 – June 12, 1893
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byPierce M. B. Young
United States Minister to El Salvador
In office
March 28, 1891 – November 14, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Guatemala
In office
February 28, 1891 – June 12, 1893
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byPierce M. B. Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 4, 1883
Preceded byPeter D. Wigginton
Succeeded byPleasant B. Tully
In office
March 4, 1877 – February 7, 1878
Preceded byPeter D. Wigginton
Succeeded byPeter D. Wigginton
Personal details
Born
José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco

(1831-10-31)October 31, 1831
Santa Barbara, California
DiedJanuary 23, 1899(1899-01-23) (aged 67)
Oakland, California
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1860)
National Union (1860–1868)
Republican (1868–1889)
Spouse(s)Mary McIntire Pacheco
Children
  • Maybella Ramona
  • Romualdo Jr.
Signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsCivil War

José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco (October 31, 1831 – January 23, 1899) was a Californio statesman and diplomat. A Republican, he is best known as the only Hispanic person to serve as Governor of California since the American Conquest of California, and as the first Latino to represent a state in the U.S. Congress.[1] Pacheco was elected and appointed to various state, federal, and diplomatic offices throughout his more than thirty-year career, including serving as a California State Treasurer, California State Senator, and three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Early life[edit]

José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco was a Californio, born in Santa Barbara, California to a family with prominent connections. His father, José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, had moved to Alta California from Guanajuato in 1825, and served as an aide to José María de Echeandía during his tenure as Governor of Alta California. Pacheco's father was killed at the Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1831, when the young Romualdo was just five weeks old. [2] His father had shot Jose Maria Avila, who had attacked Alta California Governor Manuel Victoria with a lance, but died when Avila's lance struck him. [3]

His mother, Maria Ramona Carrillo de Pacheco, was a sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and a daughter of María Ygnacia López de Carrillo, the grantee of Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa. After the death of his father, Romualdo's mother married Captain John D. Wilson, a Scotsman, who sent Pacheco to Honolulu, Hawaii for his education.[4]

At age twelve, Pacheco began an apprenticeship aboard a trading vessel. The Mexican–American War broke out two years later, and he was briefly held by American forces during the Conquest of California while on one trip in July 1846, as he brought cargo to Yerba Buena (modern day San Francisco). The ship he was on was searched, and he made an oath of allegiance to the United States and was released.

Politics[edit]

Official portrait in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pacheco's association with a prominent family in the state helped him to gain support as he entered politics in the 1850s. He was also well respected by Anglos coming into the area. Early in his political career in the 1850s, he was a Democrat. He became affiliated with the National Union Party in the 1860s, but was elected to most of his positions as a candidate for the Republican Party.

In 1853, at age 22, Pacheco successfully sought the position of judge in San Luis Obispo County.[5] Pacheco was elected to the state senate in 1857, succeeded his cousin Pablo de la Guerra. [6] He was re-elected two times, serving until 1863. During the American Civil War Pacheco was appointed the rank of brigadier general by Governor Leland Stanford and directed to disarm military companies in the Los Angeles area that were not loyal to the Union.

Pacheco served as state treasurer from 1863 to 1867, then returned to the State Senate until becoming lieutenant governor. He served as Lieutenant Governor of California under Newton Booth until Booth was elected to the United States Senate in 1875. Pacheco then served as governor from February 27, 1875 to December 9, 1875, when Lieutenant Governor William Irwin, winner in the September elections that year, was inaugurated.

After briefly serving as governor, Pacheco ran for a U.S. House seat, defeating incumbent Peter D. Wigginton by just one vote. Wigginton contested the election, eventually forcing Pacheco to leave in 1878 when the House Committee on Elections refused Pacheco's certificate of election. Returning to California, he went into business until winning a House seat again in September 1879. He was reelected in 1880.

Diplomacy and death[edit]

Pacheco in the 1890s.

After leaving Congress, Pacheco lived on a cattle ranch in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila for five years until he was appointed as U.S. Minister to various countries in Central America in 1890.

He returned to California in 1893, and died in Oakland at the home of his brother-in-law in 1899. He is buried in at Mountain View Cemetery.[7]

Personal life[edit]

On October 31, 1863 he married Mary McIntire, a 22-year-old playwright. [8] They had three children, Maybella Ramona "Mabel" (1863-1921), Romualdo "Waldo" (1865-1871), and Enrique "Henry" (born 1868). In 1889 Maybella married Will Tevis, the son of a powerful business family, in San Francisco. Maybella and Will would give Romualdo and Mary Pacheco four grandsons.

Legacy[edit]

Pacheco served not only as the first Hispanic to hold the office of Governor of California, but the only one to do so in California's history as a state. He is also remembered for being the first Hispanic to represent a state in the U.S. Congress. Hispanics had served as non-voting delegates of territories before, but Pacheco was the first full-voting Hispanic member of congress.

He was the last Hispanic Republican to represent California in the U.S. House of Representatives until Mike Garcia was elected to represent the 25th district in a special election in May 2020.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Romualdo Pacheco 1875 - 1875". Governors of California. 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  2. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 9.
  3. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 9-10.
  4. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 17-21.
  5. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 40.
  6. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 42.
  7. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 105.
  8. ^ Nicholson 1990, p. 65.
  9. ^ Sacramento Bee "Republican flips California congressional seat. What does that mean for November?" (2020)

Further reading[edit]

  • Nicholson, Loren (1990). Romualdo Pacheco's California!. San Luis Obispo: California Heritage Publishing Associates. ISBN 0-9623233-2-2.
  • Ronald Genini & Richard Hitchman, Romualdo Pacheco: A Californio in Two Eras, The Book Club of California:1985. LC Control#86101529

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of California
1863–1867
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of California
1871–1875
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of California
1875
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th congressional district

1877–1878
Succeeded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th congressional district

1879–1883
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the House Private Land Claims Committee
1881–1883
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Minister to Guatemala
1891–1893
Succeeded by
United States Minister to Honduras
1891–1893
United States Minister to El Salvador
1891
Succeeded by
United States Minister to Costa Rica
1891
United States Minister to Nicaragua
1891