VIDEO. This month’s meeting of the Half Moon Bay History Association is about the rarely described years between those of the Natives and those of the California Gold Rush. These were the times of the Spanish and the Mexican presence. The years changed history and cultures. Government and religious strategies were carried out. The missions and the rebellion that separated Mexicans from Spain happened during this period. The Coastside’s Mexican land grants were a late product of those Mexican years.
Dr. Bacich will describe these great changes in the California landscape. He will portray the owners of the four land grants that became the space of our Coastside – from Montara through Half Moon Bay.
His topic will turn to four remarkable women of the period – –
One of them, Guadalupe Miramontes, a very local matriarch of her community (now downtown Half Moon Bay) and her sister, Juana Briones, an unusually liberated woman who became a powerful landowner of properties in San Francisco and Los Altos.
He will then discuss two other women – mother and daughter – whose lives span those years and exemplify the individual success of two strong women during a period that was challenging for most of the Spanish and Mexican residents, regardless of gender. Those women are Juana Sánchez de Pacheco and Sylveria Pacheco de Coles. Their lifetimes were a saga of Californio life in the 19th century.
Juana Lorenza Sánchez de Pacheco — the aunt of don Francisco Sánchez who built the Sánchez Adobe in Pacifica — was the second child baptized at Mission Dolores in 1776. Widow of Anza party member and SF Presidio soldier Miguel Pacheco, Juana was granted a rancho in Contra Costa County. Juana’s daughter, Sylveria, was born in 1811 at Mission Santa Clara, and became one of the few women granted title to mission buildings prior to secularization. As a member of one of the elite Californio families, Sylveria joined with her family members in a struggle to protect their land holdings after the U.S. takeover. Her life intersected with Mexican Franciscan padres and Italian Jesuits, Prussian aristocrats, Alta California governors, American pioneer families, and unscrupulous lawyers.
Damian Bacich, Ph.D. is an educator, researcher and translator. He is Professor of Spanish Language and Literature at San José State University and chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures. At SJSU he teaches courses on Colonial Latin America, including the Spanish Borderlands Hispanic California. His work has appeared in journals such as California History, the Boletín of the California Missions Foundation, Pacific Coast Philology and Comitatus. He is a member of the board of the California Missions Foundation and the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History. He is currently researching a book on the fascinating life of Sylveria Pacheco, one of the women he will be describing during our program.
TEACHERS ~ He is the host of an amazingly informative website that concentrates on early California: