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Early social life

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:32 pm    Post subject: Early social life Reply with quote

The first printed invitation to a ball in Monterey read as follows: "Jose Figueroa, Jose Antonio Carillo, Pio Pico, Joaquin Ortega and the licentiate Rafael Gomez request your attendance at eight o'clock this evening at a ball that will be given at the house of the first named to congratulate the director of colonization and his estimable fellow travelers, the election of deputies for the territory and the country, upon its enjoyment of union and peace." Monterey, Nov. 1, 1834. (Signed) MARIANO BONILLA.

William Heath Davis, who came to Monterey in 1831, and who in 1889 Wrote a book entitled "Sixty Years in California," says:

"My first visit to California was in 1831. Among the residents at Monterey the most prominent foreigners were: David Spence, Capt. J. B. R. Cooper, Nathan Spear, James Watson, George Kinlock and W. E. P. Hartnell. The first three named were engaged in merchandizing. Kinlock was a ship and house carpenter. Hartnell was an instructor in the employ of the Mexican government in the department of California of which Monterey was the capital.

"The people lived in adobe houses and the houses had tiled roofs; they were comfortable and roomy, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Their furniture was generally plain, mostly imported from Boston in the ships that came to the coast to trade.

"Generally the houses had floors, but without carpets in the earlier days. The women were exceedingly clean and neat in their houses and persons, and in all their domestic arrangements. One of the peculiarities was the excellence of their beds and bedding, which were often elegant in appearance, highly and tastefully ornamented, the coverlids and pillow cases being sometimes of satin and trimmed with beautiful and costly lace. The women were plainly and becomingly attired, many of the women played the guitar skillfully and the men the violin."

In 1842, including the military, the white population numbered about 1000. The white people were known as "gents de razon" or people of intelligence, to distinguish them from the Indian who was considered on a level with the brute. The "whites" included the families of Spanish and Mexican and foreigners. Of the Spanish-Californians, meaning the California descendents of Spanish and Mexican blood, there were several distinct classes. The upper class consisted of those who were or had been in official stations, either military or civil. There were not many of those families; they intermarried among themselves and were very aristocratic in their feelings. They prided themselves on what they called their Spanish blood and speech and were lighter and more intelligent than the other classes.

The first State ball in California was held in Colton Hall on the last evening of the convention, on October 13, 1849, which was attended by the bonton of Monterey.

General Bennett Riley, military governor of California, having been in Monterey two years, returned to the eastern states in July, 1850. On the eve of his departure the citizens of Monterey tendered him a farewell banquet at the Washington Hotel. Covers were laid for two hundred persons, the toastmaster of the occasion being General P. H. Bowen. During the evening Governor Riley was presented with a handsome gold watch and a gold medal valued at $600, a gift from the town council of Monterey. On one side of the medal were engraved the words: "To the man who came to do his duty and accomplished his purpose."
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